Monday, October 29, 2018

EMOTIONS Our Constant Companions.


EMOTIONS Our Constant Companions

by Dexter Valles
Everyone I know has feelings. Feelings about almost everything. I dont know of anyone who does not have any feelings about something. Even if they say they don't ! Because that statement itself discloses a feeling !

So where do feelings come from ?
How long do they last ?
Why do feelings change ? 
Do we act on our feelings or can we suppress our feelings ?

Is it good to feel strongly about things ?
Is it more important to be emotional or rational ?

There is now a lot of research undertaken in the area of the brain and the mind. A field called neuroscience, which helps explain our behaviour. Psychometric and neurometric assessment tools and assessments developed in the fields of Emotional Intelligence or EQ, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Mindfullness, Whole Brain Thinking to name a few, have provided very useful insight into how our brain seems consciously and subconsciously  to influence our lives.

Research in neuroscience suggests and points to evidence that our Emotional Brain ( the limbic system of the mid brain ) triggers fastest , much ahead of the Cortical Brain ( the intelligent rational / thinking brain ) and if this is not integrated into the decision making process, we are more likely to act emotionally rather that with emotional intelligence.


Our brain is an amazing complex network of one hundred billion neurons, that regulate enormous traffic of information every second. Whew !! How awesome is that !!

A vital part of the brain's information-processing neural network includes, naturally, neurons, or cells that transmit signals containing messages throughout the brain. This complex network of neurons send these signals through  neurotransmitters, which really are chemicals which some neurons release and others receive. Chemicals in the brain !! Who would imagine that !!

These chemicals essentially let the different parts of our brain communicate with each other by jumping across synaptic connections from one neuron to another. And it is at super speed. These emotional chemicals are so fast to spread that they even beat the speed of thought !!

The four most widely studied brain chemicals are dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Dopamine is related to experiences of pleasure and the reward-learning process. In other words, when you do something good, you're rewarded with dopamine and gain a pleasurable, happy feeling. This teaches your brain to want to do it again and again.
So watch out !! The learning curve is laced with dopamine !!

Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It regulates our social interactions and yes indeed, it is essential to sexual reproduction, playing a multifaceted role in regulating behaviors from mother-child bonding, empathy, generosity, trust, and the Big O in bed. When we hug or kiss oxytocin levels increase; hence, understandably oxytocin is often called "the love hormone."
Serotonin is associated with our memory and learning. An imbalance in serotonin levels is most likely to result in an increase in anger, anxiety, depression and even panic. So the next time you press the panic button, your serotonin probably needs a refill.


Norepinephrine helps moderate your mood by controlling stress and anxiety. It acts to regulate the effects of Cortisol, the Stress chemical of the brain

So our feelings which are body based sensations of our emotions, produced by these chemicals in the brain, are the first  to register and often linger for a long time. Becoming moods. Though if these feelings are acknowledged, entertained, observed for the messages they carry, the rational brain can process these feelings to decide on the most suitable course of action. Not that it works all the time this way, nor is it always as effective as we would like. But it does give us a chance to coach our behaviour into a better place !

So yes, we feel first, in between and last. We are always feeling. Though through odd advice and practice over the years, we have coached our mind to ignore our feelings. Or suppress them. This does not mean that our feelings do not exist. It actually means we allow our feelings to undermine the power of our decision making process, because we do not acknowledge them and ignore the emotional messages they carry. Thus allowing our emotions to invisibly influence us.

Amazing isn't it ? Like having a guest or even several guests at home and pretending he isn't or they aren't there. Yet allowing unfettered free access to the most private areas of our lives. What a terrifying thought !! 

So how do we strike a balance between our emotions and our thoughts ?
Because we are more conscious of our thoughts we use them to consciously influence our behaviour. Therefore it's really important that our thoughts are constructed with clarified emotions. Emotions which have been routed through our cortical brain to be processed with  reasoned pathways to action.
It's quite clear that our lives shall always be abuzz with our feelings because without them we really won't know what it means to be "alive" !! We can choose to ignore their presence only to find them too close for comfort. So what do you do with your constant companions. Your emotions. Your energy in motion.Your informants to how your inner world is responding to your outer world. Well, reward them for their loyalty !!

Acknowledge, appreciate, be attentive, encourage their voice, and be curious about their gifts !!
Unwrap them carefully. Most are marked Fragile !!


Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Attitude of Gratitude


The Attitude of Gratitude

By Dexter Valles
How do you say thanks ?

Or do you say it at all ?

Do you need to say thanks or show it ?

Well, how do you show you are thankful ?

Is reciprocity an act of gratitude?

Do you need to be asked or reminded ? Does it then count as much ?

What are you usually grateful for ? The act itself or the result ?

Who are you usually grateful to?Those who help you ? Or those who need your help ?

How do you count your blessings ?

Do you hold back gratitude because you can't bear to acknowledge it ? Does acknowledging the need to show gratitude make you feel obliged or obligated ?

Who do you feel do not need your gratitude ? What does that tell you ?

Do you like talking about gratitude but cant be grateful yourself ?

If gratitude was a defining power in your life......answer this.

Whats your attitude of gratitude ?


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Living Powerfully in the New Age


Living Powerfully in the New Age

by Dexter Valles

We now live in radically different times than ever before.

Technology has transformed life as we have never known it to be. Barring the human being looking the same, there is nothing today that  looks like anything yesterday.

Every single aspect of life has changed. Much of it for the better. Yes it comes with its hazzards. Yes nostalgia is always an escape from the hazzards.

But lets face it. We cant really go back to where we came from without losing the tremendous advantages, ease of living, speed of living, upskilling of everyday human capability, massive explosion of knowledge.

Mind boggling leaps into creation supported by an incredible expansion of the mind to drive fearless participation in an ecosystem underpinned by volatility, uncertainty, chaos and ambiguity !!

Our challenge would be to adapt as quickly as we can to manage and master the monster of life before it devours us. Do we drag our feet objecting to the difficulty it poses, dig in our heels and resist the metamorphic demands of our times or do we learn to be nimble and agile ? And master this monster of life ?

Lets ask ourselves a few questions. Our answers will inform us how we are likely to negotiate and navigate the future. Which is already on our front porch. About to ring our bell !

What would happen ??

If we don't cope or manage technology at the everyday application - gadgets and devices to begin with.
If we don't vigourously seek and embrace alternate sources of energy to light our homes right through to drive our cars, fly our planes, explore space, clean up the choked environment our dying planet.
If we don't want progress because we cant finance the cost and find the price we pay overwhelming ?
If we don't quickly learn to make space to pause and clear the debris of the construction of our new world before we construct shining towers of life with rubble of the past choking every corridor. What would then become of the human being and human relationships which deliver our dreams
If in the speed of living we race to dying
If we insist on processes and habits of the past to manage the deliverables of future.
If we agree to growing older but not growing into the world being built.

What would happen if YOU dont care to answer these questions?


An Ode to Friendship !

An Ode to Friendship !


Friendship is Love's poor cousin,

Waiting in humble service,

By Love's ornate door;

Whilst in her boudoir Love clasps,

Passion, Strength and Courage

Close to her scented breast !
Court Love and ye shall have these too;

Seek just the bejewel'd hand of Friendship

And ye shall forever banish Love to weep,

In the empty nest of a faraway memory,

Of a forgotten time.....
For perchance you may find Friendship lends its charms,

To a lifetime and more, of true Love,

Whilst Loves' bright flame, burns not as fierce with Friendships' wick,

Then choose to rest thy worn spirit
In the comforting cradle of love's care,

And gently place thy weary head,

On the blessed bosom of true love.
For Love must steer Friendship, To the Shore of Trust,

Through mists of Doubt and Delirium,

Where treacherous reefs of shallow conscience,

Bare the jagged edges of careless promises,


That e'er so oft, rip the seams of Love's fragile dreams.......

Friday, October 12, 2018

An Ode to a Coach

An Ode to a Coach
by Dexter Valles 


Life is a journey and oft a rough ride

We need good counsel and a guide on the side

Someone who will help us achieve our goals

Through the tumult of times to play such a role.


Of mentor and coach, a teacher who's tough

Especially when the pathway is rocky and rough

To lift us high to our lofty dreams

Knowing we can fly once we burst the seams.
Of the chains that shackle us down to the ground

And keep us from reaching our dreams that abound

The exhiliarating playing field of life

Where lions are born from the hearts of mice.
Where the world snatches hope from the meek and the mild

But a coach shapes a conqueror from the mould of a child.

A sounding board, a firm force in the field,

A trusted friend who helps us reveal


The armour we wear, the sword and the shield !

LEADERSHIP : An Inspiring Way of Life


LEADERSHIP : An Inspiring Way of Life

By Dexter Valles
Are you a Leader ?
I wonder what your answer is, to this seemingly simple question. I hope ofcourse that you answered in the affirmative. However if you didn't, maybe you should reconsider what you need to do to be a leader.

Quite often many consider leadership to be a designation in an organisational hierarchy. It is certainly so. And much more than that. It goes beyond designation. Because designation defines a role and details what you need to do. While to be a Leader, you need to BE a Leader ! The landscape is much larger. A manager manages tasks and can also lead. A leader always leads. At times, from behind. That's because Leadership is an inspiring and influential way of life. Leadership is about leading, inspiring, influencing and launching people to the Vision and Purpose of the organisation or community.

Lets look at what comprise the characteristics of Leadership.

