Categories
Grow

Musings At The End Of A Tough Day

Every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Today was a challenging day.

Yesterday was a great day. Life in balance, I suppose.

Even knowing that I only need to endure for a season (or two), doesn't make the challenge any more pleasant. I will focus on the good.

I am grateful to have a cat stretched across the arm of my sofa as I type.

I am grateful that one year ago my parents agreed to allow a large, stray yellow Lab to stick around.

We named him Shine.  My birthday present. He is just like Bama.

I am grateful for a medium-sized red haired tornado survivor and scamp dog, Penny. She's such a sweet little rat.

I miss Penny and Shine right now. They've been at the farm for several months, because I haven't had the time to care for them this fall. Selling my time for dollars. For a season.

I am grateful for my honeybees and all they've shown me this year. And the land where I can provide shelter and sustenance for them.

I am grateful that I chose to apply for The Instigator Experience and was accepted and chose myself to attend. My birthday present to myself this year.

I'm about to instigate something big. Get ready. I am grateful for the future I'm about to create.

I am grateful for the pumpkin pie I made last night from pumpkin I grew myself. And the delicious, healthy organic milk from Working Cows Dairy, where cows get to be cows, not industrial output devices.

I am grateful for a little black cat I rescued and named Friend.

I am grateful for Dali, another rescued cat—he's the best cat ever. And Nicholas, the dog that came on Christmas Eve.

I am grateful to have had a grandmother who instilled in me a deep love for nature and animals. She would have celebrated her 100th birthday this week, but she left us in 2003. I am grateful for my other grandmother–probably the wisest person I've ever known. She died in 1982 at the age of 60, taken by the scourge of cancer.

I am grateful for wonderful neighbors and a little house that I love.

I am grateful for my family.

I am grateful for a vision and the gifts to make that vision a reality.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be the change I want to see.

Will you join me?

 

Categories
Grow

Life Is Not A Spectator Sport

I used to be a hard-core college football fan. I would spend hours each week, reading detailed analyses of games, forecasts, recruiting. And then I spent the better part of one day each week watching games, sometimes in person, sometimes on TV.

I also enjoyed watching other sports. Winter snow skiing. Tennis. Figure Skating. Baseball. Sometimes I watched pro football—mainly the Packers, Patriots or Buffalo, if they were playing in the snow.

But college football was my big time-sink.

By 1994, I knew that writing and media content creation is a big part of who I am. I was getting up at 4 or 5 a.m. to work on a screenplay and starting to explore freelance writing, while continuing to practice law. But it was slow-going. I wanted faster progress. I felt like time was getting away from me.

One Sunday afternoon, after spending the entire day reading every article in two newspapers dissecting the previous day's college football games and watching recap shows on ESPN, I had a lightbulb moment.

I was not living life. I was reading about someone else's.

And so I stopped, cold-turkey.

I've never read another sports news story since then. Nothing. Nada. Even though my beloved Crimson Tide has experienced the best of times and and the worst of times in the nearly 20 years since then, I've never read about a game, a crisis, or a championship. I've seen the headlines and magazine cover photos, but I've never read the stories.

Around that same time I also stopped reading People, US Weekly and similar magazines.

The less media I consumed, the more I could create. And read. And do.

I finished my screenplay and sold a few freelance stories. I started a novel.

I ran every day. Went out to dinner with friends. Traveled more. Attended plays, in person, not mediated by a screen.

When the internet became a pervasive source for news and frivolity (as opposed to the static web pages of the mid 90s), I was tempted occasionally by the celebrity gossip stories that would appear with a title, a photo and a teaser. But I've mostly never clicked. Maybe 20 times in 10 years.

During those years, I spent time in forums, interacting with people and making new friends. I taught myself HTML and learned to build websites and published the content I created. I had a good run as a freelance writer, for a while.

For 3 years I had a cool website with a two main sections: One devoted to the Go-Go's and one devoted to The Avengers and Diana Rigg. You can see it via the Internet archive: tsmmedia.com. Some of it was more curated and celebrity-focused than I would have liked, but I was creating, rather than consuming. I didn't call it a blog because that term was not as ubiquitous as today. But I updated it my site nearly every day with photos, quotes and news that I found or that friends shared with me. I used iMovie to create Quicktime videos which I posted on my website. This was before YouTube.

To economize in the mid-2000s, I went without cable TV for a year or so. That broke me from network sitcoms and dramas. When I got TV again, I just watched news, documentaries and stuff like Food Network.

