Focusing On the Small

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Regardless of your endeavor, you probably have at one time or another thought about hitting it big.  Natural as the air you breathe it seems.  In many respects big is a good thing-if it is a part of your destiny.  For example, Nelson Mandela was meant to have worldwide notoriety and focus.  He was the right man for the journey South Africa was in.  It’s also quite a statement how he released power, while some of his contemporaries held (and are still holding) on.  See Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe on this.  In an ironic way leadership plays out like this everyday in organizations across the globe.

So as we hear the music playing our tune, it’s easy to embrace the big.

I’ve been asked about Oprah, about fame, about money, about feeling the love.  But rarely am I asked about the input, the mission, or the pain.  Maybe there’s no surprise here, since we are enamored with the output.  If I were not careful, I could easily miss the small while going for the big.  Thankfully, humility is now in my blood work.  Wasn’t always this way.

Here’s why the small is most important:

  1. Hitting the big is very temporal.  Hitting the small refines your soul. It will keep you focused.
  2. The small people are the biggest people.
  3. Those who are only fascinated by the big will leave you in a heartbeat when the party is over.
  4. The small allows you to serve from a perspective of reality and measurable outcome.
  5. The small will stay with you come good or bad.  The small knows dedication.
  6. The small will pave a way for greatness and a measurable legacy.
  7. The small reminds you (daily) that life truly is a moment by moment game.
  8. The small will not detour you from your destiny.
  9. Customers are always found and served in the small.

5 Reasons To Just Be Who You Are

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After much searching, maybe you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s much better to just be who you are. I really believe you won’t embrace change until you get to the end of the search.

At the end of a search you should be tired, maybe sick and tired.

I know that many will not go here. They’d rather escape or medicate. It’s sad when a life, brief as it is, is made up in a spiral of dead ends.

Here are 5 reasons to just be who you are:

  1. You will run out of time. You, me, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and everyone else has this in common.
  2. Heaven knows we don’t need any more actors or actresses. I’ve given some Oscar-worthy performances in my life and they left me with nothing.
  3. The secret of success is found in being who you are. Warning here, the world you live in probably has a cheap imitation to offer. If you’re not careful, you could be fooled.
  4. The world is starving for it. With so many people neck deep in their own kingdom building, people are looking for the “real thing.” Many wonder if it really exists any longer. Hope is found in authenticity.
  5. You could find out why God made you. How wonderful! This is a connection you shouldn’t underestimate.

Wellbeing on Your Terms

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We live in the age of the prescription. The list is long and varied. Drugs (legal) are prescribed to mask or fix health issues. Fitness gurus will prescribe workout plans to help you lose that extra 15 pounds. All in all, we’re in an age of being told what to do. Aren’t you a little tired of that? In some areas of life, prescribing is appropriate. However, it can be a slippery slope.

What if wellbeing should be on your terms? What if your uniqueness should drive how you approach wellbeing?

In my work, I help people find wellbeing that fits who they are and who they aspire to be. Wellbeing that sticks is found here. Far too often people exchange their identity for someone else’s. That someone usually lives in a world way beyond the reach. Ceding identity is a recipe for long term failure.

The best approach is to embrace who you are, and the gifts you’ve been given. Sound simple? It is and it isn’t. The simple part is you’ve got a choice in the matter. The complex part is dealing with all the insecurities and fears. This two-headed beast is ferocious. Many people try to lock up the beast and hope not to have to deal with it, or worse, surrender.

I have areas in my life that have taken, for what seems like a lifetime, much effort and time to be at peace with. I don’t always like to look in the eyes of what hurts me, but  making peace allows me to move forward whole and inspired. The trick is having the faith that what lies past your insecurities is the place you’ve always wanted to be. Wellbeing on your terms is the only way to get there.

What Do You Expect?

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There’s something to setting proper expectations. Especially, in a world that has changed, but still looks and often feels the same. In our gut, we know it’s important to set proper expectations. It’s just so hard. The war is found in our mind. Are we willing to be laughed at by the herd for seeing things as they truly are? Many walk away.

So, what do you expect?

I’ve had more than a few seasons of looking for the old version of success and accomplishment. I’ve had more than a few seasons where I’ve thought those closest to me had written me off. I was easily seduced by the old static days. The sweet dance and embrace of holding onto something not really there. At least until I had fallen hard. These all were fantasy expectations around ego and hiding grounds.

The unwind is a very difficult business.

Many are looking hard. Looking for answers and direction. This is all happening in a time of mass disruption. Imagine living in between the old and the new. Transition, as my friend Terry would say. Proper expectations as you make your way through is a vital art.

Consider this:

  • Can your relationships really deliver the movement and growth you need? Do you find yourself asking someone immature to give you encouragement? Maybe you just want them to be what they can’t. Only you know if the relationship is toxic in nature or just one that needs a reset. Watch out for radical movements in this area.
  • Are you looking for someone or something to make you happy. Do you jump from person to person expecting them to solve you? There is only one person who can make you happy, go to the mirror and you will find them.
  • Do you expect your employer to take care of you? Really big dangers here. Many misconstrue the emotional high found at work for authentic care. Just keep in mind, most publicly traded companies have allegiances to about 5 things (shareholders, Wall Street analysts, profits, customers, and expense control) other than you, the employee. Only you can know if being number 6 is okay. Again, what do you expect in this area of life?
  • Do you expect that your life will always be an unending winning streak? More people than you think, are petrified by the thought of loss. They rationalize, they prepare in order to protect themselves from that dreaded day when the score shows one for the loss column. Losing for me is not the thing to be afraid of, not learning is the great risk.
  • Are you waiting for someone else to speak up and exhibit leadership? Dr. Andrew Thorn says leadership is a behavior, not a skill. I agree. Go ahead and say something, go ahead and be willing to be a voice for those lacking.

 

What’s In Your Cup?

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What’s in your cup matters. So, as in life, whatever you choose to drink better be what you want. Your legacy will see its reflection in the contents.

As time unfurls, you’re often told to conform to some norm. Marketing and well intentioned (some not) people tell you what you must be. The lies are mixed with half-truths, and before you know it 10 years flies by. 10 years.

The shock and awe of the above reality should shake you to the core.

I’ve lost many so-called friends over the years. Typically, it occurred when I noticed a pattern of conditions. Unconditional love and friendship is rare. I would even test my theory by purposely going the opposite way. A fascinating thing occurred when I decided to do this. My calls were not returned. Hmmm, right? In my case, many just watched (and said nothing) as I took the poison pills.

You need to weed these sort of folks out of your life. They’re blocking the entrance for people who matter.

I can;’t stress the danger enough. So many people are living under the pressure of a world gone mad. It’s the type of pressure that can be habit-forming. It’s taken me almost 8 years to fully shed the skin of living someone else’s life. That’s the problem of doing something over and over again.

Do you know what’s in your cup?

What Millennials Want

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Gave a talk yesterday to a group of mostly millennials. One thing was clear in our interactive experience, what millennials want is:

  • Clarity
  • Balance
  • Epic

I’m sure there’s more to add to my list, but those 3 leaped out to me. I’ve read the data around what millennials want, versus what their parents wanted. It’s rare to see it upfront and close.

On the clarity front, it looks like many are overwhelmed by the pace and choices that make up existence. With so much screaming for attention, it’s not surprising. Keeping in mind that much of what screams is a complete waste of time. We know this in our gut, all the while the tracer bullets continue to fly.

You have to learn the art of saying no.

Balance goes hand in hand with clarity. With many employers demanding more and more, millennials (all of us) are fighting to not lose their lives, as they build a career. There’s a question mark hanging out there. Many are wondering can a career, as defined by the employer, live at peace with a great life.

Choosing a great life is the only way to find balance.

My talk yesterday was about leading an epic life. Some are disturbed by this because they want it and they know in their core it is the way we were meant to be, yet they find mediocrity all around. America has descended into a swamp filled with it. Others want it and are willing to do the work of finding an epic life. I know you see the difference. The choice between the two has always been in hand.

Your epic life was deposited into you in the beginning.

 

The Who of You

The above TED Talk got me thinking about many things. David Brooks stirred my soul and provided confirmation of the state of things. The state of who, or what, should be master.

It really is about the who of you.

I stand on the battleground of souls and lives. This was evident to me over 10 years ago, as it is now. As noble as that may echo, it really doesn’t matter, outside of the context of what you want life to be. Many are living under the sun and hope that will produce happiness and contentment. It doesn’t. All of the striving, all of the ignoring, all of the convincing self-talk will never provide lasting results. If it did, we’d have satisfaction. Ever notice how America continues to scream out that you need more education, more career mobility, more recognition, more money?

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

The wizard had a great gig, until Toto got in the way. He had us convinced that we could fool the audience with tricks from a traveling carnival. He told us the curtain was an absolute necessity to keep the audience from discovering what was real. “They will never understand,” he whispered to us in the deep of night. We believed him.

Now, here’s the irony, in my modern culture (an eroding one), most are still trying to conjure a spell or trick. We panically negotiate with the audience. We tell them what they thought was true, was just their imagination. We hope for the miracle of distraction. Maybe they won’t figure out who we really are.

As we face the truth, the deceptive self-talk kicks in:

  • “It could be worse, some people don’t have a job.”
  • “You tried before, and it didn’t work.”
  • “They won’t look at someone, who’s done that.”
  • “You need to make sure, you’ve got x number of followers and likes.”
  • “No one would think less of you, if you gave up.”

Ten years ago I had an audience that said, “OK, Eric, show us another trick.”

Find the who of you while there’s time.

 

I Thought About Tomorrow

I thought about tomorrow and today interrupted.

This week has been the week of impromptus. Enter your fears and wonderment. Getting news that surprises will make you feel that way.

Taking life and learning for granted is a subtle deception. More subtle than i ever new. This comes from a man who feels vigilant in the pursuit of know what’s most important. I feel my Lord saying, “everything Eric, everything.”

I’m free-falling now.

The Core

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In the exercise world, your core is one of the most important areas of the body to strengthen. If your core is strong, much of the rest of your physical wellbeing will follow. As I was reminded of from a coaching client last week, the muscle you build doesn’t just remain that way. It takes continued work to grow. He happens to be going thru rehab on his knee. The physical therapist he uses advised him that during his time of post-surgery recovery, sitting on the couch, he lost muscle. Wow! It was only 30 days or so. By the way, this guy is in great shape. 

How does this apply to the core in your life?

As I’ve advised in writing, and in the flesh, your life’s core is even more vital than what I described above. Your life’s core is made up of some things you’re familiar with. It includes your mind, your spirit, your emotions, your physical, etc. They are your sustainers (as I like to call them) and they are the measure of who you Really are. Sorry, if you were thinking being the CEO of the next WhatsApp would be the difference maker. Kinda ironic in an age where many aspire and pursue that. The truth is found in something(s) not seen.

What happened to our core strength?

Outward signs of success are sweetly seductive. They whisper, they sigh, they touch, and above all they promise. All this to lure you into a net very difficult to escape. My friends, most don’t escape. It’s too risky to escape. To be left with a life like:

  • Outward and inward struggles to regain a life left in the wardrobe
  • Failing, again and again
  • Loneliness
  • Awakening to see real worth
  • Finding out who really is for you
  • Seeing people through the lens of love
  • Life over the sun

Isn’t it interesting how those first few bullets, daunting as they are, lead to what we’ve dreamed of? My experience shows you can’t have the last 4, without the first 3. That’s the difference.

I won’t give you some list of all the things necessary to strengthen your life’s core. You need to figure that out for yourself. You can seek counsel from me or someone else, but you’re the one calling the shots That’s the only way it will be authentic. I can give you one secret, though:

Start paying attention and do what you know you need to do.

What About Now?

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You’ve got plans, I’ve got plans. Most of these plans relate to the future. It’s a future that no one can be certain of. Watch out for those who say otherwise.

What about now?

You can be certain about now. The now is 100% certain. Are you shocked by how little attention we pay to it? The now is often treated as a person we meet at a party, who might be the best connection we could make, but we’re preoccupied with the anticipated arrival of the beautiful one. Always looking past to get to something else.

Do you find yourself looking past your now?

I understand many will wait and let life come crashing in with some big disruption, before turning their heads. The irony is we’re warned every day to live now. Few heed this because of an arrogance marketing and innovation often produce. And by the way, it’s not the fault of marketing and innovation. The fault lies with us. We pervert and corrupt, in order to convince ourselves the lies are true. Even Eric Schmidt declared that robots will one day be omnipresent in our lives. Into the future we go, be damn the warped logic. Humans doing what humans do.

Is it time to pay attention to the now?

I search out each day to find beauty and wonder. Yes, it is soft and it is an art. That’s one way I embrace my now. I also own it. If I’m going to be surprised by an impromptu appearance by death or some debilitating disease, I want to be found in my now. Mine equals ownership and all the responsibility that comes with it.

Here are some things that are found in the now:

  • God
  • Beauty
  • Love
  • Music
  • Breakthroughs
  • Tolerance
  • Understanding
  • True Hope
  • Success
  • Integrity

Planning for the future can be virtuous, but not being able to stop in the now is a recipe for distraction and regret. I know you’ve heard this before. Thing is, you and I are terminal, we should live that way.