Your Soul Food for Friday August 19 2016: A Request for YOUR Gems for Back to School Season to Share: + Energy, Empathy, Compassion and More…

Happy Soul Food Friday!

It is back to school season and with a son off to college and a daughter off to high school I could sure use YOUR help…

What soul-filled pearls of wisdom would you have for all these young people starting new chapters (or for us parents for that matter)?

Send us your GEMs (genuine encounter moments) and we will aggregate and post them in a subsequent Soul Food so we can all benefit from the collective wisdom of this ecosystem.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of related links to energize you and keep you smiling…

Can’t Stop the Feeling:

It’s back to school time and our friends in Cajon Valley Union School District made a welcome back video that is going viral with almost 17,000 views in 3 days!

Check it out here:

Why Kids Need More Empathy:

If you are greatly concerned about our kid’s emotional and moral health…

Back to School: 4 Ways to Prepare for Your Child’s School Year:

Is the back to school frenzy making you feel a bit stressed?

Here is something for kids, parents and educators alike…

If you are local:

Documented: A Film by an Undocumented American:

Dear friends and colleagues,

As a San Diego Grantmakers Board member and co-chair of its Social Equity Funders collaboration, I wanted to personally reach out and ask you to attend The Equity Event on September 9.

Equity is embedded in all of our philanthropy – whether you focus on education, homelessness, foster youth, workforce and the economy, health, the environment…need I go on? So it is critical that we all pause to consider our own role in improving equity – or said another way, eliminating inequity – through our grantmaking. How can you increase participation and leadership by people of color in the projects and programs that you support? Who are you listening to and are you acting on the feedback you’re given? Can your organization’s internal policies and practices on equity be improved?

These are just some of the ideas we’ll tackle at this half-day event featuring local and national experts in preparation for going deeper next year on issues like intersectionality, structural racism, implicit bias, gender discrimination, mass incarceration, and more.

And to kick off the event and get us thinking about one group’s perspective on equity, we’ll be hosting a special evening reception and screening of “Documented: A Film by an Undocumented American” on September 8.

Please join me at one or both of these important events.

Kind Regards,


P.S. Early bird registration ends this Friday, August 19


Black Girlz

Dear Friends & Family,
I’m excited to be a featured performer for San Diego’s 1st Black Girlz
Rock Concert!

The details are below, & I hope to see your beautiful face in the
audience when I’m on stage singing my heart out!

When: Saturday August 20, 2016

Time: 8PM (Doors 7PM)

Where: Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier 1000 North Harbor Drive SD, CA 92101


Scroll down to where it says: BLACK GIRLZ ROCK CONCERT TICKETS


If you are National…

National Center

Thanks this week go to:

  • Cajon Valley Union School District & Meg M for forwarding the link
  • Sara S and Compassion IT
  • Steve E and the San Diego Grantmakers team
  • Starla and Ishe
  • Dean Johnson at SDSU and the team at the National Excellence in Urban Education
  • and Andrea M for helping with Soul Food Friday for many years!

Don’t forget to send us your GEMS so we can pay it forward, backward and sideways!




“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…

But how much love we put in that action”

–Mother Teresa


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

our Soul Food for Friday August 12th: Stand Up and Be Counted! (Trigger Warning: This contains potentially distressing material for some) But Meet Bob Will Remedy That!

Happy Soul Food Friday!


“For the next phase of ‘her-story’, men simply can’t stay quiet!” –Neville

Which narrative consumes you?

Divisive, negative, if it bleeds it leads, sensationalism and fearmongering as we are currently experiencing in our Electoral Politics?


Heroic stories of hard work, triumph, impossible odds, and the triumph of spirit over fear as we are currently experiencing with the Olympics?

With both dominating the airwaves and digital screens which one calls you?

Given the choice of a political rant or a Olympic cheer which energy resonates most with you?
What does that say about us as a people or as a country?

There are two stories of his/her story; one of inadequacy, fear and division, and the other of empowerment, love and unity.

Winning the Story Wars is a great way to understand this dichotomy and choose the narrative that reflects your best self.


