The following is a transcription of Voice of Bold Business Radio program 13, Practice Clean Thinking.

Program Notes Can be Found Here.

Transcript for Program 13: Practice Clean Thinking

Jessica – This is ‘The Voice of Bold Business Radio’, and I am your host Jessica Dewell. You’re listening to Program 13, called, ‘Practice Clean Thinking’.

Clarity is something we all strive for. It’s the easiest, the simplest, and the most concise way to articulate a thought or idea. The crystallization of that idea makes it possible to create a goal around it, to understand what’s going on, and what it’s going to take, and what we’re willing to do to actually make it happen. When we hit a roadblock, we’re aware enough to ask for help. When we’re off-track, we’re responsible enough to learn from what happened and course-correct. When we strive to be honest with ourselves, it’s because we have self-respect… maybe we don’t have self-respect. Maybe we have thinking that our clarity can’t get us past, that’s holding us back. So what does it mean to have awareness? To be responsible for, and to actually be honest with ourselves? These are skill sets that make reaching goals possible. It takes clarity to a whole different level, and it produces clean thinking.  Les Dossey and I are going to dive right in, after this.

Announcer (amid background music): Welcome to The Voice of Bold Business, the show that provides everything that smart leaders need to evaluate situations, build relationships, and create solutions. Jessica Dewell candidly talks about the skills necessary to build tenacity, and do more with less. And now, here’s Jessica:

Jessica – Hey Les! Welcome to ‘The Voice of Bold Business Radio’ today.

Les – Hi Jess, how are you today?

Jessica – You know, it has been a fabulous day. It started out, we had rainbows and rain, and now the sky is blue. Then tomorrow it’s going to be rainy and cold. I really like fall weather in Colorado, it is never boring. How about you?

Les – Well, we’re enjoying lots and lots of clear blue skies and sunshine today. But, as you probably know, we just endured probably 3 or 4 days worth of high winds and torrential rains because of Hurricane Matthew. We’re pretty lucky where I live, in a spot where our topography is not influenced by the tide or by some rain amounts, so, no damage here. Just lots of my neighbors still bailing water.

Jessica – Yeah, I saw manatee in people’s yards. I saw water filled streets where, I mean, it’s crazy mother nature, yet beautiful mother nature. It fits right in to the last conversation that we had when you visited us on ‘The Voice of Bold Business Radio’ when we were talking about rejuvenation.

When you and I, we were setting up this call, and we were talking about clarity, and that it really only gets us so far, I walked away from that conversation and went ‘You know, we really need to talk about this. We need to spend some time, and really understand what clean thinking is.’ Because it does affect us at every level of our day, at every level of our lives. So, how did you come up with the concept of “clean thinking” and what does it mean to you?

Les – I wouldn’t say I’m a word snob, but I’m real particular about the words I choose to use, because words have meaning, and those meanings impact us and those around us either in a positive way or in a negative way. I’m always looking for a way to do the former. To influence in a positive way.

As I was writing the book, for this topic, “Clean Thinking”, or as I am writing the book, I should say. I’m not finished. I considered using the words clear thinking, but when I thought about how clear is used in most relationships; whether it be boss to employee, or leader to follower, or husband to wife, or parent to kid, when we use the term clear, it’s almost a form of judgement or criticism that usually has some kind of emotional wake attached to it. So, if I say, for instance, in a very paternal kind of way, “Are we clear?”, then the impact on the person who I’m saying that to is “Yes Father, we’re clear”, and then that person leaves with their tail between their legs, and all kinds of unconscious thoughts about what just happened. Like, “Doesn’t Dad trust me?”, “Doesn’t Dad understand that, you know, I’m a big boy, I got this? I can figure this out on my own,” and so on and so forth.

Whereas clean doesn’t have any of that sort of emotional wake and judgement and criticism hung up in it.

And so, I think we talked about his last time Jess, about this concept of getting everyone and everything the freedoms they need to be what they are. Because we live in a world that’s a “we reap what we sow” kind of world. So, if I deprive you, or deny you your freedom, then I’m really constraining myself. I’m really preventing myself from enjoying the kind of freedom that I want to enjoy. Which is, not my objective. I mean, I really want my freedom to expand, and to increase, and to grow.

I came up with this concept for clean thinking, initially based on that reason, and as I dug in to it deeper, I realized that, a lot of my thinking was based on; analogy, on something that had happened in the past in other words, it was based on conventional wisdom, it was based on dogma, on tradition, even on religion. And if I began sort of confronting each of those things, I realized that my thinking was really messy, and it was impacting my ability to look at the future in a positive, sort of abundant kind of way. Because my thinking was messy there was a lot of scarcity, wrapped up in that and so instead of looking at my opportunities with incredible possibility attached to it, I would look at it and find reasons why it might not work or why it couldn’t work, and so limit myself, or limit my progress, it just continued to unfold from there.

Jessica – I really appreciate when you said “things get messy”. Whether that’s from tradition, or past, or just fears of the unknown, it doesn’t really even matter. It could be messy, just like a ‘Family Circus’ cartoon, when you think of the paths that the kid takes everywhere. Which is not a bad kind of messy, but it’s still limiting because there’s  some efficiencies that could be built in, there could be maybe a little more attention, even though the exploration and the journey matter.

Whereas, where I know what you are really digging in to here with this concept of clean and messy thinking, is that, we’re getting in our own way, we’re stopping ourselves from making forward movement, and it’s amazing how it shows up everywhere. People think when they come in to a relationship with another person, there’s baggage. Well, that’s probably true, and then you take a whole bunch of peoples baggage and throw them all in the same place, and hope that they stay organized, and actually come out looking like what the baggage came in with, and it’s really impossible.

When I think about something like “clean”, I like the fact that it’s judgement free, it’s something that nobody has ever used before, it’s something that is very clear and crisp, and defined.

Because when we’re thinking about how we talk to ourselves, which I think we are probably going to talk about later, and we’re really being honest, everything I heard in your answer was, here’s what it takes to be honest with ourselves, right now, and take a look at it.

I was doing research on something else, and I ended up stumbling across companies who position themselves as consultants, specifically around clarity. And that’s where, when we think about your definition of clean thinking, over clarity, is that, everybody could be clear, and everybody could understand, but there’s no “winfinity” there.

By “winfinity” (thank you John O’Neal for bestowing that phrase to me” “winfinity” is more than a win-win; and it’s even more than a win-win-win. It’s all the way around, everybody’s uplifted, with little, and preferably no compromise. Where, the example that you gave, of the paternal “Are we clear?”, there’s compromise there. Somebody’s not walking away happy.

Winfinity has a place here when we think about clean. This concept of communication. This concept of, the fact that it starts with us. So, I know you’ve been thinking about this, and you’re writing a book on this subject Les. So, when we think about it and we’re thinking about just the concept of communication, how do people recognize, from your experience, that something is up with the way that they are speaking, and the reactions that they are getting from other people are 1) what they’re putting out there, because 2) they’re doing it to themselves.

Les – You ever read the bible and fall asleep while you were reading it? Or read some kind of self-help book and just kind of get lost in the concept.

Jessica – Yes.

Les – So, I believe in God, and consider myself to be a Christian, although, I don’t like the term Christian anymore, because there are so many different meanings. I was associated with the Westboro Baptist Church. Those people call themselves Christians, and that’s not the meaning I hold in my heart. The meaning I hold in my heart is that there’s a creator who loves us, and he’s not mad at us.

I’m not trying to bring religion in to this, I’m just trying to help you get it, how I came up with this concept, and what really began to unlock it in a powerful way for me. When I go back to my spiritual upbringing, my learning from the bible, or trying to make attempts to learn from the bible how to live my life, it was really, really confusing, and I struggled with it. Because it appears like there’s a lot of contradiction in the bible. You start in the beginning and you read all the way through to the end, over and over and over again it seems to contradict itself. And so I struggled with trying to pull principles out of it that I could really apply in my life to get great results. So, I began looking in other places.

I looked all over the world for answers that helped me untangle my own life, and to help others do the same.

It came full circle and ended up back there, and the thing that I discovered, at least this is what’s true for me, is that, there’s really only one motivation that we all have, and that’s to be free. It doesn’t matter what we think our motivation is… from my perspective, it’s always that we want to be free. Free to choose, free to act, free to be ourselves.

When we forget that, it causes us to behave in all kinds of ridiculous ways. It causes us to make all kinds of ridiculous decisions, that are in the end, very destructive. To us, and to others.

So, when I think about what freedom is, I think about unconditional love. So, I said something in our opening dialogue. I said, “When we deny someone else, or some thing else, its right to be what it is, we constrain ourselves”. There’s like a trap there. We have to remember, if we want to keep our thinking clean, we have to remember that; first, we have to take responsibility for making sure that we allow other people, and situations, and environments, and whatever, the sun, the traffic, the weather, to be what it is. And to quit fighting it. Because when we throw our fists up, to start fighting it, is when we hem ourselves in, we lose our freedom. And our thinking gets messy. And we’re not able to see ourselves or others the way we’re supposed to see them.

When we give them, meaning people and things, the right to be what it is, then we expand our own freedom, and our thinking gets very very clean and it becomes very easy to see how to make progress, how to move forward.

Does that make sense though?

Jessica – It does.

Les –

Basically what I’m saying Jess, is that freedom and unconditional love is the key to unlocking a clean mind.

Or, it’s the key to scrubbing a clean mind. Or to scrubbing a messy mind cleaned.

Jessica – This is the visual that I get: there’s that toy that you can find at tchotchke stores, for like a quarter, maybe they’re 50 cents now, where you stick your fingers in each end, and then you try to pull, and your fingers get stuck.

Les – Oh, yeah, Chinese Handcuffs.

Jessica –

And the only way to get out of the Chinese Handcuffs is to relax, is to release, is to basically surrender.

And, that takes a level of awareness. Where I come from, the world of ‘soft skills’. Thinking about this show, awareness was a big one for me. A number one is having this awareness, and what does it mean to actually be aware. And then it occurred to me that awareness is actually a whole bunch of other skills, which, it cracks me up, but you know, life builds on itself. We really can’t multiply, until we know how to add. We really don’t know what it means to put our foot in our mouth, until we actually put our foot in our mouth sometime.

Les – Right.

Jessica – So it comes from that experience. If I were to take awareness, a self-awareness, and a situation awareness, and a workplace awareness, or a community awareness, there are five pieces that come in to that. And some of them appear in the other skills that I know we are going to talk about too.

The first is observation, the second – listening, the third – self improvement, the fourth – emotion management, and the fifth – adaptability.

And when we seek out this concept of, lets get clear, lets find clarity, lets figure out how to get to our goals, lets figure out how to clean up our life, lets figure out how to be free; it’s starts with this desire of self-change and self-improvement. Just the awareness that that wants to occur, versus feeling like you are always on a spiritual journey, or you are always on this self-development journey.

How do you know you’ve arrived? Just being there isn’t really enough. So, the awareness only gets you so far.

Les – We make our lives too complicated. Because we have a tendency, when our thinking gets messy, to look outside of ourselves for a plan or a solution or an answer. Instead of taking responsibility and either getting the information we need to inform our understanding, or taking what we already know and acting on it.

Far too often, I hear from entrepreneurs, and CEOs, and their managers and leaders, and it sounds like they are obsessing over being right, by making others wrong. They’re blaming the environment. They are not taking personal responsibility.

In other words, they are playing the victim. Any time you play the victim, you make your life complicated.

It has to start with this concept of taking 100% responsibility.

One of my pet-peeves when I work with an entrepreneur, is to always remind the entrepreneur that there are no bad employees. There is only ineffective leadership.

Jessica – Nice! That’s great.

Les – And, if I’m working with a manager, or with an employee for whatever reason, I always remind them, there are no bad bosses, there’s just ineffective…  an inability to accept 100% responsibility. We feign responsibility.

We are a society that refuses to accept responsibility for our own lives, and that complicates things. It makes our thinking very very messy.

Right now, in our country, all eyes are where? On D.C. We are waiting on some savior to come with some special plan that’s going to make the world, or make our country great again.

Well, what if I just took 100% responsibility for my life, and those people in my world?

You know, I figure, I influence on a daily basis, somewhere between 30 and 50 people. In conversations that I have, in stuff that I put out on social media, probably reaches somewhere around 30 to 50 people every single day. And most of the stuff that I say, most of the stuff that I do, influences in a very positive way.

But where I come up short, time and time again, is in challenging those same people, to do the same. So, really, what I am saying Jess, is that my world, is probably about a thousand people. That’s my world. If I’ll do my part in my little world, to make it a better place, and challenge all of those people to do the same, then the world gets better very very quickly.

But I don’t. I come up short on that, because my thinking, like everybody else’s, gets messy, and I forget. As I’m telling you this, I’m sort of recommitting.  Redoubling up my thinking about being aware that every single day I have a responsibility to myself, and to my world, to do everything I can to make it a better place. So that my energy is going where I can actually influence things in a positive way.

Jessica – Yeah!

Les – When my energy is dispersed, and it’s worrying about what’s going on in D.C, and over in Kalamazoo Michigan, and out in L.A., then I’ve lost my effectiveness. All my energy is going where it doesn’t belong, where I can’t influence anything, and so my thinking gets very very messy. Do you follow me? Do you see what I’m saying?

Jessica – I follow exactly. And I want to break down responsibility. Because it comes up in a lot of our conversations, both here and just when we are communicating back and forth.

There’s different levels of responsibility too.

If we were to break this down in to the simplest piece, there’s the responsibility of, living. I’ve got to pay my bills, I’ve got to get my groceries, I need to make sure that I am where I said I would be, and doing what I said I was going to do.

What I hear you saying is, taking that responsibility one step further, so all you leaders out there, is to set a bar, and be a model, and invite every single person around you, in your organization, to be at the same bar. And maybe adjust it a little bit for each person. But having everybody’s bars raise up around responsibility, and when everybody’s doing what they say they are going to do, in every aspect of their life, which is hard to do by the way.

Because you’re talking about in the United States, this is a new fact to me and so I am still obsessed about it, and I know it is going to come up again and again. And that is, I had no idea that cocoa plants were harvested by child labor, in horrible working conditions. Most chocolate is harvested that way. To get the cocoa to make the chocolate that we eat and buy in the store. When I found that out, I was devastated. Because, here I am, I am now faced with something, I could choose that next level of responsibility and not eat chocolate anymore. And I was like ‘I don’t know if I could do that’.

Now, this seems really frivolous, but I have to tell you, the impacts really are far reaching, in the sense that, we’re all making frivolous choices, or not. Every single day, and in every single aspect of our lives. I have now made a commitment, or a recommitment to go, Wow, now that I know that, how can I ever do it the way it was done? Well, it will probably happen once in a while, because I like chocolate. And if somebody is going to serve me chocolate cake when I go to their house, or when I am in an interview, I’ll serve people hot chocolate when they come to talk to me, or hot tea, or coffee. I can make the choice of the type of chocolate that I am giving to people, but I’m not going to refuse chocolate from others, and I’m also not informing them of this wonderful, horrible fact and new knowledge that I have, because, at which point in time is it intrusive to hold and model that bar, and put that mirror up to other people?

Because we struggle with this, I think on a regular basis, at work and at home, in general. Because you see somebody doing something, like, a company has an event… we have leaders that put these things together at different times of the year and they bring the employees together, and there’s all kinds of things going on. Well, what do they do? They have it at a hotel, they’re picking out all of these things, and what is it that they do? They serve, even if it’s just 30 people, bottled water, that’s 30 more pieces of plastic that are going to go in to a landfill that are not likely to be recycled, unless we ask the hotel, ‘Do you recycle your plastic?’. And if they don’t, why couldn’t we use pitchers and water? Ok, so now we’re talking about a level of responsibility and awareness that we’re impacting not only the people around us, and we’re modeling something that’s important to us, but we’re not imposing on anybody else, and we’re actually making a positive impact on our environment as well.

Les – That’s the key right there Jess.

It’s to accept responsibility without judging and criticizing others who choose not to.

Jessica – Have you found the “secret sauce” for that? Because there are things you avoid talking about at work, there are things you avoid talking about at family gatherings, and there are things that might be really exciting and passionate, but you know that if you bring up something that is exciting and passionate, to you, in my case me, it’s going to make somebody else wonder if everything that they’ve ever done is actually wrong. And then they’re going to get defensive, and that’s no good either.

Les – I’m torn with how to respond to this, because I have a couple of answers to the question. So, one of my mentors, David Sandler, said, “you can tell anybody anything that you want to tell them, if you put it in the form of a question. Because questions cause people to come up with their own answers, and it’s kind of hard for them to get mad at you, if the answer is theirs.”

So, that goes back to the responsibility. If I take personal responsibility for how I communicate, and treat my communication not like ‘this is the only way to communicate, and if you don’t like it, tough!’ but like an experiment. There’s a pre supposition in neurolinguistic program and it says ‘the meaning of communication is the response you get’. So, if I say something that offends you, and I’m paying any attention at all, if I have any concern for you whatsoever, and I’m paying attention and I can see that it offends you, there is nothing I can do about that in the moment, except to apologize.

But after that moment, I can take responsibility for how I’m communicating, and learn better ways to communicate more effectively the next time. So that, the next time, I learn maybe a new technique or a new way in which to broach that topic so that no offense is created.

The other angle that I want to come at this from is, something that I learned from a book written by The Arbinger Institute called “Leadership and Self Deception”. It’s all about conflict resolution. That’s the entire premise behind the book. They actually wrote two books; “The Anatomy of Peace” and “Leadership and Self Deception”. And in both of those books, they talk about a ‘heart at peace’, or a “heart at war”.

Many people walk around with a heart at war, and when your heart’s at war, with the world and with others, the way you communicate is, “let’s fight”. And when that’s how you communicate, people respond with, “ok, let’s fight”. It’s a very ineffective way to live your life or to run your business, or to lead others, or to parent.

When your heart’s at peace, then you find soothing, nurturing, nourishing, challenging, stretching, even demanding ways to influence positive behavior and response from others.

Jessica – Everybody go back and listen to the words that Les just used. They’re the full spectrum of emotion. We’re not talking about just happy, peaceful, content here. We’re talking about everything that life brings us, we can do with a heart at peace.

Les – Exactly! How do I get my heart at peace? Well, I have to look through the filter of.. Freedom – I want more freedom in my life. That’s my underlying motive. It’s at the very core of my being. I want as much freedom as I can create for myself, and, if I’m being honest about that, then I know, that a heart at war, is counter to that.

So I must choose to have a heart at peace, towards others. Because, that’s what’s going to get me what I want. To be free. And, second to that. Or maybe first to that, I don’t know, it depends on which came first, the chicken or the egg…. Choosing to love, unconditionally. And for me, what that looks like, and it’s hard, you have to practice it, it’s like a muscle. For me, what it looks like Jess is, that every relationship I had, with every thing, and everyone, is with an open hand. I’m not trying to control it, I may attempt to influence it in a positive way, but, you’re still free to decide whether or not you want to be influenced or not. I’m not going to judge or criticize you, or, at least I’m going to try not to judge or criticize you in a negative way, if you choose not to.

Les – When I’m working with entrepreneurs and leaders, one of the things that I say to them, and it always causes push-back, but healthy push-back…  I always say to them “We either create, attract, or allow, everything in our world to exist. It has nothing to do, and no one else is responsible for it but us”.

Jessica – Right.

Les – And so, as an entrepreneur, as a business leader, if you’ll take that kind of responsibility, it changes the way you view every function of your business. So for instance, the placing of people on your team. A frequent complaint from business leaders is, “the talent pools not very rich, and there’s not very many good employees, and even the employees I have, I can’t trust them, I can’t count on them. You know, they are just here punching a clock”.

And I would say, ‘well wait a minute. Who created the environment? Who set this up? Did they set it up, or did you?’ I said, ‘how much do you actually know about each of your employees, or each member on your team? And what’s the mindset that you have about them? You just told me that the way you view them is, you can’t trust them. You can’t count on them. You don’t really even like them, do you?’  And suddenly the responsibility is back where it belongs, on the leader.

Jessica – What we say versus what we do, that’s an age old thing. We’re either walking the walk, or we’re not. What they think they want, and what they actually do, don’t line up. And as a leader then, when that’s not happening, people don’t know what to do, and so they are going to do the best they can, because, they want this job, even if they think they need it just to punch the clock, just to satisfy their basic needs, they need to be there. And they’re trying to figure you out, Mr., Ms., Mrs. Leader.

So, you’re absolutely right, when the buck stops right at the top, at the front of the line, you’re walking all alone, at the head of the line, you’re a line of one, you’re right Les, that is the persons own fault.

And, unwritten agreements really are pervasive everywhere in organizations.

And we’re trying to grow a business, and we need to split jobs, what do we do? We take the jobs, and we split them apart and we look at all the things that are there, so that we can take one job and make it two, without overloading the one person, to complete and utter burn-out. And we grow our team, and then we can have something that we can communicate to this new person. The new person is never the original person.

What a lot of leaders in my experience, when we’re talking about unwritten agreements, they kind of, they let things sliiiide for the original employee, in an effort to make peace or to curb whatever response they are getting, for whatever reason, there is some sort of defensiveness, or worry, or something that is coming up, which means just that communication didn’t exist at the beginning.

The awareness of what this other person needed, to be able to do the best job they could, and be responsible for less, and actually influence more, matters. To the point of no return of people going out and getting burnt out, because they’re actually really, truly, not useful and valuable, and they know it. They are spread too thin, there’s too much going on.

It is up to us as leaders to recognize when that is happening, and help that person change, and encourage them to step up.

Because if they want to own that busy work and go down burn out, we’ve got to come up with a Plan B anyway. Because they’re going to be gone, by their own choice, if they don’t want to come along with our invitations.

Jessica – I appreciate everything that you are saying, and I see it too in the businesses that I am working with as well.

Les – What we don’t see, and it’s not communicated very well in the marketplace, and in our business schools, is that being an entrepreneur or CEO or business leader is all about directing energy. And really, success in life is all about directing your energy.

I’m going to make an analogy here between an organization, let’s just give it some context, let’s just call it a small business with 20 employees. There’s a lot of power available within that organization. Twenty people, that’s a lot of power. There’s a lot of potential sitting there.

Now let’s compare that to, say a major league football team. The coach on that football team, if he’s any good at all, is informed about how to place his talent so that the energy in each one of those individuals is directed in the most strategic and effective way possible. In essence, managing energy. So his quarterback has 100% energy, and all of that energy needs to be focused on executing plays, or learning how to execute plays better. So, if he can get the quarterback in a position where that’s all he’s doing, he can tap in to that guys unique genius, and point his energy, in the fashion like a laser, and do amazing things.

But if he’s got the quarterback serving as a water boy, and making copies for the team play books, dispersing that energy in a very negative way, then that quarterback’s not going to be effective as he could be.

You’ve got a visionary, who is the leader, and we know because people are visionaries, they’re not very good at being integrators, or implementers. So, the visionary has got to pair up with someone who is really good at taking a concept from a picture in someone’s mind to some practical application that is marketable. So the leader has to pair himself up with someone who is really, really good at implementing his ideas.

And then the implementer has to surround him or herself with some really good people who are both process and project oriented. Because the project oriented person is the person they want on the team helping them unpack this idea. And the process oriented people are the people who will continue to act on whatever that idea is, after the fact.

Being a business leader, an owner, or a CEO is all about directing the energy of your people. But what we don’t do, or what we don’t see very often in the marketplace is leaders who accept that kind of responsibility, because their understanding isn’t informed. They get in to business because they have an idea, and they are probably really good at something, and, the marketplace needs what they have to provide, but they have all these gaps in their understanding. So they get in to business, and they enter the marketplace, and they get some traction, and then they stall, and the reason they stall isn’t because the product isn’t viable, it isn’t because the marketplace doesn’t want it, it’s because they have big giant gaps in their thinking, or in their understanding, preventing them from directing the energy available to them in a really focused way.

Jessica – I like everything that you were saying. Directing energy is not tied to, the number of phone calls that are answered, the number of orders that are coming in, anything that is concrete. Directing energy is very intangible. And I agree with you, when there is inefficiency in leadership, it’s because the leader is either shirking responsibility, doesn’t understand that it is their responsibility, or is avoiding the responsibility of figuring stuff out.

Les – Hey Jess, can I clean that up just a little bit for you?

Jessica – Please do!

Les – I know because I’ve certified in a number of assessments, and I’ve been doing this long enough to know that, every single person who comes on to this planet, this place we call earth, has within them, strengths and weaknesses. I like to call them, ‘their genius’.

