Aliveatwork's Blog


It’s a Manner of Respect …

I was raised to “respect my elders.”

I was taught that “children should be seen and not heard.”

And if I did those things I would be a well-mannered, well-behaved child.

Not saying it was perfect or right … just saying it is what I was taught.

Nowadays it appears that the pendulum has swung 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

We seem to have very little respect for our elders almost as if they don’t deserve respect. Seeing what teachers have to tolerate in classrooms from students these days is appalling.

Watching a 4 year old in a shopping cart having a melt-down because they can’t have what they want and then smacking their mother while the parent tolerates it simply seems absurd to me. Children are seen and heard so loudly that they seem to be the ones running the family.

I am not saying we should go back to the draconian ways of the past, I just think we need to find a balance, a center when it comes to manners and how we treat each other.

It all boils to respect and the golden rule:

  • You can’t be a parent who doesn’t respect yourself and then demand respect from your children
  • You can’t demand respect from the younger generations if you don’t respect them or model respect for the older generations.

Children want, need, and deserve to be taught self respect. They want, need, and deserve to know that they have self worth and value and that they can make a difference. It’s in our DNA. They need to know you believe in them and sometimes that means not giving them everything they want.

Throwing money at your kids so you don’t have to spend quality time with them or so they don’t have a meltdown is just one way of disrespecting them. It sends the message that they are not valued and they can be bought for a few bucks.

Well mannered individuals are individuals who respect themselves and therefore have the capacity to respect others as well.

So what are you modeling?



Dollars and Sense …
September 20, 2012, 9:01 am
Filed under: Alive @ Work, Alive at Work, Aliveness, Joe Contrera | Tags: , , , ,

Money is an extremely powerful force and much has been written about its impact on people and society.

The current presidential election seems to be juxtaposing the endless greed of the wealthy against the poor less fortunate who struggle to make ends meet.

Yes, money can corrupt and yet on the other hand money can also heal.

As with all things it really boils down to what you believe.

So what do you believe about money?

What did you learn about money growing up as a kid?

For me, money was always something everyone else had. It was something that you earned if and only if you worked extraordinarily hard. And most importantly … there was never enough!

Based on those beliefs, I found myself always working extremely hard and never feeling like I was making the amount of money that I really wanted. After all there is never enough!

It took a lot of reading and learning to realize that what I believed about money were simply old beliefs handed down that were based on false information. In other words my premise was wrong!

It took awhile, but I now have a different belief system and it seems to be serving me well.

Here’s what I have learned (now believe) about money:

  1. You have two choices when it comes to money. You can believe in scarcity and that there will never be enough. Or you can believe in abundance and that there is enough for everyone.
  2. Your level of income is directly proportionate to your level of self worth and value.
  3. If you want to make a million dollars … find a way to provide a million dollars worth of value first.
  4. The Beatles were right … money can’t buy you love.
  5. The more I give away the more that comes my way.
  6. Having a scarcity mentality when it comes to money only attracts more scarcity.
  7. Sometimes you have to invest in people instead of equipment.
  8. No one else is to blame if I am not making the amount of money that I want … not the government, the president, congress, my clients, my mother, or my kindergarten teacher Misses Shunk who told me there was no such thing as a green flower.
  9. Money can’t buy happiness, joy, self worth or value but the pursuit of it can cost you those very things.
  10. Money is not evil; it can heal, fix, create growth, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and heal the sick. It all comes down to whether you are coming from a place of love or a place of fear.

So there you have it … and what about you … what do you believe about money and how is it impacting your life?



And the Truth Shall …

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to work with a  group of Leaders. At one point in the day we arrived at a fork in the road.

Path A: Ignore the elephant in the room and continue to pretend that everything was “fine,” even though everyone knew it was not!

Path B: Own the truth about themselves and each other and speak it directly and without blame. Not from a place of anger but from a place of  ownership, responsibility, and intention.

They chose path B,  and I have to admit there were some very intense moments as we worked through the process. There was hesitation, fear, doubt, and all the things that normally prevent people from speaking their truth.

And when it was done …

There was relief, a lightness, a sense that a 100 lb weights had been lifted off of their chests … in a word … freedom.

No hiding, no pretending, just the truth.

So many time we are afraid to speak the truth, we fear the worst, because we fear loss of some kind. And yet time and time again when Leaders are courageous and speak the truth from a loving place and not a place of fear  … amazing things happen.

Teams become closer, walls come down, leaders get clarity about themselves and their colleagues.

Maybe that John guy was right, “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

So what about you … need a little more freedom in your life?



The Problem With Loyalty …

Some leaders believe that because they hold a position or title, they deserve the undying loyalty of their people even when they treat others poorly.

That isn’t loyalty, that’s positional leadership and it is the lowest form of leader ship.

Some folks believe that because someone is “family,” they are entitled to the loyalty of the other members of the “family,” even though a member’s behavior doesn’t warrant it.

That isn’t loyalty, that’s dysfunction.

Politicians and voters believe that once you claim membership in a particular party, you must vote along party lines even if when you vehemently disagree  with a stance, position, or candidate.

That isn’t loyalty, that is submission bordering on totalitarianism.

Loyalty is not an entitlement, it is not a reward for achieving status, nor is it a reason to be guilted into doing something that you don’t want to do or saying something you don’t want to stay.

And yet people are strongly urged to vote along party lines to protect an idealism, they participate in unhealthy relationships in the name of preserving the family, and they believe that a word or letters after their name earns them respect.

As with all things … you can’t give away something that you don’t have.

In other words … you can not be loyal to something or someone else if you are first disloyal to your self!

It’s that simple …