Insight and Inspiration for Flying Higher in Endeavors that Make a Difference
"We carry our fate with us - and it carries us." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.4
Some people have a really hard time with the idea of fate. What's so upsetting about the idea that everything is happening as it was intended?
I think many don't like the idea that Providence* is in charge because that means that they are not.
Why not embrace fate instead? That your life and that of others is unfolding as it should and is meant doesn't mean you don't have a role to play. Indeed, it actually means you are even more "on the hook" for your thoughts, words, and deeds.
Adopting a posture that your efforts and aspirations are being pursued with the reserve clause, "fate permitting," doesn't mean that you're letting life happen to you. Instead, such an approach acknowledges that life is happening through you.
Whether you believe in or accept fate, you have a role to play in your life, the lives of others, the world, and even the cosmos.
Play that role well.
Let's keep flying...
When you create something and put it forth into the world, it's easy to fall into the "reach trap." "How can I get this in front of the most pairs of eyeballs possible?" Social media only amplifies the seductive delusion of "reach."
Your work doesn't need to reach everyone to make meaningful change happen. It merely needs to reach enough of the "right people" you intended it for.
Share something that delights the right people so thoroughly that they can't help but tell more of the right people. This is how you achieve the viability and sustainability necessary to allow you to get up again tomorrow and continue to do the work that fulfills and energizes you.
Yesterday I put my latest work into the world. The Creative on Purpose Handbook is a $1 guide for discovering, developing, and delivering enterprises worthy of your time, talents, and effort.
I wrote this handbook for you. If you grab a copy and it helps, please tell the others so we can all continue to fly higher in...
You're a lousy listener. So am I. It's a human thing. We're just not programmed to tune in and understand someone else's perspective or experience.
You and I are telling ourselves stories; stories about who we are, who other people are, what our circumstances are, what the situation in general is, and on and on.
The problem is, most of the time the narrator in our heads is composing works of fiction, not scientific or mathematical proofs based on irrefutable facts. And when we bump up against someone else's story in a conversation, we unconsciously and immediately stop listening and start judging their position and defending our stance.
"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." - Viktor Frankl
No wonder we almost never change our mind.
The problem though is that unless you learn to change our mind, you can't ever truly improve or develop yourself.
What happens if you let go of your agendas and attachments? What if you enter a...
When is the "right" time to step into possibility, develop excellence, and start making a difference in an endeavor you're building?
Most often we decide it's "later." We convince ourselves that we need to learn more, think about it, get our ducks in a row, or wait for the "right" moment.
The thing is, we already possess everything we need to get started. You are sufficient even as you strive.
It's in the starting that we get to test and tweak and iterate and improve. Doing our work "out loud" and "in person" not only helps us refine what we do, it helps us "find the others." You enhance your life most through work done with and for others.
So, what does it take to start? Choose to start and then do it.
It helps to have fellow travelers on this journey, a destination in mind, and a plan for getting there, but nothing happens until you decide you're ready to go and you take that first step.
Turns out, at least in my experience, that the others show up and the...
We live in a time of abundance. Everything you want to have can be delivered to your device or door instantly. Anything you want to share can be delivered the moment you think it or make it.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
But when should you or shouldn't you?
In The Marketing Seminar we approach this challenge by asking three questions:
These three simple questions can help you discern if your motives are promiscuous or generous, selfish or of service, a waste or worthwhile.
Properly employing ability and abundance to your endeavors requires you do so with intention and integrity.
When you are thoughtful and deliberate about what you choose and what you don't in your endeavors, you improve your chances of doing work worth your time and effort and everyone else's.
What should you do today? As important, what shouldn't you do?
I was about to turn 50. I was a husband, father, teacher, and musician. In each of those endeavors, I was doing well enough by anyone's standards.
I knew I could do more. I believed I could do better. I was ready to do both more and better in all my endeavors.
I began by looking inward. I reevaluated and reconnected with my core values, my inherent talents, and where I belonged.
Then I started looking outward at how I approached what I did, how I did it, and who I did it with.
And I decided that I need to change and that I could change right now.
I changed my mindset by simply acknowledging all the goodness I already had and all the possibility right in front of me. I changed my posture by deliberately engaging with others with greater empathy and generosity. And I started flying higher by intentionally engaging in meaningful endeavors done with and for others.
It was terrifying and it was thrilling. There were a lot of false starts...
The history of music, Western music at least, is the story of growing more and more comfortable with dissonance. Over time, our ability to embrace, appreciate, and dance with this tension has increased.
Listen to a Gregorian chant and then tune in to composition by Ornette Coleman and you'll get a sense of how far we've come in what level of discomfort we're able to tolerate, and even expect, in the music we listen to.
Dissonance is a signal. In music, in life, and in your work, dissonance lets you know that change is about to happen, that this is worth paying attention to, and that it's time to lean in.
Those butterflies you feel. The noise in your head. They arise when you're about to do something different. Something that might even make a difference.
Dissonance isn't something to ignore or shy away from. It's a reminder that the tried and true need to be tweaked. It's an invitation to join in making change happen.
When was the last time you paid attention and leaned...
For those that endeavor, the conventional wisdom is "go big or go home." Following this advice is precisely why so few enterprises ever get started or off the ground. Instead of "swinging for the fences" and then quitting when you "strike out," why not strategically "settle" for "base hits?" Why not go small?
It's so easy to "hide" in big dreams. Big plans too often lead to spinning cycles collecting dots and getting your ducks in a row. You don't need new tools or training. You need to put yourself on the hook and get going. To get where you want to be you need to start where you are and take the next smallest step into the possibility you're aiming for.
The SVS (Smallest Viable Step)
This idea comes from a chat I had with my friend, Marie Schacht. Sure, you need to have an end in mind, but when deciding what to do next, choose the next SVS (smallest viable step). Your next SVS is your best guess at the next best step that will propel you and your work the furthest and...
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"Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
Books are my go-to source for inspiration and information in my endeavors. Here are four books that currently inform my journey in developing Creative On Purpose and help me enhances the lives of those who collide with it.
Happy: Why Everything Is More or Less Fine, by Derren Brown
Derren presents a no-nonsense approach to living the good life that touches on Stoicism, positive psychology, and pokes holes in some of the more silly sides of the self-help genre. This is a profound, entertaining, and funny read for those ready to stress less and thrive more in life and work.
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Sheila Heen et al
This is a topic I took...
At the heart of any endeavor is the idea that you enhance your life most through work that enhances the lives of others. Some know what their next project is and who it's for. Others are seeking both an enterprise and an audience for it.
Whichever group you align with, there's always room to endeavor better. But how?
The answer is not by signing up for more learning, purchasing more tools, or looking for more options. You already possess everything you need to begin and grow an enterprise that serves people you care about. The essential thing is aligning who you are with what you're good at and find collaborators and clients who share your values and need your talents to help enhance their lives.
But where to start? Here's a quickstart guide.
First, stop getting hung up on the idea that the “right” project or audience even exists. It doesn’t. But an alright project for a group of people you already know does. Start where you are, with what you have, and who...