money_treeI’m a dad of a totally amazing and often wonderfully challenging 17 year old.

As her dad, I’m convinced of several core responsibilities I have:

To teach her that kindness must be at the foundation of everything, that happiness has nothing to do with exterior pursuits and to show her how the world works, the ways to navigate it effectively.

It’s the third “navigating the world effectively” that’s on my mind today.

As a part time job, she answers the phones at my company a few hours a week.  A few months ago, she got a call and recognized its importance to me because she listens effectively to the world around her and knew I was working hard on this particular project, that it really mattered.

In part, as a result of her awareness I just closed a deal that most people in my business only dream about.   It was a career altering exchange and the kind of deal that has legs— more and more and more will keep coming from it, literally for decades.

While it was happening, she and I played around—excited and joking that she saved the day.  ( the deal was literally dead until she got that call  ).  We laughed often about if it actually happened, she could claim she made it happen.

I told her more than once I would give her some money if it actually came together.

It did—it all happened, in fact, it happened in a way that is even bigger than I imagined and the fruitage of it is wonderful.

So, I struggled a little.. asking myself, do I give her some money?  Admittedly, it would be fun for her to have exterior validation.   I would love her to have fun and experience abundance and reward and to show her the power of paying attention… That’s an incredible lesson in itself.

But at 17 year old, I’m mindful of overdoing things with her, creating a false reality or a sense of privilege.

I see huge lesson’s here around money…. The chance to show her the difference between earning money over time versus all at once.  ( I believe without a doubt a pile of money all at once drastically outweighs the power of even more money spread out over a period of time )

But before I give her the money,  I think about ego, of how it’s helped and hurt me and how to manage it effectively.  (I think “no ego” is total bullshit, but it sure does need constant awareness).  By allowing her to think she made this deal happen, when truthfully it was the result of nearly two decades of seed planting—well, you see my struggle.

Her answering the phone helped, but the bigger lesson is in the years of cultivation to make the deal even possible.  Probably a thousand “moments” like the phone call all added together allowed it to be.  Any one of them not stacking and building upon the other would have jeopardized the whole.

I decided to chart out the history of this deal, to draw a road map of sorts to show her how something like this actually happens—to inspire her on the ways of the world… to fulfill my core “navigate effectively” responsibility.

As I began I had the obvious stuff; the credentials and schooling, the training, the sales lingo, the scripts and dialogs and objection handling stuff.  I don’t discount any of that—the truth is, I’m highly trained and really good and it’s a result of serious effort and lots of time on task over time.

But—I noticed that all that stuff explained how I got the deal done, it didn’t necessarily show how I got the opportunity to do the deal in the first place.  I believe the opportunity is always everything—without it, who cares how good you are.

At first I couldn’t / wouldn’t give a straight answer, even to myself.

It’s not that I don’t know how I did it, truth is, it’s because for so many years and with so much success, people still never seem to believe me when I tell them.

In fact, I’ve discovered, they actually don’t want to believe me because if it’s as simple as I explain, they then have to look deep within themselves and face up to why it isn’t happening for them.

They’d prefer to say I worked harder, knew more, spent more, had better whatever…in fact, I’ve found the simpler the answer, the more defensive people get.

The simple answer is this deal happened as a result of constant attention to my spirit.

I constantly focus on how to be kind.  It’s the basis of nearly every choice and action for me.

I create beauty around me and sincerely love most of my days—and people feel it.

I am funny and creative and disgustingly optimistic but people feel the authenticity of it anyway.

I’m a ferocious advocate for what I think is right and just and even more, who I am advocating for.  People feel a fierce loyalty from me.

I lean towards fun nearly all the time and find it totally normal to stop everything in an instant, abandon all pre made plans and chase wild adventure ( I’m headed to Sri Lanka next month—check back for posts about that adventure! ) .

So, how did this get me this actual deal?

I’m sure this all sounds arrogant and I don’t mean for it to, but I sincerely believe it’s the truth.  I think business shows up because people are attracted to a freedom and joy they feel in me, from me.

I think happiness is incredibly enticing to people.  I’ve never met someone who doesn’t want it.

When someone is sincerely happy, sincerely free—truly waking up each day joyful and committed to kindness, everyone wants to be around them.

I can and do learn all the tools of my trade.  I have all the resources to back it all up.  But at the end of the day, I believe that accounts for less that 10% of why people do business.

I think the 90% is because they feel joy, freedom, intention, kindness, and sincerity.

My grandpa would say, the smartest asshole in the room is still an asshole.  It’s true.

This deal happened because more than 10 years ago I met some folks who over the years got to know me and I constantly showed up as who I am.  I never bullshitted, I remained intentional about what matters to me and I represented to them over a long period of time that I was the real deal… who I am isn’t a sales pitch and this approach to life that I lead with actually works.

I met them while doing what the world and my numerous business coaches would define as irresponsible, unfocused.

In the middle of my work days, I would often sneak out my back door, while I was supposed to be “lead generating” and go hang out in this totally rocking cool place filled with wild art and amazing gardens and the coolest people around and I would just fill myself back up, recharge, get square with what matters to me.

We’d sit and talk, laugh our asses off and then I would quietly go back to work hoping nobody noticed.

The seeds I planted—joy, kindness, laughter, adventure, freedom… they bloomed for me in a big way.  That’s what I want to teach my kid, what I want her to understand.

The evidence is undeniable, fun happy kind joyful people get results.  Period.

Joy comes first. Kindness is essential.  Freedom and authenticity and credibility are all foundational pillars for a successful life.

Without it, I actually think nothing else matters.

Anything she needs will be abundantly available to her when life is approached this way.  Worry about what’s next won’t happen when you plant these kinds of seeds all over the place…  they just keep growing and multiplying and your garden eventually can feed you, your family and, maybe, the whole world. joy

So, I’ll give her a few bucks but she’s getting all these lessons as well.