A leader does not have to be perfect but has to know how to motivate employees

leadership

What is important in the entrepreneurship of the 21st century, and how to hire employees who will build a global company with you? These and other key questions for all of those who intend to start a business, or have already done so, were discussed by Russel Dalgeish from Scotland and Michael Anderson from California, based on their experience, and within the Leadership tour organized by the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation.

A lecture about the new age of leadership was held yesterday in Westin hotel in Zagreb, where Russel Dalgeish from Scotland and Michael Anderson from California shared their experiences from the modern business world. After Zagreb, where they had the audience of some 40 interested young and older (potential) entrepreneurs, Russel and Michael will visit Ljubljana, Rijeka, and Belgrade these following days, as a part of the Leadership tour.

Let’s see what was discussed in Zagreb.

There has never been a better time for entrepreneurship

Russel is a serial entrepreneur, investor, innovator and business advisor, and in his presentation, he highlighted that there has never been a better time for starting the business than today. Modern technologies, namely, enable cheap travel and free communication with anyone in the world, which makes expansion of business strategy and global success of any company in any country significantly easier.

In entrepreneurship of the 21st century the most important thing is to use the opportunities offered, and in that sense, first and foremost, are of importance social networks so that the offer can be communicated to the users, Russel thinks. He takes Twitter as an example since he considers it a great platform for sharing experiences and thoughts, such as what we think will happen in the world, which is pretty important for the leaders in Great Britain, as well as Croatia. Also, the key thing is to research competition and decide what will your advantages on the market be. Croatian companies have equal opportunities in all of that as British or American ones, Russel emphasizes. But, what is it then that prevents us from trying to make our dreams come true, no matter where we are? The answer is, he says, in our head.

Recognize your fears and ignore them

Both Russel and Michael agree that the biggest resistance we get is our own, because of the fear of something new.

“We are all a bit afraid of change. That is a normal reaction to something new.”

However, in order to be innovative, you have to take a risk, emphasizes Michael, the founder of The Executive Joy Institute.

“Courage does not mean that I am not afraid, but that I am afraid, and will do it anyway.”

In Croatia, a lot of people think that the biggest problem in starting your own business is bureaucracy, but Russel emphasizes that one could use that as an advantage as well if most don’t dare because of the bureaucracy, that means you will have less competition. Still, what is missing in Croatia in comparison to the USA are support mechanisms, Michael notes. In the USA people do not celebrate failure, but they celebrate an attempt, and if you do not succeed the first time, others will encourage you to try again. Here, unfortunately, that is not the case, and for this reason, it is necessary to work on community development, that will serve as support to innovation.

Employee engagement in Croatia below average

Michael also emphasized that there are some myths about leadership that often discourage individuals. For example, many think that one cannot learn to be a leader or that a leader has to have certain competencies and know answers to all the questions. However, that is not true. Anybody can be a leader, says Californian entrepreneur, but one needs to work on their skills, one cannot be simply born with them. Still, that does not mean that a leader has to be perfect since no one can know all the answers. Michael admits that he himself was not a good leader when he was getting started as an entrepreneur, but he invested a lot in his further education after which his company was ever more successful and in the end, has been declared the best place to work in San Diego.

One of the most important things that he learned is that a leader can be recognized in the engagement of his/hers employees. Namely, engaged employees are the ones who believe in the purpose of the company and for this reason, they put in more effort. According to a Gallop poll, employee engagement in Croatia is only 3%, while the world average is 14%, Michael emphasized. A leader needs to know how to use the potential of the employees and gain their trust. And in order to gain trust, a leader has to be authentic. That means that a leader cannot hide business information from employees or ask them to do something that the leader does not honor himself/herself. For example, if the employees are not permitted to be late, then the leader should not be late either. Also, everyone should find their own style, and not copy others.

Everybody holds their destiny in their own hands

Russel and Michael offered the participants a handful of truly useful information and told them to work on their emotional intelligence as well as to network with others because working together we all have a better chance at success.

The thought that we decide ourselves what we would like to do serves as the main conclusion of this lecture. What kind of a leader we will be and how much we will risk depends on ourselves, and the only thing necessary for that is- to dare.

As originally published in Netokracija, http://www.netokracija.com/leadership-tour-zagreb-124891 on 4th October 2016.

 

 

Exploring Forward-Thinking Workplaces™ with Michael Anderson

Welcome to our interview with Michael Anderson. Michael is an Educator, Speaker, Author, Expert, and his new book Soul-Centered Leadership is a guide for conscious business people who are ready to lead and create through and with their higher power.

Welcome Michael, and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of Container13.

How can we create workplaces where more voices matter, people thrive & find meaning, and change & innovation happen naturally?

Let’s look at the workplace and figure out why that’s not happening because I think when we are at our most centered self—emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthiest—those things do happen.

I studied spiritual psychology, and what we do when we find things aren’t working the way we want it to, we look into the reason why and take that out. I think our nature is to be like that. To me,  evolution is getting rid all the things in the way of our most conscious and our being the healthiest we can be.

What does it take to get an employee’s full attention and best performance?

I teach leadership and I don’t think we can get an engaged performing employee unless we as leaders show up like that as well. I’ll give you a real life example. I was facilitating a strategic retreat with a CEO’s executive team. During the first hour of the retreat, they shared their company information and values with me. One of their values was Tight. I asked the CEO, “What do you mean by Tight?” He said, “That means everybody shows up engaged, proactive, on-time, everybody’s got their work ready. So we’re Tight. We run a Tight organization.”

I said, “Oh really, are you Tight?” He said, “Heck yeah I’m Tight.” I said, “Are you really? You blew off two conference calls with me and the latest one you were late to arrive. Is that true, are you Tight? He gasped, “Ah no, but I want everybody else to be!”

If you’re asking people to do things that you’re not showing up and doing, I don’t think you can ever have engaged employees and workforce. We talk about leading by example and we also talk about how low engagement is the workplace. Worldwide it’s 13% and 32% in the US. The way you get engagement is to show up the way you want your employees to show up. That doesn’t mean you have to go down to the warehouse and ship boxes. Your people want you to be the leader and be honest and transparent with them.

For example, I caught myself when I was a boss when we did quarterly reviews with our employees. We had a habit when things came up with customers of putting off reviews for sometimes one, two, three or more weeks. I didn’t realize it, but the employees put so much weight and faith into the reviews because this is when they really get to connect and get specific feedback from their boss and management. This was really important to them. I was really showing them that they’re not a priority in my life and I’m taking them for granted. So that’s one of the things I changed about my behaviors. So if I’m an employee and my boss keeps changing my review, and he doesn’t even have enough time to sit down with me and go through how I can do better, then how am I going to be engaged.

What do people really lack and long for at work?

I like the book Drive by Daniel Pink. Pink breaks it down into the idea that people want three things; purpose, master, and autonomy. Purpose is the ability to make a difference, so it’s up to us as leaders to give them that facility to make a difference.

With autonomy, they want to be able to work on their own without someone micro-managing them. Mastery comes through things like training and mentoring, so they are getting the tools to do their job well. Again, it’s our job to make sure we give them all these pieces.

They want to see a direct loop between what they do personally and how it affects their customers or society or community at large. A leader in a transformational workplace gives people that. It’s one of these things that’s sometimes hard to measure in terms of the productivity or heart people put into it. You oftentimes have to look past the quantitative numbers to get these concepts that the things that truly make the difference in organizations.

What is the most important question management should be asking employees?

It’s a simple a question as, “What can we do better?,” but you have to truly listen to the response. It’s a simple question but oftentimes people go into it and think they know the answer, so they don’t really listen to it. Or they don’t create a safe container for people to give honest and open feedback.

The people closest to the customer are oftentimes the least paid or least listened to, yet they are often the people who have the true answers. A lot of times, the solutions they have can be as simple as switching around a simple process, but they cost nothing and can have great effect.

I also found that sometimes someone has an idea but for whatever reasons—financial, structural, or political reasons—you can’t do that. Even if you say you know what, I like that idea and we can’t do that at this time and here’s why, at least they feel heard. You don’t have to take all the advice if you truly do listen. It shows a tremendous amount of respect. When people are respected, they’re going to have loyalty and stay engaged.

What’s the most important question employees should be asking management?

My response isn’t a question, but I like the dialogue of “here is how I like to be managed. What do you want from me as your subordinate?”

As a follower, I respect hierarchy because I want to know what I’m here for and what I’m doing. If I’m there for us to get a job done, then lead me! When I have a boss or someone I report to, I want to know how I can show up and be the best employee I can for him. I want him to know how I like to be managed and led.

For example, I’ve worked with some programmers who if they never had a face to face conversation they’d be so happy because they’re just uncomfortable in that. I want to respect that. I have other people who crave the face-to-face conversations; if you send them a text message they’re like, “Oh my God, why can’t we…”.

Everybody’s different, it’s not for me to judge them. It’s up to me to find how they best respond to things and adjust myself to them. It’s a two-way street. It depends on how much you have to scale. Sometimes there’s a lot of things to that. If we just ask these simple questions, then sometimes those are the true questions that are wrapped up in a lot of other questions, but it can really get to the heart of the issue quickly.

What is the most important question we can ask ourselves?

That’s a great question. Give me a moment to really feel into it. I’d say, “What’s truly going on with myself right now?”

If I am in a situation where there’s some anxiety, uncomfortableness, discontent, etc. around it, then it’s really a time to go inside and ask ourselves what’s going on within us. When we don’t do this, we often project our fears or uncertainties on to somebody us. We can become very reactive. We don’t take ownership for how we show up. If and when we can really just be quiet and go inside, then we can get true answers and discover our true issue. Then we can change our conversation with whoever else is involved and really make a lot of changes quickly.

How does your new book Soul-Centered Leadership relate to our conversation here today?

I’d encourage all leaders to embrace their humanness. Being a leader, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business leader or if you get promoted, by definition all of a sudden you probably have more responsibility than you’ve had in your life before.

When we’re discussing forward-thinking workplaces and leadership specifically, that means there’s a lot of uncertainty and with that comes a lot of fear because we’re stepping into new places. I could make a great case that leadership is the number one thing that’s going to determine the success of a company, yet it’s often the least trained.

Many times I’ve seen people get promoted and the person who has promoted them says, “We’ll go out for lunch next week and but come to me if you have any problems.” Then they end up canceling the lunch and all of a sudden this person is scared to go to them when things come up.

I want to encourage all organizations if they want to be forward-thinking to really nurture their leaders because if you have a high-performing star and you put them in a leader role and it doesn’t go well, all of a sudden they’re not this superstar anymore.Their confidence goes down then they sour on the whole company and leave. The last thing you want to do is take a superstar and basically help them leave the company. That’s absolutely the worst thing you can ever do for an organization. You want to make sure you give them all the tools to succeed, which takes time and energy.

As originally published in http://container13.com/lets-figure-thats-not-happening/ .

A real leader takes responsibility for both success and failures

Michael Anderson is the founder of the Executive Joy Institute, a company specialized in teaching and educating organizations, leaders, and individuals, with the goal of increasing their levels of success by acquiring knowledge in psychology and emotional intelligence. He has taught leaders around the world, from Panama to the Philippines to Australia and Mexico, and he has worked with numerous corporations, including Microsoft, SAP, Stanford University, Vistage…

During his career he founded three international software companies, he is a contributor at Entrepreneur.com, and his book „The Experiment“ has become a bestseller on Amazon in the area of business consulting about leadership and creativity. He has been chosen as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year in San Diego in 2013. As a part of his project Leadership Tour, Anderson will give a lecture in Zagreb on October 3, and in Rijeka on October 5. When asked about the qualities a leader should possess nowadays, he lists authenticity before all else. „Simply said, a leader has to be himself. When you behave in a way that is not natural to you, you lose a part of your personality. Another quality a leader has to have is the ability, to tell the truth. Namely, when everything is right and a team/company/corporation achieves desired results, it is easy, to be honest. But, when there are challenging times in a team, or when changes happen in the company, or on the market, one should be strong enough and tell the truth. A leader takes responsibility for both success and failures. Team members will know how to appreciate his effort and engagement during hard times, which will definitely bring better results and atmosphere in the long term“, says Anderson.

He adds that a real leader has to have a vision, he/she has to know in which direction he/she is leading his/hers team or a company. The vision, warns Anderson, can be blurry at times, but a real leader will find a way to flesh it out when it is most needed. „Leadership is nothing more than taking responsibility with the goal of directing risk. A leader who can do this process better will have better quality results in the end. In order to succeed in that, one needs to have self-confidence and courage“, says Anderson, noting that being a leader is extremely demanding. When the leader sees that the ship is heading in the direction that was not planned, the leader should take all the steps possible to take it back to the right direction. Sometimes that requires a certain dose of courage, he says, since one should know when and in which moment to make what type of decision. „Besides courage, the ability to motivate others and oneself is also important, which is an ability that will lead the entire team when that is most necessary. In the end, I would list influence as one of the characteristics a leader has to have. Experience, knowledge, and skills that leader possesses have to be developed enough so that each team member feels open enough to approach the leader at any moment with the goal of getting information and knowledge that he/she needs“, he says.

He remarks that leadership can be learned, and trained. It is rare for a good quality leader to just be born as such, that requires time and work on oneself. „I remember my beginnings. I was not successful in leading people because I thought I knew everything. That arrogance had its source in insecurity. In fact, I was afraid that I do not know everything, which created a feeling of insecurity. Some of the bad leadership characteristics, such as micromanagement, lack of communication inside the team, treating people as less worthy, have in a lot of examples their source in insecurity in one’s own knowledge and competencies. This is why at my workshops I teach people how to increase one’s self-confidence“, explains Anderson. Another quality that makes a good leader is the communication ability or the approach in which the focus is placed on another person, their needs, and desires. When you put the process in such a way in your organization, every person will feel comfortable, which contributes to a greater feeling of belonging to the organization, says this expert.

„In order to get to this level, I read a lot of books, listened to various speakers, found mentors from whom I could learn, and surrounded myself with people who think and act similar to me. This way proved very successful, so I still apply it“, says Anderson. Leadership has, he says, advanced in the past 10 years, and that’s the way it will, he predicts, be in the future. Previous examples of bad leadership have their source in the so-called top-down approach in which the leader does not pay enough attention to the communication with the people he leads, and does not give them enough incentives to do a good job. That way, an employee or a team member thinks of a job just as something they have to do routinely in order to get their salary or be done with the job as soon as possible.

„Nowadays we are exposed to the rapid technology advancement, and we can see that millennials do not want to simply take orders from their leaders. They want to grow personally and professionally by having a leader who knows how to convey the vision, mission, and strategy. That way, energy, optimism, and passion young people feel can be used in the best way possible, where both sides advance and create value for each other“, says Anderson. In order, however, for the leader to be satisfied with their job, they have to create a favorable atmosphere and environment around them. The issue for many leaders is exactly that they don’t have such an environment, but Anderson remarks that often they are to blame for that. When such situation happens, the leader is not a leader anymore, but a manager who works only to get his/her salary.

“On the other hand, in order for the leader to be satisfied with their team, in my personal experience, they have to be very specific and concrete in their approach to the team members. That way the people who get approached can understand better what is being asked of them. Also, my experience so far has  taught me to pick my team people who are very independent, which means they will take the initiative when that is necessary and show they want to put in extra effort if that is needed in order to get the result. Those people have the ability to give honest feedback and opinions in which they will tell their true experience and impression of an idea or a suggestion I give without holding back“, Anderson concludes.

First-hand advice

„Give people freedom“

“Experience has taught me that you need to provide freedom to the people you lead so they can show their true face and character, which will give them the opportunity to develop into the people they want to be. Giving positive feedback represents an important item in the entire process because it gives the person a feeling of importance, satisfaction, and pride when they do good quality work. Everybody wants to do a good job, and in order for a person to do that, a leader must create such an environment that will motivate the person to give their best. The most important thing is to show the person that you care. When you are building the relationship with the people you lead, tell them that you want to know where they want to be personally and professionally in a certain period of time. Show them the desire to help them on that road with your knowledge and experience. By asking the right questions, you can direct a person and help them develop much faster with your help“, recommends Michael Anderson.

As originally published in Croatian business portal Poslovni dnevnik (http://www.poslovni.hr/after5/pravi-lider-preuzima-odgovornost-za-uspjehe-ali-i-promasaje-318424) on 27th, September 2016.

From California to Croatia: Why I’m in the Balkans

Have you ever made a big, bold move in order to surround yourself with possibilities?

That’s what I’ve just done. Six months ago, living in San Diego, I knew I needed a change. So I decided to go big; I sold all of my belongings and went travelling. Along the way I stopped by Zagreb, Croatia, and what I found there blew me away. This country, and the whole Balkan region, has amazing possibilities.

It all started when I stumbled onto the Leap Summit and saw how engaged and motivated the 1200 attendees of this entrepreneurial community were. My sentiment was validated at the 2000 person Spark.me Conference in Montenegro a few weeks later.

At that point I decided to invest myself into the region; on September 1st, I moved to Zagreb for three months. I witnessed the enormous amounts of creativity and energy the younger generation here is excitedly putting into bolstering the struggling economies of their homeland, where unemployment, especially among the youth, is very high.

The reasons that I am so high on the Balkans include:

  • Language Skills – It seems all of the millennials here have a good grasp of English, with many approaching fluency. Italian, German, French, and Russian are also spoken here.
  • Engineering & Technology Focus – Universities are pumping out engineers of all types; computer, mechanical, even robotic. That sure beats a bunch of art history and philosophy graduates.
  • Innovative Mindset – Years of communism, and then a difficult shift to a free-market economy taught people resilience, as well as a “figure-it-out-with-what-you-have” mentality.
  • Decent Infrastructure – While I can’t say that internet competes with my old Southern California home, it is quite reliable and fast enough. Outside of some graffiti, the cities are very clean and orderly with great public transportation.
  • People – Once you crack the local’s rough exterior, you will find remarkably warm, friendly, and caring people who aren’t afraid of hard work.
  • Geography – Most of the Balkan countries find themselves either bordering, or in between Western countries with large economies, giving the benefits of commerce, tourism, and knowledge. And the cities are remarkably safe, with rich history and attractions everywhere.

There are drawbacks, including stagnant mindsets, lack of access to capital, and governmental regulations that make me really appreciate what we have in the USA. (Seriously, American entrepreneur friends, we have it so easy compared to other countries. The grass *isn’t* greener anywhere else.)

With my background in leadership and international business management, I believe I may just be able to give organizations and business leaders over here strategies and tactics from the West that might give them what they need to reach their next level and bolster the whole region.

In fact, I’ve teamed up with Russell Dalgleish, who is one of UK’s top 10 entrepreneurs, and Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation, to give a Masters Class on Western Leadership and Business Management Practices in Zagreb, Ljubljana, Rijeka, and Belgrade on October 3rd to 6th. We have more information here: www.leadershiptour.eu

We’re going to teach some of what we’ve learned about scaling companies, developing leadership, fostering innovation and reaching a global market. We are doing this just to give back – we aren’t even getting compensated, outside of a few meals, travel expenses, and hopefully a lot of applause.

If you’re in one of those cities, do your part; spread the word. SHARE this post. COMMENT below on what you would like to see in the Master Class. And, as always, fearlessly LEAD – because Balkan friends, that’s what your countries need most from you.

As originally published in LinkedIn post From California to Croatia: Why I’m in the Balkans, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/from-california-croatia-why-im-balkans-r-michael-anderson on September 15, 2016. 

 

[Trip#3] What the Psychic Told Me

Buckle your seatbelts for this one friends.

Since my trip is about self-discovery, I am looking for every opportunity to learn and grow.

So I volunteered to be “read” by the Psychic Katy Bray on herpodcast. I suggest to listening here first (my interview starts at 5:30 in), though if you don’t have time, you can read ahead and I can tell you what I learned.

Here are my three lessons:

Perspective is Everything

Katy started out by telling me that the reason I have never felt settled in San Diego is because I was there not for me, but for San Diego’s sake, it put everything into place.

It gave me a deep sense of relief and understanding.  

I had in the back of my mind “what’s wrong with me? Why am I leaving somewhere that I’ve had success in, and have a great network of powerful people?”

Though when she told me that my work here is done, that San Diego got what it needed from me, and that the next step is for myself, it made everything OK.

It gave me the reason why I’ve been so unsettled.

Nothing changed – except how I look at the situation.

Now I am on my way in peace.

I Don’t Have to Fully Believe to Participate

I personally know Katy and her partner Zeb, and we are friends. Though to be totally honest, I can’t say I 100% believe in all the psychic stuff.

I’ve told her that, and she said “that’s cool. Just go with it.”

At times when she’s reading me, even during the podcast, I’m like is this stuff real? Or is she guessing?

But the feedback she gives puts so much into context. If you listen to the podcast, she doesn’t “tell my future.” She just gives more background about what’s going on. Which enables me to understand and accept it so much more.

With that, I am making better decisions, with more confidence.

Follow my Intuition. MORE

One, if not the biggest, lesson of this trip is to listen to my inner guidance.

Often times, as Katy gives me information, it’s like things click. I know that part of me has known that all along. I just wasn’t ready to trust it, clearly hear it, and embrace it.

For example (and this didn’t make the final podcast) I was signed up for a conference that, on paper, sounded like a great opportunity for me. But I really didn’t want to go. I asked her about it, and she said “eh, you really don’t have to go. It won’t be worth it.” I cancelled it, and felt relieved.

On the podcast, when I asked her about my new, book she told me it will come in due course. Don’t force it. Wait until it feels like the right time.

For my life, the more I listen to and trust my intuition, the smoother, happier, and successful my life becomes. It’s not always easy, it’s a lifelong lesson, and it’s one I’m embracing.

Let’s make intuition this posts’ challenge.

**A note about these challenges – I want you to share something you are going through presently and are going to change.

When you bring up, for example, more about intuition, or bringing up something you changed in the past, you are bypassing the challenge. The point is to bring up something that you can work on.

I know – it takes courage!

By reflecting on where you are now, and declaring it, now that’s courageous and very powerful. It leads to change in *your* life.

Which, when I see people participating in, makes my heart sing.

So where in your life, right now, do you recognize you are not following your intuition? 

Reply to this e-mail, or better yet, add your comments to this Facebook post

Next post is about Nachos…stay tuned!

[Trip#2] Vulnerability – The Key That’s Hard to Turn

I’m blown away from the over 300 personal notes that people have sent in response to the last message about my trip. In fact, if you’ve sent me a personal reply and haven’t heard back yet, you will shortly.

So many people – friends, old work contacts, people following me who I’ve never met – told me how much I touched them with my courage and vulnerability.

And they in turn touched me. So thank you to everyone who e-mailed / replied / PM’ed / texted.

My courage is easy to write about (“hey everyone, check it out, look what I did!”)

My vulnerability; not so easy to share.

Though that’s what people connected with.

When I write something that shows me in a confused, indecisive, weak light, I think “people don’t need to hear that.” And I try to talk myself out of it.

Then I get that anxiety. The one that says “it’s the truth, we don’t want to let anyone else know it.”

But it’s that truth that makes me human. It makes you connect with me.

The thing is, I don’t want to be seen as human! (at least my ego doesn’t anyway.) I want to be seen as this awesome, perfect, always strong man.

I can do a good job putting up that front. Though we all know, on some level, that it isn’t the whole truth.

The truth is that I get scared, doubt my own decisions, get lonely. Do stupid stuff for no reason.

Then act like it’s all under control.

But it’s not.

And my life-long lesson is being OK with that.

Right now, on this trip, I’m scared. I feel directionless. I’m questioning myself. I am judging some of my decisions.

And it’s hard to tell you that.

I’m not looking for sympathy, advice, or anything really, just to accept myself, and acceptance from you, as to what I’m going through.

As all this is part of my process.

So once again, I will have to talk myself into pushing “SEND” or “POST” on this message.

Thinking who really wants to read about my messed up inner process?

Though I know the answer is you.

So the one thing I’m going to ask for in the comments, PM, e-mail, or however, is for you to share.

Share something vulnerable.

What’s going on with you? What’s one thing causing you discomfort in your life right now?

Where are you scared, angry, holding back, not showing up like you want to?

Something that gives you pause when it comes to writing it and sending it?

Don’t talk about what vulnerability means to you, what you did go through in the past, or any other “bypass.” It’s easy to preach; not so easy to share.

You have to go inside, connect to your feelings that are present, and figure out what’s going on in there.

Send me an e-mail, or if you’re feeling really gutsy, add a comment to this facebook post.

Write something that you are going through personally, that’s present. Be specific.

It’s amazing how healing it can be just by putting it out there, and being OK with it.

Because just like this note probably made you feel less alone, it would make *me* feel less alone.

And thanks for being on the journey with me.

**Stay tuned for my next update, where you will learn what the Psychic told me about my trip**

My New Journey. What in the world am I doing.

Every few minutes I ask myself what in the world am I doing.
What is a 45 year old guy doing, putting all of his stuff in storage, and going on the road.

Am I crazy? Am I running from something? What am I trying to find?

Right now the movers are here, and it’s “real.” All of the talk and planning was causing anxiety – though now it’s happening.

If you’re reading this, you probably know at least something about me. I’ve done pretty well for myself; started three software companies, became a fairly well known entrepreneur in the San Diego area, and after earning a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology, transitioned into an educator; author, teacher, speaker.

I could very well be described as an upper-middle class white-collar guy.

Though why in the world would I be putting all of my belongings in self-storage, packing up my car, and leaving the city that’s been my home for the past 15 years? Leaving all my friends and network, and just leaving?

What’s really crazy is I’m not sure where I’m going.

First, I am going to spend time with my family in Texas. My mom battled cancer and won, but there’s still work to be done. Her and my little sister, who lives in my mom’s house, along with her five kids and husband, really could use support right now.

That may be a short period of time, or a very long period of time.

They live in rural Texas, which, while they love it, really isn’t somewhere I can’t see myself settling.

So when we get some stability around their household, I truly have no plan. That’s a fact that’s hard to get my head around.

When’s the last time you had no ties, no agenda, no plan for your life?

What would you do, where would you go?

On the way to Texas I am going to volunteer in Mexico, go to a workshop in LA, they stop in Sedona and New Mexico on the way over. Might mix in a silent retreat on the way.

The reactions from my friends have been all over the place. Most are excited. Some are concerned.

My dear friend Tom, a few weeks after I told him, asked me “is everything all right? Are you, like, OK? What’s really going on?”

What’s awesome about this is he cares enough to really ask. And he had genuine concern in his voice.

I told him the truth. First it’s my family. It’s a great time to reconnect with them.

But San Diego has never felt like it’s the place for me to settle. It’s not just that I’m a city guy, and that I’m not even much of a beach person, there’s more to it.

I just feel unsettled.

Like something is waiting to be discovered.

And I need to take action to find it.

I had my “Astrocartography” chart read. That’s where you tell someone your place, date, and time of your birth, and they tell you where, astrologically, you should live.

(OK, not totally bought into it either, but what can it hurt?)

They came up with two places.

First, where all my “lines” meet, is in Siberia, Russia.

Yeah, I’ll put that on the “someday maybe list.”

The second place, in the most random of randomness, is Little Rock, Arkansas.

So at some point, I’m going to check that place out for a week or two. See what it has in store for me.

You can do those things when you are totally free.

But man right now it’s stressful.

It’s taken a lot to actually pull the trigger. It’s one thing when you are 22 and you just take off; it’s another thing when you are 45.

A few friends helped me tremendously. When I was visiting Greg in Reno he gave me a push.

Some life events happened that started to push me more towards the decision.

The more I thought about it, and even made some preliminary plans, I got stressed.

Then I judged the stress.

Because on paper, it was a pretty easy move.

I’m divorced, no kids, and can work from anywhere.

So why all the resistance?

I’m a courageous guy, in fact this is what I teach people. And hey if it doesn’t work out, you can always move back.

So why wasn’t it an easier move to make?

Then another friend Scott told me “dude, nobody does what you are going to do. They all talk about it. Though how many really do?”

Truth is it is hard. Hard to leave a community that I know so well, and that knows me.

And, strangely enough, I don’t know where I’m going.

The biggest thing that I found out is that so many people *want* to make a change. It takes so much to act on something like this. Faith, acceptance, trust.

And most people are excited. So many people told me to write about my trip.

I’ve personally never got into travel blogs, or followed anyone on their travels.

Though Tracy let me know that it’s more than just travel.
It’s about following my intuition.

If you forgive the over-used phrase, following my heart.

See, deep down, I know it’s the right time to see my family.

Also, I know it’s time to explore again.

It was hard to actually pull the trigger.

And strangely, really hard to write this article.

Although it is helpful. It helps me organize my thoughts and be honest to myself about what I’m going through.

To be super honest, I’m surprised you’ve read this far. I feel like I’m just running on.

Maybe I’m helping all the other people out there that have something big they want to do, that’s out of the “ordinary” plan for people, and need that extra push. I don’t know.

If you would like more updates like this on my trip, let me know.

If people are interested, I’m open to continuing to document my trip.

One thing I am sure of is it’s going to be a journey of self-discovery.

I know that I’m going to learn even more about myself, and the world around me.

Maybe you’d like to follow along in this journey?

If so let me know.

Though do me a favor.

Let me know why. Why it’s interesting to you.

Either a comment, PM, or an e-mail is fine – depending on if you want it to be public or private.

Because I really want to understand how you are looking at my trip.

After all, it may help me see myself more clearly.