Commit to the Cubicle

Cubical LifeThis past weekend, I saw a friend whose son was graduating from college.   As we laughed about the empty nest he was about to experience our conversation circled back to our work and now the newly found job of his son.  I asked him how his son was handling the transition from college life to the nine-to-five world of work.  He said his son hated it.  He then laughed and commented on how his son is now a younger version of himself.  How he dressed and had to get up every day and go to work.  He then said something I’ll probably never forget.  He said, “Yeah, he’s just not ready to “commit to the cubicle”.  What!?!  His son is a gifted athlete and snowboarder.  I mean practically an Olympic level instructor type.  He spent every second of his free time on Mt. Baker between classes while at Western Washington University studying for his degree and has also appeared in a few snowboard promotional video commercials.  So you can imagine my heart sinking when I heard his father say this.   Especially with me on the heels of finishing my soon to be published book “The Art of Working for Yourself”.

All I could imagine was a scene from National Geographic in my head as they chased down this young lion that was about to be tagged and released for observation.  First, the lion struggles after it’s been hit by the tranquilizer dart.  Then they pet him to keep him calm, so he won’t wake up and eat them alive as they slip the transmitter collar around his little neck. Before the lion realizes what hit him, he wakes up and realizes that he’s got this thing now wrapped around his neck.   I know this is a bit dramatic, but I had to ask myself the question… “Did this happen to me?  Did I get tagged and “commit to the cubicle?”  When did I give in and what type of tranquilizer dart did they use on me?

Knowing what I know now, I think back to when I was younger and wiser and believed I could do anything.  I couldn’t quite remember how I fell for the Jedi mind trick and committed to the cubicle.  I’m sure it happened slowly at the guidance of our beloved media, teachers, friends and family; somehow I was trained away from my true essence.  As for my friend’s son, my lament for him is that most of us who “commit to the cubical” never leave it and we will begin to look at the cubicle as the best thing we will ever accomplish. Our wants and desires will take a back seat to day to day existence.  Sure there will be promotions and awards that reinforce our role as the cog in the wheel.  But, I wonder whose greater good this is serving?  Does committing to the cubicle mean we are not working for ourselves?

I believe the way we live and work is about to undergo a radical shift and it will be those who can’t and won’t commit to the cubicle who will show us the way.  They will live and work in a way that is more fulfilling to who they are and how they live (even when they work for someone else).  I’ll leave you to answer this for yourself.  Can you “commit to the cubicle” and still embrace the “Art of Working for Yourself”?  If so, how do you do it?  If not, then why not?

Read Gerald’s blog @ The Twelfth Power

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.