Tag Archive

Tag Archives for " darrell "

Flight-Focused Future Surroundings


“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships, and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.”

-Eleanor Brownn

It’s amazing the amount of physical unconsciousness that can surround us in life…simply because of the wild card of “sentimentality” that we can often play.

I have to admit that I’m one who can fall into that trap, either by abdicating responsibility and claiming my upbringing as shaping me that way (mawkish “stuff” all over the house; Dad’s shed full of everything he “might need one day”) or my zodiac proclivity as a sentimental Leo.  Yet, sooner rather than later in moving into midlife, I’m onto the seductive design of the trap and at least on the way to one day claiming “that gig is up!”

I can be grateful for both a partner coming into my life who leans toward the practical and dispassionate as well as a growing sense of what it will take to become a true Back Forty Freedom Flier.

Whether my mother encouraged me to hold onto items because I might want to “look at them when I get old” or my father was the garage and shed black-hole filler does not determine my Big Game Back Forty Future…if I get and remain conscious.

To live inside of the philosophy that “the best is yet to come and, babe, won’t it be fine” as well as the belief that “I have yet to do what I came here to do” means that my eyes, ears, environments, mind and heart must be forward-focused vs. rear-view-mirror fixed.  Living in that paradigm requires being nimble, quick, light and bright…without the weight (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) of past, past, past globbing onto me at every turn.

I don’t need to watch 10 episodes of Hoarders or even to memorize and recite all passages of “The Japanese Art of Tidying Up” in order to awaken my need for Back Forty above-the-surface oxygen. These tools may serve to initially inspire me, but the critical and necessary ocular redirect toward what is in front of me (in life, purpose, passion, play) vs. what has taken place behind me is the key action to take.

Dropping past-based ballast and replacing with future-focused environmental influences creates lightness and directional guidance.  Exchanging the diploma for a dream board?  Substituting an old picture with a graphic plan? Swapping a souvenir for a framed list of intentions?  All are ways to detach from the lines so that our Back Forty Balloon can gain the altitude and attitude for a second half/best half impact.

“The true heart of organizing is about gaining your freedom.”





“If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies.”

-Wendy Mass

Things are going to change.  Jobs will be gained and lost.  Loves will be embraced and released.  Businesses will thrive and dissolve.  Residences will be moved into and out of.  Health, finances, plans, will go this way and then that.

Change is the thing we aren’t naturally programmed for because the internal, stay-safe, survival mechanisms are geared to kick in when “different” shows up.

Let’s say you usually spend all day in an office.  Boom!  Layoff, and you’re now home.  Or you’ve been in a relationship for years.  Boom!  It breaks up.  Or, yes, even those who haven’t been in a relationship for years…Boom!  You’re in one!

We can go through the above scenarios for any aspect of life.  The question is: how to adapt most effectively.

The first hurdle is the commitment to actually adapt.  Many hold onto the old system, pattern, situation like a child attached at the hip to a parent on the first day of kindergarten.  We’ve probably all read “Who Moved My Cheese?” and yet a commitment to embrace and adapt to change isn’t always our first reaction.

The second element is to understand and embrace agile.  Agile is not only a descriptive of someone nimble and quick, but a term used in the world of software development where the focus is on quick adaptation based on short and regular reassessments of the situation and what is wanted and needed. But they get the product out NOW…not when it’s perfected.

There’s a lot of relevance to this concept for our own lives in The Back Forty.  Guess what?  Shift happens!  And it tends to take on greater seeming impact and significance as we move into the second half of life.

Taking on the agile way in which those in the first half – the 18, 20, 25yr olds – simply play and learn and play and learn some more can support us who have “been around the block a few times” loosen up, commit to adapt, and by God even start to have fun with it!

Giving up the expectation that anyone or anything will stay the same or that, in adapting, we’ll “get it right the first time” allows us the patience to stay on the playing field…with an emphasis on “play“.

