Relationships are fundamental. The quality of our life is equal to the quality of our relationships. Every relationship has ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and having the skill set to build relationships gives you the ability to create and sustain high-quality relationships. Blaine Bartlett, CEO and president of the consulting firm Avatar Resources, Inc. says the average length of most of his client engagements runs about a decade, which in the consulting business is crazy. He says it’s all about the qualitative side of the work that he does with the folks. Blaine shares that compassionate capitalism is all about the ability to build sustainable relationships and focusing on the area of conflict. In his life in business, he discovered early on that an organization is a collection of people that are in relationship. There are interpersonal relationships that people have with each other and the companies and businesses. There are relationships with vision, with mission, with values. There are relationships that people have with their chairs, with their desks. Everything you encounter in an organization has a relationship component to it. Blaine says the success of an organization, whether it’s a family or a business, is going to be predicated on how successful the relationships are actually functioning.
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Tell Me More: Building Sustainable Relationships For Success with Blaine Bartlett
I am in a wonderful head space right now. I’ve had a bite to eat and put some love into my food and spend a little time sitting out in the backyard. I got some sun on my face, just feeling the breeze and watching the palm trees swaying. I’ve spent more than 40 years in a cold climate. If you are in a cold climate and the thought of palm tree swaying has you feeling that yearning, that craving to be in warmth, good. Come visit. Come out here and spend some time on the West Coast or go someplace warm. If you’re a cold weather person or you just would prefer that, then good, perfect for you. I am absolutely grateful to be here, to be alive. It’s such a blessing to remind ourselves, and I start with me, of how blessed I am to be alive and to have all of my body parts working, functioning, for the thoughts that I’m thinking and the fact that those thoughts are getting increasingly better.
I’ve cultivated too many weeds in the garden of my mind throughout my life. I say too many and at the same time, I forgive that too, because I know it’s a process. Each day, what I long for and what I intend is that I’m able to cultivate better thoughts. Right thinking is something that takes practice. I know I need practice at it. I love being able to teach and share things about what it takes to create right thinking, whether it’s on the personal side or it’s on the business side, or whether it’s in relationships or health. Part of that is that old adage that we teach what we most need to learn, most want to learn. Right thinking is definitely on the agenda for me and for us. What a great space to be in together collectively here, breathing, sharing this breath, sharing this moment, and committing to even better thoughts, cultivating even better thoughts together.
With that, I welcome you to the podcast. I’ve got a great guest, somebody that I feel honored to be able to share space with him and to be able to share him and his message and the work he’s been doing in the world for a long time with all of you. This is a wonderful community for that. His name is Blaine Bartlett and I’m going to share a bit of biographical information on him. Then we’ll circle back to see what he has to say on these topics. More importantly, we’ll talk about pivoting and transitions and have an organic and an agenda-free conversation. We’re going to allow things to flow and that’s going to be fantastic.
Blaine Bartlett is the CEO and president of Avatar Resources, a global consulting firm he founded in 1987. He has coached and consulted worldwide with executives, companies and governments, and has personally delivered training programs to more than a quarter of a million individuals. He’s directly impacted the lives of more than a million people which is absolutely magnificent. Blaine is an adjunct professor at Beijing University. He’s on the teaching faculty of the American Association for Physician Leadership, and he’s the Founder of The Institute for Compassionate Capitalism. He sits on the Board of Directors of the World Business Academy and the Unstoppable Foundation, a foundation that Randi and I also adore and support, and is a member of the advisory boards of the All Japan Management Coaching Association and the Asia Coaching and Mentoring Association. Blaine is also the author of the number one international bestseller, Compassionate Capitalism: A Journey to the Soul of Business, the co-author of Discover Your Inner Strength written in collaboration with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Brian Tracy, and is the author of Three Dimensional Coaching, which was published in 2013 and translated into Chinese and Japanese in 2015. Blaine, first and foremost, welcome to the podcast.
Adam, it’s my pleasure to be here. I was listening to that introduction, I was like, “That’s the truncated version? What did I send?”
You’ve been doing amazing things in the world for a long time. What’s not written in that bio? What did I not say that you love for our listeners to know about you?
The biggest thing and the one that I’m probably the proudest of in my entire professional and personal life is my ability to create and sustain high quality relationships. Paying attention to that has been a game-changer for me. One client’s been with me for 33 years. The average length of most of my client engagements runs about a decade, which in the consulting business is crazy. I’m very aware that it’s not because build in dependency. It’s about the qualitative side of the work that I do with the folks. That’s also true in my personal life. The relationships I have with my kids, my grandkids, my wife, they’re just extraordinary in my experience.
