Sunday, March 28, 2010

Finding Stillness Through Staying Fluid

As biological creatures we are always in a state of change. Our cells turn over, our viewpoints adjust to accommodate new data, our expressions become colored with idioms as words take on new cultural implications - we change internally and in response to external stimuli.

Sometimes we feel like everything is in a state of flux and we are tempted to shout "stop the world, I want to get off." We want to just be still, to take a break from change.

Have you ever tried to be perfectly motionless?

In yoga practice it is often suggested that we "find our way to stillness." Even in the simplest poses, finding your way to stillness requires subtle adjustments to the posture. The body says "flex this, shift that" and if we ignore those requests for movement we will experience pain or we will fall out of the pose. Ignoring the need to make adjustments creates traumatic alternations.

So we heed these suggestions, make those minute modifications, but even when we come to a place where we can be still our bodies are not motionless. Our chests rise and fall with our breathing. Our gaze may be soft and steady on a distant or internal focus point, but our eyes still move slightly in their sockets. Our hearts still beat and our blood still flows. Only in death are we completely without motion.

And when we have brought ourselves to stillness, to the closest state to motionless that a living organism can create, it is a temporary state. The time will come for movement. It will either be a mindful, controlled release of the pose and a flowing into the next posture or a collapse as the body demands that its need for motion be fulfilled.

I have observed that it is much the same in our lives and in our businesses - which are, of course, only one aspect of our lives.

How often, when a traumatic shift happens, is it because you resisted making the more subtle adjustments when they were requested? How often have you avoided change, discounted the signs that you were becoming uncomfortable, even weak, and stubbornly held to your patterns and beliefs only to have them fail you in the end?

We strive to find our way to stillness, to find a place and pattern that suits us, that feels natural, right, even easy. Then, all too often, we ignore the signs that the time has come to shift. We hold that place through the little discomforts. We discount the strain, the weariness, even the weakness while we stubbornly hold to the pose.

As time goes by, we begin to believe that the sensations of discomfort and weakness are our own shortcomings. That pose felt so right when we first discovered it, surely if it doesn't feel right now we must be doing something wrong. We continue striving to "be still."

Inevitably we "fail" to hold the pose. Sometimes the collapse is dramatic and sometimes we use our last vestige of control to release ourselves from that rigidity. But we are worn out from the effort, we are robbed of the energy to move into our next position.

We are programmed to fear both change and failure. But denying change ensures failure.

In yoga, we stay fluid even in stillness by staying connected to our core strength and being aware of what our bodies are telling us. That connection is the consistent "sameness" or foundation that supports us whether we are holding one pose or transitioning to a new one. We may come back to a pose many times but we know it is never exactly the same because we have changed.

In life we can find the security and dependability we seek; that "stillness," by staying connected and self aware. Being true to our values and our personal truths adds to the stillness. Being true to our core competencies adds to the stillness. Those connections keep us rooted no matter how much in flux everything else appears to be. Any changes or choices that pull us away from those values, truths and competencies will pull us off balance. But, so long as we stay rooted, we can move fluidly from one "pose" to the next with strength, flexibility and confidence that we will not fall.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

That's How the Light Gets In (and out)

Robert Merton, who is credited with coining the phrase "self-fulfilling prophecy" said "The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves."

Isn't that how we all wish to be loved? Not perfectly as someone we are trying to be, not perfectly as an ideal, but perfectly as what WE were designed to be. Webster's offers this definition of perfect - "being complete of its kind without defect or blemish." Call me an idealist, but I do believe that each and every person is complete in their unique perfection and that personal perfection is something we allow in ourselves, not something we strive toward. Because we are all complete "of our kind" - there IS no one like us!

I will bet that your mind went one of two places - you are either thinking of the people you wish could love you as perfectly YOURSELF or you are thinking of the people you love and asking yourself if you are loving them as perfectly THEMSELVES.

But what about how you love yourself?

Are you able to love yourself as the perfect being you ARE?

Ah, I heard that. The little whisper that says "but I am NOT a perfect being, far from it."

In Leonard Cohen's "Anthem" there is a line that says "Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in."

Then there is the story told to me by friend, peace advocate and proponent of radical trust, Annette Karr, about an athlete who was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a leg amputated above the knee. He spent his recovery time at a cancer center where they offered psychiatric therapy as part of the post-treatment care and the first time he saw the therapist she asked him to draw a picture to represent himself. He drew a crude vase with jagged lines crossing it. When the therapist asked what the lines represented he told her those were cracks - he said he had once been a perfect vessel, but now he was irreparably flawed.

Time went on and this man began to heal. He took an interest in other patients, helped with their ongoing recoveries and even met and married another patient at the center. Some time later he visited with the therapist again. She asked him again to draw a picture. He drew the same crude vase and the same jagged cracks, but this time he drew lines radiating from the cracks. When the therapist asked what they represented he said, "that is the light that pours out of me, it could not be shared before because I was too perfect."

Does the light get in or does it pour out?

Yes, it does - both.

But only when we love ourselves as perfectly ourselves; when we accept our "cracks" as the blessings that they are.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Classic Example of Go-Givers Sell More

I'm interrupting my "normal programming" to bring you some time-sensitive news and opportunities. I'll post the rest of my thoughts on love and business tomorrow - I promise!

In the two years I have been coaching and teaching the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success from The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann the most common comment I hear is "that book made me cry, it is EXACTLY how I want to live and do business."

The next thing I usually hear is "I am ALREADY a Go-Giver but... I guess stratospheric success just takes time, huh?"

No, it doesn't just take time. It does, however, take more than giving. Here is what I DO know - being a giver is NOT the same as being a GO-GIVER and it won't get the same results. There are Five Laws in what the character, Pindar, calls his "Trade Secret" because all five are equally important. I am going to use my friend and one of my heroes, Dafna Michaelson, as a classic example of the Five Laws in action. I've included some hints from my coaching program so you can follow her example and see what stratospheric success comes YOUR way!

In 2008 Dafna, who has been in community service and non-profit work nearly all of her adult life, realized that where the government was not providing solutions to community problems there were individuals stepping up all over the country and working at the grass roots level to create solutions. She wanted to document these stories, get some recognition for the community problem solvers and, ultimately, figure out the common ground that would bring their efforts together to strengthen and support them. She left her job, cashed in her 401K - that's right, all of it - and made a commitment; to travel to all of the 50 states in 52 weeks and share the stories of the heroes she encountered through video and blog posts.

She did it. Her 50 in 52 Journey took her all over the nation, but, on December 31, 2009 Dafna celebrated in her home state of Colorado the videos collected from a year of travel. A year of sleeping on the couches of strangers, depending on a GPS sister she lovingly called "Betty" to get her through strange cities and countrysides, having her two kids with her when she was home in Denver and traveling when they were scheduled to be with their father anyway. Her life become an amalgam of the lives she encountered. Her voice became a chorus of "we DID this and we CAN do more" stories from all over the nation.

If there is anything that is hard to sell it is an idea. Well maybe there is one thing that is harder - an idea for how to solve a problem that seems too big to be solved. NO - there is one thing harder that that - an idea that gives the people the power to solve any problem they choose. Yeah - I'd say that one is hard to sell. It's BIG for one thing, the scope is mind boggling. If the scope doesn't blow your mind then the details will. But Dafna has more than an idea - she has a plan and she IS selling it. That is where The Go-Giver and the new book (launching TOMORROW but rumor has it it CAN be found today) Go-Givers Sell More come in.

Today, Dafna was listed in CNN's list of Intriguing People (right after Neda, the young lady whose death became a rallying cry for the Iranian resistance and William Ward Warren, the 15 year old whose COLOR footage of JFK's arrival in Dallas only an hour before his death made news in a time when even seasoned professionals were shooting in black and white.)

Dafna came to the attention of CNN after her 50in52 Journey was documented by CBS Morning News under "Good Deeds Across America." Not only did they follow Dafna on her interviews in the state of Arizona but also interviewed several of the people she had interviewed previously.

Before her story was picked up by national media she was interviewed by several regional programs, including St. Louis' own David Garland on his show The Rise to the Top and Kyle Dyer at 9 News, the NBC affiliate for the Denver area.

Her vision, The Journey Institute, was not only accepted into the Pepsi Refresh Project's Good Idea contest (out of thousands of entries) but has held steady at between 35 and 40th in the rankings after the first two weeks in a field of about 800 contestants. IF this vision pulls into the top first or second spot The Journey Institute will be given $250,000 in funding from Pepsi. (Use the link above if you will to vote daily and boost her ranking.)

How has Dafna managed to generate this exposure, this success and this momentum? It isn't through a powerhouse PR firm. It isn't through friends in high places or high dollar charity dinners. In fact, Dafna has demonstrated how the Five Laws, when applied together to a business idea, results in greater sales - even of an idea too big for most of us to grasp.

Law #1 - The Law of Value
Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

This is not the counter productive suggestion it might seem to be. Value is conceptual and individual. Your worth to your market will always be what they get OUT of your product or service, NOT the cost that they pay for it or the cost to you to provide it. Dafna's journey and the resulting stories she captured might have little resale value, but for the price of a little time or a donation we get the VALUE of being a part of something much larger than ourselves.

QUESTION: What are you doing consistently as part of your business model that delivers something of value to your market that is more than they expect or pay for?

Law #2 - The Law of Compensation
Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

Never mind what you are worth - how much money you make depends on your reach and your impact. Will a few people pay you to have a tremendous amount of impact, will a lot of people pay you to have a little bit of impact or will a lot of people pay you to have a tremendous amount of impact? While Dafna may not be taking her compensation in direct salary, the amount of funds she garners to fuel her vision is directly related to reach and impact. The Journey Institute meets both of those challenges head on. Bringing together people from different areas who are working to solve a common problem and equipping them to return to their communities with not only ideas but shared resources and support systems means that everything the Institute does has a ripple effect. Those community problem solvers can now create solutions AND more problem solvers - and so on, and on, and on.

QUESTION: What are you doing as part of your business model that allows you to have greater reach and impact? (I'll give you a clue - this law comes down to the three-legged stool of innovation, replication and delegation.)

Law #3 - The Law of Influence
Your influence is determined by how abundantly you put other people's interests first.

When was the last time you needed to make something happen and you thought "who can I call?" How many people were on that list? That's influence. It doesn't come from a tit for tat cashing in the chips mentality - if you're working on that model I don't want to hear you crying when you've run out of chips to cash in. It comes from abundantly and consistently thinking of others and taking care of them whenever you can.

Dafna and I connected because I saw a tweet (what we twitterholics call a status update on twitter) from Terry Bean, whom I knew, liked and trusted but only through social media (we met on Facebook through a mutual friend) saying that Dafna (whom I'd never heard of at that point) needed to meet people who were active in social media in the Chicago area. I checked out her blog, fell in love with the vision and connected her to my friends Gilbert Melot and Brian Tomkins whom I had met through Extreme Business Makeovers and their project, The Go-Giver Tour. Dafna impressed Terry with her "other-focused" mentality and she benefited from my knowing other people who had influence because they also live and breathe the Go-Giver philosophy. That resulted in some great press in Chicago and, when Dafna traveled to St. Louis, resulted not only in her feature on The Rise to the Top and a spot on the panel for the St. Louis Social Media Club, but I also had the fun of hosting Dafna during her stay and finding out I have yet another sister I had yet to meet.

QUESTION: What are you doing in your business model that keeps you tuned in to the interests of the people you serve, be they clients, vendors, associates, affiliates or your community?

Law #4 - The Law of Authenticity
The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

No matter what you sell, the experience people have will be determined by how they experience you - and more importantly - how they experience themselves because of you. Dafna gives herself wholeheartedly and unreservedly. Every interview has hours of research and thought behind it, that is her "job." But the connection and rapport she develops during the interview is a result of her complete focus on the person in front of the camera, not of her preparation or skill behind the camera. Her hours of posting on social networks and keeping up with the relationships she has developed all over the country shows a heart that has room for everyone and willingness to share her heart with the world. In my keynote What is YOUR Light, Connecting Passion, Purpose and Presence, I ask the question "What do you do that keeps people coming back for more of you?" Dafna demonstrates it perfectly and with grace; she makes everyone love themselves just a little bit more.

QUESTION: What are you doing to bring YOU into every encounter you have in your business and make people come back for more of YOU?

Law #5 - The Law of Receptivity
The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

Well duh, we give in order to receive, right? That's how stratospheric success happens. Nope, exactly the opposite. We give with no attachment to a particular outcome and we stay OPEN to receiving and guess what - we end up receiving far more than we would have expected if we HAD been expecting something in return. I'll grant you it is perhaps easier to be open to receiving when you are a non-profit vision rather than a for-profit business. In order to accomplish her goal, Dafna HAD to be open to receiving everything from introductions, meals and advice to cash and checks and credit cards. She receives with gratitude, knowing that the works she does serves and serves well. But unless you cannot say that what you do serves and serves well (and if you can't say that then let me recommend a few other books you might want to read) then why would you not be open to receiving?

QUESTION: How can you be open to receiving without being emotionally attached to an outcome of receiving in direct relationship to what you have given?

There you have it - a classic example of a business model and entrepreneur who is demonstrating that Go-Givers DO sell more. Even when what she is selling is an idea so large and so powerful and so unprecedented that we can't quite see it for ourselves.

If you are ready to master the Five Laws to sell your ideas, your products, your services and yourself you'll want the books (order Go-Givers Sell More this week and you'll have some extras coming that you can't get anywhere else and won't want to miss.)

If you want to apply Law #3 and Law #4 you can give just a few seconds every day between now and February 28th to help boost the Journey Institute to first place in the Pepsi Refresh Project which will give Dafna $250,000 in funding to make this vision a reality!

If you want to peek in on my chats with Dafna we did a blog post together literally through chat - gmail chat to be precise - about the power of connectivity and my interview with her during her St. Louis visit (with the arch in the background thanks to being graciously hosted by Armstrong Teasdale) truly captures the me I hope to live up to someday. I've embedded it below.

If you want to BE a Go-Giver and achieve whatever stratospheric success means to you then please, don't just focus on giving, don't just focus on receiving, learn to apply all five laws in everything you do - THAT is the true "Trade Secret."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Show Me the LOVE (and I'll be your friend for life)

This post has been bubbling on my back burner for a while and Valentine's Day seemed like an appropriate time to serve it up. It's dedicated to everyone who has made me feel worthy of love - from the lady at the dry cleaners who always remembers my name even though I NEVER pronounce hers correctly to my clients and dearest friends, many of whom are one and the same people. I am grateful for the"perfect" version of myself you reflect back to me.

I'm no expert on love. Believe me, I am as frequently and as completely baffled as any of you.

I love to read ABOUT love - from Rumi to Edna St. Vincent Millay, I've read the poets' interpretations of love. But I'd never really thought about how it related to business until I crafted a keynote for Yellow-Tie International's Build Your Own Brand event with Bob Burg and Scott Ginsberg. One of the questions I posed in that presentation was "what brings people back for more of YOU?"

Not more of your services or products but more of YOU.

Without exception, the answer lies in how you made them feel about themselves, not in how you made them feel about you. Did you make them feel smart, appreciated, beautiful, welcome, validated? In short, did you make them love themselves a little more than they did before they engaged with you?

Do you help people fall in love with themselves?

Because anyone who loves themselves even a little more because of spending time with you, doing business with you, having a conversation with you - that person is your fan for life. They will always love you because you helped them love themselves.

How in the world do you get someone else to love themselves more? Reflect to them the things you see in them that are worthy of love. When they feel genuinely appreciated, welcomed, respected or admired they feel like the little tomcat in the picture seeing the mighty lion in the mirror, they love what is reflected back to them.

What do people see when they look at you? Do they see only you, or do they see themselves reflected in your eyes?

How do you begin reflecting love? First, you have to be focused on them. What authors Bob Burg and John David Mann in The Go-Giver and the follow up book Go-Givers Sell More call "other-focused." You can't reflect anything back to someone else if you are only focused on yourself, your services, or your products. Second, it has to be genuine. Empty flattery might get you somewhere, but it won't get you a friend or a client for life. That's right, you have to focus on the other person and find them worthy of love.

Robert Merton, who is credited with coining the phrase "self-fulfilling prophecy" said "The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves."

Love that does not begin with allowing others to be perfectly themselves is conditional love at best. No one wants to be loved conditionally - that kind of love is a barter agreement that says "so long as you are/do/say THIS then I will love you." That won't bring clients back for more of you. (It doesn't do much for personal relationships either but that is NOT my area of expertise - see the opening sentence.)

Only by allowing and reflecting the other's "personal perfection" can we help them to love themselves a little more. Only by treating them as the "complete and without defect or blemish" individuals that they truly are can we show them the "lion in the mirror."

I have a number of people I turn to when I need to be reminded of the powerful lioness hidden in my kitty cat soul. Some are friends, some are people with whom I do business, many are both. They know I have my faults, but they remind me that every one of my faults is also a strength and that I am, in fact, perfectly myself.

I have a couple of stories I want to share about loving our faults but I think that will have to wait for the next post.

For today (or any day) go reflect love back to the special people in your life. Whether they are your clients, your friends, your family or your special someone, show them how much you appreciate, respect, admire and welcome them just for being who they are. And check back here tomorrow for more thoughts on love to start your week.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Who's Got Your Happy?

Any time a theme presents itself through multiple converstaions on multiple occasions over a short period of time I figure it’s either a universal element in the human experience or I have become sensitive to it because there is a lesson there I need to learn.

Yeah – you’re right. It’s probably both. So some examples…
  • A friend’s partner of three years said “I’m not happy and I think that means I don’t love you anymore so I need you to move out.”
  • Another friend said to me “I’m so depressed, I just can’t seem to make my wife happy no matter what I do.”
  • A casual acquaintance said to me “For me to be happy at work my boss would have to…”
  • A client said "I want to have more clients that make me happy."
The list goes on…

And then while I was reading Richard Bach’s Illusions for the umpteenth time (give or take a few) I read what the protégée of the story says, quite unaware of the significance of his observation, to his mentor;

“If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.”

How often have you said - or at least thought - "When YOU do that it makes ME really unhappy?" Or "If YOU would only ________ it would make ME so happy."

How many people's "happy" do you hold in your hands? Who's holding on to yours?

In my inspection of my own attitudes about happiness I made a list of things that make me "unhappy" - that rob me of my happiness. And I realized that the emotion I often called "happy" wasn't happiness at all and the things I believed made me unhappy only marred my joy for as long as I allowed them to do so but they did not prevent me from connecting to the source of my "happy."

So what is that thing we call happiness? Since we all know that "happy" people are more successful in love and business and even tend to live longer lives it seems like a relevant question.

Most people who know me probably think I'm ALWAYS upbeat, positive, optimistic - in a word, "happy." Let me debunk that myth right now. I'm an intense person - when I am NOT upbeat, positive and optimistic I could have Pollyanna preparing for Armegeddon. But those things don't equate to "happy" and not being upbeat, positive and optimistic doesn't mean I'm UNhappy.

As with most every other "truth", I believe everyone has to figure out their own personal truth about "happy." I'll share what I discovered about mine, maybe it will help someone else discover their own.

"Happy" for me is more than an attitude. It is a state of being - something that transcends my current circumstances or situation. Knowing that doesn't automatically mean "now I'm going to be happy all the time for no reason at all."
It does mean that I can choose to tap into my "happy" (the most common definition, by the way, is "marked by joy or pleasure") even when I am experiencing a host of negative emotions.

I might be in a situation that keeps me from being fulfilled, I might experience an illness that keeps me from being productive, I might have failed to meet my own expectations - so I might be feeling unfulfilled, sick, unproductive and like a failure. I might have even more severe challenges, loss of my physical freedom, loss of the freedom to express myself honestly - things that strike at the essense of my ability to BE myself. But that only means there are circumstances I am not happy ABOUT - not that I, at my core and as a whole being, am not "HAPPY" - so long as I can experience joy and pleasure I can be happy.

And that "happy" can give me the strength, conviction and courage to address the things I'm unhappy ABOUT.

The next time you say to yourself "If ______ would ________ then I would be happy" ask yourself - "really - don't I really mean that I would be happiER?"

It's likely that having that person give you recognition, affection, attention, help in the kitchen, cooperation on a project, etc... would ADD to your pleasure and joy. That being healthier, slimmer, having more free time, etc... would ADD to your pleasure and joy.

Even situations that restrict your ability to BE yourself - a client, boss, lover, spouse or friend who disapproves of you when you are being your most natural self or who does not recognize your interests or needs in the relationship - YOU are still the one choosing to continue the relationship. If you have exhausted all measures to create equity in the relationship then your only option may be to end it and that is often painful for emotional and/or financial reasons. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if the restrictions you have allowed that person to place on you cause more pain than it would cause you to transition out of the relationship. YOU are the only person who can make that choice and take that step.

But when you say "I would be happy if..." you are sending yourself a message that you CANNOT be happy until that happens. The unhappiness you choose when you choose that statement robs you of the wherewithal to make that thing come about whether it requires impacting another life, changing your home or work environment, making different decisions about how you spend your time and energy or improving or even leaving a relationship.

No one is holding your "happy" hostage except you.

Of course, as with any truth, the converse is true as well. You can certainly do things to make others happiER but you cannot make them happy if they are not. You might be the source of dissatisfaction, discomfort and even unfulfillment. You MIGHT even be putting up barriers to their being their true selves, doing and being what they are most joyful doing and being - I hope not, but I've been guilty of that in relationships and I think most of us can do that to others without being aware of it. But you do NOT hold their "happy" in your hands.

You have the opportunity to add MORE joy to your life (and believe me that WILL be reflected in your business success) and you have the wonderful opportunity to add MORE joy to the lives of others (and THAT will be reflected in your business sucess as well.) It may require effort (sometimes known as "work") but if the outcome is truly joy then it won't seem like drudgery. Tapping into your "happy" can transform a task or situation you do not enjoy into an outcome and an experience that will lift your spirits for the rest of your life.

Certainly I enourage you to explore the things you aren't happy ABOUT and the things that bring you joy (see the last three posts here.) But know that your source of "happy" is INTERNAL - looking to EXTERNAL sources for it or trying to BE the source of "happy" for someone else is like looking for seashells in the forrest - it will only lead to frustration, bitterness and failure.

So go for the JOY, add to your "happy" and the "happy" of others. But first connect to that fire within you that holds the seeds of your happiness and CHOOSE to BE happy so long as that fire is even an ember.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Transforming Your Business by Indulging in Joy


- isn't that a marvelous word? It's right up there with "transform" and "connect" on my list of favorite verbs.

As we embark on the new year I hear people say "this year I'm going to work more ON my business not IN my business" and "this is my year to work ON me" and "this year I'm going to work on being more..." and even I refer to my best clients as the ones who come to me ready to "do the work." Clearly we believe that transformations happen because we work to make them possible.

So am I saying we can enjoy every moment - maybe not. I'm probably never going to enjoy some tasks but I still experience joy in the outcomes. And that joy lights my fire and powers my action which leads to outcomes.

So why do we focus on the work? Why don't we focus instead on the joy that effort produces?

I have repeatedly seen that people who focus on the joy in the outcome rather than the task or the goal consistently transform themselves and their businesses. Ask them if it was work and they'll likely say "sure it took EFFORT - but it brought me a lot of joy."

So I can bet you want to know how.... Let me give you an example. In my last post I shared MY Joy List.

In 2010 I will...
  • Make more people smile
  • Plant more roses
  • Take more walks
  • Play more music
  • Reach more clients
  • Be more aware of the transformations that happen every minute of every day
It's pretty clear that "reach more clients" is an outcome that can transform my business. And since I"m a "transformation agent" being more aware of transformations also has a huge impact on my ability to open those paths to clients as well.

But what about "make more people smile?" Isn't that just a "random act of kindness" kind of thing?

Well, I don't think of making people smile as a business strategy, BUT I do have business strategies that bring me joy because they make people smile. Let me share one that the author's of The Go-Giver just shared for the new year.

I have so many true Go-Givers in my life and I'll bet you do to. They smile when I tell them how much I appreciate that they live those principles but they smile even bigger and longer when I recognize their Go-Giver nature to the world. With The Go-Giver Award I can do just that - make someone smile every single day AND let the world know how much I appreciate them in my life.

How is that a business strategy? Let's look at the hard-nosed pragmatic side. Since I am certified to coach on The Go-Giver and I speak and do workshops on the 5 Laws, anything that makes people more aware of the 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success increases my worth and credibility. Since authors Bob Burg and John David Mann are great friends and huge proponents of my efforts helping them helps me. Shoot, the web page even has the first chapter to the NEW Go-Giver book, Go-Givers Sell More and I am actually featured (as are many of my friends) in that book. So is it a sound promotional strategy? You bet.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... Truth is there are a lot of things I could put on my to-do list that would achieve all that and maybe more. But I know I'll DO this - because imagining the smile on the face of the recipient brings me so much joy I'd do it even if I weren't so closely tied to the book.

Being able to easily download this certificate and share it through social media lets me implement all 5 Laws at once - because it does add value, it reaches many people, it serves others interests, it's totally authentic and I'm open to receiving whatever comes to me as a result because I know one thing - people WILL smile. How could anyone who really is using those 5 Laws in their life and business receive recognition like this and it not bring a smile to their face?

It is only fitting that the first of my Go-Giver awards goes out to my good friend and colleague, sales trainer, Yellow-Tie founder, author and idea man extraordinare - Gill Wager.

It was Gill who gave me my first copy of The Go-Giver, who first introduced me to the authors, who founded the Business Development Association, Yellow-Tie International on the very principles in the book, and who is a shining example of what it means to BE a Go-Giver!

Gill, you inspire me daily - it gives me tremendous JOY to have this opportunity to acknowledge everything you do for me and for everyone whose lives you touch!

And THAT, as The Go-Giver co-author Bob Burg says in his keynote, is "not only a nice way to live life but a very profitable one as well."

(kudos also to Thom Scott and Cesar Abeug for the concept and design of the award and the web site and to Kathy Zader for implementation.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What is JOY worth?

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy"
Thich Nhat Hanh

Picture this; you stop for a cup of coffee, tired from a long day followed by a short night, stressed and in a hurry - you just need that cup of joe. Which cup of coffee is more likely to set your world right, the one handed you by a blank-faced, perfunctory server who is "nice enough" or the one served by someone whose smile is genuine and whose face is alight with joy?

During a recent coaching session a friend, fellow coach and client of many years confessed to me that she still struggles with charging a fee for coaching because it brings HER so much joy.

So I asked her "what is a coach who does not bring joy into the relationship worth?" She admitted that would have very little value. "So then," I challenged her, "you would have to agree that it stands to reason that, assuming their skills and talents were similar, a coach who brought tremendous joy into the relationship would be worth proportionately more?"

Yes, she agreed, that seemed reasonable. Uh huh - I let that sink in for a few moments.

While coaching another good friend; author, speaker and interrogator extraordinaire, "Hello My Name is Scott" Ginsberg (whose 10th book is about to become available and he's not yet 30!) this summer we talked about all the things that he had NOT been doing because of a situation in his life - things that brought him joy. He made a plan to reengage with those activities and coined the phrase "triggers for joy." He soon "reported in" that "pulling his triggers for joy" let him break through what might have been a roadblock in record time.

In my keynote; "What is YOUR light: Connecting Passion, Purpose and Presence" I suggest that audiences connect with their personal passion and purpose to project a powerful presence, a presence that resonates with joy. That presence and the clarity of the message behind it can transform a person, a career or a business more quickly and more sustainably than any other factor.

In my last post, "So you say you made a resolution", I suggested that New Year's resolutions and goals that are grounded in things that bring YOU joy are more likely keep you moving forward toward your objectives.

In fact, I suggested that you focus on "outcomes that make you dance a jig and turn crazy cartwheels on the landscape of your mind."

BUT - Remember that joy needn't BEGIN with your business or your professional goals in order to BENEFIT your business or professional goals. That server whose attitude lifted your spirits before you even took a sip of that morning coffee may not have ENJOYED her tasks but she had a joy that she brought with her into her job. And her joy, regardless of the source, made her more valuable to your morning and therefore, to her employers, than the server who was simply performing her tasks and being "nice enough." Certainly "triggers for joy" that can be pulled by things you do in your work are powerful in building your value but living a life that allows you to experience joy adds to your net worth, regardless of the type of work you do.

In The Go-Giver, authors Bob Burg and John David Mann share the Law of Authenticity; "The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself." How do you make that gift MORE valuable? Add joy. Because joy cannot be faked. Enthusiasm can be faked, but joy, by its very nature, must be authentic.

Do you know what brings you joy? What makes your heart sing and ignites your inner fire?

I have realized that for me it is witnessing transformation. I experience that joy when I see a smile dawn on someone's face, when I see a rose bush come into bloom, when I see the seasons change the landscape and when I see a client whose inner fire shows in their presence and when their business growth reflects the power that they are using to transform themselves. I connect to it though dialog, through music, through long walks, through networking, through meditation and through writing. I am privileged to have clients who are seeking to transform their professional success through personal transformation and who will let me partner with them in that process - that brings me the greatest joy of all.

So that is where I began my resolutions and goals for the new year, with a Joy List.

My Joy List:

In 2010 I will...

Make more people smile
Plant more roses
Take more walks
Play more music
Write more poetry
Reach more clients
Be more aware of the transformations that happen every minute of every day

What is on YOUR joy list? How will you ignite your fire in 2010?

"A Mini Dose of Dynamite" - a free monthly mastermind call - will launch January 20th. If you want to know more send me an email at

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So you say you made a resolution…

Keeping your goals from becoming a glorified to-do list.

This week we begin a new year (and a new decade) and if you are like most of the Western World you have begun making your New Year’s Resolutions. If you are a business owner and entrepreneur like nearly all of my clients and a good many of my friends you’ve also begun writing out your professional and business goals for 2010. And if you are like the “average” person you will have already “failed” to meet your goals or stick to your resolutions by the end of January 2010!

So why start?

I think it is more a question of where to start. Most people start with questions like “what do I most need to accomplish in 2010?” They may even begin with “what would I most like to make happen in 2010?” Very seldom does their goal setting process include connecting to an impelling “why.”

I’ve had clients apologize to me for having financial goals and I’ve had clients who refused to confess to having any goals that didn’t lead to financial success. And to them all I say “why?”

Yeah, why? What will change for you if you make that happen? Why do you care? Is your heart and soul engaged?

If you are in business I hope you are in business to make money. Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions and many more, was quoted as saying “I don't want to do business with those who don't make a profit, because they can't give the best service.”

The character Ernesto, while demonstrating Law #1 in The Go-Giver says, “will it make money is not a bad question, it’s just a bad first question.” He goes on to explain to Joe that the best first question is “will it serve.”

So here is the vital question; “how will achieving your goals serve you?”

Again, “money” isn’t a bad answer. But it is a bad first answer. Because money, in and of itself doesn’t serve. No one wants money just to have money. You want money for what it will buy, for what it says about you, for the status, for the security, for the good you can do with it, for all kinds of practical and emotional reasons. Money alone doesn’t answer the question.

Why not try starting with the joy you will gain from achieving your objectives in 2010 and reverse engineer your goals? I can hear it now, “joy, you want me to start with joy?”

Yes I do. That kind of joy that sets your soul on fire and gives your heart wings. The outcomes that make you dance a jig and turn crazy cartwheels on the landscape of your mind. THAT kind of joy.

If you cannot think of ONE thing that you could do in 2010 that would have that effect you’ve already figured out why you don’t accomplish your goals. Or if you do it is a hard, hard road with more relief and pride than true celebration at the end of it.

Am I saying that your goals should not be financial? Absolutely not! There are no “wrong” goals or “wrong” resolutions – only “wrong” reasons. What is a wrong reason? One that you have no emotional connection to - one that does not light your fire.

What would happen if you started your goal setting or resolutions by asking yourself this question? “This time next year what accomplishment(s) do I want to look back on with tears of joy and a full heart and say - I did THAT?

Grab hold of that feeling and don’t let go. Then start asking “what has to happen in order to reach that moment, who do I need to involve, what resources will I need, what must I do FIRST?”

Those are goals you are emotionally attached to, outcomes that light you up inside. And likely they will require that you make money, and they may even make you a lot of money. But the emotion isn’t about the money, the money is just a resource and a natural outcome.

So you say, “what about S.M.A.R.T goals?” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely for those of you who haven’t been dipped in the magic well of Organizational Development.)

Stuff and nonsense (I HEARD those gasps of horror from my colleagues) AT THIS POINT. It’s too soon to think about being reasonable. I don’t want to hear about realistic and achievable. I don’t want to hear about “should” and “can’t” (although I’ll be talking about both of those deal breakers in future posts.) Right now we’re still dreaming of the “impossible” and figuring out how to bring it within reach.

I have clients who are used to keeping five year business plans. And I have clients who never write a business plan. Either way, we don’t focus on the plan until we find the joy, the fire, the light they WANT to move toward. Only then are we are ready to write goals, plans, resolutions, create roadmaps.

Because when your “why” is clear then everything you write becomes an “I want to so I will” instead of “I should so I better put it on the list” and your goals become a sanctified “can-do” list instead of a glorified “must-do” list.

Got a burning question about something in this post? Email it to me at and I’ll send you a personal response.