Sunday, August 20, 2017

What is Fear?

Fear is a liar.

Fear is the voice in your head that says you are not good enough. Fear says you don't have what it takes to reach your goals. Fear will whisper in your ear all the reasons why you can't do it. Fear will tell you your not strong enough. Fear will tell you you're not worthy. Fear will tell you that you should be ashamed.

Fear is a thief.

Fear will steal your dreams. Fear is a taker. Fear is a robber. Fear will steal your intentions.  Fear will steal your passions and keep you in a boring and safe routine day after day until you utter a deathbed whisper of regret.

Fear is a prison.

Fear will keep you safely locked away from risk. Fear will keep you fenced in and away from trying. Fear will build walls that protect you from failure, success, pain, pleasure and anything else that it perceives as the least bit threatening. Fear will keep you in a comfort zone where you will never put yourself on the line. Fear will never let you grow.

Fear is a reaction.

Fear is an emotion. Fear is a response to a perceived future that may or may not ever come true. Fear is primitive. Fear is an under-developed emotion that was meant to keep you safe when you were a cave dweller. Fear is obsolete.

Fear is an excuse.

Fear becomes the reason you don't try. Fear is the reason you don't go for it. Fear is the reason you quit when you've almost made it. Fear is the crutch you use to explain the lackluster and uninspired life you've chosen.

Fear is an obstacle.

Fear is what you use to hold yourself back. Fear is an unlocked door you just don't turn the handle and open. Fear is what you put between you and what you truly want to do. Fear is why your book never gets written, your song never gets sung, your company never gets started and your purpose is never known. Fear is what keeps you from being you.

Fear is an illusion.

Fear is need. Fear is lack. Fear is why you please others at your peril. Fear is why you spend money you don't have to impress people you don't know.

Fear is obedience.

Fear is coloring inside the lines. Fear is thinking inside the box. Fear is following the crowd. Fear will have you act like society's sheep. Fear is conformity.

Fear is an attack.

Fear is an attack on your motivations. Fear is an attack on your inspirations. Fear is an attack on your dreams. Fear is an attack on the best version of yourself. Fear preys on your insecurities. And, Fear will attack until you fight back.

Fear is a friend.

Fear is your compass. Fear is telling you where you need to go. Fear tells you where you need to grow. Fear is the devil you find at every new level. Fear is where the best version of yourself exists. Fear is what your creator wants you to be.

"Don’t follow your excitement… follow your fear."  Bryan Ward, Third Way Man.

Fear is a rush. 

Fear is exhilaration. Fear is the spine-tingling sensation you feel when you absolutely throw your whole heart in and try in spite of fear. Fear is the energy you feel when you say fuck fear and just go for it anyway. Fear is a high-octane fuel when you decide to use it.

Fear, when overcome, is the greatest personal victory any human can experience.

Follow your fear...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Friday Five featuring Mindset by Carol Dweck

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.” ― Carol Dweck, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.

2.  Book I am reading - Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck - this book is a serious eye-opener.  If you are a parent, teacher, coach or a manager, this book will change the way you lead and develop the people in your life.

Dweck explains why it's not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn't foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area. 

This is on my Must Read List.

3.  Song of the Week - Live Like Your Dying by Tim McGraw. This is a song that can give you some serious perspective.

4.  Video of the Week - The Growth Mindset vs.The Fixed Mindset.   This is a quick 5 minute video that explains the fundamental concept in Carol Dweck's book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Are Fitness Trackers Really Worth It?  Some research suggest these devices may be way off.  I don't think it will stop me.  Even if it is off a bit, I am still paying attention to my activity.  I use a Fitbit Blaze. It tracks steps, heart and sleep.  It even comes with some Fitstar workouts programmed right in the watch. What about you??

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Are you frustrated? Here's why. And, what to do about it.

Frustration comes from two places.

Things you control and things you don't control. You become frustrated because the results you are getting are below what you expect.

It's that simple and it's that hard.

You may become frustrated with yourself, your spouse, your kids, your parents, your coworkers. No matter what the source of the frustration is, it is because you are expecting more than you are getting.

Do you want to immediately remove that feeling? Do you want to not feel frustrated? Then here is what you need to do.

Lower your expectations.

As soon as you lower your expectations, you remove the feeling of frustration. Almost as soon as you lower your expectations, you become more aligned with reality. You become more open to possibility.

Try it.

When you become frustrated, you create a negative energy that basically pushes away solutions. If you pursue frustration, it will create turmoil for yourself most of all.  And, your negative vibe will affect those around you.

Let it go....

Lower your expectations. Once you do this, you relax. You remove the tension, you reduce the negative energy that brings you and everyone involved further down and away from the solution.

As soon as you relax, you can reconnect with your purpose and find new ways to achieve what you are going for. The ideas will come to you. But, only when you relax.

In addition to lowering your expectations, it helps to realize that frustration means the goal you're not getting to can still be realized. Once you reach a point where the goal is not achievable you move from frustration to disappointment. So, feeling frustrated can serve as an action signal to avoid disappointment. Welcome it.

Once you relax, consider the situation. First, is it something that you control? If you are frustrated and it is something that you control, your probably frustrated with yourself. Your frustrated that you have not met your own expectations.

You didn't lose the weight, get to the gym, make the sale, keep your temper or whatever. You will need to make sure you didn't set your expectation to high. Consider a less lofty goal. Of course, if you just plain didn't try hard enough. You deserve to feel frustrated.

Try again.

If you are frustrated and it is something you don't control. You may need to not only lower your expectations. You may need to change them altogether. To understand what you control or don't control see The #1 Way To Improve The World.

If you are frustrated and it is something you can't control like the weather, the economy or the traffic your stuck in, you need to change your expectations and perhaps even prepare for disappointment. But, if it is something you can't control but have some influence over then there is something you can do.

Change your approach. 

Frustration with people often falls into this category. You cannot control other people but you can influence them. If they are not meeting your expectations it is because of the approach your using. If you change your approach, you will change your results.

Can't get your kids to pick up all their toys? Pleading and yelling not working for you? Try this. Tell them they only have to pick up the toys they want to keep and you'll take care of the rest.

Sometimes frustration can come from things and not people. Computers come to mind here. Again, change your approach. Instead of trying to force the situation, try to understand it. With things, it often comes down to understanding why something is not working. And, once you learn why something is not working, you change your approach to make it work.

Change your approach and you change your outcome.

You may even meet your expectations. 

And, frustration will fade away.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Friday Five featuring Malcolm Gladwell

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “What does it say about a society that it devotes more care and patience to the selection of those who handle its money than of those who handle its children?” 
― Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

2.  Book I am reading -  What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell. I thought I had read the last book by Malcolm Gladwell. I was wrong and I was right.

This book, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, is technically not a book. It is 19 short stories that were originally published when he was a staff writer for The New Yorker. But, it is equally as good as any of his books.

As usual, he makes you think.  He asks questions. What’s the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there tons of varieties of mustard but only one type of ketchup?

Gladwell discusses the difference between mystery and puzzle, and between the two types of serial killers. He keeps readers on their toes with unlikely comparisons and his unique points of view. Another story takes a look at the homelessness problem, and we discover how one homeless man cost his city over one million dollars.

How could a tanker truck be mistaken for a missile? And why can’t doctors agree about what they see on a mammogram. “The Picture Problem” chapter looks at the limitations of technology, as well as the limitations of people who interpret the images produced by such technology. Is higher definition always the best way to go?

In typical Gladwell fashion, he takes a generally accepted concept and turns it on its head. This is as close to art as non-fiction can get.

3.  Song of the Week - Mud Digger by Lenny Cooper featuring Colt Ford.  This is a rap song country style.

4.  Video of the Week - here is a great introduction to Malcolm Gladwell.  He appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Stephen digs deep with Gladwell, prompting the author to share his most closely held beliefs.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Some of us need help waking up. Others have trouble falling asleep. Yet others are bedridden and wish to gently exercise each day. Yoga in Bed for All Ages is the perfect solution.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Secret to Getting Started

We all have dreams. Some people even go after them. Those people should be applauded and admired. Even if they don't succeed. They should be recognized for at least trying. Because, let's be honest, most people don't even try.

Why don't more try?

Fear is the number one reason. Uncertainty about the future can have paralyzing effect on people. And, that fear can show up in many different forms.

It may be a fear of failure. You don't try to avoid the pain associated with failure like the loss of money or time. Or, for many, it is the risk of embarrassment that they did not succeed.

It may be fear of success. If things do work out, the pressure will be on to do even better. The expectations will only go up. And, they should.

Another form of this fear is in the excuses we trick ourselves with. We don't think we have the resources. We don't have the money or the time.  We don't know the right people. 

I’m too skinny, I’m too fat, I’m not in shape. I'm not smart enough, I don't have the education or the training.

Exucusitis comes in all shapes and sizes.  And, there doesn’t seem to be any limit to the excuses we’re willing to create.

We all have some greatness inside us. We all have some potential to be realized.  Those are your dreams. But, for some reason, most people don’t go for it.  

Someone wants to lose the weight, write the book, sing the song, run the marathon or whatever.  And, in their heads, they feel like they can do it.  They truly believe it.

But, they never try.

As is the case much too often, people just never get started.  They just never get going. They don't take that first step. They cannot see where they need to go. They don't know what to do. 

And so, they stand there and do nothing until life comes along and pushes them back into their daily routine. 

And, that dream gets pushed aside. Again.

That dream then becomes the seed of some future regret that will come out as a deathbed whisper of "I wish I had at least tried."

No matter what the endeavor, the key is to get started. 

Just take the first step.

If you don’t know what the first step is you need to consider the question you’re asking.  Many people ask the question, “How am I going to do that?”  That is not necessarily a bad question.  But, the "how" question often invokes analysis. You would use that question when you are trying to figure out how something happened.  In other words, something that has already happened and not something you are trying to get started on.

The how question is also our way of seeing the evidence that something can be done. It becomes the proof that we need to believe something is possible. 

We need to change our thinking about that. We actually have it in reverse. Instead of looking for the how we need to look for the what.  As in, what should I do?

Even better, what should I do right now?

Your job isn’t to know the how, it’s to know the what and to be open to discovering and receiving, the how.

Instead of asking how, you should ask what.  “What am I going to do” invokes action.

What leads you to the first step. What leads to action.

Your answers to "what should I do" are the actions you need to take. They are the steps to get to your goal.

You may not think of the first step first.  But, you will be thinking of the steps that need to be taken and from there you will develop a plan. And, you don't need to know all the steps.

Heed Martin Luther King’s advice, and take the first step in faith.  You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just the first step.

So, how do you start?  Where do you begin? Ironically, you begin with the end.  

What specifically are you trying to accomplish?  Once you identify specifically what you want, you can ask the question, what do I need to do to reach that end?

You want to lose ten pounds?  Then the specific end is that you want to lose ten pounds.  Just ask yourself the question, what do I need to do to lose ten pounds?  Write down your answers.  Make a list.  Ask the question repeatedly and keep writing the answers down.

Now you have a list of action items.  Things that you can do to start getting you closer to your goal. Now you can get started.  You don’t have to organize the list.  You could if you wanted to but be careful that this does not become a delaying tactic.  

Procrastination can be very deceiving.  There are many promising tomorrows that have just turned into empty yesterdays due to procrastination.

And, conditions don't have to be perfect. Some people delay starting because they need to get things set up. Remember Done is Better Than Perfect.

Pick something on the list and go do it.  It may be as simple as tossing the Oreos in the garbage or going to the market and buying fresh vegetables.

Small simple steps can get you started and getting started creates the momentum you need to keep going.

Now start working the list.  Some of the things you will need to do will be new habits you need to establish. If you get stuck go back to the question, "What do I do now?"

Once you get going, keep going. Consistent action is needed to reach big goals.

You want to write a book.  Write every day.

You want to be an awesome singer.  Sing every day.

You want to lose the weight. Diet and exercise everyday.

Once you get started, the path you need to take will start to unfold before your eyes.

What will you do today?


Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Friday Five - 7/28/17

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”  Mark Manson.

2.  Book I am reading - The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson - this is an in-your-face guide to living that has some really great insights.  It is entertaining too.  And, here is your warning, there are a few F bombs.

For decades we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F*ck positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f*cked, and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is - a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mind-set that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed by both academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited - "not everybody can be extraordinary; there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault". Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f*ck about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

3.  Song of the Week - Peace Sells by Megadeth.  Mark Manson discusses Dave Mustaine, the lead in Megadeth, in his book. Great video and a great song.

4.  Video of the Week - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck animated book review. Here is Mark's book reviewed and illustrated in less than 4 minutes. There are lot of reviews out there but this is the best one. 

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - P90X is the best home workout I have ever used. It is a great way to get started. You don't need to go to a gym, or have the fancy workout clothes or even be in shape. Do your best and forget the rest. Follow P90X for the 90 day program and you will see the results you have been looking for. Click here to check it out.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

OMG! I'm A Manager!!

You just got promoted. You worked hard to get here. But, now what do you do?

If you are new to the manager level there a few things you need think about. Once you become responsible for the results of other people, it's a whole new game.

When you move to the next level almost regardless of what you do, you need to change how you go about accomplishment. As a line person, you are focused on tasks. As a manager, you will be focused on your team.

Here are five things to help you succeed as you move to the next level.