Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Self-Action Leadership for Civic Leaders and Other High Profile Role Models

Civility and Good Ideas Rooted in True Principles



Last week, Congressman Paul Ryan—the current Speaker of the House of Representatives and third in line to the Presidency were something to happen to President Obama and Vice President Biden—gave a groundbreaking speech on the state of American politics.

Without naming any names or peddling in partisan politicking, Ryan put forth a vision of civility in American political discourse and leadership.  In doing so, he exemplified a demeanor of hope and optimism that he himself has come to personify as a rising star on Capitol Hill.  

Click HERE to watch Speaker Ryan's Speech

Click HERE to read a transcript of Speaker Ryan's Speech

U.S. Capitol Building where Congressman Paul Ryan serves
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
In his speech, Ryan reminded us that we can disagree with each other's ideas without impugning each other's motives.  According to Ryan, the key to long-term political success lies in "Good Ideas" that are "passionately promoted and put to the test."

In his own words:
"America is the only nation founded on an idea—not an identity. That idea is the notion that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. Our rights are natural. They come from God, not government. 
"While it was a beautiful idea, it had never been tried before. Early on, as our founders struggled to establish a suitable order, they decided that we would not maintain this idea by force. In the first Federalist paper, Alexander Hamilton wrote that 'in politics,' it is 'absurd to aim at making' converts 'by fire and sword.' Instead, we would govern ourselves, with the people’s consent. ... There was no manual for how to do this. That’s why they call it the American experiment."

The Supreme Court of the United States
A concern of Ryan's that led him to deliver this groundbreaking speech is the loss of faith and trust that many Americans have in institutions, and especially in government—and for good reason.  Said Ryan:
"Our political discourse—both the kind we see on TV and the kind we experience among each other—did not use to be this bad and it does not have to be this way. Now, a little skepticism is healthy. But when people distrust politics, they come to distrust institutions. They lose faith in their government, and the future too. We can acknowledge this. But we don’t have to accept it. And we cannot enable it either.

"My dad used to say, if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem. So I have made it a mission of my Speakership to raise our gaze and aim for a brighter horizon. Instead of talking about what politics is today, I want to talk about what politics can be. I want to talk about what our country can be…about what our Founders envisioned it to be."
Freedom Focused does not endorse political figures or candidates.  It does, however, endorse the United State of America as the greatest nation in the world—a nation that, as Abraham Lincoln once put it, is "The last best hope of Earth."  As such, we enthusiastically endorse Speaker Ryan's non-partisan speech on political civility given last week in the chambers of the House Ways and Means Committee in the National Capitol in Washington D.C.

We endorse this speech because the principles set forth therein harmonize with our own comprehensive EDUCATIONAL vision of what America can be when INDIVIDUALS reign in their behavior with the bridle of self-discipline, self-restraint, and self-regulation rooted in the Universal Laws and True Principles that govern all human behavioral pursuits.  These laws and principles are outlined in the Self-Action Leadership Theory & Model.

Click HERE to learn about the SAL Theory & Model

President Theodore Roosevelt served our Country as Commander-in-Chief for seven years, from 1901-1910.  At 42, he was the youngest president in our nation's history.  He ascended the office unexpectedly when President William McKinley was shot dead by an assassins bullet just six months into his second term.  Despite his youth and relative inexperience, President Roosevelt is almost universally recognized as one of our nation's greatest Presidents.  In fact, he is the only President who lived past the year 1865 to have his image engraved upon Mount Rushmore.  

In 1910, Roosevelt traveled to Paris, France, where he addressed students and faculty at a world famous University—The Sorbonne.  What would later become known as his "Citizenship in a Republic" speech, Roosevelt proclaimed that in a republic,"The quality of the Individual Citizen is Supreme."  He went on to say:
"Under other forms of government, under the rule of one man or very few men, the quality of the leaders is all-important. ... But with ... us the case is different.  With ... us ... in the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average woman, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional cries which call for heroic virtues.  The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed.  The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation.  Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of the leaders is very much higher." 

"The upward course of a nation's history is due in the long run to the soundness of heart of its average men and women."


~ Queen Elizabeth II 



One of the reasons we at Freedom Focused believe America is the greatest nation on Earth is because we have been blessed with a high concentration of the highest quality citizens and leaders throughout our 229 year history.

If the twenty-first century is to become a new American Century, leaders and citizens alike are going to have to elevate their game intellectually, morally, and practically speaking.

In order to focus firmly on the future, we must hearken back to the leadership examples of men and women like George Washington, Abigail Adams, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Barbara Bush, and Paul Ryan.  Likewise, we must more firmly follow in the footsteps of citizens like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Tubman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Clara Barton, George Washington Carver, Amelia Earhart, and Rosa Parks.    

Leaders and other high-profile role models have a duty to use the
"Bully-Pulpit" to speak up and out about the importance of leadership &
character development.  More importantly, they have a responsibility to
exemplify sterling character and honest leadership themselves. 
Self-Action Leadership is a message that serves as a concrete tool for the development of QUALITY citizens and leaders.  It is also aimed at urging leaders in business, politics, education, religion, the media, and pop culture to think more seriously about the impact their words and actions (and lack thereof) are having on those whom they lead and influence.  Lastly, it is designed to serve as an invitation to these same leaders and high profile role models to creatively and strategically utilize their various bully pulpits to promote thoughts, speech, actions, and policies that contribute to the development of quality citizens and leaders.  

Too often leaders and other high profile role models behave in ways that encourage their followers to speak and act in ways that prove detrimental—and even dangerous—to themselves and others.  No amount of money, stardom, fame, or even charity or philanthropy can compensate for the damage caused by leaders, role models, or so-called "Stars" who influence bad behavior in others by their own narcissistic or hedonistic speech, actions, or so-called art.  Theodore Roosevelt, in his speech at the Sorbonne, put it this way:
"It is a sign of marked political weakness in any commonwealth if the people tend to be carried away by mere oratory, if they tend to value words in and for themselves, as divorced from the deeds for which they are supposed to stand. The phrase-maker, the phrase-monger, the ready talker, however great his power, whose speech does not make for courage, sobriety, and right understanding, is simply a noxious element in the body politic, and it speaks ill for the public if he [or she] has power over them."
Eliciting a resurgence of American greatness can only occur as individual citizens—and the leaders that govern them—commit to self-purification.  Our nation's outer image and standard can only be purified as individual citizens rise to the challenge of becoming quality people in what we each think about, say, do, and contribute.

Speaker Ryan's father was right, each individual citizen—by virtue of his or her thoughts, speech, and actions—is either part of the problem or part of the solution to any given challenge or dilemma.  It is time for us to individually commit to leading ourselves in such a way that ensures we will be part of solutions rather than problems.

At Freedom Focused, we believe that America is a special country—a nation among nations.  This belief does not spring from an arrogant notion that we are existentially superior to citizens of others nations.  We are not!  Our belief in merely an outgrowth of our recognition of the vital role we play as the current World Superpower endowed with the privileges of a singular geography, access to abundant natural resources, and a populace that ranks among the most diverse and educated on the planet.  It has been said that where much is given, much is expected and required.  In the United States, we have been given much!  Our superior blessings necessitate we attend to our duty to lead morally and serve diligently.

In the history of the world, there has never been another superpower as benevolent and generous as the United States has been since our ascension to superpower status following World War II.  Nor has any erstwhile superpower shown more imperial restraint than the U.S.A. has since defeating the Axis power with her allies in 1945.

We are not perfect—no nation is—but the future peace, opportunity, and prosperity of the rest of the world rests largely on the shoulders of the leaders and citizens of the United States.  As we go, so goes the rest of the world.  It therefore behooves us ALL to square our shoulders to the duties and responsibilities we have to rise to the stature of our calling as examples and leaders to the rest of the world.

At Freedom Focused, we believe the founding of America, including the irrevocable truths contained in our founding documents—The Declaration of Independence & Constitution—are divinely inspired.  Moreover, we believe that individuals who construct their own lives according to similar principles of liberty, self-governance, and the rule of [natural] law, will be much more successful in the long-run than those who do not.

For this reason, we have established the SAL Theory & Model, which elucidate the comprehensive principles of personal leadership that every individual can study, internalize, and then apply in their lives to obtain predictably positive results in their lives, homes, careers, neighborhoods, and beyond.  We also teach the value of drafting one's own Self-Declaration of Independence and Constitution to serve as guiding blueprints to the life construction you can intentionally engage—if only you will.

Click HERE and scroll toward the bottom of article to read more about writing your own Self-Declaration of Independence & Constitution.

Click HERE to watch a video of Dr. Jordan Jensen explaining the principle of writing a Self-Declaration of Independence & Constitution.

Click HERE to buy Dr. Jordan Jensen's book — SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP — to learn more about these exciting principles that made a great nation, and can, in-turn, make a great YOU.


Note: This article is one of SIX articles in a special series dedicated to different AUDIENCES that Freedom Focused specifically targets with Self-Action Leadership training. We invite leaders and managers of these different audiences to click on links below to read the articles pertaining to your field or constituency.

Click HERE to access article for  BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS (Leaders, Managers, & Workers)

Click HERE to access article for  EDUCATORS  (Administrators, Teachers, & Staff)

Click HERE to access article for  STUDENTS & INDIVIDUALS

Click HERE to access article for PARENTS & FAMILIES

Click HERE to access article for ELECTED OFFICIALS, LEADERS, & ROLE MODELS

Click HERE to access article for PERSONS dealing with MENTAL ILLNESS

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SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP is the key catalyst for initiating transformational leadership that lasts in any organization. The truth of the matter really is that simple; and the transformation of organizations through the holistic development of individuals really is that difficult—yet altogether possible for anyone willing to invest the time, effort, and sacrifice required to achieve authentic, transformational results.

Unlike any training program that has ever preceded it, Self-Action Leadership provides a single vehicle wherewith individual self-leaders can discover—and then act—upon the great truth that HOLISTIC personal development and growth spanning the mental, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social elements of our individual natures is within the grasp of each one of us.

NoteFreedom Focused is a non-partisan, for-profit, educational corporation. As such, we do not endorse or embrace political figures. We do, however, comment from time-to-time on historical or political events that provide pedagogical backdrops to illuminating principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.


Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory & Model.

To receive weekly articles from Freedom Focused & Dr. Jordan R. Jensen, sign up with your e-mail address in the white box on the right side of this page where it says "Follow by E-mail."

Click HERE to buy a copy of Dr. Jordan Jensen's new book, Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.

Click HERE to read more about Dr. Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership, and to review what experts in the leadership field are saying about this groundbreaking new personal development handbook.

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan R. Jensen. Click HERE to visit the Freedom Focused website.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Self-Action Leadership Training for Parents & Families


The Most Important Leadership Positions in the World


Who are the most important leaders in the world today? And what are the most important leadership positions on the planet?  If you are like most people, you are likely to answer this question with titles like: President, Prime Minister, Queen, King, General, Admiral, CEO, etc.

It is true that these titles—and the men and women who hold them—are important because of the power they wield and the influence they extend throughout their respective domains. It is also true that such persons typically receive the most honor, glory, credit (and blame), as well as the most attention and fame (positive or ignominious) for their words, actions, and policies.

The purpose of this article is to argue that such titles—important as they might be, and seem—are NOT the most important leadership positions in the world today, nor have they ever been. Rather, the most important leadership positions in belong to a couple of far more common titles: MOTHER & FATHER.

"No other success can compensate for failure in the home."


~ David O. McKay



President Richard Andrus and his wife, Darlene, 
and me in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1999
Fifteen years ago, I was serving as a young missionary in Alberta, Canada. During one of my personal interviews with my Mission President, I was taught the importance of this parental principle of leadership.

During the course of my interview, we were discussing leadership positions and their importance. Knowing full-well that his title carried a vestige of prestige in my Church, my Mission President boldly and without any guile looked me straight in the eye and told me that the most important leadership position I would ever hold would be that of FATHER.

There was something in the way that this great man taught me this principle that left no doubt in my mind concerning his sincerity. This was not just some LDS cultural cliche he was parroting. Rather, he was communicating from the deepest fibers of his innermost soul what he earnestly knew to be true from his own experiences as a leader in both his profession and religion—as well as his experiences as a father himself. And I knew that he was telling me the absolute truth of the matter.

In 1979, Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize. When asked what individuals could do to promote world peace, she replied: “Go home and take care of your families.” That august sage of the Indian subcontinent understood the great truth that macro problems cannot be solved externally; they must be internally repaired, and OUR nation’s—or any nation's—greatest problems begin at home.

My beautiful Mama
holding me in 1980. 
From a rich ancestry to my own wonderful parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, et cetera, I have always been a wealthy man in family. From conception to manhood, I was perhaps blessed most saliently because I had a remarkable woman for a mother.

When I think about my mother, I sometimes reflect on the words of Abraham Lincoln, who once said: "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." I don't think anything in this world more obviously approaches the divine than the sweet and precious interactions between a devoted mother and her newborn baby. One leader eloquently put it this way:
"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?" [1]
I shouldn't speak for others, but as for myself, I firmly believe that my mother's commitment to bear and raise seven children is a far greater and nobler existential achievement than any 7-term Congressman or woman, as impressive as important civic achievements may be in the eyes of many, including myself.

My Family in 1982. I am sitting on my Dad's lap. 
Growing up, I was blessed to be part of a wonderful family who loved me. A healthy portion of their love was personified pedagogically. For example, they taught me right from wrong and supplemented the education I was obtaining at school or elsewhere with moral instruction and leadership. They also spent both quality and quantity time with me, and in so doing, treated their little brother with kindness and respect most of the time. And I love them all dearly for it.

My family is not perfect. Like any other family, we have our issues and shortcomings. For example, my own parents were divorced in 2004—after 37 years of marriage! I admit it is sad to think that my Mom and Dad won't be celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary on August 24th of this year.

My parents the day they wed
August 24, 1966 
Their seven children, including me, are also flawed human beings. We try to do our best, but we, like our parents, also fall far short of any definition of perfection.

No, we are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but somehow, someway, my parents and family have been perfect for me, and I am who I am today in large part because of the extraordinarily positive impact they have had on my life. As such, I will always be eternally grateful my Mom and Dad got together back in 1966. After all, I wouldn't be here to write this article in 2016 if they hadn't! While they may not be re-enacting their Hawaiian Honeymoon together this August, I will certainly be celebrating the momentous event that special day was in my own life's story.

More than any other way, my family relations have positively impacted me EDUCATIONALLY. Because my family both LOVED me and TAUGHT me correct principles, it created a healthy scenario for growing up that made it almost impossible for me to fail in life.

Me as a baby surrounded by a loving Father & five
older brothers. How could I not succeed with such support? 
I think it is a general truism that good families beget good citizens who become successful self-action leaders that make the world a better place. There are exceptions of course. When you are dealing with something as volatile as unique human beings in possession of free will, individuals will always exist who choose to poorly exercise their free will to the detriment of themselves and others regardless of the familial love and support they may have had access to growing up.

Nevertheless, in the main, I believe that individuals in our society who fail in life do so largely because they lacked the absolutely essential moral leadership that comes ideally from a loving mother and father during a child's formative, childhood, and adolescent years.

Remarkable individuals will always exist who, lacking a firm foundation in family, find a way to succeed no matter what by proactively seeking out positive leaders and mentors they missed out on in their homes. But the vast majority of us are—and largely will remain—a significant by-product (for good or ill) of the seminal influence of our own parents and family.

Click HERE to read about Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams, a remarkable self-action leader who, despite being orphaned at age 5, transcended his difficult life adversity to become incredibly successful professionally and as a family man and Father of 8.

Because much of my work is autobiographical and autoethnographic in nature, I have gone to great lengths to chronicle my own self-action leadership journey, including the influence of my parents and family on my own educational journey. To read more about how my immediate family influenced my formative education both academically and morally speaking, click HERE and HERE. To read more about how an extended family member influenced my education, click HERE.


My Mom & Dad in front of an
early home where they lived. 
The most compelling teaching method my parents and family used to empower my own education was the moral force of their own EXAMPLES. My mother and father were intelligent, educated, hard-working people who knew how to communicate intelligently. They also knew how to get their hands dirty building things from scratch, cleaning, and completing other, difficult manual labor chores.

My brothers and sisters were also honest and hard working academically, athletically, and in anything else they pursued growing up. As I matured to manhood, I observed these examples all around me, thereby absorbing a steady stream of positive peer pressure to also work hard and make good decisions in my life and career. To this day, I continue to look to my parents and siblings as examples for how to best conduct my own life and career.

With this in mind, how can YOU as a Father or Mother (or future parent), best help your children obtain a good education, especially with regards to their character development, acquisition of life skills, and maturation as a leader? There are many good answers to this question. We at Freedom Focused are certainly not the only resource you can consult as you strive to meet this essential need. Recognizing, however, the incredible value of Self-Action Leadership oriented training that we received growing up—and aware of the success that applied training has brought us in our lives—my colleagues and I seek to reach out to help parents and families in any way we can to empower you with resources to teach your children to empower their success in life.

As such, ONE of the key audiences for which Self-Action Leadership was written is MOTHERS and FATHERS. Knowing there are no more important leadership roles in the entire world than that of Father and Mother, Self-Action Leadership was written in a way that can meet the needs of parents and families. Here's how...

An Educational Resource for Parents
Parents who are serious about teaching SAL Principles to their children can take the following steps to utilize the SAL Book and Master Challenge as a key resource in the character, leadership, and life-skill education of their children.

STEP 1: Read the SAL book yourself to become acquainted with the stories as well as the principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.

STEP 2: Complete the SAL Master Challenge yourself to earn your medal and diploma. Your personal example will account for much more than anything you say to your children. The flawed mantra of, "Do as I say and not as I do" is pure parental folly.  

Note: If you have already completed life study and homework in the past that is commensurate to the SAL Master Challenge requirements and choose to "transfer your credits" so to say, make sure and share with your children the work you have done and how it helped you to become successful.

Click HERE to read more about the SAL Master Challenge.

STEP 3: Read the SAL book together as a family.

STEP 4: Complete the SAL challenge together as a family.

STEP 5: Work together to ideate and then draft a Family Declaration of Independence & Family Constitution.

Note: A Family Declaration of Independence & Constitution is a familial version of a Self-DoI and Constitution. Click HERE and scroll toward the bottom of article to read more about writing your own Self-Declaration of Independence & Constitution. Click HERE to watch a video of Dr. Jordan Jensen explaining the principle of writing a Self-Declaration of Independence & Constitution.

STEP 6: Periodically read passages, poetry, and stories from the SAL book as a family to derive further insight and inspiration as self-action leaders striving for Existential Growth.

STEP 7: Establish a period of time once-a-week (once-a-month minimum) when you will dedicate several hours to being together. Spend most of this time having fun, visiting sights or doing activities together, and eating treats. Spend a little bit of this time (e.g. one hour out of four in a morning, afternoon, or evening) teaching SAL principles and focusing on how to best apply those principles in family members' daily lives.

Click HERE to buy Dr. Jordan Jensen's book — SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP

I invite Mothers and Fathers to email me to share HOW you are using the SAL Book and Master Challenge to teach your children. I look forward to hearing from you! You can reach me personally at jordan.jensen@freedomfocused.com


Note: This article is one of SIX articles in a special series dedicated to different AUDIENCES that Freedom Focused specifically targets with Self-Action Leadership training. We invite leaders and managers of these different audiences to click on links below to read the articles pertaining to your field or constituency.

Click HERE to access article for  BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS (Leaders, Managers, & Workers)

Click HERE to access article for  EDUCATORS  (Administrators, Teachers, & Staff)

Click HERE to access article for  STUDENTS & INDIVIDUALS

Click HERE to access article for PARENTS & FAMILIES

Click HERE to access article for ELECTED OFFICIALS, LEADERS, & ROLE MODELS

Click HERE to access article for PERSONS dealing with MENTAL ILLNESS


References:

[1] Maxwell, N.A. (1978). The Women of God. (Public Address).

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SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP is the key catalyst for initiating transformational leadership that lasts in any organization. The truth of the matter really is that simple; and the transformation of organizations through the holistic development of individuals really is that difficult—yet altogether possible for anyone willing to invest the time, effort, and sacrifice required to achieve authentic, transformational results.

Unlike any training program that has ever preceded it, Self-Action Leadership provides a single vehicle wherewith individual self-leaders can discover—and then act—upon the great truth that HOLISTIC personal development and growth spanning the mental, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social elements of our individual natures is within the grasp of each one of us.

Note: Freedom Focused is a non-partisan, for-profit, educational corporation. As such, we do not endorse or embrace political figures. We do, however, comment from time-to-time on historical or political events that provide pedagogical backdrops to illuminating principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.


Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory & Model.

To receive weekly articles from Freedom Focused & Dr. Jordan R. Jensen, sign up with your e-mail address in the white box on the right side of this page where it says "Follow by E-mail."

Click HERE to buy a copy of Dr. Jordan Jensen's new book, Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.

Click HERE to read more about Dr. Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership, and to review what experts in the leadership field are saying about this groundbreaking new personal development handbook.

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan R. Jensen. Click HERE to visit the Freedom Focused website.






Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Self-Action Leadership Training for Individuals


What if You Could Squeeze Nearly THREE Decades of Knowledge, Experience, Study, and Research into ONE Comprehensive Self-Help Book and Personal Leadership Guide?




Self-Action Leadership by Dr. Jordan Jensen

ANSWER: You'd have in YOUR hands a copy of SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP, the Premier Self-Help Guide of the 21st Century.  


This week's post introduces Self-Action Leadership training for individuals.  I am extra excited about this week's article, because writing it has taken me on a pleasantly nostalgic trip down memory lane to some of the greatest joys of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

I have always loved the printed page.  I was blessed to be born into a family that valued books—especially my father.  This love was fueled no doubt by whatever children's books my parents or older siblings read to me as a little boy.

But it seemed to me to go beyond that.  It seemed to be innate—as if my love of reading and writing and studying had been developed spiritually before I was even born—and that these proclivities had naturally accompanied me on my journey into this world as well.

As such, I felt unusually drawn to books and other written material from before I could even read.  For example, I remember a childhood neighbor friend coming over to my house one day. I was in kindergarten at the time and could not yet read myself.  She, however, was a big first grader and could read.  Enamored by her special skill I had not yet accrued myself, I admiringly directed her into our little playhouse under the stairs in our home, sat her down, took out a report of some sort that looked extra important and sophisticated (which I had retrieved from my Dad's office waste basket—my office supply shop for playing "office") and admiringly asked her to read it to me.  I don't remember what she read off of whatever it was I handed her (chances are good she couldn't read much of it) but I do remember being impressed!  I could hardly wait until the day arrived when I could finally read on my own.

Later, after I had learned to read and write myself, my perspective opened up to the wonderful world of books.  This introduction and discovery opened up a veritable Heaven on Earth to me.

First, there was my own growing collection of books (by the age of 23, I had amassed a library of over 500 volumes).  Then there was the scattered collection of books throughout my home, the mother load of which was ensconced in my Dad's personal office library, which he kindly allowed me to peruse at my leisure (including permission to read his personal journals).  Beyond that, I was introduced to school and public libraries, and the expansive University library at BYU where my Mother attended school during summer terms to finish her Bachelor's degree in between the years 1988 and 1992.

The grandest private library I had access to was in my maternal Grandmother's home.  Grandma and Grandpa Smith's library dwarfed my own father's sizable collection, and I spent some of the most cherished hours of my childhood there—alone—in the midst of those thousands of books, many of which were older and emanated that pleasant "old-book smell."  Grandma kindly allowed me to search her stacks to my heart's content.  In addition, she generously allowed me to borrow those I found to be most wonderful of all.

Upon her passing, there seemed to be a lack of clarity about how the books were going to be apportioned.  Worried that this ambiguity might stretch on for some time, I wisely secured a stack of my favorites before the moving truck arrived.  In hindsight, I should have taken more than I did.  I never saw the rest of those books again.  I heard that they initially went to a storage unit.  I do not know where they are today.

Jensen Family in 1989
I am the little boy on the bottom right
I come from a large family.  Of my six siblings, I am the youngest of five boys.  My four older brothers are all at least 8 years older than me.  Because of this salient separation in our ages, my brothers were, in many way, more like uncles or surrogate fathers to me than brothers.  This was not a bad thing because they treated me kindly and with a lot of respect, especially in light of how many typical older brothers treat their kid brother.  This tender regard for me only strengthened the near-worshipful veneration I admiringly bestowed upon my brothers.  The pedestal upon which my young eyes placed them caused me to want to know and do everything they knew and did.  This translated into many different hobbies and behaviors, the foremost of which was to take interest in the sports my brothers competed in and the books they were studying at school and church.

"Doing" my trigonometry homework in
our backyard on a warm, sunny,
Arizona afternoon.
One of my most beloved childhood practices was to borrow my brothers' textbooks to look through and then copy out of—pretending I was doing the same advanced high school homework they were.  As such, I became acquainted (at least in name) to calculus, chemistry, physics, English and American literature, trigonometry, economics, theology, etc.

One of the most satisfying single moments of my entire boyhood occurred one Friday evening after returning from a high school football game to find the books Hamlet and Othello sitting on my desk in my bedroom.  I had been begging my brothers to get them for me from their high school library (which I could not personally access).  They kindly acquiesced, and forever after viewed their lending of those two books to me (which I could hardly read and not in the least bit understand as a second grade) as a precious token of brotherly love and affection.

As I matured in both age and reading ability, I began to actually study books more seriously.  As I grew into my teen years, I discovered that I especially liked books related to personal development and self-leadership.  The seeds of this passion were sunned and watered by my reading of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People and Dr. David J. Schwartz's The Magic of Thinking Big—both outstanding self-help books of antiquity from deep into the last century, and both of which I found on the bookshelves in my own home.  This was followed by my introduction to the work of my uncle, Hyrum W. Smith as well as Stephen R. Covey, Anthony Robbins, Norman Vincent Peale, and others.  I was hooked!

Teaching action shot of Dr. Jordan Jensen from 2012
While serving a 2-year mission for my Church, I discovered that I loved to teach as much, if not more, than I loved to read and write and study.  This natural blend of pre-sown personal proclivities, wonderful opportunities to nurture those seeds, and my growing chance to apply what I was learning led me, in time, to choose a career in education, and more specifically in the fields of self-help and personal development.

Along the way, I devoured additional self-help books and found that my interest was always piqued when my coursework included literature that possessed literary self-help or philosophical value (for example, as an English major, I made the fortuitous acquaintance of writers like Donne, Franklin, Emerson, Thoreau, Frost, etc.).  My passion for such literature was borne not just out of the joy and satisfaction that study itself brought to me, but because I needed the wisdom and help these authors afforded in my quest to overcome my own weaknesses, build upon my strengths, and work through perplexing life challenges I was facing—like my battle with OCD.

Click HERE to read about Dr. Jordan Jensen's battle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Click HERE to read Part II

One book in particular—The Greatest Secret in the World by Og Mandino—I used on a daily basis for 45 straight weeks in a religious effort to work through my OCD and other challenges I was facing at the time.  To this day, that book—filled with all of my notes of progression, setbacks, and insights along the way—serves as a sacred reminder to me the value of investing great time, energy, passion, effort, and the will to do whatever is necessary to overcome oneself to reach greater heights and states of being in the future.

Within a few years of my Mandino experiment, I had figured out that one of my missions in life was to write my own book that could help other people in a similar way that all of these other books I had read had helped, inspired, and lifted me in my own life's journey and helped me to transcend or manage my own life's obstacles.  Recognizing I had already amassed a great deal of knowledge and insight on the subject, I set to work.  In 2005, I published my first book—I Am Sovereign: The Power of Personal Leadership.  It was directed to a teenage and young adult audience.  It was not commercially successful, but it was a building block in my early career that bolstered my confidence and opened up doorways of additional professional opportunity.

Back cover of Dr. Jordan Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership
Ten years and a lot of reading, studying, research, and life experience later, I published what I intend to be my seminal work on the subject of personal leadership.  I call the book Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.  No matter how old I live to be, and no matter how many books I write during the course of my career, I hope that this one book remains my seminal work—and is never surpassed in its eventual commercial success.

Why?

Because this ONE book provides a synergistic accumulation and unique presentation of everything I have ever learned that has benefitted me in the field of personal development and self-help over the course of the last three decades; and because I believe that this one book will be more helpful to a broader swath of society than any other book I will ever write.  Any additional books I write in the future will merely be an appendage to this seminal text.

The past several weeks I have written about how Self-Action Leadership training (along with the book) can benefit corporate and business audiences as well as educational groups (i.e. schools and classrooms).  In weeks to come, I will write about how civic leaders, parents, and persons dealing with or treating mental illness can benefit from studying the material, as well as sharing the information and providing training for their constituents, dependents, and patients.  But in the last analysis, Self-Action Leadership is, was designed to be, and I hope always will be, used primarily as a personal manual—an all-in-one comprehensive self-help guide and workbook that can bless the lives of those who read it, study it, and do the homework assignments contained therein.

Speaking of the homework assignments contained therein, one of the unique and most beneficial features of the text is a personal leadership challenge that we at Freedom Focused call The Self-Action Leadership (or SAL) Master Challenge.

This challenge consists of 25 concrete exercises that invites YOU—the reader—to do more than just read the book.  It encourages you to study the material, learn new vocabulary words, begin a personal journal and complete other relevant writing assignments, set goals, engage in activities of self-discipline, and eventually to write your own Self-Declaration of Independence & Constitution where you will begin to identify your life and career vision, mission, values, standards, goals, etc.

Click HERE and scroll toward the bottom of article to read more about writing your own Self-Declaration of Independence & Constitution.

Click HERE to watch a video of Dr. Jordan Jensen explaining the principle of writing a Self-Declaration of Independence & Constitution.

Those who undertake and complete the SAL Master Challenge will receive a special diploma (non-accredited) and medal to commemorate their achievement.  Their names will also be recorded on the Freedom Focused website where they will remain as long as Freedom Focused stands as The Center for Self-Action Leadership.

The SAL Challenge is NOT an easy challenge.  You will not be able to complete it quickly—and that is the point!  After nearly 30 years of studying the subject of personal development and self-help, and more importantly, after nearly THREE decades of working tirelessly to improve myself in the process, I have acquired the expertise necessary to create a comprehensive guide that will provide you—in one volume—with all of the essential principles, practices, and other elements contingent in the process of human existential growth and development.  And the good news is you don't have to spend nearly 30 years figuring it all out because I've already done it for you.  All you have to do is get the book, read it, complete the SAL Challenge, and then forever benefit from the blessings that come from the acquisition of vital knowledge in concert with the dedicated pursuit of self-work, self-sacrifice, goal setting, and personal discipline.

Click HERE to buy Dr. Jordan Jensen's book — SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP

After you have finished reading the book and have completed the SAL Master Challenge, I invite you to email me to tell me about what you are learning and share your experiences.  I look forward to hearing from you!  You can reach me personally at jordan.jensen@freedomfocused.com


Note: This article is one of SIX articles in a special series dedicated to different AUDIENCES that Freedom Focused specifically targets with Self-Action Leadership training. We invite leaders and managers of these different audiences to click on links below to read the articles pertaining to your field or constituency.

Click HERE to access article for  BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS (Leaders, Managers, & Workers)

Click HERE to access article for  EDUCATORS  (Administrators, Teachers, & Staff)

Click HERE to access article for  STUDENTS & INDIVIDUALS

Click HERE to access article for PARENTS & FAMILIES

Click HERE to access article for ELECTED OFFICIALS, LEADERS, & ROLE MODELS

Click HERE to access article for PERSONS dealing with MENTAL ILLNESS




Self-Action Leadership  ~  The Book

SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP is the key catalyst for initiating transformational leadership that lasts in any organization. The truth of the matter really is that simple; and the transformation of organizations through the holistic development of individuals really is that difficult—yet altogether possible for anyone willing to invest the time, effort, and sacrifice required to achieve authentic, transformational results.


Unlike any training program that has ever preceded it, Self-Action Leadership provides a single vehicle wherewith individual self-leaders can discover—and then act—upon the great truth that HOLISTIC personal development and growth spanning the mental, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social elements of our individual natures is within the grasp of each one of us.



Back Cover of Self-Action Leadership, the Book
NoteFreedom Focused is a non-partisan, for-profit, educational corporation.  As such, we do not endorse or embrace political figures.  We do, however, comment from time-to-time on historical or political events that provide pedagogical backdrops to illuminating principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.

Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory & Model.

To receive weekly articles from Freedom Focused & Dr. Jordan R. Jensen, sign up with your e-mail address in the white box on the right side of this page where it says "Follow by E-mail."

Click HERE to buy a copy of Dr. Jordan Jensen's new book, Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.

Click HERE to read more about Dr. Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership, and to review what experts in the leadership field are saying about this groundbreaking new personal development handbook.

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan R. Jensen.  Click HERE to visit the Freedom Focused website.







  


Existential Decathletes: The Professionals of the Future

This article compares self-action leaders to decathletes and the exercise of Self-Action Leadership to participation in a decathlon (or heptathlon for women).  It explicates why the decathlon/heptathlon is an apt metaphor to capture the essence of the Existential Intelligence, Growth, and Balance that self-action leaders are capable of attaining.

Athletic Metaphors


Marathoners
crossing a bridge
Personal development teachers and coaches often employ athletic metaphors to elucidate challenges and opportunities that accompany our personal and professional journeys in life.  We do so not to exclude non-athletes from the discussion, but merely to paint a picture using metaphorical brush strokes that virtually everyone can understand either theoretically or practically speaking.  One age-old athletic comparison likens difficult work projects, onerous personal challenges, and even life itself to running a marathon.

In the early years of this century, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz introduced an alternative paradigm that embraced the management of energy over time.  According to Loehr and Schwartz, accessing "The Power of Full Engagement" is best achieved by approaching life NOT as a marathon, but as a "series of sprints" [1].  Moreover, Loehr and Schwartz assert that as a "Corporate Athlete" [2], "We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity" [3].

With my son, Tucker, after completing my
12th marathon in 2014.
As a former marathon runner who has completed the 26.2 mile distance 13 times, I am a big fan of marathon metaphors.  As a former semi-elite collegiate runner and human being who faces both finite time and energy, I am also a proponent of Loehr and Schwartz's helpful paradigm surrounding the concept of the "Corporate Athlete" and the science of managing energy rather than just time.  

In designing the Self-Action Leadership Theory and Model, I introduce a new athletic metaphor that builds on the concepts of persistence, endurance, and energy management effectively used by others in the past.  This new concept compares the personal or professional "Athlete" at hand not to a sprinter, distance runner, thrower, jumper, or vaulter alone, but to someone who plies their trade effectively at them all.  In this new, Self-Action Leadership (or SAL) Paradigm, the goal is to become a decathlete.  

Decathletes utilize ALL components of a track & field complex

What is a Decathlete?


A decathlete is a track & field athlete who competes in a special kind of event called the DECATHLON.  A decathlon is considered the supreme (and most difficult) event in track & field.  This is because it involves not one, not two, not three events, but TEN!

Other athletes rarely participate in more than two or three events in any given track meet.  In fact, most meets typically limit entries to four events per athlete, and at the elite level, very few athletes compete in more than one or two events.  Decathletes on the other hand—even at the elite level—compete in TEN events over the course of two consecutive days.  The decathlon is considered to be one of the most grueling events in all of sports.

A decathlon begins with decathletes racing the 100 meter dash.  This event is followed by the long-jump and the shot put (an event that involves catapulting a heavy steel ball as far as one is able in a "putting" rather than a throwing arm motion).  Then comes the high jump, which is followed up by the 400 meter run, which is considered by many to be one of the most physically taxing events in track.

On the second day, decathletes return to the track complex to compete in the 110-meter high hurdles.  This challenging sprint/jumpting event is followed by three more field events—the discus, the pole vault, and the javelin.  After all of that, the decathletes finish by running the 1500 meter run, sometimes referred to as "the metric mile," which is the longest, and arguably the most taxing, event of all.  Note: Women participate in the heptathlon, a similarly grueling competition involving seven different events (three track and four field) over two days.

Decathletes vs. Athletes


There are many things that separate a decathlete or heptathlete from a regular track & field athlete.  The most obvious difference is that most track athletes, especially at the elite level, specialize.  This means that sprinters focus on sprints, throwers throw, jumpers jump, vaulters vault, and middle- and long-distance runners race at longer distances.  The only common exception to this rule is that elite sprinters will sometimes add the long-jump and a relay race to their docket.

This specialization is visually evident in the appearance of elite track & field athletes.  For example, it is rare to find an elite long-distance runner measuring in at over 6 feet or in excess of 150 pounds.

On the other hand, it is similarly unheard of to come across an elite shot putter under 6 feet or less than 250 pounds.  The current world record holder, American Randy Barnes, who set his mark of 75 feet 10.23 inches back in 1990 was 6'4" and weighed 302 pounds!

Big, lean, rippling muscles can be quite helpful in the sprints, but you'll never see a body-builder physique toe the line for the 5,000 or 10,000 meter run, much less the marathon.  Consider, for example, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the world-record holder in the 100 and 200 meters; Bolt is 6'5" tall and weighs 207 pounds.  Compare that to Kenyan distance runner Dennis Kimetto, the world-record holder in the marathon, who is only 5'7" tall and weighs in at a scant 128 pounds.

Another, less salient, difference between decathletes and regular track & field athletes is that an elite decathlete almost never performs at the level of an elite athlete in any given specialty.  This means that even the best decathletes in history failed to run, jump, vault, and throw at the level of elite specialists in each given event.  While elite decathletes come impressively close to specialists in some of their events, they rarely, if ever, quite break into the elite level in any ONE event.  Their greatness does not stem from being the best in just one event, but from being very good at a LOT of different events.  This brand of eclectic excellence garners a special kind of approbation from the sporting world milieu such that whoever is crowned world or Olympic champion in the decathlon is appropriately awarded the venerable and exclusive title of being the Greatest Athlete in the World.  

Ashton Eaton of the United States is the current world-record holder in the decathlon.  His 9,045 point performance at the World Championships in China in 2015 is truly extraordinary.  Despite his remarkable performance in the ten events in which he competed, NONE of his marks would have been good enough to qualify for a Final in any of the individual events in the same elite track & field meet.  And what of his physique?  He measures in at 6'1" tall and weighs #185 pounds.  He more closely resembles a sprinter than a distance runner, and is far from resembling an elite shot-putter.  And his times and marks are indicative of his size.  Indeed, his best events, the 100m, 110-hurdles, 400 meters, long-jump, and pole vault indicate he is first and foremost a strong sprinter.  But he also has enough weight and strength to keep him competitive in the throws, and he is not too bulky to run a fast 1500 meter middle distance event at the completion of the competition.  Even as a former semi-elite middle-distance runner myself, I ran faster than Eaton's best time in the 1500 meters only twice, and I never came close to any of his other times or marks.

Eaton is an extraordinarily balanced athlete—not the world's best in any one event, but the world's very best in all ten of them when scored together cumulatively.  It is a rare, unique, and special ability.

An additional difference between decathletes and regular track & field athletes is the amount of time and effort spent in training.  Elite athletes in any event must take time and effort to ensure they obtain sufficient rest and nutrition, but the amount of time invested in actual physical exertion differs from event-to-event.

Typically, Throwers will spend much of their time doing strength exercises (i.e. weightlifting) and practicing their throws.  Sprinters will also spend a lot of time doing strength work, but will add various running and sprinting exercises to their training regimen.  Distance runners still do a little bit of strength work like sprinters and throwers, but with less weight and higher repetitions.  Their time is taken up largely by piling on road and trail miles to build and then maintain their base mileage.  Jumpers and Vaulters participate in a variety of speed and strength exercises in conjunction with actually practicing their jumps or vaults.

But decathletes must do a comprehensive combination of ALL of the above.  As a result, they typically spend a LOT more time completing their training regimen than athletes specializing in individual events.  While most professional athletes consider their sport a full-time job, only decathletes routinely put in 8+ hour workdays engaged in actual training exercises.  Simply stated, no single track & field athlete is likely to work harder or invest more time and focus in their overall performance than decathletes.  It takes a remarkable athlete—and human being—to make a successful decathlete.

Self-Action Leaders are Like Decathletes


Self-leaders and self-action leaders are NOT the same thing.  The primary difference between self-leadership and Self-Action Leadership is that the latter carries a moral component the former may lack.  This means that self-action leaders are not merely interested in doing things right; they are also students of morals and ethics; they pay close heed to their conscience in an effort to do the right things as well.  They are focused not merely on achieving their goals, but ensuring that their goals are rooted in morally just activities that benefit both themselves and others in the long run.

A secondary difference between self-leaders and self-action leaders is that the former is more like an athlete while the latter is more like a decathlete.  The Self-Action Leadership Theory and Model were designed to help self-leaders graduate to become self-action leaders.  In other words, the SAL Theory & Model is designed to assist existential "athletes" to become existential "decathletes."

Self-leaders, or "Existential Athletes," typically set goals focused on one, niche area of their personal or professional life that may or may not be morally circumspect.

Self-action leaders, or "Existential Decathletes," on the other hand, are more interested in pursuing a higher form of personal growth and development that is only attainable by focusing on SEVERAL vital components (events) of one's life in an effort to produce a synergistic cumulative effect that is exponentially greater than the growth achieved in a single area.

Existential Intelligence, Growth, & Balance



What are the ten EVENTS in a metaphorical Self-Action Leadership decathlon, or in our case, the six intelligences (sextathlon) involved in Self-Action Leadership?  They are the spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, and moral components of our nature as human beings and self-action leaders.

With this in mind, let's consider a few, key definitions moving forward...

~  Key Definition  ~

EXISTENTIAL INTELLIGENCE: Holistic knowledge (i.e. spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, and moral) that empowers you to pursue Existential Growth.

~  Key Definition  ~

EXISTENTIAL GROWTH: The holistic growth of personal character, capacity, and integrity, as measured by nine progressive stages of Self-Action Leadership development (these stages are outlined in the SAL Theory.  Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory 

~  Key Definition  ~

EXISTENTIAL BALANCE: A state of relative equilibrium among one's six intelligences (i.e., spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, and moral).

Existential Intelligence—as it relates to Self-Action Leadership—refers to a special brand of holistic intelligence that can only be created by merging a variety of other, more specific intelligences; namely: Spiritual Intelligence, Physical Intelligence, Mental Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, and Moral Intelligence.

The quest for Existential Intelligence and Growth, made possible by a balanced pursuit of these six individual intelligences, is another key element that elevates Self-Action Leadership to a higher plane than traditional self-leadership.

The effective exercise of self-leadership may empower someone to become a professional athlete, a rich sales person, or a successful Hollywood movie star; but efficacious self-action leadership will ensure that you are a fully-functioning, balanced human being who is holistically successful and happy both personally and professionally and enjoys a relational social circle that is dependable, caring, and true.

You probably know people who are incredibly intelligent, capable, and effective in one, two, or three areas, but severely lacking in the rest.  Such people may accomplish remarkable individual achievements, but never fully attain the peace, happiness, and joy that is available to those who are more balanced—the result of investing time and effort across the full spectrum rather than spending most or all of one's time on merely one or two specific intelligences.

Ever known a gifted spiritual leader or academic teacher who was morbidly obese?  How about a physically attractive man or woman who was either ditzy, deceitful, or both?  What about a social genius that you could throw farther than you could trust?  Ever met an academic whiz who was completely obnoxious to be around?  How about a very honest and moral person who had little insight into how they come across to others and no sense of other people's feelings?  What about an emotional genius bereft of a conscience?

In his book, How Will You Measure Your Life, highly acclaimed innovation expert, Clayton Christensen, tells of his real life experience observing the life trajectories of his classmates at the Harvard Business School.  He explains that at his five-year class reunion, nearly everyone seemed to be doing well, getting rich, and enjoying great personal relationships.  But by their tenth reunion, things had begun to change, and that "despite [significant] professional accomplishments, ... many of them were clearly unhappy." [4]  He goes on to say:
"Behind the facade of professional success, there were many who did not enjoy what they were doing for a living.  There were, also, numerous stories of divorce or unhappy marriages.  I remember one classmate who hadn't talked to his children in years, who was living on the opposite coast from them.  Another was on her third marriage since we'd graduated." [5]
Christensen went on to explain that one of his classmates had been the now infamous Jeffrey Skilling of the ignominious corporation Enron.  Ironically, Christensen describes "The Jeffrey Skilling I knew of from our years at HBS [as a] good man."  According to Christensen, "he was smart, he worked hard, [and] he loved his family." [6]  Over time, Skilling obviously lost sight of his moral compass, among other things.  It was sad for Christensen to observe these life trajectories of such otherwise intelligent, capable people.

Such scenarios, and others similar to them, are exaggerated samples of what can occur when human beings fail to pay the price to develop Existential Intelligence, Growth, and Balance in their lives.  It is what happens when you decide to become an Existential Athlete rather than an Existential Decathlete.

In regular track & field you can choose to compete in whatever event you wish; there is no moral imperative involved in your choice of events.  Life is different.  Whether you know it or not, and whether you like it or not, as human beings, we are ALL Existential Decathletes.  As such, we each have a moral imperative (a duty)—for our own good and the welfare of others around us—to nurture and develop ALL six of our intelligences.  We are, of course, free to not do so, and many people either knowingly or unknowingly fail to focus on one or more of the six areas.  Unfortunately, the negative consequences that stem from such neglect are predictably troubling.

In order to become a high-functioning self-action leader, you must do more than be spiritual, fit, smart, stable, social, and moral; you must develop ALL of these different intelligences together in relative harmony and equilibrium.  In other words, you must become a SEXTATHLETE (an athlete who competes in SIX different events).  Metaphorically speaking, a successful sextathlete effectively balances all six specific intelligences, and by so doing, elevating his or her Existential Intelligence to the greatest degree possible.

Existential Decathletes are Not Necessarily Renaissance Men or Women


High functioning self-action leaders, like decathletes, are not necessarily renaissance men or women (Jacks- or Jills-of-all-trades) when it comes to their specific personal talents or work skill sets.  Indeed, many of them, like myself, may have a relatively narrow niche of concrete skills.  For example, I am an outstanding writer, speaker, and organizer, but recruit me to build, fix, install, operate, or sell something and you are going to regret hiring me.

One of the things I have learned repeatedly throughout my career is that my disposition and personality is poorly suited to sales.  I am not a very good salesman, and in general, I despise the activity.  It doesn't mean I can't do sales; nor does it mean I don't do sales.  It also doesn't mean I can't be reasonably competent in doing sales when necessary, or that I couldn't get better with conscious effort and practice.  It simply means that my company will be more successful in the long run if I hire someone who actually likes sales and is highly skilled at that specific work proficiency.  I can sell things, but just like I'll never qualify to run in the Olympics or be a concert pianist, I will never be a top salesman in competition with those who enjoy sales and are better suited to the activity than I am.  

As an executive, there is little point in hiring an artist to serve as a professional mechanic, or a poet to become a career engineer.  In some cases it might be possible to teach, train, and equip someone with average aptitude in an area to eventually provide basic services in that area; but in most cases, it would be a poor use of the finite time, energy, and resources to which we have access.

Being an "Existential Decathlete" does not mean that you are an expert at a lot of divergent work activities.  Relatively few people are.  It merely means you have developed the capacity to maintain a healthy balance between the six different intelligences that constitute Existential Intelligence (i.e. spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, and moral intelligence).  Don't get me wrong, developing this balance is not easy; most people struggle with the difficulty of this balancing act throughout their lives.  But it is possible to attain unto this balance.

When it comes to most job positions, employers usually aren't looking for a renaissance man or woman; they are looking for a subject area expert who has a specific set of achievements, experiences, knowledge sets, and skills.  They do, however, ideally want all of their people to be well balanced human beings who are mentally competent, physically healthy, emotionally mature, socially well adjusted, honest (morally sound), and if possible, spiritually in tune with their inner selves as well.  They may not always get a workforce so healthy, but rest assured it is the desire of every effective and existentially intelligent leader or manager to have such.

Existential Intelligence, Growth,
and Balance lead a Happy, Healthy Life
Self-action leaders recognize that in the long-run, a healthy life balance is even more important than winning a gold medal, earning the title of Miss America, or becoming part of the one percent financially speaking.  There is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with achieving any of these lofty goals.  Indeed, they are all noteworthy accomplishments that we can all look up to and admire (as long as they were honestly achieved without harming others in the process).

The statistical reality, however, is that only a very small percentage of human beings will ever achieve such elevated positions in this world; and those who do typically have outlying advantages physically, socially, or otherwise, making it unfair to make apples-to-apples comparisons with the rest of us.

Moreover, those who do rise to such heights are, in some cases, unhappy people whose personal lives and/or relationships are a shambles.  While we may admire their individual achievements in the short-run, in the long run, few of us would want to change places with such persons.  There is, of course, the rare exception of the high (or outlying) achiever who is also really well balanced in their personal life and relationships.  But persons who attain that balance did not do so from stellar talent or outlying ability; they did so by following the same self-action leadership principles that everybody else did.

Thus we may return to the outstanding work of Loehr and Schwartz, who taught that, "We build [social, moral] emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity ... [by engaging in] positive ... behavior[s] that become ... automatic over time—fueled by some deeply held value" [7].  In other words, Existential Intelligence, Growth, and Balance are difficult goals to effectively achieve.  A high price must be paid in focus, intention, effort, and time; but the rewards make the commitment and exertion incredibly worth it.

The Relative Myth of Fair Interpersonal Competition


ALL human beings are profoundly singular in their unique makeup of SAL Variables (genetics, mimetics, background, upbringing, experiences, etc.).  We are all quite different.  As such, there really is no truly fair competition because no one is exactly the same.  The top performer in any interpersonal competition usually comes out on top because he or she possesses a superior blend of SAL variables when compared to the other competitors.

To illustrate what I mean, watch the following clip of Jamaican sprinting superstar Usain Bolt when he set the world record in the 100-meter dash at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany in 2009.

Click HERE to watch clip.

A decade ago, few people thought it was humanly possible to run as close to 9.5 seconds as Bolt did in Berlin.  No one had ever even run under 9.7 seconds, much less 9.6!  In this record-setting race that Usain so totally dominated, it should be noted that the second place competitor—American Tyson Gay—ran one of the fastest times in history; yet he was still easily beaten by Bolt.  When you look at Bolt's remarkable physique—the seemingly perfect formulaic blend of height and weight and strength for speed—even an amateur onlooker can begin to see why Bolt performed head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

While the stadium crowd, the companies Bolt endorses, and even the world-at-large marveled at his superior exhibition of unprecedented speed, the SAL Theory holds that Bolt's performance should be no existential "skin" off of the noses of the "also-rans," who did the best they could, but nevertheless came up with a less impressive final result.

In life, it is not unheard of for the last place finisher in any given "race" to expend the greatest personal effort of all.  Losing a competition against others may have nothing to do with a your own effort or degree of preparation.  In most cases, it is merely a matter of a differing SAL Variable Formula.  There are, of course, endless exceptions to this scenario.  In many cases, people produce subpar results because they invested subpar intention and effort.  But in other cases, a person's very best can be easily bested by someone else's very best, or even less than their best.  The final result in any interpersonal competition is determined with mathematical precision according to the unique output of each person's individual formula determined by one's unique set of SAL Variables.

To learn about the 16 different SAL Variables and begin to get a clearer idea of your own unique formula, see BOOK the FIRST, Chapter 17, of Dr. Jordan Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership.  


My Quest to Become an Elite Performer


In my mind's eye at age 10,
I was going to be
the next "Air Jordan"
Since age seven or eight, I have had a deep desire to become an elite performer—if not the best in the world—at something.  Around the same age, I became deeply interested in self-leadership.  Much of my early self-leadership interest stemmed from my desire to become not just my best, but the best at something.

Like many young boys or girls, I saw myself eventually becoming a world-class performer in my favorite activity, which at the time was basketball.  Indeed, in my mind's eye, I believed I was destined to become the Michael Jordan of my generation.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, and others beat me to the punch.  I not only failed in my initial objective to become an NBA Star, I also lost interest in basketball sufficiently to quit my pursuit of the game in any serious manner after 9th grade.

Despite surprising even myself at my early exit from the game of basketball, my desire to become a world-class performer was far from being extinguished.  It merely transferred to other activities.

My next big pursuit was cross-country and track & field.  I enjoyed more success in interpersonal competitions as a runner than I did as a basketball player.  However, after becoming a state champion in high school and an All-American in college, it became evident that no amount of work or dedication on my part was going to empower me to transcend the semi-elite status I had achieved at the junior college level.  Sadly, or not—depending on how you look at it—I am never going to qualify for the Olympics.

Other activities I pursued with less vigor and abysmal results.  For example, sales.  It seems as though my life has been one long, bad date with sales.  It began with those elementary school fund raisers that recruit young students to go door-to-door selling chocolate and other snacks and wares.  As a boy, I reserved a special kind of loathing for such activities.  As a man, I have largely maintained this same reservation for sales.

As I grew older and discovered that most of the world's richest people are, in one form or another, sales people, I strove to face my loathing "like a man."  The result?  I lasted a few weeks as a knife salesman, a few months as a part-time network marketing legal insurance salesman, and a single day as a small-business telephone services salesman.  In all, I earned less than a thousand dollars for my combined sales efforts in these attempts.

Despite my stellar professional platform skills as a speaker and seminar facilitator, I've never been able to elevate my "back-of-the-room" product selling skills to the same level.  And even though I am the Founder and CEO of my own business that sells products and services, actually selling those products and services is not my strong suit.  I despise sales and after repeated attempts and failures to succeed or "like" sales after two-plus decades of trying, I am under no illusion I will somehow magically desire to embrace it in the future.

Those who are familiar with my personal story know that I am no stranger to failure and disappointment.  Indeed, these twin demons—or angels, depending on how you frame them—have plagued—and bolstered—my life, for much of my life.  As a result, and despite however hard I have tried, I have ultimately failed to achieve my original objectives for athletic or sales greatness.

In the process, however, I have learned what I am good at, and that I can be very successful in the long-run by focusing most of my attention on developing my strengths.  I have also discovered the relative myth of fair interpersonal competition, as well as the realization that the greatest quest I can undertake in my life is not to focus primarily on beating other people, but in striving tirelessly to beat myself by becoming my own best self.

A Vision of Self-Action Leadership


Perhaps the grandest vision I hold for The Self-Action Leadership Theory and Model is to engender a worldwide paradigm shift among people and organizations throughout the world whereby we no longer place preeminent value on being "the best," but instead shift our focus toward individually accomplishing "one's own best" in conjunction with attaining the elusive achievement of holistic Existential (or life) Balance.

Such a paradigm shift not only frees up a lot of time and effort and energy you can invest on improving your own performance, it also improves your chances for success when you do compete interpersonally with other people and organizations.

Considering the current climate in which we live, where elite performers and their performances (or facades) in specific activities and pursuits are held up as royal monarchs of a postmodern King's Court, and the rest of us are viewed largely as average citizens or worse—nobodies—it is a tall order to place, to say the least.  But I believe it is a possible shift to make over time.  And I will not rest until I have done what I can to make this shift real and lasting.    


Specialization vs. Generalization


There will always be a need in our world for specialists, meaning people who are extremely gifted in an extremely specified activity or intelligence.  Examples of specialists include professional athletes (and other niche performers), specialty doctors and surgeons, and highly technical engineers, scientists, designers, academics, etc.

However, just as the percentage of top performers is minuscule compared to "the rest of the pack," the percentage of specialists will always dwarf the number of generalists.  Generalists will almost always receive less attention, credit, honor, glory, and financial remuneration for their contributions than specialists.  This does not make them any less important to the fundamental welfare and greater good of society-at-large.  It simply makes them less visible.

Quarterbacks will always be more prominent and visible and compensated than offensive lineman; but we all know the fate of every quarterback if you take away his offensive line.  Specialists of all kinds will almost always get more public adulation, attention, and honor than generalists; but that doesn't make their contributions any more valuable in the overall aggregate of human work.

The eye and brain and heart and face will always get more face time in the limelight than the fingers and toes; but the former will always be in debt to the latter for intricate dexterity and overall balance.


None of us is the SAME; but we are ALL EQUAL
in terms of our intrinsic Existential Worth. 

Existential Worth & Equality


~  Key Definition  ~

EXISTENTIAL WORTH: The worth of someone or something's existence as measured by his, her, or its potential for Existential Growth and achievement.

~  Key Definition  ~ 
EXISTENTIAL EQUALITY: The theory that all human beings have equal intrinsic worth as measured by each person's potential to become fully actualized and earn unlimited Existential Growth.  
A correct understanding of the aforementioned principles promotes a profound paradigm shift that enlightens our realization of the absolute Existential Equality we share as human beings.  To truly recognize that no one is exactly alike is to comprehend the fallacy of "fair competition." Once comprehended, the relative absurdity of living your life in competition primarily with other people becomes increasingly evident.  Your inner security begins to blossom, and feelings of jealousy, resentment, bitterness, and hate begin to melt away.  

There is little time or energy left to compete against others when you are focusing all of your time, attention, and power on contributing your own best effort and producing your own greatest results.  In the process, you will inevitably surpass and fall short of the performance of others in the same field or endeavor; but either way, you'll stop caring so much about where you stack up next to others because you possess the quiet confidence and inner peace that can only come from a knowledge that you did YOUR best—and you can't do any better than that.

As simple as this may sound theoretically, the actual practice of the principle is extremely difficult.  Even as the author of this article, I confess I struggle every day of my life to compete solely with myself and avoid comparing myself inappropriately to others.  Moreover, it should be noted that there are times when it is appropriate and quite helpful to make interpersonal comparisons and even to compete interpersonally, for doing so can assist and motivate us in our efforts to elevate our own performance.

However, if we allow ourselves to become overly caught up in the interpersonal element of competition instead of the intra-personal element, we are bound to begin losing sight of and focus on the execution of our own performance.  We will also find ourselves apportioning time, energy (emotional and otherwise) to distracting thoughts and their concomitant, negative emotions of anger, bitterness, jealousy, spite, hatred, etc.  The end result of such actions will be a diminishing return on our own results and future efforts to succeed whether we are officially competing with others or not.

The term Existential Equality should not be confused with the idea that we are all the same and are capable of achieving the exact same things.  That is not the case.  For example, men are different from women (not better, just different), everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, and we all exhibit different personalities, preferences, proclivities, strengths, weaknesses, etc.  In this world, there is no such equality, and never will be—and that is a good thing.  Imagine how boring it would be if everyone were the same!

What Existential Equality does mean is that everyone has the same existential value in a fundamental, ontological sense.  Believers chalk this equality up to our all being children of God.  Non-believers chalk it up to our connected genetic heritage and collective in-born desires for fairness and community.

Most importantly, Existential Equality means that everyone CAN achieve the same kind of greatness in one, fundamental, unifying sense.  They can do so by means of becoming fully actualized human beings who maximize their holistic personal potential and their opportunities for Existential Intelligence, Growth, and Balance.  We begin this journey by accepting the challenge to become a decathlete (or sextathlete) dedicated to the development of the six primary intelligences of existentialism.

It is extremely important to note the emphasis placed on the word "CAN" achieve.  This is not to say that all people WILL have the opportunity to learn of their possibilities to do so (although we at Freedom Focused are working hard on that dilemma); nor does it ensure that those who do learn WILL choose to apply what they learn.  It also does not mean to suggest that a person's full potential for such achievement can be accomplished in this life.  Depending on your beliefs, you may choose to hold out hope for the acquisition of additional intelligence and growth for an eternity after this life.  My personal conviction is that all the growth and intelligence we are capable of attaining unto in this life is but a small sliver of our eternal opportunities for the same.  But regardless of whether you are a believer or not, I think we can all agree there is much to be attained before we die in terms of intelligence and growth in a variety of arenas, and most especially in an existential sense.  What is more, the possibilities are endless and exciting!

I've spent much of my life striving to become THE best at something.  Along the way, I've discovered the great truth that simply striving to become MY best is just as challenging—and ultimately a far greater—pursuit.  Indeed, this opportunity provides a challenge sufficiently difficult, engaging, and exciting to keep me busy until I pass away from this world.  Just as the decathlon is the ultimate track & field event, Self-Action Leadership is one of the ultimate existential opportunities afforded us by Life.  I look forward to the rest of my journey.  With this added insight, I hope you will look forward to yours.

Notes:

1. Loehr, J, & Schwartz, T. (2003). The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. Free Press: New York, NY. Page 12.  
2. Ibid. See pages 197-222.
3. Ibid. Page 13.
4. Christensen, C.M., Allworth, J., and Dillon, K. (2012). How Will You Measure Your Life. Harper Business: New York, NY. Page 2.
5. Ibid. 
6. Ibid. Page 3. 
7. Loehr, J, & Schwartz, T. (2003). The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. Free Press: New York, NY. Page 13-14. 



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Dr. Jordan Jensen
Master Facilitator
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Self-Action Leadership  ~  The Book

SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP is the key catalyst for initiating transformational leadership that lasts in any classroom, school, or organization. The truth of the matter really is that simple; and the transformation of organizations through the holistic development of individuals really is that difficult—yet altogether possible for any leader who is willing to invest the time, effort, and sacrifice required to achieve authentic, transformational results.


Unlike any training program that has ever preceded it, Self-Action Leadership provides a single vehicle wherewith individual self-leaders can discover—and then act—upon the great truth that HOLISTIC personal development and growth spanning the mental, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social elements of our individual natures is within the grasp of each one of us.



Back Cover of Self-Action Leadership, the Book
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