The smartest person I know – a true story

1 09 2010

He’s probably the smartest person I know.  For that matter he’s probably the smartest person you know.  My friend Gary (I have changed his name) is one of my closest friends.  He once shared with me his stated mission in life, as a teen, was to be the smartest person anyone had ever met.  Gary succeeded.  He teaches for a living and actually learned Greek (Latin) and Hebrew to understand the context of the historical writings he was teaching  in order to have a better handle on the historical significance of what had been written thousands of years ago.  I have a hard time with Dr. Seuss at bed time with my kids.  Hebrew?  No way.  So it should be no surprise Gary’s made a huge impact on my life in so many ways.  The least of which is a seed knowledge he planted in me 9 years ago which I have been trying to harvest for almost as long.  The beauty of his brilliance is in the truth of what he said.  Fittingly, the beauty of my stupidity is it only took 9 years to figure out what he was talking about. 

When I asked Gary how he knew he wanted to teach and what steps he took to get there he shared this with me.  Gary said, “Sean – when you get to the place in your life when you can no longer look in the mirror because you are not doing the one thing you know in your soul you were made to do, you will know it is time to do whatever you have to in order to live out your calling.”  This statement changed my life.  Not at first.  At first I thought, “I am there now!”  At least I thought I was.  In fact there have been countless times I have thought I was there…Gary’s statement ringing in my head… longing to be fulfilled in my work.  What took me 9 years to realize is actually what the absolute gut wrenching process of getting to the point where you cannot look in the mirror is.  You see for me, I never have liked what I see in the mirror.  Looking in the mirror has always been wretched.  Maybe you’re like me – you may not tell anyone how you really feel about yourself – but the reason you spend all that time in front of the mirror is to try to convince yourself you’re not as bad as you think.  Maybe it’s just me.  What I never realized was Gary’s comment was less about the mirror and more about the soul.  It was nothing new to me to not like what was in the mirror, as I say I have been dealing with that my entire life.  But actually listening to the whispers of my soul?  Totally new.  Being the kind of person who tends to speak first and listens much later I have not often practiced purposeful listening.  Especially to myself.  However over the last 9 years God has been working in me – changing me from the inside – allowing growth in the areas of greatest need.  9 years after Gary’s life altering wisdom I heard my soul.  It whispered to me.  I finally came to terms with what my calling was and I no longer would let fear, self loathing, and the loud voice I have always listened to tell me I couldn’t do it.  It was finally clear – I could no longer live without living out my calling.  Whatever it takes to see that happen is what it will take.  As the famed radio announcer Dave Ramsey says, “To live like no one else in order to live like no one else.”  After 9 years Gary’s words are so clear.  I get it.  And I also have come to terms with why so many times before I thought I was at that place in my life but in fact was so far from it.  It’s not about the mirror – it’s about the soul.

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Falling or Flying?

25 08 2010

It was a big fall.  As I stood on the edge and looked over my knees trembled and my hands quivered.  It was the highest height I had ever seen and all of a sudden I was paralyzed with the fear of heights.  As I talked myself out of jumping I could hear the laughter of those behind me and my 7 year old ego took over.  I walked to back to the edge of the Olympic sized diving platform and jumped.  The fall felt like forever and when I hit the water my husky 7 year old frame discovered the truth about pain.  At that point a rule was created in my consciousness, “always fear jumping – it hurts”.

True to form I have allowed my life to be ruled by that fear for 28 years.  Don’t jump – it hurts.  Oh I am the master of change, the advocate for living on the edge, a soap box preacher for changing it up but when push comes to shove – I turtle and play it safe.  What a hypocrite eh?  Here’s a guy who writes a blog about Living Your Dreams and can’t even walk the walk.  I was faced with the opportunity this past April to finally live my dreams and truly begin my journey.  I was at the cross roads again – go on my own and start the company I have always dreamed of owning or accept an opportunity to do what I have done for over 14 years and manage a Porsche dealership in downtown Toronto.  You know what I chose – safe.  I chose the money.  I chose the security.  I chose to not take my own advice, not jump off that edge, and not take the risk.  I chose the road of hypocrisy.  This is the very reason I have not written since the end of April.  How can I write about Living Your Dream when I can’t even do that myself?  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever made decisions knowing what you wanted to do or even needed to do but the fear was so huge you chose to stay safe and unhappy rather than the alternative? 

My name is Sean Moffett and I am a hypocrite.  

