Personal Development Tips Archives

Welcome to the site of the personal development tips archives.  The following is a collection of personal development tips that were written throughout the year.  We hope these tips help you with life's daily challenges.  Remember, there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. 

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One Step at a time / The force of momentum

Imagine for a moment you are planning a trip out of town several hours away.  You are excited and can't wait to get there.  As you start the journey in the car you step down on the gas peddle full throttle.  Your intention is to get there as quickly as possible with no plans to stop or take directions with you.  A person does not need a college degree to know that this action will lead to a disaster. 

The first problem is that no matter how fast you try to get to the destination it will still take time and require your patience.  Secondly, with no map or clear directions the car will be headed towards Mexico, but the original plans called for New York.  And thirdly, not only will you miss out on all the beautiful scenery, but also, the car probably won't last too long on full throttle and will eventually burnout.

Do you see the picture?  In life we cannot be in a desperate rush to get to our destination.  We must go the speed limit so that first we can enjoy the ride and secondly so we are not blindly going through life in the wrong direction.  How many times have you rushed through things only to have to go back and redo it.  It is much easier to take things one step at a time.  A car travels one mile, than two, and so on, the next thing we know we arrive safely and know how we arrived. 

There is power in momentum.  The famous Presidents sculptures on Mt. Rushmore had to be a pain staking process, but the sculpture knew he had to go step by step.  Imagine trying to rush that job!  A puzzle needs to be completed one piece at a time and sometimes it takes hours to find that one piece, but if you stay with it you will see the picture coming into view and will want to finish it to see it completed.  If you stick to the task and don't give up, you too can complete a monumental project one step at a time. 

By taking things one step at a time it makes things much more manageable and doable.  In addition, as we are in the midst of trying to achieve something we can see the progress and the light at the end of the tunnel.  By trying to go full throttle we lose a sense of ourselves and things get overwhelming.  To do things in part acts is similar to doing things one step at a time.  We get done what we can and than move onto the next thing step by step.

Another way to look at the power of momentum is with snow.  If we want to make a snowman we have to start out small and slowly.  As you pack the snow together you roll it a little more and it grows.  Before you know it you have the foundation of the snowman, but if you rush it it falls apart.  Try it next time you're in snow.  In order to build this foundation you had to gently take care of it and build on it.  There is great power in doing things one step at a time.  Think of a recent or past achievement and you will remember that it was a process that required you to go step by step. 

Happiness Lies Within, Dorothy's Story

What is it about Elvis Presley, John Bolushi, Kurt Coban, Marilyn Monroe and many other super stars that led them to end their lives early?  How can it be we ask that they had all the money, fame, and adoration from fans and yet they were so miserable inside.  Well as sad as their stories were and for many people in Hollywood and throughout the world who aren't famous, the answer is not a complicated philisophical one.  In fact we can use a movie that was loved by millions including myself as an example about finding happiness within.  That movie was The Wizard of Oz. 

If you remember from the moment Dorothy landed on the land of Oz she was lost.  She also met up with several characters from the movie who were just as lost as she was, or at least they thought they were.  You see, they all came there looking for something from somewhere else, and so they went on this long journey looking for it.  You remember Dorothy was looking for her home in Kansas.  The sacrecrow was looking for a brain.  The tin man was looking for a heart and the lion for courage.  But as we watched each one play out their character we noticed from our view that they already possessed these qualities. 

As they continued on their journey they were met with obstacles and challenges.  Their destination was to get to this big Wizard who had all the answers and when they met him he would finally make them happy by fulfilling their wishes.  We all felt the anticipation and fear when they finally got to the castle and found the Oz.  There he was this huge image of a man, with a loud overpowering voice reciting "I am the great Oz!" 

What soon followed was utter disappointment because toto revealed who the great Oz really was; an old man behind a curtain pushing buttons with voice overs.  It was all a fake.  The end revealed to them and all of us that they already had the answers inside and already had what they were looking for.  When it was Dorothy's turn the good fairy told her something I never forgot after watching this movie 30 years ago.  She said "You see Dorothy you always had the answer inside of you.  All you had to do was tap your heels three times and say there's no place like home"

The moral to this story is that you don't have to go on this big journey to find the answers to life.  We can be happy right at home just like Dorothy found that out about Kansas.  The answers are right inside of you.  They always have been and always will be.  Happiness does lie within.  The moment we accept this truth the faster we will be free from trying to find happiness from somewhere or someone else.  Always look inside your heart for life's answers and there you will find truth, peace and assurance.  The minute we go looking for answers outside ourselves we are sure to be disappointed with another Oz just like we all saw in the movie.  Discover who you are and be proud and happy about that person. 

"Not My Yab (job) man"  Getting the job done right

This slang saying was something I used to hear a lot when I once worked in a summer job with my dad.  Some of the helpers had their job assignment and knew what they needed to do, but the minute their help was needed somewhere else I would hear them say "Not my yab man".

Sometimes we need to pick up the slack for others and just get the job done.  Even though we may not like doing it or it is not our job description, the minute we decide to help we are showing others that you can get the job done right. 

Whether you are a husband at home and come home from a hard days work or working with a group of people or even a manager, it is important to not turn our heads and recite that saying to ourselves.  What is important is that the job gets done.  In the midst of everyone else complaining, decide to just do it and set the tone as a leader.  Just when you think no one is looking or giving you credit you may be surprised to see someone offer you help because you have made the decision to get the job done right. 

Mental Strength (Tough Skin)

It is rare that I wake up and put the television on in the morning.  Actually, I hardly watch television at all, but Saturday morning I felt a need to put on the T.V. feeling that I needed to watch something important.  I clicked the T.V. on to find an interview with an American who was a former hostage in Iraq and had escaped from his captors.  As the interview went on I could not believe the incredible faith, strength, and hope he had as the reporter asked question after question about his experience.  Throughout the whole interview she kept trying to find weaknesses and fear in him by asking him whether he thought he was never going to see his family or be killed. 

At first I thought this is just another news interview, which I never like watching, but as I listened to his answers I knew here sat someone special with tremendous courage and mental strength.  He never gave up hope and never let fear get the best of him.  If he had he would not be giving that interview today.  You see the Iraqi extremist feed off of fear and he knew that.  What separated his answers and actions from the rest of us is that most of us would have caved in to the fear.  We would have probably given up hope.  What he did in Iraq was beyond comprehension, yet he is living proof that once you decide to be mentally tough and dig deep, nothing can sway you or make you give up hope.  His attitude was that even if he was killed, he was going down with dignity.

The reason this American survived was because he had the will to live and the will to survive.  He made up his mind that he was going to get through whatever was put in his way.  No matter what, he was going to come out on top.  His faith in God and himself got him out alive.  When asked whether he thought he would come out alive or be decapitated like another American was, he said "I am an American and American's don't give up". 

The answer to mental strength: Never Give Up.  Meet your challenge head on, always meet your challenge with a determined will and a don't quit attitude.  Protect and believe in yourself and you will be as tough as nails mentally and have resilience (tough skin) to go with it.  Remember, Courage is Resiliency to Fear.

How to Get Motivated Everyday

If you break down the word motivation you will be able to spell the word motive.  The word motive means to have desire, causing or able to cause motion, or an impulse that acts as an incitement to action.  In order for someone to be motivated they must have something they are motivated about.  The thing you are motivated about must bring with it passion, excitement, a strong desire to accomplish something and an insatiable appetite for a reward. 

If you find yourself sometimes unmotivated and no passion or desire to move, you may not have a clear vision or goal in place yet and are making too many excuses.  You may be rationalizing why you should not take action.  In order to get up and go to accomplish things you must know what you want to achieve and focus on the reward.  Write down several things you need to achieve followed with the rewards for achieving these things.  For example if you want to buy a new car, write down the kind of car you want, the color, interior, and now picture yourself driving it.  Everyday you go to work and get paid remember the reward for saving money and get excited everytime you save money.  The reward will be you sitting in your new car.

Another example is if you want to lose weight.  Think about an outfit you want to look good in.  Now picture yourself in that outfit.  The first step is to take action and get excited about fitting into that dress or pants.  Everytime you eat the wrong foods or put off exercise, think about the reward and how proud you will be if you take action and reach your goal.  The reward is you feeling good and everyone else noticing you. 

Half the battle towards motivation is having victory over procrastination. No matter what, you must take action consistently if you want to continue to be motivated.  These small steps feed off the entire motivation concept.  Take a little action, accomplish a task, and you will gain confidence.  Keeping the reward in sight, will feed the cycle, and will end with completion. 

Remember, to motivate yourself you must have a burning desire to complete something and a passion to receive a reward for taking action.  Follow these 5 steps to motivate yourself. 

  1. Think about what it is you have to accomplish
  2. See yourself taking action and ask yourself "what if I don't do this?"
  3. Move! Take action
  4. Once you decide to take action do not procrastinate for one second (N0 excuses)
  5. While you are in the middle of taking action keep your sights on the reward.

Motivate yourself now!  Good Luck 

 

3 Ways To Influence Other People

I have observed in my life that what I say, how I dress and how I behave, makes a big difference in how people respond to me.  In reference to what comes out of my mouth, I have noticed that if I talk about other people as if to gossip, or maybe sound over powering or negative, people keep their distance and do not seem to trust me. 

I have observed with my dress code that if I dress down, with jeans, a T-shirt and a hat people treat me differently than if I dress professionally.  One of the most obvious places I notice this is when I am at a gas station or restaurant.  I am amazed at the difference in how people treat me. 

With my behavior the same holds true as well.  If I act self-centered or prideful, I can sense that people are not really impressed.  If I have to ask or tell more than people are asking, I am probably talking too much.  When I build others up or listen without looking for affirmation or approval I seem to get people to open up more and ask genuine questions.

What you say, how you dress and how you act has everything to do with success.  Be aware of your daily talk, dress, and actions.  If you are struggling in a particular area of your life, try and look at these areas and make small changes and adjustments.  You may be surprised at how not improving in these areas may be holding you back from that sale, relationship, job or friend.  Your communication, dress code and behavior counts.  Make a difference today and see how successful you will be. 

Focus

This five letter word carries so much power in it, yet most of us do not use even a tenth of the brains ability to focus.  Our brains are quite powerful when we believe in something with passion.  When it comes to focusing it is no different.  Do you remember the last time you had to take a test, or went for your drivers license test, or went on your first date or received a bill that was incorret had more charges on it than you wanted?  All of these expereinces required you to think more clearly, intently and awarely.  Everything seemed like it was in tunnel vision.  If you can recall that feeling, that is called focus.  You paid attention.

There is a part of our brain that has a built-in mechanism that allows us to focus more intently when we need to.  It probably goes back to prehistoric times when cave men had to hunt and find their food.  They had to hunt with diligence, safety and focus.  There were no gorcery stores back then so it was either kill and eat or be killed and eaten.  The feeling of focus can also be compared to when we are driving and are looking for a particular road or sign.  We may pass the same road a thousand times, but if we really need to locate a sign or road, we focus in on details.  We finally find it and probably say to ourselves "I've been down this road a hundred times and have never seen that sign". 

Do you need to focus on a task or goal?  Does time seem to slip away and next thing you know there is no time to get anything done?  You may need to tap into your brains power to focus to get the task done.  To focus is as simple as making a decision to pay attention to details regarding your goal or task at hand.  It's kind of like when we first fall in love and every single detail is paid attention to so that nothing goes wrong.  The worst thing we want to do is embarass ourselves in front of our potential love partner.  Everything seems to be working out soomthly on your date because of focus. 

If you want to focus and get the job done, don't let your gauard down and always be on your "best behavior" in terms of having everything workout right.  Pay attention to details and how you are functioning.  Be aware of your phisiology (breathing, body language and self-talk), energy and your actions.  You will see a big difference in getting things done and will be in what athletes call the "zone" (at your best). 

Teamwork

On Saturday I went to the Philharmonic to enjoy beautiful classical music.  It was spell bounding and moving.  It is the kind of the music that taps into the imagination and takes you somewhere else.  Once you realize you are just dreaming it is hard to come back to reality.  Classical music is the kind of music that will never fade or wear out.  It truly is in a class of its own. 

Why am I writing to tell you about the Philharmonic when I am supposed to be writing about teamwork?  I am writing about them because watching several hundred musicians playing as if there was only one reminded me of a team.  Everyone counted, contributed and was part of the composition.  It could not have worked if one of them was off beat or not ready to perform. 

There was a particular piece they played called Bolero from the movie Ten with Bo Derick.  The drummer started the rhythm with his snare.  He kept that rhythm for almost fifteen minutes straight without missing a beat.  He could not afford to because the entire band relied on his rhythm.  From that moment when the drummer started a different instrument joined every several minutes after.  As the song continued to build and build I sat there mesmerized and realized how important teamwork really is.  If more people could be like the Philharmonic there would never be a single gripe at work, home, or in relationships. 

What I walked away with was that teamwork starts with each individual making a commitment to give one hundred percent to whatever endeavor they they are involved in.  To be a team player means to unselfishly do your part and prepare feverishly until you get it exactly right.  There were no one stars that night of the Philharmoic, but instead a group of stars.  Even the conductor being the leader had to work individually with each musician.  If he were standing alone as a the leader without his band there would be no purpose at all because he needs them just as they need him.  After each performance he proudly acknowledged each musician.  Transferring this to the workplace, we can follow the lessons learned here as well.  It is a lesson I will never forget in my dealing with business, family and personal contacts. 

Be a team player wherever you are today and know that your individual contribution will make a difference when it comes to making a difference as a group.  Think like these professional musicians and be ready to give your best to create magical teamwork. 

Believe in Yourself

Whenever the words Believe in yourself are used people often misconstrue the meaning.  Quite often I meet people who believe in themselves but it is in a boastful, prideful way. The belief I mention here has nothing to do with foolish pride and a self absorbing attitude but instead more to do with a deep conviction about one's strengths and weaknesses.  It is about knowing where you've been, where you are now, and where you are going.

To believe in yourself means you have chosen to do right, live honorably, and have a humble attitude towards mankind.  You have paid your dues along with lots of sacrifices.  Because of who you are, what you've overcome, and accomplished, you believe in all you are.  No one has to give you affirmation or appeasement because you have been a leader all along, which means you've probably have been serving others for a long time.  Take the (er) out of leader and you have lead.  That is what it means to believe in yourself.  To lead and do right no matter what because you know yourself.  There is a saying I live by and always share with people I meet.  The saying is:  I would rather have no one on my side for doing right, then a thousand people on my side for doing wrong.  Today believe in yourself not because your head is so big but instead because you know what is in it. 

What is your purpose here on earth? 

There is a seventies song from the movie Mahagony entitled: "Do you know where you're going to?"  It repeats that chorus often in the movie and reminds me of people who sometimes have no direction.  These people really don't know where they're going to because they don't have a clear plan.  A person with no direction is really coasting to a road that leads to nowhere.  There is some good old fashion advice that many successful people follow and has passed the test of time.  You must have a goal, then a vision, followed by a plan, and then the will of a lion to take action until that goal is fufilled. 

You must never let go of your dream and never lose sight of your vision.  Work your plan until you see your goals materializing.  Use that success as a catalyst to help you continue on.  Never sit back and celebrate prematurely, but always celebrate small wins.  They key is consistency, not complancency once you achieve a little.  You are special and have purpose here on earth.  You will not fail.  Find out your purpose and then follow the simple plan of setting a goal, having a plan and taking action.  A short cut is to answer these 5 questions. 

  1. What do you want to do?
  2. Why do you want to do this?
  3. Who is going to help you?
  4. How are you going to reach this goal?
  5. When will you achieve this by? 

Are your morals, values and behavior in harmony?

Do you know what your values are?  Put in a situation where you had to choose right from wrong, would doing right always prevail?  Could you be swayed by public opinion, family or friends and be influenced to do something against your value system?  A lot of people do not think about their values until after a situation occurs, but afterwards, the one thing to remind them they've gone against their values is guilt. 

The truth is that our values system serves as a barometer to let us know when we are in or out of harmony with what we believe is right or wrong.  Mistakes are made when we leave decisions up to chance.  We cannot gamble with our moral and value system, and that is why having a list of one's morals and values should be spelled out clearly.  Having a clear view of our belief system reminds us what we will and will not do. 

One easy exercise is to draw a line.  This line should be our Do not cross the line boundary.  Make a list of things you will not do no matter what.  An example can be a list stating: I will not cheat on my partner, or will not lie in my relationships, or I will not try to cut corners at work.  Make a Do not cross the line list for your relationships, job, dealings with business associates, your social, financial, spiritual and political life.  Be clear on what you will not do and the rest of what you will do will fall into place. 

In our culture where so much emphasis is on if it feels good do it, it is easy to lose ourselves in the moment.  Many marriages have been broken (divorce rate 50%), many businesses have gone under (Enron, Martha Stewart), and many people are unhappy because they are doing things against their belief system.  Think of the image Martha portayed on TV but yet her actions did not match.  The recent Catholic church scandal is another prime example.  There are examples after examples that can be given with this disharmony in our society. 

Our behavior must be in harmony with our morals and values if we want to be at peace, content and people of character.  Can you back up your words with actions?  We must not only talk, but walk the walk.  This quote sums it all up.  "I would rather have no one on my side for doing right, than a thousand people on my side for doing wrong"

Happiness is...

I once received a card that was plain, had no pictures or colors on the cover, and had the words Happiness is...When I opened the card inside it was equally plain with only a few lines finishing the sentence of what happiness is.  I put the card away and forgot about it.

Move ahead fifteen years, I was in the middle of some pretty tough times.  Two deaths in the family and a broken relationship.  I had hit a low in my life and was finding it tough to motivate.  One day I was cleaning out a box that had been stored with letters, pictures and cards.  I came upon that card again with words Happiness is...in the front.  The card wasn't dull looking anymore.  I opened it and again read what it said inside.  This time it took on a whole new meaning.  As I share it with you I hope it takes on a meaning that helps clear up a lot of what our world defines as happiness.

The card read: Happiness is... someone to love, something to do, something to hope for. 

Someone to love

 When I read it during this time in my life it took on a whole new meaning.  When we have someone to love we usually have someone loving us back.  Love is the most important thing in life.  There never has and never will be anything more important in life.  Do you have someone you love? Does someone love you?  Be eternallly grateful you are not one of those people who die of a broken heart.  Without love it would be impossible to be happy. 

Something to do

Having something to do in life gives us purpose.  It is the spice of life that keeps us motivated and gives us a sense of accomplishment, even if it's watering plants or going for a walk.  Try doing nothing and having no schedule and you'll see how easy it is to be unhappy.  Busy? Got something to do?  Be eternally grateful you are not one of those folks who die of lonliness.  Without having something to do it would be impossible to be happy.

Something to hope for

Why do we get up in the morning?  Why do we set our alarm clocks?  Why do we go to work, save our money, go to school, plan our future, take vacations, or look forward to special occasions?   We do these things because they give us hope.  They give us a reason to be excited about tomorrow.  For some of us it gives us a reason to live. Do you have future filled with promises?  Be eternally grateful you are not one of those people who have no hope.  Without hope it would be impossible to be happy

Life's Detours: There's no such thing as failure

Think about the last time you were driving and came to a detour where they directed you to another road.  You may have been going to the corner store, which would have been a quick trip, but instead they made you go another route.  The detour truns out to be a longer journey than expected and you had to go through some unexpected turns and paths. 

Life offers all of us some of those same detours.  Things may be going smooth and we may be used to the same routine, but than one day things change and you find that life has made you go a different route.  The safety, security and comfort you were once used to is now gone and life becomes a challenge. 

No matter what happens in life, remember that it is just a detour.  To comapre and contrast this analogy into real life let's break it down.  The reason there is a detour and you are redirected in traffic is because there is construction going on.  There is rebuilding and a transformation taking place.  The streets are rough and tough but soon enough it all changes.  The plan is to eventually fix the roads and than there will be smooth sailing.  The project will be finished and the construction will be over.  The end brings better and more efficient roads. 

In our lives the same things are happening.  Whenever life gets tough remember there is no such thing as failure because it is just a detour (temporary).  During that detour it will be uncomfortable and out of the way, but if you are patient and follow the way, you will come back to a better place.  There will be rebuilding and construction going on in your life, but in the end after all the hard work of trying to fix it, the road will be much smoother for you too.  In the end it will have been worth taking the detour.  Detours in life are to help change you to a better person.

Let Freedom Ring!

What does freedom mean to you?  Maybe it means traveling wherever you want, or maybe it means going to whatever church you want.  Freedom may mean expressing a certain political belief, pursue a certain career, or could mean the freedom to marry who you want. 

With all of the exposure on television seen everyday in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern countries we are seeing firsthand how freedoms hands are tied.  These countries do not have the freedom we take for granted here.  They do not know what we know about freedom - Freedom is a right.  The history of America has shown us that we have had to earn it and we are a privileged nation because of it.  Many lives have been lost for the cause of freedom.

This 4th of July may be a good time to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy everyday without taking thought.  Reflect on the men and women who have left their families behind to fight to keep this right in tact.  They are ready to lay down their lives so that you and I will never have to worry about tyrany. 

As you see the fireworks express themselves in the air remember that each spark represents one of the military men and women who paid the ultimate price for us.  This 4th of July is different than others because we are facing a threat to our freedom like never before.  We must never lose sight that not only are we free but we are also Americans.

God Bless the USA!

Inspiration From the Olympic Games in Athens Greece

It was billed as one of the biggest come backs in Olympic history.  The men's individual all around gymnastics set in Greece was one exciting place the night American gymnast Paul Hamm won the Gold medal.  This story will go on my top ten list of a person overcoming the odds.  For anyone who may not have seen what took place, it truly was history in the making and a classic case of "it's not over till it's over".  You see the American gymnast was counted out after making a huge mistake on the pummel horse. 

According to the scoring statistics there was no way he could win.  The only hope was if each gymnast after him comitted an error as well, which is highly unlikely in this level of competition.  Hamm went from first to last place and was counted out.  Everyone including the T.V. announcers said he was done.  Everyone that is except Hamm himself.  What no one knew was that the history books were already written and each gymnast comitted an error giving Hamm a glimmer of hope.  Just because they messed up did not mean Hamm could relax.  To the contrary because now he had to perform flawlessly and flawless he did.  He scored his highest ever winning the Gold medal and redefining what a true champion is. 

Even though all the odds were against him he did one thing that separates the winners from losers, he never stopped trying.  He stayed in the competition and continued to give his best until it was completely over. 

Remember when the chips are down, think of Paul Hamm's story.  People may count you out.  Things may seem hopeless or maybe there seems to be no way out or a way to win at what you're trying to win at.  Remember, that it's not over till it's over.  Don't ever give up your dream or goal you are aspiring to achieve.  Keep fighting for what you want and go for it until you win and come out on top.  If Paul Hamm were here and could repeat what was going on his head that night of the olympics I bet it would go something like this "Never give up!"

A Set of Rules:

One of the things I see missing in many people's lives is a set of rules in place to govern them in their lives.  Included in this list are rules for their relationships, communication, workplace, friends and health.  Rules are essential to success because they help a person stay in balance with their morals, values and integrity.  Although the word rules may seem to connotate rigidness or being too strict, the fact is, rules gives us permission to say yes or no.  As humans, we don't want to always be agreeable, but at the same time never agree. 

Rules can be seen as boundaries or a line that a person will or will not cross.  Rules not only protect a person, they also help a person see more clearly their strengths and weaknesses.  Going with whatever seems right at the time or reacting may not be in a person's best interest.  Today sit down and write down rules for yourself first and if applicable your family.  Don't just go with the flow.  Protect yourself, your love ones and friends by knowing ahead of time what is acceptable for you or not. 

Write 10 rules for each of these categories and try to stick to them as closely as possible.  You may add on to this list to help you improve in areas of your life. You will not be disappointed after completing them. 

Rules for my...

1.) Relationship: 10 rules for communicating.  What I will say and won't say.

2.) Finances: 10 rules for spending. What I will spend money on what I won't. How much I will save, etc.

3.) My Body:  10 rules for a healthy body. What I will allow and won't allow in my body.

4.) Communication:  10 rules for what comes out of my mouth. What I will say or will not. 

5.) Workplace: 10 rules for the workplace. 

Change is Good

Change is one of those unavoidable things in life.  No matter how much we would like for things to stay the same, life is constantly revolving and reinventing itself.  Think back to when you were a child playing on the playground...wasn't that a great time in your life?  But just as sure as the seasons change, so did your life as a young child.  Although it would be great to live as a child everyday with no worries, think about how much in life you would miss if you stayed in the backyard. 

This phrase puts the change concept into perfect perspective.  There is no such thing as staying the same.  You are either striving to make yourself better, or allowing yourself to get worse.  This statement has validity to it because life is all about cycles of change.  And even though the stage of childhood was great, think about staying in the teenage years for good!

The secret to change is to welcome it as a part of life.  People that have a resiliency to change and accept it have a easier time adapting.  What people fear most about change is the unknown.  They want to remain in a comfort zone full of security and predictability.  Whenever change looms in the horizon for you, try your best to know the outcome ahead of time, take small steps everyday, make plans along the way, and know that most people look back and are thankful afterwards.  Need proof?  Think of an ex girl or boyfriend, or what about when you went away to college?  Think about your first job, aren't you glad you changed jobs?  And how about your car?  What if you stayed with the same old junker?  The next time your faced with change, remember,change is good. 

 

Are you like the paper or the belt? (Building Character)

Think of a piece of paper.  If you were to have a tug-o-war with another person the paper would tear immediately.  The minute pressure is applied it would break.  The paper in a sense has no character.  Now if you replace that piece of paper with a leather belt and have a tug-o-war you will see a different result.  The belt can withstand pressure because it has character.  No matter how much pressure is put on, the belt will hold steady. 

Why is character so important?  Having character shows that one can stand up against many challenges.  When things get tough the person with character stands tall in the face of adversity.  They have a resiliency seen only in heroes.  It is the hard times in life that help us build character.  No trial in life is a waste because out of that trial a person can gain strength and courage. 

There are many ways to build character.  Having coping skills during tough times, knowing what your value system is as well as your strengths and weaknesses all help build your character.  Another way is by repeating behavior that worked in the past to help you with a present challenge.  Having a never quit attitude and win-win resolve helps too. 

One way to know the measure of ones character is to test their will.  Do they tear apart like the paper or do they hang tough like the belt?  The next time life pulls you from both directions in a tug-o-war ask yourself, am I like the paper or the belt? 

The Boogie Man: Controlling your fears

Have you ever stayed home alone when you were young on a rainy night?  Can you remember the fear you felt during that time?  The fear was so strong it overpowered your reason to think clearly.  Your imagination kicked into high gear making you hear things throughout the house you normally wouldn't hear.  You started imagining someone breaking in and your worst fear was that the boogie man was already there and was in your closet.  Your fear made you realize this boogie man ain't there to dance.

The next morning you awaken and regain your confidence.  You search the house to make sure there really was no boogie man.  Reflecting back on those imagined feelings one can see the power fear has on us even if it is not real.  You see, all along there never was a boogie man.  The whole time you were scaring yourself silly and it was all because your imagination was on fire.

We can control our fear if we control our minds imagination.  It is our thoughts that get us into trouble.  Most of the fears we have are really not as bad as they seem and rarely come to fruition.  It is our perception and an unrealistic, perceived threat that looms and scares us into panic.  Two ways to beat the fear factor is to replace an insecure thought with a secure one.  Secondly, we should come up with realistic answers to the things making us afraid.  In other words, is there really a boogie man in the closet?  Taking these two steps will help you be victorious over fear.  The next time you are afraid remember that F.E.A.R. stands for False Emotions Appearing Real. 

Three Simple Rules For Life
 
1.) Work Like You Don't Need Money
An important lesson in life about money: it can't buy you love, happiness, or wealth.  Think of all the people in the world who have it and are trying to buy it.  It is one of those things life gives you for free.  It is up to us what we do with it.  Find something you love to do with all your heart and do it with passion.  You will work like you don't need the money and will see the money come flowing in. 
 
2.) Love Like You've Never Been Hurt
Love is always a risk because we never know how people will treat us when we love with all our hearts.  No matter what you've been through in life continue to love even those who have hurt you.  Love can heal all and love conquers all.  Don't worry about getting hurt again, but instead love again. 
 
3.) Dance Like No One's Watching
To dance like no one's watching means to live life the way a child plays.  Children don't worry about things around them.  They are consumed with the here and now.  If you're always looking over your shoulder wondering what people think you will miss the moment.  Enjoy life, let go, be yourself, and don't worry about what people think.  Dance like no one's watching and you'll never know who will join you. 

The Psychology of Change

Ten Actions to Change

1.) Behavior has to be different

If you want to change a particular habit or behavior you have to do something different.  An example of this is when you say you want to lose weight but you keep holding onto the same habits.  You continue going to fast food places and eating junk food.  In addition, you don't start exercising like promised.  This behavior probably won't give you the results you want.  To change you must do something different.  Don't keep walking in a circle saying you are going to change direction yet you never go the opposite way.  Change direction and you will see a difference.  In order to change you must take action and do something different. 

2.) Be aware of your self-talk

No one has to give us a hammer to hit ourselves over the head.  We do it to ourselves with our defeatist, self-judgemental criticism.  We truly are our own worst critics.  Pay attention to what you say to yourself.  If you continue using the same old rhetoric about yourself saying you'll never make it or never amount to anything, you are right!  Literally stop yourself when you find yourself being negative.  Use step one to break this habit.  You can't change anything if you are not aware of what you tell yourself.

3.) Avoid extremes

Remember step one, the idea is to lose weight.  No one said you couldn't eat junk food.  The secret is to not live on junk food.  Eating only helathy food all the time is not realistic either.  Trying to run a marathon your first week after deciding to get in shape is not wise.  The trick to sticking with a change of behavior is to have balance.  Aviod all or nothing decisions.  We need balance in our lives.  What makes humans happy is choices and flexibility.  Add a new behavior every day and eliminate one every day.  You might just get a sense of balance by avoiding extreme behavior.

4.) You must take a small action step everyday

In this step try to stick with step three above but in this one be sure to make sure you are going to do it.  In step three you may know how you want to balance your life, here you must do it.  As Earnie Larson quoted "If nothing changes, nothing changes"

5.) Consistency

The great thing about being consistent is you don't have to worry about starting over and over again.  How many times do we promise ourselves that we will change and find ourselves starting from scratch.  Doing the little things everyday is called consistency.  If you do the above steps once in a while eventually the power of momentum will fade and you have to start from the beginning.  Somedays you can take big steps and on others smaller ones.  The key is to do a little everyday.

6.) Time management

You must know your weak spots and strong spots throughout the day.  If you feel stressed out after work that probably is not a good time to add pressure by making a change in your life.  Try to find when is the best time of day for you to flourish.  Make a schedule for yourself with no interruptions.  Whatever it is you are wanting to change needs your full attention.  Take time for you to manage your life and the thing you are trying to change.

7.) Personal Responsibility

When it comes time to make decisons in our lives we must remove all obstacles of blame, bitterness and self-pity.  Trying to change something is usually not fun, but we must take personal responsibility.  We must own our decisions and our actions.  One of the rules for change is that we must decide we want to change.  No counselor or therapist can help you change without your permission.  Once we decide to take responsibility than we can ask for help. 

8.) Find a mentor or coach

Having someone by your side encouraging you is a big help in the game of change.  There is great power in numbers when it comes to changing.  Think of most support groups, they always meet in numbers.  This mentor or coach must also be walking the walk and should probably have gone down the same path.  Finding such a person will ensure they are cheering you for real and not because they have to. 

9.) Have goals

A good rule of thumb is to have some realistic goals with a timeline of when you want to reach the desired goal by.  One of the reason most people want to change is because they envision a new set of goals for their lives.  Whatever it is you are trying to change, set some goals and you will have a better chance at changing for real.

10.) Track your progress

Keep track of the small changes you are making and be sure to read over them regularly.  This is a great motivator for you to continue on your path.  There is something quite powerful about looking back to where you used to be and seeing the new you now!  Go for it and change now.

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September 23, 2004 

Seashells and You (Something in Common?)

I recently went to the beach and sat by myself in awe of the vast ocean, sky and horizon.  After two hours of staring into the abyss I got up to collect some seashells.  As I scattered around looking for different shells I could not believe the millions of shells there were.  I collected about fifty, but each one had its own unique pattern, color and personality.  At that moment it dawned on me that is how we are as humans.  We are around millions of people in our world but each one of us is unique with our own patterns, color and personality. 

Each shell was able to offer its own beauty to the ocean, but none was exactly the same.  If individual shells can sit there endlessly doing nothing but striking a pose and boasting there uniqueness, then we as humans can certainly contribute something to the world we move about. 

In retrospect we are all living together in a crowded space like the shells but are still part of a larger picture.  In this busy world we live in remember you have something to offer.  You cannot escape the people around you but you can show your uniqueness around them.  You have an opportunity to show your true colors and individuality amidst the crowds.  Who would ever think that seashells could teach us something, but we should never under estimate God's power.  Like the shells, be still, let your uniqueness show and you too could be picked out among the millions of people to serve a purpose. 

A Winning Combination
 
Exercise, nutrition and stress management are a winning combination when they are applied and done consistently in our lives.  How much value do you put on these three as a catalyst to help you be successful in your workplace, home or socially?  Many things like our attitude, our skill level and our desire help to make us successful, but these three truly are a winning combination because of their powerful positive effects on our health. 
 
Let's look at exercise.  Not only does it help give you more energy and stamina, but it also helps relieve stress, give us a better sense of our selves and provides us with a "I can do it" mind set.  Exercise is very important in helping condition our minds and bodies for the daily stressors we face.  If you can get your body in shape and handle the exertion that exercise requires, you can certainly handle the demands of your job.  Exercise is a great conditioner for all life has to offer.
 
Nutrition is equally important and can make the difference between feeling like you can still go at the end of the day or wanting to collapse when you get home.  The key to getting the most out of nutrition is to steer as far as you can from fad or all or nothing diets and commit to variety.  Eat from many food sources but get your main nutrients from ground grown foods (vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, etc.), lean protein, essential fatty acids (fish, olive oil, alpha lipoec acid), water, and vitamins. 
 
Stress managment has to do with keeping stress at bay and not letting it take over or consume you.  In our society stress is inevitable, but we don't have to be prisoners to our environments.  There are steps to take that are very productive and literally burn away tension and distress.  Yoga, aerobics, walking, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation and dancing are few to name that do wonders on stress.  During work or when around the kids take small mini vacations to clear your mind and recycle your thoughts.  Take small naps and try to avoid negative people. 
 
Exercise, good nutrition and stress management are a winning combination when interchanged.  If you haven't applied these three into your life, try starting today.  You will have the edge over your business associates, family and friends.  You will feel like a winner. 
 
You Are A V.I.P.
 
No matter what anyone says, where you've been, or what you've been through, you are a very important person (V.I.P.).  In order for anyone to be successful in life they must first believe in themselves with an unwavering conviction.  Regardless of the circumstances in your life you will make it and you will always be a V.I.P. 
 
Challenges, struggles, trials and tribulations are all ingredients that make up the spice of life and are what makes life what it is.  Just because we have been throught tough times does not mean we are not important.  In the middle of any challenge never lose sight of your V.I.P. status.  It is not so much what happens around us that counts as much as how we react to our circumstances that counts.  You must always remember that you are a unique person who has a special place and plan in life.  You are here for a reason and were given a chance to show your specialness.  The history books are filled with ordinary people, leaders, kings, queens, athletes and martyrs who overcame insurmountable odds and later became an inspiration to us all. 
 
No one can label you as a V.I.P. or give you that title until you accept and believe that you are special.  Today forget your past hurts, heal your self-esteem, grow past self-doubt and push towards a greater meaning of yourself.  That is the first step to owning the name V.I.P. 
 
 
Go The Extra Mile:
 
What are you willing to do today to go the extra mile?  Have you been putting off a goal, assignment or task?  Can you do or give a little more at work or home?  Maybe in your relationships you've gotten complacent and haven't done the little things or followed through.
 
Today try and go the extra mile for yourself first and then for others.  You don't necessarily have to give this much effort everyday, but going the extra mile has its advantages.  By giving it your best you are training yourself to be a doer and finisher of things.  It is very easy to fall into the trap of complaceny and think you don't have to give it your all everyday, however, the danger with that is that mediocrity sets in, and then we settle. 
 
Think of a team that has a winning record all season and is up agianst a team with no wins all season.  We see this in sports everyday.  The winning team gets complacent and forgets to do the little things that got them the winning season.  To the contrary, the losing team is hungry and wants what the winning team has so they will do whatever it takes.  They land up beating the undefeated team and cause a huge upset.  They did this because they were willing to go the extra mile.
 
Just because things seem as if they have fallen in place or you feel comfortable does not mean you should sit back on your heals.  Stay on your toes and go the extra mile.  You may just beat the odds when you least expect it. 
 
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September 30, 2004
 

The Art of Communication: Eye Contact & Body Language

It has been said that most people will make their judgement of you within the first two-three minutes of meeting you.  That does not give you a lot of time to show who you are and what you are all about.  If this is really true then time is not on your side and you have to use it wisely to make an impression.

One of the most powerful ways you can communicate is nonverbally.  The first way is through eye contact.  When you must make a good impression whether it be because of a sale you want to make, a meeting with the boss for a pay raise, an interview, a potential date, or even a stranger, eye contact can have a big influence on helping you sell yourself.  Another common saying is that the eyes are the windows to the soul.  If this also is true then it is important to make eye contact to transfer your genuine feelings and self. 

When you are speaking to someone try to give a sincere look of interest and compassion.  Looking away or down repeatedly may signal that you are bored, distracted, or worse disinterested, and in a hurry to leave.  Try not to scan the other person up and down, which may make them feel uneasy.  A suggestion is to look away briefly but then return right back with eye to eye contact.  Think for a minute the last time someone made you feel uncomfortable or seemed disinterested.  Eye contact let's the other person know you are tuned in, concerned and ready to support them. 

Body language on the other hand is a little different from eye contact.  You can be giving someone attention with your eyes, but cut communication off by being figedty and unsettled.  If your shoulders are turned away you may be sending a message that you don't trust the other person.  If you keep your distance or move forward and backwards this could signal insincerity on your part.  Another adjustment to make when trying to communicate nonverbally is to not be too close.  This can mean aggressiveness and and an overbearing disposition.

The ideal body language is to be at least arms distance, close enough to shake hands.  Depending on the culture you are dealing with, handshakes or hugging can be rude.  Wait to see what the other person is accustomed to doing before you offer your cultures customs.  Whatever the occasion show an interest by sqauring up both shoulders towards the person and try to stay still.  Look relaxed and be professional.  Avoid talking with your hands or moving your feet.  Although it seems like a lot to ask for the sake of communicating, remember, you are making your first impression.  You are setting the stage for someone to gain trust and confidence in you.  According to statistics you may only have two-three minutes to make a statement.  When you aren't able to verbalize it remember that silence is golden, so say it with your eyes and body language.

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October 1-18, 2004

Don't Just Stop and Smell the Flowers, Pick Them Too!:

No matter what your schedule, what meeting you have to go to, your position at your place of employment, or what the stock market is doing, take time to enjoy the things that are free in life.  The recommendation is not just once every few months, but every single day.  Slow down and see what life is really about.  Take time to reflect on all life has given you, your health, your loved ones, your accomplishments, and where you are going in life.  Be a dreamer and live with an atttitude of appreciation everyday. 

How many times have you heard that when people are on their death bed they never say "I wish I'd spent more time at the office."  The truth is they wish they had spent more time doing the simple and important things in life.  Those simple and important things cross your path everyday.  The best things in life truly are free.  Sunsets, the sound of seagulls at the shore, watching children play, and being with those who love you are just a start. 

Don't just stop to smell the flowers, pick them too!  Stay a while and enjoy peace and solitude.  Get to know yourself and think about how you can contribute to others and the world.  In studies done around the world about inner harmony, the overwhelming response was a feeling of contribution to others.  Giving is one of the best antidotes for life long joy.  The world awaits you with lots of adventure and rewards.  Take a step back and begin today to notice what is important in your life, you won't be disappointed you stopped to smell the flowers. 

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The Laws of The Universe: Even Animals Respect Them 

Show me a dysfunctional relationship and I will show you a relationship with no boundaries.  Every relationship whether it be in business, family, marriage, dating or friendship, should have boundaries (a set of rules and expectations) in place.  Boundaries are an imaginary fence that guard our feelings against mistreatment, disrespect, verbal-physical abuse, and emotional pain.  Boundaries keep all parties in check and help draw a line that should not be crossed.  When boundaries are not in place in human relationships, one can expect lots of turmoil and pain. 

Think for minute about the animal world.  They seem to get it when it comes to boundaries.  Just about every animal on earth has in some small way a set of boundaries.  A gazelle knows better than to cross the path of a lion, tiger or cheetah.  A lion will not cross the path of an elephant.  Certain birds will not mess with other bird species, and certain insects know to stay away from each other too.  Elephants will protect their little calf to the death.  Observe a family of elephants and you will see the entire herd protecting the young ones.  Wolf's, manatee's, whales, dogs, horses, and many other animals display their own set of boundaries.

Why do animals know this?  It is instinctual and integral for their survival.  It provides order and respect for each others species.  Once in a while a weaker animal crosses the line and pays the price for it.  If animals were not respectors of each others territory they would hurt, abandon or worse, kill each other.  Animals do not go to counseling to learn this, yet they seem to get it.

Why is it that humans with intelligence and common sense don't always get it right?  Sometimes in relationships we react without thinking about the consequences and end up hurting someone else or ourselves.  In families it persists for years and then behaviors become ingrained and learned.  Children become victims too because they land up repeating the families habits.  Just like the animal world we need boundaries to protect us when danger looms.  Boundaries serves as an insurance policy towards dysfunction.  We need them so we don't destroy the important relationships in our lives. 

Everyone should have a list that details what they will and will not accept when it comes to dealing with people.  You must know ahead of time your set of expectations and rules.  What kinds of boundaries should you have in place?  Think about these scenarios and what would you do about them?  Will you tolerate someone cursing or verbally abusing you?  Will you let people take advantage of you or your personal property?  Would you allow someone to cheat on you or ignore your feelings?  How about in business?  Would you let someone just walk in and help themselves to anything without paying?  Would you let your staff come in late or show up to work when they want to?  Ridiculous as these questions may seem and as simple they may seem to answer, there are people that do allow these things in their lives everyday.  Not having boundaries gives other people the message that you won't stop them if they cross the line. 

Take a stand today and have your boundaries in place.  Not everyone will have them so you must act to make them known.  Don't let anyone take advantage or hurt you anymore.  You must be consitent and sure of yourself.  Know ahead of time what your reaction will be and always react respectfully and with dignity when enforcing them..  If you have young children, even if they don't like it, teach them that you have to have rules to protect them and show them love.  Everywhere you look in our society there are boundaries.  There are stop signs, red lights, double lines, speed limits, laws against crimes, and many others.  These rules (boundaries) are in place to protect people from each other and themselves. 

If you take the first three letters dys out of dysfunction you have function.  That is what boundaries do, they allow your relationships to function properly and respectfully. 

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No Goals = No Inspiration, No Inspiration = No Motivation

In order for a person to be motivated they must have something that excites and gives them passion everyday.  This something must give you a reason to get up every morning with a burning desire.  The something I mention here is a goal and you must do the job of filling in the blank.  What is that something you want to achieve so bad you can feel it in your bones?  What are your goals in life?  Maybe you haven't been motivated in your daily life because you don't have a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish.  Want to get that burning desire back?  Remember this simple rule:  No goals = No inspiration, No inspiration = No motivation. 

No more putting it off!  You must give yourself something to be inspired about.  No wonder people on an average day look like their just getting by.  There is nothing that is inspiring them.  Today, you have to start thinking about your goals and then take it a step further by writing them down.  Seeing them before you every day makes them more tangible.  You have to start seeing them materialize right in front of you if you are ever going to get started.  Step one is figuring out your goals, step two is making it clear by writing it down and thirdly is to do something everyday to work towards those goals.  You will NOT accomplish your goals by just dreaming or wishing about them.  You MUST be proactive. 

You must be a dreamer and doer to get motivated.  If you life has been filled with lack luster and you find yourself frustrated with how your life has turned out, set high goals for your life today.  Once you do that you will have something to inspire you and then get you motivated.  What goals can you set today?  Think of your health, relationships, career, money, vacation, or any other goal you have been putting off.  First you must make your goals clear.  You can reignite that fire in you if you follow these simple rules:  High goals = inpiration, inspiration = motivation.

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Displaying Character in the 21st Century

If there are any difinitive impressions we will leave behind in this century it is the information age we lived in, our political correctness in our decision making process and the rapid pace in which America changed.  With these changes many principles from the past don't seem to apply today.  The rules in our society are being rewritten as we have known them throughout history.  Everyday we hear about new legislation passed and proposals for even more changes.  One thing that will always stand the test of time is how society measures a man's or women's character. 

As modern and digital we have become, measuring one's character will always depend on a set of good old fashioned principles and rules.  There is no need to rewrite the principles of character because they work and are critical for a societies survival.  The character that is needed in today's world is no different than what was needed throughout American history.  When it comes to measuring a person's character we look at a person's values, ethics, convictions, actions, leadership abilities, and integrity. 

The world we live in today is so fast paced and hurried that we barely have time to stop and measure our own or someone elses character.  The triats mentioned above (values, ethics, conviction, action, leadership abilities, and integrity) are required to have strong character and are neccessary in our culture today.  We are a civilized nation, which means we have certain responsibilites that are required of us.  These traits are good old fashioned charactersitics that will not fail a person when adhered to and made a part of their everyday life.  They are important in business, family, religion, sports, and relationships. 

Today take the time to remind yourself of people that inspired you and why.  You will conclude that it was their behavior that influenced you.  Not only what they did but how they did it.  See if any of the traits mentioned above match their personality.  Commit today to model that behavior because it will make a difference in your life and our society.  Change is good and some things need to be revised, but good old fashioned character is needed and can play a sgnificant role in the 21st century. 

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Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water

The heading is from one of my favorite songs from the sixties.  There were many artist who tried to sing it, but Simon and Garfunkel probably sang the best version of it.  What does this song have to do with personal development?  If you think of the title, there are many people in our lives who have played an important role when tough times came upon us.  These people were like a bridge that helped us get to the other side of our problems or troubles.  We all can think of at least one person and remember how grateful we were for them being there. 

In this fast pace, self absorbed and materialistic world we live in we sometimes forget how important certain people are in our lives.  We think to ourselves if it does not work with this person I'll just move on to the next person.  The central message I want to convey with this personal tip is to not burn your bridges because we'll never know when we might need to cross it in the future.  The bridge in this analogy refers to family members, work associates, employers, and our relationships.  Even if you don't agree with with someone from your family, a particular policy at work or opinions of someone in your relationship, do your best to not burn those bridges.  We never know when we might need their help in the future.

I have worked with many people who have burned a bridge with me only to come back later and want to rekindle the relationship.  It is very difficult to do once you've been burnt and even if you do try it will probably never be the same. 

So what is one to do if there is a fallout or disagreement?  If all of the resources are exhausted, end it diplomatically and honestly.  If you have made up your mind that you do not want to continue relations with a particular person, job, relationship or certain commitment, exit in a way that you know you can return if you ever needed to in the future.  The thought of ever returning to something that went sour may not seem feesible, but one never knows what the future holds.

Think of a time when you may have burned a bridge and then regreted it later.  I will leave you with this last point to encouarge you to not burn any bridges in your family, workplace or life.  What if you went on a long journey and during the middle of your journey you got lost.  You are now in a forgein place and absolutely abhor the place.  Things are tough and you just want out of this place.  Nothing is working out as planned on your journey.  Now you are not sure how you will make it back.  After several days of trying to find your way back home you run into a bridge.  That bridge is the gateway to your freedom, so you decide to cross that bridge to get you back on your journey home. 

Once you cross, do you turn around and burn that bridge never to see it again just because you did not like where you were?  Do you leave it at peace just in case you ever have to meet with it again in the future?  Are you grateful for the help the bridge gave you?  The answer to that question can save you a lot of regret and burnt bridges in the future.

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November 1, 2004
The Grasshopper and the Ant (The Value of Hardwork)
 
You may remember this fable when you were in elementary school.  This story is a true classic because it applies even in today's modernized world.  The punch line to the story was that while the grasshopper was busy living it up, the ant was hard at work storing away for the winter.  The grasshopper laughed and ridiculed the ant and thought life is just great living in the moment. 
The ant went about its business and continued to work hard.  The grasshopper went about its business and wasted lots of time. 
 
In the end when winter finally came, the ant was all stored up and prepared, but the grasshopper had to beg and ask for help.  The grasshopper became despondent, depressed and dependent.  The ant on the other hand had a sense of freedom, felt secure, and was ready to enjoy the fruits of his labor. 
 
What matters most in life is that we prepare, work hard, have patience as you store up and build your future, and then later enjoy the fruits of your labor.  You can choose to be like the grasshopper and live for the moment never feeling a sense of accomplishment or be like the ant and work hard to understand the value of hard work. 
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February 2005
 
A Chinese Proverb Once Said:

"Many receive advice, but only the wise profit.by it."
Information and knowledge do not make you wise.  Having these things may make you
educated, but doing something with that information and knowledge means you really
learned.  There are many educated people who make dumb mistakes, however, there
are also people who never finished school that are brilliant.  It is putting what
you know into action that you make you wise. 
Today when you gain some wisdom, invest it and put it to work for you so you can
profit by it. 
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February 2005:

I recently read that everyone should keep a pad and pencil near their night table
because ideas sometimes come at 3:00am in the morning.  Maybe my ideas haven't come
at that time but they sure have come at peculiar times.
When you have big dreams and aspirations it is hard to hold it all in your memory
bank.  Keeping a pad and pen handy is a great idea because as soon as a big idea
comes you must act on it by writing it down, visualizing it, and making it public.
In other words, get in your system, start to feed it and act as if it is already
happening. 
Our brains have a way of building upon ideas. Feed the idea by writing down all
the thoughts circulating in your head.  Listen to the little voice in you inspiring
you to go for it.  90% of the things I am doing came from just one thought.  Most
of the ideas came when I was not really trying to think about it, like when I was
jogging, mowing the grass, walking on the beach, driving, or around relatives. 
Why is it important to write things down?  The answer is that crystalized thinking
comes from inspiration.  You may never get the idea again, and if you try to recall
it, it will be difficult to duplicate the idea clearly.  Write down the things you
get inspired about, read it out loud and talk to others about it.  You might be
surprised when you look back and see how it has really materialized. 
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This is a great quote: "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed
if you don't try"
What Baseball Players Already Know:
Think of the average baseball player.  Most of them go to bat at least three or
four times, depending on how long the innings last.  The majority of players strike
out more than they get hits.  The important thing is that they keep getting chances
for the big hit or play.
The great lesson about never quitting is that you will never know when you will
get the big hit.  It can come right at the time you are thinking about quitting.
Imagine for a moment a player striking out and then going back into the bullpen
crying or complaining about the strikeout.  Players know they cannot waste time
doing that so they get up again and take another swing.  This time it's a home run!
You too must always be ready to step up to the plate to swing.  The homerun (in
the way of a job, relationship, promotion, recognition) may just come for you at
your last bat at the bottom of the ninth with two strikes, three balls, and bases
loaded. 
You see, the important lesson in all this is that no one pays attention to the strike
outs, only the hits and homeruns.  Heroes are made by meeting fear head on.  You
now have the secret to success and what athletes the world over know: Never give
up until the game is over.  Life is like a baseball game, it gives you several chances
at bat.  Your next one just may be a homerun.

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Welcome back for the start of a great New year!  If your plans have not worked before,
nothing seems to be falling into place, and you have felt stuck for a while, this
is the year it all changes. 
This is going to be one of your best years once you begin this momentum and every year will be better than the last.  You must commit to being your best and giving it your all.  No more settling for second best.  In every area of your life expect nothing but the best.  You deserve to have the best life has to offer.  You have worked hard for and have dedicated so much time, why not not now. 

Expect the best from your reationships with your spouse, loved ones, coworkers and yourself.  Raise your standards and expectations and get the quality you deserve.
Nothing good comes easy and we all have to work hard for what we have.  Today begin
that journey by making a commitment to be your best and expect the best.  It has
been said that 90% of success is showing up.  Well it is time to show to do your
best in every area of your life including your relationships, health, finances,
spiritual life, family, and work. 

This is your year.  I will be here coaching you and helping you press on.  May all your dreams come true for your hard work.  Make it a great year!

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March 10, 2005

Get Started:

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one...Get Started

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Monday - Monday:

There is an 80's song that used to talk about Monday's being a manic Monday.  What are Monday's like for you?  Do you dread them or do you look at Monday's as another opportunity to get one step closer to your goal?  This Monday look at it as a brand new day to reach for the goals you have set forth for the new year and the new you.  Don't dread Monday's but instead welcome them as another day of opportunity. 

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Life is Like a Rollercoaster:

Think of the last time you rode on a rollercoaster.  The ride had many facets to it.  The overall ride was exciting, but there were spills, and ups and downs, rough patches, smooth, anxious times, fun, thrilling times, fast and even slow times (when it climbs to the top). 

Well life is just like a rollercoaster ride.  It is made up of these elements too, which is what makes the ride of life that much more intriguing and worth it.  One important reminder is when you ride the coaster in a park you never jump off.  The same goes for real life: Stay on the ride of your life and never jump off!

As you go through your ride in life remember to enjoy it because just like a rollercoaster ride at the theme park  - it will be over before you know it. 

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"The secret to success is to know something nobody else knows."

Aristotle

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"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you." 

Dale Carnegie

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Easter Week 2005

Every Day is Another Opportunity:

Obvioulsy you are still here because you are reading this, but how much thought do you give to the opportunities and blessings you have in front of you everyday.  What a gift to be alive and be able to enjoy life, work go to school, be with our loved ones, and to have freedom. 

Whatever obstacle has been in your way, today, you can begin with a new perspective on life.  Look at all of life's challenges as opportunities to grow, learn about yourself and solve problems.  Life is all about figuring out how to get the best of any situation.

Not all people have the luxury of reading even this article.  Today is another opportunity to be the eternal optimist.  Sieze every opportunity to make the best of every day. 

Do you have a heavy workload?  Are you exhausted at the end of the day?  Wow! how blessed you are to be so busy.  There are many people dying today of lonliness.  Do you have quite a schedule with your family?  Do your kids or significant others sometimes overwhelm you?  Wow! you are lucky to have people by your side.  There are people who are heartbroken and depressed because today they won't speak to or see anyone. 

For every complaint, criticism, or negative attitude you have every day, you have to come up with ten postive things that counteract them.  Perception is everything and every day is an opportunuty to SEE and recognize the good in your life. 

Yesterday's Personal Tip

Check Your Temperature:

One of the things that get us into trouble in our personal, professional and business lives is losing our cool.  When this happens nothing productive can be accomplished because someone gets hurt.  It can be a business deal you may lose a promotion, contract, or maybe your relationships with loved ones might suffer.  I have devised a great tool to help one stay cool when the temperature gets hot. 

A simple tool you can use is to think of a thermometer.  The bottom portion is cold, the middle is warm and the top is hot.  As humans we always want the temperature in our homes and outside to be ideal - not too hot or too cold.  We are always adjusting the thermostat to obtain that ideal state of being.

The same principle can be applied towards our reaction and behavior.  When you feel your temperature getting hot it means it is time to lower your thermostat.  It is very difficult to remain rational and constructive when we are tense and angry.  This is what I call the RED ZONE (100 degrees).  We must lower the temperature so we don't overheat or exhaust ourselves or hurt someone. 

Now if things get too cold, this called the BLUE ZONE (O degrees).  This is the opposite extreme to hot.  Being in this state of mind one might procrastinate, feel depressed or hopeless, be apathetic or have a careless attitude.  We must get out of this state of mind quickly. Nothing gets accomplished here either.

The ideal temperature is the YELLOW ZONE (70 degrees).  Not too hot, not too cold.  Yellow represents sunny, warm, happy, comfortable.  An ideal day :)

An important thing to remember here is that some days we will be involoved in stressful situations.  Our jobs, businesses, families and life deals us many trying challenges.  Sometimes we must get very motivated to get the job done.  That is good.  On other times we have to slow down to catch our breath.  That is not bad either.  This tool is to help you when things get to be too much.  This tool is to help when people become difficult.  This tool is also to help you to always be aware and responsible for your actions.  We always have control of our behavior, especially our emotions.  Remember the color zones and you too can control your environment.  STAY COOL. 

Park the Car:

What is it about our cars we love?  We spend on avearge two to three hours in our cars everyday.  Why not learn something from this vehicle we rely on so much.  Actually, you never knew your vehicle could teach you so much after this lesson.

This analgoy is useful in dealing with difficult people.  The main point about dealing with difficult people is we are never defenseless or powerless.  We always have choices no matter who we are dealing with.

Lets use the example of a difficult person who does not have many communication or people skills.  This person interrupts, is rude, uses foul language, is defensive, and can be verbally abusive.

Here is where your auto comes in to teach you something.  Our cars can park, drive, reverse, be put on neutral, go on overdrive, speed up, slow down and more.  We can do the same thing when it comes to dealing with those people who just get under our skin. 

In the beginning of a conversation you may park (wait and see) yourself and try to talk things out.  This is where you can decide if it is worth working it out or not.  If the conversation isn't getting anywhere you can reverse your actions and try again.  If that doesn't work you can now decide to drive away (leave because nothing is getting accomplished) or you can slow down (cool things off) the conversation so that it doesn't get heated. 

Several other options are speeding up to get things over, turn another direction to solve things more creatively, put things in overdrive to get away quickly, or put the situation in neutral to agree or agree to disagree. 

Again, whatever the situation, we always have choices and are never without options if we are wlling to put them to use.  Remember drive safe (work things out constructively ) and happy driving!

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June 2005

The characteristics of a leader:

Leaders are a special breed of people.  They possess certain qualities that set them apart from the average person.  One of the most important qualities of a leader is that they have in set in their minds to do their best.  They will not settle for mediocrity.  Leaders want to leave a lasting legacy to better mankind and the people they come in contact with.  They are not concerned with what people think but instead focus on how they can enlist people to be motivated and inspired. 

There are 10 specific qualities that a leader demonstrates on a consitent basis. 

1.) Leaders have a burning conviction about a goal, vision or plan.

2.) Leaders follow through on their plan or vision.  They take action until their goal is acheived. 

3.) Leaders are self motivated, they don't need other peoples approval to get the job done.

4.) Leaders have enormous amounts of energy and are able to tackle many tasks at once.

5.) Leaders don't focus on the glass half empty, but rather focus on only the positive things.  They have a can do attitude and see a way out of every challenge.

6.) Leaders lead by example.  They inspire others to join in as team players and motivate them to get the job done.

7.) Leaders build up people around them to be their best.  They are constantly focused on helping others be their best.

8.) Leaders do not always make popular decisons or settle for the status quo.  Instead they focus on what is right.

9.) Leaders have a high set of standards, morals and principles and do not waver from their beliefs. 

10.) Leaders are passionate about every area of their life.  They are so passionate other people view them as a leader. 

January 2006:

Happy New Year!

This new year try not to make unrealistic goals and attempts at changing your entire life in a matter of months.  Instead, pick one area of your life you want to focus on and give it your best at changing or mastering that area.  We set ourselves up for failure when we try to do too much at once.  As humans we must feel in control or we won't pursue things with a passion. 

Once you have victory in one area then you can move to another.  Keep doing this and before you know it you will have conquered many things and the new year will be here again.  People try to do too much at once and get frustrated at the amount of work it takes. 

Make it a good year by tackling one area at a time.  You will for sure be saying it is a happy new year and happy new you!

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Survival or Cruise Control Mode:

Survival Mode:

If you ever watched an episode of survivor it was quite evident that every day was a day of pure survival.  No modern day conveniences were supplied and each participant had to fend for themselves.  The winner of the survivor was the one who had the will to survive and never give up.  The winner never gave up duirng the hardest part of the survivor series.

The same can be said in our lives.  There are days when we are in survival mode in life with no help or resources from the outside.  We must tap into our survival mode and find our way.  It is literally a race against humanity and your survival is at stake.

In your own little mini survival episode, what challenges do you face?   Is it financial, relationships, family, job, career, health, spiritual?  Whatever challenge you have, know that you too can survive, but you need to know that you may not have the help of anyone else but yourself. 

You must live day by day and do what you can to survive, just like the contestants of the survivor series.  You too can remain standing at the end of your trial if you seek your food (answers to your problems) just like a hungry animal, and never give up until you find it. 

Cruise Control:

The flip side of survival mode is cruise control.  You know what it feels like to suffer and endure pain, but in cruise control everything is working out great.  Everything seems to be flowing and you feel in control.  Life seems to be in cruise control.  There is nothing wrong with life being great without any problems.  Don't ever feel guilty for having success or being problem free. 

One important thing to remember is to never forget what it felt like in survival mode.  Always aprreciate when things are going well and do your best to find momentum when things are going well.  One thing that happens to people when they start having success is they sabotage their success.  They do this by forgetting the struggles they had to endure to get where they are now. 

We grow and learn by being in this so called survival mode.  Once we learn how to survive in life we can conquer anything.  We must never loose sight of our journey and always know that once we survived one thing in life, we can survive anything.

Next time you are faced with life's challenges remember that you are a survivor and will celebrate when you are in cruise control.  Be like the contestants in the the survivor series by  never giving up until you win. 

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"The road along the extra mile is never crowded"

 

Give and you shall recieve:

That is supposed to be the formula with this statement.  But these days not everyone is thinking about where they came from, only where they're going.  Recently I spoke with an elderly man who is working as a security guard.  I asked him why he was still working this late in his life (70's).  His response shocked me.  He told me he had put both of his sons through law school and gave then every penny he had.  He worked three jobs to put them through school and they had both become very successful.  As a matter of fact, both of them are millionaires and live in mansions according to him.  What shocked me was that they never gave him a dime once they made it and now he has to work just to make ends meet.  My heart sank to my stomach.  With tears in my eyes I told him I was sorry. 

Let us never forget those who saw us through and helped us along the way.  Give back to the people who helped you, even with just time if you have to, but give back somehow.  The formula will always work if everyone does their part in the giving.   

In order to feel good everyday, you must do good everyday:

In this fast paced, material world we live in it is easy to forget our duty to serve others.  One of the best things we can do to feel good about ourselves is to take the focus off ourselves and help someone who has bigger needs than yours.  Commit this year to taking time to mentor a young person, visit with an elderly person who may be lonely, donate food or money, or simply just help someone in your own family. 

There is no better feeling than helping a fellow man or woman with no strings attached.  Try doing something good like this, you may just feel good for a while.

Here is a great tool to help you manage your emotions.  Our emotions have a great way of making us believe that our feelings are always facts.  The truth is, our thoughts control our feelings (limbic system) and makes us who we are.  Control your thoughts and you control yourself. 

Think of the letter X.  This letter represents your thoughts and feelings on a collison course.  What makes it difficult for people sometimes to not lash out or react is this overwhelming need to fix both the thoughts and emotions simaltaneoulsy when upset, hurt or frustrated.  This is much too difficult because it is too much for our brains to do at once, shutting down reasoning and bringing forth a blind reaction.

Now think of two lines separate 1 1

These two lines represent the same things, your thoughts and emotions.  The difference between the X and the 1 1 is that one causes confusion and the other clarity.  keep your emotions and thoughts separate and you'll get a hold of your blind reaction and build incredible control of your emotions.  The key with this exercise is to think first, then act.  It will save you a lot of grief at work, relationships

and with people in general. 

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Today, remember to have a short term memory and a great sense of humor!  In other words, let go of the past, forgive others, yourself and have the ability to laugh at yourself and look at the human side of everyone.  Today is a new day.