YOU MAY NOT SEE IT, THAT’S OKπŸ‘

Here is something that I am quite guilty of. It can be hard for a lot of people who are hard-driving folks. It was brought back to my attention while in conversation over a cup of coffee with my mother the other night. She inquired how things were going. I informed her this very blog you are now reading is now followed in over 200 countries. (Come on Greenland) and that made me very happy. I love connecting with and engaging with like-minded people throughout the world. Then I informed her I was a little frustrated that my podcast did not have a bigger reach. (feel free to listen and subscribe by clicking the link at the end of this post) She reminded me of two very important things. First, I just started it in July or August. Second, that it has already impacted several lives. It is not about the volume, but the quality of the impact that you bring to each individual.

With over 8 billion people now on the planet, I would like to reach, inspire and engage with as many as I can. Engagement is something that is always appreciated. Comments and hearing what people like, and do not like, about the things we share here only help us serve better. Margie is great for reminding me how many people come up to us and say, “I never comment, but I read your stuff all of the time.” Although frustrating, it is great to hear. Nothing makes me more motivated to write than knowing it is connecting with people and making a difference.

You do not have to be a writer for this to be true. When I helped at a local meal program, I did my best not only to serve up a hot plate of food for each guest, but a dose of respect, encouragement and inspiration. Rarely, did you get to see what a difference this made. It would have been far easier to just dish out the food and say nothing. One afternoon a gentleman came up to me and said, “This is the first time anyone has ever called me ‘sir’.” When you show kindness to anyone, but especially those who need it the most, it makes a big difference. As we approach the holiday season, this can be true with clerks in retail locations, servers in restaurants, package delivery people and many of the other workers that make the holiday season brighter for all of us.

We should not stop there. We should really show kindness to everyone we meet. We NEVER know all of the struggles people are facing. They may have lost their job, or are facing reduced hours and a struggle on how they are going to purchase gifts for those they love, or even keep the lights on. They may have lost a loved one, the pain of which is always amplified during the holidays. We may not see it, but who can put a price on the gift of a little kindness. Not only this holiday season, but all year long. Thank you for looking out for one another. Again, as my gift to you, I would love to invite you to subscribe to my podcast at the link below. We discuss a variety of topics and even break down sections of my book. Please click on the link below and give it a listen.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY PODCAST. FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH A FRIEND πŸ˜€

CELEBRATE OUR ANNIVERSARY!πŸ₯³

Today we celebrate 10 years of this blog! I began this journey in 2012 with just a desire to share with others the tools and strategies that helped me positively impact my life. I never dreamed it would turn into what it is today. There are many things that I have learned in the past decade of sharing ideas with you. First of all, I am still learning and sharing. Self-improvement is very much like physical fitness. You are never ‘there’. There is always maintaining and learning to do. You will mess up. You will have bad days. Life will throw a whole lot at you and you will need to develop new ways to handle new problems. It is the learning and growing that develops from that which is so rewarding.

I also learned how similar we are. When I started I had…well…zero followers. That was never the goal. Still, my desire to share with and help as many people as I can, allowed this blog to now be followed in over 200 countries and by over 50,000 people. I learned a fellow in Italy and I not only like the same music, but are both dedicated to improving ourselves and have had some of the same influences.

Another thing we are celebrating today is Thanksgiving. It is no coincidence that I started this blog on this day. One primary secret to an amazing life is Gratitude. In my own life, it has done the most to positively transform my life. As I reflect on the last 10 years of my life, one thing I am most grateful for is my lovely lady. Margie has been pushing me outside my comfort zone for as long as I can remember. One of the first examples was putting flyers up for my first book signing. We were in the village of Greendale where I worked for the Post Office. The book signing was to be held at a local coffee shop. I had 2 businesses in mind to put flyers at. One of them being the coffee shop. Margie looked at me and simply said, “No, we are going to ask to put them up at every business in the village!” I was tempted to tell her that I thought she was on the brink of insanity, but she was so cute and so insistent. What I thought was going to be a five minute ordeal inside my comfort zone, ended up being a half a day where she would say, “I’ll go in with you.” Then she would push me towards the counter and disappear and make me promote myself. It made the book signing the success it was. Not much has changed two books later.

There is so much in my life to be grateful for. Just today I was recalling how my grandmother used to make pans of barbeque chicken. The whole family would come over and eat all of the delicious food she would make. These days I am grateful for walks in nature and trips to the gym with my mom and wonderful meals created by my beautiful Margie, who is an amazing cook. I think my Grandmother would have really loved her. I know I do. Come to think of it, that is another secret to an amazing life. Find someone who will love you, but push you outside of your comfort zone and make you develop into the best version of yourself. It doesn’t hurt if they are lovely like my lady.

Today, there is lots for me to feel grateful for. The ability to share with you for 10 years. The ability to reach over 50,000 people in over 200 countries. The fact that my partner also happens to be the most beautiful lady in the world and I get to see her on the pillow next to me every night! That fact that we have wonderful memories to reflect on and the possibility to create even more! Today, I would be so grateful if you would share this website with at least one other soul you think could benefit from learning secrets to an amazing life. Together we can reach many more souls. Maybe in the Congo? Maybe in Greenland? Maybe in the town next to yours. We are all one global family of 8 billion.

THEY DID IT FOR YOU!πŸŽ„

Anyone who knows me even a little, and most of you who read this, are aware that I do not like winter, the cold or anything associated with it. In my neck of the woods, everything looks dead and brown. As winter progresses, the snow turns grey and black with pollution and dirt. This means, everywhere you drive, you see dead brown trees. Dirty snow with brown grass underneath. These are not the most inspiring sights.

Any indication these things are on the way tends to dim my enthusiasm. So, when on November 1st, I see people putting up Christmas decorations I mumble to myself as I am driving by. That is until I read this picture above. It made me think how much putting up decorations may improve the mood of those doing it. In addition, their efforts bring light and a sense of joy to the afore-mentioned dark and gloomy atmosphere. I always saw winter decorations as a sort of harbinger of doom. I know, not very cheery for a motivational author. Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder in a state with 9 months of winter will do that to you. Now, however, I see them in an entirely different light. Pun intended. These decorations, while alerting me to the frosty temps and snow about to come, add a splash of color and cheer to a bleak environment. Some of them are even rather humorous.

I once heard Tony Robbins list in his grateful journal going to the movies. Some people grumble at the price of a ticket, which could be understandable. He told us to focus on something else. There were people who spent days, months and often years, not to mention millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of dollars to create 2 hours worth of entertainment for you. Actors studied and practiced their lines. They spent countless hours on set, in make up chairs and more. Directors searched and tried countless camera angles and dialogue. Make up artists worked to get looks just right. Set designers. People in the computer graphics department. Writers and story board creators. Audio people. Lawyers. There are so many people involved it is crazy. Sit through the credits once and look at the people involved. Those are just the ones listed. There are countless others whose names did not make it on the big screen. The janitors who cleaned up after. The security who guarded the set. All of this so we could laugh, cry, scream or be held in suspense for a few hours. I had my own television show for a while. Trust me when I tell you, there is so much more that goes into creating content than you can imagine.

The one thing that changed my whole experience with both of these situations, and thus my level of joy and happiness, was a change in perception. When it comes to living an amazing life, is not joy and happiness what matters? Wayne Dyer once said, “When we change the way we look at things; the things we look at change.” I think this is true in both of these occasions. Next time you see a feature film, or your neighbors Holiday decorations, send them a thought of gratitude for their efforts to bring you joy. They are making our world a better and brighter place.

GET PREPARED FOR THE HOLIDAYS!🎁

Here is something many of us are dealing with right now – stress for the holidays. What does this consist of? Is it trying to find the perfect gift? Maybe working extra hours to make sure we can afford the perfect gift? How about shopping in a crowded store filled with crazy people to find that gift? Maybe even stressing about ordering online to make sure our gifts arrive on time? Then there are the get togethers. Will everyone get along? What day can everyone make it? What are we going to eat? Who is going to make it? These are many of the usual stresses. Add to that the extreme weather that is around this time of year and holidays can turn from something we look forward to, into something we dread. It does not have to be that way.

If we are going to stress or spend our time thinking about something for the holidays, I suggest doing so for just one thing. Don’t worry about the perfect meal or what the place settings look like. Don’t even spend too much time worrying about the perfect gift or how hard it will be to find. Instead, let us focus on one thing – creating memories that will leave our hearts full of joy for the entire holiday season. This year, Margie and I already started looking forward to spending the holidays together. I am not thinking about gifts, or even the super delicious food that both her and her daughter create. Those are indeed wonderful blessings to be grateful for. What is in the front of my mind is sharing a cup of hot chocolate with my lady. Holding her hand as we look at holiday decorations. Seeing her sweet smile peaking out from underneath the furry hood of her winter coat. What kind of fun and silly holiday pictures we can take. Christmas cards we can receive and send to friends and family. Watching holiday movies together with a bowl of popcorn or some other fun snack.

From baking cookies together, to religious and family traditions, there are so many ways to make joyous holiday memories. Holidays can be tough for those of us who have lost someone near and dear to us. Nothing will change the feelings of loss and missing them we have, but why not try recreating some of the fond memories you had with them? How about doing something to honor those we miss during the holidays? A special ornament we put out? Maybe making a dish they enjoyed eating? Including others in our holiday celebration can be a good way of making us feel good. In fact, brightening anyone’s holiday is a sure fire way to make us feel better about our own. Why not see how many people you can bring holiday joy to?

One last suggestion. This year, the accent seems to be on how different we are and the things that divide us. Why not learn about some of the holidays our friends celebrate that our different than ours? Here is a bit of a news flash for some of you – celebrating holidays with those who are different than us does nothing to diminish the celebration of our own beliefs.

GRAFITTI KNOWLEDGE πŸ€”

I saw this quote online and it really started me thinking. First, who brings a sharpie into a bathroom to write meaningful things on the tile. Second, and more to the point, how similar we are. Speaking of quotes, I once heard Tony Robbins say, “Money will only make you more of what you already are.” Meaning, if you are someone who cares, you will have more to care about. If you are a jerk, sadly, you will have more to be a jerk with.

It also brought to the light that at the end of the day, we are all still human. Most of us anyway. When we leave this world, it will not matter the amount of material possessions we have. It also doesn’t change who we are inside. If you are a miserable person who only focuses on what they lack, no amount of money will have you feeling rich. This is actually a good thing. What that means, is that if you develop an attitude of gratitude and appreciating everything you have, you will always feel wealthy. This is not to say you should not strive for more and better things. While you are doing so, being grateful for what you have will have you enjoying the process. As you do gain more and better things, you can be grateful for those as well. In this way, life will only continue to get better. When life does throw you a little setback, being grateful for what you still have will not only soften the blow, but allow you to regroup and start again.

Stay grateful. Stay humble. These are the secrets to living an amazing life. I would love to know some of the things you are grateful for today. I am grateful for a great day I had walking around the zoo and going out to lunch with my mother and the amazing night I am going to have with the love of my life.

THE CHALLENGE BEGINS πŸ₯Ά

What a crazy week it has been! November in Wisconsin, the state I live in, can be one of the hardest months for me. To say that I am not a fan of cold weather is one severe understatement. My good fortune is that up until recently, the weather has been mild for this time of year. In fact, last Thursday the high temperature was 75 F. By the next day, the high temperature was only 40F. If you are keeping score at home, that is a drop of 35 degrees in one day. On top of that, I get home from work at roughly 2:40pm and today the sun set at 4:29pm. Not much light to enjoy which causes the energy levels to plummet. I even started wearing my winter coat.

All of this can really cause my mood to go south as well. This year, I am determined to keep my spirits up. I am going to really put into practice a lot of the things I teach in my first two books, A Happy Life for Busy People and Living the Dream. I am also exploring some new things such as daily use of a ‘Happy Lamp’ for artificial sunlight and creating a list of things that lift my spirits. This should help a great deal. Those of us in the Northern hemisphere could use a little lift and I am suggesting you approach it as a challenge. That is what I plan to do. I can’t change the weather, but I can find more and unique ways of adapting. If you have any other additional tips and tools to help keep my mood up as the sun stays down I would LOVE to hear them.

WE ARE ALL GUILTY πŸ˜”

This post may be a little uncomfortable. For you, for me and for many of us. Many of us consider a life where we try to limit the hurtful and bad things we do, to be a good life. To some extent, this is true. Trying to do as few things to hurt your fellow man certainly makes the world a better place. Is it really enough? Voltaire reminds us in the quote above, that if we know of a good we could have done, but did not, we are guilty. Has there been a time when you know there was something good you could have done but did not? Maybe you did not have the time? Maybe you lacked the energy? Were you too nervous? Perhaps a little too shy? These are all true and valid reasons. Yet, if we deny some good to the world or our fellow humans, we are guilty as charged.

I know that I have been guilty of this as much as anyone. How many times have you thought about calling a friend or sending them a text message and then just became “too busy”? Meant to tell your spouse how wonderful they looked or made you feel, but then reconsidered it? Did you think it would sound silly? Maybe that they would not believe you? If you denied that good, you are guilty. I have worked my life to improve on this. I find when I have given all the good that I can in a day, that I can rest peacefully that night. Knowing that I did my best to bring all the good that I can to the world gives me a feeling of inner peace that is difficult to put into words. I am not always perfect, and I certainly have some work to do. I do my best to keep this quote of Voltaire in the back of my mind as I go through my day and would think it would benefit most of us to do the same

Remember, you are not only guilty of all the bad you did do, but also all of the good you did not do. Uncomfortable thought? Yes. It is still true. Let us take advantage of every good presented to us today.

YOU NEED TO SHARE IT!

This past Saturday I took part in an event that featured several different authors. Above is a picture of me talking to one of them. These events are always fun and enlightening. Talking with other authors, we all discover we share some of the same struggles and can support one another. At this particular event, another great aspect of the benefits of writing was on display – sharing your story. There are not words strong enough to convey my desire to have everyone share their story. It is such a gift in so many ways. We have discussed a few of them in past posts and I will provide a quick reminder here. It helps those that read it know and feel they are not alone. No matter how uniquely crazy your situation feels, I can guarantee there is someone out there going through something very similar if not the same. It also helps share and provide a record of mistakes you may have made and helps others avoid them. If it is too late for that, it may help them see how you made your way out of it. Sharing your story helps to foster a sense of community in whatever group you are writing about. With technology, that community can even be global!

Those benefits, as great as they are, do not come close to completing the list of benefits you can get from sharing your story. Here is what I heard at this event. There was an author who lost her husband suddenly and unexpectedly. She was left with 3 children to raise and a host of challenges. One of which was just managing to go on after losing the person she loved most in the world. How do you manage to love your life after a moment like that? She managed to do it and shared how she did it in her book. Another author lost her child. That is devastating to any parent. In addition to having to heal from her own pain, she had to explain what happened to her other children. How can you possibly do both of those? She did and she wrote a book that will help other parents who may tragically find themselves in the same situation. A third author has 3 autistic children. One who also has hearing and vision challenges. While doing her best to raise them, she is often judged harshly by those around her who are ignorant to her struggles. One time even having the police called on her. How does she manage to stay sane and raise her children? What struggles does a parent in that situation go through? She is going to write a book about that.

In this case, writing was a great form of therapy for all of these authors. It helped them heal and by sharing their journey, it will help others do the same. We may be fortunate enough not to have events like these occur in our life. I can promise you we have all faced some struggle. Job loss, relationship loss or a host of other challenges. Sharing our story and our journey with others is both a gift to them and to us. When we share our story with the world, it is the world that benefits. Unless you are some sort of extraterrestrial, which would make a great book, that world includes you! When we share, everyone, including ourselves, wins.

What if you are not a writer? That is fine. Everyone is not a reader. You can share your story through music, painting, sculpting or whatever medium you decide. Today, you can make your own videos to share on a variety of platforms. You could start a blog. You can start your own podcast and talk to people that way. These are all great because people consume in different ways. Some people listen to podcasts. Some of us read blogs. Some of us watch videos. Some of us still read books. Some of us do several or all of these. That is why it is so important to share your story in whatever form makes you comfortable.

Share your story. When you do we all win.

ARE YOU THIS KIND OF PERSON?πŸ€”

I think it would be safe to say that most of us underestimate the effect we have on others around us. We hear a lot about emotional trauma people are still feeling from a hurtful act that someone did to them years ago. How many of us still carry around a hurtful memory of a cruel thing someone said to us? It seems painful emotions seem to leave more of a lasting impression. If we think long and hard enough, can’t we remember a teacher who believed in us? How about a meaningful compliment someone paid us that made our day? I do believe we need to put more emphasis on these for two very important reasons.

The first reason is that it helps us balance ourselves and realize that we can overlook a lot of positive experiences that occur in our lives. This can leave us feeling that life is far worse that it actually is. When we were young, when did we right in our diaries? Usually after a heartbreak or some very upsetting moment. As adults, we have to realize to record all of the peaks, as well as the valleys. This can leave us with a feeling of hope and optimisim.

The other reason we should put more attention on the positive inspiring moments should be obvious, but in case it is not, I shall explain it here. One of the most selfish things you can do is to do something for someone else. Why is it selfish? Because it leaves you with such a great feeling you often leave filled with even more joy than the person you helped. One of the greatest ways we can help is to just make as many people as we come in contact with a little happier. That could be through an act of courtesy, a genuine compliment, or another random act of kindness. If we did this for as many people as we can in a day, and each one gives us that feeling of joy, imagine how we would feel at the end of the day?

When you strive to bring light and joy to as many lives as you can every day, there are so many wonderful side-effects that occur. First, you find yourself more popular. People remember your name. Not because of what you did for them or said to them necessarily, but because of how you made them feel. When they do see you, chances are they will greet you with a smile and pleasant demeanor. Can you imagine if 90% of the people you encountered greeted you this way? If you strive to be the person who brings light and love to every situation, they will. Everyone likes someone who makes them feel good. Be that person.