31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 21 – Acting Authentically

Acting Classes

We appreciate those who perform for us, especially actors and actresses. In a world where authenticity and transparency are encouraged, we honor those, who make a living, assuming another identity and playing different roles. William Shakespeare wrote, in the play As you like it,

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,”

There are instances, where we assume certain traits and behaviors that initially feel awkward. They are not a natural part of who we are. We may be in the early stages of development. Therefore, we must fake it until we make it or act as if we have the skills, until they become a part of us.

When someone consistently plays a role, we can anticipate their actions and this predictability draws us into their character. This reminds me of us. We are vulnerable and share our personalities, so others can anticipate our actions. This predictability builds comfort, awareness and trust.

I was a part of a drama team at church, where we were trained by degreed professionals and practitioners, in the art of the theater. My manager questioned my hobby. I remember thinking, “you are asking me to act day at work, and least I can get some training to do it better.”

We are asked to act and play a role or different roles every day. We should at least play them with authenticity and transparency, until they are natural, realistic and believable.

In our role as leaders, there instances where we must act as a leader, until we put on the full mantle of the mindset and the role.

Act as A Leader

You Tube Narration: https://youtu.be/eLzlbmTPhCA


Act as a leader,

Roll up your sleeves and get involved;

Create the vision and the culture

Where people are consulted,

Before issues are resolved.

Act as a leader,

Form strategies on how to compete,

Discuss when to advance and retreat,

Review the options selected,

And plan for the unexpected.

Act as a leader,

Be prudent in talent selection,

Precise giving directions

And when they share your vision,

Their passion will seek perfection

And their results will pass inspection.

Act as a leader,

Develop and nourish your group,

For everyone’s expedient,

Each roles a key ingredient,

To add their texture to the soup.

Act as a leader,

Reward and recognize your team,

Spotlight talent, feed their esteem,

Through public and private ovations,

Show that you value their motivation.

Act as a leader,

As a mandate, model fairness,

Distribute justice when you speak,

Grow your skills and self-awareness

By being open to critique.

Act as a leader,

And the growth will be exponential.

Act as a leader,

And they will reach their potential.

As a leader;

Take individual seeds

And cultivate a team

That challenges you to lead.

Copyright © 2000 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Through the practice of mental rehearsal, visualize an upcoming important conversation. Anticipate the worst possible outcome and how you will handle it.

  2. Repeat step one several time to become comfortable with a range of response.

  3. Role-play your goals with someone and give them permission to ask questions.

  4. Conduct a mock interview and take turns being the applicant and the interviewer.

  5. Read Michael Shurtleff’s book Audition to learn how actors prepare.

  6. Read information on storytelling, public speaking and acting principles to improve your speaking and conversational skills.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.   

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com




31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 20 – Adaptation

Crystal Ball C

Survival is our strongest need, according to many philosophers. Abraham Maslow lists it among our basic needs, which we must fulfill before we move on to satisfying other needs on our list of priorities. Survival is dependent upon making the necessary adjustments to changes in our environment. We must include these adjustments, as a part of our evolving skills.

The quality of survival is linked to our adaptation ability, therefore our success in making adjustment to competitors in the marketplace or whatever environment surrounds us.  Our objective is to aim higher , rather than barely making it. We do not want to do just enough to get by. We want to thrive and prosper. A standard of living above the baseline of existence is a desirable goal. But to achieve this enhanced quality of life, we must make continuous adjustments to our behavior.

The poem Adaptation addresses the adjustments we need to make educationally, relationally and professionally to improve our prospects for higher earning power and fulfillment of purpose. Charles Darwin wrote about the survival of the fittest and that holds true in the development of species and in developing a personal profile competitive enough to make it in the business world. Adaptation encourages the survival of the fit; those who take the time and make the effort to anticipate challenges and respond to change. Only progress is satisfactory. Movement is essential to momentum.



This is what the world has come to,

If you’re lost, you’re left behind.

So, you need something they can’t

Take from you,

A treasure stored within your mind.

Survival has a new battle cry,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”

The work is becoming more difficult;

Best practices rapidly obsolete;

The business that focuses on results

Lacks tolerance for those who can’t compete.

You try to fail if you fail to try,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”

Distractions are greater, and times are hard,

And there are numerous reasons to quit.

Your peers may entice you to disregard

Being versatile and mentally fit.

I caution you to look them in the eye

And say learn to adapt or die.

Innovation is a survival tool;

Flexibility a requirement.

Those who survive and ultimately rule

Always adjust to their environment.

Industries and species that don’t comply,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”


There are many reasons to not achieve

But you owe it to yourself to attempt

To climb the mountain, but you must believe

The goal that was not captured was not dreamt.

Distinction or extinction will apply,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”

Copyright © 2011 Orlando Ceaser

 Personal Reflections

  1. How have you changed in the last year?

  2. If someone has not seen you in several years, what change would they notice?

  3. How has your business environment changed?

  4. What adjustments have you made or must make to keep up with new demands in your profession?

  5. How have you adapted to the technological demands of your profession?

  6. How do you stay on top of matters that require your attention?

  7. Alvin Toffler mentioned that technology has accelerated in this world of high tech, but we have not changed that much socially, in something he calls high touch. How are you socially keeping up with the times?

  8. How are you adapting to find time for the ones you love?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.


The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com



31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 14 – Storytelling

storytelling-word-cloud (2)

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 4 – Structure

Solving problems and making decisions are dependent upon structure. We must design the right format or technique to tackle each situation. The seamstress says that we should measure twice and cut once. The architect creates a blueprint, and from this structure, the building is constructed. Plans are formulated before actions are taken.

Structure is all around us. We find it in Nature, and we use it to govern our behavior, through rules and regulations. We establish goals to give direction to our actions. Structure is necessary to minimize disruption and confusion. Read the Structure poem, being mindful of the principles, consider the personal reflections and apply structure where it is needed in your daily activities.


In Nature, all of life is organized;

The body systems’ elegant design

Rivals a universe categorized

As millions of stars in the night sky shine,

As planets in order orbit in space,

As structure keeps each object in its place.

We need structure and a firm foundation;

To set boundaries in our routines,

So, we concentrate in conversations

On short term and long term and in between;

To keep us on schedule and on track,

To manage a structured plan of attack.

We have a purpose, as we run this race,

Programmed with a sequence for us to win;

There is a pattern that we must embrace;

A series of actions we must begin.

We set goals and methods to reinforce

Each goal with a checklist to stay on course.

There’s structure with diet and exercise;

Willpower and demonstrating constraint;

The flexibility to improvise;

To be creative and resolve complaints;

We need discipline, so we can abstain;

From actions that will later cause us pain.

Structure is a gift that we should enjoy.

When structure appears confining,

A well-tuned strategy we should employ;

When our performance is declining.

It has a formula like a lecture,

With strength in content and architecture.

We need structure that is clearly defined;

That includes respect for authority;

To help develop our heart and mind

With excellence as the priority;

The structure will hold us accountable,

So, obstacles aren’t insurmountable.

Structure will lead us to the right decisions;

Those consistent with what we want to be,

To excel and thrive with supervision,

To channel our time and energy;

Its skeletal framework will ease the threat

Of reckless actions that place us in debt.

To live comfortably within our means,

We have standards and a choice to say no;

We are not just for self, but for the team,

Interdependence is the status quo.

We use ambition as a strategy;

For the good of group and community.

We need structure in order to advance;

To study harder and perform the tasks;

Learn fundamentals before we freelance,

And give the assignment all that it asks

And know structure’s role in all we do,

As it gives us guidance to follow through.

Structure trains us to allocate the time,

So, life is far less complicated,

And puts us on a path away from crime,

That’s choreographed and orchestrated;

To be on the field not on the sidelines

And functioning according to guidelines.

Structure can be seen as stimulation;

Keeping the mind engaged and occupied

Through a number of planned simulations

To grant experiences that provide

The guard rails to sustain us in our lanes;

And to fully utilize our brains.

When we master how structure should be used;

We will not easily be distracted;

Temptations will be ignored or refused

And we will no longer be attracted

To positions of mediocrity,

When it is excellence that makes us free.

Copyright © 2016 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Greatness Through High Performance Poetry by Orlando Ceaser


Personal Reflection

  1. Where can you use more structure in your life?

  2. Describe a problem you need to solve. How will designing the right structure help you solve it?

  3. Select a problem to solve and create the right structure to tackle it with help from others to hold you accountable.

  4. List the main principles found in the stanzas that resonate with you.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com






Leadership Gauntlet – Day 2 – Interdependence

We are more effective when we  work together as a team. As the team grows, we personally benefit. We need to search and locate solutions where everyone is involved. Today,  look for situations where everyone can contribute, and you solicit the opinions of others and therefore, everyone will win.

Your Life Is Not Your Own*

Your life is not your own,

God has entrusted it to you;

To steward and repay the loan

When payments in love are due

To neighbors, friends and family.

Your life is not your own.

In isolation they are prone

You must help those who are alone;

To reside in comfort zones

And not expose their misery.

Your life is not your own,

For children emulate your ways.

They study you and when they’re grown

They will honor and paraphrase

Your life through imitation.

Your life is not your own,

For your ancestors paid the wage;

Through unselfish acts they condoned

Sacrifice for it set the stage

To conquer limitations.

Your life is not your own.

We are connected and our lives

Are braided, embroidered and sewn

Into the fabric that derives

Its’ strength and beauty from above.

Your life is not your own,

For God has placed it in your care;

To polish rock to precious stone

And open shuttered hearts that share,

Communicate and know His love.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

*Reprinted from the book Teach the Children to Dance by Orlando Ceaser

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Performance Reflections

  1. Do you believe that your life has a shared purpose?

  2. How have you demonstrated this shared purpose professionally and personally?

  3. How will you spend time today demonstrating your interdependence?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com



We Were Created To Evolve

We were created to evolve;
From stardust imbued with life giving breath;
Upright beings with cognitive mystique;
Inspiring the fittest, with natural selection
As a survival technique.

We were created to resolve
Differences and use the distinctions
To steer us from extinction;
To cooperate as more than an initiative;
To be inquisitive;
We are the derivative
Of a life force that has instilled in us
The agility to dance
And the ability to reason and advance
The human species.

We were created to evolve;
To gregariously collaborate
And vicariously liberate
Our consciousness,
To connect with a higher power;
To select, perfect and recognize
That we should live in community
And use our similarities
To strive toward unity;
To preserve life,
To conserve life,
To deserve life,
And reserve the right to bond
To a cause greater than ourselves;
To extract from our differences
A positive impact,
To decipher the patterns,
Frequencies and mysteries
Of the puzzle
For a greater good.

We were created to evolve;
To consciousness on a higher plane;
To mesh with the universe;
To become flesh and maintain
A constant drive to grow and survive;
To know and to thrive;
To rehearse and immerse ourselves
In a cosmic equation of evolution;
To find the answers and seek the solutions;
To connect with our Creator
On Earth, in the ether and atmosphere;
To answer the question
Why are we here?

We were created to evolve;
To ascend beyond the primitive state
Where fear and selfishness
Fuel envy and hate;
To keep alive the rational
And emotional debate
Between good and evil,
Between faith and fate;
To denounce barbaric atrocities
And grow beyond wars to a new reality
Where conflicts and animosities
Are self defeating maladies.

Violence is a flagrant violation;
A suppression of our moral code;
If it persists we will implode.
This primal obsession
Requires repentance and confession.
There is value in moving toward inclusion
And uniting our assets
To eliminate the confusion
That exists when we focus only on self
And ignore the residual benefits
Of working for the entire race.

There is a trajectory to this existence.
An angle of flight instilled in humanity;
To live a life beyond mere subsistence;
To have a purpose beyond vanity
That animates us to get involved
With a myriad of problems
That need to be solved.

We were created to evolve;
To scour the regions of the universe
For information to improve our surroundings;
To develop hypotheses to rehearse;
To mine the treasures stored from
The infinitesimal, to infinity;
To study each side of the decimal,
And ultimately connect us to divinity;

As we grow together we have
So much to discuss.
The Eternal God communicates
And connects with us,
As we discover the secrets of this universe vast
In size and complexity;
In every manner and dimension
He unfolds the future as the past
And the temporary lasts
Forever and then returns
In a continuous loop for us to learn.

As we branch outwardly to explore
The atmosphere to the ocean floor.
When we demonstrate our readiness
And understand more,
He will increase our ability
To comprehend our cosmic quest;
As the earth derives energy
From its molten core;
As a sunflower stretches
Toward its solar source
We will connect with the universe
And this vital force
Will place us on a course
That will lead us to love.

We have unlimited capacity zones.
We are not to be ruled by pleasure alone.
We should not be driven by senseless
And selfish acts.
We are not to become ancient relics
And artifacts,
But beings that rejuvenate,
Evolving to love,
Receding from hate.

It’s not survival of the one most fit,
But the one who progresses and will not quit;
Incorporating each enhancement,
As we move steadily to advancement
At different altitudes and rates of speed,
We challenge the limits and ascend
To where we need to be.
We are always striving for a winning hand,
Curiosity driven, surviving to understand
The mysteries stored within us;
To unleash those powers that implore us
To seek a higher level.

We were created to evolve,
To journey toward perfection;
Through growth that is incremental,
In the direction of our purpose;
To be used;
To engage in a metamorphosis;
To transform repeatedly
Through purposeful interactions;
To stretch for lofty objectives;
To lunge softly toward love and peace;
To extend and stretch our intelligence
And expand our heart and pursue matters
The Creator feels has relevance,
To love our neighbor;
To participate in thinking,
To serve through targeted labor
To improve man’s existence,
As we grow, our commitment and desire
Are like a homing device compelling us
To travel to meet our Maker.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser
Reprinted with permission from Daily Resurrections
by Orlando Ceaser
Available through amazon.com and OrlandoCeaser.com