Monthly Archives: September 2015

Rickety Bridge

Don’t Look Down…

We’ve seen this in the movies a million times, and maybe we’ve been in a situation or two in our lives where we’ve heard this:


If you’re not supposed to look down, where the *$#& are you supposed to look???


Keep your eyes focused on your goal, and your mind focused on making the next step.

This thought came to me as I caught my mind running away from me this morning.  You see, I challenge myself as much as I challenge anyone I work with – to develop themselves, reach higher, get out of their (our?) comfort zones.

And this was one of those mornings where a few challenging areas of my own life started to percolate up to the surface.  I felt that fear inside… and heard that inner voice…

What if I can’t…

What if this doesn’t work out…

I have to figure this out, but I don’t see how…

I could feel tension in my body building up.

I meditated…..

One of my favorite Aikido instructors was Sugano Sense…He lost a foot to diabetes.  He returned to teach, and was more powerful than ever.  He described working through the loss as “an interesting challenge“.

I love thinking of that when I’m faced with something difficult…


Meditating when your mind is running away from you is exactly that… it’s an interesting challenge.

A challenge is something I can deal with.  I’ll never back down from an interesting challenge.

Then I had this image come to mind of crossing a rickety foot-bridge… high up…where someone that is guiding me across would say:


I immediately felt some of the tension diminish.

Here’s what I told myself:

Don’t look down.  Don’t focus on problems or issues that might be around you now, focus on where you are going… Focus on taking the next step… and then the next… and then the next.

Changing my focus, I felt good…

Taking that next step, I felt great.

Taking the step after…and the one after that, I’m on my way and nothing can stop me.

It’s an interesting challenge!


Do you have an interesting challenge???

Being fed to the sharks of fear

Why I Cause Myself To Fail…

At some point in my life I realized that some part of my brain doesn’t want me to be successful. You may have experienced something similar.  I see it all the time with people I interact with – usually completely unaware of what’s going on… I still catch this happening within myself all the time, but it’s the awareness that allows me to overcome the limitations.

Self-sabotaging behavior is just one way this can manifest from our subconscious.  And rather than preach from some high altar like I’ve completely surpassed these issues, I thought I’d just raise some of your awareness by sharing some things about myself…

For me, negative patterns of behavior crop up when I’m doing something challenging, something new, and there’s some fear in the back of my mind around failure.  I take on too much work when I really need to focus on the one thing that is truly important to me.  Somehow as a means of protecting “myself”, my subconscious mind (seemingly way smarter than my conscious brain) outsmarts every rational aspect of my behavior with some kind of override button as a means of protection.  Protection from what?  Failure for one.  More accurately, the FEAR of failure, because the failure hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.

Here are a few other things I’ve seen in myself from time to time that you can look out for:

  • Forgetfulness – Believe it or not, your subconscious can make you forget as easily as it can help you remember.  You might forget to reply to that important email in a timely manner – and you never know what it might be that life-changing person that can connect you to the next level.
  • Tardiness – Instead of waking up on time like a kid waking up to go to Disney, you might forget to set your alarm… or not give yourself enough time to prepare / make it to that interview or presentation.  You set yourself up for failure due to ‘circumstances’ that were ‘beyond your control’.  You fail, but you are not a personal failure.
  • Procrastination – I’ll write more about this later.
  • Perfectionism – Have you ever worried so much what someone else might think, that you never finish something?  It might be writing a book, publishing a blog post (like this one! :)), finishing that final cut of a demo music track to send to a contact.  You eventually you forget about it.  It’s something you worked on but never finished, and you failed but never “failed”.
  • Wrong Priorities – “Things” come up.  Work calls you in for an extra shift when you have an important meeting the same day.  You *could* have said “I’m sorry, I can’t make it” and have chosen yourself, as James Altucher would say (I’m a big fan of his stuff – check out his book, “Choose Yourself”).  But you didn’t.  You just HAD to go in because you need the money, or you “might” lose your job.  You didn’t choose yourself, and you failed but you didn’t “fail”.
  • Laziness – Working to create something while working a full-time job is NOT easy.  It can be demanding, draining, challenging… and sometimes you just want a break.  It’s very easy to talk yourself into justifying “time for myself”.  Now, I’m all for time for myself – it just has to be in the right way, and at the right time.  Whenever I feel that urge, I don’t just ignore it and try to “push through the pain”… I go deeper.  I meditate.  I find out where that urge is coming from.  If I find a connection to fear related to something I am working toward, that gets me fired back up to squash that fear.  Without being able to discern the cause, you will either work yourself to exhaustion or you will not get your sh*t done… both are paths to failure by not doing.
  • Getting Ready to Get Ready – Oh, this was me (sometimes still is).  Wanting to learn everything and know everything before leaping out there.  Think fear of failure / risk aversion might have something to do with it?
  • Negative Thoughts – “It’s probably not going to work anyways, and I could really use the [insert one of: time, money, rest]”… “I just don’t think I’m ready”… “I’ll be ready as soon as I [ insert one of: graduate, take this course, go to XYZ training]”

Here’s the thing – when you’re not looking for these behavior patterns, they rule your life and you have no clue you’re being manipulated like a puppet by your subconscious.


As a wise man once said.. I think it was GI JOE… “Knowing is half the battle”.

Once you’re aware of these patterns, you can’t help but see them.  The above list is from my own personal experiences, and you’ll begin to see even more over time.  As you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking of a few right now.

There are only two ways to handle these patterns that I’m aware of, and I do both.


This is what we do by default, and we should.  It helps, but it doesn’t get to the core (I’ll talk about that in a minute).

For forgetfulness, you might start to use reminders or to-do lists (like I did… and if you’ve done this on and off periodically, keep reading – you’ll need the “GO DEEPER” section for sure).

For things like procrastination and laziness, you might get an accountability partner.

For tardiness, you make it a habit to add things to your smartphone’s calendar and set 3 reminders like I do sometimes (one for an hour before an event.. one for the day before, and one for a week before!).

But only going head on at these things will make your life a living hell because it doesn’t get to the root CAUSE… For that you have to GO DEEPER.


Since the ‘head on’ approach is fixing the symptoms and not the CAUSE, you can do that forever, and it’ll never get easier.  You’ll go through a life filled to the brim with some amount of self-torture trying to deal with these things on the outside, until you GO DEEPER.

Going deeper gets you to the cause… usually rooted in some form of belief or values that we may or may not even know exists in our minds.

An short example from my life will be better than a 200 page explanation…My fear of money.

For a while, I despised people with money.  This was because of experiences in elementary school, where I was frequently the subject of a lot of mean comments based on my family’s financial status.  It was an elementary school that my parents struggled to keep my sister and I in when my family had lost everything at one point – their business, our childhood home.. everything.  My mom and dad are very resourceful, and somehow they were able to keep us in the same school to try and do what was best for us.  But during that time, I still remember some of the kids making fun of my mom because of what she wore.  Others made fun of my dad because of the kind of car he drove.  Partly because of that I got into countless fights at that school and never really fit in.  As I grew older, I realized how hard it must be to raise good children that can really appreciate what they have when they have everything…where money isn’t the most important thing in life.  I didn’t want my kids to grow up to be ‘those’ kinds of kids, and part of my mind was protecting me from that outcome by completely avoiding the problem of ‘having too much money’ altogether.  Is this making sense to you?

This revelation took me a while to discover…But going deeper allowed me to change that ‘belief’, which was one of the reasons that my mind would sabotage success.  Part of my mind.. part of me, at a very deep level, did not want to succeed.  I was able to realize that I can be immensely successful and that can give me more of a chance to raise wonderful children.  One of my dreams now is to teach by example for one (think philanthropy), as well as by exposing them to the world – other cultures… that we are all humans, all different and all the same.

Think about how your mind works.   Your mind (barring physical issues or chemical imbalances) is fundamentally a rational machine.  We are only conscious of a very small part of our thoughts – like looking at the surface of the ocean, not knowing what currents are going on underneath.  Our rational mind will work to protect us at all costs from any dangers, even if those dangers are, by definition, irrational.  Find out what you subconscious is protecting you from, and you can start to work on correcting those flawed beliefs.


  1. Watch yourself carefully. Observe yourself meticulously for self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors.  Keep in mind that your subconscious can be VERY tricky, and is way more powerful than your conscious mind.
  2. Outsmart yourself.  When you identify these limiting behaviors, find ways to outsmart your subconscious while you
  3. Go deeper.  Find out the true source of those behaviors within yourself.
  4. Internal development.  Work on correcting the incongruent belief within yourself.

Step 4 may be easy in some cases – awareness may be enough… or may be a big challenge.  You might need to experiment to find out who or what works for you…

This is all about improving… personal growth…getting past your limitations… removing limiting beliefs and thought patters, and eradicating limiting behaviors.

Internal Development for External Success.


Scott Dinsmore – Live Your Legend

I was very distressed to hear that Scott Dinsmore, the creator of Live Your Legend, has passed.  I remember when I stumbled across his TED talk: How to find and do work you love, where he opened up about the beginnings of Live Your Legend.  I was inspired…his ted talk played a large part in my finding my own way to help empower others to find meaningful lives.

Scott recently began world tour with his wife, Chelsea… and they were sharing their adventures with the world…real adventures – desert crossing, tents… bonding with locals everywhere and spreading happiness in the process.

The information seems to point to an accident while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, something I had wanted to do some 20 years ago, but still never have.

The only saving grace that I can fathom is that he lived more in just the past few months of his life, and touched the lives of others, more than most of us will do in our lifetime.

I feel deeply for his wife and the family he has left behind.

He has impacted countless people around the world in such positive ways, and his positive energy will live on and continue to change lives for the better.

Scott Dinsmore was truly an inspiration for how to live life.