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Sometimes it’s easier to avoid doing that thing you really want to do and stay busy doing other things. Why?  Because you know how to do those other things already.  The new thing you want to do, like learning a new language, writing a book, starting a business, or something as simple as starting a new workout routine, is the unknown.  The brain needs to be focused for something new. It can’t run on autopilot.  As the saying goes, “To be something different, you have to do something different.”

I gave this some thought this week and explored my own avoidances and feelings of overwhelm.  I’m building a consulting side business to help small businesses with financial consulting. When I think of why I don’t move forward in a particular area, I realize most often it’s because the path forward is not yet clear.  Once I’ve done some research, spoken with people, written down the risks, rewards, costs and benefits, the plan forward shakes out.  Once I know the path I can then develop a process, or steps, for doing that thing. It could be creating a marketing plan on how to contact and track progress of reaching potential clients more efficiently, to identifying a system for keeping organized to reduce time spent on administrative tasks.

When developing any processes, they have to be created with the thought of being repeatable and scalable. I never want to reinvent the wheel, I only want to make the wheel more reliable and faster, so the ride I’m taking on it is smoother and more enjoyable.

Once the specific process is developed and put into action (blockage removed), that thing I use to avoid doing because I wasn’t quite sure how to get done, which caused anxiety and worry, is now something I’m excited to do.

 

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I just read a fascinating article by Khalil Smith called,  Why Our Brains Fall for False Expertise, and How to Stop It.  I urge you to read the entire article (click here).  In it he points out the benefit of being intentional about writing down ideas and steps for weighing options and boiling down information from which we can make wise decisions. This goes a long way to insure the best path forward is uncovered.

“Get explicit, and get it in writing. One fairly easy intervention is to instruct employees to get in the habit of laying out, in writing, the precise steps that led to a given decision being made. You also can write out the process for your own decision making.”                       – Khalil Smith

“Intelligent individuals learn from every thing and every one; average people, from their experiences. The stupid already have all the answers.” — Socrates

If you’re like most people (me included), when you get a great idea motivation runs high and you can’t wait to get started.  But then after a while, whether do to a hectic home life, work responsibilities, travel, etc. you wonder how will I ever make enough time to focus on this new thing.  It takes a lot of focused effort and resources to get a business off the ground. I’m constantly thinking about how to better organize my days, weeks, and months, to move things forward. Because after all, the goal is to generate income from this thing I like to do.  People often tease me because I’m very organized and love putting processes into place so that I don’t have to stop and think about what to do next in the course of my day. If I stopped to think about working out or going for a run, I’ll talk myself out of it every time.  But, when I tell myself first thing in the morning, here is what you are going to do today, a, b, and c, I’ll get it done.  For building and running my business, I keep an annual calendar broken out by quarter and month, listing all tasks I need to get done, and the deadlines by which they need to be completed. What does this do? It allows me to ‘not think’.  That sounds odd, but it’s true.  When I’ve downloaded these things on paper in advance, all have to do is execute according to the plan.  There is less clutter in my head. If you want to keep going when motivation begins to wane, put processes into place to keep you on track and moving towards your goal.

I recently heard a great Farnam Street podcast interview with Ed Latimore titled, The Secret to a Happy Life.  Ed touches on this exact topic.  He is a professional heavyweight boxer and physics major.  He talks about boxing, tough love, entropy, the worst that can happen, coaching, relationships, and a lot more.  I encourage you to take a listen.

Ed Latimore on The Secret to a Happy Life


While listening to Brene Brown, Researcher, Author and Public Speaker, talk about vulnerability, being brave, having courage, and being happy to just be who God made me to be, I was inspired to create this Life Satisfaction chart. On the Y axis is Financial Satisfaction, which is a basic part of our lives in order to make a living and support ourselves. It measures how financially stable we are.  Are we financially stable now, or are we moving towards being more financially stable so that we can fully support ourselves and give to others. The X axis represents our Soul Satisfaction. Soul satisfaction is how content you are with your overall lifestyle and the level of emotional peace you have.

Every day we make decisions and do things that will put us someplace on this chart. Which quadrant are you in now?  Which quadrant do you want to be in?

LifeSatisfaction

 

In my insatiable quest for knowledge and wisdom, that I may live a life of purpose, and experience my ultimate life vision (which includes a lot of time in the Caribbean), I recently ran across the Farnam Street Blog.  I subscribed to the Farnam Street email newsletter, which is chock full of well written (short) stories, analogies, and thought provoking ideas. I highly recommend checking it out. https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/

Farnam Street’s intention is to spread an appreciation of the importance of clear thinking, lifelong learning, making good decisions and living a meaningful life. Through the use of stories, analogies and careful explorations of important ideas, many people have been inspired. When you read a post about a military tactic or the life of a historic figure, the purpose is not the narrative alone. It is about much more than that — a way of changing how people think.

 

 

Charlie Munger, Vice-Chair of Berkshire Hathaway and business partner to Warren Buffet, suggests identifying one’s own aptitudes is a key driver of success.

“You have to figure out what your own aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don’t, you’re going to lose. And that’s as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out where you’ve got an edge. And you’ve got to play within your own circle of competence.”

Failures in life are described in surfing terms as wipeouts.  You catch your wave, you’re cruising along, feeling confident, and things seem to be going well. Then something happens. An issue comes up with a family member, something happens at work, or you made a decision that didn’t work out the way you had planned. Often times when this happens the word failure (wipeout) comes to mind. We all have failures of some sort or another throughout our lives. If we don’t learn from them, there is a good chance we’ll repeat them. It’s natural to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. But instead of beating ourselves up, what if we looked at them as a new skill.  Successful people will tell you they’ve failed many times. The difference is they view failures as lessons they’ve learned which helped propel them forward.

Famous surfer, Laird Hamilton, puts it best this way, “Wiping out is an under appreciated skill.”
Wipeout

Ok, this may be an off the wall analogy, but I think there is some merit to it.  I was listening to an EntreLeadership podcast recently. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who was being interviewed, however they made the comment of how a lot of people go through life doing the status quo, day in and day out. Finding a job that pays the bills (maybe even barely pays the bills) and doing the same thing they don’t really like (or even dislike) for years with no effort to make a change to improve their situation. The interviewee then made the comment that perhaps that’s why zombie shows are so popular, they kind of reflect the behaviors of so many people just getting through life a little numb. Wow! That stuck with me and I wondered what would be the antidote to being a zombie.  How does one ‘stay alive in the moment’? Feel and experience new things? Get the most out of the short time we are blessed to be on this planet?  Curiosity.  I believe it’s a healthy dose of curiosity.  If you’re always exploring, learning, questioning, then life perpetually looks different.  The bad times aren’t so bad because they won’t last forever, the good times should be celebrated because they ebb and flow.  The lyrics to Gary Allan’s song Life Ain’t Always Beautiful are so true – “Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.”  Don’t be afraid to move forward, afraid to make mistakes, or make excuses, be curious and live life out loud, in the sunshine.

This quote captures the jest of it… “Curiosity killed the cat, but where human beings are concerned, the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance.”     – Harry Lorayne

“Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest of ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.” – Charles C. Colton, Author

The stronger our intellect, the better equipped we are at accomplishing things in every area of our lives. We can do this because we have a broader understanding and awareness of situations and people. As with the other five categories in life, we don’t grow our intellect without focused effort and action, even in difficult times. Sometimes (maybe more often than not) it’s easy to feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. Life is just plain hard and sometimes when we think we’re doing good, something come at us unexpectedly out of left field to knock us back on our heels. The better we can process what is going on in those moments (emotionally and intellectually), we can grow and get stronger at dealing with life and people in general.

To strengthen my resolve to never give up and go after it every day, I get a boost of intellectual growth and confidence every time I listen to an episode of the EntreLeadership Podcast. Each podcast contains at least one interview with someone incredibly successful you may have heard of or someone who’s name you may not recognize, but is doing remarkable things to make this world a healthier, safer place. I’m currently reading the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry (his interview available on podcast) and Jean Greaves.  I took the emotional intelligence appraisal (free with book purchase) and turns out I have some work to do on managing my own emotions during times of frustration. If I hadn’t listened to the podcast, I may never have known about this book and very well could have missed the opportunity to grow myself in this area and build better relationships as a result.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

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Art by Christine (Parrish) Barker. © Christine Barker. All rights reserved.

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© Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision 2018. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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