My Vision For Humanity – How To Lead Well & Love Our Lives
Hi, my name is Dori Klass. It’s January 1st, 2019. This date feels important. It’s the beginning of the rest of my life. I’m 58 years old. I’ll be 59 in May. If I look at it through one lens, I realize that a big part of my young productive life is over. Many of us are facing this new question – what if I’m around for another 40 or 50 years? It’s a question that makes me sit up a little straighter. How about you?
Things are different now. Are things changing for you?
For the first twenty-two years of my life, I was, essentially, a student.
For the next twenty, I worked in corporate America and loved it most of the time. In truth, I was a student there too, getting just-in-time, on-the-job training. It was an exciting time.
In 2002, I left to become the anchor parent to our four boys. I had some deep healing work to do and wanted to be more present to our marriage and my life than working full-time allowed. During that time, I worked to fortify the foundations of my life, a process I explore in my book, From the Boardroom to the Bedroom, Who Are You Being?
In 2003, I started my own leadership development, life coaching and consulting business.
That was 16 years ago.
Now, I specialize in leadership development, self-leadership, soul coaching, advanced communications training and team building. I teach the skills leaders need to come home to themselves and lead well. They become better equipped to enable their relationships, families and businesses to thrive. I work with mid-career professionals, leaders in their own lives, homes and work places, who are tired of feeling flat, fragmented and disconnected. They want to revitalize their own lives.
These are brave women, and a few good men, who learn how to create the conditions within and around them necessary to thrive. In so doing, they encourage everyone they touch to do the same. It is a privilege and an honor to know them and help them to transition as elegantly into their next acts.
What is your next act?
Now that our youngest is 20 and my husband is essentially retired, we are contemplating our next acts, as individuals and as a couple. Some days we float in the pool, travel and keep things light. And, on others, we want more meaning, the opportunity to keep growing and making a difference. Friends and clients have encouraged me to step out, saying, “People need and want to have these kinds of conversations.” I have been listening and new possibilities are revealing themselves.
Some call this a calling. What I know for sure is that at the core of it all is my desire to scatter joy, to teach people how to be happy again, how to love their lives, no matter what life brings. I know this is possible.
What is your purpose, that thread of truth that runs through everything you are and do?
Those two words – scatter joy – are words I use to define my purpose. Doing so begins with a decision and requires both vulnerability and power. Learning how to have a relationship with our own power, vulnerability and the ability to feel anything, including joy, are keys to a happy life. Can you imagine feeling fulfilled, enriched in all of your relationships and leading from there? How would that enable you to make a difference in the world, no matter how local or global your reach?
I had a vision, a dream, over the last few nights that can guide each of us in this process. I’m imagining it is a result of these last fifty eight and a half years of life – and a tug from this calling.
Say yes to life.
That vision, to say yes to life and honor the worth and dignity of all living beings, is supported by a set of four principles. As I captured them in writing the next day, I realized I’d integrated them into my life and work long ago. They comprise what I call my leadership point of view. It is at the heart of my love relationships and informs my self-leadership, communications and soul coaching programs. My vision for humanity has four elements.
My Vision for Humanity (for all of us):
1. Put Relationships First, Beginning with the One with Yourself
The first principle is that we get really good, all of us, at putting relationships first, beginning with the one with ourselves. It involves acknowledging that we have many parts, aspects of our personality, that we express in our outer lives.
At the core of these is our true self, our whole self, our essential self. Ideally, we want to know and have relationships with all of these parts and, especially, with our true self.
Knowing ourselves and all of our parts helps us to be present, purposeful and powerful in our lives. Learning how to show up as our true selves and call this forth in others is my signature work. It is one of my favorite things to do with my clients, their teams and their families.
Putting ourselves first is not standard practice for many leaders.
Putting themselves first and pausing long enough to truly know themselves is one of the things my clients pride themselves for NOT doing. They describe putting themselves first as selfish. That strategy works until it doesn’t. Eventually, they realize that it’s their turn. They actually do need and want to put themselves first, know themselves better and give themselves more attention. Many are paying a price for not doing so sooner. Those closest to them are suffering for it too.
To lead others, we must learn to lead ourselves.
Turning inward and making our relationships with ourselves most important is vital, especially in mid-life. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to do this, or at least, not very well. If you consider yourself a leader, at the very least, in your own life, it is essential to learn how to self-lead. That includes learning how to cultivate a vital inner life and integrating it with your vital outer life.
Something magical happens when we find our voices and the courage to use them, powerfully and with compassion. Our lives expand when we tap into our inner wisdom and let that inform our outer lives.
Imagine the possibilities when those of us with reach and impact become masterful at self-expression, self-leadership and self-responsibility earlier in our lives.
To lead ourselves, we have to know ourselves.
Self-leadership is about learning how to know, like, love, and trust ourselves. And learning that we have many parts. In fact, each of our parts has unique qualities and attributes, talents and gifts, energies and abilities. Each can serve, if we’re conscious. If we know when to call on which part and how to channel its voice for good, they become our leadership allies. As we become more aware of these aspects of ourselves, we can draw upon them, consciously, consistently and skillfully.
I live this truth. Every one of my clients does too. Over time, you’re going to hear more about this from me, in daily tweets, in weekly Facebook lives or videos and in regular posts that you’ll be able to find right here on my blog.
To know ourselves, we must know our parts.
So principle number one, put relationships first, beginning with the one with yourself, is about knowing ourselves, our true selves, and our outer personas well. It’s about consciously embracing their talents and gifts in service of life. This takes courage to do and is doable. It is satisfying and enlivening work.
2. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Principle number two is, keep the lines of communication open, no matter what. Those of us who do this well are emotionally literate. Emotional and social intelligence are vital self-leadership and interpersonal skills. Ideally, each of us will commit to becoming emotionally masterful, not just literate, and skillful at having and being with our emotions. Caring and empathy rely on this. It is imperative that leaders learn more about why this matters and how to do it.
Emotions are our lifeline.
Everything that has anything to do with our emotions lives in our bodies. Having a healthy relationship with our emotions requires us to have a healthy relationship with our bodies. Being able to feel into, acknowledge and work with our bodily sensations is a skill. Our bodies are communicating to us and we have to learn their language. Learning how to have a healthy relationship with our bodies and our emotions is beautiful, intelligent and, arguably, necessary. This is how we live a full and and vibrant life and feel happy and effective every day.
Emotions are not something to fear.
Not being able to be with our emotions, have them, name them or interact with them consciously is something to fear. It is a form of death, a type of “quit and stayed.” Skipping over our emotions kills our passion, limits our potential and makes us small. The inability to be with or effectively express our emotions harms relationships and creates unnecessary suffering. Bearing witness to the damage done in the process breaks my heart.
“Quit and engage,” irrational rage and relentless positivity are invitations to grow.
I’m sure you know people who have “quit and stayed,” for whom the aliveness has drained away. Perhaps you know others who have spun themselves into irrational rages? And what about those people who put a happy face on everything, even though what they’re actually feeling is readily apparent? When we have greater self-awareness, a healthier relationship with our emotions and the skill to express them in ways that serve, everybody wins. We can nurture healthier relationships and enhance the quality of our experiences, even when life is hard.
What defines your waking experience? Is that what you want?
We have all “quit and stayed” and been the source of unskillful emotional outbursts at times. But these do not have to define our entire waking experience. This is my work too, and it matters. I wouldn’t be able to be married 28-plus years, have four thriving boys and thriving relationships with them if this wasn’t true. I’ve been my own living laboratory.
Becoming emotionally literate and masterful helps us to keep the lines of communication open even when its hard. It helps us to build long-lasting, happy and healthy relationships both in the work place and in our homes.
3. Make Love the Most Important Thing
Principle number three is to make love the most important thing. To begin in love is to choose love over fear. It’s our job to know ourselves well enough that we know what fears are active in us and in the way. As we understand what motivates our underlying behavior, we can ensure that our motives are clean and clear. We can help each other both to discover how we lean and to climb our respective ladders of self-mastery.
This work is not for sissies.
It takes courage to look within and learn to love who and what you find. Turning inward has many upsides and leads to greater choice. It can be challenging as we discover things we didn’t know, some very pleasant and some unpleasant. As we become more self-aware, we become more able to choose powerfully, self-lead and love. Expanding our capacity to choose, lead and love, masterfully, is the reward. By giving yourself permission to be you and exploring who and what you REALLY want in your life, you will access the key to a lifetime of happiness.
Leadership and love are inseparable.
After 20 years in corporate America and after 16 years of doing leadership and communications training, I have learned a lot. Most of my clients are ambitious and successful, over-committed and over-scheduled, mid-career professionals, who need a break. They still want to work and do well but are tired of the status quo. The relentless pace and growing sense of isolation is leading to a dangerous kind of ambivalence. To the outside world, they seem fine.
But they know that they are at an inflection point and something has to give.
It is an act of self-love to pause and decide to take better care of ourselves.
As they take better care of themselves, leaders can take better care of those they serve, and do it with more creativity and compassion. This is hard to do alone. Many choose to partner with somebody who knows their world and has been on the journey they’re about to go on. Those who do usually want a guide who’s going to honor their outer lives while helping them to turn their gaze inward.
I have a coach, someone in my life who holds me accountable, gives it to me straight and helps me to keep mining for the gold within. We are all secretly hoping to make peace with who we’ve been. Similarly, we are all wanting to fall in love who and what we find now. This is possible and essential to leading well, living happily and loving honestly in the second half of life.
When we give ourselves permission to pause, breathe and ask for help, we honor our own worth and dignity. This is how we get our humanity back into the room.
If we can get to that place of self- and other-compassion, where the humanity is back in the room, then we can lead again. We become more likable, trustworthy and creative. From there, we can have the hardest conversations and make the toughest decisions, feel more free and have more fun. Yes, we can fire somebody while still honoring their worth and dignity. And each of us can have those really hard conversations with our spouses or children and grow through it. Imagine what’s possible when we look at problems from the same side of the table and problem solve together.
Harness the power of the pause and build powerful partnerships.
When we harness the power of the pause and build powerful partnerships, we get results. Additionally, we can learn more quickly from our setbacks, celebrate the big wins and savor the little moments that matter. Doing this with others gives our lives and work more meaning.
Have more fun while getting great work done.
Instead of spending lots of time in relationship rupture and repair, we can spend more time in joy and service. Wouldn’t you prefer to spend your time and energy making more meaningful contributions and feeling a sense of pride and self-respect as a result? And, yes, we can also be silly, simple and more playful – buy cool shoes, watch scary movies, wrestle with the dog – and have more fun! There is more room for it all when we make love the most important thing.
4. Make Meaning Making Important
Lastly, principle number four in my vision for humanity is that we make meaning, not sense. Here, we’re making meaning making more important than getting stuck in our heads trying to figure things out. While achieving understanding is desirable, there are different ways to know what’s true, what matters most and what wants to happen next. Meaning making is about self-observation, asking questions, and listening for answers. It’s also about witnessing one another and making time to reflect on and learn from our collective experiences.
Often times, things don’t make sense and never will.
Do we really want some things to make sense? The goal isn’t to make sense all the time, it’s to make meaning. It’s to create space for the reflection required to feel into and find the meaning in our lives. What would be possible if we brought the learning that comes with reflection into how we show up? How might our relationships change? How might we love, lead and serve differently?
Happiness is possible, all the time, every day, no matter what life brings.
As we get good at meaning making and bringing that into our leadership and love relationships, happiness happens. It can happen every day. Even in the worst of times, we can be internally calm and resourceful. We can bring peace of mind and a sense of knowing to each situation and interaction. Something fundamental shifts as we choose to be happy and build the muscles that support happiness every day. What’s possible when we look underneath the negative events, stories, setbacks and chatter of our lives? Meaning making is the key.
We can be better humans, better versions of ourselves, every day.
These principles are not just concepts, they are real skills tied to real practices. When implemented daily, they can help us to change our lives for the better forever. When we put these principles into practice, they help us to be better human beings. They help us to mindfully tend to who we are being, how we’re relating and what we are doing every day.
We’re already really good at the doing. Imagine what’s possible if we get even better at what we are doing by consciously refining how we’re showing up and relating to one another. Imagine caring enough to pay attention, build those muscles and exercise them every day.
What might be possible if we bring all these bits of ourselves into one skillful and coherent whole? Aliveness and alignment, inside and out? Success, redefined, on your terms? A new and more compelling vision for the rest of your life – and the intrinsic motivation to lead well and take inspired every day? All of these are possible…and so much more.
That’s what I’m here for, to live into these principles. I do this with my clients as well.
I’ve worked my entire life to know my true self and be authentically me, to know my parts and channel their talents and gifts well. While this is a lifelong journey, I have had many opportunities lately to experience myself being the person I’ve worked so hard to become. These moments take my breath away. I am a better, more compassionate and competent person. Now, I am a more confident version of myself in all of my primary roles and relationships. Just as has been the case for many of my clients, I have found my voice and the courage to use it. I say this with a deep sense of wonder and gratitude. This is possible for each of us.
I’m devoted to helping you to do the same, to love your life, know yourself, love yourself and lead well from there. That’s the kind of presence I want to be on the planet. I’m hoping you’ll join me and choose to be that too.
In summary, the four key elements of my vision for humanity include:
- Put relationships first…beginning with the one with yourself, Source, and then others.
- Keep the lines of communication open…get good at it and learn how to connect with others, true self to true self.
- Make love the most important thing…over fear, doubt, concern, and the old stories that are no longer relevant or serving.
- Make meaning…versus getting stuck in an often impossible effort to make sense of things that may simply never make sense.
This is how we ‘Say Yes to Life!,’ lead well, leave a legacy every day and build lives, careers and relationships that we love and can sustain, no matter what life brings.
How Do You Scatter Joy?
I will have served my purpose if you got a little bit of wisdom or inspiration for your day from this.
Anything I post here is my gift to you – feel free to share it, copy it and find your own voice in it.
It is my hope that this gets your day or this next week off to a good start.
I look forward to getting to know you, to seeing how you scatter joy, and to helping you explore and embrace your role on the planet. As I bring this to a close, I invite you to imagine that, perhaps, your primary purpose is simply to be you, to be fully and happily you.
If any of this resonates, I’ve love to have a conversation with you!
If you want to explore more or talk about engaging me in some way, either for self-leadership, organization leadership development, advanced communications training, team-building or to ignite your own personal growth, healing and transformation, then feel free to contact me here. Let’s get acquainted through a complimentary “Get What You REALLY Want” Exploration Session and we’ll go from there.