If You Could Change One Thing about Your Life – What Would It Be?

bobSuddenly, from some random, unknown universe, a magical being appears and offers you a wish. Not in the genie and fairy godmother way, but a way to change your life. This being, who goes by the name Bob, and looks remarkably like Bill Murray, gives you 15 minutes to think on it. “If you could change one thing about your life – what would it be?”

Think about this question for a minute. You can only change one thing. It can be anything you want, but only one thing. You have 15 minutes to decide.

As Bob stands there scratching his chin and tapping his foot, your mind rolls over all the things you wish were different. The time ticks away and you start to feel the pressure and the weight of your decision. What if it’s the wrong one? What if you think of something better after? Should it just be something for you, or something that has a larger effect?

“Ding,” says Bob “Time’s up! Have you made your decision?”

It’s now or never, what did you decide to change?

Chances are you did settle on something. Though this is just a weird little thought experiment, I’ll bet you felt some anxiety about your decision. So now that you have one thing you’d change, are you still comfortable with it? Is it still the one thing you would like to change?

So what’s stopping you? Wanting to change is easy, deciding to change is hard. Sure no magical Bob is here to change it for you, but you have something more powerful – intent and action. If you have the deliberate intent to change something and just take some small action, it will change. Then once you have momentum, it does get easier. The difference is you must rely on yourself, and those around you who are willing to help out.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to give it a shot?

3 Bullet Points That Express A Lot

insightful-guyI love finding short, simple ideas that express so much. Rick Cockrum has a very interesting post entitled Three Laws of Beliefs that captures a great deal in just a short space:

The way beliefs work in the human world are remarkably similar to the way Newton’s three laws of motion work in the physical world.

His Three Laws of Beliefs really resonated with me, and I’ve thought about that short post quite a few times today. Short, simple, and so very insightful.

Good stuff, Rick.

Why Settle for Just One Path?

work-wheelA common struggle for some folks, when it comes to discovering their passion, is their seemingly lack of focus. There have been so many people who I have talked with, that struggle to define a single passion to pursue. Or they have an interest in one area, and suddenly lose that interest and want to take up something else. There can be a kind of jealousy of people who have a singular mission, something they’ve wanted to pursue their entire lives.

Chris Cree over at SuccessCREEations brought up this really great point in his comment on Friday’s post, and in his follow-up post on his site:

The part that I’m struggling with is the whole part about where my passion really lies. That may sound pretty dumb to most of you. But the truth is I am good at a bunch of different things. I enjoy a variety of stuff. And I tend to get passionate about things for relatively short bursts of time before I move onto the next thing.

You might begin to question whether you’ll ever find that “passion,” that one single “thing” that you want to do with your life. Chances are, if you have this type of personality that you won’t. That may seem a little harsh or disconcerting, but it’s actually quite liberating. I know, because I’m that type.

For the Love of Scanning – The Serial Enthusiast

Called Scanners, Renaissance Souls, or Serial Enthusiasts – among other fancy labels – it beats being called scattered, flaky, unfocused, or hyperactive. When someone thinks differently, people like to slap a nice label on them, and maybe even medicate them :). But some of the most successful entrepreneurs have this type of personality. It used to drive me crazy that I couldn’t just pick one thing and run with it. Now, I’m glad I didn’t.

Barbara Sher defines a Scanner in her book Refuse to Choose! as “Someone fascinated by so many areas they can’t settle for just one.” Margaret Lobenstine’s book The Renaissance Soul and related Website provides a wealth of information on the subject. In addition to her book, she offers quizzes, workshops, and articles that cover “…ways to understand and design your life that don’t require you to choose one part of yourself, one interest, one passion over all others.

Les Orchard calls himself a Serial Enthusiast and Anne Zelenka concurs:

I, too, am a serial enthusiast

Serial enthusiasts, also known as foxes, aren’t fully appreciated in our culture. We like hedgehogs, a.k.a. experts, better; in fact, we want to be them. No one has ever written a blog post titled “How to Be a Dilettante” (I checked). And yet, what would the world do without us? Some of the most interesting thinkers today – Malcom Gladwell, Steven Levitt, and Virginia Postrel, for example – are more fox than hedgehog. They draw on broad knowledge of many subjects to get at underlying patterns of meaning.

I can’t think of a more interesting and exciting group of people to be similar to.

How to Be a Dilettante – Embracing Your Enthusiasm

So where do you go from here? First, stop beating yourself up and embrace the fact that you have the amazing talent and intelligence to be able to tackle a bunch of subjects. How boring would it be if we all just did one thing our entire lives? Instead of struggling, use the resources available to capitalize on your talent (yes, talent, not liability) for learning and mastering a variety of things. Maybe move from serial enthusiast to serial entrepreneur. Or be known as the writer that can provide in-depth coverage on any subject needed. Choose multiple niches that interest you, and provide something of value that you feel is missing from what’s currently available.

The world is your oyster – why settle for just one pearl?

Looking for Signs in All the Right Places

If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done.” – Homer Simpson

pondering-guyI am always in awe at how the universe works. If you are looking for a sign, you’ll find it. That’s just the way things work. Call it coincidence, happy accidents, synchronicity, or whatever – it doesn’t really matter. The point is that when you are focused on finding an answer, things will start pointing the way.

I have consistently seen the power of synchronicity. You don’t have to be spiritual or even spiritual-leaning to grasp it. Whether you view it as a sign from God, the Universe, your Higher Self, or a psychological connecting of patterns to manifest your subconscious desires, it just works.

I’m not big on the “how,” in most things I do. Some things I want to know all the answers about, but on most, not so much. When you are looking to start a business, or follow your dream, there are much more important questions than how. What, when, and why, come to mind. Wasting time on the how just breeds indecision. The how will come, once you know the answers to the other questions.

Which Brings Us Back To Synchronicity…

I know, this may sound all weird and New-Agey to you. That’s fine, I’ll give you that. I don’t expect you to take my word for it – actually I severely hope you don’t. You should never take anyone’s word for anything. Try it yourself and see if it works for you.

Get some clarity on what it is you want to know, such as:

  • What do I want to do with my life?
  • How can I make a living from something I love to do?
  • How can I best be of service to others?
  • How can I connect with my kids?
  • Arrested Development was canceled and The Simple Life was renewed? Come on! (Okay that’s not really a question.)

The goal is to have a very clear idea of what you are looking for (and I really would like to know about that last one). Then just ask. Ask it out loud, to yourself, or write it down.

Then watch for the answer. Listen for an inner voice or wait for a gut feeling. It may be an obvious thing, or it may be subtle. The key is to be consciously aware of looking for your answer, and being open to accept it. It works. I’ve seen it happen consistently in my own life and in the lives of lots of others.

Ultimately it’s about getting clear on what you want, and looking for input and pointers that help gain that clarity. You don’t have to have any lofty beliefs in order to gain direction.

You believe in you don’t you? Isn’t that enough…?

3 Valuable Lessons from 1st Grade Career Day

bat-manYou can learn a great deal from entering a first grade class – the majority of it from the kids. Today I went into my daughter’s class to talk about what I do for a living. The idea of course, is to educate them about different occupations – but I ended up taking away some important lessons myself. Things I already know to be true, but that were reaffirmed by viewing them from the eyes of a 6 or 7 year old.

1 – It’s All About the Passion

Kids naturally want to do what they are passionate about. They understand this at a very basic level, something we as adults could really use a dose of. One of the key points I continually preach about here and whenever I talk about work, is the importance of passion and talent. If you have a passion for something and you can find a way to share that in a way that benefits others, you will be successful. That is guaranteed.

2 – Make Your Message Fit the Audience

One of my favorite movie lines is from Denzel Washington’s character in the move Philadelphia – “Now, explain it to me like I’m a four-year-old.” Talking about my various jobs – Web and software, writing, speaking, cartooning – I bet you can guess which one was the most interest to the first graders. I focused a majority of my talk on the cartooning work I do, and then explained the other stuff in a way they would understand. Kids are extremely smart and inquisitive. I was floored by some of the incredibly insightful questions they asked. But I toned down much of the message to meet them at their level. Then I let them bring it back up to a point were they were learning and understanding. When it comes to explaining what you offer, remember to make the message fit the audience. If you can easily explain your marketing message to a kid, then your prospects will have no problem getting it. Your customers should feel enlightened by your message, not stupid.

3 – Details Can Spark a Conversation

Kids notice details. They take the time to really see things and notice little nuances. The fact that all of my cartoon characters had one big eye and one little eye was both funny and interesting to them. It sparked a conversion on personal style, that led to unique abilities and the way we all view the world. It wasn’t planned, but was wonderful. Many times we go into a meeting or event with a preconceived notion of what will happen. What we’ll say, do, and our oh, so important elevator speech. But many of the best and most lucrative conversations stem from those minor details, those little things we don’t even notice sometimes. After hearing the same boring networking conversations, having a real discussion about some interesting little detail can really launch a relationship. Take the time to notice the minor details when talking to others. Just the fact that you noticed sometimes is enough to create a new energy in an otherwise boring conversation.

So What Did I Take Away From This?

That approaching our work with a child-like wonder can be extremely valuable? That SpongeBob seems to be universally loved? That one child’s dog is named Daisy, too, or that another’s cousin lives in Texas, like I did at one time? That folks like reading cute stories with kids in it? Yes, to all of those. But the best lesson was this – apparently I didn’t learn everything I needed to know in kindergarten. First grade, it seems, has a lot to offer too.