Lessons from Olympic Star Shaun White: Commit from the beginning

February 20, 2010

The athlete  talked about visualizing his success and believing in himself:  “I know I can do this,” he said when he was a 6-year old kid snow boarding before it was an Olympic sport  and before there was any chance of money to be made.  He had talent, passion, a vision, and he had the support of his parents.

The gold medal snow boarder, Shaun White, also known as the flying tomato and king of the halfpipe, said of perfecting the Double McTwist 1260, “I make a commitment from the beginning.” 

How profound. 

This is another way to say, “I am going out fully for what I intend to accomplish. I will not doubt, sit on the fence, or make exceptions.  I will trust my intention and I am willing to accept the outcome even though there are no guarantees.”

This is an example of showing your faith through your actions instead of giving lip service and abdicating responsibility.

What could be possible for you if you had commitment from the beginning?

Shaun White has a lot to teach all of us.

Whether you  want to excell in business or become excellent in any area of life: Live from your passion, visualize your success, trust yourself, love what you do and get support.  Have so much faith that the work itself is the reward.

And…don’t forget a most important ingredient for success: Commit from the beginning.

I hope you will commit to joining me during Stop Your Drama Month. Register to get free resources!


Good News Bad News

May 10, 2009

Waiting out the storm in a hot crowded basement.

Good News: My first “Reinvent Seminar” has 30 participants!

Bad News: The room is not set up like I requested when I arrive.

Good News: I stay calm and get to work and everyone arrives early.

More Good News: It is an overcast day so the shades can stay open to a beautiful view of the city.

Bad News: A tornado was spotted 30 miles away and the wind is ferocious outside.

Good News: There’s a basement in the building.

Bad News: We have to walk down 22 flights and most of us wore high heels.

More Bad News: People are chattering as they walk down the stairs. The person in front of me is spilling coffee down the steps. I judge myself for being judgmental about the chatter, the storm, and the spilt coffee.

Good News: I commend myself for being aware of my judgments and I do a prayer of forgiveness. I feel centered and loving again.

Good News: We arrive at the basement.

Bad News: The basement is hot and crowded.

Good News: I stifle my urge to complain.

Great News: The storm is over and we head for the elevator.

Bad News: Someone was clueless. The storm is not over at all. The elevators aren’t working. I judge myself for thinking someone is clueless and for being mad at the storm.

Good News: The storm really is over. Time to get on the elevator.

Bad News: It’s almost time for lunch and I haven’t even started the seminar.

Good News: Almost everyone is willing to adjust their schedule and stay two more hours.

Learning Points: Life is full of what we describe as good news and bad news. No matter how much you plan, strategize or worry, sometimes there is a bigger plan you must adapt to. When circumstances are out of your control, your best option is to release resistance, because in releasing you learn how to be present and you learn to trust.

US San Diego College Mistake Offers Spiritual Business Lesson

April 1, 2009

Disappointment always leads to drama, and drama always has a spiritual lesson to teach even in the business world.

Consider the big mistake US San Diego College made when they mistakenly told 28,000 students they had been accepted into their college.  OOPS.

Control Z! Control Z! Resend! (I can almost see the secretary trying to undo what had just been done.)

That’s one of the pitfalls of instant communication and instant gratification. Mistakes happen on a HUGE level.

Are we really ready for all that technology has to offer?

Only if we can learn and apply the many many spiritual business lessons.

1. With more choice comes more responsibility
2. Disappointments are largely due to expectations than reality
3. There are no guarantees
4. Forgiveness is the new stress management tool

With more choice comes more responsibility

In order to be ready for technology we have to become more responsible. It is clear to me we aren’t there yet. We have kids “sexting” each other, we have cyber-bullies and teens committing suicide. This is because we have not balanced choice with responsibility. We have to see any new choice (like the speed and convenience the Internet provides) like a teeter totter: With more choice you must apply equal amount of responsibility for all things to balance. Our kids are definitely not mature enough yet to handle all the choices, and I’m not so sure we adults are either.

Disappointments are from expectations not reality

I’ll never forget the time I thought I had a speaking engagement in the bag. An e-mail came to me that said, “Go right ahead and draw up the contract. It was close, but everyone agreed you are the one.” I had a moment of celebration then went to work.

Right before I started to draw up the agreement I got another message that said “resend.” I made a call and this is what I heard: “I’m sorry, I sent the e-mail to the wrong speaker. It was so close and I got confused.”

Here’s what I learned. Nothing really changed, I just had a fantasy about what was going to happen and then when the fantasy didn’t materialize I was upset. It was a good lesson that nothing is for certain.

There are no guarantees

Why can’t we learn this one? We get married and later are disappointed that there’s a divorce. We invest in the stock market and when it crashes we freak out.  We grow up and lose the youthful body and get wrinkles. Why do we forget that there are no guarantees…even if there’s a contract, a hand shake and a promise?  In the end if you can’t change what happened your best choice is to forgive.

Forgiveness is the next stress management tool

You can make yourself miserable, and you can talk about what shouldn’t have been done and you can find out who is wrong, but in the end it only prolongs your agony.  Even a five minute episode of recalling an angry experience suppresses the immune system for as much as six hours.

My guess is because we are moving at the speed of light, we will also have mistakes happening at the speed of light. They aren’t going to be little ones either. We are seeing evidence of that with the Wall Street fiasco. My bet is the best investment right now is in learning self-mastery skills such as communication, self-awareness and most of all forgiveness.

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.

The Drama Happens:Your Drama Teaches

February 18, 2009

You teach what you need to learn.

That thought gave me comfort after a technical glitch I encountered during one of my Signature Series Tele-seminars.

Yep…I punched the wrong button and muted myself.

After all the work to write the copy, prepare for the program, invite the guests, only to disappoint.

The Drama happens, but YOUR DRAMA is always a teacher.  Here are four things I had the opportunity to learn because of my mistake!

1. The Drama happens
2. Your Drama is your teacher
3. Building relationships requires risk
4. In the end it’s all about trust

The Drama Happens
You’ve heard me say “The Drama” is what happens in the gap.  Any time you are working on a goal you have a gap…where you are versus where you want to be.

Things often go wrong in the gap. Your boat springs a leak. You get stuck on the rock. (You plan on hosting a tele-seminar but you screw up. You lose the call or press the wrong button. ) It is what it is. The problem is when you create resistance for yourself in the gap. When you are fortunate enough to notice the resistance you can still benefit from “The Drama” because you now have a teacher.

Your Drama is Your Teacher
There’s a difference between “The Drama” and “Your Drama.”  “The Drama” is the unwanted  situation, “Your Drama” is your reaction to the unwanted situation.  Eckhart Tolle (one of my favorite authors) says if you want to know how conscious you are, look at how you react when things don’t go  your way.

Ouch! I have to admit I was mad at myself.  I had a “drama” reaction. (It wasn’t really that big, and it only lasted three minutes.)  I was able to give my listeners the recording but nonetheless, I did experience a fair amount of resistance. I didn’t like the idea of my listeners see me make a big mistake, even if the call was a freebie. I pride myself on “delivering” and being professional.  I also pride myself on being able to be authentic in relationships so this leads to my next point.

Building Relationships Require Risk
You have to let people in if you want a real relationship.  You have to be willing to be human; to make mistakes and to tell the truth instead of blame your mistakes on something else when it really was your fault. (I so wanted to find someone or SOMETHING to blame,) but not this time. I knew it was me.

If you want others to trust you, you have to be willing to own your good, your bad and your ugly. You have to let people who view you as “the teacher” see that you still have lessons to learn too.

In fact, if you are really really really teaching you will find that you teach what you need to learn and life gives you the opportunity to own it if you are willing to trust.

In the End, it’s all About Trust
If you are willing to trust that everything happens, happens for your good, you can immediately release resistance. If you trust your clients and do right by them, they also will stand by you. Perhaps that’s why I had so many who had signed up for the call give me a note of thanks to get the link. And, perhaps the relationship and trust is the reason so many of my callers were holding out and hanging on a dead mute line for over 23 minutes.

I’m grateful for life’s lessons and the community of friends and clients who are living and learning the SYD Methodology.

Blessings of a Bad Economy

November 19, 2008

globalBy Krista Michalowicz

For me and so many of my friends, this is the first time in our adult lives that we have experienced such an economic crisis.  All around me I hear stories of cutting back, friends losing jobs, 401K’s vanishing.  We are a people so clearly without control of our financial destinies! …Or so it feels…

In my own family we are cutting back, watching the food consumption (oh, did I mention the 6′3″ teenager I have?)  My kids even watch the gas prices at the pump, and recently cheered when the total was actually under $60.00!!!  Like many parents I look for “teaching moments” with my kids, what better time to learn the value of a dollar?  While driving with my seven year old son recently, I learned just how much of the bad economy vibe he was absorbing.  While discussing Halloween he informed me that this year he would be making his own costume…”to save you money Mommy…”  He then pointed to a cut up piece of construction paper stapled to his shirt.  At first I laughed, and then I told him how sweet and creative he was.(see? good and caring Mother)  After pondering this for a few minutes, two things hit me.  A) Even though he is my third child, I am still amazed at how much they take in.  After all, it’s not as if we are in danger of losing our home…we are not starving…We are being cautious.  and B) This project of his explains all the holes and random staples I’ve been finding in his clothes!  As it turned out, he recycled an old costume…He was a clone trooper, I’m sure no one but me noticed it was three inches to short!

I suddenly realized all the things that had slowly started to change for us.  Without even realizing it, our family time had begun to change.  Like most people I know we had fallen into routines of dinners out, movies with the kids, and shopping as a past time.  To be fair, I can shop a sale like no body’s business!  But as my husband said not to long ago…”Stop saving me money!”  So alas, even the shopping is mostly on the back burner…Whatever is a family of five in the year 2008 supposed to do for fun?  Well, as it turns out…”Making” your kids (even the 6′3″ teenage boy) go for a walk around town can be a lot of fun!  Especially when my husband created a new game, whereby he puts a dollar under a rock, counts to three…and every family member races to get the money first….As I said these are hard economic times!  One person was tackled, two people fell down, one child almost crushed (saved by before mentioned good Mother) and five people were laughing so hard there were actual tears!

It took a simple observation from a small child, to open my eyes to the many blessings happening in my family.   Joy filled my heart as I realized how we were bonding, how we were talking and laughing.  I realized that my children are listening to everything we say…Well, not everything, but definitely the things I don’t think they are listening to!  They are observing the world we live in, and learning from how we react to it as a family.  Our lives have changed for the better.  Not financially at the moment, but in a way that we will carry with us .I now look forward to sitting on the couch with my husband and a glass of wine,  the way I used to look forward to going to the latest restaurant!  What I’ve learned is that my kids actually want us around.  I know that won’t last forever, but I’ve got it now.  I wonder if I would have missed that message from them if we hadn’t had to cut back?

While I am scared for our country, and uncertain of our next few years, I do know this…I will never forget the lessons my children have taught me, what they have showed me they really need, by the way they have embraced this bad economy.

By Krista Michalowicz

Link – http://www.toiletpaperentrepreneur.com/home/index.php

Bio – I have been a stay at home mom for the past 16 years, before that I worked in early childhood education. I am married to an entrepreneur; we have three children and live in Northern New Jersey. I enjoy writing in my spare time.

Time to Vote by Gary Zukav

October 30, 2008

Dear Friend,

It is time to vote.  The most important presidential election, perhaps in American history, is approaching.  Voting is your only way to determine what you want, what you stand for, what your life is about. When you “throw away” your opportunity to vote, you vote anyway. You vote for apathy, indifference, powerlessness.

The first time I visited Eastern Europe, experienced the Iron Curtain, and my fear when crossing back into Berlin of the young boys in uniform at the checkpoint with their automatic weapons, the barbed wire, and concrete barriers I realized what the right to vote means, and what it means to be able to travel where I please, say what I feel, and do what I need to do.

None of those freedoms existed in East Germany. Even if we foolishly vote them away in the next election – if we vote for fear, superiority, exclusiveness, powerlessness – we cannot throw away the necessity of voting continually throughout every day, and every hour.

When you are impatient, will you vote for patience or the impatience that you are feeling? Acting on the impatience is a vote for it.  Challenging it (not acting on it) is a vote for patience. When you are angry will you vote again for anger (act on it), or will you vote for understanding and care (not act on it).  What you vote for gets elected.

You are the only one voting in the election.

The candidates are always love and fear. Love runs on the harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life ticket. It presents itself as gratitude, caring, patience, contentment, appreciation, and more.

Fear runs on the discord, competition, hoarding, and exploitation ticket.  It presents itself as anger, jealousy, resentment, superiority, inferiority, need to dominate, need to please, and every obsessive thought that you think (such as, He is so stupid; I am so stupid), every compulsive activity you engage (such as workaholism, perfectionism, savior searching), and your every addictive behavior (such over-eating, smoking, gambling, watching pornography, shopping, alcohol, drugs).

Listen carefully to the candidates that are running for election.

Get to know them. Let yourself imagine what it would be like to live in the world they want to create. Do you want to live that world?  Each time you vote, the candidate you choose wins.  You act on your anger or not, challenge your jealousy or not, indulge the need to please or not.  You can loose the ability to vote in a democratic election. It is not guaranteed and it would not exist without the courage and blood that were required to create and maintain it. Don’t throw that courage and sacrifice away.

Love your neighbors enough, including those who have come before you, to honor their gifts.  People like you have died so that you can vote.  Voting in a democratic election is that precious.

You will never lose your ability to vote for love or fear.

It cannot be taken from you and you have no option but to use it. Each moment that you are angry you must challenge your anger or act on it, challenge your impatience or act on it, challenge your sense of hopelessness or let it control you.

Each moment you vote for the world that you want to live in by choosing a loving part of your personality or a frightened part. No one counts your vote.  Each vote creates consequences that you encounter in the intimacy of your own experience.

Only your vote stands between you and the life that you want to live, between joy and pain, between meaning and emptiness.

It’s time to vote.

Copyright © 2008 Gary Zukav
Visit Gary Zukav’s website, http://www.seatofthesoul.com/, for more on this topic.