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You Believe You Are the Best, Right?

The first part of this blog came from a posting I made on social media earlier this week

Well arent you?

Stop and think about it for a minute. I did the other day and I didn’t like what I came up with.

Here I am, asking people to invest their time and money in working with me, to help them reach their life and business goals and I don’t always believe I am the very best there is in my field. I’m telling them that since they don’t deserve the best they might as well settle for me.

Here I am acting like I wanted to take Jim Nabors spot on Gomer Pyle Oh, gee, golly gosh. I’m not THAT good.

Somewhere, somehow, we’ve morphed into a place and time where championing your ability to be excellent at what you do ends up getting a finger shook in your face sorta like Nancy Pelosi shaking her finger at Donald Trump awhile back.

Imagine getting ready to have major surgery and the doctor looks down at you and says I’m gonna do my best. Hopefully you’ll live through the surgery. Don’t worry. I’m pretty good at what I do.

I am not talking about the “You-rah-rah” BS. I am talking about you! You, the person that has worked and studied and sweated and banged your hands in frustration, shed some tears and wondered if you don’t belong locked up somewhere because it doesn’t seem like anyone is ever listening to you. You’ve invested a lot of time and effort to become the expert that you are. Why shouldn’t the rest of us see you as well.

You have put in the sweat equity. You deserve to claim the title “Best of the Best” in what you do!

The secret to your excellence? It’s really simple. You do what you do because you love what you do. You do what you do because you cannot see yourself doing anything else and when you have a string of failures and people start suggesting you might wanna move on to something else you look at them like they’re speaking Klingon. They don’t get it.

Want to know how I know? There is only of you and there will only be one of you. There a trillion of “everyone else’s,” but there is only one of you. There are a group of people who will follow you to the end of the earth because of who you are and what you believe not only about yourself but about the ability to be great at what you do. In a word you resonate with them.

That, is, so, cool! (I put the comma’s in there for emphasis.)

I am spending more time making sure my core values – honesty, integrity and only delivering what I know I can deliver remain intact despite the siren song that tugs at me every now and then to just be like everyone else . I am a what-you-see-is-what-you-get-sorta-guy.

I care about the people I work with. I know that violates one of them-there coaching rules that you are supposed to be objective otherwise you cant guide them. I care that they find success and happiness.

I am learning that each of you is a unique human being, special in each and every way that I am special and that your needs are as unique as mine. So I won’t ever hand you a sheet a paper, tell you to follow instructions, take three Ibuprofen and call me in the morning.

I am learning to listen with my heart and soul. To dig deeply as I listen and ask myself what I’m really hearing.

I have embraced the motto To they own self be true, not to the latest fad or practice.

I am the best mindset-life-business coach I know.

What about you?

Living In the Here and Now

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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

5 Things That Can Help Deal With Perfection Syndrome.

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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

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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

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?

A Question of Balance

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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!

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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