Leadership Calm

People positively respond to those who create frames of trust, hope, compassion and stability. As I told one president, who was complaining about the drama on his board, "Feelings are fine. Just don't be a co-producer of the play. Embers are everywhere. The mark of your leadership will be whether you fan them."

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Silence, Nature, and Truth

There is a quality that exists in the natural world that many of us seek. It is the way things happen, a divine order, which has a sense of “this is the way it should be”. We can call this quality “is ness”; as in “it just is”. Everything in nature, unlike what is created by humans, occurs without personal agenda. By being in this larger field, we reset our own basic truths; we realign beyond agenda and ego to a deeper place.

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The Price of Inaction

Many times we think through the consequences of an action, but rarely do we consider the consequences of inaction—of not doing. Consider where you have placed yourself—relationships, work, and friends—all of it. Now ask yourself, "Is the price I am paying from inaction larger than the risk of taking action?" Are you brave enough to act on a truth that probably already exists?

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A Lesson on "I"

One day Rabbi Schneerson got a letter from a man who wrote, “I must see the rabbi. I need the rabbi’s help. I am deeply depressed. I can hardly go on. I pray and am not fulfilled. I am not moved. I feel no satisfaction. I need the rabbi’s help.” The Rabbi sent the letter back, and circled the first word in each sentence in red. The lesson was clear. You live a life of misery because you are focused on yourself.

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Verbal Aikido

“Taking someone’s balance” is an effective strategy when positions are rigid and inflexible and not in spite of it. Taking someone’s balance means we step out of the way of the attack and effortlessly respond with the opposite posture. This means if asked an irresolvable question reverse the query by asking for the statement. If you are the target of an aggressive statement, flip instead to a question.

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What You Notice

Too much of our time is spent focused on what is not working, no longer alive or has little vitality. We have become addicted to the negative, fueled by feelings of fear, doubt and an almost pathological attention to frenzy. There is a Maasai proverb that says, "Home is not far away when you are alive." If you want to feel more at "home" in your work and relationships, then focus your gaze on what has life, not death.

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The Unconscious Court

I have a Ph.D. in psychology, which apparently is useless when looking in a mirror. That I could not have seen my reason for leaving tennis is astounding to me. But then again, that is the nature of the unconscious. If I could see it, I suppose, it wouldn't be unconscious. Suddenly aware, I now feel blessed, grateful for the events that conspired to awaken me from my past. This awakening has reinvigorated a passion of something I once loved so much.

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Personal StoriesDavid Baum
Mount Monadnock

Southern New Hampshire boasts many natural treasures but one of the finest is Mount Monadnock. Between 1810 and 1820, local farmers, believing that wolves were living there, twice set fire to the mountain. And now today, we live in uncertain times with an acceleration of anger that is faster than any I have ever witnessed. The response must be to turn one’s back on rage, walk away, and creatively quiet the voices of fear to promote our better natures.

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The Wisdom of a Mistake

Mistakes? We all make them. If you're not making mistakes, chances are you are not growing and developing. If you're not growing and developing, then chances are you are shrinking. Personally or organizationally there is a word for this. We call it dying. Mistakes are actually a sign of life and vitality. The secret is not whether you make mistakes; it's whether you make smart mistakes.

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CoachingDavid Baum
When Projection Seduces

Many leaders either are unaware of the issue of projection, or don’t know how to handle it. They confuse their public persona with their private self, and as a consequence are ripe for seduction of the ego. After awhile it can be a challenge to resist the temptation to believe one’s own press. Thus, the more power or influence one has, the more critical vigilance becomes.

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David Baum
Moving Through Chaos

When you find yourself in an environment that doesn't make sense, when the patterns cannot be figured out, and when potential danger seems to be coming from all directions, follow the driving tips from India. Eyes forward to where you are going, do not look back, do not over react, and above all trust that others will do the same and adjust around you.

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TravelDavid Baum
Notes on India

Americans live in time, Indians live in space. Americans are always on the move, Indians are always at rest. Americans believe in freedom of speech; we strive for articulation. Indians believe in freedom of silence; they lapse into meditation. Americans believe in science. Indians believe in metaphysics.

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Travel, Personal StoriesDavid Baum
Taming the Tiger

It seems like the speed at which people go from nothing to inflamed response is getting faster and faster. The bottom line I see is just a lot of worry, anger and expressed frustration. Calm, non-engagement is a good thing. But how do we get there? Is there a secret?

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Inspiring IdeasDavid Baum
Five Seconds

In staring at the image of swirling lights in the darkest part of space, it suddenly became crystal clear to me how big the universe actually was. I was awed, and as a consequence I began to experience a sense of clarity and wonder I'd never felt before. All of a sudden I got how big this whole damn shooting match really is. Everything just got so big and calm that I wasn't able to hold the idea or feeling for longer than five seconds.

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David Baum