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It’s All About The Journey In The End

Buddha says stay patient and trust the journey

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We Don’t Control A Lot, But These Three Things We Do

3 Things We Control

Early last week I did an interview for a podcast called The Creative Soul Lab hosted by a wonderful woman named Shari D. Teigman. I first met her online in a Facebook group  for online creatives. We hit it off quickly and she has a great spirit  about her. The first conversation we had, she asked me to be on her podcast!

Yea, I was stunned, but I worked up the nerves and went on.  I must tell you, I totally forgot Shari and I was recording a show.  Why?  Because she calmed my fear of doing something like this for the first time.  See, I was very unsure of myself.  Sure, I have given classes and briefing to some very powerful military leaders.  But this was my voice and story that could be heard all over the world at any given time!

Normally I am writing you all and helping you work through your problems. This time, I had the problem.  All I could see was me bombing and Shari never putting it out.  But that very morning, I did my daily reading and I came across this quote in the picture above and here below by Jack Canfield:

You have control over three things in your life:   the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior).  

That quote was right on time!  My problem was that I didn’t see it in my mind that we were going to have a great interview. That I was going to be totally comfortable and talk about things that I hadn’t shared publicly.  I allowed a few seconds of self-doubt to come in and almost sabotage my day and what turned out to be a fantastic interview and conversation.

Man, am I glad that I saw that quote that morning.  It put me back on my  path.  The path of thinking the right thoughts to get me in the correct frame of mind.  Only then could I truly visualize what success looked like.

And when I knew what it looked like I could then adjust my behavior and take the correct action.  Sounds simple, right?  It is. Things will still take some time to work through.  But it’s easier with the right frame of mind.

Look, I am human like everyone else.  I will never pretend to have it all together.  I need work, too.  But these things are not impossible to do.  So let’s make a deal to work through this together.  If you get stuck then leave me a comment and I will get back to you quickly.  We will work it out together.

Also when the show with  Shari Teigman and I comes out I will post a link.  I think you all will really love it.  Have a great week and remember, we don’t control a lot, but  these three things we do.   Have a fantastic week!

If you enjoyed this post, please Like and Share it with your family and friends.  

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Explore. Expand. Evolve.

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Many people will tell you that childhood is the age of discovery. Others will say that your adolescence is when you find out the good and bad of the world and the rules society places upon us.  That pretty much by the time you reach adulthood, you know how things are done.  And either you conform or you don’t.

But I believe, like many, that life is a continuous process of learning.  That every day we should seek out something new to learn.  That we should not put our head down on any surface until we can say we have accomplished that task.

But there are many I see and come in contact with who feel otherwise.  I once had a leader in the military tell me that a brand new soldier couldn’t teach them anything.  I felt sorry for that person. Mainly because it was a young person who helped him learn how to operate his new iPhone!

See that type of thinking is close minded and really has no place in society.  You should be open and accepting to learning new things.  Good or bad.  Because ultimately it’s up to you whether you retain the information and use it at a later time.

That leads me perfectly into the reason why I am writing today. Because I want you to simply use the following three words to enrich your life starting now.

EXPLORE. EXPAND. EVOLVE.

I want you to explore parts of your town that you haven’t been to yet.  Safely of course.  I want you to check out a different genre and style of writing.  I suggest The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho.  It’s about finding one’s destiny.  Or read up on a part of the world that lives very much different from you do.  The point is to find something that will require you to be outside your comfort zone.

Then I suggest you use that new found information to expand your thinking. To truly have an open mind and understand all the new knowledge you have acquired.  What have you got to lose?

Absolutely nothing.  But you have everything to gain.  You truly start to see that everything doesn’t revolve around your block or in your city.

Expanding your mind allows your thought process to grow.  It allows you to see things through other’s eyes and brings a greater understanding and compassion to our troubled world.  It won’t let you pass that man lying in the street and not feel something. It will compel you to stop and aid him in some way.

And this all leads you to evolve.  The most important aspect in this journey.  By evolving you leave your old ways and become a better person. You start to see and think differently in situations you are placed in.  You subconsciously steer clear from things that bring no value to your life and well-being.

You would rather use that time to talk to a young group of kids looking for direction.  Or volunteering with a literacy program.  Evolving will, in my opinion, make you more compassionate.  Not centered on your own individual needs.

Explore new things.  Expand your thinking. Most of all, evolve into a better person. Then start the process all over again.

What new things are you going to explore today?

-alv

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Is Our Life Validated In The Eyes Of Others?

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Since the days of playing on the playground, humans have wanted to belong. To be liked.  Much didn’t change all throughout around schooling.  Especially in high school.  If anything it got worse.

Our sense of wanting to be part of the “in crowd” caused friction with other friends. We were quick to shed our longstanding friendships with others who weren’t deemed to be cool enough.  Yea, it meant that much to us to be a part of the popular crew.

To sacrifice memories and years of loyalty for supposed fame.  I have seen it time and time again. But it all boils down to one word.  Validation.

That’s it. For some reason, we feel that we have to be validated by other people.   You know it because you all have said it like I have many times as a child and young adolescent.  “If they only like me, then everything will be fine.”

Sound familiar?  Well, you were wrong.  And if you are still saying it, you still are.  Sorry, but I have to tell you like it was told to me.  I don’t need anyone’s validation about my self-worth.

Now, I am not talking about ideas.  Or products and other things that you create. That’s different.  I am talking about yourself. Your emotions. How you feel when you look in the mirror.

Sure, we want our significant other to tell us that they love us.  That they can’t live without us.  We want our kids to depend on us and always want us to be around for them.  We want our friends to need us and call on us to strengthen our bond.

But that’s not what I am talking about.  Those are relationships.  They don’t validate your self-worth.  They show only that people want and perhaps need to be around you.  And if they do, then you have done half the job already.

No, I am talking about doing a self-evaluation.  I am talking about getting in tune with your thoughts,   Your feelings better yet.  I need for you to do what we call in the military a deep dive.  

A deep dive in the military is when we look at a mission, a problem, etc and get to the bottom of it. We pull away all the contributing factors and really look at what  we are trying to do.  We use all types of methods to do this, but my favorite is the whiteboard.

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We used to use this board to plan out the most elaborate and simple tasks and operations.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s eye-opening when you see something in black and white.  When you can visually see the problem along with a solution it is amazing.

I have three here at home that I use all the time. But if you don’t have one handy, this is what I want you to do.  Take out a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.  On one side write down everything that you love about yourself.  On the other side write down everything that you want to change.

Don’t think too much about it.  Just write what comes to mind. Hopefully, there are more on the side of things that you want to change.  Seriously.  No matter how highly we think of ourselves, we all have things to work on.

So now that you have your list, start to work on those things each and every day.  To   Not to one day become  perfect, but to continue to progress through life positively. Because ultimately it’s about striving while making progress.  It’s about validating your life on your terms and realizing your true self-worth.

What are you validating in your life today?

-alv

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Are You Sabotaging Your Own Success?

It is said that an average human being can have between 25,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day.  Imagine how many of those are negative thoughts.  How many times you are subconsciously telling yourself that you can’t accomplish this.  You can’t do that.  It will never work.

I had a difficult background, filled with no concrete role model and a lot of figuring out things on my own.  I am honestly not unlike many other kids who had to fend for themselves during their adolescents. Sure, I had my father and step-mother, but there was not a lot of child rearing and teaching lessons. 

I had to fend for myself.  I didn’t hear a lot of “great job” and other accolades.  It was as if I was expected to achieve greatness and success with no blueprint or example to go off of.  Saying it was tough would be an understatement.

My attitude and outlook became very pessimistic and I was depressed.   This went on for the first ten years of my military career. But when I finally got fed up with living a mediocre existence, I changed.  It honestly took seeing other people happy and enjoying their life.  What’s the difference between me and them?

They didn’t wallow in self-pity.  They worked hard and enjoyed the process, keeping their goals in the front of their mind.  The progressed past me in rank and responbility.  All because they had the right attitude.  That of perseverance.  

See, I had a bright future with a good career.  I just let the dark clouds and obstacles get in the way. When I mapped out my plan it made it easier to seek out people who could aid me in my journey.  My biggest problem is I compared my life with theirs.  My happiness to theirs.  Bad idea.  Success is ultimately an individual thing.  I need to do the physical and mental work to achieve it.  Only I would get the emotional high of achievement when it was done.  

The last ten years of my career flew by when I changed.  But I remember it like it was yesterday because I was happy.  I got out of a marriage that I wasn’t fully invested in and have a wonderful family now.  And when the military wasn’t fun anymore, I retired.  Best decision ever because I found my first love again:  writing.  

Surround yourself with the right people.  People who have no negative thoughts prevalent in their mind.  You ever walked into a room and there was someone else there, but they weren’t in a good mood?  You can feel the tension and bad aura.  You just want to leave the room so it doesn’t rub on you.  

Map out what needs to be done.  Share it with those closest to you, but you do the work.  You climb the damn obstacles.  And be optimistic in the pursuit of your greatness.  I am rooting for you.  

-alv

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How Your Attitude Effects Your Growth


Attitude determines altitude

Your mom always told you about your bad attitude as a child, huh?  Mine used to tell me that a bad attitude will stunt your growth.  Luckily I listened because I am over six feet tall now!

But is the old wise saying even true?  I would say yes.  Think about it this scenario:  You just had an argument with someone and minutes later you are still reeling from it.  You are thinking the worse derogatory thoughts imaginable about that person.  You are festering in a bad aura and can’t think about anything else.  Practically seeing red.

Now it’s been ten minutes or so and you finally calm down and allow the anger to subside.  But what have you gained?  Nothing.  But you have lost six hundred seconds of productive time.  The time you could of spend achieving something worthwhile besides a bad attitude.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that you must go through life never being angry.  That’s ridiculous. What I am saying is the more you stay in the positive zone, the more you will achieve.  Yes, you will learn through pain, anger, and despair.  But the quicker you get out of those zones and into the positive side, the faster you will see growth.

See, when you fail at something you feel beaten down and have a solemn attitude.  If you wallow there, you will continue to stay at the same level.  But if you take the necessary time to learn from the mistake and then apply it, you quickly move out of your current position to a better one.  A lot of times it’s a vertical position and not lateral. Ultimately placing you above where you just were and at a heightened sense of awareness.

Make a conscious effort to go into work, school, or just start your day with a good attitude.  Make an effort to smile and speak to people.  Help out a friend at work and get them a coffee on the way in.  See how much it changes their attitude and how more productive they become.

You will indeed grow and add points to your overall character and reputation amongst your colleagues. Like the picture suggests, having the right attitude will have you soaring above the clouds quickly.

What are you consciously going to do today to make sure you start  the day with the right attitude?

-alv

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If This Is Your Monday Face Read This Post

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Was this your face this morning?  Did you walk into the office and got hit with “emergencies” before you got to your desk?  Did you plan to do some writing today, but your mind is blank ever after two cups of coffee?

Welcome to Mondays.  Well, actually it can be any day.  Last Friday week we talked about getting our life in focus.  We talked about taking a minute, stopping everything, and centering ourselves.

We could easily come up with one thing and work on it till it’s done.  But what do we do when we have a lot of things and don’t know where to start?  I have your solution and it won’t cost you a dime.  Just your time.

You ready?  Write it down.  But not just any type of way.  Grab a pen and sheet of paper and prepare to be more productive.

The method we are going to use is called the Ivy Lee Method.  Mr. Lee was considered the founder of modern public relations.  He is famous for creating successful public relations firms, but most notably for the work he did for Charles M. Swab at Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

Mr. Lee instructed the managers at BSC to write down their top six priorities for the day when they arrived to work.  Once they had them listed he told them to list them in order of priority. When they finished that he told them to begin working on the first one.  Easy enough right?

Yes, but the key was the managers could not move to the next item on the list until the first one was completed.  No matter what.  They had to complete all tasks in the order they set and couldn’t move on for any reason.

See, in the Lee Method there was no multitasking.  No working on multiple tasks and projects at the same time. Why? Because honestly, multitasking simply doesn’t work.  Studies have shown that it slowly lowers your IQ and weakens your ability to focus effectively.

So why do people still like to multitask?  Because society tells us it works.  In the military I always prided myself as an efficient multitasker but honestly looking back I wasn’t.  In hindsight, the projects I worked on never were done with my best ability.  Not when I was juggling more than two projects or missions at the same time.

I learned quickly that if I delegated the majority of the tasks to someone else, they could give it their best and then reap the praise for their work.  The key was having them give one hundred percent of their attention and effort to one task.  And it always worked wonders.

So I want you to try it.  Take out a piece of paper grab the writing instrument of your choice. Now list the top six things you want to accomplish today.  Now prioritize them on how important they are by labeling them one through six.  Done?  Good.  Now remember that you can’t move on to number two until you are completely finished with the first task.

Do it to today and comment below how it worked for you.  What’s on your list?

-alv

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Isn’t It Time To Get In Focus?

Focus

We are rattled. Off kilter. Unfocused. Something threw us off our balance and we can’t get back on track.

You know why?  Because we won’t take the time to reset ourselves. To get back into our right position in life

We need to stop everything and get back in focus. Think about a photographer. Before he takes that picture he pauses for a second to get his shot into focus.

We need to do the same in our lives. We need to stop hopping out of bed rushing to our job. We need to know what our focus is for that day.

Write down what you want to accomplish, but do it the night before you go to bed. Then sleep. Wake up the next day and visualize your goals and focus your tasks for the day. Then execute with clarity.

When things start to get hectic get up and take a five minute break. Walk away from the chaos and refocus on what’s a priority to you right now. Focus on your breathing and quieting your mind.

Then step back into the environment and handle your business and the tasks at hand.

See, stepping away from the situation or simply focusing on your wellbeing for a couple of seconds helps you immensely. Trust me I know. I have had to do it a couple of times.

There have been times in the military I have been presented with tough decisions. But I always took a moment to focus on my state of mind and cleared it. Only then was I able to make a sound and right decision.

We all could use sometime to refocus our thinking to achieve positive growth in our personal lives.

What do you need to refocus your efforts on?  Comment below and let me know.

-alv

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We Control Our Destiny.

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 (photo courtesy of http://www.motivationblock.com)

There are many things in this life that are out of our control. Where you’re born. How you are raised.  As we get older we  decide where we want to live, be in love with (sometimes), and how we look on a day-to-day basis.

All of this is in line with our destiny.  We are the creator of our dreams. We decide which goals we want to pursue and how hard to work on them each day.  

Sure, we have special people in our life that can aid in our pursuit, but they shouldn’t dictate your destiny.  When we allow this to happen, we get off of course.  Don’t believe me?

Remember back in your teens years when there was something that you really wanted to do. But you allowed your boyfriend or girlfriend to talk you out of it.  Because you cared more about their feelings and their place in your life, then your happiness.

How did that work out for you?  For those of you who it did, congratulations.  But the majority of you, it didn’t.  And you have regretted it ever since, huh?

I am not telling you that you can’t have and build a wonderful life with someone.  I am telling you that life and your destiny does not end if they decide to leave it.

No more regrets.  It’s time to create a life that you will look back on and be happy that you lived it.

It’s Monday and it’s time to create new goals for the week. Make one of them to share this post with someone who is struggling with finding their way.  You will feel better in the long run.

Trust me.

-alv

P.S. What are you going to create today to add to your destiny?  Let me know in the comments.