Archives for August 2008

Time to Walk Away?

One of the most challenging aspects of career transitioning from work that feels like work, to work that you love, is temporarily letting go of the money. It’s just as challenging, when you’re already self-employed and transitioning from an established income stream to one that’s more delightful but temporarily less lucrative.

Even long-time proponents of authentic work can go for the easy money in moments of temporary insanity. I’ve clearly known my core values since 1998 yet just 18 months ago I lost my mind and made a decision unaligned with my values to pick some low hanging fruit. It paid well for a while and I told myself that I’d just work it a few hours a week until I built up a financial reserve. But a funny thing happened, even though financially, my overall situation improved, I began to resent the source of this windfall. I wrestled with myself for months and could not come to a satisfactory decision. So as it often does, life provided a decision for me. I had many less-costly opportunities to let go but I did it the hard way because the fear of letting go was greater than the unknown good on the horizon.

I’m writing about this now because of a comment on my last post on Honoring Commitments from fellow self-employed blogger Cath Lawson. Be sure to visit her blog, for some bold and wise business advice.

Here are the relevant parts of Cath’s comment.
Hi Tom, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. One of the main reasons I struggle to honour my commitments sometimes, is that I’ll let one horrid task overwhelm me to the point I won’t look at my to do list. It’s something I’m really struggling with. I think I really need to work on getting over the horrid task thing. Most of the ones I dread are connected to a past business. And I think it’s the connections I have the problem with, as opposed to the actual task.

Did you grasp the meaning in her comment? It’s not the tasks that Cath dreads doing but the emotional connections to those tasks. Often when we make a career transition there is residual fallout. There’s stuff we think we need to hang onto and cleanup because it appears to make good business and financial sense. But we all know that appearances can be tricky.

I’m not sure if this is the case in Cath’s situation because I haven’t coached her on it but it certainly was the case in mine. Sometimes it’s better to walk away and forget trying to get over something. Sometimes a clean break is the soundest financial decision.

Once my unaligned decision began to feel like an obligation I should have eaten my losses and made a clean break. That’s what my inner guidance was telling me but I was holding on only for the money and that’s a decision that’s doomed to failure. This once lucrative cash stream became what Thomas Leonard called a toleration.

When you put up with something, it costs you; unnecessary costs are unattractive. Let’s define tolerations as things that bug us, sap our energy and could be eliminated! Tolerations drain you. They make you feel less attractive to yourself. Thomas Leonard

In his excellent book, The Portable Coach: 28 Sure Fire Strategies For Business And Personal Success, Leonard goes on to explain that we unknowingly install tolerations to slow down our personal growth because when we slow down, we are less frightened. However putting up with anything that we could do something about is damaging to our emotional and spiritual well-being. Often we are turning our back on our own inner guidance because we don’t feel ready to make a clean break from a less than authentic past. Yet every time we ignore our own inner guidance it’s like poking a hole in our soul.

How perforated is your soul these days?

What are you putting up with that you could let go of?

Where have you ignored repeated opportunities to make a clean break?

Are you holding on somewhere, just for the money?

If you are, you may want to ask yourself. “What’s the total cost of this ongoing emotional wrestling match? Might the actual cost of walking away now be less?”

How to Honor Your Commitments

honor your commitments with heartHonor your commitments full consciousness by understanding both the value of success and the consequences of dishonoring your commitment.

Commitment is not a seed that you can bury and forget about. The successful development of commitment requires the care of conscious wisdom and the honor of high self-regard.

In this post we considered the Viking-like commitment of burning their boats at the shore. We saw that commitment is only as strong as the decision that preceded it and the process that develops it.

Two things stop most committers:

1. Poor decision-making skills leading up to the commitment and

2. An effective process for following through on the commitment.

Today I’ll share a process that will guide to honor your commitments.

To commit means to be morally bound to do. To bind oneself and pledge oneself is a decision of honor. It’s this level of principled accountability that most need to begin applying to their self-pledges more often.

Are you more likely to honor a commitment made to another than a promise you’ve made to yourself? If so why do you respect yourself less?

It will be well worth your while to consider that question. Participants in a recent phone class did and they all committed to something that was dear to them. I’m inviting you to do the same. Commit to something and use this process to bring it home.

For example let’s say you’ve always wanted to quit your job and start your own business. There are many small steps you could commit to in preparation.

You could even start by reading my free book: Choosing Your Ideal Business.  It will show you how to decide with confidence and eliminate fears about not making enough money.

Let’s walk through this four-step commitment honoring process.

1). Deliberately choosing your commitments.

Use this step to determine what specifically you ought to commit to now. Answer these questions to flush out something that really matters to you.

What decisions have I been putting off?

What’s one life situation that deserves greater consciousness than I’ve been giving it?

2). Making a strong, inspired decision.

It’s much easier to make and keep a commitment when we deeply believe that our investment in time and attention will pay off in a big way. Thus it’s important to understand exactly what making this commitment will mean to you.

Write down the highest value point of inspiration and enthusiasm.

Ask yourself, “What about succeeding with this commitment will make me very happy?”

Ask yourself, “How exactly will it enhance my life?”

Write down a bold declaration of intent.

Read it often and imagine the joyful, enhanced qualities of your life as you read.

3). Understanding the downside.

What’s the downside to not following through on this commitment?

Be very clear on the consequences of dishonoring something that you said was important to you.

How might that affect you adversely? Feel the pain of that dishonor now and use it to recommit. Although looking at the downside now can hurt, it pales in comparison to the pain dishonor causes down the road. If you can’t stand the heat…..

4). Raising the probability of following through all the way to success.

The first thing you need to do is to break the commitment down into something you can definitely achieve in this first week. Momentum is extremely important to establish early.

What precise milestone would I be excited to achieve this week?

If I’ve committed to a similar objective previously and failed, what were all the contributing factors to that failure? How might I respond differently this time?

What else can I do to raise my probability of success?

You could make far fewer promises and commit to honoring all of them. “No thank you” is a complete sentence and a very wise response. Too often we dilute our focus and energy by saying “yes” without full consideration.

You’ll raise your probability of success by writing your commitments down in a sacred place.

You’ll raise your probability of success by expecting success. Ask yourself now; “Do I expect to succeed with this commitment?” If not then ask, “What would cause me to expect success?” Do that thing.

You’ll raise your probability of success by investing in frequent focus and by taking frequent action. Action changes consciousness and perspective.

No problem is solved in the same consciousness that created it. Einstein

You’ll raise your probability of success by holding yourself in high regard.
We raise our self-regard by making our own well being a priority.

You’ll raise your probability of success by making wise, in-the-moment decisions that deliberately bring your commitment to mind.

How can I further guarantee that I’ll honor this commitment?

You can guarantee your own success by using all four realms of your power to act as if success were already a reality.

You can guarantee your own success by creating an environment of support. Often we can adjust our physical environments and call on our network so that our surroundings pull us along to success without so much pushing effort.

Understand in advance that your commitment may be challenged by you poor habits, past programming and the careless comments of others. But that doesn’t count for squat. What counts is your decision to be the man or woman you are and honor your commitments as declared.
Be bold and decide that regardless of those challenges you are determined to complete this commitment.

What has worked well for you in honoring your commitments?

What aspects of this process are screaming out to you for attention?

Everything Counts So Make It Count

In a creative Universe every thought, word, feeling and deed is somehow combined and coalesced to return to us the predominant focus of our attention.

There’s been a lot written both for and against the Law of Attraction. Yet most folks don’t disagree that somehow the predominance of what we think about, feel, talk about and take action on, all coalesces and comes about.

Random happens only when we are unaware of our power to influence outcomes.

Since every thought, feeling, word and deed combines to create the life we experience, it’s wise to increase our awareness in order to observe what we are thinking, feeling, saying and doing. This increased consciousness has been called deliberate creation or intentional manifestation. It’s important not to let this debate about the law of Attraction get in the way of using what works. Our thoughts, feelings and words do attract like experiences and so do our actions.

