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Don’t Just Show Up: Be a Linchpin & Stand Out

Don’t Just Show Up: Be a Linchpin & Stand Out


“Wait! Are you saying that I have to stop following instructions and start being an artist? Someone who dreams up new ideas and makes them real? Someone who finds new ways to interact, new pathways to deliver emotion, new ways to connect? Someone who acts like a human, not a cog? Me? YES!” Linchpin, by Seth Godin

You have two choices.

1) Get a job, earn a salary, get health insurance and strive for security; or

2) Do work you enjoy, make a difference and unlock the genius you’ve been hiding.

Are you choosing “conventional”? Or “revolutionary”?

Showing up or standing out?

Following the rules or creating the rules?

One book that has inspired me and altered the course of my life is Seth Godin’s Linchpin. Although the book came out in 2010 and I read it only a couple of years ago, I wanted to take a moment to share its insights with you.
Will this book change your life the way it changed mine?

In Linchpin, Seth gives you a choice between two options: either to be a cog in the giant industrial machine, just one small part that makes the machine run; or to stand out and become a linchpin, an essential and crucial piece that’s irreplaceable.

You can be a worker. Or an artist.

Your two choices.

Seth equates today’s white collar workers to factory workers.

“It’s factory work because it’s planned, controlled, and measured. It’s factory work because you can optimize for productivity. These workers know what they are going to do all day – and it’s still morning.”

But it doesn’t end there. Today “machines have replaced those workers. Worse, much worse, is that competitive pressures (and greed) have encouraged most organizations to turn their workers into machines,” Seth writes. “If we can measure it, we can do it faster. If we can put it in a manual, we can outsource it. If we can outsource it, we can get it cheaper…”

Seth’s premise in Linchpin is that you should challenge the working world of today – refuse to be a cog in the machine. Refuse to simply show up and stick it out.

“The only way to succeed is to be remarkable, to be talked about,” Seth writes.

Your new role in the world is to “be remarkable. Be generous. Create art. Make judgment calls. Connect people and ideas.”

Be impossibly good at your job. Be more human, less machine.

“When you’re not a cog in a machine, an easily replaceable commodity, you’ll get paid what you’re worth. Which is more.”

Less busy work. More art.

Fewer directions. More inspiration.

Less about what you get. More about what you can give.

How do you stand out and become irreplaceable in the world?

1) Be an artist.

Seth talks about how artists are indispensable linchpins.

“Art is scarce; scarcity creates value,” he writes.

And by no means is he implying that you need to start painting and creating sculptures before your next business endeavor.

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.”

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.

You can create art not by singing a song or writing poetry. You can create art by affecting someone, inspiring someone, creating a change in others.

You become an artist when you find a new way to do things. You’re an artist when you create joy or pleasure for another person. You’re an artist when you do something original.

And you’re doing all these things not for money, but for the sake of giving and changing people.

“The reason you might choose to embrace the artist within you now is that this is the path to (cue the ironic music) security. When it is time for layoffs, the safest job belongs to the artist, the linchpin, the one who can’t be easily outsourced or replaced,” writes Seth.

And if you’re wondering, you don’t have to quit your job to do this. You can be creative, original, inspiring and generous in the very joy you’re currently experiencing. You can care and you can make an impact on someone by changing the way you think about your work.

“Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.”

2) Give away your art.

Now is not the time to think that Seth Godin wants you to become a pauper and live on the streets, selling your watercolor artwork.

“When art is created solely to be sold, it’s only a commodity. A key element for the artist is the act of giving the art to someone in the tribe,” Seth writes.

When you give away something you care about because of love, care or inspiration, you are offering something that cannot be adequately repaid – and that’s okay. You deliver so much value that people have no choice but to be grateful for and appreciative of your art.

Your smile, your act of courtesy, your thoughtful gesture, your connection with someone in the same industry, your introducing that person to a wine she’ll love – all are small examples of gifts that make you invaluable. Indispensable.

Your small acts of art, given generously, make you a linchpin.

Don’t do it for the money, but for the love of it and for the sake of changing people’s lives. The money will come.

Seth challenges us to give not because we want to receive, but simply as an act of love.

3) Be unique.

Seth relays the stories of Louis Vuitton, Hermes and other French artisans who embraced handmade luxury goods that took time and care to produce.

“Mechanizing and cheapening the process would have made it easy for others to copy. Relying on humanity made it difficult – it made the work done in France scarce, and scarcity creates value.”

Don’t go for the easiest or the cheapest route.

Whatever situation you’re in, ask yourself, “What would the artist do here?” How can you make something special or different to improve the final product? How do you inspire and make your customer’s experience stand out?

4) Raise the bar.

“The problem with meeting expectations is that it’s not remarkable. It won’t change the recipient of the work, and it’s easy to emulate (which makes you easy to replace).”

Choose to be remarkable instead, Seth preaches. In fact, if you can’t be remarkable or exceptional in what you’re doing, don’t do it at all.

Stay away from humdrum, average and already been done. What is the game changer? What can you do that is art?

What can you do that will change someone’s life?

You can do something exceptional as a courtroom lawyer or as a telephone receptionist.

Raise the roof if you have to.

5) Become an expert to question how things are done.

“Expertise gives you enough insight to reinvent what everyone else assumes is the truth,” Seth writes.

If you understand better than anyone else the products you’re working on or the topic you’re writing about, you’ll have more breakthroughs and big ideas.

Mastering a subject or a field allows you to do something special in that field. The better you know something, the more likely you’ll know what’s missing, what doesn’t work or how to make something better.

The more you know, the greater your ability to make meaningful changes.

6) Maintain empathy and engagement.

You’re not paid to care, but you’re freely able to do so.

You don’t have to talk to anyone, but doing so can change someone’s day or improve someone’s life.

Can you look for ways to help people and improve the situation? Can you think about the small things that you can do to show you care?

Can these things be as simple as a smile or a “How are you?”

Can kindness, generosity and common courtesy be art? I’d venture to say, yes!!

7) Break the rules.

The easy thing to do is to learn the rules and follow them. There are rule books, policy manuals and employee handbooks. There are instructions that tell you what to do, and bosses who tell you how to do it.

Can you do it differently even if it means bending the rules?

Can you find a more effective solution? A more creative one? A solution that delivers more value to the people you’re serving?

Are you willing to step on toes to introduce an unexpected solution, or go against the usual way of doing things so that you stand out?

Yes, you might be disciplined or fired. But in Seth’s world, the linchpin says, “If I lean enough, it’s okay if I get fired, because I’ll have demonstrated my value to the marketplace. If the rules are the only thing between me and becoming indispensable, I don’t need the rules.”

Following the rules? Or breaking them and creating new ones?

8) Stay passionate.

Artists are passionate about their jobs and passionate about doing important work that gives a gift to others.

Seth writes that “transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.”

Interesting, and contrary to what we’ve been told. It may be the one point I slightly disagree with Seth on.

It may be easier to transfer your passion to your job, but it’s more fulfilling and satisfying to search for your purpose in the world and pursue that thing you were made to do.

Getting passionate about something you’re not interested in is more difficult, I’d argue, than finding what makes you jump out of bed in the morning.

But can you get passionate about aspects or parts of a job you’re already doing?

I’d say, either way, the bottom line is to do work that inspires passion. Either find a new job or discover what you’re passionate about in the work you’re doing.

9) Ship.

In Seth’s world, “ship means hitting the publish button on your blog, showing a presentation to the sales team, answering the phone, selling the muffins, sending out your references.”

Shipping is getting it done. It’s getting the product out the door. Delivering your project to the computer.

If you’re having trouble completing something, you’re likely facing resistance. The solution a la Seth: “Call its bluff, ship always, and then change the world.”

As a linchpin, confront your inner fears and face the resistance you feel.

Your product may not be perfect, but it’s better to get something out the door.

“Shipping something out the door, doing it regularly, without hassle, emergency, or fear – this is a rare skill, something that makes you indispensable,” Seth concludes.

10) Break through the resistance.

People may not like your ideas.

You might fail.

You might be laughed at or fired.

Some of these fears and doubts will stand between you and your work.

The resistance, Seth writes, seeks comfort or wants to hide. Seth encourages you to get uncomfortable when facing resistance.

When you’re feeling uncomfortable, “you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone.”

The only solution to breaking through the resistance, Seth tells us, “is to call all the bluffs at once, to tolerate no rational irrational reason to hold back on your art. The only solution is to start today, to start now, and to ship.”
Finally, you may be wondering what art to make and what gifts to share with the world around you.

That question is the “crux of it. Once you commit to being an artist, the question is an obvious one. The answer is the secret to your success. You must make a map. Not someone else. You.”

Linchpin can change your life if you adopt the revolution that Seth is asking you to lead. The power is not in society’s hands or your boss’s hands.

You’re the artist. You’re the linchpin and you can make it happen.

To purchase Linchpin, click here. For coaching to help you discover your art and become the linchpin of your life, click here.

Photo Credit @MarinadelCastell

How Do You Build a Popular Blog

How Do You Build a Popular Blog

popular blog

You don’t.

You don’t aim for popularity!


Nope, you don’t blog just to build a popular blog.

You blog for meaning. For impact.

You blog to make a difference.

You blog to help others and to serve.

Don’t create a popular blog.

Create a blog that matters, and people will come.

My blogging journey.

I’ve been blogging for a little over two years now. With 1,000 readers and 10,000 monthly views, I wouldn’t say I have a popular blog, but I do have passionate readers – you.

And from time to time I get questions about what I did to build up my blog.

Here are 10 tips to help you start your own blogging journey towards a popular blog that matters.

1. Be passionate about writing (or creating).

This is my number-one tip, and you know what? No one tells you this. If you read all the blogs that tell you how to blog well, not one says that you should have an interest in or a passion for writing.

If you don’t like to write, think twice about blogging because it requires a lot of writing. At a minimum, I’ve written 200,000 words on my blog and in guest posts. That doesn’t include comments, emails and “about” pages!

What if you don’t like to write? You can still become a great blogger if you enjoy creating. That means podcasts, videos, photos or other creative ways of sharing your content.

If you’re not a natural writer and don’t like to write, you can still blog if you commit to becoming a better writer. Commit everyday to building this skill. Put in the hours and practice writing.

2. Know your “why.


Simply put, have a message. Even if you don’t know what your message is, know that you must develop one to build up your blog. You can’t stand among the thousands of blogs out there without standing up for something, without saying what you believe.

It took me awhile to develop my message, which started as spirituality and ended at resilience. My blog’s initial premise was that you could start your spiritual journey today without moving to the Himalayas.

Today, my message is that you can make a comeback in life no matter how bad things get. In the dark of night or the depths of your darkest hour, hope and light exist.

I developed this message because it paralleled my own life. During my darkest and most difficult hour, after my marriage ended, I had a meltdown that inspired this blog. Today I’m able to share this message with others who are in similar places, whether in their careers, relationships or lives.

You will take weeks, months or possibly years to develop a message. Be patient while you craft it.

3. Pick a niche or topic you’re passionate about.

Blogging is hard work. You’re writing, almost always alone, for hours at a time. Just you, your computer, your thoughts and your writing. If you pick a topic you’re not excited about, you’ll get bored quickly and simply give up.

I love blogging because I love the topic I’m writing about: resilience, getting back up, finding your meaning in life, living your purpose. I love it because I can share a message with people who need to hear it. I can share a message with people who are in life-crushing situations and who need hope and encouragement.

It’s difficult for me to write posts on topics and subjects I don’t care about.

Sometimes you have to do work you don’t care about – like your day job. But blogging should be your “passion” business, so focus more on the passion than the business.

Of course, if you don’t have a day job or another means of earning a living, and your service-based business is completely online, you must make money doing work that you may not feel passionate about. My suggestion, then, is to get closer to the intersection of pursuing your passion and earning a living.

4. Guest post.

There are no two ways about it. You have to guest post to grow your blog.

When I publish new content, no matter how great I think it is, I never receive immediate responses or subscribers. Sure, you may have found one of my posts a few weeks or months after I wrote it, but you didn’t find it on the day I published it.

Likely, the way that you, as a new reader, found my blog was by reading an article I wrote on another blog. The best and most effective way I’ve grown my blog is by guest posting. Guest posting requires that you up your game – writing effective, high-quality content for popular blogs.

5. Make friends and get social.

To be successful as a blogger, you need a tribe of readers, followers and allies.

People will NOT simply visit because you’ve built up your blog. You will have to invite them. Let them know you exist.

In addition to guest blogging, I’ve found that these four strategies work.

Use social media to meet and connect with people in your niche. Interact with them on Twitter, share their content on Facebook and +1 their posts on Google +. Add, follow and engage your friends on social media.

Comment on other people’s blogs. If you’ve found a blogger you’d like to connect with, comment on his or her blog. Without question, the blogger will click back on your blog to learn more about you.  Provide smart and insightful comments to help make the blogger’s posts even better. Other commenters and readers will also read your comment and possibly check out your page.

Email people. I’ve met some of my readers and other bloggers simply by emailing them or responding to their emails about a post that I wrote or a question they had. Email still works in terms of building relationships and meeting new people.

Meet bloggers in person. I’ve met a handful of bloggers in person through meetups, lunches and other get-togethers. If you get a chance, take the opportunity to meet a blogger in person. Don’t let your relationships always be cyber ones – bloggers are real people, too.

6. Listen to your audience.

Your audience has questions, problems and challenges. They’re willing to share their struggles with you. Be willing to listen to what they say.

Pay special attention to reader emails and questions. If you get a question repeatedly, respond to the asker by email, but also write a post addressing the question so that you can deliver your response to a bigger audience.

Survey your audience. Use Survey Monkey and send a survey to your readers, asking them about their challenges and problems. If you’re thinking about writing a book or designing a course, find out how interested in it they would be.

Your readers will willingly share their opinions and thoughts with you.

7. Work on becoming a better blogger.

Blogging, like anything else in life, is a process that takes time and practice. Here are four mini-tips on becoming a better blogger.

Learn more. So many free resources are available online to help you become a better blogger. Three sites that I read regularly are Unmistable Creative, the Middle Finger Project and Social Unmistakable Creative, The Middle Finger Project and Social Triggers. I like these blogs because they dispense free, practical tips that help me improve my blog.

Get inspired. Read and follow not only blogs that help you blog better, but also those that inspire you. Know where you’re going and what you’re trying to build. From the very beginning, three blogs have inspired me: Zen Habits, Becoming Minimalist and Tiny Buddha.

These blogs focus on topics different from mine, but they still inspire me to blog better (and, hey, even live better!). These popular blogs had strong messages that impacted people’s lives.

Collect ideas. Blog topics come from brainstorming sessions and inspiration, so always be on the lookout for ideas. Keep a journal to write down ideas when they pop up.

Your best ideas and thoughts will come to you at the most random moments.

Edit. Don’t just write a piece and hit the “publish” button. Take the time to review, edit and improve your post. If you have the funds, hire an editor to proofread and edit for grammar and spelling, and to ensure that the post makes sense.

8. Commit to the long-term.

There’s no such thing as overnight success in the blog world. Success requires relationships and blockbuster content. All of this takes time to build and create.

Are you willing to blog for the long haul? Will you spend the hours necessary to churn out content? Are you willing to put your passion to the test? Will you put yourself out there for responses (some nice and some not so nice) from your readers?

Are you willing to sacrifice several hours a week for your blog? Willing to wake up early to write, spend Friday evenings responding to readers and take all weekend working on your dreams?

9. Be helpful, generous and different.

Help and serve your audience. Solve your readers’ problems. Provide content your audience needs. If one reader has a challenge, others who come to your blog will have similar challenges.

Give generously. As a blogger, you have the opportunity to give to people on a regular basis. Freely share as much content as you’re comfortable with.

Reduce the number of ads and hindrances on your blog. Remove pop-ups and invitations for people to subscribe. Yes, such invitations are effective, but they’re also annoying.

Give by sharing other people’s content generously. Tweet a blogger’s post that you liked, or share it on your Facebook page. Keep up with blogs that you enjoy reading. Add value by leaving a comment. Show support by being there for your blogger pals.

Be different. Don’t be just another blog on the Internet. Don’t be another raincoat, umbrella or bowl of chocolate-flavored ice-cream. Be known for something. Differentiate yourself in some way so that your blog stands out in the crowded blogosphere.

Use excellent photos that you take yourself. 

Write thought-provoking content, or write about topics that no one else covers.

Conduct interviews.

Be personable, humorous or vulnerable in your writing. (And, this goes without saying, always be yourself.)

Find a way to stand out.

10. Start.

You can read articles like this from today until the next century, and still one thing won’t change: you’ll still be waiting to build up your blog.

I have one suggestion for people who aren’t sure whether they should blog. It’s what I did. Write 10 posts about the topic that interests you. No, you won’t get feedback and you won’t get comments, but you’ll prove to yourself that you can write 10 articles. If you’re able to write 10 articles and not hate the experience, you’re ready to blog.

To start:

1)   Brainstorm, check and buy a domain name for your blog.

2)   Get hosting services through Bluehost. (It’s affordable, reliable and the hosting that I use for Vishnu’s Virtues.) You can click here for a free blog name and 50% discount on Bluehost hosting.

3)   Pick a theme like Thesis (the one I use for my blog) or Genesis (many bloggers recommend this one.)

4)   Write content and click “publish.”

And, of course, let me know that you’ve started blogging. I try to keep up with as many of my readers’ blogs as I have time for. Send me a tweet on Twitter or email me using the contact form at the bottom of my blog. I’d love to check out what you’re creating.

Photo Credit Ron Cogswell and Upslon

How Do I Change My Career to Live My Purpose?

