Leadership01 Aug 2014 03:59 pm

Whether they are wealthy or suffering fiscal misfortune, many of my clients bring up money issues in our work together.  For them, coming into a healthier, more conscious, empowered relationship with money is extremely important.  Here are some simple approaches that are really effective.

Money is connected to our power: our ability to set boundaries, to say no to distraction and to do the hard thing.  When someone puts him- or herself through torture around money, more often than not we trace that to a challenge the person has in making and keeping clear agreements.

We all have a vision of how we want life to be.  How good are you at facing facts?  While holding your vision, how candid is your assessment of what is actually going on?  Facing the facts about your money situation is the first step to radical financial freedom and empowerment.

Facing facts works best when we distill what is actually going on into numbers. We have to get clear on the most important thing to measure: our key performance indicator. When we get this right, the rest of our money life goes just fine.

For some, it is income: “If I average $500 a day, all the rest of it will work.” For others, it is about monitoring expenses against a budget. For yet others, a measure of outreach is the key link to success, as in: connecting with 100 new people each week, registrations, clicks or conversions. A rate of some kind is often most effective, as in: $100 per hour, $1,000 per customer or $5,000 per event.

For you, which key performance indicator is most correlated with your success, with fulfilling your vision and realizing your potential? For this immediate next phase of your money life, what measurable output do you want to optimize?

These questions will help further refine your key performance indicator:

  1. What is the gift you express that other people value?
  2. By what means can I measure how much of that gift I express?
  3. Is that gift being received by the people who value it most?
  4. Can your present audience afford to pay for the gift?
  5. Are you asking the people who value and receive the gift to pay?

Money loves specificity.  Ask someone if they would be willing to sit down to go over these questions with you.  When you answer these questions, tell the truth to yourself as candidly as possible.  Translate each answer into a measurable and attainable number.  If you find yourself being hesitant or fuzzy, look at what you’re averse to and lean into that.

Set yourself up to optimize the beneficial effect of the gift that is yours give.  Measure your output and what it takes to deliver that output.  Keep track also of how those who value what you offer are responding to it and paying for it.  Just the tracking will likely make for a joyful financial life.  Even better if you are willing to share your tracking of your key performance indicators with a trusted friend who will hold you accountable.  Money empowers those who get specific about optimizing their gift.

Leadership24 May 2014 03:32 pm

When a person feels truly seen by you, they will do anything for you. Leaders create highly motivated organizations by learning how to deeply see other people’s gifts.

How do we learn to see our colleagues’ greatest gifts?

We are each perceiving more than we know.  The people around us are constantly putting out subtle signals about who they are.  We can train ourselves to notice these signals and translate them into an understanding of the essential gift the other is carrying.

In our coaching work, we’ve developed a way for people to hone their natural ability to read other people, and specifically to read what is best in others. For this we use the same radar that we use more typically to look for the threats that we need to be aware of when navigating complex or new environments.

The first step is to switch on the capacity to be interested, enthusiastic, even passionate for discovering the natural gifts of people we encounter.  Some simply light up at the invitation to investigate the strengths and talents of others. Others may need to be persuaded by the practicality of how powerful this is, how much gets done with so much less effort, when people feel seen.

The following four-step method will develop this ability further:

  1. Think about what the person has achieved, what creative outcomes tend to happen at their hand? Identify common themes.
  2. Ask someone to speak about his or her own gifts using questions like “Tell me about a time when you were giving your best stuff.” People are often hesitant. If you need to prompt them, use examples from the ‘Think’ step above.
  3. Feel what happens in your own being when you are around them.  What qualities seem to be more inspired or available to you in their presence?
  4. Write your articulation of the benefit that is in the world because of this person. To do this, you distill the achievements, stories and perceptions that you gleaned from the first three steps into their essence.

Some of us find it easier than others to distill a lot of data to its essence. Use of poetic metaphor can be helpful. For example, if you were to articulate this benefit as something that occurs in nature, what would that be? Or, if it were a nourishing food, what would it be?

When you can articulate for yourself the gifts of another, you find yourself invested in their greatness, in the fulfillment of their potential. We all feel this instinctively. We know whether someone gets us or not, and are uplifted by it. We want to serve those who will be most happy for our achievements, those who most clearly see our gift.

Practice the Think-Ask-Feel-Write method with people in your life, and see what happens for you and them.

Leadership10 Dec 2013 04:26 pm

Unlocking your full potential is about coming to know the many facets of yourself. Most of us treat parts of ourselves as if they were “not me.” For example, in a recent coaching session in which I was being coached, I encountered a part of myself that feels disempowered, shamed, and small.  I don’t like to think of myself that way. And there’s a part of myself that is critical, telling me I am not good enough.  There’s also a part of myself that expresses wisdom and empowers others in ways that I am shy to own.

When we begin a coaching assignment with a leader, he or she invariably initiates the coaching effort by listing deficits they believe exist in who and how they are. A good coach knows hidden strengths will be found in these supposed deficits. As we work together, one split off part after another is discovered to be a valid aspect of the full self that is emerging.

In my case, the Small Part that I mentioned above opens me to my tender, loving self. The Inner Critic to my strength. The Great Empowerer in me shows me the gift that is mine to bring. And so on. As we go along, we become ever more aware of the rich depth and range of who we are.

Yet, there is a still deeper discovery.  While it had been emerging over time, this landed for me in a most potent way one day in the woods up in the Colorado hills. It suddenly became unmistakably apparent that all I see and feel is an unbroken whole underlying and including everything.  I realized there was no separation.  What I had previously thought of as a separate “me”—my body and its personality—is just as much an expression of this whole as anything I was seeing around me.  And everything around me is simply an expression of who and what I am.

This is true for everyone.

Whatever favorite self or selves we have thought of as “me,” they are found to be contained in this larger whole, in awareness itself.  No matter how we feel in any moment, or what part we’re playing out, this awareness is simply free and present, an easeful respite right at the source of all activity going on around and inside us.

Not just the source of what I think as “me” but the source of all.

It is a endless emergence.  We continually discover more about ourselves, own and embody more parts, more of our full potential.  At the same time, we recognize ever more deeply the ease, strength and intelligence inherent in the whole of which all the contents of our awareness are parts.

It is a truly fulfilling way to live.


David Lesser is an executive coach in Northern California who has worked with hundreds of CEOs, guiding them and their organizations in mature self-emergence for over 25 years. Please visit SelfEmergence.com for more info.

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