“Slow to evolve”
by Garland McWatters

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

INPowering Thoughts: Slow to evolve
February 27, 2017

change, denial, Garland McWatters quote

Fear less

How fear makes our choices for us

I stood on the edge of the dance floor awaiting instructions from the dance leader, anxious to impress my date–an accomplished dancer. My mouth was dry, my palms sweaty, my knees locked.

On my side, the gents lined up shoulder to shoulder. Facing us from the other side, the ladies. Behind the ladies, Carol sat among the tables surrounding the dance floor.

Truth as I saw it

Carol and her dance instructor had just performed a routine at the showcase to which she had invited me. They were amazing. They had trophies to prove it.

“Ok, everyone, it’s time to get sociable,” the dance leader began. ” When you get to the front of the line, gents, introduce yourself to the lady facing you and dance her down the floor. We’ll be doing a two-step. Have fun.”

Fun?! Crap! I had never done a two-step in my life. Personal humiliation in front of a room full of dancers was not my idea of fun.

The resonate baritone country and western vocal swelled over the crowd. The first couple stepped out between the facing lines. The ladies were already dancing in place, moving toward the head of the line. They expected to be shown a good time.

A quick line count to my right. I estimated I had about thirty seconds before total humiliation.


So, I did the only thing I could think of.

I scooted backward, slowly, out of the line, drawing minimal attention to myself. I gazed at the floor, thinking if I didn’t look anyone in the eye, they wouldn’t see me slinking into the shadows.

I watched from a dark corner near an exit. What I saw horrified me.

Many of the gents could barely walk in time to the music, much less two-step. The ladies didn’t mind. They were laughing and dancing and having a blast. Had I given in to a false fear?

I snuck out the back door.

Shamed, I considered just leaving. But I made my way around the hallway and reappeared at Carol’s table just as the dance was ending. I slid quietly into the chair next to her.

“I wondered where you went. I thought you were going to dance in the mixer,” she chirped.

“Er, uh . . . I was, but a stomach cramp hit me. Had to go to the restroom. Must have been something I ate,” was my excuse.

“Oh. Well then, there’ll be another dance later. Maybe you’ll be over it by then.”

But I couldn’t lie to myself. I let fear make the choice.

A better way

Fear compels us to run away from possible harm in whatever form we perceive it. To survive, the brain is programmed to treat all threats as real, just in case. Act first, think later it warns.

In this case, the only fear I faced was the fear I conjured up in my imagination.

I resolved at that moment, that I would never let fear make my choices again. My new strategy: fear stirs -> automatic reaction -> think and evaluate -> choose to adjust behavior and follow through.

I have kept my word to myself because I intend to
Garland McWatters, INPowered to Lead, Tulsa OK, author

“Choose not to fear”
by Garland McWatters

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

INPowering Thoughts: Overcoming fear
February 20, 2017

Fear, choices, danger, freedom, Garland McWatters quote

When we are drawn into action

Motivation is magnetic

I saw her across a crowed room. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She looked at me with her dark almond shaped eyes, smiled shyly, glanced down, then, looked back up at me without lifting her head. By that time I was already half way across the room.

Get the picture?

Her glance moved me into action, filled with excited anticipation mixed with a twinge of nervousness.

That’s motivation.

The anticipation and expectation of a positive experience or a reward will cause us to respond toward the object of our attraction.

The energy of motivation works like a magnet to pull us toward enjoying the pleasure of the anticipated, awaiting reward–whatever it might be. As we are pulled in a direction, we add the kinetic energy of our own movement to create momentum.

The force of motivation is undeniable, and predictable.

Think of when you have been compelled to act toward a desired end. You find yourself moving with direction and purpose. Plus, you feel good and whole in the doing of it.

Here’s something to think about. Just relax and reflect on all those times you felt that way–when you were excited anticipating getting to do something you really enjoyed. Reflect on the anticipation and all you did to prepare yourself to go do that whatever.

Motivation is the force that leads up to the actual doing. It is found in anticipation. When you give others something to look forward to, you can move them toward that event.

Your opportunity as a leader is to show them an outcome where they will want to go, or that they will want to create.

You can use the natural energy of motivation to
Garland McWatters, INPowered to Lead, Tulsa OK, author

Listen to a previous Spirit of Leading podcast about motivation

I explain in more depth why this energy works as it does. It’s the opposite of the wind beneath your wings. Click here to find out what I mean by that.


“Motivation is the energy of joy”
by Garland McWatters

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

INPowering Thoughts: Motivation is the energy of joy
February 13, 2017

Garland McWatters quote, Motivation, joy, life energy, personal joy

Trust the power of love

Why love is a primal energy

At one point in my career I had a lot of influence over the direction of my organizations. I got to help build two organizations almost from the ground up. I loved it. And I absolutely loved what I had a part in creating. I talked possessively about both the organization and my role in it.

Love is a formidable power.

Love is more than a warm feeling; it’s a motivating force driving us to act on behalf of our object of love: love your family, love humanity, love your country, love God–even love your job.

I’ve learned to trust the force of love.

A force can be physical or emotional

There are physical forces we cannot deny. Gravity works consistently and universally, holding our universe together. The physical laws of the universe explain how it works, and we trust our lives to them.

There are emotional forces at work that are just as powerful and reliable. Love is one of those forces.

Think of all the love songs and love stories describing the actions people take driven by love. Conversely, think of all the stories about how people act destructively when they are either deprived of love, their acts of love are disparaged, their love is rebuffed by a loved one, or they avenge actions against a loved one.

Simply put, loves moves us.

Love emanates from our creative effort. That’s why we love our children over other children. We created them. It’s why we love our ideas over other’s ideas, why we love the product of our work over that of others–we created them.

People will support whatever they help to create.

Going back to the organizations I helped create. I could not understand why employees who came on board later did not have the same visceral attachment to the organization that I had. Then it dawned on me. They did not have a hand in creating it. They would never love it with the same intensity that I did.

Unless . . .

I made it possible for them to create what that organization would evolve into during their time there. When their ideas came to fruition in our projects and programs, they started loving it more. Funny how that works.

Love moves us.

Learn how to help others contribute to your dreams.
They will love it, and everyone will
Garland McWatters, INPowered to Lead, Tulsa OK, author

“The power of love”
by Garland McWatters

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

INPowering Thoughts: The power of love
February 6, 2017

The power of love, motivation, Garland McWatters quote, INPowering Thought

The joy of surprise

Why you should embrace serendipity

Garland McWatters, INPowered to Lead founderI’m an advocate for setting your goals, then, going with the flow. It sounds counterintuitive; yet, it works for me.

I’ve learned that choosing to go in one direction means that I cannot go in all other directions. However, no matter which path I choose, I know that I will face obstacles and opportunities along the way that either force me to alter my course, or that intrigue me enough to want to do so.

Frankly, I love the surprise.

You can tell from my photo that I’m not a spring chicken. Five years ago I found myself unexpectedly single again, living in the DFW metro. The shock of it was devastating. I resolved that I would never marry again.

I set myself on a different path to go it alone. I buried myself in my work. A friend insisted I go on match.com. I said absolutely not. But months later I relented. However, I posted a profile I was certain would turn off any prospects.

As it turned out, I was exactly what one lady was looking for, and she contacted me on the very last day my subscription was active. After several years of a distance relationship we married and are happily settled in Tulsa.

Way leads on to way–it’s true.

During those years she became a driving force in helping me to alter my path, while staying true to my passion. I shifted my work toward writing and working with Millennials. I have written and self-published three books, and I’m on my forth. You can find them on Amazon.com.

I’m working daily with Millennials across Oklahoma encouraging them to step into their leadership opportunities now, instead of later. You’ll hear more about NextGen Leadership Oklahoma and it’s counterpart recognition program NextGen Under 30 Oklahoma going forward (www.nextgenunder30.com).

My life since that devastating Tuesday in May more than five years ago has been a case study in serendipity. It would not have happened if I had stubbornly stayed my course of going it alone. All this probably would not have happened if I had not allowed myself the occasional side trip on my path.

I’m the happiest and most fulfilled I have been in twenty years.

Allow the surprises in your plans.
Embrace the serendipity if you want to
Garland McWatters, INPowered to Lead, Tulsa OK, author

“Walking in straight lines”
by Garland McWatters

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

INPowering Thoughts: Walking in straight lines
January 30, 2017

Be a brave heart

The INPowering courage to risk

I hated yogurt, or at least I thought I did, until I became a brave heart.

Now, I like yogurt. But I didn’t know I did until recently, because I refused to try it for my entire adult life. Why? For some reason I had already made up my mind that I would not like it. I was afraid it would taste disgusting.

How many of us can admit something like that about not trying?

Why are we afraid to try?

We can be rather creative about all the reasons we invent for not trying new things.

  • We fear we might get injured.
  • We fear we might be emotionally hurt or embarrassed.
  • We fear we might fail at something and affirm our perceived incompetence.
  • We fear any number of unpleasant results, including something will taste bad or smell bad.

I’m guilty of using all of the above.

Try it; you might like it

For years I thought line dancing looked stupid. I convinced myself that I was above it, and refused to try it.

Then I met Cyndi, a dance instructor, and she encouraged me to try it. Heck, I’m a boot-scooting dude now. I enjoy every step of it, and you know what? I don’t care how stupid I might look, ’cause I’m having a blast.

Don’t use fear as an excuse

I have my limits. I won’t try something that I’m physically incapable of doing, which also might result in my demise. Mountain climbing, crocodile wrestling, milking venomous snakes, and base jumping are a few examples (although I think I would enjoy base jumping).

However, many fear to try because they exaggerate the possible bad consequences of doing so. If you are in that category, I encourage you to get real about what the fear actually is, and ask yourself what you can do to lessen it. Get in better physical shape, take lessons, be honest about why you are afraid to try.

Take it from me. You won’t look stupid, and you will be proud of yourself that you took the first step by trying.

Turn your brave heart loose
If you want to
Garland McWatters, INPowered to Lead, Tulsa OK, author