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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:


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???


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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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.



You can’t juggle without letting go

Ever seen a juggler try to juggle while not letting go of anything???

We try to control way too much of our lives and our surroundings…too many unimportant things.  We try to control ourselves, our expectations, and others.  We have a tough time dealing with the unknown, the unexpected… worrying about all the “what if”s that might come up.  We worry and stress over things that MIGHT happen as if they already have happened, and reflexively we attempt to CONTROL what we really can’t – because we’re afraid of something going wrong, even if we’re not sure what it is.

Even when we think we are in control, we really know that control is just an illusion…

We expose our bodies to a lifetime of stress unnecessarily… Health-wise we’re more likely to over-eat, not sleep well, develop heart disease, depression, chronic fatigue, on and on.  We feel overwhelmed.

Trying to control too much is caused by an inability to discern what is and what is not truly important.

Want to live a happy life?  Learn to let go.  Don’t stress over possible outcomes of the future.  Put trust in others…

More likely than not, the opportunity of YOUR lifetime is going to be a result of something not going exactly as YOU had planned.

Letting go does not mean not trying…it does not mean not doing your best.  It means letting go of fear of what MIGHT happen.  It means letting go of the expectation that everything will always go as planned because we know we’ll be able to deal with it.  It means letting go of trying to do EVERYTHING yourself so that you can accomplish more than you have ever imagined when you enlist the help of others.

It means letting go of the future (what might happen), and of the past (what did happen), so that you can truly enjoy life (what is happening now).


Be Happy…Now! :D

Almost everyone is waiting for something to happen… Waiting to reach some goal to be happy.  Waiting to find the right person, save enough money for a house, pay down debt… Too often happiness is always around the corner… or, a more accurate metaphor, at the end of the rainbow.

Happiness is a simple conscious choice – and does not depend on your current situation or circumstances.  As soon as you base your happiness on anything outside of your own self, it slips through your fingers and is gone.  If you reminisce on happy events from the past, you’ve lost the happiness of the moment.  You only feel the “missing” of the happy moments of the past that are gone.  If you are waiting for some state of life (graduate, new job, pay down debt, waiting to “get” something or “have” someone in your life), then you are in a position of wanting something to happen…waiting for it to happen…putting your happiness on hold.  You are again feeling things from a position of lack – living without happiness because it lies in the future.  What’s more, the moment you had been waiting for, should it arrive, will at some point be gone.  The happiness that was once coming in the future will be gone in the past…again leaving you empty.  The answer is that happiness is already within you… here…now.

Happiness is an emotional feeling that comes from within yourself, and is not dependent on anyone else’s opinion of you, does not need anyone else’s approval, and does not depend on luck or current circumstances in any way… Happiness is an enjoyment of life – feeling in the moment… feeling connected, feeling alive… There are wonderful experiences and there are terrible experiences, and everything in between…but you are alive and there is an immense and wonderful appreciation that can be had for all things you experience in life… experiences that make you into the person you have become, that have given you the energy to be and do and create… to live and enjoy life.

A very simple metaphor that I like to use is to think of what makes a great movie great….There is no movie that I’ve ever seen where everything happens perfectly…goes exactly as planned…Where everything works out and nothing bad ever happens.  Nobody on this planet would sit through the first 10 minutes.  But cliffhangers… drama… action… excitement…love…loss…everything from tragedies to tearjerking romances…. THAT is what grabs us.  THAT is what makes for an interesting experience that keeps us on the edge of our seats.  Seeing the main character work through the lulls and depressed states, cope with inevitable losses, face challenges, overcome the odds….If that is what makes for a great movie, why would we want anything less for our lives?



Want Positive, Be Positive

Jim Rohn said it best:

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”

You need positive people in your life.  People that believe anything is possible.  People that support your dreams.  People that are developed enough to not be afraid of your success, that help you think farther and help you stretch your own boundaries.

How do you find positive people?  Be that person to others and they will find you.

Accept people as they are and be careful not to judge or criticize people that may show some negativity or not be as supportive as you would like.  You attract positivity by exuding it, not by forcing it upon others.  Remember, you choose with whom you spend your time.  Just because you would like to spend time with one person or another, and you would like him/her to be supportive doesn’t mean it will ever happen.  Not everyone has to have the same hopes, plans, and dreams as you do, and that’s ok.

When you start paying attention to the “positivity level” of others, positive people will stand out.  Take an inventory of the people in your life right now – who falls into the positive, optimistic, can-do-anything personality category?  What’s even better is a do-er rather than a dreamer…Most people will be hard-pressed to think of anyone…

As you exude and attract positive people, you can’t help but be changed.  Others supporting you, showing you that something you thought was impossible is possible through their own actions… others supporting you when you attempt what some would claim is impossible, unrealistic, or unlikely… You need that when you’re facing those challenges.  The accumulation of subtle shifts of mindset on a daily basis is critical to your success.

So as you finish up this week, and the rest of this year, look for positivity.. use the holidays to make new connections, and develop new personal relationships.

– Want positive, be positive.

Find the GOOD in the negative experiences of your life…

Everything, both good and bad, that has happened to you or that is happening to you has a purpose.  The difficulty most of us have with negative experiences is that we cannot see their purpose through our immediate pain and suffering.  In the moment, when we’re going through something that seems to be the worst experience of our lives, we can be caught up in all kinds of negativity, thinking things like “why is this happening to me?”, “what did I do to deserve this?”, and in some desperate cases, “my life is ruined”, or worse….

The questions do have answers, and the statements are simply wrong.

It took me decades to realize how profoundly my life has been impacted in a positive way by negative experiences.  It has taken effort, self introspection, forgiveness – to both others and to myself.

Without my own negative experiences, I would not have the same perspectives to share with others to help them through their trying times as well.

One of the hardest things to see when in the midst of a stormy period of life is the positive effect that the hardship will have on your life or the lives of others.  If you think about it, there are instances of positives in negatives all around.  The creation of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), which has saved countless lives, would never have manifested if it were not for the founder’s own tragedy.  Countless masterpieces of art, writing, and music have been birthed of the pain and suffering of the artists themselves.  Scientific discoveries and research have been borne of loss of loved ones to disease. On a more personal level, both positive and negative experiences have made you into the individual you are today, have given you the strength and wherewithal to deal with other less trying circumstances with ease… to help yourself, your loved ones, and others…

Recognizing and seeing more examples of how POSITIVE negative experiences have effected both myself and others helps tremendously when dealing with both day-to-day stressors, as well as accepting and working through more difficult times that have yet to come.

Life is not perfect – it is not meant to be.  It is messy, dirty, and all of that is ok and beautiful at the same time.

The key to all of this is your perspective…  The above image is a perfect example.  If you’re constantly looking for a vase, you’ll always see a vase, but as soon as you look for the two faces, it’s hard to see the vase alone.  You might oscillate between the two, but you can always CHOOSE to see the faces once you’re aware of what to look for.

In the beginning, changing your perspective is difficult – particularly when there is an emotional response attached.  But over time, you will be able to see how numerous good things in your life would never have manifested had you not gone through certain negative experiences.  When this happens, you might even feel thankful for the negative experiences LEADING you to the positive outcomes.

The more you look for the positives in the negatives, the more you will see.  A goal of this shift in perspective is to help you deal with the rough times when you’re still in the fog and clouds with no end in sight… so that you can trust that at some point you will understand the purpose, that you simply know that at some point, something good will come of it because the positives are forever bound to the negatives and vice versa.

An ultimate realization is that life experiences are neither inherently good or bad in and of themselves, they are simply what comprise LIFE – something we experience with both joy and pain.

On a final note, we are not alone in this world.  Although we often think only of ourselves, life is not always about you, or me…Some of us will have to look further to see the positive in the negative – outside of our own personal experiences.  I choose to think of those people which have to look outside their own experiences to balance the good with the bad as having a higher calling… a purpose in life that is meant to take on a burden that others could not, or to impart a larger, much greater positive effect on others than the negative effect they themselves have endured.