11 Techniques To Rock The Career Casbah

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“Because you want all the gusto you can get…”

If you somehow feel a bit out of sync with what your peers are concerned with, there’s a chance you may be an ancien soul. Do you recognize when you encounter situations, people, ideas, and practices that seem somehow familiar? Then perhaps it’s time to rock the career casbah.

Once on an airplane I was watching an old TV show to kill time. The characters were enacting a drama to save their ship from destruction. The captain fails to save the ship and everyone on board dies. Then, the actors start to replay their roles again in the same manner as if nothing had happened. Just when you imagine something is wrong and you are ready to change channels, one of characters remembers something. It was his deja vu moment, but he cannot get to the reactor in time.

The third time the scenario unfolds, the captain recollects everything. Just as the disaster is about to be unleashed, he knows what to do and sets a path to a brighter future. Bizarre, I mused at first. Perhaps because I was on my way to India that this episode struck me hard. How many times I thought was I re-enacting sitting on this plane, watching Star Trek and going to Bangalore? It was scary to have this thought.

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“Because you prefer Rosa to watching Old Smokey…”

Believing in reincarnation is accepted across Asia. Historically, few in the West bought into this argument. Even if you do believe, what does this change? You still must handle life’s assorted challenges in the content in which you perceive them. Experience can help us handle them better. Wisdom can direct us to stand above the fray with a helicopter point of view. Sort of like a lotus, which floats on muddy water. Buddhists believe that we should all act as lotuses. Quite poetic, don’t you think? Of the world, but not drowning in the world.

This does not mean you do not act. You do so because action is unavoidable. Even non-action is a form of action. It means to act with your conscience. Just for fun, I listed a few thoughts on well-travelled souls below. Maybe you’ll recognize yourself. Who knows, perhaps we’re all as ancient as Methuselah.

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“I could have sworn that Godot said he was coming…”

I Think This Will Work
A most common thought held among creative and intellectual types. If you’ve had this perception when you have never done something before, something deep inside says, you have. If you have no problem with innovation, it’s because you’ve already lived through periods of intense change, are proactive, and adapt rapidly to new stimuli.

Beyond Age
Do you believe that age consciousness is a disease? Then, you are in good company. The pigeonhole set will always believe that you are either too experienced or too inexperienced. If you know such individuals, drop them from your holiday card list. Only spend quality time with quality people. A life is too precious to waste. Think carefully about this.

Did you start practicing yoga early on in your life’s story? If you did, it’s probable that you practiced in previous lives. Think H.H. Dalai Lama. He remembers his past. You could too if your channels of perception are opened. Most of us don’t bother to do this. Either we are afraid or don’t care to do so. However, once you start down this rabbit hole a whole new level of harmonics starts to reveal itself.

Patience My Precious
Patience for certain individuals is a hard practice. Some prefer the thrill of acting on impulse without thinking things through. Is this you? Or do you weigh things like a grocer? Real patience is when you understand without understanding. Knowledge becomes intuitive because it has already been registered within your cell structure. You make the right decisions easily and based on sound judgement.

Time Waits For No One
Wasting time is not your scene nor or you a fan of waiting for Godot. Time is a gift that can neither be bought or sold. If you squander time, it can never be reclaimed. Each one of us is given this gift. Use it wisely. You never know when your number is up. This doesn’t mean you should be a stick in the mud. Have fun. Enjoy. Just use your time consciously. Who knows, you might discover that you actually have the time to finish reading Plato’s, Dialogues.

Why Me Worry
Remember this worthy mantra from Mad magazine? Worrying is a wasted emotion. Think carefully about this and you will agree. What have you ever gained by worrying? Anxiety and an upset stomach. Everyone has issues to deal with whether they be work related, personal, or financial. Let go of your problems and they will let go of you. It’s as simple as that. It’s all in the mind. One master I know currently residing in Germany humbly states, “Embrace it “.

Indulge Your Mind
The mind is a tricky customer. No marketing analysis can comprehend the mind. Why? Because it is a vortex of conscious energy like fire. Therefore, give it subtle and substantive food. Read Marcus Aurelius. If anyone faced grand challenges on a massive scale and handled them with grace, he did. Jane Austen tackled her world by writing about the depth of human feelings. Sip this like fine wine.

Fine Tune Your Music Appreciation
Nothing soothes the human soul more than great music. Great music has no time frame although certain genres were born under special circumstances and social conditions. Start by investing in a turntable and then acquire every vinyl issued by Blue Note in its heyday. If you live on a farm find a vintage copy of Woodstock and crank up the volume. If you do this in a small flat your neighbors may not appreciate Jimi Hendrix at two in the morning. Better still, throw a block party. Share the wealth. Heck, it’s only rock ‘n roll.

Throw Stress To The Dogs
Some people thrive on stress and love drama. I love Shakespeare too, however I wouldn’t want to re-live Macbeth. Challenges arrive in everyone’s life. Handle them with as much grace as possible. Leavened with much humor, stress cannot touch you. Watch the Marx Brothers, Duck Soup. You’ll get the idea.

Meet New people
After all, we are social animals. So why live like a hermit? Picasso loved meeting and hanging out with people across generations. It gave him energy and fed his creative spirit. So can you. Social media makes meeting people easier. Personally, I prefer hanging out in cafes, sitting on a lovely terrace and watching the world float buy. I must admit, I am quite lucky in this domain. Since I am in the people business, I get the pleasure of meeting and helping many wonderful souls. Best of all half of them became dear friends.

Old souls tend to love bonding with people. Superficial connections and 10m Facebook followers don’t cut the mustard. So find a Doctor Brown’s Cel-ray, value the people you meet and you’ll build relationships that matter outside your immediate family.

Giving
The more you give, the more your life will have meaning. Don’t make every contact you have a business deal. You give because you want to. Mentors recognize the selflessness of giving. Their reward is pleasure and a smile of having made a difference. Think The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

The Last Chestnut
I can’t resist, so let me just share one a my favorite quotes with you from a close friend: “He who sees action in inaction, and inaction in action is wise among men.”

Now go forth and profit. The day is as young as your heart. Live long and swaha.

Article Title: 11 Techniques To Rock The Career Casbah
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

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Can You Afford To Ignore Engagement

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“Because you recognize business wisdom doesn’t come with job titles…”

Engagement is not about getting married. Smart business leaders understand that they must evangelize and inspire their colleagues to get the most out of their team. Engagement therefore, is fostered with trust and open exchange. The truth of the matter is leaders and particularly managers find the art of engagement difficult.

Engagement demands dialogue, participation, and connecting. Most managers feel uncomfortable with this process. They believe that it questions their authority and that people will think less of them. These individuals couldn’t be more wrong. Business wisdom and strategic planning do not come with job titles. They come with experience and more importantly an innate understanding of human values and behavior. You cannot learn this in grad school. Nor can you master this subject by reading academic journals or professional reports.

So, if something is missing, where can we learn to empathize and tap the source of engagement? Inside the human heart. To find out more, search this space and uncover what motivates you to succeed, thrive, and prosper in any environment. This process is quite difficult. It takes you out of your comfort zone because it personalizes your decisions and how you interact with colleagues. It makes you responsible.

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“When you love to samba…”

Managers feel more comfortable crunching numbers, acting as policy wonks, and base every decision on what they term, the concrete data. If you walk this path of conventional wisdom, you will only reveal your lack of empathy and never succeed in getting your colleagues to engage. Grad school is partly to blame for this persistent behavior and the corporate world only serves to reinforce these attitudes for keen players who wish to make it to the top.

To illustrate this point, we know someone by the name of Bibi. That’s not his real name. He works in finance at an investment firm and his job is to get the clients he handles to make as many trades as possible during a week. Bibi is good at his job and he’s serious about his work. He manages four people, who handle a lot of his research. The overall environment is insanely competitive. Yet his job brief also states that he must coach his junior colleagues. He is uncomfortable with this because rather than see his team as individuals fighting for the same cause, he sees them as an internal threat.

Then the unthinkable happens. One of the team members got pissed after work and crashed his motorcycle skidding off the road. The team was devastated. Under his shell, Bibi realized that he was too hard on everyone at the office. Despite what senior supervisors might think, he decided to take the initiative and do something about this. He got his team together outside the office and they talked about their feelings, their expectations, and what really mattered to them. In their young faces, he could see himself. He rediscovered in his heart what it meant to aspire, be different, be successful yet still show his humanity.

When he discussed this issue with us, I realized that he had begun to tap the real meaning of leadership and to act as a mentor with dignity. It was a challenge, but his team members noticed he was no longer the same man. They went to the hospital and visited their injured colleague. Empathy was no longer a word in a dictionary. It had become an action plan.

