Are You Living Your Default Future?

man try to exit from his glass sphere

Lets Stop For A Minute! Yes Stop….

Take a deep breath, check in with yourself and become present.

Ok, are you here?

Good…..

Now check in and see where you are on your journey called life! With almost half of 2015 behind us, now is a great opportunity to become aware of where you are in the here and now.

Have you reached the goals, dreams, and milestones that you had set for yourself? Are you satisfied, fulfilled and passionate with your life? Is what you are about to do today what you really want to do?

Or

Are you living your default future?

What is a default future you ask?

Your default future is that life you “settled” into. The one that has subtly placed your dreams to the side because “life showed up.” The vision of the life you really wanted for yourself that has been placed on a waiting list. It is that relationship, job, or situation that has now gone on auto pilot. Many people I work with begin to realize they have settled into their default future without even knowing when it happened.

Some have promised to go back to school after a year, and it’s 10 years later. Others have said they wanted to start their own business but continue to show up to a job they hate. Some wanted to have a healthier relationship with their body but never made it to the gym. You get the point.

We all have had opportunities in our life to either settle or move forward towards our ideal life.

Where are you?

The number one cause for this life on auto pilot is….Failure to leave your comfort zone

Yes, the dreaded comfort zone. Trust me when I tell you that your comfort zone is NOT your friend. Your comfort zone leads you to a one way ticket to your default future.

Comfort zones foster an attitude of learned helplessness, making progress harder. Learning, creating, and growing happen only when you step outside and challenge yourself.

“Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone”

Here are 3 Ways To Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone:

Lean In- Ever been working out at the gym and it hurts? Then you make a decision to lean in and continue working out despite the pain. What happens? The result is that you become fit, stronger and generally feel good about yourself. The discomfort was worth it. The same applies to your life. Lean in to discomfort. Choose to have that difficult conversation you’ve been putting off. Choose to apply for those jobs that you think you”ll never get. Choose to book put a date on the calendar and book the flight to your dream destination. Choose to write that book you’ve been putting off.

Become Present and Expand- Awareness can bring about change. When you become aware of your tendency to default to your comfort zone, shift your mindset to expansion. Ask yourself, what can I do that will broaden my horizons? Is it a 30-day challenge? Is it a conference you wanted to sign up for that will deepen your knowledge base? Is it an email to the author of the book you really connected with? These are all ways to expand.

Accountability- When leaving your comfort zone it’s important that your track your progress to ensure that you’re not subtly slipping back into old habits. Support yourself by creating an accountability group with friends. This can include gym workout buddies, a book club or a master mind.

Looking for deeper transformation? Consider hiring a coach or connecting with a mentor.

As you begin to move out of your comfort zone you will see opportunities that you thought were out of reach. This will build your confidence and allow you to take healthy risks.  I’ve seen miracles happen with the clients I’m fortunate enough to work with as a result of pushing past their comfort zone. Transformation in its truest sense. Leaving your comfort zone will create a life of increased fulfillment, optimism and confidence.

Make the decision today to get out of your comfort zone and live your ideal life, instead of your default future. Life is truly what you make it!

 

5 Things I Experienced During A 10 Day Ayurveda Cleanse

First off, let me say I was never the “lets do a cleanse type of guy!”  While over the past few years I’ve becoming increasingly aware of taking care of this vehicle called a body, I need to let you know where I’m coming from.  Cleansing wasn’t something that was discussed too much in the circles I ran in,

Continue reading “5 Things I Experienced During A 10 Day Ayurveda Cleanse”

“It was all a dream…” 3 ways to Develop your Strengths

On the anniversary of one of my favorite rappers, Biggie Smalls aka Notorious B.I.G’s death; I’ve been reflecting on the relevance of a quote he had in his song “Juicy.”  This song in retrospect spoke to important lessons about finding and developing your strengths in order to live a life beyond any you can imagine.  The lyrics of the song went as follows:

“It was all a Dream, I used to read Word Up Magazine, Salt and Pepper and Heavy D up in the limousine.  Hanging pictures on my wall, every Saturday, Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl.”

Whether consciously or subconsciously the message behind Biggie’s words ring true today for those hoping to discover or develop their strengths.  My personal and professional experience with self-improvement, leadership, strength finding and building a successful life has given me the opportunity to study and speak about the subject of strength building in various forums.  Anyone who is trying to develop their own personal strengths in hopes of living their dream life can take the following lessons from his lyrics:

  1. Visualize“Hanging pictures on my wall” If you don’t dare to visualize what success looks like to you, then how will you attain it? Take time to write down what your strengths are and what success would look like to you in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.  If you can’t visualize what a successful life will look, taste, smell and feel like, how will you ever achieve it? Use pictures and images that inspire you and look for things that are exciting.  If you are passionate about your work, it doesn’t feel as much like work; it feels like you are in your element and your strengths will develop as a result.
  2.  Research- “I used to read word up magazine.” If you have a goal of being an accountant than you need to research how people in your field became accountants.  My passion is coaching, workshops, trainings and public speaking so I began researching the people in the field that were doing the same.  Market research will tell you what is relevant and allow you to see what is out there.  Research can show you who if anyone in your profession is doing similar things that you would like to do.  Sometimes we think we need to not only reinvent the wheel but the entire car.  Take your time and study your profession in order to develop.
  3. Consistency- “Every Saturday, Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl.” Successful people take time to develop their strengths and skill set.  You can be naturally good at something but that will only take you so far.  Consistently developing your strengths is vital because there is always someone who will be just as hungry for success as you.  Study your profession or passion, attend workshops, coffee chats, and read literature.  We are in an age where information is at our fingertips, so take advantage of it and try to do something every day towards developing your strengths.

Over the past few years, I have spent lot of time cultivating my strengths and helping create a life beyond any I could have imagined.  I’ve been told by mentors to write down goals that I have for myself, and someday I’ll look back on that list of goals and see that I was cheating myself.  And that’s exactly what had happened, I’d been cheating myself.  Mostly because I never dared to dream that “impossible dream.”  In this process of self discovery, I’ve slowly started moving into a life and career that matched my dreams and strengths.  I’ve tried to give voice a voice to the voiceless, give hope to the hopeless, and give strength to those who are struggling.  However, there came a point where I felt that my individual strengths, talents and dreams were being underutilized thus short circuiting my growth and development.  The decision was to either remain complacent or make a change!  This is the point when I had to Visualize, Research and Consistently work on my skills.  The importance of taking time to develop my gift and follow my passion has been the greatest undertaking of my career.  But I had to make the decision to chase this dream of mine and put the time and effort in.  I knew that I needed to seek help from those who had experience and ask them to mentor me.  Their time, support and encouragement has been vital to the process and for that I am eternally grateful.  So take the time and be good to yourself, you are worth it.  You have a unique skill that can be cultivated to maximize your potential.  What are you waiting for? Visualize, Research and Be Consistent! And Dream the Impossible… Aubrey Hepburn once said “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.”

Does Success Have A Look?

2014 has already turned out to be a more successful year than last year! You may ask be asking “how can that be we’re only 13 days in?” or better yet “this guy must have had a pretty terrible and unproductive year last year.”  Not the case at all; actually last year was a year of some major accomplishments, achievements, milestones, and learning experiences.  It was also a year filled with some major life changes and stressors, that left me mentally, physically and emotionally spent.  2013 was the first year I can recall saying to myself and hearing so many others say “I’m glad its over.” The statement is more figurative than literal of course because I have come to know the value of gratitude and the gift of staying in the present(that’s why its called a present ;)).  The ability to find joy in the journey has been a life changing process.  That being said, 2013 did not feel like much of a success.

So what made 2013 so difficult and this year so much more successful?  The major difference between this year (all 13 days of it) and last is that I’ve actually begun to define what success means to me.  If I can’t even envision what success means, looks, feels, and tastes like, how could I ever achieve it?  This has been a game changer and has allowed me to see the progress towards my own defined success.  It has also allowed me to learn, grow and stay energized through failures.  While I look back to see the my accomplishments over the past year I ask myself if that is really what success means to me?

The study of success in my life has been an ongoing process, as I’ve hit many of the milestones previously laid out but not formally scrutinized.  I’ve spent most of my career, both professional and personal, developing programs for the community and particularly at risk youth and families. In addition, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to speak, give workshops as well as training in many places around the country, over the past few years which has been both rewarding and humbling. I enjoy the human experience of providing hope where it seems hopeless, options to what appears optionless and voices to people who’ve felt voiceless.  This has been where I’ve drawn most of my success stories over the years and am very proud of them.

During this past year I was afforded many additional responsibilities and oversight in my work that temporarily brought me away from this passion.  At the same time I was going through a divorce and if there is anything that can drain your energy or view of success it could be a failed marriage.  It was an extremely difficult time but like many other times of adversity in my life, forced me to reevaluate, refocus, and rededicate myself.  The key to me was going through it without losing my passion and enthusiasm. Winston Churchill once said “Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.”  So that’s what I did.

I started looking at the legacy I want to leave and what needs to be defined.  It started with the self assessment and ended with an end of the year conversation with my good friend and a mentor, Jason Womack.  The conversation led to a simple question that I then posed to many people in my network. “What does success look like to you?”

What followed was extraordinary!  I received an overwhelming response from people all over the country giving their perspective and answers to the question.  There were some well defined and focused answers as well some people who were  admittedly befuddled.  Surprisingly, the responses of uncertainty came from some of the more influential and respected folks.  All of whom have acquired many of the trappings that society deems successful.  Money, homes, cars, businesses, status, etc. These very people reached out to me expressing the most inner conflict about the question.  They mentioned that these “things” weren’t what success felt like to them.  In fact the simple posing of the question had them questioning their purpose.

Some defined success as: achieving inner peace, self love, positively affecting the community, giving of yourself, and giving your children options, just to name a few.  What was interesting was that none were convinced that their ideal definition of success matched the commitment they made on a daily basis to achieve that success.  Furthermore, some admitted to putting minimal time and resources towards what they defined as success.  So why the disconnect between 1)what we think is success and 2) how much time on earth we spend doing things not correlated at all to achieving success? Because we rarely take the time (other than on New Years) to develop a daily practice of defining and working towards success.

So what does success mean to you? When I asked my 12 year old his answer was “Success is what you accomplish after years of hard work.” I was proud that my son connected hard work with success but realized something profound.  He at age 12, myself in 2013 and many of my accomplished friends are working hard to an undefined goal.  If we never define what success looks like in our life, then how will we ever achieve it?  Take some time to write down what success look, tastes, smells, and feels like to you.  Then ask yourself:

  • Is the way I’m living my life in tune with attaining my definition of success?
  •  If Success is being an active parent, then how much time are you spending with your children?
  • If Success means inner peace, how much time are you taking to get in tune with yourself and  spirituality?
  • If Success is helping people, how much of your time is taken only helping yourself?
  • If Success is a big promotion, then how much time are you taking to work harder and smarter?
  • If Success is writing a book, then how much time are you spending on research and writing?

Take time to think about this and ask are you being good to yourself or are you short circuiting your own success?

This is why my 2014 has already been such a success, because I’ve not only defined what it is but have done something everyday towards achieving it.  So take the time this year to define what success looks like to you, because nobody can make success look as good on you then you! Success does have a look, and it is up to you to tailor it as your own. Peace