Lesson #1 – Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

–Leaders change the situation instead of being changed by the situation

What are you most like: a carrot, an egg, or coffee?

A carrot starts out firm, but when you put a carrot in boiling water it becomes limp. An egg starts out with a hard shell and is soft in the middle, but place it in boiling water and the inside becomes hard. And when you put coffee in boiling water, it changes the water completely.

What challenges have you been experiencing in your career, family life, physically or spiritually? Think of any of those situations as the boiling water.

Some people are like carrots. Oh, they act tough enough, but the challenges of life soften them, they wilt and won’t stand up for themselves any more.

Other people are like eggs. As they confront challenges they get hard on the inside. They’re calloused, they become unable or unwilling to feel and do not allow themselves to connect and relate with other people.

Leaders are like coffee. When thrust into the challenges of life they actually change the situation.

Have you been a carrot, egg, or coffee? Buy some coffee, even if you don’t normally drink it, and put it in a bowl on your desk. Let that “trigger” you to be a leader who, like coffee, changes the situation you are in for the better.

As a child, I saw people as one of two types: There were the nice caring compassionate people. They didn’t seem to make much happen, didn’t date the nicest girls or guys, and weren’t movers and shakers. Then there were the people that made things happen, but they were often arrogant, hard, and self-centered.

It didn’t seem fair. I wanted to be compassionate and caring and yet able to change the world. I wanted to be what I now call a “Compassionate Samurai:” a warrior with a heart for service and contribution.

That’s what it will take to change things, like the fact that one out of every eight children drops out of school in the USA, rampant illiteracy in the world, a marriage that is not working, or a satisfying career in an uncertain economy.

Carrots and eggs won’t do it. This week, be like coffee. Be a Compassionate Samurai, a warrior with a heart for service and contribution who alters the world you live in.

Leaders change the situation, so even after they leave, things are different than when they arrived.

Action Step #1
Buy a bag of coffee and put it on your desk as a trigger device.

Action Step #2
Write a brief paragraph describing the biggest challenge you face in your life right now. Then, write another short paragraph on exactly how you’d like your life to be in that area right now. And finally, write a sentence that describes one specific action you will take this week–no matter how big or small it seems to you–to change your life to being exactly how you’d like it to be.

An Example
Early in my career in the seminar business, my mentor sent me to San Diego to save the failing market there. The seminars were so poorly attended they were considering closing down our San Diego office.
When I arrived, I noticed that a lot of teenagers were hanging around the office. The environment and feeling created by all those kids was driving away the more conservative, successful business people we also wanted to bring into our seminars.
Like attracts like.
The teenagers were good people who deserved to be supported and served, but it was hurting our bigger market. So I created another place for the kids to hangout and made it clear they were not to be around our office.
It was not an especially popular action for many of our seminar graduates, but it changed how the rest of us thought about the organization and who we attracted. Within a short period of time, San Diego was a thriving market for our seminars.
That is what coffee is all about!

“What we are depends mainly on what we look for”
–John Lubbock

Effective Affirmations

A major key to transforming belief systems comes from emotional experiences, which we strive to provide at Klemmer seminars. But another way to change belief systems, as we discussed in our last newsletter, is accomplished through the persistent reading of books and listening to tapes. Affirmations, the daily repetition of a positive belief you want to become true for yourself, is another way to increase personal growth. Like reading books and listening to tapes, one downside is that affirmations don’t carry much emotion. As a result, they take a tremendous amount of repetition – sometimes months and months. Unless a person is aware that this is part of the process, they may become discouraged, lose interest and give up. But affirmations do work, as I detail in CD #5 in the series The Pursuit & Practice of Personal Mastery.

Presently, I have several affirmations. One is that I weigh 171 pounds and have a 36-inch waist. When I’m not traveling, I work out on a bike almost every day. While doing so, for five minutes I repeat that I weigh 171 pounds and have a 36-inch waist. For the next five minutes I repeat that I eat healthy and exercise at least four times a week. Over time – and it does take a lot of time – these beliefs become part of my subconscious, and then I begin to see changes.

For instance, I have been able to stay on a powdered drink meal replacement for one of my meals. And then recently, Roma and I visited our neighbors across the street. We were going to watch a video together, but first the man offered me an alcoholic drink. In the past I would have accepted it. He then offered me a biscotti and I passed on that. What gave me the fortitude to stay on the meal replacement shake and not accept food and drinks that would have made me gain weight? I believe the above-mentioned affirmations helped to clarify and intensify my intent.

Affirmations can be a valuable tool to reshape your belief systems. As you make them a part of your life, just be aware that they require a long-term commitment. Knowing this helps you to have patience and persistence to stay on course until you see the results.

Do You Practice the Art of Being With?

Would you like to be more efficient, more effective, more intimate? Then join us in learning the art of being with.

Being with is a way of listening to people. It’s listening to others without any filters up. One filter compares whatever is said to your own personal experience. Another filter is listening with an agenda in mind, wondering what you’re going to get out of the conversation. There’s also the “right/wrong” filter where we constantly assess I’m right/they’re right, or I’m right/they’re wrong, etc. When you practice being with, you are present without any filters between you and the other person.

You are also present as a whole person. Every person is made up of a mind, body, feelings, and spiritual nature. When you’re being with, all four of these are present in the moment.

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