Lead: Without Comparison but With Visual Sound

The Comparison Mindset is a Dead Sound

Have you ever observed how someone talks? Or even eavesdrop on another person or group’s conversation?  How did they talk? Was it all about them or about someone else? Did it make you lose a bit of hope for humanity or inspire you? Did it put life into you?


Lombard Street- San Francisco, CA

If you ever lived in a large city you understand that the city carries its own melody. Its own transforming growth.

Call it Visual Sound.  

In large cities, a city is always active. Always moving. Always thriving. Always communicating. If you look around you will see individuals constantly headed somewhere with their schedule in mind. If you listen closely you can hear melody of a city and the rhythm that it brings. A certain engine vibration of a bus coming at a specific time of day. The sound of rush hour traffic filling the street. But in some parts of a city, this melody can be a clashing noise for rundown streets. A noise filled with lack of growth and hardship.

Digital noise surrounds us and can influence our mindset and the way we speak. This digital noise can create a comparison mindset. This noise can choke the melodic sound of your thriving leadership. Having a Comparison Mindset is like hitting the wrong note during a musical recital. It can throw off the entire course of your performance. As leaders we are called to not leave a digital noise but an imprint of Visual Sound. The way we communicate and the way we think becomes Visual Sound.

Visual Sound has influence.

Though competition, measuring efforts, and evaluating those efforts is good within professional reason, a readily comparison mindset can be a danger towards your growing leadership.

Why is the Comparison Mindset unhealthy?

  • Creates Bias– You end up giving a label towards many aspects- people, situations etc. But individuals have layers and every situation calls for different approaches.
  • Creates Discontentment-You will be dissatisfied with every step you make in your growth.
  • Underlooks Growth-Your perspective will be redirected and too focused on what you’re not and rather who you are.
  • Overlooks the Root of Issues– You’re more aimed at the resolve than the root. Weeds that aren’t fully pluck grow back stronger.
  • Creates Insecurity– You should be confident that you are a leader-in-progress, constantly growing.
  • Creates Rushed Building-Some building and development needs small steps and a process. The building of a bridge that is rushed can overlook small details, causing major issues in the long run.

What is your visual sound? Does it have the dead sound of comparison?

Follow me on Twitter @GabrielleAbacan


Lead: Out of Humility

Humility is Louder than Bragging

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San Rafael Park- Reno, NV

Have you ever done hands-on labor and gardened? Prepare the soil, by weeding out the bad. Plant a few plants here and there. Cultivate them with fertilizer and ensure growth by regular watering. Uproot dead plants, something that is not functioning. Make sure pests do not kill your growth. You are responsible for your yard and garden. The same goes for leading. We prepare soil (build), but we have to make sure that what is flourishing (leading) out of our garden is not unhealthy junk, but healthy growth.

Nothing is more poisonous than arrogant pride and a place of entitlement that corrupts your thriving leadership. As you grow as a leader it is good to be confident in your skills, but never to the point where arrogance takes over like unhealthy, cocky weeds that choke the growth of healthy plants. When a person governs from a place of entitlement, this space is empty and short lived. It is a place of unfulfillment of meaning and objectifies leadership, making leadership lose its transformational value.

There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence.

When the masses scream out the same familiar noise, what makes an individual set apart from the rest? What makes a leader, not only relatable, but more respected?

Humility is like a breathe of relief in a world that constantly puffs up pride. The role of a narcissistic boss who belittles his employees has already been taken. What is different to individuals, what draws them in and appeals to them is a leader who encourages and empowers others. When individuals experience this in a leader, employees see themselves not apart of a hierarchy but respected and level ground. Individuals see value in this and as a leader you have the role of influencing with positive or negative impact on generations.

Even research agrees.

Humility is not to be used as a manipulation, power tool and there will be few that do not respond to it. Still be genuinely humble anyways, as individuals will recognize the difference between genuine humility and counterfeit humility. Individuals will recognize a strong leader.

Check this out if you’re wondering what ten characteristics make a humble leader.

More to come! Follow my blog.

Build: Flexibility & Hill Country

Be Always Ready to Adjust and Adapt

Have you ever gone on a hike? Maybe you enjoy forest hikes and how the trees surround you, enclosing and interlocking above. Maybe you prefer the edgy, openness of coastal trails to gaze upon the far ocean horizon to try to see beyond it. Maybe your flat and vast open land is what you appreciate. Or maybe you like the hikes that give you a clear and distant view of the place you live in, giving you a feeling of escape from society.

