DAY 3 OF THE JULY WORLD-CHANGING CHALLENGE!

Today is one of those positive things that just come to you, or in this case me. My day started out like any other, waking up early to go to the gym. On this fine morning I had to get up a little earlier than normal to get my workout in. I had to stop at the mechanic as my battery in my Ford Escape had seemed to have broken free of its confines. I made it to the mechanic with time for them to look at it and still make it to my day job at the United States Postal Service. Fortunately for me, the repair only took a matter of minutes and they were able to correct the problem for the moment.

While this was good on one hand, it left me with too much time to go to work, but not enough time to go back home. I decided I would visit the Starbucks that is conveniently located next to the Post Office I work at. I parked and began to walk up. There were two young ladies already sitting outside enjoying the sunny day. They informed me that only seconds before a lady had rushed to the door and taped up a sign that said “Sorry closed” and locked the door. I chuckled thinking to myself, “Perhaps they knew I was coming.” They only other thing open in near proximity was a sandwich shop. I availed myself to one of their delicious offerings and took it outside to sit in the sun. Only moments into enjoying my unplanned lunch, the manager of the now closed coffee shop came out and inquired if I would be interested in a free Nitro coffee. After affirming quickly she disappeared inside again. When she came out she explained that the hot water heater had exploded and the entire store was under water! She knew I was a good customer and wanted to make sure I still got something. Sitting in the hot sun, the cold coffee tasted ever so good.

This was a positive event for several reasons. First, I got a free delicious coffee. You can never go wrong there. Second, it reminded me how important it is to be nice to everyone you encounter. (More on that tomorrow) Had I not been a frequent and nice customer, I doubt there would have been such an offer made. It was also impressive that the manager took the time to think of me while she was busy trying to salvage items in the face of the oncoming flood. I left with a very positive feeling and it was a great start to the rest of my day!

I hope you are having great luck finding one positive thing you can post. Do not forget to share them online and spread the joy this first week of July!

DAY 2 OF OUR FUN JULY CHALLENGE

Day 2 of our challenge! I hope you made it through day 1 without posting anything negative and remembering to share at least one thing positive online. With most of us still quarantined at home, life exists to a greater degree online. Therefore, the positive changes we are making can have an even greater impact.

I have a great deal of positive to share today. I am going to start with this morning. For the last few years I have had a lingering calf issue. I enjoy jogging despite not being built for such endeavors. After a week or two of jogging I would always get a terrible pain in my calf that would last roughly 2 weeks. This on again, off again training did not allow me to get into much of a rhythm. The last time this injury happened I was alone on a local hiking trail here and over a mile from my car. A long painful limp back, plus the fact that it turned black and blue, prompted me to say, “enough is enough!” I went to the doctor only to discover I had a strain and slight tear in my Achilles tendon. Without physical therapy I risked surgery and weeks of being off my feet all together.

All of this may not sound positive to you, but to me it was. Not only did I finally learn what the problem was, I had a plan to correct it. I found myself at the sports medicine center and in the capable hands of Griffin. After several questions and a complete exam, he developed a plan for my recovery. He informed me that in about 4 to 6 weeks I should really be seeing improvement. I was given several exercises to do at home and soon should be running, jumping and playing with the other kids!

The next bit of great news is that I finally have my ‘office’ back. That was a line I borrowed from my good friend Scott. Since March, the coffee shops here have been closed to inside seating. Recently, they just opened up with social distancing practices in place. Although writing at home with a beautiful lady can be fun, it can also be quite distracting. I always want to give her my attention when I am in her presence. When I am by myself in a coffee shop I tend to disappear in my own little writing world. Sometimes this can be quite amusing as I look up and all of the people around me have changed and I was completely unaware. This is not where the good news ends!

Another great thing about today’s visit is the thoughtful nature of my beautiful lady. When she heard that Starbucks was opening she wanted to buy me my first coffee. She presented me with a gift card at lunch the other day. As I am writing this, I can’t help but think of her thoughtfulness. Not to mention she is on my screen saver. Filled with love, writing just seems to flow.

That is 3 pieces of positive news! I have already found myself looking for things to share that are positive. I hope you are having luck finding your positive news. Feel free to share your positive stories in the comments below, but don’t forget to share them online as well!

DAY 1 OF THE 7 DAY JULY CHALLENGE!

Our first day! 7 days, all positivity, no negativity!! Giving our souls a little vacation. If you are just joining us, for the first 7 days of my birth month we are going to 1.) Cease from posting anything negative and 2) post one thing positive each day. By the end of the week we should have raised our vibration and begun to not only change ourselves but the world around us.

Here is mine. It is my sincere desire these 7 days begin to change the narrative. The more we change the focus to that of love and gratitude, we will inspire others to do the same. In turn, perhaps they may go on to share a smile or kind word to another. Thus, creating a ripple effect of kindness.

Can you ‘catch’ love from another person? I think you know the answer to that is yes. How do you feel when someone pays you a genuine compliment? Let’s you know how proud they are of you, or best of all, says they love you. You chest swells a little and joy seems to radiate from within.

The great thing about love, the more we share, the more we create! Putting more love into the world not only creates a more loving world, but a more loving you! Thunk of how you feel when you tell someone how wonderful they are, how proud you are of them or how much you love them? You feel better inside!

That is my positive thought today let us start a pandemic of love and let us share it wherever we can!

6TH DAY OF HAPPINESS

Today’s post is one that is simple, not complicated. It should be easy to do then, right? I have learned in my over 2 decades of work in the self-improvement field you should never confuse the word simple with the word easy. Sometimes the simplest things in life can be the most difficult to do on a regular basis. Even if we know what to do, having the strength and will to do so can be a different story all together.

That brings us to today’s step in our ’10 steps to happiness’. That step is Frown less, smile more. There are many studies from some of the most prestigious universities that prove the physical act of smiling can go a long way to improving your emotional state. There is even one study where they took clinically depressed individuals and had them do nothing but smile in a three-way mirror for a scheduled amount of time and the results they experienced either rivaled or surpassed the prescription medication they were on. Of course, the economic ramifications of this will reduce the chances that we will see more such tests.

The results are there. From a personal standpoint, how do we feel when someone smiles at us? Even if they have the audacity to do that to us when we are trying to remain in a bad mood, it will, if only for the moment, bring us a certain amount of joy. Often, the act of receiving a smile will cause us to return one of our own. Get one from a puppy dog or small child and you can all but kiss that bad day goodbye! How does it feel when you receive a genuine loving smile from that special person in your life? I can tell you that nothing gives me a greater sense of pride or accomplishment than to see a smile on Margie’s face and knowing I had put it there. (Not to mention her beauty shines through the most when she smiles. It is like a ray of sunshine)

If all of these smiles feel so good, if there is even scientific evidence to back up the physical benefits of smiling, why do we not smile more? Some of us are self-conscious of our smiles. Maybe we even have dental reasons to feel so. Keeping that in mind, you don’t have to flash your teeth like you are a used car salesman or a star on an infomercial. Although, it does bear mentioning that a smile can even be an effective business tool. Even an upturn at the end of our lips and a little sparkle in the eye can be joy to anyone’s soul. Someone who smiles is automatically more attractive. Don’t believe me? Think of those weight loss commercials. The have a before and after picture. Guess which one is smiling? The one after they have used the latest miracle pill.

Sometimes the act of smiling takes effort. There are many people, myself included, who when concentrating or otherwise involved have a stern look on their face. If we were to take a deep breath and smile, it would not only undoubtedly make us feel better, but would also refresh our brains so that we may better concentrate on the task at hand. Whatever you are doing today, make sure to take a few moments out of your day to offer a smile to as many folks as you can. it will help increase both your happiness and theirs. That is what you call a win/win situation.

DAY 5, HALFWAY THROUGH OUR HAPPINESS JOURNEY

Here we are, halfway up the staircase. It is a great chance to stop and look at how far we have come. It is also a good time to see although we have made it halfway up this staircase, there is still another half to climb. Unlike the office stairs after taco Tuesday, climbing these steps will not cause us to be winded, but put more wind in our sails and happiness in our lives. Without further anticipation, let us get to day number 5!

Today’s post is another good struggle for me. I say ‘good struggle’ because although it is something I have to work on, that means there is more joy to be had in my already joyful life. Talk less, listen more. This is great advice. In fact, it is the first piece of advice I give someone looking to improve any relationship in their life. You can learn so much by actively listening to the other party in your life. They will tell you what they enjoy. What makes them happy, sad, angry and a host of other emotions. Listen long and careful enough and they just might share their hopes and dreams with you.

Here is another great thought to ponder. When we talk we are only repeating what we already know. When we listen is the only time we have an opportunity to learn something new. That one really caught my attention. Even reading, which I love to do, is a form of listening. You are really just listening to yourself.

Here is why this is such a struggle for me. I love talking. I am good at it. 23 years as a bartender. 30 years in customer service and now 7 or so as a DJ. I am good at talking and relating to people. Sometimes I even feel rude if I don’t ‘keep the conversation going’. Especially with people who are not so good at talking. While this can be done with caution, you will still only get to know even a person who is very shy by listening. It may be a struggle for them, but by listening you give them room to express themselves.

Lately, I have even learned somethings listening to our friends in nature. I am learning which call matches up with which bird. I am listening to know the sound a deer makes in the woods long before you see it. Listening has added so much to my world. Please feel free to share how listening has added happiness and joy to your world.

YOUR 3RD STEP TO HAPPINESS

Welcome to day 3 of our happiness journey! As a quick reminder we are starting from the bottom of staircase and climbing our way to a happier and more amazing life. A quick review of day 2. Watch less, do more was our guide. As we discussed, watching can have a great deal of benefits but nothing compares to being out in the arena taking action!

Now let us get to today, day 3! This day may be one of the hardest days for a lot of people. Judge less, accept more. It can be hard for many of us to accept those who live their lives in a different manner than we feel is right. The one fact we must keep in the front of our mind is that it is their life to live. We may disagree with how they are spending their days, but it is their time they are spending. Often, some of our most passionate beliefs such as spiritual, sexual and political can be the hardest to accept someone that is different than us. One of my main goals as a writer is to help the world be more unified and accepting.

One fact that people often confuse is they feel one way can only exist in humanity. I have friends who have different sexual preferences than I do. Never, have I felt that either one of us would have to change how we are in order to be friends. Never have I thought less of them because they do. I have friends of many different spiritual beliefs. I feel their differences often show me ways to enhance and deepen my own beliefs. Politics…I seldom see the benefit to judging or trying to change anyone in this arena. As long as there exists love, I feel any other difference can be overcome. Which leads me to conclude that to limit our judgement, we do not need to work on increasing our acceptance, but on increasing our love.

One area in which I struggle with is watching others live a life that is far less than I know they are capable of. I see people act and speak in ways that often bring chaos and unhappiness into their lives. All I see is the beautiful person inside that has so much to offer the world. It can be tempting to relieve some of this frustration by offering to help them by sharing things I have learned that allowed me to turn my own life around. I must remember that this path is not for everyone and that some people are more content to live their lives in the manner in which they do. As an odd twist of fate, I found that loving and accepting those people can help them even more than the words and ideas I can share. Like I said, it is something I am working on.

If you feel comfortable sharing some of your struggles in turning judgement into acceptance in your own life, I think we all would love to hear them. Sometimes that might give others the strength and inspiration to do the same.

YOU HAVE BEEN PLANTED, NOT BURIED

You can’t help but to relate when you look at this picture. We have all been there. Asking ourselves, or the powers that be, “Why on earth am I in this terrible situation?” I often think my talents could be better served in a more conducive work enviroment in a warmer climate. Then I realize that I have the opportunity to grow and inspire others through this enviroment.

Another aspect of this picture that is worth pondering is what you can be buried in. When the ‘manure’ of life seems overwhelming we must remember one thing – what is the purpose of spreading manure on the ground? If you answered ‘to help things grow’ you are correct! The same holds true in our lives. Can you think of a time life covered you in a large dose of manure? You may have felt like the seed in the second picture. That life was over. It seemed dark and unfair. You may have felt hurt and pain. Inevitably, if we make it through all of that, what ends up happening? The painful and trying events that buried us and felt like it turned our lives into a big pile of manure, ended up teaching us some of the greatest lessons.

Although lessons can suck to go through, they always force us to grow. What happens when we grow is really quite simple – we become stronger and better people. Seeds will not grow well without being buried. Add a little manure on top of them and they tend to grow even faster. The same is true of us. The harder our life, the more the opportunity to grow. When life has you covered it what seems like a blanket of manure, tell yourself, “I’m not buried. I am planted!” Shout it out if you can. It may seem a little hokey, but it may very well take you from feeling self-pity, to looking for how to put the situation to work for you and what you can get out of it in terms of growth.

IF I DID SOMETHING WRONG

It never ceases to amaze me how many times this shows up in my life. In the past, it used to show up in my life. On occasion it still does, but for the most part I have learned the importance of expressing one’s emotions. I know in the grips of painful emotions this is not always easy. It took a great deal of effort and a good deal of patience and help from Margie to help me develop this skill. Here is what I learned. If you are able to express yourself in a healthy constructive manner your results will be far better.

How often have you heard one of your friends tell you about someone who is really doing something to upset them? When you ask if they have told them, the answers vary. Sometimes you hear things like “They should know!” or “They could tell by how upset I am.” These always make me laugh. How can someone be so upset as to tell an uninvolved third party, but not the offending party? I get it. I was guilty of this in the past. You may very well think this person knows, but never under estimate the ingnorance of some individuals. You really cannot hold someone accountable unless you are 100% sure they know what they are doing. Let me be specific here. The only way to be 100% sure is by telling them.

Here is where it can get a little tricky. Simply telling them what a jerk they are being or how much they are upseting you will only make things worse. Think of how you would feel if someone had to tell you that they were upset with you. That is a good measure of how to say something. Often, being told you are doing something that upsets someone can put us on the defensive. Nobody likes to think of themselves as ‘the bad guy or girl’. That is why it is helpful to begin with a phrase like, “I’m sure you don’t mean to, but I want you to know it upsets me when you ___” or even ask for their input by saying something like this, “It upsets me when you ___. I am sure that is not your intent, but how do you think we could fix that?” Be open to understanding that you may play a role in helping. Perhaps approaching things from a different perspective. In some cases it may require patience, compassion and understanding from you as the person works with you to resolve whatever issue is bothering you.

On the opposite end, when someone comes to you with something you are doing that upsets them it is important to exercise the same things. First, remember they may do so with more of a confrontational style. Not everyone has learned the proper way to express their hurt and pain. Realize by bringing it to you they are really having a cry for help. It may seem and feel as if you are being attacked, but remember this person is in pain and may not be acting in their best nature. This can be very difficult to do. Being able to do so, however, will make people feel more comfortable to come to you in the future. This will not only make your relationships better, but it will help you grow as a person as well. At some point, you could even use this as a teaching moment. Saying something like, “I really appreciate you letting me know that I have upset you. That wasn’t my intent. In the future could you please let me know before you get too upset. I do not want to risk losing you as a friend.”

Being able to do these things is not easy. It will take patience and having a thick skin. You cannot take the way people bring their pain and upset to you. Especially before you have a chance to discuss that aspect with them. Being able to do so will allow them to feel more comfortable to do so in the future. When bringing up your own upsets, remember to ask yourself, “How would I like to be told about this?” That will insure you do so with attention to the other parties feelings. Following these rules will transform your life for the better.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR LIFE?


How do you see life? This is a question that came up in a book I reading. I am forever telling people how powerful the words they choose are. Sometimes How you say something is just as important as what you are saying. A quick example, “This job is killing me!” verses “This job sure is a challenge.” Say them both out loud now. Do they conjure up different feelings? I think you could even answer that without reading them. Now imagine multiplying this example thousands of times over the course of a day. Can you see how many times you affect your mood?

Back to our original question – How do you see life? This overall theme can also determine a great deal when it comes to your life. Some people say life is a battle. They will be on guard to defend themselves. Every challenge may seem like a battle to them. When they wake up in the morning it may very well feel as if they are going to war with the world. They may seldom get to appreciate all of the good times because they will be using that time to prepare for the next foe or situation that may attack.

Some of us say life is a circus. We will tend to notice the absurd and perhaps view life as something we are watching. This does have it’s perks. When something happens in your life that you can hardly believe, it is like a crazy act at a circus. You will notice ring leaders, lion tamers and certainly a fair share of clowns. You might miss out on chances for serious growth and contribution. You may not realize that you are also part of the circus and playing your own role in someone else’s circus.

Some of us view life as a party. One can understand how this may be beneficial. You will be forever on the lookout for something to celebrate. This is one of the three questions I recommend everyone ask themselves when they wake up in the morning, “What can I celebrate today?” Sometimes the answer is just that you woke up. Sometimes, like in my case, you are celebrating waking up next to the woman of your dreams. The fact that you are employed, even if it may not be your dream job, can be worth celebrating. What could be bad with this outlook on life? If life is a party, often we can be lax on our responsibilities. Maybe we go out with friends before realizing that we needed that money for our heating bills? We could not spend the amount of time on introspection that would benefit us.

As you can see each way of looking at life can have pros and cons. I am not here to tell you which one is better or worse. That will depend greatly on you and what you wish to feel and accomplish in your life. What is important is to ask yourself, “How do I see life?” If you are not living an amazing life, perhaps your definition of life in general has a great deal to do with that. I would LOVE to hear how you define life.

WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS EXPRESSION

It amazes me how much people will spend on items to promote their business, yet not invest much if any time and money on themselves. If you read the quote above you will see what I mean. “Your smile is your logo” is the first part. How many places to you enter where they do not even offer you a smile? Margie and I recently went to one of our favorite breakfast spots. When we entered the sign said “Hostess will seat you” the hostess, without looking up, asked how many were in our party. After informing her there were only two so she would not have to strain her neck by looking up, we expected to be seated. While still not looking up, she waved her hand in a general direction and said, “You can sit over there.” Had this been our first trip to this place we may not have even bothered sitting down. Margie, in her not so patient with poor customer service way, asked the hostess for some clarity as to what the wave of a hand and ‘over there’ meant. Luckily, a lady caught our confusion and clarified. We were shown to a table and treated to great service by a young lady named Izzy. Had we not ate here before it would not have even come to that. A smile can either make or break a first impression. Best of all? It doesn’t cost a single thing.

“Your personality is your business card” is the second part. Before this breakfast experience, we had went to look for a new vehicle. While at the dealership we ran into the issue of being shown the vehicle for a test drive at the same time another couple was. Our sales man pushed the other salesman out of the way and they exchanged explicatives with each other. As I turned the key I noticed the ‘check engine’ light was on. That coupled with the fact the sales staff was almost at blows, caused me to leave the lot without a purchase. The man gave me his business card on the way out. However, his personality is what I will remember more. Acting with a sense of professionalism and customer service is not that difficult. Neither is refraining from swearing at or punching your coworker. Having a great personality with customers is priceless but does not cost you anything.

The last part of the quote, “How you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.” Think about how people must feel after having left your presence. I believe this practice should be uniform throughout your business as well as your personal life. Not only is it near impossible to fully ‘switch’ personalities, but it is far easier and less stressful to maintain a great personality. On a personal level, when we DJ there are 3 things I do my best to leave with everyone I come in contact with. First, I like to make them laugh. Everyone needs a little humor, especially when you are out having fun. Second, I want them to feel good about themselves. That is why my humor is usually positive and inspiring. Lastly, if there is a couple in attendance, I try to instill and magnify feelings of love between them. If you go home from our show laughing feeling good about yourself and with a new appreciation for your partner, why would you not want to come back?

All of these items are free from a monetary standpoint. The time and effort you invest in them will be worth its weight in gold. Next time you are in the process of purchasing new business cards or marketing materials for your business, ask yourself, “Am I, and all the members of my staff doing what they can to leave the customer with a good experience?” If the answer is ‘no’ then you might be better off putting your investment there. If the customer has a bad service experience, no fancy business card or flashy mailer will impress them. Spend your time and money on books and materials that can assist you in better relating to people. It will not only help your bottom line, it will also help your reputation. With people sharing their lives on social media and through word of mouth, you cannot afford a poor customer service experience.