You are More than One Shapshot

February 25, 2009

This week I watched ABC reality show “True Beauty,”  a beauty contest with a twist: The contestants were being secretly watched and judged, not only on their physical beauty, but also on their inner beauty.

Each week the contestants had to complete tasks of physical fitness, photo shoots, and interviews, however there was always a hidden challenge.

For example on one particular interview the interviewer opened the opportunity for the interviewee to gossip about the other participants.

On an another assignment a waiter spilled drinks on the contestants and the camera zoomed in on their aggravation and disgust.

The judges sat in the secret room watching instant replays while talking about the contestant’s character, attitude, and inner beauty.

Week by week two people ended up in the “hall of beauty” to see who would get eliminated. The loser then got to see hidden film of their rude behavior, attitude problems, disrespect and other qualities that detract from inner beauty.

I know…a lot of people are going to judge me because of watching a reality show, but the REALITY is, there is a LOT to be learned about life and human nature if you watch from a different perspective.

For example, last night the three remaining contestants, all competing for the final prize of $100,000 and a chance to be positioned in People magazine, finally became aware of the hidden cameras.

They were invited into the secret room where they were shown excerpts of their behaviors, teamwork,  and relationship building skills throughout the course of the contest.

Joel, arguably the most physically fit and most passionate was disturbed at what he saw. After watching clips of himself being sarcastic, critical, disrespectful, and throwing his team members “under the bus” a couple of times, Joel said something quite profound: ” You can’t take a few snapshots of someone’s life and say that is the whole person.

Here’s what I would say to Joel if I was a judge:

So true Joel. But didn’t you do that when you told Chelsea, your fellow competitor “I don’t like you, so stay away from me.”  All Chelsea did to earn  your judgment was tell a joke that you didn’t think was funny. Did you take the time to understand her? Did you try to look at her as a many-faceted person before making your judgment of her worthiness?

Actually Joel’s words gave me something to think about.

Isn’t it true that all of us make judgments on one or two snapshots of a person? All of us are multi-faceted. We are more than our behaviors and more than our outer beauty.

This show was a lesson in Self-Mastery more than anything else. I really do believe we can learn from reality TV. I believe beauty is more than skin deep and I  believe we get what we put out there.


Stop the Spiral Down Drama

January 27, 2009

When you start to “spiral down” no matter what the reason it is a sign.  Something is out of whack. You don’t feel hopeful about your relationship, the economy, or your career. You see others who seem to have it all figured out and you secretly envy them. Your projects overwhelm you and your surroundings are full of clutter. All of the sudden you have a case of “stinkin thinkin’” but knowing it doesn’t help you spiral back up. Even though an occasional dip is normal, it doesn’t mean you have to stay there for long. Here are four ways to move through the valley and back up the mountain.

1. Slow Down
2. Clear the Clutter
3. Reconnect
4. Reassess

Slow Down

Right before the spiral notice the tendency to overexert. You are acting out of fear. Fear that there aren’t enough opportunities. Fear that you are running out of time. Fear that you aren’t keeping up. Fear that you are running out of money. The tendency is to get distracted with opportunities or “doing” so that you don’t feel those fears. The illusion is that you are going to find the magic formula if you just “do” one more thing. The reality is you will never create success when you are feeling frustration and failure. It isn’t possible to be in “drama” during the journey and arrive at the island called Nirvana.
You must recognize the urge to do more as an addiction, and you must consciously decide to be in charge of your compulsion and slow down or even stop for one day.

Clear the Clutter

Clutter manifests because you didn’t see the signs. You added one more thing to your unfinished projects. You didn’t slow down and now you are overwhelmed with a list of tasks that are not attached to a plan. Signs of clutter are an e-mail in box with 2000 emails, stacks of magazines you intend to read, piles of junk you keep promising you will sell on e-bay. Clutter only reminds you of all you haven’t done and promises you haven’t kept. On your “slow down” day, instead of working on another project or coming up with yet another idea, clean the clutter.

