It’s been 16 years since I sat at my desk in Riverside, “California dreaming” about Upside Thinking, Inc.  

I envisioned it as a global leadership company and brand, that would be different than organizations that focused on technical expertise. 

Our focus would be on happiness, success, and meaning – the top of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

These tenets are built into Design Your Destiny Live and the three leadership coaching programs – “Realize Your Destiny”, “Seize Your Spotlight” and “Live Your Legacy” – that I’ve offered for over a decade.   

Life happens moment by moment, the lows and highs woven together like an exquisite silk tapestry. 

While it may feel good to focus on the high moments, the lows teach us how to discover and/or create happiness, success, and meaning. 

I’ve had an unsettling feeling in my bones lately and have questioned from where it’s coming. 

It feels as if there have been many blows or lows that my body has felt as if I’ve been in the ring with Ali, Mayweather, and Tyson all at the same time. 

The global divide between the have-nots and the haves, the political landscape, and the debates about masks and vaccines have created feelings of pain, grief, and outrage – which can be where meaning lives. 

Yet, it’s not an easy road to walk: feeling feelings, being uncomfortable, examining beliefs, finding clarity in the chaos, and making decisions. 

Perhaps you understand this. 

Meaning is defined as “the sense or significance of…” and when it intersects with caring about others as much as caring about yourself, then leadership becomes what is the Highest and Best good for All.   

You as a leader become more purpose-driven and seek to connect with others who have a similar why. Even when they have different beliefs, the common “why” as a focal point can hold you together. 

Meaning is internally derived. Your gifts, abilities, and talents directed in outward action provide the mosaic of possibility to effect change.   

To do so, you move beyond your own self-interest. Through empathy and deep compassion you begin to create bridges. 

When there is no clear “why”, you have little motivation to take action any differently than you’ve done before. 

There is no reason to create a different world when you’re comfortable with where you are, especially when you’re experiencing a high point. 

Yes, the high can have you lose sight of your “why”, unless you discipline yourself to see the celebration while also remaining dedicated to the continued effort. 

At Design Your Destiny Live, the 1st Pillar is Plan, and starting with the end in mind. 

I speak about the importance of having a clear “why” especially when talking about how to impact others around you. 

It needs to be clear and humble in order to create collective momentum so others can feel your beliefs, not just hear them. 

Rather than being complacent and static, the end result on the journey of meaning is focused on making a difference as you make purposeful decisions that aren’t only about you. 

You have the courage to look at the gaps without getting caught up in the swirl of emotion, understanding that our common humanity can serve to unite us. 

ACTION:  The Upside Challenge is to engage in dialogue of meaning and different types of conversations with family friends and colleagues than you might typically have. 

Don’t shy away from talking about the lows. 

It is only from this place we can appreciate our differences. 

To do so, is to be made anew. 

Remember, the world needs you and your brilliance.

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