Will you answer the call:

Many of us have a practice which we use to realign ourselves. Each of us has various ways of doing this, many go to church on Sundays, many mediation, often people do both. Some of us find our peace through fitness, or pottery, or a hobby of some kind.

There are a thousand ways people can find their “center”, their time when we are peaceful with ourselves and the world. We find our peace through the storm of the world, and it’s our reprieve from the madness which seems to surround us.

What if we could find this peace in the context of our everyday activities? What if we could operate at the office, interact with people with an under current of calm confidence, even in the most tense of times?

When the kids are running around, the phone is ringing, the customers are looking for answers, the bosses are asking for the reports, the deadlines are coming fast. All of this can be overwhelming and often it is.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Over my last several posts I’ve been talking about tools we can use in daily life to reframe the world we experience. To adjust our perspectives a bit. These tools are designed to be used within daily life.

While I’ve touched on three of four of these tools so far, (fourth coming soon) I have outlined and overviewed each of them. I am putting together a deep dive on each one and how it applies to different areas of our lives.

How can we apply these tools within our career, home, family, relationships with others, and ourselves. I need your help. If you are reading this, then YOU are who I am talking to.

I have used these tools within my own life to create a consistent peace, harmony and balance within all areas of my life. This sense has helped me take on challenges I would’ve thought impossible in the past. I know they work, because I experience the results and have done the work.

I need your feedback to ensure I focus on what will be most impactful, powerful for YOU. I am designing a program which will enable powerful results within the areas of life which you apply the tools.

For those who respond, I am working on a gift/thank you for your time which I truly value. Please copy and past the below questions into an email (or word doc if you prefer) and email your responses to me directly at: roger@powerfullifeinc.com.

There are no right or wrongs, good or bad. Quick answers, the first thing which comes to mind are ideal instead of long thought responses. Thank you for your participation!

Fast Forward 6 months, what would you like to be different about your life?

Please rate these five areas in life, (5) being strongest (best) and (1) being the weakest: Mental health, physical health, career, relationships, finances.

What are your top 3 goals?

Why do you want to achieve these goals?

How will accomplishing these goals change your life?

What is currently in the way of achieving your goals?

What are common situations which derail you?

When you fail, what is the thought or phrase which runs through your mind?

What are you afraid will happen if you don’t reach your goals?

What do you want out of a program which helps you achieve your goals?

Do you want me to reach out when I put the program together?

I look forward to putting this together with you, and I’m excited for the results we’ll deliver!

It’s not you, it’s me.

The third edition or tool in this blog series is understanding nearly all our interactions are not personal, meaning it’s not about US, it’s usually about the other person.

This practice can help you reframe context in the moment and shift your perspective instantly. Practicing this can elevate your communication skills at home, work and your social life.

There are a few things to consider as a baseline for this tool. Firstly, if you look at a road map it can give you a good idea of where you are, or where you want to go from a routing standpoint, which streets to take and direction to go. A map though will not tell you where the pot-holes are, or stop signs, or “no left turn”, or “one-way” roads.

A map will give you guidance, but the terrain is a much different animal. Our perspectives on life are very much the same. Many of us have heard the axiom “perception is reality”. This is true as far as the individual who is doing the perceiving.

When we are communicating with others, our thoughts and perceptions are very different from theirs, even with friends and loved ones. We may see eye to eye on most things, but you’ll notice a few areas where you an even your closest relation have differing opinions.

Understanding people have very different perceptions than our own, and that “perception is reality”, we can see how a simple mis-understanding, or saying something a certain way can trigger us or the other party.

When we trigger somebody in this way, it has nothing to do with us and is a chance for us to learn a touch point, and gain further insight into the reaction. More on this on another day.

If we are triggered by something, then we have an opportunity to learn a touch point about ourselves, and we get to work on healing it. We get to see where we can grow mentally in these areas as they are highlighted to us.

Another baseline concept is that people are always making the best choices available to them, at that moment. People want to be good, and often they do what is perceived to be the best thing for them even when it’s at the expense of someone/something else.

Ever wonder why that co-worker threw you under the bus with the boss? It wasn’t about you, it was about them advancing their own agenda.

Lastly, the mirror effect is a well known concept which can be a tough one to accept for many. Essentially, what we see in this world is a mirror of what we are giving, putting out into the world. Imagine if all you see is sickness, misery and a world falling apart? That’s a hard pill to swallow and accept it’s not the world who’s crumbling, but you.

The mirror effect though is a real thing. This isn’t to say it’s fair, nice, considerate or compassionate to your circumstances. It can be magical, it can also be brutal. The good news is we have a choice in the matter.

What we experience from other people is a mirror of what we are displaying. It’s never about how we’re being treated as much as it is how we are treating others. It’s not personal FROM others to us, though it is entirely personal from us TO others. This brings us back to perspective. A nice clean circle.

When we are being treated, or experiencing things we don’t like we have to look inward to ourselves first.

The world we live in, the perspective we have, the live we create is entirely up to us and only us to adapt as we choose. When we allow ourselves to be persecuted, attacked, and get down on ourselves and our surroundings we will simply have more of this.

When we realize the world is doing what the world does, and people are doing what people do, and it will all happen whether we are here to experience it or not.

If you’ve ever missed an event you were invited to, a birthday, a recital, a wedding, a baseball game, you name it. The even still happened even if you didn’t show up. That is the world we live in. It’s not personal unless we take it personally, which all to often many of us do.

Creating power in your life means taking ownership of everything you experience. If you don’t like it, find a way to change it. It’s not easy, but it is simple by design.

When you start to use these tools together inside of your daily life you will begin to see shifts in how things transpire. It doesn’t happen overnight, and this is a practice which will take time to learn, hone and improve upon.

Choosing to shift our thoughts is one thing. Consistently practicing over the long term to create lasting change in us, and therefore around us is another thing. The good news is the choices are ours, and when we regress we can always shift back on track again.

Stay tuned for part 4 of this series of tools to upgrade your thoughts.

Finding the good all around us.

As the old saying goes, life is often stranger than fiction. Most of us can relate to this through our experience, and these last few years have hammered this principle home!

There is a silver lining in all of it, where we experience bad, there is also good.

I firmly believe everything comes with a lesson, and if we can find it within us to learn the lesson, nothing is wasted. I will be the first to tell you, there are times where you simply won’t see or understand what good (or lesson) can possibly come from a situation.

I can also tell you in my experience, sometimes learning to deal with the pain of an event is the lesson. When we can resolve ourselves to stand in the harshest of times, we will be prepared for the next evolution in our life.

If you think of love and fear for a moment, I’ll provide an example of finding the good, the lesson in everything. Love and fear are two opposites of the same emotion. In fact, ALL of our emotions, the entire spectrum of what we feel stems from either love, or fear.

Pictures this, If this emotional spectrum was a line, a dot on the left side is fear, a line connects to another dot on the right which is love. Exactly where does love end and fear begin? At the halfway point you say? Now measure it, what emotion specifically is the zero point between the two?

On paper you can pinpoint a dot. In reality there isn’t a single emotion which separates the two, just a grey area which bleeds into each other. We all have a different opinion on this, a different emotional spectrum by which we judge it.

It’s the same thing with cold and hot, large and small, fresh and stale. All open for interpretation as to where cold becomes hot, large to small, fresh to stale.

Both sides of the spectrum must be present and accounted for in order for it to BE.

Now apply this concept back to life. If a thing happens and we perceive it to be bad, then by nature there has to be an opposite effect. We can’t have love without fear, or hot without cold. What I perceive to be bad is a blessing to another.

Using this simple tool in my everyday life I can shift my perspective on anything which happens around me. I can take the “bad” thing and try to understand the opposite of it, which is equally real.

When I can see the opposite, I can often learn the lesson and grow from the experience. When this happens, it’s no longer a “bad” thing but a blessing and needed event to teach me a lesson about something.

When I learn, I appreciate and stay in a focused and grateful state of mind. There is always good in the world, no matter how dark it may seem. While we don’t always have the ability to see the good in the moment, knowing it is there helps to light the way.

This is an important step in growing mentally and spiritually. The more we can practice this the more we see how this world works FOR us, instead of against us. No hustle and grind required.

A simple, highly effective way to upgrade your thoughts

Finding happiness in life is a state of being, a state of mind in which we live each moment of our lives. Happiness can be an emotion felt in a certain moment, we’ve all had those moments when we feel happy, joyous, excited, elated… A life lived in happiness is a much broader concept.

Many of us are “happy” with our lives. Perhaps not every single area, but altogether we feel things are pretty good. As we all experience life in it’s various forms, our career and home life are two very different areas generally. You may be very happy in your relationships with your family and friends, yet not so happy with your current work environment. Perhaps you love your job but your finances aren’t where you’d like them to be.

Our mental and physical health are two more areas to consider, as well as our hobbies and activities, parenting, learning, teaching, we humans have a lot going on. Experiencing happiness in all of these areas at once is a challenge few of us accomplish.

For those area(s) of life which do need some work, I’ve found a few key concepts which have helped me. These are four protocols which you’ve heard before in some shape or form, yet when used together, and repeatedly they are very powerful tools for change.

I’m going to overview these here and expand upon them in later posts.

Be present in each moment

Look for the good

It’s not personal

With love in my heart

Being present in each moment is certainly not a new concept. Practicing it however is something altogether foreign for many.

Most media we consume on a daily basis, whether online, radio, print or TV is filled with messaging about things we need to have in our lives, things we are missing out on by not having it.

New cars, the latest prescription meds for the hot topic illness, pain medication for body aches and soreness, and of course the sugar-filled drinks and snacks which will bring you joy. Many movies and shows have the same underlying messaging, this is not limited to commercials.

All of these things pull us from what we are presently experiencing and put us in a state of mind of desire, which is a state of “lack” in the mind. We are only present if we are seeing the programming for what it is, and simply experiencing the act of witnessing a thing, like a wind blowing the leaves of a tree.

As we know, we can’t change the past, the future isn’t here yet, so now is what matters. What we do in this moment will guide what happens in the next. We can sit or soar, the choice is ours and it is now time to choose.

Looking for the good in each moment is another concept we’re very familiar with, yet difficult to apply and practice. We are responsible for what is happening in our lives, and that is a good thing. Even if some very bad things have happened, and those things weren’t your fault, (being abused as a child for instance) we are still responsible for what is happening now.

We cannot control everything which happens in our life, yet we are none the less responsible for how we respond. Being present in each moment, and taking responsibility for everything in our circumstance creates a powerful duo for positive change.

It’s not personal is one of my favorite to practice. Most things in this life happen and it would happen if we are here or not. Like your boss pressuring you on that deadline, the person who pulled out in front of you in traffic, or the cashier at the store who didn’t even acknowledge you.

You just happened to be there, yet it actually has nothing at all to do with you. Most times when we are in an argument with a spouse or co-worker and we’re confused as to why they’re so upset. It’s because they’re reacting from something else and venting it through us. We just happen to be there.

Live with love in my heart. This is another favorite I use as I drive to work, vacuum around the house, fold clothes and in the midst of a meeting with a customer where I’m loving the creativity we’re exuding together.

Ever have the “what about me!” feeling when you’re the doing “all” the chores around the house and not getting any help? How about when you do all the work on that big project and at the last minute the rest of the team wants to jump in and take credit and share the glory of your work?

When we do things with love in our hearts, when we start with love the rest falls away. This took me a long time to come around to, and it’s worth however long it takes you.

I’m grateful to have a home which needs to be cleaned, clothes to be washed, customers to visit with, employees to manage. I’m even grateful for the bills I get to pay, and I pay them with a sense of love in my heart.

These four simple protocols enacted together and consistently will change your life one moment at a time. Of this I’m certain because I’ve already put them to use several years ago through much trial and error.

Choose an area of your life you’d like to upgrade and try focusing these four protocols into this area of life. Pay closer attention, release your expectations of others, be responsible for what you perceive as the good and the bad, and act in love in all that you do, especially when it’s the last thing you want to do.

Stay tuned as I go deeper on all these areas in the coming posts, and comment on your experience as you apply these into areas of your life.

What’s Your Purpose

While tucking my daughter in to bed the other night she asked me a question. “What if you found a genie lamp, and when the genie came out he only gave you one wish instead of three? With only one wish, what would you wish for?”

In the blink of an eye a thousand possibilities streamed through my mind and only one was clear and easy to choose. “I would wish that I am living my purpose on this earth.”

“That’s it?” says my little girl. “What else do I need?” I respond.

“Hm, that does make a lot of sense” she responds while I can see her pondering the scenario.

Thankfully I’ve done a lot of internal work over the last several years so I don’t have to wish to be on my path, I know inherently I already am. This quick yet powerful interaction between my daughter and I was yet another reminder of the simplistic nature of the world we live in.

The truest answers are almost always the simplest.

I could have wished for more money, a bigger house, to be forever healthy, to travel the world… and while all of these are valid responses and all serve good purposes, they all leave other areas in life lacking.

None covers all the bases.

Yet if we find and actively pursue the purpose for why we are here, all of those other areas in life fill themselves in effortlessly.

Our purpose may or may not have anything to do with what we THINK we want to do. The discovery process for many, myself included can take years of persistent trial and error. For those willing to put in the time and learn to embrace the process, the reward is far better than can be imagined at the start.

It is a journey free of a specific destination and full of surprises, risks, accomplishments to be enjoyed along the way.

If you haven’t found your path yet, or are trying to force a path you think is right, take a step back and evaluate what feels forced and what flows naturally. Lean into the natural flow and release those things which create friction.

Learning is all about perspective, and each “failure” or “hardship” is only a course correction and a grateful heart will notice this and quickly adapt a change on the path.

Carry your flag.

Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone where you are truly confused as to how they can hold the position they do? No amount of trying to convince them to change their mind has even budged them, AND their side of the argument is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?

Most of us can easily conjure up a few quick examples of this, be it from our relationships, talk of politics and/or religion with friends and family, perhaps in discussions with co-workers about how to move the company forward. If you can’t think of anything, flip on some sports talk radio after the local football team looses, or find a local political talk show and you’ll quickly be brought up to speed.

Perhaps it’s something closer to home, maybe your a parent trying to get your kids to stay on track in the midst of the chaos of a teenagers world. Perhaps its’ trying to get your significant other to see the benefits of changing some habits to create a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps we’re trying to help a friend see the relationship they’re in is toxic, yet their blind to the concept. It can be hugely frustrating to watch someone we love and care about do (or not do) things which are ultimately hurting themselves. Often times this makes us try even harder to get our message across, even to try and force our perception onto them so they can finally see the light!

Perhaps though it’s us who need to see the light in instances such as this. I’ve come to realize people need to come to their own conclusions, in their own time if they are truly to learn the lessons. Perhaps the best we can do as we care for those we see heading down an unhealthy path is to give them space to experience what they must. (To be clear I’m not talking about a physically abusive or life threatening scenario, these obviously need to be handled with a more direct urgency.)

I am talking about guiding our children to create their own path in this world. I am referring to relationships where we feel we can help a spouse or friend to begin exercising or eating healthier. I am speaking about someone who needs to realize on their own they are far better than the current relationship is treating them. I am speaking about creating a long term sustainable change for the wellbeing of those we care about.

If you’ve ever noticed, life is lived in patterns and tends to repeat itself until we learn the lesson in the pattern. Many people find themselves in and out of relationships, yet when evaluating the relationships they realize they’ve all been the same, simply the other person changed and the scenarios are all too similar. The same goes for jobs, financial health, mental and physical health. Perhaps you’ve been working towards financial freedom for years and feel like you’ve made progress, you have a better job, a nicer home, a new car. Things are good! Yet you still don’t have any money in the bank, you still can’t afford to up and quit your job… Things really haven’t changed, only the scenery.

These patterns are in all of our lives and in all kinds of ways. Try as we might many of us will never even realize these patterns exist. These souls are the ones who end up beat down in the long run, who’s luck “ran out” on them. Our education system sure isn’t going to teach us about these things, neither is any of the mainstream educational outlets. People who notice these patterns, and find them in their own lives are the ones who actively sought the cause of what was holding them back in a certain area or areas of life.

When we try and provide our perspectives to others we are giving them the benefit of our experience. This is a great tool when we share this in a way which allows for the listener to make their own choice to utilize our experience for themselves, or not. When we try and force our opinion or perspective onto someone, we are much more likely to drive them away from us and towards the very thing we are trying to save them from.

“if you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you it’s yours. If it doesn’t it was never yours in the first place.”

When we give somebody the space to make their own choice, (especially when we think it’s wrong) we give them the opportunity to learn a life lesson and shatter the pattern, thereby giving the ability to fully move past it. This is a tough concept to accept, and even harder to apply in the moment it matters most. It is also a powerful one which can benefit all when done right.

In my last blog post I talked about acceptance of self, and therefore the world around us. Letting go of what we think others “should do” is a continuation of that thought.

In the past I used to joke how I liked to “learn lessons the hard way” which was by going through the painful experience or process on my own, even when so many people around me told me exactly what was going to happen. More often than not they were right and ultimately I would give them the old “I should have listened to you” line. A few times though, things turned out so much better because I went through it and found a new way to accomplish what I wanted, when no one (even myself sometimes) saw the path.

These times which went my way where always meant to go that way, yet there is no way to know on the front end. These are all lessons I would have had to repeat over and over again in some way until I succeeded. For all the good intentions of others, had I listened I wouldn’t have walked my path, but theirs. In each case creating a repeatable pattern in my own life.

When we truly love somebody we desire only the highest and best for them. Yet we know not what that actually is. As a father, husband, brother, son, business owner and so much else this used to be a very painful approach for me. The more I practice it and understand it though, the more I know my fear of what might happen is nothing compared to the growth and long term development of everyone involved. All will be exactly as it should, and I accept that.

I choose to carry my own flag, as I support others to carry their own.

Leader on Duty

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have noticed when most people talk of leadership it’s almost always referred to in the environment of a board room, the workplace or sports.

I say this with due humility, as I am a natural leader and have been in management/leadership roles professionally since I was about 19 years old. Now in my early 40’s I have more experience managing people than most people well over my age and based all of the feedback I receive I am a good leader. Feedback to me comes in the moral of my team, the results we deliver to the customers, the observations of customers, vendors and people in and around my company.

Leadership in my experience isn’t just something you do at the office. It’s not a role to play while in front of your employees and customers. Leadership to me is a lifestyle lived in each moment and applies as much to parenting and gardening as it does in our professional lives.

Gardening? I imagine you’re trying to connect the dots on this. Parenting is an easy connection though often not obvious, but gardening? Yes, in the sense of an example. As leaders, when we do a thing like gardening we tend to do it well, with intention of a quality outcome. It may or may not actually turn out well, but the effort and intention is on display as we do the thing we have set to do. This can be exercise, painting, washing the car, cooking, anything we choose to do, great leaders apply themselves to the experience.

This intent-full approach resonates to those around us often in a sub-conscious way. As leaders we don’t turn off this switch when we go home at the end of the day. We are wired to do things the best way possible, and to help others grow in a similar way.

We get to be the example we want to show to others. For me leadership flows effortlessly from the workplace to the home, to fitness and nutrition. Balancing the areas of our lives in a successful way provides the example for others to follow, and is what a new generation of leaders are doing more and more.

I for one treat my employees and my kids with the same level of appreciation and respect, and I expect from them much of the same things. While I certainly don’t believe employees are children or child-like, or that my kids are employees and have measurable expectations for performance, I do believe in treating people with one foundational starting point. I treat everyone as I would want to be treated. This simple and powerful starting point for my interactions in all aspects of my life allows for all my relationships and interactions to draw a clean and consistent pattern through them all.

My job as a father is to mentor and cultivate by kids own unique natural talents. I get to tend the garden of their little worlds, while they grow and eventually flourish in their own light. When we think of leadership in the workplace and employee development, is it really different? In scope certainly, but the concepts are the same thing. No two kids are the same, as no to employees are the same and each must be uniquely tended to.

The world is changing as it always has and will. This means everything gets to shift into focus anew. As we shift gears to the ever-changing world we can update a few definitions. Two stand out for me at the moment, which are the definitions of “Success” and “Leadership“. Leadership is no longer simply a professional capacity and success doesn’t have much to do with a bank account these days.

My definition of leadership is this: A leader is being the example of success in relationships, business, lifestyle, and mental and physical health.  Leadership is the state of being the result of how to balance all of these things with sustainable, healthy results for all persons directly involved with and around the leader.

My definition of success is this: A consistent state of being in harmony with oneself and the world we experience, while we experience it in real time.

To me being successful in leadership and in life is when you can remain calm and collected in the best of times, and the worst. Being the rock everyone else can cling to when the world (or the business, or the relationship, etc…) goes a bit crazy. By being the rock for ourselves, we can truly be there for others.

blindspot

One thing I’ve noticed. We are the blind spot in our own mirror.

Al pretenses aside, I have tried to bury my own creative spirit for a long time now. For as long as I can remember I have been a numbers guy, analytical in my thinking and very much business oriented. I like this aspect of who I get to be. I have also forgotten that I am by nature a creative at heart, and this creativity reveals itself every step of the way.

While I have stifled this creativity in the name of “I need to go to bed”, or “I don’t have time for this/that”, I have also come to realize I am as much the problem as the solution. I have coached people through all kinds of things, and yet I find my myself at the need of my own advise.

Simplify.

I have been my own worst enemy for as long as I know. Not on purpose, not intentionally or rationally. At some level I have been telling myself I “have to go to bed at X time”, “I need a day off to “relax”” and other such things. I have done this as long as I can remember, yet at the same time I have created in my life many things which I love to do. Yet I still have retained the “I need to break away” mantra and the result is that I simply don’t break away. It doesn’t matter if it’s Wednesday or Saturday, Christmas or the middle of June.

I love my life, my wife, my daughters and the business I get to drive towards the coming years. I have a great life and am happy, yet I find myself wanting to “rest” from it. This “rest” is based upon an idea which isn’t even mine, but a societal structure which I’ve long resisted. I’ve never subscribed to the mantra of working for somebody during my prime years, save your money only to retire at the twilight of life and hope I still have my health an ability to enjoy a few years before passing on. Yet some part of me has held to this concept when it comes to my the hours of my day. I’m embarrassed to admit this, mainly because it’s so damned obviously a hole in my perception.

If I was coaching somebody else with this same issue I know the questions I would ask to highlight the situation clearly for the person. Yet because this time it is me, and the uncomfortable truth is that it’s easier to overlook my own faults than face and correct them.

We all have blind spots and while we may ignore them for a time, they will persist until we address them. We don’t consciously ignore these things, it’s almost always beneath the surface and only reveals itself once we’re ready to deal with it. There’s no use in wasting time or energy wishing something was different, that I’d adjusted sooner. For some reason I may not ever understand I wasn’t ready earlier, yet I am now. This is all that matters.

While we are our own blind-spots, we are also the only ones who can choose to see this. When you feel that things aren’t going as planned or there is a dis-connect you experience, the answer and re-connection is always within you. It’s not easy to find our own faults and coaches can help immensely in this area. Not to tell us things we don’t know, but to highlight those things we don’t see which are in front of us, and make all the difference.

Hold that thought.

I was reminded of a very powerful (yet easy to forget) concept recently, which reminded me about the efficiency of the universe we live in. In all aspects of life I’ve found common “rules” or “laws” if you will, and over the years I’ve learned many of these concepts I’ve experienced are quite literally universal laws which govern the world we experience.

All are powerful. All are also very simple in nature. Our daily lives are often cluttered and overcomplicated. Think about how many advertisements you see and hear on a daily basis, whether or not you watch TV, listen to the radio or visit a local store. Advertisements to get us to take this medicine, (it’s crazy how a pharmaceutical company would even need to advertise… this is for another day!) prompts of services for cell phones, internet, how many car ads can we get into the mix, or even the lawyers and realtors faces posted at the bus stop. Every day we are being suggestively told we NEED something we don’t have. Western culture has created a “keep up with the Joneses'” mindset throughout the majority of our culture. Pull up any social media platform these days and it’s all about who’s got the most followers, people now being the commodity over a product for the first time.

This type of overt direct messaging, along with the subliminal messaging underlying the advertising industry of “you need X to be happy” can take a deeper root within us if we pay too close attention. Even if the immediate products and services aren’t interesting to us, we are still hearing “we need X” subconsciously. Being inundated with a certain message or messages creates a thought pattern which can manifest itself directly, or very often indirectly.

Going back to the beginning, here is the reminder I came across which resonated with me once again, as it always does with me.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habit.

Watch your habits, for they become your character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

For most of us, the above isn’t actually new information, yet it’s very easy to forget how quickly a thought can grow to become so much more. Seeing an advertisement isn’t a big deal. However when you are exposed to the same message repeatedly it can very easily establish a foothold in our subconscious mind, from which it can grow rapidly if left un-checked

Luckily, the solution is just as simple as the construct above. For only $99 down I’ll give you everything you need to figure it out! If you pay me, then you’ll be able to find happiness!

Just kidding.

Except about the simple solution part, that part is very true. One way I like to “check” myself is to ask myself why I do or think something. Understanding our why in life is another topic altogether, and the larger concept of this smaller, bite size version. We can break down segments and ask very specific why questions, and the cumulative responses gives us a better idea of what is going on in our subconscious.

Why do I get up and go to work everyday? To pay the bills or because I actually love what I do?

Why do I celebrate an occasion with food and/or beverage which is not beneficial for my bodies long term health?

Why did I get so upset when that dude cut me off on the highway? Did I really need to give him the finger?

Why is my wife always right?

What is it that I love so much about breathing fresh air in the morning, or seeing the sun rise?

These are just a few examples of questions, some deeper and much harder to answer. Noticing our behavior during certain instances and questioning the root of our emotions, thoughts and feelings is a great way to begin to understand what is happening below the surface. There are no right or wrong answers, and enjoying this life and some of the “vices” may be a part of the journey you enjoy. If you like having a drink (or ice-cream, or pick your poison) after work, you don’t have to beat yourself up for it. Asking the question doesn’t mean there will be a negative response.

One thing is clear to me through my experience. Thoughts are indeed things. More aptly put, feelings become reality. Our subconscious mind doesn’t deal in words or phrases, it deals in energy, in feeling. As you notice your actions and question the root, pay close attention to how you feel about the instance more than what words come to describe it. Do you feel good about what just happened, or not so much? The feeling is the true barometer of what we are experiencing.

On the previous blog I spoke about consistency, practice over perfection. Our thoughts during any given day are very much in this category of practice and consistency. If we are more often thinking and feeling things of a higher vibration (joy, love, inner peace), our external life will reflect this. If we are always in the lower energy thoughts (anger, jealously, self pity…) our life will just as accurately reflect this too.

The good news is we get to choose, and we become what we practice.

Life is simple. (That’s not to say it’s easy)

No matter how difficult or complex it may become, it can always be simplified down to reveal what’s underlaying what we’re experiencing.

Are we there yet?

If you’re anything like me you are always striving for more. Striving to improve in all areas of life, personally, professionally, physically, working to get a little better today than we were yesterday. I have always been like this and for years I had always leaned into hitting the next stage, next level of growth.

Many of us who share this mentality also share a common trait of thinking there is a “there”, a destination at the end we will eventually reach. That once this next goal or level is achieved we’ll be “there”! Ironically, what many of us experience as we succeed in achieving our goals and moving to the next level is not a overwhelming sense of joy and accomplishment. It’s a sense simply of “what’s next”.

I love this mindset and I wouldn’t trade my continual growth for anything. This mindset though can be lead us to be very harsh critic of ourselves and our perceived accomplishments. Like most things in life we have to embrace the gifts of who we are and strengthen those areas we perceive to be not as good.

This inner critic many of us experience is not a bad thing when held in check. It can also be hugely damaging if we let it take over our sense of self worth. This inner critic can keep us sharp, on our toes and focused on the task(s) at hand; or it can ultimately demotivate and derail our progress altogether. So how do we embrace this voice within us instead of simply trying to ignore it or shout it down? Or worse, allow it to begin to infect our being as we start to believe some of the non-sense this critical voice throws at us?

The first step is simply to notice this voice and/or thoughts when they appear. When this critic starts it’s torrent simply take note that you hear this voice and it’s rant. That’s it, notice them, don’t buy into them. By simply taking note a profound shift occurs very quickly, which is a separation of yourself from this voice. You’ll notice it’s almost like over-hearing a conversation of other people, mainly one person talking AT another. You have a choice now as to how you wish to handle this. Would you allow another person to speak to you as this inner critic does? Not likely. By noticing this voice and creating a separation between it and yourself you can take ownership of your response if not the narrative of the voice.

Changing the narrative of the voice takes time and practice and can absolutely happen (for another article). Reducing the amount of air-time this voice gets is a natural progression as we remove the power this critic has over us. First though we have to get really good at understanding the voice is a crazy person. A self defense mechanism ingrained to protect us from perceived danger, even if this danger is simply and act or activity at the edge of our comfort zone.

Once you have practiced noticing the voice you will begin to notice other things. Perhaps you’ll notice the angry response many of us have when somebody cuts us off in traffic, or the frustration towards a co-worker. As we notice these things, many of us soon begin to notice our buttons are not as easily pushed because we are noticing the trigger and not responding blindly, but through a separation of rational thought and raw emotion.

The natural progression of this concept is simple. If you begin to respond to life in a more positive and understanding manner, can you see what the trend will be going forward? That’s right. As we improve our relationship within ourselves we improve all of our relationships outwardly, and this has all manner of positive outcomes. Our experience (life) is simply a collection of our choices and actions thus far. As we upgrade our thoughts and actions, our experience thus upgrades with us.

Going back to the beginning of the article, how does noticing our thoughts and separating ourselves from our inner critic have anything to do with reaching our goals and getting to that point we are all striving for?

That point we working towards doesn’t actually exist. It’s a mirage. Like seeing the end of the rainbow it can look so close, yet when you get close it’s not longer there, vanished. As we strive to improve ourselves in all aspects of life there is no point at which we’ll be done, will be at our destination and fully satisfied. When our inner critic hears this the tirade can become volatile and destructive if we let it. If we ignore it and keep trying to get to this imaginary “point” we ultimately will become miserable in the process. Most of us feeling as if we’ve failed, even in our success, especially in our success.

When we understand we will always be growing, it is indeed our nature as people who desire growth. We can quell the critic within and enjoy the process much more. After all, it’s the process and not the result which is the real prize and thing to be attained. The experiences along the way are what matter and the goals we set are simply markers along the way, like mileage posts on the highway.

Begin to notice these thoughts and pay attention to the shifts you will experience. Embrace the experience of all of it, the perceived good and bad of everyday. We wouldn’t notice the sun without the clouds.

Let me know how this works for you and what you notice along the way. This practice opens the doors for more profound change as you grow with it.