What you said dropped in for me. I got a hit in my body when you said it because to say relationships are fundamental is such a gross understatement of their importance. The quality of our life is equal to the quality of our relationships. To create and sustain great relationships is tough. We all know what it feels like to be able to be in relationship and feel good about it, whether it’s a business partnership relationship or something more intimate or with friends. To sustain a great relationship is a different skill set perhaps.
I absolutely believe that it is. Every relationship has ups and downs, peaks and valleys. It’s easy to be in when you’re in the land of milk and honey. It’s when things get a little bit rocky. One of the things that I’ve learned in my life, and that’s why I’m particularly proud of my ability to build sustainable relationships, is it focuses on the area of conflict. The problem is never with conflict. It’s with my relationship with conflict. People don’t know how to relate well to conflict. What I mean by that is most people on this planet would rather be right than get what they say they want, and that drives their behavior. In a relationship, I can’t afford to be right all the time. It’s crazy to even think that I would be right even 50% of the time. My wife, Cynthia, and I, we’ve got this little phrase that we work with when we are butting heads. Rather than trying to defend my position or her defending her position, the catch phrase is, “Tell me more.”
Let’s play this out just to have a little fun. Your spouse is telling you, “You annoyed me. You pissed me off when you did this thing, when you dismissed something I was saying and you spoke over me. We were talking to somebody and you interrupted me.” Your response then is, “Tell me more.” We’re married, Randi and I, 28 years, so I completely get there is going to be these conflict moments in all relationships. As opposed to defending, which is what we typically do when we feel attacked, when somebody is on the attack and wanting to prove or make their point right, we’ll defend, especially if we feel like our or self-esteem or self-respect or identity is threatened, my precious ego is somehow in jeopardy.
It is vulnerable to say, “Tell me more,” at that point. It’s vulnerable because I do open myself up to hearing some things that I would probably not want to hear.
What is that shift? I can’t tell you how great it feels. There’s been such a synergy of the podcasts I’ve been doing. I had Arielle Ford on and we talked about relationship. Another friend of mine, Keith Leon, who’s a relationship expert, him and his wife, Maura, we spoke about relationships. That wasn’t exactly where we thought the podcasts were going to go. This has come up in a real profound way. Thank you for contributing to that.
It’s my pleasure. I spent my life in business. One of the things that I discovered early on was that all an organization is a collection of people that are in relationship. The tip of the iceberg that’s most visible is the interpersonal relationships that people have with each other in the companies or in the businesses. `There are relationships with vision, with mission, with values. There are relationships that people have with their chairs, with their desks, all of this stuff. Anything that I encounter in an organization has a relationship component to it. The success of an organization, whether it’s a family or a business, is going to be predicated on how successful the relationships are actually functioning.
It sounds funny but I’ve personally witnessed people being attached to their chair. Just try to take their chair, just move their chair, you might be in for a fight. What has happened when you said that, when you used the term, “Tell me more?” What’s happened to the context of the dispute or the conflict in that moment?
Just the very use of the phrase shifts the context. Virginia Satir has the most beautiful definition of communication I’ve ever come across. Virginia Satir was a family therapist. She was extraordinary. She was actually one of the models that Richard Bandler used when he developed neuro-linguistic programming as a model. Satir’s definition of communication is it’s simply the ways we use to work out common meaning with one another. Until we have common meaning, we do not have a basis to even assume that we have communicated. We may have exchanged words, but communication hasn’t happened unless the meaning of those words is common. When I use something like “tell me more,” it opens up more room for common meaning to begin to be defined, to be understood. Most of the disagreements that I have are because there was an assumption in place. There was a story I built up in my mind about what was intended or what was going on. It wasn’t actually what was happening, the look.
We should do a whole series of episode just on what is the look? In your relationships with your mother, your father, your kids and your spouse, what is the look?
Communication isn’t just the words, it’s all of these subtleties, these nuances. “Tell me more” opens up an exploration of that. When you raise your eyebrows, “Thank you for letting me know. I wasn’t aware that I did that.” I get to back up a little bit and go, “What triggered that?” Oftentimes, those autonomic responses are out of my awareness. Rather than me defending and saying, “I didn’t do that,” it’s like, “Something got triggered here. Let me take a look at it.” It allows me to own the consequence of what was going on in this dynamic. The language of because, “I’m angry because,” puts the source outside of myself because it’s outside of me. I want to be able to bring it back into me because this is the only place I can fix anything. I am the source of the experience that I have in my life. I want to be able to have access to coming back to that source as quickly and as frequently and as elegantly as I can.
Another great example of not being able to change the outer, that anything that we see change, any manifestation, is the result of the inside out. It’s an inside out process. We don’t change the flowers. We change the seeds. We change the roots. That’s what changes the fruits. We change how we feel on the inside or how we respond on inside. We change how we own something versus wanting it to be different and working at that outer layer. You cannot change effects. We can only change causality.
In causality, the first cause is consciousness. When I’m saying consciousness, it is my thought process. How I describe something determines how I feel about it, how I feel about it drives my behavior. I want to be cognizant of how am I describing something, because that is the causative dynamic.
It’s the language. This is so powerful. I’m glad we’re spending the time that we are on, on this piece of it because everybody experiences conflict. There’s conflict with so many areas of our life where we find ourselves in relationships. We could extend it to everything. If we have a relationship with the chair, there’s a potential that we have a conflict with the chair. We’ll also have relationships with people, and those are the most profound relationships of our human conditioning. “Tell me more” is a way in which we can respond, not react, because it’s not reactionary word.
We’re not reacting. It’s interesting that word react is basically repeating an action, a former way of acting, of addressing a situation. Often, we’re addressing it from this place of defense or anger or insult or trigger, what have you, versus response, which is new. It’s brand new in the moment so it’s present. We have a choice. Telling me more, the context is a context of opening that you’re open to receiving, to taking in that feedback, and then being able to formulate what would be a present response that’s not coming from a place of being closed.
That’s a great way of looking at it. Tell me more is a generative response, is an opening. Literally, just the nature of the question contextually, it’s an opening question. If you want to be open to creativity, if you want to be open to the solution, if you want to be open to anything, to growth, to love, to business success, “tell me more” is a gateway. What I love about it is it requires vulnerability in order to do it well. I have to be genuine in it, “Tell me more. I’m open to hearing what’s coming back.” In that moment, there’s an exquisite paradox in my experience.
Passion exists in openness. I’ll just go into some scripture here, the illusion or the allegory in the passion of Christ. The Greek word, the etymology of the word passion is passio, which means to suffer, the suffering of Christ, the passion of Christ. Where it got all of messed up is in the meaning again. Most people attribute pain to the word suffering. Suffering does not entail pain. We think it does, but if you look in the dictionary, one definition does not in any way, shape or form include pain. What it includes is openness and vulnerability. In that sense, it’s an exquisite aliveness, to be fully alive. The passion of Christ was fully open to the experience. That’s where passion is derived. It’s in that openness. It’s vulnerable and scary as hell.
Also trusting is.
Trust isn’t ecumenical to it. An interesting thing about trust, and this is where relationship, I have relationship with trust. Most people assign trust when they’re thinking of trust, “I trust that you won’t hurt me.” The real value in trust, if you pay attention to it is, “I trust that I can handle myself well.”
The root of trust issues is, I believe, self-trust. I have an issue in trusting myself, which is why however you’re projecting it or however it manifests, you have people betray, leave you, don’t do the right thing, cheat you out of money. Whatever the case is, it all goes back to again, the one and only thing that we can make a change in, which for us is ourselves. We can’t change outer circumstances. We can only change who we are. My relationship with conflict, I did want to circle back to follow that thread a bit too. What do you mean by your relationship with conflict? Tell me more.
There are two stories that I might offer up here. They are pivot-related stories. This one client that I’ve got that I said has been with me 30 plus odd years is a Japanese client. About roughly five, six years into our relationship, there was a mutual contact that we both had. This mutual contact asked me to do something with their organization. I said yes, not thinking that there was any problem with it because it came unsolicited and it came outside of the circle in which I was operating with this client that has been with me forever. My existing client went ballistic. This was the Japanese culture. They were very upset. They felt that they had lost face. They felt that a relationship code had been violated. I was oblivious to it. I was a Westerner operating in a Japanese environment. These are both Japanese business people. There was a whole code of ethics underneath a lot of stuff that I wasn’t aware of at that time.
This notion of, “Tell me more” comes into play around this most importantly, my relationship with that conflict. My client wanted to rip up the contract. They were very incensed about it. There was a fair amount of money that was on the table about this. My initial reaction was, ” I did nothing wrong. How dare you impugn my integrity?” I pride myself on being an integrous person. I do the right thing by people and all that stuff. It’s all about identity. My relationship with conflict had in large part to do with my relationship with my sense of self-worth, my sense of self in the business relationship that I was in.
My interpreter, bless her soul, has been with me now forever. She said, “Stop. I understand that you’re upset but let me tell you more.” I said, “I’m willing to listen and I want you to know I’m not really happy.” She said, “You don’t need to be happy. Just listen.” She said, “Here’s what’s going to happen if you want it to. They are going to bring you into the offices. The chairman of the company, the president of the company, and four of the chief lieutenants in the company are all going to be sitting. You’re going to be sitting in the opening. They’re going to expect you to apologize.” I’m going, “For what?” She said, “Don’t get upset about it. All you need to say is, ‘Truly I am sorry that I violated the trust. I’m sorry, it was unintended,’ however, you’d like to say it, but an apology is warranted in their eyes at this point. You can be right about it and not do that or if you value this relationship, you can say, “I’m sorry.”
I’m going, “That doesn’t feel right,” but I value the relationship so I went, “Okay, then what happens?” She said, “Then what the chairman is going to do is he’s going to say thank you for apologizing. He’s going to get up out of his chair, he’s going to have your contract in his hand. He’s going to tear the contract up and he’s going to say, ‘We will see how this moves forward.’ Then you are going to say, ‘Thank you for the consideration.’” I went, “Really?” My interpreter said, “That’s exactly how it’s going to go down.” We had the meeting and it was choreographed exactly like she said it was. As a pivot point here, this was the first time I fully understood that the relationships were more important to me than being right.
The value of that has sustained itself for 25 years now at least. This was a major relationship lesson. It was a major business lesson, to take care of the client, to take care of it in a way that’s integrous. Don’t be so concerned about the small win which is about being right. Be concerned about what is it that you want to have happen long-term. It doesn’t seem like a huge pivot in describing of it, but it felt enormous in the experiencing of it. Moving off of my need to be right and appreciating how much of a driver that is in behavior, I was feeling so vulnerable. I say vulnerable in the sense that it felt wrong to say I’m sorry, but it was in service of something that was far more important. I would rather have what I wanted than to be right about what I thought had happened.
Just envisioning how many people listening to this are thinking to themselves, either they have trouble with that word or term, “I’m sorry,” or it’s somebody that they know quite well, a family member or somebody they’re living with maybe that has struggled with that word. It’s interesting that that word, “I’m sorry,” or, “I apologize,” it is very vulnerable to put yourself in that space. It could be that what you’re sorry for is that the relationship itself is on this rocky ground. When you were speaking about your relationship with conflict, what came up for me is, and this is a bit of an opinion more than anything else although it’s based on my experiences, people are addicted often to conflict. Do you find that to be the case as well?
I do. I know you have, as well as many of your listeners as well, friends or associates or acquaintances that are addicted to this. They are addicted to drama.
They’re drama junkies, conflict junkies.
“If it’s not dramatic, there’s no juice.” That’s a paradigm structure that says if a relationship is going to be interesting, it has to be dramatic. No, it doesn’t. It can be exquisitely fulfilling and satisfying and interesting without the drama.
It’d be interesting if everybody was more committed to their vision than they were to their drama.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I’ll just take this out to an extreme. War is an exercise not in peacemaking, it is an exercise in controlling. That’s what we have when conflict and drama is the focal point. Energy will follow attention. If the attention is on being right, if the attention is on controlling, you’re going to have drama. You can’t not have drama.
Use the example of war for example and the response of tell me more. There’s a conflict. Look into our own country. We’ve got a political war that’s been going on and has been wreaking havoc for a long time, and it doesn’t like that’s going to change anytime soon. Imagine that one side or the other was to say to the other, “Tell me more. Tell me more exactly why it is you wish to wipe me off the face of the earth.” I’m not talking about countries. I’m talking about Democrats and Republicans here. What do you say to those folks? Let’s call it what it is.
We operate in a certain space of consciousness, meaning the people that we are working with and around who we’re attracting and who is part of our community, there’s a certain element of what we’re saying lends with the people that we’re surrounded by, for the most part. For somebody that says, and I don’t want to call them a naysayer, I don’t want to put any judgment on it, they say, “That’s all well and good. That sounds great. Fantastic.” Maybe that works with a husband and wife or with kids and stuff like that, but the conflict that we’re dealing with every day, just turn on the TV and see the conflict that’s everywhere. Is this applicable there? Is there a value that we can get by extending this into those spaces as well?
I believe that there is. Conflict is predicated on two parties wanting to be right about positions that are antithetical to each other. This is where language gets to be interesting for me. Language is a creator of reality and it’s also a reflector of reality. If we look at just, in particular, the word discussion, like we’re going to have a discussion about this, the root of the word discussion is the same as the root of concussion and percussion. Percussion is the sound that’s made when something is struck. A concussion is the consequences of being struck. A discussion is usually the activity of me throwing my point of view at you as hard as I can, and you throwing your point of view at me as hard as you can, both of us with the intent of winning and dominating.
The focus point of discussion is domination, control. Contrast that to a dialogue. A dialogue is rooted in “tell me more.” You take the word apart, it’s “dialogos,” around the ideas. “Tell me more.” When I’m genuinely interested in understanding how you can possibly see the world in the way that you tell me you are seeing it, you will then begin to feel understood even if I don’t agree with you. If I’m genuinely listening and hearing, you will likely feel heard. As soon as somebody feels heard, their need to defend their point of view begins to dissipate.
The notes I was taking, I wrote civil discourse. That ties to using or getting the value out of this “tell me more” response is it creates a civil discourse. There’s civility here. The prerequisite to the two parties having a conversation is that the context is that there is an element of civility.
Incumbent in civility is respect. I respect your point of view is valid for you. I respect that that’s true for you. It doesn’t have to be true for me, but I respect and honor the fact that it is true for you from your world view.
Which is what you did when you sat down with your consulting clients, you just gave them respect.
They felt heard and we moved forward.
Share about the work that you’re up to now. I know that you sit on boards and you’re doing some incredible things and you’ve done some incredible writing. What do you feel called to share with us now? Maybe it relates back to some of the things we’ve already chatted about.
My professional life is in the business world. I’ve consulted and coached and led companies and stuff for the last 40 plus odd years. That’s where my heart is and I used that as a backdrop. The book I am most proud of having written is the Compassionate Capitalism book. It is an oxymoron in most people’s thinking. Compassionate and capitalism don’t generally seem to go together. The tagline on the book is A Journey to the Soul of Business. That’s important to me because business has a soul. Everything has a soul. I don’t mean this in a religious sense. It has a founding premise. It has a founding spark that when I’m connected to it, it’s generative. Why it’s important to me is that there is nothing on this planet that is not touched by the activity of business. Jelly fish in the ocean are touched by carbon depletion in the water. Business activities, for ill or for good, touch everything.
In the years that I’ve got left, I want to be able to have that activity more often than not serving the collective good. I firmly believed that the primary purpose of business is not to make a profit. Profit is the secondary purpose of business. The primary purpose of business is to enhance the quality of life on this planet. That’s the primary purpose of business. If people can get connected to that in meaningful ways, we’ve got a pretty good shot at turning some things around. Businesses transcend national boundaries. They transcend fiscal boundaries. They aren’t subject to the same things that governments are subjected to, which is both the boon and the doggle.
When you think about the purpose of business as you’ve defined it to enhance the quality of life on the plane business in its culture. Back to what we said, building relationships, working on creating better relationships within that business is the job of the culture. Having a culture of any kind is to enhance the experience of the workforce. That is making a difference in the world for the better for sure. It’s not so much this platitude that’s been made fun of more in the tech sector than anywhere else. If you watched Silicon Valley, everybody’s wanting to make the world a better place. “We make a compression device or compression software. We created it to make the world a better place.” If it goes well, that’s interesting. The platitude is fun.
For me, this is one of the Pollyanna hope and dream and aspiration. In the World Business Academy, I’m on the Board there, one of the things that we championed about four years ago is this conversation with the Founder of the World Business Academy, Rinaldo Brutoco, a very good friend of mine, had with Deepak Chopra. They were battering back and forth about some things and Rinaldo made a comment about wouldn’t it be nice if we had a different way of measuring businesses activities so that we could actually have a way of assessing how companies are serving the greater good? The founding principle of the World Business Academy was business taking responsibility for the whole. This is taking responsibility for the whole. Deepak took that and ran with it a little bit and Rinaldo got into the conversation.
Long story short, that kernel of an idea became the founding of something called Just Capital. Just Capital is a listing of the most just companies in the world. Forbes Magazine published in December their second ranking of just companies. It’s a fascinating ranking that does not take into account profit or return on investment. It does not take that into account because you need to have a viable business. What it does take into account are standards of living, living wages, and impact on the environment, quadruple bottom line accounting: purpose, place, profit, and people. How do you measure that stuff? The first year and a half, almost the first three years was getting data, structuring an algorithm that can assess these large companies in those parameters. The intent is to change. If you measure something, it starts to be paid attention to. If we want to change how businesses working, we need to change how it’s measured.
It’s so interesting how certain things line up for whatever reason. We were working on the messaging for our company. We’ve created a foundation called Peace Feels Like. That foundation ultimately sponsored a school and made some contributions to the Unstoppable Foundation, which is your wife’s beautiful foundation. One of the things that inspired us was what we call the three Ps, which was purpose, profits, and peace. This idea that business endeavors should or could choose to focus on this trifecta of things that are so important in developing a sustainable business, a business where employee engagement is high and the culture is positive and where the company is doing good things in the world and also profiting. Are we saying that profits are not important? No, absolutely not. You can’t have a business that that doesn’t run, including a not-for-profit, which is a misnomer because they’re all profit.
I give a keynote talk that is called Mission with a Business. Every company that has ever been founded was founded off of the fundamental mission whose, at least in part, intent was to enhance the quality of life of somebody who bought a product and felt better about it. If they didn’t feel better about it, they stopped buying the product and the company went out of business. Assuming that enough people started to feel good, “I actually feel good because I bought this product or I bought this service, “the mission of the company was being fulfilled and it will sell goods and services.
Companies grow, and decisions made early on in service of the mission now begin to be supplanted by decisions made in service of the business. There’s a trajectory that happens, and it happens with every company, where it moves from being a mission with a business to a business with a mission. It’s at that point that you start losing employee engagement, if I can put it in those terms. It’s the mission that connects people. It’s the access to that meaningful piece about why we do what we do. The business itself disconnects people. Nobody gets excited about a quarterly number.
Some people do and certainly Wall Street investors do but I agree with you, especially with millennials which is now the largest segment of our workforce and will be for some time still. We have two daughters. Our oldest two daughters are millennials in the workforce now. What they do and why they’re being asked to do what they do is very important to them.
That’s connection with mission, either personal mission or organizational mission. If you can marry the two, you’re off to the races. That is a relationship question.
Everything is so interesting to follow the thread on this because everything can be taken back to the subject of relationships, even just in using the word “relationship” as a connection point itself, the relationship between things. I like to think that everything belongs. I’m so curious about the relationship between things. For us, it’s fun and it’s daunting at the same time so it’s not always easy to find the relevant connection points. How do you connect the dots and see those connections? That’s not easy to do at times.
That requires being awake. Most people don’t notice what they’re noticing, truly. When I’m coaching executives, one of the first things that I start working with them on is notice what you’re noticing. They go, “What are you talking about?” I say, “Just notice where your attention is drawn. It’s probably going to be out of your awareness. Notice what you’re noticing because what you’re noticing or where your attention goes is where your energy’s going to go. You may be saying this, but if your attention is over here, energy and the organization’s energy is going to go over here.” Notice what you’re noticing. Be awake.
One of the things that we do as a company is we train people to speak, to speak publicly, to speak more persuasively, influentially, and effectively within their companies, whether it’s a roundup capital to roundup talent or any of these things. That idea of noticing what it is that you’re saying, we point that out frequently. What are the words? Notice the words that came out of your mouth because oftentimes there are words that when you put a little consciousness to it and pay attention to it, you realize, “I didn’t mean to convey that message.” Often that message is a message of scarcity or defense. It’s a closed energy messaging. The wording versus what you were describing which is what creates an opening, what creates that fuller, more real relationship.
That feeds back into the notion that language both creates reality, but it’s also a reflector of an internal reality. Most people speak unconsciously. If they start paying attention to their linguistic patterns, they begin to discover some things about themselves and the reality that exists inside them that then is being manifested outside.
I’ve so enjoyed this talk with you. One of the final questions that I want to ask you has to do with your rituals for success. Would you share more of those things that you’re doing on a consistent basis?
This one has been going on for about five years now. I’ve started behaving today as if tomorrow were already here. I behave today as if the future were already here. The idea there is I wake up in the morning and instead of looking at my to-do list, I look at my to-be list. How do I want to be today that is consistent with that future state that I say is important to me, because I know that that being list is the key to having that realized today. That’s one piece of it. That’s in the morning. In the evening I do a review and revise, not a meditation, but literally it’s a review. I’m lying in bed, review and revise, I walk through the day. Where I was off the mark? Then I revise it in my mind. I can’t go back and change it in physicality, but I can change it in my mind and I can continue to change them. I can change the words I said. I can change the feelings that I had. I can change the behaviors I noticed myself engaging in to match what it was that that state of being was going to inform. That review and revise and the being list in the morning is a key piece.
