Gathering Your Experts While You May
We all have people in our center of influence who have knowledge we don’t have which could be called upon as important challenges and decisions come up in our careers. I was suddenly reminded while doing a one-to-one coaching session with someone who is right at the cusp of fame and fortune as a performer, of the potent power of gathering a few people together to just pour out unfiltered ideas. We used to do this regularly at the old Inside Edge leadership support group that Jack Canfield, Louise Hay, and I helped found in Beverly Hills in the mid-1980s. We would gather anywhere from six to 20 people in someone’s living room and focus our attention on the one person who was looking for suggestions on how to move forward.
Some of these were people in the entertainment world, some were famous and non-famous workshop leaders, authors, and speakers, some were starting traditional businesses. I remember one member who had invented a new cracker containing nuts and was looking for ways to get giant supermarkets to display his product when the big food manufacturers used so many coercive methods to keep competitors off the shelves. We had a few millionaire entrepreneurs usually in attendance, and artists, and just creative people with lots of ideas. The concept was to throw out whatever popped into our heads, and it was quite impressive how many times one of these spontaneous ideas proved instrumental in the guest’s success. It reminded me of the subtitle of my early book, FRIENDS, which was The Power And Potential of The Company You Keep. We all can use this kind of supportive interpersonal environment in our lives.
If your career is in that stuck place just before a big breakthrough, you might gather your own brainstorming team of people you know, and see what ideas emerge that you can put into action. I am considering exploring doing this as a follow-up to coaching sessions. I usually keep these consultations limited to two or three sessions, because I strongly feel that should be enough to create momentum in anyone’s life. But a follow-up brainstorming session to take it to the next level might be useful and productive. I’m going to ponder the logistics of this, where my client would gather some people in his or her circle, and I would moderate the brainstorming session. While the ideas should pour forth without restraint, it is useful to have some structure in which they can blossom.
And as is often the case in my individual coaching sessions, those coming up with advice, suggestions, and ideas for this other person will often get just as much value for themselves in the process.
It always amazes me what the human mind can come up with when given a fertile space to play in, and pointed in a specific direction.
Going Back To Learn From Myself
This analogy or metaphor just came up in the past few days for me. I was listening to an almost thirty-year-old series of recordings that I have recently digitalized into mp3 files, my very first cassette tape album, Live Long And Prosper. As has often happened when listening to early prosperity consciousness programs of mine, I was stunned at how timely they were, how well they fit in with much of the new material I discuss on this blog and on my monthly audios, and how new it all sounded to me–as if I were listening to someone else say things I had never heard before. This led me to see this phenomenon as if I had access to a time machine and went back twenty or thirty years and sat at the feet of a prosperity teacher to hear his wisdom on the subject. But the teacher was me, and I found I could actually be inspired by this early Jerry.
The best part about all of this is that what I heard on that original program provided me with some very real ideas and strategies to apply in my current new life here in Panama, and to some ambitious new projects being developed in collaboration with my business partner, super entrepreneur Tony Busse. One of these new projects will be a brand new website, to be launched shortly, that will feature new prosperity programs, as well as access to some early material that hasn’t been available online before. And so I was listening to my early tape program in its new mp3 form, as we will be marketing the 12 segments, originally 12 sides on 6 cassettes, as individual programs and at a special low price. This will be a way to give more people access to the Moneylove concepts.
For me, a bonus to all this was hearing some stuff from “early Jerry” that I can use in my life now. Including some quotes I had quite forgotten that I can now share, a lot of quotes in fact. I particularly like two from the segment titled Decision/Commitment:
Once you make an emotional decision to move forward–to stop waiting–you are well on the way to success.
Commitment and the ability to make a successful decision is quite often taking the time and the energy to ask for what you want.
These two sentences were not only important for “now Jerry” to hear from “early Jerry,” but I was able to share them with a friend facing major challenges. Another important aspect to this time machine experience is how it applies to everyone. You too are capable of traveling back to visit the early you and learn from what you knew then and may have forgotten. While it is true that we grow wiser with age and experience, it is also true that we sometimes forget the wisdom we had when we were in earlier phases of our life, both personal and professional.
I do realize that this is easier for someone like me, who has a written and audio record of some of my early life. But even if this is not true for you, even if you don’t even have any early journals or letters or term papers, you can still go back in a meditational time machine visualization, looking at answering the question, “How would the early me have handled this situation?” or: “How would I have answered the question then that I would like to ask a wise person today?” As I have often done, you may surprise yourself. I do believe we know many more of the answers we are seeking than we realize. As I said in that early quote, taking the time and energy to ask for what you want is important, but the person you may get the best answer from is an early edition of yourself.
Some Things We Could Learn From Silent Cal
Growing up and reading a lot of history, about the only thing I learned about the 30th U.S. President was that he was known for his brevity, and a lot of comedians of his time teased him about it. Calvin Coolidge was known far and wide as “Silent Cal,” and a new biography by Amity Shlaes sees this as a plus rather than a minus, as well as discovering the man had a lot of depth and a huge reservoir of integrity to go with his few words in public. Some of what he did say managed to make a point on subjects that today’s politicians seem to need much more complex language to describe. For instance, think about whether anyone on any side of the current tax discussions ever put it so simply and bluntly as Silent Cal:
Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.
Or this quote that sums up what a lot of self help authors and motivational speakers are trying to convey, but rarely do:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.
I bet Silent Cal would have loved Twitter. We do tend to fill up the space and amount of time we’re allowed. I find myself doing this on my blogs, writing until a page is full. But what if we all followed Silent Cal’s model, and had to condense and organize our thoughts and expression of those thoughts in as few words as possible. I suspect that communication would benefit, and probably more than a few relationships.
Stop Those Sabotaging Statements
I often talk about the key to success in all areas of life is being a person who says what he or she is going to do and then does it. An area I have been consistently improving on in my own life, though I haven’t shared much about it over the years, is not saying what you are not going to do and the reasons why you can’t do it. Calling them “reasons” may be giving them too much of the benefit of the doubt, as they are often excuses or even whining pleas for pity.
There was a time when I went to a group of friends and asked for financial support for a large project I could not afford to fund on my own. The results astonished and enlightened me. Some friends just immediately wrote a check or sent a contribution via Pay Pal. But several came up with long-winded reasons why even sending $40 would be this catastrophic burden on their lives. Everything from a recent illness to repairs needed on their million dollar homes to having spent too much money on a luxury vacation, to having someone owe them a large amount of money they had no idea when they would be collecting. Almost all of the people I approached own their own homes, and a few even teach prosperity and brag in their marketing material about how they are now financially independent.
I had more respect and regard for a few who just said they didn’t want to do it. No excuses, no poor-mouthing, no invitation to throw them a poverty pity party, just a plain “No thanks.” The others obviously haven’t learned about the damage we do ourselves when we recite a whole litany of reasons we can’t do something.
In Moneylove, I talked about the negative impact of saying, “I can’t afford it.” There are, however, many more self-defeating sentences we have to avoid in the quest to become more prosperity conscious. Sentences such as, “I can’t spare a moment.” “I can’t do it until I take care of this problem in my life.” “My dog is sick and I can’t think about taking on something new until he gets better.” “You won’t believe all the expenses I’ve been hit with this month.” “I just don’t have the time or energy to even consider that.” “I still haven’t gotten my strength back after my operation.” “My home is under water and I can’t do a thing until I solve that problem.” “We just moved into a new home and can’t take on anything right now.” And, by the way, I haven’t made these up, they are actual statements I have received in recent months via email from friends. I’m not saying they aren’t describing absolutely true situations, just that the stating of them is a debilitating and self-defeating action. If someone asks you to meet them for lunch, or help them with some creative project, are even contribute some money, a simple “no” will suffice.
I think it’s a natural human inclination to want to explain why we are turning a request down. I certainly have had to bite my tongue a number of times to prevent myself giving a long list of reasons why I can’t do something, when it often is really a case of my not wanting to do it and not wanting to hurt the person’s feelings by being honest about that. But I’ve come to realize that every time I express a limitation on my ability to do something, I plant another negative seed in my subconscious mind. So my new rule for success in life is simply to:
Say what I’m going to do and do it, and say what I’m not going to do without saying I can’t do it.
1500 People Ain’t Peanuts
That’s how many folks took the time and energy to share the quote below with friends and loved ones and colleagues after it was first posted earlier this month on the FB site, Wild Woman Sisterhood.
Like most quotes that achieve popularity, it is rather a simple truth expressed here. It still impresses me that in the era of huge avalanches of quotes and other information coming at us, 1500 people felt this one struck enough of a responding chord within them that they wanted to share it. I have no idea who did the artwork, but he or she deserves a lot of credit for framing the quote in an impactful, visually striking way.
When I say this is going mini-viral, I mean that it is nowhere near as widely distributed as the latest cute cat video, or PSY singing his heart out and flapping his arms off, or any number of Internet sensations of the moment. To me, however, it signifies that I have a lot of kindred spirits out there. If I were to invite five of these folks to dinner each night, it would take ten months to dine with all of them.
I have had larger quantities of people I’ve reached in my life. Moneylove sold two million copies in paperback over twenty-some years, and many of those people passed their copies on to friends as well. When I was writing gags for Bunny Hoest and her Howard Huge cartoons in Parade Magazine, some 80 million people got smiles from my sense of humor on a Sunday. When I was a guest on Oprah’s show when she was just on in Chicago, some 8,000 copies of my book, Men On Women, were sold in local bookstores, and most ran out of copies. So I’ve experienced bursts of this kind of widespread acceptance, and the numbers don’t really matter. When I did my stand-up act at the intimate Purple Onion club in San Francisco, and about a hundred people were laughing out loud, it felt like I had captured the world.
Sometimes it does seem as if everyone everywhere is keeping score. My basic rule of thumb, however, is that if I can have a positive impact on more people than I can squeeze into my bedroom, then I am doing well, going viral, leaving a thumbprint on the world. Pass it on.
A Cultural Advantage in Panama
As someone who studies and teaches about the emotional foundations of success, I have been keeping my eyes and ears open to find some of these consciousness underpinnings that may contribute to the fact that Panama has an economy that is growing at six times the U.S. rate, plus full employment. And I think I found one factor no one else seems to have even noticed.
After hours of listening to Pimsleur audios, I arrived ready to practice my Buenos Dias and Buenas Noches on the natives. However, no one here seems to use that form. Even strangers will greet me with a simple “Bueno,” or “Good,” rather than good morning or good afternoon or good evening or good night. And people here say it a lot. Just sitting in the lobby of my new home at the Marquis Tower high-rise apartments, five beautiful Latina women coming and going said “Bueno” to me in the course of about ten minutes. This has to have an impact at a core level.
I have often ruminated and articulated on the power of words, so think about this. Wouldn’t it be a lot harder to take in all the negative messages being put out by politicians, the media, and even some friends, if you were also getting a lot of “Good” input to overshadow the “Bad?” I certainly feel myself going out into the world with an even more optimistic sense of expectation here in Panama.
Bueno seems to be a universal all-purpose greeting here, much as Shalom is in Israel. I think an equivalent needs to be found in the U.S. Imagine hearing any number of times a day someone say to you something that conveys, “Life is good, you are wonderful, everything is going to be just fine.” Okay, maybe I am giving one simple word too much power. But then, why not?
Bueno, amigos, Jerry
Seeing and Being Seen In New Ways
I like the following paragraph about the fresh eyes concept of using the wisdom of others from the British Institute of Innovation and Improvement:
We instinctively view situations from our own personal perspective. However, looking at things in different ways can help us make new connections and lateral leaps. We often describe
causes,” which they call, “Combinations of yellow potatoes, mashed with lemon and chili peppers, covered with many flavors.” I don’t have a clue as to what most of the many flavors were, and the dish is served cold. At first I was concerned it was some kind of sushi, which I don’t like or eat. But I think it was just various kinds of seafood and vegetables. Each one was very tasty and unique. And because it was served in such an unusual way and such an unknown quantity, I ate it (and shared with my two dinner companions) with the fresh eyes and fresh palate of an explorer into uncharted territory. This made the experience more intense, and more satisfying, and definitely more memorable.
A few of the “combinations” were left, so for lunch today I will do some more exploring and am seriously considering heating it up for that adventure.
You don’t, of course, have to move to a foreign country to use your fresh eyes, but it does take intention and focus, two qualities we all can exercise more on a daily basis. In the past three weeks (time has slowed with so many senses involved, so that it seems more like three months), I have eaten many things that were not identified either before or after being consumed. I usually took pictures in case I ever wanted to order them again. I certainly will look into enjoying more causes.
Developing fresh eyes can be as simple as taking a new route to a place you often walk or drive to, or walking in a section of the library you have yet to visit, or ordering something you’ve never tasted before. We do tend to be imprisoned by our past experiences, good and bad, when making everyday choices like these.
As the British institute says, fresh eyes can come from other people who view what we take for granted in new and different ways. But it is not such a leap or difficult task to create our own new perspective on things, to have our own eyes become the fresh ones.