The Deception of Perception

26 06 2013
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During the time I have been in the corporate world I have learned that perception is the most dangerous element of anyone’s career.   The dangerous part is perception is often based on irrational and irrelevant pieces of information.    Rarely is perception based on the truth and solid facts.

It has been my experience that people use deception to manipulate perception to their own advantage.

The truth is perception is often NOT reality and it is unethical to judge a person based on perception alone.  The disturbing fact is that perception is the easiest characteristic that people rely on most, yet it is also the most manipulated and distorted.  It suggests most people are living a delusional fantasy.   Often as a result of fear and a lack of confidence.   When people “manage perception” that suggests the perception is being manipulated.   Remember anything that is not the truth is a lie.   Lies are by definition imaginary and irrational.   The sad part is fantasy is often more comfortable than reality to face.

We need to learn how to base our decisions of clear facts and the truth.   Not the irrational results produced by fear and emotions which often paint false images of events and distorts the truth.

The best way to avoid the deception of perception is to ask the question “Who does this serve?”

Chances are if the answer is self-serving we are deceiving ourselves and our perception is skewed.

If we carefully look at the facts and remove all emotion initially from our perspective and then step back and look at the big picture perspective with the same rational mind we can often see the truth and eliminate the deception of perception.

We always have to be ultra careful because we can bet that we almost always never have all the facts to base our perceptions on.   The best we can do is to list the facts and use them to educate those around us on the big picture and how the each factual piece of the puzzle fits into the bigger reality of what truly is. People are almost always too close to the trees to see the beauty and grandeur of the forest around them.   We have to take the time and make the effort to back away from the trees so we can clearly understand where each tree fits.  Once we have assembled the facts we can allow emotion to add depth and beauty to the big picture.   If the emotion does not serve to improve the sum of the trees – then we should stop and re-evaluate why our perspective is triggering a negative emotion and realize that it is likely a result of a past trauma or experience that has distorted our understanding.

It is hard at first to learn how to step outside of our own perception and to look at situations without judgement and without emotion, but once you learn how to – the world becomes much simpler abet a lot more coercive when we remove our rose colored glasses.

This is where inspiration comes into practice.   People use deception and manipulate perception generally out of fear.   When we lead authentically and inspire those we come in contact with – people wake up to the fact that there is nothing to fear and the intimidation of others will fade.   Sometimes this will take us to the edge of martyrdom, but sometimes standing up for the truth and speaking with authenticity to those who enjoy the fantasy they have created can be painful and even a little dangerous, but it is important to realize the result always is the best for the common good.   It will bring you peace and those around you peace because the burden of fear that people carry with them will start to fade when they are in your presence.    These same people will be willing to take the same risks and take the same stand for truth.  They will follow the example you set.   This is where the term inspirational leader comes from.

Today I challenge you to stop and focus, really focus and step away from the trees until you can see the forest.  Look at the facts, see the truth and embrace it, even if its not popular.

Only the truth can bring you peace.


Simon Sinek quotes

19 06 2013

7169e8_b9cdfc9f278315b9ee3b8aa47dcdb996“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” 

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”

“A boss wants to pay for results, an employee wants recognition for effort. If a boss recognizes effort, they will get even better results.”

“A star wants to see himself rise to the top.  A leader wants to see those around him rise to the top.”

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.

“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

“We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”

“For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs. It’s not “integrity,” it’s “always do the right thing.” It’s not “innovation,” it’s “look at the problem from a different angle.” Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea – we have a clear idea of how to act in any situation.”

“Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders—in that order.”

“Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.”

“You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”
“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”

“Trust is maintained when values and beliefs are actively managed. If companies do not actively work to keep clarity, discipline and consistency in balance, then trust starts to break down.”

“All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

“Be a Warrior of Enthusiasm and spread the inspiration. Use these quotes as an easy way to brighten someone’s day by sharing your favorite. Add one to your email signature. Post one somewhere in your office. The point is… take action, lead, inspire.”

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

“Those who lead inspire us… Whether they are individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to but because we want to.”

“What you do simply proves what you believe.”

“If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”

“How can you help the human race progress?”

“Organizations should say and do the things they ACTUALLY believe.”

“When we are in groups, when we are surrounded by people who believe what we believe, trust emerges and our very survival and progress goes up.”

“Make it about them not about you.”

“100% of customers are people. 100% of employees are people. If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”

“Our survival depends on our ability to form trusting relationships.”

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”

“Listening is not understanding the words of the question asked, listening is understanding why the question was asked in the first place.”

“The courage of leadership is giving others the chance to succeed even though you bear the responsibility for getting things done.”

“When leaders care less about their people, their people will be careless.”

“Leaders don’t complain about what’s not working. Leaders celebrate what is working and work to amplify it.”

“Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.”

“Poor leaders push us towards the goal. Great leaders guide us through the journey.”simon_sinek_1_web

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

“The more you inspire, the more people will inspire you.”

“No one knows everything. But together, we know a whole lot.”


Read and Learn more about Simon Sinek  



Consideration and Loving-Kindness

13 06 2013

Life's Too Short To Sing The Melody

May I be well; may I be happy; may I be free from suffering.
May my good friend be well; may they be happy; may they be free from suffering.
May the neutral person be well; may they be happy; may they be free from suffering.
May the difficult person be well; may they be happy; may they be free from suffering.
May we four be well; may we be happy; may we be free from suffering.
May all beings be well; may all beings be happy; may all beings be free from suffering.

— Metta (loving-kindness) meditation based on the Theravada Buddhist Path to Purification

Think of a time when you’ve been in an argument.  Maybe it was with someone you value as a good friend or with a family member you love.  Or maybe it was with someone with whom you rarely agree at the best of times. …

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A Foolproof Process For Acting Courageously

12 06 2013

It first takes courage!

McLaren Consulting

Over the years I have found and seen in others that courage is easy to talk about: put into corporate “core values,” notice when someone does a courageous act, proclaim it as key to leadership. We inherently know that even the smallest acts of courage cause an enormous, positive ripple effect to ourselves, others, places of work and more practically, our careers.

But, those acts are really hard, big or small. A close work friend and mentor summed it up well, “Conscience is a good reason to be courageous.  Often underused, precisely because people need a paycheck.”

In other words, there are both perceived and real consequences to being courageous, and thus, a process to think through them will help educate when you need to be courageous and where you can let it go. Trade offs are a reality for everyone.

There are obvious areas to act courageously. Such as, blatantly…

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Hitting an Inspirational Nerve

12 06 2013

Great Perspective!

Cedricj's Blog

I was in the middle of a routine development feedback session with a senior executive. We were surveying his strengths and developmental opportunities that arose out of a lengthy and extensive assessment process. Things were going well with this high performing executive.

 I then asked him to

 “Imagine yourself in your dream job that may not currently exist where you get deep satisfaction and make a huge contribution to your organization and subsequently the world.

We hit an inspirational nerve.

He leaned forward on the edge of his chair, took a deep breath, did not even blink, and could hardly contain his excitement as the words tumbled out.

My most cherished dream is that …… (for the sake of confidentiality I cannot tell you what he said)

But I can tell you why he responded this way and it will give you a clue as to how…

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What “CASTLE” means to me…

12 06 2013

I have been sharing the CASTLE principles with people for years but I have never stopped and really explained to people what they mean to me and how they INSPIRE my daily life.  castle

First, it is important to understand these principles are not just something you share with other people, in order for them to have any value at all, we must live the CASTLE principles.  They are not a set of principles we apply externally to people, we must apply them within our own hearts and minds until what we think, what we speak, what we feel and what we do are in complete alignment.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that when you look at most castles they inspire an attitude of security, strength and the ability to stand the test of time itself.   The same can be said and applied to the CASTLE principles.  They have a simple, yet noble characteristic about them.

The first principle is COURAGE.  I think people have a misconception that to be courageous you have to be hard, tough and appear brave.  The truth is that being courageous simply means overcoming our own fears to do or say what we know is right in our hearts.  Now, this comes with a lot of responsibility because ‘I am responsible for what you hear’.   So what I say needs to come from a place of compassion and love for the person or persons I am saying it to.   I will get back to the word love in a moment, I think the term makes a lot of people pause because they innocently don’t know the true definition of the word.

The second principle is AUTHENTICITY.  I think a lot of people wear masks today to cover their vulnerable selves.  They do not say what they feel or what they think – they are out of alignment.   Mostly because of a lack of courage to face their own fears for many different personal and often irrational unfounded reasons.   People lie, cheat, steal and sometimes strike out in anger because they are being phony and too often don’t even know it.   We have become this way because it is easier than facing the truth and for many people it has become ‘normal’ to them.  We then wonder why we have a profoundly sick society…  We disguise this inauthenticity behind the blanket-label of  ‘professional’ to justify our fear of appearing weak or emotional.   The bottom line is, that most people can see through the mask or at least know they are looking at a mask and seeing an inauthentic person.   The fact is we do not trust inauthentic people.   Being authentic is simply making sure what we think, what we speak, what we feel and what we do are all the same and in alignment – even when it scares the hell out of us.   After living this way for a while, we start to realize that fear itself is imaginary and in itself is inauthentic.    Something that makes this principle easier for me is to avoid making statements and instead, turn the statement into a question.   This avoids ever placing the other person in a defensive posture and will often open the conversation to an even deeper authentic response that would have never been heard from someone that was just placed on defense because of a cold, blunt or crass statement that often comes across as arrogant, judgemental or condescending.

The third principle is SERVICE.   This one is simple, yet so many people fail to do it properly.   Service is about what I can do for others.  It is about servant leadership.  It’s about giving all we know and all we have to offer – all our resources to others.    It’s not about me or what I will get in return.  It is about how we would like to be treated if we were in the other person’s situation, and then using all our resources to do just that for the other person…   It is the Golden Rule in action – it’s not rocket science, but it does require that we deflate our ego a bit.   It’s about treating people with respect, even when we think or feel they might not deserve it.   Remember it is not our place to pass judgement because we almost always never have all the facts.  In the end it’s about making a human connection with people.  It’s about having courage and being authentic in a loving and compassionate way that inspires and helps them.   It leaves them a little better than we found them…  We need to do this with non-judgement and without criticism.   We all need to learn not to look down at people, but rather lift people up above us.   There is a great practice called Greater than Yourself, which can be applied in every situation where you are helping another person.

The fourth principle is TRUTHFULNESS.   We all simply need to be honest.  People don’t tell the truth because it is less painful to tell a lie.   The fact is we have to be authentic and have the courage to be truthful with people.   The truth is a gift we share with those we encounter everyday.    The important part is understanding how to be graceful and compassionate in our delivery.   Sometimes being honest and telling the truth can be hurtful and judgemental to others. It is our job and our responsibility to adjust our delivery so we take into consideration the person or audience that will be hearing it.   Remember, “I am responsible for what you hear”.   If we aren’t lifting the other person up to be greater than ourselves, then we need to pause and find a different approach.   Sometimes a question is more appropriate than a statement, especially when we know the truth might sting – or worse cause the person not to be receptive of our help.   You earn respect when you learn to be truthful and where there is truth, authenticity usually isn’t far behind.   Just remember, how you say something is as important as what you are saying.   Truth will have never carry the intended meaning if it is not given as a gift of love.  We can ‘sugar coat’ the truth to make it easier to hear, just don’t coat it so thick that the truth is lost in the delivery.   You have to find the right balance – listen to your gut and pause, you will know, just trust yourself.

The fifth principle is LOVE.  Okay, wipe that grimace off your face.   Love is not always about sensual attraction.   The truth is the english language over simplifies the word love.  Over time the full meaning has been misunderstood and lost.   So, let’s look at the meaning and translation of love a little closer.   The ancient greek have five different meanings for love, wow!

Agape (ἀγάπη agápē) means love in modern-day Greek. The term s’agapo means I love you in Greek. The word agapo is the verb I love. It generally refers to a “pure,” ideal type of love, rather than the physical attraction suggested by eros. However, there are some examples of agape used to mean the same as eros. It has also been translated as “love of the soul.”

Eros (ἔρως érōs) (from the Greek deity Eros) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Greek word erota means in love.  Some translations list it as “love of the body.”

Philia (φιλία philía), a dispassionate virtuous love, was a concept addressed and developed by Aristotle.  It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical reasons; one or both of the parties benefit from the relationship. It can also mean “love of the mind.”

Storge (στοργή storgē) is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.

Xenia (ξενία xenía), hospitality, was an extremely important practice in Ancient Greece. It was an almost ritualized friendship formed between a host and his guest, who could previously have been strangers. The host fed and provided quarters for the guest, who was expected to repay only with gratitude.

So as you can see, we are not all walking around feeling “Eros” for each other… (at least I hope not)   I try to mentally translate the word love into compassion when I hear it because it more closely represents the greek translation Philia, Xenia or even Agape.   The fact is, most english speaking people think of the Eros meaning when they hear the word love because our language has narrowed it’s fullest meaning and potential.    So yes, being loving and compassionate to others is perfectly acceptable and should be practiced in every interaction we have.   Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness and honesty can potentially be hurtful and even meaningless if we don’t express them in loving ways – in all aspects of our lives – at home, at work, everywhere…

The last principle is EFFECTIVENESS.   We can’t be effective unless we learn to master the other principles successfully.  It takes practice, responsibility and commitment.   Generally speaking it takes 21 days to break or form a habit.    The best way to do this is practice some very simple paradigm SHIFTS (image below) in how we think about the world.  Now, we can’t practice these shifts without applying the CASTLE principles and vice versa, doing so would simply be inauthentic and would cause us to flounder and fail, likely within the first 21 days.   The biggest part part of being effective in life is aligning what we think, what we speak, what we feel and what we do.  It is authentic and it is INSPIRING to others.  People want to be around INSPIRING people and they want to be like inspiring people.   It’s not by accident.

We have to wake up and realize we are not robots or mannequins.  We have to stop being fake and wearing masks.  We are human beings who need to be loved.   It is the food for our souls that lifts us up and makes us feel good.

It all starts with one simple question “WHY?”…   We often understand the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, but the WHY is what INSPIRES us to move forward and be the best we can be at the what and how.   Simply “Start With Why” – this practice will not only inspire you, but shift your perception and carry you the rest of the way…   So, please reflect on this and make the commitment to change your life for the better.   The only thing holding you back is YOU…

With Gratitude,

Please visit the underlined links on this post to deep dive into the INSPIRING waters.


Inspirational Leadership Coaching/Mentoring

10 06 2013

If you would be interested in attending  or receiving inspirational leadership coaching or mentoring please let me know.  I am more than happy to offer confidential advice to help you in your business, career or even in your personal life.