Who Are Your 1,500 People?

WDS in LightsAnother year of WDS has passed and although the lead up to it this year was different for me, the result seems to only get better.

There are many reasons why WDS is on my list each year as a “must budget for” conference. There are the amazing speakers, many of whom I don’t know until I get there, the academies by some of my favorite mentors and of course Portland, it is such a wild and amazing city, it’s a definite draw.

I will say though that when the stage darkens and the closing party is over, it is the people I have met that I carry with me from this experience.

IMG_2460Each year I am amazed at the number of people from all walks of life and with all different ideas and methods about how to make this world just a wee bit better. My spirit is always renewed that this many people care – just simply care about me, you and helping others live good lives doing nice things.

I spend the days, weeks and months after WDS reaching out to those I’ve met, following their progress on social media and supporting them in any way I can because we are now connected. I recognize faces even though I may not know their names or names that I can’t place the face to, but I feel a bond because I know we have a common ground through WDS.

I see people from this group soaring through the clouds doing amazing things and I am not jealous, I am grateful because I know a rising tide lifts all boats in the harbor. I reach out to those in the community with compatible projects or skills and look for ways to share or combine our gifts to create even bigger impact.

In this space I feel no competition; I feel unity and encouragement. I feel as though we have a common purpose with unique solutions that combined could really dominate the world in a great way!

IMG_2549The five people I spend the most time with are very important indeed, and I can say most of them are WDS attendees, but the 1,500 I spend a week with each year have an enormous impact on how I feel about what I can accomplish and how big I can dare to dream.

Thank you for the assembly of these stars in my life, they are a necessary beacon throughout the year. They are as reliable as nightfall and they often are there to help me through the inevitable storms to the next sunrise.

A Few of my 1,500!

A Few of my 1,500!

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Independence Day Rewrite

Independence Day

I was seven years old when my parents divorced and my mother went from being a housewife to the main provider in the home while battling her first stage III diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Disease, a lymphoma.

I got a clear message from my mother at that time, not sure if it was said, or simply implied, or both, but she was determined that her three girls would not be dependent on anyone, they would be independent women! Even after she remarried, her theme was clear and consistent, you will learn all the skills and capabilities you need to not be reliant on anyone.

True to form, when I got my license, like any teenager, I was anxious to take the car out and feel my newfound freedom. My mother had no problem with that, but of course, I first had to demonstrate that I could remove and replace a flat tire if need be.

This is one of the many examples of the teachings that I received. Being raised to be independent has some great freedoms with it; I know I can do anything I need to do to get where I want to be. Unfortunately, I can no longer change a tire, because of those darn air guns that put the lug nuts on so tightly I don’t have even enough weight to jump on a crossbar to get them off! That said, I am rarely left stranded in a situation because I was raised to rely on myself to figure it out and get it done.

The other message that I never quite picked up on clearly enough at the time was that in life you’ll get further by building a team and asking for help, or even just comfort when needed. While battling her illnesses over the years, my mother had regular trips into the city for radiation, chemotherapy and numerous appointments. She was often too weak or tired to cook or maintain the home and of course there was the time spent in the hospital, complicated by single parenthood and what to do with the kids!

Everyone that knew my mother recognized her as a force! She was well known in our community as a “get it done” and independent woman. She was smart, driven and capable, however these traits did not stop her from accepting kind gestures of meals being prepared, driving trips into the city or even carpooling so us kids could get to where we needed. It took years for me to recognize this skill is not only important in life, but makes the journey better.

Let’s face it, the human race was not meant to exist alone. We are community-based creatures with need for connection and interaction. So many people are trying to “do it on their own” this relates to everything from work to entrepreneurship to life’s trials and celebrations.

It took me such a long time to figure out how to reach out for help, accept or invite assistance with anything I was trying to do – even when it was just trying to survive! All this has taken even longer to put it into practice, and let’s face it, I am still working on it, but I am convinced inter-dependence is the one of the keys to happiness.

As wonderful as independence is, our lives are more fully lived when we have connection and inter-dependence. The feeling one gets when they help someone is a gift we give to each other. The distance we can go when we work together is much further than what we can cover alone.

I’m not saying not to develop your own talents and skills, nor am I saying rely on others for everything. What I am saying is that you don’t have to know it all, do it all and manage it all alone.

I encourage you this month to look at what you want to accomplish over the upcoming month, and see where you might reach out for assistance or develop a team. One of the beautiful benefits I see each day as a coach is what can be accomplished together.

I know there are amazing dreams, big goals and everyday tasks that are on your plate, I wonder how much easier, faster and enjoyable they will be when you stop trying to do it all yourself and ask for someone to join your efforts.

 

Can We Have A United Team?

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Have you ever watched a group of six year olds playing soccer? It looks like a flock of birds in the sky; you know the ones, where it looks like a swarm and they seem to move in perfect unison. The entire group dives left then soars right all together in flight.

When birds do it, it looks almost poetic, when kids do it at a soccer game, it looks comical, when adults do it…

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Field of Dreams?

When I look lately at what is happening in the world around me I feel like I’m watching a field full of soccer games played by multiple teams. In each separate game all the children are chasing the ball regardless of their position, on the sidelines there are coaches shouting directions, and all sorts of commentary from the observers both celebratory and derogatory.

We have plenty of players, plenty of coaches and people with opinions on each side of every game but there is not much progress. Sure there is a lot of running around chasing something and observers getting excited about if those chasing the ball are right or wrong in doing so. We have noise, emotion and commotion, but is anyone making a score?

What Position Do You Play?

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So here is what I am wondering. Where do you sit on this field? No matter what your opinion, there is certainly something that you can do that is helpful. Something you can do that will help with education, skill development and ultimately create a better game by improving the players’ understanding of their positions. Maybe it even starts with understanding what position you want to play in the game.

I believe what has been forgotten in this mayhem that is today’s news frenzy is that we all have roles in which we excel. If we each play our roles that speak to our best skills then regardless of the score, there is a well-played game. When games are played well and everyone understands how their role makes an impact we have field of players who respect each other and the game. When the players show respect for their opponent it translates to the coaches and the spectators. It is from this we can all learn and grow and develop into better teams.

United in Civility

I understand we are all concerned about the issues today, so let’s start there. I believe divisiveness is beginning to tear apart this great, united nation and I believe we will all lose if that happens.

I long for the days where there is no name calling in the schoolyard and we each begin to listen to our neighbors again. Stop unfriending and turning away from the differences between us and begin to ask what does our neighbor want and what can we begin to agree on.

When we start coming together again, we can begin to move into the world we all want to live in. No one wants to be called names, no one wants to feel dumb for their opinions and we don’t create the world we want by yelling at each other.

Can You Hear Anything Through The Din?

Getting back to the soccer game – you know on the sidelines everyone is yelling out commands. You also know, none of the kids on the field can hear or are listening for the commands. And then there is this one kid standing right by the net, waiting for someone to pass the ball because they are in perfect scoring position but….

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Where to Start

So I ask you to take a moment to take stock of the position you are in. I encourage you to take a couple of issues that are near and dear to you and really get clear on what it is that you do want to happen. Speak to those issues and maybe reach out to someone that doesn’t have the exact same view and listen. Don’t judge, qualify or argue, just listen for any possible way that you and they have a common desire. I challenge you to find the humanity in the cause and begin to develop solutions and dialog that is constructive towards the world we all want to live in.

imagesI believe that for the values of this country to remain in vision we, as a nation of people, need to constructively identify what has to be done to keep the country one that stands for all it has always stood for. In order for impact to be made on a meaningful level we need to continue to do positive actions that speak to our skills, to be respectful to our opposition so that we can find the best values of this country and move them forward as a united team.  Isn’t this at least worth a try?

I welcome any comments or feedback, I understand this is an emotionally charged topic, but I do truly value all opinions. I respectfully request no name calling or finger pointing.

The Super Bowl of Life

So you like football or you don’t, I couldn’t help but notice all the life lessons playing out before me in this year’s NFL Super Bowl.

The Brady Disclaimer 

I will preface this post with the fact that I’m a Boston native and by that very nature my DNA has been programed from birth for the New England/Boston sports teams. Please also note, that I am of a “certain age” and so over the years, this birthright has caused as much heartbreak as it has caused jubilation.

fullsizeoutput_23bdIn Case You Were Watching Football

What I couldn’t help but take in during this football game were all the life lessons we were watching being played out on the gridiron. I’m assuming most of you were actually watching a football game so I will identify what I was seeing.

The First Half

This game started and much to my surprise the Falcons dominated in both defense and offense. The rate of turnovers and quarterback sacks on the Patriots were incredible. As each play was executed I could see the confidence building with the Falcons. What was interesting to me was that although I saw frustration on the Patriot’s faces, I never saw defeat in their body language.

I am not an expert, but I have seen teams, or fighters, enter into a playing field or ring and you can just see in their demeanor that they’ve already been defeated before the match even begins. The Patriot’s posture didn’t change and the mood appeared to stay focused as play after play went on.

  • This was a reminder that mindset is EVERYTHING!!

By the end of the first half, the statistics were flying around about how no team had ever come back from this big of a deficit.   The commentators were remarking as if the game was a foregone conclusion.

Have you ever had someone count you out and you weren’t finished playing? I have and boy it didn’t feel good!  It ain’t over until it’s over.

