There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the right time

29 06 2010

For the purpose of this post, I will interchange the terms synchronicity and synergy. I wish there was a word that properly comprised both concepts, but synchronergy sounds awful. So just understand that there are some parts of each word that apply, and it is fully intentional.

So the best way to get started is to connect you to where we left off last time…. I was in San Francisco at a seminar for experts in their fields, and along the way, I had found a new respect and value for myself. I know, it’s something that sounds a little egotistical to say, but it’s completely true.

That evening, I learned something about timing, trust, destiny… In short I learned about the synchronicity of the universe. I learned that we are all EXACTLY where we are supposed to be. I learned that every step on our path, however bumpy, uncomfortable or painful is a necessity to get us to the next place on our never-ending journey.

This blog will chronicle several different stories, which taken separately could be merely coincidences, but when put together show a path that we are incapable of resisting.

First I have to give props to my good friend Clint Arthur, who started bugging me about coming to this seminar weeks in advance. I didn’t have the money to go, I didn’t have the inclination to go, and my relationship had hit another significant bump in the road that made me feel even less like leaving home. But I trust Clint. And that in itself says something. I trust Clint to see things in me that I myself am frequently blind to. At the end of this last year Clint had encouraged me to do the Inner Child Workshop. Hell, he hadn’t encouraged me, he practically dragged me there, but that’s the kind of man Clint is. When he gets his teeth sunk into something, he’s like a pit bull… he just does not let go. And thank god for that.

The inner child workshop was a blessing. At the time I did it, my woman and I had never been more at odds with each other. We had had some serious problems throughout the Summer, and I had moved out for a time, but at that point I was back at home, albeit with one foot out the door. The inner child workshop gave me clarity. It gave me focus. It gave the relationship the chance that it needed to go further. And I owed it all to Clint.

So when Clint says I have to do something, I just do it. And so it was with the seminar. So the first part is just gratitude to the good fortune of having Clint in my life, and the good sense to follow his lead. That good sense got me to the seminar that lifted me to a whole new place in my personal awareness and presence.

Then there was Scott.

It’s one thing to say you are on a new level in your life, or to begin to act on that new belief…. But to manifest a new level of people around you in response to your inner value for yourself… Well, that’s practically unheard of… But so it was with Scott.

For those of you who read the last post, you’ve already met Scott. That evening, I was trying desperately to get myself into a VIP dinner with the other experts from the seminar. Try as I might, I could not find a way to get in. I found myself wandering around by the front desk, when I was approached by a tall, heartfelt man. He asked if I was the Mac guy, and I said that I was. He expressed his deep desire to get over his fears and struggles with his new mac computer. I put my hand on him, and told him I could help. And in that moment we bonded. He tried to get me into that VIP dinner, but failing at that, later that night he brought the VIPs from the dinner to me. That night we hung out at the bar, and he introduced me to one person after another. We laughed and joked into the evening.

A weekend or two after I got home, Scott came into LA, and we got to work together. He became the first of many high level new training clients that walked into my life since that seminar. He was proof that it was a new day for me. At our second training session, I collected my pay for the day, and was rewarded with a several hundred dollar tip on top of my training fees. But it wasn’t the money that was the most valuable part, it was the recognition. I was functioning at the top of my game in computer training, and I was beginning to reap the benefits…

Then came Jennifer….

The night I was waiting to see if Scott would get me into the dinner, I was hanging out in the waiting area near the bar, sipping on a Pinot Noir, and working on my iPad. Up walked Jennifer. She asked about the iPad (the obligatory “Do you love it?”), and I invited her to sit down to talk. She had heard some of the things that I had said during the seminar, and asked me about some basic Mac stuff.

We talked about the amazing live performance we had seen at the end of the seminar that night, by Bo Eason, an ex-football player turned actor and writer. She offhandedly remarked that he lived in Westlake Village, a mere 5 minute drive from where I lived. I thought nothing of it at the time, but the following morning that info would lead to another piece of the puzzle…. but more on Bo Eason in a moment.

While Jennifer and I were talking, my iPad beeped at me with a Facebook message from Sherilyn, my love… I laughed a little too loud at it. Sherilyn and I had been talking earlier in the room, and she expressed some concern over my newfound confidence, but here she was expressing her love for me. Jennifer oversaw the message, and as chance would have it, we began to talk about relationships. She revealed that hers had gone South on her recently. And I revealed some of the troubles i had recently been through. She recommended a book called “The 5 Languages of Love” to me, and told me that if she had read that book earlier it would have saved her relationship.

Not being a man to ignore a good recommendation, I immediately purchased it on the kindle app of my iPad. We spoke a little more as the night went on, but never anything more about the book.

When I got home from the seminar, I told Sherilyn about the book, and purchased it on her Kindle. It sounded great to her, and we were quickly diving into it. It’s a month later now, and I can truly say it was the beginning of a changing point in my relationship. Sherilyn and I have never been closer, and as we explore the concepts of the book together we begin to learn more about ourselves… about each other… about love, and how to express it… and about how to communicate with intention, love and kindness.

I don’t know where we would be had Jennifer not approached me that night, and i don’t want to know. I am just grateful to the universe for putting the gifts I need in my hands time and time again. If we are open to the ways of the world, all the doors will unlock as we approach them, and all the answers will come… in time.

The Bo Eason story still makes me laugh. It was the actual impetus for this entire blog, but the other pieces were integral to it, so they had to be pieced together as well. So let me set the stage….

At the end of the second to last day of the seminar, the crowd was treated to a real treat… unknown to us, we were about to see a piece of true artwork created in front of our eyes. Bo Eason was once an NFL football player, but having retired from ball he had written a one man play called “Runt of the Litter”. It was autobiographical, and chronicled his rise from a small, untalented athlete competing for his father’s love with his stronger, more talented older brother to a professional NFL player, competing at the SuperBowl against a team led by none other than his big brother.

It was awesome. Inspiring. Powerful. And simply indescribable. Every emotion was on display… inches away from our faces. Love, anger, fear, regret, elation, pride… and most of all, true character. It affected everyone in the room, some more than others. For me, it connected me to my relationship to my father.

In the piece, Bo’s character strives to win his father’s affection by becoming a football player and an athlete like his brother. My relationship with my father was different. Very different. I was no athlete. I was a computer geek, a nerd, a chess player, a 98 pound weakling… and my father was a lifelong sports fanatic, and a regular athlete. He plays tennis almost every day, and has always prided himself on his vigor, and physical fitness, even at the age of 70.

For me, sports was what separated me from my father. It was a dividing force for us. His love of football, basketball, tennis, boxing… almost any example of physical prowess…. constantly competed with me for his attention. I got my fair share of his love and attention, and always felt his focus… provided it wasn’t the Superbowl, or the Olympics, or the NBA finals. Don’t get me wrong. I have a great relationship with my father even to this day, and I wouldn’t change a piece of it, I was just oddly affected by how different my experience of sports and fatherhood was from Bo’s.

So I had set it in my head to have a moment with Bo, one on one, and express my appreciation for his heartfelt piece of art, and the powerful gift it had given me of clarity around my relationship with my father. And that following morning, I had my moment.

As I stood at the elevator, alone, coffee in hand, Bo stepped right up beside me. I blinked in disbelief for a moment (I wasn’t in awe at the man, just at the synergy and synchronicity of the universe.) I was reminded again of how much is possible when you trust yourself to manifest your own reality.

In the elevator I told Bo about my relationship with my father, and thanked him. I told him that I had heard he lived near me, and offered him a free hour of technical training as a token of appreciation. He revealed that he was building a new house not one block away from where I live. Not one block away. What are the chances? Any how, we parted ways and headed into the seminar.

He was brought up on stage and did a question and answer session, during which he revealed that he had been trained as an actor by none other than Roy London. Now Roy was a great teacher,but that wasn’t what caught my attention. I had been told dozens of stories about Roy because he was Sherilyn’s acting teacher as well. He had died a few years back, but he had changed her life. And not only did Bo live a block away from me, but he had trained with Roy, whose picture hangs like Jesus Christ in my kitchen in a place of great honor… what are the chances? But wait…

During his Q&A, he talked about how life altering it was to have a great teacher in your life. He told the story of a particular situation when Roy inspired one of his female students. He revealed to her that it was time for her to have a child, and that through that life-altering experience of becoming a mother she would be able to step back out of herself, and reveal her full potential. She would see life from another perspective, that of a parent, and through that she would emerge as a deeper, truer actress, and as a fully multi-dimensional woman… I could not believe my ears… I had heard that story before. Many, many times before. It was one of the life altering moments for Sherilyn. It was the inspiration for Sherilyn to get pregnant… and the product of that inspiration, that lesson, that piece of wisdom is my 16 year old step-son, Myles…. Bo was referencing my woman in his story… Now what were the chances of that?

In this life, in this world, you can never be surprised, or unaware of the so-called coincidences all around us. They are lessons thinly hidden be a veil. They are moments. They are proof of divinity and proof of a plan that is beyond us.

I am where I am supposed to be.

I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

WE ALL ARE!!!!

Be present.

Be focused.

Be aware.

The signs are all around us….

There is a scene in the old Steve Martin movie “The Man with 2 Brains” that always makes me laugh. He is a widower, with a shrine in his house to his deceased wife… and he has met a demon in the disguise of Kathleen Turner, and fallen in love with her (or so he thinks), and he returns to the shrine to ask his wife for a blessing. “Becca”, he says, “If there’s anything wrong with my feelings for Dolores, just give me a sign.” And the portrait of his ex-wife spins in circles, and an ominous ghostly “NOOOOOOOOOOO” can be heard all around. The candles flare up and shake, and the wall begins to crack apart. Wind blows all around the room, and the NOOOOOOOOOO gets louder and louder, then finally calms down, and completely unphazed and unaware, Steve Martin looks right at the portrait and says “Just any kind of sign…. I’ll keep on the lookout for it.”

That’s not me anymore…

As I look at the world around me, I will ask for guidance, for wisdom, for clarity, for purpose…

Any sign will do… and I will be on the lookout for it.





A Leap of Faith: Part IV – The Career

31 03 2010

There is a common misconception I would like to debunk right off the top. It is the assumption that a career and a job are the same thing… that they are synonyms. I propose that they are very different things, and that confusing them is not only a huge mistake, but that it can often have disastrous repercussions.

A job is temporary. A job is fleeting. You are not in control of it, it is in control of you. Most jobs do not require specific skills, or if they do, often you can learn what you need to know on the job. You show up for a job everyday, but the job goes on without you if you leave. For the most part, you do not control the direction your job takes, the choices you make my subtly affect the way the job goes, but you are not steering the boat. With a job you are usually working for someone else. Being paid by someone else. Dependent upon someone else.

A career is 1000% different. A career is permanent (or at least semi-permanent). A career is long-term. If you have a career, you are in charge. Your every decision and choice affects the course of your career. Generally speaking, in a career your working for a bigger purpose, or towards a bigger goal. A career takes a certain skill set. You can learn many new skills on the job in a career, but the career will falter early if you do not have certain skills.

Once I walked out of that office on the corner of Beverly Dr., and Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills everything changed. I had walked into that office fresh off my realizations in Costa Rica, and the seed money to start my career. I had walked into that office a man with a job… I walked out with a career.

The first week of my new career was a whirlwind. I partnered up with a close friend of mine who was very skilled on the PC. I knew my company would need both Mac and PC technicians, and it seemed to make sense to start with someone I knew. He had strong business skills, and helped me get the bureaucratic blah-blah in line. We needed a name first, then a DBA and a bank account, then a Federal Tax ID#, then we needed a business phone line, and advertising, and a website, and a million other things… but first came the name.

We struggled with the name. I was the creative person, so it fell onto me to throw out idea after idea after idea, only to have each and every one unceremoniously shot down. How about this? Or that? Or this one? Or we could call it… and on and on and on… finally I turned to him, frustrated, “What the hell do you want to call it? 2 Smart Techies?” He laughed immediately, and smiled… and just like that 2 Smart Techies was born.

We quickly got the DBA, and purchased our domain, and designed our logo (again with lots of help from me as the creative guy), and put out some ads… and then we waited. We weren’t sure how long it was going to take. A day, a week, a month, or even longer… but it didn’t take long at all. We soon got a call from a major television production company in Hollywood. They had a dozen and a half PCs, and a huge virus infestation. I will always remember that moment as my Ghostbusters moment. You know the scene… the ghostbusters have put it all on the line getting their headquarters set up. They have their ads running, and most of New York thinks they’re a complete joke, but then someone calls and hires them to catch the slimy green ghost, and Annie Potts, the mousey secretary throws down her hand on a big red button, and screams “WE GOT ONE!!!!!” and alarms and sirens go off all over the Ghostbusters headquarters and they all slide down the pole in their full costumes for the first time…. It was just like that…. Only much much more mundane.

We got on site, and sure enough it was a complete disaster. Some new PC virus had been released and had just wreaked havoc on this office. I saw things that day that I had never imagined as even remote possibilities outside of the Sci-Fi Fantasy films I had grown up on. I was at a distinct disadvantage coming from the Mac side of things… I had only heard of viruses as concepts. I’d never really seen them in the wild, nor did I know what they could do or how to fix them. It was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced before. There were viruses that could shut off your computer, or wipe all the data off your machine, or redirect your browser to unauthorized pages… it was crazy. I let my PC partner guide me, and together we worked our asses off for over 16 hours straight… and then, all of a sudden, we were done. We invoiced the company, and collected a check for over $4000. My partner and I split it down the center, and just like that we were a legitimate company.

I was warned by friends of mine and other technicians, that this business was a sink or swim business. Some weeks you would eat filet mignon, and some days you would be lucky to have enough money and work to buy dog food… but it was never like that for me. It was always filet mignon. On job led to another. One client referred me to another one. Before I knew it, I had more work than I could handle, and more money than I had ever expected to earn.

That’s not to say it was easy sailing from this point on, not by a long shot, but we were over the first hurdle. The second hurdle that would really define me as a leader, and define my business as a whole, came a couple of months down the line. You see, I was already 30 at this point, and had had enough job experiences to know that I never again wanted to work for someone else. This gave me an intense work ethic. This was not just my day job. This was a company that i would build out and cultivate into a career. Something that would feed me and my family not just for the here and now, but well into my future. My partner on the other hand was in his 20’s, still finishing his school career, had no kids, and almost no overhead. Originally we had assumed that we would split all costs up front, and all checks we received, but that soon proved to be a bad plan. I worked every day. I had clients lined up and waiting for my services, and my partner just sat around waiting for someone to call him. I was being proactive, while he was just being reactive. As a result I provided 90% of the clients, and 90% of the income, and yet also carried the full load of the overhead, and paid half of my earnings over. This clearly wasn’t going to work.

My first remedy for this situation was to put my partner on a guaranteed hourly amount. I would pay him a flat rate every week, and keep the rest of what I was making. This didn’t work either because then he did less and less since he wasn’t being paid based on how much he did, just a flat rate. He was clearly in a job mind-set, while I was quickly learning what it meant to be in a career mind-set. I decided I had only one choice, so I bought him fully out of the company, and became a sole proprietor, a business owner, a full-time computer consultant, and most of all the proud new owner of an actual career. Go figure.

Down the line, I would branch out, find a new top-notch PC technician, build my brand and my clientele, and 7 years later I would still be here, fixing people’s Macs and helping them get their PCs working, writing tech blogs and recording a podcast, and thanking my lucky stars everyday that I get to be in charge. I get to be the boss. I make the decisions and choices and I steer my future, for better or worse. I have no one to answer to, and I make my own schedule, and money has never been the same issue it was back in those early days. Now it’s on to bigger and better things, and finding ways to continue to market my Business, and build my roster, and add new technicians, etc… Every day is a new adventure, and every day I learn something new that helps me lift this company a notch higher and a notch higher still. With a job, who cares…. With a career, I better care, because no one else will care for me.