I like to call them the 6 Cs of Leadership :

Competence :

To be counted on for your knowledge and expertise in the area you lead. Its not necessarily technical skill but certainly a high level of mastery of and immersion with the subject or market or industry.
A competent leader says " Ive got this "

Courage :

Stand up for your values and beliefs. Stand up for your people Have courage of your convictions. Draw the line and stand firmly yet not obstinately. Have the courage to admit your mistakes and to apologise.
A courageous leader says " You have me in your corner"

Compassion:

It is good to be tough and strong willed. Good to be determined and powerful. In all that, remember to be just and kind. Learn to lift people up not beat them down. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Practice living with abundance and gratitude.
A compassionate leader says " I understand you"

Conscience:

It's your lighthouse which must always illuminate the way in the darkest of nights. Your sense of right and wrong, just and unjust, fair and unfair, context and content. Your inner voice always rings your truths. Learn to listen. 
A conscientious leader says " You can count on me to do whats right"

Coherence:

Let your heart, mind and soul operate with clarity and coherence with what you do. Because that is who you are. No matter how or when or where you are observed or experienced, the stories told of you, must fall in place to form the picture of the world you strive to create.
A coherent leader says " All of me is fully and completely here and clear on how I can lead you with clarity to our shared vision"

Consistency:

One of the hallmarks of leadership is the consistency with which you demonstrate your leadership. The regularity and reliability of your performance, your engagement with the business, the people, the message you endorse, the vision you describe. People look for leaders they can count on to walk their talk, every time they experience them.
A consistent leader says " You will always find me here"

The 7th C ( Bonus ) is Coachability.

A leader must be willing to continually learn. A learning leader builds a learning organization or a community of learners. A leader must be open to feedback, to reflect on them and reach for support from others. To be coachable is to be aware of ones own shortcomings, the gaps between promise and performance in the pursuit of fulfiling purpose, to be humble to seek and engage support and guidance,  yet determined to own the journey.
A coachable leader says " I too must learn with you to rise up. Push out my limiting boundaries. To be more competent, courageous, compassionate, conscientious, coherent and consistent"

So what does a leader need to DO in order to BE a leader worth following ?

Here is what I believe every Leader needs to embrace as an agenda. An agenda of everyday engagement. In order to embody the ability to influence and inspire people. As a way of living the truths they proclaim.

Listen & Learn : The truth is in common sight outside. Pay close attention to what the returning message is saying. Is it close to the message you sent out ? What came back ?

Engage Emotions ( Hearts not just Hands)

People must feel valued and appreciated. Either that or they feel neglected. Hardly anyone can claim effectiveness and agility in performance when the heart is heavy. Neutrality is a myth. Emotions influence if not direct our actions. Emotions when engaged positively radiate into the environment connecting others to the vision.

Activate & Accelerate : Be the spark and the flame. Let knowledge and skill combine to create new standards of performance. Create competence and capacity. Build a groundswell of good practices and processes which will lift people to the performances they desire to deliver.

Develop (others) & Delegate:

Holding on to power or position does not define true leadership. Real leaders give away powers, making others powerful too. Leaders don't create followers. Leaders create more leaders. The King maker versus the King.
There is enough powerful positive available in the world to lift every single human being to their potential. Delegating wisely, and not dumping, help people develop and grow into their power. A powerful organization is a community of powerful positively engaged people performing to their potential.

Enlarge the Ecosystem :
As a leader we influence the ecosystem we operate in. We can either size it down and make it small, narrow, compartmentalized and confined so its easily manageable. Or we can choose to increase the challenge by opening the canvass to full spread. Reorient roles to break down the barriers of mindsets,  of parochial performances, of filtered vision, glass ceilings and partitions. Encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship. Lead people to the ocean, not wade in streams.

Redirect & Reshape :
Create a pulsating organisation. Be constantly aware of the journey and willing to redraw the map, redirect energies and reshape outcomes to serve the common vision of a dynamic metamorphic organisation in step with a constantly evolving living planet.

So in current conclusion, in the context of creating leaders worth following, it needs leadership character to be forged in the cauldron of an everyday way of life. It would demand that every leader must Learn while Leading, Engage Emotions of the people, Act Decisively with the 6Cs , Develop People's Potential not just performance,

Evolve Personally by pushing limiting boundaries and embrace Risk by learning to play outside the boundaries of Fear.

A Leader must leave forward a Legacy. One that inspires others. To continuously strive to create a worthy world.
What is the legacy you are creating
?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

I Really Don't Have the Time !



I Really Don't Have the Time !

To be your friend, to do the right thing, to do my share of work, to do things I dont like especially for people I don't like, to keep fit, to study, to visit ailing relatives,  or anything I don't want to do....

Sigh !

Should we say what's true or blame it all on time, till people get the message ?

It's commonly known and admitted, we make time for things we like, people we like, want to do and decide to do despite the discomfort.

Our brain has a way of lobbying decisions. The emotional brain would tend to choose comfort, the cortical brain would usually choose whats logical and rational, the integrated brain would balance emotion with logic and find a way to do whats right. Because it also works with a moral compass.

But we do have ways of disconnecting our integrated brain, bypassing it with a flood of emotions which hardwire emotional preferences into our decision making. We then use creative ways to justify and support the decision, ironically, through emotionally funded logic and rationale !

And so, I really don't have the time, becomes an auto response and the matter dismissed thereafter. We shut down people because we dare not care. Its difficult to tell the truth. Its difficult to draw lines. Its difficult to negotiate. Its difficult to be authentic. Its difficult to practise integrity. Its difficult to make others' needs our priority.

Yet we want just the opposite from other people.

What must we do to have the time ? To make time available ? And yet not be hijacked by other peoples agendas.

So do you really not have the time ? Or is it something else ? How are you working that out ?