Life is flowing. Energy is moving. Blessings are closing in.
I’ve heard entrepreneurs talk about this phenomena before. And now I can recognize it when it shows up.
When everything feels like it’s dialed in, you’re not looking for ways to improve or optimize your routine. You’re looking for ways to stay consistent. Keep up what you’re doing because you know it’s working.
Many things in my life are getting dialed in. Some are in the process of getting dialed in (and they’re almost there – I can feel it!). And all I’m looking to do now is stay consistent.
I can’t say that I’ve never experienced flow like this before. But after years of stagnation, I honestly didn’t expect for it to show up again. I didn’t think it would change. Crazy how the human mind works. Crazy how easily we adapt to our personal hells.
I’m beyond grateful. And whatever crazy thing I’m doing that’s working, whatever is connecting with people, I want to keep doing it.
It’s Organization Sunday again, and for me, it was a rather reflective Sunday. I scribbled down a few questions for reflection and journaling, and I thought I would share them with you:
In case you can’t read my scrawl, here are the questions in digital ink:
If I were able to spend my time doing only what I love to do, what would I be doing?
What would it look like to go all in on what I’m doing now?
If I don’t want to go all in, what could I change about what I’m doing now to make it something I would go all in on?
If I can’t see myself going all in on what I’m doing now, even if I make changes to it, what else would I be doing?
Theme #1: What do You Love to do?
This is the first theme of this week’s refection.
Personally, I thought about areas I’ve developed a lot of skill and gained experience in – visual art, graphic design, web design, songwriting, guitar, bass, vocals, music production, writing, podcasting, narration, voice acting, video, social media, marketing, and so on.
Then I also thought about things I’ve either held as hobbies, activities I’ve tried in the past, or things I like to explore in my spare time – food, travel, bass fishing, skateboarding, politics, and the like.
I also thought about the results I wanted in life. As I drove by farms in the flats, I saw they had the homes and cars I wanted. But I reminded myself that farming was hard work all year long (my grandparents were farmers, so I know a little bit about that). I looked up into the hills and saw the homes of doctors and lawyers and affirmed that this also is not what I wanted for my life.
So, even with all the uncertainty of continually carving out my own path, I still found it preferable to possibilities I was considering based on the lifestyle I want for myself.
Theme #2: Going All in
This would be the second, and perhaps most predominant theme of the week.
If you are hesitant to go all in on something, why is that?
What past experiences or memories are holding you back from taking the leap (inevitably, it is always past experiences and memories that are holding us back, and because they are in the past, they are not here, and that means the concerns about the past aren’t real).
For me, I saw that going all in on something without assurance of success is what has been holding me back. And that is with the full awareness that nothing is guaranteed. So, why the stall? Better to try and to fail than to live in the purgatory of dress rehearsal the rest of my life.
Theme #3: What Else?
And the final theme for this week’s reflection is “what else?”
Absolute clarity in this area is essential. If you’re not doing what you love to do, if you’ve been struggling to go all in, if results aren’t forthcoming, or any combination thereof, what could you imagine yourself doing instead?
In this reflection, what I discovered for myself is that while there are some niches, I could see myself getting into – spirituality, personal development, entrepreneurship, self-publishing – the transition struck me as challenging and difficult.
Without going through the transition, though, the pain and challenge of transitioning is only imagined and not fully realized. And from that stance, there is nothing to fear. You’ve dealt with everything that’s come up to this point. What makes you think you can’t deal with whatever comes next?
These books are helpful. Are any of these on your website? Can people find them somewhere?
Why, yes. But you won’t necessarily be able to find them, unless you go looking for them, and to be fair, the list continues to evolve.
So, in no specific order, here are 14 of my favorite books on business, marketing, lifestyle, spirituality, and personal development.
Double Double by Cameron Herold
Cameron Herold’s Double Double relays the story of how 1-800-GOT-JUNK? got off the ground, quickly created a massive, palpable presence everywhere they went, and used vision boarding with their entire staff to focus on their goals and translate them into material reality.
As an entrepreneur, you can’t read a book like Double Double and not come away feeling inspired. It will not give you all the answers as to the pathway you need to follow for your achievement, but it will leave you with more than a few ideas of how to construct the reality you wish to create.
To that end, the concluding section, containing Herold’s succinct reflections about startups and businesses will surely leave you with a few steps you’ll feel excited to action immediately.
Just as there is fluff and hot air in creativity and business, spirituality is no less a fighting concern. There are few books that aren’t built on at least some degree of woo-woo, mysticism, or wishing and hoping.
Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention, though, is refreshing in that regard, and when I recommend it, I typically recommend a yearly regimen of picking up and reading from cover to cover with pen and notebook in hand.
Be reminded of the gentle power of intention, of being more than your physical body, and of discovering your personal spiritual path.
With a title like Work Less, Make More, you would likely assume author James Schramko to be a) a scammer, or b) a peddler of inflated value $997 programs containing Googleable information. Of which he is neither.
Working less and making more is counterintuitive, but that is admitted in the book’s subtitle. To have something others don’t have, it stands to scrutiny that you would need to think and act differently.
In this book, Schramko guides us on the often-narrow corridor to reducing your work hours while squeezing ever more out of your daily efforts. And while much of it isn’t easy, and Schramko doesn’t claims that it is, it is the panacea to the overworked, over exhausted, over encumbered entrepreneur.
Quality, serial content accomplishes many things at once – it educates, entertains, and inspires audiences. It builds authority, trust, and credibility. Perhaps most importantly, it helps you grow your email list and turn prospects into customers.
Demand Metric says content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates roughly three times as many leads as traditional marketing. These and other impressive stats demonstrate that content marketing is a force.
At the heart of every YouTuber is content, and though for many the content is the product, smart YouTubers are growing their list while actively promoting new offers to maximize revenue from their reach.
Content Inc. is the definitive playbook for using content to build an audience and profit from it.
How do you ensure a steady flow of new customers and clients? How can you book yourself solid, and stay booked, as the title of this book suggests?
In this volume, author Michael Port sets forth, in detail, a viable plan for attracting and serving an ever-expanding client base. And he does it all while demystifying and simplifying the entire process and setting warning signs in your path to help steer you clear of common but grievous mistakes.
If you have a business, and it’s working, but not working as well as you would like, you would benefit from a read through Port’s Book Yourself Solid.
The 4-Hour Workweek may be controversial. But it has been my observation that – beyond all the hype and criticism – exists a playbook that lays out, step by step, the process to follow if you’ve ever thought about living life on your own terms.
Do you have a job? Great, author Tim Ferriss will show you how to have a better work life. Do you have a business? Great, Ferriss will explain how you can create more freedom for yourself.
The book certainly glosses over what Ferriss perhaps deemed easy, but others find difficult – namely setting up a business vehicle for freedom (does this even exist anymore?) – but it is a thoroughly inspirational read with some solid takeaways regardless.
What if marketing and selling your product or service online were simple? What if there were only a few ways to accomplish these ends, and what if it was all laid out for you in rich clarity in a succinct volume?
Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets is exactly that, and it will equip you with all the essentials you need to master traffic. It’s not intended to be read in isolation – especially if you have yet to establish your authority and already have a business vehicle in motion. But if you have that, this book offers the keys to the kingdom.
Traffic is work. Of that there is no doubt. But it’s not complicated, nor does it need to be. Identify the traffic sources available to you, uncover the steps to domination, execute even when uncomfortable, and you will have a horse in the race.
Is there a specific way to run your career or business? Many would argue that there is. Anything You Want author Derek Sivers, though, argues that you can do things the way you want to do them, simply because you want to do them that way. Subscribing to the methodologies created by others, merely because they sound or feel right, ultimately, may cause more harm than good.
Relieve yourself of the dogmatic pressures of doing things “by the books,” “the right way,” “the way they’ve always been done,” or otherwise. Conventional wisdom sometimes isn’t wisdom at all, and there’s nothing conventional about an entrepreneur’s life to begin with.
No B.S. Business Success in The New Economy by Dan Kennedy
To create structures and systems that serve you in business, you first need to navigate through a minefield of shills and charlatans, lofty but ultimately disappointing promises, emotional vampires and timewasters, and perhaps even financial ruin.
With author Dan Kennedy at your side, you can develop the mindset necessary to bypassing the distractions and noise, while developing ideas that work, maximizing business results, finding the right people to work with (and how to manage them), achieve peak productivity, and more.
The economy is always changing. And there will be another new economy to come. But rest assured Kennedy doesn’t subscribe to any rosy pictures of the future, and only deals in concrete facts that will show you how to elevate your performance while circumventing the untested and unproven drivel that gurus spout.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
The shlock that airport newsstands peddle is typically of minimal interest to me. The latest romance novel about some shiny zombies, or charming werewolves, or some other kinky nonsense that serves as little more than momentary escapism and fantasy for the mind that cannot possibly enhance your life.
Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck was different from the outset. The introduction, calling out personal development for all its errors, instantly had me hooked, and carried me rapidly from cover to cover. And it did enhance my life.
The title is to get you to open and read, not what the book is about. The book is about starting from the premise that you are perfect as you are, even if you aren’t a world-renowned guitarist, beloved social media influencer, or even a local cat-saving fireman. And that leaves room for you to live into a space of curiosity and allowing, from which the world can unfold, surprise, and delight.
What is your purpose in life? Your spiritual path? What’s the point of it all, and what are you ultimately working towards? Will your hard work really pay off?
Existential quandaries aren’t anything new, and questions concerning one’s purpose and destiny are certainly as old as language itself.
But what if you could connect to your higher self? What if the path you’re on is perfect, no matter how imperfect it now appears? What if you could get a glimpse into a future where dreams are, in fact, fulfilled?
All this would sound like B.S. and nonsense to me if it wasn’t coming from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Even celebrity actors like Will Smith claim to have seen a reflection of themselves in The Alchemist.
Everything in life is a financial decision, including marriage. To think any less of it is to arrive at key life decisions naively, purposely leaving a drain unplugged when it is preventable.
Gene Simmons’ Sex Money Kiss is instructive. Not necessarily because it highlights the philosophy of the eccentric (although there is that), but because Simmons’ tone in this book is surprisingly humble and fatherly. He is sincere, if controversial.
Those easily offended by misogyny or what they might perceive at that should steer clear of this book. But those who are willing to read with an open mind, especially artists, will discover a viable pathway to getting what they want in life in this astonishingly rich volume.
What if reality wasn’t set it stone? What if the path you’re on was just the path you wound up on, and at any moment, you had the ability to transfer over to a more positive lifeline, while avoiding a more negative one?
Russian mystic Vadim Zeland surprises and astonishes with his deep knowledge of the topic. He explains the iceberg, not just the portion that’s visible (like in The Secret), but everything beneath the surface that’s affecting the direction you’re headed down, and the lifeline you’re headed towards.
No description of this book, though, would ultimately suffice, as it needs to be read to be experienced. And while the setup itself is lengthy, never mind its chapters, if you read with an open mind and stay the course, much will be revealed to you about creating the life you’ve always wanted.
Marketer Russell Brunson’s recently revised DotCom Secrets has the potential to transform how you approach business, how you communicate with your audience, and even shift your priorities. I know because that’s how it impacted me.
Brunson doesn’t shy away from sharing his failures or painting a rosier picture than reality dictates. He’s quick to admit that most sales funnels fail, and he’s never had a funnel that was fully optimized or “working” out of the gate. That honesty is refreshing amid the palpable hype surrounding the funnel hacker culture, of which I do not claim to be a proponent. This read will benefit your artistry or business regardless.
Brunson’s in-between volume, Expert Secrets, did not make this list, but perhaps by the time I’ve completed my re-read of the latest revision, I will have changed my mind.
Read enough “success” books and you will be left with the impression that keeping a positive attitude and working hard for long hours is the definitive recipe for getting everything you want in business and life.
What is a positive attitude? Does repeating affirmations into the mirror every morning make you a more positive person? Isn’t “positivity” ultimately in the eyes and ears of another? How do you quantify your own positivity? What happens when you don’t feel like being positive, or circumstances dictate otherwise?
What does “working hard for long hours” look like? What one considers long and hard might appear a vacation for another, and vice versa. I know that Tom Bilyeu of Quest Nutrition claims to work 18-hour days, but even that will appear a vacation to some, outlandish and draconian to others. There’s no benchmark, standard, or target to hit.
You can see how conventional success philosophy starts to fall apart when you tug on the string of the already unraveling sweater. It doesn’t take much to get a sneak preview of what’s underneath.
So, what do we get when we discard conventional wisdom? Is it worth dismantling the notion that a positive attitude and a work ethic will get you everywhere? What do you get in return?
Ringer says he doesn’t expect most deals to go through. To the contrary, he expects most deals to not go through.
Personally, I’m recognizing that I have bought into the “positive attitude and hard work” philosophy as much as anyone else. And the only thing consistent about it is that I live fast and add one to my age each year.
Ringer has a term for this – he calls it the “Uncle George Theory.” You work hard, and in exchange, you sacrifice your life. We all know someone who has worked hard their entire life (i.e., Uncle George), and still hasn’t gotten the rainbows, unicorns, and endless stores of gold they were promised.
I have accomplished a great deal, and I’m not going to step over any of it, but in the grand scheme of things it has mostly been in the realm of desire adjacent.
When what you really want is X, but you end up with Y, even though Y is close to X (closer than B to X), it’s not the same thing, and that keeps you in perpetual motion for X. It’s literally the difference between a Rolex and an Aventino. They’re both watches, and they’re both great, but one is a luxury brand, and the other a mid-tier. You’re grateful for Y, and you appreciate it, but what you’re really wanting is X, and you continue to work hard for the day you can have it.
Like Ringer, I’m embracing the philosophy that most deals won’t go through. Most things won’t work. That sets me up for the right mindset. I don’t expect any one thing to work out. Instead, I look for the many paths to accomplishment, and execute in urgent concurrency, fully expecting that most things won’t work, and surprised when they do.
The deferred life is unsatisfying. I won’t one day wake up to be exactly where I want to be. I intend to go and get the good things as soon as possible – now. No more waiting. I am creating a list of items to acquire and debts to settle, and I’m putting it all in order of priority and viability. And I will act on the plan.
Living as if life is a dress rehearsal is overrated and boring. What’s the point in getting safely to your grave? Step out of your equally arbitrary “comfort zone,” and take a chance on yourself. Never wait for permission. Choose yourself.
When you’re in possibility, options are limitless.
When you’re outside of possibility, everything looks hopeless.
It would be unreasonable to expect that you will always be in possibility. And it’s importance to notice when you’re not. Because it’s easy to give up in those moments. But giving up will not serve you when being in possibility would present you with new, worthwhile options. Jumping to conclusions is dangerous.
When you are in possibility, take full advantage. Notice. And generate as many possibilities as you can. You could use them on a rainy day.
But whether you see it now or not, remember that you are in a world of possibility. And you just need to be in a state to be able to see it for it to be true. It’s always true, it’s just that you’re not always in a state to be able to see it.