31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 17 – Ego


Ego as defined by Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary is the personality component that is conscious, most directly control behavior, and is most in touch with external reality is also referred to as self-love, self-confidence and self-esteem. Ego is also referred to as the part of us that feels threatened when we feel insecure, arrogant and caught up in ourselves. Ego also serves as another barrier in the gauntlet that we must face as individuals and as leaders.

There is a cycle of response that people use to protect their self-image or their ego. I watched people lash out to guard their ego when they sense danger is present. They want desperately for their ego to succeed and flourish. The ego has;

  • An image – a face, which must be saved

  • An identity

  • Feelings

  • A reputation

The ego is a repository of who we are.

The ego requires

  • Nourishment

  • Encouragement

  • Praise

  • Challenge

  • Support

When feeling threatened, attacked or ridiculed, a force field is activated that launches a counter response to protect the person.

President Harry S Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” This quote reflects directly on the ego. Another quotation comes from Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander in their book, The Art of Possibility, where they write about Rule #6.  People tend to get so caught up in their ego and in themselves that they must periodically be reminded of rule number six. There are no rules one through five, a rule number six simply don’t take yourself too seriously. They use slightly more colorful language, but this is the essence of the rule.

During your workday, think of individuals and situations where you are inclined to evoke your ego. Visualize the individuals and the situations, and mentally rehearse how you will interact with them.


I had a bout with ego.

Its symptoms were blurred vision,

Inability to make a selfless decision;

A sense of self that was overblown,

Chronically centric, with pride overgrown.

I had a bout with ego.

It was too late to screen for the vaccine,

I did not note the antidote

And so susceptible to the fever

I became a blind believer

In a despicable deception

That affected my depth perception.

One day everything was in the “I” refrain

And I became a wall not a membrane

That let others in;

I was not a swinging gate

That let others infiltrate.

I had a bout of ego

I needed a vaccine

An antidote to let me know

I had to intervene

And open myself to others

To hope to find a cure.

I had a bout with ego

That I must win for sure.

Copyright © 2003 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above the Rim

By Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. How do people usually bruise your ego?

  2. How can you protect your ego?

  3. Rule number six states that “you must not take yourself too seriously.” In other words, it is not always about you, so reduce the tendency to take things personally.

  4. Look for situations where you can let other people’s ideas come forth and received the credit.

  5. There are situations where you must protect your reputation and your ideas. Think carefully and act wisely.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com




31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 16 – Time Wasters


One challenge on your Leadership Gauntlet will affect you personally, as well as those whom you serve. They are time wasters.

Time is a treasure and a resource. There are 24 hours in each day and 168 hours in a week. How you use the time given to you is your choice. How you manage your time will contribute or take away from your ability to be successful. We are individuals who craft time to our benefit or detriment. We are time crafters and consumers of time consumers. We vary in the total distribution of this amazing gift over our lifetime, but each day, our allotment is the same.

The way we manage time can influence the amount we have, but there are factors that are beyond our control. However, if you take a class in time management, they will discuss time wasters. These are elements that absorb the time you have for meaningful activities and shift them to meaningless tasks. Time wasters are as empty calories. You consume them, but they have no intrinsic value. They are people or activities that distract you from doing something that has a higher priority. A time waster for one person may not be for another. They can be individualized.

Identify the time wasters in your life; the things that divert or take your time from more import tasks and minimize and eliminate them. Alan Larkin, the noted Time Management expert says the following about time. “Time is life. It is both irreversible and irreplaceable, to waste your time is to waste your life, but to master time is to master your life and to then make the most of it.”

The Temple of Wasted Time

Where is the pomp and circumstance,

Of cymbals and choirs and chimes;

As the minutes and the hours dance

To the Temple of Wasted Time?

Who will record these great events;

Ubiquitous as mortal crime,

As people from each continent

Pay homage to the Wasted Time?

Through rituals of sacrifice

Complacent and unorganized,

We pay commission and the price;

Efficiency is compromised.

We covet goals, yet wed to chance

With families in disarray,

We laugh at systems to enhance

The quantity of work and play.

The hours we procrastinate

Is taking money from the purse.

The bottomless collection plate

Should be immortalized in verse.

Who will disclose the compass zone;

Where mental pilgrimages start;

A temple not of steel or stone

Nor chambers of a person’s heart?

A monument, fictitious shrine

To glorify misuse of time.

As our health and work declines

We should despise abuse of time.

And yet, we spurn the accolades

Of opportunities lost and burned,

Through sanctioned daily masquerades;

And schedules that were overturned.

And so, we waste this prime resource

Throwing priorities away.

We celebrate this chosen course

With a book on the unplanned day.

Where is the pomp and circumstance,

Of cymbals and choirs and chimes;

As the minutes and the hours dance

To the Temple of Wasted Time?

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted with permission from Teach the Children to Dance

Personal Reflections

  1. What are your most important priorities?

  2. Who and what are your greatest distractions from getting things done?

  3. How will you notify them that you are busy?

  4. What habits do you have that are working against you?

  5. Who and what are sending you to the Temple of Wasted Time?

  6. How will you reschedule your day to focus on your priorities?

  7. What is the time of day when you are the most fruitful?

  8. You may contemplate the cost of time wasters as they relate to relationships, resources and results at home and at work.

  9. List your top 10 Time Wasters and post them for all to see. (be careful posting names)

  10. Managing time wasters may call for you to be more disciplined and diplomatic.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 15 – Look for the Blessing

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We are conditioned to complain when things do not go according to plan. We fall into a woe is me or calamity consciousness, only focusing on the bad. This forms a weight around our necks and makes it difficult to swim upstream. We lose our objectivity and dwell on the reasons for our dissatisfaction. Imagine a radical approach. What if we had a shift in perspective and searched for tangible benefits from our disappointments?

Looking for the blessings is counter intuitive and awkward the first few times you do it. It is helpful to ask yourself a series of questions. What value can I get from this mishap? How can this ordeal make me stronger? Where is the silver lining? Is God trying to get my attention and teach me something? Is this a chance to model behavior that could help someone else through a difficult season?

Looking for the blessing will open you to the possibilities of coping better, seizing opportunities, influencing others and personal growth. How will you use this mindset to enrich your day?

Look for the Blessing

In life’s adventures and catastrophes,
When bad things happened magnetically,
I spent considerable energy
In anger, unhappy, impatiently
Driven, then it occurred to me
That it could help me
Become stress free,
If I just looked for the blessing.

When leaving my house late
And the traffic was delayed,
Once frustrated, I never displayed
A sense of reverence,
I never prayed
Or took the time,
To look for the blessing.

I’ve learned there is a purpose in events.
I may have been spared pain and accidents
Or met new challenges that God presents
When He wants me to look for the blessing.

Things happen for His reason
According to God’s plan.
We are too busy to seize them
And take the time to scan
Our surroundings to handle
What we can
Or in essence,
To look for the blessing.

Lord what must I do in this pain?
You want more of me than to complain.
I know in the circumstances
A blessing is contained,
And I should look for the blessing.

There have been setbacks
But I have found,
That if I take the focus off of me
And look around,
There’s a message in a bottle,
Directions to higher ground
If I look for the blessing.

I should seek the opportunity to grow
To render kindness or to bestow
A gift to a stranger,
Or meet someone I need to know
As I look for the blessing.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from the book “Look for the Blessing” by Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Tell yourself that you will go through the day searching for opportunities to re-frame your thinking to gain benefits from your calamities.

