Be firm in your goals, but flexible in your approach. That is a mantra i have heard many times! This morning while occupied at my day job a fine example of this occurred to me.
Before I share this example with you let me begin with a question. Have you ever heard somebody say “I’ve tried a million different things but it just won’t work!” It always amuses me to ask them to name the million things they have tried. After which they usually reply “well ok it has been hundreds.” When pressed to name them we usually discover the individual has tried a few things, usually things they have done in their past, and they didn’t work. This always makes me question the importance of the issue at hand. If it is a problem with their relationship you would think they would keep trying until they return to love.
When a baby is trying to walk they just keep at it. Why? Because walking is that important to them. Perhaps it is all the disappointment we experience as adults that lowers our level of persistence.
Here is another way to look at this. As I mentioned earlier, I was working at my day job when I started thinking how much I’d like to go to Fiji. My thinking is my lady and I would fly there first class and spend time relaxing and mixing with the local culture. What would happen if I was invited for a speaking engagement there? Maybe instead of flying I win a cruise? Perhaps Tony Robbins invites me to his resort to work on a project together? Would I say no because it was not exactly what I had envisioned? Of course not. The goal is to get to see Fiji, how it happens could vary.
My point here is you have to keep trying until you find something that works. It may seem impossible at first, but so did walking as a baby. Just keep trying and you will succeed. Oh, and if you happen to have an extra ticket to Fiji…
I really dislike the term self-help. To me it always sounded as if something was wrong with the person. Then again, the word ‘help’ has a bad reputation. Especially for men help seems to be associated with being weak. Personally I do not see it that way. One thing admitting you could use a little help in a certain area shows you trust the people you are sharing that information with. It also shows a true desire to better one’s self. Both of those I find to be admirable qualities.
Another aspect of working to improve yourself is that you are growing. Without growth we are left with a feeling of discontent. One of the best ways to be happy with yourself is to progress in respect to any goal you are working on. In short – progress equals happiness.
If there is a certain area you are not particularly strong in that does not mean you are weak as a person. On the contrary, recognizing the fact that there is an area you could improve on and working to do just that takes a great amount of courage. Looking for self-help, or as I prefer to say self-improvement does not mean you are bad at something it just means you are trying to get better.
As we are working at these goals it is also important to remember our strengths. Everybody is good at some things and not at others. My lady can create amazing cakes, I cannot. I have a better grasp of history than she. Does that make either one of us less than the other? Not at all. Last post I quoted the great scientist Albert Einstein. I am going to do so here again. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This quote may sound silly, but it is as true with humans as it is in fish.
As we continue in the season of spring which is often associated with rebirth and renewal, allow yourself to be reborn. Grow your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Ask for help when you need and don’t feel ashamed. Here is one more thing to keep in mind as you do ask for help. How do you feel when you are able to help someone? If you are a person who reads a blog like this, I imagine you feel quite good. When you don’t ask for help from someone who cares about you think of the good feeling you are depriving them of.
Feel free to share the ways you are working to improve yourself in the comments below. I wish you the greatest fortune in all your endeavors.
My grandfather was a farmer. I used to pass farms on the way to work when i was a postmaster. There is a great skill I have learned from the farming life even though I myself struggle to keep houseplants alive. That skill is patience.
Here is what farming has taught me. When a farmer plants a seed in the ground and waters it he does not come back the next day expecting a crop. In fact, he will go out every day to continue to water and fertilize that seed with little or no result to show for it. When the plant pokes through the ground he also does not expect to harvest right then and there. He nurtures that plant. He protects it from being attacked by outside forces such as insects and fungus. He continues to water and work with the plant as it grows. Finally when harvest time comes he knows just the right way to harvest the plant for Maximum return. Even after the harvest is over the farmer realizes that one year will not sustain him and his family and begins to think about the following years planting. He begins to prepare the soil for the winter and store crops to last during those cold months.
What does all this have to do with anything other than farming? A lot of us when working on a goal whether that be losing weight, or starting a business have a tendency to give up way to soon. We, in essence, put the seed in the ground and come back the next day looking to harvest. Some of us even look at the ground after a few days and think “when I see a plant I’ll go back to watering”. Meaning if we do not see any results on our goal we stop putting forth the effort. Much like in the farming example, if we stop ‘watering’ our goals they will never grow.
There is also the temptation to want to harvest to soon. Just like the farmer who finally sees a plant begin to sprout after weeks of waiting and working, as we see our goals begin to manifest we may be tempted to want to stop working and look at what we can get from all that effort we have put forth. Of course if we do this again, the plant will not bear all the fruit it can and we will not receive all of the benefits we could. By knowing that we still have to nurture our success and build it up as it continues to grow we will resist the temptation to harvest too soon.
When time to harvest the fruits of our goals we will do so in the manor that allows us to get the most out of them. Just like the farmer harvesting enough that it will allow the plant to continue to grow as long as it can. Also like the farmer we should begin to think about the future. Storing the rewards from our harvest and beginning to ‘prepare the soil’ for next years crop. In other words, know that one success will not last a lifetime. It is progress that creates a sense of happiness and fulfillment in each of us. Let us look forward to our next great adventure and our next crop we must plant.
So when it seems as if you have been working towards a goal and you have not seen any results, think of that famer watering that seed for weeks without seeing any result. We never know what is happening ‘underneath the ground’. When we start to see our goals begin to manifest let us resist the temptation to stop working. Just as if the farmer stopped watering the plant once it broke the soil it would still die. Let us also harvest smart, knowing we must sustain ourselves for when the hard times or the ‘winter’ of our lives comes.
So enjoy this lesson from the farm. Maybe even plant a garden this spring and let it serve as a reminder of all these valuable lessons.
This is a picture of my lady and I before a charity run we did recently. It is before we ran as if I shared the one after it may not be safe for me to come home. There are many things about doing a charity run/walk that lead to an amazing life. You take good care of your body, you help a good cause and you meet other souls doing the same thing.
In this post we are going to discuss another important aspect and gift we both received from this event. First let me inform you it was hot…very hot out. Second it involves a distance of over 3 miles. Leading up to this event both of us had our doubts. My lady especially had been through some personal challenges and was not able to train as much as she would have liked. She even mentioned that she was not 100% confident she would make it. That wasn’t her exact words as they tend to be a little more dramatic. I swear she is going to be the next author in our household.
So what was the gift? The gift was the challenge itself. As we both made our way through the course watching others go by, and the heat refusing to do the same another partner joined us on the course. That partner’s name was doubt. Voices in our heads told us how hot it was out, how people would understand if we bowed out. It is funny how when your body is preoccupied with pain and suffering your mind is free to come up with all kinds of things. Keeping the demons at bay when trying to suck in hot and humid air is a very unique challenge.
Crossing the finish line was a victory on many fronts. Testing yourself to limits both physically and mentally draws strength out you in ways nothing else can. The feeling you get when you finish knowing you shut those voices up, when you overcome physical challenges you own your body, you own your mind. Next time those voices come up you know you can tell them to sit down and shut up. You know you can accomplish more than you know so test yourself today!
Feel free to share your ideas for testing yourself in the comments below and feel free to share this post as well.
I love this quote because it reminds me of something I often forget. A lot of us, myself included, are focused on becoming a success. Personally, I am always focused on reaching more people. This could be how can I have more people attend my seminars, how can I get my book in the hands of more people. Even while I am DJing or bartending I am focused on how to reach more people and inspire them and bring them joy.
This in itself is not a bad thing, but we must remember that true success, like abundance should be felt in every area of our lives. We need to pay as much attention to our personal goals as well as our professional goals. Are you wanting to be the best parent? The best spouse? Perhaps you are looking to become healthier? A better listener? A better communicator? Success takes work in a lot of areas in life.
This may seem like a lot to work on, but that is only half true. What do I mean by this? There are so many opportunities to achieve success. How does that translate to an effective life strategy? Simple, every day you have a chance to be a success. Maybe you were not number one on the bestseller list, but you really made your wife feel loved. You are a success. Maybe you ruined the diet you have been doing good on, but you taught your children a very important lesson.
What this all means is every day there are so many ways to succeed and so many things to feel grateful for. So let us all notice what we can improve on, but let us focus on what we succeed at. It will not only keep us wanting to do more of that, but also make us feel very good about ourselves and what we do for the world.
Here is a sign that appeared for my last day bartending. A lot of people asked the reason I left bartending at The Hideout. That was a very good question. I loved most of my customers. The owner and I had a great working relationship. It was a lot of fun. I made decent money. So why leave? Sounds like a great gig. Well, I asked myself “Neil, where do you want to be in 5 years?” the answer was not behind a bar. My desire is to be touching people and changing and making a positive difference in their lives on a grand scale. Bartending has been great for me. I have met a lot of wonderful people and received some amazing advice.
One day I realized in order to fulfill my life’s goals of being a full-time author and motivational speaker I would need to dedicate more time to my craft. I also wanted to grow my following for this site. I would need more time to create content as well as promote. I looked at my life. I work 30+ hours a week at the post office which I wanted to keep for benefits. I DJ 8+ hours a week, which is great time I get to enjoy the love of my life as we run the show together. I also bartend 16+ hours a week. Although I love bartending my nights had become filled with a lot of stress as well. Sure the money was great, but there was the drama of people not getting along, friends always asking for or even expecting things for free which got old really quick. Not to mention although we worked in the same place, time away from the love of my life. Some days the only things we seemed to say to each other were “good morning” and “goodnight”. therefore I made the decision to focus on my future. Sure my present did take a hit. I gave up a lot of my income and something I was really good at. I still hear “we miss you behind the bar” which does make me feel good. Now, I may not be able to afford the nice things I was buying. I must keep a closer eye on my finances, but my life is filled with passion and excitement for the future. My website is not only up to date, but growing in following. Still feel free to share this site with all of your friends though.
What is the point of this post? Simply this, bartending was something I was good at, it was fun and I made good money doing it. What it was not was my passion and my future. As of right now my next book is still being written and money is not rolling in. What is rolling in is a feeling of getting closer to my goals and making money doing what I love. In fact, I have set a goal of retiring from the post office in two years or less. I know the more I write, the better I will become. I try to learn everyday about marketing myself and growing my brand. It is exciting, but scary at the same time. Most importantly, it is my dream. I was a good bartender, but I aim to be a great author and bring joy and positivity to people across the globe. Feel free to help by sharing this website as well as my book A Happy Life for Busy People with anyone you think could benefit from a little more joy in their lives.
Here is the takeaway. Do not be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. If you have a dream, chase it. Better yet catch it! Do what you love. Take risks, have fun and keep your face to the sunshine!
This is me passing by a physique competition at the Wisconsin state fair. Ironically this is probably the closest I will get to being in one of these. Which is ok because it allows me to eat pizza and hot Wisconsin cheese.
Here is what occurred to me as I was passing by. These gentleman have dedicated countless hours of their days, for years perfecting there bodies. The people in the audience were there to reward them by appreciating there in efforts in one for or another. In addition there was monetary awards to be handed out. There were, I would guess, a few hundred people cheering them on. With such sacrifice this was well deserved.
This had me thinking, for those of us who dedicate years of our lives to pushing our emotional and spiritual development to the limit where is the show for that? Certainly you could share that development with the world in the form of a book, eBook or something else tangible and receive an award for that. Most of us, however, are not doing such things for rewards. Still it is important to know the human mind works harder with positive reinforcement than without it. So find a way to reward yourself for your inner development as well. Also understand that sometimes you may falter. If one of the men above does not work out for a day, or eats poorly they understand they are human. They work twice as hard the next day and just keep at it. So must you. If you slip up and find yourself getting angry, or acting harshly toward others remember we are all human. Enlightened or not. If you make a mistake in your emotional or spiritual development, do what the body builders do, work twice as hard the next day.
One other thing to keep in mind. To see these results these men worked for hours for days on end for years at a time. Quite often the same is required of us in the inner realm as well. If you do not see results right away understand it takes time, often years to fully develop. Work hard knowing the results will show themselves in time. Also make sure you reward yourself for the small victories along the way. This will keep you motivated and moving in the right direction.