How To Enjoy Life And Make A Greater Contribution In The Lives Of Others

Photo by John Catbagan

Photo by John Catbagan

The Starfish Story

This story has been around for some time. Perhaps you’ve heard it before? In any case, I believe this story sets up this post well.

Strolling along the edge of the sea, a man catches sight of a young woman who appears to be engaged in a ritual dance. She stoops down, then straightens to her full height, casting her arm out in an arc. Drawing closer, he sees that the beach around her is littered with starfish, and she is throwing them one by one into the sea. He lightly mocks her: “There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?” Smiling, she bends down and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying serenely, “It certainly makes a difference to this one.”

The Impact Of A Book

Have you ever read a book, seen a TV interview, or perhaps watched an online video that causes you to have one of those “AHA” moments? You know, when a light bulb goes off in your mind and you feel like a major shift in your thinking has taken place?

This happened for me about 7-8 months ago, when I watched a Youtube video of an orchestra conductor named Ben Zander and then read his book “The Art of Possibility.” You can read my book review on “The Art of Possibility” here.

In several chapters of his book, Ben discusses some of his challenges of being a conductor of a volunteer orchestra. As I continued to read through the book, I kept having these “Aha” moments of realization and learning.

For a large portion of his life, Ben Zander struggled with the drive to be to be successful as well as a fear of failure. He claims that this struggle caused both himself and those around him considerable suffering. The greater his success as an orchestra conductor, the worse this tension became in his life.

The tipping point for Ben came when his second wife walked away from their marriage. He began re-thinking how he was “doing life.”

He came away with the realization that he was living a life of selfishness. He was more inward focused on his own success. When being inward focused, he had more of an attitude that there was always another orchestra – aside from the one he was currently conducting – that he suspected would bring him more success, and so he was never fully present when he was on the conductor’s podium.

When he began playing the game of contribution, on the other hand, he found there was no better orchestra than the one I was conducting, no better person to be with than the one he was with; in fact, there was no “better.” In the game of contribution you wake up each day and bask in the notion that you can be a contribution to the lives of others.

A Shift Takes Place In My Thinking

This personally hit home with me about my own relationships within my family, as well as the volunteer orchestra I direct each week. I started asking myself questions about whether I was more interested in achieving success in my family or ministry, or am I truly more interested in living a life of contribution. This subtle but important shift in my mindset has (I believe) created a more enjoyable experience for those that I love and lead.

For example with the orchestra at church, in the past, I would get frustrated or upset with various problems such as excessive absenteeism for orchestra rehearsals on Wednesday nights as well as worship services on Sundays. My mindset before was too focused on having a successful orchestra and the roadblocks (in my mind) that my volunteer members were causing me to be a successful director.

Once I made this shift in my thinking, though, I started focusing on the orchestra members who decided to be present for a particular Wednesday rehearsal or Sunday worship service. I began realizing I could and should be a contribution in their lives spiritually, musically, and personally.

And you know what has happened? I’m enjoying my life and ministry a whole lot more by living a life focused on contribution rather than success versus failure. And, I hope those around me are enjoying life at a deeper level as well.

The Generous Life

Playing the game of contribution should really be of no surprise to those of us who are believers in Christ. The Bible has much to say about living a life of generosity versus selfishness.

In Proverbs 11:24-25 (MSG) we read these words:

The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.

Throw yourself into life as someone who makes a difference, accepting that you may not understand how or why. Just like our starfish story at the beginning, don’t get overwhelmed and give up because you can’t help everyone. Focus on being a contribution to the few that you can be.

Questions: Are you living a tension-filled life based on a drive for success and a fear of failure? Is your life enjoyable or full misery? Do you need to consider a shift in mindset from success versus failure over to contribution?






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3 Secrets To Successfully Talk To Yourself

Photo by marsmet543

Photo by marsmet543

You Are A Mental Chatterbox

When you woke up this morning, what were you thinking about? Were you thinking about what you needed to do to get yourself ready to go into work? Were you thinking about your kids’ school activities? Were you planning out your to-do list for work?

If so, then you were talking to yourself. We all do it, and we do it constantly.

We are regularly asking ourselves various questions inside our minds. Some of us are really good at this process. We ask quality questions and seek out positive solutions to those quality questions.

Many of us, though, are challenged in this area. We ask horrible questions and receive even worse answers to our questions.

Top performers and high achievers understand this important principle, and certainly you can too with a little help!

3 Secrets To Better Self-Talk

  1. Ask Better Questions. The foundation for asking better questions of yourself is staying positive. As soon as we turn negative, we start asking all the wrong questions in a negative manner and we shoot ourselves in the foot. We can also end up asking ourselves bad questions that don’t even really have an answer. These type of questions put us in a negativity loop instead of positive solutions. Let me give you an example. “Why is this happening to me?” I used to ask this question a lot during difficult days and circumstances. While asking this question may reveal a deep-rooted problem that needs to be addressed, most of the time this question is not very constructive. Outside negative circumstances will impact our lives occasionally, and there’s really not much we can do about it. In this moment, we can attempt to redirect our subconscious mind to start asking better questions such as, “What I can be thankful for in spite of these circumstances?” Or, “What can I learn through this difficulty?” Or, “How can I use this situation to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually?” There’s always a better question to be asked of ourselves.
  2. Seek Better Answers. Let’s go back to my “Why is this happening to me?” example. As I just mentioned, from time to time, we will be impacted by negative, undesired circumstances. There won’t be much we can do about external forces outside of our control. So, we need to flip this around and start asking better questions, such as the examples I gave above. Then, we allow these questions to lead us to better answers. “I can use this difficulty to grow in my faith with Christ,” “I can use these challenging circumstances to get emotionally healthy,” and so on.
  3. Continuously Monitor and Change. This step is where it gets difficult. Most of the time, we are blissfully unaware of these mental conversations we are having with ourselves. We are running on autopilot. We have default conversations that are not constructive. We need to be proactive in monitoring these conversations as well as reprogramming our default modes. Knowing that these conversations are taking place in our minds is half the battle. Once you realize you’re asking negative questions and receiving negative answers, then you can attempt to move your mental discussion to a more positive level.

Questions: Have you ever considered the impact your mental conversations have on your personal performance? What do you need to do to move your personal self-talk to a more positive, high performance level.

Using Life Challenges As A Springboard To Lead Super Better Lives

Photo by Sander van der Wel

Photo by Sander van der Wel

Post-Traumatic Events And Eventual Outcomes

I believe most of us are aware of the condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. This is the condition that many military men and women come home struggling with after being out on the battlefield. People who suffer from PTSD have gone through such difficult life events that it affects every aspect of their lives going forward. They can no longer function as well as they did before the event.

Did you also know that there is a polar opposite condition called Post-Traumatic Growth or PTG? Individuals who have experienced post-traumatic growth have not only gone through difficult circumstances, but they have seemingly come out on the other side of their trauma in better shape then they were prior to the difficulty in the first place.

People who experience PTG are more than just strong, tough, optimistic, or resilient. Post-traumatic growth goes way beyond an ability to resist and not be damaged by traumatic experiences. This type of growth moves these individuals beyond pre-trauma levels of adaptation.

Positive Characteristics Of The Growth Track

Those who have seemingly been able to bypass the psychological disorders that we often associate with trauma and move on to bigger and better things display the following characteristics [source: Wikipedia]:

  • an ability to grieve and accept the trauma
  • an ability to focus attention and resources on the most important matters
  • an ability to disengage from uncontrollable or unsolvable problems
  • a greater appreciation for life
  • a changed sense of priorities
  • warmer, more intimate relationships
  • a greater sense of personal strength
  • a recognition of new possibilities or paths for one’s life
  • spiritual development

So, How Can You Enter The Growth Track?

Now, I know what you’re saying to yourself: “Larry, how is this even possible? Don’t horrible events leave us scarred for the rest of our lives?”

Yes, you might think this is the case, but it is entirely possible to walk through difficult circumstances and come out better on the other side.

As a Christian, I believe this is entirely possible through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. Check out these verses on the subject of growth through difficulties:

  • Romans 5:3-5 ” … we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
  • James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
  • Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

For more information on post-traumatic growth, check out this TED talk given by Jane McGonigal, creator of the Super Better game:

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I can write passionately on this topic because I have personally experienced post-traumatic growth. God has taken me to new heights of growth and opportunity through some dramatic life circumstances.

Interested in learning more about my own experience with PTG? As a result of my life challenges, I stumbled into a 5-Step Action Plan as I worked my way through my brokeness in search of healing. These five steps helped me regain my life perspective. They renewed my faith of what could be possible with God’s help and a lot of hard work.

Over the last several years, I’ve seen many people go through some major life challenges. Some are able to “walk through the fire” and not be consumed. They come out okay, probably even better on the other side.

Others, though, seem to struggle through their difficulties. They can’t get any traction in their lives. They’re treading water and seem hopelessly stuck.

The great news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

So, how can one person emerge victorious from their problems, and another be stuck with little hope of moving forward? I believe my 5-Step Action Plan can give you the tools to move from defeat to victory.

This little e-book addresses the problems and the accompanying solutions. So, do you want to stay stuck where you are right now, or are you ready to move forward?

You can’t buy Moving From Broken To Superhuman in bookstores. In fact, you can’t buy it anywhere on the Internet. There’s only one way to get it—by subscribing to my FREE email newsletter.






We respect your email privacy

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All you need to do is fill in the form above or the one on the top right-side of this page. Once you do that and confirm your subscription, I will email you the download link to this amazing, FREE resource.

If you’re really struggling with major defeat in your life now, here’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow from my experience. What do you have to lose? A better question: what are you losing out on if you don’t get my FREE e-book?

Questions: Have you ever experienced post-traumatic growth in your own life? What was your experience like? To what do you attribute your growth?

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Wide World of Sports

I have many fond memories from when I was a kid growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. A specific memory that always stands out in my mind is watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Jim McKay.

In the opening TV show bumper, you may recall hearing this statement “ … the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” And, the video footage for “agony of defeat” was some guy having a horrendous wipe out on a massive snow ski jump.You can almost feel that guy’s pain. It was that bad!

The Thrill of Victory And The Agony of Defeat

Who doesn’t like to win? Being victorious is awesome! When you’re in the winner’s column, everything is going great and you’re receiving exactly what you desire, everything that you have trained and worked so hard for.

Defeat is truly that, though – agony! None of us like to lose. None of us like to be defeated in anything.

But, it’s in those times of defeat in which we learn and grow the most.

The only way we learn that we don’t have everything figured out properly is to lose. Losing forces us to re-evaluate our approach and the changes that need to be made.

My Personal Defeat

I understand defeat. Trust me, I really do. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my own personal defeat here: Moving From Broken To Superhuman: Your 5-Step Action Plan.

Now that I’m past that particular defeat in life and back in the “winner’s column,” I can truly say that I’m thankful for my defeat. God is faithful and guided my path to better places. I’m a better, stronger person as a result of the defeat. God grew me through the agony.

Amazing blessings can come through difficult times. I learned how to be a much better husband and a father as a result. I finally figured out how to manage stress and rest. I’ve been able to get in the best physical shape of my life. I’ve become a better writer. I’ve developed amazing relationships on my journey. I’ve read some great books that have shaped my mind and taken me to new and better places.

Each defeat you encounter in life, you really do have a choice. You can fight the defeat. You can be mad about it. You can allow it to make you a bitter, depressed, unhappy person.

Or, you can just “roll with it” and see where this defeat takes you. Chances are, you can learn some cool stuff. You can meet some amazing people along the way. You can become a better but different person on the journey.

Through my own personal defeat, I went from Broken To Superhuman. God shaped me into a better follower of Him. All praise be to God for His amazing grace.

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Interested in learning more about my own defeat and victory? The lessons I learned from personal defeat that lead to sweeping life changes that brought me back to victory, once again? I believe my 5-Step Action Plan can give you the tools to move through these life detours into a better place.

This little e-book addresses the problems and the accompanying solutions. So, do you want to stay angry and upset about your defeat, or are you ready to move forward onto to victory?

You can’t buy Moving From Broken To Superhuman in bookstores. In fact, you can’t buy it anywhere on the Internet. There’s only one way to get it—by subscribing to my FREE email newsletter.

GET YOUR FREE E-BOOK NOW






We respect your email privacy

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All you need to do is fill in the form above or the one on the top right-side of this page. Once you do that and confirm your subscription, I will email you the download link to this amazing, FREE resource.

If you’re really struggling with major defeat in your life right now, here’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow from my own experience. What do you have to lose? A better question: what are you losing out on if you don’t get my FREE e-book?

Question: If you have read my e-book, what did you think? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. Thanks!

The Power of Life Detours: How Unintended Paths Can Lead to Awesome Things

Photo by Don Harder

Photo by Don Harder

Detour Ahead

Does the “Detour Ahead” sign strike fear in your heart while you’re driving down the highway? Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of that sign, either. I’m always wondering if it’s a short detour or a long one? Is this going to make me big-time late to my destination?

Now that it’s early summer here in the Midwest, state transportation departments are already busy at work repairing highways after a brutal winter. I’m starting to see more detour signs as a result. Motorists are having to leave their intended path of travel, take detours off onto side roads, and then eventually get back to their original travel path.

These detours can be fear-inducing, annoying, frustrating, time-consuming, and unwelcome in already busy, stressed-out lives. “Ain’t nobody got time for that” (credit: Sweet Brown) is a popular saying in our current culture that comes to mind.

As with road construction detours, so too in life, we have detours that take us off our intended path. These detours could be the result of accidents, completely out of our control. These detours could be the result of poor choices in our own sowing and reaping. These detours could even be the result of the bad choices of other people. Stuff happens.

So, whether the life detour is our own fault or somebody else’s fault, the key to these detours is our reaction to them. Are we going to get hopping mad and carry resentment around for the rest of our lives? Are we going to over-react at first before we realize that the detour wasn’t quite as bad as we originally thought?

The best choice we have at a time of detour is to just go with it. Embrace the detour and see where it takes us in the end.

Just Go With It

I can just hear you saying, “Yeah, Larry, sure. That’s easy for you to say. You don’t know what’s going on in my life right now. I’m on a major, lengthy detour right now, and I’m way off my intended destination path. I have no idea if I’ll ever even end up back on the right course.”

I get it. Trust me, I really do. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about my own life detour here: Moving From Broken To Superhuman: Your 5-Step Action Plan.

Now that I’m past that particular detour and back on the highway, I can truly say that I’m thankful for the detour. God is faithful and guided my path to better places. I’m a better, stronger person as a result of the detour. Even my barber (always a trusted confidant and advisor) says I’ve recieved a “double blessing” on the other side. I definitely agree with his assessment!

Amazing blessings can come through difficult times. I learned how to be a much better husband and a father as a result. I finally figured out how to manage stress and rest. I’ve been able to get in the best physical shape of my life. I’ve become a better writer. I’ve developed amazing relationships on my journey. I’ve read some great books that have shaped my mind and taken me to new and better places.

Each detour you encounter in life, you really do have a choice. You can fight the detour. You can be mad about it. You can allow it to make you a bitter, depressed, unhappy person.

Or, you can just “roll with it” and see where the detour takes you. Chances are, you can learn some cool stuff. You can meet some amazing people along the way. You can become a better but different person on the journey.

On my own life detour I went from Broken To Superhuman. God shaped me into a better follower of Him. All praise be to God for His amazing grace.

Get My FREE Book

Interested in learning more about my own detour? I believe my 5-Step Action Plan can give you the tools to move through these life detours into a better place.

This little e-book addresses the problems and the accompanying solutions. So, do you want to stay angry and upset about your detour, or are you ready to move forward?

You can’t buy Moving From Broken To Superhuman in bookstores. In fact, you can’t buy it anywhere on the Internet. There’s only one way to get it—by subscribing to receive my blog posts via email.

GET YOUR FREE E-BOOK NOW






We respect your email privacy

Email Marketing by AWeber


All you need to do is fill in the form above or the one on the top right-side of this page. Once you do that and confirm your subscription, I will email you the download link to this amazing, FREE resource.

If you’re really struggling with major detours in your life right now, here’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow from my experience. What do you have to lose? A better question: what are you losing out on if you don’t get my FREE e-book?

Question: If you have read my e-book, what did you think? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. Thanks!

Moving From Broken To Superhuman: Your 5-Step Action Plan

Photo by Bindaas Madhavi

Photo by Bindaas Madhavi

My Life Fell Apart

In April of 2009, my life was blasted into a million pieces. I lost my identity as a husband, family man, Christian, and even as an ordained pastor.

I was handed a separation and divorce I simply did not want. I spent hours in prayer. People in my church prayed over me. I tried everything in my power over an 18-month time period to repair a marriage that was hopelessly over. No dice. I lost.

But, out of the ashes of destruction came a new work. New life was reborn out of the rubble of the past. Over time and with God’s help, I began Moving from Broken to Superhuman.

A 5-Step Action Plan

As a result of these incredible life challenges, I stumbled into a 5-Step Action Plan as I worked my way through my brokeness in search of healing. These five steps helped me regain my life perspective. They renewed my faith of what could be possible with God’s help and a lot of hard work.

Over the last several years, I’ve seen many people go through some major life challenges. Some are able to “walk through the fire” and not be consumed. They come out okay, maybe even better on the other side.

Others, though, seem to struggle through their difficulties. They can’t get any traction in their lives. They’re treading water and seem hopelessly stuck.

The great news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

So, how can one person emerge victorious from their problems, and another be stuck with little hope of moving forward? I believe my 5-Step Action Plan can give you the tools to move from defeat to victory.

This little ebook addresses the problems and the accompanying solutions. So, do you want to stay stuck where you are right now, or are you ready to move forward?

3D Book Cover

You can’t buy Moving From Broken To Superhuman in bookstores. In fact, you can’t buy it anywhere on the Internet. There’s only one way to get it—by subscribing to my FREE email newsletter.

GET YOUR FREE E-BOOK NOW






We respect your email privacy

Email Marketing by AWeber


All you need to do is fill in the form above or the one on the top right-side of this page. Once you do that and confirm your subscription, I will email you the download link to this amazing, FREE resource.

If you’re really struggling with difficulties in your life right now, here’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow from my tragic experience. What do you have to lose? A better question: what are you losing out on if you don’t get my FREE ebook?

Question: If you have read my e-book, what did you think? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. Thanks!

How To Turn Personal Defeat Into A Possible Resume Builder

Photo by vcorne00

Photo by vcorne00

Always Be Trying Stuff

I believe you should always be trying different things. Learn the fine art of plate spinning. If you have an interest in something personally or professionally, then I think you should go for it. Possibly, you have an interest in a personal development class. Perhaps, you would really like to audition for a local theater company. Maybe, you would like to write a book.

Unfortunately, we will not always be successful in every activity we engage ourselves. There will be some victories as well as many defeats. We will learn new distinctives about ourselves. That’s normal and extremely good for us. We may even be able to turn some of those “try’s and fails” into great resume builders.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

One “Failure” That Helped Me Land My Last Two Positions

While I was a graduate student down in Florida during the mid-1990s, I found out about a conducting audition for the United States Air Force Band program. I was a conductor. I had conducted elementary, middle school, high school, college, and even civic bands and orchestras. I had great conducting mentors during both my undergraduate and graduate days. I was eminently qualified to audition for this prestigious position. So, I went for it.

The first round of the audition consisted of creating a quality VHS video tape (remember those?) of me conducting various ensembles. I vaguely remember finding someone to help me with the video editing process, and together we put together the best product we could. Then, I shipped that off to the band department of the United States Air Force in Washington, D.C. A few weeks later, I received a letter informing me that I had made it into the finals round of the conducting auditions. Yes, I was one step closer to a professional life achievement. Awesome!

The finals round of the audition required me to fly out to St. Louis , Missouri, at my own expense, and audition for the band at Scott Air Force Base. The actual finals audition had three parts to it. First, stand in front of the band and conduct them through 3-4 pieces. Second, take a written test to demonstrate my musical knowledge. Third, take an extremely difficult ear-training exam, to see if I could hear melody lines, harmonies, and chord changes, and then write that all down as quickly as possible! If my memory serves me correctly, I think I had about 6-8 weeks to train and get ready for these 3 tests before flying out to St. Louis. It was a challenging and nerve-racking time in my life, to say the least.

So, I made it out to Scott Air Force Base for the auditions and didn’t do quite as well as I had hoped. I kind of choked on the podium in front of these incredible Air Force musicians. Plus, the written and ear-training tests were extremely difficult. Within a couple of hours, the entire process was over. I didn’t even make it to the next round. Bummer.

But, what I did have going for me, even after that whole ordeal of the audition, was the fact that I did make it to the finals round of the prestigious Air Force conducting program. I could highlight this fact on my resume. And, when it came time to interview for both orchestra director positions at my former church First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale, FL as well as my current position at First Baptist Raytown, MO, both of my bosses had mentioned to me that this part of my resume was definitely a reason they chose me over other candidates.

So, the lesson I learned from this experience is always be seeking ways to turn your failures into success stories, some way and some day. Don’t give up. Keep trying different things until something sticks. You can do it!

Questions: So how about you? Is your life marked with a few failures that, while discouraging, have perhaps moved you closer to personal or professional victories? Do you have a unique failure to victory story to share with the community?

Embracing The Discomforts Of Life To Live Your Best Life

wall-e-lounge chairsBut I Just Want To Be Comfortable

Have you ever seen the movie Wall-e? You may recall in the movie when Eva and Wall-e end up in the Space Luxuryliner, we discover all the humans on board have become lazy. They cruise around inside the spacecraft on these moving, floating lounge chair thingies with creature comforts like virtual video screens and drink holders.

While the second half of the movie is somewhat humorous with all these lazy humans zipping around in their floating lounge chairs, I believe there is an element of prophetic truth in this film. I can see this as a possible direction we’re heading as a society. Early evidence shows us that worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980.

Through modernization and technology, the world we live in is getting easier. And, as a result, no one wants to be uncomfortable. No one wants to put themselves out there. No one wants to commit to anything anymore. No one wants to really bust it and accomplish some amazing stuff.

The Discomforts Of Life Shape Us

How does a bodybuilder get definition and shape to their muscles? They lift really heavy weights, break down their muscle tissue and then take time to recover. The muscle will build up a little in recovery, and then they start the whole process again. Fitness freaks understand that the process of daily discomfort in the physical arena will lead to amazing results long-term.

And, it’s like this for any area in which we want to grow.

  • Spiritual: the discomfort of waking up early and being disciplined enough to spend time in the Word and in prayer in order to grow in our relationship with Christ.
  • Mental: the discomfort of being disciplined enough to grow intellectually through consistent reading, writing, and studying.
  • Social: the discomfort of carving out our personal free time to spend with family, friends, and business connections.

The only way we will “get into shape” in these areas of our lives is through experiencing the discomfort of the process. So, instead of avoiding the discomfort, we need to embrace it. We need to welcome any and all discomfort that comes into our lives, because this discomfort is our avenue of personal growth.

Are You In The Lounge Chair?

Where are you at today? Do you feel like you’ve been hanging out in the metaphorical floating lounge chair just a bit too much lately? Are you coasting by in life, avoiding pain and embracing pleasure?

Let me make a prediction here at the end of this post. The people who succeed today and into the future are those who are able to embrace the discomforts of life. The people who produce amazing results will be the ones who are disciplined enough to allow the daily discomforts of life to shape them.

Will you be one of these people?

Don’t allow the modern comforts and distractions of today’s society to make you fat, bloated, and lazy in the various areas of your life. Decide today to embrace your pain and rise above.

How To Handle Circumstances And People Who Put You In A Bad Mood

Photo by Fuschia Foot

Getting Grouchy

I have a job that is highly dependent on people and circumstances. And, my job isn’t highly dependent on just any old paid, additional employees, either. I have the wonderful responsibility of leading a group of approximately 35 extremely talented volunteers each week.

The majority of the time, working with volunteers is an incredible, life-changing, rewarding experience. At other times not so much. This usually happens when the circumstances and schedules of my volunteers collide with the organization’s work agenda, especially at the last minute. Then I am pushed to be more resourceful and creative then I really want to be.

I’d much rather be focused on other important aspects of my job than spending a bunch of time trying to find people to cover all the bases on a particular weekend. But, I’m also the type of guy that just pushes through, grumpy or not, and gets the job done.

The part of my job that can lead to becoming grumpy and grouchy is when I have a number of my head volunteers all needing to be out around the same time frame. And then, when some of these head volunteers decide to communicate with me at the last minute, my frustration level begins to rise.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in this very situation with two of my key volunteer leaders and last minute communication. I wasn’t happy with my own response when they told me at the last minute that they needed to be out. This lead to a re-thinking of my entire situation as I lead my group of volunteers. I even had to go back and apologize to these leaders for my initial dumb responses.

4 Thoughts On Handling People And Circumstances

  • Acknowledge That There Will Always Be A Few Challenges. When we deal with people and circumstances, especially in our current busy life culture, then we need to acknowledge that there will be continual challenges. This is the new normal (even though we may not like it. I certainly don’t!). We need to have constant, creative back-up plans always ready to go.
  • Acknowledge That Some People Are More Committed To The Cause Than Others. I know who the people are in my organization who are sold out to the mission. I also have a pretty good idea of those who are mostly in but still part way out, weighing all their options on a given weekend. I can’t hold a gun to the heads of all my volunteers and ask them for the same level of commitment. The best I can do is be an example of commitment to them and encourage a stronger commitment over time.
  • Plan A Positive But Honest Response To Last Minute Communication. Looking back at my two people failures last week, I have a much better idea now of how I should have handled their communication with me. I should have immediately affirmed their circumstances and decision that lead to their needing to be out. And, at the same time, I should have asked for more timely notification in the future.
  • Embrace The Circumstances As An Opportunity To Grow. While we may feel like we have “arrived” in our personal growth in dealing with people and circumstances, there’s always room for improvement. Whatever challenges you may be facing with people and circumstances, seek out new areas of growth.

How Do You Handle Challenging People And Circumstances?

So, do you have some of the same challenges with people and circumstances that I have? How do you handle your challenges? Do you have additional insights that I may have missed?

If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below.

The Art Of Living And Moving With Confidence

Photo by Michael Ignatieff

People Dig Confidence

People respect other people who are confident. In fact, let me go so far as to say that the greatest achievers on the planet are highly confident people. Life rewards the confident.

Now, I’m not saying that these same people never battle with fear. Every successful person has battled fear. The key with the successful, though, is that they know how to overcome that fear. They push past their fears and are able to move with confidence in the right direction to accomplish their mission.

Model Confidence

Think through some of the images of a person who models confidence. What do they look like? How do they stand? How do they move across the room? How do they sit at their desk?

Confidence definitely has a physical component. If I personally asked you to look and move as though you were living in fear, then I bet you could easily model that for me. My guess is that you would probably hang your head down, and your shoulders would be drooped. You would appear withdrawn.You might even get some nervous shakes. If I asked you to speak, then you probably would not speak very loudly. You might even have a quiver in your voice.

But, if we flipped it around and I asked you to model confidence, then I know you would be able to do that quite easily. You understand it. You’ve seen other people move confidently. You would stand tall and straight. Your shoulders would be back. You would stride across a room. You would speak loud and strong enough so that people could hear and understand you.

We all know how someone living in a fearful state looks and moves. And we also know what confidence looks like.

The interesting thing is we can move back and forth between these states by changing our physiology. We can put ourselves in a fearful state by modeling the attitude and actions above. And, we can model confidence by simply changing how we are standing, walking, and speaking.

The next time you find yourself in a fearful state, force yourself to change into the physiology of the confident. Watch what happens as you quickly move from fear to confidence. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Are You Living And Moving With Confidence?

Life rewards the confident. You may not like that statement, but it’s true. People like people who are secure in themselves. They respect those who are living in a continual state of self-assurance.

Have you ever evaluated how you move and talk? Have you ever taken a video of yourself in a public situation where you may battle fear (such as public speaking)? Have you ever sought out the evaluation of a trusted friend or co-worker about your confidence level?

Starting today, become more aware of your level of confidence. Work on taking it to the next level. Watch what happens as you gain more respect and eventual rewards as a result.