Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don't Invite The Wrong People Into Your Dreams

Sharing your ideas with the wrong people can be deadly to your dreams.

I've seen it personally and with people I know more times than I can count.

When you start to dream, you are extremely vulnerable. You want to believe the dreams can come true, and in many cases, you are beginning to let yourself believe they can.

However, if you are like most people, you believe dreams are just that . . . DREAMS. They happen for other people, but not for you. So when you start the process of beginning to let yourself believe in a dream, you have to be careful - careful with how you treat that dream and careful who you share it with.

In most cases, the people we wish to share out dream with are our loved ones. We want their support and for them to join in and help us achieve our dreams. Unfortunately though, it doesn't always work out that way.

You Are The Person You Are Because Of The People You Have Surrounded Yourself With.

A couple days ago, I wrote a blog about how you are, who you surround yourself with, We Are A Reflection Of The People We Surround Ourselves With. And you can change where you are going by changing the people we surround ourselves with.

We all inherently know this . . . at a subconscious level. We know that about ourselves and about others.

So, when you share your dreams with others, especially family and friends who love you, part of their subconscious reaction is to undermine those efforts. Not because of some malicious desire to kill your dreams - that's not the case at all. In fact, they do it out of love - they do it out of the person that they want in their life

You see, when you begin to pursue your dreams, those who know and care about you inherently know that you are going to grow. And growth is not only towards your dream, but also away from your old life - and possibly away from them.

It's important to know that people don't throw roadblocks in front of you intentionally.

They don't provide negative feedback on your ideas because they want to hurt you.

When you set your dream and commit to it, you change who you are.

However, those around you haven't changed at all. They haven't committed to your dream - in fact it may be completely different from what they want. That doesn't mean they don't care, it only means they don't want things to change.

Don't Invite The Wrong People Into Your Dreams

The bottom line is that your dreams, especially in the early stages, are vulnerable. So be careful who you share those dreams with.

Look at your past. . . it doesn't matter how much someone loves you, if they have stifled your dreams in your past, they most likely will again today . . . or in your future.

Protect your dream, until it matures and gains strength in your own mind.

And then, when it is safe, and you know that their nay-saying won't undermine your efforts, bring them on board - because after all, they are quite often the people that care the most about you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How Will You Challenge Yourself Today?

“Do something everyday that scares you.”
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes our push comes from our parents.

And sometimes that push comes from within.

There is a great video by that talks about this very issue - Eagles Need a Push

When Was The Last Time You Were Scared and Overcame That?

When was the last time you did something that really scared the heck out of you?

When was the last time you took a chance - whether with sharing an idea, pursuing a dream, risked embarrassing yourself, or did something that you know would shake the foundation of your world for the rest of your life.

A Personal Story About Overcoming Fears

Here is a little story, that I've told many times, but I think it's an important story . . . nonetheless. And I don't "autobiographize" very often. Yes, I know that's not really a word, but it's my blog.


Growing up, I was scared of everything. Scared of heights, scared of speed, and scared of leaving home. You name it, I was scared of it. But I was lucky, because in spite of my fears, I had a couple key people in my life that made me do things that I was afraid to do, because they knew it was the best thing for me and knew that I would enjoy it in the long run.

My Mom drug me up (and then down again) one of those Big Carnival Slides (where you sit on the mat) literally kicking and screaming. But don't worry, after crying all the way up and down that first time, they couldn't get me off the slide for the rest of the afternoon. I hear tell that I went down by myself at least 10 times in a row. And, the story goes that they had to drag me away when it was time to go.

But I didn't learn my lesson there - I still was afraid. I wasn't able to figure out that fears weren't real . . . just in my head.

In fact, ten years later, my older brother Michael drug me on the Lochness Monster in Busch Gardens, Williamsburg - my first Roller Coaster ever. Yes, again, he drug me on nearly kicking and screaming. Needless to say, it was the best thing for me. Because now, even though they still send chills down my spine every time I get on the truth is I can't get enough of roller coasters. I love 'em.

And this all leads up to my 19th Birthday. Still struggling with my fears (specifically my fear of heights), and knowing I had to do something to over come them, I did something that would change my life forever.

On a sunny, hot, August morning, after sleeping in (because I took that day off of work), I walked into the kitchen in my parent's home, announced that I was going skydiving and walked out the door - not to be heard from again for nearly 8 hours, until I returned home again.

I had pondered the idea of skydiving for a while, but only decided that morning, when I got up, that I would actually go through with it . . . or at least try to.

I didn't tell anyone before that morning . . . nor did I give anyone a chance to stop me.

And in spite of being scared out of my mind, AGAIN, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane from 3000' and parachuted to terra firma. I loved it, and would like to think I was brave in my adventure, but I know that I wasn't. In fact if they would have let me (and I hadn't just invested $175 for the training and jump), I would have ridden back down with the pilot. But the instructor simply looked at me and said (as he pointed out of the plane), that's the only way down for you. And he was right.

And from that point on in my life I didn't look back - I didn't let my fears dominate the course that I followed.

Sure I still had fears, but I finally taught myself that I could overcome them . . . when and if I choose to.

Why YOU Should Challenge Your Fears

Now, I look back, as a retired Navy Pilot with over 600 carrier landings (250 of them at night) at what hot day in August meant to me. Sometimes I think maybe I should have been more scared in some situations, and that was my sheer ignorance that prevented that, but I never once doubted my capabilities in an airplane. Sure, I screwed up occasionally (ok, maybe more than just occasionally), but I never doubted or feared that I was incapable of handling the situation. Mostly, I believe, because I learned that the fears that hold you back are all . . . just in your mind.

So, I have to ask you . . . when was the last time you did something that really scared you?

And I challenge you to do something today . . . that scares you - whatever that might be!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Are A Reflection Of The People We Surround Ourselves With

It's truly amazing how the people you surround yourself with can have an impact on you and your life.

It's not just positive people - but people who make you stretch yourself. It's about being around people you respect. People who challenge you. People who make you question yourself (in a positive way). And people who make you feel good about what you are doing.

It's much easier sometimes to hang around with people who make you feel big, but sometimes it's important to find those who can help you grow to be even bigger.

Napoleon Hill talks about mastermind groups - surrounding yourself with people who are already achieving what you want. That is so true.

If you want to grow your business, mingle and associate with successful business owners and learn from them.

If you want a happy marriage, hang out with happy couples, especially older ones that can mentor you.

If you want more wealth and success, hang out with wealthy and successful people that can guide you through the process you need to follow to achieve personal success.

If you want to be poor, unhappy, and angry about what life is stealing from you every day, surround yourself with people who act that way or are that way, and you will quickly find yourself right there with them.

Stop And Look Around

Now that you understand what impact the people around you have on your life and where you are going, stop and look around. Look at who you have in your life and ask yourself, "Are the people in my life helping me get to where I want to go . . . or are they holding me back?"

Are my friends, family and co-workers in the place that I'm trying to get to, or not?

Are there people out there that you could surround yourself with that will get you closer to what you want?

Stop and think about it. And begin to take action to help yourself get what you want. . . by surrounding yourself with the people that are either already there or can help you get there.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You've Got To Take Care Of More Than Just Your Body

I have a client who is a personal trainer. She was struggling with a cold the other day and was frustrated because as she almost passed out from doing Jumping Jacks with a client. Her body was weak and fighting an illness.

What's funny is that many other times in the past she had been getting lost with her mental focus, so I saw an learning opportunity. Helping her understand that she not only has physically weak days when her body is fighting "stress", but she also has tough intellectual, emotional, and spiritual days when those aspects of her being were stressed as well.

You can obviously see when you are having good and bad days in a physical manner. Right? When you are tired or feeling ill. That same things happens mentally, but it isn't as obvious. That's right, You don't have to have a sickness or cold to have weak mental days. Sometimes it's just a bunch of things distracting you (stress).

My client had trained herself to recognize the days when she couldn't push herself too much physically. And besides, her body won't let her (like the Jumping Jacks). But it isn't so easy to recognize the same thing happening to you intellectually, emotionally or even spiritually.

Yes, they are all aspects of your being that have good days and bad days. Days when the muscles that give you strength in the 4 categories of being (physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual) grant you ability to move the earth. And days when you are lucky to even have any strength at all.

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Know when you are in a fog, intellectually. Know when your emotions are fragile. And know when you spiritual being is drained. This doesn't always directly correlate with physical well being, although it often times might. Be willing to take things a bit slower when that is happening, just like you do physically. Get mental, emotional and even spiritual "rest" when you feel you are burning out or simply need some time to recover.

And when you are on your game in these arenas . . . take advantage of it. Exercise those muscles to give you more strength and stamina and even a better ability to stave off the fog when it comes back.
This isn't easy. It takes an awareness that very few people have. But you have something going on that very few people - you are looking at your day and your life, each objectively, to keep you grounded and focused. You are seeing when things are working for you and when you aren't. Now you are going to be able to think about things at an even deeper level - at a core level, in a way that you do you physical well being.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

If You Weren't Sure What Self-Sabotage Looked Like?

Funny Where The Lessons In Life Come From

A friend shared a video with me the other day that is both absolutely hysterical and educational - with lots of lessons from a coaching perspective.

There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs with many people who decide to “change” their life for the better. They commit very deeply to the process of change – truly believing they will do what ever it takes to make the change become permanent. But just as they are about to “break through” to the next level, they disengage from the process and go back to their old self.

Why is this? Why do they pull-back from change just as things are getting good?

Is it because they changed their minds and don't really believe in their goals anymore? Or because they don't think the process is working for them?

I don't think so!

Even though they may say and "feel" both of these things, I don't believe it to be true. In fact, I think that just the opposite is true. And the longer I coach, the more I see it happen.

You see, up until the point of backing down, most people actively participate in the change process at a conscious level. They make real decisions to be who they want to be. And they are very motivated.

Unfortunately though, change in the early stages isn't permanent - it's just surface changes. Real change takes time and requires a deeper commitment. It requires changing habit patterns which are subconscious thoughts - and these are not as easily changed.

Sure, they get close to making a real difference long term, but they never carry through because of an incredible strong drive to quit and / or destroy everything they've worked for up to this point. And it feels the longer they fight it, the stronger the feeling grows.

It is precisely at this point that they sabotage themselves with their own thought patterns. They begin to attack their own desires and destroy what they are actually working so hard to achieve.

From an outside perspective, it's easy to spot - we see it all the time with friends and family. But from a personal perspective, it's often quite a bit tougher to recognize. Literally we can't see our own self-deception and how we are undermining our own intentions.

That is until it's too late.

Watch A Real Example of Self-Sabotage!

This video is short and shows you an example of a dog that has the goal of eating a bone. Unfortunately though, one of his hind legs has different intentions . . . or so he thinks. So rather than chewing on the bone and doing what he wants to do, we find him attacking his own paw - driven so much by a fear that someone or something is going to try to take away the bone.

Literally, this poor dog ends up spending his time attacking his own fears than enjoying the pursuit of his goal.

Do you ever find yourself doing this?

Do you ever self-sabotage just as you are getting close to what you want?

There is nothing to fear about it . . . it happens to all of us. And the first step to working through the struggle is knowing it is happening. And remembering to stay focused on the goal, in spite of the voices that are trying to sabotage your desires.

Here is the video . . . enjoy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Learning Is A Full Time Job

Personal Growth Can Start Happening RIGHT Now!

Have you ever really stopped and looked at your day - truly been present in it and looked at the lessons you are learning throughout the day, and who is teaching you . . . who is shaping who you are and how you behave?

As you may guess, I spend a lot of time "introspectively" (if that is even a word) viewing myself. I try very hard to look at my life and live the path that I work with you on. I ask myself every night what's working in my life, and what's not working. And I look to what I can do better tomorrow.

As difficult as it can be, I do try to live what I preach.

In the past week, I have found myself doing it even more often . . . during natural breaks in a conversation, while I'm driving, making dinner, or even sitting at my desk getting work done, in between tasks. I have found myself looking at not only my day to day life, but also my hour to hour life. And I've been trying to be aware of my state of mind at each step. And trying to make corrections.

Now, I'm not going to lie. I'm not very good at it (yet). But I have found myself more actively trying to correct behavior before the moment fades from thought than I ever have in the past.

I don't try to do it "in the moment", because I try to be present, but as soon as I can when the moment is over, learn and move on.

I try to listen better when I know I've been distracted.

I try to re-orient myself on my daily goals, when I know I'm drifting and getting distracted by less important issues.

Even if something went the way I had hoped it would, I find myself looking for things that could go better - looking for ways to improve it for the next time I'm in a similar situation.

Changing Your Perspective

I guess what I'm saying is that the more you act on this model of behavior, the more you begin to look at life differently. You stop seeing life as simply happening to you - in a way that you are just a passenger on a train to wherever the conductor chooses to go. Instead, you get to decide where you want to go next . . . what you want to be and who you want to become.

For example, one of the skills I constantly struggle with and work on continuously is listening. I often times try to impress others with my knowledge and bombard them with more and more information instead of listening to them and finding out exactly what they need. I've always known this to be true, but I always had a hard time seeing myself doing it, as it was happening - I get emotional about the issue and fail to correct myself.

Now, although, it still happens, I have been able to see myself more objectively - as conversations happen. Rather than waiting until the conversation is over and looking at my mistakes, I've started to really enhance my ability to see what's working and what isn't more clearly, when the conversation allows. I try to find ways to get back on track, if I've drifted and started to monopolize the conversation. And I begin to become a better listener, before things get out of hand.

Try Applying It In Your Own Life

As you go about your day today, just take a couple moments, once or twice through out the day, and ask yourself, "what's working right now?" and "what isn't?". Then real quick make a small adjustment (consciously) and move forward.

Now I know that we all do this at an unconscious level all day long. But that tends to result in the "status quo" - because that's all the unconscious knows - making corrections to our actions that keep us in the rut we're in.

However, if you can make this happen consciously - before the memories of the mistake disappear into your subconscious thoughts, you will begin, ever so slowly to reshape your behavior, not just daily (on a cursory level), but also on an immediate basis, where you can affect real change.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear about examples of how YOU are making near-real time corrections throughout YOUR day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Are You Making The Most Of Your Time and Money?

We all have a limited amount of time in the day. And we also don't have a bottomless pocketbook.

We all know that . . . far too well.

Most of my clients tell me that if I could just get them an extra 4 hours added to the day (a 28 hour day) and 5 more clients per week, things would be perfect.

So, let me ask YOU, would 4 more hours in the day or 5 new clients really help you?

Do you think you need more time and money?

Or do you think you need to better manage and even leverage the time and money you do have first?

In my opinion, most people will fill the void with whatever they are doing. It's not a matter of having more time or making more money - in most cases. Instead, it's a matter of knowing where to spend you time and money to get the most bang for the buck - it's all about leveraging.

Leverage, as we are talking here, is defined as "Positional advantage and or the power to act effectively". So the goal isn't just to figure out where you can apply your efforts and / or money to create the improvement, but instead how to generate the best advantage or biggest change for the least amount of your effort.

Measure, Analyze and Modify Regularly To Make Constant Improvements

Measuring and analyzing will tell you where you should invest your time and money to yield the biggest bang for the buck.

If your sales are falling, most people will spend more time (and money) to generate more leads. They will commit their efforts to more marketing. But what they don't know is that they may already be getting enough leads. In fact they "may" already be spending more than they need to. In these cases, their leverage point isn't lead generation, it's lead conversion.

Through diligent measurement and analysis, they might see that their sales aren't down because people aren't finding them - their sales are down because their sales staff is lazy . . . or inconsistent in their approaches.

If they could simply increase the conversion rate of leads to clients from say 5% to 10%, this would double their sales.

Conversely, if they blindly just tried doubling their marketing efforts, they might find that they are spending a whole lot more time and money to get the same results.

Or, if their conversion rate is already high (above 60-70%, depending on their industry), then they may in fact need to find out which lead sources are working best (and which ones aren't working at all) and try to increase the volume through that lead source.

This might cost some money, but it would sure beat spending marketing dollars on leads that you KNOW aren't going to buy.

We need to think about all of these things - not just in sales, but in life. When you look at "what's not working" and "what is working", it's important to know which things provide the best leverage point for you to improve your life and which ones are just time consumers and money pits.

Another Example of the 80/20 Rule

They say that 20% of effort, yields 80% of your results - if you could increase your 20% to 25% and get 100% results, then you could take the other 75% of the time off.

Conversely, if you increase your 80% effort (that yields 20% of your results) to 100% effort, you will still only be getting 25% of the results, and you will feel completely useless and wonder why things are working out for you.

So, which would you rather have, 25% effort meeting all of your goals? Or 100% effort where you only achieve a quarter of your goals?

Your choice, but my lazy butt would rather do less and get more.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grow From The Confidence You Gain From Love

“To live you have to experiment, to have the ability to experiment you have to have confidence, to have confidence you have to be loved, to be loved you have to love”
Author Unknown

Life is too short to NOT give yourself time to be and time to find out and face why you are doing what you are doing each and every day. That's what weekends are for.

Look on this weekend as an opportunity to experiment - experiment in your life, exploring who you are and what you want from it.

I have learned many hard lessons in my life - many I continue to learn each day. Some I wish I didn't have to
learn. But life teaches us the things that we must learn in order to become who we want to be.

Look at your life and find your
love. Find your passion. Find that someone or something that loves you back - fills your passion so that your heart stays full and can explore and experiment without fear.

Take some time today and / or tomorrow. Listen to yourself, your heart, and to the words you hear around you.
Seek out the love that encourages you to grow and seek out new things, find new paths and want more.

Ask yourself if you are being filled with the love that gives you the confidence to pursue and experiment in life.

Ask yourself if you feel like you are so grounded and rooted in love, that you can, like a tree, reach up to the sky with your branches, and become all that you can become.

Do this for yourself. Do this for those that love you. Do this and live.