“When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”

“When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”

—Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, 13th-century Persian poet and scholar

Image from Unsplash by Nick Fewings

Over the past seven months, I’ve filled my gas tank once, and have driven less than 500 miles. With limited ventures out for only essential resources and services and some retooling to work exclusively from my home office, my long journeys in the outer world have stopped.

With numerous shifts in my daily routine, I have added far more inner journeys through quiet walks, meditation, reading, and writing. In many ways my passion and pursuit of my own growth and development have expanded and deepened more than at any other time in my life.

Taking this time to journey further within has been more rewarding than I ever expected.

EXERCISE:

What are some of the ways you have begun to journey within?

What have you discovered about yourself and your world?

In what way do you intend to go further, to tap your own inner wisdom?

Feel free to reply to this post to share your own efforts and progress in this area.

“Seek council, not opinion.”

“Seek council, not opinion.”

—Greg Reid, Motivational Speaker, Author & Entrepreneur

Image from Unsplash by Ryoji Iwata

Where are you at a crossroad in life or at a point where you need to make an important decision?

Who are the most trusted advisors that have “been there, done that,” who can council you based on their knowledge, experience, and wisdom?

Opinions on most subjects are everywhere, and everyone has one. Many people offering their opinions—although well intended—are not well vetted by sufficient background and objectivity.

How wary are you of the opinionated people in your life?

EXERCISE:

On what personal or professional issue would seeking out experts and following the science be the wisest council to seek?

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

—Lin Yutang, 20th Century Chinese inventor, novelist, and philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Faye Cornish

To what degree are you a wisdom seeker?

Would you also describe yourself as an explorer and life-long learner, looking to grasp and understand what makes us and everything around us work?

Given the considerable challenges facing all of us and the world, it is natural to see the need to work harder than ever to hold our ground and not regress and be defeated.

Perhaps instead of life being a series of adding more and more in order to feel better, it may be time for a bit of selective editing in which less is more.

EXERCISE:

Where would limiting or eliminating some of the non-essentials in your life lead you toward greater wisdom?

Feel free to reply to this post with the actions you intend to take.

“What are you here to teach me?”

“What are you here to teach me?”

—Milarepa, 10th Century Buddhist Saint and Teacher

Image from Unsplash by NCI

Thousands of years ago man often looked to the stars and to nature for the wisdom and insight to answer pressing problems.

Looking to the gods or some outside source for reasoning and solutions seemed natural since these external forces seemed so large and powerful.

Today, we often look within ourselves and compare our own answers to others. This can create an Us/Them dynamic, which misses the idea that the totality of the relationship we have within our personal and professional communities have bigger and often better answers to guide us.

Marita Fridjhon, co-owner and CEO of CRR Global, calls this concept The Relationship System. Learn about her work at www.CRRGlobal.com.

EXERCISE:

What are the relationship systems in our world trying to teach us?

What may be the lessons we need to learn from COVID-19, racism, and climate change? What do other relationships systems closer to home – such as work and family – have to teach us?

“On the other side of the door of uncertainty is a room of wisdom.”

“On the other side of the door of uncertainty is a room of wisdom.”

—Chip Conley, American hospitality entrepreneur, author, and speaker

I recently reviewed Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein. The subtitle is: The Gentle Art of Asking instead of Telling, which as a coach, had a great deal of appeal to me. Some key take-aways include:

  • Asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, and building a relationship on sincere interest in the other person.
  • When we tell instead of ask, we can sometimes offend or demean others.
  • Barriers to humble inquiry include status, rank, and the roles we play in our professional and personal communities.

We can all practice this important skill by slowing down, becoming more mindful and aware of our interactions and our surroundings.

EXERCISE:

Consider exploring Humble Inquiry – The Gentle Art of More Asking and Less Telling as a door to greater wisdom for yourself.

“Opportunities are seldom labeled.”

“Opportunities are seldom labeled.”

—John A. Shedd, 19th Century American author and professor

For most of my life, I have been fascinated by the subject of personal and professional success.

I’ve read hundreds of books, attended dozens of seminars and conferences, and can hardly count the number of blog posts, podcasts, and TED talks I’ve explored.

In his book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker digs into the science of success, to mess a bit with the conventional and unconventional wisdom on this subject.

One seemingly universal tenet of success does, however, point to the idea of taking massive action and trying many things along the way to stir up far more possibilities and opportunities to pursue.

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you waiting or being too passive, hoping for an opportunity to reveal itself?

Where would taking far more action and trying many more things help you bark up and climb the right trees for you?

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

—Bob Marley, 20th Century Jamaican singer/songwriter

Image from Unsplash by Steve Harvey

How strongly do you “fit” and experience a sense of belonging in your personal and professional communities?

To what degree do your beliefs and core values align and resonate with others at home and at work?

Where may you be looking the other way or squinting a bit as you view your world, due to the benefits and payoffs some of your communities or associations provide?

What, if any, soul-diminishing effects are you experiencing due to certain decisions or indecision?

EXERCISE:

What wise and perhaps courageous choices and actions can and will you take to strengthen your soulful foundations toward an even more richly rewarding life?

“Wisdom is often times nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”

“Wisdom is often times nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”

—William Wordsworth, in The Excursion

Image from Unsplash by Mark Pan4ratte

Achieving new levels of professional and career success is almost always a primary reason people seek coaching. They of course wish to soar, create more value for others, and better provide for themselves and their families.

In the course of pursuing these goals, most people see considerable spill over into their personal life priorities, sometimes right within arms reach.

It turns out that wisdom is far nearer than they thought. Reaching out to serve their friends, colleagues, neighbors, and other communities helps them experience greater passion and purpose in their lives.

EXERCISE:

How might you gain far greater wisdom by doing a bit more stooping rather than soaring? What actions can and will you take today?

“A man may learn wisdom even from a foe.”

“A man may learn wisdom even from a foe.”

—Aristophanes, 4th Century BC Greek Playwright

Image from India Today

Take a look at this list of famous foes:

  • Batman / The Joker
  • Superman / Lex Luthor
  • Professor X / Magneto
  • Spiderman / The Green Goblin
  • Harry Potter / Voldemort

In the business world, consider the following pairs:

  • Coke / Pepsi
  • Ford / GM
  • Thomas Edison / Nikola Tesla
  • Bill Gates / Steve Jobs
  • Marvel Comics / D.C.

What other famous adversarial pairs can you think of? What potential positive benefits have been brought forth due to the considerable challenges faced on the battlefield – both imaginary and real?

EXERCISE:

Who do you consider your foe? How and in what ways may they be providing you wise lessons you often overlook?