Identity Beacon

Illuminating Possibilities

Identity Beacon - Illuminating Possibilities

What’s your Dawn Wall?

This past January,Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the summit of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall — a quest that included years of planning and that many considered the most challenging rock climb in the world.

One of the climbers, Kevin Jorgeson said of the achievement: “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall. We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely. I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.”

I think we do, too. I know I do, although, I’m not always sure what that is. No matter. What matters is waking up to the possibility that there’s a larger purpose to our lives than just getting through the day — something that takes the courage, patience, determination, grit, vision, and passion these two guys put into their climb.

Or, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe, it doesn’t matter at all; maybe, getting through the day about 30,000 times (that’s 80+ years, if you’re interested), is enough. No Dawn Walls, but lots of dawns.

What a waste of a life, but that’s just my opinion.

Obama’s handicap

Like you, I watched the debate last night. And, perhaps, like you, I think Romney beat Obama. Hands down. “No debate!”

I’m not necessarily a Romney fan. But here’s what I think is going on: Romney has the great, good fortune of not having to defend his presidential track record. Despite his Governorship, he’s a ‘Federal virgin’ – he hasn’t been the president and, so, can get up there and say whatever he wants to say, with little risk.

Obama on the other hand, is wearing his track record on his sleeve, for all to see (taste, touch, smell, feel) and judge. He’s got nowhere to hide. That’s his handicap and it showed last night.

So, what’s the President to do? He’ll never win playing defense, which is how he came across in the debate. Who said, when the going gets tough, the tough get going? Sounds like sound advice, to me.

Mr. President – Get tough. Stop worrying about what you have/haven’t done (and what’s been done to you). Find the fire you had 4 years ago and light it. If you don’t, you run the risk of flaming out.

I am who I say I am! (Maybe not)

Everyone has a view on the pluses and minuses of social media. So do I!

Most people love social media for its power to connect them anytime, anywhere and with anyone. On the other hand, many folks are suspect of social media because of what some call the Connection Paradox: We’re able to reach out to whomever, whenever, but, as many pundits point out, we’ve never been more isolated or, in fact, lonelier. Continue reading

The Identity Code: A Tough Nut to Crack

It’s inevitable. All execs search for the secret sauce that will fuel success. The next big thing is, well, always BIG When I read about what makes great companies great – and lousy ones lousy – I sense that one factor always comes into play; that is, the identity, or lack of identity, of the organization. In short, either you got it, or you don’t. And you can’t make it up.

If identity is at least part of the “secret success sauce” it is because it provides the human model of how a company works, just as economics provides the capital model of how a company works.

In the context of strategy, ‘cracking the code’ on identity is a way for leaders to unleash the unique capabilities of the corporation — and turbo-boost performance in return.

For insight on how to tap identity, please download this free information.

 

Living leadership (Lessons from the dying)

The idea that life, let alone leadership, can be informed by those who are dying, seems counter-intuitive at first. Of course, it isn’t. People who face death, especially, those who’ve lived long lives, can see things more clearly than those of us who are still running with the herd, whose perspectives may be clouded by the dust storms we encounter as we move furiously forward, every day.

The spark that led me to write my Living Leadership newsletter – the article, Top 5 Regrets of the Dying – also led me to ask myself what regret(s), if any, I would have at 90 (!!), if I chose not to do something in the here and now.

So, in the spirit of commitment (mine) and community (ours), let me share with you one thing I would regret not having done, were I to find myself, 30 years from now, reviewing my life.

i would regret not having worked more with children; not having brought my love, understanding, skills and experience with identity discovery and development into places where children (read teens and college kids) reign … youth organizations, schools, perhaps, even families.

If I can help kids learn a bit more about who they are at, say 15 or 19, then I’ve upped the odds that they’ll make better choices going forward. For me, that’s worth fighting for. Whether, years from now, I’ve touched 100 children, 100,000, or more is less important than the fact that I’ve tried. No regrets.

Is there a “regret” you just won’t tolerate when you’re looking back over your life, decades from now? Feel free to share. You’re probably not alone.

 

 

The Power of Identity in Brand Building

Apple, Whole Foods, Alcoa, GE, Ford…all different companies in completely different businesses. What they all share, despite their disparities, is an abiding understanding that their fortunes are intimately tied to the contributions they are capable of making in the world. And that that contribution springs naturally from the identities that govern how each entity creates fundamental value.

A healthy corporate identity comes from building a vital, visible relationship between the institution and the society of which it is necessarily a part. Making this connection clear, promoting it and living it, is how successful companies attract and retain great talent, create sustainable partnerships with valuable customers, and — in the end — are able to keep shareholders happy.

How can you find the connection to identity in your brand building?

Download this free resource to inform your practices.

Who am I? – Mapping your identity

Most people consider the question, who am I, to be some deep, cosmic idea that defies a clear answer. Further, most people think it’s a question one can address only after you’ve got more than a few decades of living under your belt.

Wrong on both counts. Getting to know “you” in a real, articulate and meaningful way, is entirely doable and can start at almost any age. I’ve had lucid identity conversations with 10 and 11 year-olds. Through a process called Identity Mapping, I’ve worked with students, 13-19+, as well as people their parents’ age. Here’s a secret: they all get it.

I recently came across an article by a young girl, Julia R., in Teen Ink magazine that caught my attention. Julia understands a basic tenet of identity development. She writes: I dislike saying “‘I am trying to find myself’ because my identity is not lost, it just needs more uncovering.” Right on, Julia! You’re not inventing you, you’re discovering you. The name of the article is, Who Am I? Here’s the link.  http://bit.ly/Abg3yQ

I’ve found that Identity Mapping is a powerful way to uncover one’s unique capacities and then apply those powerful strengths to school, your career, your family, your community and other important relationships.

Imagine being in complete alignment with who you really are. Identity Mapping is designed to tap the creativity, vision and potential that resides in all of us, no matter our age.

For more on how to uncover the potential your identity holds – see this link.

Breaking Your Identity Code

The idea of ‘retirement’ continues to lose currency with so many men and women who have better things to do than spend their days on the golf course or traveling (not there’s anything wrong with these activities).

What people do seem to want is a degree of freedom that just wasn’t possible while working full-time, or in jobs that were less than gratifying.

‘Free to be me’ — finally! — is often the unspoken mantra of people contemplating or entering retirement. The idea that, now, you can be whatever you’ve always wanted to be, or do whatever you’ve always wanted to do, occupies your thoughts and dreams.

But where does true freedom come from? Is it breaking free of external constraints, or is it breaking free from constraints we’ve unconsciously put on ourselves?

If you’re ready to ‘break free,’ start by breaking your own identity code. Please download this free resource.

Kids are people too!

I keep reading about kids who go astray, or who try to be someone they’re not, so they’ll be popular with their peers.  All of this makes me a little bit crazy, for I believe that, best intentions aside, many parents fail to help their kids get a handle on who they are as unique human beings; rather, they push their children to “measure up” to the expectations of others, so they’ll be accepted and do well in life. OK, that may be a bit harsh, but you get the point.

As parents, we aren’t naturally conditioned to think about raising children through the lens of identity; that is, deliberately helping them understand themselves and love themselves for who they truly are. Yet, helping a child understand his or her uniqueness and the potential it implies goes a long way towards ensuring that they are well-grounded human beings, that they find the right careers and companions, and are secure in who they are over the course of their lives, despite the challenges they will face.

Here, in brief, are 10 things a parent can do to honor the individual inside their child. Please download this free resource.

Welcome to the “Refutican” Party!

I’m mad as hell and I guess I’m going to have to continue to take it!

Although, I am not a registered Republican, I am a registered American and have been watching in disbelief as the Republican Party has devolved into a playground full of recalcitrant middle-schoolers.

It’s been quite the show watching how each of these seeming adults — Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich, Romney, etc. — have transformed themselves into bona fide adolescents, whose greatest skill seems to be knocking the other guy. One refutes what the other stands for. Another beats that refutation with an attack of her own. And on and on it goes. Welcome to the Refutican Party!

Add up this awful evidence and the only conclusion can be that the Republican Party has lost its way; it has bowed to the whims and fancies of egomaniacs, cutting itself off from whatever its core identity really is.

Honestly, what’s happened — and is still happening  — to the Republicans is disgusting as well as juvenile. Allow me, world, to apologize for the state of American politics; especially, for the dismal, divisive state of the GOP.

Long live PAC money. Dignity is dead.

 

New year, new you?

Ever wonder why the new year inspires so many resolutions? And why so many don’t stick? On the surface, it’s pretty funny. For instance, you see dozens of new faces at the gym starting in January, most of whom have left by the end of February. Where did they go? I’m betting home.

We love change. We hate change. We want more. We fear more. We aspire. We demure.

The new year is a call for hope. For possibility. For “maybe this time.” It’s a worthy pursuit. But, here’s the rub: Most people are trying, unconsciously, to change who they are. Bad idea. You can’t. So when you try, it often leads to let down.

Better plan: Before you exercise your outside, exercise your inside. Examine why it’s been so hard to get moving in the first place. Start with  these 3 “exercises:”

  1. Write down 2 things about yourself you love and do NOT want to change, ever!
  2. Tell someone (starting with you) how you will feel about yourself when you reach your physical target (lose 10 pounds, run 3 miles, do 25 push-ups, etc.).
  3. Let yourself off the hook. It’s OK to not want to go at the gym, sometimes. Acknowledge that feeling – most people have them – ask yourself why, then go anyway. (I’ve talked to people who’ve told me that reason they stopped going is because they didn’t like to feel bad about themselves – not because they were lazy. So, admit what you really feel and move on!)

I know you have the courage to do these things. And when you do, I know you’ll be one of the folks whose face I wind up recognizing in June, long after the “hopefuls” have lost their juice.

One more thing: Write me and tell me how it goes!