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The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 51

June 23rd, 2014 No comments

IMG_3028 - Version 2This is the fifty-first and penultimate post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

If you read through these posts from start to finish, you’ll notice that the photos on the side have gotten more and more relaxed as the year has gone on.  In some ways, that’s kind of what has happened to me as well.

The doing hasn’t shifted — there’s still people to call, sessions to set up, coaching to do, minglers to go to and countless ways I can be of service.  Oh, and of course, e-mail.

It’s my being that has changed.  I’ve gotten a lot more relaxed about what there is to do.  The intensity and necessity behind all the doing has lost a tremendous amount of its significance.  That’s the part that coaching has made a difference in.

I’ve never needed help doing things.  I’ve been a prodigious doer from day 1.  I suspect that when I was in the womb, I had the best organized placenta of any womb.  My mum was probably very proud.

The trouble with doing is that it’s often based in reaction to something external.  Concerns that I won’t be successful, that I’ll fail, that I’ll drop below a minimum required number of clients and everything else you can dream up.  That’s the magic that working with my coach has created for me.  An ability to let go of the significance and the attachment to things working out, and really getting that it really will all work out, even if it doesn’t happen to work out the way I might want it to.

When I just put my attention and intention on doing what I love, the rest of it kind of falls away.

That’s not to say that those fears stop showing up.  They don’t, because I’m taking on things that are deeply important and inspiring to me.  In the face of that much possibility, its inevitable that fear is going to show up.  What has happened instead is that the significance of the fear has dropped away.  Getting scared that I’m going to fail doesn’t really mean that I’m going to fail.  It just means that I’m scared that I’ll fail.  Allow the emotion, be with it, and them move on to whats next when its passed through me.

(Even as a I type about that fear, I’m aware how funny it is that other people’s fears seem so obviously fabricated, while ours seem so obviously real.  That’s the gift of altitude that working with a coach provides — being able to see our own stuff with the same altitude that we see others’.)

See, here’s the ultimate lesson from this.  I’m living my purpose on this planet.  I am here to inspire and empower people to live their lives as their highest and best selves.  Even if I get a dead slump of no one hiring me for a year, I’m still going to coach.  I can’t not do it.  It’s simply too important to me.  So from that place, it becomes easy to see that the rest will fall into place.  Maybe not as quickly as I want it to, and maybe not looking exactly the way I want it to — but that’s okay too.

That’s part of life.  If you want to control and try to prevent that… well, entrepreneurialism probably isn’t for you.

 

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The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 39 & 40

March 21st, 2014 No comments

IMG_2849 - Version 2This is the thirty-ninth and fortieth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This is the second time I’m doubling up weeks, on account of the theme for this past week: getting support.

I’ve been up against a lot lately, it seems.  I’ve wanted to take on bigger things and have increased the scope of my projects accordingly.  If you’re not scared by the goals that you’re taking on, you need to make them bigger.  As a coach, I have to live by that mantra.  I have to model the work.  And I have been — and my projects and goals have been scaring me.  So much so that they’ve led to overwhelm.

See, here’s the thing.  If someone isn’t taking on a project big enough to scare and sit outside of what they know they’re reliable to produce, it won’t require any transformation on their part to get there.  Life isn’t simply about accomplishing goals, it’s about continually growing and stretching.  Developing ourselves, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Big projects allow for that.  They require that, in order to achieve them, we have to change how how we’re being in the world.

I’ve been overwhelmed with everything I’m taking on, unsure of how to handle it.  All of my defaults are working, and they’ve left me filling my time up in ever increasing increments so as to get everything done (ostensibly to achieve my goals).  

When time gets stark for me, I look to become more efficient.  

“How can I get even more done?”, I wonder to myself.

It almost never crosses my mind that the real way forward is to seek support.  In fact, I actively resist support when I need it most.  Instead of reaching out to people and asking for help, I tell myself that that will just require more time, and dammit, I don’t have any of that.

This time though, this time I did something outside of my pattern: I asked for support!

I asked for support from my teammates, my coaches, my mentors and my friends.

And you know what?  It made a huge difference!

At one point I was talking with, and getting coached by, a colleague and coach I have deep admiration for.  As I shared with her what I was up to and what I was struggling with, she listened, and then said to me:

“Well, Adam, I’m going to use your own quote against you.  You said that goals big enough to scare you actually enable you to transform…  And it just seems like you’re resisting all of the transformation that is available to you here”.

