Unlock your potential in three difficult steps (made easy).

You hear it all the time, “he has so much potential, why isn’t he using it?” Potential is an enigma to some of us. We often see it displayed in magnificent fashion in others but fail to realize similar potential in ourselves. Human potential is virtually limitless. Records are broken constantly and technology is advancing at the speed of light. Most of us have great aspirations to accomplish what may seem to be impossible to us. Because we are overwhelmed at the possibilities, we purposely sabotage the efforts by stopping short or talking ourselves out before even starting in the first place. Every individual can realize their personal potential by incorporating these behaviors into their daily lives.


Pablo Picasso once said that he is always doing that which he cannot do, in order that he may learn how to do it. He is a prime example of the unlimited potential in each of us. He openly admitted that there were things that he could not do, but at the same time, he constantly challenged himself for the purpose of building upon his talent. Most people will dismiss his logic by pointing out that Picasso had a natural God-given talent. Perhaps, but even with his talent, he still underwent formal academic art training from the time he was a child. From childhood on, his life consisted of creating works of art in unique styles of painting as he further developed his talent. Even if you do not have a natural ability in certain aspects, the simple act of challenging yourself will bring about massive results in time. Think about the last time you were required to challenge yourself to meet a deadline or to successfully handle a complex situation, how did you fare? Were you able to step up to the challenge? Were you surprised at how resourceful you became when it was absolutely necessary? By consistently challenging yourself, you will experience enormous growth in your potential. Without a challenge, you are robbing yourself of wonderful possibilities for personal growth.

As you begin to challenge yourself, you will find that you will be put in a position to take more risk. Avoiding risk is one of the most powerful reasons why we do not reach our potential. When we normally think of risk, we tend to focus on the most negative outcome of the situation. By focusing on that aspect alone, we single-handedly destroy the possibility of achieving the reward associated with the risk. When calculating risk you should develop back-up plans in case the situation does not turn out as expected. Your goal should not be to avoid the action, you goal should be to carefully consider the risk and find ways to minimize the risk as much as you are able. If things do not work out as you desired, simply go back to the drawing board with a new perspective and increased wisdom on the subject. A quote once that beautifully describes the need for calculated risk tells us to “go out on a limb, because it is where the fruit is located.”

Even if you challenge yourself to take risk, your potential will not fully be reached until you have committed to be persistent in your efforts. Persistence is the secret ingredient to realizing your potential. Without it, you will likely stop digging just two feet short of oil. If you are not persistent, you will want to kick yourself for not following through on your idea that someone else has developed for millions of dollars of profit. Without persistence, your life will be full of could haves and should haves. The uncertainty of what may have been will eat you alive if you do not see things through to the end. Worst of all, you are not even giving yourself the opportunity to succeed. Persistence allowed Sidney Poitier to become the first black actor to win an academy award after being told to “stop wasting people’s time and to get himself a job as a dishwasher” at his first audition. When we are persistent, we continue to take action. If we continue to take action, we will see desired results. Someone with natural talent and no persistence will surely be surpassed by someone with little inherent skill but remains persistent in actions that present a challenge to that person. As you challenge yourself, make persistence a priority. Allow yourself the opportunity to unleash your potential. As you do, you will discover that continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.


Developing Die-Hard Discipline

Your biggest obstacle
Before you incorporate a new ritual or routine into your life, you should be prepared mentally on how to overcome those obstacles that will seek to destroy your new habit. Think ahead to what you will do when you "do not feel" like doing what you are supposed to do. For example, I wanted to incorporate an evening routine that included, among other things, time set aside to tend to my external appearance. My biggest hindrance would manifest itself as laziness. Often I would become sleepy before I could implement my new ritual and promised myself that I would be able to complete the tasks the following night when I was not so tired. That pattern repeated itself until I finally found a solution. The solution to my situation was to start my ritual hours before bed-time so I would not have to be concerned with sleepiness as a hindrance to my new habit. By singling out my obstacle and finding a way to resolve it, I was able to maintain my nightly routine without issue.

Holding yourself accountable
I am sure that you are well aware of the fact that we are more likely to do something if we know that we will have to give an account for its completion. You can chose to use either an internal or an external means of holding yourself accountable depending on your level of discipline.

If you are more of an externally motivated individual, here are some ways to hold yourself accountable for increasing your discipline:

-Tell a close friend or family member of your intentions to change your lifestyle. Let them know the specific actions you will take to make sure that you reach your goals. Have that person contact you weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly so you can provide updates on your progress. Knowing that you will be asked to give an account for your actions will serve as an effective way to increase your discipline.

-Take positive action in anticipation of reaching your goals. For example, you can give away most of your clothes in your current size because you want to make sure that you reach your goal of dropping 2 dress sizes. Another example would be to schedule a speech presentation in front of a group of people as an accountability tool for you overcoming your fear of speaking. For every goal that you have, think of some action that you can take right now to force you to maintain discipline to reach that goal.

If you are internally motivated you can build discipline by using these tips:

-Create an accountability log which lists the actions that you should be making daily. Use that log to document every time you keep your promise to yourself of accomplishing some task. That log will also serve as a record of the times that you do not maintain your discipline.

-Use Jerry Seinfeld's productivity tip. Jerry Seinfeld, the famous millionaire comedian, kept a one page yearly calender on his wall as his accountability tool. Everyday that he worked on his comedy material he would X out that day with a red marker. Soon he created a chain days marked with a red X. His new goal would then be to "not break the chain." The longer the chain, the harder he tried to maintain the chain. This is one of my favorite methods of developing die-hard discipline.

Remember the dangling carrot
All of us are aware of the analogy of dangling a carrot in front of a horse. The carrot is of such value to the horse that he will continue to move towards it no matter how far he has to walk for it. The trick to keeping the horse moving is to place the carrot close enough to the horse's line of sight to motivate him. Whatever it is you want to have, you must always keep the image of it in front of you. You must be able to see it so closely that you can almost reach out and touch it. But, unlike the dangling carrot, what you desire can can actually be obtained if you keep working at it. If you do not keep your goal before you at all times, you will begin to lose sight of why you are maintaining your discipline day after day even if "you do not feel" like it.

These are some simple but very effective steps that you can implement right away. Remember that discipline is simply the ability to do what you have to do, when you have do it, every time you have to do it. Use these tips to elevate your self-discipline to the next level.


Become more assertive (with yourself)

Assertiveness has always been a trait that I longed to refine for many years. I dreamed of the day when I could look a potential intruder of my time straight in the eye and tell that person in no uncertain terms to "shove it." After reading several books and doing extensive research online, I realized that I still did not feel quite comfortable expressing my feelings to others the way I wanted to. I lacked assertiveness in certain areas because of my fear of upsetting those around me. As a result, I became upset with myself as I allowed potential opportunities to engage my assertiveness pass me by time and time again.

After enduring several failed attempts at asserting myself, I realized that there had to be a better way. I felt like I was missing a major piece to this puzzle that the books were not focusing on. I would become frustrated with myself if I used the word "should" in a sentence because the word was considered too passive. Finally I told myself that I would not change my level of assertiveness overnight and began to redirect my attention elsewhere.

As I progressed in my journey to improve the areas of my life that were lacking, I realized how little time and effort I dedicated to my personal agenda. I would wake up and pretty much lounge around until it was time for work. At work, I responded to emails, phone calls, and other requests as they came in. In the evening, I would return home, make dinner, and do little else until time for bed. The cycle would then repeat itself day after day. I exercised no real control over my own life and the direction it was going. How was I expected to become assertive with others if I had not done so with my own self?

The course of my life changed when I began to mold my days to look more like what I wanted. I began by starting my day at 5:00 am. Starting my day this early gave me the opportunity to pray, meditate, and do my devotions. I also had enough time to exercise in the morning and focus on my intentions for the day ahead. By the time I walked into work, I already spent adequate time preparing and visualizing what I wanted the day to look like. I also implemented the some basic time management techniques of doing the most productive work first (not necessarily the most pressing). I made sure to create objectives in my mind, before I started any task, of how long I wanted it to take and how it would look like when I was completed. I constantly looked for more areas of my life where I could create my expectations of what I wanted and worked to meet those expectations the best I could.

As time went on, I no longer wondered if I said the word "should" in a non-assertive sentence. I was designing a new life for myself simply by visualizing intentions and planning my steps. Assertiveness developed as a natural by-product of taking some control over my own life. The assertiveness skills I developed were not the result of repeating exercised learned from a manual. My ability to assert myself was organic in nature. As I cultivated my life to appear more like I had envisioned, I found it only natural to politely tell another person that I could not complete an unreasonable request because of inherent conflicts with my schedule. You will find that as you exercise control over some areas of your life, you will want to conquer every area in your life that is not benefiting from your direct and active involvement.

Designing your life to your specifications is not easy but the results you achieve will help to maintain your motivation. I recommend you start today by planning out the rest of your day. Plan a healthy meal and some time to journal. Reflect on the year that has passed and your intentions for the year ahead. Plan out the most productive assignments at work that you could possibly do but had not had time because you were constantly responding to stimuli. Plan how you will respond to in the event of unexpected interruptions (both internal and external). Imagine the feeling of empowerment you will have once you complete those items. Plan your morning routine. Plan every area of your life by creating specific intentions and strive to obtain them as best you can. Once this habit is developed you will never have to wonder about how to respond assertively to anything that seeks to take control of your time, resources, or life.


How to use the Law of Attraction to change the behavior of others

Change your thoughts, change your life. That phrase is the basic premise of the Law of Attraction. We can take advantage of this natural law by first being conscious of the thoughts that run through our minds, and second, creating affirmative thoughts and visualizing your desires until you create a vibrational match with what you wish to attract into your life. The Law of Attraction (LOA) allows us to redirect our focus from what is hindering us to what will empower us to take positive actions. Many of us have experienced the joys of manifesting a desire when we actively engage in the act of manifestation.

How, then, can we implement this law to impact those in our lives? If we are constantly irritated by the actions of our spouse, boss, mother, friend, how can put to use this wonderful law to change the behaviors of others?

The honest answer is you can't.
But be not dismayed my friend. For though you can not directly change their behavior, you can influence and affect their actions simply by how you chose to think and act. Let me provide an example which should clarify my point.
Say, for instance, you have a spouse who is no longer as affectionate towards you as he or she was in the past. You are frustrated by the situation and thoughts of how selfish that person is runs through your mind throughout the day both consciously and unconsciously. You soon find yourself becoming easily frustrated simply by providing your thoughts the opportunity to roam freely in your head. Your frustration easily manifests itself when your spouse commits a horrendous act that causes you to lose every ounce of reason you once had. This horrendous act is usually something unforgivable like leaving a toilet seat up or being reminded to complete some work around the house. Your off-the-wall reaction to their "incompetence" is not the result of their action, it is the result of built up emotion created by your thought-life.

This situation can be aided by focusing on the problem first, your thoughts second, and thirdly, your actions. The problem, in this example, is that your significant other is not providing you the affection you require. As you observe your thoughts you realize that throughout the day you are amplifying your partner's faults because you are angry and feel heavy under the weight of self-pity. You realize that you are creating an unreasonable expectation that no human can live up to. The situation is unfair to the other person because you have spent the better part of your day preparing for confrontation at the person's first sign of weakness. When you realize that this problem exists, you can begin the second step of managing your destructive thoughts.

The best way to do this is by first simply observing your thoughts. Trying to correct them straight away is way too difficult in the beginning. Observing your thoughts simply means that you will not try to interfere with them at first. You will simply watch them as they happen as a third party with no direct involvement or no attachment to the negative thoughts in your mind. When you grab hold of this truth, you will begin to see the desperate nature of your mind in its attempt to create negative emotions towards the other person. When you realize how easily you can be manipulated to creating negative emotions, you can consciously begin the process of creating positive emotions.

Your next course of action should be to visualize your spouse exactly as you want them to be. The key is to do this so proficiently that your mind begins to believe these images. You can validate its effectiveness with feelings you experience. If these images make you feel all warm and tingly, the exercise is working. Do not stop trying until you experience genuine feelings of love and admiration for your mate. The fun does not stop there. You must use the newfound feelings of affection in your dealings with your spouse. Because you created these emotions without any direct participation of that individual, you must continue to maintain your emotions regardless of whether your partner responds to you differently in real life than he or she does in your mind. That person has developed behaviors in accordance of how you have treated them in the past. They will not change their actions overnight.

Continue to live in your own world of fantasy where your partner is everything you want them to be. You will not be able to maintain your tough exterior, your nagging, or your degrading comments any longer. If fact, you will be able to see the beautiful qualities about your mate that drew you to them in the first place. As your thoughts change, your behaviors change. If your behaviors are genuine, your spouse will have no other choice but the take notice of the way you behave. Soon will be begin to experience the fruit of your labor as your partner begins to manifest some of the same behaviors you longed for that person to have.

When I explain this technique to my friends the most difficult part for them to overcome is letting go of the destructive thoughts about their spouse. Because the thoughts have been allowed to roam freely, they believe that every thought which appears is true. They also wish to hold on to their ability to think negatively about someone who is causing them so much hurt. I respond by reminding them that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by using this technique. This method of using the Law of Attraction costs nothing and only provides benefits to the participant. You feel good throughout the day because you fantasize about your spouse becoming your ideal partner. Commit yourself to trying this exercise everyday, you will soon begin to experience the miracle of using the Law of Attraction to change the behaviors of others.


How to be thankful in everything

The Thanksgiving holiday invites us to increase our awareness of the many blessings we have received throughout the year. We take inventory of the things we have, such as our homes, cars, health, family, and express gratitude for how well the year has progressed to date. We enjoy the opportunity give thanks for everything good in our lives. An attitude of gratefulness encourages you to be conscious of all the good things in your life that you should grateful for. The concept is similar to that of a person who purchases a new red Nissan. The moment they drive off the lot, they begin to realize that every other vehicle on the road is also a red Nissan. Not because everyone went out and purchase their cars when you did, but because you have developed an awareness of that vehicle.

As children, we were conditioned to give thanks in direct correlation to what we received. You may remember your mother giving you something and asking you "what do you say?" in response to receiving. This type of receive-give thanks pattern is customary. In fact, our parents would think that something was wrong if we ever showed them generous gratitude without being prompted by a specific event occurring just before the words of thanks. They would usually display their disbelief by asking you what you wanted in response to the gratitude you were expressing. This further engraved in our minds the theory that we must only show gratitude once we have received the object we are thankful for.

Living a victorious life requires us to be thankful for all things at all times. This requirement becomes difficult if we can not pinpoint a specific reason to be grateful. An attitude of gratitude is even more laborious if we are experiencing difficult and painful emotions as result of what is happening in our lives. There is a verse in the Bible that says "In all things give thanks." Notice the writer did not say "for all things give thanks." We are not necessarily required to be thankful for what we are going through. We need to be thankful in everything we are experiencing. When you went up to your mom for no reason and simply said "thank you mom," you had no specific reason in mind. It was a "just because" thank you. We ought to develop a just because type of gratitude in all circumstances. When we do, our awareness heightens and, much like the example of the new car, we begin to find more reasons to be thankful for that did not seem to be there before.

We feel good when we give thanks. This act brings into perspective how blessed we truly are. You can not remain in your mental lull after vocalizing a long list of every person, thing, experience, you appreciate in your life. Even the not-so-good past experiences in your life have helped to develop you as the person you are today with regards to emotional growth and the wisdom you received. Be thankful!
Remember to be thankful "in" everything. Thankful for what the experience means and not for what it gives. You will see how quickly your mind shifts when you begin to appreciate everything just as it is.

Thank you......and have a great day!


The consequences of Inauthentic Living

Most of us are live out our days performing activities that are inauthentic to our true nature. Many of our inauthentic actions stem from a mix of social conditioning and our own inability to explore our true selves. We often accept parts of us that are not conducive to who we would like to become by claiming undesired habits or behaviors as "who we are." When we claim undesirable actions as who we are, we unfairly lay burdens on ourselves that we are not equipped to carry.

The areas of your life where you are experiencing discomfort serve as a clear signal of resistance against your true nature. If you are uncomfortable with the extra 10-20lbs of weight you are carrying, your body is letting you know that that you are not in alignment with your true or ideal body weight. If you feel unhealthy stress from your job or co-workers, you are very likely in an environment where you are not allowed to fully express your true nature in an authentic way. Wherever there is drastic compromise of your true self, you will begin to first feel an internal discomfort, and second, you will experience self-destructive symptoms in your life.

You will begin punishing yourself for your inability to allow your truest nature to experience freedom. For example, at work you feel that you are not given the opportunity to provide true value to the organization but instead feel that you are merely following orders handed down to you from the powers that be. As a result, you begin to sabotage your work by subconsciously slowing down your productivity and filling your working hours with menial unimportant tasks. Or maybe you are in a relationship where you feel that you can not fully express your opinions in a way that satisfies your truest nature, so you begin to supplement your emotional well-being with food, shopping, or other self-destructive activities.

The problem with living without authenticity is that your subconscious is fully aware of the fact that you are out of alignment. You generally begin to feel bad about yourself and seek to feel better by creating an equally destructive activity to soothe your emotions. These activities are ideal for providing momentary pleasures that seem to make up for the lack of honesty in your life. The problem with these "fillers" is that they create even more imbalance and resistance in your life. The more we involve ourselves with self-destructive behaviors, from inauthentic living, the more these behaviors begin to become habits in our lives. Eventually we become so accustomed to identifying with inauthentic behaviors that we falsely believe the actions to be that of our true natures. Soon we claim ourselves to be smokers, or lazy, or overweight, or shy, or whatever.

The question we fail to ask ourselves is why? Why do I smoke, over eat, or waste my time on self-limiting activities? Why do I keep doing "stupid" things that keep me trapped in a pattern of self-destructive behavior? Your answer to these questions. Your real answer to these questions will lead you down the path to living authentically. Start by being honest with yourself. Is their fear, anger, or other emotion suppressed deep inside?
Covering our emotions is similar to burying something while it is still alive. You know that it has not died. You will not rest because you understand that what you have done is unnatural. Your mind not will allow a moment of peace until you provide it the opportunity to freely express what needs to be expressed without hindrance.

Welcome your new authentic life by being as honest with yourself as you are able. Ask the difficult questions and provide answers to them. Realize that you no longer have to use compulsive activities as diversions that keep you separated from the truth that lurks beneath. Look at the truth square in the face so you can realize the freedom that comes with living in an authentic way. As you commit to authentic living, soon realize that the truth is easier to deal with than a mind that is struggling to become free.


Creating a Positive Attitude

Positive Attitude. We hear that word thrown around from time to time whenever we are asked to respond a certain way to life's challenges. But what does attitude really have to do with life's not so pleasant surprises? If we chose react to a situation with fear or with unwavering resolve to overcome the challenge, how does that change the actual situation? The answer to the question is that positive attitude does not change the situation. It changes us. Let me further explain this concept with an analogy I once heard.

A man was attempting to teach his son a life lesson. He poured some water into a pot on the stove and brought the water up to a boil. As the water boiled he put in a carrot. After being exposed to the hot water a while the carrot became soft and broke apart. Next he put an egg into another pot of boiling hot water. After a few minutes, the egg hardened. Finally the man placed coffee beans into a pot of boiling water and soon the aroma of coffee filled the air.

When he was finished the man asked his son if he had learned anything. The son seemed confused so the father explained his demonstration. The water represents the difficult circumstances that we face in life. The carrot is the person who can not stand in the face of adversity and crumbles under difficult circumstances. The egg is the person who allows situations affect them so greatly that they become hardened and changed. The coffee represents the person who uses the situation given to his or her advantage and changes the aroma of the surrounding environment.

This story is a clear example of how the same circumstance can have a different affect on each of us. The person represented by the carrot and the egg are those who view the boiling water as something negative. As a result, they allowed the external circumstance to change who they are. When a situation seems to be completely out of our control, all we have left is choice. We can make a conscious choice about who we want to be in the face of adversity and how we will let a situation impact us. Will we use it as a powerful life lesson or will we allow it to defeat us?

Whenever we do not consciously choose to have a positive attitude, we are granting permission for that situation to change who we are. We say without words that we can not hold on to our true essence when life is not going as expected. But with a different attitude, we say to ourselves that we are strong enough to withstand the circumstance. And above all, we have the power to change it.


Creating an effective To-do list

The to do list is a shining example of how much we love to complete a myriad of seemingly important activities that make us feel as important as a bride on her wedding day. The more items we are able to cross off our prized list, the better. The longer the list, the more tasks we can eliminate, and the greater we feel about our accomplishment. Day after day we compile our trusty collection of "things" to do and work feverishly on them, hoping to create some type of daily satisfaction from every scratched item listed.

My completed to do lists were so valuable to me that I kept a stack of past lists and reviewed them from time to time. I would thumb through the lists and relish at how many "things" I had completed in the past day, week, or month. Yes sir, I had, in my possession, written documentation of how productive I was and I was proud of it.
The other day, while at a meeting of other like minded people, I received an insight that forever changed the way I think about to-do lists. The person heading the meeting made a profound statement to the group. His words hit me like a ton on bricks. His words deflated the trust that placed in the mighty to-do list.

The gentleman explained the differences between extraordinary people and those who are not so extraordinary. One major distinction lay in their to-do list. Your to-do list is where you place your focus. Whatever you focus on expands. Extraordinary people focus on results. Those who are not, focus on activities. Sometimes, when we focus on activities, we think we will get the same results but that is often not the case. Sometimes, our to do list serve to keep us busy and stagnant, must like a person in on a treadmill. Your are still running, but are you getting anywhere?

From this day forward, your to-do list is no longer a to-do list. Today your list is now an action plan. An action plan consists of actions that you take which bring you that much closer to the results you want. Before creating your daily action plans, think of the results you want to obtain. Think long and hard until you are certain and have a clear
picture of what you wish to accomplish. Extraordinary people focus on results. As they plan their steps based on the end result, they bring themselves closer to what they want to achieve every single day. The more focused they are on reaching their desired outcome, the more extra-ordinary they become. Today is the day that you no longer write down things to do for the sake of having a written list of things to do. You no longer have "things" to do, you have actions to take. Those actions will propel you forward faster than anything else you can do to have what you desire. Those actions are the salvation you have been seeking on your personal development journey. Those actions will create results that will define your new reality.


Crystal Clear Clarity

Are you able to clearly describe exactly what it is you wish to experience in life? Better yet, can someone close to you describe exactly what it is you want to me if I were to ask them? If you are not able to describe exactly what you desire in life, you are creating a barrier to actually receiving what you want. Think about what would happen if you visited a high end restaurant and made an order of "something really good to eat." You might get back something to eat, but would it be good to you? Would the meal be what you had in mind? Would you eat it even if you did not love it simply because it was what the waiter gave you?

For the longest time I had the severe difficulties clearly defining and voicing my intentions. I believe a combination of fear and disbelief was the culprit. If I was to make known what I desired, it would mean that:

1. I would actually have to know what I wanted.
2. I would need to acticulate those intentions in a way that adequately described what was in my head.
3. I may actually be held accountable for the words I spoke about my intentions.

So while I was allowing those excuses to hold me back to proclaiming exactly what it is I wanted, I continued to recieve a generic version of what I wanted my life to be.
It was as if the chef had brought out "chicken" but not prepared the way I wanted to experience it. The worst part about not expressing my intentions specifically, was that I could not say to myself, "I did not want breaded chicken, I wanted baked chicken."
There are several methods you can use to develop that clear picture. You can implement the help of a vision board to make those mental images come alive. You can also journal your thoughts on paper. Best of all, you can vocalize exactly what you wish to experience. Children often do this when they vividly describe the way they want their life to be when they grow up.
I believe that we are extremely unproductive when we do not have a clear picture of what we desire and the reasons why. In the case of romantic relationships, this idea is extremely important. Alot of time is wasted on one unproductive relationship after another when we remain with an individual who does not have our similar values.
We may find it challenging to explicitly express our desires if we have never done so before. If you are having difficulty describing what you want, you may start with what you do not want. Once you have detailed what you wish to avoid, immediately convert those images to what you wish to experience. If you remain on "what you do not want" for too long, then your focus is on the negative. Our focus creates our reality so we must be sure to focus on the right things. As soon as your are able to articulate your desires, you will be able to notice the incongruencies between what it is you want and what it is you are currently experiencing. Once that happens, you can make critical decisions on what actions steps you need to make to experience those things you desire in your life.


Understanding the act of Creation

Creation. The human act of creating. As we read these words we may be thinking of producing some type of tangible object. We all know those who are naturally creative. They are able to create magnificent specimens simply by putting their creative ideas into action and "viola!" If we are not one of those people we may find ourselves secretly wishing we could could make something appear from a creative mental thought.

Truth is, we are one of those people. All of us. Constantly creating. Creating does not necessarily require conscious effort. Every thing I do, every second of the day, creates a result. Am I experiencing a desired result? Perhaps. But if there exists any area where I am not happy with the result, I can simply produce a new creation.

How do you do that you ask? The first place you start is in your thought life. Thoughts are the beginning of everything that is. Everything we see, touch, experience in our lives is the result of thought. Secondly, we need to be conscious of our action or inaction.


So now, lets speak practically. I have a relatively cluttered office space which I know needs to be organized and decorated. As I look around at my space, I wonder how this disorganized office was created. When we first moved into our home, we had a empty room, ready to become whatever I wanted to create. With every moment that I spend in the office, I make critical decisions on what I am creating. Lately, because of my actions, I have created an undesirable work location. Did it happen because I consciously said to myself, "I will add more clutter to my office every day." Of course not. To be honest, my mind has been nudging me to take time out to remove the clutter. But remember that thought alone does not create. Creation is thought and action.

As I tune in to my thoughts about the uncomfortable feeling of working in a cluttered office, and I take action to remove the clutter, I commence the act of creation. Soon, I will have created a wonderful, inviting office area that inspires me to create even more. So there you have it. We all have the power to create. The act of creation can be a wonderful thing if we use it for good and not evil. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an office to organize.


Maintaining your Personal Development High

We have all been there. After reading a fantastic personal development book, or attending a motivational seminar, you are ready to take over the world. New goals are written and more promises are made to yourself. Your life becomes anew.
A few months later you barely remember what you learned, your life reverts to what it was before your drastic changes, and you are off seeking that new message which will, once again, turn your life around.

For me, this is the most frustrating part of self development. We can never get enough of it, yet we sometimes barely see lasting results. How do we change this?
I believe the answer comes from how we view the personal development process. When we first begin to make changes in our lives we get excited about the results, not the process. Because of our misdirected focus, we cease to remain consistent in our daily actions and, of course our results quickly fade.

Think of your personal change as a process as necessary as bathing. This morning as you get ready for the day, you take a shower. The results of the shower, a clean fresh smelling body, stays with you most of the day. Throughout the day you go on about your daily tasks and, by the end of the day, the freshness fades and you find yourself in need of another shower.

Showering is a daily activity for all of us. We understand and accept that concept. We do not get frustrated because the results of yesterday's shower is no longer obvious. We do not become depressed and blame ourselves because we, once again, need another shower. On the contrary we simply jump in the shower, day after day, so that we can enjoy the results of our daily efforts.

The results of our personal development occurs because of our daily actions. We are fooling ourselves if we expect lasting changes from sporadic or non-existent efforts.
We need to truly grasp the idea that it is our daily efforts which produces the "lasting" change in our lives. Once we understand and accept this concept, we can then maintain that "shower fresh" feeling of personal growth every day.


The right way to use the word Success

Do you want to become successful? This question is asked of us by gurus who want to teach us the secrets of success. When we normally vocalize our desires in life we usually use the phrase, "I would like to be successful." When we use that phrase, it is like we are eating a large slice of fudge cake, we get an instant feel good moment filled with empty calories and litte nutrition.

Perhaps the reason that we do not become successful even though we speak of success time and time again is because the word by itself holds little meaning. Maybe the word meant something to you when you first began to improve your life, but now success has lost its juice. The word itself does not get you excited about reaching your next level of greatness.

Try this simple exercise, set aside a few minutes where you can get to a comfortable and quiet location. Then begin to describe your success, without words. Use only clear concise images to in your mind to "describe" your success. Do not stop until your image becomes so real that you can taste it. It may take a few sittings so do not be discouraged if the images are not crystal clear the first time. You know you have done this exercise correctly when the images invoke feelings as if you are really living the way you visualize. Finally, when you have those clear images, describe them using words. Describe every thing you saw, felt, and experienced. This, my friend, is your definition of success.

Notice how the word "success" does little to describe what you experienced in your vision. There is no feeling or commitment behind that simple term. Going forward, you want to verbally describe your ideal circumstances in the most detail as possible. This will create incredible momentum that will propel you forward to where you would like to be. Here's to your success!


More shall be given

One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible comes from Matthew 13:12. In the verse Jesus says, "For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."
I've gone over that verse in my head time and time again not fully grasping the meaning of it. Why would more be given to those who had? How could you take away from someone who does not have anything?

I must have read that verse dozens of times before I received a profound realization of truth in the message. The epiphany came when I understood that the person who "does not have" actually does have. Otherwise, how could what he has be taken away from him? So how does the same person "not have" and "have" at the same time?

In my opinion, this person has but does not realize it. This person lives his/her life as though he does not have. This person complains about not having anything. This person constantly fixates on what others have thereby minimizing his own abundance. This person focuses so intently on lack that he only receives scarcity in his life. He is attracting more of what he is focused on.

The other person has. That person knows he has. That person is grateful for what he has. The first person may not have "had" in abundance, in fact, he may have had the same amount as the second person. Notice how Jesus says that "more will be given and he will have an abundance. That lead me to believe that he may not had abundance before. His thankful heart and gratitude allowed him to realize what he had before he was given more.

I always reflect this verse whenever I have a thought that says, if only I had ...
then I could...
When thoughts like this run through my mind, I stop myself dead in my tracks and ask "what do I have right now that I can use to meet this need?"
If I ask this question, I always find an answer. Correction, when I ask this question, I am always given an answer. The more I focus on what I have right at this very moment, the more abundance I receive in my life.

When the "if only I had" thoughts sneak into your mind, you need take hold of it. Answer those negative perceptions by focusing on the resources that you already have, no matter what they are. If you are constantly focusing on what you now have and being grateful for them, more shall be given and you will be given in abundance.


Quitting that old habit

I was listening to Neal Boortz on the radio yesterday and the topic of discussion was on taking care of our bodies through exercise and healthy eating. A caller on the show and asked Neal and his guest hosts if he should quit smoking before implementing exercise into his daily activities. Neal’s guest hosts essentially told the caller that he should quit and implement exercise into his life right away.

Neal’s response to the caller was classic. He asked the caller when the last time he smoked his last cigarette. The caller let Neal know that his last smoke happened just prior to the call. In fact, his most recent cigarette was only two minutes before the conversation. Neal then began to point out to the caller that once he finished that cigarette, he had essentially quit smoking. The most important decision he needed to make was not whether or not he would quit smoking, because he already had. What he had to do next was to decide if he was going to start the habit of smoking once again after quitting.

I took that tidbit of wisdom and decided to apply it to my undesirable habits. I understood that the choice that needed to be made is not whether or not to quit whatever habit I am trying to rid myself, the real decision I am essentially making is whether I wish start again my bad habit of ...
Allow that thought to simmer. If you are not biting your nails, smoking a cigarette, eating junk food, etc, at this very moment, you have stopped the undesirable act. Now the choice is yours to make. Do you want to start?


Handling your habits

We all know how difficult it is to change those long standing unproductive habits that we know are holding us back. Here are some practical things to remember which will help you handle your habits.

1. Place focus on your goal(s). The reason you want to change your habit is because you have have some goal you want to reach. Your current behaviors you now follow are likely not conducive to that goal. You will only realize your goal once you modify your actions into ones that are congruent with your goal. So in essence, you need to really focus on the major reason(s) why you want to change before and during the behavioral changing process. Those reasons a the key tools for your motivation while creating your new habit.

2. Do not think about what you are doing, think about what you are producing. We will easily go back to our old ways of doing things if we think about the act and not the result. The more you focus on what you are doing (or not doing), the more likely you will return to our old ways. Flip your thinking to focus on what you are creating. For instance, every time you wake up in the morning and exercise, you are creating a healthier, more fit person. Every time you wake up in the morning and do not exercise, you are creating an out of shape unhealthy person. Remember, you are always creating not matter what you are doing.

3. Make yourself accountable. Whenever you are putting a new habit into practice, create some sort of method for evaluating what went well and what went wrong. Do not just assume that you will start reading 3 books a month simply because you said you would. Think of how best to make yourself accountable. Should you partner with a friend who will check up on your performance? Should you create a check sheet that you review daily or weekly? Make sure the method you use will be one that you will definitely implement. It will do you no good to set up an accountability tool that you will not end up using.

4. Do it daily. Whatever the new habit you decide to create, I recommend that you make it a daily habit. If you do it everyday, you will have a much greater chance of making it stick. If you say you will do it three days a week, you will be more likely to say that you can do it tomorrow and still make you three day a week goal. Next thing you know, the week is over and you have not met your standards. When you do it every day, you are saying to your subconscious mind that the action is now a part of your life and it will readily accept the new behavior more easily over something that you do sporadically throughout the week.


Habits, Habits, and more Habits

We do it once or twice, its an act. We do it everyday, its a habit. Charles C Noble once said, "first we make our habits, then our habits make us." Everything from the way we make our coffee in the morning, to how we prepare for bed at night is a culmination of actions which we repeat day after day. In doing so, we program the actions into our subconscious minds. In the end, we no longer need to think about what we are actually doing as we go about our day.

Many of us talk about breaking our bad habits. The reason we have those intentions is we have come to realize the destructive nature of the things we consistently do. Sometimes, even while we are doing it, we feel the guilt associated with doing what we know to be counter-productive to our growth. So how do we break our bad habits?

I am not sure we can. Breaking a habit is not the best way to "break a habit." Instead, we need to work on developing new beneficial routines and adapt them to our everyday lives. As we developed the bad habit, we deeply implanted programing into our brains much like a path we create from walking the same way through a field day after day. If I wanted to create a new path, I would not focus my attention on destroying the old path, instead, I would begin to walk in a different direction to my destination. In time, grass would grow over the old path causing it to slowly disappear.

