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Emotions, Engrams, the Stock Market and the Victim Pattern

I talked with an old friend yesterday who has tons of money, as in maybe $20 million, and that is after he lost about 30% in the down market of today. Believe me, he wont ever have to worry about not having enough food to eat or no place to live, or no coat to wear. He lives frugally, well below his means. I must admit I was losing patience with his hand ringing and whining. I know him well enough to stay away from emotional cheer-leading. No “Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow” or “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off and Start All Over Again” for this guy. He is always afraid of the wolf at the door, even when the stock market is soaring. I hung up the phone and had a great, big knot in the pit of my stomach. That evening I felt the knot unravel as my husband and I talked about the sadness that had been creeping into my nervous system and how the power of patterns can set a trap if we are not vigilant. Being pattern aware is the foundation of the programs we offer at Creative Energy Options. Yet, even I can get caught if I do not stay awake and alert. All of us are subject to folks who are dooming and glooming in this complex economic period, just as we can be at the effect of too many days of inclement weather. First, about emotions: feelings are transient. We can change them. We can transform mad or sad to glad, albeit, it takes some focused discipline to do so....

The Journey to Tomorrow

Ever get stuck in a tight parking space? The only thing you can do is inch backward, move forward; inch backward, move forward until you can finally turn the wheel enough to get free. Keep this in mind as I explore a significant way of leading through these difficult, yes, even frightening times of change, times when old ways of reacting are no longer viable, and new ways have not yet coalesced. What is needed now is a touch stone to move all of us in a positive direction. May I introduce the Sankofa bird. I want to give you a visual perspective of what can help on the journey to tomorrow. Sankofa, comes from the Akim dialect of Ghana and means “heal the past to free the present.” The mythical bird that represents this powerful concept is on the cover of my book “Dont Bring It to Work: Breaking the Family Patterns that Limit Success”. The image is of a bird standing with feet facing forward, head turned backwards lifting something with its beak. When you look closely you see the Sankofa bird ready to pick up an egg, the delicate life force that was left in the past. What was left behind, perhaps forgotten, is still pulsating with life energy that can be used now. The image of the Sankofa bird has great power to help everyone gain new perspectives to move forward. All the fear and burden this economic roller coaster has put upon us can also give us the courage to look again, an opportunity to explore what really matters and how to achieve what truly fulfills. I’ve taken the Sankofa bird’s message and developed Sankofa Mapping™ which I’ve used in my...

The following appears in the January 09 Issue of Harvard Business Review:

Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership Dear Editor: In their breakthrough article “Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership” (September 2008), Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis suggest, and I agree, that modeling and being mentored by respected colleagues can help leaders develop social circuitry and achieve better social skills. However, an action-oriented exploration of one’s family history may result in even deeper, long-term, sustained, neural-circuitry change and affect the very core of a leader’s behavior in the workplace. Though traditional therapy can certainly encourage change, the action-oriented model entails a more robust, short-term exploration of the behavioral patterns that flow unconsciously from family life to work life and that we can all observe in others (and sometimes even in ourselves). During times of heightened stress and anxiety, those family-based patterns —which produce pleasers, martyrs, persecutors, avoiders, and so on—can override more constructive behavior. As the authors point out, “People fall back on old habits, no matter how unsuitable those are for addressing new challenges.” In my experience consulting with executives and teams, I’ve found that once a method for observing and understanding those older behavioral markers is in place, taking active steps toward change becomes possible. Sometimes, simply connecting the dots with family issues is enough. Other times, dialogue with family members sheds light on the neurological “nots”—am not, cannot, will not, have not, and not like me—that have been the invisible, self-limiting, self-fulfilling prophecies driving present behavior. Sylvia Lafair President Creative Energy Options White Haven,...