I am from Bill and Enese, Elek and Iren, Paul and Eva.
I am from Walnut Creek and Budapest, a privileged life in California and communism behind the iron curtain.
I am from goulash, langos and pörkölt.
I am from the best schools: Seven Hills, College Prep, UC San Diego, George Washington and University of Chicago.
I am from a 1978 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, also known as "Das Boot."
I am from a family that almost went bankrupt in high school, emotional abuse and losing my dad at 20.
I am from escaping to Europe and a life in nine countries on four continents.
I am from an abusive relationship, an eating disorder and addiction.
I am from raves in the '90's, Widespread Panic, karaoke and my own rock band, Soul Survivor.
I am from opera and musical theater.
I am from my dog Davey and sheltered animals.
I am from ownership and not victimhood.
I am from service, integrity and freedom.
I spend a lot of time talking and thinking about power. And that's ironic because for many years of my adult life, I felt like I didn't have it. From the outside I always looked like I had it all together. In fact, one of the things people have always said about me is that I am fearless and confident. But on the inside I felt like I was a faking it... until I woke up one day and felt like I had made it.
How did I switch from feeling insecure to feeling powerful? It was a gradual process that took place over years of personal growth work that clicked when I decided to invest a large amount of money into my own coaching to exponentially uplevel my business. It wasn't about the money, but rather that committing to creating that life and business called me forth to show up in a whole new way. All my life I had been an B+/A- student and that had gotten me pretty far: top business school, prestigious career, etc. I was always able to scoot by without doing the maximum, namely to get A's.
In the world of coaching there are thousands of people hovering in the B+/A- range... and they are barely making ends meet. And the fact that I wasn't living up to my greatest potential in my business was sucking my power even more. The day I decided to change that I began to show up in a whole new way.
I wish I could say there is a system that--if you follow it--will get you incredible results. Of course, there is no catch-all, no cookie cutter template. But there are some fundamental concepts that form the backbone of my coaching philosophy and have greatly impacted my life.
1. Be your word. If you do just one thing, do this. We live in a world in which people toss language around like a hot potato. This whole thing about Maybe RSVPs on the Internet just fuels the flakiness in our society. If somebody RSVPs yes on Facebook and actually shows up, it's like a Christmas miracle.
Notice how do you feel when make a commitment then flake. And how you feel when you honor that commitment. Every time you break your word it chips away at your confidence. And every time you keep it, you build up your power.
Those who place gravity on their words recognize their power to shape our world. They are the ones who are on time for appointments, follow through with deadlines, and are considered reliable by their peers. And they are also the ones that, when they make a declaration to create a project, they do it because they said they would--even if it scares them. I committed to making $50,000 in a 5-month coaching program and I created almost double that... because I had said I would. That's the power of language to shape our reality.
2. Commit. In the Prosperous Coach, Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin (whom I credit for a lot of these ideas) write about a proverb of 5 frogs sitting on a log. 4 decide to jump off. How many are left?
If you guessed 5, you guessed correctly.
There is a big difference between deciding something and taking action on that decision. Most people live their lives in the land of Maybe. Maybe I'll do this, maybe I'll do that, and then they never get anywhere... at least not anywhere juicy.
Commit to things. Commit to things that scare you. Commit to things that are hard and challenging. Follow through on commitments not only to others, but also to yourself. And do so because you know what's on the other side is magical.
3. Serve, don't please. From a young age, we are taught to people please. We are praised for being good children... and allow outside forces such as our parents to define what good means for us.
However, nothing ever gets resolved in relationships without honest communication, which is not always easy. And yet as a society we are conditioned to be indirect. What happens if somebody has a gripe with you at your job? They go to HR instead of telling you directly.
Serving somebody means telling them the honest truth. Not berating, not judging, but being honest about your experience. It means not being passive aggressive. And it means saying NO to things you don't want to do. There is so much power in the word NO.
And learn how to serve and not please yourself. For example, if I have the evening free, it would please me to sit on the couch and guzzle wine and cheese, but it would serve me to go to the gym. Choose the gym!
4. Then serve some more. Go out of your way to do everything you can to support another person. And not because you want to get something in return. Give for giving's sake.
5. Don't take things personally. This is my favorite of Don Miguel Ruiz's "Four Agreements." And if we are going to live in a world of honest truth telling and serving not pleasing, then we need to understand that all feedback we get, whether positive or negative, is a reflection of the other person’s experience. All of it. Use feedback as information and do your best to not get emotional. Take what works and discard the rest.
6. Be an owner, not a victim. Imagine that you are the creator of EVERYTHING in your world. The amount of money you make, the friends you have, your success, your failure, everything.
If somebody yells at you for something, do you say, “Poor me, they were so mean to me!” Or do you set a boundary and walk away?
The victim mindset can be overt or subtle, and it can creep in even when you are in an empowered place. That’s called being human.
But you are always at choice and can choose back into a mindset of ownership. The one thing you have complete control over is you. So why not harness that power to create incredible things in your life?
7. Live from the heart, not the head. When was the last time you made an intuitive decision? Followed your gut, rather than a spreadsheet or to-do list? Or do you feel constantly mired in analysis paralysis?
Most people in today’s world are so disembodied, they don’t even know it. They are running around like floating heads… with cell phones attached.
Do what you need to do to get in your body and connect to your heart. Meditate. Practice activities that get you into a flow state, like improv, playing music or martial arts. Start by simply putting your hand on your heart, closing your eyes and noticing what you feel. Do that right now. Create space instead of clutter and allow things to come in instead of forcing them. You don’t need to know why your gut tells you something, but I'm guessing you'll feel happier if you follow it when it does.
8. SLOW DOWN. This is the secret sauce that underpins all of the above. When you slow down, you notice the beauty of the world around you. You have more access to your intuition. And you can really know if something is a YES or NO for you and be conscious about making commitments.
Many jobs and environments reward you for doing the opposite—get more done and run yourself ragged. Stop that now!
Slow down to speed up and notice how your world transforms as a result.
Feeling powerful is a work in progress, a practice that requires continuous care and nurture. And maybe that’s not your end goal. But I’m fairly certain if you apply just one of these concepts above, you will take the first step towards living a more fulfilled and peace-full life.