Then I moved into a neighborhood where DirectTV wasn't an option and I couldn't get Comcast to show up for an appointment, so I just went without TV for another year. And I discovered that I was much less anxious about the state of the economy in than I had been when I was constantly watching cable news.

A few years ago, I moved again and returned to DirecTV. I discovered that I no longer cared much anymore about watching TV. I tried. Kept the service going for 2 years. But it mostly served as background noise.

I'd filled the years without TV by reading and writing and running and hiking and growing things and cooking.

And getting reacquainted with myself.

In the years without TV, my mental clarity started to return and I really honed in on where I wanted to go with my life. I found that mindless television, even in the background, was a way to escape from my life, not design and live it.

Before I gave up cable TV the second time, I'd already stopped watching televised sports. That happened as a result of the transition from college sports and college sports media as something reasonably related to athletics to an industry driven mainly by ratings hype and profit opportunities. Nothing wrong with quality and profit, but today televised college sports is more of a Disney World spectacle or reality TV sideshow. I love the game and the strategy.

I prefer reality, not reality TV.

[Tweet “Choose reality, not reality TV.”]

Just over a year ago, I canceled DirecTV again. I've never missed it. I'd barely watched any TV in the previous year. So-called “news” on cable TV had turned into reality-TV with a political spin.

In the past few years without regular cable TV, I've reignited my passion for writing. I've explored my life's vision and purpose and charted the common themes.

Media is one of those common themes and media has always been a huge part of my life, but as a creator and engager, not a consumer.

I still watch movies, documentaries, YouTube. But not passively. Not to escape or daydream.

 I consume with purpose: I watch to learn, to be inspired, to improve a skill, to laugh.

Jackie Robinson once said:

Life is not a spectator sport.

Are you in the game?

Or just watching?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below. Let's start a conversation about rising about a mere consumer culture into action and doing.

[Tweet “Life is not a spectator sport.”]

Categories
Grow

The Patience Discipline

Patience has never been my strong suit.

About 8 or 9 years ago, I reached a point where I began to realize that my lack of patience was not a virtue. Furthermore, I'd begun to realize that I was approaching every situation based on my needs, my wants.

In other words, I had been making most everything all about me.

Around that time I was reading The Rule of St. Benedict and similar books, so maybe my realization was triggered by St. Benedict's philosophy and teachings.

Or it may have been due to a certain dog and cat that had recently come into my life. They had already changed my outlook in ways I'd never anticipated.

In any event, I distinctly remember standing in one of those endless lines at Walmart—not a store that I enjoy shopping but the town I lived in at the time had limited shopping choice and so a weekly trip to Walmart was a necessity.

It was taking forever. One of those times when you're in line with a check-writer and someone else who needs a sale override because some item didn't ring up at the anticipated price and then another someone else who held up the line because we had to wait on a friend to come back with one last item. Stuff like that. Those situations happened so often at this particular store that once I'd put my items up and left without my purchase, just on principle.

But this time, I suddenly realized that my impatience was saying a whole lot more about me than about the shortcomings of these others who were not performing according my wishes.

Something prompted me to ask a silent blessing on the person in front of me who was “inconveniencing” me.

And so I did.

And in that act of asking that this stranger receive a blessing, the whole situation changed. I changed.

Love is patient.

And so began my discipline of seeking a blessing for each person or situation that triggered impatience or annoyed me in some way.

This discipline brought me into the moment and forced an awareness and acceptance that my response was the issue, not the other person's “perceived” shortcoming.

Turns out it WAS all about me, but not in a good way.

At first, I was asking for a lot of blessings on other people. But my ability and willingness to extend patience increased rapidly. I found that I no longer felt annoyed at others when the situation wasn't working out according to my expectations.

I'm still not perfectly patient, and I abhor wasting valuable time. But now, even when I'm in a time-sink meeting I'll often stop and force myself to ask a blessing on the meeting perpetrator. And that's usually enough to allow me to turn my mental energy toward something useful or meditative, even as I sit in the meeting.

I've made immense progress and right effort is what it's all about. What's cool is that I've found that I'm rarely losing my patience with others. So now I try to remember to silently ask a blessing on some other person I encounter, at least once day.

We're all in this together.

And it starts with love.

[Tweet “We are all in this together. And we must start with love.”]

 

 

Categories
Inspire

Happy Life, Part 1

Earlier this year I began writing the Happy Life Manifesto. I intended to turn it into a Kindle book. Probably still will. But I feel like sharing a portion of it here, now.

So the rest of this post is from the original unedited, first draft of the intro to my manuscript for the Happy Life Manifesto, written in February 2013:

Happiness is a feeling of satisfaction, contentment and joy that comes from our WHOLE life, a life in which all the important pieces are integrated. If one piece of our life is out of balance for more than a brief period of time our life starts to disintegrate.

Imagine a pitcher of water. If the pitcher starts to crack, even a hairline crack leads to seepage.

Imagine a ball that's filled with water. If hairline crack or pinpoint puncture appears, the water will start to seep out. Eventually, the ball will collapse.

Imagine a balloon that's fully inflated. A tiny pinprick lets the air leak out.

That's disintegration.

We need to fill our lives, our pitchers, with certain things. These things are like links in a chain. But they are iterative and connected. They do not exist in chronological order. The absence of any one will ultimately lead to disintegration.

We need to do work that matters: Industry/Vocation/Calling

We need Community/Relationships/Family

We need a spiritiual connection, for me Christ.

We need health, which is built on three pillars:

Real Food

Movement (Exercise)

Rest

We need nature.

Recreation. Re-creation. Creation. See: nature.

Growth: No growth means atrophy. We much be challenged. If we stop learning, growing we will die.

Example: If our cells stop reproducing we will die physically.

Example: If our brains are no longer challenged, the cells shrivel and we lose mental faculties.

Example: If we don't work our physical body, our muscles atrophy and we die.

We are either growing or we are dying.

We need to be challenged. This is discovery + action.

Calling: Purpose

Connection: Spiritual & Relationships

Commitment: Community

Change: Growth

Discover. Inspire. Grow. Shine.

 

Are you with me? I hope so. I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share your notions of happiness and what makes a happy life.

 

Categories
Marketing

Branding & The Ben Franklin Follies: Your Path to Health, Wealth & Wisdom

Health, wealth and wisdom. I see these three words as the triad that signifies both the philosophy for, and evidence of, a successful, happy and integrated life.

For some people—starting with me—the words “health, wealth and wisdom” conjure up the image of Benjamin Franklin publishing proverbs of common-sense wisdom in Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Some folks (many?) probably don’t make the connection between Ben Franklin and health, wealth and wisdom.

The Ben Franklin Follies: Does this work as a brand concept?

I’ve spent way too much time over the past year trying to decide whether to scrap “The Ben Franklin Follies” as a way to help brand my holistic, integrative philosophy about what makes a life a good life. But I’m such a fan of Ben’s common-sense pragmatic wisdom that I can’t give it up yet.

A part of me wonders whether it does more harm than good to use Ben Franklin to help brand a website devoted to an integrated life philosophy. What do you think?

Your opinion matters a lot to me right now, as I prepare to relaunch The Ben Franklin Follies with a mission to help others along the path to health, wealth and wisdom.

Why even consider Ben Franklin as relevant?

It’s not just Ben Franklin’s wisdom that attracts me, but his commitment to curiosity, exploration, discovery and ideas. He was a foodie, a journalist and writer, a thinker, a reader, a networker and a conversationalist. A multipotentialite. A Renaissance person.

Ben Franklin was also a strategic branding genius.

Two examples, among many:

When he started his printing business, Franklin made it a point to walk to work early and go home late, as a way to signify industriousness to others.

When he first visited France,  Franklin wore the fur cap with which he’s famously associated as a way to endear himself to the French people. His branding strategy worked.

When I first started a blog using the name The Ben Franklin Follies, I approached it as my playground to explore whatever I found interesting, in the same way that Ben Franklin chose not to be limited to a single profession or hobby or pursuit. But when I decided a few years ago to start thinking of my blog as business, I realized I needed to find a way to narrow the scope of topics.

Niching Down

Ultimately, because I can’t limit myself to the serial pursuit of singular ideas, I decided to set up separate and distinctive websites for my various interests.

Separate websites means I can be more helpful, focused, and useful in service to specific communities.  I’ve been slowly creating the spokes that connect back to me–my personal “brand”–which is this website.

Health Wealth & Wisdom As  One Niche

Although some people would these are three disparate topics, I don’t think so. In my philosophy they are integrated. I think Ben Franklin would agree.

Although a person can have a lot of money and a “high net worth” in an accounting sense without being physically healthy, that person won’t truly be wealthy without meaningful relationships and a well-rounded life in service to others.

