Category Archives: Wonderments

The Crux of Writer’s Block

The Crux of Writer’s Block

It seems like ‘writer’s block’ is more about having too many ideas, rather than not enough.

I think the ‘block’ is more about the paralysis that results from having too many thoughts, than it is about being lost in the black void of nothingness.

The real challenge, it seems, is more of a sorting-thru-all-this-great-stuff problem, than it is a finding-new-content problem.

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half of the things you do you might just as well turn them over to me, and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed-you must be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great people; and alas, of all failures as well. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though I work with all the precsion of a machine plus the intelligence of human being. You may run me for a profit or turn me for ruin-it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?


‘Retrieving’ Our Purpose

‘Retrieving’ Our Purpose

We recently got a new black Lab puppy. Her name is Phoebe.

While at the park with her, we found a pine cone and threw it for her to fetch. Throw, fetch, return. Throw, fetch, return. Over and over. In the sweetness and simplicity of the moment, it struck me that she was doing exactly what she was meant to do–to retrieve. It was intuitive and easy for her, without thinking about it.

And then I wondered…Why do we people make it so complicated to do what we are meant to do?

Are We Nursing Fears of Greatness?

Are We Nursing Fears of Greatness?

Instead of groveling for those we love to do something with their obvious talents, why don’t we focus on the pursuit of our own talents? This seemingly begs the wonder whether it is easier to love others than to love ourselves, but I wonder if that’s asking the wrong question. Perhaps the more true wonder is whether it is easier to pay attention to others than to ourselves?

Of course, our own talents are not as obvious to us as they are to others? Again, this seemingly begs the wonder: why is it so hard to trust what others see in us, if we know they love us? Perhaps the more fitting wonder is whether we trust ourselves to pursue that which we know is inside of us, or even more hair-raising; would we rather commiserate in our own un-lived life and nurse the fear of our own greatness?

Seeking Fulfillment: Why Excitement Isn’t Worth It!

Seeking Fulfillment: Why Excitement Isn’t Worth It!

(as published in the Midland Reporter-Telegram-Sept 2006)

Among the many challenges we face as entrepreneurs, I have noticed that managing emotions is critical, but often dismissed as fluffy or ridiculous. It is so easy to get excited about a deal closing, getting your next client – or first client, meeting a really lofty goal you had set for yourself, or getting a really big check in the mail. These are all milestones that deserve celebration, but there is an easier way to celebrate them than to get excited.

Likewise, when the deal falls apart – you don’t get the client, meet the goal or get the check you were expecting – that can be rather debilitating. But only if you let it. Interestingly enough, getting too excited is just as debilitating. It’s simple physics at work here. What goes up must come down. And it will come down at the same rate it went up.

Sometimes I think we fuel our own insanity as entrepreneurs. And we do this in lots of ways – like doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But one of the most potent ways we do this is not managing our emotions. A good rule of thumb is don’t get too high and don’t get too low. “But.” you say. But those exciting times are not worth the withdrawal that comes in tandem. You will waste more time recovering from your own excitement than you would to just have been calm. Excitement is a lure. It is pure adrenaline. And the same is true of anger or other highly potent negative emotions. They are short-lived and only at the level of the mind. But fulfillment, on the other hand, is satisfying. It is satisfying at a gut level and it is long-lasting.

Fulfillment is what we are looking for out of our businesses, not excitement. But it is easy to mistakenly confuse the two. One of the greatest character traits of an entrepreneur is to be the calm in the storm – through the great times but also through the tough times.

There is a natural law of change that occurs all around us that we are powerless to do anything about. But what we do have the power to do is choose our response to this change. Don’t be a slave to this law of change, just because you don’t know how to manage your emotions. For that matter, don’t be a slave to your emotions, always looking for the high – the great times – and avoiding the lows – the bad times.

As a matter of fact, according to Webster’s, the word excited means being stirred emotionally, agitated, stimulated to activity and brisk. Is that really how you want to be in your business? Or would you rather be fulfilled – bringing into actuality, carrying out, measuring up to, satisfying, bringing to an end and completing? Which do you think sounds better? I don’t know about you, but being excited all the time wears me out. I would much rather be fulfilled.

But herein lies the challenge. We all want immediate gratification and we are programmed to get it. It is easy to go for the excitement instead of the fulfillment. When we are always indulging in the excitement, we are probably not planting seeds to be fulfilled in the future. And so, very quickly you begin to see how we get into that insanity trap of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In this case, by thriving on one exciting success to the next.

But there is good news. Here are some practical things you can do to start getting your emotions in check:

First, don’t react to situations; respond to them instead. A reaction is a programmed response that can be no better than your belief systems. That may be a harsh statement, but I cannot tell you the number of times that I have reacted to a situation, and then later when I can see the situation more clearly, realized I would have chosen a different response if I had taken the time to think about my actions. I would always rather respond than react because when I respond, I don’t have to go back later and try to make things right or apologize. A response is an action that is thought out and carefully deliberated. A response takes ownership for my part and is an action with which I can live.

And really there is no need to react because everything is temporary anyway. You might think that great times are going to last forever when you are in them, but I can promise you they will not, despite what you do to try to make them extend their stay. That is a fundamental violation of the natural law of change. And conversely, you might feel like the bad times are going to last forever and, as a result, succumb to your emotions and quit right before you turn a corner. I can promise you they will not last forever. If bad times never passed, we would never have good and if good times never passed, we would never have bad. Whatever is going on right now will pass; I promise.

Second, don’t buy into the excitement that often comes along with setting goals. This is particularly true at the beginning of a year when you are making your projections as to what you think you could do in the coming year. Set the goals and be done with it. Don’t spend any time pondering how wonderful life would be if you could accomplish those goals.

As a matter of fact, I recommend you set the goals and then put them aside for the rest of the year. The process of setting the goals programs your subconscious as to what it needs to do. Any time spent pondering whether you will achieve them is planting a seed of doubt that will surely germinate as the months of the year pass. I am not saying don’t track your activity, I am just saying don’t subject yourself to the insanity of constantly trying to measure up to your goals. Let the course of the year ebb and flow naturally without force-fitting your goals on top of your business. In other words, let your business produce your goals, rather than you trying to squeeze your goals out of your business. Subtle, but powerful.

Third, when you accomplish a goal or have a big success, don’t stand there and admire it. Celebrate it and go on. Your success does not suddenly mean no more effort is required on your part. It just means you had a success. Likewise, when you have a failure, don’t just stand there and stare at it in a stupor. Acknowledge it and go on. At the moment you stand there and admire your work or throw your hands up at the mess you made, you have just become your worst nightmare. Chronically successful people don’t take time to admire their own work or whine about their failures. Whatever happens, they keep moving on. They are the calm in the storm.

And last, practice consistency. We can come up with all kinds of excuses to not be consistent, but consistency is the one thing that will save your hide when the tough times hit. Any moron can run a successful business when the getting is good, but it takes some real fortitude and stamina to run a business through the hard times. But most of all it takes consistent, diligent effort. In business, I have found that whatever seeds you plant today will germinate in roughly 60 days from today. So it’s not so bad – really. Be consistent, but not insane.

The Divine Right of Abundance

The Divine Right of Abundance

We manifest our fears by obsessing over our resistance to them becoming a reality.

We manifest our dreams by accepting the fruition of our fears as possible and then focusing our attention on following through with action inspired by divine guidance–the next right step.

The results then are the manifestation of our heritage–that which is ours by divine right–abundance.

Expectations vs. Standards

Expectations vs. Standards

I recently has a conversation with a long-time friend of mine and she was sharing about something in her life that was repeatedly frustrating her. My response, after listening, was a gentle reminder that what she resists will persist and that she might consider lowering her expectations. It became obvious, in short order, that what she heard was “Lower your standards”, in contrast to what I actually said, which was “Lower your expectations”.

So, now being one that wonders about life, I got curious and I resorted to Webster’s. Here’s what I found:

Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; a belief that someone will or should achieve something.

Standard: quality, level, grade, caliber, merit, excellence; principle, ideal; code of behavior, code of honor, morals, scruples, ethics

What jumps out at me right away is the difference between what’s within our realm of control and what isn’t. “Expectation” is all about something outside of us, whether that be a goal we want to attain or a measure for another person; “standards” are all about things within us, things within our realm of control, choices we can elect for ourselves.

It seems that where we get confused is in thinking that we have control over someone else’s standards. We may have influence (positive or negative), but influence and control are not the the same thing.

So, it’s not a wonder that when someone says “Lower your expectations”, that what is heard is “Lower your standards”. When we have crossed that invisible line into placing expectations on another person’s standards, aren’t we really just trying to mind their insides, so we don’t have to tend to our own?

It is much more challenging, yet rewarding, to act in a manner congruent with the inner knowledge that my standards are personal to me and, likewise, others are personal to them, and they don’t all have to be the same. My expectations are exactly that, MY expectations—and those have no bearing on what might actually happen other than to set us up for disappointment or to get us so focused on that exact thing happening that exact way, that we entirely miss something way better is unfolding.

My expectations are inversely proportional to my my level of peace. The higher my expectations, the lower my peace; the lower my expectations, the higher my peace.

Standards, on the other hand, are about knowing who you are, what’s important to you, what’s not, what your boundaries are and what’s tolerable. As with anything though, “standards” are not without their risks. They give us easy ground from which to judge others—higher ground.

I Am The Way, The Truth and The Life

I Am The Way, The Truth and The Life

Of course, most of us recognize this as a commonly referenced passage of the Bible, specifically a quote from Jesus. The Bible connoisseurs among us know the passage is John 14:6 and will be quick to point out that the rest of the quote is “No one comes to the Father except through me”, so let me go ahead and make that acknowledgement before sharing what’s on my heart.

I’ve recently had some very interesting wonderments about this statement. I spent a great many years with a certain disdain for organized religion. While I certainly have times marked with good memories while participating in church and related activities, deep down I was plagued with bothersome feelings for which I could not quite formulate words. For years, I disguised these feelings as an intellectual curiosity, under the guise of “seeking to understand”. I thought I had to understand it with my head before I could believe it in my heart. Understanding was the cause and belief was the effect.

As I meandered along my own personal journey of discovering what a connection to God actually felt like, I also started to discover the source of my previous disdain. And this quote from Jesus lay at the core of it. As I’ve grown in my relationship with God, I eventually came to put words to those previously indescribable, bothersome feelings–this inner observation that the purveyors of religion believed they were in sole possession of the Truth.

So herein lies my wonderment: Is is possible that what Jesus meant by this statement was that he, in his essence, was his own way; his own truth; and his own life–that his source for the peace, prosperity and goodness of life was the God-source that laid within him? And is it possible that what he was offering with this quote was that the same was true for all of us? That we all are born in the eyes of God and thus all have an innate source of God within our being; one that we can harness as our own personal Source of God to help us find our way, our truth and ultimately learn how to live our life in service to that authority within us?