Reconnect

When you spiral down you often feel old patterns surfacing. You feel self-doubt, unworthiness or envy. All you need to do is reconnect. Reconnect spiritually and relationally. Spend some time in prayer, journaling or meditation. To paraphrase Wayne Dyer, “it’s always between you and God anyway.” Reconnecting spiritually will remind you that your depression, fear or overwhelm is not about your situation or other people it is because you have lost connection. Reconnecting with others can also give you a huge boost of energy if you do so from a pure intention. Don’t look at others as a means to an end, such as hoping they will purchase something from you or give you a good lead. Just enjoy their company, see the value in them as a person and you will be surprised how easily it is to get recharged.

Reassess

Most of what you believe to be true is just a story you are making up. You see someone else and believe they have it made because they are wealthy, famous, beautiful or all three. In reality you can never know what someone else is going through. Everyone has challenges and every person has his own demons to face. So many times people have been in admiration of me when I was going through my own private world of despair.

Instead of automatically believing every thought that pops into your head, select the thought offering you the highest and best truth while still allowing you to change or improve what is necessary.

We will be talking about these kinds of things in the new Signature Series Calls.


Do You Value Your Greatest Assets?

December 19, 2008

I just met an inspiring young entrepreneur and his wife for lunch.  I love it that I can learn so many things from those much younger than me.

What I learned is that we so often miss our priorities and we don’t value that which is our greatest asset. This is as true in the corporate world as it is in our home lives.

You know how in the workplace they always say, “Employees are our greatest asset” but then when times get tough you see a different commitment?

Isn’t it true that in life our families and spouses can also be our biggest asset, yet we totally take them for granted?

I want to share what Chase Barfield, founder of BarfieldManagement.com says about the value of teamwork and seeing your spouse as part of the team. Click here to see the article.

This article will help you if you are a business owner or entrepreneur and will add meaning to your relationships.


What to Do When You Are Out of the Flow

December 9, 2008

I often talk about “reading the signs” and what I mean by that is not “woo woo” but about increased levels of awareness. With increased levels of awareness or (consciousness) you can make simple shifts to bring you more into that good feeling flow.

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of themes emerging from those who feel out of sync…out of the flow…a bit hopeless or depressed.

I even found myself feeling that way recently and was surprised at an old pattern resurfacing. I thought I had mastered the “inner game.”

After all, in the end it’s all about alignment; your inner game and feeling of connectedness.

I’ve “read the signs” for myself about WHY I get out of the flow and thought these five signs might be of help to you too.
1. I’m  not telling myself the complete truth
2. I’m not meeting my basic needs
3. I have traded “virtual” reality for “physical reality.”
4. My attitude has slipped into negativity
5. My habits are becoming my master instead of my servant

Telling the truth

It’s so easy to put a smiley face on an empty gas tank.  I think most of us are afraid to tell ourselves the truth when we feel lousy, but staying in denial only prolongs it.  When you feel bad, just admit it and go right to non-resistance. Then  you open the “portal” for change.

Meeting basic needs

When I skip sleep, exercise or good nutrition, it’s just a matter of time before I start feeling a little disconnected.  The biggest victim story that I hear over and over is “I don’t have time.”  I used to “lie” to myself about that too.  Now I know what Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) says is true: It’s about sharpening the saw. To skip out on “sawing logs” will have you sawing logs with a rusty dull saw.

Virtual reality versus physical reality

I love the Internet and the connections and friends I make on Face Book, Ning, and WordPress but when I forget to get out there in public and mix and mingle, or even call a friend on the phone I get completely out of touch with life.  When I’m feeling depressed I always cheer up to go to a networking meeting or social event.

Attitude

What you think about expands. Attitude is everything but trust me, you simply can’t keep your attitude in check when you are exhausted and your body is full of fat and sugar.  When the little gremlins start taking over the conversation in your head, go backwards and see if you have made the errors already talked about in the previous steps:  You aren’t being honest about  your situation, you are  not meeting your basic needs and you are addicted to your computer and sacrificing your physical, real-life relationships.

Habits: Master or Servant

I can just visualize it…your five year old comes and says “let’s Play” and you say, “be quiet, I’m trying to build relationships…”  Why do we forget that technology should be our servant instead of our master?

I’m as guilty as the next person. There’s always one more thing to learn. There’s Twitter, Squidoo, Animoto, Mind Movies, Face Book, Ning and the list continues to grow. Let’s face it we will never keep up with all of it.  Learning is fun but when it becomes a compulsion it’s a problem.

In the end it’s all about the inner game and we teach what we need to learn.  Living the “Stop  Your Drama” methodology keeps me honest and in alignment.


Mind Control For the Bail Out Blues

October 8, 2008

Well…the big bail out didn’t work and now everyone is freaking out. Goes to show the effect of bad judgment. We collectively get to see what the proverbial “ripple effect” looks like on a global perspective. It’s not just about us any more.

If you haven’t noticed, we are all playing in the same sand box. In USA Today the headline on the front page says,’ As fear, panic spread, global markets dive.

Japan’s Nikkei stock average plummeted, Russia, France, UK and Germany felt the  hit too.If we don’t get a measure of discipline, we are all going to spiral out of control.

Calm Down Keep Rowing

Keep Rowiing

Here’s a suggestion to keep you rowing in the midst of the tidal waves.

Get Control of Your MIND

It’s time to throw in a dash of discipline with some good old mind control. Letting your thoughts  go haywire with future predictions, worry and doom and gloom only add to the global misery as is evident in the front page of every major magazine. Here are 5 Mind Mistakes to Avoid in Tough Times.

Mind Mistake #1 I have the right to worry

You do have the right to worry but it is a mistake to take advantage of this option.The reason is worry doesn’t contribute to the solution. Worry can make you sick and worry breeds more negativity.  Already USA Today reports stress is up 50-60%, irritability is at an all time high and fatigue and sleeplessness is reaching an all time high as well. Getting SICK does not solve your problem…it only makes it worse.

Mind Mistake #2 This is all the Government’s fault

While it’s easy to cast blame and point fingers, there is a bigger picture to observe. All of us have a responsibility to select representatives to our government who look out for our best interests. The more personal responsibility we are individually ready to assume, the less likely we will be faced with these kinds of problems. Each person must take this situation as a wake up call to be more alert and pro-active. We are all in this together.

Mind Mistake #3 I can’t help how I feel

Although unwanted circumstances influence how you feel, you can shift how you feel. On a physical level, to feel your very best you must take care of yourself, eat healthy, exercise, and get your sleep. On a mental or emotional level you must master your mindset.

Emotions are the body’s reaction to the mind. Your thoughts trigger your emotions, not the other way around. Thought always comes first. Most people are just unaware of their thoughts. The only thing you ever totally have control over is your own sense of well-being. Ultimately you are responsible for your feelings.

Mind Mistake #4 There is One Ultimate Right Decision

Why are so many of us rushing to make someone wrong? Every time someone disagrees with the other side, fingers start pointing and tongues start wagging.  It’s all drama. Our country was built around the option to voice different opinions. We should all be more concerned about mob mentality. Let’s support those working on our behalf and lets look for blind spots in ourselves and others who are too quick to have the final answer.

Mind Mistake #5 When this is finally over I can be at peace

You don’t have to wait to be peaceful. You can be peaceful right now. You can practice releasing in each moment. Gary Zukav says “Stress is the consequence of resistance to your life.” When we resist what is, we create more stress. When you relax into acceptance, you can then reclaim your peace.

Eckhart Tolle says, “Listen to people’s stories, and you’ll find that they could all be entitled “Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now.” The ego doesn’t know that your only opportunity for being at peace is now.”

Take a deep breath. Take control. Ride the storm. Get present.  “The Drama Stops Here.”

Sign up for The Drama Stops Here to get more Drama Stopping Ideas during these challenging times.


Financial Frenzy Drama Got You Worried?

October 2, 2008

Reclaim Your Power with these Four Steps

Sick and tired of the wall-street-financial-frenzy-bailout DRAMA? It’s easy to let negative news suck you into a whirlwind of fear and frenzy. It’s easy to forget that your number one job in the face of an apparent crisis is to take care of yourself.

You can’t take care of yourself or make good decisions when you panic, think irrationally or let your energy drain with useless chatter about how bad things are.  These four action steps help you reclaim your power.

1. Master your mindset

2. Master your inner dialogue

2. Become a creator

3. Focus

Master your mindset

Get control of your mind instead of letting it control you. Excessive exposure to the daily news is unnecessary, as is obsessive conversations about the current situation. Think about how much productivity and wasted time is due to fear and projection about future doom and gloom.

1. Set a time to catch the news, and then go about your life.

2. Refuse to get into mind games about future problems

3. Become an observer instead of a participant.

4. Practice deep breathing, exercise and other positive outlets

Master your inner dialogue

Everyone has an inner dialogue. Scientists say we think about 60,000 thoughts per day and over 85-90 percent of them are either repetitive or negative. Probably most of us are experiencing a background noise that sounds something like this

  • I might lose my job
  • What if I can’t retire when I want
  • Our government is corrupt
  • They better get something done

And so on it goes. None of these thoughts are constructive.  A good way to start gaining power is to master your communication. The best advice is to create a mantra so that you can rewire your brain.  Here are some good ones.

  • All of my needs are met
  • This too shall pass
  • Nothing lasts forever, not even problems

Completely eliminate statements such as “that’s not fair” or “this always happens to me.” Instead, face what is and make wise decisions. When someone else starts a conversation that triggers your fear, you can get drawn into the addiction or you can simply say, “the drama stops here,” and you can refuse to spiral down.

Become a Creator

Victims feel that they have no choices, while creators always look for the opportunity, the lesson or the options. To learn how to respond rather than react, recognize your choices so that you are prepared for any unfortunate situation.

1. Talk to your financial planner

2. List the areas where you would be willing to scale down if need be

3. Register to vote

4. Brush up your resume

5. Make a list of your skills, talents and experiences

6. Make a list of all of your blessings and opportunities

Being proactive makes you feel a sense of control instead of a sense of panic. In addition, reminding yourself of all that you have already created for yourself is a great mood booster and a reminder that you can create what ever is necessary to move forward.

Focus

Keeping your attitude in check is good for your health and increases your personal productivity. Too much negativity produces stress, anxiety and illness. Even recalling an angry experience for as much as five minutes, suppresses the immune system for as much as six hours. Imagine what happens to your attitude and your health when you watch CNN all day long and hear nothing but negativity.

Attitudes of appreciation increase circulation and promote regular heart rhythms. Which do you want? Only you can choose what you focus on.  Here are some tips for focus.

1. Instead of complaining, ask for what you want or make a new decision.

2. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

3. Instead of projecting into the future, focus on the now.

4. Separate fact from fiction

5. When researching, listen to all points of view rather than being closed minded.

Instead of following mob mentality, focus on getting the facts. It’s easy to listen to someone you admire, whether it’s Rush Limbaugh, your preacher or your dad. Be your own authority and look at all sides of an issue so that you don’t get off focus and swept up in the tidal waves of negativity. Remind yourself that there may be a bigger picture than what is immediately apparent.

Get a free handout with this article (found on the front page of the Stop Your Drama Website). The article includes The 5 Mind Mistakes that will keep you stuck!

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How do you know if DRAMA is manifesting in your life?  Click here to get a free e-lesson about how to identify and stop drama.



Looking for Purpose? Six Re-Invention Steps to Success

October 1, 2008

Recently I spoke at a conference using the title of my book, “Success is a Given: Reading the Signs While Reinventing Your Life.” As would be expected, many in the audience were in the midst of reinvention, looking for purpose, reinventing their career or entering a new decade of life. These life transitions, I call “the search.”

Four major themes emerged though personal conversations:

  • I don’t know my purpose
  • I just turned 40 and I want something more
  • I’m scared, frustrated and overwhelmed
  • I don’t know what to do

It’s easy to let the drama of life-reinvention trigger unhealthy conversations that keep you farther away from your goals. The communication we have with others is always evidence of the emotions going on underneath.

I understand the emotions because I traveled a similar path about 10 years ago. I was getting ready to turn 40, I had worked in a factory all of my life and I was searching for a purpose and a new career. Once I actually quit my job, the world was open to possibilities…in fact, too many possibilities which is just as frightening as none at all.

You go from being marooned on an island with no escape to complete freedom floating in the middle of the ocean with no map, too many islands to choose from and just a couple of oars! It’s easy to let your attitude slip into negativity and desperation as you row in circles trying to chart your course.

Here are six easy tips to reinvention success.

1. Slow down

2. Get some structure

3. Create an inner purpose

4. Experiment

5. Master your communication

6. Start where you are

Slow Down
Slow down and take a breath. This is not the time to panic. When you are searching too hard, you mistake activity for productivity. One woman said she was spending 10 hours a day searching on the computer to find just the right opportunity. I asked her if she was willing to go inward and listen to her voice. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are rowing in the right direction.

Get some structure
To increase your personal effectiveness and productivity create some boundaries. If you are completely out of work, set up a schedule for yourself. Get up at the same time every day. Set up specific times for job searching, working out, and create daily routines. Creating boundaries for yourself makes you feel in control instead of lost at sea.

Create an Inner Purpose
Don’t allow searching for your life purpose be the big drama that’s keeping you stuck. Too many people are looking for some big magical ah-ha moment that signifies they finally got their purpose. Although some people claim to have such a moment, the reality is that life is lived in small segments of the “now.” Looking for the big purpose can be like trying to row to an island 5000 miles away. At some point it just gets exhausting and you never truly arrive.

Look first for an inner purpose and then you can always be on purpose no matter what you do to make money. For example, when I was in the midst of my life-purpose drama, I could not for the life of me figure out how to leave my factory job. I came up with an inner purpose called ICARE which stood for “Improving Communication and Relationships Everywhere.” Then I knew that was my north star for everything I did, even while working in the factory.

Experiment
Give yourself a break. Do you really need to have all the answers right now? Life is about enjoying the journey. Give yourself some time to experiment. Try volunteering for a project. Take up a new hobby. Get to know yourself. If you are going through a re-invention such as divorce or career change, it’s important to experiment with life to know what you want to create for the next phase.

Master Your Communication

Master Your Communication

Master Your Communication
Watch the language you use while in the stages of reinvention. Be mindful of sounding like a victim.
Negative self talk becomes negative public talk. Change your attitude and your words will naturally follow.

One woman I talked to kept talking about “I don’t know what to do” and “the reason what I want isn’t possible is because…” No wonder she was feeling lost. My advice to her was to say instead, “I’m in an exciting period of life reinvention and I’m so fortunate to get to try new things, experiment with my life and create exactly what I want for the next phase.

Start where you are.
Life gives you opportunities in each moment to be purposeful. Don’t fall for the illusion that you need some fancy career or big life calling to be purposeful in your life. I remember creating a mantra while I was still at Kraft Foods. Instead of complaining about the job I would say, “Someone has to make cheese.” If you can be on purpose in the mundane, your presence will lead you to the bigger purpose you are searching for.

What myths are you believing about re-invention and success? Get your free copy of The 3 Success Myths and 4 Lies by clicking here.