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Hey there! First and foremost I want to thank you for reading and your interest in ExecutingPassion. I know some of you are in the same boat I am–wanting to become an entrepreneur and needing help making the transition. I know some of you are here for other reasons. Whatever those reasons are: Thank you!
I want to hug you. Or shake your hand if that weirds you out.
Where are Your Standards?
I want to talk a little about laziness.
I am lazy. I can’t begin to tell you how hard it is to type out that admission and not immediately, in rapid succession, hit the delete button on my keyboard. But it is true. I am able to separate my behavior from my self, yet this is what I am feeling. It is not my identity. Thanks for your concern.
I want to know what is behind this laziness, though. What keeps me from doing what I know I need to? This probably doesn’t happen to you. Or, maybe it does.
Here are some possibilities:
I am more interested in watching Kitchen Nightmare than in building my business.
I am scared of wasting my life, my time and plugging into mindless ‘reality’ is easier. What if I make decisions that leave my family and I penniless?
I am making plans for what to do next
I am not wanting to put real effort into my ideas, for at least in my imagination, they haven’t failed yet.
I’ve been employed my entire adult life, so I don’t know how to be my own boss
Or nothing! I think we get it. The truth of the matter is that nobody is going to build your product/launch your service for you. Nobody is going to care. Nobody, until your personal standards are so high that you can’t be ignored. There is no such thing as a professional standard. It’s all personal. It’s called integrity.
And what about laziness? Laziness is disease. But it’s curable. The cure: practicing the purpose of who you are, what you stand for, and why you ship what you do, in the way you do.
You have to practice your purpose. You are the only one who can.
What is your purpose? How do you practice it?
The Violin Prodigy
A young violin prodigy was walking down the street one day trying to decide whether or not to pursue a life in music when he came upon the most famous violin teacher in the world. Scarcely believing his luck, he stopped the great teacher a nd asked if he could play for him, thinking he would abandon his dream of a career in music if the great teacher told him he was wasting his time.
The greater teacher nodded silently for him to begin. So he played, beads of sweat soon appearing on his forehead, and when he finished, he was certain he’d given his finest performance. But the great maestro only shook his head sadly and said, “You lack the fire.”
The young musician was devastated. Nevertheless, he returned home and announced his intention to abandon the violin. Instead, he entered the world of business and turned out to have such a talent for it that in a few short years he found himself richer than he’d ever imagined possible.
Almost a decade later he found himself walking down another street in another city when he happened to spot the great teacher again. He rushed over to him. “I’m so sorry to bother you,” he said, “and I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I stopped you on the street years ago to play my violin for you, and I just want to thank you. Because of your advice, I abandoned my greatest love, the violin, painful as it was, and became a businessman and today enjoy great success, which I owe all to you. But one thing you must tell me: how did you know I didn’t have what it takes? How did you know all those years ago I lacked the fire?”
The great teacher shook his head sadly and said only, “You don’t understand. I tell everyone who plays for me they lack the fire. If you had the fire, you wouldn’t have listened.”
What You Believe About You
What do you think separates you of now from the you in your dreams? Do you have those types of dreams? You know who I’m talking about. At least I hope you do, otherwise this article will be rather embarrassing for me.
There is this ‘ideal me’ in my dreams. He is comfortable in rather awkward situations, as if the awkwardness is repelled off of him by his sheer confidence. He has a pet mountain lion and amazing breath–even after eating a garlic cloves with Cognac chasers. He is a couple inches taller and makes those he looks down on feel ten feet tall. He’s the most interesting man in the world.
This morning I took a couple of minutes to identify what separates me from this idealized me; the notion of not being perfect. Can you relate to this? We live in a hyper-manufactured world where we can literally create anything we think up, and do so rather ‘perfectly’. Wow, how awesome! Yet, when we are left in a room by ourselves, silence is turned up to 11 and we have only our thoughts filling in the void, we might tend to feel inadequate(at least I do)–like our contributions to the world are quite fecal in nature.
This is a lie. It’s Resistance fed fear emboldening its case for procrastination and complacency.
The thing with perfect is that it is inconsistent with the rest of life. We can’t relate to it in our own experiences. Have you ever experienced anything that might’ve been considered ‘perfect’? I remember listening to a song where the vocalist’s pitch was so perfect that it felt devoid of any real emotional value, and lacked a sense of humanity. It felt robotic and not in the cool way.
Down with Resistance
It is this time, this moment that we need to put down Resistance; to become aware of the fear narrative picture show playing on repeat in our head.
Take a breath. Open yourself to the simplicity of joyful play–to approach life, to approach what you are doing as a child.
What I believe about me, invariably, either limits or frees me. We all have a script that more or less dictates how we look at ourselves and how we look at life. The status quo is to perceive oneself and the world in a limiting scarcity mentality. Why?
No Confirmation Necessary
In the story of the violin prodigy, he listened to someone else regarding his most passionate love, playing the violin. The most compelling part of this story is not that he listened to someone else regarding whether or not to pursue his passion, but rather that he believed that he needed someone else to confirm his passion. You don’t need to confirm that you are seriously awesome. You are. It is the truth. Accept it, focus your passions/efforts, then ship.
Why do we feel the need to confirm who we are? What we are interested/passionate about?
Good. Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to work.
I take permission to pursue my passion. I hope you do too.
What up everybody! I do hope you are doing well this fine day. I wanted to let you all know that I wrote a guest post over on my wife’s photography blog. For those of you who don’t know, my wife is a radtastical professional photographer focusing on weddings, lifestyle, & artists.
She has grown in ways that are altogether amazing and unexpected. She surprises not only her clients with her artist insights, but me as well. I have learned so much from watching Jess practice the craft of photography, as well as growing her entrepreneurial acumen.
Being a Part of a Business
Being married to Jess is quite the adventure. Not to mention our life outside of any professional endearvors, photography has taken us to places I wouldn’t have otherwise have had a chance to visit. I say us, because I shoot second for her when the need arises. The experience of supporting her as she grows her business is awesome-sauce, to be candid.
We are in the process of developing a new business concept together–which I can’t wait to tell you about. As we develop this new business concept, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that I am married to someone who is not contented by the mundane 9–5. She is a wicked-cool example of someone who is learning how to execute her passion; she dives in head first, doesn’t always succeed, learns from her successes/failures, iterates, then proceeds to dive in head first again. I love that about her. Her tenacity is admirable and inspirational.
Her blog is, as you’ll see, targeting women primarily. Naturally, I wanted to contribute a post from a guy’s perspective. So guys from me to you (chestbump):
Wow, after a great first month (December 2011) of working full-time as a personal coach, what would the new year hold for me? I was able to spend time with my one year old son, and finally work for myself.
But my dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
You see, when I quit my day job and started working full-time as a personal coach, my wife and I were not on the same page.
So in January, when I didn’t get one new client, even though I did great in December, the tension started mounting.
In February, we split up.
By the end of February, I landed a position as a job coach. My hours were very flexible and I was able to do a good portion of my work from home.
It seemed like a good opportunity. But it never really worked out.
In October, I was fired.
Two for two.
Finally, after being unemployed for over two months, I landed a job as a recruiter, at the company I wanted to work for.
From entrepreneur, to working from home, and back to employee, all in the same year.
But I am happier now, work wise, than maybe ever before. How can this be?
1. My Priorities Are in Order
Now that I have a day job, my wife and I our on the same page and I am able to contribute to our family financially.
And my day job also provides health insurance, which is important for our family and very important to my wife, who is self employed and has her own growing business.
2. I’m working on my dream job while working at my day job
Even though, by day, I am a recruiter at a local staffing agency, in my free time, I am able to work on my dream job.
My dream job is to become a NY Times best-selling author. So this year, my goal is to land a book publishing deal.