Creating a new path is not easy. The first time you attempt to take a new path through the field, you may experience some anxiety. This new way does not feel as good as the one you used to take. In your mind, you ask yourself questions to justify why you should even bother putting yourself through this when you do not have to. You pretty much have to force yourself to keep going to you make it to the other side of the field. Once you are there, you evaluate your experience. Was it "not so bad," or "so uncomfortable you never want to go through it again?" Do you decide to take the worn out path the next day to avoid this emotionally charged experience?

The analogy of creating a new path serves as a simple illustration of habit creating process. My next post will focus on practical things we need to know when creating new habits. Stay tuned.


What about you?

My last post focused on creating your personal brand. This weekend I had the opportunity to possibly volunteer at a large professional organization meeting taking place locally. For some strange reason, the volunteer coordinator did not have record of my volunteer request. Rather than get upset and get bummed out about the misunderstanding, I decided to go back out to the exhibit halls among all of the attendees. I grabbed a seat and began observing the passers-by.

My first observation was that practically everyone looked the same. Each person looked pristine in their power black suit. But, each suit had less and less power with every individual who wore one. I'm sure that everyone of these intelligent individuals had well prepared mini-speeched detailing their accomplishments. Perhaps these accomplishments were a little embellished but with good reason in order to make the most lasting impression possible. I wonder how many of them will truly leave a unique mark with the people they come in contact with this weekend?

I have a theory. It may not necessarily be true, but it is worth sharing. I believe that many of the attendees are following a path that was carved out for them years ago. Perhaps carved out by their family expectations. Most likely carved out by society's definition and expectation of success. I do not believe that all of them would say that they have a passion for climbing the corporate ladder. If they did, I am not sure they could adequately verbalize the reason why. I myself did not have a reason to that question when I had the important talk with myself months ago.

So what's my point? I am not sure I have one. This blog is not meant to answer all the questions. It is to get you to think. Ask yourself "why am I doing _______?" If the answer does not make you feel all warm and gooey inside then there is most likely no passion behind it. I am not saying you should quit your job tomorrow, or ever. Instead, find out what does make you feel whole. What are you drawn to do? Answer that question and implement more of that into your life starting today. Do not be concerned about how much time you have to dedicate to what you love. This should be done for you. Besides, wouldn't it feel good to know that you are so much more than your career?


Branding You

We are surrounded by the myriad of brands in the marketplace today. Even the most natural substance, water, has fallen prey to the phenomenon of branding. Branding is how companies chose to separate themselves from the rest. Branding is why we pay a little more for one product over another. Most of us have only thought of branding the in corporate sense. But a new era is emerging, the dawn of the personal branding era.

Whether you realize it or not, you already have your own personal brand. A brand is how a product is recognized. Your branding is what you are known for. You have already created an image of what you represent. But most of us do not consciously think of how we are constantly defining ourselves. We consistently send out messages to everyone at all times, the key is to define our ideal image we want to brand and to effectively demonstrate image to the world. So how do you create or fine tune your brand?

1. Your uniqueness-Your brand relies heavily on your unique attributes. Take time to list your most valuable and unique assets. These are the traits that others notice about you as well. Once you have identified your strengths, accentuate them. Speak on them, place them on your personal card. Make it a part of your personal mission statement. Think of a slogan that best defines you and play it in your head over and over again.

2. Know your audience-What does your audience expect from you? Are consistently delivering above their expectations? If you take the time to understand their needs, you can effectively demonstrate to them how your unique attributes will provide solutions for those needs.

3. Be consistent-When you pay extra for a certain brand, you expect the same level of quality every time you purchase it. The same idea applies to your personal branding. You should work diligently to make sure that you continue providing the same level of excellence that your audience has come to expect. The consistently will reinforce your brand more than anything else you can do to define yourself.

Have fun creating your personal brand. Remember that the word personal is crucial in establishing your brand. Do not create a brand based solely on what you see others doing. Be innovative. If you seek out to emulate another individual's attributes, you liken yourself to the store brand. The quality may be comparable, but most customers prefer the brand name product. Reinvent yourself if your current brand is not what you desire it to be. Look for ways to separate yourself from the rest. It's time for a brand new you.


Are you willing?

What do you want your life to be like in the next 6 months, 5 years, 10 years?
Most of us have a picture in our minds of what we want our life to be. Many of us have even gone to the next step and have written our intentions. Great! You're half of the way there. Next you have to ask yourself honestly if you really want to achieve what you've just written down. So how do you know if you really want it?

Every goal that you have written down requires you to implement new behavior(s), or in some cases, stop your current behavior(s). You know exactly what those behaviors are. You also know exactly what you have to do today to change your direction and move towards your intentions. The question is are you willing?

So you want to become debt free. Great! Now you will have to live a lifestyle that is well below your means so you can allocate extra income to your balances. Nothing new..but are you willing? Are you willing to say no to buying lunches at work, or to the extra features that you had to have on your upgraded phone, or anything else you'll have to do to reach your goal?

Creating goals is a great thing. Writing them down is even better. Having the all important conversation with yourself about your level of commitment to your goal is perhaps the most important thing you can do to succeed. If you have made up your mind about your willingness to do exactly what it takes to see your goal through, you will be less likely to stop mid-stream because of the lack of commitment. When things get intense, you can go back and tell yourself that you knew this would likely happen and you agreed to endure because the goal is more important. You could even go as far as writing a contract with yourself listing all of the things that you are willing to do to reach your important goals and why your goals are so important to you. Keep that thing handy when times get hard. You know that you can do it, but will you?


Lets talk motivation

Many of us make drastic lifestyle decisions or changes as a result of external influences. When we decide to modify a part of our lives due to an external force, we tend to make the changes quickly and then slip back into our old ways slowly.

Don't get me wrong, external motivation is a great thing. In fact, that type of motivation is the juice that gets us started down the road to change. The problem is that external motivators usually work on a short-term basis and, like the drug addict, we need another fix to keep us going on that same level.

An example I will use is someone who wants to lose a certain amount of weight for an upcoming event (external). Usually the closer the event is the more motivation the person to work extremely hard to reach his/her goal. Fast forward to after the event has passed. Suppose that person was successful in reaching the weight loss goal. Maintaining that new weight will be highly unlikely because what truly kept him motivated is no longer a major influence of his habits. I've even heard of expectant mothers giving up smoking during the pregnancy for the health of the unborn baby only to revive the habit after the child is born.

So what does this all mean for you? Stop and reflect on your goals. Ask the all important question "why."
Why do I want to..... If the real answer is mainly externally in nature, you should strive to find an equally compelling internal purpose that will keep the fire burning resulting in long-term motivation.

If the drive is inside, you will not need to rely upon the next promotion opportunity, love interest, or other flavor of the month outside of you to influence your behavior. Your internal drive will carry you through all of the highs and lows of goal acheivement when you need it the most. External drive may work for some but it can not be counted on to provide the sole reasons for change in your life. It is internal motivation that forces us to keep on keeping on.


You have no future

The title of this post is a little harsh for a reason. I want to clearly demonstrate how important your present is. There are plenty of goals and intentions that you wish to see become a reality. You want to change or improve some aspect of your life. You know the change requires hard work. You decide that you will begin making an effort as soon as......

The problem with this type of thinking is you are allowing your "future self" to take necessary action sometime in the future. When we talk about things our "future self" will do, we are passing the responsibility along. We often are too trusting of our "future self." We go on and on about all of the wonderful things that "future self" will do even though "future self" has failed us time and time again.

The truth is that the future does not exist. What I mean by the statement is neither of us have actually physically been in the future. Even when we say we will start our new diet plan next week, we need to realize that next week is not a point in time but a verbal excuse not to act in the only opportunity you have. The time to create change in our lives is now. If you continue to place the responsibility of change on "future you," you no longer operate in the now. And if you really think about it, now is all we have.
We do not have next minute, next, week, yesterday. We have right now to create change. Now is not the time to make a decision. Now is the time to act on it! Act in the moment you are given, your future depends on it.


What can you say?

Here's a thought for you to reflect on. Imagine that you (all of us) did not have the ability to communicate with words. Imagine this world as one where our actions are the only means of communicating with one another and ourselves. If that were the case, would other people be able to tell what your goals are by just observing what you do?

Could we tell that you desire to lose 15lbs, get that promotion, become financially independent, etc from just looking at your behavior and your daily efforts? Have you become comfortable using words as a suitable substitute for action?

Because words are used as a primary form of communication in our daily lives, we tend to give much more value to the things we say we will do than what we actually do. To some, saying that they will do something is just as real as actually doing it even if they never reach that goal. They are content to remain in a false reality where they believe they are doing a good thing by boasting with empty words. Don't get me wrong, it is good to speak on what you will do, but if words are the only evidence of your intentions, then you are only fooling yourself.

Today, and going forward, see your life as one where action is the primary way of "saying" your intentions. What would it look like if you were "saying" to the world what you want? Take time to reflect on this thought daily and adjust your behavior before you say another word.


I've got it-Made

MTV has a show called Made. On that show, ambitious teenagers who desire to reach a seemingly impossible goal seek the help of MTV to make their dreams a reality.
Normally, the person featured on each episode is the exact opposite of what they want to become. For instance, a cheerleader wants to be made into a football player, a pastor's daughter wants to be a hip hop dancer, an unpopular girl wants to become a beauty queen. The list goes on.
This one hour program is chock full of self-development lessons for us all. I'll discuss many of similarities I've noticed from the episodes I've seen.

HARD WORK-The show chronicles several months of progress made by the individual from when they start their goal until it has been reached. The person usually puts in hours of time every day into that goal they so long to reach. Many have to wake up before dawn and spend hours after school dedicating their time to finally becoming what they truly want to be.

PERSEVERANCE-In many of the episodes I've seen, the person on the show may reach a point where they decide to that the goal they asked for is too hard to obtain and they give up. But it isn't long before they come to their senses and realize their goal is much more important then staying in their comforts zone. The Made individual quickly begins right where they left off and continues on until they have reached their goal.

MADE COACH-The Made Coach is a person who is there to make sure the individual reaches his/her goals. The Made Coach motivates, inspires, and pushes the person into becoming what they desire. The Coach serves as a wealth of information and experience, therefore the person being made does not have to strive for these difficult goals without the benefit of previous experience.

So what lessons can we learn from the show? We all have goals we hope to reach. The goals may seem absolutely impossible, but with hard work, persevere, and learning from the experience of others, we can have what we want. Whenever I watch the show I always think to myself "there's no way that person is going to become..."
But I am always amazed at the transformation that occurs in a few months. Every time I've seen the show, I say to myself "if that person could do it, then anything is possible."
Take time today and think about your goals. Are you putting in as much hard work as you are able? Are you persisting until you succeed? Are you leveraging the valuable experience of others? Do you wanna be Made?


Good Morning

The absolute best way to take charge of the day ahead of you is to start preparing first thing in the morning. The morning hours are the best time to still your mind, remove the constant chatter, and fill your thoughts with affirmations. When you place your efforts into your morning rituals, you ground yourself before the chaos of the day comes your way. As a result, you are better able to handle challenges, stress, and anything else life wants to throw at you. Here are some ideas of some impactful activities that you can implement in your morning routine:

1. Prayer
2. Meditation
3. Exercise
4. Journaling
5. Breakfast
6. Reading
7. Visualizing
8. Goal Setting
9. Budgeting

Make the choice today to implement at least five of these actions into your habits. Better yet, you can incorporate all 10 on the list by rotating some of the actions on different days of the week. Do not just wake, up jump in the shower, and run out the door without first settling your mind and focusing on the day ahead. If you do these things consistently, your life will change.


Overcoming Fear

In my previous post, I described fear using each letter of the word. This time I will give you suggestions on how to overcome your fears using the same concept.

Many of our fears are fed by our exaggerated notions of certain experiences. When we imagine the worst possible outcome, we scare ourselves into believing the possibility of that outcome actually occurring. To avoid this destructive behaviour, we need to sit back and look and the situation objectively. The worst that can happen usually does not happen. In fact, would you agree that we when we go through an uncomfortable situation, despite our fears, we end up thinking that it wasn't as bad as you imagined it would be? You could even take it a step further and imagine the best possible outcome for the situation. By consciously doing so, you take away the environment for the fear to thrive. You also provide the foundation needed for you to move past the scary thoughts and into action.

veryone Else
We often let others stop us from reaching our full potential. We spend too much time focusing on how others think of us. We put the needs, wants, and expectations of others before our own. I believe that we do these things because we do not spend enough time with ourselves. If we constantly put people before us and operate based on what others think or expect, we deplete our sense of self worth. Schedule time every day in quiet reflection thinking about you and your strengths. What is your purpose? Who is the real you? What makes you shine? Do this every single morning so that you have established a clear notion of who you are before you step out into the daily grind. Your voice will become clearer in your mind and the perceptions of others will start to diminish. When you truly know who you are, you will not direct your actions around the opinions of others.

When fear overcomes our minds, it begins to seep into our actions. We actually consciously avoid activities, experiences, and people, because of the feeling of fear. If left unchallenged, fear can even lead to stress and illness. You can not allow fear to impact how you operate. As I said before, we often look at the situation differently once we tread past the initial feelings of apprehension. So we must always move quickly past the feelings and into action. I repeat, we must quickly move past the feelings and into action. The quicker the better. Another word of advice I would give is to do it and do it often. Most of the time our "fear" is just unfamiliarity in disguise. The more we do it, the better and easier it gets. Keep that in mind every time you try something new. Get to it!

Realize that the reasons you provide are just excuses to keep you from acting. Understand that the reasons you provide are just excuses to keep you from acting.
Know that the reasons you provide are just excuses to keep you from acting.
Your reasons are nothing more than you mind telling you to keep things the same and avoid change at all costs. To avoid this issue, you need to be on the look out for the reasons. Expect them. Once they arrive, look at them pitifully, shake your head, and move on. Most importantly, remember your reasons for implementing the change. Use that to direct, steer, and motivate you.


Fear Defined

I was feeling a little creative today so I decided to write this post about fear by using the letters in the word to describe the emotion. While in class the other night, our professor asked everyone in the room to describe what we would do if we were not afraid. The answers were varied and the possibilities were endless. Unfortunately, because of the fear of failure, or success, many of us tend to become stagnant never reaching our full potential.

What is F.E.A.R?

Fear is like an organism that thrives where there is abundance of a certain substance. In the same manner that Candida feeds on the sugar we consume, our fears grow and multiply through the thoughts we create. I used the word fantasies because we often produce an unrealistic mental picture of what we fear most. Our fears rarely stem from objective experiences. In fact, many of us have never actually experienced that which we fear. Think about it. When was the last time you had an entire audience make fun of you the last time you spoke? Yet many fear speaking in front of others for that specific reason. Can you recall the last time you fell from the side of a building? Yet many are afraid of heights. Could it be that our "legitimate" fears are just as inflated as the person on the Maury Povich show who was deathly afraid of balloons?

Everyone else
Take time to think about your fears. Do any of them revolve around what others may think? Some of us are even afraid to express our true thoughts and emotions because we do not want others to become angry. We suppress our genius because we do not want to make others feel inferior. We hinder our voice because we do not want to look stupid in front of others. We constantly go through life giving just enough of ourselves to gain the approval of other people. When we do, we extinguish the thoughts, or actions, that make us who we are.

When we experience prolonged feelings of fear, we may start to experience anxiety. We begin to worry excessively about everyday life. Our daily activities are affected and our minds are not able to rest. And of course, our actions are impacted. Have you ever looked back and thought about the experiences you missed because of the feelings that held you back? Did you ever replay a conversation in your mind and wished that you had another chance to say what you were thinking? Can you think of how your specific circumstance(s) would change if you begin to operate without fear?

We entertain thoughts of fear because we can easily provide reasons to validate the fear. When the possibility of doing something slightly scary presents itself, we quickly begin to rattle off an endless supply of reasons not to act. Those reasons may or may not be valid. Those reasons might even make sense to you. But those reasons should not become the barrier between where you are now and where you should be. We let reasons stop us because they seem rational at the time. We believe that we are protecting ourselves from hurt or pain. But what we are really doing is giving up the opportunity to experience growth and change.

Review your fears objectively. Ask yourself if your fears stem from valid concerns or are they bred from invalid reasons. What would you do if you were not afraid?


Impossible is Nothing

Have you desired to accomplish something but thought that it would be impossible to do? If so let me share with you this quote:

"Impossible is nothing. Impossible is just a big word used by small people who find it easier to live in the world they are given than to explore the power they have to change it."

The first time I saw the phrase was during an Adidas advertisement. I do not remember much of the commercial but when the slogan flashed across the screen, I instantly adopted those words as my new mantra.

Impossible is a heavy word loaded with dangerous emotions. Impossible holds us back by providing numerous reasons why we should not attempt to have what we want. Impossible is an invisible force field that separates us from where we are to where we want to be. Impossible is nothing.

Stop and think about the word impossible and how much power it has over our minds. Think about what it does to our drive and determination. Notice how one word can cripple your intentions and hinder your purpose. Take away all the power that word holds and say to your self....impossible is nothing.

Renew your mind to fully understand that all things are possible. There is a way. It can be accomplished. Meditate on those words. Accept them fully. Move forward without the slightest bit of doubt about the outcome of your actions. Make it known that you have every intention to achieve what you desire.

Impossible is nothing.


Seeing is believing

I have a vision board that I use when I want to regain my focus on what I truly desire. A vision board is a collection of pictures or words of things that you wish to have that you put together on a posterboard . By looking at it daily, you enter mental images of everything you desire all at once. The more time you spend taking in the feelings that you receive from viewing your vision board, the more you allow the basic premise of the Law of Attraction to work.

The Law of Attraction says that you attract more of what you already have or what you now experience. You will have a hard time simply believing you'll have what you desire if the you focus on what you currently experience. I visited a local LOA meeting not too long ago. Everyone in the room introduced themselves and discussed any exciting LOA experiences he/she had. One gentleman there explained that he created a vision board at the last meeting to help him in visualising his goals. He announced happily that he attracted nearly everything that he put on the board.
Why was he able to have what he wanted simply by putting images on posterboard?

Images are very powerful. How many times have we seen a gruesome image on the screen and had the most difficult time removing it from our memory? It becomes nearly impossible to take something out of our minds once we put it in. By placing the image to a board and focusing on it day after day, the image becomes a fixation in the mind. You begin to think about it consciously and unconsciosly. From time to time the image even flashes before you without any effort. When you see anything resembling the image in real life you are drawn to it. It is drawn to you.

Your actions lead to you to obtaining those things day in and day out. The key factor is the feeling of excitement and joy that you experience when you view your board. The images almost seem real to you. They become so real that you can almost taste it. Sure, you can visualize something that you want without using cut out pictures, but without the images, daily life happens and you have to consciously take time out to remove your current thoughts and implant what you desire. With a vision board, the images are there for you to gaze upon whether or not you feel like it. In fact, you can use it to motivate you especially during those times when you do not feel like you a prospering in you goals.

Take time out today to collect images that you will use in your vizion board. Place it in an obvious location where you will be sure to see it every day. Spend time gazing at it and believing that what you see before you is truly possible. Seeing is believing.


Asking the right questions

Why do I always seem to fail at reaching my goals? Why don't I have a soul mate? Why am I so broke? We ask ourselves questions like these all the time.
Asking these types of questions may seem like the first step to having the goals that you desire, but that is not the case.

The biggest problem with asking ourselves these types of questions oocurs when minds come up with various answers to validate our perception of a situation. As you flood your mind with multiple reasons why something is terrible about your life, you begin to make those answers an even bigger focus in your mind. When you reflect on these types of loaded questions, you are entertaining extremely destructive thoughts.

If you were to change the kinds of questions you ask internally, your mind will create the habit of providing solutions for your situation(s). The rule of thumb is to use questions that begin with "how can I" or "how would I." If you use these examples to ask your self a question, your mind will work to get you answers. This may not work right away because you are shifting a long-standing mindset, but you must use it consistently and you must force yourself to answer the question. You may even want to create a minimum "three answers rule" when you ask yourself a question that begins with "how." The more answers you come up with, the better.

Another benefit to asking the right questions is that you become a solutions-oriented individual. You will see every situation as an opportunity. You will begin to take advantage of the opportunities quickly. If you hone your skills on asking the right questions you may even begin to find solutions to problems before others. If you do not ask yourself questions that lead you to finding the best answers, you remain on a treadmill of negativity. You may be using up tons of energy, but you will not get anywhere.


Your own worst enemy

I had to do some real soul searching the other day when I suddenly realized that I had created this nasty little habit of waiting until the last minute to get something done. Traditionally, I tended to dilly dally on school assignments and other tasks and magically get the work done at the last minute. Many of us operate at least some part our lives this way. Here are the reasons why this habit became so destructive.

The reason why I generally put my work off until the last moment was not because I had more critical activities to complete. Looking back I realize that the majority of my time preceding the last minute dash was very unproductive. I would surf the net, or do light housework that could have been done a later time. To be completely honest, I was coursing through my house looking for tasks that I could do to postpone what really needed to be done. My actions were subconscious of course. I did not literally say "what can I do to occupy my time and avoid getting the important things done?"

The worst part about the entire situation was that I could hear a very small nagging voice that said "you know you should be doing..." I ignored that voice. When it came back, I ignored it again. I ignored it until I had not other choice but to listen.
When I sat down and truly realized exactly what was happening I had to make a decision. Would I continue in direction I was heading, becoming my own worst enemy, or would I consciously work to develop the discipline of doing what needs to be done first?

I knew the answer to this question would not be mere words. The answer had to come from my actions. Words mean nothing in a situation like this. Empty words are like a dollar bill with the face of a clown on it. The bill looks promising from afar, but holds absolutely no value. So I didn't say much to myself. I didn't vow that this would never happen again. It was almost like if I did make promises to myself, my subconscious would hear my words and attempt to sabotage my efforts. Instead I took complete control of my actions. I figured that I had to do something to show that I have at least some power to control my what I do.

Yesterday I did just that. I did not allow any other option but to identify what was most important and work on those things right away. Yesterday was a success. Yesterday was only one day. There will be many more days where I will be called to make crucial decisions regarding my actions. I understand now that destructive habits work to deny me of my success. With that said, I work diligently to create new habits that move me in the right direction.


Acheivement and the Law of Inertia

Remember learning about the Law of Inertia back in science class? Well if you don't remember, the law was created by Sir Isaac Newton. The law states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force (grc.nasa.gov). All natural laws are called laws because they hold true one hundred percent of the time. If we clearly understand this principle, we could use that knowledge to positively impact how we reach our goals.

Remaining the Same
The basic premise of the law says that we will keep whatever direction we are going in now if left undisturbed. The undesirable habits that we have and wish to abolish will continue to exist unless compelled to change by the action of an external(or internal)force. Once you fully understand this information, you realize that "wanting" your life to change is not enough. "Hoping" that you reach that goal is futile. "Wishing" that you can make a difference is worthless. These emotions are not powerful enough on their own to alter the straight line motion direction of your life.

Changing your direction
To change your behavior you must take action. Your action(s) work as the external force that can derail your current momentum. When you incorporate daily action to change the direction of your behavior, you will tend to keep moving in that direction. Have you ever worked on achieving a small goal? When your goal is accomplished, you want move on to the next goal to keep feeding the feelings of achievement. Whenever you decide on changing some aspect of your life, keep this law in your mind. Understand that only an external force will work to bring about change. Remember that once you start moving in the right direction you will want to continue building momentum. Use those principles to motivate your mind. Keep on keeping on.


Say it

A few months back I attended a Franklin Covey Time Management course held by our company trainer. The entire 8 hour class was full of great information but there was one exercise that had the most influence on the way I think.

The exercise was geared to help the particpant create long-term thinking. Each class member was asked to pair up with a partner and introduce themselves to the other person as if they met in the year 2000. For two minutes we spoke to each other describing the things that were going on in our lives years back as if it were currently happening. I did not particularly like this part of the excercise. On the one hand, I got a real understanding of how far I've come from talking about where I came. On the other hand, that experience brought back some old memories of a time where I struggled with who I was and where I was going.

In the second part of the exercise we were to introduce ourselves to our partners as if we met several years in the future. I decided that I would really describe my life in vivid detail of what I wanted my life to be, not what I thought my life would be. When I was my turn to speak, I spoke immediately of things that I had harbored secretly in my mind. The more details I gave, the more chills I got down my spine. It felt as if I was describing things that really happened in my life. It was incredible.

Our words have great power in them. When I speak with conviction about goals, that have not occured yet, I am saying that I believe in what I've spoken about and expect it happen. There is nothing wrong with having life goals and visualizing them to your self in your mind. But once your verbalize them, in present tense, you are adding another dimension to what you desire. Take time out today to speak the end result of your goals. When you do, belive that you are speaking the absolute truth. Do it frequently. By saying it, you will create that momentum that will propel you to your success.


"Success is failure with the dirt brushed off"

Mamie McCullough said those words. I believe those words should be shouted from the roof tops. Normally when we see someone who is a success, we only get to witness the polished version of that person's life. How often do we hear stories of successes who dropped out of school or who once was homeless? We love to learn about the lives people who overcame their obstacles and achieved their dreams.

The story behind their victory is what intrigues us. We ask ourselves, "would we have responded the same way if we were faced with those same obstacles they faced?" Could we have the steadfastness to hold on to a vision regardless of our circumstances? The people who we consider failures are still walking around with dirt on them. That individual was dealt one of life's difficulties and allowed the experience devastate him. That devastation is still evident to this day.

When we decide to "brush the dirt off" of ourselves, we are choosing to remove the evidence of the fall. We say "yeah I fell, but I got up again. Now that I'm up, I do not want my failure to be the focus of my attention." That powerful statement is the foundation of success for countless of people. So today, you have to look at yourself carefully to make sure that you are not walking around with a little dirt on your chin. The past defeats are a learning lesson but they should not be affecting the way you look today. Before you leave today check the mirror and make sure you are spotless.


From today

I've just celebrated a birthday this week and I am excited about my life today and how it will be in the future. I often set aside a little time to create a mental picture of my life a year or two from now and how it will be different. As the vision materializes, the images are quite different from the life I am experiencing right now. When I bring my thoughts back to the physical world, I witness the stark contrast and wonder how my mental picture will come to pass.

The first thing I do is remind myself that my vision is possible. Anything I want can be achieved no matter how my circumstances look like right now. So then reality hits and I ask myself "OK, how is this going to come about?"
The answer to this thought provoking question is "from today."

Today is like a seed which will produce the the harvest of my future. I must live today like I will in the future. I must grab a hold of that message and take it very seriously if I have any real desire to affect my future circumstances. If I treat this day like it is something of little value, then I will receive no value from it. But if I understand the direct correlation between what occurs today and what will be tomorrow, then I have changed the course of my destiny.


Five reasons why you should write your intentions

So you have some really exciting goals and ideas you want to make a reality. You say you truly want to make it happen. You are full of excitement juices that have you smiling from ear to ear as you ponder on how wonderful life will be once you succeed. You have the ideas clearly in your mind. But somehow, life happens and you realize that you have not progressed as quickly as you thought you would have. What could you have done differently to help you reach your goal? Write them down. Here are the reasons why.

Writing them down makes them more powerful
Saying that you want to do something in your mind is not powerful enough to make you do it. Creating intentions in our minds is a fairly simple act that most of us do several times a day (consciously or unconsciously) but something powerful happens when we are motivated enough to put our goals on paper. By writing them down, you are saying to your subconscious, "I truly want this to happen."

By writing down your intentions, you can clarify your thoughts

Sometimes we use our mind like a piece of scratch paper to jot down random scattered thoughts. This is not how you want to treat your intentions. Lets face it, your mind is full of other everyday details. You have to make your goals a priority by writing them down to separate them from all of the other stuff you have going on up there.

You have something in the physical world to remind you
Without putting your goals on paper, you run the risk of forgetting exactly what you wanted your life to be. If may not happen right away but, trust me, time will pass, life will go on, and you will find yourself wondering why you were not able to keep your focus on your intentions. By writing them down, your goals are a part of your physical world. In essence, they become a part of reality before they become a reality.

There is record of past achievements you can use as motivation
As you create a record of your intentions, you have verifiable proof of your past achievements. When you reach a goal, you look back at your writing and remember how it felt to write down your goals and how it feels now to have achieved them. This will create a powerful motivation technique for you to repeat the process again and again by writing down lists of new goals.

Writing down your goals makes you accountable

There is nothing that screams "get to work" more than reading your goals, you taped to your medicine cabinet, every morning when you wake up. The physical evidence of your promise to yourself is staring square in your face demanding you to take action. If you don't take any action, you have to face them again tomorrow morning. If you do take action you can look at your words with confidence that you will work just as hard on achieving them today and you did yesterday.


In the beginning

I think the hardest part of starting a new habit, or ending a bad one, is when we get beyond the initial phase of making the decision. How bad do you truly want to have that goal? Are you willing to wake up at 5:00 a.m. or run five miles a day, or give up that unhealthy relationship?

Realistically, as soon as you decide to make that life altering change, you have to simultaneously understand everything that will come along with it. Say to yourself, "I am going to lose weight....in order to lose the weight I know that I have to substitute unhealthy snacks for fruits and vegetables. I also know that I will have to wake up, even though I do not feel like it, and exercise to increase my metabolism." Make a full assessment of what it will take to realize those intentions of yours. Carefully go over all of the details in your mind like you would if you were reading the fine print of a contract.

So now the new habit begins. Treat this process in the same way as one who were to plant a new garden. The soil must be prepared, the seeds planted, the seedlings watered and cared for. The entire process is cumbersome and tedious. But shortly after, tiny little seedlings begin to sprout as a reward for your efforts. But remember, the seedlings are still in a fragile condition. If you neglect to continue with your daily routine of nurturing, the seedlings will die. On the contrary, you must be even more vigilant to protect your little blessings from external forces which will hinder your hard earned efforts.

If you remain faithful in your actions, even if you realize minor setbacks, then you will have created a steady habit. That habit will become like a thriving plant which requires only periodic trimmings to maintain its fullness and health. But for this to happen successfully, you will have to plan carefully and remain steadfast until you are certain that the roots of your habits are deeply grounded. Only then will you be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.


You have today

A friend of mine died tragically on Tuesday. A plane crashed into her home. I saw her a week before the incident. I was to visit her this weekend. When I first confirmed that it was her name that I heard on the news, I went into a state of shock and disbelief. I called a mutual friend to tell her what happened and, as she began to weep, I explained to her the purpose of the tragic incident.

I first met Janice, the young lady who died, when she appeared at my bedside at the hospital as I recovered from a life-saving surgery. She just walked in, sat down, and began talking to me. I had no idea who she was. My husband introduced her to me as "Janice from his job." She worked with him in the past for a very short period of time. This 24 year old was so inspirational to him, that he spoke of her frequently and begged me to call her and become friends with her. I called her once or twice but it was slightly awkward and never led to anything more.

That night at the hospital I got to know her. She was pregnant at the time with her son, who also perished in the fire. She brought me a book, a card, an a gospel CD. She stayed and we talked for hours that night. When she realized that I did not have a CD player, she left the hospital and bought me one just before visiting hours were over.

A few weeks after my recovery, I visited her home. There she showed me pictures of of a retreat that she coordinated. She took 20-30 young underprivileged girls for a weekend of pampering and inspiration. The theme of the event was "The Princess Within." There they were pampered and "loved on" while staying at a castle themed resort at no cost to the parent(s). They were told that they were loved by God and that they were special because they were his princesses.

This year I had the opportunity to participate in the event. This one was "Facing the Giants." The girls created vision boards, they spoke of their personal struggles, and they were told about the love of God. When Janice and I met in the parking lot of a McDonalds about a week and a half ago, she thanked me for my service by providing me a plaque. On it was a picture of everyone who attended the retreat. She was not in the picture. She also told me that she incorporated her organization and planned to open up a home where young girls could turn to. Janice met a woman who currently had such a place and asked that woman to be her mentor. Her passion and excitement for the project was intense.

Now Janice is gone. When I think about it I have a great sense of peace inside. Why? Because I know that Janice is home now. I know that Janice lived her purpose. I know that Janice did exactly what she was placed here to do. So I ask myself....am I living as Janice did? Am I giving like Janice did?

I have today.


The Warrior Within

Why is it that we have a hard time fulfulling our promises that we make to ourselves? When we say that we are going to do something, especially something that changes a habit, we make the same promises again and again. Is it because we had no intention on fulfulling the promise in the first place? Or maybe because we have no discipline to maintain drastic changes in our lives.

I was listening to an audio book called "Your Power to Create" by Carolyn Myss. In it she describes herself as having a ferocious discipline like a warrior. "I am exactly like a warrior" is how she refers to herself again and again. How many of us are able to say that about ourselves? I can honestly say that I have yet to develop the warrior-like discipline that I so admire. I watch movies like Hero and the Last Samuri in amazement when I see how concentration and dedication releases the amount of human potential we have.
How can we begin to develop dramatic lasting changes in our lives that we so desprately want?

Anticipate opposition
As soon as you are ready to introduce change into your life. Be alert for your subconscious to sprinkle little thoughts of doubt that will keep you from allowing that change. By consciously expecting it, you won't fall into the trap of entertaining these false negatives. Every second you allow the voices to deter, you risk defeat. If you are not aware of your enemy, you can not overcome him. When the thoughts do come into play, resolve to annihilate them in whatever way you can. If you don't, you will lose.

Train as a warrior
Think of training not as a rigourus activity that we are obligated to do, think of it as what you are doing right now. If you come home from work in the evenings and nestle in front of the television then you are creating a ritual. You then become a trained couch potato. If someone who is involved in another evening ritual, such as exercise or study, were asked to watch television every night, that person follow will the same path as anyone else who introduces a lifestyle change. He will ignore the voice denouncing the change, then begin to sit on the couch night after night, until the voice is no longer audible.

You are stimulating a change when you create goals for your life. Your subconscious hates change. Once you truly understand this you will see the situation clearly and pay no attention to its feable attempts to keep you stagnent. Holding on to useless habits is not acceptable. Though your opponent is not visible you must see him clearly. Study his tactics and understand his ways. Stand against him with the steadfastness of trained champion. Failing is not an option.