Archive for the ‘Self-Growth’ Category

Everywhere you go…

Monday, July 31st, 2023

The old saying goes, “Everywhere you go, there you are.” You just can’t outrun yourself.

You can rearrange the furniture on the Titanic all you want, but it’s about to get really messed up and uncomfortably wet to sit on.

Keith Cunningham, author of Keys to the Vault, talks of the “buffet line syndrome.” “Life is like a buffet line,” Keith says. “When you’re standing at the end of the line, it seems so long people jump out of line. They quickly find the other buffet lines are longer, too. So, they jump back into the first buffet line, which is now longer, and they’ve lost valuable time. They stay in that line until they can’t stand it anymore, and then jump back out … only to have to get back in again later.”

You know people with this syndrome.

Julie accepts an offer from a new company … but she’ll be sure to struggle there as well, because a certain level of organization is necessary for any person who has a career. She learned nothing from an opportunity to learn something from her supervisor who repeatedly suggested that she develop her organization skills.

Casey is sure to discover that detail, quality, and understanding his work will be necessary to succeed at his next job, too.  He will be hearing similar words, if not the same ones, on his next performance review from yet another boss who, in Casey’s opinion, fails to see his brilliance.

Andrea will soon find herself running into “jerks” even as she travels. Imagine that! Some will ruin her trip.  And they’ll be at her next job, too! Hmmm. Could it be that it’s her own filter causing her to see people as jerks?

Have you heard about the five-year-old who asked his mother as she drove him to kindergarten, “Mommy, where are all the buttholes and jerks today?” Mom replied, “Oh honey, they’re only out when your dad drives.”

Until you dance with your devil and commit with all your heart to break through whatever holds you back, your life will be like the movie “Groundhog Day.” You’ll repeat the same day over and over with the same results.

Running from yourself is the fastest way to secure a mediocre life. The only way to the other side of your struggles is to sprint straight through them so you can remain in the buffet line.


Unflippin’ Unstoppable

Monday, June 26th, 2023

He knew his whole life what he wanted to do. He wanted to act in movies. He saw movies as a vehicle not only to escape reality but also as a way to inspire people to overcome their personal obstacles.

He visited with movie agents daily. Was rejected over 700 times. He was told by some that he looked stupid. Even worse, others didn’t even bother to tell him why he was rejected.

Most people would have quit.

After one rejection, he stayed overnight at the site and, because of his insistence, he eventually received his first offer to play a part.  

He was cast as a thug. His job was to get beat up. He was only on camera for 20 seconds.

He imagined it might be the beginning of a wonderful acting career. It wasn’t. His rejections continued.

Now he couldn’t pay for heat in his apartment. His wife had enough. She screamed at him to get a job. He didn’t.

He went to the public library because it was warm. While there, he read the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

 Poe’s work inspired him. He said, “I learned how I could touch other people and help others.”

Since he wasn’t acting, he decided to write a script.

He sold a script for $100. For him, it was a ton of money for a guy who couldn’t pay for his heat. But, it didn’t lead to anything.

By then, he was so broke he hocked his wife’s jewelry. After that, she hated him.

His dog still loved him, but he couldn’t feed him.

He was forced to sell his dog. He stood outside a liquor store trying to sell his dog for $50. He ended up selling it for $25. He cried as he took the money.

Two weeks later he was watching a fight and got an idea. He wrote for 20 straight hours. He was shaking at the end because he was so excited.

He tried to sell his new script but only received rejections.

He wrote down all the things they said when they rejected him and decided he would read them the night of the Academy Awards when he won an Oscar. 

The script still didn’t sell.

Finally, he was offered $125,000 which was more money than he dreamed possible. He agreed to the deal, but with one provision—he required that he would star in it. 

The producers wanted Ryan O’Neal instead.

So … no deal and that meant no money.

They came back with a counteroffer—$250,000 if he agreed not to star in his own movie. No deal.

Then they offered $325,000 with the requirement of no starring role.

Rejected that too.

Finally, they compromised. They didn’t think it would work with him in the starring role, but they loved the script. They paid him $35,000 and let him play the lead.

His next step was to hang out for three days in front of that liquor store looking for the guy who bought his dog.

Finally, the guy walked by with his dog. The guy told him he would never sell his dog back to the writer. 

There’s always a price. After some negotiations, Sylvester Stallone bought his dog back for $15,000.

The rest of the story…

The movie, Rocky, cost $1 million to make. Rocky grossed $225 million in 1976 and is notable for its worldwide percentage return of over 11,000 percent.

The best part … the dog in the movie was Sly’s actual dog.

Are you unstoppable? Do you stand by your principles so much so that you are willing to take huge risks for what you know is right? Do you make a decision and move heaven and earth to achieve your outcome?

If not, let Sly Stallone be your inspiration.


Bliss Buffet

Monday, June 19th, 2023

A Cherokee elder taught his grandchildren through stories:

“A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight. It is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

One of the grandchildren asks, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee replies simply,” The one you feed.”

Unemployment. Recession. A towering pile of credit card debt.

Looks bad, doesn’t it?

How you interpret each will be highly predictive of the results you get. You’ve probably heard that most fortunes are made during recessions. Those who yank their head beneath the hard shell of the word “recession” tend to feel the full-blown negative experience of that crisis.

But there are others who say, “Thank you for sharing with us the fallout that comes from a recession. But we’re not signing up for that.”

They then outsell, out-service, out-innovate, and pull ahead of their competition in remarkable ways. They make themselves invaluable, even during the worst of times (when it matters more).

Life will always have ups and downs—it’s the nature of our existence. It’s how you choose to deal with those setbacks that will determine the results of your life.

Difficulties seldom defeat people; lack of faith in ourselves usually does it.

Gandhi once said,

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers; and for a time, they can seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Think of it. Always.”

You choose which wolf to feed. Better darn well choose wisely.

Try this, make a list of the limitations you have bought into because it is conventional wisdom. Circle a few that you will choose to use as your motivator instead. Use these negative inclinations to help you overcome them.

Regardless of the circumstances, decide to feed the good wolf.


Suddenly I See

Monday, June 12th, 2023

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitudes of mind.”

– William James

“I can.” “I can’t.” “I’m not good enough.” “Good stuff just happens to me.” “I always get sick every winter.”

Explanatory styles. We all have them—the filters through which we run all of life’s events.

And scientists now know that every thought creates a sudden shift in your body. Just reading the ideas above emotionally triggered your pancreas and your adrenal glands to get busy secreting hormones. Different areas of your brain surged with increased electrical currents, causing neurochemicals to be released. Your liver, not to be left out, began processing enzymes that were not present the moment before. Your thymus gland and spleen sent out not-to-be-ignored messages to the body to shift your immune system. There’s more … but you get the idea.

Thoughts change your body.

Your mind has a tremendous capacity to change your body and your life.

To maximize your experience of life, it’s critical to understand that you change your mind by changing your chosen understanding of things.

A friend of mine said that her professor in college explained it this way, “Communication is impossible. If you are explaining to a room of people about a cat, each person in the room will have a totally different interpretation of what “cat” means. Unless you pull a cat out of a bag and show the specific cat, you have not communicated.”

It’s clear we all have filters that we run things through. Even more fascinating is that every person has the ability to reprogram the filters through which they hear things—but first they need to have a clue that what they’re hearing is never exactly what is said.

Every thought and image and experience that comes to you is instantly filtered. A college professor writes the same note on the top of the paper of three different students, “There is so much more here.”

One student thinks, “Oh my goodness. I’m going to flunk this course. He thinks I missed the point entirely! I always seem to miss what’s important. I’d better start packing my bags because I’m never going to make it in college.
I’ll probably end up working at Uncle Pete’s factory, marrying a mean wife and raising ugly, delinquent kids.”

Another thinks, “He’d like me to explore other parts of this. I’m going to see him after class on Wednesday and tell him I’d like to write another paper on those areas. Maybe he’s thinking he wants to make sure I get an A in the course by going deeper.”

Yet another reads into it, “I have really challenged my professor’s thinking with my paper. I can see how I opened his eyes to there being so much more that he hadn’t even thought of before.”

The list of interpretations is endless!

It is through those filters, though, that great things or complete disasters can happen.

It plays out in every family and in every organization.

A supervisor challenges one of his employees to be more thorough on a project. The employee’s brain, based upon his explanatory style, can come up with a whole range of possible interpretations: “He never likes what I do. Isn’t it ever good enough?” “He’s just picky. I’ll ignore this, and he’ll just let it slide.” “He really wants me to win on this project. I sure appreciate his insights. I’m going to ask him more questions. I think he sees that I’m management material.”

What’s so fascinating about filters is that each individual tends to have a certain “filter twist” through which they run all things—and it’s completely different from every other person’s filter twist. That twist is largely dependent on how they feel about themselves based on the key messages they have received about how lovable or unlovable they are.

They can take one element and twist the message so that it doesn’t even resemble the intention of the presenter. Once, when giving a speech, I covered something I’ve presented more than a thousand times. I talked about how a vision of greatness is so powerful when it comes to enrolling the hearts, minds, and souls of a team. I described how most companies miss the mark when it comes to creating and articulating their vision.  

When I finished my speech, a gentleman came up, slapped me on the back and said, “We have something in common. I used to be an ophthalmologist, too!” Holy smokes! I think this guy took a mental vacation! He definitely was listening through a filter that heard one word, “vision” and defined it through his occupation—missing the entire point!

Here’s what we know about filters. If an individual grew up with a parent, a teacher, whomever, telling them they were not OK, then when you give them input on something, they will most likely hear it as an attack and blame you for being the person who is wrong in making the request. “How could you be so insensitive!” is what goes on in their mind.

Our brains, addicted to drama as they are, will hear the most innocent of remarks as accusing, complaining, or blaming. We distort it to the point that it feeds the unhappiness that we’re addicted to.

When a comment happens, some people run it through filters. Here are some common ones:

“Nobody appreciates me.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“You can’t trust anyone.”

“I’ll never have money.”

“I’m not lovable.

“Life is hard.”

“I can’t do anything right.”

Don’t collapse distinctions. Ask yourself what actually occurred. Your interpretation of what occurred is what causes angst and sleepless nights.

Keep your filters clean of untrue interpretations and your relationships and outcomes will be demonstrably better.


She Will Be Loved

Monday, June 5th, 2023

We did it every year. We were snowbirds. We went to Florida with the kids to celebrate “spring break.”

When the house wasn’t already filled with other snowbirds who called first, my husband’s parents would host us. “Granny,” as she refers to herself, had the skin of a woman 30 to 40 years younger.

This is not your ordinary granny who makes cheesy potatoes, Jello salad, and bundt cakes. She’s a health nut.

This is a woman who eats … well, nobody really knows what she eats. My best attempt at a description would be bee pollen-filled organic sprouted flaxseed topped with seaweed powder with a side of enzyme supplement over organic avocados. Not really—but close.

She boasts she has NEVER eaten at a fast-food restaurant, making her the only human I know who can say that with a straight face.

Imagine her disgust when every year, every morning while there, my kids would wake up at her house demanding that we head to Waffle House.

The Waffle House is a Southern phenomenon.  We didn’t have them in Minneapolis.

Granny begged, Granny pleaded, “Please, let me make you a healthy breakfast.” But no, the kids demand the food that makes our aortas gurgle.

Why do they demand Waffle House? Because the food is extraordinary? Nope, after all, it’s only waffles. Is it because the bathrooms are so clean? Noooooo. Enough said. 

We go to Waffle House because as we walk in the door, the chorus from all the employees within range began. “Mornin’!” “Mornin’!” “Mornin’!” “Mornin’!” “Mornin’!”

Five or six people snap to attention, multitasking with a greeting while still waiting on people. And THAT’S why we go to Waffle House.

Humans have an insatiable craving to have others around them show that they care.

So how do you tap into that power?

You show you care when a customer has a problem and you say, “Oh my goodness, that’s terrible. My name is John, and I am going to make sure this is corrected right away. Here’s my direct line. We’ll keep talking until this is resolved.”

You show you care when your teammates have a deadline and even though it’s not in your “job description,” you stay late and do back-flips to make sure they meet their deadline.

You show you care when you spend time with your kid with NO TELEVISION and listen to them tell you what excites them.

You show you care when you tell your boss, who demands more of you than you knew you had in you, that you appreciate her critiques of your work because it helps you improve.

You show you care when you challenge someone who hasn’t completed their work with the required excellence by going directly to that person and coaching as opposed to whining about that person to coworkers behind their back.

You show you care when every customer walks out saying, “Wow. That was amazing! They always make me feel important there.”

And, you show you care when you constantly look for ways to go above and beyond in every project you do, ways to make a meaningful difference and add great value.

Try this:

  • Make a list of 10 ways you could make it more obvious to people around you, from family members to coworkers to customers, that you care.
  • Live your list with a fervor.
  • Repeat. Keep finding new ways to show people around you that you care.