Videos and Books…

RecommendedOther People’s Videos & Books we’ve appreciated and recommend…


From ’60 Minutes’ Episode 01/04/2018. Daniel Barenboim tries bridging the Middle East conflict with music S50 (14:28)


Amodeo, John. Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships. Wheaton: Theosophical Publishing, 2013.

Barnett, Kristine. The Spark. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2013.

Beck, Martha. Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You were Meant to Live. New York: MJF Books, 2001.

Berne, Eric. Games People Play. New York: Ballantine, 1964.

Bridges, William. Transitions. Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1980.

Brown, Brené. Daring Greatly. New York: Gotham Books, 2012.

Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way. New York: Jeremey P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1992.

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New York: Princeton/ Bollingen, 1973.

The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. New York: Anchor Books, 1991.

Myths to Live By. New York: Penguin Compass, 1992.

Carter-Scott, Cherie. If Life is a Game, These are the Rules: Ten Rules for Being Human. New York:  Harmony, 1998.

Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. New York: HarperOne, 2006.

Cohen, Andrew. Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening. New York: SelectBooks Inc., 2011.

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. The Evolving Self. New York: Harper Perennial, 1994.

Emerald, David. The Power of TED: The Empowerment Dynamic. Bainbridge Island: Polaris, 2006.

Ford, Debbie. The Secret of the Shadow. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning. New York: Washington Square Press, 1985.

Frattaroli, Elio. Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain. New York: Penguin, 2002.

Gerlach, Peter. Who’s Really Running Your Life? Bloomington: Xlibris, 2011.

Gibran, Kahlil. The Prophet. New York: Knopf, 2003.

Glasser, William. Choice Theory. New York: HarperCollins, 1998.

Take Charge of Your Life. Bloomington: iUniverse Books, 2011

Gottman, John. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999.

Hanh, Thich Nhat. Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames. New York:  Riverhead Books, 2001.

Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices. Berkeley, Parallax Press, 2009.

Hesse, Hermann. The Seasons of the Soul. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2011.

Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. New York: Fawcett Books, 1963.

James, John W. and Russell Friedman. The Grief Recovery Handbook. New York: Collins, 2009.

Kieves, Tama. This Time I Dance. New York: Jeremey P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2003.

Kornfield, Jack. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. New York: Bantam Books, 2001.

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Gift from the Sea. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.

Markova, Dawna. I Will Not Die an Unlived Life. Berkeley: Conari Press, 2000.

Maté, Gabor. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2012.

Myss, Caroline M. Anatomy of the Spirit. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

Nani, Christel. Sacred Choices: Thinking outside the Tribe to Heal Your Spirit. New York: Harmony House, 2006.

Noer, David M, Breaking Free. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.

Palmer, Parker J. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1999.

Peck, M.Scott. The Road Less Traveled. New York: Touchstone, 1980.

The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. New York: Touchstone, 1987.

Redfield, James. The Celestine Prophecy. New York: Warner Book, 1993.

Reynolds, David K. A Handbook for Constructive Living. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. Seaside: Merchant Books, 2012.

Ruiz, Don Miguel. The Four Agreements. San Rafael: Amber-Allen, 2012.

Rumi, Jalal al-Din. The Essential Rumi. Trans. by Coleman Barks with John Moyne. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.

Schaar, John H. Legitimacy in the Modern State. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1989.

Scharmer, C. Otto. Theory U: Leading From the Future as it Emerges. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2007.

Scharmer, Otto and Katrin Kaeufer. Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2013.

Schatz, Halé Sofia. If the Buddha Came for Dinner. New York: Hyperion, 2004.

Scott, Susan. Fierce Conversations. New York:  Berkley Publishing, 2004.

Scott-Maxwell, Florida. The Measure of My Days. New York: Penguin, 1968.

Shepherd, Philip. New Self New World. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2010.

Radical Wholeness. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2017.

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York:  Knopf, 2012.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Other Writings. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.

Vanier, Jean. Becoming Human. Toronto: Anansi Press, 1998.

Voskamp, Ann. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

Walsch, Neale Donald. Conversations with God. New York:  Hampton Roads Publishing, 1995.

Watts, Alan. Does it Matter? Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality. Novato: New World Library, 1971.

Wilber, Ken. Integral Spirituality. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2006.

