To Hell With What They Say

I’m a 270-pound, 59 year old, with two ankle fusions, who is in training to play one more game of rugby.  Often they ask, why subject yourself to the very thing that destroyed all the cartilage in your ankles?  istock_000003152335xsmall2

What they may never understand is that while playing rugby I feel most like myself.  Most of my deeply fulfilling flow experiences have come on the rugby pitch.

I wonder, what’s your one more rugby game?

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.
Howard Thurman

There is great value in doing something organic to who you are.  There is great honor in deciding – screw them.  Be.  Stand tall in your own skin.

A life of engaged authenticity carries great benefits and rewards.   Somehow this choice of authentic bliss extends to other areas of our lives.

The demonstration of unique self-honor creates an attractive self-confidence that cannot be created in less genuine ways.  It’s that bona fide self-confidence that makes us feel competent to life, as though we really fit the game of life.

Somewhere in your life right now is a dream, a passion, a quest or simply an enjoyable pastime that you may have set aside because “they” said that you should.  To hell with them!  Be your own bad ass self and dust off your true desires.

True callings need no further explanation.  They don’t need to make sense to anyone.

Can you imagine how beautifully different our world would be if everybody said? “To hell with them, I’m going for it! ”

I talked to a right livelihood client this morning that is terrified of discovering a vocation that would require further schooling.   In my post Screw Going Back to School I talked about this myth that someone else knows better than you do, what’s really good for you.

Ideal careers and businesses are more often created than found.  Creators don’t need further education because creators credential and qualify themselves.

Sure, really going for it is scary as hell but there is a version of you deep within who does not want to settle in any aspect of your life.  That bold being wants to experience all the necessary bumps, disappointments and scrapes on the way to really living.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming  ‘WOW-What a Ride!'”
Robert Wickman

There may be a time for caution but from what I’ve seen, caution is only a self-constructed cage that delays courage and holds back the real freedom of living.

What is your one more rugby game?  Will you commit to playing it?

Loving Your Work is Overrated

Every once in awhile, a new idea, explodes a concept that I previously thought was rock solid. Regular readers won’t be surprised that I’ve written 11 previous posts tagged with work that you love.

laptoplady11I’ve known that money doesn’t always follow finding work that we love, but now I have greater understanding.

Now I’m seeing that loving your work is, quite possibly, extremely overrated.  My friend, Egbert Sukop, in his new book, How to Better Hate Your Job, blew up my mind with these excerpts.

When I choose more often what I want to do, it is more likely I’ll make more money.  What you want to do is NOT identical with doing what you love.  Love in regards to business and work is so overrated.

Self-determination is key.  And so is a series of continued choices and course adjustments versus vegetating along the rusty tracks of a decision you made years ago.  Making a lot of choices is likely to lead you to making better choices, with some of them possibly leading to more money.  Egbert Sukop

Perhaps I was already aware of this distinction when I wrote this in a popular post on seizing the freedom of self-employment. “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.”

This concept is still formulating for me, so I could use your help in thinking it through.  Here’s why I think Egbert is onto something big.

Doing work we want to do, is so much simpler than searching for work that we love to do.  Simply doing work that we choose, because we want to, takes the pressure off.

Doing work that we want to do, permits the ongoing possibility of mistake making.  Making mistakes is no big deal because we can just change our minds when we are doing what we want to do.

I coach many clients on right career and right business discovery and the pressure they put on themselves has much to do with how they think true calling ought to feel.  If the horns of angels and blinding white light don’t announce their epiphanies, they often question their discoveries.

Identifying work that we love to do, is a much higher standard that comes with huge expectations.  High expectations often lead to second-guessing and disappointment.

Consider how challenging it is to continue loving our loved ones.  Many people believe they aren’t at choice when it comes to loving their relatives. That lie gives us a clue as to why loving our work is such an unnecessarily high standard.

Doing work we want to do feels more carefree and unencumbered.  Doing feels more attainable than loving because of the lightness of choice built right into it.

It’s that choice to change our mind and frequently do whatever the hell we want to do, that leads to the only real freedom there is.  The freedom to say no thank you and choose anew.

Resources:

Juliet du Preez at Life Made Great, interviewed  me and published it today.  Juliet asked some piercing questions check it out.

Juliet was bold enough to try something new and participate in one of my exploratory group coaching experiences.  If you’d like to exercise your boldness join us: Creating the Life & Business You Most Want; A Bold Process for Authoring Your Own Life Now!

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.

Get Real about Your Work

Somehow we have lost our way when it comes to our work. Most of us may believe that it’s possible to enjoy delightful work, but how much of our work is actually delightful?

Woman in Field

Some feel that work can all be like play and others feel that some of it needs to be like work. That’s what I examined in this post, Work as Play? I keep changing my mind on that one but that’s not what I want to address in this post. Or do I?

First, I want to ask this question.

Why do we complicate the things that matter the most to us? Specifically, why do we needlessly complicate creating a life of delightful work? (If you’re thinking, “I don’t complicate having delightful work, it’s just that I ________ {fill in the blank}….” then that’s what I mean by complicating it. For example, having reasons why you don’t have a life of delightful work is “complicating” it.)

Is it because we fear the change so much that the complication is a defense to delay it?

Or do we really, deep down, not think that delightful work is possible for us?

Or, are we really that afraid of our own brilliance or of our unique success?

Do you agree that the answer to delightful work is found within? Then why do we look to others for answers? Aren’t we the better source of wisdom in our own lives? What fears arise in you when you examine the possibility of totally delightful work?

That raises another question. Is it really the happiness and fulfillment of delightful work that we want or is it freedom from having to work at all that most attracts us?

For example, I think it’s interesting that so many of us coaches and bloggers seek to develop streams of passive income. What’s that about? We could say that we just want our bliss to be shared with a larger audience, and there could be some truth to that. But let’s get real here. Let’s talk about what we hope to gain.

Do we really want to become Internet info-marketers? Not that there is anything wrong with that. But is that your passion? Are you seeking delightful work or the positional advantage of not having to work at all? If you’re really looking for a way to earn money from not being physically present, is this an objective or an evasion? Is the work that we do so uninspiring that we are driven to develop ways of evading it?

I only pose these difficult questions because I’m asking them of myself right now.

Let’s dig deeper and get real about our work. Perhaps we could take a deep breath and start fresh with our examination?

In our work we ought to experience as much joy as we possibly can. Can we agree on that as a starting point? In my welcoming message I wrote: Delightful work is: amusing, attractive, captivating, clever, engaging, enjoyable, fascinating, gratifying, luscious and thrilling. Captivating, engaging, enjoyable and fascinating! That’s how I’d like to work more often. Here’s a confession. I write about delightful work and not all of my work is delightful. But whose responsibility is that? It certainly can’t be anyone else’s but mine.

I already do enjoy the freedoms that I care the most about, the freedoms of self-expression and self-determination.

The freedom of self-expression allows us to openly say whatever we want about our work. The freedom of self-determination is enjoying the option to be completely at choice as to when, how, with whom, where and on what you work. It is even the freedom of choosing whether to work or not.

Is this drive to develop info-marketing products really our way of seizing the freedom of self-determination? Does this really mean that we want to be free from the obligation of work? Do we really want to be free to choose whether or not we work at all? It’s really interesting to see what remains when we completely remove money and its accompanying self-created pressures from the equation. If you did that, what would remain?

Would your work life look different than it does now?

How specifically would it look different?

What would you immediately drop? Add?

What would you do more off? Less off?

Would you be working more or less? Would you be working at all?

Would you still be trying to build your opt-in list, sell your eBooks and become a successful info-marketer? Or, if money were no longer an issue, would you even care about that anymore?

What would be the central theme of your work? Why don’t we find out?

Excellent, then let’s do an exercise to remove the need for money completely from our work and see what remains.

You’ll need your imagination, a timer, blank paper and a pen or pencil. Set the timer for four minutes and start it when cued to do so. Get that stuff and come back to reading. It will be well worth your while. Ready?

Here’s the scenario. Imagine you’ve received a registered letter from a venture capital investment firm. They represent a large conglomerate that wants to buy the complete rights to an original idea of yours. There is no negotiation. They are offering you 3.7 million dollars. As you read on, you see that there is a catch in the form of some very peculiar terms. The letter will self-destruct within four minutes and the offer will be withdrawn – unless you complete an exercise exactly as instructed. You are being asked to open an envelope and as you do your four minutes will begin.