Try a new approach? Conduct an experiment? Design a new context within which to hold it all?  Any of these can be forward-falling directions to take so as to flow with the shifting winds of life.  And falling forward fast is what will get us doing what we came here to do…not waiting until everything is stable.

Where can you bring playful and agile adaptation to changing plans, people and places in your Back Forty world today?

“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent.”

-Bill Gates


Unknown Faith-Face


“Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding.’”

– Werner Heisenberg

We often hear the terms “game face” and “poker face” as to the countenance we are to assume when moving into particular arenas and what we want to accomplish while on the field.

But what about when we are placed on playing fields we don’t understand and, therefore, don’t know what we want to accomplish…or even IF there is something to accomplish there?

I’m speaking of that great and mostly avoided turf called “the unknown”.

We avoid any opportunity to play those games like the plague!  Especially as we move into the latter, second-half years of life by when we have made LOTS of decisions as to who we are, how the world is, what’s really possible for us and our life, etc.

We tend to make permanent residence in the comfortable and known, because we’ve played (our safety-seeking voice says) “too much or too haphazardly in the past and got hurt, burned or, sure as hell, didn’t look good.”  Failure and its cousins – such as not looking good, making a mistake, appearing to not already “know” how to do something – become not only unwelcomed guests but wanted-poster criminals to be shot on site.

The Back Forty is founded on a philosophy that we (the Founders) and you have yet to do what we came here to do.  No matter what we may have achieved in the first half of life, we say our biggest hand and most purposeful game is yet to be played.

On that playing field, we suggest that Faith-Face is the countenance to assume while playing, and that looking for and diving into “the unknown”s of ourselves, our world and what’s possible for us is where the score really matters.

If you’re really playing a Back Forty Big Game as your future, you will want to explore who you are beyond the decisions you’ve made from life’s first half of research and development.  You’ll want to question the fixedness (can you say atrophy?) that comes from attitudes about people and the world that you arrived at from the game’s bumps and bruises.  And you’ll want to give your Self the opportunity to discover – from all of that first half R & D – your Formula of Unique Self Expression (FUSE) that only you could concoct given the particular life and times you’ve led.

We say that everything that has occurred, is occurring, or will occur in your life are the PERFECT and EXACT elements necessary to position you to be or do what you came here to be or do.

So, approaching the absolutely requisite unknown with Faith-Face forward is the quickest way to capitalize on your research.

Where can you embrace and faith-face the unknown in your life and times today?  For what reason is life EXACTLY the way it is right now to enable you to be and do what you came here to be and do?

Join us in this exciting exploration into the unknown of what lies in your own Back Forty.  It’s time to be surprised at what you’ve discovered about your Self.

“It would be wonderful to think that the future is unknown and sort of surprising.”

– Alan Rickman



“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh


In our Back Forty, the second half/best half of life, it’s easy to make statements like “this is just the way I am”, “been there, done that” or “I see where this is going”…because, face it, we’ve been around the block a few times, yes?

However, when we come from all the infinite “wisdom” that we’ve amassed, it can actually restrict us because we rest on fixed and immovable opinions about ourselves, our world and what we perceive (from our also amassed and very logical interpretations) as possible and what’s not.

I recently began to explore my “mood of being” in the world as I play my Big Game Back Forty Future and noticed that, even as the pieces of my game puzzle are falling into place in wonderful ways, I was carrying around a resident mood of hard work and struggle.

It showed up like this: no matter that more and more manifestations of good were showing up with ease and grace according to my game, I was using other outside venues to be “frustrated”: traffic on the freeway, customer service issues with vendors, and various other so-minor-they’re-laughable problems.

A friend in my Back Forty Community suggested that I take the time to actually be “present” to all the good happening, to actually drive in peace as I focus on how good life is becoming, and to watch my tendency to bring old patterns into my life just because I’m used to them (e.g., venting when various issues arise with phone, internet, services, etc.).

I saw that I was in a new place, where life is really good and getting better and better. Yet, I hadn’t let go of old, perhaps subconscious, patterns I adopted when working to “get there.”

