The column I wrote for the December issue of the Garland Rowlett Messenger caused quite a stir. But it’s not wrong. In fact, it’s so right it hurts. What do you think? Leave a comment!
Every year we, as Americans, gather around our dinner tables with our family, friends, or both, and we break bread in a tradition of being grateful for the people, opportunities, and possessions we have in our lives. Some families do not begin eating until each person has spoken briefly about what he or she is thankful for that year.
We consume an average of 4500 calories each, and watch football on the TV between rounds of green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. With stuffed bellies and family gathered together, life is pretty good, right? That’s what Thanksgiving is all about – being grateful for what you have. This couldn’t be further from the truth in American culture.
Thanksgiving is a joke, and millions of people are in on it.
Thanksgiving is about the latest and greatest Black Friday sale. It’s about carbing up the day before the big shopping marathon. We eat big meals to fuel our bodies so we can then trample over the weaker of our species when those glass doors at Wal-Mart slide open at 5am.
We spend one day together feeling thankful for what we have, and the next day clamoring for materials we simply cannot live another second without – and we’ll hurt each other to get them.
The image at the top of this column is a screenshot of the current deaths and injuries related to Black Friday shopping excursions. It began in 2008 as a way to record the needless violence that occurs due to our need to have more stuff in our lives.
This is shameful.
This is the opposite of nourishing what matters.
This, of course, doesn’t reflect the actions of everyone, but it does reflect a cultural pattern in this country, and it’s not a good one, no matter how you look at it.
I challenge you to step back from all the commercialism of the holiday season, and genuinely reflect on your life for a moment. What are you grateful for this year? Who are you grateful for this year?
My invitation to you is to make this season about the gifts of gratitude, appreciation, and love – not making sure your loved ones have the latest electronics come Christmas morning. Spend a little more time showing them you care and less time making sure you have enough space on the credit card to get them a PS4.
It’s time to treat the holidays like more than just a gift exchange party. It’s time we Nourish What Matters.
What do you think? Leave a comment so we can connect.
“There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart.
We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies.
We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake.
It is the Human desire for Love. Every person in this Earth yearns to love, to be loved, to know love.
Our true identity, our reason for being is to be found in this desire.
Love is the “why” of life, why we are functioning at all. I am convinced it is the fundamental energy
of the human spirit, the fuel on which we run, the wellspring of our vitality.
And grace, which is the flowing, creative activity, of love itself, is what makes all goodness possible.
There is a project coming that has the power to shift us. I am excited to give you a little teaser because I’m not willing to throw too much at you too soon. We have started our Bigger Game here at H.Q. and it’s going to be nothing short of extraordinary. For the time being, pay a compliment to one another, express gratitude in your life, and start living for experience rather than what monetary gain it may bring.
The shift is coming. Stay tuned.
Blake and the new team.
Lately it seems like all I’ve been hearing are assumptions and conclusions on how the world really works. When I pay attention a moment longer, I can hear the blaring battle cry of distorted thinking. Distortion is a cunning and seductive beast. If you don’t give pause to your thoughts, you’ll completely miss her sleight of hand. Here are 15 styles of distorted thinking:
You take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. For example, let’s say you blew a tire on the way to work, but after changing it you were given a free coffee for your troubles at the local coffee shop. You’ll tell the story of the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day – completely forgetting the free coffee and smile.
Things are black or white, good or bad, possible or impossible. You have to be perfect or you’re a failure. There is no middle ground. You cannot compromise…on anything. You find all the options irrelevant because your mind is made up already… about everything.
You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. This happens after broken hearts. “All guys are douchebags. I’m just going to get my heart broken.” People are often quick to jump to conclusions after only one incident.
Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. This is because you, much like the rest of the human populous, has a Ph.D. from Make Stuff Up University.
You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start throwing out “what-ifs” about it. What if tragedy strikes? What if it happens to you? What if it’s too risky and you die?!?!? Knock it off. Your blood pressure doesn’t ever need to go that high on a what if. And yes, catastrophizing is totally a made-up word.
Please share your thoughts. What are you saying yes to these days? What would you like to say yes to?
If you like this video, please share it!
Thanks! Stay brilliant!
