Category Archives: Success Principles

© Mmulligan | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Insert Appropriate Inspiration Here

Inspiration. We all need it. We all want it. We also roll our eyes at it when we are not feeling in the mood for it.

There are days when a Whim, a Meme or inspiration picture floats across my Facebook feed and I’m moved to tears. Then there are days when a similar inspirational thought (or even the same one) floats across my feed and I roll my eyes and grunt. We all have days that are a tougher go than others. Sometimes it’s not days, it’s weeks, months and even years.

Sometimes when our dreams, our goals and desires get foiled we feel lost, confused and bewildered. We can’t quite figure out which way is up anymore and what we should do next. Up until this moment we knew exactly what needed to be done, in what order and when. We knew the next step. We knew the plan. We knew the goal. Now everything seems to be changing and we just don’t know what to do next. It’s very disorienting.

For the last four years I knew exactly what I was doing, how I was doing it and what the outcome was to be. I had the goal in front of me. I knew how this goal fit into my life and how it would pave the way for the next step. I was in business not because I so believed in the business I was in I couldn’t help myself. I was in business because it aligned with my goals, dreams, values and visions and it was a vehicle to get me to where I wanted to go. It was a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Then over the last few months something so sure, so certain, so predictable felt like it was unraveling all around me. It wasn’t really, it was just shifting, but to me it felt like everything I saw for my future was coming apart. Lots of soul searching. Lots of questions. Lots of wisdom sought, counsel requested. Lots of talking it through, thinking, praying, wondering.

In the middle of it all a little thread began to appear. The thread that seemed so insignificant at first I almost ignored it. Answers weren’t forthcoming to my questions so I decided to focus on this little thread and see where it would lead. As I wound the thread into a little ball, the yarn grew and the path became clearer. An epiphany!

In the midst of what looked like a pause on the future I longed for was actually an opportunity! The business and the dream weren’t two sides of the same coin. They were, and are, two mutually beneficial parts, each whole and separate from the other. What looked like disappointment became fulfillment and redirection. One didn’t lead into the other. They are meant to work together, independently but cooperatively side by side.

Sometimes what looks like a delay, a disappointment or a step backwards is really a huge leap forward toward your dream and your destiny. Sometimes what looks like a delay is really a short cut.

Be brave!

Advertisements

I Should But…

ProcrastinationI should start my project, but the laundry needs to be folded. I should start my workout, but I feel so tired already. I should sit down and prepare the budget, but I don’t want to look at my statements. I should follow up with that client, but I really don’t feel like making any calls right now. I should schedule that appointment, but I don’t really want to see the doctor.

Why do we procrastinate the very things that will actually get us to our goals? Maybe you don’t, but I do and I’m pretty sure that most other people do too. We know working out will leave us feeling better, give us more energy and get us closer to our goal, but we put it off. We know that preparing a budget will help us keep on track for our financial goals, but the idea of seeing the bank statements in their current condition feels overwhelming and we put it off one more time. We would rather keep letting our money tell us where it’s been rather then us telling it where to go to work for us.

Yes, in the back of our mind we know that following up with our client will at least help build trust and could even potentially lead to a re-order, but we put off making the call using a variety of excuses to assure ourselves our procrastination is the wisest choice.

I’m not going to offer any psychological insights. I’m not going to offer any arguments for why we do this. All I am going to say is that I realize that if nothing changes, nothing changes. If I don’t put my big girl panties on, be an adult and do what I need to do then I don’t have any business wondering why life is not getting any better and I’m still chasing my tail, my life not improving and my reach staying small.

Change is scaring. The unknown is unknown. Truth be told though, staying put and not taking a risk is much more frightening than taking a risk, facing the unknown and staring fear down. So off I go… now where did I put those big girl panties?

There’s Always One

– 1

There’s always one. One unhappy customer. One complaint. One negative comment. One who doesn’t agree with you. One bad day. One bad moment. One.

Even when the rest of the crowd is enthusiastic, complimentary, in agreement, there is one who is unsatisfied, disagrees and is disappointed. Human nature, it seems, is to focus on the one. Cling to the one negative in a sea of positives. Gauge our performance by one who does not share our view.

The entire room can tell you that you look amazing, but one will say something less than positive and your entire opinion of your appearance is defined by that one.

The audience congratulates you on your presentation. Many comment on how they were touched by your words. Some even tell you how you made them think and maybe even convinced them to see it from a different perspective. But there is one who disagrees with you and tells you. Your impression of the evening is set by that one.

Vaguely in the back of my mind a statistic floats about that it takes 10 positive comments to counteract one negative, to set us back at zero. Experience tells me that ratio is too low.

I admit I am surprised by my reaction to one. One who doesn’t even have a vested interest in what I do and why I do it. One who does not have a significant part to play in my life. Their comment does not want to leave my mind. Of all the positive feedback I received that one comment is all I can replay. Negative one.

I determine to redouble my effort to pour positive comments into the lives of my kids. Not empty and hollow quips, but meaningful positives. I determine to catch them doing the right thing and making a big deal out of it. I determine to compliment their efforts, attempts and wins. I want to inoculate them to the power of negative one. Not because I want them to have a swelled head or unrealistic views of themselves, but because I realize that negative one is capable of distorting their view in the opposite direction much more effectively.

Negative one. You may seem powerful. You may shake me but you won’t move me. You don’t deserve center stage. You don’t deserve to determine how I view the world or myself. Your control ends here.

What’s Holding You Back

Starting something new, something you’ve dreamed about can be intimidating. It’s very easy to talk yourself out of taking those first steps toward your dream. After all you don’t know what you don’t know and you realize that others will quickly realize you don’t know what you don’t know and… the spiral begins. Fear of failure, of looking like a fool, of ruining the possibility of fulfilling your dream begins to take over.

Everyone starts somewhere. You don’t know what you don’t know, but there are lots of people who are willing to come alongside you and help you find out what you need to know. Living in the information age has its benefits. A quick Google search and you are bound to find out at least a little something about what you don’t know yet.

Taking little steps forward is empowering, exciting and exhilarating. Little stabs of doubt and fear will try to deflate your excitement and steal your dream. Don’t listen to them.  They’re only afraid they will be expelled from your life for good. So what if you fail? Everyone makes mistakes. It’s almost cliche to remind you that Thomas Edison found 10,000 ways that light bulbs wouldn’t work before he found one way that would. Yes, you’ll probably make mistakes. That’s okay. If you wait till you know everything you need to know you’ll never begin.

There is something raw, beautiful and attractive about ignorance on fire. Just begin taking steps toward your dream. You never know, you might just succeed!

Following Your Dreams

There is something amazing that begins to happen when you overcome fear and begin to follow your dreams. Things that seemed impossible before become possible. Things you never thought you’d witness begin to happen to you.

For decades I’ve dreamed of writing and speaking. I have allowed myself to be held back believing I was too young, didn’t have enough to say, was too unknown, too…. you name it I created a reason for why I wasn’t pursuing my dream. I even told myself I was being humble and waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder to tell me it was my turn.

Crazy. The things we use to mask our fears of being rejected, of failing and of losing our dreams are really just excuses. After all it’s far less painful to dream for the future than to try only to have our dreams rejected.

Thanks to a great friend I’ve been encouraged to pursue my dreams. Really, intentionally, purposefully pursue them. When I took steps towards my dreams my dreams took giant leaps toward me. Things I never would have imagined happening to ME are falling into my lap.

I can’t promise you that when you take the first step your dreams will rush at you too, but I can promise you that until you move toward your dreams they will not be any closer than they are right now, so why not take a step? You may be surprised by the outcome.

Why I’m not raising Well Behaved Children

© Jkha | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Jkha | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

What?! What parent in their right mind would admit to not raising well behaved children? Am I letting them run wild?!

I don’t want to raise well behaved children, I want to raise well prepared adults and I believe there is a profound difference between the two.

Well behaved children (WBC) are raised to be well behaved children. They know who calls the shots, how to avoid getting in trouble (in the teen years this usually means how not to get caught), and how to please the adults who decide all the details of their daily lives. They are rather well behaved. Childhood, however, does not last forever.  Sooner or later those same WBC need to be functioning, well adjusted adults who take responsibility for their own choices and decisions.

WBC may comply outwardly, but outward compliance is no guarantee of inward agreement. Just because a WBC knows how to act to avoid punishment doesn’t mean they understand the why of what they are asked to do and, when they are not supervised, they would probably make a different choice. How many of your peers grew up in strict homes where children were ordered around, rules were made to be obeyed and punishment was swift for every infraction? How many of those same peers, once they left the family home, either were gullible and easily taken advantage of or rebelled against their childhood and went wild in their new-found freedom? Granted not every child, but I bet you can think of several examples of both. How many of them got into financial trouble? How many of them had difficulties on the job? How many of them struggled in relationships? In their marriages? Children grow up. If the only thing parents teach their children is to be well behaved children then they haven’t given them enough.

Before you write me off as a liberal, let-your-children-run-wild, irresponsible parent let me clarify something. I do believe children need structure, discipline, instruction and guidance and I believe the purpose of these is to equip children to be wise, insightful, capable, caring and spiritually grounded adults: to be Well Prepared Adults (WPAs).

WPAs are given tools to make good decisions, to be comfortable in a variety of situations, to be able to relate to and communicate with people from various backgrounds, life stages and economics. They know how to make decisions based on available information, how to take responsibility for their behavior and how to work cooperatively. They have developed their moral character and are better equipped to navigate a world where the rules may not be so clearly defined.

I would rather have a child that doesn’t always live up to someone else’s expectations for their behavior than a child who leaves home unprepared to solve disputes, listen to another’s perspective, and is unable to solve problems. Teaching children these skills means that sometimes things will be messy, limits will be strongly tested and mistakes will be made. No, my children are not allowed to run wild, but we spend more time teaching, training and correcting than we do demanding.

Childhood is short. Adulthood lasts a lot longer. I want to raise capable, mature and wise adults. So here’s to not raising well behaved children!

Forever Young

freeimage-3841653

© Katseyephoto | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

If I am the least bit honest with myself I will admit that I am very good at looking at myself through wishful thinking lenses. When I look in the mirror I don’t see what I look like, I see myself as I imagine I look. No, I’m not pretending to be younger, I just feel younger and maybe even think younger in some ways. It seems I am not the only one guilty of wishful thinking.

Baby Boomers have been rewriting the rules from the moment they appeared on the scene so it is no surprise that they want to feel younger, live longer and have more energy throughout their retirement years. A positive outlook can serve us in our lives, but when it comes to health it turns out Boomers may just need to work harder at it then they thought. According to this Vancouver Sun article baby boomers may not be as healthy as they think they are and their dreams of healthy, long lives enjoying travel and basking in their freedom may be threatened. And they’re probably not the only ones.

Let’s face it, we are all guilty of overestimating our health and fitness.  So what can we do?

Make sure you get a realistic assessment of your health and then take active steps to improve it.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. No, not the perfect figure or number on a scale, but a healthy weight for your body frame. This reduces the risk for a number of diseases that may not show up until later in life. A better way to track your weight is by waist size. Experts recommend women have a waist no larger than 35 inches, aiming for 32.5 inches or less. Men you want to be under 40 inches in waist size, aiming for 37.5 inches or less.Waist size of over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men is associated with higher risk for things like Type 2 Diabetes.*

2. Get nourished. Eat well balanced meals and snacks to feed your cells the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong for a long life. Avoid fad diets and eat enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, yes FATS! Your body needs them all. You don’t need a PhD in nutrition and you don’t need to break the bank. A simple rule of thumb: shop the outside aisles of the grocery store and avoid the middle. The less processed the food the better.

3. Supplement wisely. It’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts. It would be great if we could get all our needs met through our food, but in a world where food is rarely allowed to ripen on the vine before it is picked, shipped and sold supplementing may be the only way to ensure you get everything you need. Choose the supplements wisely. Many bargain brands are not bargains when you realize the supplements do not break down in your digestive tract before they are eliminated. In other words you may as well place them directly in the bowl and flush! I recently did an experiment on my calcium supplements and placed a pill in a cold glass of water. To my surprise bubbles began to appear within seconds and within 10 minutes the pill was completely dissolved. That’s one supplement I know is being absorbed in my body! I highly recommend Arbonne’s vegan certified Essentials line for supplementing. If you’re going to spend money on supplements make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

4. Water does a body good. Unless you landed in the western hemisphere today you’ve probably heard the 8 glasses of water rule. Truth is that a hard and fast rule may not serve everyone well. Make sure you drink enough to not feel thirsty and then probably add one or two glasses. Unsweetened tea counts. Avoid sugary drinks, drinks with artificial sweeteners and anything that has more calories than your meal. A great rule of thumb is don’t drink your day’s worth of calories, eat them!

5. Move your body. Our bodies were designed for motion. They don’t like being inactive and begin to seize up and stiffen when we don’t move. Use it or lose it couldn’t be truer. You don’t need to sign up for the latest class, commit to a gym membership or buy expensive equipment. Just add brisk walking to your day and you’re on your way to improving your health. If you need a measuring stick then choose 30 minutes of brisk activity, or 10,000 steps (use a pedometer) or start simply by parking farther away from the entrance, using the stairs instead of the elevator and walking around while you are on the phone.  Activity does not have to be complicated to benefit your health.

Start with one of the above and once you’ve mastered it and made it a habit move on and add another. Experts say it takes either 21 consecutive days to create a new habit while others say it takes 40 days. Whichever it is it takes a conscious effort before it becomes a habit. So don’t give up. With a little bit of effort you really can make sure you are healthy enough to enjoy the plans and dreams you are making for your future.

Your turn: I’d love to know if you’re taking steps to live a healthy life no matter your age. What is your one big tip for staying healthy for life?

* Source: I Can Do This Diet, Don Colbert, MD, 2010 Published by Siloam, A Strang Company, Florida