Several months ago, Hallie made an interesting observation about my approach to life and leadership. We were working on some pretty aggressive business goals and she said, “You don’t seem anxious or fired up about us hitting our goal. Is it because you’ve let go of the outcome? Or do you simply have faith that it will happen because we are doing the right activities? Perhaps something else? The calm, almost serene (though not complacent by any means) energy is pretty cool.”
First, I’ll also let you in on a little secret… with practice and dedication you can achieve a state of inner stillness and participate in the playground of life. You can have the external success and the inner peace. It’s not mutually exclusive.
Now, I’ll share with you what I shared with Hallie.
I’ve been doing some very deep work on my inner growth and made some pretty monumental shifts the last year (however, I’ve been working on this inner journey for the past 10 years, even though I was faking it for the first three). It goes slowly, slowly, and then suddenly. And the suddenly part came recently. It’s a very scary place because it means really, truly letting go of the material world. But it’s where I know I’m committed to going and leading the rest of the people in my life, and beyond, there. I just had to go there first.
What you’re seeing is really letting go of the outcome and not being disturbed by whatever may come. Do I want to hit revenue goals? Do I want to sell 1 million copies of our book? Do I want to purchase a mountain retreat? Hell yeah! Am I willing to sacrifice my own inner stillness, happiness, joy, and peace to get there? Nope. I am not willing to put conditions on my own happiness. If I get worked up about hitting X goal and then create all this disturbance within myself, then what’s the point?
A tell-tale sign that you’re still operating from ego is when there is a lot of stress associated with “achieving” something. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be big obstacles and challenges, because there will be. But the obstacles no longer set you off – you just look at them as you would look at the tree in your back yard. It doesn’t effect you personally. There is no disturbance. When you expect nothing, when nothing that happens on the outside can affect the way you feel on the inside, then you become a very, very serious competitor and a better human being.
All of what we are after in the external world is based on us expecting to get some feeling from it. I lose weight, I’ll be enough. I get this job and bam! I’m valuable. I get married, I’m loved. I have kids, get a dog, buy the vacation house, etc. then I will be okay. All of it is a condition of our happiness. Well, how has that worked out in the past? Exactly.
I flipped. I realized I needed to wake up. Once you are okay inside, then everything you do in the external world becomes exciting, joyful, and just another experience on this spiritual journey. And you can still go after the big business, help transform lives, coach people, get married, go on amazing trips, but it comes from a different place with no condition attached to it. And, if I lost it all tomorrow, it wouldn’t change who I was.
Here’s something that not many people talk about. We live in a 200% world. We live 100% in the material/external world (which most of us live in for the majority of our physical life). And then there is the other 100%, the 100% not many people talk about – the inner world, the world of our spiritual being. What is really cool about this is that it means there is 100% more opportunity that many of us haven’t even tapped into yet!
Because it is a 200% world, not just 100%, we can have a complete inner/spiritual world and have a complete external experience. As long as we approach the material without needing anything from it, then we can actually enjoy everything! The external world is just a playground for our soul. Your soul is going to be called to express itself through dance or art or travel, mine chooses to express itself through building a business and coaching and training others.
When you need nothing, you can enjoy everything!
Ten years ago, I was living 100% in the external world – it’s all that mattered to me. I didn’t even really understand that I was missing out on another 100% of myself and the world! Today, after years of deep inner work, I’m pretty far along on the continuum of being okay with whatever happens in the external world, because I am complete on the inside. If you focus on your internal world first, then every experience in the physical world is just a bonus! If you start each day from this place, then you end up changing yourself, which then changes the people you lead, and ultimately changes the world.
If you want to operate at the highest-level possible in your business and personal life, I’d encourage you to check out Project | U, and for more details, email Hallie at firstname.lastname@example.org.