Wright – Chicago Executive Speaking and Coaching
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To Judge or Be Judged: The Choice Is Yours

How engaged are you with your career? Most current research shows that employee engagement is critical to both career success and a company’s success.   Employees that are fully engaged solve problems more efficiently, pull themselves together faster, and communicate more intimately and more powerfully. They enjoy themselves more while burning out less. Engaged employees excel and thrive in what they’re doing. The best way to be fully engaged is to follow your urges, or your yearnings. How often have you held yourself back from doing something you really wanted to do because you were afraid of what others might think of you? In turn, how often have you judged someone else for doing something out of the ordinary and putting themselves out there while you sat on the sidelines? By hanging back and not fully engaging, you’re only hurting one person: you. A great example of people who fully engage by following their yearnings are children: put young kids in one corner of a room whil
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Breaking Bad Habits with Positive Thinking

Breaking bad habits is more than you think. Bad habits are a function of how you see yourself and how you see your world they’re a function of how you think about yourself and how you think about your world. Breaking bad habits does require positive thinking but also requires positive visioning and feeling. Most bad habits become bad habits because we have not been able to think positively about what we are doing. Let’s say we have a bad habit of binging, and we criticize ourselves for binging on food. We’re overweight and we would like to lose 15 maybe 50 pounds. We feel bad about ourselves for over eating but we continue to over eat. Positive thinking by itself isn’t sufficient; we need to learn to have positive visioning to break bad habits. We also need to have a deep understanding of the yearning that is underneath the over eating. When we yearn for things like love and yearn to have people to see us as good people, we tend to get nervous; we’re afraid of rejection so w
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Get Over Drama: Taking Responsibility for Our Choices

I believe there are two primary positions; either life is fragile or robust and resilient. Once we decide which position we want to live through, the implications can reverberate through our lives. This doesn’t mean we don’t do things to protect our lives, to flourish, and help us grow, but what becomes our primary attitude? We are resilient and obtain capabilities, or become fragile and limited.  To get past drama, taking a position of robust resilience is required.
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The One Decision: Making a Choice for You

We all want a great life, and a great life is a quality life. A quality life is a life that is led by values that we hold dear. In order to live a life of values that we hold dear, we have to make a choice. Making choices is a lot easier when we make a choice that we call the One Decision. The One Decision is a decision that my wife wrote about in her book of the same name, The One Decision. Whereas purpose is about why we live, the One Decision is about how we live. It’s a foundation for making good choices in our lives. It’s like a touchstone.  A touchstone is like a diamond cutting glass. Glass is a touchstone for the diamond, and what the One Decision does is it gives us that diamond-hard test about whether we’re living the life that matters to us and whether we’re making choices that are going to satisfy and fulfill us. Every time that we make a choice, the One Decision helps us look at the alternatives and it gives us that touchstone to say, Is it A or is it B? Whichev
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Identify the Limiting Beliefs in Your Life to Develop More Intimate Relationships

Families who participate in our program and are working on having the greatest amount of intimacy possible often find that there are certain fallacies in their belief systems that they have to overcome.  Each fallacy can be thought of as a limiting belief and those limiting beliefs can keep critical thinking from taking place.  For example, the family that I grew up in acted like they were better than anybody else on the block and were were critical of others.  We thought we had it so good that it couldn’t get any better.  It took me years to see the fallacy in that and required a great deal of emotional work before I could critically think about the issue.  When I engaged in critical thinking I thought, Of course there were problems with my family.  Our tradition indicated that there were no problems and I was taught critical thinking skills in school but had not really learned to apply those critical thinking skills to my family of origin where I had certain limiting beliefs
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Who are You?

It’ not your career, it’s not your relationships, it’s not where you live, it’s not what you do, it’s who you are. The most important activity you can engage in is developing yourself. Just as a swordsman sharpens his sword, you are your own sword. When you go to work, it’s you that went to work. You’re either working better or worse, you’re either learning or you’re stagnating and falling behind. The same way, your career isn t about what you do, it’s who you are. Go to any employer in any field. Find reliable, trustworthy, responsible people who apply themselves fully towards the outcomes that the organization is seeking and you will find the secret towards hiring great employees. Everybody knows it, but too often we don’t know how to get that employee. Similarly, employees don’t know how to look for a great job. First of all, a great job helps you become a great person. It develops you. When you apply for a job, be sure to assess the people that are intervie
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Leadership to What?

