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How to Run Your Life Like a Business, Man

Originally Published by Intent Blog on June 25, 2012 

So, for almost 5 years, I chased a business. I say chased because it wasn’t the regular way people go about having a business: have a product, open a shop, attract customers, serve customers, grow business.

My path was more like: have vision for a future version of the world, try to figure out ways to get there with some web contraption that we’ll certainly eventually make money on. This is a bit of an overstatment, but I am telling a story here. So, while cobbling together this web contraption, I went through like, 10 business models. Learned all about business models.

One of the business models was so intriguing, or maybe I was, that I got into an exclusiveincubator program (think Shark Tank, but instead of just meeting the venture capitalists once and asking them for money, you work with them for an entire summer and they train you on how they think about businesses and position yourself to have the most leverage possible when you ask people for money before you finally get around to asking them for their money.)

During this training, I completely overhauled and upgraded my knowledge of businesses. I was reading a whole ton, networking with all the business folk, being taught ninja shit with homework and having to do weekly presentations in front of millionaires.

I kinda hid my yoga hat/mat for a while. Well, unless it was needed or I could tell I was of like minds. I tried to just live the practice rather than talk about it. Slowly I’d figure out ways to talk about it in everyone else’s language. But anyway, that’s not the point of this article.

One of the biggest lessons I learned going through all those business models is that it’s always vitally important to test your value proposition right away to see if you have anything or not. Get out there on the market and see what the market says about your product.

Every day your doors are open that you’re not making more money than you’re spending plus the daily value of what you’ve invested – you’re losing money.  You’re dying, in essence.  But that means every day is a day to learn about what our value propositions really are, to market the valid ones, and even the invalid ones by getting to know what people think about the ones we are keeping in our heads.

And how does that relate to real life? Well, in my own life and with the people I’m coaching, I’m learning that we all have a lot of value propositions up in our heads that we’re not sure are true. Some of them are positive value propositions, but some of them are even a negative value assignment. So we have these certain things that we think people think about us or even that we think about ourselves.  Sometimes they get so weighing that they fricking drag you down.  Your business is dying, know what I’m sayin’.

So the thing is, we have to go and get out there and figure out if they’re true. It doesn’t always mean talking to the person about “hey, do you have a problem with me? See, I think I fucked up when I acted too egotistical… and …”

Sometimes, it’s operating from a space where you’ve entirely moved on from the old troublesome way, with maybe a brief acknowledgement of your transgressions and how you’d have done it differently, but then you demonstrate by the new way that you behave that you have learned the lesson of those old moments, and this gives you the opportunity to go out and deliver a new value proposition and continue to build a relationship with that person.

But in any event, the first thing in business to make sure that you’re not wasting your time and money is to get in front of a potential customer and see if they may want to give you any of their money. How can you apply that to your relationships and the rest of your life?


Choose Your Leaps of Faith Wisely

Originally Published on Intent Blog June 12, 2012

The last 8 years I’ve been most definitely on a path. Before that it was a bit haphazard and building, but I remember specifically the first thoughts I had towards how the world could be different and what my role in that could be.

At the time I believed that corporations were evil, money was bad, the world was doomed and that my brain was broken (I was really depressed at the time). But I remember starting to believe in a true-cost economy, an economy that included heart, that required people to pay for their transgressions. I started to put faith in progress.

But my body was completely f’d, as was my mental state — so I went and lived in an Ashram for a year, where I practiced yoga every day and learned about how the breath can control emotional states based on the way your nervous system functions, how to center and expand my attention and get into a state of flow (as well as a lot of stuff that is pretty far out there for most to believe).

And sure enough, when I left the Ashram, I was thrust into a world where no one believed a word that I said. I found that spacious loving state dwindle and fall away when I’d get mocked or challenged, and I found myself creating my own story of what real Yoga was, attempting to stay in that state that I knew was true, but make it match to today’s world.

Over the years, from this whittling away, what I’ve learned for myself is that the most important leap of faith is belief in myself. Faith that my efforts will bear fruit only if they’re meant to, and that so long as I learn from every negativity, things would continue to improve. Faith that my dreams weren’t crazy, but they would evolve as I learned more about the way the world works and learned skills to contribute to society. Faith that I can be strong in any situation so long as I breathe through it and stay focused on my goals and let go of any attachment to perceived outcome, only do and say what’s true and mine to do. Faith that my heart’s most peaceful state is the state that I want to continue to pursue, so that when it doesn’t feel that way, there’s a lesson to be learned to guide me towards my goals. Faith that the answers are inside me.

The rest of yoga. The postures, the breathwork. I believe they work. But I believe they work in part because I believe that they do. Because I put the right attention into them. That, and it’s never a bad thing to be open in my body as well as get my breath to ease me out of the “fight or flight” response and into a “relaxed and rejuvenative” state.  But what I’m getting at is that it’s not the just practices, it’s the attention and faith I put into them. It’s the attitude.  And the great part is, even when I get rid of the dogma, I’m still left with practices that work.

If you want, you can believe the world and yourself are broken and that you’re powerless to help your situation.  I did it for a long while. It hurts.

Take a leap of faith in yourself, in your own dreams. In your own abilities. In your ability to get through anything. In that things will come to you when you’re ready for them. Putting your faith here assures you’ll never be let down from your leap.  You may fall momentarily, but then your remember. Duh. I believe in myself.

How To Create From the Heart

Originally Published on Intent Blog July 29, 2012

I’ve been getting asked lately how I write so much, so often, on such varied topics.

It’s flattering to get that question, and I’m glad you’re curious because really it’s a trait that anyone can develop with their own God given creative outlet.  We all have something that we’re better at, different at, than anyone else, so for me, being creative is just nerding out as the nerdiest version of myself possible.

Art is an opportunity to strip away the bullshit, and create from a place that’s very authentic and present.

If I write about something that I’m not passionate about- something that I don’t really even know all that much about, it will come across as such. You’ll see the stretch, you’ll see too much of my brain and not enough of my heart in the piece.

But then where does a powerful post come from?

Often times it comes from a place of pain that I look at with clear eyes and just keep writing. Or a place of happiness that I don’t get too overjoyed about, I just document.

How do you do that? You do need to develop self-confidence. Trust that you’re doing the right thing. You need to keep working on your craft and on getting to know yourself. For me, yoga, with its postures, breath-work, meditation and emphasis on finding your receptive, loving warrior of ever-vigilance, has been a great aid as well.

But how do you share from the heart? Like, seriously, what do you do to get out of your own way and create?

Buy The Change

Originally Published on Elephant Journal Nov 30, 2012


Each one of us can trigger an idealogical shift that topples dominoes in the real world throughout the course of our normal day by making decisions about how we define ourselves and being strict about what we buy.

What’s this cat talking ’bout?

I’m talking about a Christmas season where you buy the change you want to see in the world and shine a spotlight on your values.

We all know that our purchases have a ripple effect throughout the world. If we buy certain cheap goods, we know suppliers are more than likely cutting humanitarian corners, making products in nations whose governments aren’t necessarily resisting the temptation to allow industry the right to rule, countries whose citizens are forced to work in unsafe conditions for a tiny bit of cash to pay for their families’ food.

This can be glossed over, but what it means in reality is that hardworking people end up burning to death in garment factories with no fire escapes in Bangladesh just so we can buy cheap t-shirts.

It’s not always so bad—our purchases can also preserve and strengthen indigenous cultures. Unlike those selling bulk to large chains, coffee farmers working for the top artisan brands are treated like heroes and given freedom to grow the best coffee tree they can on the soil they respect. A freshly roasted bag is a great gift and says a lot.

Each time you buy a present this Christmas, I urge you to inspect the entire lifecycle of the item.

Because it’s up to us to combat the neglect that’s peddled for profit as we pass on our regrets, we could’ve been giving the gift of organic denim, but instead we’re keeping dirty secrets.

I mean, it’s up to you, ultimately, what you wanna do. But a gift with a meaning, from the heart—we all know—means more than any trinket, and don’t doubt it. You can inspire change in someone’s life if you take a minute to think about it. What will light up this person’s eyes?

Take a second to find something that leaves an imprint of love in time

         Ed: Lynn H.

What's Your Superpower?

Originally published on Elephant Journal July 15, 2012

                                                                          Do you self heal?  Can you see through everyone's BS?

                                                                         Do you self heal?  Can you see through everyone's BS?

Have you ever thought about what it would it be like to have a super human ability?

Ha, that’s one of those cheesy first date questions—but of course you did, back when you were a kid.

Perhaps you had socks on your hands and you were rubbing them against the carpet, watching the static and picturing yourself sending bolts of electricity at people. Were you healing or were you hurting? Perhaps it was a little bit of both.

We grew up a bit since then, learned a thing or two. We learned we had certain likes and really didn’t enjoy some other things. We learned that it really irritated us the way some people said certain things to us. We liked some of the other things that people said.

People started to compliment us on various inherent traits that we were just born with. Sometimes we’d take the compliment, sometimes we wouldn’t. We developed certain certain styles, certain idiosyncrasies. Our relationships progressed and either accelerated or hindered our dreams.

We went off to college or got a job or perhaps we got derailed. We developed good and bad habits. We learned about our place in the world and found a place to grow strong enough in.

Okay, so here you’re reading this. You’re safe enough for now.

Now what?

What’s missing between you and your real life superhero?

What is a real life superhero?

Here’s another bad first date question, but a really important question to answer for ourselves: what would we do if we couldn’t fail? If money didn’t matter. If no one judged us, they just appreciated us for what we are?

As soon as I began to pursue that thing (writing) that I would do if no one judged me, I suddenly realized that there was a whole new world of things of value that I hadn’t yet known I wanted to give (coaching, speaking, etc.). All of a sudden—possibility.

It was impossible to know I was going to be excited about something that I didn’t even know existed yet.

So, let’s start with: “what would it be like if no one judged us?”

First, why does it matter if anyone judges us? Doesn’t it only matter if our judgement of their judgement matters to us—basically, if we judge ourselves?When we love ourselves regardless and don’t judge ourselves, there’s no failure.

So then what? It’s about the creation. Creating that thing that we want to create. It may suck, but it’s that sucky thing that we wanted to do, and that’s pretty f*cking cool.

But let’s be practical here. Let’s not go nuts and just build an ark or something. Unless your heart says do that. I mean, but what are you qualified for right now?

Think back on your life. What were you just naturally good at when you were younger, the things your teachers or friends or family would say something to you about? In high school? College? What things are you really boss at at your job now? How about your last job?

Maybe it’s the way you deal with people, your ability to call people on the phone… write reports… process notes.

Think of all your best skills from your whole life. Now combine them into one package.

Those are your superpowers—and using those superpowers makes you a real life superhero.

So let’s aim that at what you would do if you couldn’t fail. Let’s get help, so we can start to try to figure out a way to give our superpowers all away, like superheroes do.

I mean, granted, we need to keep working on our skills—how to jump through a window and land gracefully, all that. Gotta get Aunty Em to sew us a cape. But I mean, I saw a homeless man with a pigeon the other day. I learned he had been caring for it for three years. The guy was definitely not “all there” by some people’s definitions, but the dude was definitely a superhero.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger