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Nearly every company starts the same way, with an idea.  An idea is fueled by passion, the kind of passion that leads us to do irrational things, like leaving a good-paying job, working incredibly long hours, and sacrificing stability and certainty.

Many small businesses fail because passion alone is not enough. That passion is their why, the purpose, cause or belief that defines them.  Passion needs structure to survive.  Businesses need structures and procedures, so their people know how to get things done, how to set and reach goals, how to do what needs to be done to produce and deliver the best products and services, how to reach the clients or customers that resonate with their why and believe as they believe.

Strangely enough, the biggest challenge a business may face is success.  With success, the company may forget about its why and only focus on how and what they do.  This can lead to disastrous results. Walmart started off as a company obsessed with serving the community and became obsessed with achieving its goals.

When a business is small, the founder relies on gut feelings, what feels right, to make decisions.  As the organization grows and becomes more successful, it’s not possible for one person to make all the decisions. Others must be trusted and relied upon to make all kinds of decisions, which may not be made in alignment with the Founder's why.

As the power base grows, the why becomes diluted, and the company experiences a split. Gut feelings are replaced by linear thinking and empirical data.  They are no longer inspired by a cause greater than themselves. They simply come to work, manage systems and work to reach certain preset goals.  The passion is gone, and inspiration fades away.


Manipulation starts to dominate how the company sells its products and services. Bonuses, promotions, stock options and overt or unspoken threats are used to hire and hold onto talent.  This is the state that most companies find themselves in today. It’s a major cause of stress, burnout. and work dissatisfaction.


Businesses that focus on what and how can reconnect with their why. Starting with Why is hopeful, it feels hopeful for business and the future. It’s the catalyst that can change how business is done and how the everyday man and woman, middle manager and top leaders enjoy and love work life.

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We all have stories.  Stories about what happened to us in childhood, as teenagers, as young adults and at various turning points in our lives. 

Our stories have a limited purpose.  They can help us to define our why, the reason we get out of bed in the morning and do what we do.  They can show us what we want and don’t want in life, how we want to act and not act, who we want to model ourselves after or not.

Our stories become self-destructive or just a waste of time if we use them to explain how we are or how things are in our life.  “I’m just time challenged. I can never get anywhere on time.”  “I don’t know how to (fill in the blank). It’s just something I'm not good at.”

The only thing that we can control is ourselves – how we feel and act, our attitude and outlook on life, what we make of what we experience in our life and the world around us.

It can be confronting to bring everything back to ourselves. If someone is acting like an idiot and we feel angry or hurt, we need to bring it back to ourselves.

Why? Because we are the one having a reaction. This person is getting to us, and that’s a gift.  How can this possibly be a gift?  It’s showing us a bit that’s broken and that can be used as an ‘in’ to manipulate or control us.  It’s showing us a bit that needs some understanding, compassion, and love.

Why talk about stories and reactions, and what does this have to do with success in business?  These stories and reactions can be patterns we use, consciously or unconsciously, to sabotage our success or to keep us from being only so successful.

What we bring to business that attracts clients and customers to us is who we are and how we make them feel when they are around us.  It's about the presence we hold.


We must be competent at what we do and how we do it. And, there are lots of people that do the same thing as us. In order to stand out in a crowd, we need to love the parts of us that are sabotaging our success. That are getting in the way of us moving forward.

The only way to do that is to bring back every reaction we have to someone or something else back home to ourselves. This can feel sharp and unsettling.  But we can reframe it. Actually, it’s an amazing opportunity to let go of something that’s holding us back and keeping us small or keeping us from realizing that goal, completing that project or landing that new client. That’s hopeful.

When we bring it back to ourselves and acknowledge, “Hey, I’m really angry or hurt”, and then sit with it for a moment, something shifts inside of us.  When we acknowledge our feelings, stop judging the other person and ourselves for having a reaction, for not handling the situation better, for saying something 'stupid' or whatever, we feel different, like a weight has been lifted off of our shoulders. We can just accept this is how it is.  “It’s not about me. This person is lashing out, not because of me, but because of something that's happening inside of them.”

Once we are no longer in judgment, we can bring in gratitude. Gratitude that we have the courage to look at ourselves with new eyes and be real with what’s going on, and not make it about somebody else.  Gratitude that we don't have to take on the dramas of others and make them our own.  Gratitude that we can let go of what's been bothering us and see the situation from a fresh perspective.

Gratitude is a key. Gratitude helps us do a better job and not backdoor ourselves with negative self-talk or making someone else’s bad hair day our fault or our responsibility.

