Saturday, August 20, 2011

Build it back up

Sometimes you have to break it down in order to build it back up again.  Transforming your life can be difficult if you’ve held on to the same way of living for so long.  We start building the walls and we spend so long perfecting the outer shell that we forget about the foundation.  Over time the walls sag and crumble, but we put up with status quo because we’ve put so much time into those walls.  Overtime people push on those walls and drive holes in them, holes that you are not prepared to deal with, holes that cannot be fixed.

Sometimes you just have to know when to knock them down and start fresh and this time you have the knowledge that will build the foundation for stronger, sturdier walls.  You work on the inner house and not only the walls that surround you and face the world.  You see the importance of the inner stability and balance and you build a home that will stand the test of time. 

Don’t be afraid to start fresh, whether someone has torn apart your life or you have to tear it down yourself.  It can be hard.  You’ll feel like you’re out in the dark of night and you won’t be able to see.  You’ll wonder if you’re going in the right direction or if you might walk off an edge.  Trust in yourself and look up, because once you stop and look up you’ll see the stars, the little lights that are the light at the end of the tunnel.   As you progress through that dark night, keep looking up at the stars.  You may be tired and wonder how you can possibly go on, but I promise that eventually one time when you look up, you’ll realize that the sky seems a little brighter.  Dawn has not come, but you start to see the faint impressions of the world around you and with each passing moment the world around you becomes clearer and clearer until you see the morning sun and find your way back to where you need to be, where you can rebuild your life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Giving back

Are you in a rut?  Not sure what to do next and feel like you’re wandering through life aimlessly?  Giving back to your community is a great way to help lift your spirits and get you motivated again while benefiting others.  There are so many ways in which to give back and it doesn’t have to cost you a cent.  Giving your time can be the most precious gift and the joy you will get back is ten fold.  

There is nothing greater than being part of an organization that is doing something good for others.  You can choose from a wide array of things such as organizations that cater to the young, the old, women or men.  There are organizations for artistic people, theatre people, and sports groups for kids, adults or people with disabilities.  There are shelters and food banks, Christmas toy collections, crisis phone lines and everything in between.  You can find something that appeals to your unique interests and talents and you can gain skills while volunteering and it can be an ongoing commitment or a short term, even one day commitment.

Surrounding yourself with others who are volunteering is also a great way to lift your own spirits, so get out there and do something.  Even if you aren’t in a rut, get out there because,  if you are blessed with success and have created a life of abundance, then you can be an example of what is possible and you can be a bright light in someone else’s life.  

For my local readers, I’m working on Fiery Faces a special Halloween fundraiser!  Look for more details in the next month because believe it or not Halloween is only 82 days away!  

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Decide, because you can

A couple days ago my daughter was asking why there is war and why people do bad things.  She said “Why can’t people just decide to be happy?”

Then I saw the riots in London and I wondered, why can’t people just decide to be happy and to do good things?

I know there is injustice in the world and that some are saying the current economic situation may have spurred on this riot in London.  I know some people are having a hard time, but I think sometimes people are just looking for an excuse.  We saw the riots after the Stanley Cup playoff game in Vancouver and I can’t think of a more ridiculous reason to riot.  The truth is that people will come up with an excuse to do whatever they DECIDE they want to do.  I just wish they’d look for an excuse to be happy, to be productive and to have a positive influence in the world.  I’ve seen people who had every right to be miserable, upset or angry and yet they retain a positive focus.  I’ve also seen people who allow their tragedies or difficulties define them and destroy their lives.

W. Mitchell was in a motorcycle accident and had 65% of his body burned and lost most of his fingers.  He was in severe pain but decided to make the best of it, went on with his life and started a very successful business.  He then had a plane crash where he apparently missed the ice on the plane’s wings during pre-flight check and ended up paralysed.  His wife left him and many of us would have given up and become miserable.   He decided to do better and went on to be very successful as an author and speaker and lives a happy life.  

Then we have Nick Vujicic, who was born without legs or arms and growing up spent some time very depressed and suicidal, but now has turned his life around and become an inspiration to many.  Look up his video and you’re sure to be touched by his words. Here is a person who has every right to feel helpless or angry and yet he hasn’t let his disability slow him down.

Randy Pausch, in the face of death, gave his “Last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University and inspired so many with his words of wisdom.  The university had a tradition when a professor was leaving or retiring that they would give a last lecture.  The idea was if you had one last lecture to give before you die what would it be?  Well Randy found out he had 3 to 6 months left to live and gave his last lecture.  Ever wonder what you’ll be thinking about when your time comes?  Listen to this man and you’ll have an idea and perhaps use this foresight to do more with your life today.  Even after this video went viral, and he had precious time left, he did interviews and spoke on behalf of pancreatic cancer patients in Washington DC.  Most importantly, he did not spend his last months in self pity but rather took the time to do what he could for his family and luckily for the rest of us, we all benefited from those few short months.

Here are just three people who could have been selfish and angry but who DECIDED that they could do more and be more.  They DECIDED to make something of their lives and take actions that were positive.   The rioters in London or Vancouver DECIDED to “do bad things”.  No matter their situation, they DECIDED to take the actions they did.  Every decision you make is a decision you must live with.  When you are taking action, think about it and DECIDE if it is the right thing to do.  DECIDE to do more and be more.  DECIDE to live a happier life, because you can. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Your Running Pace

Today I was running and fell into pace behind a woman doing nice easy intervals.  It was steady and easy, but I soon realized that it was time to pass her and move on.  Next I came to a more athletic young man and kept pace with him for quite a while although it was definitely more difficult, but then he reached his destination and turned off the path.  I kept running at my own pace with no one ahead of me.  I wonder if I had looked back over my shoulder if I'd have seen anyone behind me?

I realized that this was somewhat representative of our lives.  We fall into pace with those around us and take the easy track and it’s not bad.  It’s easy and nice, but we may find that we start to realize we are not being challenged.  We could stay at this pace, but is easy and nice what you really want?  Or do you want to challenge yourself and push yourself to higher standards?  This is when it is time to find your next mentor and time to try to keep pace with them; try to challenge and push yourself a little further than you might otherwise.  But then that mentor may reach their goal and you still have further to go.  You set out on your own path and begin to use everything you’ve learned and everything you’ve trained for to set your own pace and keep going until you reach your own goal.  Just don't forget to look back over your shoulder and offer encouragement to those who might be following you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Setbacks and Mistakes

Sometimes things happen in our jobs or our lives and we feel like we’ve really messed up or dropped the ball.  Maybe an error was made, something was missed, no one knew there was a problem or you just messed up.  Often there will be a situation where someone asks a question and all of sudden the issue comes to light and it makes you feel terrible.  Maybe you made a mistake at work or bounced a cheque at home.  Maybe you forgot an important event or did something you shouldn’t have.  

When something goes wrong, people will have physical reactions including tightening of the chest, shortness of breath, aches and pain, nausea, headaches among many other symptoms.  In addition to the physical feelings, we have our negative inner voice telling us we should have known better, should have caught the mistake or should have put in a few extra hours to get something done.

The reality often is not as bad as we make it out to be.  Possibly there are some repercussions or difficult questions to answer, but continuing to beat yourself up about what you should or could have done doesn’t help anyone.  This is the time when you really have to be strong and just face the facts.  You have to admit if you made a mistake, move forward and apologize when appropriate.  Admitting a mistake can be easier if you spend a little time figuring out why it happened, how it can be prevented in future and what actions can be taken to correct it.  You should not focus on coming up with excuses or blaming others.  Stick to the facts and be honest.  Find your allies in the situation because often it will involve more than one person and if you work together and present a solution and action plan you may come through looking great as you show that you can face challenges and not be paralyzed by fear, but rather step up, and move on.

Once you have your plan in place and know the details, it is time to face the situation or person.  You will often find that the person you have to face, such as your boss or your spouse is much more forgiving than or not nearly as worried about it as you thought they’d be.  

In a previous job, I remember making a mistake and because of the safety nature of my job, mistakes could have major consequences.  I found the mistake, figured out how to correct it and what needed to be done. Then I held my breath, walked into the boss’s office and told him what happened.  I had spent the last hour stressed and my boss wasn’t worried.  I had corrected the situation and had an action plan for the other things that needed to be done.  That was it.  Finished and done.  Don’t let yourself stew about the outcome.  Talk to the people involved, apologize if appropriate and move on.  You can’t change the past so focus on what you can do now and in future to prevent a reoccurrence.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back from Vacation

I’m back from vacation and going to work tomorrow morning.  For many that day comes with dread, but it shouldn’t and doesn’t need to.  Each one of us needs to make the changes so that we love our work.  But how?  Sure you need a job to pay the bills, but how long will you go on showing up and living the daily grind doing something you don’t love?  

There is no reason for people to indefinitely work at jobs they don’t like.  You may take a job to support yourself, but it should only be while you are moving towards your goals.  You need to have a plan and exit strategy.  Perhaps you need more education.  Then start today, even if it is just one course.  Don’t wait for the kids to get older or for a better time because the fall season is too busy.  Take it from someone who spent 13 years working towards a degree.  It can be done one credit at a time and it is so very rewarding when you do finally finish.  Whatever it is that you need to do to reach your goal, take one step today and another tomorrow and another the next day.  You will get there and you may surprise yourself some days when you can move ahead two or three steps. 

You need to nourish yourself so that you can then nourish others.  The happier and more fulfilled you are, the happier and more fulfilled those around you will be.

I see people who count down the days until they can start enjoying life when they retire.  For many that means they’ve spent 35 years just counting down the days!  What a shame when you could spend that 35 years enjoying life now.  Stop waiting and start enjoying today.  Start taking action that will make you happy.  For many, by the time they retire, they are not physically able to do everything they dreamed if doing.   

Stop having vacations that are an escape from the dreaded job and start vacationing to expand your experiences and bring your self back refreshed, re-energized and inspired to do even more in a job you love, a career you’ve chosen, and a life purpose that fulfills you.