Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year !!!

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."

Benjamin Franklin



While I’m not too sure about Ben’s advice about vice...I do support, endorse and amplify his wise counsel for peace and a personal commitment to continued self development for men and women.

I sincerely hope that my “Extraordinary Minutes” have been useful to you in 2008 and promise more missives designed to educate, inspire and perhaps even irritate you in 2009. As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated:

May the New Year bring you abundant opportunities to create joy, success and fulfillment—an EXTRAORDINARY life!

Robert

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Do You Want Comfort or Truth?

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort, you will get neither comfort nor truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

C. S. Lewis



For years I’ve been sharing in our Extraordinary Living Seminar that one of the keystone choices we all face in life is...drum roll please...

‘Temporary pleasure and permanent pain OR temporary pain and permanent pleasure.’

C. S. Lewis says it much more poetically though.

Everyone wants to be comfortable—an essential fact about human beings is that we always go toward pleasure and away from pain. Reality demands that sometimes we need to dive into the pain, especially when dealing with repetitive and dysfunctional patterns that are in the way of us getting what we really want.

Buy a book (mine comes to mind!), see a coach or therapist, do a seminar (ours!), in other words, do something. Don’t let your desire for comfort get in the way of living an extraordinary life!
With love and respect,

Robert

Friday, December 12, 2008

Validation

This is a long (16 minute) "watch" .... and worth it!

Robert

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When You Fall .......

“The real ‘it is well’ is something I say from the ground, having fallen.”

Antonio Porchia


I had to read this one twice before I “got it.” Perhaps that says something about my state of consciousness?

When everything is coming up roses (if you’re old enough you can hear that song in your mind right now!) we don’t need Robert White or anyone to motivate and inspire us. It’s when we have “fallen” that our inner and outer resources need to be called on so that we can re-frame those stumbles along the way as learning opportunities, as a chance to speak a positive future.

While I don’t recommend you go looking for a fall, I do recommend Antonio Porchia’s wise counsel if one should happen.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Never Give Up

I am so inspired by this video and thought you might be also.

Robert

The Language of Feelings

“One of my problems is that I internalize everything. I can’t express anger. I grow a tumor instead.”
Woody Allen


Well....Should we laugh or cry about this one?

Given my male gender status, I can only speak with any authority as a man and even then, really only for this man. One of my coaches in life is Tom Lutes who has taught me that in addition to our first or even second language, we also have an emotional language. For most men (that’s a sneaky way of saying ‘for me’) one or more of our emotional languages are, let us say, less developed.

I’m kind of fluent in expressing joy, sadness and fear. Anger is where I am somewhat or mostly illiterate. I haven’t grown a tumor but I have experienced some needless stress and some “incomplete” relationships as a result.

As a society it seems to me that we are moving in a positive direction in regard to further developing and responsibly expressing our feelings. The benefits are enormous and, if you’re interested in joining me in accelerating the journey toward greater “feelings fluency,” come and do our Extraordinary Living Seminar January 9-11in Denver, Colorado. For details go to www.ExtraordinarySeminar.com.

With love and respect,

Robert

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Confidence!

“Confidence is contagious; so is lack of confidence.”

Vince Lombardi



It’s football season in America so the above quote from a famous Green Bay Packer coach seems appropriate. (I grew up in Green Bay and my youth includes selling hot dogs in the old Packer stadium!)

Another connection is that we’re going through one of our periodic cycles of doom and gloom. As always there will be winners and losers. My experience tells me that the main differentiation between those two opposites is simply confidence.

Of course, true confidence only comes with the actual “doing of the thing.” The recommendation therefore is clear: act !!! Especially act when you’re most afraid of failing. Prepare well? Of course! Be measured in your strategy and tactics? Absolutely!

Then act! Surely, swiftly and with the expectation that your outcome will be a win for all involved.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Empty Heads

“An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.”

Eric Hoffer


I just finished re-reading Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer” which I first read over thirty years ago. If you want to better understand cults it’s a great source of wisdom.

Eric Hoffer was known as the “longshoreman philosopher,” a high school graduate who unloaded ships at night and got his advanced education by reading his way through the San Francisco library by day. He was also known to not suffer fools gladly, so I wasn’t surprised to come upon the above quote—perhaps a bit prickly and mostly true.

The election season here in America is a vivid reminder of how much “rubbish” is available should we allow it to populate that space between our ears. It seems that a necessary twenty-first century awareness and skill set is the need to filter this torrent of communication for truth, for context and for utility.

It’s my hope that “An Extraordinary Minute” always meets a higher standard for you.

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life is Simple, Not Easy

“Choosing to live an extraordinary life is simple. This does not, however, mean that it is easy.”

from “Living an Extraordinary Life”
by Robert White


Radio interviewers I’ve spoken with who have actually read my book often choose this quote to focus on in their interviews. It gives me the opportunity to remind the listeners that “Living an Extraordinary Life” is definitely not the first to address the science of human achievement. Giants in the field like Napoleon Hill and Brian Tracy have, while using different approaches and examples, revealed straight-forward advice on how to create success.

The question is whether the student of success is willing to “do the work” of completing their past, learning to tell the truth about current reality and then truly creating a future of their own choosing.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's the Quality of Your Relationships? Communications? Promises?

"We talk about the quality of product and service. What about the quality of our relationships and the quality of our communications and the quality of our promises to each other?"
Max Depree


I’m a big fan of the books by Max Depree, former CEO of Herman Miller Inc, and especially of “The Art of Leadership.”

He has that rare ability to capture and communicate eternal truths in a simple, powerful way.

In our seminars and in my own life I repeatedly see demonstrations of the vital importance of the quality of our relationships. Long time readers also know that our promises to each other, our agreements, are a major determinate of quality relationships. My article on “Agreements” is in the Archive. Check it out!

Robert

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Great Fun (for any age)

“You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.”
Dave Barry


We’ve been fairly serious for weeks with these messages so it’s time for a break.

If you want to impart some serious meaning to this...have at it.

With love and respect,

Robert

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our (Almost) Sacred Identity

So here’s the story as I heard it:

A “guy” is walking down the street in Sag Harbor, New York with his thirteen year old daughter. They’ve just spent a wonderful day together and, as had been their custom for many years, were on their way to get ice cream as completion for the ideal father—daughter experience.

The “guy” is very happy to have had this special time with his daughter and he absent-mindedly begins singing aloud. She promptly grabs his arm and in an urgent whisper says “Daddy be quiet! You’re embarrassing me!” (remember, she’s thirteen)

So far, the story sounds typical and could have happened to any parent, right? It has certainly happened to me. My daughters even bought me a bumper sticker that read “I embarrass my children.” And no, I did not put it on my car.

But “the guy” in this story was multi-platinum album selling singer Billy Joel.

We all understand the teenager’s response. But, what about her Father’s? Did he understand with a smile and become quiet? Did he sing louder “just for fun?” Or did he react badly given his fame and pride in his ability to sing?

We all carefully construct an identity that serves our needs – especially our need for social approval. One value of doing this is that we don’t need to repeatedly ask ourselves who we are. We have our identity. Events and circumstances in my life a few years ago combined to give the identity I had carefully constructed some serious shocks. It was not fun … and it turned out to be an incredibly valuable learning experience for me. You already know the drill: I discovered that essentially I was not the identity I had adopted and that it had been limiting my full self-expression and full participation in my own life.

Transformational leader Werner Erhard once said to me that “the only purpose of the mind is to insure the survival of the ego, the identity.” My observation is that whenever we step outside that identity, no matter how pleasurable it might temporarily be, the mind begins to work full time to return us to safety, to the identity it is comfortable being. Absent a transformational shift our tendency is to stay within a narrow range of human experience. Yet, it seems to me that the “bonus years” are those lived outside that niche, outside of “normal,” out in, dare I say it, extraordinary territory.

Oh ….. to complete the story …... unfortunately, Billy Joel chose the react and do damage to the relationship choice. It took him some reflection and coaching plus a year of his life to make it right with this most important person in his life.

What identity are you protecting? What are the prices and rewards of holding on to it?

Just thought I’d ask.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Are You "Lights On?"

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

This is another one of those “WOW” quotes from Ms. Kubler-Ross.

I am blessed to have directly and indirectly participated with over one million people who have chosen to search for, reveal and amplify the power of that “light from within.” I’ve often said that for me, one of my greatest work related pleasures is to be in a seminar room when that light gets ignited.

Are your lights on?

(and if they are not or if they’re even just dimmed a bit, let’s talk about you and the benefits of attending our seminars!)

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Are You Singing?

"Sing your world into being. If you don't, no one else will."

Australian aboriginal expression

Don’t you just love this saying?

Everything you want to be and do begins with thought. Then it must take form in language in order to be actionable.

What are you “singing into being?”

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Great New Book

My friend and mentor Mark Albion’s latest book was released today and I thought you might have some interest. “More Than Money” is targeted to MBA students and alumni … though I think it would be valuable for any young person thinking about their career choices. I bought copies for my children and a couple of others I coach.

Mark’s a somewhat famous “drop out” …. formerly a tenured full professor at Harvard Business School. He quit one of the most cushy jobs on the planet to follow his heart. His book, “Making a Life, Making a Living” was a NY Times best-seller and frankly, he’s a really good non-fiction writer.

I’ve reprinted his announcement to friends below; or to order (2 or more books gets you free shipping!) you can just go directly to

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1576756564

Warmest regards,

Robert

P. S. I also highly suggest you go to http://www.bkconnection.com/proddetails.asp?ID=9781576756560 and watch the brief videos. If you’re only going to watch one, choose the second one done with an illustrator—it’s a really wonderful fable about life and our choices.



"If you are coming to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you are coming
because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."


-- Lila Watson, Australian Aborigine


It is my 50th year of trying to prove my parents wrong,
when they told 7-year old Mark, who was selling his two-page
stories door-to-door for 5¢ a copy, "You can't be a writer.
Writers don't make any money." Well, help me prove them wrong
about something!

We do have 54,500 MBAs downloading the book currently at 9 of
the top 10 and 17 of the top U.S. business schools, with a total of
75 schools including many abroad. Nice start. But all downloads are free!

This is the first book where I get the royalties, not Net Impact (the non-profit
organization of MBA students I co-founded) or Social Ventures Network.
So, a good book for "gifting" and if you buy two or more, no shipping
charge. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1576756564

You can see some endorsements to date at
http://www.bkconnection.com/morethanmoney and click on endorsements
(the page also has links to online sellers and my videos).

Thanks for all your support.

in gratitude, mark


MTM offers four questions and twelve principles to help you develop a "destiny plan"
for a fulfilling life and successful career. The key insight is that what you thought
were your safest career decisions may actually be the riskiest, when you acknowledge
that your fulfillment and success will be determined as much by what you give to
others as you get for yourself. The key takeaway:

You Find Yourself by Losing Yourself in Something Bigger Than Your Self

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Learning Life's Lessons

“Paradoxically, perhaps, there seems nothing enduring to be gained in terms of meaningful life change purely from leisure, from having a great time. If you or I could redesign the world we'd certainly do it very differently, so that every time we took a magic vacation at some tropical paradise we would return full of more wisdom than the World Encyclopedia of Philosophical Quotations. Until then, we are well advised to accept the reality that the great lessons in life come to us through some form of extreme hardship.”

from “Living an Extraordinary Life” by Robert White

As is my custom, I don’t comment on my own writing. Plus, this quote takes up too much of my “one minute read” commitment.

Here’s some news and an offer you might find interesting. My book’s Fourth Printing was just completed and, due to raw material (mostly paper and transportation) price inflation, the price has increased to $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

For those who order the book from our website by October 5th, you’ll receive a refund of $5.00 with every book ordered. And, of course, I’m happy to inscribe the book to you or to someone you specify—the utility for doing that is right on the book order form at:

http://www.ExtraordinaryBook.com

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Are You "Superior to Circumstance?"

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.”

Bruce Barton

Regular readers know this is a repeating theme of these offerings—our human ability to triumph over circumstance.

We’ve just experienced the 29th running (and swimming and jumping and rowing and diving and...) of the modern Olympic Games. Beyond that here in the USA we’ve had credible female and black American candidates for our highest political office.

