The Fear of What’s Next

A re-post from 2013.

If you’re like me, the fear of what’s next is a thought process to be managed. It should be managed and not avoided. Keeping it real means recognizing the fear for what it is. No fake confidence, no dogged determination to ignore, just managing the fear when the visit happens. And it will happen.

A great friend and mentor told me a long time ago that God will give you enough light for the next step-no more and no less. There are many implications and applications with that counsel, but a big one is being in the moment you’ve been given. There is no greater arrogance that believing you’ve got more time than what’s right in front of you.

Many live like they have a thousand tomorrows.

In my current frame I’m learning and practicing the art of being in the moment and finding contentment in that “enough light for the next step” reality. I’ve moved from knowing, getting it in my head, to understanding, getting it in my heart. I feel fully alive.

I can’t recommend enough the learning of the above.

The context is this, and a paradox it is. The fear of what’s next is about our desire to control, to be comfortable and to avoid risk. Very human and very real. Can you really be living while you juggle those three distortions? Your life is found in the unknown and uncharted waters. No other way to find it.

Risk

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It didn’t take me long, as a kid, to know I was born an entrepreneur. A risk-taker who understood that to live, is to risk.

 

a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

 

The above definition is from dictionary.com and notice the word any.

I wasn’t the kid selling lemonade on the street corner for twenty-five cents. Though I had similar ventures way back when. I liken my path as a life entrepreneur, who had varied enterprises, with varying levels of risk. Each of them shaping who I have become today.

I haven’t always gotten it right or been celebrated for my achievements. Quite frankly, some of my biggest successes are ignored to this day.

So I think…

What are you risking today? Are you involved in any tremors or ripples? Have you stood up when most remain seated?

Embrace risk because it is a key to epic living.

Don’t Trust The Beast

Lion

 

A re-post from 2010.

You coexist with your business.  It should not be your friend.  It is a beast and not meant to be trusted.  It demands much, but as it is with a circus lion, a chair and whip are in order.  To think of that animal in any other light only invites ruin.

Sadly, many entrepreneurs, corporate slaves and others have wrapped their identities around the beast.  It is a sad love affair.  Just like the lover who swears this is the last one of many, a broken heart sits in waiting.  By the way, you can know how tightly you’re wrapped by how much you think about the beast.  The more you think, the tighter the wrap.

This post is not meant to talk you out of your business pursuits.  As a matter of fact, it can be a fantastic tool for growth.  The issue is one of ownership, not should I or shouldn’t I pursue a business idea/career.

Here are some solutions to the problem(s):

  1. Buy yourself a chair and whip.  It might be in the form of cutting back on your hours or developing a fitness/exercise program.  If you’re wondering what those two have to do with managing your business, look at the statistics around those who work long hours and don’t pay attention to their health.
  2. Look failure in the face and don’t back down.
  3. Start working smarter and stop trying to do everything.  Rugged individualism may sound great in a speech, but it’s highly overrated.
  4. Re-evaluate your needs.  In America two-thirds of the economy is based on consumption.  Nothing wrong with consumption, but do you really need…
  5. Prepare for battle.  The beast will not like you taking back control.  This one is important.  If you’re not careful you might give up, but don’t.

The Passage

 

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“Eric, as a friend and colleague I have witnessed the roller coaster ride you have had over the past number of years —a ride that has provided you with great information on many levels.  Your life’s work has been more clearly defined for you as you experienced the passages that accompany authenticity, clarity and openness to the world.  Purpose, Passion and Paycheck are a great combo if you can make it happen.  For me the road, passage to this desire has been filled with the “moving ahead sideways” effect.  I think I have finally found the combo in perfect combination. What I can tell you is that for me—it was my friends, mentors, coaches and a spiritual advisor who helped me the most.  I moved from intellectually actualizing to a deeper and more satisfying place of authenticity about who I really am —this led to life being easier—and with that the choices became clear. I wish you the best in your continual pursuit—and hope you can find peace with all of this.”

The above note came my way a couple of weeks ago. I’ve held onto it tightly. It is informing my passage to the new.

Where we’re at now, at least in the American culture, most things are measured by winning and losing. I guess it’s no surprise that we worship competitive sports. The winning and losing I’m referring to is related to material and visual success. I, like many, fell for the deception of how many likes, how many followers, how many page views, and the biggest of them all, how’s your business doing.

The crazy part for me is found in the initial motivation for doing what I do. I didn’t start Epic Living as a vehicle for a great business venture. I was motivated to reach people and introduce them to their Epic life. That’s it, still is.

Somewhere along the way, I got off track.

In this world we have the realities of bills, family needs, and work in general. It’s just the way it is. I started to demanding Epic Living to be what it couldn’t be. I started being the old corporate sales guy who knew how to create major ROI. Some may say, why not? Well, GM sales a lot of cars, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good. Understand me clearly, making money on your art is not wrong or bad. The problem arises when it needs marketing to breathe and survive. I speak from my experience only here.

So what to do? I’ve slowly been moving toward a different mindset and model. The one from the beginning. It may mean separating what I do for money from what I do as a mission. That will be hard. I’m finally at peace with going with the current, instead of fighting it. In the end, I know what I’ve been called to do. Didn’t always do a good job at embracing it, but I understand now.

The passage for me is found in 2 things:

  1. The thoughts I’ve been given flowing to you
  2. A fixed focus on tools (writing, video, speaking, etc.) that communicate #1
  3. Saying goodbye to everything else

 

Don’t Let Career Snuff Out Your Dreams

Dreams are fragile things. They’re given as a spark, designed to turn into a flame. That flame should only go out if used to ignite the new dream.

That’s why I don’t want you to let career snuff out your dreams.

No surprise, but keeping our dreams alive is very hard work. More and more hard work is not esteemed. We’ve been programmed (deceived) to believe there’s an easier pathway. The reality remains, keeping dreams alive requires hard work. It’s worth all you have.

I see our dreams as brushstrokes on the canvas of our lives. We were made to dream.

The most insidious enemy of our dreams is career. Career is the ring, the untamed beast, the riptide. It can be mastered when one orders their lives. It be made to be slave if you have the courage to be who you are. If not, it will seek to be the dominate force in your life. I’ve been fighting for over ten years.

Here’s why:

  1. I want to make God smile
  2. I want my family to have a legacy rooted in the power of dreams
  3. I know the BS our society spews, is just that, BS. Didn’t always see that, but now I do
  4. It makes choosing happiness worthwhile
  5. Dreams are key ingredients in destiny

 

What are you doing with your dreams?

Working Through the Insecurities

This is a re-post from earlier this year. It was timely for me, maybe for you too.

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If you’re a man or woman who sees vulnerability as a weakness, this post might not be for you. I still hope you’ll stick around as we work through the insecurities.

Insecurities are like demons or monsters that play the role of human disrupters. These creatures are always lurking in the shadows waiting for just the right moment to remind you and I of:

  • How we failed
  • How our work is not that great
  • How much smarter the guy or gal next to us is
  • How we’ll never be picked to play a major role
  • How we are not worth the love we long for

Now remember, this is a You and I post. We’re traveling together on this war-torn road. Scars and such are a given here.

In the arena of life, insecurities have most in an iron grip. They cast you in iron and demand you become a slave. Some are by design, some by accident. You don’t need to look any further than how medicated western culture is, and the eastern culture is heading there as well. Our relationships suffer and we can’t seem to sustain connection.We use what is found under the sun to distract us from looking at ourselves soberly. It’s an evil thing, our insecurities. I hate to admit it, you hate to admit it, but we are our own worst enemy.

I’m someone who has identified and dealt with most of my insecurities. I didn’t do this alone. I’ve had multiple advisors over the years to help. I’m blessed by their willingness to stick with me through my insecurities. Whether it was my bravado hiding my fear of what people thought of me, or my doubts regarding the quality of my work. They stayed beside me, despite the ugliness. This is love. My friends, most don’t stay. It can be messy, it can be hard work, and it can be embarrassing. Do you have people who will stick with you?

I figure I owe you the ugly side now. We’re a mess, and all of the pop-humanist thought isn’t going to change that. Billions on education, health, leadership, technology, and we’re still slipping away. So many hiding places, so little time. These places provide an escape from our insecurities. Take the man or woman who thinks a promotion or a relationship will fix what is haunting inside. There’s always another rung to climb, a person to possess. Eventually, we only have so many escapes before we get caught. Living under the sun is a rather subtle addiction. You just kind of do it.

So who’s going to clean up the mess?

I’m in this for the few (however many that may be) who decided not to ignore. If you count yourself in that group today, listen in and reach out to me.