The guy who made the Stradivarius violin had within him, the genius for making the most exquisite, most high performance violins on the planet. And he, found that somehow, and I don’t know how he got there, but he put himself in a position that that’s all he did. He wasn’t managing people, he wasn’t trying to build some factory on another continent, he wasn’t trying to hedge taxes, he wasn’t trying to do all that other crap, he just got busy building violins. And because of that, he created and built the most superlative violin on the planet.

My unique genius isn’t making violins. My unique genius is, only a couple of things, as long as I’m given the freedom, to spend my energy, or my unique genius on that. The balance of my time… not only am I very successful, not only I am perceived as being valuable by the marketplace, but I’m also deeply satisfied. That sort of hole that most people are trying to fill, is filled because I’m contributing from my genius, not from my weakness.

Jessica – And then you get promoted in to a place that you need a whole new skill set, and you’re out of your genius. And that’s a whole other topic. I think you and I will have to have a conversation about that sometime, because I agree with you.

People who are in their genius, produce. People who are in their genius come up with amazing concepts. People who are in their genius are able to rally other people and add to the energy, and fuel other peoples energy that might be low, toward this common goal.

And then, when that person is recognized, when that person is seen for what they really are, somebody goes ‘Wow, we want to give them more!’ Depending on where we’re at, and where our goals are in life, we may actually be striving to become a leader for the first time, or a leader higher within the organization, or in a different place within the organization. And we may inadvertently be getting in our own way, and out of this space where we are actually the most useful. I think that comes back to a real sense of honesty of ‘What do I really want?’, ‘Is what’s being offered to me, or is the path that I am choosing to forge?’

Les – It ties back to clean thinking. So, if I’m in a position where I feel free to exercise my unique genius, then my thinking stays very clean.

But when I get distracted, and I’m tangled up in things where I’m having to rely on my weaknesses to do them, my thinking gets very messy very quickly, and I begin to grind, or, I begin to fight my life. I begin to fight what it is that I am doing.

If I have the freedom to move back in to my circle of effectiveness, and work from there, and not cross over that line, and allow other people to do their unique genius to get those other things done, then my thinking stays very clean, and my effectiveness grows exponentially.

We have a responsibility to fill those positions, or those roles, or those spots on our team with people who have the unique genius to do what we need done. Unique genius that’s different from our own. And when we do that, we can come together and we can win Super Bowls, we can conquer marketplaces, we can do all kinds of crazy stuff.  In the market place, too many business leaders don’t accept that kind of responsibility.

Jessica – Amongst all of this, the basis of what Les does, really is this innate knowing that every single one of us is driven by freedom. To be free of… something, whatever that is. And you know Les, I think that’s really cool, because then we lay around these skills, the skills that make up awareness, the skills that make up responsibility, and how responsibility is actually part of awareness.

And then we also talked a lot about honesty, in the sense that there’s honesty that is a part of responsibility, and we really have to be honest with ourselves to be able to be aware.

So this intertwining of things that come to this core of, what do each of us, what do I, what does Les, what do you, want, from this world.

And, understanding what the freedom is that you are seeking. And so, when it arrives, you know. And, it can inform other decisions to ensure that the energy that we have, the ability for us to avoid complicated thoughts, to get past, just clarity on what’s happening, and get clean thinking in place, that shows, I know why I am doing this thing that we’re all clear about. I’m buying in, because I was invited to join, and I like it, this thing that we’re all clear about.  So that could be an individual, that could be a team, that could be an entire business, it could be the neighbor, it could be you to the child, but as somebody who is responsible for other people, it is up to us, to stand up and say, OK, I’m going to have clean thinking. Because then I can see more, I can do more, I can direct more. And, in my own world, of the things that I want, I can accomplish more.

Les, this really is a great conversation that we’ve had.

In the program notes, we want to know what you think. We want to know what your experiences are, and we want to know, how do you know that you have accepted responsibility and have shifted out of clarity, and have shifted in to clarity times a million, by reaching clean thinking. Remember, it is never the wrong time to practice clean thinking, and it’s your choice.

Announcer – Subscribe at and get more information, program notes, and past episodes. Bold leaders approach each situation and focus on action to achieve a higher level of leadership. Jessica Dewell, your business advocate is the host of The Voice of Bold Business Radio. Thank you for joining us.