Archive for the ‘Starting’ category

Don’t Be an Amateur – Be a Pro

October 3, 2010

There are many people who have interests that they call hobbies. They spend time tinkering with these interests, but it sits as a “weekend warrior” type committment. These days you can not have that kind of mentality about your life or your pursuits. In the deep recesses of your mind, you know the ideas you have, the plans you would like to make, the accomplishments you would like to achieve. Whether it is creating a piece of music, painting a masterpiece or leading a village to freedom, you have heard the echoing voice in your mind for years. At times the voice would rise in volume and your heart would race with the thought that “maybe” this could be the time.

Sadly, you shrugged off the feelings because you “had to make a living” or you needed to be “reasonable” in your aspirations. You must shake yourself free from such damning thoughts and thrust out your hand and begin. The greatest resistance and frustration you will face is when you begin your work, that thing that you know you were meant to do. In the genesis of action when the hand touches the plow, that is the moment when the pull from the opposition is at it height. It does not come from some outside place, you know that very well, it comes from within, the center of your individual universe. A cry bellows out from the caverns of your core and screams for you to stop and let things remain as they have always been. Out comes reason after reason for you to quit and go back to the “normal” life you have been living. This is indeed the moment of truth and you must face this moment alone. At this time it is just you fighting with your own ego for supremacy of the control of your Self.

Something happens in the ether when you make contact with your work, when musician touches her instrument and artist picks up the brush. When the writer grasps the pen, a surge of energetic passion envelopes him and suddenly he is no longer alone. The Source has brought to him help and supply. Once you have set you face in the direction of your inner call, all of Heaven is allied with you and your certainty grows. From seemingly nothing the seeds of inspiration begin to germinate and flourish. A once barren mindscape is now fertile with ideas and endeavors.

In the eyes of those around you, you may seem a little off – mad even. What the onlookers do not know is that you have connected with the Muse that will bring sustenance and peace. Not in the form of success or reward, but of accomplished work. To do a thing for the money is to prostitute the Divine. To do a thing for the doings sake is the work of the professional. An amateur does not understand the importance of finishing, staying late or misery; the professional understand that nothing is done without it. The diabolical nature of the Ego is to make you believe that you are all that matters – the individual. It gives you the OK to think that you are separate and what you do bleeds over into no one else’s life. This sinister lie is only emboldened by those around you who want you to maintain the equilibrium of the group by not trying to be who you were made to be. The pack wants to set the rules and punish those who break them.

You look around at your adopted pack, but find no solace as before. Your mind has been awakened and can never return to its previous state. The only way to continue to stay with the pack is to renounce your feelings – your “knowings” about yourself – and submit to the culture of the pack. Submit to the unwritten law that we will all keep the peace as long as no one tries to step out and be their real Self. The reasoning is simple. To be one’s real Self is to succeed and accomplish and achieve, and that is what we most fear. The greatest fear we have is that we will become who we know, deep inside, we are.

But that side-eyed contempt of life will not do for the professional. Perhaps the half-hearted amateur will never write the novel, or the symphony, or the play; but truth be told it was never going to be written or sung anyway. Amateurs abuse the gift, they tarnish the sacred and humiliate the holy. Amateurs are enamored by their own unrealized visions. Professionals know that the work is flowing through them from somewhere else. Professionals honor the work.

Step free from the shadow of the pack and step into your Self. Acknowledge and begin the path to be who you were meant to be. The first step is the hardest, but the result will be the upswell of inspiration and ultimately the completion of the task. Don’t wait, procrastinate, piddle, dwaddle or put off. Step up, step out, move up and press on. Do what you know you must do…now!

The Flow of Compassion

January 10, 2009

One of the big thoughts in my mind currently is to better understand how we can create, instead of react to, our future. In scripture Jesus talks about “abundant life” and many have sought to define just what he meant by those words. There is also in scripture a dialogue with Jesus where he mentions, almost in passing, that the “things I do, you will do more”.

I don’t know about you, but for me, most of my life in church has been spent looking for a way to live that life and do the the things Jesus spoke of. We can expand and look at other scriptures from other major religions and find similar passages. Yet in all of this religious speak, for evidence we have a handful of people who have impacted the world.

It is my belief that there is a way for each of us to live life in a “flow” of exemplary moments that work together to bring about a change for the common good. Some may say I’ve lost it or that I’m naive, but I truly think that we live life on auto-pilot most of the time, and if we would learn how to “live” we would see things that each of us internally desire but externally are impoverished as to both the “what” question and the “how”.

I’ve said before that the “how” is not my domain, and I believe it more today than ever before. One thing that I have uncovered is the role comapssion has to play in living a life full of little miracles.

We all know we should have compassion on others, but the most important I’ve found is compassion for ourselves – present and past. The biggest lesson for me in my own developmental path has been to learn to display compassion toward myself for past shortcomings and failures.

This is one of the greatest steps to head you forward on your own path of developmental transformation. We must let go and let life “flow” through us instead of trying to unsuccessfully control our lives. Once the past is dealt with, the present and future are free to move forward unentangled.

Between Christmas and New Years

December 29, 2008

The days that sit between Christmas and New Years have always intrigued me. For months we’ve looked toward the Christmas frenzy and then, in those few days, Christmas is over and the New Year is coming. It is in these days that reflection can come – in between a few naps!


Reflection is good and natural at the end of anything, but especially at the end of a year. The most typical feeling I’ve encountered from people can best be explained by St. Catherine of Siena in her dialogues. God is reported to have said to her, “I am He who is; and you are she who is not.” Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever experienced your is-not-ness?


If you look back on this year and notice items missing or experiences lost; if you’ve come face-to-face with your is-not-ness, recognize it, reframe your plans and reimagine what the next year can be.

Here’s to Change!

December 15, 2008

Sunday was a day for big announcements. John Sloan our bass player was leaving to go to Cincinnati, service times were changing from three back to two services, and I was stepping out into a new place of uncertainty and question marks. Sounds like you should have been there, right?

Change was the topic of conversation. I mentioned Robert Quinn and his book, Deep Change. We all are faced with opportunities to choose Deep Change, yet even in our inaction we make the decision to live within the status quo. The decision to embrace Deep Change is a decision that will shift your way of thinking and making meaning in the world, but it is also the only way in which we can truly grow as human beings. Personal Transformation is a topic that encompasses both the spiritual and mental capacities we posses. In order for a person to experience Spiritual Transformation and Mental Transformation, the lenses with which we see our lives have to also change and be embraced.

The best lenses are the ones we aren’t aware of. When we have a shift in our “seeing”, it takes time for the new lenses to integrate themselves into our lives. The first step is to recognize that the lenses you are currently looking through aren’t letting you see things the way you are accustomed to seeing them. Just like with real eyeglasses, when things start to become hazy and blurry, it’s time for new lenses to clear up your vision.

As I continue on in this journey, I hope you will also share your experiences. I also hope that my decision to embrace transformational change will spur you on to begin your own journey of transformational change.

How to Start-Up

November 25, 2008

There is a saying that – “Anything can be improved”. In the world economy, these simple words provide the foundation for asking questions. Every time we look around we find things that could be better. What should be there that is not? What can start with what we know or are passionate about? What bothers us? What’s missing? We can come up with a very long list of things we wish were different or could change, or have the interest or skill to do something about.

In these lists are the beginning ideas of some of the most profitable businesses around. Google found a better way to search, Amazon found a better way to buy books, Ebay found a better way to sell everything. No super magic formula, just an opportunity to make things better.

These same principles apply wherever we find ourselves. The next big idea could come from you looking around and seeing something that could be done better.

Looking for a Movement

November 1, 2008

There are many different groups of people who meet and know each other in various ways. These groups of people can be a formal business group or just a group of people who are interested in the same kind of books or art. There are times when we, as members of some of those groups, want to make something happen or get something done. More often than not, nothing is eventually what happens. Even though we have very good intentions, the end result is that everything stays the same.

Used to be, you needed to convene a committee to make a proposal to get something done, especially in business. Now things are different. The one thing that is needed to move your group toward being a movement is a leader. And there is no reason that leader shouldn’t be you. Yeah, you heard me right, you have everything it takes to be a leader.

You have an idea of something that, if done, would change the way the future of your group looked. You will not be able to push people where you think the group should go. You have to lead them where you know they want to go. People want change. Change is far more inviting than “same”. Change has risk, which is why they need you to lead them.

Having a leader helps people go where they want to go. As a leader you get to see your group begin to move and become a movement. Take up the challenge and take your group that is probably stuck somewhere and be the leader we all need to get things going.


October 24, 2008

I just finished a new book by Seth Godin. Seth is one of my favorite authors. In just about every case, every book of his that I have purchased has been outstanding. Tribes takes the cake. This is one book you simply must at least give a glance over – I’m certain that you’ll buy it if you glance at it! You would think, at first, that the book would be about Tribes, or a “fable” about a tribe (fables are all the rage now in business writing). You may even think that perhaps Seth is interested in setting up his own tribe. You would be wrong.

Tribes is about you. Tribes is about your inner struggle to become “you”. The book incessantly makes you look at yourself and ask “Why are you not doing what you know you want to do?” Then, before you have a chance to bring up a reason, he’s already told you why the excuse you’re about to give isn’t good enough to warrant inaction.

I’ve begun reading it again and will probably read it several more times. I found myself reading a paragraph or page and then closing the book to think. Then I would read a little bit more and think some more. To say that this was a book whose timing was perfectly matched to my own individual circumstances would be an understatement. The great dividend of this book is that I would bet that I’m not the only person to have those thoughts.

If you have an idea in your mind and have found reasons not to pursue it, read Tribes and then go do it!


October 11, 2008

Well, tomorrow the staff will have an opportunity to share some of the ideas that they have for Lifepoint in 2009. For me, the idea of personal development is crucial. I can’t imagine being the point guy for personal development, but it is a concept that has connected with my very core. When I have talked with people over the past year, the one common thread has been a desire to understand their lives better and to make better decisions for it’s future.

In the past twelve months I have read more books than I have been able to post about. Most of those books have had to do with the idea of personal development. Now I’m not talking about Anthony Robbins – although he has made a good living doing his thing – I’m talking about the mechanics and psychological underpinnings of why we do the things we do. From Marcus Buckingham and his putting your strengths first approach, to Robert Torbert and his vision of action logics to Dee Hock and his view of chaordic organizations, I have read and digested and wanted to do something with the information. Now is the time.

In 2009, there will be many opportunities for people n the Middle Georgia area to come to events hosted by Lifepoint Church (that’s right, a church!) to help people in their personal development. From personal mission statements to strengths that will help you find the right job for you, Lifepoint will embark in a new era of facilitating personal growth for Middle Georgia and it’s citizens.

Needless to say, I can’t wait!


August 16, 2008

Normally I wait until I’ve completed a book to comment on it, however Peter Block’s “The Answer to How is Yes” has got my mind on overdrive – and I’ve just passed the first chapter. He suggests that the question “How?” could be more of an obstacle rather than a help to an end. He uses “How?” as a symbol because it is the most frequently asked question following critical conversations about changing directions in our jobs and lives. Coming to the decision that something should be done is often easy. The raising of the question, “How?” inevitably leads to a halt in progress until we have some perceived certainty.

One of the best observations I’ve read yet is when Peter says that, “if we were really committed to the pursuit of what matters, we might well be served to hold a moratorium on the question ‘How?’…If we could agree that for six months we would not ask ‘How?’, something in our lives…might shift for the better. It would refocus our attention on deciding what is the right question, rather than what is the right answer. It would force us to act as if we already knew how – we just have to figure out what is worth doing.”

What is keeping you from pursuing something that has captivated your mind? Removing the question “How?” from the conversation leaves us with only a decision to decide what matters most. Think about your life and after evaluating what matters most, make it a priority to take the first step toward seeing that “thing” happen.

More Wild Goose

August 15, 2008

In the last couple of days, my counter said that over a hundred of you guys have visited. I still have the book, Wild Goose Chase, to give away. Just post your idea to impact the world in the comments section and we’ll pick and give the book away. More importantly, we will begin a conversation about joining together and “doing” something.