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Time For Some Humility & Dialing Down Your Ambition. Seriously. [Day 9 – 28 Days to GYST]

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This is Day 9 ofΒ 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together. Β Wasn’tΒ Chris Guillebeau‘s post yesterday inspiring? Well take a slow, deep breathe because todayΒ Mark Silver creates some sacred space for us. He is so very good at that. πŸ™‚

Time For Some Humility & Dialing Down Your Ambition. Seriously.

By: Mark Silver |Β @MarkHeartofBiz

Since we’re now 1/3 of the way through this 28 days of getting your act together (forgive me, Sarah, I’m used to writing for a G audience), I think it’s critical to address the need for humility and dialing down your ambition.

How many people have told me they want to be on Oprah, address audiences of thousands, start a world-famous retreat center? And they flounder, and struggle, and push, exhausting themselves.

One of the hallmarks of the get-it-done-now-you’re-awesome industry, or whatever it’s called, is this belief that you can do anything and everything. It’s an extremely painful, limiting, sabotaging belief.

I’m here to bring you some compassion and mercy and tell you straight up: you can’t everything and anything. So don’t try to do it all, or you’ll remain paralyzed.

In some ways getting your act together is actually totally and completely beyond your control. Let me give you an example.

In 1998 Holly and I were engaged, with a date set for May, 1999. Shortly after our engagement she got sick. Badly sick. Miserably sick. And stayed sick for ten years.

During that time we got married, I figured out how to be the sole breadwinner, we learned a whole heckuva lot about various holistic therapies, and she healed slowly, a day, a week, a month at a time.

Of course, with things so challenging on the domestic front, why not bury myself? I decided to go fully self-employed in August, 2001, launching Heart of Business. 9/11 arrived the next month, with my intended launch day of the new website and everything set for 9/12. It was a little bumpy cash-wise in the beginning, let me tell you.

Holly finally reached 95-98% healthy in 2007, but it was impossible for her to bear children, and, not to put too fine a point on it, we’re definitely not thirty-something any more. We wanted family more than anything, so we started the adoption process, and we’ve been with our twins since the day they were born, November 11, 2008.

In other words, the entire time I’ve been running Heart of Business, I’ve either been caretaking a chronically ill wife, going through an emotionally-taxing adoption process, or co-parenting very young twin boys.

Business-wise I’ve been blessed with ten straight years of growth, which considering all that was going on personally I consider nothing short of miraculous. It’s been close to five years now that we’ve unfailingly been generating five figures of revenue every month. Since 2005 I’ve self-published at seven different learning programs, most of them book-sized.

We have amazing boys, a beautiful home that thank God we’ve never missed a mortgage payment even when things were scary-tight, and we’re all healthy, if you don’t count the flu season-small children collision.

Before you think I’m super-human, here are some of the results:

  • We ended up with a fair amount of debt from the illness years, a previous failed business, and the adoption process, some of which we still have, although we’re paying it down in an aggressive manner.
  • I missed opportunities to develop Heart of Business because I just couldn’t leave Holly home sick, or I couldn’t leave Holly alone with the kids, or I was just so overwhelmed emotionally and physically I just couldn’t do it. Conferences I should’ve been at to meet others, joint ventures I didn’t have time for, creativity that was called for when I had no creativity left in me.
  • It’s been at times frustrating to watch some folks rocket forward more quickly than I could, when I know we have powerful material, raving fans. If I could’ve been more strategic Heart of Business could be beyond this admittedly awkward stage of low-to-mid-six figures of revenue. This is not me complaining, just admitting the truth of the situation and how my emotions are affected at times.

Just trying to get this article written for Sarah has been a travesty. She asked for it more than a month ago. Instead, in came the flu over four times since early December (thanks, kids), the latest after I came home from a week-long residential course of study that is part of my Masters of Divinity program.

That’s right, I was at a week-long nourishing spiritual retreat, came home, spent a wonderful weekend with the family, then Monday night went on a date with my wife to a delicious and incredibly healthy restaurant, and was promptly knocked down AGAIN with the flu. I dropped a dozen balls last week, finally getting this written Monday morning, oy gevult.

We’re all in boats on this sea called life, and although we can do our best to steer our little vessels and care for them, we have no control over what the ocean does, where the winds blow us, and what storms, reefs, and hungry sea monsters we encounter.

Look, I’m not trying to scare you, it’s just truth. Life happens. You live it. So, what I’m saying is… dial back your ambition a little bit. Let go of thinking you can do EVERYTHING. Let go of the unconscious assumption that you are in charge of your circumstances.

Let me ask you one question: in your plans to get your act together, how much room do you leave for the chaos factor, as my friend and colleague Sean D’Souza calls it? How much room do you leave for the unexpected? All of the the uncontrollable illness, mess, mistakes, and accidents that fill our lives?
I’m going to suggest that you try accomplishing about 50% of what you think you should. Dial it way down, leaving open space for chaos.

We’re all just servants, expressions of Source (the Divine, God, love, whatever you want to name that which is), which means, thankfully, that you’re not the top boss. With some humility and love you can drop back into your heart, take a nice deep breath, and notice what little thing you can put your hands on and move forward today.

When you ask your heart, which fifty percent gets dropped? And what little thing do you focus on today?

Mark Silver is a business tenderizer and a designated master teacher in his Sufi spiritual lineage. Since 1999 he has worked with thousands of self-employed folks, helping them learn to bring in clients and do good in the world, while at the same time they learn that every act of business can be an act of love. If this resonated with you and you want a hands-on, heart-centered approach on how to move forward, try his free pdf workbook Backwards.

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  • Nice post Mark. Thanks.

    I especially find it interesting that you start by talking about people who want to be on Oprah or run world-famous this or thats. While I’d love such things (I hear Oprah’s green room will provide you w/ kittens!), I simply want to do compose a symphony that I then dissect into a self-programmed interactive game/site/app that combines live-action video and dynamic storytelling on a scale that would surpass the gods of all realities and mythologies combined. HA!

    I had this happen to me last night, taking Chris’s post to heart as I started to work on a SINGLE piece, just one element…and wow, I was humbled that even THAT was too big of a bite to chew.

    Yeah, I need to crawl before I walk, before I run. If I’m a super-genius maybe I can achieve all that quickly, otherwise I have to go with whatever flows. And if it flows well, and it’s a satisfying realization of my visions, then maybe consider I’ll consider petting kittens with Oprah…if she calls.

    DEEP BREATH… and finding the right place to start.

    Thanks Mark and Sarah. πŸ™‚

    • My degree is in Music Theory/Music History with a minor in vocal performance, because my college didn’t have a music composition program. So if you need help on that, let me know. πŸ™‚

    • See but the thing is, you can pet kittens without having to go through Oprah. The same applies to business.

      And I can not wait to see your finished work, but each piece of the puzzle will be more awesome in its own right.

    • Anonymous

      Wait….you’re not a Super Genius??!!! Oh man…… Just kidding. πŸ™‚ When I’m working with clients Ted, I tell them to just pick up a thread and start. If we get bogged down in trying to find the “right” place, we wind up chasing our tail. I have to remeind myself of this almost every day.

      • Donna

        Sometimes it seems so difficult focusing on just one thread to pick up… yet that small movement makes all the difference in the world. Momentum.

    • I find myself crawling so many times- it’s nice to remember how relaxing and restful it is. Like Child’s Pose in Yoga. πŸ™‚

      • and as crazy as it sounds, I have not even been able to master child’s pose yet! When I hear how restful it is I either cry in sadness or shame or I smile and say, “I’ll get there….” crawling, I can do. And I can do it with gusto. With plenty of space for the delight of chaos, too. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and replies!
      Mark: Yeah, it’s almost crazy how wonderful (and painfully comfortable!) Child’s Pose is…
      Sarah: Sorry to disappoint you w/ my mere “genius” status… heh
      Beatriz: I hear Oprah’s kittens are somehow kittenier! πŸ˜‰
      Meanwhile, the BIG piece is going to take time, and it’s more “life’s work” than a specific project… I split it up into more manageable chunks, and am working on them now… Like yesterday, I drew a line….or was it a REALLY long dot?
      Lisa: Thanks for the offer! Although getting help from others is a whole ‘nother basket of “EEEEEP!”

  • Nice post Mark. Thanks.

    I especially find it interesting that you start by talking about people who want to be on Oprah or run world-famous this or thats. While I’d love such things (I hear Oprah’s green room will provide you w/ kittens!), I simply want to compose a multi-layered symphony that I’d re-assemble into an interactive game/site/app (designed and developed by me) that combines live-action and animated (based on my drawings, of course) video for a new form of effective dynamic storytelling on a scale that would surpass the gods of all realities and mythologies combined.
    That’s all.
    HA!

    I had this happen to me last night, taking Chris’s post to heart as I started to work on a SINGLE piece, just one element…and wow, I was humbled that even THAT was too big of a bite to chew.

    Yeah, I need to crawl before I walk, before I run. If I’m a super-genius maybe I can achieve all that quickly, otherwise I have to go with whatever flows. And if it flows well, and it’s a satisfying realization of my visions, then maybe consider I’ll consider petting kittens with Oprah…if she calls.

    DEEP BREATH… and finding the right place to start.

    Thanks Mark and Sarah. πŸ™‚

    • My degree is in Music Theory/Music History with a minor in vocal performance, because my college didn’t have a music composition program. So if you need help on that, let me know. πŸ™‚

    • See but the thing is, you can pet kittens without having to go through Oprah. The same applies to business.

      And I can not wait to see your finished work, but each piece of the puzzle will be more awesome in its own right.

    • Anonymous

      Wait….you’re not a Super Genius??!!! Oh man…… Just kidding. πŸ™‚ When I’m working with clients Ted, I tell them to just pick up a thread and start. If we get bogged down in trying to find the “right” place, we wind up chasing our tail. I have to remeind myself of this almost every day.

      • Sometimes it seems so difficult focusing on just one thread to pick up… yet that small movement makes all the difference in the world. Momentum.

    • I find myself crawling so many times- it’s nice to remember how relaxing and restful it is. Like Child’s Pose in Yoga. πŸ™‚

      • and as crazy as it sounds, I have not even been able to master child’s pose yet! When I hear how restful it is I either cry in sadness or shame or I smile and say, “I’ll get there….” crawling, I can do. And I can do it with gusto. With plenty of space for the delight of chaos, too. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and replies!
      Mark: Yeah, it’s almost crazy how wonderful (and painfully comfortable!) Child’s Pose is…
      Sarah: Sorry to disappoint you w/ my mere “genius” status… heh
      Beatriz: I hear Oprah’s kittens are somehow kittenier! πŸ˜‰
      Meanwhile, the BIG piece is going to take time, and it’s more “life’s work” than a specific project… I split it up into more manageable chunks, and am working on them now… Like yesterday, I drew a line….or was it a REALLY long dot?
      Lisa: Thanks for the offer! Although getting help from others is a whole ‘nother basket of “EEEEEP!”

  • Cristy

    Excellent post Mark – this really resonates with me because I am so often thinking too big and paralyzed to do anything at all. It can so often feel like everyone else is doing so much and I can’t seem to get anything done – but I often need to be reminded that I am progressing just fine and things are moving along just as they should. Thanks for that reminder today and I will definitely rethink my planning and “dial back” my ambition a bit to plan for the unknown!

    • Anonymous

      Taking one baby step at a time will get you where you want to go Cristy. You are doing just the right things. πŸ™‚

    • So glad it resonated with you, Cristy!

    • Donna

      Exactly! And as much as I learn from this community and others on the Internet, the Internet also SEEMS to show me how much I don’t do and can’t do which are such paralyzing thoughts. I focus on those falsehoods rather that what truly is important. I lose my creativity. And I forget I can’t hear God when my mind is spinning with too many crazy thoughts. (just breathe and stretch.)

      Thanks to Mark and everyone’s comments. The ongoing discussions really add further thought to the original post.

  • Cristy

    Excellent post Mark – this really resonates with me because I am so often thinking too big and paralyzed to do anything at all. It can so often feel like everyone else is doing so much and I can’t seem to get anything done – but I often need to be reminded that I am progressing just fine and things are moving along just as they should. Thanks for that reminder today and I will definitely rethink my planning and “dial back” my ambition a bit to plan for the unknown!

    • Anonymous

      Taking one baby step at a time will get you where you want to go Cristy. You are doing just the right things. πŸ™‚

    • So glad it resonated with you, Cristy!

    • Exactly! And as much as I learn from this community and others on the Internet, the Internet also SEEMS to show me how much I don’t do and can’t do which are such paralyzing thoughts. I focus on those falsehoods rather that what truly is important. I lose my creativity. And I forget I can’t hear God when my mind is spinning with too many crazy thoughts. (just breathe and stretch.)

      Thanks to Mark and everyone’s comments. The ongoing discussions really add further thought to the original post.

  • Wow Mark! Thank you for being so honest. It’s always inspiring to read the success people have had especially if they struggled and fought for it.

    I started my actual business in September. It hasn’t been until now that I’ve been able to really dedicate time to it. Between deaths, illness, unexpected financial troubles, adjusting to a long distance relationship and just life in general, it’s taken me a LOT longer to get to where I wanted to go.

    I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be at this point in time. I keep thinking to myself – I’m so far behind. But, I know I can’t rush these next steps. I can’t rush the foundation. So, I’ve just kept moving forward. Frustrated, stressed but moving. For my perfectionist self, it’s been excruciating!

    There are definitely days where I wonder if I’m cut out for it. What’s the point if there are so many amazing social media coaches out there already? What’s the point of learning more about coaching to help people out even more? At that point, I usually take a day off to remember. I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for the people I want to help. I’m doing it because I can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how small – I do make a difference.

    It doesn’t matter how small I am now. I have a vision. The road is bumpy, but I’ll get there when I get there. Chaos will definitely follow, so I’ve learned to celebrate small wins and keep my timeline flexible. And like you Mark, I’ll get there eventually. I’ll get to the place I need to be.

    • Anonymous

      And this, Beatriz, is why you will succeed. #soproud πŸ™‚

    • Beatriz- totally what Sarah said. And yes- you won’t arrive *there* – but you’ll arrive somewhere. I never imagined where I am now. I’m not a big fan of imagine it and get there- more like follow the path and see where it leads- you’re doing it!

    • Beatriz –

      So glad you keep going. Size is relative. And, we usually over-size the “other guy” in our mind and under-size ourselves. People need you to do what you do or you wouldn’t be called to. YOU need to do what you do or you wouldn’t be called to it.

      So, do it your way. Do it the “right”way (whatever that means for you). You internal perfectionist is probably just trying to protect you from something old. Take it out for a glass of wine one night and ask her what she’s afraid of. Could be enlightening!

      Either way, so glad you keep showing up. So inspirational!

      Hugs.

  • Wow Mark! Thank you for being so honest. It’s always inspiring to read the success people have had especially if they struggled and fought for it.

    I started my actual business in September. It hasn’t been until now that I’ve been able to really dedicate time to it. Between deaths, illness, unexpected financial troubles, adjusting to a long distance relationship and just life in general, it’s taken me a LOT longer to get to where I wanted to go.

    I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be at this point in time. I keep thinking to myself – I’m so far behind. But, I know I can’t rush these next steps. I can’t rush the foundation. So, I’ve just kept moving forward. Frustrated, stressed but moving. For my perfectionist self, it’s been excruciating!

    There are definitely days where I wonder if I’m cut out for it. What’s the point if there are so many amazing social media coaches out there already? What’s the point of learning more about coaching to help people out even more? At that point, I usually take a day off to remember. I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for the people I want to help. I’m doing it because I can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how small – I do make a difference.

    It doesn’t matter how small I am now. I have a vision. The road is bumpy, but I’ll get there when I get there. Chaos will definitely follow, so I’ve learned to celebrate small wins and keep my timeline flexible. And like you Mark, I’ll get there eventually. I’ll get to the place I need to be.

    • Anonymous

      And this, Beatriz, is why you will succeed. #soproud πŸ™‚

    • Beatriz- totally what Sarah said. And yes- you won’t arrive *there* – but you’ll arrive somewhere. I never imagined where I am now. I’m not a big fan of imagine it and get there- more like follow the path and see where it leads- you’re doing it!

    • Beatriz –

      So glad you keep going. Size is relative. And, we usually over-size the “other guy” in our mind and under-size ourselves. People need you to do what you do or you wouldn’t be called to. YOU need to do what you do or you wouldn’t be called to it.

      So, do it your way. Do it the “right”way (whatever that means for you). You internal perfectionist is probably just trying to protect you from something old. Take it out for a glass of wine one night and ask her what she’s afraid of. Could be enlightening!

      Either way, so glad you keep showing up. So inspirational!

      Hugs.

  • Wow… great post Mark. Today was yet again another snow day. I’m grumpy and fussing and aggravated that my two hours of silence in the morning has been gone more often than not this last two weeks.

    Maybe, just maybe, I could lighten up and actually find a way to enjoy the fact my whole family is here today, and we’re all snowed in (again) and we’re all safe and sound, and warm and comfy in this house together. Maybe instead of fighting to get it all done I can take a deep breath and call it good enough today and play.

    maybe. (I’m not saying definitely… I’m just saying it might be something I could take out and look at… no I don’t have any problems with this stuff lol).

    yeah… maybe I could do that today.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe is an awesome word. Creates a chink of possibility. That’s all you need.

      • as long as there’s a chance, no matter how small. Maybe helps…but depending on how its said and by whom, no isn’t no. A lot of times its “tell me more”

    • Maybe IS an awesome word. And I so hear you. It’s important to listen to the authentic need in your heart. Sometimes, even when things are busy and your grumpy, underneath is an authentic need- maybe you need to ask the family for a little renewal space so you can be with them with an open heart. My wife and I give that to each other… when we remember to ask.

      • Such a great point, Mark. My husband needs at least 45 minutes of “his time” when he first comes home from work. It allows him to transition from that space to home space. When I give it – no questions asked – it’s so much easier for him to be present.

        So thankful he was honest with me about what he needs!

    • Go play! The other day when I was snowed in, I was trying to shovel my driveway, and was getting very frustrated at the 4″ layer of ice underneath the snow. Since the sun was shining, and it wasn’t too cold, I decided to make a snow dog! It was so much more fun than trying to break up that darn ice! I felt like a kid again for a while.
      Go outside and make a snowman or snow angels with the kids, and feel the joy of the snow again. Then tomorrow, get back at it!

      • Please tell me how you made the snow dog! My daughter has been begging me to make a snow dog with her for the last week. I find very little joy in snow.. hate being cold, and I’ve been in the snow building stuff for a week now, but I get what you’re saying. I think it’s about time to get up and get the I Spy game out! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the pushes everyone. I’m still sitting here trying to get stuff done. Enough already. Get up Jackie. πŸ™‚

  • Wow… great post Mark. Today was yet again another snow day. I’m grumpy and fussing and aggravated that my two hours of silence in the morning has been gone more often than not this last two weeks.

    Maybe, just maybe, I could lighten up and actually find a way to enjoy the fact my whole family is here today, and we’re all snowed in (again) and we’re all safe and sound, and warm and comfy in this house together. Maybe instead of fighting to get it all done I can take a deep breath and call it good enough today and play.

    maybe. (I’m not saying definitely… I’m just saying it might be something I could take out and look at… no I don’t have any problems with this stuff lol).

    yeah… maybe I could do that today.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe is an awesome word. Creates a chink of possibility. That’s all you need.

      • as long as there’s a chance, no matter how small. Maybe helps…but depending on how its said and by whom, no isn’t no. A lot of times its “tell me more”

    • Maybe IS an awesome word. And I so hear you. It’s important to listen to the authentic need in your heart. Sometimes, even when things are busy and your grumpy, underneath is an authentic need- maybe you need to ask the family for a little renewal space so you can be with them with an open heart. My wife and I give that to each other… when we remember to ask.

      • Such a great point, Mark. My husband needs at least 45 minutes of “his time” when he first comes home from work. It allows him to transition from that space to home space. When I give it – no questions asked – it’s so much easier for him to be present.

        So thankful he was honest with me about what he needs!

    • Go play! The other day when I was snowed in, I was trying to shovel my driveway, and was getting very frustrated at the 4″ layer of ice underneath the snow. Since the sun was shining, and it wasn’t too cold, I decided to make a snow dog! It was so much more fun than trying to break up that darn ice! I felt like a kid again for a while.
      Go outside and make a snowman or snow angels with the kids, and feel the joy of the snow again. Then tomorrow, get back at it!

      • Please tell me how you made the snow dog! My daughter has been begging me to make a snow dog with her for the last week. I find very little joy in snow.. hate being cold, and I’ve been in the snow building stuff for a week now, but I get what you’re saying. I think it’s about time to get up and get the I Spy game out! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the pushes everyone. I’m still sitting here trying to get stuff done. Enough already. Get up Jackie. πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for this wonderful reminder. We’re slapped in the face every day with “leapfrog, don’t ladder climb” and yet we forget that in order to do either, we have to start crawling, then walking.

    I’ve always been a “bite off more than you can chew” kind of person, and this past year was my biggest lesson in humbling myself and starting much smaller. When I made that shift and started coaching my clients to just focus on the very next, smallest, most comfortable step they could take, things got better all the way around.

    I still have some anxiety about how small the steps are, but I’m also confident that these steps are a better choice. Like you, I get frustrated watching other people zoom and soar when we came up about the same time, but I also recognize that their circumstances and mine are not the same. Everyone comes to the table with different assets, gifts, liabilities, and obstacles. We each have different opportunities to give and also to receive. staying mindful of that ebb and flow is not always easy, but it’s been worth it for me.

    • What is an epic journey but a series of small steps? πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous

      Now you are making me think of that song from…what is it….one of those claymation Santa Claus specials…..”just put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor. Just put one foot in front of the other. And soon you’ll be walkin’ out the door.” Yes, scary, I know. πŸ™‚

      • “A Year Without Santa Claus!” is the movie and YES! I sing that song ALL the time. πŸ™‚

      • “Keep on swimming. Keep on swimming.” πŸ˜‰

      • I LOVE that song and sing it all the time…. it’s from Santa Claus is Coming to Town! When they’re teaching the now defrosted Winter Warlock how to walk! LOVE it!!!

    • Reading your comment, Lisa, reminded me of a Chinese proverb that goes something like: “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” Small steps are still steps. Just keep takin’ ’em. πŸ™‚

      • There is a reason a lot of SERIOUS marathon runners use the Run-Walk-Run method (taught by Jeff Galloway). ‘Cause it works!

  • Thank you for this wonderful reminder. We’re slapped in the face every day with “leapfrog, don’t ladder climb” and yet we forget that in order to do either, we have to start crawling, then walking.

    I’ve always been a “bite off more than you can chew” kind of person, and this past year was my biggest lesson in humbling myself and starting much smaller. When I made that shift and started coaching my clients to just focus on the very next, smallest, most comfortable step they could take, things got better all the way around.

    I still have some anxiety about how small the steps are, but I’m also confident that these steps are a better choice. Like you, I get frustrated watching other people zoom and soar when we came up about the same time, but I also recognize that their circumstances and mine are not the same. Everyone comes to the table with different assets, gifts, liabilities, and obstacles. We each have different opportunities to give and also to receive. staying mindful of that ebb and flow is not always easy, but it’s been worth it for me.

    • What is an epic journey but a series of small steps? πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous

      Now you are making me think of that song from…what is it….one of those claymation Santa Claus specials…..”just put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor. Just put one foot in front of the other. And soon you’ll be walkin’ out the door.” Yes, scary, I know. πŸ™‚

      • “A Year Without Santa Claus!” is the movie and YES! I sing that song ALL the time. πŸ™‚

      • “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” πŸ˜‰

      • I LOVE that song and sing it all the time…. it’s from Santa Claus is Coming to Town! When they’re teaching the now defrosted Winter Warlock how to walk! LOVE it!!!

    • Reading your comment, Lisa, reminded me of a Chinese proverb that goes something like: “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” Small steps are still steps. Just keep takin’ ’em. πŸ™‚

      • There is a reason a lot of SERIOUS marathon runners use the Run-Walk-Run method (taught by Jeff Galloway). ‘Cause it works!

  • Mark, reading your stuff is always, for me, what I imagine a ‘spa day’ to be like – however iIfeel at the start, I end up feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Thank you.

    Oh – and I thought I told you that stuff about Oprah in confidence.

    • Was just going to write that Mark’s post rivals yours as my faves so far in this series, Les. But, don’t tell anyone at the risk of slighting Gini…

      • I suspect after your post on Friday that you’re just fine with Gini for a while. But don’t worry, she’ll put you on her PITA list eventually – she always does πŸ™‚

      • Thanks! I was so unpopular and geeky in high school, this starts to alleviate some of that.

    • Anonymous

      You’ve never had an actual Spa Day?! It isn’t nearly as refreshing as, well, anything Mark writes, but I gotta tell you – it’s pretty awesome. Take Buddy – he’ll like the seaweed wrap.

      • Seaweed wrap? Like what I just had for lunch?

    • Dude, we must be twins, because that was *my* Oprah story… Glad it was relaxing for someone- after stressing about it for days trying to get it written for Taskmistress Sarah over here…

      • Anonymous

        I know….I am so very mean…..:-)

    • “Spa day” sounds like work to me…
      I’d rather go see a movie and eat noodles. πŸ™‚

  • Mark, reading your stuff is always, for me, what I imagine a ‘spa day’ to be like – however I feel at the start, I end up feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Thank you.

    Oh – and I thought I told you that stuff about Oprah in confidence.

    • Was just going to write that Mark’s post rivals yours as my faves so far in this series, Les. But, don’t tell anyone at the risk of slighting Gini…

      • I suspect after your post on Friday that you’re just fine with Gini for a while. But don’t worry, she’ll put you on her PITA list eventually – she always does πŸ™‚

      • Thanks! I was so unpopular and geeky in high school, this starts to alleviate some of that.

    • Anonymous

      You’ve never had an actual Spa Day?! It isn’t nearly as refreshing as, well, anything Mark writes, but I gotta tell you – it’s pretty awesome. Take Buddy – he’ll like the seaweed wrap.

      • Seaweed wrap? Like what I just had for lunch?

    • Dude, we must be twins, because that was *my* Oprah story… Glad it was relaxing for someone- after stressing about it for days trying to get it written for Taskmistress Sarah over here…

      • Anonymous

        I know….I am so very mean…..:-)

    • “Spa day” sounds like work to me…
      I’d rather go see a movie and eat noodles. πŸ™‚

  • Drennen

    Mark, Today’s post literally brought tears to my eyes πŸ™‚ Thank you. When I began this GYST journey 9 days ago, I realized just how lost I felt in my life and your story feels a lot like my own, although I’ve never given myself as much grace as you seem to have given yourself.

    Today I feel lighter, today I’m going to allow my heart to pare down my to-do list. I’m excited to see what’s left.

    Catch you all tomorrow πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous

      So so glad Dre. πŸ™‚

    • Yay! I’ll admit to you and you alone: tissues are our highest overhead, here at Heart of Business.

  • Drennen

    Mark, Today’s post literally brought tears to my eyes πŸ™‚ Thank you. When I began this GYST journey 9 days ago, I realized just how lost I felt in my life and your story feels a lot like my own, although I’ve never given myself as much grace as you seem to have given yourself.

    Today I feel lighter, today I’m going to allow my heart to pare down my to-do list. I’m excited to see what’s left.

    Catch you all tomorrow πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous

      So so glad Dre. πŸ™‚

    • Yay! I’ll admit to you and you alone: tissues are our highest overhead, here at Heart of Business.

  • Anonymous

    business tenderizer – love that! really awesome reminder mark to be asking ourselves “why the heck am i doing this anyhow?” as you say, not everything needs to be the “7 figure best selling book on oprah” kind of business… there is alot of great work to be done out there in the world outside of that goal, people who want/need what we have to offer in a way that truly serves us.

    I’ve heard folks say that you have to really WANT IT, have a BURNING DESIRE to create really big success in your biz. I do have that to a degree of course, but at the same time i’ve always felt like I was maybe missing something because it wasn’t so all encompassing (like I thought it *should* be? gak!) But then you know what? I don’t want to be so all consumed that i’m working 24/7 – in fact I very purposely do not work weekends and haven’t for many years now… that’s my family/downtime.

    Our businesses ultimately need to serve us – not the other way around.

    • Anonymous

      Tina!!!! SO glad you stopped by. πŸ™‚ And yeah – I’m totally with you. I’ve been to those rah-rah sessions where you supposed to really want it and go big and all that. Nothing wrong with all that. But I also want to have a) sanity and b) time with my family. That’s my burning desire. Thanks for the reminder. πŸ™‚

    • Amen, Tina, amen. And I’m thankful that my support has been partially trained by you- it makes my whole team so much more powerful. You rock!

  • Anonymous

    business tenderizer – love that! really awesome reminder mark to be asking ourselves “why the heck am i doing this anyhow?” as you say, not everything needs to be the “7 figure best selling book on oprah” kind of business… there is alot of great work to be done out there in the world outside of that goal, people who want/need what we have to offer in a way that truly serves us.

    I’ve heard folks say that you have to really WANT IT, have a BURNING DESIRE to create really big success in your biz. I do have that to a degree of course, but at the same time i’ve always felt like I was maybe missing something because it wasn’t so all encompassing (like I thought it *should* be? gak!) But then you know what? I don’t want to be so all consumed that i’m working 24/7 – in fact I very purposely do not work weekends and haven’t for many years now… that’s my family/downtime.

    Our businesses ultimately need to serve us – not the other way around.

    • Anonymous

      Tina!!!! SO glad you stopped by. πŸ™‚ And yeah – I’m totally with you. I’ve been to those rah-rah sessions where you supposed to really want it and go big and all that. Nothing wrong with all that. But I also want to have a) sanity and b) time with my family. That’s my burning desire. Thanks for the reminder. πŸ™‚

    • Amen, Tina, amen. And I’m thankful that my support has been partially trained by you- it makes my whole team so much more powerful. You rock!

  • I read this with wide eyes, drawing a correlation to similar circumstances (although not to the extent to your horrors of chronic illness, Mark) in my own life. Just want to share that somehow we get through day by day and those children and that ill partner or parent are what cause we with broad shoulders to get up each day; they are our inspiration to bring home the bread.

    Finding the spiritual time to center myself is always at risk, and when life happens like it did for me in January (w/ flu and emotional distress), it’s time to dial back, indeed. I need a way to dial back without guilt and say to all “May I please have a moment to get through my meltdown inside and regroup?”

    What amazes me about this series is the tugging emotion these posts are creating; I forget I’m reading a blog. Sarah, congratulations, again, really, in compiling such an amazingly diverse and astutely authoritative lineup here.

    • Anonymous

      I am very very blessed to have the friends I have, Soulati. And I love sharing them with you. πŸ™‚

    • Soulati- Indeed! dialing back is such a critical part- especially without the guilt- especially when you need it. My big practice is trying to dial back before I really need- so I don’t come to those crisis points as often. It’s a practice… πŸ™‚

  • I read this with wide eyes, drawing a correlation to similar circumstances (although not to the extent to your horrors of chronic illness, Mark) in my own life. Just want to share that somehow we get through day by day and those children and that ill partner or parent are what cause we with broad shoulders to get up each day; they are our inspiration to bring home the bread.

    Finding the spiritual time to center myself is always at risk, and when life happens like it did for me in January (w/ flu and emotional distress), it’s time to dial back, indeed. I need a way to dial back without guilt and say to all “May I please have a moment to get through my meltdown inside and regroup?”

    What amazes me about this series is the tugging emotion these posts are creating; I forget I’m reading a blog. Sarah, congratulations, again, really, in compiling such an amazingly diverse and astutely authoritative lineup here.

    • Anonymous

      I am very very blessed to have the friends I have, Soulati. And I love sharing them with you. πŸ™‚

    • Soulati- Indeed! dialing back is such a critical part- especially without the guilt- especially when you need it. My big practice is trying to dial back before I really need- so I don’t come to those crisis points as often. It’s a practice… πŸ™‚

  • Hi Mark … thanks for bringing this up. For the last several months I have been on a binge of eliminating everything unnecessary to make more space for creativity and ME in general. I have been someone to try and pack in everything I could into an already FULL schedule which made me feel like I was accomplishing something.

    Recently I ran across three questions that helped me greatly to focus on the 5-15% that make all the difference.

    They are:

    1) If you had a Heart Attack and could only Work 2 Hours a Day, what would you do?

    This got me down to the 15% level

    2) If you had a Second Heat Attack and could only work 2 Hours Per week what would you do?

    Down to the 10% level

    3) If there was a Gun at your head and you needed to remove 4/5th of your time consuming activities what would you quit?

    This got me down to the 5% level.

    Since I run my own business and I do have a few employees I spend a small amount of time everyday working with key employees and the rest enjoying my creative pursuits some of which are business related and many of which are personal. Productivity and profitability have only increased as a result … oh and yes R E L A X A T I O N …. and being present in the moment.

    Two other items have helped me greatly. One is a quote by Bruce Lee:

    One does not accumulate but eliminate.
    It is not by daily increase but daily decrease.
    The height of cultivation always runs to Simplicity”
    Bruce Lee

    And the other is a electronic sticky note I always keep in the middle of my desk top:

    Am I being productive
    or just active?

    I have found that eliminating everything extra coupled with NOT starting new things/projects/interests/hobbies/toys/etc. Plus focusing on the 5% has made an incredible difference in my lifestyle …. so much so that my life actually has some “style” in it now.

    Thanks Again ….

    • I love those questions. When we spent two months living in a hotel consumed by the adoption process it brought that kind of focus to the minimum of what’s needed. And yes, I’m guilty of often being active and not productive. I’m trying to remember that if I’m not being productive, maybe I need to rest and not be active, either. πŸ™‚

      • Ha Ha … good one Mark. The spaces in between all the words, notes, objects and activities are what’s important anyway right?

        Meet you in the “field” …. πŸ™‚

        Rumi – There is a field

        Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
        and rightdoing there is a field.
        I’ll meet you there.
        When the soul lies down in that grass
        the world is too full to talk about.

        Rumi

    • Thanks for the reminder of those questions Rhett, I’d forgotten about them, and how effective they can be in finding focus.

      • Thanks Zoe … good to keep coming back to the tools that work right? There are SO many great tools that they just keep piling on top of one another sometimes and old the ones can get forgotten altogether until we find them again and dust them off …. πŸ™‚

  • Hi Mark … thanks for bringing this up. For the last several months I have been on a binge of eliminating everything unnecessary to make more space for creativity and ME in general. I have been someone to try and pack in everything I could into an already FULL schedule which made me feel like I was accomplishing something.

    Recently I ran across three questions that helped me greatly to focus on the 5-15% that make all the difference.

    They are:

    1) If you had a Heart Attack and could only Work 2 Hours a Day, what would you do?

    This got me down to the 15% level

    2) If you had a Second Heat Attack and could only work 2 Hours Per week what would you do?

    Down to the 10% level

    3) If there was a Gun at your head and you needed to remove 4/5th of your time consuming activities what would you quit?

    This got me down to the 5% level.

    Since I run my own business and I do have a few employees I spend a small amount of time everyday working with key employees and the rest enjoying my creative pursuits some of which are business related and many of which are personal. Productivity and profitability have only increased as a result … oh and yes R E L A X A T I O N …. and being present in the moment.

    Two other items have helped me greatly. One is a quote by Bruce Lee:

    One does not accumulate but eliminate.
    It is not by daily increase but daily decrease.
    The height of cultivation always runs to Simplicity”
    Bruce Lee

    And the other is a electronic sticky note I always keep in the middle of my desk top:

    Am I being productive
    or just active?

    I have found that eliminating everything extra coupled with NOT starting new things/projects/interests/hobbies/toys/etc. Plus focusing on the 5% has made an incredible difference in my lifestyle …. so much so that my life actually has some “style” in it now.

    Thanks Again ….

    • I love those questions. When we spent two months living in a hotel consumed by the adoption process it brought that kind of focus to the minimum of what’s needed. And yes, I’m guilty of often being active and not productive. I’m trying to remember that if I’m not being productive, maybe I need to rest and not be active, either. πŸ™‚

      • Ha Ha … good one Mark. The spaces in between all the words, notes, objects and activities are what’s important anyway right?

        Meet you in the “field” …. πŸ™‚

        Rumi – There is a field

        Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
        and rightdoing there is a field.
        I’ll meet you there.
        When the soul lies down in that grass
        the world is too full to talk about.

        Rumi

    • Thanks for the reminder of those questions Rhett, I’d forgotten about them, and how effective they can be in finding focus.

      • Thanks Zoe … good to keep coming back to the tools that work right? There are SO many great tools that they just keep piling on top of one another sometimes and old the ones can get forgotten altogether until we find them again and dust them off …. πŸ™‚

  • Shoot.. I’m busted. I have one of those MindMaps where I am supposed to write down everything that pops up in my head.. seems like Oprah snook her way into my head.. Does it count that she was born here in Mississippi?

    Yuup, I also tried to become a over achiever. Going for the hole pie instead of trying to see how it taste one small piece at the time. It was kind of weird to discover what a difference those small changes do to you. If I just improve 1% every other week then I have the potential of a 26% improvement by the end of the year. And it can be as simple as just give a SMILE to everyone I meet. Change is not complicated unless we make it complicated.

    Actually when I asked my heart I was not dropping anything, I was picking up listening to humility. I am still learning. And I will still keep Oprah on my mind map. I will let you know about those kittens πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Cheers.. Are

    • That sneaky Oprah… Change is not complicated- nice reminder- thanks!

  • Shoot.. I’m busted. I have one of those MindMaps where I am supposed to write down everything that pops up in my head.. seems like Oprah snook her way into my head.. Does it count that she was born here in Mississippi?

    Yuup, I also tried to become a over achiever. Going for the hole pie instead of trying to see how it taste one small piece at the time. It was kind of weird to discover what a difference those small changes do to you. If I just improve 1% every other week then I have the potential of a 26% improvement by the end of the year. And it can be as simple as just give a SMILE to everyone I meet. Change is not complicated unless we make it complicated.

    Actually when I asked my heart I was not dropping anything, I was picking up listening to humility. I am still learning. And I will still keep Oprah on my mind map. I will let you know about those kittens πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Cheers.. Are

    • That sneaky Oprah… Change is not complicated- nice reminder- thanks!

  • Awesome Mark! I like to think of these posts over the course of the day… But in response to : “I’m going to suggest that you try accomplishing about 50% of what you think you should. Dial it way down, leaving open space for chaos.” Not just leaving it open for chaos… which some days my life has too much of… but open for creativity, brainstorming, etc.

    I keep trying to do this and when things get full and/or crazy I try to come back to this. It’s like an ebb and flow.

    Thank you and I might have more to add tonight after it simmers in my brain.

    • Yes, indeed. I actually like to include the creativity and brainstorming in the 50%- so that creativity and brainstorming don’t become extra swirled in with the chaos. It makes for a full day, making space for the chaos. πŸ™‚ I’m not so successful always, but I’m working it.

  • Awesome Mark! I like to think of these posts over the course of the day… But in response to : “I’m going to suggest that you try accomplishing about 50% of what you think you should. Dial it way down, leaving open space for chaos.” Not just leaving it open for chaos… which some days my life has too much of… but open for creativity, brainstorming, etc.

    I keep trying to do this and when things get full and/or crazy I try to come back to this. It’s like an ebb and flow.

    Thank you and I might have more to add tonight after it simmers in my brain.

    • Yes, indeed. I actually like to include the creativity and brainstorming in the 50%- so that creativity and brainstorming don’t become extra swirled in with the chaos. It makes for a full day, making space for the chaos. πŸ™‚ I’m not so successful always, but I’m working it.

  • DanielleMiller

    Thank you Mark, for a lovely calming post in the middle of a hectic, crazy day. It was a breath of fresh air to read your post today. That CHAOS factor is a really wonderful point; “the best laid plans” are usually the first ones that end up in chaos!

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom today:)

    • You are so welcome- glad to hear I was successful with my intent… ahhh…..

  • DanielleMiller

    Thank you Mark, for a lovely calming post in the middle of a hectic, crazy day. It was a breath of fresh air to read your post today. That CHAOS factor is a really wonderful point; “the best laid plans” are usually the first ones that end up in chaos!

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom today:)

    • You are so welcome- glad to hear I was successful with my intent… ahhh…..

  • I am loving this post, kinda swimming around in it. I took myself out to breakfast this morning and wrote a text to a friend saying, ” I am resisting my to-do list today… and I am consciously resisting it which is so much better than unconsciously resisting it.”

    I am in rebuilding mode with my business and it is so different than the first time when I was all about it. I spent so much time working on it… and yes, I was one of those “I can do it all!” including the Oprah thing and hell, I still want to be on Oprah. I would be a much better guest now, actually… much more interesting. I don’t think it has to be either/or actually. I can be on Oprah with my gentler approach, with my leaving space for a crisis at my son’s school (he is having challenges due to a rough patch after three years of fairly smooth sailing which scares all parents and for parents for kids on the spectrum… it is even even scarier… and I leave room for whatever may come. I tell clients and students, “If something comes up with any of my children, they come first.”

    It helps to create a guilt-free environment this way.

    And I have created a life that allows me this space for chaos and it also allows me space to go away to take soul retreats on my own and spontaneous adventures and curate art shows and do improv poetry without feeling like a dork… I just feel like me, with my many facets attached.

    Serving the world with my me-ness… loving others as they serve the world with their me-ness.

    It isn’t always clean. It doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes I find myself angry and sometimes I find myself ecstatic. These days, I always seem to find hands to hold as we share this adventure. This world. These loves.

    Thank you, Mark and Sarah, for this vital reminder. Soul ambition is where I live now. It is beautiful here.

    • Amen, Julie. And I have to admit, I’ve been on Oprah- and it hardly had any results. Of course, I was in a very different business/industry at the time- but still, we saw almost nothing come from it. Sometimes we pin expectations on the big things, and it’s the little things that are more effective.

      • MARK – YOU’VE BEEN ON OPRAH?! Did she get you kittens, puppies, or just a gaggle of new Camaros? πŸ˜‰

        • No, I got ambushed by a hostile psychologist. This was back in the early 1990s. πŸ™‚

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t know you’d been on Oprah. And here I have to find it out on my own blog. harumph.

  • I am loving this post, kinda swimming around in it. I took myself out to breakfast this morning and wrote a text to a friend saying, ” I am resisting my to-do list today… and I am consciously resisting it which is so much better than unconsciously resisting it.”

    I am in rebuilding mode with my business and it is so different than the first time when I was all about it. I spent so much time working on it… and yes, I was one of those “I can do it all!” including the Oprah thing and hell, I still want to be on Oprah. I would be a much better guest now, actually… much more interesting. I don’t think it has to be either/or actually. I can be on Oprah with my gentler approach, with my leaving space for a crisis at my son’s school (he is having challenges due to a rough patch after three years of fairly smooth sailing which scares all parents and for parents for kids on the spectrum… it is even even scarier… and I leave room for whatever may come. I tell clients and students, “If something comes up with any of my children, they come first.”

    It helps to create a guilt-free environment this way.

    And I have created a life that allows me this space for chaos and it also allows me space to go away to take soul retreats on my own and spontaneous adventures and curate art shows and do improv poetry without feeling like a dork… I just feel like me, with my many facets attached.

    Serving the world with my me-ness… loving others as they serve the world with their me-ness.

    It isn’t always clean. It doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes I find myself angry and sometimes I find myself ecstatic. These days, I always seem to find hands to hold as we share this adventure. This world. These loves.

    Thank you, Mark and Sarah, for this vital reminder. Soul ambition is where I live now. It is beautiful here.

    • Amen, Julie. And I have to admit, I’ve been on Oprah- and it hardly had any results. Of course, I was in a very different business/industry at the time- but still, we saw almost nothing come from it. Sometimes we pin expectations on the big things, and it’s the little things that are more effective.

      • MARK – YOU’VE BEEN ON OPRAH?! Did she get you kittens, puppies, or just a gaggle of new Camaros? πŸ˜‰

        • No, I got ambushed by a hostile psychologist. This was back in the early 1990s. πŸ™‚

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t know you’d been on Oprah. And here I have to find it out on my own blog. harumph.

  • Hey Mark…

    Before I even got to this post today, I just KNEW it was going to speak to me exactly where I’m at. And where I’m at today is realizing is screwing up the courage enough to drop something that I (in my head) “knew” I should do, I could do, I should be able to do, other people can do, people expect me to do, there’s no reason not to do…. except that my spirit knew otherwise and, quite simply, I didn’t want to do. I forgot a lesson I learned from Sarah last year, aka “if my response to an opportunity isn’t a “hell yes!” then I need to make it a “no”… or that “lukewarm” opportunity is going to drain me of time and energy that I won’t have available when the “hell yes!” opportunities come along.

    And – guess what? What had me realize my mistake is exactly what you wrote about: (1) me thinking I am better than I am (aka have my act together more than I really do), (2) caring what other people think and expect and (3) CHAOS in the form of something completely out of right field that showed up in my life a week ago that is WAY more important for me to devote my energy toward than this thing I had said I would do.

    And yet, it is so HARD for me sometimes to “dial things back”, to check my “ego” at the door, to shatter the illusions I have about myself and to do what I can do and REALLY want to do – WITH BREATHING ROOM and with peace and joy and even (perish the thought!) some ease. I think it all comes back to three things: (1) thinking enough of myself (2) not caring so damn much what other people think – especially since I’m making up a lot of what they’re thinking anyway and (3) trusting God is at work in my life and through me in ways that I may not always see or understand… but loving ways that provide for me and my true needs, desires and well-being.

    So – having typed that – what is there for me to do? Drop it. I’m canceling the evening workshop I had scheduled for Phoenix later this month. And I’m feeling a bit nauseous writing that here… especially without any further explanation than this. Gulp! After all, what will you and everyone here think? (LOL! – a little on the weak side – but still an LOL!)

    Thank you again for sharing this… it was JUST what I needed today.

    • You are so welcome, Teresa. Good for you for canceling- rock on!

    • You don’t owe an explanation. You’re doing what you do. That’s how it goes.

      • Thanks Mark & Mark!

        And I didn’t give an explanation…. but that felt SO weird! Yay me! (gulp) πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous

      No. (pronounce the period). It’s a complete sentence. I remember when someone taught me that. I thought it was some sort of trick question. YAY for you for 1) doing it and 2) not explaining. πŸ™‚

  • Hey Mark…

    Before I even got to this post today, I just KNEW it was going to speak to me exactly where I’m at. And where I’m at today is realizing is screwing up the courage enough to drop something that I (in my head) “knew” I should do, I could do, I should be able to do, other people can do, people expect me to do, there’s no reason not to do…. except that my spirit knew otherwise and, quite simply, I didn’t want to do. I forgot a lesson I learned from Sarah last year, aka “if my response to an opportunity isn’t a “hell yes!” then I need to make it a “no”… or that “lukewarm” opportunity is going to drain me of time and energy that I won’t have available when the “hell yes!” opportunities come along.

    And – guess what? What had me realize my mistake is exactly what you wrote about: (1) me thinking I am better than I am (aka have my act together more than I really do), (2) caring what other people think and expect and (3) CHAOS in the form of something completely out of right field that showed up in my life a week ago that is WAY more important for me to devote my energy toward than this thing I had said I would do.

    And yet, it is so HARD for me sometimes to “dial things back”, to check my “ego” at the door, to shatter the illusions I have about myself and to do what I can do and REALLY want to do – WITH BREATHING ROOM and with peace and joy and even (perish the thought!) some ease. I think it all comes back to three things: (1) thinking enough of myself (2) not caring so damn much what other people think – especially since I’m making up a lot of what they’re thinking anyway and (3) trusting God is at work in my life and through me in ways that I may not always see or understand… but loving ways that provide for me and my true needs, desires and well-being.

    So – having typed that – what is there for me to do? Drop it. I’m canceling the evening workshop I had scheduled for Phoenix later this month. And I’m feeling a bit nauseous writing that here… especially without any further explanation than this. Gulp! After all, what will you and everyone here think? (LOL! – a little on the weak side – but still an LOL!)

    Thank you again for sharing this… it was JUST what I needed today.

    • You are so welcome, Teresa. Good for you for canceling- rock on!

    • You don’t owe an explanation. You’re doing what you do. That’s how it goes.

      • Thanks Mark & Mark!

        And I didn’t give an explanation…. but that felt SO weird! Yay me! (gulp) πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous

      No. (pronounce the period). It’s a complete sentence. I remember when someone taught me that. I thought it was some sort of trick question. YAY for you for 1) doing it and 2) not explaining. πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Mark, this post rocks. Thanks for sharing your experience over these years. One of my clients said to me yesterday that some of the best guidance I gave her was to accept and embrace exactly where she was. This is the key for so many of us. Love, relax, let go and trust. Thank you for being a model and leading the way.

    • Thanks, Alexis! You’ve been so transparently vulnerably inspiring lately, I’m glad to throw some chits in the pile as well. πŸ™‚

    • Donna

      love the “accept and embrace exactly where (you are)” statement. Such a huge part of this discussion! Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Mark, this post rocks. Thanks for sharing your experience over these years. One of my clients said to me yesterday that some of the best guidance I gave her was to accept and embrace exactly where she was. This is the key for so many of us. Love, relax, let go and trust. Thank you for being a model and leading the way.

    • Thanks, Alexis! You’ve been so transparently vulnerably inspiring lately, I’m glad to throw some chits in the pile as well. πŸ™‚

    • love the “accept and embrace exactly where (you are)” statement. Such a huge part of this discussion! Thanks!

  • This is so right on, Mark. It’s so easy to succumb to the pressure of “success” or reaching the top. That can really damage you. I know it caused me to fail, miserably, twice.

    The first time was because of rank hypocrisy. I tried to enter the self-help market because it was a “booming” market and I thought I could “make a killing”. Yeah, right. I was 402 lbs. and single because I was a cynic and nobody could stand being around me. But on the Internet “nobody knows you a dog”. And I was going to tell people how to improve their lives — uh, huh. Eventually the guilt and effort of trying to hide who I was ate at me and wore me down until I finally admitted my sin and shut down my site. I was an idiot and a hypocrite and I quit because I needed to pay attention to what I was “saying” and start living it. Since then I’ve lost over 130 lbs. and am still losing. I’m still single, but now it’s by choice and not by driving people away (at least I hope πŸ™‚

    The second time was because I pushed too fast following all the “advice” from the blogging gurus. Publish every day, and do all this social media stuff and do this and do that etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately, attempting to do all that stuff completely exhausted me and sucked up every ounce of creativity I had in me. I totally burned out, and my blog has been shut down for over a year because of it.

    So here I am trying to get my sh*t together. Ambition has definitely been dialed down several notches. Now my intent is to simply speak my piece, help people with WordPress and build some good and healthy relationships (both online and off), and let the, as you put it, wind blow me where it may. Sure I have some goals and direction, but like you said, there is a lot that is simply out of our control. So being consistent, with my goals in mind, and going with the flow is my new theme song. I’m hoping that will help me make the kind of progress that will both improve my life and maybe, hopefully, help someone else improve theirs too.

    • David- oh, such interesting paths we walk, eh? Thank you for being so transparent- and for continuing the journey despite it all! Rock on.

    • Anonymous

      Wow David. that is an incredible story. if you ever have a blog again, what you just wrote should be your about page.

    • Kristin

      Agree with Sarah. Great comment, David. Thank you for sharing your story and what you’ve learned from it so openly.

    • Thank you, Mark. Your post has really encouraged me to strive to be much more conscious and less ambitious in setting direction and in my efforts to move forward. I appreciate what you shared with us today.

      Thanks Sarah. I do intend to blog again. I’m just moving toward it slowly, asking myself what went wrong (so I can learn from my mistakes) and what must I do to make the blog a real blessing to those who visit and (hopefully) subscribe. Not always easy questions to answer, but these sessions here are truly helping a lot. I thank you and your guest writers from the depths of my heart for the value you all have provided so far.

      I will consider putting this into my about page (as scary as that feels :-). Also I hope you’ll get well soon. I was sorry to hear that you are sick. You are in my prayers. πŸ™‚

      Thank you, Kristin for your encouragement. It means a great deal to me.

  • This is so right on, Mark. It’s so easy to succumb to the pressure of “success” or reaching the top. That can really damage you. I know it caused me to fail, miserably, twice.

    The first time was because of rank hypocrisy. I tried to enter the self-help market because it was a “booming” market and I thought I could “make a killing”. Yeah, right. I was 402 lbs. and single because I was a cynic and nobody could stand being around me. But on the Internet “nobody knows you a dog”. And I was going to tell people how to improve their lives — uh, huh. Eventually the guilt and effort of trying to hide who I was ate at me and wore me down until I finally admitted my sin and shut down my site. I was an idiot and a hypocrite and I quit because I needed to pay attention to what I was “saying” and start living it. Since then I’ve lost over 130 lbs. and am still losing. I’m still single, but now it’s by choice and not by driving people away (at least I hope πŸ™‚

    The second time was because I pushed too fast following all the “advice” from the blogging gurus. Publish every day, and do all this social media stuff and do this and do that etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately, attempting to do all that stuff completely exhausted me and sucked up every ounce of creativity I had in me. I totally burned out, and my blog has been shut down for over a year because of it.

    So here I am trying to get my sh*t together. Ambition has definitely been dialed down several notches. Now my intent is to simply speak my piece, help people with WordPress and build some good and healthy relationships (both online and off), and let the, as you put it, wind blow me where it may. Sure I have some goals and direction, but like you said, there is a lot that is simply out of our control. So being consistent, with my goals in mind, and going with the flow is my new theme song. I’m hoping that will help me make the kind of progress that will both improve my life and maybe, hopefully, help someone else improve theirs too.

    • David- oh, such interesting paths we walk, eh? Thank you for being so transparent- and for continuing the journey despite it all! Rock on.

    • Anonymous

      Wow David. that is an incredible story. if you ever have a blog again, what you just wrote should be your about page.

    • Kristin

      Agree with Sarah. Great comment, David. Thank you for sharing your story and what you’ve learned from it so openly.

    • Thank you, Mark. Your post has really encouraged me to strive to be much more conscious and less ambitious in setting direction and in my efforts to move forward. I appreciate what you shared with us today.

      Thanks Sarah. I do intend to blog again. I’m just moving toward it slowly, asking myself what went wrong (so I can learn from my mistakes) and what must I do to make the blog a real blessing to those who visit and (hopefully) subscribe. Not always easy questions to answer, but these sessions here are truly helping a lot. I thank you and your guest writers from the depths of my heart for the value you all have provided so far.

      I will consider putting this into my about page (as scary as that feels :-). Also I hope you’ll get well soon. I was sorry to hear that you are sick. You are in my prayers. πŸ™‚

      Thank you, Kristin for your encouragement. It means a great deal to me.

  • Anonymous

    I am sick today. I was sick yesterday. So I am not firing at full capacity. Not even 50%. Things are taking me 5x longer than usual to do because I have to think so hard. So, because I KNOW this is what you would say Mark, I am going to rest. I’ve done the most critical things that HAD to get done. The world will not stop spinning if I let myself rest now. Perfect timing for me. πŸ™‚

    • Hey Sarah, good for you hun. After taking the time and effort to put together and provide such an awesome resource I’d defy anyone to say you hadn’t earnt a little r&r. Looking forward to having you back in full form. Hope you get well soon. : )

    • I am so glad to hear you are resting. And please stop popping onto twitter- rest. rest. rest. πŸ™‚

    • Good for you chief.

      • Anonymous

        I tried to rest. Really I did. And, for me, being the awful sick person that I am, I think I did relatively well. Will go to bed early. Promise. πŸ™‚

    • Kristin

      Good for you to take it easier today, Sarah. Hope you’ll feel better soon. The world won’t go down. Neither GYST, your tribe keeps going πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    I am sick today. I was sick yesterday. So I am not firing at full capacity. Not even 50%. Things are taking me 5x longer than usual to do because I have to think so hard. So, because I KNOW this is what you would say Mark, I am going to rest. I’ve done the most critical things that HAD to get done. The world will not stop spinning if I let myself rest now. Perfect timing for me. πŸ™‚

    • Hey Sarah, good for you hun. After taking the time and effort to put together and provide such an awesome resource I’d defy anyone to say you hadn’t earnt a little r&r. Looking forward to having you back in full form. Hope you get well soon. : )

    • I am so glad to hear you are resting. And please stop popping onto twitter- rest. rest. rest. πŸ™‚

    • Good for you chief.

      • Anonymous

        I tried to rest. Really I did. And, for me, being the awful sick person that I am, I think I did relatively well. Will go to bed early. Promise. πŸ™‚

    • Kristin

      Good for you to take it easier today, Sarah. Hope you’ll feel better soon. The world won’t go down. Neither GYST, your tribe keeps going πŸ™‚

  • Asuncion

    Thanks a lot for such a sensible article obviously written from the heart!!

  • Asuncion

    Thanks a lot for such a sensible article obviously written from the heart!!

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful post, Mark! As always, your words and message have impacted me on many levels, so thank you.

    I’ve noticed recently that ambition can be like a ravenous monster that gets hungrier and hungrier the more we feed it, slowly crowding out everything else around it. And, while achievement can be a good thing, if left unchecked, it can both instigate and perpetuate unhealthy habits, attitudes and behaviors (said from personal experience!). In fact, I can look back to the times I’ve felt really burnt out and exhausted and tie it directly to an over-active drive to achieve.

    Regarding the importance of creating open space, I see that as not only important for the unexpected chaos and crisis, but also for the unexpected OPPORTUNITIES as well. Without room in our schedules, our bandwidth or our emotional tanks, we can’t invite in or receive any of the delightful, unexpected opportunities that come our way either. I’m definitely relearning this lesson myself right now and actually blocking off time on the calendar as placeholders to handle both the chaos and the unexpected opportunities. Of course, it’s all opportunity to learn and grow, but I think you know what I mean in using this distinction πŸ™‚

    Thank you for challenging me to create the space my heart has been asking (and begging) for me to create. Namaste, my friend!

    • Great imagery Liz, ‘ravenous ambition monster’!! I feel like it would make a great embodiment of one of the biggest nemesis to my Decision Making Diva superhero. : )

    • Anonymous

      Years ago I read, and I cannot for the life of me remember in what book, that we have to create and TOLERATE empty space if we want to invite something new. No space = no fun new stuff. so when I am feeling all jammed up, I look around and inevitably every nook and cranny of my physical, emotional and mental space is crammed to the gills. So I start clearing out. Thank you my friend, for reminding me that it’s about time that I do that again. πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful post, Mark! As always, your words and message have impacted me on many levels, so thank you.

    I’ve noticed recently that ambition can be like a ravenous monster that gets hungrier and hungrier the more we feed it, slowly crowding out everything else around it. And, while achievement can be a good thing, if left unchecked, it can both instigate and perpetuate unhealthy habits, attitudes and behaviors (said from personal experience!). In fact, I can look back to the times I’ve felt really burnt out and exhausted and tie it directly to an over-active drive to achieve.

    Regarding the importance of creating open space, I see that as not only important for the unexpected chaos and crisis, but also for the unexpected OPPORTUNITIES as well. Without room in our schedules, our bandwidth or our emotional tanks, we can’t invite in or receive any of the delightful, unexpected opportunities that come our way either. I’m definitely relearning this lesson myself right now and actually blocking off time on the calendar as placeholders to handle both the chaos and the unexpected opportunities. Of course, it’s all opportunity to learn and grow, but I think you know what I mean in using this distinction πŸ™‚

    Thank you for challenging me to create the space my heart has been asking (and begging) for me to create. Namaste, my friend!

    • Great imagery Liz, ‘ravenous ambition monster’!! I feel like it would make a great embodiment of one of the biggest nemesis to my Decision Making Diva superhero. : )

    • Anonymous

      Years ago I read, and I cannot for the life of me remember in what book, that we have to create and TOLERATE empty space if we want to invite something new. No space = no fun new stuff. so when I am feeling all jammed up, I look around and inevitably every nook and cranny of my physical, emotional and mental space is crammed to the gills. So I start clearing out. Thank you my friend, for reminding me that it’s about time that I do that again. πŸ™‚

  • Thanks a lot Mark!I really enjoyed your such a sensible article, written obviously from the heart.Beautifully practical!As life!
    Thanks 2U&Sarah

  • Thanks a lot Mark!I really enjoyed your such a sensible article, written obviously from the heart.Beautifully practical!As life!
    Thanks 2U&Sarah

  • A reminder to pause and drop back into my heart–thank you! I had to do that just today after reading your post. A friend called to say she was in the neighborhood and did I want to grab a cup of coffee. I looked at the 18 things on my to-do list and almost said no, but stopped and remembered: This is why I work for myself. So I can take a measly half-hour that I probably would have wasted just f-ing around on the internet anyway and go connect–LIVE–with a good friend. I’m back and energized. Thanks for helping me remember what’s really important.

  • A reminder to pause and drop back into my heart–thank you! I had to do that just today after reading your post. A friend called to say she was in the neighborhood and did I want to grab a cup of coffee. I looked at the 18 things on my to-do list and almost said no, but stopped and remembered: This is why I work for myself. So I can take a measly half-hour that I probably would have wasted just f-ing around on the internet anyway and go connect–LIVE–with a good friend. I’m back and energized. Thanks for helping me remember what’s really important.

  • A reminder to pause and drop back into my heart–thank you! I had to do that just today after reading your post. A friend called to say she was in the neighborhood and did I want to grab a cup of coffee. I looked at the 18 things on my to-do list and almost said no, but stopped and remembered: This is why I work for myself. So I can take a measly half-hour that I probably would have wasted just f-ing around on the internet anyway and go connect–LIVE–with a good friend. I’m back and energized. Thanks for helping me remember what’s really important.

  • Mark, this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. I’m torn between leaving a comment now and taking a nap (late nights & too-early mornings). But I owe you a comment for putting your heart out here.

    Thank you for your honesty. For putting things in perspective. For giving us permission not to scale Everest today. Honestly. I have been exhausted by everyone’s Rah-rah! Go Tackle! Do Do! drum-beating. And I’m a coach who believes almost anything is possible. But we have to keep our egos in check. What’s it all about, Alfie?! So we’ll be Important? Heal our insecurities? At some point, it can’t all be about six-figure incomes and all that jazz. I’ve had it and felt owned by it. Now — for me — it’s about freedom, creativity, living from the heart and making a difference.

    What helps me is asking the Divine how it wants to express in me, through me, as me today. Woah! And then anything can happen. And what happens is often better than I planned, even if it takes time for me to see that.

    The last couple of years, I’ve been given the opportunity to take on more and more of my mother’s care, especially as her dementia progresses. Glamorous? Hardly. But so rich, I wouldn’t trade it for a regular slot on Oprah or all the kittens in the world. There are a gazillion things I want to do for my business, and my “strides” are truly baby steps right now. But I am moving forward — hence my Tiny Changes blog — and I trust that it will come together as long as I stay open and “in the dance” with the God of my understanding.

    Today, I’m setting my dial on the joy I feel, the hope I can inspire, the comfort I can give and the grace I receive. Thanks for helping me put that into focus. Truly.

    • Anonymous

      Love your last sentence Kat. so beautifully elegant. Thank you for that. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks, Sarah. And thank YOU for putting together this series. I’m in awe of how you can marshall some of the top bloggers/thinkers into such a powerful program. Again. And they’ll do it gladly for you, because you’ve got the goods, Miss Sarah.

  • Mark, this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. I’m torn between leaving a comment now and taking a nap (late nights & too-early mornings). But I owe you a comment for putting your heart out here.

    Thank you for your honesty. For putting things in perspective. For giving us permission not to scale Everest today. Honestly. I have been exhausted by everyone’s Rah-rah! Go Tackle! Do Do! drum-beating. And I’m a coach who believes almost anything is possible. But we have to keep our egos in check. What’s it all about, Alfie?! So we’ll be Important? Heal our insecurities? At some point, it can’t all be about six-figure incomes and all that jazz. I’ve had it and felt owned by it. Now — for me — it’s about freedom, creativity, living from the heart and making a difference.

    What helps me is asking the Divine how it wants to express in me, through me, as me today. Woah! And then anything can happen. And what happens is often better than I planned, even if it takes time for me to see that.

    The last couple of years, I’ve been given the opportunity to take on more and more of my mother’s care, especially as her dementia progresses. Glamorous? Hardly. But so rich, I wouldn’t trade it for a regular slot on Oprah or all the kittens in the world. There are a gazillion things I want to do for my business, and my “strides” are truly baby steps right now. But I am moving forward — hence my Tiny Changes blog — and I trust that it will come together as long as I stay open and “in the dance” with the God of my understanding.

    Today, I’m setting my dial on the joy I feel, the hope I can inspire, the comfort I can give and the grace I receive. Thanks for helping me put that into focus. Truly.

    • Anonymous

      Love your last sentence Kat. so beautifully elegant. Thank you for that. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks, Sarah. And thank YOU for putting together this series. I’m in awe of how you can marshall some of the top bloggers/thinkers into such a powerful program. Again. And they’ll do it gladly for you, because you’ve got the goods, Miss Sarah.

  • This resonated with me in a way that relates to my own company. As a web designer/developer/consultant, one can very quickly become overwhelmed by the many facets of this business. When I started 10 years ago, I had this crazy notion that I had to know everything about everything to do with websites in order to be successful and authentic. Insane, right?

    About five years ago, I began to let go of the idea that I had to “do it all.” I began to examine what aspects of my business I do best, which ones I enjoy, which ones make me procrastinate and which ones I loathe. The parts that I loathe and procrastinate on get handed over to someone more suited to the task. As a result, my business has grown exponentially in the last few years.

    (By the way, Mark, your boys share a birthday with my son!)

    • Shared birthdays! November 11 is definitely one of my favorite days in the year. πŸ™‚

      • When I read that your boys were born the same day as my son, I thought, “Oh my, he’s got two of them!” Mine is at the mountain-climbing Tasmanian devil stage.

    • Kristin

      Good for you to outsource the tasks you don’t like to do and procrastinate. Not easy for everyone to give up control. But it actually gave you more control over your business and brought back the fun and the passion πŸ™‚

      • You’re right, and it hasn’t been easy for me to give up control either, but it gets easier with practice. Believe it or not, one of the hardest things for me to give up is filing! I have a fear of people who can’t alphabetize!

  • This resonated with me in a way that relates to my own company. As a web designer/developer/consultant, one can very quickly become overwhelmed by the many facets of this business. When I started 10 years ago, I had this crazy notion that I had to know everything about everything to do with websites in order to be successful and authentic. Insane, right?

    About five years ago, I began to let go of the idea that I had to “do it all.” I began to examine what aspects of my business I do best, which ones I enjoy, which ones make me procrastinate and which ones I loathe. The parts that I loathe and procrastinate on get handed over to someone more suited to the task. As a result, my business has grown exponentially in the last few years.

    (By the way, Mark, your boys share a birthday with my son!)

    • Shared birthdays! November 11 is definitely one of my favorite days in the year. πŸ™‚

      • When I read that your boys were born the same day as my son, I thought, “Oh my, he’s got two of them!” Mine is at the mountain-climbing Tasmanian devil stage.

    • Kristin

      Good for you to outsource the tasks you don’t like to do and procrastinate. Not easy for everyone to give up control. But it actually gave you more control over your business and brought back the fun and the passion πŸ™‚

      • You’re right, and it hasn’t been easy for me to give up control either, but it gets easier with practice. Believe it or not, one of the hardest things for me to give up is filing! I have a fear of people who can’t alphabetize!

  • Ahh, the “What About Bob?” way of working at it. It really works. I go to sleep at night, knowing that I’ll be happy to wake up in the morning, that’s the start of it all.

    Everyone is meant for success, but at the end of each day, not making it onto Oprah or not being on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, or whatever – does not mean that day was a failure. Realism helps. Realism makes life worth being life.

    If you weren’t sure you’d make it through the day, and you do – that’s as good or better than Oprah. Bar none.

    • It so depends on how you define success, eh? πŸ™‚

      • precisely…and since the definition is up to the individual, and personalizable…there’s no excuse.

    • One of my favorite movies, Mark. And my favorite scene: http://bit.ly/fkkV37

  • Ahh, the “What About Bob?” way of working at it. It really works. I go to sleep at night, knowing that I’ll be happy to wake up in the morning, that’s the start of it all.

    Everyone is meant for success, but at the end of each day, not making it onto Oprah or not being on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, or whatever – does not mean that day was a failure. Realism helps. Realism makes life worth being life.

    If you weren’t sure you’d make it through the day, and you do – that’s as good or better than Oprah. Bar none.

    • It so depends on how you define success, eh? πŸ™‚

      • precisely…and since the definition is up to the individual, and personalizable…there’s no excuse.

    • One of my favorite movies, Mark. And my favorite scene: http://bit.ly/fkkV37

  • A great post Mark, your comment about 50% as this reminded me of something I have forgotten for quite some time.

    When I originally started training to be a coach I used to meet with two good friends once a week to discuss our accomplishments in the previous week, and set new commitments for the upcoming week. Every week we held each other accountable. My system for doing this was to write out what I needed to accomplish in the coming week, and then set a goal to finish at least half of what I wrote down.

    I considered 50% to be my threshold for a successful week.

    Since starting my actual business last June, I have definitely strayed from this 50% success number and tried to cram more and more into each week. It hasn’t worked so great.

    Last week I was at an event called “Tour de Coach” where Chris Carmichael stated that “you cannot overtrain and athlete, but you can under-recover and athlete”. His focus is not on the doing, it is on the resting in between the doing and taking care of yourself so you re-energize.

    Your idea of accomplishing 50% really leaves a nice big amount of space for this type of recovery and self-care.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Jeremie

    • Nice- I love that- about the recovery time. And I bet Tour de Coach rocked- how was it?

      • It was amazing, though it has pretty much turned a lot of the ideas around my business upside down, so I have a lot of thinking and reframing to do to integrate some of the ideas.

        I have actually completely restructured my monthly coaching offer and plan on putting a beta test offer out soon to see if it works/if people are interested.

        I am also having to rethink my work week as I am realizing I would really benefit from three days off a week instead of the standard two (not that I usually take two days off, ubt that was the goal up till now). So refiguring my already too busy business to now function in four, not three days should be fun.

        All in all it was a fabulous event!

        Jeremie

  • A great post Mark, your comment about 50% as this reminded me of something I have forgotten for quite some time.

    When I originally started training to be a coach I used to meet with two good friends once a week to discuss our accomplishments in the previous week, and set new commitments for the upcoming week. Every week we held each other accountable. My system for doing this was to write out what I needed to accomplish in the coming week, and then set a goal to finish at least half of what I wrote down.

    I considered 50% to be my threshold for a successful week.

    Since starting my actual business last June, I have definitely strayed from this 50% success number and tried to cram more and more into each week. It hasn’t worked so great.

    Last week I was at an event called “Tour de Coach” where Chris Carmichael stated that “you cannot overtrain and athlete, but you can under-recover and athlete”. His focus is not on the doing, it is on the resting in between the doing and taking care of yourself so you re-energize.

    Your idea of accomplishing 50% really leaves a nice big amount of space for this type of recovery and self-care.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Jeremie

    • Nice- I love that- about the recovery time. And I bet Tour de Coach rocked- how was it?

      • It was amazing, though it has pretty much turned a lot of the ideas around my business upside down, so I have a lot of thinking and reframing to do to integrate some of the ideas.

        I have actually completely restructured my monthly coaching offer and plan on putting a beta test offer out soon to see if it works/if people are interested.

        I am also having to rethink my work week as I am realizing I would really benefit from three days off a week instead of the standard two (not that I usually take two days off, ubt that was the goal up till now). So refiguring my already too busy business to now function in four, not three days should be fun.

        All in all it was a fabulous event!

        Jeremie

  • Mark,
    Thank you for sharing and even though we are not related can I claim you as a distant cousin? I love your concept of give yourself a break because you may control most of your life but you don’t control all of it. Love your priorities, too. Sometimes the business has to give, but I’ll bet sometime your family also sacrifices. Good for you and good for us having read this post.

  • Mark,
    Thank you for sharing and even though we are not related can I claim you as a distant cousin? I love your concept of give yourself a break because you may control most of your life but you don’t control all of it. Love your priorities, too. Sometimes the business has to give, but I’ll bet sometime your family also sacrifices. Good for you and good for us having read this post.

  • Mark, thank you. This is an area that I definitely need to work on. I find myself putting together t0-do lists with items on it that are serious projects in their own right. Then when the end of the day comes, if I didn’t get everything done, it feels like I’m failing. I suppose it’s closer to the truth that I have put too much on my plate and need a reality check. Part two of that for me is reaching out and getting help from others, as I realized after reading the post Les wrote last week.

    This is actually an interesting (and I believe complementary) post to the one Jonathan Fields wrote a week or so ago on ‘What Pros Do.’ It’s so tempting for many of us to look only at the successes that people have with their writing, their businesses, etc. without truly reflecting on the setbacks, the chaos, and the emotional drain that it takes to get there. I really appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness in putting this out there.

    • Kristin

      Reminds me of something I read the other day (forgot where…) that we tend to compare our inner self with other people’s outer self. Meaning we compare our invisible weaknesses with other people’s visible successes. And since we compare one self from us to probably five different others we have no chance to win this unfair competition.

  • Mark, thank you. This is an area that I definitely need to work on. I find myself putting together t0-do lists with items on it that are serious projects in their own right. Then when the end of the day comes, if I didn’t get everything done, it feels like I’m failing. I suppose it’s closer to the truth that I have put too much on my plate and need a reality check. Part two of that for me is reaching out and getting help from others, as I realized after reading the post Les wrote last week.

    This is actually an interesting (and I believe complementary) post to the one Jonathan Fields wrote a week or so ago on ‘What Pros Do.’ It’s so tempting for many of us to look only at the successes that people have with their writing, their businesses, etc. without truly reflecting on the setbacks, the chaos, and the emotional drain that it takes to get there. I really appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness in putting this out there.

    • Kristin

      Reminds me of something I read the other day (forgot where…) that we tend to compare our inner self with other people’s outer self. Meaning we compare our invisible weaknesses with other people’s visible successes. And since we compare one self from us to probably five different others we have no chance to win this unfair competition.

  • Thanks for the β€œspa moment” Mark (…still chuckling at Les’ comment).

    I recently learned a new prayer: β€œThis is what’s happening now. Thank you God.”
    Think it has Sufi origins? It’s been helpful in re-centering on the present moment and gratitude. Especially handy on those days I set out to do SO MUCH…and life has other plans.

    You are so gifted at reminding us in a way that gets through that our hearts are designed to serve and express the Divine. Doing what is ours to do (in a way that allows our highest priorities to thrive)… and leaving the rest of the details to God kinda takes the pressure off. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing this gift!

    Sarah – perfect timing for Mark’s post — be kind to yourself & heal πŸ™‚

  • Thanks for the β€œspa moment” Mark (…still chuckling at Les’ comment).

    I recently learned a new prayer: β€œThis is what’s happening now. Thank you God.”
    Think it has Sufi origins? It’s been helpful in re-centering on the present moment and gratitude. Especially handy on those days I set out to do SO MUCH…and life has other plans.

    You are so gifted at reminding us in a way that gets through that our hearts are designed to serve and express the Divine. Doing what is ours to do (in a way that allows our highest priorities to thrive)… and leaving the rest of the details to God kinda takes the pressure off. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing this gift!

    Sarah – perfect timing for Mark’s post — be kind to yourself & heal πŸ™‚

  • Rita

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I only wish I had read it this morning..but truth be told, I didn’t have the time because I was so busy trying to be everything to everyone at work. Oy. Thank you for this. I don’t have much to add to this other than to say a giant thank you. This just gave me the perspective I needed.

  • Rita

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I only wish I had read it this morning..but truth be told, I didn’t have the time because I was so busy trying to be everything to everyone at work. Oy. Thank you for this. I don’t have much to add to this other than to say a giant thank you. This just gave me the perspective I needed.

  • Talking to my heart. It has more wisdom than the mind and knows just what the priorities should be. Thanks for living life and sharing a piece of yours with us, Mark.

  • Talking to my heart. It has more wisdom than the mind and knows just what the priorities should be. Thanks for living life and sharing a piece of yours with us, Mark.

  • Oh Mark, thank you dearly for this.

    It’s so hard to remember to leave space for LIFE. We schedule and fill up our days and forget stuff like laundry and insane family members or even leaving time and space to work on our marriage.

    It’s become clear to me in the past few months that if I want a balanced life, a happy relationship, and sanity, being Oprah is not in my future. Coming to terms with that has been SUCH a relief. Instead of trying to scale, scale, scale, Im working toward “what makes me happy here? What fills my heart and pays the bills but leaves room on the table for love and life?”

    Grateful to you for writing this, for helping affirm for me it’s an OK choice.
    lots of love,
    reese

    • Kristin

      “What makes me happy here? What fills my heart and pays the bills but leaves room on the table for love and life?” Great questions, Reese. There is always more stuff to do if we choose to go for it. But at the end of the day the only thing we remember gratefully is what makes us happy and fills our heart. Will copy these questions as a reminder.

    • Hi Reese – It’s so easy for me to get off track, overly business focused and ignoring this great life I have. So it’s a constant process of checking in with myself to see if I have my priorities straight. And constantly reminding myself that what’s good for others isn’t always what’s best for me.

  • Oh Mark, thank you dearly for this.

    It’s so hard to remember to leave space for LIFE. We schedule and fill up our days and forget stuff like laundry and insane family members or even leaving time and space to work on our marriage.

    It’s become clear to me in the past few months that if I want a balanced life, a happy relationship, and sanity, being Oprah is not in my future. Coming to terms with that has been SUCH a relief. Instead of trying to scale, scale, scale, Im working toward “what makes me happy here? What fills my heart and pays the bills but leaves room on the table for love and life?”

    Grateful to you for writing this, for helping affirm for me it’s an OK choice.
    lots of love,
    reese

    • Kristin

      “What makes me happy here? What fills my heart and pays the bills but leaves room on the table for love and life?” Great questions, Reese. There is always more stuff to do if we choose to go for it. But at the end of the day the only thing we remember gratefully is what makes us happy and fills our heart. Will copy these questions as a reminder.

    • Hi Reese – It’s so easy for me to get off track, overly business focused and ignoring this great life I have. So it’s a constant process of checking in with myself to see if I have my priorities straight. And constantly reminding myself that what’s good for others isn’t always what’s best for me.

  • Kristin

    *deep relieved breath* Ahh, what a great post, Mark. Thank you for the little island in the middle of the rough sea, a place to rest and regenerate.

    Based on Sarah’s blog series last year I started choosing a word for each year, a kind of guideline or umbrella for the whole year. My word for 2011 is balance because that’s the one thing I miss most in my life. Two months in I have a feeling that I did not get one step closer to my goal. Part of it is that I keep telling myself that I can achieve anything and everything. Maybe, but at what cost? The pressure increases that I need to do everything on my own because “I can do everything”.

    Your article opened my eyes that this constant pressure is not what I want. My expectations are unrealistically high and there is no way I can live up to them with the one life I have. Time to take a step back and evaluate which half of the pile I am willing to drop. Won’t be an easy task. Thank you for the challenge!

  • Kristin

    *deep relieved breath* Ahh, what a great post, Mark. Thank you for the little island in the middle of the rough sea, a place to rest and regenerate.

    Based on Sarah’s blog series last year I started choosing a word for each year, a kind of guideline or umbrella for the whole year. My word for 2011 is balance because that’s the one thing I miss most in my life. Two months in I have a feeling that I did not get one step closer to my goal. Part of it is that I keep telling myself that I can achieve anything and everything. Maybe, but at what cost? The pressure increases that I need to do everything on my own because “I can do everything” πŸ˜‰

    Your article opened my eyes that this constant pressure is not what I want. My expectations are unrealistically high and there is no way I can live up to them with the one life I have. Time to take a step back and evaluate which half of the pile I am willing to drop. Won’t be an easy task. Thank you for the challenge!

  • Hmm, the irony of this post…

    I saw the email from Sarah in my inbox this morning and tried to get to it all day. But after 4 days of water restrictions due to the weather in TX, I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry. My girls are going nuts from being inside so I had to take them out for a little while so they could run and play somewhere else, then I had water from an unknown source in the bathroom, and the list goes on…

    It’s now almost 10:30 p.m. and I’m finally getting to this post not a moment too soon. I was beyond frustrated I didn’t get much done today and my to-do list for tomorrow is huge. I don’t have time to celebrate the little successes because I’m too busy moving on to the next thing.

    I’ve been feeling like I have to slow down for a while, but couldn’t figure out how. Now I see why I HAVE to and give myself permission. Although I have said these things to myself in my head, I never quite got around to doing it. This is going on my to-do list with a high priority!

  • Hmm, the irony of this post…

    I saw the email from Sarah in my inbox this morning and tried to get to it all day. But after 4 days of water restrictions due to the weather in TX, I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry. My girls are going nuts from being inside so I had to take them out for a little while so they could run and play somewhere else, then I had water from an unknown source in the bathroom, and the list goes on…

    It’s now almost 10:30 p.m. and I’m finally getting to this post not a moment too soon. I was beyond frustrated I didn’t get much done today and my to-do list for tomorrow is huge. I don’t have time to celebrate the little successes because I’m too busy moving on to the next thing.

    I’ve been feeling like I have to slow down for a while, but couldn’t figure out how. Now I see why I HAVE to and give myself permission. Although I have said these things to myself in my head, I never quite got around to doing it. This is going on my to-do list with a high priority!

  • thank you for this. It feels like affirmation of choices I’ve made lately. Choices that seem to other team members like non-action. Knowing that right now I am holding a space open for more being, less doing … more knowing what’s next and taking small steps, less spinning wheels to make stuff happen.

    What I KNOW deep inside is that I don’t wanna play at the level other people think I should, and yet I KNOW that I will accomplish the “goals” “work” “income” … in time … but not in the same way as those around me who seem frantic at the moment.

    I have amazing work as a life coach. I also have an amazing “product/service” in addition that only produces “income” through the relationship marketing business model. I simply can’t bring myself to care more about the business model than the work … at the moment. I truly care more about building the relationships at the moment.

    So yeah to some my choices look like inactivity towards “goals.” But hey, I truly am putting my hands on “little things” each day and it feels good to be walking it MY way.

    thanks πŸ™‚ J.

  • thank you for this. It feels like affirmation of choices I’ve made lately. Choices that seem to other team members like non-action. Knowing that right now I am holding a space open for more being, less doing … more knowing what’s next and taking small steps, less spinning wheels to make stuff happen.

    What I KNOW deep inside is that I don’t wanna play at the level other people think I should, and yet I KNOW that I will accomplish the “goals” “work” “income” … in time … but not in the same way as those around me who seem frantic at the moment.

    I have amazing work as a life coach. I also have an amazing “product/service” in addition that only produces “income” through the relationship marketing business model. I simply can’t bring myself to care more about the business model than the work … at the moment. I truly care more about building the relationships at the moment.

    So yeah to some my choices look like inactivity towards “goals.” But hey, I truly am putting my hands on “little things” each day and it feels good to be walking it MY way.

    thanks πŸ™‚ J.

  • Mark – Such a lovely post! I have lots to say, but not a lot of time. I just had to share this post from Fabeku that I thought meshed well with your message.

    http://www.sankofasong.com/blog/one-secret-three-questions/

  • Mark – Such a lovely post! I have lots to say, but not a lot of time. I just had to share this post from Fabeku that I thought meshed well with your message.

    http://www.sankofasong.com/blog/one-secret-three-questions/

  • Mark,

    Just reread this post and love it even more than when I read it the first time. The ironic thing is that the reason I haven’t had time to respond is that I am working on launching my website.

    The original launch date was January 17. I assumed we’d miss that date – because I worked in the software development/installation industry for 18 years. I get it. Stuff happens. It’s best to be flexible.

    Then, suddenly, last night it looked like the site would be ready to launch TODAY from a technical perspective. The thing is, the content wasn’t quite up to snuff. You probably know how that goes. You can’t really finish certain things until it’s “live”.

    I found myself working on content at 10 pm last night along with the amazing woman who has been helping me develop my business from day one. It suddenly occurred to me – I don’t have to do this. Whether my site officially launches on Thursday or on Monday doesn’t matter. So, I decided we’d move the date – again – and take 4 or 5 days to do it right.

    My friends were congratulating me on my foresight. When, really, it was an instinctive gut reaction. I went into business for myself (in part) because I wanted to reduce stress and do things that I wanted to do the way I wanted to do them. I wanted it to be fun. I spent years installing software. There isn’t a lot of fun in cramming 2 weeks work of work into 24 hours with no sleep. I promise!

    All of this came to mind as I reread this post. I can’t help but wonder if your words were rolling around in the back of my mind last night as I made my decision. I’m betting they were. Ideas work that way.

    So, thanks for helping me remember that I get to decide when and how I do what I do. And, I can do my best to make it fun for all involved!

    Namaste’

  • Mark,

    Just reread this post and love it even more than when I read it the first time. The ironic thing is that the reason I haven’t had time to respond is that I am working on launching my website.

    The original launch date was January 17. I assumed we’d miss that date – because I worked in the software development/installation industry for 18 years. I get it. Stuff happens. It’s best to be flexible.

    Then, suddenly, last night it looked like the site would be ready to launch TODAY from a technical perspective. The thing is, the content wasn’t quite up to snuff. You probably know how that goes. You can’t really finish certain things until it’s “live”.

    I found myself working on content at 10 pm last night along with the amazing woman who has been helping me develop my business from day one. It suddenly occurred to me – I don’t have to do this. Whether my site officially launches on Thursday or on Monday doesn’t matter. So, I decided we’d move the date – again – and take 4 or 5 days to do it right.

    My friends were congratulating me on my foresight. When, really, it was an instinctive gut reaction. I went into business for myself (in part) because I wanted to reduce stress and do things that I wanted to do the way I wanted to do them. I wanted it to be fun. I spent years installing software. There isn’t a lot of fun in cramming 2 weeks work of work into 24 hours with no sleep. I promise!

    All of this came to mind as I reread this post. I can’t help but wonder if your words were rolling around in the back of my mind last night as I made my decision. I’m betting they were. Ideas work that way.

    So, thanks for helping me remember that I get to decide when and how I do what I do. And, I can do my best to make it fun for all involved!

    Namaste’

  • Mark, this is the most real post I’ve seen in a long time.
    Life does happen and the ability to acknowledge that with compassion is essential to being really human…. i.e.humane. I see so much in the coaching trend now about becoming a billionaire, do, do, do, succeed, uber success. I am 64 yrs on the planet and have had the gift of success, loss, joy, love, surprise and on and on. Out of it all the most important to me is to be present and real/authentic, all else comes and goes.
    Thank you much for your sharing your experience.

  • Mark, this is the most real post I’ve seen in a long time.
    Life does happen and the ability to acknowledge that with compassion is essential to being really human…. i.e.humane. I see so much in the coaching trend now about becoming a billionaire, do, do, do, succeed, uber success. I am 64 yrs on the planet and have had the gift of success, loss, joy, love, surprise and on and on. Out of it all the most important to me is to be present and real/authentic, all else comes and goes.
    Thank you much for your sharing your experience.

  • Thank you for this Mark. As a parent of twins, I know exactly where you’re coming from on that front (mine are seven-year-old girls who bring every disease know to man back from school each day). I dialed back my business for the first six years of their lives and now I often feel like I’m playing catch up. I wonder where my business would be had I devoted more time to it over the last few years.

    I wonder, but I don’t regret. I’m happy to have dropped the 50 percent of my business so that I can be the mom I always wanted to be.

  • Thank you for this Mark. As a parent of twins, I know exactly where you’re coming from on that front (mine are seven-year-old girls who bring every disease know to man back from school each day). I dialed back my business for the first six years of their lives and now I often feel like I’m playing catch up. I wonder where my business would be had I devoted more time to it over the last few years.

    I wonder, but I don’t regret. I’m happy to have dropped the 50 percent of my business so that I can be the mom I always wanted to be.

  • Albeit late here I am.

    I really love this post Mark, and the concept of dialing down my expectations of accomplishments scares me. Taking it down by 50%, whoa makes me feel like I will become complacent without as much internal pressure on myself. So I guess you could say that although I see merit in the concept my mind is resisting it. I think this stems back to my all girls school education in the 80’s of yes you can have it all and achieve anything you desire. Feminism and the Superwoman concept collided in that era to create women such as myself that nothing is an obstacle. I too have a family (twins as well) and push myself to achieve all of the hefty ambitions I have set for myself. It’s ingrained and will take some time I think before I can implement and feel the benefits of this. But I think the first place for me to start is when I get into that place of “overwhelm” and to ask myself “what’s the most important 50% and forget about the rest”. This will definitely work in those moments and when it does it will allow me to see the merits of implementing this further into my business.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not a perfectionist, I do achieve a lot, an extraordinary amount I’m told, but that drive to achieve will take a lot to “unprogram” in my mind. This post has made me more aware of this tendency in myself. And awareness is the first step, yes?

  • Albeit late here I am.

    I really love this post Mark, and the concept of dialing down my expectations of accomplishments scares me. Taking it down by 50%, whoa makes me feel like I will become complacent without as much internal pressure on myself. So I guess you could say that although I see merit in the concept my mind is resisting it. I think this stems back to my all girls school education in the 80’s of yes you can have it all and achieve anything you desire. Feminism and the Superwoman concept collided in that era to create women such as myself that nothing is an obstacle. I too have a family (twins as well) and push myself to achieve all of the hefty ambitions I have set for myself. It’s ingrained and will take some time I think before I can implement and feel the benefits of this. But I think the first place for me to start is when I get into that place of “overwhelm” and to ask myself “what’s the most important 50% and forget about the rest”. This will definitely work in those moments and when it does it will allow me to see the merits of implementing this further into my business.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not a perfectionist, I do achieve a lot, an extraordinary amount I’m told, but that drive to achieve will take a lot to “unprogram” in my mind. This post has made me more aware of this tendency in myself. And awareness is the first step, yes?

  • Really enjoyed this post Mark. Nice to hear you keep it real. Because we can’t be all and do all, all the time. No matter how bad we want it, we have to factor in life. Kudos to you for staying strong (if not feeling sane all the time) and continuing to spread your message.

  • Really enjoyed this post Mark. Nice to hear you keep it real. Because we can’t be all and do all, all the time. No matter how bad we want it, we have to factor in life. Kudos to you for staying strong (if not feeling sane all the time) and continuing to spread your message.

  • I haven’t read the comments as I am just getting to this post. I’m kind of working backwards a bit … πŸ™‚

    But this part has just been copied over into my GYST document/notes: “Look, I’m not trying to scare you, it’s just truth. Life happens. You live it. So, what I’m saying is… dial back your ambition a little bit. Let go of thinking you can do EVERYTHING. Let go of the unconscious assumption that you are in charge of your circumstances.”

    THANK YOU! I hope you’ll see this comment, but thank you SO much for giving us the permission to do this. I think we all need that reminder that it’s totally OK to recognize what the world around us does. We are only in charge of as much as we can be in charge of. Things like illness, the weather, and much more – well, we have about as much say in that as we do when it comes to – well, loads of other things. I’m not feeling that creative that I can come up with these things right now.

    Anyway, thank you. It’s a reminder that I must hold onto, and maybe repeat now and then as a mantra, too. πŸ˜‰

  • I haven’t read the comments as I am just getting to this post. I’m kind of working backwards a bit … πŸ™‚

    But this part has just been copied over into my GYST document/notes: “Look, I’m not trying to scare you, it’s just truth. Life happens. You live it. So, what I’m saying is… dial back your ambition a little bit. Let go of thinking you can do EVERYTHING. Let go of the unconscious assumption that you are in charge of your circumstances.”

    THANK YOU! I hope you’ll see this comment, but thank you SO much for giving us the permission to do this. I think we all need that reminder that it’s totally OK to recognize what the world around us does. We are only in charge of as much as we can be in charge of. Things like illness, the weather, and much more – well, we have about as much say in that as we do when it comes to – well, loads of other things. I’m not feeling that creative that I can come up with these things right now.

    Anyway, thank you. It’s a reminder that I must hold onto, and maybe repeat now and then as a mantra, too. πŸ˜‰

  • Wow – never thought of it that way.. “leaving time for chaos” but I should have thought of that! Seems that happens all the time in one way or another! Nice to know I’m not the only one and stories like yours definitely puts some of the ooompf back in my sails πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  • Wow – never thought of it that way.. “leaving time for chaos” but I should have thought of that! Seems that happens all the time in one way or another! Nice to know I’m not the only one and stories like yours definitely puts some of the ooompf back in my sails πŸ™‚ Thanks!