Today I Simply Ran Out of Excuses

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

I have had absolutely no interruptions.

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

I realize suddenly that I am happy.

In this moment all is well.

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

There is nothing to pursue.

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

Better yet, I choose to do nothing.

Perhaps I’ll simply be.

Yet I wrote this.

Isn’t this something?

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

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

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

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

It seems like there’s a connection.

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

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

How could so much of nothing feel so good?

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

I am what I am. Popeye

A New Way to Find Work that You Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the old way stops you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attaining the Flow of Inspired Confidence

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

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

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

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

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.

Five Good Reasons to Celebrate More Often

Celebration may be the most underutilized tool in your box. Some view celebration as soft or slacking off – like we aren’t really doing anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. Celebration is a pivotal stage in the productivity process because it allows us to commemorate all the good that we do.

Unlike indigenous cultures, in the western world, we have forgotten many of our traditions, ceremonies and celebrations especially around the work that we do. In the name of progress, our culture has lessened rejoicing over everyday occurrences like sunrises and important seasonal events like harvest time. We need to remember that when the crops are safely in, it’s time to dance and make merry.

In an earlier post, Work Life Happiness – Stake Your Claim Now, I illustrated the Authentic Cycle of Probability.

Cycle of Authentic Probability

Look where celebration falls – right after gratitude and just before completion. That’s an extremely powerful stage of the cycle that should not be overlooked.

Gratitude is the causative energy of appreciation that blesses us with ease and greater flow. Celebration is self-acknowledgment and recognition for successfully completing every small step. Completion is the triumphant achievement of our objective and our signal to proceed forward to the freshness of discovery. Here are five good reasons to celebrate more often.

  1. Celebration helps us stay in the present where our power is. By celebrating the completion of every small step, we leverage the powerful energies of gratitude and momentum. Thomas Edison taught us that even each mistake along the way is cause for celebration. Life is all about the journey, and that means that every step, as well as reaching our destination, is part of our journey. Celebrating at every juncture is recognition of a life well lived and well worked.
  2. Celebration builds self-respect. Others treat us according to how we treat ourselves. It’s important to hold yourself in high regard. Perhaps, like me, your early caregivers did not celebrate your presence and special glow. Celebration overwrites this limited conditioning and tips the balance of your internal programming so that it’s more natural to think well of yourself.
  3. Celebration feeds our basic human need for self-love and self-acceptance. Celebration is emotional nourishment. Yet sometimes we simply don’t feel like celebrating because we’ve fallen into the habit of harshly judging ourselves. When this happens, there is a negative feeling remaining in our bodies from a challenging event in our past. A very powerful tool to remove the feeling so you feel like celebrating once more is Emotional Freedom Technique. There are many practitioners with instructional videos available online. I like this one on self-acceptance:
  4. Celebration is positive magnification. What we focus on expands. When we downplay or skip celebration, we are telling ourselves that we haven’t done enough to be proud of ourselves – so our self-doubt is what expands. The proliferation of productivity blogs on the web tells me that lots of folks don’t follow-through frequently enough to feel good about it. Want to complete more projects with less procrastination and guilt? Then do not skip this powerful stage of the process. Celebrate more often and stay on it longer. Honor your completions, both big and small, in celebration so that you expand more of what you want in your life.
  5. Shameless self-promotion and marketing is easier with celebration. We’ve got to toot our own horns in this crowded world so the right folks will hear us and gather round. “If you’re embarrassed about what you do well, you won’t be very attractive.” – Thomas J. Leonard In 1998, way before The Secret, Leonard in his groundbreaking book, The Portable Coach, shared his 28 Laws of Attraction. In number 7, Market Your Talents Shamelessly; he shares a brilliant distinction: Confidence vs. Arrogance. “Confidence is knowing exactly what you do well and don’t do well; arrogance is a way to cover up what you don’t do well.”Confidently celebrate and flaunt your bad ass self and marketing gets easier because more people will seek you out. Fear not, the phone will ring. The world needs your edge to be complete. The same people who told you not to toot your own horn also told you to be seen and not heard. They were dead wrong, both times.

Sometimes we lament our lack of progress and go on fruitless searches for the answer. But often what’s missing is as simple as a little jig of recognition or bursting out in spontaneous song.
Your very being is enough reason to celebrate. Select a project or any progress that makes you feel good and join Kool and the Gang in Celebration of your achievement!

