Living Fully™

Two years ago, I used a Steve Jobs quote to emphasize a point about living your unique life with courage.   It's even more relevant now. See the October 2009 post titled, Your Time is Limited, So Be True to You Our time on earth is short, and realizing that money can’t buy you more...

Who doesn't want to part of something excellent?  When you are focused on excellence, you attract people who are also focused on it, and value it.  The end product is a great team. While team greatness is a wonderful outcome, there's a dark side of excellence: perfectionism.  It is really easy to...

Catching a cab ride back to the New Orleans airport recently, I was reminded of several important life lessons, and the teacher was my 82 year old cab driver, Eddie. It was clear that Eddie was nearing the twilight of his career as a cabby and his plan was to turn in...

How often do you let your daily life and your meetings and your conversations go on auto pilot; just letting them happen, not “really” expecting anything from them, and also not fully showing up, holding something back, and limiting your full participation, not really saying what you wish you could?  As I have become aware of this pattern in myself, it has been more often than I wanted to admit.  However, I also noticed that certain days were more fulfilling than others, and upon introspection determined it was because of meaningful conversations I had on those days. As I have written about frequently over the past year, I have been spending a great deal of time exploring my personal values with the goal of living a more integrated and fulfilling life.  What I’ve experienced so far has shown that alignment between my values and purpose, and my willingness to create an environment where meaningful conversations can happen, ignites energy and passion in a way that is life changing.  Wow, that sounds big I know, but in fact it is that big.

Not much is said or written about intuition in a business setting.  Probably because it is somewhat elusive, too emotional, too hard to measure, too much art and not enough science; probably because business is focused mostly on quantitative metrics, and decision trees that are based on discernable facts.  Knowing when to listen to our intuition is also hard to do.  It can be defined better by the times we didn’t than for the times that we did. But where does our gut instinct, our sixth sense, internal radar, or whatever you want to call it—fit into our strategy, planning, and/or success. I think it plays a much bigger part than most people are willing to admit.  Here are a few places I seem to use it:
  1. To evaluate my comfort level with a new business proposal
  2. To gauge the potential for a new partner or client relationship
  3. To aid in investment strategy decisions

Everybody and every organization wants to create value. I easily get thrown off course. In the past I have thought that activity created value, or that hiring people could create value. My favorite is that a new technology would create value (the great seduction). All these things may make things easier or improve a situation, but may not create value. If I honestly evaluate these efforts, I have later realized they were usually nothing more than costly distractions. I like this definition of value: “Value is what customers and investors are willing to pay for AND employees are ready, willing, and able to deliver”. In other words, value happens when employees deliver profitable sales. As leaders, it is easy to get distracted from this. We get seduced into “rabbit trails” that lead nowhere, or we hang on to bad decisions and try to make them work. These choices limit our resources to create real value. Management guru Peter Drucker made the point that 10 percent of our resources produce 90 percent of our results [value]. While I want to disagree with this, when I look at the facts of most organizations, this is usually the case.

Managing your money and investments while living in the land of complexity can rob joy from your life.  Do you want a bigger house or a new shiny toy, or would you prefer the ability to really enjoy your money doing the things that bring you true happiness?  I think most wealth creators want the latter, but don’t know how to get there. I was meeting with a new prospect recently, and they were sharing their worries and fears with me as a part of our Ideal Outcomes Conversation™, where we are able to discover what pain points are keeping wealth creators from living the life they desire. In this particular case, money wasn’t the stressing issue per se; this couple had plenty of money and weren’t worried about their next meal or if they could pay for their kids’ college education.

My last post was about the blind spot that many wealth creators—and professional advisors—have as it relates to the ability to say no and how this creates limiting problems. There is another blind spot that doesn’t get talked about much: Wealth creators—and advisors—can allow fear and frustrations to lead them into the negative cycle of discouragement which blocks our ability to be successful, lead the life we want, and provide the type of world-class service our clients and customers expect and need. For me, it plays out something like this:  I wake up feeling stressed and tired; my mind is racing with problems and issues that need to be addressed today (but they aren’t what I want to do today); the sheer weight of the issues tips the scale from any shred of positive energy and possibility towards a feeling of uncertainty and fear; then, my mind downshifts into discouragement and self-doubt pretty much extinguishing any chance for me to be successful that day because I head into it in such a negative state. Sound familiar?  I consider myself to be a pretty positive person, but this cycle is something that is really easy for me to fall prey to. There is a great positive affirmation exercise that I learned a few months ago that can really help when you find yourself in this situation. It’s really simple and goes like this: