There are so many topics that I can write about, seriously. I often sit down to write and become overwhelmed with what I want to share with you; I close my computer or simply skip on over to Facebook and say hello to people or read status updates. Nothing gets done. But today is different.
A couple of weeks ago I went to see Chris Guillebeau, founder of WDS, and author of the book, Happiness of Pursuit. He is touring the States, while sharing what he discovered as he met people on different “Quests”. My purpose for going was support a fellow writer, but more importantly I went because I have been following his journey as an entrepreneur for the past ten years. Being an entrepreneur has been a wild ride, and knowing that there are others in the world on a similar path has definitely made it that much easier to trudge when it would otherwise be so much easier to get a desk job on someone else’s dream.
Over the years as a women entrepreneur, I have had the great opportunity to start several companies. Two of them I could actually brag about but I don’t. I’m not one to be showy or boast, it’s just not my style, and I think it’s actually kind of gross. My husband hangs out with several successful serial entrepreneurs, which by default means I get to hang out with them too. What I’ve learned from them is that it’s plain bad behavior to gloat about business. Well, I hate to say, it but men have a tendency to do just that.
Recently I was able to sit down with my old business partner to discuss panties and designs, it was great. As I was sitting with her, I realized that I had done an amazing job of working with her and creating the company we worked on together. It’s not easy to start from scratch, and it’s definitely not easy to ship thousands of pieces in less than twelve months, but that is precisely what we did. I realized I have a knack for speed and clarity. My partner said, “Lane, you amaze me. Everything is always so well orchestrated, and you don’t even realize it.” At that moment I understood she was right. I don’t realize it, but for me when there is simply a plan set up and I follow through with action(s).
A plan of action has always been a way of life for me. I’ve always scribbled things down in orange Mead notebooks and crossed items off, line by line as I’ve completed a task, or accomplished that particular line item. No one showed me how to do this, and no one said this is how you will become a millionaire. I didn’t learn this in college or any course work I have taken over the years. I was sitting on a dirty Greyhound Bus when I was 18 years old, on one of my first solo adventures across the country. I had no real plan, just my notebook and a bag. What happened on that trip was the beginning of discovering my way while really not knowing what I was doing. I met amazing people on that trip, slept on the bus, ate bad food and created a long list of items that I would eventually cross off as a result looking at that notebook and concentrating on each item everyday. I had no idea that this little practice of keeping an orange notebook and writing down a plan would become one of my greatest strengths.
Over the years I’ve sat down with hundreds of women and have showed them how simple this practice can be. I preface each time with, “I’m not going to show you anything you don’t already know, or perhaps even tried. I’m simply sharing exactly what I do and I hope you will do the same in order to live the life you love.” When they call me a month or two later they usually have the same statement, “I have to start a new list because everything on the list has been completed,” I simply smile!
I consider this plan of action a daily practice, it’s really what gets me excited about life. It can also be totally overwhelming and heavy, and when it does I put the list away for a week– but only for a week. A couple of years ago I was headed to a conference and the plane was late, and since I can’t stand idle time I picked up a random book at the kiosk. This book was about Myelin, and I fell in love with it. I learned that practicing something (reciting a pitch, tallying numbers, or saying hello to a stranger) is actually activating my brain and setting me up for success by going through a continuous motion, aka myelination. Fascinating! As I see it my list making is a part of this continuous practice, and when I have to put my list a way for a week it’s like I’m overcoming a mistake or obstacle. Just like if I were playing soccer and kept kicking the ball towards the goal and missing. Same premise. Myelination is an absolute necessary in how I operate today, if I’m not practicing something I’m not pushing my brain to it’s optimal wellness. WOW just think of that.
The brain is amazing. Myelination led me to learn about our Reticular Activating System, this is where it gets juicy. (I hope I don’t lose you here…) The RAS is what makes things — LIFE happen! Let’s go back to my list making for a minute, I want to share an example; follow along please. On my list for 2012 I had placed, “Live in Barcelona”. I had no idea how this was going to happen I just put it on the list! Did I mention that my husband works full time, our son was three at the time, and I was in the midst of working 60 hours a week with my startup. But when I wrote down that statement, I was super happy, I was reflecting wandering the streets of Barcelona and the incredibly warm nights of our last trip. My RAS system locked that line item into my conscious and my subconscious mind, because when I was writing it down I was happy and aware, which activated both areas of my brain. LOCKED and ACTIVATED! Over the next six months I looked at my list everyday and every night. I talked to my husband about traveling and the possibilities, could it actually happen? Another issue to note is the heavy burden of a fledgling company. Would this goal, this dream happen? I wasn’t sure.
One day in late November, I received an email from a home exchange website, something that I was not entirely convinced of but checked it out anyway for what I thought was no apparent reason (RAS activate). There in that website I was to find the dream location in Barcelona with a family who wanted to exchange with us, at the time I thought it was a total miracle! Next, I was concerned with work and my son, I mean what was I going to do with him and my workload if I were to be in Barcelona solo, without a babysitter? The next thing I know there is a website that pops up on Facebook called Barcelona kids! What? At any other time I would have completely been oblivious to this website notice, but because I had six months of reviewing my list and writing down my plan, the website of course was there and it was noticed!!! This my friend is exactly how the RAS system works, it sees, notices, hears and finds ways to make what you think about (write down) happen! (NOW this can work out BADLY too… so please be aware of your thoughts.)
In April of 2013 we went to Barcelona, and had a blast, we lived there for six weeks. I say lived because we actually worked, shopped, went to the markets, shopped cooked dinners, met new friends and our son went to school too!
I could go on about all of this but I’m clearly not a scientist and I really don’t do justice on explaining this magical systems we have in our brain, if you want to learn more about these systems I’m including a couple of links for you to hop on over too and check out if you are pulled to learn more!
I want to close up so I can go watch the Voice with my honey… I want to challenge you to start a list, get a notebook, write down what you want. Create a plan and then review and be happy… watch what happens over the next few months! Let me know.
Over and out for now,
PS. Did you signup for the Straightforward Life Challenge? You know you want to, do it. 🙂
for further information
“The reticular activating system (RAS), or extra thalamic control modulatory system, is a set of connected nuclei in the brains of vertebrates that is responsible for regulating arousal and sleep-wake transitions…” —From Wikipedia. Read more…
Want more to read? Check out this post, it might be of interest to you!