Archives for December 2017

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 3 of 4

What does 2018 have in store?

Some things may seem out of your control, but there is no good outcome that can occur by spending time thinking about them. Rather, invest time in creating a vision of your new year that inspires and empowers you to do what is in your power to do so, which is all you can do, and yet, is much more powerful than you might expect.

Already the days are getting longer, and the dawn of a new era is always just a decision away.

We will talk about 3 new categories this week, with 3 more remaining. These categories are all important to your overall happiness and fulfillment. We tend to think that we can compartmentalize our life, and even having such categories might imply that, but what we need to realize if we are ever to achieve mastery in our lives, is that each category impacts the others.

Whether you have someone to kiss at midnight this year or not, we are going to start by recreating your vision of romance.

7. Love Life

Who has a relationship that you envy and why?  Some may tell you that envy is unhealthy, but that’s only if your admiration of someone’s life makes you sad instead of inspired. What would your life be like if you were able to have the kind of love that you admire?

If you have been in a long-term partnership, as I have (married 12 years, together for 17), you might feel as though it has already been as good as it will get. We can’t go back to the past, but we can infuse fresh life into relationships. I have seen miracles happen in this area. The magic comes from communication, compassion, and generosity.  Tony Robbins has some great videos of moments that he transformed relationships in minutes. It is possible!

If you are unattached, but wish to be, I have some friends in your boat, too. I have no answers for you. You probably have gotten a lot of advice, and perhaps even been set up more times than you care to have been. Some may think your standards are too high, or perhaps even feel like you choose the wrong matches. It’s still worthwhile, in my opinion, to create a vision of your ideal mate – the qualities, physical features, etc. While you are doing so, be in the feeling of having this person, rather than the feeling of missing this person.

The same method works for an established relationship:  it is the emotional component that activates the law of attraction. When American Indians did rain dances, they didn’t pray FOR rain, they prayed FROM rain – from the feeling of gratitude that rain was already coming.

You may have a great relationship, in which case, enjoy making plans of how you can deepen your relationship in the New Year – adventures you can have, ways to test yourselves and grow in new ways.

8. Lifestyle

From what I see, most of us start out our lives determined to live a certain lifestyle and then make decisions that we think will lead us to live that way. Sometimes, however, we want to live a different life than the one we were raised in, and may struggle to know what different decisions could be made that would help us transform our lifestyle.

Do you know someone who has a lifestyle that you would like to attain? Are there biographies available? Are they accessible? Could you interview them? Perhaps they might even be willing to mentor you. In my experience with successful people, many of them enjoy their blessings even more when they are able to pay it forward and help others.  A willing student is like a brand new canvas they can paint.

You may not need a full transformation of your lifestyle, but perhaps just a level-up in 2018.  Maybe you have been sacrificing travel for family obligations and next year’s level up is to travel more often. Where do you want to go? What are the costs of going? What are the landmarks you want to visit or adventures you want to experience?

Other things you can look to level-up:  vehicle, technology, garden, kitchen, office décor, organization, automation.

This category can seem superficial to some, and therefore unimportant. I want you to consider that while the true measure of a person is not what they possess; we often tend to measure ourselves this way anyway. We may even determine that we should deprive ourselves to be a good person, or that we are less than because we don’t possess what others do.

I don’t condone this thinking, but it happens, and society supports it, even breeds it.

Sometimes, things make us happy. Should we measure our lives by them? I’m not one to say “should” or “shouldn’t”.

I do know that there are scientifically-proven benefits to feeling happy, and if something makes you happy, you would be doing yourself good to allow yourself to enjoy it.

9. Character

How often have you thought about what kind of person you want to be, or how you want to be remembered?

The classic movie and book, A Christmas Carol, always makes me think about what impression people have that I might not know they have about me.

Did you ever picture yourself at your funeral? What do you think people would say? What would you want them to say?

One exercise a coach brought me through years ago was making a list of the top 5 people I admired, and then listing their top 3 qualities. It was said by this coach that these qualities are actually your true self, and that is the reason these qualities appeal to you.

We may not always operate in accordance with those qualities because what we learn and endure throughout our lives may take us out of alignment with those qualities, but they are intrinsically a part of us.

To help these qualities manifest more often, we must first raise our self-awareness and notice when we are not exhibiting those qualities. Then, we keep recreating and reinforcing a vision of ourselves as someone who consistently exhibits those qualities, and soon we make more decisions from this place of being. Then we also start enjoying the outcomes of making those decisions in terms of our relationships, improved habits, and peace of mind.

I know this makes it sound so simple. The truth is our brain defaults to make this type of change very challenging. It is possible, however, with a clear vision of the desired changes, resolve to stay self-aware, and commitment to sticking with it.

Which of the 9 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you?

Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover the last 3 categories next week.

 

Have a memorable, safe, EPIC new year!

Europe – The Final Countdown (Official Video)

Europe’s official music video for ‘The Final Countdown’. Click to listen to Europe on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/EuropeSpot?IQid=EuropeTFC As featured on 1982-1992.

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 2 of 4

Thinking by Creative Ignition on Flickr

If you celebrate Christmas, this next week will be hectic. As you lay your head to rest, instead of visions of sugarplums (whatever they are,) you might see all the things not yet done – presents not bought or wrapped, recipes not yet altered to accommodate Cousin Joe’s lactose intolerance. You might spend your time going through a mental checklist of people wondering or feeling like there was someone important you missed.

If we took a page from nature, however, as the first day of winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, we would see more stillness – an incubation (at least we do here in the Northeast). Even nature knows there is a time to rest and reflect, a time to renew and plan for what kind of rebirth is wanted or needed.

This can also be the most active time of the year to be together, and being together is what we try to remind ourselves this time of year is all about.

We’ll take a look at three more areas of your life to reflect upon and recreate for 2018, starting with the one that takes a lot of focus this time of year, even as we naturally crave seclusion.

  1. Social Life

Once I started digging into the personal and professional development world, there was an advice that really bugged me, and it continues to, even though at times I think it is sound. The advice has been regurgitated in various forms. Jim Rohn, who I quote a lot and love many of his teachings, says that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Other teachers flat out preach that you need to leave negative people behind you and fill your inner circle with more positive, wealthy people if you want to get or stay positive and wealthy.

When I was in college I had heard that your network is your net worth, and that was so discouraging. There was some family who were (are) wealthy and prominent, but they had proven to be not very helpful, and that was the only existing route I could see to elevate myself.

I was grateful to find, as a recruiter when I started to network more, that new connections can be made, and fairly easily.

That being said, I wasn’t about to leave behind my friends. Yes, I wanted to spend more time around people who followed a path to success that I aspired to follow, but I couldn’t just cut off from my life the people who care about me, though they may not be successful, wealthy, or even positive.

The whole personal development world is now plagued by people who are aspiring to be ascended in higher thought and living, but who create a contrast between themselves and others less ascended. I see this only leading to disdain.

There are some obvious reflections you might have: did you see your loved ones enough? Did you entertain as much as you could have? Are you losing connections to friends you intend to keep?

But also consider that if you can spend more time with successful people and add to your knowledge and inspiration, the time you spend with less successful people will enable you to add something positive. Just stay mindful so that you don’t fall into a superiority trap.

As you start to see a better way to be and live, it’s natural to notice more how the people who are not living better are choosing that, and to be frustrated by it. If you really want to change it, though, you will not be effective from a place of judgment. Once you achieve a better way of living for yourself, the next thing to work on is how you can accept others where they are. And, sometimes you will also see opportunities to set healthy limits for how much you let others keep you down.

  1. Intellectual Life

As my senior business students shared their goals, it was clear to me that they were putting the accountability on their development in the hands of their future employer. Does it belong there? Is every employer going to care where you want to see yourself in 5 years as it does NOT relate to their company?  I am tying intellectual life to develop because there is a strong correlation between new knowledge and development. Can we effectively grow without gaining new knowledge?

Anecdotally in my own life, I started to see my development accelerate exponentially in my 20s when I did three things – hired a coach, started to network (as stated before), and started reading non-fiction habitually. Then in my 30s it seemed clear that I didn’t just want to read, but I wanted to discuss with others what I had been reading. I had forgotten in my 20s how much I missed discussing ideas, as was encouraged and came naturally in college. I started attending more lectures and meetups, and even started my own mastermind and meetup.

I have to admit that when I’m really busy, reading and discussing are what I cut out, but because I made them such habits and enjoyed such a boost of growth from them, I go back to them as soon as the dust settles.

It’s the best time of year to develop your reading wish list, since you may even receive one as a gift. Ask others what to read based on your goals or resolutions for 2018. People only recommend books they have read, so make a note of who recommended what and invite that person to discuss the book once your done. This helps you create a goal for finishing the book and also nurtures your social goals.

  1. Family

It seems this should be higher up the list, right?  The thing is, if money isn’t the area of your life that vexes you the most, it could be this. If this is true for you, it may seem more logical to survive the holidays and then reflect, which can look more like venting.  We can do better than that, though, and starting to achieve peace in this area by doing what is in your power to do (because we can only control our actions, not those of others) will enable you to start the year more as the person you want to be. We can’t pretend a new year will change you, but if you can demonstrate to yourself what you are capable of in this area during the time of year where the expectations are highest, you will feel more empowered to create an even better vision of your family life in 2018.

(I know very few people who can’t relate to this. If you are one of them, count yourself so blessed!)

Some of what I have learned about myself in relation to my family through my personal development has to do with me NOT wanting to feel bad and the lengths I go to not feel bad, which can include making my family wrong to make me feel right. Once I realize I am doing this, I feel worse, but only then can I start to course correct and forgive myself and them – which is very powerful.

There is one mantra that I hear a lot at personal development events that helps me maintain my sense of humility and acceptance of myself and others – “We are all doing the best we can with what, where and who we are at each stage of our lives.”

If you are feeling extra stressed this holiday season and the source is your family, watch some Brené Brown interviews on YouTube. Practice ho’oponopono, which is a Hawaiian practice that induces healing and forgiveness.

Notice that my advice in this area is actually more around action than reflection; this is because I feel I personally spend too long reflecting in this area, and not spending enough time actually making efforts that can improve it, which take practice because this is the area where triggers are voluminous. This also means that this is the area where there is the most opportunity for growth, but where growth is the hardest.

Which of the 6 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you? Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover 3 more areas next week.

 

Cheers to a year that is better than any before!

Sting – Brand New Day

Music video by Sting performing Brand New Day. (C) 1999 A&M Records

What do you want to leave in 2017? What do you want to add to 2018?

Part 1 of 4

Notepad Art by Stephen Dann on Flickr

As the year winds down, and holiday activities kick into full gear, not all of us are focused on the reflection that actually comes naturally this time of year, nor are we always thinking about the new year until we make it through the other winter holidays.

However, before a commercial, consumerist, highly socialized society created new traditions for this time of year that keep us busy rushing around, the tradition was very much focused on peace, quiet, reflection, and resolution.

In Vishen Lakhiani’s book Code of the Extraordinary Mind, he recommends reflecting on 12 different categories of your life and rating where you are and creating a clear vision of where you want to be to know where to focus on improving and determine how. We’ll go through all 12, 3 at a time, leading up to the New Year. Starting…now!

  1. Money

There are the administrative tasks, like making sure your financial records are in order, that need to be done. This gives you the chance to pay attention to a very critical part of your world, your income, where a lot of us derive our value, right or wrong. Even if what you see when you confront the financial part of your life isn’t what you sought, noticing a contrast sets the foundation for creating a new financial goal and vision for the new year. Many people save this reflection for last, or might find it ironic that I appear to be discouraging materialism toward the beginning of this article, but quickly put the focus on money. This says a lot about your relationship to money, actually. Have you been taught that money isn’t spiritual, or that having money means not being spiritual, or even that it’s evil, or to love it is? How do you treat money? If money were your lover, would it want to be with you based on how you treat it? We all know that money is essential to living, but often we resent it, neglect it, or even fear it. I am not promoting making money the most important area of your life, but I am saying that if it is the area of improvement that you want most to focus on improving in 2018, give it the focus and attention it deserves.

If you hadn’t reached your 2017 goals, what accountability can you take for that, and what new knowledge can you gain, people you can meet, or habits can you create to bring about a better result in 2018?

Also, in regards to bookkeeping, here are 5 tips for people who changed jobs in 2017.

2. Career

Speaking of jobs, there is also a very good reason I started with money. While there is a “market price” for most positions, did you know you can still reverse engineer your income to match your desired lifestyle? If there is something that you LOVE to do so much, that you would do it for free, but it traditionally doesn’t pay well and you need to make a good living, there has never been a better time to build an income infrastructure that allows you to do what you love WHILE earning a healthy income. There are formulas you can follow, depending on what kind of life you want to create, and while I’m not saying they’re easy, or even simple, if you have the resolve and vision to pull you through the challenges, you can absolutely follow steps that will lead you to freedom and empowerment in your career. Too many have settled for the “safer” path, but how safe is it really?

“Life is all risky, if you think ‘trying’ is risky, wait til’ they hand you the bill for NOT trying. Wait til’ you get the tab for not investing. It’s all risky, getting married is risky, having children is risky. Don’t worry, in life, you’re not going to get out alive” ~ Jim Rohn

Is your health suffering because of stress at work or based on finances? Do you ever go to work with anxiety, or even physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches that could be caused by anxiety?

Do your relationships suffer because of the time and energy required of your job? Is there a level of joy in life you have yet to experience because your priority was financial “security”? Is your job that secure?

Here’s the most important question: Does your job give back to you as much or more than you give to it?

Most people have not yet tasted what it is like to be exhilarated by their jobs, and if you have tasted it, have you been striving ever since to re-create that feeling but landing jobs that continually fall short?

There is a formula and a system (with tools) you can follow that will put the power back in your hands to bring this experience into or back into your life. We previously made this available to you, have since dropped the price dramatically so that it’s affordable for most people, and intend to bring you a new and improved format that maximizes retention, application and FUN in 2018.

3. Health

Speaking of health, our life expectancy just went up dramatically, but we will only live that long if we take proper care of our self-healing bodies. This, I know from experience, is no easy feat. But good health enables all of the other areas of our lives to operate. Without it, we can’t expect to achieve fulfillment in any other area of our lives, so it’s pretty important.

So many people struggle to create better habits in this area. We all have heard by now that diets don’t work, and that aiming for a healthy lifestyle of moderation instead is a more realistic goal. That sounds like a commitment, though. It’s scary. From 2015-2016, I was in great shape. I started small, with subsequent 21-day challenges. Within those 21 days, I lost enough weight to motivate me to continue my journey, developed better awareness of old habits and created new ones, and improved my relationship with my body, which was an unexpected, but a very welcomed, outcome.

Honestly, my habits now are a far cry from those, and a year is a long time to sustain results, but it wasn’t a lifetime. I had began to crave better and better results, and dove into more and more intense exercise regimens, and stricter and stricter diets, until – I needed stitches in my arm and wasn’t able to lift for a month. When I read Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin pointed out that often when we develop good habits in one area of our lives, we find it naturally easier to develop good habits in other areas of our lives, as well. From my observations, health is the area in which I see that trickle down impact most powerfully, and I can say that when good health habits deteriorate, good habits in other areas tend to go downhill, as well.

It seems counter-intuitive, because if we devote more time to health, we’ll have less time to sustain all of our other habits, but I am challenging myself, and I challenge you too, to creating a habit of devoting time to exercise and nutrition, starting simply. I will exercise 5 days per week to make it a habit, even if it’s only 10 minutes, but it has to challenge me at least 3x per week, in other words, I will work to my limit. I will also make sure that I eat something plant-based with every meal before I go for a starch, meat or treat. I am not committing to depriving myself of anything. I will make this about ADDING what is good for me, which I feel will naturally lead to a decrease in cravings for what I know isn’t good, but I enjoy.

Starting small worked for me at the beginning, and I believe it’s sustainable for a lifetime, though I may not experience the initial large weight drop that motivated me so much the last time.

It’s all about finding what works for you, and if you form healthy habits, but they don’t have the desired outcomes, such as massive weight loss, you know at least you are gaining better health.

Next week, we will explore 3 more critical areas of your life to evaluate as 2017 winds down and 2018 approaches.

Remember to rate yourself in these areas and write down a vision in each of these that inspire you to make changes in 2018.

Counting Crows – A Long December

Listen to more from Counting Crows: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/Essentials Explore the incredible history of Counting Crows here: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/artists/counting-crows Stream a playlist of their biggest tracks: http://playlists.udiscovermusic.com/playlist/counting-crows-best-of Experience Counting Crows on Vinyl LP: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/f6ubC Follow Counting Crows https://www.facebook.com/countingcrows/ https://twitter.com/CountingCrows https://www.instagram.com/countingcrows/ http://countingcrows.com/ Music video by Counting Crows performing A Long December. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 2,037,577.

It takes courage to follow your dream. How courageous are you?

Dream by EvelynGiggles on Flickr

Last month for our podcast, Epic Career Tales, my assistant, Syndie, interviewed a professional artist, Jessica Serran, who has successfully made not just a great career of being an artist, but a great living. Truly epic, right?

Many of my clients have Epic, yet very conventional corporate careers, in that they started out as an entry-level employee and worked their way up the corporate ladder.

Then there are those who ventured off the corporate ladder. Of those clients, some of them really hedged their risk, and saved up 18 months of income as their safety net before they jumped off. Yet others answered the call to adventure in a moment. That moment could have been inspired by a straw that broke the camel’s back, which is the more common. But there are a couple of clients, I recall vividly, who just had an epiphany inspired by something that they witnessed, or watched, or learned, or read. Those clients inspired the idea for the Epic Career Tales podcast.

I wanted to nudge, or even catapult, people toward their dreams by telling the stories of people who successfully climbed the ladder, jumped off the ladder, or never bothered to climb in the first place, even though it seems that the infrastructure of our world promotes a corporate career as the ultimate path to financial security.

That was not my point of view, actually. My dad’s corporate career provided a good stable living for my family and I when I was young, but the divorce decimated financial resources, and when I was in 9th grade, my dad was forced into early retirement and he had to sell the home I grew up in. While my mom’s job in a small company (it was small then, but grew tremendously during her time there and since) provided her with enough for us to live, eat, and stay clothed, but there never seemed to be enough for anything extra, or extra nice. Plus, she was pretty miserable and complained a lot about her job. She came home exhausted. Her pay raises, even after 10 years, were less than a dollar an hour. I was getting better pay raises at my food service job at 15 years old.

For me, the safer path to financial security seemed to be achieving semi-celebrity status in media. When I realized a year into that career that I really wasn’t willing to do what it took to get to semicelebrity status in media, because it wasn’t really what I wanted, it took courage to realize that I really loved my temp assignment in a corporate recruiting office. And, it took courage to follow that path in consideration of the fact that I was going to take a door-to-door job first to learn sales, and in spite of how I thought it probably would wind up – giving more to a company than they were giving back to me and resenting them for that.

Wow, my outlook was pretty bleak back then.

I know there is a population of people who do not see a corporate career as one that will be financially fulfilling. These people are entrepreneurial and usually seek out multiple streams of income. Some people don’t believe corporations have any honest employees or leaders. Certainly our beliefs shape our decisions, for better or worse and whether they are based on truths or not.

It doesn’t really matter what your dreams are. I don’t see a large percentage of the population following dreams. Why is that?

One revelation that I have stated before was that there is an epidemic, a very pervasive belief among people that we are not worthy of our dreams – that happiness is for other people.

People think they are protecting themselves by not pursuing their dreams; they’ll never have to find out if they weren’t good enough. They’ll never have to fail at making their dream come true. They’ll never have to mourn their dream.

This is tragic because they also never get to find out how brilliant they have the potential to be and how beautiful life can be when you are aligned in your career with your purpose, talent, and interests.

We all have to decide for ourselves what level of risk we are willing to take in order to have what we really want. In a lot of cases people decide what they really want, over having a career that makes them happy, is financial stability.

If that is your empowered choice, I have no qualms. Even though, I still believe that you have disqualified the idea that you can have a career that you love and that provides you with financial stability. That bothers me, and it bothers me more when people decide that what they really wanted to do wasn’t viable for them because they felt unworthy. They may not even realize that this belief was influential in their decision.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

I believe that if you decided that anything was more important than having a career that you love, then you never even tasted what it’s like to have a career that you love. You don’t know what you’re missing. You don’t know how incredible and meaningful life can be when you have a career that feeds your soul.

We interview these Epic Career Tales guests because we want listeners and readers to awaken to their own potential to have a similar tale. I want them to be clear that no career path is going to be without its challenges, and we wouldn’t want that, because then we wouldn’t grow. There are ways to overcome these challenges, and these peoples’ stories demonstrate what it took as well as how amazing it is to be on the other side of those challenges, and to be in a place of knowing you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

It’s OK to be afraid, and it’s OK to be terrified.

According to Jack Canfield, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

And according to Will Smith, “God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.

And FDR said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

If a professional goal scares and excites you, it probably represents your highest probability of having an epic career and life. Commit to it; give it everything that you got. If you do find out that it’s not the right goal, or that you don’t want it enough to overcome the challenges, it won’t kill you, but I promise you, you are more capable and worthy than you realize!

Shoot for something Epic

Exhilarating

Purposeful

Intentional

Conscious

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Aaliyah – Journey To The Past

ATLANTIC RECORDS 1997. “Anastasia” Soundtrack.