Stefano Mini befuddled his family and countrymen and women by choosing to master eCommerce at a time when the internet wasn’t very prevalent in Italy. As with many success stories, this didn’t happen overnight, but within several years. Now Stefano has the freedom and flexibility he desires in his career.
Nothing feels better than when you are facing a challenge or trying to achieve something by taking action. But does taking any old action make a difference? Or does it have to be the right one? The answer is they are both right.
You may have of heard of a phenomenon called “analysis paralysis.” That is when you think through all of your actions so carefully that you scare yourself out of taking that action. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum where you act before you think and then your actions can actually have negative consequences and put you further away from your goal. There are so many benefits to being in action, however, there is such a thing as a wrong action, and if you are uncertain what the right action is, the best first action is to ask for help.
There is a right and a wrong way to ask for help. The wrong way is to obligate anyone to help you. Depending on the volume of help that you need, you may also use the wrong medium, and that is a more difficult thing to understand. Everyone has their own preferences about communication. Some people in the professional world would rather you not find them on Facebook to ask them for help. Keeping that in mind, you might be starting to see why there’s so much to consider and some people spend so much time in consideration that they do not act. Let me go back to the benefits of action.
When you act, you let the world know that you are serious about what you want. It is not always true, but most commonly people do not receive the help that they need and ask for because they have not inspired people to believe that they will follow through and make them look good. When you think about it, most of what we do all day, every day is to make ourselves look good, or make someone else look bad. Hopefully, we do not spend as much time doing the latter, but if you have been in a CYA corporate environment, you know that making other people look bad is sometimes how you survive. It is an awful existence, and nobody needs to spend their days that way, because they have options. However, these types of environments can do a lot to diminish your belief in better things.
That is when people get stuck, like my mom. That was one of the major reasons this line of work resonated so strongly with me. I get to help people renew their hope and get into companies that have more nurturing conditions where they can thrive. There is also the benefit of pride. There is so much that can happen in a job search that can make you feel bad. When you take action, you feel like you are doing something to make your situation better and that feeling can develop into greater confidence and self-worth. These are two things you need in order to convince an employer to hire you. However, when you take action and have high volumes with your results, it can actually have the opposite effect and make you feel worse.
There are five different categories of action that you can take that will move you toward greater opportunity. Any given day you can decide that you are up to tackle one of these kinds of activities, or you can do all five in one day and really feel accomplished. The key to this, just like anything, is balance – do not rely on any one kind of activity too heavily; they all need your attention and action.
You need to have systems in place to track your activities and you need to actually input those activities in order to see where you can make improvements and get better results.
Before you even ask for help, you need to understand who you are asking, what their experience and expertise is, and what kinds of things they have going on that you can provide value for. You may even be able to discern how this person prefers to be contacted based on what they say or share. If there are several options, pick the one with the least volume. Other things we can research include potential careers, positions, and companies. Find out what a day in the life of someone whose footsteps you want to follow in is like. This research does not have to be purely online, in fact, the more you get away from your computer, the better. Head to the library and read a biography. Attend a professional organizations event and come with questions.
Asking questions is a deceivingly simple action, but actually doubles as massive action, which is the next type of action.
This could really be any action that requires you to have courage and be bold. While it is recommended that you make research the step before this action to make sure that your action is as strategic and effective as possible, this is something that you want to do at least weekly. For most people this means picking up the phone. The action should scare you and excite you at the same time. Not only is it intended to help you make quantum leaps toward your intended goal, but it is also intended to expand your comfort zone and test yourself. If the phone just seems way too scary, then pick an action that isn’t as scary and build up to the phone. For instance, send someone a direct message through social media. I would advise against sending an email, even if it is something that you find to be uncomfortable, simply because it is such a non-urgent form of communication, and some people like short emails while others want you to tell a compelling story. It is too easy to spend a lot of time crafting an email, get no response, and make that mean that you are not worthy of a response. If the phone is easy for you, do something in person, or whereas you might feel comfortable reaching out to a director or VP, reach out to a C-level executive.
Before you take action, set your intention. Know and visualize clearly the outcome that you want. Determine that it will happen. If you need to, remind yourself of all of the great value that you have the potential to offer.
It may help you to practice what you were going to say, and you can also over-practice what you were going to say. It does not really matter what words you use as much as it matters where are you are coming from when you speak. When you come from a place of high confidence and intention for the highest good, the right words tend to naturally follow, and they flow with powerful heart-felt inspiration that leads people to know you are serious and want to take action on your behalf.
Do something to help someone in your network without the expectation that it will be returned. This could be making an introduction for someone else, sharing a resource, sending relevant news or articles, or letting people know about an event. It could also be a random act of kindness. Volunteering is absolutely one of the best ways to satisfy this action. You may think that your volunteering has to have something to do with your profession, but, in fact it does not. However, I will say that the better volunteering opportunities are the ones that enable you to interact with people and work on a team. Perhaps you can even be the one that organizes a community event. If you do this, then your massive action can actually be combined by having a conversation with someone there about your goal. Just make sure that the conversation is actually satisfying that action- what you do for others is the number one agenda.
Take Care of You
Some may argue that YOU should come before nurturing your network, just as they teach you on the airplane to put the mask on yourself before you help other people. If that resonates as true for you, then do that. I did not put this item last because it is the least important. I simply put it last because I’m planning your week, most people use Friday as a day for personal things, and if you are doing one thing per day, Thursday would be the better day to nurture your network. However, it is worth noting that you can evaluate your own cycles of high and low energy to determine when you do different types of action. For instance, massive action requires high energy. Maybe you have the highest energy on Friday. I have actually had more personal success reaching and engaging VIPs on Fridays.
Taking care of yourself can look like doing yoga, watching your favorite show, having tea or a drink with a friend, taking a nap, playing an instrument, coloring, seeing a concert, calling your best friend far away… I think you get it. It could really be anything that makes you feel alive.
We used to recommend number five as a reward, but I learned from Gretchen Rubin that rewards are more effective than reinforcing positive habits when they are tied to the goal itself. So, if you seek to reward yourself for a week of great action, perhaps you can reward yourself with a nice pair of dress shoes for interviews, or invest in a personal brand touch up with us. You could reward yourself by getting a ticket to a high profile event or conference. There are things you can do that cost no money at all. A great way to come up with this type of reward is to think about what your ideal job could offer to your life, and sample that in some way. For instance, if what you are aspiring to have by landing a new job is more time with your kids, reward yourself by going on an adventure or playing a game with your kids. This type of reinforcement will produce good feeling hormones in your body and train your brain to condition you for even more action. In other words, implementing a reward system will help you form better habits.
It is unfortunate that so many people do not reach out for help from someone like me because they know that they have been making very strong efforts, so they conclude that I do not have the results that they want, or there are external conditions that they cannot control. Unfortunately, they are destined to stay stuck. The ones who actually do change their situations are the ones that recognize that they need to do something differently; I learned specifically what the most effective different things to do are. If you are unsure, ask. You can even ask me.
If you want to know if you have been doing something wrong, take action and have a free consultation with me.
Are the people you deem as successful really free?
The answer may surprise you.
Freedom, by definition, means unrestrained, able to do as one chooses.
Some of the most successful people are severely accountable to many people, and while they may have power to make decisions, they have to make them under heavy constraints with serious consequences.
Success, as in career achievement, does not equal happiness.
Do you look at other people and think they have it easier than you? Do you resent them, even just a little bit?
Not everyone strives for success. Few people strive for a simple life – just enough to get by. Are they happier? Not always. Do they have fewer problems? Not necessarily.
So if you aren’t striving for success, but you aren’t striving for simplicity, are you striving for balance? Is it working? Are you happy?
While happiness and striving are contradictory forces, freedom is elusive to most of us. Some may enjoy certain kinds of freedom, such as the ability to work from anywhere, or to be able to afford travelling to exotic places, but still are on some level enslaved by the need to please others, to be accepted, to be understood, or to be loved, even.
Before you reject this, think about what you learned at a young age about what it took to be loved and accepted.
Many people spend their lives pursuing achievement because at some level they feel that it is what they need to do to feel like they are worthy of love. Many others gave up a long time ago and settled for that which they felt was worthy. Some were taught that successful people were unethical, and therefore being successful was undesirable.
Are you resisting success, even though it is what you “want?” You’ve heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.”
One of my Facebook friends who recently graduated law school shared that one of her professors taught her a theory that all millionaires – every single one on the planet – at some time took advantage of someone else, and that is how they were able to become millionaires.
“No one ever *earned* a million dollars… Someone, somewhere was taken advantage of. Someone, somewhere lost in order for the millionaire to gain.”
Wow! This post caused much debate on both sides, and revealed how differently we can think about financial success, corporate success, and what is fair, especially when it comes to compensation. What did I think? I thought the poster was sure to never become a millionaire with that belief, or if she did she would feel such shame and guilt that she could not enjoy it, though I hope she proves me very wrong and, therefore, proves the theory wrong and obliterates the belief that wealth equals greed for all who hold that as truth.
Last week, I challenged you to vividly visualize the career circumstances that you consider to be ideal. This week, I want you to dig deep into your feelings to see if, upon achieving this ideal future, you will be free from experiencing anything negative that could keep these circumstances from really making you happy.
It may be easy to say, “Of course, I’ll be happy!” However, if you need circumstances to change in order to be happy, you are not really free. You are enslaved to those circumstances. You would be dependent on those circumstances to make you happy.
You may also notice that there are resistant thoughts – the dissonance between your current world and that future world is too extreme, and, therefore the feat is overwhelming; you would be resented by your family/friends/neighbors/community; you would become someone you don’t like; you will contradict things that you have said and believed.
These are real obstacles to your ideal vision. You will ultimately find at some point the efforts to achieve your ideal future will cease, and you will lose momentum because these thoughts are essentially inertia.
Exercise your freedom by choosing to make decisions without the restrictions of these beliefs.
I sit astounded at how many made the ultimate sacrifice. God bless those who were willing to leave their loved ones, put themselves in hell on earth, and give their life to secure a safe, prosperous life of freedom for future generations.
My Uncle Barry fought in D-Day, and made it home to receive the Purple Heart. My husband’s father was shot guarding the US Embassy in Germany. Thankfully, he survived to meet my oldest daughter. But my husband’s grandfather died in WWII when his mom was just four. I am eternally grateful for the choices we are afforded because of this sacrifice, but also saddened that my mother-in-law had to spend time in an orphanage when her mother could not support her three kids after her husband was killed.
Today I honor not only the men and women who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend my freedom, I also honor the families who sacrificed for them and suffered for this cause.
A memorial to my husband’s grandfather – click for a larger size
I think about the comforts we are afforded because of their sacrifices, and though I cannot say we all take them for granted, too many stay stuck or stifled, unwilling to risk that comfort, even in small ways, to pursue their truth, their passion, and their freedom.
While the majority of us recognize that our basic needs are met every day – food, shelter, clothes, we often have much more than we need to survive, and yet not enough in our lives to feel fulfilled and happy.
I aim to teach my kids not to succumb to what is immediately gratifying when what they really want for their lives requires a little effort, time, and patience. It seems like such a small thing compared to putting your life on the line, but it is because of their sacrifices that we have much smaller sacrifices to make in order to live a full life.
What are you willing to give up to improve not only your life, but also the lives of future generations?
If you subscribe to enough newsletters by business coaches or perform enough Google searches on residual income, you will be bombarded by gurus selling the idea of products promising that financial freedom can be yours.
You know the ones…
“For 3 easy payments of $997, you, too, can achieve financial freedom.”
What an uninspired vision.
Do not get me wrong. I would love to be at the point in my life where an income was optional. Nevertheless, does financial freedom equal freedom?
The idea of being financially free sounds so ethereal, so evasive, like such a pipedream, but I’ve found that for every appealing fantasy, there are an equal amount of reservations of living with unlimited income:
Would friends and family presume you were somehow different and “too good” now?
How many people would come out of the woodwork with their hand out?
What kinds of new family drama might ensue because of this windfall?
Would it turn you into a miserable recluse afraid to trust anyone?
What if you could not walk the streets without feeling like a target for pickpockets or even more unsavory characters?
What if the success you achieve just adds to the pressure of living up to expectations you cannot possibly uphold?
Does that sound like freedom to you? Even the thoughts themselves serve as shackles.
If we are ever able to get our imaginations to stretch far enough to imagine ourselves without financial worry, a whole new set of worries tend to creep into our thoughts.
But what if we were free from those fears? What if, no matter what our current financial situation was, we felt secure in our faith that all would be taken care of?
I honestly do not know that many people who possess and practice that level of faith, but let me be crystal clear – surrendering your fate to a higher power is still not freedom.
I don’t mean to say that you can sit back, relax, do nothing, and great things will come to you. As a matter of fact, I mean the opposite.
I have shared with you before how the word “can’t” is forbidden in my house. Not only is it forbidden, but it’s not even acknowledged as a thing: “There is no ‘can’t.’ Only ‘I don’t know how yet. ‘”
The concept of freedom that I want you to entertain and try is one in which anything you could want to do is possible – a world without limits. Limits have a tendency to stop us before we even reach them. Or, we let other people who have not even tried to reach them tell us that they are there and we take their word for it. That is certainly not freedom.
I did not write this article to define freedom for you; I wrote it because I want to encourage you to reevaluate your own definition of freedom and furthermore, assess how much effort you have really made to achieve it.
Do not give up on freedom. Do not assume it is not possible for you. Do not decide that there is nothing really all that fantastic about it, or you know right away that you have not discovered an empowering vision of freedom, and therefore it is not really freedom at all.
Here is my empowering vision of freedom:
I wake up every day certain about how I can be my highest self and what actions I can take to fulfill my highest purpose. I let my intuition guide me and trust unwaveringly that as long as I follow it, everything will turn out exactly as it should. I speak from a place of love, compassion and acceptance. Each moment is infused with joy and fun. I expect and therefore notice when something or someone has been put in my path to help me, and I openly receive this assistance. I go to bed each night knowing, with great peace, that I have done everything that was in my power to do, and tomorrow I will be even better.
As much as I complain about the amount of incoming e-mail, junk and relevant, some times I come across complete gems. I received, by way of a marketing guru’s e-mail list, free tuition to a seminar that promised to reset my financial thermostat, which was a very intriguing concept. I had read books on the psychology of money (check out Crazy About Money, by Dr. Maggie Baker). A financial thermostat is a concept to explain why few people accumulate ridiculous wealth and, even if they lose it (eh-huh, Trump), can easily rebuild it while most others struggle to break through income barriers. It also explains why some lottery winners lose their fortunes. Upon viewing the video, I made a reservation. Then I had to figure out how I was going to get there – who was going to watch my kids, since it was my husband’s crazy-busy work season and swim season, where I was going to stay in Baltimore (the closest and easiest location), and even how I was going to pay for the trip, since it was Christmas–time. It’s funny how once you decide to do something, some things just fall into place. I had no problems figuring any of this out.
As easy as it was to make the weekend happen, I had no traffic getting down to Baltimore on a Friday afternoon, I arrived early at my hotel, had no problems checking in or parking, and found out that the convention center was just on the other side of the parking garage. Then I find an Ale House right across the street from the Convention Center (Pratt Street Ale House), AND they had a homebrewed New Zealand Black Ale. I digress…
I was just as eager and anxious to find out if and how this weekend-long financial freedom seminar was going to deliver as I was to leave my babies for my first weekend away.
There were about 200 people, and apparently that is a light crowd, as they have not done this yet in Baltimore. As the weekend progressed, I realized that there were people there who were hoping to overcome tremendous adversity and there were people there who had already achieved millionaire status through the teachings of T. Harv Eker and wanted to get to the next level.
The education was about more than just being a wealthier person. It was about being a more genuine, more generous, more self-actualized person. It was about breakthroughs.
break·through noun, often attributive ˈbrāk-ˌthrü
Definition of BREAKTHROUGH
1: an offensive thrust that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line in warfare
2: an act or instance of breaking through an obstacle <a breakthrough agreement>
a : a sudden advance especially in knowledge or technique <a medical breakthrough>
b : a person’s first notable success <a breakthrough novel>
Though I do believe that financial freedom is everyone’s to achieve, I recognize that it takes a person of certain qualities to go out and get it. It takes open-mindedness, a sense of hope, self-worth, coachability, drive, and commitment. Of those qualities, coachability is the most critical, because with coachability, anyone can acquire the rest of the qualities, for they reside within all of us. In many of the personal and professional development workshops I have attended, I have seen closed minds open, hope restored where it was lost, unworthiness shattered, drive discovered and commitments made all because a coach had the keys to unlock a spirit that had shut down, perhaps even long ago. The MMI provided this for those present and participating.
Even though the “apocalypse” could have been approaching, no one there was counting on it. For a moment I wondered if the end of the world as we know it could really be a new beginning and, if everyone could attend a weekend like this, what a wonderful world it could be. I decided to write a couple of blogs on that very idea.
This blog, my first educational review blog as promised in my newsletter, was much more important to do first, however, because there are a few MMIs coming up and if anyone reading this wants what the workshop has to offer, the time to sign up is NOW. When my financial thermostat was turned way up, I immediately wanted everyone to experience financial breakthrough. I signed up as an Ambassador for the program and can offer you complimentary tuition (valued at $795!)
All you have to do is sign up and show up (and whatever planning that requires.)
As far as the upcoming blogs, there are really two things to consider, and therefore two blogs will be written: 1) What would the world be like if no one HAD to work – what would people choose to do, contribute, learn, be? And 2) What would the world be like if everyone effectively applied the best practices of career transition and management?
Stay tuned and keep sharing!
I will look forward to hearing about your new financial future.
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