Time is a Mother

This post first appeared on Instagram:

The funny thing about The Work is you can only spend so much time on the purview of things until practice and integration are required.

I find the most gratitude and pleasure in the process; meeting “life’s moments” with self-awareness, self-compassion, and most of all self-love.

And life sure does have its moments. Moments that bring immense gratitude and grief. Moments of deep reckoning and rumbling. Moments of triumph and loss.

I committed the last three years to an all-out rescue mission of Self, pulling away from all that wasn’t grounded in truth or kindness for me and allowing myself to move into what feels good and right.

And, at long last, I feel like all of that self-preservation has led to a little something. A little more calm. A little more clarity. And a whole lot more certainty and peace.

I have a lot more thoughts and a lot more I want to share. And, I’m looking forward to doing so, eventually. But, for now, here’s a photo dump with zero additional context.

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white candles on black surface


I’m thirty-one, today.

This year, in many ways, felt like finally catching my breath. There is no mistaking it: twenty-twenty dealt the world an unprecedented hand and there were many uncertain, often times scary moments.

True color moments.

Moments of pandemic, chaos, and poor leadership. Moments of shock, shame, and sadness. Moments of loss, heartbreak, and plenty of resource scarcity.

But there were positive, brighter moments too.

Moments of support and togetherness. Moments of compassion and understanding. Moments of listening, consolation, and slow (very slow) yet steady reform.

These true color moments are moments of awakening, growth, and change.

True color accentuate our priorities, principals, and purpose—making them clearer than ever. It’s here, in the thick of it, that we’re shaken, disrupted, and even grounded in ways nothing else ever possibly could. And, if you’re a good and decent person: you put on your shit kickers; get down in the dirt; open your heart and mind to the concept and possibilities for change; and get about doing the good work

I’m proud of The Work we’ve done throughout the studio this year – pivoting and prioritizing our support for small businesses in the wake of pandemic and donating more than 200 hours to well-deserving for- and non-profit endeavors. We saw exponential growth in new- and recurring clients, completed more projects, and signed more new Associates this year than ever before. We expanded our reach into real estate, pharma, and clinical health and tightened our grip across tech, lifestyle, and, of course, cannabis and holistic wellness.

But, arguably, the best work I’ve done all year has been the work I’ve done on myself:

I started this year on a springboard, with the intention to take longer, deeper strides to protect myself and safeguard the light that burns within. And, I promised myself to walk decisively on that journey. And I did.

The side effect of social distance, hindsight, made way for awesome personal discovery while economic uncertainty served as an anchor for what’s important. I, like many people, found gateway to free myself from erroneous commitments and make more space for what truly serves me.

I greeted and explored my issues with abandonment and co-dependency. Opening my eyes to the effects each has had on my personal life (and career!) over the years. And, naturally, gave myself the space and grace to begin the healing journey of furthering my understanding and coping with each.

Truth be told, I’m usually more excited for the professional projects and opportunities that await me moving into a new year. Truth be told, during these “last few weeks,” I hardly ever set a resolute intention on Self; thinking that, if I can just keep the lives around me afloat, clients and family and friends, my life will stay afloat as well. But, *real* truth be told, for the first time (ever), I see that is neither true or in proper service of anyone—let alone sustainable.

I am excited to be moving into 2021 supported by the experiences, opportunities, progress, and connections that this year has brought me. I have never felt so supported. Or, free. And, empowered by that freedom, I am hungry to continue my journeys of healing, building my home, fostering positive and supportive relationships, community, and, of course, entrepreneurial pursuit.

Still, there is a way to go, individually and together, in accepting, understanding, and navigating all of this and all that exists in our truly unimaginable new normal.

naked man statue

On Power

Doesn’t it seem like every month there’s a new release of The World’s Most Powerful from a source no one was even asking? And, isn’t it always a little weird that they use the external things—wealth, status, celebrity—to define and rank power. It is for me. Specifically, it’s weird how one person can go from the top position of power one year and not even make it on the list the next. Did that person have power, or not? Was the power real and it just disappeared? It’s easy to get confused.

