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Stress Relief with Practical Heart Skills
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”
– attributed to Albert Einstein
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“You can quickly grasp the important difference between [managers and leaders] if you envision a group of [workers] cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem solvers. They’re cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.
“The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders.
“The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, ‘Wrong jungle!’”
– Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
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Practice great machete-wielding habits for 10,000 hours, and you’ll be one of the world’s best machete wielders.
Practice great machete-wielder management habits a be a great manager.
Practice the habits of leadership and guide your team to the most lucrative jungle.
That’s a paradigm that’s worked pretty well.
But Einstein might suggest we consider questions like these:
- What if it’s not all about machete-wielding?
- What if it’s not all about the next big jungle?
The Machete-Wielding Model
The Industrial Age helped give humans in the “developing” world hundreds of years of great opportunity, great habits, great productivity, and great leadership. Yes, it’s true: the world is marginally better in many ways.
But we still have slavery. In the 21st Century, humans are enslaved by technology, to debt, to a productivity model of doing ever more and more with less and less. We developed…but we’re still in the same jungle, and we’re still slaves to what keeps us there. Stress relief? Not so much!
Your Big “Why”
Add a really big “why” and all you get is another really big reason to stay in the jungle. Maybe faith helps you cope better, or passion motivates you more, or productivity makes you louder than all the other jungle-based how-to noise, and you achieve what you think is a success, but is it sustainable?
Our leaders have been so effective that we are running out of the jungle.
You could say it doesn’t matter now that you’ve got your slice of success…but Einstein would argue that you’d be wrong. You’re still in the same jungle.
And, we still have racism, genocide, theocratic violence, misogyny, and greed, and all their symptoms. You know those symptoms well. Stuff like war, terrorism, homelessness, addiction, suicide, poverty, mental/emotional/physical illness. Same jungle.
Do you feel like you’re just part of the noise?
Codependent to your tech?
There’s no shortage of ways to get better and better at the unsustainable jungle game…but why?
To feed the family? Pay off the debt? Get a bigger house or better car? Get off the grid? Feed the hungry? Eradicate disease? House people without doors? Teach every inhabitant of the world to read?
Those are great reasons, but there’s not a “why” on Earth big enough to sustain the effort it would take to achieve some of them. Your own personal “why” is barely enough to sustain the first two or three, right?
What’s Bigger than Your Big “Why?”
So what’s the answer?
I’m going to be very honest with you: I don’t know.
Yeah, you read that right: I don’t know.
But there’s no need to be discouraged. None of us really know the answer.
But, thanks to your lifetime of work in the jungle:
- You have great habits.
- You have a really big “why.”
- You’re a skilled, teachable, engaged human being.
All you want is a way out of the jungle. A way out of slavery. And it couldn’t hurt to also have a way out of racism, genocide, theocratic violence, misogyny, greed, and all their symptoms.
There is a way…but you’re going to have to give up your notions about the destination.
There is a way that’s jungle-free…provided you give up your notions about success.
You see, the same jungle and the ideas that got you into it won’t work once that jungle is gone.
The Last Remaining Jungle
That last remaining jungle is going to be a nightmare, anyhow, where machete-wielders who discover the obvious will turn on each other – this happens all the time in history, by the way. And managers will find ever more restrictive and coercive ways to keep machete wielders on board, and leaders will leverage promises of better jungles no one else can see into collateralized debt obligations that make the rich richer and the machete wielders poorer and more subservient.
Who wants that?
What if you could enliven the part of yourself that thinks outside the jungle? (By the way: you can.)
What if you could find and follow a jungle-free, sustainable way? (You can.)
What if all the effort you’re putting into your own resilience, engagement, mindfulness, and self-care just to survive could be turned to actual productive use…outside the jungle? (Newsflash: it can.)
Step Away from the Jungle!
Please! Step away from the jungle. That’s where stress relief and a lot of other really good stuff start.
But step into…what?
A way to think and act that’s sustainable.
A way to think and act where your success doesn’t come at anyone else’s expense.
A way to be part of powerful solutions that don’t rest on the backs of machete wielders.
A way where success is the journey, not the destination.
A way that gives you – or your team, or your business – the advantages of authenticity, integrity, creativity, leadership, and collaboration that are intrinsically attractive, personally and professionally.
There are people – even teams and entire organizations – that practice this way of being right now. Those people have purposefully turned away from the jungle to…where?
Remember: it’s not about the destination.
If you’re reading this, you’ve already arrived at the destination that’s perfect right now. This is the moment. And this. And now this. What will you do with this next moment? And the next one? Cower in the jungle? Or dominate it? Doesn’t matter. It’s not about the jungle anymore.
You already know how to do the right thing…and now you have permission to do it. In fact, you are holding a huge opportunity you didn’t have five minutes ago: you can leave the jungle.
Figuratively, of course.
Beyond the Jungle
Like you, I’m a slave to the jungle. Have been all my life. It’s the world we live in. But I’ve decided to take my problem-solving mindset out of the jungle. It may take hundreds of years of human development to truly make a worldwide change, but I feel that we can make a start, now. We can take a tiny step away from the jungle, you and me, and make a trail for our children to follow. Yes: it’s easier together.
We can stand on our individual, important, and powerful “why” as we start to focus more on “how” we do things. That’s the first step. And remember: it’s the journey, not the destination. We work in this moment to sustain a future about which we can only guess.
It’s today’s journey that will set human beings up for future success. That jungle-free future is about not doing every impossible thing to add to someone else’s bottom line. Instead, it’s today’s moment by moment journey into how things get done.
Are you in? You ought to be. We’ve got hundreds of years of jungle-based results…how are they working for you? If you’re not in the 0.01%, my guess is that you deserve better. You are not alone.
It helps to think deeply about such things, but your journey is not a thought experiment; simply reading this will have already profoundly affected you. Once you see the jungle for what it is, there’s just no going back.
One Foot on the Dock and One Foot….
If you’ve ever been someone with one foot in the boat and one on the dock you’ll appreciate the difficulty: the boat’s moving away and you’d better make a choice or you’re going to get wet. The call to action here is obvious: get on the boat!
But it doesn’t work that way, does it? Especially when it feels like you’d be the only person on the boat.
The good news is that there are tangible ways to use all your hard work, experience, and jungle wisdom as you step into your new potential. At first, we need to go slow, curb our enthusiasm, and leave a smooth, well-marked path for others to follow. There are already a few of us working diligently to support your journey along that path. In time there will be more. Everyone who can come alive to a jungle-free way of being is a resource, including you, and everyone can.
We are at the very beginning of that path. We need transitional tools to help us inch away from the jungle. This website offers practical tools to help your progress. Here you can find inspiration, criticism, guidance, belonging.
- If one-on-one is your thing, pick up the phone; you can schedule a twenty-minute session here.
- If reading lights you up, consider this book as a useful how-to for taking your first steps down the jungle-free path (or supporting the journey you’ve already begun!).
- If drip-based updates are your thing, use this form to join our mailing list.
- If a deep dive is best for you or your team, business, or organization, contact us. You can be confident that we honor your privacy
You are a part of the change we need in the world. It’s a monstrous challenge. This invitation will remain open for as long as the Internet survives, but you can be one of the first to accept it. Today. In this moment. Our long voyage into “I don’t know” will last long after you and I are gone, but it must begin somehow, sometime soon. Why not now?
You can co-create this new pathway. Starting this moment.
Your fellow traveler –
PS: Every so often we update the home page video (above). You can see prior ones in our Vault.