I have always been a fan of Michael J Fox. Good actor, great human. Being open with his struggles with Parkinson’s disease and his desire to help those similarly affected. This post is not so much about the man or the condition, but about the approach demonstrated in both the situation and the quote above.
I think acceptance is one of the most important first steps in whatever situation you are facing. The issue for many of us is that we confuse acceptance with resignation. When you accept something, it does not mean you are ok with it. It also does not mean you are not going to work to improve or find away to work despite it. If you find there is a situation that is not to your liking there are two ways in which we can approach this. We can argue, fight and complain about it. We can continue to deny and work against it. This usually results in wasted energy on our behalf and a lot of additional stress. No real benefit there. You certainly will not find yourself any closer to an amazing life.
The second way, and far more recommended way, is to first accept the situation as it is. Perhaps you were let go from your job unfairly. You could complain and let everyone know just how bad the company ‘did you wrong’. Chances are you will still be remain unemployed at the end of the day. Your time would have been better served working on the situation. Saying to yourself, “I was let go. It shouldn’t have happened but it did.” Then begin to analyze the situation to see what, if anything, you can learn from it. Were you too comfortable being involved in workplace politics? Did you leave yourself vulnerable and relied too much on a single source of income? Did you not keep your resume up to date?Maybe the same holds true for your education and your skill set?
Once you discover what you can learn from the situation, do not beat yourself up over that. Instead, note that it is so and learn from that. Didn’t keep your resume up to date? Time to work on that. Need to brush up on some skills? Go ahead and do that. Maybe next time try to keep a better lookout for a workplace with a lot less drama and politics. These steps work for both people and situations. If your friend has a different political or social view than you, don’t waste your time trying to “change them over to your way of thinking.” The more productive path is to accept your friend for who they are and make sure to steer situations and conversations in a direction that does not bring up that subject.
The best place that acceptance can pay off is with yourself. Accept your faults or things that you could improve on. This requires both a great deal of honesty and bravery. Then, go to work on those things. Without admitting there is an issue to begin with, it makes it very difficult to craft a plan to improve it. Accepting you have a shortcoming (newsflash – we all do) does not make you less of a person. Quite the opposite. It means you are brave enough to admit, even to yourself, that there are areas in which you can improve. Then, accept that and begin to work on finding a way to work through it. By doing this in all areas of your life you will reduce stress and find your speed and success and solving problems will increase.
A quick disclaimer. This post has nothing to do with Donald Trump, a border wall or any political opinions. What is does have to do with is how to build a successful life without a mountain of stress. I think that is far more useful than the afore mentioned.
Most people do not know this about me, but I listen daily to other success and motivational videos. I am continually learning and growing myself. When I come across something particularly useful I come here to share it with all of you. In this case I was listening to a video by Will Smith. He told a story about his youth that I believe all of us can put into practice in our own lives. When he was young his father told him and his brother they were going to build a wall in front of his fathers store. When they began, his father gave both of them this incredible advice. Do not set out trying to build the best wall ever. Start out with trying to lay the perfect brick. Make sure that brick is placed as perfect as a brick can be. Do the same with the following brick. You repeat this over and over again. If you do this with every brick you will have built the perfect wall.
Some of you may not see the amazing power of this advice. In our lives we hopefully have some grand goals. Perhaps we want to start our own business? Maybe our goal is to finally get in shape and lose those unwanted pounds? Another popular goal is to get our finances in order. All of these are great goals and I commend anyone who has them on their list.
The problem many of us run into is the overwhelming nature of all of these problems. In other words we try to build the perfect wall. Changing our eating, going to the gym every day and meditation? Instead, do your best at the gym…today. Eat healthier than you did yesterday. Perhaps try to be more mindful than the day before.
Trying to get all of your financial affairs in order? Instead, pay $5 extra on your credit card bill. Make coffee at home once a week instead of going to the coffee shop.
Starting the perfect business can be difficult to say the least. Instead, search logo advice on YouTube. Maybe draw up a business plan. Order business cards.
In other words, focus on one brick at a time. Instead of attempting to solve the problem in its entirety, work on one aspect of the problem. This will not only prevent overwhelm, but give you many moments of accomplishment.
We all know that to quickly get us outof trouble when using a computer we can press ‘ctrl + alt + Del’. This picture reminds us when we find ourselves facing a tough situation in life we can do the same thing.
‘Ctrl’ the first button reminds us to control ourselves. The truth is, we cannot control life, only how we react to it. We cannot control the actions of others, only how much we choose to let them affect us. As you can see, by looking at how we control ourselves, we can go a long way to controlling our life.
‘Alt’ the second button, reminds us to search for alternate solutions. What we have been doing up to that point may not have been working so well. Looking for different ways of attacking, or even looking at, the problemmay be just what is needed.
Lastly, there is ‘Del’. Reminding us that as painful as it may be, sometimes deleting the situation that is causing us stress is what is needed.
Use this computer analogy to help you quickly adjust to all of life’s challenges. If the situation seems to have you stressed or stuck, just push ‘control + alt + delete’.
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.
This will be a rather direct and to the point post. The equation above is one of the secrets to living an amazing life. I have personally used it a lot in the last few years to reduce the amount of stress I have and to help me better focus my energy. The equation is simple. If it doesn’t EVOLVE me, then is doesn’t INVOLVE me. Simply put if something does not help you be a better person by facilitating personal growth, adding joy or providing an opportunity to help others, it is not worth our time and energy.
Those of us striving to live a more enlightened and amazing life realize you can turn almost any situation to our advantage. This can be both a blessing and a curse in this situation. We can justify getting involved in one of those he said/she said conversations as a chance to help others evolve, but if we are honest with ourselves, our energy would be far better served elsewhere. Maybe we think enlightening our boss Rachel on how unappreciated she makes her employees feel would help our work environment, but we really just know it is only helping us vent some frustration…I mean…hypothetically.
Removing ourselves from situations that do not add to our lives or give us an opportunity to grow and evolve is a great way of reducing stress. This allows us to have more energy and more time to pursue our goals, read that helpful book, practice some self-care or a million other positive options. Not to mention we will feel a lot more amazing and our life will become more amazing!
So remember my good friends, If it doesn’t EVOLVE you, then it shouldn’t INVOLVE you.
As this week begins, you may find yourself asking, “Where do I begin?” Sometimes we can feel so far down we can’t see a way out. If you haven’t been there yet, consider yourself quite fortunate. Personally, I have found myself there several times.
Whether it is thr loss of a job, loss of a relationship or loss of a loved one, life can throw us under the bus when we least expect it. We can feel like we don’t even want to get out of bed.
Even when things are not quite that bad but we are just frustrated with how our life is at the moment, what to do next can be confusing. What is the first basic step? Is there a universal action that can work for everyone in all situations?
The great news? There is such an action and I can tell you it has worked in my own life. That action is GRATITUDE. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for will change your life quicker than anything else.
There are many great books and ideas to help foster this ‘attitude of gratitude’. In my own book “A Happy Life for Busy People” I lost several fun activities that can help make gratitude a daily part of your life. If you are interested in getting your own copy, there will be a link at the end of this post.
Whether you use my book or any other method, begin to use gratitude today, and watch your life transition immediately!
Before I began writing this post I put the word ‘success’ into Google and this is what came up. I am calling B.S. on this definition! While it is true a part of success is the obtaining of goals, it is by far not the whole picture. In both of my books and on this post we have pointed out that the gain of material things does not bring happiness. Can your life truly be considered a success if you are unhappy? I think we can all agree the answer to this is ‘no’. We have witnessed countless celebrities end their lives in what seems like the world of their dreams. They have “achieved their desired aims and attained prosperity” as our definition above leads us to believe is what success is all about. What is the problem? What part of success is missing? What is left out of this definition that makes all of the difference? Much like fitness, nutrition, love and relationships, spirituality and every other area of life, success and its definition should not be about obtaining an end. If you got in the best shape of your life and then stopped taking care of your body would you stay that way? If you wow your partner with the most beautiful romantic moment ever but cease to put anymore effort into that relationship, how long before it fell apart? I think the point has been made. What is the solution? How can we achieve a success that leaves us fulfilled and full of joy? Once again, I want to refer to the definition given by one of my mentors, Mr. Earl Nightingale.
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
–Earl Nightingale There are two very important words to note in that profound statement. First is the word progressive. Success, much like fitness and love in the examples above, should be a life-long pursuit. Your goal should include certain ends but not be defined by such. This will accomplish several great things for you. First, it will allow you to experience several wins. Let us say your goal is to get into great physical shape. As you are progressing towards that and every time you take an action that gets you closer to that you are a success and should celebrate. Once you get in great shape, the same will hold true. Every day at the gym, every healthy meal you chose…success! In your relationship the same is true. Every romantic gesture you show is a success. Every action you do that makes your partner feel loved and appreciated…success! The more you do to get better, the more reasons you have to celebrate. The more you make them feel loved, the more you can celebrate. The second word of note is worthy. It mentions pursuing a worthy ideal. Is the accumulation of material goods and wealth the exclusive ideal to pursue? On a personal level, I would love to be a famous best-selling author. That type of goal only serves to get you out of bed so well. It is the deeper ‘why’ that accomplishes that goal. I really want to be someone who can positively affect others and make positive changes in the world we all share. By accomplishing my goal of becoming a best-selling author I would be more likely do that. It is not the wealth or notoriety that drives me, but the desire to make a difference. That is a goal that is larger than myself. That is what we all need, a goal larger than ourselves.
One other key that speaker Steve Rizzo does a wonderful job in describing is ‘Falling in Love with the Process’. This is vital. We spend the majority of our lives in the process and very little time reaching goals. Which would you rather attach your happiness to? Yes, being able to fit in that pair of pants that used to be too tight is a great feeling, but so should be working out in the gym knowing you are getting closer. Seeing the smile on your love’s face is amazing, but so should be putting together the very thing that will bring it out. Recalling our definition of success, remember if we are progressing towards a worthy ideal we are successful. We should celebrate every step closer we get. As a bonus, I will tell you how I have come to learn how to celebrate even the failures. When I eat a huge meal that I know was no good for me, I either use the feelings of guilt and disappointment I have in myself for motivation to eat healthier in the future. ( a “remember how bad you felt?” sort of thing) or if the meal is not that bad, I celebrate that fact that eating healthier and working out at other times gives me the freedom to eat a little crazy every now and again. Same for my relationship with Margie. Try as I may, I am not always the perfect boyfriend. (I know I found this hard to believe at first too) Seeing the upset or disappointment on her face is a terrible feeling that drives me to never take such actions again. Not to mention, I relish in the fact that I learned a way in which NOT to behave/talk/cook/clean etc. when it comes to our relationship. Yes, of course I would rather have everything be sunshine and unicorns (that in itself would be a great compromise) but then I could never celebrate growing and learning to become an even better version of me. Fall in love with the process. It will add immeasurably to your experience of success and the amount of joy you have in your life.
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.