Did we make a difference?

I have been researching the third stage of life, what I call Life 3.0 for some time now. A trend which I am finding consistent is that the “reporting” on what “boomers” are doing with their lives is centered around “senior stuff.” This gives the impression that we are solely focused on creating systems, products, and programs to take care of frail, brittle, or fat and incapacitated dithering idiots as they play out an endless loop of remembering the past and float uselessly through their remaining days on Earth.  Things like elder care shopping and enrichment services which will benefit our even older “greatest generation” outliers still hanging around and will serve to sustain us if our children (assuming we had any) don’t step up to the plate to care for us in our late years.

Do we really think that the generation that invented the VCR, cell phones, the personal computer, video games, the iPOD, the iPAD, the SUV, etc. is ready, willing, or able to go to go gently into that good night? Do we have no choice now but to become all caregiving – all the time?

I have written about the Shift, sharing that most of us spent Life 2.0 doing what we must do for our children, and that it is a natural and necessary thing to Shift.  But what if we had always lived a life OnCore? Some of us, like Bob Dylan who just awarded the Medal of Freedom, have never strayed far from the path we set together in our youth. He, and a handful of others, have served as a constant reminder, a voice in our heads whispering the truth while we move sedated through the Matrix. Perhaps we have not truly lived in the full expression of these inner values but many at least have remained true to ourselves in the way in which we approached or attempted to shape our reality. Do we then fully Shift? As I’m now learning – maybe not.

To explain this concept further – I am a product guy. My first major product was the creation of an IT organization and the resulting infrastructure of a retailer. My second stint was a series of software products, my third was the creation of an Internet Based product, my fourth was my photography. Now I am creating a product around coaching and the services needed to support Encore Entrepreneurs in creating their own ventures.

Have I really shifted? Absolutely yes in how I access my core values and apply my innate strengths.  But maybe not so much in what I do with them.  Frankly, I have always been operating in my sweet spot. If not, I would never have been as successful as I was.  So what about boomers that have, like me, been very successful in Life 2.0? What are they going to do now when they are focused on giving back to society?

For example let’s take a software engineer who created video games for a living in Life 2.0. What will she do when she thinks about helping people live a better life?  How will she remain relevant to her world today?  Remember the late sixties? Everything had to be “relevant.”  Life has always been, and forever will be, about relevance. So what is relevant to our engineer today as she ages?  I don’t know, but she certainly does and what she creates when combines her gift of software engineering with her passion and purpose, will be amazing and gratifying to both her and to society. Something tells me it will be outside the limited scope of those currently reporting on the state of the elder union.

Why will this happen?  Because our engineer is retaining her relevancy. She is keeping active. She is remaining connected to her environment. She has changed her diet and has taken up meditation. She does not trust that the establishment would take care of her – she  never believed the “older” generation.  Growing up in the fifties and early sixties, she was told to hide under her school desk in the event of a nuclear attack. As if that would seriously help the situation! She, like most of us, never believed that that generation would be leaving the word in any kind of stability. Hell, she never thought she would be alive at thirty, figuring the planet would be in a nuclear winter by that time. Suddenly finding herself in her thirties, surprised to be still alive, she started a family and entered the matrix in order to provide for them. Now, the children are grown and time is ripe for leaving the matrix. It’s time to stop cooking meals for the kids and start crafting tools for a new reality.

It’s my role to help our engineer, and others like her, define that new product or venture, take it to market and help solve the real problems we are finding in our world. Like Jim Kirk says at the end of Start Trek Generations “Did we do itDid we make a difference?”  We are a generation not interested in being in the Nexus. Hell no we won’t go….into retirement!

Disposable

Are males disposable?

About a year ago, I listened to a very well done series called the Evolutionary Man Summit.  Michael Dowd, a former Unitarian Universalist preacher, that I had the pleasure of hearing in person a few years ago, comments in the series that men are raised to be disposable.

I grew up with movies portraying men storming the beach in Normandy, read The Red Badge of Courage, and was generally encouraged to play football and sacrifice my body for the good of the team.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and I can still remember the movie with the orchestra men playing as the ship sunk. These men, along with the rest of us, were conditioned to be disposable. Not a single man I know would question the concept of “women and children first”. It is simply a given that men must “man up,” play the role of provider, and if need be, sacrifice themselves for the “weaker” members of society.

For generations men have gone off to war, stuffed our feelings deep inside of us, work long hours to provide for our families, and then at the age of 55, 60, or 65 we are told by the people we long served that we are no longer required. Our children are grown; our wives have gone on spiritual, economic, or educational journeys and are now independent and much better suited for a softer, kinder, gentler, more cooperative world than we are. We have spent our lives driven by purpose and industry, yet now there are no roadmaps, no markers upon which to define our next steps, no way to claim our progress. In short, we are left drifting in a society that seems to suddenly have no place for us.

At the exact time in history when collaboration and cooperation are becoming the requirement, male baby boomers are now able to embody those tenants thanks to lower hormone levels and reduced strength caused by the natural aging process.  Yet most of us have no idea of how to change, becoming bitter and lamenting what we used to be able to do.

At this time what are the choices? Do we become more feminine, more care giving?  Do we become bitter, resentful, “curmudgeony” and say *&(^ off to the world? Do we bore people with stories of how life used to be?  Do we become brain dead with alcohol and escape?  Or do we re-invent ourselves because in our hearts we know that we are not disposable?

I believe that the generation of men who first became supportive of equal rights for minorities and equal rights for women must now embrace the concept of equal rights for men.  We must acknowledge that we have the right to do what we want to do for ourselves.  The self-limiting problem with this idea is that we feel guilty. We have internalized concepts such as the glass ceiling and the exploitation of women. We have come to believe that our gender was responsible for the creation of the patriarchal society in which we now live.

But man alone did not create the patriarchy. Men and women co-created it. As Michael Dowd teaches “no group of men got together and said lets create monogamy!” It is time for men to “man up” and create a world in which men and women are both responsible for and to one another in partnership. This must include a man’s right to do what he feels is right for himself. The right to identify and follow his purpose, the right to live on core with his true being, and not as society tells him he must live. I believe that the only thing stopping men from doing just that – is other men.  Men do not like confronting other men and admitting that they like the ballet, or find “chick flicks” entertaining, or enjoy a trip to the art museum.  Bring up that subject here in Pittsburgh and the conversation will shift to “how ‘bout those Steelers” faster than Madonna can change her identity.

Life 3.0 for men is all about owning the shift in values that has occurred and accepting that life is different now than how it used to be. It’s about saying “I am now finally going to own and enjoy my life.” The key is to have the courage to find a new path, a different way of being, and not being afraid or embarrassed to find and then to own it.  I used to be a senior executive and that was very rewarding, both financially and for my ego. Now I am a certified professional coach, which is a lot less financially lucrative but much more personally gratifying.

As a coach working with men and women looking to find their core beliefs and build an authentic life that can be enjoyed well into their eighties and nineties, I first had to become willing to say to other men that yes, I am a coach. I had to be okay saying that I work with spiritual beings in a human existence working to have a gratifying and fulfilling life.  Why was this difficult for me?  Quite simply, because I was conditioned by my family and friends to believe that only sissies go to church and spirituality is a fairy tale. Because of this mentality, I started to focus only on the business ventures that we can create and not the adventures that we can live in all of our ventures; be they business, volunteer efforts or our personal lives. It has been a process for me to move past this and realize that I am a spiritual being. It’s a process I ask my clients to go through now as well to truly get in touch with who they really are, and to find out what they really want.

So to people like me that have been disposable for fifty or sixty years, it is now time to claim your special place in the universe. It is time to discover exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life and then go do it. My guess is that your true identity is not as being your wife’s personal shopping partner or playing golf with friends who talk incessantly about how great they used to be. It is time to do something bodaciously interesting and enjoyable for only one person – YOU.  Find a way of finding it – it is time to stop “keep on keeping on” and start leading the life you were born to live.

 

Creating your OnCore Venture

I have talked a lot about discovery in this blog as a way to provide some background information about who I am, and what my belief system is.  I am a firm believer in authenticity – my own and yours.  As a certified professional coach, I help people create the life they were born to live, at home and at work; which incidentally, to me are now one and the same.

Earlier this week, I introduced the topic of Wellness, which I believe to be a core component of living an OnCore Life.  Today we begin the discussion of creating your OnCore Venture.  As we say in the “about us” page, wellness and ventures go hand in hand.  Core to both is an honest, on-going discovery process.  I will continue to talk here about mine, and also allow others to share their stories in this space.

In deciding on your venture, where do you begin? Recently I shared that I tried making Photography my life after moving on from my Life 2.0 senior executive career. After a while however, I found that path lacking – those hoodoo’s in the photo above are not found in either eastern or western Pennsylvania.  I had arrived there by listening to the voices in my head (we sometimes like to call this intuition but it can be tricky), yet only discussed it with my spouse.  Now, my wife is very aware and supportive, but as a couple, well, we can be like all couples – both dysfunctional and delusional. Hindsight being what it is, I see now that this was merely a stepping stone in a more fulfilling, authentic journey.

I suspect that the way I finally found my OnCore venture is similar for most people. It is a process of interacting with others, getting out of one’s own head, and showing up in new places.  Davidji of the Chopra Center, teaches us to “ask the questions, live the answers.”  The universe is an abundant place and the answers come through synchronicity.  Yes, I started asking what is my purpose in my daily mediation practice, but it was in living the answers that people first started asking if was a coach, and then began telling me that yes, I am a coach.

I share with you what worked for me and what my clients are telling me also works for them. I found my answer for what is evolving into a fulfilling life through a practice of daily mediation, a plain and simple western interpretation of the more rigid eastern principles.  Davidji also teaches that at the Chopra Center “we are not Ayurvedic fundamentalists.” Applied to a daily mediation practice, this means go ahead and be comfortable.  Sit in a comfortable chair. Relax. If you want to stare at a wall and be smacked on the back of the head, by all means, go to a Buddhist Center. But if you want to be comfortable, relax and tune into what the universe is saying to you, find a comfortable place and start asking the questions “Who am I?,” “ What do I want?,” and “What is my purpose?” on a daily basis.

I began my own mediation practice through a Chopra center 21 day mediation challenge. The principle being that if you do something for 21 days it becomes a practice or habit.  Before making a decision on whether or not to try this, realize that it is fundamentally a way of learning to be comfortable with yourself.  Learning to be still. Once you can be still in the silence of meditation, you can then learn to bring that quietness and calm to all areas of your reality. From there, the possibilities are limitless. I came to understand that the thousands of thoughts which enter my mind everyday do not need to be dwelled on. They enter and leave of their own volition. It is my mind that holds on to them and worries about them. I now choose to just let them be.

As you begin to mediate, then start to ask your friends and family what you should do with the rest of your life. If they are like mine, they will not tell you what you really need to hear. If this is the case, find a group of people that will hold your agenda in their hearts and minds as they engage with you in these discussions.

At OnCore Ventures, we conduct monthly Life 3.0 Mastermind groups to discuss how people are transitioning from their current life of working for a living to a new way of launching the work/life they were born to live.

We have a limited number of openings for our July group which meets weekly for one hour on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 PM, beginning on July 11. Participation in the group is free, although there are two required pre-reading assignments. For more information reach out to me at Mastermind, and in the meantime please treat yourself and sign up for a 21 day meditation challenge.  The last one offered was a mind-body odyssey that my life partner and I found to be a refreshing renewal.

What you can expect to get out of the Mastermind group is a clear cut group of options for what your OnCore Venture can be – whether it is to say in play in your current job and change the way that you show up, find a business to create or buy, focus on enjoying your hobby, watching your grandchildren, shopping for the elderly or going back to school.  You will work with others just like you to figure out what’s next for you.

Wheat Belly

Several months ago, I read an article, on my iPAD, from Spirituality and Health talking about the findings from a book called “Wheat Belly.”  I was completely dumbfounded to learn that whole grain wheat, something millions of Americans believe to be a healthy food, is as bad for most people as the Wonder Bread of my youth that “helps build bodies 12 ways…”

It turns out that back in the grand experimental days of the fifties; fertilizers were introduced to wheat production in order to increase crop yields. This effectively changed the growth characteristics of the wheat plant, making it grow faster and taller, which in turn, made harvesting problematic. In order to keep the benefits but eliminate the production issues, cross breading was employed to make the wheat grew shorter and allow for easy harvesting of a larger crop. Voila! Wonder Wheat was born!

Unfortunately this miracle process also altered the glycemic index of the wheat to look a lot like refined sugar.  In other words, wheat now leads to intense cravings just like sugar.  Consumption of modern wheat products creates cravings in the body for …you guessed it…more wheat products. Along with a smattering of sugar injected during processing, this creates a vicious cycle that is a food producers dream…and a health advocates nightmare.

The author, Dr. William Davis, suggests eliminating wheat for a full month in order to see the effects it is having on your body. Coincidentally, a year earlier Wayne Dwyer convinced me to restrict my sugar content (not high fructose corn syrup sugar which I refuse to purchase – real sugar) to 15 grams a day. Over the past year, I have been working at this, in large part by substituting bread as a snack of choice. This made sense, I reasoned, because most “whole grains” bread has very little “SUGAR”. Unbeknownst to me, the very wheat in my bread was little different than sugar to my unsuspecting body.

Since my belly had not noticeably decreased in the last year of severely restricting sugar, I figured I would give the “no wheat” idea a go. This “eating thing” is a process, after all. Within three weeks all cravings for any food were GONE.  Not diminished – GONE.  Historically, I have typically had all the will power of a twenty one year old male in a bar with $100 in my pocket to burn.  Now my cravings for any food were GONE!  I was able to eat a meal and not be hungry for five hours.  In the past it would have been more like thirty minutes post-meal that I would be ready to eat again.

There were other changes too.  My joint pain – gone. My sinus congestion – gone. My sleep difficultly – gone. My Wheat Belly – well, that’s going (it is a process), but it’s clearly diminished.  I suspect because of my increased energy level that my Vitamin D deficiency is also improved. The way that modern wheat is digested causes inflammation of the digestive system, which may block the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

Understanding all of this new knowledge, presented a few “Issues.”  I was eating so much wheat in the first place in an attempt to be healthy and socially responsible. My diet was mostly vegetarian, and I had completely eliminated land based animals from my diet, was using seitan as a substitute.  Seitan is wheat.  I was working out more, enjoying it less and not losing weight, especially on my belly.

So, since I am not a big legume fan, and wheat was out, I started eating meat occasionally. Because I am something of a food zealot, this meant consuming only grass fed, grass finished, and preferably local beef. Which, in turn, meant drawing on our home equity line of credit to afford, and frankly meat in general does not really taste that good to me anymore. Suffice to say, creating a diet without store bought wheat products has been a challenge.

It is possible to buy Ancient Wheat from sources in the US. Bluebird Farms and Einkorn are a few examples of retailers that sell ancient wheat products over the Internet and these products do not have the glycemic issue of modern whole grain wheat.  It is also possible to get gluten free products, however most of them are worse than wheat in terms of what our bodies do with it.  Following the Weston Price methodology, you can spend several days manipulating these toxic ingredients into edible, arguably nutritious food sources but this requires time and practice. The food preparation choices are rich, diverse, confusing, and all require cooking.

In short, there is no easy answer.  Michael Pollan purports the answer of “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With the revised interpretation of his quote “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” to include factory wheat, this sounds just about right.  This means, my answer has become “radical homemaking.” Fortunately for me, Whole Foods just opened a new store close to our home. Unfortunately Penn DOT is working on the road in front of the store.  If you are not from Pennsylvania, Penn DOT moves at a glacial pace in road construction projects. Now, I know that glaciers are moving faster because of global warming, so maybe Penn Dot will finish the road sooner than anticipated.

The real issue for me with radical homemaking is that because I have been “semi-retired” and my wife is working in a 24-7-365 Information Technology career, I am, necessarily, the radical homemaker. I am working to do this new “homemaking thing” while launching a small business at the same time.  Like everything else about living an OnCore healthy life – this too – is a process.

And my financial advisor cannot understand why I will not invest in Monsanto.  Maybe he will now.

Does Everyone Shift?

At some point, probably yes. But does everyone also become aware?

In one of my favorite “lite” movies, Pretty Woman, a rich venture capitalist and a pretty young prostitute both shift to new ways of being in just four days.  The VC decides to begin working with the father figure of his newly acquired company to build big ships, while the woman determines to align her outer environment with her inner self, leaving the LA to pursue a GED and radically change the way she works and lives.

In reality, most shifts occur over several years, not several days. As is the way with movies however, we meet the character at just the precipitous moment where he is ready to shift. He has fought back his father, staked his claim in life and made his fortune. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, he realizes, as many of us do, that none of this has brought him satisfaction. Most of us however, do not run into the perfect storm that allowed the character to so completely shift in such a short amount of time. For most, in “real-life”, the process is more gradual.

President William Clinton partially shifted after the 1994 mid-term elections, driven perhaps by the fact that his policies were not supported by the people he was elected to lead.  He began to cooperate with congress, and for a short time was able to reach across the aisle and work with Newt Gingrich on broad legislation. This helped drive prosperity and craft the ever elusive balanced budget for the first time in ages.  Of course those two estimable gentlemen also shared off-field passions that brought the Clinton Presidency and the Congress center stage for the last years of the Clinton administration.

Today, President Barack Obama might be shifting. His decision to support Gay Marriage, clearly a progressive agenda item that his archetype should favor, is evidence that he is attempting to “man up” and own his values, making decisions consistent with his value system, and not solely for political expediency. Authenticity is a key post-shift value for many men, particularly those around President Obama’s age.  If this is the first step in his shift, perhaps he will turn into a statesman – the first to hold the office of the presidency since George Washington.

What about Mitt?  Has he shifted as well? Pre-shift, a venture capitalist with a strong belief in small government might sell the Grand Canyon to Exxon Mobil under the motto of “Drill, baby Drill”.  That same venture capitalist post-shift, would still identify with the same values of small government, but might work with congress to change the C corp legal restrictions on officers acting solely for shareholder value to act more like “B” corps that are able and required to act on all stakeholder interests. He might then sell off those National Parks to companies like Disney or create IPO’s.  The net result is the same but the results are critically different. In both scenarios, the Federal government exits operating parks, turning it over to private enterprise. In the first situation, the parks are destroyed, big industry rules the day, and what is left of our country’s beautiful natural heritage is obliterated. The latter situation, created by a man acting in accordance with another post-shift  value, god’s will in their life, or PURPOSE or, if you prefer, the needs of all people, allows for positive inclusion of business to intersect with the rights of the individual, working together to preserve what is arguably our most precious resource.

From this perspective, it is even possible to assert that President George W. Bush shifted while occupying the oval office.  It was, after all, God who told him to invade Iraq.   But as fans of Oh God, you Devil know, the voice of God and the voice of Satan sound the same. What does it take to discern the difference? Awareness.

So, how do we know if we are aware? Men, post-shift, the focus is often on authenticity, listening to God’s will, trying to live in accordance with an identified purpose, focused on family, spiritually connected, and striving for a sense of personal peace. For women, post-shift focus often centers on personal growth, self-esteem, happiness, forgiveness and spirituality.  But back to the question at hand – how do we know if we are aware? The fact is, if we have to ask – we probably are not yet there.

This year America will elect Romney or Obama, or whomever, to be the next president of the US.  They may, or may not, be aware.  If they are, there is some hope that we will finally stop fighting with one another and make decisions based on what is good for all, or at least most, Americans.  But then there is always Congress, not much awareness there.  So it goes.

In the meantime, for those of us that have shifted and are aware, all we can do is become as healthy and fit and well as we can be. Focusing on creating lives, companies, and ventures that generate true prosperity for everyone we touch.  Eventually, as 80 million boomers shift, wake up, and live on purpose with happiness and forgiveness, acting as elders in society and giving back to the next generation, it will not matter who is elected or what congress does. We the people will create the America the founders envisioned. We, the people, will create what will serve us best.

Be Happy in your Work

A favorite movie line of mine,– and my children will tell you I have many,  comes from  Colonel Saito  in the Bridge on the River Kwai who says “Be happy in your work”. For a long time I tried to apply that advice to my own life.

Last week, I was in NY, steps away from where my great-grandfather was born in 1851. During his time, it was known as Newtown Creek, today it is Long Island City.  In 1851 it was a small settlement destined to become one of the most industrial areas in the US. Today it is home to a creek that was once the most polluted body of water in the US and is a complete multi-cultural hodgepodge.

I was there to work and I was not happy in it at all.  I was there, or so I thought, to develop a go to market client acquisition cycle for my company launch.  Turns out that it was work, hard work and I was not happy in at all.  In fact I was consistently bringing awareness to how unhappy I was.  Now, I’ve never been afraid of hard work, and I’m pretty good at setting my mind to a task, even if its unpleasant, and getting it done. So why was I meeting such internal resistance?

I am a native New Yorker, even recently lived in the Greater New York area, spending a lot of time there prior to and after 9-11.  It was good to see what was to be Freedom Tower and seems to be One World Trade Center rising like a Phoenix in Lower Manhattan.  Truth be told however, I don’t like the drama of New York.   Tell a NY person what has gone wrong with your day and more often than not, they are scrambling to top your story with what in their life is worse.  This is not unique to New York, only more common than in say, Pittsburgh. But the drama is overwhelming to me and I was not prepared for it.

I kept bringing awareness to it, but I also found myself being drawn in to patterns of behavior that I thought I’d left behind me.  I found myself swearing more in four hours than in the last six months. I was sitting there, talking about the business of coaching.  Nothing can mess something up faster than talking about the business side of it.  Why should anyone listen to me I was asked.  What do I have to offer?  In my mind, I struggled to even form the words “I thought you could change the way that you show up in difficult circumstances and that would make all the difference”.  I even tried on “I could still be making more money a year than I ever imagined and be happy with it, if I had only changed my way of thinking”.  It turns out that this line of thinking, for me,  is simply not accurate.   The decision to get out of the C-Suite in 2006 was right for me then, and continues to right for many others today.

I believe now that I had to re-experience it.  In New York, you tend to hang on to small things as identity.  I was a Giants Fan – my coach is a Jets fan.  If you are from New York,  you understand this gulf.  If not, think about Israel and Palestine.  My coach sees the world from a small business development perspective.  I have always worked with large companies and organizations, even in my small business background we wanted to be big, and our customers were huge.

So, I had a bad day.  It started out really well.  I had a delightful conversation with an 81-year-old woman who was both wise and curious (perhaps these traits inform each other?).  I maintained awareness throughout the experience of traveling to Long Island City including the cab ride in on the LIE (Long Island Expressway).  However,  as soon as conflict arose around my personal branding,  I was not happy – still “aware” but decidedly not happy.  I had a branding experience once before in Brooklyn when working on my photography business. At the time, that branding   felt constraining to me and was a framework I quickly outgrew.  So it seems I have a history with “New York brand people” and rather than staying fully present in the moment, I was time shifting between the two experiences.

As we worked though the discussion and arrived at my “Truth”, I was aware of the shift in my understanding although still unhappy.  I had to realize that sometimes life sucks and it’s okay to be aware that I did not want to be having this discussion nor would I enjoy its ramifications.

Returning home however, made all the difference.  I felt better driving from the airport in Pittsburgh to the northern suburbs and our home in the forest – they called it Penn’s woods for a reason.  The energy of nature and its healing effects is palpable.

Being happy in your work is not enough if it no longer is True for you – if you have shifted in your values and priorities.  Last week, I repeated a ritual that was part of my life for far too many years.  Up before dawn – drive to the airport – lunch on the road – meetings – dinner on the road – back to the airport and back home – door to door in less than 18 hours.  Too tired to process the information that day.

The difference now is that I scheduled time to process it the following day – and process it I did.  The Truth from my New York trip is that I do not help launch new businesses – yet.  Someday – I might.  What I help people do is get in touch with what is inside of them and identify a way to launch their on-core venture. This is what I did in my own life, and what I have now to offer others.  I stepped away from a life I was drowning in because even though I made a lot of money – quite frankly, it simply sucked. It was not always that way; after The Shift it was abundantly clear that this path was no longer mine.

If  you are no longer happy in your work, even if other’s feel you “have it all” and “should be happy”, now is the time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Figure out what will you be happy doing – and go do it.

Encore Entrepreneurs

According to a Met Life study, 12 million Americans between the ages of 44 and 70 want to start either small businesses or non-profits, create jobs, and meet community needs. Are you one of these folks?

Michael Gerber talked years ago about the myths surrounding entrepreneurs in his book “E-Myth”.  Though Michael and the E-Myth folks are now headed in separate directions, both work to address how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur and consequently, why you really need their services to start and sustain a viable business.  Their processes include following structured procedures and utilizing low cost coaches and consultants to “help” you be successful.  The rationale is that most entrepreneurs are not able to maintain focus on what is important to their business and need to learn how to be more disciplined.  We fully agree that these points are important.

At OnCore Ventures we are laser focused on the needs of the entrepreneur who is either building an ‘encore venture” or wants to mold an existing effort into being aligned and on-core to who they are. To this end, we have created programs secure in our belief that everything you need to know about how to create your venture already exists deep inside you.  We believe the progress and procedure are very important.  However, we also know that how you “show up” is a key indicator and of paramount importance to your success.

If you currently are, or want to someday become, an Encore Entrepreneur, we suggest you look at the two key factors of energy resonance and engagement level. Both are measured in the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment. Designed by Bruce Schneider, author of “Energy Leadership”, the ELI identifies your E-Factor. Schneider teaches that there are seven distinct levels of energy resonance, which can also be understood as awareness or consciousness. For potential entrepreneurs, this individually unique E-Factor, is a key-determining indicator of your potential for success. Understanding your unique “normal operating” energy level, what triggers a decrease in this level, and how to raise it up again, is critical to your ability to successfully manifest a venture that is OnCore for you.

Bruce started a small business coaching practice, then built a coach training program, finally crafting an assessment based primarily on increasing the engagement and leadership of people in business.  His book deals specifically with the challenges of running a small business. The new class of encore entrepreneurs are all looking to create small businesses that “meet community needs” which Bruce believes indicates a relatively high level of resonating energy. This is an example of just one of the many components that the E-factor can confirm the presence of in your own make-up. As an Encore Entrepreneur, you are most likely interested in leveraging your new venture to give back to the community. If you are already engaged in a business, you probably designed it with that same pay-it-forward mentality.

Michael Gerber’s newest book on “Awakening the Entrepreneur Within” indicates that the single most important factor contributing to success in the design of an entrepreneurial venture is the focus on the good to others as opposed to self-fulfillment.  This would seem to be a qualification for Encore Entrepreneurs in providing services to the community. Likewise Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote shares that “The chances are you are going to fail, at least financially. But if you say ‘yes, even if my product just changes the world a little bit,  it is still the best way I can spend the next 10 years’, then go and be an entrepreneur.” At OnCore Ventures we are in the business of making sure you do not fail so that you can continue to make a difference in the world.

I have seen this in my own life. Five years ago, I decided to build my encore business around my photographic art creation. Now – I am a very good photographer however, there are many very good photographers. In retrospect that venture was predicated on two failed ideas. The first is that my focus was selfish. I was operating under a “what’s in it for me” type attitude. To me it seemed it was finally my turn to do what I wanted to do – without consideration of other factors. The other problem is more core to my being. I was raised with two limiting beliefs that stem unintentionally from my parents laudable desire to install their own values and assumptions within me. They, and so I, believed that “only girls could be artists” and that “there is no money in art”.  As a boy and wanting money, these limiting beliefs seriously impacted my ability to create and sell art as a profession. It was not that I was unable to succeed, it was that my often unconscious beliefs prohibited me from allowing my own success.

If I had taken the ELI back in 2007 before starting that venture, I would have uncovered, and thereby removed the power from, those beliefs and attitudes. Going through the ELI process, allowed me to become aware of those energy blocks and consequently they no longer control me. So today I can be an artist if I choose. But, as is often the way of life, now that I know more about myself, I understand that I would rather help 12 million encore entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes I made, understand their true potential, and successfully create their own “OnCore Venture.”

I want to help these folks for a very specific reason. I believe that the world needs these community-focused businesses. Statistics say that 80% of small businesses fail in the first five years. This roughly translates to the idea that 10 of the 12 million potential entrepreneurs will fail unless they uncover the genesis of their limiting beliefs, the gremlins that say they are not good enough, the source of their energy blocks that prohibit their success when they launch their encore venture.

So – if you are already, or think you want to be, an “Encore Entrepreneur” contact me to take the ELI today and find out your E-factor. As a certified professional coach who is also certified to perform the ELI assessment, I am solely focused on helping people launch successful OnCore Ventures.  I will assist you in understanding if your current make-up is conducive to being a successful Encore Entrepreneur, and if you’re not quite there yet, we can work together to make the necessary changes.

The MetLife study indicates that of the 12 million potential entrepenuers, most were afraid to begin because they knew that they might fail. The ELI costs less than $500 and will not only help identify potential failure points, but also guide you in the right direction to avoid these traps from the start. You will learn more about yourself in the one hour debrief than you have ever learned in an hour of your time before. The ELI tells you what blocks you have to overcome and gives you the tools to get over those blocks and back to building your business.

The ELI helps you decide if you are in the 20% that will succeed – and if you are – you will go and do just that.  But if you are in the 80% that would fail without some additional work, the ELI process will show you exactly what you need to do in order to succeed. The world needs the 12 million encore entrepreneurs that are ready to give back to society. The world needs you. As baby and near baby boomers, we have been blessed beyond belief with gifts that the world has given to us. Why not find out how you can give back to the world while meeting your encore entrepreneurial desire and creating your own OnCore Venture?

“The Matrix”

This morning, my life partner and I were discussing what the characteristics of the target client base for my company which is On-Core Ventures is.  The company originated with a goal to assist the Twelve million reported Encore Entrepreneurs (EE’s) who are looking to create a business that is “On-Core.”

When starting my search for these EE’s, I began in our church since the demographics is pretty bifurcated comprised of about 50% boomers and 50% young families with children.  The boomers listened politely to my initial effort to discuss life after the shift.  During my presentation, there was much head bobbing, which might mean they agree with what you are saying, or might instead indicate they are simply agreeable to anything that is said.

A few years ago my son bought me a copy of the DVD (you remember DVD’s right?) for the Matrix. At the time, he was in his teens at the time and, I realize now, I was still in the Matrix. In talking with some of the boomers over the last few months – I think they too are still in the Matrix.  By unexpected contrast, when talking with the young adults of our congregation, they are overall much less likely to be in the Matrix.  They, like myself and many other, have experienced “the shift”, they have woken up to consciousness.

I think that today, many millennials – my son and his lovely wife among them – have rejected the matrix.  Interestingly, many of baby boomers initially rejected the Matrix as well, but as the sixties gave way to the seventies, with the ending of the Vietnam war , the women’s movement stalled, and the leaders of the sixties were killed, it was just easier to take the Blue pill and pretend that everything was as it should be.  Life became a “Cabaret” kind of lunacy where the girls are beautiful, the BMW’s are beautiful, the VCR’s are beautiful, the Walkmen are beautiful. Today, the Plasma 3-D TV’s are beautiful, the iPods are beautiful, the iPhones are beautiful, the iPads’ are beautiful. Facebook is beautiful.

But increasingly, we begin to ask “Are they?” Are these gadgets, devices, social structures, and rules we have designed for ourselves serving our true needs? Are we even aware of what those needs are at this point? Millennials are now redefining the idea of “being” and everything that goes along with it. As they wake up, many boomers will follow suit. There is however, a fissure in the human community at this point, on one side are those who are awake, or will be and on the other, those that steadfastly cling to the status quo, to Facebook, to the Matrix. What they fail to realize is that at some point soon, the very structure of that Matrix will begin to disintegrate as so many lights move off its grid.

So what is an On-Core Venture and who creates one?  It is a venture created by someone who is off the matrix. They are ready to embrace the shift from a life led asleep to an awakened state of being. They can be twenty, fifty or seventy.  They are creating natural, socially responsible enterprises.  They are living in balance.

We must each now ask ourselves “How awake am I? “ and “In what areas of my life am I still asleep?” In asking myself these questions, I turned to the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment.

According to iPEC (International Professional Excellence in Coaching) “the ELI assessment and the debrief of the results is like holding a mirror up to your perceptions, attitude, behaviors and overall leadership capabilities.”

Through this process, I finally understood how I was reacting to life. It became clear to me that I was, in fact, not acting but instead reacting to situations in my life. A long time ago in a self-recovery program for “victims” of being raised in a dysfunctional family (and what family is not dysfunctional on some level?), I encountered the statement “I am an actor not a reactor.”  At the time, I struggled with that statement but recently have been able to integrate its truth.– I am now an actor – I choose how I am going to act.  The ELI assessment helped me see how I was “re-acting” and gave me the tools to change how I “show up” or act in triggering situations. This knowledge has been invaluable to me in leading an awakened life.

To find our more about how to take the ELI, please visit On-Core Ventures.

What is On Core?

As shared in this blog, a few years ago I “shifted”.  In hindsight, the realization of this shift is perfectly clear. But what does it really mean when “the shift” occurs?  Must we inevitably move on to some greater, yet undefined, higher purpose? How do we a shed the baggage we have spent a lifetime creating? Is this an automatic process or do we have choices along the way?

As always – the answer is – It depends.

There are several ways of handling “the shift” that I have encountered, which can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Create a New Venture
  • Find a Creative Outlet
  • Alter your existing reality

The first option, creating my OnCore Venture is what I have done.  The second, finding a creative outlet, is what I initially tried to do, by bringing a new way of looking at life to round out what I perceived was missing. The third alternative, something I did not know enough to attempt,  is to integrate new awareness into your current world, at home and work, by changing the way you are showing up.

Regardless of the path you choose, the first step entails assessing where you are in the “shifting process.”  Everyone between the ages of 44 to 60 will shift post mid-life at least once.  Whether it is the loss of a career due to downsizing, the emptying of the nest when kids graduate and start their own lives, or the persistent voice within that whispers of the desire to change – we all shift.  How you approach  that shift, how it shows up in your life, affecting your health, relationships, and well-being, is up you.

As I completed my training program from iPEC, I took the Energy Leadership Assessment Index. The results brought to light how stress is showing up for me, and through the debrief process; I began to understand what triggers stress in my life. In reviewing the results of others, and considering my own experience, it is clear that just knowing how we are triggered allows for a change in our response, effectively removing the power that stress has over us.

This knowledge changes everything.  Given this information,  ten years ago, I would have been empowered to create a different interaction pattern in my work environment, not just for me, but for the hundreds of people that either reported to me or that I influenced in some way.  Living OnCore might have been the work  I was doing at the time – done in a completely different way. Similarly, five years ago, when I tried to commercialize my love of photography, the inner work that I have since done,  could have changed the way that I decided, or decided not, to go  to market with my work. That shift in leadership and confidence might have changed everything.

In retrospect, living OnCore might have been two pursuits that would have required less change and effort on my part and still have been OnCore because I’d be working from the angle of becoming true to who I really am.  Now that I have done that – I approach everything differently.

So, what about you?  What is living OnCore for you?  Do you have passion left in you for what you do, but simply need to change  how you approach doing it?  Do you have a strong desire to write a book, make art, or create and launch a socially responsible company? Do you struggle with your life partner now that the nest is empty and need to change that interaction?

The answers lie within.

The Energy Leadership Assessment will help find these answers by bringing your individual stress triggers to the surface through a short questionnaire along with an in-depth debriefing session.

The overall Energy Leadership process helps identify and evolve your unique leadership style, allowing you to harness the power to influence others in meaningful ways, bringing out their innate talents and productivity. You will identify at which of the seven levels of awareness you typically operate and learn to recognize when you tend to descend to lower levels in reaction to outside stressors. Once recognized you can then move past these distractions and begin the journey towards achieving your full potential.

To get you started on the path to finding your answers, I’m sharing an introductory offer of $99 for the assessment through the end of May. I will provide the debrief, normally priced at up to $400, at no charge as a way to help you understand the path in front of you to live a life that is on-core for you. If this process helps you discover your next on-core venture, we can then assist you in making that new vision a lasting reality.

I Am

This past Tuesday completed three weeks of intense effort around the completion of the iPEC training program for Energy Leadership.  It has been a time of growth, reflection, and a lot of work.

Working with my coach this week – yes coaches have coaches too- we processed a lot of this growth and I identified the feeling of “growing” too much, too fast and that I “needed a break”.  I also realized that recently I’ve been using technology non-stop when not interacting with people.  Strangely, for me anyway, the interaction with people was the part I enjoyed, while the technology thing, “not so much”.

I was left desiring an analogue world. Enviously, I thought of my son’s vinyl record collection, longing to hear music generated by a physically explainable piece of technology that you can actually see at work.

I wanted to read a book, not on my Kindle, or iPad, not an audiobook but a real book.  I had a flashback to the original Star Trek series in which Jim Kirk is being defended by the last lawyer in the Federation who was transported with his books, and he waxed on about how cool they were.  When I saw the episode as a kid,  I thought “what a load of crap”. Now however, I wanted a book – and absolutely nothing on “growth.”

My coach suggested that I actually go to a book store (most novel of ideas!) and I thought how quaint, shop in a store, what an adventure this will be. I stopped into the “real” world equivalent of Fox Books from “You’ve Got Mail” and mused that what  goes around, often comes back around. The big box guys are dying, while the little guys that are left might be the only ones able to compete with on-line book sellers and  e-books.  I went in to buy Vince Flynn’s retro piece on Mitch Rapp – I wanted low energy with lots of action to get out of my funk.

The universe, God, Spirit, Gaia, etc – intervened. Wayne Dwyer has a new book, “Wishes Fulfilled”.  Of all my spiritual and life teachers , Wayne simply resonates with me.  Wayne has been known to drop the F bomb to his spiritual audiences. I can relate to Wayne.  Don’t get me wrong, Deepak Chopra, Echardt Tolle, Ram Das, Don Miguel Luis are all wonderful – but I seem to just relate to Wayne.

So I picked up the book, merely to take a peak mind you, and somehow, it followed me home.  Three days later, I am half done with Wayne’s book.  I did read the first two pages of Flynn’s book, and plan to finish it this weekend because that is what I said I would do. However right now, I am enjoying Wayne’s book.

To summarize Wayne’s new book – “I AM”. I tend to absorb material from Wayne over time, first reading excepts, playing with them. Then going back and reading the whole thing, then listening to it on audio, then referring back when I, inevitably, forget.  I have not yet begun to scratch the surface of this new material, but I started to meditate with the intention of getting in touch with the wisdom of my ancestors. Incidentally, thanks to some recent genealogy research into cousins  I never knew about, I have a good feel for the wisdom of my for-bearers.  I know that my great grandmother ran a business and raised three very independent daughters,  one of whom photo-documented the family’s history in the early 1900’s.  The images depict strong women who knew who they were and lived it, not over-shadowed by their three successful brothers.  My grandmother’s sister, Julie Connors, was murdered in July 1912 in “the crime of the century” that played out in the NY Times for days when the manhunt for the killer went national.  All of this wisdom became available in my meditation this morning; the growth and the knowledge that all of that and more is available to me to use however I want because we all are “I AM”.

Time is an illusion. We have access to the field of intelligence of the totality of all time, if we only learn to tap it.  We are all one and we are all God.  The female version of Wayne; in that she is both spiritual and human, Marianne Williamson is famous for saying “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

So this weekend, as I read the Flynn novel, I will be a bit detached from the emotion of it, yet more in touch with what the story is triggering in me.  I am sure there is a lesson in that book as well because there are no mistakes and my selection of that book came to my intuition out of a feeling of not being enough or doing too much.

I guess what I said last week is true – once you know – you can’t not know.  And I know that I am powerful beyond belief as is everyone else that chooses to be.