Are you creating from a place of alignment?
Or creating based on what you think you “have” to do?
My grandparents were holocaust survivors. They went from being prosperous to being stripped of everything, to eventually becoming prosperous again. I love my parents and brothers dearly, I’m grateful for the life I was given and all they taught me. Growing up in a beautiful and welcoming middle-class neighborhood in San Diego with great schools and where we could freely skateboard around and cause mischief.
I had a childhood where I could roam free and explore what it was to be a child.
The standard societal agreed upon belief system was passed on to me.
You grow up studying hard in school learning subjects that may be interesting, however, you likely won’t use much in life.
So that you can be better at taking tests than your peers. So you can get into a prestigious university to earn a degree that carries more clout than other people’s.
All to one-up them and nab a higher paying and more secure job. Booyah!!!
You then make some sweet moolah so you can buy temporary feel good things to make you feel happy for a while, whilst also making other people who don’t have them feel bad.
With the little bit that’s left over, you add to your 401(k) so you can retire at the ripe young age of 65 and then REALLY start enjoying life. This is the capitalist dream, right?
Well some of us who have followed this path have realized it’s a bit of a nightmare, haven’t we?
Did you know that just 30% of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 Gallup report? And across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13%!
Where do you sit in this? Happily creating or stressed out wishing you were somewhere else doing something else?
I’m all for earning what you want. Whenever I desired something, like a bike, a trip or even a car, my parents would tell me to find a way to pay for half of it and they would pay the other half.
Although at the time I may have considered this child slavery and not have fully appreciated my parents’ strategy, today I am very grateful to them for encouraging me to go for and earn what I wanted, instead of it just being handed to me. This was smart on their part and more than fair. It instilled values of ownership, responsibility, and determination in me.
Starting at 8 years old, I would cruise the neighborhood with my million dollar smile and ask the neighbors for jobs. With a dream of a new bicycle or a surf trip on my mind.
These jobs progressed until at age 16, and I hit the jackpot, getting a job screen-printing stickers, t-shirts, and surfboard logos. Now, this was borderline sweatshop activity, however, the pay was $20/hour, so in my mind, I was becoming a millionaire. I was working hard, I didn’t love what I was doing, however that felt normal, like the just the way it had to be.
This upbringing was the start of my entrepreneurial spirit, which has evolved and progressed over time to where I am now.
The shared belief is: We sacrifice our time doing something that feels bearable at best, to make money to spend time doing what we really want, right?
As I went through the victories and challenges of being an entrepreneur, I started realizing that I wasn’t completely aligned with what I considered to be the accepted and limiting societal beliefs anymore.
I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too. But society tells us time and time again we can’t.
Please take a moment here and look at your life. Are you doing what I did, sacrificing time now for a better future later? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, simply important to look and see if it’s what we really want to be doing. Or if we believe that this is what’s possible.
Another way to ask this is:
- Are you in love with the moments you are living?
- Are you doing what you want, when you want, where you want?
Bravo if you answered with an answer that feels aligned with you. If your answer feels misaligned…all is well, we will be shifting this together.
There’s a better way of doing things and studies and science have proven this time and time again.
In 2012, through a deep analysis of 263 research studies across 192 companies, Gallup found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees had higher profitability, higher customer ratings, less theft and significantly fewer safety incidents.
This proves that the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform.
In fact, the highest single impact of any variable in the study found that employees and people who feel purposeful, those taking meaning and significance from their work, were three times more likely to stay at their job, happier, and more fulfilled.
The way I synthesize this is that “Feeling good is a foundation for performance”
So, I started to listen to my inner being and over the course of my 20’s as I built my first company MatrixMT, I had begun to make shifts into the mind and heart set to what I like to call the Balanced Entrepreneur.
The beliefs most of us have grown up with told me it wasn’t possible, or at least this was not the right way to do it. Part of me felt guilty about the amount of fun and enjoyment I was having, all while I was also creating my business and financial success. It almost felt like my dirty little secret that I was afraid to share with people because if the bottom ever fell out from under me we would all know why. And everyone would say “I told you so.”
And the bottom has fallen out from under me multiple times. In the financial crash of 2008, I was $400,000 in debt at age 27 and built the company back up to sell it for 7 figures.
Again, when we ran out of money with one of my startups, Enlightened.org, in 2013 and had to fold it, I was so grateful that I had taken the path of the Balanced Entrepreneur.
It allowed me to feel good, confident and peaceful during the challenging times.
How many people have you heard of who worked their asses off and ended up totally burned out or still failed? Grinding as hard as you can also isn’t ever truly a guarantee of success and you are often left empty inside afterward.
I’m all for giving it 100%, however in a balanced way that serves your mind, body, and soul
We all have our “Aha!” moments and one day, it all came together for me. Full alignment. I was in a personal development and leadership course called the Landmark Forum, and when I came back from the lunch break, up on the board was this quote:
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
As I sat in my uncomfortable chair, in this room with 150 people I didn’t yet know, staring at the quote on the blackboard, the voice of the course leader started to fade away, time slowed down, and I felt a shift that would change my life forever.
You see, this wasn’t something I was inspired to go do or to have, it described who I already was. It’s a belief that I embodied, and it immediately washed away and replaced all of the other beliefs I had that I was not aligned with. The limiting beliefs that no longer served me.
Werner Erhard says that “Transformation happens in an instant.” Well, this was my instant; I experienced transformation not as a concept or an idea, but as a true life changing event.
This had been my first personal development course. I have a Psychology degree from UCLA, but this type of teaching was different for me. It was Ontological, which is a branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being. I ate it up ravenously.
There was nowhere I needed to go, I was already home and at peace. I was finally connected to myself and my truth. I was accepting and loving of my path and my journey, rather than my truth being dictated by someone else’s influence.
With this feeling, I could also be more loving, accepting, and supportive of other people’s truth, a gift in and of itself. Have you ever had that feeling of someone sharing what they want in life and having that limiting belief of doubting that they can do it? For me, that fell away and I could believe in people’s dreams
I felt love. I felt happiness. I felt connection, excitement, presence, hope, power and an ease come to me.
This was a beautiful and life changing realization. I will share much more about how this has impacted my life in the coming blog posts and in my book. I’m hoping that these words touch and shift something inside you, and my even greater hope is that you get to have this type of experience for yourself.
Are you living life as you “should” or as YOU WANT?
So, let’s break it down. I’ll give you 3 Steps I take to address changes I want to make.
Step 1: Get clear on how you feel and what you believe about your current situation
Step 2: Decide how you want to feel and what you want to believe
Step 3: Write down the actions you can take to have this
Step 1: Get clear on how your undesired feelings and what your limiting beliefs are about your current situation
I take the time to really assess and identify my feelings, and the limiting beliefs I encountered.
- I’m having too much fun
- Other people will judge me
- I have to sacrifice time now to have a better future
- I can’t have my cake and eat it too
- The bottom will fall out and I will be sorry
- My likelihood of failure is higher if I’m not stressed and suffering
- I won’t be successful unless I’m grinding
- I can’t have life balance and be successful
Step 2: Decide how you want to feel, what you want to believe and choose more empowering beliefs
Each day I focused on generating these feelings and really integrating the beliefs I wanted to have
- Feeling good is a foundation for my performance
- I feel good and watch what happens
- I trust myself and my ideas, the environment around me, and the universe.
- I believe in myself
- I am courageous, badass, and I am ready
- I love my adventurous life
- This is my true passion and I’m doing what I love
- When I’m aligned everything I want flows easily and smoothly
- I am confident, even during hard times
- When I do what I love everything falls into place
Step 3: Write down the Aligned and Bold actions you can take to have this
Once I was aligned I saw what actions there were to take
- Continue to focus on life balance and feeling good vs. just work
- Ensure things I love to do outside of work were scheduled in my calendar to make sure I allocated time to do them
- Find mentors to reach out to who I admired that had been successful building companies living the way I was/wanted to and sharing my vision with them. Also asking them to mentor me.
- Find personal development courses to take that would empower me to continue to step into my greatness
- Ensure my team feels like they have proper life balance and the way the business is integrated into their lives and their vision. I did this by living as an example, asking them and bringing in Time Creation and Life Balance practices into their day to day work environment, such as the actions outlined in this list.
- Continue to feel into my own alignment. Asking myself, “What feels best for me?” Staying present, focusing on the step by step and what I was doing in the moment vs. what I needed to do later.
- Enjoying the journey and believing that it is all unfolding perfectly
What I’ve realized is it’s all about taking small steps each day, believing in your vision and focusing on feeling how you want to feel, first thing in the morning. I promise you if you take some of these actions and follow your own heart and intuition, you will end up seeing the shifts you want in your life.
Feel free to reply to this and reach out to me with anything.
Much love and thank you for reading!
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Leave a comment, tell me your story, let’s start a conversation! How do you live a Balanced Life?
Also published on Medium.