Fear and Hope

Fear is the ultimate tool of oppression.
Dictatorial regimes and bully bosses are past masters at using it as a tool for controlling their citizens and staff, respectively.
People can be manipulated to do terrible things through fear.
As individuals we use fear to achieve self-oppression.
Some of us are masterful at tapping into the pervasive undercurrent of fear percolating within our deeper layers of consciousness.
By doing so we reveal specific fears:
the fear of saying the wrong thing; the fear of being laughed at; the fear of being betrayed by a loved one; the fear of losing your job; the fear of being diagnosed with a terminal disease.

Recently my father was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Coming less than two years after my own sudden cardiac death experience, this hit me hard at first. He is the toughest man I know; I always saw him as indestructible. It may sound counterintuitive, but to now see him in the fight of his life fills me with hope.

Briony Scott, herself a lung cancer patient, sums up how hope can overcome fear in a beautiful piece she wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald:

Hope, knocked down, gets up. The spirit bends towards life. Surrounded by those who know the worst and yet focus on the best, those of us sidelined by fear are able to pick ourselves up, shelve the grief, and do what needs to be done. The force wielding the gun is just as deadly but you care less. You have choice. To spend whatever is left of your life in fear or to get on with living. You do everything you can to extend your life but you will not spend it waiting for the end to come.”

One year on, I am back running a school, doing what I love. But I have changed. I am intimately acquainted with both fear and hope. They merge and cross from time to time but with an extraordinary team of people working quietly and persistently towards a cure, for all types of cancer, and especially for lung cancer, fear will not win. Hope does and will; again and again, and again.”

Such powerful words, but how do they apply to us in business?

What do we do in a work context when fear arises?
Do we confront it or push it away by working harder?
Fear needs to be confronted, directly, by the team facing it and collectively they need to brainstorm solutions to overcoming that fear.

The team’s initial instinct is to rather work harder at solving the problems that are causing the fear, for example by closing new customers. This amounts to busywork and is being done to mask the fear. Tensions will continue to rise until people on the team feel like the business is unraveling.

The real work requires the team to be fierce and confront the fear together, deciding together what solutions are best for them to pursue. This is the best way for a team to find sustainable solutions to dealing with the fear. It will also bring them together as a more cohesive unit, mending relationships and bringing people back together. While it may feel like the tougher option in the moment, it will provide the focus needed to shift the business to a higher level.

It does not matter what the underlying cause of the fear is, confronting it directly, as a team, is the only way to solve for the long term.

How can EXOscalr help?

Our work is focused on guiding people to be fierce, with themselves, their relationships and their businesses and to tackle their personal and business fears with hope.

We take our clients on a journey of self-discovery and powerfully guide them to go deeper into themselves and step into their greatness; we are bold truth tellers and guide our clients to be the same; EXOscalr is fuel for the soul; we give our clients an audacious wake up call and assist them to find and reclaim the innate powers they possess; we are their compass, challenging them to find their direction and go beyond their limitations; within themselves our clients find compassion, joy, personal power, timeless wisdom and unconditional love; we strip away everything that no longer serves them and give them the tools and inspiration to rebuild their faith in themselves, while showing them how to live a bigger, more true life.

We work with our clients individually one on one, as well as with their teams; we meet our clients where they are, combining insights into personal development and business growth.

Are Entrepreneurs Suicidal?

Avoca

The topic of depression in startup founders is becoming more prominent. It is an important discussion that was highlighted when outspoken serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis was asked his views by a journalist.

He replied, “Running a startup is a mentally-challenging pursuit, with the chances of failure being absurdly high and the effort required being so extreme. Most of the people attracted to changing the world via a startup are highly-driven and quixotic, but sometimes they are manic.”

“I don’t think startups cause depression, but I do think depressed people can be lured into the chemical rush of running a startup without understanding how trying it really is.”

My personal view on the topic is that being prone to depression should not be a contra-indicator to becoming an entrepreneur.

Instead there are methods for dealing with depression, fostering resilience and reducing fear (of failure, of success) that while important for all entrepreneurs become imperative for those who need to fight their shadows more than others.

The most likely accelerator for depression is not being true to one self. Do a startup for the right reasons that resonate at your soul level, not because it is cool. Not being true to yourself creates emotional friction that will wear down your resilience and let the shadows in.

There is also a misunderstanding about what generates depression and people often oversimplify this very complex issue. It is not as simple as “just getting over it”.

This comment from a Reddit thread on the topic points to the complexity involved:

“The solution to depression is to be happier and stay positive, but doing that involves rehauling habits, improving one’s environment, setting goals, having the proper environment and support, and putting consistent work into changing the way one thinks, day after day without fail or else one runs the risk of undoing every step of progress. By the way, you have to do all of this while your mind tells you how pointless everything is and leeches away your capacity to feel pleasure or pride about a job well done, so any progress you do make provides no intrinsic motivation.”

Many entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed by the sheer number and weight of the decisions they face. Do I hire this person? Do I fire that person? Should I take funding from them, or them? Who is giving me the right advice? What are the consequences of releasing a new product feature – too early, or too late? Should I sell the business to them, at that price? And on and on.

These decisions can mean life or death for their business. Yet for people living with anxiety, every single decision, no matter how small they may seem to others, feels like they have life or death consequences. Factor anxiety into the mix for an entrepreneur and they become far more prone to depression and even suicide.

Another Reddit comment highlights how someone with anxiety thinks:

“It’s like a life or death game of chess. You have to think ten moves ahead and have a move for every situation in advance. The fear of death gets worse with every possible move you analyze. And if life makes a move that you didn’t see coming, instant breakdown, no matter how small insignificant the move was.”

Nor is depression a tap that can be turned on or off at will. It is with someone constantly as another poster to Reddit said:

“Every day of my life! Normal people don’t get it. They think you are acting crazy and irrational and treat you like you can just turn it on and off whenever you want, like it’s a choice. It’s not. I’ve learned to “deal” with it and suppress it a bit but it’s always there.”

Unfortunately there is a rise in suicide rates across all demographics, not only entrepreneurs. A 24% rise between 1999 and 2014 in the US has been attributed to concerns about jobs and personal finances. These issues can be exacerbated amongst entrepreneurs worried about how they keep supporting their staff and feeding their families.

It is important for entrepreneurs to realise that there is no direct causal link between being in the grip of fear and spiralling into depression. Realisation and resilience are key to staving off the shadows. Former Google and now CEO at Accompany, Amy Chang said in an interview recently, “I’ve made so many mistakes along the way. I have those ‘3am wake up and can’t go back to sleep moments’ all the time. It is good for people who are just starting their careers to know that too, so that when they are totally scared out of their minds of failure, or whatever else, they know it is 100% normal.”

My advice to entrepreneurs, be they new to the game or old hands, is tread the entrepreneurial path with eyes wide open. Do not be afraid to talk about your fears and anxieties and seek assistance if things get more serious.

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This post was initially published as part of the EXOscalr BeFierce newsletter. You can subscribe here:http://eepurl.com/bxGzD1 .

We Dare Not Fail Ourselves

Waiheke Winter Light

We live in a world surrounded by terror and unrest. The immediate agony of disease, displacement and starvation pervades. Technological advancements bring economic uncertainty to many disengaged workers.

70 years ago Sir John Gorton, who went on to be Prime Minister of Australia, spoke of a similar world. Surrounded by so much intolerance I believe his advice echoes across the ages. May he inspire all of us to be fiercer with ourselves, with our relationships and the world around us. May we never be complacent. May we be brave and not accept injustice, wherever and however we find it.

Hear his words and be watchful: –

“We cannot expect to make a new and better world as a result of the exercise of brute military force. We can only expect to achieve the kind of world we want by the use of brains and effort during peace.”

“We must raise the spiritual standard of living so that we may get a spirit of service to the community and so that we may live together without hate, even though we may differ on the best road to reach our objectives.”