Which story line will reflect your life and contribution.

Whatever slice of the equity, diversity and inclusion pie that matters most to you, it is time to take a stand…

If I am not a perpetrator and not a victim then I can’t just be a relegated to a bystander for that suggests I am a tolerator

Trigger Warning: This Soul Food Friday contains potentially distressing material for some, but the Meet Bob pictures at the end should reset your energy…

This week:

Politics Aside, this is What a Feminist Looks Like:

It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too.

The most important change may be the toughest of all – and that’s changing ourselves…

Real Men

Sign in Copenhagen right by a strip club

Human Trafficking Right Here in San Diego: A Study

These are our daughters, sisters, friends and mothers…

Some Key Findings:

  • Sex trafficking is San Diego’s 2nd largest underground economy after drug trafficking. The underground sex economy represents an estimated $810 million in annual revenue
  • At least 110 gangs are involved in commercial exploitation of people (CSEP).
  • Our sample of traffickers in prison contained roughly an equal number of white, black and Hispanic facilitators
  • 15 years old is the average age of entry into child commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC)
  • Sex trafficking facilitators control 4.5 victim/survivors on average
  • 42% of first-time prostitution arrests are in fact cases involving sex trafficking
  • Domestic trafficking accounts for the majority of CSEP
  • Transborder criminal networks are involved in trafficking minors and adults between Mexico and the United States. 20% of trafficking victims referred to service providers come from Mexico and 10 other countries
  • Female recruiters and pimp/sex trafficking facilitators are perceived to be a significant and growing feature of the underground sex economy
  • Significant CSEC recruitment is happening on high school and middle school campuses

To Prevent Sexual Assault, Schools and Parents Start Lessons Early:

Experts say the sooner parents broach the subject the better. College, they say, is usually way too late.

Be Counted Join He For She:

See who else is leaning in…

Meet Bob and his friends

If I am not a perpetrator and not a victim then I can’t just be a relegated to a bystander for that suggests I am a tolerator

Elevate awareness for and help us help ourselves!

Thanks this week to Rex H, all the women (and men) of Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai celebrating 35 years in the wisdom traditions with a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion as well as all you peaceful warriors everywhere!

Pay it forward…




“The education of attention would be an education par excellence.” –William James


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your Soul Food for Friday August 5th 2016: Puns, Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself, Positive Attitudes, Healing Divides, Beautiful Places, Crazy Dogs and Success Conferences

Happy Soul Food Friday!

In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism it’s your count that votes

 This week:

  • Puns for Educated Minds
  • Stop Being So Hard on Yourself!
  • The Power of a Positive Attitude
  • Healing Racial Divides and Building Resilience
  • California’s Most Beautiful Places

A Crazy Dog Vid:

If You Are Local…

  • Mana Latina Success Conference Oct 15th 2016

Puns for Educated Minds:

  1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
  1. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .
  1. She was only a whisky-maker but he loved her still.
  1. A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from a geometry class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
  1. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
  1. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
  1. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
  1. A hole has been found in the nudist-camp wall. The police are looking into it.
  1. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  1. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  1. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: “You stay here; I’ll go on a head.”
  1. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  1. A  sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said: “Keep off the Grass.”

15. The midget fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

  1. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  1. A backward poet writes inverse.
  1. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism it’s your count that votes.
  1. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
  1. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris , you’d be in Seine .
  1. A vulture carrying two dead raccoons boards an airplane. The stewardess looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
  1. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, “Dam!”
  1. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly, it sank proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
  1. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says, “Are you sure?” The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive.”

25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root-canal? His goal:            transcend dental medication.

  1. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Stop Being So Hard on Yourself:

I hope you’re having a good week so far.
The topic today is a common way to get things done, to achieve and to motivate yourself.
But it also comes at a price. It can tear yourself-esteem down. Suck the fun and excitement out of things and make you perform worse and worse over time.
So what can you do if you want to stop being so hard on yourself?
Well, three things that have helped me to do that are…

1. Remind yourself of the negative effects of this attitude.
To just remind yourself of how damaging being hard on yourself has been is in my experience a very effective way to replace the old habit with going easier on yourself.

2. Go for more human and smarter standards for yourself.
Movies, books and the people around you may push standards on you that are just pure fantasy or some kind of perfect dream.
But life is life, not a fantasy or dream and to set such extremely high standards that no one can live up to just leads to what you may see as failure and disappointment in yourself and in your life.
Instead, relax a bit and accept that everything and everyone has flaws and things don’t always go as planned.
Accept that you can still improve things but they will never be perfect.
And realize that you won’t be rejected if things or you aren’t perfect. At least not by reasonably well-balanced human beings, like most people actually are in reality.

3. Focus on the positive and helpful feedback in setbacks.
It’s very common to be hard on yourself when you make a mistake or fail.
But it is also a very destructive habit because it can magnify one such event into something that makes you feel depressed for weeks or makes you quit altogether.
So when you are hard on yourself for a failure or mistake then relax a bit and go a bit easier on yourself. Remind yourself of why this is a much better strategy to keep the motivation and self-esteem up.

And ask yourself:
What is one thing I can I learn from this situation?
How can I use what I learn from this to not make the same mistake again and to move forward in a better and smarter way?
Have a self-kind week and joyous summer!

The Power of a Positive Attitude:

Healing Racial Divides and Building Resilience

As we mourn so many deaths recently, President Obama reminded the nation that we should live up to our highest ideals, have an open heart with one another, learn to stand in each other’s shoes and see the world through each other’s eyes.

  • How do we systematically develop that sense of interdependence and interconnectedness?
  • How do we heal deep racial divides and trauma that have been passed on for generations?

We know that if we want our communities to be peaceful and loving and empathetic, each one of us has to find peace, love, and empathy within ourselves.
Chronic stress is a common denominator among everyone involved in the recent killings across the nation. For example, we know that just as inner-city residents are chronically stressed, so are inner-city police officers. The more stressed we are, the lesser our ability to pay attention, regulate our emotions, and feel empathy.

  • Inattention is the difference between seeing and perceiving, and that difference (reaching for a wallet or a gun), as we have seen, can be a matter of life and death.
  • Emotion regulation is the difference between reacting and consciously choosing an optimal response, and that difference (relaxed and alert, or angry and afraid), as we have seen, can be a matter of life and death.
  • Lack of empathy is the difference between feeling separate and feeling interconnected, and that difference (us versus them), as we have seen, can be a matter of life and death.

Practices, such as Dynamic Mindfulness or mindful movement, done regularly, develop our capacity for resilience in the face of chronic stress and trauma. These tools are for all of us – everyday citizens and police officers, parents and children, teachers and students. These practices compliment, enhance and enable all our efforts at system change.
It is time to come together as community members, neighbors and families.  In the face of chronic stress and trauma, let’s practice the transformative life skills available to us, to help us become more resilient.  Empathy and compassion for others will abound in communities that are resilient. It is on us to live up to our highest ideals, and empower others to do the same.
In Peace,
BK and all staff at Niroga


California’s Most Beautiful Places:

Crazy Dog Vid:

If you are Local…

Save the Date

Mana Latina Success Conference Oct 15th 2016  

2016 Latina Success Conference

Thanks this week go to Larry H, Henrik from The Positivity Blog, Eric K,  BK & all staff at Niroga, and the amazing Mana team…

Pay it Forward!




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Soul Food for Friday July 29th 2016: 7 Small Ways to Make This The Happiest Summer of Your Life, Creating Perfect Moments, with Mindfulness & Enjoying the Surprises!

Happy Soul Food Friday!


This week:

The Perfect Moment with Robin Sharma:

 7 Small Ways to Make This The Happiest Summer of Your Life!

Happiness and It’s Surprises:

 Mindfulness = Happiness with Will Marre:

The Perfect Moment with Robin Sharma:

It’s 5:42 am as I write this message to you. A candle flickers. James Bay’s beautiful song Let It Go plays softly. The people I love most are sleeping. This morning’s coffee is amazing.
Birds sing. Flowers bloom in our back garden. Lush trees rise up high, in natural tribute to the awakening skies above.

