Archives for July 2008

Seize the Freedom of Self-Employment

Fear around the lack of money keeps many stuck within the slavery of employment. I believe more would seize the freedom of self-employment if they truly understood the value of the freedoms they have willingly given up. Most seasoned self-employed individuals joyously place a higher value on their continued freedom and would not give it up even for much more money.

What do we, as free workers, know that employees do not? We intimately understand and are invigorated by the value of the freedoms that come from doing work that we love in our own way. We believe that it’s our sacred responsibility to safeguard this freedom.

I believe that we enjoy three essential freedoms that employees do not.

1). The freedom of autonomy is our independence. It’s our ability to exercise self-government. Answering to the whims and rules of another is akin to slavery.

2). The freedom of self-determination could also be called the freedom of unlimited decisiveness. By enjoying this freedom we get to decide and choose both our day-to-day work projects and over all strategies and objectives.

3). The freedom of self-expression is simply what we are able to say without hesitation or restriction. This freedom is at the core of our well-being and the freedom I want to discuss today.

The ability to speak our minds on any issue, in any setting, to anyone is invaluable because it’s directly tied to the magnificence of our own authentic identity. When you knowingly restrict your identity you have assumed an identity that is less than your core being. This pretense wounds you deeply at a soul level. Identity restriction is a slow deadening process where the individual hides his true feelings and ultimately settles for less of a life then he or she may have lived.

Many employees complain about their work but throw up the money or security excuse as reasons why their hands are tied. These employees know they have settled for something less than they could be enjoying but they have yet to find the courage to make their move.

How can we, the joyfully self-employed help them to seize their freedom? We can help by talking about how wonderful our freedom feels. We can help by replacing money with freedom as the new standard of success. We can encourage them to be bold and let their freedom ring as an example to their children.

If you are happily employed and can honestly accept the accompanying restrictions, please stay where you are. But if you are among the majority of unhappy employees, know this: the freedoms of self-employment can lead you into a life of unlimited prosperity.

Prosperity comes through enhanced awareness so we can see and seize the right opportunities at the right time.

By working on what you want to work on and dearly value you’ll end up producing work of higher value that will make you prosperous. Please trust that everyone wants to support individuals who put their heart and soul into their work. Trust your internal yearnings to be the man or woman you can here to be. Seize your freedom now!

If you are employed but want to seize your freedom – tell us how we can help.

If you are self-employed and would like to encourage others to make their move – please comment on how freeing self-employment feels to you.

What’s Really Possible?

If you read this blog, you probably believe that most anything is possible. If that’s your belief system, how often do you act as if it’s true? How often do you act on the basis that most anything is possible? Have you ever considered how your life and work might change if you more frequently accepted the possibility of creation without limitation? For those of us who are self-employed a change in perspective is often an essential adjustment.

Earlier in The Missing Key to Success I introduced a former client Joe, who very much needed to expand his perspective of what was possible. Joe was amazed at what he saw by simply keeping the agreement to change his perspective.

Too often we see what we expect to see and what we expect to see is limited by our beliefs of what we think is likely to occur. Thus we often remain within a cycle of manifestation that’s limited by our past.

As a self-employed entrepreneur Joe was concerned about sustaining his momentum.
What Joe didn’t understand before coaching is the incredible power of accountability. Accountability is a built-in benefit of coaching that increases the probability of the client trying out new and different perspectives and actions. Encouraged by the coach’s confidence and enthusiasm, the client will often make and honor agreements that he would not complete on his own. It’s this professional leverage that makes all the difference.

The use of agreements helps to encourage the client to see and do things differently. Life is really not as difficult as we tend to make it. My coaching experience proves that if you believe in and use some very simple concepts, they can make all the difference.

“Any movement works” is one such concept. You need to understand it to believe in it -and you need to believe in it to apply it intentionally. Yet the quickest route to understanding is to actually practice it. That’s where agreements come in.

Getting back to Joe. By seeing things differently and following through with actions, he was able to come to some startling, new found realizations. His most powerful were:
1). My opportunities expand in direct proportion to my expanding awareness and my willingness to look for the good in all situations.
2). Often I would do things because they had worked for others without taking into account how aligned these actions were with who I am.
3). Because some of these traditionally successful actions didn’t fit me, I resisted taking them and that resistance lead to greater self-doubt.

Joe would waste more energy trying to fit a mold that was laid out by others and when it didn’t work he would wonder what was wrong with him. But he wasn’t lacking anything, he just need to take a more authentic approach to building his business.

These realizations came for Joe over a month’s time and we kept adjusting his action and perspective agreements to follow his realizations. As a result, Joe is happier, more prosperous and works fewer hours than he previously did. What’s different? Joe now runs every major work decision past his deepest desires and values. If the new opportunity isn’t a fit he chooses something else. Making right-aligned decisions is the first step in authentic business building.

Joe needed to continue to complete agreements so he could continue to produce different results and come to fresh realizations.

Previously, Joe often sabotaged his progress because he exercised little personal authority. He wasn’t fully conscious of this, but his actions proved that he placed a higher value on methods created by others than on his own understanding. Joe simply needed to get in the habit of asking what new realizations he’d come to, as a result of his different actions. Realizations cement our understanding of new concepts and methods. Observing and noting personal realizations is the second step in authentic business building.

Joe’s newfound authority means he’s actually authoring his own life more often. Now he is following up his realizations with actions that fit. Many times I’ve asked him this simple question that has made a huge difference. What’s one small action step you could complete this week to exploit this realization? The third step in authentic business building is to use methods that combine our personal realizations with the utilization of our inherent strengths and peculiarities.

Authentic business building is a powerful cycle of perspective, realizations and actions that are filtered through a viewpoint of genuine fit. When you are more eager and enthusiastic to take an action, then that action is a better fit for the core you. Action that is a better fit for the core you, increases your probability of success.

Joe wisely continued to make and honor custom agreements that proved that he could rely on his own authenticity. If you’d like to experiment with this authentic business building process, here are some questions to get it moving.

· What agreements can I make that will cause me to see my situation from an expanded perspective?

· What actions can I take that will support that perspective?

· Then after the actions ask: What realizations can I now see that represent new understandings for me?

· Keeping in mind my inherent strengths and values, what action steps could I take that would leverage these new realizations?

As your coach from afar I’m asking you to actually answer that first question and take that action. When we expect to see more opportunities they wondrously appear. Why not give it a shot and amaze yoursel

No Thank You

This post is about being totally above board and honest when turning down an invitation. If you aren’t always truthful when you say no, are you aware of the significance of what you’re saying yes to?

Here’s an example. On Monday, I was tagged. Mags at Woo-Woo Wisdom asked me to write a post on, 10 things that make me happy. I like Mags, I enjoy her writing and I’m honored that she thought of me. But I wasn’t eager to write that specific post. I have nothing against one blogger tagging another and at first I told myself I’d do it later, but I never did.

I did want to understand why I was resisting this honorable invitation. It would be an easy post to write. I’m generally a happy guy and I could easily write 20 things that make me happy.

But one thing that definitely makes me unhappy is doing anything that feels like an obligation.

As much as possible, I’ve pledged to live an obligation-free life and I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it for the last ten years. That means I make as few promises as possible and I follow-through on each and every one of them. How’s my record so far? Very close to 99% on promises I make to others. I’m not doing near as well on self-made promises but much better since I raised my awareness of them.

But it’s not really important to you, why this felt like an obligation to me. What might be important is that you examine how frequently you offer a less than forthright reason when you say, “no thank you.”

Thomas Leonard felt that no explanation at all is necessary.

No is a complete sentence. Thomas Leonard

Sometimes when invited to a social event, that I really don’t want to attend, I’ll just smile and say, “no thank you.” If I’m asked (this seldom happens because folks generally fear the truth) I’ll be honest and tell it like it is, regardless of the imagined consequences.

This feels so freeing. The freedoms of self-determination and self-expression are two that I treasure the most as a self-employed individual. One synonym for integrity, is wholeness and that describes my feelings well. When we align our choices with what we value, we feel complete. Otherwise, by telling even a white lie, we feel a little soiled and broken.

In some ways this was challenging for me to write because I do care about what you my blogging friends and readers think of me. I hope I don’t sound like I’m riding too high of a horse when actually I was forced into becoming more truthful so that I could demand it of my coaching clients.

I’ve come to understand that every honest no means that I’m actually saying yes to something I value.

Could a dishonest excuse be proof that you care more about what another thinks of you, than you value your own freedom of self-determination?

What do you think?

What brings you alive?

What gets your juices flowing and your heart pumping? Whatever it is my friend, are you honoring it?

So what brings you alive? Is it natural beauty, a big hug, taking a risk, driving music, a crisp morning, a touching moment? What brings you alive and are you honoring it often?

Do you know what brings you alive? Do you know what makes your heart sing? Not certain? Then look at the people and activities in your life that are way too small for you.

Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.
David Whyte, from his poem, Sweet Darkness.

What definitely does not bring you alive? What’s killing the core you? Take an honest gaze at what’s killing you and you’ll find what brings you alive.

Another good trail to follow is to look for what you want. Then ask, “What about what I want is enlivening to me?”

Another hint is to look in the opposite direction from prevailing wisdom. Sometimes we’ve got to be radically bad to find the boldness of aliveness. I mean, the heck with what they say. They are way too small for you. Be radically bad and declare your freedom from all those cultural “shoulds” that are weighing you down.

What rocks you at the core of your being?

Here’s another clue. Answer this question about your dreams or big life goals. What matters most to me in my life right now and am I working on it?

Self-confrontation is one doorway to inspiration.

So, my friend, what matters most to you today and what are you doing about it?

Walking this brave path means heartily welcoming all of life. It shouts to life. Bring it on, I’m ready. I am here, I am now and I’m alive!

Often by frequently engaging in smaller aliveness activities we can nudge open the doorway to greater glory and the accomplishment of dreams.

Aliveness is a choice that could move your life from “ho hum” to “ah hah!”

Gratitude, inspiration and enthusiasm are life’s jumper cables. Use them to recharge your aliveness battery.

There is no good reason to refrain from simple pleasures that bring you alive. Rejoice in your peculiarity!

In your comment, tell us three easily engaged in activities that bring you alive.

Mine are:

  1. Laughing out loud
  2. Singing my heart out
  3. Anticipating the first big hit in a rugby match

What brings you alive?

(Image by Rey Nocum on Flickr, via Creative Commons license)

Wildness

Liz Strauss at Successful Blog is asking for only 25 words of wisdom on something you see too much or too little of. I’ve always been inspired by two things, brevity and wildness, so I had to accept this wonderful challenge. I’m grateful Liz. Here are my 25 words.

Boldly express your wildness.

Release all fear of judgment.

Inspire us with your raw, untamed vigor.

Be the wild spirit who came here to soar.

The Missing Key to Success

Have you ever felt like you were so close to the success you wanted but were missing one pivotal piece? What if you could identify that missing piece and make the adjustment, and then all things good would begin to flow to you? What would that be worth?

I once had a client, Joe, who worked his ass off. He was an extremely disciplined individual. Yet he was not getting the business results he wanted. He appeared to be doing everything right. And that was the point. He was doing everything right as far has he could see, but he was not seeing everything accurately.

Often in my life and career coaching practice a client will appear to be doing all the right things, but is still experiencing lack in important career areas. It’s then that I realize the adjustment they need to make is not in their business practices but in their own personal development.

That was definitely the case with Joe. Joe’s perspective was limited to what had worked well for others. That’s a good starting point, but if we really want sustainable success it’s imperative that we bring our own exceptionality forward. Because Joe wasn’t looking in that direction, he didn’t see the possibilities in his own authenticity.

Joe didn’t see it because he wasn’t focused on his inner game. It’s often the inner game where most solo practitioners and entrepreneurs are lacking. The inner game is made up primarily of our ability to squeeze maximum advantage out of our perspective and the energy from the feelings that that perspective gives us.

How we see life and business often determines how they interact with us. It was clear to this coach that Joe needed to make a simple yet powerful “change in perspective” agreement.

Joe’s agreement was to expand his mind to think of ever increasing possibilities in every aspect of his business and life for the next 10 days. The agreement was to increase his awareness of expanded possibilities in both solutions and opportunities. He also agreed to look more for the good in all ways and in all things. He agreed to be open to the possibility that somewhere within his new understanding was his golden thread of success.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer

You only need a fresh energy trail to follow.

As human beings, we are very resilient. We don’t need to see the final solutions all laid out for us, we just need to feel good in the moment. Often when our hope is expanded just a little, we create enough renewed enthusiasm to carry us for a while.

Just by adjusting your perspective to one of looking for expanded possibilities you can see a whole new array of fresh options that you were once blind to.

What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives we need to stretch our minds. Wayne Dyer

All of a sudden you’ll see more good things appearing out of the blue. You’ll begin to consider life and business as a pleasant surprise. Expand your perspective and you too can enjoy delightful work.

If Joe can do it, so can you. In an upcoming post I’ll write about what Joe did to sustain his expansion. But for now, could an inner game adjustment be the missing piece you need to make life easier and business more fruitful? Tell me what you think about expanded possibilities. Dare you make Joe’s agreement in your life? I wonder what good might happen if you did?

Today I Simply Ran Out of Excuses

Even in Pittsburgh, it’s a beautiful sunny day with low humidity.

I have had absolutely no interruptions.

I have the time to create whatever I want to create, or not.

I realize suddenly that I am happy.

In this moment all is well.

Either I’m full of it or it really matters that all is well.

There is nothing to pursue.

I have things I could do but I feel like doing none of them.

Better yet, I choose to do nothing.

Perhaps I’ll simply be.

Yet I wrote this.

Isn’t this something?

Perhaps I’ll just sit here and glow over the remark ability of me.

I wonder since I’m now excuse-free am I obligation-free as well?

Excuses are things we say to justify not doing something we feel like we should be doing.

Obligations are those things we feel like we should be doing.

It seems like there’s a connection.

I wonder what an excuse-free, obligation-free life might feel like?

Could this be the work life freedom that I encourage the pursuit of?

How could so much of nothing feel so good?

Do you feel like simply being the remarkable human being that you are?

I am what I am. Popeye

A New Way to Find Work that You Love

I believe there’s a better process to finding work you love to do, so you can then build a profitable business around it. Traditional advice for discovering work you love involves journaling your passions, talents and joyous activities. This works for some and not for others. If you’re willing to try a fresh approach, you may find this new process to be very fruitful.

This process is based on the following theory: You have been created with unique capabilities, and when these are engaged and expressed in the work you were meant to do, you’ll enjoy greater freedom, fulfillment and prosperity.

Discovering your authentic work and parlaying it into a profitable enterprise is where most folks have difficulty.

It’s funny how we throw the word authenticity around; everyone agrees it’s a very good thing, but few know how to actually be authentic in their work. The process of bringing forth the core of who you are and authentically expressing that in your work is so much easier said then done.

We agree that to be authentic means to be, genuine, open, unpretentious, honest and forthright. We also agree that authenticity is good for us. But we tend to disagree on how to get there, especially when it comes to our life’s work.

In Seize Your Greatness, I advised that discovering authentic work is better approached from a non-logical framework. For big questions like this, it works to explore peripherally, or to trick our mind into seeing something that is either not obvious, or too obvious to be found with a direct approach.

If you’ve tried the traditional ways to no avail, are you ready for a fresh approach?

Why the old way stops you.

During the discovery process, many folks run into a brick wall that they can’t scale because they try too hard to get the what exactly right. We think that it’s all about nailing the business idea or the exact career that will make our heart sing. That’s the objective, I agree, but searching for the exact what can be extremely frustrating and fruitless – and that’s a telltale sign. Consider your state of mind while feeling frustrated and stumped. Are you more likely to be creative? No. Are you more likely to hit on epiphanies in that state? Of course you aren’t.

Too much pressure thinking on the what stops you cold. Because in an uninspired state of mind, new discoveries are likely to be overly judged and we are likely to be full of self-doubt. In this stage, you could discover your life’s work and not recognize it as such.

The discovery of authentic work is best uncovered from an inspired state of mind – so that the discovery is more likely to be in authentic alignment with its creator.

What state of being do you find most productive and enjoyable? Think of a time when you were in the zone and eagerly creating. You were on a roll. How would you describe that state of mind when the unknown is more a delightful wonder than something to fear?

What’s your attitude like when you can’t wait to begin work? Many employees wonder if they’ll ever experience eagerly rolling out of bed whistling a happy tune as they arise on a workday. But we self-employed know that both our disposition and our destiny is up to us. We are at choice and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So if you’ve yet to find your authentically delightful work, here’s a new process I’m advising you to try. First, begin your discovery work from the disposition of inspired confidence. Inspired confidence works because you are eagerly driven. You are so clearly in the present moment because there is no place you’d rather be. The future is of no stressful concern to you, and the past no longer has any hold on you.

Attaining the Flow of Inspired Confidence

  1. Choose an objective that really turns you on. It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to fire you up. For example, perhaps you too would like to bounce eagerly out of bed every workday.
  2. Imagine in detail how you’d feel in the midst of living your objective. See yourself boldly acting and joyously creating. Feel the inspiration pouring through your mind and being. Imagine each of your five senses in detail, to make the imagined experience vibrant.
  3. From that inspired state, delve more deeply into discovery by asking this series of questions.
    • What small step could I take today that would get me closer to my objective?
    • What could I create this week that would positively alter my perspective?
    • If I must choose today, what work would I begin doing in the hopes that it could develop into work that I love?
  4. Write down your answers and boldly follow through. Without some beginning, you’ll remain at rest. By walking down some corridor, you don’t know what wonderful doors may open. In 1998, I was speaking before a business audience and a guy approached me after the talk to ask if I’d ever done any life coaching. At that time, I wasn’t even aware that the profession existed. And if I hadn’t become a speaker, I would not have stumbled onto my life’s work.

When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.
Joseph Campbell

We hear often how it’s the journey that counts, not the destination. Have you ever wondered why? Often just the possibility of delightful work is enough to raise our spirits to a somewhat inspired state. Just the possibility enhances our emotional reserve so our internal dial can stay tuned to joy and the expectation of greater joy. That’s enough to attract others who want some of that joy to rub off on them. From there you are on your way.

When our work is discovered while in a state of inspired confidence, it feels joyful. What’s created in joy and enjoyed has a much higher probability of remaining joyful. If you are not already experiencing your bliss, are you willing to give this a shot? If you are already enjoying delightful work, please tell us how you found it.

What’s Good About Being Challenged?

I just read a powerfully stimulating post by Slade Roberson at Shift Your Spirits. Read his latest post, What’s Wrong with What You Want?
Slade said, “Your most challenging moments are what defines you — your senses of empowerment and spiritual development become most apparent during the tests, trials, and tribulations.”

I believe he’s suggesting that when challenged, we show our true mettle because we are called then to rise up and meet the challenge.

This caused me to wonder. Is challenge natural? We often resist challenge, or at least the struggle that comes with it. But upon further reflection, I wonder if the stimulation within the call to action is what we craved all along. I think this is what we mean when we use the old saying, “It’s all good!”

For example, take the employee who abhors the lack of autonomy in his job. Doesn’t he really love to hate it so that he’ll eventually use the energy of that hate to finally make his move to the freedom of self-employment? Or take the freelancer who wants more work that she loves to do. Doesn’t she complain about the less challenging work so much that she stops the flow of it?

If challenge is natural, perhaps we could save ourselves some stress and struggle by simply making more authentic decisions and committing to following through. Perhaps the more direct route to getting what we want is to embrace the challenging situations in our lives by inviting them, instead of avoiding them.

So how about you? What’s most natural to you? Do you feel more yourself at ease or in action?

Could this change at how we look at challenge actually get us more of what we say we want?

If health and wealth is the natural state of affairs in the universe, then why do so many of us seem to make it so difficult to allow abundance in our lives?

Could it be that we actually want to be tested so much so that we create the necessary drama to rise above it? What do you think?