We can do and be our best without becoming mired in our client’s dramas, unreasonable demands or poor behavior. As leaders, it is not kind to ourselves or those under our charge to become doormats or compost bins for our clients.

Gratitude and acceptance can light the way for new kind of business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit that supports the best interests of all concerned.

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How do you inspire others to do what needs to be done, to achieve the impossible?  

You have faith.  You embody faith.  It’s a part of who you are.  When you hold faith beyond the moment, you instill that faith in those around you; and, with that unwavering faith you can lead people to greatness.

Winston Churchill had this ability. When people were around Winston, they felt like they could do anything. That’s the mark of a great leader. No one thought it was possible for Great Britain and the Allies to win the war but win WWII they did!

Faith is about knowing that no one is an island, that together is better, helping you accomplish what you couldn’t do alone.  Great leaders use faith motivated by the highest good of all concerned to galvanize those around them to action.

How do you get faith? You instill it in your heart; you convince your subconscious mind perhaps by reading affirmations aloud everyday with passion, until your subconscious mind returns your belief to your conscious mind and your heart as faith.  You can deepen this process by acting as if the object of your desire, faith, is a reality now -- feeling, seeing, and knowing that you have faith.

Be careful. . . your subconscious mind will just as readily translate into reality destructive thoughts as uplifting ones. Whether it’s true or not, you will believe whatever you repeat to yourself over and over again.  If you always tell yourself that you’re stupid, you will believe it.  If you believe that you are doomed to failure, you will fail.

You experience with vary based upon your beliefs. Whether you are bitter or better for an experience is determined in large measure by your faith.  Your dominating thoughts mixed with emotion magnetically draws similar thoughts to you. Like attracts like.  If you believe you are successful, you are. Even in the face of failure, you will feel optimistic and see your situation as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Faith is the starting point for making your desires and goals a reality. Faith is the basis of all miracles which cannot be explained by the rational, thinking mind. Faith connects you directly with Infinite Intelligence, and gives life, power, and action to your thoughts. 

Follow Winston Churchill’s example, make faith your antidote to failure, your key to success, your basis for inspiring others in a way that makes the world a better play because you are in it.

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What does it mean to lead from the heart, to lead from a space of equanimity, kindness, or calm assurance?  It means motivating people from love, not fear.

When we motivate people with fear, "Get this down now or else!", we make them feel small and useless, afraid of doing something ‘wrong’, afraid of giving it a go and making a mistake, afraid of doing anything that could make leadership or their immediate superior mad.

Fear causes people to doubt themselves, to feel anxious and alone.  Fear encourages your people to be suspicious of one another, not knowing who might be a back stabber or tattle tale.

When we motivate your people with love, they feel more belonging, that they fit in and have a purpose at work.  They feel more valued and respected.

People want to fit in, to belong, to feel like their contribution matters. When people feel like they belong, they participate and become a part of the community.  They reach out and work as a team. They have each other’s backs and have the backs of the ones directing them, because their leaders, bosses, superiors have their backs, and that’s their natural, genuine response. Kindness and consideration beget more kindness and consideration. 

This is about being a doormat. When we lead from the heart, we still need to have clear, strong appropriate boundaries. The people and teams that work for us still need to know what's expected of them, the standards of excellence that they need to uphold, individually and collectively.

When we as leaders are responsible to all members of our group and they are individually responsible to and for each other, everyone learns from one another.  It saves time and supports success on all levels, from financial success to mental health success to emotional maturity success. 

More prosperity, more happy and content people, more acting like responsible, caring adults instead of kids having a tantrum or demanding to get their way.  This is about honoring our ability to lead, our unique gifts as well as the positive qualities, strengths, and abilities of everyone who works for or with us.

It's about recognizing and rewarding value, acknowledging your own strengths and weakness and have a healthy sense of humility, being willing to learn from and listen to others.  Knowing that we don't know everything, that we still have a lot to learn, and being open to learning from those around you; practicing and living this is a huge step forward on the road to excellence as a leader.

It's about having the courage to face whatever presents and trusting in our ability and the ability of those around us to succeed.   The only thing others can use against us is our own fear, and we can choose not to buy into that.  We can choose and re-choose to be motivated by love.

Love can move mountains in business and life.  It can inspire, uplift and motivate everyone around us simply by the calm, self-assured presence that we hold.

Simon Sinek's books, Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last are great reads, giving us the specifics we may need to have a clearer, more grounded picture of the long-term benefits of leading from the heart.  Leading from the heart may mean not following the crowd, debunking the theory of strength in numbers and learning to more deeply follow and honor the guidance that comes from within.