Free New Year’s Life Coaching Session


The first week of the New Year is the time when most people set their goals and resolutions. I am giving away a free one hour life coaching session for for the first 3 respondents in the New Year. Despite the obvious challenges, 2022 was a great year for me and this is my way of paying it forward. As many of you already know, I haven’t had room in my schedule to take on any new clients for most of 2022, and it looks like that is going to continue into 2023. In these Life Coaching sessions I want to provide some tools and ideas that will provide ongoing value. Here is what you can expect out of your life coaching session.

  • A no judgement zone to work on clarifying, organizing, and thinking through your goals for 2023
  • Effective foundational tools and ideas that will serve you for a lifetime
  • 30 days access to free email communications
  • 100% confidential

Enter Here and tell me a little bit about the nature of what you want to accomplish in 2023
“Invest in yourself”

Advertisement

Your Life is Going to Transform


Today is the day that your life will change for the better. The primary reason for failure is unnecessary struggling. Our whole goal achievement culture is backwards. Science has shown time and time again that calm happy people have the optimum state of mind to succeed. First happiness then success.

Your transformation begins with how you see and treat yourself. Most people are unaware that they have an internal dialogue going on in their mind constantly. It is exactly the reason that all your past attempts to change have failed. You usually end up right back where you started from because your mind thinks the same thoughts over and over again. You react the same way over and over again. How do you change that? The first step is to recognize that voice. Start practicing periods where the soul exercise is to quiet your mind and simply notice the thoughts that come up without reacting to them. Once you get good at this the changes you make will become obvious. You will quit taking those thoughts at face value and eventually realize you are not those thoughts. You are the one who notices them. You will no longer have the notion to play along but instead make decisions that empower you. Once you realize that most of your behavior has been driven by your biological thought box you will transcend those old habits. This will provide the foundation for transformation.

Now you can set your intentions and goals and watch them unfold. What happens to you isn’t a problem. What you think about what happens to you is the problem. Judging yourself good or bad will stop your transformation. Whether you believe in God or a natural universe, you can believe that life sustains itself. The sun rises and sets. The seasons change. The cycles of birth and death continue. The point is that all you need is awareness and intention and your life will unfold better than you can imagine.

I can’t fit all of the nuances in a brief blog post, so if you have questions feel free to reach out. There are no shortcuts on the road to transformation. Learning to separate your true self from those repeated thoughts can take a while. I am confident that you have what it takes to live a life better than you can imagine.

Who am I?


As I look back at my past self, here is what I see.  I see a sad three year old who just lost his father.  I see a child with deep insecurities and hurt.  I see a teenager who was self loathing, and one who would do anything for acceptance.  This child and teenager followed and troubled me for most of my life. So what happened? 

I have always had a desire to help others deal with life’s problems.  This desire comes from empathy, because I know what it feels like to hurt. I know what it means to want to find value within myself, and find only lack.  I started what I thought would be an educational journey, but it ended up being a process of picking my own life apart.  

Early in this journey, the seed of an idea was planted in me. “You are not your thoughts, your past, or how you feel”.  I began to devour as much information as I could about how the human mind works, or at least as much as we know about it. I did this to see if it was possibly true, that I am not my thoughts, past, and feelings. 

At the psychological and neurological level there is irrefutable evidence that we don’t naturally have as much free will as we think we do.  When something would happen in my external world, I didn’t immediately choose what to think about it.  My first thought always just came up.  Oftentimes it would cause a response in me, that further confirmed the existence of that self loathing, people pleasing teenager.  Based on this I often didn’t choose to rethink or contradict these thoughts.  Even if I did it was usually an uphill battle to overcome the impact of the initial thought.  All this study of Psychology and Neurology was becoming more troubling.

One day Youtube videos were playing in the background while I worked. A video with a Psychologist talking about the benefits of Mindfulness came on.  I took notice.  Later that same day I heard a monk say in another video,  “you can’t pay attention because no one ever taught you how.”  Not long after that I started a Mindfulness practice. I would sit for as much as an hour or two at a time, just observing all the thoughts that entered my mind without reacting to them.  It was during this process that I started to notice another part of me who wasn’t the one having those thoughts, but was the one who noticed and experienced them. Someone who could choose his response.  I eventually read a book called “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle.  Much of what he wrote in this book confirmed what I was learning, and agreed with Psychology and science.  This was the beginning of an ongoing transformation that I am deeply grateful for.  

Before I started on this journey I loathed what I saw when I looked back.  Now I can look back with love and acceptance for myself.  I can treat myself like someone I am responsible for helping. I know that the hurt of that child, and the self loathing in that teenager was not mine but belonged to a world that I can live beyond. More than that I can function more effectively in my daily life here and now.  It is like someone lifted a hundred pounds from each shoulder, and I can now move through life with much more ease. 

Almost every post I write mentions that we are not our thoughts, our past, or how we feel.  The reason for this is simple.  Understanding what that means for you will change your life for the better.  You are so much more than what you see when you look back.  

Freeing Yourself


The power of the pictures we paint in our mind can be the catalyst that either traps us or sets us free.  Here is a powerful picture that will help you free yourself.  

There is a fundamental way that most of us see the world and it keeps us trapped.  When we decide we want to improve ourselves, we unconsciously picture a hierarchy.  Way up and out there is the weight of the world, and everything going on.  Then there is our thinking self who is struggling under the weight of the world.  Finally there is this core being that is our true self who is under the weight of the world and everything we think about it. 

If this is the way we picture the world, how will we ever be able to lift or get out from under the weight and change our circumstances?   This is the lie that traps us.

Get a picture of this hierarchy clearly in your mind.  Now turn it upside down, putting who you truly are at the top of the hierarchy.  We are not done yet, otherwise you might get the idea you are God, and the whole world is subject to you.  The truth is that when you are at the top of the hierarchy it frees you to move up and down and around the hierarchy.  It allows you to detach who you truly are from the rest of the hierarchy.  This frees you to move about to the areas where you can make a positive difference.  

The key to making this picture serve you, is to keep your head out of the past and the future, and only deal with what is in front of you right now.   Almost every post on this blog repeats the idea that “You are not your thoughts, your past, or how you feel.”  You are so much more than that. This is the truth that freed me. If you can turn this picture upside down, and discover this truth for yourself you will be free.   

The Real Source of Positive Change


Just under the label of self help alone, there are nearly 90,000 books in print. Then you can just keep adding labels, like success, spirituality, motivation, and the list goes on and on.  My point is that we have more books available to us than we could read in a lifetime.  So how many of those books do you need to make a positive change in your life?  The answer is “ZERO”.  Yes it is true that most leaders read, and it is also true that some of the information in these kinds of books are very useful.  I read self help books.  The problem is that some of us get the idea that we need these kinds of books to succeed.  Sometimes we also get the idea that we are going to prepare ourselves for massive change overnight.  While change happens in an instant, getting ourselves to the place where we are ready to make those changes doesn’t work like that. 

Here are three of the things I believe to be the real catalysts for positive change.  

Awareness Without Assumptions

Awareness of the present moment is one of the most overlooked treasure troves for living a better life.  We tend to live too much of our lives in thoughts of the past and future.  We think about what didn’t work in the past, and how we need to do better in the future.  Pay attention to where your awareness is.  Are you thinking about the past or future?  How much of your energy do you spend being aware in the present moment, and not reliving the past or thinking about the future?  

This week try to devote thirty minutes in the morning reflection and planning for the day.  Other than these thirty minutes, pay attention to the present moment.  Without putting stress on yourself just carefully observe what is going on around you, and the process of doing what needs to be done.  Don’t make assumptions about meaning or outcome.  The present moment has many things to tell you if you are just aware.  If you catch your mind wandering back to the past or into the future, just gently bring it back to the present moment. 

We also need to be aware when we are making assumptions about things.  Is it true that the best scientists in the world know gravity?  The truth is that scientists can measure the effects of gravity but we have no earthly idea, what gravity is, why it is, or where it came from.  When we notice things our brain puts a label on them.  When we label them, we think we know them.  

When you are doing this exercise to focus on being aware, don’t make any assumptions about what you see in the present moment.  Just keep a sense of curiosity.  Instead of making assumptions, ask questions about what you are seeing.  Good questions begin with something like “Is it possible that…?”, or “What if…?.  Asking these kinds of questions about everything around us, will help us not to make the assumption that we know what it all means.  

