Are You Merely Reacting To Life?

I was playing the game of Life the other day. Yes, the good old-fashioned board game Life. I began my journey in my little yellow car and by the end of the game I had lost my job twice (I was a hair stylist, a police officer, and finally an entertainer). I owned a log cabin with a $140,000 mortgage. I did win the Nobel Peace Prize but then my opponent sued me for $100,000. I made some good investments but had to spend most of my money on taxes. Sound familiar?

It made me think about real life. Yes, there are twists and turns along the way and many things are beyond our control but for the most part we have a choice. The great thing about life is that we don’t have to move along dictated by a “spinner” or a roll of dice. We don’t have to choose a career based on a lucky draw of a card. We don’t have to stay stuck where we are. And we don’t have to live constantly reacting to our circumstances. When we live that way it only leads to more and more stress.

Only when you choose to live actively in the face of stress will you ever begin to experience true joy and a sense of calm. Stop reacting to situations and people around you. Plug back into life. Choose to focus on living in the present. It takes practice and it doesn’t happen overnight but once you make that one small step you will begin to experience victory like never before.

And that’s something you can take to the bank.

Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, visit us today at www.executiveexcellence.com.

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Are You Fully Engaged?

A friend told me about a type of bicycle where your feet are actually strapped to the pedals while riding. She told me about the times she fell down and about the bumps and bruises she received from trying to master the pedal straps. After I got done having a panic attack thinking about such a thing I did a little research on my own on why a person would want to experience such a thing.

Interestingly I discovered the following:

1. The pedals allow you to pull up as well as down, increasing the efficiency of your pedaling. This is something that you need to work at to get full effect from, as it is not a natural motion to most people. In Cadel Evans’ (professional road racing cyclist) book “Close to Flying” he discusses a bike he uses for training that has a “freewheel” mechanism for the cranks which forces you to practice lifting the pedals as well as pushing them.

2. It positions the pedal under the ball of the foot giving you better leverage. While you don’t need straps to do this, it does help keep your foot in the right place.

3. It helps to stop your feet coming off in rough ground while mountain biking.

4. It gives you more control over the rear of the bike allowing you to lift and shift the rear more easily. This makes it easier to bunny hop, and helps with controlling the bike on rough ground.

It made me think of the parallel in business and in life. Becoming successful doesn’t typically happen the first time you try. And even if it does it takes lots of practice and bumps and bruises to continue being successful and mastering leadership. Once you commit to increasing your efficiency, positioning yourself correctly, and learning how to maintain more control on the “rough ground” you will begin to be a true leader – not only to others but also to yourself. It takes practice and dedication. It takes falling down and then getting back up again.

Become fully engaged today. You will never know how far you can go until you begin pedaling.

Commit. Fall down. Recommit and then keep going.

Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, visit us today at www.executiveexcellence.com.

To Whom Will You Listen?

Why is it that you can hear 100 times how wonderful, filled with promise, and talented you are yet one negative comment can so easily make you doubt yourself?

When you choose to believe the lie that you are not good enough or will never succeed you only stay stuck. You feel stagnant which, in turn, causes anxiety and stress. Believing the truth requires change and moving out of your comfort zone. Believing a lie is really much easier because you convince yourself that you really must not be able to succeed or that you are not good enough. It validates your every insecurity.

Choose today to whom you will listen. If you want to stay stuck in your life unable to succeed then stop believing the lies – both from outside sources as well as negative self-talk. Believe the truth that you are powerful, filled with potential, and able to succeed. Set into motion your plans, learn and practice new behaviors, be persistent, and you will soon make your dreams become a reality.

Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, visit us today at www.executiveexcellence.com.

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What Is Your Vision?

Years ago my history teacher told our class a phrase which has always stuck with me: Everything rises and falls on leadership.

As the years passed and I observed business, political, and everyday life events, I believe more than ever this statement to be true.

People want to be led. Let me clarify: they do not want to be bossed. No one wants to be bossed. Bossing is selfish, blames, fosters fear, and is a user. A true leader gives, inspires a team atmosphere, asks questions, and values those around them. Effective leadership requires dedication and a willingness to be genuine, vulnerable, and enthusiastic. A leader isn’t just someone “in charge” or in a management position.

Proverbs 29:18 states “Where there is no vision the people perish”. This is true in both life and in business. If you have no direction and no purpose very little will be accomplished. Not only that but not having a vision causes a feeling a powerlessness which leads to stress and feeling defeated day after day.

It is imperative to first be a leader to yourself and then you will be able to lead others. Launch your vision today. Start with something small and attainable like a short walk, finishing a book you’ve been reading, or writing an entry in a journal. Accomplishing simple things are the gateway to accomplishing bigger things.

Success begets success and once you become invested in your vision you will engage and help guide those around you.

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Are You Forgetting or Remembering?

Forget that you may not have had the “perfect” childhood. Forget that you didn’t take all the opportunities that were presented to you. Forget that life perhaps has not turned out the way you had intended. Forget that you wish you would have made different choices.

What you must remember is that there is absolutely nothing you can do to change yesterday. Remember that today is always fresh with no mistakes in it. Remember that you are loved. Remember that you have a choice today. You can choose to stay stuck in your destructive thinking or can choose to be thankful. Remember that you can grow and learn in this moment.

Being forgetful of certain things can be difficult. But taking time to remember the truth is where you will begin to truly thrive.

Are You Properly Weighted?

The pendulum kept stopping on my wall clock. I thought maybe I wound it too tight or didn’t wind it enough or often enough. After reading online about what makes a clock run properly I found that I had to adjust the weight on the pendulum. Being balanced is what makes a clock run and keep perfect time.

We humans also need to be “balanced” in order to run properly. Being balanced is a process and a daily journey – not a one-time event. I had to keep tweaking the weight on my clock in order to get it to keep running.

As we begin this new year we make resolutions and goals, but people often set themselves up for defeat as they have no plan or try to change too many things at once or too quickly. Change and achieving balance take time. Tweak just one part of your life today – give thanks for just ONE thing, determine to say ONE kind word to someone, write down ONE thing you hope to accomplish in 2014. Being balanced is about tweaking just one small thing at a time. We will never be perfect and to constantly strive for perfection is pointless. Strive instead for balance. Strive for a steady “tick-tocking” along in life and you will soon find that success begets success and you find yourself feeling balanced and ready for whatever life may bring your way!

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

What Are You Waiting For?

It’s seems absurd to me when people say they are waiting for something good or successful to happen in their life when they are doing absolutely nothing to help make it happen. I know this because I used to have that mentality. I’m sorry to say that for a time in my life I lived in a way where I hoped someone would just walk up to me and offer me the perfect, successful career and/or life for which I longed.

As I began to study the lives of successful people I soon learned that nothing could be further from the truth. It would be the same as expecting someone to just show up and fill your car tank with gas and change your oil every 3,000 miles – all while you sit back and watch. Truly successful people live each day with purpose. They don’t sit idly as life passes by.

Anything worth having doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning, decisions, and hard work. Even if you’re not exactly sure where you are headed at least do something. Start by working on yourself and practicing ways to be thankful, healthy, and thinking on the right things. You only need to do a little each day and the bigger picture will soon become more clear. Every single great success begins with a mere thought. Think about it and then put action behind it.

Life is too short to just keep waiting. Make your life happen today.

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What Is Your Perception?

Perception is a funny thing. People tend to perceive other people’s lives as blissfully happy, free of problems, and sailing along effortlessly in the sea of life.

What people don’t see is that those who are genuinely happy, peaceful, successful, and filled with love have worked at it each day and made a conscious effort to achieve those things. They don’t see all the times those people were discouraged or ready to give up yet chose instead to persevere, chose to be thankful, and chose to make better choices.

No one is perfect. No one will ever be perfect. Stop comparing yourself to other people and instead choose to hold yourself to a higher standard – even in just one small way each day. Choose to be thankful today. Choose to focus on the present and choose to make decisions that will help you succeed.

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Talk Actually Costs A Lot

I sometimes think the saying should be “talk is easy” instead of “talk is cheap”. It is easy for people to merely SAY anything. Facebook is filled with words stating intentions (diet, resolutions, etc). A new relationship is filled with promises and plenty of words of love and devotion. Starting a new job or venture brings about many lofty words of accomplishments and more promises.

It’s great to have plans and goals but people talk way too much. However, when things don’t work out or go as planned they are suddenly left with nothing but empty words which can often hurt those around them. Be very careful with your words – they can lead to great things or cause great damage.

Talking is the easy part. Back up those words with action and dedication and in the end you will have something that is anything but cheap.

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