1041 Chapters
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Medium 9781576752715

4. Recapturing the Idealism of Youth

Block, Peter Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

recapturing the idealism of youth.         We are looking to balance our concern with what works with what matters. What is lost in a materialistic and pragmatic culture is our idealism. Idealism is a state of innocence that has the potential to bring together our larger purpose with our day-to-day doing. Idealism is required to reclaim our freedom, for at the end of it all, it is our freedom that gives us the possibility to more fully live our lives.

Idealism is the pursuit of the way we think things should be. Webster’s definition of an idealist is “one who follows their ideals, even to the point of impracticality.” This takes us right to the place we want to be, the place of practicality in the pursuit of our desires. It confronts us with the question of who decides what is possible and what is practical. Who draws the line, and do we perhaps yield too quickly on what others define as impractical?

There was a time in each of our lives when we were more idealistic than practical. A young child asks for the moon and expects it to be delivered. As we grow older and enter what is called the “real world,” our idealism is assaulted. Our idealism is thought of as weakness—a flaw in perception, an unwillingness or, worse, an incapacity to see the world as it really is. To be told you are idealistic and therefore unrealistic is a painful accusation. Idealism is the province of the child, a sign of immaturity. When are you going to grow up and get it?

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Medium 9781576756003

4 We’re All Recovering Judgers

Adams, Marilee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We took a short break while Joseph went off to get us coffee in the kitchenette adjacent to his office. He was gone long enough for me to check my cell phone for messages. One of them, from Grace, was about her young assistant Jennifer, who had messed up yet another assignment. “I’ve just got to vent,” Grace was saying. “I feel like I’m two seconds from firing her. Can you call me right back?” I snapped my phone shut. Why was Grace bothering me at work? Couldn’t she handle Jennifer by herself? Did she think I needed her problems on top of mine? My jaw and shoulders clenched up.

Just then Joseph returned with a tray that held two full coffee mugs and containers of cream and sugar. I took a mug and some cream, glad to focus on stirring what was in my cup. I needed to settle myself down so I could listen to what Joseph was starting to tell me. He was back to his story about the superintendent.

“My client and I both had a breakthrough that day,” he was saying, “right after I recognized I had gotten hijacked by Judger. After I changed my questions and switched into Learner mindset, everything was different.”

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Medium 9781626560536

Seven: The Sixth Limb: Focus (Dharana)

Showkeir, Maren S. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Settle in the here and now.
Reach down into the center
where the world is not spinning
and drink this holy peace.…

Donna Faulds


Mary was in a room filled with more than sixty yogis, though she might as well have been alone. When she is on her mat, Mary says there is nothing else: “It is me, my mat, and my breath. I am so focused on my practice that I don’t even realize who is on either side of me. After class is over, I look around and think, ‘Oh yeah, there is so and so.’”

In this class, her longtime teacher, Rod Stryker, was talking the yogis through the mechanics of Lord of the Dance pose, natarajasana, an advanced posture requiring great strength, flexibility, and most especially, balance. On the mat next to Mary, a friend wobbled, fell out of the pose, then executed a tuck, tumble, and roll right under Mary’s feet.

Her pose never wavered.

Focus, or dharana, is the sixth limb of yoga. This practice is devoted to bringing a laser-like concentration to one thing—a mantra, the flicker of candlelight, a mental image, or a spot on the wall. This state of deep concentration, when mastered, forces the mind into the now. It is fully present in this place, at this time.

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Medium 9781576754276

Step 1: Identify Your Self-Addictions

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Questions to get you started.

What are the behaviors that get you in trouble?

What are your key self-addictions?

I recently started working with two new clients. The first, Nicholas, was very excited about the coaching opportunity. He knew that coaching was in vogue and it made him feel cool. However, he had no real idea of how he wanted to use the opportunity. In fact, Nicholas struggled at the beginning of our work. I asked him a lot of questions and got lots of silence in return. It took a few sessions for him to figure out his goals for the coaching. Nicholas faced the formidable challenge of discovering the changes he wanted to make, personally and professionally.

The second client, Carmen, knew exactly what she wanted to do with our coaching time. She told me that she was completely preoccupied with how other people viewed her. At home she was constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses and maintain an image of perfection. At work she ingratiated herself to everyone and 22 was incapable of taking any risks for fear of making a mistake and looking bad. She was ready from the first moment we sat down to charge into these challenges.

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Medium 9781576755846

19 Locating the Peace Within

The Arbiner Institute Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Lou,” Avi said, “a few minutes ago you asked how you can get out of the boxes you find yourself in—out of the blame, the self-justification, the internal warring, the apparent stuckness.”

“Yes,” Lou said.

“From this story I’ve just shared, I’d like to highlight for you what I believe were the keys to my being released from the captivity of my own boxes—the getting-out-of-the-box process, as it were.”

Lou nodded in both assent and anticipation.

“First of all,” Avi began, “you need to realize something about the box. Since the box is just a metaphor for how I am in relationship with another person, I can be both in and out of the box at the same time, just in different directions. That is, I can be blaming and justifying toward my wife, for example, and yet be living straightforwardly toward Yusuf, or vice versa. Given the hundreds of relationships I have at any given time, even if I am deeply in a box toward one person, I am nearly always out of the box toward someone else.”

“Okay,” Lou said pensively, wondering why this might be significant.

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Medium 9781626563018

Chapter 1 Mordecai’s Proposition—A Question of Present Value

Neuwirth, Peter Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


“If I gave you $10,000 today would you be willing to give me 1% of all your future paychecks?”

Mordecai Schwartz, FSA, to a young actuarial student

It was 1979 and I had just started my first job out of college as an actuarial student with Connecticut General Life Insurance in Hartford, Connecticut. My boss was a long-haired libertarian from Arkansas who spoke so quietly you had to lean in close to hear him. He was edgy, sarcastic, and rebellious (he had only recently caved in to the company’s insistent demand that he get a haircut and begin wearing decent clothes to work), but he was also one of the top actuaries in the company with a nose for risk and a wizard-like ability to make the numbers sing and dance. He always said that what makes a good actuary is not his or her ability to calculate, or even to use sophisticated mathematical techniques to evaluate risk, but rather to understand the music in the numbers—to hear the melody, to anticipate the chord changes, and most importantly to detect the false note. He said that a good actuary should be able to look at two columns of numbers with vague headings like “prior year actual” or “current year allocated” and, with no knowledge of what the figures were supposed to represent, be able to immediately identify the wrong number.

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Medium 9781605098265


Schuster, John P Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781626562752

[3] How to Become an (Even Better) Optimist

Kamp, Jurriaan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Optimism can be learned. Even diehard pessimists
can become more optimistic. Our brain is
surprisingly flexible.

Now that you are aware of the happiness, health, and success that a lifestyle of optimism brings, you may wonder whether or not you are indeed an optimist.

Let’s do a little test.

Have a look at this image.

What do you see?

Do you see a horseman coming to you?

Or do you see the horseman riding away from you?

You can see the horseman going in both directions. But what you see at first glance says a lot about your attitude.

If you saw the horseman coming to you, you tend to have a more optimistic mind-set.

If you saw the horseman riding away from you, you tend to be more of a pessimist.

There is a more scientific way to test your optimism and pessimism levels. Scientists have been using “The Life Orientation Test” in many of the studies about the relationship between optimism and pessimism and (mental) health. The test incorporates ten statements. You need to indicate the extent of your agreement using the following scale:

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Medium 9781523094578

2: Vulnerability

Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Life is like a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and troubles are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. . . . Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others.1


I can’t remember exactly when, but at some time in my childhood, Saturdays became boxing day in our house. Dad would wait until Mom went out shopping with the girls and, as soon as they were gone, he would jump up, push the table and chairs against the wall, and the lesson would begin.

“Okay, Harry.” (He always called me Harry, though my name is Steve. I asked him why once and he said, “I don’t know; my name’s Fred, but my dad called me Steve.”)

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Medium 9781609945497

Chapter 5 Repacking Your Work Bag

Leider, Richard J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Since our only possession is our life, or rather our living, our most fundamental question is “How will I do my living?”

The quest for the answer is a lifelong journey. But people don’t fully commit to it until they’re ready — not one moment sooner. Being ready usually means feeling a level of pain or frustration for which repacking is a remedy.

Readiness emerges at various times during our lives. The common theme is a period of transition. We find ourselves in that in-between state in life, leaving behind an outgrown but still perfectly serviceable past, and moving toward a future that resists all efforts to bring it into clear focus. As we contemplate what’s ahead, we feel a strange combination of disorientation and excitement.

Gazing back on our lives is more than just sifting through memories. It also involves poring over images of what the good life has meant to us at various points along the way. We recall the happy times and wonder how many more of them there will be. We review our achievements in life and work and wonder if our best days are behind us — or perhaps, ahead.

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Medium 9781523083534

11. Stage Two: Discovering Family Fun

Crenshaw, Dave Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

On one occasion, I found myself speaking in a special location: Tanzania, in the city of Dar es Salaam. One might be tempted to refer to this place as an actual oasis. There was something surreal about working a room and speaking as the waves crashed along the shore of Coco Beach, with the ocean breeze wafting into the room.

My seminar to local business leaders covered what we’ve been discussing: taking more time with family members and enjoying these moments with the people we love. The day after the event, I managed to get some feedback from a few of the attendees. One story stayed with me.

Apparently, one attendee went back home to his wife and told her something along the lines of “This guy from America had a great idea. He said we should schedule daily, weekly, and monthly time for just you and me. What do you want to do?”

After she got over the initial shock, the man’s wife didn’t need more than a second to think about it. She replied, “Once a month, let’s sleep under the stars.”

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Medium 9781576752302

Choice 18: Body Work 102: Tai Chi Movement and More

Manz, Charles C. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I became very ill… because of years of hard work and vigorous schedules. My doctor told me that my condition was incurable using available medication.…At the same time, one of my friends… told me about Tai Chi… for three years, I practiced.… In only two weeks, my appetite improved and the frequency and severity of my stomach pain lessened… (eventually) my stomach was completely healed… my heart returned to normal, and I regained total good health without the use of drugs.

—Jou, Tsung-Hwa77148

Most contemporary views on physical fitness prescribe a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching and flexibility. My own experience with fitness, growing up in the United States, centered on competitive sports. Through high school I actively participated in football, wrestling, and track each year. Much of the focus was on developing endurance and strength through a rather aggressive form of training. My memories are filled with screaming coaches, exhausting drills, rivers of sweat, and many bruises and muscle strains.

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Medium 9781523084586

Resources: So You Got the Memo. Now What?

Bryant, John Hope Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

One of the first steps to economic independence is financial literacy. Here is a list of financial education resources to help you “know what you don’t know” and to put what you know into action. And, of course, Operation HOPE is here to work with you every step of the way. Visit us online at www.operation hope.org.

Federally mandated free credit report:


FICO scores from all three credit bureaus (paid subscription):


Credit card reviews, ratings, and comparisons:


Tools to create your own debt elimination plan:


Guidance on becoming debt-free:


Guidance on choosing a credit card, filing for bankruptcy, and repairing your credit:


A starter retirement savings option from the US Department of the Treasury:


Kiplinger Retirement savings calculator:

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Medium 9781576757567

4. Street Retreat: The Debt of Love

Barasch, Marc Ian Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We’re all in the gutter,
only some of us are looking at the stars.

—Oscar Wilde

LAST SUMMER I SAW AN IMMENSELY FAT WOMAN—350 POUNDS at least—struggling to step onto a Manhattan bus. Wheezing with effort, perspiring through her floral print dress, she couldn’t hoist her foot onto the platform. Her knee, encased in layers of flesh, wouldn’t bend. The driver, with an exasperated sigh, bolted from his seat to try to shoehorn her through the door.

The passengers gaped and craned, their expressions ranging from embarrassment to scorn to a sort of horrified fascination. As schedules unraveled and tempers frayed, the irritation grew more audible. The thought flashed through my mind as it did through nearly everyone’s: How could anyone allow herself to get so obese? Then I saw the expression on the woman’s face: mortification. And my heart broke—for all her hard days and for all my hard thoughts.

Why was my first response not compassion but a series of assessments that went off like a string of mental firecrackers before I even knew I’d lit the match? My judgment was so fused with my perception as to be inseparable: She became what I beheld. I was painfully aware of my mind—the mind itself—as a difference engine, cranking out the petty distinctions that keep people apart. And I wished I could dismantle the whole stupid contraption once and for all.

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Medium 9781576753293

11 Level Five Resiliency: Strengthening Your Talent for Serendipity

Siebert, Al Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Stories told to us in childhood can have lasting effects on us. When Horace Walpole was a child, his mother read him ancient Persian fairy tales such as Scheherazade’s stories about Ali Baba, Sinbad the sailor, and Aladdin. As an adult he recalled that he enjoyed hearing “a silly fairy tale called ‘The Three Princes of Serendip.’ As their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of….” In a letter he wrote to a friend on January 28, 1754, Walpole said he had created the word “serendipity” to describe a talent he had—an ability to discover good fortune in accidents and misfortune.

Serendipity, according to Walpole, comes from using wisdom to convert an unexpected event, accident, or mishap into good fortune. He said that three elements must be present for serendipity to occur.

First, something unexpected or accidental happens to you. Second, your perceptiveness, good sense, and wisdom (sagacity), lead you to discover the third element—an unexpected benefit, gift, or blessing in what happened.

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