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Add Focus and Discipline to Your Day


Do you want to increase your ability to focus and gain discipline consistently?  In this post I want to provide a practical exercise to increase your daily focus, and increase discipline over a period of time. If you do this exercise consistently over a week, you will notice a significant improvement.  I am not by any means completely effective, but this exercise has definitely been a game changer for me.  

Our minds can only focus on one thing at a time. This is a scientific fact. We like to think we are effective multi-taskers.  The truth is that we can become better at task switching, but it is not the most efficient way to get things done.  It takes time to task switch, and dilutes focus.

One common piece of advice from the most successful people, is to only focus on one goal at a time if possible.  If you are focused on growing your business, do your best to just stay focused on that.  This is not an easy discipline to develop, especially when so many of life’s demands are coming at us. 

On a micro level, we also need to limit the items we focus on the same way. This will keep us from diluting our focus, and make each minute of effort more effective. It will also make us more aware of our environment, which will keep us more alert overall.  Your unconscious mind is really good at alerting you of change in your environment.  If you are intentionally focused on fewer things at time, you have more capacity for overall awareness 

The first step in getting more focus and discipline in your day is to be completely aware of what you are up to.  Our minds get really busy, and sometimes we aren’t conscious of just how busy our minds are.  I recommend taking  five or ten minutes twice per day to do the following two-part exercise.

  • First find a quiet place first thing in the morning, and some other time later in the day.  Sit or stand someplace comfortable.  Take a deep breath, and then continue to focus on your breath in and out for the next few minutes.  If you notice any thoughts coming up, just acknowledge them but don’t react to them.  Go back to focusing on your breath.  Do this for around five minutes.  You will find your mind a little calmer and clearer. It is normal when you are getting started to  have a hard time staying focused.  The fact that you notice it, just means you are making progress. 
  • Next just think specifically about what you want to get done for the rest of your day. You may want to write them down as well.  As you do this, you may find your mind jump to other things.  You will notice this because of the first exercise.  This is a good thing.  When your mind begins to generate thoughts, just go back and focus on what you want to accomplish for the rest of the day.

If you have tried this, let me know how it has helped you.

Once you have done the exercise just go back to your day and execute on what you want to get done.  Throughout the day try to keep this awareness.  I will often take a minute or so, several times a day to just take a deep breath, and just focus on my breath in and out. 

A Dysfunctional Alarm Clock


I was reminded of this old post today, as I noticed my mental alarms going off during the day.

Your Remote Life Coach

This post will bring awareness to unnecessary alarms in your life. You can easily minimize these alarms to improve the qualify of your life.

Imagine you go to bed one night and your alarm clock goes off sporadically during the night. The first time it goes off you reset it, the second time you unplug it, and the third time you remove the backup battery. An hour later the alarm on your mobile phone starts the same pattern.

It isn’t hard to imagine having a challenging day after a night of multiple alarms. If this were to happen to you, you would no doubt get to the root of the problem and remedy the situation so that it wouldn’t continue to happen.

You may have this kind of thing happening in your waking life, and not even realize it. Your unconscious, like an alarm clock is a great tool to…

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Letting Go


Another year with COVID has passed.  How are you coping with what seems to be the new normal?  At a minimum it has been a very long running disruption of what we used to call normal.  Do you have more anxiety, or are you feeling the pressure of uncertainty?  I wanted to write this post to share something that hit home for me.  

It is during times like these, that it is important that we become aware of the thoughts we are having.  We all have an almost continuous dialog going on in our minds. Oftentimes we aren’t even aware of it.   To demonstrate what I mean, consider the following.

You are sitting in someone’s house and you notice a blue chair in the room. It is different from the other furniture.  Your brain starts the dialog.  

Wow that chair is bright blue, and it doesn’t match the rest of the furniture.  It’s a lot older than the other furniture too.  Wonder what the story is with that chair?  It must be sentimental, because it certainly doesn’t fit with the rest of the furniture.  I wonder if it is the last piece of old furniture they didn’t replace? Wait, the rest of the furniture is nice, but It doesn’t look new though.  I wonder if they bought the furniture second hand?………

Have you ever stopped to notice that chatter going on inside of your mind?  Just watch the morning news reports on the status of COVID, and pay attention to the chatter that starts in your mind.  Becoming aware of that dialog is the beginning of letting go.  

If we pay attention long enough we see that most of this chatter isn’t us willingly thinking, It is just thoughts that arise as an unconscious reaction to something we notice.  That chatter isn’t who we are.  We are the person who becomes aware of the chatter.  Unfortunately some people go their whole lives, never becoming aware of the fact that they are not their thoughts.  

Try to set a couple of reminders throughout the day to take a moment and be mindful of your internal dialog.  When the reminder goes off, notice how you are feeling. Notice what you have been thinking about.  Then take a few more minutes to notice whatever thoughts arise, but don’t react to them. Just notice and acknowledge them.  If you happen to be having negative thoughts, start to get curious about them and question them.  You are not those thoughts.  You are the one who noticed them. 

When a lot of people hear the word Mindfulness, they often think of meditation or religious practice.  Mindfulness is really just learning to pay attention to what is going on in your mind. 

It is times like these that our internal dialog can really impact how we feel.  Not only are we dealing with the pandemic, but we have taken political sides on it.  Much of the world is in a state of political polarity.  Social media can provoke a negative mindset with all the opinions on everything from general politics, and climate change to the pandemic.

If you practice becoming more aware of your internal dialog, you will begin to realize that you aren’t those thoughts. You are just the one noticing them.  Being an observer will naturally give you more control over just letting them go.  Going through this process has been a tremendous help for me, and I hope it will for you as well.

If you have questions or comments feel free to contact me or leave you comment below.

Happy New Year!


Do you have New Year’s resolutions?  Do you want to make your 2022 exponentially better than 2021? Congratulations!  Here are some tips for keeping your resolutions, and achieving your goals. For the sake of this post we will frame your New Year’s resolutions as goals. I am also offering the first three respondents who share their resolutions or goals, two free thirty-minute life coaching sessions.  

Goal Setting

When setting your goals:  

  • Make them achievable. Also, make sure they stretch you a little bit, and provide a benefit that will help keep you motivated to achieve them.
  • Take the time to visualize what your life will look like if you achieve them.
  • Find some pictures that represent them, and keep them in the same place.  I have my goals in a document with a few pictures pasted at the bottom to represent them.  
  • Make them specific, and make sure they have an achievement date..  
  • Consider framing your goals in terms of the benefit they will provide others as well as yourself.  If your goals add value to others and that is important to you, it will make them much more motivating.

Goal Review

Set aside five minutes or so every day to look at your goals, and make note of any achievements or changes.  Look at the dates and the pictures.  List any thing that you will do today towards their progress.  Check off any tasks you completed yesterday towards your goals.

Enjoy The Journey

Make a decision that throughout your day you will look at each task with curiosity, and enjoy the process.  Approach each task, as if it has something to tell you. It does have something to tell you.  Every action has feedback. The reality is that life is tough, and sticking to and accomplishing your goals is even tougher.  Once a day you will paint the picture of the goal in your mind, and the rest of the day focus on the process.  Obsess over what your activities can teach you.  It will feel awesome when you achieve a big goal, but that feeling doesn’t last long so it is important that we enjoy the journey.  

Self Check

The number 1 cause of unachieved goals is that we let those unconscious thoughts tell us they are not worth the pain of pursuing, or that we can’t achieve them.  Take time every day to just pay attention to the thoughts that are coming up in your mind.  Don’t react to them, but just get curious as to why they are coming up.  Understand that those thoughts arise as a result of past experiences.  You are not your past, and are capable of much more than you believe. 

Share

If you have someone to share your goals with that will support, encourage, and hold you accountable, you increase your chances of achieving them exponentially.  Make sure this is someone who won’t judge you, and add more weight to achievement.

Share your New Year’s resolutions / Goals and get two free thirty minute life coaching sessions.

Moving Towards


I heard a story about a tour guide who led risky white water rafting tours down perilous rapids.  He was said to have one of the best records for not getting his rafters injured.  One of the ways he accomplished this, had to do with one sage piece of advice.  The trick when you see a dangerous obstacle is to look where you want to go, not where you don’t. 

This same advice holds true in life.  For example if you want to get our of your nine to five job, you might try saying something like this instead. I want to create income producing assets, sufficient to more than take care of my monthly expenses.

Don’t picture a purple elephant in your mind right now. Please don’t picture a purple elephant.   Did you picture a purple elephant?  I pictured it as I was writing it.  In the same way you can’t help picturing that elephant, you won’t be able to avoid thinking negatively about what you don’t want.  This focus will occupy our thinking resources on the wrong thing.

In past posts, I have talked about the importance of accepting our circumstances, and moving forward towards what we want.  When we accept our current circumstances, it doesn’t mean we can’t go in another direction.  It just means we are not going to give our circumstances the power to make us unhappy.  It is the same thing with stating our goals in the positive.

If you have goals written down somewhere, check them for moving away from language, and replace it with moving towards language.  When you are moving towards something it paints a positive picture, when you are eagerly moving away from something it creates a negative picture.

If you ever go white water rafting or car racing, remember to look where you want to go not where you don’t.

Selfishness ?


If you think you are selfish, are you really? I am writing this post, because I suspect there are others, who could stand to be a little more “selfish”.

Selfishness is one of the topics I have been thinking about for a long time.  Somewhere along the way, I came to believe that if I wanted something good for myself, I was being selfish. I never thought about the fact, that most of the the things I wanted would not have a negative impact on anyone else.  I just unconsciously assumed that if it was good for me it must be bad for someone else.

When I was three I lost my dad in a very traumatic way. I suspect that the insecurities developed during this time, caused me to mistake selfishness with insecurity. When we care too much about what other people think, it creates a dynamic between our feelings and actions and those of others. This causes all kinds of irrational beliefs and outcomes.

The problem is that most of us aren’t aware that we have picked up irrational beliefs, but they still impact our lives. If you think you are selfish and feel bad about it, chances are you have mistaken selfishness for something else as well.

When we are insecure it creates actions that appear selfish to both us an others. If we are insecure in our ability to make and save money, what are the chances we will be generous with our money? If we believe money is scarce and we are scared to lose it, we are going to hold on for dear life. If we are truly selfish we are going to do the same thing. It is the same with sharing affection. If we believe someone else is thinking bad about us, we are not going to share our affections.

When we finally get to the point where we are ready to shed our insecurities for good and make our lives better, those irrational beliefs and insecurities will try to hold us back. It is very important that we question those feelings, and get to what is really going on.

Give yourself permission to be a little “selfish” and enjoy life.

What Makes You Unhappy?


If I asked you what makes you unhappy you might tell me about your boss, a family member, or something else.  I am not discounting anyone’s experience, but what really makes us unhappy is having unmet needs and desires.  We want our boss to stop treating us a certain way.  We want to quit feeling bad about a broken relationship.  Maybe we need money to pay our bills.  What do we do about these problems, until we can change our circumstances? 

This post is not about settling for whatever comes your way, and being happy about it.  It’s about accepting our circumstances for what they are at the moment. When we have unmet needs and desires it causes us to become discontent.  If we can’t see our way clearly towards a solution, it can lead to unhappiness or even depression.  

The most effective way to stop this cycle is to really think about our circumstances without reacting to them.  Accept them and then ask… Now What?  

For much of my adult life I had a lot of things to be thankful for, but I felt like the world was caving in on me.  What I discovered was my unconscious mind playing the same thoughts over and over.  I didn’t realize how much control our unconscious thoughts have over us.  Have you ever wondered why you don’t do what you ought to?

We consciously know that exercise is good for us, but until we can manage to make exercise a habit, we opt out often enough that we end up having to start from scratch again.  When we think about exercising, our unconscious mind tries to keep us from that pain.  If we don’t take action right away those unconscious thoughts take over.  Next thing we know we are planted somewhere on our backsides. 

It is often these same kinds of thoughts that are making you unhappy.  The first step is to use mindfulness, prayer time, or meditation to clear your mind and just notice the thoughts that are coming up.  Purposefully taking notice of those thoughts that are rising, but not reacting to them is the first step in stopping the cycle of negative thoughts.  That is what accepting what is without responding to it means.  Once you know what those thoughts are you can choose to replace them.  
If this post hit home for you and you want to explore in more depth what you can do to make your life more of what you want schedule your free Thirty Minute Consult.

Small Stuff ?


Small changes over time can turn your life around. These small changes build on each other. Sometimes we think that success happens because of the massive action we take, but we never think about the small things that let us build up to those massive actions.

Last week i got off track and started focusing on making changes to things that were currently out of my control. I let the actions of others get me worked up through the process.

Once I realized what was going on, I asked myself what I could do to get out of that state of mind. I realized was that I hadn’t been taking time to clear my mind, and exercise in the morning. I also hadn’t taken the time to be mindful throughout the day.

These were small habits that made a big difference in my effectiveness and happiness. I really didn’t think they would help that much, but I had to start somewhere. They were exactly the things that helped me to get perspective on what was going on. In a few hours, I was back on track moving forward.

When we want to make changes in our lives we often look for big things we can do to get on track, but the things that really make a difference are the little things. It occurred to me to write this post because I was surprised that getting back on track with just those two small daily habits, would make that much difference.

What are some small positive habits you can start this week?

The Power of Genuine Communication


If you want to improve the quality of the relationships in your life, this post is for you.  If you read to the end and apply these ideas, your relationships will definitely improve.  

Genuine communication is as much or more about listening than speaking.  Most if not all of us have been in a conversation, and had a thought we couldn’t wait to share.  The other person was talking and we caught little of what they were saying, because we were focused on what we wanted to say next.  We have all certainly been on the receiving end of this.  I still catch myself doing this.

When you deliberately focus on listening to someone intently, a new world opens up to you.  Part of a Life Coach’s training is learning to really listen.  The basis for any trusting relationship is genuine listening without judgement.  It is so eye opening how your world opens up when you learn to listen intently and attend to another person.

If you really want to deepen your relationships, make a conscious effort to listen and not to apply your judgements to what the person is saying.  We are just one of 7.7 billion people on planet earth.  What is the chance that the world is really just how we see it?  Think about that.  It was eye opening for me to learn that the vast majority of people regardless of what they believe are trying to do the right thing.

Learning how much unconscious thoughts impact the way we see the world, was so humbling for me.  This can be unsettling for some people to realize, but the truth will set you free.  Once you see the possibility that your beliefs might not be completely right, opportunities for improvement abound.  This is certainly true of improving your relationships.  Try to assume that the person you are talking to knows more than you think.  The truth is they probably do.   

Listening before speaking also allows you to improve the quality of your communication to them.  You learn to speak their language, because you have taken the time to listen and learn what they care about.  I have a friend who everyone really likes.  He is genuinely a good guy, and a great listener.  Not one hundred percent sure the two are related, but he is a retired attorney. This is a profession where listening is very important.  I always feel heard when we talk, and he always remembers to ask me about whatever we talked about the last time we talked.  

If you struggle with listening, you are not alone. I still have a tendency to take over conversations, but even a little improvement goes a long way, and it gets easier with time.  

Try it out this week.  Seek to genuinely listen to everyone you come in contact with.  Feel free to let me know how it goes.   

Starting From Different Places


Have you genuinely tried to make positive changes in your life, and just feel stuck? Have you taken the advice of “success experts”, and still couldn’t make any significant progress? The purpose of this post is to provide both a possible reason and solution for this problem. I doesn’t matter where you are starting from, you can still get there.

One of the most enlightening discoveries that I have made while talking to people about their goals, is how our difference in perception of the world, impacts our outcome. We often project our view of the world on others. We understand them through our filter of the world. The reality is people are very different. It has been humbling, but necessary to discover this.

For one person, making their goal so big it is almost unachievable really helps them to persevere. To another person driving toward a goal that big creates nothing but more stress in their lives. That was me.

It all depends on how you interpret the world. For some of us we have to start the road to achievement with much smaller goals, and build on small successes. This goes back to all of those unconscious thoughts that we have that make up our view of the world. Sometimes past failures impact us, and we have no idea that it is happening. If we take time to examine the facts you may find that the same things happen over and over again, regardless of the approach. This is most often unconscious thoughts, that you haven’t uncovered.

If you can uncover what these thoughts are, then you can start to deal with them. In this post, I give you some suggestions to learn to notice these unconscious thoughts.

Some people naturally move towards goals, and others attempt to move away from the negative consequences of their current situation. Any real achievement in life is mostly a result of moving toward what you want, not away from what you don’t want. For those people who are “moving away from” , there is a need to become conscious of that behavior. You start this by setting small achievable goals, and as you have these small successes, your mindset will begin to transform.

The bottom line is that you can set and achieve your goals, you just need to find what works for you. Either way when you are stuck, start with smaller achievable goals, and them build momentum for you.