A Sign of the times

We’ve all heard of the importance of being present, living “in the moment”. I imagine it would be hard to find somebody to argue about the merits of being present in our daily lives. I imagine this is a concept which understood and accepted by a vast majority of people.

Yet put into practice, how many of us actually apply the knowledge we have? The old axiom that “knowledge is power” isn’t quite accurate. “USE of knowledge, is power”. Knowledge on it’s own is useless unless acted upon.

Think back on your day today for instance. Have you been present and engaged in each and every moment? In each interaction with people, fully tuned in to what the other person(s) are expressing verbally and non-verbally? While alone are you focused on your immediate surrounding and circumstance, or perhaps your thoughts have roamed to something, or somebody else?

Being present more often is a practice and aiming for perfection will ultimately lead to failure in most cases. We are complex beings with a lot of layers to our being. There isn’t a single thing we can do which will make us “good” or “bad” people. We are a sum of our parts, a compilation of moments and our choices, actions and outcomes form the painting of our lives.

As we practice being focused on each moment and making a choice, taking action based upon the knowledge we have to use, often we’ll make a choice with a positive outcome.

When we are worried or fearful of what the future may hold, of what someone will think about us, of what we could “lose” we tend to action our thoughts in fear, which isn’t based on anything in the present moment.

Being present and focused removes fear and worry by the nature of it. If you are present, you are not worried about the future. You are not worried about what others might think. You are not worried about success or failure. You are focused on what you perceive to be the world, at that moment. In short, removing the “noise” from our thought process brings us to intuitive thought.

When we act intuitively I can assure you this does not always mean comfortably.

It can be difficult and downright scary to go through the process and see the result of your choices come to fruition.

I’ve also seldom been wrong when I choose intuitively and act on the choice, no matter how difficult or daunting.

We are a sum of our thoughts, deeds and actions. We won’t always be winning, nor losing. We won’t always be right, or wrong. We don’t always be at the top of the mountain, nor buried at the bottom.

The more instances we can live presently in the moment, the more peace we will ultimately find within ourselves. It’s not about being 100% every day. It’s about the choice you make right this moment. That’s all that matters. Then repeat.

Not for human consumption

An interesting thing happened a few weeks ago and it got me thinking. I had a craving for a glass of milk. I haven’t drank a glass of milk in probably 30 years, but suddenly I felt like having a glass of milk. Not just ordinary milk though, I craved something I had never had before. Pure, raw milk and I felt an urge to try it.

I don’t even like milk so I suppressed the urge for a few weeks but curiosity got the best of me and I began searching around me for a place where I could buy pure, raw cow milk. I was in luck, I found a farm not twenty minutes from my house. Off I went.

The farm was amazing, they had a small grocery shop and restaurant, and arts and crafts event on the weekends and even a petting zoo. Being there for the milk I went to the refrigerated area and found milk, whey, yogurts, cream, different cheeses butters and more.

I went to grab a yogurt and a few other thing when I noticed a label saying “not for human consumption”. I thought it was odd, what type of animals are eating yogurt if not humans? Then I noticed this phrasing on all of the dairy products including the milk.

The same dairy foods that have fed the entire human race since the dawn of existence (or at least farming), which is raw dairy, is no longer safe for human consumption? Interesting.

I’m all for simplicity, and trying to source the root cause of things is something I enjoy. How could a food source which has been a staple of humanity for thousands of years no longer be safe to consume?

There are several culprits as to why the labelling is on the products, though it certainly isn’t factually true that raw dairy isn’t for human consumption. Quite the opposite indeed.

While I used to enjoy all the processed foods and fast foods in my younger years, I have since learned a lot about foods and what is actually good for us and not. The simple answer, pure, single ingredient foods are good, beef, dairy, fruits, nuts and so on. Processed foods are not so good to down right bad, (ever seen a paragraph of ingredients on a label?)

Take a look on your next trip to the grocery store, in about any isle in the center of the store, pick a random item up and check the ingredients.

One thing that I’ve learned is particularly bad for us, which is championed by many are seed oils. Vegetable oil, corn oil, and so forth. Here a great article which sums up the oils we consume very well.

Going back to raw milk and simplicity, as my intention isn’t to get into a full-on history of food, but make a more focused point. In today’s day and age there is information everywhere. The downside is a lot of it is garbage. The sad part is most of the garbage is fed to us by those who we should be able to trust the most.

Food started changing during the industrial revolution, people started moving to cities and the availability of fresh food and dairy became difficult as refrigeration and transport wasn’t what it is today. As things shifted, people began creating new products to cover the smell/taste of food on the bring of expiration. Things like ketchup where created to enable people to stomach the meat which was nearly rotten, but which was available.

Over time, people kept adding things to plug holes or make something better. Today we’re dealing with an explosion of obesity because we keep adding fixes to the symptom of the problem, while never addressing the actual problem.

If we all ate whole foods, un-processed foods and spent some time in the sun each day we would experience a renaissance of health in this country. Like most things in life, the answer is very simple. Executing it can be more challenging.

My point in all of this is this. We have to question what we are told by the “experts” and have to be responsible for ourselves and our families. When something a simple and pure as raw dairy is “not for human consumption” it means there is a much, much larger problem we’re not addressing.

If you’re looking for better food sources, here is a link to a great website where you can search for a farm near you. Supporting those farmers and small business owners in our communities is how the world has worked for millennia, and returning to this foundation in our modern world yields some cool results.

A practice in presence

A simple and highly effective way to upgrade your thoughts, part 2.

Following up on my last blog post, this is the first of four follow up posts diving just a bit deeper into a few concepts. These four protocols as I have come to know them are simple, proven concepts and when applied individually yield great results. Though when used in concert with each other, consistently the results can be truly powerful.

I’m going to focus today on being present in each moment. We’ve all heard this before, and the idea of being present in the moment has been a topic as far back into history as we can find. It’s for good reason too. The best things always stand the test of time. The best things are often also simple in concept and powerful in result, yet not always easy in practice.

I’m going to focus on the practice part today instead of the value behind being present, you’re probably aware already of the benefits of being present. However, to give a similar example between of the difference between knowledge and practice, just because you understand how an airplane flies, doesn’t mean you can actually fly one.

Why is it so hard to be present, and in the moment? For one our society basically programs us to be anything and everything BUT present. We’re taught to worry about the future and plan for what’s to come. Think about the concept of retirement, work your whole life so you can spend a few quality years of “enjoyment” at the tail end of life. The entire idea is rooted in future tense.

Advertisements bombard us from billboards, to online ads, print, TV commercials etc. of things we need to have to be happy. Social media is a another platform(s) which by it’s nature creates a thought pattern of comparing ourselves to others, of wanting to have what the “influencers” have, be it a rockin’ body, a custom car, or the latest fashion or the new vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soyless, what-cha-ma-call-it-but-its-not-meat-substitute!

All of this and we still haven’t walked out the door and interacted with people yet!

Our brains are moving a billion miles an hour, slowing them down, even for a short time takes patience and practice. Even when we do slow them down we tend to still think about all the things we should be doing, want to do, forgot to do, etc…

Now I ask you to notice the thought(s) you are having right this moment.

Stop reading and notice if you are only reading this, or if you are reading this while thinking of something else. Notice what is going through your mind in this moment, without judgment of good, bad, simply notice it and be ok with whatever it is.

I am going to challenge you to practice something for one day. Once you do this for one day I ask you do it for two, then three, then four, all the way to ten days, one day at a time.

Pick a thing you do each day, for instance driving to/from work. Pick something where you have a defined period of time allocated each day, and take a five minute chunk of that time and dedicate it to noticing what is going on around you, and nothing else.

When you first try this, and realize in less than a full minute your mind has already moved on to something else, notice you are thinking of something else and bring yourself back to what you area doing at that moment. DO NOT JUDGE yourself or be harsh, simply notice the mind wandering and come back to what you are doing. Peacefully and calmly.

Even when your mind wanders 30 times in a 5 minute span, simply notice it and come back. Judging yourself for a wandering is counter-productive. If you do reactionarily judge yourself, notice this too, notice the act of judging yourself. Notice it for what it is, a reactionary emotion which is neither good nor bad in this moment.

