Here’s the image I have at the top of my Daily Journal-
Here’s where I’m staying.
What do you think?
My focus here is business. Can you think of a question that you had to muster up courage to ask but once asked the answer had a dramatic, life changing, impact on your business or career?
I’m sure I’ve had several but 2 come to mind instantly. One happened 31 years ago, the other happened 3 days ago.
31 years ago the courageous question was this- “Would you mind if a reserved a seat next to yours so we could talk for a while on the flight?” I asked this question to the headlining speaker at a conference I was going to attend in Cincinnati. He said, “Sure, I’ll connect you with my assistant and she can get you my flight info.” That was it!
After the 4 hour flight we were great friends. He invited me to join him for a reception in his suite and introduced me to all of the movers and shakers at the convention. Less the 2 years later I had 2 companies in a bidding war to hire me… all because I asked that one weird question.
The other courageous question I asked 3 days ago. I was shooting a TV commercial in LA. At the conclusion of the shoot I was outside taking photos with some of the staff and crew. I happened to notice the director standing on the lawn alone, I went over and thanked him for hiring me and let him know I had a great time… then came courageous question. Just an FYI, he is a VERY esteemed director with more than 100 credits under his belt, I knew he had auditioned dozens of people for this role, I asked; “What was it that caused you select me for this role?”
His answer (which I’m not doing to disclose due to the unique competitive advantage it will give me in this incredibly competitive field) will forever affect and undoubtedly improve how I perform at auditions.
MY TIP– Develop the where-with-all, the confidence and the courage to think up and ask great questions when those unique opportunities arise.
60 weeks ago I announced ( http://the-greatest-gifts-of-all.com/year-long-sabbatical-starts-today/ ) that my wife and I had embarked on what we intended as a yearlong sabbatical. Our intention was to focus on our health, spiritual/personal development and new vocational pursuits… and what an amazing 60 weeks it has been.
Lori’s lifelong love of “making something from nothing” has bloomed into some amazing original artwork. Her creativity has also been expressed in several new websites she has made for some of our own personal projects as well as for some of our “Santa friends”.
And too I have made a huge transition. I’ve left the work I spent the last 20 years doing behind and I’ve embarked on a new project that I could not be more excited about. I’m helping people 50+ become successful “Encore Entrepreneurs”. I wrote a book, developed a seminar and a 7 week course all designed to help baby boomers more fully enjoy their 60’s & 70’s.
This sabbatical has helped me identify and prioritize the most important elements in my life. Spending time with, loving and encouraging my family. Using my experience and strengths to help others. Building a substantial financial nest egg.
With those things firmly in mind Lori and I will end our sabbatical in 2 weeks. We’ll be spending much of the next 6 months in Southern California further developing our “bodies of work” and the distribution channels we’ll use to allow our work to reach and serve large numbers of people.
Are you ready to take a break from your routine to do something new, stimulating and different?
Remember, you can work while on a sabbatical, the idea would be for the work to do something you aren’t now doing, perhaps writing a book. For me, I earned a very nice income while on sabbatical, and I did a bunch of new, exciting, things. And you don’t need a year… perhaps a week would work.
I think you could use your vacation time as a sabbatical, the distinction would be to use the time to be more introspective rather than distracted.
I guess my reputation preceded me. Someone, told someone, etc… and my phone rang… the long & short of it I was invited to speak to a group of Toastmasters. The talk was VERY WELL received, unfortunately it was not recorded but I think my notes will serve you well. Nearly every person in the room came up to me after the meeting and thanked me for the 3 Gifts I give in the talk.
Thank you for asking me to join you this morning. I'm incredibly honored.
You probably know that I don't really live in Santa's Village at the North Pole… but I do live in a village up north. I live in Ashland, Oregon which is nestled at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains just north of the of the Oregon border. Ashland is home to about 25,000 who love the charm and quaintness of small town life.
One of the most popular events in Ashland is its Annual Festival of Lights parade and town lighting which happens the Friday night after Thanksgiving. The Chamber of Commerce estimates that between 15 and 20,000 people line the streets for the small town parade and the Grand Illumination of Plaza in the heart of town.
It's usually pretty nippy in Ashland in late November, often in the 30 or low 40's. So you just imagine the streets lined with people bundled in their Christmas sweaters and hats and boots… Carolers and warm cider and hot chocolate and even roasted chestnuts. It really a wonderful event.
The parade starts Scout troops, the high school marching band and the kids who are performing in the Nutcracker and several other entries make their way down the short 10 minute parade route.
Who is the final entry? Yes, it's me and I'm sitting tall in a sleigh made out of plywood by local volunteers. It's painted red and placed on a small flat bed trailer that's towed behind a decorated pick-up truck.
I'm waving and Ho Ho Hoing… Having a blast.
As the sleigh makes its way down the parade route the spectators fold in behind us and we make all converge on the Plaza at the town center. This is where all of the spectators gather for the GRAND ILLUMINATION.
I dismount from the sleigh and make my way through the crowds. I navigate up 2 flights of stairs to the balcony at Alex's Restaurant that overlooks the Plaza.
Now imagine, just before I step out on the balcony I'm handed a microphone, I step out and look down… below me stretches a sea of humanity, remember there or 15 to 20,000 people below me, some are chanting Santa, Santa, Santa, all these eyes are staring up at ME and now I'm supposed to deliver a 3 minute speech … I have people to thank, a Christmas message to deliver and of course I have the countdown to the Grand Illumination…
When I looked down at those thousands of people how do you suppose I was feeling?
Before you answer let me tell you this happened in November, 2008… now and let's jump back 30 years to November 1978. I was 24 years old pleading with a co-worker, Mary Nelson. I was a new real estate agent and I had just listed a home for sale. The custom at the time was for the "Listing Agent" to get up to a microphone, in front of 80 to 100 fellow Realtors at the weekly Multiple Listing Breakfast, and "pitch" their listing. I was pleading with Mary to "pitch" my listing for me and she, in a very caring, Mother Knows Best, kind of way Mary tried to convince me to do it myself, telling me how important it was for me to get comfortable pitching my own listings. Of course I knew she was right but I'll tell you here and now… I couldn't do it.
There was absolutely no way, I mean there was a zero percent chance that I would get up in front of that group and "pitch" my listing.
Yes, I had a 5 month old baby at home, and no, I didn't have enough money in the bank… but I could not overcome the fear and get up in front of that group to pitch my listing.
Why? Why is it that I could not get up in front of that group and talk for 90 seconds about this house that I had just listed and so desperately needed to sell?
While your thinking about that let's go back to the balcony 30 years later. How do you think I was feeling when I looked down at that massive chanting crowd with the microphone in my hand?
Let me tell you, I was exhilarated! I could not have been more excited. I had none of the paralyzing fear that I had 30 years earlier with the Realtors.
My question to you is this…
What is it that can move a person from experiencing sheer terror at one time in their life and then at a later time in a similar situation experience sheer joy? What changed?
The answer of course is- I changed.
The process of going from terrified at age 24 to exhilarated at age 54 started with Toastmasters in 1988.
As a started learning and developing speaking skills I began to change. I gained confidence and I started questioning the beliefs I had that had been limiting me. As I look back I can now see that learning new skills, gaining self confidence and choosing empowering beliefs are 3 of the Greatest Gifts I have ever received in my life.
This morning I have 3 Gifts for you. These Gifts, like Santa, are magical. They have the power to forever improve your life, but only if you believe…
The first life improving Gift will strengthen your personal philosophy. Gift 1 – IS ALLOWING YOUR LIFE SPEAK
Here's what I mean, I believe that each of us are endowed by our creator with innate gifts and talents. We are born with them, they are a part of our life essence and when we recognize these gifts and talents and use them for the benefit of others we experience a deep sense of self-satisfaction and contentment. We feel our lives have meaning and purpose.
Letting your life speak… means you are listening to your inner self and you are allowing that inner voice to guide your actions.
Causing people to smile and laugh has always made me happy. In school I lacked the confidence and outgoingness that it took to run for class office… but I was always something of a class clown.
