We ended last week talking about goals. Hopefully by now you have developed a set of goals you hope to attain in the coming year. Even though we have shown how important these goals are and how much benefit they can bring to your life there still exists one problem. Time. Now truly taking 5 minutes twice a day to review your goals and cement them in your mind should not be that great of a challenge. Especially considering the great benefits you stand to gain. Today we live in a nanosecond world. If an internet page takes more than ten seconds to download to your phone something must be wrong. So to review a list of several items several times a day just is too much to ask most people. In some ways this sounds crazy to me considering I know what a difference it can make. Still the point of this blog and my mission in life is to help the most people change their lives for the better. So taking the modern person into consideration how can one stay focused and give their life direction without taking time to review goals. First, let me make it clear and am saying you should give up on the practice of reviewing your goals. Try to incorporate it into your life as often as you can. Still if we can get some of the same results and make it as simple as remembering a single idea or theme wouldn’t that streamline the focusing process?
How many of you have heard of a mission statement? They are pretty popular with companies and organizations in the corporate world. The main purpose of a mission statement is to define a direction and ethical standard for companies to follow. That way they can easily decide if they or any situation they find themselves in meets their standards. Sound familiar? It is the same thing we have been discussing on an individual basis. Viewing your life as a corporation where you are the president and CEO has great value. that is a subject we will approach tomorrow. Keeping that in the back of your mind begin to think of what would make a good mission statement for the company that is your life? What is your life’s main purpose? Are there any standards you must not violate? What are you passionate about? There is a great website that can assist you in crafting your own mission statement nightingale.com is a site full of self-improvement products you can purchase. Still one impressive thing they have available free on their website is a tool allowing you to write your own mission statement. After you do so you will have one emotionally charged, positive and descriptive statement for the purpose of your life. This statement can be amended throughout your life, but it provides you a great tool to decide if you and any situation in your life is meeting your standards and purpose for being on this amazing planet. I highly suggest beginning to view your life as your own company and do so by crafting your own mission statement. We will examine the benefits of this tomorrow.
So yesterday we discussed, at length I might add, why it is important not to fear failure when setting goals. So why set a goal in the first place? Why is it necessary and what will it really add to our lives? To answer that question I have a quick experiment for you to try. Before you engage in this experiment I encourage you to finish reading this blog first. first you will need a vehicle of some nature. Either a boat or car will do. now remove the steering mechanism. Either the steering wheel or the rudder. Done? Ok fire up the engine. Now begin to accelerate slowly at first. Feel a bit uncomfortable? A bit out of control? Ok, then go faster! Feeling even more out of control? Then slam the accelerator all the way down!
Obviously I am not really encouraging you to do this, but sadly this is the approach may of us take with our own lives. We have no direction. we are like the ship without a rudder hoping to land safely in a prosperous harbor. The odds are 1 in 100 that we will make it safely anywhere. So when we realize this do we take time and fix the rudder by stepping back and creating a set of goals and direction for our life? No we just start working harder at this and harder at that. essentially just pushing the accelerator all the way down. it is how so many of us seem to be working ourselves into a frenzy and getting nowhere. We really have no idea where we want to go but push to get there faster. Our time and efforts would be far better spent developing a direction for our lives. Then when we push harder we will be able to steer where those actions are leading us. If the thought of going 100 miles per hour down the open road with no way to steer around obstacles in the road frightens you, remember that is essentially what you are doing with your own life if you do not have goals and direction for many different areas of your life. So this weekend take a few minutes and put that steering mechanism back on. Decide where you want to take your career, your relationships, your spirituality and any other area of your life. Perhaps set goals for one year, five years, or even ten years down the road. Then just sit back, shut up and drive your way to success. While others are floundering you are making steady progress toward a predetermined goal.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart that its opposite”
– Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
I interrupt my current string of blogs because of the passing of one of the truly great men of our times. Nelson Mandela was a man who understood what freedom was. After being jailed for a third of his life for nothing more than the color of his skin he was set free and went on to become his country’s first black president. Years later when being interviewed by then US president Bill Clinton Mr. Mandela was asked if he felt anger and hatred for the people who had imprisoned him. He said as he was walking out of jail he did feel that as those people took away his wife for all of those years which ended up ruining his marriage. He also was deprived of the privilege of watching his children grow up. These feelings are understandable. I think any of us would feel the same way. What sets this man apart was his answer to the next question. He was then asked if he did have those feelings, and rightfully so, how did he manage to put them aside and work with those same people who put him in prison for the good of his country. His answer speaks volumes and is something we should all pay attention to. He said he knew if he did not leave those feelings of anger and hatred behind he would still be in prison and never be free. Wow. I don’t know about you but I do not think I could take that high of a road. It has been said that forgiveness is not a gift you give the other person, but a gift you give yourself. Through his compassion and understanding a nation was healed and people came together. What could we do in our own lives if we did not let our feelings of anger and hatred stop us from doing what we should? We may not be able to heal a nation, but we could heal a family, a workplace or even our community. Buddha said being angry is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Our feelings of hurt, anger and sadness that we hang on to and let rule our present are our poison. Do yourself a favor and let them go. Not only will you honor the member of a truly great man and leader, but you will free yourself from the worst prison we can put ourselves in.