It had me realize that I’m probably not the only one who – coming into what can be “the best is yet to come” part of life – might be carrying forward certain undistinguished ways of being adopted from past situations and circumstances of life.

If we’re to really fulfill on this second half/best half of “what we came here to do”, then being able to play in the PRESENT is critical.

Perhaps “presence” has three aspects we can consider.

One is our actually being “present”, which means not only staying out of the past and future so as to be in this moment with the people we’re with right now…but also being present to our internal state of thoughts, feelings and emotions vs. projecting them.

Another is the “presence” we bring of our Self into any situation. The small s “self” rarely brings the same value that our big S “Self” affords.

Yet one more is the “Presence” which we allow to move through and guide us, whatever we consider that bigger-than-us intelligence to be. It’s actually one of the “7 Critical Embraces for a Radical Second Half”, the tag line of our upcoming book, “The Back Forty”, and the content of our INFUSE Program.

Your Big Game Back Forty Future will require all of YOU just as it will require all of me.  If we consider that the first half of life was just R&D, research and development, to only DISCOVER who we really are and what we came here to do, a renewed relationship with presence is required.

“Presence is more than just being there.”

– Malcolm Forbes


Undercover Talents


“Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible with talent is genius.”

-Henri Frederic Amiel

We’re often far too close to the forest for the trees in our own lives to know all that we do or be that makes life work around us.

It’s too bad that companies often only utilize outside consultants such as myself to do a 360 degree assessment for their “problem” executives…to wake them up to what they’re doing that doesn’t work.

Yes, it begins a wonderful process of transformation when one becomes aware of their blind spots of unworkability…and yet I believe it is just as important for folks to become similarly aware of their blind spots of workability.

But we don’t often look there, because those oh-so-natural-that-we-don’t-think-about-them gifts and talents simply blend into the wallpaper.

In our work with individuals in both career and Back Forty bigger Self-expressions, we help folks explore their so-easy-it’s-unnoticeable gifts and talents picked up along the road of life.

For example, I was recently acknowledged by a minister for whom I write a weekly promotional blurb, used to advertise his congregational talk each week. For me, it takes 30 seconds to a minute to pop it out once he emails me his general topic. For him, he says it would take hours and be like shoving needles in his eyes.

Just as we take time – when it really matters in terms of keeping a job or relationship – to examine where we might be missing the mark, I believe we owe it to our Self to do some quick double-takes on ourselves and see what we do so amazingly, albeit unnoticeably, well.

Discerning and acknowledging your own closer-than-your-breath and nearer-than-your-hands-and-feet aptitudes can be a great boost to Self-esteem…and possibly even point you in directions of fulfillment you’ve heretofore been blind to.

Beware of what is beneath the covers waiting for you to discover.  The talents lying there may amaze you.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”

-Leo Buscaglia



flag BF - Copy.jpg

As we bravely pursue a Back Forty Big Game Future full of possibility, it’s critical that we empower ourselves every step of the way.

When we’re toddlers, we are encouraged in taking those first steps.  Then, in adolescence – if we’re lucky – we are supported to try new things and “stick with it” until we get better.  Also, in early adulthood – if we’re lucky – we gain mentors and folks far more experienced than us guiding us on paths to learn skills and become competent in our abilities to contribute.

Yet, as we get older, there’s this below-the-radar assumption that “we should know by now”.  There’s rarely the rah-rah fanfare, as folks move into their second half of life, saying “Hey, you can do or be ANYTHING!”  It’s taken for granted that you’ve probably made the most of yourself that you’re ever going to make.

Add to that external-voice cultural mindset the internal voices which say “this is just the way I am” or “that’s not me” or “I’ve never been good at that” and you have the makings of what I call The Incredible All-Things-Possible Shrinking World…where very little is possible.

Acknowledging ourselves and even creating communities which are all about advocating an all-things-possible mentality at any age best prepares us – as our Back Forty mantra claims – “to do what we came here to do.”

On a daily, weekly, monthly, annual…hell, HOURLY basis, we want to be planting flags on the territory we’ve claimed in moving our Big Games forward.

It’s way easy to minimize our progress – in starting a new initiative, business, hobby, relationship, fitness routine – when it’s not perfect.

Harder perhaps, but building the muscle of acknowledging our progress short of perfection is one to bulk up for The Back Forty Big Game Future we came to express.


An Interview with Darrell Gurney

Happy Saturday everyone!

If you are familiar with The Back Forty, you know that Darrell is a Co-Founder of the INFUSE Program as well and the movement as a whole. If you have attended a Back Forty event, you’ve probably met him. But, do you really know him?

I sat down with Darrell and asked him a few questions, including his most profound memories, his motto, and his favorite color (forest green).

Read below to find out more about Darrell!





“Development is an endurance exercise with incremental improvements.”

-Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Building character, confidence, a skill, a career, a business, a country all take time.

There’s the dance uphill from unconscious incompetent all the way to unconscious competent.

It requires endurance for sure, and just as much patience…for when we or it ain’t happening.

I tell my Back Forty and coaching clients that, to the degree we want to grow, it requires an equal amount of self compassion.

Without the latter, it’s impossible to hang in there long enough for the nurturing of that which we want to build.

Ever stood over a fledgling plant and screamed “Grow!!”  How’s that working for ya?

Where can you turbo-boost your desired growth by directing forgiveness toward yourself today?

Got endure-dance?

“Heroism is endurance for one moment more.”

-George F. Kennan




“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The words

  • familiar
  • normal
  • easy
  • cozy
  • regular
  • comfortable
  • standard
  • ordered…

when juxtaposed with

  • growth
  • expansion
  • breakthrough
  • stretch
  • change
  • miracle…

often create oxymorons.

Where in your work, life or purpose for being on the planet can you embrace unsettledness today…and do something about it?

Where’s the next “home”?

Got unsettledness?

“It is good to feel lost… because it proves you have a navigational sense of where “Home” is. You know that a place that feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.”

–Erika Harris




Got Igbliss?

They say ignorance is bliss, but we chide that remark because nobody seeks to be ignorant.  Of course, it is simply bestowed upon some, but not because they sought it out.  And because they aren’t even aware – they don’t know what they don’t know – bliss could be said to be the result.

Confucious said “Those who are meant to hear will understand. Those who are not meant to understand will not hear.”

Yet, for those of us who seek the antithesis of ignorance, we do everything in our power to gain intelligence and wisdom. We get degrees, advanced degrees, attend seminars, read books, listen to podcasts and audios, participate in workshops, engage in online learning…and, oh yes, there are also the schools of “life” and “hard knocks”.

The only issue with wisdom is if and when it becomes the limiting factor to otherwise inspired action.  We may call our “been there, done that” or “that’s just the way I am” statements those of wisdom and yet, in their shrinking-of-the-all-things-possible-world effect, they can limit our experience, joy and even bliss.

The eastern philosophies speak to this a great deal. “Shoshin” is a term in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind”.  It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when approaching anything, even if engaging in something you already “know”, just as a beginner would.  Also, Laozi (Lao Tzu), ancient Chinese founder of philosophical Taoism, said “To know that you do not know is the best.”

In our Back Forty, though we may do many great works in mentoring and guiding earlier generations (as practiced in an organization we support, Encore.org), it’s important to do a double-take on ourselves and look to see where our supposed “wisdom” is limiting our own continued growth and development.

If, as we say in The Back Forty, you have YET to do what you came here to do, then we can’t afford the luxury of thinking that WE ALONE know what is or isn’t possible for us or what we can or can’t do.

The Back Forty community is founded on the principle that, together, we can keep re-MIND-ing ourselves to open our minds as to what this second half has in store for us when we treat everything in the first half as simply R & D (research and development).

If you didn’t know that you couldn’t do or be something at any age — no matter what you’ve done or been before — what does your first half of R & D tell you to go do or be now?

“It takes a very long time to become young.”

-Pablo Picasso