Tag: #yourpassioninlife


Neil Newton on the Key to Happiness in Business

Last week I invited you to my first Periscope interview. My goal is to share with you examples of people who have boldly pursued their passions and the advice they have for others hoping to do the same. In case you missed it, below is the first interview in full with the owner of Paddle Up Nashville, Neil Newton.

happiness in business

In this interview, Neil discusses how he and his partner Cindy have taken the things that are core to their lives and their passions and turned them into a business for profit. In doing so, he shares the process he went through, including re-framing fear as simply a challenge to overcome, and how past failures made it less intimidating to take present risks.

“When you sell for a living, you experience enough failures to go, ‘Okay, that didn’t work. I’ll go do something else.'”

Neil also discusses how he’s never let age be a factor in the pursuit of his passions, and talks about how the key to happiness in business is figuring out what you love to do and then getting someone to pay you to do it.

Some questions I ask:

  • Tell the story of how you decided to pursue your passion as a business.
  • What fears did you have and how did you overcome them?
  • How did your past experience prepare you?
  • How does your work help others?
  • What advice do you have regarding pursuing your passions later in life?
  • What advice do you have for someone contemplating a career change or starting a business related to a lifelong passion?

happiness in business

In this interview you will learn:

  • How to apply what is core in your life to your work. (3:06)
  • How to take risks without having all the knowledge upfront. (3:35)
  • How to re-frame fear and instead view it as a challenge. (4:09)
  • How to gain knowledge about your passions. (4:54)
  • The importance of following your gut and the joy of sharing your passions with others. (5:47)
  • How failure gives you the courage to try something new. (7:05)
  • How helping others can be a joy. (7:31)
  • How to not let age to be a factor. (9:12)
  • The definition of success. (10:11)
  • How to pursue passions outside of work. (10:51)
  • Advice for others wanting to turn their passion into a business. (13:19)

Some of my upcoming interviews will include Katie Gonzalez, a bookbinder who creates meaningful handmade books and teaches others to make their own journals, photo albums, etc., and Joel Anderson, “Spirit of Nashville” artist and owner of Anderson Design Group. To receive notifications about upcoming interviews, follow me on Periscope (@paNASHcoaching) and subscribe to my newsletter!

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3 Excuses Keeping You In Your Comfort Zone

Yesterday I read a great post by Nashville’s own Allison Fallon entitled “3 Excuses That Keep Smart, Creative People Trapped.” I wanted to share her insights here because they’re so relevant for my readers.

When considering taking on a new coaching client, one of the questions I ask in the paNASH intake form is “Which do you wish you had more of:  time, money, or confidence?”

The reason I ask this question is because I’m trying to determine what might be an obstacle (whether real or perceived) that’s standing in your way of getting out of your comfort zone and pursuing your passions.

But sometimes obstacles can become excuses.

I loved how Fallon addressed the three most common excuses:  lack of money, not enough time, and fear.

Lack of Money Excuses

Fallon makes the point that “we allocate money for the things we decide matters.”

She then poses the question, “How would it change your money excuse if you were able to believe you matter?”

I see people who have no problems spending money on pet therapy for their dog. But they don’t believe they deserve an investment in career coaching. They give their pets things and experiences they know the pet will love. But they don’t think they’re worth the money to pursue their own passions.

One of my colleagues always says, “Show me your bank account and I’ll show you what matters to you.”

Not Enough Time Excuses

This same colleague also says, “Show me your calendar and I’ll show you what’s important to you.”

Unlike money, we’re all given an equal amount of time, so it’s a little harder to make this excuse fly.

It’s here where I want to insert an excerpt from Fallon’s article to really get to the heart of this particular excuse:

“I don’t have enough time to paint or draw or write or start a business because I am an incredibly busy, productive person and I don’t see how that thing is going to produce measurable results in my life.”

To this excuse, I would say: we live in a culture that is obsessed with productivity. Everything is measured by how much money it can generate, how much progress it can help us make. Thank you industrialization. And while there’s nothing wrong with productivity, the problem I see comes when we begin to worship productivity and forget that some of the most valuable things in life produce results so slowly, they are hard to measure.

In fact, consider some things that might be considered “un-productive”:

  • Getting more sleep
  • Taking a long walk
  • Daily journaling
  • Spending time with our children
  • Reading books
  • Working out
  • Saying “no” to an opportunity
  • Going to therapy

Are these things un-productive, or are they just slow-producing?

Over time, we will begin to see the fruits of our labor. But if we are desperate to see progress right away, we might feel disappointed. Some of the most valuable progress we can make in our life often happens under the surface, where nobody (including us) can see it.

Fear Excuses

Fallon says that once you’re able to say you’re afraid, you’re being more honest because the first two excuses are usually based in fear.

Fear of what?

It could be fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of loss of control, etc.

It’s important to remember that everyone has fear, and it’s always going to rear its ugly head. It’s knowing how to view fear as Fallon describes in her article. And how to deal with and overcome fear as I explain in my recent post “Overcoming Fear“.

This can eliminate the excuses and get you out of your comfort zone!

Are You Ready?

Are you ready to stop making excuses, and start making yourself worth “it,” whatever “it” means for you?

If you still have concerns about money, time or fear, the best way to get started is with small commitments. You can access paNASH’s on-demand videos on various topics that are affordable (some are free!) and allow you test the waters and work at your own pace. Click here to learn more.

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Strive For Completion, Not Perfection

In coaching clients on how to answer commonly asked interview questions, I always tell them not to use the canned answer, “I’m too much of a perfectionist,” for the “What is your greatest weakness?” question for several reasons. One, it’s just that, a “canned answer” and recruiters know that. They’ve heard it a million times. Two, perfectionism isn’t always a strength disguised of a weakness. It can be an actual weakness that acts as an obstacle to your work performance and even the pursuit of your passions.

Perfectionism Results In Delay

Those with perfectionist tendencies usually delay their passions and projects because they are waiting for everything to be perfect before turning in their assignment, releasing their project, starting their new business or launching their new product. I often witnessed this among the recording artists I previously worked with when I used to do image consulting. Once a song was finished, instead of taking the necessary steps to finalize it, they would continue tweaking the recording and production of the song, spending extra time and money in the studio.

While it’s risky to tell a potential employer that you’re too much of a perfectionist because they may interpret that as being a procrastinator or someone who doesn’t see things to completion, it’s even riskier to use perfectionism as a way to procrastinate or not follow through on your dreams and your passions. You can always find ways to improve something you’re excited about, but if you’re doing so to the point that no one is benefiting from what you have to offer because you’re still keeping it under wraps, then what’s the point?

It’s always a bit scary to put something out there with your name on it, not knowing what people are going to think about it or how they’re going to receive it. You are making yourself vulnerable to possible criticism. But you also can’t wait until everything is perfect or the timing is perfect, because there’s no such thing. So what is a perfectionist to do?

Beta Test

Learn to view your creations and the work you’re passionate about in phases. For instance, when a tech company launches a new site or app, it’s typically first launched in beta as a way to test the product in the market and test its performance. Why not try the same approach?

Your “phase one” could be to share your idea with a small segment of your market and ask for their feedback, or do a focus group to test your idea with a small group of potential customers. Then, go back and make any necessary tweaks and don’t waste time with the unnecessary ones. Rinse and repeat for phase two. Think about it:  there’s a reason why so many computer software programs have various versions (1.0, 2.0, 2.3, etc.). Your creation can have a 1.0, 2.0, 2.3, or even a 3.0 version too.

How a Perfectionist Can Know When to Say When

Once you’ve tested a few different versions of your creation, you still need to know when to stop tweaking and start sharing. A couple of clues include what kind of tweaks you’re making. Are they necessary for the project to accomplish its purpose? If not, it’s time to quit tinkering with it and release it. Are your friends continually asking you when they’re going to get to see this great thing you’ve been working on? Or worse, have they stopped asking you this? If so, then yes, it’s time to debut this great masterpiece of yours.

Are your goals and accomplishments at a stand-still because you’re waiting for perfection? Delay no longer and start achieving your goals with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter. And if you want to know the proper way to answer the “What’s your greatest strengths?” question and other common interview questions, shoot me an email and I’ll provide you some information about paNASH resources and services!

Shortly after writing this blog post, I came across this video by Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby. It uniquely illustrates the point I’ve made above. Check it out:

 

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Your Passion, In Beta

Failure = Success

Well, Monday night’s NCAA championship game didn’t turn out as I had hoped. My Carolina Tar Heels lost and I was sad. My heart broke for the players, especially the seniors, as tears welled up in their eyes immediately after the buzzer went off and they realized the game was no longer tied when their opponents made a 3-point shot in the last second of the game. I woke up the next morning hoping it had all been a bad dream, but it wasn’t.

And it also wasn’t a failure for Carolina, despite the fact that our society thinks losers are failures. Do 4.7 seconds and 3 points take away all the previous successes Carolina had this season? Does it strip them of their regular season championship and their conference championship? Does it erase all 62 wins against the other teams in the tournament to get them to the national championship game? No.

Redemptive Perspective

In working with my clients, I often have them share with me their greatest accomplishments. And then I have them share with me their greatest failures, along with the redemptive perspective of each failure. The redemptive perspective is the good thing (or things) that came out of their failures. That’s what we focus on, because those are successes. It’s taking failure, and redefining it as something else:  a learning experience, a blessing in disguise, a newly developed skill, maybe even a “dodged bullet.”

When we approach failure in this way, it no longer is something to be feared, but something to be embraced. Life would be pretty boring if we didn’t experience both success and failure. We’d be walking around steeped in pride without any real wisdom.

Failure = Success

I know after the hurt and disappointment begins to subside, the players of the 2015-2016 Carolina team will eventually be able to look back on Monday night’s loss and see its redemptive perspective, remembering the words of their predecessor, Carolina basketball legend Michael Jordan:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Don’t let failure prevent you from continuing to set goals. Learn how to do so by subscribing to the paNASH newsletter.

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Practice For Your Victory

Practice For Your Victory

Anyone who knows me well knows how passionate I am about college basketball and the madness of the NCAA tourney. Originally from North Carolina, college basketball and March Madness is in my blood. My dad made it clear to me at a very young age that our household pulls for Carolina. When I was little, he bought me a UNC blue and white basketball and taught me how to play HORSE using our neighbor’s basketball goal. I’ve been a Tar Heel fan ever since.

When I was 8 years old, I remember rooting for the ’82 Carolina team in the NCAA championship game against Georgetown. I was allowed to stay up late to watch Carolina beat Georgetown and be crowned the national champions. A year later, I got to stay up late again to watch NC State (one of Carolina’s conference rivals at the time) play in the ’83 championship game. That night, there was a bit of a shift in our household.

Doing the unthinkable, accomplishing the impossible

While we had always pulled for Carolina, my mother loved the coaching style of NC State’s Jim Valvano. She loved his enthusiasm and excitement. She loved how he wasn’t afraid to show emotion, unlike the even-keeled (which she called “boring”) coaches Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.

Jimmy V’s enthusiasm and determination led an unlikely team to a national championship. The team was off to a bad start in the regular season, losing a total of 10 games. The only way they could even get to the NCAA tournament was to win the conference tournament, which seemed nearly impossible with their record.

Practice your victory

But Jimmy V was a big dreamer and a big believer in his dreams. What he did with his team is he would schedule a practice every so often where they would leave the basketballs on the ball rack, and instead grab a pair of scissors and practice cutting down the nets. (For those of you who don’t know much about basketball, cutting down the nets is a celebratory ritual the winning team does when they’ve won their conference championship game, the game that puts them in the Final Four, and the national championship game.)

As the season went on, the NC State Wolfpack started improving their game, and were able to get past the previous year’s national champions, the UNC Tar Heels, to win the ACC tournament and make it to the national NCAA tournament. They got their first chance to cut down the nets!

Never give up

However, when they got to the national tournament, they weren’t expected to make it past the first round because they were the “Cinderella” team. They were one of the lowest-seeded teams in the tournament. One loss and they would be out. And they were up against some big giants. But Jimmy V never gave up hope his team could win the whole thing.

And guess what? They did! No other team has gone from such a low ranking to becoming the champions. Never before, and never since. They were such an underdog team, but they had so much heart, so much emotion, and so much enthusiasm. On the night of the championship game, our household became Wolfpack fans. Everybody in North Carolina was so excited to see history being made, it didn’t matter if you were also a Duke or Carolina fan. That night, if you were a North Carolinian, you were an NC State fan.

I’ll never forget those last nail-biting seconds of the final game. When the winning basket was made, I remember my dad jumping out of his chair and raising his hands to the ceiling. I’ve never seen him look so tall! I also remember seeing the now-famous scene of Jimmy V running around the court with unbridled emotion and excitement. And the Wolfpack got to do what they had practiced. They cut down those nets!

An inspiring example

This past weekend, my dad was visiting me from North Carolina and together we watched the ESPN documentary of Jimmy V and his team accomplishing the impossible. I’ve personally seen the Survive and Advance documentary several times, and I always smile at Jimmy V’s passion for life and love for his players, and I always cry when it shows his inspiring “Never Give Up” ESPY speech.

It was in this documentary where I first learned of the team practicing cutting down the nets. It was also in this documentary I first learned from the interview with Jimmy’s wife how he kept note cards of his goals in the inner pockets of his sports jackets. One said, “Win a national championship,” and the last one said, “Beat cancer.”

We know Jimmy V accomplished the first goal. And while we all know he didn’t beat his own personal battle with cancer, he is accomplishing his second goal through his Jimmy V Foundation he set up from his hospital room to help fund research to find a cure for cancer.

Cut down your nets

I share all this to remind you that life is short. Both Jimmy V’s life and my mother’s life were cut short by cancer. I also share this to ask you, are you living a life of passion and enthusiasm? Are you putting your goals in writing? Are you carrying them close to your heart? Are you practicing for your own victories? Are you practicing what it will be like and look like when you accomplish your goals and victories? Those are pretty inspiring and powerful practices, especially when you see such an inspiring and powerful example of how those practices work.

If you’d like to watch the story of Jim Valvano and his ’83 Wolfpack team, you can watch Survive and Advance on YouTube. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I encourage you to watch it. Jimmy V always said every day you should laugh, you should spend time in thought, and you should have your emotions moved to tears. He said if you laugh, think and cry in the same day, then you’ve had one heck of a day. I guarantee if you watch the documentary, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be inspired.

And if you’d like to set big goals for your own life, goals that lead to victory, join the paNASH mailing list to receive a complimentary Goal-Achievement Plan. Your practice for victory will lead to your victory.

Hopefully on Monday night, I’ll be up late watching this year’s Carolina Tar Heels win their next national championship. GO HEELS!

Photo source: http://southerntorch.com/area-champions-crowned-sub-regionals-set/

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Failure = Success