Flipping the Script
5 Commitments to Unfolding a life — Perfectly
If you took a snapshot from my early life, say, between the ages of 10 and 20, you wouldn’t have placed a bet on “success” being my outcome. A household that includes addiction, anger, divorce, bankruptcy, prison, and estrangement rarely leads to happy endings.
So how did I find another way? How did I find success?
I must mention that despite my success, some part of me will always whisper back, No, you’re not. You’re not successful.
But we must counter this voice that calls us a fraud with the simple facts.
Here are the facts. I’m happily sitting in a 20-year marriage with three children I love, and with whom I have really incredible and nuanced relationships with. I own my own company. At this point there’s enough money to spare that I can invest in people I believe in. I will be able to pay for my children’s college education with ease. And my daily life has a ton of freedom. I’m able to pursue the life I want.
So when did I stop being that kid who didn’t even get C’s in school, let alone an A? When did I lose my chronic, pathological habit of doubt and procrastination? When did I trust my own thinking and start to assert my creative ideas? And how did I go from being at the very bottom of my class to one of the people privileged with helping shape the city I live in and in some, small way, the world?
When did I flip the script life handed to me? Or was it all part of a perfect plan from the start?
I credit the following 5 commitments with giving me access to my best possible life. These 5 institutions, practices, and networks were brought to me with perfect timing, and in a way only a perfect universe could deliver. Over time, these commitments purged me of my ill-formed beliefs and bad habits, and built in their absence, the essential steadiness that leads to success.
It was a mindset shift. When I came to Landmark, I wasn’t in control of my life. I was on unconscious autopilot tuned to the upbringing I had and the societal norms that surrounded me. I was lost between those things. There was no there, there. And yet, I was on a track that seemed like the only track to be on. These questions really woke me up: Are you in the stands or on the court? Are you watching the movie or directing it? Are you the author of your own life? It was the first time I thought, I can get on the court and I can play my way. Because of going to Landmark, I was able to chose to start my own business.
What Built-to Lead really does is help people get very clear and build a strong core.They asked me: What is your Worldview? What is your Identity? What is your Purpose? What do you love and how can you integrate your “love to’s” into you life? This is not a quick fix. I’ve been involved with BTL for over a decade now. It takes months, sometimes years to get clear about your worldview. Gaps of integrity and unknowns slowly get filled in with strong answers of belief. And finally you are asked, What parts of your life lack integrity? It’s not easy to look at, but it’s crucial. After you take the time to examine your life, BTL helps you build the muscles, the disciplines, the behaviors that will allow you to keep your integrity. So when you are faced with myriad situations you know exactly who you are — and you don’t waiver. This clarity will drive everything that you do.
It baffles me that anyone has done this thing we call life without a therapist. They are available to us, and yet, we wonder: Do I need an expert in life? When I train for a marathon, or want to improve my tennis game, a trainer, a nutritionist, a yoga instructor, we don’t hesitate. Of course, it can be hard, depending on what’s there. But being alone in our experiences does not lead to anything good. And being alone with our thoughts does not lead to good thinking. Getting connected and sharing our thoughts by itself has tremendous value. It’s so important for our physical health, too. We get sick with our stuckness. We literally get sick from negative thinking. Therapy has allowed me to see a balanced view of life, so that I’m not wincing at what life has to offer me. And this perspective has led to my belief in success, and ultimately, my success. I believe this release of thought and stress is a necessity to living a disease-free and healthy life.
I started meditating because I saw a flier for Transcendental Meditation on my college campus. And ever since, I’ve meditated at least once a day — most days — for about 20 years. Wherever I am, I close my eyes and take 20 minutes. It’s so portable and so much more practical than people think. In the car, at home — anywhere. I like TM because it’s a mantra-based meditation, and so by definition it is easier to drop in more quickly. I still have chatter in my head. But I know that it used to be a lot worst. And that’s what it has afforded me. Stiller waters. The more I do it, the more clear I become, I am more grounded in my essence. I am more me. It really is like taking a shower, scrubbing my body of all its thoughts, letting it all go. The idea is to get outside of the realm of “thoughts” — and if you get outside of your eternal loop of thinking, you experience phenomenal rest. Your brain needs rest. Your body needs rest too. With rest comes tremendous energy and clarity. I can now operate from a place that’s directed by my soul rather than my ego.
- Growth Networks: Summit Series, Strategic Coach, Genius Network, YPO, Abundance 360 — and even The Grateful Dead.
Something I’ve learned in Strategic Coach is the power of collaboration and the power of collective intelligence. Human beings gathering together in an open and engaged way has tremendous power. And so I count my networks as my tool to tap into the collective human spirit. This is my specific list of networks that I invest both my time and my money in. These of course, are very personal choices. Whether it’s the Strategic Coach Game Changer community or the Summit Series community, getting introduced to new ideas while in community is enormously helpful for one’s own path. And I really don’t look at it as I’m going to meet this person or that person, but rather it’s about collaboration and not having to do this whole game alone. I love Dan Sullivan’s question, “Who do you want to be a hero to?” There is a direct correlation between who you surround yourself with and the life you live, who you help and who is there to help you. And so, my networks are my aspirational self. They keep my pulse beating for what’s next.
Thank you to my family, friends, therapists, and everyone who has contributed to a life beyond my imagination.