Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life Entrepreneurs ... making life and work one thing

by Dale Shumaker

Life Entrepreneurs by Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek is how ordinary people can create extraordinary lives using entrepreneur principles. Being an entrepreneur and living a life should be the same thing. What we learn in the business entrepreneur world can be applied and should be applied to our lives as well, so we live them as one thing. The authors studied the lives of 55 entrepreneurs who they found were ordinary people who did extraordinary things. They found not just business ideas, but people that have living and business as integrated, intertwined principles. They live happy, fulfilled lives.

The Life Entrepreneur is one who creates a life of significance through opportunity recognition, innovation, and action.

Life entrepreneurs use the same tools that business entrepreneurs use. It is about developing an authentic, personal vision for our life and then setting up audacious goals. It's finding rewarding work consistent with our values. Where we can develop our talents and achieve the success we desire. It's threading the needle of opportunity and happy home life.

Then along side this is drive and direction to create an extraordinary life. The path to the good life is winding, each person's path is different, but we all can walk our personal path of an authentic integrity, deep awareness, breakthrough innovation, courage to try, purposeful spontaneity, adaptive persistence and pervasive service where we contribute as our defining feature in our lives.

The steps of this life entrepreneur path are:

1. Discovering Core Identity
2. Awakening to Opportunity
3. Envisioning the Future
4. Developing Goals and Strategies
5. Building Healthy Support Systems
6. Taking Action and Making a Difference
7. Embracing Renewal and Reinvention.

Our Core Identity
Our core identity comes out of a convergence of our history, the current circumstances in our lives, the nature of our relationships (external elements) which converge with our needs, strengths, and passions. This forms our core identity of purpose with our values. It is the dis-covering of ourselves, that's peeling off the layers of ourselves to find our core person. The process to get to this requires introspection, action, change and reflection.

In forming our values and purpose core, we must delve deeper. Spirituality has shown up in how leading entrepreneurs do this. It includes believing in a higher power, experiencing a transcendence as we employ strengths, passion, connect with others...by staying active and doing your best.

This is enhanced by the pursuit of a calling. Our core identity is meaningless without Spirituality. Life is about not finding our purpose but uncovering it. This then becomes the passion of calling driving us, and sight of a new vision giving us direction.

Our Purpose and Values emerge and we live out authentic integrity... that's congruence between who we are and what we do.

Awakening to Opportunity
After our core identity is discovered and we are molding it, we start waking up to possibilities. Rather than being tossed around by our circumstances, we look for and discover opportunity in our challenges and changes we face and see around us. Most limits we think we see are really our mental illusions from something in our mindset that prohibits expansion. We create new categories, remain open to new ideas and information, accept uncertainty, re-frame and enlist our minds in a creative playful state.

With mindset skills of breakthrough innovation we create and innovate. Creativity is coming up with new ideas. Innovation is applying a newly found creative solutions in a specific context, and making the way so others cause it to effect change. Finding a better way and seeing to it that it is something others can use to make things better. So the life entrepreneur recognizes the opportunities, while proactively and purposefully choosing which ones to seize.

Envisioning the future
Our vision is something big we see years down the road... maybe out 10 years.The vision goes beyond the status quo, is projected out far enough that we can work for it, and altogether lined with our core identity... purpose and values. The vision moves in three directions... personal, professional, and within our relationships.

We may have to push our minds beyond our present circumstances and not be confined by them. It may evolve over time, but each next step may not be crystal clear, but we move toward it. A big vision may take a while, so our purpose values keep driving us in its direction. Stuff happens. The Life Entrepreneur holds fast and figures out ways to continue the path.

When a vision is shared with those in our lives, spouses, friends, colleagues, these associations keep us going when progress seems bleak or even out of the question. In sharing, there is a resolve of power.

Developing Goals and Strategies
Goals are aims, the ends we seek, the objectives we want to accomplish. They keep us focused and accountable. Goals are purposeful, prioritized, clear and measurable, challenging but achievable. Although long-term in vision, in the short-term they make us highly effective. Short-term gains added up over time create the long-term results we hope for.

Some stumbling blocks to goal setting...
--too many goals (3-5 well constructed goals are best for achievement)
--lowering goals if we fail (commit to work harder)
--getting them out of the mind (write them down with action activities)
--over fixation (keep them in perspective and remain flexible)
--making them a one-time sprint (its constant and ongoing continually)

When developing strategies, master the context of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. Test assumptions
Craft experiments
Mitigate, disarm risks
Identify required resources

Now Blaze the Trail.

Build Healthy Support Systems
Having healthy support systems has significant effect on our success and happiness. But, unfortunately, evidence is pointing to that this is on the decline generally.The average person has two close friends, someone they can confide with in total honesty. And one out of four say they don't have any close friends. We all are more fragile and vulnerable than we care to admit. The important people in our lives encourage us to be people of courage and character. They are a root of foundation on how we handle difficult challenges or whether we collapse when they come. Our closest friends are our chosen family. We look to them for support when challenged in mind, and spirit. One key to entrepreneur success is having these close, supportive, encouraging, friendships that spur us on when facing tough situations.

An ideal support system is couples. Entrepreneurs as couples have proven to be next to invincible. The Howard Schultz story of his wife's support at a critical time of his dream for coffee bistros in the US like Europe, was the turning point difference that has given us Starbucks today. So many notable entrepreneur ventures thriving today, have this "entrepreneur couple" factor highly factored in. This growth of entrepreneur coupling is budding the entrepreneur phenomenon.

Other factors of support strength includes mentors that know the road and help you on your entrepreneur path. Professional partnerships that include strong friendship relationships rise up to the top of a healthy support system. Then creating extended support networks works it way up the ladder... inviting those to join in your vision who whole heartedly support it.

How do you build this strong support network? The greatest persuader is authenticity. Without a personal conviction, expression of your passion, your words come off hollow. Being genuine, authentic, aligning what we do with our purpose and values, we present a package that attracts others.

Unquestionable trust and integrity bind the relationship between you and your support people... beyond legal agreements. Respect between parties must reign.

Healthy support relationships have trust, diversity, and reciprocity in their themes. When we are doing something good, people notice. When they see it's from the heart, it grabs theirs. Our support network brings others to support us too. The "positive network effect" is the flow of ideas through a broad web of relationships, a power that gains a momentum to a point of being unstoppable. It is the key ingredient for taking vision to reality.

Taking Action and Making a Difference.
Each entrepreneur has the courage to try... to discover who they really are and leave what is comfortable, safe and known. They could recognize the brief windows of opportunity and move quickly to seize them. They live in a purposeful spontaneity. If their purpose and core values were not defined and known to them clearly, this spontaneity would be a train wreck. Their search is a search of excellence discovery and bringing more excellent things into the marketplace. Service is a theme in all parts of our lives... home and work. Service is the "rent we pay for living on earth." Living in the realm of adaptive persistence. Sticking with it while being able to instinctively alternate between anticipation, changing course, learning to navigate to the back door if the front won't let them in.

There is more risk when we do not go for it, when the opportunity and purpose of self line up. Real failure is not entering the arena, or erasing the lines that stand between us and opportunity, and then not persevering.

Embracing Renewal and Reinvention
Stress is no stranger to the entrepreneur. Stress is induced by over committing ourselves and not being able to fulfill our promises, intense time pressure, and being subject to matters outside our control. So renewal and reinvention is essential. Adapt renewal strategies. Find a personal sanctuary where you can pray, reflect; places to walk, jog or swim; listening to music or reading a novel. Create habits of renewal.

The renewal process cycle has four stages. The awakening stage is realizing the need to change. Reflection is entering our sanctuary to revisit our core identity and get back to what is important to us. Planning is about taking action anew. Action is breaking out of old patterns.

When renewal is not enough, we must reinvent our lives. After a divorce, midlife crisis, we may need new direction which require big changes. Each change should lead to realigning us with our core identity of purpose and values. Then once again gain congruence and integration in lifestyle.

Creating a New Future
The authors discovered three overarching societal trends that emerged through their research of the life entrepreneur. The new age of entrepreneur progress has had its influence of Google, You Tube, wireless, open source, instant messaging, bioengineering, nanotechnology...

The first trend surfacing is untethering. A move away from traditional institutions and structures to a greater prevalence of free agents and specialized products and services. A move from traditional careers, to professional reinvention. Community is being redefined as we are untethering from local neighborhoods to social networks of similar interests and values... again made possible by the new advances in technology. Lives are more free flowing and uniquely designed by each individual, no longer tied to traditional modes of living.

The other trend is authenticity... finding a fit in the world that matches our genuine selves. There is a search for lifestyle and work which pushes them into their unique ideas, talents, skills and interests. The goal is to add purpose to their lives, and not be manipulated by work that takes them away from their true selves. Meaningful, lasting and enduring are key characteristics. This also affects consumer trends as social conscientious thinking affects who we choose to participate with in purchase of products or services.

The third trend is integration... a restoration of coherence and congruence in our lives. The blend is about less emphasis on income and security, and more on learning, challenge, fun, fulfillment, and service. Work must have value while paying the bills. It integrates family values with lifestyle interests, so work enhances and expresses these. Life is lived coherently and fluidly with our purpose, work, relationships, choice of place to live and activities coming together in a powerful whole.

Life is about living a life of our own that we own and someone else, or business doesn't. All three are the foundations for the pursuit of a new future in the lives of Life Entrepreneurs. The new life is about choosing to do so... with imagination, courage, and conviction. We integrate work and purpose. Success is about limitedless opportunities we now pursue and knowing we have the freedom to pursue them. There is joy, grace, and beauty to live out days within purpose and value.

Life Entrepreneurs website:

Jesus had a power formula for turning the ordinary into extraordinary.
He said when just two or three agree in pursuits, desires, objectives and lovingly work together toward that pursuit, everything is possible.The secret is the closeness of our relationships and respect for each others diverse nature, and abilities. When diversity, people of different personalities and abilities work together, extraordinary results manifest from it. The complete text of this is at:
(Geffry Fields is the aka for Dale Shumaker)

The Power Cell for Power Living is now being rediscovered.
Here's the secret to the whole thing.
It came after these frequent discussions with Dr. A. He had an insight before he died and wanted all to know what he was seeing.

One day he shared the story of how, after Jesus died, He reappeared to His followers. The followers of Jesus, after His execution, were afraid for their own lives. If those who executed Him found them, they might be killed too. So they all huddled in this little room with the doors locked hoping no one would find them.

Jesus came back. Although, with a new body, new look, new countenance. Most failed to recognize Him... after He came back from death with a miracle-produced body. Similar to his old one but different.

He was overcome with love for His followers. He didn't want to leave those alone saddened by his death. They were afraid, discouraged, feeling defeated and all was lost. They even had the doors locked so no one could get to them, not thinking that might keep Jesus from finding them too.

He was gone.... murdered by a bunch of arrogant, self-serving church folks. Who can you trust at times like this? Friends may be enemies. Those in your group may be making deals to betray you. What do you do but hide out.

But Jesus in all the power of Love in the universe would not let their doubt stop Him. He came through, penetrated the walls they had around them, and appeared to them.
(Note Luke 24)

Think of this.
Think HOW MUCH power there is in Jesus power of Love in you, and around you. Seeking to find you, even with the walls you put up to prevent anyone, including Jesus, to make His Presence known to you.

Even as we doubt... His Spirit is working for us.
When we may get so discouraged, feel ultimate defeat, He presses through any barrier, even the ones we create, and He will come and show up… personally, with all Heavenly power along with Him.
Jesus Love is so deep and strong, He comes to us in spite of us, to comfort us and let us Know... "I live with you, I 'literally' live in you," and all things "are" now possible. "Look what I have just done" He would say. Look how I pressed through all your own barriers and have come to appear to you.

No matter what... Jesus Spirit surpasses everything around and in us to come to restore what we think we have lost....making it even better! He was better and will continue doing more miraculous things... everywhere. He was killed but came back Super-Naturally.

We have the same privilege of this benefit.
Now what is the nucleus to this power?
They all hung together, even while disappointed and feeling defeated. As Dr. A emphasized... He came into their mist. He called this the law of manifestation.

When you master the following as the nucleus to your faith in Jesus Spirit in Us... what ever you hope for can be manifested... materialized... come into a tangible, living reality… in your very life, YOUR life.

This is the missing ingredient we have lost in our society and institutions of Spiritual representation. The Secret to the Law of Manifestation is… as Dr. A described…
1. When just two or more people join in thought and action,
2. When they connect circuits Spiritually, make contact in person, or through some other communication means (phone, email, internet video, etc.),
3. On behalf of Jesus Spirit...meaning
--In a state of love that loses interest in self and considers others more important than themselves
--Sharing in thought and ideas and respectfully considering others thoughts, feelings and personal gift/callings.
--Serving each other as if they were serving themselves. With Jesus Spirit of serving others more important than trying to get from others, or selfishly using others for one's own gain.
(Note Matthew 18)

This is the master formula... that creates miracle, supernatural power in all things and the greatness of Jesus is Us... all universal potential of Jesus manifests itself.
This is the missing component to why power is not around, functioning naturally as a normal, existing part of life.

Master the above and the Supernatural events as Jesus demonstrated when he returned to His followers will be a partisan part of your personal life, business operations, family, and all components of life.

"Given these components, one can expect the manifest presence of Jesus"(Dr. A) as Jesus Spirit is with us. Jesus is now Us.

Expect the least likely, most defeated areas, to have their rebirth, reappearance in you and even marvelously more superior than before. The circuits of Spirit will flow continuously and powerfully in all aspects of all you do. This intimate fellowship with each other is reflected among us... above normal.

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