Tips and ideas for living an authentic life

It’s been a while since my last blog and a lot of great development has happened since then. As a previous follower of my blogs, I wanted to let you know about my new and updated site because I will no longer be using this one.

The new blog is called, Dreambounded Leadership and it is a new approach to leadership that I have been developing and using with my coaching clients for a number of years. Just click on the link below to see the new site and my first blog. If you like what you see, you can re-enter your email address on the new site to receive my blogs as they are posted.

I hope you find my new blog site is a great resource for new ideas and perspectives as you lead both yourself and your groups in the rich and rewarding experiences you want!

All the best – Ted

When do you declare something complete? And, having done so, what is your attitude about whatever it is you have declared complete? I think these questions might be useful to you during times of celebration.

I have the sense that the phase in our experience that we call the end of something or completion, is much like a fork in the road. So, as celebrations begin to mark the year drawing to a close, you might consider yourself at a fork in your road.

If you take one path, it’s like circling back and holding on to what is known. When you do that, completion can in some way, be sabotaged. Regardless of whether judged good or bad, it seems that in choosing the known path, not only is completion sabotaged but so also are transformation and personal renewal.

If you take the other path, the natural process of transformation is supported – not because of some judgment about the past, but through connection with present guidance to simply let go and be renewed.

Much as Robert Frost seems to imply in his poem, The Road Not Taken, allowance of completion and willingness to be guided on a new path, seems to also be the transformative choice.  As he says,

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Allowing something to be complete is very much about difference and even though you might say to yourself, I can always come back to this and make the other choice instead, experience suggests that you won’t. Again, as Frost says in his poem,

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

As we begin celebrations of our holidays and approach the New Year, it seems worth spending a little reflection time being aware of what is naturally guiding you on a new path and so, at the same time, what is drawing to completion. It can also be worth reflecting on your attitude towards what you are declaring complete.

The word celebration originates from Latin meaning ‘honored.’ I have found that a key to completion is honoring what is ending. That includes those experiences that I didn’t particularly like. Anything less than honoring seems to have me circling back on that old worn path because of some judgment or perceived need for judgment that I am holding on to.

So, maybe take a little reflection time around completions for you. Honoring your experiences: good, bad and otherwise, can support a life of adventure and discovery. I want to support you in that journey and as I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have just launched a new website for that purpose. I call it my Adventurer’s Website and I invite you to visit it.

A key to completion and renewal is awareness of and responsiveness to what personally guides you. When you go to my new website, you will find some free training right on the Home Page designed to support you in connecting and staying connected with your personal guide or what I call your “North Star.”

Click on the link below now, and Discover your North Star.

I was thinking about this idea today relative to some marketing that I am doing. The reason is because in marketing you typically want to use a language that your market will understand and that resonates with them.

Our current language is founded on the idea that achievement is the primary way to a fulfilling life. It is inundated with achievement oriented words and phrases. As a result, it can be very challenging to Market effectively using the language of awareness (10,000 Year Thinking language) when the audience uses a standard Western language of achievement. The reason is because, if the marketing language doesn’t offer to help the market achieve something, it is often not understood as useful – so, marketing will fail.

In my model, authenticity isn’t something you achieve, it is something you already are, so you support it through awareness rather than achievement. Achievement then becomes a by-product of a supported authentic self.

So, my intention isn’t to help you achieve anything – it is to help you support what you already are. I know that you will achieve lots of things but that’s just a natural outcome of the authentic you, not a goal you have to set and achieve.

If you read some of the current books on personal growth and authenticity, you will find that they use the language of achievement throughout their work. For example, they might offer to help you achieve personal growth, authenticity or well-being. A book that I quoted in a recent blog called, Mindsight, The New Science of Personal Transformation, by Daniel Siegel, for example, said in the introduction:

“This means that creating well-being – in our mental life, in our close relationships, and even in our bodies – is a learnable skill.”

The rather obvious implication of that kind of language is that personal growth, authenticity and in this case, well-being aren’t natural but are as Seigel says, learnable skills. Do you really think that creating well-being is a skill you have to learn? Many people buy into that logical illusion created by language.

This kind of future achievement language creates an immediate sense of lack, something that many people feel today simply because of the language they use. It is a language that makes personal growth, authenticity, well-being and other natural human characteristics look like achievements requiring abilities that you must learn rather than aspects of the experience of your fundamental nature. Even positive thinking is just another form of an achievement oriented language. The idea is that with the power of positive thinking you can achieve whatever you think will finally be fulfilling.

No doubt those authors have a heart that is in the right place and their work has some potentially useful information. However, by using achievement language they are often sabotaging the opportunity to have a valuable impact on their readers. The reason is because even though their work might be highly pertinent, the underlying process they propose is achievement oriented. It is that underlying process that the reader will take away and it is that message that subverts the original intention of the work in my opinion. It tends to reinforce the idea in the readers mind that they are lacking something that they must have in order to live a fulfilling life and enjoy – for example, the experience of well-being.

My model, 10,000 Year Thinking, is an Awareness model rather than an Achievement model. It assumes that you are growing personally and you are authentic right now and that well-being naturally occurs as part of the process. So my model is simply designed to support and maximize that authentic nature. You do that in present awareness rather than as the result of some future achievement.

Take a moment over the next few days to notice in the language used by the media, in books and magazines and in casual conversation how often the language used is future oriented, i.e. what you will get later if you do this other thing first. You might notice that you come away with the idea that peace and contentment, as in the carrot and the stick metaphor, always seem to lie just out of reach somewhere in the future.

The idea that peace and contentment, authenticity, well-being and the rest must be learned and achieved is an illusion created by the language you use, not the reality of an incomplete nature. The fact is, it is unlikely that you will ever feel whole if you continue to use an achievement oriented language such as is typically used in Western culture.

In my next blog I will talk about how the underlying impact of an achievement oriented language is the creation of a sense of fear and lack. It is the language used by fearful people who feel the need to gain control over both themselves and others. It is also the language that people use when they want you to buy or do something that you don’t really want to buy or do.

The language that you are probably using today is not the result of the evolution of how to communicate more effectively. Rather, its foundation was specifically created thousands of years ago out of fear in order to gain control over Nature and people. Its evolution remains tied to that inauthentic foundation even today.

Check out a very different perspective on the language you use everyday in my next blog. Know that you have a different choice in your language – a choice that can free you from the illusion of a nature that is lacking something. That shift in perspective will give you the choice to experience what is already yours just by changing your language.

Until next time –

I was at a small water park the other day with a few people including my granddaughter (6 years old). We forgot something so I dropped everyone off and then went back home to pick up the forgotten item.

When I returned to the water park, I found my granddaughter sitting near some kids but not involved with them. It took me about a half hour to run home and return, and since she was still sitting on the sidelines, I knew she was having a little challenge getting involved in her adventure at the park.

Adventures tend to have people finding connection, experiencing something fresh and feeling free to explore and engage – at least that’s usually been my experience. So, I assumed that she might not be feeling connected, fresh and free – something that kids are all about – and something that most everyone who likes adventures is all about.

I immediately felt inclined to do something to help get her started, so I took off my shoes and started walking into the shallow wading pool where many of the kids were playing. I didn’t say anything to her but I walked in about twenty feet from where she was sitting so she could easily see me. I didn’t have a plan but I thought I would start there with a little splashing and energy and see what her response was.

My granddaughter immediately got up and joined me and very quickly we were playing a game in the water together and the adventure was underway. After playing for a short time, she was good to go and got involved in a variety of different things.

I’m sure many people have experienced that kind of thing with young children, i.e. start doing something to help them get engaged. I also think that something very key is illustrated about communication in that example. It is about the relationship between speaker and listener, which in this case initially only involved actions and no words.

Basically, I communicated with her in a way where we both knew how to move forward. In other words, my communication (walking into the water) got a response from her and started an adventure for both of us.

You can read the quote below to get a little more insight into what I mean about knowing how to move forward, which I feel is a key to useful communication. This quote is from a book I like to quote – Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse.

