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Monthly Archives: February 2017

3 Ingredients to GrowFlex

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“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

-Bruce Lee

There’s a difference between growing in the wind and blowing in the wind.

We start out with a vision, we set goals, and we move towards their attainment.

By doing so, invite in every challenge and deficiency of being necessary to achieve those goals and fulfill that vision.

Sometimes we’re swayed by those challenges or demands for our upgraded beingness. We can think something is wrong and get upset…in forms like doubt, anxiety, confusion.

For example, we moved forward into 2017 as the first real growth year of The Back Forty and, like wild-eyed dreamers, set some audacious goals.  Keeping up with them – both in terms of time and beingness – has been like being strapped onto a medieval rack: it’s amazing how much stretch can come out of some bodies!

20/20-hindsight questioning of the methods, means or even validity of goals set is the first, default reaction to missed deadlines.  Blowing in the wind can then result.

Yet, realizing that every step of the way, whether a timeline was kept or not, the mere fact that goals and deadlines were in place brought up every what-we-need-to-know-to-grow element required.

In The Back Forty, we say “you have yet to do what you came here to do”…which means, yes, you got it, more growth.  And it’s the very challenges, obstacles and beingness barricades of the environment which shape your budding tree.

Can anyone say a tree “should have” grown differently than it did? Based on environment, opportunity, and an inherent, unique pattern of design, it just grew.

People, plans and organizations often look different in the end from how they begin.

The point is: flexing, growing in the wind, to become.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon was quoted as saying “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”

Here are 3 Ingredients to GrowFlex, the best dreams and goals fertilizer on the planet.

1. Assess-Mess

Pull out from the chaos what has been attained, learned, defined, refined, clarified or requalified in the process of goal-minded pursuit.  There may be a lot of crap to sort through, but manure has always been the most valued growth agent.

2. Re-Vision

A dual-purpose ingredient, involving both the revision and adaptation of deadlines to meet new information while also Re-Visioning by reminding oneself of the initial and overall raison d’être.

3. Committed Unattachment

Living like your life depends on it…while snickering behind the scenes that’s it’s all just a Big Game you’re playing to grow.

Where can you grant yourself and your dreams some GrowFlex today?

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you’re still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”

-Tony Robbins

The Most Popular Midlife Names in America – Did You Make the List?

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Today we are going to have a little fun!

I took the top five baby names (for men and women) between the years of 1952 and 1977 and turned them into the below fun graphs. Which names were the most popular? The least? And most importantly, is your name on the list?

First, let’s start with the boys:

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David, James, and Michael made the top 5 list every single year in those 26 years!

John made the list 21 times. Robert made the list 20 times, Christopher made the list 6 times and Jason made the list 5 times.

But the most impressive statistic when it comes to these 26 years? The above 7 baby names were the ONLY names to make the top 5 list in all those years!

Now, let’s take a look at the girls:

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First of all, can I say wow? While only 7 names made the list for boys, the girls have 16 names on the list!

We have Mary in the lead, getting on the list 16 times in 26 years. Susan made the list 15 times, Lisa got listed 13 times, Linda 12 times, Jennifer and Karen 10 times, Kimberly and Michelle 9 times, Amy and Deborah/Debra 8 times, and Melissa and Patricia 5 times. Heather, Angela, Donna, and Jessica pull up the rear with 4, 3, 2, and 1 mentions on the list, respectively.

So, did your name make the list?

Let us know by responding in the comments below!

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When Was the Last Time You Gave Your BRAIN a Workout?

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In today’s world, technology is always at our fingertips. From smartphones and iPads to laptops and smartwatches, technology is almost never more than a finger tap away. Unfortunately, with all of this technology at our fingertips, we are spending less and less time actively engaging our brain. We play mindless games on our phone or watch mindless TV before bed, we aren’t working out our brains nearly as much as we used to.

On Monday, a study was published in the JAMA Neurology Journal reinforcing the importance of doing activities to stimulate your brain. It was found that even after the age of 70, taking part in simple activities like playing games, socializing, and using the internet can help prevent mental decline.

Not to say that in your 40s and 50s you are suffering from extreme mental decline, but the phrase “use it or lose it” comes to mind.

What does this have to do with technology you might ask? Everything.

The other day I realized that I grab my phone first thing each morning and check it each night before bed. I’m completely tied to it. And what am I doing when I grab it at 5:45 each morning? I’m scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest. I’m playing mindless games through different apps. I’m scanning my emails. The problem is, I’m not using my brain. And even worse, I’m not really enjoying playing the games or scrolling through social media, I’m just doing it to wake my brain up.

So I decided to make a change, I deleted all of my mindless games and replaced them with apps specifically created to give your brain a workout. Now, at this point, I’ve only been using the apps for 3 days, so I can’t claim any astounding results. However, I know that I’m working on different skills and that the “games” are created to get my brain to work in different ways.

I downloaded a bunch of different apps to try out, but so far there are two that are really standing out to me. Today, I want to share these apps with you, in case you wanted a to make a mini brain workout part of your daily routine!

Lumosity

Lumosity is a website as well as an app (although I am currently solely enjoying their lumosity app.png
app). When you make a profile, the first thing they have you do is take a “Fit Test” to see where you already fall. After you complete your test, they create daily tasks for you to give your brain a workout! Right now I’m unlocking new games each day to help me with my attention, flexibility, memory, speed, and problem-solving skills. With the free version, you get 3 new games each day to play. The more you play, the better your scores get and the more of a workout your brain gets! If you want to unlock more games (beyond the ones you get each day) you can always pick up a pro membership for as low as $3.75/month.

Peak

Peak is an app that also gives your brain a workout through games that help you with peak app.pngdifferent skills like focus, problem-solving, coordination, memory, and mental agility. Each day they give you more games to play and keep detailed track of your brain score in the above categories and more. The downside is that you can’t play your daily games an unlimited amount of times without a membership. The good news is that it is cheaper than Lumosity with subscriptions as low as $2.92/month. Also, they have family plans so you can help everyone in your family keep their mind sharp (and compare progress if you’re competitive like me)!

P.S. If you click here – you can get a free week of Peak Pro!

If you are even thinking that you might be interested in giving your brain a workout, then go ahead and download one (or both) of these apps. They both have free versions, and who doesn’t want to improve their mental skills? After all, use it or lose it!

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Finding a Leader Within

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“Instead of looking for a great leader, we are in an era where each of us needs to find the great leader within ourselves.”

– Werner Erhard

Conscious Organizations require Conscious Leadership.

How then will you and I find or create a great leader within?  What will make you and me great Conscious Leaders committed to the future of Conscious Organizations?

Conscious Leadership comes from an authentic commitment to creating a future for ourselves and others that is both inspiring and tangible.

Leaders don’t dwell in the world of predictability; we look into the future, through the lens of our vision, and create the future we envision.  We are self-aware and in tune with our internal world.  Being a conscious leader requires passion, commitment, courage, and authenticity.

Conscious Leadership requires overcoming resistance to change and managing our own egos and ambitions so that we inspire and empower those around us toward something bigger than our individual selves.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.  Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

– Winston Churchill

According to Burge Smith-Lyons of www.essenceofbeing.com, who teaches The Essence of Courageous Leadership, lifting the veil of filters through which we all live, lead, and approach situations creates awareness that allows for courageous leadership.  

To raise consciousness, we have to alter our way of speaking and communicating so that everybody feels safe to communicate authentically, and everybody gets heard.  Once we become truly aware of the differences in peoples’ mindsets, approaches to life and beliefs, we can actually begin to appreciate how similar we are in our deepest needs and desires.  Seeing those commonalities allows the development of deep trust and kinship.  This enables the kind of authentic and courageous communications which cause conscious leadership and organizations.

Burge offers an insightful approach to working consciously within an organization.  She says: “I look at an organization as a family – it brings out the same kinds of subconscious beliefs and thoughts that a family does, because we project our family onto everyone we work with.  And if you are projecting something onto your boss or direct reports, you are then reacting to your projections, not to the people.  So we need to become aware of those subconscious thoughts, and their impact on how we conduct ourselves in a work environment.”

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”

– Tom Peters

Dee Elliott of www.DECMentoring.com, offers the following acrostic for LEADERSHIP:

L – Look and listen with our mind and heart, trust our gut, and respond with vision and deep purpose  

E – Emotional bonding: we can’t be great as leaders if we don’t really bond with our team

A – Awareness of who we are and what we stand for as well as what the situation demands

D – Doing: taking necessary actions to produce desired result

E – Empowering ourselves and others

R – Responsibility: living up to our own values, taking mature risks, and “the buck stops here” mindset

S – Synchronicity: ability to create our own luck and to connect with an answer from our own soul

Now, your turn.

What does leadership mean to you, and how will you create your great leader within?

 

Compare & Solitaire: What’s the Match?

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“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

-Coco Chanel

If we’re up for playing big games in life — career, impact, purpose — we’re going to be pressing our envelope all the time, becoming bigger than we knew ourselves to be.

A natural tendency is to compare: to others going our ways, and to our own ideals and standards of how we’d like to be playing.

As I grow to bring out a message of hope and inspiration – something that arose within me only in my second half of life – I observe myself comparing my delivery and message exposure to others, who may have been singing their song for longer or lesser than mine.

As I watch my tendency to juxtapose my progress to what I perceive to be the progress of others, I see the pull toward judgment: evaluating my status in relation to theirs, or even to my own ideals of where I’d like to be.

The old adage claims “compare and despair” perhaps only because that’s the direction most people go with it.

When we see someone playing better at a game we’ve chosen, we COULD choose to be inspired to know it’s possible for us to play better too…and learn from them.

When we see ourselves playing beneath our own perceived abilities, we COULD feel blessed to know we have more within us to tap.

These are the directions I’m playing with to address the natural comparison instinct, to empower myself to grow vs. become resigned…which can happen if we think we’re so far behind.

The main issue is how we’re going to relate to that Self we were handed, the particular Monopoly piece we were issued…and whether we realize that it’s always an inside job.

Maybe a new adage is called for: compare and solitaire.

Using any comparisons that naturally occur as insight to play my own game better, with the objective to use up the whole deck life has given me, keeps me focused on my own game and my own cards.

You only have your deck to play with…and only your own hand to play.

By the way, did you know that another name for solitaire is “patience”?  What might that insight alone afford you?

Remember: Your Game, Your Deck, and Patience.

“The only person you should try to be better than is the Who You Were yesterday.”

-Unknown