In the envelope is one instruction. You must write down the whole truth about the work you intend to do once the issue of money is gone. Tell the truth and the money is yours. Otherwise you get zip. Ready? Pick up your pencil and start the timer.

First you may have been tempted to fix a few other things in your life. But after you purchased the home and car, after you traveled the world, after you were generous with charities, friends and family. Now what? What about your work?

What did you write? How will your work be different? I’m betting that your answers are more real than the work you are now doing. I’ll share my answers in the first comment and I’d be honored if you share yours as well.

The bad news is that no one is waiting to offer you 3.7 million dollars. The good news is that you now have a blueprint to follow to do the work you were meant to do. By doing so, you have raised the probability of making your work delightful and of earning your own 3.7 million dollars. The only question is this: Will you use this blueprint or will you go back to following your fears instead of your own inner wisdom?

Will you please honor yourself and do this exercise? Will you honor yourself (and all of us) even further by commenting and sharing what you actually came up with?

In case you’re wondering, I found the writing of this post to be completely delightful.

Seize Your Personal Greatness!

Are you willing to stop playing small and get on with seizing your certain greatness?

“I’ve often said that the only thing standing between me and my greatness is me.” Woody Allen

Warning! At the end of this post is a somewhat brutal exercise designed to shock you into uncovering years of garbage so you can see your greatness. Do not read all the way to the end unless you are ready to courageously face what you’ll discover.

Have you always believed that you are destined for personal greatness?Eagle

Regardless of your answer. I’m asking you to go for your greatness without delay.

If you are not yet taking steps towards your greatness – what are you doing with your life? What’s the point in continuing to live safely in mediocrity, fear or confusion?

“People are where they are because that is exactly where they really want to be – whether they will admit that or not.” Earl Nightingale

Personal greatness is a choice – and we even get to choose what it means to us.

Greatness is found by walking down the corridor of your uniqueness; and to realize that greatness, it’s necessary to smash through the door of conformity. Standing at the threshold of that door is when you’ll feel your strongest fear.

Are you choosing your greatness, or are you afraid of it?

When you ponder the idea of personal greatness, what fears arise? Are they fears of success or of failure? Imagining these fears does not allow you to be powerfully present. These fears shackle you as the victim you’ve become, in a future that is yet to be.

“Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.” Fernando Flores

Consider this. If you aren’t deliberately working towards your greatness, then you are holding it away from you. There is no middle ground here. Your greatness is waiting for you to bring it forth. You either believe that it’s possible to be great in your chosen work or you do not.
You are either embracing your greatness or resisting it.

It’s astonishing that we all aren’t already on a definite path to greatness, because personal greatness is completely subjective. Whatever it means to you is the version of it you get to go for. You might covet the fame of celebrity, or a more personal excellence. Our uniqueness allows us to choose the version of greatness that brings us most alive.

Greatness is found by walking down the corridor of your uniqueness and to realize that greatness it’s necessary to smash through the door of conformity.

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F. Kennedy

It’s often our fear of standing out that keeps us from embracing our uniqueness and realizing our greatness. Conversely, the surest and swiftest route to greatness appears most readily to those who are comfortable flaunting their wildness. Not convinced? Then try making a case for being tame and appropriate. How has that served your deep delight and the world’s deep need?

In every aspect of living your greatness, you’d be aglow. You’d feel frequent flashes of personal magnificence while in the midst of your delightful work.

Friends, we all hold back – and as a result we end up far less than we might have been. I wanted to design an exercise that would shock me into rapidly shedding all the accumulated dross of life, so that I could see the gold buried beneath.

This exercise may seem unnecessarily brutal to some. That’s why I warned you. But its built-in urgency makes it highly effective. If you’re ready, you’ll need pencil, paper, a timer and 10 minutes to identify your buried greatness.

Imagine being locked in a room with 32-inch thick stonewalls and no way out other than a solid steel door. A ticking time bomb is set to explode within 10 minutes. It’s counting down giving you an alert every two minutes. There’s a laptop connected to the door lock and it will open if you answer correctly. You get five chances to walk out alive.

If your life depended on your ability to go within, ask for guidance and hold nothing back, what five answers would you write down to this question? Frame your responses to be about specific professions or businesses.  Dig deep for the most radically honest stuff because that’s the only way you’ll save you life!

What could I become or do that would sprout a definite seed to my certain greatness?

Go! Start the timer, pick up the pencil and write your five best guesses now. Then imagine entering them into the laptop to open the door to save your life.

Did you make it out alive? I got so viscerally absorbed in this experience that I hit a winning ticket on all five answers. I must confess that I was not taking action on any of them before this exercise. Three were old dreams and two were new realizations.

Now, what are you going to do with those answers? May I suggest that you select one and pledge to take action on it within the next 24 hours? Then take that action and you will be on the verge of seizing your greatness.

I’m challenging you to do the exercise and then comment on the accuracy of what you came up with. What did you realize as a result of being forced to save you own life?

Actually, by choosing your greatness – you truly will save your own life.

Are You Sure You’re on the Right Path?

To successfully reach an objective, we need to clearly know our exact destination and our exact starting point. Most do well enough choosing a destination. But when it comes to the starting point, have you ever started walking down the wrong path because you really weren’t sure where you were?

CompassCan we get to where we want to be when we aren’t sure where we are? Sure, we do it all the time. But that’s the struggling, costly, “wait until we hit the bottom” route. There is an easier way. A really good business startup compass would be able to point us in the right direction and start us out on the right path.

(Image by mellowhummer on Flickr, via Creative Commons license)

I use a focusing technique that’s a great right business compass if you pause long enough to check it. When we’re lost in the woods or in life, it’s wise to check our bearings before we move. Do this at the beginning of your journey and you won’t be so tuckered out at the end. Whether it’s in designing a life, finding delightful work or building a business, this method will get you started out right so you’ll have more time to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset.

Let’s say that the key to everything you needed to be aware of, work through, realize or take action on, could be found at the source of one of three paths. If that were true, wouldn’t you want to be sure of your path before starting out? Here they are.
Path in Woods

Personal Awareness Path
Personal awareness could also be described as personal enlighten-
ment, evolution, mindfulness, growth or conscious-
ness. Use the term that resonates for you. On this path we courageously work through our personal points of discomfort. Andrea Hess, Empowered Soul has written an excellent post on engaging consciousness.

(Image by Vortech on Flickr, via Creative Commons license)

Personal Productivity Path
Personal Productivity is a willingness to create and honor an accountability structure that increases the probability that you’ll frequently complete key results-producing activities.

Business Mastery Path
Business mastery is our learning path where we demonstrate a willingness to observe, evaluate, learn and adjust whatever methods, language and skills are essential for success in our chosen field.

Here’s how to read the compass.

Select a current objective where your progress might have slowed. While considering where you want to be, ask. Which path, right now, would move me closer to my destination?

Although it might seem like we need to simultaneously walk more than one path, don’t do it! That’s a sucker’s route that will weaken your focus and get you lost.

Tips & Shortcuts
If it’s a really big question or resolution, you probably need to walk the path of personal awareness. Same thing goes if you are uninspired. Get on this path and question yourself intently until you have a clear focus on what you want.

“Even though you are on the right track – you will get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

Lack of action is an excellent sign that you are on the wrong path. A path can be perfect one day and a total dead end the next. As with using a compass, we need to pause frequently to check our bearings.

If you keep telling yourself you don’t know how, then jump on the path of business mastery. It begins at your search engine. Get online and find what you need to know to make a sound business decision.

If you procrastinate or are lacking energy, validate your destination by asking questions while walking the path of personal awareness.

If you can’t seem to complete, then build a better personal productivity structure by working with an accountability buddy or a coach.

Especially in the discovery stage of seeking delightful work, business discovery hikers sometimes think they need to go back to school or somehow learn how to function in a new career – before they decide on it. These folks jump on the path of mastery before they’re sure what their destination is. That’s definitely the wrong path. It’s like studying how to ride a bike for four years before you jump on and ride.

Beware of the advice of others because they always see things from their own perspective. If they got where they are through hard work, then they may suggest that you stay on the path of personal productivity. But if you’re on the wrong path, working harder at what doesn’t work won’t get you were you are going.

Which path are you on right now? Is it the right one to get you were you want to be?


What Everybody Ought to Know About Finding Work You Love

There are nine ingredients to finding work you love and these ingredients are influencing your search whether you’re aware of them or not.

Puzzle
Nine Ingredients of Right Livelihood

The surest way to clearly hear your true work calling is to deliberately work through all nine essential ingredients by journaling your realizations and conclusions as you go.

  1. Honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.
  2. Identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural Strengths.
  3. Energize your Heart’s Desires.
  4. Flaunt your natural personality Traits (‘bad ass’ self) and feel good about it.
  5. Orient your life around your Values.
  6. Connect to a deliberate Vision that works for you.
  7. Commit to your nonnegotiable Requirements.
  8. Move through Fears and blocks that are holding you back.
  9. Discover and create Environments to thrive within.

In this post I’ll share some methods to go deep within to honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.

The masters tell us to be who we are or to be all of who we are.

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.” – Dostoevsky

But how does one go about discovering and honoring his or her core self? What’s the process? Let’s begin by understanding what our core self is. I’m referring to your essence, the heart of you or vital core, what some call your soul. According to Dictionary.com, soul is defined as follows.

Soul is the emotional part of human nature, the seat of the feelings or sentiments.

Soul is the animating principle, the essential element or part of something.

Soul is the inspirer or moving spirit of some action or movement.

I’ve found that the process of honoring my soul (core self) begins by setting the intention to carry on a lifelong dialogue. Our soul provides us with an inner compass that we can align with to become more in harmony with the life we were meant to live. Like wild geese somehow knowing when and where to fly south, our compass is just as accurate and fitting for us.

So we begin this dialogue by simply stating the sacred intention to be true to ourselves. One excellent way is to simply take a deep breath and say out loud. “I choose to be true to my core self.” Then thank your soul for getting your attention in this important matter and invite it to show you ways in which you can. You can jumpstart the process by journaling the following questions.

  1. What parts of myself have I been thus far reluctant to express?
  2. How can I honor myself and bring them out?
  3. What environments do I enjoy so much that just by being in contact with them I embody grace?
  4. What are the ways I like to work that bring me most alive?
  5. Like migrating geese, what wonderful, unseen urge is calling me?

These questions are powerful. But that sad thing is you’ll never know how powerful unless you invest the time to ask them and carry on the dialogue. This is a somewhat tricky process that can only show its gold to you in the doing of it.

“We understand why children are afraid of darkness, but why are men afraid of light? The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato

You can do one simple thing better than anyone else in the world: be yourself. When you do that, without holding back, the results are indeed magnificent. Yet that process only begins with rigorous self-examination.

In summary there are nine essential ingredients to get your search for work life happiness and freedom really cooking. Will you begin a dialogue with your soul today so this most important ingredient is present? In my next post I’ll share how to identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural strengths.

Could I Write an Entire Post Containing Only Questions?

If I wrote such a post would anyone read it? What would be the point of such a post? How could I get that point across only with questions? And how could I answer those questions only in the form of other questions?

Do you understand the value in answering questions that you don’t want to answer?

How about questions that you just can’t answer?
What about questions that you’re afraid to answer?

Can you see the tremendous value in answering them?

What questions would be so provocative that they’d inspire you to action in your quest for work life freedom?

Would answering the following questions serve you well?

What brings you alive and what are you doing about it?

What dreams have you put aside because you haven’t yet solved work life freedom or money issues?

What is the deep meaning of your work life?

Do you know what’s most missing in your work life?

What scares you the most about aligning your work with your authentic self?

Would you even know how to do that?

What do you care about so much that it hurts when you are out of alignment with it?

Which of the above questions were you compelled to answer?
Which of the above questions are you inspired and determined to answer?

What good might occur if you exercised the courage to answer every one of them?

What is really stopping you from doing so??

What’s one small action step you can take today that will move you towards the thing you most want to accomplish?

Are you willing to take that action step?

When will you take it?

If not now, when?

If you read this post, will you please comment by telling us which question you found most valuable?

What Work Would You Do Marooned On An Island?

In an earlier post, I challenged you to ask yourself some questions about what kind of work you would do if you lived on an enchanted island and the only requirement was that your work must naturally bring you alive and make your heart sing.

Isle of Delightful WorkTo make sure I was right there with you, I answered the questions myself; frankly I was surprised at what I discovered!

The questions were:

  1. What kind of work would you do?
  2. What would your unique contribution be?
  3. Who would you be?
  4. What could others say about you that they cannot say now?
  5. If you woke up tomorrow and such a miracle happened, what would you see differently?
  6. How would you feel?

Something I almost didn’t admit was that I found these questions a real challenge to answer. As a coach, I’ve lived an extremely aware life for many years. I’ve made vocational choices by following my heart since 1992 – so I was surprised at how difficult this was for me!

What happens when suddenly we have the opportunity to imagine what it would be like to live in complete vocational bliss? You may have a different experience, but mine was fascinating. When I began answering these questions, I faced a great void. My relatively safe and formerly dark hole of dreams was now illuminated. Then, once the pressure was completely off (i.e., I didn’t have to be concerned about the marketability of what I did on the enchanted isle) it felt heavily on like never before.

Why? I’m going to take a few guesses.

  1. When we finally have permission to let our wild, unrestricted selves out, when faced with freedom, we hesitate to seize it. Kind of like the animal who becomes so used to the boundaries of his cage that he still won’t cross them once the walls are down.
  2. Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say we want to find our true calling, but when faced with the actuality of following through… another level of fear arises.
  3. We really do care what others think. But when faced with living in an environment like the enchanted isle, where people are not judgmental and the only requirement is that what you do brings you deep fulfilling happiness, yet another excuse is removed. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Theodore Geisel, (Dr. Seuss)
  4. We become intimidated by our own power to chose to be who we really are. It’s time to stop pretending. “If you do not pretend to be more than you are, you will dare to be all that you are.” – Susan Thesenga

So I decided to drink my own Kool-Aid and answer all the questions myself. Rather than bore you with the details, I summarized my responses and created a shingle for my cottage on the Enchanted Isle of Delightful Work. Here it is:

Tom's Shingle

On the Enchanted Isle of Delightful Work, what would your shingle say? Exercise the courage to let your heart answer these questions, and then boil your answers down to the words you’d hang by your cottage for your fellow islanders to view.

What would your shingle say? I’d love to see it, if you’d like to share it with me (you don’t need a graphic – text is fine)!

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

What Will I Be When I Grow Up? I Wonder…

What will I be when I grow Up? Curiously and whimsically wondering is the right approach for this essential question. Curiosity keeps our inquiry light and speculative, rather than stressful and anxious.

It’s funny how so many folks sheepishly explain their lack of success or focused clarity by claiming they’ve yet to grow up. As if facing the responsibility of adulthood automatically clears up all the confusion around finding one’s true calling. First of all, it doesn’t clear up anything. Secondly, such a heavy thought is completely the wrong approach. We need to find work that feels like play and most of us played far more as children than as adults.

What’s an approach that does work well?

SunsetImagine you’ve moved to The Enchanted Isle of Delightful Work.

Imagine waking up tomorrow morning on a lush, beautiful island with 999 others. Each of you is required to contribute only through fulfilling work that’s uniquely joyful and delightful. Pleasant and encouraging neighbors explain that the only kind of work you’ll be paid for is work in which you totally lose yourself.

If what you produce or create involves struggle or toil in any way, you will not eat or be given shelter. Indeed you’d be cast out for working too hard and you would not survive. The only requirement is that your work must naturally bring you alive and make your heart sing.

Take a moment, right now, to close your eyes and imagine such delight.

Know the answer to .. What will I be when I grow up?

You wouldn’t need to worry about marketing because your authentic value would be self-evident and highly attractive. Those who genuinely appreciate whatever you are offering will enthusiastically support you.

  • What kind of work would you do?
  • What would your unique contribution be?
  • Who would you be?
  • What could others say about you that they cannot say now?
  • If you woke up tomorrow and such a miracle happened, what would you see differently?
  • How would you feel?

Here’s your chance to be paid very well just for being your naturally wild self. You’ve joyfully grown up, so what are you?Can we have some fun with this? I dare you. Let all your untamed, unique beauty express itself through these questions. Post a comment and let your imagination run wild.

I’ll tell you a secret. This enchanted isle of delightful work is the same place you’re trying to get to anyway, probably with a lot of stress, effort and struggle. Live it first in your imagination – and who knows what wonderful blessings may transpire!
Stumble It! Stumble It!

You can read my answers to the above on this companion post.