What is health? Does it mean simply the absence of disease? Is it about physical fitness? If a person has a physical disability does that mean he or she doesn’t have health?

I think health is bigger and broader than physical fitness. Consider the professional athlete who may be at the pinnacle of “fitness” as defined by his or her sport and yet suffer from the consequences of traumatic brain injury or depression when the career ends.

Wisdom comes from experience coupled with learning and growth. We aren’t born wise. More than a few fully-grown adults lack wisdom. Yet some young adults display wisdom far beyond their years.

As I see it, when we’re fully integrated, health wealth and wisdom can be represented by concentric circles. Take a look at the logo icon I had designed for The Ben Franklin Follies. Three concentric circles that signify a happy and integrated life.

Logo for The Ben Franklin Follies

In reality, we usually don’t have 100% overlap, it’s more like a Venn diagram. But that’s OK. Because where health, wealth and wisdom exist simultaneously we find happiness.

So The Ben Franklin Follies  mission is to help you on your path to health, wealth and wisdom and happiness.

But I can only do that if there’s a connection.

Does this make sense?

Does the Ben Franklin association work for you? Does it trigger something else in your mind? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below.

 

A variation of this post can be found at The Ben Franklin Follies.

 

Categories
Grow Inspire

On Lemons, Instinct & Vision

It's been slightly less than 4 years since I was blind-sided. It knocked me for a loop. But just for a night.

I cried, called my brother, and then vented to a friend. And then picked myself up, dusted myself off, and started taking steps to take my life “to the next level.”

Among other action items that next day, I created my first WordPress blog. It wasn't my first website, but it did mark my first meaningful public web presence outside of YouTube since 2003. And that one step of delving into WordPress has led to many, many more little steps along the path.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

The trampoline effect took longer after I stared into the abyss after quitting what was supposed to be my dream job as a lawyer. Once I had the bar exam behind me, I faced the reality of figuring out what was next. I found a job. Two actually.

During those months after leaving that dream job, I fell into a state of emotional despair. I was employed, but living with my parents, making half the salary of the job I'd just quit.

Depression, albeit functional. Fast forward. I got better. The middle parts of all that = story for another day.

I ended up having a successful run as a lawyer, became a shareholder in my law firm and then spent a few years making a decent income as a freelance writer while I was graduate student.

Trust Your Instinct

Just over 5 years ago my instinct told me something was rotten in Denmark. [H/T: W. Shakespeare. Speaking metaphorically, of course, I love Denmark.]

My instinct was SO right.

See above re: Blind-sided.

Then again, maybe it's not fair to call it blind-sided if your instinct gives you advance notice that something is rotten in Denmark.

On the other hand, when one has never before personally encountered Machiavelli, one tends to discount the stench of guile. Even when it keeps reappearing.

When Life Gives You Lemons ….. Part XVIIII

XVIII is just hyperbole. I've had lots of lemons and also a lot of blessings in my life. Not complaining.

The rottenness from “Denmark” is one of those blessings. It's been a force driving me forward to keep growing, keep learning new skills and dreaming new dreams.

Occasionally, when the stench is particularly strong, I think of the Johnny Cash classic, “A Boy Named Sue.”

Today, it was a bit smelly.

Today, I'm again reminded I'm thankful for the circumstances that put “gravel in my gut and spit in my eye.”

Never Let Go of Your Vision

And take some action, every day, to make your vision a reality.

How do you handle unexpected setbacks? Any tips?

 

 

Categories
Health Inspire

Respect Yourself? Respect Your Health

Your health is your greatest asset,  second only to your reputation.

So why do so many choose to disrespect themselves by disregarding their health?

After years of grappling with this question, I've finally decided that it's lack of awareness and understanding, not lack of willpower or commitment.

For the most part, the pinnacle of the commoditized modern lifestyle is maximum convenience and short-term gratification and marketers know how to capitalize on that.

As a result, all of us who live in modern Western, industrialized communities have been sold the bill of goods that says packaged, manufactured convenience “foods” are just as nutritious as whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, meat, poultry and dairy products.

We've also been brainwashed into believing that sitting beats standing and riding beats walking.

The reality is that convenience is actually killing “us.” As in the royal we. Some of us still prefer the “inconvenience” of preparing real, whole foods at home and moving rather than sitting.

This post isn't meant to be judgmental or condescending. The reality is that most people do not realize the effect that food has on physical and mental well-being. Poor quality food, low in real nutrients, will rapidly affect mental concentration, blood sugar, triglyceride levels and trigger inflammation.

If our brain doesn't receive proper nutrients, including adequate amounts of the right kinds of fats (like Omega 3 fatty acids) it can't function properly. What you eat, or don't eat, can lead to depression, anxiety, lack of focus (a/k/a attention deficit disorder).

On a longer term basis, the food you eat will play a key role in whether or not you develop diabetes, thyroid disorders, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or some other dementia. Diet has been directly implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases.

On the other hand, food is one of the three keys to great health. If you choose the right foods you will feel better on a day-to-day basis, have more energy and reduce the possibility of developing chronic diseases, autoimmune diseases or succumbing to the ravages of environmentally-triggered illnesses like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and cancer.

In my own life, I've experienced a remarkable run of great health and energy in the 10 years since I gave up fast food and vastly decreased  my intake of manufactured food-like substances.  I can't prove that not eating industrial food has kept me well, but I can show a definitel correlation, in my experience, in what I eat, how much I sleep, and my ability to fend off the colds and other annoying minor illnesses that others seem to deal with on a regular basis.

The relationship between food and health is a topic I'll be exploring in-depth over at The Ben Franklin Follies: Your Path to Health, Wealth and Wisdom as that site gets re-launched in early December.

In the meantime, I hope this post will inspire you to consider what you eat and the impact it has, or will eventually have, on your health. Just because it's sold in the grocery store doesn't mean it's good for us to eat.

Have you experienced health issues related to food? I'd love to hear your success stories or challenges related to food and health. Leave me a comment below and let's start a conversation.

Categories
Health

Sleep Is Your Secret Weapon

Did you know that sleep is one of the pillars of health and personal productivity?

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Poor Richard's Almanack, courtesy of Benjamin Franklin

If you know anything about me, you probably know that Benjamin Franklin is my hero.

If you know me fairly well, you also know that I'm a big believer in the power of sleep. My family has a running joke about my “early to bed” habits as resembling that of an elderly rural neighbor who was always in bed (asleep) just after dark.

I'm not quite that bad, but I'm almost always asleep by 10 p.m., at least if I have to be up around 6. If I stay up past 10, I need to move my wake-up time forward accordingly.

I've learned, through trial and error and positive reinforcement that I feel better and am more efficient and productive when I sleep well.

Recent Research Confirms The Health Benefits of Sleep

The BBC recently published the results of a study that found, among other things:

What they discovered is that when the volunteers cut back from seven-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours' sleep a night, genes that are associated with processes like inflammation, immune response and response to stress became more active. The team also saw increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. The reverse happened when the volunteers added an hour of sleep.

 

Similarly, The New York Times reported the results of several studies on sleep deprivation in this post: Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain. Studies found that less-than-sufficient sleep led to carbohydrate cravings and changed the biology of fat cells.

I've had personal experience confirming the research findings, with my own n=1.

Like most college students, I stayed up late socializing, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

But unlike most college students, I didn't pull all-nighters to study. I I knew that if I would perform better on a test with plenty of sleep and little study, versus studying all night and showing up for a test. I tested this hypothesis multiple times  in undergrad and law school and never found a reason to reject it. I did better on tests if I just went to bed without studying than I did if I tried to stay up late “cramming” for a test.

As a working professional, I know that the nights I don't get adequate sleep are followed by days where my productivity wanes.

I might occasionally fake my way through a reasonably productive workday after night of tossing-and-turning or some event that kept me up late. But faking usually requires lots of caffeine.

A few sleep-deprived nights in a row almost inevitably lead to a craving for something sweet in the afternoon.

In short, I almost never crave junk food or candy bars unless I haven't been sleeping well. But when I don't sleep well, I find that I'm more likely to want something sweet-and-fatty and less willing to resist the temptation of a muffin to go with the coffee that I need to fuel me through the workday.

My willpower has a direct correlation with quality and quantity of sleep.

On the positive side, if I sleep well, I can handle pretty much anything life throws in my way. But if I haven't slept well, I will be, as my mother puts it, “fractious.” [No idea how to spell that word. It's my Mom's word.] I think she means temperamental.

The Take-Away: Sleep Matters

One of the fastest ways to feel better, improve your overall health, reduce your risk of auto-immune and other chronic illnesses, and lessen the risk of weight gain is to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night.

In addition to the health benefits, you'll also increase your efficiency and productivity each day. In short, you'll do more in fewer hours and maybe even free up time to pursue new interests.

So why aren't you sleeping already?

The Ben Franklin Follies

Sleep is one of the topics I'll be looking at in greater depth over at The Ben Franklin Follies. We'll have interviews with sleep-research experts and others who've studied the relationship between sleep, health, well-being and personal productivity and offer tips on how to boost the quality of your sleep and ensure you're getting adequate sleep each night.

Previews of the new season of The Ben Franklin Follies will start during Thanksgiving week. I hope you'll join us there on your path to health, wealth and wisdom.

Are you a fan of sleep? Do you struggle to get enough sleep each night? I'd love to hear your thoughts on sleep and how you feel when you get enough sleep vs. when you're sleep deprived.

Categories
Grow

(Re) Discover Before You Reinvent

Reinvention. That's the hot buzzword right now.

Reinvent yourself. Reinvent your career. Reinvent your business.

Once upon a time it was enough simply to love ourselves. Well, we still need to love and respect ourselves, but to have a successful career or thriving business we must be prepared to do more.

The reality is that to succeed today, outside our homes and families, we must constantly evolve and adapt. And that means some degree of reinvention.

The Status Quo Is No Longer Enough

Under the best of circumstances, a failure to adapt through reinvention will lead to running-in-place and, ultimately, that gets you the destination known as irrelevancy, obscurity, obsolescence. Also known as the fast track to career or business failure.

But here’s the thing: Too often we pursue reinvention by latching on to trends as if we were filling our plates from a smörgåsbord.

I believe that we need to spend some time in self-(re)discovery before we get busy with reinvention.

Maybe you have a faint memory of some person you once aspired to become and it’s time to rediscover and reconnect with that person and those dreams.

Maybe you’ve never quite captured the essence of your purpose and have experienced years of floundering. If so, it’s time to get to busy finding your why.

The takeaway: You can’t successfully reinvent yourself if you don’t know your why.

How do I know this? Been there. Experienced it several times.

I’ve been through the process of reinvention more than once. And I finally came to realize that reinvention to simply fit into a niche does not lead to happiness. Just because I’m skilled at certain activities doesn’t mean those activities are a good fit for me.

I was a very good lawyer. Extremely committed to my clients. I helped them successfully navigate business transactions and solved sticky, delicate problems.

But service as a lawyer was not part of my why.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to return to law practice and chose to do so with the intention of reinventing my practice by focusing on intellectual property matters and media law. I found that much harder to do than anticipated. Former clients were happy to have me back on board and I ended up doing mostly the same type of work as I’d handled in the past.

Each day my spirit sank a bit deeper.

The successes weren’t enough to overcome the feeling that I wasn’t engaged in work that let me serve others in a way that was consistent with my highest and best self.

I’m also great an ironing, but that doesn’t mean I need to work as a laundress.

Let me repeat:

You can’t successfully reinvent yourself if you don’t know your why.

You’ve probably seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk. If not, watch it now. If you’ve seen it, scroll down.

Sinek also has a book, Start With Why* and delivered an amazing interview with Srini Rao in a recent episode of the BlogcastFM podcast.

Finding My Why

I celebrated a big birthday in November 2012 and decided to spend that month in a period of self-reflection and self-(re)discovery. It felt REALLY good.

I continued my project, code named Operation Forward Progress into December and early January 2013. I put together my own “program” built around readings, TED Talks, journaling, Chris Brogan’s Brave program* (it's not about making resolutions, even though the title implies that it is) and a few other activities.

The journey culminated in identifying my why by looking at the common threads of activities that gave me the most joy and fulfillment since childhood.

At the core, my  why is about inspiring others to be curious about the world. The result has been liberating and has led to what is a rapidly-accelerating trajectory toward a vision that now has a framework.

Discovering my why (or, to some extent, RE-discovering it) has led to much greater happiness and pleasure in tasks that previously were big sources of annoyance. That said: I still don’t like dealing with work emails or sitting at traffic lights. But I'm much more patient.

In short, personal (re)discovery makes reinvention a pleasure, not a chore or an exercise in self-delusion.

Have you been through a time of self-(re)discovery? Do you know your why? I’d love to hear your story.

If you’re struggling to find your why, or how to reinvent yourself, leave your questions in the comment section below and I’ll share any advice or resources that I can to help you in your quest.

*These are Affiliate Links meaning I get a commission if you purchase through my link, but I only use affiliate links on this site to recommend products that I've paid for myself and have used.