Focus on what is mine to do

“Focus on what is mine to do.”Tomar Levine

Your Time to Bloom: Tomar Levine has a gracious online home at this link. Her voice is gentle and her toolbox is extensive. It’s especially yummy for those with creative yearnings who feel they haven’t lived into their fullness — yet.

Tomar and I have been in online classes together here and there over the years. We share a passion for learning and maybe a bit of reticence in “putting ourselves out there.”

In an email note that followed up a recent phone conversation the other day, she said this. “Focus on what is mine to do.” How timely. That’s exactly where I am too.  Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity talks about “just showing up on the page.” That, I realize, is part of what is mine to do.  (Hence how good for me is this blog challenge!)

I’ve latched onto Tomar’s simple phrase that is so rich in reverberations. It sounds more grounded and less grandiose than “Owning Your Greatness.” But it tills much the same ground.

Both frame a way of Being that taps into life purpose, into the reason why we are here. They speak to the ongoing process of giving our gifts, of manifesting and embodying the service we are here to do with the people we are meant to help, the contribution that our creation is meant to make.

Whether you approach it in a matter-of-fact way (“Focus on what is mine to do.”) or in an expansive and out-there “Owning Your Greatness” sort of way, the bottom line is to  generate from the root of our Being the tasks of Doing in the world. Being comes first, the foundation. Then the doing, the action.

By doing the doing, by taking the action, even imperfect action, we create shifts. We make things happen. It’s time to pull back the curtain of reticence. The proponents who advise listening to the still small voice speak perhaps more softly than some others. That doesn’t mean the message is any less important than the ones who “shout.”

In fact, you might consider that the opposite is true. I acknowledge Tomar for the inspiration that started this post.  And thanks also for this 30 Day Blog Challenge. It  is helping me show up, take action, be on the page, as I  build the bridge for myself and my tribe.

Even Seth Godin Revises

“Perhaps we need people to sweep the floor or clean the deep fryer. But it doesn’t have to be you…”

Surely not everyone” was the subject on the email. I read Seth Godin’s latest post via Feedburner subscription that landed in my inbox. I loved what he had to say — Except for that sentence above. I was all ready to take exception, to do a post that points out another way of looking at the floor sweepers and deep-fryer cleaners.

There was a bit of the same attitude in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, his most recent book, and I still take exception.

Why? Because everyone, no matter what job, can bring to it a sense of purpose, dignity, and commitment to shining their inner light. No matter what job. It’s the inner light that counts. So I was all set to start my rant, then clicked over to Seth Godin’s blog post for today, what is now online.

Lo and behold. That sentence (above) was gone. It was replaced with this: “Perhaps some people will insist that there are jobs where no humanity is possible. But you don’t have to work for them.”

Well, true enough. But people need the jobs. And they can still bring their light and their humanity to the process of their work. It’s not ideal. It’s an uphill battle. But even a tiny candle in the darkness creates more light than was there before.

Visualize lighting birthday candles. If you’re like me, you light one candle, then ignite the rest of the candles on the cake using the first candle you lighted. One candle can light many others.

And what of the assumption that “we” don’t want those types of jobs? Who is this “we?” I take it to mean people making a commitment to making a difference. Ultimately doesn’t everyone want to own their greatness? Isn’t making a contribution the reason that we’re here?

Ultimately I agree with Seth Godin: Potential Linchpins lurk inside nearly everyone. And I’d say an important part of stepping into that Linchpin role is to uncover whatever it is that makes us shine, that lights our fire and helps us come alive.

Bringing that light and aliveness into the workplace or the endeavor or the creation — that’s the starting point. Then you’re keeping the light alive, coaxing and cajoling the flame, stirring the embers, so that you ultimately get the fire to a point that it helps you cook up whatever is important and will make the difference — the connection. The connection within. The connection with your perfect people, your tribe. The connection with your creation, the gift you give.

He knows how to end strong, Seth does. “We make a difference to other people when we give gifts to them, when we bring emotional labor to the table and do work that matters… your ability to create and contribute isn’t determined at birth. It’s a choice.”

Agreed.  Thanks for revising, Seth.

Embrace Your Vision — Project, Message, People — Blog Challenge Post 23

Embrace your vision even if it sometimes feels like you are hugging an elephant.

Embrace the heart and soul of your Vision.

Why would you not? Well, sometimes it’s the very bigness of it. The profound meaning it holds for you goes right into your bones. Or owning that the vision really is yours — it’s  your project, venture, or creation; it’s your message, and it’s all directed to your tribe, community, circle — this is just more than you can take in, especially when you are feeling small, depleted, or lacking in self-esteem or self-confidence. (Or, as my colleague Evelyn Roberts Brooks in the #blog30 challenge pointed out, “Hey I’m feeling fragile today.“)

Sometimes it’s like trying to get your arms around an elephant. It’s impossible. It’s too big. You’ll get trampled. It hurts. A million reasons to not embrace the big vision that unfolds along with the purpose for why you are here.

To embrace the vision, we have to own the bigness and greatness of ourselves, to stand in owning our gifts and greatness AND the greatness of the project we are here to create.  We have to be strong enough, big enough, flexible and adaptable enough to be able to open our hearts and wrap our arms around the big vision. Hug it. Cherish it. Encircle and enclose it.  Welcome it. Call it forth into the greater whole of our lives. It lives inside as the gift of our expression we are meant to bring out into the world as our service to our people.

It’s important to embrace these three elements that make up the vision, so as not fail it or yourself or your greater purpose.

First, you need to create the thing, the creation –the “art” as Seth Godin would call it in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. That is, the business, the painting, the writing, the project, the novel, the web site, the passion for service however it plays out in your world. Your need and desire to create it? Driven by love, a profound love for the project.

Second, you need to be willing to share the creation, to find a way to communicate the essence of what you have created. It’s the message of the creation, the ways that it can transform the lives of the people you have created it for.  This second step is the bridge between what you create and the people it is meant to serve. It means sharing the story of the creation. It means loving the telling of the project’s story.

Third, you have to love the people, your people, the ones who can only hear it from you. Without all three, all powered by love as the bottom line, the vision does not stand strong out in the world. This is all another way of reiterating the importance of embracing these elements as part of your foundation

We have been taught, in every situation, to play small. We’ve been admonished — from the time we were great spirits inhabiting small bodies — not to be “too big fer yer britches.” I officially deem it’s time to bust the seams on those too small britches. You are WAY too big to play small. Your project, creation, and message are far too important to the people you came here to serve, the people who need to hear it from you. Britches be damned.

Go ahead. Hug the elephant.

Post 23 in the 30 day blogging challenge, #blog30 on Twitter.

Add Accountability–Blog Challenge Post 19

On the Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness, the first step, awakening awareness, is an  inner movement. To balance that, the second step is an outer movement, add accountability.

Adding accountability is the step where we make promises (like dates and deadlines and word counts) and then develop the systems and support to help us meet the deadlines and keep the promises. By meeting the deadlines and keeping the promises, we are more likely to complete the project, what Seth Godin, in his book,  Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, likes to call “shipping.”  It means getting it done well enough and out the door. Without adding accountability, without a firm commitment along with a system of supports to hold us to our commitments, very little actually gets done.

Seven Ways to Add Accountability and Own Your Greatness

To add accountability, you’ll want to write out your milestones and trail markers. Then you need to share those markers in a public sphere, even if it’s just a one-on-one support system. Here are seven possibilities –  some of the proven ways you can write your list of commitments and grab some accountability. Use one or a combination, or  all seven.

1 Hire a coach.

2 Set up a one-to-one accountability peer partner.

3 Join or create a Mastermind group and then make your commitments within that framework.

4 Sign  up for a course — and do the homework if that will lead you to completing your commitment.

5 Gather a community around your commitment and make it a group challenge. (like our 30-day blogging challenge)

6 Have a deadline and someone expecting your work or project.

7 Make a promise in a public sphere. (to your client list, on your blog, on a radio  interview).

Adding accountability is a crucial step to Owning Your Greatness. Why? Because the promises to ourselves are the ones most often broken. What lies closest to the heart of the matter, what is dearest to your heart, is somehow the thing that is most often overlooked. Promises and intentions to create from our deepest gifts are too often forgotten or overlooked, and our brainchildren become like orphans.

And in the interest of full disclosure, this is one of my weakest links. I help other people and my clients with this all the time. It’s part of the process, but it is the part that I have the most challenges with. My own creative projects have been the ones that regularly get moved to the back burner. That’s what has been so delicious for me with the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. It has been a chance to create my own work within a framework of a community.

Adding accountability is how we can be there for each other.

As we move into the final third of the 30 day blog challenge, it’s a special time to thank all the fellow travelers in #blog30. The accountability of having this group, of making the commitment to play together, of carrying through together and cheering each other on, has been spectacular.  And it also seems an ideal venue for reiterating the importance of adding accountability. In our case, it’s been a process of writing to add accountability.

Follow the blogging challenge on Twitter at #blog30 and #mini7.

How Self Awareness Connects to Owning Your Greatness — Blogging Challenge Post 18

As you go through the process of awakening self awareness, you might ask, “What does this have to do with owning the gifts and greatness I came here to give?”  The exercise of awakening self-awareness as outlined in the previous post did not specifically tie back to the process of owning your greatness.

So where does that come in?

Usually our gifts are hiding in plain sight. Everyone else can see them, but we can’t. We are the fish in water. What does water mean to a fish? It is a given. So, too, our gifts are invisible to us because they are so integral to how and who we are.

We yearn to share our gifts, but we sense they are hidden. So there’s this yearning to express the hidden gifts. We don’t even realize that we can’t help but express them. We have been expressing our deepest gifts (and purpose) every living moment without even being cognizant of it.

So I recommend using this awakening self awareness process to listen to the yearning of our gifts to be heard and brought out into the world.  For all we know, the gifts are hidden. Why?  Because we are not conscious, not aware of how we are expressing those gifts. This process helps bring our gifts and greatness to our conscious attention, thereby healing the yearning.

The free guidebook with meditation — available for no charge when you sign up with your name and email  in the box at the very top of the right sidebar –  goes into more detail on this aspect of awakening self awareness.  The guide/workbook offers perspectives and exercises specifically around using our self awareness exercises for listening to the inner yearning to express our gifts, owning that yearning, healing it, and finally  taking steps to mindfully own and express our gifts and greatness in the work we do in the world.

It’s all there — the gifts, the greatness, the purposeful vision — patiently waiting for us to awaken to what is with us, within us, and has been with us our entire lifetime.

Post #18 in the 30 day blogging challenge from Connie Ragan Green.  Follow us on Twitter #blog3o

Writing to Awaken Self Awareness–Blog Challenge Post 17

The Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness starts with Awakening Your Awareness. There are many paths to do this, many helpful ways to wake ourselves up. This particular path follows the trajectory of the written word as a way to get present with who you are right now, your Being in the moment and in relation to a particular issue that you consciously want to wake up around. (Or to put it another way, you want to shift your energy or boost the mojo or heal the shadow.)

So that this doesn’t become all floaty and ungrounded, start with your intention, identify the issue, then do brief five-minute timed writings answering the questions posed at the end of this post.

First, create an intention of safety and openness around doing this “awaken your awareness” process and following this particular path.  For example, you might start by saying, thinking, or even writing something like:

I intend to be fully present with this Awakening Awareness exercise. I am willing to allow the download of words onto paper, trusting the inner wisdom will flow from Source (the Universe, God, Soul, or whatever term you are comfortable with).  I will communicate with honesty and generosity, integrity and authenticity, and with the deepest and most profound compassion for the highest good for all concerned.

The wisdom lives within you, if you can just slow down long enough to listen. Writing in this focused yet open-hearted manner can tap into your remarkable inner resources, or, if you prefer, your inner connection to something greater than the “you.”

Second, select an issue (problem, challenge, question) that will be your focus for this Awakening Awareness exercise. It can be something in-your-face, what wakes you up in the middle of the night, or spins the wheels of your brain so you can’t get to sleep in the first place. Or, you might choose a smaller but annoying issue, something that keeps cropping up to bother you. As you write down the issue at hand, phrase it nonjudgmentally, as though you are simply an observer, curious about this particular situation.

Third, get grounded and present by taking at least three deep breaths, full inhales, complete exhales. Release all the tension, stress, judgment. Review your intention. Observe your issue dispassionately. From this observer perspective, allow your the words to come out in answer to the following questions. If no words come, then just write the question over and over. Or write, “I don’t know what to write.” Either way, just keep the pen moving. Something usually breaks free.  Write uninterrupted, no stopping,  for five timer minutes.

Give yourself at least five minutes for each of the following questions. See what appears. If all you get is resistance, then so be it.  If so, try this question when the process isn’t opening up: If you DID know the answer, what would it be? By keeping the pen moving, surprising things emerge.

The Questions for your Writing to Awaken Self-Awareness Reflection:

1 Who are you Being right now as it relates to the issue you have chosen?

2 Where are you right now, as it relates to the issue you are facing? (Where as in physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, financially, relationally, etc.)

3 What are you thinking about this issue right now?

4 What are you feeling about this issue right now?

5 What ELSE is present right now in your five-sensory present-moment universe? What is filling your five senses?

6 What is tickling at your sixth sense?

7 How might you place this issue (problem, challenge, question) into a larger context? What would that make it look like?

8 Why is it important to wake up about this issue right now?

There’s your start, your writing to awaken self-awareness written reflection, all done in less than an  hour, even if you give every question seven minutes instead of five. You might be surprised by what comes out in the flow.

7 Steps to Own Your Gifts and Greatness– Blog Challenge Post 16

7 Steps to Owning Your Greatness and Gifts and the Contribution You Came Here to Make!

What is it about touching on that sweet pulsing center of who we really are, what we came here to do, and stepping up into our magnificence that turns us into shy and retiring wallflowers? Why do we back pedal — fast — away from our heart’s desire and what we say or think or feel we most want? Why do we retreat double time when a little sliver of a spotlight heads in our direction?  “No, I couldn’t possibly put even a little finger into that limelight,” we resolutely claim.

Some say it’s fear of failure. We are reticent about taking our deepest and most precious dreams and passions and art and creations out there into a tough, cold, cruel, and harsh world. We don’t want our hearts broken — yet again — when our creations and messages don’t find a place in the marketplace of ideas and messages screaming for attention.

Others say it’s fear of success. We fear shining the very light that we came here to shine. We fear our brilliance because it might mean a shift in the status quo. Suddenly we are more visible than we ever have been before. And what if there’s positive response? What then? Do we  fear success and shining our light because of old programming and shame? Do we have a familiar comfort in the smallness?

No matter the cause, whether fear of success or fear of failure, we so often fail to act on our own behalf. Some advise big steps, giant strides, quantum leaps.  Such approaches are seductive and tempting — just make the leap. Such a process may work for some. For others, the very bigness of the endeavor becomes a recipe for staying frozen, for blocking, for sheer terror at the cliff’s edge.

Baby steps are what Julia Cameron advises in this classic collection of her three books, The Complete Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice. Baby steps can create new habits, literally new neural pathways that can create vast and positive internal shifts. But we have to take the time to put the new habits into practice. Over millennia, the Grand Canyon was cut through by the patient waters of the Colorado River. There’s visible power in that river channel. We are stunned by the breathtaking results. But in our lifetime, we don’t have the kind of time it took to carve out the Grand Canyon.

Perhaps there is a third way. Living on the “third coast” of the Great Lakes and their freshwater foam, in Chicago, roughly the middle of our country, I’m especially fond of alternatives, third ways, the golden mean of Greek philosophy, (and similar notions from Confucius and the Middle Way of Buddhism).  Mapping a confident path through the the impatience of taking baby steps and along the cliff edge of quantum leaps, I have developed a seven-step process for owning your gifts and greatness.

The Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness requires a series of back and forths, alternating inner work, then outer work; inner, then outer. The inner journey work builds the foundation. But we live in the physical world. Without action in the outer spheres, little happens and our visions and gifts do not come to fruition. So consider the following seven steps (and the eighth, the bonus and result of following this path). And, although these are process steps, there are sweet results and outcomes by incorporating each one, so stay tuned.

Over the next few days, I will expand on these seven steps.

  1. Awaken Awareness
  2. Add Accountability
  3. Build Momentum
  4. Create and Implement
  5. Delight your People–your tribe/circle/audience/community/
  6. Embrace the heart and soul of your project, creation, and message
  7. Embody Excellence

Following the path through this process, one piece of the Write Synergies Vision Quest, you’ll arrive at the 8th step–your result, the bonus, outcome, and reason you are here: Living Your Legacy.  (I’ve talked about this before a bit. See related post at the link. And watch for more to come.)

Thanks once again to all the wonderful colleagues and conversations at #blog3o.

Synchronicities Are No Accident–Blog Challenge Post 10

I sent the following quote from James Redfield, along with more words of encouragement, to a client. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she reported that she was — just that day — at a particularly low point on her project. “Your words themselves are heartening,” she told me.

As James Redfield observes:
“We’re all in place to do something of great magnitude and courage.  It does
not have to be anything of wide scope, or even something that a lot of
people know about. It’s about touching the lives of people who cross our
–James Redfield
Author of Celestine Prophecy

Connie Ragan Green’s 30 Day Blog Challenge has put me into a space of engaging in conversations with brand-new friends and fellow travelers that I am meeting in the virtual worlds, toggling between my blog, their blogs, tweeting, retweeting, connecting to Networked Blogs Ap on Facebook, and posting to Facebook and Linked In. Whew. So many ways to connect! This blog challenge is all about trusting that those who will benefit and resonate from my words of inspiration and encouragement will find their way into this particular circle.

Just like in the classes and group coaching I’ve put myself into over the years, and as my friend Alan Hickman says, “The perfect people show up. Whoever is supposed to be there, shows up.”  (Alan is co-author, with Jan Stringer,  BEE-ing Attraction: What Love Has to Do with Business and Marketing . ) So from these classes, workshops, and even the blogging challenge, I’m discovering that the most amazing connections have resulted — seemingly by accident.

Such synchronicity is not an accident!

It is no accident that you have come upon this right now. To reiterate Mr. Redfield, “It’s about touching the lives of people who cross our path.” Put another way, (it’s spring after all, with new gardens and young growth,) it’s a matter of blooming where you are planted.

May you enjoy these 30 days and more of discovering that the just-right people cross your path — those who will enjoy the blooming of your gifts and the greatness of your project and venture.

Follow the fun on Twitter at #blog30. We’re 1/3 of the way there!

Wisdom from Unexpected Places

Tamora Pierce’s character, Niklaren Goldeye, a mage in the Circle of Magic Quartet, serves as inspiration and role model for The Write Synergies Guru, Bobbye Middendorf.

I’m a huge fan of author Tamora Pierce.  Her powerful female characters serve as role models for younger readers and older ones alike.  Her  young adult series, The Circle of Magic — Sandry’s Book (Circle of Magic, Book 1) (No. 2)
–features  a finicky older mage, (gosh, about my age) a brilliant and educated seer and foreteller, Master Niklaren Goldeye, (Niko), who has a visioning gift for seeing so deeply that he can uncover magical gifts where other — more traditional mages — have never detected magic. Tamora Pierce on Amazon

As the series opens, Niko’s “foretellings” have sent him hither and yon to rescue four young, undiscovered mages just in the nick of time and right from death’s door. Niko, as one of the teachers of the young mages, plays a prominent role in the Circle of Magic Quartet. He personally mentors one of the students, and the other three connect with teachers who specialize in their particular brand of magic.

I’ve discovered that the truths and insights from fiction can shed uncommon light on our own situations. I realize that what I do for my clients is not unlike the magic embodied by the fictional Niklaren Goldeye.  As implied in his taking Goldeye as his mage name, Niko is a seer who recognizes the deeply hidden and buried gifts and gold of these four young mages even when the children themselves or their families do not.

Sometimes we have to be  the “seers of gifts” within ourselves, being the Niko to our own hidden greatness. Tamora Pierce develops this character (and so many others) in a way that allows the gifts of the characters to resonate within readers like a gong’s reverberations shiver right into the bones.

Recognizing a fellow traveler in Niko, I am strengthened in myself. Recognizing myself in Pierce’s telling of his gifts, I can acknowledge similar gifts within myself.  Part of the magic I bring into client collaborations and conversations is an uncanny (some might say magical) gift of seeing (and hearing) from deep within them the gifts they don’t always fully understand nor yet embrace for themselves.

What is the magic within you that you are not owning? What gifts and greatness and contributions have so far gone unexpressed?

30-Day Blog Challenge Day 9/ follow our progress on Twitter #blog30
Follow me on Twitter  @bobbyemiddendor

Owning Your Greatness in 2010

Owning Your Greatness in 2010:

The Write Synergies Path to Manifest Your Creative Vision

For Conscious Creators, more so than for most, aligning your heart — the inner fire and desire — with what you intend to create and manifest in the world, is absolutely crucial.   Without this inner alignment, all the outer marketing tools create anemic results at best.

At worst, they fall flat, and drag you farther from your goal because you are literally “losing heart.”

To start 2010, is there some way to bring that inner heart-knowledge into alignment with what you intend to create in your business, book, or creative project?

One powerful process to manifest your creation and your vision is to follow your inner yearning. Listen to it. Get into a dialogue with your inner yearning.  I’ve discovered that one of the most effective ways of tapping that inner yearning and building the dialogue is using a gentle writing and journaling process.

I call it, “The Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness.”  A guide to this process is my gift to you for signing up in the box at the top of the right column. But what does this “The Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness” really mean?

Write Synergies is all about generating results greater than the sum of the parts using writing.  This can be both a process of uncovering information as well as generating finished results.

Owning Your Greatness means just what it says. We each have gifts to give.  Those gifts are our greatness, often living quietly hidden for years.  After a time, the inner yearning to express those gifts becomes palpable, not to say painful.  When the pain or divine discontent gets great enough, that means it’s time to listen, to really pay attention, and make something happen in bringing your vision to life.

“The Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness” is a process that gives you the chance to listen and write your own vision into expression. So many of us hold ourselves back. We haven’t fully stepped into owning our greatness.  Now is the time.  We are called to express our greatness and gifts fully.

Make 2010 the year that you are Owning Your Greatness.