But I have great news!  There is hope for us.  There is hope for me.  I finally did it.  I jumped.  I took my own advice and I am now living my dreams.  The Moffett Company has been established and I am speaking, training, and consulting and loving every minute of it.  There has been a wealth of affirmation for my decision and with the admission of my fear and willingness to talk about what has shackled me for so long I am finding hundreds of other people who have experienced these same feelings.  And as we share our triumphs and stumbles it’s overwhelming to know I’m not alone. 

What fears are holding you back?  If you had a magic wand and could wave it and change one thing in your life what would that one thing be?  What would you do for free if you could?  Please share your stories.  

The wind is blowing through my hair as I fly through the air.  I have finally jumped.  If you hear a splat – send help…but from my view – the sky’s the limit. 

Blessings – Sean





“Who’s Bad”

21 04 2010

January 8, 1988 was an interesting day.  It was the last day of the first week back at school in the Powers’ household after the Christmas holiday.  The world was a week into the Soviet Union’s new economic reform called perestroika.  The Dow Jones lost 140 points or 6.5% in a mini-crash closing at 1911.31. (wow – 1911.31 – it’s now cresting 11000)  The single most important thing to me from that day was the release of a single by an artist you may have heard of.  His name was Michael Jackson and the song is ‘Man in the Mirror’.  Quincy Jones commented Michael Jackson was looking to add an anthem to his follow-up to Thriller, a project which would eventually become his 7th studio album entitled Bad.  Jackson was looking to have a song which would inspire and be a call to arms for his fans to add value to their lives and to the world.  For me as an impressionable 12-year-old Michael Jackson fan – I just liked the song.  It wasn’t my favorite though.  I always gravitated to his more up tempo songs.  The Way You Make Me Feel, Bad, Dirty Diana, and Sooth Criminal were all on that album.  In fact, it was the first album in history to have its first 5 releases hit #1 and the only album ever to have 10 of its 11 tracks released chart in the top 10.  However, Man in the Mirror didn’t hit me till later in life.  Maybe I simply did not understand the significance of the lyrics.

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror.  I’m asking him to change his ways.  And no message could have been any clearer.  If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.”  Why couldn’t I have learned the power of this statement at 12?  Or 22?  Or 32?  It’s not like I haven’t had opportunity.  My faults and flaws are clearly on display for all to see and have been as long as I have been around.  At 12 I could write it off as being twelve.  At 22 – well nuff said.  At 32 it was a little more difficult however I was still well head of the success curve for my age so it could be chalked up to stress or pressure or coping.  The fact of the matter is this; I haven’t really had to “take a look at (my)self and make a change” .  I have been able to continue entrenching my weaknesses as I have made excuses or blamed the result of my weakness on others or other situations.  It has been harder and harder to look at the man in the mirror as I climb Dream Mountain as I have grown very aware the extra weight I carry up the mountain is not the supplies which will help my dreams come true but rather the weight I carry is the excess baggage of not having “changed my ways”.  The ascension of Dream Mountain and the decisions my wife and I have made over the last 7 months have removed all excuses as to why I carry the extra weight except for one – the man in the mirror.  As we prepare to climb to Base Camp 2, although the path of the climb may have been altered a bit, the extra weight I carry needs to be removed.  I “want to make the world a better place” therefore I will continue to “look at (my)self and make a change”.   Would I change how these years and experiences have unfolded?  No.   Would I do it all differently?  No.  If I were to do things differently I wouldn’t have the wealth of experiences I do now.  It seems to me leading others to change or managing people through change is one thing but managing the change in my life is a whole other story.  Managing the change in my life takes a constant awareness of what and who is in the mirror.  How easy do you find it to look in the mirror?  What do you say to your reflection?   

I’ve heard it said we are all creative, resourceful, and whole and that I have all of the tools to make the wholesale adjustments needed to be the best me possible.  To be the man God created me to be.  It seems to me the only person who, in the past, has not bought into that vision is me.  Maybe I’ve thought it would be too hard, maybe I haven’t had to try, and maybe I haven’t wanted to?  It is hard, I am trying, and I do want to.  I’m starting with the man in the mirror and I’ve asked him to change his ways.  No message could be any clearer.  I want to make the world a better place.  So, I have taken a look at myself and agreed to make a change.





I think I’m pregnant

14 04 2010

I feel like I am pregnant.  At least I think I do.  Not in the Oprah/Dr. Phil kinda way.  There won’t be an hour-long TV story based on my pregnancy anytime soon.  I may have been screwed over a few times lately but certainly nothing that would produce a child.  But I digress.  My wife described the process of pregnancy as delight at times and agony at others.  Particularly when she got to that point when she said she was “done.”  You may have heard of it before – pregnant woman so graciously carries her little bundle of joy and happily endures, I mean, enjoys her pregnancy until she wakes up one morning after a night of pseudo sleep because she can’t lay any particular way comfortably and says, “I’m done”.  Then she stands up and realises she no longer has feet…or ankles.  All of that to say that’s kind of how I feel. 

Many people have commented on how positive and inspirational this blog is.  To you I say thanks.  However, I feel discouraged.  Maybe just today or for the past few days but yeah – I’m off.  Not way off just a bit off.  I think any exploration or climbing of a mountain has some trepidation and doubt.  And it’s not really doubt as much as it is impatience.  Being almost at Base Camp 1 on my accent of Dream Mountain, I am equal parts thrilled at the progress and where we are and frustrated we are not further along.  This is why I love the pregnancy analogy.  When my wife was pregnant there came a time all she wanted was to deliver the baby.  I’m at a similar impasse.  Have you ever been there?  Waiting on something you know will eventually happen but agonizing over the time it will take to get there.  Maybe you were waiting to hear about acceptance to a certain school, for a boyfriend to ask you to marry him, for a baby to come, for a settlement to finalize, for a certain promotion, or maybe to finally be free of a very bad situation.  Regardless I think we’ve all been there from time to time.  My hope is to be completed the climb and living my dream by the fall.  I’m just terrible with waiting.  Patience is not a strong suit of mine.  Even after reading my own blog (the process of progress) and drinking my own Kool-Aid, I am having a hard time not being anxious.  Anxious to get going already, not anxious in an unsure kind of way.  Sometimes I pray God will give me the patience to see this through, the courage to endure, and the strength to believe in myself and the gifts He has given me.  God has a great sense of humour doesn’t He?  How is it exactly God grants us patience without also granting the situation in which patience must be practiced?  Or courage?  Or strength for that matter?  It’s been my experience God answers some prayers by giving us what we want and others by not giving us what we want.  In this case, He has answered by giving me opportunities to practice.  Uhhhh.  This climb is long.  The steps are relatively easily completed and each little bit sized success gets us closer to the goal.  But FRIG – let’s just rent a helicopter and get to the top of Dream Mountain already!  I mean really – isn’t that why helicopters were invented?  To fly quickly in areas planes, cars, and feet cannot get in the quickest fashion possible?  Like seriously, who ever says, “no thanks, I’d rather climb the mountain.”  I do I guess.  As much as I hate it – I do.  I need to.  This is a weakness I need to manage and walking through this process with the awareness of my impatience and not becoming the impatience is the next crevasse to be scaled.  Hey that sounds like a new challenge.  Cool.

My wife tried to figure out how to get unpregnant from 7 months on.  Whether it was castor oil, walking, aerobics, nesting, whatever she could to be finished her pregnancy as soon as possible she did it.  She just wanted to get on with it.  I’m feeling like that now.  Let’s just start living the dream.  Enough of the climb – let’s get to the summit.  You know it’s funny.  A few weeks after my baby was born my wife said to me, “sweetheart, I miss being pregnant, this Mommy thing is a bitch.”  On second thought, I’m enjoying the climb.





An ode to Joy

9 04 2010

My generation is so much different then my parents.  I think I’m probably different from my father in a lot of ways too.  We all know stories of parents who sacrificed something for the good of something else.  My mother sacrificed her dream of teaching to pursue raising her family while my father spent 12 hours everyday working which included 4 hours of commuting to and from the big city.  Wasn’t a very joyful existence but they sacrificed for the family.  We were spoiled.  For me sacrifice is reading when the cable goes out or taking the bus.  God forbid!  My parent’s generation would often sacrifice joy for the financial well being or improvement of the family.  Comfort and happiness in the hopes it brought joy.  We’ve had it pretty good.  I’ve had it pretty good.  Maybe that is why my significance matrix is so different?

Maybe you are like me?  We have a basic family budget to run our household.  We go to work to ensure our budget gets fed every month.  Anything beyond that is earmarked for all kinds of things – savings, projects, vacations, debt reduction, and luxuries.  I think we all have an internal gage of the level of discomfort we are willing to accept to ensure these details get looked after.  I call it “working for free”.  The income we earn which pays for the basic budget is working for free.  Quite often when there’s more month at the end of the money we’re working for less then free.  Anything over and above is getting paid for my contribution.  That’s how I look at it.  When the level of brain damage at work is greater then the level of remuneration and the remuneration is barely allowing me to “work for free” – we have a big problemo.  Here is the question of questions – if I am working for free and hating my job due to the level of brain damage, what would I really want to do for free.  What would fill me?  What significant contribution could I make to the world?  Where would my strengths best be deployed allowing others to be served and my life to be full?  I’ve often heard it said to discover what you should do with your life, discover what you’d do for free – and do that.  I never understood what working for free meant until now.  A close friend said to me yesterday, “when I leave my job its not like I could make less then what I’m making now so I’m not worried…”.  That’s the ticket!  That’s the freedom.  I’m not advocating everyone quitting their jobs to go volunteer at something.  Not at all.  However I am advocating the move to courageously living our dreams in all aspects of our lives – including our careers.  We can do whatever we set our minds to.  Fear, insecurity, comfort, entitlement, family history, experience, safety, routine, and so much more are all ways we protect ourselves and protecting ourselves is a good thing.  But these same protections can also hold us back from realizing one of the greatest treasures God gives us – a life filled with joy.  I’m not talking happiness.  I’m talking joy.  That overwhelming feeling you are doing THE thing you were made to do.  Maybe you have never experienced that thing before?  Maybe you don’t know where to start?  Maybe you have been like me – scared and comfortable?  Maybe you are 1 of the 88% of people Marcus Buckingham suggests are “living in their weaknesses” or in other words are spending the majority of their time in the things that deplete them.  Stop the insanity!  Don’t you agree its time for a change?  Living my dreams means living a life filled with joy.  Getting up everyday to do THE thing I was made to do.  The ascension of Dream Mountain.  Living my dreams. 

My father and I were driving home from church on Easter and I asked him about living his dreams.  In light of his life of sacrifice, what that meant to him?  You know – he surprised me.  He told me there was no greater joy then having a place to call home, a family to love, and to be married to my mom.  He sacrificed whatever he needed to as long as it ensured he could be THE thing wanted to be – a husband to my mom and a father to my brother and me.  In hind sight, I guess he has lived his life filled with joy.  Maybe we’re not that different after all.





Life’s too short…

8 04 2010

Here are some ways to ensure the cliché becomes reality.  In their latest issue, the fine folks at Esquire magazine have provided a list of 25 things worth shortening your life for.  In response here are the top 10 from their list I have tried (or want to).  Can you tell which is which?  Hey, maybe these would be on your list?  Maybe this will inspire you into living your dream?

 

Giving Someone a Kidney

Mark Strozier/istock

You only need one. Hopefully.

 

Black Cat Espresso from Intelligentsia

 Courtesy of Intelligentsia

A triple. Note the exceedingly heavy body, with chocolate, caramel, and dried-fruit notes. Also note that you’re vibrating. That means it’s working.

 

Butter 

Elena Schweitzer/istock

Nuff said.

 Smoking Cubans (in Cuba)

KieselUndStein/istock

Until night, it’s Guilt City, Havana. Especially from the top of the Parque Central hotel, rising high and new out of the near ruins, with its rooftop pool and bar and rich Germans browning in the last of the sun that’s been cooking the poor streetbounds since morning. After dark, it’s easier to forget what surrounds you, because you can’t see the poverty; only the hotels stand out, like stars against the night, foreign currency having trumped the day’s electricity rations. In the distance: the historic Hotel Nacional, where you wandered this afternoon on the lazy hunt for cigars. Not Cohibas — every turista down here smokes Cohibas — but a box of Sancho Panzas, cheap and creamy and drawing enough heady smoke to begin choking out the last strains of ill feeling. The rum assists — in mojitos, drunk through straws stuck in a pile of wet sugar at the bottom — as do the cheeseburgers, grind-house bloody, because there are no surgeons general to mind your store in Cuba. Nobody cares if you die down here. And at last, just now, spitting out the end of your night’s fourth cigar, ordering another rummy drink, your belly full and warm with still-kicking meat, you don’t care, either. – Rob Storey

  

Oysters Mosca at Mosca’s in Avondale, Louisiana

Nick Free/istock

A baked casserole brimming with two dozen oysters in garlic and butter with a breaded topping. A night ender

  

Fugu (Poisonous Blowfish)

sintaro/istock

Specifically, the fugu tasting menu at Morimoto in New York and Philadelphia.

  

Playing Tackle Football…

Kevin Dodge/Corbis

…past the age of 25.

 

Duck-Fat Potatoes

Elise Bakketun/istock

  • 1 pound small red new potatoes (about 16), with strip peeled around center
  • 4 tablespoons duck fat ($3 for 7 ounces; specialty supermarket or dartagnan.com)

Over low heat, melt duck fat in deep skillet with tightly fitting lid. Raise temperature to get hot. Run potatoes under water, letting excess drain through colander. Transfer to skillet (water and hot fat create splatter but also cooking steam; potatoes must be in one layer with enough room to roll around) and quickly cover. Shake pan slightly to coat potatoes and cook until deep golden and tender, about 18 minutes. Season abundantly with coarse salt and ground black pepper and serve.  Paired with…

 

The Carpetbagger Steak

Heiko Martin/istock

Topped with blue cheese, a fried oyster, Hollandaise, and caramelized onions , washed down with…

 

A “Three-Bagger” of Crown

Three strong rye-whiskey cocktails in a row at a bar with the perfect seedy charm.

My number is 8.  I have, in fact, tried or done 8 of the 10.  But which 8 are the 8?  How many have you tried/done?  What would your list look like?  What would inspire you enough to try even though you know it would shorten your life?  These are simply 10 from Esquires list.  There are a few more I would add but hey…additional blog fodder.





WTF? (where’s the friendship)?

7 04 2010

Friends – can’t live with them, can’t live without them.  There are so many different variations of friends.  Long time friends, new friends, long distance friends, next door neighbour friends, arms length friends, friends of friends, family that are friends, friends that are like family, friends with benefits – lots of different kinds of friends.  I would hazard to suggest we probably have just as many different experiences with friendships as there are different definitions of friendships.  I certainly have.  We all have right?  We can all name a time where we have been lifted up by a friend, supported in a way or at a time where the palpable friendship was so moving – it was burned into our memory of what “real” friendship is like.  Conversely we have all had the opposite experience haven’t we?  A situation where we have been so let down by a friend the let down caused disillusionment for friendships as a whole?  More than that, the definition of friend is changing too isn’t it?  I have an old friend with whom I am not really close with anymore who has more than 3000 Facebook friends in his mission to have the most Facebook friends on the net.  Heck, Tila Tequila became (in)famous because she had the most MySpace friends in the world.  For my money, I like the few and fierce approach.  A few very close and fiercely active friendships.  The types where you may not see one another all of the time but when you do you walk away feeling so good – regardless of the conversation.  Could be a surface thing, could be deep and challenging – but always good.

Yesterday was great day.  On the heels of a friendship disappointment, I travelled back to my hometown for the day and got to see 4 good friends.  They are all different friendships with differing levels of time and experiences but all are good friendships.  The first has become a friend through a business relationship but when we get together we laugh and laugh.  That’s not something which comes easily to me so to have a friend like this is so cool.  It’s never super deep but it’s good that way.  The next friend I saw is one of my medical practitioners (he was a friend first).  He and his wife and my wife and I are all close individually and together.  We have great conversations.  Deep and shallow.  We have such an understanding.  We share common loves and dislikes, young children, spiritual understandings, just so much.  We don’t see each other every week but when we do see one another it’s great.  I was at my best man’s house next.  He wasn’t there but his wife and kids were.  I love this family so much.  I’ve actually been friends with them longer than any other active and engaged friendship I have.   They are an example to me of how to grow but not change.  How to be who you are happily and yet grow more deeply into who you were made to be.  Even the 20 minutes I was there was so awesome.   Finally we stopped for supper at a relatively newer friend’s home.  We always love being with them.  They are generous, open, warm, inviting, understanding, caring, and genuine.  We have told them pretty much everything there is to know about us and they don’t flinch.  They do the same with us.  The wives get together and are close and us husbands get together and talk too.  He and I talk more on the Blackberry’s but it’s our communication and it works for us.  What is so cool to me is when friendship truly works.  My hope is my family can be even half the friends these families/friends have been to us.

We’ve all had friendships where we’ve been let down.  I think it’s a fact of life.  Friendships suck sometimes.  Jody Watley sang, “friends will let you down/friends won’t be around/when you need them the most – where are your friends?” and she was right.  However, coming home from my hometown yesterday I was reminded of the best part of friendships.  Good friendships, real friendships are the flavor of life.  A light in the darkness of our lives.  Yesterday I was encouraged to be the friend I want to have by the friendships I have been blessed to be a part of.