Provision #364: The Top 7 Values

Laser Provision

In the past seven weeks we’ve described seven overarching values agreed to in 1993 by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures. They are the seven biggies against which all other values can be compared and measured. This Provision summarizes those values and brings them down to earth, so that we can consider, adopt, and apply them in our every day lives.

LifeTrek Provision

I recently attended CoachVille’s Third Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was a start-studded program of speakers, spread out over the course of three jam-packed days. Although coming from many different backgrounds, the speakers spoke in one voice about the importance of love.

  • Dave Buck, the President of CoachVille, spoke about loving our clients through coaching the core dynamics of human problems, including a masterful demonstration with an audience volunteer.
  • Laura Berman Fortgang and Marcia Wieder talked about loving our clients’ dreams into being.
  • Tim Sanders, Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo! and author of Love is The Killer App, talked about love in the workplace. (Quotable quote: “In a dog-eat-dog world, I’d rather be a cat • a love cat!”)
  • Lise Janelle, a chiropractor, talked about assisting our clients to love themselves better in seven areas of life.
  • Ross Dawson, a futurist and business strategist from Australia, talked about e-love in terms of creating living networks that increase both personal and professional collaboration.

And those were only some of the highlights! Many other speakers also spoke about love, from their own unique vantage point and experience. You can imagine, therefore, that the last speaker after three days might have had trouble adding value to the topic. But Lance Secretan, a pioneer of Higher Ground Leadership principles and author of Inspire!: What Great Leaders Do, was more than up to the task.

What I liked about Secretan’s presentation • in addition to his stage presence, stories, and multimedia props • was his interpretation of leadership as a values-based construct. The notion that Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Machiavelli, Attila the Hun, and Genghis Khan were great leaders was categorically rejected. Why? Because they did not serve others and they did not make the world a better place.

Great power and influence over great numbers of people do not, in and of themselves, a great leader make. At least not according to Secretan. He argues for servant-leadership, empathy, collaboration, passion, inclusiveness, ecology, connectivity, life-long learning, wisdom, and inspiration. In other words, leadership that is disconnected from values that enhance the well-being of others and of the planet is no leadership at all.

Which, in fact, has been the point of our entire Provisions’ series on values and agrees with the declarations of the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures. Let’s allow the Parliament to speak for itself:

“The world is in agony. The agony is so pervasive and urgent that we are compelled to name its manifestations so that the depth of this pain may be made clear. Peace eludes us … the planet is being destroyed … neighbors live in fear … women and men are estranged from each other … children die! This is abhorrent!”

“We condemn the abuses of Earth’s ecosystems. We condemn the poverty that stifles life’s potential; the hunger that weakens the human body; the economic disparities that threaten so many families with ruin.”

“We condemn the social disarray of the nations; the disregard for justice which pushes citizens to the margin; the anarchy overtaking our communities; and the insane death of children from violence. In particular we condemn aggression and hatred in the name of religion.”

“But this agony need not be. It need not be because the basis for a global ethic already exits. This ethic offers the possibility of a better individual and global order, and leads individuals away from despair and societies away from chaos. This ethic is formed on the basis of a common set of core values, found in the teachings of the world’s religions and cultures. It is a truth already known, but yet to be lived in heart and action.”

Lance Secretan could well have turned to the Parliament for his work on Higher Ground Leadership! Apart from love, one might conclude, there is no way to be successful and fulfilled in life and work. Apart from love, our world will continue to tear itself apart at the seams, making the top-two planetary threats — violence and environmental degradation • the stuff not only of nightmares and movies but also of the nightly and neighborhood news.

Fortunately, the Parliament and Secretan are both hopeful that it is not too late for us to turn things around. Not if we live and lead from a set of values that enhance the well-being of others and of the planet. The Parliament framed their global ethic in terms of seven core values which are in concert with Secretan’s views.

(1) Peace. The proliferation of violence, from isolated individual incidents to terrorism to war, is perhaps the gravest threat to the future of human civilization. It has always been a concern of the world’s religions and cultures, but it has become more so since the advent of weapons of mass destruction. Until we recognize and respect the sanctity of human life, there will be no peace and there will be no progress toward what Martin Luther King, Jr. was fond of calling “the beloved community.” We would all do well to adopt peace as one of our top guiding values.

(2) Ecology. Of course, without a sustainable planet there will also be no human civilization. If you have seen the movie, “The Day After Tomorrow,” then you know the science-fiction version of ecological catastrophe. But the threats to “spaceship Earth” are very real. The exploitation of natural resources and the destruction of the biosphere cannot continue at their current rate forever. Sooner or later, some version of “The Day After Tomorrow” will be upon us if we do not take preventive measures now. Individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments all need to rally behind and work for the ecological sustainability of life.

(3) Compassion. If love makes the world go ’round, in business, politics, and all areas of life, then compassion may well be the tiny seed that grows into a rich harvest of cultural solidarity and economic abundance. When we extend caring for others beyond our immediate family and friends to include all who suffer hunger, deficiency, and need, especially children, the aged, the poor, the disabled, the refugees, and the lonely, we add an ingredient that seasons the whole pot. Compassion not only makes life more bearable, it also makes life worth living. Avoid domination, cynicism, narcissism, transcendentalism and any other philosophy that takes you away from love.

(4) Justice. It’s not enough, of course, to extend caring for others. It’s equally important, and at times more important, to pursue the systemic reforms that make for global justice and minimize the need for compassion. That can be harder than caring for individual persons, but it’s not impossible to build a new world order based upon fairness, sustainability, citizenship, benevolence, and consideration. How we handle debt and property in a market economy determines much about the degree of justice in the world. Whether we are advocates or policy makers, allowing justice to guide our positions is a value for the ages.

(5) Tolerance. Although extremists of every ilk have long sought to assert their supremacy over others, through persuasion and compulsion, the world’s religions and cultures speak more to the celebration of diversity than to its condemnation. Prejudice, hatred, and enmity towards others simply have no place in the global community. The “geography of fear” may be very real, both externally and internally, but tolerance represents a better way. By treating others respectfully, as we wish to be treated, we too may have the surprising and yet delightful experience of seeing those dividing walls of hostility come tumbling down.

(6) Honesty. No value means anything if we come to it dishonestly. Pretending that we believe in something just won’t cut the mustard. Outright lies, deceit, swindling, and hypocrisy destroy the basis for communication and community. Unfortunately, pretension and dishonesty are all too common in the world today. People say what they think others want to hear. People hustle the system to their own advantage, compromising both their integrity and their identity in the process. Don’t do that! Speak and act truthfully, even when it hurts. The mindful application of honesty to the course of life really is the best policy.

(7) Partnership. To listen to those who speak of men as being the “head of the household,” you would think that hierarchy is built into the very fabric of the relationship between men and women. But this does not represent the common value of our many religious and cultural traditions. Mutual respect, partnership, and understanding between men and women is the way we need to live and work. And this serves as a model for human relations in general. Top-down attitudes and practices are giving way to more transparent structures of collaboration and servant-leadership. Secretan calls this “people whispering,” after those who can gently whisper wild horses into taking a saddle and rider. We need more whispering, and less shouting, when it comes to how we live and work with others.

These seven big values are not beyond our reach. They are not just for saints and leaders on the world stage. They can be adopted by one and all, applied in the home and in the workplace, with very practical effects. Secretan notes that values such as these impact our destiny, cause, and calling in the world. They have transformed how CEOs have led their companies and how parents have raised their families. They have coached middle managers and social reformers into being the change they wish to see. They have made a difference in lives of countless individuals and institutions.

The coaching value of such transformational core values cannot be overstated. Once we have a clear sense of who we are, what we stand for, and what we will do in the world, we end up with a much greater ability to self-coach our way through life. No one lives up to their core values all the time. But knowing what they are, and knowing how they relate to the seven time-tested values of the world’s religions and cultures, enables us to make the course corrections that will see us successfully through our days.

Coaching Inquiries: If you were to die right now, what would people say at your funeral? Would they speak of love? Would anyone talk about how you changed their life or made the world a better place? How could the values of peace, ecology, compassion, justice, tolerance, honesty, and partnership become more a part of who you are, what you stand for, and what you do in the world?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I tried to whittle down your “value” words from last week’s Provision. I could only get down to 11 comfortably, no less. Here they are: Dare, Impact, Spark, Create, Inspire, Unite, Nurture, Support, Respond, Awaken, and Prevail. I’m sending them to you because I wanted to share them. They seem pretty perky and cheer me up, even though I’m feeling quite low today. Thanks for the reminder.  



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #363: Values, Values, Everywhere

Laser Provision

In the past seven weeks we’ve described seven overarching values agreed to by 6,500 representatives of every possible religion and culture. They are the seven biggies against which all other values can be compared and measured. But they are hardly the only values that guide and direct people to do what they do. This Provision identifies 150 other values from which you can build a meaningful life.

LifeTrek Provision

Next week we will conclude our series on values with a summary of the ground we’ve covered in the past few months, after which we will start a new series focused on the difference coaching makes in people’s lives. For that series, we will present case studies based on interviews with current and former LifeTrek clients. It will inform and inspire you as you read the stories of how coaching has assisted people to move forward in the direction of their dreams.

One thing you will find in many of the case studies is that values play a big part in the process. By assisting our clients to clarify and express their values in life and work, they discover renewed passion, commitment, discipline, and joy. As coaches, it’s a treasure to be part of the process and a wonder to behold the outcome. Coaching truly has the power to change the world, one person and one community at a time.

The dictionary defines “values” as “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.” For the past seven weeks, we’ve explored seven values lifted up and agreed to by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures, which met in Chicago in 1993. 6,500 people from every religion and culture took part.

In the end, and after much vigorous discussion, the Parliament proposed a global world ethic that was true to the various traditions represented and that could inspire the cultivation of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation in the world at large. If more people had heeded the work of the Parliament in the 1990s, perhaps the 2000s would have gotten off to a better start.

One might say that the Parliament identified the seven biggies when it comes to values • peace, ecology, compassion, justice, tolerance, honesty, and partnership between men and women. These are the values against which all other values can be compared and measured.

Consider, for example, the following list of 150 values, developed by Thomas Leonard and Coach U. As you read the list, divided into 15 categories with multiple dimensions in each category, you may want to circle or write down the words with which you identify or resonate. So begins the process of values clarification.

  1. Adventure (Risk, Thrill, Danger, Speculation, Dare, Gamble, Endeavor, Quest, Experiment, Exhilaration, Venture, The Unknown)
  2. Beauty (Grace, Refinement, Elegance, Attractiveness, Loveliness, Radiance, Magnificence, Gloriousness, Taste)
  3. To Catalyze (Impact, Move forward, Touch, Turn on, Free others, Coach, Spark, Encourage, Influence, Stimulate, Energize, Alter)
  4. To Contribute (Serve, Improve, Augment, Assist, Endow, Strengthen, Facilitate, Minister to, Grant, Provide, Foster)
  5. To Create (Design, Invent, Synthesize, Imagination, Ingenuity, Originality, Conceive, Plan, Build, Perfect, Assemble, Inspire)
  6. To Discover (Learn, Detect, Perceive, Locate, Realize, Uncover, Discern, Distinguish, Observe)
  7. To Feel (Emote, To experience, Sense, To glow, To feel good, Be with, Energy flow, In touch with, Sensations)
  8. To Lead (Guide, Inspire, Influence, Cause, Arouse, Enlist, Reign, Govern, Rule, Persuade, Encourage, Model)
  9. Mastery (Expert, Rule field, Adept, Dominate field, Superiority, Primacy, Preeminence, Greatest, Best, Outdo, Set standards, Excellence)
  10. Pleasure (Have fun, Be hedonistic, S•x, S•nsual, Bliss, Be amused, Be entertained, Play games, Sports)
  11. To Relate (Be connected, Family, To unite, Part of community, To nurture, Be linked, Be bonded, Be integrated, Be with)
  12. Be Sensitive (Tenderness, Touch, Perceive, Be present, Empathize, Support, Respond, Show compassion, See)
  13. Be Spiritual (Be aware, Be accepting, Be awake, Relate with God, Devoting, Holy, Honoring, Be passionate, Religious)
  14. To Teach (Educate, Instruct, Enlighten, Inform, Prepare, Edify, Prime, Uplift, Explain)
  15. To Win (Prevail, Accomplish, Attain, Score, Acquire, Win over, Triumph, Predominate, Attract)”

How many values did you circle or write down? If you’ve narrowed the list to 30 or 40, then go back and narrow it down further. That is just too many priorities to pursue at once! When you’re down to 3 or 4, perhaps including values that failed to make the Coach U list, you’ve laid the foundation for building a well-grounded and satisfying life.

Don’t be surprised if you find it difficult to choose just a few guiding values. That’s why people hire coaches! The coaching process assists people to hone in on those values which resonate with their interests, traditions, attitudes, and ambitions. Through soul searching, deep conversation, and cybernetic research we can usually identify a few core values in a matter of weeks or months.

The importance of doing so cannot be overstated. Unknown and unclaimed values are no values at all. Without guiding values we end up living by base instinct rather than by higher interest. We do whatever it takes to survive rather than to thrive. We end up going through the motions but we lack the passion, inspiration, and awareness to take full responsibility for our choices. As a result, we’re never 100% present. We show up, but our heart isn’t into the work.

Getting connected to our values is part of turning that around. Seen in the light of our values, even the most mundane of activities can be transformed into meaningful behaviors. It doesn’t matter whether or not other people see the connection or believe in the efficacy of our work. The only question is whether we see the connection and believe in its efficacy. When that happens, life is good.

Especially when we anchor our values in the seven biggies. Take a look at your top 3 or 4 or values. How do they relate to the values identified by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures? Are they identical, compatible, unrelated, or incompatible? All four relationships exist within the list generated by Thomas Leonard and Coach U.

Compassion, for example, is one of the seven biggies. Beauty is certainly related to ecology. Creativity seems to stand on its own, while domination is clearly contrary to the spirit of partnership between men and women. Doing the work to compare and contrast our values with the seven biggies is important for many reasons. Here are three:

One, the seven biggies have been time-tested to make a positive contribution to the world at large. Two, when we see our values in context, it generates enthusiasm and endurance for the challenging task of expressing our values in life and work. Three, through reflective consideration, using our mental as well as our emotional, spiritual, and physical intelligences, we may want to change our values and reinvent ourselves in the process.

Values are everywhere, but they are not always lifted up to the level of conscious awareness and behavioral design. If your values are not clear to you, then it may be time to embark upon a values clarification and expression project for the sake of your own life and the well-being of the world.

Coaching Inquiries: What are your top 3 or 4 values? What governs the way you live your life? Are they compatible with peace, ecology, compassion, justice, tolerance, honesty, and partnership between men and women? How can you make it so?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Just read this weeks column. Nice job! I will share it with my wife.


Thanks for the Provision on partnership between men and women. I think making a marriage work is relatively easy (now that’s easy for me to say!), given of course, that one has chosen the right partner. I’d really like to see a Provision on finding and (forgive my pragmatic language) qualifying a life/soul partner. Of course, now that I’m in a family and it doesn’t (and, I hope, won’t) apply to me anymore, I have a bunch of ideas on how/whom to choose. I’d like to see other thoughts on the topic. (Ed. Note: Thanks for the suggestion. We may, indeed, write about this in the future while one of our coaches, Kate Kriynovich, routinely offers a telecourse on attracting your ideal mate.)


This series on values has been timely and important. Thanks for doing it!


Bob and Megan, we praise God for your partnership! Keep on keepin’ on. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #362: The Value of Partnership

Laser Provision

To listen to those who speak of men as being the “head of the household,” you would think that hierarchy is built into the very fabric of the relationship between men and women. But this does not represent the common value of our many religious and cultural traditions. Mutual respect, partnership, and understanding between men and women is the way we need to live and work.

LifeTrek Provision

My wife and I were married almost 28 years ago, on August 21, 1976, in the redwood forest north of Santa Cruz, California. Because friends and family were coming from all around the country, we wanted more time with our guests than just a ceremony and a reception. So we arranged to have a wedding weekend, including such extra treats as free time at the beach, square dancing, and a Sunday-morning worship service.

From there we took off on our honeymoon, driving 2,000 miles to Chicago, Illinois, stopping off along the way for some much-need rest and relaxation, including a backpacking trip in the Grand Teton National Park. Given our continuing love and affection for each other after all these years, we must have done something right. The secret, I submit, lies in the curiosity of our last name, “Tschannen-Moran.”

We have been explaining that name for 28 years on a more-or-less weekly basis. Call customer service, spell our name, and a conversation ensues: “I thought my name was bad! How did you get a name like that?” And so the explanation begins.

Some people assume that the surname came from my family of origin or from some odd tribal tradition. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. My family was, in fact, just as perplexed as everyone else when we put forward the proposition that our marriage was a partnership and should be fully represented as such.

Since I was “Tschannen” • a Swiss-German name originating in the district of Bern • and my bride was “Moran” • from a French immigrant who fought in the American revolution with Lafayette, it made perfect sense to become “Tschannen-Moran.”

That’s the way two men do it in business. Mr. Sherwin and Mr. Williams form a paint company known as “Sherwin-Williams.” Mr. Sears and Mr. Roebuck form a retail operation known as “Sears-Roebuck.” And lawyers, of course, allow their partnership names to run on ad infinitum.

So why not husband and wife? The discomfort, at least 28 years ago, involved both breaking tradition and sexual politics. The two are inextricably linked. The tradition of the bride taking her husband’s name is not just a matter of convenience; it’s also a matter of dominance. In most cases, the woman goes from having her father’s surname to having her husband’s surname, with maternal surnames getting lost in the process.

Some cultures, of course, turn birth certificates into genealogies. Every surname of every ancestor rolls forward from one birth certificate to the next, with only the last one or two being used. But in our culture, the predominant pattern jettisons the female surname the moment she says, “I do.”

We decided on a different course. By hyphenating our surname (the order was determined solely on the basis of phonetics), we gave each other equal time to represent the relational partnership we hoped to embody. By taking the same surname, rather than keeping our individual surnames or having the woman be the only one with two surnames, we represented the mutuality of our commitment.

That mutuality has certainly been an important part of our success as a couple; it is also an apropos introduction to the next core value identified by the second Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures, which met in Chicago in 1993. Contrary to the traditions of male dominance which abound around the globe and have led to the profound degradation and subjugation of women, the Parliament found in every religion and culture an ethical basis for equal rights, partnership, and mutuality between men and women.

“In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind,” they note, “we find the directive: You shall not commit sexual immorality! Or in positive terms: Respect and love one another! The consequences of this ancient directive are clear: No one has the right to degrade others to mere sex objects, to lead them into or hold them in sexual dependency.”