I also noticed many years ago that I seemed to naturally gravitate to leadership positions.
A quote I heard many years ago has stuck with me… it said, "A leader without followers is just a person taking a walk…" I didn't want my life to be that of just a person taking a walk. So for me letting my life speak has meant being a leader and teacher. Public speaking has helped me do that.
The next Gift will strengthen your personal psychology- GIFT 2 is ELIMINATE YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
How we experience our lives is determined, entirely, by the beliefs we filter our information through. In other words the meaning we give to the events in our life are entirely determined by our beliefs.
If we are fearful it is because we have adopted beliefs that undermine our confidence, or make us self conscious, these beliefs limit our ability to fully realize our potential.
It was my BELIEFS, not my lack of speaking skills, that kept me from getting in front of that group of Realtors… even though intellectually and logically I was absolutely certain that making that 90 second pitch would be in mine and my families best interest.
Here's what I'm suggesting, spend a few hours in silence thinking about your beliefs and your actions, and lack of actions. Identify the beliefs that empower you and move you to live aligned with your highest vision of yourself… and also identify those beliefs that hold you back and limit your growth and development.
The mere identification of limiting beliefs will often start the process of them slipping out of your life.
GIFT 3 will improve your income, GIFT 3 is – DON'T WORRY – BE HAPPY
One of the beliefs I adopted is that personality trumps perfection.
I believe perfection equals paralysis. I started giving speeches before they were perfect… long before… the fact is I have NEVER given a perfect speech.
I realize that at times I um and ahh too much… sometimes I have pregnant pauses and other times I speak too fast… AND, and this is key, despite all my flaws I have earned well over a million dollars in speaking fees and product sales… I also have hundreds of testimonials and reviews singing my praises… I'm always looking for ways to improve… but I'm VERY OK with being who I am, how I am. Don't worry… just have fun.
Learning new skills and adopting new beliefs has allowed me to not only be comfortable, but be exhilarated, standing on the balcony looking down on the sea of humanity.
Seeing those faces brighten with smiles as I began to speak… that warms my heart… and lets me know that I am letting my life speak. I'm on track. I feel blessed that I am able to make people smile and add a few minutes of happiness to people's lives.
But I do think it's important to remember that I'm not I'm doing this for others… I'm trying to be the best version of me I know how to be… for me. I simply like myself better when I can be a source of joy… when I can be a trigger for positive emotions.
Becoming comfortable speaking in front of groups has earned me a lot of money but what is MUCH more important is that public speaking has allowed me to live more congruently; by getting in front of thousands of groups and sharing my information I have made lives better, some much better, and that makes me feel good. By being a teacher and leader I'm letting my life speak. Public speaking has helped me create an outward version of myself that more closely matches my inner vision of myself.
I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Toastmasters for creating a vehicle that allowed me to more fully live into who I'm here to be… and I want to thank each of you for allowing me to share my story and for allowing me again today to feel that maybe in some small way I have made a life a bit better.
I wish you all, all the best, and I ask each of you to join me in helping to keep the Spirit of Christmas, the love, the consideration and the fellowship alive ALL YEAR LONG!
A reminder just popped up on my calendar letting me know that next week is the 18th anniversary of my first $10,000 day. Every year for the past 17 years I have taken a few minutes to think about that day and the events that led up to it. In the preceding months I had hit bottom. I went broke. Lost my house, my car, closed down my business (which in the early '90's had generated a low 6 figure income) but by '95 things were bad and by mid '96 they were unimaginable. My world, my business, my family, everything was incredibly disrupted… I was embarrassed, ashamed and at times I found comfort in simply, mindlessly, playing solitaire.
God working in mysterious ways, silver linings, whatever…
I saw an opportunity… and even though I was depleted in every sense of the word I mustered the courage, and the will, to move forward. The opportunity was the Internet… more specifically, teaching small business owners how to use the Internet to build their business and add to their profits.
That day, October 17, 1996, I took 4 phone calls from small business owners wanting my help… in hindsight I can tell you with absolute certainty that depositing that $10,000 in my anemic bank account wasn't nearly as important as the deposit that was made in my "emotional bank account".
