Posts Tagged ‘personal development’

It was February of 2011 and I had just finished up an amazing visit to the city of Chicago with a few friends and a few new ones.  A blizzard had gone through Minneapolis/Saint Paul, and an airport closure that had cancelled thousands of flights back into MSP meant that it was going to be a busy day at the airport at Midway Airport in Chicago.  I didn’t have to be back at the office until 11 am that next day, so I called Delta Airlines and offered to give up my flight on the early 7 am flight in case my seat was needed by anyone needing it and took instead a seat on the later 9:30 flight.

Now that I had a couple of extra hours in the morning, I decided to go out with a bang in Chicago.  Found a bar called Halligan – an old Irish bar and Firefighter hangout – which had great specials and a lively atmosphere.  I met more awesome fun people and enjoyed my last night in the city.

Even with the later flight…you can imagine after a good night out I still managed to be running late for my flight.  Good thing I was already packed….j quickly showered, grabbed my bag and made my way towards the train to the airport.  As I reached the Delta ticket counter at Midway, the ticket agent informed me that I was supposed to be on the 7 am flight….my change request was never processed and because of the cancellations the day before, there were no other seat openings for the rest of the day.  The old me would have been fuming….but the new me just laughed it off.  I’d find a way to win.

I didn’t panic…in fact, my first thought was that I was absolutely starving and saw my misfortune as a chance to get breakfast, haha!  I got back on the train and headed back towards Downtown Chicago, found myself a Starbucks and planted myself there to plan my strategy.  I called my personal assistant to put them on alert for any openings on Delta that may arise, while I navigated my options on the ground.

My first thought was to find a rental car and just drive back to Minneapolis.  After combing through my travel site, it appeared that because of all the travelers whose flights were cancelled, there were absolutely no cars left in the entire city of Chicago.  Wow.  How else can one get out of Chicago?  I then remembered….MegaBus.

With a smartphone equipped with Google as my only ammo…I searched for MegaBus and found their central location.  I hopped back on the train.  Along the way, I struck up a conversation with a few of the passengers about sports, the city…had such a great time that we exchanged contact information and we still keep in touch to this day.  I arrived at my stop and found myself somewhere on the Southwest side of Chicago.  I quickly realized, only to be confirmed by the lady at the desk, that I wasn’t at the ticket office or the place that the bus actually picks up travelers….I was at the bus garage.  There were about a half dozen drivers who were either on the lunch break or about to start their day sitting at a table playing dominoes and watching Sanford & Son.  I needed to go BACK downtown to the stop.  One of the drivers overheard my dilemma and offered to take me downtown an hour later, he was heading that way anyway.

The next 60 minutes was just a cool experience filled with great conversation and just taking in the comradarie of these bus drivers.  The nicknames, the jokes, the competitiveness of the game, the shop talk…I was completely immersed and in awe of the friendship and the family they created for themselves.  It was just one of those times that you realize that people often spend more time with the people they work with than their own families….your work family is a family too.

I arrive downtown at the stop on Canal Street to a crowd of people awaiting their bus out of town.  I instantly spot a gentleman collecting tickets, ask him where I BUY a ticket, and he tells me that I have to call or go online.  I call the 800 number, thinking I’m 20 minutes away from finally getting on my way back home….only for the ticket agent on the other end to tell me that there are no openings on the bus for TWO MORE DAYS.  Again….there was nothing I could do but laugh it off.

Next move, I call my personal assistant to see if there is any progress on either any seats on flights or any rental cars.  Zero zilch nada.  I decided to just head back to the airport and actually talk to an agent at any of the rental car companies and see if there happens to be ANYTHING available.  I get back to Midway and go to the Hertz counter….and was told that there is a minivan available, but I’d have to go to the location in Chinatown to get it.  Ugh. 

Another train ride!  At this point I’m absolutely just loving the adventure.  I hop BACK on the train eagerly hoping the train moves faster so I can get to the rental car before anyone else puts a claim on it.  I was more excited than a kid on a road trip asking “Are we there yet?” repeatedly.

The train got about 4 stops away when I get a phone call.

“Rich, where are you?” my personal assistant asked.

“I’m on the train heading to Hertz to get a rental car.” 

“I found an opening on the 4:25 flight out of Chicago back to Minneapolis.  I can hold it for you, but you need to get back to the airport NOW to claim it!”

I always think of this story when I find myself in a situation where I’m met with an initial disappointment.  Sometimes it’s just NOT EASY.  Obstacles will be put in your way sometimes, but you have to FIND A WAY TO WIN.  Sometimes, these obstacles are put in your way as a test…a test to see if you want it bad enough.  In my experience, if you have faith that you will get it, if you are determined to get it, and commit to action….the universe will conspire to make it happen for you.  It’s not guaranteed, but one thing that is guaranteed is that you’ll never get what you want with a crap attitude and quitting at the first sign of resistance.  My (extra) day in Chicago could’ve been viewed and perceived as one big headache….but it was a great learning lesson that gave me the opportunity to grow and meet MORE people along the way.

Determine what you want.  Free yourself of distractions.  Be open and aware of your surroundings.  Be prepared to sacrifice.  Have faith in yourself and your abilities to navigate the course..

IMG_7618.JPG4 years ago I made the decision that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired being a Negative Nancy and being down in the dumps constantly. 6 months of a deep depression where I had lost almost 70 pounds due to stress and anxiety, unable to complete sentences because my mind would not allow me to choose the right words in fear of saying something wrong, weeks upon weeks of insomnia in which even if I was able to fall asleep, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with sweat-soaked pillows….a point in my life I wouldn’t wish upon ANYBODY, but I know people who are in my life currently are at.

What I realized that day was that I had not only the ability to choose thoughts that empowered me, but the responsibility to do so….not only for myself, but for people in my life that DEPENDED on me. In a world that pumps us full of negative information from the TV, the Internet, the radio, the check-out lane gossip magazines to the people in our lives that thrive on neighborhood gossip…I CHOSE to inoculate myself with the teachings of Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar….and I still have the bookmark folder on my internet browser I titled “cognitive development” to prove and remind me of it. I chose not to live being dependent on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety pills for the rest of my life….and instead chose to take full responsibility for my life and the happenings in it and chose to be bigger than my problems by RE-WIRING and RE-TRAINING my brain. Personal development is the exercise your brain needs…just like those squats you do for your butt. No personal development and your brain atrophies.

Worry is a useless emotion…once you understand just what it is. If you’re going to THINK about a future event, you might as well think positively about it and fill that time reading or listening to things that empower you…not by listening to the voice in your head that continues to scare you.

My Christmas wish is for everyone who is currently suffering from depression to take steps to start to re-train their brain. Your past does not equal the future….and nobody’s opinion of you equals your reality. Each and every one of us has the ability to make today the first day of the rest of our life….and make it the BEST of our life.

God bless.

depressedAt times, we may get into a state where we just feel stuck. A state where no matter how positive our outlook is, the blows keep on coming. It can get exhausting. The truth is, none of us are immune from problems. Life happens to everyone, it’s how we react to life that will determine the quality of it. Easier said than done, I know. Car break down at the most inopportune time? You’re working overtime busting your butt trying to pay the bills but they don’t seem like they’re going anywhere, possibly even getting worse? It’s easy to want to feel like no matter what you do, it’s not worth it.

This post is not to cram some positive thinking hodge podge down your throat. I’m not going to do that because I know that no matter what I say to you about telling you to do something or to think something, it’s not going to work. I will however challenge you to think differently. I will challenge you to think about the process, the process moving from a current struggle in your life THROUGH it to where you want to be. It’s to get you UN-STUCK.

So why do some people achieve success and why do others seem to get stuck? Why do some people quit trying to achieve a goal while others achieve them so easily? Why do people quit in the face of adversity? The number one reason why people quit doing the things they want is simply because they fear being uncomfortable. They don’t understand that there is going to be some sweat equity involved. They don’t understand that in order to have something you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done. Most people are simply afraid to step out of their comfort zone. Also, successful people (I’m referring to successful people as those that have achieved what they’ve set out to) have adopted a framework, a process that makes the goal real and achievable.

Loving-Couple-Photography-19The first thing you can do is to create a compelling future for the thing that you want to do. This is simply a reason, a feeling that is generated by the action that you want to create. This should be a statement that actually draws you TOWARDS the goal, not keeps you where you’re at. If you want to lose weight you shouldn’t say, “I want to lose weight because I’m fat.” Can you feel how big of a drag that is? There’s no compelling future there, only a compelling thought that you want to go plant your ass back on the couch! Instead, ask yourself how would it feel for you to lose weight? What would it look like to you? How would your spouse feel about you losing weight? How would you feel about the way your spouse feels about you losing weight? Would you feel happy? Would you feel more energetic? Would you be more hopeful? See how this creates positive emotion inside you and how it generates excitement for you to act? A lot different than the opposite, right?

Secondly, MATCH AND MODEL. Find the tools that will get you to where you want to go. Seek advice from people who have done what you want to do. If you want to lose weight, obviously you’d want to get a gym membership and maybe even enlist the help of a personal trainer…at the very least, learn different exercises and how the machines work, talk to a nutritionist and learn about what to eat and what to stay away from. Find people who have done what you want to do and do what they’ve done. Now, if the personal trainer and the nutritionist are overweight and out of shape, should you listen to them? Probably not!!! If you want advice about how to have a healthy relationship, should you take advice from people who have had multiple divorces? Probably not! Find someone that has what you want. Find out WHAT they did to achieve those results. Do EXACTLY what they did to get those results, and guess what. You’ll achieve the very same results. This example may be a little outdated since most refrigerators these days come standard with ice-makers, but we all remember filling up ice cube trays and throwing them in the freezer, right? Think about how UNCONSCIOUS we were at doing that. Did we ever stop and think one time, “I dunno…maybe this time it may not work…” NO! Of course not! A long time ago, someone discovered that if you have temperatures that are less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you can create ice cubes by putting water in this little plastic contraption with little dividers in it that look like squares!

There is one more aspect, and that is the freedom of, or acting despite inner conflict. If you have a compelling future, if you have the tools and have found who to match and model, but you don’t believe you deserve the success you may achieve, do you think you’ll be motivated to achieve it? If you have a compelling future and have the tools and found someone to match and model, but you still don’t believe you can achieve it, do you think you will? Probably not. It is ESSENTIAL for one to be free of personal conflict. You must believe you deserve and you must believe that you can. OR, find a mentor, a close friend that will push you so that you can borrow THEIR belief in you until you develop it yourself. This is acting despite inner conflict. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” Back to the compelling future! Is your goal more important that the pain you may experience or the fear that you’re experiencing now? It should be. There may be other inner conflicts one may experience as well. This could be resentment of others, regret for past actions/choices, guilt for previous actions/choices, among others. I’ll agree with you…just those three last conflicts I listed are tough to overcome. They require deep soul-searching. The good news is that you can DECIDE to live your life differently starting TODAY that you have up until now. YOUR PAST DOES NOT DICTATE YOUR FUTURE.

I’m a Christian. I’m not here to push my beliefs on you, but it’s where I draw a considerable amount of my strength from. My beliefs are my beliefs. I believe that we were created in God’s image. I believe that we were created with greatness and we all have God-given abilities to do anything we want to do. Its just up to us to learn where to find them and how to use them. I also believe that God wants us to live in abundance. Not just in terms of abundance of money, but abundance of health, abundance of love, abundance of friendships, abundance of DREAMS! I believe that God put dreams in our heart not to torment us, but so that we pursue them! Our dreams are most often our purpose! A lot of people will say that what they have currently in their life is good enough. It could be a great marriage, healthy children, a secure job…that’s all fine. That’s okay. But appreciation for what you have is different than a dream that is untapped. Remember when you were a child, an adolescent. We all spoke with conviction about how we thought our lives would look like later in life. We were CERTAIN. Remember it. What did you tell your parents your life would look like? What did you tell your friends you would be doing? Is that the way life is looking for you currently? Most often with most people it isn’t. This creates an inner conflict. Achievement of our dreams is where one finds personal fulfillment. Pursuing your dream gives others permission to achieve theirs! One of the greatest speakers of our time Mr. Les Brown once said, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” You’ll be amazed at the results you can achieve when you act with faith, belief, and conviction of your dreams.

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right. Which one are you?” – Henry Ford

If you are currently seeking answers, if you are currently looking for a way for you to get “un-stuck” via a proven system for success, please read my story about how I turned my Mess Into A Message.

In a follow up to my last post, I stumbled upon one of my favorite discussions of Les Brown. I had first seen this over a year ago.

We all may not know what we want to do in life, what our goals are, what are dreams are….but we all know when we get that icky feeling deep down inside when we’re doing something that we KNOW isn’t what we want to do. In this video, Les talks about how we need to stop playing it safe. He says, “If you go through life being casual, you’ll end up a casuality.” You see, my passion in life has sprung out of the lowest low of my life. I know first hand what work-related stress can do to someone physically and mentally. Stress is the number one cause for heart disease, which in fact, is the number one cause of death amongst Americans today. Life is too short to creep through life…find your passion and pursue it wholeheartedly. It can actually EXTEND your life.

“The majority of people suffer their first major heart attack on Monday morning, between 8 am and 9 am, people getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like. Jobs that are making them sick. You see, when you’re not pursuing your goal, you are literally comitting spiritual suicide. When you have some goal out here that you’re stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities that you didn’t know you had!” -Les Brown

What are your limiting beliefs about your personality? Ever wished you had more friends or were able to be more outgoing but instead chalked it up as ok because you’re “anti-social” and that’s ok because that’s “just how you are”?

We all have the ability to be excellent. Excellent obviously comes from the word excel, which means to rise above, to be superior, to do extremely well. What are we saying to ourselves when we say it’s ok to be average? Not just ourselves but in particular aspects of our lives? I think way to often we are taught from our parents and role models that it’s ok to be “who we are”. I think it’s a tragedy. It is engrained in our heads from the moment we are born that if we are lacking in a certain aspect of our personalities, that it is OKAY. We are taught that there is nothing we can do to change or improve that area, it’s just how we were made. Sooner or later in life when that aspect of our life that is lacking faces a challenge, if we can’t properly work through it because we’ve always been taught to accept our shortcomings as a biological truth, personal disaster will strike.

We all need to be taught that we all have the power within ourselves to improve. Today can be just another day of a continuous whirlwind of shit, constantly accepting that any bad things will happen because they are destined to happen to me because that’s just how it is, or it can be day 1 of the beginning of excellence.

What are some things about yourself that you have always wanted to change but have always just said “that’s just how I am”?

What are you passions? Go for them!

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We live in a world where we have big dreams of what we want to be growing up.

We live in a world where way too often people have no problem telling us that our dreams are crazy.

We live in a world where being a “dreamer” has negative connotations. That being a “dreamer” means to not be living in reality.

Because society has made up the rules of how life should be lived, too often our dreams go by the wayside.

For me, that meant giving up everything I wanted to do in life to try to fit in to what society said was appropriate.

I’m not against the idea of hard work, but giving all of your heart, time, and passion 50-70 hours a week doesn’t leave a lot of time to chase a dream.

We all fall into the trap.

When you know that what you’re doing isn’t going to produce the results that you want, when you know what you’re doing isn’t your passion, you can feel it. It tugs at your heart strings. You get that knot in your stomach. That feeling of emptiness. The beginnings of hatred against your job.

At the end, it meant losing my mind.

It meant walking away from a career that “others” told me was the best thing that ever happened to me.

It meant not the end, it meant the beginning. The beginning of the rest of my life.

It meant having my moment with God. It meant letting go of all of the anger, regret, and resentment….all of the jealousy, what if’s, and should have’s.

It meant receiving a chance.

It meant asking myself, “What’s next?”

I remember sitting there on my mother’s couch like it was yesterday. This was the same couch that I had made into my bed for the previous 60 days up until then. The same couch that I had done nothing but sit and stare aimlessly into the television while I smoked two packs a day. Up until that point, I thought it was too late for me to live my dreams. I thought life had passed me by. I BELIEVED there was nothing left for me.

I remember sitting at the Thanksgiving Day table. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. A day to see family, have great food, watch football. Normally, it would be me screaming, “Hey…pass the turkey!” but on this day, it was me whispering, “Um, can you please pass the potatoes?”
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I remember sitting there thinking to myself “What the hell am I doing? Why am I beating myself up so bad?”

You see I have learned in one main thing over the last couple of years. To not listen to the opinions of others especially if they do not have to live to the results. I’m not a master at this statement by any stretch of the imagination, YET, anyway. But at that moment I realized that I had spent so much of my life listening to what other people thought was best for me. Giving up so much of what I wanted to do in life because people thought what I was doing was stupid, or crazy, or impossible. At that moment, it was engrained in me that it was time for me to stop living my life like that.

And the first thing I did? I went into the kitchen, YouTubed the most popular song on the radio at the time, and started singing along. It was Cee-lo’s “F#$k You.”

Man did it feel great. Singing had always been a passion of mine and it still is. I remember as a child making up melodies and words to those melodies and singing them on the front porch for all to hear. Ha…it makes me laugh out loud just writing about it. I hear this all too often from people who overcome depression – remembering a passion from their childhood and doing it.

I grew up taking keyboarding lessons. Gave that up in sixth grade. On two occasions since then, I bought keyboards that just sat in the house like a treadmill gathers clothes and eventually got thrown out because there wasn’t time in the day to play it.

After I had my singing marathon, I started reconnecting. Reconnecting with all of the people that life had gotten in the way of. Everyone has these people in their life. The people where we run into that we hadn’t seen in years and always promise to each other that we’ll make plans to meet up but it never happens. It felt good to be alive.

Then I began writing down what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. My first passion – singing – I thought it would be a great idea since I love singing karaoke, to start my own entertainment company. Then, I heard something that changed my life. “Turn your mess into your message.”

I realized that I wasn’t the only one in the history of the world that has suffered from anxiety and depression. If I could overcome it, so could others and I wanted more than anything in the world…to help. If I could share my experiences, my thought processes during and after, maybe…just maybe….it may help one person. If I did that, then I’ve done my job. It also meant me being a better person, better than I ever was.

I began sharing my story with people I hadn’t seen in years. People began sharing their stories back to me. I was connecting with friends in a way that I hadn’t ever in my life. People were thanking me for giving them hope.

There also were a lot of people who weren’t used to this person, the person I turned into. People were still used to the person they knew. When sharing my story with others, people would say that it sounded like I was throwing a pity party for myself. People would say that Rich is changing, and they would say it in a way that wasn’t positive.

I held an event Cinco de Mayo 2011 in an effort to raise money for my high school and for the local community center. It was going to be a tall task to get it organized and for it to be successful, but I was up for it. Even if it didn’t produce the results I hoped, at least I knew that I would give it my all. In sales I learned “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” The same applies for trying new things. You can’t get anything done if you don’t try first.

The event from the outside looking in was a disaster. Out of a necessary 1800 needed, about 150 people showed up. We didn’t raise nearly the amount of money we needed to. But in my eyes, it was an overwhelming success. See, most people looked at what I was trying to do and told me that it was a stupid idea, it would never work, and I heard some very negative things from people I thought were my good friends about how it was stupid for me to try something like that. In fact, while the event was happening, I could see right across the street a bunch of my friends that had gathered. They probably saw from afar that the event wasn’t going to be a success, but instead of standing in support with me on my side of the street, they laughed from across it.

Do you think that a married couple would stop a ceremony because they saw that one person didn’t show up that said that they were going to be there? Then why should you stop your dreams and your aspirations if ONE PERSON in your life says that what you want to do is stupid??? DO IT!

These people are called DreamStealers. Some are more direct and harsh, which should be the type you desire because at least you can see them coming. These are the ones that will tell you directly to your face what you’re doing is stupid. But then there are the ones that sneak up on you. The ones that you think that they have your back but they smile to your face and talk about you behind your back. OR, they can be people who genuinely care about you and want to look out for you, and because they fully don’t understand what you’re doing, they try to persuade you to stop doing what you’re doing.

