[Note: I originally wrote this post a few years ago, for my Business Action Hero website. I've refreshed it here because it's still relevant - maybe now more than ever.]
"If you are deliberately trying to create a future that feels safe, you will willfully ignore the future that is likely.”
- Seth Godin
It hit me between the eyes. This painful, jarring sensation at far too early on a Sunday morning - on a holiday weekend no less. This strange need for safety that we all seem to crave - even go out of our way to re-inforce.
Even if the result is less comfortable than pursuing change.
We don't want to rock the boat and get people mad at us. So we stay in the comfort zone. Maybe we push a little here and there, but we're not really making true progress on our own path.
It's here where we have to choose:
Because safety is the ultimate risk. Hoping and praying that nothing will change. Images of ostriches with their heads in the sand come to mind. They can't see that tornado bearing down on them, but golly, they sure feel safe!
[tweet "When it comes to owning your dreams, safety is the ultimate risk."]
Back in 2010, I had the honor of interviewing best-selling author Jonathan Fields about the upside of being an entrepreneur. During that interview, he said something that has stayed with me:
"There is no sideways in life. It's an illusion. There's only up and down. Usually this is the most horrifying scenario of all."
- Jonathan Fields
At first, I didn't want to believe it, but my own experience has validated that there's no standing still. You're either moving forward (as you define it) or you're getting left behind. When I interviewed him again for his second book, "Uncertainty", he offered up this gem:
"If you want to do great things in the world, you have to go to a place where you don't know how it's going to end."
- Jonathan Fields
(You can listen to that interview here.)
Since then, he's launched the Good Life Project and Revolution U, all the while, going where he'd never gone before. It's been fascinating and fun to watch. Clearly, this is a guy that continues to choose "adventure" over "safety".
Safety is your nemesis.
I don't mean you should recklessly throw caution to the wind. We need to be smart about the risks we're taking. Safety and security is one thing most of us crave - it's the foundation of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Without it, we don't feel like we can move forward.
But once we "have" it, we're less likely to move forward because of it. Safety means we don't have to push, strive, or work as hard because, well, we're safe, and nothing's going to happen to us in our safe space, right?
That's a wicked catch-22.
Safety works hard to keep you stuck - just as hard as you work to plow forward in your adventure.
"What if they don't like it?"
"What if they think I'm crazy?"
"What if it flops?"
"What will _____ say?"
"That's too hard/easy/fast/slow/tedious/tiresome/boring/good for me."
"I'd love to but I don't have enough ______ (or I am not ____ enough)."
We judge ourselves so harshly that we don't give ourselves a fighting chance. Let's change that!
Remember: perfection is an illusion. You're already as perfect as you're gonna get. You're human. To expect perfection 100% of the time will only cause more judgement (pain, resentment, frustration). Stuff happens that we call "failure". Big deal. Take a moment to celebrate the wins, stop staring at the door that closed, and look for your next steps.
The nature of a nemesis is that it has an equivalent level of power and sway. Think of The Joker and Batman, Prof. Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes. A nemesis is not easily defeated, but can be thwarted and often contained. It is when you underestimate your nemesis that it takes a foothold, and often wins a battle or two.
Simple, but not easy.
It was a business trip. 8 days in sunny Vegas, while my family was snowbound, just HAD to have some kind of a story, right?
SPOILER: this one begins with guilt, shame, and resentment, and ends up with me feeling like a princess, and six lessons you can use in the pursuit of your dreams.
Let me break it down for ya...
It began as most business trips do: with lots to do and not much time to get it all done. Between flights, a showroom rearrange before the annual January Gift Market, and training for the sales reps - not to mention the Gift Show itself, I really didn't expect to have any time to "enjoy" Vegas. I was, after all, there for work. An earlier version of myself would have holed up in my hotel room during all off hours and either slept (to make up for the time zone shift) or worked (because, well, I'm an overachiever like that).
Not this time. (more…)
You've got to lay a strong foundation before you make it to the ground floor."
- from "The Ground Floor" by Lisa Robbin Young
I'm writing lyrics again. It's been about (more…)
It can be a real challenge to find even a little piece of quiet during the day. But quiet stillness is a daily must-have if you want to stay sane and allow for the blessings that come from intuitive/divine guidance.
This week's Convo features Joanna Weston, a certified Martha Beck trained life coach. We talk about finding stillness, what coaching is (and what it isn't), as well as how she's helping her clients create space for the sacred.
Visit Joanna and learn more about her "Creating Space For The Sacred" program.
For some of us, there comes a time in life when it feels like everyone has given up on you.
You might even feel like giving up on yourself.
As I write this, I've just returned from spending the day in the hospital with my oldest son. Suffice it to say he's on the brink of giving up on himself. He waffles, as I suspect many teenagers do, between thinking he's the greatest thing since sliced bread and seriously wondering why anyone "wastes" their time with him.
If you've followed me for any length of time, you know the trials (more…)
by Erin Margolin
[Editor's note: This is day 23 of the Be Your Own Guru series. Ever had a controversial project that you just KNEW would be amazing if you could get it in front of the right people? If you have ever wanted to rally a throng of people around your dream, if you've ever considered using crowdfunding to raise money for a project, here's a real-life example of someone who did it. I met Erin at a conference a couple of years ago, and never dreamed that she would one day be spearheading a campaign to support children with gay parents. The Gay Dad Project is a documentary that Erin and several of her colleagues are working on - and they raised more than $20,000 in support of that project. But it wasn't without it's hassles - and many lessons learned. I asked Erin if she would share some of those lessons, along with some encouragement for those of you that have a dream in your heart that may not be easy to bring into the world.]
Referenced in the video:
ERIN MARGOLIN is a New Orleans native, writer, mama of three girls, and co-founder of The Gay Dad Project. After years of always saying yes she’s learned to say no sometimes, because she’s found that "yes" is best reserved for what matters most: her blog, the LTYM Show in Kansas City, and making a documentary about growing up with a gay dad a reality. She also loves books, antique typewriters, Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, social media, yoga pants and playing Memory with her twins, who always, always win. You can connect with Erin on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on her personal blog.
[Editor's note: This is Day 16 of the Be Your Own Guru series. This is Melanie's first adventure as a guest contributor to ANY blog, and I'm humbles to share her voice today. Melanie brings the perspective of an artist and an intuitive to this conversation. She reminds us that we all have our own guru inside ourselves - and it's time to let it shine.]
Guru: the act of being a pure, spiritually aligned wise one.
Are you your own guru, or is someone else? Do you feel that this thing they are is separate and nothing to do with your own existence? Are they teachers and gurus who convince you they’ve got it down and are perfect super uber spiritual beings? (& Perhaps you're not?)
Well perhaps they have it down.
Everyone is unique.
Everyone is diverse.
Everyone has a different life...
Take on things...
If we are all unique, so are (more…)
By Doug Knight
[Editor's Note: This is Day 13 of the Be Your Own Guru series. Today, we roll into more of the "brass tacks" of building a Noble Empire. I met Doug at a local TEDx event, and was blown away not only by his passion for non-profit work, but also his ecclectic music tastes. Over the past year, I've come to learn how dad-gummed smart he is. If you're looking to dive into a new venture, this could be the kick start (or the warning flag) you've been looking for.]
A friend of mine asked me the other day, “How do you…you know… start something?” My friend was having trouble articulating what truly he was trying to get me to talk about, but after a round of drinks it came out a little easier to understand.
Ah…. got it. The old “High Risk, Tough-to-see-but-know-its-
It’s one of those weird things, especially now with our economic situation as a country (broke), as a typical American (in debt), and as a community (“get a real job” talkers). But I think the first thing I would say to someone who is even just considering such a move is to first ask yourself…. “Are you Happy?”
Now this “do what you’re happy at” talk is obvious to many and simple to say (hard to do). But I don’t just mean the personal happiness that you perceive in your dreams when you see yourself as the President/CEO/Chief Food Taster at Honkin’ Industries, Inc.
I’m not talking about money or being a boss per se; I’m talking about that happiness that happens when you live by a “Work Hard, Play Hard” mentality – where you’re not sure when you are working and when you are playing because both bring you so much JOY.
Being happy also doesn’t mean always in the positive column. You must also know (it is guaranteed) (more…)
[Editor's note: Today is day 13 in the Be Your Own Guru series. I met Tiffany as a contestant on Prosperity's Kitchen. Her mission spoke to me, as I hope it will you. Her commitment to helping young girls take ownership of their dreams is something we can all learn from as we strive to reconnect to our true voice and trust ourselves again.]
Think about a time in your life, around age five or so. Remember how you knew you could do anything you wanted? How you knew you could change the world?
You got excited, you were present, and you didn’t give a crap what anybody else thought.
But most of us lose it, to some extent, along the way. We let other people dictate what we’ll do with our lives. The kids that grow up and go on to rock the world are the ones that still have that passion as they grow older. They never lost sight of their awesome - or they reclaimed it in adulthood.
How do we reclaim our awesomeness? If we’ve lost it, do we even have time to get it back?
Follow these steps to be present again in your life, and embrace your awesome.
1. Allow yourself to feel pain. You’ve got to make that emotional connection, or it’s just not going to stick. Take some time for yourself one afternoon. Go someplace you really enjoy being and where you can concentrate, and bring a pen and paper with you. Start listing all the things you
wanted to do and be when you were little. List all the dreams you had. Big and small, crazy and doable. You’ll start to notice something: you’re getting a little not-so-fun gut feeling, you’re realizing the pure joy you had when you had those dreams. Determine that from this point forward, you will dream and you will help support others in their dreams. This is your little mourning period.
2. Dream those dreams and be a believer. My daughter and I believe in fairies. Sure, we’ve never actually seen them, but do you know how absolutely exciting things are when you believe in the possibility of them? Life is no longer seen through practical black and white glasses. There’s color and beauty and huge dreams and possibilities. Whatever it takes, dream. Write it down each day. Make a vision board. Keep those dreams alive and start looking at the world from that vantage point.
3. Help someone else dream. This might be your spouse, child, friend, neighbor. It doesn’t matter. When you help someone else dream, you get caught up in those happy feelings. It’s no longer about you, but how you can help that person realize their dream. When you’re in this spot, you start dreaming again yourself.
Technology, books, mentors are very useful, but to get started with anything in your life, you first need to check-in with yourself. You’ll see the untapped potential there.
I’d love to know: what were your childhood dreams? What are your big dreams now? Let me know in the comments below!
Tiffany Manley helps girls realize that they can find all they need to sparkle and shine within themselves. She uses education appreciation, career exploration, & confidence construction to help girls realize they can dream gargantuan dreams - and that they can achieve them. Her website is a collection of resources for boosting self-confidence in young women (and their moms!), homeschooling, and more. You can also connect with Tiffany on twitter.
by Kadena Tate
[Editor's Note: On day two of the Be Your Own Guru Series, Kadena Tate helps us get clarity on embracing our own definition of success - even when others think it might be a little crazy.]
Crazy! Everyone offers a different brand of crazy. The question is “How can you unleash your brand of crazy in a manner that touches hearts and expands minds?” In my experience, it is easy once you embrace three beliefs as the foundation of your life and work. The three beliefs are actually quotes and that have blessed my life and my brand:
First up is a quote by the late martial artist Bruce Lee “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine.”
Second is a quote by the poet Ms. Maya Angelou “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
Third is a quote by an unknown author. It reads “When you believe in your dreams, they may come true, but when you believe in yourself, they will come true”.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine.” – Bruce Lee
When you finish reading this article, you will have learned that you must be your own guru. It will be extremely difficult to achieve any level of success if you crave the advice and opinions of others. It is essential that you look within and see only worth, value and goodness. Looking in the mirror and saying things to yourself like “I’ll never be, do or have enough”, is a sure-fire recipe for failure. It will be nearly impossible to assemble your gifts, talents, strengths, abilities and the lessons learned from your life experiences into marketable and monetizable products and services if you are running here and there asking everyone “What do you think?” (more…)