Why does it take a crisis to make certain leaders or managers face up to the fact that we are all human beings with real feelings and dreams? The corporate world can be a rather brutish place. But it doesn’t have to be. The blue print for business can incorporate financial gain with those softer values we all cherish. It’s a matter of engagement, commitment and caring. Our experience has shown that if your employees or colleagues are unhappy at work, results suffer. Worse, everyone is demoralized and either they injure themselves or they leave as soon as they can.

Core motivation is built with passion. But passion can only be fostered when people love what they do. This can only happen when they are engaged and given positive incentives. So what in your view is the best way forward based on your experience as a business leader? How positive are you in the work place?

Join the conversation and let us know.

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

22 Beach Holiday Essentials For Career Planning

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“Emptying your mind is harder than you think…”

If Beach Holidays didn’t exist, we would have to invent them. However, when the party’s over, it’s time to clean up and reboot our career planning. Rather than lament, perhaps it is better to give thanks for all the blessings we’ve received. Let me share with you a list of 22 essentials worth keeping whether you’re career planning or not.

Sorting out the jewels in your life is more than downsizing. It is really a question of recalibrating your career calculus. Nothing is really ours in the first place. Does anybody have 22 essentials worth keeping? Well, it’s a question of perspective.
My dear friends, L & K recently emailed me this rather curious list. They are currently staying at a cedar bungalow in one of those charming Hill Stations nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Certain sages in India claim that “You are what you eat” – and what you don’t eat. Similarly, life depends on what you keep and what you don’t keep. There are many things in life that people keep, but only a few are truly worth holding on to. I hope you find their career planning chart as inspiring as I do.

1) Keep Calm
Life can be unnerving. If you don’t make an effort to keep collected and focused, you could easily lose your cool. Take regular, conscious deep breaths to center yourself. This is a more sanguine approach to running through the streets shouting, “Godzilla, Godzilla, Godzilla…

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“Stop thinking about tomorrow…”

2) Keep Your Chin Up
Great for your posture. Guaranteed to diminish your double chin. Best of all, it helps you maintain an I can handle this attitude. By keeping your chin up, you keep your head above water.

3) Keep Your Spirits High
Hanging out with Bob Marley’s heirs in Kingston doesn’t count. Always maintain a joyful attitude. No one can do this for you. When the going gets rough, count your blessings. Don’t be cynical. Everyone has blessings. So do you.

4) Keep Your Word
A gentleman or gentlewoman’s word should be their bond. Stand by what you promise. Think before speaking. Once a word is uttered and released into the ether, its vibration can never be erased. If you need inspiration, consider John Lennon’s refrain in Across The Universe.

5) Keep In Time
Don’t be swayed by others. Swing to your own rhythm. Although everyone must adapt to their circumstances, it is best to dance to your own soul music. Remember what Aretha Franklin said, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

6) God Bless The Child
Billy Holiday was right. God bless your inner child. It is your access point to creativity. Marvel, imagine and invent with a carefree smile. Have doubts? Examine the creativity of Picasso and Matisse during their mature years. Playful as kittens, don’t you think!

7) Keep Abreast Of The Times
At a certain point in our lives, we feel swept away. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t get caught in a time warp. No need to become a fashion victim either. The joy of living in any time is to be present. If you start asking yourself, Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb? This should be a signal to get out of your mental closet.

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“When you’re in the pink…”

8) Keep In Shape
Your shape reveals your state of health. Remember, the body is the vessel in which you journey through life. Always carry a first-class ticket by keeping it healthy and strong. It’s not for nothing that the people from Crete and Okinawa climb trees well into their 90s.

9) Keep Your Mouth Shut
Some people talk too much. Avoid being too verbose. Sometimes, silence speaks more eloquently than words. Miles Davis was right when he explained to some know-it-all that the space between notes is silence. The melody of his music is carried on the back of the absence of sound.

10) Keep Good Friends
Real friends are hard to find. Nurture friendships that make your life more wonderful and meaningful. Truly poor is the man who has no genuine friends.

11) Keep Great Memories
Each day you breath, you have the power to leave a potent legacy. Memories of cherished moments stand out and are more valuable than a jeweled necklace. When you live each moment beautifully, you string together these magical episodes and they truly sparkle. Just ask Jimmy Stewart. It’s a wonderful life.

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“Because inner elegance is timeless…”

12) Keep A Journal
Writing a journal is therapeutic. It allows you to speak to your inner being. Jot down your dreams and aspirations. Inspiration and strength are nourished in the manure of experience. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

13) Keep Giving Thanks
Not many people say grace before meals these days. Yet giving thanks builds a positive energy frequency and feeds the power of bringing more abundance into your life. Remember, the story of “the glass is always half full“. So which part of the glass are you staring at?

14) Keep Going Forward
Even if you scream, Stop the world I want to get off, this is not happening. Learn to be comfortable with change. Emotional baggage only weighs you down. Why not float like a butterfly? Mohammed Ali did.

15) Keep Out Of Danger
Most of us are not thrill seekers. If you love extreme sports, go for it. However, there is no need to seek out trouble unless you are a danger junkie. Life is full of surprises. You never know what fate has in store.

16) Keep Up The Good Work
Just as unhappiness feeds on itself, so does success. The more you do, the more you achieve; the more you achieve, the better you become. Success is the fruit of your engagement. Enjoy the process. Pat yourself on the back.

Why act like a sloth weighing moss spores between your toes, when unleashing your inner dragon is more thrilling. Kundalini awakening is more fun than collecting postage stamps.

17) Keep Young
In our youth obsessed culture, many people think it’s all over once you hit thirty.
Such souls couldn’t be more wrong. This is where your journey first starts to pick up steam. Youth is an attitude. This does not mean you should neglect your body. Keep it strong and supple. One pundit I know stipulates: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

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“Because you want a touch of class…”

18) Keep On Dancing
Life is a dance through time and space. You can Cha-Cha, Tango, or Rock ‘n Roll. Embellish whatever music life plays for you. Pretend you’re the conductor. Now orchestrate your own soundtrack. Get excited and script the choreography, which pleases you best. When you’re light on your feet, you’ll feel happiness swell in your heart.

19) Keep On Loving
Without trying to sound silly, you wouldn’t be here if your parents didn’t hug each other in a tender embrace. Love makes the world go round and is the noblest sentiment a human being can share with another. So share the wealth. Best of all, you understand that real love is not about sex. It’s a state of consciousness.

20) Keep On Dreaming
Dreams keep us alive and vibrant even under the most challenging of circumstances. Master the power of manifestation and learn to turn your dreams into reality. Everything starts as an idea. Hard work and perseverance lubricate your actions. Before you know it, your achievements will start pouring in.

21) Keep On Hoping
Never lose hope. “Tomorrow is another day” as Scarlett O’Hara once quipped. However, you don’t live in tomorrow land. You only live now. It is in this moment you change your approach to career planning. It is the only time you every have. Think about this and not only will you agree, it will revolutionize your approach to life. Be all you can be and leave worrying to the dogs.

22) Keep On Believing
Belief is the mother load. What you believe you are is what you are. No matter what spiritual path you find yourself on, recognize that belief is not carved into clay tablets. They are energy vibrations, which can change. Make your beliefs a direct experience. Don’t just mechanically repeat the jargon we all learned as kids. Blind belief is what it sounds like. Simply blind. Strain your beliefs like a chai wallah makes tea.

Life is not a cake walk. Negative feelings and painful experiences happen to us all. They can be hard to handle. The best way to get through the sticker bushes is to forgive, forget, and move on. A heavy heart will only weigh you down. When I feel a bit down in the dumps, I quickly remember the advice I received from a Buddhist monk. Here’s what he said:

Feel comfortable with flowing water through your fingers. Do not envy the poor soul who tries to grasp the water by closing his or her fist. When such a person opens their fingers, they find their hands empty. Just be content to hold the sound of water in your heart.”

Article Title: 22 Beach Holiday Essential For Career Planning
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

How To Make Yourself Irresistible

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“Because it’s your smile which makes you charming…”

Open any fashion magazine and you are bombarded with lavish photos. Sex appeal rules the roost. The temptation to buy clothes, jewelry, and cosmetics become overwhelming because we all seek to appear irresistible like celebrities. So why are we so enamored? Because we have conned ourselves into thinking our lives are ordinary and unexciting. We support this false assumption with a little shopping therapy hoping to buy our stairway to heaven. Clearly, this is not the best way forward.

The challenge of making oneself irresistible reminds me a small parable. There is a sage I know who taught her students using unorthodox methodologies. She understood that the students had lost the plot. So, she took out of a box sitting on the shelf a huge stone and handed it to one of the students.

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“When the prophets write on city walls…”

Go to the marketplace just across the street. Query all the dealers on how much they would be willing to pay for this rock if we decide to sell.”

Now the student was a smart and studious hombre. He took the stone and shoveled it into his pocket. His first contact was a potato dealer. The dealer took one look at the item and said, “I’ll give you two kilos of rattes.” The boy dutifully scribbled this down in a notebook. Then, he approached a sheep seller. The wizened merchant scratched his chin quizzically, and retorted, “I can let you have a flock of 20 sheep tomorrow morning when I bring them down from the hills.” Once again the boy took note.

This continued for a couple of hours until he came to the finest jewelry shop in town and the last place he was told to visit. Once he was buzzed into the premises and stated his business, he was offered a cup of tea. A specialist came over, greeted the boy, and sat down.

Now show me my lad, the item in question.” So the student complied. The jeweler took his time, measuring the carats, the size, texture and clarity of the stone before responding. “I’ve never seen a diamond like this in all my life. It is gold like the sun and absolutely flawless. I can offer the owner $5m and arrange the necessities of the transaction.

The boy nodded his head. Upon returning to the teacher at the appointed hour, he was just in time for tea. Everyone was seated in the circle. The sage took back the stone and went through the notebook and shared the information with the class.

So what can you conclude?“, asked the soft but irresistible voice.

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“There’s no point in tearing your hair out…”

One wise guy in the crowd, puffed up his chest and said, “That everything in the market can be bought or sold.” There was disagreement in the ranks, but at the end of a healthy discussion, the students felt stymied, and so the teacher broke in.

Understanding this diamond is not about price. It is concerns the principle of self-worth and stands as a symbol of the human heart. You can sell your skills and abilities for a farthing or you can gather millions like a CEO. However, self-worth does not carry a price tag because you are priceless. Valuing your true nature is never a question of social connections, physical beauty, or job titles. Why seek to validate your authenticity, when you are already the diamonds that you seek.”

The Take Away: Do not confuse net worth with self-worth.

Your sense of self-worth comes from within. Being irresistible means embodying the traits, which radiate positive energy. Start by respecting yourself. If you don’t respect yourself, you clearly won’t respect anyone else. John Lennon once sang, “Love is the answer, but you know that for sure.”

Secondly, identify what makes you tick. Motivation is key because not all people are motivated the same way. Some are motivated by power, others by money. Make altruism your key motivator. From this position, you can steer your path on a road to equilibrium. The Buddha was no dummy when he shared the wealth of understanding he gained under a fig tree.

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“Because you love magic carpet rides…”

If it’s rock star status that motivates you, fine. Just recognize what Voltaire once quipped to one swell at a cocktail-networking session: “The cemetery is full of Very Important People.” Adjusting your behavior to accommodate people according to your environment is one thing. Denying your authenticity is another.

A better path to networking is to connect with the people with whom you are speaking at a gut level. I don’t suggest quizzing them on Jean-Paul Sartre’s book, Being & Nothingness. Connect with them where it counts. Bill Clinton understands this better than most people. The power of empathy is contagious. Forget trying to be liked. This is not a formula. It’s about radiating the nature of goodness in all things. When you do so, people will look to share your company.

To make this work for you, try putting down your iPhone. Focus on the people you’re with. Show interest. Give them the space to speak. When you are comfortable with your Self, you will no longer feel the need to constantly warble your own music. By drawing people out, you put them in their comfort zone and you will have a meaningful engagement. Best of all, you will become irresistible because you will no longer need to try to be irresistible.

Article Title: How To Make Yourself Irresistible
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

16 Compelling Practices For An Entrepreneur

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“Because you’ve been reading too much Voltaire…”

This morning I chaired a seminar on entrepreneurship. When you’re addressing potential entrepreneurs, the best way to grab someone’s attention is to share the passion to switch on a creative vision.

Then it hit me like a ton of lego. Focus on leadership, innovation, how not to write a business plan, and how to construct something sustainable, i.e. Built To Last aka James Collins and Jerry Porras. Preparing also gave me time to pause and think back on my own entrepreneurial ventures, where we’ve been as a team and where we are headed into the future. Value creation is a never ending issue, but it can only work when you have sound leadership at the helm.

Here are some of lessons I have learned matching people with opportunities:

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“When you’re ready to go the whole hog…”

Leadership begins at home
Target who you admire. They can come from any walk of life not necessarily business. What inspires you most about him or her? Character is so important. One reason organizations fail is often a lack of a charismatic personality, who can empower and embolden his or her team to positive action. Such personalities stand out like diamonds in the window of Cartier. Think Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs or Mother Teresa.

The Written Word
Like any project, you will need a roadmap. Write down your vision. What do you see in 3 years? In 5 years? Ask yourself, will these milestones get me closer to my vision? What decisions must I make now if I plan to launch in 6 months?

Listen To The Music
Listening to your clients is obvious. When we first started, we only helped people apply to the top business schools. Quickly, our clients demanded more. Before we could say cha-cha, we evolved into a career management consultancy offering personal branding, social engagement, and feasible work-life balance platforms to bring more meaning into their professional lives. The marketplace is a great instructor.

However, to stand out from the pack, you will need to do more than just listen and deliver. You need to be innovative and creative. Forget fear. That’s soooo yesterday. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You fail. Bingo! If can live with this, which most entrepreneurs do, then you’re ready for anything.

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“Don’t jump without a parachute…”

The People’s Struggle
In today’s universe keeping up is just for starters. If you think technology has revolutionized your life now, it’s only going to get faster. Go with the flow and learn to swim in the Aegean like a dolphin. Leveraging innovation is necessary whatever your trade.

The Price Is Right
I’m not referring to that American TV show. The true price of leadership is not a number. It’s about dynamics. Believe in and deliver value. Clients can spot the difference at a glance. When you deliver true value, your target audience won’t care about the price. They will focus on a meaningful exchange.

Getting the A Team
Only bring on board people with a gang busters mentality. Fire power coupled to strong leadership gives you dominant position. Think of that basic management chestnut: 1+1=3. It’s called synergy. Clearly, this is essential for any start-up, but it also applies to larger organizations. There are times when you must let people go. Sometimes it’s for economic reasons and at other times individual goals don’t mesh with corporate goals. These are tough decisions, particularly if you have a heart. This precise issue came up this morning.

So, how do you let people go? With grace and dignity. Think of the greater good of the group. Low blows and nastiness are not the way forward. I know we don’t live in an ideal world, but you are responsible for your actions and behavior. To stand out as a noble leader, act like one in word and deed. Burning your house down is not a solution.

Someone Done Me Wrong
Unless you work for the mafia, learn the art of forgiveness. Grudges and vendettas are not sensible business practices and are unsustainable. I won’t even go into discussing the karma you will attract to yourself.

In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash
I once read this over a bar counter. What I am suggesting is do not extend credit unless the enterprise has the capacity to absorb this. For young entrepreneurs especially, make it clear that payment is due up front before work commences. When everything is clear from the outset, you won’t risk what strikes down many new businesses: cash flow issues.

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“Because some things are worth fighting for…

Work-Life Balance
People talk incessantly about this issue because it is a subject that does not go away. Balance is subjective. Some people live to work. Others work to live. Confucius once stated, “Find a job you love, and never work a day in your life“. Pithy don’t you think? The key here is passion. Make “work” fun. As an entrepreneur, you have this privilege. Use it and share the wealth.

Do Unto Others
You don’t need to read the scriptures to get this. If you want respect, then show respect to everyone you come into contact with. Forget the Godfather approach to business practices. One form of respect is to value your team. The words thank you and great job exist in every language. I’m not talking about senseless flattery. I talking about recognition. People don’t work just for the money. They want to feel useful, i.e. valued.

Focus
Multitasking is one thing. Focus is another. Be coherent when planning and implementing strategy. Set milestones. They are essentials in any venture. Benchmark your progress. Unhappy with the results. Change your tactics and adapt. Flexibility is key.

The Oscar Wilde Syndrome
Forget the lavish waistcoats. However, appearance always matters. Look sharp. Be smart. You will feel better. Best of all, you don’t have to go home and change before going out to dinner at a chic venue.

Don’t Build A Cage
You have the freedom to make your work space suitable to the organization you want to build. As long as the work gets done, introduce spaces for people to create, snooze, meditate, and if you can, do sports. Great companies have already done this. You can too, if you put your mind to it. Getting a life is also about making your organization breathe with the times in which we all live.

Act With Grace
Grace is something we should all be thankful for. Embrace grace and your team will act as a support network for each member.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Prioritize your work or you will burn out. There’s always more to be done. This comes with the terrain. It isn’t just a question of leadership. It’s about pragmatism.

Avoid The Comparison Conundrum
There will always be someone younger, older, smarter, creative or more beautiful than you. Be comfortable within your own skin. Never live someone else’s life. Just to thy own self be true. Now, sit back and enjoy the journey because entrepreneurship is gonna be one hell of a ride.

Article Title: 16 Compelling Practices For An Entrepreneur
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

Tips@LinkedInPulse

Exercising The Power Of Gratitude

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“Because gratitude is more than skin deep…”

Exercising the power of gratitude is amazing. However, how often do we give thanks for what we have rather than bitch and moan about what we lack? Start by looking out of your window. Feel the sun’s rays caress your cheeks. Drink a double espresso. Smile. Now you are on your way to eliminate all those toxic feelings, which have been cluttering your life.

Don’t stress too much about that party you went to last night. Sometimes letting off steam by having a great meal with friends can be just the ticket to get you back on the road to sanity. Forget the calories. A positive emotional spark sprinkled with laughter is great for your emotional and spiritual health. A simple and practical approach to spirituality is to give back. This is a great expression of gratitude. It’s like hugging all the people who have selflessly helped you in the past.

When we find ourselves under stressful conditions, the human psyche desperately seeks a release hatch. If you keep it bottled up inside yourself, you are guaranteed to explode one way or another. Anger and hostility are not just bad for your mind. They can impact on your body. They open the door to disease or accidents. As a great being I know in Bangalore says, “Gratitude is healing”.

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“When you recognize your own reflection…”

She teaches a fabulous prayer. Now I can hear people thinking that spirituality has nothing to do with business or professional life. You couldn’t be more wrong. Life experience cannot be compartmentalized. It is an integrated whole where each piece of the puzzle is interconnected. Prayer and gratitude change your vibrational frequency and open your path to well-being. It shifts your focus away from pain and from what is eating you up inside. Moreover, it starts the healing process. Well-being is more than an attitude. It is a state of consciousness.

Each one of us has the power to heal ourselves. Once you do, you then have the power to heal others. This doesn’t mean your challenges will go away like a stiff wind blowing the pollen off the street. It means your mind will be stable and your biochemical equilibrium will be in balance.

Engaging gratitude in our complex world is simple as it is direct. It cuts to the core of authenticity and business leadership. Best of all, you needn’t go searching for it in the marketplace. It is not for sale. It lies within your heart.

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“Who doesn’t love a great club chair…”

Now go to a quiet place. Ideally you should sit in a lotus position, spine erect, and close your eyes. However, if you are more comfortable in a straight back chair that’s fine. Take three deep breathes and we’re ready to start. Now repeat to yourself:

I forgive my self

I trust my self

I love my self

I am happy healthy and full of abundance

I give thanks for the meaningful people in my life.”

Practice this prayer and you will see a change in your immune system and a shift in your hormones. You have just begun to stamp and recode your inner cell structure with positive energy. Wait. It gets better. Continue by watching your breath go in and out. Center your attention on your heart. Feel the pulsation and your inner divine energy will start to expand and cover you in an envelope of well-being. When you are finished after 15-20 minutes, gently bow and thank your inner being. This is the ultimate gratitude.

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

Tips@LinkedInPulse

Summer Is Cocktail Time

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“When you’re torn between a margarita and a mojito…”

Cocktail time takes the sting out of sobriety. Now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect way to welcome a new season. Now take my cousin Muffy. She knows a good frozen daiquiri when she sees one. What I love most about my dear cuz is she doesn’t let small stuff get to her head, know what I mean. Open a newspaper and you’ll catch my drift. Reading current events and you feel buffaloed: riots, revolutions, horrid weather and the like. I wonder, do buffalo celebrate cocktail time?

So, Muffy dear, you will be pleased to know that Summer 2015 is going to be pure cocktail time. Everyone in Paris is wearing their chinos above the ankle. If that’s not enough reason to celebrate cocktail time, pink and kelly green are style favorites. Now where was I? Oh yes, looking for the crackers. Can’t eat chopped liver without crackers, what. Now, I remember. It’s about Muffy. She is so Madras, don’t you know.

I mean, even in winter she is up to her eyes in plaid. Cocktail time can do that to a person. My Mum says she is adorable. True she is most at home on the golf course or at our summer cottage off the coast of Maine. She is however, in her element anywhere, particularly at cocktail time. Can you imagine, it’s all down hill now that we’ve hit summer. It’s raining in Switzerland according to Louis. And in India, they’re heading to +100.

My gosh, I think I need a drink at this point. Wait, it’s too early for a G&T so I better stick to a cup of tea. Over the last few years, the tribe has seen the publication or re-edition of many books on the lifestyle and dress sense of American classics. These include “Take Ivy” by T. Hayashida, “The Ivy Look” by Graham Marsh & JP Gaul, “Preppy: Cultivating The Ivy Style” by Jeffrey Banks & Doria de la Chapelle, and “A Privileged Life” by Susanna Salk. By far the biggest hit has been the sequel to the Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach.

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“Because everyone loves a good party…”

With the craze for everything “vintage” reaching new heights, a new readership will feel right at home cuddling up with the OPH. It is perfectly suited to our troubled times. The humor alone makes this volume worth a couple of drinks. The book addresses all things Preppy: attitudes toward money, the right schools, pukka careers, suitable sports, political correctness, reality TV, and believe it or not even polar fleece.

The book has the charm and verve of the older version, but has been re-tuned like a grand piano. With artisanal gin such as Hendrick making the rounds at all the hip parties in the London last weekend, Lisa’s book has brought back into focus the tribe of Americana beloved the world over for its fascination with labradors, G&T soaked cocktail time, Camelot, yacht clubs and the old school tie.

It is probable that a copy sits permanently on the night table of Ralph Lauren, who has fashioned his empire on a dream established in 1635 on the rocky shores of New England.

Today’s new readership won’t remember the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, or those all night parties on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard when the OPH came out. True Prep’s renewed attraction harks back to a Golden Age of American life. Think of those TV chestnuts such as Leave It To Beaver.

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“Every preppy’s favorite summer sandwich…”

To get into the mood, why not go over to the drinks tray. There’s plenty of ice still left, and the shrimp cocktails are simply fab. Cocktail time must be the best time of day. Even my own memories are a bit fuzzy. Pink Gin can do that to a fellow. I can attest to being there. Well, someone carved my name into the balustrade at the Asticou. Thursday nights was the Biggie during the summer. Swing orchestra and fine dinning. The guys all sported deck shoes, Nantucket Reds, blue blazers and button down collar white shirts.

The gals were elegant, suntanned and wore a lovely pearl necklace handed down by their grandmothers. Nobody talked of name brands. However, we all knew where to get our clothes, which were formally or casually worn with nonchalance. With the endless rounds of drinks and smoke, everything was picture perfect. Nobody smoked electronic cigarettes at cocktail time. Like Audrey Hepburn once said, “It’s like kissing through a veil”. Sailing by day and imbibing at night to sounds of clinking glasses gave us a rhythm and many occasions for much laughter.

Summer brings al fresco lunches on secret island coves, the smell of pine and salt in the air, and the endless rounds of touch football on the beach. On other days, we would head over to Beals’s Lobster Pound with its wooden picnic tables for steamers, corn on the cob, and homemade blueberry pie. Can’t you just hear the voice over the PA, “Ah, numbah 54, your lobstah is ready!”

All these images are frozen in time not like margaritas but on the Internet for the intellectually and culturally curious. It’s an American version of the world of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. Now the original readers are be a bit older today. Some are inter-married and some have traveled the world. The good news is they’re all still partying their boat shoes off.

So why has this trend for all things ivy come bouncing back? Well, for one thing, “vintage” is super trendy in fashion circles. Secondly, this lifestyle provides a good template not to loose your moral compass. Everyone needs sense of humour in a crisis, don’t you think. Thirdly, when it’s all said and done, it’s about “ease and confidence”. My own grandmother would have used one of those terrible politically incorrect adjectives, and said it was a question of “breeding”.

However, like with all luxuries, lifestyle “branding” has gone democratic in our global village. You might have a cottage in Hyannisport or Portofino. It doesn’t matter any longer what is your spiritual persuasion or the origins of your family. You can call your dog “Toussaint” or “Gladstone”. Nobody is fussed. It is about style, savoir-faire, and behaviour.

Even across the pond in towns such as Florence, a city of elegance, gentlemen can be seen wearing lime green or coral trousers, white polo shirts topped off with an old tweed jacket or linen blazer. On their sockless feet are loafers or boat shoes. Wrists generally sport an inherited old gold watch obviously inherited from Dad. No one pulls off style better than the Italians. So much so that certain Italians have purchased some of the very companies who manufactured the original clothes. Think of Brooks Brothers.

To sample today’s preppy style at its best, take an online visit with Ralph. You needn’t have been born to the Ivy spoon to glide into his vibe. All it takes is a little imagination. Lisa Birnbach will teach you the ropes; the rest is up to you.

T.T.F.N.

Article Title: Summer Is Cocktail Time
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

4 Hot Tips To Swingin’ In Paname

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“Because you love Paris Fashion Week…”

With June here, the floodgates are open to another wild season of frivolity in the City of Light. For Paname fans there are many hot choices to eat, drink, and let out your inner party animal. Here are our 4 hot picks for swinging in Paname.

SoPi is old news to Panamers. However, this neighborhood continues to sizzle across the board. There’s a new steakhouse serving up aged beef to down for just up the road from Alex Haircuts. These guys continue to trim and cut the hottest locks in town. Best of all you can spot anyone who has been to Alex. His cuts are distinctive and highlight the best in the barber’s art.

Once you’ve got the SoPi look head over to Glass. It sits next to a typical Pigalle sex shop. Don’t be put off by the guerrilla outside or the unassuming neon sign. Be prepared to wait like a sardine in an enclosure before you’re given the green light to enter the bar.

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“When you love a make believe ballroom…”

The ambiance is dark and the crowd is always in party mode. One of my colleagues says this is where disco jive meets dacha dive. The big ticket this season is Tattoo You. No, they are not selling signed copies of the Rolling Stones record. It’s the must drink cocktail of the season made with mezcal, ginger, grapefruit, lime and beer. Drink two of these and you’re ready to cha-cha.

Hep cats munch on hotdogs and homemade pickles when they’re not bobbing up and down like fish bait. No this is not Studio 54, but the lights on the dance floor will give you dirty dancin’ flashbacks. If you can’t get in, try Dirty Dicks across the street. DDs specialize in Mai Tai’s. Pretend you’re in a re-make of South Pacific. Throw caution to the winds, Bali Hi style.

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“Because you love smoke ‘n mirrors…”

In case you find yourself near the Louvre, check out Le Fumoir. Since it’s opening, it’s been packed out day and night. Punters love the food while tipplers go big on their cocktails. We counsel booking in advance. No point in being turned away at the door. If you want to pretend that you’re living in a Scott Fitzgerald novel order a couple of gin fizzes. If you really want to go big time, make them pink. This was Zelda’s favorite. Great place to people watch and have a stellar lunch.

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“When you’re seeking out Montezuma…”

Candelaria
For something a bit out of the ordinary, we recommend this taqueria. Think Montezuma and Indiana Jones. Perfect for stoners who love anything grilled. Although the eating area is just large enough to swing a cat, right behind the back wall is one of the best cocktail lounges in Paris.

Their margaritas kick ass and will put you under the volcano in no time. Who knows you might even meet a Malcolm Lowry wannabe. Reminds me of a place I knew in the West Village. Speakeasy gravitas laced with the casualness to keep you smiling. Their tacos and tostadas should soak up all that alcohol. To top the evening off you could head to Chez Castel in Saint Germain. Just bring someone with long sleek legs. Then you’re guaranteed to get in. Cheers!

Article Title: 4 Hot Tips To Swingin’ In Paname
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

How To Inspire Your Leadership With A Higher Purpose

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“Because you love singin’ in the rain…”

Is your management threatened by disruption? Then it’s time to take the bull by the horns. If you are a business leader put your employees first and set a healthy vibe in the workplace. Change management should start with a smile. The secret is to generate trust, which should be central to any working relationship.

Without trust, nobody will take risks. Sure, they’ll do their jobs, but at arms length keeping their heads in the sand as a form of protection. Everyone has had the experience of working with individuals not worthy of their trust. The atmosphere is deadly and we are highly unlikely to engage our full potential for fear of criticism or worse.

It goes without saying that change management is disruptive. To step up to the leadership challenge, inspire your mission with a higher purpose.

Start by demonstrating respect for your employees. They are after all, the front line between you and your clients. They are your brand ambassadors. People speak. Spread the word. Share the wealth. The negative tactics of force and manipulation are so yesterday.

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Here are just a few cues to change your leadership style in order to inspire your business with a higher purpose. Start by Implementing a positive incentive program and build your CLQ (company likability quotient).

I know like you do that the raison d’être of an enterprise is to generate loot. Nobody is debating this simple fact. It doesn’t mean that you must run your business like a sweatshop manufacturing T-shirts in Bangladesh.

Take the example of Richard Branson. This guy leads the Virgin Group front and center. He knows everyone’s name. He asks employees about their children’s football matches. He’s engaged, and his employees know he cares about their welfare and growth. The final result: they work twice as hard because they believe what they do matters. Every person feels empowered and valued.

RB emphasizes coaching skills. His managers are effective because they support their teams. When managers coach employees, positive outcomes become reality. Empathy and a respect work wonders. Test this out and you’ll witness a dramatic change. Nobody wants a guerrilla in the room. When employees harbor resentment, it will be terribly hard for you to win back their trust and allegiance.

Recently Seattle CEO, Dan Price cut his salary 90% so he could increase his employees’ wages to $70k. “There’s greater inequality today than there’s been since the Great Recession,” Price told The Huffington Post.

“I’d been thinking about this stuff and just thought, ‘It’s time. I can’t go another day without doing something about this.'”

Because it was unexpected, every employee was thrilled to bits. Why did he do it? Because he felt it was the right thing to do. Talk about social responsibility and inspiring his work force.

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“Because there are times you need to think the business through…”

How Employees View Their Organization
I find it fascinating how employees rate their organizations. It is quite revealing. It takes you to the heart of the mechanics underpinning organizational culture. Before you start tooting your own horn, remember admiration and respect must be earned. Leadership that get’s it understands. They don’t live in a glass tower.

Just For Fun
Just for fun conduct a survey and tally the results. Do you work in a culture where collaboration and unselfishness are business mantras? Do appreciation, compassion, and respect flourish? Does C-suite generate a culture of respect where everyone is really on board?

Clearly great leaders don’t need to be told about their greatness. It would be meaningless. They strive to invest their energy into productivity, profitability, and client satisfaction. However, they also recognize that nothing would happen if they didn’t express their gratitude to their team for making it happen.

The team here is not an inner circle of psychopaths. The team is everyone who works for or at the organization. This includes the guys who sweep up at the end of each working day. When everyone is valued, the pulse of a vibrant business environment becomes a sine quo non. Work should be a passion not just a job.

Why You Should Inspire Hope
People need a reason to wake up in the morning. Even a great paycheck is insufficient. You need more to inspire your team to greatness. This is where hope comes into the picture. Everyone wants to believe that what they do matters. In my experience at WCW, everyone knows that our future lies in our hands. We thrill to the challenges as a team. We recognize that changing people’s lives is a privilege, and we strive to do this one person at a time. Does everything run smoothly? Not always, but together we laugh, joke, and drink barrels of espresso.

I recognize that not all business organizations are the same. Some are more vertical than others. However, you have the power to put into place a culture of hope no matter what your firm’s activity is. It is easy to calibrate lists of things that don’t get done fast enough, why goals are hard to obtain, or why certain initiatives cannot generate successful outcomes sooner.

To do this consistently creates a negative atmosphere. Not only will talented employees leave your organization so will you if you look in the mirror. Every great business leader understands that people need to dream and hope. A corporate culture void of hope is doomed to implode at some stage.

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“When the time has come to change your tapes…”

Take A Reality Check Jack Welch once stated, “Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it were.” Unconsciously, he reiterated one of the old and noble Vedic truths: “The world is as you see it. Embrace it.” This is what I refer to as crazy wisdom. Injecting a small dose of crazy wisdom into your business will work wonders.

As a business leader, you clearly want to be frank with everyone on the team. However, frankness doesn’t give you license to exercise bad manners. Nobody wants to work with an ogre. If you are having a bad sales quarter, firing the sales team is not necessarily the solution. Maybe your strategy needs recalibration? Perhaps rather than thinking within a box, you should drop your box mentality completely. Learn to be more flexible. Above all, learn to laugh at yourself. Be serious, but take yourself less seriously.

Lastly, we counsel building alliances. Work should be a collaborative experience. Fostering steadfast relationships ensure that team members have opportunities to fulfill their own developmental goals. This builds a sense of reciprocity. When you’ve done so, trust will flourish and harmony in the workplace will dominate.

Article Title: High To Inspire Your Leadership With A Higher Purpose
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

Tips@LinkedInPulse

Why Mentorship Must Embody Human Values

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“She sells seashells at the seashore…”

Mentorship is the path of true business leadership. It’s like opening the window and letting the light enter the human heart. Acting as a mentor is a responsibility many shirk. Either they feel they can’t spare the time or they feel there is no return on investment. If this is how you feel? However, reflect on how you are where you are today? It’s a no-brainer. You become the leader you are because others selflessly took the time to counsel and help you grow, stretch, and reach out of your comfort zone. Now is the time to give back. Not because you must, but because you want to. This feeling doesn’t originate in the head. It comes from the heart and is the true hallmark of business leadership.

Contrary to the popular view that most people are inherently selfish, self-centered and narcissistic, there are many who hold the opposite view. To succeed in any field, we all require role models. These unique personalities inspire us to do more, be more, and share more. Think of that great sage from Arunachala Mountain, Ramana Maharishi. He rarely spoke. He taught from the depths of silence because he understood the nature of mentorship.

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“When you cherish the words of wisdom in silence…”

This is particularly true in business education and career management. People in these fields have the power to help shape the destiny of another individual’s life. Remember, “A life is a terrible thing to waste.

Acting as a mentor or coach is not about bottom lines. Leave this to the humorless accountants who would outsource every person’s job to God knows where on behalf of their soulless masters. Mentorship is about building relationships, authenticity, and recognizing that we belong to one family, the human family. When you see each individual as part of your Self, how can you turn someone away? This is why many societies are in meltdown mode. They were brought up to believe that only the Darwinians survive. They have forgotten that zero sum games have only losers. The rest of us were inspired by respected and successful people, who helped change our corner of the world.

The Beauty Of Mentorship
There is nothing more beautiful than watching some else succeed when you facilitate a growth environment. Sharing your expertise and experience is not just a way to leave an invisible legacy. It challenges you to use your knowledge in a creative and dynamic format.

Although you may have no wish to become the Dalai Lama, the mentoring experience will deepen your sense of humility and appreciation of everything around you. In this sense, we act as bridges across cultures, diversity, and even generations. Each of us was born with a sense of uniqueness within set communities. It is when we step beyond these frontiers and confront what is different do we optimize our potential and see that once superficialities are stripped away, we are indeed all the same.

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“Because one size doesn’t fit all scenarios…”

This is a particularly useful skill set if we manage people. Managing people is not about giving orders like a drill Sargent having a bad hair day. It’s leading by example. Some individuals believe that a title empowers them to use authority and control to manipulate, humiliate, and intimidate. This is what one of my colleagues refers to as the France Telecom mentality. This is a casebook example on how not to manage or lead teams. Coercive leadership corrodes the heart and soul of the organization. It is a destructive path, which leads to negative outcomes and unproductive scenarios. Mentorship cannot flourish under these conditions.

A Question Of Balance
Mentorship requires an open heart. Having an open heart does not imply as Cole Porter wrote, “anything goes”. It demands honest criticism, which enhances the role of the protégé through guidance. Putting somebody down is not criticism. It is an exercise in bad behavior and at best stupidity. Demonstrate to junior colleagues that improvement comes through determination and the willingness to adjust by being pragmatic.

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“Because nobody lives on Gilligan’s Island…”

Fostering and retaining talent in any group demands a light hand not a hammer blow to an individual’s head. By providing a support network, careful planning, and implementation systems establish a series of reachable benchmarks. When you walk this path, you are building confidence. Remember that line in Skyfall: “Youth is no guarantee of innovation; Age is no guarantee of wisdom.” What is required is balance as the Buddha would say.

When people reach out, they help one another. Ultimately the path of mentorship gives satisfaction to everyone. Changing somebody’s life by providing them with the tools to build a successful future is beautiful indeed.

Article Title: Why Mentorship Must Embody Human Values
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

Why Leadership Is A Journey Not A Destination

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“Because you need to change your perspective…”

To an earlier generation, Bob Dylan’s music captured the leadership of the 1960s, its hopes, its dreams, and its desire to remake the world into a better place. For Millennials, this is ancient history in the way living through the Depression was to Boomers.

Fast forward to 2015. The world is a vastly different place to anything we could have imagined. Some of it is amazing. However, many problems are still with us and some have become exacerbated. Think income inequality, race, war, and environmental degradation.

One of the drivers to our brave new world is the digital revolution. It has changed everything from the way we network, interact, create value, share, and solve problems. We don’t work the same way nor do we lead teams as previous generations did. Technology has made it possible to create different business models. Just look at Snapchat.

This is the great paradox. It is easier to launch a new enterprise now than at any other time in history. The hunger for connectivity is exponential. It’s not just the Millennials. It’s everyone. If you were born before 1985, you watched as our world changed. It’s as if we were born before electric lights and along came Edison to light up our universe.

No matter which generation you belong to our challenge is not to be left behind. Leadership therefore, demands an understanding of shifting market trends and the ability to capture or better still, generate new trends. Here are some of keys:

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“Because every generation seeks to establish its own voice…”

The New Ideology
Although the customer has always been front and center of any business paradigm, the rules of engagement have changed. My colleague, James D. Roumeliotis, has been writing about this for years.

Because customers are better informed than ever before, they have become more discerning and more demanding. Anyone can broadcast their views to God knows how many social media channels in a flash. Bad service or poor products were never acceptable. That goes double time for today. Creating customer advocacy is a relatively new phenomenon and one that business leader must master. Think community engagement, the onslaught of blogging, and sharing. The hardest strategy is to remain focused because customer advocacy is multi-dimensional.

As another colleague of ours points out at RedHerring, even a toothpaste brand must have a soul. It’s no longer about cleaning your teeth.

Constant Reinvention
Since our world continues to change at lightening speed, it can be quite challenging to managing what one advocate refers to as disruption. Innovation causes disruption and sweeps everyone in its path. Others will copy and a new standard comes into place.

The case of Blackberry is iconic. It set the proverbial standard until Apple created the touch screen iPhone. Millenials live on their smartphones. Mobile apps have altered communications, the way we shop, buy, and sell products and services. Google has even re-calibrated its algorithm to favor mobile handsets.

Digital enablement continues to feed the fire of change. In a recent interview, Evan Spiegel revealed, “I want to make it easier for brands to be brands.” Given the nature of his leadership and vision you are now witnessing how this generation wants to further reshape the world in which we live. In retrospect, he makes Facebook appear as a stick in the mud. The takeaway here is you will need to restructure the way your venture communicates sooner than you think and more often than you ever imagined.

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The Power Of Culture
Culture has always mattered. The challenge is that now we live in a world both online and off of intersecting identities and allegiances. Customer culture must reflect these dynamics. For leadership to thrive, trust must be established.

If you make the customer the center of your corporate agenda, then you have made him or her the final judge on what your firm produces or serves, unless of course, you are the trendsetter. Think of the entrepreneurial and business icon of this generation: Steve Jobs. He started a revolution of giving people things they never knew they needed and can no longer live without. He also taught this generation a new brand of leadership with a focus on how to be iconoclastic.

When I look back at the customer service culture CAREO created, naysayers said why did we give clients so much free time? Why did we put them at the center of our enterprise? We did so because to us, this venture was always more than a business. It was a way to invest in the dreams of others and help them make their aspirations a reality. Was this easy? If you have tried this, then you know the answer. It is constant hard work. But then again, leadership demands that you stand by your core beliefs, build trust, and to be responsive. In our view, involvement must be total.

Why Innovation Is Essential
Innovation is a term often misunderstood. A superficial understanding pegs this word to technology and science alone. This is only a small part of the equation. Real innovation also must call into play creativity and a revolutionary change in human behavior to instill personal growth and positive outcomes. This is a road less travelled because it demands something most people feel uncomfortable with: authenticity.

People feel that if I am too authentic than I am too personal. It’s this side of business that builds trust. Most organizations demand compliance not creativity or authenticity. You can identify these firms without a problem. They are ruled by an accountant’s mentality. These are the bottom line data driven nerds who took the word human out of human resources. In their lexicon, resources are to be used, i.e. expendable components in a machine to be exploited.

From our perspective, anyone can be an innovator. You just need the right culture for it to prosper. Empowering people and valuing their performance will certainly heighten your brand and it will also get you the commitment every firm needs to really thrive. So what are we implying?

Create a true learning environment. Encourage risks. Applaud boldness. Celebrate humanity. Millennials intuitively know this, which is why they are rejecting the business vision of their predecessors. Will they become better leaders? It is hard to know. Time will be the judge. For those of us in leadership roles today, we have the benefit of hindsight. Make your journey all it is worth and leave a legacy where people are truly valued. As a great sage once stipulated, “Life is a journey, not a destination…”

Article Title: Why Leadership Is A Journey Not A Destination
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

Navigating The Crackerjacks Of Work-Life Balance

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“When life seems like a Fellini movie…”

The crackerjacks of finding your work-life balance is a perpetual conundrum. Thousands of articles and books have been written on this subject. Yet for many, the path to sanity is elusive. It doesn’t have to be. All you need to do is to redefine your calculus. Start by asking yourself: What in your life really matters?

Maintaining your health and keeping your career on track sometimes seems at odds with reality. Don’t be tempted to reach for the Ayahuasca. This stuff is best left to shamans. Career change demands alternatives to gaining that work-life balance. The basics you already know are commitment and discipline. Balance however, will keep your head straight. No point going off the rails and getting stressed out. Harmonizing your professional objectives with your personal aspirations is the key to work-life balance.

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“When spending time with friends matters…”

During the initial search phase, there is a tendency to full steam ahead guns blazing. If you take this approach, it is a guarantee that you will resemble a burned out candle. Search yes. Be serious and calculating, definitely. However, make time to smile, enjoy the company of friends and family, and see old movies. Let the sunshine caress your cheeks. Remember the only one who can live your life with joy is you. This must be a conscious choice. Do not let yourself get side tracked into a tunnel of despair.

Here are just a few strategic tips to help you recalculate your work-life balance:

Perfection Does Not Exist
This was a line from Vince Lombardi. If he could handle the stress in his role as coach for the Green Bay Packers, so can you. By chasing perfection, you can catch excellence. Excellence here is not some idealistic standard either. It means doing the best you can and being satisfied with that result. Change might require sacrifice on your part, but it doesn’t mean self flagellation.

Prioritize
The best ticket to burnout is to over schedule yourself. Sometimes you must say “NO”. Respect your limits, by doing what is really important. John Lennon once said, “Life is what’s happening when you’re too busy making other plans.” This means learn to bake bread, play with your kids if you have them. Hang loose at a cafe and people watch with friends. This is meaning of finding that work life balance.

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“All it takes is for you to open a door to a bright new beginning…”

Meditation
In our experience, we found that when you are overwhelmed, you need a release. Some people advocate deep breathing. That’s fine, but why not go the hole hog? Timing and watching your breath will lead you to an inner space of deep tranquility. Nothing can touch you here and it acts as an energizer of good vibes. There are many practices from which to choose. Choose one you feel comfortable with. Nobody is too busy to meditate. This is a feeble excuse. Take 15 minutes in the early morning or evening. Find a quiet spot and just watch the rhythm of your breath guide you to deep inner peace. Yoga is a great tool for finding your balance. Best of all, you’ll be in great company.

Help
Sometimes it is hard to ask for help. Put aside your fears. Everyone needs help at something. No one will think lesser of you. If fact, it demonstrates an understanding that you know it is time to recalibrate your path to equilibrium. Good things will happen, trust you feelings.

Forget Urgency
During a time of transition we all feel the pain of urgency. We want action fast and we want it now. However, with rare exceptions, change is usually incremental and takes time. Be comfortable with this approach and you will forge a better and more satisfying future. As the Buddha once stipulated, “You need to be methodical. A mountain stream doesn’t flow through the rocks. It goes around them. Feel the energy. Do not grasp what you cannot hold. This is the middle way.

Reading Rediscovering The Lost Art Of Self Reliance, Experiments With Truth, Gaining A New Sense Of Harmonics

Article Title: Navigating The Dilemma Of Work-Life Balance
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

How To Handle Career Experiments With Truth

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“I wonder when Gene Kelly is gonna get here…”

Mahatma Gandhi stipulated that “experiments with truth were easier in the marketplace than in the wilderness”. Only recluses remove themselves beyond the mundane world. A true hermit lives in the cave of his or her heart. This is the ultimate experiment with truth. Perfect for fostering your career.

Like many professionals, one dear friend was determined to think and grow rich. She pushed everything else away. The results left her bruised. Does this sound familiar?

Stoically, she refused to give in. Slowly, alcohol took over, and she lost her center. Her career went dead. Everyone thinks they can handle career challenges. The genie however, is hard to put back in the proverbial bottle. Narcotics are not experiments with truth. Drugs are best left to shamans. Experiments with truth constitute a slippery path.

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“When all that glitters is not gold…”

Fortunately, my friend discovered Patanjali’s Eight Limbed Path. This was her rescue. It led her to Babaji’s kriya yoga. Yoga is a secure platform to foster career change. It’s safe and has no negative side effects.

Seeking escape is nothing new. From time immemorial, people have had to clean their own dishes, take out their garbage, and do their laundry. It is a question of resolve. “Communing with nature” takes place without effort. It is natural. It permits us to clean out our own merde.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau understood the power of cleaning their stables. Reading their work will help you to re-evaluate your career as well as your lifestyle. Both Emerson and Thoreau believed that the spirit transcends the physical and empirical universe. They advocated reliance on “intuition”. In Emerson’s essay on Nature, he wrote:

“We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; The divine soul inspires all men.”

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“Everything is a question of degree…”

Emerson ended his essay on truth by calling for a “revolution in human consciousness”. It is a shame that he was unfamiliar with Nasruddin. Nasruddin would have agreed with Emerson’s belief in intuition as a source of truth. However, he would have added, “You can lead a donkey to water, but you cannot make him drink”. Nasruddin is every generation’s expert when it comes to understanding the nature of a jackass.

Thoreau came closer to understanding his experiments with truth by gleaning wisdom from The Gita. I counsel Christopher Isherwood’s translation. It is the perfect blueprint to any anyone seeking career change.

Instituting a change in lifestyle puts us at a crossroads. Choices need to be made. Making the right decision is not as complicated as it appears. In fact, it is quite simple. Start by stripping hyperbole away from your reality. The truth will clearly manifest.

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“When you’re searching for the unexpected…”

Last year, I met a wise sage who lives on the outskirts of Bangalore. Her words are pure japa and hold deep clarity:

“I feel clean
I feel free
I feel ready to live each day with zest
I am delighted by the adventure of each moment.”

See what you can do, when you conduct your own Experiments With Truth.

Article Title: Experiments With Truth
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

Business Education: I’ve Got My Brand On You

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“Because you love the theme music…”

Talk brand with someone and you think FMCG or fashion. However, the same concept of brand, identity, logo, and ethos goes into fueling the personality and the culture of an academic institution. Considering the fierce competition among business schools for qualified talent then you begin to get the bigger picture. Private or public, educational institutions strive to constantly differentiate themselves. When you add in how much it costs for an education today, it’s no wonder these schools put so much into marketing their brand.

Clearly, the target audience for the most part are the parents who must either co-sign loans or cough up huge bags of cash. The alternatives to pedigree in our times are not for the weak hearted. You can go it alone as many entrepreneurs demonstrate. However, for the vast majority, education is the track to get you the credentials you need no matter what career path you choose to embark on.

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“Because an image is worth a thousand words…”

Take the case of Babson College located just outside of Boston. Many pundits have never heard of this institution, and yet it fosters a strong identity and pull particularly for entrepreneurs. Listen to how they describe themselves: “Immersed in business, engaged in liberal arts”. Quite a mouthful don’t you think?

With many people calling into question the high costs of education, parents are demanding that their offspring have salable skills upon graduation. Your classic humanities education has fallen victim to our very unequal times.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.) uses another calling card: “Why not change the world?” Clearly, someone at this school has read Gandhi or at least remembers Steve Jobs. Will this quote resonate with the majority of high school seniors looking to apply? I think not. Students for the most part are not so high minded. Many are idealistic. Most are pragmatic and some are hustlers. With hi-tech and instant fame on the brain, certain students feel they can ride a wave to glory like Mark Zuckerberg.

To meet another educational niche, there has been another category of educational institutions. Enter the For-Profit category best exemplified by the University of Phoenix. This school carved out its path within the market by offering options other schools chose not to such as evening classes, flexible scheduling, a social network, and online classes. As a pioneer in its field, UP has been leading the For-Profit pack for 20 years. It also became a template for other savvy business people looking to make big bucks from education.

Education is clearly not seen today as it was in the past. It has become a commodity and in some cases a luxury brand must have. Europe for example offers many For-Profit institutions. They compete alongside the highly visible schools. Their drawing card? Integrate internships into the academic curriculum and just about promise everyone a job upon graduation. For anxious parents, this is a big attraction.

For The Love Of Ivy
The ultimate dream education for many Americans and even overseas students is to attend an Ivy League school. True the standards are tops, the curriculum compelling, and the schools in this group offer an unparalleled network of resources and opportunities. The odds for admitted applicants is steep. Even with the right credentials, grades, and extracurricular activities most applicants are denied admissions.

The harder it is to get in, the more people want to buy the brand. Despite their instant brand name recognition, even these top notch schools spend millions to promote their brand. There names are obvious: Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania. Attend one of these institutions, and you are set for life so each school claims. True, you certainly start off life on the right foot.

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“Because you love luxury brands…”

So You Want To Be A Designer
Another basket of academic institutions include fashion and design schools. Previously some of these institutions were seen as vocational schools. Not any longer. Some consider these schools the royal road to creative directors and designers. Considering the appeal of luxury brands and anything to do with fashion and glitz, these schools offer many attractive options to future students. These schools include Parson School For Design (NYC) and Saint Martin’s (London).

The Issue Of Public Schools
Public schools in the American meaning of he term means a university funded by the individual states. In Europe, they are funded by their constituent governments. The quality of education varies from state to state and from country to country.

For example UC-Berkely, UCLA, University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia stand out as academic powerhouses. Their major attraction is the cost is less. In France, the university system is seen as worn out and chaotic. Students of means choose Prepa and then a Grande Ecole if they can get admitted. Others go the For-Profit route, if their parents can foot the bill.

Emotional Attachment
Brand management at any school revolves around establishing an esprit du corp. Alumni help foster the brand within corporations, and in the case of the USA, donate generously to their institutions later in life.

The Challenges
As the price of education continues to skyrocket, schools need to justify their purpose, fine tune their recruiting, and make every aspect of academic life, the faculty, and administration vibrate the brand. Top schools have no issue with this. Middling schools find this harder to accomplish, and For-Profits need to change their mentality that their faculty and staff are cheap labor and essentially cannon fodder.

Building and sustaining a brand, any brand, requires an innate understanding of human psychology, the actual market, and how you can make your institution stand apart from a highly saturated sector. Education for previous generations was first seen as a privilege. Then it was seen as a constitutional right. Now, it is seen in many circles as a luxury.

So what are the schools selling? What is the value proposition to coin a phrase? Is it knowledge? Is it an experience? Is it a right-of-passage? Or is it a paid systematic service to put their clients into decent and well paid paths to sustainable employment? (Notice, I did not use the term students. This should tell you something about how the price of education has morphed in the 21st century.)

Recently, The Guardian held a roundtable in association with Purpose, a brand communications consultancy. Their debate was conducted under Chatham House rules, which allows remarks to be reported without attribution to encourage a frank discussion, producing compelling recommendations. Here’s what they concluded:

• Focus on core values such as academic integrity that links teaching, research and scholarship. Offer business-friendly courses with employability appeal. Deliver a positive student experience.

• Target communications at parents as well as students

• Involve faculty as much as possible. Their enthusiasm can often bring big dividends when they are valued.

• Highlight student testimonies in university marketing materials

• Maximize social media influence and reach

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“When you recognize the power of brand…”

The Case Of The 2 Ronnies

• New Frontiers School Board Continuing Education
(Montreal, Canada)
NFSB wanted to bolster enrollment and student engagement. Over a period of 12 months, The Watershed Media conducted an extensive communications audit. They developed a blueprint for an online and offline marketing plan. Then, they executed a new digital and social media strategy with a invigorated brand. On the basis of their investigation, they recognized that success of the brand hinged on fostering intimacy and dialogue between the school and its students in an honest and authentic way.

TWM injected the brand with a personal narrative that celebrated the theme of overcoming adversity and breaking through.

I Choose Me” and the “Journey Begins With You” were conversational brand elements that nurtured the empathetic quality that were the hallmarks of the school.

They also revitalized the website from the ground up, focusing on a modern image that gave its users clear information, helped them make informed decisions about their future, and then act on those decisions through online conversion tools. The Watershed complemented student tools with community resources that would make the NFSB a valued asset. Equally important was their work helping NFSB shift the marketing culture at the school and discover their shared capacity to influence change through everyday inter-actions.

  • Ramapo College of New Jersey (USA)
    The brand strategy was conceived and implemented by Words & Pictures Creative Service. The goal was to create an image campaign, featuring print and radio.

    The campaign harnessed successful, famous, and historical people who “could have been” Ramapo students. Welcome Shakespeare, Marie Curie, Andrew Carnegie, and Booker T. Washington. The chosen personalities represented the different schools at the College. This campaign elevated the College to a place where “some of the greatest minds in history could have started their futures” and where “the great young minds of today could start their futures.”

    Results: Ramapo College experienced direct benefits. The image building exercise worked wonders. Four years later, a follow-up survey was conducted by Eagleton. There was a dramatic increase in public awareness and improved perception of the school:

  • Ranked No.1 public comprehensive college by USNews in consecutive years. Combined SAT scores rose from 1120 to 1180
  • HS rankings moved from top 24% to top 17%
  • Full-time residential undergrads increased from 52% to 60%. Retention rate: first to second year increased from 82.4% to 89.4%
  • Retention rate: second to third year increased from 68% to 74.8% (currently,80%) Graduation rate: 42.75 to 62.3% (well over national average)
  • First-time donors increased by 35%
    (The advertising campaign received industry and CASE awards for its ingeniousness and creativity.)

    Conclusion
    Educational institutions to survive and prosper need to channel their efforts where their strengths lie. Differentiation should be more than hollow words, slogans, and the usual dead leaf catalogues. As the tools of the trade change so must the communications strategy to make the brand stay true to its real mission. In this way, a unique vision can be marketing via authenticity.

    Article Title: Business Education: I’ve Got My Brand On You
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    James D. Roumeliotis is a regular contributor to CAREO. He is a brand management specialist and lives in Montreal.

    For further inspiration
    Visit: CAREO

  • Why We Pursue Full Abundance

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    “From this angle, things are looking up.”

    Yves Saint Lauren might have said, “From this angle things are shaping up nicely.” Full abundance in any career is an attitude. It has nothing to do with possession. So where can you find full abundance? In the void of your heart.

    Do not be frightened. Contrary to naive beliefs, the void is not a negation of identity. It is an inner space. Many sages in India describe this phenomenon as sitting under the wish-fulfilling tree. Under the branches of this tree lies full abundance. Best of all, you will discover there is no need for possession.

    To experience this phenomenon gives deep satisfaction. It sounds so easy, and yet we make it difficult. Our problem is simple. We have conned ourselves into believing that we are incomplete. We feel ownership means full abundance.

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    “Because you know its not about the number of shoes you own…”

    Here’s a silly example. You are walking down the rue St. Honore. You spy a vintage Daytona Rolex in the window. Your heart palpitates. You recognize the watch will look better on your wrist than sitting in the window. Now the unthinkable becomes doable.

    You enter the shop, clasp the watch to your wrist and feel complete. You become giddy with pride like a child with a new toy.

    However one day, the newness wears off. We entertain incompleteness again. The mind goes in search of the next acquisition. The mind loves filling this bottomless pit. It finds pleasure in personalized heritage collections. This exercise can go on indefinitely. Then one day something happens. It can be an ailment, loss of a loved one, or loss of a job. You feel empty. This time the emptiness comes as a relief.

    We have discovered that we feel ephemeral like the objects we preciously covet. Our mistake comes from the failure to distinguish among our dependencies arising from external phenomena. Recognizing our dependency is a great leap forward. It leads to an independence of being. It is bracing like a stiff sea breeze. Coming to this realization we see the dynamics of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause whether it bears immediate fruit or not.

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    “Because life is a moveable feast…”

    Use this season to rebalance your full abundance equation. Find a quiet place. Take a few minutes and sit down. Close your eyes. No one is watching. Breath deeply and methodically. Feel your own presence. The energy is already within you. Feel the vibration mount and you will begin to understand the meaning of emptiness. In the void of full abundance, you are already complete.

    Article Title: Why We Pursue Full Abundance
    Photograph: archival, curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time