Time to Walk Away?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How perforated is your soul these days?

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

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

Are you holding on somewhere, just for the money?

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

How To Start Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make Your Move to the Freedom of Self-Employment

Many talk about the wonderful freedoms of self-employment, but they wait to make their move. They have made up all kinds of reasons why now just isn’t the right time. But if they take the time to look within, they know they’re lying to themselves.

Here’s the truth. Most folks are more ready to make their move than they give themselves credit for. I’d like to prove it to you. Are you willing to play along? In my coaching practice, I know a client is going to eventually get where they want to be once they reach a state of inspired confidence. Inspired confidence simply means that you know what you want and you are confident that you can make it happen.

I know that you’ll feel better about yourself once you take any small inspired action towards your objective. I know you’ll believe in yourself and your capabilities more once you are in active pursuit of your work life freedom. Somehow, we’ve got to get you out of your head and into action. So let’s start here. I’ll provide the formula. You provide the ingredients.

Right now, in this moment, what inspires you?

You might have a new goal or an old dream or a budding idea that inspires you. I’m talking about that animating, enlivening, emboldening, invigorating inspiration that lifts you and lightens you just thinking about it. There’s no sense playing along unless you can stop and write something down now. It’s time to leave the realm of just reading and thinking. Do yourself a big favor and actively participate this time.

It inspires me to imagine a world where the majority of folks are actively engaged in their work life freedom. Wouldn’t that be something? Imagine how uplifting it would be to run into more folks who were inspired by their work than bored by it.

But what inspires you? Got something? Excellent! Let’s make it a reality.

First I want to share some ground rules. It really can be this simple. If you can agree to these ground rules you’ve got it licked.

  1. You accept and act on the basis that you inherently have the capability to pull this off.
  2. You agree to take one small action that will get you closer to realizing the objective of your inspiration.
  3. You agree to celebrate the completion of that action regardless of its results.
  4. You agree to honor these ground rules as if they were sacred covenants.

Here’s the formula:

Inspiration + Belief + Divine Connection = Inspired Confidence

Here’s why this formula will work for you. You’ve provided the object of your inspiration, so we know it’s authentic.

Anything works when you believe it does. Why not believe that this simple formula can work for you? If what you’re doing isn’t working, then what do you have to lose? I’m not charging you for this. I’m just asking you to trust my experience as a coach and my deep desire for the world to be free from deadening work.

Divine connection states that God is not a tease. If you were not capable of bringing forth your inspired idea to reality, then it would not have ever come to you as a desire. All desires originally emanate from Divine Intelligence. The connection is yours for the asking. Your desires are not some cruel joke being played on you. If you aren’t acting on your inspirations – you’re the one playing the joke.

Please remember the ground rules you agreed to. No more hesitation – it’s your time to act. Before you do, right now, imagine your dream in actuality. Feel the gloriousness of living it. Imagine the beautiful change you’ve brought to the world. Isn’t it time to find your vocation within the freedom of self-employment?

Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. Frederich Buechner

The world is thirsty for the expression of your deep gladness. Don’t make us wait any longer.

If you know of someone who has dreamed of being their own boss but has waited, please forward them this post. It’s my mission to help them see that they need not wait any longer. There is always a small step that can be taken to move us closer to where we want to be.

Screw-ups, Fresh Starts & Comebacks

Have you ever screwed up and not followed through on a self-pledge? We all have, many times, and we are likely to continue, right? If that’s so, consider this. Wouldn’t it be a better strategy to give up on perfection and simply allow the screw-ups to occur? If we could do that without being so hard on ourselves, we’d be more fulfilled, waste less time and be far more productive.

Trust builds when agreements are honored. Thus it’s our self-trust that takes the biggest hit when we don’t follow-through as promised. So we need to trust ourselves once more to comeback from this temporary breach of reliability.

When we screw-up we can either change what occurred so that we don’t make the same mistake again or we can change how we feel about making mistakes. I find the latter to be just as effective and far easier to pull off.

Please get this. It’s not the mistake that derails you. It’s how you feel about letting yourself down. Since you admit that you are too hard on yourself, what might happen if you simply cut yourself some slack?

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of words and their definitions that you may have forgotten.

Forgive – to cease to feel resentment about.

Absolve – to free from guilt or blame or their consequences.

Have you forgotten that you have the power to self-forgive and to self-absolve? It’s often a necessary step before we can get ourselves back on track. I really want you to know a few things.

There is no limit to the number of fresh starts you can make. You can always begin again. As a coach, I often ask clients to give themselves permission to forget about past misses and begin anew. Absolve yourself. Let it go. Recognize the futility of holding onto the mistake and its accompanying guilt. Start over. Take a Mulligan.

If you take yourself too seriously, lighten up and praise your good. Most of us tend to overplay our misses and under-recognize our hits. You do a lot of things right, don’t you? Who sees those? Whose job is it to make sure they get duly noted and celebrated? Perhaps if you spent more time recognizing your progress and all the things you do well, you would no longer need to be so self-judgmental.

Know that making a mistake is not an indication that anything is wrong with you or fundamentally lacking in your makeup.
As kids, many of us had adults place the “what’s wrong with you?” curse on us. Know and act on the basis that nothing is wrong with you. You are a child of God who occasionally misses the mark. So what, who doesn’t?

Sometimes when you disappoint and do not follow through, it means nothing. It could mean that you just screwed up. Perhaps in your enthusiasm you simply over-promised. Perhaps other priorities and/or opportunities entered the picture.

Mistakes are simply attempts that missed the mark. Lighten up. Start over. Forgive yourself. Let go of the misstep. Shrug it off. Release those guilty thoughts.

Mistakes are inevitable and without them we would have no feedback for course corrections and adjustments. If you’ve made a mistake, it’s already in your past. It’s behind you, so allow it to remain there.

You can come back from anything. Clear the air. Forgive yourself. Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself a break. Love yourself. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Begin anew. Life wants you to win.

A Sure Way Out of the Darkest Times

When times are tough we almost always look outside to take some action. Yet it’s often an inner adjustment that’s needed first.

Let’s take a look at what’s happening within, when times are tough.

Have you ever faced circumstances, such as growing debt, demanding creditors, major life disappointments or conflicts that are so big it’s hard to see anything else? Yet that’s what we need to do. We need to look at anything other than that big scary reality that’s blocking our vision.

What we focus on expands. What we give our attention to we get more of. What we look at, whether it is pleasing or upsetting, becomes our focus point of expansion. Even what we resist persists because we are giving it our attention.

Worry, complaint, blame and doubt are powerful forces of resistance that tend to keep us stuck within the very situations we wish to be free of. Yet there is always a way out and it always comes from within first.

Here’s the most effective inner adjustments I can offer. I found it in Eckhart Tolle’s excellent book, The Power of Now.

In all situations, you only have four choices, and the first one is not a positively productive one.

  1. You can resist, complain or deny, and remain stuck within the situation.
  2. You can remove yourself from the situation.
  3. You can work with others to change it.
  4. You can accept it.

That’s it. There are no other choices.Many times when coaching a client out of very stressful circumstances, they refuse to select options 2, 3, or 4. That means that by default they have chosen to remain in a prison of their own making. Because if we choose not to accept, change or remove ourselves from a situation we are stuck solidly within resistance.

Why blame is resistance.

No matter who’s at fault, you are responsible.Blaming others is a barrier between you and your effectiveness. When we are blaming, we are not looking at our own contribution to the situation. When we are blaming, we have, in effect, become victims – powerless to improve the situation until someone else changes first. Here’s a core truth worth adopting. If you are aware of a problem, it’s at least partially yours to correct. If it’s happening to you, no matter who appears to be at fault, you are at least partially responsible (for the advanced class, try this on: holding yourself as 100% responsible gives you 100% power in the situation). Instead of finger-pointing and whining when you see a problem, always ask these questions:

  • What can I do?
  • What else can I do?
  • What else?

Write down your answers, discuss them, make a decision and take some action. And please don’t think that acceptance is a weak decision. It’s often the strongest.

Acceptance is not agreement. It is simply your recognition that for now, you just won’t fight it. There are no other choices. Opportunity comes directly from clarity of decision and action. By deciding which of the three positive choices you are making, you increase the likelihood of greater opportunity – because you have lessened resistance.

Then you can apply a relief formula that always works:

Gratitude + Less Resistance = Increased Opportunity

Recognizing and appreciating one’s blessings gives you greater strength. What you’re grateful for may be relationships, internal talents and abilities or external positive conditions. By simply focusing on a sunny day, health or any part of your life experience that feels good, you’ll begin to turn the tides in your favor.

Remember – whatever we focus on we get more of.

In all things, you have a choice as to how you’ll respond. You can resist by hoping that another person or condition will change or you can choose to work the formula on your own behalf.