I do a lot of talking about goals on this blog, which in a strange way is rather ironic. If you had asked me 2 years ago about goals the mere sound of the word would’ve caused me to go in the opposite direction. Goals brought up a feeling of deadlines and the possibility of failure. Neither of which sounded overly pleasurable to me. What if I don’t make this deadline? Do I want that hanging over my head? What if the deadline comes and I fall short? What if I fail? Sound familiar? I actually found myself fearing goals. If I never set a goal I could never fail. One problem with this. I am also a procrastinator. I never realized that part of my reasoning for not setting goals was that it would force me to take action which I was uncomfortable doing. Then I heard a couple of phrases that changed the way I view goals altogether. Funny thing is they were not about goals or goal setting. They were about the one thing I feared the most – failure. Who wants to fail? You look foolish, people think less of you, it may discourage you from trying new things. That is what I thought. Then I heard the phrase “the key to success is massive failure” I couldn’t comprehend that Until I listened to one of my favorite motivational speakers, Tony Robbins. How can failure lead to success? Well in my own world I notice my fear of failure was actually keeping me from trying new things. If I never tried, I could never fail. Then I had to question my definition of the word failure. In essence to me it meant not achieving a certain end you had set out to accomplish. Now it may mean something slightly different to you, but in general I think we are close here. I realized by fearing failure I had not tried, therefore I had not accomplished much of anything. It was keeping me from learning and growing. I also had to ask myself the tough question “what happens when I do fail to reach my goal? What happens when I fail?” Again I thought of Edison and his quote about having to try 10,000 different materials to find one that worked as a filament in a light bulb. When someone asked him how he could keep going after failing so many times. he responded “I didn’t fail, I just discovered 10,000 ways that didn’t work” I always read that and thought I am not sure if after 100 times of trying something I would keep going…maybe even after 50 or 25 depending on the situation. Yet look what having a deadline does to most of us. As a deadline draws nearer our action intensifies, we begin to try anything and everything to get this accomplished. Have you ever done this? maybe the night before an exam? Even if we fall a little short we walk away with more knowledge and a far better chance of succeeding next time. An example from my personal life is as follows. Let’s say i set a certain amount of my book I would like to sell in a month. As the end of the month grows closer I will try many different methods to get my book in the hands of as many people as I can. Some may work, some may not. Now if the end of the month comes and i am short of my number should I feel terrible? Like a letdown? No! I sold more books than if I had no goal at all. Than if I had been afraid to try and afraid to fail. I also will have learned some new marketing tools and some that may be a waste of time and money. All because I wasn’t afraid to fail. Think of your own life. What are you fearing doing? What may you learn if you embrace that possibility of failing? Why are goals so damn important anyway? That is what we will look at tomorrow!
“If you continuously compete with others you become bitter but if you continuously compete with yourself you become better”
This is a quote I came across somewhere online but it really struck me. So many of us want to be the best this, or the best that. This is good. Wanting to be better and improving is what keeps us growing and evolving. I personally always take pride in wanting to be the best bartender I can be. I am lucky enough to know several other amazing bartenders in my life. My friends Lisa, Matt, Shelly, Shilla and Alysa are downright amazing. I never look at them and compare myself though. One, they have their own styles and skill sets that differ than mine. That is not to say I will not ask them for advice or watch them and pick up a few things I could do to make my shift a little better. Still comparing myself to them, or even competing against them does not good at all. One it makes competition and enemies out of allies and friends. Plus, it is unfair and unproductive to ourselves. As I mentioned before they are different people and have different life stories and experiences. They also have different natural talents to build on and weaknesses to address. I must focus on what I do well and how I can use what I have experienced in life to learn and grow from. What does all of this have to do with you and your life situation? Plenty. Remember to harness true power in life you must not try to master others, or even master other situations. The greatest skill in life one can have is to master over your own thoughts and emotions. To conquer your doubts and face your fears head on. Sure you can learn from a friend and even ask them for help. In fact a true friend can be one of your greatest allies in bettering yourself. Just remember the struggle really does not exist without, but within. When you master yourself nobody else can control your emotions. Nobody else can stop you. So todays challenge is to begin to take a good hard look inside and see what you can do to improve yourself. Trust me, if your honest with yourself this can be a life-long pursuit and give you very little time to even worry about trying to improve others, which is not our job anyway. So let us begin on this daring and noble struggle. Let us all work on improving ourselves and becoming the best people we can be!
This was a post that I had written earlier but I delayed due to a tragedy in a good friends family. There has been a lot of attention to bullying lately and rightfully so. With the internet childhood teasing can be spread with lightning speed to entire classes, schools even across the globe. What may seem like harmless childhood joking can have devastating effects. Recently a good friend of mine had a relative kill himself at the young age of 15. Why? In a nutshell he did not feel as though he was well liked. I am sure the other kids who made him feel that way had no intention of driving him to that point. That, however, is precisely the point here. We never know exactly how our words or actions may be interpreted by another. So parents, if you hear your child engaging in bullying activity put an end to it right away. On the flip side, never lose a moment to remind our children how loved, valuable and amazing they are.
That brings me to my next point. This may seem like a childhood issue, but sadly it is not. It just goes by a different name as adults. Gossip. What used to be water cooler gossip can now spread quickly through Facebook, twitter and even text messaging. We somehow assume adults are ‘tougher’ or better able to handle such things. The truth is jobs have been lost, people’s reputations destroyed and lives ruined by what some view as harmless gossip. The only kind of gossip that is harmless is good gossip. It never fails to amaze me how few times I hear conversations about how kind, helpful, beautiful someone is when they are not around versus how much I hear conversations about how stupid, crazy or ugly someone may be. Think of how this is in your life? How often to you hear or engage in positive gossip? How about negative gossip? Be honest with yourself here nobody is listening but us. I know I have been guilty of this myself. When you spread or engage in gossip of a negative nature you are being nothing more than an adult bully. Here is another important idea to ponder. Would you trust a person who is always speaking negatively of others? What do you think they may say about you when you are not around? As the new year approaches one of my resolutions is to do away with negative gossip in my life entirely and replace it with more quality positive gossip. As my stylist and good friend Kelly says it is as simple as “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”
Have you ever heard the expression “they look at the world through rose-colored glasses”? It means a person looks at the world through an overly optimistic view. Recently a friend of mine had purchased a mirror with rose-colored glass in it. I had to ask her if that is confusing when trying to decide if an outfit looks good. She laughed and explained what she uses the mirror for is when she is having a bad day or just not feeling overwhelmingly attractive she looks at herself in this mirror and is reminded to see the beauty inside her. Now I am not suggesting everyone go out and purchase just such a mirror, but there is something to be learned here. I am a big proponent of symbolism. In this case the rose-colored glass in the mirror reminds this young lady to see the beauty in herself. So here is our mission for this week; find something that reminds you to appreciate what is beautiful in you. It could be a note from an admirer expressing their appreciation for your beauty. Perhaps a quote about beauty. Even something a little more abstract such as the mirror or a pin with a rose on it. We all have days where we are not feeling overly confident in our appearance or sometimes even our inner beauty. It is important to have that symbol that will strike a chord within us to remind us that we are all beautiful in our own way. The fun part of this, taking it to the next level. What do I mean? When we see the power and importance of having a symbol to remind us of our own inner beauty we will want to share it with others. So if there is a person whom you really admire for their beauty and the unique way in which they express it find a symbol which expresses your thoughts. Include a card with words letting them know what it is for. Examples include “So you may always remember you’re beautiful to me” or “so you always remember you are a beautiful soul” We all have bad days so imagine the joy of giving someone the power to get through those. Not to mention it is important for us all to remember we are all beautiful in our own special way