Category Archives: follow your dream

SerenDestiny #74: Did You Listen to the Believers or Nay-sayers? Did You Act on Your Talent – or Set It Aside

photo of lebron

“I am who I am because you believed in me.” – Ulysses S. Grant

In this fascinating article in USA Today, journalist Jeff Zillgitt reports that several Hall of Fame players from the NBA (i.e., Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) share their opinion that Lebron James is a player they admire and appreciate.

In fact, Russell said, “What I think about him is what I used to tell Wilt Chamberlain. I told him, ‘I think I’m the only guy on the planet who really knows how good you are because I’ve seen you up close.'”

You may know that Lebron was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline The Chosen Onewhen he was a junior in high school.

Here are just a few of his other impressive stats:
* 9 time All-Star
* Player of the Week 43 times
* 1st player to average 26 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and shoot 56% from the field

Lebron James

So, what’s the point?

Well, first, congrats to Lebron.

Second, I love it when peers speak up about their respect for a colleague’s talent.

You know what I’ve discovered about many SerenDestineers?

Early in their life, they were fortunate to have people point out their talent.

Sometimes it was a teacher. Sometimes a coach. Someone who was close and SAW their talent. Someone who believed in them and took the time to say, “You’re good at this. You ought to pursue it.”

And these budding SerenDestineers listened.

They took this favorable feedback to heart and owned and acted on their talent.

They put in the hard work. They developed that talent and turned it into a pro-passion (half profession-half passion) where they now get paid to do what they love most and do best.

How about you?

Did you have a skill growing up you were good at? A talent that put the light on in your eyes?

Were you lucky enough to have believers around you who pointed it out and complimented you on it?

Did you take that feedback to heart? Did you own and act on your talent?

If so, has it led to you being in a state of SerenDestiny where you’re getting paid to do what puts the light on in your eyes?

Or, did the significant others in your life tell you, “That’s a nice hobby, but you’ll never make a living at it.”

Did they say, “I know you like to act, play ball, sing, dance, draw, (or whatever); but you’re not good enough to make the pro’s, play for the college team, make it in on Broadway, turn it into a career.”

Did you listen to those nay-sayers? Did you let someone steal your dream? Did you let those skeptics talk you out of pursuing what you loved to do?

Maybe they thought they were looking out for you. Maybe they genuinely thought they had your best interests at heart.

Regardless of their intentions, abandoning what you’re good at, putting aside a talent that once lit you up, can end in regrets. You may be filled with “What if’s?”

So, how old are you?

Are you still young, still trying to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life?

Are you mid-career and there’s still time to consider transitioning into work that could be more meaningful, that would give you an opportunity to use those latent talents?

Are you towards the end of your career and thinking about retirement?

Whatever stage of life-work you’re at; ask yourself the following questions.

1. What skill or talent did I have growing up? What lit me up?

2. What is something I was good at that people admired or complimented me on?

3. Am I still actively involved in that?

4. If so, is it rewarding? Does it bring me joy? Does it feel good to do what I’m good at?

5 If no, do I miss it? Would I like to get involved in that again? Is that feasible?

6. If I would like to bring that talent or skill back into my life, how am I going to do it? Who can I contact; what is one step I can take to get involved in what lights me up … this month?

I know you’re busy, and I’d love to hear your feedback about this.

Did you listen to the believers or the nay-sayers? Did you act on your talent – or put it aside?

Please take a few minutes to share your story. I’m eager to hear it, and I know others will benefit from hearing your experience … the good, the bad, the “I wish I had …”

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SerenDestiny #71: It’s About TIME

It's about TIME!

“The secret of life … is to enjoy the passage of time.” – James Taylor

My friends and I are in Newport Beach for our semi-annual strategic master-mind.

We were walking back on Ocean Blvd. from our morning beach walk and window-shopping.

The above display in a high-end furniture store stopped us in our tracks.

YIKES.

How would you like to sleep in a room that had this HUGE clock looming over you?

It just felt … wrong.

Yet, in a way, that’s how many of us feel every day.

TIME, in capital letters, looms over our every waking moment.

We rush through our days, watching the clock, ever aware of appointments, deadlines, schedules, agendas, checklists.

The faster we go, the behinder we get.

We hurry here, there, everywhere.

Too much to do. Can’t be late. Have a very important date.

For many of us, time runs and ruins our life.

The multi-faceted consequences of this constant time pressure was never more evident than in what happened to a friend of mine.

Sue is a high-level negotiator who mediates contracts between multi-million dollar organizations.

She was doing a rare team-teaching and went to bed early the night before the program so she’d be ready for the big day.

Her team teacher called around 9 pm and Sue’s daughter picked up the phone.

“Can I talk to Sue please? I’ve got some questions about our presentation tomorrow.”

“Actually, my mom went to bed early. She wasn’t feeling well.”

Instead of getting the hint, the team teacher said, “I really need to speak to her.”

Sue’s daughter came back with, “I don’t want to wake her. She needs the sleep.”

Instead of backing down, the team teacher persisted. (She later said it wasn’t like her to insist on talking to someone when diplomatically being told “no” – but somehow she knew this was important.)

Sue’s daughter relented. She went to wake up her mom and discovered she was in a … coma. Sue had had an adverse reaction to a new medication and was unconscious.

