5 Insights I Gained While Traveling in Thailand

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I spent 30 days in Thailand. It opened my eyes  and my heart. The Thais are a lovely people  and  have a gentle joy of living. And from what I’ve seen, it brings those qualities out in travelers.

1. There are an infinite (huge anyway) number of interesting people to meet who can contribute to you. 

"People contribute to you"

Acknowledge People

Acknowledge strangers with a smile or at least your eyes. You’ll be amazed who is out there to gift you with all sorts of awarenesses if you open to them.

One way is to simply ask for directions. Many people love to help travelers new to their town. It gives us an excuse to connect on a very simple yet heart warming way.

You just have to put yourself in places where you can meet them. Generally the more spontaneously you travel, the more interesting the people you meet and the less you’re insulated from life around you. 

2. Raw and edgy places wake you up and get your creative juices flowing…

"Bangkok Street Vendors"

Raw and Edgy Wakes You Up

Asia is raw and edgy. A little dirt and funky surroundings conditions ( to a point) far preferable to sterile and stale surroundings. As Joseph Campbell put it… “People are looking to feel more alive.” And isn’t feeling more alive more important than having everything totally tidy and spotlessly clean?

3. Life Can Be Fresh Everyday

"Morning at Bamboo Bridge Pai"

Connect with Nature wherever you are. It Refreshes You

Yes, I know that sounds hackneyed and trite. But it’s true. And like many over used sayings that have a core of truth in them, it’s something you have to live for yourself. This photo above is a bamboo bridge I came to every morning to watch the sun rise over the mountains for the two weeks I was in Pai, northern Thailand. 

It was a nourishing way to greet the day and connect with the natural rhythms of nature.  

Find your own way to let go of the mental constructs, projections and expectations that get in your way. They keep life from being fresh. Live each moment. Be like a healthy animal, shake  off the past and be present in this moment. 

4. Travel keeps you on your toes 

"Be Prepared"

Be Prepared

Photo courtesy of Karen Montgomery

Have you ever watched a tennis player dancing around bouncing up and down and side to poised and ready to hit the ball to be served to her?

In a similar way travel teaches you to stay alert and anticipate challenges and possibilities coming your way. You have to know and be prepared for what’s required in each country and place you go to. And keep track of your valuable documents and belongings. 

If you want to generate great things with your life and business, be physically present and ready to handle what’s coming.

5. Many other cultures could learn from the Thais how to live with more joy

"Friendly Thai Girl"

Learn to Live Your Joy

Relaxed, open, friendly and non-grasping. Thais work hard, but from what I’ve seen, they have a healthy balanced view of enjoying life and connecting with others. 

Your nature is joy. You just have to discover it. Traveling in Thailand is one way to see it more easily.

So these are my insights. I hope they enliven something in you… wake up some new sense of fresh possibilities for living your life.

What do you think? What life transforming insights has travel brought you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply.

How Change Leaders Can Leverage ‘New Power’ with Self-Awareness

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"Self Awareness for Leaders"

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
~ Socrates

Critical global challenges and massive technological innovation make it crucial that change leaders be as self-aware as they can possible. By letting go of limiting habits and beliefs and adopting New Power values in their lives, leaders at all levels have a much better chance to create a more conscious sustainable world.

New Power is the social innovation enabled by the Internet and mobile communication that represents more egalitarian and ecologically sustainable values. New Power versus Old Power was discussed at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Speakers including Richard Branson, Dr. Chris Elias, president of Global Development for the Gates Foundation and Hanna Jones, vice president of sustainable business and innovation at Nike discussed how New Power is challenging existing Old Power structures.

Jeremy Heimans co-founder of Purpose and Avaaz who introduced the discussion  defines the difference between Old Power and New Power:

OLD POWER                                 VS.                                      NEW POWER
Works like a currency                                                                 Works like a current

Held by Few                                                                                Made of Many

Downloads                                                                                  Uploads

Commands                                                                                  Shares

Leader-Driven                                                                              Peer-Driven

Closed                                                                                          Open

The qualities of the New Power drive it’s effectiveness. But as Kathy Calvin of the UN Foundation points out during the discussion, the organizing qualities of the New Power don’t ensure that all changes will be beneficial. These tools can be used in ways that don’t contribute to a more conscious sustainable world. We’re all familiar with the abuses that revolutions bring. Give people power and they tend to misuse it. A well known example of this tendency to abuse power is the Stanford Prison Experiment

In the experiment, students were given roles as ‘guards’ and ‘prisoners’. The ‘guards’ became so abusive to the ‘prisoners’ that the experiment had to be stopped. In a similar way it’s easy for people to demonize the Old Power and create unnecessary conflict with the old rather than find ways to work together like a wise leader such as Nelson Mandela did in South Africa.

Defining people’s roles in political action in a more positive way can help. But most of us have limiting and unconscious habits and beliefs that can sabotage our best intentions.

The core values of the New Power can be used as self-awareness tools to empower change leaders to be more self-aware and get more constructive results.

A recent study on what companies should look for to hire effective executives found that beyond experience and hard skills, self-awareness was the primary indicator for executive success at driving results.

By adopting the personalized values of being open, caring, sharing, listening and communicating – self-righteous anger, judgment and conflict can be avoided.

So how can people develop these qualities? Certainly training, workshops, peer support groups and coaching can help. But whatever the delivery method, people have to choose to be self-aware on their own as well.

When I work with entrepreneurs and leaders, I use my intuition to help them see their blind spots – their limiting habits and beliefs and change them so they can make more conscious effective  choices. I share with them breathing, energy transformation self-inquiry and meditation tools to develop more self-awareness on their own.

However they do it, change leaders have to choose self-awareness and as Gandhi said “Be the change” they want to see in the world. The values of the New Power – openness, sharing and investigating the truth rather than depending on other’s opinions – can be the guide.

Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment and I’l be sure to reply.

Photo Via Esparta

Your Wound is Where Your Light Can Shine

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"The Light enters you"

“The wound is where the Light enters you.”
~ Rumi

Global challenges demand that we unlock our potential and contribute to a more conscious world. 

One of the most powerful ways to unlock your potential is to drop your defenses and be vulnerable, It may be one of the scariest things you ever do. But it can be the key to unlock your greatness and let your light shine.

We set up defense mechanisms because we’ve been hurt before and try to avoid feeling that pain again. But by being defensive, we shut down our talent and potential and separate ourselves from others.

Almost everyone does it to some extent. We’ve been rejected and judged.  Made wrong for being ourselves. Our minds react by resisting the pain and judging ourselves for even having it. Instead of allowing ourselves to fully experience and release it.

The wound can be not just in your body or your mind or your emotions. The wound can  be your interactions with others. When you allow yourself to fully experience and observe the pain, the frustration…  whatever you’re experiencing, then you step beyond the limiting belief systems that keep you locked in repeating destructive and limiting behavior; that keep creating what isn’t working for you

Let the Light enter you. Being defensive keeps out the healing. Be vulnerable and let it in. When you let the light of consciousness transform your wound into love, you awaken your hidden talent and potential – your creative and innovative spirit.

The world desperately needs your creative and innovative spirit

Life on Earth is becoming increasingly challenging. if you aren’t experiencing it directly, you just have to read today’s news to know that world weather is becoming more severe. The most rain falls in the UK in 250 years and the Thames River floods communities. Atlanta comes to a standstill with ice storms. 60% of California is in drought.

These and many other global challenges will demand that we be more conscious, more creative,  more resourceful and collaborative.

The less defensive we are and the more we’re willing  to collaborate and share, the more we’ll bring out the best in ourselves and others.  The more we’ll thrive and build a creative conscious world.

Not only will we all have to work together like the British did during WWII. We’ll have to come up with new solutions to massive problems threatening our environment that are beyond what we’ve ever experienced before.

The growing entrepreneurial spirit around the world is based to a large degree on openness, collaboration and sharing.  It holds tremendous promise for us to solve many of the global challenges facing us.

What gets in the way is the defensiveness we go into when our wounds get triggered.

Eckhart Tolle talks about the pain-body. Its the accumulated emotional pain we’ve collected and haven’t let go of. Much of the time it stays dormant. Until it’s triggered by some event.

It’s fear based. It activates the Amygdala, the reptile brain at the base of your skull. That shuts down your pre-frontal cortex and keeps you from making rational decisions. It can make the smartest people stupid and ineffective.

And it wreaks havoc with our ability to communicate and connect with others.

This fight or flight reaction involving the Pain Body probably costs billions of dollars in bad decisions, bad investments and ideas killed because out of fear and defensiveness. A perfect example is Microsoft’s innovation squashing corporate culture.

By learning to fully experience the pain we’re holding onto and let it go, we can drop our defenses. We can let the light of consciousness shine through us and  awaken us to fully express our talent and potential.

Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear what think about all this. Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.

How to Trust Your Own Personal Journey

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"Personal Journey"

Trust your own personal journey. It’s the key to unlock your unique talents and potential. .Don’t get confused by other people’s personal journeys. Give yourself the freedom to know what’s true for you and stay true to yourself. That’s how you’ll create lasting success and fulfillment.

On what Herman Hesse called “The Journey to the East” we spend time with each other as we grow personally and spiritually. We move on and reunite again somewhere down the road.

Sometimes its particularly magical. One woman I’ve been spending time with told me about a young man she “ran into” in 7 different countries. They finally spent a couple days deeply processing what their relationship was.

The essential thing to know – we are all connected in a way that can be a gift to us. What binds you to others and keeps you from being true to your own personal journey is fear that you and your journey are not good enough.

Fearful feelings like envy, jealousy, anger, regret will bind you and keep you from living your life. Know that you have everything you need to be yourself already. What needs to be added will come to you if you ask for it and are willing to receive it. 

Continue on your own personal journey. Know that we are all evolving at our own pace. What’s right for you may not be right for someone else and vice versa. Sometimes people keep pace will keep pace with you. Sometimes not.

Enjoy your journey and whoever you’re with for however long. They have a gift for you. Receive it and keep moving. Don’t be confused by their journey. Be true to your own journey and know that we are all connected in a way that moves us forward.

Entrepreneur Impressions of Thailand So Far

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"Buddhist Capitalism"

I’ve been in Thailand 10 days..
4 days in Bangkok just before the election and here in Chiang Mai for the past 6. 

I’m exploring some of the top entrepreneurial places around the world and also  just following where I’m drawn to for no particular practical reason  than simply that I’m attracted to it. I believe creativity gets stimulated by curiosity and play. 

Travel can empower entrepreneurs to learn from each other and unlock more of their hidden talent and potential. What I’m truly passionate about!

So  I  offer the following impressions on my trip so far. May they stimulate you in some way to explore your world and unlock more of your talent and potential!

My Impressions of Thailand So Far

Thais are some of the most entrepreneurial people in the world. You can’t walk down a street without seeing street vendors offering you food and selling low cost items like artwork, handbags and clothing.

The “Bangkok Shutdown” didn’t really shut down anything. Street vendors were busier than ever. And except for a little extra security, all the malls were open and full of shoppers.

"Bangkok Street Vendors"

Malls in Bangkok are some of the most beautiful and luxurious  in the world.

"Bangkok Luxury Malls"

Thais are very warm, friendly and helpful.

"Friendly Thai Girl"
I love the food! Thai food satisfies your hunger in a unique way. 

"Thai Food Satisfies"

 

The Ayurvedic-like combination of tastes in Thai food satisfies your body more than food that doesn’t have a balance of flavors.

And Buddhist art and temples are everywhere. 

"Buddhist Compassion"

Buddhism promotes compassion and non-judgment of others. I believe entrepreneurs around the world could benefit  from the simple warmth, friendliness and helpfulness of Thais. After all caring about your  customers brings them closer to you. So many business problems could be solved by  finding the peace and friendliness to easily have a compassionate smile. Find ways to  foster that in yourself and see what happens.

What do think. I’d love to hear your feedback. Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply.

Agile Teams in the Land of Smiles

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" A Pronto Marketing Team" Thailand is called the land of smiles because of its friendly, happy-go-lucky, cheerful people. According to Derek Brown who I interviewed for this post, Thai’s have a strong work ethic but also like to enjoy work/life balance.

Derek is the Managing Director at Pronto Marketing here in Bangkok. He has 70 employees (over half of who are Thai) who create and manage all the moving parts of it’s client’s internet presence, particularly managing and updating websites and blogs with programming,  SEO, social media and copywriting.

"Derek Brown - Pronto Marketing"

Derek began working in Thailand for Microsoft. But he felt constrained by their culture. He felt like a cog in a wheel. So six years ago he took a chance and co-founded Pronto Marketing.

Pronto Marketing’s teams of about 10 to 12 people use the Agile process based on SMART criterion to quickly develop projects and market them..

"Agile Team Project Development"

Agile project development and marketing is an iterative process that improves speed, predictability and adaptability to achieve objectives.

It’s a collaborative and flexible process that allows teams to  respond to actual  conditions through prototyping, testing, refining and adapting the best approaches to deliver what will satisfy customer demands. . 

Pronto marketing teams do 3 day a week meetings for 2 week sprints that break goals into achievable action steps.

They use SMART criteria which guide the setting and achievement of objectives in their project management and employee performance.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for
Specific – target a specific area for improvement
Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
Assignable – specify who will do it
Relevant – set realistic goals based on what’s appropriate for the project
Time-based  - Set time constraints that keep things moving forward. 

They combine these SMART criterion with Agile project development and marketing. That helps Pronto Marketing’s Thais and other nationals to balance values and set a work pace and focus that gets things done yet doesn’t sacrifice their life style.

I’d love to hear what how you see the balance between enjoying life and achieving business goals. Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply.

“Bangkok Shutdown” – Life and Business Goes On

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"Bangkok "Shut Down"

My trip exploring entrepreneurship around the world starts here in Bangkok.
Despite the “Bangkok Shutdown” life and business goes on pretty much as usual.

You just have to walk around a few barricades.

"Bangkok Barricades"

We’ll see what happens in a couple of days when the voting starts.

Bangkok is an endless shopping experience. Street vendors crowd most
sidewalks

"Bangkok Street Vendors"

and high end shopping malls offer the latest products and
fashions from around the world.

"Bangkok Shopping Malls"

 After spending 4 months in Portland, Oregon, I’m continuing to explore entrepreneurship around the world. Bangkok is teeming with street entrepreneurs. And the start-up scene, according to Derek Brown of Pronto Marketing based here in Bangkok, has gotten a lot more active here in the last two years.

It’s good to be back in Southeast Asia after a lifetime away.
I spent a couple years in Rangoon, Burma growing up. My father was stationed with the US Embassy there.

Back in those days we traveled by ocean liner and really took the time to see the world as we went. 6 weeks, 3 different ships from Rio de Janeiro to Rangoon, Burma. Stopping at ports along the way. Nigeria, Barcelona, Marseilles, Naples, Beirut, Alexandria, the Suez Canal, Djibouti, Ceylon, to Rangoon.

Travel in those days was a time consuming yet rich experience. It was a big deal to set off by ship across the world. You could experience the silent vastness
of the ocean and the sensual awakening as you approached land. Teeming
ports a huge contrast to the quiet of the ocean.

By comparison air travel is a quick few hours of movies and catered
meals. Thousands of miles fly by quickly.

I left Portland, Oregon four days ago.

Flying west following the sun.

"Pacific Ocean"Some Jason Bourne to kept things entertaining

"Airplane Entertainment"

And I love how Delta shows the progress of your trip.

It helps to give you a sense of where you are in the
world. Instead of sitting in a box moving through the
air.

"Flight Tracker"

We had a brief layover in Tokyo.

It was just a brief layover, but I got a sense of Japan as
for me anyway of delightfully graceful and artistic. One of
the best aspects of it’s culture. Makes me want to come back
and see Kyoto and Mt. Fuji.

The peaceful feeling I felt in Japan is quite a contrast with
a current of hatred and anger boiling here in Bangkok among
a few people.  

I must say though that my experience of Thailand and Thai people
is they’re very friendly, helpful and polite.

We’ll see what happens here in Bangkok as things probably
heat up with the protesters trying to interfere with the
elections starting February 2nd.

I’d love to hear what you think about travel, Bangkok or
the current state of the world.