Invisible Expectations

INVISIBLE EXPECTATIONS

Think back to when you were a kid. What expectations did your have parents from you? What about your coaches? Your teachers? Your friends? Fast forward to today. Do you have a significant other that has expectations from you? Or a boss? Or coworkers?

Now think critically about how these expectations play out in your life. Did your parents’ expectations of not getting in trouble keep you from doing some things you knew you shouldn’t? Of course. Did your coaches’ expectations of working hard push you to work harder? Of course. Did your friends’ expectations of following the crowd (peer pressure anyone?) affect the risks you took? Of course.

The problem is not in the expectations themselves, as many of them are positive. The problem is that this habit of allowing expectations to shape our lives never ends, and we can find ourselves not being able to tell the difference in other peoples’ expectations and our own. I think a huge part of the self discovery process is realizing how deeply expectations impact our lives, and using that to decipher what currently drives us. What most of us will find is a plethora of invisible expectations, established by others and inhabiting our subconscious mind, that have gotten us to where we are today. If we want true and complete control over our own dreams we have to start by living for our own expectations. What do you want out of your life? Where do you want to be in ten years? Where do you want to live? What kind of lifestyle do you want to have? What are your core beliefs that you want to live out? If there wasn’t a single expectation or judgement to be cast upon you, who would yoube?

The goal is not to be some super-independent individual who doesn’t care what others want, need, or think. The goal is to let our own internal motivators, our own internal compass, guide our decisions. When we filter out the noise, it’s easy for us to hear our own true voice, our true self. But to get there we have to recognize what is being driven by someone else’s expectations, and whether or not that expectation lines up with our own goals and beliefs. If it doesn’t, it’s an invisible expectation, and should be treated as such. As Howard Thurman once said,

“Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

It’s tough to be “alive”, or on fire for life, when that life is driven by someone else’s invisible expectations. Find yours, the ones from inside you, and allow them to help you come alive. The world will thank you.

On Abundance. Part 2.

ON ABUNDANCE. PART 2.

*This is a 2-part post on abundance. This week’s post is on how our limiting beliefs affect our ability to capture abundance. Last week’s post was on the capacity of abundance to expand. You can read that post here.


Here’s a statistic that will not surprise you:

The National Endowment for Financial Education estimates that 70% of people who suddenly receive a large sum of money will lose it within a few years.

Most people that read that will think something along the lines of “The type of people that buy lottery tickets aren’t intelligent enough to hold onto it.” But that’s not really true if we think about it, is it? I grew up in an upper-middle class part of the world, and knew plenty of people that bought lottery tickets. They weren’t exactly staking their future in them, but they bought them nonetheless. And surely some of these same types of people are the ones that end up losing all of their money as well, no? So what gives? How can otherwise intelligent people all over the world wind up with a bunch of money, whether that be from the lottery or an inheritance or selling a company or anything else, just to end up back where they started or worse?

I think the underlying factor, regardless of the individual’s intelligence or intentions, is simpler than we might think.

It’s a limiting belief about one’s worth.

Let me give you a made up scenario. Let’s say you’re a middle class worker who has $50,000 in savings, and your goal in your head has always been to hit that 6-figure mark in savings – $100,000. Let’s then pretend you wind up with a couple million bucks in your bank account unexpectedly. Here’s the reality of the world you’ve built in your head:

Your comfort level and worth has been set at $100,000 for years, and thus, that’s all your thoughts, intentions, and ambitions have been in alignment with. When all of the sudden you’re living outside of the world you’ve built in your head,  you will spend happily until you get back down to your comfort level of $100,000 or even let yourself slip back down to $50,000 or below. Why? Because your abundance has been limited in your own head, and the world and your own subconscious brain will continually work to get you back to the abundance you believe you’re worth.

To put it another way, let’s instead pretend that your own abundance of wealth, your own worth in your head, has always been set at $10,000,000. You believe that’s a great stretch goal to help you impact the world, give back, travel, leave an impactful sum for generations after you, and otherwise live comfortably. Let’s then pretend again that you wind up with a couple million bucks unexpectedly in your bank account. How will you react then? Well, you still haven’t reached the abundance that you believe your worth, so you will of course invest that money and try to turn it into the $10,000,000 mark that you’ve set in your conscious and subconscious brain. And the world and your subconscious brain will do everything in their power to get you there.

If you believe you are not worth very much, the stars will align to make it so.

The guy in the first story isn’t necessarily less intelligent than the guy in the second story. They simply have different beliefs about their own abundance. This isn’t just true for wealth. It’s true for health, relationships, happiness, anything. The girl that thinks she’s worthless because she grew up in an abusive home will continue to attract worthless people and relationships into her life. The guy that was made fun of his entire childhood for being fat will believe that his abundance of health (or lack thereof) has a ceiling of being the fat guy the rest of his life.

You become what you genuinely believe you will become.

Your beliefs around the abundance in your own life will dictate what the next months, years, and decades look like for you. So ask yourself the right questions:

Can I get rid of the limiting belief about my own financial worth?
Can I ditch the limiting belief about my past failures in relationships?
Can I delete the crippling limiting belief that I will always be the fat kid?

Your responses to those questions aren’t just methods of wishful thinking. They’re your path to abundance. They’re my path to abundance. And they’re the starting point for reaching goals we have maybe never even dreamed of before. What better day to start dreaming our abundance into reality than today?

On Abundance. Part 1.

ON ABUNDANCE. PART 1.

*This is a 2-part post on abundance. This week is on the capacity of abundance to expand, and next week will be on how our limiting beliefs affect our ability to capture that abundance.

If I asked you if you’d like an abundance of wealth given to you, you’d most likely say “Of course!” The same goes for an abundance of property, or an abundance of free time, or an abundance of anything that we individually place value on. But if I changed the question slightly and instead asked you if you will have an abundance of wealth, or if you will have an abundance of property, or if you will have an abundance of free time, most of our answers would change from “Of course!” to “Probably not.” Why is there such a gap in the abundance we know we’d enjoy and the abundance that we believe we’re worthy of?

It starts with our understanding (or misunderstanding) of abundance, and continues with our limiting beliefs about our own lives.

Here’s the most important thing to understand about abundance and its role in the world we live in. Abundance will always expand to the point that we ask it to. Let me give you an example. In my life right now, I am feeling some of the most incredible feelings of love and joy that a human can experience. I get to watch my newborn daughter in one of the most pure states of life as she figures out how this whole new world around her works. In order to have this new love for her, did I have to take that love from somewhere else? Did I have to borrow some love that was formerly for my wife, or my family, or my friends, in order to apply it to my daughter? Of course not! My abundance of love simply increased to the point that I asked it to. This same increase in abundance would/will happen for any future children we have to the same degree. There are no diminishing returns. There is simply an increase in the abundance of love I can feel in direct proportion to that which I’m allowing in. Much like our capacity to increase our abundance of love never ends, the same goes for virtually anything in life.

As a smaller and less noticeable example, think about a time when you had an impossible project or deadline to hit. Maybe it was in college. Maybe it was in a job. We’ve all had a few of those times when we think “This seems impossible for me to get done on time.” What inevitably happens in most of these situations? We get it done. Why? Our capacity and abundance to focus increases. Our capacity and abundance to stay awake and alert increases. Our capacity and abundance to simply get sh*t done increases. What earlier seemed impossible became completed because we asked our abundance to increase accordingly.

This principle applies to everything in life. If I were to create and sell a company, thus producing an abundance of wealth for myself, I am not taking this wealth from someone else or removing it from the availability of wealth in the world. There is no “1 in 1 out” policy with abundance. I am simply increasing the abundance in my own life and in bigger picture of life. When we fully comprehend abundance, and its ever-increasing capacity, it fundamentally changes how we think about its role in our lives.

A sneak peak into next week’s post? If you have never thought it would be possible for you to make 6 figures, or 7 figures, or 8 figures, your abundance will shrink accordingly. The same goes for love, lifestyle, free time, vacations, impact, or anything else that’s important to you. More to come. Until then, have a great week!

How Do You Measure A Day?

HOW DO YOU MEASURE A DAY?

Your car pulls into the drive. You slowly move yourself out of it and into your house, wiped out from another day on the grind. You plop on the couch, excited to be home. Maybe you pour yourself a glass of wine. Maybe some tea. Whatever your particular routine, at some point in the process, you take a deep breath and exhale.

Another day under your belt.

But how do you recount the past 8 or 10 hours that just occurred? How do you make sure you learned something new, gained some perspective, or appreciated something good that happened? In short, how do you measure a day?

Enter Rose, Thorn, Bud. Or RTB for short.

I first learned about RTB on a young entrepreneurs trip to Nicaragua last winter, and it’s been one of my favorite tools since. It’s been so helpful in my own process of measuring my days, that I programmed an alert in my phone for it every night at 7pm. It’s best discussed with someone else or in a group because it forces us to break our own walls down and be vulnerable for a bit.

ROSE What was your favorite thing that happened throughout the day? The high point that you want to reflect on and appreciate? That is your rose.

THORN What do you wish would have gone better? What was the low point of your day that you can learn & grow from? That is your thorn.

BUD What are you most looking forward to in the days and weeks that are around the corner? What gets you excited for your life that lies ahead? That is your bud.

Life is a process that is best utilized by appreciating the good and growing from the bad. Building a way to measure your days helps you do just that. And just like I gladly borrowed the RTB tradition from my travel crew, I hope you’ll borrow it from me.

On The Spark

ON THE SPARK

The spark is not big.
The spark is not brilliant.
The spark is not deadly, in and of itself.
The spark is, well, just a spark.

That is, of course, until a spark does what it was intended to do – slowly manifest itself into something much greater and much more powerful. What was once a quick and inconsequential flash is now an enormous, roaring blaze, infinitely more powerful than its’ humble beginnings.

Our goals, dreams, visions, and future selves do not begin as the awe inspiring blaze. They begin tiny. They begin with the first flicker of light. They begin with the first step on the treadmill. They begin with the business idea scribbled on a beer-soaked napkin. They begin with a tiny embryo and a hopeful couple. They begin with the measly few dollars used to open a savings account. They begin with a spark.

But then the spark grows. The single step becomes a mile, and then 2, and then 10. The beer-soaked napkin becomes the first self-employed dollar, and then the first thousand, and then the first million. The tiny embryo becomes a little bigger, and a little bigger, and a little bigger. The measly savings deposit becomes a down-payment for a home, and then a down-payment for an investment property. The spark has begun its’ course, and there is little that can get in the way to stop it.

Don’t fight the spark.
Let the little flicker begin its’ journey.
Let the spark grow into a flame.
Let the flame grow into the awe inspiring blaze.

This is our life after all. It doesn’t have to start with much. It just needs a spark.