Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose

December 3, 2015

Three more words that speak to the reason behind my business. They are capacities and qualities I evoke in my clients through our work together.

But I wonder how these specific words sound to people not regularly involved in discussions of psychology and human development. Is there a better language choice that will resonate with more people? The concepts definitely resonate, whatever people consider them to be.

This whiteboard animation of part of Dan Pink’s presentation on what motivates us to do great work takes about 10 minutes.

Agency, Intentionality, and Design

March 28, 2015

Many of my conversations with colleagues and friends about the elemental ideas that define my work include the words agency, intentionality, and design. They speak strongly to me but I’m concerned they won’t resonate with a broader audience.

Looks like I may be wrong. Really wrong. These words and others like them are at the heart of “Design Your Life,” the most popular course at Stanford which uses approaches and values from the world of design and applies them to life and work.

Heartening news for someone who first conceived of his coaching business as “custom life and work design.”

Check out the story on “Design Your Life” at this link.

Multiple Profit Centers 101

August 17, 2012

Barbara Winter may not have invented the idea of multiple profit centers solely, completely on her own. But she helped make the idea clear and accessible to many people by pulling together many of the details and considerations. She first talked about multiple profit centers DECADES ago, long before she wrote Making A Living Without A Job, which was nearly twenty years ago.

In a recent blog post she provides a fantastically concise, cogent overview of the power of incorporating multiple profit centers. It’s a quick read so check it out by clicking here. If you’re intrigued, pull out your copy of Making A Living Without A Job and review that section.

Don’t have a copy? Not yet? No problem! Click here and order one today!

Are Your Excuses As Big As These?

May 17, 2011

I haven’t blogged anything forward in a while because Facebook and Twitter are very effective channels for sharing an interesting blog post or article. In fact, they serve that purpose for me better than this blog, because it’s very easy to pass something along when you see it on social media. And it’s easy for people to keep forwarding it.

The value of posting a link here is that it becomes part of these archives and is easier to find in the future. Barbara Winter shone the light on the following article by Jon Morrow of Copyblogger.

Any time you’re doubting, any time you’re questioning, any time you look at your vision for a custom-designed life and ask, Is it really possible? come back to this article. It will remind you that when you commit to your vision you can find a way.

Ignore the title, except the “Get Paid to Change the World” part, and be willing to read all the way through to the reality-jarring surprise. You’ll be energized to go blow up some excuses.

Read Jon Morrow’s blog post here.

Forget Finding Your Passions?

February 17, 2011

*Content warning: This post is rated PG-13 – or, depending on your neighborhood, community, or sub-culture, possibly PG-7.

I met Marianne Cantwell at The Joyfully Jobless Jamboree. She trains, consults, and coaches on custom-designed careers and small business development primarily for people who want portable work so they can explore the world. Her business, blog, and Twitter account are named “Free Range Humans.”

Imagine my surprise when I saw this tweet from Marianne’s Twitter account that said “Why you should say F-you to ‘finding your passions…’ ” WTF?? “Follow your passions” and “Work at what you love” and “Find your true calling” and “Live a life you love” are the steady mantras of lifestyle entrepreneurs and custom career designers. Was Marianne calling this approach all wrong?

Turns out in her blog post with that title she doesn’t oppose the idea of people finding what they love to do and incorporating it into their work lives. What she does oppose is the frozen resistance of contemplating your navel waiting for a nearby bush to burst into non-consuming flames and tell you what your one great life purpose is.

Marianne’s preferred approach is to focus on what you really love doing, and to discover that by paying attention within, instead of looking without for some clue to an undiscovered deep calling. This is probably in line with Barbara Sher’s point of view that finding your calling is just finding what you love to do. Sher says what you love to do is what you are gifted at, and your calling is to do what you are gifted at – to develop and express those talents to share them with the world.

Marianne is energetic and joyful and a bit unconventional so you’ll probably enjoy her article and be interested in looking at more of her material. Since she likes to be provocative you’ll probably find yourself questioning old thinking, even the recently established old thinking of a fairly new movement like custom designed careers.

Marianne’s post got me thinking, or actually forwarded my thinking. Read more

Wings and Feet

January 14, 2011

In a post by Jeff Walker called Let’s Go Negative the product launch wizard unpacks the problem of constant optimism in business planning. Although optimism is important to sustain you through the challenges of starting a business or launching a new product or service, he tells us, relentless optimism interferes with a key component to success.

In the post he lays out a process for taking an idea that has you excited and then brainstorming all the obstacles to implementing it. This meshes with a framework I use for talking about business ideas. They need wings, to take them into the future and to higher potential results. But they also need feet, so they can land in the real world.

That means they need to be practical, and to be practical you need to invite the skeptic to evaluate them. Small business owners need both capacities – visionary dreaming and proactive, practical, operational planning.

That skeptic guy may not be the life of the party, but he’s key to the life of the business. Offer to buy him a drink. Don’t worry; he’ll probably just have a glass of water.

My Kind of Revolution

August 22, 2010

It’s a quiet movement, but it’s gaining momentum. It stays mainly under the radar, but every so often people not in the movement catch a glimpse and remark on it as a fad or trend. But it is no fad. It is no trend. It is a revolution, a revolution in how we see work and its place in our lives.

It is a revolution in our definition of “business.” No longer will everyone nod in acquiescence when someone says the only purpose of a business is to make money. To the revolutionaries, whose number is growing, the purpose of a business is to be a vehicle for them to share their gifts and talents with the world. It is their opportunity to display their personalities and express their values. It is their way to be socially responsible members of society. For some of us, running a small business is a rigorous program for self-development and even spiritual growth.

We are having a party, a happy and possibly noisy festival to celebrate the empowerment and the freedom that come from self-employment. We are going to share our victories and our strategies for surmounting obstacles. We are going to ramp up the creativity and challenge each other to set bigger goals and make bigger plans. We are going to help each other rediscover the purpose of work as dedicating ourselves to doing what we are gifted at, what we love, what we were born to do.

This is my kind of revolution.

Godin 07-09-10: On Lists and Commitment

July 11, 2010

I’m a skeptic by nature, so when I see lots of classes (tele- and otherwise) offered on how to grow your lists – on social networks, for your newsletter, for your blog – I have lots of questions. Then I read an article or excerpt and hear the techniques, and my skepticism grows. What’s the benefit of adding someone who falls for that technique?

People with strong reputations say it’s all about the numbers. But I’m pretty sure the list of subscribers for someone with a strong reputation is a lot more responsive than a quickly grown list built by “techniques”.

Seth Godin’s recent post on fans, participants, and spectators confirms my skepticism. The stats he shows for conversions are a little dreary. But he offers a solution.

Here He Grows Again

July 9, 2010

Early in my quest for a new career I joined a group that is now called The Changing Course Club. It helped me get clear about what kind of work I enjoy most, which I now understand to mean the kind of work that suits my natural gifts and talents and my natural way of interacting with the world. I was helped enormously by all the articles, e-books, recorded workshops, and teleclasses and webinars that were available through the program. But most of all I was blessed by meeting a supportive tribe of people, widely varied in their backgrounds and interests and talents, but surprisingly singular in their humanity and dedication to seeing other people grow.

Top of the list is Ken Robert. Ken was in the first class of people trained in the Profiting From Your Passions career coach program offered by Valerie Young, who also created The Changing Course Club.

Ken settled into a groove for over a year posting fantastic stuff at He’s tried out different formats and written a lot about struggling to decide what fits and does not fit the theme of that blog. It’s not surprising, because Ken has a lot to say. That’s because Ken has a lot he sees. He’s an explorer. He explores human nature by reading, through conversation, and through observation, but mostly these days through participation. He sketches, he plays music, he’s taken to writing poems, and he finds powerful photographs and music videos and tells the world about them.

Yesterday Ken announced he’s growing again. Instead of deciding if something fits the theme of Mildly Creative, he’s starting a new blog where the theme is “Ken” – or more accurately, “things that interest Ken”. Now, whenever he’s intrigued by something and wants to pass on his observations, or curious and wants to encourage a discussion, he knows the topic will fit the theme.

Thank goodness he didn’t spend a lot of time making things “just right” before launching the new blog! Click over and welcome him to his new home.

Polishing That Turd

June 4, 2010

Seth Godin says it so eloquently. “Instead of polishing that turd, why not work harder to think of something remarkable or important to say in the first place?”

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