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Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,




Managing relationships with "style"

The "potato fern" of Costa Rica, an ant species, a tiny fly and a kind of wasp cooperate in a process called "mutualism" - i.e. they use a win-win-win scenario to manage their relationship. Solanopteris ferns grow strong by producing a counterbalancing underground stem called a rhizome which "bears fruit". The root extends for meters, producing clusters of tubers made of sugary starches along the way. Azteca ants will build nests around food-source to consume its sugars; its removal weakens the cellular integrity of the tuber. When a "spud cluster" is depleted, the ants move the nest to new fruit, burrowing further along the stem in the dense clay-like soil and easing access to the cavity.

The Ants abandon the used tubers to new colonizers - a tiny fly named Hemipteran. It moves in and proceeds to bore minute tunnels throughout the fruit; it transforms its inside into spongy mass that can absorb and store water. Then, one of several kinds of wasp species use the now easy to access shelter; they consume the starch and water soup and -engaging in their daily activities- deposit a very rich humus - i.e. nutrients - inside the fern.

Even in difficult conditions, the fern does much more than survive... it thrives. It has a strong foundation, has help working the soil and profits from both an inner production line and a storage system for its food and water. It manages each relationship for mutual benefit, i.e. with "altruistic self-interest", Nature's golden rule. The fulfillment of its own needs is assured as it generously supplies its collaborators with what they require to live well.

In fact the ants, flies and wasps give their all to the benefit of all and take their fill in order to do so; the deal provides mutual gains and advantages.

Every relationship should be managed on its own merits. In this light, "best practices" recognizes 8 distinct management styles. These can be named the Authoritative, Coercive, Democratic, Friendly, Pacesetting, Coaching, Defensive and Creative schools of management.

1. The Authoritative manager mobilizes people around a common vision: "Follow me!" It can be a very positive approach when clarity or changes in direction are needed.

2. The Coercive management style demands compliance: "Do what I tell you!" It is generally regarded as negative unless you want to jump start project, complete a turnaround or push a troublesome underling to obey rules.

3. The Democratic management school tries to forge consensus by inviting participation: "What do you think we should do?" It's good for building consensus, getting "buy-in" for ideas or when working with partners and key employees.

4. The Friendly style of management seeks to create harmony and build bonds: "People first - what do we need?" It's quite positive when healing rifts in teams, when motivating and to raise morale during stressful times.

5. The Pacesetting managers set high standards and give incentive and rewards: "Do as I do... and win this bonus or perk." This is an excellent technique for getting quick results from highly motivated teams or to stimulate top performers, otherwise it's considered negative and subject to the law of diminishing returns.

6. The Coaching school suggests we should develop people for the future: "Try this...". It's excellent for that purpose and very good for nurturing long term strengths and loyalties.

7. The Defensive manager corrects wrongs: "Don't do that!" It's a negative way to get things done unless you are setting limits or dealing with difficult people. Even then, it should be part of a larger proactive strategy.

8. The Creative manager uses any of the above techniques as appropriate to arrive at results: " Let's think this through." It's most beneficial when long term management is involved; it requires true leadership because managers must take the time to understand and practice each of the above.

Spend an afternoon watching a fern grow. You might be surprised to see that even the simplest life-form successfully manages very complex relationships.



"Divergent thinking" is a creativity tool developed by author Gabrièle Lusser-Rico who calls it "grouping" and elaborated by Tony Buzan who named it "mind-mapping". It'll stimulate your imagination and let you move away from a common point or pre-conceived concept without getting lost. Because it uses an open structure and "free association", it allows you to explore concepts and thoughts and add to your thinking. It'll let you develop complete scenarios around a new idea.

You'll find the instructions by clicking here.



This month we're featuring "Elemental Sorcery", a 10-day ecotour exploring the FIRE, WATER, AIR, EARTH AND SPIRIT that define Nature's fundamental forces. This circuit demystifies the empowered and magical worldview of the people who existed in pre-colombian America by allowing participants to experience the forces described by the symbols as they learn how to use them to create a happy and empowered life..

Sorcery can be defined as: "The art and science of self-transformation" - from being reactive to life's challenges and opportunities, to becoming proactive; then doing the things that lead to a creative way of seeing and then sorcery: creativity applied is magic... Click here to learn more.



Many of you might be sending the kids back to school this month. Check out the National Safety Council's web page for tips on keeping students safe. Click here http://www.nsc.org/mem/youth/8_school.htm

If you'd like to see one of the great power spots we stop at during our training tours? Click here http://www.cloudforestalive.org/.htm to visit the mystic cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Our "Elemental Sorcery" tour stays nearby while exploring the element "AIR", the ancient symbol for imagination and intelligence.

The "Colibri-cam" and "Quetzal-cam" will let you observe the beauty available a half-world away… even while things might be going crazy wherever you are.

If travel to an exotic location triggers fears and phobias instead of wonder and joy, you might want to consider fixing it. Unifying behavior therapy suggests that life's creative intent is a quest for wholeness, passion and power. Would you ever consider discussing some limit or problem or challenging situation with an online therapist? Check out the advice at http://www.metanoia.org/imhs/who.htm first and then you can "google" a wide gamut of therapeutic choices.



"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -Galileo Galilei

"The nice thing about egoists is that they don't talk about other people." -Lucille S. Harper

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men - that is genius." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the entire world." -Albert Einstein

"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." -Confucius



A Consultant was called in to deal with a common enough problem - a businessman was such an egoist, he gave little and no value to the ideas of his associates, collaborators and employees. Self-made and one of those "know-it-alls", the man enjoyed telling folks that knew his business inside out, that he got a million good ideas a day and that he had little time to waste on people of no consequence. He most often derided suggestions made by others… even if he appropriated them later as if his own.

Now it goes without saying that you can seriously sap an organization's morale and undermine people's will to contribute creatively by not giving value to their suggestions - even if most of us can ignore boors to focus on earning our wages. The company struggled to grow because people waited to be told what to do - "We just do what he says and keep him happy!" was the rallying cry.

The expert got that businessman to change his ways by helping him see that he was wasting the opportunity to add great value to his enterprise and that he should enhance the «creative capital» of the people who surround him.

The consultant made his point by telling the man a story, which they later discussed long into the night, unraveling its every nuance. "In a faraway kingdom word had spread across about a wise Sorcerer who had recently retired there and who lived extremely well in a huge mansion atop Faraway Mountain. It was said the Sorcerer knew everything about the world and even more about "the other world"; rumor was he had great powers and that he employed good workers.

A businessman from the central village who thought himself the only intelligent thinker around those parts decided to visit this great magician and check him out. He figured that the Sorcerer must also feel trapped by the fools who surrounded him and that he too must must be lonely and long for a kindred spirit.

Setting off, the businessman thought about all he would say to impress the great Sorcerer and how he could lament their common fate - to be superior thinkers in a world of lesser beings. When he arrived at the Sorcerer's house, he saw several workers happily taking care of the gardens and as he approached the front entrance, he saw many others, each busily but amiably engaged.

One, an old man, greeted him at the door. "I would like to see your Master," said the businessman taking the old duffer to be a lowly servant. "Please tell him an important person - a prosperous businessman from across the land - has come to visit."

The old man smiled and let the businessman inside. As they walked through the house, the businessman was very impressed at dozens of fascinating and amazing things. He anticipated a wondrous encounter with a wise and wealthy man and knew he'd found a friend worthy of... himself.

The old servant shuffled along and mumbled things, grinning widely, with a twinkle in his eye, but the visitor was oblivious to him. The man's mind raced ahead with possibilities and he ignored the old man's comments in favor of his anticipation of great things. They walked through a mansion more wondrous than the businessman had ever imagined and, before he knew it, the old man had led him clean through the house and out the back door where he now stood, befuddled.

Insulted and raising his tone angrily the businessman turned to the servant and shouted, "I told you that I'm important and I want to see your master. He'll welcome me I assure you!"

"You did see him!", said the old man with his widest grin. "But you didn't recognize me when you did nor did you inquire about me when you could have. In fact you ignored me totally and that's why you are here - to learn this important lesson: You'll only befriend "great people" if you can be friends with all people. Indeed that's the one thing that makes the great people we admire truly great to begin with."

So - that consultant and his client concluded that we should see others for the wisdom and the value they can bring us; and then the problems that plague egoists can be avoided.

Enjoy the magical life sorcerer's suggest you should.

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