Good, juicy brain food

I’m up in the mountains soaking up sunshine and snow, celebrating sending the book manuscript to the editor. Writing a book has been a personal development challenge – confronting all my own limiting beliefs, while simultaneously writing about all the lessons and strategies I work with myself and my clients to be better leaders. It’s tough work! Like eating raw broccoli – unpleasant, and good for you at the same time.

This week’s newsletter is packed full of good things to inspire. I’ll save the musing article once the mountain air has cleansed my head and heart.

So here is some juicy brain food to nurture your head and heart in the meantime.

  1. Six-minute webinar recording on Executive Communication from yours truly:
  1. Books that have been rocking my world:

Robert Rabbin’s “The 5 Principles of Authentic Living: How to Live an Authentic Life in 10 Words” – a beautiful little book that touched me deeply in its truth and poignancy. It really gave me a lift as I read about his work with leaders an organisations in engaging in heartfelt, genuine leadership.

Carol Dweck’s “Mindset – How you can fulfil your potential”. This is a pivotal work on how our attitude towards intelligence, learning, and failure that can make a profound impact on not only success and results, but on our happiness as well.

Mark Divine’s “Unbeatable Mind”. Mark Divine is an ex-U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. and I bought his book because I was intrigued by the promise of what a hard-core warrior might have to say about attitude in extreme physical discipline. But I got WAY more than I bargained for in this book. Mark is an enlightened warrior, one who has moved beyond being ‘just a soldier’ to being a personal excellence teacher with a profound spiritual purpose – to uplift humanity. His principles of training are holistic – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and intuitional. Loved this book! I bought his two other books as well: Way of the Seal, and 8 Weeks to SEALFit. 

  1. Excerpt from my book,“Composure: How centered leaders make the biggest impact”

Daring the Dragon

There are moments when we find ourselves face to face with a dragon. It’s not the one we expected, and it’s bigger than we imagined.

In my life these were moments like being told I had cancer, or at my father’s bedside while he was on life support, or when I sat in a firestorm of undermining by a once-trusted peer.

It’s in these moments we are confronted with the single most important decision of our lives: fight or flee.

What if there was another choice? What if we could stand toe to toe with the dragon, breathe in its fiery breath, look deep in to its steely eyes, and feel its coiled aggression writhing beneath the surface of the skin? In these moments we touch the dragon’s heart and find amazingly, it’s our own.

The dragon, compelling as it is as a separate independent entity, is also an echo of our own deep pathologies, fears, and small ego tremors. Cancer is the manifestation of stress, a work enemy the mirror of jealousy, a dying parent a reminder of all one’s own failings and regrets. It’s in the deep crucible of black despair and fear that we discover compassion, for others first, and finally for ourselves.

Being fully present to the dragon, in all its wild and dangerous fury, we know suddenly we can dare the dragon to serve, not slay.

This is in our darkest moments, a light. In the depths of fog, a small clearing. We discover we are not only tethered to the universe, we are the universe. We are its face, its hands, and its heart. Our duality dissolves and in its stead, unity.

Daring the dragon requires deep composure. This is the kind of composure that is anchored not through conscious thought, but through conscious living. Conscious living is the discipline and practice of self inquiry, a curious mind, an open heart. It is how we align our actions with values in a purpose of service. Conscious living keeps us anchored to a deep and abiding sense of the present moment, while being aware and beholden to history, posterity, and the higher realms of spirit. It allows us to inhabit a world built on and imagined by duality, while being guided by a sense of one-ness, of connection, of expansion.

Composure is due for publication in September 2015.

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