A Look at Where Your Leadership is Heading I just attended the funeral of my younger cousin, which has me questioning a lot about life, how I am living it, my purpose, my leadership, and… Then I received a lovely acknowledgment from one of our graduate students who has been recognized as a leader and asked to help make a significant cultural shift in a major global firm to start my Easter Sunday. I really appreciated the acknowledgment and appreciative comments he sent to me. It was his email to me that spurred me to write this blog. The email was especially touching given my state of soul-searching after the funeral yesterday in northern Wisconsin. My cousin and his family were, and are, the Leave it to Beaver family in real life and it has caused me to introspect a good deal. He was, and his brother, sister, and their wives and children are, everything most people think people should be. They are a very warm, alive, circle of Midwestern morality. They are all truly lovely people.
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Your Career Vision and How to Get There

Your Career—do you have a Transformational Vision—does it really guide everything you do? I recently wrote a blog on a talk I gave to CEOs, where and we reviewed ourselves against the attributes of transformational leaders as presented in the seminal book on the subject,  Transformational Leadership by Bass and Riggio. It seemed to me that the same should be true of transformational careers. Do you have a vision for a transformational career? Do you know that it has nothing to do with what you do, but rather how you do it? First of all, from our point of view, you are always a leader. At my talk, the CEOs assessed themselves on a number of transformational leadership variables. We define leadership as the influence we have on others in what they think, do, and feel. Think about any job and you will see that you are influencing people. They are reacting to you. Are they inspired by you, or not? What is your vision for yourself? I suggest that you modify this vision to make it your
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Transformational Careers

Do you want a fantastic career? Then make it a transformational career. People engaged in transformational careers may have goals but they are so focused on being fully present and engaging in their current job that they see unimagined possibilities and receive unforeseen offers. Losers want to escape their careers and winners dig in. It’s like the old story about the optimist and the pessimist—throw the pessimist in a room of horse shit and s/he can’t wait to get out, complaining the whole time. Throw the optimist in and he dives in. When asked why? S/he says, “With all this horse manure, there’s got to be a pony somewhere.”  This isn t some stupid mindless Pollyanna story, it is about being someone who doesn t hold back, who works because it is more fun that whining. NO! This isn t some moralistic tale about doing the right thing. It is pragmatic. It is hard science from Seligman’s positive psychology research and the findings of work research that engaged employees a
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Mindfulness

Play is moment-by-moment mindfulness. Listen to Ellen Langer on play Go to the 6:45 second mark to hear Ellen Langer on #play —it is available all the time—in the interview, they are discussing mindfulness and play full time. Listen to more, be inspired, and learn. #mindfulness Warm Regards, Bob
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Are You Playing Full Out?

Barbara Stanny, in her Forbes blog identifies 10 signs to which I added an eleventh, #11 I get hurt a lot and learn from it. Her 10 signs are: Ten Signs I’m Playing Full Out. 1. I know what I want and am committed to getting it. (And if I don’t know, I devote time and energy to figuring it out). 2. I am so focused on my vision that I don’t get distracted or scattered by irrelevant, draining, or conflicting tasks. 3. I am willing to experience whatever it takes—defeat, embarrassment, even humiliation—to achieve what I want. 4. I am constantly doing things I’ve never done before and/or don’t want to do. 5. I make at least one unreasonable (i.e. scary) request a week. 6. I don’t say ‘yes’ when I really want to say ‘no,’ even if it means rocking the boat or upsetting another. 7. I regularly seek out support, and refuse to spend time with or discuss my dream with naysayers (even if they’re related) 8. Every time I’m afraid to do something, I force myself to do
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Be Prepared to Make Mistakes – PLAY

When we re engaging in life, we have to be prepared to make mistakes that are real groaners. Chuck Hyde, dear friend of my parents, sent this to me today and now I m going to have to call him Chuckles, because that s what his story made me do. Who can t relate to making a mistake like this!
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The Passing of Robin Williams: A Reflective Interview with Dr. Bob Wright

Following the very well-known passing of actor, comedian, film-producer, and screen-writer, Robin Williams, the staff at Wright interviewed Dr. Bob Wright to hear his thoughts about the widespread attention paid to Williams death. BW: Robin Williams death is a good reminder to all of us that it’s not about having money and fame or anything. It’s about us learning to live our lives fully, to engage fully, and become the person we could become. There are a lot of people debating about his depression, substance abuse, and they’re spending their time on trivial horse manure instead of looking at themselves, seeing how stirred up they are, and how they have to explain to themselves what Robin Williams did. This is not about Robin Williams. It’s about how you saw him. Did you see him as a funny guy with all the attention you wanted? do you wish you were funny? Do you use him as an excellent dramatic actor? Do you see him as a famous person you think would make you happy? Whatever yo
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Breaking Bad Habits with Positive Visioning (not just thinking)

Breaking bad habits is more than you think. Bad habits are a function of how you see yourself and how you see your world they’re a function of how you think about yourself and how you think about your world. Breaking bad habits does require positive thinking but also requires positive visioning and feeling. Most bad habits become bad habits because we have not been able to think positively about what we are doing. Let’s say we have a bad habit of binging, and we criticize ourselves for binging on food. We’re overweight and we would like to lose 15 maybe 50 pounds. We feel bad about ourselves for over eating but we continue to over eat. Positive thinking by itself isn’t sufficient; we need to learn to have positive visioning to break bad habits. We also need to have a deep understanding of the yearning that is underneath the over eating. When we yearn for things like love and yearn to have people to see us as good people, we tend to get nervous; we’re afraid of rejection so w
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Adulthood and Self Acceptance: A Time to Reclaim Your Shadowed Self

Admit it or not, we all see greater self-acceptance sociopaths excluded. At Wright, we see this as one of the key challenges of adulthood. Each of us have a self that has been defined by our world. We see this definition by others as childhood. It is highlighted in our affirmation and hunger stage which corresponds roughly to Freud s narcissistic period (I am the center of my universe). For our purposes, we see this as at its height between six months and 24 months of age, but the process really is going on throughout our lives. We accept ourselves to the extent we are accurately seen in the here and now, accurately, consistently, and unconditionally. Some of us had very little of this and none of us had it all the time. From our point of view, humanity is not ready to accept all of itself. The Jungians refer to it as the shadow or Freudians sometimes refer to it as the denied self. These are the parts that were not seen with positive regard and were submerged. I cannot go into those
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Sharing Our Talents: The Qualities of a Leader

In our Year of Transformation program this week, our assignment is to share our gifts. That’s left a lot of people scratching their heads. What do you mean by my gifts? Well, we purposely leave it open because we want you to discover. We want you to eventually see yourself as a gift to others so that you can fully be with others. But I’m gonna give you a couple of areas to think about your gifts. For example, let’s talk about leadership. What are the qualities of leadership that you bring to any situation you’re in? The qualities of a leader are their gifts. Good leadership qualities are good, strong gifts. And one of the primary leadership qualities that we seek to develop in people is people skills. (Now that’s a plural so we got a little problem there.) But your people skills include your capacity to understand yourself, to understand others, to have them feel understood, to have high quality rapport. Nowadays we talk about it in terms of social-emotional intelligence a g
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The Pursuit of Positive Thinking: Seeing Is Believing

The power of positive thinking is a very important concept, however, it’s a very misunderstood concept. Along with that go affirmations and developing positive, empowering beliefs all geared to realize human potential. Positive thinking requires first of all that we know what we’re really thinking. Developing empowering beliefs requires that we recognize our disempowering beliefs. These positive beliefs are constantly being undercut by what Adlerians call our limiting beliefs, or our mistaken perceptions. Positive thinking is way more than talking to myself with kind language, it  requires that I see myself doing the things that I’m thinking about. It requires that I feel myself doing those things. The human potential movement is full of  people scrambling to harness the power of positive thinking, and the precious few of them understand that developing positive beliefs requires that we recognize our limiting beliefs. Affirmations must also be designed to not work against us.
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Getting My Butt Kicked by Gender Roles

I was at a wedding a number of years ago, and I was seated next to the bride’s sister who had much to say about gender roles. She was a PhD in science and was telling me that a big part of her mission was to change gender stereotypes in grade school because gender stereotypes and gender roles in the media and everywhere we go were limiting girls’ identity and chances of following traditionally male careers. Gender roles for girls, for example, didn’t identify with being scientists. Back then, even more than today, we would say, ‘the scientist “he.”’ As she was telling me this, I gave her some grief because I thought gender roles were a trivial and a meaningless issue. She then proceeded to kick my butt with statistics and just plain old common sense about gender stereotypes as she told me about gender theory and the importance of trying to change gender roles in the family and in society so that girls had an equal chance to be athletes, scientists, doctors, and that this
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Identifying, Understanding and Ignoring a BS Artist

You know, I was talking to our marketing consultant not long ago and she asked me a really important question, she asked me why I think people bull***t. Well, I could tell you anytime I see myself bull***tting I know it’s because I feel insecure and I haven’t accepted myself and I’m trying to sell myself. If you think about it, this is really a big issue. Lying is a major issue. There are significant stats on lying. One study says 100% of dating couples lie. Even high school students that think that they’re of the highest integrity, 50% say they cheated on tests. It’s really becoming, I suspect it’s a bigger problem today than it was in my parents’ time. I think that appearances have always been important, but I think that we live to appearance so much these days, but I think that we live so vulnerably and so out of touch with ourselves, we’re lying when we make excuses. When I say that I’m late because of traffic, that’s a lie. I didn t plan soon enough. I had the
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The Conflict in Career and Leadership

What matters more to you, your resume or your eulogy? David Brooks says these are two sides of our nature. He quotes Joseph B. Soloveitchik who calls them Adam One and Adam Two. The two sides make sense. Adam One is the resume side of our nature, worldly ambitious, and external (that builds and creates). Adam Two isthe eulogy and virtue side of us, the humble side of our nature (not only to do good but to be good). Brooks sees these two sides of our nature at war. He says; “You have to conquer the desire to get what you want. In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself… You have to conquer the desire to get what you want. In order to fulfill yourself….” He tells us that we need to go into our past and get to know ourselves. We need to examine our positive and negative characteristics—to see our selfishness as well as our kindness and to accept both to claim our Adam ll side. We must fight our own weaknesses,
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Happiness and Suffering

In his brilliant New York times column on suffering and happiness, David Brooks talks about how people come out of suffering changed, often with more sense of meaning. Here he is talking about major suffering in our lives. When we are living with greater consciousness moment-by-moment, however, we find many momentary hurts, that if embraced, will lead us to a greater sense of self—if we learn to live consciously, in the moment, embracing hurts as an opportunity to strengthen ourselves. Brooks says, “Instead of recoiling from the sorts of loving commitments that almost always involve suffering, they throw themselves more deeply into them. Even while experiencing the worst and most lacerating consequences, some people double down on vulnerability. They hurl themselves deeper and gratefully into their art, loved ones and commitments.” That is the assignment way of living, a way to throw ourselves into meaningful, moment-by-moment living. This works in Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or
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Are You Risking?

Playing full out, we get hurt. I had three major stomach clutches today—one involved a threat to withdraw support if I did not give in to a unilateral demand. Have you ever had that kind of demand? The second had to do with money and spending it the best way to play on the edge. … and the third had to do with a lake battle that has gone on for years, like a cloud over my head. … a little more pressure than the standard day. I guess these are the price of going for it—stretching and risking. How are you doing? What are you risking? Are you really tapping into your yearning if you are not? Think of reawakening your deeper yearning and risking as you listen to this song today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p-SnAC8U_k Warm Regards,Bob
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Play Fully in the Here and Now

Can you take a bite of the apple? Play requires being fully in the here and now. Check this out if you want to start your day with a challenge to live in the now, in contact. How s that for rapport? Warm Regards,Bob
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Play Principles into Daily Life

Do not dichotomize play! It is not one place versus another. It is either a way of life or not. IT IS NOT AN ESCAPE. IT IS FULL ENGAGEMENT. Play is not JUST FOR KIDS OR THE PLAYGROUND. Why shouldn t all of life be play? Why? Because we did not have enough play in childhood and we have not activated the attitude of play in our daily lives. He mentions a top firm learning the hard way to only hire problem solvers who played with their hands as children—he says NASA and Boeing will only hire those who played with their hands as children. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY PLAY, HAVE CURIOSITY, ETC. AT WORK. THEY NEED SOCIAL PLAY—WE CALL IT WORK. Get into your body—reconnect with your child selves and take your inner child to work and make sure he or she is fully engaged as often as you can—sure, this takes intention. Let’s learn to take play principles into daily life—FLOW, FOCUS, INVOLVEMENT, SUCCESS Play + Science = TRANSFORMATION—“INFUSING YOUR LIFE WITH BODY, OBJECT, SOCIAL FANTASY
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