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Your Great Spirit

So, life is amazing. You ever noticed how the right books and messages seem to fall into place?… 

I got my hands on Ray Dalio’s latest book called “Principles.” If you haven’t heard of Ray, he’s become an icon in the investment and trading communities. In terms of net worth, he’s up there with the Warren Buffets, Richard Branson’s, and other ultra billionaires. He’s in rare air. Thanks in part to Tony Robbin’s coaxing, and his own readiness, he’s stepped forward into a teaching phase of his life. 

Ray’s book got me thinking about the role of business in both our personal and collective evolution.

Like many before him, especially the great stoics like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, Ray praises common wisdom. Yeah, he’s a big proponent of AI, and automating systems, but he reminds readers it all needs to be rooted in common wisdom.  He revisits the importance of the old stand-bys too, like a good work ethic, and discipline, staying open to struggle. He talks of creating systems and reliable circles of guidance to track and guide progress.  And he’s also a believer in playing a part in a evolving whole.  He’s really used his career and business success as a way to better understand the relationship between common wisdom and big system thinking.

But beyond all that Ray’s book reminded me of the importance of acknowledging SPIRIT in culture. Ray’s book does a great job at helping people understand the kind of wisdom that needs to be applied to guide growth of any kind, from small to large. But I think it also does something else, perhaps something that wasn’t intended. His book indirectly supports the necessity of spirit in healthy business cultures.

It seems one of the things that’s made Ray such an enigma in corporate culture, was his ability to create cultures that work. Despite the radical profitability of his company Bridgewater Associates over the long term, there also seemed to be freedom built into his systems. This stood out. People wondered, how do you create such profitability, and still nurture the growth and freedom of your employees?  As some of you know, I’ve spent time working in big company cultures. While many are great at creating the appearance of spirit, and establishing sound principles, ethics, and even compassion and care for the whole, cracking the nut called genuine spirit ain’t easy. Happiness doesn’t come cheap. The beating heart of true innovation often goes missing. 

This got me thinking about the notion of spirit in our business culture. Spirit doesn’t really carry much weight anymore. It’s lost ground to new world ideas like Soul, Spirituality, and cognition. Native cultures are still connected and carrying on traditions rooted in spirit, but collectively we’ve relegated spirit to high school pep rallies and mandatory team building at challenge courses. What’s spirit? In native traditions, Spirit is an actual living thing, something that’s both part of nature and entirely free on its own. It’s conscious.

What seems to get lost in big organizations is that spirit isn’t actually something that gets reproduced. Or can be created by replicating natural systems, it’s actually tapped into. It’s there already, but needs the room to spread it’s wings. It’s not some extra energy source that gets created when we you put the right mechanisms in place. It’s freed. Well, this can be argued of course, but I’d ask you to be open to hearing me out.  Imagine spirit as something we own, and have our share of, and nature owns the master share. Spirit, generally, comes alive in spaces where genuine connection can be made. That happens most when we feel free to express ourselves through choices -that make sense for ourselves. Nature is a great illustration of a GREAT SPIRIT unleashed, as it’s this grand system of tiny things all perfectly connected and free to do whatever the hell it wants. There’s rules, and systems, but these rules serve this greater freedom. And all things within it get the same opportunity to play. So Ray’s book helped spark this larger question; how can we get better as a society at creating systems that best reflect freedom? Nature, in this sense, is both the perfect guide and master. If we learn to do a better job of listening to nature, both within ourselves and outside in nature, we better our chance at connecting to the genuine spirit of nature called freedom. Like Ray’s book suggests, we are granted the blueprint. We’re freed up to co-create, as that’s what freedom really is. It’s a dance where new expressions meet old processes and new expressions of freedoms are made. So maybe our job as leaders in our communities is to help collaborate on creating systems that are better suited to help others reconnect to the freedom they carry. Practically this means giving people choices, and the space to be heard and express themselves. Some of you may be wondering if you can have all that and still maintain the integrity that’s needed to achieve a common goal.  

A great example exists outside your door. This type of freedom is alive and well. Just take a walk outside in nature! Have a good look around. That freedom you see, remember it’s within you too. 

 

Blend and The End

This week has been all about change. And “blending.” 

 
What’s that?…

In my interview with Thriving Collective CEO Cameron Brown, he talked about this cool concept. It’s the idea that the sum of all our experiences and the skills that emerge make us impossible to replicate. The art, he says, comes in finding ways to successfully blend and share it with the world. You do that, he says, and then you can create a only you can fill.

Seems reasonable enough, right?

Coincidentally, I played with this same idea on my show, but called it “Value X.”  (Check out the 00 Episode) The quality, as I saw it, was the sum and soup of our lives that makes us unique. I made it the key driver behind alot of my questions early on. My hope was that by having guests go there listeners would start taking credit for their uniqueness too. 

Why I am telling you this?… Ok, I have to bring you to now to bring this concept full circle. 

So plainly put, I’ve been struggling as an entrepreneur. I’ve gone months without a break, 16 hour days, and crammed in mini yoga sessions between energy drinks at the office. So I decided taking some time off would be wise.

And so that’s what I did. Just a couple days of magic with the family.  While in the midst of it I had an aha moment. I’d come up for air, finally, and had a chance to take a good look around -metaphorically. I realized I’d had a vision to start with.  And when I’d tracked my progress it seemed like I was way off track from that original vision. And by that I mean with my show and brand. With the Pioneers of Insight podcast, my first production, I’d hoped to plug people into the powerful wisdom that comes from surviving the “extraordinary” experiences. You know, real gut-wrenching, soul-twisting adversity, which I believed is magical and scales. But I concluded I hadn’t delivered on that concept.

My first instinct was to search for where I’d gone wrong. Here’s what I came up with, and maybe you can relate if you’ve taken a risk to build something in your own lives;

  • I felt like I’d compromised.
    •   For me that meant bending my vision. Instead of having extraordinary stories to work with, I felt like I was using my skills to turn ordinary experiences into the extraordinary for my guests. 
  • I felt l’d got derailed by old insecurities and my fear of disappointing others.
    • I am not afraid of putting myself out there, so in the early running I managed to generate a good amount of interest.  Great people with cool missions and enterprises had tossed their hats in the ring right off the bat, folks like Johnny Bang Reilly, and  John Lee Dumas,  and Shannon Cason. When more folks stepped up I ran into a problem. I’m a recovering life-long people pleaser. I didn’t feel like I’d earned the credibility to turn anyone down. When I did consider it a voice showed up. Kinda nasty, and it said,”who the hell are you to turn these good folks down? They’re influencers and successful people with audiences, man. Get over yourself!” Some of you may be familiar with this voice, as it’s the internal dialog that get drummed up when old insecurities are triggered. This is a familiar phenomenon in success psychology, known as “Imposter Syndrome.” 

So, in coming up for air I had this oh shit moment.

I imagined myself on a bicycle going off trail and then quietly sailing off a cliff. So instead of celebrating what I’d accomplished I was beating myself up. I needed an adjustment. I concluded to make some changes while I could

It took a couple days to process my reaction when the real magic happened. 

I felt better when I realized the disappointment I was feeling was my own. Nobody else told me any changes were needed, or that I’d gone off track. The truth was I only received positive feedback. No huge wins yet , but only good signs thus far. So the show growing, I’d just ran into my expectations and insecurities again. 

In other words, the expectations zombies had awoke and were eating my brains.

The crappy part of experiences likes these is missing the chance to create momentum. Taking times to celebrate, honor, and nourish our heart, mind, body, and soul along the way is essential. Perhaps some of you can relate too this. So rather than let these expectations Zombies continue to snack on my brain, I took my accomplishments back. I revisited my journals and journey to launch this company. There were too many tiny miracles too count, so much had magically fallen into place with my efforts. I thought about how much I’d learned and the wonderful new relationships I created.  I leaped back into the world of possibility and realigned with my vision.

Shutting down fear allowed me to reconnect with the energy of a larger process. Growth.  I came back to earth, really. Processes like are beneficial, however, as these nourish the soul of life. No matter where we are, we can use reminders like these to turn things around. We just need to take use them to discover what’s going “right” vs what’s wrong. What’s wrong becomes the soil from which a healthy realization springs. So, I’d actually had to stop and thank the Zombies for the reminder to listen to my soul again. 

So, let me wrap this by giving you a sense of how I intend to infuse more soul into my brand as I move forward:

First, I’m retiring the Daily Insight blog. 

First off, it’s called the Daily Insight. While I somehow managed to crank out posts daily 6 months or so without killing myself, I’m letting that go. The day’s of getting into the office at 4:00 am to crank out a blog, and vlog too, that read by 50 or less are gone. Perhaps the word read here is an overstatement. “Thumbed” or “glimpsed” is probably more accurate.

I bought into a lot of crazy notions in the early running -when I’d separated soul from my ambitions.  Again, all of this is entirely my fault, as I stepped willing into the social marketing trap; I’d already developed the habit of trying to be everything to everyone, and social media feeds on this idea. But while coaching us to do it smartly, so it’s not obvious that’s what you’re doing. No blaming social media, I’d just fallen into a trap of a life long habit out of convenience. I’d chewed on this idea a bit in my interview with digital marketing disruptor Chris Kubbernus   Actually, it may have helped put the bug in my soup. It seems there’s a business of selling sales culture out there, and I’m happy to have learned that.  I refuse to go there. So, I’m readjusting my priorities pronto, focusing on quality over quantity, and putting my life, family, and soul back at the center where it belongs.   

From here on out I intend to lay down the light.  I’m a spiritual guy.  I care.  I’m creative and come at things through a soulful lens.  I have a family which I love and I eat tons of spicy vegan foods. I need to share all of that. So I’ve adjusted my mission statement to read; I create “Media for Soulful Citizens.” 

Overall, I hope I help bring art to adversity. Put the soul at the center of a larger conversation in media, and offer tools that help create continuity between our inner and outer lives.  I want to help inject the language of the heart into business and culture by writing and producing cool stories and features. Thankfully I’m in a position to do that. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for.  

So, in my new blog and the reflections I’m sandwiching between podcast episodes called, “Meditations for Soulful Citizens,” I’ll be doing a little of all of that. Besides being a coach, therapist, and media producer, I’m a healer too. I’ve made some good friendships in the Integrative Health and Healing worlds, so it’ll look to continue those conversations through premiere storytelling podcasts and webinars. I’ll probably try to inject more information about conscious business into The Pioneers of Insight podcast. And I will look to develop new shows that feature stories about transformation and change. 

 

So, if you choose to follow along that’s what you’ll get.

Ok, hope to see you in the new blog!

Wishing you grace to fill your sails today and everyday!

-J 

 

Stop Hitchhiking & Become A Traveler

Even the best days can be ruined by one powerfully crappy assumption.

Why?..

Life is lived through our lenses. Or as one of my past spiritual mentor’s put it, we create our experience through our perspectives. So more or less our worlds are built through our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and then actions. So while LIFE may present opportunities galore – we may miss out on them because we simply haven’t created a place for them. Put another way, we don’t see them as possible. So  there’s somethings to watch out for if we want to create a remarkable life, or at least remarkable to our own standards.  Staying out of the trap of negative thinking, whipping up despair, blame and world-bashing, or when down allowing ourselves to stay stuck in hopelessness. If we hope to change our experience we have to change our perspective. And this isn’t magical thinking, this is work. We’re not always going to feel great. This means we have to persist and maintain our vision for life even when we don’t feel like it. Over time, our life is likely to follow.

So get out of your head and into your heart.  Don’t overthink.  Nurture courage, hope, success, compassion, and creativity. Be mindful of the challenges but don’t obsess over the things you can’t control. And when you do go to your thoughts, make good use of them by creating solutions from a place of promise. There are many roads in life. Some lead to barking failures and others success. So your world isn’t really created in outcomes. It’s created through your perspectives. But the decision to focus on the good no matter what the outcome expands your opportunities. With this choice you can see more and be more.  You can make the leap from being a hitchhiker in life who has to wait around for the right opportunity to show up; To A Great Traveler who creates his world with each step along the way.

Want to listen to an episode about this? Click here to listen to my podcast 

Giving: A Joyful Economy of Being

What does it mean to give?… As a business owner I’m constantly reflecting and trying to dial this in. Is it really practical to focus on GIVING when there’s a bottom line?… When the survival of my enterprise and family depends on profit?… Admittedly I struggle here. I’m always grateful, but not joyful. And I know giving requires a joyful heart.  When things are going well it’s easy to access joy.  I give freely when I feel safe, connected, acknowledged, purposeful, and well taken care of. When my life is good and I’m moving forward -Man am I in the mood for giving. But when things aren’t going well? Joy gets lost at the expense of my own expectations and needs. I don’t believe I’m alone here, especially with the effort that’s comes with being an entrepreneur. Also with just being human! I imagine most can relate to what I’m saying here. Giving can become conditional to fair weather sailing. So this excerpt came from my daily meditation (see photo). The thought points to a powerful truth. Maintaining joy isn’t simply a practice. It a signal that we’ve entered intro freedom. Joy is enlightened living. We no longer operate from the struggle of unmet expectations or the binary language of transactions. We’ve made the leap into a joyful economy of being sorts. We give and serve freely because life is free and purposeful there -and so are we. As a stoic and believer in the practicalities of life I know I may struggle here. And I know all I can do is practice and stay mindful. But I believe I can make a quantum leap by finding joy in the struggle of getting there. And I do, so finding even more joy in the same. I encourage you to stretch to find joy as well until joy is all you’ve become.

Want to listen to an episode about this? Click here to listen to my podcast 

Crush It Vs Create It

What do you think?… Is life isn’t about taking, crushing, mincing, dicing, destroying, and conquering?

Or is life about learning how to participate? Challenges, as difficult as they may be, ultimately provide an opportunity to learn how to become better collaborators with life. And collaboration doesn’t work all too well when we’re crushing and competing. It’s a CREATORS game.

Creation takes a ton of work. The demands are high. The requirements placed on those who desire to make a mark as creators are high. That’s why so many try the easy way – by taking, destroying, conquering, etc. To become a CREATOR you must learn how to reach and share value. Value is within – and there’s no forcing it out. The “IT” of course is your PURPOSE. Your passion. The unique dream that only you can realize, create, and share with the world. It’s something the world desperately needs.

So before stepping outside into the world at the start of your day, ask yourself “How can I honor life today by sharing my best me? 

Want to listen to an episode about this? Click here to listen to my podcast 

Do That Thing

Who would you be without the risks you’ve taken?

And who would you be if you chose never to take a risk again?…

Positive risks-what are they?… They are the experiences that stretch, push, and inspire our growth. They are essential for change which is the reality of life. We become more fully alive through them. We are rewarded opportunities to taste the pleasures that come with fully participating in life. Sometimes these experiences lead to pain. But pain -or at least discomfort- is part of the process of growth. If we hope to experience anything new if life we have to let go of the old – and that hurts a bit. But this is only natural. Try finding one single example of success in nature without struggle and pain. This is the process that allows us to become bigger, better, bolder, wiser, and stronger.

Surrendering to fear for the sake of comfort is a tremendous RISK too, however. By attempting to avoid risk we may miss out on truly living. We may fall into a pattern of existence and thereby miss activating hidden strengths, talents, insights, and genius. Life rewards the players from the bottom up.

So… Here’s a wake up call.  You remember that thing you told yourself you could never do… It’s time to do that! 

Want to listen to an episode about this? Click here to listen to my podcast 

Stop Waiting.

The time is always now!

For what, you ask?…

Happiness and fulfillment! Millions, perhaps billions have missed out because of a misunderstanding on where the opportunity is. And many more left earth without understanding this one key concept. They expected that tomorrow would happen and that the pains and fears of their yesterday’s would suddenly and magically clear up. But procrastination, they discovered, is a lie and destroyer of dreams, lives, and futures.

Peace, joy, love, fulfillment, abundance, and happiness all live in the NOW! This truth is easily observable. Study the lives of successful people, anywhere- from great business leaders, standout achievers, world-class creators, and spiritual masters. Here’s what you’ll discover. They ALL take advantage of the present moment. They live there. They act now.  And much of what they strive to do is focused on improving the effectiveness and quality of their connection to the present moment. Why?… Because opportunity lives there.

The next move. The right investment. Peace. Enlightenment. It’s all there.

They know the wellspring of meaning, success, and abundance is the present moment. So if you have a dream, goal, or vision for your success and happiness and are not acting on it- get started. NOW! If you’re afraid to leap, that’s ok. Just simply take a step. Any step, even a baby step. What’s important is that you move forward. You’re willingness to act NOW is what matters. This starts the process to unleash the magic and power of the present moment! 

Want to listen to an episode about this? Click here to listen to my podcast 

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