The second ritual, and this is a couple’s ritual that Cynthia and I engage in, we read to each other every night. What’s interesting is we have been reading the same chapter out of Thomas Troward, who was a philosopher. He was an English journalist back in the turn of the last century. He did a series of lectures in Edinburgh and they’re colloquially called The Edinburgh Lectures, a fascinating material from a consciousness perspective, from an awareness perspective. One of the pieces of The Edinburgh Lectures is called The Spirit of Opulence. We had been reading to each other every night. The intent was both of us wanted to begin to shift our paradigms around abundance. The way that paradigms get changed, the way belief systems get changed is either through trauma or fascination. Fascination’s hard to manufacture. Trauma, I don’t recommend to anybody. The third way that it gets changed is through repetition, the ritual affirmation. We read out loud to each other The Spirit of Opulence every night. It’s about a five-minute reading. Then we reflect on where is this showing up on our life? How is this being manifested or not? What are we seeing happening there? It’s producing some phenomenal experiences for us right now.
I am so thoroughly enjoying your company, and not to say I haven’t enjoyed other people’s company. I don’t want to imply that at all. I wrote down and circled the word futurist as you were describing your future-casting, which maybe an NLP concept of how is the future phase or forward phase. You’re a futurist. In any activity, you become a futurist, which is so beautiful, creating a to-be list versus to-do list which is so much more prevalent for folks. I don’t remember if you and I were at a TLC meeting. I had the privilege to do the emceeing one day at a TLC meeting maybe a year and a half ago or so, two years ago.
Was that one of your first ones?
It was. It was maybe the third meeting we were at. I had to share this code of conduct. I started with looking at Benjamin Franklin’s code which is all about the state of being, the “How do I experience myself?” being and “How do I want to experience myself?” being throughout the day, to start in the morning by stating out loud, “Today I experienced peace in my mind, my body, my heart, and my soul.” That was reminiscent of that. I so love the fact that you revised it, that you’d come back and you have this revision so that you get to celebrate the wins as well as look at where it is that you might tweak it or make modifications to it.
I’m making it all up anyway so I may as well make it up the way I want it to be. If I missed the mark, I get to make it up the way I want it to be. The key is I get to feel it the way that it was supposed to have been in my mind. When I remember the future, it’s not just a mental exercise, it’s a whole-body process.
The future’s happening now anyway. We get that time and space collapse. If you don’t buy that or believe that or whatever, just think back ten years ago. It was a second ago. There’s no ten-year distance between that moment and this moment. It’s an accordion and it all collapsed on itself, and it all sits in this moment, our entire life history right here in this moment.
Albert Einstein famously said that time is an interestingly persistent illusion, the illusion of time. If we took a deep dive in this, John Wheeler who was a theorist that basically postulated black holes suggested a theory that said if we can make a change in the future, it actually impacts the past. Get your head around that one. Theoretically, they’ve proven this to be the case. There are a number of lab experiments that have actually changed something in the future. Don’t ask me how to explain it. It gets weird. It’s a relationship question.
Possibly weird but maybe not so much. Do you remember Jonathan Livingston Seagull?
Yes, I do. Richard Bach.
The seagull was talking about traveling. I don’t remember the exact quote, but traveling from coast to coast, east to west, west to east. He said something along the lines of the moment you decide, it’s already done. This is interesting because this point now is where we decide something, where we affirm something, The Spirit of Opulence was so beautiful. Cynthia sent that to me so I have that. We’ve been looking at an older book, Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World. Again, just each night reviewing what those things are, like I greet the day with love in my heart. I will persist until I succeed. I’ll live today as if it is my last. Things like that.
As we affirm those things in the moment, because people poo-poo that or they think, “I get it. It makes sense,” that’s certainly not against it, but I don’t know how powerful it is. When you think about what you affirm into existence in this moment, how you create your future now where what we said, maybe we don’t fully understand it or it leads you off into a black hole to explain it, but time and space collapsed, and the one and the other are the same. Cause and effect come together in an instant. There’s no difference between cause and effect or future, past, and present. You can actually create and do create your future in this moment. The next moment will blink, will snap and it will be ten years later. That’s the reality.
It’s this whole notion of time. I’ve got far less runway in front of me that I have behind me now. My grandkids, the oldest one just turned thirteen. For me, a year goes by that quick. For him, the wait to Christmas is forever. I look up and go, “Is it Christmas already?” It’s my relationship with time. Everything is a relational dynamic. The Theory of Relativity was predicated on the relationship of the observer to the phenomenon being observed.
As we’re speaking, people will be listening as though it’s happening in the moment, and then it’s happening in this moment. As we take a breath right now, I’m taking a breath with all humanity. When this is consumed and listened to by vast numbers of people, wherever they are in the world, they’ll be taking a breath as we’re taking a breath. The future will be the present. Blaine, thank you for your presence on the show.
I’ve had a ball. One of my intentions coming into this was to have fun. Adam, thank you for the questions and the banter. I love great conversations. You were wonderful.
To our incredible community, I want to say thank you for being there, for enjoying this, for subscribing. I appreciate the fact you’ve done that. If you haven’t yet done that, feel free to. You can consume more of the podcast at AdamMarkel.com. Leave a review on iTunes. We’d love the feedback. We appreciate the reviews, whatever it means to you. No requirement that you put five stars there, but we love those too. The community itself is growing in a beautiful way. If you like to be part of that growth and what that community is all about, which is vulnerability and real authenticity in our pivots, in the way that we’re pivoting in our minds, our mindset, the things that we do, and the way we relate to ourselves, to each other, it’s the most beautiful thing. You can join that community on Facebook at Start My PIVOT Community, or take this shortcut which is PivotFB.com. You can find us there as well, access and information about Blaine Bartlett and the work he’s doing and the places where you can find out more about him and his books, and how to support some of the upcoming things that are going on.
You can go to my website, BlaineBartlett.com. Information’s there as well.
That’s probably the most timeless way to reach out. This podcast will be consumed for months beyond that date and years even. There’s an organic opportunity in this moment to read and to consume other things that Blaine has been involved in. I want to close out the show the way we open. It’s the tradition. It’s the ritual here which is for all of us to leave with gratitude. We entered with gratitude, we’ll depart with gratitude. It’s not an ending, it’s the beginning. There’s no end to the show or to our ongoing opening. I am grateful and feel so blessed to be here and to be with all of you, to share the space with Blaine, for us to all come together as we are, to be breathing together, to be living together, to be working on ourselves and on the world collaboratively, hopefully not into great a competition because there’s nothing to compete about. We’re slow to adopt the distinction there that we can all win. Either way, what a blessing it is.
As we breathe, as we take this breath, we know there are people that are taking their last and taking their first, and that makes this moment sacred. With that, I want to say thank you and blessings to all of you wherever it is that you are, whether it’s evening or night or some other point in the day. Just have a beautiful rest of your day and a blessed evening and a blessed sleep. When you wake up tomorrow, I wish you and wave this magic wand that you will in fact wake up a little bit more tomorrow than you are even today, and that you are grateful for that opportunity to wake yourself up and to be woken up by whatever it is that you encounter, all the divine expressions that are everywhere when you open your eyes. Lastly, if you’re willing to keep this ritual, I’ve been sharing this with you for some time now and it’s changed my life. It’s these words that you can speak out loud and affirm to the universe, which is, “I love my life. I love my life. I love my life.” Have a beautiful one. We’ll see you soon. Ciao for now.
- Avatar Resources
- The Institute for Compassionate Capitalism
- Compassionate Capitalism: A Journey to the Soul of Business
- Discover Your Inner Strength
- Three Dimensional Coaching
- Arielle Ford – previous episode
- Keith Leon – previous episode
- Richard Bandler
- Compassionate Capitalism
- World Business Academy
- Rinaldo Brutoco
- Deepak Chopra
- Just Capital
- Unstoppable Foundation
- The Edinburgh Lectures
- The Spirit of Opulence
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull
- The Greatest Salesman in the World
- Conscious Pivot on iTunes
- Start My PIVOT Community
About Blaine Bartlett
Blaine Bartlett is CEO and President of Avatar Resources, a global consulting firm he founded in 1987. He has coached and consulted worldwide with executives, companies, and governments and has personally delivered training programs to more than a quarter of a million individuals and has directly impacted more than one million people. Blaine is an Adjunct Professor at Beijing University, is on the teaching faculty of the American Association for Physician Leadership, and is the Founder of the Institute for Compassionate Capitalism. He sits on the Board of Directors of the World Business Academy and the Unstoppable Foundation and is a member of the Advisory Boards of the All Japan Management Coaching Association and the Asia Coaching and Mentoring Association. In 2012, Blaine was formally invested as a Knight of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta, the world’s oldest humanitarian organization. Blaine is the author of the #1 international best-seller Compassionate Capitalism: A Journey to the Soul of Business, co-author of Discover Your Inner Strength written in collaboration with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Brian Tracy, and is the author of Three Dimensional Coaching which was published in 2013 and translated into Chinese and Japanese in 2015.