Here’s a wonderful quote a friend sent me yesterday:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
- Henry David Thoreau
I have definitely found this to be true in my life. There is such power in envisioning a hoped-for future and then moving in that direction: the universe does somehow reward a clear intention. Which is not to say that there won’t be bumps along the way, or that it will always be easy. “Advancing confidently in the direction of [one's] dreams” requires focus, self-reflection, honesty, hard work and resilience, among other things. But if you do those things, it seems to create a kind of momentum; you can “live with the license of a higher order of beings.”
Here’s how I experience that license: I feel unconstrained. On a daily basis, I feel able to be happy, loving, productive and inventive. When something happens that upsets me or that presents a challenge or difficulty, I can first feel however I feel about it (sad, frustrated, demoralized, angry) and then move through that feeling, back into joy, hopefulness about finding a solution, and effort toward that solution.
So: endeavor to live the life you have imagined, and circumstances will conspire to support you in fulfilling your intention.
Generous seems to be the word of the day. I just wrote a blog post at forbes.com about it, and I’ve been thinking about the fact that generosity is a core characteristic of all my favorite relationships.
My partner Jeff and I are in the midst of having our year-end review/bonus conversations with all the Proteus employees and consultants, and I’m struck by how much I enjoy both being generous and being the recipient of others’ generosity. I really like being able to give bonuses to our team at the end of the year: it’s great to have the capacity to acknowledge their hard work and thoughtfulness by literally ‘sharing the wealth’ – we give bonuses out of the company’s profits.
And I’m humbled by the generosity of spirit of those who work with me: not only do they consistently give deeply of themselves – their time, focus, and expertise – to serve our clients, they are tremendously generous in their support of Jeff and me and our vision for the company.
Maybe the best thing: I think we all mostly assume positive intent of one another. That is, if one of our colleagues does something that gets in our way, or seems like the wrong thing to have done – we generally assume that there’s been a misunderstanding, or that they’re not seeing their impact on us…rather than assuming that they’re trying to make our life difficult, or that they don’t care.
Generosity of spirit is, I think, the lubricant for teams: it makes everything work much more smoothly.
Just got back from the 2011 Authors’ Pow-wow in Austin, Hosted this year by 800CEOREAD, Cave Henricks Communications/Shelton Interactive and Greenleaf Books. It’s a conference for business book authors (and aspiring authors) that really pulls back the curtain on the process of writing and publishing a book. We had great, fully interactive discussions with traditional and digital publishers, agents, publicists, social media folks, book sales and marketing folks, speakers (who gave great insight into how to be a more effective speaker) – and a powerful key note from Tim Sanders.
It was wonderful from start to finish. I learned so much; met so many lovely, smart, funny, thoughtful, irreverent people; re-connected with a bunch of other people for whom I have great affection and respect; got important practical advice about my new book; had a tremendous amount of fun and some really excellent barbeque.
The only thing I don’t understand is why business authors and aspiring business authors aren’t lining up around the block to attend this conference. If they knew the amount of useful information, practical support and profound inspiration that would pour through them and bear them up over a two-day period…
What can I say; no matter what anyone else does or doesn’t do, I’ll show up every year I can. And if you’re seriously thinking about writing a business book (or have and want to get it published, or have been published and want your next book to be more successful), GO! They hold it every year in December.
Thank you so much, you guys…
You can get a a little bit of a feeling for it on twitter – the hashtag is #powwow11.
I’m convinced that work and business the whole world over are more similar than they are different. It’s grounded in my belief that core human nature is more powerful, for the most part, than culture or demographics. I was recently interviewed for a magazine called the Asia-Pacific Business and Technology Report, about career strategies – and the questions were not much different than those I would have gotten if the interviewer were in Kansas rather than Korea.
In any case, take a look and see what you think…you may see subtle differences I missed. In any case, I love the idea that I might be helping people in Seoul or Beijing have a more successful career.