All that matters is your dream. Keep going after it. What I really want to say is that there will be times where you get one of these DreamStealers who sneak up on you…and it sucks. That pit comes back to your stomach. Where you get that feeling of emptiness. You need to be strong. To be resolute that your dream is YOURS. It’s what you’re living for. It’s always been a passion in your life. Sure, you let it go for a short time, but now that you got it back you aren’t ever letting go.

Paying bills is fun, right?

Growing up on Saint Paul, MN’s West Side, having went to a high school where 25% of the people who I started the ninth grade with didn’t graduate with me four years later, it’s easy to get into a mindset of being fearful of being successful. We are taught inadvertently by our environment to look at those who are “well-to-do” or “rich” in a negative light. This is evidenced by sayings that we all heard growing up such as “Filthy Rich” and the like.

Let’s have a discussion here. I’m a very logical guy, so I’m going to follow a very logical format. We all grow up wanting to live the lavish lifestyle, dreaming of never having to work, dreams of relaxing on the beach without a care in the world, wishing all the bills would just pay themselves and finally getting to shed that stress and anxiety each time the 1st of the month comes and the rent or mortgage was due, correct?

So what do we do? We look at people that have what we want – everything I’ve mentioned in the above paragraph – and we say they are lucky, or maybe we are even jealous that they don’t have to endure the stresses that we do today. We THINK that everything they have in their life has been handed to them and they don’t know how it is to walk even a block in our shoes. We curse those who have more than us.

Is it their fault? No. There is a old Polynesian saying that says, “Bless that which you want.” How can you get the things you want out of life if you constantly curse those which have what you want? If you think that the people that have what you want are merely “lucky”, then you must think that someday this “luck” will happen to you, right? Wrong. It won’t! By dismissing those who have what you want, you are associating negative thoughts to the things that you SAY you want to most. Notice my choice of words. Just because you say you want something, doesn’t make it true. It’s what you think, it’s how you view them, it’s what you believe. If you think rich people are the devil, you are constantly pushing away any possibility for you to be financially free. Chances are that you will spend your life constantly struggling to pay the bills and will have hardly any cash on reserve for emergencies. Oh, the alternator went out in your car? Your water heater went out in your house? These things we have hardly any control of, in fact, we KNOW they aren’t built to last but those with a poverty mindset will associate these events that we know will happen at one point in time or another as “oh, poor me” or “the worst things always happen to me”.

If you want a life free of stress, anxiety, constant struggle, try changing your financial mindset. In the following video of Dr. Walter Sims, he explains that “money is not the root of all evil, only the LOVE of money is.”

Have you ever wondered how sometimes it feels like no matter how confident you are in accomplishing a task, you worry about how others are going to view you? Or maybe no matter how hard you work, the rewards always seem to limit themselves?

I have always been a very confident person. Always up for a challenge, there has never been a goal I haven’t given it my all to go after. Granted, I would be lying if I said that I’ve accomplished every single goal I’ve ever set in my life, but what I’m saying is that I’ve always been a go-getter, prove me wrong personality.

So if that has been my mentality ever since I can remember, why have my results always been limited? If I knew that I worked harder than I ever had at work, why was that never reflected in my income?

In the last 19 months or so of my life, I’ve been committed to figuring out why my results haven’t been what I feel like they should have been. Don’t get me wrong, I let go of any regret, resentment, anger, sadness, or any other emotion based on the past a LONG time ago. But what I felt like I needed to do is understand what my thoughts were in the past that led to my feelings, that led to my actions, that led to what was happening in my outer world. If I want to change what was going on in my outer world, I needed to change my actions that stem from my emotions and the thoughts that lead to those emotions. I have had to take a long, hard look at myself in the mirror. Why did I never make it past the “B” team in little league? Why did I go to college for three years only to stray away and NEVER get my degree? Why did I always seem to blow my money as soon as it came in? Why didn’t others ever take me seriously?

