Personal Development Is Not Playing “World of Warcraft.”

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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

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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?

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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