Thankfully, Sue’s daughter immediately sprung into action. She called 911 and an ambulance was there in minutes. The EMT’s began emergency procedures to revive Sue on the way to the hospital.

In the middle of all this, Sue was having the out-of-body experience you may have heard about from other people who have “died” and come back.

Sue was “above it all” watching the medical team try to revive her.

Sue experienced the bright light that exuded an all-encompassing love, peace and serenity that transcended description.

She saw her loved ones that had already passed … on the other side of a body of water.

She was given a choice. She could join her loved ones on the other side of the water… or she could come back and take care of her daughter.

Sue chose to come back and take care of her daughter.

When Sue was telling our small group this story over dinner, she said one of the enduring memories of that experience was the ludicrousness of time.

She said, looking back on earth, we all look like ants, frantically rushing to and fro.

Busy, busy, busy. Anxious. Up tight. Angry. Tense. Impatient. Always behind. Always frustrated.

She said, “From that perspective, you see the futility of it all. The silliness of it all. The senselessness of it all. You want to take it back. You want a do-over.

Like Emily in Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town, you just want to go back and take it all in and be in a state of wonder at the bliss, beauty and blessedness of a normal day.

You long for a second chance to enjoy the passage of time instead of obsess over it.”

The good news is, we have a second chance for a do-over … right here, right now.

We can look around and appreciate all we already have instead of operating with the underlying feeling there’s never enough time, we’re always behind, we’ll never get caught up, we’ll never get it all done.

We can integrate James Taylor’s wise words and enjoy the passage of time, appreciate having time.

It really is the secret of life.

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

bandwagon_sized

“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.

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 #64: We Don’t FIND our Calling – We CREATE It

“I’ve had a good life; and the reason is I stayed busy doing the things that mattered to me.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

People talk about “finding” their calling … as if it exists out there somewhere, intact, and all they have to do is look long enough and EUREAKA, there it will be, hiding behind a tree.

I think our calling, as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor points out, more often EMERGES from doing and pursuing things that matter to us.

That’s certainly been the case with me.

I am doing work I didn’t even know existed when I went to college. I didn’t get a degree in this and I never answered a newspaper ad featuring this as a job description.

The career I love so much is an accumulation of instinctive steps I took along the way. There was no map. I just did my best to honor The Three I’s – Instincts, Interests and Integrity.

I believe the Three I’s are our “Calling Compass.”

When you don’t know what to do, check in with your Three I’s and they’ll point you in the right direction.

When I speak at conventions, people often come up afterwards and say, “It looks like you really love what you do. How can I do what you do?”

Here’s how I got started, and how you can too.

Years ago, I was reading The Washington Post and noticed the word “concentration” was used six times on the front page of the sports section.

Tennis player Chrissie Evert said her ability to concentrate was why she’d been able to ignore the planes flying overhead and win the U.S. Open.

A golfer who’d just lost a tournament by missing a short putt on the last hole said he’d been distracted by the clicking cameras of nearby photographers.

A baseball team had lost its last 7 games. Their manager blamed their slump on his team thinking ahead to the playoffs instead of focusing on that day’s game.

I was intrigued. I thought, “We all wish we could concentrate better – but no one ever teaches us how. I’ve never seen any books on this topic. I’ve never heard any speakers on this topic.”

I decided to research how we could improve our ability to concentrate. I interviewed athletes, artists, executives and entrepreneurs and asked them:

1. How did you learn how to concentrate?
2. What do you do to stay focused despite distractions and interruptions?
3. How do to focus when you don’t feel like it – and how do you regain your concentration if you lose it?
4. Do you have any special techniques you use to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your attention span?”

Based on the insights and action steps I collected and developed; I offered a public program for Open University on HOW TO CONCENTRATE BETTER – ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

At the end of that workshop, 16 people came up to ask if I would share my techniques with their organization. That one workshop launched a speaking career that has taken me around the world and given me many blessed opportunities to do work I love that matters. It resulted in a book called ConZentrate that Stephen Covey highly recommended as, “Fascinating, thought-provoking and movtivating.”

http://www.amazon.com/ConZentrate-Attention–When-Pressures-Distractions-Priorities/dp/0312270100/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349029034&sr=8-1&keywords=conzentrate+-+sam+horn

How about you? Do you want more meaningful work? Are you looking for the perfect job or dream career? Just ask yourself,

1. What do I find intriguing?
2. What is something that calls to me that is in alignment with my Three I’s?
3. What is a problem or need that has caught my attention and caused me to think, ‘Somebody should DO something about that?”

YOU’RE AS MUCH A SOMEBODY AS ANYBODY. WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?

Who knows? Deciding to research, write and speak about an intriguing topic could be the first step to your SerenDestiny.

Choosing to pursue an opportunity that is alignment with your Three I’s could help you create your calling.

Solving a problem that concerns you could result in a life where the light is on in your eyes.

Remember, you don’t FIND your calling – you CREATE it – by honoring your Three I’s and by getting busy doing and pursuing what matters.

Have you created your calling? Would you please take a few minutes to share the story of how you got started?

Who knows? It could be just the inspiration someone needs to kick-start their calling.