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Sweet Honey from Old Failures

macro shot of honey bee on a honeycomb (natural product)

Last night, as I was sleeping by Antonio Machado

English version by Robert Bly

Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that a spring was breaking out in my heart. I said: Along which secret aqueduct, Oh water, are you coming to me, water of a new life that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that a fiery sun was giving light inside my heart. It was fiery because I felt warmth as from a hearth, and sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that it was God I had here inside my heart.

by Antonio Machado (translated by Robert Bly

This is one of my most beloved poems. It speaks to my heart and enlivens my spirit in a way that is deeply personal and universal at the same time.

I just love the image of golden bees making sweet honey from all of my old failures! Rather than focusing on the way failure tests your mettle as fire does to steel, the poet looks in the direction of the heart and speaks of sweetness and honey. Jackets insulated “The heart, like the grape, is prone to delivering its harvest in the same moment that it appears to be crushed. parajumpers The beehive in your heart is humming precisely because of those failures.” from Ten Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden.

When I first read these lines years ago, warmth filled my heart as I saw more clearly than ever that somehow everything in my life has it’s own unique place. Imagine the possibility that even the most difficult, dark or disappointing experience can be the raw material that surfaces with the sweetness of honey. There is a wholeness, an ecology to our experience.

Suspend Certainty: Leadership Lessons from Benjamin Franklin

benfrank I discovered this inspiring true story retold by Alan Briskin in the chapter he wrote called Deep Dialogue which can be found in the timely and important book, The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Carol Pearson. nike air max 2015 hombre Maglia Tracy McGrady Adidas NMD Dames beige Abercrombie Pas Cher When the representatives from the various states gathered to create the US Constitution, they could not agree on whether they were modifying the existing Articles of Confederation or creating a new constitution for the nation. Womens Air Jordan 13 Mens Nike Air Max 2016


Canotta Miami Heat They could not agree on the extent of power for the central government or how representation should be distributed. asics gel pulse 7 męskie Air Jordan 6 Joe Flacco Ravens Jerseys They couldn’t agree on much of anything. After a month or so, Benjamin Franklin, now in the last years of his life rose to speak. asics gel kinsei hombre Stanford Cardinal Jerseys He acknowledged their despair at ever finding a way forward and suggested they were looking for democracy in all the wrong places—backward in history and sideways to existing governments of Europe. New Balance 678 męskie Asics Pas Cher He encouraged them instead to pray together each morning and look forward to the emerging future. The group rebuffed his suggestion to begin each day with prayer but continued against all odds to carry on with their work. Canotte Detroit Pistons Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama Jersey

Out of bitterness, partisanship, and fierce debate arose some measure of listening and agreement—miraculously a document that became the founding structure for a nation based on democratic principles. Asics Mexico męskie chaussures nike Nike France Central Michigan Chippewas Jerseys Then on the very last day of the convention, when it was necessary to ensure that as many representatives as possible signed the draft document, Franklin addressed the convention again, although this time he was too ill to speak for himself and his address was read by a fellow representative from Pennsylvania. Maglie Orlando Magic Maglie Orlando Magic He argued that democracy is born from our human capacity to suspend the certainty of our positions. And even though he believed the current document before him was flawed in significant ways, he noted he had learned in his life that his judgment could change over time. adidas Gloro homme Nike Free 5.0 Dames blauw

Womens Jordan Retro 13 Drawing upon his extraordinary wit, he argued that the Church in Rome was different than the Church in England only insofar as one believed it was infallible and the other that it was never wrong. Chris Jones Democracy depended, he insisted, on our capacity to suspend the inclination to be always in the right in order for something new to be born. Air Jordan 7 (VII) Asics Homme Pas Cher That something new became the U.S. Air Jordan Retro 3 Nike Air Max 2016 Goedkoop Cheap Nike Air Max 90

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Fjallraven Kanken 7L Yeezy 350 Boost Northern Iowa Panthers This is the legacy of our democratic institutions and the lesson we must continually learn and relearn, Suspending our personal certainty is the source of our transformation. Goedkoop Nike Schoenen Air Max 2013
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No great deeds are done by falterers who ask for certainty.

The Interim Time

man in a dark forest

For the Interim Time

By John O’Donohue 

When near the end of day, life has drained

Out of light, and it is too soon

For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline

Makes everything look strangely in-between,

Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

 In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.

In a while it will be night, but nothing

Here seems TO believe the relief of dark.

You are in this time of the interim

Where everything seems withheld.

 The path you took to get here has washed out;

The way forward is still concealed from you.

“The old is not old enough to have died away;

The new is still too young to be born.”

 You cannot lay claim to anything;

In this place of dusk,

Your eyes are blurred;

And there is no mirror.

 Everyone else has lost sight of your heart

And you can see nowhere to put your trust;

You know you have to make your own way through.

 As far as you can, hold your confidence.

Do not allow your confusion to squander

This call which is loosening

Your roots in false ground,

That you might come free

From all you have outgrown.

 What is being transfigured here is your mind,

And it is difficult and slow to become new.

The more faithfully you can endure here,

The more refined your heart will become

For your arrival in the new dawn.


Twilight…a quiet,shadowy, mysterious yet magical in-between time when “no place looks likes itself; where everything seems withheld.”  You’ve landed in a space in time, perhaps a bit bewildered and uncertain because the “old is not old enough to have died away: the new is still too young to be born.” John O’Donohue reassures us that what is being transfigured here is our mind which is becoming free of what it has outgrown. It is difficult and slow to become new!  You must “hold your confidence and not squander” this precious time.

I’ve learned to trust this interim time for I’ve experienced it quite often in my long life. The first step for me is to recognize that I’m in this interim space. I’ve learned to BE in the discomfort of not knowing when “The path I took to get here has washed out; the way forward is still concealed from me.” In time, I will see and sense the world from a different place altogether–connected to a deeper place of Being in which I can begin to “sense and shape the future as it is emerging.” This process is called Presencing by Otto Scharmer, Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers.  If it intrigues you, read their book, Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future and Leading from the Emerging Future by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer.

More about Presencing in my next blog!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experience being in Interim Time.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

I hope you were intrigued and perhaps inspired by my last post about Firms of Endearment, which highlighted Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland. nike air max 2017 mujer Canotta Los Angeles Lakers Swartz is one of a growing cadre of leaders who have built highly successful companies in a way that defies the thinking of Milton Freidman and other economic gurus who believe that building and protecting shareholder wealth is the sole rationale for business. Canotta Memphis Grizzlies During the 1990s, the marketing mantra was “Go for a share of the wallet.” What it has led to is an emotionally barren, largely quantitative, data-driven view of customers. buy mu legend items Firms of Endearment have bought into a different idea altogether: they strive for a share of the heart. mu legend redzen for sale New Balance 997.5 hombre Have you ever driven past the near-by Food Lion to go to Whole Foods or Wegmans miles away? Has your logical left-brain told you that you should save money at Wal-mart but your right brain says “yuk…let’s go to ‘Tar-zhay.’ The prices are pretty low and it’s just got better stuff!” Many of us make these choices every day because some companies “endear” themselves to us in significant ways. adidas sandali Nike Free 5.0 Dames blauw

nike air max 90 goedkoop Firms of Endearment (FoEs) are humanistic companies that are run in a way that stakeholders–customers, employees, suppliers, business partners, society and investors–develop an emotional connection with them, an affectionate regard much like the many feel about their home team. These companies seek to maximize their value to society as a whole, not just to shareholders. NCAA Jersey Shop They create emotional value, experiential value, social value AND financial value. Adidas sklep Nike Seattle Seahawks jerseys Many of us who interact with companies such as Wegmans, JetBlue, Costco, Trader Joe’s or Target, feel safe, secure and pleased with our dealings. Adrian Gonzalez Authentic Jersey We enjoy working with or for the company, buying from it, investing in it and having it as a neighbor. NIKE AIR ZOOM ELITE 9 Nike Free 3.0
FoEs believe that when you earn a share of a customer’s heart she’ll gladly give you a share of her wallet! Do the same for an employee, and the employee will give back with a quantum leap in productivity and work quality. Ray Ban Goedkoop Emotionally bond with your suppliers, and reap the benefits of superior offerings and responsiveness. air max pas cher pour homme New Balance 577 mujer Give communities in which you operate reasons to feel pride in your presence, and enjoy a fertile source of customers and employees. mu legend items online As for shareholders, many take delight in investing in companies they admire, and as I pointed out in my previous post, FoEs are rewarding their shareholders to an astonishing degree. new balance 373 bleu orange What’s love got to do with it? Everything!! Yahoo’s Tom Sanders is right when he says, “Love is the killer app! Love helped turn Southwest Airlines into the most successful airline in history. nike air max 2016 grijs Appropriately, its stock symbol is LUV. MU Legend Power Leveling Nike Roshe Run Motif Homme nike air max bw homme Leaders of Firms of Endearment and the cultures they nourish make it easy for us to envision a time someday soon when we will demand our leaders focus on the interests of the whole and less on self-interests. adidas zx flux femme noir et or prix We will come to expect that businesses seek a healthy balance between the pursuit of a broader purpose and profits.

Firms of Endearment

Several years ago, Timberland CEO, Jeffrey Swartz was invited by a friend to spend a day in a teen halfway house. buy mu legend zen nike air max 90 blu donna His friend told him it would change his life. Canotte Indiana Pacers One of the troubled teen asked him about what he did. nike tn 2017 homme “I’m responsible for the global execution of strategy,” he replied. Air Force Falcons Jerseys Then he asked the teen what he did. mu legend zen online Mujer Air Jordan 6 “I work at getting well.” “That answer trumped my own answer,” Swartz told his friend afterwards, “and my life changed that day.” Swartz had left his office a hard-charging COO striving to make Timberland the biggest & best in its market sector. adidas superstar hombre He returned and inspired COO committed to enlist his entire company in a campaign to “make the world a better place.” Today, this is the CEO Swartz describes his company’s mission, an expansive one for sure. Nike Air Force 1 Some observers charged he would be shortchanging stockholders, but guess what! The stock of his company has risen nearly 800% over the past ten years. ZX 750 Swartz exemplifies FOE leadership. In case you’re wondering, FOE stands for Firms of Endearment. Nike Free 5.0 Heren Now don’t let the term Firms of Endearment (also the title of a breakthrough business book) throw you off as it did me. Nike Air Max 95 damskie Although this book was recommended to me by several people whose opinion I respect, I let it sit on my shelf for months because the title sounded just too clever! When I finally read it, I learned about extraordinarily successful companies that are being led by visionary, principled leaders like Jeffrey Swartz, who remind us that business can be a force for doing tremendous good. How refreshing is that at a time when the reputation of business is at one of its lowest ebbs ever? This book is not about corporate social responsibility. It is about sound business management. Nike Air Huarache Vente

Canotte Selección de USA It offers case-based evidence that companies that adhere to a stakeholder relationship management business model develop a significant and lasting competitive advantage over their counterparts who subscribe a more traditional shareholder perspective, AND the companies reward their shareholders well above the norm. asics gel quantum 360 damskie Identifying Firms of Endearment Most studies of corporate exceptionalism start with financial performance and work backward. These researchers started with humanistic performance—meeting the needs of stakeholders other than shareholders and worked forward. air max 2017 nero uomo

Here are the organizations that illustrate the FoE way: Amazon, BMW, CarMax,Caterpillar, Commerce Bank, Container Store, Costco, eBay, Google, Harley-Davidson, Honda, IDEO, IKEA, JetBlue, Johnson & Johnson, LL Bean, New Balance, Patagonia, REI, Southwest, Starbucks, Timberland, Toyota, Trader Joe’s, Ups, Wegmans, Whole Foods How did Firms of Endearment Perform? The public FoEs returned 1,026% for investors over 10 years ending Jun, 2006 compared to 122% for the S&P 500: more than an 8-t-1 ratio. THE STAKEHOLDERS OF FIRMS OF ENDEARMENT Stakeholder Definition Society: Local and broader communities as well as governments and other societal institutions, especially non-governmental organizations. NBA Canotte 2017 TEAM COURT (NGOs) Partners: Upstream partners such as suppliers, horizontal partners, and downstream partners such as retailers.

“Yes” Wisdom from Stephen Colbert and Peter Block!

Peter Block and Stephen Colbert are two wonderfully wise human beings who inspire new thinking…albeit it in quite different ways. They’re on the same page about the power of saying YES, sage advice that might even transform your way of living!

“Yes” wisdom from Peter Block is this: The answer to HOW is YES! In fact, he’s written an entire book on the subject suggesting that HOW? is the wrong question altogether and that YES! is the right question.  When we ask How? we limit ourselves to questions for which there is a likely answer.

We live in a “how-to”,”can-do” culture focused on getting things done and getting things done quickly and efficiently. Just because it works, doesn’t mean it matters! Block believes we pay a high price for our bias toward action. By overvaluing what is doable, we postpone the bigger questions about WHAT is worth doing.

Block proposes an interesting experiment.  Why don’t we agree that for six months we would not ask How?  We would be forced to engage in conversations about why we do what we do, as individuals and institutions. It would create the space for longer conversations about purpose refocusing our attention deciding what is the right question rather than what is the right answer!

The result just might be that something in our lives, our institutions, and our culture might shift for the better.  Acting on what matters most is a declaration that I/we are accountable for the world around us and are willing to pursue what is important regardless of market-value. What is at stake is not only the quality of our life experience, but also that of our communities and institutions.

Listen to recent Kate Ebner’s interview with Peter Block on her radio show, Visionary Leader…Extraordinary Life.

“Yes” Wisdom from Stephen Colbert: Say “yes” as often as you can. Saying “yes” begins things.  Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. Colbert inspired the 2006 graduating class of Knox College with his compelling analogy of improv theatre and the greatest improv of all…leading your life.

The golden rule of improv is:  Always Say YES.  “Yes-anding” each other in the Improv world means you go on stage with no idea what’s going to happen while being prepared to accept whatever the other improvisor throws at you thus writing the scene.  No script…just trust, mutual discovery and surprise…much like life!

You can read or view the entire commencement address at I promise you it’s worth your time!