Friday, November 23, 2007

Elemental Wisdom for the New Year - Feng Shui at Work

In Feng Shui, the five elements — metal, water, soil, fire, wood — teach us how to enhance and balance the quality of our reactions and interactions. Metal refers to our mental capacities; water to our spiritual; soil to our sensory; wood to our intuitive; and fire to our emotional capacities.

Vital Instincts are “the elemental wisdom” we are born with; universal wisdom that applies to all human beings and exists across all cultures. Earth wisdom describes the timeless, insightful knowing of how we can evolve ourselves to the next level of greatness.

When we understand how our elemental wisdom impacts relationships, our environment and our organizations, we are able enhance all of our interactions and deepen our relationships, and open ourselves to greater possibilities for creating outrageous futures.

Applying elemental wisdom to our relationship with ourselves and with others, helps us achieve closure with our broken connections, and encourages our own healing process.

Healing Emotional Wounds
When we feel hurt, belittled, wrongly judged, cast out, neglected or isolated, we often react by projecting the negative feelings we have onto others. We blame them for what we are experiencing. We project our inner fears, hurt and weakness on others, and become critical of them. Sometimes we read into others words and feel judged and alienated – especially when our relationships are broken or not going well. Feeling hurt and rejected, we project “insensitivity” “blame” or “disappointments” onto others.

  • Emotional Wisdom: When you are feeling “wounded,” work with your emotions. Avoid projecting your negative emotions onto others and try to view the situation as objectively as possible. Also, try to understand what triggers you — what people, what environments — and make choices accordingly. Remember, you can choose to disengage from negativity or respond to it in a healthy way.

Mental Wisdom… Dealing with Unmet Expectations
How good we feel about our relationships with others is integrally tied into our expectations – many may be unspoken yet fill us with desires and aspirations for how our future will play out. When our expectations are not met — when we don’t get invited to the party, or asked to join the project, or aren’t chosen for the promotion — we feel it in every cell- we feel rejected – we feel abandoned – we feel like an ‘emotional orphan.’. We become sour on life, making it harder and harder for us to experience the full robustness of true partnership and true collaboration. We turn inward. We get aggressive. We withdraw or freeze. We can be so caught up in our own internal experience that we miss an opportunity that is right in front of us.

  • Metal… Mental Wisdom: Work with your mind. When you begin to imagine “worst-case scenarios,” catch yourself and realize you are imposing “feared implications” on the situation. Don’t be the trigger of your own fatal instincts. Create a new movie. Rewrite the script. Imagine the “best-case scenario” and allow for room for others to show up differently in your movie. Give people in your movie room to be who they are. Allow yourself and others room to co-create the stories. See how much more energy and possibilities come to life.

Sensory Wisdom…Moving from Inference to share Perceptions of the Facts
In life, everything connects. We connect to our environment through our senses, which connect to our feelings, to our minds, to our hopes, desires and beliefs about the world. Once we have an experience, we immediately try to put meaning on it by making inferences and filling in the gaps. We interpret things from own perspective of how we want them to be; we make assumptions and we draw conclusions. From these conclusions, we create beliefs about our relationships with others.

  • Earth… Sensory Wisdom: Work with your perceptions when you start to turn data into stories that are not really grounded in fact – or stories in which you impose interpretations such as “foe” “us-them” or “if only they would.” . Catch yourself, and climb back down from interpretation to explore others perspectives and to seek to understand the facts as they see them, not just as you see them. Step back and step down to the ground — that is what grounded wisdom is all about.

Spiritual Wisdom: Protecting our Ego
When we feel hurt, belittled, wrongly judged, cast out, neglected or isolated, we often react by protecting ourselves from experiencing the same pain again. We avoid the person, making sure we do not come face-to-face with what is causing our distress. We stay clear. We put obstacles in our path and our adversary’s path so we don’t meet him or her again. When we are severely bothered, we turn to face-saving behaviors to protect our ego, meaning that we will go to all costs to ensure that “we look good” and “they look bad.”

  • Spiritual Wisdom: Work with your self
    Notice when you “stand behind your ego” rather than face-to-face with others. By daring to be vulnerable, and you will discover greater love and support in your life than what you would ever imagine experiencing. Vulnerability actually triggers others to be truthful with you. Being vulnerable and honest, actually changes the playing field and asks others to meet you eye-to-eye, and heart-to-heart. Vulnerability says, “I am open to influence and I am open to you.” Being trusting with others is the single most admired quality of leaders – the best leaders.

Intuitive Wisdom: Managing our own Self-Talk
When we feel hurt, belittled, wrongly judged, cast out, neglected or isolated, we may react by creating a dialogue with ourselves about what we believe is happening. More often than not, this “self-talk” is more disabling than enabling. We grumble about our disappointments. We get angry. We make others the bad guys. By engaging in self-talk, we disconnect from others and we create noise inside so that we can no longer hear our inner guidance. Sometimes intuition and self-talk can become confused — only over time and with great sensitivity to the quality of guidance that comes from the inner voice do we learn to separate out the true intuitive inner guidance from destructive self-talk.

  • Wood… Intuitive Wisdom: Work with your inner voices, tuning in clearly so that you can distinguish between negative self-talk and your true inner voice. Allow yourself to be still, to acknowledge your self-talk as a voice of concern for you. Honor your self-talk and thank it for being with you and for being there to guide you. Then allow space and openness to give your true inner voice a chance to emerge. Be sure not to let negative self-talk dominate your inner domain, preventing your inner voice of intuition from guiding you forward.

The Bagua – Start the New Year by Moving Energy in Positive Ways
While some people think of Feng Shui as esoteric, our work with this discipline suggests it is the fundamental wisdom behind all business and relationship success.

In the practice of Feng Shui, a Feng Shui master uses a Bagua (The Feng Shui Masters Tool for Energy Management), which is a template that guides them to explore the placement and relationship of things in the environment to see where energy is being generated, or depleted in the environment. The Bagua dimensions are: success, relationships, creativity and innovation, knowledge and self-cultivation, health, wealth, fame and reputation, helpful people, integration and balance.

The Feng Shui master helps people take out from the environment those things that deplete energy around those key dimensions, and bring into the environment those things that create positive energy around those dimensions. The same items in the Bagua, interestingly line up with important areas for business success.

As a New Year Ritual, Leaders should set up team meetings around the seven dimensions of focus and discuss how they want the New Year to unfold based on the learnings from the previous year.

The key areas for discussion are:

  • Success - what does it look like - what do we want it to look like?
  • Relationships - what are great relationships and partnership all about?
  • Creativity and Innovation - what will drive us in the future?
  • Knowledge and Cultivation of Wisdom - what are our best practices and how to we work together to surface them?
  • Health - what kind of environments do we want to create to yield the best results?
  • Wealth - how to we design our organization for greatest profitability?
  • Fame & Reputation - how do we create a culture that reflects the best of our brand and how do we cultivate our brand for its greatest potential.
  • Helpful People - who are the people we need to work with and build partnerships with for ultimate success?
  • Integration and Balance - how do we create environments that enable us to work together to maximize our mutual success

We have found this process creates renewed "intention" for new success, clears out old beliefs that may be standing in the way, creates a focus for the futures, and drives a team forward towards a shared vision.

Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books: Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; and the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose

Contact: 212-307-4386 -


No comments: