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OpenForum

Small Business Week Provides Opportunity to Reflect On Growth and Challenges
Running your own company today brings a unique set of challenges. This Small Business Week, discover what keeps today’s small business owners on their toes… Read more:

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/small-business-week-provides-opportunity-reflect-growth-challenges/

The Missing Piece For Older Teens – Live Presentation

The Missing Piece: The Answer To The Driving Question Of Teen Life

Wellington College, London: International Conference on Coaching In Education:  November 2013

TEDx Youth Academy – November 2011

Train Your Teen To Make Decisions Like Steve Jobs

Train Your Teen To Make Decisions Like Steve Jobs

When Steve Jobs died this past week, the youtube video of his Commencement Address at Stanford University from 2005 ‘went viral’, being sent around to millions of people.

What always strikes me each time I hear that speech by Steve Jobs is the extraordinary irony of it:

Here is a man addressing the graduating class at one of the elite Universities in the world, who himself not only never earned a college degree but cites dropping out of school as being one of the best decisions he ever made! Then he cites how getting fired from Apple was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

This is his message to a collection of young adults who have spent most of their lives doing everything they can to ensure they secure that degree that will minimize the risk of ever getting fired from a job, minimize the risk of ever struggling financially – who are hoping will minimize risk in life period.

When I point this irony to many parents, they grow weary that I am going to encourage their sons and daughters to be like Steve Jobs and drop out of school. They say things like: “He’s the one in a million who does this and winds up being financially secure.” Many quote the term made popular by Malcolm Gladwell that “Steve Jobs is an Outlier” – the one who deviates markedly from the masses.

I’m not a fan of  this representation of Steve Jobs that Gladwell uses. 

In this case he associated a series of variables that hinged mostly on raw luck, being in the right place at the right time, that made Jobs have the life he had.

If we want to look at Jobs as having gone from nothing to being a billionaire, then sure he’s an exceptional story, one few on earth will ever match.

If we look at what truly made his life so extraordinary though, we can look at something far more common than raw luck of being born in a certain month on a certain street, the moment a certain song played on the radio.

What Jobs did (and he says this overtly in this speech) was follow the path of his heart, trust his instincts and intuitions and have the courage and tenacity to follow where they led, even when the path was extremely difficult.

Does this make him a radical revolutionary icon that none of us can ever be like?

Of course not!

Quite the contrary…!

This makes him like all the people who lead happy, fulfilled lives and can tell fascinating stories of how they trusted their instincts and intuitions, followed the path of their heart, and found that doors opened for them and life worked out for them too… (And by the way, most of them have University degrees!)

This is my story. It is probably the story of many of the parents reading this email today too.

Will it be your son’s or daughter’s story too? Will they make critical life decisions the way Steve Jobs advised them to do?

Will your sons and daughters follow the path of their heart, learn to notice for and to trust their instincts and intuitions, and develop an incredible capacity to stay the course, make excellent choices  and do the hard work, even when it is anything but easy to do so?

Or will they instead settle for being like the many, many people who don’t follow their heart?  Will they who opt instead to ignore their instincts,  and wind up leading lives of compromise?

We don’t know what opportunities await them, what people they will meet and where their adventure will lead them.

We can be certain that the answers to these questions will be markedly different depending on which path they take.

Through my Evolution Mentoring and the training I offer through at HeroPath For Teens, I am dedicated to teaching your sons and daughters how to making decisions the way Steve Jobs did:

  • How to notice the subtle signals of their instincts and intuitions.
  • How to recognize these as being different from just having the momentary impulses which often lead to making bad decisions.
  • How to grow in themselves the deep and critical capacity they’ll need to make excellent choices for themselves, even when the work will be hard and seeing results may be a long ways off in the future.

Are these important for you to have your son or daughter learn? If so, how do you ensure they learn to live this way and make decisions this way? It isn’t taught in school. It isn’t on the SAT exam.

It is taught here though!

Group Trainings:

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Trainings

Contact me for schedule

London 

{{{ You can register for London here –>>> http://www.heropath.co.uk }}}

San Francisco, CA 

Hamilton, New Zealand – Exclusive Teen Summer Travel & Training – July 4 – 20th

{{{ Sign Up To Learn more:  http://www.HeroPathForTeens.com }}}

 

Or, contact me to discuss my entering into an Evolution Mentoring personal relationship with your son or daughter.

I offer the critical Third Voice that all young people need to make the transformation from child into adulthood.

Location is irrelevant. Thanks to the technology of people like Steve Jobs, I am able to do this work with clients around the world. It won’t happen though unless you take action.

To Contact Jeff:  Click Here

Comment on Walter Payton’s Story & Society’s Quest For Mediocrity


Lashon Hara: A Jewish Law that prohibits the use of true speech for a wrongful purpose. As Joseph Telushkin describes it: “any statement that is true, but that lowers the status about the person about whom it is said.”

My Thoughts on the Walter Payton Article – My Childhood Sports Hero

I’ve had a number of people forward me the link to the Sports Illustrated cover story excerpted from a scathing book written about the dark side of Walter Payton’s personal life, especially after he retired from pro-football.  Some of their emails and comments to me are downright sinister.

Sports Illustrated chose to excerpt a chapter of a new book written by one of it’s authors that talks about Payton’s infidelity, struggles with his marriage, use of pain killers and struggles with mental and emotional health, especially after he retired from an illustrious career that made him one of the revered athletes to ever play American sports.

Since 99% of the population who reads the article will never read another thing about him, this will be his legacy to them. They will chalk it up as “yet another icon who turns out to be a schmuck”. Some will feel sad about it. Others like some who have emailed me today, will feel righteous about it. Others just confused.



Many people know that Payton was my sports hero when I was a kid, and that the NFL Man of the Year award is named after him ( he didn’t ask for it to be). I have over the years quoted several stories about Payton, the legacy he held as an elite athlete and as a teammate. I have told two stories in particular:

STORY #1: When he didn’t score a touchdown in the only Super Bowl he played in and was asked if he was disappointed, he refused to say he was disappointed about it, even though he later admitted he was. He focused instead on the joy of winning and the accomplishments of his team.

Months later in a candid interview, he was asked the question again except this time, he acknowledged his disappointment. Then he went on and said:

“Of course I was disappointed. Every NFL player dreams of scoring in the Super Bowl. But when they ask me that in the locker room minutes after winning the biggest game of our lives, what am I supposed to say? Can you imagine the headlines the next day? “Bears Win Super Bowl. Payton Disappointed.” There was no way I was going to let my personal desire get in the way of being the teammate and leader I want to be. What’s best for the team always comes first.”

Then the interviewer, in a moment of respect and humility for Payton’s thoughtfulness and candor said, “Well there’s always next year. “

To which Payton quickly and succinctly replied, “Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone!”

The day Payton died in 1999 at the age of 47, that quote was the headline in the Chicago Tribune. I still have it in my office next to where I sit right now. I read that line and think about it more often than anyone can realize. It is one of the guiding principles of my life.

STORY #2: Months before Payton died, he did a Public Service TV ad, encouraging people to become organ donors. People knew that Payton had a rare liver disease and would die without a transplant. His critics ripped into him for being self-serving by making the ad, only showing an interest in the cause because his life depended on it.

None of them knew – because Payton and his family were extremely private – that it was by that point already too late for Payton to get a transplant as he had terminal cancer too. He made the ad because he wanted to try and contribute something while he still could.

That story so impacted me, that it still inspires me and always will.

So my thoughts on the article:

I was far more dismayed by Sports Illustrated deciding to publish that chapter of the book, than I was by what was in it. Quite candidly, I have long sensed  that something must have been off in his life for reasons that I am not going to discuss here. I had no need to know what they were.

Dragging Payton’s personal challenges into the spotlight 12 years after his death, borders on being unconscionable to me. I feel deeply for his family, especially his kids and his widow who clearly have had to suffer enough. There is a principle of Jewish Law called Lashon Hara that I opened this piece with. Anyone who wants to know what Lashon Hara looks and sounds like, just read the article in SI.

Any time I hear about marriage problems like Payton and his wife had, I have enough maturity and life experience to know that “it takes two” – and that none of us is in the inner-lives of another person enough to really know the whole story. My clients pay me to invest the time enough to be able to help them with these issues, and even then we go more on innuendo and interpretation than on reality. My point: None of us will ever know the truth of what went on between Payton and his wife, and none of us should.

To learn that he struggled with life after being in the sports spotlight is only a reinforcement of what is a common story. After a lifetime spent in the intensity of competition, the thrills of victory and the agony of defeat, so many of them struggle to make a peace with life afterwards. In a way this seems to be the cross these superstars bare, and those who resolve it would be an invaluable resource to help those who haven’t. Too many of them wind up unraveling, dying young or destroying the lives of those around them. Whether they be Hollywood stars, musicians, sports stars… the story is all too common, and all too sad.

When they die, if I feel anything, I feel compassion for them for failing to find peace in just being, without being in the spotlight.

Ultimately, what enrages me about this whole issue, is the way that we have developed into a society that must decimate it’s heroes, exposing their imperfections, dragging their incongruities and personal struggles into the public spotlight. No one is allowed to stand as an icon anymore – as a model of something for us to aim towards and aspire to replicate with our own lives.

This is because the “average folk” hate having that kind of standard out there… They envy the rich, the famous, the “successful” and the sense that these people are something that they themselves are not… They tear them down so that hey can  sit back, rub their bellies and think “See you ain’t so much better than me”… all while secretly wishing they were one of them.

They do this as if proving that our heroes are human and have flaws too, somehow justifies their own life of mediocrity. Anyone who read this article and felt somehow righteous and judgmental of him, you are the epitome of mediocrity. You just don’t know it and probably never will.

One reason learning more about Payton’s personal struggles doesn’t upset me, is that I accept certain truths about what it means to be human. I accept them so much in fact that my honesty about this is one of the things my clients tell me makes me so compelling and useful to them.

I understand implicitly that every person’s shit stinks, including my own. I understand that every one has skeletons in their closet. I understand that if we looked deep enough into anyone’s life that we will find their flaws.

I just don’t choose to do put my attention there unless there is some legitimate reason to.

I never get lost in judging a  person based on the lowest moments in their lives. I am far more concerned with who they grew into and became afterwards.

Jon Edwards cheating on his wife while she had cancer is as shitty a story as I’ve ever heard. Had it stopped there and he had a moment of blatant self-truth, realized how far off base he must be in his life and changed himself, I could actually earn respect for him. Had he cancelled his campaign for President before publicity forced him to, given up everything else to address what clearly are massive flaws in his character, he might have become someone to be modeled.

I think anyone who wants to use Tiger Woods as an icon of golf and wants to model their game after him, would be wise. Just as I think anyone who wants to use Payton as the model of how to be an athlete and a teammate and team leader would be wise.

I think anyone who wants to use Tiger as an icon of marriage, may or may not be wise. It depends who he grows into from the mistakes he’s made. One thing is for certain that if the decades go by and he grows into an extraordinary husband and father, we will never know about it. There’s no money to be made in that story, just as another book being published about Walter Payton and all his accolades and contributions wouldn’t make money either.

Sadly for Walter Payton, it is too late for him to change his story.

As for his story with me and the icon he was for me, very little changes. He was my childhood sports hero. He taught me three things at an age and time when hearing this made a massive impression on me:

He taught me to “never say die, never give up.”

He taught me make the most out of what you are given to work with, and to never make excuses for failing (another Payton story too long to go into here).

And he taught me tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

Not me, not you, not anyone.

So while many people  will use these revelation to justify their own mediocrity, for me, this only further inspires  me to refuse to settle for it.

Jeff Leiken
San Francisco, CA
September 29, 2011

The #1 Reason Teens Drink

The Number 1 reason most teens start drinking is surprisingly simple!

If you effectively address this issue, you will resolve almost every concern you now have about the role drugs, sex and rock  and roll (or hip-hop!) will play… and I will even help you do it.

Q: So what is the reason?
A:  To feel grown up and to prove TO THEMSELVES that they are grown up.

It is not because of peer pressure and wanting to fit in (that is #2), nor is it because of curiosity ( #3).

Thus all the lessons in how to handle peer pressure or education about health risks will barely make a dent in how much they drink!

All that well intentioned effort never has worked and never will.

Here’s why, and here’s what will work:

Teens reach a point in life where they no longer perceive themselves as kids, nor do they want to be perceived as kids.   They reach this awakening and realization  typically by 16 years old.

It happened for you, just as it happens for them.

Historically adults recognized this critical shift in their youth. Then they had a system in place to ensure that when it happened, they stopped being treated like kids, and were appropriately trained and readied to take their place in the community as adults.

Our modern society that has developed over the past 150 years, offers no clear, universal demarcation between childhood and adulthood. The traditional all-encompassing initiatory rites-of-passages have all but disappeared in any truly meaningful way.

In lieu of this, teens just do what they see grown-ups do:

Things like drink “adult beverages”, have sex, smoke, etc. All the things  laws and “R” ratings do to keep out of the lives of children.

Think about your own life history:

When this awakening happened for you, did the adult world around you recognize it, update their relationships and expectations for you, and give you the opportunities you needed to fully grow into the adult you had the potential to become?

If not, how might your life have been different if they did?

I can tell you, because I see it all the time in my practice.

I see the remarkable transformation that happens when teens begin getting their legitimate needs for guidance, mentoring and experiences that mature them properly met. The way they start being excited about life again, more engaging with their parents, inspired by the possibilities for their lives, more positive… The way they make healthier choices, associate with more positive people… the list goes on.

Yet in spite of this, no matter how many times parents hear this message and the overwhelming evidence I can point to, most of them ignore it. Most people reading this even now will too… They’ll say “oh that’s interesting” then get on to what they believe is more important… but isn’t.

Repeatedly I see what happens in their families when their teens’ needs for growth and evolution are not met. I get the late night calls from parents just as I do from their kids.

The symptoms run the gamut:

  • Losing motivation.
  • Sneaking out.
  • Temper tantrums.
  • Getting depressed.
  • Anxiety attacks.
  • Reckless behavior.
  • Acting out in school.
  • Going internal and not talking at all.
  • Indifference towards school.
  • Sexual promiscuity.
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking.
Here’s the greatest dilemma parents face today:

Unless you (we) as parents personally decide to make ensuring your teen gets the mentoring, training and experiences that will transform them into adults when they are actually ready for this, they won’t.

They need more than what happens ‘naturally’. Without getting this “more” that they need,  they are destined to spend years, if not decades struggling to learn things and mature in ways that they should have learned and gotten to by the time they are 16 or 18… And the cost to them, and society, is enormous.

It doesn’t have to be that way for your son or daughter!

I’ve spend more than two decades learning and mastering the art of Mentoring youth across the threshold of adolescence into mature, responsible adulthood… Filling a void that has been left by a society whose values in terms of time and priorities, has mostly turned its back on this sacred responsibility.

I urge you not to wait until the dark cloud of unlived life settles over your teen… Don’t wait until the tantrums, the negativity or isolation shows up in your home… Don’t wait until the cynicism about learning and burn-out on school impacts their grades, or worse, their health… Don’t wait until the glazed eyes and lies about their substance use becomes a regular worry for you and a damaging problem for them…

There are things you can do right now!

Recognize that there is a whole domain of life that they need exposure to… a whole realm of experiences where learning resides that will fulfill them… that will complete their transformation from child to adult, from just potential to their unique gifts and greatness realized.

Participating in the kinds of experiences I write about or that I am offering through Evolution Mentoring, will do more than just help… this can complete the journey, setting them in a direction where the best in them and for them resides, waiting to emerge into the world.

The vast majority of folks who read this message will ignore it. Then they’ll wake up one night two years from now to that phone call from the cops that their kid has been caught shoplifting or passed out drunk… and resort to all the things that don’t work – like punishments, psychotherapy, long lectures.

Please don’t be one of them.

Our kids – and our world – need us to step up and offer them what does work. Please join me in my quest to help ensure they get it.

Best regards,

Jeffrey Leiken

PS: If you are in San Francisco or Marin, I am offering an *All New* High School Boys Mentoring Group starting October 2nd. Sorry but space is limited. If you want your son to get involved, I encourage you to register as soon as possible:  https://www.leiken.com/high-school-boys-group

PPS: I have several spots available in my Private Practice. Location is not relevant. I work with teens and young adults across North America and Europe. Contact me for a free consultation. Jeff@Leiken.com 415.441.8218

Are Geeks Really Better Off As Adults?

IThis is a response to an article that I posted a link to on my facebook business page “Why geeks make better adults than the in-crowd”. It is based on a book called “Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth” by Alexandra Robbins. It has inspired me to make this commentary. As always, I hope you find this useful

The author argues – based entirely upon empirical evidence gathered through interviewing hundreds of people nationwide – that those who are social outsiders in high school have an advantage over those who are social insiders, especially those in popular cliques.

Her main point is that what makes kids popular – conformity, aggression, visibility and influence – will not make them happy after they graduate. She argues that the outsiders who have developed a capacity to stand on their own, choose their own path and deal with the criticism they face for not conforming, are actually better prepared for the experiences and challenges they will face on the path to success as an adult.

Reading the article critically it is noteworthy that she alters between saying popular people are less likely to be happy, whereas “the geeks” as she calls them are better prepared for success.  Happy and Success are two different considerations, neither of which is universally defined.

That said, I found value in what she is proposing and wanted to make a few comments about this here. This is especially relevant if you either are an adult who finds that you don’t live a life that conforms to the social norms, or you are raising a kid who does not.

The apparent intention of the article,  goes to the heart of the work I continually find myself doing with my clients – clients who range in age now from 12 to 65.

The work I am referring to is to help them simply be who they really are, in a world that doesn’t make it easy to be who they really are, especially when this means they won’t necessarily be living within the bounds of ordinary social norms.

My experience continually is that the prevelant education system works relatively well or is at least, neutral to positive for about 1/4 of kids. It is tolerable and mostly neutral for about another 1/4 . For the remaining half though, it is somewhere between agony and hell.

Interestingly enough, the ease or challenge of succeeding academically is typically less of an issue of which category a person fits in, than how the experience is for them socially.

In fact, most people I speak to remember far more of their social experience in high school than they do their academic one.  Even as a high academic achiever, I too put myself in that category.

By the author’s definition, I also would have been a “geek’.

Though I certainly didn’t think of myself that way, I was explicitly aware of how I didn’t have girlfriends, wasn’t part of the cool fast moving crowd and was far too sensitive to just be ‘one of the guys’.

Kids liked me well enough in school, but that didn’t translate into being invited to parties outside of it.

For the first three years of high school I thrived in the classroom, but was a virtual nobody and mostly a loner outside of it. At times, it really sucked – especially on weekends when I’d be home alone while others who had the friends were out doing what teens were “supposed” to be doing.

That experience made me continually aware of what and who I wasn’t, and led me to be critical of this in myself, often asking the question “What is wrong with me that I am not cool like them?”

By my senior year, with the help of input from my school counselor Mr. Kaufman, and a family friend Patsy Rubin, I had finally come to accept that it was okay to be who I was, on my own journey and getting there in my own time.

This realization was profound, and the transformation it brought about in my confidence, self-image and sense of hope for the future was life-saving and life-changing.

I also finally then settled with a very nice group of kids who, like me, were high achievers who were also deeper thinking and seeking more substance.

It took three and half years, but we finally found one another.

That year I also rallied a group of fellow ‘geeks’ to meet for lunch Sunday afternoons at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria to “discuss  and debate politics and philosophy”.

We’d debate everything from Reagan’s politics, to the great philosophical questions like “Is there meaning in life?” and “Will we ever find other life in the universe?”. Eric, who was far and away the intellectual genius of our group, was also a fundamentalist Christian who one time tried to convince me – a Jew – and Brad – a self-professed Atheist – that we were going to hell if we didn’t wise up quickly… All this over a fresh Chicago style pizza… I can only imagine what people seated around us must have been thinking! (fyi – Years later Eric apologized to me for his arrogance, only cementing in stone the sense of gratitude I have for having found friends who have such integrity and such character.)

I don’t know what the “cool, popular kids” were doing on Sunday afternoons, but I doubt they were gathered together having deep, meaningful conversations.

They weren’t then and probably aren’t now.

Then and now, I wouldn’t trade those Sunday lunches and those ‘geek’ friendships I had back then for any popularity – not if it meant having to give up these interactions that unlike school and casual social interactions with superficial friends, fed my soul.

I look back on the guys from that group and where our lives have led: Eric went on from Community College which was all his family could afford to help him with, to get a PhD from Stanford and works in cutting edge Aerospace Engineering. Patrick works in shaping government education policy in Hawaii. Kurt went on to get involved in Senior Management for an international heavy machinery company. Brad helped take a technology company public. Andy became a renowned Vascular Surgeon. John held public office for years and finally retired from that after an unsuccessful 2008 bid for US Congress. He now heads the Ronald Reagan Leadership Institute, recently bringing Michael Gorbechav to speak to it’s members.

All of us are happily married, raising families and doing our damndest to uphold the standard of manhood that we aimed to live up to when we were teens. In a culture where 40% of marriages wind up in divorce, it in interesting that not a one of my friends from that group in Peoria or that I similarly bonded with through summer camp is divorced or has failed to accomplish career goals – all of whom would have been ‘geeks’ by the definition of the article.

Did our not being in the center of the social circle as teens, help us? Did it force us to develop a set of coping skills or an approach to life that has led us to find greater happiness and success than we might have otherwise?

I will never know.

What I do know is that for each of us, staying true to the journey of our life, always came ahead of the people in our life – meaning we pursued what we felt we needed to, to be the person we wanted to be, and then found relationships that were compatible with this.

The Journey always came first.

Those who seek popularity, do it the other way around.

The make choices of who they need to be, where they need to live, how they need to dress, what they need to do, etc, to be popular – even if that means compromising themselves in many ways.

And I try and teach this to my clients – how to be who you are, make the choices that are right for you and then and only then, let the right relationships with the right people emerge.

It is not always easy for them to accept this. It is often even harder to live it.

But in the end, it has always proven worth it.

I think this message is more critical for young people to hear now, than ever before.

© Likone Corp/ Jeffrey Leiken

May 2011

No Ordinary Mentoring!

Periodically but not infrequently, I get emails from other practitioners who find my site and want to collaborate or train with me. They read what I write  on my website and find a parallel between what I am offering and what they either feel they are doing or what they want to be doing.

Mentoring is a loosely defined term that, like ‘coaching’ is thrown around a lot in public discourse.

Mostly it is a term used as a relationship a more experienced person has with someone less experienced, the primary goal being to transfer knowledge and skills.

I would generally agree with that definition.

In fact, most of what I find others are doing is creating a therapeutic relationship and doing “therapy-lite”, meaning they are not just doing a lot of therapeutic processing, they are also offering direct advice (which goes against traditional therapeutic training and wouldn’t pass for their licensing exams).

In contrast to that, what I am offering is exceptionally unique – unique to the tune of about a half dozen people I know in the world who are trained in the methodology I am trained in and who are singularly focused on using it as the primary means through which they work with clients.

At the heart of the work I do, is something called “The MythoSelf Process”.

This is a process that evolved from a discovery that an elite Israeli Commando made over 40 years ago – something that emerged from an epiphany he had about why some soldiers always come home from the mission and others do not.

Applied in life off the battle field, his epiphany translates to why some people consistently get the results they want and others do not.

In short, he realized that knowing what to do, possessing skills and even having tons of high level knowledge was not enough to transform a person into someone who will get results.

Just think of how many self-help, get-rich, be-happy, become-successful books have been purchased and courses attended over the years, and how few people have actually been able to replicate the results the author wrote about.

They tell you what to do, but they don’t lead you to become a person who will actually do it.

My own journey to one day find this Israeli’s Commando’s work, began abruptly in 1994 when I read James Hillman’s provocative book We’ve Had 100 Years of Psychotherapy And The World Is Getting Worse. There was one story he told in there about a man who sees a homeless man while on his walk to his therapist’s office that so shook me, that I turned dramatically away from almost everything I had studied to date.

That book helped me identify a fundamental flaw in the approach to helping people that is encouraged and applied 99% of the time in our culture.

4 years of intensive (and at times desperate) searching later, I was led to the man who had studied most intensively with this Israeli Commando.

In January 1998 at 29 years old, I spent four days in a training room with this man (Joseph Riggio) fiercely resisting and scrutinizing everything he was teaching, before I finally let go and embraced it, in what became one of the foundational turning points in my life.

My issue wasn’t that it was so complex or so threatening

It was that it was so damn simple!

The key was not to heal or resolve some past issue, nor was it to solve problems.

The key was to develop the ability and capacity to keep one’s attention focused with absolute precision in the narrowest direction wherein the problems don’t exist and wherein embodying discipline and taking action becomes almost effortless.

While there is more to the depth of the model that informs how I work with clients, the essential piece is always the same:

In every way I now have in my repertoire (and after 13 years of studying with Joseph I now have hundreds of ways of doing this), I am training my clients to keep their attention in a singular direction – and to do so in spite of the obvious distractions, temptations and chaos of the world around them.

With clients around the world now and so many stories of people who came to me after “trying everything else”, I am continually reassured that doing work this way get results and helps my clients evolve into people who also get results.

This is what separates what I do from the other options available. Every one who has apprenticed with me has also immersed themselves in this training.

Next month, for the first time in 6 years, I am offering a two and half-day training with my Mentor and colleague, Dr. Joseph Riggio, where we will be leading 25 people through the fundamental training in this process.

Next month, for the first time in 6 years, I am offering a two and half-day training with my Mentor and colleague, Dr. Joseph Riggio, where we will be leading 25 people through the fundamental training in this process.

It is called “The Art Of Intentional Awareness”.

You can attend and I highly encourage that you do!

Not only is Joseph a genius of this work whom you will find fascinating to study with, but you are guaranteed to get results. (That’s right, we guarantee results or people can have their money back.)

People who apply what they learn here find that:

  • Relationships flourish
  • Careers evolve and expand
  • Creativity surges
  • Reactions to others become easily managed
  • Staying composed under pressure becomes almost effortless

For me, in less than two years my business tripled, I was in a committed relationship and soon married (after years of running from commitments and destroying relationships!), I had gone from bankruptcy to working internationally and speaking to 10s of thousands of people every year… (with the biggest one yet, upcoming this fall – TBA)

I was finally applying everything I had learned but couldn’t get myself to do.

What Joseph taught me also helped me become exceptionally adept at sorting through the abundance of opportunities and information available, to find the ideas and strategies that would actually work for me to get the life that I wanted.

Imagine what it will do for your life when you too start doing this, or when you take what you are already doing, to the next level.

I encourage you to take advantage of this rare opportunity. You must register by May 21 to be ensured a spot in the the June 10-12th training that will take place in Novato, California (just north of San Francisco).

Here is the link to learn more and to register: http://www.MythoSelfCalifornia.com

As always, I hope you find this useful.

One Thing You Say Or Do Can Change A Child’s Life – Keynote Address

June 2009 – Los Angeles  – Audio Recording

This is a recording I of a keynote address I gave to 700 Summer Camp Staff members in Los Angeles in the summer of 2009.

While you cannot see the pictures I showed in the background, the stories alone should be descriptive enough.

I believe the most critical message we need to instill in summer camp staff is to understand and embrace fully how critical their role can be in the lives of youth – and how today’s youth need them now more than ever.

I’ve shared some of these stories with over 15,000 people at this point. They are timeless, true, and as important now as they were when they happened.

Click here to listen to the recording.

Help Save Our Kids From The “Find Your Passion” Dilemma

Help Save Our Kids From The “Find Your Passion” Dilemma

For over a decade now, Passion is in Fashion. Similar to the “Happiness” movement that swept the self-help industry, it has become ubiquitous to talk about passion as something that is everyone’s birthright and simply must be found. (If you don’t know, in the year 2000 there were only  40 books published on happiness. By 2005 there were over 4000 new books on happiness being published annually.  The pursuit of happiness is big business. As is the game of finding your passion.

As one who works intimately with youth in the vulnerable stage of their adolescence where they are emerging into young adulthood, I have seen the damage of the “find your passion” obsession that has been imposed upon them (and almost always with the best of intentions).

Here’s why I think this is bad for kids:

  1. Like most things in popular culture, something sacred has been reduced down to an oversimplified form that has little to do with anything more than something to feel good about.  If you ask most people to define passion, they tend to say something like  this: “Something you love and feel and an intense desire for and excitement about”.

What they fail to recognize is that passion actually stems from the ancient Greek verb “pashko” which means to suffer or endure. The word transcended Greek culture when it was adopted by the early Christians who spoke of the Passion of Christ. Why is this relevant? Because what passion really means is “something you love enough that you will suffer for it.”

Now if you speak with anyone who has truly found a passion for themselves, they will absolutely tell you that they suffer for it, and often immensely.

That is not how most young people are hearing this though, to the extent that they are even capable of hearing it even if it was be explained in that way.

#2: Most young people hear “find your passion” as “I need to find the thing I love doing that I want to do with my life and feel I was meant to do.”

Then when they turn out to be like most people who never find “The Thing” that they love so much they know they were meant to do it, they feel stressed, lost and even paralyzed with fear that they may make the wrong career choice. Rather than just go in a direction and let their journey unfold, they get paralyzed with fear and doubt.

The idea that they can even find one thing to be passionate about and build their life around is absurd. Most people never find the one thing. It doesn’t mean they aren’t happy and don’t find fulfillment, it just means they never find one thing that they are so passionate about it feels like they were meant to do it.

This idea has become so ingrained in young people’s heads that it is causing them stress, keeping them up at night and sending them way off track.

Let me propose an alternative, with a little help from Hollywood:

In the film Serendipity, John Cusack plays a man who spends 10 years looking for a woman he felt he was fated to meet again. The night before his wedding he finds himself still thinking of her and even though all efforts to find her have failed, he realizes that if he still feels this way about a woman he met years earlier, the he must not marry someone else. When he calls off the wedding his best friend accompanies him on a walk through Central Park. Cusack asks his friend if he thinks he’s crazy. His friend replies:

You know the ancient Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he live with passion?”

I don’t know whether it is true that the ancient Greeks did that, but I’d like to believe it is.

So, Rather than pressure kids to “find their passion”, teach them instead to identify and commit their lives to the Direction that is best matched for them, then to live an inspired life that is “Lived with passion” for a lifetime in this direction. (Helping people find the right direction for themselves is a huge part of my work – and it often takes me about 20 minutes to do with them. Mentoring them to sustain approaching life with intensity and passion often takes much longer.)

While everyone may not find something to do with their life that they feel passionate about, regardless, they can live with passion.

To live their lives, fully having gone on the journey that is uniquely theirs, open to the many surprises, wonders and yes, at times even to take in the little bit of magic that seems to endlessly find its way into the lives of those who live this way of life.

Jeffrey Leiken

San Francisco, CA

February 2011

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