Recently I was giving a talk and a man in the audience interrupted me over and over again. Even with all the communication skills I’ve gained over the years, I wasn’t able to manage him… He was asking good questions at the wrong time— and yet the truth was I had little interest in what I’d been hired to speak about and was far more interested in what he was asking me.

Over and over again he kept pulling me to a conversation that I really wanted to have and finally I abandoned our outline and agenda and engaged him directly.

The talk was recorded and I got the transcripts later, horrified I had gone off on a rant that I might not recover from but when I read it, I realized my unfiltered freelancing conversation actually was far more helpful than anything I had planned to say:


“Look, You have to first understand what you want.  

You say you want this rather audacious level of achievement but have you really considered what it takes?  Dreaming of things and saying what you want is ridded with lies, mostly.  Very few of us really do what it takes to get what we say we want and so we end up lying because it really is a lie when you say you want this thing but aren’t willing to put in the work and do the time.

You see the dream, you define what the end looks like and you see this nirvana, this perfect happy destiny and you somehow gloss over the behaviors, the actual modifications in daily activities that lead to the result.  You gotta realize, a result is a series of behaviors and actions added together.  It’s very simple math, one plus one plus one plus one plus one equals the five that was your goal but only when you keep all your focus on the one do you have a shot at reaching five, right?  

Do you get what I’m sayin’ here? 

Once you know what you really want, get clear about what it takes to achieve that and then forget about the want and get micro clear on the what it takes.  

Go deep, insanely deep. That’s the only way.  

Every action has a reaction, you know this.   So be very intentional.  

Don’t skip over details.  

We like to say the devils in the details but my experience is that the dream is in the details.  That’s how you get to the dream!  

Want to climb the sears tower?  Start with the first stair.  

Then the next.  

Eventually one ting leads to another.  

Want to run a marathon?  First make sure you’re breathing.  Become a master at your breath.  Anyone who runs a marathon knows that it’s 90 percent breath and mindset and ten percent physical capability.  

Actually, now that I mention it, this holds true for nearly everything.  When you learn to watch your breathing you realize your breath is your constant companion and the ultimate GPS.  

You want to master a pitch to land a huge new sale?  Watch your breath.  Notice how your breathing is when you communicate, notice when it slows down, when it speeds up and when it gets steady.  Your breath will tell you the parts of your pitch you need to work on and the parts you’ve got.  Steady breath says you’ve got it.  

Buying a new house and wondering how you know what’s the right choice?  Watch your breath.  When you walk through the space, what’s your breath telling you?  

When you really observe it, when you pause and interpret that hurricane of thought in your mind and put a strong determination on your breath, amazing things happen, it’s like a second brain emerges to provide you the most amazing clarity and focus.  It’s quite remarkable.  

Another problem most of us have is not even knowing what we want.  That might actually be a bigger problem than the first issue of not doing what it takes.  You can’t exactly do what it takes when you don’t know what you want, right?  

Guess what you can do…  yep, you guessed it– watch your breath.  

Learning to notice what your breath tells you is learning to listen to this inner guide, this intuitive part of you that jumps out only when you give it a full stage to emerge onto and present the clarity and vision you are after.  This guide really is quite an elusive character… some of us have clarity and a vision for our lives so easily, but if you really investigate you often find it’s because we learned how to hear that voice within ourselves and when we hear that voice we’ve learned to silence the hurricane mind. I have yet to find anyone who’s done that effectivly and not used meditation and mindfulness as the practice, the way.   

You want to know how to begin?  By beginning.  

Now that you are asking the question the hard part is over.  The desire to ask, to be curious, to seek and grow and wonder, many people go all their lives without a hunger for more.  You are already there, since we’re here talking like this.  

You’ve already got it, now you just need to begin.   Beginning is simple, just not easy.  It’s a discipline. A constant recommitment. A daily practice.  

Many people like to start with just a strong determination to practice 5 minutes a day.  I think this might be a little much for you, for most of us.  It certainly was for me.  

I began with one minute.  

Lets face it, one minute is really hard… I bet my first hundred times I made it 5 seconds or less without my mind overriding the observation of my breath.  

Squirrel, go!  

Facebook, go!

Drama, go!

Pay this do that what about them, go!  

The battles of thoughts are never ending, it’s ridiculous the thought factory that is our untethered minds.  The real purpose of meditation is learning to tether your mind, to harness its power and not direct it but simply to understand it.  

Understanding how thoughts and emotions emerge and how they play out, understanding when you react and when you hold the note, when to hold, when to fold.

Listen, I need to get off this rant so I will now but what I am trying to say is, don’t be fooled when people come up here and tell you about the external process of achieving success. It’s an inner journey—it’s the foundation of everything—nothing else matters if you don’t first start within. No way out but in, that’s the only thing I know for sure.”