Unexpected Miracles in 2018

It’s amazing to me how many miracles go unnoticed. We pray for good things to happen. We ask for signs, proof that we’re going in the right direction and even make ‘trade promises’ with the Divine if we can be given exactly what we asked for, “just this one time”. Then we wait, and we wait and we wait. And if we don’t experience what we asked for, in the exact way we asked for it, we begin to doubt. We begin to doubt ourselves and we begin to doubt the Divine…or the existence of a Divine.

What we forget is that the Divine doesn’t always give us what we want but rather what we need. A dear friend of mine often says, “rejection is God’s protection”. Often times, not getting what we asked for is the exact miracle we were looking for…as hard as that is to admit. Life is filled with these little miracles called blessings in disguise. Most of us have had those thank God moments when we reflect back on our life in appreciation for those unanswered prayers, or prayers that were answered in unexpected ways.

The reality is that prayers are always answered…just not always in the way we want them to be answered or in the exact time we want them answered. What is guaranteed is that the Universe will always present you with the exact miracle you need in the exact moment you need it; albeit a lesson of patience and forgiveness or an opportunity to check whether your prayer is a request from the ego or authentically from the heart. Watch out, the ego is sneaky. There are times we ask for miracles that our heart doesn’t even want.

This first week in January 2018, I encourage you to reflect on the miracles you experienced or witnessed this past year. If you reflect from the heart you may be surprised at how many little gems came your way. Looking forward into this new year, I offer you this prayer that will bring you infinite miracles, exponential personal growth and a life filled with beautiful surprises that are far beyond your imagination.

“Show me what I cannot see. Teach me what I do not know. This year I accept anyone and anything as my teacher. And I gladly receive, and will happily experience, any and all unexpected miracles coming my way!”

Here’s to an incredible year!

In the Streets of Sofia, Bulgaria

I’m sitting in the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria. A European city filled with hidden gems and almost a feel of Barcelona, Spain…but not quite.

This morning I’m finding refuge and laughter in one place where everyone speaks a universal language and shares the same love for a modern vice…Starbucks! I adore immersing myself in foreign cultures, but for whatever reason this Cafe Americano tastes so good.

My lesson this morning is unity through commonality. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can always find commonality with the person or people that surround you. You just have to stop and get curious to find it; when you do unity is inevitable (if even for just a moment).

Today, get curious about the people around you, and find refuge and laughter in the one commonality you share. You may be surprised on how this moment of unity can heal even the most tumultuous relationships.

Kindness Comes Back To You When It Matters Most

As I sit in the Paris airport I’m reminded again of the different cultures that span our world–thousands is truly an understatement. It’s so easy to just jump on a plane and find yourself as the minority in a foreign land.

Appreciation for kindness and patience from others grows leaps and bounds when YOU’RE the one that’s different; unable to speak the language while looking different and appearing confused. You become forever grateful for the kind soul that helped you order the pastery while the cashier looked at you as though you were a complete idiot (this was my experience just a moment ago).

Oh how perspectives change when the shoe is on the other foot. This weekend, choose to be kind and patient to those different than you–that kindness will come back to you when it matters most.

What Brave Leadership Looks Like; It’s Not What You Think

A powerful story about a maverick leader choosing to be the change we need to see in Corporate America. Thank you, Keith for your bravery and willingness to be vulnerable. Now this is great leadership!

By: Keith Narr, Chief Technology Officer @ Cargill

For nine months of the year you can find me coaching youth hockey. There is nothing like watching the excitement on children’s faces when they learn a new move, score a goal or win a game. I learned many of my life lessons on the rink as a kid and I love to share those same lessons with my own children and the children in my community.

Last winter, my Peewee team (12-13-year-old boys) were playing in a tournament in Elk River, MN, USA. Although an average team, we were playing unexpectedly well in the tournament and had a chance at making it to the finals. I was as excited as the kids. On Sunday morning, we were behind five points. I talked to the team before the last stretch of the game…

I complimented the goalie on keeping the game close. To motivate the others to play better, I told them “they played like girls”- a phrase that I had heard a hundred times in the locker room or sideline of sports as I grew up. A phrase that was used to motivate me and my peers to step up. My team went out in the third period; our play did not change, we lost to third place.

