Monday, October 29, 2012

From Here To Your Life's Work: Find Your Voice

Step one on the journey to your life's work
My first book,  From Here To There: 5 Steps To Doing Your Life's Work Every Day launches November 1. The next 5 weeks of posts here will give you a peek into the content you'll find in the book. Find Your Voice is the first step.

What is your voice?

Your voice is your purpose.

The very thing you were put on this earth to do.

Stay with me...

I know that this is tough for some folks to grasp but have you ever stopped to think why you were put on the planet? It's a heavy thought and one that you must ponder sooner rather than later.

I had the honor of being faced with personal and professional turmoil four years ago and there is NOTHING like adversity to force one to reflect.  I was already decent at self-reflecting but that dark period changed me forever. You see I had nothing to distract me. Life at home was sucky. Life at work was worse. There was no escape. I had to come to grips with my reality and it was beautiful. I would not trade my dark time for anything. For out of my darkness, came an incredible light.

Most periods of growth occur after a period of strife. Look at any nation's history. Look at economic trends for the 50 years. Growth almost always comes after a rough patch.

Helen Keller said it best:

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

So instead of resisting trials and adversity and looking for an "easy way out" - embrace your adversity. See it for what it really is... an opportunity to put you closer to your life's purpose.

Once you find your purpose, then you are on your way to fulfilling it.

Challenge: Take a moment to look at a negative situation you are faced with and turn it on it's head. How can that adversity put you closer to your purpose? Is there a nugget of life in the ashes?

NEXT WEEK: Step Two - Find Your Tribe

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Salute to Hustlers Everywhere!

Yesterday culminated a process that started with a Skype catch-up call with a college pal in April.

My first book, From Here To There: 5 Steps To Doing Your Life's Work Every Day is now on sale at

This achievement was not on the "to do" list this year. Which is why the post is titled the way it is. Today, I salute people who just make stuff happen!

You know them well - they are people that get kicked in the behind by life and figure out how to make it work for them, anyway.

They are the people who take a setback and convert it into a comeback.

They are the people who fall but quickly bounce when they hit the pavement.

They are people who take the lemons life hands them and converts it into a lemon pie.

They hustle.

Dictionary definition for the transitive verb is as follows:

  a. to proceed or work rapidly
  b. to push or force one's way
  c. to be aggressive in business or financial dealings

Of course, we all know the slang and urban definition, but how often to we stop and think of the literal definition? I had not until today. More than 10 times in the last few months have I been referred to by others as a "hustler." On the surface, I took it as a compliment and kept moving - even yuk yukking it up about it once or twice. Beneath the surface, it stung a bit. Until today.

I AM a hustler. I embrace the term.

Last spring, I had a client break a contract that would have sent ordinary people begging back into their corporate jobs and chucking a dream (and all the effort) to return to "normal."

For me that was not an option.

I went back to the drawing board and redirected my energy. I "hustled" two additional projects from a partner with on long-term project option at that time. I found a small contract to keep cash flowing and it honors my best talents.  I set my company up to do business with the federal government. And I wrote and self-published my first book complete with  multi-channel marketing promotion plan.

Now the fun begins. 

But before it does - I salute all the people out there who do the same thing - day in and day out.

Super kudos to my fellow hustlers.

We make the world go 'round!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Perspective: 2 Tips To Broaden Yours

With 22 days before Decision 2012, we are all more than ready for the presidential contest to be over. Regardless which side of the election you fall on, we are all fatigued and ready to move on. One thing I'd love for us to learn from this arduous race, is the value of understanding our own perspective and how it shapes our lives.

Over the life of this blog, there have been no less than 5 posts on the topic of perspective. It is of utmost importance to recognize how our perspective impacts our actions, inaction and so much more.

There have been two debates to date and both times I have scratched my head trying to sort out and reconcile what the pundits, my network and my own perspective has told me about those debates. It is indeed mind numbing as it relates to politics but I challenge - isn't that the case with all areas of our lives?

Success or failure?

Contentment or discontent?

Opportunity or adversity?

There are always pundits in life who pontificate on what makes us successful or not. There will always be opinions on how to be content or even happy versus the alternative. There are countless thoughts on opportunity and adversity.

It all boils down to our individual perspective.

Merriam-Webster defines perspective this way:

a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed perspective
>; also : point of view
b : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance perspective

Know someone who, no matter what happens, believes that the world is "out to get him or her?"

Have you ever met someone who is perpetually positive and upbeat?

Each of these people see their world based on what they are looking for. It plays out in political contests and it plays out in other areas of our lives.

How can you harness the power of what you look for?

Be Open
Not on paper but in real life. Be flexible and ready for where life may take you.  This scary because it requires surrender. Surrender of imagined power over outcomes and people. You have to even let go of your current view of yourself. Sometimes our perspective of ourselves are the biggest thing holding us back from who we can become. Let go of what you know and see what could be. Americans like to say they are open but in reality, we tend to be more myopic about many things versus our global counterparts. Start looking for opportunities to be open - with our kids, our co-workers and (GULP) our spouses. Openness does come naturally to some and to many it leads to discomfort and we tackle that next.

Be Uncomfortable
Yes, embrace discomfort. You know that feeling you get when you are listening to someone from an opposing view expound on their reason for thinking the way they do? It's a sickening "want to retreat immediately" sort of feeling - embrace that and see what happens. That is the same feeling you get when you want to push the envelope on an idea at work or with your partner. If you don't practice it, you'll never do it. In politics, it's insignificant - temporary, no better place to practice embracing discomfort. If you can withstand feeling uncomfortable for a few minutes on a Facebook string with a friend - you will build that muscle for other areas of life where you need it. And you need push through discomfort to do just about anything good in life. What you want in life is really on the other side of the fear in front of you.

Try on these two ideas as you go through the world "looking for" answers. Being open and being uncomfortable will surely clarify your thought process on life. I would not expect this to change your point of view drastically but it will certainly broaden it. Half the battle is understanding that what we know is merely a product of what we look for... And if we can re-think what we look for, who knows what we will find?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Zingers, Talking Points, Common Sense: The Complex Relationship America Has With Politics

Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama after their debate in Denver 10/03/12

I watched the first 2012 Presidential Debate from the comfort of my home without interacting on social media channels on purpose.  I quickly studied my Facebook news feed last night and looked at Twitter and a few websites today to see where everyone's head was on the debate.

It is unanimous - Romney won. Even die hard Obama supporters agree that Governor Mitt Romney performed well and exceeded the expectations of nearly everyone.


So why did I entitle this blog the way I did? Precisely today?

Because based on what I saw in my unscientific review - America's undecided voters will once again decide the fate of the next Presidential election.

We are polarized folks - painstakingly so.  Look at your own streams - Romney supporters are giddy- "Romney keeping his pimp hand strong" and Obama supporters sullen - "he needs to stop being Mr. Nice Guy" was what I saw yet not much had changed.

People went into the debate already decided. Except those undecided folks.

It's back to common sense. I blogged on it earlier this week and President Obama attempted to zing Gov. Romney with it in the debate - common sense? Not so common. And based on each individuals experience and frame of reference. Common sense to Obama supporters looks very different from common sense to Romney supporters.

Try as I might - I saw that debate last night from my own lens which is pretty decided for Decision 2012. And while I have a cornucopia of opinions on my stream - they were all pretty much the same. People who support Governor Romney still support him. President Obama supporter, sad but hanging in there with him. There are no undecideds in my crowd.  Nor did I see anyone open to hearing or understanding the other side any more than they were before the debate.

Each battle of words between those two men last night reinforced what you already believe or thought you knew about them. Your own mental talking points were reinforced and strengthened by the interaction that the world was watching between Obama and Romney. Their attempts to have a conversation with the American people as they both have claimed were their goals was really a conversation with the people who have not decided. Neither did much to lure or educate dissenters from either side.

And I'm not sure I feel good about that.

Our "common sense" told us what we wanted to hear last night. And that, my friends solidifies why this election more than any other in US history will be decided by the undecided.

I don't know about you but I'm hoping my common sense wins this November

Monday, October 1, 2012

The REAL Reason Common Sense Is Not So Common

Dictionary defines common sense as:
sound or prudent judgement based on a simple perception of the situation or facts

I started this post with the definition of common sense intentionally. To level set before I make the case that common sense is not dying or somehow slipping away from us. Almost every day, I see, hear or read something referring to the "fact" that we've lost common sense in today's society; that somehow common sense was here before and has gotten up and left us.

Until recently, you may have heard that mistaken perception come out of my own mouth. It seems with age, wisdom and experiences comes also the mistaken thought pattern that what is happening around us today is worse that what it was before and so today's people have somehow have lost what people before us surely had, common sense. Further, we all perceive ourselves as having common sense while those around us all seem to be floundering without it.

I'm here to tell you that there is nothing common about common sense. Each of us has our own interpretation of what common sense is to us based on our unique life experiences and information. Roaming the planet the last almost 41 years and especially being coupled the last 12 of them has convinced me that this is the number one breakdown within relationships between humans. The idea that those around us have to see and perceive things as we do or they are less wise, less able and therefore lack common sense.

That line of thinking is short sighted and more importantly - it is flat out wrong.

The definition really gives it all away - the little phrase "simple perception," kills the notion that common sense actually exists as we often define it.

What is wacky to you may be perfectly normal to me.
What is offensive to me may be perfectly appropriate to you.
What is fact to you may not be fact to me - simply because our life experiences dictate otherwise.

Clearly, there are some areas that are not so fuzzy but I won't even list them here because it is likely there will be some that disagree with my list. That is the beauty and the curse of this notion of common sense.

There are as many variations of common sense on the planet as there are variations of humans. So the next time you want to accuse someone of not using common sense, think about this post and how what they are using what may be common sense to them.