Do something today your future self will thank you for!

Cupid’s day has come and gone and this seemed like the perfect moment to say a few words (although in my case it’s never just a few!) about one of the most important relationships you’ll ever realize: passion and success.

No, this isn’t a “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” reminder, although there’s a lot of truth to that…

No this is about painting every corner, nook, niche and crany of your life with passion.

Let me explain.

Have you ever gone in an old historic home, mansion or even palace?

I’m sure you have at least once and will visualize exactly what I am saying when I mention that our ancestors loved to compartmentalize. They built rooms about rooms of tiny, or grand, but always separated space. The kitchen had four walls and was separate to the dining room, which also had four walls and was separate to the foyer, which also had four walls and was separate from the parlor, and on and on it goes depending on the grandeur of the space.

Watch a home renovation show on TV and what’s the number one thing folks complain about when looking at a new home today? Space!

“It feels so dark and closed off,” says one couple on Fixer Upper.

“I told you I was looking for an open floor plan,” admonishes another woman on Property Brothers.

Today, you like to have an open living space for your home. A space where your kitchen and love of cooking can look out into your family room and love of your children; a place where your guests can sit in your dining room and still talk to you in the kitchen; a place with high ceilings, lots of light and all that beautiful, wonderful combining and swirling of space and energy.

So if you want that in your home, why wouldn’t you want that in your life?

Compartmentalizing our business, from our spirit, from our emotions, and from our bodies is a mistake and frankly, doesn’t work.

If you think you have to invest in a business class to see results segmented to business, good luck. If you think a painting class couldn’t possibly benefit your emotional well being, you’re probably wrong.

The truth is, when you pursue your passions in business and out of your business, your whole life gets better. It’s like open floor plan living for your soul.

The skills, discipline and relationships you’re creating in business will effect your emotions and your home life. Your personal hobbies and passions will greatly benefit and impact your career. The health and wellness of you mind and body will always make your career and emotions better off.

Your life can’t be segmented and compartmentalized.

So this is my advice: let passion paint your success.

In 1815, Giovanni Belzoni and his wife Sarah were down on their luck circus performers (he was a strongman, she allegedly a tight-rope walker) nearly broke as their finances ran dry in the English rain. The 6’6” Belzoni decided to follow lead to Turkey, where rumor had it circus performances were making a killing. En route he and Sarah had a scheduled stop in Cairo and she wanted to see the Great Pyramids. After exploring about, the giant Belzoni got impossibly stuck in a passageway and had to be excavated out of the tunnel by some locals, who helped to clear enough space to dislodge the giant man.

The story quickly spread (how embarrassing!) and an invention was extended to the Belzoni couple from a curious Turkish man in Cairo who wanted to see what the fuss (translation: the size!) over this man was all about. One thing led to another, as introductions often do, and Belzoni soon found himself in the company of a British consul general named Henry Salt.

 

Impressed by Belzoni’s size and Sarah’s wit and both of their work ethic, Salt asked this couple if they might be interested in helping him recover a large Egyptian artifact from one of the dig sites outside of Cairo. Salt was sure with Belzoni’s size and the right team, the artifact could surely be moved and brought to Cairo. He was right. Sarah and Giovanni managed a team and retrieved the artifact after months of perilous work.

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Salt was so impressed he funded the Belozonis and sent them out exploring to try to recover more artifacts for Britain. The Belzoni’s adventures throughout the Nile River Valley over the next eight years would produce of the most imposing treasures from Egypt, which still stand in the British Museum today, over two hundred years later.

In fact it was only after Belzoni that people started recognizing the value of ancient Egyptian artifacts for posterity and started extracting and preserving them for all the world (not just antiquities dealers for private homes), leading the way for the formal profession of Archeology as we know it today.

You never know where a sense of adventure, your natural abilities and your passion for performance might take you. Who knows? Perhaps your current job will take you to a new opportunity or an embarrassing mishap may lead to an introduction that will change your life.

 

The year is 1930, not a great time to be graduating from Penn State and looking for work as an architect. Yet that’s the uncertain future that faced the young Tatiana Proskouriakoff. She decided to return to graduate school at University of Pennsylvania to further her education during the height of the Great Depression. She was a particularly skilled watercolorist and enjoyed painting. So when a volunteer position popped up at the University Museum illustrating archeological renderings, Tatiana thought it would be a perfect chance to utilize her degree in architecture and her passion for painting.

She couldn’t have been more right!

Through her volunteer work, she was eventually called on to join an expedition in 1936 to the Mayan site of Piedras Negras in Guatemala. The researchers needed help with imagining architectural renderings of the ruins so they might be properly excavated and understood. Proskouriakoff began to put her skills to work and quickly started to understand and learn aspects about the Mayan culture and language from all her sketches and illustrations.

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Her illustrations garnered her attention — the public and scholars alike were fascinated by her ability to lay out the detail of these (heretofore) imagined Mayan landscapes from the overgrown ruins in the Guatemalan jungle. Soon she was funded by the Carnegie Institution in D.C. to return to the jungles and complete more sketches, year after year, until eventually that exposure to the Mayan culture took root in Tatiana and she began to study their language.

Though not a linguist, nor formally trained in Mayan studies, she quickly began to make insights and advances into the language no one had made previously. Analyzing the pattern of dates and hieroglyphs, she was able to correlate a sequence of seven rulers who ruled over a span of two hundred years. This flash of decoding into the context of the inscriptions by Tatiana provided Maya epigraphers the cipher they needed to finally begin understanding the hieroglyphs.

A passion for painting could end up changing your life, and lending a hand to an entire scientific community.

 

What do you love to do in business and in your spare time that you haven’t been pursuing?

List a few things and then take action this week to sign-up for a class, seminar, buy a book, watch a tutorial, get started now with some passion pursuit just for the sake of feeling good.

You never know how a personal passion might set a new course in your life.

Let me know in the comments below what you plan to do, just for the passion of it!

Serenity: Your Success’s Saving Grace?

se·ren·i·ty

səˈrenədē/

noun

  1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

 

Recently, I came across the serenity prayer hanging on a wall. This isn’t entirely uncommon — it is, after all, a well-known and commonly displayed prayer.

Seeing this prayer, or poem, struck me.

There are many truths and questions that seem universal and one thing each one of us seeks is happiness.

The pursuit of happiness is something that all men and women have sought since the dawn of time.

And a sure way to remain happy, especially during times of change, growth, downturn or ambiguity, is to remain calm.

Calmness, or stillness is what the stoics sought.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach.” – Seneca

It’s why the Buddhists meditate.

“Your worst enemy can not harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much.” – Buddha

Why the Dervishes whirl.

“Until you’ve found the fire within yourself, you won’t reach the spring of life.” – Rumi

What the serenity poem is all about.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

There’s a lot of power packed into that little poem.

 

Serenity Origins

The serenity poem’s first recorded written appearance was throughout newspaper articles in the early 1930s as a recording of sermons being given by Reinhold Niebuhr and his student mentee, Winnifred Crane Wygal. Wygal included a version of the prayer in her 1940 book, We Plan Our Own Worship Services, and credited her mentor with its existence. Many now associate the poem with either Christian households or AA, as it is a key tenant of the program.

Let’s take a deeper dive to see how it may just be a perfect motto or mantra for today’s hectic world.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

 

The Power of Neutrality

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The ability to stand in a neutral position gives you unheard of power. In tennis, players are coached to literally remain “on their toes,” as this position provides athletes with the greatest chance of springing into action in any direction that their opponent might lob the ball over the net.

Are you ready to move in any direction with what life is serving over the net to you?

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” – Jillian Michaels

When you stand flat-footed, stationary, immobile, you are at your most vulnerable. That position in tennis would make you a pretty terrible player of the game, and in life, that mindset will get you about the same results.

Your mental elasticity is crucial to your success.

“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and being comfortable not knowing.” Eckhart Tolle

You cannot control, nor can you change all of life’s conditions. There are simply too many musical notes in this beautiful symphony of life to be able to control all the instruments and their players. What you can do, however, is adjust your hearing and interpretation. A jazz piece and a waltz sound completely different. You may prefer one style of music over another, but they’re both music. You can choose at any time to tune-in and appreciate the artistry in any kind of song.

To me, this serenity poem is surrendering to a higher power in one’s self.

It is tapping your own innate wisdom and intuition and acknowledging that there are things in your life that are simply outside your control. That’s normal and more importantly, it’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to be in control and know everything in this moment. Your ability to get comfortable with unknown outcomes in your life, in your relationships and your business or career, is okay.

And that flexible, optimistic attitude is crucial to your life’s happiness and your ongoing success.

“We see things not as they are, but as we are.” – H.M. Tomlinson

 

Developing Courage: Trusting Yourself

The courage to change the things I can.

Courage is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. I think there is a big misconception today that courage is only for the brave and for the big moments in life. In my humble experience, courage is rarely so dramatic and grand. Courage is the muscle I continue to develop daily where I listen to myself and believe in my own inner guidance, intuition and choices. despite how nuts they may sounds to those around me.

There are opportunities everyday for you to be courageous.

“Success if not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

To stand up for a co-worker who is being gossiped about. To walk away from a damaging conversation about a friend. To support a colleague you know has a better idea, at the expense of your own ego. To admit when you were mistaken in the way you treated your partner and make it right. To be comfortable with voicing, or acting out, your strange beliefs or rituals despite what other may think.

These are the tiny daily moment of courage that begin to accumulate and make you strong. This courageous muscle you choose to flex repeatedly suddenly makes the bigger moments that much easier to conquer.“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

There are opportunities every day for you to practice this character trait. See them as opportunities and seize the small ones. One great place to start is to practice saying no to someone today instead of a canned “yes” response when you don’t mean it. Or vice versa. Get a little courageous today with your yes’s and no’s and only provide the response you truly mean. It’s more challenging than you might think! “Can you stay late today?” asks your boss. If the answer is truly no, find a way to say it. “Want to go to a movie with me this weekend?” asks a friend. If you haven’t the time, money or interest, honor that truth and say no. No doesn’t have to be final, e.g. you can always suggest compromises that DO work for you, but don’t say yes or no out of obligation. It’s the simplest starting point and often the hardest.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” -Nelson Mandela

 

Serenity At Its Core

And the wisdom to know the difference.

To me, serenity is ultimately wisdom. Being calm allows you to have the discernment and openness to the right answers for your own life. As you develop this calm inner presence, you are able to make decisions not out of panic, or fear, or judgment or what you ‘should’ do, but out of the inner stillness that knows and has learned to to trust your own wisdom.

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

You do know what’s best.

You know what’s best for your life, your relationships, your career, your business and what is best for you today.

You are the inner voice and higher power that the serenity poem is calling upon.

And as you develop this inner peacefulness, you start to see your life, every aspect of it from love to money, transform and improve.

You become the wisdom that knows the difference.

 

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