“We therefore condemn sexual exploitation and sexual discrimination as one of the worst forms of human degradation. We have the duty to resist wherever the domination of one sex over the other is preached • even in the name of religious conviction; wherever sexual exploitation is tolerated, wherever prostitution is fostered or children are misused. Let no one be deceived: There is no authentic humaneness without a living together in partnership!”

“Young people must learn at home and in school that sexuality is not a negative, destructive, or exploitative force, but creative and affirmative. Sexuality as a life-affirming shaper of community can only be effective when partners accept the responsibilities of caring for one another’s happiness.”

“The relationship between women and men should be characterized not by patronizing behavior or exploitation, but by love, partnership, and trustworthiness. Human fulfillment is not identical with sexual pleasure. Sexuality should express and reinforce a loving relationship lived by equal partners.”

“The social institution of marriage, despite all its cultural and religious variety, is characterized by love, loyalty, and permanence. It aims at and should guarantee security and mutual support to all family members, including children. All lands and cultures should develop economic and social relationships which will enable marriage and family life worthy of human beings, especially for older people. Children have a right of access to education. Parents should not exploit children, nor children parents. Their relationships should reflect mutual respect, appreciation, and concern.”

The Parliament concluded that “to be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious and ethical traditions,

  • We need mutual respect, partnership, and understanding, instead of patriarchal domination and degradation, which are expressions of violence and engender counter-violence.
  • We need mutual concern, tolerance, readiness for reconciliation, and love, instead of any form of possessive lust or sexual misuse.
  • Only what has already been experienced in personal and familial relationships can be practiced on the level of nations and religions.”

Now that sounds very much like the inspiration behind “Tschannen-Moran.” It was a youthful flash of brilliance, as we sought to express an idea the reality of which we would be living into and, at times, struggling with for the rest of our lives. “Mutual respect, partnership, and understanding” are not easy! But they are essential if we hope to express the true measure of our common values and build the full measure of our common heritage as men and women.

Coaching Inquiries: What is your vision of the relationship between men and women? How do you express mutual respect, partnership, and understanding? How do these play out at work? At home? Where could you turn for honest feedback and transformational coaching?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I totally agree with your opinion of the value of truth. Without it, one’s life becomes muddled, disconnected, aimless and hapless. This says nothing of what lies do to those who are deceived. The TV show The Sopranos, which is ostensibly a drama of mafia power and depredation, is for me, a psychological study of the deleterious effects of lying and cheating. In such a world, ultimately nobody is safe, especially those who promulgate its nefarious tenets.

I’m sad that the Parliament of the World’s Religions and Cultures in Chicago in 1993 has not received more attention. I had never heard of it before reading LifeTrek Provisions. Their tenets on truth and those institutions that are particularly responsible for its promulgation are great and should be publicized and enacted everywhere. However, I do run into a roadblock when they talk about representatives of religion.

The Bible in particular (Old and New Testaments) make numerous references to intolerance and violence. If the Bible is the word of God and therefore the ultimate and sacrosanct Truth, then tolerance cannot be consistent with it. Such organized religion in a way suffers from the same problem as The Sopranos: it is built on a faulty foundation and followers are admonished to keep the faith and stay the course and who can question God’s vast eternal plan should they have the audacity to question anything that seems to be nonsense. (Ed. Note: Apparently the Parliament found a basis for tolerance in the Bible itself. Read on to our next Reader Reply.)


I was reading the Reader’s Forum on Tolerance and it struck me that what so many fail to recognize is this simple truth: we do not all recognize or serve the same God. Now if someone serves a different God how then can they be made to practice the rules of the Christian God. We seem to forget that the apostles were chastised, and instructed “Do not teach your ways to those whose God is not the same or to whom the Holy Spirit or God has not revealed this too!” Rather than forcing our ways onto another we’re called to serve by example. My question to each Christian or God-Believing person is “Why aren’t you hearing and listening?” Tolerance is preached over and over throughout the Bible.


At mid-life, what the truth sets us free from is good job references, and that’s a financial blow from which one can never recover. Which would be why most people lie and/or say whatever will get them whatever they want at a given moment. “Fitting in” is always what’s rewarded on a social behavioral basis (in the everyday world below the level of mega-stars, that is.) Maybe what would be helpful, in addition to telling us how to behave as individuals, would be some lessons on how to adjust the world to accommodate truth telling without destroying the messenger. Start a world wide Web movement to establish an ethical plane for corporations, media, churches and schools so truth-telling individuals would have a framework in which to live safely.


I enjoy every issue of LifeTrek Provision that you put out. Talk about words of wisdom! You ought to send these to the White House!!!!


While I don’t agree with the abuse in the Iraqi prison, is the abuse there any worse than what the Iraqi army has done to U.S. captives? (Ed. Note: Just because “war is hell,” we need not sink to the lowest common denominator.) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #361: Honesty is the Best Policy

Laser Provision

Hopefully you heard this one at an early age: Do not lie! Speak and act truthfully! This is such a universal core value that it can’t be expressed strongly enough. And yet we all fail to measure up at different times and for different reasons. In your personal and professional life, this Provision will bolster your honesty, integrity, and truthfulness.

LifeTrek Provision

Of the many tragedies surrounding the prisoner abuse spectacle at the Abu Ghraib detention facility in Iraq, one of the less publicized but no less significant developments has to do with the treatment of the whistle-blowers. Here are highlights of two stories on the inner pages of the newspaper from just the past week:

  • A U.S. Army military intelligence soldier who spoke publicly about the alleged abuse lost his top-secret security clearance and had his record “flagged” • an administrative action similar to a suspension that usually happens to those who are overweight or fail physical training tests • which means he is ineligible for promotion or honors. “I feel like I’m being punished for telling the truth,” the Sergeant said, adding that he was ordered to remain silent about the investigation. “I don’t regret it. I want people to understand what happened.”
  • A U.S. Army Specialist, who tipped off superiors to the abuses at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, is concerned about his ability to go back home. Although praised by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his “honorable actions,” the people in his hometown are in no mood to celebrate. “If I were him, I’d be sneaking in through the back door at midnight,” said one area resident. “I’m proud of what he did,” said one family member, “but I’m worried about his safety and the repercussions.”

What’s going on here is no surprise. Whistle-blowers • those who reveal wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority • have long needed the force of law in order to protect them against recrimination, even when they are reporting such blatant abuses as those that took place in Iraq. But behind the whistle-blower protections lies an important value that needs to be at the core not only of every individual, but of every society:

Honesty • just like your mother used to tell you • really is the best policy. Even when it hurts. Even when it implicates those we know and love. Even when it shatters trust and requires painful conversations. Even when it costs money or reputation. Honesty is still the best policy.

Unfortunately, as recognized by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures in Chicago in 1993, this core value goes neglected around the globe. People are more prone to do what they can get away with than to hold themselves and others to the high standard of honesty, integrity, and truthfulness.

“All over the world,” the Parliament observed, “we find endless lies and deceit, swindling and hypocrisy, ideology and demagoguery:

  • Politicians and business people who use lies as a means to success;
  • Mass media which spread ideological propaganda instead of accurate reporting, misinformation instead of information, cynical commercial interest instead of loyalty to the truth;
  • Scientists and researchers who give themselves over to morally questionable ideological or political programs or to economic interest groups, or who justify research which violates fundamental ethical values;
  • Representatives of religions who dismiss other religions as of little value and who preach fanaticism and intolerance instead of respect and understanding.”

Given this state of affairs, which has not improved in the past 11 years, the Parliament reaffirmed one of the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind: Do not lie! Or in positive terms: Speak and act truthfully! To put this in plain language, the Parliament declared that “no woman or man, no institution, no state or church or religious community has the right to speak lies to other humans.” They note that this is especially true:

  • “For those who work in the mass media, to whom we entrust the freedom to report for the sake of truth and to whom we thus grant the office of guardian. They do not stand above morality but have the obligation to respect human dignity, human rights, and fundamental values. They are duty-bound to objectivity, fairness, and the preservation of human dignity. They have no right to intrude into individuals’ private spheres, to manipulate public opinion, or to distort reality.”
  • “For artists, writers, and scientists, to whom we entrust artistic and academic freedom. They are not exempt from general ethical standards and must serve the truth.”
  • “For the leaders of countries, politicians, and political parties, to whom we entrust our own freedoms. When they lie in the faces of their people, when they manipulate the truth, or when they are guilty of venality or ruthlessness in domestic or foreign affairs, they forsake their credibility and deserve to lose their offices and their voters. Conversely, public opinion should support those politicians who dare to speak the truth to the people at all times.”
  • “For the representatives of religion. When they stir up prejudice, hatred, and enmity towards those of different belief, or even incite or legitimate religious wars, they deserve the condemnation of humankind and the loss of their adherents. Let no one be deceived: there is no global justice without truthfulness and humaneness!”

In order to develop a higher standard of honesty, integrity, and truthfulness in the world, the Parliament urged the formation of ethical values in young people at home and in school so that they might learn to think, speak, and act truthfully. This will assist them, they note, to not only be honest themselves but also to “discern when opinions are portrayed as facts, interests veiled, tendencies exaggerated, and facts twisted.”

As adults, the Parliament urged:

  1. That we “not confuse freedom with arbitrariness or pluralism with indifference to truth;”
  2. That we “cultivate truthfulness in all our relationships instead of dishonesty, dissembling, and opportunism;”
  3. That we “constantly seek truth and incorruptible sincerity instead of spreading ideological or partisan half-truths;” and
  4. That we “courageously serve the truth, remaining constant and trustworthy, instead of yielding to opportunistic accommodation to life.”

