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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Throwing Yourself into the Service of Others…


Nope, there will never be the perfect time to give of yourself, your time, your assets, your energy. And of course you have to take care of your own needs. 
But serving others will: boost your self-esteem, make change in your life AND change in others lives, bring you closer to your life’s purpose, create new friends, enhance old friendships, foster empathy, create the space for self-knowledge and learning, lead to adventures great and small, and lead to true love. 
You think you have nothing to offer? Think again. 
What kind of advice are people asking of you on a consistent basis? What was the last kind thing you did within the last two days? What would you like to give? All valid questions that may help you figure out what to offer. 
No gift is perfect, but the intention is what counts. Simply put: you are the perfect gift. 



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We're partying hearty! Join us in celebrating our international book launch!! January 13 in NYC we're having a kicking party with author readings, a book signing, an author Q&A, a special world premiere music video, and a wine and cheese reception. Full details are here: http://iampossibleproject.eventbrite.com

I hope you'll join us... it would mean the world to me and the fifty authors.

- Josh Rivedal, author, curator The i'Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You

Thursday, December 17, 2015

#WhatsWorking: Healing by Sharing


I’ve been talking a lot about storytelling over the past year on this blog. Recently I had the opportunity to talk a little about storytelling as a guest on Caroline Tehrani’s show on HuffPost Live—a live streaming web-based network.
The title of the segment on Caroline’s show is “What’s working: Healing through sharing,” an aspect of storytelling I hadn’t thought about or explored until recently. 
But this idea of sharing one’s story as a healing tool holds especially true for me as I’ve had the opportunity to both listen to and share stories that have helped me heal and that have helped the storyteller opposite me heal. 
In the context of this video we are talking about suicide and mental health. But hopefully the foundations of what we’re talking about are useful to you in whatever situation you may be in: a relationship, a physical ailment, or a __. The video is 20 minutes but you can certainly chop it up and listen to it during the course of the day. The link is here: HuffPost Live Segment
PS. don’t judge me at the beginning of the vid! I look a little cray-cray because I was distracted by sound reverb in my earphones. But the rest of the vid is pretty solid. #justsaying! :) 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Would you consider pre-ordering?

At the beginning of next year, I'm bringing out two new books (and I'm giving away another new book). 

Copies of the books recently arrived at my office. Paging through them, I'm thrilled at how they came out, and together, they might represent my best ever effort at communicating ways to push past huge barriers and create possibilities in our personal lives. I hope you'll take the time to give them a read.

Two books at once might be a bit of an undertaking, but with your help, it might turn out to be a great idea. This is about making books for my readers, as opposed to finding readers for my books--and it all depends on whether you choose to read the books and to spread the word.

The first, the core book and the foundation of this movement, is The i'Mpossible Project—Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You. (BN) (1, 3, or 10 pack) It's about overcoming big obstacles and changing and recalibrating life in the aftermath. You can read a free sample here. (PS the first 200 copies are hand-signed, and I have 21 left—plus everyone who orders gets a free ebook copy of my first book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah )

The second is called How to Live Mentally Well and Crush it in College(Smashwords) It was created specifically as a peer-to-peer e-resource guide for any college student (there's also a High School version). I've been so delighted with the reaction this book has caused among the people who have actually read it and implemented it on their campus.

Of course, you can wait until January and wait until your friends have copies and wait until it's already being discussed, but I'm hoping you'll do me a favor and show your favorite bookseller your support and order a copy now before the holiday craziness distracts us all.

Thanks, as always, not just for reading, but for doing something important to make change in your life and your community. I appreciate your support more than I can say.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Guest Post: Michael Roderick

