Category Archives: goals

SerenDestiny #68: You’ve Already Made It

You've already made it

“When my book was an answer to a “Jeopardy’ question.”

The response author Rebecca Skloot (whose book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” has been on the bestseller list for 100+ weeks) gave when asked by a reporter, “When did you feel you’d made it as an author?”

What would change if you decided, right here, right now, that you’ve already “made it?”

How would you feel if you started believing today that success is not out there in your future, dependent on achieving some goal you’ve set for yourself – you already are successful?

Too often people achieve something they set out to do … only to discover it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

I remember hanging out with bestselling authors in the penthouse of the Grand Wailea Resort in Hawaii back in the days I emceed the Maui Writers Conference.

Many of these authors were household names. They’d sold millions of books and had millions of fans. They had achieved the “holy grail” that the hundreds of would-be writers attending the conference aspired to.

Yet, what did they talk about? Did they talk about how rewarding it was to do work they loved? Did they talk about how much they appreciated having the freedom to, as Stephen King says, “Get paid to hang out in their imagination all day?”

Well, sometimes they did.

But more often they complained.

They complained that their publisher didn’t get their books in the stores in time for their Oprah appearance. They complained about the hardships of being on the road for 3 weeks straight, on an all-expenses paid, cross-country media tour. They complained about their editor not getting back to them in a timely way.

By many people’s standards, these high-profile authors had achieved “success.”

But once they got there, it was not nearly as satisfying as they thought it would be. It just came with a new set of standards of what it would take to make them happy.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a better way.

And it doesn’t cost you a thing. Anyone can do it, anytime they want. You can do it, right here, right now.

Look around you.

Have you ever thought about it this way?

You’ve already “made it.”

You’ve made it to the age you are. Many people didn’t.

You made it by being able to see, walk, speak, hear. Many people can’t.

You’ve made it by having people in your life who love you and who you love. Not everyone can claim that.

Sure, there are things you want to see and achieve. That’s wonderful.

Just don’t think that success will automatically show up when you do.

Unless you change the way you perceive success, you’ll never really feel successful.

Success is not something you receive upon achieving something new; it’s something you feel when you appreciate all you’ve achieved.

Start seeing yourself as successful, right here, right now.

Start understanding and embracing the fact that … in the ways that count … you’ve already made it.

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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 #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 #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.