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Joy is manifest in healthy close relationships.

Monday, 22nd February 2010

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The most joyful and complete moments come out of having deeply enriching relationships. Being connected on a deep level to our spouse, our children and our friends is where all the goodness is at. There is a type of joy found in these relationships and a richness that can’t be found anywhere else. It is worth the price it takes to make those relationships healthy.

Are You Damaging Your Bottom Line?

Monday, 8th February 2010

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We all know them…the folks who MUST CONTROL EVERYTHING. Perhaps it’s the mother-in-law whom you secretly call “Controller of the Universe,” or the boss at work who has to have a hand in every little detail of your work, or the parent who directs every aspect of their child’s life. However well-meaning controlling people might be, their actions often result in alienation, resentment and a lack of intimacy with loved ones. When they have a choice, people don’t usually like to be around controlling individuals. As a business owner, you might think, “So.  I don’t care if people like me.”  But the problem there is people do business with people they like.  It’s important to build business relationships and maintain trust and respect.  Part of doing that  is by not controlling.  Take this quiz to see how controlling you might be.

Set 1

1. I discourage the people around me from expressing anger, fear or sadness.

2. It aggravates me when others don’t want to do something the way I suggest; I’m only trying to help them.

3. I hate to admit to others that I am wrong or make mistakes; in fact, I rarely do.

4. I’d rather do most things myself.

5. Others probably describe me as driven and rarely satisfied. I admit to being a perfectionist.

6. When someone goes against my advice or suggestions, I tend to withdraw my affection; but when people do what I say, I’ll lavish the praise.

7. I take it as disloyalty or personal rejection when others act or feel differently than I do.

8. When I’m in a relationship, I want to know where my significant other is all the time.

9. I know what’s best for others; that’s why they should listen to what I have to say.

10. When watching television with others, I have to have the remote. Similarly, when in a car with others, I feel uncomfortable unless I’m the driver.

11. I am easily irritated, especially by others’ incompetence or rebelliousness.

Set 2

1. I encourage others to express their true feelings around me.

2. I would rather people be themselves than try to please me, and that they do things out of choice, not obligation.

3. It doesn’t bother me when others question or disagree with me. In fact, I enjoy a lively debate.

4. I steer clear of micromanaging family members or employees, and instead encourage independence and independent thinking.

5. I choose not to focus on power, prestige or perfection; I hold others to be the best they can be, while remaining true to themselves.

6. I find it easy to relax, laugh or be spontaneous.

7. I value stability and consistency, and don’t get caught up in chaos and drama.

8. Getting someone to do something by yelling at them isn’t something that works for me.

If you answered true more often in Set 1 and false more often in Set 2, you may wish to examine where your urge to control is coming from. Most often, fear is the deep culprit. Learning how to approach and handle fear in a positive manner helps us accept others—and ourselves—better. And doing so sets us up for better relationships, better health and better self-esteem. Please don’t hesitate to email if you’d like to explore this issue in your life.

Value the blessing that you receive from having others in your life.

Monday, 1st February 2010

Isn’t it sad that for most of us we have to lose what is most precious in order to understand and appreciate the value of what we had? Death has a way of really highlighting what a person or relationship meant to us. As I have lost my friends to the grim reaper, I have come to appreciate that the people in my life aren’t always going to be there. The people that I count on and love are a blessing if they stay in my life for a few short days or for years or even decades.

I used to be the worst at events where people meet and grow close, knowing that you more than likely will never see those people again. It used to rip my heart to shreds. I wouldn’t want to get to know anyone because I didn’t want to feel the pain of loss. I still don’t like that pain and I still wish that I could build and maintain relationships with people with whom I have connected, but I have learned this truth: I am going to value the time I have with them whether it be for a few brief moments in a grocery store line or as lifelong friends. Having other people in my life is a blessing.

The people that you meet are there for a reason. To get the true richness out of life, cherish the moments and the memories that you have.

Consistent commitment is the leverage to thrust forward.

Monday, 25th January 2010

The difference between winners and losers often boils down to commitment. Are you going to do your work day in and day out, or not?

It comes in small choices. Do you eat that broccoli or the Twinkie?

It is a matter of decisions. The people that win aren’t always the ones that make the right choices one hundred percent of the time, but the trick is to make the right choices more times than the wrong ones. Day in and day out, eat those vegetables or get up early or do those sit-ups. Eventually, everything will add up, even if it doesn’t feel like it. If you do enough of the right, eventually something will burst and you will get the thrust that you have been working for.

Do the Happy Dance daily.

Monday, 18th January 2010

Do the Happy Dance

Ah, the happy dance. One of my favorite things to do. This is a silly dance where you wiggle around, twisting and turning in excitement. The only time you get to do the happy dance is when you are celebrating something. It is a form of celebration and recognition that you have accomplished something. It the accomplishment can be big or small.

I’ve done happy dances when I have gotten book contracts, scheduled TV appearances, and made some sales. I have also done a happy dance when I lost a pound, didn’t cuss even though I really wanted to, or when I actually had a balanced checkbook. I even did a happy dance after making a phone call that I didn’t want to place. It didn’t matter that I totally bombed on the phone call—a happy dance is earned because the job to make that phone call is off my list.

Every day there is something to celebrate. Look for it, recognize it, call attention to the accomplishment and happy dance away.

Clarity For the New Year

Monday, 11th January 2010

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Stepping It Up all begins by taking the first step on the path.

A lot of us are standing at the starting line of ambitions, dreams, and desires. We look at the line drawn before us and think about whether we want to cross it. We ask ourselves a whole host of questions, like:

  • Do I really want to do this?
  • How much work is this going to take?
  • Is this really a good idea?
  • What is my spouse going to think?
  • Maybe I should just forget about this—what was I thinking?

And on and on our mind chatter goes. We spin in confusion as we look at that starting line and stand there waiting. What are we waiting for? We are waiting for the right time. When are we going to know it is the right time? When taking the first step gets easier.

Does this happen in real life? Sometimes. Often not. Is it always good to step across the starting line on our ambitions and dreams? No. So how do we know when we are being wise and when we are allowing fear to hold us back? The answers are simple: ask yourself why you aren’t taking the next step.

Are the reasons because you are unsure that it is the right path? Or is it because of fear? Do you really want to do it and you just don’t think you’d be successful? How long have you been in hesitation mode? If it is forever, and you know deep down inside that you are meant to do something or just want to—cross the starting path now.

If you aren’t taking it because you have an uneasy feeling—listen. If, after listening, you figure out that this is the wrong starting line you came up to—leave. Find the right starting line and, chances are, crossing that line will be much easier.

Jellybean Secret #4: Turning Up the Heat on Luke-warm Desire

Monday, 28th December 2009

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Please tell me that I am not the only one guilty of this. I set out a goal, I visualize it, and I review it on a steady basis, and yet I still haven’t taken one action—not even one baby step—toward accomplishing my goal.

I realized last year that I had one of those goals. Day in and day out, I would look at it and do nothing about it.

Now, I am a little slow, but I finally had the ah-hah. That goal—in my case learning to speak French—wasn’t a strong motivater. I really didn’t want it. If I did, I would have done something about it during all those months. When I got very honest with myself and clear, I could care less if I spoke French. It was a passing whim that I wrote down just so I would have a goal in my personal development area. When I changed my goals in that area—in this case to specific tasks that I thought would be character developing lessons for my children and would enhance our relationships together—immediate action took place.

I had been stepping down the wrong path, and because of that, I wasn’t going anywhere and only adding resistance.

Look carefully at the jellybean that you put before yourself. Is it something you really want? Or is it something you wrote down because you feel that you “should,” either out of your own sense of guilt or what others put on you. If you have one of those on the list, do yourself a favor and eliminate it and replace that jellybean with one that will work with you and your life purpose better.

Step It Up Living is not hard work where you force yourself to do things that you believe are good for you. Our purpose is not to recreate flashbacks to when you sat at the dinner table with your parent standing over you insisting that you eat your vegetables or else everything good in your life is over. Those kinds of events only created resistance in your life, and if you set up going after your jellybean in that fashion, it is a sure fire way to set yourself up for some major backlash. The rebellious child within you will throw a fit and demand to eat the ice cream or popcorn and feel she or he deserves it and won’t listen to reason until the consumption has occurred.

Step It Up Living is a regal way of life where things flow in natural order and beauty. As you look forward to the direction where you want to head, it is not a list of “shoulds” and “oughts.” You are the queen or king of your life, and you get to lead out into the world of your wishing and creation. It’s your choice what type of motivation you put in place. It is your choice how you position your jellybean in your environment. It is your choice if you allow your own and other weak-knee excuses to limit the glory of your rein. And last but not least, it is your choice if you pick a jellybean that is truly inspiring and worth the price you’ll have to pay.

If your world is one filled with love, beauty, and reward, uprisings will not occur. The people in your kingdom will notice the flow, the beauty, and the grace of your life and become inspired by it. They will naturally want to be around you and listen to your goals and aspirations and will want to help you make your kingdom and your vision a reality. You will be hailed as a great and blessed ruler. This is possible for each of us to achieve.

Jellybean Secret #3: Ridding Yourself of Weak-kneed Excuses

Monday, 21st December 2009

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Another important principle of creating the right jellybean motivation is having a deadline. It was a do-or-die situation for my children. Either they got the basement cleaned in the time frame that I set out, or they wouldn’t get the jellybean. No weak-knee parenting from me. I have been around children long enough to know that if you go soft on them and coddle them, saying, “That was close enough,” and then give them the unearned jellybean anyway, you are shooting yourself in your foot. Those kids don’t rise up to their potential. They know they are going to be rescued. This holds them back and quite frankly makes for miserable out-of-control children, because not mastering our potential makes us grouchy. It’s a natural byproduct.
The same byproduct will happen for us if we give ourselves weak-kneed excuses for not accomplishing the tasks that are needed in order to get the jellybean. Think about the times when you gave yourself the excuse to stay in bed instead of dragging yourself out and hitting the gym. Did you feel great about yourself the rest of the day? Or did you do what I do when giving myself a pass and run through the excuses all day, rationalizing and trying to make myself feel better?
Having a timeline that you must meet is important on many levels. 1) It keeps you focused on the goal and helps you overcome many of the distractions. 2) Like what my children found when they didn’t have enough time to argue with me about the guidelines, they had to give up all the excuses or the doubts that the task set out before them was impossible, and get to work.
It has amazed me when I applied this same application to my life. If you set up where you must step it up to get the jellybean, take away all excuses, and make it so the task must be accomplished, miracles can happen. I have completed historical books that required a ton of research in less than a month. With one particular book, I worked nonstop and doubted I could complete it and doubted that it would be quality. But in that same month, I did have time to do several rewrites. And the critics praised that book as one of my best.
I didn’t complete this task alone. When I was asked to do it, I surrounded myself with my supporters and asked them if I should do it. They all wanted to see the book produced, and they were willing to give their assistance. My sister became my full-time researcher, and my husband helped locate documents and was the nanny and editing support. My children happily agreed to put off the housework to play with the neighbors.
I also included on my support team my health professionals, who kept my body in working order so I didn’t have to go down because my arm stopped working or any other of a hundred possibilities.
Now, I don’t choose to write books that fast any longer (exhausting!), but the principle is amazing. I was able to accomplish what I thought was impossible through using focus, support, and not having time for second questioning.
What have you been able to do that you thought was impossible? What principles did you use? How can you incorporate them into your next jellybean effort?

Jellybean Secret #2: Positioning Your Environment for Success

Monday, 14th December 2009

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Often times the answer to creating the right motivation is found in the environments within which we surround ourselves. We will be going more into this in a later chapter. For now, look how you are setting yourself up in your environments. If you are trying to lose weight, do you meet with your friends at a pizza house every weekend or go drinking at bars? How might this behavior not be supporting you?
If you are trying to lose weight and decide to go social dancing every weekend, how might this help you win? If you are motivated more by competition, how can you use that character attribute to support your attainment of the jellybean? Can you set up a competition with another person to see who can lose the most pounds? The popularity of weight loss challenges on various TV shows reveals that the public awareness and the competition can be extremely effective for some.
Others would prefer to motivate themselves more privately by thinking about the benefits of continuing to live with their loved ones, and how better health would improve their lives.
It doesn’t matter how you motivate yourself as long as two things are present, a) it is complimentary to your personality, and b) the method you use has sustainability.

Jellybean Secret #1: Proper Motivation

Monday, 7th December 2009

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Clearly the five or ten dollar bribe that the writer mother was using wasn’t the right item to motivate her children. When she dangled it in front of them, they ignored her and went on with their agenda. The mother was unsuccessful in getting their attention. When I used the jellybean as a reward, I knew, both from them asking for it and from years of experience with them, that this was what they wanted.
But rewards have more levels to it than that. I had spent years being the oldest of eight, surviving five brothers, and frequently being in charge. For survival purposes I had to learn quickly to motivate. When I put up a reward, I needed to speak the language of the person I am trying to motivate. For my four- and five-year-olds, the motivation was candy that they rarely got.
When you are trying to set up the proper motivation to get what you want, what needs to be in place? Do you know yourself well enough to set up an environment where you have the proper motivation to go through all the hoops and obstacles that are going to present themselves along the way? What can drive you through all the resistance, excuses, and pressure to quit? What do you want badly enough that all the work would be worth it?