WHEN LIFE IS A PILE OF…

This is an emoji of… well… a pile of poo. This is insanely popular for some reason. Margie has even received several orders for cupcakes in this design. I am using it for when our life feels just like a pile of poo. Your car breaks down, a relationship ends, you lose your job or even worse, you lose someone you love. Sometimes the poo really adds up in a hurry. At this point, life really starts to stink, both literally and figuratively.

We all have these periods. Even though it may not seem like anybody is having a worse time than we are, there are people out there who have it worse. Certainly not what we want to hear when the poo hits the fan in our life, or even worse, when we feel like the fan. However, a change in perspective can give us pause to think. So, your car broke down? There are people who cannot even afford a car, much less repairs. There are people, lots of them in fact, who have to walk miles every day for clean drinking water. It was Gandhi who said, “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” No matter how dire our situation, there is always something to be grateful for. Your relationship ended or someone you loved passed away? Remember they say It is better to have lost in love, than never to have loved at all. There are people who never find that special someone to love. There are people who never have their parents in their lives. Be grateful for every day you experience love. Even if that love changes it does not mean it has to stop. Try finding just one thing to be grateful for. It will lead you to find another and then another.

Even if you are having trouble finding something to be grateful for, you can still use the poo in your life. How on earth do you use poo in life? Here we are obviously speaking in metaphors, but using a literal comparison can help. We are talking about poo situations in our life as we discussed above, but we can use the same logic as we do for the organic matter itself. I do not recall if it was Meijer, Walmart or somewhere completely different, but I found myself strolling through the garden center fantasizing that I had the ability to grow things when what did I see? Poo! bags and bags of the stuff. Ok, here it was called manure and did not have an emoji on it, but the contents was the same.

That is when the light bulb went on. If we literally use poo to grow stuff in our gardens, why do we not use it for growth in our lives as well? Just like our last post when we discussed failure, if we just dwell on the poo in our lives it would be like sitting in that manure. Just try and picture sitting in a pile of manure and complaining how awful it is. If you were to plant a few seeds in that manure instead of just complaining about it what may happen? You would grow new and wonderful things! Things that would smell far better than the poo itself.

What does that all have to do with our lives when they seem…well..in the toilet? Plenty! If a relationship fails, you can use what went wrong to improve your future relationships. If you did something that brought about the end of the relationship, do not do that thing again. Maybe you were just connected to the wrong person. Going forward be aware that you may wish to start a relationship with someone more aligned with your goals and values.

Did you lose your job? Use that to brush up on your interviewing skills. Perhaps you should consider going back to school? Maybe taking that time to finish the book you have always wanted to write? When you start looking for a new job, apply in a field you enjoy and not the one that just pays the most. In that way the loss of a job can serve as the growth of a new and more rewarding career!

Did you lose someone you love? That is always hard and very painful. If you find yourself sad a great deal of the time, remember that is ok. If your heart feels broken, that just meant it has loved. Be grateful for all of the moments you shared with that person. I have an article coming out next month on this very subject. I can tell you one of the best ways to ease burden of loss is to try and replace some of the light that person brought to the world. Did your grandmother always make people feel welcome? Then you should do that. Did your brother have a great sense of humor? Then focus on bringing laughter into the lives of others. Another emotion that comes up when we lose someone we care deeply for, and I speak from experience, is regret. We find ourselves uttering the all too common phrases “I would’ve/I should’ve/I could’ve” Use this to motivate yourself to live in the moment and put all your love and effort into the relationships you have now. That person may be gone, but they can certainly help you make the most of those you love that are still with you.

Use the poo in your life my friends. Just like the manure in the garden center, use the poo situations in your life as fertilizer to grow new and wonderful things. Pain and challenge can be one of the best catalysts for growth.

YOU ARE A CHAMPION

Recently, I had a discussion with a coworker about Billy Alsbrooks, an author and motivational speaker I enjoy. The subject was on being a champion. Mr. Alsbrooks states in his videos that we are all champions. This gentleman took a slight issue with that. “I am not always a champion. Some days I lose my temper and act in ways I shouldn’t.” he informed me. I would like to share with you my reply to him.

I do not pretend to speak for Billy Alsbrooks, but instead will give you my interpretation of his message and how it spoke to me. The first thing that came to mind was the definition of a champion. When people hear the word champion they think of the person holding up the trophy. Someone who did not lose. If you have read my writing for any length of time you will know I look at a champion differently.

To me, a champion is someone who is always learning, always growing. We consider a baseball player with a 300 average a champion. A 300 average means they ‘failed’ 7 out of 10 times! Think of people we call champions today. Lebron James was on a team in Cleveland that could not win a championship. He did not give up. He ended up playing in Miami where he won and then went back to Cleveland to win one there as well. Michael Jordan, who many consider the best player of all time did not make the cut on his high school team. He used that for motivation to work harder and won 6 championships. Tom Brady had to wait until the sixth round to be drafted. Then he was on a team who had a star quarterback. Instead of feeling dejected, he practiced twice as hard. When his time came he took full advantage and has won several championships.

This is not limited to sports. What if I told you there was a child who grew up with a mother and father who were alcoholics and mentally and physically abusive. At one point even having dish soap poured down his throat for something he said. Growing up poor eventually having six fathers and leaving home at 17 what would you predict for his life? Failure? Poverty? Surely there would be a general anger and distrust of people. That man was Tony Robbins who has gone on to be one of the best selling and most inspiring success coaches of all time.

The point is this. Champions are not people who win all of the time. They are those who learn and grow from their challenges and so-called failures. There are days we all don’t live up to our own standards. We lose our temper, we don’t follow through, we are not as productive as we should be. Those things do not mean we are not champions. All they mean is we have lessons to learn and chances to practice improving ourselves. It also serves as a great way to remain humble. Remember other fellow champions have their off days too. Be understanding and use those moments to remind them that they too are champions.

A true champion is not about their standing or their situations, but more about what they do with them.

WHAT’S RIGHT? WHAT’S WRONG?

Does this picture resemble your brain at any given moment in time? We are going to use what we learned yesterday to help us here too. This website is not to tell you what to believe morally or spiritually. I think as long as you are trying to better yourself without harming others, whatever path you choose is up to you.

That being said, how then can we know if what we are doing is right, wrong, moral, pushing us in the right direction or leading us down the wrong path in life? Goals. As I have discussed in previous posts this word used to send chills down my spine. Maybe it reminded me too much of homework in school? Maybe the fear of ‘failure’ was causing me not to set goals in the first place. The last few years I have learned to not only embrace goals, but failure as well. Here is the secrets I have learned. Goals can be both a motivator as well as a compass. Failure? It is not an adversary so much as a teacher. It can also present us with new opportunity. One of the biggest failures I read about was at 3M. An employee was making a permanent adhesive. When they put it to use it was anything but. What happened to that adhesive that didn’t adhere to perfectly? Sounds like the definition of failure, right? We now use them as ‘post it notes’.

When you set a goal as to who you want to become it can help you with everything from your moral compass to the correct action to take on a project. Say you wish to become a great film producer, then learning about different cameras could be helpful while learning about bug spray not so much. Wanting to become an exterminator? The story would be the opposite.

Tomorrow we will look at one of my favorite exercises to keep you motivated and on track for the rest of your life. It will be a little dark, a little scary to some, but very enlightening to all. I look forward to talking with you all tomorrow.

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 NOT TO DO!

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I love this post because it points out something very important, there is a recipe for both success and failure. If you do the three things mentioned above life will suck, period. Number one, complain about everything, does little to change anything for the better. What it does do is put our focus on what is not working. This in itself is not a bad thing, we need to focus on what is not working in order to be able to correct it. However, complaining is seldom if ever solution oriented. It is actually totally useless. In fact, it is worse than totally useless. When you complain for a long period of time you are thinking and vocalizing what is wrong in your life, with the world, or with someone else you think should be living differently. You leave the conversation feeling worse than when you started. As for anyone who is listening to you they also feel worse and very well may look to avoid conversations with you in the future. This would only add to the negative and thus, life would suck more

Number two, blaming others for your problems we will deal with in the next post. What we can say about it here is that it often leads to number one. It also contributes to number three. Worse it does something that makes you feel even worse, but again we will discuss that tomorrow.

Number three, never be grateful, is a joy killer. When you fail to appreciate what you have in life, that leaves you to focus on what you do not have. How does this leave you feeling? Like your life is a state of lack. You always feel that your life is missing something. That also would suck.

So at the risk of this sounding negative this post also gives us the recipe for success. How? In the face of every negative situation, there is the seed of a positive one. In this case just do the opposite of those three. Reduce the amount of complaining you do and focus on what is going right and how to solve what is not working. Accept responsibility for your role in your life’s problems, and always, always find something to be grateful for. Those are the three ways to succeed in life.

If you found this read helpful or inspiring please feel free to share/like and comment. Tell all your friends about secret2anamazinglife.com Let us all work together to make the work a more positive place.

YOU DECIDE WHAT IT MEANS!!!

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I’m VERY excited to be writing this post. This is a picture that my lady posted on Facebook. I fell in love with it right away, much like I did with her. Here is the powerful thing about this, it points out a very important thing that many of us do not utilize. We can control what things in life mean to us. What it is often perceived as a negative experience can often be the greatest of all lessons and motivate us further. If you look at words they have a powerful impact on how we feel. When someone says you ‘FAIL’ it makes us feel bad, but if you ask any successful person they suggest you should embrace failure. Why? because when you fail, you are getting one step closer to succeeding. In fact, if we never fail, we would never learn anything. We would never grow. If we change our definition to “first attempt at learning” we can better understand how it can help us grow.

‘END’ is another word that can make us feel down. A job comes to an end, we can feel like we did something wrong. Only if we give up. If we change our definition to “effort never dies” it encourages us to keep going. So next time we are told we have come to an end, let us not accept that. If that door closes, let us go on looking for another which may very well open up into a room full of new opportunities that we may never have encountered.

How about when we have been pushing and doing our best and someone tells us ‘NO’? We must not accept that as a final word. In my own life I have faced many ‘NOs’. Each one has had me feel let down. From now on, thanks to my beautiful Margie, I will understand that is just means “Next opportunity”. In my professional career I have been pushed to new jobs, new people and new gifts and talents I would not have discovered had I not lost the position that I had previously. In my personal life, a lot of ‘FAIL’ ‘END’ and ‘NO’ has changed my life for the better more than anything else.

If you like this as much as I did, thank Margie and feel free to like/comment/share with others!

A BETTER QUESTION….

Don’t ask what if I fail. You will. A better question is when I fail, then what? This may not seem to positive at first glance, telling you that you are going to fail and all. Still, failure is only absolute if we learn nothing from it. Believe me when I tell you I was as guilty as anyone of being afraid of failure. I was especially afraid to try new things for the fear I may fail. Then I realized that by being a slave to my fear I was failing to try. Plus, what is the worst thing about failing? People laughing at you? Well first of all that seldom happens, we all have failed and know what it is like. Feeling like a failure? This is something that happens internally. We must understand failure is a lesson. Instead of becoming depressed we must learn to become curious. Why did I not succeed? What can I learn from this experience? These questions actually give us power when we do fall short and give us valuable lessons to move us forward. In fact failure is one of the best teachers. So when you fail realize you just became smarter. Like a lot of other things in life, the secret is learning to use failure, not letting failure use you. So this weekend when things do not go your way, get excited! Ask yourself what you can learn to make your future brighter and to limit or eliminate this sort of challenge from occurring again.