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 Helping Managers and Salespeople Thrive in Turbulent Times Vol. 4, #1 June 2006 
in this issue
  • Summer of Love: The Sequel
  • About Jim Schaffer

  • Greetings!

    This month we discuss why the best strategy for having a great summer at work might be declaring it a "summer of love."
    As always, just click "reply" to send along your comments at any time.

    Best regards,

    Jim Schaffer

    Summer of Love: The Sequel

    OK, so I'm a full year early. The 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love isn't until this time in 2007. Maybe it's because I was holed up in LA last week, across the street from the Whiskey A Go Go where, in 1967 during a cross-country summer trip with 44 other high- schoolers, I saw my first live psychedelic band (was it Circus Maximus playing that night?)

    I think we should celebrate THIS summer by declaring 2006 "Summer of Love: the Sequel." No, I'm not running to the basement to try and locate my love beads, and I don't have the leisure to hang out on the banks of the Charles River (love that dirty water, remember?) playing Frisbee with someone's golden retriever and singing old Country Joe & the Fish songs.

    But I'm a little spooked by some of the memories of that summer of 1967. For instance: I remember watching old people in their 30's and 40's (50's wasn't even in my consciousness) walking through the cities I visited, dressed in clothing that made them uptight and looking stressed from their jobs in Corporate America. It seemed they didn't even hear the music, enjoy the fumes, or appreciate the sunny summer weather in that Summer of Love.

    We tend to look back on newsclips of that era and smile at the hair and the clothing and even the optimism and forget what people were trying desperately to say: Make Love, Not War. Be Here Now. Power to the People.

    All of which brings me back to business. Longtime readers of this newsletter know I do not preach about life, only about what we can bring to the workplace to make it a richer and more truly successful experience. I am spooked because it is very clear we have become the people for whom we used to feel sorry. Too stressed to know that a summer breeze makes you feel fine. Too separated by notions of "the other" — whether it's the boss, upper management, the competition, the clients — to feel in our very souls that we are all in this together.

    Alas, they no longer call us Mellow Yellow. No, in the parlance of 1967, we are closer to "paranoid" and maybe even on the verge of our "19th Nervous Breakdown."

    That's why it's time for another Summer of Love! Let's get back in touch with the fact that — even in the business world — we are here to help create a positive experience for ourselves and others. Theoretically, that is no less possible as one works for a living than it was when we spent our days reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the park. But — given our responsibilities and the pressures of our current work environments — how does one even begin?

    One way is to bring to our activities the concept of "virtue," the "Te" in Tao Te Ching. Virtue need not be a heavy, moralistic concept. It merely implies putting others ahead of ourselves.

    According to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the spiritual director of the Shambhala Meditation Centers:

    "It can be as simple as letting go of our agenda for a moment and appreciating where we are. Then we can open a door for somebody, say good morning with a smile, inquire about another's family, or take time off from a project to celebrate progress or a birthday. Instead of secretly wishing for our co- workers' demise, we can look at them and know that just like us, they want happiness."

    Here are some other concepts to help you have a Summer of Love:

    1. There is Nowhere To Get To. We are already here, right now. Wherever we aspire to be will last only a moment, anyway. Then it will transform and become someplace else. So let's keep our goals in sight, as we must. But know they are just illusions, guideposts for a much richer step-by-step journey.
    2. There is No-One To Become. Who else could you possibly be? We strive so hard to improve ourselves, to reach the next rung. Do we imagine we will be different people once we get there? All we really have to do is open our hearts and focus our attention on the moment in front of us.
    3. There Is Nothing To Do. This one may be a bit tough, given the realities of our jobs. Of course we have tasks. But nothing we can do will make us more complete than we already are. While we are all about "achieving," our lives are passing by. We need to cherish these little things we do just for the pleasure they bring us or the satifaction of doing them right — knowing they lead nowhere. Or as Zen Master Suziki Roshi might have put it: "When you are selling, just sell."
    4. There Is Nothing To Hold Onto. All the things I thought would last forever back in 1967, my long hair, my youth, even many of the famous rock musicians I enjoyed are long gone. And so too will all these accoutrements of our work-world be one day. There is no use clinging to the good parts or trying to avoid the less pleasant parts. They are constantly rising, falling. Rising, falling. This is the natural way. So we may as well "groove with it."

    For wisdom in these matters, I am forever haunted by the words of the late Linda Creed, whose lyrics were crooned by Philly's smooth Stylistics:

    "It's never too late, too late to
    Stop. Look. Listen to your heart.
    Hear what it's saying: Love..."

    So, I don't know about you, but I'm feeling in the mood for a "Be-In" right now. Let's declare 2006 to be the "Summer of Love: the Sequel". Lord knows we all need it right about now. There is absolutely nothing stopping us from transforming even the most hectic parts of our workdays into a "Magic Carpet Ride."

    'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky!

    See You At The Whiskey A Go Go!

    To Read Past Issues of "Cutting Edge Ideas", click here

    About Jim Schaffer

    Jim Schaffer spent 25 years selling and managing people in both the software and advertising media businesses. Since 1990, he has shown people how to employ principles of Eastern philosophy to stay focused, keep high morale and get better results at work — regardless of what may be going on around them.

    Copyright 2006 by Jim Schaffer. All rights reserved.

    To subscribe to this newsletter, simply send an email with your request to: jim@jimschaffer.com.


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