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Conscious Agreements and Commitments within Organization


“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”

– Abraham Lincoln

What are you REALLY committed to?

A clue to answering this question can come from seeing what you are experiencing in life.  A wise man once said “If you want to know what you are committed to, look at what you’ve got.”

Are you more committed to being right than having fulfilling relationships?  Are you more committed to looking good than trying things on and being willing to fail?  Are you more committed to being in control than having an empowered and inspired team?

Of course, we proclaim that we are committed to all the “good stuff.”  But do our actions and results validate and support that claim?

As leaders, it’s always a good idea to review and revisit our commitments.  Even a better idea to look under the covers of what we say on the surface.

In revisiting your commitments, here is a great one to consider.  Are you committed to creating and leading a conscious organization?  And, are you willing to have your actions support this commitment, even if it gets uncomfortable, outside your comfort zone, and unpredictable?

I recently discussed this particular subject with Sharon Rich of ThinkBusinessGrowth. I’ll share with you a few highlights from our conversation.

One way to significantly impact your organization’s leadership consciousness is to become genuinely and wondrously curious about each leader’s vision for the future, their authenticity as a leader, their role (vs. title or position) in the organization, and their relationship with the leadership team as a whole and the people they are leading.  

A disconnect between what the leader says they are committed to and the level of consciousness actually expressed in the organization is common.  Good intentions, talent, and hard work abound, but leaders have limited awareness of their impact on others and exactly how to inspire conscious collaboration between individuals to produce results.

Expanding individual consciousness takes intention, effort, and work.  Yet, it’s worth it.  As leaders expand their awareness and consciousness, it becomes game-changing for them personally…which translates into the impact they have on their teams and the entire organization.

Once the organization makes a commitment to up-leveling consciousness, appropriate challenges arise.  Organizational Development leaders often report these types of challenges.

One organization reports working through agreements between the BOD and leadership team, including strategy and alignment around translating the vision into corporate goals.  Everyone understands the vision; the question to be answered is, how that vision translates into reality. Yet, this is a higher-level problem coming about only within a consciousness-focused organization.

Being at the gateway of transformation means stepping outside of what we already know, being uncomfortable, not knowing all the answers in advance, and doing things differently than we did before.   Who are we as an organization?  The space to answer this question begins to open up vs some pre-fab or past-based easy answer.  Now, the organization gets to write their own story in the present.  What is it going to be?

You may know of a monumental bestseller “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

In a similar vein, Sharon Rich is bringing out her own book “Your Hidden Game – Eight Invisible Agreements that Control Your Business” (available this Fall).   Sharon identifies the eight most important agreements that people in organizations make with each other unconsciously: without any awareness that we’ve made them.  Lacking awareness, these agreements unconsciously run our business.

Once we as leaders become aware and start making intentional agreements, our work, our results, and the difference we are making transforms.

Here, Sharon shares three of the eight agreements.

  1. Desired Outcome – Often people do not have a shared agreement of what they are wanting to achieve, both as a team and an organization.  If they are not aligned about how they will pursue it and what success looks like, it is impossible to produce a clear and aligned outcome.
  2. Roles – Who does what, what is each person’s role, and how does it interact with others?  We make assumptions, but usually don’t expressly discuss those assumptions.  Then, we have breakdowns and upsets about it.  We spend time talking about the upsets, but not about the assumed roles and agreements at their core.
  3. Decisions – How the organization makes decisions.  For example, unilaterally, “my home, my rules”, “do now, ask for forgiveness later”, by consensus so things move very slowly, etc. Everyone has a tacit agreement that this is how we do it…without expressed and aligned agreements about such decision-making processes.

It is time for us as committed and conscious leaders to start letting go of old ways and unconscious agreements. Let’s begin to make intentional agreements about how we work together at each, every and any level.

What agreements and commitments will empower your leadership right now?


Do You Have the Bravery to Commit to Your Own Unique Greatness?

This week I want to share the following quote with you. Let’s jump right in and I’ll meet you (as always) on the other side:


There are many quotes, concepts, and ideas based on this general idea. Believe in yourself! Love yourself! Trust yourself! And all of these concepts boil down to the same idea; you have to believe in yourself before you can truly start to succeed.

This isn’t some obscure concept that will shock you to your core, but it might be something that you need to hear today. It’s easy to get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we don’t even take the time to think about ourselves, not to mention the time to figure out (or remember) what our “unique greatness” is. And when we don’t think about why we need to be trusting, and loving, and believing in ourselves – it’s easy to just not.

So today’s post is your wake-up call.

What is your own unique greatness? Why should you believe in yourself? What do you love about yourself? What is something you haven’t been trusting your gut about and is there any reason for you to actually be doubting yourself?

You have incomprehensible potential within you. You are uniquely great. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

So what’s stopping you?

Spend just three minutes (180 seconds) thinking about why you are uniquely great and then carry that through the rest of your day because, as the quote says, “If you don’t commit to your own unique greatness, nobody else ever will.”


3 Ingredients to GrowFlex


“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

A BE-Annual New Year Commitment



“You are not limited to the person you wound up being, the person you think you are. You can create a way of being for yourself that currently would be unrecognizeable for you as really being you, and have that way of being be authentically who you are.”

-Werner Erhard

The quote above goes against the grain for many folks in their second half of life.

It implies that the first half didn’t already carve you into the stone YOU that you know yourself to be.

That’s what The Back Forty is all about.  The YOU you know yourself to be is just as create-able, design-able and great-able as it ever was.  No stone.  Only ongoingly invent-able form.

At 40, I was sitting in a meditation chair one morning watching my son sleeping in my bed because my parents were sleeping in his bed.  They had come into town to loan me money in fighting a half-million dollar custody suit.  I was pretty clear that my first half of life had not been worth much: broke, in debt, and possibly about to lose the opportunity to raise my son.

A thought then came to me: What if the first half of life is simply R&D, research and development?  What if what we really came here to do and be came in the second half, after all that research?

That insight, and the possibility of re-BE-ing my SELF, has resulted in a second half which continues to become unrecognizeable to the first.

If we look at life as a growing up and “finding ourselves” process, we lose out on the real opportunity of living.  Finding our greater SELF is a continual process.

The first half of life, if mined for what it has told us about our passions, proclivities, and tendencies, will render us amazing insight and direction as to what we’re here to do and be.  This is the work we do in The Back Forty programs and community.

However, the whole point of that analysis of our past is to show us that we are experimenting in the laboratory of life ALL THE TIME so as to continue to discover who we’re here to be and what we’re here to do.

If we ever get “fixed” on some idea of who we are, then the ever-evolving growth process towards what we’re here to do gets thwarted.

Perhaps you have plans for the results you intend to accomplish in the New Year.  

What if the true source of the results you’ll achieve is not what you’ll do, but who you’ll BE in the fulfillment of them?  Sure, actions must be taken. Yet BEING shapes and colors those actions.

Personally, I’m intending some way-out-in-the-ethers results for 2017, and I’m getting more and more clear that the achievement of such unrecognizeable results must come from an unrecognizeable me.

“Come on! New York Times Bestselling author of ‘The Back Forty’?  Me?  You’ve got to be kidding!”

It’s only a joke if the me I am now continues to be recognizeable to myself.  The aim is for the BE of who I am to be recognizeable to my SELF.  Big difference

Therefore, who I will be BEING in 2017 is where I’m placing my primary focus.  From there, I’ll take action.

If BEING precedes results, then consider putting your annual ritual of creating New Year possibilities focus there.

If you are so far gone into recognizeability that you don’t even have a ritual of creating New Year possibilities…WAKE UP!  Get in the game of the life you came to live!

Who can we BE for the next 12 months that will have our next January SELF be unrecognizeable to who we are now?

It’s a be-annual opportunity.

“For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald