How To Cultivate Empowerment & Gain Inner Peace

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“When you are as keen as mustard…”

I’ve watched men and women of all ages holding it all together, afraid if they slow down they’ll fall apart. I’ve watched people grow old and get restless, feeling they will no longer be loved while the lines on their faces, visible and invisible paint a telling story. I’ve even watched people collapse, wondering what the point was of all that hard work and effort with no tangible benefit. If you’ve ever wondered how to cultivate your own empowerment and gain inner peace, there is no time like the present.

On the plus side, I’ve watched people with courage, compassion, and grace. I’m amazed by the tenacity of some and admire those who walk with confidence and ease. For close to two decades I’ve counseled beautiful souls many of whom were in pain physically, emotionally, and psychologically. All their fears stemmed from past or present traumas. What all this has taught me is that a majority of us are filled with fear and loathing. We’re filled with fear on what the future will bring or not bring. Personally or professionally, everyone has dealt with some form of addiction, body issues, relationship problems, and the inability to tell themselves the truth of what it takes to get a grip, take a step forward and inspire themselves.

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“When you think you’ve lost your love…”

All these issues take their toll and create tension in the body. Evacuating stress needs to be dealt with adroitly. Like everyone else, I’ve experienced triumphs and have had my share of traumas too. Like many of you, I searched beyond what I could touch, taste, see, and hear. Yet ultimately, I felt unfilled until I found a form magic, which took me to a deep place within my heart. And then I got it. What was the point of running, when everything I sought was right inside myself. It was only then did I stop searching because I found what I never lost.

I learned this valuable lesson from a great teacher living in the middle of the desert in India. He was quite a character. You never knew what he would do or say. What he did show anyone who came to see him was the meaning of truth. So many of us have been lying to ourselves for so long, is it any wonder most of us are psychotic? We project an identity, which is not our true self, and then wonder how we got in the mess we find ourselves.

There is a path to sanity and it is called yoga. Someone in the audience will certainly think, why is this guy boring me to tears with yoga? I thought LinkedIn was a professional network to get me a better job or learn how to make zillions. LinkedIn is many things to many people. But above all, it is about sharing expertise to help others find a better way to balance their professional lives with their humanity. And that’s where yoga comes in. It is the perfect accelerator to ease your pain and frustration. It will build you a body to die for and stabilize your mind. Why limit your vision when you can be so much more?

Yoga has the power to bring you the truth by helping you better observe so you can let go of those nasty habits you didn’t need in the first place. Listen to your heart, and you’ll know that these words resonate. The alternative is not a pretty picture. Think about it. If you don’t believe in your self, nobody else will. You don’t need a title to do so. Imagine, you have the power to inspire, influence, and elevate anyone you meet. Believe it or not, each one of us has the means to drive positive change in the face of negativity.

Where does that power come from? Deep inside your heart. Empowerment means assuming responsibility and ownership for your cherished ideals. This is the type of leadership role you have been waiting for. Now, it is up to you to assume command.

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“You must believe Indy…”

Self worth has nothing to do with net worth
You are who you believe yourself to be. Whatever path you have chosen, foster your development. There is more to you than you think. Stretch your capabilities. Recognize that inner peace can allow you to step out from the maddening crowd. Self worth is an amazing power, and its authenticity lies at the center of your being.

Once you recognize your self worth, you will find yourself empowered. Inject the leadership your soul demands. Be your best and change your corner of the world. The choice is yours: victimhood or empowerment. Personal authority is yours. Nobody can ever take your inner dignity away from you unless you give it to them.

Join The Conversation. How do you cultivate empowerment? Let us know.

Article Title: How To Evaluate Empowerment & Gain Inner Peace
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

5 Ways To Make Yourself Irresistible

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“Because you love magic carpet rides…”

The challenge of making oneself irresistible reminds me of a sage I know who taught her students the art of irresistibility using unorthodox methodologies. She understood that from time to time that her students had lost the plot. So one bright morning when her disciples were all bright and bushy tailed, she took down a manilla box, which sat on a bookcase.

Students being students wondered what in the name of Rumpelstiltskin was going on. From out of the box she pulled a bright and dazzling stone the size of a goose egg. Eyeing the crowd she chose one among the lot to come forth and spoke.

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

Go to the marketplace just across the street. Query all the dealers on how much they will be willing to pay for this rock if we decide to sell. Write down every offer. On no account should you sell the stone. When you are finished with your investigation, return and we will evaluate the data you have culled together.

The student humbly nodded, took his field notes and a pen, heading to the door.

Remember, on no account are you to part with that stone“, called out the teacher.

Now this student was a smart and studious hombre. He carefully shoveled his merchandise into his pocket. He was delighted to be entrusted with such an important mission. Only he couldn’t figure out what the point of the exercise really was.

His first port of call on a rather long list was a potato dealer, who sat just at the entrance to the vegetable market. The dealer took one glance at the item and said, “I’ll give you two kilos of rattes.”

Now as everyone knows, the ratte is a potato and a member of the solanum tuberosum family and widely cultivated for its edible tubers. This starchy oval tuber has a brown, red, or purple skin. It is cooked and eaten in multiple ways. Some folks love’em best thinly sliced and fried crispy to accompany a scotch ‘n soda.

As I was saying, the boy dutifully scribbled down the merchant’s generous offer in his notebook. Next on his list was a sheep herder known for the quality of his merino wool. As he approached, 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 jotted down the relevant information.

This continued for a couple of hours. He must have visited just about everybody. There was only one more visit to be paid. It was considered the finest jewelry shop in town and run by an Italian gentleman from Naples. Once he was buzzed into the premises and stated his business, he was offered an espresso. A specialist came over. He greeted the boy, and they sat down together.

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 noticed that it was snack time. Everyone was seated in a circle. The student approached the sage, gave back the stone, and surrendered his notebook. The teacher went through the data, smiled and shared his analytical findings with the class.

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

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“There’s no point in pulling 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 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 rangle 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. At some time in our life, we have fallen victim to this one. The temptation to buy clothes, jewelry, and cosmetics become overwhelming. Why? Because we all seek to appear irresistible like celebrities. 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.

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 quipped, “Love is the answer, but you know that for sure.”

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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“When the prophets write on city walls…”

If it’s rock star status that motivates you, fine. Just recognize what Voltaire once warbled 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
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
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 sing 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.

Join The Conversation. Let us know what makes you irresistible.

Article Title: 5 Ways 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

Tips@LinkedInPulse

9 Ways To Become More Influential

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“La Vache…”

Want to become more influential? Of course you do because making a difference matters. An often debated question. Perhaps your journey should begin with a quick examination of this statement: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”.

In a single stroke, the Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki cuts through the dross of professional and spiritual materialism. The enigmatic space from which these words emerge show without showing the true meaning of becoming more influential. It is true that you do not need to be a Zen master to be an influential person. However, like in most things, influential people have a profound impact on everyone they encounter. They do so because they are not seeking to persuade or cajole. Their true legacy is achieved because they use their power to alter themselves first.

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“Isn’t it better to cultivate the flowers in your heart…”

Highly influential, John Lennon stated, “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world…” For people like John, changing the world is child’s play. The rest of us are mesmerized by his ingenuity, creativity, and genius. What we don’t see is the complexity, the emotions off stage, the drive to push forward and the need to instigate positive change.

Ever wonder what pushes certain people to achieve things unimaginable to the majority? In my humble view, it is love, which is the axel grease of an influencer. There must be a deep current of joy and being. If there is not, the influencer can implode when they discover they are also ordinary beyond the power of their talents. Another striking marker of influential people is their total absorption. They remain true to themselves by staying focused.

Here are some tips on how you too can become more influential:

Be True
It is not as hard to be an influencer as you think. You do not need to sit in a lotus position every evening before retiring and sleep. However, it is hard to keep our mind pure and to practice the path of well-being in a state goodness.

Great influencers don’t follow blind trends
Do not denounce others when they are filled with negative emotions. Hatred should never be in your bag of tricks. Recrimination and scapegoating wouldn’t even enter an influencer’s mind because their hearts are pure. They understand the principles of karma, are unafraid of making a mistake, and readily change their approach to problem solving when the facts support a mental shift.

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“Are you always on the same line as everyone else…”

Embodying The Power Of Grace
Grace is a power which is always present. However, we must call on this power and make it manifest. When we do so, we can leverage the moment and go outside rituals and routines, which embody the status quo. Influencers understand nothing can stay the same. Everything is bound to change such as the weather, our bodies, our societies, and even our universe. Influencers tap the eternal dream machine in every human heart. Think the Wright brothers or Steve Jobs. They were told by naysayers that their dreams weren’t feasible. So, they laughed with their inner being and went ahead and changed our world anyway.

It is so easy to be conventional
But how boring! We were not put on this planet just to consume food and leave our debris for others to clean up. We were placed here for a purpose. Unless you discover your real purpose, you won’t be capable of influencing anybody including your self.

Great Thoughts Inspire Conversation
When great minds speak out, it’s not just a ripple in a pond. It’s a call to action so we can implement change and make our lives intrinsically better. Take this small chestnut from Epicurus: “One must practice the things, which produce happiness, since if that is present we have everything and if it is absent we do everything in order to have it“.

Applied to a professional environment, the head Koi of any organization owes it to his or her team to give people the power to explore new ideas and to think and act differently. It is hard for corporate cultures to embrace this concept. The problem here is that the gray suit mindset seeks to codify, stifle, and embrace the platitudes of routine by chanting a mantra of profitability at any price.

A great mind would never advocate such an approach. Such leadership seeks to stimulate another path among his or her workforce. They would encourage us to devote our time and energies to work for fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

The Power Of Networking
Clearly, influential people understand the power of networking and making connections. The dilemma is, how well can you build authentic relationships? Nobody wants to feel used. So giving and sharing must hold no strings. It must be reciprocal. Relationship building of this sort is more than a connection. You are fostering a community where the members share their professionalism and friendship.

Welcome Disagreement
Influential leaders welcome diverse points of view. They do not scream nor do they throw donuts. They recognize their own humility. Cultivating divergent viewpoints is healthy in any debate or discussion. New ideas are stimulated in this environment. Sharing ideas inevitably generates the best solutions. So why be selfish? Who cares at the end of the day if the original idea is yours or someone else’s as long as it’s the best way forward for the team as a whole.

Avoid Ignorance
Be Proactive. Our tragedy is that we all scream out, “I am proactive, I am proactive“. Why? Because we have been taught to do so for fear of being weak in the eyes of others. We’re even willing to risk it all because we think it is essential to our well-being.

If this is your attitude, check out what the Tibetan master, Chogyam Trungpa says: “When we talk of ignorance, it has nothing to do with stupidity. In a way, ignorance is very intelligent, but it is an intelligence that works exclusively in one direction. That is, we react exclusively to our own projections instead of simply seeing what is there“.

The wise guys and gals among us don’t fall into this snake pit. They actively seek out new approaches to enhancing our future by living in the present. If you can identify the next big thing, what are you wanting for?

Expect The Best
Influencers expect the best. They believe in their own power, but also believe in the power of others to shape the conversation. Because they are not selfish nor self centered, they reach out, mentor and inspire others. They truly believe that we have the power to change the world for the better.

Every person you admire and respect, had similar feelings as you do. The only difference is that they believed that challenges could be overcome and that a force of well-being could be tapped at will and embolden others. You see, at the end of the day, they didn’t try to become an influencer. They didn’t need to. They just tried to be all they could be and shared their inner wealth. By doing so, they gave us the power to dream and manifest our own destiny.

Join The Conversation. What do you think?

Article Title:
Photographs: 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 Happiness Matters Most

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“Every man wants to be happy, but in order to be so he needs first to understand what happiness is.” – J.J. Rousseau

Do you come across as listless and depressed? If so, the reason is clear. Each one of us is in search of happiness, one of the most misunderstood concepts in any language. To some, happiness is an emotional state linked to an external event, environment, achievement or gain. This is our first cardinal mistake. Happiness is not waiting for you in the window of Cartier. It is a state of being, which must be judiciously and painstakingly cultivated.

Henri Bergson once wrote, “Happiness is commonly used to designate something intricate and ambiguous, one of those ideas which humanity has intentionally left vague, so that each individual might interpret it in his own way.

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“Because you’re spoiled for choice…”

Understanding Bergson, Rousseau, and countless others can make your head spin. People become disillusioned, feel devalued, and better still become cynical and cantankerous. We feel a weez bin had attitude. The reasoning here is that in the West we’ve systematically bought into a consumerist mindset of artificial happiness. It’s not that we shouldn’t enjoy a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem with Twinkies if we desire. You should however, be aware that these little pleasures are just fleeting sensations. Better still, such experiences should egg us on to find the source of pure happiness so that we can live every day as if it is the best day of our lives.

A Way Of Being
I remember, one morning I decided to jump on the first train from the Gare Saint Lazare to Trouville. The sun was bright and I was glad to be out of town. The summer light dappled the fields of Normandy and I could feel the cool water between my toes as the tide came in.

Next to me on the train sat another fellow headed to the beach as well. We fell into conversation as people will when they’re not glued to smart phones and began to chat. I listened to him complain about the heat, the traffic in Paris, and his work situation. He was sounding like one of T.S. Eliot’s hollow men. Although I tried to cheer him up a bit, I recognized, he was chasing something the material world couldn’t bestow on him like a prize at a summer fair.

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“Because sharing the wealth is joy…”

If he only realized the toxic and self harming nature of his negative emotions, he could have got off the roll coaster of self pity, denial, anger, and even envy. Do you also find that when the monsoons come, you’re ready to chuck in the towel?

Write Your Own Book Of Changes
Changing the way we see the world is not changing your prescription any more than it means buying that fabulous pair of sunglasses by Moscot you saw at Colette. When we are slaves to dissatisfaction we need medicine to break our addiction. The search for true happiness demands we find an alternative approach to shifting between states of joy and self loathing. When we experience the pleasure and awareness of calm in a storm, then we better appreciate what some pundits call the alignment principle. The best alignment I know is through meditation.

Meditation Is The Royal Road
Some people think that meditation is a form of vegetation. Others feel the techniques will change their fundamental beliefs. How do you feel? Are you happy and content with your lot in life? I rest my case.

We all need meditation, whether we are walking, sitting, eating, or working. It is a question of shifting our consciousness and this is where awareness is paramount to alignment. I have one friend who was so desperate, he went to see a guru, I won’t name here, hoping that the guru would wave a magic wand over his head and he would be dancing from joy as if he had spent two weeks hanging loose with Bob Marley. He left the ashram high as a kite after spending a long weekend. You know what happened next?

When he returned to his reality of stone grinding in Paris, his mood swung completely into reverse and was depressed as a cat deprived of fresh fish. He was experiencing what the Tibetan sage, Choygam Trungpa described as spiritual materialism.

So What To Do
Mood swings are common when you imbibe grace. Therefore, you need an action plan to make the goodness in your heart expand. This is what the groundwork of meditation really accomplishes. However, it is a process where you purge all your mental toxins, hatred, and obsessions. It is rough going and it does not happen over night. What it does do is put things in perspective, reduces the gap between appearances and reality and will deliver to you a sense of calm.

The Nature Of All Things
The Buddha understood these challenges better than most folk. He saw suffering for what it is, a fact of life, which is part of what makes up the human experience. He also understood the meaning of reality. His idea is so simple, but the rivers run deep. “Reality“, he said, “is the one thing which never changes. If it changes, then it is unreal.

So what is the one thing in your life that never changes? Your true Self. It is the nature of all things like a stream flowing into an ocean. Relinquish your narrow sense of identity and pettiness and you will discover something you can never find, never buy, and never own. Why? Because you are already what you seek. You are indeed pure bliss. To get there, it is like peeling the layers of an onion. However, once you use the knife of meditation to get through the dross, you will be in a state of joy no matter what you external challenges and environment might be.

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“Because you love hanging out…”

The Chinese sage, Fu Hsi never ran a Fortune 500 company nor did he launch a start-up which went gold in an IPO. He could have done this in his sleep. What he chose to do instead was to share the great truths with a weary world looking for answers to some powerful questions. His check-list is perfect for developing mindfulness.

Here are his 15 keys to live in a state happiness.” As a DJ once sang, it’s pure yin and yang.

1) Balance & imbalance. If you could satisfy all your whims on command, then perhaps the goblins of delusion would collapse. This is just a small taste on how we delude our aspirations from what we need to what we want.

2) Income & expenditures. Everybody is on a budget. I know, some budgets are bigger than others. Want to hear a secret: The great sage Yogananda told a dear disciple to “stop asking God for a Cadillac“. You know why? “What are you going to do if he grants your wish?” Car ownership is more than possession. Wait till you add on the taxes, insurance, maintenance fees, and parking. And that’s just for starters…”

3) Simplicity & pretentiousness. In the USA, everybody dreams of home ownership. Rightly so. Everyone needs a castle to call one’s home. But why buy a McMansion so large that you need a GPS to find the toilette? Good question.

4) Compromise & steadfastness. Compromise demonstrates to others that you understand what it means to live in society. Even the President must compromise to get things done. Why should you be any different? However, there are times when it is necessary to be steadfast. Stand on the ground you value most.

5) Loftiness and baseness. Some politicians and business people are so crass and base that you wonder what is going through their heads. Is self aggrandizement that important? Whose ends are you really serving? I could easily put in a couple of names here, but if you watch the news, there are plenty to choose from.

Loftiness means doing the right thing at the right time. it feels so natural. You understand that when you give of yourself not only do others benefit, you feel the pleasure of doing something you can be proud of. Better still, you wouldn’t even think of being proud because you remember that great quotation: Pride before fall.

6) Leaders & followers. Everyone follows something or someone. Why is that so? Because we live in a world of other people and ideas. You can be different. You can march to the beat of your own drummer, but it is a guarantee that someone has walked in these footsteps before.

When you can grasp the opportunity to build, create, develop, or fight for something worth fighting for, now is the time and step up to leadership. The funny thing with leadership is that there is nobody to lead if nobody will follow. Quite an interesting relationship, don’t you think? Food for thought.

7) The spiritual and the physical. Since we live a material world, you had better take care of your physical form. Nobody else will. Buying time out is not an option. Drugs and alcohol seems to release us from preconceived ideas of time. However, they are a fools release. Ultimately, they make us forget what can make us truly happy. Do you really want to be dislocated 24/7?

The spiritual world can offer us deep sustenance. However, like in all things, remember you are still in the body. Fly too high and you will burn up in the sky of well-intended intentions. Just ask Daedalus. He can still teach us about what happens with noble intentions.

8) Success & failure. Tell me about someone who has never failed, and I’ll show you a person who has never tried. World culture is repeat with zillions of great failures. Besides being in great company, many of these setbacks resulted in some of the greatest success stories of all times. Think Nelson Mandela. He tried to free his brothers and sisters countless times until he was thrown in a jail cell for good. His crime? Fighting for the dignity and humanity of his people. The result? He went from being ordinary to one of the greatest extra-ordinary people who ever walked on this planet. How? he followed the teachings of Gandhi. Best of all, personal success meant nothing to him. You can’t get more noble than that.

9) Fame & obscurity. Today, it seems everyone wants to be famous. Fame is the ultimate shadow play. You think you have troubles now, wait till you’re famous. Do you really want to walk everywhere with handlers and bodyguards? I thought not. Nothing beats sitting down at a lunch counter in a great diner and hanging out with the locals. Why do you think presidential hopefuls spend so much time in Iowa and New Hampshire? It’s not just to win hearts and minds. It’s an attempt to try to be normal folk.

10) Rest and movement. This is one of the best because it invokes one of the principle laws of physics: For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Only sloths stay immobile most of their lives. It’s their DNA. But then sloths don’t pose questions concerning happiness and the meaning of life. They just live life as they see it. One moment at a time.

11) Meditation & activity. If the goal of life is a deep state of well-being, then it is essential for you to find your core of essential goodness. One Tibetan saying states: “Seeking happiness outside ourselves is like waiting for sunshine in a cave facing north.” Forget the sun lamp. Get outside and mingle. At the end of the day, just close your eyes and watch your breath. Don’t be surprised if you find the divinity of light deep within your own heart.

12) Good fortune and misfortune. Forget the alchemy of disbelief and give thanks for your good fortune. Everything you have is good. It’s a question of appreciation. Did you know that the manure of misfortune is a great teaching tool showing you the good fortune you indeed have? Look at it this way, this is where you should be now.

13) Eternity & transitory. Lao Tsu calmly claimed, “The farther one travels, the less one knows.” This dude knew his stuff. He wasn’t saying don’t go to Portofino on your holiday. He was saying that every moment is fleeting. Watch each second pass before your eyes without grasping. Just enjoy the ride. Now, sit back and relax. The rest is easy.

14) Joy & pleasure. I think you can conjure a list as easily as myself. Yes, eating ice-cream at Bertillon on the Isle Saint Louis is pure joy. But the ultimate pleasure is to swim with the divine one without even knowing you are swimming.

15) Beginnings & endings. Like every season, turn, turn, turn… Now that we have some fertile soil with which to work, isn’t it time to kick ignorance out the door and welcome happiness into your life?

Join the conversation. Let us know what you think.

Article Title: Why Happiness Matters Most
Photographs: 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

Make Your Destiny Awesome 1 Step At A Time

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“When your heart is like a rainbow…”

Transforming your destiny starts with one step forward. The great buddhist sage, Thich Nhat Hanh describes this process as walking meditation. You don’t need to be a monk to practice. In fact, this strategy is perfect for those of us out and about in the world of business. Everyone is walking or should I say running somewhere. The key then to making your destiny awesome is mindfulness. It will enhance your awareness. It starts as an idea, ricochets in the mind, and finally migrates to the heart.

What I truly love about this practice is the simplicity. Walking meditation is therefore, a form of meditation in action. Walking becomes our focus and when we are centered our mind becomes still. We no longer worry about the laundry that needs to be done or that billion dollar merger awaiting your attention when you get to the office. Sure the merger matters, but you’re not at the office yet. Take this time to enjoy the sights on your journey to work. Notice the peeling bark of the plane trees in the heat or the balconies of tumbling geraniums.

Mindfulness is also a form of absorption. Our daily experience is filled with ample material to convert the ordinary into the extra-ordinary. In each second, you are altering your awareness from mundane into awesome.

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Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread…

Take for example my recent encounter at a Paname landmark. I was taking my espresso at the counter at Cafe Nemours and I just watched myself drink the coffee. There was a stillness in this ritualistic routine. However, today it brought clarity, while the early morning light blazed through the glass walls. I found this experience glorious. I was conscious of my breath and the energy surging through my limbs. There was nothing mechanical and I was awake in each second.

The more you practice this type of meditation, the more profound your life becomes. Start by trying to keep your awareness involved with the moment you are actually having.

What I also appreciate about walking meditation is that it offers you concrete proof that obstacles, no matter how challenging, can be overcome. You don’t need to be born rich and famous. Humble people from simple backgrounds do get to play in the big time. Isn’t this why we continue to love Oprah or Snoopy Dog? They stand out as a testament to how you can make your destiny awesome one step at a time.

Here are 8 Simple Steps To Making Your Life Awesome one step at a time:

Step 1: Start by changing your attitude. Providing this is feasible, why not walk to work this morning? Smell the proverbial roses. Each one of us has so much to be grateful for. A magician cannot do this for us. Walking meditation is the perfect path to success. It puts us in direct touch with our feelings giving us the tools to blossom in the environment in which we our planted.

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“Because you’re inner dhuni is always lit…”

Step 2: Identify what is most important to you. Stop comparing yourself to others. This is a issue which can never be resolved. We have all done this if we are honest with ourselves. Trying to figure out why someone is more beautiful, smarter, or successful is a pointless and meaningless task. Look at what you have. Look at what makes you special. When you do so, you will gain appreciation for yourself and start to relish what makes you unique. With each step you take, you will rediscover your smile. You will also recognize what is really important as opposed to what you think is important.

Step 3: Start Your Day With A Smile. I’m not trying to get up close and personal. I’m just trying to let a little light shine into your self imposed cubicle. Do you start each day by checking your email or do you start each day by hugging your partner and children? I rest my case. I have one colleague who goes around wearing a button. It boldly states: Free hugs. Isn’t that fabulous!

What she is saying is embrace the world and each day is sweet. Positive thinking of this sort is the perfect elixir to begin each morning. And yes, a double espresso doesn’t hurt either. This is the true meaning of quality time. Check your email and social accounts afterwards. Stay productive. Be focused. Do what you do best, but not before you give thanks for the blessings life has generously granted you.

Step 4: Eliminate The Suit Mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great handmade Italian suit. This is not what I am talking about. Drop the busywork. Voltaire once quipped that the cemetery is full of very important people. You understand. Prioritize. Delegate. Empower. No one can do everything by him or herself. Set yourself achievable milestones. You hold the reins of power in your hands to instigate change. This is why coordinated planning is essential.

Successful people understand this concept. This is why they appear to do more and be more. It takes a strong will to change your situation for the better. However, you have the power. It’s called resilience and determination. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Step 5: What needs to be done. As in all things, it is impossible to love every task we have to execute. Some we enjoy and others we prefer not to do. Look at those tasks which are essential to your success. Put aside your likes and dislikes. Success is not a Facebook page with a million thumbs up. It’s about identifying the things to do to get you where you want to be. This is focus with a capital “F”.

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“Why worry? Enjoy a mojito instead…”

Step 6: Be Positive. A positive mindset is crucial to success and getting to awesome. Don’t let someone rob you of your dignity. Nobody can, unless you let them. Everyone has challenges to overcome or has to deal with negative personalities. If you don’t attach your integrity to the people who want to drag you down, no one can touch you. You are free.

This is not wishful thinking. It is a step in positive personal growth and development. Learn from your setbacks and you will become a wizard. The biggest mistake you can make is to give up and not bother to try.

Step 7: Look towards the horizon. All successful endeavors are focused on long term goals. Build yourself a road map. You cannot go somewhere without a plan. It doesn’t matter if you change directions as long as you get there. Forget the minutia. Life is filled with minutia. Some you must do, such as taking out your garbage. Prioritize the rest. Harness a technique familiar to yogis. It’s called visualization. Identify in your mind exactly what you seek, and make it manifest.

For example, you might want to give up smoking. For those who smoke this can be easier said than done despite the social pressure. Just tell yourself, I’ll have one, but not right now. If you keep this up without the idea of denial, your goal is within sight. I know all too well that this is a psychological and physical dependency. All the more reason to harness the power of mind to block out this habit.

One master I know in India states, “Awesome begins in the mind. Visualize the end result. Then let go of possession. Just act as if the result is already achieved. By doing so, you will create in reality what you have pictured.” Powerful words to contemplate.

Step 8: Value Your Self. If you don’t value your Self, nobody else will. Therefore, eat consciously and drink with moderation. If you poison yourself, you won’t be around to enjoy the fruit you hope to harvest. Enjoy your journey to success because part of the pleasure is becoming what you seek. Who knows, once you change yourself, you can start on changing the world. You see, when this becomes your reality, you will have become your own leprechaun.

Join the conversation. Let us know what inspires you.

Article Title: Make Your Destiny Awesome 1 Step At A 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 CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

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

Tips@LinkedInPulse

10 Strategies Every Start Up Should Know

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“Baby you can drive my car…”

As the Head Koi of a start up, it seems I’m constantly having a conversation with myself. If you are a founder or business owner, you catch my drift. You’re always talking about what’s going on or not going on in your business. Although I’m a big Marvin Gaye fan and love soul music, I recognize the need for positive focus. Watching your thoughts swim through your mind can be like a Mexican hat dance. Are you conscious about your thought process? Well you should be.

Recognize the importance of test driving your ideas. Talk to colleagues. This will stop you from falling down the proverbial rabbit hole. Otherwise, you will just get lost during the day and wind up hanging loose with the Cheshire Cat.

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“Because every cat has nine lives…”

Want to make your start-up or business more successful?

Here’s a list of 10 strategies to run your start up with more pizazz.

1) Don’t Let Mistakes Discourage You.
Let’s establish a classic start up ground rule: You are going to make many mistakes in your business life. Don’t let challenges and obstacles paralyze you. Gaining effectiveness takes time and methodology. Even the so called experts make mistakes. The key is break to open ground. Run for the gold by flying on the back of audaciousness. Don’t second guess yourself. Remember Edith Piaf’s classic, Regret nothing.

Gather information and collect great tactics by studying horizontally. Cross discipline planning will open your mind and change your strategic approach. Then, when you are ready, you will be comfortable with your decisions. Playing 21 like at a casino is a recipe in lunacy, unless you have a head for counting the numbers. Now you’re ready for step two.

2) Be Assertive.
No point in waiting for Godot. This chap just never shows up. I know. I once waited for someone for 6 months. What a bloody waist of time. Once I got going again, I worked like gangbusters. Brought on board other loonies. We worked like mad and laughed like hyenas. My wife says I am a hyena.

Some pundits say, you should also be conservative with your business. Broad-minded yes. Calculating, definitely. But cautious? Forget conservatism. By the time you make your strategy, the train will have already left the station and you’ll be stuck with a ticket to Palookaville. Having said that make sure your business strategy is on stable ground. Calculated risks win the derby.

3) Never Dis The Competition.
As one colleague says, “What goes around, comes a round”. What’s the point? Generating bad news is bad politics. Leave the snake pit to the reptiles. You can however, differentiate yourself. Why not try a few pages out of No Brainers: The Handbook To Content Marketing. Start a blog or a Facebook page. Give your fans and would be brand ambassadors a reason to cheer you on. In the words of an old Coca-Cola jingle, “It’s a small world after all”.

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“Because the world loves silly love songs…”

4) Heed Your Brand.
Jeff Bezos once stipulated that “Brand is what people say when you are not in the room“. That’s deep. Now go to the next level. Show procrastination to the dust bin. Relegate constantly thinking about the future to the basement. We’ve all met business people who say, “I’ll get back to you on this“. Or better still, “Let’s do lunch sometime“. What they’re really saying is, I’m not interested.

We advocate decisiveness. If you are not decisive then other business people are not going to take you seriously. Being the leader of your company necessitates taking the bull by horns. It shows genuine authority without aggressive tendencies.

5) Get a hearing aid.
What I am advocating is to listen. Most people simply don’t consider the ideas of others. Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom or good ideas. Every notice how certain business people just like talking about themselves? Of course, you have. At a party, they are the party bore. Put a martini in their hands and they can warble for hours. In business, they are worse because they own the show.

You owe it to yourself to listen to others. It’s worthwhile to the success of your venture. Think Carlos Ghosn when he took over Nissan. Sure he had to make some tough decisions, but he listened to everyone and I mean everyone on the shop floor. Not only did he get a buy in from his employees, he built a group synergy where everyone on the team excelled.

Remember: People need to feel valued. One of the ways you can really make others feel appreciated is by lending them your ear and responding accordingly. If you don’t listen, you’re guaranteed to generate dissent. When the ship goes down, it’s too late to say, I’m sorry that I was tone deaf.

6) Implement Revolution No.9
Are you familiar with this Beatles masterpiece? It’s on the White Album. It’s a mix of recorded tape loops woven together under the influence of a plant favored by shamans. It’s possibly the most experimental pop song of all time. Many musicians have been influenced by the Beatles insatiable curiosity to try new things. Do the same thing in your business. I’m not recommending to get as high as a kite as they did before a studio session. I am recommending to stop being complacent. First, it’s dull as scratching sand paper on glass. Secondly, the competition will be only too glad you did nothing. Senseless routines are for deadbeats. Genius requires the bold stroke. Think of the way Alan Ginsberg wrote poetry. Your customers will love your innovative way to keep things fresh.

7) Overcoming Rejection.
Being in business is similar to playing baseball. Nobody has a 1.000 batting average. That includes all star greats like Reggie Jackson. Rejection happens. It’s part of life. Deal with it. Think of this as sculpting your name into the history books. Perhaps if you’ve never been rejected, you’re not trying hard enough to succeed.

8) Hire Only The Best.
In the corporate world and its never ending politics, they say they hire only the best. Sometimes they do. However, many times they only hire people who are competent. Never hire out of desperation. Remember, since this is your business, you not only get to make the coffee but also to select the talent and energy to drive your business to the moon should you wish to go there. That’s what Richard Branson did. Not a bad recipe to follow. Your team will respect your leadership style because its positive and you are on fire to take the whole team to the same destination.

9) Manners Matter.
Be Polite. Never be rude. In today’s world, there are people who just let their hair down once too often. Being polite is not about style. It’s substance. Show the authentic you. Best of all, everyone enjoys positive energy.

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“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen…”

10) Be Descartes.
I think, therefore I am.” We can still learn a few things from this wise Cartesian. Keep abreast of your industry. That means reading. Yeah, I know, everyone has only so many hours in the day. You know what? The day just got longer. That’s right. Reprogram how you spend your time on and off the field. Why do you think a business tycoon invented PMP? To let us better manage our projects.

Lastly, remember that a business is not a machine. It is an organization of the people by the people. Empower your people. Show you care about them as real human beings. Ask about their families, companions, kids… Attitudinal shifts start at home.

Now go out there. Live long and prosper.

Article Title: 10 Strategies Every Start Up Should Know
Photographs: 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

What Makes Successful People Successful

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“Because you want to know what makes successful people successful…”

What makes successful people successful? Just look at the stats. Successful people come from diverse backgrounds, love sushi, a good wager, and are unafraid of standing out in a crowd. However, you would be hard pressed to know considering they’re dressed like everyone else.

Don’t be fooled by the Deus Ex Machina T-shirts. In my world, success is there for everyone. However, you must generate this perception by altering your definition of successful. Believe in goodness and you can change your corner of the world. Current events can lead us into a cul de sac, but you understand that life is a metaphor. Learn to write your own music. In a world of too much information or disinformation, start by straining all you hear and broadcast the goodness that keeps this planet on track.

Here are 12 qualities that can make you successful. Isn’t it time to change your inner calculus?

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“When you’re trying to figure everything out…”

They Leave Politics To The Wannabes
Successful people can’t stand playing politics. They couldn’t care a tinkers curse for brown nosing nor do they care about being right all time. Their focus is on accomplishment. Forget the dialectics of hostility. Master the language of joy instead. Where one flower is planted others can grow and prosper. Even in the desert, beauty can survive. Cling to the language of your divine spirit. Forget the absolutes proselytized by the ignorant.

They Love Helping Others Succeed
Small people feel diminished by the success of others. Great people give hugs all round for a job well done. Create a better working environment. Inclusiveness feels so much better. After all, nobody succeeds by themselves. The idea of competition is to raise one’s own game not pummel every else into the tarmac. When everyone is praised, everyone benefits.

They Love When Ideas Bear Fruit
Whether the idea is theirs or a colleagues, it gives them great pleasure to see new ideas blossom into a fruitful project with definitive results. Best of all, successful people like doing things nobody else has dared do before. They love the nuance of suggestion and realize anything is possible if you have a noble heart.

They Love Out Of The Box Solutions
We find successful people love big ideas. The greater the challenge, the greater the pleasure gained. Problem solving is cat’s meat. It gives them the inducement to simplify worn out and tired ways of constantly repeating the same pattern of performing. You don’t need all the answers. Assimilate, conjugate, and go forward. Every act of accomplishment starts with an idea in the mind. Only afterward does it appear as a foregone conclusion to those with less insight.

They Love Burning The Rule Book
Although successful people recognize rules are necessary to any endeavor, they are unafraid to walk the talk. Innovative ideas lead to developing rules no one knew before but now cannot live without. Think Ibrahim Malouf and your jazz music will stand out in a tempest. Inspire respect for simplicity. There’s nothing better than grilling your own octopus to put things in perspective. Just ask Socrates.

They Know Nothing Is Sacred
Successful leaders know there are no clay tablets. The great thing about working today is that you can try, adapt and change within seconds. They also recognize that conventional wisdom is just what it sounds like: conventional. Change is welcomed like a breathe of fresh air. The Buddha knew all there was to know about temptation, which is why he tuned his heart to all that is noble in the human character.

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“Perhaps the only thing sacred is eating great ice cream…”

They Love Solving Problems
My Mom says, when you’re dead, you’ll have no more problems to solve. Mother’s know this sort of thing. Embrace your challenges and you become the master. No point sticking your head in the sand. Brutality has become so banal that certain people believe that we live in a video game. The greatest game you can play is called life. So what are you waiting for? Happiness is not a warm gun. Distinguish truth from fiction and become an inner mounting flame.

They Love Self Awareness
Successful people are only too aware that today’s success is tomorrow’s history. You’re only as good as the last results you’ve delivered. Successful people don’t mind because their sense of self awareness is tied to a place beyond superficial accolades. Believe in hope and share your gratitude for the nobility of all things. Remember, one candle can light thousands of lamps. I’ve seen this done in India. I felt so much joy, I cried for a week.

They Embrace Feedback
Successful people understand that to grow requires constant improvement. They are open to feedback from any source. You can learn from a tortoise as well as a leaf floating on a lily pond. Becoming all you can be requires letting go of your ego. Why carry more baggage? Travel light. The journey is long.

Taking input from others makes you aware of how much and exciting it is to learn new things and do things differently from the way you solve problems now. Your personal growth expands and at the end of the day you still feel life is exciting. Successful people never become blasé.

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“Because you love messin’ about in boats…”

They understand the principles of personal brand management
Successful people know we can make mistakes. Mistakes come with the territory. What they won’t do is to become their worst enemy. Why beat up on yourself? Quite pointless don’t you think? Go with the flow and float like a butterfly.

They Believe In Self Control
Successful people understand the true meaning of self control. It’s not about denial or wearing a hair shirt. It’s about living a principled set of guidelines which put you touch with your inner self. Although this is a stretch experience, successful people recognize with each day they are that much nearer to mastering their own purpose in life. Routines and compulsiveness are for people who are afraid of being free. Let go of everything which holds you back.

They Understand That Life Is A Journey Not A Destination
Many people are always looking for closure. However, successful people know that when one thing is done another project or challenge will take its place. They don’t mind, but take this in stride. They understand that the true purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. Trinkets and trash hold no allure. Their true pleasure is making a difference.

Join The conversation. Let us know what makes you successful.

Article Title: What Makes Successful People Successful
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

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.

Join The Conversation. Let us know what you think.

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

Tips@LinkedInPulse

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

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

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