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What to Do When the Emperor Is Stark Raving Naked

Yes, I am mixing metaphors, but the reason for that will become clear.

If I subtly hint that the administration of a large country is chaotic, would you know who I am referring to?  If I even more subtly hint that the reason for this public impression is the public utterances of the president of the country, and that the actions of his staff don’t help to change the impression, would you know what I am talking about?  This president lives on a diet of social media poison and misinformation coming from him or being exacerbated by him.

That is as far as I can go, if I don’t want to be forced to resign my job – but then I am not a diplomat from a country with whom the president and his country has a “special” relationship.  This poor diplomat made the mistake of stating the bleeding obvious and putting it in writing.

When the furore over this resignation of the diplomat hit the news, the comment was made that the diplomat was ‘caught in public saying something that is widely believed’.   His ‘punishment’ was that he was forced to resign, because the political situation became intolerable for him.

Sounds unfair, but what can we do?

But so far it is a situation on the international news, and it doesn’t really affect any of us. Or does it?

What do you do when things really go off the rails, and you are part of the situation?  You may be part of the situation because you live in the country, or because the city where you live is under/on fire, or even because you are in a work situation where what happens is against your values and to the detriment of everyone involved.  Do you keep quiet?  Do you listen to the news and say to yourself ‘the world is going mad’ and turn your attention to something else? Do you say something to a friend and shake your head and move on?  Do you voice your opinions out loud and try to change the situation?

This is not a recent moral dilemma, but rather one that is as old as humanity.  I am not a Christian and I am sure that different scriptures address this issue, but I can only quote from Leviticus 5:1 because I recently became aware of this text: "'If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.”

This indicates a moral obligation to speak up, and to bear the consequences, no matter what. 

It is interesting how something comes into your awareness, and then the test follows.

I once found myself in a work situation where incompetence, dishonesty and a general lack of regard for the client was allowed once, then twice, and then quickly became the norm.  This was because of a total lack of leadership, or rather leadership that took the entire team to the abyss. 

I was part of this team, and I realised within my first month that dishonesty and extremely damaging work practices were the norm.  What do you do when you are new in the situation?  I did what I normally do, which is never to turn the other cheek, but to rather determine whether what I discovered was my misinformed view (which could change because of the facts I discover) or an informed view which would be borne out by the facts.

In this instance the facts were plenty – and all the facts indicated that the emperor was stark naked in terms of integrity and competence, and he had his sycophantic followers who convinced him that his invisible cloak was beautiful.  The emperor also enjoyed raving whenever his ignorance and incompetence were challenged, in the belief that pure anger and hatred would gloss over the massive cracks that he not only created himself, but also condoned in others.  This habit quickly filtered down to those of his followers who had not yet tried to use tantrums as a cover for incompetence and ignorance, and they discovered that not only did the tantrums work, but the emperor supported them, as images of himself.

This is the recipe for a toxic work situation.

What to do when you are in this situation?  This is where I feel empathy for the diplomat who was forced to resign because he stated the bleeding obvious, which not only his colleagues, but the entire world knew.

I worked from my sphere to tactfully expose the dishonesty, by providing solid proof to the emperor. To my absolute astonishment, I was told to “do introspection” because I was focusing on dishonesty towards a client, where regular “white lies” do the job.  I started collecting the evidence of dishonesty.

I believe that it is only fair to criticize the skills of others when I am in a position to give them the skills.  So I provided the tools to counter the incompetence, en ensured that the tools were accessible.  Not only was the reception very cold, but the emperor told me in so many words that nothing I could offer would ever be welcome – I presume because anything I offered exposed his nakedness and his raving madness.

Since it was clear to me that the client was not only suffering losses, but was also losing confidence in the emperor in his team, I decided to escalate the issues by stating the bleeding obvious to a higher level of management, first in person, and then in writing.  What happened?  Nothing. Why? Because for those who could step in and set down the rules that would create a healthy workplace, collecting the fees every month was far more important.

Meanwhile the emperor was making regular noises about “straight talk” – which meant “do as you are told, without questioning” and “collaboration” – which meant “I will tell you from my limited experience and what I grabbed from a book somewhere what standard I expect you to set without arguing – and yes, the standard is low, but remember, so is my intelligence and level of competence, so shut up and obey.”

My cognitive dissonance, where the difference between what I believed was right and what was happening around me, was growing every day. Was it me? Was I the one with the warped view of the world?

When colleagues approached me to test their observations, which were identical to mine, I realised I was not wrong.  When the client became quite verbal about their dissatisfaction and started talking about prematurely terminating the contract, I realised my observations were real.

And nothing was done to change anything.

I then discovered that the emperor had been escorted out of a previous work situation for the exact reasons I observed, and he was marched straight to this unsuspecting client, who was now paying the price for accepting him.

What could I do? Resign and walk away.  I would have preferred to stay and root out the corruption, but one person can only be effective up to a point.  

To my surprise, once I handed in my resignation, people from various corners (including the client who was losing on all fronts, and my employer who finally realised that I was not crying wolf) approached me - not to stay, but for me to provide as much evidence as possible of the rot that I had observed.  They all realised that I would never thrive in a situation that will take a very heavy hand to change, and nobody tried to stop me.  I handed it all over and walked away - after observing the emperor being fast asleep in a client meeting, while an irate client explained how the emperor and his team had failed. And nobody took any action - they were too busy admiring the emperor’s invisible clothes.

I could have taken a strong case to the labour court, but as tarot teaches us, justice (where each one of us has to account for our deeds at the end of our lives) is far more important than judgment (where I could win a huge victory, but at the expense of my own wellbeing).

Rumour has it that the emperor will be marched off the premises again soon, this time in disgrace with no option of a new victim who will unknowingly accept him and the damage he does.  I am happily working in a new environment where everything I can contribute is accepted with open arms.

There is hope for the diplomat as well – he acted and he will get his reward.  On a cosmic scale, he played his role by speaking up.  And he is not the only one.  The tide of voices against the corruption is rising world-wide.

This is how we make the world a better place.  We speak up and voice our concerns, and we take action, even if it is on a small scale, because if we don’t say or do anything, we condone our dark sides.  Are you part of the tide of integrity and well-being?

Karma is a bitch – if you approach her from the wrong angle.

Exchanging Energy in Business

Exchanging energy in business?  Surely that cannot be right?  In business you exchange goods or services for money?

Yes, that is true – you do exchange goods or services for money.  But what is money?  What are the goods?   Where do the services come from?

Everything in this world is energy.  And this world is in complete balance.  Where it appears that things are not in balance, this is simply because we focus on the one side of the coin, and try to delude ourselves that there is no other side to the coin.  Every coin has two sides, whether we like it or not.  For every upside, there is a price to pay.  For every downside, there is a benefit we need to acknowledge.

This complete balance needs to also be in business transactions.

Spot the imbalance:

  • You want an excellent, professional pedicure/manicure/haircut/psychic reading, but you want to pay a rock-bottom price.
  • You want to buy an item, but you want a discount even if you believe the item is worth the perceived value the owner put on it.
  • You want to buy an item or service and you expect immediate delivery, but you want to pay two months later without any interest added.
  • You go to an expensive restaurant and expect an outstanding meal in the best possible environment, and you are willing to pay the price for the food and the experience, but you insist on taking your own wine so that you can save money. At the same time you won’t insist on taking your own tomato sauce or ketchup into a down-market food chain.  Why not?  What makes you hesitate with the ketchup or tomato sauce?
  • You pay cash and you receive too much change. You walk away with the extra money, knowing that the cashier will need to account for the shortfall at the end of their shift.

None of the above examples refer to a fair exchange of energy, where the giver received as much as they gave in exchange, or where the receiver only received what was due to them.  In each instance there was too much energy taken, and not enough energy given.

Take a moment to think how you normally approach such situations. 

Yes, there are instances where you know in your gut the item is over-priced, and you will not pay the offered price but rather walk away.  There are instances where the owner offers the item at below the initial value, because the owner no longer attaches the initial value to the item – like at end-of-season sales.  There are instances where an item or service are offered at a price that is below their true value, because you are willingly being enticed into buying into the illusion so that you can get more at the true value later, and you are OK with it. 

Did you know there are not only brain cells in your brain?  There are brain cells with an identical function in your heart.  When the brain cells in your brain and in your heart are aligned, you feel and know there is a true and fair exchange of energy. 

These are the easy examples.   Let’s move on to the more intangible ones, which relate to what you value as opposed to what is offered or sold to you. 

For example, you value honesty in business and in your personal life.  You like to deal with any business which shares these values with you.  You then have an unpleasant experience with the business where one of the employees is dishonest and this results in a loss (either a financial loss or a loss of trust) for you.  In good faith, you report this to the management of the business, and the response you get is that “you are looking at it in the wrong way”, even though it is as clear as daylight that there was dishonesty and you were at the receiving end.  This is clearly an imbalanced exchange of energy.

Another example from the online world is where for example an item is advertised at a price that you perceive as fair.  When you try to buy it, the item is “no longer available” but there is a similar item available at a higher price.  This is known as click-bait, where the customer is drawn in under false pretenses, and the dealer assumes that the customer needs the item or service badly enough to accept the dishonesty and pay more.

A classic example from the marketing, consulting and entrepreneurial world is where a seller does not have any service to sell yet, but they promote themselves as experts in a field.  Only when the unsuspecting customer takes the bait, does the seller create a service that is tailor-made for the customer.  This practice of selling rainbows and candy floss to people in need of practical, solid items or information is probably the furthest from the universal law of “say what you do and do what you say”.  I have dealt with people who apply this type of selling, and in my experience it always results in what is called a “hard sell” of the type of “come on, you know you want and need it” with a lot of pressure being applied to the buyer, followed by disillusion, a very sour taste in the mouth, and the seller moving on to the next unsuspecting soul, like a parasite that sucks its victim dry before moving on. 

What is missing in each one of these transactions is compliance with the universal law of “say what you do, and do what you say”. 

If you run your business according to this universal law, you will always find balance in your transactions.  Even better, you will always offer balance, and your offers will resonate with the customers you deserve. 

If, as a customer, you use your discernment (not judgment) to find businesses who offer a fair exchange of energy, then you will be a satisfied customer.  Did you know that satisfied customers tell on average three people about their experiences, but dissatisfied customers spread the news to on average fifteen people? 

You are asking about the difference between judgment and discernment – good question. 

Judgment is where you decide what is right and what is wrong, based on any cultural or religious beliefs you accepted.  Judgment is an uncompromising attitude, where anyone and everyone who differs from you are wrong, and you are right.  With judgment there is only one option and that is yours – everything and everyone else are excluded.

Discernment, on the other hand, allows you to use your physical, emotional and spiritual body to detect whether the person or situation resonates with you.  As you know already, everything has its own vibration.  That includes every object and every person you come into contact with.   Where this vibration is on the same level as your physical body, it feels good.  Where the vibration is on a higher level than your physical body, chances are that you will have some insight and as a result your physical body will then also vibrate at the higher level.

However, when the vibration you encounter is lower than your physical body, you immediately feel the resistance, because our body vibrations never go lower.  

Have you had the experience of feeling an immediate dislike for a person, even a person you don’t know, for no obvious reason?  Have you ever walked into a social situation where you felt unwelcome or out of place and just wanted to leave?   That was where the people did not resonate with you, and you discerned that.

If you run a business, trust your discernment when you make business deals.  If you are a customer and you want to deal with a business, trust your discernment before parting with your money.  There will always be another business offering you the same product or service, where the people and the business values resonate with you.

Being discerning does not mean being judgmental.  It simply means that you are much more aware of what is good, healthy and acceptable for you, and you respect the choices that other people make, even if those choices are the complete opposite of what you chose.

So yes, doing business is an exchange of energy, and it needs to be a fair exchange.  If the exchange is not fair, you will know it, and you will do yourself a favor when you walk away.

 

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