Your Road Blocks & Hula Hoops

“I need to do some research on the market.”

“I need another certification.”

“I need to build a website.”

“I’m not sure of my target audience.”

“I think there’s a seminar I should take first.”

“I’m still a bit unclear about my message.”

“I don’t really know what to start writing about.”

“I’ve never spoken to a group before.”

“I’m too young.”

“I don’t have enough experience.”

“I think I might be too old.”

And on and on and on…

In the course of my coaching, I hear them all. Every single one of them.

The excuses we all create for not beginning, for not starting out, for not taking action. The obstacles we set up; the hurdles we drag out; the hoops we think we need to jump through .

We do this because we are afraid.

We fear that we are not enough. We fear ridicule and condescension. We fear failure. We fear success.

It’s easier to stay put, stay safe.

It’s easier to pretend. It’s easier to be ‘busy’ doing things that we tell ourselves are ‘conditions’ for taking action… rather than really taking action.

Rather than risking.

If it looks important and sounds important it surely must be important.

Maybe we can fool the world. But not ourselves.

In staying safe, we’re playing small.

And the world so desperately needs those gifts that are yours alone to give: your writing, your speaking, your coaching, your art, your service, your teaching, your product, your ideas.

  • By taking action, you will find your direction, discover your voice, clarify your vision, define your mission.
  • By taking action, you will draw to you opportunities and resources and people who will support you.
  • By taking action, you will discern what you really need to sustain you on your journey.
  • By taking action, you will learn what works well and what needs to be tweaked.
  • By taking action, even when you fail from time to time, you will move closer to your goals.

You could stay put (safe) for the next six months… and be nowhere in the direction of your dreams in six month’s time. Or you could start out on your desired path, fully fail for half the time… and be well along toward what you truly want.

There are enough real obstacles that will rise up along the way.

You need not create any of your own.

Build it, discover it, create it, refine it… Do it on the go.

Don’t wait. There’s nothing else you need to do.

And there is no time to waste.

Start. Today.

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When you’re ready to bust through, email me: walt@walthampton.com

Have You Gone Off The Rails?

This is the end of the line for most folks. This is where the cart goes off the track.

Despite the most heartfelt resolutions, despite whatever the best intentions might have been, most folks give up on their New Year’s promises to themselves… right about now. Screenshot 2016-02-09 14.41.24

Not because they didn’t mean what they said.

Not because they didn’t want to change… because they did.

Not because they don’t have dreams for a better life… because they do.

But because life gets in the way.

I know. I was a single dad for a dozen years raising three young boys. I would get up (too late) in the morning, run around getting dressed, getting the kids up, finding the lost socks, and the lost homework, making the lunches, packing the lunches, unpacking and re-packing the back-packs, running the kids to school, tearing off to my office, arriving (too) late to gather up my files, speeding off to court, tying my tie in the rearview mirror and balancing the coffee in my lap (and spilling it), getting the call from daycare to come back because the kid had a 103º fever or head lice or both, scheduling parent-teacher meetings in between client calls, rushing off to soccer practice, making dinner, mitigating the fights, helping with the homework, returning emails and phone calls, and falling into bed exhausted and depleted… only to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

I know.

But change can happen. (I know this too.) What you really, really want in your heart matters. Your hopes and dreams and aspirations matter. They are the call of your Spirit, the Divine within you, to live your best life; to share those gifts that are yours and yours alone to share with the world in the most perfect way possible.

And it’s not too late. (It’s never too late.) Yes, January may be over. And nearly half of February. But the canvas of this New Year still awaits you.

Here’s what’s true: All you need to do is apply a very basic success principle, one of the easiest of all success principles. Take tiny, tiny steps.

  • At just 1 pound a week, you’ll still lose more than 40 pounds this year
  • At just 1 page a day, you’ll have well over 300 pages for your book
  • At just 1 watercolor a week, you could mount an entire show
  • One job application a day is 30 in a month
  • One extra sales conversation every single day might double your sales

Take that tiny step today. Just for today. And then do it again. And again the next day. Small steps magnified by time leading to magnificent results.

But today, just think about this day. And take just one tiny step forward.

Remember, races are run one stride at a time; businesses built one product at a time, one customer at a time, one sale at a time; mountains are climbed one step at a time; novels written one sentence at a time; symphonies written one measure at a time; and cathedrals built over generations one stone at a time.

Go back to the beginning of the year, and remember why it was that you wanted to set out on your path. Reclaim that grand vision of that perfect life that is yours.

In every moment of danger, there is also opportunity.

Opportunity still waits for you.

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If you’d like help getting your cart back on the track, email me: walt@walthampton.com

Your Feet In The Fire

The gym is nearly empty again. And the runners with their new gear have mostly disappeared.

It’s nearly the middle of February. How are you doing on your 2017 goals and resolutions?

Statistically, only a small percentage of the population bothers to make New Year’s resolutions anymore. And of those who do, most abandon the effort by right about now.

You see, life is just way too crazy busy… and even with the best of intentions, it’s easy to slide back into the ‘old ways.’ That book that you had so wanted to write, that new product you were going to drive to market, that new business that you planned to launch, the new job you were going to apply for, your sales calls that you had planned to boost, the weight you said you were going to lose, that fitness program… all back on the shelf again.

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” John Lennon once said.

And it sure is easy to get distracted.

Frankly, that’s one of the reasons that I so appreciate our coaches (we have 2)… not even considering their perspective, their mentorship, and the resources they provide, the accountability piece is HUGE… staying on track… staying the course… even in times of turbulence and change.

Someone to hold our feet to the fire!

And watching the impact that coaching has in the lives of our own coaching clients – seeing the things that can be accomplished – is nothing short of amazing: businesses, books, health & wellness, new relationships, exciting new careers. It is powerfully transformative and deeply satisfying work.

Peak performers all have coaches… in the arts, in business and in finance… Every Olympic athlete… If you truly want to up your game, if you seek excellence, if you really want to accomplish those important goals, then dial in a coach. It will make all the difference. It certainly has in our lives.

And by the way, if you have fallen off course, no worries. Did you know that a plane flying from San Francisco to Honolulu is off course MOST of the time… but it still gets there because of constant course correction? You can do that too!

Every day is a new day. Every day the chance to begin again.

And the opportunity to finally achieve your most cherished dreams.

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Email me if you’d like to explore how coaching might transform your life!

walt@walthampton.com

Business Isn’t Complicated

A lot of entrepreneurs and business professionals live in a constant state of overwhelm.

Sure, there are lot’s of things that seem to require our time and resources in business: branding and marketing and websites and list building and lead generating and marketing and sales and fulfillment and service and bookkeeping and record keeping and…..

There are lots of things that draw our attention too: the latest landing page design, the new webinar platform, that fancy CRM.

Of course, the Internet marketers don’t want us to overlook them: that one thing that will make you money; the 6-week program that will transform your business; the 3-secrets to marketing magic; that certification that you surely shouldn’t go without.

And in the midst of all of this noise and confusion, we forget: business is about relationships. About creating, sustaining and nurturing relationships. That’s it. That’s all there is.

All things being equal, we do business with people we know, like and trust. And guess what? All things being unequal, we do business with people we know like and trust. BusinessIsSimple

It’s about credibility and likability.

Think for a moment about how you yourself do business when you need a professional or service provider you can rely on. You turn to someone you know, like and trust. And if you don’t know someone that fits that bill, you turn to a colleague or friend for a referral.

Business may seem complicated. But it’s not. It’s about relationships. Start there. Keep your focus there. And everything else will fall into place.

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I teach the fastest, easiest, most reliable system for getting more clients and customers than you can handle, even if you hate marketing and selling. Using this system, 90% of entrepreneurs and professionals see a 40% increase in revenues in the first year. Email me and we’ll talk: walt@walthampton.com

Not Sexy

I am fond of the exhortation that Robin Williams shared with his students in the classic movie, Dead Poet’s Society: “Make your lives extraordinary.”

I believe that we are the co-creators of these great gifts that are our lives; that we have the opportunity – nay – the obligation to make them masterpieces.

I believe that excellence is a choice. And that the choices we make on a daily basis will take us down the road toward excellence. Or not.

But extraordinary happens by virtue of very ordinary means.

Becoming extraordinary means showing up every day: at the office, in the studio, at the gym, on the mat, at the canvas, on the page. It means getting up early; and going to bed late. It means pushing through the resistance. Overcoming the obstacles. Solving the problems.

It means being consistent in all of the small practices and disciplines of your life.

It means never giving up however frustrated or down or depressed or despondent or angry you become.

It means staying steady in the face of doubt and ridicule.

It means believing, even in the face of failure.

It means rising up after you fall.

Rising up every single time.

None of this is sexy.

In fact, a lot of it kind of sucks.

But if you believe in your work, in your mission; if you believe that there are certain people you are meant to serve in the world and that your job is to go out and find them; if you want to make a difference in the world; if you want to make a dent; if you want to make an impact; if you want to leave a legacy; then there is only one thing to do.

Show up every single day and do the work.

We idolize our heroes. We see them as fully formed. We forget that many had arduous journeys too.

Abraham Lincoln, the bankrupt loser. Nelson Mandela, the jailed rabble-rouser. Thomas Edison, the fool in the lab. Michael Jordan, the guy who didn’t make the team.

Few dwell on Tony Robbins in his Volkswagen; or on Wayne Dyer selling his books out of the back of his station wagon; or on J.K. Rowling waiting tables.

Seven time Everest climber Ed Viesturs says, “Life’s high peaks aren’t conquered by the naturally nimble but, rather by those willing to endure, wait out the storm, and try again.”

Extraordinary is less about talent. And more about tenacity.

Grit, as Angela Duckworth calls it.

“No one can see in the work of the artist how it has become,” Nietzsche said. “That is its advantage, for wherever one can see the act of becoming, one grows somewhat cool.”

Because becoming is hard.

And grit ain’t sexy.

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When you’re feeling thin on Grit, email me: walt@walthampton.com. Let’s talk.

 

 

 

You Are Never Done

Success is not a destination. It’s not a place.

Success is a state of mind; it is a way of being in the world.

So many entrepreneurs and business professionals get frustrated because they feel as if they’re never “done.” There’s some product that needs to be developed, some program that’s running behind, some project that needs to be planned, some staff person that needs to be hired (or fired).

I have some bad news for you: You’re never done. There will always more to do. There will always be problems to solve. There will always be challenges to face. There will always be obstacles to overcome. There will always be a crisis, a glitch in a system, a crack in the infrastructure, a client or customer who needs special care.

But, I have some really good news to share with you: You’re never done! Every day is a new day, a new opportunity to create, a new opportunity to serve, and new opportunity to share your unique gifts and talents with the world. Every day you get to iterate anew, to re-imagine how these things that are your business and your life can shine brighter still.

In the movie, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Sonny says: “Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”

To that, I respond with gratitude: “Thank you. I get the gift of a new day, a new week; I get the gift of being able to continue this great work.”

I rejoice that it’s not done.

Did you know that they paint the Golden Gate Bridge every day? Every day. Because when they come to the end, it’s time to start over. From the beginning. Never “done.”

The job of an entrepreneur and business professional is to show up every single day to solve problems and be in service. To do the work. Every. Single. Day.

It’s always a work in process.

The powerful poem, Ithaca, by Constantine Cavafy begins: “When you start on your journey to Ithaca, hope that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge.”

I pray that your journey is long. That you are never done.

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If you’re feeling challenged by the road, let’s connect. Email me: walt@walthampton.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lie You Tell

I want to talk with you about that lie that you tell.

That one you tell all the time. ThatLieYouTell

To yourself; to anyone who will listen.

That soothing lie.

That seductive pernicious one.

The one that goes like this: There’s time.

That there will be time to go on that trip you want to take, that second honeymoon, that book you want to write, the degree you want to get, the art you want to make, that new job, the new career… .

That there will be time to heal the rift, sooth the hurt, fulfill the dream.

That there will be time to connect with your precious boy, your sweet girl, that beautiful grand child.

That there will be time to walk hand in hand on the beach; slow dance in the city square on a summer night; sip the coffee; savor the wine; and watch the sunset.

That there will be time after you get through this quarter, this year; after you’ve made partner; gotten the promotion; after you’ve lost the weight; after the kids are out of high school, or college; or their students loans are paid off; after you’ve finished with the mortgage; after your husband retires; or you retire… .

I want to talk with you about it because 2016 is a distant memory; because you said maybe you’d get to it after the holidays, and it’s the middle of January…. because this year will disappear in the rear view mirror as fast as the last.

I want to talk with you about it because tomorrow is promised to no one; because now is all there is; and now is all you have.

I want to talk with you about that lie you tell… because I tell it too.

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When the time is right, when you’re ready to switch up the game, let’s talk. Email me: walt@walthampton.com

Starting Out Matters Most

Starting out, even when things aren’t perfect, even when conditions aren’t quite right, is one of the most important of all success strategies. Because, the truth is, that for most endeavors, conditions are never really quite right.

I thought about this success principle as I stood high above the trees looking out on one of the most magnificent vistas imaginable.

The day hadn’t started out suggesting that such a moment might be possible.

Indeed, long before the alarm would go off, I could hear the rain beating against the roof of the motel: a cold, heavy February rain in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

I pulled the blankets up and rolled over in the darkness, sure that it was way too snotty to even consider venturing out.

Two hours later, we sat at the Dunkin Donuts. Our climbing packs were packed; the gear was ready. And the rain continued to pour… just freezing as it hit the surface. Nothing suggested even remotely that it was a good idea to strap on snowshoes or crampons and disappear for a day into a range that routinely and indiscriminately likes to kill its visitors. Screenshot 2014-02-25 17.57.31

A half mile from the trailhead, the rain tapered to a light mist. The temperatures were mild. The wind light. And, before the day was out, the sun poked through the clouds. It was a glorious fun-filled satisfying day on one of my very favorite mountains in the world.

It would have been easy to stay in bed.

Now I am not suggesting that you should be reckless; or act without thinking; or start out unprepared; or not consider contingencies.

But that’s not the challenge that most people face.

Most folks when they’re thinking about starting out on a project – a new career or business, a book, a fitness program, a product launch, a new relationship – want to wait until everything is in place, until conditions are perfect, the set-up ideal. Life is not like that (in case you haven’t noticed). Conditions are never ideal; all of the pieces are never in place.

You’ve gotta start out… and see what happens.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Imperfect action is still action; imperfect progress is still progress. And sometimes when you start out – in fact more often than not – conditions turn in your favor. It’s as if the Universe recognizes your boldness and says, “Ah ha, she’s serious;” “Hmm, I guess he means it this time.”

You are rewarded for your audacity, for your courage; and for your faith: Faith in the abundance of a benevolent Universe; faith in the knowing that you will always find the path; faith in the power of your own inner strength.

Brené Brown writes, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” “Be brave with your life,” she says, “so that others can be brave with theirs.”

You have gifts that the world needs desperately. Conditions will never feel ‘right’ to venture out with them.

You need to start anyway.

Avoid The Shallows In 2017

I was jarred by his words.

I had stopped along the road to chat with my neighbor. Sean was building a stone wall across the front of his property. He had been at it for months; and it was quite beautiful to behold.

He wiped the sweat from his forehead with his dirty hands. “I’m building it to last for 400 years,” he said. “Maybe more.”

400 years? I find it challenging to think about a single day. And planning for the next quarter or just the year ahead? That involves (what I think of as real) heavy lifting.

But isn’t creating something that lasts what we all really crave?

There’s a reason that Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life has sold 32 million copies in more than 50 languages.

We seek purpose.

We want our efforts to have meaning and import.

We want to create a lasting impact in the world.

We want to be remembered.

We want to leave a legacy.

Yet, most of us live out our days reacting to other people’s emergencies, floating across the surface of things, dipping into social media, surfing the web, ticking off endless to-do lists, and using our email inboxes to drive us until we drop.

We’re interrupted or cause ourselves to be interrupted every 3 minutes of the day.

We’ve allowed ourselves to become addicted to the forward motion; we keep on going like hamsters on a wheel.

We’ve allowed ourselves to become addicted to the stimulation and outside input, checking and re-checking our smartphones and our tablets and our emails; responding incessantly to the phone calls and messages and notifications and alerts. Overwhelmed and inundated by the expectations and the deadlines and the demands, we endeavor to pay attention to everything. But succeed only at dwelling in a state of continuous partial attention.

We spend our days – we subsist – in the shallows.

We’ve lost the capacity to do deep work, legacy work, work that lasts.

So my challenge for you as you stand on the threshold of this New Year is to consider Sean’s wall. What work will you do that will last 400 years?

  • Perhaps it’s not about building a stone wall; but rather mending the wall that grown around a relationship.
  • Perhaps it’s the book that you’ve told yourself you’ll write. Someday. Or the art that you want to create; or that song that’s been waiting in your heart for decades to be sung.
  • Perhaps it’s about that experience – that magic moment – you’ve been meaning to create for your child or your partner or your spouse.
  • Perhaps it’s about finally taking the leap into that new career or job that you know will touch the lives of others for generations to come.
  • Perhaps it’s about committing to simple acts of kindness that, like pebbles dropped into a pond, ripple out to touch shores you cannot see.

Whatever it might be, commit this year to move beyond the shallows.

  • Get clear again about what you value most.
  • Connect with your heart (because your heart always knows).
  • Create a clear plan for yourself (understanding that your inbox is someone else’s plan).
  • Reclaim and protect your focus.
  • Abandon once and for all the myth of multi-tasking.
  • Set aside dedicated time to do your legacy work.
  • Have the courage to say “no” to what doesn’t serve what matters most.

The days may be long; but the years are short.

What will you create this year that will stand the test of time?

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When the time is right, when you’re ready to create intentionally the work and the life you absolutely love, let’s connect. Email me: walt@walthampton.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Turn Again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice.

T.S. Eliot

It’s dark. Really dark. And cold.

The sun, even when it comes up here on the 52nd parallel, skitters across the southern horizon. And disappears.

Yet, this week, we celebrate the light.

It is the turning point.

From the very earliest of times, before tribe or tradition, we have confronted the darkness with trepidation – the darkness of the night, the darkness of our souls – and railed against it. Through liturgy and ritual and celebration, we connected with the ancient rhythms of the earth to welcome light – and hope – back into the world.

For a fraction of a moment this week, the earth stopped – and shifted on its axis – and turned again toward the sun.

It is the turning point.

In the busyness of our frantic, constantly connected and over-stimulated lives, we can miss this moment. It is easy to forget why we run around and string lights and light candles and wrap presents and gather together – and in the process end up empty and depleted and sad. It is easy to forget why we celebrate.

We celebrate the light. We celebrate in the deep knowing that the light always returns. We celebrate that the light always triumphs over the darkness.

Take a moment to stop this week. Reconnect with the ground – and with the Ground of All Being. Feel the earth turn back to the sun, back to the light.

It is the turning point.

Then decide.

What will you turn toward in the days and months ahead? What light will you discover in your life? What light will you shine in the lives of others?

Be that light.

And celebrate.

It is the turning point.

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