The hardest things in life and how to make impossible decisions

The hardest things in life and how to make impossible decisions

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What if you don’t have to get anything right?

Just typing that question causes something in my lower back to release. I can feel my buttocks settle into the cushion on my chair as I stop working quite so hard to live up to whatever unconscious standards are running in the background of my awareness.

How about you?

The hardest thing in life is thinking we need to get it right

It seems to me that the hardest thing in life, the hardest thing in building a business, the hardest thing about raising children or growing vegetables, is dealing with our ideas and judgments about getting things right.

Those ideas about what is and isn’t right keep us from going with what we know is true for us in the moment. Preoccupation with getting it right can make decision-making pure hell.

What makes making the right decision seemingly impossible is believing that there’s a right decision to begin with.

The need to get it right goes deep

The imperative that one must get things right is layered, persistent, sneaky. If you’re like me, you let go of the need to get things right, only to discover that you have a new imperative to not need to get things right.

Even (especially?) illness comes with imperatives about what’s right

As some of you know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of June. As you might imagine, I’ve had lots of different feelings and thoughts about it.

Far and away the hardest thing about it has been the persistent arising of theories or concepts about getting it right.

Having the right feelings. (Yeah, like I’m in charge of that.)

Making the right choices. (For whom? When?)

Sending the right messages. (Hopeless invitation to self-absorption.)

What I’ve learned about making the right decision

I’ve been keeping a journal of my breast cancer journey at CaringBridge, and here’s an excerpt from my entry on June 24 about decision-making and getting things right. I wrote it after deciding to get a bilateral mastectomy, but I think it applies to decision-making in general.

“The hardest part of the past couple of days has been wondering if I’ve made the right decision. And the hardest part of that has been wondering what other people would think of my decision. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I’ve learned.

  1. “Decisions make themselves. We don’t know what we are going to do, and then we do. The less sound and fury I can inject in the interim, the better able I will be to discern the “right” decision. More about what constitutes “rightness” below.
  2. “It’s not over until it’s over. Another way to say this is that I reserve the right to be inconsistent, erratic, and change my mind. If I’m struck with a sudden insight that changes how I see this, I’ll punt. I’m grateful to Dr. Wechter for explicitly giving me permission to change my mind, though she did ask me not to do it the day before surgery. 😉
  3. “This decision stands until it doesn’t. Insight doesn’t flow from second-guessing. I like how I feel about this decision when I am settled down, and I’m going to stand in that. I won’t be surprised if I second-guess myself anyway, but I don’t intend to put a lot of energy into it.
  4. “The right decision is the one you make. I have a bias in favor of decisions made from a place of peace, from what Syd Banks called “a nice feeling.” But there is no ultimate basis for grading the rightness of this decision. How could you or I judge? By whether or not the cancer returns? By whether or not a new treatment is discovered in six months? By how these journal entries affect an unknown reader? Will I meet my new best friend on the ferry one day en route to get my new boobs inflated? (Stay tuned. Or not. LOL)
  5. “We’re all always doing our best. Full stop.”

There is no such thing as the “right way”

When it comes down to it, there is no such thing as the right way to do something; there is only the way we do it. The only justification I have for my choice to have a bilateral mastectomy is that I felt clear, grounded, and peaceful when I let myself want what I want.

And hey, if the best I could do happened to be to make a choice from a place of feeling, confused, ungrounded, and anxious, then that would have to be okay, too.

Because, as I wrote above, I see more clearly than ever that we truly are always doing our best all the time. The only thing that keeps us from seeing that are persistent fantasies and judgments about what our best ought to look like. Those fantasies and judgments are mental constructs, though, and they are utterly trumped by the reality of whatever we are up to in the moment.

I hope to serve, and sometimes I suck at it

As I reflect on my life, I see that I have always hoped to serve. I love it when sharing my experience helps others, and I feel so fortunate that for many years I have been able to earn my living by doing that.

But sometimes when I experience confusion or anxiety or any number of less than, in my opinion, admirable states of mind, I get seriously derailed. I start imagining that I have to get something right in order to be of service, and as soon as I’m on that track, I’m lost in endless self-absorption and self-criticism.

Which pretty much shuts down the creative process, prevents authentic connection and communication, and generates a seemingly accurate self-fulfilling prophecy of wasted potential, meaninglessness, and alienation.

And in those moments my life looks like a wasteland. The idea of service seems like a cruel delusion.

And that’s how it is for all of us. When we are lost, we see loss and waste.

But it’s not real

It sucks to feel like we suck. But the important thing to know about those self-fulfilling prophecies is that they are only seemingly accurate. Because our scary self-fulfilling prophecies are dreams. They are not real.

And sooner or later we come home to ourselves.

We come home sooner when we understand what is going on

We come home to ourselves sooner rather than later when we understand what is going on.

When we understand that, even though they feel very real and compelling in the moment, our fears and judgments are phantoms, we are less inclined to amplify and invest in them.

And like any fire that lacks fuel or oxygen, even the most intense emotional blaze passes when we don’t feed it.

It may burn for a while, but it will not burn forever.

What would you do if you didn’t have to get it right?

If any of this has resonated, I invite you to hold this question lightly. What would you do now if you didn’t have to get it right?

If no answer appears, that could be your answer. Nowhere is it written that you have to know what you are doing or why you are doing it. Wisdom runs deeper than language, and life is far more mysterious than that.

Talk back: I’d love to hear your thoughts and welcome them in the comments section. Also, if you would like to read my CaringBridge journal, it is being cross-posted to my blog at Owning Pink. owningpink.com/users/molly-gordon

Cheers,

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Photo by Werner Weisser via Pixabay

Do you hear a next level calling?

[This is a guest post by my friend Jeffrey Van Dyk to introduce his new work helping people respond to what he calls their next level callings. Molly]

Right now, all around the world, there are people waking up…

With the realization that they have been CALLED to do something great.

It’s as if something gets unlocked inside of them—sometimes over time, sometimes seemingly overnight—and they realize that there is a much larger, more significant impact they are meant to make in this world.

Your Next Level Calling is when the Universe knocks on your door and says “Now Is The Time!” … And you know that everything you’ve done until now was simply training for the great work you are here to bring to this planet on a massive scale.

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You feel the yearning to expand, to deepen, to have a richer more meaningful life, and to have your business reflect that.

I’m Jeffrey Van Dyk, CEO of Big Vision Business, and over the last few years I’ve gone through some very big shifts in the process of answering my larger calling, and let me tell you, it’s been a wild roller coaster of experiences and emotions.

Molly and I were speaking recently about the shifts in her life and business as well, and she invited me to share my experience and what I’ve learned with you … both on the personal side (gory details included) and in terms of business growth and success—and that’s what this post is all about.

I also just released a new video training designed to help you clarify what you’re really meant to be up to in the world that’s true to your soul—and is bigger, more lucrative and contributes to the world in a far greater way.

 The wild thing about getting a bigger calling …

… is that on some level, there is no explaining it! There’s no justification for why it’s you—at least no reason that will really satisfy your ego.

But for better or worse, there’s also no denying it—because you know that you won’t be able to rest until you step up to answer it.

There’s just this deep, underlying soul knowing that you are “The One”…in your field, in your industry, in your part of the world, called to do something truly great, that your tribe and this world is hungry waiting for.

And let me tell you, it can be crazy making! You at first feel like you’re crazy, wondering if you’re making it all up. You feel like you can’t possibly be “The One”—I mean why you? You wonder if you can really do the thing you feel called to do—which is challenging to think about, because usually the details of a bigger calling are fuzzy at first!

And so you stagnate and ignore it, the call only grows bigger and stronger, pulling at your heart … even if your mind continues to resist or push it away.

For me, it happened like this …

Jeffrey

I’ve been in the business and personal development field for many years doing

very purposeful work … but all along I always knew there was a bigger reach I was meant to have. I would have visions of myself on much bigger stages (real and metaphorically), reaching people all around the world. Bottom line is that I’ve always known I have a big message to share, but on some level I was still hiding out – even while living a purposeful life and doing purposeful work.

In the past 18 months I started working with my friend and colleague Max Simon and about 6 months ago took over as CEO for this 60,000 person global community.

I know deep within my bones that what we’re doing at Big Vision Business is BIG. Bigger than anything I’ve created …or BVB has created before.

I also know that this is the beginning of my great contribution—the bigger work I am in this world to do. I know that it’s the beginning of a global movement, and I know that everything I’ve done before this has been preparation for what we’re doing now.

And you know what’s funny?

All my life I knew that this day would come. All my life I knew that there was something significant and world changing for me to do. And now that it’s here …

It’s like my greatest dream and my worst nightmare have collided.

I mean, there’s a part of me that has always known this was my path, and it’s saying, “YES, finally … it’s time!”

This part of me is thrilled that I’m that I’m getting on with the bigger work I’m designed to do – which sounds odd, given that I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of people and generated millions of dollars doing my purposeful work already.

But this time is different, and I know it.

Then there is the part of me that has been subtly (and not so subtly) avoiding answering my next level calling … even though I’ve been staidly moving towards it, bit by bit, for years.

This is the part of me that likes to be private and doesn’t really want to share my feelings or truly be seen (publicly), thank you very much.

And within that part of me are all my own doubts and fears. My fear that people won’t like what I have to share, my concern that I won’t know how to bring this next thing out in a way that works in business, my doubt that I’ll have what it takes, my feeling that it’s too big for me, and the vulnerable, tender parts of me that just don’t want to be abandoned.

Yes, after all the years of being in this business, these things still come up!

I’m sharing this with you so that you know you aren’t alone in this journey, and to give you some tools to deal with it as you answer your own Next Level Calling.

Your old “stuff” will always come to the surface when you’re truly expanding, evolving in your work, and expanding your ability to answer you call on larger and larger scales. And it’s meant to – because inside of that “stuff” is the power, the gold and genius required to step up and lead your great work.

There are some very powerful lessons I’ve uncovered over the last year during my journey,

Here are the 7 Requirements to Answer Your Next Level Calling

1. Change your relationship to your resistance

battle

Stop fighting your resistance, and instead look at what your resistance is trying to tell you! I mean, honestly, aren’t you sick of going to battle with yourself?

Yes, on one hand you could say that your resistance is holding you back … but have you considered that it might be there for a good reason?

Your resistance has intelligence to it, so stop fighting it and start listening to it. It might be telling you what you need to learn, what you need to let go of, or what you need to have in place in order to step out and answer your next level calling safely.

Use your resistance as a feedback mechanism—not something to fight against.

2. Develop a deeper connection to your spiritual guidance

You might already have a connection to your spiritual guidance that you use in your life. But when you answer a bigger calling, getting off track in even small ways can have big consequences.

So rather than just using your spiritual guidance to understand what your calling is, use it to navigate your business and life as you answer your call.

This one practice will cut literally years off from your path and make answering your call one of the richest, most rewarding experiences of your life.

3. Open your heart even wider

You cannot “hide out” AND answer your bigger call.

On some level, when it’s time to really step out, it’s also a call to open your heart in a much more substantial way. It’s a call to really embrace the beauty and gift that you are, and to let that be seen and broadcast in the world.

You are not just bringing a “body of work” to the world—you are stepping out as the living example and embodiment of the work you are here to bring forward. It’s your example that will give people the permission to step forward themselves, and it’s your radiant heart that will draw people to you and compel them to join you.

4. Shift from WHAT you do to WHY you do it

big-why

Practitioners are focused on WHAT they do, and try to sell that (usually without great success). They sell coaching, energy work, book keeping or some other service, and their focus is on telling people about the service they offer.

Global Visionaries, on the other hand, are focused on WHY they do what they do. They are clear about the big impact they are called to have on this world and on their tribe as they answer their calling, and they focus on spreading that message! They inspire people with new possibilities, and what they are doing to help create this new reality in people’s lives and in the world at large.

And here’s the real key: because they are clear about the big WHY, their HOW is inspired and their strategy becomes focus and supercharged.

5. Expand your Vision

Your next level calling isn’t just another business—it’s your life’s work.

And yes, it’s probably much, much bigger than you allow yourself to dream about, let alone put down on paper as a vision.

So starting today, I invite you to allow the whole expanse of your vision into your field of awareness, and to start sharing it! Because when you do, full the energy of your vision is unleashed to guide and fuel what you do. And THAT’S when your creativity starts to flow and you create something truly unique that the world is craving, and ready to buy.

6. Create a masterful, guided strategy

Masterful strategy takes great smarts and creativity …  but it also takes listening.

To develop a masterful strategy, you must know what’s missing in the market, figure out what would inspire you to meet that need, and do so in a way that supports your larger calling.

Many people go sideways and get off course in this step because they tune into their guidance for what it is they are called to do, but don’t stay tuned in for how they are meant to do it! So as you develop your strategy and develop the next phase of your business, continue to step back from it, reconnect to your guidance system and listen to ensure that what you create and how you manifest it is on target, true to your calling and will be deeply impactful to the people you serve.

7. Surround yourself with your tribe

tribe

You aren’t meant to answer your big calling along. And more to the point, you can’t … none of us can.

To answer your calling on a global scale, you need people around you with open hearts and expanded minds, who are engaged in something much larger than themselves. These are the people that will challenge you with love, support you when you’ve lost your way, and stand by your side cheering as you step out to your next level calling.

But most of all, you need to be surrounded by people who know the journey, who know what it’s like to feel different and feel compelled to bring something out that has never been brought out before. People need people who can help you find your own unique road map.

What’s next?

If you know you have a bigger calling, but aren’t sure how to get started or move ahead in the boldest way possible, there is a wealth of resources available for you in the free Next Level Calling educational video series. Check it out today!

Support for Teachers from TeachNow creator Jennifer Louden

Jen Louden 2013Join me and bestselling author Jennifer Louden for highlights of Jen’s groundbreaking program, Teach Now. Teach Now is a home study program delivering multi-faceted support for teachers and those who want to teach. In it Jen addresses what it is to be called to teach, how to teach better, and how to take better care of yourself as a teacher.

Click here to register today for a FREE preview class (actually the first class from the course itself): Dissolving Obstacles to Teaching Joyfully & Effectively April 3rd at 4:00pm PT. A live Q&A will follow.

Sign up for the free first lesson

Click here to register today for a FREE preview class (actually the first class from the course itself): Dissolving Obstacles to Teaching Joyfully & Effectively April 3rd at 4:00pm PT. A live Q&A will follow.

Why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking

Why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking

piggy_bank_3-2014Not surprisingly, scarcity thinking came up during the Wealth Makeover calls last week. One common concern was how to meet financial setbacks without going into scarcity thinking.

During the calls we talked about the essential wholeness and wellbeing that is our factory default as human beings. How we are each an expression of and participant in the dance of creation, part of the formless energy or intelligence out of which everything arises and to which everything returns.

We talked about how the experience of scarcity or abundance is a function of thought, not circumstances. Consider how easy it is to be elated about getting a new client only to be deflated moments later by comparing yourself to someone else in your field.

Or how a funk about not being able to afford to travel more can give way to a wave of gratitude as you contemplate something you love about your home.

If you reflect for just a minute on your own experience, you can readily see that what seems like more than enough money in one moment can seem woefully inadequate in the next and vice versa as your thinking about your circumstances changes.

We live in the feeling of our thinking, not our circumstances.

At first blush it might seem that a smart approach to being happy and prosperous would be to manage your thinking. Think happy thoughts, have a happy life. Think prosperous thoughts, have a prosperous business.

In other words, just say no to scarcity thinking.

But it doesn’t work that way. (Besides, when you think about it, it’s kind of superstitious, don’t you think?)

It’s said that we have upwards of 80,000 thoughts a day. We notice and track only a tiny fraction of those. It’s simply not possible to manipulate your thinking to create the experiences you want.

Fortunately it’s also unnecessary.

You don’t have to fear scarcity thinking precisely because it is just thinking. And thinking can’t damage the wellbeing that is your factory default. At most it can only obscure it temporarily.

When you see that all that is going on when you’re afraid, angry, or insecure is that you’re experiencing your thinking, you can relax a bit, even though the experience may be quite intense.

When you remember that you are the thinker, you don’t need to fear the content of your thinking.

When you don’t fear or struggle with the content of your thinking, your mind is free and open to new thought, including the insight, wisdom, and common sense to live peacefully and well.

And that’s why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking.


 


Photoy by Images of Money

The common cause of romantic mistakes and financial insecurity

broken_heart_3-2014We’ve all had friends who repeat romantic mistakes.

You may know a dreamy-eyed romantic who confuses surface and substance. Or perhaps your friend is a sad-eyed victim who sees deception and shallowness behind the face of every prospective mate.

From where you sit, it’s easy to see where they go wrong. Their preoccupation with attaining happiness or avoiding disappointment overrides their innate wisdom and common sense. Dazzled by dreams of the future or blinkered by the memory of past disappointment, they can’t see clearly in the present.

The same thing happens when it comes to money. We may be dazzled by visions of wealth, spend more than we can afford, make shaky investments, or buy into the latest scheme for making money online or off. On the other hand, fear of financial insecurity may cause us to shut down. When that happens, we deny ourselves even small pleasures or starve our businesses because we are afraid to invest in equipment, training, or help.

Just as with romance, when it comes to money preoccupation with attaining happiness or avoiding disappointment overrides your innate wisdom and common sense.

Whether we’re talking about love or money, the problem is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding: the fallacy that your happiness and wellbeing depend on outside circumstances. And because it doesn’t work that way, the harder you try to manage your circumstances to get what you want or avoid what you don’t want, the farther away you get from the very experience of security that you seek.

And the less secure you feel, the more confused your thinking becomes, and the less access you have to the wisdom and common sense you need to make good decisions in the first place.

But as soon as you stop looking outside of yourself for happiness and wellbeing, your thinking begins to clear. You feel secure, because you are secure. Because you don’t need external circumstances to be one way or another in order to be okay, you don’t argue with reality, and you see your circumstances more clearly.

And when you see your circumstances clearly, you naturally make better decisions. And then, don’t you know, your circumstances tend to improve. It’s a virtuous circle.
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If you’re reading this, odds are that getting rich isn’t your top priority, but even though your humanity is vastly more important than your bank account, you may be living with confusion, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness around money.

If that feels accurate to you, I invite you to join me for Authentic Wealth, a seven week virtual retreat, a teleconference-based experience designed to shift your relationship to money and wealth. Click here to learn more about Authentic Wealth. 

CREDITS
Growing from money by Aaron Patterson 
Broken Heart by Loretta Stephenson 

Would you like to learn from my coach?

Would you like to learn from my coach?

nuts_and_bolts_2-2014
I was rooting around for a topic for this week’s post, wondering what would be a slam-dunk for me (why not?) and what would be of service to you (duh!) when I had a brilliant idea.

I could write about Mark, as in Mark Silver.

Mark is a dear friend, but before we became friends, he was my coach. I hired him when I was feeling terminally stuck. With his help, I created one of my best (if I do say so myself) programs, Authentic Wealth (see the sidebar), and generated about $30,000 of new revenue.

Oh, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Not bad.

(more…)

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