In other words, they argue for personal and professional integrity instead hustling our way through life. Doing whatever we can get away with does more harm to ourselves and to our world than we might imagine. Even when we appear to benefit, we suffer greatly. One thing has a way of leading to another, until the vary fabric of life is compromised.

Twenty-five years ago, in his seminal work The Road Less Traveled, psychotherapist M. Scott Peck identified “appropriating truth” as one of four disciplines that enable our lives to be healthy and our spirit to grow. This begins with dedication to reality. It does not help to pretend that life is not what it is. Yet most of us are content to live with outdated maps, ignoring or denouncing those who would seek to update our maps on the basis of new information or technology. We get set in our ways and resist any suggestion of change.

Once we dedicate ourselves to reality, even if reality challenges our accustomed ways of being and doing, appropriating truth continues with the honest communication of that reality to others. At the very least, Peck suggests that we adopt the practice of never making a statement that we know is false. This applies not only to the words we speak but also to how we speak them.

Peck also challenges us to become scrupulous in those gray areas where we speak some but not all of the truth. Withholding a portion of the truth can be just as misleading, and sometimes even more misleading, as speaking an outright lie. Because of the toll it takes, Peck urges us to always have good moral reasons for withholding the truth and to minimize the frequency with which it happens. To this end, Peck offers the following guidelines:

“The decision to withhold the truth should never be based on personal needs, such as a need for power, a need to be liked, or a need to protect one’s map from challenge. Conversely, the decision to withhold the truth must always be based entirely upon the needs of the person or people from whom the truth is being withheld. The assessment of another’s needs is an act of responsibility which is so complex that it can only be executed wisely when one operates with genuine love for the other.”

When applied this way, from the vantage point of love, honesty is always the best policy. That is when we discover of the age-old wisdom: the truth will set us free.

Coaching Inquiries: How strong is your commitment to the truth? What things do you fudge, and why? Are you a role model of integrity for those who know you? How could your commitment to the truth become more visible and compelling?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


In your last Provision, you asked “What would it take to develop a relationship with someone who is different from you, perhaps even fearsome or offensive to you?” How about a paycheck? Isn’t that the pathway to tolerating a boss?! Slight sarcasm there, but only slight. Basically I can’t imagine a fearsome/offensive person unless it’s one who has some sort of power over me, and uses it brutally. Unfortunately, if there’s no specific reason (work, caretaking, etc.) for socializing with people we don’t agree with and like, it’s nearly impossible to sustain, in my experience. I wish I didn’t read so deeply into your “pep talk” messages! I like what they say • what they intend • but sometimes practicality (from experience) looms. Sometimes finding people with whom one has common ground is difficult enough!


It’s OK to tolerate differences, but not deliberate sins. God has made His rules and we are asked to follow Him if we want to spend eternity with Him. (Ed. Note: I would leave the policing of sins to religious communities, extending a wide berth of toleration in society at large.)


I’ll agree with the discussion of tolerance to the point that intolerance leading to hate is wrong. But we all live by moral absolutes that we have come to believe in, for example those based on God’s word. When we are well grounded in our morals, won’t there be conflict when someone else’s moral absolutes are different? This is why we have conflict regarding marriage today. Moral absolutes are the problem, not just intolerance. What bothers me about the religion of tolerance in today’s society is that to even express our differences in morals is branded intolerant, and thus disregarded. In turn, this leads to a lack of discussion in general. By my morals, I must share what is right. What I try to focus on is love, and remembering that to change someone I must convict their heart. Intolerance and hate will not make this happen. 


I’ve changed my email address. I hope this does not cause me to miss any of the helpful and thoughtful information that I’ve been blessed to received through Life Trek Coaching.  



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
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Provision #360: Tolerate Differences

Laser Provision

It’s easy to become intolerant of people who are different. Their difference questions our identity. Pack enough emotion into the equation, and it’s easy to see why people become fearful of and violent with each other. But getting to know people as individuals can turn this around. We can learn not only to tolerate but to celebrate diversity.

LifeTrek Provision

In a world that thrives on competition and dominance in every domain, including business, politics, athletics, and religion, it may surprise you to learn that tolerance is an even more universally held value by the world’s religions and cultures. Although extremists of every ilk have long sought to assert their supremacy, through both persuasion and compulsion, the world’s religions and cultures speak more to the celebration of diversity than to its condemnation.

The 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures incorporated this into the third commitment of their Proclamation. “When people stir up prejudice, hatred, and enmity towards others,” they agreed, “even to the point of inciting or legitimating religious wars, they deserve the condemnation of humankind and the loss of their adherents.”

Now those are strong words! But given the pogroms that have taken place in the name of religion over the millennia, and given the current state of world affairs, those words point to an increasingly important basis upon which to build our core values. The tolerance, if not the celebration, of diversity would make the world a better place for one and all.

Unfortunately, tolerance is in increasingly short supply. In the United States of America, a country founded with a Bill of Rights and a proud tradition of tolerance, hate crimes are committed on an hourly basis by individuals and organized groups. According to Tolerance.org Click, every day at least 8 blacks, 3 whites, 3 gays, 3 Jews, and 1 Latino become hate crime victims. Around the world, the picture is just as bad and often worse. There is a wide gap between legal protection and heartfelt tolerance.

For those who make tolerance a part of their core values, Tolerance.org suggests 10 ways to close the gap:

  1. Act. Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance • by the haters, the public and, worse, the victim. Act in ways that promote decency in all human interactions, otherwise hate invariably persists.
  2. Unite. Call a friend or coworker. Organize a group of allies from churches, schools, clubs and other civic sources. Create a diverse coalition. Include children, police and the media. Gather ideas from everyone, and get everyone involved.
  3. Support the Victims. Hate-crime victims are especially vulnerable, fearful and alone. Let them know you care. Surround them with people they feel comfortable with. If you’re a victim, report every incident and ask for help.
  4. Do Your Homework. Determine if a hate group is involved, and research its symbols and agenda. Seek advice from anti-hate organizations. Accurate information can then be spread to the community.
  5. Create an Alternative. Do NOT attend a hate rally. Find another outlet for anger and frustration and people’s desire to do something. Hold a unity rally or parade. Find a news hook, like a ‘hate-free zone.’
  6. Speak Up. You, too, have First Amendment rights. Hate must be exposed and denounced. Buy an ad. Help news organizations achieve balance and depth. Do not debate hate mongers in conflict-driven talk shows.
  7. Lobby Leaders. Persuade politicians, business and community leaders to take a stand against hate. Early action creates a positive reputation for the community, while unanswered hate will eventually be bad for business.
  8. Look Long Range. Create a ‘bias response’ team. Hold annual events, such as a parade or culture fair, to celebrate your community’s diversity and harmony. Build something the community needs. Create a Web site.
  9. Teach Tolerance. Bias is learned early, usually at home. But children from different cultures can be influenced by school programs and curricula. Sponsor an ‘I have a dream’ contest. Target youths who may be tempted by skinheads or other hate groups.
  10. Dig Deeper. Look into issues that divide us: economic inequality, immigration, homosexuality. Work against discrimination in housing, employment, education. Look inside yourself for prejudices and stereotypes.”

Of the 10 suggestions, the last one can be at once the most formidable and the most transformational. To move from legal protection to heartfelt tolerance, we have to deal with our own ghosts and fears.

Perhaps we, or someone we know, have had a negative experience with someone who is different from us. They may be from a different race, culture, religion, gender, orientation, or economic class. And that one experience, passed around from one person to the next, forms the basis for generations of bias, discrimination, and even violence.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. By making tolerance a core value, we can shift both ourselves and our communities to be more positive and inclusive.

Mati Milstein wrote an excellent article* recently Click describing how this worked for him, an American Jew who emigrated to Israel in 1998. “The geography of fear is everywhere,” he notes, “everywhere you fear something bad might happen to you. It is everywhere you find people different than you, people you don’t know or understand. People who look differently, dress differently, pray differently, think differently.”

“It is created by ignorance, blindness and years of societal conditioning. And it is strengthened and reinforced when people do not communicate. Each and every one of us • no matter how enlightened, no matter how liberal • also has an internal geography of fear. It is this internal geography that causes us to cross the street when we see certain people coming, that makes us suspect horrible things about people we have never actually met.”

For Milstein, that geography is set in the context of the Israeli • Palestinian conflict. “And I have found only one truly effective method,” he writes, “to attempt to overcome my own unfounded prejudices and preconceptions: get in a car and head right into the heart of these black spots on my internal map.”

So that is what he does. He drives, both literally and figuratively, to a point of deeper relationship with those who are different. By getting to know different people as individuals, with names, families, and common values, he moves beyond the caricature to the character of those who others call the enemy.

In this way, he concludes, “my personal geography of fear may dim. It may well never fully disappear. I may never be able to get rid of all the prejudices and preconceptions I have inside me. But I can learn how to recognize them and deal with them, maybe even use them to my advantage, build something good around them. My fear can be a useful tool.”

That is an example of digging deeper in order to cultivate tolerance. And I have seen that work on countless occasions. People who had written off entire groups of people become their champions through the transformational effect of getting to know solitary individuals.

Consider your own circle of friends. It’s not too late to increase its diversity. Doing so is a great way to change the world, one person at a time.

Coaching Inquiries: When you dig deep, what do you find? Are you tolerant or belligerent? What would it take to develop a relationship with someone who is different from you, perhaps even fearsome or offensive to you?

Remapping the Geography of Fear Click by Mati Milstein. Mr. Milstein has lived in Israel since 1998. Upon completing service in the IDF, he began covering stories in Israel and the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories for Israeli and foreign media outlets. The quotes from this article (• 2004 by The New Mexico Jewish Link http://www.nmjewishlink.com and by The Jewish Telegraphic Agency) are used with permission. Mr. Milstein can be reached at midbar7@hotmail.com.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I have read most of Provision #359, Pursue Justice Click. I cannot continue until I took a moment and commented on the opening lines. I agree with you that Jesus and Justice are basically one and the same. The example given suggested that you think people who pursue Jesus was in conflict with those in pursuit of justice. I cannot understand why. (Ed. Note: Different people have different ideas of what makes for justice, e.g., Individual vs. Systemic Reforms. My guess is that the person with the “Jesus” bumper sticker is focused more on individual reforms while the one with the “Justice” bumper sticker is focused more on systemic reforms.)


Another great Provision! And the information on Cinnamon is interesting. I think I will give it a try 🙂


Just wanted to let you know…each morning I drink about an eighth cup of vinegar…I now have added a teaspoon of Cinnamon mixed with this. It is great! The taste is pretty darn good. Thanks for the information.


Amen, to your last Provision! Justice and cinnamon • what a team. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #359: Pursue Justice

Laser Provision

Although compassion is necessary and indispensable, it’s not sufficient in our world today. We also need to pursue the systemic reforms that make for global justice and minimize the need for compassion. That may sound like an impossible task, but the value of justice comes to us on good authority with doable strategies for success.

LifeTrek Provision

In recent weeks, I saw two different bumper stickers. The first one said, “No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.” The second one said, “No Justice, No Peace. Know Justice, Know Peace.”

My guess is that the people driving those cars have very different values. The former is probably part of what sociologists now describe as “Red America,” the “roughly half of the U.S. population that tends toward conservative values, the Republican Party, gun ownership, church as the preferred way to express faith, and moral absolutes.” The latter is probably part of “Blue America,” the other half of the U.S. population that tends toward liberal values, the Democratic Party, gun control, spirituality as the preferred way to express faith, and moral latitude.

The 50/50 split led a few years ago to the most contested presidential election in U.S. history, sending George W. Bush to the White House by judicial action. 2004 may witness a repeat performance, only this time some pollsters are predicting that “Red America” may win the popular vote yet lose the White House due to the quirkiness of the Electoral College.

It’s unfortunate that people are so divided. National unity is always hard to come by; deep value-based divisions across the mainstream make it even more difficult. Especially since they are reflected and writ large on the world stage. From the streets of Baghdad to the boardrooms and picket lines of industry, we see value-based conflicts painfully playing themselves out on a daily basis.

Behind the tragedy of these conflicts is an underlying travesty of misunderstanding. To read the two bumper stickers, you would think that Jesus and Justice were at odds with each other. But nothing could be further from the truth, when it comes to Jesus or any of the other great religions and cultures of the world. Apart from love, Jesus had far more to say about Justice than about any other matter.

That’s because the religions and cultures of the world agree on the importance of justice as not only an underlying principle of civilized society but also as a reflection of core values that cut to the quick of human dignity, potentiality, and transcendency. If there is anything that sets human beings apart from other creatures, both as individuals and as cultures, it’s our ability to perceive and pursue justice.

This is, in fact, an important part of the maturation process. I have written before about the difference between “enrage” and “outrage.” At birth, we are incapable of “outrage” because we have not developed a sense of justice (we are, however, quite capable of being “enraged,” as new parents soon discover). Over time, we become versed in such basic concepts as fairness, equality, freedom, innocence, and human rights.

Once those concepts are developed, “outrage” is soon to follow. There is, unfortunately, far too little justice in the world. Injustice is headline news, updated continuously throughout the day. Scanning the ticker, I note prisoner abuse, war crimes, slavery, exploitation, unemployment, poverty, starvation., assassinations, terrorist bombings, landmines, money laundering, hate crimes, and evidence tampering to mention only a few. It seems there is no end to human wickedness and injustice.

So what’s a person to do? The Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures, meeting in Chicago in 1993, suggested a two-prong approach: pursue compassion in your dealings with individuals and justice in your dealings with society.

I wrote about the former two weeks ago Click, and received many positive replies. Compassion may not square with many movements and philosophies in the world today, but the readers of LifeTrek Provisions appear to be a compassionate bunch. And that’s a good thing because personal compassion underlies global justice. If we don’t care about the suffering of people, then we are never going to work for either immediate relief or systemic reform.

The latter is, of course, much more difficult to achieve. It’s one thing to give one thirsty person a cup of clean water. It’s another thing to give all persons everywhere a continuous supply of clean water. Systemic reforms are tough; but that doesn’t make them pointless to pursue. On the contrary, real progress can be made when people come from and rally around the common value of justice.

This perspective was reflected in the second commitment of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures:

“All over the world we find endless hunger, deficiency, and need,” they observe. “Millions of people are without work; millions are exploited by poor wages, forced to the edges of society, with their possibilities for the future destroyed, while at the same time others live with immense prosperity. Not only individuals, but especially unjust institutions and structures are responsible for these tragedies.”

Recognizing that “individual good deeds and assistance projects, indispensable though they be, are insufficient” the Parliament called for the participation of all states and international organizations in the effort to build a new world order with just economic institutions. To this end, the Parliament lifted up five frameworks and strategies:

  1. Play Fair. “In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the directive: You shall not steal! Or in positive terms: Deal honestly and fairly! The consequences of this ancient directive are clear for global justice: No one has the right to rob or dispossess in any way whatsoever any other person or the commonweal. Further, no one has the right to use her or his possessions without concern for the needs of society and Earth.”
  2. Minimize Extremes. “Where extreme poverty reigns, helplessness and despair spread, and theft occurs again and again for the sake of survival. Where power and wealth are accumulated ruthlessly, feelings of envy, resentment, and deadly hatred and rebellion inevitably well up in the disadvantaged and marginalized. This leads to a vicious circle of violence and counter-violence. An unquenchable greed for money, prestige, and consumption must give way to moderation and modesty.”
  3. Teach Citizenship. “Young people must learn at home and in school that property, limited though it may be, carries with it an obligation, and that its uses should at the same time serve the common good. Only thus can a just economic order be built up.”
  4. Restructure Economics. “A solution must be sought for the debt crisis and the poverty of the dissolving Second World, and even more the Third World. In the developed countries, a distinction must be made between necessary and limitless consumption, between socially beneficial and non-beneficial uses of property, between justified and unjustified uses of natural resources, and between a profit-only and a socially beneficial and ecologically oriented market economy. Even the developing nations must search their national consciences.”
  5. Cultivate Consideration. “We must utilize economic and political power for service to humanity instead of misusing it in ruthless battles for domination. We must develop a spirit of compassion with those who suffer, with special care for the children, the aged, the poor, the disabled, the refugees, and the lonely. We must cultivate mutual respect and consideration, so as to reach a reasonable balance of interests, instead of thinking only of unlimited power and unavoidable competitive struggles.”

If you are looking for a place to stand in the development of your own core values, whether you come from the “Red” or “Blue” side of the fence, then economic justice is a good place to start. It is a shared value that impacts both faith and society. It forces us to evaluate not only our own lives and lifestyles but also the policies and positions that make sense in the world today.

This applies to one and all, and especially to those who control the wheels of commerce and industry. Here is where the rubber meets the road, as private-sector partners play their not-so-invisible hand along with nations and international organizations in fashioning the future.

What kind of future do you want? I, for one, want a future based more upon justice and peace than the world is today.

Coaching Inquiries: What does justice have to do with your core values? Do you work to minimize or maximize extremes between the haves and the have-nots? How could your life and work become more of a witness for justice and peace?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Congratulations on completing the Big Sur Marathon!!! I sent your report and photos to my good friend who owns the Big Sur River Inn and is very involved in the marathon. This is what she wrote back: “Thanks so much for passing that on…it was wonderful to read and, as the Music Director, really great to see so many pics of musicians…Please pass my thanks on to Bob.” Thanks for your LifeTrek Provisions • I enjoy reading them.


What an awesome Provision on the Big Sur marathon! I forwarded this to all my running/cycling friends.


On Wednesday morning I will have my left knee replaced. After hearing how you experienced the last Marathon, I am lifted up in knowing that my journey will be easier than yours, especially when doing all the exercising that it will take to be able to walk again without assistance. Thanks for your great perseverance and looking at all the joy that you found in the very difficult landscape of the Big Sur. It gives me courage.


I thought I’d take a moment to say how much I enjoy your “Provision” articles. I, unknowingly, sat in the same audience last November at the ICF Annual Meeting, listening to Dr. Pearsall, and had some of the same insights and affirmations about the heart. You summarized him succinctly and beautifully. I don’t think I could have done that. I also smiled as I read your Marathon stories. I run Grandma’s half marathon each year with my husband and another couple friend(s). Running makes for such wonderful life analogies. Finally, when I read of a “great cloud of witnesses” lifting you up, I truly smiled. I suspect we have the same goal in life. One of which is to BE a great witness. I look forward to a time when we can talk at length.


I read your e-letter faithfully. I have been focused on my own coaching shift, and with a coach out of Boston, am now able to say I am making progress! I wanted to tell you that I love how you pour YOU into the picture. I am learning that each of us is our own best marketing tool, and your running is both a draw and a metaphor for coaching, in general. I read you episode with your last marathon with a mixture of envy and heartache. I have a chronic hip injury that flares up whenever I run more that 6-7 miles. I was training for a marathon, when I discovered this unknown result of an accident, and just can’t get beyond it, without extreme bursitis. So I loved hearing about your marathon, trials and tribulations and all.



