The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma:

QuestionI’m a health care professional and entrepreneur and from time to time I find myself in a rut, questioning my abilities, if I’m doing the right thing, should I do something else…I have a couple of what I think are great personal and career opportunities at the moment, and I want to know what the best way is to stay fresh, energized, enthusiastic about these projects. Also, because they’re entrepreneurial in nature, there’s risk, all types of different risks, financial, personal, opportunity costs and the like. I want to stay energized and passionate about the opportunities while at the same time staying level headed. How do I stay passionate and energized enough to defend my ideas about these opportunities while being open minded and flexible about suggestions/criticisms from others. How do I manage the dilemma of having the fire, but also realistic?                DP

Frank’s Reply:
Firstly, we all get in ruts sometimes, but I would watch my language (as language shapes our experience), call it a “creative break” or a “refocus period”, as if you’ve ever really been stuck in a winter icy rut with your bald tires, tough to get out and the word is powerful for your subconscious mind!

Whenever we tackle something for the first few times we are complete and utterly “lost” and relatively “useless” as we have few reference points or guide points letting us know “proceed you are on the right track” or something similar. I’m hearing a fair amount of enthusiasm (great! Passion #2 on the ES) but also fear (awful feeling #22 on the ES!). Trust your intuition on these “great” opportunities and follow them as far as they feel good to you and motivate you, otherwise put them aside and focus on what’s working.

The best way to feel fresh and energized with these projects is to fully commit all of you to them, don’t hold back (your STUMPS (acronym for Saboteur Trickster Most Pathetic Self in “u”) is telling you to be guarded and not give 100%), don’t listen, do it anyway. Remember it’s not what you do that is important but who you become in the trials and tribulations of trying, failing and dusting yourself off and trying again. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely profession, I know. Thousands of untold invested hours with sometimes zero external money or result to show for it, that’s why many prefer a cushy job, guaranteed income.  The fact you have multiple projects is a great testament to others’ confidence in you and your openness, trust that side of yourself.

As for Realistic VS Passion, they are polar opposites and inversely correlated. As an early stage entrepreneur I would lean 80% passion, 20% realistic as all great breakthroughs were not realistic.
Realistic is for losers and those who work in bean-counter organizations, not us little mice (vs. dinosaur) entrepreneurs. Besides realistic has no vision, juice or power! Passion can sell any idea to anyone.

I would make sure I have well set out goal milestones and these need to be things you know are needed to succeed, but NOT the final result, keep reframing it bigger. Here’s an example from my work.

  • When I first had the idea of Cobra in the Closet project I wanted to write about my client’s progress over 37 days.
  • I had no clear goals in writing other than to capture what was occurring and my evaluation (still in experiment/report mode)
  • Then as I began writing more and more (what I thought were good pages) I realized I loved writing this book and committed to writing a minimum of 3 pages a day in it (with no final target).
  • I soon realized my experiment subject was not playing her “role” as student / coachee at all”. At this point I wanted to quit saying “how can I write a book about coaching her if she doesn’t want to be coached?
  • I realized then, my viewpoint was too small so I reframed it (helped by the journaling in the book I was writing). I reframed it this way:

“I may fail as a coach, Jen may fail as a student but the project succeeds madly!”

This took a lot of pressure off me, and allowed me to continue.

Last point: As an entrepreneur: Other people will criticize and try to discourage you mostly because it is so confronting to have someone go for their dreams when you have not followed yours. Society is hypercritical and small minded. As an entrepreneur, hang with others who are on similar paths as they get it, all others especially close family and friends come from “well-meaning fear” but they steal all our passion and juice and give our STUMPS ammunition. They are dream-stealers….avoid them as it takes too much energy to “defend” as you say. Trust me over time no one will get to you, as you don’t give them an inch, your vibration is so strong and sure, they feel it and buy in!

Good luck let us know how it goes!

Bountiful Busybody Busy People!

If I hear one more person complain of just “how busy their life is” I’m going to lose it! A close friend this week mentioned to me how he was too busy to do anything he wanted, his life was filled with “commitments he had made for reasons other than my happiness”. He also confirmed that he was trying to meet a woman for the first time and she had the same problem!

I thank him for sharing this as it highlights an observation I’ve made in the last few months. This adds to the many times people are too busy to go out and see a movie or have a drink. Are we really busy in our lives or are we “acting busy” by scheduling ourselves to within an inch of sanity for other reasons? I think many fear too much idle time as society has pushed all to strive to be workaholics. But it’s not just work people are filling their time with. Many people are afraid of a day that they are not “needed” or “wanted” or “required as a key asset”.

If this is just a Toronto thing, then so be it. But I feel it’s bigger than that. I would love to hear back from readers whether they think it is just a Toronto or “big city” affliction or a more generalized condition.

Listen, it’s your life. If you are always “overscheduled” and feel stressed about it (this includes self-medicating with TV, shopping, alcohol or cigarettes) you should get courageous and authentic.

I challenge you to take a list of your daily activities. I would say if less than 30% of those activities give you joy or pleasure, you are at risk of “living a practice life”. Arrange your life in terms of the things that bring you joy. Do not allow the media to paint you a picture of a “cold” and “grim” (Halloween anyone) world. It’s just not true, I see smiling happy people and am one of them, so sue me! I challenge you to decrease your commitments so you have time for optional activities like an evening to vedge out, sleep, drinks and movies. Downtime IS NOT A luxury these days, don’t let your health remind you.

Passing
The gentleman I wrote about a few weeks ago passed away last Friday. I wish him well on his journey on the other side and know he got and we also all got exactly what the universe wanted us to get from this information and experience. I know I have, life is sooo precious, really. Try waking up and appreciating all you have every morning,as I have, it’s so releasing and puts us at ease!

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Three 18 Hour Driving Days : Totally Worth it!

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with a young (early 20’s) person about what they did on their week off. I was pleasantly surprised!

This person decided driving three days straight for 18 hours a day from Toronto to Banff with her boyfriend was an adventure of a lifetime! The fact that they would be in the gorgeous mountains for ONLY 3 DAYS would have stopped most people (including even myself truth be told, I’m working on it!). It didn’t stop them and they had a life-altering experience. Any of you who have been in that area will concur, it is world class, beautiful part of this great Canadian land. People fly from around the world to see Banff, it’s that incredible!

This was a great experience for this lovebird couple, I believe the boyfriend is from Australia or New Zealand. Either way those people know how to have fun and follow adventure! Crocodile Dundee?! Steve Irwin!? Passion and love of and for the adventure, pure and simple! It isn’t always pretty, comfortable or easy but darn doesn’t it completely change you every time you do something totally new. You grow in a new way and are better for it, in all your life areas!

I did tell this person and many around that this is what life is all about. These types of decisions (unpopular, illogical, uncomfortable, dangerous) are the ones that make us who we are.

I hate to sound like a bad “motivational speaker” (can I tell you how much I dislike the idea of “motivating someone”, motivation is from within, I can reframe and honor the client’s values, but they find their own motivations!). But the journey to get to the goal is part of the “JOURNEY” of the experience.

As pretty as those mountains surely were, I’ll bet the weird Chinese food in the dive bar/motel east of Estevan, Saskatchewan (or some other random event/location combo) will be more memorable. Those jokes and stories exchanged, perhaps the love strengthened made for a connection for life.

I know my two copilots on the driving trips to California and back would tell you we have a deep bond that was created on those journeys.

They say you can’t walk a mile in another “man’s” shoes. Trust me walking that mile next to and chatting and connecting is just as good, plus your feet don’t hurt!

This from Kathy at “ask.com” I love the two definitions:

 “During the time that Rome was the power in the known world, a roman soldier could legally require any one to carry his pack for a mile, Jesus suggested you carry it a second mile as a sacrifice, gift or to have a greater understanding if the others lot.

First Migratory Americans have been credited with the origin of the phrase suggesting you can’t really understand someone else unless you live their life, walk in their shoes so to speak!”

What unpopular, uncomfortable, illogical decision or journey awaits you? Take it and do it! Trust me the world will be a better place upon your return! I just booked two weeks to Argentina at Christmas to meet a mysterious, sexy woman, how’s that for living dangerously! I dare you, actually, I double dare you, do something crazy! Your life will thank you, I love and openly accept postcards!

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May the “Real” Meaning of Christmas Come Forth!

My definition (and hopefully yours!) of Christmas is unlike the media machine version of Cramer’s Mad Money, “BUY!, BUY!, BUY!” consumerism. Here are some of my thoughts on what Christmas means.

1. Connection/Reconnection to Important People to Us:  Family is a big part of that but let’s not forget friends, teachers, doctors and neighbors!

Most importantly though, is don’t forget yourself! You can’t be of any good for others until you take care of yourself, first.

2. Children:  Christmas is the greatest time (but shouldn’t be the only time) to revel in kids’ joy and delight at the spectacle. The colors, smells, tastes, sounds of Christmas are so delectable! I challenge you to “out-revel” and “out-joy” the kids around you, that would be a present to you and everyone around you, I know I will! Remember: “Try is a Lie!” and as Yoda says, “There is do and there is not do, there is no try”. Living full out is a gift you can give yourself every day!

3.. A time for personal and group celebration: To have fun and enjoy the company and presents. Don’t let your body and diet go out the window. Sneak in a salad daily, drink your green drink to stay alkaline and get enough rest. Then you will be the one who got the most out of this jolly but unhealthy period. More energy and vibrancy equals more good moments and being present.

4. Reflection: With less work and more free time, you should ideally take time to reflect on your “personal wins” for this past year (forget disappointments!). A “win” is any time you move the needle towards being your true self, helping others grow, pushing yourself further and digging deeper. Sometimes it means surviving a really difficult time with your dignity and purpose intact. Some years it means not slipping down into the abyss. If you feel like it create some general goals for 2012, don’t put dates on them other than “in 2012”.

5. Toss the New Year’s Resolutions:  They don’t work so avoid them. If it’s important to do in your life, you already know about it, there are 364 other days you can make the change to improve your quality of life (more connected decisions to your life purpose, saying “no” a lot more and not feeling guilty, refocusing on every moment and joy). Any goals you DO set must totally capture your heart, passion and imagination! If not, you are only checking off boxes and won’t succeed. Make 2012 the year you were true to yourself and your values, even if it was unpopular and difficult, that’s character. I challenge you to under (rather than OVER) schedule yourself in 2012, trust me obligations will never leave or decrease, you control time and can say “NO!”.

Enjoy the merriment and I’ll see you on the flip side.

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Back from Holiday Hell


Regular readers will confirm most of my newsletters are very positive and aimed at growth. I don’t complain much.

This week though I need to vent! I really hated the holidays this year. I won’t bore you with the gory personal details but I’m glad the holidays are over!

I was deluged with an overbooked schedule, too much concentration of family and issues don’t even mention the over-eating. Additionally the huge swath of 14 days (I thought I had) off felt busier than my normal busy weeks.

I don’t mind busy on my own projects, as that feeds me! Not so much on projects that depend on other people’s decisions or moods for task completion.

Remember: the definition of suffering is wasting precious mind energy on attempting to control anything outside ourselves.

Another annoyance was the fact I was trying to go down south solo over the break. Once the super-expensive ticket adds in the single supplement the price is north of $2,000.

I chose to buy myself the following things with the money I didn’t spend!:
Motorcycle Boots (this didn’t happen, but is now, April 26, 2012)
New motor for RC monster truck (new passion!)
Toaster Oven
Sunglasses (to replace last pair I wore for 4 weeks then crushed in my car’s trunk). (ditto boots)
Running Shoes (ditto sunglasses)
Self-Publishing fee for “Cobra in the Closet”
Pay creative designer for rebrand to new logo concept
“                                    “      website creation

As you can see, I won’t be sporting a tan but will have well distributed the “I would have spent” money.

How about you buy yourself some gifts if Santa wasn’t on course for you this year (mine was great btw!!!).

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The Law of Attraction Makes Selling Things (Almost?) Too Easy!

This week I wanted to touch on the Law of Attraction and how being in the upper vibrational emotions attracts positive people, events and experiences (like attracts like). Since the end of last summer it had become increasingly evident that I would want to sell my dirt bike. I didn’t have many partners to ride with, insurance and trailering it everywhere were expensive and I was getting most of my two-wheeled excitement from my adventure BMW Dakar.

         As spring has officially sprung it was time to sell the dirt bike. I imagined the sale going smoothly as I also imagines and believed there were an abundance of buyers and that my bike was particularly priced right and in good condition looking for a loving new owner. As I posted the bike on a local classified board I expectantly (Positive Expectation/Belief/Faith are #4 on the Emotional Scale) placed the ad and went about my business.

If like me you have sold items on boards you know that it can be fraught with buyers that are unprepared, underfinanced or generally just looking to haggle. Although I did have one “we’ll send you the money by Paypal” type scam at first and one buyer wanted to trade something I didn’t want. Within days however I had a serious, qualified buyer who looked over the bike and gave me a deposit and we settled on a sale price within a hundred dollars of my asking. The bike was delivered this week and I even received an email after saying how happy he was with the purchase. So I had attracted a qualified, excited and worthy buyer for my prized dirt bike.

This is a great example of the Law of Attraction in action. My universal manager orchestrated all events so I could easily obtain what I wanted as I expected it to and had visualized it hundreds of times. Most people do visualize a lot, unfortunately most of it is “worst case scenario” catastrophizing. I challenge you this week to expect the best, you will probably get it.

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Elephant on the Menu? Sure! One Bite at a Time!

Every week the task (and pleasure) of writing this newsletter dawns on me. I am sometimes asked how do I find inspiration to write? This is a great question as so many people dream of writing some even dream of being a published author. I must be honest about 2/3 of the time it’s very easy as I have a topic in mind all week and it is a natural conduit to the newsletter. The other 1/3 of the time (like this week tbh!) it is more difficult (still doable but harder). I thought I’d share some of what has worked for me.

I found that my little inner voice aka STUMPS (Saboteur Trickster Most Pathetic Self) was less active (STOPPING ME) and when I said , “I will begin to write a book” and not “I will be an author” or “I will write a book and it will be great”.

Another example, If you have been thinking you want to run a half (13 miles/ 21 km) or full marathon (26 miles/42km) but you are not running now. The gap between not running at all might as well be the Grand Canyon! With this type of goal-setting you will lose interest and get discouraged quickly. A better (softer and less of a stretch) approach would be to say, “I’m starting to run and I commit to 3 times a week 2 km per run” (remember how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time!).

Once I had written my first book (Killing Yourself With Your Fork?) in 2009, my STUMPS had another run at me this time saying, “Yeah, you wrote a book but it’s not a REAL book, it’s not that good!”. They are nasty! Here’s how I resolved this more subtle but just as harming one. I reframed it! “I’m a great coach and speaker who writes books too!”, see how this is much softer and more accessible. We can choose what thoughts we put in our minds and change those we don’t like!

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