SURROUNDED BY GREAT FRIENDS 

People are forever asking me how I am able to keep my positive attitude. The first thing I tell them is that it has taken years of consistent actions to get to this point. The payoffs have been more than amazing. There is the practice of focusing on gratitude, there is meditation and journaling. In short, it is not just one thing, but a million little things. If you wish to change your outside, you must first change yourself. Until you change yourself, nothing will change. Once you change yourself, everything changes. Read those last two lines again slowly. Working on yourself is not only the best and quickest way to change your life, but it is the only way.

There is one thing I want to share with you today that can make the journey to self-transformation not only easier, but a lot more enjoyable. Surround yourself with great friends. When I was at my lowest points I looked around and noticed the people I was surrounding myself with were not people one would aspire to be. Your friends need not be perfect, and expecting that of anyone does not make you a good friend. That being said, there are a few qualities you may wish to look for in the people you choose to invite into your life.

First, they must be people genuinely interested in bettering themselves. Often, people who are not improving themselves may attempt to bring you down or hold you back. This is not done with any malice, and maybe not even consciously. The reason is there is a fear that if you do become better you may move away from them. To be honest this is a rather legitimate fear. When you are trying to lose some weight and be healthier you would not want to go out drinking every night. That is not to say you would be leaving your friends, just that you might start having less in common. I was guilty of thinking “I will help my friends improve too.” Here is the problem with that, change has to come from within. If they do not want to change it will be painful at best, impossible at worst. A side-effect might be that they will resent you for ‘trying to change them’. If you surround yourself with people looking to better themselves they may be able to provide you secrets to help your own journey, or at the very least understand the struggles you are going through.

Second, you would want to avoid people who gossip. Instead focus on those friends who do their best to try and see the good in everyone. Sharing your world with people constantly giving you the latest dirt on everyone not only drags you down emotionally, but sooner or later you end up being the one talked about to others.

Here is a little secret I have employed. I have become friends with some of the most famous people in the world. We talk right before bed, they ride along with me on the way to work. How does all this happen? Through books, and audiobooks. Imagine having the words of your favorite sports coach to pep you up on the way to a job interview? Having a hard time forgiving someone? Read the words of Mother Teresa. I am a big fan of Tony Robbins and have purchased several of his products. Tony speaks directly to the listener and it is almost as if he is sitting in the car next to me as we drive along. By the time we get to work I am inspired and ready to go.

So pick some good people and hang on to them. Think of famous people who inspire you and add some of their material to your motivational library. Feel free to mention some of the people who inspire you in the comments below!

FIRM IN YOUR GOALS, FLEXIBLE IN YOUR APPROACH 

Be firm in your goals, but flexible in your approach. That is a mantra i have heard many times! This morning while occupied at my day job a fine example of this occurred to me.

Before I share this example with you let me begin with a question. Have you ever heard somebody say “I’ve tried a million different things but it just won’t work!” It always amuses me to ask them to name the million things they have tried. After which they usually reply “well ok it has been hundreds.” When pressed to name them we usually discover the individual has tried a few things, usually things they have done in their past, and they didn’t work. This always makes me question the importance of the issue at hand. If it is a problem with their relationship you would think they would keep trying until they return to love.

When a baby is trying to walk they just keep at it. Why? Because walking is that important to them. Perhaps it is all the disappointment we experience as adults that lowers our level of persistence.

Here is another way to look at this. As I mentioned earlier, I was working at my day job when I started thinking how much I’d like to go to Fiji. My thinking is my lady and I would fly there first class and spend time relaxing and mixing with the local culture. What would happen if I was invited for a speaking engagement there? Maybe instead of flying I win a cruise? Perhaps Tony Robbins invites me to his resort to work on a project together? Would I say no because it was not exactly what I had envisioned? Of course not. The goal is to get to see Fiji, how it happens could vary.

My point here is you have to keep trying until you find something that works.  It may seem impossible at first, but so did walking as a baby. Just keep trying and you will succeed. Oh, and if you happen to have an extra ticket to Fiji…

LIVE LIKE YOU’RE ON VACATION

If you can belive it, this is me at work. Why on earth am I wearing a tropical shirt and hat from Jamaica? It was all inspired from a line in a song by the rock band Kiss. The line is this, Don’t need to wait for an invitation . You gotta live like you’re on vacation. This line was the beginning of a great quest for me. Personally I love tropical vacations. Literally I am transformed into a different person when I step off the plane. It is a different mindset. Anyone who has went on vacation knows exactly what I am talking about. Working on my upcoming book Living the Dream the question foremost in my mind was how can we take this mindset back with us like a valuable souvenir? How can we tolerate bosses who insult us or workplaces that are negative? One I have been working on lately. How can we tolerate freezing temperatures with no sun when we would much rather be at the beach?

While pondering this question for months on end I discovered a great and powerful secret. One I am going to share with you free of charge right here in this blog post. Those of you who will be able to wrap your head around this secret will at once understand the freedom it provides for anyone who uses it. I have personally used this secret everyday since I discovered it. Not only has it provided me a great sense of freedom, but it has made my life so much more enjoyable. Here is the great and powerful secret.

There is no law of physics that states your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.

I encourage you to read that statement again slowly. Ponder what that means for you. Cleaning the toilet? Why have your mind focused on the task at hand and all the not so pleasurable things that go with it. Working out? Think of how great you will feel with your new body on the beaches of Fiji. That is why a lot of us listen to music or other such things while we workout. I am in the gym 5 days a week and I can promise you that would not be possible without the encouragement of Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas or the music of Motley Crue and Shabba Ranks.

When we realize this power, it is important to note the two sides of it. When you are in a not so pleasant situation. Say working at the post office with a boss who walks the thin line between sane and insane, hypothetically. Then you can imagine being on the vacation that job allows you to save for. What beach will you go to? What will you see while snorkeling? Before you know it, the time clock will tell you it is time to go.

Here is the other fun part of this. It can really benefit you to be fully present during the good times. Once my lady had a bath with scented bath salts, a few candles and a glass of wine waiting for me. (yes I do have one amazing lady and don’t I know it) Now I knew this was going to be a great experience so I tried to soak it in with all of my senses. I felt the warm water relax my muscles. I took a deep breath and enjoyed both the scent from the bath salts as well as the steam. I took time to really enjoy the taste of the wine, the glow of the candles. I hope you are getting the idea. Do this with every pleasure, big and small, that life gives you. How many times have we driven somewhere only to park and wonder who drove when we were the only person in the car? This can be good if we are fighting rush hour, but if we are taking a drive to the grocery store via the parkway, take time to enjoy the scenery. Enjoying a great meal? Take time to savor every bite. The smell, the taste, the texture of the food in your mouth. We are preparing to go on vacation to Jamaica in November and I am already excited to soak that all in.

Here is my advice to you. Be present when life is pleasurable. When it is not, send your mind on vacation. Go skiing, or camping. Think of an especially good memory you have or maybe something you really are looking forward to.

Remember, your mind and body do not have to be in the same place at the same time.

WHY YOU MUST BE TO HAVE

Does the title of this post sound confusing? If it does, do not worry, the concept it conveys took me a long time to wrap my head around myself. This principle was first introduced to me through a book I was reading on law of attraction. In this arena it was said you have to see and feel yourself as if you were already in the situation you were desiring. I must confess I struggled with this. How can I imagine myself on the shores of Fiji when I am scraping the ice off my windshield in West Allis Wisconsin?

Even the business books I have read advocate putting yourself forth as what you want to become. Once again convincing people I am a wealthy executive while I am driving a PT cruiser that spends more time in the shop than on the road is no easy task. It is hard to convey the attitude of wealth when you experience lack. It is no easier than feeling healthy while you are sick.

What all of these examples had in common with me is a “Fake it until you make it” kind of mentality. I am not a fan of faking anything. I find genuine people refreshing and strive to be as genuine as I can be myself. It somehow felt dishonest. I wondered was I not fully understanding the concept correctly?

Several things managed to change  my opinion and mindset on this. First, was my favorite quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” When I first heard this quote from Mahatma Gandhi it changed my life. Not only did I understand the great deal of responsibility that I had to create my own reality, but it also gave me a feeling of great control over doing so.

Next influence that allowed me to change perspective was the words of the famous author and speaker Earl nightingale who said “We become what we think about all day long.” That certainly made a little more sense to me. If I kept thoughts of where I wanted to go in my head instead of where I was I would be more likely to get there.

The last example came from one of my greatest influences, Tony Robbins. He explained it as they teach you in racing school. When you go into a spin, focus on where you want to go not the wall you do not want to crash into. The majority of people are focused on what they do not want and where they do not want to go. That is why you often see cars on an open road crash into the only tree within a mile of where they are.

This lead to an interesting discovery that occurred to me, there is no law of physics that states our mind and bodies have to occupy that same place at the same time. In fact, if they do we are really not going anywhere. We must live in the present while preparing for the future.

This all does three very important things. First, it helps prepare us for our success. Allow me to give you an example. In the next few years I plan on running for office. Right now as I hear stories of politicians and the issues they face I imagine myself in their positions and think of what I might say and do. I also conduct myself as a public official does, so when the time comes that I am elected I will not have to worry about changing how I act or carry myself.

The second thing being want you want before you actually achieve it does is give you conscious and subconscious mind a target on which to fix themselves. In essence, saying to your mind, “This is where we are going, now find the way there.” You will suddenly find yourself surrounded by the people you need to be and in the situations you need to be in. That leads us to the final benefit.

What kind of people do you think happy and positive people want to be around? If you are thinking other happy and positive people you would be correct. Like attracts like. It is a natural law. Creative people do not do well to surround themselves with people who choose not to exercise their creative potential. Motivated people enjoy the company of other driven people. The benefit of all of this is that they feed off each other. The takeaway is this, if you want to be happy, surround yourself with happy people. The way to attract happy people? Be one yourself.

 

HOW NOT TO GET FRUSTRATED WITH YOUR GOALS

Quite often I hear the resignation in people’s voices after not obtaining a goal. Quite simply they give up. Worse than that is people who try to justify the lack of success in achieving their goal by saying things like “Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be” or things of that nature.

While it is true in a small amount of cases what is far more likely is you may need to change your approach. I once heard Tony Robbins say something that really struck a cord with me. Ok, I have heard him say that more than once, but one that referred to what we are speaking of here. He said, “God’s delays are not always God’s denials”. Now whether you believe in a supreme being or the universe or anything else is not my business. What is interesting is the possibilities this opens up. Perhaps we are not being denied our goal, but just being delayed. Maybe something in the universe has to change to make the situation better? Perhaps there is some very important knowledge we need to obtain to make it an even greater success. Maybe our approach needs to be adjusted to find a better or more rewarding path.

This not only works with material goals, but even more so with personal situations. See if this sounds familiar. You are in a disagreement with another party and you really want to solve it but everything you try seems not to work? You could find yourself thinking “I am never going to make him/her happy”. Again, most of the time the goal of coming to a successful and peaceful resolution is not wrong or never going to happen, we just need to change our approach. Each person and each situation requires a different approach. A fair amount of the time finding the right approach is the hardest part of the struggle. You would not sooner try to run your car on cough medicine than you would drink gasoline to cure your cough. That does not mean either one is useless. They just need to be applied in the right way at the right time.

So when you feel your goal may never be reached take a step back and try to look at it from a different angle. As important as developing a determination to achieve the goal is being flexible in your approach.

When it comes to personal relationships this is even more important and more difficult to remember. Have you promised ‘until death do us part’? Then you made a determined decision. If that decision seems more like a sentence at times perhaps taking a step back and considering a new approach could be the answer. Enlisting the other person can be key. After all it is hard to just be angry at someone who asks “I just want to get back to loving. I feel what I am trying is not working. What to you think we can do to get back to love?”.

So stay determined in your goals and flexible in your approach my friends.

IT’S MONDAY, GO ON THE ATTACK!!

Inner demons,we all have them. From the happiest person we know to the most angry and sad. Some demons are obvious, some you would never know are there. One thing is certain, the demons we all have are as varied as the people who have them. I happened to be listening to the late Jim Rohn on the way to write this blog. If  you haven’t had a chance I urge you to check out some of his material. He is the man who mentored one of my mentors, a man you might have heard of, Tony Robbins. In this current talk Mr. Rohn said “if something attacks you in life, attack it back”. That got me thinking of what was attacking me in my life. I came up with a few. Doubt, trouble trusting others, a temptation to react instead of act. So the very next question, how do we attack these? Different demons call for different actions I suppose. The first thing to do is admit they exist. Then, keep showing up. Do what the little girl in the picture is doing, smile. Nothing drives an inner demon more crazy.

Then what? Two things really. The first is do everything you can. If your demon is anger, maybe watch a YouTube video on anger management? Talk to a consoler? Whatever you do just don’t fight fire with fire. If you have anger issues, don’t get mad about that. If you are depressed, resist the temptation to become sad about it. Reach out to others whether it be in person or online. Read books on the subject, listen to a cd on the subject, look up websites.

That brings us to the second thing you should do. Don’t ever give up. Everyday you show up to do battle with your inner demons you are winning the war. Sure you may lose a few battles along the way. You may become upset and say things you don’t mean, but if you recognize that and are honestly trying to do better you are winning.

When going through this know something else. You are not alone. We all have our demons. Some are just better at hiding them. So the struggle is all of ours. If someone reaches out to you be understanding and compassionate. Feel free to share some of your demons and how you are attempting to beat them or maybe how you already have. You may just give others the strength to do the same.

BE YOUR OWN HERO

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Here is a picture I have up in my locker. In the past I have written and spoken about modeling people who have succeeded in your chosen field. I personally read and follow people like Tony Robbins, Les Brown and others that inspire me.

I stand by that idea and encourage you to do so, but there is another person you want to model, the best version of yourself. To me, “be your own hero” means to act in such a fashion that the things you do both inspire you and give you a sense of pride. When I help someone to see the beauty in themselves and the world around them, i am my own hero. When I work with someone to improve the quality of their products I am my own hero.  Even if I make a coworker or server smile, i consider myself a hero. The idea is to think of times when you were the best version of yourself and that is the goal you should aspire to. Look up to your heroes, Be someone else’s hero for sure,  but remember to be your own Jeri at the end of the day.