In this funny and blunt talk, Larry Smith pulls no punches when he calls out the absurd excuses people invent when they fail to pursue their passions.
Scott Dinsmore’s mission is to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing.
He is a career change strategist whose demoralizing experience at a Fortune 500 job launched his quest to understand why 80% of adults hate the work they do, and more importantly, to identify what the other 20% were doing differently.
His research led to experiences with thousands of employees and entrepreneurs from 158 countries. Scott distilled the results down to his Passionate Work Framework – three surprisingly simple practices for finding and doing work you love, that all happen to be completely within our control.
A buddy and I were on a canoe trip in Canada several years back. We were halfway thru a 6-day trip and it had been perfect. Lots of fish, great weather and nobody dumped their canoe.
We were fishing one afternoon and took a break to have some lunch. My buddy turned to me and asked,
“So Tim, Are you happy with your life?”
I was speechless – Major RED FLAG.
This is a question that you should be able to answer immediately, right? Not only was I speechless, but I gave a lame answer about a great family, good job, blah, blah, blah. I gave an answer he expected, not one that was genuine.
I felt like a phony.
To be honest, I had not really given it much thought. How often does anyone sit down and really evaluate his life. Not just your career or your family, but all aspects. Who does that?
When was the last time you sat down and evaluated these categories in your life?
Career – Are you doing what you should be doing and does it have a purpose that gives you great pleasure? Are you using your skills, abilities and gifts to help others?
Family – How are your relationships with your wife, kids or other family members?
Financial – Do you make the income you desire? Are you spending less than you make?
Spiritual – Do you have a spiritual life that brings peace?
Intellectual – Are you learning new things?
Friends – Do you have others in your life you can go to when needed?
Physical – What kind of shape are you in? Are you active?
Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Who has time for that and why bring up old desires that aren’t possible?
I know, most of us are just trying to hang onto that job, or find some time with the kids. We hope our income covers our household expenses. Our dreams, deep desires and other interests have long been forgotten. It all seems like a blur.
I wish I could say my buddy’s question led to some great revelation and I immediately took action to work on these critical areas. Sadly, it did not. But it did get me thinking deeply about these areas and what defines a good life.
While that answer is different for everybody, if you want an abundant life, you have to take steps. You have to be intentional. You have to know your story and your values to create a life that is yours. This life is defined by you, not by what others expect.
Ready to take that first step?
First Step Toward An Abundant Life
If you want to tackle the questions that matter (like, “Are you happy with your life?”), you have to get out of your current environment. You can’t answer these questions in a conference room or in your study after dinner.
Join me for a retreat, April 23-26th in Fort Smith, Montana, home to the Big Horn River.
No, we are not going to “fix you” on this trip. You don’t need fixing. You need space.
This is an opportunity for you to create some space for you to remember:
- What makes you come alive? What gets you excited?
- What is lost that you want to find again?
- What defines the good life for you?
This is not just a fishing trip. Seriously, you don’t even need to know how to fish. We are going to fish some, but we will also laugh, grill steaks, tell stories and create some new memories and maybe you will remember some forgotten ones.
My wish for you is to come alive again, rekindle those long forgotten desires and create a few tangible actions that will lead you towards the life you want.
Find more details at http://fishingforthegoodlife.com/april-2015-retreat/.
Hope to see you on the river. – Tim
Me and two buddies were looking at the calendar in October and realized the fishing season was about over. We were brainstorming on what we could do to get one more outing in before the holidays hit and the weather would likely put us out of commission until March. You could say we were a bit desperate.
Well, it looked like the week of Thanksgiving was shaping up as window of opportunity. All 3 of us had dead weeks at work and decided to head to the San Juan River in northern New Mexico the three days before Thanksgiving.
Now, you are probably thinking that sounds like a horrible idea by some die hard fisherman. It is going to be cold, the fish will be lethargic and we had never fished the San Juan. On the other hand, we were going to fish a new river, known for large trout on very small bugs with a good chance we might be the only ones on the river.
The San Juan is a tail-water below Navajo Reservoir and about an 8 hour drive from where we lived. We set out on a Sunday afternoon, with the intention of fishing for two days and coming home. The drive there was not without some adventure as we spent two hours going 10 miles an hour thru a snowstorm over a mountain pass. Maybe this was not a good idea after all, but we made it there fine and the excitement started to build that evening.
I may get a bit technical here for you non-fly fishing folks, but bear with me. The San Juan is a trout factory famous for the San Juan worm, but during the winter months the only food available are small bugs and I mean small. Size 26 to Size 28 bugs, where you could put 10 of them on the surface the size of a dime. 6X tippet is mandatory. (6X is very light line, about as thin as a piece of hair and delicate). This can be challenging fishing for 18-22 inch trout.
It was cold, about 20 to 23 degrees, but the sun was out and we had brought the right clothing. Needless to say it was challenging tying small bugs to an even smaller line with cold hands, but we eventually got the hang of it and started fishing. It was beautiful out and as we guessed, maybe one or two other fisherman on the water.
I could go on to tell you we caught a few trout, which we did, but all we really wanted to do was go outside, cast a fly rod and walk a river.
Yes, we probably could have done it closer to home and maybe picked a place that was not technically challenging from a fishing perspective. We could have gone for a walk along a river 5 minutes from our house and that would have been good as well.
So what is it about being outside, with a rod in your hand, standing in a river in 20 degree weather and having to clean the ice off your guides every 10 minutes?
I bet to most of you that does not sound like a good time.
Because being outside makes me feel alive and gets me out of the sterile cubicle dwellings a lot of us live in for way too many hours a week.
You may not fish, but when was the last time you were outside doing something, moving, taking a walk, camping or hiking?
My experience is that it beats anything indoors, clears your head and provides a great environment to deal with our overscheduled lives. It gives us an opportunity to get some fresh oxygen to our brain and provides space for creativity and clear thinking.
I bet we all know the benefits of getting outside, but in case you didn’t here are five:
- Rest – Increase the quality of your sleep. Natural sunlight help sets your internal clock, which tells your body when to eat and sleep. (I can’t believe I just wrote that)
- Health – Increase your intake of vitamin D with natural sunlight.
- Air quality – indoor air quality is known to be extremely worse than anything outside. Go outside and get some fresh air.
- Exercise – Even consistent short walks outside have proven health benefits.
- Mental well-being – Being outside has been linked to improved attention spans and increase serotonin. (Look it up if you do not know what serotonin is)
I was standing in the river at the end of our second day, the sun was setting and my buddies were heading to the car. As I stood there I looked down into the river and 3 trout were finning about two feet from where I was standing. I mean you could reach down and pick them up. See, the San Juan is famous for the fish following the fisherman because as you walk food gets kicked up and they know where to get a meal. I stood there and watched them for 10 minutes with not a worry in the world and marveled at the beautiful fish below.
What have you been doing outside? I would love to hear about it, shoot me a note in the comments below.
If you want an opportunity to spend some time outdoors, I would love to host you on a trip to the Big Horn River in Ft. Smith Montana. Go to the April Retreat page for more details.
When I was a kid, my dad would always have an adventure for us to pursue. These adventures created wonderful memories, including:
- Helicopters. My dad bought a gas powered helicopter to fly. I did not know how we would control it. He would start it up, let it go and then we would spend the next hour or two trying to figure out where it landed. It went straight up until it became a small dot in the sky and then it just floated to the ground. Great fun.
- Sunday drives. My dad loved Sunday drives. He used this time to scout new hunting spots, but we usually ended up at some lake fishing. Once, he stopped at a Honda motorcycle shop and bought me a motorcycle. Man, was my mom mad. First time I rode it, I crashed it into the side of the house. I rode that motorcycle into the ground. Great fun.
- Box kites. We would fly box kites all day. Great fun.
- Squirrel hunting. My dad took me squirrel hunting at the age of six. He forgot to tell me how loud the shotgun was. I freaked out when he shot the first squirrel. Great fun.
- BB Guns. I got a BB gun when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade and two days later I shot out the sliding glass door to the house (not on purpose). Great fun.
- Fishing. My dad and I loved to fish. We fished almost every night during the summers. Great fun.
Those were great, wild times. And something started to change over the years. We fished less. No more helicopter chases. School seemed more important. Doing something with your life became the theme.
So I got good grades and an athletic scholarship to college. I got a degree and my first job. WOW. What a disappointment that was. My boss had me doing accounting 101, stuff I learned in high school. Thinking that more education was the ticket to a better job and life, I got my MBA. Eventually, I landed a position with Hewlett Packard. I was underwhelmed. (No kidding. I felt that way from the first day I was there.)
I stuck it out for 13 years, moving from job to job, even getting promoted several times. How does anyone who does not like their work get promoted? You pretend and do a good job, because that is what is expected by your boss, your peers and others. You do it because your belief system does not let you do otherwise. What could have happened if I really cared about my work?
I did not realize it until a few years ago, but I became domesticated. I became tamed. I gravitated towards accomplishments and jobs to please others, to be accepted, to get the reward. I wanted the reward of acceptance and approval of parents, teachers, and society. I stopped thinking about who I was and what I desired. Everything was judged against what my friends were doing or what I thought everyone else desired.
Over the years, I made agreements with myself that shaped my beliefs. Get educated, get a job and keep it, even if you are miserable. That was the safe play. And the safe play kept mom and dad talking proudly of you at the next family get together. The safe play provided good rewards (more money) and easy acceptance by friends. It also created an identity that I am pretty sure was not mine.
Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?
It is harsh. I spent 25 years pursuing a career that provided a lot of material benefits, but was deadening to the heart. Do not get me wrong. I have done some incredible stuff, traveled the world and met some wonderful people. But deep down, there was always a longing to do something more. And my beliefs and fears prevented me from doing that something more. I had become domesticated.
You may recognize the feeling in your life. You may have made agreements. These need to be broken, so that you can fulfill your dreams and desires.
We all have made agreements that we are not even aware of. It is ingrained in our belief system from our parents, teachers and society in general. Some agreements are good. Some are bad. Some of them may be limiting who you are and what you are capable of.
I believe that one of our biggest fears is the fear of coming alive and expressing who we really are.
I want to come alive again. I want to chase helicopters, ride motorcycles, fly kites, shoot BB guns fish and take Sunday drives.
What do you want to do?
PS. Join me from April 23 – 26th for an outdoor adventure to explore more topics like this. Read all about it on the April Retreat page here.