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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.


Can you be TOO enthusiastic?

When you've got what you consider to be a good thing, or have learned a new process, or have just seen a great movie, don't you just naturally want to share it? I think that's human nature.

What has happened to us as people that when someone approaches us with a very enthusiastic idea or feature or benefit or product or service or movie, we immediately turn skeptical? And some of us have heard about "the next best thing" so many times, we've even gotten cynical. Skeptical: cautious yet still open. Cynical: righteous, judgmental and closed. 

So what do we do to alter this situation in which many of us find ourselves, either as the giver or the receiver of this enthusiasm? Let's take it from the point of view of the giver first. So you're excited and you want to share whatever you're learning or understanding. Be really aware of the energy you are giving off. Most likely it's very dynamic, or "push" energy if you're uber-excited. This automatically creates resistence, even without meaning to, because we as humans have been conditioned to be protective of our personal space. When someone pushes something on us, without even thinking about it, we push back or resist. As the deliverer of exciting news, be aware of when you are pushing someone into that defensive state. It's not their fault - they just don't know what they don't know.

As the receiver of uber-enthusiasm, notice your defenses. What is the other person's excitement triggering for you? It's most likely something from your past which isn't even a factor in the current situation. Was it an overbearing vacuum cleaner salesman (or in my case, a steak knife salesman)? Was it the popular crowd in junior high? Was it someone at your church? Just notice. What causes you to put up that wall preventing you from being open-minded enough to listen objectively? Remember: you are in 100% control of the outcome of this person's enthusiasm. You don't have to buy what they're selling, even if it's a new movie they're in love with. Sometimes those people (and put yourself into that position when you've been "those people") just want to be heard and just want to share their insights. You can provide open listening space to allow them to work out their own ideas if you stay out of judgment and in curiosity.

Passion can't be faked and sometimes true passion for an idea or a cause or a team can be overwhelming. The reaction you have to the receiving of that passion is really a lesson for you. Anything that frustrates or upsets you provides a huge message for you. Embrace it and learn from it. And if you're missing passion and purpose in your own life, that could be a reason you're turned off when someone else has found something that's important to him. Again, notice that and remember you're in charge of your emotions.

Can you be TOO enthusiastic? Stay in curiosity and answer that question for yourself. 


What do you want?

Many years ago at the dawn of the computer game age (man, do I feel old when I say that!), there was a game I had on CD. I can't even remember what it was called. The character in the game was walking through a forest and had to pick up different items along the way that would help her in her pursuit. If you tried to pick up a certain item, "The Voice" (I'm not sure who it was - some kind of genie) would say very slowly and loudly, "WHAT. DO. YOU. WANT?" 

I'm still haunted by that booming voice, and more than the voice, the question. What DO I want?

Although I believe wanting is a rather passive attempt at gaining something - an item, an experience, etc. - I do think we need to know what we want before we can determine whether or not we are committed to achieving it. So it is a good first question.

I'm enrolled in a 7-week class called BOLD: Business Objective, a Life by Design, and last week we did a guided visualization exercise where we imagined what we would do with a lot of money. It occurred to me that I don't really have a long list of material items on my "want" list. However, I'm intrigued with the possibility of travel for pleasure, not for a specific purpose.

What's on your bucket list? Is that something you "want" or are you committed to attracting it into your life? I'm learning that being committed doesn't have to mean fanatical. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money or the exact experience or the exact whatever it is you are committed to. Determine what you will give in exchange (and you can't give time because it's not yours to begin with - it has to be an activity or something that you were previously using that time for). Then set a definite date by which you expect to have this accomplishment. Then put together an action plan and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to take action steps toward your goal. Next write out a statement that includes the exact goal, what you will give in exchange, the date by which you will achieve it and the plan. Write this in detail, and include the emotion you will feel when you've achieved it. Write it in the present tense so you can actually feel yourself in possession of whatever it is you desire. Read this statement aloud twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, so you can internalize and really live your statement.

Sound kind of goofy? Well, how badly do you want what you say you want? Is it just a whim or is it a burning desire? The formula above was uncovered by Napoleon Hill in the early part of the 20th century as he was interviewing very successful people about how they had achieved their success. It still works today - if you work it. Wishing is not enough. We need to take action.

To know and not to do is not to know.

I'm learning that the things I don't achieve and the things I don't acquire weren't really too high on my burning desire list. If I don't achieve something or don't experience something I said I wanted, when I look back, I wasn't really committed. 

What could we do if we really put our minds to it?

I'm working on something now that scares and excites me. I haven't got all the plans worked out yet, so check back to see my progress. If I'm committed, I have no doubt it will happen.

Am I committed? That's the question.

How about you? What's your burning desire? Use the formula above to set yourself up for success and share your results here.

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