Speak Up – Silence Makes You Poor

We must stand tall and speak up or our silence will make us poor. Money is attracted to confidence. Attractive confidence is the direct connection between authenticity and financial prosperity. istock_000001684995xsmall1

We naturally feel more confident when we are speaking our mind in full authentic expression.  Every time we allow fear to silence our authentic expression, we poke little holes in our personal integrity and erode our confidence.

Often we are given opportunities to right a wrong, clear up a misunderstanding, enhance a relationship or express true feelings, but instead we take the easy way out, by putting up with what we could change.

I’m a big believer in accepting what is. But we can also be smart and remove ourselves from the presence of people and situations that are not good for us.

It’s essential to identify and eliminate situations that we needlessly tolerate.

Let’s define tolerations as things that bug us, sap our energy, and could be eliminated!  There’s a small payoff to carrying tolerations – you get to feel kind of noble about your burdens and your forbearance. But, believe me, it’s a very expensive source of self-esteem.

Tolerations are holes in your personal success cup; they drain away your contentment and good fortune.  They drain YOU.  They make you feel less attractive to yourself.

Tolerations often represent compromises you’ve talked yourself into.  Thomas Leonard

Leonard included physical clutter and all kinds of limbo projects in his master list of tolerations.  Most of you have felt the tremendous resurgence of energy that comes simply from cleaning a closet or an office.  My coaching clients and I have experienced even greater relief and enlivening from taking a stand and expressing it.  It’s your turn.

What unresolved situations or unmade decisions have you avoided dealing with repeatedly?

Which of your relationships is more energy draining than inspiring?

Where are you withholding being totally forthright, because you fear the consequences, even though you know that you’re out of integrity by remaining silent?

Where do you resist telling the whole truth to yourself, about yourself?

Make your list, select one, face it and fix it permanently. Then cross it off and feel the rush of authentic expression.

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For those in Pittsburgh this week, Tom is speaking on Thursday, 1-29, noon, at the Carnegie Business Library on Wood St.  The topic is: Is Self-Employment Right for You?

Time and Money

For about 8 months now, I’ve seen the solution for my time crunch.  The solution was to create more effective work standards that honored my chosen priorities.  And in the midst of making the necessary productivity adjustments, I’m presented with even more opportunities to learn and grow my business. time-010

Many of you may feel the same way.  The gifts of a more connected, technologically driven world have come packaged in what appears to be ever-increasing demands on our time.  So even as we continue to adjust, the feeling of never catching up keeps building.

The world is smaller and faster, but I’ve created this pressure by declaring my desire to double my income this year while truly understanding the connection between authenticity and prosperity.

I’m off to a fine start, but I’d like to feel lighter and more on top of things than I often do.  I’m not reading as many blog posts as I’d like to, but for some reason I did read this one about our relationship with money, by Slade Roberson.  I did the exercise yesterday and was hit with a powerful realization just this morning.

Time Is Money?

Here’s my realization.  I’m acting, as though I believe in the expression time is money.

A person who wants to earn more and also feels as though he doesn’t have the time to do, all that he needs to do, (to earn more), obviously equates time with money.

I must hold the belief that I need to do a lot to earn a lot more money.  Furthermore, I was feeling the pressure because that belief is in direct conflict with my higher belief, of prosperity through authenticity.

Do you see the disconnection? Authenticity is an unlimited concept of being, one of accepting what is. Time and money are limited concepts of doing, more about working to change what is.

Thinking one doesn’t have enough time or enough money are both resisting what is.  From the thought of not having enough, it’s a small step, to not being enough – and that is a very inauthentic way of being.

What to do about this? Well, according to Eckhart Tolle, I don’t have to do anything.  He claims that the moment we see the dysfunction, it begins to dissolve.

If the thought of lack–whether it be money, recognition, or love–has become who you think you are, you will always experience lack.  Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Eckhart Tolle

Ouch!  Thinking that we don’t have enough time sure sounds like a focus on the lack of it.  It’s my intention to change these scarcity beliefs through awareness.  That seems like the best course of action right now.

What do you think?

Be Authentic and Grow Rich

The connection between authenticity and wealth cries out for illumination. I coach and write to inspire and to encourage. This year, I’ve chosen a theme by which to guide my work – Prosperity through Authenticity.

Many have experienced the emptiness of wealth without purpose. Others have experienced authenticity without prosperity.  Fewer have experienced both financial abundance and authenticity, simultaneously.

Check out these Google search results.

“making money”            20,800,000
“being authentic”                  184,000
“authentic money making”        104
“making money authentically”      3

What’s wrong with this picture? Millions of search results claim to have the money making answer, yet so few are making as much money as they want to be making.

Is it possible that the masses are approaching this question from the wrong entry point?

Or perhaps they aren’t asking the right question at all?

What is the missing link that bridges the divide between authenticity and prosperity?

I’m not asking you to answer the above question. In fact we’d all be better served to ponder deeper questions over time, instead of making a mad rush for solutions. In the interest of high self-regard, each of us needs to reflect on the connection between authenticity and prosperity.

But are you curious?  Are you satisfied with the many methods and solutions that over-populate the Web?

A good copywriter can make rotten fish smell pretty sweet. I’ve clicked through to read some of these moneymaking schemes, as I’m sure you have. The shallow stench of nothingness sickens me.

The dearth of genuine value is one reason for the collapse of our financial markets. All of this empty marketing, for the sake of marketing alone, smells of the same inauthentic bullshit.

Isn’t it time to get real? One way is to wipe your slate clean with a big, powerful, authentic eraser of the fresh new start.

There’s an inherent promise that comes with being authentic.

Be all of who you are and the world will support your authentic expression.

It makes perfect sense that we ought to be lavishly supported, for fully being who we are. The world doesn’t owe you a living but it certainly does want to support the most authentic version of who you are.

Why then is financially abundant authenticity such an illusive state to reach?

What is the question that if you knew the answer, would set you free? Peter Block

This is the question I’m looking for regarding authentic prosperity. Stay tuned, more authentic musings to come.

 

 

Five Tools to Sharpen Your Authentic Edge

Your authentic edge is based on who you are, where you are in your business development and what you’ve experienced.  That edge drives your personal power.  It’s your natural positional advantage in the marketplace and you’ll struggle to the degree that you fail to exploit it.

When I first began following  small business owners on Twitter it appeared as though  everyone had a thriving online business.   A client also noticed this and asked, “Where are all the regular people?”

It matters little where anyone else is, even if they are further along in their business development.  Here’s what matters, are you exploiting your authentic edge?

An outside focus will dull your authentic edge by positioning you in the  reactionary hell of deadly comparisons.  Success comes from looking within to determine the purpose of your business and that purpose must have a whole lot of you in it.

Many contend that Walmart hurts small businesses, yet you’ll find thriving exceptions in every town.  News of a so-called global economic crisis permeates the airwaves, yet many one-woman and one-man shops are flourishing, right now.

When your eye is on the competition or the economy, it dumbs you down and dulls your true source of power. Your authentic edge is found within and keeping it sharp is essential to your business success.

Expressed Authenticity > Personal Confidence = Business Success

Greater confidence will help you to complete more often, risk more frequently, bounce back from mistakes more easily and kick more marketplace ass.

Since confidence comes from within how can we keep our edge sharp enough to act boldly?

Here are five tools to keep your edge razor sharp.  Ask yourself these questions, note the answers and feel your confidence build.

1). Passion

What do you really care about?  Are you sure?  Try this one.

If you woke up tomorrow morning and had all the time and money you could ever need, what would you still care enough about, to want to make a difference?

2). Willingness

Early in our business development we have more time to deliver exceptional one-on-one service.  Express your willingness to do so.  Those who are ahead of you in earnings or business development, just don’t have to give as much individual attention anymore.  You both can, but you have the edge because you will.

What’s the greatest value that you can offer right now, that the big guys can’t or won’t?

3). Empathy

When people know that you really get them, that understanding leads to connection.  I hope you’ve selected a business purpose that you’ve personally experienced or are experiencing.  If you’ve felt the same pain as your market then it’s easier to be real.   Molly Gordon writes about empathy as a powerful marketing strategy.

In which area do you really understand the pain of others because you’re there now or recently have been?  What’s working well for you that they may not yet know?

4). Imagination

We all unwittingly set our own limits.  We get to make all the rules in our own mini-empires.  You get to imagine a business that perfectly suits who you are.  When you hold yourself in high regard, you’ll build your business in a way that will ideally serve you.  By honoring who you are, you’ll also be in the best position to generously serve others well.

Specifically where do you need to rewrite the rules to expand opportunities?  In what area of your business objectives are you thinking way too small?

5). Practice

Is it truly authentic to practice so much that repetition creates mastery? Yes!  I like how Steve Pavlina explains Steven Covey’s habit of sharpening the saw.

Somehow we’ve gotten it into our heads that engaged authenticity should come easily.  It does for some and it doesn’t for others.  If you haven’t been blessed with an obvious natural talent, then you have been blessed with the necessity of honing the ones you have.   Steve Chandler thinks practice is the most powerful trick ever.

What strengths have you been afraid to express?  What natural talents scare the hell out of you?  If you practiced the same strength for one hour daily, how might that change your life?

I’m challenging you to sharpen your authentic edge beginning now. The latent advantage of authentic business building is that the owner remains eager to do the work.  When work is not a chore you’ll naturally be more productive and attractive to ideal clients.

Which tool do you need to use the most to sharpen your authentic edge?

I feel a definite bond with those of you who are building your business authentically.  I also admire those of you who want to start a small business built on a foundation of who you are.

Let’s connect on Twitter.

Seven Step Small Business Startup Checklist

To beat paralysis and get started on your authentic business you first need to master the inner game of business. What you’re thinking and feeling has direct impact on the actions you are or are not taking. Use this guide as a business startup list to be sure your head’s nailed on straight .

1. Exploit Your Authentic Edge

Your edge, or marketplace advantage, comes directly from your willingness to move into your authentic power. Authentic business building is the willingness to start and maintain a business strategically from your core makeup. The marketplace rewards authentic expression. Your small business idea came to you and that means that you are in the best position to make it happen. Trust your gut. Confidence attracts support and confidence increases in proportion to authentic engagement.

2. Slow and Small Is Better than Not at All

What the hell are you waiting for? Delay is costly – start, complete and sell one small project, product or service.

Speed and size of your initial success isn’t as important as progress. Part-time works, if it works for you. Create your own transition model and follow it.

Decide on your tolerance for risk and your need for a financial/emotional reserve. If you don’t fear shoestring business building – go for it. If you require more back up, secure that first. Decide what works for you and what you need to be your best.

3. Embrace Mistakes

Count on learning from your frequent mistakes. Let go of the illusion of building the perfect product, business or service. Accept the likelihood that you’ll screw up repeatedly and that’s what you are supposed to be doing in a brand new business.

Let the marketplace shine a light on necessary adjustments. It’s impossible to reach perfection in your own mind. Take your show on the road and evolve from customer feedback.

4. Stay Present – Visualize Success

The only place you can actually build your business is in the now. Always ask this question: “What am I looking to accomplish right now?” Work there – complete that.

If you must engage in future thinking, then decide to only do positive visioning. This means that you refuse to even contemplate any fearful future – or at least spend no more than a few seconds dwelling on fear before catching yourself and moving forward.

Fear of failure and fear of success can only exist if you feed them with fearful future thoughts. Become aware of your dominant thoughts and let go of anything limiting. What you think about comes about, so choose as if your business life depended on it.

5. Be a Merchant – Ask for the Money

If you intend to be a successful businessperson, you’ve got to get past any fear of asking for the order. You’ve got to start somewhere. Produce something small and ask someone to buy it.  Recent online advances make many business resources like merchant services much more affordable these days. Your fear about self-worth, like “who am I to be asking for this business,” fades, – once you’ve asked a few times.

6. Any Movement Works

Any strategic movement works because it creates a fresh perspective which is different from the one that keeps you stuck. The only wrong move is standing pat. “You can’t get there from here,” is only true if you’re not in motion. Fortune favors the bold – primarily because the bold are moving.

7. Be Inspired by Your What & Why

Too many budding entrepreneurs want to first “figure it all out”. That’s an illusion. You can’t “figure it all out,” before hand, in mind alone. Get out of your “how-to” directed mind and into you “what and why” inspired mind. What you want to build and your reasons for building it, will do far more to inspire you to action than a fruitless search for how-to. Once you commit and take action, your optimum “how-to” path appears, – as a result of your actions but not before them.

Which point do you need to focus on now?

Get all seven aligned and you’ll be primed for a successful small business launch.

Related Resources

Free Project Blastoff Email Course

One-on-One Coaching with Tom

Authoring Your Own Life

You are your own best authority. You know what works best for you and what doesn’t. Even though it may appear more comforting to receive validation of a business plan or startup idea from another, your best bet is to trust yourself.

The bottom line is, no one cares about you as much as you do. Authoring ones own life is about engaging the courage to follow ones own gut. It’s about being your own man or woman in every way.

We hear it all the time. Be all of who you are. To do that, it’s necessary to take off all masks you could be hiding behind so that the real you has space to emerge. I work with many would-be entrepreneurs in my career coaching practice and so far, everyone of them, at some point, goes through a crisis of self-confidence.

Even though you may be fortunate to find sufficient encouragement on the outside, your true authority is found within. I find it fascinating that authentic, authority and author all share the same word roots. In fact, the origin of authentic is authoritative, which meant acting as ones one authority. That’s exactly the self-assigned credibility that any new entrepreneur needs to declare.

I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.
George Carlin

Like many of Carlin’s best lines, he wasn’t really kidding. In the design and authoring of your own life, you have more authority than any recognized authority figure. Without recognition of your own authority you have not really accepted responsibility. Without responsibility you don’t have dominion, power, or the prerogative to call your own shots.

Outside certifications, information products and educational degrees could be exactly what you need or they could be just what someone else thinks you need. Going back to school isn’t always the answer. Permission to be fully authentic is a self-given authority. Seize it now.

Everyone needs to question outside authority, because rarely do they have your best interests at heart. But when it comes to your own authority, self-questioning of your inherent ability only leads to greater doubt. Many who question their own authority are really afraid of how their life may change once they are wildly successful.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
Marianne Williamson

If you’ve never read this entire Williamson passage go here and prepared to be inspired.

Some hopeful entrepreneurs fall into the double trap of comparing themselves to others while at the same time caring too much about what others think. That’s a slippery pit to climb out of because looking without abdicates self-authority.

What’s fascinating is that those same folks think that their success is dependent on the government, the economy or some other outside authority. It’s not. Your success is up to you and that’s a good thing. Along with that responsibility comes your ability and authority to write the script for your own life.

You’re writing it anyway, whether you’re aware of it or not. Might as well add some intentionality to your script and author the life that you most want to live.

Before I came to this realization, in movie genres, my life was mostly a drama. Since I’ve had script control, I’ve decided to make it an inspirational feel-good story.

How about you? What has the movie of your life been so far, a tragedy, a comedy or perhaps even a thriller?

What would you like it to be? Begin intentionally writing today because you’re living it right now.

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?

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.