I have returned from the international conference in India and want to bring you up to date.  This was a very valuable and productive experience that brought people together from India, Africa and the United States.

The main organizers from the Arizona State University were Dr. Marek Wosinski and Dr. Rimhjhim Aggarwal.  The Arizona staff did a fabulous job in making this conference a reality and were open and flexible during the week to create a very dynamic, interactive event that created a lot of inspiration and vision for the future.

Dr. Rimhjim Aggarwal at opening ceremony.

Dr. Wosinksi

Dr. Marek at opening ceremony.

We were hosted by the Jain Irrigation System, Inc. and were provided wonderful accommodations and gourmet vegetarian food at the Jain Learning Center.

Jain provides training programs for thousands of individuals each year in irrigation and agribusiness. They have a large staff and really took care of us.  No one got sick from the food or water and the accommodations were very clean. The staff was attentive and selfless.

They have a few thousand acres, which includes the Gandhi Research Institute.

Dr. Jain also built a boarding school on the property that consists of 1,000 acres.  We had many opportunities to spend time with these students and found them to be very bright, friendly and extremely well mannered.  India is education and training future world leaders.

Dr. Bhavarial Jain

The program was organized into three main components: Gandhi Philosophy, Jain Irrigation Systems, and Leadership Development. The purpose was to integrate various approaches and areas that have typically been separate: empower of women in leadership, agribusiness, food production, water conservation, non-violent approaches to peace, and leadership development. All these facets were discussed and integrated into a global approach for developing countries like India and Africa.

There is a comprehensive website at http://ucpsarnet.iglooprojects.org/blogs/public/empeacelabs2012injalgaon and you can join the university partnership there.  The blogs details the purpose and beginning meetings so well,  I am just quoting it here.

There is also another post at http://ucpsarnet.iglooprojects.org/blogs/public/twodaysatempeacelabs2012articlebyfrankkrishner that is excellent and I encourage you to read it.

“The past century has been the bloodiest in history, and the morning news bulletins in the first decade of the twenty first century haven’t given us much hope of things getting better: conflict appears to be spreading across every corner of the known world. The developing countries across the globe are facing the forces of fragmentation and frustration on an unprecedented scale. In India, in Africa, and elsewhere in South Asia serious conflicts have arisen around issues of land, water, and food security. Every disaster, whether man-made or natural, sets back development indicators several notches, and the resultant poverty further fans frustration and more conflict. It’s a vicious cycle.

The United Nations, at the turn of the century had propounded the Millennium Development Goals, a comprehensive strategy for poverty alleviation. However, these goals cannot be attained in an environment of hostility and mistrust. But how does one break this vicious cycle of poverty, frustration, and fragmentation?

Perhaps an answer can be found in the philosophy of the greatest advocate of peace in modern times: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known in India as the Mahatma. For Gandhi, the key to lasting and sustainable development was to be found in the uplift of the village communities, through enabling each village community to develop and manage their resources. In Africa, as in the Indian subcontinent, it is food security that is of major concern, and the issue can be addressed through the empowerment of the farming communities.


Empowerment of farming communities for peace is at the heart of the EmPeace LABS concept. ‘Empowerment for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability’- that’s the idea and the objective is the eradication of poverty in rural communities.


EmPeace LABS 2012, that kicked off on Saturday morning drew participants from Cameroon, Ghana, Gambia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe as well as panelists and experts from JISL (Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd), ASU (Arizona State University), and GRF (Gandhi Research Foundation).  It’s an international leadership-training workshop that aims to develop the participants’ leadership and entrepreneurial skills, to build sustainable practices in agribusiness and water management through working sessions and ‘hands-on experiences’. This will create peaceful, prosperous communities.

EmPeace LABS aims to connect various community youth leaders, especially women, with corporations within their communities and with their local governments to co-design and implement sustainable projects, through a ‘multi-stakeholder approach.’ As Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University puts it, “We believe that through research and freely shared knowledge, we can create a socially, economically, and ecologically responsive society – a global community that understands the consequences of our actions and acts accordingly. Community led innovation can help solve food security challenges at the local and global scale. When farmers and local leaders engage in agricultural development and agri-business, communities prosper. This prosperity and stability dramatically improves long term prospects for global peace by reducing the strain on food systems, especially for the rural poor.

The speakers at the inaugural session emphasized the Gandhian values of ‘truthful engagement’ in the developmental process. Dr Marek Wosinski of UCP- SARnet, who was one of the initiators of a unique community based College of Social Work project in West Champaran, India at the site of Gandhi’s first ‘struggle for truth’ and development in rural India, said that the need of the hour was to liberate Gandhi from the textbooks and the museums and bring Gandhi into practice in the villages of Bihar. Dr Bhavarlal Jain, founder Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems, spoke of the incorporation of values in business that would serve to empower and sustain all living creatures, and of his own group’s continuing efforts to put Gandhian principles into sustainable practice.

Justice Dr. Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari

Justice Dr. Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari

Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari, Chairman Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Gandhi Research Foundation spoke about the need to incorporate truthful dealings in aspects of commerce, and emphasised that the pursuit of rampant consumption led to an unsustainable lifestyle that is ultimately destroying the earth. He expressed a hope that the young leaders who congregated at Jalgaon for the first ever EmPeaceLAB would study use their insights and enthusiasm to adapt Gandhian thinking to lead their communities and countries to prosperous and peaceful future. “

There is a lot of information about this conference on the UCPSARnet website, so let me give a more personal account of my experience.

I found the Gandhi influence very inspiring as it was integrated into everyday life. All speakers from the Gandhi Research Institute talked about sustainability in a way that made a lot of sense. Sustainability was about creating programs, businesses and relationships that would last over time because all stakeholders were valued and respected.  Relationships were grounded in honesty and people were not viewed as things to be used and resources to be consumed. The earth was regarded with respect and our human relationship with the earth was discussed as we learn to manage our limited resources for some kind of intelligent design.

The participants were very bright, dedicated and interested.  I made a great relationship with Adeyemi Damilare, a young man from Nigeria. He is very interested in connecting Coaching the Global Village with the African Union Youth Council.  We spent a lot of time meditating together and designing plans to roll out coaching for leadership development of African Youth.  He was also very interested in the BrightHeart program for children that has been initiated in Uganda.

There was a lot of interest in leadership training from a variety of countries. The team from Madagascar consisted of a very dynamic woman Zo who translated everything for her three woman team.  Zo was one of the most active participants and had tremendous leadership skills. She is very interested in continued training for young leaders in Madagascar.


Rohiit Jain is another fine young man I met. He is from northern India and has a Master’s degree in Communication.  Rather than move to the city for some kind of IT job, he has chosen to remain in his local village and create a collective farm that is successful in producing and marketing food in his area. He is creating a sustainable agricultural business helping his local community and finds great personal value in doing so. I am interested in exploring the development of a micro loan group to help him with his program. He has a successful track record, a great set of values, and is a smart guy who is worthy of trust and support.

Rohiit Jain

Rohiit Jain


One of the most personally inspiring connections I made was with Professor Ramji Singh from the Gandhi Research Foundation. As a boy, he knew Mahatma Gandhi.  Professor Singh has a remarkable aura of peace around him. For a man of eighty nine, he was in great shape. He gave a fiery talk on the life, history and teachings of Gandhi. He wanted me to go by Ram as a spiritual name in India.  He was such a brilliant intellect and a profound yogi that Dr. Marek Wosinski was moved to ask him how he could integrate both a great mind and a personal level of development that was so pronounced.  Professor Singh simply responded that during his entire life he constantly strived to reduce himself to “zero.”  He response had a strong impact on me and the entire group. He was a living model of spiritual realization and the power that results when the ego no longer is the primary principal running the show.

Professor Singh with Dr. Wosinski


I was blessed to meet and befriend another unique individual, Pape Samb. We had great fun shopping together in the local town and discussing leadership and world change. Mr. Samb is the Director for Programs for Africa at Phelps Stokes.  He has a warm, open, joyful and inviting presence.  He spoke to the entire group and especially emphasized the importance of bringing people together and being a “relationship broker.”  He also emphasized the notion of sustainability by working for the benefit of others and working with others. He was very uplifting a emphasized the important of acknowledging others. He had a very interesting approach to enhancing one’s capacity to help others:  suspend assumptions and change questions. He advised us to always be a learner in order to create better relationships, as we must understand other people’s values if we are to successfully work with them. Finally, he discussed the Global Youth International Conference that addresses core values for youth: Trust, Accountability, Reliability, Growth, Empowerment and Truth.  These are core values that will help anyone.

Mr. Samb is one of the special people out there. If you every have a chance to meet him, your life will be enhanced.

Pape Samb with Ron Mann

Pape Samb with Ron Mann

One a personal note I was especially moved to be with him because he is a Muslim.  With all the bad press that Muslims get in today’s world, it was a blessing to be with such a wonderful man with great values.

One day we had a full field trip to several farms. We saw cotton, onions, papaya, and banana farms.  The Jain Irrigation staff have food production down to a science.  They can calculate the number of fruits a plant will produce and how much water it needs to do so.  Through the drip irrigation systems they have vastly reduced the amount of water necessary for production and greatly enhanced output.  They have a vision for water sustainability to see the conservation of water as a major concern for our future.  They are interested and available to take their technology which includes solar energy into Africa. There were many very precise presentations made about their work and projects, which ranged from irrigation, food production, farm management, solar energy, water desalination and pipe production.

Banana Field Trip

Banana Field Trip

In summary, the leadership development aspect of this project was well integrated due to the strong commitment and influence of the Gandhi Research Foundation. All of Gandhi’s philosophy was compatible with our coaching approach that is founded upon relationship building and self-empowerment. This conference stressed the importance of individual creativity, responsibility, and initiative.  The participants were education and informed about the latest technologies for food production and given basic tools and inspiration for leadership development and personal empowerment. Relationships were established that will continue across Africa. Coaching the Global Village was an important component for future training and support for all participants.

There were cross cultural presentations every evening from each country. Dancing was the common language that brought joy and bonding among the participants and the children from the local school.

Evening Dancing

Evening Dancing

Group at Gandhi Museum


I have posted over 100 pictures on my Facebook page. I encourage you to take a look at them at http://www.facebook.com/ronald.mann1

If you go to drronmann at youtube you will find a new video of this morning opening ceremony.  Pretty cool to see.

First day in India


India has changed a lot since my last trip here five years ago. The airport is very modern as any Western country with all the typical fashion design stores with designer goods. The roads have improved as well. New highways have been built and you don’t see so many cows on the road. It appears closer to the modern world,although that is a mixed blessing here. My local friends tell me that some people buy two bedroom condos for a million dollars and have to work so much they have no time for family or spiritual practice

My first day was very eventful. It began with the very practical: getting a local cell phone and a SIM card for my iPad. I am amazed at the low cost. I got a basic Nokia phone for $20 and a service plan for it, a sim chip for the iPad and a 3G connection for 800 rupees, that is about $15. (I am now at the Gandhi University/Gain Irrigation Campus and the connection is not as stable as it was in Delhi. Everything worked great there, but here not so much. It is 9:30 PM local time and the internet connection is great but not so good for email. I just added this on Friday evening) That sure beat AT&T international rates. After taking care of my worldly needs for high tech communication I went to the YSS. ashram. I was able to spend some time in their meditation room. Since I and Prasad, my tour guide, were the only ones in the room, I played the harmonium and chanted for an hour. I then had the opportunity to meet with the senior Swami, Amarananda. He was very sweet and gave us a waking tour. Yoganandaji’s presence was very strong there and the afternoon left me feeling very nurtured and joyful.

The next stop was at the huge ashram of Swaminarana. He was alive in 870 BC and was a Buddha/Christlike figure who became fully enlightened as a child. His property is enormous and has many different multiple shows explaining his history, mission and the legacy of India. There was a light, water and sound show outside in an area that seemed like the size of four football fields. There were a few thousand people and the spiritual vibration was very strong.

These two trips were a perfect way to prepare for the week.


I made the flight down to Aurangabad and I and 7 other people made the four hour van ride to the University. It was a typical Indian travel adventure. The road was narrow with traffic in every lane coming head on until the last moment. The last two hours were after the sunset so the added challenge of darkness created more stress for some. Some were exhausted from the long trip from Africa and slept most of the way. Others stayed awake and watched with anticipation as the cars, scooters, busses, trucks and oxen driven carts made their dance through the night. We did see one young man with a head injury on the side of the road being administered to. It is a dangerous and treacherous place to walk or drive. We were all very happy to arrive alive, safe and sound.

The few people I met on the bus were mostly from Africa. One man, David French, is from Colorado. He has an NGO working with leadership programs for youth. They all seemed extremely nice, very smart and joyful. I believe this week will be a very successful experience for all attending.


I passed on the 9 O’clock dinner tonight. It is now 11 O’clock and I am in my room which is very nice, quiet and has a private bathroom. The Jain Irrigation training center, which is hosting this event, is quite expansive, with beautiful landscaping and clean architecture. Tomorrow is a free day and the conference begins on Saturday.


It is 4:00 AM and I am wake. I can feel the immensity of the silence. I am drawn into meditation and this stillness provides an avenue for a deeper look into my inner life and the areas of my ego that are present and resist dissolving into a deeper stillness. It is impossible to just go back to sleep because it took such a great effort to get here, it seems like a waste to throw it away with sleep. An hour meditation at 4:00 AM in this pristine environment to too good to pass up. We are out in the country on the 1000 acre property of the Jain Irrigation System. They are the founding supporters of the Gandhi University. There is very little static in the subtle realms.

Friday Day:

We had a nice walking tour around the property and it provided us an opportunity to meet each other. There are many very inspired young men and women from Africa (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana) with a desire to learn and create avenues for business and agricultural development back home.


Adeyemi Damilare, Managing Director of Tender Heart Care Services is from Nigeria. He teaches at the University and is very eager to obtain more psychological training in coaching and leadership development. We have begun the discussion to create a program for him in which he can be certified and help others be more successful in their business development. We also began discussing the important to some universal approach to spirituality that would help people learn meditation, breathing and other skills to open their hearts, deeper their intuition, and empower them to be more effective in helping others. He was very excited to have a relationship with Coaching the Global Village and is eager to have us work with him.

As a note on coaching it is interesting that he suggest I send an email to him and outline our program. I am a big believer in developing a program based upon an individual’s needs. I suggested we talk and he tell me what he needs and what he wants to accomplish and we will design a program for him. It was the beginning of the coaching process. He was very clear that he wanted some type of certification because that is the only way he will be respected for what he has learned.

I had lunch with two lovely young women from Nigeria. We talked about women’s issues and the process of women’s development in that country. There were very positive and felt that gains were being made.

The Jain Irrigation System is an enormous corporation that is involved in many different programs, products, and projects from solar energy, food production, organic fertilizers, and irrigations systems. Their dried onions are in the pizzas at McDonalds.


My overall impression is that this is a group of very bright and eager young people. I think the next week will be very fruitful for them and I look forward to our continuing relationships over the years. There are very open to the coaching model and want to work together for support. The time here has been a lot of fun and we are only in the first day.


I am getting a lot of exercise as my room is far away from the dining hall and meeting area. It is a good ten minute walk up a steep hill. Given all the sitting on the airplane to get here, I am very happy to be able to do so much walking.

Tomorrow we have our first day. I look forward to it.


I am now on a layover in Singapore. The flight from LA was long and as I was reading Victor Frankel’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” I had these thoughts about the coaching process.  I arrive in India later tonight.

Conference goals
This work is about a deeper purpose: not just about food or water. It is about developing leaders who have a vision for peace and a process to bring people together to work together for the betterment of others.
It is a coaches job to help find that deeper purpose and integrate a deeper meaning of life into our work. It is a coaches job to look deeper and help explore ways to keep aligned with our core self. A coach does not have the “answer” as such, but offers a process that leads to deeper realizations and alignment with our purpose. We help find meaning in life through a process of inquiry that reveals the truth about our nature, our purpose. We work together to stay on track and hold true to our mission.
This work demands constant introspection and an honest look into our daily progress. We must embody that which we wish to achieve. One aspect of Satya (truth) is to realize and align ourselves with our true nature. Our power to transform our environment and to uplift others comes from that deeper self. The atma , the soul. It is only human to be drawn away from this deeper alignment because of desires, attachments, and external influences. It is a process of remembering and recommitment. We choose to come back to our core self. Meaning crated by a project to help others. Collaborative work unites people in the heart.

The Great Hearts non profit foundation, http://www.greatheartsafire.org/ , will be presenting ten (10) bracelets at the Jalgaon Conference to recognize a select group of people. We will have 73 people from 13 countries. Check out the Great Hearts website for more information about them.

Monday, October 8, 2012

This morning we had a planning meeting with the team from ASU that will be attending the conference. I am impressed by the quality of the people that are involved. We have a mix of students and professionals with a cross-cultural mix from Poland, India, Africa, Canada, and the United States.

The major focus of this meeting was to introduce everyone to each other and discuss the logistics of small group discussions and organizational planning. This is a very fluid process that will change each day as we discover what is most needed to achieve our goals. We currently have 72 confirmed participants from 13 countries.

Here is a summary of a couple of the people who were present. There were about 12 all together.

Dr. Rimjhim Aggarwal is from the ASU School of Sustainability and is playing a major role in the organization of the project along with Dr. Marek Wosinki.  She is from India and envisions this process as a way to develop leaders, integrating Gandhi’s philosophy, who can help promote peace in the world through agribusiness and sustainability programs.  It is a very complex program to integrate a variety of initiatives (peace work, leadership development, empowerment of women, food and water resource management).  The intent is to create a global community of mentors, coaches, and young people and use technology to facilitate this process.   She has a very peaceful presence and is very smart. She is also has a long history with spiritual practice and meditation.

Jerrie Ueberle is another member going to India.  Jerrie is Founder/President of Global Interactions, Inc., and the World Academy for the Future of Women. Global Interactions is a non-profit corporation specializing in developing international connections to promote the sharing of promising practices, technologies, and research among professional and business counterparts worldwide.

The World Academy is a dynamic and bold leadership program to empower women through the discovery of their passion, purpose and path to success, to engage in addressing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals through collaborative and inclusive partnerships. Begun in 2009 the Academy is positioned to accelerate the advancement of women worldwide uniting women and men in achieving these goals.

Robby Uppal was with us via Skype. He is the President of Visionary Investment Genesis, an Arizona based venture capital company that focuses on providing seed money for development projects and smart technology. With a background in International Commercial Law and Business Transactions, as well as Corporate Legal Accountability, he has been a policy officer for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor for South and Central Asia monitoring India, Nepal, Maldives, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. He is also the co-founder of Solar Topps, an Arizona based Solar Energy Firm. He has been with UCP-SARnet since 2009 and has served multiple functions as an Associate Facilitator, particularly the oversight of major reorganization of both the network’s structure and growth. Currently, he facilitates public and private partnerships for UCP-SARnet.

There is a plan to video much of the program and make it available online after the event. We will interview participants as well to hear their thoughts, feelings, and impressions.

Here are the  keynote speakers:

First, a word from the Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems, a major sponsor of this project.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It has been my long cherished dream to create a lasting memorial to the Mahatma Gandhi has been my ideal, my hero, my guide and in many ways my friend for the last five decades and more. For years I have wanted to pay my tribute to him for all that he has contributed to the fulfillment of my life. Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow me to do this till last month, when we formally inaugurated the Gandhi Re-search Foundation here at Jain Hills in Jalgaon.

Today I am proud to say that I am well on the way to fulfilling my dream. The Gandhi Research Foundation is established in a structure befitting the Father of the Nation. The message of the Mahatma is slowly, but surely taking root in the hearts and minds of the numerous visitors that are beginning to throng Gandhi Teerth (museum), participating in Tests on Gandhian Thought, rural development programs, dissemination of Gandhi’s teachings through lecture series and exhibitions, plays, Padayatras and Cycleyatras, seminars, workshops and, most of all, through publication and sale of books and the sale of Khadi and village industry products.

It is my earnest desire that this EmPeace LABS 2012 workshop will provide the right impetus for the five-year project of Empowering for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability Eradicating Poverty in Rural Communities. This was so close to Gandhi’s heart. His everlasting desire was to make the rural community self-sufficient and empower the underprivileged.

May his divine hand guide us in this endeavor.

Dr. Bahavarlal H. Jain

Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems’ Ltd.


Dr. Bhavarlal H. Jain

Dr. Bhavarlal H. Jain is the Founder of the Jain group of companies and Chairman of the Company. He began his business in 1963 by trading in agricultural inputs and equipment. In 1980, he commenced PVC Pipe manufacturing operations. Post 1986, he pioneered the concept of micro irrigation in India.

He has received many awards and accolades for outstanding work in agriculture including the prestigious Crawford Reid Memorial Award instituted by Irrigation Association, U.S.A. for “Significant Contribution to the Irrigation Industry outside the United States.” Three honorary doctorates have been conferred on him from different universities acknowledging path breaking work he has done for improvement of agriculture in India .


Justice/Dr. Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari

Dr. Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari has been a judge of impeccable moral character, and is a staunch and steadfast Gandhian, both in equal measure. In both the roles, he has been uncompromising in his belief and value systems. Justice Dharmadhikari is a living icon of Gandhian values. He has emulated Gandhian thoughts and actions in every walk of his life, may it be on the social, economic, political, legislative or religious-spiritual fronts. At a time when Gandhiji is thought to be inconsequential to the present global situation by a section of opinion makers, the iconic presence of the likes of Dr. Darmadhikari helps in building a counter opinion that it is only by following Gandhiji’s prophesies that a better, sustainable and equitable world can be rebuilt. Gandhiji’s legacy is without age. Such traditions don′t become irrelevant with the passage of time.


Mdm. Nileema Mishra

Nileema Mishra, from India, was recognized with 2011 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership Nileema was born to a middle-class family in the village of Bahadarpur, Maharashtra. With a master’s degree in clinical psychology, she could have gone on to a comfortable life as an urban professional. But even as a child, Nileema was sensitive to the crippling poverty in her village. Five years after finishing her studies in 1995, Nileema returned to her village to organize Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN), or Sister Nivedita Rural Science Center, named after an Anglo-Irish missionary who devoted her life to helping Indian women of all castes.

The success of Bahadarpur inspired Nileema to expand her work. In less than ten years, BNGVN has formed 1,800 self-help groups in two hundred villages across Maharashtra. Its microcredit pro-gram has caused to be distributed the equivalent of US$5 million, with a hundred-percent loan recovery rate. But the most critical change has taken place in the villagers’ sense of themselves, their new-found confidence that they need not despair, that working together, they will find a way.


Mr. Pape Samb

Mr. Pape Samb assumed the position of Director, Programs for Africa and Freedom Endowment (PAFE) at Phelps Stokes in 2010 to provide leadership and vision in the development, imple-mentation and assessment of Phelps Stokes’newly created Programs for Africa Department.

Mr. Samb is a social entrepreneur focused on international development, who has over seventeen years of leadership experience in nonprofit management, program design and development, database management, fund-raising, and training facilitation.

Prior to being tapped as the Director of Africa Programs at Phelps Stokes, Mr.Samb was the Associate Development Director of Sasha Bruce Youth-work, where he supported the organization’s development and programmatic operations including writing proposals and developing and coordinating staff training programs. He also facilitated the creation of the Development Department’s strategic plan and assisted with the agency’s operational strategies.

Mr. Samb is an active member and board member of several African- and African Diaspora-focused organizations including Constituents for Africa (CFA), African American United Caucus (AAUC) Next Generation of Leaders, Vort Port International (VPI), and the National Academy of Public Ad-ministration (NAPA) Africa Working Group. He is the founder of SENEGEL, an organization of Senegalese young leaders around the world, and the co-founder of African Neoleaders, an organization for emerging leaders, and CEO of EXELEADMEN. He is fluent in English, French and several West African Languages and conversational Spanish and Arabic.


That is all for now. My next post will probably be from the airplane on my way to India. Please pray for me that all the flights are on time and it is a safe landing. Thanks so much.


Empowering for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability; Eradicating Poverty in Rural Communities 2012

Tues, October 2, 2012

I am getting pretty close to my departure to India for the International Conference on Agribusiness and Sustainability in the Third World sponsored by ASU, Gandhi Research Foundation, and the Jain Irrigation Systems.  I plan to post a running blog during my time at the conference to keep you informed about our progress.

I think it is very interesting how I became involved and was invited into this project. As a self-employed Personal Development Coach, I am always looking for ways to market my services and generate client contacts. I was on a web seminar and someone indicated that India was in need of Executive Coaches.  I have been to India a couple of times, practice yoga and like the culture so I thought I would explore what was available. I joined a lot of LinkedIn groups and watched the discussions.  Someone from India posted an offering for a free webinar and I signed up.  The guest speaker was Dr. Patrick Williams who created the non-profit, Coaching the Global Village. I really enjoyed his talk and felt like he was a kindred spirit.  We both have a transpersonal psychology background, coaching business, and a desire to make the world a better place.  During the webinar, I spoke up and made a personal connect with Dr. Williams. We spoke off line. I had such a positive feeling about this man that I asked if there was anyway in which I could help him.  He immediately replied that there was an upcoming conference in India and CGV was providing a component around coaching, mentoring and leadership. Dr. Williams asked me if I wanted to go and represent CGV. It seemed like a great idea to me so I accepted.  The major organizer was Arizona State University under that direction of Dr. Marek Wosinski. Here is a little bit about ASU’s involvement.