Williamson, Marianne. A Return to Love. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Woodman, Marion, and Jill Mellick. Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul. San Francisco: Conari Press, 2000.

Zinn, Howard. You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train. Boston: Beacon Press, 2002.

Open Your Eyes

12 Steps of Self-Leadership: The Difference Maker's Guide

‘Open Your Eyes’ by Doug Lester

From: 12 Steps of Self-Leadership
By Doug Lester with Cheryl Lester
Excerpt #01.002.1

Open your eyes little one
There’s so much more for you to see
Open your life little one
There’s so much more for you to be
The Universe is calling you
To play a larger part
To live and lead intentionally
With body, mind and heart
The path you’ve travelled
Up to now has given you a key
Interpret well the treasure map
And find your destiny. 1

  1. Doug Lester, “Open Your Eyes”, 2015.

Leading from Within

12 Steps of Self-Leadership: The Difference Maker's Guide

Leading From Within

From: 12 Steps of Self-Leadership 
By Doug Lester / Cheryl Lester
Excerpt #01.002.1


Welcome to 12 Steps of Self-Leadership.

  • Are you seeking a journey of Self-discovery and Self-development?
  • Are you ready to break free?
  • Do you feel you are capable of being and doing more?
  • Are you tired of status quo living?
  • Are you seeking a compelling purpose?
  • Are you intrigued by the idea of being a Difference Maker?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, then join us as we guide you on an exciting adventure toward realizing your true potential and being a Difference Maker.

We have written 12 Steps of Self-Leadership to provide a map for courageous people like you who are ready to live and lead at new levels of engagement. Each Step of the 12 Steps contains a concept that if fully embraced will change your life and your Difference Making Quotient™ (DMQ™) in life, work, and relationships. However, the sum of the parts of the 12 Steps when integrated and practiced on a regular basis will be much more powerful than any one of the concepts on its own.

We realize there are many reasons why people come to Self-leadership programs. Some of you are reading this book because you are already on a journey of Self-discovery and Self-development and you are seeking to enhance your skills and add some new levels of understanding. Some of you have moments of discomfort and a sense that you are capable of more than you are asking of yourself. Others are comfortable in your present routines, but are intrigued by the idea of being a Difference Maker.

For many of you the need for change is crying out. You are drowning in a sea of boredom and drudgery. You need changes now in order to survive. You are struggling at work, at home, and in all aspects of life. You are angry, scared, confused, and desperate. You may look good on the outside, but you know that your inner life is out of control. You are at a point in your life when you have begun to question the path you have been on, your work, and your relationships. Just getting through the day is depleting you. You face real life issues and you need real life answers now. You are searching for a new way of being and doing that will give you a renewed sense of purpose.

Whatever brings you to this opportunity we invite you to explore what is possible if you commit to Self-leadership and an increased Difference Making Quotient. We have written this book with a Fast Track section for a quick overview of the Step. These executive summaries will serve as a quick read of the key elements, leadership value, and guiding principle of the Step, and give you a Foothold to anchor the concept, and act as a touchpoint in the future as you revisit the 12 Steps, or focus in on one of the concepts as you continue to use the 12 Steps as your Self-leadership handbook.

The questions and exercises at the end of the chapters are written in a way that allows you to use the Stepping Stones as a pathway to deepen your learning. We also offer light and lively Travel Tips statements that will encourage and guide you along the way.

As leaders, learners, and life and business partners, Cheryl and I have been ‘writing’ this book experientially for a combined total of 130 years and as leadership coaches for the last 20 years. Although I have done much of the actual writing, Cheryl has been a thought and writing partner every step of the way. Both of us experienced losses in childhood. Both of us have been through divorce. Both of us have been deeply involved in faith-based communities and spiritual study. We have lived and coached every concept we write about. Both of us have been involved in senior leadership positions in large organizations. We have coached and mentored leaders in Canada and over 55 other countries around the world. Through our work, we’ve also created development programs and curriculum for management and board members within the not-forprofit sector, and led a number of workshops/retreats designed to help leaders develop inner awareness that increases outer effectiveness. Through early morning debates and midnight solitudes, through personal crises and relationship disasters, through leadership successes and business failures, we have traveled the Self-leadership path we are guiding you on. Through writing, coaching, mentoring and consulting, nationally and internationally, our ideas have been tested and enhanced in the crucible of reality.

For those of you who need immediate shifts in inner awareness and outer effectiveness, we have created a Fast Track section proceeding each of the Steps. These executive summaries will serve as a quick understanding of the key elements, leadership value, and guiding principle of the Step, and give you a Foothold to anchor the concept. These are by no means a replacement for doing the work of the Leadership Quest. As soon as you complete a quick overview we encourage you to circle back to the beginning and work the 12 Steps over the coming year.

As you interact with the concepts and use the 12 Steps as your Self-leadership handbook, the questions and exercises at the end of the chapters are written in a way that allows you to use the Stepping Stones as a pathway to deepen your learning. We also offer light and lively Travel Tips statements that will encourage and guide you along the way.

This book is designed to help you systematically build a set of skills and attitudes that will increase your DMQ in all aspects of your inner and outer life. Drawing from many of the greatest teachers and thought leaders of our time, our book will provide you with principles, concepts and practical Steps that will serve as a handbook for further learning and a reference for years to come.

We need to point out from the start that we are choosing to capitalize ‘Self.’ We believe each of you at your core is creative, resourceful, and whole. Your best Self is capable of much more than the small “s” social self that often flits through your life. Your current state of affairs and your DMQ directly correlate with how effectively you are Self-leading your FISC™— your own ‘royal treasury’ of Facts, Influences, SoulDNA™, and Characters that makes you ‘you’. As you work with the Steps, increased Selfawareness will give you access to new levels of potential and transform your life from the inside out.

The 12 Steps of Self-Leadership is a process, not just another book to be read and placed on your shelf. Learning to live from within while being fully engaged in the outer life is not a simple task. The noises and demands of the outer world and the frantic pace of living often push our best hopes and inner wisdom to the margins of our awareness. Yet the answer is not in escape from the outer world but in synergy. Self-awareness is best served through the interplay of the inner and outer worlds. Effective Self-leadership integrates and synergizes inner awareness with outer effectiveness.

Investing in Yourself

Regardless of the size or structure of your business or organization the inner condition of the key decision-maker determines the vitality and effectiveness of the venture. Simply stated, every organization is the lengthened shadow of the leader.

You are the goose that is tasked with laying the golden eggs. The difference between you and Aesop’s fabled goose is that you live in choice. The way you invest in your emotional and relational well-being will determine your production and even more importantly your production capability.

It starts inside you. Are you in right relationship with yourself? Are you taking time to renew and refresh your heart and mind? Are you curious and enthusiastic or tired and discouraged? Your inner condition will affect your health, effectiveness, and outer relationships. The cold dark days of winter can be a time of inertia and discouragement, or inspiration and renewal.

Here are nine things you can do this year to make a difference in how you show up:

1. Watch what you ‘feed’ yourself. Avoid negative news, gossip, and despairing attitudes.

2. Make inspiration, wisdom, optimism, and laughing a big part of your ‘diet.’

3. Rest. Get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night.

4. Reduce the time and energy you invest in people and projects that de-energize you.

5. Increase the time spent with people and projects that inspire and enliven you.

6. Identify, celebrate, and invest in the key people in your life.

7. Discover your areas of creative genius, e.g. painting, mechanics, carpentry, sculpting, cooking, music, etc.…, and bring more of ‘that’ into your life.

8. Go to trade shows, conferences and discover what’s new and exciting.

9. Begin and end each day with gratitude and positive thoughts.

The world is changing rapidly. There are many serious issues in politics, religion, business, and the environment. Anger, fear, aggression, and despair will continue to confront you every day. Life can be difficult at times and that isn’t about to change; however, you can change how you show up and how you handle life in the good and not so good times. You are a candle in the wind.

Invest in yourself and your ongoing growth and development. You do make a difference.

By Doug Lester

Gifting Your Self

Gifting Your Self

It’s that time of year when the act of gift giving takes on a heightened sense of meaning.

This year explore what it would mean if you were to give the ‘gift of your Self.’ What exactly does that mean?

The Meriam Webster dictionary says that a ‘gift’ is:
1. a notable capacity, talent, or endowment
2. something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.

To give of yourself without expecting anything in return can be challenging. To be aware of your notable capacities, talents, and endowments and give from those rich inner resources can be even more of a challenge for people who have never engaged in the deep dive of self-discovery.

