I’ve survived four years on this journey as a writer for many reasons: each of them as remarkably “human” as the next.
I’m talking about cornerstones that are fundamental to our human spirit, our soulful core — what we need as social beings who are here to live, love, experience and share.
When I quit my job in 2009, I needed the support of my family. I could have looked toward unemployment after my “strategic career shift,” but I chose against it. With their blessing, the moral decision was a burden my family chose to endure on my behalf and it gave me the opportunity to survive.
And then, in the couple of years of aimless meandering and searching and ten-dozen tried-and-failed ideas that would follow, I needed the understanding (and occasional “ball-busting”) of my friends — some of the greatest people I know in the world. My friends helped me survive.
And then there were other things that kept me afloat.
The kindness of people who owed me nothing. Recommendations and connections. Smiles and shared coffees. Simple offers and passing compliments. Reminders, conversations, hugs and hand-shakes.
Honestly, that’s how I’ve survived.
I built a platform for myself as a writer from kindness, love and generous support that I was not owed or expecting — that I didn’t even think I was deserving enough to receive. I rose up from a destitute, lonely place of heartbreak, depression and anxiety at the age of 23 from nice words and small gestures.
It gave me the power, strength and determination to carry on and survive. It gave me the faith to forge on another day, another day, another day… and four years later, here we are.
Surviving. Or, rather, survived.
And now, I find my practice to be one of expanding and extending and opening into a flourishing state of being.
I’d love to help you do that same thing. It’s why I keep railing on making “the journey” your reward.
The truth is that there are a million ways to figure out “how to survive” — whether your goal is to lead a flourishing life, fall in love, launch a brilliant business, write greatly or fall in love with artistry. But I’m really not interested in trying to sell you on hard-lined tactics, elaborate how-to strategies or rules that you “should” buy, memorize, and follow like a foot-soldier.
It’s because I’m not here to sell you on the fact that I know anything — others can do that, and lord knows many of ’em know a shitload more about the things they’re selling.
I’m here to live my life, so life itself — my own life within it, and people everywhere, and this entire gorgeous world that we share? — those are the things I’m truly interested in learning and experiencing, over and over again.
That’s why I do what I do.
It started as a fight to survive. I’ve survived. And now, I’m here to help you forge your own journey in near-perfect alignment with what you want, need, desire and value the most in your life. I use writing, artistry, or personal leadership to help you reframe those things and find that desired cohesion — a brilliant, beautiful, liberating living-force that opens you up to experiencing more of the life that you deserve.
When you do that and when you live it every day, your life’s journey finds fluidity and openness that allows your personal journey to become a constant, never-ending and truly rewarding cycle of experience, joy, growth and happiness.
7 Ways to Succeed: A Human Strategy for Survival
1) Be a good person. Care.
Here’s the thing about caring: like suffering, being happy or feeling purpose-filled, caring is not a competition. Don’t compare how much you care to how much anyone else appears to care or not care. Do you. Care more and more, every day. Find reasons to keep caring, whatever they are.
2) Never give up. Start something, now — then keep going. And never stop.
Starting something is finding your first stepping stone. You leap, touch stone, and see what stone comes next.
3) Offer to help.
Offer, even when you think you have nothing to give. Offer, even when you think that he or she has infinitely more knowledge, expertise, wealth, fame, popularity, beauty, talent or acclaim than you could ever imagine garnering yourself. Offer to help, and be humble and genuine. Really mean it. (Because you care, remember?)
4) Connect good people to one another. Lift up those who need a hand.
Jerry Seinfeld said of setting people up on blind dates,
“Have you ever fixed anybody up? Why do we do it? Why? You thought they would have a good time. And a little power trip for you, isn’t it? Now, you’re playing God.”
Some people shy away from connecting two peers or friends because they think it’s this kind of an ego-dominated maneuver — as if there’s some underlying, selfish, self-flattering reward to bringing other people together when you have the earnest opportunity.
Introducing good people to one another is simply about helping others.
You forge connections to help someone you know, support, love and care for build their web of social connections, friendships and relationships to peers. Those social connections to fellow human beings are what life is all about — in those friendships, we find support and love and care that keeps us afloat during the tough times. And just as much, our connections support us with a very important layer of encouragement to challenge ourselves to extend, risk, reach and flourish.
Make more friends, and help your friends make more friends. You’ll receive the love and friendship back, too. Ten fold.
5) Meet every human being with total newness and enthusiasm. Assume nothing. Expect nothing. But know that this person with you in this moment is your everything.
Easier said than done? No, just let go. Let go of your assumptions. You can hope, dream and yearn, but let go of specific expectations for others — what can only let you down, disappoint you and steal from the beauty that is the present moment and truly experiencing another soul.
6) Feel yourself in every soul. See the Universe in that one face.
See where you’re the same. Feel the aches of their struggles, feel the love they yearn to find, join the joy that they celebrate. And then, tell your story so she can see herself in you.
7) You have more to offer than you realize.
Give yourself permission — every time. Be you, without apology. Look into the mirror and accept the truth of what lies there.