Personal & Economic Freedom – Your Basic Right

Lets begin with personal freedom. The basis of personal freedom is the ability to think for yourself, the freedom of speech to express yourself, and the freedom to make up your own mind and take whatever action moves you towards your own goals (as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others.)

One of the foundations of personal freedom is economic freedom. Economic freedom is your basic right in any capitalist country. Economic freedom enables you to make your own economic decisions. This includes the right to own, use and profit from property (property is defined as anything you own such as money, real estate, patents, businesses, worldly possessions etc.) You are free to choose and change jobs, businesses, careers and relationships. You have the freedom to save money and invest it as you wish.

Most people neither understand nor fully exercise this basic freedom. Instead of thinking for and educating themselves, they abdicate responsibility for their personal economics to an outside authority – including partners and spouses.

Anytime we abdicate responsibility to an outside authority we are giving up our basic freedom and becoming at the effect of someone else. This is the primary cause of failed partnerships, marriages, businesses and is the basis of one side of the money PLOT. The other side of the money PLOT is where we are the “outside authority” that others have abdicated control to.

While we are in the PLOT we may achieve economic freedom, however we will never have emotional freedom. Which means that we are not really economically free – because of our needs and obligations to be taken care of by other people – or to be the one taking care of other people. It is not possible to enjoy money for what it is – if it is mired in and intertwined with power, control, insecurity, lack and limitation!

De-program, De-condition, De-hypnotize.

There are many people teaching about money and how to build one’s wealth, however there is very little effective support available to help one de-programde-condition and de-hypnotize oneself from the core emotional aspects of money. This is more than a mental exercise, it takes examining one’s family background to fully understand and appreciate all the subtle and pervasive thoughts, beliefs and feelings that drive our money attitudes and behaviors.

Then there is the metaphysics of money, wealth and abundance. Many people think they know about metaphysics – and yet are unable to use this knowledge to financial advantage. The true test of knowledge is all in the application: if you can do it, then you know it. If you cannot do it – then you don’t know it.

Our definition of wealth is way beyond the trappings of success, income generating assets, fancy cars, big houses and loads of cash. What good is financial abundance if one has no time to enjoy it, no energy and one’s relationships are bankrupt? Most people believe in their core feelings that you cannot have it all and that you have to sacrifice something in order to obtain wealth and all its trappings. This is absolutely not true. You can have it all. And you can have it sooner than you realize… by learning about and mastering the universal principles of what we call Goldzone Wealth!

Your EXCHANGE reveals your FEELINGS.

It is at the point of exchange that our money DYNAMICS are revealed and our true feelings about money show up. Many of us have a difficult time identifying and acknowledging our feelings about money. And yet it is these very feelings that drive our behaviors which ultimately create our results.

The fastest way to identify our feelings about money (or lack of it) is to examine our exchanges with other people. It is very easy to say rationally that we believe in fair exchange and win/win – however when our money is on the line – our true feelings and behavior are exposed.

Enjoy The Good Life!

Most people work hard to generate money, to invest this money in assets that then generate more money so that they can retire, live off the income, then enjoy the good life. The question is what would happen if you enjoyed the good life now? What is the good life anyway? Is it your definition or someone else’s?

What would happen if you enjoyed what you did, were free to think, say and do whatever you wanted as long as it did not infringe on others?

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© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Financial Crisis and the Speed of the Zone

For many people, the financial crisis has caused a paralyzing amount of fear. A question on many people’s minds is how to cope with this gripping emotional state at a time when action is necessary. Perhaps this is the most relevant conversation as our emotional state is what determines the speed at which we are able to take action.   Also, it is our emotional state that determines the accuracy of our perception and the mind’s ability to solve complex problems.  At this very moment, the pace of communication and information is accelerating at incomprehensible multiples.

The emotional state of fear will have us wanting to slow down, or even stop.  In the financial world, this translates to “wait and see,” “panic and sell,” “follow the crowd,” “run and hide,” “shame and be shamed,” “blame and justify,” “judge and be judged.”  The mass fear is palpable and unbearable to be around, and the results are showing up in the markets, the media and everywhere.

The solution to this is to get in a different state, where we can move faster, make better decisions, and keep ourselves from being sucked into the vacuum of fear, like particles in space into a massive black hole.  In order to do this, we have to step back and observe, speed up and change, and take the actions without hesitation.  Buy great opportunities and resist selling those that will recover. History will prove that even though the market hibernates like a bear, it does make room for the bull sooner or later.  This is the time to be bold and resilient and the internal state of fear is our enemy.

Below is an article I wrote in 2004 about the speed of the zone, for a group of leaders that I was working with.

The zone in sports is that magical moment when an athlete is totally connected to winning, physiologically and psychologically, and releasing chemicals that enhance the state.  This emotional state takes us into a different reality beyond fear and into bliss.  Everything is optimized and enhanced.  I feel understanding this zone is a key to moving past the fear and into action again.

The Speed Of The Zone (copy of original article written in 2004)

Thank you for your courage and commitment to this journey that we share together, which can be very personal and alone sometimes. I have written about “the speed of the Zone” to support you in your understanding of what you have available to you.

The Zone is a very magical space; even though it can seem graceful and slow from the outside, it is actually moving very fast. What does this mean?

As we move up the zones the speed increases exponentially. What this means is that the feeling of each zone is dramatically different. As you move in your own personal journey up the zones you will hit invisible walls. This can feel uncomfortable and will have you plotting against yourself to move back into a lower zone that is more comfortable. We call this your havingness, or upper-limit. I will discuss more about this later but for now let me explain the speed of the Zone.

The important thing is that you will adjust and adapt and then it does get more comfortable again. However, in the middle of the adjustment it can feel confusing. Let‘s begin by understanding the context of the personal journey you are on as a Leader.

The Personal Journey

The voice of your Spiritual-Self compels you to let go of your comfort zone and embark on a personal journey that seems to have no limits, no restrictions and no end. In a life driven by goals, achievements and deadlines, this voice is seldom convenient, comfortable or timely. And yet when it’s time, the spirit moves quickly and ruthlessly like a storm from which you cannot protect yourself and there is no place to hide. The only solution is to stop the struggle and surrender to your spirit. Your spirit is much faster than your ego.

In a world of accelerating acceleration, where change is unpredictable, and complexity is growing at levels that are becoming evermore challenging, your ability to adapt must transcend previous limits in order to survive. You are on a personal journey, a quest for meaning, an evolution that takes you from your social act to your authentic self, from specialist to generalist, from dominance to partnership, from competitive to cooperative, from fragmented to integrated, from an ego-centered person to a comprehensive, whole, spiritual being.

You are for the first time making room in your life for spirit and ego to walk in partnership, side by side, each making peace with the needs of the other.

From Surviving To Thriving

Human beings are complex and evolving beings, who thrive on problem solving, adding value and contributing to others; once survival is handled you are fulfilled only by things that move your heart and challenge your mind.

“It is not the strongest nor most intelligent of species that survives; it is the one most adaptable to change.

– Charles Darwin

Change is something that requires action and is, by its very nature, not a passive energy, but rather an energy that has force. This force is required to take action from a lower zone because there has to be a dramatic increase in energy. Not only is more energy required as you move up the zones but also more velocity or speed. Things happen faster, and more powerfully. At first this can feel draining and tiring, but as you adapt you begin to have more energy and power available to you. This is the same as someone learning to run their first marathon. It takes persistence, determination and commitment. The body has to adapt physically and they have to increase the distance in incremental steps, not run the whole distance the first day.

Let me explain through an analogy from a story.

A Clue From The Red Queen

For Alice, in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass,” advice from The Red Queen is that “in this place it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

“Through the Looking Glass,” is the imaginary life of a young girl who, while playing the game of chess, walks through a mirror into another reality where the pieces of the chess game become giant and real, and The Red Queen is showing Alice the way. This statement inspired Evolutionary Biologist L. Van Valen to come up with a principle called the “The Red Queen Principle” which states that “for an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with.” The evolution here is in our consciousness, our collective knowledge and how we individually operate within this.

The zones are the equivalent to our own personal evolution as human beings. Only the whole thing is happening in one life and not over millions of years.

Understanding The Landscape

Like Alice in “Through the Looking Glass,” understanding what it takes to thrive in the Zone begins with looking into the mirror, and stepping into a future reality that is at present a possibility only as surreal as the room inside Alice’s mirror. Where things are operating differently than you know, the rules are different, the players are different, and everything is unpredictable, outside your current concept of time and space.

