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Accepting, being ready for the bolt out of the blue is the path to a better life, according to Dan Millman in “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

“There are no ordinary moments,” says Dan Millman in “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

According to Millman, when moments are layered with meaning, infused with life, they cannot be ordinary. They are only tired and mundane if you see them that way. If you live them that way. Every day, you have challenges. You have stuff thrown at you. You are working diligently toward one thing but, hey, here comes something completely out of the blue.

Here Comes That Bolt

The phrase “out of the blue” comes from an old English poem, in which a bolt of lightning strikes from out of a clear blue sky.

In an ordinary life, in an ordinary moment, you don’t accept things out of the blue. You resist, and get angry and frustrated. You have your plans and this out of the blue thing, whatever it is, doesn’t fit in. But if you treat every moment as extraordinary, then you know things are coming out of the blue. Acceptance. Not lamenting, not inviting. Lightening just is. You just are.

And, since you are no longer resisting, you are aware as the bolt is coming toward you. You better understand its power and presence. And the more you do this, the more you can see other things coming at you, too, no matter what color the sky is. It can come out of the yellow, red, purple, or chartreuse. It doesn’t matter!

“Better to Make a Mistake with Your Full Force…”

In “Way of the Peaceful Warrior,” Millman also says: “It’s better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to timidly avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit. Responsibility means recognizing both pleasure and price, action and consequence, then making a choice.”

Millman has been around a long time. In fact, he is still doing handstands when he feels like it. Just because it feels good. He is over 70.

This is the spirit to bring to your life. Whether you are at work, exercising, recreating, or just being with your family. You should be all in. All the time.

And this is the spirit to foster in all your efforts. Ask everyone to join you on this journey. You are here to help people, to spiritually enrich the lives of those you serve and those around you. To substantively make lives better. And don’t be misled, this is no walk in the park. The reason people shy away from lightning strikes is that they can be scary, demanding, and uncomfortable. But you can’t do anything hidden away, as Millman says, “trembling” and “timid.”

So ask yourself, and everyone gathered around you, to be in each moment with the “full force of their being.” To be a peaceful warrior. To be aware and alive.

Even when lightning strikes.

Because, in life and business, that tremendous eruption of electricity is where all the good stuff is: the best ideas, the greatest strategies, all of the raw, unharnessed energy.

It’s exactly where you need to be.

Radical Vulnerability: Small surfer on a giant wave

What is vulnerability? Though it can mean different things to different people, it essentially comes down to being brave enough to be yourself. And that means being your whole self, including weaknesses and strengths. All the energy you spend projecting an image of strength and invulnerability becomes a mask that insulates you from the real world.

If you are an entrepreneur, you don’t want anything getting between you and the real world. That’s where all the solutions are.

The Emotional Impact of Being Authentic

Being authentic is what helps you connect emotionally with your team. Truth and authenticity are at the foundation of vulnerability. If you show your team your humanity, your genuine heart, they will know that you trust yourself and that they can trust the organization.  

One way to do this is to illuminate your flaws rather than try to hide them away. Be willing to admit mistakes. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and be willing to get support where you need it. This means, instead of projecting confidence, being confident enough to be uncomfortable.

It also means having the ability to be self-aware. Often, the people and situations that bother you the most, the ones that really electrify the negative feedback loop in your brain with repetitive thinking, are places you need the most work. For example, maybe you label someone as a bullshitter. That person really bugs you, and you hate doing business with him. If you look inside, maybe you will see there is a part of yourself that is willing to be less than honest in certain high pressure situations. Maybe you’re the bullshitter! If you take steps to deal with that then you won’t have to plug in and give energy to every dishonest person you run into.

Shame Is an Organizational Virus

When you are willing to look at your own flaws, your team can admit their own mistakes. Everyone makes errors. Why not let them live in the open where they can be learned from? Shame is a terrible organizational virus that mutes voices, making team members less bold and less able to suggest big ideas.

Of course, you work in a demanding environment, and being vulnerable and willing to accept who you truly are does not mean you are willing to accept mediocrity. In fact, it’s the opposite. When you challenge yourself and your team to be fully vulnerable and driven while building solutions for clients, you build an organization that has the best chance of dynamically moving forward. Being a radically vulnerable leader is the optimal strategy to becoming a successful business leader.

The power of now when overwhelmed in business and life

At some point or another, most people have felt completely overwhelmed in their business and personal lives. It is completely normal and human to feel disoriented and completely alone in the face of a setback, yet it remains uniquely devastating for each individual who faces failure and loss. Even though you know everyone goes through similar challenges, for you it is happening on a grand stage and is monumental in scope and duration.

It will not take much imagination to think back to a time you felt this way. For most people, it is something that can be recalled in vivid detail, as if a camera has recorded every nuance of light and language. Though it can’t possibly be true, it seems like it often happens on a dark, rainy day. Or maybe that’s just how the soul feels.

Taking Personal Inventory

There are, of course, dozens of ways to respond to business and personal destruction and trauma. One imperative step to take is to take a personal inventory. Where has your energy been leading up to the failure? Have you been grasping at things you can’t change such as rethinking the past or putting all your energy into some future hope or goal? Maybe you are not being present enough in your business efforts or your personal relationships? Maybe both.

Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” talks about committing to the present moment, to spend less time looking back and projecting forward. The author urges you to commit to the moment that is in front of you.

For those in business, there are opportunities lost by not being present. Every time you are lost in a past conversation or challenge other than the one that is right in front of you, there is a possibility you are going to miss something important. You need to have keen, piercing vision, and every single piece of missed information, or dropped data, is going to weaken your vision. Anything that goes unseen might just make it impossible to succeed.

Getting punched in the face is part of what happens when you take on big challenges, but you would never walk into a boxing ring thinking about your last failure. You have to be totally present and alive to see the punches coming in order to know when to defend and when to strike.

What Does It Mean To Be a Human Being?

Think about what it means to be a human being. You come into this world naked with nothing, and you leave it the same way. Tolle says the secret of life is to “die before you die.” 

It is imperative to become aware of who you are in any given moment. You have to awaken to your subconscious responses to any given situation, and then to let go of them. When you become aware of your emotional responses, you acknowledge them without letting them make decisions for you. You miss critical things when you don’t.

“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place,” says Tolle. Even if it is raining outside, it doesn’t have to cloud your mind, your soul and your decisions.

The way to be a true entrepreneur is to be open, honest, and vulnerable in the moment right in front of you. Energized, aware, and alive, you live in the moment, in the now. Then, all of your personal and business growth can happen organically, steadily and slowly from that place.

So be humble and open to learning every day. Surround yourself with people willing to be challenged, who are authentic and open and alive. And build ways to make the lives of your clients, employees, friends, and family better. Step into the now.

Adult and five year old together happy

I’m not the five year old kid I used to be.  

Still, my inner five year old shows up and wants attention. He wants to join the party, in fact, he wants the party to be about him. And he’s going to be pretty unhappy when he finds out it isn’t. 

But I’m an adult. I have a family and they need me to be present and aware. My clients and employees also require my absolute focus so that I can see where we need to go and the paths we need to take to get there.

And that inner five year old continues to get in the way. Or does he?

Dealing With the Painbody

Eckhart Tolle talks about the painbody. He says that there are old emotional pains living inside us, an accumulation of painful life experiences. These experiences were not fully accepted when they happened.

Often, the experiences were just too much to deal with. You were just to young to understand what was happening and didn’t have the power to deal with it, so the experiences overwhelmed you.

Maybe you were five years old. Or four. Or three. Maybe you’ve experienced painbodies your whole life.

These experiences leave behind energy in the form of emotional pain.

So now you’re an adult and something triggers you. It’s happened to everyone.  Somebody cuts you off in traffic or someone says the wrong thing at the wrong time and the painbody takes over, shading interpretations of everything that comes next with stored up emotion. 

Everything becomes distorted and and warped by this painbody. And you react with emotional outbursts, acting out, and bad decisions. Until the energy runs its course and you suddenly come out on the other side and wonder what the hell happened.

Not Five Anymore

So here is the problem. I’m like you. I’m not five anymore. I have family, clients, and employees that need me to have clarity. You have responsibilities, too.  

So, what’s an adult to do?

Drowning out the painbody doesn’t work. There’s too much stored up energy. It will always comes back. Plus, who really wants to drown a five year old? Especially when the five year old is your inner self.

Be Present

The option is to be present. Try to realize and understand the five year old wants a say. Hear him out, give him some space. Become comfortable with this part of you. And learn to realize when someone you are with is in their painbody.

The more comfortable you become, the clearer you can be. Then you can see where the pieces fit, how to grow and where you need to go.  

Wherever I am, I have my five year old with me.

If I am present and aware, that inner five year old feels cared for, and I can bring my full vision and energy to my family, clients, and employees where it is needed most.

There are a few influential books that have persuaded me as powerfully as the books below.

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

I try to reflect what I learned from this book in aspects of myself. In the text, Dan becomes a disciple of a modern, ninja, Socrates and confronts death and the meaninglessness of existence to become present, aware, open, and vulnerable. These qualities lead Dan to find, and marry, the girl, and concept, named Joy and realize his full capabilities as a human being. I believe the ideas that Dan expresses about how to find joy in life can help people become the best version of themselves that they can imagine.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

This book teaches a person to pay attention to emotional responses, acknowledge them, and how to prevent them from representing your logical side. The book teaches that if some pain has already happened to you then do not let dwelling on it or future implications ruin the current moment. Lastly, try to find patterns in your brain by asking “what will my next thought be.” This will show your thought habits. Break those habits and focus on paying attention to the immediate moment, instead of being caught in a self-fulfilling loop.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh’s story at Zappo’s is amazing by itself, but his employee-first attitude and focus on company culture and vision is particularly inspiring. Hsieh’s belief that company culture is the greatest predictor of success was an enlightening revelation. His decision that Zappos must be the best at one element of the business, then choosing customer service and dedicating themselves to that focus to the point where the company center to their Las Vegas customer service center shows how vision can be used to make bold decisions.

Delivering Happiness promotes having a company’s vision and culture drive everything. Hsieh shows how to focus on one aspect of your company, how to never outsource the best quality of your workplace, and how to remove one aspect of the budget (in Hsieh’s case, marketing) to re-invest it into a company’s primary focus. Most importantly Hsieh teaches how to make the company’s greatest strength be the greatest measure of their success.

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

The Art of the Deal is treasured among my influential books since it’s the one that taught me how to be scrappy. The guidelines of this influential book teach me how to fight like an underdog at the negotiation table.

  1. Think big.
  2. Anticipate the worst.
  3. Don’t get too attached to a deal, and start making lots of deals.
  4. Know the market.
  5. Never be desperate to make a deal work.
  6. If your situation isn’t the best, figure out a way to make your deal the best.
  7. Be sensational and get your name out.
  8. If someone tries to take advantage of you, fight back.
  9. Deliver what you promise.
  10. Never spend more than you have to.
  11. Be in a business you enjoy being a part of.

More

Below are a few authors who make nothing but influential books. I recommend reading every work they create or help create:

  • Tony Robbins
  • Marc Benioff
  • Zig Ziglar
  • Jim Rohn
  • Warren Buffett
  • Bill Gates