The Rise and Fall of Empires

I am thoroughly and utterly convinced that fear is the driving force behind every bad decision we ever make.

Now, don’t be afraid of fear—that’s a scary thought!—just learn to recognize it for what it is.

And now, on with our story.


Once upon a time, there was an idealistic youth (let’s call him John) who believed that perfection existed, and to seek it was the best use of one’s life. He was sure that the attainment of perfection would result in happiness. He quickly learned, of course, that perfection was an impossible ideal (not to mention a miserable one). So, instead of seeking perfection, he saught inner peace, believing it would bring him happiness.

The search for inner peace led John to a group of other like-minded people who also saught the same thing, all rallied around a teacher who demonstrated some very successful techniques to help his students find and experience that peace. As the group grew, the teacher realized that he must establish a “method”, so others could teach the work as well. After all, what good would it do unless a means could be identified? And so, this method became concretized, shared, and taught to many more seekers of peace.

John, who believed the methods and the community around it to be the best thing he’d ever seen, became a teacher of this system. He taught others the methods, used them himself, and his life got better.

But then, a shadow began to grow…

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The Urgent Call

It lies within you, thirsting.

Like a baby bird chirping desperately for its mother’s return to the nest to bring the food that will keep it alive, there is a yearning that lives within you, and it calls incessantly. It can be satiated with the smallest of moments, and it has a camel’s resistance to thirst, but if you ignore it too long, it will shrivel and die.

And as it does, color will fade from your world. Meaning will ebb away, enjoyment will wither, and you’ll sit around trying to remember a time in your life when richness existed. You’ll get dry, stiff… and when you hardly recognize the crusty you that you’ve become, you’ll chalk it up to being busy. Or being a parent. Or being a professional. Or getting older.

But it has nothing to do with any of those things.

The Urgent Call is your spirit’s need for connection. Like the migrating herds of the plains of Africa, who travel thousands of miles every year in search of life-giving food and water, your spirit has an essential drive to feel its connection to all around it. It’s the reason we seek community. It’s the reason we search for purpose and meaning in life. It’s the reason we feel better when we’re on a spiritual path, and it’s the reason that it doesn’t really matter what path that ends up being.

urgent

What matters is that you connect.
What matters is the Urgent Call gets listened to.
It doesn’t matter how your Urgent Call gets fulfilled, only that it does.
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Why You Should Kill Your Inner Perfectionist

the deep, dark hole of perfectionism
Okay, so I’ve got 3 planets in Virgo, and a double-grand-trine (and two T-squares) in Air. What does that mean? For those of us (’cause I’m one of ‘em) who don’t have much of a background in astrology, it basically means I’m frogged.

Not really. It means I’m smart. Yay for me. But it also means I’m a perfectionist out the wazoo, so all these great ideas I have? All the amazing connections I see between things? All the creative impulses I have? They ride on the backs of turtles, past huge guardians of Quality Control, on their slow march towards freedom. It’s a wonder you’re even reading this. But who knows, you might not – I might edit this before I publish it.

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Just you. Just me.

casting off the shackles

Out with the old, in with the new.

That’s my motto right now. I reserve the right to change it, if/when it suits me, but that seems to be the flavor of my thinking lately.

Ever have the feeling your business could use an emema? I did/do, and I’ve been laying down on that table for quite some time now.

To help steer me away from expanding on that metaphor, and to give you some context, let me give you some background. This will be especially helpful for those of you who haven’t known me all that long, all that well, or just are curious about the path I’ve come to tread and where this blog is going. I’ll try to be succinct…

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Expression, Reinvention, and Transparency (or, A Rant for Being Honest)

Let it shine!

If you want to make an impact in the world, you have to express yourself. And the way you’ve expressed yourself so far has been good, in that it has gotten you to where you are now. But if you want to go beyond where you’ve come, you need to make a shift. And making a shift in how you express yourself is one of the toughest things to do. (Spinning plates, juggling knives, doing a back handspring? Child’s play.)

Expression isn’t about words, and it isn’t about style… even though these factor into it heavily. It’s easy to get into ruts with your language, your catch-phrases, your metaphors. Expression is about viewpoints. It’s about perspective. It’s tied fundamentally to the eyes through which you see the world around you, and all the filters between your brain and the world it’s trying to make sense of.

Try this: think about your business. Think about who you serve, and what you do for them. Write it down. Keep it simple. Got it?

Now, come at it from a completely different angle, and do it again. Try seeing it as you’ve never seen it before. (Go ahead, take a minute and do it. I’ll wait.)

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Dost Thou Twitter

Tweet tweet!
I’m twittering now… are you?

Love it or hate it, Twitter is a social phenomenon that deserves recognition. It may not be for you, and if you’ve tried it to find out, great. Enjoy the silence.

If you haven’t tried it, though, I’d recommend giving it a shot. It could just be the best thing you’ve ever found. Once you’ve had it demystified and myth-debunked, that is.

Update: I’m still Twittering, although less than I used to. Why? I think I’m still figuring out how to use it… although Havi’s post (look at that last link) has helped tremendously with my attitude towards the whole thing.

The Twitter community has also grown substantially, and there are some fantastic tools and resources out there in case you’re wanting to dip your toes in the pool. I heartily recommend TweetDeck as the best Twittering tool out there, and Darren Rowse’s TwiTip is an excellent site for picking up great twitter tips, especially for beginners.

Why You Should Speak Up… And, Stick Around

bad customer service usually results in a road trip

There is a saying in business: “If you are unhappy with someone’s service, ‘talk with your feet.'” Meaning, leave. They say that the window to please a customer these days is getting shorter and shorter.

But that’s a completely ridiculous course of action. (Not to mention, childish.)

The problem with this strategy is that a) you, as a patron, don’t get what you want, and b) the business doesn’t get what it wants. The business obviously wants happy customers, people to have a long-term relationship with and, ultimately, success.

But you want the same thing, right? You want whatever amazing benefit or solution you went to the company for in the first place. Say, for example, you went with a company because you liked the way they did things, i.e. you liked their service or you like their product, and while you were getting it, you were happy.

But then, they changed something. They changed the way they delivered the product, or they changed their logo or their colors (hey, I’ve known people who’ve jumped ship for smaller reasons!). Who knows what it was, but they made some change and you don’t like it.

And what is the typical response? Talk with your feet, right? You unsubscribe, leave, or just stop buying their product. Now, if you’re one of the rare few, maybe you give the company feedback before you leave, saying, “I don’t like this new change; I think you were better before.” But then, you’re gone.

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I Was Going To Write About SOBCon, but… Part Two

L-R: Kane, me, Cree, Garrett

L-R: Kane, me, Cree, Garrett

No exploding tires, no big catastrophe this time, don’t worry.

But I had it in mind to write a great review of what happened at SOBCon08, and then I thought—especially in light of all the great reviews being posted out there—would that really be helpful? Would it help you to hear about the things I did, the food I ate, the people I talked to, and the sights I saw on my trip to Chicago this month?

No, not really. It probably wouldn’t. (Other than to give you social proof that SOBCon is great, and you should really go next year if you’re even at all curious.)

So, what would benefit you?

  1. I had a great time. Now you can be happy for me (thanks).
  2. It was a great catalyst for a number of decisions I needed to make, and you’ll be hearing about the fruits of those decisions very, very soon.
  3. It reinforced for me the importance of friendship, community, and why it’s so great to go to events like this.

Because the information I heard was great, but it didn’t make as large an impact on me as when I went last year. At SOBCon07, I had been blogging about three weeks… so the information presented blew me away. Everything that anyone said was so helpful, so new, so eye-opening.
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I'll Choose Rich Over Right Any Day

The conversation that’s gotten started from “How Do You Orient To The Divine?” is one that I’m really, really enjoying. It’s the kind of discussion (one of them, at least) that I was hoping would happen when I started Monk at Work.

I’ve been touched by the sentiments shared, because it’s easy to see that people are really looking at their beliefs, and perhaps, questioning them. Personally, I’ve been questioning my beliefs for most of my life, and it has been a very fruitful debate.

One of the things I wrote was, “I’ve been both [a dualist and a monist],” The truth is, I could have easily added, “and, I’ve been neither — for most of my youth, I didn’t believe in anything.”

“- gasp – is it true? the monk was once an atheist?”

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