What do you think? Are you celebrating enough? What have you accomplished recently that is reason to celebrate? What have you passed over without giving it its due recognition?

If you truly want something to celebrate right now then schedule a complimentary session with me and we will expand your greatest business asset.

Business Startup Success

Business startup success is possible for everyone.  But how can you make business startup success more than possible.

Lately I’ve been fascinated with the short, but sometimes challenging, journey between possibility and probability.

Possibility holds the energy of hope. Possible means it could happen.

Probability holds the energy of optimism and a more confident expectation. Probable means it’s likely to happen.

How do you move from possibility to probability?

Planning for business startup success is more about taking a choice when you see it.  Often we aren’t even aware of where we are – so really we are lost. When lost, we fall prey to states of delay, doubt and confusion.  Action always improves clarity because it changes perspective.

Here’s a simple way to locate where you are in any meaningful pursuit.  I’ve dubbed it the Authentic Cycle of Probability.

Cycle of Authentic Probability

We can’t claim we’re lost when we know where we are. Identifying where you are on this cycle will allow you to remove excuses and focus all of your energy on the next obvious step.

We forget that any movement works.  Too often we put our lives on pause because we seek the magical, and elusive, state of certainty.  By staking your claim on this map of probability, you’ll tilt the odds of completion in your favor.

  1. Discovery is going within to explore and unearth your ideal business.  Claim your free Choosing Your Ideal Business guide.
  2. Decision is a bold declaration of intent on a clear and meaningful objective.
  3. Focus is laser-like concentration on that objective.
  4. Massive Inspired Action is engaging a variety of fierce and creative actions to manifest your objective.
  5. Momentum is energy gained by the movement of following through.
  6. Gratitude is the causative energy of appreciation that blesses us with ease and greater flow.
  7. Celebration is self-acknowledgment and recognition for successfully completing every small step.
  8. Completion is the triumphant achievement of our objective and our signal to proceed forward to the freshness of discovery.

At completion we can honor ourselves by pausing in fulfillment, gratitude and celebration – as long as we feel really good about it. We only need rest and relief when we are toiling in some unaligned, meaningless realm. If we are shooting for the right moon and hitting it, then the energy of completion organically causes us to discover our next mark.

For a different look at deciding where you are read: Are You Sure You’re on the Right Path?

So, at what stage on the cycle of probability do you find yourself today?

Are you consciously working on an intentionally chosen and meaningful objective? Or are you toiling in struggle making someone else rich?

If the latter, what are you going to do about it?

If you are really ready to do something about it you can begin here in Career Change and Discovery or here for Business Start Up Success Coaching.

Many in your shoes have found this free resource of the Nine Elements of Authentic Career Discovery a very useful visual aid.

You’ll more surely hit the mark by identifying where you are.  In your comments, please stake your claim on greater work life fulfillment, happiness, abundance and freedom by letting us know you where you are.

Schedule a Confidently Make the Leap  – Free Strategy Session.

In this strategy session you will: 

  • Get really clear about the business you want to have.
  • Discover the number one thing stopping you from moving forward.
  • Plot out the right timing for you to make your move.
  • Identify the one thing that will give you the confidence to take the leap.
  • End the session inspired and knowing exactly what you need to do next to make your move.

Unconditional Support – Ever had it? Want it?

Is it truly unconditional?

Do you have a source of unconditional support and are you tapping into it frequently? If you aren’t receiving such powerful backing in your life, what might you do to get some? In my last post, Seizing Your Greatness, I offered a powerful exercise to discover the true path to work that you love.

But what if you’ve found it and don’t feel strong enough to go for it?
That’s where unconditional support comes in. Support in Rugby

I used to be one of those guys who seldom asked for help. That was misguided. I’ve changed my ways, how about you? Do you graciously accept all support and seek it out when needed? I’ve found that most of us need to raise our willingness to receive. Even though the intention to give first without expectation is wise, we also must be willing to ask when we need the strength of others.

Mothers and fathers sometimes provide this level of support, and even spouses and siblings are capable of it. Beyond that (especially in traditional business circles) it’s rare indeed to find folks who are willing.
(Image by murky on Flickr, via Creative Commons license)

Wanting to, and actually following through without a personal agenda, is rare. One of my earliest coaching clients hired me just to listen to his ideas, because everyone else in his life, including his boss and his wife, had their own agenda for him. Have you ever felt that way?

I want you to know that this isn’t just talk. I’m presently testing my theories in a real life experiment by facilitating an unconditional support experience. Thus far, the results are amazing. I’m asking the members of this experience to offer their observations and realizations by commenting below.

What about you?

What could you accomplish, be or understand with a steady stream of support that was absolute, unquestionable and given with no strings attached?

Could this be a case of not knowing what you’re missing because you’ve never realized support without limit?

Observations from the Field

As with team sports, support is more easily given when clear-cut ground rules and a shared objective are agreed upon.

Support is more prevalent when facilitated by a coach who keeps one eye on the rules and another on the big picture objective. I’m finding it to be a challenging and glorious dance.

Even though I’ve coached individuals, groups and teams, those in a group experience receive unconditional support in far greater amounts because there are multiple sources of support that synergize with one another. I wonder if unconditional support could be the key to getting any business or sports team to perform at its best?

It’s certainly making a big difference in the lives of those brave adventurers who are right now participating in this bold social experiment. I’ll let them tell the rest of the story by asking them to comment on their experience.

Well my fellow supporters? What say you?

Can you tell us how differently you now feel while realizing greater unconditional support than before the experiment?

Have you noticed anything different about your decisiveness and/or clarity?

What specific value have you received from enjoying absolute support?

Have you accomplished more or less due to the backing of others?

What would you recommend to those considering a similar experience?

Why would you encourage them to participate?

What else do you want to share about the experience of both giving and receiving unconditional support?

For the rest of you, what could you accomplish, be or understand with a steady stream of support that was absolute, unquestionable and given with no strings attached?


Whistle While You Work – Happiness Matters

The thought gurus in the movie and book The Secret agree that in order to create the life we want, we need to quit focusing on what’s happening to us and focus our thoughts and words on a picture and feelings of what we really want.

Unfortunately, most folks look at what’s happening and react to that. If what’s happening to you is not what you want, then by focusing on it you just get more of it. What we focus on expands. What we think about, comes about.

Yet according to Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness our circumstances only account for 10% of what contributes to our happiness. She’s proven that 50% of what contributes to our happiness is our upbringing and genetics. We can’t do anything about that. However, it’s the other 40% that’s vital. Because that 40% is based on our intentional determination and we can choose to have it override the other 60%.

Shawn Achor, Head Teaching Fellow for Harvard’s popular Positive Psychology course shares how scientists have proven that happier people actually have an unfair advantage over others.

Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist, studies happiness and found Denmark to be the happiest nation in the world. The USA ranked number 23. A recent 20/20 television show on happiness referenced a study where Denmark was third. Still not too shabby!

I found these two factors particularly interesting in how they relate to work life happiness.

1). The tax rate in Denmark is 63% of income and the social services given by the welfare state are so supportive and all-encompassing that there isn’t as much need to take risks or try to be wealthy. Because there is a much narrower gap between the rich and the poor, the Danes have created a society where every job is valued and respected. This results in more people simply choosing to do what they enjoy doing without concern for how much it pays or what others think of them.The Danes have created a consumer-less society that’s truly brilliant. They have less reason to compare themselves to their neighbors. Most everyone is on the same level as the Joneses, so the need to keep up with them is removed.

2).Talk about social connection, an astounding 92% of adult Danes belong to either a singing or a dancing club. Imagine a life without financial concern and comparison. In such a life, being the social animals that we are, building relationships would become naturally more of a priority.

Singing is a physical act that draws oxygen in and makes the blood stream richer and opens up the brain so I can think more clearly and get intuitions I didn’t have before. So, I always look to get into action whenever I’m stuck. If the mind is stuck, if the spirit is low–I let the body lead the way even if I don’t feel like it.  Steve Chandler

To summarize here is your action recipe.

  1. Whistle and sing before and while you work.
  2. Know and act on the basis that being happy will get you more of what you want.
  3. Know and act on the basis that you can choose happiness and by doing so you can create the life you most want to win.

My heart goes out to each of you who continue to look at what’s wrong or what’s lacking in your life. Please stop that nonsense now. Yes, tough things happen to good people. But struggle is optional. Isn’t it time for you to wake up and come alive in the glory of your own making?