The post in italics below was originally written in 2009. I recall that year as being a tough one. As of late, I’ve been recalling the words from 2009. Some of the areas from that time have resolved and some are ongoing. I know the importance of my preparation and response. Both of those are key when faced with the good and bad of life.
In my current frame, I am faced with:
- Complications from having diabetes (Diabetic Retinopathy)
- Start of my 3rd book manuscript
- Addiction issues with a sibling
- Extended family member’s struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease
- Children moving into adulthood
My alignment with God’s call and my growth in EQ have added to my sustainment and happiness. Again, this is about preparation and responding as life delivers what it delivers.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
As I wrote some time ago, I have been doing more thinking than writing lately. One of the things I’ve been pondering is the idea of what one wants from life-specifically what I’ve wanted.
I’ve also been thinking about what I’ve gotten, and what I did in response to the result.
The following are some specifics:
- I wanted my dad to be around longer for me to fully appreciate our relationship. Regardless, he passed on unexpectedly and a large comma was placed in my life. I am relying on the vision God gave me to work through this time. A type of vision that says: “I don’t know how this all will work out, but I trust, even in my deepest blues, that it will.”
- I wanted a linear path in my entrepreneur pursuits. It has been anything but linear. I have rolled with it and learned to embrace my disappointments as I do my successes. Most importantly, things don’t need to look like I thought they would in order to be the “right thing.”
- I wanted certain people to stick with me. Those that took off were only with me for the ride. As a result, I redefined what friendship really means.
- I wanted a great career. I lost my career and found my life. I am most grateful for this…I can breathe.
- I wanted to get everything right with my family. In the last three years, I’ve gotten much wrong. I learned that needing forgiveness creates the art of forgiving.
How much do you invest in your life? How much time and money do you spend on life?
It has been said that Lebron James spends over seven figures on his physical health. Not astounding, considering the shape he’s in and the amount of money he makes. In the end, it’s a lot of money. His physical life must be important to him.
How about you?
First, don’t make the mistake of thinking that only the rich and famous can invest in their lives. Everything, is relative, for the rich and the poor. What matters is your commitment to life. This really is about mindset and what you choose to do. Every successful person knows this. What is ironic, at least in America, is we put little value on life. This is further compounded by our over-valuing of money, celebrity, physical appearance, career, and more. Don’t get me wrong, most talk a good game, but the numbers don’t lie. We’re advancing in areas that are, on the face, good. But we’re retreating in the areas of life that are vital.
Considering that life is a limited-time offer, you would think we’d “get after it.” Maybe we really have bought the ocean-front property in Wyoming. I hope you will consider investing more of your resources in your life. Maybe like:
If you need more clarity on the above examples, reach out to me.
I wrote this almost 4 years ago. My passage has changed, but this is still a relevant topic for many.
“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:
- The thoughts I’ve been given flowing to you
- A fixed focus on tools (writing, video, speaking, etc.) that communicate #1
- Saying goodbye to everything else
The answer to my post title question is; legacy. So, what’s entrepreneurism got to do with legacy?
I’ve found that God is using this thing called entrepreneurism as a tool to help shape my legacy. And legacy is important. For me, for my wife, for my kids, for my followers, for those I haven’t met yet, and the movie that is called “my life.” I don’t always like the journey, but the shaping is undeniable.
In our world today we dig tangible return. For example, if I invest $10,000 in the stock market, I want a return of 8%. That’s great, but who remembers the return and how long does the euphoria last once you get it? Never lasted long for me…more like sand in my hands. But with legacy, you’re dealing in the currency of faith. Faith that what you’ve poured in will produce something brilliant further down the road. I’ve guided many down this road, and yes it’s hard. Funny how they tend to not look back when they embrace the first steps.
Here are some areas of my legacy entrepreneurism has, and is helping:
- Fear – I very rarely utter or think the words “what if.”
- Failure – Entrepreneurism has taught me that multiple failures that create breakthroughs are like finding diamonds
- The Why Question – This is no longer a mystery. My answer to the why question is; I do what I do to inspire people to find and live out their epic life
- Communication – I now have an urgency to get the point across. Not to win the argument or sell something, but to be clear and firm
- Physical Health – Took it for granted in the corporate experience and became soft. Entrepreneurism is teaching me to always discover my limits physically
- The Beauty of Wine – Finally had the courage to slow down and embrace my 5 senses
- My Feelings – Finally came to the understanding that I feel everything-deeply. I’ve come to hate this and be joyous about it as well, but feeling deeply always reminds me that I am Fully Alive.
So what’s helping you with your legacy? And by the way, you’re building one whether you know it or not.
“I learn by falling down.”
The above words came to me today from a ten-year old boy named Rocco. I was observing him riding his Hoverboard and couldn’t help but notice his skill. Moving from room to room, or grabbing a snack from the fridge, he just moved effortlessly. I asked him how he learned to maneuver so well, and that’s when gave me the secret.
Learning by falling down is pretty straight forward for a ten-year old. He hasn’t accumulated all the baggage and wounds many adults have. He pretty much wants to be good at his art and sees falling down as an effective tool for learning. Did he ever get embarrassed or want to quit? I would think so, but accomplishing the mission/goal meant more to him than calling it quits.
I’m led to the following:
- What makes you nervous about falling down?
- Have you stopped for a moment to examine how much baggage you’ve been lugging around?
- Are you addressing the wounds? By the way, everyone has at least a few.
- What would life look like if you fell down more often.
Rocco’s approach is sound to get some success. The key is trusting your gut and the system (i.e. doing this will result in…).
I think I’m going to find some more ten-year olds to hang around with.
What’s in your head may be totally wrong.
The above statement may make you shrug your shoulders, as you think I’ve grasped something so obvious.
I had a conversation with a client today who relayed multiple stories of leaders who continued to rely on the faulty data roaming around in their heads. It was clear to him that much was missing and much could go wrong on multiple projects. As I’m sure you can imagine, big plans and tight deadlines were the drivers.
I asked him whether these leaders lived inside their own heads. I proceeded to explain why our own thought processes can deceive us. I pointed out that our thought processes have a tendency to be reliant on self and past accomplishments. You’ve experienced this before. A smart person who has been told how smart they are, with success to show for it, typically is not accepting of contrary opinion or advice. Who needs it when you’ve pretty much figured out the riddle of life and work.
People from all walks of life are interesting in how they apply thoughtful analysis, or critical thinking. My coaching client saw an example at work of how very smart people can fall into the trap of leaning on their own mental capabilities. Much of it is a pick and choose proposition. What if you were told by their doctor to come back annually for a test, you’d say of course they will make the appointment without missing a beat. Isn’t it ironic how you can rationalize not doing it. Recognize these sentences:
- “I have to complete this project, and then I will…”
- “I feel great and I’m not in any pain.”
- “I don’t think it’s as serious as he told me it was.”
It really is arrogance-covert or overt. Arrogant people often have the biggest blind sides. Once again, relying only on information that fits what’s in their head. It took me years to turn around on this front.
I’ve spent a lot of time communicating the importance of stopping and looking around. The path to finding the moments, and moments are gifts, if we stop and look around.
How many gifts do you think you’re given every day?
The truth is, we miss many of the gifts because we’re overlooking them to get to the next thing. It’s a mad world when our sole focus is on the next promotion, the next love affair the next great feat that’ll make us loved. I know the power of mindfulness intimately, the power of stopping and being in a moment, goes beyond worn-out marketing slogans and worn-out company initiatives to solve problems that can’t be solved corporately. What I’m speaking to is remembering that we only have a certain amount of time in a lifetime. It’s up to us as to what we embrace and what we ignore.
Before I go into writing about the five reasons to stop and look around, I want to remind you that there’s repetition in the way I approach the subject the way I do. I believe we’re in a war for our gifts because it’s almost as if we have forces that seek to destroy what moments we have. The fight is vitally important and what comes within it.
Let’s look at the five reasons to stop and look around:
- Slow down and breathe. Great things occur when we slow down and find our breath meter. Taking time to do this will give room for reflection. The maddening rush of the world around us the continually messages us to grab more, take more and conquer more. Slowing down is a key, instead.
- Determine what’s really most important to you. I stress really because many of us are professional in lying to ourselves. We’re connecting back to slowing down here. The idea that we’ve got to establish what is most important and be courageous to commit. Are you willing to be allegiant to what’s most important, in a way that my actions can be measured?
- Get some people around you that can keep you accountable. These people don’t buy your self-BS. They are not willing to just take your word for it. These folks deal in the real, with love.
- Stop the maddening pursuit of retirement income, work/career and whatever else that preoccupies. I’m not indicting the aforementioned, just the maddening pursuit. The truth is, at least in America, it’s delusional now. We’ve given working/ career and retirement way too much of our attention. For example, how do you know what 65 is gonna look like? Many have lost what they love because they killed themselves pursuing wind.
- Get over yourself. That’s right, stop making you the center of the universe. You do realize that the focus on getting you balanced is so there can be light behind you. A brilliant light is the aim. A wise mentor told me not too long ago, “Eric, you have to give yourself away, like Jesus did.” By the way, you’ll get more in return by doing it. It’s counterintuitive (the reason many refuse) and it’s beautiful.
Positioning to stop and look around is key to finding true meaning. Why not let yourself be found?
As I progress through life, I am more aware of the trade-offs each day brings. When I look at my calendar, when I reflect on my thoughts or when I consider a business opportunity. Regardless of the situation, a trade is made in everything. Like you, I want to be pleased by what I trade. I apply this to today and tomorrow.
In my younger days I thought I was made of steel. I still feel really strong. I now pause and consider my choices more carefully. My margin for error has changed. I’ve found an interesting correlation between feeling like a man of steel and ignoring life’s trade offs; comfort.
Comfort is worshipped in many parts of the world. America is a leader in this type of worship. I’m not against comfort, I just see it as something to be careful with. Change never comes through comfort, no matter how much we delude ourselves.I even introduce discomfort for the purpose of keeping myself on a healthy razor’s edge. For example, I practice muscle confusion in my exercise plans. This is not revolutionary, but it helps my mind stay focused on growth and not on what feels “familiar.”
It’s a daily battle and it doesn’t happen naturally.
I highly recommend you give careful consideration to the trade-offs in the following areas of life:
- Relationships-Is what you’re pursuing more important than your relationships?
- Business and Career-Is the move into something bigger, more important than the space you operate in now?
- Physical and Mental Wellbeing-Is trading the quality of your physical and mental wellbeing worth compromising, in the end?
- Spirituality-Is your spirituality only a passing thought?
- Learning-Is what you’re doing supported by something that will last, like learning?
Each of the above will require something from you, make sure you can live with the transaction.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I am a fractured man. I have multiple scars and limps from battles lost, and won. All of these are forming every day. The forming of:
The fractured men and women I’ve known are full of clarity. They see no point in pretense and posing. They understand that life is a limited time offer. This is only known when a human comes in touch with the brink (death, business failure, relationship loss, and more). Each time I’ve been in the position of looking at the brink, I’m reminded of the futility of thinking I have control. The story will never cede its authority.
I used to see the process of fracturing as unwelcome visitors. I discovered some time ago that these visitors are friends designed to bring me to a form of completeness.
In the age we live in, my words are contrarian and not talked about. Everything is about winning, typically at all costs. You would think life is just a big contest with all the glory at the end. I wish we paid more attention to the input, the blood, the sweat. It could make a big difference.