Honesty vs. Vulnerability

I was walking with a friend the other day and they and they said they were working on being honest in all their relationships.  There was a little part of me that cringed.  In my experience in having people “be honest” with me it usually meant that I was about to be criticized, honesty often has the quality of telling me about something they judged about me.  In a momentary burst of genius I said “I would rather you be vulnerable with me”.  They got it immediately and agreed that vulnerability would be more productive and lead to more closeness and intimacy.

In my mind, and I think culturally that there is a big difference between honesty and vulnerability.  In vulnerability we tend to share about ourselves, we are willing to be seen and have nothing to protect, we recognize and take responsibility for our feelings and actions. In honesty: “I think you are a real jerk sometimes”, in vulnerability: “sometimes I feel insecure around you”.  Which one creates more connection?  Which one makes you a victim and which one empowers you to grow and change?  I would love to hear your honesty vs. vulnerability comparisons; post some examples to help us all see the difference.

Much love,


How Are You?

When somebody asks “how are you?,” what do you say? Do you say “fine?” If so, I suggest going online and looking up what the acronym “F.I.N.E.” stands for. Do you say “good” or “bad?” Do you give a superficial answer, or a deep answer?

Sometimes, if someone is asking to be polite, it’s appropriate to say “I’m fine, how are you?” Sometimes, when it seems like someone is genuinely asking, we can be more honest. We may say that we didn’t have a great day, or we are not feeling very well.

My suggestion? Don’t use any of these answers. The next time someone asks how you are, give them a percentage. If you had a bad day, respond by telling them you’re 5% good. If you’re in a good mood, share that you’re “90% awesome”. This small habit will start to free up how you’re feeling. It can get rid of the mindset that anything under 100% is bad; if you think about it, even 25% awesome is pretty good!



Loving Myself To Sleep

A crucial part of discovering what it means to love ourselves is finding our capacity to step into our larger self, what I am calling going to a higher level or altitude of consciousness. To do this, we must step out of our emotional or mental self, and step into the part of ourselves that can love and embrace all of our flaws or struggles.

To master this capacity, it is helpful to find ways to practice regularly. There are two things that I have been doing that help me step into my larger self.

The first exercise is to practice loving. I do this by picking an object, a beautiful rock or a flower, or anything else that speaks to me. I intentionally choose something with slight imperfections. I start appreciating it, begin pouring my loving into it, recognizing the beauty and preciousness of it. This is the practice of developing your capacity for love. By recognizing that you can intentionally generate your loving and appreciation for something outside of yourself, you are developing that capacity within yourself. As you get better at it, you can start extending it to things around you all the time. Everything that exists is worthy of love.

The second activity for deepening the capacity for self-love can be done at any time of the day, though I do it at night. As I prepare for bed and get ready to sleep, I step into my larger self and hold myself in the same consciousness that I would hold a stone from the beach. I think about the person who has gone through the day, about what happened mentally, physically, and emotionally and then I just hold him in deep acceptance. In the same way that I can love a stone from the beach or a flower from the garden, I can appreciate this imperfect person in all his aspects. And thus, recognize the beauty of self by going beyond the judgmental part of myself.

This is a different process from what we do in the Mountain or the Freedom Experience. This is not so much about getting better, but more about practicing having unconditional love for ourselves. In a way, it is a step towards reaching the Want-for-Us level. While it is very hard to do if in a lot of mental pain, it is separate from letting go and self-acceptance. In fact, it is of a higher order. Practicing this type of self-loving will support the experience of altitude throughout your life.

To learn more about altitude listen to my podcast: Life at Altitude.

Inquiry Management™ eCourse Launch: Lots of Exciting Things Happening Here!

There is so much going on around here lately, and the recent clarity of focus and understanding has created a whole new wave of enthusiasm and engagement. Now we have Mountain Experiences, Freedom Experiences, the Stop Parenting Book, Inquiry Weekend Experiences, Blogs, and Podcasts. To add to the excitement and energy, it is time to announce the release our first eCourse. The eCourse is a powerful segment that focuses on business, but also applies to family, relationships, and self.

The eCourse introduces the understanding of the Levels of Participation, or how we play with and interact with others. This understanding is an extremely profound and impactful understanding in every aspect of our lives, and will impact those around you and yourself. The eCourse is a fundamental building block, entry point, and deepening point into Inquiry Method™.

I would like to share this with you! The eCourse consists of nine classes, with each class taking about 40 minutes. It also includes an individual, private workbook for your reflections. You will love the course and the course is a wonderful way to share the philosophy with people you care about and others around you.

Part of the intention for this course is to give you, your employees, and your family a way to understand the concepts and communicate how to work and play together. Levels of Participation is vocabulary that we are sadly lacking in our culture. This eCourse will undoubtedly help you in your personal and professional life.

Inquiry Management™ eCourse can be licensed for individual use or alternatively site licenses are available for your corporation. Sign-up by 11/30/2017 to receive $50 off. Enter the coupon code “welcome” upon checkout!

You will find more information HERE

Time: The New Precious Commodity

Twelve years ago, when I would talk to people about coming to a retreat such as The Mountain Experience, the primary issue that came up was usually money. “How much does it cost?” they would ask, “Is it worth it?” Nowadays, the money tends to be a smaller consideration, and time has become the larger issue. Time is the new precious commodity in our lives.

We have created the idea that time is more valuable because we can make money, but we can’t make time. This is a misconception!

If we think about it, we can actually see that we make time every day. Just reflect on the phrase we use when choosing what to do with our day. We state that we “have to make time for lunch,” or, “can make time for so-and-so” or “make time for this event”. We are making time, all the time. If we distinguish something as important for us or to us, we find a way to make time for it. We may do so by deferring or letting go of things that aren’t as meaningful, or by trying to squeeze too many things into a short period of time. You may find that there are beliefs or ideas in your head about what you should do, and that they interfere with your ability to “make time” for what is important.

Try this exercise: write down the activities that you do for your happiness, well-being, and self-care. Write down another list of activities that do not directly serve you. Begin to put less time into things in the second list, and start to make time for the things in the first.  An upcoming blog will help you do this, and make it easier to create your life through blocking your time.

How many of you would like to come to the Mountain Experience of the Freedom Experience and are having trouble making time? What is in the way?




Growth Centered Business

What if we were to change our whole idea of what business was for?

What if the primary purpose of business was to grow people, to support them in their own personal success and fulfillment?

It is time for a revolution in business; in why we do business and how we do it. There is no question that a business that is committed to the success, growth and fulfillment of the people who work there will be successful, will experience growth, and ultimately will provide abundance for everyone involved.

There is no question that this kind of business will create amazing products and services. There is no question that the relationships that are created with customers will be mutually beneficial.

The divide we have created between work and life, career and happiness, between a paycheck and a lifestyle is killing us all slowly. It does not have to be this way.

From here on out I am going to call these kinds of businesses Growth Centered Businesses. In a growth-centered business, values trump and inform systems rather than the other way around. Leadership and mentorship go hand in hand. There is an awareness of the ambitions of everyone in the organization and a commitment of support to create an environment that rewards and encourages success and growth.

The primary intention in a Growth Centered Businesses is that employees and owners live fulfilling and meaningful lives on every level, that they feel that they are giving their best, and their best is getting better; that, as we give our best, it amplifies and improves our lives rather than takes over our lives.

The experience of work should be fulfilling, meaningful, exciting, and supportive; it is something we should look forward to; it is an environment where we must feel we are expressing and growing our best selves. Let’s start the revolution now; first with ourselves and then with everyone who looks to our leadership.


I am reading a great book:  Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Taleb.  His concept is that there are things (and people) that are fragile, meaning that they are damaged by disorder, change, chaos, and errors; and that there are antifragile things (and people) who grow and benefit from change, chaos, disorder, and errors.

Systems (and people) that try to defend against change; that strive for control and are eventually subject to failure and breakdown are considered fragile.

Systems (and people) that benefit from change and chaos and grow stronger through error and failure are considered antifragile.

Inquiry Method is an anti-fragile system.  In Inquiry Method, everything that occurs that creates a “negative” or disruptive effect is considered an opening to growth and development.  In Inquiry Method, we celebrate surprise, the unknown, the unexpected because it leads to opening ourselves to One Self, deeper truth, and maturity.

In Nassim’s world, we are a tribe of anitfragilistas!  Bring on the chaos for it will only make us stronger.

Growing People

In my mind, the primary purpose and goal of any business is growing people.

It is a radical view; when I ask most leaders why they are doing business of course, one of the first reasons to come up is to make money; to this I say “of course, but why?”.  Many of the leaders I work with are beyond the economic threshold for happiness and security, so this is an interesting question, a personal one that deserves to be explored.

The next answer is usually, to serve the stockholders, or to serve the customers; this is all well and good, but it continues to ignore the people who are doing the serving.

Which brings us back to the people who are most directly involved in the process, and often the most overlooked.  In all the other reasons for doing business, money, stockholders, and customers, the people doing the work are overlooked.  Often they are stressed, depressed, haggard, uninspired…

What if we radically changed our view and said that the reason to do business was to serve the people in the company?  What if the whole idea of business was to serve the well-being and happiness of the people doing the work? (Impossible?)  What if we went even further and said that this business was entirely devoted to the success of everyone who worked for it?  What if we said that our whole focus as a business was to grow people?

Many people would think that kind of business would have to fail, that it would not be profitable, that the owner(s) would suffer economically.

What kind of employees would that type of business attract?  Retain?

How do employees who are inspired to succeed perform?  Contribute?

As an owner of that kind of company, how would you feel about it?  About yourself?

This kind of company is possible and will be the company of the very near future. Companies who do not become magnets for talent and success will struggle while companies that devote themselves to developing culture, that encourage success, contribution, happiness and well-being will thrive.  The future looks bright.

On Dying

You don’t see me endorse something very often.

The other day I attended an extraordinary event led by Stephen Jenkinson. It was one of the best talks/presentations I have attended. The subject was death, and it was exceptional that this dark subject could be such an uplifting and life-affirming experience.

Stephen has attended many deaths and read from his book Die Wise, which I have ordered, but not yet read. The readings were interspersed with humor and deep insight into life and death. Stephen speaks of us as a death phobic culture and implies the cost we pay for this position.

Of particular interest to me was the perspective that death is our last act, the ultimate perspective to view life and to share it. He says that our death is not ours but the community’s; that by “dying well” we teach those left behind about what life really is. His readings were full of these gems.

“Dying well” in his world is not with pride and toughness but with vulnerability, openness, intimacy, truth. That as we share our process, those who receive our experience will recognize or have a window into that which we can only speculate about until we receive the message that death is imminent.

He also shared short, poignant insights into the dying process and perspectives that allow us to consider dying well and to support the process in others. For example, that the loss of appetite is common in those nearing death and that families often try to encourage eating to “keep your strength up” at just the time when we need to lose our strength. He says that death requires you to lose your strength (not become weak) but to lose our strength, so beautiful.

He speaks of modern “med-tech” and its effect on the dying process and end of life decisions. We speak of the “quality of life,” he speaks of the “quality of death.”

Each story and insight further illustrates the process of death. I left feeling death was more beautiful and more immense that I had been aware of.

He said that the difference between angels and demons was that angels brought you what you want, and demons brought you what you don’t want, but neither gift was less meaningful or valuable. Death he says, is meeting a demon in the dark woods.

I encourage you to explore and connect with his work in some way, truly life affirming and expanding.

Great gratitude to Stephen, you are a gift to us all!

Link to Stephen’s website: Orphan Wisdom

2 Radical Business Inquiries

You are being asked to lead.  Your people want you to lead.  If you don’t know where to take them, ask them.

It is so foreign to us to ask, try this today:

1.  Walk around your place of business and ask anyone downline from you in the corporate or business structure where he or she would like to see the organization going, growing.  Ask them where they would like to be professionally in 5 years.  Ask everybody.

Chances are they will be right on track for what serves the company. They are asking you to lead them to the promised land. Get out of yourself and go serve your people and success will follow for everyone.

Another useful inquiry of your people is:

2.  How are we doing as an organization and how could we do better?

Once you give up your entitlement as a leader and start serving. Then, you will be leading and these questions and interactions will come easily.