Sunday, March 7, 2010

Heads of State

I try to read the Hudson Valley Business Journal, but for the last couple years I’ve mostly been breezing past titles of doom & gloom. The March 3rd front page: “County execs want to change the way the state does business” however the article turns out a quick skim shows leaders in my state (New York) playing games with people’s money and security. Inside we have stories about Restaurant Week (which is promising for tourism in the county) and for the shutting down of state parks, which is REALLY BAD for local tourism and taxpayer morale. A true sign of state-wide panic in a state that is absolutely gorgeous and truly worth seeing and desperately needs tourist’s money. I could teach government something about panic vs. peace vs. passion. Panic is putting us where we are now, panic is keeping us there, and since panic is contagious it’s no wonder that the panic of our leadership is filtering down to the personal household and individual level. Stop making decisions out of panic. If government is panicked about money, of course individuals are going to panic about money. Then the economy tanks -- how many times did the HVBJ cite falling tax and sales tax revenues? I saw several and I didn’t finish reading any of the articles I started reading except the upbeat one about Restaurant Week. Lessons from running great businesses come into play here. Let’s just take the idea of what makes a great leader -- whether it’s business or government. Leaders can be afraid inside, but a great leader leads with passion, not with panic. Democrat or republican, I am not saying who should have the Chief Executive position in our federal government. Changing the head of our nation won’t get us anywhere if the leader can’t inspire those under him (and a lot of the decision about who is under the president is out of his hands and instead it’s in our hands as voters!). The lay of the land in the United States sets up a very odd dynamic. Each state is, in true Constitutional terms, a sovereign entity. These states are governed under a central body of rules that provide ties between the states and lowers the barriers to inter-state commerce & travel, similar to what the European Union is now attempting to do. So on a state-wide level, this calm passionate and inspiring leadership must be seen in our governors and legislators. I’m afraid these qualities aren't why we vote people into office. We vote people in based on their campaign promises, so-called experience and their track records. It’s made a circus out of our political scene. I’d rather have someone I didn’t agree with 100% who isn’t a tyrant, had a calm & cool head on their shoulders and a vision to live into of what I can at least generally agree is a better future than someone who knows which corporate or lobbying interests to brownnose, how to hide his fooling around from the media and his wife and plays a great political game flipping their opinions at a moment’s notice and no idea or goal for what the future might be like other than increasing his own salary whether or not at the expense of others. A terrific business has a vision, a mission and a clear idea of whom they serve. Our country has none of that to my knowledge at this time. With so much divisiveness about who we are, what to do and where we’re heading, it’s no wonder our politics are corrupted and sick. Who are these pitiful individuals in our government trying to represent? They’re a reflection of us. The divisiveness and selfishness runs right down to you, me and our neighbors. The Constitution had some very clear missions, clear ideas of whom to serve, and we’ve padded it with so much political nonsense that it’s lost almost all of its meaning. The keys are in the preamble. To paraphrase: Who are we? We are the people of the United States. What is our mission? Providing justice and ensuring domestic peace while providing for the common defense and promoting general welfare and liberty for ourselves and our every generation of our children. Wow. Compare this with what’s going on now? We treat our own citizens as enemies. As individuals, we treat our neighbors as enemies. We take care of ourselves today and to hell with our children’s children. Instead of defending our own nation, we’re being presumptuous and babysitting the entire world with or without the blessings of the United Nations (and often without the blessings of the voting population either). We’ve forgotten the meaning of Liberty as a country, and happily enforce our ideas of what is right on others without giving them the freedom to define their own idea of liberty. I think we should have liberty to do as we please until the point at which it is infringing on the idea of domestic tranquility. So yeah, speed limits are a pretty good thing, but gays should be able to get married. In any case, the passion with which our forefathers crafted this brilliant document has been lost in a sea of selfishness and panic. If we get back to passion, compassion, love, neighborliness, and get our collective act together it would help a lot. Top-down change needed: Passion and calm directed reassurance. Bottom-up change needed: Security and peace. If the leaders can get passionate about providing for individual’s safety and security, calm and peace will follow, spending will increase, businesses will hire, taxes will increase. The more you panic and shut down spending the worse this situation will get. That’s not saying to spend what you don’t have but to choose what not to fund with a PLAN for a future that’s sustainable and with compassion for the people you serve. Cutting medicaid and closing parks won’t do it. WHY is medicaid costing so much? WHY are the parks costing so much? I want to see one leader stand up and say “Money is tight in our budget. I have some money socked away, so I’m voluntarily reducing my salary because I can’t stand asking everyone else to tighten their belts unless I’m willing to do it too.” Fear. Is. Contagious. Namast√©, Rev. Criss

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Awakenings

It’s always around this time of year that I really can feel the world awakening around me. Even though there’s still snow on the ground, there’s buds on the trees, the birds are back, and the world is ready to bring forth fruit again. Many people also start to wake up -- in the spiritual sense -- around this time. Like, “Helloooooo! Life here....what’cha been doing lately?” Aerosoles sent me a “Spring Awakening” discount code. I’m making plans for more events, even ones out of my house! I’m going to have not one, but 3(!) new (shared) offices to have client meetings and hold workshops and group coaching in. And I’m starting a new networking group for the holistic community. It’s Spring Cleaning time -- I haven’t really touched the house, though. I’ve been cleaning up my business. All sorts of new behind-the-scenes technology fiddling going on, planting seeds for a year of growing and harvesting the fruits of my labor. And the people I’ve been working with for years are bearing fruit -- like fine fruit trees take years to come to harvest, these ladies have been digging deep deep roots, but WOW the changes, the new excitement of spring, the plans coming to fruition, the ability to reach out and give such enormous value to others that it is a pleasure to exchange money for it. Many of us are hitting 5 years in business, the very start of “adulthood” for most of our little babies. The real trick is not to pour every ounce of your energy into it, but to choose wisely how to give to your projects without losing focus on yourself. A certain amount of moderation is in order, as is knowing what energy to put into your projects. That’s what I’ve been teaching in my teleseminars. Namast√©, Rev. Criss