My strategy to land a book publishing deal is to grow my online platform by:
- Writing a guest post every week for 2013
- Giving away my book for free to email subscribers on my blog
So if I learned anything from 2012 and all that happened in my life, I learned that fulfilling your dream when your priorities are out of order will only end up being a nightmare.
Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and not have to experience this for yourself.
Question: How do you make sure your priorities are in order as you pursue your dreams?
How to Find Your Way Back: Three Steps to Kicking Ass
No matter what happened to get you to reside in the funk you are currently in, life will get you out, if…
That is a big if. Sometimes, the head of steam you had going takes an alternate route that leads you into a feeling a going 100 miles an hour in reverse. That route could have led you in to a large obstacle. Or maybe it was a series of smaller obstacles–maybe it was a combination of the two.
I have been in a funk. I have been believing stories provided to me by Resistance. That dude is quite the liar. You may or may not have noticed but I’ve not written in a bit. And the short explanation for my lack of activity–I lost my way.
Maybe you had times in your life where you felt like you had lost yours too. Maybe that is where you are right now.
I would like to offer you three steps I’ve found useful to begin the trek back.
This I feel should be your first step. I say that from my own experience. Taking responsibility for the things you have control over in your life is useful. Don’t make excuses for why things aren’t the way you would like them to be. Rather, with open eyes become fully aware of the myriad ways that you have not been responsible. For whatever reasons, whatever justifications, whatever circumstances–own up to them.
Once you’ve identified all pertinent elements that you have control over, where you’ve failed, forgive yourself.
As quickly as you’ve forgiven yourself, accept the forgiveness as final. You are done. You are finished dragging yourself over the coals in a subversive subtle flagellation. It is time to let go.
A vitally important part of acceptance is drawing clear distinctions between that which you’ve control over and that which you do not. Look at this distinction for what it is: not your responsibility. Then, let go of any emotional attachment you might have these things you’ve no control over. Accept it. Move on: next!
You are not your past.
You are not your future.
You are your right now
What matters now? Stop for a second or twenty and think about this question: what matters now? Not two years from now, not two years ago. Right now. Allow this question to guide you in getting focused. When I ask myself this question, it takes me awhile to get through all the crap that I think matters, but invariably has no real connection to the present moment.
I am not saying that planning for the future isn’t important. I am suggesting that you identify the action steps you can take right now. I have a difficult time with sustained focused. Yet, when I take a step back to understand why I’ve lost focus it always has something to do with being wrapped up in the past or future.
Vision + Focus over Time is the key equation for growth. And we all need to be growing in one way or another; it is a basic human need.
I hope that you find your way back. We need you to do so. And we might not even understand how badly.
And yes, I am kicking ass again. Put Resistance in its place. Kick some ass.
Have you ever stopped to think why we forget about our veterans? I mean ask any veteran and they will almost surely tell you they feel forgotten. I think the reason that the vast majority of Americans don’t connect with this national holiday, is because they can…
Somebody made a decision to serve
Somebody chose to stand in the gap
Somebody fought ideas that stood in direct opposition to what we believe
Somebody took a stand against tyranny.
Somebody became the person we talk about when we say
…some gave all.
It is because someone chose to defend and protect us that we have the space to be callous about their sacrifice. We haven’t had to deal with war in our land since the Civil War. We now watch war on TV; like it’s almost reality TV.
So I am asking you: Stand up for what you believe. Live at full volume. Start writing that masterpiece. Dance your ass off. Be defiant in your disbelief. Honor their sacrifice. Don’t be indifferent, or callous. Be on fire! Be bold. Be daring.
Freedom is their gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to them. Don’t you think it is time to give back.
Remember veterans. Honor veterans.
“All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Is It Time to Jump Ship?
You’ve heard it a thousand times: the grass is greener on the other side. Sometimes it’s true, yet the funny thing is that it still needs to be mowed. You might be attracted by the latest and greatest business opportunity, or that sexier something for you. You might be seduced into thinking “Wow! If only…”. It is easy to think what you are presently doing to isn’t the path that you should be on.
