Outstrip Yesterday by what you do Today

October 6, 2010

“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.”  – Stewart B. Johnson

 When I read this it seemed like an echo from the past – words appropriate to another time and place – weird. And sad. So many people have been beaten down by the length and depth of the recession that optimism has become increasingly difficult.

And therein lies our conundrum: the more we are beaten down, the more difficult it is to draw upon the very resources we need to bring us back up. Oh, we could wait for a serendipitous occurrence to turn life around – a big sale, a new relationship, a sudden, spontaneous improvement in the economy (right). But to do so puts our lives in the hands of chance. You certainly don’t want it in the hands of the government.

If you want your swagger back – NOW; if you want to feel good about life, optimistic, anxious for each day to begin, confident in your ability to achieve, it has to come from within. The question is: how do we reclaim our confidence when reality keeps slapping us in the face? I hate to quote Madison Avenue, but the short answer is: Just Do It!

Wayne Dyer uncovered a clever truth about the old saying “You’ll believe it when you see it.” Turns out that it is true in its original form and when you reverse the meaning, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” The difference is that the original version requires a serendipitous occurrence while the revised version requires only a change in beliefs.

Our power to choose and change our attitude comes from the simple truth taught by Emerson and many others, “You are what you think about all day long.” We don’t need to wait for life to turn around, we can take control, decide what we want and take the actions required to make it so. The key is in the simple quote above: what do you think about? If you focus on past failures, you pull them into your present and forward into the future. To break any destructive cycle, you must replace the old, destructive images with positive thoughts of achievement, prosperity, happiness, confidence, success. If you’re thinking that this is too difficult, stop thinking so much. Just do it, do it now. It might help to remember a time when you did feel powerful and confident. Focus on that time until you “get the feeling,” then hold on to it as much and as long as you can. Practice this every day and miraculous things will happen. Your external reality will evolve in the direction of your intentions, your belief in what you can accomplish, where you are going. Have a good trip.


When all is failing, be optimistic!

August 24, 2010

Quote of the Week

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
–Helen Keller

 So, here is the million dollar question: How can you feel optimistic when you just lost 2 escrows and the one remaining is a short sale you’ve been nursing for 8 months? How can you feel confident when nothing seems to be working for you? (I know that was two questions) 

The answer is simple. Your level of optimism cannot be contingent upon how well “things are going.” Self-confidence cannot be contingent on whether you are currently successful. Huh? Yes, that is what I meant to say. Allowing your feelings to be contingent on past and present results is my definition of VICTIMHOOD. 

You have no control over your feelings when you allow them to be shaped by past or current results. They become like corks bouncing on the waves, controlled by the winds and the currents.  Is this how you want to live? Of course not. 

So, how do you break the relationship between what you see and what you believe? The same way you master anything—the same way you get to Carnegie Hall—practice, practice, practice. Detach your feelings from current events. Focus on your vision of the future. Visualize yourself as a happy, healthy, successful person and allow that image to mold your feelings. Yes you will feel better, but more than that—your positive, optimistic attitude will attract people into your life who can help you to succeed.

When you radiate self-confidence, others feel confident in your abilities.


2010 Part Deux

July 7, 2010

 (Resolve)

 Part 1 is in the history books. Time to turn our attention to Part 2.

Congratulations to those of you who had a great first half of the year.

If, on the other hand, you are feeling discouraged and unhappy with your results in Part 1 – hey, that’s why there’s a Part 2.

Remember, it’s never too late to have a good year!!! Are you prepared to take advantage of the opportunity?

At this point, we have two choices:

1. Give up on the year – agree with those who will be talking about how summer is slow: everyone’s on vacation, etc., and then of course the holidays – no one is going to buy during the holidays… or,

2. Resolve to have a Kick- ____ in 2010 Part 2.

 I’m going to pause in my writing for a few minutes to give you the opportunity to make your choice.

 OK, if you chose #2, consider this:

You are unique.

 In the history of the world no one has walked the earth with your unique blend of experience, knowledge, skills, personality, commitment, determination, compassion, heart. You have absolutely everything you need to live the life of your dreams. You don’t need another seminar. You don’t need to hire a coach. You don’t need to psychoanalyze your relationship with your parents. While all of these may be helpful, none of them are the answer.

If you are not living the life you desire, there is only one thing missing: RESOLVE.

 As Tony Robbins says: “ I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simple as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams and those who live in regret.”

 There is no secret to success:

Know what you want.

 Know that you will achieve it.

Never give up.

Take right action every day until success comes pounding at your door.


The University of Adversity

May 5, 2010

“There is no education like adversity.”
Benjamin Disraeli

Well, aren’t we feeling well educated? Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But, of course, it is so true. If life always unfolded just as we expect and desire, we would parish the first time we fell off a bike or lost a client. Put another way:

Good fortune and bad are equally necessary to man to fit him to meet the contingencies of this life.
French Proverb

Sorry about the gender bias (the French) – I’m sure this is equally true for non-males.