I like to do this while driving because I can turn off the radio and it also helps me release my judgement of how others drive, which gives me a much calmer and more peaceful trip to the office and back. The idea though is to pick a segment of time, the same time (roughly) and activity everyday to practice noticing your thoughts.

This will help build consistency and a habit of doing this while you do the activity everyday. This won’t be as easy as it sounds, and even if you think you “failed” at it don’t give up, it’s all the more reason to keep trying. Practicing a thing means you will get it wrong, alot, before you start to get it right.

Notice, without judgement your thoughts. While you are practicing being “in the moment” focus on the smells you are smelling, what you are feeling physically (like the material of the seat, steering wheel, clothing) and what you are feeling emotionally.

Are you happy, sad, frustrated, joyous, something else altogether? Notice the scenery around you and the details of it. If you’re driving you can notice the other cars around you, how is the traffic flowing together, or is it stop and go? What kind of cars are travelling with you?

If you’ve taken note of all these things and then simply sit with the feeling you are having, the emotion you are experiencing. Feel it, breathe it, welcome it.

The simple act of noticing our immediate environment is the best way to begin the process of presence. Soon, you will find yourself in a conversation with something totally engaged with this person or persons and thinking of nothing but the person in front of you.

This is easy with an “important” person. It’s more difficult when you find yourself interrupted unexpectedly by someone who you want to blow off, but now you notice your desire to blow them off, and instead of reacting on this desire, you engage with them wholly.

This is where the miracles of life happen, in the most unexpected places, and they happen often when we are paying attention.

I’d like to hear from you on how your practice is going, I invite you to send me a note directly at roger@powerfullifeinc.com to tell me about your experience with this.

Stay tuned for the next installment, which will focus on finding the good in any event.

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.

A dose of simplicity

If 2021 was a bit nuts, what I can tell so far of 2022 things are going to get even more interesting. From my own experience things are moving at lighting speed, and everyone I speak with can relate to this hyper-speed pace.

I’m not sure where the first three months of this year went, though I do know one thing. A major lesson I’ve learned through the fire is this; Be in the moment, focused and intuitive in action.

We’re all familiar with the terminology of “living in the now”, “being present” and the importance of such things. I’d like you to think about how often you truly apply these concepts to your life. I am all about living in the ‘now’, being in the moment. I can also tell you I stress about the bills, how to cover payroll, overhead, where I’ll find business to keep my staff sustained and active in the coming months.

If you’ll notice I’m quite contrary in my thinking. If I’m all living in the “now”, how can I also stress about the upcoming expenses and challenges? I imagine this conundrum sounds familiar.

Here’s what I’ve learned, and it can translate universally. Get your shit done in the moment it happens.

From the mundane to the mountains, tackling the challenges which arise on a daily basis, as they arise, has a funny way of creating results which roll over. For me it all starts with a theme I’ve implemented in my life a few months ago. “with love in my heart…”

“With love in my heart I talk to this upset customer.”

“With love in my heart I take the garbage out.”

“With love in my heart I have the difficult conversation with a loved one.”

“With love in my heart I cook for my family.”

I have practiced (and still am practicing) being in each moment, experiencing each moment, with love in my heart. In those instances I don’t feel the love, or cannot conjure it within me I step back and evaluate why I am doing it.

I have made a choice to do/be those things which I can do with love. Those things I cannot, I am shifting out of my life in some way. Through delegation or outright removal. By using this simple filter in my life, I can be in each moment, present and focused.

The past is unchangeable, the future depends on what we do in this moment.

If we are unfocused and thinking stressing about the future, we will experience uncertainty and stress. When we drill down and focus on those things we love, in the moment, actively and passionately, the future takes care of itself.

If you’re thinking to yourself, this is great for you, “but I have all these chores to do and nobody helps me”, “that’s great but I have kids and they’re a handful”, “my boss is a jerk, I wish I could like my job”.

Perhaps you should evaluate your perspective. At least you have a home, and clothes, and dishes to maintain. Many people don’t. You’re kids can be a lot of things, and they take you as an example. Are you being a good example for them?

What is your bosses motivation for being a jerk? Getting the job done or simply to feed their ego? Being pushed by a boss can be a great thing, while also being very uncomfortable in the moment. Perhaps it’s time to start looking for a new job while you still have one. You do have a choice, as long as you give yourself the choice.

Living in the moment is something we all understand, yet few of us actually practice it. And it is a practice, which we can (and do) fail at often times. The more we practice enjoying, loving the thing we are doing in each moment the easier it gets. When things seem like they’re spinning out of control, take a moment to breath, and be grateful for the opportunity to be stretched by a new challenge.

Life really is simple, yet often the simplicity is the hardest thing to practice.

Self: Accepted

Most of us are familiar with terms and phrases such as: “you have to love yourself, before somebody else”; “take care of yourself first”; “Be true to yourself”; “Express yourself”; “Be yourself” and so countless variations of this. While all very important and true I almost never hear the continuation of this same thought pattern. We get to be true to ourselves, embracing our passions and desires as we figure out exactly who we are in the first place. The natural next step is the world we live in, the world we experience while we do our thing.

We’ve all also heard the phrase “the world is a mirror of who we are” (or a similar variation of it). When put together it creates a very interesting dynamic and one we can utilize truly in our favor.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had several scenarios play out in my life where I’m certain I want or need a certain thing, it could be a job, promotion, material item, relationship, anything… And often times I get this thing and it isn’t at all what I thought it would be. Just as often I don’t get the “thing”, and later “out of nowhere” comes something much better.

The human mind has a miraculous ability to lie to itself, to “protect” itself from perceived harm and conflict. While I have gotten much better and continue to practice noticing when I am working on something I really shouldn’t be, I too still get sidetracked on things or ideas which seem great at first but ultimately aren’t good fits for me.

Going back to self love and acceptance; If the world is a mirror and we are totally secure and loving with ourselves, then the world we experience would be full of love and acceptance of things just as they are. Just like 2+2=4, complete interior love = complete exterior love. I’m not sure about you, but these last few years have seemed anything but loving if you’ve turned your TV on for more than a few minutes.

My mirror is telling me something.

The “issues” I see and frustration, anger, confusion and sometimes hopelessness I feel at our state of society are all reflections of inner conflict I am having at some level. What frustration I experience today is monumentally less than only a few years ago and I imagine I’ll be able to say the same thing in a few years time again. I have learned, and am still very much learning and practicing acceptance of myself and the world around me, as it is, not as I would have it.

“We must bear up against them and make the best of mankind as they are, since cannot have them as we wish” A quote from George Washington from November of 1776 after being repeatedly discouraged by his armies performance against the British in the early stages of the revolutionary war. This mentality of acceptance of what is, is purported to have bolstered his immense resolve to keep fighting and eventually win the birth of a new nation.

As I have resolved years ago to realize my highest and best self, the world I experience has also shifted. These last two years, while challenging and full of unknowns and unprecedented events have also been two of the most rewarding and fulfilling of my life. In my last blog post I gave my own personal definition of leadership and success. If we want to be leaders in this world, we must lead our own internal charge for greatness before we can guide others to achieve external greatness.

Can you guide somebody to do great things while you are a hot-mess inside? Of course you can. And you can suffer the consequences of fighting such an inner conflict. These consequences often manifest as weight issues, health issues, depression, addiction, anger and so on. I know because I’ve been down this road, luckily I was able to change direction before I was too far down it.

When I mentioned earlier the dynamic we can use in our favor, here is what I mean. When we experience things in this world we don’t like, it directly means there is some part of us internally creating this experience. If we want to effect a positive change in the world, we must be clear in our intention of looking inward for the solution, never outwardly.

Bitching out politics or how the coach lost the game for your favorite sports team just took a twist didn’t it?

We have the opportunity to check ourselves each and every day, to see the progress we have made and if we are on the right track. All we have to do is pay attention to the world around us. If you find yourself extremely frustrated and mad at the state of the world, you get to do more work than some, but there is some “low hanging fruit” you can likely start with easily. Turning off the news for one, (all of it) is a great place to start for most.

Noticing when you are getting upset or frustrated at something is another big step. Simply noticing it and taking a breath will calm things down quickly. “I notice I’m getting pissed off right now…” breaks the thought pattern and allows you to recenter. Acceptance of “what is” is another step and not likely one of the first ones. We don’t have to understand the world in order to accept it. Acknowledging this is another step on the path.

There was a monk from Tibet being interviewed by an author about the power of prayer and spirituality. The interviewer delicately asked the monk a question about a concept which was the interviewer was struggling with. (I’m paraphrasing the quotations) “If the power of prayer is so great, and Tibet has a high number of dedicated monks, why is Tibet in such turmoil as a country? Why isn’t prayer working?” asked the reporter.

“We don’t pray for a peaceful Tibet, we pray for peace in the world. Because of the turmoil in Tibet some of our monasteries have had to relocate monks to other parts of the world. Because these monks are now in other parts of the world, their teachings are spreading in ways they never would have had they remained confined. Perhaps they will return once peace has spread and our prayers have been effected” replied the monk.

Each of us has such a limited view of the world at large, there is so much we are unaware of and no way we could understand all which is happening at all times. Accepting what is, as is, is a practice which will reflect back upon us and fulfill us anew. We can utilize a bi-directional love as we accept ourselves and express who we are. And receive our mirror back in kind as we accept the world as it is too.

As a dearly departed brother of mine used to say. Keep it 100(%).

What does it matter?

During the normal course of a day many of us experience interactions with all sorts of people, in all sorts of contexts. Family, friends, co-workers, customers, vendors, and simple random interactions are a normal part of many days. Think back of today, or perhaps yesterday and think of all the interactions you had during this time.

Perhaps you and your co-workers talked about COVID and how the impact has somebody missing work, perhaps several people. This shortage led to a customer not being serviced as expected and now the upset customer is taking it out on you or your co-worker. Did Jane have a crappy attitude and set you off on the wrong foot for no reason? Maybe John dropped the ball and you are found yourself venting at his lack of determination or focus. Maybe you are the one listening to the venting, a compassionate ear for a frustrated soul.

I was once talking to one of my direct reports, he managed a large group of employees and he was having a few issues as employees were arguing about this and that. As he was talking it suddenly occurred to me that about 80% of what we encounter on a daily basis is nearly meaningless. Worse, it’s actually counter-productive as it convolutes our day and adds drama and complication which quite frankly has no need to be in our day. I revert back to one thing I know and am reminded of here again.

Life is simple.

The world we are taught to live in is anything but simple. When we really clear away the clutter though, what really matters at the end of the day? If not the conversations and context we’ve had through the day, what is left?

Let’s go to the old dramatic axiom: what if on your way home from work you died unexpectedly, and suddenly found yourself facing your maker. Your maker says “Welcome! I hope you enjoyed your last day on earth. Now that you’re done with life on earth, what have you brought with you here?”

Now think back to the daily conversations which happen around you on a normal, everyday basis. How many of these instances make the cut for quality and actually benefit you as you move on to a new plane of experience? Most of us will not have many to bring to this table. It’s ok. relax and know it’s never too late to be a little better today than yesterday.

This doesn’t mean our lives are meaningless, far from it. Our lives are actually much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. Much more powerful than many of us realize. Think back on your day, or a few days. When was the last time you made somebody smile? When was the last time you made a selfless gesture to a stranger, something as simple as holding the door open to allow the person behind you to walk through? Perhaps it was a simple smile and gesture of “hello” to a stranger you passed on the street.

These simple gestures can, and often do have profound impacts on those we encounter. And we’ll never know exactly how, and this is ok. We are quite literally all in “this” together. “This” being this life as we know it. We all have things going on in our lives nobody outside our inner circle knows about, often even the circle doesn’t know all of it. Have you ever had a day where you feel empty, useless, like you don’t matter and nothing you do is good enough? Then some random stranger gives you a smile, simply acknowledges that you’re alive and a person. This simple gesture can pull you out of the gutter and help change your thoughts and bring you back to center.

This is a dramatized example and I imagine though you can insert your own memory of a time when you were unexpectedly cheered up by a random act of kindness.

Now let’s think back to meeting your maker and the question posed. “What have you brought with you here?” Think about the positive impact you have had knowingly or otherwise on people. Suddenly, you’re not empty handed, are you?

None of us are perfect and there is no reason to be. Laugh, love, cry, get angry, feel sad… and compassionate and empathetic… and all the myriad of emotions we as humans have. We don’t have walk around with a fake perma-smile plastered on our faces. We also don’t have to take out our frustrations or anger at others. Processing emotions (not burying them) is very important and something we can do and still have a positive effect, even when we’re not in the best of moods.

One thing which I believe to be true and it’s my starting point with all of my interactions. People wake up in the morning wanting to do good things for themselves and their families. Is this true 100% of the time? Of course not. It is true far more often than not though.

Knowing the people around you share the same goal as you do: trying to make life better for yourself and your family. This common goal helps to see others in a slightly different light and we can all help each other get closer to this ideal. By helping each other do the same.

Play around with smiling at strangers, saying hi randomly and holding a door open here and there. Sure, you will get some strange looks and questioning faces and that’s awesome, you’ve just gave somebody hope for humanity!

In your business, think about how your products/services better people’s lives or improves their circumstances. This is your focal point and drives your energy to get your product/service out to more and more people, because you know it’s going to help them, add true value to their experience of life. As business owners and leaders, we can have a tremendous impact on our employees and families, as well as our customers and vendors.

This is what is meant when you hear the phrase: “Be the change you want to see in the world”. At the end of the day, it all matters.

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.

Practice, not perfection

Many years ago I was talking to a neighbor of mine and I was lamenting how tight my clothes had become. We had moved to Texas and after several months of eating at the myriad excellent restaurants around town, my waistline was showing the effects.

My neighbor suggested I simply get some “fat pants”, it’s what she does when things get too tight. I wasn’t familiar with the “fat pants” or where to get a pair, or how they worked. “What are fat pants?” I asked. “Bigger pants” was the deadpan response. I realized I was at a choice point in my life, choose to accept the enlarging waist and get some fat pant to accommodate my sloth. Or, I could choose to eat better and get my health back on track, saving me the painful concept of the bigger pants.

I chose to lose weight and work myself into my normal clothes again thankfully. This process I have since learned is applicable to many areas of life. The process of working towards a goal, an objective, an idea, a dream.

I have learned during my weight loss journey, I have learned again during my professional career, my marriage, fatherhood, entrepreneurship. I have experienced the same context in different formats. Like watching a movie where the family is in danger and the husband/father comes in and saves the day against all odds. This movie has been made a thousand times. The actors change, and script and scenery change, but it’s really just the same movie over again. These movies span all genres just like the important aspects of achieving a goal.

Progress on the road is infinitely more important than being perfect along the journey. I recall going on the Atkins diet (basically keto, before keto was cool!) and I dove in on a Monday morning. From beer and restaurants to zero carbs from one day to the next. Wasn’t really a great plan I admit, and the first two weeks were a nightmare, the third only slightly better. I did however steal peanut butter once a day during these first few weeks, and a beer at night a few times. These “indiscretions” are what gave me the willpower to keep going and not give up on the entire diet.

As I got better at eating a very minimal amount of carbs it became easier and I was able to adapt and adjust voluntarily when I felt ready to. I eventually gave up peanut butter and beer as I had progressed to a point. I had lost a lot of weight, and now was willing to sacrifice further to attain my goal.

There are times in life when we can be laser focused on a goal, AND we can deviate a bit to allow ourselves room to continue instead of crash. Countless people I’ve encountered give a 110%, (rise and grind bro!) only to burn out before getting what they were after. In my experience, getting three quarters of the way isn’t the same as crossing the finish line. Perhaps this is what the old “tortoise and the hare” fable is all about.

If you are going on a diet, starting a new business, beginning a fitness regime or changing fitness styles, (or one of so many other journeys) give yourself some leeway to have fun along the way. Sacrifices will need to be made, it will be difficult, and this is ok, this is part of the accomplishment. There’s no reason though to make it so difficult you can’t complete it. If you take a day off, eat that donut(s) at the office, miss a day of training don’t beat yourself up. It’s all good, simply continue where you left off and enjoy the progress you’ve made thus far.

Practice and persistence (consistency) will always win. Enjoy the journey and your much more likely to reach your destination.