Let Your Light Shine to Reach Your Potential

It has always mystified me how some people never get done what they had planed on doing in life.  They get caught up in what is known as paralysis by analysis and never get really started living.  The old Chinese Proverb that says “A journey of 1000 miles begins as a single step”, is so true in reaching our potentials.

I read a story the other night that really makes my point.

A few nights ago a peculiar thing happened.  An electrical storm caused a blackout in our neighborhood.  When the lights went out, I felt my way through the darkness into the storage closet where we keep the candles for nights like this.  Through the glow of a lit match I looked up on the shelf where the candles were stored.  There they were, already positioned in their stands, melted to various degrees by previous missions.  I took my match and lit one of them.

How it illuminated the storage room!  What had been a veil of blackness suddenly radiated with soft, joyous golden light!  I could see the freezer I had just bumped with my knee.  And I could see my tools that needed to be straightened.

“How joyful it is to have light!”  I said out loud, and then spoke to the candle.  “If you do such a good job here in the storage closet, just wait till I get you out where you’re really needed!  I’ll put you on the table so we can eat.  Or I’ll put you on my desk so I can read”.  I took down the lit candle, “I think I’ll put you in the living room where you can light up the whole area.”  (I felt a bit foolish talking to a candle—but what do you do when the lights go out?)

I was turning to leave with the large candle in my hand when I heard a voice, “Now, hold it right there.”

I stopped.  Somebody’s in here!  I thought.  Then I relaxed.  It’s just my wife teasing me for talking to a candle.  “OK, honey, cut the kidding,”  I said in the simidarkness.  No answer.  Hmm, maybe it was the wind.  I took another step.

“Hold it, I said!”  There was that voice again.  My hands began to sweat.  “Who said that?”  “I did.”  The voice was near my hand.  “Who are you?  What are you?”

“I’m a candle.”  I looked at the candle I was holding.  It was burning a strong, golden flame.  It was red and sat on a heavy wooden candle holder that had a firm handle.

I looked around once more to see if the voice could be coming from another source.  “There’s no one here but you and me,” the voice informed me.

I lifted up the candle to take a closer look.  You won’t believe what I saw.  There was a tiny face in the wax.  (I told you you wouldn’t believe me.)  Not just a wax face that someone had carved, but a moving, functioning, fleshlike face full of expression and life.

“Don’t take me out of here!”  “What?”  “I said, Don’t take me out of this room.”

“What do you mean?  I have to take you out.  You’re a candle.  You job is to give light and joy to others.  It’s dark and scary out there.  People are stubbing their toes and walking into walls.  You have to come out and light up the place!”

“But you can’t take me out.  I’m not ready.” The candle explained with pleading eyes.  “I need more preparation.”  I couldn’t believe my ears.  “More preparation?”

“Yeah, I’ve decided I need to research this job of light-giving so I won’t go out and make a bunch of mistakes.  You’d be surprised how distorted the glow of an untrained candle can be.  So I’m doing some studying.  I just finished a book on wind resistance,  I’m in the middle of a great series of tapes on wick build-up and conservation—and I’m reading the new bestseller on flame display.  Have you heard of it?”

“No,” I answered.

“You might like it.  It’s called Waxing Eloquently.”

“That really sounds inter—” I caught myself.  What am I doing?  I’m in here conversing with a candle while my wife is out there in the darkness!

“All right then, I said.  “You’re not the only candle on the shelf” as I blew the candle out!

As Max De Pree said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

<strong>So step out and begin letting your light shine.</strong>

CEO Roundtable

Date: July 20th, 2012

Location: Kirkland Public Library 3308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland WA

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (Meets Monthly)

Registration: www.ideal-companies.com

This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

Big dreams, little steps..Rotary makes dollars & sence.

Big dreams and little steps, has been on my mind lately. Rejuvenating the health and POWER of a Rotary club has it’s challenges, but it took big dreams and little steps….over a period of time to do it. ONE step at a time…one dream and goal at a time. Day after day after day…..after day…..until we had a winning combination of projects and an awesome fundraiser, the Coup de Cascades.

Just like the little engine that could, we kept chugging along to rebuild hopes, dreams and projects for others. It is with gratitude and determinations that I have been able to endure this kind of dedication for 3 years. All the people that have joined the club in the past 2-3 years have inspired me to continue to keep pushing forward. An we did, and we won awards along the way. I am immensely proud, just like a mom with A+ kids.

Opening hearts, making big sacrifices and being the underdog, is not foreign to this Redmond Rousers ROTARY club. We have always been the loud rowdy ones at meetings….It’s the comments like WOW, I thought you guys were a BIG club, not just 15, that makes us smile with pride for the many awards we possess. Our responses are always the same…”Small but Mighty”…. & “WE Make a Difference”.

Come see us…bring a friend, or bring your business cards…network with other business professionals….get your name and business out there to do SERVICE to others….SERVICE ABOVE SELF…that’s what Rotary is ALL about. Come see us at the next Redmond Derby Days on July 13th & 14th. We will be making money at our hot Buttered CORN booth, or sign up to ride in our Coup de Cascades cycling Rides and or the 425mile RACE at Www.CoupdeCascades.org . You can find us walking in the local parade….at 10 Am on Saturday at Derby Days too…..  Join us in the FUN!!!!  Come see us any Tuesday, hear a great speaker, eat dinner, learn something new…make friends. Rotary…we have it all.

I Joined the Chamber

Last week I took the step to join the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce for my business. The organization I work for part time belongs and I attend Chamber events as its representative. But this time I joined for myself and my business. Will it bring me business? I don’t know. It’s an experiment.

This isn’t my first experience with a Chamber. When I first came to Bellevue in 1991 as the Eastside Branch Director for Camp Fire USA, getting involved with the business community was a high priority for me. So I started attending Bellevue Chamber functions on a regular basis. I viewed it as an opportunity to network and identify business people interested in supporting my organization. I soon discovered that there was a larger role to assume. Most business people I encountered viewed nonprofit workers as unprofessional do-gooders who didn’t understand business and who were just there to stick their hand out and ask for money.

Oh, some business people were familiar with nonprofits. Some even served on the boards of nonprofits. But they viewed the staff at those nonprofits as good hearted souls who worked for peanuts because they cared, not as people with any business sense. That was in the day when nonprofits were not expected to be run like a business. I found myself on a mission, to help members of the Chamber understand that those of us in the nonprofit field were professionals, that we ran businesses just like they did and that if they served on a nonprofit board, they had a responsibility to evaluate the actions and finances of that nonprofit the same way they would their own business.

A few years later I went to work for United Way of King County. That larger more powerful organization afforded me a different status as a representative to the Bellevue Chamber. At the same time the Chamber got a new President, a woman who viewed the Chamber as an organization that supported the community as a whole. She recognized the value of having nonprofit representation in the Chamber and I was soon asked to join the Board of Directors.

It was challenging to sit at tables with my fellow board members who tended to smile and dismiss me as that “nonprofit” person. After all, they were the most powerful leaders of the community. But I joined in conversations and tried my best to understand their business perspective and to talk their language. I hope I was able to convey professionalism and business knowledge. After all, I was responsible for a $3.5 million budget just in my department alone. And I dealt with businesses large and small everyday as I helped them with their employee giving campaigns, understanding their market challenges and industry issues.

I served for seven years on the Bellevue Chamber Board. Over that time I got to know a lot of people and I believe I was accepted as a contributor even if I wasn’t making deals on the side and engaging in business ventures. When I left United Way and discontinued most of my activities in Bellevue, I left the Chamber behind.

Fast forward to today. Issaquah’s Chamber is a much smaller arena, more of a hometown personal group. I do represent Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and since the hatchery is a very valued community place, my role is instantly recognized. But I was persuaded to join the Chamber for my consulting business because, as the membership staff said, “There is nobody doing what you do in the Chamber.” Will it bring me business? I don’t know. I’m feeling my way.

Interview from Mars

Interviewing for any mid level office job (project coordinator, account executive, event manager, etc…) these days can be an exercise in frustration. Ideally you would look at a job description, delve deep within your personal resource of knowledge and experience and determine a match. The next step would be meeting with the hiring manager where he or she would make the same determination and reach across the desk, shake your hand and just like that you have a new job.

It doesn’t really work like that.

For every job listed on a job board (craigslist, linkedin, monster, worksource, etc…) there seems to be hundreds of applicants all vying to be the one that somehow stands out. It should also be noted that for every downturn in the economy a new crop of “job seeker experts” show up, ready to peddle their services. I’ve come across a few that have provided amazing advice, but I’ve also come across a few that seemed to thrive on the fear aspect of the job search. YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR KEYWORDS – or you know, you will rank low on the Applicant Tracking System. Bits of advice that may or may not be true (certainly not true ALL OF THE TIME). The point is – before you know it, you are propelled in your job search by pure fear and not standing out as a unique individual with unique thoughts and skills.

This brief background leads me to recount a recent experience that I have to dub “the strangest interview”

The job itself caught my eye on a job board. It didn’t seem like the other generic jobs and asked to provide a brief one sentence pitch about why I would be the perfect fit for this role. I love to think of concise pitches (ask me sometime about my idea for pitching applesauce) so I had a lot of fun putting together a pitch and framing it in a way that just seemed right.

I received a phone call the very next day asking me to set aside some time for a phone interview. The phone interview itself went really well – no odd questions or curveballs. Questions were of the “BIZ 101” variety – “where will you be in 5 years”, “what are your career goals”, etc…

Unsurprisingly, I passed this test of my ability to answer questions that don’t have relevance to whether or I not I can perform this particular office job. I moved on the 1st interview.

The setting for this interview was in a small office, with two team members interviewing me. Again, the questions were fairly standard and didn’t really throw me off of my strategy too much. At the end of the questions, they asked two other team members to come into the office and ask me questions. In my experience, when a company does this it can be a little…unsettling. True to form, the first question I was asked was whether I had used my Six Sigma training in an office environment, and how would I reconcile Six Sigma with Project Management in this role. Honestly, I stumbled a bit in my answer, but got through it with an honest answer that made it clear that although I hadn’t had to choose one over the other thus far in my career, it’d be a fun challenge to incorporate both strategies in this role if it was appropriate. Phew! I survived. I was feeling very good about my chances and proceeded to send off hand written thank you cards to each person I interviewed with along with my personal business cards. I made notes to myself about when to follow up, etc…

2 days later I received an email from the person who would be my supervisor should I eventually land this job. I was being called in for a 2nd in person interview, this time with the CEO of the company (GULP!). In advance of the interview, the company wanted me to do a project for them. They were tied into the internet marketing industry and wanted me to shop on a website that they had put together for a client. 1st scenario was to shop for myself. The 2nd scenario was to shop for a female member of my family. (the website was for a popular brand of clothing). I had a lot of fun putting together the project and spent quite a few hours making sure it represented the best I had to offer, along with my unique way of presenting information. I was very happy with the end result.

The day of the interview arrived and felt very prepared. I had done mock interviews, prepared myself for difficult questions, even probed within for my weaknesses (not counting a love of John Mellencamp)…I was ready.

The initial portion of the interview went really well. One thing about me – I don’t play the “tell them what they want to hear” game. Ever. Maybe this is a detriment in today’s economy, but I have always felt that it is better to be honest and offer my own unique perspective when answering questions.

The CEO of the company seemed like a nice guy who had stumbled onto this industry by chance and right at the start of the internet evolution. I admire people who start their own company (and who knows, maybe one day I will do the same).

“If money wasn’t a concern and you could work anywhere, where would you work?”

Well, shoot…I knew what he was looking for. I was supposed to ramble off some variation of “well, money doesn’t motivate me, and seeing as how I am here interviewing for this job, I’d still be interested in this job”. Well…bullshit! If I didn’t have to worry about money, I’d be off at the beach! So I replied “Well, my brother lives in New Zealand, so if money wasn’t a concern I’d go hang out with my brother and help market his skateboard company”. Not your typical answer, but true!

Now it got a little strange.

“If you were flying to Mars and could only bring your laptop, what would you put on your laptop?”

Uh, what? What kind of question is this? I mumbled something about music, books, and pictures of my family. To throw it off a bit, I asked if I had an internet connection and how large the hard drive was. I’m still not sure what he was looking for, nor do I particularly care to be honest. Questions like that which have nothing to do with whether or not you can do the job are ridiculous.

On my way out I was still feeling mildly positive about the role, but not excited like I had been previously. I was promised a phone call within a few days, and so began the waiting game.

I received an email about 4 days later. Strange, I swore they had promised a phone call. The email began a bit ominously with things like “We are pursuing other candidates” and “We felt they displayed better answers to the questions” with a little bit of passive aggressiveness after these statements “Not that your answers weren’t good…”.

And so it goes. I honestly felt relieved that I did not receive an offer because of the passive aggressive way I was ultimately rejected for the role. I like to know what the feedback is / means (without guessing). I also felt with all of the time I had put into the process, a phone call was deserved.

So, if you were going on a trip to Mars…?

Commitment Turns Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones

To become successful it is necessary to be committed to yourself, your ideas, your desires and your goals.  The word commitment strikes fear in the hearts of many people, but commitment is as simple as setting goals and action plans.

When you have well defined goals, you know where you are going and how to get there.  I define this as Commitment.  To establish the road map to achieve your real potential you must have written goals and desires.  Remember if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.

We function in three realms of consciousness.  In psychological terms the three areas become the creative subconscious, the subconscious (mental) and the conscious (physical).

The process starts in the creative subconscious in the form of thoughts or desires.  We then move them into the subconscious and begin to formulate them into goals.  Now most people stop there without moving it into the conscious realm.  If it does not move to the conscious or physical realm, your chances of achieving the results you want are slim because you are being influenced constantly on the physical and mental realms.  By writing down your goals and your action plans will move from the mental realm to the physical realm

Let’s look at the steps necessary to bring your goals from the mental realms to the physical realms so you can begin to achieve your success.  A goal of life is to live a balanced life.  In order to live a balanced life your goals need to be established in all of major areas.  There are eight major areas in which to set goals.

  1. Spiritual
  2. Family
  3. Professional or Career
  4. Mental Self-Improvement
  5. Physical Self-Improvement
  6. Financial
  7. Social
  8. Community

The seven steps to establishing your goals in the physical realm are:

  1. Assess the “As Is”
  2. Establish the “Target Point”
  3. Select the goals, set the time tables and put them in writing
  4. Commit yourself to the goals by knowing the “Whys”
  5. Determine there are no conflicts
  6. Start working on the “Bite Size” pieces
  7. Follow up and change as necessary

Step one.  You need to understand where you are right now or the “As Is” situation.  If you do not know where you are when you start to plan goals, you will draw your road map with only one road.

Most people, when sitting down to write out or establish their goals never bother to think about where they currently are in their progress, so write down where you are right now to establish a base line.

Step two.  In establishing your goals in the physical realm, you need to decide on a “Target Point”.  This statement will be a description of what you really want out of life.  You write down what you want for yourself, your family and should be based on all eight goal setting areas.  This statement will be written in approximately 250 words or one page long.

The statement is future orientated, write it based on how you will look 2 years, 5 years, 10 years or 100 years from now.  The time span is up to you.  Be creative and positive in your statement.  Write as if someone has waved a magic wand over you and erased all your limitations.

Step three.  You now know where you are and where you are going.  You can select the goals that will give you the desired results.  Write out what has to happen to move you toward or into the “Target Point” areas.  Set the timetables so you will know when you want to accomplish these goals, then you will not end up on “Someday I’ll”.  Without definite timetables, we will drift and will not accomplish what we set out to do.  With the definite time tables we stay on track and do the things we need to do when we are supposed to do them.  Break down the goals into three areas: Long Term, Mid Term and Short Term.

Long term goals are one year long.  We can control things or events one year at a time and anything longer falls into our “Target Point”.  The question to ask yourself is, “What can I do during this year that will move me towards my Target Point?

Next we break down the long term into midterm goals.  These can be quarterly or monthly time spans and will give us 4 to 12 check points to gauge our progress.  Next break these midterm goals down even further into short term goals. Weekly or daily goals will make our progress easier and seemingly faster to accomplish.  Your goals are now into “Bite Size” pieces you can work with.

All of these items need to be put into writing so we have a physical record of these goals and action plans.

Step four.  Commit yourself to the goals by knowing the “Whys”.  The only way to stay on track with goal achieving is to know why you want to achieve it.  If someone else is establishing the goals you probably won’t have any real commitment in going after them.  Always ask this question, “Why is this goal important for me to accomplish?”

Step five.  Determine if you have conflicts in any area.  When goals written are out you can look them over and see if they are in conflict with each other.  If you do not solve the conflicts before starting to use your goal sheets the chances of becoming confused and disillusioned will be greatly intensified.  Now is the time to eliminate any of the conflicts.

Step six.  Start working on the “Bite Size” pieces.  If you try to accomplish the long term goal first you will become frustrated because it is too large to do in one bite.  By working on the short term goals or the bite size areas we accomplish things faster.

Step seven.  Follow up and change when necessary.  Change and choice are the only two things that are constant in the world.  We always have change going on around us and we always have the choice on how we are going to deal with it.  We can deal with change either positively or negatively.  The only way we know it is time to change our goals is to follow up on a consistent basis.  This means we read and look at our goals on a daily basis.  On the bottom of each goal sheet you should print in large letters, “It Is OK To Change!”

So sit down right now and start the process.  Use these tools to take the things you desire, plan the steps to accomplish them and put them in writing.  Carry them in your day planner or in plastic sheets on your desk and study them daily.  I would bet that you will be accomplishing your goals faster and really reach your top potential before you know it!

The “Four Letter Word” That’s Okay To Use In Public

As I think about business owners and some of the things we do.  The one thing that stands between us and our goals is that “four letter word” that often stops us in our tracks and paralyzes us with the fear of success.  The thing is, we often think we are fine and that we haven’t a care in the world.  After all we started a business by ourselves.  It was our idea.  Our effort, and now here we are.  I mean how could this happen.  Where did it all go wrong?  Okay, maybe it’s not that bad.  But, if I could just figure this out.  This is when that “four letter word” starts to really shed some light on the solution.  So, after you stop cursing at the universe, your friends, family and the barista at Starbucks…because that’s not one of the four letter words that will help.  Although sometimes they might be a perfect fit for our frustration.  This is the abracadabra of “four letter words”.  The theme song of “four letter words”.  HELP!  That’s it!  As simple as this sounds, asking for help is the hardest thing to do for most of us.  We’ve been taught that it signified weakness, incompetence and all of those other descriptive words told to us by those probably weaker than ourselves.

My father had a saying.  “Son, pride will get you killed”.  I always thought I could do things myself and didn’t need any help.  I can do it, I would always say.  He would offer his assistance again and I’d insist “I can do it”.  He’d say, alright then.  Let me know if you need any help.  Then after I’d broken whatever it was I was trying to put together and stomped off in a huff.  He’d say, why didn’t you let me know you needed help (usually frustrated at his hard-headed first born male child).  That’s when he one day bestowed those famous words on my ears.  I still hear them every time I’m about to do something I know I shouldn’t.

I think as business  owners we sometimes can’t get out of our own way.  Constantly trying to perfect the mouse trap.  We are blind to our own limitations.  Then in an effort not to share the secret of our success we limit it by not asking for the very thing that will take us to higher heights.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  It’s a symbol of strength.  Only those who recognize that they do not know everything can get the very thing they are lacking.  The missing element to our formula.  In business we’ve always been told to focus on our strengths and hire to our weaknesses.  We’ll this is all part of that.  This is what it looks like.  It’s called asking for “HELP” when you need it.  There is no way humanly possible to know how to do everything and there is someone out there who can do that very thing better than you.  There may also be some things that you may not want to do or have no business doing in the first place.  That’s why sometimes the things we need to do most never get done.  We are too afraid or too stubborn to ask for help.  So why not seek out those who can help you be better.  Hey, I’ve been there and I’ve known a few business owners who were on the same boat with me.  We’ve all run our ship aground at some time or another and needed to be rescued from ourselves.  Ask for help…that’s how you grow and learn more.  About yourself, about your business and others.  So tell me, what do you need help with?  Hey, I figure if I don’t know how to do it I’m sure there is someone out there who can.  Remember if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  Until next, time be well.

A Letter to My 5 Year Old Me.

Dear 5-year-old me:

If you have come to play and make merry, I accept you with open arms. I love the crazy, fun, side of  you that reminds me not to be so seri­ous all of the time. I love when we play with our toys, think of new fun sto­ries and go on adven­tures.
If, how­ever you are here; with your neg­a­tive, mean, and ugly com­ments, you can just take a time out! I do not appre­ci­ate those aspects of your per­son­al­ity. Those things you say about not being good enough, ask­ing who do I think I am to try and be suc­cess­ful? These things are mean and hurtful.

Look around us, mean 5-year-old me. Look what I have done so far. I have built a won­der­ful team of friends to help me be wildly suc­cess­ful; I have cre­ated toys with hugs in their hearts and enough love to share. I have cre­ated adven­tur­ous sto­ries, with a lov­ing com­mu­nity. I have cre­ated magic. I am already a suc­cess for step­ping out­side our com­fort zone and try­ing some­thing, try­ing any­thing. I could have lis­tened to that mean part of you, I could have given up a long time ago, but I didn’t and I don’t plan too.

So you can just go to your cor­ner, sit down and shut up! If you can’t play nice and have fun than you need a time out — A very long time out! Don’t come back to play until you have a bet­ter atti­tude. Don’t come back until you want to have fun. Don’t come back until you can add some­thing pos­i­tive to our greater good.

Signed,

5o-year-old me

http://www.strauberrystudios.com

Our Best Laid Plans…

When one actually thinks about planning their life.  I think their eyes role back in their head.  I know mine used to.  Then I started thinking about something.  We are so engrossed in everyone else’s lives except our own.  To truly embrace the art of working for yourself you have to have a plan for your life.  You must dream and I mean big.  It’s not something you can do half way.  Most of us have this vague idea of this things we want to do some day.  We things like “I can’t wait to retire”.  Well, what the heck are you going to do then?  Most of us just can’t wait to not have to go to the same place we’ve hated to show up and work at for the last 13 years.  We haven’t thought beyond our last day.  Well, as my grandmother used to say “if you plan something half way, you only get half”.  If you know there is something you want to do in your heart why not go for it.  I mean all of the way.  I think that’s why I love it when I hear people talking about going back to school to learn a new trade or get another degree, certificate or starting a business.  Usually, this is something they have thought about for a while, or that dream that wouldn’t let go of them.  The truth is, that it’s in the planning for what we want that our life comes alive. They’ve planned for this thing that they are doing to mean something in their life.  This is where I often see that light beginning to shine for some.  They are embracing the art of working for yourself.  Creating a path toward living life of their terms.  Not waiting for some else’s version of what they think they should do.

For as long as I can remember I was told to get a job.  That was my fate.  Grow up, go to school and get a job.  Be that good little worker bee, let alone working for myself or start my own business.  I think practically every day I heard this in some shape or form.  My grandfather would say, you know, one day when you get a job you’ll see what I mean.  Or my mother would look at my grades and say you’re going to have to do better if you want to get a “good” job when you graduate.  And let’s not forget all of the job fairs I attended my junior and senior year in college.  I believe the education system we have in this country is one of the best and yet the blind spot that we have for our lives is evident.  We have been taught to deny our every desire and to work until you can’t work anymore and retire.  Everybody I knew worked for someone else and for some other reason than their own.  My parents, aunts uncles and family friends.  That’s the hand most of were dealt.  There was no other option.  Besides if you did it right along the way you got promoted and left the shop floor to supervise the rest of us who were left behind.  That was the real prize.  To no longer do what they hired you to do.  Then if the company really liked you and you stayed long enough you got a gold watch.  Oh, and don’t forget your pension.  You’re now set for life.  It didn’t seem like I had any control over my destiny.  So for years I just worked and dreamed about doing something different.  I think in every job I had, I just did it.  I was just after the pay check.  And that is where this all began for me.  I had to figure out why we for some reason check out for most of our lives as we work.  We don’t necessarily hate what we do, but don’t love it either.  At least most of us don’t.  We just turn into these worker bees working and creating the nectar for the hive.

I think having a little order and a system can be a good thing.  I’m trying to make a point.  No wonder we ended up here.  We have been told that we will be taken care of by the companies we work for, by our government and unions we support.  Not to worry and that they have our best interest at heart.  But, were does responsibility for our own lives enter in the equation.  I think right here would be as good a place as any.  Here’s why.  Companies owe you nothing.  You owe it to yourself to live your best life and to get what you want. Once you do this you are starting to embrace the art of working for yourself.  You are opening your mind to the possibilities of making a definite plan for your life.

They’ve done studies on people who have written out a plan for their lives.  Some in great detail.  The most fascinating thing about this study is that most of the poeple who wrote something down accomplished just about everything wrote down and set out to do.  I believe there is magic in writing down what you want.  It is something that comes from you, created by your hands on to paper for you to see immediately.  Your energy, your words, your dreams, your life.  Alive and in living color or blue or black ink.  Depends on what you are writing with.

It’s time you begin to re-think your life and your work.   We have become too dependent on forces outside of our control hoping and praying for a better out come.  There are times when the effort and responsibility falls squarely in our own  hands and we must act.  I have watched people resist the change that is happening all around them and fight to keep things the same in an effort to not have to think or act for themselves.  When you think about it.  They have not ever  and probably fear the thought of taking stock of the resources around them and to plan for a new way of life now that things are different.

Sure change is scary, but so is not know what you are going to do next.  This is where embracing the art of working for yourself and creating a path for you to follow toward what you want to have and how you want to live can make change and the way you look at it understandable.  Thus tempering our fear of the unknown.  This is what having a plan and writing it down can do for you.  It give voice to your vision and purpose to your actions.  Give it a try.  Write down a few plans and see what happens.  You’ll be amazed at what comes next.  Until next time be well.

 

What You Think About Matters

So if you can tell I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time.  It’s been pretty much off and on for most of my life.  My father’s words fading in and out in-between his many lectures on life.

As I look back on things I think I was sleep walking for a while.  Checked out on life, just taking what life handed me.  Not sure how this happened.  Sure I could blame my father and his father before him and maybe even my grandmother a little.  But that only keeps me from doing the hard work of thinking for myself.  Now, I’m sure there are some therapy questions involved and that’s not where I’m going with this.  I think the way we think about and approach life that has been handed down through the generations has a lot to do with it.  From how we learn in school, the friends we choose to the neighborhoods we live in.  It all matters.  The sad truth is most of us don’t really pay attention to what goes on around us.  Every dream we have, we shut down immediately not allowing ourselves the pleasure of having what we want let alone thinking about the possibility of attaining it.

And here is where I will begin this post.  You deserve to work for yourself.  To live the life you’ve always wanted and dreamed possible.  How is this possible you might ask, I work for someone else?   Re-thinking what you do and how you do it, is how you start down this path.  Pay attention to what’s going on around you.  Most of us however opt for the latter and live a drift wishing for more. The signs  are everywhere.  This is mind judo done to us by the mantra of the companies we work for, the television we watch and the company we keep.  Every day we are bombarded with the distraction of comparing ourselves to each other instead of our own path in life.  It’s not about them.  It’s about you.  You are the most important thing going.  Always has been and always will be.  You can think for yourself.  Now before you get over confident.  I see you smiling and sticking your chest out a little.  You are never to put anyone down and smash their dreams.  I practice this with every fiber of my being and I am asking you to begin this practice.   Asking questions is okay and giving constructive guidance is good.  But, be nice and fair.

To begin this process I will ask you to think back to when you where young and remember all of the things you always talked about doing.  I’ll bet you have never forgotten them, have you?  I know I haven’t.  I’m still trying to do most of them today.  This is where the art of working for yourself begins to come alive.  This is where that gem of light shines brightest.  Thought is the only power which can produce the energy that gets you what you want.  What you think about matters.  We have thoughts all of the time and yet we don’t always honor them.  Why not?  We become paralyzed by the fear of not conforming, to letting those voices of everyone we’ve ever known get in the way of what life is calling us to do.  From buying that dress, to painting the garage floor, we second guess our actions.  Most of us do.  I’ve did it for years.  I’ll start by giving you a new phrase.  We’ve all heard the acronym WWJD “What Would Jesus Do?”  How about changing one letter and start by saying WWID “What Would I Do?”  I am not trying to get really religious here, I’m just being creative.  Why is it our first intuition is to defer to someone else when thinking about what we want or what we want to do before using our minds to think first about the situation and creating a solution or outcome that you will be happy and satisfied with?  Why?  I’ll tell you why.  That passionate free thought muscle has been eroded over the years.  Chipped away by life’s setbacks, the messages we’ve received growing up and even blasted away by the school bully.  Take your pick.

Conscious deliberate thought gives you confidence.  It shapes your experiences and takes your mind to that creative space that believes anything is possible.  Creating a conscious strength from within is another step toward developing the art of working for yourself.  It keeps you from being satisfied with less than you want or could attain.  It is this type of consciousness that calls for increasing life in all you do.   I will leave you with this.  When you permit yourself to think about what is inferior in your life is to become inferior and you will surround yourself with inferior things.  The more we create an environment for good thoughts the more good things we will have in our lives.  In my next post I will more on thoughts, thinking and wanting what others have.  Until next time, be well and think good thoughts.