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”

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.   

Selfish Or Self Respect?


It is important to understand the difference between being selfish, and having some self respect.  I thought about it this week when I briefly encountered a young lady who needed to improve her grades.  It was as if she thought the world would end if she didn’t.  It was also somehow apparent that these good grades would mostly be to please other people.  There was no opportunity for me to really communicate with her on the matter, other than to give a quick suggestion not to be too hard on herself.  

This encounter made me think about the reason that our relationship with ourselves is so important.  It is a good goal to improve your grades, but if pressure from the outside causes you to engage in self-criticism then it is more important that you take a stand for yourself and not worry so much about pressure from the outside.  I am reminded of a wise quote by Indian guru, Sadhguru. “It is your mind. Things should be the way you want them in there.. Isn’t it?”  He was talking about the state of your mind to handle the things coming at you from the outside.  It is up to you to decide how you react to what happens to you.  I think the one thing that really helps us do this is when we begin with the assumption that we are enough.  That we are whole and complete within ourselves.  This doesn’t mean we think that we are perfect, it means that we think enough of ourselves and understand that we are not literally perfect and that’s OK.  Understanding that we are truly valuable, and at the same time understanding that we are flawed helps us to not only extend grace to ourselves, but to others as well.  When your view of yourself and others is obscured with insecurities, making good decisions is nearly impossible. Taking pressure off yourself makes it easier for you to do better.  The intention to be better is good enough if you have a healthy view of yourself.  Do you perform better when you self ridicule, or do you perform better when you believe you are up to the task?  Pretty obvious right?

We can hold ourselves to a higher standard without all of the self abuse.  Sometimes when we set out to achieve something we are more focused on the consequences of how it will turn out.  We worry about a future moment that hasn’t happened yet.  This increases the pressure on us, but doesn’t help us to actually do better work. You literally can’t do anything in the past or future.  Now is the only time you have to act, so doesn’t it make sense to focus on the task rather than worrying about the consequences if you fail, or thinking about your past failures?  When we have a healthy view of ourselves we are free to quit self criticism, and focus on the task at hand.  Eliminating all the background noise makes the task so much more bearable.  Think about trying to do something that requires focus in a room full of loud talking people.  Your thoughts about the past and future like the room full of noisy people inhibit your ability to focus. 

The foundational belief that helps you to be better is the belief that you are enough.  You are a perfectly imperfect human being.  You have great value that extends well beyond your past, your thoughts, and your feelings.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is true for all of us.  Finding that truth and giving  yourself grace is the first step to a better life.      

Life Doesn’t Need to Be So Hard


We have plenty of things to keep us busy.  We have responsibilities around work, school, family, and finances among many other things.  For most people there is a lot to do, and then we step in and add our thoughts about the consequences of not getting it all done. We weigh ourselves down with the expectations of ourselves and others.  There are two separate aspects to living life.  There is performing all the activities that need to be done, then there is all of the added pressure of our thoughts about the activity.  

What if you could take half the pressure off yourself, and only focus on the activities without adding the additional pressure of thinking about consequences, and expectations?  We have the activity and then we have our thoughts and beliefs about these activities.  These thoughts influence how well we perform the activities. If you put a board on the floor and attempt to walk across it, this is easy for most people.  Take that same board and lay it across the distance between two tall buildings and then walk across it.  It is the same task, but the stakes are much higher if you fail to stay on the board while walking between buildings.  The location of the board is very similar to your thoughts about the task you are about to take on.  Assuming the board doesn’t flex, and there is no wind, it is the same task. The great thing about most of our activities is that if we mess up, nothing really bad happens.  

Famous author Mark Twain said “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” In this quote he was pointing to the fact that it is our worries about what might happen that is the source of many of our perceived problems.  If we really stop and think about it, this is an undeniable truth. So what do you do about it? 

Part of a mindfulness journey is learning to live in the present moment, and just acknowledging these worries without reacting to them in any way. I remember when I was learning to just have these thoughts, acknowledge them and not react to them.  I was afraid that if I quit reacting to these thoughts, that my world would fall apart and nothing would get done.  I took a leap of faith and just quit reacting.  Exactly the opposite of my worry happened.  I became a lot more effective, and got more done without all the stress.  I also found that I naturally started taking time to think through what had to be done, but then once I started doing it, I focused all of my attention on the task. I was no longer worrying about consequences. 

It is almost as if life just started unfolding.  I am not ready to give an explanation of why or how this happens, I just know that life is much easier and more gets done when you stop worrying about the future or reliving the past.  Learning to let these thoughts pass is important.  Please reach out here if you want to know more about how to let go of your stressors.  There are lots of free resources out there to help you with this. 

How We Make a Difference


When we think about those who make a difference in the world we tend to think about the renowned and famous of the world.  The thing we should always keep in mind is that they are one person just like we are, and the real difference in the world is made by hundreds of millions of people who are equipped with the means to help others in some way.  Mother Teresa of Calcutta was known for having the attitude of helping one person at a time.  Even if that help was just comfort in the final moments of one person’s life.  Countless others looked to her as an example and helped countless other people as a result of that inspiration.  She had this impact by focusing on one person at a time, and did not seek out attention to herself.     

Mother Teresa understood the point I am trying to make today.  We should not endeavor to necessarily be the difference makers for the world.  Instead we should endeavor to help people one at a time.  We are all connected at a much closer level than we know.  “Six Degrees of Separation” shows that there are six degrees of separation between you and everyone else in the world.  Helping just one person could greatly impact the lives of countless others.  We are more effective in helping others if we keep our focus on helping one person at a time to the best of our ability.

We likely won’t know all of those we had a hand in helping, but we will know we did the best we could for each person we encountered. If we do that it will bear fruit in our lives.  One of the most desirable results of this idea is that you have less to stress about, but your impact is much greater in the long run.  This is an idea that is counterintuitive to many and they doubt that focusing on one person at a time is the most effective way.  Even those who lead the largest most successful companies in the world, would have never grown to that size were it not for a handful of individuals.  Some even contribute their success to a single idea by one influential person in their lives.  We indeed make a difference one person at a time. 

Accepting Reality


What does it mean to accept reality, and how can learning to do this make a positive impact in your life? Accepting reality doesn’t mean you don’t act on anything. What you do about what happens is a completely different conversation.  The mistake that we usually make in accepting reality, is the definition of reality.  Reality is not our thoughts and responses about what happens.  It is the physical event that occurred. How you feel about it is a separate conversation.  Separating the physical event from what you think about it is the key to the power of accepting reality. 

Sometimes when a negative experience happens we just react to it. We act on it without thought and it ends up creating negative circumstances in our lives.  We are still left with the feelings of the event.  How can we short circuit reality from creating carnage in our lives?  

When a negative event happens, it isn’t a one step process to accept it.  There are a series of events that occur.  This is how I see accepting the reality of one of those events. 

  1. Something negative happens.
  2. Acknowledge that the physical event happened, but don’t add your own thoughts to it.
  3. Really notice and get curious about the feelings that come up, instead of reacting. 
  4. Accept the way you feel about it. 
  5. Decide how you are going to move forward. 

Acknowledge Reality 

The way you see an event would be perceived at least slightly differently by almost every one of the other 8 billion people on planet earth.  You may have friends who nothing seems to bother, and others who seem to be bothered by every little thing.  The same event causes no disturbance for the first group, but for the second group it is like the end of the world.  My point here is that reality is not influenced by how we see it. 

Curiosity

This is the key to stopping negative events from having long term negative consequences on you.  When you notice you are feeling a negative emotion, really focus on how it feels in the moment instead of reacting to it or adding your own thoughts.  This might sound weird, but try to sense where you feel the emotion in your body.  Get curious about it, like it has something to tell you because it does.  Once you acknowledge something in this way it greatly reduces and sometimes eliminates the feeling.  This is also helpful with minor physical pain.

Acceptance

When we experience negative emotions our natural reaction is to push them down and away from us.  The human mind doesn’t work like that.  When you push something down the only thing you can be sure of is that it will resurface at some point.  Think about how trauma impacts a person.  The most impacted people are those who have pushed down their emotions.  Instead of pushing down your emotions, acknowledge them, take a deep breath, and accept them.  You are not your emotions, you are the one who feels them.  That says something about your biology and life experiences, but it says nothing about who you truly are.  You are not your thoughts, your past, or how you feel.

Decision

Now it is time to decide if there is anything you should do about what happened.  Some believe that accepting reality is like accepting defeat, but nothing could be further from the truth.  If anything, it gives you the ability to make clear rational decisions about what you might want to do next if anything.

This Too Shall Pass


I thought this would be a good opportunity to share this blog post. Have you ever had one of those days where you were just discouraged and feeling really insecure? As I sit and start to write this blog post, I am there. I went to the gym this morning, and then came home and tried to get some things done, and had a very frustrating day. I just didn’t do well at what I was working on and ended up wasting a lot of time.  The negative thoughts really started to dig in without my immediate awareness. You know that voice that quietly asks you questions like, who are you to think you can do this right? 

I learned something a few years ago. “This too shall pass.” Your body is complicated. The events of the day,  and your brain and its biology can coalesce into a recipe for a bad day. The difference is what you decide to do with it.  Those who won’t admit to having days like this will lie about other things too.  There is a process that you can use to get out from under down days. 

  1. Acknowledge to yourself that you are struggling and that it’s OK.  Treat yourself like someone else you are responsible for encouraging in this way.   
  2. Get curious about the negative feelings.  Don’t think about them, just notice how it feels in your body and your psyche.  
  3. Review what happened at a high level.  Maybe make a list of the events that happened.  Don’t get too deep, and don’t start judging yourself. This often uncovers the otherwise obvious.
  4. At this point, get up and do something even if you don’t want to.  
  5. Just keep going until it passes.

The most important thing to remember when you are having one of these days, is that “this too shall pass.”  One thing older entrepreneurs and investors know very well is that business and markets go up and down.  So will our lives. Some periods of time are good and others aren’t.  We all go through seasons. Things happen outside of our control. It is OK to have a down day, or periods of time surrounding a bad event.  What matters is what you do with it.

Awareness Builds Momentum


Bringing awareness into your life is a process, it isn’t something that happens overnight.  It isn’t something that intense effort will bring you.  While awareness practices can be found in every religious tradition from Christianity to Zen Buddhism, the awareness I am talking about here is a practical approach for quieting the mind. This will allow you to sense your environment in a way that will help you grow awareness.  

One of the primary problems we face is that we are constantly reacting to things in our environment. We can’t help but to judge them on some level.  True awareness comes when you can learn to quiet your mind and not immediately add your own thoughts to everything that happens to you.  

The first step in achieving this is learning that we are separate from those autonomous reactions created by our brain and biology.  Notice the thoughts that come up when something happens in your environment.  We don’t choose to think these thoughts. They just arise naturally.  It is your ability to stand outside those thoughts that is awareness.  We rarely question those thoughts, even though they could be a result of past events that we wrongly judged.  If we can just experience our environment without adding our own thoughts we can add a level of insight.  This insight can cause exponential growth in our lives.  It is often like we are experiencing things for the first time, that we have experienced many times before.

This is an ongoing process for me.  I stumbled on this idea, in an effort to improve my attention.  I heard a Youtuber say something that really hit home for me.  “You can’t pay attention, because no one ever taught you how.”  I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me to pay attention growing up, but never offered to show me how.  It is possible that I would be very wealthy.  

So how do you learn to pay attention?  The answer is pretty simple.  You start by  intentionally setting aside five or ten minutes a couple of times a day to practice paying attention.  Relax and take a few deep slow breaths, and focus on something happening around you.  It can be anything from the noises around you, to two or more people interacting.  You also commit to not adding your own thoughts to it, and watching it like it is the first time you have seen anything like it.  Two or three of these daily mindfulness breaks could help you to begin a significant growth journey. 

I am sharing this with you, because this is one of the things that turned the direction of my life around.  I was being held back by a lot of self critical thoughts that I just assumed were true.  Once I became aware of the thoughts that were coming up, I naturally started questioning them.  This process allowed me to see that we are truly, not our thoughts, how we feel, or our past.  Once I started to see that 90% of these thoughts had no foundation in reality, my life began to change in positive ways.  I believe yours will too. 

If you would like to explore this idea further, you can take advantage of a free, no strings attached thirty minute life coaching consultation.