Let’s imagine the world inside the mirror, which on the surface looks similar, and yet everything is on different sides. Things that were on your right are now on the left, the sizes and proportions are constantly changing as you walk in. To see further into the mirror, you have to literally step past your current limitations. In the story, Alice is a self-centered girl who is insensitive to her cats and to her sister has an opportunity to learn some valuable lessons. Her journey begins after she steps out of the room in the mirror (her previous limits), and steps into the landscape outside and is joined by the Red Queen (who has transformed from a few inches tall on Alice’s chessboard to a full size woman, taller than Alice. She looks over the hills and sees that everything is divided into squares, like her chessboard and realizes she is in the game. The queen is showing her the way and, they have been moving very fast and take a break when:

Alice looked round her in great surprise. “Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!”

“Of course it is,’ said the Queen, `what would you have it?”

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

A New Reality

This dialogue is a great analogy of the world you are stepping into, fast and unpredictable and where the rules feel as different as a reality without gravity. This is the context of the “The Red Queen Principle” where running is an analogy for adaptation to the environment. Using the characteristics that you developed to achieve success in the past, the ACT will only manage to keep you at the same place even if you are playing at full speed. So what will it take to achieve success in the future? The single word answer is CHANGE.

This is your individual ability to change and re-invent yourself, to adapt to the new rules of the game. Literally going from mono-dimensional thinking to multi-dimensional thinking. Imagine that the two-dimensional chess board now surrounds you, you are in it and the pieces have come to life, and you can move in ways you do not understand from your current perspective.

The challenge presented to Alice is “If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” On a purely physical level, the fastest runners in the world are not twice as fast as their peers, only milliseconds faster. The change that is required is in the way that you perceive, think, and respond, not a physical adaptation that would take many life spans to accomplish.

You have been thinking and responding to a slow world and the Zone is like another reality and nothing in your past can prepare you for this. The Zone requires all of you to be present in the NOW!!

Remember the Zone is an ideal that we are always reaching for and there is no limit, no end. However by reaching for Goldzone we will surely live above the line in Greenzone and Bluezone and sometimes Goldzone.

To Your Goldzone!

Anjou MacPherson
Co-founder
Goldzone Education

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Taking Risks vs. Gambling

Many people don’t understand the difference between taking risks and gambling. Here is the definition of gambling:

Gambling v. 1. To take risky action with the hope of a desired result despite very little chance of success. 2. The risking of money or other items of material value on an event, with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and or goods of material value.

For us, we don’t gamble.  However, we do take a lot of risks. The difference is that when gambling, you have a high chance of losing, whereas with a calculated risk, you have a high chance of winning!

A calculated risk is where you give thoughtful consideration to the risk and for that which the potential costs and potential benefits have been weighed and considered.

Add to the mix one’s level of trust… we take risks and we trust. Many people gamble and have no trust… go figure!

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Expansion

A little known Generalized Principle is “EXPANSION LEADS TO EXPANSION, CONTRACTION LEADS TO CONTRACTION.”  This is similar to “WINNING LEADS TO WINNING, LOSING LEADS TO LOSING.”

The more you win, the easier it is to win. Most of us have experienced getting on a winning streak where one win leads to another, and each successive win becomes easier and easier.

Think about how you can apply these Generalized Principles to win more often – and to expand the things you want, while contracting the things you do not want…

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Financial Crisis: Expansion

With the world embroiled in a global recession for the first time since the 1940’s, a lot of what we had accepted as “the way things are” has been turned upside down. Sure, there have been recessions in most regions, however it has been over 60 years since we had a global recession.

One thing a lot of people had taken for granted was that we could keep on expanding forever. This caused a bubble from over expansion when prices lost touch with fundamentals and in the end, turned out to be unsustainable.

Greed drove markets to higher and higher levels, and now that things have crashed back to earth, fear has driven (and continues to drive) markets lower and lower to such a level that we have, once again, lost touch with the fundamentals.

As you can see, we have swung between these two extremes that are driven by emotions at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Often times it is fear of contraction that holds people back from expanding. This is similar to not wanting to try something in case you fail at it. The thought is that it is better to not try than it is to fail.

The problem is, if we don’t grow, we don’t expand, we don’t stretch ourselves, we don’t set goals, we don’t visualize brighter futures, we have nothing to look forward to. We are living in our comfort zone.

When we are in our comfort zone, we are NOT running into limiting beliefs, limiting paradigms, or limited ability.

It is only when we expand and grow that we run into our limits. It is only then that we discover what we don’t know, and what we cannot yet do. It is only then that we discover everything that is against our goals, visions and progress.

In a world that exists on the universal law of duality, we are either growing or we are dying. There is no such thing as a holding pattern. This means that the comfort zone is in fact a slow death. If we stand still, we do not remain motionless. The world around us continues and we, in fact, regress. So doing nothing is like regression and growing is the only way to move forward and claim the prize of a life fully lived.

So what is it that has people not growing, not expanding and not taking risks? FEAR. And the false belief that if they do nothing, their situation will improve. If a company is losing money and the management does nothing, then the company will be in a worse condition in six months time than it is now. Something has got to change in order to turn the financial position around.

This is the same with bad careers, relationships, health, etc. If you do nothing, you may become numb to the problem; however, you will not solve the problem.  It will only get worse and will be more difficult to solve later.

Most people only take action when an emergency is upon them and they can delay no longer. The pain of taking action is less than the pain of emergency. This is a very stressful way to live and it is completely unnecessary.

So, why do people stop growing, set no goals, visions, and not commit to plans? The answer may surprise you. It is because at some time in the past, the person had a painful experience, made a number of conclusions based on that experience, and formed a belief or precept on how they would live in the future so as to avoid the pain.

Whenever a person sets a new goal, plans or envisions a future, they invoke all the unresolved past incidents that are similar to their current goals, plans and visions. This can be very depressing and painful! Usually, the person will not realize that this mechanism has activated, and will look for causes within their present time to blame for their condition and their feelings. Usually the blame is put on some person who is perhaps not faultless… But certainly didn’t do it to them. Blaming others or outside events only serves to avoid the real truth of what the cause of the failure is. And, unless the truth is uncovered… It will reoccur again, and again.

If you think that you will arrive at a point in life where you have “arrived” and your learning and growing will stop… Then you don’t understand how life works!

The worst thing you can do is hope that this problem will resolve itself… And therefore do nothing.

How do you end this cycle and accelerate your expansion?

This is perhaps the most difficult thing to do… set new goals, dream new dreams and do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It is at times like this when the most opportunities exist. Take some risks, venture out and know with confidence that the recession will not last and the market will soon be back into growth.

Now is your opportunity to lead. Go for an extraordinary existence, living an extraordinary life with extraordinary people and achieve extraordinary results.

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Has The Economy Hit Bottom Yet?

bottomyet

This graph is very interesting (from The New York Times). It shows the price-to-earnings ratio and gives us hope for the future as well as some relief that the bottom is not far away – if not here already. On the other hand, you can see that there is a possibility we will get to the lows of the 20’s, 30’s and 80’s – which means more pain on the way.

What explains the huge run up from the 80’s to the early 2000’s and why was this period very different from the previous ups and downs? The answer is the widespread adoption of new technologies. Some of the gains from applying technology have been overrated; however, for the most part, these gains have resulted in significant increases in productivity.

Even if you don’t follow the markets, you are impacted by them. When the market moves up (prices rising) it is a lead indicator of what we will see on the street in the not-too-distant future. What happens to stocks usually preempts what happens in the overall economy. Prices rising indicates optimism, prices falling indicates pessimism. The better the future looks, the higher the ratio of price-to-earnings will go.

You may be thinking, “Wow, sounds like the markets are run by emotion!” You are right, with the two primary emotions being fear and greed, and a diverse range in-between.

To be fair, there is more at play in the markets than emotion… There is also the data, the facts and the ratios. Emotions without facts are irrational. Facts without emotion are inaccurate or incomplete. As you can see, it takes both to be successful.

For those born in the 70’s and 80’s, this is a new experience (in the 2000’s). I was born in the 60’s, so you can see I experienced the slide down to the 80’s. The benefit of the graph is that you can look back a hundred years or so and see the repeating pattern. Which brings me to the good news: we will hit bottom and the wild ride up will begin again!

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

I.O.U.S.A.

This video is very well done. I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. The graphics are awesome and the content is very well presented. The full version is available (highly recommended) on DVD from PBS.

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Financial Crisis: What to Say to Your Loved Ones

Many people have their self-worth hardwired to their net-worth. I referred to this phenomenon in Towers of Glass, Feet of Clay.  Perhaps this is the single biggest reason it is a good idea to build a glass tower around yourself in the first place. So, what happens when the waves of impact touch your reality and this tower is about to blow apart from the tension, shattering everything within its shadow?

For those of us that are fortunate enough to free ourselves from this thought form, it is easier perhaps to keep our sense of self and our self-worth in tact as these waves impact our net-worth. This is not easy, not comfortable, not separate from the tension, and not immune from the judgments of others.   Rather, it is perhaps more objective in the way we are able to view ourselves through the process.

Psychiatrists and psychologists report that 80% of their clients who are seeing them for stress related issues are stressed the most about finances and the economy.

Chronic stress leads to many physical problems, and some of these are life threatening. The way you manage this emotionally is everything. BBC News reports that the wealthiest people have been impacted in “Rich List Hit by Economic Crisis” http://budurl.com/64e6.  It states, “The financial crisis is taking its toll on the world’s richest people, wiping 332 names off Forbes magazine’s ‘rich list’ of world billionaires.” This represents about one-third of the list and the average loss for those that remain is 23% of their net-worth. Only 5.5% of those remaining on the list increased their income over the past year.

This is truly a reversal of fortune.

How do you communicate to spouses, life partners, children, parents, friends and family what is going on? How do you reassure those that are close to you in the middle of such uncertain and volatile circumstances? It’s challenging, especially when you need reassurance, too!

How do you cope when those closest to you failing to stand by you in your moment of vulnerability when they are used to leaning on you?

How do you communicate the truth without scaring and terrorizing the people around you, when you have been bred to be silent or angry when things are not right? What do you do when they only know you as the provider, the hero, the one who is strong? What happens if everyone close to you has abdicated financial responsibility to you and you have taken it, leaving him or her powerless to fend for himself or herself in this area?

Step one is to re-build, re-negotiate and redeem these relationships from the foundation of who you are, separate from your net-worth. Establish your self-worth as being most important, and free from the highs and lows of the marketplace.

Truthful, honest communication requires a quiet confidence that allows you to be authentic and natural, safe and secure like an oasis in the middle of a dry desert. The challenge is that if your self-worth is hardwired to your net-worth then you will feel ashamed and fearful, and these feelings will suppress your expression, your truth and your spirit.

The other option is for you to get frustrated and angry and this will cause you to be over-expressed and reactive. Regardless of the words you say, the positive attitude you force upon yourself and the feeling you exude is what people respond to. Your feelings are what creates the oasis, the re-assurance and the support. Your feelings are what allow those you are used to supporting to either support you or abandon you as quickly as your cash.

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Thoughts about Money

Many of us would agree that our results in life are created by our actions, and our actions are preceded by thoughts, and our thoughts are created by our feelings.  The challenge is that most of us have thoughts and feelings that are hidden deep in the subconscious mind – out of our conscious awareness. The easiest way to see what is in our subconscious is to look at our results.  Our results will reflect the inner workings of our mind.

Over a lifetime, we hear thousands of comments about money and observe the money behavior of the people closest to us:  our parents, relatives, teachers, friends and colleagues.  Many of these comments reinforce patterns of thinking and beliefs that over time become buried in our subconscious.  Our day-to-day experiences confirm and validate that these thoughts and beliefs are true and accurate.

In order to change the relationship we have with money, we have to reprogram our subconscious mind.  This requires replacing negative thoughts and feelings that are inaccurate with positive thoughts and feelings that give us the results we want.

Most people would like to increase their income, however negative thoughts about what they have to do to make more money often counters their intention.  For example, if you have the belief that you have to be dishonest to make money – and you see yourself as an honest person – you will avoid making lots of money so you don’t compromise your status as an honest person.  However, this belief is not true.  You can make as much money as you want through honest means and all the while maintain the highest levels of honesty and integrity.

Making a list of your most negative thoughts about money will help you to bring these deep-seated thoughts and feelings to the surface so you can view them and choose a replacement thought and feeling.

Many years ago, I sat down with a note pad and created two columns.  In the left column, I listed my most negative thoughts about money.  In the right hand column, I wrote a positive affirmation that would reprogram the negative into the positive.

This process totally transformed my relationship to money.  I highly recommend that you make your own list and pay attention to the thoughts that come up as you read the list below.  Feel free to use any of these and add them to your list.

moneythoughts11moneythoughts2

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Confront and the Financial Crisis

With the financial crisis deepening, many of our worst fears are being realized.  With the Waves of Impact continuing to wash over us, we are being confronted by financial losses on a never-before-seen scale. Entire industries are at risk of being wiped out. Previously invulnerable mega-corporations are being brought to their knees. Hidden weaknesses are being exposed.

As individuals, we are being faced with the complete loss or at least dramatic reduction in the value of our retirement accounts. It can feel like we are being confronted on all sides. How do we cope with the uncertainty?

Now is an excellent time to consider the meaning of the word CONFRONT. Most people don’t think about their ability to confront and what can be done to confront difficult situations more easily, more effectively, and with less stress.

Here is the definition of “confront”:

CONFRONT: n. 1. An action of being able to face without flinching or avoiding. 2. The ability to be there comfortably and perceive.

So, confront means to be able to comfortably see what is there without flinching, wanting to withdraw or running away. Often, to fully understand a word, it is easier to look at the opposite. What does “non-confront” mean? It simply means the inability to see what is there.  It is an inability to face something. Why can’t we confront something? Because to confront means PAIN. It is too painful to view, so we withdraw and refuse to look at the area.

Notice that the definition describes confront as an ability? It isn’t something you do, it is an ability that we develop over time. The ability to see more and more of the truth.

There is also what is called “low-confront” which is when a person can confront a little, can see a little of the truth of what is there… but not all of it.

How do you improve your ability to confront? The same way you improve any other ability – focus, attention, and practice, as well as dealing with the pain that had you not confronting the area in the first place.

As you can see, the ability to confront is directly connected to the ability to handle change. If a person can’t confront the future or the unknown, then they will stay in their comfort zone…and remain stuck in the past.

© Goldzone Foundation. All rights reserved.

Towers of Glass, Feet of Clay

royal_bank_building-smallI have been reflecting further about the “financial crisis,” and recalling a book I read in 1982 called Towers of Gold: Feet of Clay – the Canadian Banks, by Walter Stewart.

In a conversation about this with my colleagues I happened to say towers of glass, and perhaps 27 years later, Glass is more descriptive. In 1982, I was working in the oil and gas industry in Canada and this book was written about the Banking Industry, the mortgage crisis and the oil prices. These themes are again relevant in 2009.

In Towers of Gold, the title was based on the Royal Bank in Canada with a gold colored glass tower in Toronto. Gold had more relevance then as some of the money (not much even then) was actually backed by gold bars. Many eons ago, most of it was either made of gold/silver and later backed by it. Now most of our money is floating around electronically in bits and bytes, and the cash is made of plastic, paper and mostly cheaper metals. I have a special account (premier customer – which means more money deposited) with a major international bank, and the interest on this was very low and now has dropped to 0%.

I used to have judgements about people who keep their money in or under the mattress. Now I can laugh at myself because there is not much difference. Judgements are often like that, what goes around comes around. I wish I had some gold bars.

I feel this title reflects what is happening very accurately. Now there are even more towers of glass. There is competition between top cities about who can build the tallest tower, one about half a mile into the sky. Now most of these projects are compromised, and construction financing has been choked almost to death. Containers of steel and glass which were in such short supply (some orders 3 years ahead) were turned around from China and returned to their origin. Each one of these events has an impact on multiple people, industries, and countries. These really are the waves of impact. The waves move around the world faster than the earth spins.

These towers are built to be earthquake proof, tidal wave resistant, fire resistant and all these events are insured. This is where the foundations (the feet of clay) are being stretched beyond anything imaginable. And most will fall short in the test over time… I am refering to the financial foundations and also that of people, relationships, organizations, communities, and countries.

Like the banks, we all have glass towers that we build (what we show the world: the act, the ego, the stuff) and feet of clay (what we are at the core of our being: the real self, the essence, the ordinary humble person). Glass towers are fragile, and someone can always build a taller one.

I see all this as an opportunity to lead where it matters. When the waves of impact hit us, we cannot control the wave, only our response. By building personal foundations that are deep, strong, resilient and mostly invisible to everyone else, we can withstand the waves and even become better human beings. We can choose right action no matter what prevails.

Waves of Impact

underwater3

Nearly everyone is feeling the financial crisis, not all at once, but rather in waves.  These waves or fluctuations go in and out like the ocean. Each one brings more insight, more truth, more change, and with each contact, ever greater connections that impact our reality. The illusions and ideas that we took for granted are eroding.

We once thought ideas, like banks, are stable and real estate is a safe bet.  Ideas about the hedge funds, insurance companies, and finacial gurus, to name a few.  Ideas about government and capitalism and private business.  Ideas about retirement and security. All of these ideas are being challenged, exposed, and the bottom line, once so clear, is a hazy blur. No one seems to know exactly when and how the whole experience known as the financial crisis will end. As quickly as solutions appear, another wave appears, and the impact keeps growing.

More than ever it is time to lead, not follow.  Calling this a financial crisis does not do justice to what is really going on and how many areas of life this will impact.  Relationships are being torn apart, stress-related health issues are prevalent, mental illness is on the rise and lives are in transition.  There are more things than I can write about. Money or lack of money is not the core cause, and neither is it, by itself, the long term solution.

People and organizations will have to go through transformations to win. Getting by is not enough.  I believe this is an extra-ordinary opportunity to step out of the trance of mediocrity and into the ideals we desire. Cooperation, harmony, compassion and truth will have a greater audience than competition, greed, self-interest and illusions of reality designed to serve a few.  We can choose to evolve to our highest potential together and rise above the waves. Or, we can choose to do nothing, step into fear and denial and eventually drown in them.

Now is the perfect time to re-define who we are.  To internalize our self-worth as seperate from our net-worth. To find fulfillment in life and not just on paper (bank statements, share certificates, etc). Time to play the game no matter how challenging…play to win!

DOW Jones Over One Week Versus Six Months

dowjones_oneweekvsoneyear

Check out this chart!  What I find interesting is that the one-week view of the Dow Jones Industrial Average looks very similar to the six-month view. The chart shows a slow decline, then a cliff, then a slow decline again. The down trend looks at first glance to be very similar.

Some conclusions:

  1. All data must be read within a larger context.
  2. Patterns are clearly repeating.
  3. The trend appears to be downwards.
  4. Have we hit bottom yet? Tell me when you figure that one out!

What Is the Credit Crisis?

Check out the below video about the credit crisis, what caused it, how it is escalating and what the connection is between house owners, brokers, bankers and Wall Street.

Even if you understand the dynamics of the crisis, this video can help you to explain it clearly to others.


Financial Stress

I noted an interesting statistic today.  The most popular post on this BLOG relates to dealing with stress.  This has got me thinking… Since October 2008, what is on most people’s minds is the financial crisis and how this continuing crisis is going to impact our companies, our investments, our finances and our personal lives.

What does financial stress have to do with leadership?  Everything!  If you are feeling nervous, anxious or even outright terror at the thought of not making ends meet, the first person for you to lead is yourself.  It is very difficult to be creative, resourceful and confident when you are dealing with the various mind-numbing hormones we experience as fear.

So how do you lead yourself?

Often (but not always) our mind speculates as to what could happen and we conjure up images of the worst case scenario, which in most cases turns out to be worse than reality.

Leading yourself requires objectivity.  If you consider the worst case scenario versus the best case scenario, first figure out ways you can live with the worst case. Then from this place, you can calmly consider possible courses of action that you could take to avert the worst case.  And in most cases, reality tends to be somewhere in between the worst and the best case.

On the other hand, if you avoid the worst case, pretend it won’t happen (denial), and go on as if nothing is going to happen… you have a very good chance of going through the worst case scenario in reality!

So accepting the worst case allows you to let go of the fear and to think calmly of what can be done with the resources at hand.  Once you have a number of items that you can take action on immediately, a strange thing happens.  Fear turns to confidence… confusion is replaced with clarity.

Having a plan – any plan – is far better than no plan at all.  At least with a plan you have certainty of what you can do.  And if it does not work, you can at least be confident in the knowledge that you succeeded in finding out what does not work.  Then you can try another approach, and another… until you succeed. Accepting the worst case and then having a plan will reduce your stress, especially when you take action on your plan.

Another possibility is to look at the financial crisis as an opportunity. This will empower you to make changes that you would not otherwise make. Oftentimes, when things don’t flow, we have an opportunity to examine why they are not flowing.  Whereas, when the money is easily flowing, we would continue on unchanged and not question what we are doing.

So the financial crisis is an ideal opportunity to re-examine what is flowing and what isn’t so we can make different choices.

Over the next few days and weeks we will write more about stress, the financial crisis and how to cope with it.  Stay tuned.