Category Archives: Goal Setting
Once upon a time I gave myself singing lessons for my 40th birthday. I had always loved to sing, and I thought I had a pretty nice voice. I thought it would be grand to expand my somewhat limited range, … Continue reading
When I was a senior in high school my true love was a sophomore in college. That was back in the day when long distance calls were expensive, and we wrote piles of earnest letters full of angst and idealism. … Continue reading
When I look back over the years that I’ve been in business, I see that my best decisions have all been grounded in a good feeling. I’m not talking about feeling blissed out or jazzed or confident, though those things … Continue reading
One of the themes that runs through Believe: A Guide to Practical Attraction is the distinction between the creative power of thought and the resource-depleting practice of wishful thinking.
On the one hand, thought has the power to bridge current reality and a dreamed-for outcome. Our experience of the world is created by the thoughts we believe. But wishful thinking, by definition, keeps us and what we wish for separate. The wish is always a distant dream. The harder we wish, the more we resist (and even resent) current reality.
With this in mind, here is a quick reality check. After all, your possible dream begins here and now, not there and then.
You Will Make Mistakes
Hello! Mistakes happen. If you position yourself as a know-it-all, mistakes can be fatal. Position yourself instead as a human being, a learner, an adventurer, and your mistakes become platforms for next steps.
Not Everyone Wants or Needs What You Have
That’s good news, because odds are that you can’t respond to everyone anyway. Cultivate the courage, integrity, and clarity to listen deeply to prospective clients and decline to work with those whom you are not ideally suited to serve.
Obstacles Are Essential to Creating
Opposition is an essential shaper of the creative process, closing off some choices and pointing in new, sometimes completely unfamiliar and unexplored, directions. Think of it as putting banks on a river. Without those banks, a river’s flow loses force. Add banks, and you focus and direct a powerful flow.
Humbly Welcome Opportunities to Profit
Remember the Marianne Williamson quote, “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”
Who are you to not profit from your work? It’s simply wasteful not to harvest, use, and recycle the gifts we’ve been given. Let’s get a clue and stop starving ourselves and our businesses of the oxygen they need to thrive.
Clients Have Bad Days, Too
Some times they’re going to take it out on you. That doesn’t mean you have to slink home licking your wounds, nor does it mean you get to strike back. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to accept abuse.
When you feel unfairly used, take a few deep breaths, notice what you wish were different, and remember that we’re all human. Maybe it’s time to do some boundary maintenance. Are you pretending that you need to please everyone or that everyone needs to like you in order for you to thrive? Look to yourself, not because you are to blame, but because you are the only one whose behavior you can manage.
Sometimes Whole Systems Go Wrong
Or you find out too late that a new project was not quite ready for prime time. (Tell me about it.) At times like this you get to practice being available and responsive to client needs while also taking care of yourself.
Sometimes you won’t (yet) know how to solve or resolve the problem, and you may resent the time you’re using to reassure clients instead of getting things on track. Breathe. Learn to say, “I don’t know, and I do care, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.” Practice saying it with dignity, conviction, and patience. Take some time to wonder what you would need to believe in order for all of this to feel right and true.
It Takes a Village to be Self-Employed
Self-employment doesn’t mean we don’t need or want support, though we may be the last to realize it. Spend some time wondering how other people might want you to thrive. Let your imagination run free as you speculate on what kinds of collaboration could work for you. Turn your complaints about networking into dreams of your ideal support system. What would your business look and feel like if you knew you did not have to have it all together because there was lots of help at hand?
The secrets to creating the possible dream are all related to accepting what is, which includes accepting the support that is everywhere around you and accepting your own desire to build a business that adds real value in the world and allows you to thrive. Some days it will be easier than others to believe that reality and your dream can co-exist. But if you persist with humility, passion, and trust, your dream will teach you how to make it real.
Find out how The 2009 Self Employment Telesummit can help you achieve your possible dream. Registration opens July 5; telesummit September 10-22. To learn more, click here.
Photo: Courtesy of flickr.com
Photo by giopuo / Giovanni via Flickr
Reprinted, slightly revised, from the The New Leaf, Volume 5, No. 11, March 17, 2003.
Lord knows, you can use all the help you can get when you’re self-employed. And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that using affirmative, present tense statements can help you get the things you wish for.
But sometimes affirmations just don’t feel right, or, they feel okay, but they don’t work. What’s up with that?
Into the Labyrinth
For centuries, wisdom seekers have worked with various symbol systems in their efforts to understand the relationship between intentions and results. One such symbol system is the labyrinth.
(There’s an interactive image of the labyrinth at Chartres here.)
What can the labyrinth show us about how intention is transformed into results?
Begin by imagining that we enter the labyrinth with a goal or intention in mind, and that how we state and embody the intention is going to affect our journey of transformation. In other words, how we start does make a difference.
Now, imagine walking the labyrinth, and ask yourself how the twists and turns, the straight and crooked segments of the path, might affect our original intention.
What is it like to hold this intention and affirm our goals as the labyrinth asks us to double back, appearing to lose ground?
What is it like to find ourselves rather surprisingly in a different quadrant of the circle?
Cause and Effect: It’s Not What You Think
Walking a labyrinth, like any transformational experience, means being willing to experience sudden shifts in perspective as we move toward our goal. Sometimes that means the goal itself will change.
And that’s where a simplistic approach to affirmations breaks down, because sometimes affirmations that made sense last year or last week aren’t relevant today.
Who we are and what we want as we emerge from the labyrinth can be profoundly different than who we were and what we planned at the start.
This means we need to be careful about how we understand the relationship between intention and result. That there is a relationship is apparent, but to imagine that the relationship is one of cause and effect oversimplifies and distorts what’s going on.
What does this mean for the use of affirmations?
First, trust yourself. If stating your goals in the present tense feels powerful and meaningful, then do it.
Second, observe yourself. Pay attention to what moves in you when you use affirmations so that you can respond to the process of transformation and collaborate with the ways you are being called to show up and co-create outcomes.
Sometimes it will feel right to declare an as-yet-unmanifest outcome as current reality. Sometimes it will feel uncomfortable, yet useful because it challenges you to step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it will simply feel wrong.
Curiosity: The Master Skill
Whatever you experience, be curious.
What is it about this desired-for thing that feels unreal when you claim it, out loudand in present tense?
Does this feeling point to some inner or outer work you need to do to narrow the gap between how things are and how you want them to be?
If an out-loud, present tense declaration feels powerful and true, how come? What are you knowing, being, or sensing that gives rise to this feeling of certainty?
What are the physical attitude or posture, mood, and set of beliefs that correlate with this experience?
Does this way of being feel sustainable?
Is there inner or outer work that wants to be done from this place?
Support for the Journey
We can know the value of being curious, but find it hard to carve out the time for reflection.
And when we do make time–or when insight comes uninvited–we sometimes misinterpret what we discover.
Having a support team can make all the difference, not only in helping you do the inner and outer work you need (and want) to do, but alsoby reminding you to celebrate yourself and enjoy the results of your efforts.
You can get that kind of support–a whole year’s worth –by doing three things:
1. Get The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur, a program for growing a business that fits just-right.
2. Join Shaboom County, roadside assistance for the self-employed. (Members get substantial discounts on all my programs.)
3. Be selfish (really), and ask for what you need. There are no new questions, no new or unique problems. By asking for what you want and need, you help everyone.
Together, The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur and Shaboom County will give you more than enough information, support, guidance, and encouragement to keep you working on your business all year…for less than $23 a month.
[Psst, prices go up April 1!]