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Are you involved or are you committed?

I had the honor of speaking last night at a local college's winter commencement (which was very cool) and one of the things I chose to share was my belief in the amazing possibilities available to those who are committed to a cause or a project or, really, anything they are passionate about.

I see so many people in the world (me included, at times) who say they want something, or want something to be different, but are only interested in talking about it, not actually willing to do something about it. I see that as a lack of commitment. I define commitment as doing what you say you will do, even when the emotion you said it in wears off.

It's easy to get fired up after you've heard a speaker or after you've engaged in some great training or seen a classic movie. The true test will come when you go back into your "real life." Are you more affected by the gravity that pulls you back to status quo or the passion that lit the fire in you? Many people allow their circumstances and their surroundings to determine their commitment. There are so many reasons that pull us out of our passions. Never let your current reality determine your future! Your present results are no indication of your future success.

Some people have very good intentions and even get involved with a cause or an idea or a hobby. I define intention as doing what you say you will do until something better comes along. If you are a victim of Shiny Object Syndrome ("squirrel!"), you may recognize yourself as someone who starts a project but doesn't really get around to actually seeing it through.

Are you involved or are you committed?

I'm not saying you have to give your life for a cause or an idea. Instead of finding something you would die for, find something you're willing to live for.

Are you the chicken, or are you the pig (figuratively speaking)?

Those who are committed can't help but rise to the top. So find your passion, live your bliss, and be committed, even when those around you say you're crazy. 

Remember Steve Jobs' declaration: 

Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.


Say this: "I am 100% responsible."

How did that feel? 

How did asking that question "how did that feel?" feel?

If you're like most working Americans, those two ideas: being totally responsible and acknowledging your feelings are foreign concepts.

Let's take on the responsibility issue first. We've probably been conditioned from our early childhood to NOT take responsibility for anything. I distinctly remember being about 3 or 4 and, after breaking my mom's favorite vase and hearing her ask me: "how did this happen?" hearing the words "I don't know" come out of my mouth. Just watch a professional football game and notice how many times one team jumps off sides and immediately the entire line points fingers at the other team.

Responsibility is foreign. We don't like to get into trouble. We don't like to disappoint others. We worry incessently about what others think of us, so we try to pass off our mistakes to someone else. Yet deep down, we know we could do better by owning up to the things we've convinced ourselves over the years aren't ours to own. And we live this double life.

And we bury the feelings of guilt this game has created in us. We've been told (and we've told others) to "take the emotion out of it." "Don't get too excited." "Don't get your hopes up." And we've done just that. 

The question we're not asking, mostly at work, but also at times at home, is "how do you FEEL about that?"

As I reflect on the information and inspiration I gathered at last weekend's Spark of Awesome Retreat with Danielle LaPorte, the one thought that keeps coming back to me is at the heart of Danielle's new book and learning program "The Desire Map:" how do you want to FEEL?

Here's an excerpt from page 7:

We have the procedures of achievement upside down. Typically we come up with our to-do lists, our bucket lists, and our strategic plans - all the stuff we want to have, get, accomplish, and experience outside of ourselves. All of those aspirations are being driven by an innate desire to feel a certain way.

So what if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel within ourselves, and then we designed our to-do lists, set our goals, and wrote out our bucket lists?

How do you want to feel when you look at your schedule for the week? When you get dressed in the morning? When you walk through the door of your studio or your office? When you pick up the phone? When you cash the check, accept the award, finish your masterpiece, make the sale, or fall in love? ...

How do you want to feel?

Are you confronted by those questions? Do you want to avoid the responsibility of owning your feelings? Are you happy with the way your life is playing out? What can you do about that?

I know it's tough to look in the mirror and really admit your level of responsibility and to get in touch with those feelings ... and it's an amazing opportunity to face the fear and break through.

Go ahead ... repeat after me: "I. Am. 100%. Responsible. For. Everything. That. Comes. My. Way."

Now, take a deep breath and really breathe that in. Feel it. Scary? Or empowering?

If it's uncomfortable, that's a GOOD thing. You're growing!


Banish the word "Success" from your vocabulary?

Well, I might not go that far. But Danielle LaPorte, who I had the pleasure of learning from this past weekend at the Spark of Awesome Retreat, created by masterminder Laura Caroon, says that's exactly what we should do.

