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Posts tagged ‘purpose’

Trusting Life: Just Could Be Your Big Break!

We hear repeatedly from people that they would not change their past for anything – even in the case of tragedies. The reason most given: the lessons learned brought their life to a beautiful place that they never could have even imagined. Do we really need to go through some of these experiences – over and over, to learn some of our lessons?? (I can think of a few I wouldn’t have minded skipping!) I believe the answer is in fact: NO- if we had been living more consciously to begin with… and had identified the first warning signs. But alas, paraphrasing Oprah: first you hear the whisper, then the nudge, then you get a brick upside yo’ head – then the whole damn brick wall falls down all around yo’self!!! Our intuition and our subconscious sees and feels things that aren’t right for us before our conscious mind does, and either creates or tunes into the warnings. If we are living mindlessly, we miss the signs again and again; with practice at being still, listening to our souls, checking in with our bodies, we become more adept at sensing these signs, and believing them the first time!

I came across this fun story of Mark Schulman, a philanthropist and renowned drummer for folks like Foreigner, Billy Idol, Pink, and a situation that he found himself in that could have sent a brick wall tumbling on his career. His story of grace is a reminder of the power of intuition and our choices, and how attitude really can break us – or bring the big break to us.

Mark Schulman

Aaay Oh…Attitude of Opportunity

by Mark Schulman

Be independent of the
good opinion of others!

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

I was rehearsing at the infamous and now defunct, Leed’s Rehearsal Studios in 1992, hired by a local artist with money to do a showcase. While rehearsing, I befriended the manager of Leeds who suggested I audition for Foreigner. I had been a big fan of the band years earlier. At the time I was also touring on and off with an R& B artist named Bobby Caldwell who was known for writing, producing and playing every instrument on his big hit, What You Won’t Do For Love. I loved playing with Bobby. I am a hard hitting drummer and Bobby actually asked me to play harder at one point; I have loved him ever since.

I auditioned for Foreigner in this big airplane hanger. At the time, it was just Mick Jones (the guitar player and founder of the band) and Johnny, the new lead singer/bass player. I was happy with my current situation, so I felt no sense of the desperation or urgency musicians sometimes feel when they are between gigs. This gave me an advantage because I decided to have fun instead of feeling pressure to get the job. This lack of attachment to an outcome was empowering. Because of this Attitude, I just had fun. We jammed on all new song ideas. Mick was not interested in hearing me play any old Foreigner tunes, he just wanted to see what we could create now, and how much fun we could have. I had no idea at the time that the session was being recorded.

Yes you!I also had the Attitude that I was auditioning them. This may sound strange, but by then, as I was in a fortunate place at the time, I decided to be only interested in situations that suited me.

I decided to be more selective about what I allowed into my life.

I believe they sensed this. I also believe that it made me more appealing to the band.

When we listened back to the recordings, we were rockin’. We hung out a bit more, I thanked them for the experience and I left. Within a few days, I got a call from Foreigner’s management telling me that they had narrowed it down to me and another drummer. They wanted to bring us both into the studio for a full day of recording to see how our talents translated on tape. The following week, I went into a studio in Silverlake, California and recorded for about 12 hours. I had fun, they had fun and apparently they were quite happy with my Attitude, Behavior and the recorded tracks. A few days later, I got a call from management to let me know that I was the new drummer for Foreigner.

Strangely, a month passed with no word from Foreigner’s management. Glad I had kept all of my current irons in the fire. I kept working with Bobby Caldwell and playing gigs and sessions in L.A. Finally Kevin Jones, Mick’s brother (and road manager) called with the news that the original singer, the infamous, Lou Gramm was returning to the band. The silence was because they were negotiating the details of his return.

At this point, I was genuinely excited! Lou was the voice of Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded, Urgent and I Want to Know What Love Is…This situation now became quite an opportunity for me. The band renegotiated their deal with Atlantic records and hired new management. They had grand plans to record and release a new record and put together a world tour. Additionally, they wanted to make me and the other sidemen, Bruce, Jeff and Thom, actual band members! Up to this point in my career with signed acts; I had always been a hired gun, an employee. This was actualizing one of my childhood dreams of being in a famous band. Then things got strange.

ForeignerAgain, I didn’t hear from the Foreigner camp for many weeks. I was the new drummer of Foreigner, but I heard on the street that Foreigner was recording some new tracks. When I heard this, I immediately called Kevin Jones to find out what was happening. Kevin sheepishly confessed that they hired a producer named Keith Forsey to co-write and produce some new tracks. Keith was the original drummer for Donna Summer in the Disco era and became the protégé for famed producer, Giorgio Moroder. His first major production project was a new solo artist named Billy Idol. Keith facilitated Billy’s success and co-wrote and produced some of Billy’s biggest hits. He also played the drums on Dancin with Myself.

Keith had not heard of me and as a drummer himself, he was quite discriminating about the drum tracks. He chose to bring in his preferred recording drummer, Tal Bergman (a fantastic drummer/producer who has since become another friend of mine) to record with Foreigner. As you can imagine, I was floored to hear this. I felt like my girlfriend had just cheated on me and everyone know but me!

This turned out to be a defining moment for me,
a moment of reaction versus opportunity.

In as much as I felt like screaming, kicking and punching someone, I chose to ask Kevin for Keith’s number. He was a bit caught off guard, but he gave it to me anyway.

I got off the phone and called Keith before my mind could come up with reasons not to! I figured that by now, he must at least know my name. I was on a mission. I believed that this gig was mine and I was going to do whatever I could to own it. There were many things out of my control, but there were definitely things within the realm of what I could do…

Next: Aghh! What Happened to Mark?? (page 2)

Oh – You Want To Be Happy TOO??

Ever Gotten What You Wanted…
But It Didn’t Make You Happy?

Humans just SO messed up somewhere along the way.  Society…parenting…education system – no point in sourcing blame, just follow Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” philosophy, I reckon.  I’m referring to our belief that we have to compare materialismourselves to anyone or anything. There’s a predominant conditioning in these parts that our lives (thus happiness) are measured in stages of development and accomplishments – and man, doesn’t that make the years fly?!!  Baby should be walking by X, talking by X… and all of a sudden you have this little person – when did that happen?  You master the alphabet by Y and algebra by Z – then suddenly you should be grown up… and you need to have a career, a partner, money in the bank and a retirement plan… and when you beat yourself up for another 20 years for not having all of that by 30 – because that’s OLD and you SHOULD, your negative thoughts and their impact on your body set you up perfectly for illness; and if you don’t die then, you try so hard to mash all of your bucket list into the next 10 years and enjoy yourself – dammit, that you’re too exhausted to revel in the golden years that you worked your a** off for – then you die. Sure, there are some happy moments in there – but are they really?  With so many adults struggling at 40-50-60 to still figure out “who” they are – something is fundamentally wrong.  “YOU” is innate; happiness is innate: we’re born that way because we’re suppose to live that way.  We humans mess it up with our mindless thinking and pointless, soul-raping comparisons.

Howz about we re-write the plan a little.  Parents are all full of the “you are perfect just the way you are, honey – you can be whatever you want to be” mantra – – but here it comes… in your head without skipping a beat… the conditioned ending to that thought: “but only if you demonstrate that you reach XYZ by XYZ timeframe just like Olivia in your class”. Silent, but  loud.  You’d never say that to the kids, I know, but face it, there is no “modelling” if YOU don’t know who YOU are, folks: you have to live it to sell it to the kids. Let’s work on a subtle shift of awareness – pay attention; SUPPORT your kid to really BE who they are. Let’s permit and assist them – and each other, to take this inborn identity and play with it, explore it, and do with it whatever is so chosen.  Milestones are great – but pick out a few flat ones to skip in the river: it just might amaze you.  A good start is to abandon the need for comparison to any other person, norm, median measurement in our life philosophies; and while making this transition within our measurement-crazy society, let’s reinforce any type of “assessment” to be perceived as a personal goal to attain higher knowledge or skill – – and to make it commonplace that we personally buy into any goal in the first place as something desired to enhance our own life or spirit.

Dr. Judith Wright has a relatable view on the subject, including a perspective within the workplace:

And I want it delivered

I had gotten what I wanted by my late 20s. I had set–and met–my goals; I had gotten all A’s, achieved career success, lost weight, had a handsome boyfriend, volunteered, and was doing good work in the world developing model programs for people with disabilities.

I had what I wanted–but I was unfulfilled. Dissatisfied. I expected that I’d be thrilled, but I was far from it. Even though my friends said I had it all and how lucky I was, I didn’t feel lucky. Then I felt guilty that this wasn’t enough and I thought I needed to do better, do more, be better.

So, I worked harder and partied more and achieved more goals and lost more weight and bought more cool stuff and did more cool stuff and I still wasn’t satisfied. I still felt that nagging emptiness.

It turns out I was miswanting–what positive psychologists say is wanting something that you mistakenly think will make you happy, with an emphasis on MISTAKEN.

We all do it. We are what scientists call poor “affective forecasters”—which means we pretty much suck at predicting what will make us happy.

I was getting what I wanted, but that wasn’t making me happy, satisfied, or fulfilled. And I found out I wasn’t alone in this. So many people were coming to our company for coaching Having everything you desire is not normalor personal and professional development trainings who seemed to have it all—great accomplishments, busy lives filled with great activities—but just like me they felt empty and unfulfilled, like something was missing. We thought the secret to happiness is to set and meet new goals, get another promotion, buy a new place, do yoga and meditate, do a seminar and our vision boards, tone our bodies and volunteer, scout for cool places to go to and cool people to go with…

Yet, none of these things will make us happy unless we unlock the real secret of happiness– which is not about getting what we want, but about fulfilling our yearnings.

The act of wanting gives a dopamine high, that anticipation of reward, that quick buzz, the rush of excitement, that burst of energy… but it doesn’t make us happy or provide long-term fuel of fulfillment. It doesn’t keep us warm at night, make us love our lives, help us respect and be proud of who we are when we look in the mirror, or make us satisfied about our contribution to the world or the legacy we’ll leave at the end of our lives.

Yearning is the true desire under all of our activity, all our goals, all those stabs at self improvement—the yearnings we all have to love and be loved, to be seen and heard, to touch and be touched, to matter, to connect, to belong, to excel, to make a difference. We want to get that promotion, but chances are we yearn to be seen, affirmed, or respected. We want to check our Facebook page, but at a deeper level we yearn to connect.

Believe - you already have it all

And when we are in touch with that deeper yearning, and know what we truly desire, everything shifts. Then we aren’t doing things so that when we get it, achieve it, or buy it we’ll be happy. We start to do things that meet our yearnings directly, and then we find that we actually accomplish more and we are more nourished and fulfilled in the process. When we are with a client or on a sales call, we focus on our yearning to connect, and we serve that client more deeply and tend to make more sales as a result. Whether we are making dinner or making love or making widgets, we are aware of our yearning to nourish and be nourished, to love and be loved, or to excel. The process is fulfilling and we’re not just waiting for the result or…uh…the climax, to be satisfied.

I discovered that I really yearned to love and be loved, to matter, to belong, to make a difference. And, that I was trying to “earn” love by my achievements and trying to prove I mattered through my accomplishments. I saw that what would really satisfy me wasn’t just doing more, or being better, or partying more; it was deeper. It was being present to what I yearned for inside my heart, being more conscious, feeling more fully.

Guess he missed the point.

By focusing on the goal,
I was missing the point.

By following my yearning, I’m more satisfied and fulfilled and meeting more “goals” than I could have imagined. I’m discovering things I wouldn’t have even been able to state as a goal before. It’s like I’m emerging and transforming as I stretch and engage in life to meet my yearnings. Rather than waiting for some future outcome, I’m more spontaneous and in the moment. It’s a messier way to live, I’m not so “perfect,” and I make a lot of mistakes by experimenting on the journey, but it’s a juicier, more exciting, more fulfilling way to live.

My yearnings while writing this? To share, to connect, to make a difference, and hopefully, to ignite some yearnings in you. Forget what we want, let’s go for what we yearn for instead.

Yearn, baby, yearn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

adapted from The Daily Love Blog, June 20, 2013

Judith WrightJUDITH is hailed as a peerless educator, world-class coach, lifestyles expert, inspirational speaker, best-selling author, and corporate consultant. She is called one of America’s Ultimate Experts”, featured on 20/20, Oprah, the Today show, and in Marie Claire, Fitness, and Health as well as The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, and The Detroit Free Press. Judith is the author of The One Decision and The Soft Addiction Solution. Judith’s latest venture is as president of The Wright Graduate Institute for the Realization of Human Potential.

If There Was a Door to an Extraordinary Life…

Reach for what you want.Would You Open It?

Duh!  It seems the obvious answer doesn’t it?

Now, what if there was some manageable pain involved – would that be a fair compromise, or would that be a dealbreaker? Hmmmm. The answer still seems pretty obvious, but obvious does not mean simple.

Coach and author Barrie Davenport has a great blog Live Bold and Bloom, where she shares both her philosophy and those of guest authors on taking action to create your best life. She shares a love of the quote by Anais Nin that I have chosen as one of my personal mantras, (on sidebar at right), and states her personal mission as follows:

I’ve learned that the only way to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually, is by stretching yourself. Not by practicing Yoga (although that’s a great stretch too!), but by doing something that might not feel natural at first. In fact, it might feel a bit uncomfortable. It’s easy to live inside our closed up buds. But wouldn’t you rather open up and bloom gloriously? Wouldn’t you rather live the life of your dreams instead of just dreaming about it? Part of my life dream is helping others discover their own. That is my calling.”

This is an article by Barrie, encouraging us to take action in our lives; pick even one area and stretch your awareness, your potential, your self… and thus your enjoyment of life.  (I especially like the find a mentor part!!)

20 Ways to Stretch Yourself

by Barrie Davenport

“Sound when stretched is music. Movement when stretched is dance. Mind when stretched is meditation. Life when stretched is celebration.” ~Shri Shri Ravishankar Jee

How much do you want from life? Right now, stop for a moment and think about one word you would use to describe your life today. Got it? If you knew you could open a door that would lead you to an even more fulfilling and extraordinary life, would you open it? What if there was some manageable pain involved? Well, here’s the good news and the bad news: that door does exist, but almost always, the pain does to.

All growth involves some level of discomfort. But the discomfort is short-lived. The growth is forever.

Where the magic happens.If you view life as a circle, most of us live  inside that circle where everything is comfortable and familiar. Occasionally, we might be forced outside by unexpected circumstances, and the brave among us might take a moment to look around at this new and scary landscape. But mostly, we scurry back to the safety of our circle.

Here’s a truth you already know: really bold leaps in our personal growth and quality of life happen only when step outside of that circle and keep walking.

The world has so much to offer — great adventures, interesting people, beauty, learning, emotional development, profound experiences. And we have such a short time on this planet — somewhere around 30,000 days if we live to our mid-eighties.

Why do we resist stretching ourselves beyond our circles when real living is on the other side?

Here are some of the reasons:

  • We fear the unknown. It might be worse than what we have now.
  • We fear failure and looking bad in the eyes of others.
  • We fear success. It will require more of us.
  • We have limiting beliefs about what we “should” do and can do.
  • We don’t believe we are deserving.
  • We don’t want to offend other people.
  • We can’t or won’t imagine how truly amazing life could be.
  • We think it will require resources we don’t have.
  • We don’t like discomfort.

On that 30,000th day, don’t look back on your life and say, “If only. . . .” Life is a string of “right nows.” Whatever it is that you hope might happen in the future won’t happen unless you are doing something about it right in this very moment. Living outside of your circle doesn’t mean you have to go climb Mt. Everest or make a million dollars (unless that’s what you want to do). It does mean shifting up to the next level. Some stretches might move you forward a little, and some might propel you into an entirely new world. Both are good. All forward movement is good.

The key is to take action. Don’t sit around waiting for something to happen in your life. Make it happen.

Here are some practical ideas for doing just that:

1.  Start with awareness. By reading this article, you are probably thinking about your life and how it could be better, more exceptional. Recognize right now that more is possible for you, and it can be achieved.

2.  Access what you want. What do you want to achieve, learn, accomplish, enjoy and understand? Create a list with categories for career, family, travel, self-development, education or any others that apply to your life. Under each category, write down your heart’s desire — without limitations.

Leap List

3.  Pick your top five. Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything on your list. You will not be able to do everything. But you can do many things and still make your life profoundly better. For now, pick your top five, but hold on to your list.

4.  Pick something easy. Create momentum and excitement by starting with an easy goal. Something that won’t involve too much of a stretch. Maybe it’s a trip you’ve wanted to take or a class you have been thinking about. Choose one item from your stretch list. When it’s completed, start with the next goal.

5.  For now, don’t think. Just start taking small actions. Write down everything to accomplish your goal — from making calls, saving money, setting appointments, doing research. Don’t over-think it or question yourself.  Make your action list and then just do it. One action at a time.

6.  Challenge assumptions. Fear and self-doubt will creep in. You must challenge assumptions and negative thinking. If you keep thinking you can’t do something, or you aren’t smart enough, then you are creating a self-fulfilling cycle of inertia. Even if you don’t feel confident, pretend that you do. Mentally resist when you start negative self-talk, and switch gears to thinking, “I can, I will.”

Well I Try!7.  Befriend failure. Begin to view failure as a friend, not an enemy. We are not handed a road map to explore new territory. We set out on our adventure with a hazy view of the way forward. We may take wrong turns, but we have to take them to find the correct path. Love every failure, because it is part of growth. If you avoid failure, you are restricting your life.

8.  Make it public. This is a real stretch, but a very successful one. When you begin a new goal or challenge, tell someone — anyone, everyone. Make it public. Now, you are accountable. It is human nature, when others are watching you, you will work harder. If you are serious about doing something, tell people. And tell them your deadline.

9.  Find a mentor!!!! Find someone who will inspire you to move forward; someone you can feel safe with, connect with, ask questions and advice. Maybe find someone whose life you want to emulate; study that person; learn how they accomplished and achieved.

10.  Look stupid. Be willing to reveal what you don’t know. Everyone has areas of ignorance. Truly smart people are eager to learn and willing to expose their lack of knowledge. Once you get past that embarrassment, the learning is the easy part!

Ignore judgemental people.11.  Ignore other people. Strive to detach from what other people think about you. People spend more time thinking about themselves anyway. The first and main person you have to please is yourself. Then your family and maybe a few close friends who are authentic. After that, you are chasing your tail. What other people think doesn’t matter.

12. Stop resisting. Remember the old pinball machines? You’d pull a lever and the ball would bounce off walls as it sought it’s way forward. Approach life that way. You are going to hit obstacles — whether it’s negative people or circumstances. Instead of resisting, move in a different direction. Bad things happen along the path, but don’t get stuck in them. Move away from them.

13. Think creatively. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. As you approach a goal or action step, challenge yourself to find a bigger, better, or different way. The internet is an amazing resource for this. Look at what others are doing. Steal ideas and make them your own. Think big. Now think bigger.

14. Remove distractions. Whatever you are working on, work on that one thing. Don’t get distracted by emails, phone calls, other pending projects, or intruding extraneous thoughts. Focus on the task at hand, every single time.

15. Simplify everything. In order to achieve what will take you to the next level, you have to let go of what’s tethering you to the mundane. Begin some mental, emotional, and mental housekeeping. Where are you spending time that is draining your energy and resources? Are you spending time caring for material things that don’t contribute to a better quality of life? Do you have too many mindless tasks? Start eliminating these things, and free up tons of valuable time.

Whatcha got to lose??16. Try new things. Whenever you have the opportunity, try something new. A new hobby, new friends, a new type of book, a new idea. Expose yourself to different ways of doing things and thinking about things. Find new environments for learning. This will open new pathways to growth that you never knew existed.

17. Set a big challenge. Chris Guillebeau, the founder of the blog The Art of Non-Conformity, has set the astounding goal of visiting every country in the world (except those in turmoil) by the time he’s 35. He is 32 now. He chronicles his adventures for his blog followers. Create a big challenge for yourself, just for the fun of it. If you don’t make it, big deal. But if you do . . . .

18. Join a community. There’s lots of support out there for whatever you are doing. Get involved in a group of like-minded people who can cheer you on, inspire you, offer input and provide support.

19. Acknowledge yourself. Every step forward should be celebrated. We get so mired in the doing that we forget the being. Take time to ponder the growth you have made and the goals you have achieved. Share these achievements with family and friends. Write them down. You are becoming a different person.

20. Enjoy the process. As you take steps to stretch yourself and create a better life, don’t forget to savor the “right now.” The process of growth is forever, so you will always be in process. All you really have is this very moment — this is your life, so see the beauty in it.

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posted June 10, 2010 Barrie Davenport is a personal and career coach and founder of Live Bold and Bloom, a blog about fearless living. She is the author of the free e-book, How to Have a Meaningful Life.

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