Tomorrow we must carry on again. And the tasks which lie in front of us are immense and urgent as never before.”

“What can we do? Individually, it may not be much. But we can at least all think on the problems which are in front of us and be ready to act on our thoughts if the opportunity arises. We can try to reason out how we may best provide a full and satisfactory life for all our citizens. We can practise tolerance and understanding. And we can be ready always to defend against attacks, either from within or without, the political freedom, the measure of freed which we already have.”

 “It will be hard. It will mean a constant effort from all of us. Build a world in which meanness and poverty, tyranny and hate, have no existence.”

– Sir John Gorton, Mystic Park Hall, April 3rd 1946.

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We dare not fail ourselves. We dare not see the chance to improve our world wasted.

Every single one of you reading this has the power to affect change. In fact, many of you have already demonstrated, in your unique ways, the power to lead massive change.

I implore you to step up, to break free from your daily busyness. Accept my challenge to make a commitment within 24 hours of reading this and join me on this quest.

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This post was initially shared through the EXOscalr Be Fierce newsletter. You can subscribe at: http://eepurl.com/bxGzD1

EXOscalr Announces Support For Early Stage Entrepreneurs

At EXOscalr we want to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and are offering a limited number of slots for early stage entrepreneurs to work with us.

As part of our support, we will significantly reduce our rates for one on one coaching with entrepreneurs and will also work with peer groups made up of a maximum of 3 synergistic entrepreneurs.

To qualify your current business must be pre-Series A funding. You could be anywhere on the spectrum between exiting your current role to do a start up through to being close to raising your Series A venture capital round. Our logic is that Series A is enough of an inflection point for us to have a full business conversation that doesn’t necessarily require EXOscalr subsidising you by reducing our fees.

EXOscalr is a strategy, growth and wisdom coaching company. We help CEOs and their teams deal with the internal entrepreneurship rollercoaster, supporting the growth they need to exponentially improve their performance and their life.

Ping rand@exoscalr.com to find out more about the opportunity to work with us.

Exciting new role: VP of Business Development & Growth, OTE $400k

EXO2

 

EXOscalr is entering a new phase of growth and we are excited to be seeking a VP of Business Development & Growth.

Details of the role are below.

Serious enquiries (including resume and covering letter) can be addressed to our CEO, Rand Leeb-du Toit at rand@exoscalr.com.

Please no recruitment companies, or lead generation service providers.

 

Job description

We are looking for a senior business development professional for a Vice President role. The person will be responsible for sourcing and closing coaching and advisory clients, with a particular focus on the roles of CEO and Chief Digital Officer. You need not be based in any specific geographical location, however we are seeking a Silicon Valley-style Get Stuff Done mentality.

Responsibilities:

– Generate revenue by selling EXOscalr’s coaching and advisory services
– Develop a sales strategy designed to achieve set revenue targets
– Build and maintain relationships with corporate executives in CEO and Chief Digital Officer roles across a range of industry sectors, company sizes and geographies
– Develop and maintain a robust pipeline of qualified prospects
– Book consistent prospect meetings and follow up until clients are closed
– Develop a working knowledge of the issues CEOs and Chief Digital Officers face
– Develop a strong knowledge and understanding of the competitive landscape and be able to effectively articulate the EXOscalr value proposition
– Provide client/prospect feedback.

Qualifications:

– 10+ years of sales experience to senior executives, ideally selling six figure coaching and advisory packages
– Hunter, with a get stuff done mentality, able to be autonomous and generate significant new business
– Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both verbally and textually
– Broad based knowledge of the sales process from lead generation to relationship management
– Mature communicator capable of handling high-profile clients
– Demonstrated ability to work in a team atmosphere
– A desire to work in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment
– Prepared to back themselves.

Location:

We are geographically agnostic and so you may be based anywhere on the planet provided you have excellent Internet connectivity and have a Silicon Valley-style Get Stuff Done mentality.
Industry:

Professional Training and Coaching, Management Consulting, Venture Capital & Private Equity

Employment type:

Full-time

Experience:

Director

Job function:

Sales, Business Development, Growth

About EXOscalr
We empower leaders to be fierce with themselves, in their relationships and in their business particularly around disruptive innovation, growth and making a difference.

