Dr. Joe Siegler's Peak Leadership Blog

Most Recent       Leadership    Performance      Heroes    Equity   Career   Articles    Past Blogs


Understanding Change in Agriculture and Life

To avoid a global food shortage, changes may be coming to agriculture and food production. According to an article in the New York Times‘s environment section, “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself,” experts in food cultivation and farming warn of dwindling crops due to climate change.

The rise in temperature is hurting agriculture and causing a rise in food prices. Dwindling food stocks also threaten less fortunate countries with starvation. That is, unless the food business and the food itself change with the times.

Farmers and scientists are creating new innovations in developing crops that can handle the rising temperatures and the sudden changes in weather. (For example, the article examines one Indian farmer’s surprise success with a new variety of rice.) But they stress that our habits and our assumptions about how we eat must adapt to avoid high prices and low yields.

Sudden changes can be daunting, but keep in mind some of these coaching techniques:

  • Keep yourself in the loop regarding technology, the environment and the food we will be eating. Read newspapers and news websites to keep yourself current with what’s happening. Keeping current with today can help you prepare for tomorrow.
  • Plan ahead. If the price of food is higher, alter your budget and your shopping habits to meet those changes.
  • Don’t do anything drastic. Recall that in 1999, some were convinced that computers would go haywire on New Year’s Day 2000, sewing mass chaos. In the end, nothing happened to those who spent way too much buying needless supplies.
  • Understand that everything is subject to change. If you feel anxious about something you don’t understand, then research it for yourself. In the online age, there are countless resources dedicated to everything from basic biology to agriculture.
  • Don’t believe everything you read. Some resources are more objective and reliable than others.

Hero: Gene Sharp

With the recent uprisings in Libya and Egypt, much of the world’s attention is focused on the ongoing struggle for universal democracy. One understated influence on these movements is the scholar Gene Sharp, an unbelievably humble political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth whose numerous tracts on nonviolent change have greatly inspired freedom seekers around the globe. Sharp’s revolutionary ideas are all the more impressive when one considers his incredible humility and old age. He refrains from taking credit for his influence, giving the Egyptians credit for their actions. The man is a true hero for peacefully advancing the cause of democracy and doing it based entirely on the strength of his ideas.

Sharp’s ideas expand upon those espoused by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. In essence, Sharp’s philosophy emphasizes people’s strength in numbers and resilience to oppression. Despite the professor’s lack of experience with the internet, he also touts the use of new media both for organization and informing the world about the joys of freedom and news updates regarding potential oppression and hidden abuses. Though Sharp has his fair share of detractors that criticize his “passivity”, the wide spread reach of his work and the actions they have inspired speak for themselves.

Gene Sharp’s democratic teachings are incredibly admirable, and what’s even more impressive is that they come from such a self-effacing man. This professor is a true hero for his amazing contribution to the evolution of democracy.

What do you think about Sharp’s approach to change?


Announcing the beginning of a fresh new version of Full Life’s Amplifier™ Blog!

From now on, you will see frequent interactive blogs focusing on 6 Key Themes:

1) Business
2) Balance
3) Momentum
4) Possibility
5) Habits
6) Love

The new edition of the Amplifier Blog will broadcast ideas about our lives, our careers, and the world around us. Together, we will reflect on how we can bring our own unique vision to life and then actually implement and achieve our goals.

We will “amplify” ideas so you can optimize your approach to living and then experience the joy of a fulfilled life. This is so you can gain a crystal clear picture of what you WANT which will then in turn “drive” your life design.

The 6 Full Life Blog Themes:

BUSINESS: We will focus on what success means to YOU and how you can further enhance your career or business performance. In this competitive time of economic challenges and downsizing, as an executive, entrepreneur, or student, you will learn tips to avoid burnout, become more resilient, and achieve HIGH-ENERGY goals. You will also get practical tips and strategies for igniting and planning the “next phase” of your business or career.

BALANCE: Living a full life is about balance, which means that you have to pay attention to all or most of the key areas of your life. Using Full Life’s Spheres of Life® Coaching, we apply a matrix of 11 key spheres and make sure you are making desired progress in each area, without letting one area become dominant at the expense of others.

MOMENTUM: What allows us to get unstuck? How can you become a person who sees what’s next and JUMPS into the opportunity with full force? We will discuss the Full Life Achilles® Plan which gives you a method to advance your goals in an organized, energized, and incremental fashion.

POSSIBILITY: You will examine your vision of what lies ahead so you can build your ideal future. Also, how can communities and nations harness innovation in relationships and in technology to build a safer and healthier world?

HABITS: How addictions and bad habits, such as excessive use of alcohol or drugs, procrastinating, hoarding, spending, disorganization, and anything that takes away our time and functioning – actually inhibits progress in one’s life and career. We will not only look at how to overcome bad habits, but we will also explore how we can create positive habits that support us and the people in our lives.

LOVE: Whether single, dating, or in a relationship, we will examine love and how intimacy can be heightened in our lives. What are ways we can magnify our satisfaction in whatever state of love we find ourselves?


With the new Amplifier Blog experience, we hope that you will bring your perspectives into the conversation.

Your responses will be a crucial part of helping yourself and others learn and be more satisfied with life! Enjoy and as always we appreciate your interest and contributions.


New Orleans during the Gulf Disaster

I just returned from a brief trip to a conference in New Orleans. New Orleans is an amazing town; unique in its architecture, fine restaurants, and diverse population. I was interested to find that the city seemed to function normally, even though the natives liked to talk about their fears of how the oil spill will end up affecting the city. At the restaurants, both the guests and servers mentioned their concern that the sea food from the gulf will no longer be available, affecting the available seafood for tourists and locals and possibly necessitating having to ship seafood from Atlantic (vs. Gulf) locations. Several people I met mentioned family members who have already lost their jobs as fishermen and fisherwomen in the gulf.

On a more global scale, the disaster makes me ask, “What are we doing?”. Post Katrina, the last thing this healing city needs is another disaster. But this one’s origin is clearly man-made, caused by the drilling gone wrong. Obviously people are asking how we can allow deep water drilling if this can happen. There are other questions about our continued reliance on oil. Also, is the lack of preventing this crisis to begin with, actually a symptom of corporate greed avoiding the up front costs of effective disaster preparation technologies in off shore drilling?

There are a lot of questions regarding our respective relationships to our planet’s health and wellness. What are your thoughts?


Full Life Heroes: Mahmoud Vahidnia

As Americans, we are fortunate to live in a free society. The protections granted by the First Amendment allow us to openly express our opinions on a variety of issues, up to and including vocal criticism of our government. This, of course, is not true in all parts of the world, which makes the story of Mahmoud Vahidnia all the more stunning. A reportedly mild-mannered math prodigy, Vahidnia had the courage to openly criticize Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in person; an unprecedented occurrence which has basically made Vahidnia a folk hero in his native country.

Such acts of bravery serve as an inspiration to all of us, and remind us to never take our freedom for granted. It is also a powerful reminder of how single acts of fortitude, when magnified on an increasingly visible world stage, can actually inspire others to aim toward greater freedom and civil rights for all.

What are your thoughts on Mahmoud Vahidnia’s story?


ABC Labor Day 2009: Household Executives

On Labor Day, I had the pleasure of sitting down with ABC7’s Linda Yu to discuss some management tips for what I call Household Executives. See a clip of my appearance and read my suggestions here.

Do you have any tips that you find useful for managing your household?


Spheres of Life – Money: Annie Liebovitz

Like many people, I was amazed to hear of the extent of Annie Liebovitz’s recent financial woes.

Liebovitz, a feted, world-famous photographer whose name is synonymous with high fashion, celebrity, and the height of New York glitterati, has apparently fallen on hard times. When one reads of her various high profile contracts and lucrative day rates, it seems impossible that she would ever find herself short of funds.

However, Liebovitz’s story reminds us of the importance of balancing all the Spheres of Life. While she is no doubt a brilliant artist-she is responsible for some of the most iconic images of celebrities in the 20th century-it is clear that anyone can be hit with hard times in this economy. Appointing a financial advisor that one can trust, and also meet with regularly, is a necessity in these challenging times.

What advice would you give to Ms. Liebovitz?


Full Life Inspiration: Danyl Johnson on X Factor

I recently saw this clip of 27-year old Danyl Johnson, a contestant on Britain’s X Factor, whose audition Simon Cowell said was the best he had ever heard on the show. For those of you who know Simon, these are strong words.

I also find Danyl’s story and performance brilliant and inspiring. Watching Danyl perform, you can see the sheer joy he takes in pursuing his passion; it’s an infectious elation that transfers easily to the audience and to the judges.

The performance also exemplifies my belief that confidence begets confidence. Danyl obviously prepared incredibly well for this once-in-a-lifetime shot, but at the same time he does not forget to have fun on stage. Once the crowd responds so positively, he returns that positivity, and creates a rounded, energetic experience that is a world away from the usual, nervous audition.

I wish him well in his endeavors on the show, and hold him as an example that we should always keep striving to follow our true passions; hopefully with a little help from our friends.

What did you think of Danyl’s performance?


Future Vision: Stop the Presses?

It is no secret that the newspaper industry is struggling. With the vast availability of free information on the Internet, the collapse of the classifieds market (thanks largely to craigslist.com), 24-hour news channels, and a plethora of other reasons, the once almighty broadsheets and tabloids have sunk to at least one knee; Baltimore and Seattle are both down to just one daily newspaper, and, as Michael Sokolove recently reported in the New York Times Magazine, both of Philadelphia’s dailies are in serious financial trouble. (This article, tellingly, and perhaps ironically, is not available online.)

The day looms ever closer that major metropolises will be without a local, paper-and-ink newspaper. For many, this prospect is troubling; not just for those, who, like myself, like the tactile and visual experience that only newsprint can provide, but also notion that not all aspects of quality, local journalism will survive the transition online. Local newspapers, robbed of their position as the community marketplace, still serve a vital role as municipal watchdog. It is local journalists that have the experience, network, and connections to truly understand the intricacies of our local government and society. Does the future of the newspaper industry have a place for the expertise, integrity, and traditions that made its heyday so impressive?

I, for one, hope so.


Spinning Out of Control: Michael Jackson and Intervention

In the continuing fall-out from Michael Jackson’s abrupt death, it is apparently becoming clearer that there were a number of warning signs about his behavior.

In the New York Times article linked above, Sarah Kershaw looks at various types of intervention strategy and asks if either could have helped avoid the tragedy that ended Jackson’s life. As a psychiatrist and coach I agree that both “classic” intervention and “motivational interviewing” can sometimes be powerful tools in correcting self-destructive behaviors. However, there ultimately has to be “buy-in” from the person in trouble.

The news lately seems to be full of instances of powerful celebrities and business people whose lives have suddenly and drastically spun out of control. In many cases, it is that very success that can make them difficult to reach; there is sometimes an illusion around such people that they have everything under control.

Coaching teaches us that while a support network of close family and friends is a key factor in a well-rounded life, self-management is also a key component. We have to conduct an honest investigation into our lives and see if we are open enough with those around us to let them know when we are in trouble. One also has to truly see an addiction-free lifestyle as part of our vision for an ideal life. Only in those cases can intervention and support happen early enough, and truly be effective.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the issue.


© 2016 Full Life LLC All Rights Reserved