Outstrip Yesterday by what you do Today

October 6, 2010

“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.”  – Stewart B. Johnson

 When I read this it seemed like an echo from the past – words appropriate to another time and place – weird. And sad. So many people have been beaten down by the length and depth of the recession that optimism has become increasingly difficult.

And therein lies our conundrum: the more we are beaten down, the more difficult it is to draw upon the very resources we need to bring us back up. Oh, we could wait for a serendipitous occurrence to turn life around – a big sale, a new relationship, a sudden, spontaneous improvement in the economy (right). But to do so puts our lives in the hands of chance. You certainly don’t want it in the hands of the government.

If you want your swagger back – NOW; if you want to feel good about life, optimistic, anxious for each day to begin, confident in your ability to achieve, it has to come from within. The question is: how do we reclaim our confidence when reality keeps slapping us in the face? I hate to quote Madison Avenue, but the short answer is: Just Do It!

Wayne Dyer uncovered a clever truth about the old saying “You’ll believe it when you see it.” Turns out that it is true in its original form and when you reverse the meaning, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” The difference is that the original version requires a serendipitous occurrence while the revised version requires only a change in beliefs.

Our power to choose and change our attitude comes from the simple truth taught by Emerson and many others, “You are what you think about all day long.” We don’t need to wait for life to turn around, we can take control, decide what we want and take the actions required to make it so. The key is in the simple quote above: what do you think about? If you focus on past failures, you pull them into your present and forward into the future. To break any destructive cycle, you must replace the old, destructive images with positive thoughts of achievement, prosperity, happiness, confidence, success. If you’re thinking that this is too difficult, stop thinking so much. Just do it, do it now. It might help to remember a time when you did feel powerful and confident. Focus on that time until you “get the feeling,” then hold on to it as much and as long as you can. Practice this every day and miraculous things will happen. Your external reality will evolve in the direction of your intentions, your belief in what you can accomplish, where you are going. Have a good trip.


Unanticipated Success

September 9, 2010

“Every failure is really just an unanticipated Success.”   SD

 We begin with a vision of what we wish to accomplish. Then we visualize our desired result, plan, decide upon a course of action and execute our plan. So far: so good.

Then, after a while, we sit back and examine the results. If they match our initial vision, we label our efforts SUCCESS. If they fall short, we label them with the “F” word – FAILURE. Why do we do that to ourselves? Especially when we have seen over and over again that events we judge as failures almost always turn out to be valuable lessons or building blocks to a greater success.

So, I guess we can chalk it up to bad memory. Why should we care? What’s wrong with judging some of our results as failures and taking steps to rationalize our disappointment?

Well, a couple of things:

1. We don’t like to fail. So, the fear or expectation of failure can keep us from taking risks. And where there’s no risk, there’s no reward.

2. Judging our outcomes as failures tends to bum us out. And bummed out people rarely attract positive relations, new business, good juju into their lives.

Viewing outcomes as failures lowers self-esteem and who needs that? If you can’t feel good about yourself, who can?

In summary, be good to yourself. Love yourself. View all of your outcomes as building blocks, steps along the path you are walking and, therefore, successes.

Judge less

Be kind and compassionate – especially to yourself.


When all is failing, be optimistic!

August 24, 2010

Quote of the Week

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
–Helen Keller

 So, here is the million dollar question: How can you feel optimistic when you just lost 2 escrows and the one remaining is a short sale you’ve been nursing for 8 months? How can you feel confident when nothing seems to be working for you? (I know that was two questions) 

The answer is simple. Your level of optimism cannot be contingent upon how well “things are going.” Self-confidence cannot be contingent on whether you are currently successful. Huh? Yes, that is what I meant to say. Allowing your feelings to be contingent on past and present results is my definition of VICTIMHOOD. 

You have no control over your feelings when you allow them to be shaped by past or current results. They become like corks bouncing on the waves, controlled by the winds and the currents.  Is this how you want to live? Of course not. 

So, how do you break the relationship between what you see and what you believe? The same way you master anything—the same way you get to Carnegie Hall—practice, practice, practice. Detach your feelings from current events. Focus on your vision of the future. Visualize yourself as a happy, healthy, successful person and allow that image to mold your feelings. Yes you will feel better, but more than that—your positive, optimistic attitude will attract people into your life who can help you to succeed.

When you radiate self-confidence, others feel confident in your abilities.


2010 Part Deux

July 7, 2010

 (Resolve)

 Part 1 is in the history books. Time to turn our attention to Part 2.

Congratulations to those of you who had a great first half of the year.

If, on the other hand, you are feeling discouraged and unhappy with your results in Part 1 – hey, that’s why there’s a Part 2.

Remember, it’s never too late to have a good year!!! Are you prepared to take advantage of the opportunity?

At this point, we have two choices:

1. Give up on the year – agree with those who will be talking about how summer is slow: everyone’s on vacation, etc., and then of course the holidays – no one is going to buy during the holidays… or,

2. Resolve to have a Kick- ____ in 2010 Part 2.

 I’m going to pause in my writing for a few minutes to give you the opportunity to make your choice.

 OK, if you chose #2, consider this:

You are unique.

 In the history of the world no one has walked the earth with your unique blend of experience, knowledge, skills, personality, commitment, determination, compassion, heart. You have absolutely everything you need to live the life of your dreams. You don’t need another seminar. You don’t need to hire a coach. You don’t need to psychoanalyze your relationship with your parents. While all of these may be helpful, none of them are the answer.

If you are not living the life you desire, there is only one thing missing: RESOLVE.

 As Tony Robbins says: “ I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simple as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams and those who live in regret.”

 There is no secret to success:

Know what you want.

 Know that you will achieve it.

Never give up.

Take right action every day until success comes pounding at your door.


Bathroom Mirror Quote

June 16, 2010

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.”
Doug Firebaugh
 

This is one that should be on everyone’s bathroom mirror – a reminder each morning to be true to who you are and who you are becoming. Why waste even one more day on the past. I mean, you were there, right? You did what you chose to do and life unfolded. Try as you might there is not a single thing you can do about it. (Well, unless you have a working time machine, in which case, call me.) 

Think about it. A life focused on the present and future is a life free of guilt (because we haven’t done anything yet to feel guilty about) – it’s a life full of possibilities, an endless feast of fun, fulfillment and prosperity. So, what’s stopping you? Oh, yeah, you haven’t let go of the past yet have you? Or, maybe you have, but you haven’t formed a clear vision of the future? Well, gee, what are you doing this afternoon?

 If you have a couple of hours, here’s what you can do (2 things guaranteed to transform your life.):

 1. Decide to let go of the past. Make a covenant with yourself that every time your mind tries to relive and redo past “mistakes,” say CANCEL! Bring your mind back to the present and focus on what you can do NOW to live a better life and move closer to your goals.

2. Create a clear vision of the life you want. Take a pen and paper and write it down. Sound silly? Why? If you wanted to buy a new car, wouldn’t you think about it all the time, cut out pictures and tape them on your steering wheel, focus on it until you figure out a way to make the purchase. Well, good news, all life is just like that.

You get what you focus on.

Or, as Emerson said:

“You are what you think about all day long.” 

If you get that, you get everything – and I mean everything.


Get out of your HEAD and into the ROOM

May 30, 2010

Just a quick note to remind you to experience more and analyze less.

When you get to the final day of this journey on Earth are you going to look into the eyes of a loved-one and say “Gee, I wish I’d spent more time worrying about all those things that never happened.?” Yeah, I don’t think so.

 Do you want your final epiphany to be regret over how much time you wasted bemoaning past “mistakes” and worrying about future outcomes? Wouldn’t that be tragically fitting. Your final precious moment spent in regret instead of soaking in the world one last time? I’m starting to sound like the Ghost of Christmas Past. So, let’s go with that. Like Scrooge, we all have the capacity to wake up and change our approach to life. Decide right now to spend more time observing and less time thinking. Be curious about the world. See life as it is and appreciate the perfection—even if it isn’t exactly the way your mind thinks it should be. Release the past and the future and enjoy the only time we ever truly have—NOW. So, as Tiny Tim would say…


The University of Adversity

May 5, 2010

“There is no education like adversity.”
Benjamin Disraeli

Well, aren’t we feeling well educated? Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But, of course, it is so true. If life always unfolded just as we expect and desire, we would parish the first time we fell off a bike or lost a client. Put another way:

Good fortune and bad are equally necessary to man to fit him to meet the contingencies of this life.
French Proverb

Sorry about the gender bias (the French) – I’m sure this is equally true for non-males.

Adversity is simply life moving in a direction that we did not expect.

It is not necessarily a worse direction, or a better direction, just different than what we had planned. There are two primary responses to adversity each presenting us with an opportunity for growth.

Ask yourself: 1. Is the situation counter-productive to my life plan. Does it inhibit my ability to grow in the direction I have selected, and 2. Is it within my ability to change it? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you can create a plan to bring the situation more in line with your goals.

If you cannot change the situation, you are handed the opportunity to learn acceptance. We simply cannot manipulate every aspect of life to match our vision of how the world should be. Attempting to do so will only bring frustration, disappointment and resentment. Learning to let go of our expectations is one of the keys to a happy life.

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr