To Succeed You Need To Do These 20 “Hard Things”!

January 16th, 2017

This I believe. Most people want to lead a successful life. Success is defined by each person. Your “success” may not be my “success”. However each life of success involves doing certain things. I try to write about such efforts in various categories in my columns. Today I am sharing a perspective offered by March Chernoff. His Writing, entitled “20 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Happy”, mentioned the following twenty. I think happiness and success are intertwined so I am focusing on the perspective of reaching success. And, yes these things can be hard but mediocrity is not acceptable. Chernoff says these “hard things” include the things no one else can do for you and that may even frighten you to do. I add my perspective to Chernoff’s.

  1. YOU NEED TO TAKE SMALL CHANCES EVERY DAY: With a perspective of taking chances you will peck away at any fear that may inhibit you.
  2. YOU NEED TO WORRY LESS ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU: One of my favorite all time expressions is “what you think of me is none of my business”. Chameleon personalities that turn whatever color is needed to be liked by another are not authentic and cannot be trusted.
  3. YOU NEED TO IGNORE WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING AND ACHIEVING: Be your best self, developing your talents to the fullest, and get on with your successes.
  4. YOU NEED TO INVEST IN YOURSELF EVEN WHEN NO ONE ELSE IS: Prioritize your needs, develop a daily to-do list, and vote for yourself (without being selfish).
  5. YOU NEED TO WALK THE TALK: Talk is cheap. Take responsibility for making your goals a top priority. Do the grunt work.
  6. YOU NEED TO PUT YOUR HEART INTO YOUR WORK: Find your passion where possible and let that passion fuel your drive to success.
  7. YOU NEED TO DELIVER RESULTS, EVEN WHEN MAKING EXCUSES IS EASIER: Bottom line is “”git er done”! Cry babies and blamers do not succeed. Not your style.
  8. YOU NEED TO MAKE MISTAKES AND LOOK LIKE A FOOL SOMETIMES: I’m not very comfortable with this one. Yes, you will make mistakes and sometimes look like a fool but I’m not sure you “need” to do this or that it always happens. Here, I like this phrase, “I don’t lose, I learn”. Mistakes are just a part of the learning curve.
  9. YOU NEED TO LET GO OF YESTERDAY’S STRUGGLES: With your head turned backward it is hard to move forward, especially loaded down with that negative energy. Turn the page and create a new and successful chapter.
  10. YOU NEED TO REFRAIN FROM FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF: Pity parties serve no purpose. Mourn, let go, move on. Get the support and advice where needed to do so.
  11. YOU NEED TO TOUGHEN UP: Evolution is all about survival of the fittest. The weak fall apart and away. That can’t be you.
  12. YOU NEED TO FIGHT HARD FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN: If your goal is worthwhile you need to put that extra effort into attaining in. Be sure you know what you believe in and then develop the passion to go for it.
  13. YOU NEED TO BE PATIENT: Sometimes you can’t push your goal ahead if the time is not right. Readiness is a necessary component for moving forward. Thus, patience is needed.
  14. YOU NEED TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR THOUGHTS BEFORE THEY TAKE CONTROL OF YOU: This is one of my favorites. I practice and teach this. You can do much to control your thoughts which affect your feeling which affect your behavior.
  15. YOU NEED TO BE POSITIVE: Stay away from negative thoughts and people. Being positive and optimistic greatly raises the probability of success.
  16. YOU NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Some research states that you are a composite of the five people closest to you. Choose wisely.
  17. YOU NEED TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF: Be assertive, without being aggressive. Learn how to “vote for yourself” without being selfish. Shrinking violets fade away and lose.
  18. YOU NEED TO FORGIVE EVERYONE WHO HAS WRONG YOU: Carrying around the negative energy of resentment just depletes you. But, also, develop a boundary from such people so that they may not do it again.
  19. YOU NEED TO REACH OUT AND HELP PEOPLE: Being cared for and caring for others go hand in hand. Activate your heart and reach out and touch.
  20. YOU NEED TO BE PRESENT ENOUGH TO ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY: Being present, focused, and attuned lead to greater connection within yourself and a deeper union with others.

Respected Reader, what is your reaction to these mandates? Why don’t you give yourself a score between one to ten (ten being the highest) and rate yourself on each. Perhaps even ask someone who knows you well to give their opinion.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”     Socrates

Are You Putting Your Marriage First? Ask Your Kids, They Will Tell You!

January 8th, 2017

In my profession I have learned a lot – to say the least! One of the more important things that has consistently shown up is that your marriage, if you choose it, needs to be your first priority – after taking your own well being and becoming the best SINGLE person that you could be.

Hopefully you have seen the value of optimal personal development. Few people do. If you decide you would like the marriage state then do your research, due diligence, as to what type of person is the best fit for you as you travel through life. If you are already married perhaps you can do some tweaking, or major reconstruction if needed, to get your marriage into good shape.

Thus, if you are married make your partner your priority. Develop a rich solid loving marriage. If you have kids, or plan or having them, let them see your bonded love – that you are a “we” in making decisions going forth. In doing this you will be giving your kids the best gift that you could give them. This “gift” is two parents who love each other and continually make thoughtful compromising decisions that result in a good marriage model and a solid security blanket for your kids.

I think one of the best compliments I have ever received is when our two kids, individually have stated, “Dad you guys always put your marriage first. We could not divide you for our personal gain when we were kids.  Ultimately this did give us security for which we are grateful.  You two are the role models for our marriage and family.” Wow, it doesn’t get any better than that! They have chosen good partners, have solid loving marriages, and are raising their children with the model they witnessed growing up.

To put your marriage first is to recognize and do the things that reflect that commitment. It may not be easy, but it is important with significant ramifications. Too often people put their job, kids, animals, friends, etc… ahead of their spouse. Costly mistake!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

A New Year: Perhaps A Heart (Love) Check Up Is In Order. Quiz Available!

December 30th, 2016

At the beginning of this new year you have probably looked at your physical and fiscal conditions, made some resolutions, stated your goals, and are trying to carry them out.  If not, you are asleep at the wheel.  In your annual check-up did you examine your love life?  Time for a heart check-up.  No, not cardiovascular condition, rather your heart relationships – yourself, spouse, significant other, children, parents.

In the priorities of your existence, where does your love life fit in?  Go ahead, list the top five priorities in your life.  Any surprises?  Does the time and money spent on your love life equate well with your other priorities?

QUIZ:  (Please answer questions 1 and 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being low and 10 being high)

1. How do you rate your relationship with your self?______ spouse? _____  ex spouse? _____significant other?_____ children? _____  parent(s)? _____

2. How important to you is your relationship with each one?

3.How much thought/time/and action do you put in during a given week regarding each one?

4. Is there something you could do to enhance the quality of each one of these relationships?

5.What typical excuses do you use to perpetuate the status quo, i.e. not interested, too busy,working, not good at it, rather be socializing, golfing, etc?

May your 2017 year be a good one based on reflecting on what’s important in your life, especially in matters of the heart. Happy New Year!


Holidays Are About Family And Creating Memories!

December 23rd, 2016

The holidays are here and that is significant for your life.  Holiday memories are some of the most basic and powerful.  Holidays are about FAMILY- the starting point and most important influencers of who you are as a person.

Family experiences, and their consequent memories, are extremely impactful on your emotional life.  They dramatically affect how you experience the holidays year after year.  Also, holiday emotions are the “tip of the iceberg” for related emotions affecting your life even when you do not know it.  Emotions are the primary energy of interpersonal relationships.

Ask yourself, what is your gut feeling about the holidays?  Are they feeling of joy and excitement, or are they feelings of melancholy and depression?   If you are a person who looks forward to and welcomes the holidays, you probably had a happy childhood within your family.  There probably was a lot of love, caring, fun, and thoughtful gifts present in your household.  You  probably are continuing valued family traditions.

You may, however, be one of those persons who did not have a positive experience growing up, but have decided to make deliberate conscious choices to do things very differently in your family.  You want to erase those painful memories with new and positive experiences and have them  become encoded in your brain.

If you are a person who dislikes the holidays, feels blue, and wants them to quickly be over, then search for your negative childhood experiences.  Now may be the time to feel, grieve, and heal such pain.  The holidays can be the occasion to break through your unconscious defense mechanisms and change the way you experience the holidays

The holidays are an opportunity.  They can be the occasion for enhanced love and sharing within yourself and with loved ones.  They can be the stimulus for getting in touch with buried emotional pain that needs to emerge into wholeness and happiness.  Do a gut check.  What are your earliest holiday memories?  Self awareness and sharing these feelings can add a whole new dimension to this year’s holiday for you and those with whom you most intimately share your life.

Create some new and special memories this year – HAPPY HOLIDAY!! (Whatever your particular holiday is)


Holidays Can Open Doors That Might Well Stay Shut!

December 8th, 2016

The holidays bring out family dynamics, issues, and emotions.  Situations “trigger” reactions that usually are concealed during the rest of the year. There is a vulnerability that exists where feelings often are raw.  Many people “weird out” during this time of year.

There is no perfect family. Consequently, everyone has a weakness or vulnerability in certain parts of his or her personality.  This vulnerability can cause significant emotional,  communicative, and relational  problems between family members and spouses.

John Bradshaw, in his groundbreaking book,  THE FAMILY, describes a number of issues or conditions that people have.  The holidays exacerbate them leading to emotional pain and relational fallout.  (Excuse the length, but please don’t quit reading.  You will find yourself!)

  1. ABANDONMENT FEARS: You have great difficulty separating. You stay in relationships long after it is healthy to do so. You hoard things and cannot seem to let go of anyone or anything.
  2. DENIAL AND DELUSION: You are fantasy bonded to your family of origin. You defend your parents against any suggestion that they did less than a sterling job. You continually try to please your parents and win their love.  But no matter what you do, it is never quite good enough.
  3. UNDIFFERENTIATED EMOTIONS: You never know quite what you feel; you don’t know how to express your emotions. You cry when you’re angry; you get mad when you’re afraid.
  4. LONELINESS AND ISOLATION: You are unconnected and things sometime seem unreal. You feel lonely and never quite feel you belong.
  5. THOUGHT DISORDERS: You detail to the point of boring other people. You generalize a lot and often obsess on things you can’t do anything about. You worry excessively and intellectualize your problems.
  6. COMPULSIVE/ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS: You use euphoric type substances to change you feelings. You use activities to distract you from your feelings.
  7. HIGH LEVEL ANXIETY: You are chronically anxious. You don’t know exactly what you fear, but you imagine the worst.  You  catastrophize.
  8. INTIMACY PROBLEMS: When you start feeling close to someone, you sabotage the relationship. You’re attracted to emotionally unavailable people.  When you could be close to someone, you are not interested.  You cling to a relationship once you’re involved.
  9. LOSS OF AFFECT AND ENERGY: People experience you as cold and mechanical. You are numb.
  10. DRIVES AND NEEDS ARE SHAME BASED: When you feel horny, hungry, want to be touched or need something, you feel ashamed.
  11. RESENTMENT/GUILT CYCLE: You feel resentment about your duties to your family of origin or to your current family, but you feel guilty when you’re not taking care of those duties.
  12. OVERLY CONTROLLING: You try to control everyone and everything around you. You try to control other people’s behavior.
  13. FALSE SELF: You pretend a lot. You gauge your behavior by how it looks – by the image you believe you are making. You wear a mask, play a rigid role, and hide your emotions.
  14. EMPTY AND NARCISSISTICALLY DEPRIVED: You feel empty and go from one experience to another trying to be satisfied.
  15. MANIPULATING AND GAMEY: You use your energy to play games with people. You manipulate to get your needs met, rather than being straightforward about it.
  16. OVERINDULGED AND OVERSUBMITTED TO: You pamper and indulge yourself. You are constantly irritated that people don’t respond to your needs.
  17. OVERLY PERFECTIONISTIC, RIGID, AND AUTHORITARIAN: You endlessly strive to do everything right. You constantly monitor yourself.  You are critical and judgmental.
  18. NEEDY AND WANTING: You feel needy and look to others to fill your needs. You married to be taken care of.

Well, did you find yourself, or parts of yourself?  Just know that the emotions of the holiday and the family “triggers” will challenge your vulnerability.  Protect and heal yourself by reaching out to others with the holiday spirit of love, caring, and sharing.