Monday, October 19, 2009

Lashing Out is Easy (Read Time: 2 min.)

Lashing out is so easy. Someone does or says something that hits that big red button on your heart and, before you know it, the rage is seething, the hurt is throbbing, and the desire to strike back, to defend what's left of your ego is front and center...

But does it get the desired results? Yes and no.

When we lash out, we instantly feel a sense of superiority. "I told him!" we say to ourselves. "She deserved that" we justify but who walks away from a tongue lashing truly hurting? The person who used their tongue.

When your hurt transforms into anger that reveals itself as vengeance, the only thing you can achieve is a regretful moment. There's emotional violence in lashing out that you can't ever take back. Your words are more powerful than your fists. A physical bruise will eventually heal but the spiritual and emotional wounds of physical and verbal bruising never go away.

And you don't have to speak it for the venom to spread. A look can injure. A tension filled sigh can violate. The withdrawal of interaction (dead silence, a blank stare) can destroy.

It's too easy to lash out, yes but it's too hard to live with the consequences. When you lash out at anyone else, guess who you're really clobbering? You...

Let's stop the emotional violence. Let's send roses to the people who act in ways we don't necessarily like. The daggers, when we send them, always have a way of returning to sender.

The next time you feel your blood boiling, fists clenching, and heart pounding, step back, walk away, and ask yourself one question "Do I want to spread the emotional violence or heal it?"

That answer will tell you exactly what to do next.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creating Shapeable Goals (Read Time: 3 min.)

One of the biggest mistakes any person can make on the extraordinary success journey is to create goals that are rigid and unchangeable. Your life is constantly changing. Who you are and what you can do in your teens is very different from the person you become in your forties. The same applies to every growth period of your life.

Far too many people believe in the “I can be all things no matter what’s going on in my life” mantra. Not so!

Your goals, if you are to achieve them in an extraordinary way, must be shapeable.

What do I mean by shapeable?

Shapeable goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound GIVEN the context of your present life circumstances.

Let me give you an example.

Paula and Janet both want to start their very first businesses. Both came from a career in corporate America. Both are passionate, capable, and extremely prepared to start their ventures. Paula is 31 and just had a baby three months ago. Janet is 45 and just sent her last child off to college. Paula has a wonderful husband who is very supportive but works 70 hours a week. Janet has a wonderful husband as well who works 40 hours a week and helps her with the technical side of her business. Paula is a wiz with computers and is currently designing her website, setting up her online payment system, and is drafting email marketing campaigns. Janet sleeps 8 hours a night. With breastfeeding, Paula is lucky if she gets 3 hours a night and, since her husband can’t help in the feeding area, she’s the one who’s up all night with the baby.

Now, can we assume that BOTH Paula and Janet will build, launch and start making money from their businesses in exactly the same time frame? No, we can’t. The context of their lives are drastically different and, therefore, neither can expect to attain the same goals in the same amount of time given the vast difference in those situations.

You are not who you were yesterday. You will not be the same person tomorrow so it makes sense to create goals that work for where your life is right now. Too many people succumb to the pressures of self-imposed, UNREALISTIC expectations and set goals that, in all honesty, given the current context of their lives, they will never reach. This isn’t pessimism; it’s called being a practical dreamer.

Napolean Hill said “Practical dreamers don’t quit.” What he failed to mention was that practical dreamers know how to scrap plans that don’t work for the context of their present life situations and keep scrapping those plans until they find one that works.

How do you find the plan that works? Develop shapeable goals.

Be willing to change your mind about your goals without blaming or faulting yourself for not achieving what you originally thought you could. Don’t look at setbacks as failures; see them as opportunities to re-evaluate and come up with a better plan. Be open to change. Your ability to rock and roll with the changing nature of life itself is a competitive advantage that EVERY extraordinarily success person possesses.

Most importantly, set yourself up for success by fully considering the current circumstances of your life. This doesn’t mean you play the victim or you play small. It does mean that you accept the pace of your life and you create goals that work within that pace.

No matter how fast or furious you see other people going, know that every great achievement was arrived going ONE STEP AT A TIME.

Monday, October 5, 2009

5 Ways to Step Out of the Control Freak Mentality (Read time: 3 min.)

Ever feel like you have to be in control of everything
or else you aren’t in control of anything?

The fear that comes with losing self-control, for many, spurs the creation of a control freak mentality. Control freaks need to know what they’re doing, where they’re going, how they’re getting there and with whom… or they need their enter lives planned out… and everyone else’s life who directly affects theirs’.

The control freak mentality is tension-ridden, anxiety-filled and, at the end of the day, does little more than stress a person out. The truth is that life is not about force; it’s about flow and the only way to flow with life is to be okay with the outcomes, no matter how much you’ve invested in the inputs.

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Our reactions to the uncontrollable experiences of life are where character, integrity and success are determined. The most important things in life are not 100% in your control but your reaction to what happens in your life is.

To take on a false sense of omniscience is to believe that you control everything and nothing is beyond your careful planning. This sets you up for HUGE failures.

What happens when you get laid off after years of stellar performance appraisals?
What happens when the 20 year marriage you invested heart and soul in ends because he or she is now in love with someone else?
What happens when the child you did everything to protect from 0-18 gets in a fatal car accident at 25?
What happens when the body you so lovingly nourished and exercised comes down with cancer?

While it’s important to dismiss the idea that every good thing is followed by a bad one, it’s time to come to grips with the reality of life: shit happens. We all go through dark times and they always serve a divine purpose. The control freak, in wanting to decide and choose everything, will lose sight of the blessing of ANYTHING he or she did not plan for… and that will erode extraordinary success.

In addition, it takes a lot of work to be a control freak. It’s time consuming, headache producing, and when you do the control freak thing in relationships, it kills the mood.

So how do you go from control freak to proactively spontaneous?

Here are five ways to step out of the control freak mentality:
1) Trust the process of life.
It sounds foo foo and metaphysical but this is the most important thing you can do to break the control freak tendency. At some point, you’ve got to decide whether you live in a friendly world where things work out for you or whether you live in a hostile world where things are just waiting to go wrong for you. Whatever you decide, that’s EXACTLY what you will get. Trusting the process of life is not about having guarantees; it’s about being secure enough in yourself and the Divine to know that you are guided, protected, and made successful in EVERY life experience, especially the bad ones. Yes, there will be crappy things that happen. Yes, people will do things you’ll absolutely hate but there’s a gift in that and when you trust the process of life, you’re able to let it go because you know that you know that you know that your future is bright and joyous and secure… NO MATTER WHAT.

2) Master your time.
So many control freaks walk around trying to do the work of 10 people over 2 weeks as one person in one day. That’s a set-up for absolute failure. Extraordinary success comes from putting whole mind in present action. To do that well consistently, you have to be a master of your own time. You have to know how much time you truly have and what is feasible for you to do in that timeframe. There’s no need to berate yourself, to deprive yourself of necessary sleep or to deliver on 10 things at 80% when you could deliver on 3 at 100%. Until you have mastered your own daily schedule, control freak tendencies will lead you to behaviors that, in the long run, are self destructive. Whether you call it overworked, underpaid, overburdened or simply burnt out, until you master your time, you will forever feel the burden of trying to control and overcompensate for the lack of mastery.

3) Ask for and receive help.
No man is an island. Ask for help. More importantly, when someone offers you help, say ‘Yes’ to it. Say ‘yes’ to it and let that person do what they said they would do WITHOUT you fearing that they’ll screw things up or won’t do as good a job as you will. Maybe they won’t but their assistance will help you focus whole mind on present action and that is the key.

4) Stop criticizing yourself.

Control freaks tend to COMPLAIN A LOT. They also tend to criticize themselves and others A LOT. Take a moment and look at where you are in your life. Your criticism of yourself and others has got you here. If this place is where you’re happy staying, then keep criticizing. But, if, by some chance, you aren’t as far along as you’d like to be, if you would like to experience extraordinary success in a way you’ve never known, you’ve got to do what you’ve never done. Start with this: no more criticism of yourself or others for anything at any time. Love and approve of yourself and watch the circumstances change magically.

5) Embrace and be OK with who you are.
Certain aspects of control freak can be moderated. Many of them can blossom into a deeper, intuitive, freeing way of life. However, there are certain things about control freak nature that might never go away. It’s time to be okay with that. So what if you like to hog the remote control? Give it away for a day or two but if you hog it five days a week, who’s counting? So what if you like to take your wallet or purse with you everywhere you go, no matter where you are? Is that hurting anyone? No, keep doing it. There’s a part of reducing control freak behavior that comes, in large part, by you not criticizing yourself for being this way and, instead, embracing all of who you are. You might like napkins folded in a certain way and it drives you nuts when anybody else does it another way. Learn how to accept other napkins and, when dinner is over, and the other person leaves, take a de-stress moment and re-fold the napkins. That person will feel loved and you’ll feel better.

What’s the point? Embrace ALL of who you are.