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.





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