“Just be YOU” – Silly Advice?

When I used to hear people say things like…

“Just be YOU!”
“You are unique!”
“You are special!”

…it always sounded to me like when a mother tells her child she loves him/her. Sure it is endearing, but it’s not necessarily true. Of course she thinks that – she’s their mother!

However, after years of coaching people to live their truth – after years of working with leaders to act and speak more authentically, to be more self-expressive, to have deeper personal integrity – what I can see is the ‘mothers’ weren’t just under the spell of their parental love.

“Just be YOU”, although highly conceptual and hardly pragmatic, is deeply wise.

What I have seen is that the more you are willing to cut through the BS, the more you are willing to say exactly what you think and feel without holding back and the more you are willing to do life and work exactly the way YOU want to do it – the more often successful results are created.

Here are three reasons I see as to why ‘just being YOU’ is a powerful strategy for success:

1. TRUST – You are in integrity with your truth and this congruence helps people to trust you.
2. PASSION – You are doing what gets you most excited and your passion is contagious.
3. VALUE – You automatically differentiate yourself and in a world of conformists this difference creates value.

This last point, about differentiating yourself, is what the moms mean when they say things like “you are unique” and “you are special”.

If you want to create more success, then listen to your mother.

Just be you.

COACHING QUESTIONS:

  • What is one way you know are you NOT being you?
  • How might this be stopping you from creating what you want to create?

I Am Your Guru

The modern meaning of the word ‘guru’ has come to represent a hyper egoic, self-branded, pseudo superhero. In its worst form is a polished personality selling an empty solution to making money or attaining your dreams.

We’ve become so sick of this though.

In the same way we have lost faith in mainstream media, lost trust in banking and become disenchanted with government, we have a sour taste in our mouths for big personalities selling snake oil.

My message for years has been that you do not need a guru – especially one of the really flashy modern kinds of late.

You just need to follow your own inner wisdom and create your own path.

At the same time, I still stand by this when I say, “I am your guru.”

In ancient times, a ‘guru’ was actually just a regular person who happened to be struck with the unfortunate luck of being a window to ‘God’. They didn’t have any special inherent value…they were just a transparent conduit for ‘spirit’.

We don’t value a window for the light that comes through it. In the same way a window is just a window, a guru was just a guru.

Thus when I say “I am your guru”, it is actually an affirmation for myself.

My aim with my work is to become transparent to inspired ideas and insights. For those things to simply flow through me, to you – my client. The only thing that blocks people from creating what they want are fearful thoughts.

My mission is to clear away those kinds of thoughts within my own head so that by doing so, the uninhibited flow of creativity through me can help and inspire others to experience the same.

I hope you get me now when I say “I am your guru.”

Whose guru are you?

If I’m not Crying, I’m Lying

You know how when you express love for someone, sometimes it is so intense that you tear up.

You say “I love you, man” and your eyes start watering like a baby.

I noticed that sometimes when coaching I have the thought to say something to the person in front of me but then I can feel that if I do it’s going to bring the tears.

Part of me wants to hold back. I used to listen to that part. I used to stop myself from expressing the kind of love for people that has me feel that wave of intense emotion.

I’ve stopped stopping myself through. I think that wave of emotion is actually some sort of existential realisation of our forgotten inherent union. It’s the same feeling as finding your home after being lost, or finding out your friend is going to live. It’s a very happy feeling.

I’ve actually chosen to believe that if I stop myself from sharing the thoughts that have me feeling like that, then I am essentially lying.

I am lying by holding back what’s most true for me – something inspired that is trying to unfold through me.

So this is my new mantra: “If I’m not crying, I’m lying.”

I say it so boldly, not because I want to always be crying, but because as a coach and a leader I endeavour to be creating that kind of depth in all of my interactions with people.

Doing so creates the most powerful connection in the world – the one we have forgotten and which already exists.

Where are you holding back tears?

Let those words roll.

Follow the Butterfly – Passion Looks Crazy

Imagine you are high up in the sky, looking down at somebody walking in a field. The person is moving in ridiculously haphazard directions. Stopping. Starting. Turning left right. Turning around. Repeating.

They are not going in a straight line. They are not finishing anything.

Imagine now you zoom in to a few feet above their head. At that point you see it’s a woman and she isn’t walking randomly at all. In fact, she is following a butterfly.

You watch the expressions on her face. She is getting to know it. How it flies. It’s colours. What it loves. The longer she follows it, the better she gets at knowing what the butterfly wants. She can anticipate where it is going next.

Following your heart is like following a butterfly.

From high up, it might look like you aren’t getting anywhere. Like you’re all over the place and not finishing anything.

Not finishing things may mean you aren’t succeeding on the outside, but it can also mean that you are learning to follow your heart.

And you get that despite from up above, it looking like she was all over the place – a life littered with failures and false starts – was not time wasted. She was doing the same thing the whole time.

That is what following your heart is like. It might look crazy in the outside, but in the inside you’re always doing the same thing. You’re following your butterfly.

Let go of things needing to look sensible on the outside and see your chaos as a perfect sign that you are following your heart.

Stop Serving to Create Business

One of the ways I’ve learned to create success in business is by actively helping people – to provide some product or service – before they ever pay anything or become a client/customer.

In countless industries, both in my own businesses and those of my clients, I’ve seen the willingness to ‘go first’ in giving be a beautifully effective strategy for creating clients, customers and prosperity.

The catch-22 to overcome however can be summed up like this: ‘How do I come from a place of pure giving, when really I know it is a strategy for getting business?’

Until recently, my answer has been to take it moment by moment and day by day. It was to ask yourself, “Am I willing, at least for this moment/today, to ONLY give?”

This works in that it snaps you out of the transactional reality and absolves you almost fully into the reality of giving.

Dependably though, this reality soon melts away and you return to a transactional way of being; I give to you so that you will give to me. 

Recently I spent a day with a man who lives service more deeply than only one other man I’ve ever met before. The man’s name is Steve Hardison and he is a ‘coach’ in Phoenix, Arizona. (Calling him a coach is a bit of a misnomer, but that’s another story.)

I won’t go into all the details of how I experienced this now, but what I got from this man – someone with a client waiting list years long and whose clients pay him upwards of $1,000,000 to work with him – is that service is not his ‘strategy’ for creating clients.

Service is not his tactic. Service is not what he does BECAUSE he wants clients. Service is not what he does SO THAT people will become clients.

Service is simply what he does. Full stop.

In fact – service is WHO HE IS.

By being service, he DOES serve people. And by being this way, clients DO happen.

However, these two occurrences are as separate as the sky and the ocean.

This distinction of ‘Service as Strategy’ vs ‘Service as Being’ is important because it changes the inner story that has attachment to an outcome keep sneaking back in.

When you move from ‘Service as Strategy’ to ‘Service as Being’, you automatically stop keeping score.

A weight rises from your shoulders and no longer must you qualify, filter or concern yourself with the likeliness that something will come back to you.

When you simply BE SERVICE, life works itself out.

I got this during my hot yoga class, standing in a warrior position and staring out the window. Sweat dripping down my face, breathing in and out, I watched the tree outside just sit there. The oxygen I sucked into my lungs came from that tree. It didn’t ask me to give it carbon dioxide first. It just gave me oxygen. Not because it was transacting oxygen for carbon dioxide, but because creating and giving oxygen is just what it does. It just serves.

My new story is to be like Steve and to be like the tree outside my yoga class.

I am Service.

Are you with me?

COACHING QUESTIONS:

  • How are you using service as a strategy to create business?
  • How would what you are doing change if service instead became something you ARE?

Living (and Sailing) With Integrity

When I was a little kid, I would go with my father to check on the houses he was building. I loved to explore the maze of timber sticks and breathe in the smell of sawdust. I remember one summer morning looking down a set of thin, temporary stairs that led into the basement.

“Dad, I’m going downstairs,” I shouted into the shell of a house, hearing my voice echo.

“No you’re not!”, he responded quickly.

“Why not?”

“Because the stairs aren’t in yet.”

“Yes they are!? I can see them!”

“Those aren’t real stairs. They’re lacking integrity.”

That morning I learned two things:

First, if something lacked integrity, then it wasn’t safe. It wasn’t trustworthy.

Second, since the stairs didn’t have integrity, they essentially were not even stairs. Sure there was wood there, but there would be no stairs until integrity was added to them. Without integrity, the stairs didn’t exist.

It is like this too with our personal integrity.

First, the more integrity we have, the more others trust us (and the more we trust ourselves).

On the flip side, those who lack integrity we find to be untrustworthy.

Again, secondly, it is those people with integrity who we hold to be most substantial. We consider them most valuable and even real. It is also when we have integrity that we take ourselves most seriously.

On the the other hand, we tend to disregard those who lack integrity as inconsequential. For ourselves, without personal integrity, we feel as if we lack meaning or purpose in life.

Without integrity, we ask questions like: Who am I? Why am I here?

One could say that without integrity, a person doesn’t exist.

I’ve been taking sailing lessons recently, as I find sailing to be a great metaphor for life. The integrity of the sailboat is obviously fundamental to it harnessing the power of the wind and it going where it wants to go. On reflection, I noticed a sailboat has three main structural features that enable it to sail, each of which can represent an aspect of personal integrity.

Watch this video to find out what they are.

Yoda Was Wrong – Try, Do or Do Not

My coach Rich posted an update on Facebook last year about how yoda was wrong.

He was referring to the scene in Star Wars where Luke says “I’ll try” and Yoda responds saying “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Rich remarked about how his son, learning to walk, tried, fell, got up and tried again.

The suggestion was that Yoda was wrong because by denouncing ’trying’, he underestimated the power of the willingness to TRY.
And at the same time, Yoda was right too.

So many people say “I’ll try“…just like Luke, with those slumped shoulders and wobbly head. You just know they aren’t committed.

I’ll try to go to the gym. I’ll try to meditate.

What’s the difference?

Is trying good or is trying bad?

“Trying” is not the thing to judge. It is how we apply the try that matters.

What does NOT serve creation is when we apply TRY to actions and instead of results.

Trying an action means you are not committed to doing the action. Your heart isn’t in it. This is what Yoda was saying to Luke.

More subtly though, is people’s unwillingness to try to achieve a result. This is what Rich was pointing to.

We never have total control over results. Only influence at best. Thus to try for a result is all we can ever do.
“I’m not going to try to achieve that, in case I fail.”
“I’m not going to try to get super fit, because I might give up.”

You are trying in the wrong place!

STOP trying to do things.
START trying for outcomes.

When it comes to actions: Do.

When it comes to results: Try, try, try. Keep trying. Be willing to try over and over and over again.

Talk About Money – Enter The Haunted House

Lots of people I meet are scared to have the ‘money’ conversation.

It feels like going into a dark, scary house at the end of the street that everyone says is haunted.

You want to do it, but you don’t want to do it.

However, if you’re willing to hold the flashlight and go in first, then you and everyone with you gets to go inside.

And then…once you’re in there…and you’ve looked in all the rooms, you discover it’s not haunted after all.

It’s just a big, dark, empty house.

You were only scared because you didn’t know what was in there.

Talking about money is like this.

Once you do it – once it’s out in the open – it’s no big deal.

Carry the flashlight.

Go in first.

 

How to Become More Adept at Creating Passion

If you want more passion in your life, then you need to be taking action.

Why?

Imagine you want to learn to paint. You stand in front of a blank canvas, you feel something, you imagine it, you reach out with your brush and you make your first stroke.

Your experience of making this stroke is slightly different than you imagined it would be. It looks a bit different too. This gives you feedback. You try again. Still different, but better. More feedback.

The more you do it, the more it begins to feel and look as if you imagined it would. And the more skilled your hand becomes at painting what inspires your heart.

The more this happens, the more you love to paint.

Action is crucial in creating a passionate life for two reasons:

1. Action feeds new imagination.
2. The experience of your action gives clarity as to what it is you really want.

Both of these things make you more adept at creating and making decisions from your heart.

Feel -> Imagine -> Act -> Experience -> Repeat

You Are Already Failing

You know that thing you’re not doing because you’re afraid you might fail at it?

NEWSFLASH: You are already failing at it!

Having NOT stepped out into the world and started doing that thing you are being called to do (because you risk failing) is itself, by default, a failure.

Don’t kid yourself that you are staying free from failure.

When they nail the lid of your coffin shut, if you haven’t succeeded at the thing yet, you will have failed, no matter if you tried or not.

Whether you try and fail or you fail to try, you are failing just the same.

Why fail by default when you can fail in action?

Isn’t the latter more noble?
More meaningful?

More of what you really want anyway?

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