It is funny though, it is the person of weak character that thinks that Easy Street is paved with gold. I can tell you that is something I knew all too well.
Carleton Sheets!! Dude, I hate that guy! He had me hook, line, and sinker with his “No Money Down” real estate system. It all started one night when I was at home sick in bed.
Some fast talking, overly excited host seducing the weaker more selfish me into thinking that this ‘system’ was the answer to all of my money woes. It was the missing piece of the puzzle; finally I would have the time and money that I’d always dreamed of.
Then it was some geeky-looking kid who had the secret for turning cars into cash. And let’s not forget about the dude who had made his fortune with ‘tiny little classified ads’! ENOUGH!!
Are you really going to get rich by gaming some sort of system, short-cutting the process of building and delivering value altogether? Do you really want to wake up, wipe the sleepers from your eyes, get a cup of coffee and do absolutely nothing with your day–all the while the ‘piles of cash keep rollin’ in!!’? That kind of ‘dream’ life may be fine for some, but definitely not for you or I.
Stay The Course
You and I are the ones who’ve learned from our Easy-Street seeking days. We are the ones who take our time in choosing what we’ll do, where we’ll go, who we’ll love, and what we’ll sacrifice, for we know that we are going to stay the course. We are the ones who will build the long-term solution instead of glitzy here-today-gone-tomorrow scams. We are the ones who stand in the gap for others to advance over.
We do this because we understand that an unceasing dedication fueled by love & passion will be a harvest for many. We understand that by choosing to solve problems, real tangible problems, we are choosing to invest in ourselves as a community, culture, or species.
I learned that no matter how many times I watched those lame infomercials, I was no closer to a life of purpose. I learned that the superficial is nothing but spam. And spam gets deleted without an inkling of attention. It gets deleted because it’s devoid of any real value.
So don’t jump ship when something sexier comes along. Stay the course. Fight on. It’s worth it.
“.. almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
- Steve Jobs
What if you had three months to live?
How would your life change from how you are living it right now?
How would you spend your time differently?
How would you spend your money differently?
What things would no longer matter to you?
Who would you reconnect with?
Who would you no longer give the time of day to?
What types of things would begin to matter to you again?
What are you working for?
Does it still matter?
What would you start?
What would you stop?
Would you feel sorry for yourself?
Would you make sure to vote? Absentee ballot?
What would you want those you care for to know? To feel?
Did you do the things you felt strongly about?
Is now really the time for anger?
Is there still time to do what you’ve always wanted?
Are you more complete now? Less complete?
What have you been striving for all this time?
Are you an exact replica of someone else?
What if the all you want in life is a ‘do-over’?
Is there still time to change the world?
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
- Henry David Thoreau
What if you could gain understanding and increase your insight into a high-value topic? What if you could understand difficult concepts with ease? How much would that be worth to you? Maybe 15 minutes of your life?
So far in our series on Just-in-Time learning, we have talked about how you can use the imbalance you feel when you find out you are wrong about something to re-balance yourself with the truth. Now we turn our sights to improving our method of grasping new concepts with relative ease. Enter the Feynman Technique.
I came across Richard Feynman through one of the many articles written by Scott Young. He is an awesome blogger out of Canada who is documenting his way through the free MIT courseware for a Master’s level degree equivalent in Computer Science. He recorded this awesome tutorial on utilizing the Feynman Technique. Check it out:
Step one: Choose Topic
Write that concept at the top of a piece of paper.
Step Two: Pretend you are teaching the concept to a new student
This helps you pinpoint the things you do not understand
Step Three: When you get stuck go back to the reference materials, enough until you can explain the sub-part of the concept on the paper
Step Four: Simplify the language or create an analogy that you can identify with
Here is a great quote by Feynman:
If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.
If you’re like me, there may be very few opportunities for intentional growth and learning. Life has a way of obstructing you from progress. You have very little time in which to learn new concepts that could really help provide a high-value leverage. I challenge you, let’s carve out 15 minutes/day to learn something new & useful.
What could you use the Feynman Technique for?