“Get comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s how you break the plateau and reach that next level.”
We’ve all heard Albert Einstein’s idea that you can’t solve a problem at the same level at which it was created. His challenge was to rise up, to the next level, so as to see and deal with the problem from a higher perspective.
And yet many of us with dreams and goals ahead (a problem) can be deceived into believing that we can get to that next level easily and effortlessly, or by playing the way we have already been playing at this particular plateau.
Let’s face it: it’s damn inconvenient to take on growth and fulfillment as a lifetime pursuit!
I spent a 4 day weekend with a wise, high-performance leader 14 years my junior. I admired how he had taken on breaking through to the next level for himself as a pattern of life from the age of 19, and was apparently continuing to do so forever.
I noticed a bit of reticence at first to being open to someone who’s been on the planet less time than me telling me about how life really works. However, I quickly realized that voice was my own Back Forty Blinder, the old mindset that says “I should know all this by now.”
So, I shook it off in true Back Forty Fliers style and again affirmed that we all have our path and we all have the time and place in which we fulfill on what we came here to do…which is, according to our philosophy, always ahead of us, not behind.
I began thinking that, in my growing up and the messages I received from my own shaping cultural influences, there was this idea that you worked really hard until you “made it” to some level and then you enjoyed that “made-it-ness”, got comfortable, and at some point “retired”.
There are lots of folks who are proud to say “I retired at 30” or whatever young age because the idea of having “made it” earlier is seen as a badge of winning.
This is not knocking “made it”, as to get to those points, those individuals had to apply themselves and their wheelhouse of tools and intelligence in wonderful and admirable ways.
Yet, what about the next level after “making it”?
In The Back Forty, we say “you have yet to do what you came here to do”. This is not to knock what has already been accomplished, and yet what’s next?
And, if there hasn’t necessarily been the sense of full accomplishment in our life as lived thus far, this mantra gives us all hope.
What will be required by both parties – those who’ve already “made it” and those who believe they haven’t – is to take on the inconvenience of continual leveling up.
Those inspired to be Back Forty Fliers must adopt a willingness, outside of their amassed “wisdom” of who they are, what they’re capable of, what they can learn, the way the world works, etc., so as to be open, fresh and available to receive new input.
When it comes to midlifers fulfilling on goals and dreams – which may be on the chopping block at this point in life – it’s important to realize that the same sweat, learning processes and jittery uncertain of growth they experienced in younger years can still take them to their next level of fulfillment.
It’s simply a question of willingness to be inconvenienced by growth and fulfillment.
Here are a few tips from my own experience of leveling up.
Get outside the box of groupthink mindset you may have surrounded yourself with – same friends, same community, same church, same avenues of exposure – and make yourself available to new people, ideas, and input.
Kids leaving home for college or going out into the world have no choice but to do this, and the process of exposure begins to point them in directions of discovery about themselves, their passions, their interests, and their abilities.
At 40, 50, 60, 70 and beyond, we can learn more about ourselves and our passions, interests, and abilities if we gain more exposure – and let go of all the “wisdom” of the comfort zone we’ve become accustomed to.
When exposing yourself, be willing to really listen…like a 20-year-old, who is taking in all new information all the time.
The tendency of the “wise” midlifer is to evaluate and assess everything as to whether they agree with it or not, whether they’re capable of it or not, whether it fits their belief system (BS) or not. Therefore, the groupthink mindset stays in place.
Often, there’s a resistance to engage and consider incorporating new ideas because the inner voice says “Well, if this is right, then I’ve been off my whole life!”…and the ego doesn’t want to consider that possibility. So, rather than try and engage in something new, it’s far easier to write off the new input as crazy or ludicrous. Admitting that one doesn’t know it all (yet) can be a big hurdle.
To listen – as opposed to hear – means to truly consider without the slice-and-dice mechanism of cynicism/resignation disguised as discernment shredding every piece of evidence that something beyond who you are now is possible.
Turn off the garbage disposal and listen.
Try some of those new ideas, belief systems and practices on.
You have survived very well to this point. Whatever experiments you choose to engage in won’t kill you for sure. You’re tried and true “knowing” of how things are might still prevail, even if you experiment. Just watch that you don’t experiment with the objective being to prove yourself right. You’ll definitely end up “right”.
Life is too short for knowing too early exactly who we are and what we’re capable of. And, if there’s something beyond what has come before for you to be and do, then inconveniencing yourself to play around with new toys might be just the shift required to take you to your next level to fulfilling on that.
You have yet to do what you came here to do.
“At the moment when you feel you have reached the point of absolute exhaustion, inspire yourself to take one last step, and that is when you have successfully arrived to the next level.”
-Master Jin Kwon
Happy Tuesday everyone!
Today I am bringing you a little inspiration from our Back Forty archives. Take a moment to read the quote and I’ll meet you on the other side.
This is an interesting viewpoint. Everyone has heard the phrase “let your light shine” but we don’t usually take the time to consider it much.
For me, the phrase reminds me of my childhood when I would sing “This Little Light of Mine”. The way I always interpreted it, the song was about being yourself and not being afraid of what other people think. But what if it means so much more?
What if your “own light” isn’t just being yourself. What if it is what makes you unique? These two phrases might seem very similar, but when we put it in the context of letting your light shine, it shifts the meaning in a pretty profound way.
You can “be yourself” every day, but that doesn’t mean that you are sharing what makes you unique with the world.
So that brings us back to the quote:
“For me to let my ‘own light shine,’ first and foremost it is important that I know what that light is.”
“It is important that I know what that light is.” I feel like that is the most important part of this whole quote. We have to know what makes us unique. Now tell me, when was the last time you actually thought about what makes you unique? About what your personal “light” is? Do you know?
Today my goal for you is two-fold. First, spend 5 minutes thinking about what makes you unique and how you can share that uniqueness with the world around you. Then, do it!
You are unique. You do have your own personal inner light. And you need to share it with the world. Why? Because, if everyone took the time to share their own inner light with the world, think about how much better we could make this world we live in.
We recently created a survey to figure out what our community members’ biggest fears are. Now, our survey isn’t complete yet (you can still put in your own two cents by clicking here), but our initial feedback is overwhelming.
Of all of the fears brought up by people responding to our survey, money-related fears made up a shocking 45% of all of the fears!
Because of this, I have chosen to devote this blog post to helping you at least minimize your fears. And, even if money isn’t your biggest fear, a little extra income is never a bad thing, right?
So, without further ado, here are five easy ways you can make more money in midlife – today!
One of the most common ways to make some extra money online these days is to take part in online surveys. Not only do you get paid for your time, but you also get to give your opinion on different things like politics, new products, movies, TV advertisements, and the list goes on and on.
Some people will claim that you can make thousand of dollars per month by answering online surveys, and that might be true, if you are spending all your time doing surveys. That being said, expect to make anywhere between $30 and $300 extra each month if you fill out at least one survey a day. So, which online surveys should you sign up for. Here are some of the best options out there:
Another option is website testing from home. You visit a website, complete a series of tests, and then get paid $10. The downside (if you aren’t very outspoken) is that you have to speak all of your thoughts out loud. If this doesn’t deter you – it’s an easy way to make some extra cash. Check out UserTesting.com for more details.
This is my favorite suggestion. After all, who doesn’t love shopping? And who doesn’t love getting good deals when they shop? There are a few different options, but I can tell you that I have personally tried and approved both of the options I’m about to give you.
If you are anything like me, then you have a pile of things waiting to be sold at a garage sale or taken to be donated. These days there is no reason to wait. You can get rid of your items now, you don’t have to leave your house, and you can make money doing it. Here are some of the best ways to get money for your old stuff you wanted to get rid of anyway:
This last idea is probably the most surprising, but I promise you that this is real. You can actually get paid to lose weight! There is a website called DietBet where you can earn money by betting that you will lose weight. What is actually happening is that you are betting against a bunch of other people that you will lose weight. Whoever reaches the group goal gets to split the earnings and those who don’t make it lose their entry fee. If you want to lose weight, stay motivated, and make money doing it. DietBet is the perfect solution.
Download your FREE Top Ten Tips for a Radical Second Half eBook by clicking the image below! This 19-page eBook is full of tips for making your life the best it can be in every aspect (not just financially). So go ahead and get started!
“I’m not afraid to play ugly – look at ‘Adaptation.’ I looked like a turd that a cat had coughed up. ”
The desire to grow and the subconscious commitment to “look good” just don’t jibe.
You can’t get both. You can grow almost imperceptibly, and maybe keep your suit fairly pressed and most of your makeup in place. Or you can grow fast…and good luck keeping your hair and tie from blowing in the wind.
In the end, extreme growth, over whatever time period you’ve allotted for it, can only come through trying, expanding, being and looking different than you did before.
Steve Martin had a comedy album in the 70’s entitled “Comedy Is Not Pretty”.
Neither is real, committed, no-turning-back, burn-the-boats growth. It ain’t pretty.
If that growth is what you want, you must allow, accept and even invite mistakes, failed attempts, gaffs, and looking like an ass. All come with the territory.