Debunking Freud, the Brain|Mind Operating System and Why Wisdom Matters

Wheel of Life

Last week I had the pleasure of talking with the students of the Bachelor of Science Advanced – Global Challenges at Monash University, Melbourne. This is a one of a kind degree in Australia as it combines a science degree with training in leadership, persuasive communication, entrepreneurship, policy, ethics and corporate social responsibility.

My session was titled Wisdom through Ferocity. I led the group through my journey from lawyer, serial entrepreneur and venture guy to wisdom guide and leadership coach. And then just as they were getting comfortable we dived into a self-inquiry workshop designed to get them to really think.

This is what some of the participants had to say:

* “Though provoking and intimidating – self discovery isn’t easy!”

* “Great dialogue about the importance of a ‘wisdom society’.”

* “How rich this conversation was. Thanks for the insights.”

* “You ask the really tough questions and a rich conversation unfolds.”

* “Thank you for challenging me to find my soul work and to focus on big things that create change.”

* “Awesome dialogue exploring the deeper sense of self and who we truly are!”

I hope that this sparked an ongoing conversation amongst a group of people who may well turn into some of our next world leaders. I am also excited to see how they develop their own wisdom practices over the ensuing years.

I plan on rolling the self-inquiry workshop out more broadly to companies and believe it would make a fantastic keynote catalyzer for strategic retreats and executive offsites.

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One of the students asked to interview me and this resulted in me honing my thinking which I’ve set out in a Q&A below:

Are we unconsciously conscious?
Both negative and positive emotions are processed by the unconscious brain, not because as Freud believed they are repressed, but because the observable affects of these emotions are expressed so rapidly and automatically that they take place beneath conscious awareness.

The unconscious and conscious are part of a cohesive and very active brain|mind operating system (OS) that assesses life experiences and responds according to the system’s programming.

This OS operates in service of an individual person’s life management and its overarching value metric is energy efficiency. It parses any decision against past reinforced learning. This parsing leads to the unconscious part of the brain|mind OS automatically enacting what it already knows, unless there is a conscious intervention.

Assuming the OS programming is optimal, flow is an extremely powerful state to achieve, because in flow one can circumvent the need to interact with the conscious completely. In flow we lose the sense of self and become one with our environment reacting to it fluidly.

When viewed against the backdrop of a cohesive OS we realise that the concept of self is not a necessary construct for effective operation, nor does a distinct self exist. In contrast we can view self-organisation more as auto-organisation, without the requirement for some centralised self-driven agency.

This individual OS is capable of interacting relationally with the OS of other individuals to form an effected individual and collective response.

How does wisdom fit into the mix?
The overarching goal of attaining higher levels of wisdom it to produce more harmonic alignment – be that within ourselves, within our teams, our companies, our societies, our planet and the universe.

Wisdom dictates that the more we learn about our unconscious forces the better equipped we will be to deal with and, when there are issues, treat, the behavioural and emotional situations we find ourselves in. Through wisdom we can reprogram our OS.

One of the key objectives of a wisdom practice is to be able to insert an interstitial between emotion and affect in order to steer an individual’s response to a situation towards a more positive outcome.

The purpose of a wisdom-practice is to optimise this learning for the benefit of that individual and the broader collectives they are a part of. Ultimately wisdom should contribute to a universal OS. Many of the rules we have currently within our brain|mind OS are not in harmony with this broader universal OS and by gaining higher levels of wisdom practice we can do our part to produce more harmonic alignment.

What is the difference between being an advisor and a wisdom guide?
Previously my work was as an expert, an advisor and analyst. I was conducting my own pattern recognition across vast areas of technological and trend development and then interpreting and communicating this to others. Clients came to me for advice. This was a lean forward activity for me, while my clients mostly listened, took the advice on board and then acted upon it. By contrast much of my work today is about guiding and coaching people to have their epiphanies, to get them to access what they already know but haven’t yet processed and to harness their super powers. This is a lean back role in which I let the atmosphere come to me – I often hear the meaning between the lines and I listen for the music behind the words. This open and empathetic channelling approach empowers me to resonate with my client’s affective cadence and ask the right -and many times, the hard – questions to steer the conversation for my client’s benefit.

Why is wisdom important to our future?
We are moving aware from conscious operation in much of our external environment – autonomous vehicles, smart machines, AI, chatbots etc. As this trend picks up pace the perceived need for us to interact consciously (I say ‘perceived’, because we mainly use our unconscious to control the current systems) will reduce significantly.

This is a window for us to become more attuned to our unconscious, for us to let go and for us to rewire our OS to be more connected with the universal OS. This window will close if we instead retreat from controlling our environment to losing ourselves in VR which is a very real threat.

This window is important because we are in the early stages of shifting from a knowledge-centric society into a wisdom society. We have witnessed the beginnings of this shift over the past 16 years.

Through my near-death experience I had incredibly vivid visions of societies being built up and crumbling, civilizations evolving and devolving. I believe that for a very long time (many thousands and thousands of years) we have been in a devolving cycle, but we are now in the early stages of an ascendancy from a time of darkness and confusion into a time of light and collective wisdom. The pace of this ascendancy is contingent on a proactive approach. If we do nothing and rail against this natural cycle we may evolve very slowly and not achieve our full potential before the cycle shifts again. It is up to us to catalyze and accelerate this ascendancy.

Why Be Fierce?
This mantra is designed to remind us that we can reprogram our behaviour patterns away from simply accepting our programmed response to situations and towards finding a better, more attuned path. Aim more for an internal ferocity than an external viciousness.

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Thanks for reading and continue to
Be Fierce!
Rand Leeb-du Toit

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EXOscalr provides a wisdom practice to both Fortune 500 CEOs, CDOs and high growth leaders.

We focus on wisdom through ferocity. We guide our clients to be fierce and invest their time and resources wisely by considering future trends, competitive pressures, growth demands, innovation and corporate venturing capabilities and their own data.

My personal wisdom guidance is derived from a mix of over 30 years of business experience and the unique personal insights that ensued from my sudden cardiac death.

I read all my email at rand@exoscalr.com and I’m also at +1-650-529-4181 and +1-646-480-0205. Feel free to reach out.

Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here: http://eepurl.com/bxGzD1

What’s impossible when you unleash your absolute potential?

Last week’s 3000 km (1800 mile) drive across Australia may have only covered a relatively small part of this great southern land but it enabled me to do three important things:

1. spend precious family time in the South Australian wine regions;
2. take down time and fly my drone across amazingly stark terrain; and
3. contemplate the work I’m doing and hone my thinking.

All three of these activities are essential for my continued well-being and overall spiritual fitness. I arrived back in Sydney exhausted, but full of energy and motivated to continue with my overarching purpose – using my wisdom to guide leaders unleash their absolute potential.

During this journey I both refined my purpose and crystallized a framework that succinctly explains our approach to strategic leadership.

Absolute Potential

Recently, one of my clients beautifully described how I was guiding her to ‘unleash her potential’. This really resonated as an apt moniker for my work. On the trip I realized that adding one extra word made a world of difference.  That word is ‘absolute’ – my focus is on “unleashing your absolute potential“. By this I mean your unconstrained potential, free of self-imposed limitations and societal constructs.

As I move into the second year of running EXOscalr I aim to apply this insight to my work and ask clients a really big question, “What’s impossible when you unleash your absolute potential?” Imagine what is possible when you operate without constraint.

Strategic Leadership

On my journey I also formulated the EXOscalr Strategic Leadership Model, which you can see in the diagram below.

SLM

 

This provides the framework for the way in which we work with clients. It is designed in three core modules that connect to drive deep self-awareness, build your momentum and empower you to achieve your absolute potential.

As I say in the EXOscalr Overview (Dropbox link), this sounds straightforward and may even give you a sense of comfort. However, don’t be fooled – EXOscale results are not achieved by following a curriculum, nor are they beholden to a set, linear path.

“You are the program. Your words, your voice contain your powers and they come to life within the coaching space.”

Under the Strategic Leadership Model a lot of work goes into self-inquiry and developing a growth engine, but the final element required for achieving your absolute potential is to be fierce, to harness your personal superpowers and, by doing the work, making things happen. This is a true sine qua non and I have seen people flounder who have put in the initial groundwork, but have not been sufficiently fierce, have not been proactive and seized opportunities.

To be fierce is that essential magical element and I have renamed this missive, Be Fierce, as a reminder to all of us to constantly step up and challenge ourselves.

I encourage you to take a read of the EXOscalr Overview and reach back to me if you’d like to talk about coaching yourself. Feel free to also pass it on to colleagues, portfolio CEOs and friends who may be interested in removing their constraints, refining their capabilities and unleashing their absolute potential.

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At EXOscalr we work with our clients to unleash their absolute potential and make a difference. We draw on decades of experience, including insights gained in venture capital, corporate innovation, building high growth organizations and advising the Fortune 1000 on transformation.

I read all my email at rand@exoscalr.com and I’m also at +1-650-529-4181 and +1-646-480-0205. Feel free to reach out.

Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:http://eepurl.com/bxGzD1

What’s It Like Taking The First Steps On A Transformational Journey?

Meditate2

One of my clients, Bridget, has written about the first six months of her transformational journey since starting to work with us at EXOscalr. It took a lot of courage to write and I wanted to share it with you. It provides an insider’s view of what it feels like to be ‘under way’ on such a journey and it is powerful stuff:

I had achieved substantial external success. However, internally it was a different story. I felt that I was a fraud hiding my true self and I was constantly burnt out due to anxiety and fear.

When I first started working with Rand I told him that while my quest – contributing towards bringing world peace on earth within my lifetime – was a seed that had been lying in the depths of my soul since my inception, and while I did not yet know how it would be achieved, the road towards action was littered with fears and distance within and between myself, and it was these barriers which needed to be addressed first.

Despite my external successes, my internal was lost. I had written a poem a few months earlier, in which I wrote;

I’m stuck in a wheel.
Why can’t I move on?
Be better, be me, odd as I am.

I knew that I was hiding from myself and others, from my dreams and future, and that the only way to become my best self that I so dearly wanted to reconcile with, would be to peel back the layers of fear that kept holding me back. And peel them back we have!

After a few months of working with Rand I broke through my biggest mountain yet. Denial. In a reflection I wrote;

For the longest time I have been unwilling or unable to accept myself. My true self. My true purpose. And maybe I am still hiding, but I am absolutely closer to accepting who I am and where I am heading.

And I am. This transformational journey has been a rollercoaster as with each layer that is removed a stronger, more aligned me is revealed, and almost as quickly a new fear rises up to be challenged. Despite facing the desire to run away multiple times, I am incredibly proud of myself for standing my ground and fighting for myself. It’s amazing how quickly fears disappear when you do.

I have more fears ahead of me to conquer, more transformation to undergo, and I am aware and gracious for the fact that I could not have achieved such significant and accelerated personal growth without Rand’s absolute acceptance of me, both during times of advancement and setback. I adore our sessions because Rand assists me in shining a light on the compass of my soul, the Sherpa and sage of my internal journey.

I am eternally grateful for the privilege of working with him and can’t wait to see what the next six months unveil.

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At EXOscalr we work with our clients to unleash their absolute potential and make a difference. We draw on decades of experience, including insights gained in venture capital, corporate innovation, building high growth organizations and advising the Fortune 1000 on transformation.

As a professional coach and adviser I constantly focus on the trends in achieving exponential growth and how you can make more difference.

I read all my email at rand@exoscalr.com and I’m also at +1-650-529-4181 and +1-646-480-0205. Feel free to reach out.