Cultivating the Habit of Prosperity: Self-Employment As Walking Meditation

by | Aug 7, 2011

[This is the first of a series of articles based on requests from readers for coaching. If you have an issue you’d like me to address, email me at]
Meditation. I think it’s safe to say that no one would start meditating–let alone continue–without a Really Good Reason. Enlightenment. Inner peace. Lower blood pressure. Even though meditation may become an end in itself, you aren’t likely to begin and sustain a practice without a Really Good Reason.
And even with a Really Good Reason, it’s not easy to show up over and over one breath or one step at a time.
Just like it’s no easy matter to show up for the daily tasks of successful self-employment.
Which brings me to this request: “I would love some coaching on how to solidly implement new habits that will help me prosper.”

Three questions before we begin
Let’s set the stage for a successful coaching conversation.

1. What would success look like?
It may seem obvious to you, but until you put it into words, a goal can be a slippery thing. So think about it a bit. What would solidly implementing habits that help you prosper look like? How would you know you were doing it?

2. What makes this so important? Why?
Again, it may seem obvious, but the mind is a funny thing. It slips and slides over intentions and has a way of losing sight of them in the moment. Take some time to firmly fix in your mind the Really Good Reason for making this change.
Then take it a step further. Why is that important? What effect will it have on your life and livelihood?

3. Are you willing to succeed?
Obvious answer number three, but is it really? I’m betting you have preconceptions about what solidly implementing habits that will help you prosper will mean. And I’m betting some of those preconceptions are not pretty.
When you can clearly see your preconceptions, ask yourself if you are still willing to succeed. If you can’t say yes wholeheartedly, ask yourself if you are willing to become willing to succeed.

Get your whole being involved in the Really Good Reason
Now that you know what you’ll be up to, get every bit of your being enrolled in that Really Good Reason. Imagine that you’ve succeeded fully. See it. Hear it. Feel it. Taste it.
Think of a piece of music that expresses your Really Good Reason. Listen to it. Sing along. Dance.
The more you can embody your Really Good Reason, the more you can bring it to life, the better you will be able to show up for the habits you want to implement.

Because it’s about showing up
Solidly implementing habits of prosperity means showing up. One hour, one day at a time.
It’s not something you arrive at, though it does get easier. It’s a practice, just like meditation is a practice. And the way you practice is to adopt specific actions and do them without attachment, time after time.

Detach from your Really Good Reason
Here’s a paradox. You need a Really Good Reason to start implementing the habits of prosperity. But in order to solidly implement those habits, you need to detach from your Really Good Reason.
Otherwise you’ll be looking for results from individual actions. And it’s not individual actions that create prosperity; it’s habit.
And you can’t judge the success of a habit by looking at short term results. Nobody I know ever lowered their blood pressure by meditating once for 15 minutes.

Remember your Really Good Reason
Another paradox: While you’re practicing detachment, you’ll want to remember what you’re up to. You need to keep returning to your Really Good Reason for the inspiration to develop and maintain the habits of prosperity.
So, let go of results, remember your purpose.

Gather evidence; look for ripples
Over time, the habits you implement will produce results. And because it’s habit, not individual action that produces those results, it’s easy to overlook the evidence of success.
Let’s say you’ve implemented the habit of tracking income and expenses. Three months later your income goes up. Unless you’re looking for the correlation, you may miss it altogether.
How does that work?
It happens because of the ripple effect. Perhaps being more conscious of money influenced the amount you charge. It may have affected the way you talk about your fees, the confidence you have that they are right.
It may be that you’re sending invoices and reminders on time. Or that you’re buying fewer things on impulse.
There are lots of ways habits of prosperity create ripples. Pay attention, because you need this evidence to reinforce the habit.

Treasure the dailiness
In time, you’ll come to treasure the dailiness of your habits. You will come to rely on them as proof that you are showing up for yourself and your business. They’ll be woven into the fabric of your self-confidence and motivation.
You’ll actually miss them if you skip a day.

A final paradox: it begins with one action
I’ve said that it’s not individual action that generates results, it’s habit. But every habit begins with a single action. One. Not two.
Don’t try to develop a heap of habits at a time. Choose one. Each day identify a small action you can take in keeping with that habit. Do that, and choose another small action the next day. One small action at a time, you will build the habits of prosperity.