This is a guest post from my dear friend Michael Roderick. 
------
You want to be a Connector.
Doing the work that I do, I get invited to a number of networking meetings and events and most of the time I meet a lot of networkers. I stopped going to most of these events and meetings because, over the course of my career I learned that I didn’t want to be a networker, I preferred to be a connector. Many people pay thousands of dollars to be in these groups and if they are lucky they have a few true connectors in them, but more than likely the majority of the room is networkers. So what is the difference?
  1. Networkers connect on a horizontal and connectors connect on a vertical. A networker usually makes introductions to people on the same level or lower to whoever they are “networking” with. So they may send a business referral, but if they do it’s often something small or at the same level as the person they are interacting with. In a worst case scenario, they refer someone who isn’t pre-qualified in order to satisfy a quota for one of the groups they are in and you end up taking a meeting with someone who has no idea that you have a service you provide. Connectors recognize both the people above and the people below. A really good connector will think carefully of who in their world could 10x your business or who could give you amazing advice. They care more about quality than quantity and will always ask specific and pointed questions to send you the absolute best people and really help you succeed. Connectors love putting the haves with the have-not’s.
  2. Networkers are focused on transactions and connectors are focused on gifts. A networker seeks reciprocity everywhere they go. They usually open any meeting with a question about how your business works and what good referrals are and then they proceed to do the same. Then the conversation often ends and they feel like they have done their job. They tick a box and then assess whether or not you send good stuff their way. Connectorsdon’t seek out reciprocity, it finds them. This is because a connector will ask you about what your goals are and what youbelieve in. They want to know why you do what you do and what will make you more successful. They will let you know about their business, but they will often offer a gift as opposed to trade referrals. Gifts are given without the expectation of return and they build credibility faster than anything else. They pay attention to who in their world is sending them business, but they don’t see it as a trade and they recognize that in some cases things will come back to them, but the universe is on its own timeline. As a result of this, people start to on their own offer them gifts and opportunities completely unbidden.
  3. Networkers take business meetings and force themselves to talk personal and connectors get together with youand talk very little about business. Networkers are there to give their sixty-second pitch and wait dutifully for yours. They may ask you about your family or hobbies, but it often sounds forced.You can often see an anxious look in their eyes as they do so because they are really just trying to get their pitch in front of youand see if you can help them find clients. Connectors never pitch; they recognize genuine inquiry and follow through on it. A true connector will talk to you about you. Theywant to know your background, your origin story, what excites youabout your work, etc. They mention their work and they see howyou react. If you ask them to tell you more eagerly, they do. If they see you’re not interested in what they do, they move on very quickly. You will never feel pitched when meeting with a connector, but you’ll probably buy from them or someone they know.
  4. Networkers have scripts and connectors live in the moment. You’ll know a networker the second you sit down with them because they’ll use canned phrases that they learned at a networking meeting. They will often say word for word something they saw in a book or in an article. Their pitch will be the same way. It will sound truly rehearsed with as much flowery language as possible. Connectors are always experimenting with how they explain what they do. They also know all of the canned phrases that are out there, but they put their own spin on it or come up with their own way of saying it. They let the conversation go where it goes and you’ll never feel like they are reading from a manual because they are too busy engaging with you and asking really good questions.
  5. Networkers stay close to home while connectors explore. If you meet a networker, they usually belong to a group and you will meet a ton of people from their group. They will rarely introduce you to anyone outside of that group because they have developed a loyalty to those people. The events they inviteyou to will be events run by members of the group and rarely will they introduce you to anyone who is not in that circle. Connectors live in hundreds of different worlds and industries and are naturally curious. They are always meeting different groups and organizations and are happy to introduce you to any one in those worlds. They often touch multiple industries and over the course of a single day could be meeting with a billionaire philanthropist, a circus performer, a doctor, and an app developer.
When you start out in business, there will be many people pushing youto be a “power networker” and you’ll see all kinds of books and talks on the topic. Having been in presence of some of these “powernetworkers” I have to say this:
There is far more power in connecting than networking.
 Use that power.
 The world needs more connectors.

Are you a connector?

If you are, or if you hope to be, I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks at ConnectorCon 2015.

The reason I produce this event every year is that I love seeing amazing people meet one another and help one another. All too often, conferences are more about the people speaking than they are about the participants. The focus of ConnectorCon is on you.

My goal is introducing you to people with different backgrounds and experiences so that you can identify new opportunities, partnerships, and friendships that will carry into 2016.
I hope you'll apply to attend ConnectorCon today.

Excelsior!
-Mike

Monday, December 7, 2015

Diversity: The Cause and Solution to All of Life’s Problems


I admit the title of this post was a bit over the top (okay, way over the top). 

I feel like when most people hear the word “diversity,” they think, Oh god, he’s not going to rant about white privilege, being nicer to disabled people, or rave about some new religious animal-worshiping cult… is he? SO uncomfortable. 

Well, the answer is “hell, no,” I am not going to talk about any of that stuff. But I’ve been researching the b’jesus out of “diversity,” because of the new direction of The i'Mpossible Project (not to mention our new book with 50 “diverse” stories), and because I’ve been traveling a lot the past four years to 41 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and England. I’ve had conversations with thousands of different people, with diverse backgrounds, religions, accents, skin colors, genders, sexual orientations, and even colloquialisms (it’s not just po-TAY-toe vs. po-TAH-toe anymore, baby). It’s pretty incredible how many great people live in this world… and how crap-tastic we are at communicating with one another. Petty disagreements over parenting styles or freedom of some kind of choice turn into icy cold shoulders and even war when an “agree to disagree” would do just fine. 

But the fact is: diversity makes us more innovative and better innovators. There is a world of information from people we’ve never met on new parenting techniques, how to get your spouse to try spicy food, how to make a thirty year marriage fire on all cylinders, or how to reintegrate rehabilitated ex-convicts into society and the workplace.

How do we make diversity a priority? 

At home we can work as a family to learn a new language. 

At work we can create coalitions to give a voice to whatever *minority exists in the workplace  *think outside the box here. If I was the only straight guy working in sales for a gay cruise company, then I would be the minority. 

In our community we can work to make sure everyone’s views are taken into consideration and everyone has a seat at the table for block parties, local politics, and suburban rezoning policies.  

How do you do diversity? Leave a reply…. I’d love to learn about it!


Thanks

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My latest for the Huffington Post: "A Holiday Love Letter to the Newly Bereaved From Suicide Loss"

"You might be exactly where I was six years ago after I lost my father to suicide. It's your first Thanksgiving without your wife, your son, your uncle, the person who meant the world to you. They're gone and you're feeling completely alone, even when surrounded by the laughter of family and friends hovered over plates of turkey and stuffing, and cranberry sauce straight from the can.
"In 2009, during my first Thanksgiving without my father, our family and a few friends reminisced about the good times my father. But after those few, brief cathartic moments, I was still left with a sense of longing and loneliness that I couldn't shake. How the hell could anyone else in the world understand what I was going through?
"The next eighteen months were the hardest for me--capped by a six week bout of clinical depression in early 2011 that nearly caused me to take my own life. Thankfully I got help and found the space to connect with other survivors of suicide loss, many of whom have become some of the best friends I've ever had. Because we shared our stories and our grief with one another, we know we'll never be alone again. Several of us continue to share our stories publicly with the hope and belief that if we do, we'll be able to honor our lost loved ones and help others dealing with the complexities of their own grief or despair.
"To all the newly bereaved, I'm deeply sorry for your loss. Please know that you are loved and you are not alone. There will be a bit of a learning curve while on your grief journey but there is a great deal of support as well.
  • "Please be gentle with yourself. It took me a few years to put away the feelings of regret for things I thought I should or should not have done before my father died. And it may feel counterintuitive but it's totally okay during the course of your day or week to laugh or cry or just let yourself feel.
  • "Take your time on your grief journey. No one has the right or the authority to give you a time frame on how long you're "allowed" to be sad or in mourning. You need to be able to process your loss and your feelings for as long as it takes.
  • "I can't promise that the grief will get easier but it will be different, with varying levels of manageability. The grief will come in waves--sometimes when you least expect it.
  • "It may be difficult at first but try to connect to helpful resources: a localInternational Survivor of Suicide Loss event (the Saturday before U.S. Thanksgiving), a survivor of suicide loss support group, a LOSS team who can help with the newly bereaved, or even a good a book from a fellow survivor of loss.
"And if you're reading this and you want to help a new survivor of suicide loss:
  • "Please be patient. Let the survivor know that it's cool that they cry around you or talk about their loss. And please don't try to set a time limit on the survivor's grief.
  • "Avoid trite sayings. It's not helpful to say things like: 'you have to be strong for your other children,' or 'it's in God's hands,' or 'everything happens for a reason.' It's better to simply say, "I love you, I don't understand but I want to, and I'm here for you."
  • "Listen and listen some more. Listening without interrupting is a great gift you can give to anyone whether or not they are dealing with a suicide loss. Listening shows that you care, and shows the survivor that their feelings are important and that they matter.
  • "Ask if and how you can help. Sometimes it's good to give the survivor space. Other times it's good to give a gentle nudge and ask how you can help. And then there are times when you can say, 'your lawn is starting to look like Jurassic Park. I'm coming over tomorrow and I'm cutting your grass.'"
___________________

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Art and Science Behind Telling a Story That BOMBs


Science says that we tell and listen to stories because: “the constant firing of our neurons in response to fictional stimuli strengthens and refines the neural pathways that lead to skillful navigation of life’s problems.”

Translation from Klingon to English: We like stories because they help us deal with both the beauty and the crap that life sends our way. 

So if we need stories to navigate through life, why does it feel like some stories are all about the storyteller and do nothing for the listener? This kind of story is all about: my resume, my greatness, my oppressive agenda, what I want. 

If your story as a lot of “my’s” and “I’s” then it’s going to be a crap story and the listener is going to walk away (and might probably be pissed as well). 

Case in point: When I first started out as an actor, I wanted to meet every director, producer, and casting director from New York to Bollywood (hey—I was desperate). Whenever I got the chance to get in front of someone I wanted to impress, the story was always about me, my resume, my skills, and what I wanted. Soon enough, the director’s or producer’s eyes would glaze over, bored to near death, hoping to god they’d be saved by a nuclear blast rather than sit through another thirty seconds listening to me talk. 

I never stopped to think about having a conversation, about asking them who they are and what they wanted. I never thought about telling them a (my) story so that it was for their benefit. 

Storytelling is never about what you want (not entirely) nor the income… it’s always about the outcome. You’ll get what you want in part or in full only after you’ve fulfilled someone else’s needs. 

PS. I’d love to hear about a time you told a story and it totally bombed. What could you have done differently? Click reply to holler at me or message me on Facebook.

P.P.S. Speaking of stories: I recently was interviewed on An Evolving Lifestyle Podcast. It was a blast! And I think you’d enjoy. You can listen to the interview here: http://www.anevolvinglifestyle.com/iampossible/

Thursday, November 19, 2015

If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone, But if You Want to Go Far, Go Together


If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. 

Speak up and speak often. If you seek to do great things in the community, collaborate with stakeholders and leaders by crafting and sharing your collective stories. We need all of our stories to unify, to ignite change, and to create a better world for our children and grandchildren. We need to work together.


When alone we are vulnerable but together we are mighty. 
***
The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You is now available for pre-order at www.iampossibleproject.com/one. 50 authors. 50 inspirational stories of overcoming tremendous obstacles. 

The first 200 people to pre-order will get a “thank you” in the front of the book, and a free copy of the book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah.

Friday, November 13, 2015

i'Mpossible guest post: Leslie W. Zeitler with Got Hope?

This is the forty-eighth edition of The i’Mpossible Project: A series where anyone can share a personal story of inspiration or an event in life where they overcame tremendous odds. Everyone has a powerful story to tell and something to teach the world. (See HERE for guidelines on how you can write for The i’Mpossible Project.) Here we have Leslie W. Zeitler with Got Hope?

* * *
Got Hope? (Hint: It looks a lot like weeding...)
Thanks to Josh Rivedal for the invitation to guest-post!  Today's post is about hope lost and eventually, hope regained.
When I was 15, I lost my mom to suicide. Despite the profound loss of my mother, the fallout with some family members afterwards, and the feeling that my world had completely upended, I still had ambitions. Even with the sense of betrayal and the long-gnawing fear of possibly ending up like my mom, I felt myself moving forward on a trajectory that whispered softly in my ear: “history is not destiny”. I stuck to my goals: I went to college, I traveled, I found a city in which to live that felt like home (3000 miles away), I went to grad school and became a professional social worker which I’d felt was my calling. I couldn’t have done any of those things without hope.
Then, my maternal aunt – my mother’s older sister - died by suicide 17 years after my mom’s suicide. My aunt, the one who acted as my second mom in early childhood and took care of me when my mom struggled with severe bouts of depression. My aunt, the woman who helped me get my prom dress made in my senior year of high school. My aunt, who came to my college and graduate school graduations. My aunt: another woman in my family who battled depression.
Yes, I’ve been in therapy to deal with the loss of my mom, the family fallout, the loss of my aunt, and more. Yes, I’ve attended support groups. Yes, I have dear friends who I’ve been able to talk with about these losses. Yes, yes and yes: I took and continue to take steps to attend to my own mental health and well-being. But even with all of these steps, something transpired inside of me and I lost more than just my aunt.  It took a long time to figure it out, and it took some digging...


* * *
Leslie W. Zeitler, L.C.S.W. is a survivor of two family suicides: Leslie was 15 years old when her mother died by suicide, and was 33 years old when her maternal aunt died by suicide. She has been looking into a variety of ways to support survivors of suicide.  She writes about the losses (https://suicidesurvivors.wordpress.com), speaks about trauma and loss, and has engaged in storytelling to bring more attention to the needs of survivors of loved ones' suicides.  As such, Leslie has had literary work accepted into mixed-media art exhibits hosted by the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA).  Professionally, Leslie is a social worker whose career spans almost 20 years in the field of child welfare.

* * *
You can find more stories like Leslie's in The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You, now available for pre-order. 50 authors. 50 inspirational stories of overcoming tremendous obstacles. 
Read a few sample chapters HERE.
The first 200 people to pre-order will get a “thank you” in the front of the book, and a free copy of the book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Knowing When it’s Time to Speak Out and Speak Up


When is it your turn to speak out and speak up? 

Now. 

If not now, then when? It’s time to take back your power. No longer is it necessary to sit back and wait for “your turn.” The democratization of the internet, the advent of high(ish) speed ground and air transportation, and the accessibility of self-education have put us in a fascinating and liberating time in human history. 

No longer is it necessary to wait to be picked—you can pick yourself.

Your story matters. Your point of view is important. Your idea could change the world. 

It will never be the perfect time to research, to take risk, to launch. 


But what happens if you do? Or what happens if you don’t?

——
Speaking of stories and speaking out... the new The i'Mpossible Project book features fifty authors who are speaking out with their stories, using their harrowing experiences to help others. Below is one of our fifty stories...



The Bully in Me
Matthew Shaffer
I
 was nine years old the first time I entered a dance studio. The intoxicating smells of ambition, sweat, and leather Capezio jazz oxfords permeated the hardwood floors. (It was the first time in my life that a scent other than food got me excited!)

I stood on the threshold between the carpeted waiting room and the dance floor, which was filled with stunning dancers. Two at a time, they soared through the air with relentless passion. I looked back at my mom and dad and uttered the words that my father had been dying to hear from his only son for soccer, baseball, football or any other sport ending in “ball”: “Sign me up!” Without hesitation, my parents enrolled me in Beginning Teen Jazz, and my journey began.

During the first three years of dance, most of my grade school friends had no idea that I spent every Thursday night perfecting my #JazzHands with a room full of girls. By the time I reached middle school, I could no longer hide my enthusiasm. It was not a hobby. I was not “collecting” dance.
Dance was much more significant to me than a sport. I watched my friends play sports, and most of them hated it. I LOVED to dance. I was fully committed to becoming a professional dancer, and I wasn’t concerned with anyone else’s judgment. Or so I thought.

Everyone who survived junior high knows how devastatingly cruel Tweenagers can be. Nowadays, we use the term bullying––but growing up, it was just my life. At first, the negative comments and painful attacks on my character just stung. I’d seen Can’t Buy Me Love, so I was prepared for the usual teenage taunting. However, as I continued to pursue dance, the “jokes” turned into torment.
Let me set the stage: I was freakishly short for my age and very round. I wore dress pants from the Macy’s “husky” department with vintage, button-down dress shirts from my grandpa’s closet. To make matters worse, I had developed a serious case of acne from all of the stress. (Imagine a fabulously styled Mr. Potato Head with a pepperoni pizza face.) So yeah, that was fun.

Several kids spent every lunch period harassing me to the point where I could no longer eat in the cafeteria. Others would follow me between classes shouting “Butterball,” “Fatty,” “Fag,” and other hateful slurs.

I ignored the situation until rumors wound their way through the nasty schoolyard grapevine and into my little sister’s ears. She was so devastated by those evil words that I actually considered quitting dance. I begged her not to tell my parents, because I was embarrassed that I was being made fun of. I spent every night crying myself to sleep, praying that the kids would stop tormenting me so that I could keep doing what I loved.

The bullying continued until one day in seventh grade, when the anger and rage boiling inside motivated me to stand up and roar back. (Imagine a clip from When Animals Attack on the Discovery Channel.) I was the lone hyena attacking the lions to shreds. Needless to say, from then on, kids avoided me the way an “A-List” actress avoids carbs.

Once I got to high school, I discovered that the kids who harassed me saw something in me that terrified them. They realized I was a confident person working toward a remarkable goal. I wasn’t afraid to stand out or be different, and they couldn’t control that.

After graduation, I was fully prepared for my life as a sassy, slightly short-statured entertainer with a plenty of personality. Unfortunately, I had not yet realized that the biggest bully I was ever going to encounter was me.

As I set off on my professional career, I convinced myself that the only way I was going to be successful as an actor was if I hid the fact that I was gay. Let’s be honest. It’s not like Hollywood was embracing “out” actors at the time, and unless you had a body like Matt Bomer or the nerd appeal of Zachary Quinto, Tinseltown isn’t exactly celebrating openly gay men in leading roles even now. 
I spent my early twenties in the closet, dating girls and acting like a frat brother at every audition. Aside from a small group of friends, with whom I was completely open, I fought every natural instinct to be funny, authentic, or fabulous because of my fear of being discovered. I carefully crafted the way I talked, dressed, and socialized. I bullied myself into believing that who I am wasn’t good enough.

When I turned thirty, my grandpa–who was an incredibly supportive figure in my life–told me, just before he passed away, that he was so proud of me for following my dream. Suddenly, it dawned on me that, unlike my seventh-grade self, I had become a victim. I’d spent an entire decade of my adult life pretending to be someone else and it hadn’t brought me any closer to my goals.

Finally, I’d reached a point where I was tired of running from myself. I decided that living a truthful life (ironic for an actor) was more important than being famous. Once I gave myself permission to love myself entirely, a universe of unexplored creativity and opportunities emerged.

My partner and I began writing and producing our own digital short sketches, which attracted a huge online fan base. I came out in a national magazine, I wrote and published a book, and I started working as an actor in areas that are perfectly suited to my talents.


More importantly, now I can openly share my story and create work that is grounded in issues and subjects that are relevant to me, hopefully provoking someone else to conquer adversity and triumph on their journey.
***
The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You is now available for pre-order at www.iampossibleproject.com/one. 50 authors. 50 inspirational stories of overcoming tremendous obstacles. 

The first 200 people to pre-order will get a “thank you” in the front of the book, and a free copy of the book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah.




Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Develop Courage and then Wield it to be Great


The definition of courage has evolved over the last thousand years.

Courage, as defined by Frank Baum’s Cowardly Lion, is in part, “what makes the muskrat guard his musk.” Okay so I was reaching pretty hard for that one. 

The original definition of courage originated in Old French and means to speak your innermost feelings with all of your heart.

Speak up and speak often with courage, telling your story with all of your heart for the benefit of others. You have much to teach us and we have much to learn. True greatness cannot be achieved without a leap of faith and your own brand of courage. 
——
The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You is now available for pre-order. 50 authors. 50 inspirational stories of overcoming tremendous obstacles. 
Read a few sample chapters HERE.
The first 200 people to pre-order will get a “thank you” in the front of the book, and a free copy of the book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah.



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Great Expectations: Hard to Live up to and a Recipe for Paralysis

"I have no responsibility to live up to what others expect of me. That’s their mistake, not my failing." - Richard Feynman
I spoke at a suicide prevention/postvention conference this week and met a talented young woman with a great deal of potential. We got to speak over lunch and she revealed that despite the great work she was doing as a counselor, there were parts of her life and career that she couldn’t crack because her parents didn't approve. 

She wanted to move forward with some pretty incredible ideas but the threat of her parents' disapproval was causing (metaphorical) paralysis and misery. 

This idea that we have to do what is expected rather than what we believe to be right is a recipe for disaster. We stay in relationships for far too long, veer down a career path we should never have been on, and give people power to lord over us.  

Do it for you, even when it’s scary, even when the safety net of other people's approval vanishes. 

Life is too damn short to make yourself so busy conforming to standards and pleasing other people, that you forget to pay attention to your own needs. 
——
The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You is now available for pre-order. 50 authors. 50 inspirational stories of overcoming tremendous obstacles. 
Read a few sample chapters HERE.
The first 200 people to pre-order will get a “thank you” in the front of the book, and a free copy of the book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah.