Monthly Archives: August 2011

just words

“Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness.”  Jim Rohn

Words take you on journeys to distant lands.  Words can create dreams that illuminate a path, a path where the choices you make bring light to your future.   For some people words condemn and hold them to the past, a nightmarish recollection of what once was.

Words that turn off the creative senses  leave the mind as a vast dry desert.
Words that churn in place in the mind  grate at the soul and produce worry, anxiety, and even panic.   Words, just words, just mixed up words and feelings that form chains that hold you back from realizing something better.

,p>Those words that collide with your heart, what are they saying?    What is it that the words are trying to do?   What words are you filling your mind with?    Are you filling your mind with the words of hope, experience, confidence, wisdom and beauty?
Many people fill their minds with words that say ,”No you can’t”, “Who are you to be that?”,  “You aren’t good enough?”,  “Don’t even try that”, or “You’ll just fail again.”     What are you filling your mind with?

Now how about putting some of these words to use in your daily life.

Alive, Beaming,Complete,Courageous,Cultivate,Cure,Dazzling,Divine,Effortless  Energized,Energy,Enthusiastic,Fit,Flourish,Freedom,Full,Glow,Grin,Healed Healing,Healthy,Heart,Light,Live,Miracle,Motivate,Nourish,Perfect,Present Refresh,Rejuvenate,Relax,Renew,Restore,Robust,Serenity,Shine,Sustain Thrive,Transformation,Upbeat,Vibrant,Well,Whole

Acknowledge someone.
Affirm someone.
Thank someone.
Smile at someone.
Use your words to build up yourself and others.

“When true self-remembering comes, one does not want to alter oneself, or others; one somehow rises above their weaknesses and one’s own. There can be no blame anywhere. One swallows what is, and becomes free.”
Rodney Collin

overwhelmed and frustrated

‘Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”  Pope John XXIII

More and more people are overwhelmed by all the things they have to do.   There is a list and another list and lists that have long been buried.   Lists upon lists of things to do and they all seem important and necessary to do.   It creates a sense of overwhelm and lower energy to do the work.    How do you move beyond the feeling of being overwhelmed?

The first step is to define and list all the things that are important to you, things you value and list them in the order of importance to you.    What is the most important thing?   Is it money, relationships, career, spirituality, family, health, personal development or something else?    Do you know what you value, what you place first in your life?    What are you placing first in your life?

If you value relationships and spend very little time growing those relationships there will always be a tug towards the values you hold and over time that tug will grow into more than just a tug.    When you are living in a way that doesn’t align with your values it is easy to get overwhelmed, frustrated and upset.

What steps can you take to overcome the frustration of being overwhelmed?

1. Write down all the things that are you feel need to be done. All of them, small or large.

2. How important are those things?  Do they need attention immediately, in a day or two, or longer (a week or a month).

3. Rewrite the list and put those things in the categorized of immediate, soon, and later.

4. Estimate how long it will take to do the “immediate” tasks.  Minutes, hours, or days.

5.  Which one is the most important of the immediate tasks to complete now.

6. Do it and get it done.

7. Now, how much time do you have left today to complete those “immediate things”?     Will you be able to complete these tasks?

8. What can be re-negotiated?   What can you do last?

9. Take a break … 10 minutes, refocus, re-energize, take in some deep breaths.   Relax

10. Start on the next most important task.

Now 10 steps may seem like a lot of tasks to do to just whittle down the immediate list to something that is manageable  and that is because it allows you to focus on what is the most important right now.   Work on lowering the stress by getting things done.  Little things create a win and may give you the energy to tackle a bigger item.   Keep moving forward through the list.   If you get all the immediate tasks done, work on something that is coming up.   Prioritize that list and do what you can.  Keep removing things off of the list.

It may take some time to shrink the list down but applying effort each day, doing what you can will help reduce that feeling of overwhelm.

If you can’t get it all done yourself, see who you can find that can help you.  Is there a friend that could spend a couple of yours shrinking your list.  Is there an employee that could take a few of the tasks.   Distribute the workload if it is more than what you can do alone.

If the work was given to you by someone else see if you can reschedule some of the work.  Get some help so that you don’t get too far behind.

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau

your words

“One of the fundamental differences between the Victim Orientation and this one [Creator] is where you put your focus of attention…For Victims, the focus is always on what they don’t want: the problems that seem constantly to multiply in their lives. They don’t want the person, condition, or circumstance they consider their Persecutor, and they don’t want the fear that leads to fight, flee or freeze reactions, either. Creators, on the other hand, place their focus on what they do want. Doing this, Creators still face and solve problems in the course of creating outcomes they want, but their focus remains fixed on their ultimate vision.”   David Emerald   

Are your words the words of power and creation or are they words that take away any power that you thought you have?   There are words that command action, that create change and show commitment.  For many people using words that create action is pretty scary.   If they use words of commitment they are also choosing to be responsible and many people just don’t want to be responsible.

There are basically two classes of people, owner’s and victim’s.    The victim is always looking the world from a point of view that would suggest the “world” is doing something to them.   The owner looks at the world as an opportunity to create something new.

The language of the victim is riddled with words like “ought”, “should”, “need”, “have to”, “could”, “might”, “try”, “if”,”but”, and “hope to”.    These are words that lack ownership and responsibility.   They are words that have an escape clause built into them.   “I said I was going to ‘try’ to get that done for you”, or ” I should get it done”, or “I need to go to work”, and those sentences are just an easy way to say, “I am not ready to be responsible.”    What words are you using?

The words of the owner, the person who is responsible for their life,  are “will”, “commit”, “want to”, “desire to”, “resolve to”,  and “act on”,  and those words show commitment to doing things versus maybe thinking about doing something in the future.    The owner takes the reins of today and doesn’t promise that “I’ll get to that tomorrow”.    When does tomorrow come?

Think about the language you are using.   Is it filled with “if’s” and “but’s” or is it filled with words that demand action.    It is easy to get into the habit of being a victim and staying there.   It takes work to become the creative owner of your life and it starts with the words you choose to use.   What words will you start using today?

fear or excitement …

“Don’t you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?”   Juliet Marillier

For many people the idea of change is terrifying and change is what leads to growth and experiencing life fully.   What most people don’t realize is that the mind and the body can’t tell the difference between fear and excitement.   The same emotions and the same feelings are experienced by both fear and excitement.   How do you know which is which?

Remember the first day of school, that very first day that you realized that you were going to be doing something very different.   Maybe you were waiting for a bus to pick you up or perhaps you had to walk a few blocks to school.  This was the very first day you would be all alone (or at least you felt that way).  The reason not to go to school might have been “I don’t know anyone”, “I don’t have any friends” … or something else.   There is a first day of school story that most people know and can still remember.   Was it excitement or fear?

That moment when the doors opened on that big yellow bus  for your first time was a life defining moment.   That first big step up, and then the next and the next and then it was finding a seat.   All the faces were new and you might have been a little afraid or very excited but you didn’t know the difference.   You did know that your heart was beating faster and that the nerves weren’t very calm.

The first time you rode your bike may have been about the fear of falling and the exhilaration of making the first few turns of the pedal without anyone holding you up.   It wasn’t until you realized that you were riding without any help that you crashed but in that moment that moment of freedom you were excited and saying “Look at me, I am riding my bike!”.    It was exciting wasn’t it?

Think about other “firsts” in your life.  What was it fear or excitement.  Was it the excitement of doing something for the first time?    The second time that experience wasn’t so vivid and fresh and the third, fourth and fifth were less exciting than that very first time.

The very first plane ride was exciting.   The very first bus ride was exciting.  The very first day of school was exciting.   It was like stepping in to a whole new world and over time that excitement turned into a routine and you became an expert.  An expert at riding the bus, an expert at going to school, an expert at riding the bike and an expert at each thing that you had repeated experience in and it just became something normal didn’t it?

For many people the fear of speaking in front of a large audience is debilitating, but is it really fear or is it excitement.   Is it really about the excitement of doing something new and different or is there some real threat about speaking in front of an audience of people.   What is the worst that could happen as a speaker?   Is it a real fear?    Some people would say, “I might look bad”, or “I might sound stupid”, or “I might not look right”, whatever that is, it is really not about speaking it is about what others might think.   Is it fear or excitement?

What do you think?  When you try something new is it fear or excitement?   Think about it the next time you try something new.

“It was an image Melody would never forget. Or was it the emotions the image conjured – hope, excitement, and fear of the unknown, all three tightly braided together, creating a fourth emotion that was impossible to define. She was getting a second chance at happiness and it tickled like swallowing fifty fuzzy caterpillars.”   Lisi Harrison (Monster High)

Today is the day

“We would rather be ruined than changed.
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the present
And let our illusions die.”  W.H.Auden, The Age of Anxiety

What would it be like if you could really be who you are?

It sounds like a broken record doesn’t it?   Who are you really?  Take a look in the mirror and instead of just looking at the face that looks back at you look deeper.   What kind of life are you living?   If you are like 30% of the adult population you aren’t living the life you want.   Thirty percent of adults (100 million or so people) are not living the life they want to live.   They aren’t being real with themselves.   It is easy to fall into a routine and do what you did yesterday even if it doesn’t have any meaning, doing it over again is better than not doing anything.

If life doesn’t hold much meaning, isn’t much to talk about and feels kind of blah then you aren’t doing yourself any favors.   You are just existing and life is more than just existing don’t you think?

For “most” people life is hard.  It is hard work to live life and it takes more work to enjoy it.   So what do people do, they give up when the going gets tough.  They delay decisions that would lead to a better life cause where they are at the moment is at least known, and that means there is some comfort for them.  Why not break away from the “comfort” zone and start walking the path towards the “living” zone.

Look in the mirror again and what do you see.   Do you see a fake copy of who you really are?    Who do you really want to be?   Knock off that veneer, remove the walls that surround you and really look inside, what is there?   Kind of scary isn’t it?

The remedy to living a ho-hum life is taking action.   It is breaking free of the years of excuses and “could’s”, “should’s” and “would’s” to “will” and “can”  and doing  something today.    It is hard to break free of the habits that you are so used to.  It is hard to focus on setting new goals for your life when you feel safe where you are right now.

Don’t have any goals, then create one.  Make it a big one, make it big enough that it is kind of scary to tell others, make it that big.   Then tell people you are going  to “do it”, make the declaration to do something big.   Make that change that you have always wanted to do but decided it couldn’t be done.

After you set the goal, tell everyone about the goal, then start working that goal.  The hard step, the action step, this is what people put back in the closet after a few days.  It take regular, and repeated action to achieve any goal.   If there is no commitment and action it really doesn’t matter what the goal is, it won’t get done.  Now, what are you waiting for?

be resilient

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

Many people feel like they are at the end of their rope.     Life has dealt them a hard blow and they have fallen from their perch that once was high and lofty.  Not long ago a business person thought that the best path to the future was getting out of the business he had been in for over 30 years.   The business was no longer satisfying, the hours were long and the work was hard.    Finding people to work in the business wasn’t easy either, turn-over was high and the work was hard.    His choice to quit, to give it up and turn to something else.  Even though the business was working,  the heart to keep the business running wasn’t.    So, what do you do?

After a long, long time at one occupation, one career, one way of work it takes a lot of energy to change and start doing something else.   It takes resilience, the same properties as a rubber ball, to bounce back and find meaning and passion in life again.

Resilience is an important property to have.   Resilience is the ability to recover from defeat and come back again.   There are many, many stories of people who started a business and did everything they could to keep it going and it still didn’t  survive.    Sometimes people are able to make a comfortable living doing something and then the whole market changes leaving them with one choice, to close the doors.   It takes resilience to come back from small defeats and the even larger defeats.

Most people have experienced some type of event that took the air right out of them.   There are people who have had major medical issues and had to fight back for years to regain their strength.   There are people who are still looking for a good job and are finding that there aren’t any that fit who they are.   It takes resilience to reinvent oneself.

Confucius spoke encouraging words when he said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”   Resilience is the positive force that allows one to spring back, to have the ability to grow and to build and to succeed where you haven’t succeeded before.

No defeat is ever final unless you let it be.   Bounce back and move to a height higher than you were before you felt the pressure to change.  Be resilient.

activate … your life

“The way to activate the seeds of your creation is by making choices about the results you want to create. When you make a choice, you activate vast human energies and resources, which otherwise go untapped.” The way to activate the seeds of your creation is by making choices about the results you want to create. When you make a choice, you activate vast human energies and resources, which otherwise go untapped.” Robert Fritz

Change happens, sometimes it is forced change and at other times it is a change by choice.  In either case in order to make the change last there is a certain amount of physical and emotional energy that has to be invested in that change.  The amount of energy that it takes to create lasting change is known as “activation energy”.   That is the amount of psychological and physical energy that has to be developed by you to make a real change possible.

Imagine what it is like for someone with little confidence and low self-esteem to have the kind of energy that will permit change to occur.    They may have thoughts of changing and they’ll tell their friends someday I am going to lose some weight or quit smoking or do something that is life altering and that is the same story you’ve heard year after year.  Those are just thoughts of change there is no commitment to change.     Some people live in land of “should”, “could” and “would” which mean a life of perpetual disappointment.   “I should do something but ….. “, they would say.  Or, “If I had _______________  I would be able to _______________”, would roll off their tongue for the thousandth time.   There is no energy  or commitment to make the change.

People are desperate for something different.

Thomas Mann wrote, “There is at bottom, only one problem in the world and this is its name.
How does one break through?
How does one get into the open?
How does one burst the cocoon and become a butterfly?”

Our brains see change the same way it sees fear and it reacts with the same powerful force as it does when there is something is threatening you.   You’re not going to think about running if there is a bear right behind you, you’re going to run (bears can run 30 mph so it doesn’t make sense to run, but we’ll use it for now).   Now think about the amount of energy it takes for you to get up and run full speed, it takes a lot.   It takes that kind of effort to make personal change as well.     Instead of making a change the brain says “No, you don’t need to do that” and of course that is what you do, you don’t do it, you do something else that is less threatening.     It takes a serious shock to raise the level of energy up to the activation energy level for change to occur and the brain just isn’t going to let that happen because you can think about it.

Think about any change effort you have made, what did it take?   How did you sustain the effort?

To make change happen you have to be committed to making the change, you have to override the brains message to you to “give up”, to “go back”, to “do something else”.   You have to have what is called “passion” to change.

If you know you should change, do you have the passion to make that change work?

“Change is avalanching upon our  heads and most people are  grotesquely unprepared to cope with it.”  Alvin Toffler “Future Shock”

be of value everyday …

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”   ~John Wooden  ‘ They Call Me Coach’

Everyday is a day to be of value to someone.   No matter where you are or what business you are in you can be of value to someone.   In fact it is better to create value, to add value to everything you do.

Create value in some fashion or in some manner for someone or some cause.   It might be something simple and easy to do.  It might be a kind word, a word of thanks, or a word of appreciation.    Add a smile to your day, a smile has power and value, try it.   As an experiment try smiling at someone  you don’t know, just smile and experience the power of a smile.

Consider the work you are doing today.  What one thing can you do to improve the quality and or lower the cost of the services you are providing?  How can you add more value?   In a world where there is more and more competition it is important to find competitive differentiators into the work environment.

Albert Schweitzer said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”   Serving is another way to add value, immense value to a world that is suffering.

Look at the relationships you have, how are you adding value to the most important relationships you have?    It is easy to neglect or ignore important relationships because there is an assumption that it will always be there.  Given the statistics on divorce in America those assumptions are probably incorrect.

And finally, be of value to yourself.    Focus on your diet, take time out to get exercise  and make sure you get enough sleep.   If you’re not healthy it is difficult to add value to others.    Spend time developing yourself and that means turning off the TV and opening a book instead.   Living in a media saturated culture means that we are being bombarded with a lot of useless information (the news is filled with useless information) and it would be better to focus on information that is positive.

1. Add value to others

2. Add  value to your work.

3. Add value to your relationships

4. Add value to yourself.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”  Albert Einstein

Taking control of fear

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”  Rosa Parks

Fear can either paralyze or motivate a person.    In the face of danger some people are unable to make a move and others of course run and run fast.  Why is that?   Why do people choke when the pressure of the moment suddenly increases?

Small business owners can be paralyzed by the lack of orders and business.   What once worked no longer works and instead of breaking through and developing some new ideas they freeze up and wonder what is happening.  Analysis paralysis is often the term used for wallowing in indecision and inaction.

For many people and businesses when the pressure is ratcheted up there is a tendency to pull back and withdraw which is just opposite of what should take place.     When you are facing some difficulty in your life the experts recommend:

1. Work with someone, find someone who you can partner with and share your difficulties with.   For businesses or individuals  it might mean getting a coach so that there is a new viewpoint to consider.

2. Focus – as the pressure increases it is easy to try to do too many different things.    Regain focus on the desired outcome.   What will get you there?  Staying focused on “the” goal and choosing actions that will get you to the goal is certainly one of the keys for success.

3. Be optimistic – it is too easy to slip into pessimism, worry and self-doubt and those three words, pessimism, worry and self-doubt can take your from the edge of success to the brink of defeat.   Those who are able to push forward and stay optimistic have a better chance of achieving the goal.

4. Cultivate new ideas – Use your imagination to find new ways to solve the difficult problems.  The old way of doing things may just be that, “the old way” and today it takes out of the box thinking.

In the September issue of Success Magazine a quick poll revealed that when people are challenged they tend to do these things:

38% develop an action plan
23% handle it on their own
17% Seek expert advice,  finding a coach or mentor
16% Ask help from friends
6% Avoid the issue (this is running away)

What do you do when you face fear?   Run or take action.

“You have within you more resources of energy than have ever been tapped, more talent than has ever been exploited.  More strength than has ever been tested.  And more to give than you have ever been given.”   John Gardener

beyond frustration – living with ADHD/ADD

“People who fail to achieve their goals usually get stopped by frustration. They allow frustration to keep them from taking the necessary actions that would support them in achieving their desire. You get through this roadblock by plowing through frustration, taking each setback as feedback you can learn from, and pushing ahead. I doubt you’ll find many successful people who have not experienced this. All successful people learn that success is buried on the other side of frustration.”  Tony Robbins

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = low, 10 = high), what is your level of frustration?   It could be any aspect of your life that is causing you some doubt, some fear and anxiety and that all leads to a certain amount of frustration.

For those who live with ADHD/ADD frustration is a common theme in their lives.  Finding the career that matches their abilities is often hard to find and that uneasiness with work causes frustration.   Imagine not being able to organize your day effectively or efficiently and then having little interruptions cycle in and out of the day, that adds to the frustration of just trying to get a day to work.

If you experience ADHD/ADD what are your biggest frustrations?    What would you like to change in your life?    And, what has worked for you?   How do you get your life back under control when it seems like it is just going off on a long tangent?

Frustration just adds to the stress of life and if it isn’t managed it can easily push someone over their stress threshold.   Once the stress threshold is exceeded then there is withdrawal, anger, sadness, and grief or a combination of those stress mechanisms.

So, what is frustrating you?

“The torment of human frustration, whatever its immediate cause, is the knowledge that the self is in prison, its vital force and “mangled mind” leaking away in lonely, wasteful self-conflict.”  Elizabeth Drew