Category Archives: Courage and Persistence

Achieving is Becoming

I would like to introduce you to someone.  Meeting this person could change your life from this day forward.  You won’t be able to shake their hand.  You won’t be able to exchange any words.  And though this person cannot see you if you look very hard you might be able to see a look of confidence in their eyes.  You might see the look of someone who has paid the price to get where they are.   This is a person that looked at where they were and then looked into the future at who they wanted to be, what they wanted to do, what they wanted to have and they got it, they got it all. They paid the price to grow, to act on their dreams, to persevere through the doubts and failures.  You will see in them that they have become victorious.

That person is you.  Inwardly just now you might have felt a tinge of disappointment or doubt.  Cast that from your mind!  Anyone who is willing to look at where they are now and where they want to be in the future can become that person who as earned the victory.  What lies between us and who we want to become is a GAP.  Big or small does not matter.

Let me give you a personal example of what I mean. When I was a freshman in High School we had a neighbor by the name of Jack.  Jack had been an NCAA All-American football player drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  A knee injure ended his career.   When I met Jack I was a freshman football player in High School.  I would go to the Varsity games.   I wanted to be one of those guys.  In fact I wanted to be one of the best when I got there but I was thin, slow and not very strong.  Jack shared with me what I am trying to share with you.  He helped me understand how to bridge that GAP so that I could become that person who realized that victory when I became a senior.  The me of the future would become fast, strong, muscular, confident and aggressive.  Jack helped me look forward into the future that I want and more importantly what I needed to become.  Over time the future became reality.  Thanks to Jack I received the major awards of our area and an MVP trophy from my teammates.  Over the course of three years I had evolved into a new person.

Another example, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I recommend his biographies.  As a young teenager in Gratz Austria he enjoyed going to the movies.  I understand his favorites were the Hercules movies starring Steve Reeves, formerly an American Bodybuilder.  Then a dream was born. A teenage kid in Austria briefly caught a glimpse of that person he wanted to become.  Arnold saw himself as a champion bodybuilder and American movie star.  Over time the GAP was bridged and he became a person capable of being a champion and movie star.  We all know the fantastic achievements Arnold has realized.  The details of his story have long been an inspiration to me.

For the ladies, perhaps another example is appropriate. JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series,  struggled with a relationship with her father, her mother died of MS.  The relationship with her husband was a difficult.  She had a miscarriage.  Eventually a daughter came.  The marriage fell apart.  She was alone, poor and on welfare.  Add to that clinical depression.  But as she sat on a train between London and Manchester she came up with a story to entertain her daughter.  It was in many moments like that in which I imagine JK began to catch glimpses of herself and her future.  Hard though it was she bridged the GAP.  You can too.

What can you and I do to bridge the GAP?   I will explain in the next blog entry.

China

I had the opportunity during the last week of June to visit Beijing China to provide training to a small group.

Check one off the bucket list!

The training sessions were vibrant and full of discussion and growth.   We discussed everything from sales tactics to service  and processes.

It was my first time to China.  I loved it!  What a vibrant city!  I went not knowing what to expect but I would have to say t that I expected less technology and industry than I found.  Highways, cars, buildings, everything as modern as home.  The subways were packed with people, young and old, actively communicating via their mobile devices.  Some things have no boundaries.

Thanks to my hosts!

 

Facing Problems Head On

Facing a big problem head on can be pretty tough.   It seems easier to avoid it, at least for awhile.   Can you think of ways we avoid problems, either consciously or unconsciously?  Here is what I have come up with:

Denial:  You would think that if it is big it is not easy to deny.  Well, I think my mind has done a pretty good job at times in not accepting something as a problem.

Minimizing it:  OK so we admit we have a problem but hey, “no big deal”.    This is a cousin to denial.

Under react:  We take action but in a half hearted fashion and with steps that will not completely solve the problem.

In all three of these cases, in my experience, the problem festers.  If anything it gets bigger and hurts more.

I had to make a choice today.  I had a problem that has been festering for awhile.  I think I may have employed all three tactics above until finally, today, I said enough is enough.

Finally, I chose to be honest with myself.  Festering does increase pain little by little.  The only question is when we will reach the point that we decide to face it.

I think I was fifteen years old when I first read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.   See Chapter 4.  I have read it many times since.  He put a lot of good ideas into how to deal with problems in that book.

In management, in sales, in coaching everywhere I have found one of his simple formulas to work quite nicely….when I get to the point that I am ready to face the problem head on.

  1. “Get the facts”. Define the Problem.  How could we possibly solve a problem unless we can accurately articulate what that problem is.
  2. “Analyze the facts”. Consider possible solutions.   There are often a number of solutions to a problem.  Think them all through.  This requires some effort, some time and a quiet place perhaps to ponder how things might play out.
  3. “Arrive at a decision”.  Pick the best solution.  Trust yourself.  Again, if we have integrity and are looking out for the interests of all concerned, for those problems that affect others, it will probably work out.
  4. Put that solution into action.  At this point just move forward.  Procrastination is a step backward.  We need to watch out that delay does not nullify the thought and effort we put into solving the problem.

Facing a problem head on as you can tell started when we chose to look at it almost objectively, from outside ourselves.  I think to some degree we have to put some emotion aside perhaps, especially if that emotion is fear of facing the problem.  This might sometimes take courage.  Don’t discard emotion though.  It is who we are but don’t let anything negative rule the day.

Dale Carnegie listed three basic steps.  The third included taking action.  The only thing I might add to these four points is first to decide, no matter what, with courage, to face the problem head on.  And frankly if it takes some wisdom from above to solve those problems, especially those that seem “unsolvable”, then do it with full purpose of heart.

 

Thoughts on Failure

We have all heard phrases like “Failure is never final” and “You only fail when you quit”.  Those statements are true, however too often many of us internalize failure.   We are harsh judges of ourselves when we do so.   Any event that we might call a failure is only a moment in time, an event, a coming short of some goal or expectation, but failure is never a person.   As a matter of fact every failure is a step toward victory.  I have failed thousands of times during my lifetime whether it was in school, athletics or in my career.  But every failure was only a part of a learning experience and a step forward in those spheres of life.   Every failure and every victory were the bricks and mortar that made me successful.   It is a matter of perspective and attitude.   If you are afraid to fail and internalize each attempt that comes short of expectation you need to re-frame how you look at that event.   I recommend a journal.   Write how you feel and what you think about the event.   Think it through.  Keep writing.   Point out to yourself as you write what the affect your errant thinking can have on you, how it can hold you back.   Then write how you should be thinking about the event.   Create within yourself a new expectation and map out how you will take action.   Then take action!

Seattle

We were meant to experience joy in life.   At times though we don’t get the results we want.  We don’t achieve as much as we thought we could.  We fall short.   We can’t seem to rise above our failures.   Life feels mediocre, stagnant.   Sustained happiness eludes us in our careers, our social and personal lives.

My experience has taught me to look to the man in the mirror in order to assess why.   In moments of introspection and insight I have found that the fruit of my life is the result of the seeds that I planted.   As I have looked at my successes and failures the fruit of my actions grew from my own choices-seeds of thought, vocal expressions, action and habit.   The right fruit, an indicator that I am on the right track.  The wrong fruit invariably indicates the need for change.

Change of this nature always starts within.   If our thinking, speaking and our actions lean toward the negative, if our self image has become weakened due to habits of negativity, laziness, timidity or lack of discipline it is time to change.   The word ‘change’ may not be the most welcome to our ears, however, if our dreams are bigger than what our lives are dishing out to us now, our perspectives on change should be one of excitement.   You see, change is a choice and it can re-open the door to our dreams

away-228675_640

Change is never immediate but like a fork in the road, a change of direction is!   When we determine to re-assess our habits, feed our minds with positive conversations and reading, manage our time in a disciplined fashion, turn off the TV or video games when there is work to be done, then change starts to happen.  When we find that new attitude of power over our lives and our direction, we will experience hope, joy and happiness in the process.   Success may take some time but with determination to do the right things that lead to success even failures and disappointments can add to our strength because the right attitude demands that we learn from them and keep pushing forward.

We were meant to experience joy but there is a price to be paid and that price is growth through sustained effort and work with the right mental attitude born of habit.man-298595__180

I have enjoyed a couple of particularly playful speaking opportunities this month in which I really let my hair down.   On the topic of pushing our limits intellectually, spiritually and physically I enjoyed talking about the growth that happens when muscles are pushed in the weight room.

I first stepped into a weight room a good 41 years ago.   I learned that when you push those muscles to their limits they grow in mass and strength.   Even now, though I am a casual lifter, I still lift more than most high schoolers that step into the weight room.   I remarked that I am probably one of the very few 56 year olds you could see doing one armed push ups.

I enjoyed it when I was challenged by a member of the audience each time to prove it.   Certainly though I couldn’t do it without everyone providing the music to the theme of Rocky, “Gonna Fly Now”.    Silly though it sounds, the audience loved it and those speech were home runs!  I will get it on video sometime.