An Invitation

Fire Rainbow

“I believe I have a personal responsibility to make a positive impact.” ~ Anthony Fauci

I chose this image (source: Pinterest) of a “fire rainbow” to illustrate a rare and wonderful atmospheric phenomenon. I also wanted to contrast the point that beauty demonstrated, is not always rare.

Some of you know that I have been wanting to give more of my time, talents and energy to a meaningful and significant cause — on a volunteer basis. This Spring a beautiful opportunity presented.

This March, 2016 Press Release announced my election to the Board of The Coach Initiative – a ten years young organization that supports nonprofit initiatives worldwide to make a greater positive impact.

An Invitation

More specifically, The Coach Initiative (TCI) offers, on a pro-bono basis, coaching support to exponentially expand the positive global impact of projects that focus on the betterment of the human condition and on uplifting the human spirit.

TCI looks to a future where every not-for-profit organization with the purpose of making a positive impact in the world has the support of an experienced professional coach to enhance their contribution toward safer, healthier, happier, more productive global citizenry and the protection and care of our planet.

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We are moving quickly! And herein lies the invitation:

If you are aware of an established not-for-profit organization that could benefit from what TCI offers (see above link), I would like to learn about that nonprofit from you. Preferably, it would be an organization that you have personal experience with, one that you can vouch for their efforts and meaningful focus. In turn, I will have TCI contact that organization with information on how to apply to its program.

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In lieu of often shared points for consideration, following are three quotes that, I believe, remind us of what we are capable of doing. Choices that we make can contribute to the betterment of the human condition.  We simply need to act.

  • “A freely given gift can create a ripple of positive change in a person’s life, their family and their community.” ~ Unknown
  • “You have to throw the stone to get the pool to ripple.” ~ Glenn Tilbrook
  • “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Untethering

“If experience is the best teacher, there’s nothing that comes close to the experience of life.” ~ Michael A. Singer

I’ve not discovered a cure for a major disease nor have I invented something that radically changes how we live. And it’s probably fair to say that neither have you. Still, we are significant; why else would we be here? Each of us is making a contribution to humanity simply by living in full expression of who we are. For whatever or however you are contributing, I honor and respect you!

Life is about continuous progress; the ability to move forward and achieve your own version of greatness. To get there, however, some of us need to let go of things from our past and listen to our inner voice that can urge us toward a space that seems both unclear and at times, crazy.

When we listen to our voice we begin to imagine and dream about following this higher knowing and the possibilities that lie ahead. Sometimes though, when we start to believe in such prospects, the ego-mind interjects itself and we find ourselves doubting our dreams and desires. And we retreat. You’re familiar with this, right?

So, why do we self-sabotage? One reason for inaction can be understood when an individual not progressing is viewed as part of a larger social situation. When one has to marshal the herd and get others to move, there is some risk that accompanies that. It is much easier to not lead the way, blend into the crowd, and wait for somebody else to assume the risk and be responsible. In social psychology this is called the “bystander effect.” But when others are not involved, it becomes justly about you.

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If you are On A Verge, listening to your inner voice, perhaps sensing opportunity and an associated need to untether, these considerations are important to remember:

  1. Appreciate what you have. Rather than focusing on what you think may be missing from your life, reflect on that with which you are blessed. It’s too easy to look at the people you surround yourself with and want what they have. Just because someone has material possessions doesn’t mean s/he is internally happy. Be grateful for what is most important to you instead of what you perceive as lacking.
  2. Take full responsibility. Near always, you are responsible for the quality and condition of your life. Sometimes we choose to do nothing when we get hit hard because it’s just easier (and less painful) that way. But disappointment is often only deferred. You have to live with that inner voice that says you didn’t try hard enough in pursuit of your dreams/desires. It’s your choice to plow through and keep moving forward.
  3. Do one simple thing. To move forward; start moving. One step, small steps, in the direction of your goal or vision is progress. Determine one (simply one!) area of your life where you have wanted to move forward. Spend time visualizing what it would take to get you started. And act! Take that first step. Then, move on to the next step.

Jumping Off the Bandwagon

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

WARNING: This post is not about Robin Williams.

I may lose readers after having read this post and that’s fine. This blog has never been about the numbers game. It’s about stirring your soul… and encouraging you to look into yourself… to realize your potential… and to focus on what really matters — how you choose to use your gifts, live, and contribute to humanity.

Earlier today I scrolled through the WordPress Reader and recent posts on other social media sites. I knew I’d see them but was astounded at how many people jumped on the Robin Williams bandwagon. Then I intentionally paused to process what I’d seen and read.

I have nothing against Robin Williams. He was a creative and talented man. He brought laughter and thought into many people’s lives, in and out of character. He battled his own demons. And I began to wonder, why does it often require a celebrity, fame, or someone with name recognition, to call our attention to social issues, serious needs, and opportunities? Why do people frequently hold up and pay tribute to talented individuals, people with marquee names, upon their passing?

What about mankind’s masses who struggle and are similarly burdened but are not wealthy, famous and/or “successful?”

In the above video, Clark Little tells how he has chosen to pursue his passion. He didn’t do what everyone else was doing. He blazed his own trail. And he’s loving every minute of life. He’s focused on and using his personal gifts to fulfill his potential. He’s not a lemming; expending energy on simply doing what many others are doing.

Sure there are lessons to be learned from Robin Williams’s choice to end his life. He has, as have others before him, rekindled and created awareness about mental health and addiction. They are real problems and warrant attention. But does jumping on the viral bandwagon to share a few kind words about him change anything?

So you may be saying, what’s your point Eric? Well, it’s pretty simple. Each of us, however illuminated our names are in lights, has unlimited potential. We possess personal gifts and skills. We have enormous, untapped capacity to live our purpose.

The questions then: Are you? Are you acting in your own unique way to effect change? Change that you desire and value? Are your actions genuinely aligned with what really matters? If they are/you are not, what are you waiting for? Are you your own leader? Are you creating moments that are meaningful, even if there is no fame, fortune or popularity involved?

When young, ducklings follow the brace because it’s instinctive. Humans, too. But what makes our species special is that we don’t have to paddle or flock in formation. We can soar in any direction we want. And create amazing outcomes, singularly.

Acting Too Quickly

“A man who sees action in inaction and inaction in action has understanding among men and discipline in all action he performs.” ~ Bhagavad Gita

On occasion, I have been known to take a contrarian viewpoint. I will challenge the status quo and frequently seek uniquely different ways of accomplishing and achieving. Credit my innate curiosity and exploratory nature. It’s simply part of how I process. 🙂

Such is the case with me and action, the latter a meaningful part of existence. Action clearly serves a purpose and can gently inspire, as well as actively incite us. Generally, people are encouraged to take decisive action. And often, too quickly. It’s people less inclined to impulsive action who keep a comfortable grip on the action reins.

Acting too quickly can be the cause of many problems. Having been impatient for a good chunk of my life, I know this well. A lot of personal mistakes result from a combination of exuberance and an eagerness to please – to get the job done. Many of us have experienced moving too quickly without taking time for adequate, even thorough, consideration. And then wondered about the outcome.

I have been surprised to find how many times situations will resolve themselves if they are allowed to. I have also been discouraged at how complex some situations have become when I took action quickly to bring something to a resolution before truly understanding what the problem or goal was in the first place.

And then there are those people who will choose inaction simply because it allows them to stay in their comfort zone, to do only what they’re familiar with, even if it oddly yields desired results. But the comfort zone is equivalent to a safe, relatively unproductive state.

We know that a clear vision, flexible plan, and realistic schedule will take you a long way towards successful achievement. But without action, visions are unlikely to materialize. Thoughtful action is prudent. And while some people may argue ‘time is money,’ it is important to assess the need for expedited action.

“Measure twice, cut once” is an old craftsman’s saying. It’s a good idea for life in general. Restated for action, we could say “think twice, act once.” Because premature action can be much more damaging than a measured approach to most any situation.

Consider your actions as carefully as you do your valuables.

Big Dreams

“If you don’t have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?”

~ Jiminy Cricket

I don’t know about you but I’ve got them! Big dreams are not only for the young or naïve. Everyone needs big dreams because they inspire, guide, and enhance our lives and performance. Unfortunately, big dreams take time to fulfill making it easy to become distracted by doubts, frustrations, and setbacks. Staying positive and managing the distractions will keep the focus on the dream rather than the distractions. Two strategies used now and when distractions arise can maintain your focus and support the realization of big dreams.

  • Paint Your Dream – Imagine and visualize a detailed vision of the dream as if it were now fulfilled. Where are you and what are you doing? See yourself easily and joyfully living your dream. Fill in the color, sounds, feelings, and activities. The more detail in your painting the more powerful the dream and the more attractive the path to living it. The more often your dream is painted in your mind, the sooner it will be realized.
  • Act on the Dream Today – A dream is fulfilled with time, committed effort, and persistence. Taking at least one action (small is best) each day keeps the dream in focus and moves you closer to its fulfillment. It will be the accumulation of daily actions that create the reality of the dream.

I’ve learned a lot about dreaming big through my own journey (including my missteps) and from coaching others. Big dreams give purpose and meaning to life and performance. Big dreams do come true and they can come true for you.  Take a moment to review your big dreams. Then, apply focused action, increased self-confidence, and these two strategies to bring them into your realm of possibilities. Feel the hope and motivation that only big dreams can inspire.

Now go and live those dreams! 🙂

Being Purposeful

“There is always a gap between intention and action.” ~ Paulo Coelho

How do you feel about new beginnings? I like them, whether it is a new year, spring, summer, or the morning. I like them because with each new beginning comes new possibilities. One way to make sure you see and experience those possibilities is to be purposeful and take purposeful actions.

For some time I have believed that having a purpose was the foundation for success in everything. Purpose provides a clear focus for effort and actions, and taking purposeful actions works much better than goal setting. When someone faces a crisis of confidence or a loss of direction, establishing a clear purpose for defining who they are going to be or how they are going to respond, is important.

While this image reflects a three-part cycle, here are four steps that can be used by anyone to be successful at anything:

  1. Clarify the purpose as the Intended Experience. Determine what is possible with the people, opportunities, and resources now available? This can be made easier by looking at what you have done, where you have been, and what you want to experience next. Write the purpose in a sentence so you can memorize and repeat it as your preferred experience. Display it prominently where it can be seen constantly.
  2. Commit to Purpose and Purposeful Actions. Once a purpose is clarified and stated, you have to commit to it. Commitment is more than words. The commitment has to come from the heart. This includes caring enough about the purpose as an experience to want it above all else. A continuing focus on the purpose continues the clarity.
  3. Identify the Actions that Support the Purpose. With a clear purpose and a commitment to the intended experience, it is essential to identify the actions that support the purpose. What makes it possible and continuously expands possibilities, especially when a detour occurs? It is also time to identify the actions that interfere with the purpose and remove them quickly by refocusing on the purpose.
  4. Take purposeful action, Evaluate and Repeat the Steps. A purpose without purposeful actions is only a thought, a bunch of words, or a wish. By executing the first three steps, possibilities become probabilities through action. Act and continue to act while evaluating the congruity of actions with purpose. When the purpose is fulfilled, begin a new and bigger purpose.

Having a purpose and taking purposeful action makes anything desired possible. Following these steps makes taking action easier. The result will be experiencing both near-term and continuing success with each new purpose.

Aren’t They the Same?

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition.” ~ Alain de Botton

My last couple of posts have dealt with fear, apprehension, insecurities, etc. More than one reader privately contacted me asking for clarification and thus, a distinction between fear (which they felt they had “under control”) and anxiety (which another believed was rampant in their life). Being in service to my readership, I’ll take a stab at briefly explaining anxiety. And why would I do this, you might ask? Because I’m not clear on the difference myself!

According to authors Kaplan and Sadock, anxiety is “a diffuse, unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension…” For example, imagine you’re walking down a dark street. You may feel a little uneasy and perhaps you have a few butterflies in your stomach. These sensations are caused by anxiety that is related to the possibility that a stranger may jump out from behind a bush, or approach you in some other way, and harm you. The anxiety is not the result of a known or specific threat. Rather it comes from your mind’s vision of the possible dangers that may result in the situation.

Fear, on the other hand, is an emotional response to a known or definite threat. Using the scenario above, let’s say you’re walking down a dark street and someone points a gun at you and says, “This is a stick up.” This would likely elicit a response of fear. The danger is real, definite and immediate. There is a clear object of fear.

Although the focus of the response is different (real vs. imagined danger), fear and anxiety are interrelated. Fear causes anxiety and anxiety can cause fear. But the distinctions between the two are subtle.

Lowering anxiety is easily done by addressing the perceived threat and taking real-time action. For those who experience anxiety, anxiety can be lowered immediately by following four simple steps:

  1. Interrupt the thoughts by breathing deeply and focusing on the sound of the breath as it is exhaled. Those who meditate and practice yoga can attest to the usefulness of this action.
  2. Ask a question of the mind, “what am I afraid of here and what do I believe about this or a future situation?”
  3. Take action, preferably a physical one such as leaving the situation (flight or fight), taking a walk, or focusing on something outside of your thoughts in the environment.
  4. Talk to your self in reassuring ways with positive and encouraging words about what can be controlled and how success can be attained.

Think of anxiety as a warning state; it is not what is actually happening. The four steps above respond to the warning by addressing the source. The result is lower anxiety and productive and confident action taken.

In closing, one small request: Please don’t follow-on with requests about phobias or dread. I’m ready for a change of scenery. 🙂

Getting from Here to There

“We are our choices.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Making the visible invisible is entertaining. That’s what a magician does when he makes an object “disappear.” However, making the invisible visible is a far more impressive feat and you have done that every time you have taken a dream, waved your magic wand of ambition, and created something in the physical world for all to view.

You already have accomplished so much. But you know there is still more ambition inside of you; so much more you want to do. So much more you can do. So much more you will do. How? Walk along with me…

For thousands of years, generations have been surrounded with amazing knowledge and possibilities for personal growth. Whether it is time, focus, or not understanding, the application and use of knowledge and learning is the hardest part of change. We read, listen and learn, but it doesn’t seem to make it into our reality. So all the knowledge and possibilities in the world are useless if we don’t cross the bridge from knowing to living.

The bridge is a path over or through the gap between where we are and where we want to be. To cross the bridge and expand the possibilities of living better begins with awareness of what brings us satisfaction now and what would bring us more. Clarifying what is creating the gap between where we are and where we want to go begins the crossing of the bridge. Honest awareness makes this possible.

From expanded awareness we have to spend time and energy to explore and discover the concepts, ideas and strategies which could help us close the gap and cross the bridge. We have to reflect, consider, and imagine how new ideas or actions could change us. This is the new knowledge and if we can’t see the knowledge expressed in our reality, we’ll be stuck on the bridge. And we all know how frustrating that can be.

Finally, with clarity and knowledge, followed by exploring our possibilities, we can make choices. We only have to choose an action, a pattern, or an opportunity to effect change. Keep repeating the new choice and the easier the change will get. It won’t be long before the new knowledge is the old knowledge and more possibilities for growth are recognized – and a new gap appears.

It’s a cycle; a constructive loop. Everyday becomes a new adventure in expanding, enjoying, and discovering, as the bridges get crossed. With each bridge crossing from knowledge to reality, we will enjoy the process more as our potential expands.

So, are you contemplating crossing, already traversing, or have you successfully bridged a recent gap? Being afraid of heights doesn’t cut it. 🙂