It’s The Life In Your Years
Stories, anecdotes: mine, yours, theirs
Stories, anecdotes: mine, yours, theirs
‘Tis the season for newsletters!
Two weeks ago I wrote about an article I had found in The Torch – the alumni magazine from the University of Victoria.
Today I received the alumni magazine from my un-high school. (There is a short story here. I went to boarding school for Grades 9-12. It was a girls’ private school, across the lake from the boys’ school. The girls’ school has since closed but as the boys’ school is now co-ed they have adopted us as alumni so their girls feel they have some history at the 100 year old bastion of learning!)
This edition of “The Report Card” was sub-titled : The Shawnigan Under 40. In this magazine, the editors interviewed a number of alumni under the age of 40 who have created successes in their lives and wanted to share their thoughts.
I was browsing fairly quickly as I knew that none of these names would be familiar, but then I focused in on the last comments of each interview. The sentence started thus: If I could give one piece of advice to my eighteen-year-old self, it would be…
As some of these young people graduated high school as recently as 2008, I was amazed at the maturity of their hindsight. Let me share:
If I could give one piece of advice to my eighteen-year-old self, it would be…
…to focus on identifying and building a skill set and hone those abilities through practice. Find opportunities to invest in yourself. (Ryan Kalt)
I love this one because I often discuss my pursuit of on-line training as an investment in a commodity I have insider information on: myself! Do you invest in yourself?
…don’t be afraid to dream big, despite the odds and all the people who tell you it won’t happen… work hard and always stay true to what your passion is and you can’t go wrong. (Alia Karmali)
Dream crushers seem to have a full-time job, no matter what age you are. I agree with Alia – stay true to your passion! Have you? Do you?
…to make the most of every experience, every opportunity. I have always had a tendency to “look forward,” to plan what’s next, and it sometimes means that I miss out on all the great things happening around me, right now. It’s something that I struggle with – but I’m learning. (Arwen Kidd)
Planning ahead seems to a habit we develop as we grow older. The longer I am online, however, the more I am appreciating the process. I learned this in a hurry the day I stopped and thought about all the “stuff” I have learned since I started. Wow! it was amazing and I decided that if I was going to grow so fast, I should enjoy every moment of it! How often do you stop and “smell the roses”?
…to always ask for what you want. You’ll be amazed how often the answer is “yes,” and a clear “no” is better than a “what if.” (Jacqueline Flett)
Ain’t that the truth!!
…to take every opportunity that you get to do something different or that might take you out of your comfort zone…Life is about experience and you grow and learn every day through what you experience. (Eloise Blackwell)
We talk about our comfort zones… or how often we operate outside of them… a lot as we grow our businesses. But that verb is so important: GROW!!
…don’t be scared to dream…[don’t] put limits on what might be possible. Keep an open mind and follow your passions. (Omar Mawjee)
Now I don’t remember having this sort of insight when I was in my 20s. It was an era when education was possible, affordable, and there were “expectations”. I don’t ever remember being told to pursue my dreams. Did anyone give you that advice?
…don’t be afraid to make mistakes; get out in the world, give it a shot and have fun. (Geoff Roth)
Both my personality and my up-bringing have not left a lot of room for “making mistakes” and that is not a good thing. Since coming online I have made my share of them and I have finally learned to laugh at myself and try, try again.
…stick with it and never give in. Every decision to persevere through tough times is ultimately rewarded. (Taylor Termes)
This one fact has helped me climb proverbial mountains and slay the proverbial dragons.
…just enjoy life as it comes to you. Do something you love, not what other people would like you to do. It might not be the most lucrative way to live, but if you find something you love to do, the money will come. (Matt Horn)
Is this not why we are all here?
I hope you have been as impressed with the wisdom of these young people as I was. To learn these lessons at an age when you still have time to savour the moments of your life, not fly through them trying to accomplish, trying to live up to expectations, trying to be the success someone else thought you could be… is invaluable!
Sometimes I feel like I have forgotten so many of the important moments of my life.
Statistically speaking, I’m well past the halfway point of my life, but at least I have finally learned to slow down, relish and remember the moments.
Is there a quote above that spoke to you?
Are you investing in yourself? Dreaming big? Are you noticing the great things happening around you, right now? Are you asking for what you want? Moving outside your comfort zone?
Dream! Make mistakes! Stick with it! And enjoy life as it comes to you.
As we find another year entering its final weeks, these are my wishes for you.
I saw a great commercial on TV the other day. The first time I saw it, I caught my attention. The second time I saw it, I heard the words in relation to my business.
I am not endorsing the product in any way – I just love the message, and the delivery.
It’s a 30-second commercial… give it a listen:
“We choose to define ourselves” – how do you define yourself? each day. Are you satisfied with your definition?
“To make limits our starting line” – do have the same starting line each day? or do move it forward, closer to a goal every day?
“To challenge every day” – do you try to push the envelope of some part of your life just a wee bit each day?
“There are no do-overs, this is IT” – we really do go this way only once. Mae West said “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” When you’re 85, sipping wine with your buds, are you going to look back and say “Yes!! Good Job, Self!!”
“And IT starts now!” – it really is never too late to take charge of your life, to create it the way you want to live it.
For me, right now, “IT” is Reclaiming My Retirement Dreams!
Some of you may recognize the title as the words behind the acronym TED as in TED Talks.
You may also have seen the acronym TEDx Talks, the X meaning that the event was “fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.”
This week I have decided to share some of the moments that impacted my day at TEDx Victoria: Emergence.
* * * * * * * *
What is Life?
Tiffany Poirier was a mid-afternoon presenter. A teacher of older elementary school students, she is passionate about having children explore philosophy.
Where is Your Mind?
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but when Tiffany walked out on the stage, my first thought was: Crikey, how does such a petite woman control a classroom of Grade 5s & 6s? And then she started talking.
What are The Rights of Animals?
A soft-spoken woman, her passion for philosophy, for her students and their ability to explore philosophy, resonates through every word she speaks. In a theatre of 800 people, you could have heard a pin drop.
What is Happiness?
Her talk was interspersed with recordings of real children discussing subjects similar to the ones I am bolding and italicizing on this page. Allowed free rein, their thoughts were incredibly astute, imaginative, and unarguable.
She was so awesome that the first thing I did when she was done was text my daughter and warn her she had 5 years to move my grandson to Tiffany’s school district!
Tiffany’s presentation time seemed to disappear in a blink. In closing she did, however, answer for us the first question I asked above.
What is Life? “How you live it. is the answer.”
How are you choosing to live your life? Are you experiencing as much as you can? Learning more about things that interest you? Exploring unknowns and questioning norms?
Are you being happy and creating happiness? Do you share the wealth of love and knowledge you have inside?
My intent is not to turn this into a philosophical forum, but perhaps to challenge you to think about your life – are you maximizing all the best parts?
I love being this age, at this stage of my life, and finding myself challenged by an elementary school teacher who will nourish the minds of a group of children who will be the thought leaders of our next generations!
My alma mater is UVic – the University of Victoria. Their alumni magazine is called The Torch and an article in the latest edition really hit home for me.
On page 14 is an article by Brad Buie, BA ’99 called The Meaning of Work. It is primarily an article about Professor A.R. “Elango” Elangovan and his work and I want to share the highlights with you here. I’m hoping you leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
Fifty-two times a year a chorus trumpets “Thank God It’s Friday!” in coffee-rooms, cubicles and office corridors everywhere. It’s as though we have swum all week through inhospitable, dreary waters to get to the tropical desert island of the weekend. Considering that our work life can occupy the greatest portion of our waking hours, how we feel about it inevitably colours the meaning we assign to our lives.
Professor Elangovan and his colleagues are researching this issue. “We approach it as either a job, a career, or a calling.”
Those with a job orientation look on their work as a bit of a slog, performed for a paycheque, narrowly bound by contract and job description.
The career oriented are motivated by the challenges of their work, the sense of achievement, and various rewards: not only a good salary but also prestige, recognition and a clear set of rungs up the ladder.
Those who view their work as a calling are operating on another quantum level entirely. External validation and rewards don’t figure so largely in their motivation. Instead, the passion that drives them comes from the fulfillment of the work and a sense their efforts are making the world a better place. Emotionally, they feel “in the zone,” fully integrated, almost mystically as though they are living out their destiny…
“When it hits you, you know it in your bones. It shapes every decision you make.”
That’s exactly how I feel about my on-line business. I do know it in my bones, and it does shape every decision I make!
I have said it before but I love doing what I am doing to the point that if I was not making money with my on-line business I would do it anyways. The satisfaction at the end of every day is huge. And I do try to check in with my business every day… because I want to!
If you have not yet found your calling, Professor Elangovan has a suggestion: If we aren’t willing to switch to another kind of work, then he advises us to reframe the work we do. “Shine a light on this trade-off. If you’ve put your ladder against the wrong wall, then try looking at the wall differently.” Seeing through this “calling lens,” we can determine what aspects of our work can fire us up.
In closing he quotes Henry David Thoreau:
“Better to start exploring this question now rather than wonder what could have been.”
Do you have a job? or a career? or have you found your calling?
Do you want to make a change? Can you make a change? I’m interested in your thoughts!
I have a question for you today.
When I started this post, I was going to ask you how you would answer this question. I was going to qualify it by saying I don’t mean “world peace” or “end child poverty”. Those are huge social issues that no one person can solve.
I think I was expecting answers like “create an on-line business that would ensure I, and many others, retire well”, or “fund a low-income housing complex in my city”. You know, tangibles that are very personal, and not completely out of this world.
After I created the picture quote, however, I received a message from the Admin of the site I use. His name is Joe and I’m actually planning on introducing him to you next week.
Joe’s comment was “I like when this question is asked around smaller achievements too.”
I then had to really think about what I meant when I asked the question. I decided Joe might be thinking I wanted to find a cure for Cancer, or fund education for every child under the poverty level in Canada. And of course, that’s not what I meant. (although that would be pretty cool!)
In reality, when I think of great achievements these days, I am thinking of more internal achievements. Like overcoming your own self-doubt in creating a truly exceptional business. Like discarding your current self-image and becoming the healthier, fitter version of you that you decided twenty years ago wasn’t in the cards. Like being the change you want to see in your favourite charity.
Joe’s follow-up comment was “When I think “great” I think of the end result/legacy and then work backwards…” I like that word “legacy”.
So now I am leaving this post a free-for-all.
IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD NOT FAIL?
I’m looking forward to the comments on this post!
I love being in this on-line space.
I love the challenge; I love being able to speak to people without tapping them on the shoulder and getting in their face.
I love the learning curve; I love the creative expression.
I love taking a passion and putting it into words, and pictures, and sharing it with everyone, or with no one.
I love the fact that my domain is my home – I am right and my most brilliant ideas can see light of day without asking permission of anyone.
But you know, there’s something I love about this on-line space that I just can’t seem to find the words for.
Yeah, it’s a feeling. It’s a feeling that this is a fit for me.
It’s a feeling that, while I intend to make really respectable retirement income with my business, even if I stay at my current income levels, I would do it anyways.
I would like to say it’s a gut feeling… but apparently the feeling is not in my gut.
I have been reading a great book lately: Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Sinek explains that “The newest area of the brain, our Homo Sapien brain, is the neocortex… is responsible for rational and analytical thought and language. The middle two sections comprise the limbic brain. The limbic brain is responsible for all of our feelings, such as trust and loyalty. It is also responsible for all human behaviour and our decision making, but it has no capacity for language.”
He spends time explaining the great loves of our lives. How we might say it was their great sense of humour that attracted us, or how smart they are, or even seemingly irrational comments like he/she “completes me”. Bottom line is that it “just feels right.”
“The part of the brain that controls our feelings has no capacity for language. It is this disconnection that makes putting our feelings into words so hard.”
I truly appreciated finding this book at this stage of the development of my on-line business. I have found myself using several cliché expressions to explain what I love and how I feel about this new passion of mine; turns out there probably aren’t really any words to describe how much I enjoy this place, how it makes me feel.
My final message to you is another direct quote from Sinek’s book: “The power of the limbic brain is astounding. It not only controls our gut decisions, but it can influence us to do things that seem illogical or irrational. Leaving the safety of home to explore faraway places. Crossing oceans to see what’s on the other side. Leaving a stable job to start a business out of your basement with no money in the bank. Many of us look at those decisions and say, ‘That’s stupid, you’re crazy. You could lose everything. You could get yourself killed. What are you thinking?’ It is not logic or facts but our hopes and dreams, our hearts and our guts, that drive us to try new things.”
What is your limbic brain telling you?
Recently I had a surprise encounter with Russell Brunson!
For those of you who are wondering who Russell Brunson is, his bio tells us he was an internet millionaire within one year of finishing college. He still looks like he is too young to go to college but rumour has it he’s early-30s now, married with children. As for that first million, he has turned it into significantly more millions so getting up close and personal with him is quite a treat! Fortunately for me, my mentor does business with him and she invited him in to meet with us and share some insights, some advice, and some stories.
He started by explaining to us how, with the support of an understanding wife, he was able to pursue his dreams of an internet career right out of the gates after he finished college. His education was technical, so he decided to sell software on-line and presumably create a software empire.
He did his homework and, perhaps because of his youth, came up with a corral of cool and exciting software to market. He then signed in to his favourite domain purchase company and started plugging in any variation and permutation of names he could think of, hoping something suitable yet unique would be available. Finally he hit on the one he decided was perfect! His products were all pretty exciting, and they were software so what better name than “excite-ware”? He waited for his to wife to come so he could share the news.
Finally she walked in the door and he told her the perfect name for his new website.
She looked him in a most puzzled fashion.
Now when someone tells you a story, as opposed to you reading it, some things are quite clear.
It was at this point in the story that the women in the room burst into laughter! Yes, without reading “excite-ware”, we were hearing “excite-wear” and that sounded like lingerie to us too!
After Russell’s wife explained the association, Russell decided he really didn’t want to deal with that sort of confusion and came up with another name.
For me, however, it really hit home that if an internet guru like Russell Brunson can have that sort of tunnel vision, I had better keep my on-line colleagues close so they can catch any faux pas that I make in my business building!
Something for you to remember too, if you are going to make strides as a solopreneur.
A good lesson to learn, in my opinion!
All week I have been empathizing over the reasons why you can’t retire as you had hoped to / planned to.
I found an interesting site yesterday… felt like a good Friday-night-with-a-glass-of-wine type browsing…
Enjoy! (and I’d love to hear where you would like to retire if you could choose!)
Mary Jane West from Brooklyn, New York.
I think it was her frisky irreverence that triggered my affection for Mae West – she was spunky at a time when spunky women raised eyebrows and challenged the morals of the day.
She was, however, an advocate for women’s issues, gay rights and freedom of speech long before it was vogue. Her quick wit and double entendres live on to this day.
I have decided that if she had been born in this day and age, she could have been an on-line entrepreneur without switching up any of her lines at all!!
In her own words, she could have coached:
Lessons that I think we could take from the immortal Miss West include spunkyness, tolerance, a lot of perseverance, and a healthy respect for your audience.
She also said: “He who hesitates is last!“
My last few posts have been about the work involved in starting an on-line business. There is also a lot of fun you can have as well.
Some time ago I entered a Video Challenge. I find that entering challenges is a really good way to kickstart something new in business, or keep you producing content. In a challenge, you also think about quality and that is never a bad thing!
Today is Sunday in my world so I figured it would be a good day to relax and have some fun. The following video is an “instructional” video I created for the Video Challenge, strictly tongue in cheek.
I want you to know that the silly sides of your personality are allowed to shine through, even in business. It does help your readers see another side of you.
Enjoy the video!
The best part of making this video was that these sea lions are quite the attraction so there were a lot of people on the dock. Parents were pulling their children out of my way, I was treated as a serious videographer… all so I could lip-sync a fun video for some colleagues!
Thanks for stopping by, now go have some fun in your business!