The Shadow Effect-Illuminating The Negative.

I recently had the opportunity to watch Debbie Ford’s movie, The Shadow Effect, and it was excellent for a number of reasons. First, it was a refreshing look into how we react to our own ‘dark side’. I fully agree that when we embrace ALL of our qualities of humanness, we will be much more healthy and happy- moving through life with less guilt and fear. Here’s an example of where Im coming from and it comes from YEARS of being plagued with the heaviness of denying these thoughts and feelings.
Lets say that our ‘dark’ emotion is resentment or envy- maybe even egotism or condescension. Now these aint exactly feelings we like to have and we certainly arent proud of them. So what do we do (many or most of us)? We repress them, deny them and run from them. Can you relate?
So, my question then is this: Does this work for you?
It certainly doesnt work for me. I believe that we require energy to repress these feelings, that we feel ‘bad about ourselves’ for feeling them and that it takes a psychic toll on our being.
What can we do to be more effective?
What I found is this simple process:
Acknowledge the feeling- talk to it (oh boy, here comes the woo woo stuff) and respect it. Thank it for it’s good intentions and let it know that you choose not to be influenced by it; that you choose another feeling or belief. Dismiss it with respect and it has no need to rear it’s ugly head again and nag nag nag you. That’s it. Nothing complex, very simple and, for me and others, very very effective. Try this, if you havent already. It’s very effective and the peace of mind it allows is HUGE.

The Shadow movie presents this concept in a very credible and visually compelling manner. I recommend the movie and certainly recommend the technique. My book, Illuminate: Harnessing The Positive Power of Negative Thinking, is a very engaging parable that exposes a simple process of applying this principle.
Im wondering if youve tried this ‘technique’ from either The Shadow movie or Illuminate book.
I’d love to read your comments.


Way to go John and Maria Assaraf

It’s really comforting to see good people doing good things for good reasons. That was the case last night where we attended an emotional, touching and profitable fundraiser at the Assaraf estate. The cause: poor children in Uganda. The goal: increased health standards and achievements, education, justice and a decent standard of living for our brothers and sisters in Africa.
Deepak Chopra shared some thoughts – poignant thoughts- and I was particularly moved by his articulation of our interconnectedness.
He spoke the words, “…we are sometimes under the ‘hallucination of separate self “. Deepak reminded us that there is no separation between self and others, that we too often live our ‘self in it’s infinite disguises’.
A lot of money was raised for his cause- awareness of the plight of ‘others’ (ourselves) is up and at front of mind and this was the result of a cooperative effort lead by some of the best part of humanity- the best part of ourselves.
Some people look at these issues and say, ‘what can we do?’. This group asked, ‘what MORE can we do?’ If you’re in, check out
Special thanks to John and Maria for opening their wonderful home for the small, sit down, dinner party for over 250 people.

I aint the only one……

Look, You and I have this in common – we look at the glass half full… and I feel that it’s served me well. It still does. Hope you agree. I say, “Assume the best but put it to the test!”
The test?
You bet. Its all about critical thinking. Be willing to test assumptions, ask penetrating questions and have the courage to inquire.
Now, dig this research. It’s ‘counter intuitive’ and may press buttons. However, as Illuminate: Harnessing The Positive Power of Negative Thinking reveals, it is ‘mission critical’ to focus on all aspects of the topic- both positive AND negative- expect the best, prepare for the worst! And, as the bumper sticker professes, “question authority” for to accept it without question puts us in the same arena as sheep. And that’s just baaaaaaaaaaad.
Take a look at this research on the power of ‘negative thinking’ :


In a Sunday edition of the New York Times, in a section called THE SEARCH, there was a very interesting article on what to do after a job layoff. It was interesting, informative and INCOMPLETE. It’s time to get real and this article is pussy footing around the issue. Here’s my synopsis of the article: After a layoff your self esteem may be impacted; you may go through the grief cycle because of the ‘death’ of your job and your ‘desperation factor’ may have gone up.
Ok, that makes sense to me. The article’s author goes on further to say that the person might want to ‘act as if’ they are confident and positive. Ok. That’s fine with me.
Then the article quotes a private practice Psychologist who also holds a position with the American Psychological Association. The ‘good doctor’ advises that you deal with the situation as a ‘profound loss’, that you ‘download your emotions’ and understand that you may have some immuno-deficiencies associated with the stress and general wear and tear on your emotions and physical body. All good stuff, says I.
And I posit that this is INCOMPLETE because it doesn’t give that person much in the way of ‘take control’ tactics.
I advocate that the person in question do the following:
The first step is to take inventory of your job skills and beliefs as it relates to your previous job requirements. Also list out the core job functions of your previous job (and potential future job ) such as managing financials, leading others, writing and interpreting reports, leading meetings, setting strategic goals and on and on.
The next step is to list them; ie. communication skills, managing multiple tasks, etc.
Then, rate yourself in all of the above areas; 1=Poor and 10=Mastery.
Accentuate the Positive. Celebrate yourself for the numbers 8 and over and then Illuminate the Negative by acknowledging those areas where you scored 5 or below. Then get to work on how you will close the gap between poor and mastery in those areas. THUS YOU ARE TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR DESTINY; and enjoying the associated feelings of a boost in self esteem, reduced stress levels, increased value to future employers and increased value to YOURSELF and your family.
I appreciate Sunday’s article and trust that I’ve added a perspective that might increase the utility of the author and Psychologist’s ideas and suggestions.

