Our family has a 9-10 year old female corgi/golden retriever mix. We got her from the shelter 2 years ago and she has turned out to be a great dog for us. This afternoon when I returned home she met me half way up the stairs as I was coming down. When we reached the bottom she gave me a quick bark. Roughly translated, I need to go out and I want you to take me.
And then this is when it gets good. Once she gets the signal that I am going to take her out (I get the leash) she gets all excited and starts jumping around with all kinds of enthusiasm. You would think she was getting the biggest juiciest piece of steak in the world (though she could not chew it if she did), but no, she is getting to go outside to relieve herself. In her excitement she is letting me now how much she appreciates me taking her out.
What a great expression of gratitude. And a great side effect, regardless of my mood prior to that moment, I get a smile on my face.
Gratitude. It does not have to be hard. It can actually be FUN.
Is attitude everything? Does our attitude define how we experience life, relationships and success in all areas of our life. I would say it is not everything – but it determines a great deal of what we experience in our lives. A great deal.
I would describe attitude as our disposition, our way of being in the world based on thoughts, ideas and behaviors that are rooted in beliefs about ourselves and the world.
We spend a significant amount of time in school and in programs that teach of the technical aspects of life, which we need as a society to continue to progress. In the area of attitude, the behavioral sciences, we tend to spend significant less time. Learning about our attitude and how to possibly change it is left primarily to the individual.
As adults we can reevaluate the thoughts, ideas and beliefs we have developed that impact our attitude and therefore our life. We can take full responsibility for our attitude. We can choose to become conscious by stepping back to identify our thoughts, ideas and beliefs. In that awareness we have the opportunity to continue to live by those thoughts, ideas and beliefs or choose new ones.
To make these changes in attitude here are 5 steps (based loosely on the Dicken’s Technique, popularized by Anthony Robbins):
- Choosing to Become Conscious – as simple as this sounds, many of us walk around in a state of semi-consciousness. We developed our beliefs at such a young age we are no longer aware of their existence. So the first steps is to choose to be aware. As we go about our day or we taking time out to become aware, we can check in with ourselves. How am I acting. What am I thinking. What is my mood.
- Identifying Beliefs – As we observe ourselves we have an opportunity to ask what must I believe in order to act this way, think these thoughts or to be in this mood. We could ask why we believe what we believe or what happened in our lives to develop this belief but that is less important than identifying the belief itself. What is the belief (e.g., financial abundance is bad, being skinny is good, being nice is good, conflict is bad).
- Evaluating the Cost or Benefit – Once we have become aware of a belief the next question is – does the belief benefit my life. Does this belief make my life better. Do I feel better in my life with this belief. If you are not feeling better by holding this belief then there is most likely a cost to holding the belief.
- Decision on Change – The next question is, for those beliefs that cost you in your life, are you willing to change those beliefs. This is an important point because we can want something different but not be willing to do something about it. Change can take effort and courage. Our beliefs can affect our whole lives and our relationships. The deciding factor though is the cost and possibly the pain caused by the belief. Are we willing to continue to pay the price or would we like our beliefs to serve to make our life better.
- Anchoring the Change
- In order to really make a deep and lasting change to our beliefs we need to replace the existing belief with something new, something that serves us in our lives versus something that cost us. So the first thing you want to do is really get clear on the cost and to really feel that cost. To really feel the cost of that belief both now and in the future. One year from now, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years – what is the cost over time.
- After you have allowed yourself to really feel the cost of the belief you turn it around and do the opposite. What if you changed the belief. What could your life look like if you no longer had the belief. How might you feel. What good things might you attract into your life. Really feel those good feelings.
If you have really allowed yourself to follow these steps, investing particular attention in step 5, you should feel a difference in how you hold yourself and your future. This is a powerful process that you can use to change any belief and thus change your attitude and thus your opportunity for success.
Fear, it can feel so debilitating or overwhelming, creating avoidance in our lives. There are times when fear and avoidance is good. It keeps us from getting hurt in some way (e.g., stepping in front of a moving vehicle), physically or mentally. And then there are those situations when avoidance can be debilitating and we need to do the thing we are afraid anyway.
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Take for example a conflict at work or in your family. Someone has spoken something to a third party that is either not true or negative, without benefit to anyone and likely hurtful consequences to someone. Addressing a situation like this could be very scary for some people. In other words, addressing conflict=BAD. And yet, leaving this situation unaddressed is very likely more hurtful to everyone involved. It is negative and only lowers the energy of those that are affected and even beyond.
Stepping up and facing into our fears (versus avoiding) in these situations can turn the fear into positive influence, such as re-establishing integrity, building trust, reducing negative influences and developing the courage to take of ourselves. There are many other examples we could mention in the home or at work. It is about facing into the fear that is tide to doing what is right, not what is easy.
Here are 5 steps to make it easier to address situations you may be avoiding.
1. Stop and be willing to acknowledge and be in integrity with your fear.
2. Look to see if you have made up a story about the situation that is making the fear bigger than it needs to be (e.g., she will just turn me down if I ask her out…I am not good enough for her…she is so much better looking than me, etc., etc.,).
3. Now remove the story from the situation. Look at the facts of the situation.
4. Ask yourself how might I feel about myself if I don’t step into and through my fear. If you are honest you will see you would likely feel less confident, less secure, less than, etc.
5. Now ask yourself how you might feel if you do step into your fear and this situation. Again, if you are honest with yourself you will acknowledge that you might feel more self respect, more confident, more capable, etc.
Although this is not a step, it is one of the most important things I can share with you regarding this process. There is no failure.
Regardless of what you choose to do, it is only information. Do it, don’t do it, do it and it feels hard or gets messy. These are all outcomes that we can learn from – versus judging ourselves as good or bad. Keep this in mind, it is a powerful principle in life’s journey.
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Many of us spend a significant amount of our energy “not wanting things to be the way they are”. We want it to be different. It can start out looking like “I want X and I don’t have it and I cannot create it”. For example, “I want more business and I don’t have it”, “I want to be skinnier and to look better”, “I want to be noticed by others, I feel ignored”, etc., etc.
Each of these statements, these wants that we continue to hold onto are like boat anchors. As long as we hold onto to them, we create a resistance within our selves to creating what we want. If we can let go of the feelings associated with these wants we will release the energy we are bottling up keeping these wants in place. We can have a want and let go of the “need” or “should” that we attach to the want. Have the want and let it go.
Four Steps to Release Your Resistance:
1. Identify something that you have acquired some emotional attachment to.
2. Now allow yourself to really feel the feelings associated with this want.
3. Now ask yourself if you are willing to let go of this want, or the need or should associated with this want.
4. If so, purposefully let go of the feelings related to this want.
By following these steps you release the energy which you bottle up to hold onto this need or should. By releasing that energy you now have more energy to do what you want in your life.
I have adapted my approach from Hale Dwoskin and his book “The Sedona Method, Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-being.” This is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in living a happier and more successful life.
The idea of creating my own time seemed foreign to me when I originally heard of it. We have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks in a year. How do I create more time.
Let’s take what cost us time first. I have a list of 10 things I want to get done. I prioritize them based on the sense of urgency I feel toward each of those items. Sense of urgency equaling the potential for pain I might feel if I don’t get something done. Simple enough right? No. Yes, some of those urgent things may give you an increase in energy, but quite often the urgent things are a drain on our system. Going out on a limb a bit further, I might add that always putting the urgent things first can turn into a habit, a perpetual cycle.
Now let’s look at our 10 things that we want to get done from the stand point of what will give me a return on my time ©. For me, writing this blog post gives me a boost. I don’t write my blog because I have to write it. I write it because it aligns with my purpose, my direction in life. And when I do write in my blog, my energy level goes up and I have more energy to do those things that I want to get done. In a sense, I have compressed what I can get done into a smaller time frame because I have increased my energy to do what I want to do.
By doing the things that energize us we are investing in our energy thereby increasing it and what we can get done – which results in a return on our time.
My 5 Steps for Creating Time
- Create a list of things you want to do (daily, every other day, weekly, etc.)
- Now prioritize the items on your list based on which items will give you the most energy.
- Start each day working on those things at the top of your list (those energy building task).
- Mid-way through your day evaluate your energy level and your list. Would you get more done continuing to do those high energy activities or would it feel right to switch and get an urgent item off your list? Make a decision and do that thing.
- Periodically take note of your energy level. When you find your energy level dropping ask yourself what it is you really want to be doing now.
I do not see this as a time management technique. I see it as an energy expanding technique that has an investment affect on our time, of creating more time for us to do what I want to do.
Give it a try for a week and let me know in the comments. Or email me your thoughts and reactions at .
Enjoy Achieving Goals by Releasing Attachment. When I first came across this idea I was in a bit of disbelief. In my mind, you set a goal and then you pull out all the stops to achieve it. It may cause pain, it may even cost you relationships – but if you are worth your salt you achieve your goals.
I would talk to my one time mentor about this pain I had in my chest. I felt run down, sad and depressed. I was achieving plenty in my life and, at the same time feeling empty. The analogy he gave me was that a bow needs to be unstrung periodically or it will loose it’s potency. It will have nothing left to give.
What I came to see is that I held goals as things “I had to achieve”. I had become so attached to them that they defined me, my happiness and sense of self. It was not a choice, but a must. I needed them, had to have them, should be achieving them or – I FAILED.
What I want you to get, you can have a goal and pursue it with all the same zest but without the possessiveness. Set your goals and let them go. Follow your intuition and do those things that you feel in the moment will move you the most in the direction of your goals (but without the stick that says I am so attached to achieving this goal I will need to flog myself if I don’t achieve it).
Allow their to be flow, the natural up and down movement forward of the waves in the ocean. If you find yourself stopped in the movement of your goal it might be time to move on to things that do inspire you.
Does this concept make sense to you? Have you held goals in a similar or different way? What is your story?
Not Just Your Typical Post!
When I think of “passive aggressive behavior” I think of behaviors between two or more people. It can be a spoken or unspoken attempt to control another individual, with the purpose of affecting the outcome that is wanted or unwanted.
But what if it is possible to be passive aggressive towards ourselves? To try and manipulate ourselves in that same hostile and controlling way.
Consider those situations you want to do something and yet you do not do it. I am talking about things you really want. What I have found is that some or many of the things we want to do but do not do are the outcome of unconscious resistance to ourselves. On the surface we say we want something and yet deeper down, in our unconscious we do not want to risk experiencing the thing or situation.
I can say I want a better paying job, a better relationship, to move to a new area, more clients, etc., but if I am afraid of the outcome, say rejection, I may not move forward to get those things in my life.
So on one hand we are telling ourselves we really want something and at the same time we are resisting and possibly passive aggressively flogging ourselves for not doing it. We have passive aggression interactions with others because we want or don’t want something. We can do the same thing to ourselves. The outcome: we create hurt and pain within ourselves (even if we are not aware of it)!
So what do we do about this passive aggressive behavior toward ourselves? Own it. And I don’t mean the own it in your head, I am talking about owning that we don’t want to do it at the head, heard and soul levels. This level of ownership opens the door to real change (and healing). Sit with your resistance as long as you need in order to fully feel it – not just think it. Own that you want this thing or situation but at the same time and perhaps even stronger you don’t want it (because of the possible outcome that may not be what we want it to be).
Once we fully own, at a heart level, that we are holding ourselves back – then we have taken the power back from our unconscious tendency toward passive aggressive resistance. Now we have a chance of stepping beyond our own passive aggressive resistance toward creating more of what you want in your life. Now we can consciously choose to do or not do something. Try it.
- Look at what “want” you have had for some time.
- Have you been putting it off, if so, look deeper for avoidance which is also a “don’t want”
- Stop & fully own that resistance and speak it out loud.
- Step forward and honor your want
- Now decide consciously if you still want this thing or situation and own that decision
- Now either let it go or decide what step you could take today, tomorrow or next week to get this want in your life.
Real giving of yourself takes heart and I would argue soul. It may look different for you than me, but it is there. For me,
writing. I really like to write once I get started. But what I have noticed is that when I write something that really means something to me takes energy and heart. And the more you can tap into those when you are giving – the better the giving. If I am going to “ship” as Seth Godin” says, and I want to ship something that has really value – it will probably be something that I wrote from my hear and soul.
Don’t just go through the motions in your job, marriage, relationship with your kids – put some heart into it. That is real giving.
The trick with visualization is to visualize and then get on with doing what it is that will bring that visualization into reality. Can visualization alone attract what you want into your life? Possibly. But I see a great deal more evidence of success by individuals adding other key ingredients to their visualization, like passion and action.
I have found that passion and action go a long way toward bringing about the future we want to experience. Visualizing a lot of money in the bank or the love of their life standing next to them, but then never taking the risk to get out there is naive to me.
Visualize and then get out there and passionately pursue your vision and allow your intuition to guide you along they way rather than your fear or want of control.
Ever have that thought, “they’re getting ahead of me”, “they did what I was thinking about doing”, “they are better at it than me”, “I’ll never be as good as them”…the list goes on. You may not say these things, but do you have some parallel thoughts of your own?
So someone is already doing what you thought about doing, great! They are doing it better than you judge you could do it, great! They are way ahead of where you are at – GREAT!
What I experience in my life is continually expanding opportunities. There are so many facets to parenting, to running a business, to growing roses, to making love – the list is endless. Some of those ideas might be an idea that changes how the world works, others may not or may not in a big bang way.
My point is – don’t spend a lot of time comparing. Do a little homework and then follow your intuition. The world is always expanding into new frontiers, from the pony express (days, weeks, months, years?) to electron mail that is in (milliseconds, seconds, minutes).
Move forward. Take the risk. Copy if you have to – but get out there and then really listen to your intuition so you can make course corrections if beneficial to you and the world.