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #357: Be Compassionate

Laser Provision

Are you compassionate? Or have you adopted one or more of the following mentalities: “us against the world,” “why bother,” “me first,” or “mind over matter”? For those who seek to shape their lives on the basis of core values, compassion is a good place to start. It’s an infectious quality of being that serves to make the world a better place to be.

LifeTrek Provision

As many of you read this, I will be running north along Highway 1 from Big Sur to Carmel, California for the 19th presentation of the Big Sur International Marathon Click. I have had some anxiety about this race, since I’m still recovering from a bout of sciatica which has interrupted my training. This may turn out to be more of a leisurely stroll than a competitive run. Either way, it helps to know that family, friends, clients, running buddies, and now you, the readers of LifeTrek Provisions, are thinking of me.

On Wednesday of this past week, a college-age family friend who lives nearby called, with a tremble in her voice, to say that a chemical burn on her leg was possibly becoming infected. Would one of us be willing to take her to the emergency room? She called us, rather than 911, because she didn’t just want transportation and antibiotics; she also wanted compassion.

It may be hard to pin down and measure, but there is tremendous comfort and strength that comes from the caring of others. Keeping someone in our thoughts and prayers, being present with them, and assisting them through a time of suffering, is a tremendous gift. It is also the reflection of a core value, compassion, that lubricates social interactions and holds people together across space and time.

Is compassion one of your core values? It certainly comes to us on the strong recommendation of religions and cultures around the world. Sharing people’s suffering and building them up, rather than tearing them down and causing their suffering, is universally recognized as a good way of being.

Most of us were fortunate enough to acquire this value through our families and communities of origin as well as our own direct experience. We may not realize, however, the deep roots of this value. Compassion ranks high on the list of values in East and West, North and South, rich and poor, as well as indigenous and traditional civilizations.

Of course it’s natural and relatively easy to feel and express compassion towards those we know and love. Moving beyond our own kind to extend compassion to strangers and even enemies is another matter entirely. But here too the religions and cultures of the world agree: we would all be better off if compassion was the common currency of the world.

This ties into the value we’ve written about for the past two weeks, namely, respecting life. Religions and cultures around the globe make explicit and implicit mention of this mandate as a value extending not only to other human beings but also to animals, plants, and the entire universe through which we travel on “spaceship earth.”

Although this value has never been fully realized, that does not make it any less important, relevant, or valuable. Indeed, respecting life may well be considered the prime directive from which all other values follow.

The link to compassion is obvious. It is embedded in the second principle agreed to by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures, which met in Chicago in 1993. This principle speaks of the “commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic order” in order to make, as common cause, not only the survival of life but also the quality of life for human beings and other living things.

A cavalier attitude in the face of suffering, human or otherwise, does not reflect this core value. Noting the widespread prevalence of hunger, deficiency, and need around the globe, the Parliament declared “we must develop a spirit of compassion with those who suffer, with special care for the children, the aged, the poor, the disabled, the refugees, and the lonely.” Simply put, this value encourages us to identify with those who suffer and to relieve suffering, in so far as we are able.

Unfortunately, compassion comes under attack from many fronts today. On the one hand, there are those with a clear supremacy agenda. For whatever reason, they adopt an “us against the world” mentality, which more often seeks to inflict rather than to relieve suffering. This mentality can infect individuals as well as groups, ranging from terrorist cells to nation states. Given the destructive power of modern weaponry, even one individual can inflict great suffering on a great many people. The horrors that groups can now inflict are unspeakable.

There are also those with a clear cynicism agenda. Either through personal experience (having tried but failed) or through independent assessment (sizing up the situation), they adopt a “why bother” mentality. They may not actively inflict suffering but neither do they actively seek to relieve suffering. Whether pragmatic or self-protective, such apathy produces a callous insulation from the problems of other individuals, groups, and peoples. Given the enormity of these problems, cynicism and inactivity results in its own brand of horrors.

Then there are those with a clear narcissistic agenda. They care only about themselves, adopting a “me first” mentality. Their impact on others, whether to inflict or to relieve suffering, is irrelevant to their core values and their reason for being. They focus primarily on their own prosperity and pleasure. For those who manage to climb their way to the top, this often translates into a disparaging attitude toward those who fail to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” Compassion is viewed as weakness and counterproductive. “God helps those who help themselves,” is their motto.

Finally, there are those with a clear transcendental agenda. Between a combination of ancient texts and modern psychology, they adopt a “mind over matter” mentality. Suffering is not irrelevant, it’s a byproduct of misguided thinking. Based upon a dualistic conception of the universe, which posits an essential reality not visible in the existential world, this approach counsels detachment from pain, suffering, and other material realities. “Everything is perfect, just the way it is, even when it’s not,” is their motto. In other words, suffering is not meant to be identified with and relieved, it’s meant to be observed, appreciated, manipulated, and dismissed.

Do any of these mentalities sound like you? Are you arrogant, cynical, narcissistic, or ethereal when it comes to suffering? Have you adopted an “us against the world,” “why bother,” “me first,” or “mind over matter” mentality? Then perhaps its time to find a new place in your heart for the sufferings of this world.

That would certainly be indicated by the common values of the world’s religions and cultures. Compassion literally means “to suffer with” someone. It is a time-honored way of approaching friends, strangers, and foes.

You are, most likely, familiar with the 2,600-year-old children’s story which demonstrates the benefits of compassion. Aesop’s fable of “The Lion and Androcles” tells the story of a ferocious lion who was suffering terribly with an infected thorn in his paw. One day he met Androcles, a Roman slave, who had escaped from his cruel master and fled to the forest. Androcles and the lion had no reason to trust each other, apart from the common bond of suffering.

Seeing the pain of the lion, Androcles mustered his courage, removed the thorn, and bandaged the wound. Soon the lion was able to rise and, like a dog, lick the hand of the man. For days, the lion brought the man meat in appreciation of his compassion.

Later, when both were captured, Androcles was sentenced to death, to be thrown to a lion in the arena before the emperor and a crowd of spectators. When the lion was released, he recognized Androcles and again behaved like a friendly dog, fawning and licking his hands. The surprised emperor summoned Androcles, heard the story of compassion, and promptly released them both to freedom.

That’s the way it is with compassion. We win friends, influence people, and even cause enemies to think twice about their hostility. Compassion that begins in the heart of one individual can spread to the emperor, the arena, and throughout the world. It is an infectious spirit that has for too long been in short supply.

The mandate to be compassionate is a near universal mandate of religions and cultures around the globe. As we formulate our own core values, it behooves us to claim some piece of that mandate as our own. Our lives will be richer as we learn to care more deeply for others.

Coaching Inquiries: Are you compassionate? How do you express compassion? Do you suffer only with the people you know and like? Or do you extend compassion to strangers and enemies?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


In reading the Provision on “Eschewing Violence,” Click, I would be interested in knowing what action Bob would have taken if it was 1942 and he had to deal with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi approach to problem solving. (Ed. Note: That is a question we each must face, whether or not we embrace the value of respecting life. Clearly he had to be resisted and removed from power. Could that have been done through nonviolence? Extreme cases provoke tough questions. How would you have responded?) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #356: Spaceship Earth

Laser Provision

This Thursday, April 22, will again see Earth Day celebrations around the globe to celebrate the earth and our responsibility toward it. The value of protecting the planet, including all life forms and natural resources, has ancient roots in the world’s religions and cultures. It has become even more important now that we know we are “all astronauts aboard a little spaceship called Earth.”

LifeTrek Provision

It’s clear from our reader feedback that we have moved into the territory of values. As soon as we write about values, those “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable,” we inevitably raise the ire of some and the hope of others. That’s because values are also “beliefs in which a person or social group have an emotional investment.”

Last week’s Provision on “Eschewing Violence” Click was no exception. Given the state of world affairs, that certainly came as no surprise. One reader argued that we had the luxury of writing about nonviolence only because others had violently protected and defended our right to do so. Several readers celebrated our worldwide reconnaissance of nonviolence as the right word at the right time, to counterbalance the current wave of brutal hostilities and bloodshed around the globe.

The point of this series on common values, however, is not to promote a particular strategy or course of action. It’s not to answer the question, “So what do we do with this value?” You must answer that question for yourself, and different people will arrive at different answers.

The point of this series is to recognize the values that religions and cultures hold in common around the world so that we can use them as a starting point in formulating our own personal core values. Each of us needs a clear sense of what we’re about, what we stand for, and what we work for in the world. Rather than inventing our values from scratch, this series gives us some things to ponder from the wisdom of the ages.

And that wisdom clearly eschews violence against human beings and other living things. We would all do well to review our life and work in that light. What connections do we see between this value and how we live and work? What changes, if any, would we make?

When the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures met in Chicago in 1993, they recognized that the time-honored command to “do no harm” extends far beyond physicians and their patients, and even beyond one human being to another. Embedded in their lifting up the “commitment to a culture of nonviolence and respect for life” was the recognition that the biosphere itself must be valued and protected.

“A human being is infinitely precious and must be unconditionally protected,” asserted the Parliament in their “Principles of a Global Ethic,” “but likewise the lives of animals and plants which inhabit this planet with us deserve protection, preservation, and care. Limitless exploitation of the natural foundations of life, ruthless destruction of the biosphere, and militarization of the cosmos are all outrages”

“As human beings,” they continued, “we have a special responsibility • especially with a view to future generations • for Earth and the cosmos, for the air, water, and soil. We are all intertwined together in this cosmos and we are all dependent on each other. Each one of us depends on the welfare of all.”

“Therefore the dominance of humanity over nature and the cosmos must not be encouraged. Instead we must cultivate living in harmony with nature and the cosmos.”

This is hardly a new idea. R. Buckminster Fuller was the first to coin the term “Spaceship Earth” in the early 1960s, to reflect the shift from seeing the earth as the illimitable center of the Universe to seeing it as “a tiny sphere, closed, limited, crowded, and hurtling through space to unknown destinations.”

Fuller explored the ramifications of this shift in his classic book, “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth,” first published in 1963. In 1965, Kenneth E. Boulding, speaking to the Washington State University Committee on Space Sciences, summarized those ramifications as follows:

“In what we might call the ‘old days,'” he noted, “when human beings were small in numbers and earth was large, we could pollute it with impunity, though even then we frequently destroyed our immediate environment and had to move on to a new spot, which we then proceeded to destroy. Now we can no longer do this; we must live in the whole system, in which we must recycle our wastes and really face up to the problem of the increase in material entropy which our activities create. In a space ship there are no sewers.”

“It is therefore absolutely necessary for us to develop a technology that is different from the one on which we now base our high-level societies. For one thing, high-level societies are now based on the consumption of fossil fuels and ores, none of which, at present rates of consumption, are likely to last more than a few hundred years.” Alternative, renewable energy sources must be explored and developed.

“We are also going to have to face the fact that we are a biological system living in an ecological system, and that our survival power is going to depend on our developing symbiotic relationships of a closed-cycle character with all the other elements and populations of the world of ecological systems.”

Finally, “the consequences for the social system are profound and little understood. It is clear that much human behavior and many human institutions in the past, which were appropriate to an infinite earth, are entirely inappropriate to a small closed space ship. We cannot have cowboys and Indians, for instance, in a space ship, or even a cowboy ethic. We cannot afford unrestrained conflict, and we almost certainly cannot afford national sovereignty in an unrestricted sense.”

“We must find cybernetic and homeostatic mechanisms,” he concludes, “for controlling the total numbers of the population; there must be machinery for controlling conflict processes and for preventing perverse social dynamic processes of escalation and inflation. One of the major problems of social science is how to devise institutions which will combine this overall homeostatic control with individual freedom and mobility. I believe this problem to be not insoluble, though not yet solved.”

In this summary, Boulding touches on the relevant issues, voicing a modern-day expression of the ancient wisdom to protect the planet. Waste management, pollution, energy, ecology, biology, and sociology are all impacted profoundly by the realities and limitations of spaceship earth.

This concern led to the organization of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Since that time, Earth Day has become an annual event to celebrate the earth and our responsibility toward this little spaceship we call home. Now is the perfect time, on the occasion of the 25th Earth Day celebration, to ponder the implications of being on spaceship earth and to incorporate spaceship values into our daily life and work.

You can visit the Earth Day Web site to find activities in your area Click. Far more than a celebration, however, Earth Day is a year-round movement based upon the principles and values acknowledged as universal by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures.

When my children were small they had t-shirts with a picture of planet Earth and the admonition, “Love Your Mother.” It’s time we all learned to love, care for, protect, and defend our planet. It is, after all, an integral part of what makes life possible.

Coaching Inquiries: When was the last time you participated in an Earth Day celebration? How does your life and work reflect the values of living on “spaceship earth.” What is one practical action you could take to protect the planet?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Thanks so much for your timely article on eschewing violence. Do you mind if I share that part with the different peace groups in my area? We have the Interfaith Association which has members from eight religious bodies. When we meet, we spend much time talking about how we all need to pray for our government and the many other countries’ governments who struggle daily in their quest to be in power to control rather than to use peaceful means to have win-win for all their citizens. We pray mostly for leaders that will rise up such as the ones that you quote to lead by non-violent means that we all may overcome and have harmony, love and peace in our lands. (Ed. Note: Sharing of Provisions is always encouraged! Thanks for spreading the word.)


I was recently alerted to your Provision on eschewing violence through a sub-group of Community of Faith for Peace members in our area. Thank you!


I just want to say thank you to you and your staff for providing this wonderful e-mail newsletter. I really look forward to receiving it and I read it thoroughly! I have gained many great insights and look forward to the day when our financial situation improves so that I can partake in some personal coaching. Until then, thank you for providing this service. It is a great blessing to me (and many others I am sure) who are not able to work one-on-one with a coach. (Ed. Note: Don’t forget that your first session is complimentary, as is our on-line Coaching Chat Room Click).


Thinking of our culture and government as “rejecting the use of violence” prior to 9-11 is too convenient an explanation for this man to handle. We have long relied on violence to secure our place in the world. That said, your weekly emails help me get through the tough times and I wish you nothing but peace, love, and understanding on this Easter Sunday. (Ed. Note: You are right about that, but “the war footing” since 9-11 has made spare-no-expense, preemptive violence even more acceptable to even more people. Thanks for your Easter greetings.)


We live in New York with two small children. We are surrounded by a war mentality, with no understanding of our enemy. The terrorists of 9-11 were not “cowards.” They knowingly gave their lives for what they thought was important (although wrong). We should learn from this.


I absolutely believe in non-violence and the sanctity of Life. I also served our nation proudly and faced evils you could not fathom, including death on many occasions and on many fronts! You are welcome for your freedom given to you by the very nation you reside in and the men and women who fought valiantly to assure you the privilege to feel safe in your belief of “non-violence” and also “the sanctity of Life” for there are many in the world who do not share your “core” beliefs and would prefer your existence would no longer be required! I also will pray with you and offer my prayers for the people willing to take a stand and yes even make an ultimate sacrifice to allow me the undeserved privilege to live in this Great Nation Under God called The United States of America! Just remember in this world it takes all kind, and it just so happens you are one of them.  



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #355: Eschew Violence

Laser Provision

World events notwithstanding, and all representations to the contrary, the sanctity of human life is the most commonly agreed upon value by the world’s diverse religions and cultures. When we adopt this value as one of our values, when we take it into the core of our being, it changes how we live and work in the world. As you set your core values, eschewing violence is a good place to start.

LifeTrek Provision

As part of the hearings currently going on in Washington, D.C. regarding the events of September 11, 2001 and what, if anything, could have been done to stop the violence, there has been frequent mention of the so-called “pre 9/11 mentality.” This mentality, which predominated in the government and in the culture at large, rejected the overwhelming use of violence and war as acceptable means of resolving differences and international conflicts.

So Richard Clarke, a counter-terrorism expert who served under four U.S. Presidents, spent decades calling for decisive military action against known and suspected terrorist cells around the world. His recommendations were largely ignored or rejected, however, because the American people just wouldn’t support a substantial commitment of resources and personnel around the world. Or, to quote the President’s National Security Advisor, because America was not “on a war footing.”

All that changed, of course, in the wake of September 11. Suddenly there was a “let’s roll,” “do whatever it takes” mentality to root out the scourge of evil in the world. And those in charge of U.S. affairs have taken that as a green light for a much broader use of violence and war in the world community.

But is this really what people want? And does it make the world a safer place to be? Those questions, too, are now being investigated and hotly debated.

Fortunately, we don’t have to start the conversation from scratch. As we seek to develop and practice our own core values, we can be coached by the teachings and wisdom of religions and cultures around the world. And if there is one, near universal truth, it is the sanctity of human life and the importance of eschewing violence in the resolution of human conflicts. Consider the following representative statements, all written long before September 11:

  • “Humankind can get out of violence only through nonviolence. Hatred can be overcome only by love. Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred.” Mahatma Gandhi (Hindu)
  • “For years now, we have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can we just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. The alternative to nonviolence may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat transformed into an inferno.” Martin Luther King, Jr. (Christian, Protestant)
  • “Through Gandhi and my own life experience, I have learned about nonviolence. I believe that human life is a very special gift from God, and that no one has a right to take that away in any cause, however just. I am convinced that nonviolence is more powerful than violence.” Cesar Chavez (Christian, Catholic)
  • “Abstaining from the taking of life gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. This is the first gift, the first great gift, that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is not faulted by knowledgeable people.” Abhisanda Sutta (Buddhist)
  • “The sanctity of human life is a core value of Islam, but so is the duty to fight “tumult and oppression” to the end. Unless Muslims forsake the methods of violence, they cannot follow these seemingly contradictory injunctions. In fact, since nonviolent alternatives to violence do exist, Muslims have no alternative but to utilize nonviolent action in the contemporary world if they want to be true to the faith.” The Nonviolent Crescent (Muslim)
  • “When confronted with an unbroken cycle of violence, Jews are not commanded to be God’s accountants. Our rightful mission is to “to negotiate and to compromise,” (Sanhedrin 6b) to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:15).” Rabbi David Osachy (Jewish)

Do your core values eschew violence? “Eschew” means to “avoid and stay away from deliberately.” In other words, eschewing violence represents an intentional and deliberate act of will. It is not an aversion to conflict, let alone an act of cowardice, but a way of being that respects the humanity and life of both friends and foes, allies and enemies. If such an intention is not among your core values, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider.

In 1993, in Chicago, long before the current round of “holy” and “just” wars, the second Parliament of the World’s Religions identified the “commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life” as the common ground and starting value point for human behavior amongst the diverse religions and cultures of the world. Their Declaration, signed by representatives of every major faith, notes:

  • “All people have a right to life, safety, and the free development of personality in so far as they do not injure the rights of others.”
  • “No one has the right physically or psychically to torture, injure, much less kill, any other human being.”
  • “No people, no state, no race, and no religion has the right to hate, to discriminate against, to ‘cleanse’, to exile, much less to liquidate a ‘foreign’ minority which is different in behavior or holds different beliefs.”
  • “Conflicts should be resolved without violence within a framework of justice. This is true for states as well as for individuals.”
  • “Persons who hold political power must work within the framework of a just order and commit themselves to the most non-violent, peaceful solutions possible. And they should work for this within an international order of peace which itself has need of protection and defense against perpetrators of violence.”
  • “Young people must learn at home and in school that violence may not be a means of settling differences with others.”
  • “To be authentically human means we must never be ruthless and brutal. Every people, every race, every religion must show tolerance and respect • indeed high appreciation • for every other. Minorities need protection and support, whether they be racial, ethnic, or religious.”

What a different world it would be if these precepts were standard operating procedure! And notwithstanding the events of the 21st century, these precepts are no less important and doable. For some, they will prompt a selfless, sacrificial, and pacifist ethic. But for most, however, they will simply drive us back to the Golden Rule: treating others as we wish others would treat us.

This Golden Rule permeates all that is good and right about human community. It is at once ancient and timely. There is no defense for violence, either as a first or last resort, since violence always plants the seeds of more violence and leads, ultimately, to more problems than it solves. Especially in a world where the instruments of violence have become increasingly massive and widespread.

Whenever violence is chosen as a strategy to right a perceived wrong or threat, something has gone profoundly awry in the fabric of human community. By the time one individual, group, or nation seeks to eliminate another, there has generally been a long incubation period with grievances all around. Given the failure it represents, no one can legitimately take pride in violence.

So what’s a person to do?

First, make nonviolence one of your core values. Claim that as part of your core identity. Make it known, to yourself and to others, that you respect the sanctity of human life.

Second, live by the Golden Rule in your dealings with all people. In so far as it depends upon you, live at peace with others. Do not discriminate based upon age, race, gender, religion, culture, ability, orientation, ethnicity, or any of the other myriad human divisions. Apply the Golden Rule to your every thought, word, and deed.

Third, lift up the intention of peace in your community and throughout the world. If you pray, pray for peace. If you meditate, meditate for peace. If you advocate, advocate for peace. If you write, write for peace. If you give, give for peace. If you work, work for peace. Let your intention be your guide. Once the intention is set, opportunities will abound.

If you’ve been wondering where to start in setting your core values, values that impact your life and work with meaning, direction, purpose, focus, and clarity, then a good place to start might be right here. Eschew violence. It wouldn’t hurt our aching world for a few more souls to rally to the cause.

Coaching Inquiries: What do your values say about violence and the sanctity of life? Have you looked at your life and work through that lens? When you do so, what changes, if any, would you like to make? How could you be more committed to peace?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Your new Provisions’ series focuses on an interesting subject: Global Leadership. There is a new book published called Globalization Domination, Global Leadership. You may want to take a look at it. The author was on the public radio station. Sorry, I did not get the authors name. The book was written to review where the leadership of the USA is headed. 


I think the Swami’s work, that you mentioned last week, influenced that of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” which identifies a number of commonalities among the ascent of the leaders of many of the worlds’ religious founders: Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buddha. Having read the Teachings of the Buddha and the Bible from cover to cover over the past three years, my take on the common denominator across religions is consistent with my grandmother’s mantra: “Just do the best you can with what you have.”


I’m 25 years old and presently residing here in the Philippines. There’s much I don’t like about the way things are going and there’s no career path plus I’m not paid well enough. Up until now I’m still clueless on what to do with my life. I have no money to study, but if ever given the chance I would like to learn Korean or Mandarin and also computer programming. (Ed. Note: Don’t wait for the money to start learning and studying those subjects. Your initiative will generate opportunities.)


I believe that you give advice or teaching based on the whole story. The paragraph on the Christian Oracle told me that. Thank you for your time. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #354: Century Thinking

Laser Provision

Are your core values any good? That may sound like an odd question, but it goes to the heart of many problems in our world today. If you are uncomfortable with the direction of your own life, let alone with the course of history, then perhaps it’s time to connect your core individual values to the common global values upon which nearly all religions and cultures agree.

LifeTrek Provision

Americans love to think in century terms, even when it comes across as hubris to the rest of the world. The start of the last century, for example, led many to hail the 20th century as inherently Christian.

“As the nineteenth century passed into the twentieth,” wrote Charles Clayton Morrison, “the whole Christian world was in a mood of expectant optimism. The press was full of discussion and prediction of the wonders that would take place in the new era which the new century was ushering in.”

“Dr. George A. Campbell, a Chicago pastor, was at that time editor of The Christian Oracle. None of us liked that name. Campbell suggested that this new century must be made a Christian century. He accordingly proposed that The Oracle be re-Christened with that name. His friends . . . heartily agreed. And so in 1900 it was done. No name could have better symbolized the optimistic outlook of that period than The Christian Century.”

Although The Christian Century continues to this day as a leading Christian publication, it is worth noting that the 20th century ended with Christianity being a less dominant world religion than it was at the start. God has a way of humbling the proud.

So here we stand again at the start of a new century, and once again there are those thinking in century terms. Only now, instead of proclaiming the 21st century as inherently Christian, there are those who speak of it as rightly American.

At the start of the 21st century, notes the Project for The New American Century, “the United States stands as the world’s preeminent power. Of course, it must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But it cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.”

So the Project advocates a century in which America: “(1) increases defense spending significantly to carry out its global responsibilities today and modernize its armed forces for the future; (2) strengthens its ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to American interests and values; (3) promotes the cause of political and economic freedom abroad; and (4) accepts responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to American security, prosperity, and principles.”

The architects of this manifesto, originally written in 1997, have now taken over the reigns of running the American government. It will be interesting to see if the next 100 years smile any more favorably upon “the New American Century” than the last 100 years did on “the Christian Century.” Time will tell. But things have certainly gotten off to a rocky start.

I mention these grand visions of those who would shape the world in their image because, at the very same time and in the very same place, there has been another movement afoot. This movement seeks not to make the new century either Christian or American, but rather a value-based expression of globalism.

In 1893, also in Chicago to coincide with the World Columbian Exposition, there was the first Parliament of the World’s Religions. Here religious leaders gathered to foster mutual respect, understanding, peace, and harmony among the nations. Of course there were those in attendance who used the occasion to assert the superiority of Christianity. But Swami Vivekananada, a young Bengali ascetic, challenged the Parliament to search for the universal truths recognized by all religions and cultures.

This challenge to find common values rather than a superior way of being left a profound impression. It certainly stirred many of the interfaith movements which continue to this day. The point was not to promote one world religion or culture, but to find the common ground • however minimal • upon which people can agree and work together.

One hundred years later, in 1993, before the age of terrorism had come into its own, the Parliament of the World’s Religions reconvened in Chicago. The superiority of Christianity was off the table (prompting the more conservative churches to boycott the proceedings). Instead, there was a clear agenda to answer the 100-year-old call of Swami Vivekananada. What values do the religions and cultures of the world share in common?

Given the horrific events of the past few years, with increased tensions between religions and cultures around the world, it is perhaps instructive to go back to a calmer time in order to see what people were able to agree upon in 1993. All the more so since this is at once a personal and global proposition.

How often have you read in this newsletter and elsewhere about the importance of anchoring your life and work in core values? That is a near universal focus for the coaching profession. When people are unclear about their values, or when they find their values being compromised, or when they find their values going unexpressed, coaches take people through a valuation process that can tap into newfound reserves of courage, conviction, passion, commitment, integrity, and honesty.

“A value is anything on which you place worth,” writes Jack Groppel in his book The Corporate Athlete. “It could be your belief in God, it could be the love you have for your child or for your spouse, it could be the love you have for a fianc•e or for a parent or a sibling, it could be a love of nature. Whatever your value system is, you should emotionally connect to it. This is essential to surviving the tough times presented to us from day to day in business and in life.”

The problem with much that is written about core values, including The Corporate Athlete, is that it fails to make the connection between our core individual values and our common global values. To read some of the literature, you would think that every person is on their own, developing core values as a solitary exercise in personal development.

But nothing could be further from the truth. We all inherit values from the religions and cultures of our society. And the values we choose to live by inevitably build up or tear down the common values upon which civilization is founded and built.

LifeTrek Coaching works from the assumption that common global values can assist in the development of core individual values. We are not islands unto ourselves, trying to invent values upon which to base our lives. We are the latest in a long line of value-based religions and cultures, so why not tap into them as we seek to develop ourselves in the world?

In the coming weeks and months, we will explore the initial Declaration Toward a Global Ethic which came out of the Parliament in Chicago and which has such timely relevance both to the future of the world and to our future as individuals. If you want to live a purpose driven life, to borrow the title of Rick Warren’s bestselling book, then this series of Provisions may enable you to do just that.

Coaching Inquiries: Where do your core values come from? Do you know what they are? What are your hopes and dreams for the new century? How do you express your core values in your everyday life?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I really enjoyed my weekly Provision this week! With your assistance, I am learning to be great by simply showing up! “Great work is any work we love to do.” I agree. I love what I am doing and would not have it any other way. Thanks.


Please add Turkmenistan to your list of countries. I am really interested in your work, so please explain more about your job, your responsibility. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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