Examples abound: an extraordinary life can be launched by simply believing that we are “superior to circumstance.”

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Being Human ..... Together

“I no longer expect things to make sense. I know there is no safety. But that does not mean there is no magic. It does not mean there is no hope. It simply means that each of us has reason to be wishful and frightened, aspiring and flawed. And it means that, to the degree we are lost, it is on the same ocean, in the same night.

Elizabeth Kaye

Beautifully said Ms. Kaye. Rather than embarrassing myself by attempting to write with such power and grace, I’ll simply say thank you.

With love and respect,

Robert

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Learning to Trust ..... YOU!

“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.”

Billy Wilder

I am often privileged to work with individuals and groups who want to further develop their consciousness and skills to increase trust with others; and, in so doing, increase the depth, power and effectiveness of their personal and business relationships.

This quote speaks to another important aspect of trust—that of learning to further trust yourself, especially your “gut,” your intuition. My friend and mentor in this domain is Karen Storsteen, a talented management consultant who uses her own intuitive abilities and teaching skills to assist executives in generating higher personal and organizational performance.

I’m encouraged that so many leaders are increasingly turning to experts like Karen to access more of their natural abilities and to trust themselves. I’ll close with a question that we’ve used in our seminars for years...

What are you pretending not to know?

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Are Your Friendships Aligned to Your Purpose and Vision?

"Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing."

Benjamin Franklin

There’s a certain abruptness in this quote from Wise Ben … and a lot of wisdom.

My friend and mentor Bob Wright has been a great teacher in this regard. He has carefully sought out, chosen and compassionately maintained a group of friends who support his purpose and vision in life. I’m blessed to be included and though I’m perhaps less rigorous than he, have made some progress in being more conscious about my friendships.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic book “Think and Grow Rich” he counsels us that we can determine our income and status in life by examining and averaging the five people with whom we spend the most time. It’s one of those “hard truths” that could motivate a personal review and some new choices for each of us.

With love and respect,

Robert

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Thought Provoking Video

Friend Roger Armstrong sent me a link that I've avoided viewing until ..... my vacation in Vail. Hello from a truly beautiful Colorado mountain morning. It's made even more special by the presence of my son Gary, grandchildren Hallie and Lake plus Hallie's friend Shelby. We're hiking, biking, talking a lot and going to concerts ... plus eating too much.

I love this video and would enjoy seeing your reaction to it.

In Service

People sometime ask me why I've launched Extraordinary People and this video captures part of the answer. The seminars I've led and the people I've interacted with over the past five years have driven home to me the state of essential disconnection in our fast moving society.

With love and respect,

Robert

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Inspired Visual




Dear Friend Sherryl Stalinski was inspired by one of the Extraordinary Minutes to create this visual. I thought you'd enjoy it also!

Robert

Become a True Human Being

"Go forward with steps that never leave any trace. Accept everything that confronts you with a positive attitude......Just make sure you aren't trying to avoid the things that are coming, and don't try to cling to the things that are leaving. Become a brave person who is never stained by anything or attached to anything. Become a true human being, a person who is both the most normal and the most extraordinary."

from “No River to Cross”
by Zen Master Dae Haeng

Since I’ve never met Master Dae Haeng,I am especially appreciative of his unsolicited endorsement of our Extraordinary Living Seminar!

(Next scheduled for September 26-28 in Denver, Colorado. Go here for details: http://www.ExtraordinarySeminar.com)

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Endings and God

“If life teaches anything at all, it teaches that there are so many happy endings that the man who believes there is no God needs his rationality called into serious question.”
From “It” by Stephen King

It’s rare for me to make no comment … you can make up your own thoughts about me just because I chose this quote.

Of course, I do enjoy tweaking my reader’s sense of “what’s right” occasionally and comments can be inserted below.

I promise to read every one of them. He He

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Are You Ready to Step Out?

“All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.”

                            from “Living an Extraordinary Life”
                            by Robert White

It is beyond awkward to comment on my own quote so I’ll just let it speak for itself.

One challenge occurs:  what are your purpose, vision and goals?

Offered with love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is There a "Secret" to Success?

"We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service."

                                                    Earl Nightingale

 

There a lot of conversation out there about some kind of “secret” to success.  While some of the content is valuable, the total idea seems to lack an action component, especially actions that are grounded in a contribution level of purpose.

My first personal growth experience was Earl Nightingale’s “Lead the Field” home study program. I listened to it repeatedly and can still quote from it.  Nightingale “walked his talk, got rich serving others and is one of my heroes.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Your "Single Spark of Divinity"

"If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature."

                                                 Bruce Barton

 

While I would have chosen a different word than “personality,” I really like the tone and content of advertising executive Bruce Barton’s thought.

My friend, former Harvard Business School professor and author Mark Albion has dedicated much of his life and work to helping people connect their life purpose with their career choices.  The result is a life filled with passion and accomplishment.

You can learn more in his books “Making a Life, Making a Living” and “True to Yourself-Leading a Values Based Business.” It might be the best ten bucks you’ll ever spend.

With love and respect,

Robert

Monday, July 7, 2008

Robert highly recommends Alan Parisse to Aspiring Public Speakers

The Speaking Intensive with Alan Parisse

August 8-9, 2008

Be prepared. Sharpen your skills.

Discover in yourself the single, most
important thing you don't share with
anyone -- AUTHENTICITY.

Only you can WOW your audience by
being YOU and claim the result.

1 or 1000? Makes no difference when
you present your ideas, products and
yourself authentically.

Leave your competitors behind.

SEND YOUR TEAM!

Register NOW.


Register on-line: http://parisse.com/index.shtml

Register over the phone: 303-444-8080

Email us: Nan@parisse.com
________________________________________

"When a dog barks, the WHOLE dog barks!"

Eighteen years of public speaking later, I realize it's not my Powerpoint, it's my personal power. Alan brought all of "me" into my presentations. It's the best training I've experienced in my career, without exception"

Jerome Merchant, Managing Dir., RSM EquiCo Capital Markets, LLC


Are You Acting or Reacting?

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

Viktor Frankl

Former wife and teacher Dianna coaches me (and many others) to “develop an advanced state of noticing.”  Gaining the kind of awareness and commitment that allows us to interrupt our automatic reaction machine is a powerful personal growth tool.

My personal trigger is to notice when I’m reacting and hit “instant replay.”  Just like it is never too late to have a happy childhood, it is never too late to jerk yourself out of reaction and choose a response that suits your vision, your purpose and your values.

Let me know how this works for you.

With love and respect,

Robert

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Are You Walking Your Talk?

“In order to live with integrity, we must stop fragmenting and compartmentalizing our lives.  Telling lies at work and then expecting great truths in meditation is nonsensical.”

                            Sharon Salzberg

 

I’ve been alternately amused and irritated recently by many people talking about gaining greater personal and even spiritual development through reading a book, talking about it and simultaneously living in direct opposition to what they’re professing to know.

I admire spiritual teacher and author Ms. Salzberg:  she’s enthusiastic about her approach through meditation and stays grounded in the ultimate value of integrity, of living consistent with what we profess to be true.

How about you?  Are you walking your talk?

With love and respect,

Robert

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What Will You Say When It Is "Over?"

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it's over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."

Mary Oliver


Several great writers have expressed something similar to this “looking back from the end of life” quote. I think poet and Professor Mary Oliver says it beautifully.
My friends familiar with Neuro Linguistic Programming will probably react (as I did) to her repeated use of the negative—a definite no in the NLP effective communication world. That said, I still love the quote and hope it is of value to you also.

With love and respect,
Robert

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Are You Doing "The Work?"

“Success is a science. If you have the conditions, you get the result.”
Oscar Wilde


I have a tendency to get grumpy on this subject so be warned! My observation is that all too many people expect success without doing the necessary work, first on the “self” and then on actually doing the work involved to succeed.

A quote from my book that radio interviewers often ask about is that “life is simple. This does not mean it is easy.” Preparing ourselves for success requires confronting, clearing, coming to terms with our past; learning to rigorously tell the truth about our current reality; and declaring a future freely chosen.

That kind of work on the “self,” while not easy, is powerful and rewarding.

With love and respect,

Robert

Monday, May 26, 2008

Agreements – Keeping and Breaking

Part One

By Robert White
© 2005


Recently I’ve created circumstances where I chose to break agreements with several close friends. It has been, as difficult choices often provide, a challenging learning experience for me and put some very important relationships at risk.

Over the years no subject in our public and corporate seminars seems to have gathered as much “heat” as the making, keeping and breaking of agreements.

How many people do you know who consistently show up late for lunch or a meeting or whatever? How often do you show up late, even by a few minutes? A simple meeting for coffee, and you're ten minutes late – as usual. You give your usual feeble and mostly phony excuses, blaming the traffic or a meeting you couldn’t get out of, while the person you kept waiting nods approvingly that it's OK.

Unfortunately, it's not OK—and deep down you both know it.

People sometimes follow the same pattern around work projects, family promises, marital vows and many, many other areas where we make agreements.

There are prices to pay for those broken agreements, prices paid by you and prices paid by others. Every time you break an agreement you lose self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence, and you lose at least some of other people's trust in you. Every time you keep an agreement you increase these same valuable assets accordingly. It is just the way things are.

Let’s review some prices and rewards for breaking and keeping agreements:

Prices for breaking agreements

Lose trust from others
Destroy relationships
Lower self confidence
Damage self esteem
Undermine self respect
Create confusion, loss of clarity
Lower energy level

Rewards for keeping agreements

Gain trust from others
Build relationships
Increase self confidence
Raise self esteem
Enhance self respect
More clarity, focus
Higher energy level

Are some agreements less important?

Contrary to what many people think, there is no such thing as an unimportant broken agreement. There may be bigger external consequences for breaking some agreements than others—but there are no broken agreements without a price.

If you break your agreement to drive at or below the speed limit, and you hit another car and kill someone, the external consequences will be big.

If you tell your daughter you’re coming to her soccer game and then don’t show up, even though there are no apparent external consequences, you still pay an automatic price. You’ve inevitably lost some of your daughter’s trust in you, you’ve damaged her self esteem and your own, you’ve undermined the respect she has for you as a parent, and your relationship is a little less close. Break your agreements with your daughter enough times and you’ll do serious damage to your relationship. Broken agreements and the resulting deterioration of trust destroy many marriages, friendships, and family ties.

Broken agreements always hurt other people. Every time you break an agreement with your children, there’s some pain created and usually suppressed. And what do you think your children then decide about themselves? The same thing you or I or anybody would decide: that they must not be worth very much if their own parent couldn't be bothered to keep their agreements. Self-worth suffers. Broken agreements are a lose/lose game. Nobody wins; everybody suffers.

Breaking agreements with others is bad enough. Breaking agreements with yourself can be even more damaging. Because agreements with yourself are often private promises that only you know about, they are that much easier to break. Hey, make an agreement with yourself to lose weight or stop smoking or get up early and exercise and you can break it any old time. Nobody knows. Well, not quite nobody. You know.

I keep all my agreements–so I’m in the clear here, right?

If you are an obsessive/compulsive agreement keeper, does that mean your life will work infinitely better? No, it won’t. What keeping your agreements can do is to clear the fog of confusion, and allow you to see more clearly what’s working in your life, and what is not.

Keeping your agreements with yourself and other people is a positive way to live. And remember: there is no universal law on agreement keeping – just consequences. So don’t get angry and upset and become a victim when you keep your agreements and other people didn’t keep theirs.

It simply works when you deliver work on the date you promised it. It works to keep your marriage or relationship agreements. It works to match your behavior to your promises.

My personal “take” from being exposed to these ideas for over thirty years is to make few agreements and keep the ones I make. Observing myself and others tells me that agreements are made too casually and usually for purposes like being liked or avoiding criticism or delaying a problem hoping there will be some miracle before the agreement falls due.

We all know people who never break agreements, create terrible results in life and make everyone around them crazy. We also know people who break lots of agreements and generate mistrust.

Are there circumstances when it alright to break agreements?

In the real world outside a seminar room or ashram, YES. Of course there are prices and rewards for broken agreements, just like there are for keeping them. However, the world and human existence are fluid, changing entities. That’s the world we live in and the world in which all accomplishment takes place.

Our Extraordinary Action steps will include my suggestions for those times when you need to break an agreement. Read on!

EXTRAORDINARY LIVING ACTION STEPS

A quick review on agreements:

Make fewer agreements and keep the ones you make!

When you must break an agreement ….

• communicate your decision to break the agreement clearly, specifically, and directly with anyone affected even indirectly by the decision.

• deliver the broken agreement communication without righteousness, defensiveness, shame or guilt. Adding your emotional charge tends to call forth an equally emotional response.

• know that you’re going to pay a price in terms of reduced trust and credibility – thus the needs for # 1 and # 2 being handled with the clear intention to take responsibility and “clean things up.”

• Commit to not repeating the practice. You’ll be watched with new awareness by all involved and judged purely on your results with keeping future agreements.

When you get right down to it, you word is all you've got. Beyond your word there is nothing; no basis for trust and no foundation for self-worth. Keep your word and you enjoy the trust and respect of others. And you'll find the automatic by-product is that you trust and respect yourself more and more every day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Investing In You !!!

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

Benjamin Franklin

Once again I can be accused of being self-serving with this selection—given that I enthusiastically promote our seminars!

Additionally, the cowboy philosophy offers, “never ask a barber if you need a haircut.”

Enough of that prattle. Dr. Ben’s point is appropriate and powerful. The rapid rate of change in families, friendships organizations and communities requires continuing education. What’s your personal learning plan for 2008 and beyond?

Offered with love and respect,

Robert

P. S. There’s still time to register for our Extraordinary Living Seminar in Denver this Friday, May 16-18. And, please put the next date in your calendar: August 1-3, 2008.

Are you "burning brightly?"

"I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no `brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

George Bernard Shaw

Occasionally I share one of these quotes and I am so humbled by the power and grace of the words that I’m speechless. This is one of those times.

If I could “live from” these words consistently, powerfully and with a loving heart, I’d consider my time here on earth worthwhile.

How about you?

Offered with love and respect,

Robert

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Greatest Love of All

“‘The greatest love of all is happening to me...’ So goes the popular song. It's a great song. It speaks to the heart, and deeply. It strikes powerfully to uplift the human spirit, at the quest for self-love and self-esteem, the pride in being alive that each of us is entitled to experience simply by being born a human being.”

                   from “Living an Extraordinary Life”
                   by Robert White

 

I promised to “lighten up” this week. How’s the above?

Offered with love and respect,

Robert

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How Important is Authenticity?

(Representative Men was Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1850 phrase for the great men in a democracy”.)

“Is there some common quality among these Representative Men who have been most successful as our leaders? I call it the need to be authentic—or, as our dictionaries tell us, conforming to fact and therefore worthy of trust, reliance or belief. While the charismatic has an uncanny outside source of strength, the authentic is strong because he is what he seems to be.”

                                                      Daniel J. Boorstin

Here in the USA we are overwhelmed with communications about our coming presidential election. Hopefully we’ll not get so fatigued by the claims and counterclaims of leadership excellence that we tune out.

Perhaps of more lasting importance to you and me is the societal shift that calls for each of us to express more leadership in our families, organizations and in our communities. 

And whether it is in evaluating a political candidate or setting a standard for ourselves in a leadership role, Boorstin’s counsel is wise:  is the candidate what “he (or she) seems to be?” Are we gaining our strength from acting consistent with what we profess to be?

Tough questions, I know. Perhaps next week I’ll lighten up a bit.

Offered with love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

An Extraordinary Minute -- Churchill at his Finest

“Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Sir Winston Churchill

This pithy communication is reported to have been the entire text of a speech Sir Winston once gave at a commencement ceremony.

Clearly, in England’s time of greatest need for leadership during World War II, Winston Churchill communicated a stand for “honour and good sense” and never giving in.

Of course, we need to have a purpose noble and compelling enough to summon this kind of stand, this expression of courage. Once we discover it and claim it for our own, all that remains is total commitment, to never, never, never, never...Give in.

Offered with love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Which Seminar Will Support the Creation of Your Extraordinary Life?

Over the years, I've observed that people's desire for personal growth and development springs from two broad categories of motivation:

1. they are on a "growing edge," an awakened desire to accomplish something personally or professionally that their prior education and experience hasn't adequately prepared them for; or

2. they feel stuck in some pattern of thinking or reacting that is not producing the results they want in life. Perhaps they're experiencing unsatisfactory relationships with family, friends or colleagues; perhaps they have problems in their career or with their business results; perhaps they're struggling financially; examples of the "wrecks or near wrecks" that occur in life.

With the ever increasing pace of change impacting our personal and professionals lives, many of us are turning to books and other media, seminars and life coaching for more enlightened and effective answers.

If I can help you make better informed and more effective choices that support you in your personal development planning and actions, it would be my great pleasure.

Of course, like the cowboy philosopher Will Rogers said, "Never ask a barber if you need a haircut!" I'm always going to be advocating for you to jump in, read that book, hire that coach and do that seminar--especially if it is one of ours!

This first post lists and talks about a group of high-impact experiential learning events that I'm most familiar with and that I mostly recommend. I'd love it if you could add to the list along with your recommendations.

With love and respect,

Robert

Several friends have asked me to "be critical" in a review of their latest book or recorded program or seminar. It's a real problem for me: I want to contribute and support them; yet, my "wiring" is so critical (often a problem in all my relationships) and I fear damage to our friendship when I'm being honest and direct.

The following "quick hits" are offered in the context of me being hyper critical and I'll do my best to keep the tone upbeat and respectful ... while still honoring the reality that I actually do know a bit about this material. Read my bio (which, of course, is laudatory because I wrote it) and notice that I've founded and led companies that have graduated over 1 million people from high impact experiential learning events. (LifeSpring, ARC International/Life Dynamics and Extraordinary People) I've also attended many other programs and will identify those in my comments below.

Your feedback is sincerely appreciated and will guide the future of this site. Here goes .....


The following programs are derived directly and indirectly from a training methodology often referred to as the "LifeSpring Model" ... details and recommendations below

Extraordinary People http://www.ExtraordinarySeminar.com

PSI Seminars http://www.psiseminars.com/

Context Associated (The More Course) http://www.morecourse.com

Asia Works http://www.asiaworkstraining.com/

CSA Europe http://www.csaeurope.com/

Insight http://www.insightseminars.org/

Pathways http://www.pathwaysseminars.com/

Resource Realizations http://www.resourcerealizations.com/

Worldworks http://worldworksinc.com/index.php

Next Step Asia http://www.nextstepasia.com/

Summit Education http://www.summiteducation.com/

ChoiceCenter http://www.choicecenter.net/

With well over a million and perhaps two million graduates over the past 30 years, this highly interactive learning experience model has proven a success experience for many people.

WHAT YOU'LL LIKE: Usually very strong in having participants actually experience what's true for them around relationships, personal responsibility, intentionality, their core values, life vision and much, much more. Common feedback after the experience is "the seminar changed my life and I would have paid ten times the tuition for it."

WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT LIKE: You must come to the seminar prepared to participate--these seminars are not academic, you'll need to "jump in" to get maximum value. Also, most (not all) of the above companies expand their business by asking you, the satisfied graduate, to introduce and refer your friends to the seminar.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Talk to recent graduates about the quality of the seminar experience and did the seminar make a real difference in their lives; whether the seminar leader/trainer was respectful and coherent; and how much pressure is being applied for additional enrollments. While it is not an issue for me, you need to be comfortable with all of that to get maximum value.

ROBERT'S RECOMMENDATIONS: No shyness here ... I work hard to have our Extraordinary Seminars be the very best experience for the maximum number of people. You can learn more and even register at:

http://www.ExtraordinarySeminar.com

That said, I recently audited an Insight 1 seminar led by Joe Hubbard and consider it absolutely first class in content and delivery. I also know the people behind the Summit Education company and their Trainers--based on my "knowing" of them, you can expect a great experience there also.

In my next post, I'll list some more approaches to accelerated learning and personal development. Remember, your input is needed and wanted!

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