The Epic Second Half

As the players returned to the field there was no particular gain in the third quarter for the Patriots, however there was no substantial gain for the Falcons either. The Patriots did however begin to get some footing at that point. Although they were not making big points, they were not losing as much ground and they figured out how to begin to turn the momentum.

  • Sometimes in life, it takes a bit of energy to simply stop the slide before generating enough traction to start making gains.

The fourth quarter leaned heavily on simply seeking every opportunity and being alert and aware of each moment. One chance, one fumble, one catch might make the difference between success and defeat.

  • Consistent small plays were perfect strategy versus the risky grand play and each small gain was celebrated.

What was also a great lesson was the faith they had in their staff and plan. The coaches and all the behind the scenes people worked tirelessly to develop a plan in which the team relied and put their faith. On game day the only thing left for them to do was to follow the plan.

“Do Your Job” is their motto and it is not as harsh as it sounds, rather a very practical approach to life. I am now using this often in my life to remind myself where I fit in any situation and to do what I do to the best of my ability understanding and trusting that the other pieces to this puzzle will do theirs and it will work.

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And The Winner Is…

As the game concluded in a remarkable unprecedented overtime bid, the winner was declared. As microphones were placed in front of owner, head coach and star quarterback each pointed to the efforts of the whole. Not one acknowledged that they were the hero because it is clear the best victories are indeed shared.

  • Not one of us is victorious without the assistance, dedication and sacrifice of others combined with our own.

Amazing how this one little game (OK, it was a BIG game) could pack so much life lessons. What can you take from this to put another W on your scorecard?

The Message

Here's your sign!
I have said before when I get a repeat message in my life, in any capacity, it makes me think the Universe is trying to tell me something. Right now, it feels like the Universe is screaming! I am being bombarded these days with news of deaths and illness in my direct circle.

The Picture

Let me go over some of what my current landscape looks like today:

Close friend looses 37 year old family member/Spartan racer and very strong healthy man, to condition he’s had for life. Leaves behind a legacy of greatness and living, together with a wife and 3 young children.

Family member has stroke and is facing uncertainty, and a whole bunch of change in his life.

Close friend’s mother has just entered hospice care. This woman’s mother blossomed following the tremendous grief she moved through after her husband died. She went from being this quiet, devoted wife to the party organizer at the assisted living facility for her new-found friends. She became someone always doing something fun and most often things she didn’t do when married.

A new, but dear friend, announces he’s about to take up his battle with Cancer, one that he’s certain to overcome, but a battle nonetheless.

A mentor of mine, for whom I run his local group, has died in a tragic accident at 33, leaving behind a huge legacy, a young wife and a large, amazing community called Live Your Legend.

A sister of a family member has been placed into hospice after living with MS, Cancer and metastatic Cancer. Preparing to leave a full life of all that was dear to her.

What does it mean?

I have to wonder – Is the Universe trying to tell me something? OK, I get it! No more messages at this time please!! Live life while I am here!

As you know, I walked away from corporate life a few months ago to move my business from a “side job” to my full-time focus. I can honestly say, although the road is tough and a bit scary for its uncertainty, I absolutely love each day. I mention this at this time because it is really, really important!

We have one certainty the minute we are born, that we will die. We have no idea what the road has in store for us, but we can bet on an unforeseen circumstance coming along at some point. What that unforeseen thing is, and how it will show up in our life is unknown. Will we be able to provide our family and loved ones the comfort of a full and beautiful life well lived?

A Time for Reflection

I am spending some time in reflection. Am I living the life I believe in? Am I chasing money at the expense of what is truly valuable in my life? What is truly important to me when faced with the end of my days, or a life change that will dramatically altar my sense of “normal”? Do I believe I am using my days to their fullest and living my values? Would I be living any differently if I were faced with the knowledge of my days ending?

If I had not taken the leap to leave corporate by now, I think I would be doing just that at this point. However, since I have taken the leap, I now look to two people who have just died and am so moved that each of them have been living such amazing full and inspiring lives. They were strong, purposeful people leaving behind more than some of us will after many more years than their short time here. They died while fully engaged in this thing called life, they weren’t just earning money and paying bills, they were living fully.

My Desired Legacy

I work each day to continue to reach out to people and help them consider new possibilities in their lives. I hope to be able to encourage others to reach for their dreams despite any odds they feel there might be. I hope in my life to make a positive impact in as many lives as possible to say, you matter, you can do it and I believe in your dreams. I also hope to be one of the people in your life that lets you see you can have the life you desire and it is worth reaching for. Finally, I hope to die while living fully and doing the work that I love and connecting with those seeking to do the same.

Please let your light shine while you are here – we owe it to the world!

My World Just Got Bigger!

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I have just returned from a long weekend in Portland, Oregon for a business conference.  This was a far reach from the paralegal conferences from my corporate life!

The conference I had the privilege to attend was named World Domination Summit (WDS).  Now I know this is a big audacious name for a conference and is off-putting to some I’ve found, however it makes perfect sense once you experience it.  Let me explain, this conference is where people who are wanting to do something awesome with their talent, gift or voice can gather each year to share, inspire, further develop and connect.  I was one of the lucky ones to obtain a ticket to this year’s sold out event.

At WDS I had the opportunity to meet all sorts of coaches, photographers, yogis, videographers, bloggers, world changers and thought leaders.  I met people who were accomplishing extraordinary things and I met people who were just figuring out that they needed something more but weren’t sure what that was.  From the people living on fire to those just waking up, it was a vast, beautiful gathering of kindred souls.

I attended this event alone, knew no one attending and came away with a number of incredible connections and friends.  I met amazing people whom I hope to introduce you to over the course of the year with guest posts and other experiences as possible.  I also had the great fortune of hearing some of my most admired mentors present moving stories of their journey and share pieces of their lives and hearts.  The weekend was filled with education, inspiration, silliness, laughter, thoughtfulness and tears.  I rode the emotional roller coaster and walked away changed by those willing to trust me to share their triumphs and battles.

I learned so much from this weekend about reaching people and what moved me the most was the sharing of difficult experiences from the attendees and the speakers.  I have spent much of my life during times of turmoil being skilled at putting pain in a bucket on a shelf until there was an “appropriate” time to deal with it.  The presenters this weekend taught me that sometimes the most inappropriate time to deal with something turns into an amazing healing moment among an audience filled with caring strangers.  I learned that by choosing not to share some emotions I am missing an opportunity to connect with others and more importantly, I am missing an opportunity for others connect with me.  So as I continue to hold space for others in times of need, I have learned to be willing to allow others to do the same for me.

So I ask you to consider, is there something you are putting up on a shelf and thereby missing an important connection?  Are you missing out on the fullness of a relationship by choosing which emotions to reveal?

In the end I discovered the audaciously named World Domination Summit is not about taking over the planet, it’s a gathering where creativity, adventure connection, love and compassion dominate our world.

Welcome to my world.

-E

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10 things I learned running my 1st marathon

I had the most fabulous opportunity to spend a weekend with a dear friend who had recently been declared cancer free.  He gathered a group of the most inspirational and beautiful spirited people to create Team Choose Joy and together we ran the Austin Marathon raising funds for LiveStrong.

I’m always looking for reasons to celebrate, and being declared cancer-free is one of the most celebratory occasions I can imagine!  Often people gather and celebrate a life once it has passed; so rarely do we celebrate a life being lived.  It was wonderful to be able to celebrate Sean’s successful treatment and the all the effort and energy he put towards his treatment and ultimate triumph over the disease.  The amazing people running in support of Sean were all living strong and wonderfully fulfilling and purposeful lives and many, I later found out, are fighting their own battles – but nothing was stopping them.

I have learned so much from runners, they never cease to amaze me, and once again, I learned a tremendous amount as I tackled this new goal with many more experienced runners by my side.

Here are a few lessons I learned along the route of my first marathon:

  1. Just show up – making the commitment to be there – ready or not is the most important part.
  2. Just keep moving.  Start out with a goal time and pace if you wish, but no matter what, keep moving in the direction of your goal.  Eventually you will get there; maybe not as you expected but you will arrive at the destination as long as you don’t stop.
  3. Be open to the unexpected.  Plan for your race, however be open to new obstacles that you didn’t anticipate.  Throughout the course there are many variables and some are out of your control, do not let the unexpected throw off your race.
  4. Enjoy the encouragement and feedback from people along the way.  You will have to dig deep at some point and you will likely need their voice in your head to help pull you through those times.
  5. You can do almost anything you think you can do.  Remember though, if you let your confidence fade, you can also talk yourself out of what you are truly capable of accomplishing. This works for or against you, the choice is yours and it will make or break your results.
  6. Enjoy the process.  It might be your first or your 100th time doing this but each time will have something unique about it.  Be open to experiencing each time to its fullest.
  7. Rally the troops!  If you do things with a group of likeminded people the joy will exponentially raise (remember this goes for negativity too!)
  8. Trust the original idea, not the current discomfort.  Remember during times of doubt, at one time, you thought this would be a good idea.
  9. To every uphill there is a downhill and the trick is to manage your pace as best you can through both.  Also remember, sometimes the biggest uphill is right before you reach your goal!
  10. Above all, smile.  People are watching you and even as you struggle, you might be inspiring someone.

We each have our own battles along this road, but we are all running this race.  I encourage you to just show up each day and move forward at whatever pace you choose with joy and passion for the length of your course.

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