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The Pandemic Push Towards Self-Mastery – Ceo Of Yourself 2nd Edition

So now what?  If any slender silver lining may be scrapped from the belly of this global pandemic cloud that has robbed us of so many loved ones and torn apart our lives, it the constant presentation of this question thrust upon us.  The Corona virus has laid bare our own individual characters and set us on a pathless plateau inviting us to take any direction we select – or, for once, to sit down and reflect before charging anywhere at all.

All those tightly knit highways that lured us along toward goals that charmed us most, got washed away and locked down.  (The school that would catapult you into that prestigious business suddenly closed its doors.  So, in fact, did the business.)   Our best laid entertainments and distractions dropped away like autumn leaves from our screens and minds.  With all the old props kicked out from under us, self-mastery has become our default mentor system.  Fate has invited you to be Chief Executive Officer of Yourself.

Amid the frenzy of our pre-pandemic routines, most of us did not see our lives as a succession of choices; or if we did, we did not see them as ours to make.  It was this unfortunate lack of discernment that inspired me three years ago to pen the first edition of CEO of Yourself.  But now the choices stand painfully evident.  The reset button has been hit.  The barnacles of fully packed schedules have been cut away from our days, and the governance of our own precious time dropped suddenly into our own surprised hands.

So Now What? is the decision that is truly yours – alone to make. Today.

New Dialogues

Perhaps the second-most most gratifying sound to ring in any author’s ears is to hear the words of his own message shared in the discussions of others.  So it has been with CEO of Yourself.  I keep catching snatches of chatter from individuals who are finding new visions and drawing up solid plans for personal fulfillment.  As we wrestle with the plague, a fresh spirit of self-mastery is entering our minds and conversations:

– “What I want is not what I’ve been taught to want…I am laying out a new course, with me at the helm.”

You are the expert at what you want.  And yes, there are beggars at your door – those desperately seeking everything from your patriotic or spiritual allegiance, to your dollars for their brand of sexy sports socks.  But you’ve learned who’s really in charge.  They come soliciting.  You, at your leisure, may select whatever pieces of their creed or product will serve you best.  Or you may send them on their way.

And by the way, ever notice how you are piloting your course along the stream toward new opportunities, rather than just avoiding old obstacles?

– “I’m beginning to suspect that I am absolutely marvelous.” 

People are stepping out from under the shadows of others and searching every room in their inner warehouse.  They are calling up new and neglected assets – personal skills, spiritual energies, and powerful emotions they can bring to bear.  (Emotions add muscle to our goal engines.  While it may serve others to have you repress them, if you’re taking aim, you’ll need your explosive passions to seize that opportunity.)  And yes, you are marvelous.  You simply have to find a good way to prove it to yourself.

– “This new freedom is easy, but making a success of it – really getting the maximum advantage – takes some real planning and work.”

‘Tis high time to take on the mantle of CEO of the Enterprise of You.  Time to assess your circumstances, create your personal vision, lay out your product plan, gather the resources, advisors, and agents, then launch into the wild entrepreneurial ride of making it so.  Oh good Ganesh, your spirit is prepped for this journey.

Also, you may try sharpening you executive experience.  Granted the best wine in the world is the wine you like the best, but if you’ve only savored two vintages in your life, a little experimenting may help you select more wisely.  Ever consider fishing in Mongolia or hunting for wisdom in ancient mythology?  I’ve found both are well stocked.

– “Life is messy.  I’m assaulted by offerings, decisions, demands.  This last year has set me thinking and hammering out some personal principles to guide my actions.”

Now that you’re not following other folks’ road maps, you will need to set down your honest, individual, deep-core beliefs.  Summon your spiritual energy and blend in your experience.  These will provide sensible, shortcut guide to your actions.  And amid your vital molding of these thoughts, you have probably realized that any principle you hold must include some personal joy and benefit to you.

Having watched those medical first responders and nonprofit food-pantry entrepreneurs, it is obvious they are acting out of a strong personal reverence for life.  But a quick glance into their eyes smiling above the mask shows they have also discovered a joyful benefit in this belief and the resulting action.

– “Covid-19 has laid bare all those institutions seeking to rule and direct our lives – and they have not delivered.”

Like the pretentiously naked emperor, we have found our institutions really aren’t clothed in such sacrosanct authority after all.  Major businesses, our religions, our supply lines of endless stuff, our governments with their bunches of systems sworn to serve and protect – our grandest institutions have all faltered during the pandemic.   The infallibility cloaks are off.   And the salvations each has so richly held out have failed to appear.  From toilet paper and bicycles, to peace of mind and soul, to compassionate patriotism, to wealth-gushing promotions, our yearnings have, for once, outstripped the promises of limitless supply.  And, well, somehow they seem to have dwindled in importance.  (‘Tis remarkable how small run the ripples of concern over the scarcity of the almighty computer chip.)

This plague has pulled back the veil of veneration with which we’ve invested these movements and organizations.  We see them more clearly as mere clusters of folks gathered together with the intention of serving themselves or some interest they deem worth serving.  Now it’s your call.  How much allegiance are you willing to invest?  How much guidance will you take from their pre-fixed menu of beliefs?  They are directors no longer – they are only advisors bearing suggestions.

CEO of Yourself – second edition

As Fate and the spirits that forever prod my soul would have it, the second edition of CEO of Yourself was reworked during the pandemic.  My first edition was sparked from my radio show, The Art of the CEO, in which I routinely mentioned that “the Good Lord has gifted you with the title and privileges of CEO of yourself, and since that is the most important position you will ever hold in your career, allow me to ask will this be the day that you….” say, “dust of your dreams?”  Somehow it took hold.  Folks loved this as a discussion point.  Right alongside, within the same weekly programs, our audiences kept hearing the tales of our guest business leaders retelling their own version of the business process.  The elements made sense, and made success:  enter your workplace with a solid vision – scrutinize each situation – assess all those assets – see all the decisions, and hunt up the opportunities – then they select a path and enlist all the right people to bring that opportunity to fruition.  In short, these leaders were acting as the chief executing officer within their realm.

All of this begged the obvious questions: Well, if it works so well for business, why not my own life?  Who says I have to dump this powerful self-mastery model in the drawer at workday’s end and head for home with no vision beyond a wishful fantasy?  Thus, employing a template of chief executive planning, along with techniques garnered from all aspects of the human experience, the concept of CEO of Yourself entered book form.

Our second edition of CEO of Yourself  takes aim at helping you forge your answer to So Now What? As we emerge from the initial onslaught of the worldwide pandemic, more decisions, opportunities, and, frankly, a lot more chaos will be filling our days.  Hopefully we will each be able to rise from the ashes with a more enlightened vision and a stronger plan for our fulfillment journey.

At the urging of readers, we’ve made a few improvements, including some room for personal notes and more thought-sparking questions.

In keeping with these career-disruptive times, we have also added a final section: The Entrepreneurial Employee.  It includes the tales and lessons learned of several salaried employees who carried the entrepreneur’s vision and venture-launching mindset to into their workplaces.  They prove that self-mastery is not a matter of who signs your paycheck, and earning a wage need not make you a wage salve.

The first edition of CEO of Yourself is currently available on BartsBooks.com.   The second CEO of Yourself edition is underway and will be available in November.  Either way, we hope to add some practical guidance, with touches of lighted hearted humor, as you square off and discover the solutions to the question conf ronting us all: So Now What?

Oh, as a final bon mot, earlier I mentioned “the second-most most gratifying sound to ring in any author’s ears.” And the first?  Well naturally, it is the sound of a spouse reading every author’s five favorite words from a royalty check:  “pay to the order of…”


Bart’s Vaccine Ballad

Doctor, Doctor won’t you please save me first and get me to the front of the line?

The Power of the Youthful Pen – Princeton Writing Academy Grand Writing Contest

The Power of the Youthful Pen – Princeton Writing Academy Grand Writing Contest

Yes, this Younger Generation will amaze you.  On Thursday, Bart had the privilege to announce the winners of the Princeton Writing Academy’s Grand Writing Contest, sponsored by Prometheus Publishing.   Academy Director Janine Edwards and her instructors have taught their students remarkably well. Before an audience at the Princeton Community Television Station, 5 and 6th grader semi-finalists read their own notably insightful, finely crafted tales.  These authors addressed homelessness, struggling under the competitive spotlight, fickle popularity, and an imaginative depiction of a young Chinese girl’s experience of encountering Chairman Mao Zedong.  Meanwhile, the 7-8th grade authors read impressively thoughtful offerings as an allegory of destructive greed, inventively mystical self-discovery, and a probing story about facing the final moments of our world.

Janine had given me the honor of acting as judge for the finalists.  As I read through their stories, I couldn’t help but be struck by the honesty and perceptive scrutiny of these young authors.  Then I looked at what I was writing when I was their age, and all I can say is that we have no cause to despair of today’s youth.  A new generation of idealists is blooming.

Bid Our Sad Divisions Cease: A 2020 Recipe- Happy New Year

So this knee-jerk, flaming liberal walks into a biker bar and turns to the guy wearing the “Trump for 2020” leather jacket and says…..

December 28; on Del/MD’s the eastern shore flatlands.  It looked like a homey tavern, with just enough mild dilapidation on its clapboard front to seem inviting.  So my wife Lorraine and I parked our hybrid beside a long row of shining Harleys and entered in search of some good, home made chow.  The busy waitress at the bar frantically served under fluttering dome of dollar bills – each individually clipped to some carefully strung web overhead.  The fabulous home cooked food was richly appreciated by us and by the leather-clad bikers heartily hunkered down on all the bar stools and around most of the small tables.

At meal’s end and Lorraine headed for the restroom, I began chatting with a few of the bikers.  Most of the men, like the majority of club riders I’ve recently encountered sported white or graying hair and jackets with an array of intriguing emblems.  Turning to the “Trump for 2020” biker, I thought of Dr. Dale Caldwell, a guest on our The Art of the CEO radio show and author of Intelligent Influence.  Dale insists that we all formulate our aims and opinions based on that array of influences which surround us from birth, and until you gain some understandings of a person’s influences, you will never be able to work with him.

“So where’d ya ride from today,” I asked the biker as he sipped his beer.  Eric told me of his home down on eastern shore Virginia.  We chatted briefly.  He fixed engines for bikes and cars.  I told him fix words for books.   We shared a few nods of commiseration on the hassle of working for someone else – and the almost-as-bad hassle of working for yourself.  Before leaving, I asked if he thought President Trump was giving him a good deal.  Warily, he answered in the affirmative – giving a couple of reasons.  Then he asked what I thought.  In a sentence I replied.  I bid him a good new year and hoped that he didn’t run into anything large on his bike.  “Back atcha,” he smiled.  Neither of us did, or could have, converted the other, but a few seeds of understanding from that other side got planted.  Gotta start somewhere.

Oh, and the dollar bills?  Back in the day when most of these bikers sported their original hair color, the R&R Grill & Bar had developed a justified reputation as a rowdy biker & hard-bitten local bar. Finally, the new owner, I was told, decided to keep folks in line by announcing, “The first time I hear you use the ‘F-word’ or the ‘N-word’ you are going to have to hand over a dollar and I’ll pin it above.  The second time I hear you employing those words, you will be invited to leave.”  The idea stuck; tolerance came to R&R; and now folks have gotten into the habit of signing and posting dollar bills in support of keeping this watering hole on friendly terms.

As wished for in the haunting verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel:

O come desire of nations bind

In one the hearts of humankind

Bid thou our sad divisions cease

And let us join the Prince of Peace.

May we sample a bite of hopeful idealism this coming year,

– Bart Jackson