Friday, March 2, 2018

Success: What Do You Have To Sacrifice In Order To Get It?”

Recently I came across the Dalai Lama’s “18 Rules of Living,” which he shared with the world at the beginning of the new millennium. Here, 18 years later, it seemed relevant to revisit them.

In particular, I was struck by his rule: “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.” At first I thought, “What?” As women, for example, many of us had been told umpteen times that we couldn’t have both a thriving family life and a successful career. Fortunately, that has been changing (although I still wonder why men were exempt from that contradiction!). Surely the Dalai Lama, that fount of compassion and love, didn’t mean that we should judge our professional/job success by the family life we short-changed? Or vice-versa. Or that we should judge our success in either domain by the abuse, negativity or other unpleasantness that we stoically put up with in order to make it all happen?

That just didn’t square with what I know of the Dalai Lama’s philosophy. So I meditated on his rule, let it float around in my consciousness, until it hit me. I know exactly what I had to give up in order to succeed! My belief in impossibility, my doubting of my own talents, my fear of failing.

I remember vividly the first time an attorney asked me some 30-odd years ago, in my capacity as a trial consultant, if I could conduct a focus group for him. I’d only been a trial consultant for a couple of years, my experience was primarily with preparing witnesses for trial, and I’d never even heard of a focus group. But I needed to put bread on the table and keep a roof over my head, so I vaulted right past my insecurity and fear and said, “Sure!” I promptly scurried around gathering as much information about this mysterious thing called a “focus group” as possible, which was a very different challenge back then given the non-existence of the Internet. It worked. Conducting focus groups became one of the cornerstones of my trial consulting career.

And then of course, there’s when I went back to ballet at 65. I looked with longing and envy at the younger students practicing their splits on the floor thinking, “I could never do that.” I had to give up my “It’s impossible” and “Never gonna happen” to even get down on the floor and try. Now, I can finally do the splits with my right leg forward, almost there with the left. Give me a little more time and I’ll have both down!

What do you have to give up in order to succeed? What fear, insecurity, impossibility ruins your chances of the dream you so desire? Not enough time, not enough money, not enough talent, not enough resources, not enough support, not enough whatever! It’s those beliefs in limitation that we must give up in order to succeed.
There are endless examples online of people who’ve had to give up those beliefs to achieve their dreams. To take just one, Jake Olson, a blind football player, with two years of high school football and two years of college football behind him. He snapped the ball last fall for the final extra point that gave the USC Trojans their 49-31 home victory over Western Michigan. Imagine the limiting beliefs Jake must have “sacrificed” in order to snap that ball. A blind football player? Come on! And as his coach said, his wasn’t a “charity case,” but that Jake was the player best suited to make that play.
Time for you to make your play. Give up whatever limiting beliefs you find that stand in your way, and enjoy your new-found success.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Three Simple Questions To Ask Yourself To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions Alive

At the start of the New Year, most of us made promises to ourselves (i.e., lose weight, new job, save more). Now that the first month of 2018 is over, it's time to take stock on how well we're doing.

Some of us may need to make some adjustments. One way, is to look inside ourselves to make sure our inner self is on the right track." Here are three questions to ask.
Are You Being Honest With Yourself? How do you really feel about the thing you want to change--your body, your work, your finances?. It’s only when you admit the truth about your feelings to yourself that you can do anything about a situation so that change can occur.

How Faithful Are You? Not to your spouse or significant other (although that's obviously important). But how faithful are you to your commitment to get healthier, learn another skill, get a better job, save more? Do you have a 'tomorrow' attitude? Or an 'it’ll never happen, why bother' attitude? Instead, learn how to better meet your commitments to yourself--through setting baby-step goals, or brainstorming strategies with friends/counselors, reading up on what’s worked for others. It feels great to live up to your commitments. It’s a sure path to success.

What is Your Sense of Responsibility? Whenever something wonky happens, do you look first for someone to blame, including yourself? Or do you quickly start looking for a possible solution to whatever happened? Blame never gets anything done. Blaming yourself only makes you feel bad, and blaming others may make you feel good in the moment, but you’re still stuck with the issue.

Being honest with yourself, faithful and committed to a goal and willing to take responsibility are the first steps to problem-solving and reaching you New Year's Resolution goals. It's not too late. Real change never comes easy or quickly.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Valentine’s Day Gift: Go With All Your Heart!

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart,” so Confucius said some 2500 years ago, and his wisdom still holds true.

But how often do we heed it? How often do we go about our lives, our loves, our work, our friendships, our families, with all our heart?

This Valentine’s Day, what if you approached all of your life with all your heart? What if, even better, you didn’t reserve the precious gift of all your heart for your significant other, but gave it freely, willingly, to every aspect of your life?

I look at my dogs, my beloved animal companions, and whether they are eating, sleeping, chasing a leaf, riding in the car or snuggling by my side, they put all their heart into it. They are 100% engaged, enthusiastic, eager about whatever it is. How our lives would change if we would follow their example, their instinctive joy.

I know that there are moments when I feel myself listening, really listening, to a friend not just with my ears, but with my whole being, and somehow the interaction becomes charged with meaning, a depth it didn’t have before. There are moments when I lose myself in my work, in the most positive sense of the word, when the connection between the work and me is so strong, so powerful, that I surprise myself with what I’ve achieved. It’s not that I’ve suddenly turned super-star brilliant. Oh, no, I’m still the same old me, warts and all, but for a moment, when I put all my heart into that project, that piece of work, magic happens.

When you put all your heart into something, you set aside all doubts, all fears. More than that, you momentarily forget them, because you are so engaged, so present with the experience that there’s no room for self-questioning, self-doubt. You’re too busy focusing with laser-like intensity on whoever or whatever is in front of you. In those “all your heart” moments, you are confident without thinking about it, you are courageous without asking yourself if you could be brave, you are the best of who you are naturally, without effort, without strain.

I say “moments” advisedly, because putting all your heart into something or an interaction with someone takes intense focus. It takes being present with every fiber of your being, which frankly, isn’t the easiest thing to maintain. How dogs do it all the time, I have no idea. But what I do know is that one moment added to another moment and to another results in a span of time that can increase with practice. As with anything else you want to get good at, commitment, practice and persistence are the key.

Unless, of course, you’re a dog. Then, oh lucky you, you were just born with it!