How to Come Alive

Posted Thursday, February 04, 2016

“There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction." ~Simon Weil

He's on fire. My client. He's having one real conversation in his life after another. He went to a big event last week intending to be bold and deeply connecting in all of his conversations. He was. He's becoming more alive.

She's excited and scared and happy and worried. My client. For the first time in her life, she's giving herself permission to be herself; to be a jumble of emotions. The phrase "of course I am" is passing her lips and it feels good to simply be. She's becoming more alive.

I'm having a very emotional few weeks. I've spent more time in the last two weeks with my mother than in my entire adult life. It's bringing up all sorts of junk from my past and I'm noticing blind spots that I thought were long gone. I'm grateful to be in it but there is no doubt that I'm struggling. I'm becoming more alive.

This is the real stuff of our lives. Suffering and affliction and beauty. It's real. It's all real. We gotta get at the real stuff if we want to come alive.   Read More »

Your Life is Not A Movie

Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I woke up confused and laughing. My thrilling dream ended with a bunch of my friends trying to drink milk while lying on their backs. Huh? No resolution to the dream. No idea why everyone chose that moment to lie down and drink milk. 

If my dream had been a movie, I would have walked out of the theatre. There was just no making sense of it.

Isn’t that just like my life. If my life was a movie, it would get sent back to script writing over and over again. I was looking at my vision board for 2015 and the realization hit me even harder. I had many plans for 2015 that either just didn’t happen or actually the opposite occurred. 

I’m scratching my head at the reality. I was going to run a Half-Ironman in another country last year. Nope. I was gonna get a promotion at work. Nope. I was gonna teach leadership in Spanish. Nope. Instead, the company I was working for went out of business; their biggest client in upheaval. I ran less than I ever have. I didn’t swim once. And my Spanish skills took a nose-dive.

I suspect your 2015 was much the same. Things came up. Some important things didn’t happen. 

So why did I do it again for 2016? Why did I sit down and spend an evening setting intentions, cutting out magazine photos, and building another vision board that I know will not work out as planned? 

It’s simple: Our lives move in the direction of our thoughts. 
It’s about the direction of my heart. The direction of my life. It’s about the other half of things on that 2015 vision board that actually did happen like biking Europe, getting coach certified, falling more deeply in love, and creating other new adventures.   It pointed to what I really wanted more of in this life. It got me dreaming (consciously) about what I truly was committed to. 

Will you join me? Will you do a vision board for 2016?   Read More »

Deciding You Are Loved

Posted Friday, January 15, 2016

It was was the summer of 2001. We were two men taking a break from our spiritual retreat and going for a swim in the lake. 

With all of my fervor, I ran back to my room and got my sad imitation of an iPod and brought it into the lake. I had him listen to the latest song that was messing with my head. The song was called “My Beloved” and it has one simple message—there is nothing for you to do or to earn as a child of god. “You are my beloved,” god says. Over and over again he says it. 

I asked my friend, “What would our lives be like if we actually believed it? Really?”

Two young men baptizing themselves and talking about love. Taking about trusting a force of goodness. Talking about the stuff we all think about but rarely say out loud.

I’m in my mid-40s now and there is one thing I am sure of—I’m not alone with my questions. Men and women are asking the same question in different ways. 

“Am I loved?”
“Am I worthy?”
“Am I enough?”
“Do I have what it takes?”

I say you are. I say you do. 

And it matters. It matters in nearly everything we do. When you can begin to let go of the story that says you must accomplish things in order to be valuable—life changes. Your home life changes. Your work changes. Dare I say that the world changes.

This weekend, I challenge you to choose to believe it. At least for a day. See what occurs. For an even bigger challenge do one of the following (but only if it initially seems impossible):   Read More »

I am a Fraud

Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2015

There was a time, once upon a time when I tried to go an hour without telling a lie. An hour. I couldn’t do it.

I would fail consistently. I wanted people to see me differently or better than I was so I would tell one white lie after another. I justified it with the pressures of work, church, or relationships. Trained in corporate to basically “never let them see you sweat” and certainly to look the part at all times. So, I was a fraud and I was like many men, I was terrified of being found out.

Around the same time, I had committed to register my newly forming coaching business with the county by my October birthday. Problem was, I didn’t have a name. OK. I had heard that starting a business name with the letter “A” was a good strategy because you would generally be listed first in the phone book or yellow pages. I bit. I made a list of all “A” words that could possibly be a business name. The list is very long.

When I saw the word authentic, I was immediately sold. It by no means reflected who I was—but it totally reflected what I wanted more of in the world. It’s no secret that what we rail against in the world (hypocrisy, lack of authenticity) is at the heart of what is going on with ourselves.

At the time, I had no idea how inviting more authenticity into my life would rock my world—over and over again. Truth is, Authentic Development has become just as much a statement about me as it is about my work. It was like the universe saw my business name as a challenge. I imagine a group of spiritual beings looking at me with incredulity, throwing up their hands and saying…”well if that’s what he wants (authenticity), let’s give it to him.”

So the chances to grow my authenticity came like wildfire.   Read More »

Fasting in 2015

Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We were ready.

30 days.

For the purpose of getting to know our God better. For the purpose of feasting on what God wanted to share with us. No food. Only water and vitamins. 

I failed. I made it 4 days. The headaches. The debilitating hunger. The inability to think straight

My partner made it 30 days. I was in awe.

