Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Self-improvement’

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

July 13th, 2014 6 comments

photo - Version 2This is the fifty-second and final post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here.

So, first of all, I’m kind of astonished that this happened.  The fact that I’m writing this post means two things (well many things, but two primary things):

  1. I actually succeeded in fulfilling my commitment to blog this journey for an entire year.  Let me assure you, this has not been an insignificant accomplishment.
  2. I’ve completed a year of entrepreneurship.  That is also not an insignificant accomplishment.

My intent today is to give a bit of a retrospective.  The things that have happened, the changes in my business, and what I’ve grown into and moved away from.

The biggest thing I’ve moved away from is fear.  Fear that things will fail, or fall apart, of that I’ll be completely doomed, or anything else.  That’s shown up in a big way in how I work.

There’s a scene in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, where Robin is battling Little John.  He jumps up out of the water, and pulls Little John into the water.  Little John starts to scream and shout, “I’m drowning, I’m drowning!”.

When he finally yields to Robin Hood, Robin calmly tells him, “Put your feet down”.  The water was shallow enough that he could simply stand in it.

That’s how I was at the start of the year.  Gasping for air.  Every referral that would come my way, I would gasp in like a man desperate for oxygen.  There was no enjoyment.  I was relieved when someone was referred to me (and very grateful too), and would make every conceivable effort under the sun to connect with them.  There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but there was no joy in it.  Further, it probably came off as a little bit needy, which isn’t much fun either (and frankly, it’s kind of creepy).

And lastly, that kind of approach gets in the way of you getting to see possibility for your clients and hold them at their highest and greatest.  If I’m focused on what I can get, it makes it really hard to truly serve someone.  Not what I’m committed to.  Not at all.

I realized myself that if you trust it and simply focus on providing value to people, you’ll survive.  All that gasping for air and flailing was keeping me from enjoying the process.

In terms of numbers or changes, that’s a little more intangible.  The big change that has resulted from that shift has been that I spend my time serving people instead of doing what “I have to do” to build my business.

So many coaches early on dogmatically state “I need to work on my website, I need to create my business card, I need to spend more time working on marketing”.  And then, ironically, they say “I hate marketing”.  (I know this is true because I train and coach new coaches).

The truth is, you don’t need to do any of that stuff.  If you want to be a coach, you need to get out there and coach people.  Lots of them.  Provide people value and change their lives as a result of the conversations you’re having.  If you do that, it’s inevitable that, over time, people will take note of what you’re doing and start talking about you.  All of that other stuff — that “marketing” — just gets in the way of coaching.  (Which is often why new coaches focus on it.  If nothing else, it prevents them from doing the scary task of coaching people when they’re new to it).

It’s the same for many professions.  I’ve coached public speakers and writers, and the same thing holds true.  If you want to get paid for public speaking, go out there and speak in front of groups.

A couple of people have asked me about tangible results at the end of this year.  I’ve struggled a bit to figure out how I want to share that, because what I charge is more a reflection of who I accept as my clients these days than anything else.  The power of commitment is really what allows for transformation — and I’m a demand that people really commit to what they want to create in their lives.

So, that being said, here are some of the tangibles:

  • My rates have tripled since I first began coaching
  • The majority of my time marketing these days is now spent over-serving and astonishing my clients as opposed to worrying about attending mixers and pounding the pavement
  • For the last 4 months, my practice has been full.  Recently two clients completed with me, and so I now have two slots available
  • The minimum commitment I’ll work with a client for has now doubled — again, because I’m committed to creating breakthroughs and transformation with the people I take on, as opposed to short-term solutions to problems

That may all sound well and good, but it pales in comparison to the internal work that I’ve done.  The stuff on the outside — the external tangibles — are merely reflections of how we’re showing up within.  Never lose sight of that fact.

And that’s the ultimate lesson from this year.  It isn’t about the externals and what you can point to tangibly.  It’s about how you’re being and what you are creating internally.  Don’t get distracted by the stuff on the outside.  Keep doing the inner work, and trust that the external stuff will come to you.

Because… it will.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series.  It’s been a crazy journey for me, and I’m now letting this blog sit a little bit while I devote more time to the book I’m writing.  Please check back to hear more about that, and in the meantime, check out Bay and I writing over at Evergrowth.

Share/Bookmark

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.

 

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 49

June 9th, 2014 No comments

IMG_3009 - Version 2This is the forty-ninth 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 how my days go lately:

I wake up.

I get scared.

I look at my calendar, see a bunch of appointments.  I get scared by everything I have to do.

I eat breakfast, make tea, clear, and then meditate.

Then I remember that I get to choose to do whatever I want.

And then I choose to serve whoever is next in front of me, powerfully.

That’s all I need to do.

So many funny things have happened on this journey.  One of the silliest, to me, is getting over my ridiculous fear of the telephone.  As a kid, I hated the telephone.  I was always worried about it being awkward (like if I didn’t know what to say), or not being a good enough conversationalist.  I hated calling up my friends to ask them to hang out, because they might say no, and I couldn’t bear for them to hear the disappointment and rejection in my voice.

Text messages and e-mail were a godsend for that part of my fear.  They let me empower my fear totally.  I never had to talk on the phone!  I could just send people e-mails or text message, and then manage the fears however I needed to when we were in person.

Imagine my skepticism and concern when I found out that most coaching is done over the phone.  First of all, I gotta call this jerk I’m paying money to?  Why won’t he meet up with me?

And then second, you’re telling me will likely be using the phone with all of my clients?  Oh geez.

And then it got worse!  All of the training I saw and received screamed to me: “PICK UP THE PHONE”.

My fears were perfectly aligned with the reason that coaching happens over the phone, and why communicating over e-mail or text message really doesn’t work much as a coach.

The phone allows for intimacy and connection.  E-mail and text messages don’t.  There’s no connection with a human being.  Sometimes you get the emoticon, or you know the person in front of you so well that you can get a decent amount of meaning from their e-mail, but even then, with 80-90% of our communication being non-verbal, it’s clear how crappy digital mediums are for genuine human connection.

And it was the connection that terrified me.  I didn’t like connecting with people, because then I was vulnerable.

49 weeks in, and all that has changed.  The first thing I ever tell someone to do, if they’re interested in being referred to me is “call me”.  Call me on the phone.

And when I see an e-mail land in my inbox, the first thing I do is look for a phone number.  I want to get on the phone with that person right away. I don’t want to spend time crafting an e-mail, deleting it, editing it, getting it just perfect (notice, those are all things that actually stand in the way of genuine connection.  Being human is to be imperfect).

There’s some other things that are cool about the phone.  You know what I don’t have?  Call waiting.  Or another line.

If you’re talking on the phone with me, that’s all there is.  There’s no additional calls coming in, there’s no queue for me to get distracted by.  It’s not like e-mail, where I can be crafting my message to someone, and suddenly get distracted by the message I think I need to craft to the six other people that just reached out to me.

So simple.

So I guess the theme for this week has really simply been that business, and life, happen in intimate, connected conversation.  Not in e-mail, not in text messages, but in conversation.

Want to increase your business as an entrepreneur?  Stop e-mailing and pick up the phone.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 48

June 6th, 2014 No comments

IMG_2997 - Version 2This is the forty-eighth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

What a crazy week.  Nothing has physically changed in my world since when I posted last week, but how I am being within that physical world is radically different.  I’m not even the same person any more.

Transformation really can be that dramatic.  It isn’t always — sometimes it looks like a snake moulting its skin, gradually shifting and growing out, until one day it just slithers away and the skin is no longer a part of it.  Other times it looks much more like a caterpillar turning in to a butterfly.  Caterpillar, bag of goo, butterfly.

I think, in this space, the theme for this week has been service and connection.  Last week was filled with terror, fear and panic.  This week, I woke up with those same thoughts.  Sometimes I would be sitting on my couch and they’d leap out at me and spear me in the ass (or wherever my body chose to manifest terror at that moment).

The difference was that they didn’t seem so significant this time.  Like, the thoughts hadn’t changed, and the circumstance hadn’t changed — but I had.

So what?  I was scared.  That didn’t change the way mustard tastes.  It didn’t change what there was for me to do.  It didn’t change what I could provide the next person in front of me.

And from that place, everything shifted.  I just got into action.  I reached out to people that had expressed some interest in the past and chatted with them.  I got in touch with some previous clients and offered to give them some coaching in the moment.  I looked beyond the fear-based thinking (“What is going to get me a client RIGHT NOW?”) and instead looked at service-based thinking (“Who can I really serve right now?”).

I looked to my existing clients and looked for ways that I could serve the living daylights out of them.  Serve them in a way that would astonish them.  That team you’re managing that you’ve been struggling with?  How about I come in and coach them all for you for a day?  Your companies that are working to integrate?  Why don’t we bring the teams together and I’ll work with them to create a more powerful corporate culture?

Is that going to make me more money?  I have no idea.

But that’s besides the point.

What I know, with absolute certainty, is that it will serve the people in front of me in a way that they’ve never been served before.  And if my clients, as a result of working with me, create breakthroughs in their companies, there’s only so long I can continue making that happen and have people not reaching out to talk to me.

I hate sales, and so does every other entrepreneur.

Instead of selling, turn your focus to serving.

(I promise you, it’s way more fun).

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 44

April 19th, 2014 2 comments

IMG_2873 - Version 2This is the forty-fourth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

Mindfulness and a life by design.

Those are the two things that have really been on my mind lately.  One of the things that really drives my life is passion.  If you spend two hours talking with me, you get a sense that I’m deeply passionate about the things I take on.  I’ll talk to you about the funk-styles of dancing forever if you want me to.  Ask me about what makes a good angle in boogaloo, and I’ll tell you all of the theories I have, and everything I’ve come up with over the years of getting down.

If you ask me about the nuances of P vs. 2P in Virtua Fighter, I’ll explain the situations where you want to choose one over the other (actually, you don’t even have to.  You can just go and read the blog I used to write about that exact kind of thing here).

Anyhow, that passion really drives me forward.  I’m voracious when I start to love something.  The flipside of that passion can be obsession.  I want something so much that I lose sight of the life that I have around me.  I put all of my focus, time, and energy into what I’m pursuing, and then realize I’ve spent a week working on it.

There’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s a joyful, intentional week, but with obsession, it starts to get dark.  Instead of loving the progress and the journey, I can start to focus only on what I’m not currently achieving.  Then it becomes a treadmill that I’m always running faster and faster along.

This week, I’ve been really taking on a practice in mindfulness.  Because, whats the point of having an amazing life, if I’m not present to it.  I get to do work that I love, but if I’m not taking the time to stop and really appreciate everything I’m creating, it’s only slightly better than a life than I spend with my head buried in a bunch of papers at a deskjob I don’t enjoy.

Mindfulness means doing things like running and really focusing on every aspect of the run, rather than just doing it so I can stay slim.  (I caught myself doing that recently.  Crazy).

The other thing that has been dawning on me has been how important it is to design our lives as entrepreneurs.  I mean, it’s why we get into the work in the first place — freedom!

I’ve slowly been reviewing the pieces of my schedule and life, and determining whether I actually want things to look this way.  If I don’t, then I look at what needs to happen to rearrange them.

That’s a lot different than the space I was coming in to 44 weeks ago, which was “I’ll say yes to everything and find a way to make it fit”.  I know I can be successful under that paradigm, but it’s not what I’m really interested in.

But I have to start somewhere.  If I don’t be a demand for the schedule I want, who will?  That doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will be happy about it, but that’s not what matters.

What matters is that I love my life.

Speaking from the Heart – Part 8

April 3rd, 2014 1 comment

Time to put myself out there again.  My intent here is to actually own my own stuff as it shows up — not to be melodramatic about it.  I believe that we all experience these sensations from time to time.  It’s okay to have them, and the more we share and allow them, the more they can flow through us.  So here’s where I find myself today.

I’m bouncing in and out of fear like a pinball machine. I’m in breakdown (so I do declare) and realize I have been here for about three weeks, if not longer.

I need reassurance that I can actually achieve the big goals I’ve set for myself, and have a story that that reassurance ultimately needs to come from within — so what’s the point of even asking for reassurance?

My teammate, Brian, in San Diego, reflected to me that just because I’m on a journey to generate that trust and reassurance from within doesn’t mean that I don’t need some externally to support me as I move forward.

