I am not a particularly spiritual person. I consider myself to be a very solid, staid and responsible person. That is probably why I became a lawyer. The legal profession does not lend itself to meandering thoughts, and regular self-examination. The law is a profession of evidence, rules, and having to do things in a certain way.
But lately I seem to be seeing terms which formerly were considered “woo-woo” making their way into mainstream thinking and literature. So if I am reading an article or magazine about architecture and exterior design, there is generally a mention of feng shui or creating good karma, or the importance of surrounding oneself with crystals or harmonious colors. If I am reading a women’s magazine there are always articles about wellness, relaxation, meditation, etc. Although in years past the West Coast in the United States was the origination point for many of the health, wellness and lifestyle concepts, these concepts have now become national, and many of these concepts are international and derive from other cultures.
I was recently reading about the first conference presented by Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goop website. Many of the topics presented at the conference were very “out there” for me, and I had never even heard of the type of food that was offered. But I was interested in learning that someone I knew and am related to by marriage was one of the speakers, and a spiritual advisor to Gwyneth. His name is Barry Michels, and he, along with partner Phil Stutz, practice as therapists in Los Angeles. They recently wrote a book called The Tools, which details a methodology Stutz developed to awaken creative impulses and provide people with a means for reaching their potential. Michels and Stutz present regular workshops on the book’s concepts.
I confess that I don’t always understand some of the concepts mentioned in the book, but a recent article about Stutz’s speaking engagement with students and community members at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, was of interest to me based on the advice that he provided to budding entrepreneurs.
His comments are below, and I have freely quoted from the article I received as I am on their mailing list. I agree with some of the comments, and I don’t agree with others, but they provide food for thought.
- It takes courage to move beyond one’s safety zone when starting a company, so if you don’t feel afraid, you are not trying hard enough. Failure is a real possibility, and a good likelihood, but that shouldn’t stop you from developing the courage to try every day, and it is normal to feel scared in the process.
- Make a daily list of challenges you intend to take, and then inventory that list every night. If you seem to be avoiding things, then take a step in the direction of what you are avoiding, as that is the right direction.
- If something is painful, go towards it. The normal human desire is to avoid pain, but if these painful things exist in life and business, and you avoid them, then they will grow into massive problems. If you try and confront that pain it will become diminished. After a period of time you will learn how to deal with that pain.
- Fear must be acted upon and not merely thought about. Sometimes one must repeat statements about confronting fear regularly to assist with the process of confronting fear. He encourages yellowing out these affirming statements.
- Defining success doesn’t always mean having lots of money. If you fail and lose your money, which has happened to many successful entrepreneurs, and money is your only measure of success, you will be devastated. Success should be defined more by what motivates and fulfills you, and it may not only be based on results.
- Have the power to walk away, even if it means losing, in negotiations. If you can’t walk away and you are so attached to prevailing on your point of view, your view is distorted, and you may not win. There is a power that comes from being willing to lose.
- Free yourself from the need to be liked. A leader must stand to be alone. A leader also must understand that he/she may be uncertain, be misunderstood and be hated at times. But he stated that the person who can tolerate being alone has freed himself from the need for adoration.
- Approach life like a string of pearls. Each pearl represents an action one takes, and it is unlikely that even if one reaches the goal one thinks they would like to reach, like fame or fortune, their world will be transformed. Generally, even if one reaches that goal, they discover that the “magic” pearl doesn’t give them what they want. So, people have to be disciplined enough to keep adding pearls to their strings and move forward.