Eight months that seem like a life-time ago, I wrote the LinkedIn article I’m sharing below, along with excellent comments made to the post.
At the time, I was rethinking the empathy aspect of writing about the Positive Paradigm. Now, I’m about to launch another approach, one focused on healing on all three levels. Again, unless the three are present in a balanced, integrated way, it’s not sufficient.
As an intriguing book I’m reading explains, wholeness and holiness are necessary compliments. It expands on the Phoenix Response as my comprehensive approach to transcending adversity, when mere physical survival is not enough.
I’ll explain as I go what I mean. But, for today, for starters, here’s a recap of the basic concept, the spring board of what’s to come.
It concludes with questions that invite your feedback, the better to adjust to meet your specific needs in future articles. What do you think? And thanks.
Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough
Some leaders are satisfied to sing along with Meatloaf, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”
But Authentic Leaders know better. It ain’t enough.
As I’m learning the hard way, when any part goes missing, everything suffers.
Bear with me. I’ll share why three-out-of-three is a must for me – and for effective leaders in every walk of life.
The Life Wheel — the Positive Paradigm based on the Unified Theory Einstein had, though he didn’t know it — is the personal Truth I’d dearly love to share with the world – starting with you.
From Rethinking Survival:
This familiar atomic structure repeats smallest to largest in the patterns of nature, from snow flakes and intricate flowers to spiders’ webs and sea shells. Similar symmetrical patterns repeat worldwide in the art of every culture — including the prayer wheels of Native Americans, the colored sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists, the stained glass windows of European cathedrals and the intricate geometrical patterns that cover Muslim Mosques, to name but a few. They offer proof of the universal awareness of a central inner reality, of an inner structure common to all humanity, and to a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.
The Life Wheel reflects the perennial philosophy shared in common by the world’s enduring wisdom traditions – free of historical baggage. It is equally compatible with yoga and modern physics. It converts easily into a method for introspection and decision-making. Like a modern day Book of Change, it has the potential to become the best friend of change agents everywhere.
The value unique to the Life Wheel is, because it highlights the innate potentials we share in common, it serves as a foundation of common discourse.
Just as importantly, from personal experience, I’ve found the Life Wheel to be a great tool with virtually universal applications. Point it like a laser beam in any direction. It illumines the field.
In Authentic Leaders Depend on the Center I presented a variation on the Wheel – the MPI (Motive-Purpose-Intent) Standard – used to increase self-awareness.
One LinkedIn connection really got it! After a back-and-forth exchange, he commented:
I can also see how the MPI can work in a variety of contexts, both religious and secular. In fact, I think it could have virtually universal application – – – I hope it catches on!
BUT – it hasn’t. Not yet. For that I take full responsibility.
I have yet to demonstrate how I use the Life Wheel for introspection and goal setting. I have yet to show how it can be adapted as an analytical tool for virtually any purpose.
I haven’t effectively explained that this picture answers the plaintive question, “Why can’t we just get along?” Namely, very few of us work from a unifying concept of our common humanity. We were never taught the basics of natural law, much less how to live in harmony with it and each other. )
I’ve failed to communicate powerfully enough the connection I see between the Life Wheel and its potential to relieve human suffering. Those who’ve been taught to look for fulfillment on the shallow surface have been set up for a world of hurt. Joy returns when we know where to look, when we finally return our focus to the center, where eternal love resides deep within the heart of hearts.
The Wheel explains today’s pervasive sense of loneliness, a result of living exclusively on the noisy, frantically busy surface. It offers a hopeful, alternative life picture. When we reconnect with the center, we know that we are never, ever truly alone. Not possible.
SO – why hasn’t all this vitally important stuff been successfully communicated? In retrospect, I’m recognizing I have yet to live up to my own “three-out-of-three” standard!
For one thing, I’m still building the technical skills needed to do the Life Wheel idea justice.
For example, my first LinkedIn article, Boundary Spanners Connect at the Center, isn’t illustrated. In September of 2014, I didn’t yet know how to create images with photo-shop software. Though I’ve come a far distance in the ten months since then, I am still picking up necessary skills on a daily basis.
Just as importantly, I’m getting important feedback that my communication skills need work. Which is different from language skills. In fact, past academic background sometimes gets in the way. I’ve been faulted for seeming so precise and confident that I’m intimidating. Makes me very very sad. Not at all what I intend.
For this, the recent process of writing a guest post for authorunlimited was good medicine. I submitted a draft on the suggested subject: The important difference between knowledge and knowing. Cathy Presland emailed back an edited version.
Fortunately, I had an inkling as to why she made changes. I already saw her most excellent article Writing with Empathy and taken it to heart. I also followed the link to Seung Chan Lim’s video, How empathy fuels the creative process. Like magic, on that particular day, his message was exactly what I needed to hear.
My sheepish Aha. In my rush to get from “here to there,” from surface results to common understanding, I’ve been leap-frogging over the linking, middle level of empathy.
So I can tell you from sad experience, two out three – ideas and technical skills without empathy –ain’t enough!
Cathy’s quote reminded me:
In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you—they might have different tastes.”
In other words, I have been writing as if LinkedIn connections all understand and agree that everyone, everywhere shares the same center in common. But “it ain’t necessarily so.”
True, boundary spanners, no matter where they start on the surface of Planet Earth, meet at the universal center. But not everyone sees the value in being a boundary spanner. It’s on me to accept this, adjust and improve accordingly.
So back to the drawing board. As part of the Under Construction operation, I promised to restore empathy to the larger picture, accepting that not everyone is boundary spanner. And remember, respectfully, that many are not only asleep but perhaps a bit afraid of waking up.
Yet my worst worry remains. Unfortunately, it usually takes a horrific wake up call to shake people out of their complacent slumbers. From Rethinking Survival:
While we all have the option to remember who we truly are, most of us are like Lambert, the sheepish lion. It takes a smack with a two-by-four upside the head before we’re finally ready to wake up. Often it takes the form of life-threatening danger to those we care for. A personal health crisis will also do the trick. So will job loss or a run-in with natural disaster.
But, like Dorothy stranded in the Land of Oz, when you want dearly enough to return “home,” you can click your heels whenever you chose — and come to find out, you’re already there.
My preference, which I’d dearly love to share with you is this. Rather than wait for inevitable shocks, when it might be too late to survive, I’d rather you be proactive. Use the tools for anticipating change I have to offer.
As I urged in Being Proactive in the 21st Century, make yourself ready to meet whatever unknowns life has in store, coming around the next bend or two.
Working with Life Wheel maps helps mindful, authentic leaders link the levels, making the three-out-of-three option possible. With it, we can choose to be true to ourselves and realize the vision of a positive future.
Bottom line: Change is inevitable. We can experience it as resisting, passive victims or as proactive agents of positive change. I’ve given you tools to put the choices for change in your hands.
Am I communicating yet? Questions? Comments? Please let me know how I can better meet your needs.
Mark Hayward st Head of Sales at TheSmallPicture.biz | NIKKEN Independent Consultant: Helping people to take control of their Wellbeing
No worries Patricia West, you made an instant fan out of me 😉
Peter Fellingham sVice President of Engineering and Co-Founder at ProtoStar Inc
Hi Patricia, I enjoy your writing style. That said, one must write with a target audience in mind; at least commercially. Otherwise you are just writing for yourself.
Patricia West AUTHOR Blogger; Author of Books on Change, Einstein & Human Survival
When writing for authors as a guest of authorulimited, I welcomed the opportunity to write for a specific audience. Here, am focused on authentic leaders, albeit in every walk of life. If you (or anyone else) has another audience in mind, I’m open to your suggestions. : )
Bob Hemmerle Senior Zen Practitioner/Baseball Umpire
If you get 1 world leader with nukes to understand this then when he sits down with the others he will have something worthwhile to share, Bravo
Richard Lipscombe THE MEMES MAN
Patricia: This is a great post. I first read this quickly last night. I had an immediate reaction. You can not, we can not communicate with someone who does not hold to their ‘truth’. I re-read it now and listened to TED talk.I still think the same. Inside all of us is mass, energy, and light as a combination – it is what I call my ‘truth’. I can deny it. I can avoid it. I can run away from it. But I can never hide from it. Most people conceal it.
So most people can never ever admit to hearing your message. It is too painful. In simple terms they can not hear that change is your choice and to choose well for yourself you have to listen to your truth.
Most posts on LinkedIn help people to consider ‘change’ as a surface ripple, a mere happening, an entertainment, a dynamic shift without meaning, and so on. They can do this because this is a place for collectives, cliques, false wisdom, fashions, and fads. They welcome all that because it does not challenge the essence of who they are and thus it can never change them. Change their ‘truth’. Truth can be changed easily if you know what it is and embrace it. Truth is continuity – we cling to it even if we do not acknowledge its existence within us. Change to truth sets up a new continuity for us. Richard.
Patricia West AUTHOR Blogger; Author of Books on Change, Einstein & Human Survival
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Richard. That courageously mindful folks are in the minority, everywhere . . . not just on LinkedIn. . . is the stuff of tragedy. But deep within we all harbor the latent seeds of heroism. As I said, Sooner or later comes the inevitable wake-up call. Last night, after posting this, I came across an excellent example of how 9/11 changed one leader forever. I highly recommend reading – and heeding – this article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/crises-changed-what-i-expect-from-leaders-gerald-hassell
Cathy Presland Strategist, Trainer, and Editor-in-Chief at Author Unlimited
Patricia this is such a thoughtful piece — I love it! And the concept that we need all three of ideas, technical skills and empathy — I will take that to heart.
Catherine Hamrick Communications Manager at the School of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Delaware
On target–as usual. Thanks for shakin’ up my brain.