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Monthly Archives: May 2017

4 Tips to Telling Someone Something That Matters

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“Telling someone how you feel is honestly the hardest thing ever.”

-Unknown

Many of us have been shaped by the self-made-man or self-made-woman motif.

There’s a lot of John Wayne swagger in our images of being successful and together.

And yet, if you dig underneath the neatly coiffed outward appearances, all people experience personal and growth challenges.

One downfall is keeping what’s inside to ourselves.

Too often we find out stuff was going on with someone only after they’ve removed themselves from the conversation.

I recently attended a memorial service for a friend of a friend, and the huge temple was packed and overflowing with mourners.

This man was so lovingly regarded by so many, and yet—though people had been somewhat aware of his depression—nobody knew it would go to the depths it did, having him take himself out… unexpectedly, in the twinkling of an eye.

He had a long reputation for being the cheerful and jovial one. Apparently that personae remained in place until the very end.

If we tell our own truth, others often sense the safety to do the same. The rub is for both ourselves and others to be willing to get outside the standard ways of acting and being with each other.

Not like wearing all our insides on our sleeves, and yet putting the masks and guards down as part of our full repertoire can create a safe space of openness.

In many respects, telling others serves our greater good.

Want to realize that you’re just like everyone else? Tell someone what’s going on with you.

Want to find voices more supportive than those in your head? Tell someone what you’d like to achieve.

Want to be sure you achieve what you say? Tell someone and ask them to hold you accountable.

If we only ever simply capitalized on this last action, which flies in the face of our supposed “independence”—choosing to make ourselves accountable—how much more might we live in life when we have someone holding us to our word of how we want to live it?

What can you tell someone today to plug into resources outside of your own?

Here’s a few tips for telling someone something that will move you forward.

Bare

Want to see if someone is there for the long run with you? Show them the real you right away.

A wise man once said that, if you want to see if a relationship has stickability, put your worst foot forward.

That doesn’t mean actually try to sabotage anything, but most people are always trying to look their best and show up all “together”.  If you can reveal your warts as well as your wonders, you can see what wart-bearing capacity is over there early on.

Share

When you’ve tested the wart-bearing waters—or as another way to do so—share something with someone that you most don’t want anyone to know.

In the world of romantic relationships, it’s a great way to start to really get to know someone beyond the “looking good” phase of initial dating. On each successive date, share the one thing you most don’t want them to know. Ideally, for the game to work, they do the same.

If you start at your deepest “most don’t want them to know” then, on each successive date, you’re working your way up. After a month or so of dating, talk about learning that someone can be with you warts and all.

Sure, it takes trust…but you have to first be the change you want to see, yes?

Dare

Ask someone if you can trust them enough to reveal to them your big dream.  Will they be supportive? Will they empower you?

Asking is a good first step because you don’t want to throw “pearls before swine”.

Then, tell them.

Care

If you really care enough to have that big dream fulfilled, ask them if you can make promises to them about what you’ll do by when you’ll do it to activate that dream.

Ask them to hold you to account for doing what you say by when you say you’ll do it.

Ask them if you can schedule times to check in with them on your progress.

Ask them to be bold and supportive in pointing out to you when you’re not being who you said you’d be or doing what you said you’d do.

The degree to which you commit to empowering them to hold you to account is the degree to which your dream will be realized.

“Tell the truth, or eventually someone will tell it for you.”

-Stephanie Klein

In The Back Forty, we say you have yet to do what you came here to do.

If you’re here to play a yet bigger game – no matter what you’ve accomplished thus far – it will take baring, sharing, daring and caring…to bring out the ALL of you in a NEW way.

We created The Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Program for just this reason: to have you saying what really matters, and getting over and beyond the challenges that have held you back from realizing it. Those challenges are really your best friend, helping you get there, if you approach them powerfully.

Check out A Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Program here, to ReNEW the ALL of YOU.

13 Amazing Facts About The Back Forty Co-Founders

Darrell & Alexandra

If you read our blog or follow us on social media, you probably know by now what The Back Forty is all about. It is about creating your second half of life as your best half of life and embracing the idea that your best is yet to come.

But how much do you know about our co-founders? Do you even know their names? Well, today I am unmasking the co-founders behind the curtain with 13 facts. So, without further ado, let’s learn about The Back Forty Co-Founders, Darrell Gurney and Alexandra Levin:

  1. Darrell & Alexandra have been in a loving and empowering relationship since 2014
  2. Alexandra immigrated to the US from communist Russia in 1987 after trying to leave for 13 years
  3. Darrell is the father of one son
  4. Alexandra published her first book, The IMBUE Journal: Inspiring Massive Beauty Uniquely Expressed, in April of 2017
  5. Darrell believes that he has yet to do what he came here to do and that his best is still yet to come
  6. Darrell & Alexandra live in condo in Long Beach with a beautiful view of the ocean
  7. Alexandra became a co-founder of The Back Forty in 2015
  8. Darrell traveled to Europe and lived in London for a year in 1985
  9. Alexandra graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1999 with an MBA
  10. Darrell has also worked as a Career and Spiritual Coach for over 25 years
  11. Alexandra is the mother of two daughters
  12. Darrell launched his first Back Forty online course, A Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL, in May of 2017
  13. Alexandra believes everyone should live their life as a self-expression of having already arrived

Now that you’ve gotten to know our co-founders a bit more, which of the above facts surprised you the most? Which fact made you the most interested? Who do you connect with knowing what you now know?

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Have You Found Your Happiness?

Have You Found Your Happiness

Today I was watching a TED Talk about happiness and it got me thinking. The speaker brought up a point that we often seem to just accept without much further thought.

We are always searching for our happiness.

We think, when I get that promotion I will be happy, when I retire I can be happy, when the kids get older I’ll be happy. It’s a common thought process, IF I do this then THAT will happen. But think back 10 years about the IF THEN statements you were telling yourself. Chances are you have achieved those goals and yet chances are that you are still searching for your happiness.

Dr. Srikumar Rao believes that we are hard wired to be happy and that society has just taught us how to be unhappy. You can watch his entire talk below on how to plug into your hardwired happiness, but I have 2 thoughts of my own to share with you as well.

1. Being happy IS something you can choose

Looking for somewhere to start? Check out my previous blog posts: 75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life and Six of the Best Ways to Fill Your Relationship with Happiness.

2. Being happy is NOT as hard as we tell ourselves it is

Take a look at some of our other blog posts about how to remember to be happy: Three Opportunities to KISS Happy, Find Your Bliss, and Happy Resolve.

Just remember that, like Dr. Rao says, you are hard wired to be happy, you just have to take a little time to remember how.
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4 Elements to Powerfully Starting Over

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

-Seneca

What’s the big deal about starting over?

There’s a cultural stigma that says, if you have to start over, you somehow failed on the first attempt.

Yet, every new day offers a new opportunity to take a new look at what’s in front of us…even if it’s patterns, projects and processes that may been going on for a while.

We recently completed a big push towards a conference that pretty much held our focus of attention and finances for the better part of a year. The conference itself turned out to be a bust. Yet, it was holding onto the regrets, couldas, wouldas, shouldas and other forms of making ourselves and others wrong in the aftermath that impeded moving on to “Next!”

This got me thinking that this whole phrase of “starting over” should not be limited to last-ditch attempts when gasping for air before finally going under. What if starting over were a way of life?

Perhaps it’s the ability to see newly what’s already in motion, to come from “beginner’s mind” even when things have been proven to work (or not), that is a practice we want to develop.

Of course, seeing this in hindsight around our year-long initiative doesn’t change anything in the past. But does anything ever change anything in the past…other than learning and moving on with greater awareness?

There’s only moving forward, and I’m thinking that a good forward-moving strategy is to start over continually…and to be proud of saying so.

An intention to grow invites change. Change invites constant transition. Constant transition invites starting over…again and again.

How empowering would it be if we could all get comfortable with a casual response to the common greeting “How are you today?” with “Great! I’m starting over!”

Where can you choose starting over today…even if nothing is broken?

Where can you choose starting over today…especially if you feel something IS broken?

For this reason, we created The Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Online Program.

If you’re up to playing big games, you’ll always be in constant flux and transition. And if you’ve been dealt what seems like a blow from life, it’s only because you’re on the disempowered side of the Bigger YOU that this transition is bringing with it.

The Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Online Program shows you how to turn lemons literally into GOLD (forget the lemonade).

You’ll discover:

  • How an attitude of openness to the NEW is part of constant growth
  • A change-based mindset and strategy for playing Big Games
  • Why approaching transition a certain way leaves you more powerful
  • What curiosity and learning to play again offer to a New You

Enroll HERE to ReNEW the ALL of YOU and learn these 4 Elements to Powerfully Starting Over.

Transition

It’s a way of life, and you’ll either adopt a strategy for engaging in it powerfully or you’ll get constant bag-of-brick bruises upside the head that you’ll put all your attention on.

Just like I tell clients around job search and career transition, if you don’t have an ongoing career management strategy, you’ll always be caught off guard.

By learning a strategy to take any of life’s transitions – around relationships, finances, business, health, loved ones, career, etc. – and become more powerful out of them, you set yourself up for unimpeded growth and development.

Blessings

Behind, back-of, inside-of, and underneath all supposed “bad things” that happen to us there are blessings. We rarely want to look at those in the midst of the muck.

However, by turning our attention away from our victim-ness and onto the unseen blessings, all of a sudden they begin to grow in our awareness and activate our next level of growth.

Curiosity

On the other side of the chasm of transition, there are new territories to be explored and new skills and abilities to be developed.

So many of us resist change when we see it coming, and yet there’s nary a one of us that can’t claim some new understanding, skill, capacity, awareness, knowledge or personal improvement on the other side of any change.

Getting clear on the opportunity to grow one’s curiosity becomes a lucky life gift on the far side of yucky life rifts.

Play

Every change brings with it NEWness: of ourselves and the playing fields we then enter.

Learning to give ourselves the freedom to open up and play again – without the need to have it all figured out – brings a breath of fresh air into what might have become a very standard, staid, and typically normal life.

In The Back Forty, we say you have yet to do what you came here to do.

We all think normal is to be sought after, but if we’re really here to play a yet bigger game – no matter what we’ve accomplished thus far – it will take us breaking normal, taking risks again, and learning to have fun in the process.

Enroll HERE to ReNEW the ALL of YOU ) and incorporate these 4 Elements to Powerfully Starting Over into your own radical Back Forty of play, passion and purpose.

“Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.”

-Unknown

4 Steps to Choosing Alternative Energy

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“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”

-Aristotle

According to current perceptions, the evidence is in.

They are or it is definitely wrong, screwed up, off track, and whacked.

The question is, what choice are you going to make as to how that “fact” affects you?

It’s difficult to balance out what seems to be the very real, tangible, hard and fast proof of our “rightness” with the completely invisible impact of energetic vibrations because the seduction of vindication is juicy.

Yet, more often than not, the impact of unseen negative vibes has costly ripple effects that show up in apparently unrelated yet powerful ways.

The boss levels what appears to be criticism in the morning, and the cat gets kicked at home in the evening.

A business partner leaves you feeling slighted, and all of a sudden there are issues with your power steering.

In The Back Forty, we say that you have yet to do what you came here to do, so playing bigger (not smaller) is the way of your future…no matter your age or what you’ve already accomplished in life.

We all can relate to the archetypal crotchety old man or woman – either because they were part of our immediate or extended family or, if nowhere else, from fiction and movies – who has enough grudges, judgments, opinions, or scars to share for everyone.

Though none of us can see ourselves being that type of person, if left unobserved, an undercurrent of our own un-redirected bitches and moans can build toward that future.

If we plan to be and do yet greater and bigger things all the way until we are up and outta here (vs. society’s message of down and outta here), we will need to be playing, increasingly, with even more folks to bring those things about.

Jean Paul Sartre said “Hell is other people.” Sharing our big game with the world, participating in organizations, joint venturing our businesses, enrolling other in our mission or message…all involves relationships with others. And relationships with others naturally brings about many positive or negative energy choices.

We can’t control what others do. We can only control our response to what they do.

Watching our energy flow like a hawk and making conscious choices as to which direction we will drive it (vs. it flowing the path of least resistance, like water) can have the cat and car much happier…not to mention ourselves, in the long run.

Here are 4 steps to choosing appropriate alternative energy.

Catch the Wave

Become alert to the thoughts you’re thinking at all times, and especially in times of challenge or desire for redress. Often we have undercurrent feelings that begin driving us a particularly negative direction without our being aware. We just “somehow” end up in a bad mood, irritable or melancholy.

Develop the muscle of internal energy awareness. Begin to hear the voice in the head determining what it all means.

Ride the Wave

Before letting yourself default into an old pattern or natural flow of standard reaction, take a moment in your mind and ride the wave of energy you’re feeling in the direction it wants to go and see where it takes you.

Will that direction serve you in the end?

Wayne Dyer says that the ultimate question to ask before all action – and definitely in re-action – is “Will this bring me peace?”

Ask yourself: “Though the ‘rightness’ of my position may seem juicy in the moment, will going this direction bring me peace in the end?”

Wave Goodbye

When taking the long view, if the answer to the above question is no, then consciously choose to let that path go and choose another which will bring you peace.

Make Waves

Get to work on directing your energy towards what will, in the long run, attract to you more and more good, even in the face of whatever you perceived as “bad” that just happened. Plain and simple, you get more of what you think about.

Thich Nhat Hanh offers several ways to redirect and choose the alternative energy, and undoubtedly you know from even everything you were taught in Kindergarten some simple ways to get happier and move towards peace.

“There are many ways to calm a negative energy without suppressing or fighting it. You recognize it, you smile to it, and you invite something nicer to come up and replace it; you read some inspiring words, you listen to a piece of beautiful music, you go somewhere in nature, or you do some walking meditation.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

The point is watch, observe, redirect and always choose the alternative energy that will serve you best.

“Negativity…it can only affect you if you’re on the same frequency. Vibrate higher.”

-Unknown

4 Steps to Up Your Active Re-Intention

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“Intention leads to behaviors which lead to habits which lead to personality development which leads to destiny.”

-Jack Kornfield

Many great and creative minds say it’s all about intention.

“Our intention creates our reality.”
-Wayne Dyer

 

“Let the power of intention lead the way.”

-Sharon Salzberg

 

“All that counts in life is intention.”
– Andrea Bocelli

 

“A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

And many also say a good intention and $1.85 will get you a cup of coffee.

“Many of our intentions die after we have put their harness on.”
-Henry S. Haskins

 

“Men with good intentions make promises. Men with good character keep them.”
-Ronald Oliver

 

“It’s not intentions that matter. It’s actions. We are what we do and say, not what we intend to.”
-Kristin Hannah

 

“There is always a gap between intention and action.”
-Paulo Coelho

For those who haven’t already resigned themselves to no possibility (which many have, whom we can’t reach anyway), we can wax eloquently on the potential for our lives, careers, dreams and purposes for being on the planet.

Yet, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary question, the unasking of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans.

“Will you really? But really really??”

Often the closer we actually get to a dream’s or goal’s fulfillment, the more a myriad of forces come alive to make that last yard truly the longest. It’s far easier to talk about the goal “one day” being realized than to close in on it, see beneath and beyond the mental and subconscious tricksters that come to bargain us away, and actually get it done.

Steven Pressfield addresses these sly forces in “The War of Art”, classifying them all as “resistance”. They show up in what’s commonly known as “the fear of success” in forms such as perfectionism, doubt, distractibility, irritability, confusion, procrastination, etc.

In The Back Forty, with a lifetime of making and unfulfilling on so many intentions already, it requires a real leaving of the past in the past to get up the courage to again intend with a vengeance.

That’s why we’re here in this journey together. We look at the past as simply R & D, research and development, for who we came here to be and what we came here to do. So, any intention play we’ve done before was simply practice, not carving our inability into stone.

Here are 4 ways to up your practice of Active Re-Intention in your second half/best half of life.

Clean Up

You don’t want to put icing on a cake of poop, so first get real, down and dirty about where you’ve spoken bold intentions before…and didn’t git ‘er done.

You might make a list for yourself and then ritualize the letting go of that past pattern by burning it. Or, you might check in with people who knew you when you were playing big for something and then saw you disappear.

People are forgiving, and we all love redemption stories. However, with yourself or others, cleaning up the mess from previous intentional misfires can help you listen to your Self with fresh ears.

Buck Up

Get your bold on…with measured sobriety.  Be willing to make some big demands on the Self you are now, stake some outrageous claims on your possibilities, and have some unrecognizable declarations pass your lips.  

Then ask people if you’re crazy, or if it can be done.

For those who say you’re crazy, ask them why. For those who say it can be done, ask them specifically how and why.

Measure the responses, then ask those you trust to measure the responses, and choose your friends wisely. Your producing the result in the face of no agreement is always possible, and yet your ability to enroll others in your intention and have a world pulling for you and holding you to account is a more powerful approach.

Buddy Up

Don’t do it alone, yet again, just like you’ve always done, with your Lone Ranger, maverick, Rebel Without a Cause, self-made man/woman, “I’ve got this” false confidence.

Get a buddy. Commit to specifics and by whens. Put your ass on the line. Agree to pay money if you don’t meet your milestones. Give yourself big rewards when you do.

The greatest single key to delivering on your intention is having someone to be accountable to beyond yourself.

Show Up

For your Self. Use your buddy and your commitments to them (and your Self) to let this be the time you actually did what you said you’d do by the time you said you’d do it.

There’s so many forces that will come up here to slow you down, turn your head to one side or the other, or convince you it wasn’t a smart or worthy idea in the first place.

Go Nike on yourself.  Just do it. Take the actions required by the intentions. Again, and again. And when you don’t, go back to Clean Up and start all over.

“Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.”
-Dr. Steve Maraboli