For myself, in growing to allow, empower and accept the great gifts of “team” that I’m blessed with – after lots of solo-preneur background – I find myself not necessarily doing things in as smooth or PC a way as I’d like. In my perfect world, I’d always be accommodating and flexible and impervious to having my ego tweaked…and yet I can’t spend all of my time either in meditation or psychoanalysis with the big game I’m out to play or the inspiring message I’m out to deliver.
Not so say meditation and therapy aren’t valuable and to be used in appropriate ways and measures…and yet perhaps the biggest element to be released as we’re growing is the attachment to looking good as we grow.
In coaching and supporting executives, entrepreneurs and “big game” players, I’ve offered to them the idea that their growth will only be limited by their level of compassion for themselves. If they can’t accept the mistakes and not-so-pretty appearances they make at times, they will retrench, rationalize a reason for not continuing, or in whatever other ways slow down their growth and whatever that growth was to bring the world.
The world needs you to grow, because you have yet to do what you came here to do!
Here’s a few different faces you can take on when you’re committed enough to something to play ugly.
Actually take some time to look at yourself in the mirror as you’re complaining about how you didn’t do this or that right, or how silly you must have looked when this or that didn’t work.
Look at that scowl. Acknowledge that frustration.
Lighten things up a bit by remembering that you didn’t even know anything about what you’re doing now just a short time ago. Acknowledge that you didn’t know and maybe even still don’t know all that you want…and develop a little more playful, curious attitude.
Whatever you did or didn’t do isn’t going to shift the world. Lighten up!
Give yourself a little examination. Are you leveling up your self-compassion with your desire to grow and learn and expand? What prescription of self-championing, affirmative self-talk, or extreme self-care can you offer?
Your best source of continued expansion will come from those internal prescriptions of support.
Acknowledge and appreciate that you’re only playing ugly because you’re one of the small percentage of people willing to get started and play first (before they have it all figured out) so as to get to where you want to go.
Find ways to see and count the blessings of where you are now vs where you used to be, and appreciate (which means “grow in value”) those blessings as getting you closer to where you want to be.
“Play in the dirt, because life is too short to always have clean fingernails. ”
“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
Going to the edge is not how we’re wired. Our internal, anti-vertigo systems tells us to stay back.
Especially in The Back Forty, our tendency to play safe and keep things manageable is at a premium…because we have bruises and scars from when we didn’t.
Look at how we can sometimes be in an intimate relationship: either get used to the one we’re with and there’s no mystery left – because we wrangled either them or ourselves into a comfortable knowing (instead of growing?)…
we pursue and intend to attract that final, perfect partner while peering out at them and the world from deep inside our protective armor.
Look at how we can sometimes be in business or career growth: either we stay doing what we’ve always done because it meets our current thermostat (the amount of heat we can stand)…
we attempt to create a new venture or try a new path inside of our old mindsets of needing to do things “right” and have it all figured out.
None of these Play Safe ways of operating call for progress.
I see my own resistance to edginess when I’m called upon to create business plans and set up systems that are required to go to the next level of growth and contribution-ability. “I’ve just never been good at that!” or “I haven’t gotten that skill down yet”. All thoughts pulling for the center rather than the edge.
Kurt Vonnegut says “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
Want to grow? Envision a new possibility or future? Step into your own promised land?
You have to go to the edge to accomplish it.
Here are a few tips to help embrace edginess:
Try to notice when you feel that your pressing into uncharted (and thus perceived as rough) waters…and listen to what the Voice is saying.
If it’s the same standard line you’ve heard a thousand times, simply step aside from it. Realize it’s an old friend, with an emphasis on old. If you’re wanting new, then pay your respects to the old friend by saying “Thanks for that. I know you’re wanting the best for me.”
And then go do what you WANT to do, like you did as a teen when your parent told you what THEY wanted you to do.
Look, whatever you do in this moment is not life altering, either way.
If you take the risk of sharing something very personal with your spouse or a date that your Play Safe Voice would be shocked by, you really never know what may come of it. You may open a door to intimacy you never thought possible.
If you don’t know how to do a perfect business plan or how to make the career change, try anyhow or get a coach. Taking a risk will get you further than sitting paralyzed by the Play Safe Voice.
At a minimum, you’ll learn something. In the best of all worlds, you’ll expand. For sure, you won’t die.
Return to tip 1.
Perhaps all progress depends on consistent edginess.
What areas of your life are you willing to walk out on the brink of so as to see another future?
“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.”
We all talk about working smarter not harder. Working smart is working consciously. Working consciously moves us closer to building a Conscious Organization.
Working smart increases velocity, produces synergy, and creates exponential growth. It allows us to move through our day with more focus, awareness, and purpose.
Here are some ideas for working smart. Try them on and see what fits best.
Our brains can focus for a maximum of 90 minutes at a time. By taking a short break every 90 minutes, we allow our body and mind to rest and refresh. Taking breaks makes us more effective.
According to Steven Covey, “sharpen the saw” means preserving and enhancing you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of our life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Choose one day when you don’t work. Sounds crazy, I know. Do it anyway. Take a day off to relax, refresh, disconnect from the ongoing stream of work, and do the things that bring you joy. It’s good for your soul and mind, and will make you more focused, effective, and productive in the long run.
Spending time in nature allows our mind to fully relax and unwind and helps us focus better when we return to work.
This one is a classic from UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Read it. Make it your own. Find your own meaning. If it does not make sense to you, ponder it until it does.
This is a timeless suggestion from Tom Peters. Make a list of useless tasks, meetings, projects and conversations that you should not waste your time on. Have it with you at all times. Know it by heart. Stick to it.
You can impact the rest of your day by making mindful choices when you first wake up. Your creative mind is at its best in the early hours. Take this time to connect with your soul and create how your day is going to go.
Here are a few of my favorites. Try one or more, or create your own.
When I answer emails while on a conference call while having lunch, I get more done in less time, right?
As soon as I move attention from the conference call to the email, I will miss something important. Or I will hear my name following a question – and I will have missed the question. All while consuming my food without noticing the tastes, flavors and eating way more than I need. (Side note: we eat more when we eat mindlessly without paying attention to our food).
When I am multitasking, I am not actually doing more than one thing at a time. I am diverting my attention between several tasks, therefore not fully focusing on anything, getting distracted from all, and needing more time to do everything.
According to MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller, our brains are “not wired to multitask well… when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”
Switching between several tasks wastes time and productivity, because our time and attention are used for the activity of switching gears. In addition, we don’t experience being fully “in the zone” and the amplified results it can bring.
A UCSF study found that multitasking negatively affects short-term, or “working,” memory, which is the ability to hold and manipulate information in the mind for a period of time. That, in turn, affects our creativity.
Switching from task to task while multitasking does not save time. It actually takes more time. In fact, it reduces productivity by as much as 40% and increases the likelihood of errors.
If you are multitasking between two different things, it will take more time to accomplish both than if you did them one at a time.
All in all, multitasking is a bad idea… unless you are interested in increasing your errors and reducing productivity and creative thinking.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
There’s a difference between growing in the wind and blowing in the wind.
We start out with a vision, we set goals, and we move towards their attainment.
By doing so, invite in every challenge and deficiency of being necessary to achieve those goals and fulfill that vision.
Sometimes we’re swayed by those challenges or demands for our upgraded beingness. We can think something is wrong and get upset…in forms like doubt, anxiety, confusion.
For example, we moved forward into 2017 as the first real growth year of The Back Forty and, like wild-eyed dreamers, set some audacious goals. Keeping up with them – both in terms of time and beingness – has been like being strapped onto a medieval rack: it’s amazing how much stretch can come out of some bodies!
20/20-hindsight questioning of the methods, means or even validity of goals set is the first, default reaction to missed deadlines. Blowing in the wind can then result.
Yet, realizing that every step of the way, whether a timeline was kept or not, the mere fact that goals and deadlines were in place brought up every what-we-need-to-know-to-grow element required.
In The Back Forty, we say “you have yet to do what you came here to do”…which means, yes, you got it, more growth. And it’s the very challenges, obstacles and beingness barricades of the environment which shape your budding tree.
Can anyone say a tree “should have” grown differently than it did? Based on environment, opportunity, and an inherent, unique pattern of design, it just grew.
People, plans and organizations often look different in the end from how they begin.
The point is: flexing, growing in the wind, to become.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon was quoted as saying “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”
Here are 3 Ingredients to GrowFlex, the best dreams and goals fertilizer on the planet.
Pull out from the chaos what has been attained, learned, defined, refined, clarified or requalified in the process of goal-minded pursuit. There may be a lot of crap to sort through, but manure has always been the most valued growth agent.
A dual-purpose ingredient, involving both the revision and adaptation of deadlines to meet new information while also Re-Visioning by reminding oneself of the initial and overall raison d’être.
Living like your life depends on it…while snickering behind the scenes that’s it’s all just a Big Game you’re playing to grow.
Where can you grant yourself and your dreams some GrowFlex today?
“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you’re still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”
In today’s world, technology is always at our fingertips. From smartphones and iPads to laptops and smartwatches, technology is almost never more than a finger tap away. Unfortunately, with all of this technology at our fingertips, we are spending less and less time actively engaging our brain. We play mindless games on our phone or watch mindless TV before bed, we aren’t working out our brains nearly as much as we used to.
On Monday, a study was published in the JAMA Neurology Journal reinforcing the importance of doing activities to stimulate your brain. It was found that even after the age of 70, taking part in simple activities like playing games, socializing, and using the internet can help prevent mental decline.
Not to say that in your 40s and 50s you are suffering from extreme mental decline, but the phrase “use it or lose it” comes to mind.
The other day I realized that I grab my phone first thing each morning and check it each night before bed. I’m completely tied to it. And what am I doing when I grab it at 5:45 each morning? I’m scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest. I’m playing mindless games through different apps. I’m scanning my emails. The problem is, I’m not using my brain. And even worse, I’m not really enjoying playing the games or scrolling through social media, I’m just doing it to wake my brain up.
So I decided to make a change, I deleted all of my mindless games and replaced them with apps specifically created to give your brain a workout. Now, at this point, I’ve only been using the apps for 3 days, so I can’t claim any astounding results. However, I know that I’m working on different skills and that the “games” are created to get my brain to work in different ways.
I downloaded a bunch of different apps to try out, but so far there are two that are really standing out to me. Today, I want to share these apps with you, in case you wanted a to make a mini brain workout part of your daily routine!
Lumosity is a website as well as an app (although I am currently solely enjoying their
app). When you make a profile, the first thing they have you do is take a “Fit Test” to see where you already fall. After you complete your test, they create daily tasks for you to give your brain a workout! Right now I’m unlocking new games each day to help me with my attention, flexibility, memory, speed, and problem-solving skills. With the free version, you get 3 new games each day to play. The more you play, the better your scores get and the more of a workout your brain gets! If you want to unlock more games (beyond the ones you get each day) you can always pick up a pro membership for as low as $3.75/month.
Peak is an app that also gives your brain a workout through games that help you with different skills like focus, problem-solving, coordination, memory, and mental agility. Each day they give you more games to play and keep detailed track of your brain score in the above categories and more. The downside is that you can’t play your daily games an unlimited amount of times without a membership. The good news is that it is cheaper than Lumosity with subscriptions as low as $2.92/month. Also, they have family plans so you can help everyone in your family keep their mind sharp (and compare progress if you’re competitive like me)!
If you are even thinking that you might be interested in giving your brain a workout, then go ahead and download one (or both) of these apps. They both have free versions, and who doesn’t want to improve their mental skills? After all, use it or lose it!
“Instead of looking for a great leader, we are in an era where each of us needs to find the great leader within ourselves.”
– Werner Erhard
How then will you and I find or create a great leader within? What will make you and me great Conscious Leaders committed to the future of Conscious Organizations?
Conscious Leadership comes from an authentic commitment to creating a future for ourselves and others that is both inspiring and tangible.
Leaders don’t dwell in the world of predictability; we look into the future, through the lens of our vision, and create the future we envision. We are self-aware and in tune with our internal world. Being a conscious leader requires passion, commitment, courage, and authenticity.
Conscious Leadership requires overcoming resistance to change and managing our own egos and ambitions so that we inspire and empower those around us toward something bigger than our individual selves.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
– Winston Churchill
According to Burge Smith-Lyons of www.essenceofbeing.com, who teaches The Essence of Courageous Leadership, lifting the veil of filters through which we all live, lead, and approach situations creates awareness that allows for courageous leadership.
To raise consciousness, we have to alter our way of speaking and communicating so that everybody feels safe to communicate authentically, and everybody gets heard. Once we become truly aware of the differences in peoples’ mindsets, approaches to life and beliefs, we can actually begin to appreciate how similar we are in our deepest needs and desires. Seeing those commonalities allows the development of deep trust and kinship. This enables the kind of authentic and courageous communications which cause conscious leadership and organizations.
Burge offers an insightful approach to working consciously within an organization. She says: “I look at an organization as a family – it brings out the same kinds of subconscious beliefs and thoughts that a family does, because we project our family onto everyone we work with. And if you are projecting something onto your boss or direct reports, you are then reacting to your projections, not to the people. So we need to become aware of those subconscious thoughts, and their impact on how we conduct ourselves in a work environment.”
“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”
– Tom Peters
Dee Elliott of www.DECMentoring.com, offers the following acrostic for LEADERSHIP:
What does leadership mean to you, and how will you create your great leader within?