Adversity is simply life moving in a direction that we did not expect.

It is not necessarily a worse direction, or a better direction, just different than what we had planned. There are two primary responses to adversity each presenting us with an opportunity for growth.

Ask yourself: 1. Is the situation counter-productive to my life plan. Does it inhibit my ability to grow in the direction I have selected, and 2. Is it within my ability to change it? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you can create a plan to bring the situation more in line with your goals.

If you cannot change the situation, you are handed the opportunity to learn acceptance. We simply cannot manipulate every aspect of life to match our vision of how the world should be. Attempting to do so will only bring frustration, disappointment and resentment. Learning to let go of our expectations is one of the keys to a happy life.

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr


Time Traveler Alert

April 22, 2010

Time Traveler Alert

This is a message from the Emergency Success Network

 Recently we’ve been experiencing a dangerous increase in the number of thought-forms in both the past and the future. These traveling units of consciousness have created a drop in the critical mass necessary to sustain a positive, successful environment in the Present. We are asking all citizens to please return to the Present as quickly as possible. And, for goodness sake, smile or something. Thank You.

 Lack of Presence is a pandemic condition threatening the health of our planet. And, if we don’t turn the tide now, I’m afraid it could elevate to habit – and we all know how hard it can be to break habits. Due to the prolonged recession, fear of financial hardship has become the focus of news stations, the Ethernet, water cooler discussions and private moments of contemplation. The results of this phenomenon were easily predictable:

 1.  More time spent second-guessing the past and worrying about the future dramatically reduces the number of moments we spend in the only time-zone in which we can facilitate positive change – NOW!

 2.  Upon returning to the present from a worry session our self-esteem and general attitudes SUCK!

 3. Emerson said, we “are what we think about all day long.” When we focus on past problems we bring them into our present and push them out into our future – perpetuating the negative experience.

 The solution is simple: STOP DOING THAT!

1. Become aware of those moments when your consciousness slips from the present. When you notice yourself analyzing past “failures” or worrying about future outcomes, stop! Give yourself a signal like CANCEL THAT!

 2. Take a quick moment to bring yourself into the present. Feel the chair against your body. Take a deep breath. Smell, see, taste – take in everything around you. Get out of your head and into the world.

 Yesterday is as lost to us as the Peloponnesian War. Let it go or recreate it – our choice.


Forgiveness

March 12, 2010

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Applied generously, it can provide relief for both the giver and the receiver.

For the receiver, the effects are pretty obvious. Being forgiven can ameliorate feelings of guilt for what it is they have done, and worry over the future of their relationship with the giver. It can have a positive effect on the receiver’s self-image, and infuse them with a general sense of  well-being.

Oddly enough, the same benefits are available to the giver. In general, we forgive people because we perceive that they have wounded us in some manner. We judge their actions as wrong. The “projection” effect tells us that when we criticize others we are criticizing ourselves. What we object to in another’s actions are actions that we have taken and regret or that we have imagined taking but believe are inappropriate. So when we forgive another we are, in effect, forgiving ourselves.

And forgiving yourself is very powerful medicine.


On the Necessity of Failure

February 28, 2010

           

Half of the failures in life come from pulling one’s horse when he is leaping.” Thomas Hood

“Failure,” if understood and appreciated, is a critical step in the growth process. It allows us to hone our skills, test our assumptions and find our true paths. Not understanding the benefits of failure can lead to a life filled with lost opportunities. 

Here is my concern: The current market can present more rejection than some of us are used to. When failure becomes something you strive to avoid at all costs, it can actually attract more failure. Fear of failure can keep us from taking risks, force us to play it safe or not get into the game at all. Or, after taking the leap, it can cause us to pull our horse in mid-air.    

Embrace failure as a necessary step on life’s path. Plow forward, test your limits, act in the face of fear—grow.


The Good, the Bad and the Who Knows?

February 18, 2010

 There is an ancient parable that demonstrates the folly of judging any circumstance as good or bad – I’ll paraphrase:  

A man had two great treasures in his life: his son and his stallion. They both brought him great happiness. The man woke one morning to find that his stallion had run off. With half of his treasure gone, he fell into a deep despair. Later that day the horse came back and brought along with him a beautiful wild mare. The man was elated. The next day his son tried to ride the new mare but was thrown and broke his leg. The man was again distraught. Shortly thereafter, a war broke out and the soldiers came to the village to conscript young men into the army. All were taken but his son who could not go because of his broken leg. The man was overjoyed. The story goes on and on and on.

 This is a very valuable parable – good to remember the next time an escrow falls apart, you get a flat tire or your husband runs away with your best friend’s… daughter (I’ve been watching too many soap operas). 

 Every new event changes the course of our lives. Who are we to know if the new course is an improvement or not. The person with the flat tire might judge it as bad, get angry, curse the car and the fact that they will be late for work and miss an important meeting. But perhaps without the flat they would have left for work on time and been in just the right spot to be involved in a terrible accident.

 We never know where the path not taken would have led us.

So, how can we judge it better than the one we are on?

 We can, of course, but… remember the parable the next time you feel a judgment coming on. It might reduce the amount of time you spend in regret. Well worth the effort I think.


Do You Control Your Life Or Does Life Control You?

December 4, 2009

“Failures do what is tension relieving while winners do what is goal achieving.”
– Dennis Waitley

This quote can definitely change your life!

It is the difference between you controlling your life or life controlling you.

When we allow our priorities to be dictated by external pressures, we turn control of our lives over to chance. We become like a ping-pong ball batted back and forth by bosses, parents, spouses, children, politicians… The list is endless. Our attention is drawn to the situation currently creating the most pressure. Once that tension is relieved, we move on to the next source of pressure. Priorities are further refined by our personal boundaries as defined by our self-image. Ex: You feel pressured to make another sale and have decided to call people from your open house guest lists. You also feel pressure to balance your stock portfolio. If you are uncomfortable calling strangers, the stock portfolio may move up on your priorities list. What a mess!! A life dictated by external pressures and limited by doubts and fears? No thanks!

Another option: “doing what is goal achieving.” Instead of reactivity, pro-activity. Understand, for most of us, this does not come naturally. Reactivity is our default program. Yes, we all have goals in the back of our minds, but on a moment by moment basis, they take a back seat to reactivity.

So, do you want to take control over your life, become the writer of your story? Here’s how:
Start from where you are now. For a week, take detailed notes of every action you take each day.
At the end of the week, mark each action with an R (if it was a reaction to external pressure, or a G (if it was undertaken to achieve a goal). Count up your R’s and G’s and see how you are currently prioritizing your time.

If you would like to spend more time working on goal achievement:

  1. Write your goals down. Be clear and specific. Follow all of the rules of goal-setting that you’ve learned in the past.
  2. Create a business plan. Work it down to the tasks you will complete each day for the next 12 months.
  3. Make a contract with yourself that you WILL complete every task on your calendar. If an emergency arises and a task cannot be completed, it moves forward to the next day. Your commitment has to be that every task is completed.

That’s it in a nutshell. Successful people know where they’re going and spend the majority of their time completing tasks designed to get them there. Either system, reactivity or pro-activity, will get your somewhere. The trick is: will it be a place that you’d like to be or where other people think you should be.

It’s good to have choices.

–  Steve Dickason


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

November 27, 2009

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and it’s all Small Stuff.” Richard Carlson

Today was a challenging day. By 3:30, I was pretty exhausted and was heading home a little early. When I climbed into my car I saw a pile of green glass shards covering the front passenger seat. Then I noticed that the passenger window was gone except for some jagged patches of glass around the perimeter. It hit me that someone had broken my window (I’m very quick). I looked down and noticed that my video Ipod was missing from where I’d left it—cleverly visible by all passersby. Ah-ha—it finally dawned on me—someone had broken my window and stolen my Ipod. More than that, they stole my daughter- Moorea’s- music, other albums I cherished and the audiobook I was in the middle of listening to. If that weren’t enough, they opened my trunk and stole…… I have to tell you, I had been waiting for the Star Trek movie DVD to come out every since I saw it in the theater. I’m a huge fan and, well, when I saw it at the Metreon on Imax, we got there late and sat in the front row and, while it was exciting, we missed most of what went on in the upper portion or the screen. It came out on DVD today and I was there at Best Buy at 10am to buy my copy. It was gone, swiped by the window-breaker.

I should have been really mad. I wasn’t. It surprised me at first. And then I just went with it. I realized that I am so fortunate to have a loving family, a great job where I’m surrounded with wonderful, supportive people, good health… well, that’s enough. It occurred to me that if some kid needed that Ipod more than me, then what the hell. It only cost me a deductible to get the window replaced and my Iphone will work just fine as a replacement Ipod. I’m not telling you this because I think I’m anything special. I just want to share a perspective that was very helpful to my well-being today. Like Carlson said, Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff. I’m still kind of surprised that I’m not hopping mad. But, I’m glad. Who needs it? Anger is a very unhealthy emotion. Not good to stuff it, but nice to just let it slide on by.

Postscript: I wrote this the same day as the break-in and published it in an e-newsletter I send to all of the people I work with. The next day one of them brought me an Ipod Touch that he’d been given and had never used. The next day another co-worker gave me a new copy of Star Trek. Does life always work like this? No, at least I don’t think so…humm. All I can say is, this time it did. I accepted the damage and the loss and moved on, shared with my friends the positive lessons I’d gained from the experience, and everything I’d lost reappeared. Like magic. I’ll have to try that again.