Years later. I sit here still in awe. I can barely go an afternoon without a sweet snack.

Fasting in 2015 is no longer fasting. It's weight loss. It's a way to cleanse your body. It is lemon juice and cayenne pepper. It's about changing our bodies--not about changing our hearts.

At it's core--fasting is about changing your heart. It's noticing the depth of hunger. It's  about noticing what you turn to in order to assuage your sadness about life. What feeds you?

Does your TV feed you? Facebook? Your smart phone? Of course it does. Take a fast. Notice what else feeds you. Notice our desire to control how we are fed.  What would occur if for a weekend you trusted things beyond yourself to feed you? What would you learn?
  Read More »

Now for Something Dramatic: Listening to Nothing

Posted Friday, October 30, 2015

You took the course. You got the T-shirt. Just like me, somewhere along the way, someone taught you how to listen. Active Listening 101, Communication Skills or The Three Levels of Listening. We implemented the skills and voila, it worked. People felt heard. Communication improved.

We missed a step though.

No one taught us how to listen to nothing. How to listen when there are no words. How to listen to what isn’t being said. How to listen to our third, fourth and fiftieth thoughts. How to listen to silence.

Imagine what might be possible here. What could we discover about ourselves if we went 24 hours in silence; if we cut out as much noise as possible and experienced the emptiness of no sound? Imagine what you might notice if you and your family chose to deny yourselves words of any sort for a family meal. Think about a day at the office where you intentionally keep your mouth closed at all times. What would show up for you? What shows up as you even contemplate it?  Read More »

We Don't Give a Hoot About What Philosophers Think

Posted Thursday, October 22, 2015

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have have.” ~Eckhardt Tolle

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble on it’s own.”

“He does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” ~Dalai Lama

“Breathe. Let go. Remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” ~Oprah

In a world clamoring for balance, clamoring for peace, clamoring for love and justice; philosophers for millennia have had our answers. “Live in the present moment.” Like prophets screaming into the darkness—we ignore them and move on with our lives.

I can hear you now, defending yourselves: Ken, it’s one thing to say, “Live in the moment.” but you don’t have my life. You don’t have my responsibilities. It is simply impossible to live in this moment.

I hear you. There is no switch we can turn on in our minds called “mindfulness.” So what do we do?

There’s hope. You want this thing called “living in the moment” but it feels absolutely impossible right now. GOOD.

Remember, we’ve been talking about disciplines. Disciplines are things we can do (they aren’t impossible) that bring us to a point where we can do something that at the present moment we can’t do.

So, I’m going to assume that you are just like me and want the life that living in this moment offers. Peace. Joy. No anxiety. Ability to love. Real life!

So what can we do right now, this week, today?  Read More »

Friendship Matters

Posted Monday, October 19, 2015

The year was 1984. It was the last day of summer before 8th grade began. I had just cried my eyes out for several hours due to my lack of friends. It was time to dust myself off and enter the problem solving phase.

I took a two-pronged approach: Prayer and Hair. I prayed that God would give me a friend and I decided that a slicked back hairdo would win me some friends as well.

The failure was epic on both counts.

I kept at it though and eventually had a close group of friends by the end of my high school years. To this day, I don’t think there is anything more important to my personal and spiritual growth than friendship.

Emerson said, “I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know.”

Friendship matters to me. I’m sure it matters to you.

Cultivating, creating, building, and having friendships can be more powerful than therapy, and more influential than even coaching. I’m not talking about simply having a friend. I’m talking about intentionally creating space for growth with one or more friends. I’m talking about making friendship a DISCIPLINE.  Read More »

When You Can't Do What You Want To Do- Just Yet

Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Me: “You what?”

Buddy: “I signed up to run a marathon in Dublin this fall.”

Me: “Dublin?….IRELAND?” (incredulously)

Buddy: “Yes”

Me: “Well, I’m going with you because there is no way I’m going to let you run a marathon before I do!”

So started my unexpected journey into my first marathon. Up to this point, I had never run more than 6 miles at one time—26.2 was a literal impossibility. On that day.

Fast forward 6 months and my face tells the story. I finished.   Read More »

Tom Brady Knows: You are the Sum of All Your Training

Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tom Brady and Stephen Curry star in hypnotic versions of the same commercial for Under Armour. The message is simple, what happens on game day isn’t magic—it’s work. It’s training.

We keep forgetting. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

In the summer of 2013, a California voice teacher by the name of Sarah Horn bought tickets to the nosebleed section of famous Broadway singer Kristin Chenoweth. Little did she know that with multiple twists of fate, she would end up on stage--nearly upstaging--her childhood idol and having video of the event go viral to the tune of 3 million plus views.

A few months later, she did a TEDx presentation debunking her overnight success. (With 0.01% of the views) As she says, the viral video didn't show the thousands of hours of voice training, the hundreds of hours teaching voice lessons to others, and the dozens of hours spent singing that very song as a part of her passion for Broadway music. Yes, she was lucky to be chosen that night but few if anyone in that audience could have been more ready.

Tom Brady and Stephen Curry know. Sarah Horn knows.

You know.

You are the sum of all your training.  Read More »

Check out our last 6 eNewsletters:

November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)

May 13, 2016-Are You Embracing Your Goo?

April 6, 2016--Micromanagement is Good Management

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