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3 Ingredients to GrowFlex

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“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

-Bruce Lee

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.

1. Assess-Mess

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.

2. Re-Vision

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.

3. Committed Unattachment

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.”

-Tony Robbins

Compare & Solitaire: What’s the Match?

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“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

-Coco Chanel

If we’re up for playing big games in life — career, impact, purpose — we’re going to be pressing our envelope all the time, becoming bigger than we knew ourselves to be.

A natural tendency is to compare: to others going our ways, and to our own ideals and standards of how we’d like to be playing.

As I grow to bring out a message of hope and inspiration – something that arose within me only in my second half of life – I observe myself comparing my delivery and message exposure to others, who may have been singing their song for longer or lesser than mine.

As I watch my tendency to juxtapose my progress to what I perceive to be the progress of others, I see the pull toward judgment: evaluating my status in relation to theirs, or even to my own ideals of where I’d like to be.

The old adage claims “compare and despair” perhaps only because that’s the direction most people go with it.

When we see someone playing better at a game we’ve chosen, we COULD choose to be inspired to know it’s possible for us to play better too…and learn from them.

When we see ourselves playing beneath our own perceived abilities, we COULD feel blessed to know we have more within us to tap.

These are the directions I’m playing with to address the natural comparison instinct, to empower myself to grow vs. become resigned…which can happen if we think we’re so far behind.

The main issue is how we’re going to relate to that Self we were handed, the particular Monopoly piece we were issued…and whether we realize that it’s always an inside job.

Maybe a new adage is called for: compare and solitaire.

Using any comparisons that naturally occur as insight to play my own game better, with the objective to use up the whole deck life has given me, keeps me focused on my own game and my own cards.

You only have your deck to play with…and only your own hand to play.

By the way, did you know that another name for solitaire is “patience”?  What might that insight alone afford you?

Remember: Your Game, Your Deck, and Patience.

“The only person you should try to be better than is the Who You Were yesterday.”

-Unknown

3 Steps for Embracing Good Fog

 

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“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”

– Henri Matisse

To some degree, we regard fog in our work and developments as a bad thing.

Fog means non-clarity: of what is coming together (or not); of what is working (or not); of what the end result will be (or not).

We hate not knowing, and will often avoid times when it’s all happening “in the mix” without certainty.

Yet, if we look throughout history, did anyone in the crucible of bringing something about know that the messiness and confusion surrounding them would eventually result in world-impacting change?

In 1928, did research scientist Alexander Fleming, who sometimes left a messy lab at the end of the day — failing to sterilize his plates and leaving the window open — know that mold would form, enabling him to invent penicillin?

In the early 30’s, did 10 drunks all but living together and struggling to stay sober know that they were forming a fellowship which would grow to over 2 million members in 170 countries?

I’m inspired by these and other stories which demonstrate that “in the moment” is rarely the time when we know what we’re actually creating.

In the midst of investing time into the bookstore version of “The Back Forty: 7 Critical Embraces for Life’s Radical Second Half” (the first manuscript was far too dense for bookstores)…

all while building some very powerful and fruitful alliances with players and organizations that jibe with our message…

all while building out a content base of online and live programs in which people can experience the transformative effects of this message…

all while embracing and learning new forms delivering the message (social media) and streamlined systems of communication…

all while maintaining the bread-and-butter support of these initiatives through the coaching, consulting and corporate-employment playgrounds that fund our activities…

Alexandra and I can sometimes feel that we’re swimming in wide-open ocean with no site of land.

So, the inspiration of stories that show how a willingness to stay the course in the unknown can, years later, be the source of statements of amazement – “Who would have known!?” – make all the difference in our world…and, hopefully, the world.

Here are 3 steps for Embracing Good Fog:

  1.  Wake Up…and see the fog, vs. remaining in the numbness that it usually puts us in.

  1.  Forgive…yourself for all the make-wrong judgments you’ve levied against yourself: “I shouldn’t be here”, “I must be doing something wrong”, “I should have more things in place already”.  They just dampen your creativity and spirit.

  1.  ReMIND…yourself and others of the solid intentions that you moved forward into this project with in the first place.  An intention has ways of fulfilling itself outside of our pictures of how it should necessarily come about.  If you’ve designed Mission and Vision statements for what you’re up to, this could be a good time to review them.  This will put you in your right mind.

By embracing the Good Fog of creativity, you can empower yourself to, as Thoreau says, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined”.

Question:

If you subscribe to The Back Forty conviction that “you have yet to do what you came here to do” and are committed that your second half of life be your best half, what fog of your own creativity can you embrace today for the sake of posterity?

“It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.”

– Joseph Conrad

You Need to See How Inspiring this 98-Year-Old Woman Is!

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Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel old? You wake up and your back is aching, or your leg, or a random arm. And then you try to get out of bed and your joints are popping and you’re groaning and you’re tired. It’s days like these where I get up and say to myself,

“You are so old!”

Now don’t get me wrong, some days I feel young and full of energy, but other days…not so much. Other days I feel old and it causes me to make excuses. I can’t go to the gym because I hurt too much. I’m just too tired to go out tonight. The excuses go on and on.

Well, the other night I found a video posted on Facebook by NowThis and was inspired by it (and a bit ashamed of myself). I searched the internet for more information on this topic and I found the original video that NowThis had cut up for their 30-second news clip. If you are ready to realize just how young we all are and how our excuses should never get in the way of achieving greatness, watch this video created by Athleta below:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBfslZKi99c]This is Tao Porchon-Lynch and she is the world’s oldest yoga teacher at the age of 98!

Tao is absolutely inspiring. At the beginning of this video she says,

“When you wake up every morning say, ‘This is going to be the best day of my life,’ and it will be.”

– Tao Porchon-Lynch

Meanwhile, I was here feeling old.

So, I challenge you (and myself) to be as strong and dedicated as Tao is.

Are you interested in learning a little more about Tao? Well, get ready to be inspired even more!

  • She has been a yoga instructor for over 75 years and still teaches 4 days a week!
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    Source: The Times
  • She was a model during WWII  and even had the title “Best Legs in Europe”.
  • When she moved to America after the war, she worked as an actress for MGM and even co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor in “The Last Time I Saw Paris”.
  • She has a passion for ballroom tango and has won several hundred first-place competitive dance titles.
  • She is the co-founder of the American Wine Society (as if I didn’t like her already)!
  • She’s written two books (one about yoga and one about dance).

All in all, she is an amazing woman that we should all aspire to be more like!

So I’ll leave you in awe of Tao with this last quote:

“Don’t let age dictate to you what you can and cannot do.”

– Tao Porchon-Lynch

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Sources: NowThis, Athleta, Wikipedia

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This Song Will Make You Smile About Midlife Crisis

I stumbled across this video this morning and it actually made me laugh out loud. Take a moment to enjoy it!

How many people do you know who seem to be going through a “midlife crisis”? Once we hit midlife the word “crisis” often seems to hang over our heads. Like the song says, we start to see people around us having a crisis, or maybe we find ourselves in the midst of one ourselves.

Regardless of where you fall in the above scenario, you fall into one of two categories:

1 – You are going (or have already gone) through your own midlife crisis

or

2 – You see others going through their crisis and find yourself wondering, “am I next?”

No matter if you are well aware of the ups and downs of a midlife crisis or if you are dreading what might be coming your way, I have the perfect article for you!

If you find yourself wondering why you haven’t had your crisis yet, click here to see why you’re not alone!

If you are in the midst of (or have already had) your midlife crisis, click here for a new perspective or click here to count your blessings!

Regardless of where you find yourself in midlife, remember that your crisis can be “twice as good as any big gut suckin’, sports car buyin’, self-deludin’, comb-over tryin’, skinny jean-wearin’, wrinkle denyin’, bucket listin’, grey hair dyin’, existential mid-life crisis!”

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