Oh.  Well that would make a lot of sense.

A bunch of my teammates reached out to me offering support.  Contrary to what I assumed, time became available.  I got coached, listened to, and held.  It was easy and simple, and it didn’t leave me frustrated, just heard.

It certainly isn’t the first time I’ve said it, but entrepreneurialism is a funny gig.  We’re drawn to it because we’re lone wolves that want to make our mark on the world, and do it our way.  We don’t want to be beholden to someone else’s rules, or vision that is too small — we want to be able to create the vision that we have.

While that is admirable and a spirit that you should never let go of, it’s important to recognize that it can be a hook too.  Everyone needs support and to be supported.  No one is an island, and anyone that thinks they can do it all on their own is almost certainly going to be limited by their own blindspot.

Get supported.

And on those days when it feels like you simply can’t get supported?  Get supported twice as much.

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.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Weeks 9 & 10

August 17th, 2013 No comments

photo-4This is the ninth and tenth post in my epic journey of going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

It’s fitting that this post condenses two weeks into one, because that’s entirely reflective of the way I’ve been doing things these past two weeks.

Here’s the skinny: My schedule is a disaster.  If you came and looked at it, you would likely conclude that it is highly organized, and that I am highly busy.  Both of these are correct.

In fact, my schedule is packed to the gills with things, and every time someone makes a new request, I’m a yes to try to fit it in.  And miraculously, I do!  You need support?  I’ve got your back.  Somehow.  Oh shit… who’s got mine?

No one can get my back, because getting supported require even MORE precious time, and goddamnit, I just want to sit and play video games for fifteen minutes rather than spend one more second doing something.

I realized this week that I’ve got a duality inside me.  On one hand, there is a highly-professional, extremely efficient genius.  He’s dressed very sharply, he’s appropriate, he’s articulate.  On the other hand, there is a funky, stanky, awesome dancer, who is hilarious, great to party with, and reckless.  Ne’er the tween shall meet.

I have a story that the partier is dangerous to me.  He is unhealthy, destructive, and he gets me in trouble.  I fool myself into believing that if I apply enough control (and the professional is exquisite at doing that), I can manage that aspect of my personality.  The thing is, no amount of control is going to be able to kill that side of me.  And so, like a blade of grass, my awesome party side breaks through the concrete.

Both these parts of me are fine, but I have not yet figured out how to integrate all of me.  What I realize is that my clients – those highly efficient professionals that are actually brilliant and have a wild side as well?  This is the same thing they are struggling with!

I’ve been trying to “solve” this problem with my old paradigm, but the more I grow, the more that paradigm bankrupts itself.  Here’s an example of me trying to solve it with the same old paradigm – see if you can see the humour in it:

  • I get frustrated because I drank too much the week before
  • I notice that my rigidly controlled allotment of drinks leaves no room for spontaneous partying
  • I create a new “drink allowance”, this time with the option of having a “free day” once a week.

I’m still using control to try and manage things!  Partying inside of control is still control!  

I’m starting to drop balls, and things aren’t as easy to handle as they were before, because I’m up to bigger things.  Somewhere, somehow, I’ve got a breakdown coming my way.  Things cannot continue going as they have.

The really scary thing is that it might mean getting fired.  If I really want to create my life, my practice, and my career the way I want it, I have to be willing to die before going in to battle.  I have to be willing to lean into the breakdown, instead of avoiding it.

Or maybe I’ll just rearrange my schedule one last time and that will fix everything…

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 8

August 2nd, 2013 No comments

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

This week started with me kicking off a new year-long training program in San Diego.  My team is incredible, and the participants we’re training are as well.  Seeing people exposed to powerful coaching for the first time in their lives is always an incredible experience.

Imagine watching person after person show up, put up their defences and survival mechanisms, and then have their true selves not only exposed, but revealed to them.  People getting to see a side of them they have never before truly been present to.

I assert it’s almost impossible to imagine what this is like, unless you’ve had a similar experience yourself.  For some people, that looks like near-death experiences.  Perhaps seeing who they are in the middle of a crisis, or right after someone on their deathbed reveals it to them.

Absent a skilled coach, most people spend most of their lives shielded from glimpsing their purest nature.  It becomes available to them only in moments of great vulnerability, as it’s those times that they are actually open enough to accept what is available.