Holy Mother of God, it’s actually happening. I’m turning 30 in a little over 30 days. I haven’t burned the city down, and I haven’t been elected Presidente del Mundo. So, what have I done? Is it enough? Have I struck out more than I’ve home-runned? What am I missing?!?!
The past few weeks I’ve been toying with the idea of actually turning 30 – like it wasn’t actually happening to me. Suddenly, I felt the impact of this transition during my morning protein shake:
I am a month from closing my twenties… FOREVER.
When faced with suck a pickle, it can feel overwhelming, and it challenges people to reflect and assess the life they’ve been living up to this point. I am taking it a step further and announcing the 30 Day Challenge. Can you say, “Bucket List Beta Test?” It’s essentially a kick-ass-scavenger-hunt-of-awesome, completed in 30 days. It’ll be a scramble to the very end, and I’m inviting–nay, I’m challenging you to do it with me!
Here are some of the things people want to do before they turn 30:
- Hot air balloon ride
- Backpacking across Europe
- Climb a mountain
- Run a marathon
- Get married
- Get divorced (maybe?)
- Bungee Jump
- Food fight
- Take a road-trip
- Start a business
- Sell that business
- Fall wildly in love
- Heal from a broken heart
- Sing karaoke
- Flowers for no reason (give and receive)
- Buy a car
- Buy a home
- Fly a plane
Look, this list can go on forever. In fact, if you google it, these lists actually do go on forever. I’ve done a LOT of really cool things, and I’m now in the last month of my twenties. It’s time to man the harpoons, because I’m grabbing life by the horns and going for a whale of a good time. How’s that for mixing analogies?
I don’t have the time or money to drop everything and backpack through Europe tomorrow, so that’s out. What I can do is the scary things I’ve thought about, but put off. Well no more!
This challenge is more than just doing things. It’s about experiencing things. Experiencing emotions, thrills, spills, chills, perhaps even ills. It’s all in the name of progress, right? So, readers, I challenge you to follow along. I will send an email reminder every morning to let you know what I’m planning, and invite you to look at how you can do that too. I’ll share my story as I try to knock out all I can in the next 30 days.
There’s a fact of life many of us miss: We’re all going to end up in the record books whether we like it or not. By default, we are recorded as a statistic. If we choose to chase our dreams, stand for what we believe, and push to live deliberately, we can all change how we’re recorded. At the end of your life, are you going to leave a statistic or an impact?
That, my friends, is a damn good question. I am choosing to leave an impression on the world, and right now I’m choosing opportunities that leave a lasting impression on me. Sometimes you have to learn before you teach, right?
What are you choosing?
Leave your comments below!
The other day a friend of mine posted this picture on her Facebook wall, with the followup comment of “story of my life.” It immediately got me thinking:
How many people feel this way?
More importantly, I instantly felt curious about how many people took it a step further and decided to no longer let the heart make decisions – after a breakup, mistake, fallout etc. Many of us experience something that alters our outlook on life to such a degree, that it can sometimes take another life-altering experience to switch it back.
I’ll be turning 30 next month, and I have been that guy – the one that lead head-first into everything, and refused to let his heart make any decisions. You see, I got my heart broken in high school (as most of us did), and in true teen-angst fashion, questioned whether love was even worth it anymore. I went to college and fell madly, stupidly, wildly in love again. Then that fell apart. Well, that was it for me. My brain told my heart he was no longer allowed to make decisions.
My heart was cutoff.
No more decisions from that guy.
Of course I then fell in love again – just as deeply, madly, and wildly as before, but there was something new happening. I was assessing and calculating like a team of high functioning autistic accountants. At the first hint of displeasure or struggle, my team of “statistical engineers” ran the numbers and determined if my relationship was worth any further effort. I started actually hearing the math being crunched in my brain when things weren’t going well.
Needless to say, my relationships were not going to last very long. And they didn’t. The greatest (read: sarcasm) and most tragic fact around all of this was that I truly believed it wasn’t my problem – the women in my life just weren’t perfect enough to pass my committee. What an awesome guy I was, right? (Again, sarcasm in heaping spoonfuls here).
Then one day my coach changed my life by putting my brain and my heart in opposite corners, and let them fight it out in court. My brain explained exactly what it was doing, and why it was the best way to go. My heart sang its song, and why it wanted out from under the thumb of the committee upstairs. For the first time in years I witnessed the struggle. I heard the cold calculations. I felt the ache in my heart from years of being ignored. I learned something more important than anything else:
My. Brain. Was. Wrong.
You see, my brain shamed me for feeling– not thinking– and causing me (brain and heart included) to experience something that turned unpleasant. My brain shamed me into following its logic. For years I was the reason my relationships were falling apart. I was the reason emotional mediocrity was the name of the game. My brain, with all its calculations, made-up probabilities, and erroneous statistics, had carved a path for me that turned out to be something so far from what I wanted whenI was younger. My brain made me look like an idiot. And suddenly I felt like one.
You know what the funny part was: My heart forgave me. How cliche is that?
Look, when your heart leads you into a situation that turns sour, it can make you look like a fool. When your brain leads you into situations that prevent you from feeling anything at all, well, that can be so much more devastating. It’s much better to look like a fool and feel something, than to actually BE a fool and miss out.
For the record, I totally know this image is humorous and easily relatable. I get it, and I giggled when I saw it too. There is, however, some pretty powerful truths to this, and I wasn’t about to let it slide. My heart had something to say about it, and my brain knew how to make words appear on screen – go teamwork!
Remember that you’re more than just logical. You’re an emotional being. You’re significant, incredible, amazing, intricate, irreplaceable, and you are always at choice. Choose to feel. Choose to experience. Even if your brains tells you the opposite, let your heart sing.
When has your brain told your heart NO? Leave your comments below!
Over the past few days, I’ve had some pretty powerful conversations about what it means to let things go – what it means to “unplug” from the story, other person, situation, outcome etc. It’s not easy to do. That goes without saying, really. More importantly, however, is the fact that the entire situation is in your hands. There’s a hard truth here, and it’s a good one to take in.
Resentment is a poison you take, hoping the other person will die. ~ Malachy McCort
We, as humans, all play parts in this big play called life. We sometimes play the hero, sometimes the villain, and sometimes the victim. When we find ourselves in a place we don’t like, and all our effort to change it (with force or otherwise) is met with another’s opposition, we jump into victim. We blame, criticize, lash out, and shut down.
Have you ever been in a relationship that was so toxic you starting wishing he or she would take a long walk off a short pier? You know, the one where it feels like no matter what you do this person just knows how to push those buttons and make your head explode? Yeah, you’re pretty plugged into it, aren’t you?
People may have told you that the reason he/she has such an effect on you is because you “plug in” and feed energy to their cause. When you react, it gives that person something to continue to manipulate and enflame.
Feels like beating a dead horse, right?
Nobody beats a dead horse. They beat that which is still kicking and screaming. When you react and start kicking and screaming, they receive immediate assurance that this issue is still going, and they continue with the button-pushing-bonanza.
Let’s switch gears, shall we? The dead horse analogy feels a little dark.
What about working toward something that just doesn’t seem to happen – sound familiar? Take a look at your life and see if there are any parts that feel like no matter what you do, it’s just not moving forward. If so, check in and see if you’re working with or against the tide of your life. Are you holding onto an outcome so tightly that you’re blind to all other possibilities?
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our assumptions (read: stories) about what’s going to happen, that we miss what is actually happening! Some of us spend our whole lives in the “shoulds” that we never make it to the clearing to find our way home.
So here’s the Hard Truth:
You – not anyone else – have to let it go.
The moment you unplug from that which manipulates your energy negatively, you are free to breathe life into that which fulfills you. So often we have this idea of what we should and should not be able to have, do, and/or be, and when someone challenges that (read: pushes our buttons negatively), we plug in and start reacting defensively. Should that person continue to “not let it go” we can find ourselves fighting with two entities: our doubt (maybe he/she is right) and the other person, himself.
There are two things you can do right now to help get yourself moving forward, and away from this painful cycle. The first is forgiveness. This is one of the most powerful tools on the planet for creating greatness in your life. When this person or situation is pulling you away from your fulfillment, causing you to react and plug into their cause, take a deep breath and realize this is never going to change. You don’t have to convince the world or another person of the validity of your opinion or life – and they do not have to convince you of their own. Forgive them for any pain they’ve caused you, and let them be. Take a deep breath and unplug from it.
