how much truth can you accept about yourself?

Photo by Balaji Malliswamy

Do you believe everything that’s said about you?

Do you believe everything you’ve said, are saying about yourself?

Not knowing who you really are is keeping you stuck.

What do I mean?

There are many things that have been said to us, about us…stuff we’ve just accepted as truth.

Perhaps someone we admired said it, maybe it was a teacher, a big brother or sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, boss, colleague…doesn’t matter. We accepted and believed. And dare I say, became what we believed to be true.

For me, I believed in every one else but myself! I didn’t think I had anything to count on…but I do. And now that I’m aware, I’ve created a moat around my being and smile as I watch other people’s opinions of me sink deep into the water and drown.

Our job is to awaken from this hypnosis that is presently keeping us from being who we are. Not because something is said means that we have to believe it.

In the book ‘The Ultimate Secrets of Self Confidence’ by Dr. Robert Anthony he shares this, and please MARK IT WELL:

In order to construct a new “functional” building on a site where one that is “inefficient exists, you first have to raze the old structure. This must be done by shattering those “mistaken certainties” which have held you back from expressing the unlimited, abundant, wholesome life you desire.

Is your past keeping you stuck?

Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash

I recently started a re-read of Napoleon Hill’s ‘Grow Rich with Peace of Mind.’ Marketing genius Dan Kennedy calls this Napoleon Hill’s best book.

I understand why Dan would say that this is his best book because of the experience and learning that must have taken place between when ‘Think and Grow Rich’ was first published in 1937 and when ‘Grow Rich with Peace of Mind’ was published 30 years later in 1967, just four years before Hill died.

So when Hill talks about closing the door on your past, he must know what he’s talking about.

Napoleon Hill had many failures – a point many say make him a fraud. After all he wrote the bible on growing rich – how dare he fail. Yet failure seems to be par for the course.

Not enough is said about failure, except in passing and in a very general nature.

We are left to think that failure often never occurs but failure is real, and part of the journey.

What is important is that we don’t dwell on or keep re-living our failures.

  • The ability to earn money consistently is an area where many of us unsalaried folk fail.
  • The ability to make money work in our favour is the area where many salaried folk fail.

Every adversity has within it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.

napoleon hill

COVID-19 is a definite adversity so wherein lies the greater benefit?

We have a tendency to over-indulge and overextend when times are good only to regret imprudence when the tide turns (as it is guaranteed to), like we didn’t even really see this downturn was coming until it was upon us…COVID-19 that is.

This is what Warren Buffet meant when he said in 1992 and continued saying, through to 2007:

It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked

Many of us admittedly have been swimming naked. COVID-19 has accelerated the receding tide and caught us with our pants down!

It is time for a reset.

True power in this world comes from economic independence. Way before COVID-19, too many people in Trinidad and Tobago had way too much month left at the end of their money. I suspect that since COVID-19 this situation has gotten worse.

No matter what financial position the Pandemic finds you in, you need to stop, take a deep breath and CLOSE THE DOORS TO YOUR PAST insofar as any regrets or post-mortems are concerned. You are where you are. What has happened has already happened. Dwelling on how stupid you are, or what you should have done, is not very helpful right now.

You have a wonderful opportunity to look at yourself. Real wealth starts with the view you have of yourself. You are your first capital and you are the CEO of your life.

Watch your words. When you speak of failure, you attract failure. When you speak of success you attract success.

Lose envy. Regardless of the times, there will always be someone who is going to be better off, make more money than your do, or have what you have but bigger.

Unadulterated desire is fine but nursed envy is harmful. It eats away at your peace of mind and can bring unwanted ailments into your life. Keep your focus clean and clear of all negativity.

If you just lost your livelihood, now is definitely not the time to be resentful and hate-filled. What you carry with you is communicated invisibly and indirectly to all that you come into contact with. Think carefully about what message you’re sending.

And above all, if you’re in a job you don’t like, still do your best and then some. Working to rule or doing only what you need to is actually working against you. This has nothing to do with whether you like your employer or not. Progress will be made only when you have more than filled the requirements of your present position. If you are not filling or exceeding your present position then zero change is likely to occur.

As we look towards the future, let us carry only what is instructive.

Ambassador Andrew Young said – “There is a difference between being broke and being poor. Being broke is economic but being poor is a disabling frame of mind and a depressed condition of one’s spirit.”

