Archive for the ‘Law of Attraction’ Category

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Coaching

January 8, 2009

TUESDAY
6 January 2009

For many years now, another profession that has appealed to me (in addition to writing/filmmaking) is that of Life Coach.  Yes, I know – add this to the list that also includes stage actor, dog whisperer, roller coaster designer, novelist, fitness magazine cover model, professional psychic, full-time sexy person and trained snorkeler.  So what of it?  I’m layered.

In 2008, when I was still living in Minneapolis, I decided to do a little research about Life Coaching.  A little research never hurt anyone, right?  And it’s free.  Of course, in 2004 I decided to “just do a little research” about nose jobs and a month later had a new schnoz, which definitely was NOT free, as fond as I am of the revised sniffer.

Anyhoo – with Life Coaching, you have the opportunity to help other people become the best version of themselves they want to be, which seriously jazzes me.  THEY still do the work, though, much like a basketball coach is not out there on the field, diamond, court, track … whatever the playing surface in basketball is called … but rather there to help the players focus on their strengths, develop other areas and apply their natural skills to the team and to the goal of winning.

I realized about a week ago that I’ve been seriously studying all of the things that are part of Life Coaching – at least the kind of Coaching I’d like to do – for more than four years!  Clearing life clutter, focusing on what makes you feel good, the Law of Attraction, living presently, etc.  Dang!  As I continued to ponder my studies, I thought of still more research/prep work I’d done even further back in time – such as discovering Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” in 1998/1999 (LOOOOOOVE this book), and even reading Louise Hay’s seminal “You Can Heal Your Life” in my early 20s.  Cool.  I’m not as much of a newbie as I thought.  The Universe has been winking at me all this time.  Who’da thunk?

One of my accomplishments in 2009 (here’s the full list) will be certification as a Life Coach.  Still, I’m intrigued to start sharing what I know, how I can communicate it to others, designing a plan for them, what the whole process will be like for me in the real world and so forth.  This past weekend I was chatting with one of the animal rescue volunteers – the only one who isn’t still a teenager.  He’s an actor, and he mentioned he’s somewhat frustrated with life, career and other things, so I offered to help him out.  I’m sure he’ll be a famous television or film star soon enough, so out of respect for his privacy, we’ll call him Bryan.

We met for coffee today and I said if he was willing to be my guinea pig, I would coach him for free.  As payment, I joked that I would like to be mentioned during his acceptance speech at the Oscars.  (Of course, I might not hear it because I’ll likely be backstage taking questions from the press because I just won too, but these are logistics we can suss out later.)  Bryan’s an ideal client because he is ready for and wants to make changes in his life, and those are the kind of Life Coachees who will make the best progress.  I’ll keep you posted on how all of that goes!

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100 Accomplishments

January 4, 2009

SATURDAY
3 January 2009

A few years ago, I was reading one of the hippie/raw food eating/metaphysical philosophy books I own (and cherish, thanks very much), and the author touted the importance of making a list of 100 things you want to accomplish in the next year.  These aren’t resolutions, mind you.  This is another way of visualizing the life you’d like to lead for the next year.  Much like a vision board, I suppose.  A big, comprehensive list of the things you want to do, see, have, learn, experience, etc.

In the several years I’ve done this exercise, I’ve yet to come up with 100 things.  Can you believe that??  I’m even including things like, “I replaced all of my tattered underwear!” and “Purchased a fancy watch!”  I came up with everything my brain can imagine that I really want right now.  Special thanks to my sister for posting a similar list on her blog from which I ‘borrowed’ several fantastic suggestions.

One of the challenges is that the accomplishments have to be measurable.  Nothing vague like, “I will be in the best shape of my life.”  However, “I gained 15 pounds of muscle” works, as does “I returned to tai chi play three times per week.”  Sometimes, I admit, I’m not 100% successful with this.  I know I’ll keep revamping and revising until it’s compliant with this rule, though.

The list is all over the place – career stuff, personal stuff, travel items, material things.  Writing the list makes you think BIG about everything you want in your life, and not stopping until you reach 100 really forces you to expand your mind.  Here’s my list as it stands right now:

1.  New apartment that is quiet, peaceful, near the beach and where I can have a pup
2.  New bicycle
3.  New car
4.  One screenplay optioned (minimum)
5.  Ran a marathon
6.  Added 15 pounds of muscle
7.  Wrote two new screenplays (minimum)
8.  Became financially independent – my investments earn enough to pay my expenses
9.  Earned $1000 worth of writing income per week (business, creative, technical, articles, etc.)
10.  Up and running with my iPhone
11.  LA365 blog receives 50,000 hits per day
12.  Arctic Dog Films website is up and running
13.  Learned to surf! (and own all the accoutrements)
14.  Met and am sharing life with my next great love
15.  Enjoying my new MacbookPro w/Final Cut and ACS4
16.  Studied & developed my intuitive abilities and put them to use (reading people)
17.  Learned to speak French
18.  Learned to speak Spanish
19.  Went for an extended trip to Paris (and explored Europe, too)
20.  Bought a new guitar
21.  Took guitar lessons and relearned to play
22.  Wrote a song on my guitar
23.  Produced and starred in my own cabaret show
24.  Directed and produced ILLUME
25.  Completely simplified and organized every aspect of my life (a la “Coach Yourself…”)
26.  Went on a ski trip to the Rockies
27.  Trip to NYC
28.  Secured production deals with two companies (one is a major studio)
29.  Started voice lessons again
30.  Relearned TaiChi grand long form
31.  Began regular yoga practice
32.  Took an RSVP, Atlantis or Zoom Vacation
33.  Had a sitting with a professional photographer
34.  Gave $15,000 to charity
35.  Volunteered at least 10 hours per month
36.  Enjoyed monthly spa days
37.  Swam with dolphins
38.  Went horseback riding
39.  Had lunch, dinner or drinks with Oprah Winfrey
40.  Returned to an 80% raw food eating plan
41.  New Vespa
42.  Saved 6 months worth of expenses as a reserve
43.  Paid off my credit cards
44.  Paid back monies owed to my family
45.  Current with my taxes & loved by the IRS
46.  Earned $1,000,000 income!!!
47.  Went on a yoga/meditation retreat
48.  Take an Alaskan cruise
49.  Landed an agent – both literary and directing
50.  Hired an assistant
51.  Hired a housekeeper
52.  Hired a personal, raw food chef
53.  Purchased a high-end watch
54.  Purchased a hi-def television set
55.  Raw foods and health supplements are delivered to my home
56.  Traveled to the Grand Canyon
57.  Traveled to Australia
58.  Developed a photography hobby
59.  Enjoying a sleek, new NIKON D60 digital camera for aforementioned hobby
60.  Finished a triathlon
61.  Revamped my wardrobe/style/image & am able to cultivate it authentically
62.  Wrote & produced fun webisode series about dating
63.  Bought a piano and took piano lessons
64.  Acted in a small role in a film
65.  Performed in a play or musical here in LA
66.  Had coffee, lunch or drinks with Meryl Streep
67.  Had a successful pitch meeting at Focus Features which resulted in an option
68.  Talked with Steven Spielberg at an industry event
69.  Attended a swanky Oscar after-party!
70.  Wrote a novel
71.  Unloaded my Minneapolis condo
72.  Rescued at least two dogs
73.  Attended a Hicks/Abraham seminar
74.  Dinner with Jerry & Esther Hicks
75.  New collection of fancy-schmancy underwear
76.  New running shoes
77.  New running shoe heel inserts
78.  Sweet new rollerblades
79.  Attached a name actor to ILLUME (minimum)
80.  Was mentored by and established relationships with multiple entertainment industry pros
81.  Purchased a brand new professional-grade video camera for vlogging & webisode work
82.  Took golf lessons
83.  Bought golf clubs and golf accoutrements
84.  New backpack/satchel thing for hauling around all m’stuff
85.  Became a certified Life Coach
86.  Slept under the stars
87.  Went to Disneyland
88.  Planted a garden and grew my own vegetables
89.  Went skinny dipping
90.  Kissed that someone special in the rain (see #14)
91.  Went for a moonlit walk along the beach
92.  Went to a drive-in movie (double-feature would be awesome!)
93.  Joined a book club
94.  Visited every major film studio lot in Los Angeles
95.  Took a Hawaiian vacation
96.  Watched the northern lights
97.  Have a new home stereo system
98.  Bought some sweet BOSE noise-reduction headphones
99.  Read every script nominated for “Best Original Screenplay” within the past 10 years
100.  Watched every “Best Picture” Oscar winner for the past 30 years

Give this exercise a try.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds!

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Day 83: Asking for help

November 2, 2008

TUESDAY
28 October 2008

Yesterday’s USPS tale was sufficiently long.  I didn’t get into the story of how late last night, I sent an email to all of the people in my Flash Forward class telling them about my housing and employment situation.  I struggled with that decision most of the day because, well… ALL of us in the class are seeking (or seeking to create) new opportunities, so who am I to single out MY situation and ask for help, you know?  After speaking with my Flash Forward daily check-in buddy, my small group coach, and the class instructor Suzanne – all of whom were supportive of the idea – I sent out the email.  It is not easy asking for help in tough times.  It must be a guy thing, like not wanting to stop and get directions.

The responses I’ve received so far have been supportive though, and I’m grateful for them.  One classmate clearly sensed my hesitancy and wrote back to me, saying “what you discover by reaching out is that there is a huge group of people all ready to help in whatever way possible.  There is strength in reaching out.”  When I spoke to my coach Troy the next day, he said something to the effect of: by asking for help, you empower others because you let them know it’s OK for them to ask for help when they need to do so.  One of the other class coaches sent me back hugz.

So… I’ve asked.  And now just need to allow the results to come to me (while, of course, taking what action I can to keep moving forward).  Still, today I was wiped out – dealing with all that’s on my plate right now is a little draining.  That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say.  If that’s true, I must be pretty strong by now, right?  I should try ripping a phone book in half or puncturing a car tire with my teeth…

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Day 69: Networking on the Boulevard

October 15, 2008

TUESDAY
14 October 2008

Today was this big entertainment industry networking event I had signed up to attend. I learned of it from the MinneAngeles bowling night coordinator!  See?  No coincidences.   Had I not been bowling in recent weeks with this group, I wouldn’t have learned about it.

Of course, I was all stressalicious about what to wear.  The jeans and T-shirt attire simply wasn’t going to suffice for this event.  I don’t have a jacket with me in LA.  I’m not even sure I own one at all anymore, given the clothing purge I did in Minneapolis before moving.  Hmmm.  I called my fashion-minded ex to thoroughly describe the outfit to him for his stamp of approval.  Ultimately, I think I assembled an outfit that was comfortable, interesting and adequately representative of my style.  OK, I’m not really sure I have any, but whatever.  I decided to wear this stylin’ necklace my sister designed.  It’s one-of-a-kind and I loves it.  She designs jewelry primarily for women, but earlier this year I coaxed her into creating a few men’s items as a value-added shopping option for her female customers who might be seeking something unique for the men in their lives.  You can check out her girlier designs on her web site.

I tend to be shy in social settings where I don’t know anyone, and schmoozing isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I’ll always fall into the Myers-Briggs’ introvert category, and I’m OK with that.  It doesn’t mean I’m unable to step out of my comfort zone once in a while.  That in mind, on my way into town, I focused on putting myself in the mindset of success… a little technique I gleaned from one Ms. Esther Hicks (of Hicks-Abraham notoriety).  Basically, I created a list of positive aspects about this event:  that it was perfectly acceptable to peddle my wares because that’s why the event was created, that I would meet people who could help me, and that I would also meet people to whom I could be of service.  Hmmm.  What else did I tell myself?  I think I also reminded myself I would do the best I could, that the Universe was conspiring in my favor, and most importantly, that I was having a good hair day.

The event was at this swanky club on Sunset called Boulevard 3.  Check out the gallery on their web page.  It was pretty dang sweet.  The venue comfortably holds 700 guests, and last time I checked the event reservation page, almost 1000 people had RSVP’d.  The odds were working my favor that I’d make some good connections, right?  So long as I didn’t end up careening into the fountain without my pants on or something…

I met plenty of writers, actors, producers, directors, choreographers, photographers, cinematographers, web gurus and many others with creative job descriptions.  Insofar as work opportunities, I was thrilled to finally be having conversations with people who are actual decision-makers!  Woo-hoo!  There were a lot of memorable moments for me, which would make for one unending blog entry, but here are a few fun highlights:

I met one filmmaker who took money she had borrowed for a root canal and used it to finance her short film.  “I’m in excruciating pain, but my movie is in the can!” she told me.  That’s dedication.  The strongest thing I had to offer her was a Claritin.

There was a magician who treated me and two others to some sleight of hand tricks.  He made me a part of one where he exchanged two coins, one of which was on the top of my hand, and the other which I was making a closed fist around.  It was fa-reaky.

I also met a bundle of energy named Anna, who isn’t working in the entertainment industry ‘proper,’ but wants to be in the future.  As I understood what she was telling me, she’s a global wealth manager and wants to be working with more entertainment industry professionals, as I understood it.  I said, “I have $10 right now.  What can you do turn that into?”

On my way out, I was chatting with a trio of women and found a name tag stuck to the bottom of my shoe.  It had a web address on it as well, and the three women I was talking to dared me to email him and tell him the story of how I got his information.  If I’m to believe there are no coincidences or accidents, how can I not email him?!  Is this a wink??

At the end of the night, I was totally charged.  I loved hearing all the different stories about how people have found (or are finding) their way in the industry.  There are limitless paths to success and creative fulfillment, and it’s always worthwhile to be reminded of that.  I don’t need to worry I’m not doing everything I can, or that I’m doing something wrong.  As long as I’m doing, I’m moving forward on the path that’s perfect for me.

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Day 67: Out and about

October 14, 2008

SUNDAY
12 October 2008

Today was my second visit with Tinkerbell.  When I arrived, Marilyn told me that last week, little Miss TB hurled chunks about an hour after I brought her home, so she must’ve eaten something disagreeable on our outing.  After seven years of walking Hank, who is constantly panning and scanning for anything and everything edible, I’ve learned to watch for unsavory items a dog would go for.  I’ve also extracted some heinous things out of Hank’s maw, so nothing phases me in this respect.  Still, Tinkerbell must’ve snuck something past me.  After all, her head is only about 6 inches from the ground, and according to Marilyn, Tinkerbell is quick and crafty.

We walked a little over three miles and it was all business.  There would be no dallying, no grass eating, no yipping at other dogs and sending them into shock.  She’s a smart little thing and caught on quickly that that I would tolerate no shenanigans today.  Her furry little two-inch legs were working overtime, but she stayed right beside me the entire time.  Adorable.  I stopped now and then to let Tinkerbell tinkle, gave her some praise just for being darling and off we were on the next leg.  She really is a sweetheart, but still, it was hard to pass a cute jogger or otherwise studly neighborhood resident without feeling like I was wearing a sparkly pink tutu.

This afternoon, my friend Tony – the internet-ordained minister – offered to pick me up in West Hills so we could check out the Valley Pride festival.  I figured it would be a good way to get out and see some of my peeps, plus it was on the CBS Studios lot.  This isn’t the big, no holds barred LA festival, but I still figured it’d be fun people watching and it was a lovely day out, despite there being wild fires raging a few miles away.

The crowd was small, but we found all the usual Pride booth suspects:  political action groups, churches, STD awareness organizations, social groups such as the gay men’s chorus, country western line dancers and even a gay polo league.  We’re talking polo with horses, saddles, helmets, pads, boots, chaps, whips, tack, stick bags, balls and buckles.  With that line-up of accessories, suddenly that booth’s inclusion at a gay pride event made much more sense to me.

There were food booths, entertainment stages and all the other requisite gay-owned businesses hawking their wares to the community – financial planners, clothiers and MANY wedding-oriented businesses such as wedding planners, caterers, photographers… you name it.

As is typical at such events, every other person is asking you to sign up for this group or that, take this test, enter a contest, etc.  There was a rather aggressive group that called themselves the Hep Team, which I thought was a somewhat unfortunate moniker.  They were there to promote awareness of getting Hepatitis shots, bless their little hearts, but they weren’t exactly keen on taking “I’ve got all my shots, thanks” for an answer.  I didn’t think I’d need my vaccination card to stave off harassment.  Geez.  Would you like to hook me up to a polygraph machine, Pushy McPush?

Otherwise, it was a laid-back afternoon at the festival and very fun people watching.  Of the shows they shoot on the lot, I saw the stage for Samantha Who, and I love that show!  Just the thought that the lovely Christina Applegate glides to work every day just feet away from the “Free Sling Rides” booth gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling all over.

After the festival, Tony and I went into West Hollywood for eats, coffee and more man-scoping.  Tony is great to talk to, and I liked hearing about his life out here.  Also, his eyes didn’t glaze over when I would yammer on about Law of Attraction stuff.  It seems he’s on a similar page, so that’s a plus.  He also said he’d be willing to help me assess my resume and re-categorize/re-label my work and experience into “LA parlance”, so I’m pretty stoked about that.  Another important charge for the coming week!

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Day 66: What’s your value?

October 14, 2008

SATURDAY
11 October 2008

Stayed at my cousin’s today in West Hills.  Since the bike, bus and subway ride into ‘LA proper’ takes a while, I feel like if I’m not on my way there by 7 or 8 in the morning, by the time I get into Hollywood or West Hollywood, half the day is already gone.  It sounds illogical, I know, but it’s just how I feel.  I think this is residual time management philosophy from the very first real job I had, when the president of the company said if we were 5 minutes late for the staff meeting on Mondays – 8:35am instead of 8:30am – then we’ve essentially missed half of the work day.  It didn’t make a lot of sense to me then when I was a 20-something know-it-all, but I get it now.  Oh, how the years change us…

I did spend some time getting through the “financial pillar’ section of the James Ray book I’m reading.  He has a lot of great exercises and tips in this section of the book (and I’m sure the other sections, too, I just haven’t gotten that far yet), but one that struck me was actually a variation on an exercise I’ve seen numerous times in my quest for knowledge about all things financial.  It’s the exercise where you figure out what your hourly value is… or rather, is the hourly rate you think you’re worth or want to be worth (as in: “I’d like to earn $10 million dollars a year”) really the value you’re providing?

In James’ version of this exercise, you start with 365 days in the year and subtract however many days you want for vacation.  Next, subtract weekend days if you’d like to have Saturdays and Sundays off… I don’t know, to play with your kids or see your friends or some crazy-talk like that.  I suppose if you want to add in a few standard holidays in there (Christmas, Fourth of July, Memorial Day), you’d remove a few more days from the equation.  Whatever number you have left is how many work/earning days you have left in the year.  Divide the amount of money you’d like to be earning in a year by those work days, then divide the answer by the number of hours you’d like to work each day, and you have a number that, according to James, is the amount of value you should NOW be offering to your customers, clients, or even yourself.  It’s that Law of Attraction “behave like you already have it” mindset.

Confused?  We’ll use my example of $10 million dollars.  I’d love to be earning $10 million dollars peryear.  Why not think big?  The Wright Brothers would not have come up with the airplane if all they wanted to do was walk down the street.  Anyway… I’ll take 4 weeks of vacation, and we’ll wrap those 4 weeks worth of weekends into this, so subtract 28 from 365 to get 337.  Weekends free would be loverly, so let’s take another 96 days off that – weeks left after vacation total 48, multiply that by 2 for the weekend days – so 337-96 is 241.  For the sake of simplicity, I’m not going to get into holidays, but I will subtract ONE more day just so we’re dealing with a nice round number: 240. 

If I want to earn $10 million dollars in 240 work days, I divide 10 million by 240.  That gives me 41667, meaning for every day I work, I need to be earning $41,667.00.  Taking it further, if I’m working 10 hours per day – even though in my industry it’d be more like 16 or 20 hours per day, but we’ll keep the example simple – that computes to $4167.00 per HOUR.  So the point of the exercise (and these figures) is to say to me, “AJ, if you expect to be earning $10M per year, with 4 weeks of vacation and weekends off, working 10 hours per day… are you currently providing your clients $4167 per hour worth of value for your service/knowledge/skill?”  Hmmm.

Another point of this exercise is to make you think about time wasters in your life.  If your time is worth $4167 per hour, what are you doing watching syndicated reruns of Sex and the City (as fabulous as it is, don’t misunderstand… Sarah Jessica, if you’re reading, I loves me some SATC!  Call me!)??  Is there really that much value in any TV for that matter?  How about all that time spent scouring news web sites, reading blogs or endlessly surfing the net for….. other things?  How about that personal time spent with someone who drains you of your energy?  Or any time spent on anything that really isn’t contributing to your success in career, relationships, health, spirit, life??  It’s an eye-opening exercise, and as I’ve said, I’ve seen it before in other books or articles.  Reading it in James’ book was a valuable reminder of its power.

So… most everyone wants to make more money… and the question becomes:  is the value you’re offering right now really what you think you’re worth?

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Day 64: Harmonic living

October 11, 2008

THURSDAY
9 October 2008

Sorry to say, but today was uneventful. Not much to report.

I spent the better part of this morning prepping docs for my realtor and mortgage company, which is always a thrill. I continued emailing and sorted through some other productive tasks in the afternoon. I found out the shoot for the Disney Channel was a go, and my call time was at 7:00am Friday morning. The studio is in Sun Valley, so to get there via bus/bike, I’ll need to leave Yvonne and Ed’s at about 5:00am, which means getting up at 4:15am – UGH. I’m much less crabby in the mornings than I used to be, but still… it isn’t exactly something that makes me giddy.

I figure after the shoot I’ll dash into North Hollywood for a coffee at Panera. Oh, did I mention I found a Panera Bread in North Hollywood? This is a company that started in St. Louis (where I grew up) as St. Louis Bread Company, and branched out into other markets under the name Panera Bread. When they arrived in Minneapolis, I was elated, and so to find one here gives me a sense of familiarity that is soothing. PLUS: free refills, free wifi and ample outlets. Yeah, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Since I needed to go to bed early, I made sure my day was low-key.  I started reading a book I checked out from the library Monday called “Harmonic Wealth.”  The author is James Ray, who was one of the experts featured in the movie The Secret.  I’ve also seen James Ray speak live and read two other books of his.  His other writings didn’t exactly resonate with me, but I do like his ideas and thought this book was worth a look-see.  One thing that does resonate with me about James is his theory that the different areas of our life should actively vibrate together in harmony, as opposed to life being in balance – because with balance (think of a scale), nothing is moving and everything is static.  Plus, as someone who studied and loves music, I relate much better to the idea of harmony.

Anyhoo… this book had been strategically placed on an endcap in the library, and given that lately I feel like I’ve gotten out of the vibe of my own life, I thought this was definitely a wink.  I was not at the library that day to search for another book on metaphysics and the Law of Attraction, but this book presented itself to me anyway.  What I’ve read so far is speaking to me moreso than James’ other works.  I’m still in the early chapters, but I really like wrapping my brain around his idea that we are already connected to everything we want in life… that the most creative, successful, opulent, fulfilling life of mine is already out there, fully existing, and I simply need to draw it to me.  Another treatise on the Law of Attraction.  Through thoughts, feelings and actions – and even James has said the action component is missing from The Secret – we ride the wave to all of these things we’re already connected to.  Please be aware, I’m WAAAAY oversimplifying, but that is the basic premise in the smallest of nutshells.  It’s not exactly new information, but it is presented in a new way that deepens my understanding of such things.  I do feel the info and exercises in the book will be of great use.

Time to force myself to go to sleep.