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Are You Playing Your A Game or Your B Game?

2 Or heck, are you even in the game?

My guess is many of you are B-gaming it. I know, I B-gamed it for years. There’s a good chance you might be B-gaming it and you may not even be fully aware of it. Me? I was aware. For y-e-a-r-s I was painfully aware.

The B game is a tricky bastard. It often looks like success. It means you are doing pretty darn well for yourself. You have money, you have recognition. In fact, you are pretty good at what you do. I mean you might even be excellent at what you do, but still… it’s your B game.

The A Game

Now your A game…it’s that thing you’ve always dreamed of doing, but you haven’t yet. I mean because it would just be too good to be true. And really, are you “allowed” to do it? Is life really allowed to be so awesome? Kind of feels like you’d be tempting the Universe, right?

If your A game is pertaining to your life’s work, it is work only you can do and in the way that only you can do it. It’s your zone of genius.  Your A game doesn’t necessarily have to be about your work, although often it is.

Whether it’s work or a way of being in this world, it is you being full out you. You are leaving nothing on the table. You are delivering work that no one else could possibly deliver. You are living in a way that honors every ounce of your soul. You are giving it your all.

It’s usually that thing you’ve been dreaming of and talking about for years.  It’s also that feeling of restlessness and the “more” you are searching for. Those feelings are there to get your attention. They are your call to play your A game.

The A game is what we were born to do. And ironically, that’s exactly why we’re not doing it. For one the B game looks like success and it is at some level. We can easily become too comfortable and complacent there.

While so many other people aren’t even in the game. You know those folks, who work 9-5 or much longer and hate their work, complain about it, yet plan to do nothing to change it. They live for the weekend. And my guess is they watch a lot of TV, especially reality TV. They live through other people’s lives.

But, B gamers are in the game! They are up to big stuff. They look successful to other people and themselves. They are comfortable in life. Doing great work. Making a great living. Making some great contribution. But still, it’s the B game.

Our A games aren’t comfortable. They stretch us. They challenge us. And most painful of all, they expose our greatest fears. Our A game is what we hold closest to our heart. So we protect.

:: It’s the book you want to write, publish, and change the world with.
:: It’s the songs you want to sing, record, and deliver to the world.
:: It’s the jewelry you want to make and set up shop with.
:: It’s the house you want to sell to travel the world.
:: It’s the project that lights your soul on fire.
:: It’s the foundation you want to establish.
:: It’s the race of all races you want to kick ass at.
:: It’s the business you have dreamed of starting.
:: It’s that message, that purpose, that thing that only can be done in the way that you can do it.

And it is so precious to you. It means so much. So much that you will protect it, your ego, and your heart by not doing it. It’s easier to dream about “one day” than to experience the possibility of failing, rejection, or criticism in the here and now.

So instead we play our B game. We do a lot of good stuff. We do a lot of great stuff. Even some freaking excellent stuff. We stay busy. So busy we distract ourselves. We use excuses…not enough time, not enough money, maybe when the kids leave home, maybe if I were single, maybe if I were married, maybe if the economy were better, maybe when I know a little more, maybe when I’m a little more ready…

All excuses. All lies we use to comfort ourselves and let ourselves off the hook of our A Game.

But the truth is we are not ever “off the hook” because each year that goes by, each month, each week, each day, each minute ….it is eating at us at a soul level. We can try to fool ourselves, but deep down we feel the truth.

We are NOT living what we came here to live. We are holding back. We are downplaying our potential. We are waiting. We are dying a little bit each day.

I know for me, my A game is to be a published transformational author who impacts lives on a global scale. I’ve known this for some time. It feels too good to be true. And guess what, there are a ton of great transformational authors who have accomplished this quite easily. And there is a good chance it is their B game.

I’ve been very successful in business. Why? It’s my B game. I can do it really well. And the thought of failing, although unpleasant, doesn’t make me come unglued. It doesn’t touch my heart at a deep level. So I’m willing to take risks. I’m willing to have some fun. I’m willing to do the work because well…it just doesn’t mean as much. Or rather I haven’t attached such a heavy meaning or burden to it. So it’s successful.

But writing a book and it being rejected or criticized? Or, OMGosh, what if I really can’t write anything great? What if I can’t impact lives the way my heart desires at its deepest level. Ouch. That really gets me where it hurts.

I’ve been writing a lot lately. I have one little book complete. One is currently with my editor (yep, loved saying that again!) And I’m working on my 3rd.

And…I feel completely exposed. I feel vulnerable. I feel stretched and challenged. AND I feel immense relief AND exhilaration. I feel on purpose, with purpose like I have never been before.

And that is what living an EPIC life is about. We are meant to feel fear, uncertainty, and doubt. We are meant to stretch, to be challenged, and to grow. We are meant to feel alive, engaged, and exhilarated.

There are two reason why we don’t exceed at playing our A game:

1. We never start. We never get in the game.
2. We give up. We DNF on our biggest dreams.

Actually, there is a 3rd reason, and it’s legit. Many people don’t know what their A game is. It’s been pushed aside and covered up for far too long. It may need to be discovered.

I’m obsessed with helping others discover their A game and then helping them develop the guts to go for it!

Here’s to Sparking Your EPIC!
xo!

Strategic Retreat: What is it? And Why I Took One.

Time Out

 

Strategic Retreat + My “not so new,” but new business.

I’ve been in a period of what I call “strategic retreat”… a time of going inside my head, heart, and soul more. I should say, “more than unusual” because I do hang out in those places a lot. Usually though when I’m in my head and heart…thinking, dreaming, feeling, planning…I am also in massive action mode.

I love to leap. I love risks. I love action. I love knowing what I want and going after it full throttle. Life is short, and there is a lot I want to experience, a lot I want to become. But over the last 6 months, I took myself out of fast action mode and went into retreat mode. I realized to go forward, I needed to go back.

I was at a big crossroads in life. I had recently sold 3 businesses, sold a second home, closed a business, and was divesting out of a 5th business. I had purged a lot of personal belongings, and organized the heck out of everything else in my life. I was on a serious mission.

I was serious about a new chapter in life. Clean sweep. Less is more. Simplicity. Those were my mantras for a few years. And it did take 3 years to “clear my space” because I had built a lot. A lot of amazing things, but the problem was they no longer fit me.

I’m at a point in life where I MUST be in 100% alignment and integrity with everything I do. How I spend my time, who I spend it with, and especially with the work I put out into this world. What or Who I say “Yes” to is very short list. Because to live an EPIC life means saying “no” to most things. Because even too many greats can lead to not so good!

I define EPIC as a life that is Extraordinary, Passion-filled, Inspiring, and Completely aligned. I especially had been feeling that the work I wanted to put out into this world MUST MUST MUST be in 100% alignment this time around. Not 80, not 90, but 100%. I was and am fiercely determined about that.

I had started business #6, Wellness Spark, Inc. a few years back, but I wasn’t really sure the direction I wanted to take it and I didn’t have the time and energy with all the other businesses to figure it out. But this business was where my heart was, even if I couldn’t fully grasp what that was yet. I knew that everything I had ever experienced and accomplished had brought me to this point.

So after all my “clean sweeping, and simplifying” I thought I was ready to roll and started building my business again, but very quickly I sensed I wasn’t going in the direction of my biggest vision, of where I really wanted to go. Something was off. So I stopped. Which was painful, and a very uncomfortable thing for me to do. But sometimes uncomfortable is necessary. And uncomfortable for a short period can lead to extraordinary for a very long period.

I wasn’t convinced my path was right or the destination was where I really even wanted to go in the first place. I take that stuff seriously. Life is short.

Strategic retreat mode for me was about stopping for a bit and figuring out exactly where I was in my life, and more importantly WHO I am, and from there exactly where I wanted to go. The truth is sometimes we get off course. And the truth is sometimes we have to let go of awesome dreams that simply no longer fit.

It’s not about the easy, comfortable path, or even the financially abundant path, it’s about the right path. Right for me. Right for you. That’s what matters.

I knew with what I was feeling that massive action would just carry me farther away from my desired destination. I would be busy and perhaps “successful” but not fulfilled and on fire with what I was building. I wanted ON FIRE! I needed to do some soul searching, ask the right questions, and reorient my life map from there. I needed to retreat a bit to do so. That was the smartest and most strategic thing I could do.

Some of you know, I co-own Odyssey Adventure Racing (this would be company #5), and we put on Adventure Races where you have to navigate the course (biking, running, paddling) with map and compass. There are no volunteers directing you, no flagging or markers to clue you in. You have to know where you are on the map at all times and navigate from there. In these adventure races it is more important that you are going in the right direction over a fast direction. I mean fast is awesome, especially if you are racing, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how fast you are going if it’s the wrong way. Go in the right direction first, then fast.

I’ll repeat that: “It is more important you are going in the right direction, than a fast direction!”

Same is true in life. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we think is “forward movement” simply because we are busy and going fast. But that doesn’t mean we are going in the direction we really want to be going.
And sometimes “success” as defined by society is not truly our “forward movement” in life. We are here to live what we love, full out. Happiness is the goal. The Dalai Lama says that, so you know it’s true!

Another thing in Adventure Racing, when you’re out in the woods, in the mountains and you are lost, turned around, or just suspecting you might not be where you think you are …do you know what you do? You go back to your last known point of origin. It’s hard to make yourself do it. You feel like you are losing time and that you will waste precious energy by going back or by stopping to make sure you are going in the right direction. But the truth is, if you don’t go back or stop, you will most likely exert way more time and energy in the long run. And you may not ever hit your desired point or destination. It’s a strategic retreat.

So the moral of this story:

1. Not only is it OK to slow down or stop, it’s critical to ultimately getting to where you really, really deep in your soul want to go.
2. It’s more than OK to ask yourself what I call “the right questions” or the tough questions.
3. Please for the love of all holy, REFLECT more. Listen to what comes up for you.
4. It’s normal to feel like you don’t have time to slow down. But understand  it’ll save you so much in time, energy, money, and blood, sweat, and tears (OK, maybe that’s just my life!) in the long run.
5. Your happiness matters. The Dalai says so!
6. Your life can look any way you want it. But you have to know what you want.
7. Yes, it might (as in “it will!) take time and work to reorient your life map.
8. The aliveness, alignment, and fulfillment are so worth it!

By the way, I’m full speed ahead with my “not so new” but NEW business. Guess what it’s all about:

EPIC Lifestyle Design + Personal Development + Kick Ass Adventures

And you know what that feels like? Completely Aligned. Completely me.

I’ve also designed a couple of offerings for those of you who are ready to spark YOUR most EPIC life. You can check those out here:
Maverick Mentorship
The EPIC Life Experience

If this helped you or might help someone you know please share or forward along! I’m on a mission to bust the status quo and inspire a revolution of EPIC Living. This happens when we start living our dreams, our highest potential, and life on our terms!

And if you haven’t joined my newsletter – The Spark, hop on below!

Hollie “On Fire!” Flynn

Montvale 5 Miler_ Finish

True Story: My Lawyer Told Me I was Crazy for Doing This!

My lawyer’s voice boomed, “I wouldn’t do this THING if my life depended on it!”

So of course, I did.  The very next day to be exact.

It was 1998. I was 26.  I took a business contract to an attorney for review.   I was trying to buy into a fitness franchise.  I was learning how to incorporate my first business. I was looking for rental space and negotiating a lease. I was setting up my first biz banking account.  I was being systematic, smart, and doing all the “right” things.  Having a lawyer review my contract was one of them.

I had dropped the contract off at the lawyer’s office and returned a couple of days later to hear his review.  I remember walking into his office feeling excited and proud of my big venture.  As I walked in, he dropped the 200+ page doc on the table, shaking his head as he said (very loudly as if he were in a courtroom instead of his quiet office),“I wouldn’t do this thing, if my life depended on it.” 

He explained the first 10 reasons why this was the worst business deal and contract he’d ever seen.  They made sense.  I could see where he was coming from.  But, the thing was…his life did not depend on this, mine did.  And to me, the risks were worth it.

I stood up, shook his hand, and thanked him for his advice. As I was walking out his door he said, “So, you’re not going to go through with this are you?” I hesitated (knowing often these things are best kept to myself).  I just smiled at him, and said, “Yeah, I think I probably will.”  He sighed.  And I left the next day to head to Texas (I lived in VA) to buy the franchise and begin training.

What I learned that day was that the great thing about someone saying “No way!” or “You are crazy!” is that it can firm up just how bad you want something. You need to know that. Sometimes you don’t know how badly you want something until it is taken away or you feel it might be. It’s good to know how “in” you are.  I don’t think I knew just how “in” I was until that moment with the lawyer.

Honestly, I’m all for seeking professional guidance and input.  I’m all for chatting with a few close friends or respected mentors.  Do bring in an expert if needed.   But the bottom line is, NO ONE knows more than you.  No one can measure how much heart you have. No one knows your passions or dreams and how they fit into your life better than you.

The experts, professionals, gurus, etc. are there to provide valuable insight and information. They are a part of the piece.  YOU are the bigger part.

YOU ARE YOUR OWN WISEST COUNSEL.  Period.

Look at it all. Take what is helpful.  Leave the rest.

Popular + majority opinion = a status quo life.  If that fires you up, carry on.  But if not, then take in all you can.  Seek wisdom, not knowledge.  Trust yourself more than any other person on the planet. Follow your dreams.

That’s what you’re here for.

By the way, the buying into the franchise turned into being the best single decision of my life. It was a game changer that led to almost 14 years as a multi-club fitness center owner (I ended up buying 3 fitness centers), great income, and even greater personal growth.

It sparked my passion for entrepreneurship and gave me the confidence and know how to turn other passions into money making ventures.  It gave me the opportunity to design my entire life.

I believe with all my heart that NOT following your dreams is a far greater risk.  For me, what I feared most was reaching the end of my life with the question —What if?

Do you have a “What if?” — Something you really want to do. Something if you don’t try, you’ll always wonder?  Are you willing to take THAT risk?

Think about it.

Here’s to Dreaming Boldly, Trusting Deeply (in You!), and Going For It!

xo!

Hollie “no regrets” Flynn

 

Two Unconventional Things You Can Start Doing Today to Get Your Life on Track

This is the number 1 question I’ve gotten in the last decade.

What is the secret to my success? 

Most people want to know how I know what I know, especially in business. Did I get it from my parents? Nope. My Dad was a blue collar worker and my Mom a stay at home mom. Do I have a business degree? Nope. I have a B.S. in Psychology which typically gets you a nice job waiting tables (which I did for 8 years!).

But at age 26, I jumped into entrepreneurship, opening three fitness centers in three years. I then bought an existing company and invested in real estate. By my early 30s, I was a millionaire (which was really strange for me to get my head around). To be clear, I was not earning a million, but I had established a nice 6 figure income and had built up assets in business and homes that reached over 1 million.

I also had some pretty significant accomplishments by most peoples standards outside of business. I completed marathons, competed and placed high in triathlons, and running events. I raced in a 36 hour long Adventure Race (biking, running, paddling, navigating carrying all food/water and no sleep!). 

I bought  my second dream home in 2008 and started two new companies all while  raising a young daughter as a single chic-a-dee.

Some folks see me as highly driven. But I’m actually pretty laid back, and I’m motivated entirely by freedom. Freedom to ride my bike, eat good food, read lots of books, and catch some great movies. I love being at home and tend to be quite an introvert.

So even though I’m pretty laid back, I seem to have harnessed some mighty power that has led to some pretty great successes. I have observed that I often experience, expand, risk, and accomplish more in one year than most do in a decade or heck, even their entire lives.

I continually get asked:  How do you do it?

What I’m not laid back about is sharing with others how I can help them get what they want. I’m passionate about that. And the awesome part is that anyone can begin using this stuff right now.

So what’s my secret?

The foundation of all my successes and accomplishments is built  from understanding and working two things.

 #1  I Ask One Question Every Morning. I ask myself (every single day) is this what I want? I mean, I literally wake up and think about my day and if I am not excited to jump out of bed and get going then something isn’t working. And I don’t ACCEPT that. I say, “OK, what’s going on here? What is it about today, I don’t like? What in my life isn’t working? What do I need to do to change?” And I get busy on that. Immediately.

Sometimes I don’t have the answers. I don’t’ know what to do, so I get busy with the search and continually reflect and ask myself questions until I know what the next step is.

I know I’m the creator of my life. Once you create the life you love, it’s easy to tweak here and there and stay on course, so even as life changes and grows, you still wake up with, “Awesome, I love my life.” Or you might just need to dig into one area and course correct.

And yes, if you haven’t asked this question in a long time, you might have A LOT to change. That’s OK, get busy. Pick one area and get going. It’s up to you my friend.

Know what makes you happy. Know what brings you a fulfilling life. Do the work. Check in with yourself every single day.

 

#2  I THINK and LIVE outside of conventionality. Since I was a kid, I have never blindly believed or adopted what my parents (sorry Mom & Dad!) or teachers shared with me or taught. I have never bought into the standards and norms of society. I have never played by anyone else’s rules. Now in my 40s, I still don’t. Living MY TRUTH is the only operating system I use.

Are you creating your own life or living one designed by society?

So how can you begin to use these two principles to accomplish ANYTHING you want?

First, learn to listen to your gut, your internal GPS (this is Divine Guidance or what I call your Inner Spark). We all have it although it may be buried under a lot of shoulds, expectations, and old programming.

To turn on your GPS you must slow down, become aware, tune in, ask the tough questions, listen, and feel. What is it that you really really want? What’s coming up for you? Remember true lasting success is about happiness and fulfillment. It is not about chasing THE dream life, but about building YOUR dream life. Understand the difference. You have the only blueprint that matters.

Second, trust yourself. Stop asking for permission and approval. Stop expecting other people to get you or understand your dreams. Stop collecting votes for the go ahead. You’ll never have enough. You only need one vote…yours.

Get that to be truly successful, you DON’T want to follow the majority or the masses. At least not at this time in history, unless you view the majority as thriving, happy, healthy, and jumping out of their beds each day for another day of passion filled living! If that is what you see out there, then by all means follow. But if that isn’t what you see, know your path isn’t “out there” — it is inside of you. You have all the answers for you IN you. Trust.

Don’t buy into the illusion of security. Good grades, good job, benefits, playing it safe.

Look in, then step out.

The riskiest thing we can do is not live the life we were MEANT to live. So THINK about what you really REALLY want. Spark your passions. Create your own masterpiece. Live your purpose.

That is Success.

 

With SPARK (Spirit, Passion, Adventure, & Rule Breaking Knowledge),

Hollie