How Do I Change My Career to Live My Purpose?


“When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.”—Bertice Berry

You’ve had enough.

Enough of browsing The Huffington Post and Match.com. Enough of reading Live Your Legend articles and pinning photos of Michael Kors handbags you’d like to own one day.

You had coffee, billed a client, called your mom, billed a client, browsed Facebook 18 times and billed a client. Now you can’t wait until 8 p.m. so you can leave the office.

Your life as a corporate lawyer is soul-sucking, depressing and completely mind-numbing.

The thought runs through you. ‘Who cares about this @#$%? What does it matter who owns a piece of intellectual property? Who cares who buys who and who’s infringing on the trademark?’

As clients fight and your billables increase, you lose sleep, your hair and your sanity. Oh yeah, and your soul.

Yup, it’s time for a change.

You’ve decided to listen to the soft whispers you’ve heard your entire life, and to pursue your calling, your life’s work, your dream…

My transition to my purpose.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” is the quote from Gandhi that has had the most impact on my life. Growing up in America, I saw a world filled with inequality, injustice and powerful corporate interests that took advantage of others.

It’s why I went to law school and became a lawyer. I thought I could achieve the greatest amount of change in people’s lives, as well as in society, by helping to change laws and policies.

When I found myself filing lawsuits for unhappy neighbors, people who rear-ended each other and bitter spouses, I knew it was time to do something else.

I wanted to help people; the practice that called to me was immigration law. I also wanted to work on my own terms, so I left a stable, full-time, well-paying job at a law firm to start my own immigration practice.

Was I crazy? (Don’t answer that.)

I opened an online immigration office. During the year I spent preparing to leave my full-time job, I rented an office, built a website that advertised my legal services, and hired contractors to help with various aspects of the business.

I left my steady job and found myself immersed in the world of entrepreneurism and business. I had to quickly learn about online business, sales and marketing.

I felt overwhelmed but in my element. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was a conduit or vehicle for families to unite, for people to build their dreams and to live their best lives in the United States.

I loved everything about the work but had to let it go when, a couple of years later, I started struggling financially. Running a new business was a challenge and I realized that I was investing much of my earnings back into the business.

I went back to a regular, full-time job, but over the next few years I experienced another strong pull to serve people, albeit in a different capacity. I found that I enjoyed coaching people more than I enjoyed doing legal work for them.

In my clients’ most critical hours, they seemed to benefit more from my coaching skills than from my legal skills. I could help people change their perspectives, reframe their situations and achieve more control of their lives.

I wanted to become a coach and I launched this blog.

As I’ve built the blog, I’ve once again gone into and out of employment. I’ve taken a coaching course and started helping people around the world build their lives after epic downfalls. I’ve helped people stand up after hitting rock bottom in their careers and relationships.

I’ve had to plan for this change, alter my lifestyle to fit my variable income and take small steps to build the business. But now more than ever I feel like I’m in my element.

I’m able to help people with their most challenging life situations by confronting the very obstacles that keep them stuck. I help them dramatically improve their lives. The people I coach have moved on from paralyzing relationships and left soul-crushing corporate careers to perform more meaningful work.

Why ditch the corporate ladder to live your purpose?

No one is asking you to quit your job and turn your life upside-down today.

Or asking you to live a life of hunger and poverty.

But you need to embark on this career change to stay true to your lifelong calling and dreams.

If you don’t know what your life calling is, that’s another story, and a discussion for another day. This post is for those of you who know what your mission in this world is. You’re just not doing anything about it. (If you’re trying to figure out your purpose, read this post, or, after signing up for my weekly updates, check out the e-book I wrote on the subject. You’ll receive a guide called “11 ways to discover your highest purpose…”.)

Consider changing your career and pursuing your dreams. Life’s too short, and you don’t want to live it in regret. You don’t want to retire in 30 years and think that you could have done so much more.

When you’re pursuing your purpose, you’re contributing your greatest good to the world. You are serving yourself by staying true to yourself. You’re having the biggest effect on people. Your purpose is a gift, and we should always share our gifts.

Finally, when you pursue your purpose and you’re in 100-percent alignment with it, you become better at what you do. You realize more opportunities and become luckier in life as circumstances fall into place.

Here are 14 tips to help you transition from your humdrum career to your purpose.

1. Seek more clarity.

Don’t jump into a new venture until you’re sure it’s what you want to do. Don’t look around and think, ‘That sounds fun,’ then dive into something that might not suit you. Don’t take big leaps until you’ve done both the internal work necessary for discovering your purpose and the practical work involved in figuring out how you’ll arrive there. In other words, plan and prepare to undergo a transition.

2. Listen to yourself.

You may be hearing soft whispers or loud chatters within yourself to pursue a calling. First, ensure it’s not the alcohol talking. Then, become more aware of this inner voice – your intuition and your guide. You may have heard it your entire life, and it may be screaming at you now to pursue your dream, live your purpose or follow your calling. Be more receptive to the messages you hear from yourself.

3. Are you passionate about it?

A good way to determine whether your plans are in line with your purpose is to discover whether you’re passionate about the new line of work.

Your passions can sustain your purpose. If you’re about to undergo a career transition, why not do something you enjoy? Why not do something that won’t feel like work? Why not do something that you LOVE? Determine those skills that you love in your current job and that you can incorporate into your next venture.

4. Are you good at it?

You have no idea how you’ll do in your new career, but consider whether your strengths transfer to that line of work. Ideally, you want to use skills and strengths that you already have and find a new place to use them. What skills and abilities does your new line of work require? Do you already have them or will you be able to develop them?

5. Earn experience in your new field.

Get it (experience) any way you can – attend workshops, volunteer, take part in an internship or find another way to jam your foot in the door. Can you build the skills for your next venture in your current job? Can you work in a different department or on different projects that will help you hone the skills you’ll need for your new career? Can you transfer divisions at your current job, or receive training for work you’ll do after you leave your current position?

6. Freelance or consult.

A great way to test your new interest or your lifelong calling is to consult. Become a freelancer and work for a flat fee or an hourly fee (or for no fee if you’re just starting out). Give yourself an opportunity to test your big move while you still have a job.

How valuable can you be to people? How can you foster change? How much can you learn while helping and serving others?

By consulting and freelancing, you’ll develop a better idea regarding whether you’d like to pursue your purpose full-time.

7. No more school.

Unless your calling is to be a heart surgeon or to represent people in court, don’t think that you need another degree or more education. You can do 95 percent of what you want to do by acquiring more experience, conducting your own research and taking online courses that help you better understand your business or career. Don’t feel as though you must go into debt or take out loans to pursue your calling. Don’t let your finances or the excuse of more school stop you from moving toward your purpose.

Don’t get me wrong – a few professional fields require that you obtain another degree or license. But you definitely don’t need a certificate from a fashion school to start a fashion line or a culinary degree to open your own restaurant. Be creative and resourceful, and learn on the job.

8. Prepare.

If you’re planning to change careers, research your next venture. Read, find information online, talk to people and determine what you’ll need during your transition. Give yourself enough time to prepare professionally, personally, financially and mentally.

9. Save up.

Start preparing your finances if you’re pursuing something risky or that will leave you with unstable income for the foreseeable future. If you’ll be starting a business, consulting or going from a full-time salaried job to an entrepreneurial project, ensure that you have enough savings to cover your basic expenses for the next 6 to 12 months.

10. Scale down.

If you’re living large now but will be taking a dramatic shift in the opposite direction when you start your business, scale down to reduce your personal expenses. Move to a less costly apartment, pay off your car, and reduce expenses like cable and your wine-of-the-month-club membership.

11. Seek mentors.

Before you take the jump, find mentors in the field. Use your current contacts or even new LinkedIn contacts to learn more about the field you’re interested in.

When I decided to transition from my previous job to coaching, I reached out to other coaches, speakers and personal development experts who do this kind of work. Some I contacted online and some I contacted in person. I asked people to put me in touch with their own contacts who were coaches.

Every mentor you meet can provide you with ideas, inspiration and practical information about your future career.

12. Build your network.

Although you should have a strong network regardless of where you are in your career, this is especially important when you transition to a new field.

You’ll need allies, partners and people to hire you. Find out who they are and reach out to them. If you’re moving to a new field and don’t have contacts in that industry, start meeting them.

Find out which LinkedIn groups your tribe belongs to. Determine what events and associations represent the people you’re interested in working with. Learn the speakers and leaders in that field.

Attend events and workshops to meet potential allies and clients.

13. Rebrand yourself.

Most people have trouble with this part, but it’s critical if you’re undergoing a career change. Here are a few ways to rebrand yourself so that you’re able to tell a new story.

You’ll have to reframe your past experiences so they mesh with your new line of work. Whatever you’ve done in the past, you must explain it in terms of your new career. You must help people see the connection between your former skills and your current position. You must demonstrate how your former skills and abilities are relevant today.

Let’s say you used to work in banking but now consult for small businesses. What are the skills and abilities you have from your past life that can serve others now?

Or let’s say you were in sales but are now trying to become a teacher. You must highlight your sales strengths (listening, problem solving, helping people) and demonstrate how they apply to your current job.

If you’re a stockbroker who wants to work for a charity, determine which skills and abilities you can transfer. You must show that your ability to decide wisely, perform thorough analyses and communicate effectively are relevant to your new job. Your ability to work well in team-based environments, and with others in general, is also key.

You must rebrand everything about yourself – from your resume and LinkedIn account to the way you talk about yourself to other people.

One effective way to rebrand yourself is to look for jobs that you’re not only interested in but that align with your purpose. Look up a sample job description that provides information about your industry of interest and that lists the skills and qualifications you’ll need. When you analyze those criteria, think about all the actions you’re taking now that are on that list. This will tell you exactly how you should rebrand yourself.

14. Stay true to yourself.

career direction

As you narrow down your purpose and pursue what you should be doing in this world, you’ll meet both internal and external resistance. In terms of your own resistance, you must ensure that what you’re doing aligns with your values. You must challenge negative beliefs.

In terms of resistance from others, you must acknowledge that you will face judgment. Society wants you to conform to what it finds acceptable.

How do you stand up to societal expectations and family pressures?

As certified life passion coach Barrie Davenport has written, “The secret to non-conformity is the willingness to accept discomfort for a time – to accept the anxiety of uncertainty, the fear of the unknown, and the tension of possible rejection. By accepting the inevitability of these feelings from the get-go, you can dilute some of the discomfort. The rest will disappear over time as you become comfortable – even excited – about being your own person.

You must be willing to not fight over it, to not force others to understand what you’re doing and to simply stay true to your life’s calling. If what you want to do diverges from the straight path that others follow, stay vigilant and focused on your mission in life.

Thank you for tweeting out this post and liking it on Facebook.  Photo credit *Billy Gast

Interested in discovering and transitioning to your life’s purpose? Please visit my life direction coaching page here. Pick up my book on changing careers here.

The one wealthy living secret no one talks about: how to slow down to live rich

The one wealthy living secret no one talks about: how to slow down to live rich

slow down

I hate it when there's no wifi...

I feel like I’ve had two working lives. And they seem like night and day.

There was a time that I was chained to my phone, email and work. I would literally work around the clock attending to problems that couldn’t wait another second and the next unfolding crisis.

My life was tied to the news of the day.

The next political attack.

The next political move by an opponent.

“She said, he said” politics.

Twitter bickering and Facebook wars.

That was my life working in electoral politics, helping candidates get elected to office.

Always on the go. 24/7.

Furiously climbing the mountain, but where are we going?

I thought staying active and productive was the best way to live a rich life.

Your dreams came true more quickly when you worked harder.

The more quickly and intensely your pursued your goals, the more quickly you climbed the mountain—the mountain to wealth, success, power and prestige!

No, no one really stops and asks why we’re climbing the mountain in the first place. Or how we even ended up on that mountain.

But you look around and see others climbing that mountain of success with a furious intensity.

The happiness at the mountaintop comes with money, power, social mobility, financial and material success.




Fast forward to slowing down.

Why just eat breakfast when you can eat breakfast and get caught up on all the political news at the same time?

Why just drive to work when you could talk to clients and managers on speakerphone while you’re on the road?

Why just wait in line to buy groceries when you could also answer an email or ten?

I was doing all of this and more in my own my career at one point.

In my desire to get “there,” I forgot where I was going or why I wanted to get there in the first place. And I was completely missing the point on my way there.

After life threw me into the washing machine of life for a prolonged spin cycle, I began to become more conscious of what I was doing.

When you lose everything (okay, a relationship, but it sure did like losing everything), you hit rock bottom.

And when you’re there, you can do one of three things:

  1. Gallivant in sorrow, drinking yourself into a drunken stupor, living a life on the edge, marinating in loneliness, sadness and pain.
  2. Continue doing what you’ve been doing – living the fast-paced and mindless life in pursuit of things that really don’t make you happy.
  3. Or start evaluating everything that you’re doing in your life. Reprioritize. And slow the heck down.

I had a choice to continue living mindlessly or to begin to live consciously.

You get the point: when life breaks you down, chops you up and grinds you to a halt, you wake up to realize you have choices. A lot of them.

To start over.

To think things through.

To consciously decide how you want to spend your life.

So now, instead of racing through life like a cheetah in search of my evening meal, I gently graze like a goat on the country grass as I take in the sights and sounds.

A leisurely breakfast at home. Heck, even working from home.

A morning walk. A silent meditation. Listening to the birds chirping outside my window. Watching the sun rise. Watching it set.

Are you overbooking your life?

In Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive, she observes how we try to shave a few seconds off our daily routine, in hopes that we can create enough space to schedule yet another meeting or appointment that will help us climb the mountain of success.

“Like airlines, we overbook ourselves…We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don’t get to keep all that time we ‘save’. It’s a very costly way to live,” she observes.

Are you mindlessly overbooking your life  because you are trying to be overly productive or keep up with your high-performing celebrity wannabe White House-crashing socially mobile neighbors?

Or are you going to fight back against what Huffington calls “hurry sickness”?

Why should you slow down in a world of Twitter, Snapchat and Kimye-style televised weddings?

I’m going to show you below how slowing down your life is the real secret to untapped wealth and abundance. And even a few steps on how to do it!

When you slow down and enjoy life, soaking up the small moments, you will find the meaning and fulfillment you’re looking for.

Here are just some of the reasons to hit the pause button and travel in slow motion:

To be one with the now.

You seem to be working for a day that may never come. Running, packing, racing, speeding…to what? For what?

This is the very moment that you and I know for sure exists. Yesterday is a story that can be forgotten, and tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.

As Garth asked, “What if tomorrow never comes?”


Slow down so you can be present and in the moment.

Embrace and value experiences.

Enjoy the experiences that you have daily. Instead of simply surviving your work day, tolerating your social life and hustling to survive another day with the kids, find meaning and fulfillment in each day and experience.

Slowing down allows you to taste and feel the joy of everyday experiences, the taste of that oolong tea and the company of your bestie.

To celebrate everyday happiness.

Waiting for happiness for tomorrow? I was.

A message from happiness to you: don’t wait on me, girl.

Happiness doesn’t come from your life partner showing up tomorrow, landing your dream job at Mindvalley or Zappos, or your life falling into place as you desire it.

Happiness comes from within you. Here. Now. Per your request. Your soul’s desire. Your heart’s choice.

Finding happiness in the small moments and everyday moments is the real secret to a happy life.

Connection and relationships.

When you slow it down, you have time for the people in your life. You can simply sit and be present with them. Enjoy their company and their presence.

When you don’t have to go anywhere or rush to the next thing, you can simply enjoy the people in your life.

Soul time.

When you slow down, there is time for seeking within. You can reconnect with your spiritual nature and water your soul. When your external world slows down, you have time to visit and sit with yourself.

Within is where all the answers you’re looking for can be found.

Growth time.

When you race through life without stopping, you don’t have much time to reflect and grow as a person.

You don’t have time for personal development, self-improvement and character building. You have no time to learn life’s lessons because you’re always off to the next thing.

Slowing down allows you reflect, observe and grow as a person.

And when you take all these factors into account, you have the makings of a very rich and rewarding life.

A life that slows down gives you the treasure of time, which permits connection, relationships, inner-awareness, growth, character-building, and more.

Your inner peace, stress-less lifestyle, and uncountable moments of pleasure are things that money absolutely can’t buy.

10 ways to take off your running shoes and slow it down.

1. Set the intention to live a slower life.

Nothing is more important than this. If you’re operating on auto-pilot in life, you enjoy cruising at 100 miles per hour.

You’re dashing through life with an Olympic torch in your hand so you can enter the stadium to pick up your medal. Unfortunately, you’ll be dead tired when you get there, and you’ll find that the medal ceremony only lasts for 5 minutes.

And you would have missed the sights and scenes on your way to victory.

If you want to slow things down, set the intention to slow it down. Commit to yourself that you’re going to spend less time living an overcommitted life, less time in your car in traffic, and less time doing things you can’t stand.

Say yes to simplifying, reducing commitments, and living more slowly.

2. Know yourself better so you can reprioritize your life.

If you don’t know what you want, you’re going to be pulled in many different directions without much focus.

Identifying and acknowledging what’s important to you – family, passion, fun, adventure, creativity, spirituality, service or other values – is your first step to self-understanding.

Once you acknowledge that yes, these 2 or 3 things are what make for a fulfilling life, then you can create a life that’s based around those things.

You can start doing more of those things that are in alignment with what’s important to you in life and shut the doors on all those other things that are wasting your time and energy.

Understanding your values system is a great way to begin to reprioritize your life, and life coach Tim Brownson has an entire book dedicated to this topic alone.

Understanding your values allows you to live a life that’s more in line with who you are while reducing frivolous commitments.

3. Carve out blocks of “do-nothing” time.

Are you one of those people who has every minute of their day on their calendar? Wonderful.

Please put the gun down and step away from your calendar.

Your productivity and efficiency has gotten you far in life, but has it really?

Could slowing down and resting turbo-charge your productivity and your output?

Purposefully add blocks of time into your calendar, during the work day if possible, where you’re doing nothing constructive. Take this time to do nothing or do something leisurely: walking, a nap, or simply sitting and taking in the day.

If you can’t calendar in blocks of “do-nothing” time into your day, then try to find moments where you squeeze in some “do-nothing” time. Try a longer lunch, a more leisurely walk to your next meeting, or some breathing exercises on your next work conference call.

4. Plan a little.

Similar to creating blocks of time where you do nothing, one way to slow things down and take life at a slower pace is a little daily or weekly planning.

You have to know what’s on your plate so you can identify what’s important to you and what’s not.

Once you realize what’s important to you and squash those things that terrorize you and eat up your time, then create a plan that allows you to do what you have to do in the amount of time you have.

If you plan ahead, you can reduce the rushing, the anxiety and the mindless “busyness” of life. A little pre-planning reminds you how much time you have to do the work that’s in front of you.

If it’s overwhelming, then get help, push some things off to the following week, say “no” to some of what’s on your plate and get a little more breathing room.

7 minutes of planning can reduce 7 days of reckless living.

Simple – plan a little, breathe a little easier.

5. Stop overbooking yourself.

If you were a hotel, would you be the sold-out New York Four Seasons Hotel?  

Social gatherings, family gatherings, kids’ events, pet reunions, Burning Man festivals, the asparagus festival, the Cannes film festival. Enough already.

You may feel the desire to be seen. To be seen is to be admired, you might mistakenly believe.

You’re wrong.

People who are dashing around from the party scene to the nightclub scene to the charity dinner scene for the sole purpose of being noticed are living an illusionary dream.

If you’re simply showing up for your own vanity and ego, first get over yourself.

Then start saying “no” like Solange’s flying kicks to brother-in-law Jay-Z: quickly, furiously and with purpose (but in a loving “we’re still family at the end of the day” kind of way).  

Say no:

“Sorry, I can’t.”

“I’m over-committed.”

“Nope, can’t do that.”

“Maybe next time.”

“Thanks for the invite anyway. Love you. Kisses. I send my best. I send my regards. I send my ex. I send my condolences, etc. etc.”

Socially, personally, professionally and even sexually (huh?), say no.

6. Spend time alone. Focus on self-care.

torrey pines state beach

Enjoy the view @Torrey Pines state beach

What do you do with all that extra time you now have?

First, savor it. Then use that time to take care of yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Exercise. Meditation. Yoga. Reading. Thinking. Dreaming time.

The art of simply sitting and doing nothing.

Self-reflection. Introspection.


“More and more scientific studies speak to the irrefutable benefits of sleep,” Arianna Huffington writes in Thrive.

“A study published in Science even calculated that for the sleep-deprived, an extra hour of sleep can do more for their daily happiness than a $60,000 raise,” Huffington shares.

When you’re rushing through life sleep-deprived, you’re harming your body and your ability to be most productive.

Set earlier bed times and give yourself the luxury of waking up without an alarm clock. Wake up when you’re rested. Read more tips here on getting better sleep.

7. Set limits on technology.

Are you hooked to your cell phone, iPad, laptop and other accessories?

24 hours a day?

Turn off all devices at a certain time. Disconnect.

As Huffington suggests in Thrive, shut your electronic equipment off and keep it in a different room.

“Disconnecting from the digital world will help you reconnect to your wisdom, intuition, and creativity,” she writes.

I’ve started doing this of late and am surprised at how much more peaceful and less worried I am. I don’t worry about who’s emailed me, who’s texting me at midnight or tweeting at me.

Get the technology out of your room and shut it off before you go to bed.

8. Take as much time as it takes to do something.

In a rush and tumble world, it’s all about speed and efficiency. What’s the quickest way to get the job done?

As an experiment, why not give yourself the liberty to take as much time as you need to do a task?

And do only that one task at a time. Cut out multi-tasking and opt for a single-minded approach to the task at hand.

Pour yourself a cup of tea.

Eat your breakfast focused on the taste and texture of the food you’re chewing on. Cut out emails and skimming the news headlines as you devour your Cheerios.

Enjoy the process—slow down and find satisfaction in doing the task by itself.

9. Don’t waste your time, like you wouldn’t waste your money.

Would you go around giving people hundreds of dollar bills for no reason?

Do you toss bags of money from your Jetta’s window (if you do, please text me your address ASAP)?

We don’t frivolously shell out the Benjamins mindlessly, so why waste a chunk of your time?

What if your time was like your money?

Would it easier for you to be more protective of your time?

Could you say “no” more?

I understand that the point of this article is to encourage you to have more time and not live in time scarcity, but this point asks you to be mindful of and careful with the time you do have.

What do you really want to do with your time? Treasure your decisions and choices based on what’s important to you.

10. Stay focused on your own life.

It’s very easy to start going every which way when you’re trying to march in someone else’s parade.

Just because EVERYONE you know is doing the same thing, pursuing the same things and living the same life, that doesn’t mean you have to.

Your friend getting a Masters doesn’t mean you need to get your application in too. Your friend going to law school shouldn’t inspire you, but remind you to get them psychological help.

Your friend nailing her dream job at the top-four consulting firm shouldn’t make you feel like you’re slacking in life and you need to get out of your comfortable career.

It’s so easy to see what people are doing and want to duplicate their dreams. You start running around frantically trying to live their lives, driving yourself to your wit’s end.

Ask yourself if you really want something before you do it. See how it fits with your life, your dreams and your values.

Go from within. Don’t let outside pressures or people dictate how to live. March to your own beat.

When your life slows down, you will have peace and happiness that’s priceless. You’ll also have the focus and productivity to pursue those things that YOU really want in life.

Living in alignment with your priorities and your values will produce a feeling of immense joy, abundance and happiness that no dollar amount or job could give you.

Now go brew yourself a cup of tea and call it a day, mate. Time to turn off the iPhone, enjoy a little “do-nothing” time and get to bed early for a full night’s rest.

* Photo Credit daran_kandasamy

If you enjoyed this post and think someone could benefit from it, I would appreciate you sharing on your favorite social networks or forwarding this link to a friend.

Unveiled: My Life and Lessons as a Nun

A guest post by Melissa Tandoc of the Graciedo blog:

Having grown up in the Catholic faith my entire life in a very religious community and family, the call to know God was growing louder.

At the age of 20, I made a decision which would forever alter the course of my life. I decided to get hitched.

And I’m not talking marriage. I’m talking about a lifelong commitment to Jesus.

Dashing my parents hopes and dreams of a marriage, kids, a nursing career and dreams of going to America, I left it all behind to do something that felt so right in my life – to  become a nun.

The calling was so strong. I just had to be with Jesus at that moment.  Similar to Mother Teresa, I imagined a life of service to the poor. My mind was set on ‘doing’ things for God.

A journey of faith

The thing is, one has to be formed (prepared) before immersion (living in a mission area). It took several years of Bible studies, theology classes and tests in relationship before the real thing took place.

My spiritual mission started as a nurse in a private school. I asked my spiritual mentors, ‘how come I was assigned there when I wanted to be with the poor?’ However, within the months, I saw that the ‘poverty’ the rich children had there was deficiency of attention from their parents. They had all the material comforts of the world but with psychological and emotional issues of the modern world.  I have learned to embrace those children in their needs.

After a year, I was sent to live with the street children. With them, I learned that kindness isn’t in the softness of one’s voice. I learned how to be gentle and firm at the same time. I wanted to stay there with them but God has other plans.

The time came for me to go to a foreign mission and I said, yes, to a mission in North Africa. Preaching in North Africa was a no-no. And even if it were permitted, I couldn’t have done so with the little Arabic that I studied. It came to me as a surprise that some people there spoke Italian (it was an Italian colony before) and it was a huge relief!

Not all patients welcomed the idea of a ‘Christian’ working in their midst and some called me ‘kalba’ (female dog). It took years of working with them to finally call me ‘sorella’ (Italian for sister).

Preaching with words was prohibited but preaching with acts of love and kindness weren’t. Most of them said that, ‘Christians’ lit the dark rooms of the hospital where we worked.

I spent several years in North Africa, being a nun and serving as a hemodialysis nurse.

Maybe I could pause here because the next question will be, “If I were happy doing all these, how come I left?” And that would be another story (and another future post).

In taking this path, here are 5 lessons from my spiritual journey as a nun:

 Take life at your own pace. I decided to enter the convent at a time when most of my friends built their careers, dated and created their own families. Instead of following a set path and doing what others were doing, I did things on my own pace and time.

It’s something similar to child or a plant. We grow through our experiences.

Respect your own pace.

  Spiritual direction and trust is necessary. The answer to life is not in the formulas nor in the seven-steps to this and that. There are no quick answers nor shortcuts in living life fully.

We need modern day saints, holy more than spiritual people (priests, nuns), who could guide us in discerning our path.

Allow God to lead. Yes, we did psychology to understand ourselves better. But there are limitations to science. We couldn’t rely on psychology to heal us. I dare people to have faith that God works in our lives and to listen to the path that God has for you.

My greatest teacher and mentor, Jesus, was my guide to entering and then leaving this path that I had chosen.

->If religious life is not your cup of tea, then learn to discern . Your inner voice,  will tell you.

Go back to the roots. Dig deep. We are taught to forget our past. But I think we should do the opposite.  Reread your history with God’s eyes – in faith and openness.

Embrace your past and use your past as an opportunity to grow in faith. In the alternative, use ALL your experiences to be the best person you can be today. You are who you are because of your story.

Don’t dwell in it but don’t forget it neither.


The lessons learned in the convent are helping me live more humbly in my regular life today.

I am reminded not to have the ‘holier than thou’ attitude or judgment of others. We are all journeying together ~ some further along and others at the starting point.

Where you are on your spiritual journey is fine.

In my next post, Vishnu has asked me to write about how I began a new life outside the convent. Update: Part 2 Unveiled: Why I left? When should you?

To pick up a copy of my book, Is God Listening?, about God, spirituality and resilience, click here.  

How to Turn Epic Failures into Future Success (a guest post)

How to Turn Epic Failures into Future Success (a guest post)

I'm dazin' but check out Vishnu's guest post on Brazen.

I'm dazin'but check out Vishnu's guest post on Brazen

Once upon a time, I used to practice law.

Yes, if you needed a lawyer to help you immigrate to the U.S. or get the hell out, I was your man. I ran an online immigration law firm advising clients from all over the world. It was the most fun I’ve ever had helping people achieve their American dream.

The part I loved about the work was helping my clients immigrate to America, reunite with loved ones and defending them when the American government tried to kick them out. The part I found challenging was running a full-scale business. My first one.

Anyway, it was a humbling experience running a practice, operating a business and fighting for my clients.

After a couple years with this struggling business, I realized I had to close shop and move on from a venture I had put my heart and soul into.

I learned so much from having run this law firm. Even though I had to close it down, I never regretted this business for a minute. It taught me profound lessons about business, marketing and law.

To learn more about my journey and find out how to turn failures into success, visit my my guest post on the Brazen Careerist blog. A special thanks to editor, Alexis Grant, for publishing this post.

Please leave me a comment on the Brazen Careerist blog and let me know if you’ve failed before. How did you make your comeback?

If you’ve never failed and don’t want to succeed ha! no worries. Enjoy some photos below from the San Francisco Zen Center. If you’re in the San Francisco, California area, drop in to zen out.



there is only enlightened activity