One piece of awareness that has helped me greatly both physically and mentaly is learning to be aware of my breath.  When I am not aware of the present moment while I am working I tend to breathe quick shallow breaths.  When we breathe shallow breaths we greatly increase the likelihood of anxiety, and a wandering mind.  When we breathe slowly and deeply our bodies will naturally calm down.  If you want to test this out for yourself just stop what you are doing and take six deep, slow breaths.  You will notice a sense of relaxation.  Paying attention to your breath will also keep you mind out of the past and future.  The breath is a common anchor used in meditation.   

Be Grateful

Because we are constantly living in the past and anxious about the future, we find it very difficult to be grateful.  Once we start living in the present moment we can find all kinds of things to be grateful for.  It can be difficult to be grateful when we are faced with life’s problems, but even then we can find things in the moment to be grateful for.  

I don’t believe in silver bullets for success, but the idea I am about to share is powerful.  It is a primary reason that most goal setting doesn’t work.  Let’s say you set a goal to have a million dollars in the bank.  Your mind will imagine all the ways it would make you happy.  You begin to obsess on that goal.   You desire a million dollars so much that you lose everything you have to be grateful for. You feel the lack of not having a million dollars.  Now when you actually have to work hard, you feel discouraged.

No matter what your goal is, remember to work hard to find things you are grateful for along the way.  Maybe instead of setting a goal for a million dollars, try to set a goal to add a million dollars worth of value to others.  With this kind of goal you will find it easier to be grateful, and what you desire won’t make you lose what you have.

This is hard for some people, but sit down and write down all the things you have to be grateful for.  

Bias for Action

Nothing gets done unless someone does it.  Once you are aware of your environment, aware of what needs done, and have gratitude it is time to do something.  Earlier in the post I mentioned one reason that most goal setting fails.  Lack of action is the natural result of lack of motivation and purpose.  Having a sense of lack is one of the reasons we get discouraged and don’t act. We get discouraged because our minds are thinking about a past failure, or fearing a future failure. 

Once we have a goal, a daily task, we can then start doing it.  It is important to remember to keep our thoughts out of the past and future, and just focus on the task at hand.  Be curious about what you are doing and be aware of the results you are getting in the moment. 

Summary

You don’t need any books or programs to improve the quality of your life.  Just look within and in the present moment.  Early in the post I made the statement that the present moment has a lot to tell you.  If we can be fully aware of the moment we can act without the weight of the past and future, and be much more effective.   

If you are interested in talking further about improving the quality of your life, feel free to take advantage of a free thirty minute consultation.  

Things That Have to Get Done


All of us have those things in our lives that we have to get done.  Sometimes we don’t want to do them.  Can you think of something that you don’t like to do, but it has to be done anyway?  Here is something that has helped me to make that process much easier. Today’s post is short, but worth giving a try.   

Pick a small daily or weekly task that you don’t like to do, but will need to do.  It could be something as simple as making the bed, cleaning your office, or attending a regular meeting.  When the time comes and you feel that sense of dread, notice the thoughts you are thinking about doing the task.  Make a decision not to react to the thoughts, and accept the task as something that you are just going to do. When you start doing the task or walk into the meeting, don’t add your thoughts to it.  Simply pay close attention to every detail of doing the task.  Get curious about the task, not how you feel about doing the task.  Do it mindfully and deliberately, paying attention to every step.  

This method is supported by the fact that most of the pain associated with doing these tasks comes from our mind.  Many times the tasks aren’t terrible, it is just our thoughts about them that are terrible.  Mark Twain was reported to have said, “I have had a lot of troubles in life, and some of them even happened.” In saying this he was bringing to light the fact that we are most of the cause for our own mental worry and suffering.  Think about things you have worried about that never happened.

Somewhere along the way we label the specific task as bad, and our mind just reminds us every time we have to do it.  Maybe when we first did the task we were having a bad day, and associated that having a bad day with the task.  Now everytime we have to do that, the same negative feeling comes back.  

Doing things without adding our own thoughts and just paying attention to doing the task, is a great way to make life a little easier.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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. 

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.

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.