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.
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 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.
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.
Today is my mother’s birthday. She has a saying that she has been using ever since I can remember. It is simply, “It will be ok.” It does not sound that profound, but it represents a certain amount of both faith and persistence. Both of those words are tied together as we discussed a few posts back. I would like you to keep that saying in mind as you take in the one in the photo above.
Mosaics are made from broken pieces, but they’re still works of art. And so are you. What an amazing thought. Considering all of the times that we have all felt and perhaps were broken this is quite reassuring. When we put all of those broken pieces together they turn into something beautiful. Just like all of the situations that have left us feeling broken have made us who we are.
Make no mistake, what kind of picture is formed is entirely up to us. As the saying goes, we can become bitter or we can become better. Do our broken pieces amount to a pile of garbage or are we putting them together to form a mosaic, a work of art? Challenges can leave us angry, bitter or jaded. They can also make us more compassionate, loving and understanding. The choice is up to us, not the circumstances we have been through.
Another gift of challenges is that they make us strong, which in turn is beautiful. You may meet someone who is physically stunning, but has never faced serious adversity. What they have an abundance of physically, they may lack in compassion and inner strength. Some of us who have been through the toughest moments can be the most loving and understanding because we know what it is like to feel broken and hurt.
Today, gather your broken pieces and see what a wonderful work of art has been made in you. When life is providing you more ‘pieces’ for your mosaic and life is tough, remember my mother’s saying – “It will be ok.” Maybe not right now. Maybe not tomorrow, but eventually it will all be ok.
We all have been there. You go the grocery store hungry and end up at the checkout with things in your cart that you are not even sure what they are. You end up at home with items that are neither healthy or in some cases even desirable. You eat these items and create a situation for yourself that is neither healthy or desirable. Conversely, when we go to the grocery store with our stomachs full, after an abundance of food, we are able to make better decisions, healthier decisions. We shop with more restraint, with more intelligence. Acting on these decisions we put ourselves in healthier and more situations. The same holds true in economic terms. When we are in dire need of income we can be inclined to do things we might find questionable. There is a direct link between unemployment, both male and female, and violent crime and domestic violence. When the unemployment rate goes up, there is also a rise in violent crime and domestic violence. When we are in a state of economic abundance we will use our shrewd judgement and not submit ourselves to anything that we find in questionable judgement or does not meet our moral standards. What does all of this have to do with having a great relationship? Plenty. Many people are astounded, some perhaps envious, of mine and Margie’s relationship. Many of you may wonder about fidelity. How do we avoid temptation? Is there even temptation out there. The answer, which is probably the same in your relationship, is both yes and no. As DJs, we can come in contact with, and at some times seem surrounded by, people who have little if any respect for our relationship. Margie’s amazing singing talent, not to mention her stunning physical beauty is certainly available for everyone to see. I would be a fool to think that there are not other men who desire to be in my position. Do I worry? On occasion, but not as much as you might imagine. In my own world I was a bartender for 23 years. I was also a singer in a rock-n-roll band. Currently, I am an author and motivational speaker. That is a world that can be seemingly filled with temptation. Still Margie’s worry is less than one would think.This may sound like statements filled with contradictions. What is our secrets? Why are we not frought with jealousy and worry? If a man who does not respect himself enough to conduct himself properly, does his best to garner Margie’s attention, I know he will need more than charm and looks. Will he do his best to support her and set a great example spiritually? I know he will have to be committed to listening to not only what Margie says, but perhaps more importantly what she does not say, with the desire to be the best man he can be. I know he would need to work tirelessly not only on the relationship, but on himself so that he can bring the best to the relationship. He will need to have over 2 decades of knowledge of, and research into, both personal and relationship development. This is not to mention the seemingly small daily acts to show her how much she is loved and valued. He will also have to understand that those acts are not little at all, but what makes the difference in a relationship. What about me? Truly when bartending there were women who tried just about anything to not only get a free drink, but often go home with the bartender. I don’t think I need to expound on what happens when you are a singer in a band either. Some of these ladies would be what most would consider fairly to even very attractive. Shouldn’t that drive Margie nuts? I am sure women, just like men in the example above, who are disrespectful to us and to our relationship can be frustrating. What Margie realizes is what is truly important to me. Are you capable of conducting and participating in deep and philosophical conversations? Can you help me grow spiritually? Will you support and encourage me as I do my best to better myself. This would include physically at the gym, economically, and as mentioned early, spiritually. A woman would have to work tirelessly to help me expand my influence and help keep the flames of desire inside me to help others and to make the world a better place burning bright.In simple terms, we never send each other to the grocery store hungry. We do our best to keep our relationship in a state of abundance. When we are full of love, respect, and abundant in love we are not tempted to put things in our ‘cart’ that would be unhealthy. We do not consume those temptations and put ourselves in unhealthy and undesirable situations. When you send your partner out to the grocery store of the world hungry, they will be susceptible to temptation and fill their carts with things that will not be healthy and desirable for that relationship. Remember to keep your partner’s heart full. Never send them to the grocery store hungry.
On this blog we do things to try to limit regret in our lives. Regret is one of the worst emotions to have. At a funeral the toughest emotion to get over is not sadness, but regret. “I wish I would have….” feeling. Part of the Secret to an Amazing Life is doing less things you regret and regretting less things. If you live life in the best manner you can, you have less to regret.
Despite our best efforts, we all end up with some regret in our lives. Those of us who really work hard to be the best we can be, can have the most difficulty getting over regret. As I often do, let me share a personal example with you. When I reflect on relationships I have had with people in the past I can sometimes cringe at the memory of how I acted. In some cases the person’s actions may have not been the best either. I recall a boss I had when I first started at the Post Office that was always belittling. You could understand acting in a disrespectful or defensive nature to someone who did not respect you. Although their actions may be disrespectful, it does not excuse us from being the same.
As with all of us, I have had friendships that have been damaged. Maybe even some that have been lost due to things that were said and done between both parties. Special moments have been ruined or at least dampened due to behavior. Upon reflection I would become frustrated with myself. Then I heard something from Les Brown, “If you wouldn’t do the same thing today, then you are convicting an innocent person.” It was then I turned regret on its head. Instead of avoiding the sting of regret I put it to work for me. Whenever I am tempted to act in a manner beneath the best version of me I pause and remember the outcome of a time I did so and regret it. I ask myself, “Do you really want to feel like that again?” Especially if the pain is strong enough, it is enough to put me back on the right track. Regret has done more to shape my current behavior than most other things.
It is not just for keeping you from acting like a social degenerate. Regret can motivate you to do the right thing when you lack the inner drive. I recently read a story of a father in the UK who couldn’t go on a ride with his son because he was too large to fit into the cart. He used the sadness in his son’s face as well as his own embarrassment to lose almost half of his weight. Having a painful memory like that not only drove him to lose the weight but also allowed him to keep it off.
Many of you may recall the story of not going to the rummage event with my grandfather before he passed. It really wasn’t enjoyable for me at the time, but it really brought him joy. Now when I know there are things that others enjoy or that bring them happiness, I focus on the fact that I am helping the one I love. That is not to say I am constantly putting myself in a position to do things I dislike, for that would be a regret too, but doing the occasional thing I am not thrilled about in order to bring a smile to the one I love is not the worst in the world.
I encourage you to make a list of your worst regrets in life. This may be painful, but think of how you can use them for motivation to do better in the future.
Just as 3+6=9, so does 5+4=9. This is a perfect point to represent the fact that there is more than one way to do things. In a world where debates on politics, religion and even sports can turn violent, this is a very good point to remember.
When you engage in spiritual worship, remember that someone may be seeking to develop their own spiritual nature but doing so in a completely different manner. This does not make their way of doing so wrong, and more than it makes your way wrong. It is two completely different paths to spiritual enlightenment.
In the political climate, there are always a multitude of different opinions. There are different ways to approach the economy, social issues and even conflict. In the event that you encounter someone with a different view on these issues, (highly likely since we live on a planet of 7 billion people) learn to be content expressing your view and understanding they may hold a different view. I really don’t think I have to go into why violence should not happen due to a difference in opinions on sports, do I?
My point is this, what may work for one does not always work for another. If I am stressed, for example, I work out. It is as if I am literally sweating out the stress. Margie, on the other hand, can feel stressed just thinking about working out. She prefers to shop when stressed. The thought of fighting crowds in stores brings me to a stressed state. Both my 3+6 and her 5+4 equal 9. For me to say “Shopping doesn’t help you to not be stressed. It makes you more stressed!” Would be trying to impose my truth on her.
We can have our own opinions and still respect those that differ from us. I encourage you to explore this thinking in the next few days. It will not only reduce the stress in your own life, it is sure to improve your relationships with those around you.
The title of this post makes a bold claim. Follow the plans laid out in the following paragraphs and I promise you that your love will be more amazing than it ever has been. You will feel closer to your partner. There will be a greater sense of intimacy. Your partner will appreciate you more and you will appreciate them more.
All of this is 30 days? That sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? Well it isn’t and it is easier than you think. This will work whether you are in a new relationship hoping to develop that closeness, you have been in a relationship a long time and are looking to rekindle some of that passion or anywhere in between. How do I know this to be true? Not only am I a certified life coach and self-improvement author with over 20 years of experience, but I have made enough mistakes in my 44 years on this planet to know exactly what doesn’t work. Add to that I now have an amazing relationship that grows closer and better each day and you will understand I am coming from a place of knowledge.
Does working on your relationship conjure up feelings of arduous evenings of long conversations and hard feelings? Does the thought of even discussing emotions fill you with dread? Do you feel a busy schedule and lifestyle will prevent you from the quality time you need with the one you love? Fear not! None of this will prevent this idea from coming into fruition. Even if your schedule or lifestyle prevent much face to face time this idea will succeed. If your ability to convey romantic feelings is severly impaired, this idea will work. This idea will work for any relationship. Are you excited to take your love to the next level?
If you recall last post we discussed how to increase the quality and closeness of the relationships in your life. Briefly, it involved filling out a simple ‘thank you’ card noting what you appreciate about each individual. We are going to do much the same thing but take it deeper to strengthen the most important relationship you have – the one with the love of your life. Single? Don’t worry. This exercise will work if you are trying to gain the attention of that special someone. Not looking to get into a relationship any time soon? This will deepen even the most platonic relationships as well.
We begin the same way we did last post, by purchasing a set of generic thank you cards. For this exercise you may wish to pick out a design the person you are giving them to would find pleasing. My only caveat would be not to get any with too much printed writing inside. You will be filling this up with your own words. Don’t worry, it will be fun and easy I promise. Pick a 30-day period in which you will be able to devote roughly 5 minutes a day to this project. Keep in mind the payoff will be the deepening of the most important relationship in your life. The premise is simple. Each day you will write one thing in the card you are grateful for in your partner and why you are grateful for that.
I suggest leaving them in different places your partner will find. By the coffee maker, on the bathroom mirror, on the kitchen tables or other places you can fairly count on them being found. You could always hand them over in person, but I find allowing them to read them when you are at work or otherwise occupied adds a special something. I would also recommend numbering them. Writing ‘#1’ or ‘day #1’ or something similar alerts them to the fact there will be more to come. If you anticipate a busy stretch coming up you can always write a few out in advance.
Make sure you write both what you are grateful for and why on each card. It is the ‘why’ that makes it compelling. This works to make your relationship amazing on several levels. The first, and obvious reason, is it provides your partner with 30 reminders of things that make them special to you. I don’t care how wonderful your life or relationship is, we all have days when this extra reassurance would come in handy. As the days pass you may find it hard to come up with things to write. It will change your focus to one of looking for things to appreciate about your partner. It also will lead to your partner appreciate you more as well.
There are different ways to word your cards as well. “I really appreciate ____ about you because____” is the simplest. “You make a difference in my life because _____” “It really makes me feel loved when you____ and I want to thank you for that.” are others. By the end of thirty days you will have an entirely different relationship. It will appear as if things changed by magic.
I look forward to hearing how your relationship changes for the better. In 30 days you will have an amazing relationship. It will open up to new possiblities.