Align yourself with how you make your living & you’ll find yourself thriving in the New Economy!
Like most kids, I considered what I'd “be” when I grew up.
From a young age, I’ve been attracted to living with purpose. This inspiration was continuously kindled by many cross-cultural sources of wisdom (from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita, and other congruent sources I met with in between).
I resonated with their “common ground” message,
- We get more when we look for MORE
- We get less when we believe there is less
- Giving and receiving are interconnected, as are we
- Be the change you want to see
There are more, of course, but many overlap into a purposeful message:
"Your life matters & you CAN make a difference"
This idea, valued throughout history, resonated with me when I was young, as it does now.
But, as many others have experienced, I struggled finding peace with this “knowing.”
I have always been passionate about life:
As I watched the news and images of war, hunger, and political propaganda over and over; I somehow felt, by age nine, one day I would do ‘something’ to help make it all make more sense.
The atrocities of our time ate at me.
I didn’t talk about it (then).
But when asked what I was going to be when I grew up, I was stumped in trying to decide what role would allow me the BIGGEST opportunity to address the madness.
I didn’t have anyone to share these concerns with; I knew it wouldn’t be taken seriously.
I was just a “normal” kid.
That’s what people wanted me to be, and so that’s what I tried my best to appear—normal.
But on the inside, I didn’t feel “normal” at all.
Or, you could say, I thought I was the only sane person alive.
People seemed disconnected from reality, untouched by the atrocities of our time.
Much like the eras in history we discussed in class, or that I watched on PBS, where entire societies had let “bad stuff” happen on a massive scale—I felt I was living in such a time still, but I was the only one who knew it.
That perspective would soon become a ticking time bomb.
Kids were raised a little differently back then. At least in my family, and from what I saw in families of friends.
It was 1981. You were to behave, first and foremost.
The culture of raising children didn’t encourage them to express themselves openly, like we see today.
The genius we acknowledge in a child’s imagination today was cute and appreciated then; but for making clay pots in art class, or paper Turkeys at Thanksgiving. It wasn’t serious.
My parents had me at a young age, at ages 21 and 23; and while I knew I was loved, I often felt like a burden more than a blessing. This may have contributed to my desire to feel significant; I don’t know.
At the age of nine, it didn’t matter.
One’s view of the world is forming fast then; I was making some strong associations that put me on track for a “rough” ride ahead.
“How could the world be so messed up?”
“Don’t these adults know what they’re doing, at all?”
“Starving families while others lived rich? War? Nuclear Threats? Seriously??”
(… Back then the US was in a cold war with the Soviet Union, and the threat of violence on a massive scale was persistently displayed, much like today with terrorism.)
I started to form an opinion they were crazy—the ones on TV; the politicians; the news reporter who appeared emotionless as she described images of death and destruction only to suddenly switch with a cheerful smile to tomorrow’s sunny weather report; the people at church who judged others after we just read a passage it was God’s job; even the adults closest to me who I loved deeply, I thought, were nuts.
I wouldn’t have described it this way then—I didn’t try to describe it at all.
But this sums up my worldview at the time.
I didn’t understand how the adults, who were supposed to know the answers, could allow so much pain, suffering, war, hunger; and just go about their day as if nothing was wrong—doing the dishes; watching a football game; arguing about nonsense; getting excited when someone won on the Wheel of Fortune?
Of course, it wasn’t people didn’t care; they simply felt powerless.
But I didn’t understand that chronic condition then.
I hadn’t caught it yet.
I loved my family and friends; and I loved people.
I wasn’t angry (yet), not at all.
I just thought something was terribly off.
I was trying to understand.
I was trying to make sense out of it.
I took comfort in knowing that one day I’d contribute to making the world a better place.
I would have to — I was sure I’d figure it out.
But then something changed…
I started doubting.
I remember a period where a shift took place; instead of being comforted in knowing I would one day make a difference, it began to feel scary.
I must have started growing up (catching that condition).
I recall a specific evening; an acute turning point.
I was 11.
I was staring in the mirror, preparing to take a shower on an otherwise ordinary evening; reflecting on who I was and why I was here; what exactly was I supposed to do to make the world a better place?
I remember the scene as if it was yesterday:
I felt unexpectedly and overwhelmingly anxious.
Would I run for President someday?
It didn’t seem the President had much influence, to me.
“They even bad-mouthed him on TV,” I thought. “He wasn’t making much headway at all.”
I mean, “We’ve had lots of great Presidents,” I remember thinking. “That’s not the job to get things done.”
I reflected about all the different roles I had seen people play on TV; people who seemed to have more influence and respect than most.
Famous actors, talk show hosts, athletes…
But I was looking for a role where I could make a REAL difference—those “jobs” wouldn’t cut it.
Before this day, I had received the biggest dose of inspiration from the compelling life stories of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and other recent figures in history who stood up for something; who led others to stand up.
I probably considered these people most because it was recent history—something I could relate to. They were human.
I recall how bewildering it was, though, and more proof the world was nuts, knowing that so many of the great ones were murdered for being great.
I was impressed by their fearlessness and courage.
I admired their passion.
I loved that they cared so much, and spoke openly about what needed changing.
They inspired others to talk about it, and to do something about it!
They really changed the world.
I recall thinking about these great leaders that evening again, as I was getting out of the shower.
But something in me changed right then.
As I tried to sort out in my mind a practical way that I would change the world, I recognized in that moment, I probably couldn’t.
It wasn’t reasonable.
And that’s when it sunk in real definitely, and suddenly:
I won’t be able to do anything remotely close to making a difference.
“Those few great ones…” I concluded, “They had real talents and gifts to lead people… I don’t. If I did, surely someone would have told me.”
Suddenly, I felt lost, helpless—an emptiness.
Before I was dressed and out the bathroom door, I was no one special and would remain that way, in my mind, for many years.
I don’t recall the years between age 12 and 15 very well. I know I had stopped thinking I would change the world.
If I could sum up my experience during this time, it would be “dazed and confused.” And I’m not talking about smoking pot. That came later.
This is the period when my self-esteem declined, though I’m not sure anyone noticed. I would still get caught up in plenty of happy moments. I was competitive and loved sports. I kept busy, did well in school, had friends; it all seemed “normal.” But I recall feeling lost.
Then another shift, gradual but definite:
Between age 15 and 17, anger set in.
Looking back, it was probably a response to my lack of feeling significant—my sense that I would be like everyone else and just accept the problems in the world.
I don’t think it was noticeable to others that I was beginning to feel anger and resentment toward my and others’ apathy; I seemed to be having the time of my life… not a care in the world. It was a time of rebellion.
The world was crap; I was crap; let’s party!
I partied hard.
Somewhere around age 17, after the buzz wore off, I started to develop a deep, dark cynicism toward everything; and a condescending attitude toward people in general who didn’t express empathy, or deep thinking.
There was a gradual digression that started at age 17 that led to depression.
By 20, I somehow had survived a very dark period of reckless disregard for my life.
By this time I had already dropped out of college to join the army during the first Iraq war with no intention to shoot anyone, but rather, to get shot.
That stint only lasted 8 weeks.
I ended up “refusing to train” (of course) at boot camp on the argument they violated my contract.
If you’ve ever seen the movie, “Full Metal Jacket,” my experience in boot camp was parallel.
To give just one example, Drill Sgt. Crumpler, standing 6’ 6” and built like an ox (and yes, that was really his name) carried a bat, and though he never swung it at me, he swung it at others regularly.
The last straw was when he made us puke (literally working us until each person vomited) through a rotation of force-drinking water and extreme exercise after letting us know we could eat dessert, and then pretending afterward he had never made the promise. We were being punished.
He loved his job very much.
I got court-martialed for “refusing to train” and was promised I’d spend a few years at Fort Leavenworth, a Federal prison where you don’t want to be.
I was 18.
I received some special additional threats from a few of the drill sergeants making it vividly clear that their “friends” on the inside of the prison would make it particularly difficult for me. They graphically explained how, but I won’t here.
Fortunately, I was able to prove to the judge that my contract was violated (this is nothing short of a miracle—you don’t get an attorney in the Army—I had to defend myself); I slipped out safe and sound, but a lot more cynical from the experience.
I was attracting more proof of what I thought about the world at the time.
I thought it sucked and so I kept getting proof of it.
Of course, my outlook created this reality, but I had no idea of that then.
As soon as I got back home, I jumped on a plane to work on an Alaskan crab processing boat because I heard it was one of the most dangerous jobs you could get.
These are a couple of the mellow examples of my experiences between 18 and 20. I’ll save the more movie-like episodes for the book, “Grounded Spiritual Guide To Online Success,” as a cliffhanger.
By the time I reached age 20, I hadn’t yet read one inspiring book that wasn’t ancient (that gave specifics on how to create a healthy, modern life, AND contribute in alignment with one’s own goals and values)—it wasn’t until several years later I would find authors who would help me immensely.
At age 20, I didn’t have “living” inspiring influences I could relate to, at all (yet).
I did have people who loved me. But I shut them out because they didn’t understand my perspective and THAT bugged the heck out of me.
To say I was lost is an understatement.
I didn’t know there were communities out there who participated in the “economy” to make a real difference, and who actually did. I interpreted the “system” of banks, jobs and business as a farce—a pyramid scam with no positive purpose.
I predicted economic collapse.
I reminded people about the chemical additives in their food.
I asked if they felt sorry for the animal they just ate—steak—while I ate one too.
I just wanted to be annoying because I was annoyed that no one seemed to give a real damn.
When I looked at joining non-profit organizations, they didn’t appear to be making any dramatic impact.
“Just good marketing,” I thought.
Of course, my entire outlook was “not” solutions-oriented.
I wasn’t looking for the positive in society, so I couldn’t find it.
There was no Internet yet.
I believe the Internet would have made my life much easier—I would have found people who shared my concerns, and were doing something productive about it; and that would have helped immensely.
Somehow, after playing with death on a few occasions, I made it through and finally back to college at U of O just before turning 20.
Things started out OK, at first.
I was getting back on track.
I had a job, and was getting through Journalism school.
Maybe I could be a freelance writer; travel the world; report on the stories that needed to be told. It seemed like a good plan.
But as I moved forward, closer to graduation, once again, I started to panic.
“I don’t want to part of this corrupt system.”
I started to smoke pot to escape—not just daily; but morning, noon and night; and in-between.
I changed my courses from business and journalism to poetry and art—looking for an outlet. It bought me time but by my senior year I left college with one simple plan:
Move to an island somewhere, forever, as far away from what I perceived to be the “piggish, selfish, materialistic wreck we called modern living.”
I gathered up as much credit as I could (it was easy back then) and planned a one-way ticket to paradise. Caribbean maybe. Perhaps Costa Rica. I didn’t respect the banking system so I had no qualms about taking their money. They’ll just print more (I had a funny idea about how the super rich just hang out in a smoke-filled back room pulling strings). “They weren’t going to be my puppet master,” I thought.
I considered moving to any location where I could live with as few materialistic possessions as possible.
But, somehow the resources ran out before I made the “escape.”
In hindsight I don’t think I was ready to leave my family—my mom and dad; my sisters and brother; my grandparents.
Within a year, I found myself in poverty—living in a one-bedroom studio with cockroaches. That was hard for me. I don’t like cockroaches.
Realizing I was powerless, and yet, still a part of the capitalistic system (I was using electricity, buying food; I still “needed” money), I saw that I was not escaping anything.
I just had zero influence.
And that’s when it hit me.
Even if I moved to some far away island, I’d still likely be plugged into the “monetary system” in some way or another; and a contributor to supporting its values.
“If I’m going to live,” I pondered, “And I’m going to be forced to participate in this system, why don’t I become as influential as I possibly can and make a difference?”
I was 24.
I had a lot of confidence that I could do it—naively so, at the time.
I decided I’d get wealthy and accumulate tremendous influence and through media I’d shake culture into waking up.
I’d teach values for sustainability.
Bring awareness to our role in modern-day atrocities; and to the impact of our actions, purchases, and interconnectedness.
Today, these are common themes. Back then it was underground thinking.
In a sense, for the first time since I was 10, I was taking responsibility.
It was just without any understanding of what changes in myself I would have to make.
My general attitude about people had to change.
My attitude about the world would have to change.
I would have to change.
And my understanding of money, contribution, myself—would all dramatically shift before I could ever actually make a BIG difference.
And so the journey began.
Early in the process I found some help.
Books on leadership by John Maxwell, and the famous business philosophy book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, changed my thinking and my life. Jim Rohn made a great contribution; and of course there were many more.
My paradigm shifted about how money can become a tool for good, not just a symbol for corruption and greed.
I learned how to take responsibility, not just for the outcomes in my life, but for my belief system.
I was on my way, somewhat desperate but inspired.
I didn’t know the Internet yet; it was 1996.
So my options were limited compared to what they are today.
Being desperate and inspired, I found network marketing–and a company with a product that seemed significant to me.
The company was only a few months old, and would go on to become a billion-dollar NASDAQ publicly traded company within the next 6 years.
The company’s product-line seemed to have purpose behind it, beyond just sales and money. I felt this project was aligned with my core values.
But I didn’t realize that the “idea” behind something might make it appear aligned with your values; but HOW you actually go about doing your work is just as important.
I hadn’t learned that yet.
Network marketing is a culture that usually discourages creating unique value of your own. The goal is to be and create as many drones as possible.
Follow a process that allows you to present to as many people as possible, either the products or business opportunity, and “close” as many as you can. Sign up as many as you can; teach others to do the same. Keep it simple.
The culture of this did not align with who I was. We’d talk of purpose and mission and serving others, and yet, the driving force was clearly “chasing money.”
I tried to create my own culture; and it was a success, to a degree. I did make a good living in my 20′s in network marketing.
I ended up creating many “systems” — It made it easier to recruit people into one’s organization; and I sold it to others so they could build their network marketing businesses more easily too. I eventually ended up building such systems online.
But I wasn’t in full alignment with my core values through any of this process; I was merely chasing money, like so many people we see online today.
I didn’t realize it back then, because I was aiming to provide value and service; but none-the-less, my mindset was chasing money, first and foremost.
I believe today it’s empowering to attract money for a purpose, but chasing it is costly on many levels. I didn’t know I was desperate at the time. I didn’t realize I didn’t have to be desperate at the time.
I believed in the vision of the company I was with, and the products; but having my aim be to “sign up as many people as I could” or get my team to “sign up as many people as they could” did not align with who I was and my purpose on planet earth.
Many think, as I did then:
“This will be the vehicle to help me make money so I can then do what I’m really here to do. I don’t have the luxury to think about anything else.”
That philosophy is a trap.
It was harder to make my first million than I thought it would be.
It was 2001.
It was even harder to keep it once I made it, that first time.
Before then I thought when you made “big money” things got easier. They don’t, when you’re not fully aligned.
Sure, many of my old problems went away when I started making what’s considered “big money;” I got a better car, moved my family into a house rather than an apartment, etc.
But new problems appear when you make a lot of money; when you’re chasing it, rather than aligned with the process of attracting it (enjoying what you do).
Those new problems ask much more from you to overcome than the old ones did.
After losing much of what I made, and after a lot of trouble and work, I reflected.
I learned how to align my core values, life experiences, interests, and goals with the “process of making money.”
It has become about, “making a living,” for me… not just making money (that’s a small part of it).
I learned how to identify real needs in the marketplace that I, authentically, could fill.
It was MUCH easier making my second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh million–though I continue to invest much of it back into a vision and plan much like what I thought about at age 9–to make a difference.
I can attribute “Coaching” to my biggest gains, more than anything else I did to create change in my life.
I hired two coaches in 2005 and learned the skill of life coaching (to coach myself and others; to learn how to truly “listen” and connect with people, and to myself).
After my first six months with those two coaches I was clear on what my core values were; I was mindful of how to apply what I had learned in books to my own life; so I could attract the outcomes I sought effortlessly.
Soon I had a plan to change the world, once again, with what I learned.
But it would take time. I started teaching people how to align themselves with how they made their money.
I also started building Coaching Cognition with my friend and business partner Barbara Silva; a project that would take years, collaborations with hundreds of people, and hundreds of thousands of dollars before completing.
The goal is now to pass onto others the value I have received from this journey; and to demonstrate that their journey in life is also valuable.
As I write this now, I look out my office window. I have a panoramic view of this beautiful city I grew up in, Portland, OR.
In front of me, off in the far distance is the general suburb area where I was raised. Behind it, Mt. Hood, a symbol of our city.
To the left is Mt. St. Helen’s—the volcano we watched blow up in 1980, just before this story began.
I see the tall buildings around me, with their tiny windows representing the offices where thousands of people work; and the beautiful Willamette river just below.
And the cars on the freeway on I-5, across the river; and I-405, the bridge on my side.
As I take in the view I see something beautiful now. An economy. Something I once despised.
People are doing their best with what they know, to make the world a better place.
I reflect now on the biggest lesson I got from Think and Grow Rich, that little book that helped change my perspective so profoundly.
“In every adversity there is a seed for an equal or greater benefit.”
As I consider all the people touched by my decision to contribute rather than complain, I’m moved beyond measure by the potential I know is inside each and every one of you.
Everyone has value, and it can be expanded when you get in touch with your true self.
Everyone has a story to tell.
Everyone has life lessons to share.
Everyone has skills that can be repackaged to make a greater contribution; to make more money; but more importantly, to connect yourself with the world more closely.
The value within each of us, which we can share with the world, is unique to each of us.
In my journey in business, which started 15 years ago, I learned:
You don’t have to try to change the world in order to change it…
Just focus on aligning your core values, life experiences, and true interests with how you make your money; and then your life, and our world, will change dramatically, for the better.
Learn about The School of Online Business & Coaching Cognition free courses I’m offering to help you Discover & Expand your Passion-filled Career…
using the Internet on Purpose!
The free 101 Course Book and classes will be assisting you in aligning their life experiences, core values and goals with the “new” Internet economy so you can truly give and love every bit of it.
P.S. See the comments below. We would enjoy hearing from you, too!
P.P.S Be sure to review the Free classes I’m holding May 17th-June 14th.