Chris Brogan changed my life. Well, actually, I changed my life, but Chris was a catalyst. It was a simple email exchange discussing how we have impact. I mentioned that my impact was softer now that I was 81 and a little harder to identify. Within his reply, Chris asked, “I wonder what you’d like to tackle in the next 30 years.” And my vision of what is possible exploded.
Eliminate time as a constriction
As I got older, I used to kid that my five-year plan was to simply still be here. Yet on the other hand, I kept making plans to live to 114 because anything else was too close. There are many reasons I stopped thinking long term, mostly because I moved into a culture of seniors where the majority of the residents merely exist. But the fact is that I want to be productive, I need to be creative. I want to feel useful, heck, I actually want to feel valuable and I wasn’t certain exactly how to do that. Chris’s idea of the 30-year plan eliminated time as a consideration and freed me to actively continue dreaming, planning, creating and figuring out how to touch more lives. If you feel stuck, if you feel unproductive, raise your sites and make a grand plan for the next 30 years. How are you going to be in service? What passion will you express? What new skills will you develop? How will you change? How many lives can you touch?
Release what is keeping you stuck
I’m not the greatest marketer in the world so there always seemed to be effort around selling my stuff to others. I do fabulous work, but I often felt like I was asking a favor or promoting something instead of simply interacting. Earlier this year I decided to give all my books away free and it was a huge relief. I can now let the energy of the books speak for themselves and there is no barrier of money between wanting and having for those who are interested in what I have discovered. I made it easy for people to share my ideas. In addition, it allowed me to cut back on the yearly fee of my shopping cart because all I needed was the autoresponder package to keep my community going. The books I am currently completing will also be free and that means I can share them with people without any motivation for making sales or getting publicity. I can simply write what I want to write and share it with those who resonate with my thoughts and ideas. I find myself in a true place of service that is extremely rewarding.
Reposition yourself by following your passion
I was a content development coach before I retired. After I took time off to do some old-person physical correction stuff, I found I didn’t want to coach anymore. What I passionately wanted to do was to understand change, change like the one I was going through, change that was hard for me to make. I had a need to reinvent myself, to change the focus of my work. Who did I want to be? What did I want to learn? What would I explore? I started writing about change – what it meant, how to do it, what stood in my way. Learning to create positive change became my passion. That, in turn, became the focus of my current work.
Teach what you want to learn
I’m doing all this writing for me. I want to learn about change. I want to figure out how to apply the qualities of mindfulness and unfolding to my life. I read the phrase “deeper song” in The Prophet and wondered what that meant to me. I’m writing a book “I Want to Sing a Deeper Song”. I made a workbook to go with it. There are thoughtful piece in it like “Practice Moving Your Gaze” and “How To Live A Wider Life.” Those are all principle I want to apply and in order to figure out how, I wrote about it. What do you want to learn that you can teach through your business? What are you passionate about that you are burning to immerse yourself in? Move in that direction.
I now live in the mid-west. I’m actually a liberal, metaphysician in a very conservative area. I am also a vegan in cow country. That’s not necessarily a natural fit. (Yes, I loved living in New York City. I loved living in Santa Rosa California, but two of my children are here and it seems a prudent place to be at this point in my life.) However, in order to find like-minded people I have to go on the internet. I have to find bloggers to follow like Chris www.chrisbrogan.com.. If you do not have supportive, like-minded people in your close-up life, go find them out in the world.
This free thing
I don’t know how to translate this freedom of giving things away free into creating an income. Marketing is not a comfortable mode for me so now that I am free of this concept of selling something, I am happily giving my books to anyone and everyone because I want nothing back. But what if you need to get something back, like income? It looks like one model is to give much of our writing away free and then build paying workshops from the community our writing attracts. We’ll have to ask Chris about that. I do know that my email exchange with Chris prompted him to interview me and that interview created new exposure for my work. Yet he was drawn by my ideas, not what I was doing or selling. A simple e-mail began our connection. We are both philosophers and our interview connected us on a deeper level. If ideas are the coin of the realm, how will you exchange them? How can you put yourself so deeply into service that income flows effortlessly to you?
Know the value of your work.
However, the words from Chris that brought me to deep, racking sobs were “Your work is very important. Leave none of it undone. Generations will depend on it. :)” Oh, how I want that to be Oh, how I KNOW that CAN be. I just need to stay productive for the next 30 years.
Let it unfold
I don’t know what opportunities my current activities will create, but I’m open. My 30-year plan is not goal oriented or laid out step-by-step, it is the idea of having 30 more years in which to participate in life that has opened up my life. What can I do? What will I do? I have no idea what’s going to show up. However, I do know that I just received a great gift of an idea that jump-started my life again. Thank you, Chris Brogan.
Here my interview with Chris here: http://cbrogan.me/omradio It is entitled “LOTS of Smart People. “7/10/14 15. Coach Sean Brawley, Alan Jackson and Cara Lumen