Sound a little fluffy?  A little frou-frou?  It did to me as well, until I experienced it for myself.

The message inside this last weekend was the importance of reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing.  Entrepreneurialism is a heavy game.  It feels like a big weight sometimes.  If you’re not careful, fear slips in easily, and it can lead to overworking ourselves, which becomes a sysphean task.

You know that voice that says, “Maybe if I just work hard-enough, I will finally get out in front of all this stuff”?  Well you won’t.

The things you can do for your business are endless.  What matters is understanding that, and remembering why you’re taking it on in the first place.

So, there it is – pretty simple really, but an important reminder, because it is so easy  to lose sight of what I’m doing.  When I feel the overwhelm and the unbearable urge to work harder, faster, better, strong – my job is to get back to why I’m doing this.  Get present to my “What For”.

So… what for?  For me, this game is about impact, influence, and inspiration.  I truly believe in the power of coaching, and the possibility of people everywhere fully expressed and acting in as their highest selves.  To people doing the difficult work so as to truly be the person they are on this planet to be.  I want fame, yes, but only as a by-product or indication of what I am committed to creating.  I want to take the national stage; to be the coach that people say “Oh, you have to talk to Adam Quiney – he doesn’t see a lot of people, but I know someone who can get you an appointment with him.  He’s amazing!”.

That’s the impact I’m playing for.  That’s why I’m doing this hard work now.

What are you playing for?

[Tweet “The things you can do for your business are endless.  What matters is understanding that, and remembering why you’re taking it on in the first place.”]

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 7

July 26th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2434 - Version 2This is the seventh post in my epic journey of going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This post comes to you from Gate 9 of the Victoria International Airport.

The week was… a blur.  At the end of last week, I was asked if I was interested in taking on a leadership role for our training team in San Diego.  After some deliberation and saying yes, things shot forward into action and preparation, without any consideration for the fact that I have a business to run in the meantime.

Because of how fast things moved forward, I experienced the full range of emotions.  I had one week to book a flight and accommodations, start getting to know the new team, rearrange my schedule and figure out what all of this meant for us financially.

Flying to San Diego isn’t cheap, nor is finding accommodation in the middle of Comic Con.  Doing all of this while on an already tight budget makes things complicated and scary.

But fear is there to let us know when we’re stepping into possibility.  I’m not getting chased by a tiger here.  I’m scared about my own inability to generate.  I’m scared about my insecurities.  Those fears are normal, but they’re not in service of what I’m up to next.

With the support of Bay, my coach, and other people on my team, I went through the process of excitement, fear, getting clear on the worst case scenario, really understanding what failure looked like to me, and realizing that it really wasn’t as bad as my head was making it out to be.

My head is a great tool, but it often gets in the way when I let it run free in situations like this one.

In between setting the stage for what was next and actually executing on it, I generated a new client, had some great times out with friends and chatted with my friend Stacey on her podcast.  Without creating altitude, all of that becomes invisible and falls by the wayside – all I can see is the fear.  With support to actually get up out of my stuff, I can gain a bit of perspective.

So, while a few weeks earlier the lesson I took away was that there was an abundance of support available, provided you ask for it, this week’s lesson was that you need that support.  If you really want to take on something as big as that vision in your head, you need the support of others.  As entrepreneurs we work to do it all ourselves (and it’s not always bad having that mindset) – but the simple fact is that no one achieves something great without a lot of support.

The support is available; sometimes the hurdle is actually allowing it.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 6

July 19th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2461This is the sixth post in my epic journey of going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This week was characterized by a sense of having spare time in my calendar and still feeling like everything is a rush.

I reached out to Steve Chandler, a coach that I was introduced to by Lisa Peake.  He’s written a ton of fantastic books, but the one that has consistently held a halo of light on my bookshelf is The Wealth Warrior.  There is no book that scores higher on the edge test than the Wealth Warrior.  I frequently find myself reaching for it in the middle of a coaching session and quoting passages to clients.

Much to my surprise, Steve wrote back almost immediately, offering his time and suggesting a time to chat on the phone.  In between that e-mail exchange and our phone call, he had his partner send me over ten hours of audio content, and two eBooks.  True generosity and service!

So I’ve been on kind of a Steve Chandler kick this week.  Some of the things that he’s provided me are the ideas that we actually create more by subtraction than we do by addition.  When we remove things from our list, and allow ourselves to focus on that which really matters, we then start to create real prosperity.

I’ll be honest – I’m struggling with this concept.  I suspect it’s pretty natural to be where I am.  I want to remove things and pair down.  To simplify and make things lighter and more fun.  And, I want (wait, is that need?) to make more money.  I want clients.  I love this work, and I want to serve as many people as possible.

That’s the other side of Steve’s philosophy.  If you want to be a coach, focus on being of service to people.  Make a bold difference in the lives of every single person you meet.  Whether it be at the grocery store, a party, or a business mixer – make a bold difference.  Serve them in some capacity.

So, with my eagerness to generate income for my business, the natural thing is to try to be of service everywhere.  But that doesn’t really serve me, and as a result, it doesn’t really serve other people.  My ability to deliver is strained.  I can only show up 75 percent, because the other 25 percent of me is focused on my calendar and what is next.

So that’s where I’m currently struggling.  I’m not quite sure how to shift out of it, but it’s something for me to work.  Reduce, so as to increase.  Subtract, so as to grow.

Steve put it beautifully when he described Michaelangelo’s process.  He didn’t start with a slab of rock and begin adding bits and bobs to it.  He carved out the pieces that were irrelevant to his vision, and in doing so, created elegance, beauty, and simplicity.

I’ll tell you, I love connecting with like-minded people.  Even if you have no interest in coaching, if you’re an entrepreneur that can identify with any of these struggles, I would love to hear from you.  Either post a comment, or send me an e-mail.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 5

July 12th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2435 - Version 2This is the fifth post in my epic journey of going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This week’s lesson was that I have flexibility now, and, as long as I’m willing to empower it, I will enjoy my days more when I use it.

By the end of last week, I was feeling pretty fed up.  I would get up at six to go for a run with Bay, come back, hustle to get everything put together, usually coach someone at 8:30 or 9, and then begin hurriedly going through the rest of my day.  I finished around 5, and then had the rest of my evening.

I was begrudgingly getting myself into bed by 10:30 or so each night, which felt too early.

This week, I took a step back and gained a little bit of altitude.  Isn’t it funny how I was stuffing my work day into the same 9-5 paradigm that I had reacted against and resented prior to this venture?  I’ve even tweeted links that speak to the fact that the 8-hour workday is a vestigial relic, and no longer particularly beneficial in the modern era.

One of the things I place a very high priority on is my sleep.  It’s the easiest thing for us to skimp on (you know how you say you can function on six hours of sleep?  You’re wrong) and also one of the most important things not to.  Sometimes Bay gets frustrated with me, because we will intend to jog in the morning at 6, but not get to bed until 11.  I insist that I’m not getting up until 7, and that’s how it goes.

So this week, I stuck to those same guns.  When I wanted to stay up a little bit later, I did.  When I wanted to work out, I stopped what I was doing and went for a jog.

When I exercise, I gain presence.  When I give my body something to focus on, it gives my mind a free pasture in which to roam.  Running along streets physically allows my mind to run through meadows, metaphorically.

So look, it’s not a complicated lesson I’ve learned, but actually applying it requires that I come from a different place.  If I’m coming from never doing enough, there’s no room for this kind of flexibility.  All that exists is the stark fact that I’m not doing enough.

Being flexible requires standing in a place that gives me access to something greater than that. A place like holding myself as a leader of leaders.  That guy – that leader of leaders – he lives his life in the way that best epitomizes and sources the person that he wants to be in the world.

And that’s what I’m committed to.

Hey, do you like all this free content?  I like writing it, but it is a lot of work.  Work that I gladly take on during a day that I could otherwise spend doing marketing or client development.  You can support me by doing one of two things:

  1. If you haven’t done a complimentary session with me yet, ask for one.  (How awesome is that?  The way you can support me is by allowing me to support you); and
  2. If you have done a complimentary session with me, refer someone to me.  Sure, I know you’ve got a ton of significance around what it means to make a referral like that, so let me help you come from a different place.  Here is what you are saying when you refer someone to me: Hey, you’re someone I respect and look up to, and are up to really big things.  Adam is a guy that works with people that want to create massive things in their lives, and you might enjoy chatting with him.

Thanks for reading and check back next week.