Monday, April 23, 2012

Power in Pain

Have you ever noticed how the motivation of many people comes from a place of pain? The majority of the experiences that shape and mold people's lives were born in very dark places.  For example, think of some of the most successful charitable causes and non-profit organizations. The majority of them were formed   because of the loss of a loved one, acts of violence or injustice, to fund research to find a cure for an illness or disease, or a host of other similar reasons.

I have a dear friend (who is probably reading this right now) who did just that. Initially, the loss of loved ones left him very sad and wondering what his motivation was now that they were gone.  In an attempt to cope, he used art as therapy. Now he is a successful visual artist whose career has taken off. The art not only brings him the joy that he needed, but it also brings joy to art lovers around the country.

What if, instead of using our pain as an excuse to wallow in a downward spiral of despair, we used its power for positive purposes?

What if...

...The pain of an illness prompted you to create a remedy, invention or cure that helps to heal all of the other people in the world that deal with your same affliction and makes you millions of dollars! (I heard about an episode of the show Shark Tank where someone created nose strips to help people with allergies, I bet there are a bunch of you reading this right now that would love to get a hold of those!)

...The pain of the loss of a loved one inspires you to start a foundation that raises money to provide programs for youth and citizens that substantially reduces violence in your community.

....The pain of a messy break up gave you enough juicy stories to write a bestselling book.

The pain of poverty motivates you to increase your financial literacy and turn your entire life and the lives of all of your family and friends around for the better...

The healing that comes along with using the power that you pain brings is priceless, but it also brings other amazing benefits such as healing and helping others, making a difference in our communities, and in many cases, extra income. Now I'm sure we could all use a little more of that!

This week I challenge you to think about the one major thing in your life that brings you pain and come up with a plan to change that pain into positive power!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Five Alive!

Much of our motivation, or our lack of it, is directly related to the company that we keep. Who do you expose yourself to? Remember that you are highly susceptible to the energy that people give off. Think of other people’s energy as a highly contagious disease. The more you are around them; the more likely you are to get infected. It’s pretty hard to go through life without interacting with people; therefore it looks like we have no choice but to catch something. The questions is, what would you rather be infected with, negativity or positivity? Optimism or pessimism? Drive and ambition or complaining and excuse making?

Take inventory of the top five people that you spend the most time with…what is their affliction? Do they have that good bacteria that we need to keep our bodies healthy and balanced, or do that have a downright nasty disease? Negativity can literally make you sick, and if you surround yourself with those that are plagued by it, you will get it too!

Positive people are the antidote. Surround yourself with those that give off light, love and pure positive energy.

This week I encourage you to mix it up. Switch out one or two of the people who you give the gift of your time. I’m not saying to completely discard friends or associates, but like money…allocate or budget your time wisely. The negative people around you are like sweets or fried foods, when they are consumed in moderation, they won’t do too much harm, but if you eat them all of the time, the effects on your health are dangerous.

If you want to change your circumstances, it may be a matter of changing your immediate circle. Think about five people that you know, or you want to know that you admire and aspire to be like because they possess powerful characteristics that fill their lives with joy and success.   Once you’ve identified those people be intentional about surrounding yourself with them to improve your health, your wealth and your well-being. Those five will keep you alive!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Can't Is A Curse Word

I used to teach a dance class for kindergarten through fourth grade students and I noticed that when I introduced a new move, exercise or skill that there would be a few students that would say, “I can’t do it,” before they even gave it a try. From that point on I established a new rule. I told them that “Can’t” and “Don’t”, as in “I don’t know how,” were curse words that were banned from our classroom and punishable by 5 push-ups.

I’m not sure how effective the push-up part of the punishment was, but the youth really bought into the idea that “can’t” and “don’t” were indeed curse words that hindered our progress in our class.

If one of the students accidentally uttered the one of those words they would immediately catch themselves then reluctantly drop down and give me five push-ups. If a student did not catch themselves, the other students would quickly jump in and say, “Oooooooohhh, she cursed!” Each time this happened I asked the student’s, “How do you know that you can’t, or that you don’t know how, if you’ve never even given it a try?”

The rest of us hinder ourselves in the same way. We may not always actually utter the words, but there are several things that we don’t believe that we could ever do, even if we’ve never given it a good try. We paralyze ourselves with fear and self-doubt. It didn’t take long for the kids to catch on to the danger of using such self-defeating words and thoughts, so what is your hold up?

This week I challenge you to begin weaning the word “Can’t” out of your vocabulary, especially when it comes to things that you’d actually love to be able to do, but you are too afraid to give it a try.

“Can’t” is a curse word. How do you know you can’t if you haven’t even tried? Watch your mouth...and your mind!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Safety Net

Are you done trying to save the world yet? If so, maybe the other super heroes in your life will get the opportunity to rescue you.

The past month of my life has been sprinkled with unexpected setbacks and things that forced me to stop all of the busyness and take a seat. This was hard for a person like me who is extremely independent and accustomed to trying to save the world and figure everything out on my own.

When I finally just let go of trying to control things that were beyond my control, something very interesting happened. People began to show up to help me in ways that I'd never imagined. What I learned is that these amazing people that had been in and around my life all along had never gotten the chance to show me how much they were willing and able to be there for me.

Friends and loved ones stepped up above and beyond the call of duty to help me in a time where I needed the support. What I came to learn is that I never would have experienced this love and the magnitude of their devotion had I not given them the chance. I had simply never given them the opportunity.

Sometimes we get so busy, scurrying about, trying to put out fires all by ourselves, that we don't realize that there is an entire fleet of people behind us with buckets full of water just waiting for us to get out of the way.

If you have a hard time believing that the people that love you will have your back in a time of need, trust that God will use them or even strangers to help you get through, if you'd only give Him the opportunity by stepping back, or sitting down and getting out of the way.

Stop trying to figure everything out. You don't have to. This week I challenge you to give someone else the chance to walk in their purpose by supporting you in your time of need.

There are people, places and resources waiting for you to get out of the way. You are not alone. There is a safety net waiting to catch you when you fall.

Monday, March 19, 2012

You Woke Up!

A few years ago I met a dynamic young lady who was hit by a mack truck while riding her bike. She was in a coma for a while, but she survived and if you met her today, you’d never know that she’d been in such a tragic accident. The doctors were surprised that she lived.

She shared that after that experience and the extended coma that she was so grateful to be alive. She said that she wakes up elated every morning and excitedly proclaims, “I woke up!” Something as simple as waking up is major for her because she could have died, and for many days while she was in the coma, she could not wake up.

Waking up is something that we take for granted. We wake up, and instantly begin to worry about everything that needs to be done or everything that is wrong in our lives, but how often do we get up and celebrate the fact that we woke up?

Being grateful for the simple things has a positive effect on our lives. Trust me, I’ve been practicing this since the beginning of the year. I make sure to pay attention to my blessings, no matter how big or small, by keeping a gratitude journal. I write down every single thing that people give me or every kind act that they do for me as well as positive things that happen in my life every day.

This week I encourage you to celebrate something as simple as waking up. You have been given the gift of being here for another day.  What will you do with this day? Will you dwell on the woes and the worries of yesterday or tomorrow? OR will you bask in the glow of this beautiful moment, this fresh new chance that you’ve been given to get it right this time?

Take a deep restorative breath and whisper if you are in the office, or shout if you are alone...”I woke up!!!!”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Down Times Are For Good Times

Down times are the best times to prepare for the good times.  There was a time, right after I graduated from my Master’s program at the University of Michigan when I couldn’t seem to find a “real job” to save my life.  For months I searched and sent out my resume only to find that I was either extremely over qualified, or I didn’t have enough years of experience in the field for the types of jobs that I was applying for. I had a few legal side hustles, but I was technically unemployed and forced to sit down for five months for the first time in several years.

I had always been a full time student with a minimum of two jobs and several extra-curricular activities.  I was always on the go. This challenging situation left me with very little income and a lot of extra time on my hands. This was the time when I sat down and wrote my first book.  Now six books later I realize that my moment of hardship was a blessing in disguise, because had I gotten a job right away, I never would have stayed still long enough to accomplish that goal which catapulted my writing career.

Whether your money is low, your heath is poor or whatever the challenging situation is that you currently find yourself in, don’t think of it as a time out, think of it as a time of preparation and incubation. If a lack of money has stopped you from being able to go out as much as you used to, take that time at home to read and research a topic or project that’s been on your mind to explore as a business venture. If you are unemployed, use that time to get your health in check by exercising and paying more attention to what you eat. A break-up from any type of relationship can be used as a time for self-development and reinvention.  

I remember reading a story where an accident left a man paralyzed. He too was a person that was always on the go, so being paralyzed was the only thing that made him sit still long enough to write a script that turned him into a millionaire.

A down time, for whatever reason, is not a bad thing. It is a time for you to map out a master plan for your future success.  If something has slowed you down, I’ll give you five more minutes to wallow in self-pity then I want you to stop that…forever…and use that energy to build, to grow, to create your good times to come.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Not About Me

“It’s not about you.”  That statement is the first sentence in one of my favorite books, “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. It is a simple statement yet it is packed with so much power. If we took a moment to realize how many of the things that bother us have nothing to do with us at all, we would be much happier.

Taking things personally is often what upsets us the most. Imagine if we removed ourselves from the equation. Doing so would also subtract quite a bit of stress from our lives. Let’s take a look at some real life examples.

When it comes to relationships if our significant other cheats on us or is unfair in some way, we automatically assume that it was something that we did wrong to make them cheat and that the cheating was something that they did to hurt us. If we flip the way we look at it and say, “They didn’t do that TO me, they did that FOR them.” It gives a whole new spin to a hurtful situation.

Last week I had a professional situation where technical difficulties caused me to start an important webinar extremely late. I could have beaten myself up and held on to heavy feelings of guilt and failure all day. Instead I chose to let it go. I found comfort in the fact that I did my best and that much of what happened was beyond my control. It wasn’t about me.

Those are just two quick examples, but think about any situation in your life that troubles you and say to yourself.  “It’s not about me.”  Relinquish yourself from the blame and responsibility and give yourself a break.  Even if people want to put things off on you, that doesn’t mean that you have to reach out and take it. Throw your hands up or put them behind your back and don’t allow people to force you to carry their heavy baggage.

This week I challenge you to shift your energy and thoughts to positive things and stop taking everything so personally. Give yourself a break. You deserve it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Wisdom

Last week was a rough one for me emotionally so I decided that my weekend would be one of healing and being intentional about finding my joy.  As a result several things came to me through meetings, appointments, conversations with friends and watching television that gave me all of the answers that I needed.

Twelve nuggets of wisdom came out of this weekend for me and I want to share them with you in hopes that one or more will speak to something that you are going through and help to keep you inspired throughout this week.  I’ll simply list them and you can interpret or use them as you wish...

Weekend Wisdom
  1. I MUST be intentional about strongly centering myself EVERYday so that no one or nothing can knock me off balance.
  2. I must see things and people for what and who they are.
  3. I need to walk away from things and people that pollute my life.
  4. I must learn to control my emotions so they won’t control me.
  5. I can conquer any fears through constant gratitude and acts of courage.
  6. I must not be afraid to ask for what I want.
  7. My life is shaped by the story that I tell myself about myself.
  8. I must first clearly identify what it is that I want, then I must create a plan to attain that thing, and I must execute that plan PERSISTENTLY.
  9. When you let go of things that aren’t working for you, you make room for better things to come into your life…but as long as you hold on…there is no room.
  10. Everyone holds a particular place and serves a particular purpose in your life. When you give people more weight or energy than they are meant to have in your life, it will stress you out…so stop.
  11. Problems are the world’s biggest addiction. They give us an excuse to be fearful. Try to figure out what TRULY makes you happy without connecting it to a wound or a negative experience.
  12. It’s up to ME to do what I need to do to make ME happy. I can’t depend on anyone else for that or blame them for my lack of happiness.
I must give credit to those who inspired the break through that I had this weekend: Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Chris Lee, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Monike Welch, Napoleon Hill, Shamyle Nesfield, and Robert Powell… Thank you all!