Because others valued me, and trusted me, and because I knew I could exceed their expectation (which I went on to do) my spirit came back to life. I regained my sense of meaning and contribution. I saw a light nearing from what had been a very long and very dark tunnel.
Today I would never value a person's worth, mine or anyone else's, in terms of money but when we become emotionally depleted providing value to others and being compensated for it, financially or otherwise, can be just the defibrillator we need to bring our spirit back to life.
Originally written by Bo Lozoff for a Christmas newsletter in 1989. Here's the article as read by Paul Harvey on his radio program.
My Dear Children (and believe me, that’s all of you),
I consider myself a pretty patient Guy. I mean, look at the Grand Canyon. It took millions of years to get it right. And how about evolution? Boy, nothing is slower than designing that whole Darwinian thing to take place, cell by cell and gene by gene. And I’ve even been patient through your fashions, civilizations, wars and schemes, and the countless ways you take Me for granted until you get yourselves into big trouble again and again.
I want to let you know about some things that are starting ticking me off.
First of all, your religious rivalries are driving Me up a wall. Enough already! Let’s get one thing straight: These are your religions, not Mine. I’m the Whole Enchilada; I’m beyond them all. Every one of your religions claims there’s only one of Me (which, by the way, is absolutely true). But in the very next breath, each religion claims it’s My favorite one. And each claims its bible was written personally by me, and that all the other bibles are man-made. Oh, Me. How do I even begin to put a stop to such complicated nonsense?
Okay, listen up now: I’m your Father and Mother, and I don’t play favorites among My Children. Also, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t write. My longhand is awful, and I’ve always been more of a “doer” anyway. So all your books, including the bibles, were written by men and women. They were inspired men and women, remarkable people, but they also made mistakes here and there. I made sure of that, so that you would never trust a written word more than your own living Heart.
You see, one Human Being to me — even a Bum on the street — is worth more than all the holy books in the world. That’s just the kind of Guy I Am. My Spirit is not an historical thing, it is alive right here, right now, as fresh as your next breath.
Holy books and religious rites are sacred and powerful, but not more so than the least of You. They were only meant to steer you in the right direction, not to keep you arguing with each other, and certainly not to keep you from trusting your own personal connection with Me.
Which brings Me to My next point about your nonsense: You act like I need you and your religions to stick up for Me or “win souls” for My Sake. Please, don’t do Me any favors. I can stand quite well on my own, thank you. I don’t need you to defend Me, and I don’t need constant credit. I just want you to be good to each other.
And another thing: I don’t get all worked up over money or politics, so stop dragging My name into your dramas. For example, I swear to Me that I never threatened Oral Roberts. I never rode in any of Rajneesh’s Rolls Royces. I never told Pat Robertson to run for president, and I’ve never ever had a conversation with Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, or Jimmy Swaggart! Of course, come Judgement Day, I certainly intend to…
The thing is, I want you to stop thinking of religion as some sort of loyalty pledge to Me. The true purpose of your religions is so that you can become more aware of Me, not the other way around. Believe Me, I know you already. I know what’s in each of your hearts, and I love you anyway with no strings attached. Lighten up and enjoy Me. That’s what religion is best for.
What you seem to forget is how mysterious I Am. You look at the petty little differences in your scriptures and say, “Well, if this is the Truth, then that can’t be!” But instead of trying to figure out My Paradoxes and Unfathomable Nature — which, by the way, you never will — why not open your hearts to the simple common threads of every religion?
You know what I’m talking about: Play nice with one another. Love and respect everyone. Be kind. Even when life is scary or confusing, take courage and be of good cheer, for I Am always with you. Learn how to be quiet, so you can hear My Still, Small Voice (I don’t like to shout). Leave the world a better place by living your life with dignity and gracefulness, for you are My Own Child. Hold back nothing from life, for the parts of you that can die will, and the parts that can’t, won’t. So don’t worry, be happy (I stole that last line from Bobby McFerrin, but who gave it to him in the first place?)
Simple stuff. Why do you keep making it so complicated? It’s like you’re always looking for an excuse to be upset. And I’m very tired of being your main excuse. Do you think I care whether you call me God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Wakantonka, Brahma, Father, Mother, or even The Void or Nirvana? Do you think I care which of My Special Children you feel closest to — Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed or any of the others? You can call Me and My Special Ones any name you choose, if only you would go about My business of loving one another as I love you. How can you keep neglecting something so simple?
No I’m not telling you to abandon your religions. Enjoy your religions, honor them, learn from them, just as you should enjoy, honor, and learn from your parents. But do you walk around telling everyone that your parents are better than theirs? Your religion, like your parents, may always have the most special place in your heart; I don’t mind that at all. And I don’t want you to combine all the Great Traditions into One Big Mess. Each religion is unique for a reason. Each has a unique style so that people can find the best path for themselves.
But My Special Children — the ones your religions revolve around — all live in the same place (in My Heart) and they get along perfectly, I assure you. The clergy must stop creating a myth of sibling rivalry where there is none.
My Blessed Children of Earth, the world has grown too small for your pervasive religious bigotries and confusion. The whole planet is connected by air travel, satellite dishes, telephones, fax machines, rock concerts, diseases, and mutual needs and concerns. Get with the program! If you really want to help Me celebrate the birthday of My Son Jesus, then commit yourselves to figuring out how to feed your hungry, clothe your naked, protect your abused, and shelter your poor. And just as importantly, make your own everyday life a shining example of kindness and good humor. I’ve given you all the resources you need, if only you abandon your fear of each other and begin living, loving, and laughing together.
Finally, My Children everywhere, remember whose birth is honored on this day you call Christmas, December 25th, and the fearlessness with which He chose to live and die. As I love Him, so do I love each one of you. Now, I’m not really ticked off, I just wanted to grab your attention because I hate to see you suffer. But I gave you Free Will, so what can I do now other than to try to influence you through reason, persuasion, and a little old-fashioned guilt and manipulation? After all, I Am the original Jewish Mother. I just want you to be happy, and I’ll sit in The Dark. I really Am, indeed, I swear, with you always. Always. Trust In Me.
Your One and Only,
Nearly every day I check IN with myself by asking WHY?
Why am I doing what I'm doing? Am I on track? Am I living aligned with my soul's purpose?
I've found that for me, at this stage in my existence, being aligned with my WHY is essential.
In order to feel good about what I do I must feel good about WHY I'm doing it.
Another way to say this is that my DOING must be in alignment with my BEING.
My BEING, my Higher Self, must be the source of why I do what I do.
I hope this makes sense for you.
When what I do is aligned with who I am, my true being, my Higher Self, I feel contented, fulfilled and connected to source.
How about you? Is your doing propelled by your being? Do you even think this is important or even possible for you?
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts…
Today I want to talk with you about miracles and about cultivating a miracle rich environment.
A few years ago I was accepted by the top commercial talent agent in Hollywood with no previous experience or connections. I see this as a miracle.
2 years ago the top strabismus doctor in the country GIFTED me with a free surgery that corrected my Lazy Eye. Another miracle.
When I experience these extraordinary events I'm full of wonder… and during the last few years I've seen these miracles increase exponentially and I started to look for the reasons why.
Here's what I've discovered…
The more I expect miracles to occur… the more they occur.
But I've found that it's not the expectation that brings about the miracles it's the actions that follow and mindset that accompanies the actions.
By expecting miracles and acting on those expectations while at the same time not being connected to the outcomes of the actions themselves… this is the magic and the formula for bringing about miracles.
This principle of detachment is not new.
Many thousands you years ago it was written in the Bhagavad Gita that "When we detach ourselves from the fruits of action, contentment comes. AND Contentment is the source through which we become free."
More recently, but still over 100 years ago Rudyard Kipling wrote the amazing poem IF. Because it was written so long ago I updated a few words and I changed the last line to be more gender neutral.
Listen for the spiritual principle of detachment…
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, and not deal in lies,
Or being hated, and not give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by scoundrels to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—and not lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And, which is more, the game of life you have already won.
Isn't that amazing advice?
To meet with these things that our culture calls Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same; that's the fertile ground where miracles are born.
When you expect miracles and move towards miracles and find your satisfaction in the doing; with no attachment to the result… when you're living in, and you are content in, the moment, regardless of what it contains… that's when miracles flow into your life… or they don't, and either is OK… but it is living in that fertile place, the present, that allows miracles to flourish.
Another personal example of what I'm calling a miracle happened last year when I became eligible to join the actors union SAG-AFTRA within only a few months of starting my acting career when many actors go years without earning eligibility.
Another recent example was when I was selected to be the exclusive national spokesperson for Hello Santa, the first video chat with Santa app. I was even given equity in the company and when we sold the company earlier this year to Internet media company JibJab I was then retained by JibJab to continue on as spokesperson and they have even expanded my role.
I can go on and on and on… but the message here is that miracles really can, and do, flood into your life and you start cultivating a miracle rich environment.
When you dream—and not make dreams your master; and when you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; when neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you
This is where miracles flourish
I have one final example exponential of miracles.
Here are 3 that happened this last week. Even I was blown away…
I'm currently in Southern California and last week I was down at the beach with a couple of friends walking along the Strand, out of the blue I was stopped by Russ Weiner the founder of RockStar Energy Drink. He gave me a hat and we took some photos together and had a few quick laughs. Today I received a Facebook message from RockStar saying they will probably use some of photos when it gets closer to Christmas.
Later that evening my friends and I went out to dinner at a funky little beach pub, on my way out I was stopped by the director of the TV show, Jimmy Kimmel Live. We took some photos together, exchanged cards and he has now asked me to "make some TV" with him… these things have become my new norm… and really I didn't even give them a second thought until this third thing happened and this was SO WEIRD I just had to share this…
I get out of my car directly in front of my friends house. It's a small, quite, residential street. As I'm closing my car door a car slows down to a stop right in front of me. The driver asks if I portray Santa Claus, I smiled and said that I do, he said he was a photographer and that he would like to talk with me about having me sit for some photos in his studio and he handed me a business card and asked if I had one… I handed him one of mine.
He drives off I go in the house and sit his card on my desk and pretty much forget about it. A couple of days later I see it beside my computer and decide to checkout his website. It's a nice site and I can see he's an excellent photographer so I complete the form on his site and tell him that I'm the Santa he approached on the street and that I think he does great work. I also mentioned an amazing photographer/artist on the east coast who I have wanted to work with for a few years and who I have even called and talked to about the possibility of working together at some point. I included a link and suggested that he take a look at this guys amazing work.
Within an hour the photographer responds back saying he is shocked and so happy that I know of this east coast photographers work… he goes on to tell me he JUST SPENT A WEEK ON THE EAST CAST BEING TRAINED AT HIS STUDIO and he has just completed building a new studio here in LA so he can emulate the work of the east coast photographer, the photographer I have wanted to work with for years… and all within a few miles of where I'm staying – AMAZING!
UPDATE 7-09-14 11:56AM- In an email from the photographer:
Thanks again. God sends me people just when I need them!
This was a 2 way miracle… perhaps all are.
Boldly do what you do without attachment to the outcome and expect miracles to come your way.
All the best to you and to all the lives you touch.
Last week I mentioned that I was feeling torn. Torn between revealing too much about myself and being less than authentic. Here's the post if you missed it- http://the-greatest-gifts-of-all.com/naked-world/
My Facebook friend Ivan Kos said-
"You are talking about your Ego ,and this is far from being you. And secondly, why are you worried about past experiences. Nothing can be done about them, so leave it to God. My suggestion is to watch the thoughts more closely and don't let them dwell on the past and don't let them project into the future."
To which I responded:
"I am not worried. Leaving the past in the past is very easy for me. I simply want to feel that I'm living true to my Highest Self in the present. I do agree with you Ivan that what I'm talking about is ego, more specifically my feelings are about me correcting misconceptions that I have allowed to exist, or even caused to exist, because of my ego.
As synchronicity would have it I came across this article today that shed some light on some of the issues at the root of my ego driven decisions- http://www.inc.com/magazine/201309/jessica-bruder/psychological-price-of-entrepreneurship.html"
My sister said this-
"You are a good man who has worked hard your entire life to provide for your family. You are baring yourself to the world thru The Greatest Gifts of All. You are allowing all of us to look in and share in your journey of self discovery…you can and are doing that; you do not need to share every intimate detail. We all have decisions we have made in the past that affect our lives today. Some of those choices may have been better than others but living with the consequences is part of learning the lessons we need to learn.
You have always stated how important it is to use words to frame situations in a positive manner. It is one of the gifts you have…sometimes it is annoying for those of us who want to wallow in sadness or despair…but that simply is not who you are. You are always making the best out of any situation and who you are, and the life you live, is proof positive that you are authentic.
You are allowed to keep a part of you to yourself. You do not have to give us everything. There is no need for Santa to be naked to the world.
I admire you. I respect you. I am proud of you and all the good works you have done throughout your life."
To which I responded:
I think I understand what May Sarton meant when in the beginning of Now I Become Myself she wrote:
"Now I become myself. Its taken time, many years and places; I have been dissolved and shaken, worn other people's faces."
Now, after 60 years, I'm becoming myself. Or perhaps more accurately, I'm no longer wearing other people faces
(except Santa's of course). I don't want to craft an image of me that people will like, I don't want to contrive, I simply want to be me, the best me I can be, and let the chips fall where they may.
Years ago a heard a seminar leader say "fake it till you make it", I took that advice. I did fake it and in many ways
I did "make it". But where does faking it stop? In the context of the seminar leader the faking it was pertaining to business success, things like driving a nice car, wearing a nice suit, speaking the language of success and all of the other accoutrements that telegraph success. Of course all of that is fine… and I didn't "lose myself" in it… but I do feel that I cultivated an image, and today I want to not do that. I just want to be me… no excuses and no faking anything.
With that I'm going to put this topic to rest for a while.
SO, what are you up to? Are you dealing with any issues? Wanna talk? Call me 541-941-4840.
That's right my wife (Mrs. Claus) and I are taking a year to focus on our health, spiritual development and new vocational pursuits. Just to be clear, I'm using the term sabbatical here to mean a period away from our normal routine (which is really not that "normal" anyway).
This DOES NOT mean I will not be working, I definitely will be working, I'll just be working on new things and in new ways.
We are now living in "Sukha House" located on the incredible grounds of the Ashland Ayurveda Retreat Center, just outside of Ashland, Oregon. Sukha is a Sanskrit word that translates to “happiness", "ease", "pleasure" or "bliss" and it perfectly describes how we feel about our new surroundings.
Kim & Richard Ulrich, the owners of the Ashland Ayurveda, are longtime friends (I'll tell you more about them, their services and this amazing property in future posts). My wife and I feel so blessed to be able to live here on the property with them. (By the way, our daughter's wedding ceremony was conducted in the middle of the labyrinth on these grounds last summer. It's a magical place.)
This is a Sabbatical, NOT a Vacation
Just to be clear… if I needed a rest or time to relax I would take a vacation. This is not that.
I feel a deep need to change the way I work: My soul is calling me to take a new path. I'm now 100% committed to developing a new way of making a living and making an impact, a way that is more in alignment with my current values – more of a vocation.
I'll be immersing myself in "The Greatest Gifts of All". I'll be refining my messages, writing, giving presentations and coaching those who are interested in living a life FULL of High Spirits, Happiness & Joy.
Of course I will also be expanding and refining my "Santa stuff", including work in the entertainment industry, providing training to Santa's across the country and much, much more.
We are looking at this next year, and beyond, as a daring adventure and as Helen Keller said: "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
Join us as we share our experiences. I promise you will be inspired and stirred.
If you're interested in increasing the Happiness & Joy in your life let's talk. Contact me at 541-941-4840.
P.S. If you are a small business owner and you are interested in some help with your Internet marketing go ahead and give me a call. I will evaluate your situation and guide you in the best direction to fit your needs.