Most of us live on the surface of our lives. Our small ‘s’ social self — the one most people see and interact with—buys gifts, attends seasonal functions and celebrations with family and friends, yet seldom shares from the deep inner treasury of its big ‘S’ Self.

To truly give the best of your Self, it’s first necessary to understand who you are at your core and what you uniquely can offer. Unfortunately, for many of us (particularly women), that deep knowing and awareness is not something that we are typically in touch with. Taking a proactive approach to defining who you are and what you want, has often been discouraged. We’re told and taught that thinking of yourself is selfish and self-centred—something we should avoid. Instead of digging deep and embracing Self, we push our ‘stuff’ aside in service of everyone else. Over time, the knowing and recognition we may have had about who we are and what we want at one time gets lost, hidden, or shrouded.

Decide to start shifting how you see yourself. Begin to view yourself as CEO of Self, Inc.—the key decision-maker in directing the development of your ‘Self, Inc.’ entity. Take your capacity to make a positive difference for Self and others to new levels. [Hint: it helps to replace the word ‘Self’ with your first name. For instance, I’m CEO of Cheryl, Inc. You would be CEO of ______, Inc.]

Start to get curious about what you uniquely have to offer. Begin to explore the rich resources of your unique FISC (Facts, Influences, SoulDNA, and inner Characters.) Take charge, and learn how you can use your FISC to improve your Difference Making Quotient—personally and professionally.

Here’s the bottom line. You cannot give to others, what you have not yet given to yourself. Start with giving the gift of your Self to yourself. Learn how to embrace and appreciate all the diverse parts and dimensions of yourself and your FISC. Commit to the life-long journey of Self-development. Then, in a healthier, transformative, and renewing way, engage in the act of ‘gifting your best and most authentic Self’ to yourself and others you meet along the path of life, work, and relationships.

By Cheryl Lester

Aha Moments

Aha Moments

The ‘Universe’ is teaming with serendipities and learning opportunities—let’s call them aha moments.

As the days grow shorter and another annual cycle moves toward completion, the pace can seem frenetic as you try to balance all the plates related to yourself, your work, family, community, and friends. Early mornings, late nights, deadlines, and personal and professional opportunities and challenges cause weeks to slip by and life to be a blur.

Since this may seem chaotic, the thought of adding yet another thing to your to-do list may not appeal to you; but, hear me out.

While these ‘aha’ moments may be pleasant, gentle, or funny, they can also be painful, harsh, or sobering. They may come as fleeting thoughts as you travel to work, or they may jump off the page or screen of an advertisement. Aha moments can be stirred by a colleague’s comment, or show up after an angry outburst, or as you struggle to recover after a night of over indulging. They may manifest through a beautiful sunset, or a walk through the woods. They may bubble up during a family meal or through a warm hug with someone you care about.

In these brief lucid moments, embrace the invitation to be more fully present and engaged in your own life and the choices you make.

These numinous, illuminating moments cannot be summoned by silence or activity. They are gifts, and whispers of possibility, emotional fireflies, inviting you to live with more awareness, fulfilment, and intentionality.

Serendipitous ‘aha’ moments can inform your choices—choices that shape who you are or want to become. Use them as affirmations about the difference you can make in the world for your Self and for others.

Each ‘aha’ moment, and the choice it may inform, is part of the great unfolding of your life. The Universe is constantly expanding, evolving, and transforming, and invites you to participate. You are invited to show up fully and experience your own expansion, evolution, and transformation.  First of all, notice, then take steps to respond to ‘aha’ moments.

Make your experience even more meaningful by preserving those special ‘aha’ moments. Take note of the them through doodling, journaling, or by drawing something that represents the ‘aha’ moment. Take time to celebrate the ‘gift’. Reflect on how the ‘aha’ can help direct your attitudes and actions in life, work, and relationships.

Next time a serendipity or fleeting thought gives you a nudge to be more or do more, don’t ignore it. Accept it as a gift and pause and ponder as you say to yourself, “Aha!”

By Doug & Cheryl Lester

Learn more about Difference Makers Circle.

Shifting My Perspective

As I expressed my gratitudes on Thanksgiving Day, I realized that for the past year I had been focusing too much time and energy on my Circle of Concern rather than my Circle of Influence. I have shifted my perspective and reduced the noise so that I can make a more positive difference.


A Discovery Approach to Addiction

Discovery Approach to Addiction

We think it is time for a very different way of looking at addiction.

If you are struggling you do not have to stay stuck.

We invite you to explore a different way of taking action on your addictions, trauma, coping, grief, potential, and relationships. No matter how many books you read, meetings you attend, conversations you have, or intentions you set, nothing will change until you do something more, different, or better than you’ve been doing.

We are not experts in substance abuse. Our expertise is in Self-leadership.

Over the last 50 years we have had many personal experiences with addiction in its many forms. We’ve sat down to Christmas dinners wondering if, and when, a family member would arrive. We have watched loved ones be consumed by a never-ending need for more of their drug of choice. We’ve attended too many funerals where addiction and isolation led to despair and tragedy. We are writing because we know it doesn’t have to be that way for you.

Through our coaching and learning we have developed a set of Steps that will help you. They will help you become more aware and more effective in life, work, and relationships. Ultimately the goal of our work is to help you live with increased awareness and effectiveness, making a positive difference for self and others.

The medical model states that addiction is a brain disease. We disagree. We believe addiction is primarily a soul dis-ease — a shrouding of your SoulDNA™ by the facts, influences, and inner characters of your life.

The irony is that the more successful you become the less sustainable a surface approach to life, work and relationships becomes. Rigid routines and constant distractions feud over your attention. Neither of these choices create any inner peace.

The Self-Leadership Discovery Approach is not quick or easy. It takes time to explore the underlying experiences and influences that have led you into the danger zone.

As you increase your awareness of the stress in your life and the ways you seek excitement or relief, you will begin to realize that many addictions are clean and sparkly but just as deadly as opioids. By looking inside, you will discover the many ways that addiction tricks all of us, and you, into trading pleasure for happiness.

First, let’s start with a simple definition of addiction. An addiction is any habit-forming behaviour that releases energy, relieves pain, and provides distraction, thereby reducing your awareness, effectiveness, and relationship with self and others.

Every addiction diminishes a person’s awareness and freedom. Some addictions are just a waste of time and money. Many have damaging effects on your health, wealth, and your personal and professional relationships.

The work of Self-leadership is to discover your essence and allow your inner light to shine. The goal is not to control your addiction, but to free your potential. That will lead you on a very different journey.

We invite you to begin a discovery quest so you can increase your capacity to be a positive difference maker for self and others.

By Doug Lester

Purposeful Pause


Life has a way of getting our attention – an illness, a storm, a traffic accident, a delay with a project, staff changes, developments in the marketplace, relationship dynamics, new regulations. Each time that your life and plans are re-arranged you have choices.

·       You can push ahead as if nothing has changed;

·       You can become angry, frustrated and defeated; OR,

·       You can accept the pause as an opportunity.

People who make a difference choose a positive point of view. They see interruptions as part of the natural flow of life and instead of fighting ‘what is’ they pause, breathe deep, and explore ‘what is trying to happen’ in life, work, and relationships.

Over time, masters of self-leadership don’t wait for the imposed pause. They create their own spaces for increasing awareness.


The Pause is both a skill and a practice. As a skill, it involves specific behaviours that shift awareness, release impediments, increase energy flow, activate deep knowing, and allow Self to lead. As a practice, it is a commitment to pausing each morning and evening and several times during the day. There also much to be gained by having longer purposeful pauses several times during the year.

Summer holidays, long weekends, travel, production changes, off-peak times, are not just delays. These are opportunities to take a purposeful pause.

With practice, pauses can be so integrated that they take very little time and can be accommodated into any environment or life circumstance. Whether you are headed for the boardroom or the battlefield, on the beach with family, or on a gurney headed for the operating room, a deep breath, letting go of judgement, cynicism, and fear, affirming your connection with the Energy of Life, and connecting to the emerging future with optimism and curiosity will allow life to flow for you and positively impact all those in your immediate Circle of Influence.

Go for a walk. Sit in a boat and drift with the waves. Lay on a beach. Daydream about who you are and what you hope to be as a person, in relationships, in your life. Explore your wake.

Whether it seems the pause has been imposed or chosen, you can use life’s interruptions as springboards to being more aware and more effective.

As you experience life this summer look for the gaps. Between the stimulus and the response there is space. Pause, breathe, and use that pause to live on purpose.

Doug Lester