I’m Afraid of Myself Sometimes

Feb 22, 2013

I’ve noticed myself regretting some of my posts over the past six weeks.

I expressed opinions, and I fear how those opinions may have made me look.

My instinct in communication is to wait for people to say something and develop rapport by agreeing with some part of what they said. Not having rapport with people makes me uncomfortable. This is why I was quiet for many years growing up…I didn’t want to say something that would make me look bad.

Through my writing on facebook, I am writing to many different types of people, 99% of whom will provide no feedback to what I write. There is no one person I can write to in order to please.

Therefore, my writing becomes a mirror. Whatever I think the diverse silent majority is thinking about me is really what I’m thinking about myself.

I think I am afraid of other people’s judgement, but really, I’m afraid of my own.

I don’t want to be afraid of myself anymore.

I will continue to write.

Turning Points

Feb 6, 2013

The most challenging parts of personal growth happens in moments where we consciously break limiting habits. The longer a habit stays, the more it feels like we can’t live life without it and the more it becomes rationalized, which makes us feel trapped.

Over the last few months I changed a number of behaviors that were limiting me. I stopped watching an hour or more of TV a day, and I started going to bed early so I could get 8+ hours of sleep per night.

I had lots of justifications for why each of these were ok. Now, that I’m not watching TV, I’ve been able to read a book a week. Because I sleep more, I wake up everyday having a ton more energy.

What worked for me was using the principles from THE POWER OF HABIT. From reading this book, I identified the queues and the rewards for each habit. I didn’t try to change the queue or reward, I only changed the habit.

For example, for TV, what queued me was the children going to bed and me feeling wiped out at the end of a long day. The reward was relaxation. So, I found activities that are really helped me relax and didn’t use any will-power. For me, that meant and still means journaling online and spending a lot of time searching for books that are page turners, and that I look forward to reading. If I start a book, and I find that it’s taking will-power, then I immediately stop reading it. Also, taking a nap during the day has given me more energy to be productive when the children fall asleep so I have a little more will-power.

The impact that has happened from reading 15+ amazing books and sharing on facebook over the past months are profound and hard to measure. I quiver at the thought of how much time I wasted watching TV and depriving myself of sleep.

Small hinges open big doors.

My Biggest Fear Is That ‘I Am Boring’ And Therefore Not Worthy Of Love & Connection

Jan 24, 2013

There are only a few times in our lives where we’re able to draw a clear thread from pain in our childhood to who we are today. Today I was able to access such a thread after listening to Brene Brown’s TED Talk (top 10 most viewed TED talk).

WARNING: This is a very long and personal post.

During Brene’s talk I wrote in my journal, “Is there something about me that if other people find out, I wouldn’t be worthy of their love and connection?”

The immediate word that came to me was, “I AM BORING!” After that unexpectedly came to my mind, I instinctively knew that I did not need to make a list. This was it!

At a deep subconscious level, I fear that if I were ‘normal’ that I would be ignored. I have grown up feeling that I’m not innately interesting enough for other to pay attention to.

According to my mom, I started going to daycare full-time when I was a few months old. From my memories of my day care years, I remember always being the first to be dropped off and the last to be picked up. I did not like this daycare.

The large majority of memories of my early life are from daycare and this makes sense. Putting the pieces together, I spent 9+ hours there everyday in addition to 1+ hours every day driving to and from the daycare. Assuming that I slept as much as Halle does now, I spent about 22 out of 24 hours of every weekday sleeping, at daycare, and commuting.

In elementary school, I went to a before-school daycare and than an after-school program organized by the school. One memory that sticks out for me is when I was 9 years old. It was snowing, so it must have been the winter, a few months after my father died. I was waiting for my mom to pick me up with the instructor for a long time.
I got worried that my mom had gotten in the car accident and died. I worried this before, but I surprised myself by actually sharing this with the instructor. He was surprised and tried to reassure me.

I am realizing for the first time in my life that I interpreted my mom’s actions as not wanting or caring about me. I felt alone. I did not understand what it meant for my mom to raise me by herself, work full-time, and commute 1.5 hours everyday. I did not understand that she was actually working much harder than other parents to make sure my needs were met.

The belief that I got was that I am not enough as I am to be loved. The coping mechanisms that I used were (1) Thinking about worst case scenarios such as the people close to me dying and reassuring myself that I would be ok if that happened and (2) Trying to be the best at something. These coping mechanisms became so entrenched in my life that they became invisible because it has become my identity.

Putting the dates together now for the first time, I won a 1-mile race called the Pumpkin Run a few days or weeks after my father died. This was the first thing I ever remember winning, and it give me quite a lot of pride. In grade school, one of my main focuses was trying to be good at every sport I played. This theme of doing everything I can to be the best at whatever I do has run deeply through my life.
This helps me better understand why I feel insecure if I can’t be the best at something. It threatens my #1 defense mechanism.

I don’t know how to move forward with this realization. I don’t know what a world looks like where I’m not spending every moment being productive, relaxing so that I can be productive in the future, or feeling guilty about how I wasn’t productive in the past. I don’t know that I even want to let go of this because I see the benefits of it, and I’m not sure I understand the costs. The communities I am apart of include people who are growing constantly, and I fear being left behind if I stop thinking of the world in this way.

These are not something that one just realizes and then everything changes. It will take time and healing to truly understand that I am enough as I am, that I am loved regardless of what I do, and that I am more than my productivity.

I am extremely thankful for this awareness

I appreciate who I am today. Therefore, I appreciate the past and everything that made me the way that I am. I would not have it anyway other way, and I look forward to the next phase of self-realization.

On Struggling Financially

Jan 13, 2013

When I think about the last 13 years of my life financially, it has been a struggle. While my lifestyle has improved drastically from subsisting on canned tuna, I’ve always been at the point of going broke in a few months if money doesn’t come in. The times where I’ve started to save money, my expenses have risen. This is true both in my personal and business life.

The excuse that I’ve told myself in the past is that I’m investing in the future and one day I’ll earn so much money that I’ll never have to worry about it again. However, now at 31, an unspoken fear of mine is that I will live my whole life like this without every making progress, because I’m not shifting my mind in the way I need to.

The word I need to become friends with is PROFIT, and the word I near to be less comfortable with is BREAK-EVEN.

This is one of my big goals in 2013, and the more I explore it, the more I need to re-examine so many parts of my life.

One realization is that I need to invest less in the future. That means investing less in things that COULD work and more in the things that DO work financially.

That’s scary for me. It means cutting myself off from being open to new ideas, no matter how good they look. It means cutting myself off from existing or new people where there is not a direct path to financial profit. At some level, that feels wrong to me.

The future has always been a place of possibility for me. It has been the place of hope when I was surrounded by things I didn’t want in my life. It is weird now that this way of thinking, when not balanced correctly, can actually hurt me.

There are a lot of great things in my life that work now. I have learned a lot of best practices by meeting incredible people and reading hundreds of books and mostly by just living life.

I used to have a huge vision for my life, but I had no idea on how I would get there. Now, I know the tools, vehicles, and strategies that I will need to follow.

Here is what I have learned in one sentence:


This doesn’t mean that I will completely stop investing in the future, but the ratios will definitely change!

Now, the trick is actually implementing this and really coming to grips with this in my bones.

Judging Myself Against Myself Instead of Others

Dec 15, 2012

I started my first business when I was 16 years old. My business partner and I made $40,000 our senior year working about 10 hours a week during the school year. There wasn’t much coverage on teen entrepreneurship in the country, so I literally thought I was one of the top handful of entrepreneurs in the country.

As a result of starting the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (http://www.extremetour.org/) and the Empact100 (http://www.empact100.com/), I’ve had the opportunity to meet a huge diversity of extremely ‘successful’ (successful in lots of ways) young entrepreneurs.

This has been a humbling process. In seeing other people’s success, I sometimes have found my self-esteem get smaller and unconsciously wondering what I’m doing wrong. I can remember ruining perfectly good days in college when I’d come across an amazing young entrepreneur, and I’d have to completely rework my world view so I wouldn’t get depressed. It is embarrassing to admit that, but it’s the truth.

I’ve been in situation after situation and still am in it where I feel like people don’t really get who I am and under-estimate me. I imagine other people feel similarly.

I’m lucky to be married to Sheena Lindahl, because she is one of the most independent thinkers I have ever met. I have NEVER seen her compare herself to other people. I’ve never seen her look down at somebody or gravel at someone else’s feet.

She is a reminder to me that I shouldn’t build my self-worth based on what society or my circle considers ‘sexy’ or ‘meaningful’ at a given time.

We all have unique strengths, timelines, and visions for our lives. I think greatness ultimately comes from judging ourselves on our own scale.

I Recommit to Life

Feb 13, 2012

I fell into temptation this last year.

I focused too much on illusory goals that I ultimately knew would not give me what I was looking for in this life.

There comes a point in the study of success, when you know you have mastered the principles enough to get to a point that society would call successful if you simply continue to follow the road you’re on and ride the momentum.

It is tempting to follow that direct path in order to potentially gain the respect and approval of others.

I now know that the cost of pursuing that path is ultimately losing respect for one’s self.

I know that the goals I would like to pursue in this life are not directly visible by anybody but myself.

In order to attain the goals in anyway, I now realize that I must sacrifice external approval of others at different points. That is scary for me. I thought that both could be pursued simultaneously, but ultimately, I think one must make choices.

I pray for the courage, integrity, and focus to consistently stay on the path that my soul demands.

Why I Have Hope…

Dec 19, 2010

We have the ability to control our mind, and our mind has ability to control our life.

When it comes to controlling the mind, every moment matters.

Every thought reinforces itself and is therefore stronger than that thought alone.

“This will be the last time.” is a lie, because making poor choices will only reinforce poor choices.

‘Taking a break’ from programming your mind is an excuse to make poor choices.

Habits of thought are INCREDIBLY strong and require immense will-power and self-awareness to alter.

Creating positive habits is a lifelong discipline.

By fully taking this power into our hands, we break the link between past and future.

We can choose our future, and then choose thoughts that will create that future.

I have hope for the world, because I know we all have this power to create our world.

How can we help each other use this power in every moment?

On Being a New Parent (Again)

Nov 11, 2010

Alright, I’ve just entered a new phase of my life with a second child.

I’m really excited about it.

I’m now a big believer that life has its seasons. Each season makes energy flow in a certain direction. I notice things are more in harmony when I go with that energy.

If I had to look back from 20 years in the future and give this season a title, I would call it: BUILDING. This is probably closest to the end of winter.

I’m building a family and building my first real business. I think I’ll be looking back at this period of life with nostalgia at the children being so young, and I’ll appreciate all of the time I spent with them. I will also appreciate all the hard work I put into the business so I could enjoy the growth financially and personally along with the impact in the future.

I appreciate being in situations where I MUST change for the better. Maybe, other people can change more easily, but I find I operate best (metaphorically) when I have a gun to my head and the person holding it says, “Dance!” There is something to be said for taking away all your options except the best ones.

During winter, things die or go into hibernation. I’m going to need to say no to parts of myself and things I do, which I previously allowed. This is not easily, but it is good.

The Secret that Young Entrepreneurs Want to Share with the World

Nov 4, 2010

As the co-founder of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (http://www.extremetour.org), I’ve had the opportunity to personally meet hundreds of young entrepreneurs in their teens and twenties making very good livings and changing the world. I know of thousands more who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet.

They’ve told me a secret that’s not widely known.

Here it is:

We are not an anomaly.

We are a sign of things to come.

Any success we’ve had is replicable and therefore teachable.

We’re successful because we started young and had years of deliberate practice running our own business before we hit it big.

We’re possible NOW at such a young age and in such large numbers because rapidly evolving technology has democratized starting a business for people who don’t have money or a network.

Our mindset is the solution to what most people in America care about: JOBS!

Small businesses create 2/3 of jobs.

To build an entrepreneurial country, we need to teach entrepreneurship to young people as early as we can.

In the same way we groom athletes and musicians from a young age with deliberate practice so too can we groom tomorrow’s job creators.

“I’m Gonna Show You How Great I Am!” -Muhammad Ali

Sep 28, 2010

Growing up, I wanted to be discovered. I wanted people to see how great I was. I felt under-appreciated, like people didn’t get me. But, I didn’t break out of my shell and show people how great I was.

No one is obligated to believe in us.

We have to make it impossible for people not to see our greatness.