Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Not What It Seems

I did It... It was changed... It became new, saying goodbye to the old, stale It.

I've come to realize over the last few weeks that I can change It ~ if, and only if I make a conscious decision to do so. My It needs to stay private for now, but I will tell you I thought It was going to be with me forever, unable to become new and different. I didn't think I had any control over It, making me hostage to It's behavior (and the behavior it created inside of me, making me lash out at those I love).

Sound familiar? Does your It feel similar?

It has been slowly growing, becoming somewhat out of control... or so I thought. "Out of control" is an illusion, though, as I've recently learned. It could, and will be controlled, therefore saving a hugely important part of my life. It was making me ugly, and making me look ugly to specific people who are close to me. Up till now, I simply thought,

"It's how It's going to be, so live with It... or move on."

I no longer think this way about It. I understand It CAN be wrangled, but It must be a conscious decision every single day. It can be weight loss, depression, alcohol and drug abuse... whatever is handcuffing us.

I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, who hit rock-bottom, living on skid row for many years. He said it only took him a week and a half for his body to come off the drugs, but it was his mind that held him back ~ his conscious thoughts. His day-to-day battle, he says, is to consciously make the correct decisions. He emphasizes consciously!

A few years ago, I battled through depression. It rendered me useless, making me feel like a robot: Wake up, go to work, come home, communicate with my wife with zero emotion, and go to sleep. I felt totally out of control... until that one day. It was the day I said enough ~ CONSCIOUSLY said enough. This was the day I decided to take back control, beginning with my thoughts, my conscious thoughts! No one could make this decision for me, yet everyone continued to tell me everything was going to be o.k., don't worry.

"Shut-up already! Let me be sad!" I thought. "I'll sleep as long as I want... leave me the hell alone!"

People ask me how I got to the point where I could stop being depressed. "Stop being depressed..." Funny sounding, now that I look at it this way. My answer: I would ask myself questions about my state of mind. First, how this happened. Second, what was I going to do about it. The second question (after asking it a million times) made a light go on in my head. If I could consciously ask myself what I was going to do about it, then maybe I could consciously do something about it... just maybe. That was the start of my end... my end of depression. I consciously created a new mindset. Depression would not, and could not dictate my daily actions.

(I'm not qualified to give an opinion on the use of medication for diagnosed depression, and am by no means discounting it's effectiveness).

My It was as strong as any alcohol addiction, drug or weight problem, because It controlled my every day thoughts and actions. I said to myself that what I was doing was inexcusable, and needed to be stopped, but it continued... why? Why did It keep on, even after I told It to stop? Until now, I never consciously made a decision TO stop it... to create a new way, a better way. When I made that decision, It instantly changed ~ not totally gone yet, but becoming gone, disappearing slowly with every conscious thought.

What's your It... and what are you going to do about It?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let Me Ask...

When will it begin?
When will it end?
How did I get here?
Where will I go when I get there?

Do you ever wonder?
Do you feel like sometimes you don't know what to feel?
There are often times I see sooo much, yet know so little about what I see.
Ever been there?

Ever been to a place where you don't belong... but see someone you recognize, and ask how that happened?
He's not more "ready," is he?
Yes, he is... know why?
Because he said he is, and didn't ask any questions.

Have you ever wanted to ask, but didn't due to fear, nerves, confidence, or lack thereof?
Actually, why not?

Will there be a day, a moment, a frozen piece of time where we say, "yep... knew I was right!"
Can we expect to understand what we never will?

I don't know how... only when.
You see it, believe it, do it, but never achieve it.
That sounds wrong... let me look through different lenses.

There must be times in our lives where we say enough of this ~ I'm going to forget everything I was taught, and just simply figure things out on my own. Anyone have any advice?

Teach, teach... learn, learn. Then forget it all please.

I read. No I don't. I look, listen, and adjust.
Do you know how to do the above?
Ever try?

When will I begin continuing what I wanted to start, yet never had the courage... do to the lack of fear?

Is arrogance truly dangerous, or are we too sure of ourselves when we give this advice?
I choose to believe we think we know way too much, especially about the stuff we know nothing about.

I have dreams, but very often awake before the realization of their meaning.
I then walk that dream, attempting to figure out it's definition.
Can we believe without knowing what to believe.
Is that faith? Fate? Destiny?
Am I stuck in the shadows of what I've been told to believe?
Is there light where I only see dark?

Knowing ourselves: Important enough to continue searching until there isn't any searching to be done?
Will it ever be done?
Some say yes, others preach maybe... I believe it depends on us, our view of self, and what it is we're looking for.

Ask questions, any questions.
Make them obvious, create confusion... do both.
Just ask.

Answers only come after the question is asked.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You Say Tiger... I Don't!

I promised myself I wasn't going to write about this, adding to the gossip, mudslinging, and he said/she said garbage, BUT...

Since he's come out and admitted his "transgressions," and there are a ton of facts behind the initial accusations, I feel there are one or two (or 20) lessons to be learned here. Which lesson is most important to write about?

1) The simple topic of his cheating, and all the associated affects.

2) His not "owning up" to anything. Admitting his transgressions is fine, but does he have an obligation to publicly speak to his sponsors, fans, and friends? Is it o.k. to hide in his house and wait for things to blow over?

3) At least three major sponsorships that have let him go, resulting in millions and millions of dollars lost this week alone.

4) His "indefinite break" from professional golf, and what that means to t.v. ratings, money, and his fans.

5) The link he has to a Canadian Dr. who is under investigation for giving Human Growth Hormones to other athletes, as well as using them himself... allegedly.

These are all valid topics, but I choose to talk about...

6) Us, as a society, putting these athletes on pedestals, thinking they're God-like, incapable of making mistakes. Sure, everything that Tigger has done is immoral, arrogant, etc., but he IS human... an unhappy human! Trust me when I say that I've been the biggest Tigger-basher imaginable, but have realized it's because I thought of him as more than human. I bought into his image as the "perfect specimen," both on and off the golf course. I felt deceived, as if he lied to my face. He never said he was perfect ~ I was the one who jumped to that impossible conclusion.

Maybe I felt as if he let me down, personally, because I used him as an example for my students more times than I can count. "Look how Tigger does it. You want to be like him." I still stand by those words... but only ON THE COURSE! I allowed his brilliance to bleed into my personal beliefs of the man, which influenced my teaching and students' potential view of all things related to him. This isn't Tigger's fault. I'm the only one to blame. I allowed him to climb the ladder of societal perfection, and worse... taught about it.

As former NBA great, Charles Barkley said: "I'm not a role model, and don't want to be. The parents are our children's only role models."

I used to think Barkley was crazy for saying this, but now completely agree with him. I think Tigger can be a golf model, but never a role model. Admire his amazing skill in between the ropes, but stop right there. Let's not make him more than he is... human, who happened to make some horrendous mistakes, and who'll be paying (literally and figuratively) for a very long time.

Feel sorry for him ~ not for his recent actions, but because he's an incredibly unhappy man, searching for peace in all the wrong places. I don't apologize for him, and never will, but...

Without compassion, what do we have?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ah-ha... I Get It!

I've been thinking a lot about this topic lately, and wanted to hear what you all had to say.

Such a huge part of life is about those times when the pieces just seem to fit one day ~ where you say, "Ah-ha! I get it now. That's what my mom meant... that's what my teacher was talking about." These ah-ha moments have the potential to define our future, or at the very least, help us see the potential in our future.

As I tried to define my biggest ah-ha moments, four immediately came to mind, all of which had to be mentioned.

1) Watching my girlfriend's airplane take off and fly over my head for a vacation far away from me. It was at that specific moment, I decided I was going to ask her to marry me. As she flew away, I knew I needed to be with her for the rest of my life!

2) Realizing during the first week of Logan's birth, that life was no longer only about me. It's meaning was so much deeper now. Looking in the mirror would be a completely different experience from here-on-out.

3) Understanding that creating a peaceful and quiet inner-self needed to be a top priority. I remember the light bulb turning on for the first time when I was 17 yrs. old, after switching tennis coaches. He made it o.k. to be quiet while competing, rather than a testosterone filled punk, looking for a fight around every corner. As I matured, I learned how this way of living could be translated into the real world. I battle with this "quiet self" every single day, but my goal is to simply improve one moment at a time.

4) The fourth ah-ha moment was discovered with the help of my wife (she said yes after returning from vacation ~ she couldn't possibly resist). She put me to the ultimate test, challenging me to commit to 5 things I wanted for us in the future. Sounded simple, yet 1 1/2 hours later, I still had nothing (except for the pen and blank napkin that stared at me, seemingly with a grin). This was different from the other moments, as Nothing was the true lesson... yep, old Mr. Nothing taught me that fear of failure was the real reason I sat, staring at this blank brown napkin. Nothing taught me to stop being afraid of wanting bigger and better ~ I needed to relish the challenge and risk potential failure. Nothing made it clear that failure only came when I didn't try, or quit while trying!

I'd love to hear about your "ah-ha moment(s)," and the impact they had on your life. How did it affect your friends and family, as you looked at life through different lenses?

Looking forward to reading about them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Words Talk. Actions Speak!

If you say it, do it! If you promise, give it! If you schedule it, be there!

Stop talking about it, or making excuses for why it's not happening, or even worse... promising someone it'll get done, yet never getting around to it. "Sorry I was too busy." Enough of this garbage.

Man-up! Woman-up!

Be a person of your word, as this is all you really have after all. The commitments you make to others are the foundation of who you become... make them your bond to society. Make them lessons you will teach your kids and grandkids. Lead by example~ an example that SHOWS (not says) you understand the meaning of respect.

Look in the mirror. Are you a victim of this inaction? If so, put your foot down... draw a line in the sand and say enough! Stop settling for less than you deserve. Are you the person who constantly talks, promises, but never delivers? If yes, then stop. Stop today! Respect their time ~ it IS valuable. Respect yourself, and your personal value to others. Respect the importance of respect, and it's affects on all of us. Without it, what do we have?

If this sounds somewhat hostile, maybe it is. Maybe I've been shown a lot of disrespect lately... maybe I've been demonstrating a lack of respect, it doesn't matter. What truly does matter is that you get upset... upset at those doing it, and upset at yourself if you've allowed it to manifest through your actions.

Errr... I mean the lack thereof.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm So Jealous Of My Logan!

Watching my little Logan, 10 months old, furniture walk around the house this morning made me envious of her careless attitude. She thinks that nothing will hurt her, she can do anything, and nothing is impossible.

No one has preached to her, "no... that's probably too difficult. Look for something safer ~ less

She's the definition of Fearless, plain and simple! She can do anything she wants... and why not, really? She doesn't understand that she doesn't know how to walk without the help of the couch or chairs, even when she keeps falling on her butt. She only thinks that NOW WILL BE THE TIME! She will walk this time without the help from any stupid side table. If not this time, she knows with 100% certainty that the next time will be her defining moment as a 10 month old.

Don't you wish you woke up every morning with this attitude about your day? I do. I wish it was natural and instinctive to open my eyes and only be able to focus on my "defining moment," rather than the what-ifs or the could-have's. When does this fearless innocence fade away... and why does it have to? We just assume that it has to, because it always seems to. What if we were raised differently, and taught to think as if "we can walk without holding on to that couch?" How different would our current lives be? How unique would our outcomes have become?

Logan hobbles around the living room, as if to say...

"I don't care, daddy ~ it doesn't matter what happens after this next step, because I believe it'll be the one. This will be the moment where you and mommy take out the video, film me walking all by myself, and then Youtube or email it to everyone. Ready? Here I go... ouch, that hurt. Pick me up... I want to do it again!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Look Inside

I was recently reminded of how important it is for us to look for solutions from the inside-out. After a sub-par round of golf, my friend and I were talking about ways to improve his game. His instincts were telling him to improve the mechanics of his shot, where in actuality, maybe his mechanics were off because of the way he was thinking and feeling. Many of us believe that if we fix the "outside" (mechanics and techniques), the result will immediately change. That may be true short term, but if we want to sustain that success throughout the long term, I believe the change must begin at our core. What could he have done better, emotionally? Were his thoughts too "conscious," rather than visual? These are a couple of questions I hope he asks, because his game is definitely good enough, physically, to jump to another level.

I recently lost a client, and immediately started to analyze what I did wrong, technically. My "answers" weren't good enough or my solutions didn't help him with his challenge, I thought. After more analyzing, I realized that the problem stemmed from the way I was approaching him, emotionally. In other words, I wasn't connecting with his way of thinking and how he approaches challenges. Instead, I was helping him solve his "puzzle" in the way I WOULD. Looking at this situation from the inside-out helped me recognize the real reason he left, and gave me answers, guaranteeing I wouldn't repeat that mistake.

As this relates to the business world, let's ask ourselves how we can better connect with our clients and their needs, emotionally. Too often, we fall back on selling them "deals," rather than US, and what we truly offer. Everyone is an emotional creature, and whether they realize it or not, respond to that type of stimuli. What are we doing well, and how can we make it even better for them? How can we make them feel more appreciated, and feel as if we're the best option for their specific needs?

Another example to illustrate my point, that many of us can relate to...

If we're trying to get into better shape, let's focus on why we want to become healthier, rather than only focusing on the day-to-day workouts, or the food we must eat. Yes, food and exercise are extremely important, but concentrating and visualizing on why, and what we ultimately want from our "new bodies" will sustain our long term results. Of course there will be days where we don't want to get to the gym (short term), but if we can remember to look ahead, and focus on the result that this hard work will give us (long term), we'll be more inclined to battle when "we don't feel like it."

Very often, the answer is right there, inside of us... waiting to be seen.

Take time to look.