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

3 Questions for Healthy Backstep

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“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

-Abraham Maslow

There’s two different cuts we can take at stepping back.

The first is when we revert to the comfort zone in the face of the challenges and contortionisic stretches required to play bigger, express broader, and adventure into new territories.

The other is when we move away from the machine so as to get a bigger picture than the next rung on the rat wheel.

We can all fall prey to working in our career vs. on our career, in our business vs. on our business, awash in our life vs. perspective on our life.

For example, it’s great to have that current job or business, especially if you love it and feel your highest self-expression pouring forth. Yet, we all know that nothing is guaranteed and, according to standard business wisdom, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving back—there is no standing still.

Also, there may be personal or business practices, tried and true, that we engage in without thinking anymore of whether they are working.

Therefore, stepping back from the activity to get the bigger picture is a wise, forward-focused practice.

The same goes for the progress forward of our relationships, health, finances, personal mission and overall sense of well-being. Nothing stands still. It’s forward or back.

Alexandra (my partner in Back Forty crime) and I recently took a 911 weekend away. We cancelled all appointments and booked a last-minute hotel and unplugged, unscheduled, and unwound. Yes, we relaxed, and yet we began some meaningful (but not significant) conversations about how we want to design our Back Forty from the long-view perspective.

That weekend, and the inquiry thus begun, has produced ongoing ripple effects which have shaped our consistently upgraded views on many aspects of our work, mission, and enjoyment of life. Good thing! We figure that, with us being the forerunners, scouts and pioneers of creating a radical second half of play, passion and purpose, we are to live it to prove it’s possible!

From the bigger picture, all of us can see what’s working and what’s not…and put in the pieces we don’t see when up close and personal.

Incorporating healthy backsteps into your dance, to catch that bigger perspective, can make for a far more workable final choreography.

Here’s a few questions to ask from our own exploration:

Sustainable?

Sometimes, it’s necessary to look at the State of the Personal Union to see if how we’re living, how we’re working, how we’re relating is actually sustainable over the long term.

Sure, there are some crunch times in everyone’s life. Yet, you can’t really sustain crunchtime. Over the long term, you tend to get crunched.

ReFrame-able?

Consider the impacts of machines running on High all the time – they wear out, burn out, or at least don’t perform at their highest productivity.

Is the career, business, life you’re running safe and sound at the pace or peace it’s going? Is it worthwhile to re-evaluate and re-frame what’s really important and what’s really working (and what’s not)?

Unchainable?

We may think, at first blush, that everything is tied with a bow as it is and there would just be too much upset caused by rethinking and reorganizing the pieces.

Yet, that’s simply not the case. Were something major to happen in your world today, truly, all bets are off. So, what can we let go, mix up, or do differently?

In the 80’s, there was a Fram Oil Filter commercial with a famous tagline: “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

Today’s Back Forty question is: where can you step back from the trance to enhance the workability of your own dance?

“Often stepping back you see more, don’t you?”

-David Hockney

75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life

Get Happy!

Today I want to inspire you to become happier. Everyone needs a little pick up every once and a while and today I am sharing with you 100 ways to make your day full of a little more happiness.

So, without further ado, let’s get happy!

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Take a nap
  3. Clean something
  4. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  5. Read something inspirational (try this or this!)
  6. Sip on some tea or coffee
  7. Get a massage
  8. Say “Bubbles” in the angriest voice you can muster
  9. Plan a special dinner to look forward to
  10. Ignore your phone for a few hours
  11. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for
  12. Watch your favorite TV show
  13. Go for a drive
  14. Complete a random act of kindness for a stranger
  15. Do yoga
  16. Listen to your favorite band or singer
  17. Look through local Groupon deals for something to do this weekend
  18. Dance
  19. Bake cookies
  20. Pick 3 things you want to get done today and do them
  21. Go shopping
  22. Pretend you’re a kid again and just PLAY
  23. Pick up some flowers to brighten your home
  24. Read a new novel
  25. Quit a bad habit (if only for a day)
  26. Sing
  27. Buy your favorite sweet as a snack
  28. Find the nearest park, beach, or forest and explore
  29. Stop slouching
  30. Complete a DIY project
  31. Go to any store and pick up 5 items that make you happy
  32. Work on your personal To Do list
  33. Look through some of your old photos
  34. Schedule time to volunteer at an animal shelter
  35. Call your parents
  36. Go see a movie (or maybe even go to a drive-in theater)
  37. Make plans with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while
  38. Cook your favorite dinner
  39. Go window shopping downtown
  40. Pay it forward next time you’re in line to get food or coffee
  41. Are you mad at someone? Let it go
  42. Go to the Zoo
  43. Search for inspirational quotes, write one down, and put it somewhere you will see it regularly
  44. Meditate
  45. Stop thinking about where you are now and think about what is possible instead
  46. Draw a picture
  47. Drink a glass of water
  48. Pick a new sitcom you haven’t seen before and watch the first episode
  49. Download the app Happify
  50. Whisper “Boopity Boop” under your breath in 4 distinct voices
  51. Go to a gym class
  52. Take a bath
  53. Spend time with your significant other – without electronics
  54. Shake up your routine
  55. Play a board game with friends or family
  56. Have a firepit? Build a fire
  57. Make a list of 10 people in your life who inspire you. Then share your reasons why with them
  58. Make your favorite drink
  59. Start a home improvement project
  60. Set a new life goal and take the first step towards achieving it
  61. Snack on some fruits or veggies
  62. Switch up your commute. Leave early, take a new route, and try to enjoy the ride
  63. Find a funny article and laugh a little (I find that BuzzFeed is a good place to start)
  64. Spend some time alone to focus on you
  65. Go to bed early
  66. Jump and try to touch the ceiling
  67. Eat something healthy
  68. Do you have a pet? Go get a hug!
  69. Search for a “No Laugh Challenge” on YouTube
  70. Face something you fear
  71. Skip from one end of the room to the other
  72. Instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done, try to focus on one thing today
  73. Tell someone you love them
  74. Be spontaneous and do something RIGHT NOW
  75. Smile!

If all of these happiness-inducing ideas aren’t enough, I have decided to start giving you something a little extra each time I write a new post.

Did you know that there are almost 1,500 National Days throughout the year? Some of them inspire conversation, others promote change, and still others just make you laugh. Here are the National Days that fall on April 25, 2017:

  • DNA Day
  • East Meets West Day
  • Hug a Plumber Day
  • Telephone Day
  • Zucchini Bread Day

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3 Easy Ways to Make the World a Better Place on Earth Day

World

Did you know today is Earth Day?

To be honest, I was completely oblivious to this until yesterday. Here at The Back Forty, we have been feverishly preparing for the California Women’s Conference to the point that May 10th and 11th are the only dates floating around my head (if you’re interested in learning more about the California Women’s Conference or want to attend, click here).

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Earth Day.

Even though I forgot about Earth Day, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing I can do to make our world a better place and what day would be better than this beautiful Saturday to do just that. So without further ado, here are 3 easy ways to make the world a better place today!

1. Plant a Tree

field-858650_1920.pngThis is one of the easiest things you can do for the environment and it will probably take less than an hour. Decide to get in your car and drive to your local garden or hardware store and pick out a tree you like. It can be a baby tree (my local Lowes has trees in stock for as little as $8) or it can be a bigger tree, just go pick one out and bring it home. The next step is to plant it. Find a spot in your yard and give your tree a new home. This one tree can produce 260 pounds of oxygen each year! Beyond creating oxygen, your little tree cleans the air, cools your yard, and conserves energy in your home (if it offers shade to any windows), along with so many other things.

Can’t plant a tree? Do you live in a condo or apartment? No worries, contribute to The Canopy Project hosted by the Earth Day Network. Each dollar you donate plants one tree. It takes 500 trees a year to get rid of the carbon dioxide your car creates each year, so why not help combat that and give back? Donate here!

2. Reduce Your Footprintworld foot circle.png

We are consuming natural resources faster than the Earth can replenish them (1.5 planets’ worth of resources each year to be exact). Figure out exactly how much you are contributing to this problem by taking this Ecological Footprint Quiz.

After completing the quiz, you can explore different ways to reduce your footprint. Want a few simple actions you can take today? Buy a water bottle and stop buying bottled water, bring your own grocery bags to the store, or go through your mail and see which items you can choose to receive electronically.

3. Save Endangered Species from Your Own Backyard

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has an interactive map that shows you which species are endangered in your home state. Click here to explore the map!

After picking an endangered species to save, click here! This takes you to the World Wildlife Fund’s endangered species directory. Click “Ctrl+F” to pull up a search option and then simply type in the name of your chosen endangered animal (note that the WWF doesn’t include birds in their directory). I live in Colorado and chose the Black-Footed Ferret.Black-footed-Ferret-plush-z1.png Once you click on your animal you can learn more about it like why it matters, why it is threatened, and what the WWF is doing to help save it. Then, when you scroll to the bottom, you can choose to adopt your very own endangered animal. The adoption kits are $55 each and you get a 10′ plush of the animal you’re helping, a photo of the animal, an adoption certificate, a species card, and a gift bag.

adopt-a-lynx-plush.pngI admit that you can’t find all of your local endangered animals on the WWF website, but there are plenty of animals you can help! If you have your heart set on an animal the WWF isn’t currently raising money for, simply search for the name of your animal with the word donate and you can find an organization that is working to protect that specific animal. For example, the WWF isn’t currently accepting donations for the Canada Lynx which is currently threatened in Colorado. I searched “Canada Lynx donate” and found Defenders.org where I have the option to adopt a Lynx. Defenders.org has multiple adoption levels anywhere between $20 and $200 depending on the animal. If you want to scan through the different adoption options they offer, click here!

However you choose to help the Earth, you can feel good knowing that you’re making an impact. And think of the difference we could all make if everyone who read this picked even one of the above options to help save our global home!

Are you reading this late in the day on Earth Day, or even after the fact? Don’t worry, as the Earth Day Network says, “every day is Earth Day”. You can still help! And if you don’t want to participate in any of the above options, you can help the Earth Day Network reach their Global Environmental and Climate Literacy Campaign. Earth Day turns 50 in 2020 and the Earth Day Network is already planning to celebrate in a big way by dedicating to ensure that every student around the world graduates high school knowing the importance of environmental and climate change. Watch their video below, or learn more by clicking here!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5efkV0dt4mc]

Want to hear what other “National Days” Earth Day shares April 22nd with this year? Girl Scout Leader’s DayRecord Store Day, and Jelly Bean Day!

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3 Thoughts to Help ReThink

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“Change can be frightening, and the temptation is often to resist it. But change almost always provides opportunities – to learn new things, to rethink tired processes, and to improve the way we work.”

-Klaus Schwab

What if A didn’t necessarily need to precede B…or what if there was a way to get to Z by circumventing the linear alphabetic song.

In other words, we often set up rules in our minds as to “the way things need to go” in order to get from A to Z. And, by establishing such rules — consciously or (for the most part) unconsciously — we create a reality. Change becomes prescribed to take place a certain way.

We often can’t imagine a result we’re committed to having in our life, our career, our business, our relationships simply showing up. That’s what’s called “magical thinking,” and we all know we have to work for it.

So says the industrial mindset, and we can all agree that simply saying it or waiting for it doesn’t have it appear.

And yet, somewhere within that rigid and calculated “truth”, if there were the slightest crack of radical possibility that things may not be so fixed as how we see them, what might have a chance to happen outside the rules?

There are philosophies that say the results that come to us are not so much a function of what we are doing as who we are BEING: the general outward expression of our most deeply held truths.

There are yet other philosophies which tell us that it is the thoughts that we hold predominate in our conscious mind which attract to us our experience. Plus, we all know that those thoughts we hold in our SUB-conscious mind are huge factors or culprits in our life, depending on what we’re attracting.  

Let’s not throw out our earnest-strategy babies with the bathwater. Coming up with our plans and directions to pursue are healthy and give us confidence (e.g., “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”).

Yet, perhaps there’s value in making room for unexpected and unforeseen fortuitous factors to creep in.

Here are a few thoughts to consider:

Rules

Pick an area of your life where you’d like to see results you’re currently not experiencing.

Is it in the area of relationship? Maybe dating? Or how about the area of career?

Look to see what “rules” you’ve created about the way things need to go in order to have that result.

For example, I need to be on 4 dating sites and go out with 3 first dates each week.  Or, I need to get my resume in perfect shape and then start looking for openings by reviewing online job boards.

Just look beneath your assumptions and outline the steps and processes you believe must take place for it to happen.

What If?

Begin to ask yourself some simple questions that take you outside of those rules.

What if I were to get a call today from a friend who wanted me to meet someone? What if I actually looked around me today and created some casual conversations? What if I were to hear about a new company or meet a new person who turned me onto to a new opportunity?

Seems simple, but we don’t often just allow ourselves to ponder what it would feel like if what we seek were simply to come.

Allow

Allow yourself to keep doing what you think you need to do, yet allow yourself also to expect the unexpected.

Simply seeing how our rules have blocked us into a reality that must seemingly go a certain way can allow the unforeseen and unexpected to arise.

Here’s the big question: what do you have to lose by simply pondering some what ifs outside of your rules?

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'”

-Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass

Conscious Agreements and Commitments within Organization

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“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”

– Abraham Lincoln

What are you REALLY committed to?

A clue to answering this question can come from seeing what you are experiencing in life.  A wise man once said “If you want to know what you are committed to, look at what you’ve got.”

Are you more committed to being right than having fulfilling relationships?  Are you more committed to looking good than trying things on and being willing to fail?  Are you more committed to being in control than having an empowered and inspired team?

Of course, we proclaim that we are committed to all the “good stuff.”  But do our actions and results validate and support that claim?

As leaders, it’s always a good idea to review and revisit our commitments.  Even a better idea to look under the covers of what we say on the surface.

In revisiting your commitments, here is a great one to consider.  Are you committed to creating and leading a conscious organization?  And, are you willing to have your actions support this commitment, even if it gets uncomfortable, outside your comfort zone, and unpredictable?

I recently discussed this particular subject with Sharon Rich of ThinkBusinessGrowth. I’ll share with you a few highlights from our conversation.

One way to significantly impact your organization’s leadership consciousness is to become genuinely and wondrously curious about each leader’s vision for the future, their authenticity as a leader, their role (vs. title or position) in the organization, and their relationship with the leadership team as a whole and the people they are leading.  

A disconnect between what the leader says they are committed to and the level of consciousness actually expressed in the organization is common.  Good intentions, talent, and hard work abound, but leaders have limited awareness of their impact on others and exactly how to inspire conscious collaboration between individuals to produce results.

Expanding individual consciousness takes intention, effort, and work.  Yet, it’s worth it.  As leaders expand their awareness and consciousness, it becomes game-changing for them personally…which translates into the impact they have on their teams and the entire organization.

Once the organization makes a commitment to up-leveling consciousness, appropriate challenges arise.  Organizational Development leaders often report these types of challenges.

One organization reports working through agreements between the BOD and leadership team, including strategy and alignment around translating the vision into corporate goals.  Everyone understands the vision; the question to be answered is, how that vision translates into reality. Yet, this is a higher-level problem coming about only within a consciousness-focused organization.

Being at the gateway of transformation means stepping outside of what we already know, being uncomfortable, not knowing all the answers in advance, and doing things differently than we did before.   Who are we as an organization?  The space to answer this question begins to open up vs some pre-fab or past-based easy answer.  Now, the organization gets to write their own story in the present.  What is it going to be?

You may know of a monumental bestseller “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

In a similar vein, Sharon Rich is bringing out her own book “Your Hidden Game – Eight Invisible Agreements that Control Your Business” (available this Fall).   Sharon identifies the eight most important agreements that people in organizations make with each other unconsciously: without any awareness that we’ve made them.  Lacking awareness, these agreements unconsciously run our business.

Once we as leaders become aware and start making intentional agreements, our work, our results, and the difference we are making transforms.

Here, Sharon shares three of the eight agreements.

  1. Desired Outcome – Often people do not have a shared agreement of what they are wanting to achieve, both as a team and an organization.  If they are not aligned about how they will pursue it and what success looks like, it is impossible to produce a clear and aligned outcome.
  2. Roles – Who does what, what is each person’s role, and how does it interact with others?  We make assumptions, but usually don’t expressly discuss those assumptions.  Then, we have breakdowns and upsets about it.  We spend time talking about the upsets, but not about the assumed roles and agreements at their core.
  3. Decisions – How the organization makes decisions.  For example, unilaterally, “my home, my rules”, “do now, ask for forgiveness later”, by consensus so things move very slowly, etc. Everyone has a tacit agreement that this is how we do it…without expressed and aligned agreements about such decision-making processes.

It is time for us as committed and conscious leaders to start letting go of old ways and unconscious agreements. Let’s begin to make intentional agreements about how we work together at each, every and any level.

What agreements and commitments will empower your leadership right now?

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3 Deep Breaths to Address Disorder

3 Deep Breaths to Address Disorder (4-12-17)lightbulb

“In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

-Carl Jung

“Waiting to exhale” is a phrase many are familiar with, if not from the movie of the same name, just the experience of life as lived.  Stressful events in our lives and the world can cause a virtual breathing disorder.

Big changes in our world or our own lives (e.g., career shift, relationship changes, “midlife crisis”, etc.) can have us almost holding our breath. Such feelings of personal or planetary chaos may attempt to deflect our attention and hope from what Thoreau calls our individual versions of “the direction of your dreams…the life you’ve imagined.”

Though any change is always, at first, discombobulating, in The Back Forty we offer that any “crisis” can also be seen as an opportunity.

Yet, while in the midst of the crisis-come-opportunity, we do need to stabilize and get grounded. In that process of getting back to basics, the most basic of basics is to remember to breathe…into the apparent disorder.

We don’t often regard the practice of breathing – whether it be literally, or figuratively (e.g., stepping away from everything to gain perspective) – as a first-blush consideration in living life. Yet, too often that invisible or unappreciated practice becomes highly regarded after a scare of one type or another.

I recently wrote about the opportunity to invent reasons to stop ourselves and breathe before something else stops us (health scare, relationship upheaval, financial sideswipe, etc.).

If we subscribe to The Back Forty belief that each of us has yet to do what we came here to do, then that means we want to take the long view…because we’re ideally going to be around for a very long time.

So, whatever it takes to focus on breathing – literally and figuratively – into whatever disorder we stir up in our purposeful pursuit of a second half of play, passion and purpose is worth every last minute it gives us…because it may be that last minute of this life when we accomplish what we came here to do.

Here’s some thoughts to help you take a breather from world or personal events, and be inspired (latin inspīrāre, to breathe upon or into ):

“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.”

-Tom Robbins

“One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing.”

-Byron Nelson

“Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.”

-L. Frank Baum

“I wake up every day and I think, ‘I’m breathing! It’s a good day.'”

-Eve Ensler

“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

-Maya Angelou

“The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”

-Erma Bombeck

And here’s a few deep breaths to keep in mind as disorder may, for the moment, continue to wave its frazzled, fearful head:

Breathe

You can’t help anyone in any worthwhile way unless you have applied your own oxygen mask first.

First and foremost, be sure you’re getting the rest, nutrition and mental relaxation necessary to keep coming at your work, your life, your world with the highest functioning of your full faculties.

There’s a phrase that says, when things get a bit crazy, HALT: never get to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.

Breathe

There are many phrases from many cultures which say the same basic truth: things will look different in the morning.

Realizing that, if we give ourselves the self-care to step back for a moment, a bit of rest and NOT thinking about the issue at hand can actually open up new perspectives from which can then be seen new actions to take.

Take a breather from the urgency of the moment. Step away from the machine.

Breathe

Actually realize the blessing of the fact that you are, right now, in this moment, breathing, with the health, and ability, and food in the fridge, and people who really do care all around you, and opportunities to contribute…all right now available in the present.

There is a next step. This is a life to be lived. There is something yet to unfold to have you be who you came to be and do what you came to do.  And you need to keep breathing to get there.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

-Albert Einstein

What Would You Do If Your Future Held INFINITE Growth Potential?

Today I bring you another quote from The Back Forty archives. Take a moment to read it and then meet me on the other side as I unfold the meaning it holds.

The Back Forty

First and foremost, if you’re asking what the heck the “back forty” of the ranch is – check out my previous post on that topic by clicking here.

Great! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the quote. It isn’t often that we think of our second half of life as being “uncultivated”, “full of possibility”, or holding “infinite growth potential”. After all, when we think of our second half of life we usually think of things like slowing down, predictability, and stability.

But, if you actually take the time to think about it, it is all of those things that we think it is not.

It is a new adventure waiting to unfold.

It is a chance to use all of your knowledge from your first half of life to create whatever you want for your future.

It is entirely in front of you.

In this way, your life IS uncultivated, full of possibility, and holding infinite growth potential. So take a moment to think about what adventure you want to work towards. After all, it’s all ahead of you!

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