How To Create The Life & Work of Your Choice

Napoleon Hill said all creation happens in these three stages: conceive, believe, achieve.  The challenge is, the middle.  Most of us have a hard time really believing anything is possible.  That we have what it takes to follow our bliss and create the life and work of our choice.

That's the premise of my book "The 101% You: Seven Steps to Create the Life of Your Choice."  The steps emerged from a powerful peak event I accomplished.  During a week-long personal leadership workshop at a rustic ranch in California, I had the opportunity (along with a hundred participants) to do a series of high ropes courses.  Each one of the four events were challenging for most people, as they certainly were for me.  However, I knew from the start of the day that one event in particular would be my most challenging.  I quickly found out that I was drawn to that event as a symbol of the gift, the prize, I sought.

The event was to climb a fifty-foot telephone pole, get on top of a pizza size disc, stand up and balance yourself and then leap to catch a trapeze bar.  Here's how it went for me:

Step 1: Intention.  I got clear about what I wanted of the event: to grab the trapeze bar, after climbing the pole and getting on top of it.

Step 2: Choice.  It was my choice to do the event.

Step 3: Commitment.  I committed to another person exactly what I wanted.

Step 4: Work.  I climbed the pole.

Step 5: Power.  I hoisted myself onto the top of the pole.

Step 6: Integration.  I calmed myself when I was shaking the pole.

Step 7: Gift.  I turned to face the trapeze bar and leaped to catch it.

Now think of something you've really wanted to achieve at work or in life that you thought was really challenging or impossible to accomplish, but you did it anyway.  See if these steps played a role in getting you from Point A to Point B.

As creative beings, we must be clear about what we want--conceive the idea.  For most of us that's pretty easy (e.g. I want to be promoted).  There is typically no one formula to get from Point A to Point B.  There are many paths.  You get to pick a path, you get to choose.  Make sure it's your choice.  Do it for you.  Not for others.  Make a commitment to that intention by speaking it to another.  This adds support accountability.  Do the work necessary.  In the case of my climbing the pole, I had to grab one slippery staple at a time, not have high anxiety and keeping looking up at what I wanted, to stand firmly on top of the pole.

Power has received a bad wrap.  And we all know empowered employees are the most effective and successful.  Power comes from within, without taking anyone down on your path.  I was the last of 101 people to do the pole exercise.  I kept studying others on what I believed was the most challenging part of the experience--getting my body up onto the pizza size disc, stand and not fall.  Friends said later I took forever to make the move, to take that step to get on top of the pole.  What I realized later was, it wasn't just my intellect, it wasn't just my heart that got me there.  It was my animal instinct.  My guttural power.  I gripped the disc platform with both hands.  I let out a belly scream and hoisted myself up onto the platform, one foot at a time.  I leveraged all of my power to do this.  Bring all of yourself to your work, to your life.  Give it your best.

What happened when I got on top of the pole is by far my favorite part of the experience.  I was very excited that I did it.  I was standing on top of the pole, but it was shaking.  I had to remind myself my intention was to grab the trapeze bar.  I wasn't done yet.  A friend from down below said very calmly: "Bobby, you know it's not the pole that's shaking."  Ding!  I decided to take one, slow, deliberate breath.  The pole was calm.  I call this step "your integration" because it was the moment I realized we all have it within ourselves to achieve what we believe.  I smile remembering that moment.

Now I turned to face the trapeze bar.  It was more than twice my body length away.  I leapt Superman style, with my eyes on the prize--the trapeze bar.  I grabbed it with both my hands and I pumped it.  I wanted to kinesthetically feel and remember the experience.  I savored my gift of achieving my intention.

Finally, think back to both experiences of when you have and have not achieved your intention.  For the times when you did not achieve an intention, do you give yourself time to grieve the loss or do you gloss over it?  Yes there's power in knowing we can keep trying and let's allow ourselves time to feel the disappointment.  If I had not grabbed the trapeze bar I would have been very disappointed.  It would not be supportive for others to say "better luck next time."  Yes I'd do it again but first, I would need to feel the loss.

Luckily I did accomplish my intention.  I now teach this concept through workshops and talks to groups all around the world.  The key is for you to make it your own.  

YOUR ASSIGNMENT, if you choose to accept: think back to things you've accomplished that were challenging to achieve.  See if the seven steps apply.  Now use them to guide your way to your next challenging intention.  Share your answer here, at or on Twitter.  Sign-up to receive my infrequent newsletter.