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.

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.

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.

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.