What do you want?

September 29, 2015

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear!” – Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is an author and motivational speaker on the topics of personal and business development and success. Among Canfields book is the well know “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and “The Success Principles”. Like most motivational writers and speakers, Canfield focuses mainly upon helping people overcome the obstacles to success and getting the things that they want in life.

turtleMost of the advice from motivational speakers might double as half-time speeches from sports coaches. They tend to focus upon techniques like visualizing, planning, prioritizing, perseverance and being accountable, which are all good things. The fear that Canfield speaks of is usually self-inflicted and grows out of uncertainty or doubt. We tend to fear the unknown and the uncertain outcome. We have doubts about our own abilities or worth that hold us back. Motivational speakers like Canfield promote seemingly simple and logical approaches to overcoming those fears and doubts.

The message of these speakers is aimed at helping people achieve things in life, like getting ahead at work, or to get what they want in life, which is normally defined in material terms – the bigger house, the better car, the exotic vacation, and the best schools for their children. In sports it is always about winning the championship, whatever that is. It is about defining a goal in terms of achieving or acquiring.

There is a whole different cadre of speakers who focus more on what might be called the spiritual side of life. These girls huggingspeakers focus upon maintaining a balance in life between the work life and the goals and rewards of that and the interpersonal side of life – your relationships with those with whom you share your life. Sometimes, especially when one is younger, this side of things takes a back seat to the focus on accomplishments and material achievements. This focus on things other than the material often stays buried in our priorities until we have reached many of the goals that were driving us and realize that we have still not achieved the happiness that we thought would come with them. We may then start paying attention to the messages of the speakers who urge us to take time for ourselves and to spend quality time with those we love.

Sometimes, after we have achieved some level of balance in our lives, we also re-discover a faith that was also suppressed by our focus upon success and accumulating possessions. As we slow down a bit and start really thinking about the lives that we are living and what is really important to us, we may find that reconnecting to the message of faith is something that we want, maybe even something that we need. We may discovery that there is a hole in our lives, a need that no amount of things can fill and a role that none of our loved ones can play. When you come to that point in your life, I would offer a single line answer that is similar to Canfield’s. For, if as Canfield has advised; praying“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”, I would advise that-

“Everything you need is on the other side of prayer.”

Did your resolutions turn into good habits?

March 6, 2015

“Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as bad habits.”  (Robert Fuller)

I saw a story on the local news last night that today is the watershed day for New Years Resolutions. Apparently there is evidence that if one can keep doing something for 66 days straight it will have established itself as a habit and today (Mar 6) is day 66 for happy winner2015. So, if you’ve managed to do every day whatever it is that you promised yourself that you would do for 2015; congratulations you’ve formed a new habit (hopefully a good one).

The most often reported New Year’s Resolutions seem to be about losing weight, quitting a bad habit (like smoking) or getting more exercise. Those resolutions are all tough to stick with for most people, so if you did it and stuck with any of them; good for you.  For me I was resolved to be a regular at the gym this year. I just can’t go every day, but I was on the list of the top 15 gym attendees at the Milford Anytime Fitness for the first month and just barely out off the list in February, when I took a week off for vacation. I think I have this down to a habit, but I’ll keep tracking it to make sure.

There was a story in today’s Detroit papers about a new young catcher who is expected
baseball catcherto become the backup catcher on the team this year – James McCann. James was in a pre-season game this week and let a ball that was outside and in the dirt get by him. In a real game during the season a miscue like that can cost a game and James knows it. He was upset with himself for that miss, so the next day he came to practice early and had the pitching coach line up the pitching machine so that it would fire balls at him outside and in the dirt. He had 100 balls loaded up and fired away so that he would get all of that practice to make sure that he stops balls that might get by him. In the process he was forming the good habits that catchers need of getting down and staying in front of the ball. He is hard on himself, but he doesn’t just beat himself up or get moody about it. He uses his mistakes (misses) as motivation to double-down and work harder.

How about you? Did you keep your resolutions? Have they become good habits for you? The alternatives to holding yourself accountable for your resolutions are to lower your standards or give up completely, neither is a good choice. Once you start allowing at the gymyourself to slip and finding ways to rationalize why that’s OK, you’ve stepped way out onto the slippery slope of backsliding and failure. Don’t go there. It’s not a pleasant place to live. Rather, double your resolve, but don’t beat yourself up. The first step in not giving up is to realize that it’s not too late…you can still do this (whatever “this” is). So, don’t bury your resolutions; dust them off; learn from your mistakes or failures so far; and double-down on your resolve to accomplish those goals (and that’s what they really should have been all along – goals).

Create good new habits along the way to reaching your goals. Have a great weekend catching up on those promises to yourself. As for me, I’ll be at the gym working out.