Monday, November 26, 2012

From Here To Your Life's Work: Step Four - Commit To Using Your Best Talents Daily

Step 4 To Doing Your Life's Work: Commit to Using Your Best Talents
This is the point in the journey where it gets a bit easier for a moment.

Finding your voice, tough.

Finding your tribe can be tougher than finding your voice.

Starting something can be terrifying for some.

Committing to using your best talents daily should be the easiest of all the steps we've reviewed to date.


Because they are your best talents and I'm pretty sure they are things that you are very good at naturally or enjoy doing tremendously. So the challenge to use them more often should be a welcome one.  Now if you shoot back that you don't even KNOW what your best talents are - still not a problem. Go figure that out.

There are so many resources available to assist you in this area. Personally, I've used Myers-Briggs Personality Test and StrengthFinders 2.0 but there are many resources help you identify your best talents.

Without question, identifying and utilizing your best talents are critical for doing your life's work. One of the key principles I point out in my book, From Here To There: 5 Steps To Doing Your Life's Work Every Day is that your life's work has nothing to do with where you work or who you work for but everything to do with the work itself. And the "work itself" stems from your ability to harness and execute consistently against your best talents.

For me, my best talents (in no order) are the following:

Cast a vision
Ignite people
Inspire people

In order to know that I am fully doing my life's work every day - I must be doing one of the above talents daily. And it is an intentional commitment. My daily to do list is not complete without tasks that include one of my best talents. In fact, I often create a "to don't" list to ensure my focus. Let's dive a bit on my point from earlier in the post - the fact that your best talents are your best talents for a reason.

When you are using your best talents, you most likely doing something that comes naturally to you or something that you enjoy.  When you're doing something enjoyable, do you care about time? Are you watching the clock? Of course not. You just do that thing and can often times be described as "going into your own little world."

I see this every time I get a peek at my Evan playing guitar. We push him to practice and he always balks but when you get the chance to see him making music - it is unbelievable. He just plays and plays. Time is not an issue because Evan is a natural at guitar. He hears the music not only with his ears but with his heart.

That's me at a strategic planning session or a customer service workshop and brainstorm. It is bliss for me to see others igniting on their own words and ideas as I draw them out and put them to paper before their eyes.

Guys, this is the money step.

When you commit to using your best talents daily, you will see the world transform around you to enable you to do it more. Get started right away. Even in the smallest way, figure out how to integrate your best talents into your daily routines.

How will you do that today?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

From Here To Your Life's Work: Step 3 Start Something

This is the easiest of the 5 steps.

Who doesn't understand START SOMETHING?

Once you have your purpose (VOICE)  and people (TRIBE) in place to help push your purpose - it is only logical that you start doing something. Immediately.

There is really not much more to elaborate here.

Wanna be a motivational speaker? Schedule a talk.

Love baking and want to do it all the time? Offer to make treats for a party at work

Want to have a famous BBQ joint? Roast a pork butt for an event at your church

Want to help disadvantage youth? Mentor some one in the Boys and Girls club

Want to work with elderly retirees? Volunteer to run a games shift at a local nursing home

Do you smell what I'm cooking? This step is as little or as big as you make it.

In the book, I reference many things that I started. Some I'm still doing, others - not so much.

This step is really one of the most important you will take on the road to your life's work. You HAVE to start somewhere. Volunteering is a great way to start and animate your tribe to help you find opportunities that pay. And don't immediately think you can't ask for money for the things you start. Perhaps there is a budget at church for the meals they serve to volunteers. They were gonna spend it anyway - why not on you?

Plus the more your start, the more you learn and the quicker you can get to what you really need to be doing. Can't get there from an idea or a plan on paper.

You have to do something.

Read more about the journey to your life's work in the new book - buy it on Amazon following this link: From Here To There: 5 Steps To Doing Your Life's Work Every Day

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why 11.11.11 Will Go Down In My HiStory?

In the midst of the final preparations for the launch party this week for my book, From Here To There: 5 Days To Doing Your Life's Work, it occurred to me that one year ago today everything related to Relationships Matter Now and my work life changed forever.

Exactly one year ago today, I closed the "deal" that sealed my fate as an entrepreneur versus an employedpreneur. While it took a few more weeks to hammer out a contract, tend to other legal wranglings and then actually start the work, it was on a sunny Friday afternoon, 5 days before I turned 40 years old that it all became very real.

I recall making the ask for the business after presenting my plan that was worth close to $3.4M in marketing services. It was surreal when the potential immediately said yes. I remember being ready to "rebut" the push back on the price of the package presented. The team I'd assembled to do the work had made our plan A and had several a la carte options ready to present should the client balk at the price tag. When the client said yes and asked when we could start, I did not miss a beat and replied, "November 28. Provided we come to an agreement quickly"

"Draw it up!" was his comeback

And with a handshake, it happened.

I was no longer dependent on someone else to assign me work or projects.

It was completely in my hands who I worked with - to whom I chose to lend my talent.

The amount of money I earned was also in my own control.

I would begin to do the work I loved, that I was uniquely called to do, every day  - from that moment on.

In the car on the way home, I called first my husband. Elated with tears and all - I told him the deal was on. The second call I made was to my dad. And then I just drove home in silence, reflecting on all the stops and starts. Replaying all the little things I'd done to bring me to that moment and I just beamed.

If you read the book you'll know that that contract fizzled 4 months later but that did not change the enormous impact November 11, 2011 had on me.

That day will be seared in my mind and heart as the day I freed myself of all constraints to do the my life's work every day. I have not looked back. And regardless what happens in my business and life - I will always remember 11.11.11.

Want to get closer to your own 11.11.11? Take a moment and check out my book on Amazon - it just may be the push you need to get you on your journey to your 11.11.11.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

3 Ways To Heal Your Heart After This Election

A picture of my heart today
No one is more happy for this day than me.

Politically active pretty much since birth, there was a time when election season was one of my favorites times.

Not so anymore.

The illustration to your right is a reflection of what election season does to my heart nowadays.

Social media and social networks has opened the doors to insights about what people in our circles really think and feel about issues facing our nation.

These revelations have really been heavy on my heart. I took a pledge to not engage in name calling or bickering at the start of season and I don't intend to rehash it now. But I will share what I am doing to heal from Decision 2012

Practice Forgiveness

Despite the hurt feelings or shock and surprise at some of the commentary, postings, rantings- I resolve today to forgive people in my life who have engaged in negative tactics related to the election.  I will not be held captive by my hurt over these things. Forgiveness is something that has to happen. And no, I don't need those people to apologize to extend the forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about them, it's about me. It's about giving myself a new start on the issue and moving forward.                                                                                                 

Acknowledge Friends versus Connections

Ted Rubin, a friend and fellow social networker put it best this week in a post:

Facebook has done an amazing thing – they now own the word “friend”. The problem is that they have devalued the word while adding value to their brand.

To be clear — I am not saying that connecting through Facebook is a bad thing; I’m saying that few of us actually take the time to connect in the ways that a real friend would. We are missing the chance to use social media as a tool that facilitates real relationships and instead using “friends” as points in a popularity contest.

Let’s take the word “Friend” back and fill it with value again!

I could not have said it better myself. I am connected to many on Facebook but not all of them are people I'd call friends. Some are colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors etc etc. But not all those people are friends. What those who are closest to me say and post that is negative impact me, but not as harshly because I know them. I know the heart of the person behind the rhetoric and hurtful things they may post and we have established a RELATIONSHIP that can withstand the disagreement. Even if it's hurtful and disparaging, a relationship allows a safety net to preserve the connection and call each other out to keep the friendship strong through the disagreement. That has allowed me to get to a place of forgiveness quicker. Distinguishing who my true friends are and only having to reconcile their opposing views is much less exhausting than attempting to do that with all 900+ people I'm connected to on Facebook.

Live Your Desire

This final one really reflects the how I started the whole Decision 2012 season - declaring not to participate negatively. We need to be intentional in our actions. With the exception of one Rolling Stone article and my weekly The Onion satirical posts - I did not try and "fact" my connection list to death on my views. People who know me, know what/who I support. And while I have every right to post articles that support that view or candidate, I CHOSE to refrain. Why? Because I wanted to see some different behavior this cycle and what better place to start than my own Twitter stream or Facebook timeline? So many people SAY they want to "stay above the fray" or "take the high road" but could not resist the temptation to jump in and set someone else straight. Resist. Don't fall. Be the change you want to see. Behave the way you desire to behave and do it consistently.

It will be a short recovery for me this election season because I have to get my own petitions in for my spring re-election campaign for Village Lake in the Hills Board of Trustees race by December 24.

Good thing we don't buy TV in local elections.

Monday, November 5, 2012

From Here To Your Life's Work: Find Your Tribe

Step Two To Doing Your Life's Work - The People
Once you have found your purpose, it is only logical that you are intentional and select the people who will join you on this journey.

This is such a tough topic.

Most people are not very intentional about who they do life with. They sort of default to the usual suspects:

Family of origin


Church pew buddies

Pub pals

You can keep the list going but you know what I mean - the people who just "appear" in our lives as we go about our daily duties and habits, with little attention to who stays and who goes.

This is perhaps one of my favorite topics to broach. The company we keep is key to how our lives unfold. There is no denying this. We have to be conscious of who we let in and who we usher out. It does not just happen naturally.

There is nothing more important than guarding our dreams, hearts and very lives from ill. People impact us - positively and negatively. It is 100% our own responsibility to protect ourselves from toxic people.

In the book, I speak to this very succinctly and I'll do it again here:

Toxic people must be dropped from your life immediately.

No excuses.

Especially, if you are on a journey to doing your life's work every day. You need people who support you - not necessarily the endeavor. Do you see the difference? It is subtle but powerful.

People that will accompany you on this journey must love you. People who help get you "from here to there" respect you. People who walk with you in life must accept you.

Most toxic people I know are not capable of all three of the above and it is imperative that you don't compromise one point. Love. Respect. Acceptance. All deal breakers.

Whether you embark on the journey to your life's work or not, this is sound relationship advice. You need to surround yourself with people who love, respect and accept you.

So, the challenge this week is to look into your tribe... who belongs? Who does not? Who stays? Who goes?

Bonus - does anyone have any tips for ridding themselves of toxic people they'd like to share?