why people are dying to get in…….

im deeply saddened by the recent experience that i had with a great friend. he’s brilliant. he has a history of doing excellent work, helping solve problems for clients, speaking for large audiences and wowing them with great ideas, thoughts, strategies and ‘how to’s’.
in fact, he recently shared an awesome idea to inspire and train leadership teams in the most creative way. so why am i saddened?
one word: INACTION. he NEVER takes action. he sits and opines and reminisces and no longer takes action to share and implement his brilliance. it saddens me as much as when the taliban blew up the ancient artistic artifacts in afghanistan. what a waste. it saddens me almost as much as if they found a cure for hiv virus or malnutrition and never shared it with anyone.
i heard it said that the richest land on earth is the land at the cemetery. why? because there lies the unused talent and intellectual assets of many many people. amazing unused resources – more valuable than gold and platinum- gift wrapped and never opened.
what gifts have you been given and left ‘unopened?’

Evaluate, Introspect and Take Action

doing good service for others is cool. we feel good, they feel good, the business value goes up. in fact, YOUR value goes up. not a bad deal. YOU ARE AN ASSET OF THE ORGANIZATION.
remember… an asset is something of value in an organization. most assets are depreciating- going down in value over time. you, however, are an appreciating asset- your value is going UP over time….. or is it? are you continuously ‘green and growing?’ or are you ‘ripe and rotting?’ ARE YOU MOVING FORWARD OR ARE YOU FALLING BEHIND.
building ourselves as quality service providers – whether we’re serving the public, our organization, our families… whoever, we increase our value to all stakeholders….especially ourselves.
and how do we do this? how do we increase our value?
it’s by introspection and evaluation, evaluation and introspection.
when we evaluate what needs to be done in our job to produce excellence and then introspect on how we are doing in that area, we set goals, close gaps and add value…and it’s not much more complex than that.
and a new definition of intelligence is budding here. intelligence is not so much about SAT’s or IQ…it’s not a way of thinking… rather, it’s a way of BEHAVING.
could it be that simple?
i believe that it is.
take a look around and you will find people who aren’t necessarily as smart as you who are earning 8x what you’re earning. how can that be?
well…. my hopethysis (and experience of the last 25 years) is that they evaluated, introspected and closed the gaps between where they were and where the endeavored to be.
look at what you are good at..and celebrate that.
look at the areas where you have a need and desire to become better. Illuminate them, FACE IT, FOLLOW IT and get working on FIXING IT!

race relations…..

so there we were… after working at the healthcare symposium here in chicago… at the world famous comedy club zanies. great laughs, great friends who we dont get to see often enough… and a night out on the town. went to our favorite haunt, the spice house and got great rubs and marinades that’ll last us for the year.
then it happened.
the young white comedian was on a roll…and he was funny. he made a bunch of word play puns, jokes, that were very clever and entertaining. all jokes felt like they were given and taken in good humor.
however, one joke, which i didnt find to be over the line, caught the sensitivity of some of ppl at a table in the mid to back section of the club. next thing i knew there were ppl leaving the club out the front door, right past the next comedian coming up (a black man) waving their arms angrily and saying how we were wrong to allow the bigotry… that the previous comic was racist and had ‘issues’.
did i miss something?
it seemed like equal opportunity joking and punning. however, these ppl felt the need to get angry and to let the entire club know that. they called for all people of color to boycott this place.
this was a trip.
especially since the next act was a black man who, like some other black folk who didnt leave, werent offended.
it was uncomfortable- to say the least. the crowd was blown away. the comedian was stunned. he really had a hard time doing his act. and about 6 ppl who left were really, really pissed off.
so what happened?
why were these people so offended. well, as i saw it, it was really two women who were angry. they were very loud in expressing that. there was no indication that the other people who left were upset. it was possible that they werent and that they left because of the one or two ladies. if that was the case, i thought to myself, then look at the power that one person can yield in creating a fight- a division between groups of people. what if this lady was just having a terrible day- perhaps a loved one was diagnosed with a terrible disease, or she lost her job or a neighbor was killed in iraq. what if she was just ‘short’ on the emotional trigger and there was no racial slur and their was no insult perceived but that she was just having a lousy day?
we will never know.
we do know that this lady, in the name of defending her people, was livid and borderline violent. we do know that the other people in the room were very very uncomfortable and we know that this added to fear and distrust between people.
gets me thinking about wars, feuds, gangs and more… and how they could be started and perpetuated by one person having a lousy day. could that really be? could it be as simple as that? are we so vulnerable as to be threatened by one person’s anger and their ability to influence others?