The Road to Success

April 2, 2010

“The road to success is simple

for those who have no rear-view mirrors.” SD

The problem 

We tend to get trapped in a Catch 22: The more treacherous the road the more time we spend looking behind us, lamenting our misfortune and worrying that more of the same lies ahead. But, the more time we spend looking back, the more treacherous the road becomes. Imagine zooming down the highway at 70 MPH while staring into your rear-view mirror – a near certain recipe for disaster. And, of course, the more treacherous the road…

 A solution

Many years ago on a sacred mountain top, in the ancient spiritual Mecca of Stockton, a 400 year old spiritual master lay dying in my arms. As I sensed his life energy about to transition I asked, “Master, before you cross into the Great Unknown will you share with me one Secret to Living a Successful Life? Tell me how to stop focusing on the misfortunes of my past, knowing that by doing so I project my problems into the future.”

 As the life-force began to leave his body, he pulled my ear to his lips and yelled:

 STOP DOING THAT! 

“All right, All right,” I said, rubbing my ear. “Geez.”

 I realize that the more challenging life becomes, the more difficulty you have focusing on the present (the Catch 22). Difficult: but well within your abilities. It is a matter of focus and will and eventually habit.

 Approach today as a precious opportunity: a gift of life that will last but a few short hours. Consider the extraordinary treasure that lay before you. You are surrounded by an endless supply of beauty and prosperity. A happy, prosperous life is your right, and you were born with everything you need to claim your share.

What will you do today to draw prosperity into your life? What steps will you take to reach your goals?

 If, today, you focus on this unique present, there will be no time to lament the past. Tomorrow? Do it again.

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The Power of Winning

March 23, 2010

 

The Power of Winning

“Your talent determines what you can do. 

Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do.

Your attitude determines how well you do it!”

–Lou Holtz

 

The exciting news:   A lot is “happening”!  The challenge:  How do each of us participate in the activity? 

There is an amazing video:  Pearls Before Breakfast (from the Washington Post)…Watch It!!!

The story goes… 

“A youngish, nondescript, white man in jeans positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket at a metro station (subway) in Washington D.C. and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning, several years ago.  He played six classical pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

“In the 45 minutes the muscian played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for awhile.  About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.  He collected $32.00.  When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed.  No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. 

“The violinist was none other than Joshua Bell, currently one of the greatest muscians in the world (playing incognito).  He played one of the most intricate musical pieces ever written on his Gibson Stradivarius (valued at approximately 3.6 million dollars).  Two days before, he had played to a ‘sold out’ theater in Boston, with seats averaging $100.00 each.”

In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:

               Do we perceive beauty/Do we stop to appreciate it/Do we recognize opportunities that are right before our eyes?

This amazing musician went unrecognized…unnoticed because his appearance was not expected, not anticipated. So it is with success in today’s marketplace. Those people who are still bemoaning the “bad economy” will only perceive that which validates their expectations.

Those who expect success will see the opportunities everywhere.

 So, the only question is:  Are you prepared and looking for opportunities…and taking advantage of them? Do you wake up every morning filled with anticipation, prepared to take advantage of the unlimited possibilities?

 Remember: Success doesn’t find You. You find Success.

 As we move further into 2010, I can’t help but remind myself that we not only live in best place in the world, but also that our communities offer some of the best real estate opportunities in the world!

 Take advantage…have a fantastic Week!


Forgiveness

March 12, 2010

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Applied generously, it can provide relief for both the giver and the receiver.

For the receiver, the effects are pretty obvious. Being forgiven can ameliorate feelings of guilt for what it is they have done, and worry over the future of their relationship with the giver. It can have a positive effect on the receiver’s self-image, and infuse them with a general sense of  well-being.

Oddly enough, the same benefits are available to the giver. In general, we forgive people because we perceive that they have wounded us in some manner. We judge their actions as wrong. The “projection” effect tells us that when we criticize others we are criticizing ourselves. What we object to in another’s actions are actions that we have taken and regret or that we have imagined taking but believe are inappropriate. So when we forgive another we are, in effect, forgiving ourselves.

And forgiving yourself is very powerful medicine.


The Adventure

October 25, 2009

“The adventure you are ready for is the one you get!”
–Joseph Campbell (Mythologist and Story Teller)

This quote came from Jeff Probst when he won the Emmy for best reality show host. My ears perk up any time I hear Joseph Campbell’s name. By studying a wide variety of cultures he came to understand what is true about human beings no matter when or where they lived on the planet. This universal truth is particularly significant for commission sales people and reminds me of the Bobby Unser quote:

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”

Bobby Unser won the Indianapolis 500 three times.

We all love stories where a boy opens a magic book and is transported into an adventure of a lifetime. In the real world, the adventure we get is based on our degree of preparation, our goals, our experience, knowledge and skills. Another ancillary quote is the old Buddhist proverb:

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

Everything we need to lead the life we dream will become available when we are ready. What an amazing promise, one that comes with conditions. We must be willing to do what it takes to lead the life of our dreams.

  • We must be clear and focused on the adventure we want.
  • We must believe to our core that we will succeed.
  • We must, however, be willing to fail along the way.
  • We must act in the face of fear.
  • We must recognize and honor our incremental successes.
  • We must be open and vigilant to everything and everyone who can help us.
  • We must ACT!

Risk – The Greatest Security

November 10, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“The greatest security is to plan and act, and take the risk that will ultimately ensure your personal freedom and independence.” -Denis Waitley

 

 

This is what great quotes do: they encompass profound, complex, often life-altering concepts or processes into succinct, one line instruction manuals for living.

 

Here we have the nearly universal human goal of freedom and independence, the prerequisite of a willingness to take risks, and the essential two step procedure – plan, then act. And each component of this procedure is absolutely indispensable to success.

 

Assuming the goal of freedom and independence, planning is a useless exercise without the willingness to take risks. Implicit to the achievement of any life-altering goal is the requirement to take new actions, to stretch beyond previous boundaries. Since new actions will likely create new, unfamiliar results, it is natural to experience a certain amount of trepidation. This is where willingness enters the equation.

 

You must be willing to step into the unknown and trust that you will survive. Do that and you’ll be amazed by how well you adapt. Looking back, you will say to yourself: “How could I have been so concerned about that. I did great!” “I wish I had tried that sooner.” “What was I afraid of?”

 

In the end, doubt is the greatest boundary to success. Suspend doubt, be willing to enter the unknown and freedom and independence are within your grasp.      


Simply Listen

September 13, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.”                                                              Margaret J. Wheatley

 

If, as you read this quote, you experience relief, feel a weight being lifted from your shoulders, or even sense a glimmer of hope that the pressure to  solve the world’s problems could possibly disappear, this lesson is for you.

 

It is a nearly universal belief that when someone shares a problem or concern they are asking for help, seeking our wisdom, expecting a solution. This is especially true for us men. It seems that we are born with the fix-it gene (apparently located on the Y chromosome). There is no problem too small or large that we won’t attempt to solve. You ladies may not be aware of it, but we even have a slogan, “Have answers; will blurt them out.” I know it can be infuriating at times, but have pity, that’s just the way we’re wired.

 

I was fortunate that, in the early days of our relationship, my wife, Cheryl, was willing to take the time and effort to point out that my clever and insightful opinions were not always being requested or appreciated. That was hard to understand at first. Why would she tell me about a problem if not seeking my assistance? What possible benefit could be derived by having me just sit and listen? Wouldn’t an empty chair serve the same purpose?

 

What I discovered after repeated reminders was that being heard is a rare and powerful gift. As I experienced being listened to, I learned that most of the anxiety I experience around problems is released by the simple act of being heard. Once this magical gift is received, we are able to think more clearly, consider our options and solve our own problems. We feel nourished, worthy, even loved when another person cares enough to sit quietly as we pour out our doubts and fears; we feel respected when they trust our ability to discover our own solutions. 

 

As difficult as it may seem, the next time someone shares a problem or concern with you, sit quietly and listen intently. When they are finished, let them know that you hear and understand, ask questions if you need clarification, then be silent. If they are seeking your advice, allow them to ask for it. If not, don’t offer. Then notice the change in their state. Has their anger or anxiety abated, do they seem more relaxed, relieved? If so, this is their gift to you. Enjoy it.   


Seek First to Understand

August 9, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“It’s not what I think that counts, nor is it what you think that counts. It’s what I think you think and what you think I think that really counts.” Denis Waitley

 

Without communication, we would be as isolated and insulated as a delicate plant in a vast, lonely desert. It is our ability to communicate that allows us to interact, to become a community. Having evolved this amazing facility, doesn’t it make sense that we make the most of it?

 

Like many things that evolve over eons, we often take communication for granted. We are blessed with the ability to understand the needs of others and assist in fulfilling those needs, but all too often turn a deaf ear as we focus on our own wants and desires. This doesn’t make us horrible people, just people. Protecting our egos is something we learn at a very young age. But like many habits formed in childhood, what works to protect us as children can render us ineffective and dysfunctional as adults.

 

Fortunately, it is never too late to form productive habits. It starts by noticing when you are thinking instead of listening, focusing on your answer instead of the other’s experience. Once noticed you can begin to short-circuit your old listening patterns and form new, more effective ways to listen.

 

I think Stephen Covey stated it best: “Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood.”