The Linsenblog

Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Fairness Factor

Fairness is one of the most interesting thoughts, and it seems to be one of the primary causes of drama I think. I have in other writings or videos talked about how we create lower standards by seeking fairness, and how the chase to make things fair, sometimes leads us astray.

This time I want to just talk about fairness. Most of the time I think, fairness pops up as a lack of fairness rather than a sense of fairness, and when this happens, the most common reaction to the lack is to fall into victim thinking about how its “not fair” and how it should not be that someone else, has what we so obviously should also have, or have instead of…

This is a particularly dangerous road to go down because once a person decides that they are helpless to obtain what it is that they want, they will instead follow one of two or more darker paths. Obviously the healthy and responsible path to follow once a person has determined that one wants a thing, is to just go about getting it. This however seems to be the rarest of paths that we take. Instead, we follow a darker path, and I list two, because they are at the forefront of my mind, but I say two or more, because there almost certainly other paths that have not thought of and do not include here, but we should not overlook them if they become apparent.

The first of the darker paths is to seek fairness by reducing what we bring to the table. Say for example that we are talking about an employee feeling taken advantage of, because the employee is not paid what he or she believes him or herself to be worth.

This is a very common thought pattern and to list this example I will use information discussed in my video “What needs to be done” For the sake of the example, lets assume that the employee believes that they are worth 10 dollars per hour, but have taken a job for 1 dollar an hour. It may be that they took the job believing this, but just as common is that they took the job feeling fine about it, and then later decided that they were worth more, and slowly they reached the conclusion that they were underpaid by a great deal.

In both cases, the fairness factor kicks in, and the employee, seeking fairness, will intentionally reduce their own effectiveness, in an attempt to create a world where fairness is served. So now, the employee who is being paid 1 dollar an hour begins to perform at a level that is below the expectations of the employer and it is here that the real drama begins.

The employer, noticing that the employee is performing at a lower than expected level, will feel taken advantage of because the implicit contract between parties is that the employee will receive 1 dollar per hour, in return for performing at the expected level and they are not. To correct this, the employer may counsel the employee, reduce his or her wages, or terminate the contract and begin anew. Proving to both parties forever, that each was taken advantage of by the other and fairness was not maintained.

If you look carefully, you will see the lies that each party told themselves. The employee, should seek employment for the amount they feel they are worth, and then perform at the expected level, and the employer, might be better served by seeking to understand the motivations of the employee, and either reassigning them to an area of more value, or creating other forms of motivation that will compensate for the perceived disparity in fairness. In this example however we began with the employee, and so the focus will remain there.

If you are an employee who believes that they are not paid enough for the performance given. Then you should seek employment at those wages or at a package that satisfies the fairness factor – you should never reduce your own effectiveness to create fairness, because following that path creates a world where you become less, and less effective as you go, until you are eventually trapped by your own actions, unable to accomplish much of anything, for anyone, including yourself.

The second of the darker paths, is where we as people will seek to remove the motivating factor from the other person. In this path, we see someone who has what we want, decide that it is not fair for them to have it, and so we go about trying to take it from them, or at the very least make sure that they do not have it.

This is particularly insidious because not only are we still in victim because we believe that we cannot have what we want, but we actively try to undermine, or rob the other of what they legitimately created for themselves (the proof that it is legitimately theirs by the way, is that they have it)

As an example let say that two good friends are working for the same company, and they started at the same time, at the same level of pay etc. Equal in every way, and over time one of the two, is promoted to higher and higher position.

The fairness factor is activated, and the second friend, choosing a dark path, decides that this is not fair, and so goes about destroying the friendship, and undermining the first friend at every turn in an attempt to return him or her to equal status and thereby create fairness.

Can you see how Victim Thinking now costs this friend so much? He or she loses the friendship, loses the promotions that may be possible (because leaders rarely see those that destroy as valuable), and may actually succeed in costing another (probably temporarily), something that they created for themselves by following the right path.

We could go further into this potential for drama if the first friend, having lost the position assumes a position of victim – but that is better covered in another post.

For now, let’s just see these two dark paths, as the wrong choice. We need to know that we can have what we want at any time, just by deciding we want it, and going after it. By keeping an open mind about HOW what we want will come to us, and by diligently chasing after whatever it is, we are sure to succeed.

Fair does not exist – Fair is a construct of the Ego, and it creates victim thinking.

If you want something, go out and get it – it is after all, your responsibility.

The many faces of resistance

A favorite quote of mine is “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” and while I cannot be sure of its origin, it has occupied my thoughts for many hours over the years, and I have come to believe that the teachers are all around us, all of the time, and that the lessons then, are also around us at all times. It is we as students who are not ready to see, and so, like the early Indian peoples who are said to have not been able to see the ships off the coast, because such a thing was not possible in their minds, the lessons that will inevitably drive us forward into growth remain unseen, until the possibility of such growth is within our grasp.

As we approach a place where we may be able to grow, the resistance to such growth then jumps up to defend our ego, it manifests itself in many ways, but always with the same goal. To prevent us from changing. Change after all, is the enemy of the ego, it challenges what we believe at our core. It challenges how we see ourselves, and how we see the world around us. That very change, is the most threatening thing to the Ego, to have all that it has built up threatened with being wrong is too much for the fragile Ego and so it defends its false beliefs vehemently.

Anger, Grief, Fear, even Joy can be manipulated to distract and withdraw from the truth, to look away from the lesson so that the Ego can remain whole, and in control.

This weekend, like every weekend where real work is being done, I had the opportunity to see many forms of resistance, including one that I had forgotten about – Fatigue. This weekend a participant with great potential, struggled again and again with an overwhelming fatigue, tired and feeling ill, amplifying these feelings and giving them power until even the thought of participating in simple and fun events was distasteful because the ego recognized that by participating, it would come face to face with the obvious truth. The Ego then would have to give way to that higher self and in a moment of clarity, change would come. It was a difficult battle, but I believe that the participant won, in the end there was a different feel, a more powerful and engaged person who had power and could create change. Sure the Ego will jump up again, it may be many battles before the fatigue is finally beat down, and the change becomes the norm, but the glimpse of it was there. The hint that there may be something more.

I am humbled by the lesson. I remain as always a student. Sometimes I study well, and other times the lesson eludes me. Today I am reminded to guard against fatigue, especially when it seems to have no valid source, when I am tired for no reason. Today I remember that such fatigue is surely a sign that I am fighting a lesson which is close at hand. I will try to recognize that and seek the lesson.

Should this entry find its way to the participant who experienced the battle – Thank you, though your work I learned anew.

For the rest of us, lets just remember if we can, that the lessons are all around us – and sometimes it is others who do the fighting for us…

We forget that we are leading


Every so often I get a little something in my life that reminds me to talk about how we sometimes forget that we are all leading, and that somebody is always following, nearly all of the time. In this case we were visiting family and I was very fortunate to witness my nephew Gabe, repeatedly emulate the behavior of his older cousin Maya all while she was completely unaware that he was doing so. This was not limited to her actions, but actually included her emotional states, as he would act sad and upset if she did, just as he would shift into happy and playful as soon as she did.

This of course applies to us all and is one of the many lessons that we teach at Leadership Challenge Camp. In fact now that I am writing about it, I see images of cadets in my mind and I can clearly hear my friend Phil saying “You are leading… are you paying attention to where you are leading?” and see the look on the faces of the cadets.

We often forget that we are leading, we forget that at any moment someone is going to follow the example we set, go down the path we selected, decide what is important to them based on what WE think is important to US, and so many other possibilities. Sometimes is helpful for me to just to stop and think. “If the people who follow me are watching right now, am I leading them in the right direction?    Am I leading on purpose?”

Its not just for children (though, they are so often the source of great lessons), it is I think for all of us to remember we are leading, to recognize that someone is following you. Think about that just a bit, does it impact the way you think just to acknowledge that you may have someone following you? If for example you knew, that a child was going to take whatever you were doing, and emulate it…. would you continue?


The combination of “Victim Thinking” with “Being Right”

The curious thing about being in a victim state, is that you can see it so clearly in others, but for some reason its the hardest thing in the world to spot in ourselves. Once we start feeling sorry for ourselves and telling stories about how we have been victimized by someone or some-thing, the rest of our tools tend to warp themselves to the vision and in this way, we will see plenty of evidence to prove that we are in fact being victimized, instead of being responsible in any way. We will use logic, facts, story, feelings, and results to prove unquestionably that we were victimized.

The really cool thing to understand here, is that you actually combine two separate destructive patterns because you are (being a victim) , and you are also (being right). Naturally its not cool to be there, but its cool to understand because that can show us how to recognize this in ourselves, and how to get out of it and move into a more productive mindset.

So if you notice that the story you are telling (either to yourself or to another) places you in the role of victim, then you are in a victim state, plain and simple. If you have an anylitical mind, you will very likely be thinking “well sure but what if…(insert example)”. The thing is, no matter what your example here is, there is a difference between the event, and they way you think about it. You can choose to think that you are powerless in the world, and that things happen TO you, or you can choose to be the active player, and be responsible for everything that happens. You see no matter what, to think any other way, does not serve your best interests.

In the same way, you can nearly always identify when you are “being right”, because you can see proof everywhere that you are. If you find yourself thinking or saying “see – that’s proof”, you are being right. Remember that once upon a time, nearly the whole world believed that the earth was flat, that the earth was the center of the universe, and any of a host of other ideas that in time were proven to be false. Yet everywhere we as a people looked, there was proof and since there was proof, there was no need to question it.

When looked at in this way, it may be concluded that questioning what is obvious is both feasible and sound practice. In the case of being right, its frequently more fruitful to look for how you may not be, how there can be more than one truth, and how your insistence that you are correct, may be costing you everything…

What else can we do?

Be WRONG – not all the time, but at least allow for the possibility that you may not be correct, that they may be another perspective to see, that there may be a path outside of what you have seen thus far. Open your mind, and you will see many doors that were previously closed to you, and possibly locked.

Be Responsible for EVERYTHING – this way you are the only one who can take action, you are responsible for your failures, and also your Successes! You get to be the active player in everything. This type of thinking can only serve your highest and best interests.

And then they were 2


The Whirlpool corporation in a remarkably smart move, has taken the last of my writers. Megan Gesing moved on into a position she has long been qualified for. Megan who was one of the very first of my writers, and who has been for nearly all that time my very dear friend.

Part of the Unbreakable team whose ties will remain though we are all now so far apart, she is without question the smartest hire that Whirlpool has made in some time. Once they see her in action they will realize the incredible bargain they got when they hired her.

Thank you for everything Megan I miss you already.

A Team Lost


Once upon a time, there was a group of people who came to work with me. They came from all over, from many different places, and from many different circumstances and to begin with they came just for a job, just to make a living, and perhaps to learn a little, but somewhere along the line, it changed.

I used to think that it changed in them, and I believe that in fact they all did change while there, but that is not what I mean. I thought for the longest time that it was they who changed, but in fact, I know now, that it was me who changed and that it was because of them. It was they who changed me, offering all of their talent and work, offering their friendship and caring. Offering to each other their help and dedication, and their willingness to come face to face with confrontation and challenge, to do again and again tasks that others could not, would not, or just preferred not to do. Always smiling and having fun.

You changed my life my friends, you let me know that it was all possible and reminded me what was important. I hope you know how much I miss you. It was you, who inspired me to reach out again.

My Father

My Father

My father is one of those men that you hear about, when stories are being passed around the locker room, or the campfire, or the water cooler. He is the center of all fishing stories, and the stuff that legends are made of. My Dad is one of those men who can make you happier to be alive, someone whose presence brings hope and inspiration. He is a man who can lift your heart with a word, and who seems to fill the very world with light as he walks through it.

I can think of nothing better, I can think of no experience in life that would benefit you more, than you could be so fortunate, so very lucky, as to live near a man like my father, that you could have in your life one of those rarest of souls, which surely, has been touched by God.

When the old becomes new

Please bear with me those of you who have read my earlier blogs, some of what was there simply must be added to this new site, so that it remains archived and is not forever lost. The next few posts will be from older posts, but just a few I promise. – Mark

My Mother


My mother is the source of my power you know. She is the example of “I can do anything” that gives me the certain knowledge that I can in fact do Anything. She is a women who crossed the country alone, at a time when single women did not, just drive across the country alone – and she did it twice. She is a woman who forged an entire life for herself, who served and healed others as a profession. Who then opened her heart and her mind and took as her own the children of others and who has never in all of my life demonstrated anything but love and selflessness. It was she who told me I could do anything. I think it surprises her sometimes that its true (grin). It is my mothers love that gave me strength when I was not quite strong enough alone. I card here, a softly spoke word there, and of course what would life be without some soup, which even today my mom will cross town to bring me when I am sick. I could never write enough to give you the real picture, I can hope only that there is someone like my mom in your life. She has been the person who was always in my corner, I so hope that there is someone like her in yours.

My mother never brags about the things that she has done, you would have to know her for many years before you could begin to see what an extraordinary person she is, what an amazing life she has led, what an inspiration she is, and what a really good Scrabble player she can be. (which of course is why I love words so much).

Today I celebrate my mother, Gladys Linsenbardt, my hero and mentor,

without whom I would surely have been lost.

I Love You Mom.

New Beginnings

If you know me, then you probably know that this site is new, the latest addition to the Mark Linsenbardt International online presence and this of course is where I will share my thoughts. Here I will jot down the things that I am working on, what I am thinking about lately, my struggles and triumphs, and hopefully a great many lessons learned.

Welcome to the blog and thank you for being here.  You cannot imagine what it means to me.