DAY 4 OF OUR HAPPINESS JOURNEY

Fear less, try more. Ooh…this is a good one. Another area that I struggle with. Everyone deep down wants to try more, I believe. What is stopping us then? What prevents us from trying for that new job we really want? Why not approach that person you find so attractive and start a conversation with them? These certainly would be good outcomes, would they not? Why do we not at least attempt those things that we know have the potential to lead us closer to an amazing life?

The answer is one simple word we are all too familiar with – fear. There used to be many areas of my life that fear seemed to rule the day. There were many things that I wanted to try, but didn’t because I was full of fear. What exactly was I afraid of? This may sound a bit vain because…well…it is. I was afraid of looking stupid. Whenever we start something new there is a period where we are not so good at it. I think of things in my life I excel at, take being a bartender for example, and I recall that when I started there was a growth period. It may even seem hard to imagine not knowing some of what I do, but let us not get ahead of ourselves.

The idea that there is a learning curve to everything we do is not a complex intellectual thought to grasp. I know that I will look foolish at something for a while until I become good at it. I even realize that others know and understand that I will look foolish when trying something new. The key here is that I know these things intellectually. Emotionally, that is a completely different story. Raise your hand if you enjoy looking foolish. Although I cannot see you, I bet most of you do not have your hand raised. It can seem almost physically painful to some.

So how did I, and more importantly, how can you overcome this hurdle? I am going to share some things that worked for me and they may just work for you. In the comments below this post I would love to hear what tools you use to overcome fear and try something new. I am going to go back to my example of learning to be a bartender. My very first day I was told it was easy that most people order beer or common drinks whose names tell you how to make them (think rum and coke) I was told that if they ordered something unusual that all I had to do was keep up the banter while I looked the recipe up in a book we had behind the bar. (This was before cell phones and Google) Confident in my skill of conversation I approached my first customer. I greeted them and inquired what they would enjoy. I will never forget the drink – A Quick Carlos. There is no liquor named Carlos that one could serve quickly, so I opened the book as I continued my conversation with the gentleman. Not many recipes that start with ‘Q’. Then my worst fear – there was no recipe!! I ran back to the skilled bartender who was teaching me. We will call him ‘Jimmy’ for the sole reason that was what his name was. I explained the dire situation as Jimmy looked at me as if I were 3/4 stupid. “Well then ask them what is in it.” I had not considered this course of action as I did not want to look like what I was, a new and not so knowledgeable bartender. 23 years and millions of drinks later I wouldn’t hesitate to ask someone what is in the drink they want.

Starting at the Post Office was the same. When I was being trained I was told, “Don’t worry most people just buy stamps or mail a first-class package.” My very first customer, I cannot make this up, said “I would like to send this international registered with a return receipt to Mexico.” Talk about fumbling, looking foolish and struggling. Again, 22 years and several customer service awards later, I would be fine explaining I wanted to check to make sure I am doing this right.

What changed? Having those examples of struggling and now being accomplished gave me a chance to do it. Knowing you are not the only one who has this issue also helps. I heard a commencement speech by the actor Denzel Washington. In the speech he said something that was very simple, but was great to hear out of a mouth of someone so accomplished. He simply said, “You will suck at something.” There were obviously more inspiring words around that. If not, that would have been a very short and not so inspiring speech. Still, hearing those words from someone else somehow made it easier.

To this day, I search for ways to face and overcome fear in my life. David Goggins, one of the hardest men on the planet admitted to having a great amount of fear in his life. He also mentioned what he gained by facing his own fears. Using other people’s examples can propel us to face our own. Greg Plitt (R.I.P.) made it clear that the easiest and best time to attack fear is when it first shows up because that is when it is the weakest. Let it bounce around in our heads a while, and it can grow big and strong. He also pointed out something very interesting. Fear is self-created. The only place it exists is in our own minds. We created it, therefore we have the power to destroy it.

As you can see the battle against fear is a daily ongoing fight. We need all the weapons we can muster. With that in mind, I implore of you to share with us the techniques you use to overcome fear in your own life.

SECRET LANGUAGE

There are things we do as children we could stand to do more as adults. Playing outside, using our imaginations to solve problems come to mind. I am going to share another one with you today. Once again I am going to use the two people in the picture above as an example. That would be Margie and myself. Before we get into the idea I want to share with you, allow me to give you the all important back story. When Margie and I met and after we started dating we initially saw each other at work. Work in those days saw Margie behind the DJ booth and myself behind the bar. It was at a place called The Hideout. It was a small corner bar but between the two of us we packed the place most nights. This was great for business and for our pocketbooks, but not so great for being able to love each other.

The dilemma we faced was the only time we really got to see each other was when we were both so busy it was hard to even say ‘hello’ to each other. Both being creative souls, we came up with a unique solution – a secret language. Something you may have used as a child when playing games or forming secret clubs. Margie and I came up with hand gestures that we could use with each other across the bar to say simple things like “I love you” or “I’m missing you”. We continue to develop our secret vocabulary to this day. Thankfully, we no longer work separately. We DJ sitting right next to each other. Although still working in the bar industry which is a challenge to even the best relationships, we have moments where we cannot hear each other or may have to be away from each other. There are also moments when we are out with friends, or at social events where we may be across the room wanting to let the other know we are thinking about them.

Developing this unique form of communicating allows us to keep loving when it may otherwise be a struggle. It is also a fun way to be creative in our relationship. Having something that is uniquely between us also creates a special bond. Create signs that can communicate with your loved one. It is fun, creative and can really come in handy at certain times.

I USED TO BE TOO COOL FOR THIS

I recall some of my first exposure to the principles of self-improvement. They seemed hokey and new age at best, far out and ridiculous at worst. I was a singer in a band, I was a bartender. I had no desire to take my inner child on a play date. When I heard someone talk about meditation or keeping a journal I thought they would be someone sitting alone in a tent in the middle of the desert giving advice or something. That was actually a description I gave to my good friend Russ. In short I thought all of this self-help stuff was a bunch of B.S..

My dramatic change from someone who mocked all things that might be labeled ‘self-improvement’ to someone who is not only a proponent of such material, but a creator and distributor as well, happened over a period of time. It is like the story of boiling a frog in a pot of water. If you put a frog in a pot of hot water it will jump out, but if you turn the heat up slowly it will sit there until it boils to death. Please know I am not advocating harm to animals, but my life proceeded along a similar path. As life slowly turned the heat up on me I found myself literally boiling to death in a pool of stress.

One of the first stresses I can think of is when I was working at a telemarketing job. For those of you who have never had a job in this field, just consider what you have said, or heard other people say to telemarketers. Now, imagine being the person on the other end of the phone…eight hours a day…6 days a week. I remember listening to Bob Marley’s Legend album on my lunch hour every day. I would close my eyes, push play and picture being on a beach in Jamaica. Little was I aware I was practicing visualizing and meditation. Not that I called it that. At the time I just said I was “unwinding on lunch”. All I was sure of is that is made me feel better and be able to withstand the constant barrage of colorful phrases people share with telemarketers.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself awake at 3a.m. ready to go to the post office job I was thrilled about. This was after working an entire bartending shift I was also growing weary of. As you can imagine this and other stresses also affected my relationships with others at the time. While sitting on the couch putting on my shoes I saw an infomercial. It was for a collection of CDs from Tony Robbins. Being half asleep and feeling frustrated with the direction my life was going at the time, I thought “What the hell do I have to lose?” I ordered the tapes, went to work and soon forgot all about it. A week later they arrived. I listened on my short commute I had to work at the time and soon found myself taking detours to listen to more.

Soon I found myself looking at life from a different angle. Shortly thereafter, my job was downsized and the real test began. I found myself at the local library looking for answers. Those of you who have read my book or followed me for any amount of time have no doubt heard this story countless times. After finding things that helped a former ‘rock star’ and bartender who was too cool for self-help, I wanted to share it with others who thought themselves too bad ass for this material, but were silently, or not so silently suffering on the inside. That lead to the creation of this website, a book, a YouTube channel and seminars. In short, it brought us to where we are now.

If you came across this on accident, or are postponing on taking the leap on learning tools that could improve your life because you are simply too cool, I urge you to reconsider. First of all, get rid of the term self-help. I never liked that term to begin with. It has the feel like you are helpless and can only succeed with the help of someone else. I prefer the term self-improvement. The truth is you don’t need anyone else. What you may be lacking is information and a plan. As long as you have the desire, there are many paths that can lead you to success.

The other thing you might wish to consider is that in the beginning nobody needs to know what you are doing, or that you are doing anything at all. You can read in private. You can rent and watch movies in the privacy of your own home. You can start like I did listening to things while you are alone in the car. Once you see, and more important feel the increase in joy and reduction in stress, you can decide how public you may want to be with your quest to become the best version of yourself.

As a bonus, here are a list of a few recommendations I have for improving yourself after spending over two decades in the field. This is not a complete list by any means and if you would like to add to it feel free.

Books

  • A Happy Life for Busy People
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • The Power of the Subconscious Mind
  • The Tao of Pooh
  • The Secret

CD or MP3 Programs

  • The Strangest secret
  • Personal Power
  • Any videos or audio by Tony Robbins, Earl Nightingale, Les Brown or Eric Thomas

DOING WHAT YOU LOVE WILL LEAD TO DOING WHO YOU LOVE

“When you are busy doing what you love, you will meet who you love.”

Neil Panosian

I am not sure if it is because I am blessed to have such an amazing relationship that we both work so hard in, because I am a self-improvement author or just because I am around so many people over the years working as a bartender and DJ, but a lot of people share their relationship struggles with me. I am very grateful for the knowledge and insight this provides me.

One of the most common stories I hear is this, “Neil, I keep thinking I found the right person but then it blows up in my face. Oh well, I guess I am going to have to look harder.” My advice? Stop! On a metaphysical level, by looking for something it tells the universe you do not have it. On a more practical level there are far better ways to find a partner that has long term potential. It may not be as quick, but the results are a lot better in the long term.

What is this secret formula? Do you. I am not talking about ways of satisfying your carnal desires until you find a partner, but they way you live your life as a whole. When you focus on doing things you enjoy, and how you enjoy them you set yourself up for the best possible results for meeting someone whom you have a lot in common with. Are you a morning person who enjoys breakfasts? Then combing the bars at 2 a.m. looking for the next partner to share your life with might not be the best option. Are you an active person who loves to cycle outdoors and go for long hikes in the woods? Then the chances are your future partner will not be found at the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. There are exceptions, however. Oddly enough, I enjoy both of those activities. This is not about ruling out someone completely, but increasing the odds of finding the right person.

Even if you have already found the love of your life, this formula works great for finding friends to add to your life. As adults sometimes it can seem more difficult to make deep bonds with others as we can in childhood. By surrounding yourself in a group of like minded people, you will have a great chance of developing friendships that will add the maximum joy to your life!

Often the urge to have companionship can override our patience in finding the right partner. Do yourself a favor and by holding out for what you deserve and not settling. In the meantime pursue that hobby or passion. Consider researching and joining like-minded groups in your area. Spend time in places you enjoy. Are you a reader? Spend some time in library or book store. Maybe take a book with you to your favorite coffee shop. If you enjoy the outdoors hike on a popular trail a few days a week and see who you meet. It may take a while, but eventually you will find someone who is right for you. As a bonus you will probably end up making some great friends along the way.

JUST PUSH THE MUTE BUTTON

The other night we tested our new equipment while DJing. I am still learning all of the buttons, knobs and controls. One of the controls that I have figured out is the button you see lit up in this picture.

What this button does is mute whatever channel is operating. In this case happens to be my microphone. When you push the button and the red light comes on you cannot use that channel. In this case even if I had the microphone on and the volume all the way up you would not be able to hear me. That is beyond my regular projection.

This would be about all to this post if this was a blog about being a DJ or sound equipment, but it is not. It is a blog about improving your life and steps you can take to do so. Sometimes improving our lives involves a mindset change. A different way of looking at things. Here is how these two items correlate.

During the course of our show I spoke to two of my friends about negative people in their lives. One of them spoke to me about how they feel some people who perform rather well judge her. Certainly, we do everything at our shows to make sure the focus is on fun and enjoying yourself. A night out with friends should be just that. Personally I do my best to find something nice to say about everyone who performs. The goal of myself and my lovely lady Margie is to have people feeling better when they leave than when they came in. We do our best to make sure our shows our judgment free zones. You are welcome to come and perform no matter what your level of ability. We also encourage everyone to…well…encourage everyone. We hope people will think of our shows as much for the karaoke aspect as much as an opportunity to make new friends, have fun and be supported.

The other touched on an aspect that we also work very hard to limit and do without at our shows – gossip. She informed me that is why she prefers to come to our shows verses some others she has been to. When you work at several local bars there is always some amount of “He said/she said” or “Did you hear what she said about her?” kind of thing. It can creep into the act of merely trying to put on a good show and I must confess can be frustrating when you try to deal with it. We are blessed that Margie and I have made it clear that we want nothing but positive vibes at our shows and that gossip is not welcome. For the most part we are fortunate that most people respect that as well.

What does all of this have to do with a new mixer? Most of all the little red light and mute button pictured above? This is where it gets fun! Sometimes having a picture or analogy in your head can serve you quite well. In my case, when people around me start speaking negatively about someone, or gossiping in my head I push that button and the little red light comes on. In effect, I mute them. After which time no matter how much they tell me, or how loud they choose to tell me I simply can’t hear it.

I shared this idea with the two ladies I spoke with and now I am sharing it with you. When someone comes to you with an earful of gossip, or some negative conversation I encourage you to simply push the mute button. Do not let any of that to even enter your mind. The good news that the mute button on the mixer, as well as the one in the mind can be pushed again, allowing them to be heard, provided the person stops with the negative input. Just like a poisonous plant will only grow if it has access to food and water, negative conversation will only grow if it has an audience. Sure, there will always be people willing to listen to such nonsense, just make sure people know you are not that person. Watch the joy in your life increase tremendously.

I welcome any analogy or ideas you have for limiting negative people and their influence on your life. Please share with our readers in the comments below. I can assure you that there are a lot of people who are struggling to deal with this very topic.

GIVE UP GOOD TO GO FOR GREAT

Here is me behind the bar at the local club anything, the last place I worked as a bartender. I gave up bartending as of this past Saturday. I have been bartending off and on for 23 years now. That even sounds like a long time typing it. My grandfather and great uncle were also bartenders. The reason I started bartending was simple, I thought it looked like a cool profession and a great way to meet new people. I was right on both accounts. I took a break in 2002 to focus on my postal career.

After returning to bartending a lot of interesting things happened. I met the beautiful lady I now call my own, I met a bar owner I consider a good friend and I met a whole group of new people many of whom I consider as close as family. Bartending has brought me many financial rewards as well. The money was good, I had chances to affect people and learn about their life situations. Yes indeed, bartending has certainly brought a lot into my life.

So why leave? Why walk away from a job that I am told I am very good at, more so than any other I do? Why end doing something that brought me such personal and financial success? The reasons are simple and yet complicated.

In the case of this particular location, the people stopped showing up. Not really the way one wants to go out, but in business this happens. There was a bout of construction on the street in front of the establishment that I think ended the success we were starting to build there. My lady, who was the DJ that night, and I did everything we could to promote that night. 95% of the time we were the only ones doing so, but still it was tough at best.

More importantly, however, my heart is leading me in another direction. So even though my head would say to stick with a job that you are good at and can make a fair amount of coin at, my heart says it is time to move on. Throughout my years on this wonderful planet I have learned when your head and heart disagree it is often wise to pay attention to the latter. I often write about living your passion and that is what I am focused on doing. I am taking Monday to focus on my writing and speaking career. I am determined to make a difference in as many lives as I can in 2017. The money may not be as great, but in doing what I love I feel I can make the greatest difference in the world.

I want to take a moment to thank a few people who have made my journey in bartending special. First, Scott Bunker who gave me my first bartending opportunity. Also the 2 Jimmys, Jim Grossmeyer who was my first mentor who taught me the ABC’s of bartending and Jimmy (Pops) O’Leary who taught the spirit in bartending. Selena who talked me out of retirement for the last time. Danny Seiy who not only gave me a home for 3 years, but who also introduced me to the lady I love. Of course a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have ordered a drink from me in the last 23 years. It has been a pleasure to serve you and I look forward to seeing you at a book signing, seminar or some other event down the road.

HURRY UP AND FAIL!

In the category of things that never made sense to me, but now have really changed the way I look at the world, I give you failure. Growing up with the guidance of well meaning people around me failure was a word that should attempt to be avoided. You didn’t want to fail because that meant you were no good. It meant you were not a success. As an adult I continued to look at failure in this light. It actually grew to be something I began to fear. I would do everything in my power to make sure I didn’t fail. That sadly included not trying things that were likely to end up in failure, at least at first.

If we look at our lives there are certain things we are naturally good at. I can usually get up and speak or give a toast with little or no problem. If you see me on the dance floor however, something would appear seriously wrong.

We naturally tend to pursue things that we have some basic skill in. For me writing and speaking are two of my more natural skills so I tend to do things that use those skills. Bartending and DJing use my speaking and relating skills. This website and my books use my writing skills (Notice I did not say grammar or editing skills). The reason we do this is our chance of failure is less likely and we naturally excel at them. This gives us a feeling of self confidence and accomplishment. That is great and I believe pursuing things you are passionate about will lead to great success.

That being said, do not let fear of failure stand in your way from exploring new things. Once you learn a new skill as we showed above in can translate into several other options. Realizing this can make enduring the initial failure can be a little easier. Failure is not an end,  but part of the journey. The quicker we do so, the quicker we can move on to developing our skills and becoming more proficient. Here is another little trick I find that works. If you can somehow use a skill you already have to learn a new skill it can make learning a lot less painful and a lot more fun. When I was learning how to become a DJ and my wonderful teacher, who happened to be the patient love of my life, was showing me all of the technical aspects (most of which I am still learning) I leaned heavily on the speaking part of the job because that is what I am naturally good at. It gave me a feeling of competence and a hope that I could one day be a great DJ like she is.

Takeaway today is don’t fear failure, embrace it. Do so quickly, because as soon as you get it out of the way you will be one step closer to success. Now if I could just find a way to link speaking and writing with dancing….

WHAT IS YOUR QUESTION?

When i ask people about their question the response is almost always the same,  “what question?”. Whether we realize it or not questions are what drive our actions. If you are not happy with your life situation, it is time to take a look at the questions you may be asking yourself consciously or not.

One question we ask ourselves hundreds of times a day is “what does this mean?”. Now if you catch yourself thinking you don’t recall asking yourself this recently, I’ll let you in on a really good secret. This is exactly how we decide to feel. Here is an example. Let’s say you stand next to someone in line and suddenly they just get up and leave. What happened there? If it were me several options come to mind. Maybe they just remembered they had an appointment? Maybe they are uncomfortable with close social contact? Maybe I forgot to shower? What causes us to think of each option? By asking ourselves what could this mean? To some people a hug and a handshake are no different, to others it signifies something completely different. That all stems from what they decide what a hug means and what a handshake means. That can even change from person to person and further from situation to situation with the same person.

Ok, so this all sounds complicated, but you can see how much can depend on the question we ask ourselves. Many times we are not even aware of this question. We are going to discuss two new ways to use questions to live a more positive, and yes a more amazing life.

First way is when you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t feel good. Perhaps someone said something that hurt your feelings. As I am writing this the owner of one of the bars I DJ at sent me a message saying one of his employees didn’t show up and he does not deserve such bad luck. Both situations are not pleasant, so how can we use questions to turn them around? Here is the first way. Ask yourself this question, “What else can this mean?”. Take the fist example. We can be tempted to just think how unfair the person saying something hurtful is. We can start to come up with ways they are wrong. We can even decide they are just mean and unthoughtful. So if we ask “What else could this mean?” What else could we come up with? Maybe they didn’t understand it would upset us? Maybe we need to be more clear with what we expect? Maybe they are not good with expressing their emotions in a healthy way and could use some help with that? Maybe something terrible happened to them and they are hurting? All of these could be true. We get to decide what it means. As for the second example, the lady who did not show up seemed to be a very nice employee the one time I met her. Yes, now someone else had to cover the shift, but is this all really terrible luck for the owner? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps she only seemed nice? Maybe she was dishonest? Maybe he needed to see some of his other employees will step up? All of these are also true. Some may seen this as rose colored way of looking at things, but I see it as a way of looking at things that open us up to see the best in others and preserve our emotional well-being

I promised you a second way to use questions, here it is. Everyday we begin our day with a question as well. Once again these may not be noticed by us, but I have heard several come from friends and family. Everything from “What is going to go wrong today?” “How am I going to make it through the day?” “How many hours until Friday?”. As you can see none of these are very empowering, and most are asked of ourselves unconsciously. Why not take control of this and put it to work for us? How do we do this? Decide on an empowering question, write it out and hang it where we will see it first thing in the morning. One of my new favorites I have heard is “How can I live today so that tomorrow will be even better?”. It doesn’t have to be that profound either. Something like “What awesome thing will happen today?” is a great way to begin the day.

Ok, now you have 2 new ways to look at questions and an equal number of ways to use them. Feel free to share a few of your ideas for empowering questions in the comments below! Thank you and tell all your friends about secret2anamazinglife.com!