Archives for August 2010

The Curse of Too Much Time Off

As a career coach, I’m often coaching folks in transition. Perhaps they’ve been laid off or they’ve cashed out and taken early retirement. Some take sabbaticals or extended disability leave, to get a clearer perspective on their life’s work. So far so good.

These folks all have a few things in common. They are in the enviable yet temporary position of having the time to think, without the pressure of earning new money any time soon.

So what do they do? They celebrate. They go overboard enjoying their freedom. Then a few months down the road, they start to panic because they still need to make a right work decision.

Then the real trouble begins. They start thinking too much. Too much thinking, with too little action, spoils a good time. Before they know it they’ve placed themselves in the unnecessary danger of wasting their wonderful opportunity.

I understand what contributes to this crazy behavior. Most folks have lots of unpleasant and unfulfilling work memories.

If this is you, I get it. I know that you may have never felt so free and alive when working and you do deserve a break.

I also know that you sense that there must be something better out there. Some of you even harbor secret thoughts of making your emancipation permanent by seizing the freedom of self-employment.

Some of you eventually get around to talking to a career coach, like myself, who specializes in career exploration and in building a true calling inspired business.

But here is the key. Most of you wait too long to get down to the serious decision-making. Why is that?

My theory is that your work memories are so challenging that you have put all future work in the same basket. You judge all work as something to be avoided and that makes you want to delay the process as long as possible.

Of course a calling isn’t like that. Your true calling is the work you were meant to do. But even a true calling inspired business, is better built in a relaxed, non-pressured environment.

You can’t really take a break from life. Making the right decision is an active process. Taking time off from work, can work for you, if you leverage it so that you know more about your options as your time off dwindles.

You might think you are putting off the decision to relieve tension but the more you avoid the decision the more tension you create.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is this. Anxiety is my friend. It signals a call to wiser action. It’s telling me to turn into the very storm that I want to run from. It’s telling me to drop down deep into my body and feel.

Already self-employed business owners do the same thing. You might have a strong hunch of a needed change but you avoid it because un-embraced anxiety feels scarier than the status quo.

Use your available time as the blessing it is. It’s only a curse if you squander it and invite pressure where there was once only curiosity.

Can you recall a time where you would have been better off to get right down to making a decision sooner?

If you’d like professional coaching, on turning into the storm and making your biggest life and work decisions, contact me and let’s talk. Your freedom waits.

Hope Floats … Temporarily

Hope sometimes gets a bad rap in self-development circles.

Our culture is way too heavily influenced by parental programming, cautioning us not to get our hopes up.

I think that hope is an essential prerequisite for all new business creators.

Despair, disbelief, discouragement and pessimism are all antonyms for hope. Could you even consider starting a new business from that mindset? I know I couldn’t.

Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That’s what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will… Sandra Bullock as Birdee Pruitt in the movie Hope Floats.

How glorious it would have been to have such an encouraging mom.

Her momma knew that hope provides a necessary lift of positive expectancy.

Hope is the glue that bonds ideas to action.

Hope is the bridge between authenticity and prosperity. In the early days of new business development there is little else to hold onto when actual results are scarce.

Yet you’ll starve if hope is the only staple in your encouragement diet. Hope by nature is fleeting and provides only temporary sustenance. At some point you must act in order to experience actual, not just imagined, movement.

Yes hope floats! Hope works because it stimulates our original inspiration. This gift is our natural desire of authentic expression within.

But inspiration must be harnessed within a certain period of time, before your “realistic” mind, begins over-thinking your lack of results and your dominant thought becomes self-doubt.

In my career and new business development coaching, this realization is missing for those folks who always feel as though they have too many interests to select one idea.

So they remain suffering within the safety of an endless loop of temporary inspiration and non-action, while hoping that the next idea will have enough lift to be their one true calling.

I’ve also seen this fruitless cycle perpetuated by long time self-help book readers, who mistake end of the book anxiety as the tension-relieving call to get lost within the next book.

But that anxiety is really your call to action. End-of-the-book anxiety is the same anxiety that calls you when your hope is about to expire. Right there, at that point of raw potential, you must act. It’s the only way to get what you want.

Everything in your mind and body is screaming run but right then only a charge will work.

It reminds me of this inspirational clip from the movie Gettysburg where Joshua Chamberlin lead the charge of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Hope is wasted if it doesn’t lead to action. Action leads to gems of original realization and these enlightening treasures are only granted to those who act.

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 them 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 short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in 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 know neither victory nor defeat.

If you’d like to find a point of original inspiration then join me on August 18, 2010, 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET for this free phone class.

Life Purpose + Self-Employment = Freedom, Prosperity & Fulfillment: How to Get Your Hopes Up & Remain Inspired About Succeeding In Your Own Business