What she was saying is that many of us have been sucked into the belief that my success needs to look like your success and his success and her success, so much so that the word "success" has gathered a negative vibe and become one of the squares on the corporate bullsh*t BINGO card.

Spending the day with Danielle, and with the other women who arranged their lives to be there from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey (and I know I'm forgetting others) was just the SPARK I needed to dig deep. To get real. To acknowledge the fear and do it anyway.

I learned that I can show up exactly how I show up, not the way I'm "supposed" to or the way I'm "expected" to. I do not need to be accessible to everyone. People need to stretch for me, just like I want to stretch for people I want to be around.

If enthusiasm is missing from anything I have to do, then that's not something that empowers me, or anyone around me. As Danielle said, if it's not a "hell yes," then it's a no.

I'm also part of a Facebook book study where the leader posts a thought and the participants add comments and ideas. We are studying Gary Keller's new book The One Thing and many of the comments last night were right in line with Danielle's ideas about focus.

Coincidence? Of course not. The stars are aligning - and my worlds are colliding - to tell me I need to STOP DOING THINGS THAT DON'T LIGHT ME UP. In order to do the things you need to do, you will need to clean out the things that are holding you back. Danielle says we need to stop doing fully 50% of the stuff we're currently doing. <yikes>

Here's how to know what to stop doing: when you are in a constant state of resentment, stop. Be aware of your risk tolerance, though. Sometimes you just have to leap, especially if you've made that declaration. Your soul will die if you don't.

If you're brainwashed into believing your world revolves around the setting, and then the getting of goals, you may want to rethink that. (Danielle is lots more assertive around this idea ... I'm still working on processing it.)

If you live and die by your goals, you will shut down your intuition. As a goal-driven individual, I see how this could happen. The way I've seen this manifested in my own life is seeing myself as a big dinosaur laser-focused on the goals, and mostly hitting them, but forgetting I've got a big tail behind me wiping people out along the way. With my head down on the goals, I've missed so many other opportunities that were crying for my attention had I just slowed down and looked up.

Be present. Stand in your desire. Allow yourself to hear what your life has been telling you all along. Anything that doesn't light you up snuffs out your flame. And that's a tragedy because if you don't live your capacity, no one else ever will, and the world will miss out on what you were put here to create, allow, manifest, coax, and become.

Don't wait for permission. The spark inside of you needs to ignite something. Acknowledge that. Feel the fear. Take a deep breath. And know that despite what you think where you are right now, there are hundreds, thousands, millions of other sparks out there waiting to burst into flame when they discover each other.

Banish the word "success" maybe, but let yourself experience a filled up existence.

You'll only regret the things you didn't do.



One thing I learned today

"Joy and being on the edge is a constant process of elimination." - Danielle LaPorte


Is it really about being well-rounded?

I'm attending the Spark of Awesome Retreat this weekend in Nisswa, Minnesota with the incomparable Danielle LaPorte, author of The Firestarter Sessions and The Desire Map.

One of the biggest takeaways I got today was this thought:

"When you become too well-rounded, you lose your edge." (Well, it may have been a little more colorful than that, but that's the general idea.)

And that got me thinking. Maybe I've been wrong my whole life.

I spent a good deal of my youth focused on just two things: grades and basketball, because if I couldn't be perfect at something, I wasn't willing to try. As a kid, that's a recipe for a very limited existence, because how do you know about something if you don't have experience with it?

I guess you could say I mastered basketball; however, with grades, that caused me to become almost obsessive and compulsive (I went so far as to throw a book at a friend in junior high because he got a better grade on a test than I did).

There is a fine line between compulsive goal achievement and allowing the universe to bring your desires to you. As we grow up, become adults, and attempt to become "well-rounded," are we sacrificing our true desires? What were we really good at as kids, that someone told us we could never be good at, or never make money at, or whatever other reason we held on to? Did we listen to well-meaning people who kept telling us to try lots of things at the expense of our true gifts?

If we are too well-rounded, meaning we've tried lots of things and mastered few if any, do we lose that edge? I think so. Try things, and know what you're looking for. What does mastery feel like?

Allow yourself to discover that feeling place and then become obsessive about feeling that way, whatever that means to you.

You may find that edge that's been missing all your life. And if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.

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