Posts filed under ‘resolutions’

I Have To!

When coordinating plans with others I’ve been known to say things like “I have to run 15 miles tomorrow”, “I have to get to bed early tonight”, or “I have to finish this project this weekend”. When I do, I’m often challenged by a friend who likes to say “You don’t HAVE to……you CHOOSE to!” and technically speaking, he’s right. But I keep saying it anyway… You see, I learned a long time ago that you can either decide how to respond to challenges or opportunities over and over again, depending on present circumstances, or you can make the decision just once, allowing that decision to become your personal standard – your “have to“!

If you take the flexible approach (“we’ll see how things are going” or “it depends”) there are too many variables and too many opportunities to derail you from doing the thing you once committed to doing. It takes discipline to make the hard but right choice, especially when the decision is to ALWAYS make the same choice. But when you do and the issue comes up again, there’s no hesitation or debate. You’re resolute – You “have to”!

Once you’ve decided, then your “have to‘s” take over, relieving you of the recurring decision cycle. And here’s the interesting thing – it’s not restrictive…it’s freeing! Once you’ve decided once and for all, when the alarm clock rings, you’re up – no debate. When someone offers you something you’ve sworn off, you decline – no debate. When being dishonest is tempting or seemingly profitable, you tell the truth – no debate! And when you do, you enjoy a feeling of freedom and empowerment.

Our choices determine our habits and our habits form our character. And as author and lecturer Hyrum Smith put it, “Character is the ability to carry out a worthy decision once the emotion of making that decision has passed.” It’s character-forming habits that help us overcome adversity, accomplish goals, and ultimately approach our individual potential.

When our choices reflect our deeply held values and they are made with sincere resolution, from that point on we simply “have to“. And as we do, we grow in character.
Lead on…

Cliff

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July 6, 2015 at 11:52 am 6 comments

New Life Through New Eyes

Have you hit the wall? Do you feel like you’re “done”? Is the joy gone…in your work, a relationship, or your life in general? There comes a time in most lives where the joy and satisfaction that once filled and fueled them diminishes even to the point of crisis. When this happens the natural reaction is to run, to flee, to get away from whatever it is that’s moved from beautiful to drab or from exciting to boring. In extreme cases this can lead to divorce, unemployment, or worse. At a minimum it results in dissatisfaction, disharmony, and disengagement.

The interesting thing is that most people who resort to “flight” versus hanging in to “fight”, don’t ever really solve the problem. They may find temporary relief in “different”, but the tendencies that pushed them to the tipping point in the first place will take them there again and again. The reason is that as they see it, the problems…AND the solutions are “out there”…when in reality they lie squarely within themselves! It’s easier to blame a companion or a job or our environment for one’s misery…when the real problem and solution lies within themselves and they choose to see things.

It is a marvelous and amazing thing to witness when someone chooses to see the same [old] thing in a new or different light; to see through new eyes. The author Marcel Proust wrote: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. When we choose to see the same thing differently, to refocus on the positive, on its worth and potential, it (or they) changes right before our eyes. Seen from a different perspective or “attitude” what was drab or boring CAN become beautiful and exciting again.

Try this… Whatever it is (or who they are) that’s lost its luster in your [old] eyes, take out a blank sheet of paper and write at the top “Things I love about…” (whatever it is). Then below that make a list of all the good things, the good qualities, the value, the interesting things, the things about it that you’re grateful for, it’s irreplaceability…in short – the things you genuinely love about it or them. Then, before you go to bed at night stand in front of a mirror and read the list saying before each item on the list “I love….(that thing, aspect, feature, etc.)
Then the next morning repeat this reading, staring yourself in the eyes as you do. Do this every day for the next few days until you begin to see a transformation – until you see the thing (or person) as you once did…and you will!

A small investment in this process may well bring a huge improvement in your life and your relationships and may prevent unnecessary pain, loss, and disappointment down the road.
Too often people run from the very things that are the best things…when the right thing is just to see things with new eyes.

Lead on…

June 2, 2015 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

Who’s in Charge Here?

Who’s in Charge Here?

What’s the first thing you do each morning?  If you’re like most people you check your emails!  Why?  Because you need to find out what you’ve got to do that day!

Pause…..  Think about that!  If your first act is to look to see what the rest of the world wants you to do, to respond to, to try, read, or listen to…who’s in charge?  You’re automatically turning the reins of your life over to…everyone else!  You become a completely reactive animal and not the proactive pursuer of excellence that each of us is capable of!

There are two major parts of our brain:  The Prefrontal Cortex, which is the proactive part where you plan, pay attention, exercise self control, make choices, and create.  Then there’s the Primitive/Emotional Brain which is the oldest part of your brain…and the first to develop.  This is your reactive brain, where your reflexes, instincts, emotions, reactions, and impulses operate.  As humans mature they learn to use their reactive brain less and their proactive brain more…at least that is the plan.  Generally, “mature” adults operate more from their proactive brain, while the “immature” are driven mostly by their reactive brain.

We all know that the most effective way to lead our lives and our days is to plan them out and to set goals…and then discipline ourselves to the extent that we can to accomplish our plans and goals.  This work (planning and goal setting) is done with our proactive brain.  So is execution!  When we fail to execute however, it’s because we’ve given in to our reactive brain with all its impulses and emotions.  And the more we react, the more we give in to checking emails, texts, and tweets for guidance, the less developed becomes our proactive brain!

So, how can you get back on track and back in control?  Here’s a tip…. When you turn on your computer, smart phone, or tablet each day, what’s the first thing that comes up?  Most people would say “my email”, but that’s only because you’ve trained yourself to open your email!  Try this… Try going first to your calendar” and if you use it, to your To Do list” first…to plan or to review your plan FIRST…before you do anything else!  This will provide the direction for an effective day, a day of accomplishing what, in previous moments of thought and reflection, you determined was most important to accomplish.  This puts YOU in charge of your day and not all of the people and distractions sitting in your email in-box waiting to derail you and hijack your day!

You CAN do it!

Lead on!

Cliff

December 14, 2012 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

Getting There from Here

2011 – It’s half over…half gone!  By the calendar we should all be half way to meeting our goals and objectives for the year…right?  Lost 20 of those 40 lbs?  Half way to your sales goals for the year?  Called on the prospects you wanted to see by now?  Read five of the ten books you promised yourself you’d read?

Not quite?  Why not?  What went wrong?

At the beginning of the year we all had great expectations for the New Year – desires for growth, for improvement…for our organizations…for our people…for ourselves.

Six months have now passed…and where are we?  What’s changed?  Anything?  Or are you still waiting to get started?  If you’re like most people, the midpoint in the year may not equate to “half done” with your annual goals.  Why is that?  We know where we want to go…so why are we often still stuck in the same old rut?  Usually, the answer lies in the simple “law of progress”.  The law of progress states that in order to make progress, you must leave a place and move on.   However, it’s human nature to stay right where you are…to dwell lazily in your comfort zone.  The  law of progress says you can’t drift to success.  To reach the shores of success you must: 1) Select a destination, 2) Plot your course, 3) Steer toward your destination, and 4) Start (and keep) paddling.

1) Select a destination – Most of us know what we want in life or in business.  By selecting a destination, you simply set a goal – decide what it is you want to accomplish – and define it well enough that when you arrive there you will recognize the place.

2) Plot your course – Identify the route to be followed, determining the resources required to get there, and defining the mile markers (events and dates) that must met in order to achieve the desired outcome.  This requires being realistic in every way.  Have you identified every step?  Do you have all the resources?  Do you have the desire?  If the answer to any of these is “no”, you may be fooling yourself!

3) Steer toward your destination – With a “compass” in hand you keep your ship oriented toward your destination – the goal!  “Winds”WILL blow and may slow you.  Currents will arise, but with your “compass” (values and guiding principles) in hand you can keep the ship on course and pointed to success.

4) Keep paddling – Simply put, this means get to “work”.  It means getting up every day, and tending to business, following your plan.  It means doing the big stuff and the little stuff…the creative AND the basics.  It means scanning the horizon AND swabbing the deck.  It means everyday doing something we really don’t want to do.  Work is the price we pay for the rewards at the end of the journey, and all along the way.

In setting and accomplishing goals, there’s really no magic…just work!  But miracles do happen.  They happen not because of the supernatural, but because of the un-natural.  It is human nature to stay right where you are – to be rut-bound.  But real winners, the exceptional, the enlightened among us learn to lay nature aside, embrace the law of progress, pay the price, and achieve their goals…and with it, success.

Yes, half the year is gone, but the good news is that half still lies before us.  What will you do with the second half of 2011?

Lead on…

Cliff

June 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

Social In-security

In his book “Pacific Coast Trail Hiker’s Handbook” author and adventurer Ray Jardine writes:

“Typically, the Pacific Coast Trail will approach a daunting creek, only to disappear into it and emerge from its far side.  And you might stand there looking at a potential drowning: yours.  Or perhaps you will stand there fuming at the government’s failure in providing hikers with a suitable bridge.  Consider though, that every time the wilds are “improved”, civilization thereby thrusts its maws a little deeper into the erstwhile pristine wilderness.  Should we construct stalwart bridges across every creek?  How about benches every few miles?  How about a five foot wide trail, well groomed and leading to huts at 10 mile intervals?  And how about power lines and roads to the huts, so hut-keepers could provide nutritious meals?

Instead, we might benefit the most by leaving the wilderness to its own devices, and laboring to improve ourselves.  When confronted with a swollen creek, rather than seeing an absent bridge, we need to see the challenge of finding a safe way across, somewhere upstream perhaps.  A bridge might allow us to cross safely, and it might save us considerable time hiking upstream to circumvent the torrent, but it does not strengthen us.  It does not better prepare us for the next bridgeless ford ahead.  I suggest that complaining about a lack of bridges only weakens us.  Why?  Because it reinforces our insecurities.

Security is confidence, not in the condition of the paths we travel, but in ourselves.  And no bridge can carry us over the river of our impatience and insecurities.”

Oh the lessons we learn in the wild!  Lessons for health, lessons for economics and governance, lessons for parenting and leading…lessons for life!  The greatest security, confidence, and peace comes from taking personal responsibility – by doing all we can for ourselves – and then trusting in our maker.  Self reliance is freedom; it is security; it is peace.  The more we depend on society to “build our bridges”, the more insecure we become.   Less really is more when it comes to the role of government in our lives. 

So the next time your trail disappears into “the creek”, smile and embrace the opportunity to take control, get stronger, and secure your own way.

Lead on,

Cliff

May 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

“A Great Year for You to Get Better at YOU!”

During our recent annual planning meetings the president of our company said something that stuck in my mind.  In his wrap up comments he said, “next year is a great year for you to get better at you!” 

Our president has earned the credibility to be able to issue such a challenge.  He has continuously pushed and challenged himself and our company to get better each year…and then, instead of pausing to soak up the success, he has used it to invigorate and encourage himself and those around him to reach even higher.

What I really appreciate about the invitation to “get better at being you” is the implication that the opportunity is not to become someone or something you are not, but to become the very best version of “you” that you can become.  We are all different creations…each with individual gifts, talents, and vision.  The real challenge (and opportunity) is to discover your strengths and talents and then to magnify them – as much as possible – to the benefit of your circle of responsibilities and relationships.

And so, as we begin a new year and contemplate the possibilities, consider making 2011 THE year to “get better at you!”  If you will, and commit to doing what it takes to get there, you are guaranteed improvement at least, and possibly significant improvement!

So, what’s it take?  The formula is simple…it’s the “doing” that brings improvement!  But without the formula you’ll just spin your wheels! So here’s the formula for making an even better version of YOU!

1)       IDENTIFY the specific thing(s) you want to improve, develop, or get better control of.

2)       Set a GOAL (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, & timely).

3)       Make a PLAN to accomplish your goal(s)…including every intermediate step you can identify!

4)       ACT on your plan…one step at a time…one day at a time.

5)       FOLLOW UP…frequently and honestly…and adjust, reset, and elevate as necessary!

2011 WILL be a GREAT year for each of us to get better at being who we already are.  Take a few minutes and decide what you’d like to improve, set a goal and make a plan…then get to work and just watch the miracle of improvement take place.  It just will!

Lead on…

Cliff

December 17, 2010 at 9:47 am 1 comment


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