The second thing to do is give yourself permission to perform without approval.
Wait, what did he just say?!?!?
Exactly. You may not consciously know it, but often the reason you argue your point so voraciously with the same person or people is that you feel it isn’t good enough – you’re not good enough – until they are convinced and give you their approval. Stop that. When you put your success in the hands of those that influence your energy negatively, you bury yourself in their land – their negative perspective, their projection, their weight is now pushing, squeezing, smothering the action and ideas you want to embrace.
So, for the next week, let your assumptions go. Let your resentment go. Let your need for approval go.
Give yourself permission to let it all go. Hold onto that which fulfills you and makes you feel alive and connected!
It’s hard, no question. Start now anyway. In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today.
Today’s post is a bit of a smack in the face. Well, it might come off as such, so why argue with it, right? I’ve spent the last few weeks watching my clients make incredible leaps of faith – pushing aside the person they’ve spent their lives creating to make room for the one they are becoming. They’re waking up to life, and they’re consciously creating. They are responsible. They are powerful. They are human.
I’ve also spent the last few weeks being inundated with the trials and tribulations of what it is to be the victim. There is a sense of entitlement in the world, and it’s not doing anyone any good. “Oh poor me” isn’t getting you anywhere, and frankly, it’s bullshit.
I hear people talk about how they can’t get what they want because they don’t have A or B or C. They don’t have what it takes because someone took away their X or Y or Z a long time ago. Or worse, they can’t make the changes they want because the economy is bad.
You mean to tell me you can’t change your attitude, create goals and actions plans, or get your ass in gear toward the life you want because the economy is bad?
I asked a friend of mine to describe what the best day of his life looked like. He told me the best day was the one in which he wouldn’t have to work a job he didn’t like. He described a day filled with people being nice to him, and everything he wanted being delivered to him on a silver platter. It sounds nice, right?
The detail often missed in stories like these is in the narrative. Is the subject describing a day in which he goes and gets what he wants, makes executive decisions, takes control, or do great things happen to him?
Here’s the hard truth:
The best day of your life is when you wake up to it and claim it as your own. It’s the day when you take responsibility and choose to stop apologizing, blaming, or being the victim any longer. It’s not good things happening to you – it’s you deciding it’s your life, and God-damn-it you’re going to make good things happen.
Everyone, every moment of every day, is at choice. They (yeah, you included) can either decide to be a leaf in the wind, or the wind itself. Benjamin Disraeli wrote:
“Man is not the creature of circumstance. Circumstance is the creature of man. We are all free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.”
You have a decision to make. Stop the bullshit story and start the story of your life…or don’t.
The greatest day of your life? That’s easy. It’s the day you decide to start living.
Got something to add? Put it in the comments below!
An earlier post prompted some commentary about the “voices in one’s head” and the negative influence they have. In my response, I noted that we all have these “voices” that influence us. The truth is:
You are your own saboteur.
As many of you know, my coaching style is one part nurture, one part nature, and one part “in your face, this is the reality of life, wake the hell up to it” honesty. This is no exception. We sabotage our success. You do it. I do it. Even successful people do it! To coin a very cliche phrase and quote Henry Ford:
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
The truth in this is that a large portion of the world automatically believes they can’t even before trying. This is the result of the saboteur within us. It’s a voice that keeps us in familiar, albeit boring, predictable, and possibly miserable situations in order to keep us safe. Many coaches and therapists also refer to this as the Inner Gremlin or Deep Risk Manager. I call mine Clark.
Technically, if we’re being honest – and let’s be honest, we are – I have a committee. There are a lot of different voices and personalities screaming things at me from time to time. If you’ve ever seen an episode of South Park, you’re probably familiar with the way Trey Parker and Matt Stone portray mobs and politicians – they’re a large group of characters that simply yell, “Rabble Rabble” over each other until it creates this incomprehensible noise and nothing gets done. That’s essentially how my committee behaves if I let them.
No, I’m not crazy. Let me explain.
The Saboteur inside you will say things to you to keep you in a place that it can control. The upside is that it prevents you from taking ultimately life-threatening chances (read: playing hopscotch on the expressway), but the flip side of that coin is that it also prevents you from taking risks that could really have us living out loud.
The voices say things that include, but definitely not limited to:
- “You’re not smart enough to do that. Who do you think you are?!?”
- “Yeah right, fatty. There’s no way you stand a chance.”
- “He’s never going to call you, you ruined it.”
- “She’s out of your league. Give up and go home where at least nobody has to see you strike out.”
- “They’re never going to hire you. You just don’t have that “thing” everyone keeps talking about.”
- “You don’t deserve it. What did you do that was so great?”
- “Don’t try… you’ll only fail and get hurt again… we all remember what that was like.”
Pretty depressing, right?
We continuously find ourselves in crappy situations and wonder how it happened. The truth is, our Saboteur told us it was a bad idea, killed our confidence, made us believe that it was better (and safer) to not stick our neck out and go for it – and that voice went unchallenged.
Ready for a heaping scoop of hard truth?
“You cannot make the same mistake twice. The second time it happens, it’s no longer a mistake – it’s a choice.”
Did he really just say that? That can’t be true.
I did say heaping, remember? This was big. Chew on it for a second. The way to pull yourself out of self-sabotage (read: not challenging those negative voices in your head), is to acknowledge what’s happening, and consciously choose your next step. For example, let’s imagine you’re unhappy with your job, and you’d like to change careers, and possibly move out of state and away from everything you know. The thought of this may trigger some of the responses in the bullets above. Hear them. Write them down. Now ask yourself, “is this thought helping me, or hurting me? When I believe this thought, do I feel good, or do I feel scared? Am I powerful or powerless?
If it makes you feel the latter of all of those options, acknowledge it. Then choose to do/feel the opposite. I know it’s often easier said than done – especially when you first start rebelling against your inner gremlin – but it does get easier. Here are some tips:
Attitude Adjustment – How is your attitude? Are you always searching for things to promote your negative outlook? A bad attitude and negativity is paramount to self-sabotage. Breathe deep, and turn the page on it today. Try seeing only the positive side for a week. It will make a HUGE difference.
Have a Plan & Work it – One of the major contributors to self-sabotage and letting the voices go unchallenged is not having a plan to support you. Make a plan for your success. Write out your goals and why they’re important to you, and start taking steps to make them happen.
Procrasterbation – Sometimes there isn’t anything quite like sitting around and doing nothing, but remember that every time you choose to procrastinate, you are also choosing not to go after what you want. If you get too comfortable being idle, you’ll sabotage projects just so you can subconsciously go back to being idle.
Fear of Failure – Many, many, many people have such a powerful fear of failing that they never really start anything. The beauty of failure is that it’s only feedback. If you learn something from it, you actually gain traction to make it happen next time. The old adage is, “If you’re not failing, you’re not really doing anything.” Get out there and do it!
Ask for Help – One of the greatest, and most often overlooked options in the pursuit of success is asking for help. How many of you are struggling, but don’t ask for help? There are people out in the world that have been in your shoes, and are full of insight and examples to help you get where you’re going. Open your mouth and start asking for help. We love to help each other.
I know this is an incredibly long post, but it’s important. The bottom line is that it’s completely normal to have negative voices in your head keeping you down. It’s almost routine to sabotage your own success from time to time. The point here is that once you know about the committee in your head, you can start consciously choosing to create different outcomes.
In the immortal words of Devo (and I use the term immortal very loosely), “When a problem comes along, you must whip it. Whip it good!”
Do you have an inner voice or gremlin you’re trying to tame? What do you do? Share you story in the comments below!
There has been a lot of negative discourse in the world these days – in case you missed it: “the economy is terrible, everything is getting too expensive, you’re not getting any younger, there’s nothing you can do, terrorism is taking over” – it’s all thrown at us every day in the media and sometimes in relationships with those closest to us.
I know, like every last one of you, I’ve found myself in situations that were not the way I’d planned them to be. Whether it’s the unexpected end of a relationship, a surprise visit (from anyone good or not-so-good), failure or falling-short of goals, or financial burdens, when things don’t go as planned it can turn us all upside-down (even if only for a few moments).
So what’s the answer to all of it? What’s the other side of this cursed coin?
There are a lot of little things you can do to shift your game, and level the playing field. They may never prevent the unexpected (it’s called unexpected for a reason), but they’ll definitely help to change the way you influence the world around you, and how it impacts you. Here are some keys for helping you through “what to do when my plans don’t go as planned.”
Tune out the “it’s never gonna get better” voice
The moment things do not go our way, we instinctively begin rattling off all the far-fetched and overly melodramatic details of how “this is just one more terrible thing” in our lives – exaggerating how the situation truly affects us. A previous post of mine [Bad Publicity] talked about this voice a lot. The messages we tell ourselves have a very serious impact on how we view the world.
Ready for a little nostalgia? Remember when you were little and upset about something and your mom told you it would be okay? You believed her! Coincidentally, she was right, wasn’t she? When did you stop believing it would be alright?
When things don’t go as planned, take a moment and listen to that voice in your head. Notice how it makes you feel to believe all the negative and depressing ideas that voice is pushing on you. If you don’t want to feel that way, choose not to believe it. 90% of the time, we blow things out of proportion. The big question is this:
Did my plan get derailed or just delayed?
Take the hint – something is trying to emerge
When what you want seems to elude you, pause for a moment and look around. What appears instead? There’s something trying to emerge in all conflict – which is exactly what happens when plans go awry! I remember working in sales a few years ago, and I found that toward the end of that job it was getting increasingly difficult to smile and stay motivated. The job wasn’t terrible on the surface, but beneath the visible, my heart was crying out for escape. I was not supposed to be there any more.
I know you’ve had moments where you suddenly saw/felt a sign that changed your perspective or brought you clarity. In fact, you may have even asked the sky/God/Universe for a sign. Well, they’re all over the place and it’s high time you gave yourself permission to slow down and see them.
As an example, let’s imagine you’re unemployed and feeling pretty down about it. Maybe you even feel like the victim of the economy. The media is posting record unemployment numbers and it’s all doom-n-gloom well into the future.
Pause. Let’s look around for a moment.
Let’s imagine that other people around you have modified their searches and have found work. Let’s even go as far to say they took risks to get the jobs they now have. What’s this sensation? Maybe the sign here is that changing your plan or taking a risk will deliver the reward you’re looking for. Are you too focused on something that’s not coming? Are you so focused on the tree in front of you that you miss the engulfing wildfire around it?
What’s trying to emerge in your struggle?
Play the Bigger Game & return to the basics
This is probably the most important piece in the equation. When plans fall apart or don’t go as expected, and you feel the weight of it all pushing you off track – discouraging and demotivating you – get back to basics. The Bigger Game is all about knowing who you are and why you do what you do. If you don’t know what it is that makes you come alive, then everything can almost taste the same. If, however, you’ve discovered what you want – what fulfills, thrills, motivates, calms, and creates you – then all you need to do is return to the why behind it.
A perfect example of this is my friend Joe. He works in his garage building custom motorcycles on weekends and most weekday nights (often well into the early morning hours). He also works 40 hours a week in a corporate job pounding phones in a cubicle in the suburbs. When things don’t go as planned, he knows it’s just a delay in his real place in life – building custom bikes.
Joe is so infinitely clear about what makes him feel most alive that he simply doesn’t let anything get in his way. His why is pumping through his veins. Motorcycle building and customizing is Joe’s “Adrenaline of Purpose.” What’s yours?
When it’s as crystal clear what you want as it is with Joe, a calmness comes over you when the unexpected happens. Instead of reacting to the stress, you get curious about it. It no longer threatens your future or happiness. You know what you want and why. That’s the first brick to lay in your foundation.
If you want help discovering what your Adrenaline of Purpose is, contact me. Let’s discover what pumps through your veins.
The Mark Twain quote above is so perfect because we need to stay present to opportunity. Even completely changed or ruined plans can unfold into the most beautiful day in your life. Give it that chance.
What do you find yourself doing/thinking/feeling/behaving when plans don’t go as planned?
Leave your comments below!
P.S. It’s all going to be okay.