Category Archives: Earning more

My ‘Perfect Storm’



“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

Norman Vincent Peale

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared my journey to this point in my life. Much has changed and evolved since the last time I shared this story so I thought it was time for an update.

But first, a question for you: Do you believe in yourself?

Life is a crazy journey of unlikely twists and turns and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that I need to believe in myself before others will.

My beginning (literally)

Maybe it’s my natural tendency to be curious, but I like to understand where people are coming from and what makes them who they are. Everyone has a story and our story is what helps us connect to each other. Here’s mine.

My story starts in rural Eastern Oregon. That’s where I grew up. Back then, my idea of fun was seeing how many ‘city kids’ I could convince (dare) to touch the electric fence. It always brought me a twisted sense of pleasure to see the surprise on someone’s face after receiving an unexpected jolt of energy enter their body. And don’t worry. Karma got me back plenty of times. This is just the crazy shit young boys do.

My parents both worked full time and we lived on a horse ranch. Which sounds fun to most people until I describe the sheer volume of horse crap that I moved (manually) from one place to another.

I had a pretty standard small town upbringing, complete with grandpa’s fighting over who would take me fishing and getting reprimanded for making weird bodily noises in church.

By the time I was 18, I had spent my entire life in one single small town and I couldn’t wait to charge off to college and begin my own life. This was before parents thought it was normal to pay for their kids’ college tuition so I worked my way through college in pursuit of a better life. I was done with small towns and shoveling horse manure!

The brainwashing begins

I graduated from college and made my way to the big city and started working my way up the ladder in the fast paced world of technology. I worked hard, got married, bought a house in the suburbs, leased new cars, passed up vacations in order to work even harder, and thought that I was on a path to “success.” I had all the trappings of a good life and I was working hard but looking forward to the day that I would quit my job and be happy.

I was living what I thought was the life I wanted. I mean, everyone was telling me what a great career I had and what a great job I was doing so I must be doing it all right!

Umm…no! I was only following the lead of everyone else around me. I was allowing my friends, the culture and my work environment brainwash me. I was so busy being busy that I couldn’t see another way.

The storm hits

Back in the early 2000‘s, technology was the place to be and I was right smack in the middle of it working for a software startup in Portland. Everything was purring along nicely and then – BAM – the stock market crashed and within months, technology companies began firing people. The inconceivable was happening. And I got laid off. And then I did what seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. I started investing all of my money into real estate. And then the real estate market crashed. And then I lost everything I had worked so hard for.

A low point

I found myself newly divorced, out of work, nearly broke and looking for answers. If it had not been for what I now call my ‘Perfect Storm’, I might still be comfortably numb, spiritually bankrupt and feeling financially indestructible.

And as if things weren’t bad enough, my dog suddenly died and I lost my investment properties to foreclosure because I couldn’t sell them or pay for them. To say that all hell broke loose would be a massive understatement.

My ‘Perfect Storm’ shook me out of my complacency and plunged me into uncertainty, in which everything I held as important and true fell apart. Old beliefs began to to dissolve but nothing rushed in to take their place. I felt like I was just floating, ungrounded, desperate and hopelessly lost.

I had followed a path that was out of alignment for so many years and I was silently suffering. I remembered when I was a kid in school, how much I loved to draw, and paint, and create, and move, and play. What had happened? How did I get so off course? I still loved these things but I gave them up for what? For money? For security? For doing what others expected of me?

I found my way back into a technology job, leveraging my contacts and experience to do what I knew best. I drastically simplified my life, selling almost everything that I didn’t absolutely need or love. I started saving large chunks of my salary and I had zero debt for the first time in a long while. I started going to yoga and living a more healthy life. I felt as if I had wiped the slate clean and I was being re-born.

And then I began to dream again

I started getting glimpses of a new calling, but these glimpses would only come in flashes that were often undefined and fuzzy. But I knew something was coming. I felt an urge to be more creative but in a way that allowed me to work with people and earn some extra income on the side. I purposely mention income here because so many creative people tend discount it. Wake up! If you’re not making a good income, then you’re not serving your most important client – YOU!

Pondering how I could keep the parts of being in a technology career while ditching what sucked out my soul led me to realize that I wanted to help people learn to live unapologetically, in alignment with the truth of who they really are.

I never could have anticipated what happened next in my life. The more aligned I became with my inner desires, the more life seemed to return to me! I was getting raises and bonuses at work, I met and married the most amazing woman in the world, I started a little blog which led to a few coaching clients which led to getting paid for work that I love.

Who’da thunk I could have all this? Well that’s exactly the point! I started to believe that I deserved to have good things happen to me. My ‘Perfect Storm’ allowed me to see that unless I was brave enough to trust and believe in myself, that life would be a series of endless storms, slamming me around.

This didn’t happen overnight, but I decided to start trusting my inner desires and slowly pursue the people, activities and places that interested me the most. And by doing so, I began to listen to my own inner wisdom instead of what everyone else was saying.

In hindsight, I realize that I couldn’t have written a story better than this. And everything continues to emerge, like an onion, as I peel back the layers and become increasingly clear on what I’m here on earth to do.

One more #*% surprise

The Universe, having the sense of humor that it does, had one more big surprise in store for me. I was notified earlier this year that the software division at my company would be dissolved and that I was going to be losing my six-figure corporate job in August. Now the good news is that I had already started building something on the side to bring in a little extra income but this did nothing to dampen the shock of my day job disappearing.

So now I’m on this journey full time. I’m coaching people, I’m starting a new web show (to be released next week), I’m in the early stages of co-developing a new course with one of my mentors and I’m giving everything I’ve got to this new adventure.

While this process hasn’t been easy, it has been the most rewarding magical, enlightening journey I’ve ever experienced. In retrospect, I can honestly say that my ‘Perfect Storm’, as gut-wrenching as it was – was the best thing that ever happened to me. And if you’re in the midst of a Perfect Storm, embrace the change (even though it feels like hell) and use it as an opportunity to discover your purpose for being alive.



P.S. How have your ‘Perfect Storms’ shaped your life? Please share if you feel compelled to do so. You never know how your story may liberate someone else.


Create a Life with Meaning and Money


We’ve covered a lot of ground over the last few weeks.

We’ve talked about getting on your feet financially.

We’ve discussed embracing simplicity and setting priorities around the things that are most important to us.

And last week we reviewed how to make space in our lives to expand and create something brilliant.

Now it’s time for the final step in the series of getting paid to make a difference.

STEP 4: Begin Experimenting and Pursue Your Meaningful Idea

Before I jump into this topic, I gotta make sure that you have cleared a specific time in your day to pursue your greatness. It’s so easy to allow life to get in the way of pursuing great ideas. This I know because I’ve been there. I’ve made the mistake of opening email first thing in the morning and all of a sudden, an hour is gone! I’ve told myself that I will get to it after work, only to find myself too exhausted to do anything meaningful.

If you haven’t committed to setting aside time to pursue something meaningful, my advice is this.

Commit to waking up two hours earlier in the morning, and going straight to your computer with a cup of coffee or tea. Getting up one hour earlier isn’t going to cut it for most people. Try to sneak in two. I know the prospect of waking up that much earlier sucks, but isn’t the prospect of making money doing something you love, worth it? I’ve tried everything and this is the best time for busy people to work, because the world hasn’t woken up yet and started placing their demands on you. This time is stress free, peaceful, and all for YOU.

With time in your day you can now begin experimenting intensively with potential sources of meaning, passion, and purpose outside of work. Anything from artistic endeavors to starting a charity.

Many people are content to leave things here. They have a career that pays the bills and they also have time during their day or week to pursue meaningful ideas outside of work. There’s really not much downside to this path. It works. Worst case, you have a day job that pays the bills and you get to explore your passions (for starting a charity, learning a language, writing poetry) on the side.

For Those Who Want More

If your current field, industry, company, or organization does not reflect your deepest sense of purpose and meaning, then you’re going to need to take things a step further and begin aligning your money with your meaning. With new hours in your day/week gained from Steps 1, 2, and 3, it’s time to begin experimenting with things that might one day become both a source of meaning and a source of serious income outside of your current job.

This might mean starting a small business on the side, moonlighting in a second “start-up” career, or finding ways to earn money from your artistic and creative passions.

Whatever it may be, if you want to make a living from it and leave your current job, you’re going to have to dive deep into the area of expertise that interests you. You’re going to have to wrap your own passions, talents, skills and purpose – the things you care most about and are best at – into a package with fundamental marketing, sales, and networking skills.

If you know how to do that, you will get paid very well and you’ll be living in your passion and your purpose.

A major pitfall in this journey is that we are so conditioned to thinking of money and meaning as separate, that we overlook creative ways that we can bring them together. If you dig deep enough, you will find endless ways to combine your creative skills, passions, visions, and dreams with the already existing worlds of business and online commerce.

I’m not going to say this will be an easy or risk free task. However, once you begin researching and mingling with others that are living this way, you will have plenty of examples and inspiration to draw from.

Here are some of my favorite resources on how to align your meaning with your money:

These are all examples of people that have mastered the art of taking various components of their skills, desires, talents, and dreams and have put them together to create a thriving business. This is proof that we can make money by pursuing what interests us and create something meaningful in the process.

Are you ready to combine money with meaning? If so, you’re in luck because that’s where we’re headed in a BIG way! It’s going to get a little crazy and a little nutty around here as I move closer to rolling out a new web site and a new web TV show dedicated building a business that combines money with meaning.

That’s all for this week. See you again next week as we dive further into the art of making a living through meaningful work.

In Gratitude,


Step 1 to Getting Paid to Make a Difference


Last week I was talking about what makes us come alive and the steps that I have deliberately taken to move closer to designing my life in a way that works well for me. Keep in mind that this process is not an end game. It’s a constant state of deciding what excites me and making changes to align my life with what’s most interesting and exciting.

Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about?

I say YES!

So how is it possible to move towards this kind of living?

I don’t think there are any specific scripts and I wouldn’t want to imply that my path is the only option. The reality is that my path is exactly that – MY path. If I can share something that inspires others to move closer to their desired lifestyle then I will feel great about that.

Picking up where we left off last week, I had identified four steps that I had taken to bring me to this point of launching this blog (and I see launching this blog as the first step in a completely new phase).

  • STEP 1: Get on your feet financially
  • STEP 2: Simplify and prioritize
  • STEP 3: Create room for expansion
  • STEP 4: Launch a Legacy Project

Today I am going to focus on STEP 1: Getting on your feet financially

This step has to do with navigating our desire for safety with our desire to make a difference in the world. How do we navigate between our desire for adventure and creativity and our desire for some level of predictability in our lives? How do we reconcile our idealistic dreams with the harsh realities of the marketplace?

This is where I tell you that I am not a gambler and that there is a huge difference between throwing caution to the wind and taking calculated risks. I will not be advising anyone to quit your comfy corporate job right away to pursue your creative passions.

So, am I telling you to give up your dreams, stick with the societal program, and get that boring, safe job, and do just as your (insert relative name here) tells you? No. The problem is, there are serious risks to that path as well. If you’re not particularly passionate about accounting, corporate management, engineering, or law and you go into those fields to please society, or to placate your own fears about the risks of following your creative passions, it seems very unlikely that you’ll end up happy with your career choice. You will always be plagued by a nagging sense of “What if?”

Sure, there are a lot of risks of following your creative passions – the risk that you’ll not make it or that you will have to start over. But there are also many unacknowledged risks to not following your creative desires, of sticking too close to the beaten path in the name of safety and predictability.

These might include: the risk of working with people you don’t respect; the risk of working for a company whose values aren’t consistent with your own; the risk of compromising what’s important; the risk of doing something that fails to express who you really are. And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.

The biggest risk is what we classically refer to as the middle-aged crisis. You become forty-five years old and recognize that you’re not the person you wanted to be. The reality is that the vast majority of people today, even on their deathbed, say that their regrets largely center around things they didn’t do or try, not things they did do.

Is there a way to combine the relative safety and security that society advocates with the passion, meaning, creativity, and individualism that we dream about? Is there a way to get the best of both worlds?

Yes, I believe there is.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share a very specific plan for living a more meaningful life, making a difference and escaping the often predetermined societal script that says you must choose between safe & boring or exciting and risky.

This is about creating a career path that provides a high likelihood of financial security and allows you to follow your dreams and make a difference in the world.  It’s about bringing the spheres of money and meaning together and having them overlap significantly. After all, when was the last time someone took you aside and shared how to best achieve financial stability while at the same time making a difference in a way you care about?

We’re talking about creating a path where your work is you life’s purpose is your income is your meaning is the difference your making. Significantly more elusive – yet infinitely more rewarding – than the much-hyped “work-life balance.”

This process will require a great deal of self-inquiry into what, exactly, the difference you want to make is, and also a lot of creative, entrepreneurial problem solving to figure out how you could make great money while making your mark on the world.

You’re going to have to create a solution unique to you and your circumstances. No similar solution will have ever existed before and for a very simple reason. In the whole of humanity, no one has yet made the difference you want to make. How cool is that?

Since I’d never have you try something I haven’t applied in my own life, I will dedicate the final blog post in this series to sharing the story of how I used these very steps to go from being fairly miserable and desperate to building a flexible and rewarding career while starting a meaningful legacy project on the side.

Now let’s dive into STEP 1.

STEP 1: Get on your feet financially

If you are in one of the two following scenarios, then you must pay close attention to Step 1.

  • Scenario A: You would be happy spending the rest of your life doing what you’re doing because it feels so meaningful to you, but you’re barely scraping by financially.
  • Scenario B: You’re not happy with either the money you’re earning or the meaning of what you’re doing to earn it. In other words, life sucks!

If you would be happy spending the rest of your life earning what you’re now earning, but it doesn’t feel meaningful, then you can stop here and wait for STEP 2 next week.

There was a period a little over three years ago where I was stuck in a combination of Scenarios A & B big-time. I had left my career in technology to pursue some other ambitions and I ended up at a job where I provided coaching services to college students. This job seemed like the ideal fit at the time but I soon realized that if I was going to be coaching people, then I needed to be doing it on my own terms and charging my own fees. I am not saying this was a bad job. It was the job I needed to wake me up to the realization that I needed to leverage my skills to get back on my feet financially to be able to pursue something I truly wanted to do.

I could have gone on for several more years coaching college students on how to be successful but the money simply wasn’t good enough for me and my heart just wasn’t in it.

If you are in scenario A or B, leverage your skills to get on your feet financially, however you can. Contrary to many of the glorified stories out there, this is the way that most people start out. They get a good job, a corporate job, a boring 9-5 job, any job that will support them financially. Give up your “art,” “purpose,” or ‘meaning” for a little while and know what it means to be financially stable. Get a kinesthetic feeling in your body of how it feels to have enough money to pay rent, to pay all of your bills on time, to take your loved one out to a nice restaurant. This is so important to building a foundation of financial stability so that you can eventually pursue your legacy work without the energy of fear and scarcity lurking in the background.

This is how I did it and how many of the entrepreneurs that I will be showcasing have done it. I will share exactly how I did this in the final post of this series.

Again, if you already have a solid income that feels good to you, consider yourself that much further along and tune in next week for STEP 2: Simplify and prioritize.

That’s it for now. Keep your sights on the legacy work that you are meant to create and I’ll be here   again next week.