The Upper Right Hand Corner
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The Upper Right Hand Corner

Rebecca Ryan on how Zen Leaders Keep Their People from Freaking Out – August 2020

Since March 13, I’ve talked with hundreds of leaders about how they’re doing, and their responsibility to stay in the “upper right corner.”

The upper right hand corner is the place where people experience calm, centered attention because they have a sense of perspective and control (see image). It’s the opposite of the lower left hand corner, the “freaking out” corner where people feel no control and no perspective. If you want to see this corner in action, consider a two year old: they have feelings, but they don’t have enough language to describe their feelings and very little control to improve their situation. No wonder two year olds have meltdowns.

As leaders, our emotional pitch sets the tone for the organization.  If we’re “freaking out”, our people will freak out, too. If we’re calm and centered, our people can draft off that energy. This is important for many reasons, but as a futurist, this is the most important reason to me: people can’t imagine better futures when they’re freaking out. To imagine bold, ambitious futures, they need to be able to lift their eyes to the horizon, experience 180 degree vision, breathe into the earth, and feel themselves firmly grounded.

If that sounds like Zen leadership, that’s because it is. 

Below are some tips on how to give your teams a sense of perspective and control. But as Zen leaders, we know the biggest hack of all: a long exhale. Try it now. And the next time you have to lower the collective heart rate in a meeting, take one breath and exhale as slowly as physically possible. Then notice what happens.

Here are some other ideas to give your people a sense of perspective and control.

Perspective gives people a longer view and enables comparisons between the current situation and others. Leaders can remind mind people that:

Giving people a sense of control helps them channel nervous energy into useful activity. Leaders can:

I believe in you. I believe in us. It’s game time for Zen leaders.



Author’s note: this newsletter is based on a post on my blog.


IZL Alumni Spotlight – Bob Caron Ignites the Way for Emerging Adults

Choices that define direction in your career and life often start before you have the life experience and wisdom to make such big decisions – but there we all were choosing a college and major and figuring it out along the way. Today’s emerging adults are placing six figure bets on their decisions being the right ones for them, and the results are in that it’s not working out for about half of them. Certified IZL Instructor and now President and Chief Flame Finder, Dr. Bob Caron, has just released an online, video-based coaching and educational program to help young and emerging adults discover clarity in their career and life direction – so they can make those big decisions from a place of accelerated development. Of course, the FEBI is integrated early into the program, which starts with a deepening sense of self-awareness, stretching to finding where these Voyagers, as he calls them, fit in the world, clarifying and declaring intentions around service to something they care about, and then acquiring the skills to pursue their direction. Check it out at


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