Friday, June 5, 2009

Shake Hands With Your Greatness

     Some time ago, a dear friend was enduring a particularly challenging time.  The burden of it all was rocking her self-esteem and making her question some of her life choices.  Tucked into my email reply, was the paragraph noted below.  Wanting simply to encourage her, I told my friend that "someone" wrote it, instead of saying it was me. Sometimes, the message is more important than the messenger. 

      It seems lately that there have been numerous occasions to recall this brief paragraph and either share the message or take the message to heart myself.  It happened often enough that I wondered if all of that was quiet, subtle hint to post it here.  Not my usual post, but plenty of good stuff to ponder just the same.


     "When we're feeling the struggle of something in front of us, there are two choices.  Walk up to it and shake its hand, or turn our back and walk away from it. It's those of us that shake hands with our struggles that achieve the great things in life, and achieve the things we want most. Fear is overcome with action.  And overcoming the small fears now is what lets us overcome the bigger things later on. So take action, take one small step towards not walking away and you'll find the greatest reward is on the other side of what you're willing to walk towards. On the other side of that handshake, you will find your greatness."

On the other side of that handshake is the path to your purpose.

Perfect your handshake this week,


Saturday, May 30, 2009

How Can I Afford Not To Make This Choice?

     In the pursuit of personal success, every day brings with it choices.  Some choices are easy to make and some are not.  Often those that are not are the very choices that will require us to step out of our comfort zones.  Of course, it's called a comfort zone for a reason -  it's comfortable!  It's easy for me to be there, I know this place and how to navigate it.  There's no surprises, it's where I can be "for sure" and certain in my footing. 
     It's also NOT the zone where I'm going to grow.

     Stepping out of our comfort zone is, in and of itself, a choice.  There's a decision involved every time something comes up in our journey requiring us to step out of our comfort zone.  Yes I will.  No I will not.  For most of us, the decision to step out of our comfort zones may not be as overt and straight-forward as that.  We may find ourselves procrastinating all the way around making the decision or we may even block it out or avoid it altogether. Sometimes we'll create enormous amounts of drama in our lives just to keep ourselves too focused on those details to have even a minute of time to consider something else.   And very often, we will rationalize and justify how THAT choice really would not be the best thing at this time.  At the heart of it, what we're really saying, what we're really deciding, is not to grow.
     Recently, I saw this in my own life with something as simple as picking up the phone.  I had a list of follow-up calls that needed to be made.   Some were to my warm market and some were to cold prospects I had only had a brief conversation with previously.   In my business, those follow-up calls are key to success.  And sometimes, just the thought of making them can be one of my biggest hurdles.  The more I focused on "I must make those calls", the longer my to-do list of other, seemingly more important things happened to get!  So I decided to use a technique I call Flip It On Its Head to see if I could generate momentum by coming at the obstacle from another angle.   
     Instead of telling myself that I must make the calls and creating added pressure, I flipped the obstacle up on its head and asked, "How can I afford to not make those calls?"  In other words, if I didn't make the calls, what would I have to do in order to achieve the same potential results if I did?  Well once I looked at things from that perspective, I realized just what the cost would be to not make those calls and how much additional work I would have to do to make up the difference in my business.  So while it might have been a bit uncomfortable to pick up the phone, it was certainly going to be easier than going out and creating the same result.   And with that, I picked up the phone and made those calls.  You know the best part?  Making follow-up calls is no big deal now.  
     Getting a little uncomfortable, and pushing through that discomfort, does indeed make us grow.
     Since then, I have found that asking myself "How can I afford not to make this choice?" has been invaluable in getting me off the mark and creating forward movement.  Whether considering a life issue, a business concern or simple tasks I really don't feel like doing, asking myself that question has helped bring clarity, not only to what is important, but also to what is not.  It has improved my focus on priorities as well as my ability to release things and let them go.  We may all be a bit risk-averse when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zones at one time or another, and some of us more so than others.  But perhaps when we flip a decision or an obstacle on its head and examine the risk of choosing not to step out of that oh-so-comfortable-place-we-know-so-well, we'd see the price we'd have to pay is truly, too great.   Perhaps we'd see the risk and discomfort is so very much worth the gain in growth, and the decision, a choice we simply must afford to make.

Good stuff.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

I am my own sum total.

You are the sum total of of every decision you've ever made, good, bad or otherwise.

     Though this is part of my personal philosophy now, it wasn't always something I embraced. It seemed the root to any frustrations in my life were always due to some outside influence.  Some other person, reason, or situation.  Haven't we all been there?  Blaming outwardly, instead of looking inside for the cause to our struggles?   But if we are to grow in a positive and purposeful direction, we must, at some point in our lives, take ownership for our "sum total".  
     Now none of this is to say that everyone's life is operating on the same playing field or that we all have the same advantages available to us. Nor does it imply that my obstacles are any bigger or smaller than the next person's.  But what it does tell me, in a way that can refresh even in the midst of a struggle bigger than I can see past, is that something different lies ahead, and it can be mine, if I choose it.
     The truth is, if I am looking outward to lay blame, then outward is where my eyes will be set to find resolution too.  And all that scenario does is trap me right where I am.  If that resolution is up to someone else, then resolution may never come.  And then what?  But, when I look inward and examine the choices that brought me to that point in my life, that's where the good stuff is.  If I am willing to look at my decisions, see them for what they are and the role they played in today's outcome, that's when can I set my sights on something different, because that's when I can know what something different is, and see it, and want it, for myself! 
      When we fully embrace our own sum total and truly own it, that moment right there is a turning point decision in the pursuit of personal success.  That moment is the start of a new awareness, of not only who we were and are, but of who we can become. And when we give ourselves the freedom to see that, from the inside, that is what makes all the difference - in the direction we grow, in what we choose, and in the decisions we make.  The desire to achieve what we see, to become our potential, begins to push us forward with that inside view, and at last, our outward-looking self starts to lose its grip on holding us still.
     That's not to say embracing my sum total has been easy.  Oh, not by any measure. But it has been well worth the effort and discipline. Ask anyone who has achieved any level of personal success and they'll tell you it was the small decisions, the better choices, the right responses to challenges placed in front of them, intentionally made every day that added up and multiplied into the greater rewards.  So for me, at the end of each day, if I know I made better choices than when I was younger, or less experienced, or just last year, last month or even just the day before, that's progress and growth.  And I know as long as I'm growing forward more than I'm deciding backwards, I will get to where my inside vantage point shows me I can go.  How fast I get there will depend of course, on how much I'm willing to grow.

Grow forward this week, 



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It all started with a quote.

     In nearly every personal development book I've read or CD I've listened to, the stories detailing an individual's journey towards success often include a defining moment, one that created a shift, and the journey moved from that of casual interest and awareness to one of focused pursuit.
     At the time I was reading Why We Want You To Be Rich by Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump. Earlier in the book, Trump had shared that while in college, his father regularly sent him meaningful quotes from different sources and credited those quotes with helping set the way for becoming the success he is today. I honestly can't remember the context of how he shared this particular quote, just that it caused me to stop short and really ponder:

The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.    Vince Lombardi

     In that moment, I had no choice but to question my commitment to excellence and more so, to examine my quality of life. The truth? I was not being my excellent best, which at any given point in one's life will be different because the definition of being one's excellent best is based on what has been learned from one's life experiences to date. I couldn't ignore that I was not living my life with excellence and the quality of my life reflected that.
     The good stuff in this is recognizing that being excellent is what creates the excellent result. Being excellent is a choice. A choice we can make everyday, over and over. A choice we make for the kind of life we desire. A choice we make for our character. A choice we make for our values. A choice we make for those we know and those we will come to know. A choice we make for our future and theirs. Being excellent is a choice that can make all the difference in the pursuit of personal success.
     It's rather liberating, to be able to draw the direct correlation between excellence and quality of life. The stronger the commitment to excellence, the better the quality of life. And visa versa. The possibilities that open up simply because we are willing to ask ourselves "Is this the excellent choice?" are enormous! The act of asking, "Is this my excellent best?" is powerful.
     I challenged myself that day to ask those questions and I must admit, the excellent choice isn't always the easiest one and not always the one I am willing to make. But I believe that the impact of that quote changed the course for me and there are far more excellent choices being made now than not. I've heard that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Who would have thought that in a single quote I could be taught so much, the effects of which I haven't even begun to realize. And that's the best stuff of all.

Have an excellent week,