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Our Blog Entries of Inspiration and Motivation on various topics that will support you in moving your life forward!

Respond vs React

Shane —  May 2, 2012 — 2 Comments

auot pilot,

Respond vs React

I love my kids. However, I don’t always enjoy the lessons they teach me. Here is one of the more recent teaching events that I’ve been challenged on.

I arrived home, to my not-very-content Wife, and was informed of the activities of our 3 year old son. It started with him getting a pair of scissors and making confetti out of a library book. In addition, he practiced art on the walls (lots of walls) and then later tested Mom’s patience by climbing on the back of the couch which caused the back cushion to rip off.

I was not impressed to say the least and I think I made that pretty clear by my reaction.

In hindsight here is what I noticed. I reacted to the situation straight off without giving it any thought. It was as if I went into auto pilot, like some past thought program was set into motion and I reacted from it. Now this wouldn’t be a problem if this past default program was one that was beneficial to all involved; however, based on results it wasn’t.

There are times when I catch myself before I go into auto pilot. I’m then able to stop and process the situation. This allows me to respond to the circumstances rather than react. I make a conscious decision in the moment rather than using an old program out of the subconscious.

I am continually getting to practice my awareness around my auto pilot reactions. Whenever I see the library book, inked walls or the ripped couch; I get to choose whether I am going to drive where my thoughts go or let auto pilot take over. Or in others words, am I going to respond or react to it.

It is the challenging situations in our lives that can expose the subconscious programs. Our auto pilot. So with every challange lies an opportunity to grow. Life is a journey, so keep learning and enjoy the adventure.

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The Thrill of Victory!  or . . . ?

For those of us old enough, “The Thrill of Victory” always brings to mind that ABC Sports video from the Wide World of Sports. You know the one, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.” I write a lot about setting intention, having great expectations and creating amazing things in our lives. I sometimes wonder if people who read it think everything is always great for me, even though I know you all know better than that.

This 10 day journey to Brazil has been a great example. It actually started 2 weeks before the flight when we were trying to get a passport for an associate. The State Department said it was a 5 – 7 day process, which turned into three weeks. Five days for a Visa? Nope, try seven. Now I normally would never cut things close, however this trip was scheduled fast and without too much warning. Tickets had to be rescheduled and a lot was learned. We actually picked up the passport at 8 a.m. from the FEDEX terminal on the morning we flew out. That is WAY too close for me.

Once we arrived in Brazil, most everything that could go wrong proceeded to do it. I can tell you, a rocky start never really undoes me because I figure it has to get better. Four days into the trip there was no sign of that. Everything my associate and I touched seemed to go wrong or be worse than expected. Oh, did I mention that by the time we landed I was very sick? Thanks for all you who prayed.

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Sao Paulo Futbol Club Stadium

Finally after five tough days, we could feel things shift. I can tell you I EXPECTED it every day. If I didn’t have determination and the perseverance to keep going, it would have been easy to give up. We definitely knew the “Agony of Defeat” on the journey. I promise you, it just made the “Thrill of Victory” that much better.

So what does this mean for you? Are you discouraged by the way some things are going in your life? Do you let those things get you down or do you continue to be open to options that might present themselves? If you are disappointed and beat down, how many options do you think you will notice?

Be encouraged friends, when the “Agony of Defeat” seems to be the theme, the “Thrill of Victory” will still come if you keep pushing and stay optimistic!  Watch for the shifts! Expect them! Even Create them Yourself! Keep a positive attitude and keep your eyes open for options, especially those that may seem counter-intuitive. Remember, it doesn’t always look the way you expect! AND OH BOY can I tell you that was my experience this week.

We are traveling home. We definitely experienced “The Thrill of Victory” and we experienced every bit of the journey, not always having fun. That too, was a choice.

Go get’em! What will you create today?

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A Story To Live By

Shane —  April 20, 2012 — Leave a comment

special, occasion

I came across this article and wanted to share it with you. The article is a great wake up call for me to remember what’s important and live in it NOW. It was written by Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times) April 1985

What Special Someday Are We Saving For?
A Story To Live By

By ANN WELLS

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.”

He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savour, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing.

I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party going friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I’m not sure what my sister would’ve done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences or past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing – I’ll never know.

It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with – someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write – one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.

I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is… a gift from God.

By Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times) April 1985

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Attitude, It’s Your Choice – Part 2 -the blog

Hopefully you caught the story a few days ago, if not, read it here.

What you say to yourself creates your reality.
Don’t believe you have that much power? Well it’s true!
So much of our “experience” comes from our attitude and expectations.

When you wake in the morning, do you tell yourself it’s going to be a great day?
Or is your first thought that you will some how make it through the day?
Which ever you choose sets up the way you see everything that happens for the rest of the day.

What about if you tell yourself you will perform your best at a sport? I remember as a kid, bowling every Saturday morning. On our way to the bowling alley I would tell myself how I was going to do. Even at that young age, at some level, I understood that it mattered what I thought about. Sadly I let that slip away and I had the pleasure of relearning it later in life.

What about that task, test or report you are preparing for? Could it be fun and easy? Could it be exciting and fulfilling? Might you actually look forward to it if you think about it that way? Do you see yourself winning?

We all know people who expect great results in jobs, relationships and physical challenges that they embark on. That attitude gives them the where with all to learn, train and endure whatever it takes to succeed.  And we all know people who expect to fail.  Which one are you?

This is the fundamental change that has propelled my life in a radically exciting direction.  Take every thought captive (sound familiar? It’s a Biblical truth) and decide what you will think about every day, every task, every situation and every adventure.  Repeatedly decide to think and expect fun, easy, fulfilling, exciting and productive (or your favorite “move my life forward” kind of words). Then even when you find yourself in tough situations you will look for the positives and press forward!

Can you see that if you keep making the same choices every morning for weeks and months and even years, you are going to create your own reality around those thoughts?  What GREAT thoughts could you put in place today that will change your life over the next few months?  How would you like your job to be?  How would you like your relationships to be?  Would you like to  jump out of bed expecting great things?  Choose.   Then even the challenges will somehow be okay.

God uses all things to the good.  So what if we start to live like that too?
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” Romans 8:28 NLT from YouVersion.com

So, it starts with your attitude, what choice will you make?
What reality will you create for yourself?

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How often do you take time to just listen. . . to another person?

Listening is a tremendous skill. Some of us are fantastic at it. Others of us, well, not so much. Just as with any skill, the more we practice, the better we will get.

Listening to another person honors that person and actually speaks volumes. Listening to another person tells them that they are important to us and the things that they say matter. How does your relationship change with your spouse or kids, when you decide that you will simply listen? What do you learn about them?

Do you want to be a better listener? The next time you are talking with someone simply decide that you will ask questions only for 30 minutes. Ask open ended questions that can’t be answered with a Yes or a No. Don’t express an opinion, ask another question. Don’t ask questions with an agenda to get an answer you are looking for. Just ask another question and allow the person to continue to answer them. I promise you will be AMAZED at what you learn, even about someone you know very well.

How often do you take time to just listen. . . to the world around you?

How often do you find a quiet place and simply enjoy the world around you. Living in Northern Nevada I am surrounded by beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers. Finding a place away from cars and people and just listening is an amazing gift.

Stopping the “noise” that is going on in my mind and filling it with the sounds of nature is therapeutic. I am sure you have had those moments in life where you have done this. How often do you purpose to do it? How might things be different if you did it more?

How often do you take time to just listen. . . to what God might be saying to you?

Prayer for me is a vital part of my life. Being quiet before God is an essential part of that. Prayer, after all, is a two way conversation. I know what that means to me. . . I have always been a great talker and never short of things to say, and I have become a better listener over the years. Every time that I am careful to be quiet in prayer, I am amazed how He meets me there.

Recently, the church I belong to did a study based on a book called The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond by Bill Hybels. We did the study in small groups and it was a great reminder of how important listening is.

If you are looking for deeper, more fulfilling relationships,
If you are looking for more peace in your life,
If you are looking for direction in your life or a Word from God,
Take time to listen.

How often do YOU take time to just listen?

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Seven Ways to Avoid Stress

Mike —  April 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

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Seven Ways to Avoid Stress

From our “Empowering You” Collection

The last few weeks I noticed that “stress” was creeping into my life.  I know how it comes on, slowly at first, creeping into my subconscious and increasing slowly.  Next thing I know I am carrying that load and it is coloring everything I think and do.

In the middle of being stressed, I realized what was missing.  This is big folks!  When I added back those things, the stress was reduced right away.  Can you guess some of the things that had disappeared?  Well, the first two are pretty easy so let’s start there:

1 Eating Right – yep, when I get under pressure, I notice it’s one of the first things to go and never without paying a price.  The fuel I put in is an indicator of the performance I will get out. . . so poor fuel in, and I pay the price of not feeling good and not being able to process stress well.  Start by making sure you are drinking plenty of water.  A few great books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman to get you started.

2. Exercising – this is critical.  Not exercising actually has a double impact.  First, my body doesn’t move and get the opportunity to release the stress of the day.  Second, the exercise can release endorphins and actually help my body combat that stress.

So those were the obvious.  What about the “not so obvious”?  I noticed my focus was off in the following ways:

3. Gratitude – right in the middle of all that was going on, I realized that I was not focused on being grateful.  Gratitude for me is the great equalizer.  No matter how rough and tumble things get, being grateful always counter balances it.  When I notice all the things I have to be grateful for, my perspective shifts and I am clear what is important.  From that place I can handle anything else that comes my way.

4. Priorities – making first things first.  In stressful situations, it’s easy to go into firefighting mode.  In other words, whatever issue pops up, the temptation to put important things aside and deal with the “fire” is always there.  Setting a list of priorities and sticking to it is the best way to navigate the stress.  Delegate the “fires” to someone who can handle them if you have that luxury, or prioritize them according to everything on your list and move forward.

5.  Being in the Moment – Stress is fed by worrying about the past or projecting what might happen in the future.  Living in the moment takes the power away from the past and the future.  And besides, it’s the only time you have control of anyway.  Make every moment count and enjoy the journey!

6.  Connections – Who in your life understands you and cares enough to listen and encourage you?  In times of stress, surround yourself with those people.  These are not people who are going to fix the situation for you, these are people who let you talk, process and relax.  It’s a big deal and if you don’t have these people in your life, be this to others, and soon you will.

7. Self-Honor – find ways to take care of yourself.  Eating right and exercising are the first things to do.  In addition, a long lunch, a massage or a drive in the country can support you.  It doesn’t have to take a long time, it’s just an opportunity to do something special for you and get grounded, because of course, you deserve it.

Now go take on your day!  And enjoy every moment!

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4 Steps to Change  (Part 2)

(Continuation from Part 1)

What in your life are you looking at changing?  Do you over-sleep by playing the snooze game with the alarm clock?  Do you have a habit of complaining, criticizing, gossiping or having negative thinking?

Whatever it is, remember, change is a process not an event.  It is like a journey, in which through a series of stages change happens.  It may sometimes involve failure before success is achieved.  As Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. Personally, I’ve quit many
times.”

Here are the 4 steps to change:

  1. First you have to commit to changing.  Wanting to change isn’t enough.  If you are thinking, I know I should stop doing, this or that, yet are not ready to commit to taking action.   Then ask yourself these questions.  How much will you have to suffer before you are serious about getting help and changing your ways?  What is at stake if I don’t make this change?  Do you hate this habit?  I like how Derek Prince said it.  “God will deliver you from your enemies; not from your friends.”  You have to decide that this habit is an enemy, make a commitment and take action to remove it from your life.  Until then, it is still a friend that you are letting influence your life.  Wanting to change a habit isn’t enough.  It takes a commitment and I suggest accountability and help from a trusted friend or advisor.  (Which brings us to point #2)
  2. Get support.  When you made the commitment you were saying, “This is non-negotiable, I promise I am going to do this.”  It is now time to share your commitment to a friend or trusted advisor who can hold you accountable.  Promise to them that you will do this.
  3. Have hope.  Know that you can achieve it and picture yourself with this new habit in your life.  During the process of change, notice how far you have come, celebrate the small steps and keep your vision of the end result in front of you and know you can do it.
  4. Have some how to’s.  Here is some practical actions you can do to help you in the process:
    • A great way to reinforce a new habit is to teach it to someone else.  Become a mentor.
    • Have motivational and inspirational materials to encourage you along the way.  I know this great website at www.UnshakeableBelief.com.  Their Facebook page is great too.
    • Use of affirmations, statements of truths, or your favorite insights that you can be a support for you when challenged by your old ways of thinking.
    • Reminders that will keep the desired change in the forefront of your mind.  Some habits have become subconscious behaviors that can be slipped back into without even noticing you are doing it.  Notes or pictures can be good trigger devices to remind you of the change you are in the process of creating.  Figure out what a good trigger device is for you place them where they will be regularly seen.
    • Hang out with people that have what it is that you want.  Stay away from people and places that would encourage the old habit.
    • Remind yourself of WHY you want to change and visualize what it is you want to create.

Change requires mental and emotional effort.  Have grace and patience with yourself as you journey through the process.  If you happen to slip back into your old ways, stop, correct the mistake, forgive yourself and get back on track again.  It is a learning and reprogramming process that will take perseverance, commitment and focus on the desired end result.  Also, don’t forget to enjoy the journey.  Remember what we talked about in Part 1, the pain is caused by the old habit, not the process of changing it.

 

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