Revised “Fuck Yes” decision-making model (thanks Justin Rosenstein for the dialogue) #boldsf cc @sivers (at Bold Mansion)
I will… get a book deal and write the book this year. #boldsf #intentions (at Bold Mansion)
A few years ago I heard a story about success and achievement that deeply resonated with me and has stuck with me since.
A speaker (I can’t remember who) was presenting in front of a room of Fortune 100 executives.
He asked the group: “How many of you achieved success over the last year? You experienced returns on investment and reached quarterly goals.”
Almost the entire room raised their hands.
He then asked the group: “How many of you feel successful in the work that you do?
Three people raised their hands.
Achieving success is not the same as feeling successful.
We think of achievement as doing and having, strategic plans and to-do lists.
But why do we do those things? We do those things because we are driven by an innate desire to feel a certain way.
Being > Doing > Having
The key then is to start with how we want to feel, and who we want to be.
How do you want to feel when you wake up in the morning? Start your day? Walk into your office? Reach that big, scary goal? See the person you love? Close your eyes and fall asleep?
Clarify how you want to feel, in every moment of every day, and build your life around that way of being.
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your strengths will strengthen you. #ambergram
Seek alignment every day. // Modified. // Rituals sustain. #ambergram
Seek alignment every day. #ambergram
A calling, according to Google dictionary, is “a strong urge toward a particular way of life…” If we listen, we may have hundreds of callings over the course of our lives, each providing the chance to experience an aspect of what makes us come alive.
The way callings typically show up for me is in the form of a soft and persistent whisper. An aspect of my life where growth is ready to emerge will show up in my journal, in my daydreams, in conversations with friends, and in random dialogues with strangers too. Then, in what feels out-of-the-blue, will be some seemingly unusual urge. I’ve learned to listen and take action on these pulls as they typically lead to a whole new realm of possibility, and a path I couldn’t have imagined months prior.
In late August, after my heart mended from the pain of a summer romance ending, the notion of love was still very top-of-mind. Though love may seem like an obvious priority for a soon-to-be-27-year-old-woman, it wasn’t something I spent much time thinking about. In fact, before Mr. Summer Love, and outside of a few short-term romances that had no legs, I was pretty much on a four-year non-dating streak. So the fact that the possibilities around love seemed to dominate my thoughts and conversations took me by surprise.
For years I would hear from family and strangers alike, “Why are you single?” The answer was always obvious: First I need to follow my dreams and work on me; the rest will follow. People didn’t seem to understand but I was okay with that. Inner conviction, deep trust, and the fear of getting hurt in love (which I refused to admit to myself and others at the time) carried me and my ambitions forward.
But something felt different in August. For the first time in my life, the prospect of BIG love made my heart sing more than the business opportunities emerging around me. Mr. Summer Love, albeit short-lived, opened my wary heart and encouraged me to be vulnerable. Through the ups-and-downs of his wavering desire to be in a relationship, I gained inner strength and my view of commitment shifted. It no longer felt like something that would either chain me down or break my heart. Instead, feeling unattached to outcomes, it became a beautiful possibility and opportunity for personal growth.
With this new worldview and a strong intuition that Boulder was not my place for love, I set off to Los Angeles—the most unlikely place for romance, per 98% of people I spoke with. But low odds have served me well in the past and something about that 2% felt right. Plus, I’ve learned that so long as I make decisions from the heart, the outcome never really matters.
In Los Angeles, I seemed to stumble into the prospect of love everywhere I went. Singing skateboarders chased me as I biked down Venice Beach. Men courted me in Whole Foods. A man asked for my number in the Emergency Room as I sported an allergic reaction all over my body. More men asked me out in one week than my ten months of living in Boulder. Love was certainly in the air.
But random dates and random men didn’t appeal to me. Conventional dating wisdom says to put yourself out there but taking up Mr. Whole Foods or Mr. ER didn’t feel right. Flattered and with a big smile, I politely declined.
Ten days into Los Angeles living, Bold Academy 2.0 planning took me to San Francisco. My first day back in the city, I stopped by a live/work experiment that’s gathering the world’s leading thinkers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. I had gotten to know the co-founders pretty well over the previous few months and it had become a regular stop when I was in town. But this visit was different. Very different.
When I walked into the house, I locked eyes with Farhad, the co-founder I felt closest to. He was making an espresso across the room. In that moment, it felt like time stopped. My body felt energetically pulled toward him. “Woah,” I thought to myself. “That was unexpected.” I smiled and greeted him with a big hug. The unexpected greeting turned into an even more unexpected next few days.
What was scheduled to be a quick three-day trip turned into Farhad convincing me to stay for eleven. He was helping me navigate some Bold planning and negotiations, and the extra time would enable us to make a few critical milestones happen. Business talk turned into late-night walks in the rain and heart-to-hearts on the beach. Every second with him felt magical.
“But is he into me?” I asked close guy friends over tacos and spicy margaritas, gushing with details about our adventures and conversations to-date.
“Is the sky blue?” Gino asked.
“This sounds like a Jane Austen romance novel,” Kyle said. “Of course he’s interested.”
“But why hasn’t he let me know?” I asked.
“Be patient,” Gino said.
Patience has never been my strong suit. I want something, I go after something. I want to live somewhere, I figure out how. I have an idea, I take action and find answers. I can be assertive and relentless. But with Farhad, I observed my natural desire to be, enjoy, and soak up every second rather than live in the state of doing. With him, I felt effervescent and graceful, grounded and feminine. I felt like I had known him for years. Soon enough, my patience paid off. (Or, since we’ve established that I have no patience, my curiosity was answered.)
“So, I think it’s about time that I ask you on an official date,” Farhad said coyly as we walked to Nopa for an evening drink.
I replied nonchalantly, “I think I can handle that,” saving my jumping up and down for later.
Fast-forward to today. I’m now living in San Francisco with Farhad. Side-by-side, we’re planning our futures together, building our businesses, and soaking each other up. I always dreamed of having a “partner-in-crime” with whom to explore my life, and this partner is beyond what I could have imagined. (Pinch me.)
A few weeks ago, when Farhad and I FaceTimed with my Grandma on Christmas, I witnessed my Gram shed a tear of joy that we’ve found each other. I cannot remember the last time (if ever) that I’ve seen Gram cry. It was in that moment that I realized how meaningful family approval is when it comes to your partner.
Two days ago she emailed me to say, “I am so excited for you both and your future together. I know he is special because you chose him and he is special because he chose you! I knew you would wait long enough to find your true soul mate.” I couldn’t have summed it up better myself.
So as I ring in the New Year, my resolutions are less focused on what I will accomplish this year. Instead, I’m focused on cultivating what I’ve begun to realize is the most important thing in the world: love.
Christmas Sunset! @farhadini (at Marina Del Rey Beach)
he who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
Learn, unlearn, relearn.
be polite with yourself. #ambergram
What is LOVE? A beautiful global perspective.
Want to inspire lasting change? Don’t tell somehow how you want them to change. Don’t nag them to do things a certain way. Instead, be the example and show them there’s a better way. Set a stage such that they get to experience what’s possible.
Have a teammate who is always late for meetings? Start without them and don’t restart or catch them up when they arrive.
Want your partner to work out more? Be consistent with your exercise routine.
Want your children to do work they love? Find what makes you come alive and go do it.
Want your workaholic friends to get more sleep? Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, showing them how consistent sleep impacts productivity.
To inspire change, we must be the best versions of ourselves, setting the example for those around us. We must be our word, do more than we say we will, and do it with love.
Lasting change starts slow. Sometimes we need to experience pain before deciding to change, which is why it takes some smokers cancer to quit the bad habit. It’s why kids put their hand on a stove and never do it again. It’s why conflict in a relationship can lead to greater depth and intimacy.
Take a moment to reflect: What is the change you’re making? Who are you influencing? Why will the change positively impact those people? How can you get them to experience the possibility of that change?
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Thanks to my morning run for inspiring this post and Farhad for reading the draft.
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When we live as our best selves, we’re poised to do our best work, build the most fulfilling relationships, and ultimately create a better world. When at our best, we live in integrity with our values and beliefs, inspiring those around us to do the same.
A past client of mine was a CEO at a $100M company. He came to me one day and said that if he kept doing what he was doing, he’d have a heart attack in the next five years. Though he appeared happy and successful on the outside, he was dying on the inside. This was a major red flag for me and so we worked on redesigning and reengineering his life, with an emphasis on self-care and restructuring his business commitments. Within a few months, he sold his company, started another, and is now off living a more aligned life.
Another past client of mine, a stock trader in Hong Kong, came to me feeling anxious in his work and stuck in his career. He aspired to start his own thing but wasn’t sure where to begin. Within three months he went from spreadsheets and cubicles to his camera and passport. He’s been traveling the world since, taking photos of the people and places that inspire him. He recently became a featured Instagram photographer, enabling him to reach and inspire more people with his work.
What I’ve realized in working with clients of all shapes and sizes is that we all get stuck. We all experience ebbs and flows. We all find ourselves in ruts. It’s abnormal not to. Here’s a simple process to help you identify what’s not working and begin making changes today.
Step one: Audit.
Reflect on the different areas of your life. Ask yourself, “Is ___ making me feel like the best version of myself?”
Is your work? Your community? Relationship? Health routine? Eating habits? Morning routine? Spending patterns? Communication style? Etc.
Make note of which area(s) you want to focus on improving.
Step two: Manifestation.
Nisha Moodley recently shared with me “The Manifestion Equation” which is a tool for actualizing the changes you desire.
Here’s how it works: Appreciation + Intention + Intuitive Action = The Manifestation Equation
In thinking about one of your areas of growth, apply the equation:
Appreciate. Notice the present state without judgement. Think about the facts without adding drama. (Ie: “I’m ready to lose 10 lbs,” not “I’m overweight and unattractive and need to lose weight.”)
Set an intention. Imagine yourself reaching your goal. A memory is a feeling about the past and an intention is a feeling about the future. So think about the ideal future and let yourself marvel at how good it feels. Paint yourself a picture of that happy place.
Take Intuitive Action. What is one small step you will take today to begin manifesting what you desire? Ask yourself this question each day for the next week. Act and repeat.
Whether your work is currently unfulfilling, your exercise routine is out of whack, or your relationship isn’t where it used to be, small steps taken today will create large changes in the coming weeks. You got this.
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