Infinite speakers must wait to see what is done with their language by the listeners before they can know what they have said. Infinite speech does not expect the hearer to see what is already known to the speaker, but to share a vision the speaker could not have had without the response of the listener. Speaker and listener understand each other not because they have the same knowledge about something, and not because they have established a like-ness of mind, but because they know “how to go on” with each other.

If my granddaughter’s response had been different then I would have looked for different language (or action) to help us both “go on.” Our understanding was not about a concept of something but rather about what we could creatively do next.

Take a moment to recall a communication you had recently with someone and consider what you really said by seeing what the listener did with what you said. Then, ask yourself whether your intention was simply to tell someone else what you held to be true, or to create a vision together that allowed you both to “go on.”

Effective communication is a great way to open up to connection, find something new and fresh and experience freedom. Discovering how to go on is very typical of how adventurers communicate as a matter of course. That’s because finding a vision for how to go on with others (and Nature) is not only the key to an adventure with a six year old at a water park, but also to an adventure in business development, travel, relationship, . . . and everything else.

Please take a moment to add a comment below so I know what I have just said. Your comments will help me create and share a vision with you that I can not have until I hear your response. Thanks.

Once upon a time there was a person, we’ll call her Betty, who loved new experiences and the excitement of being surprised and touched by life. Betty was busy one morning, deciding what to do that day. She had made a list of possible things to do that had come to mind. Some of them seemed urgent or at least necessary because others were depending on her, and some seemed like something really great could happen if she could just find the time to get to them.

As she looked over her list, she began to wonder how she could balance her life in order to take care of both herself and her relationships with others in the best way possible. So, with that in mind Betty created a to do list and when finished, looked it over for good balance between her own personal interests and doing things for the benefit of others.

A quick glance seemed to suggest that there was a lot on there for the benefit of others and not so much that held the possibility of surprise and being touched by life, for her. After a moment or two, she said to herself, “wow, this list could use some work. The only thing balanced here is how I divide my time between others who need something from me. I’m barely in the picture. How can I make this plan a little more me friendly?”

Then, Betty remembered that she was a 10,000 Year Thinker. She also remembered that in 10,000 Year Thinking, the intention is not about balance at all, it’s sequence. The reason is because balance is strictly an Organizing Mind or logical concept. Since 10,000 Year Thinkers aren’t guided by balancing logical concepts, she let go of the idea of trying to achieve balance.

Instead, she began looking for creative sequence in her day – what comes first and what comes second. And, she knew that what comes first is the awareness of what resonates with her or just feels right, that ever-present connection with her own creative energy. And what comes second is coming up with ways to engage in what came first.

So, Betty put her to do list aside and got another piece of paper and wrote down a bunch of things that really resonated with her – things like art, theater, musicians and hanging out with those kinds of creative people. Then she started to think about how she could engage in those things today. She also considered resonant goals that she had been engaged in and, what were the possible next steps in the unfolding of the adventures that those previous goals represented.

One of her questions became, are those things that seem urgent or necessary, naturally growing out of one of my resonant areas for engagement. Or, have they lost that connection, and so have me going down some rabbit trail that is just taking me in circles. Or, in her words, “are those urgent or necessary things part of the game that I want to play?”

As she continued, she began to see her day, not as doing some things for herself and some things for others, but as a day filled with the unfolding of her unique journey as guided by her own resonant energy. She grew more excited as she began to pick up the personally creative threads that guided everything she was going to do that day.

Those urgent and necessary things seemed to lose their serious and controlling feeling. Instead, those that stayed on her list, gained a new feeling of intensity and excitement and opportunity to engage in the challenge of her own creative journey.

Her new to do list was no longer an effort to balance logical concepts, but was now a continuation of the unique unfolding of her natural path, a path that was guided by things that resonated with her – not by an effort to achieve some kind of conceptual balance. In fact, she knew that engaging fully in some of her adventures would at times, probably stretch her beyond any semblance of balance. Half terrified and half excited, she was open to discovering that unknown aspect of herself.

Instead of trying to fit her day into categories, she was simply discovering what was next in the unfolding of the life that resonated with her. She experienced that, both as she created her to do list and as she took action in those things to do.

As she engaged in her day, her time spent meeting with a challenging co-worker became a mission in finding relevance with that person in the service of both of their journeys and personally, as part of her engagement in the art world that felt so right to her. Scheduling time in order to take her kids to and from activities was precious and challenging as part of her engagement in the family experience that resonated so dearly with her. Much more happened that day, and for her, the exhaustion she felt at the end of the day wasn’t a sign of a tiring life but the sign of a fully engaged life.

Betty ended up having a day filled with challenges, connection and satisfaction – and a day that included some surprises and moments where she was touched by life. Although she had both successes and disappointments that day, she felt confident and fulfilled knowing that each day she was playing the game she wanted to play – winning, losing and sometimes a draw. Just before she fell asleep that night, she wondered about others and whether they were living lives that surprised and touched them in the natural unfolding of their days.

My 10,000 Year Thinking philosophy often appeals to people who are sometimes called “Creators.” Creators, by my definition, are people who thrive in fresh new experiences as a way of life.

They want to see new places, discover new cultures, – they are curious for new ways of thinking about everything and they want to learn something that they didn’t know before. They love to be surprised and touched by life and they don’t throw away any of their life experiences by judging them as “bad.” Difficult, challenging, painful at times? Sure. But, bad? Not really. They don’t see “problems” as getting in the way of life but rather as part of the creative process of their life.

Creators are typically entrepreneurial in their work whether they own their own business or work for someone else. They aren’t satisfied with relationships that don’t stimulate them and they typically seek out personal expansion physically, mentally and spirituality. Creators tend to have or be developing a firmly established Receiving Mind consciousness and they are guided by it. And, they don’t tend to be stuck for very long.

If you are still reading this, then there is a good chance that you are a “Creator” by my definition. So, as a Creator, what’s the number one thing you are trying to accomplish this year?

For those who know me and my philosophy, that question might seem a little out of place. It is definitely an achievement question and I talk about the Achievement model as being outdated. So, how is that question useful?

It’s useful if it has you engaging in one of your resonant intentions at the level of transformational opportunity. As a reminder, a transformational opportunity for 10,000 Year Thinkers is a goal that is intuitively set and is often neither too challenging nor too easy and it typically invites discovery.

So, what’s the number one goal that you are trying to accomplish this year – your transformational opportunity? Maybe a useful way to discover that goal is by asking the question – what do you intuitively feel is a surprising or unexpected goal for you?

It might feel like a paradox that choosing and engaging in that surprising or unexpected goal is way more important than actually achieving what you originally describe. Remember, the natural Organizing Mind process is focused on completion, not judging outcomes. That focus is what allows the unexpected transformation. So, here’s an exercise to help you narrow down your big opportunity.

Write down 10 surprising or unexpected goals for this year. Intuitively pick three and then reduce that to the one goal that just feels right. Having 10 to start with will help make your intuition more effective in arriving at the one that just feels right. Then – focus on completion and go for it – starting today.

Doing this exercise is you living a life that resonates with you!

PS. If the 10,000 Year Thinking philosophy is new for you, the language in this blog post may be somewhat unfamiliar. 10,000 Year Thinking is a way of thinking that connects you with Nature, humanity and your own creative energy. I like to call it, the next frontier of creative consciousness. Reading these blogs can help shift you out of the everyday language and thinking of our culture that tends to have you feeling disconnected. I have lots of resources available if you or your organization would like to learn this more connected way of thinking.

Your Call to Adventure

Just a few things coming up that I want to mention relative to some new resources for answering your calls to adventure.

First, I am finishing up a valuable new addition to this blog website – it’s called the North Star Program and it is very simple and teaches you 10,000 Year Thinking® very quickly, very easily and for free. 10,000 Year Thinking is the underlying philosophy and model that I use in writing blogs and in the work that I do with all of my coaching and training of clients from multi-millionaires, to entrepreneurs, to everyday people who want their life to be much more than sacrifice and survival. I’ve spent much of my life developing it and it’s both practical and transformative.

I have found that this model is so useful to people that I work with, that I really want to make it available to everyone for free. If you like my blog then there is a good chance that you will like the simple philosophy and model that is the foundation for everything I say here. I want that model to be available and I’ll let you know right here when it is up and running and you can check it out.

Second, I will be presenting my next 10,000 Year Thinking, life directions seminar in Denver on September 21st and 22nd. This is a great training: very experiential with like-minded adventurers. In this seminar you will not be focusing on your problems, nor seeking solutions – analyzing what’s holding you back, nor thinking about what you don’t have.

You will be entirely focused on your calling in life – crossing that threshold and navigating the new frontier of your own creative consciousness and the experiences you know are out there for you.

This is a seminar you will want to attend if you are looking for inspired and authentic direction in every area of your life and want to engage in new and expansive ways. 10,000 YEAR Thinking is the cutting edge of new thinking and this seminar will have you discovering and engaging in the richest life possible for you.

In this seminar: no problems, no solutions – just your adventure and your willingness to engage. Many people who have attended this seminar have said that it has changed their life. Click on this linklink to Seminar Info to find out more about the seminar and hear first-hand what the experience was like for some of the participants.

Do you feel that your life is on track – meaning you are engaged in meaningful activities in every area of your life? A simple question can help you determine whether you are. The question is: does your life resonate or just feel right to you.

Contrary to our cultural training, a great life isn’t one where you have everything you want and you are always the best at what you do (at least in my opinion and experience). A great life is a life filled with great experiences of all kinds – including both those you judge as successful and those you judge as disasters (I’ve had plenty of both). The core issue is not whether you win or lose but whether your life resonates with you – that’s an energetic, not a logical question. It has more to do with whether you are in the game you love to play than whether you win or lose.

I just moved from Denver back to the East Coast near Boston after 18 years in Denver. I grew up on the East Coast so it feels a little like coming home and the fact that my four daughters and grandkids are all here is the heart of the East Coast package for me. That brings me to completions.

I had an amazing experience in Denver with skiing in the Rockies, climbing a 14,000 foot mountain, hiking along the Front Range, camping at Grizzly Lake at 11,000 feet, seeing bears, mountain lions, elk – etc., etc. and all kinds of other experiences with fascinating people, business development, Colorado weather, concerts at Red Rocks amphitheater – you get the idea. I was there in the next town over when Columbine happened and when the Aurora theater shooting happened. There were great highs and some very sad lows. It was a great experience because it was a very human experience and being there resonated with me all the way to when I became aware that it no longer resonated. When what resonated shifted to the East Coast, I brought the Denver experience to completion. It was an energetic choice rather than a logical decision.

The Denver experience was very rich for me and I really didn’t have the big picture until I moved, i.e. completed the experience. I actually knew it was time to leave but the fact is, I didn’t really know what I was leaving until I left. Now I can see the whole thing in a different light and that new perspective on what the Denver experience was, is already giving me guidance as I move into this new chapter in my life.

Here’s something you can consider that can help you live a life that resonates or just feels right. Lots of completions will tend to free you to check your course and navigate for the life that feels right. It will give you new choices on what’s next and useful perspectives on what came before. And, the great thing about completions is that you can declare something complete anytime you intuitively feel it might be helpful. It could be for something big like moving from Denver to Boston or it could be something small. Here’s an example of something small.

Suppose that you are navigating a relationship or maybe your career. Simply declare the relationship or job complete. That doesn’t mean that you have to dump your partner or tell your boss that you are quitting. Simply, release yourself from the sense of commitment to it and then step back so you can see the whole experience from start to finish (at the time you declare it complete).

With that new perspective and clarity, you can then freely decide to recommit to the relationship or job or to make a change. And you can do it from a fresh perspective that will help you navigate and make course corrections to insure that your life is resonating with you and that you are in the game you want to play.

A life that doesn’t resonate isn’t much fun and lacks the quality of richness. Declaring things complete, stepping back to check for energetic resonance (aka – it just feels right) and starting over with a clean slate can be very empowering whether you are recommitting to an existing situation or shifting to a brand new one.

At any point in time, I want to be able to say, I have lived a life that truly resonates with me. I have found that completions are key to living that kind of life.

I had a conversation recently that left me feeling like this person and I were speaking two entirely different languages even though I could swear we both spoke English.

Have you ever felt that you were misunderstood or not heard? – like the person you were talking with was forming what they were going to say before you even finished your thought? In other words, they weren’t hearing you in the first place. They were listening for words to respond to, rather than a person to connect with. In truth, you’ve probably felt yourself sometimes doing that same thing when someone else was talking. The language we have been taught tends to create that disconnect.

Does that happen because they or you don’t care about others? Of course not, we are social animals and community is essential to our well being. Notice that communication and community are similar words derived from the Latin communicat – ‘shared’ – more specifically in my language, the only thing that really can be shared which is, shared experience.

If communication is about sharing then why do so many people often feel that they are not heard? We certainly have more than enough gizmos and gadgets for texting, emailing, messaging, phoning, Skyping – not to mention general talking back and forth through networking, business meetings, family meetings, social get-togethers, pillow talk, etc., etc.

My answer for starters is that we have a dysfunctional language. It is a language whose intention has shifted from sharing to controlling – from experience to concepts. We focus more and more on trading thoughts and less and less on sharing experiences. All of the communication gadgets in the world won’t help if the underlying language doesn’t work well.

The difference between the two intentions is that sharing is empowering while controlling is disempowering and tends to create division. If you ever feel disempowered, it very likely starts as an issue of language, either self-talk or what someone else is saying. The disempowering language being used focus’s on concepts and so I listen only for your words.

It can really be empowering for both you and the person you are talking with to make a conscious effort to hear completely what someone has to say before you even begin to formulate your response. What you are listening for is the experience beneath the words. That’s sharing – it tends to support community and it is the original purpose of communication.

Even if you disagree with what someone is saying, they will more likely feel heard, and that by itself can empower community. Consider using language that in some way says, I hear beyond the words you used to the experience that is creating those words.

Here is a quote from the book, The Monster of Florence, by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, that suggests the damage that a dysfunctional language can create:

“There is no longer true communication among us, because our very language is sick, and the sickness of our discourse carries us inevitably to sickness in our bodies, to neurosis, if not finally to mental illness.”

and another –

“The worst thing in the world isn’t being alone, it’s being surrounded by people who make you feel like you’re alone.” Unknown.

and another –

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” David Augsburger

Here’s a question – what is the personal experience in my world that I want to share with you through the words that I have written above? Feel free to share a comment below.

Here’s a little exercise I do every now and then, which I find really useful, so I thought I would share it with you. I walk around my house and look for things that aren’t being completed. That sometimes includes stuff like: a book on my bedside table that hasn’t been opened in a few weeks, a small touch-up can of paint that has been there for awhile but not opened, a reminder stuck to my fridge that has been there way past any kind of expiration date – you get my drift.

I then do one of two things: I either consciously override my resistance and complete it or I declare it complete as is. Declaring it complete as is, for example, could be taking the book next to my bed, closing it and putting it back on a book shelf. If I want to pick it up at another time – fine, I do it, but for now it’s complete.

When I do this exercise, I am also reminded of things outside my home that are also incomplete such as getting back to a friend, reserving a seat at a ball game or concert or, whatever I might have committed to but didn’t follow up on.

Here’s a couple of obvious benefits to handling incompletes. One: things that I have started but not completed take up space in my brain somewhere. That’s great when those things are moving forward but not so great when they are in limbo. So, completing something always makes me feel lighter and energized. Two: completion is a key part of transformation and satisfaction. It generally feels good to complete stuff. Sometimes reengaging can feel uncomfortable for some reason but pretending that the incomplete is not a drain on you is just that: pretending. Incomplete stuff is an energy drain.

Here’s a not so obvious benefit. If you feel like you have boundary issues, practicing completion will help you to have more effective boundaries in your life. This might seem surprising but people who have boundary issues almost always are challenged in getting things to completion somewhere in their lives.

Try this exercise periodically and I think you will be surprised at how it can energize you and have you feeling a little more on top of your life.

P.S. If you have kids, you can also encourage them to do their own incompletions check. It’s usually most instructive when you let them choose whether to complete something or declare it complete themselves. This can be a great habit to develop that can pay off throughout their lives.