Friday, July 31, 2009

Passion Party #39 - Breathe Out Fear

In my business you have to be an optimist.
There is no point in being an entrepreneur unless you believe you can succeed, and that tomorrow will be better than today.
So I choose to have faith -
Faith that when I take the right action it will all work out.
And when the fear shows up
as it always does
I can breathe in Faith
and breathe out Fear.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Passion Party #38 - The Importance of Being Passionate

I first started keeping a journal as a freshman in college. It was one of those seminal classes - Philosophy 101 - my teacher was Peter Diamondopolous. Our first assignment was to keep a daily journal of our thoughts.
He said, "A life worth journaling is a life worth living."
We read Camus, Sartre, I learned a lot.
It was somewhere during those four years of college that I realized how important Passion is to me.
Not just the passion of love, but the passion of life.

I became a music major in my sophomore year. At the time I said I did it because I could not think of what else would keep me interested in school for 3 more years. Now looking back, it was the one thing I felt most passionate about.

Passion is the difference between running away and running towards.
It is the fuel of desire.
You can have a burning desire for something,but if you are not passionate about it, it is likely to fall by the wayside.
Now, 36 years later, it feels good to tap that passion again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Passion Party #37 - Money Part 5

What if you had lots of money, but no time to spend it? I often think that money buys time, but it doesn't really. Making money takes time, and making lots of money takes a lot of time. That is why they call it work.
I know that there are constantly books being written about getting rich quick and such, but I remember one big"AHA" I got when I read "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill: The people who make a lot of money work really hard to make it happen, they are dedicated to that pursuit.
I prefer a "get rich slow" scheme: a gradual, never ending accumulation.

What if you had lots of time, but no money? Many people feel this way, when there is "too much month at the end of the money". It is a nice thought to be free of the constraint of work, to be able to just "do what you want". But it can be pretty lonely, and sitting around the library can get old also.

There must be a balance, then. The old model of "work until you are 65 and then retire" is not really a model I aspire to. I don't want to "retire". I want to spend my life learning, growing, and being of service, hopefully until I die.
I can't use the excuse "I don't have the time" or "I don't have the money" any more.
I have the time, and I have the money.
Now I just need to learn to keep them in balance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Passion Party #36 - Suit Up and Show Up

Today I am going to two networking meetings.
Why do I do this?
I need to be part of a club that allows me to show that I am trustworthy, knowledgeable and multi-faceted.
I want people to know that I am "not just another ________" (fill in the blank).
"Never eat alone" can be a business plan if it is backed up with honesty and knowledge.

It is a challenge to get up early, suit up and show up.
It is the challenge of Being Professional in an Unprofessional world.
The world is full of amateurs, and it is our job as professionals to raise the bar and jump over it, even in our business suit.
So today I suit up and show up, and break bread with others.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Passion Party #35 - Rekindling The Passion

Sometimes you just have to feed the fire,
get back to the beginning.
Remember what brought you together
The sense of adventure,
doing something new in a new place;
Revisiting a place you loved
and finding you love it again.
Traveling with someone you love
and finding you love her again.

Rekindling the sense of passion
its not so hard to do
and once the fire is burning
I can carry the flame.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Passion Party #34 - Vacation

Summer brings the opportunity to work hard four days a week and then take long weekends.
Hop on a plane
change the channel
see what I can find with no agenda and little plans.
Work hard and play hard
and Laugh - Live - Love

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Passion Party #33 - Money Part 4

Money is for motion.
It is the grease that gets society moving.
It is a man-made creation, an easy way to exchange goods and services.
If you hold on to it, it loses value.
If you let go of it too fast, it will leave you with nothing to show but memories.

I use it to give motion to my dreams, my desires, and when I nurture it and use it to further my highest and best self, it can give me countless rewards.

Money does not care if you are rich or poor.
It is an exchange of energy, and like all energy can be used for good or evil.

I chose financial services as a career partly because I felt that if I could be around the flow of money some of it might rub off on me. Then I learned that by standing in the middle of the stream it was easier to catch the fish.
So now every day I stand in the stream of abundance and let the energy reach me.
I let the money come to me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Passion Party #32 - Fame and Fortune

When I first decided to pursue composing there were people I really admired and looked up to: Henry Mancini, Alex North, Jerry Goldsmith. These were people that had acquired fame and fortune as film composers.
I thought at the time, "I like the fortune part, but I can live without the fame."
Over the years I have learned that there is a part of me that wants to be famous, that wants to be known for what I do and who I am. I like when my good reputation proceeds me. But I would still rather be fortunate than famous.

Sometimes these two things decouple. There are many people on the Forbes 400 list that have amassed huge fortunes and I have never heard of them, and many more that I would not recognize if they were standing next to me at the supermarket. And certainly there are people now who get their 15 minutes of fame but never get the fortune.

Sometimes fame and fortune come together in a negative way, like for the ex-president of Countrywide Bank, or Bernie Madoff: Fortune and Infamy.

And then sometimes they come together in the most powerful, synergistic way, and the world stops cold for two hours.
Like with Michael Jackson.

And what a price to pay.
I will take fortune, you can keep the fame.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Passion Party #31 - New and Improved

You can't be new, and improved.
I was new once.
New feels great, usually. It feels fresh.
It's the first time out, that first breath of air.

Things gets better as they improve.
My first kiss was disastrous.
I bumped my nose into her face.
I remember thinking, "This is the kind of experience that scars people for life."
Luckily, I improved over the years.

That's one good thing about getting older,
it gives you time to improve.
It gives me the chance to know what I know,
and know what I don't know.
Now I can admit that I don't know what I don't know,
and when I explore that, it can lead to something new.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Passion Party #30 - Busy Work

I finally cleared my desk.
It was covered with months of built-up statements, receipts, books to read, articles to file, things to do.
The things to do were not important, they were
"things to do someday".
And months have passed.
And it is time to do the things to do someday.
Why not today? Why not make them Things To Do Now?
I sorted them over the trash can, and I separated out the trash, the expired, the things that no longer interest me.
I was left with "things to do now" and "busy work".

"Busy work" is insidious. It is the stuff you can't throw away, but you don't really want to do. It is the organizing, the number crunching, the filing, the grading.
I say I don't want to do it, but given my choices I will often turn to the busy work rather than pick up the phone and do the "things to do now".

Someday has passed
and the busy work can wait.
Today I will do the Things To Do Now.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Passion Party #28 - Do It Anyway

Where is your passion today?
Where is your desire?
Where can it lead you?
To a field of diamonds, to a place of helping, not hurting
To a place of sharing my highest self.

Where is my passion today?
Where is my desire?
What can I do today to feed that passion?
So often the actions I take today create results 3 or 6 months in the future.
What action can I take today that will make my future brighter, more passionate 6 months from now?
Listen to the voices that say, "You can't do that because..."
Tell them, "Thank you for sharing,"
and then do it anyway!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Passion Party #27 - Money Part 3

I love being paid well for what I do.
The greatest thing about being an entrepreneur is that my income is not tied to an hourly wage.
Rather than someone telling me, "Your job is to do this, and you will be paid $10.00 an hour to do it", I create my hourly wage based on what I choose to do and the value I create for people, and for myself.
Of course there is a scary part attached to this: the "eat what you kill" primitiveness.
If I choose to be an elephant hunter, then I may go many days without food. This takes preparation and planning to succeed.

I like to be of service.
I like helping lots of people, so I would rather help 10 people get little things done than wait for the one $10 million dollar client that needs my help.
Being paid well for what I do builds self-confidence
and self-worth.
It creates the freedom to design my business even better so I can be more efficient, which creates more money and security or more freedom, whichever I choose.
(Some people work for security, some work for freedom. I work for freedom.)

Being paid well for what I do creates BALANCE in my life.
So this year my "business plan" is very simple:
1) How much money do I want to earn every month?
2) What activities do I need to do every month to hit that target?
3) Consistently do it. Don't stop when I hit the target one time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Passion Party #26 - The Grateful List

What is it about starting the day with gratitude? Coming from a place of thankfulness warms my heart. It focuses on what I have, rather than what I want. And I really have enough.
I can complain, and I often do. But it seems that when I laugh, or think that something is "silly" rather than "annoying", it is easier to slip back into being grateful.

I am grateful today that my life is filled with music! I am grateful that I can spend an hour today working on my music, and that my son is in the Mark O'Connor String Institute at UCLA this week. Each night this week we get to go to concerts performed by the various instructors where we get to hear them demonstrate their special styles of music, everything from Americana to Klezmer to Free Improvised classical music.
I am grateful for the roof over my head. I am grateful that I have a friend to meet for lunch today. I am grateful that I have a conservative investment adviser that didn't give my money to Bernie Madoff. I am glad that, at the end of a long work day, I come home to a loving wife and enough food to feed me and my family.
I am grateful that I was born in the USA, a land of opportunity where we have so much we take for granted.
I am grateful for my health
I am grateful for my wealth
I am grateful for the clients who trust me
I am grateful for the chance to earn their trust again today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Passion Party #25 - A Field of Diamonds

I am sitting in a field of diamonds
and all I need to do is
open my eyes to see them.
The world is abundant, no doubt.
Our children have so much opportunity it is almost embarrassing,
but it is not embarrassing, it is wonderful.
It is a gift that we can share.

Before I repair the world, first I need to learn to live in it,
be part of it, love it.
I must give grace to receive grace.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Passion Party #24 - Creating Time / Finding Time

Einstein said matter cannot be created or destroyed.
He also said that time is relative.
So is it possible that time can be created or destroyed?
Even if time is relative, it seems a given that we cannot get time back once it is gone. Benjamin Button not withstanding, we don't grow younger, we grow older.
We can try, like Michael Jackson, to freeze time in youth, live our lives in Neverland, but our bodies understand the concept of aging, whether we want them to or not.

Time is like the airplane seat that flies away empty; it will never be able to get filled again until, maybe, the next flight.

I like the idea of creating time. Why not? We have created the calendar, we have created the concept of 24 hours in a day, but we did not create the fact that the sun rises and falls, and we are not limited to what we can get done between sunrise and sunset.
Waking up at 5:00 AM has created time, it has created a new world for me to discover.

And I love the idea of finding time. I find time all around:
under the water cooler, in the fridge, inside the newspaper or People Magazine. We find time every day for so many things.
What if we used that time in a different way, to create, to dream, to pursue, to fly on that airplane so the seat does not leave empty.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Passion Party #23 - Lighten Up

The world can seem so heavy
So much doom and gloom
What is it I can do today
to brighten every room?

My body feels so heavy
I had too much to eat.
Today is another day
I can feel light on my feet.

I have my health today
There is no need to mope
I want to be a kid today
swinging from a knotted rope.

I take the plunge
I fill my cup
Let's have some fun
And Lighten Up!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Passion Party #22 - Money Part 2

Our society has set interesting rules on who gets paid what.
There is a relationship between
skill - talent - difficulty - knowledge - function - and value.
Skill alone does not make money
- there are many skilled bus drivers.
Talent alone does not make money
- there are many talented artists that are starving.
Difficulty alone does not make money
- working in a coal mine would be difficult.
Knowledge alone does not make money
- librarians are very knowledgeable.
Function alone does not make money
- there are many out of work bankers right now.

I spent many years as a starving artist, and while I was visiting that place I discovered that, right or wrong, society placed more value on certain jobs than others. Playing piano in a hotel lobby, no matter how skilled or talented I became, would not pay me as well as becoming, say, a software programmer or a film composer.

So then the question became "How much do I want money?" And "How much money do I want?"
And the question behind the question became
"How important is that to me?"
What am I willing to give to achieve the goal of making money?
And which jobs that fit my
skill - talent - degree of difficulty - knowledge; - perform a function that society feels creates monetary value?

I love making money
I love what I do
What I do creates value
What I do makes money.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Passion Party #21 - A New Habit

Creating a new habit is not hard.
It is just doing.
Like Yoda said, "Try not - do, or do not."
Yoda was an old dog, filled with new tricks.
Many of my habits found me, like the glass of wine with dinner.
Other habits I had to find, like clearing my desk at the end of each work day, and "cleaning the grill" at the end of each week.

The end result is the same.
I am driven by pleasure
I run away from pain.
And it is that combination of emotions that drive my willingness to create a new habit.
Today I am willing to change,
today I am willing to learn a new trick.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Passion Party #20 - Don't Hold Back

How much of my time is spent in the realm of the mind?
And how much more powerful would I be if I connected it with my heart?
There is something deep that happens when I feel connected from my head to my toes. I can feel life coursing through my body and almost anything is possible.
I spend so much time holding back,
being "careful", not wanting to rock the boat.
How much more could get done, how much more would be accomplished
if I would play full out all the time?
What do I have to lose?

Don't hold back!
It does not serve you.
Today I will live in my heart
I will live in passion
I will love until my heart overflows.
Don't hold back!
It does not protect you.
It gets in the way of your greatness.
The brain will catch up in time
if you lead with your heart,
lead with the giving hand.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Passion Party #19 - Money

My relationship with money started long ago.
As a kid I thought it was interesting how we would throw our change into the little metal "tzedakah" box at the temple on Sunday, to give the money to - who? For what? Something about "the needy".
So one day I thought, gee, I am needy too, so I took a small jar at home and taped a picture of a sad dog on it, and wrote, "Give to the APGKGB" (that was the Association for the Prevention of George Kahn Going Broke.) And I would put my change in there, and my Dad would put some change in there, and now and then people who would visit our home would put change in there. My parents, who were understanding and very supportive of my creativity, went along with the joke.
(This was probably my first successful marketing idea.)

I always found it odd and amazing that people gave value to paper money. I was 19 when President Nixon finally announced that the US was abandoning the silver standard, where the government issued money against silver in the US Treasury's vault; I remember that my grandfather had some coins from when they actually put silver in the dimes and quarters.
So I was always fascinated with $2 bills, and other oddities of money, how some coins and bills are worth more than others to collectors.
(This was probably my first introduction to supply and demand.)
I always dreamed of being like Scrooge McDuck, having a secret vault in my house filled with dollars and coins that I could swim in and throw up in the air. So I guess for me there was always an element of fun associated with money. My Dad made a lot of money, and was very free in spending it as well, so he taught me that one of the joys of money is that you get to spend it on people and things that you love.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Passion Party #18 - Play Big

Bigger is not always better.
Sometimes bigger is just bigger.
Look at GM. Look at Chrysler.
Look at Six Flags - this company grew to be the biggest operator of amusement parks in the US. They declared bankruptcy a couple of weeks ago.

There is a difference between getting big and playing big.
You can buy things to get big -
- Playing big is an internal game.
You can consume things to get big
- Playing big is a state of mind.
You can acquire things to get big.
- Playing big builds on your unique ability.

Today I choose to play big. I was not put on this earth to play small.
Playing small does not serve me or others. I can shine my light, turn on my high beams. I have so much to give!
I love to play big, surrounding myself with people that help pull me up to the next level.
Marianne Williamson said, "And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same".

And if I can't play big here, well it must be time to find a better playground!