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Leadership Development Program

Handbook of Organizational Creativity

The Accidental Creative

Awakening the Entrepreneur Within

The Benefits of Failure

"Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality."

~ J.K. Rowling, from "The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination," Harvard Gazette, June 5, 2008

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

Business Vision and Mindset

Excerpts from "Developing a Business Vision and Mindset," by Marla Tabaka, Inc., May 30, 2011:

When your business vision and the reality in which you live are miles apart, it may not be for the reasons you believe...Here are a few ways to transform your fear and embrace a new way of thinking:

Be patient with your fearful thoughts and refrain from berating yourself when fearful thoughts surface. Anger and frustration will only exasperate the situation and continue to block the flow of positive thoughts and opportunities. Let's face it; if you are 'busy' behind your desk feeling awful about yourself, you are not out in the world attracting people who want to work with that 'positive, brilliant guy who has a great business'. 

Reframe your negative thoughts. It's not easy to 'erase' negative thinking; reframing is a method of teaching yourself a new way to think and sending your subconscious mind a positive message. So if you have a thought like, 'I will never make this work, then what?' Try reframing it to something like, 'It's taken longer than I'd like to make this happen, but I believe in myself and my business and it will change – beginning now.'  When we 'erase' the negative and open our minds to the possibility, ideas and opportunities flow much more freely.

Make a list of the things you have achieved thus far. When I go through such lists with my clients I'm often amazed at what they don't give themselves credit for. Seeing it in writing and acknowledging each success is very uplifting and empowering.

Talk to your fear. Too corny? Don't knock it until you try it! Sit your fear down across the table and have a two-way conversation. Ok, so you don't want anyone to witness this, but really – it's amazing. This 'conversation' gives you the opportunity to discuss your fear without judgment. It will produce clarity and reason; it will give you a new slant on what's going on so that you can step back into the driver's seat.  Begin with something like, 'Ok fear, what's going on? What have you been trying to tell me?' Just see where it goes. You may have to make a few attempts at this until you feel comfortable with the process; don't give up after one try.

Elicit positive feelings with pictures. Our mind thinks in pictures so physical images of things that help us to feel our vision are very powerful. Believe it or not, a positive emotional response will actually begin to change our neural-patterns after only 20 seconds. I liken it to a good cardio workout; after 20 minutes you begin burning fat…but this is only 20 seconds! Our negative experiences embed themselves in our DNA, that's why it's not always possible to simply change negative thoughts. Utilizing images and taking our thought to a positive and powerful place can begin to disrupt the negative messages that are embedded within us. Cut out a few pictures from magazines or find them on-line and print them out. These images should represent your success and happiness and have the power to elicit feelings of great success and happiness. Focus on the image, and the feeling, for a few minutes each day. Notice how much more energy you will have when you do this.

Find someone to help. If you have experienced a lot of negativity in your life, these patterns will be all the more stubborn and embedded. I always tell my clients, 'It's not your fault!' These patterns of thoughts are deeply engrained and they've been there for _____, how long? There is no shame in reaching out to a coach, a therapist, or a professional who practices an energy psychology technique like the one I mentioned in last week's post, The Emotional Freedom Techniques.  If you are ready to succeed your thoughts guide the way. Empowering thoughts will lead you to bringing your vision to life.

Read the entire essay...

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