A New Year Begins for Students! If you don’t believe me, check out social media sites where proud parents have posted pictures of their children kicking off the new year with clean bookbags, new outfits, and school supplies labeled with their names.
While fall is typically the season of new beginnings for students, it also begins a New Year for many businesses and family routines. We tend to start closing down pools, programs, and summer houses. We begin to think of movement toward eating more meals at home, and buying supplies for the family lunches. We get out the calendars and start adding entries for meet ups, bowling schedules, lessons, and weekend events with our extended families.
In our office here at Delight in Living, Ltd., we tend to speed up on developing groups, online activities, and office appointments. Families return from summer vacations and the need to do self work begins. If one is a parent, he or she begins to evaluate how they can improve the relationships with children, spouses, and often their own aging parents. By now many of the deductions on insurance have kicked in and that means that insurance may help cover expenses for our patients. It is a good time to catch up on mental health.
Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today to dive in and make it worthwhile. Let us begin and make the improvements we want in our lives. Find you place at work and in your private lives. Establish happy moments for you and your family. Maybe it is time to meet up on Friday nights for dinner. Years ago, my in-laws would take the family out to dinner. It was a time we all looked forward to and it became a wonderful memory for our children.
Keep a smile on your face and complete the summer with activities of your choice. Finish up those outdoor projects, and enjoy the summer crops. Soon it will be a season of stews, chili, and soups.
Watch for our new course on Developing the Confidence Muscle that will be coming out soon. It will put you on a new path!
So How Did YOU Make that Choice?
Making choices continues to be the topic this week, because it is such a powerful one. Our choices may be as simple as waiting for a cup of coffee or something seemingly insignificant. So this morning I stopped at our local coffee shop and ordered my black decaf. When I got to the drive up window the girl asked if I could wait for the brew to finish. I looked behind me and no one was there, so I said sure. I proceeded to pay her and wait. Still no one around, so I sat patiently. Then the young girl comes up to the window and tells me to move my car to the other side of the building and park to wait. I replied, “No, there is no one behind me.” She said something to the effect that they needed have a quick turn around time. I said, “No, I do not want to drive around the building as the parking is horrible and I would have to go around again to get out, AND, there is no one behind me!” She left the window and said something to the other clerk.
Fast forward, the usual clerk came to the window. She was smiling, and thanked me for waiting and handed me my coffee. AMEN. Now as I am pulling away, a car pulls in behind me. I had not disrupted anywone and saved myself gas, aggravation, and time. As I thought about this, several things struck me! First of all, I seldom refrain from being compliant in situations like this. 2ndly, her request just didn’t make any sense. 3rdly, I was the customer and wasn’t interfering with their business. 4thly, Kindness and a smile from the second clerk secured the chance of my returning!And that takes me back to choices. We need to operate on the facts behind the choices we make. Who is the outcome serving? Making decisions is easy when we know the situation. Making decisions that you have thought through then don’t need to be 2nd guessed.
Now some choices may be much harder than this. Examples might include spending money on a trip or costly purchase. It may mean one has to decide on a drug to take, a treatment for cancer, or a decision regarding a loved one. Years ago I had to decide on whether or not to have my husband under major heart surgery. When the facts were in, I said “NO, it isn’t an ethical option.” That was 17 years ago and one of the best decisions I have ever made. I hope it isn’t the last good decision I make!
Check out https://youtu.be/FLRmMdJqvSI The simple hack to make a decision with Mel Robbins!
The choices we make, our accountability partners, the constant discernment process, our education, and finally our thoughts can advance us!
CHOICES The best part of questions is that they allow us to make decisions and understand why we react the way we do! Most often it helps children become aware of their behavior. “Why did you lie?” “Where did you go that you can’t tell me?” “Did you complete your homework?” Let me see it! Choices allow us how to spend our time, who we spend it with each day, and how we live.
ACCOUNTABILITY Even into adulthood questions make us honorable and accountable in completing projects. We are held at a higher standard when we know we must answer to the boss, the spouse, or set an example for our children. For example: “Did you put that check in the mail?” “How’s are the email blasts doing?” “Did you follow up with the calls?” “Are you making good choices?”
DISCERNMENT Questions help us discern where and when we are using our time. Do you watch the clock? Do the entries in our books reflect what the actual expenses and earning levels are showing? Are you setting your goals and working toward them? Who is safe to share that information with when it comes to money? Why are you letting other people make your choices?
EDUCATION When one asks questions, it opens up opportunities for learning and exploring the unknown. Geography, math, science, and languages open the door. “Are you taking your knowledge to the next step?” Are you learning more about the techniques in your world that are up-to-date? Whether that is as a CPA, a doctor, a counselor, a teacher, or a banker, are you confident with the level of learning you take on?
THOUGHTS Remember that we all have some control and can make a choice in stepping on up! Monitor your thoughts because they effect your emotions, the control your behaviors, and they can push you forward or trip you!
What is behind door #1? FAKE NEWS
You Never Know What’s Behind Closed Doors. We don’t know the reality of what happens between members of a family or within a business setting. Are the staff members of the restaurant really happy? Are the kids of the house all so well behaved and helpful as they looked in that family photo that comes at Christmas? Is the story in that Family Newsletter the neighbors sent out really true? Or is it all fake news?
What is behind door #2? LIES
Well I was telling someone that often pictures do not tell the truth. We have all had the situation where we gather for a photo and everyone is being crabby, but the smiles make it seem that the family is joy-filled. Or do you go into a Department Store and meet a wonderful clerk only to find out later that the person has a horrible life and they have learned to smile through it all without uttering a complaint?
What is behind door #3? CLARITY
Recently this picture was sent to me from a mom of 7 children. After reminding the children to close the refrigerator door, this is what happened. The mother told me, “Guess I needed to be more specific!” Often pictures don’t communicate what it is we want to really share. Sometimes we need to be alert as to what is really happening. Obviously, Mom was watching her to see if the child was listening and a chuckle ensued.
What is behind door #4? OPPORTUNITY
So this takes me to another point. What doors do you want to open? Are they doors to doing more business? Are they doors to a store that has hours that are inconvenient for your working hours? Is that person you met in person the man or woman who can support your latest invention? Is that older gent the one who can finance your latest educational pursuit?
Take that first step forward and see all the doors that may open on the escalator of success!
Organization is a matter of developing excellent habits. How well do you organize? Do you have a list of priorities you want to accomplish every day? Our habits develop by repeating the same behaviors and routines. Sometimes it takes us awhile to be consistent, but once we practice the new behavior, it is easier! Try it. Drive in a different direction if you want to avoid that fast food restaurant. Change a password, if it will help you change the sites you want to visit earlier in the day. Check out your appointment book and make an appointment with yourself to exercise or take a walk if you want to ramp up the time you exercise. Create shortcuts to get were you want to be sooner rather than later.
I find that making a list on a form I have created is easy. I fill out the form each evening of the contacts I need to make, the people I need to reach, and the people I am waiting to hear back from. It is so very useful. I place the list in my purse and unfold it as I get into my car in the morning, just in case I need to stop somewhere before I go into the office. I put down the phone numbers to make it even easier. It is such a simple thing that I adapted doing from Brendon Burchard. He has excellent ideas and a great book called High Performance Habits. Check it out, it’s very good.
Take the one step to put yourself on the escalator of success. You’ll be glad you did!
Just a few words about Relationships and how Linda used Linked-In. We all need to stay connected to a wholesome community of business people. We need to serve one another and grow. In this short Video clip, Linda shares how a quick call following a Linked-In message is now one that she can use to help other people. With all the wonderful ways of staying connected online and onsite, we are able to help one another grow, find solutions, and meet. How fortunate we are to have Zoom, Go to Meeting, Webinars, and other means to stay united. Have a great weekend.
Some people are so good at navigating the path they are on. They seem to know what roadblocks are ahead of them or what to expect along the way. An example I’ll share is about a family based business that was well structured and set up during the 2nd World War. Sales rallied because of government contracts at that time and their excellent President rallied his workers with him. He continued to know who his target audience was and to build a healthy clientele for the next twenty years. Eventually the man sold his business to a partner and then sold off property that was owned for storage over the years following. He also planned well for his family and sought a more relaxed lifestyle for himself and his wife. He lived well and enjoyed reading in his final years.
Finding a new path and purpose!
It dawned on me that this is not the case for so many people. Layoffs, job changes, health challenges and family disruptions cause many people to set up franchises or seek other lines of work. Their path, although once thoughtfully set into play, just seem to tumble and fall apart. Every day is a search and rescue existence to make money, pay bills, and stay well. How does one earn money? How does one pay for medical issues? Is one able to drive or access food, shelter, and other people with ease?
Taking time to plan is good. It can be a series of steps set into place. Perhaps putting aside a small amount of money monthly. It may include adding to ones education or skill set. It may mean relocating to a smaller home, eliminating costs, or reversing plans that just don’t add up for a long term resolution. Maybe it is getting involved with other people and building new relationships. Design the path you want to pursue and then it will begin to develop naturally.
In talking to a wealth management person I learned that many people are not able to go to the next level of life because they have failed to plan beyond the present. If it is one thing I have learned from being a psychotherapist, it is that we need to have a purpose. That purpose may change as we age. We may devote more time to new hobby, travel the world, or volunteer teaching a second language. It may mean moving to a new area to be in touch with family so one can be in a more metropolitan area. Or even moving to a smaller country setting and starting a garden.
One thing to keep in mind in pursuing changes is to think things out well. What is the long term focus for making the changes. Is it to save money? Is it to be with more people you love? Is it to have a place to run your new business or hobby?
So today’s simple exercise is to: #1. Get outside your comfort zone. Make new friends and connect with older ones. Start with just one. #2. Decide on something you want to do and seek information on doing it. #3. Listen to those around you and see how you might benefit from their experience.
Have a great day and take that one step forward, it may put you on the escalator of success!
Linda is an Educator, Counselor, and Catalyst that will help you inspire you to live your life the best possible.
I watch Rosy as she navigates through the day showing me there is a way to find contentment. She has slowed a bit, but just long enough to observe what I am doing before she charges up the stairs behind me. She waits to see if I am running back down them again or staying there. She is the clue to the first way to spell contentment. #1. Know what it is you really want to accomplish before expending the energy to do so!
Watching efficient and productive people shows us the second way to find contentment. It is simple. People who accomplish a lot of work have learned how to prioritize and do it well. They perform one task at a time and finish it. Then they sit back for the moment to appraise the situation and salute themselves for a job well done.
The third way to find contentment is to stay active and show up to the events that mean a lot to you. These may be personal or business related. Contentment comes from appreciating the good things in life. Gratitude and a spirit of recognizing how others have touched your life is by taking an active part in their activities. It is recognizing how others have succeeded. We need to stay joy-filled and happy with the accomplishments of those around us.
The next time you feel frustrated or discontent with with yourself, ask “why am I dissatisfied?” Perhaps it is a restless feeling for something you have yet to achieve. Perhaps it is because you have not reached out to those around you. Do you need a break from your responsibilities? Maybe it is time to sit back and watch like Rosy often does to just reevaluate if it is worth the effort to run up those stairs again!
Linda is a Counselor, Educator, and Catalyst. She helps people navigate through the tough times and achieve their dreams. This summer she is offering one-on-one tutoring for students. She’ll help them learn to organize and focus. In the Fall, when it is time to return to school, they will hopefully be more engaged having practiced a few basic skills.
Finding an ideal mentor can be around the corner. Often they seem bigger than life and unreal in many ways. Unlike Snoopy, Leprechauns, the Easter Bunny, or Santa, mentors are not whimsical. Mentors are usually real people or those who have died. They have had a successful track record. They set an example for us and taught us moral and excellent principles to live by. They were natural teachers for us and gave us inspiration. Mentors give us shortcuts and a proven way to exceed beyond limits.
In business we are always looking for the next opportunity, the next connection, and chances to connect with active and engaged people. Do you have a mentor? Where have you looked for one? Do you scour the neighborhood or look for online for connections? Do you literally go from one activity to another? Do you meet people for lunch? Is there a business you’d like to mimic?
I have found that a mentor can come in any size or age. There have been many for me along life’s journey. I was lucky to have a great professor who mentored me into the teaching profession. She was confident, knowledgeable, and loved keeping children safe and spirited. Her openness to teach, exemplify, and share stories still resonate. She even had a television presence and taught us presentation skills that helped her.
I was fortunate to have a great Spiritual Director when my children were teenagers. She had studied the material I was learning. She had raised her family and been a student at the same time. She was non judgmental and supportive. Her values and sense of humor was one that I needed. She died several years ago. I was blessed to have her in my life as a mentor.
Two women with large families set examples and helped me through the adventure of raising children. I needed these people, because my own mother had died when my children were babies. Both were available and I didn’t even realize their impact until years later. They taught me the concept of being flexible and how to flow with changes.
As I journeyed through my teaching and counseling career, I found the best mentors were actually children, teenagers, and people willing to work through difficult moments. Their attitude and gratitude to improve helped me to learn. In some cases, they taught me to play again. Their ability to adapt to technology with ease and fearlessness has encouraged me to podcast and learn software programs. Children attempt lots of sports, games, and try things without reservation. Their openness to trusting others and enjoying life is contagious. Adults who have failed develop a resilience that is more than admirable.
Take the first step forward and begin looking to people around you. Perhaps there are several men or women in your past that led you to this point in time. Put yourself on the escalator of success in helping others.
Leadership can be hard! I was reading an article in *Scientific American Mind about a student from Brown University who in 1984 was studying in Israel. He and two friends were walking while on a camping trip and he was ahead of them. Suddenly he was minus a foot! He stepped on a land mine. Leadership can be hard and in this case, it really was painful! It takes stamina and a great mindset to move forward when accidents happen. Or when one loses money on a business idea it can be difficult to bounce back.
A few thoughts came to me as I read this article. The first was that stepping out ahead of the others is a daring adventure. Leaders put themselves in a position of being risk takers. Secondly, when confronted with adversity, people are forced to be resilient and push themselves to move forward, even if they think they cannot. Thirdly, good leadership is always available to find through referrals and mentors.
If you are an active business owner, you are often we are watching high achievers in business. High achievers who risk putting their own reputation and safety out there for others to follow. And we do follow them, because we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We see how someone has accomplished what we are striving to do and we try to duplicate the format. We look at the system that has propelled them forward and we go to them for success.
Unfortunately, we don’t see all the obstacles they’ve endured. When I watch the Olympics, one of the best parts of it for me is hearing the stories of how the athletes have come to succeed. Quite often they have endured many injuries, personal set backs, or losses. It is great to hear their interviews. Most of the time they take responsibility for the risks they take and move ahead. They do not give up. They get up over and over again.
I am watching a grandson now who is an excellent soccer player and wrestler. In a tournament game, he injured his ACL, LCL, and Meniscus. These are major injuries that needed surgery. He presented to a surgery center that works with a professional team in Chicago to have the repairs. He will be undergoing 8 months plus of therapy to get back into the sport of soccer that he loves. The injury has temporarily changed his pathway to going into college sports for the next year. It has not deterred him, but strengthened his resolve to move forward.
As the author of Erasing Adversity, I say that adversity can make us stronger. It isn’t the experience of success or failure that makes us; it is what we take from the experience that gives us personality and value. Experience alone can sour people, but keeping a healthy mindset and determinations to reach a goal is the secret.
It amazes me how well some people are able to overcome problems. As a counselor and educator I’ve learned not only through my own experiences, but vicariously from other people. The ability to focus on one thing at a time helps. We need to keep things simple. The next time you are feeling stuck or frustrated, take a simple task and complete it. Maybe it’s cleaning out the dishwasher or sweeping the garage floor. Do it and finish the project. A simple task completed well will help you break the cycle of inaction. Create your own healthy system made our of habits to conquer a problem head on!
Another thing that one can do to be successful is to engage with others. Social isolation is unhealthy. Although not everyone is Mr. or Mrs. Congeniality, having purposeful tasks and relationships compel us to be better. We tend to dress the part, take responsibility and smile more when things are going well, but good leadership is open, humble, and honest. We learn to trust people and socialize. In doing so we contribute to the lives of other people; we volunteer; we share and give away our talents.
*Special Collectors Edition Scientific American Mind Spring 2018