Swing the bat…

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

Babe Ruth

Fear leads to hesitation and when you hesitate you miss the opportunities that come your way (like a hanging curve ball). When you miss the opportunities that is when you really strike out.

Swing the bat. You might strike out, but at least you are swinging…

Willing to fail…

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”

Brene Brown

Steve Jobs is the first person that comes to mind for me as a great innovator and creator. But he had many many failures along the way, and learned from each of them. Those failures are what allowed him to become great.

The great innovators are willing to take risks because they know they will learn from both failure and success. Not everything they attempt will work, but they are willing to fail.

Are you willing to fail? Are you willing to fall short and then figure out why? Are you able to set aside ego and fear long enough to stretch outside your comfort zone? Are you willing to fail in order to learn?

If you aren’t willing then you won’t stretch, you won’t grow, you won’t create. If you want to innovate you have to be willing to fail because failure will happen and that is when the real magic can occur.

Believe…

“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who thinks he can.”

Bruce Lee

No one who has ever won anything did so believing that they couldn’t win. There might have been doubts along the way. They might have faced demons and challenges that caused them to have momentary lapses in belief, but they never ever gave up.

Those that win believe. In order to win, you have to believe. It is that belief that gives you the necessary drive and discipline to persevere when the doubts attack. It is that belief that gives you the strength to overcome any setback and any challenge. For it is how you handle the setbacks and challenges in life that truly defines who you are, and your ability to win.

Those that win believe they can win, and they do what it takes to get it done.

Seek accountability…

“People want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it.”

Howard Schultz

If you are accountable for the problem then you have a responsibility to solve it and the necessary imperative to find a way to get the authority to act on it.

Most people don’t seek accountability, instead they run the other way. To make a difference seek to be accountable, that is what brings responsibility and authority.

There is enough trouble…

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

Mark Twain

How do you achieve the right balance between thinking things through and anticipating problems and challenges, and getting lost worrying about the things you can’t control?

It is so easy to get wrapped up in something that might happen, or might not, and lose all sense of what is good and what is true. I am guilty of this far too often. When I get lost in my troubles, real or imagined, this is the verse that I turn to to help me break free from incessant worry.

‘”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

It is amazing how much your perspective can shift if you seek to embody this principle. There is no need to borrow trouble from tomorrow and lose yourself worrying about things that might not happen. It doesn’t add value and it bogs you down.

Who is in the arena with you?

“A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

Brene Brown

I heard this quote referenced by someone that I really respect yesterday and had to go look it up. Specifically the quote that she referenced was: “if you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” I love that last sentence but I think I appreciate the wisdom in the prior lines just as much.

It is so easy for people to get in the arena and feel that they have the right to criticize and attack simply because they are present. Don’t believe this is true? Sit in any football stadium in America and listen to the fans around you. You will hear things like “that referee is blind,”“the quarterback missed a wide open receiver, he can’t throw the ball,” and “the coaches don’t know what they are doing.” Are the fans right? Maybe sometimes they are. But they aren’t the ones on the field. They don’t have the pressure of having to perform in front of others, they can simply sit there and offer input without having had to invest any blood, sweat or tears. Now I have been guilty of doing this plenty of times myself and unfortunately it isn’t just when I have been at a sporting event…

I believe that the most beautiful wisdom in the quote is contained in the lines right before the part about getting your ass kicked: “The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives.

Who are you letting into your life? Who are you giving permission to provide feedback that truly matters and is meaningful? Are those people in the arena with you?

There are really two ways a person can be in the arena. They can be there in the literal sense, side by side in the fight. Or they can be there with you in spirit fighting alongside you and supporting your struggle. The key is that they are fighting with you, not attacking you. They are on your side. If they aren’t then they truly aren’t in the arena with you, or perhaps they are, they are just on the other side of the sword…

The arena quote that Brene is pulling from is one of my all time favorites and I have a copy of it on a plaque in my office that I reference regularly. Here it is in it’s entirety:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Teddy Roosevelt

Don’t compromise…

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.”

Henry David Thoreau

In order to be “true to your work, your word, and your friend” one must first have a full and clear understanding of what is most important in your life. What are the “non-negotiables” that form the bedrock of what you believe and define your decisions and your behaviors?

Find work that aligns with those principles. Don’t compromise.

Let your words always match those principles, even when it is hard to say what needs to be said. Don’t compromise.

Choose your friends based on aligned principles and values. Don’t compromise.

Doing these things is what allows you to be true and live a life of authenticity. Don’t compromise, because if you do, you aren’t being true.

Thinking before speaking…

“Sometimes when I’m talking, my words can’t keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak. Probably so we can think twice.”

Bill Watterson

There is nothing better than a few moments of silence before one responds and commits to words what are often half-baked thoughts. I am a person who “thinks out loud” and that can often lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication.

The best advice I was ever given regarding thinking before speaking came from a class I took through Ty Boyd called the Executive Speaking Institute. During this class, which I took almost ten years ago, I learned that the moments I paused before responding to a question didn’t feel nearly as long or painful to the audience as they did in my head. That was a profound lesson for me. What I thought was a strength, being quick on my feet and having answers at the tip of my tongue, came across as a weakness because I would answer questions in a rambling or long-winded fashion.

Taking a moment to pause, frame the my response in my head and then answering the question conveyed to the audience that I was carefully considering the question, that it was meaningful and valuable, and it gave me the time to not let my words get ahead of my mind. This was incredible perspective and applies to so many areas of life.

The moral of the story here is that the moments that you take to think before you speak don’t feel nearly as long to the person that you are speaking with as they do to you. And those precious moments allow you to (hopefully) think through your response before you commit to words a thought that is only half baked.

Give to receive…

“Try to help others. Consult their weaknesses, relieve their maladies; strive to raise them up, and by so doing you will most effectually raise yourself up also.”

Joseph Barber Lightfoot

Why do you serve others? Is it to help them or yourself? Ultimately, when you give, you receive…

Were you able to help someone today?

Leadership presence…

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Sheryl Sandberg

My very first boss and mentor once told me that it is the number one responsibility of a leader to ensure that they never need to be indispensable in order for the team to be successful.

In fact, a leader should do everything they can to coach, train, and empower those that they serve so that their individual presence isn’t a requirement for operational success but is instead an additive factor for strategic success.

How do you know if you are delivering on this key leadership premise?

I have found that the types of questions you ask, and that your team members ask you, to be an excellent barometer of success for a leader.

First, are the questions you are asking meant to direct or manage the operational efforts of your team members or are they meant to help them grow in their capabilities? Do you ask more open-ended questions or closed yes/no questions?

Second, Are the questions your team members are asking seeking permission or insight? Are they asking questions on what or how to do something or are they asking for perspective and input on their own thoughts and ideas? If they are asking permission based questions then your presence will be required for ongoing success and that is a recipe for leadership failure.

If you are leading effectively, then you don’t need to be physically present all the time for the right things to happen and for the right decisions to be made. Your leadership influence is presence enough…

What is useful?

“Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.”

Henry Ford

There is a Japanese management philosophy that I have always loved that goes like this: “It is a waste of energy fixing the fault on someone, instead spend the energy fixing the problem.”

This can be hard to do of course, finding a reason to blame someone or something else for a problem seems to be a part of natural human nature. However it doesn’t help solve whatever challenge has presented itself. The advice I wrote about yesterday regarding anger applies equally in the context of affixing blame. “Is it useful?”

When tempted to point fingers or assign blame ask yourself that same question, “is it useful?” My bet is the answer will be no. Focus on the solution. That is guaranteed to be useful…

Is this useful?

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Often it is easy to justify your anger and make up excuses that it is reasonable to “get something off your chest” or okay to “let your passion show through” but I can’t think of one time when I have said or done something in a moment of anger that I didn’t regret upon further thought or reflection.

Anger is a completely normal emotion and a very acceptable response to many situations. However it isn’t always helpful. The single best question I have ever been taught to think about during an emotional response is; “is this useful?”

When angered take a moment to pause and ask yourself “is this anger useful” and then make a deliberate and intentional decision to act, if necessary.

Take good risks…

“There’s no such thing as ‘zero risk’.”

William Driver

Nothing in life is risk free. There is no “sure thing.” There is an opportunity cost for every choice that we make. We can work throughout our lives to have as little risk as possible, that is always a strategy one can follow. Or, you can make smart choices, that carry with them some risks, and achieve amazing returns for the risks that you take..

Risk exists, manage it well, make choices to embrace the right risks and if you make a bad choice, make another one.

Who knows, you might see some amazing views along the way.

Catalina Protest March – Barcelona, Spain

Choose the light…

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.”

Walt Whitman

What a great reminder to us all that even when it is cloudy the sun is there above the clouds.

The shadows will always be there, but you can choose whether or not you focus on them.

Choose the light…

The aim is to live…

“The person who journeys aimlessly will have labored in vain.”

Mark The Monk

The journey IS the destination so it makes sense that there should be an aim or a goal. One has to have some idea of where you are going. However the goal or aim shouldn’t be the entire focus. Otherwise you will miss this special and wonderful days that seem to add all the flavor and spice to life.

Sometimes you need to have a few days of unscheduled time to let life just happen. It is amazing how beautiful and special those days can be. The aim on those days is simple, be alive and filled with joy…

Power of winning…

“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.”

Jonathan Kozol

There is such a great power in creating a win. But simply winning for the sake of winning is boring. Have you ever completed a task and then written it down so you can simply check it off? Those wins do not matter. Those are the boring ones.

The things you do simply so you can have the thrill of victory don’t matter…

Pick a win that matters. Write it down first! And only then check it off when you’re done.

Those are the battles that matter. They could be simple or they could hard but they should matter enough to be important enough to write down before you ever think about checking them off.

The gift that keeps on giving…

“The greatest gift of leadership is a boss who wants you to be successful.”

Jon Taffer

The dictionary defines “gift” as “something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.”

Or

“As something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned.”

How do you wrap this present for those that you serve? How do you ensure that you put your leadership effort and energy INTO others, not for your sake, not for your own selfish needs, but truly into others. Because that is the definition of being a good boss, a good leader. You have to be a person that gives this gift voluntarily.

Is this a gift you give as willingly as you receive it? How can you tell when you are blessed with the gift of having a boss who truly wants you to be successful? Do you model these behaviors back to those that you lead? If you don’t have a boss like this, do you model the behaviors you want anyway?

Get out a sheet of paper. Write down three specific ways or behaviors that this leadership gift would manifest if you were to receive it from a boss. Then draw a line across the page. Under that line write down three specific ways or behaviors that would send you the opposite message. These are the things that you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of from your boss. The top of the page is your leadership gift “to do” list. The bottom of the page is your “never do” list.

Study this list regularly and hold yourself accountable to actively and intentionally doing the top of the page items. Ensure that you do the first three things regardless of whether or not you receive them. Guard against the bottom three items in your own leadership of others.

Be the greatest leadership gift another person can ever receive. Be the leader that helps someone be successful. It can truly be the gift that keeps on giving…

Turn the other cheek…

“Never regret being a good person, to the wrong people. Your behavior says everything about you, and their behavior says enough about them.”

Author Unknown

Do you value self over others or do you put the needs of others over self? If you are the former then you are a person who won’t regret being a good person, even if it hurts your own interests on occasion.

I am reminded of this verse from the book of Matthew.

“‘But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.‘” Matthew 5:38-40,42-43

I would argue that that an occasional “setback” because you are true to yourself, and your values, is well worth it. I would far rather be known as a person that is consistently good, even to those who would do me harm, than a person who is seeking to put myself above others…

Rest up…

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Vince Lombardi

How do you know when you need to get rest? What is your mental state when you are tired and burned out? Are you aware of the behaviors you exhibit when you are burning the candles at both ends? If you aren’t, then I am sure that those around you can answer that question in excruciating detail…

Do you have the courage to ask the question and face up to the challenge of changing that person you become when fatigued?

Prioritize rest and recovery. That is what you will have to do if you want to build a life of wins and successes. You simply can’t do it when playing from behind…

Face your fears…

“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.”

Seth Godin

What are the things that scare you? Do you run from them? Have your fears paralyzed you or motivated you?

If you don’t face your fears, they will own you. Do you want fear to control you? Or would you rather face the fear and win?

Sometimes you just need to build some momentum. Face a fear, and win. Then do it again. And again. And again…

Change = What/Why/How/Do

“Change before you have to.”

Jack Welch

Here is a simple recipe for change. Take out a piece of paper. Ask yourself these questions.

“WHAT is the one thing I NEED to change in my life?” Write that down at the top of the page and circle it.

Now answer this question. “WHY is this change important and necessary?” Write this down in as few words as possible and underline it. Heck, grab a highlighter and and really make this line stand out. This is the most important line on the page.

Now answer this question. “HOW will I do next to make that change a reality?” Write down those answers, no more than 3 things. Rank them based on what you can do FIRST.

Now for the hard part. DO the things you wrote down. Start every day looking at your desired and needed change, remind yourself why it is important and then DO the action. When you have completed your next task mark it off and add one more. Never more than three things on your list and you only focus on the next one. As you get better and better and build momentum then you will look forward to checking off the list and seeing how much you have accomplished.

For example if your “need” is to lose 10 pounds then that is what you write at the top

WHAT = Lose 10 pounds by 12/1/19

WHY = To have a healthy body and more energy for my family

HOW = (1) Exercise 45 minutes today before lunch. (2) Track my foods/meals in an App like MyFitnesspal (3) Do not take in any calories after 7:00 PM.

DO = Check these off through the day and then build a new list tomorrow.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen simply because you want it to. Change happens when you clearly articulate what it is that you want to change. Why that change is important. How you are going to make that change happen by focusing on what to do next. Then you have to do the hard part. EXECUTE! No excuses, no complaints, no justifications. Just do it.

There are tons of books, apps, systems and methods you can use to track and manage change. I use several of them in combination but the MOST IMPORTANT factor is to clearly articulate WHAT you want to change and WHY that change is important to you. That is why it is important to revisit this daily. Never lose sight of your goal and why it is important. That will be the motivation you need to EXECUTE. W/W/H/D = CHANGE

Can’t & Won’t

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”

Mae Jemison

There seem to be a lot of “can’t” and “won’t” people in the world. As in people that always find a reason to say “that initiative can’t possibly work” or “that idea won’t work.”

Why does this happen? When do people go from being young toddlers curious about the world and ready to try anything, because they don’t know any better, and instead turn into people that can’t or won’t see the world not for what it is, but for what it could be?

Maybe there is a better question to ask. How do you identify and find the people that don’t know the meaning of can’t and won’t? I know that those are the ones that I want to associate with. Those are the people that I want to work with. Those are the people that add fuel to the fire instead of being the fire extinguishers.

Find those people. Hang with those people. Rub off on them and let them rub off on you. Create magic with them. Do this, and your imagination will never be limited…

Solve for life…

 “Life is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.”

Anonymous

Tomorrow there will be problems to solve…

Tomorrow there will be lessons to learn…

Today there are experiences that are just too valuable and important to miss out on and take for granted…

It is amazing how much of our lives we spend devoted to the problems and lessons but so little focused on actually being present for the experiences that are going on in the moment. The simple joy of a sunrise. The first day where you feel a cool breeze against your skin that signals that fall is finally here.

Montebello, Quebec, Canada

Life isn’t just about the problems. Life isn’t just about the lessons. Life is about the journey and the experiences we either engage in, or don’t. Don’t make the journey of your life to find out you missed out on all the richness that was available. What a harsh lesson that would be. What a terrible problem to discover too late to solve.

That would be more than a shame, that would be a journey that is hardly worth making. Live the experiences. Embrace the journey. That’s the most important problem to solve and lesson to learn…

To learn, find your joy…

“All wish to possess knowledge, but few, comparatively speaking, are willing to pay the price.”

Juvenal

What is it that you find exciting about learning? What topics motivate you to put forth the effort to study and grow? Do you find the time to embrace opportunities to gain new knowledge and wisdom? Do you intenionally create those opportunities?

I have long believed that the minute one stops learning you begin to descend into a place of complacency and then irrelevancy. Perhaps this comes from my formative years as a autodidactic where everything I learned from 5th grade until college was self-taught and self-directed. (I was home-schooled through those years and 100% of my learning was self-directed) For years I believed that this was a impediment and something that held me back, but now I believe that it was exactly the opposite, it created an insatiable thirst for knowledge and learning for topics that I was intrigued by. It never felt like work to put forth the effort into the topics I was interested in.

That is the key to learning, you must have the motivation to do the hard work. The magic happens when the effort is joyful and it doesn’t feel like labor at all. Instead the energy and time spent acquiring knowledge feels like a gift and a blessing. Motivation to invest the energy and time required to develop mastery of any subject comes in two forms.

First, a passion for the topic itself and whatever it is that you are learning. For me that would be reading books on history and leadership throughout history. I love digging into a great book on historical figures and understanding how and what they did in their lives that impacted the course of the world. For example, I am reading the book “Hamilton” right now and it is absolutely fascinating. Other great examples are the Walter Isaacson books on Steve Jobs, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Einstein. For some, reading these books would be pure torture and boredom but for me they were all fascinating and the effort to read them wasn’t work at all.

Second, a passion for the end result that comes from gaining new wisdom and knowledge. This can take many forms but it is the desire to achieve some goal that makes the hard work to attain knowledge worth the effort. An example might be a topic in college that isn’t personally interesting but is required to achieve the end state, the degree, so one puts for the effort to learn and master the material.

The key to learning is this, discover your motivation that makes it worth paying the price of learning. These will either be internal or external but they must exist or one will never be able to motivate themselves to enact the discipline required to learn something new. Learning is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be joyless work. I would strongly argue that the best way to learn is to discover your joy for the work. Then, and only then, does learning becomes easy, and worth the price…

Life is practice…

“We cannot reach the goal by mere words alone. Without practice, nothing can be achieved.”

Sri Swami Satchidananda

The beauty of practice is that it is a safe space for failure. We recognize that falling short of our goal is just part of growing and learning. We don’t beat ourselves up for failure, we simply look to start over and try again.

In practice you begin with the goal in mind and then you keep focusing on the next effort, your next attempt, with your mind focused on learning and growing through each individual effort.

How liberating would it be if we could embrace a practice mindset in all aspects of our lives? Setting clear goals and then putting in the hard work, failing along the way, and focusing on reviewing each effort with the attitude of “next time I will do it a little bit better.” It is through failure and repetition that we learn.

When we live life as a practice, we focus on the next effort, not the past failures…

To trust, look in the mirror…

“Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.”

Brene Brown

Trust is a gift. If you want to give that gift to others, and have them trust you in turn, you must first pay attention to oneself. Are you showing genuine care and connection for others? Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Are you looking for reasons to trust someone, or reasons not to trust?

Trust is a mirror and you can only see one thing when you look in the mirror. Yourself…

Take great care of your garden…

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.“

Epictetus

Who are the people in your life that make you better? Who are the ones that drive and push you to be better than you would or could on your own? Do you intentionally create and foster these relationships? Do you seek out people that uplift you and prune out of your life those that hold you back?

Life is all about the relationships that we have with other people. We will be a product of the time we spend with them and they will have great influence over our actions and choices.

Think of the relationships you have as a well-designed garden. In order to maximize the beauty one must cultivate and care for the plants with great diligence. This means planting new ones and removing or pruning out the dead or dying plants. Are there certain relationships you need to nurture? How about pruning? Are there any you need to remove all together?

Build a winning tomorrow…

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

Lyndon B. Johnson

How easy it is to get lost fighting the battles from our past days. We can get so wrapped up in what did, or didn’t, happen in our lives. I know that I will find myself replaying a conversation in my mind and thinking of better responses or rethinking my actions in response to a certain situation.

I believe this can be a valuable, and extremely beneficial habit to form. But it has to be done with an eye clearly on the future and how one needs to grow and evolve towards building a better self. Taking the time to reflect and learn is a powerful way to grow forward into the next day.

How do you ensure that you don’t get lost in yesterday, forgetting that the time has passed and it doesn’t define your present day or the tomorrow that is yet to come? I find that taking 15 minutes at the end of each day to answer the following questions in a daily journal helps me process the day, and focus on creating wins.

  • What happened in the past day?
  • What were my biggest wins?
  • What lessons did I learn?
  • What am I thankful for right now?
  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What did I read or hear?
  • What stood out from what I read or heard?
  • What do I need to do next to move forward on my goals?

I know these are a lot of questions to run through, and I fully admit that I don’t get to do this every single day. However when I skip a day I find the next morning to be a little less focused, a little less intentionally crafted.

Over the years I have played with the order of these questions, and with different questions, and on occasion I will replace one with a different inquiry to address a specific challenge or need in my life. For example, if I am taking time off with the family I will modify “What were my biggest wins” into “What were my biggest wins as a husband, as a father?” The point isn’t to get stuck on the questions themselves but instead to focus on learning from the day and very specifically shaping what you need to do to create wins tomorrow.

As a side note I do believe the order of the questions is very important. That’s why I end with “what did I learn” and “what do I need to do” questions. Those reset my head and help me focus on tomorrow.

To ensure that I follow through on my goals of daily reflection I use the journalling app “Day One.” I love that I can capture my thoughts in a simple to use mechanism that is always with me. I have used a paper journal to do this in the past but I found that it was too easy to forget or that it allowed me to create an excuse to not do the practice. There are tons of digital journals out there, so do whatever works for you. The key is to find a method that enables you to process today with a relentless focus on building a better future.

Be ready and mindful that today will be a ‘yesterday’ very very soon. Take the time at the end of the day to reflect and intentionally build a winning tomorrow. You’ll be glad you did.

Fact or perception?

“You might not always get what you want, but you always get what you expect.”

Charles Spurgeon

What do you expect from your day? Your relationships? Your life? Whatever it is that you expect, then that is what you will see. Your expectations become the “truths” that you perceive in the world.

Someone once told me “in the mind of the perceiver a perception is a fact.” This is such a vividly true statement and has helped me over the years to learn how to switch out of my own head and see things from a different perspective. In fact, this has likely been one of the most powerful mantras I have ever been gifted with.

The key here is that you learn to recognize that you don’t have to agree with another’s perception, just that from where they sit, what they perceive is reality. It is a fact, a statement of truth. When you learn to accept that another person sees the world differently, framed through the lens of their own expectations and experiences, it allows you to adjust your perspective and see new “truths” that you might otherwise not be open to seeing.

The key to growth, and achieving the life that you want, is to learn to tune your expectations. We are conditioned to see, and perceive, the world through a lens of experiences and expectations. When you realize that what you see might not be “true” at all, but could in fact just be a product of your own expectations, you free your mind for broader understanding.

If you want to tune your inner expectations and ensure that you are achieving all that God put you on this earth to accomplish then building an ability to get outside of your own skin and see the world through different lenses is critical.

I have lyrics for the The Rolling Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” stuck in my head:

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you just might find, you get what you need.”

How do your expectations need to change so you can truly discover what it is that you want?


Your choice…

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Joyce Meyer

The life that we have and lead is based on how we choose to see and interpret the world. I know people who are exceptionally blessed, yet they are always waiting for the other shoe to fall. They are always finding the bad things and focusing on those instead of the positive. I am sure that you know people who are like this as well. They can’t seem to find the good in anything or anyone. That is a choice that they make and that is the life that they choose to live.

Let’s be real. Life isn’t always fair. Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes really bad things do happen. But how we choose to act, and react, to anything that happens is what defines the type of life that we have.

I love this quote from Eeyore.

It truly does never hurt to keep looking for the sunshine. Because it will come, if we choose to seek it out. As I reflect on today’s quote these other thoughts come to mind that reinforce the power of Joyce’s words. Chew on these and see what comes to mind for you.

You cannot have a negative life and a positive mind.

You cannot have a positive life and negative friends.

You cannot live the life you were created to live with a negative mind.

Every day when we wake up we have a choice about what kind of day it is going to be. Every interaction we have with others is one where we can either see them through the lens of what we are getting from them, or we can choose to see it through the lens of what we are doing for them.

If we want to have a positive life, we have to have a positive mind. It simply won’t work any other way. It’s a choice. Make it wisely.

Willing to fail…

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.”

Michael John Bobak

When was the last time you were near the edge of your comfort zone? How did it make you feel? Did you want to lean into the experience? Or did you want to back away? Is getting outside of your own personally defined limits something that you seek out or turn away from?

If you want to grow, you must be willing to risk failure. You must be willing to take on more than you know you are capable of doing. To grow you must be willing to push past the point where you know that you cannot fail. This is what it means to get outside of the comfort zone. Failure becomes a possibility, and this is where the real opportunity for growth occurs.

How does this make you feel? Does the idea of regularly seeking out opportunities that push you past your personal limitations inspire or terrify you?

I think the really important question is this. What is more frightening, stretching and possibly failing, or becoming complacent and irrelevant?

I’ll choose growth and the risk of failure every time. The alternative scares me to death…

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