In a past coastal hike, there was a large hill at the edge of the ocean that visitors were welcomed to trail on. There was two ways to hike to the top. The side where most visitors entered for a gradual and level trail and the trail where a steep incline scared off others. Seeing an elderly couple head towards the steep and edged trail, I followed. Straying back, I watched how this couple climbed the incline with careful ease, taking their time, not in a rush, stopping every once in awhile to admire their progress; as if they knew that the view at the top will still be there for them. While my lungs were trying to adjust to this new altitude, this couple was not afraid of this cliff edged trail, nor of the energy or effort it would take from them.


Muir Beach Trail Head- Marin County, CA

What hike are you on?

Sometimes the hike that you are on has an easy trail of leveled meadows. While other times these easy flatlands can turn into an inclined battle, bringing you into an unmarked trail. Or even have a choice between flat trails and inclined hikes. Though all of these trails have growth surrounding in them, their detours can bring you to a different perspective or even a better destination.  Do you have the flexibility to adjust for hill country, that brings unleveled and uneven ground?

Hill country is always a harder trail but worth every step of its steepness. The thing about hills is do we have the flexibility not only choose, but adjust to them even if you have to gradually and steadily climb up. Just as leadership there is only so much you can do to prepare for it. Your hill can be anything-a choice, a decision, a person, a situation.

As a leader, do you readily adapt to the unexpected when things are off their routine and schedule?


-Are you flexible in situations?– When things don’t go as planned don’t scrap everything. Evaluate things. Adjust and make use with what you have.

-Are you flexible with people?– Accommodate with individuals and their professional and behavioral needs within reason. Don’t try to figure someone out and label them off, just guide and let them grow.

Be flexible. Take the inclined trail.


Leave some comments below on how you practice on being flexible.

Build: The Winds & Waves of Emotional Consistency

Have Self-Awareness


Lover’s Point-Pacific Grove, CA

Have you ever watched waves or wind take its course? The crashing of the waves bopping up and down, ebbing in and out of the shore. Along with the wind pushing the waves here and there. Did you ever notice the part of the day where a high tide comes through or a low tide occurs?

There’s an art to understanding wind and wave patterns. Captains do this to ensure that their ship gets to the correct location in a safe manner.  Recognizing irregularities, constants, and understanding that the waves and winds will bring unpredictable patterns at times is a part of their list of obligations. They analyze the patterns of the coast throughout the season and acknowledge that this art is an aspect that is continually and skillfully built on throughout their lifetime. They take notice of good waves and winds, and the bad

Our emotions at times can be like the waves of a thunderstorm, crashing in every direction. Or a peaceful running river that is consistently steady and flowing. With emotions crashing around, it can make it difficult for individuals to navigate your waters, causing them to “tip-toe” around you. But with emotions that run consistently and steady, your presence as a leader can bring a calming and peaceful effect in an atmosphere that is always busy.

Do you analyze your emotion patterns?

Emotional consistency is having the emotional intelligence to understand your emotions, decipher between the good and bad emotions, and have a healthy emotional response towards something. It is also having the balance of finding the level ground of emotions without extremes of being an emotional wreck or emotionless. Sometimes you even have to ask yourself, will this emotion benefit anyone?

As a captain, how are you navigating through the winds and waves?


Are you a Captain navigating through leadership waters? Follow my blog for more to come.

Build: Traffic & Patience

Sit in Traffic. It’s a Good Patience Strengthener.

Horns honking. People yelling. Cars cutting you off. Braking too early or too late. Do you feel the heat of the stress yet? Maybe you even thought of a specific place like California or New York.


Cannery Row- Monterey, CA

What type of person are you when your patience is tested? Do you lash out and get angry? Or do you shut down and harbor it in? Or are you one of the few that it takes a lot to get under your skin?

Frankly, I enjoy traffic and working customer service. I understand that is a weird thing to enjoy and at the top of the list for unusual. But think of traffic or even waiting in line as a patience strengthener. Or better yet have a mindset shift of “how can this patience tester become a patience strengthener?”

Now I’m not saying that you have to take your emotions and shove them down. I am emphasizing to think before you react and respond. Ask yourself, is this aspect you are stressing over worth the loss of character? Just like the Internet, once you put it out there, it is out there forever.

When we start to have this mindset towards trivial things such as traffic, it roots and leads to a healthier response towards major things on an emotional, relational, or professional level. Starting with the small issues prepares you for major obstacles. The journey of being a leader and as a leader always is going to demand more of you along the road. But don’t be scared of that “more” there’s hopeful anticipation and strength within the path of leadership.

