YOUR GREATEST ADVENTURE!

Whether you are a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, action/adventure or even fair tales, there is one thing they all have in common. The hero. Think of the warrior setting out on his fateful journey. Whether that be to rid the world of evil, save the princess, slay the dragon or a host of other exciting adventures, that is usually a core theme of any good story. Even in modern times, the warrior may look different, but it is one of the classic themes. Either man verses the world, man verses man, or man verses himself. One of those challenges has to be overcome to make the story great.

I don’t pretend to know all of your professions, but I doubt any of us are saving a princess, ridding the world or evil or slaying a dragon, or are we? It may feel as though our life is lacking a great adventure, but that is far from the truth. Are you ridding the world of evil? Let me ask you this, are you a parent? Are you raising your children to be polite, accepting and compassionate individuals? Are you someone who is trying to unite people and bring them together for the common good? Are you simply someone who does their best to leave everyone a little happier than when they came in contact with them? I can tell you that is a great adventure this day and age. I can also tell you our friends in retail would look at you as a hero coming in to save them from all of the complaining and negative people they are bound to come in contact with.

Saving the princess? How many of us know a princess personally? How many of us even live in a country where there is a princess? You may think the answer would be very few of us. I am here to tell you the answer is every one of us! How can that be? Do you have a significant other? There is your prince or princess, depending. Of course they are not being held captive by an evil warlord. They are not trapped in a dungeon. This is not exactly true. Are they trapped in a stressful job 8 hours a day? Are they faced with a stressful commute? Maybe drama with friends or family? How would they view someone who brings them flowers or a romantic card? Maybe takes them out to dinner? Takes out the garbage without being reminded or just holds them and reminds them how beautiful and loved they are? That, my friends is saving the princess or prince. Don’t have that special someone in your life yet? If you do this for people you care about, you will be their hero and soon find yourself in the arms of that special someone.

Ok, you may be thinking you can relate to all of that, but slaying a dragon? Dragons are not even real! There are no dragons to slay in the real world. That statement couldn’t be more incorrect. They may not be mean-looking fire-breathing reptiles, but there are dragons a plenty to slay. Are you battling an addiction? You know all about slaying the dragon. That becomes a daily dragon to face. Working on eating better and getting to the gym? Dragon to slay. Doing your best to not give in to the negative influences all around you? Dragon to slay. Just as a warrior would never go into battle with a fierce dragon without a weapon and a shield, we must do the same. Our faith in our spiritual beliefs can be our shield. Our focus on a better future can be our weapon. Whatever dragon we are going to face, we should do so prepared. We should celebrate when the dragon is slayed as any good warrior would, and then we must prepare for the next dragon we will face.

Our life is our greatest adventure. We embark everyday on a great quest. We are ridding the world of evil, rescuing princesses and princes and slaying dragons. Sometimes all three in a single day. It is another reason that self-care is so important. As any great warrior, we must take time to let our wounds heal so we stand the greatest chance at succeeding in our quest! Stay strong my fellow warriors.

START THE WEEK OF RIGHT!

It is nearing the end of the year. No need to wait until January to start working on achieving your goals. This week we are going to look at little things you can do that will have a huge impact in your life. For today, realize we can start when we choose and that can be today. To begin the week, get clear as to what you want to achieve. Write it down so it is there and black and white! We will see you tomorrow for more insights.

HAVE A GREAT MONDAY!!!!

10 PHRASES TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Continuing our theme on gratitude, I want to offer this little gem. A collection of sayings to get your day started right. I suggest printing out this picture to start. Then, coming up with a more personalized list of 10 affirmations for your own life. The more personal and emotional the affirmations, the quicker and greater your life will transform for the better. If you feel comfortable, share some of your affirmations in the comments below!

WHY AM I NOT A DARTED ANIMAL TODAY?

A great secret to an amazing life is the power of observation. It helps to play a little bit of detective when it comes to your own life. Examining why you do the things you do and more to the point how they impact you life can go a long way towards taking control of that very same life. Let me give you a personal example to help explain this point a little better. When I was a young child I used to watch this nature show. The opening scene involved these men flying over a group of animals in Africa and one would lean out and shoot a tranquilizer dart into the herd. The animal would continue to run for a few seconds before stumbling around as if it drank too much rum and then just fall over. This scene is very close to how I am when I wake up for work at 4:30 in the morning. Before the coffee kicks in, I am that animal that got the dart. I stumble around the house, tempted to fall back into bed.

This morning was different. Although as I rose out of bed after about 5 hours of sleep, I felt that I might have escaped the dart. Maybe the man circling above my house missed? As I continued to get ready I only felt more alive. After the coffee was brewed and I had packed my lunch, and kissed Margie goodbye, I was off for the 30 minute drive. I listened to the band Tito and Tarantula and sipped my coffee as I drove along. Just a little bit before 6am, I arrived at work and felt better than I can remember feeling in a long time! As I began my daily labors I began to ask myself some questions, “Why was I feeling so good?” I did not sleep a very long time. I actually ate a frozen pizza for dinner. Not a healthy energy giving meal. I took my usual vitamins, the coffee wasn’t that strong and nothing else seemed to be out of the ordinary. So why did I not feel like the lion in the picture above?

Why had I seemed to escape that feeling of walking in quicksand that envelops me every other morning? I began to recall everything I had done both the night before and that morning. Was there anything new and different? Obviously there was. Instead of sleeping away the first few hours of my day as I usually did, here I was feeling…well…almost human. I made notes of the songs I listened to on the way to work. I made note of what I ate for dinner, what Margie and I had done the evening prior. Nothing seemed to different. Tomorrow I am going to try a few of these activities again and monitor the results. I’ll keep you posted as to what seems to work for me. It may or may not work for you. As I write this, I feel like I should adopt the habit of Voltaire who drank 40 cups of coffee a day. I am sure my cardiologist wouldn’t like that and I might have to move my laptop to the men’s room, but I digress. What gave me so much energy this morning and why do I feel like I could fall asleep somewhere between the D and K keys on my computer?

This is what I mean by becoming your own detective investigating your life. If you have a day (or even a particular situation) that seems to work out quite well, ask yourself the elements that played into the situation. If you a day where it feels like you were flushed down the commode of life, investigate that too. What caused that situation to go south? Then, do more of the former things and less of the latter. Continually perform what David Goggins calls a living autopsy. Examine what things in your life give you good results and which hold you back.

WHAT CHANGES THE WORLD

The statement above is one everybody should do their best to remember. It is one that everyone should do their best to live by. No matter what kind of leader in life we are, and trust me we are all leaders of some sort, it bears noting that what truly inspires others is not our words, but our behavior. It is even more important that our words and actions are in accord. What is your opinion of someone who constantly says one thing, but then acts in a way contrary to their words? There are lots of names we have for these people, none of which are good. What about someone who feels the need to go around and share their opinion on a topic with everyone who wasn’t even aware they wanted to listen? Again, fun titles we may bestow on these folks as well.

Think of the people who inspire you? Is it the person who is constantly telling you that you ‘should do this’ or ‘should do that’? Especially if they are not doing anything or worse doing the opposite of what they are telling you to do. Do these people inspire you? They inspire me…inspire me to do without their company. How about the people busy working on what they think is important in life? The friend that has been diligently saving and now has enough to buy themselves a new car? Certainly more inspiring than the friend who tells you that you should be saving more while they are out spending their entire paycheck at the local watering hole. How about your boss that tells you to be more dedicated to your work while he leaves early every Friday to work on his golf game? Then there is the boss who is there working when you get in and is still there when you leave. Which one would you rather work for.

The most important category that I can think of where this principle comes into play is being a parent. This doesn’t even have to be a biological parent. It can be adoptive parents, step parents, aunts, uncles, or anyone that a child may look up to. We can spend hours or longer thinking of the perfect lessons to think of for our children. In reality, only one will matter – how we live our lives. Do our children hear us saying things like, “It is no use. I will never be able to do/afford that.” or such dangerous clich├ęs as “Rich people must have screwed people over.” What we say repetitively can be absorbed more than we think. Still, it is our example that will be picked up by children the most. We tell them to always be honest and take care of their obligations, but we are 2 months behind on the electric bill and are trying to buy more time by saying we never received the bill that is sitting on our coffee table. We tell them all people should be treated with kindness and respect but don’t say something when our friends make racist or prejudiced comments. I believe if you want to positively affect a child’s life, whether you are a parent, teacher or just an adult who has influence in the child’s life, start thinking more in terms of “What can I show this child?” instead of “What can I tell this child?”

One of the greatest things we can do is lead by our example. How we conduct ourselves does a lot more to tell the world about us than what we say. How we conduct our relationships tells the world how much we love our spouse than what we say when they are sitting next to us. How we approach our work will tell others what kind of discipline we have. Saying someone’s time is very important to us is a nice gesture, but do you think they will believe us if we are constantly showing up late to meet them? Begin to think what actions we can take to truly express our character and what is important to us. I would love to hear some of yours in the comments below.

THE JOY OF HARD TIMES

The joy of hard times? Were you dropped on your head when you young or what Neil? Actually, that did happen once, but that is a story for a different time. You might think the idea of hard times containing any amount of joy is a crazy notion, but just a little reflection can tell us there is a great deal of truth in that idea.

As the picture with the great philosopher, Winnie-the-Pooh shows us, one of the way hard times bring us joy is the revealing of true friends. How many times have you faced a challenging situation, only to receive an act of kindness from a friend that was completely unexpected and overwhelmingly gracious? It has been my good fortune to experience more of those than I can count. You may know that you have a good friend, but in challenging times we have the ability to feel that we have a good friend.

The revelation of true friends, although one of my favorite, is not the only gift of joy hard times give us. There are others that we need to appreciate. One of them is the gift of resilience. If someone said they consider you a resilient person, would that not be a good compliment? Yet, if we were to think about it, how could one become resilient without facing a good deal of hard times and surviving them? How resilient would you be if everything was provided for you? If you never had to withstand any of the storms of life, how strong would your character be? Many of you might be mumbling under your breath, “Keep your resilience! I don’t want anymore challenges.” I can understand that. It is never a good feeling to have life throw something at us that we were truly not expecting, but that does not change the fact that it contains something that is helpful.

Which brings us to the last gift that hard times bring us – manure! You may be wondering what the product that comes out of the wrong end of an animal has anything to do with our life and our suffering? Plenty! There are things that happen in life that happen to us that are a complete pile of…well…let us say manure to keep the censors happy. Much like the organic product itself, these life problems stink and we wish they were not a part of our lives. That does not mean we cannot put this to work for us. One of the main uses of manure is for fertilizer. The same is true of the manure in our lives. Our challenges, our set backs and all of the manure type events in our lives can either make our life stink, or we can use it to grow some wonderful blessings. A seed that is buried in the ground and covered in…manure, which can be how our lives feel at certain points, grows into a tough and sturdy plant. Let the manure in our life do the same for us.

Hard times never feel good and it is my sincere wish that all of you never experience more hard times than can be helped. As much as I wish that, we are all bound to experience some times that really challenge our ability to smile. It is that deep knowing and understanding that even in the darkest of times there is light to be found, that can keep us moving forward. Look for the gifts in the hard times my friends. Notice the friends that reach out and help. Feel the strength of character and resilience you are building by just withstanding the storm. Use all of the manure situations in life as fertilizer and grow blessings out of the dung that life throws at us.

STICK WITH IT

Who likes to wait for their goals? If I were back to giving seminars, I would not expect very many hands to be raised in regards to this question. Many of us are like this small child in the picture above. We get on that new diet, head to the gym, maybe even go inside and then come home and look in the mirror to see if magically we lost a few pounds on the drive to and from the gym. We have all done something like this, haven’t we? Expected results that were disproportionate to the time we had spent working on them.

I once read a description on the relativity of time that stated “How long 3 minutes is, depends on what side of the bathroom door you are on. The same is true when you are working on your goals. I know the journey of getting in shape is certainly an example of this. When you begin to eat healthier, it may feel like you haven’t had pizza in the last decade, when really it was just last Thursday. Same thing for working out. You may hear yourself telling your friend that you can’t remember the last time your muscles didn’t hurt. It is then when they help you with a comment like, “What do you expect? It has only been a week since you have been working out .”

It is the middle of the week as we post this. So much can seem overwhelming or that we are even running short on time to accomplish our goals for the week. We must remember to be patient with ourselves. Remain focused on the long-term solution that we are striving for. The principle of compound interest works not only in the world of finances, but in our professional and personal goals as well. Beginning with small steps towards our goals and maintaining and building on them is the formula for success. After 20 years of poor dietary choices, swapping fast food for a healthy lunch may not seem to make the pounds melt off, but doing so for 6 months will make a huge difference. Building on that lunch time improvement to discover additional healthy meals, some you may want to try for dinner, can lead to a healthier lifestyle long-term. Attempting to give up all your burgers and fries and only eat salad and water for every meal, would certainly lead to you giving up and going back to the burgers and fries. Not to mention, it is not very healthy to begin with.

Remember to be patient with yourself as you work towards your goals this week. Consider what small steps you could take, that will be sustainable. This is the secret to success. In a world where we are all looking for the ‘six-minute abs’ solution to all of our problems, remember lasting change is the secret to success. Look for small action steps you can take and maintain over time. Remember that there is a good deal of time between planting and harvesting. A quick note on that. Different plants take different amounts of time until they are ready for harvest. Your beans do not ripen at the same time as your tomatoes. In fact, one tomato plant may bloom before the one right next to it. Although this seems obvious, we may forget this same rule applies to people as well. Just because neighbor Bob got his degree and new Bugatti by the time he was 40, does not mean we are falling behind. It may be that our plans may bloom later. Sure, it may be a little deflating waving to neighbor Bob in his fancy ride from our Ford Escape, but we must be patient with ourselves and keep tending our own garden. Like compound interest in investing, our small actions over time will lead us to look up one day to amazing results!