Have You Noticed Your 'Intention Chickens' Coming Home To Roost?

Intention ChickenQuick update: The response to the last post has been wonderful; the comments left have been broad-spectrum and a joy to read, and I even got a few responses via email, both with suggestions and sympathy. ;-)

The good news is, the question in question is resolving nicely. I shouldn’t be surprised, of course, because I’ve been around long enough to see that the Universe/Divine/Orchestrating-force-of-creation (or whatever you want to call it) has a way of sending the solutions along with the challenges, and is always more than responsive to our requests.

Not our spoken requests, of course…

… but our unspoken requests always seem to be received loud and clear, don’t they?

As the New Year approached, I made a deeply conscious decision/intention/request to face whatever I needed to face, in order to become the person I truly am. (get this: I even specifically requested to come face-to-face with whatever I need to in order to achieve my goals, to challenge assumptions and let go of conventions in the name of growth and success… talk about asking for it, eh?)

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What Do You Do When No Answer Is Not An Answer?

That's me... getting tooled.In just about every post on Monk at Work since its inception, I’ve presented ideas, problems, concepts, and scenarios, all about ways that people (i.e. you and me) can lose sight of our hearts as we work. I’ve also done my best to provide solutions, based on my years of experience as a spiritual and energetic healer, business consultant, and teacher.

Today, however, you’ll get none of that (or, very little). Instead, today is about questions. My questions.

Because yes, I still have them. I have questions all the time, about how to do things, what to say, what to create… I have way more questions than I’ll ever have time to find solutions to, no matter how intuitive I am.

Bulldozer Questions.

Some questions are small, some are large. And some, like the one I’m dealing with right now, is huge. Gorilla-huge. Boulder-huge. Construction-equipment-huge. And as much as I don’t want to admit this to the question… I don’t have an answer for it.

But here’s the rub: When I get a question stuck in my mind that I can’t answer, it sits front and center in my consciousness, like a splinter under a toenail, unable to be ignored.

It’s rough; I can’t focus on any other work when a question sits in my mind like this. It’s like an insistent three-year-old, who just can’t understand, "not right now; can you see that Daddy’s trying to focus?" The question just keeps saying, "look, man… look at me. Look. Now. Hey, I’m talking to you. Pay attention to me. Hey. Look. Look at me, man, because I’m not going away until you do."

And so I look. And I listen. And I ask it what it wants, what the real question is. But the problem is, even when I hear the question, I have no answer for it. It’s not a question that can be answered right now, at least not with a meaningful answer.

But it doesn’t like that.

No answer is not an answer.

And so it waits, with all the patience of that three-year-old. Look. Look. Look. Look at me.

(How can I not look at you, you mean? How can I deny you, the spike in my forehead, the salt-and-lemon-juice-cocktail in the wound of my uncertainty?)

All normal thoughts of productivity go out the window in times like these. I’m forced to attempt patience, to pull all the stops out of my repertoire of self-healing techniques, and deny all my self-protective impulses that tell me to ignore it, cover it over, distract myself, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll go away on its own.

(Heck, why do you think I’m writing this — for glory? Goodness, no; hoping that writing would provide catharsis was my latest, best idea to bleed the pressure out of my mind, after a day spent tapping, talking, praying, pacing around my office, and soul-searching to the best of my ability…)

My last question — and this one’s for you:

What do you do in times like these? When you’re faced with a question, a decision, even one that isn’t formed enough that it has words yet, but you just know you have to change something… what do you do?

UPDATE: I just had to add this… my muse-of-writing, the Communicatrix, recently posted about her own travels into what I call "The Pit" — she calls it "The Black Hole." And her post also mentioned another by An Amateur’s Manifesto… both are outstanding. Highly recommended.  

Want a podcast of this? Click here.

Image by scottfeldstein on Flickr, via Creative Commons license.

And thanks to all those who commented on the previous posts so far: Matthew, Tom Volkar, Dylan

What's In Your Universe? (Managing Your Digital Life)

your universeWhat seems like an eternity ago (but was really only last April ), I wrote about David Armano’s concept of “Sun-Shaped People“, and after getting a chance to watch him present and shake his hand at SOBCon07, I’ve been more than impressed with his uncanny ability to take tip-of-the-spear concepts that most people are just starting to wrap their heads around, and explain them—visually, no less—in ways that make you say, “oh, of course… that makes so much sense.

Well, David has done it again. Pure brilliance.

How do you manage all the ways you could be spending your interacting-with-others-online time? You know; social media, email, blogging, posting photos of your family online, all that digital jazz. You’ve probably got lots of “channels” for interacting with the world, and if you’re like most people I’ve been in touch with lately (and tons of others), there are some channels that you subscribe to wholeheartedly, and others that may have once been important, but now are fading away.

Enter: The Social System.

social_darmano.gif
Doesn’t that just make perfect sense? On his post about it, DA explains the whole thing, but I think the picture does a pretty good job on its own.

As I’ve spent more time in social media circles, and tried balancing the time that sites like Facebook require with all the other responsibilities of life, work, etc., I’m coming to see that I want a lot fewer planets in my social system than before.
my social system
Now, the time may (will) come when I need to expand this; there are strategies that require more of a presence on some planets than others, and there are some planets I’ve yet to set foot on that I know will move very close to the middle of my system, when the time is right.

My social system could go from “Me -> blog -> mastermind -> email -> Facebook -> LinkedIn” to, “Me -> blog -> StumbleUpon -> email -> mastermind -> YouTube -> VideoSticky -> Facebook”, or something like that, all depending on what’s necessary and important to my strategy.

In the meantime, though, it sure is liberating to realize that I don’t need as much interplanetary travel as I once thought… after all, it can be tiring to spend so much time on (and traveling to) all those distant planets! And that’s why I got lit up about this topic enough to write a post about it: finding the balance—in every aspect of our lives—is living “monkishly” (hey, it’s my site; I can invent a word if I like, right?). Because are we going to make the kind of impact/live the life we want if we’re spread too thin, or exhausted from doing so?

Now, two steps for you:

1) What’s your social system look like?

Don’t worry about creating a graphic (although don’t let me stop you from it, either); if it’s easier, just use the “one -> two -> three” diagram, and plot out your social system. Share it in the comments, too.

How’s it look? Is it serving you? Is it giving you enough contact with others, or too much? Or, not enough of the right kind? Make adjustments as needed; after all, you’re the creator of this universe, so make it right for you.

2) Apply the analogy elsewhere.

Where else could this kind of system-thinking help you in your life? Work projects? Family responsibilities? Home maintenance? Personal development “practices” (meditating, praying, reading/learning, service, healing)? Fitness/health?

For example, you could come up with all kinds of systems for keeping you on top of your goals, in the right proportions:

  • eating healthy -> exercise 4x/week -> supplements -> bodywork
  • do the dishes -> laundry -> sweep/vacuum -> mow the lawn -> clean out the gutters
  • play with my kids -> read to them -> build stuff together -> take mini-vacations
  • write articles -> networking -> work with clients -> write book -> joint ventures

Sky’s the limit. So, what’s in your universe(s)?

Want a podcast of this? Click here.

Image by pingnews.com on Flickr, via Creative Commons license.

And thanks to all those who commented on the previous posts so far: Karl Staib, Tshombe, Judy Murdoch, Nathan Ketsdever, MichelleVan

5 Reasons Why People Love Your Business

How many people love Harry Potter?When you started your business, you probably had all kinds of visions of throngs of fans, mobs of people who just can’t get enough of everything you do, say, and sell. After all, you get it, right? You see the uniqueness, the specialness, and all the wonderful things about what you’re doing.

But, the question is: Do they?

To help create the bridge between what you know you have to offer and what the rest of the world sees as what you offer, here are a few major areas that, once solid, will go a long way towards bringing those throngs of fans your way.

1. Be an Attractive Person

No, you don’t have to look like Matt Damon or Jessica Biel; it’s not about that kind of attractive. It’s about being attractive in the way Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela are attractive; they are people with such a strong inner light that they become magnetic to others. The power of their hearts drew (and continue to draw) people in… call it charisma if you like, but it’s less about your appearance and your personality as it is the (to quote MLK), “content of your character.”

2. Have a Clear, Resonant Message

Why do so many people shop at Whole Foods? Is it just because they have good produce and good presentation? Or is it because they stand for something that we can unite behind? And why was Blog Action Day so successful? Outstanding marketing? Or a Message that was so morally ubiquitous (I mean, who doesn’t love the planet?) that people signed up in droves? If the message behind your business is a clear, strong, and compelling one, people will sign up because it inspires them, it harmonizes with their values, and it makes them feel more like the person they want to be.

3. Care For Your Patrons

I know this one sounds like a “no duh!” statement, but think about it. How do you take care of your people? How do they know you care? How do you relate to people — as customers, clients, or as true patrons? Are you selling them something, providing a service for them, or championing their cause? I’m not talking about sacrificing yourself for them, but I am talking about relating to them not as peons or just cash sources, but as living, loving people with concerns, priorities, and considerations of their own.

4. Create Remarkable Experiences

For this one, you need go no further than name-dropping: Apple. Disney. IKEA. Harley-Davidson. Mini Cooper. (okay, I’ll go a little further… what do all these have in common? They create amazing experiences at every turn for their patrons. They don’t just hawk product; they craft encounters, create adventures, and promise excitement and rich experiences.)

5. Add Enormous Value To Their Lives

Think of a business that you love: now, what have they done for you? Has your life been measurably improved since you met them? My guess is that your answer is yes. If it isn’t, then I doubt you would have thought of them at all. It’s not that we love a business simply for our own self-serving reasons, but for the first four Reasons to stick, it all has to come down to a bottom line, and that’s Value (example: I don’t just love my Mac (iMac G5) because it’s gorgeous; I love it because it adds tremendous value to my work every day, by making it easy to do my work in a way that’s efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and a joy to interact with it).

Of course, each of these Reasons has a lot of nuances, strategies, and ways to implement them, but this should be enough to get your brains a’churning with ideas for revolutionizing your own business, eh? And, as always, if you’ve got ideas to share or questions to ask, that’s what the comment box is for.

Enjoy!

Image by MegElizabeth.