This all hit me this morning over tea and I thought a lot about power, and what it means to me; I’ve always defined power as strength, perpetuated. Therefore, it’s not the wealth and status and celebrity that bear the honor but spirituality and resilience. A power that comes from there, our core being, reflects everything that we’re meant to be. And, in turn, shines that light (if it’s light you’re radiating) then brightens those closest to it.

When we see a force like this shining through someone, it’s pretty irresistible and inspiring. It elevates us, motivating and inspiring a better way of living, learning, loving, and growing. I think the times I feel it most, power, in myself, are the times I am delivering something—advice, knowledge, a product, service, or just time in general—to another person who will benefit from it, feel the impact and “get it.”

If we’re lucky when they “get it” they’ll give it too. To someone else, also in need of whatever it is.

Alignment is totally the secret to power. That’s my belief anyway. When you’re conscious of the course you’re on and doing what you’re supposed to be doing to fulfill your own self and leverage that fulfillment to lift up those around you—aware and truly lead by the best of intentions—it’s hard to achieve anything but power. When you’re doing things, on purpose and with purpose, you’re at your most powerful state.

Power doesn’t mean you won’t stumble. It means you won’t fall.

Black Lives Matter

Black. Lives. Matter!

These aren’t isolated incidents. These aren’t “accidents.” These bodies aren’t piling up due “bad upbringings,” failed field training or poor judgment from “bad apples.” These are educated individuals who know the difference between right and wrong, making careless decisions and blatantly and unapologetically killing people. Period.

These are people with real lives – moms and dads, brothers and sisters, cousins, with kids of their own – lost to police brutality and blatant (and I mean blatant!) systematic racism. One more time for the cheap seats: These are real human lives… lost… bloodshed in broad daylight, at the hands of those sworn to protect the communities they serve, the whole community.

These gut-wrenching stories and political responses that reverberate the 24-hour news cycle have become just as unavoidable, saturated, and nauseating as they are palpably unacceptable and inexcusable in the hearts and minds of the awakened.

There is simply no time left for “extensive, internal investigations.” We cannot wait for change, anymore. We, as a society of people, all of us, cannot continue to accept the embarrassing and shameful lack of support, restitution, and real change promised to the families and communities that live their lives – their WHOLE FUCKING LIVES! – in a constant state of fear, mourning, and increased risk. “Thoughts and prayers” are not enough!

It’s understandable (and fair) to think (or want to ignore) that you (hello, white people!) – on the individual level – cannot do anything to rewrite the national landscape in the immediate sense. I hear you. It’s daunting. I get it. But, I don’t agree. It’s reckless and it makes you a terrorist to turn a blind eye and call it “not your problem.” It is our problem. This is just as much our mess as it is anyone else’s. And, frankly, we’re the only ones with the power and leverage to clean it up.

We cannot change the channel every time we don’t understand what is being said. We cannot reach for our rose-colored glasses when what is happening in the communities and lives of those around us darken the fantasy of what we’ve been raised to believe this world to be.

There are two kinds of bad people in the world: those that do bad things and those that stand by and do nothing to stop it. Every day people of a certain color are targeted and/or killed for simply being. Black. Brown. Alive. Their fear is discounted. Their rights are removed. Their screams go ignored. They can’t breathe! And, for far too long, and under far too casual reasons, their lives come to an abrupt end. So, what are we going to do about it?

If you think what is happening now – the voices carrying the conversations and bodies that represent the movements – will one day fall silent or disappear, you are dead wrong. They’re going to get louder. WE ARE GOING TO GET LOUDER. The numbers will rise. WE WILL RISE. And change is most definitely going to come.

This post first appeared on Facebook.

white textile on brown wooden table

On Coronavirus

I miss the mundane freedoms a lot. I miss casually running errands and stretching a revolving door of meetings across a few hours in a cafe. I miss a casual text-message “hello” leading to impromptu nighttime gatherings and memorable moments. I miss crowded river trails and the bustling city center. I miss the increasing hum from people occupying the squares as you approach, Rittenhouse and Washington West. I miss people watching. (A lot.)

The ebbs and flows of this pandemic have transcended anything else I’ve ever experienced, or even dreamed of experiencing. (I know, I’m too young to have the scope of “some people” and too isolated to have a real right to complain but…) When was the last time everyone was called on to act in a matter of “life and death?” When was the last time the best “action” the public could take was no action at all? And, will there ever be a time when humans crack the code? When will we learn how to properly relay information with the utmost integrity, accuracy, and have it received with the right impact at the right time? Maybe never.

Never before has there been such palpable sense, saturated and heavy, that we’re in this for “the long haul.” And, yet, never before have I felt such a palpable sense, warm and calming, that we’re all (consciously) in this together.

There are a lot of (metaphorical) stones that we could throw at a lot of people, every day. There’s a lot to be disappointed about. There’s a lot of frustration to air. There’s a lot of ignorance that warrants proper, wide-spread enlightenment. There’s a lot of uncertainty to unpack and certainly a lot to be scared about. But, these are fingers we need to point once the pieces are picked up; once the proper information is collected, analyzed, and applied to a cure; when we’re in sight of a clearer vision; when we’re in a different time.

The time we’re in now is a very special one. Yes. Even in the disorienting and suppressing dust and through all of the transformations across commerce and healthcare, travel, technology, and everything in between, we need to hold space and have respect for The Process. A Process that will most definitely yield uncommon and totally unexpected results, even for today. This will likely be a process that’ll deliver equivocal advances in health care, communication, commerce, technology, and government as much as it compromises our personal comforts, mundane freedoms, worldwide economy, and, yes, most importantly, many (many) human lives.

The Process, I think we’ll all come to see, will not bring with it the casual learning style we’ve grown used to. This will be the last time the majority of the world’s population assumes that anyone has anything “handled” without proof or results. This process has awakened us on an unprecedented level with a shock to the global systems and infrastructures in which we rest the safety and security of our lives, casually and unquestionably – might I add. This process has brought with it cause for serious contemplation on the purposes and powers to which we accept and deem to be necessary, “essential,” and even lawful – as a civilization.

I think we’re lo(oo)ng overdue for the shock that ice-cold-anything, be it water or reality, brings with it. I think every new round of headlines needs to be followed by a daily reminder that the dust will eventually dissipate and settle, exactly when and where it’s meant to. I think, if it’s any comfort, the transformation we’re seeing is The Universe identifying a recurring void and deciding to fill it, itself, with a sweeping, mass (eventually positive) change. I think this is meant to be a healing and growing experience, on the larger scale. I think it’s our responsibility to find and claim our space and role, within ourselves and society; to identify our interests and passions and apply them towards tackling the immediate and most-pressing issues, one-by-one. I don’t think I’ve ever felt, as sensitive as I am, a better time to lean into our innate human connection; to call on topics like fear and uncertainty, loneliness, lack-of-love (to give or receive), and deep and valid and stronger-than-ever need for a sense of belonging. There’s nowhere else or better to be, for the vast majority of people, than in those places and in those conversations; expanding our capacity for love.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out, inquiring about the health and safety of myself and my family.

I am well and all of those around me are well, too. Thank you, especially, to all of the men and women still in uniforms of all kinds – from boots to latex gloves to lab coats. Your service and devotion to global relief is beyond inspiring. It’s profoundly motivating. These are trying times, for sure, but, as I say above, this dust will settle and the calm clarity that’ll follow in the wake will – certainly – be something to behold. Stay safe. Stay grounded.

Stay well.

This post first appeared on Facebook.

a person drowns underwater

On Fear

Please hear me when I say: I am very lucky to wake up every single day of my and pursue my inherent human interests and be able to call it a career. I take pride in my work and I’ve had so many awesome clients and opportunities presented to me that I’d be stupid not to. Even in its worst moments, my work affords me the ability to “sleep at night” when so many others cannot. (Quotations because, if you know me, you know I don’t sleep.) But, it’s not that way for everyone.

Creative Entrepreneurship has a history of being that rickety, old wooden rollercoaster that only 30% of people have the courage to get on; only for 50% of those who dare to ride to come off unscathed. There’s a lot that can happen on that rollercoaster. You’re looking at a really good chance of stalling on the climb (you never know how much weight you’re really carrying in those early days). You’re bound to wish for death on that first freefall. You’ll feel the car shake as the wheels casually tap the tracks like mores code, as you round bends. You’ll whisper a little prayer before every bunny hill. “Please let the car stay on the tracks.” Most of the time it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I understand why a career in independent work can be daunting to most people. It’s a whole lot of uncertainty coming at’cha, every day. You might know who the current client is but you rarely know what’s next—three, four, of five months away. And, if you do, you don’t really know the can of worms you’re dealing with until you open the lid. You’re bombarded with opportunities but always chasing the check.

Not to mention, being a creative scary.

If you already have the gumption to move forward with presenting your craft to the world and begging (and I do mean begging) them to pay you for it, good for you. And, if I know my reader base (and I do!), chances are you’re already doing it. Now, if you don’t have the drive but know you’ve got the craft, let’s let you squared up. Because living at the will of the ebb and flow of your creativity takes courage. And, we all know that when courage dies creativity moves on along with it. We have no room (or time) for fear and the isolation it brings with it.

If your curious what a creative could possibly be afraid of, let me tell you:

You’re scared that your ideas are shit.

You’re scared that you’re not good enough.

You’re scared that you’re really not as talented as you think you are.

You’re scared of rejection. And ridicule. And criticism.

You’re scared that you’ll be ignored.

And, my favorite paradox that I often find myself in: You’re scared that your idea is “too good” and that you don’t have the ability to take it to where it needs to go; that someone will steal it. So, we keep it tucked away—never to be celebrated, just in case.

The only reason I know this is because, if I’m a thought-leader on anything, I’m a thought leader on fear. I know fear better than I know myself. My family always reminds me of the looks I’d give as an infant, sitting on the sofa, just so full of worry. I was born afraid—and not just of the usual fears: The dark, the boogyman, the unknown. I was afraid of everything and I internalized it all. My fear made me feel more different than my homosexuality, tenfold.

The worst part of it is that no one really ever pushed me or helped me to explain the reality of what was going on. I was enrolled in every sport at least once but I was always terrified of the balls or the bats or the bigger kids; I was the kid in the outfield, staring at the sky… wondering what was up there. I never understood the value or “real role” that sports played in a kid’s life—community and team-building, trust and resilience. I thought it was all just to “toughen me up” and, frankly, just making it through a day convinced me that I was tough enough, thank you very much.

I don’t know when—probably somewhere in adolescence—or how but eventually I just stopped avoiding things. I guess I just said to myself, “Defending your fear but regretting the lack of experience? That’s not living. Something has to give.” And, eventually, it did: I unpacked and pushed back against my own fear—although much later in life than most kids. I subconsciously taught myself the importance of “leaning in” more so to the things that bring us discomfort than comfort.

One of the things that most helped me in my quest to abolish fear was the thought of how “unoriginal” it really was. “I hate the ocean,” I’d say (I know, times have changed), and everyone else would agree, “Me too.” That’s just one example, but everyone’s fears were the same. Fear is woven into us as children; sometimes we adopt our parent’s fears but most of the time we develop our own. Yes, fear is transferrable to anything: If you shake a can of coins at a dog it’ll likely immediately exhibit a visceral reaction, flinching in your presence. Now, we know, dogs cannot write, they cannot sing, they cannot knit, or paint, or even speak. But, they definitely know how to fear the unknown.

We all do.

Fine, there’s nothing all to earth-shattering about that statement but you do get to see what I mean. There’s no “extra credit” for having, embracing, or perpetuating fear. You’re not reinventing the wheel here. If you want to innovate and evoke change try to overcome it. Try to remember that your fears are not the things that set you apart from others but the things that make us the same. It’s our creativity that does that. It’s our craft that does that. It’s our personality that does that. It’s our dreams and aspirations and inhibitions that do that.

sunset over the horizon

On Evolution

One of my favorite things ever is sitting along the coast of Long Beach Island bay—a second home for me—watching the sunset. Transforming the sky. Nature has a far easier time with transformation than we humans do.

Evolution, as a human being, is a multi-generational excavation process, digging deep to uncover and inspect the underlying issues. It can feel a lot like trying to shovel through Mount Everest at times, always hitting rock.

Here’s what I’ve learned though, the hard way: It’s those rocks, avoided and unattended over years and years of effort, turn into mounds and those mounds turn into mountains. It’s our responsibility to not stop when we hit the rock; to continue to chip away at it, not dig around it. These are our “daily clean-ups,” visible throughout our work, family, and relationships; these clean-ups affect our health and overall well-being most.

It can feel like ignoring these mounds would be far easier than trudging through, but it’s not. If we take tiny steps to address the daily issues that plague us, those tiny steps quickly become giant leaps on the quest to self-fulfillment. Reaching our potential as human beings is far more than “a goal,” it’s the ULTIMATE GOAL!

In a state of fulfillment, it’s wonderous what we’re capable of—and it has nothing to do with the measurement of mankind overall, the lists of most and least powerful, who’s “hot” and not. Instead, it becomes about whose life did you touch, what mark are you leaving on the world? Who did you love? And, of course, who loved you back?

My ultimate goal? A steadfast transformation of consciousness, always and in all ways, to bring me to the grounding truth: That I am no better or worse than anyone else on this planet. I am simply me.

photo of person holding lighted sparkler

What're You Worth?

That’s a loaded question if ever there is one. Right? But, that’s the first question that I ask when I meet with business development clients. I’ve asked it thousands of times and I’ve gotten millions of answers. If the math doesn’t add up, it’s because most of the time responses are ramblings, chock-full of flashbacks to childhood memories; rivers that lead to an ocean of truth. We all discount our value.

More often than not we confuse the correlation between self-worth and deservingness and self-worth and entitlement. It’s not the latter. Entitlement is the conviction that you have a right to something. Self-worthiness is the belief in your own worth.

Doubt in self-worth is a sign of uncertainty that you’ll measure up against everyone else. If you’re ever wondering if you’re good enough, the answer is always yes. If you’re afraid you’ve made a very healthy number of mistakes, you have; if you feel those mistakes make you a bad person, they do not. And, fundamentally, you’re enough — you’re a good person and you deserve good things.

Doubt is dangerous. How many times has someone on the outside telling you that you’re not good enough; that something is wrong with you; and too fast, too soon we begin to believe them. Now, imagine when that doubt and negativity originate on the inside.

Take care of yourself.

At face value, this advice would be obvious and seemingly unwarranted. “I know,” you’ll say to yourself, “I try, but life is busy and I get lost in the day-to-day.” Most problematic in this truth is that most of us are conditioned to believe that prioritizing our own needs means we’re selfish. It is not.

Inversely, when our energies come in contact with someone who prioritizes their own flourishing and balance we would never consider the thought of rejecting or even discounting their commitment to self. There are four things, areas of self-care, that “these people” prioritize regularly:

  • SLEEP: Our bodies need regular, adequate sleep. Every single night.
  • DRINK: Our bodies are 70%+ water, and that water needs replenishment. Hourly. Up your water intake and watch your body flourish.
  • NUTRITION: Nourishment comes in the form of whatever enters our bodies, right? We need to make sure the fuel is clean and reliable.
  • STRESS: Stress is a killer, right? Relieve it. Meditate. Journal. Start your garden. Pray. Whatever it is that brings you closer to the ebb and flow of the Universe.

Be the person you can count on.

Ok, maybe you can’t think your way into believing you’re worth it overnight. But, you can act your way there; by that, I mean, walk the talk. Keeping the commitments we make to ourselves can increase the feelings of our own worthiness. (Plus, it increases your confidence too.)

Think about it, for a second: Of the hundreds of commitments we make a day – to eat, to drink, to keep in contact with people, to contribute to the universal shift – most of them are for other people. When we don’t have a strong sense of self-worth, we agree to almost all incoming requests. That, always (and forever), leads to overcommitted. When our calendars are totally committed, something has to give – and 90% of the time it’s us.

Stand up for yourself.

Depletion in self-worth makes you an “earner.” Earners spend their time, money, and energy earning love. This shows up in a multitude of ways:

You can become a please — saying yes when you really mean no. You can become a performer — the life of every party and a chronic overachiever. You can become a doormat — allowing others to treat you poorly, convinced that being the release for them leads to some sort of appreciation or respect.

It gets worse. Our lives, when lived as earners, lead to an increased attraction of users. Users are people that live at our expense without giving it a second thought. If you’re willing to hand it over, they’re going to be willing to take and keep it. They, in their own parallel universe, believe they’re entirely deserving in the taking; these people like to keep you scared, small, and doubting in your deservingness.

Study the types of earner personality traits and learn to catch yourself in the act. Learn the who and the what of your triggers of the earner response. What are you most afraid of? What are you ultimately trying to prove in the earner role? If you feel bad – or drained – about your actions after you’re with a specific person or in a place, you need to reconsider the value that person (or place) brings to your life.

Every time we speak up for ourselves we remove another pin from the heart. Speaking up for ourselves and keeping our boundaries raise our sense of self-worthiness. We also show others what it looks like to know our own worth and live as we know it. That is true power.

photo of light towards inside of cave

On 'Getting It'

There are moments, as someone who works for themself, where the “getting going” can be tough. I sometimes struggle to find the energy or even just remind myself to continue fostering my creativity. It’s strange, to me, because I am actually one of those people that loves what he does – when I actually get to do it; I have built a strong practice built on even stronger relationships.

These vulnerable moments where the future almost always seems uncertain or totally absent from view are a normal part of life and business.

Even with this at the forefront of my mind, like everyone else, there are still days I hate waking up in the morning if I know there are less than pleasurable tasks ahead of me or that the day to come will have no room for exercise or mindfulness. The feeling was worse and far more frequent when I was in-house for a short time a way back, but it’s most definitely gotten better.

The trick is to take better care of yourself; prioritizing your mental and physical health above all else. Below are some talking points that’ll help you gain (or regain) momentum in life and business. Ready?

Come to terms with the reality that ‘normal’ does not exist. The concept of normalcy is not only unfair, it’s is unrealistic, too. Our ideas of normal are basically reflections of the lives we see around us but it’s important to remember that everyone’s life, struggles, and journey are different; based entirely on their individual circumstance, level of privilege, and determination.

The best thing you can do is surround yourself with the right people. Personally and professionally, it’s important to audit the pool of people that make up your life. You want to make sure your personal relationships are benefiting the personal side of things and that your professional ones are equally as fulfilling. You’re looking for quality over quantity; fulfillment over distraction.

Start paying attention to the advice you receive. More important than listening to advice is analyzing it. Make mental note of its value and credibility and track your source’s success rate over time. Is the person preaching familiar with the topic, you, or even remotely close to the level of success you want? Afterall, you wouldn’t take directions from a tourist. Would you?

#LifeHack: Find or fix up a 1” x 1” piece of paper and write the names of those closest to you on it. Your friends, family, and most trusted colleagues. These are the people that matter most. These are the people we need to think about before we speak and those that should have the most influence on our lives.

Find a mentor. There is no one on this planet who has or will ever accomplish anything without the help of another person; emotionally, physically, and mentally we are all in this together. Your mentor needs to be someone who directly relates to your career path or life trajectory and they shouldn’t be so far ahead of you in that journey that you’re unable to keep up. That’s important.

Get a grip on your time. Time is our single most valuable asset. It depreciates every single second and we never know when the market is going to tank completely. We need to cease every single moment possible and you’d be a fool to waste a day – especially the younger we are. I tell everyone [who asks] to work as hard as they can to get to an 80/20 Production vs Consumption ration; to be mindful of every hour we spend consuming (content, lectures, media) we should spend another four producing.

Finally, listen to yourself and invest in your own flourishing — in whatever way possible. It has always been my belief that our focus needs to be on these four key areas: Education, Wellness, Audience, & Character. They’re the things that make us who we are and the topics we need to revisit weekly – if not daily – to ensure we remain on a thriving path.

I had always felt confident with my ability to analyze and correct the areas of education, audience, and character. Generally speaking I am a very inquisitive and relatively mindful person; it’s easy for me to seek out new learning and audit the people that influence my life, as well as check myself into when and how I need to recalibrate. But, in the summer of 2017, I chose to no longer ignore my struggles with my weight, body image, and confidence and worked tirelessly to embrace a new wellness plan. I hired Jamel (my trainer) and an amazing nutritionist, Raquel, here in Philadelphia; together they filled in a gaping void that had been deteriorating a very long time.

Remember, no matter where you are on your journey – you get to decide what happens next. It’s never too late to regain control and implement positive habits to shape the future.

red leaves

On Pleasure

Sometimes otherwise usual topics find themselves stuck in my head and I can’t release them until I’ve completely worked them out. One time a parent suggested to me that their child needed to ‘tolerate’ them the same way they (the parent) ‘tolerate’ the kid. I wasn’t sure why but the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I immediately went into defense mode for the kid. The rest of the week was spent searching for the better word he may have been looking for. (Turns out, it was “love.”) This happens all the time. The fixation. Words and things just present themselves over-and-over in my day-to-day and I think, “it’s a sign,” and work tirelessly to decipher them.

There was one of those days towards the end of last season and the word was Pleasure. It’s a ridiculous observation and inherent need, however, it was showing up everywhere and I couldn’t avoid it. Emails and conference calls, tweets and social media posts, and by the time the drive-thru attendant at my favorite fast food spot replied to my gratitude with, “My pleasure!” I knew it was time for a personal think tank.

If you ask any one of my closest friends what pleasure means to them you’ll get responses that range from the basic, “happy,” to the most deviant, “when your partner [does the thing they wanted] without asking.” And, no, they’re not talking about washing the dishes—though I am sure Urban Dictionary has an erotically appropriate definition. (TMI.) My definition carried a tone split fifty fifty and before I had google’d it, I was pretty sure the official definition would be equally so. Turns out, it’s not; if you ask good ol’ Merriam-Webster the definition of pleasure, it is “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.”

Less than scintillating to say the least.

Dissatisfied with my findings, I spent the better part of a day contemplating the very thought of it in an effort to redefine it for myself. Pleasure. I thought about where it comes from, how it’s conceived, what it does to us, how we nurture it and ensure it evolves into euphoria, its highest form.

The most pleasure, for me, is always received after I have done something good for another person or when there is confirmation and validation in the fact that my efforts — or even just my presence — have in some way helped move something alone. That said, pleasure is depleted whenever I feel I have been (or might be) taken advantage of, forced into doing something I typically wouldn’t do, or even blatantly ignored when serving at the request of another. (And, you’d be surprised how often that happens.)

There are even times we manifest our own pleasures. Uninterrupted time with my friends is high on the totem pole; a five-star moment, for sure. That strong cup of coffee (or two) at the start of a morning: Four stars. Getting away from the desk midday for that long-anticipated walk on a beautiful day or a meeting with the trainer: Five stars. Pushing that one hour midday break to two… or three: Four stars. (I retracted a star because of the regret afterwards.) Being able to help someone else out, wether I know them or not: Five, plus.

The point is, pleasure — by my definition — is the emotional and psychological (and sometimes physical) reciprocation of the energy you have put out, ten fold. On the spiritual and psychological level, which is all I was initially interested in, I believe our baseline of pleasure is constituted by how you view your life, the things you have done, and your personal satisfaction with the intent behind all of it.

I revert back to my philosophy in that when you know better you do better and when you do better you feel better, and it all starts with self awareness. More important than perfect vision is your internal vision; being able to fearlessly listen to the voice within us and trust in it for both guidance and growth.

Now, that’s pleasure.