Spirit Driving Institute Leila Johnson – Transformation Teacher


Who is Driving in Nonprofit Organizations?

After reading Rod Dreher's post, Ending the Too Big to Fail Threat, I was inspired to place nonprofit organizations under the same lens. One phrase in particular stood out to me. He wondered if banks and government "were [confusing] their own interests with the public's interest, and govern that way". After serving on nonprofit boards and interacting with my Web firm's nonprofit clients, I've started to wonder if nonprofits suffer from the same problem. I've seen a spectrum of ways to govern - some focused on the organization's interests and others focused on the people that make up the organization.

When it comes to nonprofits, many of us are under the impression that all of the work that they do is inherently "good". In an ideal world this would be true; however, there's one variable that we often forget about. Nonprofit organizations are made up of people with distinct missions, interests, and agendas. The core people that control nonprofits are the board and executive staff.

I've wondered for awhile if it's possible to separate your personal mission, interests, and agenda from that of the organization. It is an honor to be a part of a nonprofit whether you're on the board or part of the staff. Of course, you should only be involved if the work the organization is doing is congruent with your personal values. Unfortunately, there are ways that conflicts of interest can arise. I'm not talking about the blatant stories we hear about someone stealing money. I'm talking about the more subtle ones that fall in a gray area like showing favoritism in selecting vendors or letting personal prejudices dictate how to provide services.

It's hard to say that a person is "wrong" for doing these things. But it makes you wonder if they are letting their Personality or Spirit drive. Also, you have to consider whether they are looking at the larger picture - the Spirit of the organization. Instead they are letting their Personality take control. They are showing the childish, sometimes selfish side of themselves in order to accomplish a goal that is important to them. Had they let their Spirit drive, they would have opened up more possibilities for tapping into the Spirit of the organization.

Those that participate in the management of a nonprofit (either on the board or staff level) are doing so because they have a particular interest in helping the nonprofit organization accomplish important work. It doesn't hurt to get some personal satisfaction from the connection also. It's when that personal satisfaction becomes so strong that you are driving the organization to do something that might not be in its best interest.

For more on this topic, view the question I asked on LinkedIn: As a nonprofit board member, how do you ensure that you're focused on furthering the organization's mission and not your own?

I'm eager to hear what others think about this topic. Have you experienced this gray area and/or conflict of interest as a nonprofit board member or staff person?


Phyllis Mufson – Catalyst for Personal & Professional Growth

About a month ago, I met Phyllis via Twitter (don't you love social media!). I had been reading her posts for awhile and thought that she might have something of value to offer to my readers. I was right! Phyllis has offered something called "Your Personal Retreat." It includes an article and audio exercises to help you take some time out for yourself and look at your life. You can also do these exercises with friends.

Don't forget to purchase my book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, today (May 20th) to get 8 great bonus gifts!

Here's my interview with Phyllis about how she lets her Spirit drive in her professional life.

Hi Phyllis. Thanks so much for offering a bonus gift to my readers. Could you tell everyone more about yourself and your business.

I’m both a career / business consultant and certified life coach with an international clientele of creative and enterprising people. My overall aim is to help individuals develop fulfilling work while growing personally and professionally. I’ve coached and consulted in the career field for more than twenty-three years.  I trained as a coach and was awarded certification through the Coach Training Institute and have also completed further training in Co-Active Leadership and Somatic Coaching. I’m qualified in the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), which is a highly validated instrument that identifies individual preferences, and helps clients understand themselves and others better.

I’ve been interviewed in over seventy newspapers including the New York Times and Washington Post and have spoken on career topics on radio and television. Currently I write about Boomer careers for Job-Hunt.org (http://www.job-hunt.org/boomer-job-search/boomer-job-search.shtml) and on personal development for the international women’s service organization Soroptimist: (http://www.soroptimist.org/LiveYourDream/LifeCoach.html).

It sounds like you're busy doing a lot of fun and creative ventures. I'm sure all of this didn't happen overnight. What has your professional journey looked like so far?

In the past I served as director of Career Services at Moore College of Art and Design, and as a marketing and public relations writer. I’ve served on the U. S. board of the Association of Career Professionals International (ACP) as well as the boards of the ACP’s Philadelphia chapter and Business Women’s Network.

A benefit to my clients from my level of experience is that, having worked with so many people, I can usually see into what they are telling me and quickly get to the nub of what is bothering them.
Before beginning my career as a life coach and consultant, I was an artist working in textile design, creating wall pieces, one-of-a-kind fashion, and custom textiles for interior designers. My work sold nationally through retailers from New York: Bergdorf Goodman and Julie’s Artisan Gallery to San Francisco: the “Obiko” art wear boutique, and is held in individual and corporate collections. With my partner Richard Valentino, I founded the San Francisco School and Gallery of Textile Arts, and wrote the book “Fabric Printing: Screen Method.” I was a winner of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in crafts.

I am fortunate that in addition to being a creative person, I’m good at business and I have the ability to think strategically. Since early in my career I have earned part of my living helping other artists and designers earn a livelihood.

Currently I find artistic expression making jewelry. You can see my work online at Personal Treasures http://personaltreasures.etsy.com and Mufi Jewels http://mufi.etsy.com.

Very nice pieces! That's wonderful to have that creative outlet. Since you've had several professional experiences (both paid and volunteer), how did you you decide on the next path to take to get you where you are today?

At a time when I was looking for a new career direction, a light bulb came on when I saw Stand and Deliver, a movie about a dedicated math teacher who works with drop-out students. I cried throughout the movie. Fortunately, rather than comforting me and trying to get me to stop crying, my partner asked me questions about what moved me so much. I responded that I was moved by the way the Edward James Olmos character inspired his students. I realized I wanted to focus my work on this quality of inspiration.

That discovery led me to approach Barbara Sher, a personal growth author and one of the pre-cursors to the field of coaching. Her book “Wishcraft” fascinated me, and I asked her permission to design a workshop based on it. Not only did she give her permission, but to encourage me, she generously introduced me to the audience and had me talk about the workshop the next time she spoke in Philadelphia.

Soon after, I was hired by an international career management firm to lead workshops to help laid-off executives choose a new direction and learn and practice job search skills. Although I was new to the field, they chose me over candidates with training and experience. I discovered later that I was hired because they saw me clearly as ‘a natural,’ and they trained me in their methods. It was an inspired time for me and I felt encouraged by the help and mentoring I received.

I have been given a great gift that has made my life much happier. My work is so well suited to me that it’s a pleasure and I’m always interested in learning and developing more. This is what I want for my clients as well.

Wow, that's beautiful. Talk about everything falling into place! Now that you're doing such great work, what do you use as an indicator of your continued success?

My success is my client’s success, and success for my clients is clearly visible. If they are looking for a new direction; they find out what they want to do and make the transition. If they are looking to grow their business, it is very clear that our work together is productive because their business is growing. If they want a better job, they get hired.

As a result my practice grows almost entirely as a result of referrals. What I am most proud of is there are families where I have worked with everyone, including cousins. First the parents, then the children as they graduated from school, and then again as they matured and grew in their careers.

Thanks so much for your time and sharing your story!

Don't forget to purchase my book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, today (May 20th) to get 8 great bonus gifts (including one from Phyllis)!


Jennifer Monahan, Author

Jennifer reached out to me via my e-book launch blog post. She was nice enough to vote for me in The Next Top Spiritual Author competition. We share a similar philosophy about education and its role in the journey of life.

Jennifer has written a book about her journey that also has a driving theme, literally. Her book is called An American in Oz: Discovering the Island Continent of Australia. Those of you that enjoyed reading Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia should check it out. Jennifer is including the introduction to her book as one of the 8 bonus gifts if you purchase Driving to Success today.

Don't forget to purchase my book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, today (May 20th) to get 8 great bonus gifts (including one from Jennifer)!

Here's my interview with Jennifer on how she lets her Spirit drive in her professional life.

Jennifer, how would you summarize your professional life?
I am a writer and speaker, and I have come a long way from selling stamps for the US Postal Service.

Definitely! Do you remember what you said you wanted to be when you grew up?

A writer.  I was 40 when I remembered that tidbit!

Ha! It's funny how it can take awhile to remember those childhood dreams. What has your professional journey been like so far?
Courageous, crazy, and the only thing worth doing.

It's great how you were able to take a courageous trip to Australia and turn it into something that made your childhood dream come true. What was your process of deciding on the next path to take?
I had heard often enough from family and friends, "You should write a book."  I decided to listen to those who knew me better than I knew myself at the time.  Once I started writing, it was as if I came home to myself and knew it was the only path to take.

That's wonderful. What do you use as an indicator of your success?
How many doors open in the most surprising of places.

Yes, doors do seem to open even when you're not expecting it. You seem like an ambitious person, so how do you decide which door to walk through?
I listen to the voice within, and when I hear the same idea over and over again, I make a commitment to follow through.  Right now, it's to put all things aside and make my book into an ebook.  Crazy as this sounds, it was my first goal to make an ebook before the pbook (printed version), but the pbook insisted on coming out first.  I'm glad it's here, and now it's time for the ebook.

It's great to hear about another author's process. Jennifer, before you go, do you have any words of advice to share with my readers?
Following your heart, taking the road less traveled, takes a tremendous amount of faith, courage, and perseverance.  The good news is, it's worth every worry, tear, and angst to get to the other side into freedom.  Everyone who has taken this path experiences the same struggle, and everyone experiences the same reward of freedom.

Thank you. Again, Jennifer's book is An American in Oz: Discovering the Island Continent of Australia.

And don't forget to purchase my book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, today (May 20th) to get 8 great bonus gifts (including one from Jennifer)!


Interview with Rebecca Dakota, Visions Video Productions

I had the pleasure of working with Rebecca while serving on a nonprofit board in Albuquerque. Rebecca is passionate about helping local businesses and her current entrepreneurial efforts support that passion. During that time, we had many chances to discuss our spiritual approaches to life. I was pleased to have Rebecca provide an endorsement of my book.

Don't forget to purchase my book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, today (May 20th) to get 8 great bonus gifts!

Here's my interview with Rebecca about how she lets her Spirit drive in her professional life.

Rebecca, tell my readers a little more about your business.
I own Visions Video Productions, an independent production company focused on what connects us to each other and the earth. Along with documentaries on social justice and environmental issues, I use my skills to help local business owners have a better video presence on their Web sites.

That an important part of Web sites nowadays. I'm curious how close your current profession is to what you said you wanted to be when you grew up.
I wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic magazine.

Not too far off since National Geographic's tagline is "Inspiring people to care about the planet"! How would you describe your professional journey so far?
A weave of creative/entrepreneurial and community leadership.

As you created your professional tapestry, how did you decide on the next step in your path?
Inner guidance, outer changes, patience and perseverance! I quit a part-time job that was taking too much away from this passion of making videos and movies that matter. After making that decision and taking that leap, a different part-time job fell into my lap and I now have more energy for doing the creative work of movie-making.

How wonderful to have things fall into place like that. When you do make a change like you did, what do you use as an indicator of your success?
Whether I feel peaceful.

Very nice. And I'm sure you continue to set goals for yourself even if you already feel successful. Do you have any special tips for my readers on knowing which goals to drive toward?
I pick those things that have what I call "sparkles" around them -- whether big or small, the things that pull me and energize me become my goals.

Thanks so much for your time, Rebecca. Any other comments or things you would like my readers to know?
I can be reached!  My phone # is (505) 858-1868.

Don't forget to purchase my book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, today (May 20th) to get 8 great bonus gifts!


Spiritual Themes in “Hot Tub Time Machine”

(FYI: I decided to do this without posting any spoilers. I can't guarantee that those that comment will abide by this.)

Hot Tub Time MachineThe hubby and I took in a movie this weekend. "Hot Tub Time Machine" was hilarious, which was to be expected. Of course, leave it to me to view the movie from a deeper perspective. I found some connections between the movie's themes and what I talk about in Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel.

I won't give away too much in case you haven't seen it. The basic premise of the movie is about 4 guys who go out of town for a ski weekend in 2010 and magically get transported back to 1986. They argue about whether to act out the same events that happened when they were at this ski lodge in 1986 or to do things differently. It is always fun to think about what our lives would be like if we had a chance to do it all over again.

One of the characters, Nick Webber (played by Craig Robinson), used to be the lead singer in a band. While back in 1986, he realized how much he missed his short-lived musical career. Back in 2010, he had the pleasure of extracting inedible objects from pets - a far cry from his music. Another character, Lou (played by Rob Corddry), was the self-defined screw-up. He was always the one that everyone else had to bail out of self-destructive situations. Adam (played by John Cusack) was unhappy with his love life and began to think about "the one that got away". That leaves us with Jacob (played by Clark Duke), Adam's nephew, who hadn't even been born in 1986. He served as the time travel translator.

There were 3 spiritual takeaways in this movie:

  • When you look back on your life, you might find  hidden dreams that you want to realize now.
  • It often takes an unexpected, life-changing event to jolt you out of mediocrity.
  • Even when it feels like you've hit rock bottom, you can turn your luck (and your life) around.

"Hot Tub Time Machine" was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon even if you weren't looking for any spiritual themes. Did anyone else see it? What did you think?


Upcoming Interview on Ladypreneur International

Today I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Dr. Monique Hunt, the founder of Ladypreneur International. We had a wonderful discussion about spirituality, entrepreneurship, and following your heart. Dr. Nique is creating a global community (online and off) of female entrepreneurs that integrate spirituality into their business.

During the interview, we talked about the types of people that are doing this in their daily life. I observed how some folks feel like spirituality is too "froo-froo" to discuss in the workplace. Some feel like it's just for creatives who are already doing spiritual work. It might not seem bizarre for an artist or singer or masseuse to talk about spirituality. But, what about someone like me, a techie? Some folks feel like left-brained careers just don't "go" with spirituality.

Dr. Nique noticed that real estate agents, business consultants, and lawyers are seeking her out because they want to get in touch with their larger purpose and express it through their business. It's great that people are becoming more comfortable discussing spirituality.

There's nothing strange about wanting to be more spiritual. It's not just reserved for those in right-brained professions. As we evolve and grow, we begin to see ourselves as a whole being and not just the "work me" and "home me".

I'm glad to be involved in a community that is focused on the entrepreneurial spirituality movement. Stay tuned for my detailed interview on Ladypreneur International in the next couple weeks.


Switching Careers is Common and Normal

I came across a Job Bank site the other day that stated that "Most Americans switch careers three times in a lifetime". I can't vouch for this site, but still found the statistic interesting. It goes on to list the average number of years people spend in certain professions. I started wondering why this was the case.

I've already met my quota of three careers. How about you? What is it that makes switching careers so common? It's easy to say that maybe people are just unhappy with their current jobs. But, I think it's deeper than that.

Our Personality changes based on our experiences, the people we meet, the relationships we have, and the information we receive from the Universe via our Spirit. We are just curious by nature. There's no way for us to know everything there is to experience in the world unless we try it.

I can remember being a freshman in college and the first question that people would ask each other was "What's your major?". It was a defining factor similar to the way people ask each other, "What do you do?" once they are already a part of the workforce. During freshman orientation, my advisor was meeting with a group of us and discussing what to expect out of college life. He asked each of us what our major was. We went around and said our major - everything from business administration to biochemistry.

The last girl in the group said that she was undecided. You could almost hear a pin drop. Then the advisor chimed in and said that she's better hurry up and pick a major because it's more difficult going through college without one. Mind you, this was our second day!

I've never understood all of the pressure that is placed on college students to know what they want to be "when they grow up". After all, they haven't experienced much of life or the real world. How would they know?

It would be nice if there could be an exploratory year after high school. Like a year-long, paid job shadowing where you could try out a different career each month. It would be even better if we could do this periodically throughout our careers. Until that happens, we have to settle for exploring different careers based on how our Spirit guides us.


Is Your Spirit Driving Your Business or Career?

There's only a few more days left to sign up for the February 18th Webinar. It's just $10. Facebook fans get a special discount. Contact me if you didn't receive your coupon code.

Looking forward to"seeing" you there!

Sign up for Is Your Spirit Driving Your Business or Career?

Do you want to find your true calling, but aren’t sure how? Are you feeling unfulfilled in your business or career? Have you made a career move, but still aren’t satisfied?

In this 1-hour Webinar, Leila will introduce you to the concepts from her forthcoming book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel. The Webinar is also an introduction to the 3-part series which goes in depth on these concepts.

  • Learn why your Personality can keep you from reaching your goals
  • Learn how to involve your Spirit in your professional life
  • Create an action plan for getting your Spirit in the driver’s seat

A Thankless Job?

We've all had to deal with situations where we didn't get the praise we were expecting. Whether you have a high position in a company or own a business, it's still nice to get recognition.

As a Web developer, I hear about the things that are wrong more than the things that are right. Usually the negative feedback comes soon after a time when I've been working long hours to solve a problem or meet a deadline. It just comes with the territory. But how do you deal with the feedback and feel some sense of self-worth in your job?

I've found that it's dangerous to put your sense of self-worth in someone else's hands. Do you start to feel horrible when you don't get the "thank you" that you were expecting? That's a tell-tale sign that your Personality is waiting for praise from someone else.

Once your Spirit is in the driver's seat, you will look at the other person's comments differently. A friend of mine has the perfect internal response to negative feedback: "Thanks for the contrast." Try saying this to yourself when you don't get the praise you were expecting. Then, feel free to give yourself a pat on the back to acknowledge the good work you've done.

Your accomplishment is important because it might:

  • Teach you something in an indirect way
  • Help you solve a future problem more quickly
  • Present a challenge that your Personality needed to conquer (with help from your Spirit, of course)

Any other thoughts on spiritual responses to negative feedback on the job?