Why Practice Patience

  1. There are always difficult people– There will always be individuals that need extra patience from you.
  2. Patience has a ripple effect– It leads into a stronger sense of understanding, strengthens flexibility, and shapes emotional consistency and emotional integrity.
  3. People become a product of their environment– Observation and influence is stronger than we acknowledge.
  4. It teaches us how to serve others better– That cranky customer that you just served and came with their grumpy storm, now has peace in their eyes.

The way a leader responds to patience testers is noticed by surrounding individuals. Are you a leader that not only pushes boundaries but also shows restraint?

For more good stuff follow me on Twitter @GabrielleAbacan


Serve: Why Do It?

Be a “People-Person” Even if You’re an Introvert

“I hate people”- Yeah that’s the most common thing to hear. But the truth is people are full of dreams and struggles. If you look into their eyes you can see a breathing soul ready or waiting for something. It is people who become generational influencers and end up impacting culture in great ways.

Some individuals do not like doing things for others unless they are getting paid or get something back in return. Some hiring managers don’t even consider volunteer work as “real work” and fail to see the character behind it. This poisonous mindset sets an entitlement perspective and can create unhealthy tyrants of dictatorship instead of relatable and approachable leaders.

Healthy leaders know and understand that serving is leading. That every experience is a teaching moment and cultivates an awareness. An awareness to either learn, adjust, or fix an aspect personally, socially, or professionally. Healthy leaders visualize serving others as a chance for selfless growth to take place.

There should be a healthy understanding that there is a fine line between serving others and people-pleasing.  This line starts with a giving mindset that connects with serving others. To serve can be done through- Time, Treasure, or Talent. When you are focused on the giving and not pleasing, the serving focus shifts from “have to” to “want to”. Serving others has different forms and can be done through actions or words of encouragement.


Community Garden Build- Influencing, Teamwork, & Teaching Moment

Why should you selflessly serve others?

  1. You Never Know How Much They Needed It– You don’t know their story. You don’t know what they have been battling within. They may not know you, but they will remember the selflessness.
  2. Influence is Contagious– Just as passion stirs passion, action stirs action and momentum creates momentum. You never know what 5 year old is carefully observing you.
  3. Character is Cultivated– Not only in you but in others. Sometimes you may ask yourself – “What do I have to work on? How do I respond to those who need a character adjustment”? But sometimes the time it takes to serve others and show selflessness has the power to overcome an angry and misunderstood heart and break walls down with kindness, bringing them a new perspective to live out of.
  4.  Skills are Cultivated– If a serving role calls for a teaching role, any teacher will tell you that teaching is an all-around learning role for both sides.
  5. You Never Know Who You Will Meet– Serving others attract several individuals of a variety of backgrounds willing to give their story.

So why serve others in whatever you do?

Not only to be a well-rounded leader but to genuinely ensure that others do not have to carry loads alone.

Follow my blog for the upcoming Build series.


Serve: Know Your Neighbor

Throw Out the “Stranger Danger” Mindset

Have you ever sat down with someone and got to know them? Know individuals from different nations? Did you learn their cultural roots and their heritage? Did you take notice of their cultural behaviors? Did they tell you their adventure, hopes, and dreams?


Sunday Night International Dinner-Photo Cred: Josh T.

Every Sunday afternoon, the local International Student Fellowship holds a free dinner for international students. A couple opens up their home and joyfully serves and welcomes strangers that later leave as family. Looking around, a foreign student gets the chance to experience direct hospitality in a foreign place, while sharing pieces of their home.

Do you joyfully serve and welcome others as family? Do you have a direct hospitality mindset? 

Similar to this, a pastor and his church does an annual homeless feeding outreach in the Los Angeles area. This also occurs monthly in the inner city of the Sacramento area and daily in the Bay Area region. Outreaches like these welcomes homeless individuals to come as they are and enjoy a buffet. Here homeless individuals are fed, listened to, and given supplies for their needs. Some individuals leave with tears of joy thankful that “someone took the time and trustfully listened to their story”.

Is your trust selective? Do you welcome the company of individuals who are not like you? Do you step out of your way and take the time?

Knowing these serving leaders and the way they readily pour into people, eagerly give without hesitation, keep doing good when the world throws them bad, emphasizes how much they radically serve others.  These leaders do not serve to serve themselves, but to wholeheartedly ensure that individuals around them are taken care of. They are fearless when carrying the burdens of others.

Take a step back and realize that serving others is happening every second throughout the globe. Though you do not have to be in a program or serve the masses, sometimes just serving any one individual is all it takes whether it is food or a conversation.

So why should you serve?

Stay tune, follow my blog via email, and find out on my next post.