Category Archives: achieve your goals

SerenDestiny #67: People Can’t Jump on your Bandwagon – If It’s Parked in the Garage

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“If you don’t go, you’ll never know.” – Robert De Niro

Many of us operate with the opposite of Robert De Niro’s insight.

If we don’t know; we don’t go.

The problem with that?

By definition, with any new venture, we DON’T KNOW what we’re doing.

If we use “knowing what we’re doing” as a prerequisite for moving forward … we never move forward.

Yikes.

That’s where GTS comes in.

What’s GTS?

Let me explain.

A year after my son Andrew graduated from VA Tech with a business degree, we were having dinner.

Andrew had “lucked out” and found a job as an executive recruiter. He was the envy of his college buddies because he was working in a classy downtown building, making good money and working for a respected, well-connected industry icon who was arranging for him to do neat things like work at events with President Obama and Tony Bennett. Not the normal career trajectory.

Yet, as I looked into Andrew’s eyes that night, there was no spark.

In fact, he used a word I’d never heard him use before. Exhausted.

I asked, “So, are you going down to VA Tech this weekend to see the game?”

“Nah. By the time I’d drive down there, I’d only have a few hours and then I’d have to turn around and come back. I just don’t have the energy. I’m exhausted.”

Exhausted?!? How could that be? How was it that this formerly energetic 20-something was burned out?

I asked, “Andrew, what’s up?”

He said, “Mom, I want to quit. I know I should be grateful for this job, and I am, but sitting at a computer all day researching job openings and making cold calls is not what I was born to do.”

“What do you want to do?”

Andrew immediately became more animated. “I want to start a non-profit.”

I have to admit, this conservative person I didn’t even know existed popped up and almost caused me to blurt out, “Non-profit?! Do you know how many non-profits are going out of business these days because donations have dried up? How are you going to pay bills? What about health insurance?”

Thank heaven a wiser voice prevailed. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this exactly what 20-somethings ought to be doing at this stage of their life? Andrew’s 23. If he doesn’t go for what he wants now, he may never get a chance to later. Good for him for wanting to do work he’s proud of. I should be supporting him, not shutting him down.”

So, I said, “Andrew, you’ve always been resourceful. If you apply yourself, I know you can pull this off.”

You may be thinking, “But how could Andrew pull this off? He’d never run a non-profit before.”

That’s true … and that’s where GTS comes in.

GTS stands for Google that … stuff. (As you can imagine, Millennials sometimes substitute another word for stuff.)

Andrew thanked his boss for giving him that job opportunity right out of college – and then promptly got online and Googled “How can I start a non-profit?”

Up came dozens of resources – all telling Andrew exactly what steps he needed to take to get a license, find a team and get funding.

In the course of one year, Andrew recruited a team of 20 (!) interns and found a collaborative work space at the Affinity Lab in Washington DC.

It was the ideal environment to get other people on his bandwagon. Someone a couple desks over would ask, “Andrew, what are you working on today?”

Andrew would say, “I’m applying for a grant” and they would say, “Oh, I did that last year. You can borrow the proposal I filled out and use it as a template.”

Andrew never had to go it alone as he was surrounded by others who shared his vision and had his back … and front.

The result?

Dreams for Kids – DC – http://dreamsforkids.org/blankman/dc/ – has sponsored dozens of adaptive athletic programs for kids and gotten them off the sidelines and into the games of life. They have sponsored Extreme Recess clinics with the Washington Nationals baseball players, Capitals hockey players, Wizard and Mystic basketball players and United soccer players.

Dreams for Kids – DC has made a positive difference for thousands of young people through their Dream Leader programs in local schools and through their annual Holiday for Hope program at Howard University.

All because Andrew didn’t quit before he started because he “didn’t know what he was doing.”

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few years interviewing people about their SerenDestiny – a life where the light is on in your eyes because you’re doing what you love most and do best – it’s that PEOPLE CAN’T JUMP ON YOUR BANDWAGON – IF ITS PARKED IN THE GARAGE.

What do you want to do? What would put the light on in your eyes?

Are you hesitating because you don’t know what to do?

Remember – you don’t have to know to go.

Get online right now. Phrase what you want to do as a question and put it into your favorite search engine. GTS your dream goal – and up will come dozens of resources to help you on your way.

Whether you want to write a book, become a ballroom dancer or launch your own business … those online resources will tell you how to take your first steps.

Do you want this year to be your best ever? Do you want the light on in your eyes?

Don’t wait, initiate.

GTS what you want to do. And then get your bandwagon out of the garage and get moving.

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SerenDestiny #66: One Day You’ll Wake Up and There Won’t Be Any More Time To Do The Things You’ve Always Wanted

Paulo Coelho - Someday, You Will Wake Up ...

What wise words from Alchemist author, Paulo Coelho, “One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted.”

I don’t think it’s morbid to think of our mortality; I think it’s motivating.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, “Perhaps we never really appreciate anything until it’s challenged.”

She’s right. We tend to take life for granted.

We focus on what time to set the alarm, getting the kids off to school, the commute, our appointments for the day, what we’re going to have for dinner, what’s on TV that night.

We don’t usually take time to stop, look around and fill ourselves with gratitude for the fact that we’re alive, healthy, free.

We don’t often make time to absorb and appreciate the incredible abundance that surrounds us each and every day.

It’s easy to take tomorrow for granted.

We think about what we want to do – write that book, take that trip, spend more time with our loved ones – and it’s always, “I’ll do it later. Later when I’m not so busy. Later when I have more time. Later.”

What if later never comes?

What regrets would we have for perpetually postponing those things we always meant to do … someday?

I love January.

I love making new year’s resolutions.

I love the hope that goes along with the premise that we can have a fresh start anytime we want. That we can do things differently; that we can begin that priority we’ve put off.

What’s that for you?

For me, it’s writing.

I’ve had a blessed couple of years. Lots of speaking. Lots of coaching/consulting. Lots of business expansion.

And I’m grateful for it.

It’s a privilege to work with people who thrill me and to facilitate and expedite them getting their valuable messages out of their head and into the world.

2013 is my turn.

Time to schedule time on the calendar for my books – for my writing.

Doesn’t it make sense to honor our ideas as much as we honor others’?

How about you?

I am going to guess that you too have been facilitating other people’s work – other people’s growth – other people’s success. And it is a gift to be able to do that.

The question is, have you been doing that at the cost of your own contribution?

If so, how are you going to carve out time to honor your contribution as much as you honor others’?

I know what I’m going to do. I am going to write a half hour every morning.

Even when I have a day filled with consults. Even when I’m on the road traveling. Even when I’m speaking at conferences or hosting retreats.

A half hour. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Care to join me?

Are you ready to commit a half hour every morning for YOUR heartfelt priority?

What is that for you?

I look forward to hearing from you as you embark on a year of “half hour a day” commitments to your “Paulo Coelho priority.”

Imagine what you will have accomplished by the end of the year.

Imagine how happy you will be looking back.

Happy that you acted on what you wanted to do.

Happy that you no longer put off your “Paulo Coelho Priority.”

Happy that you took responsibility for making your life what you want it to be now, not someday.

This has been my half hour for today … what’s your’s?

SerenDestiny #65: What You Do When You Procrastinate COULD be the Seed of Your SerenDestiny

“My parents always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told ’em, ‘Just you wait.” – comedian Judy Tenuta

Are you waiting for your destiny to show up?

Are you the kid who was always crystal clear about what you wanted to be when you grew up … or are you still searching for your ideal job – your life-work?

For most of us, clarity about our purpose doesn’t show up all at once. It crystallizes, over time, from a series of experiences that resonate, that feel right.

We notice that when we do this type of work or collaborate with these type of individuals, we feel meaningfully productive. It just fits. It’s a match for who we are and what matters most.

We can sometimes discover our life-work by taking a second look at what we do, naturally, in our free time … when we’re not working.

That is certainly the case with one of my colleagues.

Dana always used to “noodle and doodle.”

In class, instead of listening to her teacher, she would let her imagination run free. Instead of doing her assignments, she’d be filling the margins with what she was seeing in her mind’s eye.

Guess how Dana earns her living – a good living – in every sense of the word?

She’s a graphic facilitator. She is the person you see at conferences and strategic retreats, facilitating the discussion while simultaneously drawing a colorful mural that maps what’s happening in the room with images and highlighted words. http://take-action.com/

Dana loves her work – and it loves her. She has turned her joy into her job.

By the way, that is one of the definitions of SerenDestiny.

Make your joy your job.

So, what do you do when you’re supposed to be doing something else?

What are you drawn to do when you’re supposed to be doing your “real” job?

What do you do in your free time that resonates, feels right, fills you with joy?

Get creative about how you could get paid to teach that or do that for others.

If you do, you’ll never have to “work” another day in your life … because you’ll be in that sublime state of SerenDestiny where you’re earning a good living doing what you love most and do best.

SerenDestiny #61: What is the “SerenDestiny Story?”

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In the movie The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman’s character has just graduated from college.

His parents throw him a welcome-home party to celebrate.