Two days after the game, I attended a full-day session about inclusion and diversity as part of the Cargill’s Global IT Leadership Development Program.

We watched a series of Always ad campaign videos called, “Run Like a Girl,” meant to build self-confidence in young girls and confront non-inclusive language and behaviors we considered social norms. I suddenly realized the negative impacts of my comments to my hockey team, “You guys are playing like girls”. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I had signed up to be a role-model. What an eye- opening moment for me! I thought of my own daughters and the confidence that I want them to have. I thought of my hockey players and the positive role-model I wanted to be for them. And at that moment, I chose to own and change my own behavior.

The next night at practice I apologized to the team, parents and players. I specifically talked to the players about why the things I said were not appropriate and why we shouldn’t say things like that. I also had my kids watch the series of videos and had a family conversation about equality and how to make the world a better place. Change starts with us.

Diversity is more than culture, color or orientation. All of us have opportunities to promote inclusion and diversity every day in ways we do not even realize. I believe we are all life-long learners. This new-found perspective has allowed me to be more mindful and create a more inclusive culture both at work and at home. My Peewee team and I may have lost an “important” game but we won an even more important life-lesson that will hopefully stick with all of us for a lifetime.


Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

I was at a wedding reception tonight for friends of mine who have been together for a decade. A reminder of the gifts patience provides to those willing to learn the practice. Each of our desires is like a piece of fruit; the longer you wait the sweeter the experience when it’s ready to enjoy. When it comes to the things our hearts desire most, the magic comes in our ability to relish in the process of anticipation so when it finally arrives we cherish the moment and hold gratitude for its existence.

Death By Corporate Speak 😳

Word to the wise… if you’re a leader who’s trying to move an idea, project or corporate initiative forward stay far away from “corporate speak”. Seriously, there needs to be a book called “Death by Corporate Speak”. Regardless of the effort, the only way to get anyone to want to help you is by using real language that’s super clear and speaks to the heart. Ditch the spin, stop trying to be fancy and just be real. Simple language moves mountains.

Turn Around And See All The People

I was asked by a client today, “Why do so many companies have problems with engagement?” 87% of US employees are disengaged to be exact.

It’s not rocket science… It’s because most leaders are faced in the wrong direction. Spending so much time appeasing “higher-ups”, Wall Street and making sure that the lastest initiative gets launched that they forget to turn around and see all the people….people who are the bread and butter to the company. Without people you have nothing.

The sure fire engagement strategy is simple. Every executive needs to model a “people first” management philosophy. Walk around and talk to people, care about them and recognize their value. If you’re thinking you don’t have time for this…then you don’t have time to be a leader and should take up a new individual contributor role. Harsh but true.

Today make your top priority taking Suzi out for a coffee to tell her how valuable she is to you and the company. Then everyday after that take a different employee out for coffee and tell them the same thing. Before you know it, I guarantee you’ll have higher engagement, greater profits and happier customers.

The Boomerang Effect

What you put into the world comes right back to you in strength. Be kind to your team and colleagues and they will be kind to you. Show respect and they will respect you. The Universe runs on a system of equal exchange. If you want engagement, performance, appreciation or loyalty from others, you must first take time to invest in them as a human being. There is no other way. So before you jump into fancy million dollar strategies…ask yourself, “How are my actions creating the current environment? How can I show up differently to inspire a different result?” It all comes back to you.

It’s Not Them It’s You 😳

Everyone’s your mirror – the good, the bad and the ugly. What you find annoying or frustrating in others is often showing you the exact part of yourself that you need to work on, become aware of and connect. Hmm 🤔Next time that certain someone is driving you crazy, rather than getting angry get curious! Ask yourself…“What can I learn about myself in this situation? What is this mirror showing me?” Your greatest teacher is always in front of you providing an opportunity for growth.<<<<