Sunday, January 18, 2009

Going beyond ‘Beyond the Secret’

A panel discussion at UCLA’s Royce Hall on January 14, 2009 brought together life, dream and business coaches and motivational speakers featured in the new film “Beyond ‘The Secret’.” The brainchild of Holli Walker, the new film ostensibly takes the message of the relatively passive engagement of affirmation and visualization to a new level of action, activity, and movement.

I attended the discussion because I’m a sponge these days and look for the places to soak in the energy of positive and successful people. I am not a passive person – even my daily affirmations are written down 10-20 times/day. For me it is never enough to conceive and believe that something good will happen, I have to also act in order to achieve.

I heard powerful ideas that night that I intend to apply toward my personal and professional development. Important concepts like being in harmony with my purpose, and when doubt comes up, interview it! Or this – I cannot possibly know the gestation period when non-physical seeds are planted in my subconscious, although I trust these will grow at the pace in which they were meant.

More important –for me – was the taking note of the concepts I already put into practice. I heard confirmation that I am on the right path and that this is the right time for me to be on this path. The tools that experts suggest we put into practice are among those that I use today to build A Clear Path.

I understand that to dream means to risk. My dream of creating A Clear Path was certainly not without risk. Not the financial kind but the risk to my so-called reputation in my former world of being a well-paid administrator in higher education. Panelist Les Brown ( suggested that when life feels too hard, I must hold my head up and stay close to what is happening inside me, rather than focus on what is around me, or happening to me. To risk means to trust – my personal power, the power of my intellect, the power of the universe.

Other panelists talked about working with good coaches, hanging around world class thinkers, asking for help, looking for results. Many of us don’t achieve our dreams because too many of us are surrounded by toxic relationships and negative thinking. Today I choose to surround myself with people whose values, integrity, and awareness are in line with my own. This is why I love social networking. There are so many smart people in my ever-expanding circle of colleagues and friends. Heather Milligan writes about getting a smart phone. Matt Skallerud described the “big 3” in terms of online marketing (blog, website, Face Book group). Delores Williams, my Tweeter guru who mentors newbies in the art of following/follower, and Ann Connor, a New Hampshire business coach, find value in what I do and believes that my goals are worth developing. While the income side of my business is making its way into my life the “start-up” advice I get all day, every day, stimulates me to keep moving.

Still, soaking up the good stuff is not enough to create personal and professional success. Perhaps more important is the giving away of what I have learned; to pay forward that which I gained from others. Like my clients who hoard bags and scraps of paper, my hoarding of the good stuff will do nothing to contribute to my growth.

A Clear Path benefits from the kindness and wisdom of my mentors, coaches, and friends. As a result of one of Matt’s pearls, I recently got an email from someone who saw my LinkedIn post from two months ago. Like the non-physical seeds, germination happens when it should.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Downsizing by choice: the road less traveled.

Today I am thinking about the idea of downsizing. Not the corporate kind, although perhaps today’s dismal unemployment figures indicate that corporate America is downsizing like crazy.

The downsizing I’m thinking about is the kind that happens in the rooms we inhabit, the private spaces we walk through. Google the words “clutter and human footprint-” I’ll bet not one is surprised to see the link between what/how much we consume, and how we are leaving our planet. Many people I know have been educating themselves on how to leave this world a little better.

Baby boomers – my mom’s and my generation (and the generation between us) – are thinking about footprints. I’m listening to stories these days about people my age suddenly faced with downsizing the home of an elder parent or friend. I have a client who wants to start downsizing his personal footprint so that his kids don’t have to.

My mom has been thinking about that too. She has decided to go through her entire house, room by room, and for as long as it takes, to downsize and move her unwanted stuff forward to a greater good. She asked me to help.
She was glad when we got to her home office. That beautiful space no longer worked for her. She wanted a room where she could do yoga, paint, and read her email. But the bookcases were packed tight and papers were everywhere. We opened the door, rolled up our sleeves, and dug in.

I have a recommendation for you: if you get along well with your mom, or an older friend, help them to de-clutter and organize their space.

I spent 2 days with mom. We talked about many things as we cleared her office, filling up bags and boxes of stuff, picture frames and files and old magazines. While I sorted papers I watched her hands caress books she knew she would not read again. The memories of what lie between the covers made it hard to decide if she would keep it. And so it went. I watched her go though her language tapes (she’s got such a gift!), art books (what an eye!) and her father’s gardening tips (no one has a greener thumb). I learned a lot about her that day, like what she loves and what is important to her. And I realized that she gave all of that to me – the appreciation of art and books and gardening and so much more. The gift was truly mine.

A peace-filled New Year everyone!