Eliminate Confusion -Set Goals

Hopefully, you have a list or at least one goal that you are trying to attain.

That goal should be specific, measurable and have a deadline.

Do you know why?

Having a written goal with all the details above eliminates confusion and makes your life easier when decisions have to be made.

Don’t you want an easier life?

How Not to Set Goals

Goal: Lose 10lbs.

Situation: Sally starved herself and lived on shakes until she lost 10lbs. The day after she confirmed that she lost 10lbs she ate an entire pizza to celebrate. In a matter of weeks, Sally gained all the weight back.

Reality: Sally achieved her goal! She wanted to lose 10lbs, and she did. Once that was accomplished she was free to go back to whatever weight she was or even more.

How To Set Strong Goals

Goal: Lose 10lb of unnecessary fat by doing fun and different exercises, eating healthy foods that I love, and enjoying the entire process. I will lose 10lbs or better by May 10th and keep the weight off for no less than 10 years. Losing the weight will mean I will have 50% more energy, sleep better than I am, have better sex, and be able to spend quality time with my children while showing them that living a healthy life is fun and easy to do.

Why the Goal: Not losing the weight means that I will be slow and sluggish, my children will copy my eating habits and will be unhealthy, unhappy, and struggle with self-esteem and their weight. It will mean I won’t be intimate with my husband because I will be self-conscious about my body, I will be depressed and unhappy every time I dress or undress, and I will die young and not spend my golden years with my family.

Goals can be written in any way you’d like. Put details into it. Put emotions into it. Make sure the benefits of long-term and short-term pain and pleasure are written out. You want a strong WHY for what you are doing. When days are hard, your goal written in this way is meant to push you past the pain and the fear into a better-envisioned future.

This is how a strongly written goal works to make life simpler.

Based on the above goal, Sally goes to a party. Her favorite food is there and everyone is eating it and moaning in pleasure.

Sally recalls her goals. Will eating this food take her to her goal that she wants or will it lead her to the negative consequences. Given the negative consequences are strong (they affect her children and their future as well as her own), she can resist the food by associating the negative consequences with the consumption of the food! Eating it would no longer provider her pleasure, eating it would recall all the potential pain in her future!

Review your current goals. Are they compelling? If you had a hard choice to make, would your current goals lead you in the direction you want?

If your current goals are not compelling with pleasure and pain, I suggest rewriting them now!

Mindset ready! Go!

What Exactly Is Holding You Back?

What exactly is holding you back from pursuing your goals?

Or from doing the daily actions that will get you where you want to go?

It isn’t what you think.

How do I know? Because we, people in general, lie to ourselves all the time. We are really very good at it. We don’t even know we are doing it.

Before we go much further, I need you to accept this truth: Your mind wants you to be right. If you say you are unlucky, your mind is going to show you all the many ways you are unlucky. Whatever you believe, you are guaranteed to find evidence to support it. Anything that doesn’t, you’ll either ignore it or dismiss it with some excuse.

Got it?

psychopath_knife_female_500_wht_18210

We have a set standard for excuses:

No money/not enough money/too costly/can’t afford it

No time/too busy

Timing is wrong/later would be better/just not right now

I can do it on my own/I don’t need help/I’ve got this

Sound familiar? Yeah, we’ve all used those.

How do you separate the things that aren’t truly right for you to do and those opportunities that are exactly what you need, but fear is keeping you from moving forward?

Here is a set of question to help you navigate through –

Would you do it if money wasn’t an issue? If your response is anything but yes or no – meaning just the thought of having the money to do it sends you into a tailspin of making excuses – then you know it isn’t about the money.

How much time would it take to do this? Specifically. How much time a month, week, day? What are you doing that isn’t productive (think TV) that you would be able to stop in order to get this done.

When would be the right time? If the only answer you have is later – it is an excuse. If you have a specific time – after the kids are grown, after the holidays, etc., get out your calendar and write it down that on this day specifically, after the event is past, you’ll start.

Sub-question: If you missed this opportunity because you decided to delay, would you future be richer or poorer? If you think, it won’t matter – ask yourself why it wouldn’t matter?

If you are bootstrapping – doing it all on your own, refusing help, insistent that you can do it on your own, are you making measurable progress? Are you where you thought you’d be by now? If you could accelerate your results 2x, would that make an impact in your life?

(and if you answer it is the money, go back to the first question!)

Hope this helps you decide whether you are delaying for ‘real’ reasons or for other reasons.

 

You Have to Be Different

You are going to have to change.

Transform.

Convert.

Turn.

There is no way of getting around it. It will happen.

It has to happen.

If you want your goal. If your dream and your desire are strong, there is no way you can walk through the fire of everything that you need to do and not BE someone else.

And that is scary as hell. I totally get it.

I’m right there with you.

Terrified. Trying not to cling to the familiar, the safe alternative, the life you know, the routine that has been established.

The goal that you are pursuing, the dream that infects your every waking hour means you have to confront your fears.

Embrace the unknown.

Embrace the discomfort.

Embrace the fear – all the fear!

And trust that on the other side is the life you want now.

But you only get it when you shed the skin of your old life and being.

It is the only way.

As scary as it is.

But it is yours once you welcome the upcoming change.

 

 

Do You Think About The Other Side of It?

When you are going through the worse days, when everything seems to be collapsing around you, when each moment is a struggle to survive, where is your attention?

Obviously, you are focused on survival.

Cleaning up the mess.

Picking up and putting the pieces together.

Keeping yourself together.

Keeping the family, business, friends, together and sane.

But in the midst of all this, you need to put some attention on one more thing.

The future.

The idea that at some point this entire mess will be over, done, history, and that one day you will be sitting under that shade tree or in the sun, sighing in satisfaction and happiness, is essential.

Because it is the hope for the future, the knowledge that you WILL get through this that will help you endure and push through the mess you are going through. 

And if you can’t keep in your mind the calm after the storm, you fall into despair.

People who have achieved great things in this world focused on the brighter future. 

Those that rise from poverty and abuse, those that overcome disabilities and tragedies, they know that the future will be brighter and that this hell is only temporary. They will do what needs to be and endure because it is temporary.

I want that for you.

So when it seems too dark, know that the dawn is coming. Night does not last forever. It cannot. And hard times will be pushed back by good times.

You and will endure. You must.

 

Do You Know You’re Awesome?

Yes, being humble has its place.  But let me also remind you; don’t hide your light under a bushel.

I don’t know about men, but I know most women have been taught to be modest, humble, to deflect praise, or to minimize or even outright deny compliments.

“Oh, it wasn’t a big deal. Yes, I raised three children, worked 40 hour work weeks and raise $1.1 million for a charity all the while training for a triathlon, but it isn’t a big deal.”

Sound familiar? 

I’m going to ask you to stop it. At least for a little while. Because the things that you do and do well, are important.

And it is not “nothing”.

I teach a beginner’s firearm course for women called Girlfriend Gun Party. I’m always looking for attendees for these classes, and I have to convince women why they need this class and how important it is.

One of the things I say is, “You get a lot of great information about firearms and firearm safety, plus I’m funny as hell.”

I say it with a straight face and earnest. And every time I say it, the woman laughs.

I’m being truthful. I have lots of great stories, and I work on the jokes and the delivery. I get laughs (which I love).  It makes the women comfortable, and it is easier to learn.

Two years ago, I would never have complimented myself. I would never have told people that I was funny. Or a good shooter, or a great speaker, or an excellent trainer.

It felt wrong to do that. 

Who was I to have confidence in myself? Pride goes before a fall and all that.

But what is wrong with knowing what you are good at, especially if you work hard to be good at it?

Who wins when you downplay your excellence?figure_5_of_5_stars_800_wht_18779 

I know some of you balked at the word excellence. Exchange if for talent, skill, importance, beauty, etc.

For the next hour I give you permission, no, I demand, you list out all the things that you do well. Whether it is making pancakes, soothing a baby, dancing, meditating, or making people happy, write it down.

Next to each item, write down, on a scale from 1-10, how happy you are when you are doing these things.

Those things that are 8+, those things you need to do more of.

I don’t care if it doesn’t earn you money. I don’t care if you don’t think it is important, or that your family doesn’t really like it.

Do more of it.

You are awesome, and it is time that you proudly own up to that!

What are Your Rules?

We all have rules. I’m not talking about rules for games, for driving, for ordering food, for things that are already structured. Those are rules GIVEN to us by a government, job, or establishment.

I’m talking about your own personal set of rules. The ones you don’t even remember creating, but the ones you live your entire life by.

And rules are great. I’m not knocking them! But like most things I blog about, you need to KNOW you HAVE rules before you can truly understand your actions.

Here is how rules play out:

You meet someone you might be interested in dating. How do you know you might be interested? You start to catalog all the rules you have in your head about what makes someone worth dating or starting a relationship with.

  • Are they outwardly attractive? Check.
  • Are they taller than me? Check.
  • Does their appearance suggest they bath regularly, brush their teeth, and are healthy? Check.
  • Are they employed? Do they seem educated? Are they nice to people in the service industry? Do they like animals? Do they swear? Are they of the same or compatible religion?

And on and on it goes.

That person you know that keeps getting into those AWFUL relationships, who should freaking know better by now, that person has a weak set of rules. Their checklist is either way too small or filled with insignificant or superficial things.

Want to stop dating losers? Develop a checklist with more and better questions.

Tired of being alone? Maybe your checklist is too stringent.

This is great, but if you aren’t in the dating and mating game, why care?

woman_checks_it_off_her_list_500_clr_12483Because you have a checklist for your life.

  • Rules to tell if you are in fact healthy.
  • Rules to see if you are making ‘enough money’.
  • Rules for arguing.
  • Rules for living your life.
  • Rules for telling if someone is a good person.
  • Rules for whether you are a good parent.
  • Rules for whether your kids are good kids.

If you are unhappy, if you are not where you want to be or simply want more/different, then check out your rules.

They may need an upgrade.

Or a downgrade.

 

 

You’re in the Wrong Headspace

You can have the BEST goals.

You can have ALL the tools.

The most amazing support system available.

But if your head, if your mindset is not where it needs to be, it won’t matter.

You’ll find yourself taking two steps forward and one step back.

Over and over again, until you are so frustrated, you just give up your dreams.

But you know this already. Because you’ve done it before.

Or maybe you were on the sidelines and saw someone who had all the ingredients for massive success, and they failed, big time.

They had the talent. They had people cheering them on, willing to sacrifice so that person could succeed. The time was right for them to shine. Maybe they showed up, but they weren’t really there.

The came in late or unprepared.

They were rude to the people they needed to impress.

They ‘forgot’ appointments.

They were making progress and then they ate an entire cheesecake and decide to justify it as a ‘cheat day’ or that it wasn’t a big deal.

They decided to take up a drug or drinking habit.

And you were left scratching your head and wondering why they (or maybe you), were doing this.

Mindset.

Whether you believed you could or couldn’t achieve that goal, whether you should or should not achieve that goal, or what you thought was on the other side of that goal all impact the progress you are making.

Until you get that part right, not much is going to happen. You’ll have some success, but you’ll sabotage it as soon as you can. You’ll downplay how awesome it is. You’ll change your goals just as you are making progress. You’ll blame others.

Are you ready to stop it?

 

What Are You Getting Out of It?

Just to be clear, I suffer from this too. I’m working every day to improve my motivation and my drive and here are some of my discoveries. 

Facebook scrolling for hours.

YouTube watching for hours.

Mindlessly watching the t.v. for hours.

Sleeping way longer than you really need to.

Playing games on your phone or on a console.

And I’m going to include recreational drug use on this list too.

What are you getting out of these activities? Don’t be fooled, you are getting something out of it, otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing it. But what you are getting out of it more than what you think.

It is not the entertainment that you get from these things. Certainly, for the social media/tv you start out at entertainment, but 3 or 7 hours later, it has gone beyond that. Sleeping and drugs give a clue to what you are doing – you are escaping your reality.

To make everything just that much more complex, you are getting a ‘reward’ every time you play a game and get a point, every *ping* on your phone that signals another message, every conclusion to a program, gives you a sense of pleasure.

At our heart, we are a bunch of pleasure-seeking impulsive creatures.  We move towards pleasure and away from pain.

But sometimes we get it twisted. The pain of doing something for the first time, or being uncertain feels greater than the pleasure we get from doing nothing for hours on end.

There are number of avoidance techniques, from telling ourselves stories (we’ll get to it later), we minimize the importance (it isn’t that big of a deal if I don’t do it), to outright lying to ourselves (I know that I’ll just screw it up so why bother?), we employ to get out of doing what we need to be doing.

What is your technique for getting out of it?

 

 

 

Words Have Power – Be Thoughtful

We know that words have power.

Can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, can we?

Certainly, you should refrain from calling people names.

We all know this, and yet we are still so very careless with our language.

We use words like “never” “always” “Everything” “can’t” “shouldn’t” without thinking.

“I never get what I want” is a lie. You have received what you needed before; you are alive, correct? So the needs of water, food, air, even basic shelter were received. You probably receive every day, and yet you don’t acknowledge or notice it because you’ve already convinced yourself you just don’t get.

I’m always amused when people say, “I never got any help.”  Yes, yes you did! Someone took care of you after you were born. You received at least minimal care. Someone taught you to speak, walk, read, write. Took care of you when you were sick. Someone processed paperwork on your behalf. Someone referred people to you or gave you a reference. You got plenty of help. You did nothing alone!

Words have power. They are powerful.

Mind what you say every day. You may need to change your words.

figures_jumbled_v_concise_thinking_800_wht_19439

“Everything is so difficult” is disempowering. It does not help you on your journey.

“Every day, things get easier.”

Read those two statements out loud. How do you feel when you read them? Did anything shift inside you?

What if every day you chose to believe that things were good and geting better? That you had control over your world and how you felt?

Would that be empowering?

You Are Out of Time

Today leads tomorrow, that leads to the next day, that flows into a week, into a month, into a year, into a decade, into a lifetime. We know this right?

Depending on where on the age spectrum you are, you may go from nodding your head to rolling your eyes and exclaiming how quickly time goes.

I’m in the latter category.

Wasn’t it just 2005?

How could it be Spring already?

Why is time speeding by?

I saw this quote the other day and I stopped. I was terrified.

three equal  persons  hiding his face with a cloud, conceptual image

How would you act if you knew you only had another 10 years?

What would you give up? What would you do differently?

Sit down and be uncomfortable with this thought for a while.  What are you putting up with that would intolerable if you knew, 100% certain that it your life would be over soon?

What are you missing out on?

What are you wishing you did, said, went?

Now, what is your action plan?

You Need Some Support

Who is on your team?

I know it seems that your goals are your own and you can do it alone, and maybe you can, but why?

People love you and want to help you succeed.

Let them.

I’ve written about this before, but because it is so important (and let’s face it, you probably didn’t listen to me), I’m writing about it again.

stick_figures_team_puzzle_800_clr_7003

You need to assemble a Super-Team. They are your support system for achieving everything.  Now everyone will have slightly different requirements, but I think everyone needs the following:

The Comforter – this is the person you call when things have gone from sugar to sh*!. They will tell you everything is okay, that you will be alright, and that it isn’t as bad as it seems. Mostly, they give you the hug and cookie on a bad day.

The Tough Lover – this person is going to tell you the hard, unvarnished truth. It might hurt your feelings, but they do this out of love. They are unflinchingly truthful. Go to this person when you need your butt kicked, when you know you’ve been lazy, and need someone to call you on your antics.

The Business/Goal Adviser – this person is the one with the business information you need or is the one who has accomplished your goal. Perhaps this person is your idol or ideal. They can help you navigate when things get tricky in the pursuit of your goal.

The Break Friend – this is a great person to have in your group. They are the ones who will tell you are taking everything too seriously and will get you to take an hour off for lunch, a movie, or even a weekend get away. Be cautious! Too much time with this person can mean less focus on your goals and too much time playing. Time away is important, but moderation is the key.

The Coach – This is usually the paid person in your group. People shy away from the expense, but let’s be real, when you spend money you are generally serious. You’ll listen to their advice because you paid for it! The Coach will make you think and help you see things from a different direction.

Accountabl-a-buddy – This can be done by The Coach or not. This is the person who you tell that you will do something and then actually do it. I have a yoga buddy. Every day, she and I send a Facebook message stating we did yoga and how much.

Accountability doesn’t always seem sexy or necessary, but for most, knowing that someone is going to say/write, “Did you x today?” is powerful.

One word of caution when selecting an Accountability partner, make sure they are as committed to their goals as you are to yours. If you don’t hear from them daily (or whatever your schedule is), if they don’t ask you if you’ve done your activity, they won’t be effective in keeping you on track.

Who can you add to your team?

 

Big, Medium, Small & Tiny Goals

I want another word for goals.

When we talk goals, inevitably we talk about significant things, life-changing things, big things.  If what we want isn’t “big enough” we don’t call it a goal.

And if we don’t call it a goal, then all the resources, attention, and desire seems to get washed away.

What if you want to downsize and get rid of unwanted and unused items? Is that a goal or does it get regulated down to the “Things to Do” list?

If it is a goal, you have strategies in place. You know to visualize, to put time on your schedule, to ask yourself why this is important and what you will get out of it (thus motivating yourself), you think about possible obstacles and how you can overcome them, and line up your resources.

That stuff doesn’t happen if it is just a ‘to-do’ item.

character_with_custom_clipboard_17708So let’s have some fun and re-define or at least get clear on types of goals out there.

You probably have (or should have) a variety of goals –

Major Goals: These are goals so big they change the entire landscape of your life. Getting married or divorce, moving to another state or country, having a child, starting a new career or get your degree.

Big Things: Those that take 1+ years to accomplish and are, well, big. Things like earn a million dollars or lose 50lbs+ or go back to school.

Milestone: A significant step towards achieving your Big or Major goal.  Losing the first 10 lbs or completing the first class towards your degree. Even the first week or month without a cigarette.

Action Items: These are goals that you can accomplish in one-step or one action. They are important, so don’t discount that they are done quickly as something that isn’t worth your time or your resources. Action goals can be buying something that you need but have been putting off, especially if it has to do with a Big Goal or Major Goal, or cleaning out your closet, or even self-care items like getting your hair done or getting a massage.

Mini-Items: These are almost insignificant things that need to be done but you have been putting off. These are not honey-dos or to-dos, they are associated in some way with your other goals.  Cleaning your house would not be considered a mini-goal unless this is the first step towards getting your house ready so you can sell it.

 

 

Do you REALLY want it?

Commitment (insert some old school joke here).

How committed to success are you?

It is easy to say you want something. You may tell people, conversationally, how you want to be:

  • Thinner
  • Healthier
  • Wealthier
  • More community minded
  • More devout

But do you really?

Here is a test to see if you are really committed to your goal. Did you work on it today? How about yesterday?

Did you write it down in your fancy planner or a slip of paper? Did you tell a friend, co-worker or family member that you couldn’t do something because you were going to work on your goal?

Did you actually do more than that?

I’m not judging! Truly! I’m sitting here looking at my notebook and transferring two activities that will get me closer to my goal. Yep, transferring them from my notes yesterday because I didn’t work on them.

I looked at it. Thought about it. Didn’t do it.

You’ve done that, right? 

changing_the_clock_400_clr_11186

You felt the frustration and anger at yourself for not just doing it! It might not even be that big of an activity.  It may seem minor, might not even take time, but still, it sits there.

Mocking you. Reminding you that you didn’t do it. That it still needs to be done. That nothing will change until you do it.

Here is your challenge. And just to be clear, I’m going to do this too. Think of it as an experiment. I want to hear on tomorrow’s blog if you did it and if it worked for you.

Set up a timer and I want you to visualize yourself starting this task. Put a lot of energy and emotion into. Positive stuff only! Let yourself feel how happy you are at doing this. How relieved you feel by taking action. How proud of yourself doing it. How much easier it is than you thought it would be.

Then think about being in the middle of the activity. Things are going great! Everything is way better than you thought.

Now, I want you to feel all the happiness and sense of accomplishment at finishing it. Yes, it might be a small piece of a much larger goal, but I want you to celebrate it! Let yourself feel all the positive emotion.

Open your eyes, breath in and out deeply, and start to work on your goal.

I’ll update you tomorrow!

Step 1

I’m patting myself on my back. Day 2 and I’ve actually sat down and started to write.

What is a journey to discovery without some progress? Standing still in the exact place you were before.

Which I have been doing.

Which I don’t want to do anymore.

Which is the whole point of this blog.

I know you’ve been there before. Chances are you are reading this because this is where you are now and like me, you are looking for answers.

We want there to be a magic button. A 100% fool-proof method that would turn your hopes and dreams into actual achievements.

And like me, you’ve probably made some half-hearted attempts. Watched the motivational videos of Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, and read the blogs of Kat Loterzo (my personal favorite kick-butt woman and one of the reasons I’m doing this) or Barbara Cochran (real estate and Shark Tank panelist) and it feels like it is just in reach.

But either you don’t reach or your arms aren’t long enough.

They seem so far ahead of you. They seem to know something you don’t know. Have some magical power that you are lacking.

So you stop. Or you start and falter. But this time is going to be different. For both of us.

How? I’m figuring that out right now. I’ll push you and you’ll push me. Eventually, we’ll get somewhere or figure out why we aren’t.

Let’s do this. Step 2 is going to have some homework so check back in. Business woman celebrates successful deal at office. Business People

Here is some semi-inspiring stock photo (I paid for it thank you very much) of how fabulous and happy you’ll be for checking back in for the next blog.

success and failure graphic

I’m Not Scared…You’re Scared

Fear plays an enormous role in our lives. It dictates what we do, what we avoid, and ultimately how happy we are.

Those that avoid being scared are generally the ones with the least amount of success. Success is not measured in dollars, but by a life well-lived. Opportunities, friends, family, living conditions, and more. Those that are scared or fearful avoid the very things that can bring them joy.

What are you afraid of?

When working with entrepreneurs, they list fear as the number one reason why they don’t even attempt to do more. This is the curious thing when asked, what are they afraid of, most people will just shrug or rattle off something half-heartedly.

They don’t know what they are scared of. The specter of fear is so broad and cast such a big shadow, most people only have a feeling and no concrete reason.

I did a quiz a while back from Ruth Soukup titled “The Do It Scared Fear Assessment,” which has a free and paid component. I’m not an affiliate, and I get nothing by mentioning either Ruth Soukup or the fear assessment.

Fear is not the same for everyone, and I think that it is crucial to understand the reason you are afraid so you can take specific and personal steps to overcome it.

For example, my fear archetypes, as defined by the fear assessment, is “Self Doubter,” followed by “People Pleaser.”  Each of the archetypes is followed by things specific to that archetype to overcome it.

Fear is a part of life. Learning to overcome it will lead to great success.

Mindset ready? Go!

 

How Negativity Can Move You Forward

Ever set a goal and didn’t achieve it? Were you not motivated enough? Most people think about motivation in the positive – if I do X, I’ll get Y, but there is another factor, equally important as the benefits of achieving a goal, that is the price of failure

Yes, I used the scary f-word. Most of us avoid thinking in detail about failure when it comes to our goals. We think about the fuzzy big picture failure – “I’ll be a loser,” or we minimize what failure means: “it isn’t a big deal if I don’t do/get it.” 

For every goal a person creates, there need to be two motivating factors; the benefit of action (what you get) and the price of failure (what happens if you fail to act or achieve).

For example, the goal is to exercise each day and lose 30 pounds. The benefit of action (exercising) is better health, decrease the risk of heart disease, improved sex life, and feeling more energized.

The price of inaction is a decrease in health, a higher risk of heart disease and obesity, feeling sluggish, and more unmotivated every day.

Not everyone needs a price of inaction. Some people can create a goal and see all the positives and have that inspire them to take action. But some people need to understand the consequences of failure.

It is the idea of a carrot and a stick. Yes, achieving the desired goal is essential, but also moving away from what isn’t wanted is equally necessary.

Journal

To help identify more motivating factors to goal achievement, let’s discover the prices of inaction for each set goal.

  1. What prices will be paid or is being paid if you fail to achieve your target? What negative experience will it force you to endure?
  2. What prices will be paid in the areas of emotional or spiritual health if you put off or fail to achieve your target?
  3. What prices will be paid in the areas of relationships if you put off or fail to achieve your target?
  4. What prices will be paid in the areas of standard of living, savings, retirement, and contribution if you fail to achieve your target?

These reasons need to be as fleshed out as much as possible. Writing, “I won’t have money to pay the rent” while accurate, isn’t very motivating.

“I won’t have the money to pay the rent, so I’ll have to humiliate myself by asking my parents for money again or get kicked out and live in my car” is a much more accurate and compelling statement.

I’m not suggesting dwelling in the negative, but if the positive aspects of setting goals are not moving you forward at all or quick enough, add the price of inaction.

Take a moment and reflect on y our goal. What is the price of inaction?

Mindset ready? Go!

How Flexible Are You?

This blog is not about being physically flexible but about mentally flexibility.

Mental flexibility is the ability to shift in thoughts or actions according to the changing demands of a situation.

Humans are creatures of habit. Our brain is always looking for ways to create shortcuts around repeated activities. Do something a few dozen times or less, and your brain creates a shorthand for it, freeing your conscious mind from thinking about the actions and allowing your body to do what is needed.

For example, ever drive a car somewhere, arrive, and have no memory of the drive? When you woke up this morning, did you have to think of each step before getting out of bed, or did you automatically start the morning routine?

These brain shortcuts are great for repetitive actions, but it can be disastrous when applied to situations where flexibility is essential.

We want to be right. We want to be right in our opinions, we want to be right in the decisions we make, and we want to assure ourselves that we are living as best we can.

When information presents itself that is contrary to that, even slightly, most people double down on their stance. Even when presented with hard evidence that goes directly against a person’s belief. Mental flexibility is about putting aside your assumptions and feelings, and listen with the intent to understand. 

Mental flexibility is NOT necessarily about changing your mind. This is about considering another point of view. This consideration may help change a person’s mind, or it may solidify their beliefs, but either way, it is about being open-minded and flexible enough to ‘seek to understand.’

Mindset ready? Go!

 

Be a Victim

On a private Facebook group, a person posted about the triumph of the human spirit. People who have gone from homeless to millionaires, who have risen above the worse of physical abuse to be loving and generous people, people have overcome the unimaginable to be triumphant.

I commented, “Desire and Drive are powerful forces.”

On point, short and sweet, and certainly not controversial.

One member of the group took great exception to my post and wrote a multi-paragraph reply that stated in no uncertain terms why she couldn’t succeed and how unfeeling and wrong my post was.

I read the first two lines, skimmed the rest and honestly, all I could see was the underlining message:

“I am a victim! I will defend my victimhood! I will cling to it with all my might because as long as I do, I have an excuse for everything I do and everything I don’t ‘get’ to have.”

She is not alone. People have been pouring out the reasons why they don’t have anything or have enough. They list out all the arguments. They invite you to sympathize with them. They ignore examples of people in the same circumstances or worse circumstances to point out, “you don’t know! It is worse for me. I wouldn’t be here if it was for ____”.

Do we all do this? I think so, to some degree to another. The better of us shake it off and work to overcome. The worse of us wallow. The majority of us use it as a touchstone. It isn’t so big as to be obvious and we mainly keep it to ourselves.

  • I just got divorced.
  • There are no good men/women out there.
  • No one is hiring.
  • I don’t make enough money to save.
  • The economy is bad.

And so on. I bet you can come up with a few.  Perhaps, you recognize yourself in a few of these.

Relax, you don’t have to give up the stories that keep you down. Wallow, enjoy them, let life pass you by, and then turn around and wonder what you did with your opportunities.

If that isn’t what you want, then change it. The first thing to do is shine a bright, strong light on what the excuses you are using for not achieving. Then make a commitment to succeed regardless of obstacles.  Find biographies or interviews of people who were in similar circumstances and overcame their limitations. Work every day. Forgive yourself when you backslide.

The choice is yours. And isn’t that terrifying?

Mindset ready? Go!

 

 

Goal Mindset

I’m going to discuss goal mindset today. Specifically, when creating a goal, where and what is on your mind?

  • Is it on the tasks that need to be done to bring the goal from dream to reality?
  • Is it on the obstacles that may occur?
  • Is it on the people who will be impacted and what other people will think and feel?
  • Is it how you will feel when transitioning from one state to another (from the before-goal person to the after-goal person)?

Sit for a moment and consider these questions. Why? Because your answers signify several essential aspects of what inspires you to achieve.

If a person focuses on the task, they may feel overwhelmed, uncertain, and even anxious, which will lead them to procrastinate or abandon their goal.

If a person focuses on the obstacles, they again may feel overwhelmed, uncertain, and afraid, which will lead them to procrastinate or abandon their goal.

If a person focuses on the negative things people may feel or be impacted, then that person will almost always abandon their goals. But if a person focuses on the positive things people will feel or how they will be affected, that may be enough to pull a person towards achieving their goals.

The last one is a little trickier, how a person will feel about changing. When we change, we can leave people, loved ones, long term relationships, and comfortable relationships behind. That uncertainty, that fear of losing people, has caused people to abandon their goals. They don’t or can’t see the relationships transforming or even the new wonderful relationships in their future.

To create a goal mindset, follow these steps:

Instead of focuses directly on the tasks, focus on the outcomes. To-do lists are great, but the details can be numerous, and it shifts the focus from the big picture to a small immediate task.

The goal of becoming a platinum album singer is the outcome. The tasks of getting singing lessons, practice 2 hours every day, get an agent, book shows, naturally flow the outcome. The big picture, the goal, should be the focus.

Don’t ignore the obstacles, but don’t get caught in the trap of despair. For every obstacle, write out a possible solution, even if the solution doesn’t seem realistic or possible. It is amazing that when a person focuses on the goal, solutions start to appear.

Focus on how people will benefit from you achieving your goal. For example, Betty focusing on being in the best and healthiest she has ever been, means she’ll have more energy to be a better mother, wife, friend, daughter. Her happiness and satisfaction will positively affect everyone.

When working towards a goal, not even achieving it, will transform a person. This is a positive thing. People are meant to grow and change over time. Focus on the new, confident, happy person you’ll become can assist in creating a positive mindset.

Ready to start?

 

Sweat the Small Stuff

For years, people have been told, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” The idea being that small things don’t matter, take up headspace, and are, in fact, irrelevant to a person’s life.

But is small stuff really unimportant?

Listening to Jim Rohn this morning, he said something that really resonated in me. I’m paraphrasing somewhat: You have to master the small disciplines before the world gives you a chance with the big disciplines.

 The major accomplishments in life begin with the mastery of the small disciplines. The mental, emotional and philosophical “muscles” required to write a letter, clean the garage or pay our bills on time are the very same “muscles” involved in running a company or managing a department.

Which means that small stuff actually matters. The philosophy that “How you do anything is how you do everything”  is one that highly successful people follow.

Can a person be a slob, have a messy home, messy car, and yet when it comes to work, be highly organized and disciplined? Anything is possible, but it isn’t very probable.

Take a look at your life. Where in life are you putting in a 10% effort? 50% effort? Is that also echoed in your quest for success?

Is building the habit of discipline a useless endeavor? I challenge everyone reading this blog to take 3 days and master all the small disciplines.

For me:

  • Open mail, discard or deal with it, and move on.
  • Wash and put away dishes
  • Make my bed (something I only do about half the time)
  • Do things when they need to be done, which is generally before they become critical
  • Say I’m going to do something and actually do it.

What is on your list?

Mindset Ready? Go!

Persistence wins

There is no limit to how many times you can fall down, get up, and continue.

The only thing that determines whether a person is going to start again or continue is themselves.

And that is determined by the stories they tell themselves and others, the obsession with the desired goals, and their belief in the chances that they can overcome and win.

Stories

We all tell stories. Stories to ourselves about why we can’t win or why we must win. Stories to others about why we can’t get started or why we stopped.

  • The system was against
  • No one in my family can do this
  • Someone that I knew failed once and that means I’ll fail
  • The world is against me

You get the ideas. When a person finally gets more invested in success than excuses, they are on a stronger path.  First, start noticing the stories you tell yourself. This is tricky because chances are you’ve been doing it for so long, you don’t even notice.

For example, someone caught me singing the other day and told me I sang well. My first thought was, “I don’t sing well. My sister sings well.” What does my sister have to do with anything? Nothing. But growing up, my parents avoided us competing against each other, so if she showed talent in one area, I was discouraged from developing any interest or ability. I never considered taking singing lessons or anything musical.  I’m almost fifty and didn’t even realize that this was a story I was telling myself.

Obsession

If the goal a person seeks isn’t compelling, that is a serious issue. Obsession means thinking and working towards that goal at every opportunity. Taking classes, reading, going on forums, taking some forward action are all examples of a strong desire to succeed.

Belief

A person must look in their hearts of heart and ask themselves, “Do I believe with 100% certainty that not only can I achieve this goal, but I deserve it?”

Even the slightest bit of hesitation or doubt could impede progress. Overcoming this doubt should be a person’s number concern and number one goal. Without a belief that it can be done, nothing can be done.

But that is the subject of another blog.

Mindset ready? Go!

 

How To Block Progress

Recently, I was able to listen in on a conversation between two men. One man had approached the second man to ‘pick his brain’ on a subject. What happened during the conversation is a perfect example of how someone can block their own progress.

To make things easier, let me outline somethings. Man 1 is an older man who is about one-fourth into a massive home improvement project. Man 2 is a plumber with twenty years of experience.  I’m no plumber, nor am I able to recall the specific issues and jargon, but that is unimportant.

Man 1: I want to do this. See how I set it up? This is what I want. Is this right?

Man 2: Let me ask you some questions. Do you want X? Is this up to code? What pipes are you using?

Man 1: I’m not worried about code. I have X type of pipes. This is what I want is it right?

Man 2: You are going to run into problems if you aren’t using the right type of pipes. And you should worry about code. Have you considered Y?

Man 2: The inspector is not going to inspect so I’m no worried about code. These are the pipes I’m using. I want to know if this is right?

And it went on like this. Man 1 wasn’t seeking advice on how to do a project, nor asking how he could do the project correctly. Man 1 (in my observation) was looking for validation. Any questions that would challenge him or take the conversation away from what he wanted (which was to know he was right), was making him agitated.

We do this. We all do this. We are set on our course, we have our opinions, we know what we want and we are unwilling to hear anything that strays us off course. Going to an expert or to another person, we (internal) preface our conversation with “I just want to know I am right”, not to hear anything that will stop our progress or make us question our decisions.

Occasionally, this can benefit us. A single-minded pursuit of a goal can be good. But when a person reaches out to others, we must be open to what they are saying. Dismissing something out of hand without considering it, is more destructive than helpful.

Decide What It Means

As humans, we have the unique ability to attribute meaning to events and objects. Mostly we do this unconsciously, but deciding what something means is an incredibly powerful tool in a successful person’s arsenal.

Take for example, a toddler learning to walk. Even if you’ve never been around kids, most people have witnessed a child walking, stumbling, falling, then looking around to gauge how they should be reacting.

If the adults clap their hands and laugh, the child smiles and attempts to get up and tries again. If the adult exclaims and acts concern, the toddler starts to cry.  They quickly learn to attribute pain and falling.

As adults, we still do this. Think of something new you’ve tried. Chances are you either didn’t do it right or failed to do it correctly. Did you shrug it off, laugh, or did you get self-conscious and upset?

I want you to think of some activity or event that was painful or made you cringe. Objectively, what happened? What were your thoughts as it was happening or after the fact? What emotions or meaning did you attribute to the event?

Here is the gold: go back mentally to that event and pick another, more empowering thought to have and attribute something positive or neutral to the event.

I’ll share one with you. I had a prospect call yesterday. We were getting along great and I mentioned the fee for the work. The prospect balked, I got nervous, and the conversation fell apart.

My thoughts: I’m going to tell them the price. They aren’t going to think it is worth it. I’m going to have to explain why my price is my price. They are going to be unhappy, they aren’t going to like me.

The meaning I attributed to the loss of the sale: God, I suck at this. Why do I even bother?

Can this be reframed? You betcha ya!

My thoughts: Here is the price. It is an excellent price for the quality of work I perform. I have dozens of happy clients and they are lucky if we work together. My price point is reasonable and well within industry standards.

The meaning I can attribute to the loss of the sale: They were not the right client for me. Not every prospect is right for my company and I’m not right for every company.

What can you reframe?

Mindset Ready? Go!

 

How to Be Miserable -Complete Instructions

I was listening to Earl Nightengale audio on YouTube (spend some time and listen to it too) and about 15 minutes in, he talks about How to Be Miserable.

Why Talk Misery

The funny thing about people is they want happiness but cultivate misery.  Don’t believe me? Ask a friend about the recipe for being miserable. They will easily list about a dozen things a person can do to be miserable.

And chances are they describe at least 2-3 things they are currently doing.  You and I are the same. We know what makes a person miserable, or yourself miserable and yet we keep doing it.

Are we just stupid?

I don’t think so. I believe most of the things we do are unconscious and the first step toward breaking a habit or action is to acknowledge that it exists.

So, what makes you miserable? Here is a quick (and not complete list of what does it for me).

  1. Dwelling on the misery of others – especially if I have zero power of changing it.
  2. Listening to people who are negative, angry, hate-filled, or just mean.
  3. Watching movies or reading books or articles filled with anger, injustice, or sadness.
  4. Being inside when it is a beautiful day outside.
  5. Not moving my body – not just exercising but wandering around outside, stretching, etc,.
  6. Eating junk food and nothing healthy for a long period of time.
  7. Getting too much sleep. (Weird, right?)
  8. Listening to sad music.
  9. Looking at my financials and feeling like a failure instead of seeing the opportunity.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

What is your Misery List? Write it out and then check off all the activities you are doing right now. Is it more than two? Are you actively cultivating misery or is it unconscious? Next, write out the opposite of the activities and start living that life. 

Mindset Ready? Go!