Category Archives: Inspirational

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On Confidence…

Short version of this post:

True confidence comes from doing. Period. It comes from you stepping out there, trying something new, and finding that you can do it well.

Here’s the long answer:

What we don’t see when we compare ourselves to others is the set of experiences (hard work, encouragement, relative skills at a particular point in time) that has given someone else the confidence THEY have. All we see is ourselves at ground zero, and we’re looking up at the others at the top of the mountain already wondering how they got there. They must have something we don’t (I wrote a bit more on this in my first post of 2016)

When we start off in life, we’re all the same… All helpless little baby blobs – unable to speak, walk, feed ourselves, or even reliably hold up our own heads. Somehow, over time, we’ve become these amazingly intelligent beings. Every one of us is a miracle of life, supremely unique in our perspective, with a truly unlimited potential that is all our own.

During our development, we’ve absorbed innumerable things that have shaped our beliefs. Years of silently observing our parents, who in our earliest lives are the gods of our worlds. We’ve possibly interacted with siblings, other relatives, peers. We’ve challenged them all on various occasions and learned the ‘limits’ in terms of what we can do and what we cannot. At times we received encouragement (which we inherently LOVE) and we’ve been driven to chase after more of it…loving the recognition so much that we were ok with stepping out into the unknown. Other times we’ve been chastised for doing something. Some of us may have done something we thought was amazing only to have the accomplishment fall on deaf ears. We’ve collected a number of painful and humiliating experiences that our ego aggressively avoids.

And now here we stand as adults – complete with our full, unique set of custom-made beliefs that is all our own.

And so the question is, “How can I have more confidence?”

Confidence, most simply put, is the belief that you can do something well. So what you’re really asking is “How can I create a belief in myself that I can do something well?”

It may be something you have never tried, or something where you tried, but have already failed.

Much like walking when you were a baby.

When you were a baby, you didn’t NEED confidence to try again. You wanted to stand up, and you fell. You didn’t care. If anything, your standing and falling was met with an overwhelming amount of stimulating attention! You couldn’t wait to try (and fail) again! So you did. You fell over and over and over and over. You didn’t think at all about what other babies were doing. If anything, seeing older children doing something triggered learning by modeling in you. And finally, you made the first step.. then the second. And eventually you were walking without even trying!

As we got older, things became a bit different. Some of the things we wanted to try were immensely dangerous, and some of us got hurt. Our parents had to ‘teach’ us and instill a certain amount of fear (less for some or more for others) in order for us to survive.

We went through some painful social experiences, where our innate desire to be part of a ‘tribe’ drives us to want to fit in and be accepted by others. We become a product of our particular surroundings, our peers, our social environment, our culture at large. We add to our own experienced limits by watching others, consciously and subconsciously learning from their successes and failures. Our very survival depends on this happening.

As far as nature is concerned, our survival is more important than our internal happiness.

Given that our entire lives have been involved in creating our limits, changing our deepest beliefs that have been etched in stone in the deepest recesses of our minds can be challenging.

Until it isn’t.

We all know of someone, or at least have heard of someone, that has gone through some kind of powerful transformation that shifted everything in their lives.

The reason this happens is that ALL of our internal limits and boundaries are tied together with the nearly unbreakable threads of our deepest beliefs.

When something happens in our lives causes us to question our deepest beliefs, it’s as though one of those binding threads has snapped. All the walls and boundaries held together by that thread begin to collapse and an immense world of possibility begins to open up for us.

So that’s the ‘easy’ way – only ‘easy’ because the ‘something’ that happens is usually some kind of traumatic life event that we are lucky to have survived.

So what do we do if we aren’t ‘lucky’ enough to experience a traumatic life-changing event?

We make a choice.

Choose to challenge your limits.

Challenge your beliefs.

Do not be limited by the beliefs of others, but instead continually expand your own boundaries.

Do not look upon others and see limits, but instead find and be inspired by what others have done and realize that they have shown that it is possible.

Choose to be inspired.

Choose to DO even when you’re not sure that you CAN.

You will fail, and then you will succeed.

And eventually you will truly appreciate that

Failure is merely a stepping stone on the path to success

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On Striving for Success…

For a large portion of my life, I felt that I had to do something BIG to be “successful” – to have “made it”. I think this stems from watching my parents succeed at business (then lose it all, then come back again, but that’s another story). I’ve come a long way since then, and thankfully that success didn’t land in my lap at a point in my life where it would have been more destructive than good.

I’ve been around the ultra wealthy, many of whom show significant signs of unhappiness and dis-ease. This is not to say that one cannot be financially wealthy and be happy – but it’s clear proof to me that money cannot make a person happy when that person does not have a foundation of happiness to build upon.

The reason for writing this today…is that I recently read a post from someone that felt as though it was coming from a place of sheer desperation. The desperation was caused by the striving for “success”, why they haven’t yet attained it… They’re trying everything, doing everything they’re supposed to do, but it still not there… Still not happening yet. Why have so many others ‘made it’ and they haven’t yet.

I could FEEL the desperation. I was able to understand where the author was coming from – I’ve felt aspects of that in my own life at times.

When you’re in that place, it’s hard to be a happy person. You are often filled with a certain amount of jealousy. You absolutely cannot be happy when someone else is successful while you’re still struggling.

In the startup space, there is a LOT of striving for success going on.

In the ‘coaching’ space, there is this sense that if you’re not STRIVING and WORKING toward your dreams, then something is broken in your life.. that you NEED something more. That your dreams have to be HUGE or they’re not worth going after.

Here’s the real issue with all the perspectives above…and this is the TRUTH:

SUCCESS IS A MINDSET, NOT A DESTINATION

YOU are successful because of the person you are, because of how you choose to show up in the world, both how you handle the most difficult situations of your life, as well as how you handle the greatest times…Success is the embodiment of your deepest values, made real in this world through you.

As a coach, I don’t easily classify myself into the typical categories that you hear about…life, business, lifestyle design, performance… maybe personal success is the closest match.

Still, one could at times call what I do ‘business’ coaching, in the sense that a.) it is what the client ‘needed’, but, more importantly, b.) the deeper inner transformation of the person inherently overcomes fear, while manifesting motivation, drive, creative vision, optimism, passion, hope… PURPOSE, which then makes success that much easier.

When you do the inner work on yourself, the outer world – your status, possessions, material things, all that… becomes irrelevant. Your inner work is what makes you whole.

There is a sense of BECOMING, a sense of BEING, right NOW…not STRIVING, but embodying…

The irony is that the less you STRIVE for the status, possessions, material things, all that… the more it seems to be ‘attracted’ to you. This is a very logical result, if you ask me. You simply become a happier person, which becomes attractive. You are able to truly appreciate the success of others, which others can appreciate. Your sincerity and authenticity draws cooperation from others…in person-to-person businesses, for example, this results in strong relationships, repeat clients, referrals… it’s easy to see the impact.

SUCCESS is not trying to get THERE, but is instead BEING THERE NOW

So no matter what your status, where you are in life, what you have or what you don’t have…your SUCCESS is defined by the person you choose to be, right now, at this moment. Work hard when it’s called for, when you are pulled to go after your dreams, go after them.

Some of you will feel the truth in this. Others, possibly in challenging times in their lives, may find it hard to really connect with this message. For others, this may stir a reserved curiosity, possibly of wanting to experience this higher level sense of SUCCESS in your life.

What does imagining yourself as an embodiment of SUCCESS, of BEING THERE NOW, stir in you???

Boy with world in his hands.

3 Lessons For Finding A Meaningful Life…

I recently gave a talk to a class at FIU, Florida International University, in Miami, Florida. The class was “Discovering Your Major”, and was a very interesting topic to me. I had no idea such a class even existed, but I loved the concept because of the intent to teach “meta” information about learning and life.

“Meta Teaching”…Meta-anything is something about something else… just above or outside of it. For example, “meta learning” could be used to describe learning about learning.. or how to learn, how to study.

There is a LOT to growing up that is no longer taught to us by default. Just the basics of what it means to be happy, how to live a happy life, what’s truly important – those lessons are often lacking. We have to try and figure that out for ourselves, but often only once we realize that something is missing.

This is the WISDOM we need in this world. This is the KNOWLEDGE that leads to Happiness.

These life lessons have to do, in many ways, with growing up… coming of age… becoming a meaningful person in life with one’s own identity, a meaningful, positive identity in the world.

BEING COMFORTABLE in your own skin.

These thoughts came to mind as I was reflecting on things after the talk.

Before the talk, I purposefully did not plan out what I was going to say. I wanted to see their faces, read their expressions to see what they were feeling, connect with them where they are in life and let that PULL the message from me.

And what came out were these 3 thought points, and they are just as applicable to all of us at any age as they are to the college students looking for direction…

  1. The image of whom you are striving to be – is it your own?
  2. You can change your life at any time.
  3. When in doubt, find a way to be of service to others.

The Image Of Whom You Are Striving To Be – Is It Your Own?

We all have a vision of whom we’re supposed to be, the person we believe we should be, but who’s vision is it? From birth, we strive to make our parents happy and proud. We learn throughs social interactions and observation of the world around us – whom does everyone else admire and respect, whom do we admire and respect. We might compare ourselves to friends, to siblings, classmates, people we see in the news, movies, marketing, everything… literally everything around is is constantly pumping information into our heads about what we need to do with our lives, whom we need to be, what we should study, what it means to be successful.

I used to wonder what it meant when someone said “I need to find myself,” a common theme during the transitional period of life where some young people travel to “find themselves”. It’s only natural to yearn for independence and respect, to be seen as an individual, an adult, and no longer as a child. I can see the challenge in finding your own path in life when being bombarded by input from outside sources. But…

REMEMBER: You are the one that has to live your life

The advice of the others in our lives is almost always well meaning. It comes from their own experiences in their lives, where they may foresee see pitfalls we can’t because they’ve been there and we haven’t yet. Some of the advice is valid – it may save us from making a catastrophic mistake in life. But also, some of the advice is fear-based, a result of their own personal life experiences melding with their character traits, desire for adventure or stability, following their dreams to the fullest or playing it safe to survive.

The “college” age is that very time where we start to build a NEW self-image, a self-image as an adult, not as a child… a self-image that would ideally be our own, but often is not.

When we build a life based on someone else’s (parents, society’s, etc.) image of whom we should be, our inner desire for our own identity does not go away. That’s why there are so many stories, books, and speakers that all describe something similar – a kind of metamorphosis as they find ‘their purpose’, something that resonates with them on a deeper level, even late in life.

You Can Change Your Life At Any Time

This is a huge concept for ALL aspects of life, not just related to what we choose to study, but also with respect to our friends, relationships, where we live, anything.

This does not mean that we throw in the towel at the first hint of resistance.

But it does mean that when we are able to see clearly that something is not right for us, that we have the power to change. If, as a student, you pick a major and you come to find that it absolutely is NOT what you want to do, it’s OK! Change!

If it takes another semester, or even another year to graduate, that can seem like an eternity at a young age. But what of a life where the entire path is in the wrong direction?

The majority of people stay in unhappy situations, feeling as though there are no options, for years to decades. Most of the ‘barriers’ seen are not barriers, just concepts in our own minds. We stay in bad relationships, we continue working at that unfulfilling job, we are afraid of ‘risk’, or when things are kind of ‘complex’, or when things might impact others, when they might incur the judgement of others. These barriers can be very real.

One of my favorite things to do with people is DESTROY THOSE BARRIERS, literally like a wrecking ball (please no photoshopped images of me like Miley Cyrus). But that’s what I love – questioning everything… Is it REALLY true that you “can’t”?

So this lesson that you can change your life at any time is one of the most important lessons a young person can learn.

Once you see things clearly, and you realize what IS and what IS NOT a barrier to change, that is when you gain control of your life. That is when it is a conscious choice to stay and try to improve your current situation, or when you choose to do something different.

THEN: Knowing that you can change things at any time, fearlessly explore your life

When In Doubt, Find A Way To Be Of Service To Others

  1. When we’re searching for a purpose and coming up with nothing, we can feel disconnected, empty, floating. We may not be able to ‘find’ a purpose, but we can always find a way of helping someone. Helping someone inherently means we’re useful, valuable, and shows that there IS a way that we can contribute to the world in some way – big or small. We literally do get back more than we give. Here’s a great post from Berkeley on how giving is good for you.
  2. When we are ‘helping’, there is a different feel to the arrangement. Somehow, we are not as afraid of failure; there’s nothing to lose. Even if what we do isn’t perfect, it’s almost always well received, rewarded with appreciation. Even the tiniest bit of positive reinforcement is all the spark that some of us need to ignite something deeper inside of us.
  3. When we search for ways to help and choose to show up in a positive way in this world, opportunities seem to arise in unexpected ways. We may be asked to ‘help’ with something that we NEVER would have considered doing. This gives us a change to fearlessly experiment, almost unknowingly wandering out of our comfort zone and into a space of self discovery.
  4. What do you think happens when you combine a fearless exploration, positive reinforcement, appreciation, and repeatedly create space for creative sparks to ignite something inside of us? We may just stumble, almost literally, across our calling… is it serendipity?
  5. You will have made the world that much better for at least one person, maybe many. You may never know how that small act may have changed their day, or even their lives, for the better.
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Hoist Your Anchors

We’re just about through the first month of the year already – which underscores the rapid passage of time. You might be feeling the rush of progress, momentum building up, action leading to more action after the start of the new year. Or you might be feeling some frustration from goals set high yet not much progress being made.

Here’s something interesting to think about: You can’t tell what’s holding you back until you start trying to move. So it’s ok if you’re feeling resistance – if things aren’t going as smoothly as you had hoped, and in fact it’s a good thing. It might be your own thoughts or habits holding you back, or people (associations), or time or money factors… it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that you are TRYING TO MOVE…. And you are FINDING YOUR ANCHORS.

Only when you find your anchors can you start to work on, through, or around them – hoisting them so they are no longer restraining your progress.

When you remove one anchor and begin moving again, at some point you might take up all the slack of the next anchor and get yanked to a halt. Again, that is a GOOD THING. You can’t overcome your obstacles until you know what they are.

My life is great, and also very full… My goals are and dreams are big. Big goals and dreams require big action… which requires a LOT of movement. As I started out the new year with new goals and actions for myself, I immediately felt MANY anchors – it was as though they were spread out in all directions with various amounts of slack… There wasn’t much room to move in any direction at first.

BUT…feeling the resistance, and meeting it with inquiry and thinking “I don’t know how I’m going to solve this, but if I were to attempt anything, I might try X”… and I gradually began creating space.

As the bindings loosened, and I hoisted up one anchor… and then another. I felt more and more freedom, confidence, and a sense of momentum.

Action begets more action.

Then I had this thought:

Nothing interesting seems to happen when you’re lazy

Now, I may not have been what anyone would have called ‘lazy’, but compared to what I’m doing now??? Things are getting exciting!

So get moving, even if you don’t go anywhere at first… find your anchors, hoist them one by one… Feed off the energy and momentum, and enjoy this crazy ride we call life!

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Life’s Purpose…

Are you searching for a more meaningful life, or do you already know Life’s Purpose for you?

When you feel connected to a larger purpose, connected to your authentic self, there is no need for motivation. Instead of dragging yourself to show up and pushing yourself to get things done, you feel pulled toward your work.

So why this talk about Life’s Purpose now? Well, it’s the start of a new year, and if one is open to it, it can also be a time for introspection, a time when there is a very strong energy of renewal, a reinvigoration of Life’s Purpose. Don’t confuse the intent of this with New Year’s resolutions simply because of the timing. This is NOT about making a list of all the things you put on a list at the beginning of every year, only to forget them all by Jan 4th.

Note that I said “Reinvigoration of Life’s Purpose,” not ”Your Purpose In Life.” The difference is subtle. Life is bigger than you, than me, and being part of something bigger than yourself, something connected to Life, brings with it a very profound sense of meaning.

Here are the four Levels of Life’s Purpose that we may progress through.

  1. Existing. We are not searching for our Life’s Purpose. We are floating through life, not connected with anything very meaningful or purposeful. We are often in this state in our youth, though certain experiences can free us from this (sometimes encounters with enlightened individuals, sometime tragedies that knock our world upside down and force us into contemplation for answers). For many, it is simply the passage of time and unfulfilled dreams that can wake us up to contemplate a question like “Do I matter?”
  2. Searching. We feel that there must be something more to life, something to give our life meaning. We want to matter, to make a difference. We don’t know how, we don’t know what, but we are searching for something.
  3. Connected. We have discovered Life’s Purpose for ourselves, and we feel a connection to it – pulling us closer to fulfilling our purpose.
  4. Fulfilled. We are living Life’s Purpose fully and completely. We are strongly connected to Life’s Purpose, and this connection allows us to flow in new directions as Life presents new paths. Every day of our lives, good and bad, is still an amazing, interesting, and wonderful experience.

It is a very sad thing that many, if not most, go through their entire lives simply Existing, unaware, unconnected, and feeling as though their life does not and has not really mattered.

So don’t simply make a list of resolutions for this New Year. This year do something deeper, something more lasting and meaningful for your life. Examine the Level of your life… If you’re simply Existing, perhaps it’s time to as yourself the big questions…Why are we here? Is there something more to life than what I’ve been living so far?

If you have been feeling that there must be something more, if you are Searching, focus on your inner work. It doesn’t matter what you call it… God, Infinity, Intention, Life… open yourself up to the possibility that there is a higher purpose and meaning for your life, a place meant for you – where you can matter most. When you are open, your teachers (sometimes life itself) will find you. Life will help show you your Life’s Purpose.

When you feel Connected to Life’s Purpose, you are invigorated with the knowledge that there is something more. You may not know how to fulfill Life’s Purpose, but you know it’s there. It’s as though you know there is gold in a mountain, but you don’t know exactly where it is. It doesn’t matter, the knowledge that it is there is all you need to make you experiment with ways of reaching it. Some days are filled with excitement as you have some success, other days may be fraught with challenges and you may feel discouraged and have doubts. This Level of Life’s Purpose is where the work truly begins. Just as when searching for gold, the work may be the most difficult, but the rewards can be just as great in proportion.

So begin this New Year with an awareness of your current level, and a clear intention to progress to the next Level of Life’s Purpose. You may not know how… or what… be open… fearlessly explore. Don’t be afraid of failure – there is no failure, there is only Life, and the wonderful adventure, full of challenges, excitement, drama, and success.

It’s time to search for, find, and begin to live fulfilled… to live Life’s Purpose… to live Your Higher Level Life.

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One Important Lesson To Kick Off 2016

Careful How You Compare Yourself…

We compare ourselves to others, often automatically and somewhat subconsciously. We compare looks, our happiness, financial success, professional success, accomplishments, social status, material goods, physical abilities, family, friends, children, and their accomplishments… and 1000 other aspects of our lives – anything that can be associated or attributed to something considered ‘part’ of us, or ‘related’ to us in some way.

This sizing up of ourselves has a very useful purpose. In the business world, knowing one’s competition allows for strategic marketing, and possibly creating a solution that is not provided by your competition. In a physical conflict, it allows one to avoid violent encounters that would otherwise prove likely to be deadly or injurious if we are clearly outmatched by our rival (while seeming irrelevant for many, unfortunately this is a very real subject for many youths, and adults, all around the world – sometimes on a daily basis).

This somewhat automatic act of comparing ourselves to others has evolved from a very real need for survival… much like fear (something I wrote similarly of in Stop Living by Fear.

However, much like fear being useful as well as limiting, self-comparison can also be limiting and harmful when out of balance. In today’s world it is more difficult than ever to see things clearly. Social media, marketing, cosmetic surgery, airbrushing and editing of photography, movies and television shows…our perception of reality is very skewed. Comparing ourselves can sometimes lead to negative patterns of thinking, behavioral disorders, and a severely limited life (entirely self-imposed).

Much has been written similar topics – so I want to focus on two very clear points:

  1. Our knowledge of someone else’s full life experience is always incomplete
  2. We judge our full selves against someone else’s incomplete external image

Our knowledge of someone else’s full life experience is always incomplete

Think about the fact that we often compare aspects of our lives in isolation. We compare our weight or fitness to that of others, yet we don’t compare our full lives. The other person may be dedicating so much of their life to fitness that they have sacrificed their personal relationships, time with their children, and success in their career (and these may be things that for you are amazing). Or, perhaps someone else has an amazing career, but doesn’t have the wonderful kids you have… or vice versa (notice neither is better or worse, but is simply the results of your choices in life and each has their merits).
With social media, our images of others are primarily based on what they want to represent as their lives. We inherently share and celebrate our victories and successes, and quietly hide or move past our defeats and challenges – usually not wanting anyone else to know. So when others see us, and when we see others, the picture is NEVER complete.

We judge our full selves against someone else’s incomplete external image

This is where our ‘automatic’ act of comparing of ourselves to others can lead to problems if we are not present and aware that what we ‘know’ about someone else is grossly incomplete. If we are attempting to start a new business, and we’re comparing ourselves to someone else that has an immensely successful business, we may feel that we can never be as good / successful / famous / respected (insert any adjective you like here). But what we don’t see is the 10 failures they had while creating their success. We don’t see the way they were when they were just starting out – when they had the same insecurities that you have now. We don’t see all their flaws, mistakes, misjudgments, insecurities. We only see where they are now – not how they got there.

There is a VERY different feeling of possibility when one can see that they too can do what someone else has done. Sometimes it’s not all about self-confidence, or self-esteem, but simply knowing that you and they are truly much more alike than you realize…That they too were once just like you, with the same dreams, doubts, and a very unique set of talents, thoughts, and abilities.

The truth is we all have something amazing to offer this world. We are all human, we all have unique talents, as well as doubts and insecurities. Everyone gets tired sometimes. Everyone feels doubts, fears, and sometimes needs a helping hand, and maybe a kind word or gentle guidance from someone that has been there and done that.

So as you go through this coming year in 2016, set your goals high, and don’t limit yourself. You don’t have to know how you’re going to get there, just know that you will and start moving in the right direction. When you see someone whom you may put on some form of a pedestal, try to imagine them when they were just starting out…try to view their whole person. Then learn from what others have done, but don’t worry about who’s in front or behind you… just keep moving forward toward your dreams and you’ll be amazed with what begins to happen in your life :)

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How To Create Your Own Power Group and 7 Reasons to Do It Now…

Pulling A Power Group Together

With 2016 just around the corner, I wanted to send this out to the universe to help us all kick the new year off with a BANG!

BTW – if you’re interested in doing the same thing I did here and would like some help/advice, you can comment below or message me directly on the Your Higher Level Life Facebook Page.

I’m the kind of person that likes to do things myself when I can – partly because of curiosity (hey, I wonder if I can do that), partly because of lack of trust (e.g. car mechanics), and who knows why else…However, I’m also aware of my own limitations, and how others have helped me – with advice, wisdom, input, ideas, money, connections. Having experienced the power of working with a group of supportive individuals, I craved having that support again.

Here’s how I pulled an amazing group together overnight, and maybe you can use this to do something similar to pull your own like-minded group together to help each other accomplish goals with crazy effectiveness

I decided to bring some of my close friends together to create a ‘Success Mastermind’ meeting. We had done this very thing some time back, maybe 10 years ago now. We’d brainstorm for ideas, bounce ideas off each other, all that good stuff. It was great. Then life set in. One of us moved out to California to work at Apple. Another was working his way up the corporate ladder (now a Senior VP at a major broadcasting company). Others, like me, simply became more busy with life, kids, and just keeping it together. The meetings fizzled.

So I emailed whom was left of my former group, and not much had changed. Everyone liked the idea, but pretty much everyone was busy for one reason or another.

One morning, I was thinking about all the awesome people I’ve connected with over the years, and I figured, why not open it up to anyone that has a positive vibe, that’s interested in being MORE successful (whatever that means to them). That morning, I sent a few texts from home, and then I called a few more people on my drive to work. The responses were amazing…

Me: I’m getting a meetup started…A success mastermind setup…Support group / etc…positive energy and people motivated to have an awesome life – you interested?
Awesome Person 1: Who wouldn’t be [interested]
Me: That answer rocks dude!
Awesome Person 1: Seriously I’m down. That should be anybody and everybody’s answer.

And one of my favorite responses:

Awesome Person 2:“HELL Yeah, I’m interested!”

Less than a week later, we had an initial conference call to kick things off. One of my friends offered his conference room… boom! Awesome location locked down. The next month we had our first meeting. Out of a list of 25 people that were ‘interested’, 10 people showed up. Some couldn’t make it for legitimate reasons, and the rest? Well…perhaps this is just how they’ll continue to show up in life. It’s the group of 10 that showed up that is important. Showing up is the first step, the first filter that separates the do-ers from the do-not-ers. I have to admit I couldn’t have hand-picked a better group out of the 25, or a better size. The group gelled immediately, and found its own vision and path. It was amazing.

It seems to me that 10 people is a perfect size for this sort of thing. More people and the group size becomes unwieldy, there’s not enough time for people to really fully share, and it’s hard to connect with everyone on a deep level. While I don’t have any experience to back this up, it seems like 8 is a great lower bound – ourself plus 7 others. There’s a lot of brain power there, and the group is easily handled by our capacity and time constraints.

After that first meeting, ideas came flooding in on how we can make the most of our time together, how this ‘group think’ could be applied to nearly any purpose, agenda, or goals – either goals for the individual or a common goal amongst the members.

I’m reaching out to the others that couldn’t make the first group to test out getting another monthly group going – possibly with a different intent or purpose based on the needs of those involved. I’m also considering helping start groups with a clear purpose that is a common goal for everyone involved (think something more philanthropic here), and I think it can be powerfully positive

Here’s some fodder for thought – around why a tight ‘Power Group’ can be such an effective agent of action and change:

7 Reasons To Pull Your Own Power Group Together Now

1.) Be more decisive

When faced with a tough decision, we can sometimes be hit with analysis paralysis. At the very least, a tough decision can induce a large amount of stress. Decision Fatigue is a very real thing. Having a partner or group to consult can often lead to a quick decision – even if it’s a light affirmation of your hunches, it can be enough to move you to take action immediately instead of wasting your precious mental energy while attempting to make the best decision.

2.) Be Accountable

It’s all too easy to break promises we make to ourselves. How many times have you kept all (or even some) of your New Year’s resolutions? Having someone as a partner is powerful. The more public and open you are with your commitments, the more likely you are to make a legitimate effort to stick to them. The idea here is the fear of having to publicly admit failure is a force that pushes against the impulse to quit when you encounter a certain amount of resistance or difficulty. A trusted accountability partner can ideally call you on your BS, remind you of WHY you made the commitments, and help you more consciously choose your path of action.

3.) Encouragement

Positive reinforcement is huge. It’s one aspect of the fundamental forces that forge our core behaviors. This, like Being Accountable, is related to our desire for social approval, and hearkens back to the encouragement that we received (or wanted to receive) from our parents or caregivers. A friend telling us “That was AWESOME!”…”I can’t believe you pulled that off!!!” is POWERFUL. How many times have you had something amazing happen, and you couldn’t wait to tell someone… ANYONE…what just happened? Telling someone, and getting that positive feedback, encourages all the effort, work, perseverance, and courage it took for you to MAKE that happen, so you’re more likely to push through future challenges as they come up.

4.) Set Clear Goals

We don’t technically need others to help with this, however, it’s very easy for us to fall into the habit of working ‘toward our dreams’ without clear goals when we aren’t holding ourselves accountable. Working with a partner, coach, or group will force us to get clear with what we truly want… to spell it out. We then see where we are, where we want to go, and what the next steps are to go in the right direction.

5.) Don’t Overlook The Obvious

When we are too close to the problem, it can be hard to be objective. How many times have you been looking for an answer to have someone walk up and point it out in 2 seconds. Again, this can impact our ability to take action – particularly if we’re concerned that we might miss something if we’re not careful. Having someone to quickly confirm that everything looks good – that we’re on the right track can be very useful.

6.) Two Minds Can Be Better Than One

Sometimes we need to be off on our own, letting our minds wander freely without distractions and come up with novel ideas. Other times, we need to take those novel ideas and thoughts out of isolation and share them with others. Bouncing ideas around with people of different backgrounds and disciplines can yield very creative solutions, as, say, people can apply patterns they’ve learned from studying Biology to solving Structural Engineering problems.

7.) Your Network’s Network

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that there is immense power in one’s network. Think about the aspects of your life, including your own creation, that have occurred simply because of a chance encounter between two individuals. If you read the life stories of any highly successful person you will find that their lives are what they are in large part because of the people in that person’s life, and people they knew. A simple concrete example is comparing two job applicants – one applies through the standard channels on a company website (along with 10,000 others), and another applicant knows someone at the company that personally recommends him/her to the hiring manager… BOOM, applicant 2 wins every time!

So – who do you know, and what is YOUR Power Group going to accomplish together in 2016?


spaceshuttle_only

Without this, Dreams and Ideas are worthless…

I was talking to a few friends of mine recently about getting a group together … a “Success Mastermind Group”, and the topic came up around how we could protect ideas.

The thing is … and I learned this from a major rockstar startup founder… taking an idea and making it into a business is really, REALLY, freakin’ hard.  It’s so hard that you can take an idea, and share it with the world…and all the best startup founders…and it still may never amount to anything.

What makes an idea valuable?  Action.

An idea without action is just a temporary blip of neurons firing in your brain – and then it’s gone… maybe a memory.

Same thing goes for your DREAMS.  Dreams are just thoughts or ideas related to YOU or something you care about.

Dreams of what could be, what you could do, what you could become.

Dreams without action are just more temporary blips of neurons firing in YOUR brain…

The only way to make your dreams real is… you guessed it… Action.

More specifically… YOU… YOU TAKING ACTION.

There’s an interesting twist.  You don’t have to be striving toward YOUR OWN GOAL in order to take action and be successful.

You don’t have to wait for the right idea.  You don’t have to wait to believe in your dreams.

I recently read The Surrender Experiment, by Michael A. Singer.

Here’s about the shortest summary I can muster:

Michael Singer went from living in a van parked by a lake, by choice, with the only intention of meditating and practicing yoga in order to find enlightenment.  When some kind of opportunity was presented to him, or there was some kind of congruency he picked up on, he followed it curiously.  It was not always in alignment with HIS thoughts about where HE wanted to go, but he chose to let go.. to surrender…with the feeling that something higher… life.. God…something was leading the unfolding.  Life was living through him, instead of him trying to impose his will on life.  The book is a page turner of what others would chalk up to coincidence, where his surrendering to life took him from homeless to CEO of a $300M company.  He went from camping on someone else’s land, to owning over 900 acres surrounding the area where he used to live in his van.

None of his success and amazing life stories came from his ambition to fulfill something for himself.  His only dream was to reach enlightenment and serve the purpose life put in front of him.

That’s the most amazing twist on things – he took Action to follow life’s intention.

Does this mean that you cannot follow your dreams or work to make ideas become a reality?  Of course not.  Who’s to say that your thoughts and dreams are not part of life’s (or God’s) overall intention?

Your dreams can be a source of passion… an energy to help drive you overcome the challenges you’ll face in life.

In the end, action is what matters.  It’s the bridge between your ideas and life.  Action is the ability you have to manifest your ideas.

So … what dreams do you have… what amazing ideas are waiting… waiting for you to make them real?

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:

DON’T LOOK DOWN…

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

LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING!

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…

IT’S AN INTERESTING CHALLENGE…

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:

DON’T LOOK DOWN

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!

OCTOBER OFFER:

Do you have an interesting challenge???

sunrise

Accept…Surrender…Receive…

Let go of your suffering… Let go of your attachment.  Accept.  Surrender.  Receive.

This does not mean “give up”… or accept your situation and do not try to change things.  In fact, it means the opposite.

Christianity and Judaism teach faith in God… To let go of our worries, that we are being cared for, guided, protected…we are Gods children.  We are to let go and receive what God provides.

Buddhism speaks of enlightenment and non-attachment…If you are going through challenging times, you may be ‘attached’ to what the future holds – yearning for that time to come while you force yourself to suffer where you are now…. Or you may be attached to the past… what used to be.  Your attachment causes suffering as you feel like something is lacking.

The Vedanta teaches that our inner soul (Atman) is one with God (Brahman…the creative principle).  We are meant to have true awareness of our own divinity… How can one worry about anything in this life if one is truly aware of one’s own oneness with God?

Many contemporary writers and spiritual ‘guides’  express similar thoughts in more modern terms.

Eckhart Tolle writes of this in The Power Of Now – how we often live in the future or the past, not  experiencing ‘the now’.

Wayne Dyer writes of connecting with Infinity… becoming one with the Infinite.

In Evolutionary Enlightenment, Andrew Cohen speaks of our own divinity with a unique perspective – that our consciousness is the very consciousness of God…that the everything is one… came from one…is God…Our own consciousness is the consciousness of the universe…we are all part of the same divine consciousness becoming aware of itself.

Across millennia…civilizations…cultures…religions…beliefs…patterns form and reveal fundamental truths.

Let go of your suffering… Let go of your attachment.  Accept.  Surrender.  Receive.

This does not mean “give up”… or accept your situation and do not try to change things.  In fact, it means the opposite.

Accept.

If you are suffering due to circumstances of your life, acceptance is the first step.  Acceptance..moving past denial and resistance…allows you to see things as they are, and take action to change your situation.

Surrender.

Surrender to life, to God, to the Infinite Intelligence…Surrender to put an end to the self-inflicted suffering of your own mind… Trust that you are connected, inextricably to the infinite… to god…to all life… When you see this truth, you will feel a sense of calm… a sense of peace.  oneness.

Receive.

Receive your life fully.  Experience living, whatever it may bring, richly… thoroughly.  Be open to what life.. the universe… existence…God… Brahman…The Infinite…offer you.