Archives for July 2015

Why did I take my kids into the jungle in Costa Rica for weeks?

Happy (?) Kids in Costa RicaI've been asking myself that near daily as they struggle w ear pain, vegetarian food, mosquito bites, no video games and rain and look to me constantly to fix it.

I brought them here so we can stop taking for granted the easy convenience of the things and food that cost far more than we pay out of pocket on a planetary level.

Learning about compost, rain catchment, sustainable food growing and being a family without all the conveniences we are used to having.

While I could live here indefinitely, my kids are not that into it.

At the same time, I see the kids who have grown up here thriving. Independent. Powerful.

And I see my kids growing too. Adapting. Recognizing their own strength. Learning from the other adults and kids here.

The hardest part is when I watch my son eat a bag of mono-crop farmed, GMO grown, pesticide sprayed and wrapped in plastic Cheetos that we brought in our snack bag, I feel shame.take my kids Snack

It's this addictive “food” that is destroying the planet and if I can't even stop my own child from eating it, I feel helpless.

Sure, I could just not buy it for him, but at 12 he's a sovereign being. He has money. He has choice.

And my choices up until now have led to him preferring “Cheetos” over just about any of the other amazing food here. For that, I feel sad.

My hope is that I can turn things around. That I can make better choices going forward. That I can be more aware of my impact on the planet.

My hope is that we can all start waking up and make better choices, together.

Maybe more money isn’t the answer …

I used to think the answer to all of my problems was just make more money, now I am beginning to discover that maybe the real answer is learn to live with less and make better use of what I do have.

This is a somewhat shocking thought to me as I used to pride myself on my philosophy around never trying to pay less for anything.

Why invest any energy in negotiating or coupon cutting when I can just earn more money?

And while I do still see trying to save money through negotiation and coupon cutting as a tremendous waste of energy, I also see that making the highest and best use of our resources is probably the most important piece of the money equation and I haven't done the best job with that in the past.

It's time to remember that I created the Money Map not so I could create a plan to make as much as possible (although it can be used for that), but to remind me of how little I actually need.

I thought that my time at the farm (back in 2011/2012) was temporary just so I could have a year of determining who I am if money doesn't matter and so I could file bankruptcy and start over after taking on way too much debt to be able to create and maintain business models that were robbing me of my life.

Maybe, though, it's really where I belong.

On a farm, growing food, writing my books and articles, connecting with people online via podcast and video, helping as many people as I can create the lives they truly want without so much financial pressure.

Financial pressure has been a powerful motivator in my life, but maybe I am ready to be done with that paradigm and instead live a lot more simply, permanently.

I spent the entire day today reviewing financials in the companies and looking at how much revenue we need to earn so everyone can get paid what they need for their lives and then strategizing how we can do that while providing the most value to our members as possible.

This is a primary role of the CEO/business founder. And, I am really good at it, it's true. But is it truly my zone of genius?
Maybe so.

But so long as my expenses are high and I am operating from a space of financial pressure, I'm not sure I can really know what's true.

I'm compromising. I believe that's true for everyone to some degree.

I've found that those with the most are often the one's who are compromising the most.

So it's time to reconsider what life looks like once again, integrating the principles of permaculture to make a lot more life using a lot less non-renewable resources (like your time!) and a lot more of what's renewable and constantly regenerates itself (like your energy when you are truly intrinsically motivated and only doing what you would do for free anyway).

It's funny. I had no plans to share all this tonight, (though I did want to at some point share my biggest takeaways from our time at Punta Mona) – but then the universe conspired to make it so.

Both my computers crashed at the same time (my main and my backup) and as I was crying and beginning to freak out because this is particularly bad timing for me to not be on my computer, I was also getting the clear message “stop, take a bit of time and learn from what's being gifted to you here.”

So I did and read some articles posted on a friend's wall about the return to Eden and what I can see is true financial liberation and how permaculture is the answer.

That prompted me to share this with you now and to remind myself of what I learned in Punta Mona and why I went there in the first place – it's time to simplify and return to the flow of life beyond money as the motivator.

If I am providing value and know how to ask for what I need, all my needs are always met.

It's time for a return to only doing what I would do for free because my heart commands it, not because my family, or my landlord, or even my own egoic wants demand it.

The dark shadow of freedom

12 years ago I made the decision to step into my own personal sovereignty by creating my first business — a law practice.

I knew nothing about business or how to run one other than what had been modeled for me by the restaurant general mangers and law firm partners I had worked under in my prior jobs as a waitress in high school and college and then law firm associate, after law school.

What I learned from those jobs and the bosses I worked for was that freedom was available to those at the top, but for everyone else, freedom was a mere illusion.

I swore I would do it differently when I built my own business.

But for the most part, I failed for many years.

Someone always ended up trapped. Either me or the people who worked for me.

As I've gotten to go behind the scenes as a trusted advisor to high level business executives, lawyers, and company founders, I've seen this trap replicated.

In most cases, the business owner doesn't even know (or maybe doesn't care) that the people supporting them in their business are trapped.

In most cases, the people who are trapped may not even acknowledge to themselves that they are working in jobs they don't really want, because, well it's a paycheck, right?

Over the years, as I have coached and guided thousands of people to start their own businesses, to find their own personal sovereignty and get on the path to their own financial liberation, I have seen a pattern repeated over and over that is simply another trap.

There is an inherent belief that if you are not the owner of the company, at the top of the hierarchy, that you aren't really free. That you aren't really successful. That you can't have full sovereignty.

And, far too often, those who are building the businesses are more trapped than ever, but they'll never show it because to do so would hurt the business.

As a result, even those who have no business building businesses dive in, sacrifice their lives, their happiness and yes their own personal freedom to do it.

Mostly they struggle and never quite get there, thinking there is something wrong because they can't figure out how to make it work.

Sometimes, they succeed, but at what price?

As we move into a new paradigm, we have to find another way …

  • a way in which the business supporters, the business connectors, and the business guides are able to create and enjoy as much freedom as the business creators. And vice versa.
  • a way in which we all get to share in the fruits of the labor and take on the full personal responsibility that comes with a life of personal sovereignty.
  • a way in which we can all be truly free, to be all of who we are, to live the lives we really, really, really, REALLY want, and to work together, in harmony beyond competition, to experience it.

On this day of celebrating independence in the US, I urge you to consider whether you have truly created a life of freedom. And, if so, is it at someone else's expense?

Or are you perhaps trapped by your own definition of success?

Where do you see this shadow side of freedom in your own life?

And what ideas do you have about how we can shift it?