Lifestyle Design School is a network and resource for entrepreneurs creating passion businesses. Originally inspired by the ideas of Timothy Ferriss and The 4-hour work week, our goal is to unite the "inner game" of success (attitude, motivation and higher purpose) with the "outer game" (skills, network, resources, practices).

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Love, Sex and Power unveiled (first time)

Big news — in a few weeks I will be leaving Thailand and moving to the Tamera community in Portugal!  It will take me a few months to get there, as I am taking a circuituous route that includes a 10-day silent meditation, a month in my mentor Mike Jay‘s rural Philippine island paradise and in Manila, and some time with my sister in Geneva, Switzerland (I have family everywhere, as my brothers and sisters more-or-less share my wanderlust :-)

tameraAll this came very suddenly, I am actually a bit stunned by the speed of it.  I was originally planning on staying here through next spring, but it seems that “spirit” had other plans for me.

The reason for the move is simple: my work in Thailand is done.  I have been in an indescribable state since this came down about 5 days ago.  I always describe myself as a “glass half-empty” kind of person.  Well, not all the time, it seems.  I am just plain happy.  No needs.  Those who know me will likely be shocked.  I am shocked myself.  (As an aside, us “glass half-empty” people have an evolutionary function: we challenge cultural norms and find the flaws in other people’s thinking.  So be kind to us).

The details of how this came about, all the different insights and bits of information that have flowed down in the last 6 weeks, pieces that essentially complete the jigsaw puzzle of my life, that make sense of my struggle for the last 25 years, would be too long to write.  But I do want to give the highlights.

I finished the second revision of my book, Love, Sex and Power for Men, 3 weeks ago.  I was very happy with it, but additional events came down that resulted in another major revision, which took me about 5 days.  It is now finally palatable (and maybe even interesting) to women as well. I have published the introduction and a few key chapters here, in case you are interested.

The book is a summary of everything that I have learned about human development and man/woman relationships in the last 25 years, including  lessons from the many wise and powerful teachers that I have worked with. Fundamentally, it is both a persuasion piece and a resource manual for a lifestyle that I have been seeking my entire life. Quoting from the introduction:

“This book describes a way of life: men and women living inside an inter-dependent network of active communication, feedback and appreciation – a “network of love”, or a culture of acknowledgement and affirmation. This way of life is hard work, and is not for everyone, but if the idea resonates, read on.”

I have experienced this many times in my life journey: at Trellis House and with Rebekah, in the Morehouses that I lived in or visited, at Shalom Mountain, in many intimate relationships both sexual and non-sexual, with my family, I had many moments of it here in Thailand, etc.

But what has finally come down crystal-clear (like a 10,000 Volt shock), is this: I want to live like that all the time, and not just occasionally. And I finally believe that it is possible.

How and why did this become possible, all of a sudden?  It’s simple.  First of all, the book, when it’s published, will serve as an “attractor” — draw to me people and resources who are aligned with these ideas.  And secondly — well, Tamera appears to be 100% ideologically aligned.  Even if Tamera is not my ultimate destination, it’s so clearly the next stop on this journey.  One of the fundamental ideas of Tamera is that we cannot have peace in the world so long as men and women are at war with each other.  One of the founders of Tamera, Dieter Duhm, was a political activist/radical for many years. He eventually concluded that the reason that most alternative & utopian political movements have failed had to do with relationships between the sexes.  He writes about it very beautifully on one of the community’s manifestos here.

Bingo. I am in. Bought my air ticket.  Done.  No hesitation.

So that’s that.  It is both a career change (I want to write, research and educate on relationships and sexuality), and a new way of life (I want to be part of a developmental group).  These are the only two things I have ever deeply wanted: purpose, and connection.

On a practical level, Tamera doesn’t open to visitors until mid-April. After Geneva, I plan to rent a room or cottage nearby and enjoy a quiet southern Mediterranean winter in the rural Portuguese countryside.   I need to do about 3 solid months of work on the WordPress business now to keep the money flowing. I am really extremely lucky to have a business that can support me in this fashion, and with this little work (comparatively).  It actually works out perfectly that Tamera is not open until mid-April.  Of course, I could have stayed in Thailand until April and worked, but I wanted to visit my sister and I wanted a change of scene.  And I prefer the cold weather for working and a bit less intense environment.  I am getting the message from many sources (both human and divine): slow down!

Human Super-Powers: Manifesto for a New Social Order

superman[Draft Version 2013/01/28]

[Practical elements of the platform listed below consist of:

Some of you know that I am currently living in a commune near Asheville NC… and that I have been living communally for about 10 years now.  Living in community is challenging at best, frequently blissful, and sometimes hell – but this is now my life.  Having “drunk the cool-aid” there is no turning back for me now.

Today is the first time, however, that I am able to clearly articulate why.  I am calling this: Read more >>

Getting to “Game Over” (Part 2)

kindle“Game Over” in internet-marketing parlance is a term coined by blogger (and now successful entrepreneur) Clay Collins.  The term makes me smile for its simplicity and directness (Do entrepreneurs ever get to “game over”?  How dull would that be – isn’t the joy of the chase what we live for?).

And yet it communicates.  Let’s face it, this is what we are about.  Whether we want the real thing (financial independence) or whether we simply want to claim the bragging rights, is an open question.  I suspect that most of us really just want to make a difference and to be seen and acknowledged.

When I had my first big month on the web – oh, back in the Summer of 2011, I made $10k in one month – I wrote a piece with that title.  You can find it in this blog archive, but today I am a bit embarrassed to even read it.  I have had a few successes since that time, this is true; but many more painful lessons.  The Summer of 2011 was definitely not  “Game Over” for Marc Beneteau and WP Academy.  And now I question whether such a thing even exists.

And yet… WP Academy has arrived (and is here to stay), this can no longer be doubted.  The business has enough income to sustain me (albeit on a modest scale right now), while I am creating from my genius.  I have figured out how to be paid to write technical manuals (which I like “better than sex” – another story) – while simultaneously building business equity and a following… how cool is that.  I am stunned.

It has been a 9-year journey, lived (for the most part) at a financial edge that was not at all comfortable for me (to say the least).  I have had many other experiences and adventures in this time as well, experiences that were very rich and utterly transformational; but my work always pulled me back into the vortex… into a zone (often enough) of struggle and self-doubt.  What is the meaning of an entrepreneur who is not making any money?  You complete that sentence for me.

Is there benefit in looking back at a decade-worth of personal and business “work” in order to both celebrate and mourn it?  I would like to think so.

Yet true perspective only comes with time.

Good judgment comes from experience.

Experience comes from bad judgment”.

— Sufi sage

Business triumphs and challenges

I want to start writing more to this blog, and more personal stuff. After 25 years I am still coming to terms with this crazy lifestyle called “being an entrepreneur”.  Yikes.

imageI spent all of October working intensively on my Magnum Opus, the WordPress Business Encyclopedia.  In just 30 days I have changed my publishing platform  and put my content out to all the major markets – and I do mean pretty well all of them.  I have books on Kindle, Apps on Android, and others in the publishing queue that will be going into iBookstore, Barnes & Noble Nook, and iPad/iOS apps as well.  It has truly been an extraordinary journey,  and indicative of massive changes in the self-publishing landscape.  I mean… here I am, little-old-me running my tiny business from my bedroom, working this crazy dream of creating the ultimate WordPress & Web Technology help manual… and perhaps even succeeding at it…  while pioneering advances in self-publishing and instructional technology (I made the world’s first “help doc” for WordPress, I have one of the first “video ebooks”, I am the first to publish an app from my particular help authoring software, etc.)   It is all quite unbelievable.  And exhilarating.

And then a few days ago, after 30 days of round-the-clock, borderline-manic work – it was all over (at least the first phase, which is the platform).  I had no sales and was wondering: “What the f___?”.   Am I being completely deluded in thinking that this is good – that anybody will actually buy it?

Which self-doubt was not improved by the fact that the upcoming month is looking a bit dry.  I raised $7000 in August/September from crowd-funding WP Encyclopedia (yes this is “better than a stick in the eye”)… and that money is gone.

But hope springs eternal in the entrepreneur’s breast.  I am banking on a very large JV [Joint Venture list promotion] that is booked later this week (my biggest one since May 2012); and I am hopeful that my idea of permanent crowd-funding will work.  I am not just innovating in instructional technology, I am innovating in business development.  The permanent crowd-funding is my idea too [Ok granted it’s just a sale in disguise but there is a feel-good quality to it that resonates with me.  Whether it will resonate for anyone else is yet unknown]

Just another month in the life of the entrepreneur.

Anyway when this all came down I was feeling seriously sorry for myself for a bit, but I seem to have bounced back [Halleluja].  It’s hard to say what happened exactly, I think I just kind of accepted my destiny, made peace with myself and stopped wishing I had a “real job”.   This project is coming onto four years now and it would just be too stupid to quit right now (possibly right before my greatest triumph).  I just need to move into the next phase, which is 6 months of content development, and hope to stay happy for the time.  And alive.

PS: Update 11/5: I made a few Kindle sales overnight – Yay! – and Google also reporting a few downloads of my free apps, oh happy happy day Winking smile

Join developmentalist Mike Jay and me, 5 Mondays starting tonight (9/9)

Just a quick heads-up that I will be joining my coach and mentor Mike Jay for a 5-week telecourse entitled “Living @FLOW” that begins tonight, Monday 9/9 at 8:30pm.  I would love to see you there.

The course is an experiential lecture/discussion series that explores many issues related to human motivation, happiness, and success.  It is designed to help you navigate the rocky shoals of being human in the 21st century, and presents a re-frame of our “consensus reality” that can be very beneficial to achieving more happiness and success both.  It is an introduction to Mike’s latest thinking on “Living @FLOW”, plus an opportunity to interact with a master coach and developmentalist in person (Each of the live sessions end with a Q&A). Read more >>