This could be why many disagree with attraction presented as if it’s a law or a principle. It appears to over-emphasize less actionable capabilities like thinking, feeling and speaking without giving appropriate credit to doing. All four count, all the time, even the stalwart doer will tell you he’s more effective when he’s enthused and speaks more confidently.

Everything counts, nothing is missed; all four creatively imprint our experience and the wild card is our spiritual alignment (meaning how close we are to the work we were meant to).

Each of us operates in four realms of power, and the choice is ours to do so deliberately – or be less than aware and create unintentionally. It’s obvious that unintentional creation is more hit and miss. Conscious creation is simply choosing how you use your power in all four realms, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.

Let’s look at how an employee could deliberately increase the probability of success in making the move to the freedom of self-employment.

Intentional four realms creators:

Dig to discover the work they were meant to do. An aligned calling exists for each of us and the closer we get to it, the more creatively effective and efficient we are.

Deliberately choose thoughts that most matched their deepest desires and boldly express those thoughts. If you really want the freedom of self-employment then you’ll be well served to cease thinking how miserable you are in your job. Instead think and express how your job likely holds the key to your freedom.

Deliberately feel as though those desires were already a reality. Imagine how grand you’ll feel calling your own shots and what a wonderful boss you’ll soon be to yourself.

Strategically take actions that are most likely to accelerate their progress towards those chosen desires. There is always a small step you can take that will get you closer to what you want. Take it with every confidence that it is coalescing with your thoughts, feelings and words to move you closer to seizing the opportunity that’s right for you.

Everything’s connected. People come into our sphere of influence for mutual learning experiences. Situations are drawn to us to give us the opportunity to respond to them in new and different ways. Something or someone in your job is there to show you how to grow beyond it.

Everything counts, it’s all connected, we’re all connected, how could it be any other way?

Everything counts. So wise up and make it count.

The Prize Is the Pursuit

Many who claim that they want the freedom, fulfillment and prosperity of being their own boss, actually don’t believe that it’s possible for them. If they did they’d at least be in pursuit of self-employment happiness. Our United States forefathers, in our Declaration of Independence wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

They understood that happiness is something to be pursued. The truly valuable prize is found in the decision to pursue and is the pursuit itself. Many feel that the greater value and joy is the pursuit, is the journey, than the destination.

Why is the prize the pursuit?

1). When in pursuit of something you have already made the decision to go for it and thus you believe that it’s possible for you.

2). While focused in the pursuit you are fully in the present moment, which is your only point of creative power.

Waiting is a state of mind. Basically it means that you want the future; you don’t want the present. —- Eckhart Tolle

3). In the movement of pursuit our perspective changes and we can see opportunities that we were previously blind to. It’s called the corridor theory. In 1998 I was speaking at the downtown Pittsburgh Business Library. After the talk, a guy came out of the audience and asked me if I’d ever done any coaching. At that time I hadn’t, yet if I had not walked down the corridor of professional speaking, the door to greater delightful work would not have opened.

4). In pursuit we often stumble, but our mistakes hold rich meaning because we now have an understanding from which we can adjust. Before pursuit, at best, our effort is a mind game of untested theories and assumptions.

In this post I discussed how to get beyond the excuses that stop us from pursuing the liberty of self-employment.

Of course we can apply this wisdom to more than declaring our freedom from the tyranny of employment.

It can be applied to anything we say we want that we are not yet actively pursuing.

I believe that Teddy Roosevelt said it best.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. Teddy Roosevelt

Are you in the arena or still watching from the sidelines?

Have you experienced the value of being in pursuit of your happiness?

How To Start Over

Starting Over Do you know how to start over so it takes this time? An important part of your life or business is crying out for a fresh new start. There’s something magically freeing about wiping the slate clean and beginning new again – but we often waste that magic by stopping short of completion.

Some question their inherent capabilities after repeatedly failing to produce a desired result. Yet life coaching has taught me that there is nothing wrong with you, your capabilities or with starting over. What’s usually lacking is the faulty process that you’ve used. After this five-minute read you’ll know an effective process for starting over and successfully completing.

A fresh start comes ready made with fresh hope that this time things will turn out better and they will, if you’ll use this process that focuses your fresh start energy for maximum advantage.

Many folks attempt geographical fresh starts. Others get excited with the newness of a fresh relationship. Some get their kicks from cracking open a crisp new book. At least half of us have started diets and exercise programs dozens of times. With every fresh start we blindly hope that this time will be different. By why should it? A fresh start alone doesn’t guarantee different results.

Increased awareness while working this how to start over process will produce different results. The necessary ingredients are awareness, commitment, action, frequency, redemption and completion. Answer the question(s) next to the ingredient to work this process.

1) Awareness. What part of my life would most benefit from a totally fresh start? What realizations have I come to from my previous attempts in this area? If I’ve truly learned these lessons, then what do I intend to do differently this time?
2) Commitment. Why is the decision to commit to this change the most important commitment I’m making this month? (If it’s not important enough to drive eager involvement for at least a month, then you may want to choose again.) Looking forward 30 days, how will I feel having successfully followed through to completion? Write out a celebratory script in full five-sense detail. If you aren’t really fired up on day one, it likely doesn’t have enough energy to sustain your focus.
3) Action. What are three small steps I can take in the next three days to jumpstart my momentum? Take them one-a-day over the next three days.
4) Frequency. That leaves 27 days, looking at where I want to be on day 30 and back planning, what are 14 possible actions I could take? Take one of these actions every other day. You can change the specific actions once you get going. But if you begin with a pool of actions to choose from you will have increased your probability of success significantly. Frequency is often the missing ingredient in a faulty process.
5) Redemption. We cannot go back in time but we can stop the energy drain of past mistakes by arriving at a place of higher self-regard. Redemption, in this case, is the act of fulfilling a pledge to ourselves that we’ve failed to fulfill previously. By making amends we repair our own self-esteem and prove that we are competent to life. What specific end result would be self-redeeming and make me very proud?
6) Completion. Here’s where you claim the prize (benefit of your main completion) for following through. Imagining this prize is what created the desire for a fresh new start in the beginning. Make sure that this prize is meaningful and valuable to you. What prize will enthusiastically hold my focus for 30 days?

Now that you know how to start over are you going to seize this opportunity? There are no limits to the number of times you can start fresh. You can completely start anew over and over again. Inspiration doesn’t deplete itself. It’s a naturally renewing resource.

Come alive to your greater glory – commit to starting over today.
You can do it and you’ll be glad you did.

Contact you starting over life coach to make a strong start today.

Big Life Lessons and Hitting Bottom

Do we really have to hit bottom to learn our big life lessons? Instead couldn’t we simply choose to stop the downward slide a little early and learn the lesson before major damage is done?

Inertia being what it is, we are all in a downward spiral in some area of our life. The big question is what to do about it?

You don’t want to catch a break.

When things were tough my Dad was always hopeful of catching a break. But the trouble with catching breaks is you’re putting your faith in the random generosity of others. Wanting to catch a break is a passive position where you are not in charge of creating your own good. Instead I’d rather know where they are tossing breaks so that I can put myself in position to receive one. Better yet why not make your own breaks?

No pain, no gain is bull.

Instead of catching a break how about you catching you? Once during drunken horseplay with fraternity brothers I fell head first and backwards over a third floor landing. I flipped completely over and somehow reached up at the last minute and grabbed on to a railing to break my fall. To the delight of my fellow inebriated brothers I landed on my feet and they cheered for an encore.

Couldn’t we decide at any time to stop our fall and land on our feet?

Just because we usually wise up after a great deal of struggle and adversity, we aren’t obligated to only learn so dramatically. The trouble with hitting bottom is it’s a long and painful way down. We really don’t have to fall that far to decide that it’s time to change course.

Invite the big lesson.

Most likely our next big lesson has been swimming in and out of our awareness for some time now. We can choose to invite it to surface and then pay attention. Here’s how to consciously look for your big lesson and put it on your plate. Answer these questions.

If I had a big lesson to learn right now, what might it be?

What have others in the same boat learned that could be useful to me?

In which area of my life is my current course simply not working well?

What are five new and different approaches I could try to turn things around?

Big life lessons are there because we have put them there. Some part of us attracts challenging situations so we can realize the life-changing big lesson and move on. But we aren’t obligated to repeat third grade three times to learn our lessons. I think we can even skip a grade by becoming more conscious of our big lessons as they first come into view. Why not grab the bull by the horns the first time it pokes you?

What do you think?

What do you think about hitting bottom and big life lessons?

“Whatever” Sucks – Commitment Rocks

How might your life change if you truly, deeply committed to every decision you made?

Have you noticed that more and more people are trying to skate by with a lack of commitment to anything? Rather than thinking, deciding and committing, many seem to take what they think is the easy way out – avoiding, procrastinating and riding the fence.

The other day my soon-to-be ex-girlfriend dishonored me with a cowardly “whatever” in response to a suggestion I made. “Whatever” really pisses me off. “Whatever” comes across as: “I’m not willing to expend the energy to tell you whether I agree with you or not – you aren’t worth the respect of a considered reply.”

If that’s the case, why not have the guts to simply say so instead of hiding behind the cowardly non-commitment of whatever?

How many of your decisions are made with the no-turning-back determination and commitment of a Viking crew burning their boat?

A decision is a position one reaches after consideration.
A commitment is a pledged course of action that carries the strength of a guarantee.
Yet a commitment is only as good as the decision that preceded it.
When decisions are reached without determination and consideration they are too weak to benefit from the engagement of commitment.
How might your life change if considered every decision and committed deeply to them?
Certainly you’d fail less by being truly committed more often. When we have difficulty keeping our promises to ourselves we often look to make productivity adjustments. But the core issue may go deeper than that. Perhaps productivity and performance problems do not stem from a lack of discipline or accountability. Perhaps the core issue is the decision that preceded the commitment.
Thoughtful consideration and considered, sacred committing every time would result in making far fewer commitments and following-through on far more of them.

There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There’s no such thing as a life in-between. Pat Riley

I wish we all had the benefit of being coached by Mr. Riley. Then so many of us wouldn’t act like there was a third option – indecision.
The failure to make a decision often expends more energy than the work it takes to follow through on one.

When making a career change many are afraid of making the wrong choice. But what we really ought to be afraid of is wasting our lives putting off decisions we know we need to make.

It’s impossible to commit to an unmade decision.

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. Carlos Castaneda

As an advocate of work life freedom and happiness through authentic expression, I often see people hesitate to make their move. They hesitate for many reasons but what really stops them is a failure to definitely commit.

There’s no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love. There is only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen. Wayne Dyer

Committing to an original and magnificent dream is a very courageous decision. It’s no less courageous than committing to a lifetime with one man or one woman. Yet this commitment is between your authentic self, and your pledge on how you will serve the world.

Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. Janis Joplin

You might ask, how do I find that level of courage? The answer is practice and increased awareness. Do practice telling the truth to yourself about yourself. Make decisions and follow through on every one of them both large and small. Raise your awareness of all the options when deciding. Practice by telling people what you really think of their suggestions. Say no thank you, more often when that’s really what you want. By strengthening our commitment muscle on the little decisions we are more apt to be strong when it really counts.

Strength is a matter of the made-up mind. John Beecher

Here’s the kicker. We all are waffling on something. Our conditioning is to avoid conflict and we mistakenly think we can put off essential decisions. We cannot. We may think that we are can avoid committing by putting off deciding. But we’re fooling ourselves. What we really want is to stand up and follow-through.

What commitment do you most need to make today?

Trusting Brevity

I trust brevity because it’s evident.

What you see is what you get.

Clarity and decisiveness inspire confidence.

Brevity doesn’t waste my time or make me work for something that may be nothing.

I trust brevity because it gives greater meaning and more time to ponder.

Less is more because I can take it or leave it.

What do you think?