In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I have combined my efforts to rebrand and give back to the community. I have had to create a new Facebook page for myself, and am slowly growing the likes and subscribers. To help keep that movement going, and help in the fight against breast cancer, I am donating $.50 for each new like on the page this week.
This could get huge.
Right now it’s a very small donation because there’s a very small amount of likes. You have the power to help change that. The money is coming out of my pocket, and a part of me is worried that should this go viral, I’ll have to write a very, very large check. The truth is, I would love to write that check. Help me do that. Click the image above and like the page.
Please share this post, comment, tweet it – spread the love and help spread the wealth.
Let’s do this!
Peace, Love, and a million successes to you,
Today I’m sharing a little more of myself to you. I know I’ve been posting positive things, adventures, insights, and business-type stuff I’ve been up to, and it feels like a good time to share more of who I am as a human. When I’m not coaching, speaking, or trying to do one of the two more frequently (read: marketing), I’m writing and playing music.
I have been playing since a car accident gifted me with the ability to hear notes differently. Back in 2000, I was in a terrible collision with a school bus that caused my brain to shut off certain pieces. To compensate (as all brains do), other pieces started firing and growing. I suffered a TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury – a contusion that essentially “killed” neurons in my brain from the force. Here’s what happened:
I was very good at math, but musically inept. I could enjoy music, but not play it. I was analytical, impatient, rigid and controlling, and even neurotic.
Then I was hit by a bus.
In my recovery a few things have been discovered. I’m still good at simple math, but everything outside of memorized multiplication tables is a foreign language to me. I’m more laid back, patient, understanding, communicative, and adventurous. The biggest gift, however, is that I can now understand music. I can hear notes, progressions, patterns, and harmonies differently than I ever could. The sounds feel like shapes and colors I can see in my head. Strange as it may sound, that’s the best way I can describe it.
So I play and write and enjoy it. The video above is me showcasing a song I wrote for my friends’ wedding in 2007. They wanted a song to remember, and I wrote what came to me. I’ll try to post more videos and songs to my YouTube channel so you all can come and go as you please. For now, enjoy Delaney’s Song.
Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all.
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!
“In Washington DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.
About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.
At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
After one hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.
This experiment raised several questions:
In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?”
Whoa. These are some hard questions to answer. We just came out of the holiday season, and for many of us it was a stressful time. It was hours, days, weeks, maybe even months of running around, fighting traffics, crowds, and weather delays – not really a lot of appreciating, was there? How often do you get caught up in the minutiae and noise of life, and forget to notice and celebrate the beauty?
Take a moment every day and notice.
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.
This video is a brilliant example of the power of words and communication. We are only human, creatures of habit, and products of our environment – often our affinity for believing we know best or we know the truth about something prevents us from taking action. When you want something, do you simply ask curiously, or are you asking with a judgement that you won’t receive it? When something is confusing, do you ask for clarification, or do you seek validation that your opinion is correct?
Here’s an example:
Pete: “I think I’m ready to quit my job and run off to be a rodeo clown.”
Kelly: “Don’t you think that’s a stupid idea? Aren’t you worried about your bills? What will people think?”
Pete: “I think I’m ready to quit my job and run off to be a rodeo clown.”
Marie: “Wow! Pete, that’s quite an idea! How did you come to this decision? Do you have a plan already?”
Clearly, Marie feels a little friendlier than Kelly, right? Kelly believes that Pete is making a stupid decision, and because she knows best, her questions will feel like statements, i.e. “that’s a stupid idea, you need to worry about your bills, and what people think.” Can you notice the difference in responses between Marie and Kelly. Which do you find your responses resemble most often?
I know we’ve all been in a situation where someone may say something and we immediately react with judgmental questions. Instead of asking why to that person, we ask why on Earth would you want to do something like that?. The tone and judgment are much louder than the words.
So Blake, what’s the moral of the story here?
There are stories all around you. Which stories are you actually hearing? How are you responding? The words you use can make a big difference in how you’re received. I invite you to find examples in the world around you, and change the words. Notice any difference in emotion. Did you feel any different when the words in the video above changed? Would you have given your change?
This is a beautiful life, my friends. Sometimes it just takes the right words to express it.
What words do you use to describe your beautiful life?
I’ve stated in my other blog that we could really use a hero. Even if it’s only a hero for our own desires, it would really bring the best out in the world. Batman did it for Gotham, Superman for Metropolis, and Wonder Woman – well, she was a heroin for every city the government sent her into. Rather than tout the benefits, albeit through illegal means, of a vigilante hero, I’m suggesting a different kind of hero or heroin. I’m suggesting the modern day hero get some attention.
Here’s the assignment: Be a hero or heroin for the next 5 days. Each day I invite you to flex your proverbial guns and make life better one-step-at-a-time. Starting Wednesday, make an effort to be the change you want to see in the world. – Thank you, Ghandi. To get your super-minds primed, here are a few things that make a huge difference:
Acts of Kindness
For the next five days do things for others without questioning the WIIFM – What’s in it for me. It make cost you an additional 20 minutes in travel time, but still choose to go out of your way to pick up diapers, groceries, dinner, donuts (insert items here) for your coworkers, sibling, significant other, roommate, best-friend etc. Men often reduce the frequency of flowers and/or chocolate only on Valentine’s Day and her birthday, but are amazed how HUGE the impact is when they do it (even when it’s expected). Go out and grab a bouquet. Do it.
Bite The Bullet
For the next five days, stop complaining about things nobody wants to do but have to. Stop listening to the complaints. Take a deep breath, and get it done. The 400 TPS reports have incorrect cover letters, huh? That’s a big endeavor to correct. It sounds like a job for.. exactly! Superman. After a long day of work, it’s nice to come home and relax, right? What if you promised the kids they could get ice cream for dessert, but you’re both too tired (maybe even crabby) to pack everyone back into the minivan and head to DQ? Take a deep breath, and remember that acts of kindness suggestion above. Go get ice cream with the kids. Get something for yourself too. Who doesn’t like ice cream for dessert?!
Oh man, this is monumental. For the next five days open your eyes and notice people around you more. What are they doing well? What do you appreciate about who they are and/or what they’re doing? For the next five days, make it a daily (once in the morning, once in the afternoon) or more event to acknowledge someone for who they are, and what you appreciate in them.
“Sarah, you’re a beacon of integrity here. You tackle all of these accounts, handle assignments that really shouldn’t be your responsibility, and you never give it only half effort. I cannot tell you enough how much I personally, along with the rest of us, deeply appreciate who you are and what you bring to the table.”
Whoa! That’s a pretty powerful statement right there. You might work in an environment where the last sentence may sound more like, “…how much we think you’re friggin’ awesome.” Either way, the key is to acknowledge other people for who they are. It’s more than telling someone you like his laptop bag, or her blouse. It’s more than telling someone they’re a good worker. It’s recognizing and stating the values you appreciate in the other person. Practice.
When you appreciate another person for who he or she is, it makes an ordinary moment magical. Take the time, for the next five days, to be a hero. Small steps are all it takes to make a very big difference.
What ways are you a hero/heroin in your life? Share your story in the comments below!
We’re a week into 2011, and I wanted to hit you all with a great list of habits to sink your teeth into. Happy people are passionate, grateful, fulfilled, and true to themselves – among other things. They have habits and ways of going about things that help them experience what they love in their lives more often than anything else. These are highly effective, life-changing habits, and they’re coming to you at the perfect time. Start developing these in your life, and I promise you this will be your best year ever.
Honest Appreciation – The “attitude of gratitude” is more than a clever new-age catch phrase. When you genuinely appreciate the experiences, people, opportunities, and challenges in your life, you set your world in motion. You reap what you sow, right? Well start sowing the seeds of gratitude. Soon you’ll be reaping a harvest of your design – love, passion, purpose, achievement – a life fulfilled.
Humor – Use it. Recognize it. Champion it. Look, life can be unparalleled in its awesomeness, and it can also be incredibly hard. This greatly depends on your perspective of the world around you. Have you ever heard the expression, “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry?” When life gives you two rusty nails, a rubber band, and a stick of Dentyne when all you wanted was a few lemons, it would probably feel better to laugh, rather than cry. There are some hilarious moments, events, and people in the world. Join them! Laughter truly is the best medicine.
Take Responsibility – Your next best step to greatness is to take the wheel and steer. You have to accept 100% responsibility for the course your ship takes because nobody else is going to. In interviews with highly successful and happy people, one key lesson they always seem to share is that they took responsibility for their actions and outcomes in life… and that’s when it all changed for them.
Know Your Choice – Even when you don’t think you have a choice, you do. Even when you don’t think you made a choice, you did. In this new year, make it a habit of choosing what you truly want in your life. Remember, when you say yes to something you don’t really want, you say no to something you do want. The same works in reverse. When you say yes to things you want, you say no to things you don’t. Pretty simple, right? It takes practice, but you’ll get there. It takes 21 days to make a habit. Start today.
The Company You Keep – Your friends and colleagues play a big part in your actions. Surround yourself with people that support your values and ethics. If they share the passion you share, they’ll help you achieve your goals. People have a way of building each other up when they’re in a like-minded group. Give yourself permission to get a new group of friends and be received as the new guy again.
Give Yourself Permission – This is so huge. Give yourself permission to fail. Give yourself permission to succeed. There are a lot of people that don’t give themselves permission to do enough of either. “I don’t want to fail, but I don’t want to draw too much attention by being too good.” Define what success and failure looks like to you, and give yourself permission to experience both. When you do, take lessons from it and move forward to you next great adventure!
Do What You Love – Another characteristic of happy and successful people is they do what they love. Life is short. Too short to hate what you do, or do something that doesn’t make you feel alive. Chase your passions, my friends. Make time to enjoy yourself and your hobbies.
Never Stop Learning – Your brain is a muscle – a mental muscle. It gets stronger and more “fit” as you learn and expand your mind. Open your mind up and keep learning. There are 356 days left this year – read something challenging and new. When your mind is sharp and engaged, your well-being improves and you feel more equipped to handle more in your life.
Get Active – Get off the couch and get moving! I’m not suggesting everyone go out and train to be a marathon runner – even a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood makes a difference. Exercise releases endorphins which helps to ease tension and stress. When you’re less stressed, you feel better, more focused, and you’re confident. Try it!
Keep Your Word – There’s something so powerful about a person that is true to his or her word. When you’re honest, you have nothing to risk. Be honest with the people in your life, and keep the promises you make. Nobody loses when words are kept.
Go Boldly Everywhere – Venture into new experiences with confidence and an open mind. Start new projects and adventures with people. Take a vacation to an unusual place. In everything you do, make it a habit to give it your all – boldly going everywhere.
Forgive – Practice forgiveness in your day-to-day activities. There’s no reason to rage against the person in the Toyota that was driving too slow in the fast lane. If you pass that car, the moment is passed. Forgive the driver, and forgive yourself for getting heated about it. We’re all humans, and we’re all trying to do what we can to live. Sometimes one way will interfere with another. It happens. Forgive it, and let the weight go.
Practice Compassion – This goes right along with forgiveness above. Rather than hold a judgment against someone based on your perspective, show a little compassion. Here’s an example: When you’re on the train and you pass judgment against a passenger you don’t know, based on something they’re doing or saying, recite the following phrase to yourself – “just like me, this person is struggling to make sense of it all, and is learning about life.” People are different than you are. They’ll see things, hear things, want things differently than you will. Accept and practice compassion.
Mind Your Business – Focus on your life only. Take care of yourself and your family. Work on how you are received in the world. When you focus on what others should or should not be doing, thinking, or saying, you’re in their business – and you don’t belong there. Everyone is entitled to live a life they love, and one all their own… including you.
Take Care of Yourself – In the world today, there are a lot of pressures that wreak havoc on the mind, body, and spirit. Take time to get away from all of it and restore. Spend an entire weekend napping and relaxing when you feel stressed. Get a massage! Turn your phone off for a day or two! When your mind and body are nurtured and well cared for, your ability to thrive is top-notch. You’re the most important person in your life. Treat your spirit that way.
This is statistically a very stressful time – holiday shopping, battling the elements (cold & snow here in Chicago), family gatherings etc. I thought I would post something that might help some of you relax a little. I spent my entire day playing in the world of hypnosis – fully understanding and experiencing complete relaxation. This playlist is such a nice cap for the day. Enjoy, and feel free to leave comments below.
Peace, Love, and a million dream-filled nights to you all.
There is so much pressure in life to be great, do great things, don’t screw up, make a difference, don’t be too different – so much that we often lose sight of some simple, yet powerful truths about life. I have collected 20 powerful quotes on life, and I use them in my life to stay grounded to what’s important to me. I hope they (and other great quotes out there) can do the same for you.
- “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain
- “Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” – Josh Billings
- The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. – Thomas B. Macaulay
- “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean
- “You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” – Abraham Maslow
- “If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.” – Win Borden
- “The essence of life is finding something you really love and then making the daily experience worthwhile.” – Denis Waitley
- “A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well.” – Dan Rather
- “People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “The man who cannot believe in himself cannot believe in anything else. The basis of all integrity and character is whatever faith we have in our own integrity.” – Roy Smith
- “Do whatever you can to capture, or recapture, your life spark – unless it harms others, in which case suffer with as much happiness as you can muster. Your nobility of spirit will spark itself.” – Corri Alius
- “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” – Thomas Edison
- “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Alan Kay
- “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver
- “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” – Unknown
- “It takes two to speak truth — one to speak, and another to hear.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “There comes a time in each man’s education in which he comes to the conclusion that envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide, and society in in conspiracy against each one of its members.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” – Frank A. Clark
- “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill