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Archive for January, 2010

Sean Stephenson – Living a Life of Vision

January 29th, 2010 No comments

Sean StephensonWe, humans, are amazing creatures.  We can choose how to experience our lives.  Life will happen to us.  Every life has joy and pain.  There are no exceptions to that rule.  It is our belief system, who like the Great Wizard of Oz, sits behind the black curtain  running our individual programs of what choose to see on our life screen.

Every day, we have decisions to make about how we choose to live our lives.  What we decide is driven by our  own individual vision for our lives.  We have opportunities to live our lives small and stay in our own little fiefdoms of influence.  Or, we can choose to live large, beyond the scope of our individual lives and to be a benefit to all man kind.  No one will fault you for your choice.

We don’t get a choice on whether we will experience pain in our lives.  That comes in the package called living.  What we do have a choice of is how we will see that pain.  Will it be something that is a burden to be endured?  Is it possible to see it as a gift?  I know in my own life, the times of greatest pain have become my biggest blessings.  As Sean Stephenson says, “find the purpose to your pain and you will find the drive to go through it to the other side.”

Many of you know Sean Stephenson.  He is an amazing, insightful man.  Many people introduce him as the “3 foot giant”.  He is not only unique in the size of his human body, but in the size of the experiences his vision has chosen for his life.  Because of the vision for his life, he has had the opportunity to mentor with people like Tony Robbins and President Clinton.  He is an author and motivational speaker.  He has written a book called, Get Off Your “But”, which has earned a 5 star rating on Amazon.  He writes an insightful blog called Living at Cause.  He has participated and been voted one of the best speakers at the Engage Today 2009 Event where he shared the stage with the Dalai Lama, Sir Richard Branson, Dr. Stephen Covey to name a few.

I have a 7 minute video from a speech he gave at Purdue University.  He has some great insights into living a life with vision.

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Vishen Lakhiani – How Do I Get into the Flow?

January 27th, 2010 No comments

victoria fallsThere are many ways to build a business life.  Whether you work in your own entrepreneurial business or as an employee in someone else’s business. Some people work hard and the fruits of their labor come with extreme amounts of pressure and stress.  They work long hours.  They have little time to enjoy family, hobbies, and relaxation.  As soon as they stop, due to illness or misfortune, they seem to be swept up by an invisible force that seems to carry them away.  They spiral into more health problems or financial ruin.

A few months back, I was sitting next to a gentleman at a seminar.  The relationships side of my personality took over and I just had to make a new acquaintance.  Hoping to find areas of commonality, I asked him what he did for a living.  He explained that he was a Yoga instructor with his own business in a nearby town.  Being interested in Yoga and knowing that it can be a competitive field for instructors, I asked him how that was working for him.  His response was, “quite well, I have more business than I can handle”.  I asked him how he got his clients and he responded, “they just come to me”.

I have observed businesses that function similar to the first and, also, to the second examples. I have puzzled over it.  How can some folks have an almost effortless experience building their business like the Yoga instructor, and some people always seem to be swimming upstream against a waterfall of adversity.

We would all like to be part of a business that grows, with what seems like effortless ease.  Most people don’t have a problem with the part of the equation that calls for working hard.  That is not where the challenge lies.  It is the mindset, or being in “the flow”.

I have been on a quest to answer the question, how do we get to “the flow”?  I have been making considerable headway on answering that question.  As the quotation says, “when the student is willing the teacher will appear.”  I stumbled into this video from “Engage Today 2009” which was a conference held in September of 2009.  This conference had some heavy hitters, in the success arena, in their line up of speakers.  A 16 CD set will be released on January 28, 2010 with all of these speeches.  Looking at the line up of speakers this should be a great investment.  You can check out the preview videos here.

The 9 minute video I am showing you today, which is just a teaser, is bits and pieces from a speech given by Vishen Lakhiani from Finer Minds.  Even in this preview video he gives some interesting answers to the question about how to get into the flow.  If you enjoy this post please re-tweet.

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7 Tips on Building Strong Friendships

January 25th, 2010 3 comments

little girls holding handsThere are many different types of relationships in the human experience.  Most of us desire closeness with other people.  Our mental, emotional and physical health depends on our abilities to form close and loving relationships.  Many people have as much difficulty cracking the friendship code, as I would understanding any one of Einstein’s equations.

There are many different friendship relationships; mentor/coach, acquaintances, business and circumstantial, and long lasting close connections.  One thing that they all have in common is that they start out superficial, or the “getting to know you stage”.  Some relationships never progress beyond that, and stay in the acquaintance level.  To progress beyond the acquaintance level requires a different set of skills and needs.

In humans, the differences between male and female is very pronounced even as infants.  Female infants tend to look at human faces much more intensely than their male counterparts.  But, how much after that is social conditioning and how much is physiological?  Do adults hug and hold their female children more often than their male offspring?  Do we encourage “female bonding” in their games and activities vs the games males are encouraged to participate in? Those questions are best left to the clinicians who study human behavior.

The argument can be made that women have an easier time forming close personal relationships than men.  Is that true or a convenient excuse?  I seem to be raising more questions than I am answering.  I do know, that if the need or desire is not there for close personal relations, it won’t be accomplished.  Many people don’t feel the need for this until they have suffered a health or emotional crisis.  Putting all the differences aside and making the assumption that this closeness is desired, I would like to present the traits or skill set a person needs to learn to form close personal relationships that last.

1.  Loyalty – this skill is often debated regarding its importance.  I, personally, find this trait to be one of the most important to me.  I call it a skill because it can be learned at any age.  Without loyalty it is difficult to completely relax and let our guard down.  Some friendships are born out of competitive relationships ie; sports, business, etc.  Matters of the heart can’t be drawn into that competition.

2.  The ability to keep confidences.  Our family calls telling confidences to others as “baby mouse syndrome”, named after Sniffles the mouse in the old time cartoon.  The little mouse, Sniffles, followed the other character in the cartoon around telling everything he knows and asking too many questions. In our family, if you get called “Baby Mouse” you spoken a confidence or said too much.  Feelings can be hurt if we say too much about someone else.  It becomes gossip.  No one trusts a gossip.

3.  Honesty – this one can be difficult.  We don’t want to hurt others.  The sign of a true friend is one that will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it.  A loving person is honest.  Many people confuse being honest with a lack of tact.  It is possible to be honest with compassion and empathy.

4.  Compassion – Truly caring about someone else’s life and feelings.  Showing interest and remembering facts that are important in someone else helps lower the other person’s guard. As the old saying goes, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

5.  Common values – It is very difficult to sustain a lasting relationships without this.  It helps us understand one another.  We could meet someone from another culture or place and form a lasting friendship if we have common values.  Sometimes, can look at a friendship and wonder what common values they have.  If you look hard enough, you will find them.

6.  Empathy – Caring and understanding – no matter what.  This means suspending judgement on them.  Listening to what they have to say.  Leaving those hurtful words, “I told you so”, out of the conversation.  Those words only serve to hurt the other.  If it is important for you to be recognized as the  superior intellect in the relationship, you might want to question your motives.

7.  Share the good times and the bad.  A relationship that is one sided where only the bad things are shared becomes burdensome for the person being dumped on.  Do you want a friend or a counselor?  If your life seems to be one big bite off the pooh-pooh sandwich and that is all you have to share with your friend, I suggest you get a counselor.  They can point you in the right direction.  They are paid to listen to you and to teach you coping skills.  We all have times where our life seems to be falling apart.  That is understandable.  But, if all you know how to share is the crap, why would anyone want to be your friend?  Those are the times we need to see the good things.  Sometimes, being a friend to someone is pointing out the good things even when they aren’t in the mood to hear them.  When the shoulder to cry on becomes the thing you have in common and that is all you hear, it could be time for honesty.

In our lives we will have different friends for different moments.  When we don’t have those things in common, such as a job or an association we lose track of them. What we can strive for is long lasting friendships that it doesn’t matter how long it has been since you have seen them, you can pick up where you left off.  The closeness of heart is always there.

Related articles:

How to Cultivate Closeness

Forming Friendships

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Dr. Gary Chapman: Love as a Way of Life Part 2

January 22nd, 2010 No comments

Dr. Gary ChapmanYesterday, after I had finished my work day, I sat down to relax.  I was catching up on a bit of news.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron, relaxing and news.  I like to stay informed on current issues, without getting sucked into over focusing.  I was watching the reports on Haiti.  It breaks my heart to see their pain and suffering.

It got me to thinking about the rescue workers and doctors that are willing to risk their life to help others.  They are in peril of being buried alive, themselves, by aftershocks along with other dangers. Why would anyone put themselves in so much danger for people they don’t know?  It brought me back to a quote from Dr. Gary Chapman, “At the end of the journey the most satisfied people in the world are people who gave their lives away to serve others.”

Dr. Chapman talks about this very thing in his 6Th point about generosity.  A loving person is willing to give money, time, and their abilities to help other people.  We are seeing people like that in these rescue workers and doctors.  They are willing to run into a collapsed building, not concerned with their own safety, to rescue strangers who desperately need them.  As Albert Schweitzer said after he had received his Nobel Peace Prize, “One thing I know.  The only ones among you that will be truly happy are those that have sought and found how to serve.”

Love is an amazing thing.  It is the most powerful emotion ever given to mankind from our creator.  It is the great healer.  We, as human beings, can not be happy without it in our lives.  Our deepest satisfactions in life come from our relationships with others.

In our world today, does love stand a chance?  I think by watching this tragedy in Haiti we could all agree that love is our only chance.  Today’s video is part 2 of “Love as a Way of Life“.  His talk today is a little over 9 minutes of pure wisdom.  By the end of the video I hope you will know why we need love in our lives and in our world.  It is the cure for what ails us.

If you found this valuable pass it on to your network of family, friends and associates.

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Gary Chapman: Love as a Way of Life Part 1

January 21st, 2010 No comments

loveAs I travel through life, I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know scores of people.  One of the things I have come to believe is that our relationships with other people enrich our lives.  I have known people from every walk of life and every religion.  One thing we all have in common is our need to feel and give love.  We live, and we would die, for those we love.

Each one of us has a need for connections with others.  Some of us are better at making those connections.  Most of the people that I have encountered who seem to have an easy, almost effortless, connection with others have something in common.  They love people.  Not only do they love people, they are loving people.

I am blessed to be married to one of those people.  I can’t express to you how much I have learned from him.  I have watched him interact with people and he treats them with love and care.

I grew up in a home where there was such a disconnection from others. Anger was always present in our home.  Hurt feelings and misunderstands ran deep. My parents always fought loudly.  Broken dishes and angry words seemed to prevail in their marriage.  I grew up wondering how long they could possible stay together.  I always expected them to eventually divorce.  Believe it or not, they are still together after 64 years!  They still don’t get along, but I have come to understand, that is their dance.  They are comfortable with it.

What makes a loving person?  As Gary Chapman would say, “Love is a cluster of traits.”  I believe that is true.  I came across this 2 part video from a speech that Gary Chapman gave about his book, Love as a Way of Life.”  In these 2 videos, he talks about the 7 characteristics of a loving person.

Why should we want to be more loving people?  What would be the point of understanding and incorporating these 7 points into our lives?  In essence, why be a lover?

If we could understand more about how to be a loving person, could we use that to create better relationships?  If we enjoyed better relationships, would we be happier people?  If we understood people, had better connections in our relationships, could we create a better world?  These are questions only you can answer.  As Gary says in these videos, “You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.

The first video for today is a little over 7 minutes long. It covers the first 3 traits.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Feel free to pass it on!

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3 Discoveries: Overcoming Frustration & Depression in a Busy Life

January 20th, 2010 1 comment

ship in the stormIn the past few weeks, I have been lost in a whirlwind of activities. Very important activities, yet the feelings of frustration, depression (anger turned inward), along with other negative emotions have haunted me.  But first, let’s back up a bit.

I see myself as a very responsible and goal oriented person.  As long as I can clarify what I want and set goals for myself, I can move forward with intensity and purpose.  If I can’t do those two things I feel lost at sea without my compass.

In December of every year, I like to look back at the waning year and evaluate my progress.  Looking back on 2009, I felt I had some triumphs.  I, also, had things that didn’t move as fast as I wanted.  This evaluation process helps me set my sites and my goals for the new year.  I have several projects in the works that need my attention.  My goals are set and my compass is locked on.  Then my world turns upside down.

This past December, I took some time off to spend it with my family.  My oldest son, who is in the Marine Corp, hasn’t been home for many holidays since he went into the Corp 6 years ago.  This year, he was home!  This Christmas season was one of the best I have ever had.  I relaxed and told myself that January 1st I would hit the ground running.  Goals were in place, focus was locked on, and I was positioned for a smooth January lift off!

One of the things that I have found, out of necessity, is that I am good at coordinating the care for my 88 year old father, my 83 year old mother, and my 80 year old mother-in-law.  I jokingly refer to myself as their personal concierge.  I take them to their doctors’ appointments, I listen to the doctors and I coordinate with their caregivers,etc.  It is my labor of love and my gift to those that have given me so much.  What I didn’t count on was that they would all fall apart at the same time.  Each having their own particular physical meltdown.  Every week day in January has been spent “doctoring” and all the other things involved.  I am a well known face at the Cardiologist’s office.  My father has been hospitalized for an extended period of time, leaving my Mother alone.  I have been busy, preoccupied and suffering from a mad case of writer’s block.  Yikes!  My anticipated January progress on my goals began sinking fast!

I am an action/relationships person.  For those of you that have read the blog posts on personality traits will understand that statement.  My relationships part of my personality was in a dual to the death with the action part of me.  Internal conflict can set up a cascade of negative emotions.  I am not telling you this for sympathy, but to give you a background for the realizations I have discovered.

Discovery #1:  I don’t have to be superwoman.  The planet will not stop revolving if I don’t hit my January goals.  There is a reason for my feelings.  I need to stop and look at why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling.  It is time to step back and be the observer instead of being so emotionally involved.  Important to do, but difficult.

Discovery #2:  What paradigms and beliefs do I hold that are struggling to be noticed?  My feelings of being overwelmed need to be acknowledged.  It is easy to feel overwelmed when in the caregiver role.  It can feel like so much is being given over and over and over again.  The energy for this caregiver role seems to come straight from my heart.  It can feel as though nothing is coming back to recharge me.  The guilt for those feelings can be heavy and smothering.  Do I need to be in control of everything?  My support system is very important to me.  I don’t have to do it all.  It is ok to let my other family members carry some of the weight.  It is ok to ask for help.

Discovery #3:  I have to stop pushing and punishing myself.  It’s ok to stop and recharge without feeling guilt.  I should strive to appreciate the times that I can carve out for myself.  Take the time to do the things that recharge me; mediate, read, laugh with my family and friends.  If I go down with the guilt ship, I will sink into the sea of ill health myself.

I love this quote from Mark Twain which helps to center me: “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.”

I don’t claim to be an expert in this particular situation.  I am a human being experiencing life and learning what works for me.  If you have some tips for me, leave me a comment.  I discovered this wonderful article that gave me a few “Ah, hah” moments.  If you enjoy their work click over to this page to get their 3 free books.

Will Smith – The Wisdom Behind His Success

January 15th, 2010 1 comment

will smith #2I love studying successful people like Will Smith.  Studying people that have risen to great heights in their field of endeavor is motivational and inspirational.  That, alone, has great worth.  What is of greater worth, is by studying great people who have done amazing things, it is possible to uncover the pattern or “blue print” for success. By discovering that blue print we can figure out how to replicate it for our own success and achievements.

I believe that when we have the goal and the desire to make a difference in this world, we will be shown the path to make that happen.  The problem is not in finding the path, the problem is how we approach that trail to our desires.

In this video, Will Smith points out that we are always looking for the complex when really it is easy.  Sometimes, I wonder, if we make things difficult because we have the need to feel we deserve it, or do we just overlook the simplicity?

I have always been a fan of Will Smith.  I enjoy his work.  He is a master craftsman in his field of endeavor.  He has worked very hard to establish himself in a very competitive field.  When I saw this video, it all fell into place.  So many times we focus on those in Hollywood that have achieved success and then let it slip through their fingers because of a deadly flaw in their personality that made it possible for things such as drugs to take over and crush their success.  Those highly publicized bodies are strewn along the path of Hollywood successes and it colors our perception.

Will Smith is a thoughtful and determined man.  He has studied success for years.  He has found “the flow” of making it happen.  When someone finds “the flow”, and has the work ethic to make it happen, their endeavors can seem effortless.  The extraordinary thing that sets Will apart from others is his passion for sharing his knowledge of success.

There are many pearls of wisdom in this 10 minute video.  I have watched it several times. I took notes and most of all I enjoyed it. If you will do the same, I believe you will discover the “blueprint”. If you enjoy it, leave me a comment and pass it on.

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