Living In the Here and Now

Featured

He was standing on a street corner dressed in a colorful, flowing robe. To everyone who walked by he’d offered a leaflet and a smile.

I ran into him just as the light turned red so we stood next to one another for a few minutes. I felt awkward. He just smiled at me.

Where you are. Is where you should be, right now!

It came out of nowhere. I was gonna ask Are you talkin to me? But, just
like that he turned towards the next passer-by and was gone.

I was expecting a live long and prosper, or maybe to embrace life and it’s beauty.

Instead I get told that where I was is exactly where I should be. The right
now
 part really threw me for a loop. I’m standing on a street corner in downtown San Diego. That’s where I am supposed to be? It made no sense.

It went against everything I’d ever been taught.

  • You were to keep looking ahead, always striving for more.
  • You shed your faults, and your negative feelings and replaced them with bigger and better things. A bigger and better you. Someone who was capable of scaling great heights!
  • The “Next Big Opportunity.”

Lose weight, gain weight. Work out. Run hard.

Build your business, six figures next year, seven the year after! The sky is
the limit.

Ain’t that what the gurus and goal setting mahatmas encourage us to do? Aren’t we supposed to be like all them-there other folks?

Aren’t we?

Can I get an Amen?

I wanted to run after him and tell him that he couldn’t lay something like
that on me and head off into the sunset. I needed more. It wasn’t fair.

Where you are. Is where you should be, right now!

What the hell does that mean?

It was 1995 so there was no smart phone. No GPS. This is where I was supposed to be at that moment in time? Now what?

It wasn’t till I injured my back in 2011 that I began to understand. I was in
excruciating pain. My active lifestyle came to a grinding halt. My life
became a parade with me sitting on the curb and waving while everyone else marched by.Wait for me, wait for me, I’d yell. Six months earlier at the age of 57 I ran in my first 5K race. Now I had a hard time navigating my way into the shower.

When I tried to hop out of my chair, I’d get no farther than few feet and I’d have to sit down. I was doing a lot of live training for people at the time and when I’d set the room up for the event, I would strategically place chairs along the perimeter of the room so that after 30 seconds or so I could sit down.

Hey, it beat the snot out of falling down!

Loving presence arises when we can say, “This Belongs.” -Tara Brach

When it finally sunk in here is what I realized:

  • There is no fatal flaw inside of me. I wasn’t being punished for something I did or didn’t do. I’ll clean it up for ya but it dawned on me that “stuff happens.”
  • I was where I was supposed to be and no matter how hard I rejected that notion it didn’t change anything other than to make me really angry and frustrated.
  • Not only accept my current situation but embrace it. I may never move with the agility of who I once was.
  • I am learning to say “this belongs.”

I’d kept devising strategies and goals and meditations and all sorts of stuff to heal me. One doctor told me there was “nothing wrong with me.” I should simply lose weight and exercise. Uhm, okay. I needed help walking up the incline to get to his office. I should do what? But hey, he’s a doctor. He knows.

No he didn’t. It only made things worse.

I spent over three thousand dollars trying to “get better” until I realized I’d never admitted to myself the “here and now” was having an injured lower back.

Hurting my back wasn’t just injury. It was a message for me to slow my roll. Take a pause and heal.

Notice that there are absolutely no qualifications, exams or dog and pony
shows required. It doesn’t matter what I look like or don’t look like. My
income is irrelevant and so is my ideal client list.

We arrive on this planet with a bag loaded with gifts and talents. It’s a custom order that is designed just for me (and you!) No one can use those gifts exactly the way you can use them.

You know what? We try to. We break into someone else’s stash and take a few things that we know in our heart we can do better than they can do. Until we can’t. We say it’s not fair.

How come you get to…… and I don’t?

It’s all part of our conditioning, I imagine. Part of the bigger, better, faster
and sleeker mentality that hits us hard in the face every morning when we get up. It’s the What have you done for me lately trance.

Color me as guilty the next person.

Then I got this email. From The Universe of all people!

So very much can happen, John, in a lifetime or even on a single day of a lifetime. Yet I can assure you that whatever has or will happen in yours, no matter what chasms you cross, heights you scale or how many people you love or are loved by, when all is said and done and you take that final look over your shoulder. what will humble you the most will be, that you got to be John Jurkiewicz . Of all people! ~~~ The Universe

I can’t tell you how I felt when I read it. Awe struck comes close.

I get to be me.

And you get to be you.

All of us, in the here and now at this moment in time.

I invite you to experience it with me.

Namaste

*******************************************************************************

May I have your attention please!

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you may notice I am not conventional in the slightest. It’s me being me as best I can be. (I’m sure you’ve noticed as well that I fracture the English language and all its rules and regs with out mercy.) I am a life, business and mindset coach whoendeavors to combine all three experiences in helping you create the very best opportunities in your life.

To that end, next weeks blog will be titled Are You Uncomfortable Setting Goals for Yourself? Don’t worry. We’re not going to do a deep dive on what happened to you when you were five. I’m going to share some strategies to help you cope with your reluctance to set goals. It will have nothing to do with SMART goals. (Actually I ridicule them a bit. I felt bad about it for a bit. I got over it.)

One more thing: Follow and subscribe. Please! (Sounds needy, doesn’t it?)

John@NewCareerCreations.com

Talking with my Inner Critic

Featured

You read that right. It isn’t a typo.

My inner critic is responsible for the flight, fight or freeze behavior we exhibit when we feel threatened. It serves a purpose.

But here’s the rub: It really has no compass and since we are no longer hurtling through the forest with some crazed beast chasing us it had to find other ways to protect us.

Ahhh, protection. It is the inner critics sole function. It’s only job. We don’t encounter to may savage beasts while we’re stuck in traffic but our mental and emotional beasts produce the same stress and anxiety and our inner critic doesn’t know the difference. It goes into action secreting all the Adrenalin and other things we need to keep us safe.

When we get all stressed out because we just dropped three grand on a self improvement course and we aren’t “improved,” there is something wrong. Our inner critic, ever so grateful for the opportunity begins searching for an answer. There are no lions, no tigers and no bears. (Oh my!) There’s a lotta stress, self judgment, and anxiety.

Bingo! It springs into action and in it’s own confused way it says “I got this. I’ll protect you.”

I’m thinking that’s where the saying “We’ve met the enemy and it is us!” came from It has to be something we did, or said, or simply who we are.

It’s our fault! We’re flawed and damaged. Why aren’t we like everyone else?

We integrate those small thoughts and over time they pile up until we are mumbling and muttering “I can’t do nuthin right.” Worse yet, we begin to believe we are flawed. Our inner critic is smiling because it believes it’s doing its job. It stops smiling when we start a campaign to silence it. It will push back harder and longer and with more intensity, the more we endeavor to remove whatever it’s focused on at the moment.

It doesn’t understand. It’s job is to protect us! Why the hell are we fighting it! Every indication tells it that we are in danger.

You know. Cortisol secretion and all that other stuff I don’t half way understand!

I’ve fought my inner critic my entire life. I believed there was something wrong with me, otherwise why would I keep hearing that nagging voice?

There’s no secret sauce here. The heavens didn’t open with a revelation.

It just popped into my head while I was walking around the track at my gym one day.

I needed to start treating my inner critic with compassion.

When things get all confused and I feel threatened and those defense mechanisms engage I stop and I thank it for protecting me, for keeping me safe from harm, no matter how much I thought I didn’t need protection. It is (was) doing its job. I realized that it was me and I was it and the one thing both of us were looking for was validation. It wants what we all want – peace, harmony and stability.

I’m speaking with my inner critic more and more and each time I do I become aware of a poignant compassion that passes between us. There are times I’ll tell it gently, “Thank you, but I got this, you can take five.”

Here is what I am noticing. Those moments of self judgement and self criticism are getting less and less each day. I’m not ready for sainthood, don’t get me wrong, but I am starting to see space open up in a place it hasn’t opened in a long time.

That’s exciting.

Namaste.

#selfcompassion #selfcare #selflove #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mindfulness #healing #loveyourself #selfacceptance #compassion #selfworth #therapy #selfkindness #motivation #intuitiveeating #edrecovery #anxiety #serenity #antidiet #recovery #selfawareness #wellness #counselling #meditation #compassion

*************************************************************************************

PS. I finished my last revision and took a break. I learned awhile back to work in two hour blocks and take a break for 30 minutes or so. I threw a load in the washer and took the dog for a walk. I started reviewing what I had left to do before I went to a networking event later this afternoon.

My inner critic popped up and made a strong suggestion that I take the rest of the day off. I’d been working hard! Isn’t my health the most important thing? LOL

You see, I’ve been putting something off for a few days – procrastinating if you will. It’s something I really don’t WANT to fool with but something I NEED to fool with. One of those things that can move me forward.

I stopped in the middle of the street, took a deep breath, smiled and said,

Thank you. I appreciate your concern but this is important to me. If I don’t get it done today it wont get done and we both know what happens then. I have an idea! Why don’t you take a break today and I’ll get done a lot quicker.

That seemed to placate him, at least for now.

I sure hope no one called the police. I mean I’m standing in the middle of the street talking out loud to myself.

Featured

How I am Learning to Live and Thrive with my Panic and Anxiety Disorder.


I’ve lived with panic and anxiety disorder my entire life. I didn’t identify what it was until I was in my late 30’s. I thought I was just a “Nervous Nelly.” It kicked in big time when I thought I was having a heart attack one night. Diagnosis: “The common cold of psychiatric disorders.” (No kidding. That’s what a doctor told me.)

I would like to share with you some of the ways I am learning to manage my anxiety and be able to live a successful and happy life.

I want to share with you how I am learning to cope with not wanting to leave the house or vegetating in my recliner and binge watching The Gilmore Girls.

I want to share hope with you. Because if I can learn to manage this disease – And it is a disease! Don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different – You can as well. It takes some trial and error and finding which emotional shoes fit the most comfortably, but if you stick with it and ride the roller coaster for awhile, you’ll see some benefit. (How do like that for a bunch of cliches strung together!)

Before I share I have to make the lawyers happy.

Please note: I am not a doctor or a therapist. The things I share with you came from my own moments of self discovery, my journey and trial and error. THEY WORK FOR ME. It doesn’t mean they will work for you. In other words, don’t stop taking your meds just because I shared some crazy ass ideas that work for me! ( I still take my meds!) Thank you

Sooooooooooooo Here we go!

  • It is what it is.

I read somewhere that if you want to save a drowning person you have to stop them from struggling before you can save them. When they stop fighting, you can rescue them.

I have panic and anxiety disorder. It can be debilitating. I denied that it affected me for a long time. I was stressed out. I was preoccupied. There was nothing wrong a good nights sleep wouldn’t take care of! It was an aberration. Stuff like that.

I struggled for a long time trying to deny what was going on in my head and my body. It was when I began to practice mindful meditation that I started to understand that before I could “learn” I had to accept things as they were and where they were – Right Now.

One of the Noble Truths in Buddhism is “There will be suffering.” We will face challenges in our life and some of those challenges will be painful. It’s the first Noble Truth – The presence of suffering. That goes against everything we’ve been taught in western culture. We’ve been taught to quickly identify the suffering and create an action plan to remove it. Easy peasey lemon squeezey, right?

“I’m suffering so there must be something wrong with me. I have to get rid of it quickly and get back in the race.” I’ve learned that every experience I have in my life leaves a remnant of itself behind long after it’s gone. Now, that’s really cool if I live in a bubble and I’m only exposed to positive experiences.

I live in a world that is mostly unpredictable. When something doesn’t go the way I want it to I asked the question: What’s WRONG with me?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

When I have the flu or a cold or strain a muscle I don’t start to analyze why it happened. I don’t blame myself. When my anxiety starts to rear it’s ugly head and I begin cascading down the mountain of self doubt and recrimination I focus on treating it like I would a strained muscle. I rest it, I evaluate it and I treat it.

In other words it’s no ones fault, even a klutz like me. 🙂

Somewhere along the line I accepted this disease was part of me and it always will be part of me. The harder I tried to push it away and deny it, the stronger it pushed back. As I learn to accept and began the process of managing my anxiety, rather than trying to eradicate it, life became easier for me. Accepting it creates clarity.

As The Beatles once sang Let it Be

  • Make sure your health care team is in alignment with each other and with your health goals!

I have two doctors and a therapist. All three were carefully chosen. Their beliefs on treatment and outcome align with mine. We all speak the same language. Don’t be afraid to check out more than one provider.

True story: When I finally admitted I needed therapy I got a recommendation from my primary care physician. It was someone in my network, a MD. In our first and only session, they stopped me after fifteen minutes and announced that I didn’t have panic and anxiety disease I was told I had but I was bipolar. Further, my mother, who had the same symptoms and behavior I experienced was misdiagnosed and was bipolar as well. The medical student that was in the room, nodded their head in agreement. I was bipolar!

I was given a prescription and told to return in a month.

Before I left I stopped at the door and said I’m curious. You’ve only known me for fifteen minutes and you were able to diagnose me. You never met my mother and BTW she’s been dead for 10 months and you diagnosed her as well. You must be clairvoyant.

When I shared this story with my primary care physician do you know what she said to me?

Good for you John! I’m glad you weren’t afraid to speak up. For what it’s worth, I don’t see and symptoms of bipolar disorder in you. I’m sorry you had that experience.

I kept looking and found the therapist I’m working with now. We share the same values. My treatment is grounded in science and results.

The other physician I work with is an endocrinologist. I have a hyperactive thyroid. It exacerbates my anxiety and panic. Between him and my primary care physician they keep close tabs on my medication and any additional symptoms I may be experiencing. My therapist will remind me to keep those two informed. They’re my team. (Maybe I should get them tee shirts.)

In the end, it’s all about balance – Body, Mind and Spirit

As far as I know, nothing in this world works the way it’s designed to work unless it’s in balance with itself. That includes you and I. Creating and sustaining that balance is a lifelong endeavor.

I could sit here all day and share all sorts of strategies on what’s needed to create that elusive homeostasis. It would drive me as crazy to write it as it would you to read it.

So, lemme share what works for me.

Listen to your body

Let me say that again.

Listen to your body

Rinse and repeat.

Okay, before I go on I have to make the lawyers happy…….. again!

I am not telling you to stop going to see a health care provider for medical treatment if you are sick or injured. I am suggesting that sometimes a bit of preventive action – the right diet, rest and relaxation and creating some time to decompress can help ward off an illness. If you are ill or injured and need to seek medical treatment please do so.

Our bodies are machines. They are finely tuned machines and each part was specifically designed to do a certain task. When we add stress, worry and fear to the mix, we are asking it do something it wasn’t designed to do. It will tell us if we’ll listen. Sometimes it shouts.

It’s called developing our intuition.

Lemme share another quick story, Okay?

For years I struggled with my weight, and I was the kid that would cry at night because I weighed 145 pounds in high school and wondered why he was so skinny! I tried everything and every diet known to man. I’d have success for a few months and then balloon bigger than float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It was maddening. Mix that in with panic and anxiety disorder and it was one wild ride. Trust me.

I was at a workshop a year or so ago and I met someone who had a unique approach to health. I shared my struggle and the effect it had on my self image and she suggested that when it came to eating – Listen to your body!

It took awhile to get used to not starving or denying myself but after awhile I noticed I was feeling so much better, not only about my appearance but about myself in general. If I wanted a cookie, I ate a cookie. It wasn’t every day. My body told me what it fuel it needed to prosper. No more diet.

My body found its healthy weight and has stayed there for a year. If I get a little to crazy, my body starts to let me know and I adjust.

There is only one you (and one me) I am becoming selfish in my self care and how I treat myself. I encourage you to put you first as well.

I’ll leave you with a mantra I use with myself daily.

You deserve success. You are worth all of the effort you put into yourself. You are who you hang around with.

Namaste.

5 Things That Can Help Deal With Perfection Syndrome.

Featured

My name is John and I am a recovering perfectionist.

When something didn’t work right the first time or I made a few mistakes, I’d compare my efforts to the rest of the galaxy and decided my efforts were damaged and flawed.

In other words I’d give up. It wasn’t meant to be, at least not for me. It had to be 100% sterling silver perfect or it was never good enough.

That’s where the self judgement began.

In case you’ve never been there lemme give you the short version:

Trying to be perfect leads to stress. Stress creates anxiety. Anxiety leads to depression which leads to a wild ride of self accusation, self judgement and the notion that nothing you do, will be right, much less worthy so you might as well give up and go sit on your personalized pile of dung.

You start to develop health issues because you are asking your mind and body to do what it was meant to do on top of coping with all this other s**t you decided to throw at it for good measure. Your doctor gives you pills which lead you to having no emotion at all. But hey, at least you ain’t depressed and anxious! Right?

You feel like a fake, a fraud and a phony. You can’t find a certain part of you anatomy with a flashlight.

You try everything.

It’s very real and it can be very paralyzing and debilitating. In other words It ain’t no fun.

It dawned on me that I was fighting a forest fire with a garden hose and trying to put it out with one squirt!

Most of our break through moments are not produced in Hollywood. There is no background music, no tears or fist pumping. It sorta sneaks in unannounced. (No one yelling Yo Adrian! I did it! I did it!)

One day I am sitting on the exercise bike at my gym and the voices, suggestions and good intentions in my head were all talking to me all at once. It was deafening and maddening. It was a cavalcade of everything I was doing and was falling about an inch short of being successful. It was fourth down and inches and I didn’t make it!

I got really angry – Mostly at myself.

So much noise. So much confusion. So much insanity. I actually stopped pedaling the bike and just sat there wondering if this is what it was like to go crazy. I sat back, closed my eyes and yelled to all those voices:

“Shut the f**& up! All of you! Right now! I am so f**#ing sick of listening to this sh**!

It got really quiet inside of me.

I got really scared.

Oh s**. What have I done now?

All I could hear was clanking of weights dropping on the gym floor and the rhythmic sounds coming from the cardio equipment.

This is it! I’ve finally gone over the edge and in a few minutes they are going to come and take me away.

One voice had the courage (?) to stick around. It was gentle and soft.

It didn’t ask me to do anything more than exist. No hoops to jump through, challenges to face or other people to be.

Just be.

Perfectionist me! Just being? Yeah right!

No books to read, exercises to perform, coaches to consult. (Blog posts to write!)

Just be and breathe.

For one nano second, one frozen moment in time there was no self incrimination, no reminders of everything I’d messed up in my life. No negative voices. Just me and my breath.

There was this moment of clarity.

Since that awakening I am learning these five things:

Please note: I am not a doctor or a therapist. The things I share with you came from my own moments of self discovery, my journey and trial and error. THEY WORK FOR ME. It doesn’t mean they will work for you. In other words, don’t stop taking your meds just because I shared some crazy ass ideas that work for me! ( I still take my meds!)

There, I’ve made the lawyers happy!

I came to realize what perfection meant in my life.

It is like wearing your sweater inside out. I was trying to be perfect because I felt inadequate and broken. I felt I had to go above and beyond, just to be equal to everyone else. Every time I’d hit a road block I’d leap into self judgement mode It meant I had to work harder to catch up with all the rest of you. Guess what? I never did because I was running a race that had no finish line.

Meditation is medication for the mind and soul.

Twice each day I sit down, relax, breathe and meditate. In the morning I follow a practice that helps me set my intentions for the day. They are wrapped around the mantra Progress, not perfection. It allows me to set some boundaries and some goals for my day. When I finish I can relax and enjoy my day.

A whole lotta little things lead up to one big thing.

Creating a simple to do list for that day is a big help. You won’t find saving the world on my to do list. Being self employed I have a hat rack with a dozen hats on it. I manage it be creating a list that deals with the most pressing issues of my day day. When I am setting my intentions in the morning the meditations help me create some clarity.

In the evening I use a variation of a Shinto practice called misogi. It’s a Japanese word that means to purify. I take some time to look at my day and to see where I may have clung to a behavior or a belief that doesn’t serve me in a positive manner. I take a mental and emotional shower and before I go to sleep. I shed those negative thoughts and behaviors so I can sleep and wake with a clean slate the next day.

Follow your intuition.

For a long time I played a game you might be familiar with. The game is Monkey See, Monkey Do. If I knew people who were happy, healthy and confident following a certain practice – I’d jump in as well. It didn’t matter if the class, or book or behavior didn’t suit me. Other people had success and BTW the guru who espoused it was world renowned, owned a yacht and a plane and was scheduled to help colonize Mars.

It had to work. The Holy Grail. The Golden Ticket. The Promised Land. Right? Except when it didn’t and then it was the same old rinse and repeat. There must be something wrong with me.

I’m not throwing shade. These programs and ideas do work. They just didn’t work for me. But instead of going with my intuition and taking a pause I was so desperate to be perfect that I went along with everyone else.

I am learning that when faced with a decision, I stop, take a deep breath and listen to my soul. Is it right for me? How will I benefit from the decision?

I’m not going to lie. Old habits die hard. I’ve spent most of my life trying to prove something I didn’t have to prove in the first place. Following my intuition takes practice and I gotta tell you that I’m about 75% successful. But ya know what? Nobody’s perfect!

Talk to someone.

I walked around with a lot of this all bottled up inside of me for a long time. You’see I was different. I had to be different in order to be perfect. I could do this all on my own, until I couldn’t.

There was no moment of enlightenment that led me to my therapist. It was 100% survival mode. I was out of options. The walls were closing in. Okay, you get it right? I didn’t go kicking and screaming but once again, even in 2019, I felt like there was something wrong with me.

By this point in my life I should have all this stuff behind me.

This I can tell you, along with my meditation and learning to trust my intuition, working with a therapist to improve my mental health has been a life saver in managing my perfectionism.

My therapist is someone who can be objective. There is no emotional skein to unwind.

She speaks gently but bluntly which suits me just fine.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Health, wellness, success, call it what you will, does not happen in thirty five seconds.

I have to laugh when I get one of those emails that says Follow this plan and you’ll be earning six figures in six months! You’d be surprised at the people who’ve invested in this hokum. They are people like me. People who think we have to rush to the front of the line and prove our value and worth. In reality it takes a lifetime of learning and hard work.

If someone suggests a magic short cut RUN!!!!

I’m going to offer you a sixth reason. A bonus of sorts.

Through my entire adult journey, my wife, partner, friend and advocate Joan has always been their to support me.

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you we walk around smiling and hugging and kissing and singing all day long.

We have a pretty typical marriage. We agree on most things but not everything. We argue about really important stuff like how my driving habits scare the snot out of her sometimes and how I’m always right even when I’m not . In the end though, being with her is my safe place and everyone, perfect or not needs a safe place. To me, this is the most important point of all. I can be me, warts and all, and I know I’n never judged.

So, that’s a wrap.

Please share this post with anyone you feel may need to read it and if you feel moved to do so I’d love to hear how you manage perfection in your life. You can email me at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Until next time.

Want to know more about John and New Career Creations? You can find him at http://www.newcareercreations.com or email him at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Sometimes An Egg is Just an Egg

Featured

Lemme share a story with you.

One morning my mom was cleaning out the refrigerator. She was moving stuff around to find the ingredients to make a cake. The recipe called for two eggs. She had two eggs left in the fridge – somewhere.

As she started to back out of the fridge she dropped the eggs

Splat and splatter. (A few expletives in Polish that I didn’t understand until much later in life.)

My mom set her jaw firmly and her eyes swelled a bit and she started looking around the room. She spotted my brother a few feet away with his back turned. She took a few steps forward and swatted my brother on the butt.

Why’d ya do that for mom?

That’s for making me drop the eggs.

What eggs?

Two more swats.

We get angry and frustrated because the universe isn’t cooperating the way it should on our schedule and in our clearly defined terms.

It can’t be that our expectations are vague or murky, can it?

It surely has nothing to do with them being unrealistic, at the moment, does it?

We checked all the boxes, did our due diligence and arrived at the logical conclusion.

It ain’t our fault!

But…………………

It has to be someones fault doesn’t it? Someone must be blamed because if we start looking at our own insights and behavior……….

Okay, let’s not go there.

I dropped some eggs a few days ago myself. The more I tried to clean them up, the more I dropped until I had a whole list of people who were responsible.

“What’s in your wallet?”

Do you have to be so damned perky all the time. That’s the problem with this world – Perky people with unrealistic expectations getting in my way. Imagine a snarl or two.

Splat and splatter.

Amazing things happen when you let them happen. Deep inside of each of us there is a voice. That voice is pure and it is always honest. We call it lottsa different things depending on our belief. Some folks call it a soul. Some call it a psyche, inner guidance, consciousness or perception. However we identify this phenomenon it appears when we allow it to appear. It’s the rudder of reason or the Oh yeah! I forgot about that.

Part of my daily routine is to set an intention for that day. I get comfortable, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and allow everything to clear out of my mind. It’s a purification of sorts. I wash a way any negative feelings I may have about something or someone. The less clutter in my life, the easier it is for me to see things the way they are.

Sorta like cleaning a dirty window to get a better view.

I’m not sure why it happened the way it happened but on that day the story of the broken eggs popped into my head. Right there in the middle of a a major OHMMMMMMMMM moment. WAS it the major Ohm moment?

My enlightenment came when I realized I was fighting mythical beasts in mythical battles – Things I could not control in my life or in this world. (I have a pretty high opinion of myself at times.) The longer and harder I fought with them, the more difficult things became until I was bewildered!

This was not how I planned my day. I immediately began to assigning blame. Of course, all of that blame was directed outwards. None of it was my fault. Messed up world!!

Where the hell did all those other beasts come from? I didn’t summon them!!

This much wisdom I can share:

In twenty years of working in my own business and as my own boss, I’ve learned that time is precious and needn’t be wasted on chasing after things we never had control over to begin with. Sometimes stuff happens. Mindfulness and our ability to roll with the flow is what toughens us and prepares for the battles we can control.

I’m learning to identify the things I can control and I’ll devote my time and energy there.

Sigmund Frieud told us that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Sometimes a broken egg is just a broken egg.

Chew on that a bit.

Namaste.

Want to know more about John and New Career Creations? You can find him at http://www.newcareercreations.com or email him at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Where are You Sowing Your Seeds?

Featured

“A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. ~ Matthew 23: 3-7

Ever see a puppy enter a room?

It runs around licking everyone, rolling over to get its belly scratched. It’s tail wags and it’s so excited it pee’s on the floor. The more excited it gets, the more it wants to be noticed and pretty soon it’s running up to EVERYONE in the room looking for attention.

Everyone thinks the puppy is so damn cute. Everyone scratches behind it’s ears and ooo’s and ahhh’s.

Did ya ever notice though that at the end of the night no one takes the puppy home?

It’s cute but we’re not interested in having a dog right now!

I want something a bit bigger.

I wonder if there’s anything smaller.

Bye-bye puppy.

(Pssst. We’re the puppy!)

I am not sure if there were puppies running around two thousand years ago when Matthew wrote the parable of the seed, but it brings the point home.

Are we any different from the puppy in how we market ourselves and our services?

We start out with a super duper idea and we convince our selves that the entire galaxy, past, present and future not only wants it but NEEDS it.

A sort of throw it up there and see if any of it sticks. We’ll work out the details later on.

We build a book, a list, a Rolodex, shoot I don’t care whatcha call it! It’s names. The more names you have the better chance you have of creating a relationship.

Relationships can turn into sales.

Sales can turn into revenue.

Easy-peasey lemon squeezy. Right?

The farmer in the parable walked out the front door and started sowing his seed. Not a lot of thought, just following conventional wisdom. Throw your seed far and wide, go home, light a candle and wait for results.

The seed in our story is like our latest and greatest idea. A new product launch, a webinar, a coaching offer. Like the puppy, we are so excited we want to tell everyone because everyone needs what we are offering. Right?

A lot of that seed never germinated. It lays there, (Like so many unopened e-mails maybe?) until the birds came and snatched it up. (Everything in your deleted folder will be permanently emptied every thirty days.)

Do you know that most email providers believe a twenty five percent engagement rate, which means only one fourth of the people you reach out to, actually are curious enough to lake a little look-see? Hell, even major league baseball defines stardom at a thirty percent rate! ( I hit sixty percent once and threw a party!)

More of the seed reached the ground and was allowed to germinate but it either wasn’t fed and watered or other seeds choked it out. It hung around for a bit and then withered and died. We meet someone at a networking event or at a meeting and we add their business card to our ever growing list.

There’s a problem. Those folks MIGHT remember us. Those folks MIGHT open our emails and they MIGHT even read them. They MIGHT meet us for coffee. They MIGHT schedule a discovery session. Long term? Those folks aren’t in it for the long haul. We are not on their radar. Their first contact comes more from curiosity than from need.

Who the hell is John Jurkiewicz and why does he keep emailing me? Hmmm……. Ah, there it is, the unsubscribe link.

They are not bad people.

They just ain’t our people.

They are someones people but not ours. Capeesh?

Expecting business or any sort of relationship to develop from a few emails and a free gift offer is like betting the mortgage payment on a 99 to 1 shot at the track. There’s a chance! A slim chance but a chance. (We just keep telling ourselves that. It’s a mantra of sorts.)

Finally some of the seed manages to fall on good ground, germinates, and produces results. Those are the folks we cultivate relationships with. We get to know them. We find out what we have in common and most importantly can WE help THEM.

Sometimes I think we get it bass-akward. We get all caught up in what the pooh-roo’s are doing. (If you haven’t read many of my epistles a pooh-ru is exactly what it implies: Someone pumping out a whole bunch of pooh just to make money.) When they market themselves as being successful in their area of expertise we believe we have to do what they do.

Monkey see, monkey do.

But if you take the time to notice in Mathews parable, the seed that fell on good ground produced a bumper crop, over and over.

Here’s the dull and boring business part.

Why pay for a bag of seed that potentially 90% will go to waste? Wouldn’t it be better to spend a fraction on just enough seed to attract who we’re looking for as the person who is going to buy, love and ultimately cherish our service or product?

Doesn’t it make sense in cultivating relationships with folks who share our same vision of life, the universe and the world?

Aren’t those people more apt to share who you are, what you do and how you can help them with other people they know who embrace the same values that you embrace?

Over eighty percent of my coaching clients come from referrals. I’ve developed that success because I work really hard at establishing a relationship with every new person I meet.

They keep waiting for the sales pitch, the squeeze, the upsell. When it doesn’t come they are more apt to relax and engage with me.

I’m going to share a technique I use when I meet with someone for the first time and many of you have never met me, so you qualify! 🙂

I listen.

I write

I ask questions

Okay here it comes. If I were a bit more savvy when it comes to technology I’d do some music or thunder crashing or something like that.

While I’m doing all of the above I am scanning the amazing hard drive God presented me at birth, AKA, my brain. I am looking for a way to help the person with a situation they are having a problem with.

It may be a connection, a resource, or a solution to their situation. Something tangible, something real!

It’s not a tease. I don’t give them just enough to keep coming back for more (God, I hate when people do that to. Ya either care about me or ya don’t! Know what I mean Vern?)

There are no strings attached. I just don’t pump out a bunch of BS any moron with an internet connection and a phone could look up on their own. I give them hands on, valuable information based on my knowledge and experiences.

Then I wait. (Imagine a clock ticking or the final Jeopardy theme music playing in the back ground.)

I always get a response.

Sometimes it’s just a Thanks so much John and I never hear from them again. (See the seed failing to germinate. To use technical terms They aint my people.)

Sometimes it’s a I’d like to meet with you again, but right now my schedule is full. There is a lot of value in what you shared with me but right now I feel I’d be better served making my investment elsewhere.

It’s like Zig Ziglar once said: If you want to understand how people think all your have to do is look at a plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken made a contribution. The pig made a commitment.

Moving on.

Finally, there are the people who come back and want to know more, want to test me a bit. Are you the real deal or did you do this to squeeze me into an up sell? We meet again and then I let them ask ME, Talk to me about your coaching packages.

Just like the T.V. shows that save the world with forty one minutes of content, this relationship doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes weeks or months to cultivate.

It’s the seed that often produces a bumper crop.

So let me ask you: Where are you sowing your seeds?

*******************************************

Don’t want to miss and exciting and exhilarating post of A Heroes Journey? Like my Facebook Page – New Career Creations I post my blog there and you’ll get a notification when I publish. My intention is to publish twice each month.

Personal Development Is Not Playing “World of Warcraft.”

Featured

It’s not “Pour water on it and watch it grow,” either.

If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Lemme repeat: If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Okay, so how do I know?

Good question

Number 1: There is no, one, formula that works for everyone. The exciting part about our personal development journey is the journey! It’s exploring and testing and crashing and burning and having exciting and hair raising stories to tell. It is not paying a kings ransom, watching a video that’s set to auto-play and listening to how someone else’s enlightenment led them to make millions of dollars. That’s Their Story.

Number 2: You can’t buy your personal development from someone else. You have to experience it for yourself. That’s why the first word is “personal.” It has to be carved on your soul and psyche and it has to …………. wait for it…………. mean something to you and only you not the talking head getting ready to sell you the magic beans.

What motivates us is the personal reward, the sacrifice, the knowing at the end of the journey you stand tall and can say with confidence that you accomplished something.

The experience you have in your life may motivate someone else to begin exploring the lint in their own navel and run around shouting Eureka! That’s cool and all, but the true purpose of self-development is for us to dive deep and create behaviors that full fill us.

It’s a really personal experience which is why its called personal development. (Duh!).

Number 3: Patience. No one likes to hear that word, most of all me. I am no different than anyone else scampering around the planet trying to make sense of just what the heck is going on.

I want it all and I want it now.

When it doesn’t happen as quickly as we believe it should happen we do one of two things. We give up believing the journey to a balanced successful life is for us or we start finding fault with anything and everything to justify the inner turmoil.

Sometimes, we even take out a second mortgage in search of a guru who’ll fix us. When all is said and done all we have is a second mortgage.

It takes time. It takes trial and error and most of all it takes commitment and I gotta tell you there are days I’m not to terribly anxious to be committed. I do it because I know one day before I close my eyes for the last time it will come into focus and I’ll see it clearly. Every now and then I take a deep breath and realize I am just a millimeter farther up the road than I was yesterday. It’s within my grasp!

That’s progress

Progress with patience.

Finally, one of my readers wrote and asked if I called myself a business coach why was I always talking about life foundations and getting our stuff together? Shouldn’t I be opining on financial strategies, marketing and the like? ( I do but frankly I fall asleep writing about it.)

Lemme tell you something.

I have been doing this work for twenty years. I have seen people take off with a flourish, stumble a bit, catch their balance and take off again. I’ve seen people give me the old I got this John. Thanks for your help. See ya later. There never was a later. Something short circuited them.

No eyes wide open and all that stuff.

It’s really sorta simple. If there is no structure, no commitment or no balance in our personal life, why should there be any in our career or business life? There isn’t two of us in one skin. The me in my business is the same me that walks upstairs from my office or returns home from a client. It’s not a separation no matter how hard we try to will it to be.

It is not about reading books, listening to talks or climbing mountains. It’s about packing a sandwich and a bottle of water in your back pack walking out the door and heading out on your own, unique journey. It’s the journey designed just for you at the moment of your creation. It’s about me reading me and you reading you and when we do that’s when the genuine Eureka explodes.

It’s what makes me different as a coach. I coach ALL of you, not just the part that has the latest and greatest business idea. What twenty years of working with people and my own journey has taught me is that when you have your personal stuff together or as together as it can be at the moment – your personal finances, your health, your relationships both personal and professional – chances are you’re creating more of an advantage to succeed.

I’ll leave you with this.

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say ~JRR Tolkien

Namaste dear ones.

Come back next week, k?



Building Your Business One Relationship at a Time

Featured

I met Kevin about a month after I decided corporate America and everything that went with it wasn’t my thing anymore. I’d started a business coaching and HR consulting company.

If you’ve followed any of my posts, here, or elsewhere, you know that banner outside my front door would read “I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground!”

A friend told me about his boss who he thought could use me. He’d started his business ten years earlier. In the interim he’d built a pretty successful practice with a couple locations and had his eyes set on a few more.

Kevin was one of those people who knew what to touch and when to touch it and if he didn’t touch it chances are it wouldn’t work anyway. During our first meeting he readily admitted that he had no people skills and spent a lot of time in conflict with his team members. They stayed because the wage was good and he offered performance bonuses that weren’t a mainstream practice in his industry at the time.

He mighta been a jerk but he was smart jerk.

We met for coffee one morning and he was“professionally polite.” He told me he didn’t really have a need for my services and gave me a“Thanks for stopping by and have a nice day! Why are you still here?”

Yeah.

He started calling me every now and then, though. He’d ask a question or suggest we have lunch and pick my brain. I never thought much of it because the calls were far and few between. When I’d give him a suggestion I might get an email that said “Thanks for your help. Your advice worked out well for me.”

That was about it. Until one day…………..

The phone rang. It wasn’t Kevin. It was one of his managers. She asked if was I available for lunch?

I coulda told her I was busy, I mean I ain’t a social service agency but Kevin and I had established a relationship by then and BTW, I could have told him “pay me or quit calling me.”

There is a reason I didn’t.

My intuition told me there was some value in establishing that relationship. It could lead to other opportunities. Kevin was and is a leader and well respected in his community and sans the lack of people skills our values, both personal and professional were in alignment.

Marketing Messiah Russell Brunson said in a recent podcast. “Five good friends beats a hundred thousand subscribers any day.” I saw him as potentially one of those “good friends.”

There has to be a relationship first though. I mean I can teach my fourteen year old grand daughter how to sell something but learning to value people is something that takes time.

Anyways………..

When I sat down he looked across the table and said “I guess I need to start paying you, huh?

That relationship lasted almost 9 years.

If I drew one of those things that resemble a family tree he would be the trunk and the twelve or so referrals he gave me over the years would be the branches on the tree. He invited me to speak at a state conference for his industry as well as conduct his management retreats. He introduced me to a whole bunch of folks and even had me interviewed by a trade publication he was on the editorial board of.

Trust is not something you pour water on, stand back and watch it sprout in fifteen minutes. It comes from a cultivating a relationship and that, my friend, takes some time.

I coulda turned away after my first meeting with him or stopped taking his phone calls.

A number of people told me he was taking advantage of me being a newbie.

That, would make me just like everyone else. I ain’t, like everyone else.

I do have people skills and I do understand what it is like to run a business and be a coach and try to figure out stuff all on my own and I know that before I write a check I am gonna make damn sure the person I am writing it to knows what they are talking about. In the beginning Kevin would call every six to eight weeks and ask if I had a minute to talk. It was a test and when I passed that test I was given another one so that by the time he had a real issue he knew the value of my services because he’d seen tangible results from the issues I helped him with in the past.

We don’t create trust on the golf course or at the tapas bar. It comes when people SEE our integrity in action not just hear us blather on about it.

The relationships? It’s why we do what we do anyways. Ain’t it?

A Question of Balance

Featured

11,910,000,000

This is how many results Google told me it had when I searched for Starting Your Own Business. It’s a popular topic. It seems everyone has an opinion on what it takes from going to where you are at to getting where you want to be.

Make sense?

A lot of it is sound advice – Incorporation options, types of insurance you might need to carry for your business. Stuff like that.

But ya know what?

I saw nothing about creating balance in your life BEFORE you decided that you’d be be hob-nobbing with Elon Musk.

Nothing.

Cue the crickets chirping

Okay, I didn’t review all 11,910,000,000 results, but you get my drift.

I’ve been doing what I do for the past twenty years. I have helped all sorts of people, all shapes and sizes and all with creative ideas. I’m not sure what that makes me in the pantheon of coaching and I don’t think it’s bragging to say I’ve learned a thing or two during those twenty years.

So………… Before you hop in full-tilt-boogie, print up business cards and sink a ton of money into one of those a-million-dollars-in six months programs, consider doing this first.

Create some balance in your life!

When I conduct a discovery session, I ask a question.

Tell me what you do to cope with the stress in your life? Do you remember the Atari game Asteroid? You moved a cursor back and forth while enemy space ships hurled bombs at you from on high. The more bombs you destroyed, the quicker the next wave came at you. The more you concentrated on destroying all the bombs the more bombs came.

Does that sound like your life? Hint, hint. It sure does sound like mine. Know what I mean Vern?

I get a lot of stock answers. I run, I golf, I take long walks.

I ask if there is time during the day for you to close your eyes for ten minutes or so and focus on relaxing; centering, setting an intention or simply allowing yourself an oasis in time to relax. I ask if they are open to learning how to practice that technique effectively.

It’s called meditation and you don’t have to hover off of the ground and chant or wear a flowing robe while burning incense. Unless that’s your thing. It allows your mind and body to shift into neutral to create a restore point of clarity.

Sorta the drain cleaner of the spiritual realm.

Starting and maintaining your business will require you to test the limits of your internal resources. Imagine if you never changed the oil on your vehicle or never replaced the filter on your furnace. In a while things would break down.

When we are stressed,tired and frustrated we make mistakes.

Lemme tell you a story.

A few years ago I was working on a promotion for Small Business Week. I was offering potential entrepreneurs a special coaching package. I worked on it for a couple of weeks and published it with a link to my special offer. I waited, and waited, and waited.

While I was crafting my path to fame I was juggling at least three other projects and, oh yeah, I was way too busy to shift into neutral and meditate. Too busy! Business is Business. That hippy stuff can wait. Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos don’t meditate. Do they?

After two weeks I had zero responses. Huh! These people must be half crazy not to take advantage of this offer.

The phone rang. (No kidding it really did!) A friend called to ask me if I knew that you can’t insert a link to another page and then save the page as a JPEG file. (I swear to God he was stifling a laugh.) It won’t connect. When I hung up I checked the page. He was right. No one could register because I was too busy to sit down, chill out and think things through.

I’m a By-God-Entrepreneur.

The only person I could blame was me!

Ever done that? Blamed yourself for something and then slid down the murky slide of self doubt. It’s like getting muck stuck on your shoes in the horse barn. The harder you try to get it off, the messier it gets.

I am going to ask you to do something for yourself for one week. I am asking you to remove the distractions when you’re working on a project or offering and turn your phone off!

I learned a technique a few years ago that is a big aid in organizing my time and being productive when I need to be productive.

Yup, it’s an egg timer. When I sit down to work on a project or prepare for a coaching session I set the timer for thirty minutes. When the bell dings I stop and walk away from my desk and whatever it is I’m working on.

I am able to disengage.

That’s one example. I’m sure you can discover other ways throughout your day to take some time and recharge your batteries. You don’t need to become a Zen master or a yoga guru to get the benefit of creating an oasis in time.

Best of luck to you and I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together!

Featured

It Begins With a Dream

Saturday was a gorgeous day in a string of gorgeous days we’d experienced over the past week. I decided it was time for a visit to my local farmers market.

Apparently so did everyone else.

The place was packed – Like wall to wall packed. I drove around for five minutes before I found a place to park. Then I had to walk a block to the venue.

As I was approaching the market I heard music. Not recorded music. Live music. A voice and a guitar. Huh, that’s new, I thought.

I came over a small rise and saw a sea of people all angling for the best spot to get their onions and tomatoes.

In the corner was a young woman sitting on a stool, oblivious to the throng around her. She sat with her eyes closed playing her guitar and singing. When she finished one song she took a drink of water and launched into the next song.

I noticed something. No one else was listening to her play. They were pushing, shoving, waving to friends and neighbors and floating past her. No one seemed to notice, much less care.

While I watched her perform I noticed the crowds reaction didn’t appear to phase her. She wasn’t playing for anyone but herself. She knew that one day, in some way, maybe someone else would notice and then a whole bunch of someone else’s would find her message and find that her style resonated with them. She was living her dream and it was her dream. No one else’s. You could tell by the look on her face that it gave her great joy.

We talk a lot about joy and passion and stuff like that but I wonder do we really tap into who we are and what we’re doing in our own unique way?

I’m driving home and thinking about all the times I stuffed my dreams in a neat receptacle and followed the flow of the crowd. I mean, it made me some money but it didn’t feed my soul. Being a child of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s I realized, much to my chagrin, that I’d sold out.

I fell off the tracks when I didn’t immerse myself in my dream. I kept it at arms length. That way, it couldn’t challenge me. It couldn’t laugh at me. I stood back and poked at it, refined, made excuses for it but never asking it to dance with me.

I was an observer, not a participant.

That was my ah-ha moment.

I’ve taken a step back and paused. For someone who’s been working since he was twelve years old that’s a damned hard thing to do. It’s not in my DNA.

For the past six weeks or so I’ve been on a conscious journey to get back to my roots, back to where the dream began. It’s getting back to where I started. A kid sitting in a park, writing poems for people. Someone who believed in the shear joy of life and everything it entailed. Someone who got excited and all jazzed up about the smallest of things that caused other people to whisper about his sanity.

Someone who is happy and fulfilled.

Someone who drinks in the small things in life and unpacks their joy.

In his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, author Joseph Campbell shares something called The Hero’s Journey. It describes our journey from the known into the unknown and creates a new known. That journey, the journey each of us makes a dozen times or more in their lives is a journey fraught with danger, perils and dissappointments.

It’s also a journey filled with amazing discovery and unbridled joy.

I don’t expect you to be as jazzed as I am, but if you are – Welcome to my dream.

Stay tuned, there is more to come.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone, And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Featured

Success Begins With Learning to Bring Our “A” Game

Our thirteen year old grand daughter had a flute recital a few Sundays ago.

Some of the performers were seniors in high school and had been preforming since they were six. She is in eighth grade.

She was nervous at the start but regained her composure and acquitted herself well. Given the short time she had been playing I thought she did extremely well.

She didn’t concur.

She was mortified.

When we gathered around her afterwards she pronounced that she wasn’t pleased with her performance and looked on the verge of tears. She rattled off a whole list or errors and faults.

Driving home that afternoon I reflected on a time when I felt the same way she had felt after her perfomance.

A few years ago a connection of mine invited me to attend a visitors day their networking group was hosting. I’d been in business for fifteen years at the time and felt more than confident in my ability to impress this group.

When the day came I sat around a table with twenty five other people. Each had a minute to talk about their business. When all the members were finished, visitors had the same opportunity.

Did I tell you I was pretty confident?

When the time came for me to speak I stumbled and fumbled and pretty soon an alarm went off and the timekeeper cried Next person!

I was embarrassed. A large part of me wanted to eat a few more donuts and get the heck out of there, never to return. A voice inside of me said Hey buddy, this is the major leagues!! Guess what? You don’t belong here!

I was tempted to thank the person who invited me, stop at a hardware store on the way home, buy a shovel, dig a hole, crawl in, never to be heard from again. I was hosting a fully catered pity party with me as the honored guest. The more I thought about it the angrier I became. The world the universe, the cosmos was to blame. Everyone but me.

As I sputtered along vowing to get the person who invited me to attend in the first place, the words of Joyce Meyer somehow crept into my psyche. You can be pitiful or you can be powerful but you can’t be both.

Which means what? I answered!

I don’t know about you but when my self inflicted misery is in full tilt boogie mode you better not get in my way. Know what I mean, Vern?

I knew what it meant. I didn’t want to know, but I did. My mom used to put it a little less delicately. Sh*t or get off the pot!

It took a few days a few weeks but I realized my anger stemmed from my misaligned belief that just because I thought I was all that plus a bag of chips the rest of the world hadn’t taken notice !

I went back to that networking group and I am glad I did. In the two plus years I spent with them I learned a lot. A lot about business, life and relationships. I became a better coach because I was with people who challeneged me to become better.

Sometime in the near future I am going to share that story with my granddaughter and I am going to add the three things I learned from the experience.

You deserve to be successful. If you don’t believe in your ability to succeed in life, why should anyone else? The knowledge that we deserve success is a powerful motivator. It’s going all-in. It’s believing that you really can accomplish whatever you want. It sets you apart from those who simply “phone it in.” It means that you know who you are and the price you want to pay to get there and;

You are worth all the effort you invest in yourself. Success is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. When you believe you deserve success the effort you invest to obtain it almost comes naturally. Practice can be dull, boring and sometimes frustrating. But, just when there is no end in sight, we have a breakthrough. The breakthrough comes from hard work and dedication. IOW(In other words,) There is no magic!

I would stand before the bathroom mirror and rehearse my one minute commercial each week until I felt it was natural and sincere. When I walked into the meeting room I knew what I was going to say and what the impact was supposed to be on my audience. My success came from a lot of boring hours staring at myself in the mirror, week after week, working on my delivery.

You can read all the books you want be inspired by the guru’s and poo-ru’s in the galaxy but it means squat unless you embrace the next thing I’ve learned in life:

You are who you hang around with. It’s so important to choose wisely. The people who invest in themselves and believe in themselves associate with other people who feel the same way. Those people lift us up, they challenge us to be better. They are not the status quo. We learn from them and we copy or emulate their behavior and add our own unique flare.

Those people, the people who lift us up don’t understand good enough! They believe in excellence, which BTW (By the Way) has absolutely nothing to do with the perfection that often causes us to crash and burn. Excellence means you are making your point, walking your walk or singing your song better than the other folks in lock step with you.

It also means that those other people who are motivated and believe in themselves will challenge you to become better.

You have to ask yourself what it is you want from life and when you discover it, devote yourself to getting it.

It’s called bringing your A Game. It’s called being the best you. When we learn that we have learned a lot.

Remember the lesson of the seed too in its sending a shoot down so that it may be rooted and grounded, while at the same time it sends a shoot up to be the plant and flower that shall gladden the world. from God Calling

Featured

There is No Business Like Your Business!

Can I tell you a story?

A few years ago I received a call from the owner of a local nursery. He was teetering on the brink of disaster and the bank, which held a note on the business, decided it was time to get involved.

They nursery sold flowers and vegetable plants; shrubs and trees as well as the equipment to go with it. His grand father founded the business at the tail end of The Great Depression. They had a great location, right next to a busy mall. He was a local celebrity of sorts. He had a weekly radio show where he dispensed wisdom on all things plants and shrubs. He had a five acre series of green houses a few miles from the nursery.

Everything went well until……….

(((Dramatic pause here.)))

Until a big box store opened about a half of mile away. You know, one of those places that sold in volume. Business went from booming, to slow to almost non existent. If I can buy three trays of flowers for the same price you sell one tray for, where do you think I am going to shop?

That’s when the bank decided to get involved. Banks do not care about how long we’ve been in business or all of our past successes. Banks care about getting the money they lent us repaid and they don’t care about “how.” They care about the “when.” There is one universal truth I can share confidently with you: You don’t want your banker running your business!

The bank hired a consultant to analyze the business and create a recovery plan. The consultant knew a lot about consulting. You might say they were famous. They knew very little about the nuances of a family run business and all the challenges that go with managing it. They analyzed, interviewed, and analyzed some more. They poked, prodded and nodded. They gathered everyone in the small conference area. With solemn faces they pronounced that while the business was in critical condition it could be saved.With their help.

By now the owner felt like he’d been hit up along side of the head with a four by four. He nodded his head pulled out his check book in ascent and the consultant told them that he would be back.

I am going to fast forward.

All of the information the consultant shared was valuable. Valuable in a “thirty thousand foot view” sorta way. You couldn’t argue with any of it. But none of it solved the problem of how the nursery was going to compete with the big box store down the road. No one asked:

What makes your nursery unique and special and how are you going to leverage that quality to stand out in your market?

What no one understood was there is no business like his (yours, our) business and that while it’s easy to throw a few MBA type solutions at an issue; situations, circumstances and markets are like the micro climates in southern California. They often vary from street to street and business to business.

No one asked the owner.

The owner was equally as culpable. He was searching for a magic elixir that didn’t exist. He wanted a quick fix. If it got the bank off of his back he’d have done just about anything.

A year later the shop stood empty. The bank eventually foreclosed and the property was sold. Today it’s a convenience store with a gas station.

It’s true. There is no business like your business.

Mine either.

Featured

To Thy Own Self Be True

The last full conversation I had with my dad was a joke.

Seriously, it was a joke. It was a groaner and I guess I should have locked it in my memory for posterity and tender memories and all that stuff but I didn’t. That wasn’t my dad.

Six days later he went to be with the Lord. He’d been living with a host of ailments for the last 6 months and contrary to those stories you read about 95 year old’s running their first marathon your body begins to wear about when you are getting ready to turn 88.

His was. Wearing down that is.

He called me on a Saturday evening and said he had a joke to tell me. He’d heard it from my sister. It was unusual for him to call. My mom always made the phone calls and when you’d ask how dad was feeling she’d pull the phone away from her ear and shout:

Tommy, John wants to know how you’re feeling!

Get my drift.

So I was taken by surprise. He told me his joke, we talked about sports for a few minutes and he said That’s all I needed. Talk with you soon.

But we didn’t. three days later my sister Mary called and said those words I didn’t want to hear. You probably need to come up here. I don’t think it’s going to be much longer.

I am not for certain how many years I have left. I hope quite a few, but when you’re almost 66 you start thinking about your end game.

I don’t act 66. I prefer to associate with younger people and I’m not much for sitting around thinking about the old days. There are folks I hold in my heart but I’m always looking ahead not backward.

That’s who I am. That’s who I’ll always be

I had a good teacher.

My dad was one thing, consistent.

You always knew where you stood and he was easy to anticipate. He never changed. Ask him a question and in most case you already knew the answer

He was we are fond of saying comfortable in his own skin.

I thought about him the other day. I was talking with a coaching client and he told me that one day he just wanted to be like…….

My in box is full of people wanting me to be just like them and for a kings ransom they will show me how it’s done.

But really, they can’t.

You see I cant be anyone other than who I am, and who I was meant to be. It’s like our DNA. There may be similarities with other folks but basically you and I are one of kind.

No matter how hard we try to emulate fill in the blank, we never will.

Look, I been there and done that and I can tell you the main reason I was so attracted to someone elses success pattern: It’s a whole lot easier then carving out your own path.

But in the end I was never as successful as the other guy.

We invest a lot of time and resource in running away from ourselves and becoming something we were never intended to be to begin with.

The key to your success is pulling apart your own DNA and seeing what suprises it has in store for you.

Featured

3 Ways to Get Better Results From Your Network Experience.

“First you must be visible in the community.You must get out there and connect with people. It’s not called net-sitting or net-eating. It’s called networking. You must work at it.” Dr Ivan Misner


Hey. Mr. You-Know-Everybody! You wouldn’t happen to know where I could find a bee keeper? 

I did. Well, I knew someone whose mother was a beekeeper. My doctor’s office was next to a field and when he went to his car at lunch it was surrounded by a swarm of bees. He was allergic to bee stings. A connection I’d met at a local networking event told me his mom was a beekeeper one day while were having coffee.

So what does my doctor, and a bee keeper have to do with networking?

I network for three reasons.

  •        To build my referral network
  •        To test out a new program or product on a live audience
  •        To educate people on who I am and what I do.

There is no magic formula. I attend multiple events each week. There are weeks I will use more that one strategy depending on the group I’m with. If I am a first-time participant, they will hear about who I am and what I do. If I’ve been attending on a regular basis I may talk about my most recent program offering.

It isn’t what happens at the networking experience itself. It’s what happens before and afterwards that determines your success. When I am looking to add new people to my referral network, that’s where my focus is concentrated.

When I enter the room for the event I know why I am there for who I want to connect with AFTER the event is over. Sometimes it’s a brand-new connection in an area a client may need some assistance for. Sometimes its renewing a business relationship that I’ve not cultivated in a while.

Look at it this way: The event you go to once a week for 90 minutes or so is simply a staging area or a springboard for building your business. I believe that’s where we get confused at times.

If I walk in the door and am not sure what my purpose is in being there why should you want to engage with me and learn more about me? If I’m not crystal clear on my purpose and intentions I am asking you to pick through the mine field of my mind and try to figure out exactly what I am trying to say.

There are three things you can do to help yourself be more effective.

Prepare  I cringe when I hear someone say I don’t really have a lot to say today. I’ve been busy. Take ten minutes the night before and prepare. If it’s a group I meet with frequently and most people know who I am I’ll concentrate on a program or an educational moment. Something they’ll remember when they walk away from me.

Engage  No one likes to listen to some one drone on about themselves. Engage a group by starting with a question that pertains to your topic. It gets them involved and makes them feel included. Ask for their advice or ask what they know about something. In short, they become part of my short presentation. A bonus happens when one of their ideas or observations is something you can use in the future.

Be memorable (What’s Your Story)  The way you can tell the contenders from the pretenders is to listen to their story. Have they lived what they are talking about or did they read about it?

confused mind

Have they gone through the experience, know where the trap doors are and how to avoid some of the banana peels? It’s how I found out that one of the folks I network with has a mother who is a beekeeper. They told the story of learning first hand how their mom started a home-based honey business complete with bee hives. That’s something I remembered, and that memory became a referral.

One last thing.

Business working is hard work. It’s  not magic.