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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.


Love or Fear?

It seems I am talking about opposites lately. And with good reason (if you ask me). Many of us have been raised or conditioned to believe there are right and wrong, good and bad, correct and incorrect ways of looking at nearly everything that occurs to us in our lives.

I just have one question: How is that working?

As I examine the results that are occurring around me, to me, through me, outside of me, I have to wonder: what do all these results have in common? And the only answer I can come up with is "me."

When I take full responsibility for the way things occur, I feel the need to add "to me" to that statement, which means it's possible for me to change the way things occur "to me." If that's the case, I choose to no longer be a victim of my life and instead become a creator of the way things occur "to me."

Which leads me to the question posed in this title of this post: "Love ... or Fear?"

I believe, as Einstein did, that there are two ways of looking at the world: as if nothing is a miracle or as if everything is a miracle. To me, that translates to seeing the world through the eyes of fear or through the eyes of love.

And that shift has altered the way the world occurs "to me."

Does it mean that there are no more wars and that babies don't get cancer and crime doesn't happen? No. It means I see things through a different lens and I stop trying to control the way other people do things, say things, understand things. I'm certainly not perfect; however, I am a miracle. And the fact that I'm waking up to my part in the awareness I'm experiencing and facilitating is something that causes me to be joyful.

I'll take that feeling over the feeling of worthlessness, apathy, despair, fear I sense many are choosing to feel any day.

I'm not saying this is a choice anyone else needs to make. I'm just saying when I chose to be 100% responsible for the energy I bring, my whole life shifted.

Take a minute today to examine your overall demeanor. Do you tend to see the glass half full or half empty? Do you worry about things more than you celebrate them? Are other people "making" you angry or upset or disappointed? Or do you see the world through the eyes of love and gratitude?

It's such a simple shift ... not always easy. 

Decide today which way you would like to go. You can be right and be unhappy or you can notice that maybe there is another way. 

The only way to live a dream is to wake up. And there's no time like the present.

Let love be your guide. It may be messy and unpredictable, and even scary. And it will be way better than living in fear. Guaranteed.


Commitment vs. Attachment

I'm thinking this morning about a situation where one of my friends appears to me to be sabotaging his own success. He knows what he should be doing in his professional life and his personal life, and he's not doing himself justice in either area. At least that's what it looks like to me.

I'm thinking that the reason this is difficult for me to observe is because I have a little bit of attachment going on. When you're attached to something, it has to look a certain way in order for you to be satisfied. I want my friend to eat right and exercise, and I also want him to take the steps I think he should take in order to build his career. That's what it looks like from where I sit.

Commitment, on the other hand, is knowing that whatever outcome occurs, that's the only thing that could have happened. To know that given all the information and all the choices, people will make the ones that provide them with the lessons they need to learn on their own journey. 

It reminds me of whitewater rafting. The one and only time I rafted was in Colorado and it was a blast. The instructor/guide had everyone start by getting in the raft on the shore. She sat in the back of the raft and we each got in, three on each side. She told us that there would be times she would tell us to "paddle right" or "paddle left" and we were to listen to her instructions and act accordingly so we would have the best chance of staying upright. 

She also said that there might be a chance that if we hit some rapids, someone could fall out. She said she would do her best to grab the person by the lifejacket and pull him/her back in. If the person fell out and got too far away to grab, she would offer her paddle to pull the person back in. If the fallen person was further away than the paddle would reach, she said she would throw out a life preserver. She would do absolutely everything she could to ensure the person's safety. However, in all three cases, the person outside of the boat would need to participate in his/her own rescue.

It's like that with my friend. I can want him to get healthy and to build his career. I can offer suggestions, I can poke and prod and bug and nag all day. In the end, I can't want success more for him than he wants for himself. And in the end, he needs to participate in his own rescue.

Being detached from the way something happens doesn't mean you don't care. In fact, in some ways it shows how much you do care because you are willing to let the person have his own experience. If you can give up attachment and keep commitment, the only thing that can happen is exactly what is supposed to happen.

Simple, not easy.

Where do you see yourself attached? Could you give up that attachment and keep the commitment? I'll bet it would be healthier for you and for the other person. Send a silent blessing and cut the cord. 

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