Archive for September, 2013

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 16

September 27th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2626_2This is the sixteenth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

Here’s something I heard a brilliant coach say recently:

“The fact is that you’re right about the work.  There is an endless amount of work to be done.  The amount of service that you can provide the world is never-ending, and will never be complete.  If you can understand that (rather than accept, which suggests there’s something wrong that you must learn to live with), then you will be able to shift your thinking and create something different”.

That was Steve Chandler, responding to me asking him about the struggle I was facing with regards to my time.

Here’s another one:

“The quality of your life is a directly related to your ability to be with uncertainty”.

That was Tony Robbins, talking directly to me, through the television camera that was aimed at him.

Both of these messages resonate with the idea of letting go of control.  When I suggest this to my clients, they recoil in horror (high-performance professionals are generally experts at controlling processes to ensure desired outcomes).

“If I give up on control, it will be chaos!  Disaster!  Nothing at all will go my way!”

In those moments, it’s so easy to see the context within which they’re operating.  They don’t even realize that they’ll never actually lose their remarkable ability to control things – they’re just going to be practicing something new.  They’re going to be expanding their scope.

Then I turn around and have the exact same conversation with my coach.  After all, it’s different when it’s you right?  Today, it’s not about control, it’s about my time and commitment.

I’m right in the middle of my conundrum right now.  I’ve committed to continuing my work training coaches, and also struggling with the fact that it consumes a massive amount of my time and is a net loss in terms of revenue (travel to the States twice a month is not cheap, no matter how much you scrimp).

Normally, I would just operate over the top of resign: “Fuck it, I’ll just do it anyhow”.

I can still do that – I always have that option.  I just want to expand my scope and try out something new.  So… I don’t know where to go from there.  Unfortunately, awareness doesn’t create the solution — it’s just the first step.

Right now is the tough part: being aware of the bankruptcy of the old pattern, without having a clear idea of the path out of it.  Here’s something another wise coach once told me:

“Our job as coaches is to get them [understand them], then coach them or leave them.  Sometimes, your job is to leave them in their muck”.

Right now, it’s my turn to sit in the muck.  Don’t worry — it’s not a bad thing.  It’s just what’s next for me.

See you next week.


The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 15

September 20th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2570This is the fifteenth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

I think I have reached a safe and obvious conclusion: Success as an entrepreneur is not about how much you work or produce; it’s about creating time when you don’t work.

This week I took my second piano lesson, and had at least one of my scheduled sessions cancelled.  In my off-time, I jogged, went to the gym, went swimming (holy crap, swimming is hard), and practiced piano.

If the seven year-old Adam knew that the thirty-four year-old Adam would be getting up early to practice his scales on the piano, his little mind would have exploded.  But so it is.  Here’s the funny thing I’ve noticed: when I’m filling my time with activities that I enjoy, outside of work, I feel less compelled to behave destructively.

It’s a lot easier to choose not to have anything to drink when I’ve got something to do that is engaging and serves me in other ways.  Perhaps video games are too self-contained (they don’t really empower me to generate anything new, other than mastery), but whatever it is, choosing new activities and actually devoting time to pursuing them has made a huge difference.

And here’s the thing I keep seeing again and again: It’s just so damn easy, as an entrepreneur, to sacrifice ourselves at the altar of our business.  And it doesn’t work.  You’re the heart of your business, but you shouldn’t be your business.  If you want to succeed, you absolutely must separate yourself from your business, and ensure that they are both being sourced.

It’s all too easy to put all of yourself and then some into what you have created, but that’s not going to have either of you win.  Your business will become overly reliant on your blood, sweat and tears to function successfully, and you will become a bitter, dry husk with no option other than to continue letting your own blood or walking away from your business.

I find this is especially challenging as a service professional, because my time is what generates my income.  Eventually, I may hire on other coaches, and turn to running a business, rather than working as a coach.  But for now, coaching is what I love doing.  I don’t do it as a means to an end – it is an end unto itself.

So my job, as is yours, is to ensure that I’m getting what I need both inside and outside of my practice.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 14

September 13th, 2013 2 comments

IMG_2578This is the fourteenth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This week was about milestones.  The first milestone was attending my call ceremony and being ceremonially admitted to the British Columbia bar.  In B.C., after you have successfully written and passed the bar exam, (and paid the required fees) you are entitled to practice law as a lawyer.  However, the call ceremony is the pomp and circumstance (of which we lawyers are so very fond of) that marks your official entry into the legal profession.

We had a great night with my family and my principal, Darren Williams, and finish with an incredible dinner in town.  I had mixed feelings during my ceremony.  Since I have no intent to continue practicing law, it was purely a formality.  There wasn’t a lot of significance to it – I’ve already moved on to the next stage of my career.  How fitting, considering that’s the the way I do everything.  Because of that, taking the time to actually celebrate really mattered.

The second milestone was taking piano lessons for the first time in 25 or so years.  Although I took them as a kid, I never had a reason to progress with them.  Since starting law school, I’ve had many different ideas for things that I wanted to take on in life.  Taking that first piano lesson (as a reward for the success so far of my coaching practice) was a milestone that marked me reclaiming my own time for the purposes to which I want to attribute it.  I don’t have to wait until I’ve achieved X, Y and Z before I can start being and living the life that I want to.

The third milestone for me this week marked a radical change in my way of being with things outside of my comfort zone.  I met up with Daniel Gilfix, a body talk practitioner, an alternative healing modality that involves about a billion different things, all of which are outside of my comfort zone.  Two years ago, the odds of me lying on someone’s table and having them tell me about past lives would have been equivalent to someone getting hit in the head by a lightning bolt 99 times in a row, each bolt coming not from a cloud, but the hand of Zeus.

Instead, I set aside my skepticism and simply showed up and stayed connected with Daniel.  I lay, I relaxed, I let him do what I did, and I witnessed my thoughts as they came up.  And you know what?  He was great.  Kind, gentle, compassionate and relaxing to be with.  While I was talking about the experience with my coach afterwards, she commented that “Anything that gets you laying relaxed for an hour in the day, I’m thinking is a good thing”.  Well, when you put it that way.

Those are the three things I’m celebrating this week.  They might not seem big to you, because, if I let my default patterns rule the day, they don’t seem big to me – but then, nothing ever does.  So instead, I honour them as significant achievements, and share them with you.

Any milestones that you’ve achieved lately that you’d like to celebrate?  Write a comment and celebrate what with me.  I’d love to hear from you.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 13

September 9th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2567This is the thirteenth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

Week thirteen: Nothing will make a difference, nothing can change, what’s the point, I might as well just keep working hard.

That was the flavour of my victimhood this week.  Then, add to that a lack of compassion for myself being in that state.  You know what?  Sometimes you just need to be a victim.  Sometimes, you just need to be untransformed, at the effect of circumstances, and complain about other people and circumstances.

So from that place, the real theme of this week has been compassion.  Learning to have some compassion for where I’m at.  Ironically I’ve coached a number of people that have been suffering their own breakdowns and left wanting for compassion.  Coaching is a funny profession, demanding a mixture of both amnesty (complete and total forgiveness) and accountability (what got in the way of what you said you were going to do, and how will we prevent that next time).

As we grow up, our family provides us with an unspoken motto.  Mine was “You better work hard if you want to succeed”, the corollary to which was “You’re not working hard enough”.  It’s not something that comes from malice – it’s just our stuff.  The values of our family of origin, mixed with our own understanding of the way the world works and what gets us noticed, attention and love.

So of course, any time spent in that victim place for me becomes time where I’m not doing enough.  It’s butting right up against my fears, my mottos, my insistence on how life operates.

The shitty thing about the context that nothing will make a difference is that nothing will make a difference.  And that seems obvious, but, as I reflected on with my coach, even an exercise designed to come up with a new context to stand in will fail, because hey, it’s not going to make a difference anyway.

So what does one do?  I give in – for a while.  It’s 1PM, there’s nothing set up for the rest of the day, and I want a beer?  Go for it.  Had ice cream for lunch and want to have it again for dinner?  Do it.  The goal is to actively spend some time in the destructive part of the cycle and empower being there.  My default is to instead continually try to avoid it and get back in to the creative part.  No compassion, no acceptance.

If I can have compassion, then I can just be in this phase of my cycle.  My fear is that I’ll just sit there forever, get lazy, get fat, become an alcoholic and disappear from relevance.  The truth is, that’s not going to happen – it’s just not who I am.

So, compassion.

Have compassion for where I’m at, and for where other people are at.  Misery comes when we refuse to accept where we’re at and lean in to it.  If I can be compassionate with myself, then things don’t need to be so hard – even when they’re hard.