Happy New Year!

Have you written down your New Year’s resolutions? I have, and I admit, the Resolutions (goals) have dramatically shifted since turning 62. “Hitting my numbers” and losing weight will always be on the list, but since COVID, my list has changed dramatically. Is this the case with you?

My goals include helping others and connecting more with the community, friends, and clients. So unless I am teeing it up, I meet with a men’s group at 6:30 in the morning several days a week. I started going to these meetings in November of 2022. Since I am a solopreneur, I enjoy the group’s support and feedback. We talk about what’s going on in our lives, and if I have something to add, I will provide my two cents. Often, I will just listen and learn.

Fortunately, the meetings are close to home, but thanks to COVID, I can also attend the meetings on Zoom. It’s not quite the same, but it still starts my day nicely. The group leader is Bill, and he has many friends. The group is made up of people from all walks of life, and I get a nugget of inspiration every time I show up. Here’s one nugget:

Have meaningful conversations. Listen with empathy and selflessness. Whenever I talk with someone, say a potential client I have never met, I try to understand because you can’t help someone until you understand them.

In addition to the Men’s group, three things have enhanced my perspective: Rotary, “The Art of Happiness,” and “The Untethered Soul.”

Rotary: Managing Expectations

Even if business is going well, there is always something! About ten years ago, a speaker at Rotary changed my life. For as long as I can remember, I set high daily goals that led to monthly and annual goals. However, I set too many goals that were not achievable. Each goal was achievable, but not when combined with 20 other goals. As a result, even when I closed a deal or won new business, I was stuck, dwelling on 19 things I had not completed.

On that fateful day at Rotary, I learned that setting fewer goals is ok. I learned to manage my expectations – and cut myself some slack. Can you imagine not having a boss, but constantly being stressed out and disappointed? Well, that was me. Until that day at Rotary – It was an ah-ha moment, like a light switch.

The Art of Happiness: When it gets right down to it, we all want the same things.

The Art of Happiness was written by Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist, in collaboration with the 14th Dalai Lama. The only Dalai Lamma I knew of was a golfer that Carl Spackler (Bill Murry) caddied for. In “Caddy Shack,” Carl tells a wild story about caddying for the Dalai Lama in Tibet.

It was a tough round according to Carl. He says, “He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand-foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga.”

Carl was a veteran caddy accustomed to getting big tips from the golfers he looped for. But not with the Dalai. The Dalai doesn’t tip. Carl explains:

“So, we finish the eighteenth, and he’s going to stiff me. And I say, “Hey Dalai Lama, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.”

The Lama replies, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.”

“So, I got that going for me, which is nice.”

A key concept of the “Art of Happiness” still resonates with me today: While some people are naturally miserable and despicable sociopaths, most people “want to be loved, and they just want to be happy.” It doesn’t matter whether you are the CEO of Apple or the President of Bacon CRE – we all want the same basic things. And everyone has “stuff” they are dealing with.  For example, whenever I talked with someone about my kids, particularly when they were teenagers,  it became clear that we all have stuff.  These commonalities always bridge the gap, and the realization made my interaction with big brains and egos, sociopaths, and narcissists – much easier.

The Untethered Soul: Don’t sweat the small stuff:

A wise friend gave me a copy of The Untethered Soul, written by Michael Singer in 2007. Talk about a game-changer. If you want to improve your quality of life, read a few chapters.

“…this book will transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you. You’ll discover how to end the habitual thoughts and emotions that limit your consciousness.”

The crazy thing is that it is just a matter of choice. You can save yourself hours of therapy and thousands of dollars just by reading this book.

If you are interested in giving back to the community, I would be happy to take you to a Rotary Lunch!  Please reach out to me at  [email protected] or (916) 761-1202.

I am looking forward to 2024. Hope to see you soon!