Winning Isn’t Everything

This week:


What Can the Wisdom Traditions Teach Us About Winning and Losing?

If we look at what has become an all too common cultural norm- be it in politics, business or personal life- it seems that winning at all costs has replaced the more humane and wise notion of winning- but doing so following the rules of the game and a moral imperative.

When we look the other way, ignoring fouls and other ethical violations, are we tacitly endorsing these behaviors at best, or enabling at worst, behaviors that are antithetical to our own betterment and survival not just as individuals but as a species? In the wisdom traditions, using traditional martial arts as a proxy, we are trained to strive for personal excellence, and the contest- whether in the ring of competition on in the ring of life- provides a “proving ground” to test ourselves not just versus another player or contestant but against our own best potential.

Here there are 4 levels of winning and losing, not just the binary winning and losing we have become all too familiar with today.

The highest level of achievement is an honorable win. Your win is supported by right conduct and if you know you did not win cleanly you self-report the foul or incident rather than hide it under the rug or play to the chorus of “if it wasn’t seen, or can’t be proved, then it didn’t happen”.

One level down from this is an honorable loss. If you lost but did your best and were beaten fair and square, you honor both your opponent and yourself, and learn from the experience by being a gracious “loser”. Here winning still occurs through character development, investing in loss, and remaining focused on long term growth not just short term outcomes. Honorable losses build resiliency and forge a character of perseverance and grit.

Next comes a dishonorable win and obviously in last place comes the dishonorable loss where in spite of trying every dirty trick in the book you still get your clock cleaned!

Whether it is in Olympic competition against the best in the world, or a personal competition to better oneself, it would be useful to foster a climate/culture that underscores the importance of honor and humility in the “success calculus” or we find the win meaningless, transitory and ultimately not supportive of our individual or collective growth.

Daily Practice:
This can also play out in our day to day choices; doing the right thing for the right reason, the wrong thing for the right reason, the right thing for the wrong reason and the wrong thing for the wrong reason. I will leave it to you to discern the hierarchy and Faustian bargain this path takes us to when left to its ultimate conclusion.

Alpha Improperly Considered:
Much is made of Alpha animals – particularly humans- dominating their tribe and being willing to prevail over all contenders both inside and out.

Not as much is understood or appreciated about Alpha leaders, even in primates, modeling empathy and seeing their primary role as caring for and supporting their group not just terrorizing their peers and den members.
A real Alpha leader has the capacity to win at all costs but subordinates themselves.
I have heard altruism defined as “self-handicapping” for the greater good…
What kind of leader do you want to model, follow or create?
Let’s start now!

Enjoy Leonard Cohen’s Anthem:

Thanks to the honorable, the purposeful and the soulful!
Please pay it forward…

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‘Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything) That’s how the light gets in”—Leonard Cohen


Purpose Driven Leaders: The Call for Conscious Leadership has Moved from Interesting to Imperative and Love Has EVERYTHING to Do with It

In the unlikely event that the world is perfect just the way it is,

Where we actually have exactly what we need because:

The opposite of love is not hate, it is fear

& the opposite of ‘scare-city’ is not abundance, it is enough,

Then with hearts filled with love and an unbridled belief in our own capacity,

the world is perfect just the way it is

and together we have just manifested:

A world without war, violence and greed

Where information is shared and symmetrical

Where all young people are valued for who they are and refuse to conform to counterfeit cultural conditioning

And where San Diego models the very best of Conscious Capitalism

And if this is not our experience of the world, in principle and practice

Let’s model and mentor

the change we want to see and be

To Elevate Humanity!

(Conscious Capitalism San Diego Gathering Shared Aspiration February 2018)


This week:
Business 1.0 = Profit First (Friedman Economics where the only thing that matters is drive profit to your shareholders. That is the only reason you exist)
Business 2.0 = Customer First (Take care of the customer and the profit will follow)
Business 3.0 = Employee/Culture First (the customer experience, rarely exceeds the employee experience, so take care of the employee (human and social capital) /culture (the people systems in which they exist, & they will take care of the customer and that will take care of profit)
Business 4.0 Purpose First (Connect with your “Why” for ALL the stakeholders namely; customer/members, employees, community, investors, public and by aligning their purpose to yours you can drive 10 to 14x better returns and is more gratifying and meaningful to boot!)

A Sea Change is Underway, Where Are YOU and Your Organization in this EVOLution?

A Demand For Change Backed Up By $6 Trillion- A Sense of Purpose:
This post is getting a great deal of attention, because of both the content and because of who it’s coming from, the CEO of BlackRock, a key investor which manages nearly $6 trillion in assets.
“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

The week  after BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink issued a letter to CEOs titled “A Sense of Purpose.” It was heralded by The New York Times DealBook columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin as what “could be a watershed moment on Wall Street, one that raises all sorts of questions about the very nature of capitalism.”

The Call for Conscious Leadership with Eric K:

This call for Conscious Leadership is exciting and refreshing as Mr. Fink reminds leaders that companies have a duty for Purpose, Social Stewardship, and Responsibility. But we have to admit that companies don’t have duties, people do. And now is the time for people, for leaders, to understand and practice Conscious Leadership; it’s vital for leaders to commit and conduct themselves as Conscious Leaders.

Conscious Leaders commit to a quadruple bottom line:

  1. Profit – financial well-being and achievement
  2. People – beneficial impact to society and community
  3. Planet – positive effect on the environment and Spaceship Earth
  4. Purpose – contributing to the greater good for everyone

Conscious Leader’s conduct is shaped by three forces:


  1. Wisdom – seeing below the surface and beyond the obvious
  2. Courage – walking toward what you’d rather run away from
  3. Love – wanting to do well for others

The call for Conscious Leadership has moved from interesting to imperative.

If you’re drawn to answer the call of evolution and be empowered to be a Purposeful Steward, then be on the lookout for articles, videos, and resources to awaken your Conscious Leader capacity.  Here’s to achieving our full potential – as people, organizations, and communities!

If you would like to deepen your Conscious Leadership practices now get a copy of my book here.

In the spirit of leading and learning,



Thanks this week go to Eric K, the Chamber of Purpose San Diego, Conscious Capitalists & Purpose Driven Leaders everywhere who are willing to challenge the status quo to elevate humanity!

Please pay it forward and love what you do!

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“The only truth you will find on the top of mountains is the truth you bring up there – Robert Pirsig

The Perils of Digital: Smartphones Making Kids Unhappy, Psychological Effects of Social, Sinek on Millenials, & How to End Screen Time Without a Struggle

This week:


Screen Addiction Among Teens: Is there Such A Thing?
“We have, as a society, gone all-in on tech,” “So we don’t want some buzz-killing truth-sayers telling us that the emperor has no clothes and that the devices that we’ve all so fallen in love with can be a problem”

 Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace: (8MM views)
What is the missing piece in the happiness of millennials? How did we get so ‘good’ at showing people that “life is amazing!, even though we are depressed”?

How Smartphones Are Making Kids Unhappy:
For the first time, a generation of children is going through adolescence with smartphones ever-present. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has a name for these young people born between 1995 and 2012: “iGen.” She says members of this generation are physically safer than those who came before them. They drink less, they learn to drive later and they’re holding off on having sex. But psychologically, she argues, they are far more vulnerable.

The Psychological Effects of Signing Off Social Media:

Child Experts Warn Parents To Avoid Facebook’s Messaging App For Kids:
A group letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg argues that younger children — the app is intended for those under 13 — aren’t ready to have social media accounts, navigate the complexities of online relationships or protect their own privacy

How to End Screen Time Without a Struggle:
The trick: build a bridge

Whenever you decide that screen-time should come to an end, take a moment to sit down next to your child and enter his world. Watch TV with him, or sit with him while he plays his game massacring aliens on the screen. This doesn’t have to be long, half a minute is enough. Just share his experience. Then, ask him a question about it.

“What are you watching?” might work for some kids.

Others might need more specific questions. “So what level are you on now?” or “That’s a funny figure there in the background. Who’s he?”

Generally, children love it when their parents take an interest in their world. If they are too absorbed still and don’t engage, don’t give up. Just sit with them a moment longer, then ask another question.

Once the child starts answering your questions or tells you something she has seen or done on screen, it means that she is coming out of the “cut-off” zone and back into the real world. She’s coming out of the state of flow and back into a zone where she is aware of your existence – but slowly. The dopamine doesn’t drop abruptly, because you’ve built a bridge – a bridge between where she is and where you are. You can start to communicate, and this is where the magic happens.

Thanks this week go to Peter D, Marlaine C, Amanda R and other members of Parenting 2.0, committed to prosocial options for our kids!

Pay it forward

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“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”
– Albert Einstein

Once In a Super, Blue, Blood Moon, Go Red For Women & Art Has No Fear!

This week:

The Most Spectacular Eclipse of 2018:


Once in a blue moon is only once every few years, but once in a super, blue, blood moon is just once every few decades.

Experience this rare alignment of three different lunar phenomena—a total lunar eclipse, a full moon at perigee, and a blue moon…


Go Red for Women: Come Together on National Wear Red Day February 2nd
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
The Go Red campaign’s message is that when we all join together, we can touch hearts, save lives and make a real difference in the battle against heart disease and stroke. As our teammates join the fight against the number one health threat to women- heart disease- we’re proud of their efforts, our members’ support, and all of Mission Fed’s purpose-driven community initiatives.

Learn more at:


5th Annual Artie Awards:


ART Know No Fear!
You know about the Grammy’s but have you heard of the Arties? 

Last week, I was privileged to speak at the 5th Annual Arties Awards where featured artists for the 2018 Mission Fed ArtWalk were announced and we recognized individuals who appreciate the power of art and use it to creatively connect communities.
Riffing on the theme of “Art has no Fear”, I reminded our audience that the opposite of love is not hate but FEAR, and that the opposite of scarcity is not abundance, it is ENOUGH!
Patronage, the support one bestows on another is something we can all do to support art in our community, for there is no great culture without great art.
In 15th century Italy, there were more wood carvers than butchers, and art flourished because everyone understood its importance and value. Our bicameral brains work better when we connect both head and heart, rational and emotional, science and empathy, and recognize artists everywhere- whatever your canvas- as integral to this process of elevating humanity.
We want to compete in an Innovation economy yet seem to undervalue the role of creativity and the artist. Innovation is both a process and an outcome and we can do more to cultivate creativity in connected communities.
This year’s featured artists strengthened our social fabric with their diverse threads not just in art form but in their rich representation from around the world including; Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Zimbabwe, Armenia, Mexico and of course the US.
Worrying is negative goal setting
Your Imagination is a preview of coming attractions.
Unbridle the artist in you to imagine a world that you wish to see, where artists of life build the canvas of tolerance, acceptance and love that is our only possible and sustainable future…
Please stand up for ART! 

Speaking of the Grammy’s
9 of the Most Talked-About Moments at the 2018 Grammys:
In the thick of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, on the heels of the Larry Nassar scandal, during ongoing conversations about immigration and race, and in between one inflammatory presidential tweet and the next, there was no WAY the Grammys wasn’t going to be a potpourri of political, emotional moments. Here are the biggest moments you may have missed from Sunday night’s Grammy awards…

 Thanks this week go to all artists who have no fear and speak truth to power!
Remember, the moon is ALWAYS full, it just looks otherwise because of our point of view…

Pay it forward


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“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood,
divide the work, and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
–Antoine de Saint- Exupery

“Your eyes cannot see, what your mind does not know”

Speaking Truth to Power…


“Any Goal Worth Achieving is Worth Changing For”



This week:

Something Light:

These commercials will put a big smile on your face!


The Power of Words:

Words have the power to shape the way we think and feel. In this stunning video, filmmakers Will Hoffman and Daniel Mercadante bandy visual wordplay into a moving exploration of language set to an original score by Keith Kenniff.


Something Heavy…

No More No More: Lessons for All of Us from a Human Trafficking Awareness Program:

From Awareness to Inspiration to Action

“It’s time to traffic love, compassion and empathy instead of sentient human beings!”
—Dr. Suresh Subramani, UC San Diego

Speaking Truth to Power:

Redefining free society requires conscious citizens to speak truth to power to address silent killers that run endemic in our society, and that often carry a social stigma that prevents us from airing critical societal issues with openness and transparency.

Sadly, a human being costs less today than at any other time in human history. Human life has become a commodity unto itself.

In your mind is human trafficking a law enforcement issue or is it better reframed as a public health epidemic which we can’t address until we start to talk about it?

An Underground Economy:

Victims of human trafficking globally, as well as, right here in San Diego fund an ‘underground economy’ that is estimated to be valued at $800MM locally and $150B business globally. There are geo-spatial connections between narcotics and trafficking, yet as far as market efficiencies go, humans are easier to transport, and unlike contraband can be resold over and over…

Economic theory reminds us that if there was no demand for a product or service, then there would be no market. In this regard, what can we creatively do to eliminate demand? Target Marketing is difficult. There is no profile for buyers and in most cases they look just like you and me…

In case you are thinking human trafficking is a poverty-related problem, you need to know this scourge is not just relegated to any one segment of our society and can be found in both poverty and privilege alike. Yes you and your family are as likely as any to be affected by this social ill.

The average age a person enters the world of sex traffic is the tender age of 12, the average age of a sex trafficked victim is 16, there average lifespan is 7 years if they don’t get out.

And in San Diego there are over 2,000 sex trafficking victims but only 32 beds to support them. (Here we clearly have a different supply problem)

Did you know, the Super bowl is the #1 human trafficking event in the US with over 10,000 women at risk!

“Your eyes cannot see, what your mind does not know”

We are only as sick as our secrets.

The good news, if there could be such a thing on a subject like this at the worst expression of humanity, includes:

Laws being changed to treat victims of trafficking the same way we treat victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse

The recent passage of AB27 which ensures teachers and educators are themselves educated about issues related to recognizing and preventing issues of trafficking

The growing collaboration between law enforcement agencies, recognizing that it will take a collaborated and concerted effort as they focus on; Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership to overcome this troubling societal ill.

It’s Not Just Where You Think It Is:

The bad news is that as you read this there are victims of trafficking in hotel rooms, truck stops and most troubling in their own homes. We have become so fixated on “stranger danger” yet 80% of victims are perpetrated upon from INSIDE their trust circle!

There is a pattern of Perpetration changing the role to move the victim through the system. These include but not limited to Profiler, Pretender, Provider and Punisher (Steps not unlike the behaviors the perpetrator exhibits in sexual violence; the 7T’s of Targeting, Testing, Threatening, Transporting, Transaction, Termination & Trauma)

We Can All Do Something:

It’s time to activate all of us in a civil society to use whatever they have in their proverbial toolbox to address this urgent issue. This could be anything from building a solid research base to inform future research, understanding gender inequality -women being exploited both sexually and economically- with downstream gender inequality implications that hurt all of us, using gamification to help destigmatize the issue and teach fundamentals, peer learning to help get the word out, all while empowering people armed with relevant facts and fostering a culture of renewed trust and spirit of self-efficacy.

See something, say something!

If Hollywood leading women sat in walled-in silence for, in some cases, as long as 30 years, imagine how many women not in places of power and privilege there are out there and how hard it is for them to speak out.

It’s time to break the silence. Silence weakens us but speaking out strengthens us!

It will take stronger families, stronger communities and strong communications if we are to bend the curve and eliminate this problem, now and forever. Is it time to make this conversation part of our life curriculum? Are you willing to lean into your discomfort zone to advance this crucial conversation?

And for those of our sisters and brothers, who are on the healing side of this journey, do remember:

  “You are precious, you are capable, you are smart and you are beautiful to behold…”


From The Frontlines Of A Sexual Assault Epidemic: 2 Therapists Share Stories:

Individuals with intellectual disabilities are 7x more likely to be abused! Nora Baladerian and Karyn Harvey are both psychologists with an unusual specialty — they are among a small number of therapists who treat people with intellectual disabilities who have been the victims of sexual violence. They’re friends, brought together by decades of shared experience. Baladerian, from Los Angeles, is a co-founder of the Disability and Abuse Project, which tracks violence against people with intellectual disabilities.


A Better Man- It Takes Courage to be Held Accountable:

A Better Man documents a personal experiment— a step towards understanding and accountability. By getting closer to the truth of what survivors experience, and of why men choose to use violence, we can help stop the abuse. I hope that sharing my personal search for justice and healing will contribute to the struggle to end domestic violence.”

Critical conversations are an important part of the healing process. It’s a process known as restorative justice, when victims and offenders come together, with mediation, to repair the harm that’s been done. Watch the trailer at:

Thanks this week go to all of us committed to healing and restorative justice!

Please pay it forward with purpose

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” – Dr. MLK Jr.

The Fierce Urgency of NOW

This week:


MLK & The Fierce Urgency of NOW- Evolution or Revolution Motivated by Great Feelings of Love:
On MLK Day this week, I was privileged to represent Mission Fed at Alliance San Diego’s 30th All People’s Celebration in Balboa Park. This gathering of well over 1,000 people each committed to a better community featured a powerful keynote by Eva Paterson of the Equal Justice Society, who made an eloquent and compelling case for behaving into some of the key tenets of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and juxtaposed them with what we are seeing in American civil society and politics today.

Here are some of the highlights of MLK’s dream and lowlights of today’s America that resonated most deeply for me.

Spirituality Anchored in Love: Dr. MLK stood for a beloved community girthed by a spiritual underpinning expressed in love, not fear or hate.

 Racial Inclusivity: While the civil rights movement might cursorily be viewed as being about African/American issues, at its core it was about all respecting and affirming all people.

“If you wonder what you might have been doing in the early days of Nazi Germany, look at what you are doing now!”

The “knock of fear” on the doors of DACA families have striking similarities to what members of the Jewish faith experienced during World War II.
References to “$#!+hole countries” by our President, referring to Haiti and African countries reeks of racism and white supremacy.
Alternatively, fostering a culture of inclusivity invites us to learn more about each other’s cultural history and celebrate and affirm our differences not deride them.

 Economic Equality: The 3 evils we need to understand and address are poverty, racism and militarism/war.

Nobody wins in the “Oppression Olympics” and nobody survives circular firing squads!

Here are some tips from Eva to keep us strong and together:

  • Be Hopeful
  • Be Patient
  • Be Resilient
  • Resist the Chaos
  • Remember our History (and learn from it)
  • Stay Informed
  • Act/Vote! (Including in the mid-term elections)
  • Practice Self-Care

“We were put on this earth to do something, not everything”


A Demand For Change Backed Up By $6 Trillion- A Sense of Purpose:

This should get your attention, because of the content and because of who it’s coming from, the CEO of BlackRock, a key investor which manages nearly $6 trillion in assets.  “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

If you are local…

The Most Profound Experiences are Found in the Least Likely of Places:
It has been said that sometimes the most profound experiences are found in the least likely of places.  Consider stepping behind the walls of prison.  And that’s exactly what I’m inviting you to do with this special ticket offer to TEDxDonovanCorrectional 2018.

Last year’s inaugural TEDxDonovanCorrectional was one of the highest ranked TEDx events in history and considered to be the most successful event ever put on inside a California prison.  It’s coming back on Sunday, March 11, 2018 and TEDxDonovanCorrectional extends a special invitation to you for the value it sees you bringing to this event with your community and business leadership and your vision for changing the conversation in today’s society.

The day-long event, organized by the inmates themselves in collaboration with outside volunteers, will feature 10 speakers – 5 currently incarcerated inmates and 5 outside speakers ranging from a 911 dispatcher, to a neuroscientist, to a radio hall of fame producer – all exploring the theme of “Reasoning with Reality.”  As the inmates say in their own words, “TEDxDonovanCorrectional invites you into an explosion of ideas, thoughts, and emotions that are unexpected, transformative and edifying to one’s soul.  Be prepared to look at reality from a whole new perspective.”  Click here to reserve your seats as soon as possible.

In the spirit of TED’s mission to create ideas worth spreading, we hope you join us to create new ideas worth spreading into your community.

Be brilliant,


TEDxDonovanCorrectional attendee reviews say a thousand words…

“The experience was once in a lifetime.  The stories shared by the men wrote on my heart forever.  Their vulnerability, their personal story of transformation, their wisdom and their passion were unimaginably real.”

“I’ve been to a few TEDx events before with truly inspiring speakers, but TEDxDonovanCorrectional was by far the most meaningful, intense, eye-opening event I have ever been to.  I will never forget this experience.”

“This was the most impactful, loving, expansive experience I’ve ever had in my life.  It truly drew me beyond the surface of prison and the inmates showed me the deep humanity we all share.”

Thanks this week go to the Chamber of Purpose and Conscious Capitalism teams, Mariette FdS, and all people indivisible and willing to take a stand!

Pay it forward with purpose

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You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.
– Jim Rohn

Speaking YOUR Truth Is the Most Powerful Tool We ALL Have


This week:

Wherever you stand on the media is the problem v. the media is the solution debate, last Sunday night’s Golden Globes, the launch of Hollywood’s award season provided context and commentary for how to lead with purpose and soul, if not within the system then in spite of it!

 The entire evening provided artists with a global stage (bully pulpit) from which to express their views on social justice, and signal important changes they envision manifesting as a result of the power of creatives and their gift to connect, inspire and in some cases change mindsets and societal norms for the better.

 A highlight for me was Oprah Winfrey accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement and delivering a moving speech that brought men and women in the audience to their feet.

If you saw it, here it is for a moving revisit.
If you didn’t, here it is for your viewing experience…

From post-event commentary signaling potential Presidential interests to polarizing and plebian comments, Oprah, in my opinion, authentically holds the space for social justice for humanity with humility and has more sway, clout and moral authority than most.

That is my opinion. What is yours?

Do you turn a blind eye to corruption and injustice, to tyrants, secrets and lies?

Do you maintain the ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights?


A full transcript of Oprah’s acceptance speech follows here:

Thanks to creatives everywhere who use their craft to move humanity forward!

Pay it forward with purpose and creativity.

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“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve…
You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King