I was up at 4:30 am today. Just this rush of energy pulsing through me that got me to my morning workout a little earlier than usual.

And now I sit here. Simply savoring the sweetness in this most simple scene. This Perfect Moment.

A few weeks ago, people from 31 nations showed up in stylish Toronto for my hot new live event, Personal Mastery Academy (PMA). One of the insights my beloved attendees found most valuable was to see themselves as “Perfect Moment Creators”.

The concept goes back to a book I love: Chasing Daylight. It’s a true story about the former CEO of KPMG who, on a routine visit to his doctor, was told he had 90 days left to live.

Instead of giving up, he fortified himself against his impending death by engineering his last 3 months to be the best 3 months of his life.

Realizing he’d never, in all his years as an elite executive, had lunch with his wife he started having lunch with his wife. Recognizing his daughter’s Christmas concerts missed and all the special times neglected because of his obsession with his work, he began to focus on doing beautiful things with his most important people.

He began creating Perfect Moments.

I encouraged–and challenged–all those bold souls in the room to make the time, on a regular basis, to create Perfect Moments with their friends and families: simple or not so simple experiences the people who mattered most to them would carry within their hearts.

For the rest of their lives.

Just becoming aware and then being devoted to being a Perfect Moment Creator becomes a game-changer. Just getting uber-intentional on finding ways to wow your loved ones (and then following through on the self-promise) shifts the game. And lifts your impact.

And of course, please do pursue Perfect Moments for yourself, as well.

Your Perfect Moments could range from multi-hour long family dinners over a sunset to a trip to Florence to witness Michelangelo’s David before sharing the city’s best pizza in an off-the-path trattoria.

Your Perfect Moments may involve forest walks or movie nights, epic conversations under star-filled skies or adventures to places you’ve always dreamed to be.

I don’t know where your willingness to being a Perfect Moment Creator will take you. Mine has led to experiences like having one of the best days of my life exploring art (and pain au chocolat) in Paris with my two children, skiing big mountains in Switzerland, swimming with dolphins in Mauritius and recently eating a remarkable meal with my family in an eccentric restaurant installed within the control room of an abandoned power plant.

All this happened because I’ve installed a priority to make it happen.

You see, happiness doesn’t just show up. Happiness needs to be manufactured.

And living a gorgeous life doesn’t require a lot of money. Just a lot of dedication.

Hope this message helps.

7 Small Ways to Make This The Happiest Summer of Your Life!

Click here to read 7 Small Ways to Make This The Happiest Summer of
Your Life

Happiness and It’s Surprises:

Mindfulness = Happiness with Will Marre:


WHAT IF . . . we are happiest when we are thinking about what we are doing?

RESEARCH SAYS:  A recent study at Harvard University suggests that it does not matter exactly what you are doing that will predict happiness.  In other words, the specific way you spend your day does not predict how happy you are. Rather, happiness comes from matching your thoughts to your action—to have a strong mental presence of what you are doing. Turns out, we are happiest when our thoughts and actions are perfectly in line with one another, even if it’s a simple task like taking the trash out.

TRY THIS: Be completely engaged with your full presence for your next task.  See if it makes you feel more energy and more fulfilled.

Thanks this week go to Robin S, Marlaine M, Will M, The Positivity Blog, and all of you who share your positive spirit with me and with one another!

Pay it forward and keep it Positive!



“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make
ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy.
The amount of work is the same.”–
Carlos Castaneda

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your Soul Food for Friday July 22nd 2016: Who are YOUR Own & Can YOU Flip the Script?

Happy Soul Food Friday!

This week:

We Take Care of Our Own

When you think “our own” what is your definition?

Both mind-sets have their virtues. The “particularists” emphasize the intimate love and loyalty that is the stuff of real community. The universalists are moved by injustices anywhere, and morally repulsed by inaction and indifference in the face of that suffering…”

Flip the Script: Why Non-Complimentary Behavior, as Difficult as it is, Can Model a Better Way…

  • attempted robbery was foiled by… a glass of wine and some cheese
  • police officers combat the growing problem of Islamic radicalization with… love
  • a man who flipped the script on… finding a mate

What a Deep Dive on How Silicon Valley’s Best Will Fix Education?

Lessons in Life:

Pick one that works for you!


Thanks this week go to Rex H, all my friends and thought leaders putting the LOVE back in Education and Larry H.

Pay it forward please…



“There are two educations: the one that teaches how to make a living

and the other that teaches how to live”

—Anthony DeMello

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Soul Food for Friday July 15th 2016: Anniversaries, Positivity, Business, Sport, Wellbeing and Smiles

Happy Soul Food Friday!

This week:

Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary Barb!

Barb and Neville

Real World Education-

The Positivity Blog: 16 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School$DmLDZ/


8 Ways Business Can Help Tackle Unemployment

From the World Economic Forum

  • Collaborate with education and training providers to help people develop the skills they really need in the world of work, and promote lifelong learning
  • Foster entrepreneurship by supporting start-ups and smaller enterprises
  • Connect talent to markets by closing the gap between jobseekers and employers


Gold Medal Science and the principle of: “The Aggregation of Marginal Gains” that we can apply in many aspects of our lives

Enjoy the growth inflections!


MAYO Clinic – DRINKING WATER and Aspirin

A cardiologist determined that heart attacks can be triggered by dehydration. Good Thing To Know. From The Mayo Clinic. How many folks do you know who say they don’t want to drink anything before going to bed because they’ll have to get up during the night?

Heart Attack and Water – Drinking one glass of water before going to bed avoids stroke or heart attack.   Interesting…….Something else I didn’t know … I asked my Doctor why people need to urinate so much at night time.

Answer from my Cardiac Doctor:  Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body (legs and etc.) seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier.

Correct time to drink water… Very Important. From A Cardiac Specialist.

Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body:2 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs.

1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion.

1 glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure.

1 glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack.

My Physician told me that water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

Mayo Clinic on Aspirin – Dr. Virend Somers is a Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic who is the lead author of the report in the July 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 A.M. and noon. Having one during the night, when the heart should be most at rest, means that something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues have been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is to blame.

  1. If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night. The Reason:  Aspirin has a 24-hour “half-life”; therefore, if most heart attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, the Aspirin would be strongest in your system.
  1. Aspirin lasts a really long time in your medicine chest; for years. (when it gets old, it smells like vinegar).

Something that we can do to help ourselves.  Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on the tongue. They work much faster than the tablets. Why keep Aspirin by your bedside? It’s about Heart Attacks – There are other symptoms of a heart attack, besides the pain on the left arm. One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating; however, these symptoms may also occur less frequently.

Note: There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack. The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep did not wake up. However, if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep. If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water. Afterwards: – Call 911. – Phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by. Say “heart attack!” – Say that you have taken 2 Aspirins. – Take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and ……..DO NOT LIE DOWN!


Unusual Friends

I hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I did.  It makes it difficult  to figure out why humans and nations can’t get along like this.

If You Are Local:

P3SD Conference Friday July 29th in San Diego

Closing the Achievement Gap before it Opens

2016 P3SD Conference Invitation v2

Thanks this week go to Barbara for her ongoing support, the Positivity Blog, John C & Larry H.

Pay it forward!



“The greatest good we can do for anyone is not to share our wealth with them, but rather to reveal their own wealth to them.”– Zig Ziglar



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your Soul Food for Friday July 8 2016: A Worth Destination, Tapping Quiet Kid’s Superpowers, Kindness Meters, The Deep Questions of Life and Some Happy Pictures


This week:

San Diego a 2016 “Worth Destination”:

San Diego is among 15 cities lauded for civic leadership, quality of life, business climate, sustainability, entrepreneurial community, cultural offerings and urban innovation.

How Teachers Can Help ‘Quiet Kids’ Tap Their Superpowers:

“There are expectations on our kids to … be a charismatic extrovert,” says Kasevich. Even if it’s unconsciously, she says, teachers tend to give more attention to the louder students…

The Internationally Growing Trend of Kindness Meters?

Kindness Meters in Schools in North County that make it easier to promote kindness in schools…

Linking The Deep Questions of Life with the Challenges of Work, Business and Leadership:

& Then Enjoy Some Happy Pictures!

San Diego a 2016 “Worth Destination”:

As we follow up on the 4th of July, we’re reminded that living in San Diego truly is a dream.

But it’s more than just the weather that makes San Diego a “Worth Destination.”

The Worth Group announced that San Diego had been named as a 2016 “Worth Destination.”

Featured in the June/July issue of Worth magazine, San Diego is among 15 cities lauded for civic leadership, quality of life, business climate, sustainability, entrepreneurial community, cultural offerings and urban innovation.

To learn more about our dream-like city, check out The Big Picture San Diego Blog from San Diego Regional EDC

flag painting

How Teachers Can Help ‘Quiet Kids’ Tap Their Superpowers:

“There are expectations on our kids to … be a charismatic extrovert,” says Kasevich. Even if it’s unconsciously, she says, teachers tend to give more attention to the louder students…

The Internationally Growing Trend of Kindness Meters?

Kindness Meters in Schools in North County that make it easier to promote kindness in schools…

Linking The Deep Questions of Life with the Challenges of Work, Business and Leadership:


Some clients tell me they consider me an expert in helping people discover their purpose in life.  Of course that’s very affirming, so I like it.  And I really hope it’s true.  After all, I’ve been helping people find their life’s mission since 1983, when I started working with Stephen Covey. That’s over three decades of nearly daily engagement linking the deep questions of life with the challenges of work, business and leadership.
I have also been the beneficiary of life’s rough stuff. I became well acquainted with many of life’s I-never-thought-this-could-happen-to-me-catastrophes and persistent gut wrenching stress. I have swum in the stormy ocean of life’s great disappointments.

I find that the juxtaposition of my idealism and my life’s reality has pushed me hard on issues of faith, purpose and reconciling the existence of evil . . . all the big gnarly questions.  I spent the better part of a decade submerged in introspection and angry meditation.  Okay . . . I know real meditation doesn’t allow for anger yet I found that anger, frustration and despair are powerful motives to drive deep persistent meditation on the purpose of life.

Over the years I’ve also found the time to study the big thinkers from Plato to Whitehead, as well as the world’s most persistent religions.  Through workshops I have helped thousands of people draft inspiring mission statements and I’ve designed and conducted research with over 30,000 people to discover what they find most satisfying as well as what’s most difficult about modern life.

Well, a few days ago I gave a TED-length talk to a group of 50 leaders who direct ecology based nonprofits.  I was told they wanted something inspirational.

As I thought about my work with nonprofit leaders I consistently found that many are chronically stressed and upset.  Their frustration stems from being overmatched by the wealth and power of people who care so little for the environment that they take no responsibility for polluting, eroding and destroying our living spaces in the name of commerce.

I empathize with that anger yet living life as a permanent underdog or even worse, a victim, is self-defeating. Shaking your fist at a mad world is initially good to awaken you but over time it will make you weaker.

I also find some nonprofit leaders burdened by their noble cause. It’s as if they’re doing what they think they should even though they would rather be doing something else.  I found that people who try to use their personal guilt or even sense of duty as a primary motive will soon lose their good judgment and creativity as well is their zest for life.

I felt that what I wanted to do in that short time was to lift these leader’s inner burdens, melt some of their frustrations and help them find their inner sources of optimism and joy.  So I began my remarks by saying “If people I love asked me on my deathbed what I have learned that was really important, this is what I would tell them.”

  1. All of us long to be valued.  I believe that is our primary human motive. Some people are really good at creating honest to goodness value in this world, but many are not.  Many people seek to be valued in all the wrong ways.  They want to be famous or rich or powerful or beautiful.  Insecure and selfish people still long to be valued and when they’re not they often act in awful and even evil ways.  I have found that viewing someone’s bad behavior as either an attempt to be valued or a reaction to not feeling valued helps me to stay calm and wise.  Believe me, understanding people’s universal core motive doesn’t let anyone off the hook for being a stinker.  It just makes you wiser in how you respond.
  2. The purpose of life is to be compassionate toward all, all the time.  I believe this to be the core truth of all 17 enduring major religions.  When the great authority on world religions, Dr. Huston Smith, was asked what he learned over his lifetime of studying world religions he answered, “To be a little kinder.”  The Dalai Lama has said “Kindness is my religion.”  Loving kindness meditation is one of the most powerful personal tools to become free of biases, past hurts, and persistent self- criticism.  It is simple to do.  Take a meditative position and with deep rhythmic breathing you simply create an inner intention for yourself, your loved ones, your circle of acquaintances and coworkers, and your enemies.  Thinking of each one of these groups in turn you simply use your inner voice to pronounce your positive intentions.  You can simply say to yourself, “I desire________________ to experience love, health, wisdom, success and happiness today.”  Then you express the exact same intention for each group ending with your enemies.  My experience is that you won’t have some room-shaking epiphany. Rather, slowly, over time your view of everyone will change. And you will feel new level of connectedness and contentment that will make you more calm, resilient and powerful.
  3. Your ‘mission’ is to create value by expressing your gifts doing whatever you’re doing right now. There are 7.4 billion people on earth today. I am convinced no one is extra and no one is the same.  Furthermore all our circumstances and opportunities are different.  Our mission is to use our unique personalities and talents to create value in every situation. I’m convinced that you do not need to do something amazing to be amazing.  Every honest profession needs talented people who are excited to do their work in their own best way.  Consider this; Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a glamorous lawyer.  He litigated over 5,000 cases, most of which were land disputes in rural Illinois. What set them apart was the way he approached his profession.  He was honest. I won’t make any lawyer jokes here but being honest was a very distinctive quality. He refused to represent clients who wanted to plead innocent even though they were guilty.  Lincoln got so famous for his honesty that he was elected President during our country’s darkest hour.  My point here is critical to understand.  Lincoln’s personal mission wasn’t to become President like so many of the politicians we see.  His mission was to create value by amplifying his values in the circumstances he found himself.

I am convinced it is not so much what we do as it is how we do it that matters. We need excellent janitors and flight attendants and retail clerks and doctors and nurses and engineers and cartoonists. We also need moms and dads and aunts and uncles and sons and daughters and good friends and neighbors . . . well, I think you get what I mean.  Every honest profession and every role in life is a chance to create value for other human beings.  We create value when we don’t go to through the motions but when we express our highest, authentic selves to make things a little better, a little lighter, a little more enjoyable.

The key is to be your best self. Use the good and virtue that’s inside you to energize your gifts.

We all have different gifts.  Some of us are analytical, some are visionary, some are optimistic, some are prudent, some are leaders, and some are supporters.  Most of us are many of these things depending on the circumstances.  The key to fulfilling your mission is to not wait for the right opportunity to be awesome. Just be awesome all the time.  Don’t make excuses and don’t apologize. Just give your gift to create value. That’s your mission.
What I’ve learned is this.  You’re designed to make your difference.  When you make your difference every day in a hundred little ways the future shifts.

What if the true purpose of life was not to change the world but to change yourself?  And what if by doing that the world actually changed?

Please don’t wait to become a compassionate person. Please don’t wait to fulfill your mission.  Just love all and give your gift.

Enjoy these Happy Pictures

With so much crazy stuff going on in our world today, we need to periodically stop, take a deep breath & consider what’s truly important & then smile!!!

Thanks this week go to Meg M, Carla and Jackie, Will M, & Larry H.

Pay it Forward!



“The greatest good we can do for anyone is not to share our wealth with them, but rather to reveal their own wealth to them.”– Zig Ziglar

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment