Archive for Love

Meaningful Conversations

By · March 29, 2010 · Comments (0)

Meaningful conversations change lives, and even a single dialogue can sometimes lead to a lifelong quest. So it was for my student, years ago in the African savannah, but also for me, as we shifted back and forth from learner to teacher, and back yet again, as both of us searched to understand what lay at the heart of leadership, if in fact leadership was the key to making a difference in the world.

Leadership, it turns out, can be best defined as influencing change through a vision. It is ensuring the realization of an envisioned future. Much has been written about leadership in the annals of academia, by great historians, politicians, entrepreneurs, and by those whose leadership practices we truly aspire to. I have been working on summarizing the essentials for transformational leadership, a daunting task. It is coming together as a convergence of cognition and competencies, thinking and acting, and is ultimately about doing.

After my personal quest into leadership began so many years ago, it continually begged expression. Time and again in my life, I felt the challenge arise to paint a current picture of effective leadership through the lens of thoughts, why thoughts matter, and how they impact our lives. It has taken me decades of searching to understand leadership with some depth, and find the courage to write it down.

A single, meaningful conversation changed my life because it set me on the path of deciphering leadership, and simultaneously finding my passion.

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Barbara De Angelis is Truly an Angel

By · August 18, 2009 · Comments (0)

Barbara De AngelisBarbara De Angelis, international best selling author and transformational leader is also a spiritual angel. She is a messenger of great hope and a true believer that a tremendous shift in consciousness is currently underway that is taking us to greater meaning and contribution with our lives.

Barbara is inspirational  in the truest sense of the word, reminding each of us to remember why we are here.

Barbara De Angelis, Ph.D. is believed by many to be one of the most influential teachers of our time in the field of personal and spiritual transformation. For the past thirty years, she has reached tens of millions of people throughout the world with her positive messages about love, happiness and the search for meaning in our lives.

As a best-selling author, popular television personality and sought after motivational speaker, Barbara is legendary in the field of personal development as one of the first people to popularize the idea of self-help in the 1980’s, and as one of the first nationally recognized female motivational teachers on television.

barbaras-bookDr. De Angelis is also the author of fourteen best-selling books which have sold over ten million copies and been published throughout the world. Her first book, How To Make Love All the Time, was a national best seller and was followed by the New York Times Bestsellers: Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know, Are You the One For Me? and Real Moments. Barbara also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Chicken Soup For The Couples Soul. Her most recent book, How Did I Get Here? Finding Your Way to Renewed Hope and Happiness When Life and Love Take Unexpected Turns, has received numerous awards and high acclaim.

In 1994, Barbara wrote and produced the TV infomercial, “Making Love Work,” which won numerous awards, and was the most successful relationship program of its kind. Barbara appeared weekly for two years on CNN, has hosted her own daily television show for CBS TV, and her own popular radio talk show in Los Angeles. She has been a frequent guest on shows including Oprah, The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Dr. De Angelis is currently president of Shakti Communications Incorporated, dedicated to bringing enlightened messages to the world through all electronic and print mediums.

Meeting Barbara is magical and unforgettable. She will have a deep personal message for you that will challenge you to a higher self. Her soul penetrating perceptions are quite remarkable and she is undeniably one of one of the great mystics of today’s world.

My conversation with Barbara was one of the most meaningful I have ever had…more to come on what she said to me.

Categories : Leadership, Love
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An Amphitheater Forever

By · August 17, 2009 · Comments (0)

South Fayette School Outdoor Classroom

I took a walk down to the trail behind the South Fayette High School and was in awe of how beautiful it has become. Every season it is even more scenic, with the school tower above the hollow serving as a guiding compass.

Several years ago I co-founded the South Fayette Conservation Group and together we obtained a grant to build a wetland, educational trail and outdoor classroom that will forever be a part of our school and community.

Here is the amphitheatre, a multipurpose greenspace nestled as a natural classroom in the woods.

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stephen-covey-7-habits-pittsburgh-july-29-09The first time I recall having a front row seat at a major event was at a production of le Miserable. The event was especially memorable because I watched in rapture as a feather dislodged from a dancers costume and wafted slowly down from the stage and landed right in my lap.

Ever since, securing a front row at any event has been a delight and an honor, coveted, and hard work, but well worth it, because it puts you right up close with the action.

I have found over the years that obtaining a seat in the front row requires lots of extra effort and even then happens only occasionally. It means arriving very early, reserving far in advance, paying more for the privilege, knowing someone special, or even by helping the planners out. I didn’t expect though, that my profound feather experience would ever be repeated, and yet it happened again just this morning. 

It was uncanny, serendipitous and synchronous, when a feather dropped from Stephen Covey’s ‘Indian Talking Stick’  as he waved it to the audience, emphasizing its strength. I have read Covey’s books many times over the decades and hearing him speak live at 77 years old meant a lot to me.

There I was somehow ready for the unexpected, front and center, and  managed to catch a photo of Stephen Covey and his stick. A shiver went down my spine as I recognized the beauty of the moment, it’s wonderful alignment and congruency and I knew that I was in the right place.

Covey reminded us with the warmth and wisdom of a sage of the timeless ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’:

Dependence to Independence

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice 
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity & Execution

Independence to Interdependence

  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding
  • Habit 6: Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation

Continual Improvement

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was published 20 years ago and is still a best seller in business and leadership. Five years ago, Covey followed with The 8th Habit, which is finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs. When we asked him how he came to develop the extra habit Covey said he sensed a lack of emotional commitment to what people represent, and felt compelled to teach personal significance and passion.  Covey delivers his message with a quiet, knowing conviction, and I felt drawn to his personal passion.

You may be wondering what the ‘Indian Talking Stick’ is all about? Ask someone to hold a talking stick, and then ask them to talk until they feel that you completely understand what they are thinking and feeling. ‘I am serious, try it,’ Covey said. The talking stick is a tool for conflict resolution, empathy and improving relationships.

A marvelous message from a feather.


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Leading with Love and Dispelling Fear

By · July 13, 2009 · Comments (0)

loveA chapter on courage in my book, ‘How to Think Like a Leader’ looks at using love in the workplace to drive away fear. At a recent workshop on leadership, I asked participants what they replace fear with, when they create anew space, where it used to be. Answers included hope, optimism, happiness, joy, sincerity, and because they knew what I was after, love.

Love in the workplace should not be a foreign concept. It has many synonyms to help find and support its presence. I have decided to talk about love in the workplace more, and in the context of leadership because leadership includes service and change, and if leadership is inspirational and being ones best then all of that can only occur in love.

What a wonderful way to fill the space that opens up when fear is dispelled.

Categories : Leadership, Love, Thinking
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Peace as a Choice

By · May 19, 2009 · Comments (0)

Conflict resolution is one of the greatest challenges of all time for mankind. Just the other day a friend with a deep sense of fear associated with ongoing global conflicts got me thinking about peace as a conscious decision that one can deliberately take. He, like many of us, has been feeling overwhelmed by all the negative information he is being bombarded with, and by the unresolved animosities people sometimes have for one another. One way he can cope with conflict is by promoting peace. 

He has a decision to make. Does he allow himself to become a part of the problem, by expanding on the multitude of crises around him; the civil unrest, the injustices and  overall distress, or can he become a part of the solution by making contributions that are positive, uplifting and express a sense of hope for others that in turn plays a role in peaceful outcomes. If interpersonal conflict is at the root of many of today’s most extreme challenges, then peace has to be a part of the solution.

One organization dedicated to ending conflict is the US Institute of Peace, at Their goal is to not only prevent and resolve international conflict, but also to empower others with knowledge, skills, and resources to end conflict. They are directly engaged in peacebuilding efforts around the globe.

One of the most interesting components of the work of USIP is that in which the public, or everyone, can participate.  They host complimentary online courses and training programs that teach the tools of peace that everyone can use on a daily basis.

Thinking about, talking about and engaging in peace is the responsibility of every leader, and like so many of the critical leadership initiatives, promoting peace is a choice.

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Sidney CrosbyIt’s great to have that winning feeling after last night’s Pittsburgh Penguin win in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals and leading the Eastern conference final of the National Hockey League. Our city loves our Penguins, and it is mostly because of the strong emotion and immense pleasure we experience when we watch them excel. Last night was extraordinary, and we are bursting with pride for Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, the entire team and the city of Pittsburgh.

“You want the feeling of winning, but it’s almost like you don’t ever want that feeling of losing again.” Crosby said, summarizing that what drives him forward is all about how he feels. This proves how powerful feelings are as a motivator, and watching Sidney’s fierce determination, immense satisfaction and compelling expressions of will last night gives one cause to delve into the emotional component of success, accomplishment, and in the case of our young Canadian captain and leader, how his thoughts guide his actions, with sport as the ultimate metaphor.

Your ‘state of being’ ultimately comes down to how you feel, and by paying attention to your feelings, you can better understand and utilize them to reach your goals, whether in athletics, business or in various leadership roles. Sidney has achieved a very clear distinction between how he feels when he wins, versus how he feels when he loses, and this serves as a powerful motivator for him. He likes the feeling of winning profoundly, and can pinpoint it precisely relative to the feeling of loss, and as a result he works single-mindedly to recreate wins.

If you attach an emotional feel good tag to an objective, then it is more likely to occur, because as humans we usually seek pleasure and avoid pain, in a basic innate choice of optimal experience and existence. Attach a positive feeling to your objective, and it is more likely to occur because you have emotionally tagged the outcome. You will go after it, unconsciously and consciously, towards realization.

Your thoughts trigger an emotional state that gives rise to feelings. Elevation of these enable more optimal outcomes. With an orientation to outcomes you choose a more directed approach to your thinking. This thinking is also more aligned, purposeful and strategic. Simple thoughts and observations, and the feeling you create become more directive to the specific outcomes that you seek. Think it, see it, feel it, and experience it.

Thanks to his powerful feelings, not only did Sidney create and experience a perfect win for himself, but also perfection for those watching, and it made us feel oh, so good.

Categories : Gratitude, Leadership, Love
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Take a Few Deep Breaths

By · April 2, 2009 · Comments (0)

Breathe consciously.

BreatheThere are so many benefits to developing an awareness of your breathing. Take a few deep breathes, simply breathe in and breathe out. Stop for a moment to collect and gather yourself as separate from the many moments and experiences of your day. You have already moved a step closer to self awareness. Beginning is that simple.

Do you feel a little calmer, more centered and have a better sense of well being? Just breathe in and breathe out. Being aware, through creating a brief interlude of consciousness, or a pause to gather yourself, is a respite in what for many people has become highly active and extremely interactive lives. The know yourself component of self awareness is more readily available to you when take time to pause your thinking and become your authentic self. This is a very different you than the stretched and multidirectional person who may be continually pulled and overextended.

Daniel Goleman, renowned for his groundbreaking research on emotional intelligence, and its application in the workplace, concluded that people with high self awareness understand their emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives. Additionally, people with strong self awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful, but are honest with themselves and others. Goleman also indicated that those who are self aware know their values and goals, and know where they are headed and why. They can be recognized by their confidence, and have a firm grasp of their capabilities. They are also less likely to set themselves up to fail and they play to their strengths. In leadership self awareness builds confidence, credibility and reliability. Self awareness and breathing go hand in hand. Breathe consciously.

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Starting with What is Personal

By · February 22, 2009 · Comments (0)

Leadership is personal.

It includes beginning with who you are. Once you have a solid, sustainable and enduring personal approach in place, leadership outcomes for you also depend on planning, and the outlining of a strategy to carry you forward. This will serve as a roadmap for you, and is outlined in the second section of ‘How to think Like a Leader’.

All leadership also involves others, not much as followers, but as collaborators. The third major component of leadership to delve into is people and relationships. This includes bringing out the best in yourself, and in others. Finally, as leadership by definition includes catalyzing change, think about the major components of change and how to influence it.

The personal, planning, people and change categories of leadership are the same four categories that over a hundred of the major leadership models in the literature can be grouped into. This is also why these are the areas for you to focus on. They are the four major areas to be thinking about as you gain further clarity on where you are in your personal leadership expedition.

But start with what is personal, and who you are, to set you on your way.

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Goals Initiated

By · January 2, 2009 · Comments (0)

A new year brings new plans and renewed optimism as various projects near completion and endpoints appear in sight.

Before long ‘When will your book be finished?’ will be replaced with ‘When can I read it?’ The vision of a book in hand drives me forward and images of those I care about perusing it make the final stages manageable as my impatience grows.

‘How to Think Like a Leader’ is comprised of skills and habits that will take readers forward on a personal leadership journey, where they will look closely at sixteen specific and essential skills for leadership; habits to practice and reinforce so they become very natural. If you are looking to better understand who you are and your role and you will new insights through a more comprehensive understanding of what leadership is comprised of, and the supporting scientific and cognitive research that supports a strength based approach to leadership. This will also lead to a more practical understanding and direct application to help you build and expand your thinking.

This means you will have greater opportunities to choose your own leadership direction, and determine outcomes you wish achieve for yourself, and those you lead. As a result you further the causes and initiatives that are meaningful to you and ultimately make a difference.

There is no better time than a new year to find your place, explore your purpose and discover the leader in you.

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The Leader in You

By · December 19, 2008 · Comments (0)

How to Think Like a LeaderWhy write a book? Everyone has a book in them because everyone lives a life full of rich experiences, lessons, learning and stories that need to be told.

I am writing ‘How to Think Like a Leader’ because it feels like a calling; it is a book that wants to express itself and a labor of love for those who have asked me write down what leadership is all about. I am writing not just from personal life experiences but rather from the perspective of accumulated and compiled lessons observed over the years.

‘How to think Like a Leader’ will support and guide you as you seek to increase and reinforce your capacity as a leader. You have the skills and abilities to be an even stronger leader, and there is also always a next level, and a next step waiting for you. This is whether you are a CEO, or seek to become one, an aspiring manager, a professional, an activist or currently a student. The book will help you to move from where you are today, into the realm of expanded leadership thinking.

You have the foundation for great leadership, and in some areas you may have highly developed strengths, while in others there is a greater potential you can reach. So this book will be for wherever you are you are on your leadership quest. To document optimal leadership thinking is deeply challenging and rewarding, a formidable task, my current focus and what I work on during both waking and sleeping hours.

Categories : Gratitude, Leadership, Love
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Where are the Leaders?

By · October 8, 2008 · Comments (0)

Leaders, whether you or others, permeate your personal and professional life, and as has been so frequently noted, leadership truly does belong to everyone.

You are already a leader, but leadership is a continuum, where you develop new targets that will take you into new phases of your learning. To grow is human and to seek development is our special differentiator. Positive leadership exemplifies humanity at its very best, with the enduring capabilities that make life a rich combination of change and discovery.

You have a potential that seeks expression, a set of inner possibilities ripe for realization, and a world of opportunity that beckons your participation. Now is the time to respond to the leadership challenge with breakthrough exploration and elevation, into the realm of a transformed future.

Now is the time.

Categories : Gratitude, Leadership, Love
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Luck for those who Look

By · September 17, 2008 · Comments (0)

ultimate earthPeople believe in luck, and so do I, but I also believe you can make your own luck by thinking about that which you want. Your thoughts matter when it comes to luck. From leadership thinking, we can learn the optimal things to think about, best practices in thinking, and essential thought patterns to understand and reinforce.

Since there is much for you to think about, it is helpful to pattern your thinking optimally, and have some help deciding and understanding where you thoughts can best be directed. Being more attentive and conscious of your thinking will help you to better guide it. Your thoughts do matter, and they affect outcomes for you because they direct your beliefs, determine your feelings, help establish your actions, and then ultimately create outcomes for you. Create your thoughts, create your own luck.

Categories : Gratitude, Leadership, Love
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