One of his dad’s friends throws his arm around Dustin’s shoulders and asks, “So, what are you going to do now?”

Dustin tells him, “I was going to go upstairs.”

The man looks at him askance and says, “No, I mean … with your life.”

What are you doing with your life?

Do you have a meaningful purpose that gives you a reason to wake up every morning?

If so; you’re living in the sublime, deeply satisfying state of SerenDestiny®.

If not; please know that NOT knowing what you want to do with your life is … natural.

Sure, some lucky people, (like my son Tom who knew at age 8 he wanted to do something “up there” and now works with the International Space Station), have clarity about their purpose from an early age.

For most of us though, we figure it out along the way.

We figure it out by experimenting and learning what resonates and what doesn’t. Our life-work emerges from the process – it doesn’t precede the process.

The good news is, you can facilitate finding your life-work by studying the case studies of SerenDestineers who share their epiphanies of how and why they’ve come to love their life.  

I’ve been sharing their insights in this blog for the past year, and will be distilling their lessons-learned (and my own) in my upcoming book SerenDestiny: Is the Light On In Your Eyes?

I’d love to include your story of how you’ve created a life you love. How would you answer the following questions?

1. How did you discover your life’s purpose?

2. What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome them?

3. What advice do you have for how people can lead a life where the light’s on in their eyes?

Still searching for your SerenDestiny®? What questions and challenges would you like addressed in the book?

I really believe in “crowd-sourcing.”  This will be a better book if it features a variety of real-life examples from people around the world so everyone can relate to it.  

I know you’re busy … so thank you in advance for taking the time to submit your questions and suggestions to Sam@IntrigueAgency.com.  I look forward to hearing from you.

And in case you’re curious about how SerenDestiny® got started…. here’s the back-story.

What’s the SerenDestiny Story?

My sons Tom and Andrew were home for the holidays from Virginia Tech.

We were getting caught up over dinner and Andrew said, “Hey, Mom, I ran into Ryan last night. It was really interesting. I hadn’t seen him since high school and I’d been wondering what he was up to. Then, there he was … out of the blue.”

I laughed and said, “Oh Andrew. That wasn’t out of the blue. That’s called Serendipity. Some people call those happy accidents … but I don’t think they’re accidents.”

“What you do you mean?”

“Think about it. What are the odds of that happening?

You’re thinking about Ryan and all of a sudden he shows up?? Really?!

That’s not a coincidence, that’s a gift.

Your paths crossed for a reason. You’re supposed to figure out why and act on it. Maybe you’re meant to collaborate with Ryan on something.”

Andrew was intrigued. Later that night, he came up to me with a thoughtful expression on his face and said, “Mom, I really like that concept of . . . SerenDestiny®.”

Aahhh.  Out of the mouths of 20-somethings.  Little did I know that casual conversation would launch an incredibly rewarding, new direction in my career and business.

The idea of SerenDestiny® intrigued me too.

I realized, looking back, my whole life has been a series of SerenDestiny® Stepping Stones.

From an early age, something “out of the blue” would happen and I would somehow, instinctively, understand it was my job to capitalize on it.

That would lead to something wonderful which would in turn lead to something even more wonderful. People often tell me how lucky I am to do the work I was born to do and I agree.

But I think it’s more than luck.

In retrospect, I now see there were a variety of contributing factors that played a role in me leading a life I love.

Whenever it was time to make a pivotal life decision – what I now call Crucial Crossroads – I honored my Three I’s – Instincts, Integrity and Interests.

Every time I did, it paid off. Every time I didn’t, I paid the price.

The more I explored this concept, the more I started defining SerenDestiny® as “leading a life where the light’s on in our eyes.”

I started asking everyone I met, “How would you define SerenDestiny®?  Are you leading the life you’re meant to live?  If so, why?  If not, why not?”

I’ve learned a lot, including:

1. We move closer to the sublime state of SerenDestiny® every time we act in alignment with our Thre I’s – our Interests, Instincts and Integrity – and our Three V’s – Values, Voice and Vision at Crucial Crossroads.

2. SerenDestiny® doesn’t just happen. We don’t FIND our calling – we CREATE it. It is a byproduct of “doing our half,” honoring our hunches, proving our passion and connecting with kindred souls who facilitate and fast-forward our best future. When we do our half – the universe steps up and say, “all right-then,” and does its half.

3. It is never too late or too early to set our SerenDestiny® in motion. And we don’t need to win the lottery, fly to Bali or quit our job to lead a life where the light’s on in our eyes.

4. It is not selfish to seek our SerenDestiny®. Just the opposite. Identifying our gifts and giving them back to the world results in a “rising tide raising all boats” life that benefits all involved.

SerenDestiny #56: Is Your Calling … Calling?

After interviewing thousands of SerenDestineers around the world; I’ve come to understand many of us have a misunderstanding of what a “calling” is.

We think it is some Holy Grail moment where our “purpose” shows up in a blaze of glory.

Kind of like the Academy Awards of Purpose.

The heavens part, the trumpets play and the angels deliver a gold-embossed envelope.

We open it – and there in glowing letters – is what we’re supposed to do with our life.

It doesn’t really happen that way.

Clarity about who we are and why we’re here reveals itself over time.

It’s a thousand inklings … a thousand intuitive nudges … of what sounds interesting and what doesn’t; of what we like and don’t like; of what calls to us, what doesn’t.

We navigate our way through these mini-decisions of what feels good, right and resonant – and what feels bad, wrong and dissonant … every day, every week, every month.

The decisions we make at those Crucial Crossroads accumulate into a life that either is a reflection of our quintessence, a life that feels like us – or a life that feels wrong, that feels like someone else’s.

Therefore, our SerenDestiny® – a life where the light is on in our eyes – is a coalescing and accumulation of congruent actions taken at Crucial Crossroads.

Those Crucial Crossroads don’t just happen at momentous occasions – graduation, marriage proposals and job offerings.

They happen every day when we make decisions like:

* Should I have lunch with my supervisor even though I don’t like him – but he’s in a position to give me a raise?

* Should I sign up for that 10k and train for it – even though I’m busy?

* Should I major in accounting because that’s what my dad is and that’s where the jobs are – even though I hate accounting and the thought of becoming a CPA makes me depressed?

* Should I follow this hunch and go to this free seminar on how to start your own business – even though everyone is telling me it’s a real risk to open a business in this tough economy?

* Should I get up early tomorrow and have some private time so I’m not rushing through the day feeling like I never get time for myself?

Those “little” decisions made at your Crucial Crossroads have a huge impact on whether you like yourself and your life.

And, in the final analysis, that’s what SerenDestiny® is.

It’s not having the perfect job. It’s not being in a relationship with the perfect person. It’s not being perfectly healthy and having the financial freedom to do what you want.

Those are all nice – but they don’t guarantee you’ll have the light on in your eyes.

What puts the light on in your eyes is obeying your gut instincts that say DO THIS – DON’T DO THIS.

Those hunches are your 6th sense SerenDestiny® detectors.

They are signposts pointing the way to a congruent life that feels … right.

My friend Mary Loverde, pictured above, is a Life-Balance expert and author of the inspiring book The Invitation.

You can read more about this eye-opening book here – http://www.amazon.com/The-Invitation-When-Youre-Ready/dp/098350038X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337609715&sr=8-1

Mary just gave a commencement speech at her alma mater.

In her speech, Mary joked that many grads feel that, in self defense, they ought to wear a t-shirt to the ceremony that says, “I DON’T KNOW.”

They know they’re going to be asked the “Now that you’ve got your degree, what are you going to do with your life?” question dozens of times by well-meaning friends and family.

For many of them, they have NO IDEA how to answer that question.

50% (50%!) of all graduating seniors do not have a job lined up.

The months ahead are going to be filled with frustration as they apply for jobs and don’t even get an interview.

So, what shall they do?

They should stop relying on the traditional business world to give them a paying job, to define their purpose in life for them.

What will really move them forward is to fill each day with activities that feel right to them.

That could be volunteering for a non-profit that gives them opportunities to give back so they feel useful.

That could be identifying someone who is doing work they admire – and volunteering to intern for them for the next three months – pro bono.

That way, they could be waking up every morning and have somewhere to go, something to do, something that gives their days meaning and momentum.

They could be apprenticing for someone they respect, producing work that goes into their portfolio.

That way, they will have something to show for the next three months. They will have learned valuable on-the-job skills instead of sitting in their parents’ basement and waiting for the phone to ring.

How about you? What is one thing you’re going to do today that feels right?

There are aspects of our life out of our control. We may feel locked into circumstances not of our own choosing. We may feel we don’t have the option to do what we want, to make whole scale changes.

We don’t have to.

As Mary Loverde says, “Every day is an invitation to honor our instincts that have our best interests at heart.”

In other words, we don’t find our purpose – we give ourselves a sense of purpose by doing “little” things every day that are in alignment with our integrity, intuition and interests.

And in doing so, we become the kind of person who creates our own calling.

Everyone is looking for someone who knows who they are.

Wen you are “true to yourself,” you create a state of SerenDestiny where life feels …right …or at least…better.