In other words, being poor is having a broken view of who you are.

We must all vow to never, ever be poor again!

I want to give everyone the ability to succeed and prosper no matter what very real roadblocks society puts in their way. We have more power than we realize if only we can recognize and claim it. Reach out here and let’s have a conversation.

Learn how you can use your own power to succeed despite bleak odds.

Putting words to what you do

Riz Mooney

I was reading a report this week by Rachel Allen, owner of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting and I’m so happy that I took the time to read it in its entirety.

Rachel shared some truly significant golden nuggets but the two things that impacted me the most sums up the work I do as a copywriter, amongst other things.

Golden nugget numero uno: Until you can put words to it, it remains in your head – full of potential but powerless.

Golden nugget numero dos: You can have an awesome relationship with your vocation and create a million iterations of work with it, but if you never share that with anyone else, it tends to become monothematic, and you tend to turn in on yourself, stagnating.

Putting words to your work, describing what you do, in a way that not just sounds good, but feels good…like in your soul ‘feel good’…is difficult. That’s because we have grown apart from who we really are in search of what others tell us, is the way we should describe ourselves. We sound everything but authentic. We sound super successful, and professional, but not real. We wear the title but we don’t necessarily believe that this is us.

The second golden nugget hit me much harder than the first.

Oh I’ve iterated so many times, trying to get it right – website, service offerings, pricing, which automated calendar service to use, my process, what I will say to customers, yet I hesitate, big time, to share.

I have armchair one sided arguments with others out there in the trenches: “What are you doing? Why are you doing it like that? Nobody does that anymore? How do you expect to get results for you clients doing it that way?” Yet I withhold my own solutions?

Do you feel me?

Well those days are over. In the infamous words of Diana Ross “I’m coming out!” and so should you!

There is a whole lot of marketing wisdom in these three words:

MESSAGE BEFORE MEDIA

Wisdom that we all ignore, whether we’re seasoned marketers or not.

We start by saying things like:

  • I need to master this social media stuff…
  • I need to do a podcast…
  • I must do a webinar…

We go chasing after media BEFORE we get the message right.

How do you get your message right? By first developing Your Unique Approach (YUA).

I agree with Rachel…

We are all born with the potential to contribute something astonishing – something that moves the global conversation forward, something that gives each of us a unique possibility for contribution.

No one else can do what you can, in the way that you can.

Your vocation matters. What you do with it matters, and we need you more than ever!

You can’t afford to bear the cost of losing business because of unclear or misaligned messaging. Let me help you clarify your message to win business now that the stakes are higher than ever, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Reach out here and let’s have a conversation.

If you’re not yet ready, why don’t you take advantage of this free training which shows you how your website can become your number one salesperson.

Have you become pinned beneath the boulder of your own reputation?

Photo by JESSICA CASTILLO

This is not an original thought but then if you read BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert you will realize that two or more of us can in fact have the same thought/discovery what scientists call multiple discovery – a term used whenever two or more scientists in different parts of the world come up with the same idea at the same time.

When I read that description about being pinned beneath the boulder of your reputation it felt like it had come from the bowels of my own existence.

The pain is not my own pain. My own pain is different.

This pain is the pain I feel when I see wasted gifts, strewn carelessly along life’s path because we are stuck at the top – at the pinnacle of our success…feeling as if we can’t recreate what has brought us this far and so we allow fear to consume us.

Many times those who were magnificent in the field of sales, are now leading other sales professionals. But we no longer sell. We are afraid of not swinging it out of the park as we once did.

We all feel that when we’re at the top, the only way we can go is down and so we build a moat around us and stop learning, doing, trying, experimenting…for fear that if we do – we will be exposed as a “one hit wonder”.

Gilbert says of Harper Lee

I wonder if perhaps she had become pinned beneath the boulder of her own reputation. Maybe it all got too heavy, too freighted with responsibility and her artistry died of fear – or worse self-competition.

Sometimes we just get pinned down. We’re neither at the top nor bottom of our game but we are pinned down by that boulder of fear.

I’ve taken Liz Gilbert’s suggestion to accept that fear is always going to be along for the ride, but I will NOT let fear drive.

I’m also accepting that life will always change. It is neither consistently good or bad. There is so much that I don’t control. There is so much that I don’t have to explain.

I am haunted by this…

You could leave life right now…” said Marcus Aurelius “…Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

Lessons keep repeating themselves…I can’t seem to shake certain feelings…yet time marches on.

It’s time to get from under that rock. Don’t be burdened by your past successes. With humility press forward knowing that you control only those actions you take.

I’m asking myself this:

How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?

How long are you going to wait?

Forget the New Year, new you B.S

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

We could all be a little more cognizant of time…because it truly waits on no one. On my Fitbit Versa I chose a watch face that shows me so far, how many seconds I’ve lived. Below is the reminder to make every second count.

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius reminds us…

You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you DO and SAY and THINK.

From childhood, I have always been obsessed with death. I contemplated everlasting life, based on my Catholic upbringing and got equally scared. Ryan Holiday says that meditating on your mortality is only depressing if you miss the point. It is in fact a tool to create priority and meaning. It is a tool that creates real perspective and urgency.

Have you fully explored “YOU” with all of what makes up your wonderful human beingness?

We obsess with improvement but I think we miss the absolute wonder of being and doing what comes to mind for us, whatever that is. The urgings, the desires, the longings…we need to act. Not keep reinventing a self that is already perfect in all its imperfections.

We need to treat time as a gift. Not waste it.

We need to accept everything and every one in our lives as is.

We need not become defensive or feel we need to justify our own choices.

We need to remember that we could leave life RIGHT NOW!

How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?

epictetus

We need to return to the Age of Exploration

It’s been a tough time for everyone. COVID-19 is the great equalizer. It has brought everyone to their knees and cast a spell of pessimism world-wide.

Yet there is always hope, if only we shift our thinking and view life through different lenses.

In the world of work, we have no choice other than to get more creative, more resourceful and more reliant on our only security – our competence.

No block of marble, tiny canvas, or eight basic notes ever stifled creativity and so like the artists that we know, we must be more than just technically proficient. We need to return to what got us fired up when we started doing what we are doing. We need to examine what worked then, what has morphed into the status quo and what is capturing our attention right now in the world that we simply cannot accept.

Transformation requires imagination but the key ingredient that we all need to do more of is to explore.

Believe it or not, there was a period in European history, loosely defined as the Age of Exploration. It began early in the 15th Century and lasted through the 17th Century. It was a time when the Europeans began exploring the world by sea in search of new trading routes, wealth, and knowledge.

The impact persists to this day, with many of the world’s former colonies still considered the “developing” world, while colonizers are the First World countries, holding a majority of the world’s wealth and annual income.

Here are some other impact areas:

  • Explorers learned more about areas such as Africa and the Americas and brought that knowledge back to Europe.
  • Massive wealth accrued to European colonizers due to trade in goods, spices, and precious metals.
  • Methods of navigation and mapping improved, switching from traditional portolan charts to the world’s first nautical maps.
  • New food, plants, and animals were exchanged between the colonies and Europe.

We need to suspend what we think we know and believe to be true because if we don’t, we will limit ourselves to the options that have been in front of us all along.

I ask questions. The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. Wisdom comes from having a question for everything.

MILAN KUNDERA – Author

According to author Matt May, the Universe has posed to each of us, a very specific question of paramount importance that only we can answer in our unique way.

This is how artists and scientist sculpt their work, around a central question so they own the work. Their world revolves around masterful work performed for worthy reasons toward a meaningful end. They go their own way in the face of what to most looks to be impossible.

There is a dark side to this approach of course. We get criticized, denied, rejected, dismissed and laughed at.

But this is par for the course and we shouldn’t let this hold us back.

  1. We need to protect ourselves from those “keepers of the status quo” also known as our peers, and trust in our own strength.
  2. We have to believe in our own ideas and to daily recommit to making things happen.
  3. We need to explore and experiment with new approaches and new ways to do things

The truth is, we are being taught a valuable lesson:

Nothing and no thing is permanent. Change is always around the corner. We can choose to dance with it or resist it but resistance only leads to pain.

We don’t control many of the things we pursue in life – yet we become angry, sad, hurt, scared, or jealous when we don’t get them.

THE DAILY STOIC JOURNAL – Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Expect that people won’t agree with you, like what you’re doing, support your approach. That’s ok. They are not your tribe. Those who need you will read about what you’re doing, and want to learn more.

To succeed you need to be both artist and scientist. You need to keep tinkering, tailoring and trying. Examine your results, and make the necessary changes. Don’t look for shortcuts. This IS the shortcut.

There is a story that I absolutely love that tells of an exchange between Martha Graham and Agnes De Mille who was hired in 1943 to choreography the musical Oklahoma. She was feeling dispirited despite the success of her musical and confessed to Martha over a soda at Schrafft’s restaurant, that she had a burning desire to be excellent but no faith that she could be. This was Martha’s quiet response

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. As for you, Agnes, you have so far used about one-third of your talent.”

The world is driven by social response. We measure by likes and give up on our dream because someone who doesn’t even understand WHAT we’re doing weighs in.

I know and understand that we have to earn money but I think we totally miss the point when we chase “doing it like everyone else” versus doing what that inner voice compels and haunts us to do.

Kill expectation. Do what you know is your work, your art and good things will follow.

You don’t need to be saved or rescued. What you need is the knowledge of your power, how to access it, how to communicate your value and how to earn accordingly in exchange for what you’re offering.

If any of what I’ve said resonates then your are in the right place and I definitely have solutions for you.

the hard work is the shortcut

We look for shortcuts like this all the time:

Yet when pursuing mastery it’s often more than four simple steps.

For anything I’ve ever had to master it involved:

  • Practice
  • Repetition
  • Revision
  • Iteration
  • More practice
  • Making mistakes
  • Redoing
  • Revising

You get the picture. No straight lines. Always a learning curve. Some curves steeper than others.

When we set out to learn anything new, we are attracted to those courses that promise mastery in 30 days, results in 21, genius level in just 3 months.

We watch reality TV shows, where restaurants are renovated in an hour AND staff and leadership issues are sorted in that timeframe too! Didn’t you know it? Houses can be renovated with ease and look as if you’re about to be featured in Architectural Digest.

We are lured by the end but never get a real sense of what it’s like to experience the joy of doing the work, of making mistakes, of falling out of love and falling right back in within the hour because this project is yours….you taste the need for it, and your heart aches, the longer it stays locked within.

One of my favorite books is one published in 1997 called Mastery by Joan Evelyn Ames. She interviewed 30 remarkable people including Jean Wiart, master metalworker and successful businessman.

When asked what are the keys to mastery and what keeps him fresh and excited, he said:

It’s a total dedication to your trade. This is absolutely essential. What makes people people great is their faithfulness to their trade and those who have trained them. It’s a lifetime project. Another key to mastery is that we constantly learn. I think that’s true in every discipline. We have to walk in the path of our predecessors for a long time before we can fly with our own wings and be an example for others. To produce excellence is hard work and demands constantly re-evaluating things and rebuilding them. And I am always vigilant against “short cuts”. They may make life easier but at the same time it’s a disgrace. I say, “Listen, we cannot do that, because it should not be done like that, and we know it.”

How steep your learning curve will be….I can’t say…but don’t let that stop you.

The world needs your “art” even if it may take more than 4 easy steps!

don’t wait…

Many times we remain stuck, mostly because we want guarantees that our next step will bring us exactly what we want.

We want control.

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman share:

We don’t control many of the things we pursue in life – yet we become angry, sad, hurt, scared or jealous when we don’t get them.

The Daily Stoic Journal

Those emotions – our reactions to the things we don’t get – are about the only thing we control.

We tend to focus on what we don’t have, can’t control or won’t get. We focus on lack.

What is it though, that you have that others don’t?

Conformity makes you average. Otherness makes you remarkable.

Dan Rockwell

Look no further than your patterns:

  • The way you do things – your approach – your method.
  • The way you see the world – your perspective.
  • The way you think.
  • Your story and the way it has influenced how you do what you do resulting in a unique philosophy and approach to business and life.

Instead of pinning our hopes on a better future, we focus on the present and being grateful for what we have now

Frank Ostaseski – The Five Invitations

What are you waiting to say, do or be in your life?

Don’t wait.

Let your words, become your works.

don’t go to the ocean with a thimble…

Many years ago, I had bronchitis. It was one of the worst times of my life.

I remember asking my doctor how do asthmatics feel, how do people with pneumonia feel, because I was having such a terrible time breathing.

I thought about this yesterday when I felt gloomy and out of sorts. I couldn’t see to move past a sea of tears and thoughts of despair. I decided to sit with it. Not try to fight it.

How do people with severe depression feel, I wondered?

So many we’ve lost – Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Alexander Mc Queen…

Countless others that I did not know about, including Bhaiyyu Maharaj – a spiritual guru.

While navigating my doldrums, I felt (quite dramatically I thought in hindsight), I would NEVER come out of this!

It’s as the prophet Isaiah wrote, “We hope for light, but behold, darkness, for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope along the wall like blind men, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at midday as in the twilight, among those who are vigorous we are like dead men” (Isaiah 59:9-10).

How do we find the light, that glimmer of hope, that it’s possible to cross over each chasm we face and emerge, ready to move forward?

We must vision and re-vision what’s possible.

Nature always provides insight.

I had cut the last of the celery stalks off this heart of celery and placed the off cut in a cup of water. I had no expectations. Two days later…growth.

It really doesn’t matter what has happened. The celery’s vision is fixed – to become more of what it is.

We are the same, but unlike the celery – we forget.

So it’s important for us to retain our vision.

In ‘Road to Riches’ by Napoleon Hill he talks about heading to the mountains to gather chestnuts. He took a gallon bucket to gather chestnuts, visualizing a gallon bucket full of chestnuts. He was prepared to bring back just one gallon and no more. When he got to the mountain he found bushels of chestnuts on the ground, but had to leave them there because he had not thought in larger numbers when he planned the trip.

Never limit what’s possible for you, even when you’re feeling doubt, uncertainty or a lack of self-confidence. Neither has anything to do with what you can achieve.

In his song ‘With Imagination (I’ll Get There), Harry Connick shares

I started with a dream
But came to a decision
I started with a dream
But now I have a mission
I have a goal
To see beyond my vision
With imagination
I'll get there.

I suspect that to control our thoughts when severely depressed, is difficult. This is a journey you cannot traverse alone. Doctors and therapists can provide the necessary guidance and support needed.

I was reminded today to re-read my vision. Remind myself why I am doing what I have chosen to do.

In the relative darkness of my kitchen, a shaft of sunlight covering the teacup filled with a cut stalk, new life blooms.

This alone provides hope.

Be encouraged.

We face locust attacks daily

I’m missing out on a lot of news.

I am not a newsmonger for starters, but between Donald Trump, Covid-19 and the revelation that underneath the “all ah we is one family” blanket, we as a people in Trinidad & Tobago have a closet full of race hatred, I have completely stopped looking at any of the local and International news channels.

On social media, I might recognize that more than 5 people are talking about something but still need to ask exactly what they are referring to.

It means I completely missed that there was a huge hurricane heading to Texas, where my bestie temporarily resides and only became aware when she sent me a text saying

“By the way I am fine. Hurricane did not hit here. Thanks for asking BESTIE!!”

I also missed the video circulating showing Jacob Blake being shot by police and as I sat to write this piece on locusts – that in January millions of locusts were wreaking havoc in Rajasthan and Gujarat, the worst locust attack seen in almost three decades. 

I have only read about locusts but got curious to actually see them in action when I saw this –

According to the UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the locust attack poses a threat to food security of the affected countries as an adult locust can eat a quantity equal to its weight of about 2 grams every single day. A single square kilometre of the swarm can contain somewhere between 4 to 8 crore adult locusts. Every single day, if they cover 130-150 km, they can eat the food consumed by as many as 35,000 people, it said.

And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten.

JOEL 2:25

Lost years could never be restored. We all live with regret. “Shoulds” we ought to have taken care of years ago. We watched time pass us by. The fruits of wasted years – the potential of what could be.

No amount of dwelling in the past, simmering in unforgiveness will restore what we lost.

The only place we can change anything is NOW – in this present moment. And we need to be mindful of the thoughts we think – “those locusts devouring our hopes and dreams.”

I remember Joel Osteen talking about this man who kept reliving the tragic death of his wife, by looking at the newspaper clippings of the tragedy daily. He lived in pain and torment bringing it into each new day.

You may have experienced unhappiness in a past relationship. Is it still making you unhappy?

You have a choice.

Will you continue to harbor feelings of resentment, of loss, thinking it was a complete waste of time? Will you let the years that this “relationship locust” ate continue to torment you and cause you unnecessary suffering now?

Or will you choose to learn from it and grow? To be wiser, perhaps more discerning? To understand your own shortcomings and perhaps chart a way forward for self-improvement?

The only way to change anything is to give new meaning to the experience. And as you augment the meaning to serve you favorably, your emotional state will also shift positively.

Change your past by changing your attitude towards it and watch as years lost to the “locusts of your mind” are restored unto you.