University-Community Partnership for Social Action Research (UCP-SARnet) is a growing network of above 1200 students, university faculties, community activists, and governmental officials engaged in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 65 countries.  UCP-SARnet is dedicated to the education of the next generation of community leaders by compiling and housing an interactive online library of resources and facilitating cross-sector collaborations, networking and multicultural dialogues.

UCP-SARnet has been developed and sponsored by the Department of Psychology, at Arizona State University (USA) in close collaboration with the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) in Kitchener (Canada), Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw (Poland), and other international partners.  Initially co-sponsored by the Centre for International Governance Innovations (CIGI), UCP-SARnet is currently co-sponsored and hosted by IGLOO in Canada.  UCP-SARnet is also a member of the Global Alliance on Community Engaged Research and is represented at the Global Alliance for ICT and Development.

What is unique about the UCP-SARnet network is that it has been created and governed by students and community activists who – under the consultation of university faculties -as volunteers, interns or undergraduate research assistants learn skills necessary for building effective partnerships and networks.

Dr. Williams suggested I contact Dr. Wosinki and see how I might contribute.  We both found it interesting that I live in Phoenix and ASU is thirty minutes from my home. Dr. Wiliams is in Florida so I was a good geographical fit.  I called Dr. Wosinki and he told me he had a meeting the next day with a colleague who happened to be my neighbor and he would stop by after his meeting.  Was this a project made in heaven with my name attached to it? Dr. Wosinksi came to visit and brought Osee Romeo Njacheun.   Osee has been involved in various volunteering work with international organizations such as UATD-quart Monde, UN Online Volunteer Program. 
He served as a Regional Coordinator for Cameroon and the Gambia of UCP-SARnet and in 2009, Osee was appointed as an Assistant Facilitator of UCP-SARnet and in 2012, became an Associate Facilitator, in charge of International Operations. Our meeting was heartfelt and I was pleased to see we had similar values and vision.

The Gandhi University is hosting this conference and one aspect is to explore how Gandhi’s non-violent philosophy can be integrated into leadership.  As it turns out, I am a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship) and Yogananda initiated Gandhi into Kriya Yoga.   One of the SRF centers in California (Lake Shrine) has a beautiful memorial to Gandhi and actually holds his only remaining ashes. The Gandhi Memorial is a valued and sacred aspect at the Lake Shrine –– thousands of people visiting this spot every year.

Many years ago I created and directed a non-profit organization called Projects for Planetary Peace. Its main project was a citizen diplomacy mission into the then Soviet Union. I teamed up with Rama Joyti Vernon for this work. Our goal was to humanize people and offer them a personal connection and understanding. At that time, it seemed like President Regan was too ready to “nuke” the Russians. We took people into the Soviet Union and brought Soviet Citizens here to the United States.  We believed that it would be more difficult to kill people you knew and liked.  I know humanity will have conflict and wars will be waged, but we did not think we needed to destroy the planet through a nuclear war.  We are still here so it appears we may have helped. This was a NGO program and people to people exchange.

Swami Satchidananda was on my Board of Directors.  I flew to Virginia to invite his participation and as I was waiting for our meeting, I held a copy of his interpretations of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  As I often do, I inwardly asked for direction on how to be most successful with the project and opened this little book. I opened to Sutra 35: Ahimsa –– non-violence.  It said, “In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease.” The ancient teachings of India were brought to life for me.  Gandhi embraced Ahimsa as a way to defeat the British tyranny. So here I am again in the face of the deeper message that change must take place through a profound inner shift that neutralizes hatred, anger, jealousy, and greed.  It was my constant practice back so many years with Projects for Planetary Peace and has once again comes to the foreground as I prepare to depart for Gandhi University.

It appears that my many years of service and personal spiritual practice, along with my training in organizational psychology and leadership development, executive coaching, and clinical psychology make me a good fit for this lofty project.  The purpose of this conference is to design a program that will be implemented in India, Ghana, and Kenya next year.

I feel very honored to be a part of Coaching the Global Village and have the highest respect for Dr. Williams. I look forward to meeting wonderful people from around the world and contributing towards the success of this project.

So I have my travel shots (those really hurt for a day) my VISA, and tickets (compliments of CGV).  All I need to do is pack and I am off. I will keep you informed along my way.

Is Your CEO Protecting Your Investment?

The 8 Essential Executive Competencies

Ronald L Mann, Ph.D.


Now that you have bought a new company, is the CEO doing what is necessary to protect your investment? Success does not happen by accident. It takes a lot of hard work and a commitment to a set of core principles, which become a foundation and pathway during times of development, crises, and change. Technical knowledge is not enough to successfully lead a company. There is an additional skill set that is necessary. The information I am going to share is based upon over thirty years of work as a clinical psychologist, executive coach, and organizational consultant.


First of all, let’s remember that the culture of an organization evolves from the top. The nature and style of leadership determines how everyone will function in an organization. We are not just talking about ideas and philosophy. The state of Being of leadership does influence the entire organization. Consciousness is not an abstract concept. It is a real, tangible thing that has direct impact and influence. The state of consciousness of a CEO will determine how an organization will function. The leader at the top will determine what happens throughout the entire culture. If you want to capitalize on your investment, you need to be sure that your CEO has the knowledge and support to create a high performing company –– technical knowledge alone is not enough!


There are eight essential competencies that are important and interrelated for effective leadership. Each one affects the other and all together they result in a stronger, wiser, more powerful executive. A greater discussion of all these principles can be found in my latest book, Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down. (Available at amazon.com)  They are:


1. Self Confidence.

2. Emotional Intelligence.

3. Spiritual Values.

4. Clearly Established Personal Identity Based Upon a Recognized Life Purpose.

5. Coachablity.

6. Positive State of Mind.

7. Ability to Adjust.

8. Integrity.


Let’s take a look at each one in greater detail.



Self Confidence is huge. When we believe in ourselves we can accomplish great things, people will be attracted to us and will want to work with us. If we doubt ourselves and are hesitant when clear decisions need to be made, people will lose faith in us. A strong inspirational leader/executive needs to inspire others. There are two types of executives, those who act like managers and function to complete a job or task, and those who lead others to accomplish great things. If you want a CEO who can inspire and have a positive impact on others, then he/she needs to believe in him/herself.


There are different types of self-belief. One can be the result of real knowledge, which creates a deep inner strength and trust. The other can be the result of a narcissistic delusion that we are the greatest and beyond reproach. There are too many good examples of the latter and these types of CEOs fall from grace and damage their companies. All too often we find that powerful executives are often the most narcissistically troubled. A real, mature, healthy self-confidence comes from a deeper, more integrated sense of wisdom and competency, not from a braggadocios, overblown sense of one’s worth.


A CEO can limit himself if he doubts and loses faith in his own ability. Our ultimate capacity is often tested, and when we maintain a positive self-belief in our ability to succeed, we can tap a hidden, intuitive reserve. It is important to trust intuition, because it is often an internal gyroscope to keep us on course. Others may doubt us, but when we believe in the depth of our own ability, we will not lose faith and abandon our core beliefs. The heart knows what is right, and when we listen to our inner voice, we can accomplish great things and survive the darkest times. Self-doubt will undermine us and rob us of the opportunity to succeed. Dick Fosbury, Olympic Gold Medal Winner and creator of the Fosbury Flop for high jump says it best. “If we have self-doubts when we’re down on the stadium in front of 80,000 people, we’re probably not going to succeed.”


Self-confidence is more than a belief. It is earned and grounded through hard work and obtained competency. We cannot bypass the process of becoming an expert and really knowing our field. However, education and information are not enough. There is also a deeper psychological aspect to self-confidence. We must have a deep-seated sense of value and worth as an individual. We must have a sense of our own goodness and inner values that are grounded in the “right things” that aspire others and make a positive contribution to life. The type of messages we received as a child develops our sense of self. We internalize what was said and how we are treated. Our deeper sense of self evolves while we are growing up. If our parents speak to us or treat us in a manner that suggests we are not capable or do not deserve to be successful, then that is how we will feel as adults. It is, therefore, important to introspect and honestly assess the quality of our inner life. If there is an inner voice that is negative, undermining, and self-depreciating, then we need to heal that part of ourselves. A wounded CEO lacks a deeper presence that is needed to inspire confidence and loyalty.


Self-confidence is also enhanced as we develop a real and tangible relationship with Spirit and feel that connection guiding and directing our life. Humility evolves from knowing that something greater is working from within. It is easier to maintain a degree of self-confidence when we know there is a greater purpose in life and there is a higher plan to everything. When we develop the intuitive capacity to feel the Divine working through us, it is possible to maintain a positive self-belief and stay on course, even when life becomes difficult. If a company has a CEO or any executive with holes in his or her self-confidence, then that company will be at risk.




This is a very useful concept that has been widely discussed. Daniel Goleman has written extensively on this topic and it is one of my chapters in Bouncing Back. I also have some blog posts and video discussions on this topic that can be found at www.ronmann.com. When we are highly stressed, strong emotional forces are put into play that oftentimes override the mind. Very smart people can make bad decisions and do impulsive things. When we are stressed and facing critical challenges, it is important to have all our resources at our disposal: good reality testing, emotional balance, and the ability to moderate strong, intense feelings.


One can actually be mentally gifted but have such a low emotional intelligence that he or she will do some pretty stupid things. Emotional intelligence is about being smart in how we manage our emotions. Some people think that in business we should not have any emotions. As long as we are breathing, that is probably not possible –– unless we are Mr. Spock. We all have emotional reactions to various situations. It is what we do with them that makes the difference. Emotional intelligence is the result of several factors: the awareness of feelings, the ability to express feelings, the ability to contain feelings, the ability to organize feelings, and the ability to resolve feelings. It is possible to be intellectually intelligent but not have an equal and corresponding emotional intelligence. Just because we have a good mind does not mean we have done any work on our emotional self. Emotional intelligence is something that can be developed and learned.


 The Awareness Of Feelings

Self-awareness provides a deeper look and insight into those mental and emotional elements that can undermine performance. Self-knowledge allows us to overcome thoughts and emotions that could potentially inhibit our fullest expression and success. Fear of failure, loss, and humiliation can be powerful forces that drive behavior. Most defensive posturing –– “alpha male” controlling and dominating behavior –– are typically driven by these deeper underlying forces. Problems arise in management styles and executive decisions when denial becomes the primary method to deal with unresolved personal issues. It is very difficult to have emotional intelligence when one’s sense of self is damaged.


The Ability To Express Feelings

It is important to have a level of emotional maturity that allows us to acknowledge and appropriately express feelings across an entire range of human experience. The ability to express appreciation and gratitude towards others creates a closer bond and develops loyalty. Strength with heart is an important combination. The ability to acknowledge vulnerability or uncertainty does not make us weak –– it may be an expression of humility regarding the complexities of life. Effective leaders need to have good people skills to inspire a loyal and dedicated staff. People work harder for someone when they are authentically valued and appreciated. Executives who are cold, distant, and emotionally disconnected may be missing an important element for effective leadership.


The Ability To Contain Feelings

An emotionally mature individual does not act on every impulse that arises. Just because we feel something does not make it appropriate to express it or act on it. If everyone went around expressing all of his or her emotions, we would have a very chaotic society—just as if no one ever expressed how he or she felt, we would have a very repressed society. There is a balance. That is why we call it emotional intelligence—because we have to learn how to be smart about when to express what we feel. Sometimes when we have very strong feelings—whether they are very powerful loving ones or angry ones—we need to contain them and allow ourselves to understand what is going on. Giving full vent in the heat of the moment is not always the best choice. We see this loss of control in every aspect of life—sports, marriage, and international relations. We see individuals and groups engaged in riots, fights, brawls, war, and murder. There are good examples of pretty poor levels of emotional intelligence.

The Ability To Organize Feelings

Highly complicated situations are charged with intense emotions. It is easy to get confused and jump from one solution to another or become influenced by outer forces. It is imperative to have some inner guidance system to keep us on course and help us create priorities with clear, precise, obtainable goals. If inner emotional turmoil forces us to lose focus, purpose, and direction, we will be at a disadvantage and may flounder.

A clear set of well-defined values can be a guiding beacon during dark times. When we know who we are and what we believe, then it is easier to stay on course. Life will test us. Our inner certitude and clarity will save us when the outer world appears most chaotic. It is during these most difficult times that we must draw upon our inner reserves. This is another important component of emotional intelligence.


The Ability To Resolve Feelings

Emotional intelligence requires an inner life that is free from long-standing emotional conflicts. When we are harboring old hurts, fears, or resentments, then it is very difficult—if not impossible—to fully live in the present. It takes a lot of psychic energy to live fully in the present—to consciously bring all our resources and attention to the moment. If our energy is caught in the past, focusing on old issues, then we are less able to fully engage in life. Resolving old, unfinished business is a must for anyone who wants to live a happy and creative life. It is impossible to perform at our best if we are stewing over the past or worried about future events.


When we master ourselves, we increase the likelihood for success. It is difficult to be at our best when we remain unconscious and unaware. When we learn to manage our inner life, we can maximize our inner resources and learn to make better decisions and act with greater clarity, perception, and direction. Inner peace and clarity allow for greater focus. The need for emotional intelligence is even greater when life circumstances are uncertain and changing. It is natural to feel fear, anger, and confusion during difficult times. However, it is imperative to resolve and manage emotions so we can make good decisions and not become overwhelmed with confusion, uncertainty and doubt. A positive mind state and peace of mind creates a calm inner life that allows great access to inner wisdom and intuitive guidance.



A CEO with a spiritual life can be more positive, more inspiring and steadfast to a set of values and principles that will guide his or her organization through challenging times. Our ability to create and manifest goals and objectives is greatly enhanced through a conscious connection with our higher nature.


We live in a time that can benefit from enlightened action. Successful executives can excel with a steadfast approach that adheres to a set of core guiding principles and values that honor honesty, integrity, compassion, and wisdom. A strong spiritual life, based upon self-realization, can result in more enlightened action. Simply believing in something is not enough. A deeper realization with direct perception is needed for real transformation.


Meditation and contemplation are methods for spiritual deepening. Studies of Fortune 500 CEOs found that the top executives relied upon quiet time, moments of prolonged inner reflection (sounds like meditation to me), to help them make better decisions. The inner connection allowed them greater access to intuitive problem solving, which resulted in clearer thinking and more effective decision-making.



Carl Jung coined the term “individuation” to describe the higher end of psychological maturity. He suggested that more mature individuals have progressed beyond their early childhood conditioning. Moreover, they are also able to separate from and transcend societal ideas, values, and pressures when those things are limiting, unhealthy, or non-productive.


An important part of growing up is to learn to think independently of others, especially authority figures. The voice of wisdom is often different from the norm. New ideas and solutions are not typically generated from business as usual. Independent thinking and an ability to be emotionally secure allow for new possibilities. When we merely act as we are taught and believe what everyone else is saying, we may be limiting our growth and potential for more adaptive action. The wisest and more adaptive individuals have the inner strength and mental clarity to perceive what is right for them in the moment. They are not merely following old conditioning and blending in with convention.


Jung suggests that in order to fully grow and mature into adulthood, we must break with the surrounding convention or wisdom and embrace our individual feelings and beliefs. The recognition of our own truth gives us power to think, feel, and act as an individual and contribute from our unique sense of expression. Original thought, creative ideas, and leadership are most effective when the actions spring from an inner depth of authenticity. Our real power resides within an authentic self, and often it takes courage to stand up and fight for our right to exist. All too often, when we defer to outer authority as the true authority, we then find ourselves—individually and collectively as a society—being led down a wrong path.


Each one of us has a unique purpose. It is our challenge and responsibility to discover what it is. Once found, it becomes a guiding force that gives more meaning and value to our lives. Knowing this purpose results in an alignment with higher spiritual forces and deeper values that result in a depth of living –– not just for money, fame, and success, but also for a deeper purpose that nourishes the soul and inspires us to help others.



Coachability refers to our willingness to be open and receptive to new ideas, experiences, and information. Coaching requires a degree of curiosity and interest in personal development. It requires a commitment of time and energy. It demands a degree of humility that acknowledges that no matter how intelligent we are, we might be able to learn something more.


Successful individuals learn from others and learn from their mistakes. If we think we know everything or can succeed without the benefit of coaching, we may be seriously limiting our potential success. If we think we can do it all by ourselves, we may be throwing away great resources that can speed up our learning.


It is very difficult, if not impossible, to see ourselves clearly without the benefit of a mirror. A good coach, teacher, or adviser offers us that mirror in order to speed up our progress and development. Knowing what the issues are for development is the biggest and most important part of change. We can’t change what we don’t know!


Those who think coaching is a waste of time or who think that nobody really has anything to offer are misunderstanding the potential in a coaching relationship. A good coaching will help us focus, deepen our understanding, stay accountable, and obtain stated goals in a timely manner. He or she will also uncover any hidden blocks we may have to achieving our best. He or she will empower us to be more effective and wise in all areas of our lives.



A positive mental outlook is essential for success and victory. A positive mental approach creates a strong flow of energy and dynamic willpower. Negative thinking deflates our ability to act, persevere under pressure, and remain psychologically and physically healthy. We know from watching sports that self-confidence is a magnet that draws success. We see it on the golf course when a player is putting well and everything seems to drop. Players report, “I knew it was going in!” Self-confidence and a positive mental state are interconnected.


The ability to maintain a positive mental outlook is essential for success. It is especially critical if one is going to persevere during difficult times. When fear is running amok among the majority, and a doom-and-gloom mentality can be contagious. It is very important to have a solid inner core that is based upon sound principles that allow is to keep a positive outlook and see through the veil of darkness to the light at the end of the tunnel.


A fundamental esoteric principle is, “Energy follows thought.” Therefore, what begins in the mind becomes the directing force for energy and eventually is expressed through action and behavior. A weak mind will undermine any great potential. A weak-minded individual will undermine the effectiveness of a group. It is easy to be negative, create doubt, and stop the progress into new territory. It is much easier to be negative than creative. It can take years to develop and create something, but it can be destroyed in an instant. Fear is often the underlying force. Effective leaders who are able to inspire others over the long run are positive and creative.


The ability to overcome fear can be a major issue in anyone’s life: fear of failure at work, in relationships, in business ventures, or on the field. The drama of life is always filled with challenges to stand up for what we believe. It has been said there that is no real courage without fear. Fear is a natural response when we feel threatened. It is how we deal with the fear that makes the difference, not whether or not we feel the fear. Fear can only be overcome by facing it head-on.


On a spiritual note, it has been said that, “God helps those who help themselves.” This means we have to act and cannot sit back and hope someone else will solve our problems. When we are acting, unseen forces can be there to help us, lead us, to speak through our intuition, and to empower us for greater success. Inspired performance is just that: to affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence. When we know that divine influence is available, we do not feel alone in facing our most difficult challenges. Zack Johnson, the 2007 Master’s Champion, won on Easter Sunday. He reported that he felt the presence of Jesus walking with him step-by-step on every hole. Was this his imagination—or not? Those who have experienced this type of divine help think not! As a final thought, Jesus was there to help and inspire; Jesus did not hit the golf ball. Zach’s success was the result of individual talent and hard work as well as faith. We can accomplish great things when we believe. The body cannot accomplish what the mind believes to be impossible. Zach Johnson came down the stretch and beat the best golfer that the world may ever see, Tiger Woods. The fear of intimidation could have been enough to wipe him off the course.



Change is a natural part of life. Our ability to adjust and adapt to new situations is vital to the ability to respond to change. The most adaptive response requires that we live in the moment and effectively interact with what is. If we get caught in responding to what we wish reality to be, rather than to what reality is, then we might find ourselves left behind. It is important to realize that success over time requires the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Mental and emotional rigidity impairs us from adjusting to new and different situations. Our ability to adjust can determine how quickly we adapt to new circumstances. When the world is changing around us and we don’t change, we can be in serious trouble.


Our inability to adjust to new and changing circumstances begins in our mind. We believe that we have the right way to do something and are determined to stay with our convictions. The wise individual will adjust his or her thinking when given new information. Other times, we are attached to our comfort zone. We are afraid to change and try new things because we are out of our comfort zone. We don’t know what the outcome will be and are afraid to try something new and find out. So we continue to do the same thing, hoping for a different result. We can become stuck in old and familiar patterns that are comfortable, even though they may be non-productive.


Change requires some mental work to reorganize our thinking and perceptions. We have to become accustomed to a new way of doing something or a new way of feeling. We have to be wiling to take a chance and trust the new approach. In essence, we have to be willing to make a mistake to find out if the new approach will work. Change sometimes requires us to develop a new sense of self. We might have to restructure our lives or our business. It is easier to just keep the same old behaviors, beliefs, and thought patterns.



Let’s be realistic here. There have been a lot of dishonest people who have made a lot of money. In fact, the way they made their money was a direct relationship to their level of dishonesty. The better they could lie and distort the truth, the more money they made. Integrity is an important issue if you want your company and your professional life to last over time. Those who lie and lack honesty eventually pay the price, one way or the other. History shows us that a company built on decent values, provides a good product or service, and treats its employees with respect has a better chance to succeed in the long run.


Great leaders inspire loyalty. People will follow you into battle if they know you care and they trust you. When people are aligned around a common cause, then they will go the extra mile. They will make personal sacrifices to achieve commonly shared goals. We see this in business, sports and war. A leader must be able to unit his or her “troops” to work together and stay committed for success and victory. Integrity stands out and shines when it is present. When it is absent, then words are empty and actions are questioned.


Integrity is not always an easy quality to develop and maintain. We usually get tested and can easily make bad decisions and go down the wrong path if we do not have a solid foundation in core values and guiding principles. When the goal is to only make money, then integrity becomes less important. However, if the goals include helping to make the world a better place, supporting the life and welfare of others, and a living a life in such a way that when we die, we can move on to the next world with a clear mind and heart, then integrity becomes a relevant issue.



If you would like to know how you rate along these various competencies there is a self-assessment online at https://ronmann.com/executive_competencies/


Contact Information

If you would like to discuss how Dr. Mann can help you and your newly acquired companies, please contact him for a free consultation. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.



310-387-5115 (mobile)

ronmann8888 (skype)



© 2012 Copyright Ronald L Mann, Ph.D.


There are many people of Faith who want to integrate their spirituality into every aspect of their life. Here are some thoughts on how this applies to golf

Golf is a game and by definition is it something we play. We may work at it to get better, but once we are actually in the game, we are playing it.  We may be thinking about what we want to do or what we think we should do, but in the end, we play ­­–– for better or worse.  We may make a great shot and get a low score, or we may miss a lot of shots and post a high one.  We may be elated or we may end up frustrated and depressed. That really depends on our relationship with your core self, our attitude about life, and how we view this game.

What is play?  It is something that children do spontaneously.  They have fun, laugh, and use their imagination to make things up, create adventures, visualize the invisible, draw, dance, and run, typically without any thought or concern about the result. The reward is in the act of play itself and the fun of being lost in the process. Play has its own reward.

Somewhere along the way of growing up we learn that the result is more important than the play itself.  We learn and begin to believe that it is more important to win and be the best. We begin to lose touch with the joy of playing the game because we become so focused on the ultimate goal of winning. While it is true that hard work is required to ultimately play our best, the danger is that practice can lose it fun and the game can become tedious. At an early age, too much work, too much emphasis on just winning leads to burn out.  Once all the fun is gone, the child usually walks away from the game. When the fun and joy is lost, it is no longer play.

Is it possible as an adult to recapture the spirit of the game and learn how to play again?  Is it possible to discover the fun and inherent joy in the game that may typically leads to great performance?  I believe so, but only by letting go, not by trying harder.

What exactly needs to be released if we are to let go?  Do we want to discard our desire for greatness, or our wish to be the best? Do we want to discard our discipline and willingness to perfect and hone our craft (our ability to play the game)?  I think not because it is a lot more fun to do something well.  How do we find a way to play our best and recapture the essence of play?

We need to let go, yes!  However it is essential to know what to let go.  We need to let go of our ego, our mind, and our little self that is caught in a struggle for perfection and only identifies our value with our performance.  If we are caught in identification with our ego and little self, we feel wonderful when we play great, and our self-esteem is lowered when we falter.

There is a deeper sense of Self that holds the key to greater play and joy. We hear about it as the Zone. The Legend of Bagger Vance talks about it as the true self, and the Bible and great spiritual teachings refer to it as the soul.  Spiritual Realization is the knowledge that we are made in the image and likeness of God and have a sense of perfection encoded in our being.  We have a purpose and meaning in life that is holy and important. There is value in the essence of our being that can be expressed in all that we do.  In fact, we learn that whatever we do has a greater meaning, value, and impact when it is inspired and directed by this deeper aspect of Self.

There is a paradox here because the soul or essential Self is free from the limitations of our limited ideas of who we think we are.  The soul is joy and can express itself through any action or thought.  The soul is selfless whereas the ego is consumed with self ––how do I look, how am I performing, how much do I have, am I winning, etc.  Inspired action at its highest level, whether it be in the performing arts, playing golf, raising a child, or serving others, is effortless!  Action, speech, and thought are happening, but without effort or preconceived ideas. When the soul is awake, the heart is open, joy is present, and the love and beauty of Spirit is expressed. We rise above that which separates us and express the wonder and grace that unites us.

We live in a spiritual reality, if we choose to see it.  We can be elevated to a higher level when we invite God into our hearts and mind.  Life can become play with the fun and joy of the miraculous.  Let’s be realistic. Life is not always fun and joyful: terrible and horrible things do happen.  However, even in those times, we can be uplifted, strengthened, loved, and guided by God’s invisible hand. He will touch us, guide us, and care for us during our greatest trials.  And we can celebrate his glory and presence during our greatest victories.

There are two kinds of faith: blind faith and true faith.  Blind faith is based upon belief. It is a trust that what is written and is told is true. It starts in the mind and may only reside there.  True faith is based upon experience.  You believe something because you have felt it, seen it, and it is a real and tangible part of your life.  It resides in your body –– in your cells.  It is your direct, personal experience.

Faith and Spiritual Realization –– what comes first?  It can be either.  When you have a real spiritual experience and feel God’s love, joy, and bliss, then you believe. You have true faith.  However, if you begin with blind faith and believe that something is possible and do the work to invite that presence into your life, you will have a real experience. Your faith is now deepened.

So it is not a mystery that we find so many world-class athletes in all sports who have a strong faith and profess to a realization of a living God that touches every part of their lives. We find men bonded together from this faith to play stronger, be more dependable, and surrender more to the common good of the team.  Many Christian football coaches like Tony Dungy, Bob Gibbs, Bobby Bowden, and Joe Taylor have created powerful programs through the expression of their faith.  Phil Jackson developed many wining basketball teams through a Zen philosophy that helped individual players rise above their ego. Many PGA golfers such as Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Corey Pavin, Aaron Baddeley, Tom Lehman, and Payne Stewart (passed on) have strong faiths that have helped them in both their personal lives and professional careers.

When we learn how to integrate our spiritual beliefs and realization into every aspect of our lives, then something changes. We are uplifted to a higher level. We strive for a great degree of excellence and share a positive light with all those around us. We become a source of inspiration and contribute to making the world a better place.  Our work becomes play as we are blessed with the opportunity to excel and share our gifts with others.

When we win, it can be an inspiration to others if we remain humble and grateful.  When we are blessed with a gift to do something well, like play golf, our game can go to a higher level when we get out of the way.  Major breakthroughs in performance are not just the result of practice, equipment and swing mechanics. Major changes, either for the better or worse, are the result of profound shifts in the heart and mind. When Zack Johnson won the 2007 Master’s on Easter Sunday, he said he felt Jesus walking with him on every hole –– nice person to have in your gallery!  Tiger Woods lost his way and his game when he forgot his values and deeper spiritual principles.  Fortunately for golf and him, he is on his way back.  We wish him the best in his process of recovery.

It is too easy to lose one’s Self with all the distractions of modern life: TV, social media, money, fame, sex, and drugs. When we lose our Self, then all is lost –– meaning, purpose, integrity, joy, and valor.  A spiritual life can be the foundation and guiding light to keep us on course (no pun intended) and on a path of excellence.  It also provides a way to move beyond the ego and our little definition of self.  It is one way to help us play in the Zone. Our deeper Self or soul, knows so much more, has so much wisdom, and an ability to perform at the highest level. Do you want to play your best?  Then make the choice to let your higher Self be part of the game.


Dr. Mann is an expert coach for the mental game and teacher in spiritual development. His LA Times best selling book, “Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy,” discusses the process and methods for spiritual growth.  His latest book, “Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down,” is based on interviews with world-class athletes and discusses the eight fundamental principles for success in every aspect of life. In addition, he has produced a number of audio CD’s for meditation, self-healing, and personal development.  All these training aids can be found at www.ronmann.com.  He is available for individual, team, and corporate coaching. Please email him at mannr@ronmann.com with any questions.



Junior Golf is a wonderful opportunity for young golfers to develop their skill and love for the game.  It is a well-organized organization across the United States and offers many competitive opportunities for the young golfer.  It is a pathway for some to the PGA Tour and college golf scholarships.

Junior golfers are very sophisticated today with the advent of advanced teaching methods and great swing coaches. We see so many young golfers with incredibility good swing mechanics shooting low scores. Proper equipment and great swing mechanics go a long way to help young players be their best.

However, great equipment and good technique can only take you so far.   It still remains that the person hitting the ball and making the shot is the most important thing.  The sport has evolved and it is common knowledge that a player’s mental, emotional, and spiritual attitude has a lot do with winning and success.  We see Tiger making a comeback after two years.  I am not surprised that it has taken him that amount of time. He made some bad decisions that led to his identity and life falling apart.  It takes a lot more than practice to put all that back together again. Personal development does not happen overnight. And the fact is, the better the foundation, the easier it is to change, grow, develop, evolve, and recover after breakdown.

Part of our purpose here on earth is to grow and develop. The early years of a junior golfer can establish a foundation for life. Golf is such a great game because it offers the opportunity to learn so many things: values, integrity, patience, accountability, responsibility, emotional maturity, discipline, focus, determination, balance, respect, self-worth, service, acceptance, and love of nature. There is a lot to gain from this game. Lessons learned at this early age can last a lifetime and great positive habits and patterns for success in every aspect of life can be developed.

However, these valuable lessons are not automatically learned. Every child and adolescent can use wise parental guidance and coaching.  It is the responsibility of a parent to create a healthy emotional and spiritual environment, which will support a child’s development.  Sometimes, a parent can be too emotionally involved in the success of their son or daughter.  It is all too easy for a parent to live out their childhood dreams and wishes through their children.  Parents who wish they could be a professional athlete often work to create that in their children. Parents who have high expectations can often take the fun out of sports and place too much pressure on their children.  It is impossible to separate the psychological functioning of child from the family environment.  Children feel and respond to everything. Parental desires, fears, and wishes are expressed both verbally and non-verbally.  Who you are does make a difference in the ultimate performance of your son or daughter.

When a junior golfer has great talent and great practice rounds, but is not performing at his or her best in competition, it is usually because of deeper emotional issues, not raw talent.  Here is where a good coach can be very helpful.  Good coaching creates a safe environment where everyone can explore his or her feelings and learn new ways of thinking and being.  A good coach will help you all get to another level that you cannot access on your own.  If you look at the greatest athletes on all sports, they all have coaches.  It is not a sign of weakness or failure to ask for help.  It is a sign of wisdom and maturity to enlist the help of experts who can show you how to define and achieve your goals.

So, what are the six most important issues for the Junior Golfer?

  • Emotional Control
  • Focus and Concentration
  • Realistic Expectations
  • Perseverance
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Self-Worth Beyond Golf
  • Self-Belief

What are the four most important issues for the parent of a Junior Golfer?

  • Non-attachment to your child’s performance.
  • Trust
  • Unconditional Love
  • Patience

Let’s take a brief look at each of these.


Emotional Control

One of the biggest causes of breakdown for this age group is a massive melt down due to one bad shot.  One slice, pull hook, shank or duff can lead to an explosion of anger and frustration that can last for the rest of the round. Emotional control and the ability to “bounce back,” the title of my last book, provide the foundation to recover from breakdown.  Lack of emotional self-control is a sign of immaturity at any age.  The ability to have emotional control in highly intense and stressful situations, such as competition, is a huge advantage over the field.  Most kids are losing it.  Overly high expectations can be a cause for loss of emotional control.  If you think you should execute each shot perfectly, then it is easy to be upset when you do not live up to what you think you should be doing. High expectations are not the same as having lofty goals. A mature person, junior or adult, accepts mistakes and learns from them.  In fact, taking risks can lead to great learning and higher levels of performance when learning occurs in the process.

One of the chapters in, Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down, is on Emotional Intelligence. In that chapter I state, “We all have emotional reactions to various situations.  It is what you do with them that makes the difference.  Emotional intelligence is the result of several factors: the awareness of your feelings, the ability to express your feelings, the ability to contain your feelings, the ability to organize your feelings, and the ability to resolve your feelings.  It is possible to be intellectually intelligent but not have an equal and corresponding emotional intelligence.  Just because you have a good mind does not mean you have done any work on your emotional self.  Emotional intelligence is something that can be developed and learned.”

If you are wondering how you or your child is doing is this area you might consider the following questions. This is taken from Bouncing Back.


Self-Analysis—Emotional Intelligence

Answer the following questions: True or False

1.   I realize what I am feeling in specific situations.

2.   When I become upset, I know why I am reacting.

3.   I introspect daily to deepen my self-awareness.

4.   If I have interpersonal conflicts, I am able to distinguish between my feelings and the feelings of others.

5.   I am not quick to anger.

6.   I am able to articulate my feelings to others.

7.   I can describe my emotions with clarity.

8.   In highly charged, complex situations, I am able to discern the various feelings and issues involved and take appropriate action.

9.   I speak up when necessary.

10. I have clear and well-established values that guide my life.

11. I am able to define clear goals that guide my actions.

12. I am able to set priorities and adhere to them.

13. I am able to forgive others.

14. I am able to resolve old hurts.

15. I am able to let go of anger.

If you answered “false” to one or more of the above items, you may need to do some personal work in the area of emotional maturity.

There is also more information on this topic on my podcasts. I have a video and an audio posted at https://ronmann.com/category/podcast/.

Focus and Concentration 

Lapse of focus and concentration is an issue for golfers of any age.  The diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is so widely used today that many younger golfers feel they have concentration and focus problems.  Personally, I think this diagnosis is overused. Golf is one of the sports where one’s inner life is paramount.  Unlike other sports, which are more reactive like tennis or baseball, the little ball is just lying there on the ground. There is so much time to think that it is easy for the mind to wander or start thinking about things in the past or the future that do not enhance peak performance. Poor concentration along with lack of emotional control leads to poor decision-making and bad course management. Good decisions throughout a round can save many strokes and avoid big blowups.  Greater concentration also allows for enhanced visualization skills ––another important factor in peak performance.  Great performance results in the ability to stay in the moment and play one shot at a time. This is often very difficult in tournament play, especially if one is in the lead on the final three holes.  One part of knowing how to win is to be able to manage intense positive emotions and increased adrenalin.  A strong mental came requires an ability to stay focused when it really counts.

There are a couple of things one can learn to help in this important area: meditation, self-hypnosis, and yoga breathing techniques. Also, diet can play an important role in supporting enhanced focus and concentration: junk food with lots of sugar will lead to mental breakdown.

I have created a number of audio CD programs to help with meditation, self-hypnosis, and enhanced golf performance.  All these golf training aids can be found at my website https://ronmann.com/catalog/.

Realistic Expectations

The junior golf can spare himself or herself a lot of unnecessary frustration if he or she will realize that golf is a very difficult game to master.  It takes years and thousands of hours of dedicated practice to become a scratch golfer. There are so many aspects to the game: driving, irons, short game, trouble shots, putting, chipping, and bunker shots.  There are also so many different conditions that need to be learned: windy days, rainy days, cold days, hot days, foggy days, etc.  This is not a game that one masters in a few months or every a few years.  It is a game that requires a long-term perspective.  Learning and change takes time. Bob Rotella has a great saying, “Golf is not a game of perfect.”  The sooner a junior golfer can learn this and make peace with mistakes and the learning process, the happier and more successful he or she will be.


As I mentioned above, golf is a tough game. It does take a long time to become very good and a lot of practice and learning to become great. A player has to persevere and keep at it.  If a child has a tendency to give up when frustration hits and expects instant success, then trouble lies ahead with this game. Patience is a virtue that supports perseverance.  It can take a year to make a major swing change and as a child is growing with physical changes, he or she has to adapt ­­–– all this takes time. Long-term goals are important for the junior golfer with the patience to keep working to obtain them.

Personal Responsibility

Part of growing up is learning to take responsibility for your actions and behaviors. Since golf is such a difficult game, it takes a lot of work to become great. A junior golfer has to show up to practice, work on the thing that are identified by his or her coach, and realize that there is no one to blame for lack of progress and success: bad lies, tough greens, tough conditions, or other players are not the cause of poor performance.  It is the person swinging the club.  Golf is a great game for a child or adolescent because it does provide the opportunity to instill values that will last a lifetime.  Learning to be accountable is an important part of integrity.

Self-Worth Beyond Golf

One’s sense of value and worth should be based upon deeper and more important issues than one’s golf game.  Unfortunately, the junior golfer that is still developing a solid sense of identity may only rely on outer definitions like golf performance, what their friends think of them, or physical appearance.  If your worth is defined by how well you hit a golf ball and how low you can score, then the door is open for an emotional roller coaster of elation and depression.

The junior golfer needs to know that their worth and value is inherent in their being. Spiritual families can draw upon their faith and encourage a child to realize that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God and he or she has a special purpose in this life, well beyond a golf score. Non-spiritually oriented families can find deeper value in one’s overall connection to life, people, and one’s ability to love and care about others. Whatever the source for self worth, it must be much more than how one hits a golf ball.


A key to success in any aspect of life is to believe in your ability. When you believe in yourself, you never give up. You are willing to work hard and take risks. A round of golf has its ups and downs.  It is rare to play 18 holes of golf and not have a couple difficult shots or holes. The winner is usually the one who best handled adversity. If you make a terrible shot, you have to believe that you can make a good recovery shot. As an adult, if you make a bad business decision, you must believe that you can learn from that and do better in the future. Self-belief keeps you in the game.  Self-belief is also the result of hard work and refining one’s skill.  It is not just saying, “I am good.”  Because, if you have not practiced, prepared and developed a level of skill, you know you are only hoping for the best. You know there is little depth to your belief. Hard work, perseverance, and good training result in a realistic belief in yourself that will sustain you when life gets tough.


Non-attachment to Your Child’s Performance

It is a common occurrence in junior sports to have parents so emotionally involved in their child’s performance that they become a liability.  The AJGA had to implement rules for parents’ involvement with the child during competition because of this issue.  Little League has done the same. Why do parents become too involved to the point that it actually impairs their child’s performance?

First of all, parents can become too focused on outcome. They forget that the process of learning and the ability to focus on the moment creates a better outcome.

Second, their own identity becomes too wrapped up in their child’s performance. They are too emotionally involved in outcome and it affects their own sense of well-being.

Third, parents can set high expectations that are very difficult to achieve. Perfection in golf is not a realistic goal. Mistakes will happen and breakdown will occur.  How a child recovers from these setbacks is the important thing.

A parent needs to have a life and identity beyond that of their child golfer.  If they are to provide a solid and stable parental environment and be a positive role model, they need to demonstrate that there is more to life than golf.


A parent cannot micro-manage their child and expect to help him or her develop and strong, independent sense of self.  A part of trust is letting go and allowing your children the space to learn and develop on their own.  Children will respond to a parent’s expectations.  If you think your child will fail, then there is a greater chance that will happen.  If you believe that your child is responsible and capable, then he or she will more likely behave that way.

When a parent believes in his or her child, they feel that. The child feels more loved, valued, and respected –– all important qualities for a positive self-esteem.

Learning requires making mistakes.  If a parent does not allow their child the space and opportunity to fail, they are robbing them of important life experiences.  It is important for a parent to trust that his or her child will learn from the mistakes and trust them to do the necessary work to improve.

Unconditional Love

This is the foundation for good parenting.  No matter what happens, a child needs to know they are loved.  If love is conditional and only based on low scores and winning tournaments, then problems will arise –– if not now, then later in life. Love is the foundation for all important relationships.  A good friend and fellow author, head football coach Joe Taylor of Florida A&M University, has a saying –– “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Discipline, rules and structure are important, but they all must exist within a loving environment.


Growth and development is a process. Skill development takes time and work.  Success takes a lot of dedication, commitment and hard work.  If a parent expects instant results, then all that pressure will only make it more difficult for a child to perform well.  It is impossible to maintain a great round of golf when, in the back of your mind, you are thinking about how your mom or dad is going to feel about your score. Good parenting requires patience to allow a child to learn over time.


Coaching for the mental game should be an important part of any long-term strategy for a junior golfer who wants to continue to play golf in college, get a scholarship, or hopes to play on the PGA Tour. Addressing the mental game provides a balanced approach along with excellent club fitting, competent swing mechanics, physical conditioning, and proper nutrition.  Don’t leave out one of the foundational building blocks for a enhanced competency on and off the course.

Dr. Ron Mann is a recognized expert in Peak Performance Coaching for the mental game of golf. He is also a best selling author, speaker, and executive coach. He can be contacted for individual or team coaching and speaking engagements at mannr@ronmann.com.  Additional training materials can be found on his website at www.ronmann.com.


© 2012 Copyright Ronald L. Mann, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.