Warren G. Bennis said, "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." Bennis, founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California is also chairman of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School. His most recent book is Geeks & Geezers.
It is the translating that can be challenging but, if you can really see in the first place, along with the obstacles you can see the opportunities to translate your vision of the future into a reality enjoyed by many.
I see you!
Four things have to happen, in order to clearly say, "I see you!" Is it difficult for you to see your colleagues, clients, strangers, potential friends, or supportive team members in a positive light? For many people struggling as they age with both eyesight loss and a decline in business insights, one of these four vision elements are often missing or damaged.
Part One: Lights and Color
The light reflecting off your face has to reach my eyes, traveling undistorted through the cornea, the pupil, the lens, the vitreous fluid until it reaches the retina and the central portion of the retina, the macula.
Simple exercises and guided visualizations that improve the way your eyes take in light improves your ability to see clearly the street signs on a dark rainy night, the expression in a delighted customer's face, and the print in an innovative book. Tools and techniques that improve your eye health and function eliminates the pain of dry eyes and the headaches induced by strained fatigued eyes as well as the pain of missed opportunities and a lack of clear focus.
Part Two: The Pathway: The Retina, the Macula and the Brain
In the eye, the retina, the macula, the rods and the cones turn colorful light waves (energy) into electrochemical signals (matter) which travel along the nerves. Each new signal strengthens an old rut or lays down a new pathway. Fifteen or twenty years ago, a neurologist might have said, the macula or central nervous system part of the retina, the brain and spinal cord can't heal but today's research and the experience of thousands of individuals indicates that all these parts of the nervous system can heal.
Tools and techniques that improve brain health improve your ability to see clearly, coordinate eye movement so that you can judge the distance between your bumper and mine. It also enables you to respond to boundaries and relationships and remember what you have read or seen. Using exercises, cross word puzzles and good nutrition that support your nervous system health can improve your vision and help you avoid Alzheimer's disease or forgetting the details of an advertising campaign.
Part Three: Pattern Recognition, Visual Memory and Assigning Meaning
Once the electrochemical information arrives in the occipital area (visual cortex in the back of the head), the limbic system (protective part of the brain) and the amygdala (emotional centers in the brain) and the hypothalamus (balance and sleep-wake regulation centers) the process of recognizing the pattern and assigning meaning to the information begins. This happens almost instantaneously in the healthy brain, where what is before you right now is coordinated with visual memories, past experiences and emotions.
Alternative medicine techniques, brain health exercises and learning a new language can all contribute to improved cognition, learning abilities, and pattern recognition. Why is pattern recognition important? It allows you to avoid car accidents by improving your ability to see the flow of traffic and where your opportunities lie. It allows you to recognize people and places that are familiar and helps you feel safe and included. It allows you to use visual information, what you see to plan where you place your foot for the next balanced step as well as recognizing the kindness in a stranger's face.
In fact, it is now estimated that visual perception is 80 percent memory and 20 percent input through the eyes. In other words, "sensory information is not transmitted to the brain; it comes from it," said Richard Gregory in ‘Brainy Mind', British Medical Journal, 19 December 1998, issue 317: pp. 1693–1695
Part Four: The Action: Visual Coordination and Response
The final step in really seeing the people and things around you, is the response as you translate the bits of light, chemicals and electrical impulses pulsing through your brain, as well as the interpretations and meanings you assign the images into an action or into reality. Your response might be to move your arm muscles and reach out to shake a person's hand or congratulate them with a pat on the back. Your response might be a facial expression that conveys happiness, disgust, fear or another emotion. The success of your leadership depends on how you convey your response to what you perceive. Is your response, the response you want to convey? Are you seeing what you want to see in terms of progress in your business?
In your response is also the element of hand-eye coordination, of balancing the light and color you take in with your other sensations and experience. Vision and visual perception forms the basis for physical prowess and your ability to move in the world. Your visual ability influences the way you take the stage at a conference or walk into an important business meeting.
You response might feel warm or cold to a colleague as they see you and your response to them, to their expressions in the world. And so when I see you and you see me there is a fork in the road with the potential for something beautiful or a sense of alienation.
Most Americans report that, of all disabilities, loss of eyesight would have the greatest impact on their daily life, according to a recent survey by the NIH's National Eye Institute (NEI). Fear of vision loss ranks ahead of loss of memory, speech, arm or leg, and hearing. After all, 80 percent of the sensory information the brain receives comes from your eyes.
How clearly do you see the bits of light? What is the state of the tissue, electrical networks and chemical soup between your ears? How are you interpreting what you see and assigning meaning?
Do you see me? Or your colleagues, customers and clients? Or the opportunities and resources around you supporting your business?
What do you see and what does it mean?
- Originally Published in The Catalyzed Leader.
Kimberly Burnham, PhD
Published in over 100 books, Kimberly Burnham is a writer, poet, and complementary medicine practitioner. She authored Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program for people interested in improving their brain clarity, creativity and muscle movements. Her current project focuses on color words, the brain and vision health designed to assist people in seeing better. Kimberly's Ph.D. (Integrative Medicine) considered manual therapy techniques (Integrative Manual Therapy, Matrix Energetics, Acupressure, Reiki) and health coaching for people with Parkinson's disease. She is an avid gardener and environmentalist, who bicycled 3000 miles across the U.S. in 2013. Kimberly Burnham is the managing editor of Inner Child Magazine and on the board of The United World Movement for Children. For a brain health coaching phone consultation or an appointment in Spokane, Washington contact Kimberly at https://www.nervewhisperer.solutions/ or email her at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com.
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Kimberly Burnham helps authors get their books out into the world more broadly by improving their free Amazon Author's page and book pages, posting a book review on her blog and on her LinkedIn Pulse blog (over 12,000 followers) Promotion packages start at $50. Contact her at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com. See her Amazon Author's Page.
See her list of publications including her latest book of brain health meditations, Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program.
Designed to enhance memory, creativity, and inner peace, Awakenings: Peace,Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program is available free of charge as a Kindle eBook on February 14-15, 2019. [Click Here].
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I am looking for guest blog opportunities and a position as poet-in-residence. My current project is writing dictionary poems using words in different languages for the English word "peace." You can read some of my poems on Poemhunter .
As poet-in-residence I would write poems on different words in different languages and broadcast them throughout the social media blogosphere. Each poem would link back to your site where the word or language appeared.
I would expect some sort of stipend and a six month to one year placement. Please contact me for details if your organization is interested in having a poet-in-residence to help get your message out. Nervewhisperer@gmial.com
Buy the print or eBook, review Awakenings then contact Kimberly for a free 20 minute brain health consultation. Email or Phone
(Regular rates $120 per hour or 10 sessions for $650.)