1283 Chapters
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Medium 9781523094578

8: Service

Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

As a human being I acknowledge that my well-being depends on others, and caring for others’ well-being is a moral responsibility I take seriously. It’s unrealistic to think that the future of humanity can be achieved on the basis of prayer or good wishes alone; what we need is to take action. Therefore, my first commitment is to contribute to human happiness as best I can.1


When we realized that she could no longer live alone in Japan, we brought Grandmother to the United States to spend her last years. After all, she was 99, and how long could she possibly live? Better to die among those she loved the most, we reasoned. She could pass her remaining time in peace and would be able to die surrounded by her only child and her grandchildren.

Since she had never lived in America, we decided it would be best to have a trial and tell her that she could return to Japan if she decided that it was the best thing to do. But since she could no longer live alone, should she decide to go back, she would have to enter a nursing home. I escorted her from her home in Matsuyama and she moved in with my mother and older sister in Massachusetts. I returned to Tokyo.

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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 9781576755594

10. Escaping Financial Traps

Caprino, Kathy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Do not value money for any more
nor any less than its worth; it is
a good servant but a bad master


* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Valuing money above all else.

* LET GO of beliefs, relationships, and actions that keep you small.

* SAY YES! to a balanced relationship with money.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I fulfill my financial needs and honor who I am.”

* Amanda: I worked for a very challenging company for eighteen years, and I went through some exhausting trials and tribulations with them. From highly visible and nerve-wracking lawsuits to incompetent bosses to an employee turnover rate of more than 30 percent in a single year due to gross mismanagement, I endured my time there, toughed it out, in part because I felt that my role was important and helpful to people. But if I look back honestly, I think I really stayed because I had started on this path and didn’t know how to get off. I continued to get promoted, making more and more money. I also kept getting more responsibilities, so the job was never boring. I think the great salary, promotions, new responsibilities, and perks just kept me there. The job wasn’t a good fit for me, but it made possible some things that I felt were important, like a nice house, lovely clothes, a tennis club membership, travel, freedom and financial independence from my parents and others, etc. It’s funny, I’m not a materialistic person overall, but I was so focused on doing my job well every day, building a strong and secure career for myself, and living this life I’d created (with its heavy obligations to a host of family and friends), that I never stopped to examine how unfulfilling and stressful my life was. I didn’t see my relationships too clearly, either. I missed the fact that so many people were using and draining me, and many weren’t capable of giving back at all. I feel like I was so busy living my life that I wasn’t conscious of what I was missing—a career that thrills me, fulfilling relationships, and utilizing my creative talents.

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Medium 9781591202455

15. Giving Sorrow Words

Malcolm N. McLeod Basic Health Publications, Inc. ePub

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak,
knits up the o’er wrought heart and bids it break.


I came to know Sara as a person as delicate as a recently freed butterfly—and about as ill-prepared to face harsh Nature.

After Sara was sent back to live with her mother, this once placid child was “impossible to manage.” She had frequent temper tantrums and her mother either threw cold water on her or beat her. Eager to get some rest, her mother occasionally sent Sara to visit her uncle, the husband of the deceased aunt. Although Sara was never certain, she thinks he sexually abused her.

During Sara’s preteen years, she developed eating difficulties. Her appetite became ravenous and almost impossible to control.

She said, “There must be something genetic in my craving for sweets. People on both sides of my family crave sweets. Once I saw one of my uncles eat a gallon of ice cream at one sitting.”

“Did you mean to say a pint or a quart of ice cream?” I asked Sara.

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Medium 9781605099224

Nine The Metal Voice: Clarity and Focus

McAfee, Barbara Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub



Better keep yourself
clean and bright; you are the
window through which you
must see the world.

George Bernard Shaw


The following are examples of the metal voice. Can you hear them in your imagination?

The Wicked Witch of the West screeches from the movie screen, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

A bluegrass singer croons along with his banjo on a porch in the Appalachian Mountains.

Ethel Merman belts out “There’s No Business Like Show Business” on a Broadway stage that doesn’t have any microphones.

A Siamese cat improvises her own opera in an echoing hallway at three in the morning.

Willie Nelson kicks off “On the Road Again” to a cheering country music festival crowd.

The cartoon character Roadrunner evades the Coyote once again with a triumphant “Beep-beep!”

Madonna prances around the stage singing “Material Girl.”

The metal voice reverberates in what many vocal coaches call “the mask”—the area around the nose, eyes, and forehead. It focuses the sound in your sinus cavities, which act as powerful amplifiers for the vibrations your vocal cords make. These piercing sounds can be an intense experience as they ricochet around inside your head. I call the metal voice “the cheapest sound in the mall” because it uses only a tiny amount of breath to create a great big sound.

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Medium 9781626563292

18 Lessons in Gratitude From a Pay-It-Forward Restaurant

Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Pavithra Mehta

I magine a restaurant where there are no prices on the menu; a place where the meal is served as a gift by volunteers, and at the end of it guests receive a bill for a total of $0.00.

The bill comes with a note that explains their meal was a gift from someone who came before them. If they wish to pay it forward, they can make a contribution for someone who comes after them and help keep the circle going. This restaurant is called Karma Kitchen—and it actually exists.

When the other founders and I started in 2007 in Berkeley, California, we had no idea whether our project would sink or float. But more than six years later Karma Kitchen is still going strong. It has served more than 30,000 meals and now has chapters in half a dozen cities around the world. And it is all sustained by gratitude.

It baffles people to know that Karma Kitchen has no tracking systems—we don’t monitor how much individual tables receive and how much they give. Instead, we just focus on giving everyone a genuine experience of generosity.

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Medium 9781605098869

22 Overcome the Obstacles

Muchnick, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

LIFE IS A bit like an obstacle course. As we try to move forward along the path to our goals, invariably something stands in our way. Sometimes it’s a wall that seems insurmountable; other times it’s a speed bump that slows us down or a detour that takes us in a new direction. Each time we encounter an obstacle, we must determine the smartest approach to overcome it without losing sight of our goals. Should we fail to get past the obstacle—especially when the stakes are high—we will surely experience regret.

I know that’s how I felt when I was trying to complete the final hurdle in my formal education: a one-hundred-plus-page research project with a live presentation to a panel of professors at the end. The project was designed to take at least a full year to finish, but I needed to get it done in three months if I wanted to make the approaching graduation deadline. If I didn’t finish, I’d have to wait one full additional year to graduate and have to pay another year’s worth of tuition. To make matters worse, I had a new job lined up that was contingent upon my graduating. If I didn’t complete the project in three months, there would be no graduation, no job, and a lot of regret.

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Medium 9781523095452

IV. Work and Vocation: Writing a Life

Palmer, Parker J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I began working at age thirteen as a “landscape architect.” For three long, hot summers, I mowed lawns. But I moved up in the world by working as a caddy, public beach house maintenance man, research assistant, community organizer, consultant, professor, dean, writer, founder of a nonprofit, and workshop and retreat leader. And yet, naming the jobs by which I’ve made a living is not the same as naming the vocation by which I’ve made meaning.

The way I’ve earned my keep has changed frequently, but my vocation has remained the same: I’m a teacher-and-learner, a vocation I’ve pursued through thick and thin in every era of my life. Even when I was cleaning restrooms at a public beach, I was learning a lot about the human condition—mostly things I didn’t want to know! But my vocation has found its clearest expression in writing, which I did for many years without compensation.

As we grow older, it’s important to get clear about the difference between a job and a vocation. Too many older folks, especially men, fall into despair when their jobs end, because they lose not only their primary source of income (and often have to pick up part-time and poorly paid work) but their sense of identity as well. They had a job to make their living, but they didn’t have a vocation to make meaning of their lives, the kind of vocation a person can pursue to the end.

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Medium 9781576752302

Choice 23: Have an Out-of-Ego Experience

Manz, Charles C. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

He who is full of himself, is likely to be quite empty. 105

An article on the scandal at Enron Corporation looked beyond the dark story of upper management’s abuse of power and how the executives misrepresented the organization’s financial situation, leading to bankruptcy and the loss of the life savings of thousands of workers. Instead, it examined what motivated Enron workers to want to work there and provided important clues about how such mass deception could be accomplished.106 It revealed a story of how the human condition can make us vulnerable to the allure of gaining importance, opportunity, and riches. Ultimately it revealed a story of the power of the ego.188

The emotion-filled comments of former Enron employees were quite revealing. One said, “The opportunity. . . lit me on fire. It was like a drug.” Another commented, “The risk was not going to Enron and not having the chance to fulfill my aspirations.” Still another said, “For an energy-efficiency nut. . . Enron was like nirvana.”107 Working for Enron carried with it a strong emotional appeal for many workers who saw the company as a chance for not only a better life but an opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Perhaps this sad story leads to the recurrent conclusion of many philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers alike. That is, our ultimate struggle in finding a healthy and fulfilling life resides within ourselves. And the most formidable challenger of all is that inner force generally referred to as the ego.

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Medium 9781609940041

Discussion Guide for The Leadership Wisdom of Jesus, Third Edition

Manz, Charles C. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


In the months and years following the original publication of The Leadership Wisdom of Jesus, I learned that many reading groups and classes used the book as a resource for discussion. These groups met in a variety of contexts such as college classrooms, adult church classes, business executive groups, men’s groups, and so forth, both in the U.S. and abroad. Sometimes I was asked to speak at conferences or gatherings but most often the groups met on their own. On occasion I was asked for suggestions to help the groups with their study and discussions. Here I will share some brief thoughts about the kinds of things I have suggested to groups for consideration when they used the book. I will divide my advice into three primary parts. First, I will make suggestions on how the new chapter in this third edition—“Examine Your Reflection”—can be used to support group exploration and discussion of the various lessons included in this book. Second, a series of questions are offered to help in preparations for convening a reading group that is tailored to the needs of the participants. Third, a number of discussion questions are offered to provide some initial points for discussion among group members.

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Medium 9781609940577

Chapter 3 I Am Only One Person

Izzo, John B. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world. Indeed,
it is the only thing that ever has

Margaret Mead, noted anthropologist

It seemed to me that stepping up to initiate change should be a very natural thing for each of us to do. So as I began to research and explore the concept of stepping up, I naturally began to ask myself, Why don’t we often claim our power to change things? What keeps us on the sidelines rather than stepping up to create change?

My publisher, Berrett-Koehler, conducted an online survey to try to understand why we don’t step up. We asked a simple question: Why don’t you step up? The responses from 325 people across the United States and Canada, most of whom are professionals, revealed four primary reasons people say they don’t step up. The number one answer was “belief I can’t change things/I am only one person” (46 percent), followed by the belief that it is “others’ responsibility to change things” (20 percent), “getting caught up in the daily grind” (18 percent), and the “fear of looking bad if I try and nothing changes” (16 percent).

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Medium 9781605098869

5 Avoid Victimitis

Muchnick, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

WHEN I WAS in eighth grade I joined a youth group, and at our first event we had a speaker who introduced us to the PLUM game. PLUM stood for “Poor Little Unfortunate Me,” and the speaker’s contention was that most of us knew how to play this game all too well, especially when we were faced with tough challenges or if things didn’t go our way. He explained that when people play the PLUM game, they take little or no responsibility for their own situation. Instead they pretend to be victims when actually they’re just whining about their regrets—for example, how they don’t get what they rightfully deserve, how things never go their way, how they always get the short end of the stick, and all the other ways that life has somehow cheated them.

He called this pattern of behavior “victimitis” and was quick to make the distinction between it and being a true victim: “People with this condition actually have the ability to change their circumstances,” he said, “but somehow they convince themselves that they can’t.” Next he had us practice whining “Poor little unfortunate me!” in our most nasal voice possible. This way he could be certain we understood just how annoying people with this disease sounded. Then he gave some examples of the regrets that adolescents with victimitis whine about, most of which rang true for our group: “I got a bad grade on the test …” “I didn’t make the team …” “I didn’t get the part I wanted in the play …” “I’m not popular …” “My parents are on my case …” “I’m grounded for a week …” After each example we had to shout “Poor little unfortunate me!” The exercise was both invigorating and revealing, and it still sticks with me today.

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Medium 9781626567771

1 What Is the Courage Way?

, The Center for Courage & Renewal; Francis, Shelly L. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Our complicity in world making is a source of awesome and sometimes painful responsibility—and a source of profound hope for change. It is the ground of our common call to leadership, the truth that makes leaders of us all.

—Parker J. Palmer

Most people would agree that leadership is something we need more of, but there’s little agreement about exactly what good leadership means, except that we don’t want more of the traditionally hierarchical and authoritarian style. Search the Internet with the keywords good leadership and you’ll find countless books and articles with lists of the top skills and traits of a good leader. You’ll also find all kinds of programs and coaches and organizations claiming to offer the secrets to leading well, as if there were a shortcut.

Most of us know “good” leadership when we see it or experience it; we put labels on it, like authentic, transformational, trustworthy, successful, courageous. Look further. Good leadership is about making good decisions by balancing inevitable tensions and knowing when to take risks. Leadership is keeping your values in sight regardless of the pressures around you, and staying calm in the storms that arise. Leadership is listening well and inviting opinions and answers from others. Leadership is inspiring others with your vision, influencing them with the power of your presence. Leadership encourages others to step into their leadership, too.

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Medium 9781609945367

2 Do You Want to Save the World?

Wheatley, Margaret J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


I use this rather dramatic phrase of “saving the world” to get your attention and also to make a point.

You may not hold your work in such grandiose terms; you may be working hard to create change within one community, one organization, or for one cause. You haven’t been contemplating how to change the whole world, just working on the small piece in front of you. But many of us harbor the hope that if we do a good job and have evidence of our results, our work will spread and create change beyond our initial project or place. For me, such hope places you in the category of saving the world.

A few questions to see whether you fit in this category:

~ When you’ve discovered a process or project that works well, do you assume that others will be interested in how you achieved your success?

~ Do you present your good results, with supporting evidence, and assume that this will convince others to adopt your model?

~ Do you sometimes imagine how your good work could be taken up by enough other people that it goes to scale, creating change far beyond your own sphere of influence?

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Medium 9781626563292

9 Kick Your Addictions, Return to Intimacy

Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Dan Mahle

Iremember when I first discovered Internet porn. I was 17 years old. Fascinated by this world of unleashed sexual expression and fantasy, I couldn’t get enough of it. As I grew up and began exploring my own sexuality, I discovered just how different watching pixels on a screen was compared to the intimacy of making love with another human being. I thought I’d outgrow my porn habit over time. But I didn’t.

Porn had become an addiction. And, like most addicts, I was ashamed to talk about it or even admit it was a problem.

“Everybody watches porn,” I remember hearing. It seemed so pervasive and culturally accepted that having an actual conversation about it was a total non-starter. So I kept it to myself.

I didn’t realize how much watching porn had manipulated my mind, warping my sexuality, numbing my feelings, and affecting my relationships with women. And I was not alone.

According to a recent study, more than 70 percent of 18- to 34-year-old men visit porn sites in a typical month.2 And it’s not just guys watching sex online. It is estimated that one in three porn users today are women.3

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