  2. What challenges have you faced, that help you cope with your current situation?

  3. How can you taken the focus off you, to help others?

  4. Who will you target as individuals you can help with your advice?

  5. Who was able to share their wisdom with you, as they considered the blessings in their lives?

  6. What Scripture has been helpful to keep you focused on God’s goodness?

  7. Practice changing your thinking to look for the gift in the moment.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com




31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 14 – Storytelling

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Field training is a process where someone works in the field (ride a long) with a Sales representatives during a typical workday. They would spend the entire day in the car and in offices evaluating the salesperson’s performance. The Field Trainer or Manager would provide feedback on sales planning and execution, business skills and customer service. Consequently, there is a lot of time in the car driving between sales calls. Field training also provides opportunities to share war stories or sales stories with the sales representative.

My District manager was a master storyteller. He would tell detailed stories about people and the company. An analysis of his possible motives for telling stories in those teachable scenarios led me to surmise the following about him:

  1. Enjoyed telling stories to impress us with his expertise

  2. Wanted to increase our knowledge by sharing his experiences

  3. Distributed selling techniques and information from our peers

  4. Shared company history to give us a sense of belonging and healing

  5. Provided examples of consequences of what happened to people who violated company policies (a policy reinforcement strategy)

  6. A model of behavior, we could use if we were promoted

  7. A model to use in developing our own stories

  8. Provided an environment to improve our storytelling by sharing stories with him

  9. Encouraged us to use stories with our client

When we became managers, the art of storytelling was found to be pervasive throughout the leadership culture. It was used at manager meetings to entertain, build relationships, pass along company and leadership information and help develop the younger managers. I swore that when I became a manager, I would never use stories. But I have passed on this time-honored tradition with many more stories of my own.

Whenever we gather, we influence the world through our stories.


YouTube Narration Set to Music


At corporate campfires

And watering holes,
The people gather.

Their hearts are stirred

By the leaders,

The keepers of the scrolls,
Whose words

Speak the curriculum

Of what occurred.

The leaders through language
Interpret and present:
Through parables and scenarios
Values are infused;
And in a lighter forum
They package events
So people are instructed,

Encouraged and amused.

At family gatherings
Enrichment of the soul
Occurs when the elders,
The keepers of the scrolls,
Assemble the generations
And dispense discipline
Through stories sprinkled

With wisdom and wit,

In moderation.

The elders portray

Passion and progress,
Pride and principles

And honor in the family name.

They tell tales of obstacles

And human failings,

Of being human,

And being sensible,

For invincibility

Is not a trait we can claim.

The stories form a bond
That is not bondage.
They chronicle ambition,
Growth and attrition
And forge connections
Of substance and relevance
That add alignment
And purpose to our lives

And gives us the strength

To continue the expedition.

At work and in families,
The keepers of the scrolls,
Through stories give us context
And texture.
For within these tales,
We identify with the roles
And through this revelation
We take our places
And become storytellers,
And add our voices
To the conversations.

Copyright © 2003 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership above the rim by Orlando Ceaser


Personal Reflections

  1. How are you using stories in your day-to-day operations?

  2. Develop the art of telling to use strategically and family, social and work situations.

  3. Where can you find your best stories?

  4. How can you develop your story telling technique?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com



31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 13 – Intimidation


The next station on the gauntlet is intimidation. There are people or systems in place that wish to thwart your development. They will stand in front of you in order to block your path. They may be openly hostile or work behind the scene to be a barrier. Their peace of mind cannot exist if you are a candidate competing for the accolades of the spotlight. Therefore, intimidation is a tool of the insecure.

Intimidation may be experienced from a competitor on the job, a competitor in the marketplace or an individual acquaintance whose actions brazenly attempt to block your progress. You may be perceived as a threat. You may be unassuming, beaming with humility, but nonetheless, you are a force that needs to be suppressed.

The Hindre™ will be used as an all-purpose image of the resistance and intimidation. It was created to exemplify people and forces that hinder your performance. In my introductory blog post, the Hindre™ was described as follows;  “The Hindre™ is a person or spirit whose purpose is to keep you down, drain your confidence, stunt your growth, hold you back, and prevent you from moving forward, realizing potential and living up to your expectations. They are positioned in households and organizations to thwart success, to discourage siblings and offspring and to disillusion those who have the ability and talent to achieve their dreams.”

You may not wish to think negatively. It is not healthy to walk around paranoid, but the doctrine of survival wants you to be observant. You must be observant, even if you see yourself as a servant to do good and help others. Survival and success, encourages you to face intimidation, anticipate intimidation and derive a strategy to handle it effectively.

How will you face intimidation today?

If Someone Perceives You as a Threat

If someone perceives you as a threat,

It’s hard to encourage you and to let

Your potential grow and be objective

And fathom the world from your perspective.

If someone perceives you as a threat,

They will intentionally try to bet

Against you and hope you do the same;

For they want to remove you from the game.

They tamper with confident people’s minds;

Let you in the race, but place you behind,

And pamper you with condescension,

To hamper you by creating tension.

They want to own you like property;

Subconsciously, treat you improperly;

Deny your physical and civil rights;

Bombard with pernicious and subtle slights.

They will attack your self-esteem;

Think it’s a waste of time for you to dream;

Make you second guess your own existence,

So that you concede without resistance.

If someone perceives you as a threat.

Unconscious and conscious biases beget

Micro-inequities and aggression;

Micro-messages are an obsession.

If someone perceives you as a threat;

They want you entirely in their debt.

They are treacherous and will use power,

To wring hope out of every hour.

Mislabeled, while mistreated and misled.

They will try and get inside your head;

Provoking you with their skills to incite

Confrontation and blame you for the fight.

If someone perceives you as a threat,

What tactics will you use to make them sweat?

You must use your excellence to confirm,

You are here for the moment and long term.

If someone perceives you as a threat;

They fear they haven’t seen anything yet;

For there is determination in your eyes;

On the way to fully actualize.

They try negativity to define,

The image that they want people to see;

But, don’t let their efforts to undermine,

Discourage your purpose and destiny.

Copyright © 2017 Orlando Ceaser


Personal Reflections

  1. Who are the intimidating people or circumstances in your world?

  2. What can you do to minimize their impact?

  3. Who can you go to for help?

  4. Can you schedule a meeting with verse to discuss their actions in your discomfort?

  5. What situations do you find particularly threatening?

  6. How can you invent the intimidation from affecting your performance?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 12 – Inclusive, Accepting & Respectful

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In the Sales Training Department we used to say to the training that in many situations the answer was in the room. We wanted to teach people to explore potential within themselves and in others. Because frequent the experiences, perspectives and potential of the class held the information needed to solve their problems.

This technique spoke to the innate potential within each of us. It was the role of the leader, trainer, sales representative and manager to invite the participation of everyone present. We wanted everyone involved in the conversation.

Recognizing the diversity and the value of everyone, involved including, accepting and respecting their status. This would unleash extraordinary amount of interaction and innovation. Read the poem, When I say diversity, what do you hear? and think of ways to put people at ease. They will voluntarily increase their discretionary effort, participation, which will lead to an increase in creative ideas.

When I Say Diversity, What Do You Hear?

When I say diversity, what do you hear?

A word offensive to your ear,

An indignation or a curse;

Discrimination in reverse?

A label that demeans your gains;

A source of troubling psychic pains,

And the affirmative action

Of diminished satisfaction.

When I say diversity, what do you hear?

A word that causes you to fear;

A strike against your comfort zone,

That won’t leave well enough alone.

When you read diversity, what do you see?

A world of animosity,

As people are forced to adjust,

Within a climate of mistrust?

A workforce that is paralyzed

From thoughts that standards compromised

Will lead to matters being worse;

Touch the wallet, affect the purse.

When I read diversity, what do I see?

Some who smile when they think of me?

And others going underground

To hope their bias won’t be found.

When I say diversity, what comes to mind?

An office that is color blind?

A hope that maybe we can see,

More equal opportunity.

Fad of the month, program de jure;

The act of looking for the cure;

Another means to expedite,

Passive aggressive, folks in flight.

When I say diversity, what comes to mind?

Being surpassed by those behind;

An epitaph to status quo,

Though we have a long way to go?

When I say diversity, what do you feel?

That maybe the intent is real;

That through a rich blend of flavors,

We will try to know our neighbors.

And will not grin and grit our teeth

While seething angry underneath.

But truly open softened hearts,

To bring together those apart.

And value people and their views,

And realize they’ve paid their dues.

And listen for the things they pride,

And don’t assume unqualified.

And celebrate with common sense

As we create, a common sense

Within a stronger marketplace,

And represent the market’s face.

When I say diversity, what do you hear?

Hopefully, nothing you should fear.

Reflections of the universe,

A proud mosaic, not a curse.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Teach the Children to Dance

© 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Personal reflections

  1. What can you do today to help people feel included, accepted and respect?

  2. How can you help others pursue the same objective?

  3. Identify an individual and reach out to them and learn more about them.

  4. Reflect on any biases inconsistent you have in relating to different people.

  5. Examine instances where you demonstrated favoritism or preferential treatment.

  6. How do you think this affected other people who did not receive the same level of attention?

  7. Try to understand how others may feel by learning more about them and putting yourself in their shoes.

  8. Keep a diary of your actions and refer to it from time to time, to gauge your growth in being more inclusive, accepting and respectful.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 11 – Turbulence


We often speak of the winds of change, but never specify the velocity or direction. However, there is one thing for sure, it is responsible for turbulence. Shaking up your world may be a natural consequence of the disruption caused by change. The gauntlet of change requires that the leader must be able to navigate the currents during these times of uncertainty. This ability will stabilize their organization, calm their followers and assure them that whatever the circumstances, they will come out of the situation prepared to effectively continue their journey.

There can be seasonality about turbulence, where it is predictable and you can anticipate its arrival. However, it could be spontaneous, which requires the leader to institute earlier warning systems or scenario training to develop the proper mindset and skills so they and their people can withstand the storm. How you adapt and adopt to turbulence is critical in your success and the success of your business, organization or team.

It is truly a challenge to lead in a turbulent season, so lay the foundation to improve your agility, coordination, foot speed and balance.

Leadership in a turbulent season


Youtube: Narration


It is a challenge to lead

In a turbulent season,

But leadership must execute

When danger looms

As contaminated fruit;

When prophets of doom

As tainted mushrooms

Try to poison the multitude

With their way of thinking,

That the ship is in trouble

On the verge of sinking.

It is a challenge to lead

In a turbulent season,

To watch competitors

Who were invincible

Resort to measures

Unscrupulous, unprincipled.

While gasping for survival

And self-preservation,

They slander, spread fiction

And false allegations.

It is a challenge to lead

In a turbulent season,

When victory is uncertain

And champions lose their clout;

The naive get nervous

When the outcome is in doubt;

When the bench is untested

And the team on the floor

Is weary from the pressure

Of being accountable

For the score.

It is a challenge to lead

In a turbulent season,

When markets are immune

To traditional thought;

When experts are puzzled

Because logic and reason

Fail to explain why

The climate has changed,

And theorems taught

Yesterday are obsolete.

It is a challenge to lead

In a turbulent season,

But leaders earn their medals

At the height of the storm,

Not when the seas are tranquil.

They must use courage

And character to form

The passionate will to speak

Of winning with novel skills,

To power bold visions

And imaginative techniques.

Copyright ã 2004 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What are the greatest challenges facing you today?

  2. What are challenges that are on the horizon?

  3. What is the greatest competition affecting your industry?

  4. Challenges can also relate to people. Who is working on your last nerve and what will you do today to clarify your expectations and ensure they are on the right path to smooth sailing?

  5. Give an example of how you clarified expectations that calmed someone in a crisis.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser