Monthly Archives: January 2013

measuring your “happiness” or “success”

We probably don’t mean to, but I’m still surprised at how often I hear people measuring their “happiness” or “success” compared to their neighbor/friend/co-worker. And part of that measurement seems to include money, possessions, even experiences.

Sometimes without meaning to, we start making decisions based on other lives, other expectations, instead of what we really want. Taking this approach overlooks the personal aspect of personal finance. It’s a concept that my friend Tim Maurer came up with: “Personal finance is more personal than it is finance.”

So if it’s really personal, and if it’s our situation and our dreams that matter the most, then what are doing comparing ourselves to anyone else? There’s also the hard reality that we need to take responsibility for our finances. We may partner with someone else to help us with the complicated stuff, but we’re ultimately responsible for that final decision.

There’s no guarantee that what matters most to you will matter as much to anyone else. That’s why it’s so important to carefully review financial advice to make sure it fits you.

If you want to retire at 50, then your neighbor’s advice to buy a second home as an investment, may not be best for you. If you want to help your kids pay for college, then it may not be the best idea to spend thousands of dollars sending them to sports camps instead of saving money in a 529 plan.

Now there may be individual situations where a second home and sports camps make perfect sense. However, don’t assume that it will work for you, too, without considering your personal situation.

Take Action!

How To Dominate Your Fear and Take Massive Action

By Adam Steer
Miyamoto Musashi was one of the biggest badass swordsmen of 16th century Japan. He also wrote of one of the greatest books on tactics, strategy and philosophy ever written–A Book of Five Rings.

Musashi knew what most modern success gurus can’t seem to figure out: success takes a lot of hard work. And the key to making your goals a reality is massive action.

That’s the greatest difference between those who live their dreams and those who WISH for stuff. Hard work. We all know this. So here’s the question for you…

If you know what you want and you know you have to take action to get it, why aren’t you doing it?

I’ll bet it has something to do with fear.

Oh, sure, you’ll tell yourself it has nothing to do with being afraid. There are a thousand ways to rationalize your lack of action. You want to get in shape but you don’t have all the right foods in the fridge yet. You want to buy those new running shoes before you start exercising. You just need to wait until things are quiet at work before you start learning that new language.

I bet at least a couple of those sound familiar.

It’s EASY to find an excuse NOT to take action…

But the real reason you don’t make progress is something else entirely. You’re scared of the hunger and deprivation that might result from changing your eating habits. You’re afraid of missing out on your favourite TV show if you start using those Spanish language CDs. Or maybe you’re just worried you’ll disappoint yourself again by quitting your new workout right after you start.

No matter what it is, I guarantee there’s some sort of fear lurking beneath whatever justification you’re giving yourself for not taking massive action on your goals today.

And I want you to know that it’s completely okay.

Fear goes hand in hand with success. You’ll never unlock your potential if you hide within the shell of your comfort zone.

Here are my 5 keys to dominating fear and taking massive action to achieve your dreams:

Get some perspective on your fearTake your first step–don’t wait for the perfect time
Put one foot in front of the other–do the WORK
Don’t compare to the “ideal”–compare to where you’ve been and seek PROGRESS
Divide your goal into small chunks so you can create SUCCESSES that motivate you
The first secret to overcoming your fear is to put it into perspective.

Think back to a time when you were scared out of your wits to do something. I bet once that mission was accomplished, you felt great about the outcome–and maybe even a little silly about being so scared in the first place. Take some time with pen and paper to make a list of all those experiences. And the next time you’re having trouble getting out of your comfort zone, look back at that list for inspiration.

Okay, so you’ve managed to put your fear into perspective. The next thing is to just take that first step. As Lao Tzu so eloquently put it, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I’ll give you a personal example. I’ve wanted to learn Spanish for years. I’m a native English speaker, and during my years in Quebec I’ve become fluent in French. But my travels have taken me to a number of Spanish speaking countries recently, and I’ve always regretted not being able to converse in the local language.

After a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, I decided enough was enough. It was time to take action! I did a little research, and I ordered the very best Spanish language home-study course I could find: the Pimsleur Approach.

That was my first step. Sure, it took a lot of effort to overcome years of procrastination, justification, laziness and FEAR. What was I afraid of? Lots of things… Giving up my spare time, not being “smart enough” to learn the language, making a fool of myself the first time I actually tried to speak, and wasting time on a course that wouldn’t work. But none of that stuff is real.

So yeah, I received the course just this week. Now what?

Yep, you guessed it. On to step 3: Put one foot in front of the other–do the WORK. But we’ll talk about that in a future article.

Before you go there, I want you to do some homework. What’s one small step that you can take towards your big dream goal? Figure out what that is and just TAKE IT.

Put one foot in the door and the rest will eventually follow. Sure, you might falter a bit in the beginning. But if you never take that first step, you won’t get anywhere–ever.

[Ed. Note: Adam Steer is coauthor of the Shapeshifter Body Redesign program. When not helping people rediscover the body of their glory years, he’s following through with his goal of studying Spanish.]

Simple Stuff

stones(SIMPLE STUFF is a short bit of ideas, quotes, phrases, and ‘stuff’ to help you stay focused, stay loose, ask better questions, and laugh a bit.)

“Strive for balance rather than perfection. Most people live in a black-and-white world where they think that they’re either a volunteer with no life of their own, or just a materialistic, achievement-oriented person who doesn’t care to make a difference. Don’t fall into this trap. Life is a balance between giving and receiving, between taking care of yourself and taking care of others.” — Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within, p. 509

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What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.
Abraham Maslow

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 One sign of achieving enlightenment, Jim, other than auras, tinkling bells, and a healing touch, is that you start valuing idle daydreaming as much as you value planning.

Another is that you begin talking sweetly not only to plants and trees, but to cars and toasters and computers.

And, quite unequivocally, feeling gratitude for your present challenges, love for lousy drivers, and sympathy for those who don’t see service in their work. Serving 7 billion,    The Universe (tut.com./Mike Dooley)
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Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.
John D. Rockefeller
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Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. Peter DruckerSimpleStuff

Words to Live By: Self-Talk

(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)lenticular-clouds_1307_600x450

Earlier last year, about 12-14 months ago, I noticed that I was focusing on, and generally talking to myself (self-talk) in a less than empowering way. You know, I was asking poor questions – “what’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t I do that?” etc. Or I would say “He makes me mad” “that bothers me” , “that’s just a bad situation”.

Many wise people, coaches, etc. encourage us all to improve our questions and we’ll improve our perspective. So, for the past couple of months, I have been really trying to focus on my self-talk, my focus, my thoughts, my feelings, etc. Trying to be good in all respects – not ask, think of, focus on what isn’t working.

I also asked a friend and former coach, who I respect, etc. I used to work with him (he was my coach). I still visit his website.

One of the great things that I learned from him, and I still refer to is Dave’s WWG…..

It stands for:

What do you Want?

What is Working for you?

What are you Grateful for?

Simple thoughts that have really helped me.

Furthermore, I personally asked Dave for his thoughts. You see, my whole family is compassionate and wanting to help. A good thing. But sometimes our thoughts about it are NOT empowering.

Here’s what I mean….my late mother, my sisters and I still say “I feel bad for”…. people and animals. In other words, when we see an animal struggling, we might say; “I feel bad for that puppy”, or if there is a child struggling or a friend facing a challenge, we’ll say, ” I feel bad for him.”

Like I said, I am looking at all words, however seemingly small. When we say “I feel bad” we are essentially programming or telling ourselves to ‘feel bad’. Sure, it is nice that we have compassion and care for another person or animal, that’s all good, but when we say “I feel bad for…” we’re not helping that person/animal and we’re encouraging ourself to ‘feel bad. So I asked my friend Dave about it.

Maybe you don’t say “I feel bad for….” like we do. But I bet that you say or ask something else that is not empowering to yourself? Think about it. What things do you say or ask yourself that could be improved or changed?

Here are Dave’s thoughts, paraphrased. I thought they were meaningful and helpful enough to share with you.

I suggest taking words like bad, good, negative, positive out of your self talk by simply stating what it is without labeling it. For example: you may feel emotional inside where your energy is low in a situation, ask yourself if that feeling is serving you and if it is, ok…if not, choose to change to another feeling state by using WWG.

In your example when you say “I feel bad”, you can change it to “I have empathy/compassion for that person/animal” and if you want to do something for the person/animal then do, maybe sending them love or supporting them in some way, (or say a prayer?).

When you simply feel “bad” for something is that really doing anything for you or them? Yet If you have empathy/compassion and want to do something (even if it’s sending love or compassion from your heart) that offers something for that person/animal to help Empower them to move forward…use your feelings to help in some way instead of simply feeling “bad” which usually ties to guilt and is a mind and time waster.

Hope that helps you out 🙂 – From Dave Blomsterberg –

Also, suggestion for the book: “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer
It’s amazing how he looks at our thoughts simply being a thought and not tied to us and how to be an observer of our thoughts in order for our ego’s to stay out if our way…a must read! You can also go into Oprah’s OWN network on line to see if you can find episode where she interviewed Michael for some more insight from him.

How My Past Failure Led to My Present Success

How My Past Failure Led to My Present Success

This is from the website http://www.bookyourselfsolid.com/

I found it helpful to hear and read – probably similar to many things each of us go through in one way or another. I hope it helps you. Leave Feedback!

Written by Michael Port | January 17, 2013 |  The measure of a person is not how well they start, but how well they finish. Anyone can start. Following through and finishing is another story altogether.

Looking back on my life, there isn’t too much I regret. But, there is one thing…I regret not following through on my acting career.

I was right on the cusp of break-through success and I quit. I threw up my hands and quit. I was so close and I quit.
In 1997, as a 27 year-old “working” actor, I was on shows like Sex & The City, Law&Order, Third Watch, All My Children, and more. I did TV commercials for companies like Budweiser and tons of VoiceOvers for companies like AT&T.

At first, I put everything into my acting career. I attended one of the best graduate school in the country. I had a great agent. I was on the cusp of doing big things.

But I quit.

I couldn’t take the rejection. I didn’t like waiting around or leaving my future in the hands of others: casting directors, agents, producers, etc.

If I’m going to be honest about it, I felt alone and scared. So, I gave up and quit.

I remember the day I told my agent. I heard a thunk (quite literally) when his jaw hit his desk. I was right at the cusp of going from working actor to known actor but I wouldn’t go all the way.

I wouldn’t follow through. I wouldn’t take the time necessary to build something real. I gave up.

I tell you this story — and, it’s not one I often tell — because I don’t want you to look back on your life and have a shred of regret. I don’t want you to quit — whatever it is you’re doing — unless you have a more important dream — then quit the worthless thing and pursue the worthwhile thing.

Bottom line: it takes far more fortitude to finish something than it does to start it, especially as an entrepreneur. And that’s why I’m successful today. I will no longer give up. I’ve learned my lesson.

It’s possible likely you are feeling pressure in your business are wondering if you should go on. You must. You cannot quit. You can not give up.

Sure, you might say, it’s easier for me because I’ve already passed the early hurdles of entrepreneurship. But I too face my own personal and professional challenges while finding new opportunities to build the business, extend my brand and be of service to you.

I want to help you do the same. Maybe you’ll let me mentor you in The Alliance. I’ll get you finishing what you start. That’s for sure.

Maybe you won’t let me mentor you. But, man, I’ll tell you… if I had a mentor who’d already accomplished what I wanted to accomplish when I was an actor, I probably wouldn’t be writing this to you today. That’s why I’m so committed to helping you finish what you start. I don’t want you to give up. I don’t want you to fail.

And, please, don’t get me wrong, I love the work I do today and I’m not going back to acting. But failing, and having regrets that you didn’t follow through on a dream, is something you want to avoid at all costs.

Is happiness the secret of success?

HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE BY SHAWN ACHOR OF CNN THAT IS WORTHY OF SHARING. I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT, USE IT, AND GET HAPPY!

Is happiness the secret of success? – CNN.com

By Shawn Achor, Special to CNN –—          

Is happiness the secret of success?

Editor’s note: Shawn Achor is the author of the Happiness Advantage. He spent 12 years researching at Harvard, and is now CEO of Good Think Inc.

(CNN) — Scientifically, can happiness be an advantage?

Some people think if you are happy, you are blind to reality. But when we research it, happiness actually raises every single business and educational societal misconceptions about

When we study people, scientists are often interested in what the average is. If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average.

Many people think happiness is genetic. That’s only half the story, because the average person does not fight their genes. When we stop studying the average and begin researching positive outliers — people who are above average for a positive dimension like optimism or intelligence — a wildly different picture emerges. Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.

Scientifically, happiness is a choice. It is a choice about where your single processor brain will devote its finite resources as you process the world. If you scan for the negative first, your brain literally has no resources left over to see the things you are grateful for or the meaning embedded in your work. But if you scan the world for the positive, you start to reap an amazing advantage.

Now that there is research validity to these claims, the working world is starting to take notice. In January, I wrote the cover story for the Harvard Business Review magazine on “Happiness Leads to Profits.” Based on my article called “Positive Intelligence” and my research in The Happiness Advantage, I outlined our researched conclusion: the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.

A decade of research in the business world proves that happiness raises nearly every business and

educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality-of-life improvements.

Given the unprecedented level of unhappiness at companies and the direct link between happiness and business outcomes, the question is NOT whether happiness should matter to companies. Given this research, it clearly should. The first question is: What can I do in my own life to reap the advantage of happiness?

See also: Ambition could make you rich, but not happy (on cnn.com)

Training your brain to be positive at work is just like training your muscles at the gym. Sounds simple, right? Well, think about how easy it is to make yourself go to the gym. The key with any new resolution is to make it a habit. New research on neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to change even as an adult — reveals that moderate actions can rewire the brain as you create “life habits.”

In The Happiness Advantage, I challenge readers to do one brief positive exercise every day for 21 days. Only through behavioral change can information become transformation.

  • Write down three new things you are grateful for each day;
  • Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours;

–   Exercise for 10 minutes a day;

  • Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out;

• Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising someone in your social support network (family member, friend, old teacher).

But does it work? In the midst of the worst tax season in history I did a three-hour intervention at auditing and tax accounting firm KPMG, describing how to reap the happiness advantage by creating one of these positive habits. Four months later, there was a 24% improvement in job and life satisfaction. Not only is change possible, this is one of the first long-term ROI (return on investment) studies proving that happiness leads to long-term quantifiable positive change.

In a study I performed on 1,600 Harvard students in 2007, I found that there was a 0.7 correlation between perceived social support and happiness. This is higher than the connection between smoking and cancer. So if in the modern world we give up our social networks to work away from friends and follow celebrities on Twitter, we are trading off with our happiness and health.

Following up, I switched around the questions and asked how much social support employees provided (instead of received). The results were off the charts. Those high on provision of social support are 10 times more engaged at work and have a 40% higher likelihood of promotion over the next four years. In other words, giving at the office gets you more than receiving.

The greatest cultural myth in modern society is that we cannot change. My research proves that you can not only become more positive, but if you prioritize happiness in the present, you can reap an extraordinary advantage.

Complacency and resisting it !

Today’s environment is interesting. First, I do believe that the economy is getting better and that things will continue. Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t back to where they were, and they may not be for a long time. Many things will simply never be the same. Things change. Make sure that you can change and adapt.

It isn’t a political statement when I say the above, nor is it when I say that much of society and the media like to focus on what isn’t going well, the weaknesses and bad things in the economy. Often the news focuses on what is going wrong, unemployment, people struggling, etc. These things may be true but there are many people making lots of money, getting jobs, expanding, growing, investing, and doing better – and yes some of these people are actually not taking advantage of others to get ahead.

Anyhow, in this economy, at least around my area, I hear variations of things like , “Just be thankful that you have a job” or that “You’re lucky that your business is still surviving”.

To be frank, many of us live in a world surrounded by mediocrity, and worse, the promotion of it. I confess that many times I have been complacent in ways and not excelled for different reasons, often they were simply just excuses.

I think that we all need to be aware of how the general public mentality, TV, media, and even niches of songs (like Country and Western?) tell you to relax, don’t worry about working, and just enjoy life while playin’ hooky , etc.

I confess again that I love to watch movies at home. If I see the Godfather, Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, or something else good on the TV, I’m done for a few hours. This is often a waste of time that I regret. I need to be more disciplined. In general, we are enticed to sit in front of the boob tube for hours on end.

Many of us sit there, watch others enjoy success, fame, or action and dream about it but then again, we’re not taking action ourselves.

This is hard for me to say because I realize that I may ruffle your feathers a bit. I also know that I’m talking about myself in many cases. I see movies that I’ve watched years ago about something and I admire the actor for their craft. When I watch them again today, it enters my mind that that specific actor is still successful years later, an expert in what they do. Here I am sitting watching the movie/TV show and not taking action towards my dreams, towards making me better. Time passes, how much have I improved. It is sometimes a harsh reminder, isn’t it?

To be frank, the world encourages complacency in many cases.

I believe that this may be the greatest challenge we face on a daily basis.

It’s so very difficult to resist this.

How many people do you know (and I know that it isn’t you) that says something like. “Just put in the minimum effort, collect your check, clock in and clock out and don’t give a minute more,” ?

I believe that we either are growing/improving/moving ahead, or we’re getting worse/weaker/falling behind. There is no staying still, you can’t keep the status quo by doing nothing. We must keep growing, pushing, and testing our limits. If not, I believe you will live an unfulfilled life if you gave into complacency.

Complacency tempts us all. As I mentioned, I catch myself considering it all the time. I procrastinate, do less than I know that I could, and I get by.

There is a great resource that I learned from Early to Rise.com – it is Dan Kennedy’s he called, “The 7-Figure Academy: 7 Steps to 7 Figures”. In his section about Overcoming Resistance, he teaches that, “7-figure earners have extreme complacency resistance. You can’t rest or try to sustain the status quo. You must be finding the replacement for the replacement.”

Look around us. The world has changed so much. Who would have imagined that banking would have been so unstable in 2008/2009? That the U.S. Post Office would be losing billions, closing offices and trying to cut staff. Government and bank workers are getting laid off. A postal job was the epitome of safety, right?

Look at any industry in the past 5-7 years. It changed. Note that I say changed – not gotten worse. I believe that there are still so many opportunities out there – but different ones. This means the industry you are in now likely won’t be the business you are in two years from now, five years from now, and certainly not ten years from now – particularly if you want to keep growing your income.

Craig Ballantine of etr.com said, “Each time you resist complacency and grow outside of your status quo, you will increase your income.”

Author Dave Kekich writes in Kekich Credo #1, “People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. The easy roads to discipline are setting deadlines, discovering and doing what you do best and what’s important and enjoyable to you, and focusing on habits by replacing your bad habits and thought patterns, one-by-one, over time, with good habits and thought patterns.”

“The failure to act is much more often the product of inner, emotional resistance than external resistance,…….”To move forward you must give up your story, whether it is excuses about your childhood, lack of education, your ‘bad luck’, your unsupportive family, where you live, etc.” – Dan Kennedy

I wish you the best of strength and encouragement to resist complacency to reinvent your business or life. May you and I both resist complacency and instead, always be testing new things.

“Resolve your own internal resistance. A 7-figure earner has no margin for such weakness,” Dan Kennedy

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