HOW DO I DO IT?🤔

My schedule is one that is quite full. I spend roughly 46 hours commuting and working at my day job at the post office. On top of that, I spend about one to two hours at the gym three days a week. I record three podcast episodes a week. I am currently working on my fourth book. People are always asking me, “How can you still spend time doing blogs everyday?” This is compounded by the fact that they bring me very little, if any, financial gain. The picture above can help us answer that question. It is a partial list of countries that had logged on to read my blog during a particular week.

The last country on the list is Ukraine. This country is facing one of the toughest times in its history. People are being forced from their homes. If they are staying, they often have to do so without power, running water and under the threat of violence and destruction. To know that a person in this country took the time to log on to secret2anamazinglife.com, is not only a great honor, but a great responsibility. How many of us have thought to ourselves, “I sure wish I could say something encouraging to all of the people in the Ukraine.”? In this case, I get that chance. When you are living in a country that is at war, you need all of the inspiration you can get. It is difficult to keep your head above water, not to mention deal with all of the death and destruction. A voice of inspiration, encouragement and motivation from afar could be, at the very least, a welcome escape.

If you look a little further up on the list, you will see Puerto Rico. This view happened shortly after the island was devastated by a hurricane. There was almost no power on the entire island. Yet, someone still managed to log on to this blog to read what was written here. Very likely, their valuables were washed away. It is probable that their house was damaged in some form. They may have even lost some loved ones. These people came to read what I have written. Again, quite an honor, but an even greater responsibility. What could I possibly say to someone in that situation?

It does not have to be people in countries who are both ravaged by war and natural disasters. Take a look at any of the other countries. Any one of the people in Ecuador or Ethiopia could be facing one of the darkest days of their lives. Maybe they have lost a job. They could be experiencing the grief of losing a loved one. It is thoughts like this that are in my mind as I write these words. How can I write these blogs? To me the question is more accurately, “How could I not write these blogs?” If my words could improve the life of a neighbor down the street, or halfway across the globe, I owe it to them to share both the knowledge I know, as well as the love in my heart with them.

You may be thinking to yourself, “That is great Neil, but I don’t have a blog.” It is not just the online community that needs our love and encouragement. In todays social media world, where many people can forget the power of their words, we must remember what a positive impact ours can have. It could be someone who is in our social media network. It could also be a coworker or even the guy sitting at Starbucks with no shoes on. That last one is a personal observation I made while writing this. Any of those people could be facing some of the challenges we mentioned earlier. You may never know the impact your positive words or actions may have, but know they do make a difference.

PRAISE THE SMALL STEPS

It is Wednesday, hump day, the middle of the week. Whatever you choose to call it, many of us pause and evaluate the week at this point. Most of us, especially high achievers, tend to look at everything we have yet to accomplish. While this may be good for developing a plan of action and noting what time we have to complete projects, it may hinder their actual completion. How is this possible? The emotional state change that causes can have some very negative consequences.

The first thing this can do is make us feel overwhelmed. We were starting that new diet and only made it two days so far? We really have three more days to go? It was so hard not eating the doughnuts in the breakroom on Monday and Tuesday. How will we be able to make it the rest of the week? This can lead to a desire to just give up. If we flip that on its head and say to ourselves “I have already made it two days on the new diet! No doughnut can defeat me now!” We give ourselves momentum and praise our accomplishments.

The other thing that focusing on what has yet to be done can make us feel like a failure. This is very counterproductive. In the baby example, can you imagine yelling at your kid, “Would you stop that falling and give up already!” This is often what we do to ourselves. It can also be what we do to others when we are constantly pointing out where they fell short. It will only lead to them not wanting to press on. If, like we do with children learning to walk, we praise the little steps they complete, it will lead to them wanting to push on.

Today let us take a second and congratulate ourselves and each other on all that we have accomplished so far this week. Let us give a little encouragement for the rest of the week ahead. Not only to others, but to the one who lives between our own two ears.

YOU HAVE MORE GIFTS THAN YOU REALIZE

As we had into a weekend that contains holidays for many of us, let us do so with a heart filled with gratitude. Not only for the gifts so thoughtfully given, but to have those in our lives to celebrate with. It is unfortunately true that many of us may be facing our first holiday without a loved one. Still, let us be so grateful we had them in our lives to create such beautiful holiday memories with. Let us savor those memories and allow their spirits to live on.

There are so many things in our lives to be thankful and grateful for that it amounts to a pile of presents under a tree. Here is a great suggestion to help you feel the holiday spirit. This can be done in your head or even out loud. It can be a great new holiday tradition to start with the family.

With each person that is in your life, be they family, friends or coworkers, think of each person and all they bring to your life. Each positive thing is a gift to your sprit. If you list each thing as you think of them, you will realize how truly blessed and abundant you are. If you wish to take it to the next level, write them down and share with that person. Can you imagine the joy they would feel getting a card/email or other message that begins “this holiday, I want to thank you for bringing into my life the gifts of…”

The gifts will be different for everyone. Some will be the gift of laughter. Some people may give you the gift of encouragement. There are people who help with the gift of faith. The lists could be endless. Do this for as many people as you can and you will feel not only like you received a lot of presents this year, but you will feel very grateful and very blessed.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL OF US AT SECRET2ANAMAZINGLIFE.COM TO ALL OF YOU!😀

DO YOU HAVE 6?

Although rather morbid sounding, this statement rings true. Compliments are difficult to both give and receive for many adults. We have 6 people to carry us physically in death, why can’t we have 6 people to carry us emotionally and spiritually in life? Can you imagine what that might be like? 6 people checking in on you, 6 people to encourage you on a daily basis.

Maybe this wouldn’t happen from every person on every day. How different would your life be if one of these 6 people popped in to encourage or check on you? If you have 6 of them, that would be roughly one a day. We will give them Sundays off. How much more valued would you feel? Would you have more confidence and a feeling of support when trying new things? What other benefits could this add?

The million dollar question would then be, “Neil, how do I find these 6 people?” Surely you could go up and ask people, “Hey do you want to call and check on or encourage me once a week?”At the risk of sounding a little desperate, it may also leave you wondering how genuine the compliments and concern may be.

So, if you can’t just ask them, what the heck do you do? I have two solutions. The first should be obvious. As the cliche  goes, if you can’t find a good friend, be one. By picking a few friends and just checking in on them once a week, eventually chances are they will return the favor. Noticing how good it felt to them, they will want to do the same for someone else.

Secondly, you can get a group of trusted friends together and explain this idea to them. If everyone sends an encouraging word, or makes it a point to check in on each other, the whole group will benefit extraordinarily.

To be honest, in this world of a million ways to communicate, I am rather surprised this is not a thing. We can slip an encouraging word in an email. We can check in with someone on Facebook messenger. We can even send an encouraging or silly picture to a friend via text. Gather your posse and make it a point to carry each other through life emotionally and spiritually before we have to carry each other in death physically.

WANT TO MAKE A BIG CHANGE? THINK SMALL

Many of us can fall into the trap of thinking we are too small to make a difference. I confess to being guilty of this myself on occasion. There really is no such thing as a ‘small person’ in today’s world. Being so interconnected, even one person can have a huge impact on the world. You can do so without even leaving your home. Take it from an author in a small town in Wisconsin who has over 32,000 followers in over 100 countries. This blog has inspired more people than I ever thought possible. It is not only very humbling, but proves that no matter who you are, you can make a big difference.

As the quote from the Dalai Lama shows us, even the smallest of creatures can make the biggest of impacts. Sleeping with a mosquito can be quite a challenge. How can a creature so much smaller than us dictate whether we are able to sleep at night? You have seen one activist take on policies of corrupt corporations. Although, these are positive examples, the truth can go both ways. One match can start a fire that burns thousands of acres and costs billions of dollars worth of damage and many people their homes. One criminal can have an entire neighborhood living in fear. Yes, one person can make a very big difference. Something to keep in mind not only when we are feeling small, but when you are tempted to treat anyone as small or less than.

Another situation where small is powerful is when we are trying to reach our goals. The picture above is worth a thousand words. (which should save you a great deal of reading in this post) Sometimes we chase big change and radical steps, which may often leave us unable to move forward. What we should be focusing on is taking small, consistent steps towards our goals every day. In doing so, we will move great distances. You can cover many miles if you take one step at a time.

Lastly, here is a sign I saw when I actually found a Starbucks that was open. This is one of my favorite quotes. Not only was it demonstrated by the staff working that day, but it was a great reminder to all of their customers. We may find ourselves wondering, “Should I really tell that person their hair looks nice?” “Is it really important to let our coworkers know they did a good job?” The answer to any kind words or acts you are pondering doing is a definite YES!!! Picking up one piece of litter does not seem so powerful, but what if you picked up one piece ever three days? Imagine what one hundred pieces of garbage would look like on your front lawn? The seemingly meaningless compliments Mentioned above? Whether you are Taylor the waitress from the diner or Taylor Swift, we all have days when we are not feeling our best and appreciate a kind word from a friend, or even a stranger. Your coworker might be feeling unappreciated and just knowing that someone notices the hard work they are putting in can make all the difference in the world to them.

What do all of these small acts really add up to? It may not seem like much until we consider the ripple effect. Like tossing a pebble into a pond. The rings, or ripples, spread out until they reach the distant shore. Much like our words and actions do. You may think it only would affect one person, but you would be wrong. Let us take a look at the compliment example. When you lift up someone’s confidence who is feeling down, they are more likely to smile at others. They are also more likely to try new things, it strengthens their immune system. Even your coworker can really be affected. Do you a person would go home to their family differently if they were feeling valued verses unappreciated? So you not only affect your coworker by saying “Good job” but indirectly you affect their family too. You also may affect the barista at the coffee shop, the cashier at the grocery store and anyone else they come into contact with. In today’s world, there is no such thing as a small person or a small act. We are all connected and affect each other far more than we realize.

STOP PLANTING A PARKING LOT

A good amount of my family in generations past were involved in farming. Being farmers they seemed to have a language that us city kids found both hard to understand and at the same time rather amusing. I recall my great uncle asking me, “Why are you wasting so much time planting parking lots?” Being a teenager from the city at the time my thought was something along the lines of, “What on earth are you talking about?” Of course, back then it was filled with the colorful language of a teenager. I was never fully able to grasp exactly the point he was trying to make. Roughly thirty years later it was made clear to me.

My great uncle Ray

This story comes to us from the friendly confines of the Oak Creek Post Office, which is where I can be found exchanging my time and labor for money Monday to Friday. Ever since I was hired by the United States Postal Service, I have found it a great opportunity to practice may many lessons in self-improvement and positivity. Today was such a day. While there are plenty of folks at the post office who could benefit from exploring the fields of self-improvement and positivity, there are often very few so inclined. Most words of encouragement are returned with cynical or sarcastic statements. It can seem as futile as…here it comes…planting seeds in a parking lot. Suddenly, my great uncle’s words came back to me and I understood what he meant. No matter how good your seeds (or words of encouragement in this case) are or how often you water them (share encouraging words to others, if they are laying on concrete or blacktop they will not grow.

It is, I imagine, a charming way of saying you should stop wasting your time on activities that stand very little chance of success. If you had words that could make someone’s heart take flight, it may be best to share them with someone whose heart is not weighted down with layers of cynical thinking and pessimism.

Just when I began to think of myself as having discovered a person epiphany and was giving thought to saving my kind words of encouragement for an area they may be better served, a caveat to this way of thinking was served to me. This enlightenment came from my coworker Sharon. Normally one to supply her healthy dose of cynicism, this time she brought up a very good point. “You never know when that seed might bring the smile someone needed.” she told me. I thought about that for a while. Even parking lots have cracks I suppose. If one of your seeds (words of encouragement) happens to find one of those cracks in the parking lot (the rare open-hearted soul in a sarcastic world) it might resonate even more for its rarity in the situation. Proving, even in great farming wisdom, there are two sides to every story.

These are both good lessons to carry with us through our lives. We should check to make sure we are not spending undo time planting parking lots. That is spending our time and efforts on whatever goal we are aspiring to, in a situation in which it is unlikely to succeed. That being said, however, we should remember that a small light may not seem like much in the darkness, but it stands out a lot more than it would in a well-lit room. We also must remember that a little light may be exactly what someone needs.

WORK ON YOUR DIET AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Here is one of those fabulous things I happen across on my social media viewing. I was blessed to have many friends who shared this exact picture. More importantly, I believe they also genuinely feel that way. Once again, I must mention how grateful I am to have people in my life that feel and act this way.

In a world where many people may feel confused or concerned how to speak to and treat one another, there is one guiding principle that can make things a little easier and a lot less stressful. That principle is to have a genuine love and appreciation for all of us sharing this planet. It can be a hard thing to do at times, but if you can show love to everyone, including those who may seem not to deserve it, you will have a truly amazing life.

I know you might be thinking, “That sounds great Neil, but how can I learn to do that?” A first great step would be to watch your diet. You might be wondering how watching what you eat can help you to become a more loving and compassionate individual. Your diet is not only the food you consume. Your diet also consists of the music you listen to, the books you read, the people you hang out with and everything you consume not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. At the end of this post I will give you a little healthy treat for your diet. Make sure you read on for that.

If you spend your time in fear of what words or phrases may be acceptable these days, or you just are concerned with saying the wrong thing, there is a simple solution to that as well – become an encouraging. This world that can seem crazy and chaotic is woefully short on reasons to be encouraged. Help someone heal. Help them believe in themselves. If this is your intentions, your heart will guide you to the right words.

By having and more importantly showing love for each other, we do something wonderfully important – we help people believe in themselves. There are many great agents of change, spiritual and cultural leaders that have doubted themselves at some point. Without their contribution, the world would have been a darker place. The great thing about this is that there is always opportunities to help someone believe in themselves and in turn help them change the world.

Don’t believe it? Think of some of these examples. You encourage a young lady who is learning the art of cake decorating. Instead of giving up when her wedding cake looks more like abstract art than a culinary masterpiece, she tries again. She remains confident and goes on to create edible works of art. How does this change the world? Imagine the joy that adds to every special occasion her cakes are a part of. They will add something special to every event. A heart-melting sigh when the bride and groom see their cake on their wedding day. The ear to ear grin on the young child when they see their favorite character sitting right on top of their birthday cake.

Perhaps it is a young writer? Maybe pondering if the words he shares truly impact the lives of others. How would an encouraging word help this young fellow and how would it then change the world? Perhaps it would encourage him to continue to develop his craft and keep sharing his words knowing someone is listening. Then those words could reach a lost and lonely soul halfway across the world and bring them joy. Those words could then be shared from Armenia to Zimbabwe. Changing the day for many.

These are totally random and hypothetical examples, but they hold true just the same. We never know what someone is facing in life or where their heart and mind may be at. Maybe it is encouraging someone singing on a microphone for the first time, or the lonely kid sitting by themselves at lunch. Just letting these people know that you have love for them will make their world brighter, the world as a whole brighter and just might save their life.

As promised I am going to give you a little something good to add to your diet and will help you to remember to encourage and have love for people of all kinds. If you click the link below you will be treated to a great performance by the artist Michael Franti. Not only is Michael a great ambassador for love and peace, he represents a lot of us. He was adopted as a young child. His mother was European and his father a mix of African and Native American. He has a sister who is a lesbian and a brother who is a police officer. Well-rounded you might say. I strongly encourage you to click on the link below to listen to this song for yourself. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions for encouraging and having love for each other below.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND LISTEN TO THE GREAT MICHAEL FRANTI SONG

WE ALL BLOOM DIFFERENTLY

Another great example of a picture is worth 1000 words. I will do my best to expand on this picture and keep the word count below 1000. Everyone blooms in their own way reads the caption of the photo. Represented here is someone playing music, someone walking in nature, someone being greeted by a dog and lastly, it appears and adult holding a child. Each of these experiences are causing that person to bloom. What exactly does that mean? I interpret blooming to mean allowing more of themselves to show. Having the self-confidence or happiness to cause us to reveal more of our true nature to the world.

I particularly enjoy the last photo of the adult and the child. As you can see the love exchanged between them is causing both of them to bloom. I wonder if the same could be said of the dog, or the people hearing the music the person in the first photo is playing. Becoming more of ourselves is the greatest gift we can give the world. Living a life that feeds your soul is about the most important thing you can do, not only for yourself, but for others as well. What the world needs most is individuals whose souls are on fire.

To that end, my challenge for you is to find what causes you to bloom. Do more of that. How do you know what causes you to bloom? It is whatever makes your soul feel on fire. Ask yourself if you woke up tomorrow with no financial worries, what would you do? How about the next day? In my case, I love going out for coffee with friends, listening to some classic jazz, reading and learning things I can do to improve my life and those that I care about, and sharing what I have learned with all of you who follow this blog. At the end of each day what feeds my soul the most is laying next to the woman I love and falling asleep in each others arms.

One more important element to consider is what feeds the souls of those around you. Encourage them to not only discover that, but devote time to it as well. When those around you are living from a place of fulfillment and are fully in bloom you will certainly notice a difference. This is also another reason in a long list of reasons to be kind and encouraging to others. You never know what inspires them. If you see a local musician playing encourage and support them and their passion. See another person out enjoying nature? Pass on a smile and a quick hello. Let people pet your dog while you are out walking them. Also make sure to love not only your children, but everyone in your life. By doing so we will all bloom. Like a garden full of flowers in bloom, the earth will become a truly magical place.

I WANT YOU TO HAVE MY JOB!

I believe my purpose in life, or at least part of it, is to inspire others to live a more positive rewarding life. In this field I don’t think there is a lot of competition. That may sound strange as motivational speakers and life coaches seem to be every where you turn. I honestly do not view them as my competition. Each one of us shares similar messages, but we do so in our own unique way. We all come from different backgrounds and have had different life experiences. You may hear the exact same message from me, Tony Robbins, Les Brown or any other person involved in the field of self-improvement. Depending on the day or how we word it that message may resonate with you or it may not. Personally, I listen to many different people with what may seem like many different messages. Some days it is TD Jakes, some days it is Greg Plitt or the two mentioned above.

That is why in 2019 I want to encourage you to take my job. No, I am not going anywhere, but I want you to join me. You do not have to write a book, start a blog, Facebook page and YouTube channel or give live seminars. What I would like everyone to consider is what gifts do you have that can inspire and motivate others? Maybe you are thinking “I am just a server.” Or “I am not very positive myself, how could I inspire others?” My answer to all of these statements is this – It is what makes you you that makes you special. Maybe that career you think is not so special provides that exact story someone needs to relate to? The fact that you may struggle with positivity can provide you the patience, understanding and compassion to relate to others who feel the same.

Each one of us has something to offer that the world needs, even if we are unable to see it. So join me today. Whether it is becoming an encouraging voice at your place of employment or just being friendlier to those in the service industry that you encounter, let us all become sources for good. I am going to let you in on a little secret I have learned in my 20 plus years in the self-improvement field. The more you help others, the better you feel. It may be difficult in the beginning, trying to be a positive influence. Oddly, one of the things you may experience initially is doubt, skepticism, and sarcasm. People are so used to being surrounded by negativity that they often resist a positive influence. Remember this when your first few attempts may be met with phrases like, “You’re being so nice. What do you want?” or “Just leave me alone.” You would think people would welcome more positivity in their lives, but remember we are changing something that has been what they have been used to up to this point. That is why more agents of positive change like you are needed.

As you go through your journey, refer back to this website to find more tips you can share with others. If you ever have questions or comments feel free to post them here and we can all work together to solve them. All of us can make the world a better place in 2019.