GROW LIKE A SHARK!


If you haven’t already, take a moment to read the quote in the picture above. In my both of my books I advocate a very important principle called “Pick Your Posse”. In which I give you some simple steps to surround yourself with positive and driven people to make your life even more amazing than it is today.
It is said that you are the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with the most. I have met a lot of people who doubt that this is true. I am not 100% sure the exact number is 5, but let me assure you that you are indeed affected more than you might realize by the people around you. To help you realize how this happens let you provide you with an example. While working as DJs Margie and I are surrounded by both a lot of people and a lot of couples. Often, these couples are not their best after having consumed some cocktails. We have seen couples both verbally, emotionally and more often than I care to see, physically abuse each other. This could leave us with 2 conclusions. First, you see this often enough and it can’t help but dampen your enthusiasm about love and relationships. Second, you do leave with a feeling of gratitude (always a great and powerful emotion) saying to ourselves, “I am glad you are not like that man/woman.” or more to the point, “I am glad we are not like that couple.” This is good and does serve as a great warning of what could happen if we don’t work hard. there is a downside to that.
In our grateful attitude about being more emotionally mature, respectful or whatever difference may set us apart from those couples, it can leave us blind to, or lessen the concern for, issues we could be improving on. Instead of being concerned that our communication may be slipping from the great standard we like to keep it at, we may feel content that we are not screaming at each other like the couple we saw last night. Perhaps we have let our work commitments take us away from being as affectionate as our partner may like. We may not be as concerned because we are not grinding against someone else like that couple last weekend. I equate it to running a race against people you know you will always beat. Sure, you may win every time but will you get faster?
Do not get me wrong, there are lots of amazing couples we are blessed to have join us every weekend. In fact, we encourage them to come back every weekend. Watching them love and respect each other can inspire us and give us new ideas on ways that we can do the same for each other. We make it a point to search out and spend as much time as we can with couples that are even more loving and connected than we are. It not only reaffirms our faith in love, but pushes us to up our game when it comes to love.
This is just one example. The same holds true for keeping your faith, gossiping about others, staying positive, staying driven in your business or any other area of your life. Here is a great piece of wisdom. Whatever area of your life is lacking, begin by surrounding yourself with people who are exceling in that field at a high level. By associating with them you will both learn and be motivated to excel yourself. Pick your posse carefully. If you need help doing this feel free to pick up a copy of my book for additional tips.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!

A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

A lot of people will see this quote and think that it is not so. Of course a lot of people live a life that is south of amazing. Whether you are studying the law of attraction, business or quantum physics, you undoubtedly understand what you focus on expands in your life. The average person looks for and anticipates problems that may exist in any situation. It is a survival mechanism and can be extremely helpful. If, however, you are not just looking to survive in life, but to thrive, I suggest taking a slightly different approach.

Looking for challenges that might pop up in life is smart and I do so myself. Looking for and preparing for challenges is far different than focusing on them. When you are focused on seeing something in your life you will find it. When you are not focused on something in your life you may miss it even though it is right in front of you. If you find this hard to believe, stay tuned we will have a fun and simple experiment that you can do to prove it to yourself in just a second. First let us digest the theory that you notice what you focus on and miss what you don’t. There are people who are constantly telling others how rough their life is. How they have the worst luck. Wouldn’t you know that tends to hold true. You look at their life and some crazy things happen to them that are not that pleasant. It is not the things that happen that lead to the attitude, but the attitude that can perpetuate the events.

Those who have this challenging life may be rebeling at the notion of this, but that does not make it any less real. When you are determined to see the challenges in your life that make it such a struggle they will stand out nice and tall. Meanwhile, any good fortune you may have will go under appreciated at best, or even unnoticed at worst. When you life has a run a good luck your subconscious mind will spring into action and say, “Well he keeps saying we have bad luck. Let us go find some!” Believe me when I tell you I had a hard time accepting how responsible I was for my own life at first too. To help all of us along I am going to share a quick experiment with you that you can do wherever you are to demonstrate how true this is.

 

THE EXPERIMENT

 

Wherever you are right now whether it is at your home office, driving in a car, on the job or anywhere else this will be fun. First, clear your mind the best you can. Next, look around you for anything you see that is red. Find red anything. Red signs, people wearing red clothes, a red stop sign or anything else red. Look for red. See red and note that thing. Now close your eyes for a second (unless you are doing this experiment driving) and think of something around you that is brown. Rather hard to do isn’t it? A million brown things could have been surrounding you but you would not have noticed them because you were looking for something that is red. In fact, when you were looking for things that were red did you notice things that were maybe a dark shade of pink or wine colored just so you could have another thing that was red?

This is a basic example of how our minds work. Imagine if you will, how our life would change if we would use this for gratitude, for example. Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we can feel. How great would our life be if we looked for everything we loved in a situation? Think of how life would be if when we are stuck in traffic next time we played this game and asked ourselves over and over, “What can I be grateful for in this situation?” or “What do I love about this situation?”

I can tell you this formula has worked miracles in my life. I am not exagerating, but do not take my word for it. Use this experiment yourself. Do it for 21 days randomly throughout the day. Start with times you are enjoying yourself. This is a little easier and helps the brain get into the habit. Next, try it when you are waiting in line at the store, stuck in traffic or dealing with a difficult customer. Every time you use it, you will get better and so will your life. Feel free to share your experiences with using this formula.

MAKE ‘QUALITY’ TIME FOR WHAT YOU LOVE

This is a picture of my beautiful, but silly, Margie and myself out for a late-night breakfast. It was from a while ago as you can see I still have long hair. It is worth noting that we work quite a bit and between that and our social obligations we rarely find time to escape just the two of us. For those of you who have followed my work for any length of time,  you know Margie is the thing I love most in my life. For those of you new to the game, now you know as well.

Today’s post is all about not just taking time for the things you love in life, but making sure that time is quality time. Spending time with those you love is a great example. If you are on a romantic date, keep your phone off the table and out of your hand. Look into each other’s eyes when you are speaking to one another. My writing is another thing that I am extremely passionate about and look forward to. When I am going to write I need to have my mind focused on writitng, I need to have a fair amount of time available. If I am bothered by a situation that is upseting me or know that I have to be to work shortly, the writitng will not only suffer, but the time spent doing it will be rushed and not enjoyable.

How do we make sure the time we spend doing the things we love with the people we love is of the best quality? That is a question that we should ask ourselves on a regular basis. Life is short and fleeting. Magical moments we have can happen only once in a lifetime. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that we make the most out of them. When you are about to spend time with someone you love or do something you love, take a few minutes ahead of time to ask yourself, “How can I fully enjoy and make the most out of what I am about to do?” The answers will vary from situation to situation, but just by focusing on the situation will increase your odds significantly.

In general there are two things I find that can help you get the most out of any situation. These are not by any means the only things you can do, but are a good foundation. The first thing I suggest is setting a goal for the time you spent. This may sound terribly unromantic and not spontaneous, but hear me out. When my friend Russ came up for a visit from Arizona we had a million things we would like to do. In an effort to accomplish a fraction of them we set goals of what we would like to accomplish. Certainly, we did not get them all done but did make the most of the time we spent together. Having a goal for the time you spend doesn’t mean you have to be regid or not spontaneous. When a long work week has kept Margie and I apart, I always think how much I want to spend quality time in her presence. Sometimes that includes an evening of snacks and a movie at home. Knowing I want to enjoy her more than the movie, I make sure to steal glances at her beautiful face. I appreciate her lovely eyes and enjoy all of her cute expressions as she watches the movie. As the movie progresses, I even enjoy the sound of her sleeping next to me.

Having a goal makes doing the next thing I recommend a little easier. Always do your best to be present in the moment. Let us say you are going for a nice stroll through the park with the one you love. (Something Margie and I are looking to do more often) Instead of spending all of the time on your phone, try looking for animals in the park together. Notice how beautiful the natural scenery is around you. Being present is more than just being physically present. Make sure you are also mentally present. This can be even more difficult, but is even more important. If you are spending time with family and friends but worried about a situation at the office you will fail to enjoy the break you have. Do your best to clear your mind. Often, that is when solutions can present themselves. Meditation exercises can help this.

I would love to hear what steps you take to make sure the time you spend is quality time. Let us share with each other and we can all begin to live amazing lives!

SEE THE ‘I LOVE YOU’ ALL AROUND YOU

One of my favorite books for improving relationships is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In this book Mr. Chapman explores the different ways in which people both show and receive love. A quick example can be where one person enjoys the physical intimacy of touch, while another needs verbal appreciation. This can challenging when two people in a relationship express love in different ways. It can seem at times they are speaking two different languages. In essence, they really are.

While this can present a host of unique challenges, it can also present plenty of great opportunities. We may be missing plenty of expressions of love that surround us every day. People today, men especially it would seem, tend to be indirect in their appreciation. What do I mean by that? It would be most unlikely that someone may call or email you and say directly, “I just wanted to contact you and tell you how much I appreciate you.” They may, however, tell you how much they enjoyed your company the other night at dinner or even how much they enjoy your company in general.

A fair amount of time, things may not even be that direct. Your husband may help put away the dishes. Your wife may sit down and watch a show that you know she has no interest in just to be next to you. When you are having cocktails at your local watering hole and the bartender politely suggests you also enjoy a glass of water, they are showing they care about your well-being. When you drop your friend off after a fun night out and they tell you, “Text me when you get home.” It is a way of saying “I love and care about you and your safety. I will be a lot more at peace when I know you have arrived at your desitination unharmed.” I am going to venture a guess all of that thought will not have went into their statement and may not have crossed their mind in exactly that way, but that is the sentiment behind it.

Whether it is parents offering you food when you stop by to visit, or a small child giving you a craft item they have made, these are statements of love. In their own way they are saying, “This is what I have to offer. Please take it because you are special to me and I want you to feel that.” Again, these thoughts may not play out in such a complete fashion, but if you were to break it down, that is what would be conveyed.

What is the point of all of this? Simply this, we live in a world where love is all around us. Quite often negativity and hate get all the headlines, but stopping to notice and appreciate all of the love is esential to living an amazing life. In these examples, as well as countless others, love can often live in disguise. By noticing all of the subtle ways in which people tell us we are loved, we can realize that there is more goodness in this world than we often appreciate. As a side effect, we will realize how many people feel and show us love on a daily basis. Even though that is not what they may call it directly. Feeling all of this love can go a long way to helping us deal with the constant stream of challenges we face. 

NEVER CUT DOWN A TREE IN WINTER

This is a very important statement to ponder. You may even wish to print it out and keep it somewhere as a reminder. As I write this I am sitting in a newer Starbucks that has windows almost everywhere. This normally would be ideal, except it is like winter in Wisconsin where I live. Add to that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this disorder, more commonly known as S.A.D., is allow me to explain. S.A.D. is a condition that physically changes a person during the dark dreary months of winter. There are changes in hormonal levels that cause irritability at best and can bring on seasonal depression at worse. 

As you may imagine, this can be quite a challenge for someone who lives for inspiring and encouraging others. That challenge is compounded by living in a state that seems to have winter 9 months out of the year. We are working on changing that. (San Diego stay tuned) I can be in moods that are less than ideal in the coming months. Fortunately for me, the passion I have leads me to look for solutions instead of just acknowledge the problems.

It has also instilled in me a passion for controlling my emotional states. This can be helpful all year long. It is often tempting to make a decision when we are in an extreme emotional state. Especially when we are angry. The adrenaline these emotions give us can leave us feeling more powerful and motivated. Generally, this is a positive aspect of life and can be great if we use it to go to the gym and have an intense workout for example. This is why it is so important to have a healthy way of dealing with anger put in place before it occurs.

Extreme emotional states can twist our perception of reality. We tend to see things different than they really are and very often worse than they really are. Remember just as we have days that are meant to challenge us and make us grow, so do others. A good portion of the world has not learned to use challenges for growth. Sometimes their ignorance may manifest as poor treatment of you. Instead of getting mad and treating them harshly, why not use their treatment of you as an example of how to use challenges for growth. In my past, I did not always respond to challenging situations in a healthy way. It was those who responded with patience and understanding that taught me far more than those who responded with anger of their own.

Here is another reason, albeit a bit more selfish one, to not respond in anger. It saves you from looking like a fool. We all know a couple that personifies this. One day they are posting how terrible each other are on social media. They next day they are madly in love. Not only does this make you look silly, it weakens your relationship and calls into question the integrity of your character. Although having it in black and white for the world to read is pretty dramatic, the same holds true for what you say in person. If you are having a disagreement with someone be it your friend, spouse or coworker and you proceed to share the details and bad mouth them to everyone you see, it does not reflect as poorly on them as it does on you. Imagine what the person you are talking to will think when you have a disagreement with them? Fight to master your emotions. It will serve you, it will serve those who are in your life. 

WHY BE YOUR BEST?

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with my good friend Russ. We have known each other for roughly 30 years. Whenever we talk I always gain a great amount of inspiration and clarity. Not only on life itself, but on me. A friend who has known you for that length of time can really share some insightful things. I am always grateful for that. In our most recent conversation, Russ noted that I am “always positive and encouraging” While this may be a slight exaggeration, it is indeed my goal.

After some discussion as to why this is I had what can only be described as an ‘A-ha moment’. I told him the reason why I appear to be positive all of the time is because I bring who I am to everything I do. For example, my goal in writing these posts is to share knowledge I have come across in hopes of helping all of us live a more amazing life. Why? The reason is simple. I want to leave this world a better place than I found it. When I DJ, my goal is to help every person I come in contact with feel better about themselves or about life in general. Same thing at the post office, when I go out for coffee or grocery shopping.

This can be both a blessing and a curse. Earlier in my life, I brought myself everywhere I went as well. The problem was I was not the best version of myself. This is a very important reason to always be your best. You follow you wherever you go. We can do our best to pretend to be somebody else, but at the end of the day our true persona will always shine through.

There is another very important reason to always do your best to be the best version of yourself. Inevitably we will be faced with challenges and disappointments in life. We will lose a job, a relationship will end or worst of all, we will lose somebody we love. When we are the best versions of ourselves it will save us a good deal of heartache. One of the worst feelings anyone can pile on a bad situation is regret. If we lose a job that is not the time to say to ourselves, “I wish I would have performed better.” If we lose a relationship it is a little too late to say, “I wish I would have been better for that person.” At funerals would you believe loss is not the most painful feeling? It is regret. I wish I wouldn’t have spoke harshly to that person, or I wish I would have said I love you one more time.

Chances are in your life all three things will happen at some point. If they don’t we can certainly practice gratitude, but that is another topic. If we are normal adults these situations will all happen. If we do our best at our jobs and still end up losing them at least we can say, “Well they lost a good employee!” and it will certainly help us land our future occupation. Even if your boss is a jerk, even if you dread going there, do your best. Not for them, but for you. The same holds true in a relationship. You may spend all of your energy and romance on someone and they still might break your heart. It is sad but true. How much better would it be to realize they just lost the best thing they will ever have. Not to mention it will save you years of beating yourself up over “I should have” and “What if…” When it comes to the loss of a loved one there will always be pain. That pain will only be compounded if we honestly did not give our all to that relationship. We will always wish we had more time with that person and did more, but if we did our best we can have peace in our hearts.

I urge you to call that person that needs to hear from you. Give your effort at work. Think of, and act on romantic notions you have with your partner. Even if things end badly, you will have the confidence and inner peace of knowing you did your best.

WHEN THE NIGHTMARE BECOMES THE MIRACLE

Every day as part of my day job I drive several miles. On this daily commute I listen to the country music station. Whether you like that music or not, I would like to share a very interesting thought that was brought to light by doing just such a thing. On this particular day the song Living by Dierks Bentley came on. This song is about the difference between just ‘being alive’ and really living. In the lyrics he references really noticing a tree he has seen a thousand times, stopping to enjoy the rising sun and “Drink it in like whiskey”. There is also a mention of stopping to watch a bird on a branch and watching it fly away.

My favorite part of this song is about his lady. After noticing all of the amazing things in nature he goes back inside to fire up a pot of coffee (nature and coffee can you see why I like this song?) As he is doing so his lady walks in wearing his shirt “Like she always does” the song says. Suddenly he is overcome with love and gratitude for her. He kisses her like it is the first time and tells her he loves her and can’t live without her. He also mentions that he knows he doesn’t express those feelings enough.

 This song reminded me of the countless stories I have read or heard about someone confronting their mortality and suddenly looking around and seeing the beauty in everything. Often when we are confronted with or overcome our greatest nightmare, that is when we begin seeing miracles everywhere. When there is the possibility that this may be your last day on earth suddenly everything becomes a treasure. The smell of a summer breeze, the smile on a loved one’s face or in the case of the song, sunshine, trees and birds. Why does it so often take death to make us appreciate life? The truth is these miracles are around us every day.

I would like to also take a moment to discuss the other verse of the song. The one where his lady walks into the kitchen wearing his shirt and he falls in love with her all over again. When you think about love it really is a miracle. No matter how amazing of a person you are, having another person be able to be around you everyday can present its challenges. To have that person not only tolerate you, but to look forward to see you and enjoy your company is a miracle.

I am grateful through practicing living a life of gratitude and doing my best to be present I have had some amazing gifts bestowed on me. Most obvious is my beautiful Margie. When I look at her and think of how hard she works and the amazing things she creates, the beauty just flows from her. Just this morning in the kitchen she had been up for over 24 hours making cakes and DJing. Her hair was put up she was wearing a shirt she didn’t mind getting full of dye and frosting. As I watched her knowing that she was pushing herself to not only earn income to help our household, but to bring joy to somebody (or in this case multiple somebodies) special day, I couldn’t help but thinking “Damn, I have one amazing and beautiful woman.” I told her that, which is something I wish more men understood to do. She couldn’t imagine after not sleeping, her hair a mess and not being dressed up  how she could be beautiful to me. If she only knew. Actually she will know when she reads this.

The point today is that life and love are two miracles that are around us everyday. There is a difference between just being alive and truly living. It is my suggestion that we use the power of gratitude and living in the present to give us this amazing life. It is difficult to do all of the time, but the more you practice it the more your life will be amazing.

I would LOVE to hear your stories of when you were not just alive, but truly living.

ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S HARD

In this blog we explore many ways in which to have an amazing life. A lot of that focus tends to fall on how to have an amazing relationship. After all, relationships, more than anything else, have a great impact on our lives. Let us be honest, if our relationships are less than amazing, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for our lives to be amazing. That is why I recommend relationship building as a life-long study regardless of the field you are in.

Even in the best relationships things can go south. Despite our best efforts, despite all of our best intentions and study, things often zig when they should have zagged. It happens. When we find ourselves in a state that seems to be less then amorous with our partners it can be easy to stray from the things we know we should do. The ironic part is that is when it is most important.

One of the things I always do for Margie is open her car door. To me it is a sign of respect. It is a little thing I can do to show her how much I value and treasure the lady she is. Another thing we do for each other is kiss each other at red lights. This does two very important things. First, it places a loving action in what is generally a mundane and occasionally stressful activity. Second, it turns red lights from something to dread, to something to look forward to.

When things in the relationship are running on less than ideal terms certain thoughts come to mind. I am reminded she is physically capable of opening her own door and how nice it would be to get into the car and relax myself. There are times when I could look straight ahead and focus on the waiting for the red light to change instead of leaning over to kiss her. It is these times, however, when it is most important to do these actions.

This is why. When I open the door for her even when we are not seeing eye to eye, it shows her that even though I may not be happy with the situation, I still respect and honor her as my lady. When I lean over to kiss her at a red light on a night we might not be on the best of speaking terms it says, “Even though we not be liking each other a lot right now, I still love you.” It is vitally important to maintain little actions that show respect and love in times of discord. Quite often these can soften the hardest of hearts, even if that one is your own at times.

Here is a great side-effect that arises from maintaining these loving actions. At the end of the day you can look back and know that despite circumstances, you were the best version of yourself. You can also be confident that you did what was right for your relationship. It would be easy, and even excusable, to forgo certain loving actions when you are angry. What it will not do is give you an amazing relationship. That, as we discussed earlier, will make it very difficult to have an amazing life.

KEEP THANKING

As I returned to work from an extended vacation, I began to return to my normal routine. Part of the routine is after I shave I use this fabulous item. ‘BeardSconsin old fashion small batch beard oil’. I must confess a little over a year ago I had some confusion as to what beard oil actually was. It was obvious it was some oil you put on your facial hair, but why?

At a local October fest celebration there happened to be a stand selling this item. I asked questions and was informed as to all of the benefits of beard oil. Smoothing facial hair and the skin beneath it. This product was offered in a wide array of scents and I was afforded the opportunity to smell them all. The old fashion scent was the most pleasing to me.

In a surprise move, Margie decided to purchase this for me and give it to me as a surprise. It is little things this that keep our relationship alive and well. Then again, in reflection perhaps she was hinting my goatee was out of control or even smelled bad? Regardless, it was a sweet gesture and I greatly appreciated it. That evening I tried the oil for the first time and was amazed at how well it worked.

To this day every time I pull it out of the cabinet in the bathroom I cannot help but be taken back to the evening she surprised me with it. I also feel that same feeling of gratitude and appreciation for the nice gesture. This went on for months. Recently, I scolded myself. “You should be telling her how grateful you feel.” I realized by not doing so I was keeping all of these wonderful feelings of love, gratitude and appreciation to myself.

In the days and weeks that followed, I have thanked her a few times. She may even be growing tired of hearing of it. Still, it is important to convey great memories and especially feelings of appreciation whenever we have them. It is a gift to ourselves and to those we love.

Here is my suggestion. Pick an item that has a positive strong memory attached to it. Whenever you see or handle that item allow yourself to be transported back to the moment in which it came into your life. Feel all of the great feelings of love, joy, gratitude or whatever else it conjures up. Do this every time you come across this item. It could be a coffee mug given to you by your children. It could be the picture of the one you love in your purse or wallet. The possibilities are endless. When you are done enjoying these feelings, make sure you convey them to those involved.

You can even try picking a different item each week or month. It will not only add joy to your life, it will add it to those you share it with. It will also help strengthen your relationships. I would love to hear about your experiences and what item or items you have chosen.

DON’T WASTE IT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This picture really sums things up quite well. Here is something to think about, the hourglasses in this picture could easily be reversed. As I was preparing to write this I learned a close childhood friend of mine passed away on his 41st birthday. It would be nice if we all had hourglasses or some other sign to know when our time was about to expire.  Here is the thing that is rather sad, as people see that your time is drawing to a close they are more likely to tell you they love you, spend quality time with you and share emotionally with you.

Why is that sad? It is sad because we should not wait until the sand in our hourglass is running out to treat each other that way. It is easy to remember when your 80 year-old relative is in the hospital, but like the passing of my friend shows, it can be any time. Treating each other with dignity, compassion and respect should be a daily activity.

Here is another thought to ponder, not only are we unable to know when the sands of time are running low for those we love, but we never know how much sand we have left ourselves. Try asking yourself every morning if today was my last day what would I want to tell those I love? In what ways would I go out of my way to spread love? The crazy thing about asking that question is one day you will be right.