My coaching practice is full, and I’ve never felt more like my client game is in breakdown. I judge myself as not being a powerful enough coach for at least a month now. And, I can own that when I do, I quickly pave over the feeling by finding the things that I’m doing wrong. I set up complimentary sessions with new people, but those people aren’t really interested in powerfully moving their lives forward. They’re tourists — curious about what I do, but not so much in creating breakthroughs in their lives.

I can see the pattern, and yet don’t seem willing to choose something else.

I’m practicing slowing down, and it makes me want to run faster than ever before. “There’s more to do, I’m not doing enough, hurry up and get new clients you useless piece of shit, why the fuck can’t you generate anything, augh!” is how my inner voice rages away.  It’s an all-out war inside my head; a battle between peace and tranquility and my judgments and stories.

I’m sad. I’m sad that I am not experiencing joy. I’m sad that every bit of success feels fleeting.

My projects sit derelict, like half-constructed model airplanes sitting in my room as a child, and my metaphors feel like melodramatic facebook posts.

I’m embarrassed to share this with you — not because I’m having these thoughts, feelings, body sensations, etc. — that’s natural.  I’m embarrassed because I can see that I’m currently unwilling to let go of them.

You know what’s funny?  It’s the judgment about being unwilling to let go that is keeping me stuck.  What I can see is that if I simple let myself be where I’m at, things would start to slide forward.  As long as I hang on to the judgment about where I am and who I am being, nothing can shift.

I guess what I want to enroll *you* in is actually noticing where you do the same thing yourself.  Where do you find yourself in a certain place, and then rather than empower wherever you happen to be, judge and resent yourself for it?

Don’t bother sharing it with me though, I’m going to be over here kicking my own ass for where I’m currently at.

Speaking from the heart – Part 6

March 5th, 2014 No comments

Let’s talk about sex.

Not because I want to — specifically because I don’t want to.

I don’t like talking about sex at all.  It makes me feel uncomfortable.  It’s taboo in society to even have a conversation about it.  These days, kids learn more about sex from internet pornography than they do from conversations with their parents or their peers.  (I’m making that up, but it sounds accurate, doesn’t it?)

Growing up, becoming an adolescent male, sex was embarrassing and highly desirable.  I was filled with hormones, and those hormones led to loads of embarrassing situations.

Sometimes I was attracted to girls that had a crush on guys that would pick on me.  So that sucked, because it enforced the story I had that those guys were better than I was.  It ended up just being easier to repress that attraction — so I did, making my sexuality, at least in those areas, wrong.

Sometimes I would be attracted to someone and share it with my Mum, slyly, and she would tease me, gently.  There was no harm in it, but it made me embarrassed that she could so easily see through me being coy.  So I learned to hide that part of myself – to shut it out and keep myself flat and level.

Sometimes I would be out with my family and we’d be walking through a crowd, and my Dad would laugh, and say to my Mum “Did you see that?  That guy just checked that girl out from head to toe.  He wasn’t subtle at all!”  Other times I would hear girls talking about guys being creepy, or how obvious it was when a guy my age looked at another girl (and sometimes that was also said with a healthy amount of scorn, because they resented the guy looking at that girl instead of themselves).  So I learned that it was wrong to consider other women attractive, or even looking at someone I find attractive. It became safer to look at someone attractive with scorn.  “Pfft, what a slut”.  At least that was acceptable (that was the story I created).

By the time I got to the age and maturity where women were willing to even consider sex with me (it took a while!) I was a big huge ball of wrong, shame, and control.

And this is where Bay entered my life.

My stuff grows more and more clear to me each week as I continue to work on it.  Out of all of the lessons that I put together as a child and an adolescent, I reached the point where there were parts of me that were simply unacceptable.  It was not acceptable that I found women other than my partner attractive.  It was unacceptable that, when watching TV, I would sometimes get turned-on because of what we were watching.

None of those things are actually bad.  They come with being a human being.  The problem wasn’t that I found other women attractive, or that sometimes I got turned on when there was a naked woman on TV — the problem was that I was not able to own this part of myself.

I had basically fractured myself into two parts.  The part of me that felt all of the things that I felt, and the part of me that I was able and willing to own and share with the rest of the world, including my partner.

As a result, intimacy (including but not limited to sex) became impossible.  There was no room for me to actually be myself, because I couldn’t even own that.  I would carry on the façade as long as I could, but eventually we would inevitably stop having sex, and then intimacy altogether.  There was simply no room for me to be both myself, authentic and vulnerable, and intimate.

In some relationships this leads to the situation where one partner cheats on the other partner.  For me, I cheated once on a girlfriend when I was much younger, and felt so horrible about it that I vowed never to do it again.  So instead I’d just shut out my partner, turn to internet pornography and meet my own needs.  It was perhaps less “morally reprehensible” in the eyes of our societal views, but what I can see is that it had no less impact on the health of the intimacy of my relationships, nor the mindset of my partners (“What is wrong with me?”, they would ask, wondering why I had shut them out).

I was shut down everywhere.  I couldn’t even admire someone who was beautiful, because that was the part of me that was wrong, and as a result, I learned to stifle the impulse.

But, as I’ve said before, humans are not like a set of plumbing, with multiple valves we can turn on and off.  If you cut off your energy in one place, you cut it off in other places.

What there is for me to do now is to start owning these parts of myself. Own them as simply facets of me, wholly and complete.  There’s nothing wrong with being lit up by someone who is beautiful — what there is to do is to take that energy and share it with the person I love.  It doesn’t mean that she isn’t important, or that I don’t find her attractive; the energy is my own, and I get to choose where I provide it.  What has changed is that I’m now choosing to provide it to my partner, instead of miserly guarding it for myself (where it was safe, but ultimately empty).

What does that look like?  It means sometimes sharing with Bay when I notice myself following the usual pattern.  Oh look, now I’m denying myself any access to anything that might be arousing, because that way I can control myself.  Oh look, I just opened up google and typed in “sexy nuns”, and then quickly shut down the page.  Oh look, this time I did the same thing, but took a little longer to shut down the page.

It’s not Bay’s responsibility to immediately accept what I share with her.  Unconditional love doesn’t mean that we don’t get taken out when our partners share something we don’t like.  We may very well struggle to be with a part of themselves that they’ve spent most of their own lives rejecting (after all, they’ve been struggling with it…).  Our job as partners is to hear it, notice what it creates in ourselves (and what it reflects in you that you cannot own), and then take that on.

In this way, relationships can be the ultimate ground for personal growth — but it requires stepping into your fear over and over.

I don’t love sharing this with you, because I’m not yet ready to fully own that that is who I am.  But I am sharing it because this is the process by which I do begin to own myself, as a powerful leader; one replete with wisdom, arrogance, kindness, judgment, humility, grace, foolishness, wit, defensiveness, and yes, sexuality too.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my process.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 36

February 25th, 2014 No comments

IMG_2818 - Version 2This is the thirty-sixth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

What an unusual week – no big ups or downs.  Nothing terrifying.  No moments of waking up in fright and remembering what I hadn’t done.  Just opportunities to slow down and enjoy what was showing up.

Two times I’ve graduated from a post-secondary education, and both times, the same phenomenon has occurred.  I’ve gotten to the end of the week, sat up on the weekend, and felt guilty for not working on something.  There’s a sense that you should be doing something and that it’s wrong that I wasn’t.

Almost every student has experienced this process.  The shift from a pattern of always trying to play catch-up to trying to remember that it’s okay to relax.

What I realize is that being an entrepreneur is a lot like making this journey, back and forth, over and over, on a much more frequent basis.  Underneath it all, we are constantly working to develop the ability to simply be with whatever uncertainty shows up.

Lately, that’s meant recognizing when my fear shows up and just leaning right in to it.  I got really embarrassed last week, and after allowing myself to feel that way, I became present to the fact that embarrassment, rather than being something to avoid, is actually a sign that I’m taking on something outside of my comfort zone.  If it wasn’t embarrassed, I’d probably already be good at it, or already comfortable with what I was experiencing.

So in a lot of ways, it’s a bit confusing.  We’re learning how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  That almost doesn’t make sense.

I think a lot of us approach this from the belief that once we’ve developed enough, we stop feeling uncomfortable, but that’s not true.  Discomfort is there as a sign that I’m taking on something different or new.  As long as you’re alive, you’re capable of feeling discomfort.

As an entrepreneur or anyone else stepping in to possibility, it’s important to recognize that fear and discomfort is going to show up.  If it hasn’t, it’s time to take another step.

The funny thing is that sometimes it’s as difficult to learn how to embrace the calm, as it is the storm.

Ah!  There’s the lesson for this week.

To really love your life and your work as an entrepreneur, you have to learn how to love the calm as much as the storm.  Entrepreneurship is no different than life.  After every storm there is a calm, and after ever calm, there is a storm.  Trust that it will all work out, and learn to love each part of it.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 35

February 14th, 2014 No comments

IMG_2812 - Version 2This is the thirty-fifth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

I’ve been taking Aikido classes.  Aikido is described as more like a physical philosophy and way of living, than a martial art.  In fact, many people in the martial arts community feel that Aikido is a poor choice of martial art if your desire is to defend yourself.

After my first class, I went home and started googling everything I could.

“Is Aikido a good martial art?”

“Is Aikido worth doing?”

“Is Aikido a work out?”

No more than four hours earlier, the Sensei had asked me what drew me to Aikido, and I answered (honestly) that I loved the philosophy behind it, and was also looking for a spiritual practice as well as something physical to do.

Notice that none of my questions reflect that reason for taking Aikido.

I think that entrepreneurship, and taking on your life in general, are reflected by this way of being I exhibited before and after my first day of training in this new martial art.

I was clear on my vision and reason for joining.  And then, almost immediately after getting my first taste, I had shifted my focus to something more immediate and short-term.  Physical exercise and self-defense.

Self-defense?  Really?  I’ve never been in a fight, and never intend to.  Notwithstanding the fact that sometimes trouble just finds you, why would I suddenly be concerned that my pursuit would aid me in something I seek to avoid at all costs?

It is exactly the same process entrepreneurs move through.  I start doing the work because I crave freedom, putting my mark into the world, and living out my purpose.  I want to create inspiration everywhere, and being a coach, working independently of the restrictions of a company, is one of the ways I can do that.

And then things gets started, and something scary shows up, or even just a reason to take a different path, and we lose sight of all of that.

Part of the requirement of being successful, as an entrepreneur or anything else, is continually re-presencing ourselves to our vision and why we’re taking this on in the first place.  Don’t let yourself believe (like I did) that you want it enough right now that you won’t ever forget why, because you will.  You will forget, because you’re human.

This time, it was one of my teammates, Brian, that reminded me why I’m taking this on.

We need those support structures outside of ourselves, because sometimes, we’re just human, and we lose sight of what we’re up to.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 25

November 29th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2716This is the twenty-fifth (almost halfway!) 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’s lesson was a very simple one: ASK

One of my very good friends, Steve Parr, has the word tattooed on his wrist.  When I asked him why, he told me that it had ultimately become something of a philosophy for him.  Ask.

If you’re curious, ask.  If you want something, ask.  If you need support, ask.  If you want someone to stop doing something, ask.

ASK

The theme this week with my clients (and therefore, presumably with me a well) has been that asking is too much.  It makes you appear needy, weak, like a failure, or like you simply can’t manage on your own.

You know what?  Maybe you can’t.  I mean, you probably can manage on your own, but I would assert that you really can’t achieve everything you want in life without support.  I’m not talking about the stuff that you’re allowing yourself to wish for because it’s “reasonable” (I hate that word).

I’m talking about the really juicy stuff.  The stuff that you don’t really talk about until I’ve asked you “Yah, but what would you create if there was nothing in your way” two more times after the first.

It all starts from asking.  Until you begin asking, you’re stalled.  You can take the long route, and hopefully someone will provide you what you want or need without you having to ask for it in the first place, but where’s the power in that?

Powerful people make requests.  Powerful people ask.

And I am committed to being powerful.

Susan Campbell’s book, Getting Real, is a must-read for anyone that wants to create more authenticity, connection and communication in their lives.  One of my favourite pieces from it, tucked away in the corner of the page, reads

Continue to express yourself, even when it seems you have little chance of getting what you ask for.

We must ask for what we want — not because we might get it, but because it’s a genuine expression of who we are.

So that’s it for this week.  A bi thank you to everyone that has been reading these posts up to this point.  Please share with your friends and in your networks.  It’s really hard to get exposure all by myself.