What I’ve found is that our outer world is the result of three things – our self-esteem, our self-image, and our self-worth. The combination of these three determines not only what we accomplish, but how likely others are more or less apt to follow you and be behind you and your accomplishments, as well as your rewards for your accomplishments. Now, it sounds pretty cut and dry, doesn’t it? I mean, when I first looked at this evaluation, myself – much like anyone else out there – would probably say the same thing I did. “I don’t need to question my self-esteem or anything else! I know I have high self-esteem, I don’t care what people think of me, and I’m definitely worth every single bit I get.” But for the sake of committing to improve, bare with me and hear me out. Because if only ONE of these areas are lacking, it reflects in the results you realize.

Self-EsteemHow I feel about myself. Am I confident in anything and everything I do? Sure, if I’ve been doing any activity for an extended period of time, I become more and more confident about accomplishing that task and doing it very well. But what about trying something new? Do I tackle a task head on or do I tend to over-analyze all of the possible negative outcomes that could happen if done poorly? People with a high self esteem tend to not only do things well, but they tend to not hesitate when trying new things. People with low self-esteem will fail, or not try at all because they fear that they will either not do them well or need to know every possible outcome to prepare themselves when they finally do it. This “fear” is like an anchor! How can you move forward and accomplish MORE if you are anchored right where you are? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, the only way to move forward is to overcome the fear related to trying something new. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t feel like you need to know all of the information before you act. Don’t doubt your abilities. Don’t let fear hold you back.

1991 West Side “B” Team (I’m the tall twig in the center of the back row)

I remember playing little league baseball. If any of my friends are reading this who played baseball with me growing up, I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this story. Sure, I made a hell of a lot of great plays in my times as a third baseman for the West Side Little League “B” Team. Most of the time I wasn’t afraid to get my bigger than average frame in front of a drive down the line or a shot right at my feet. But one particular game, we were up by 1 run and the bases were loaded against Hazel Park. My friend Brian was pitching and I was at my usual third base. There was one out, and a base hit to the outfield would tie the game. Top of the seventh. I began to analyze every single situation of what my reaction should be to a hit, which if you ask ANY baseball player, is a pretty normal activity between batters. It’s wanting to make the right move in the right situation.

“Ok, if its a dabbler down the my line I’ll charge and throw it to home. If its hit more on a line drive near the base i’ll step on third and either go home with it or to first. If it’s to my left, I’ll go to second so we can turn a double play.”

All of these thoughts rushed through my mind. Sure, reading this, it sounds like I was a confident little seventh grader who would undoubtedly make the play, whatever it happened to be. But then I thought, “Man, it’s really on the line here. What if I DON’T make the play? What if I screw this up?”

The ball wasn’t hit to the left of me, it wasn’t hit to the right of me. It wasn’t a little dabbler that I would have to charge and rush to make the play. It was hit RIGHT AT ME. Not on a rope, either. A routine ground ball. I could do anything I wanted to with that ball. Step on third and toss it to first; get it to second and let Josh turn the double play over to first himself, tag the runner and THEN throw it to second….ANYTHING! The single second that that routine ground ball took to get to me seemed an eternity. I panicked. And you guessed it. It hit the heel of my glove, rolled up to my chest, nipped my chin, and I looked like a fumbling fool trying to gather up that little piece of leather and stitches. In the time that it took me to finally get the ball in my glove, the batter had already reached first base, all other runners were safe, and a run had scored – tieing the game. I remember being SO mad at my inability to field that ground ball – which ultimately stemmed from my own doubt in being able to make that play – that I immediately SPIKED the ball SO hard that it bounced off the dirt into the air what seemed to be about 20 feet high. High enough for the winning run to score from third. GAME OVER.

The moral of the story is that what you conceive in your inner world is realized in your outer world. If you are not confident in your own abilities in your inner world, your outer world is reflected by that. If you doubt yourself, tasks will never be accomplished to the degree you wish them to. Try something new, and try it TRUSTING yourself that it will turn out not just okay, but good! You may just surprise yourself.

Self-ImageHow I feel about how you feel about me. Ever taken a public speaking course? Why does everyone absolutely DREAD public speaking? People will always say the same answer – I just hate speaking in front of large groups. Why is that? It’s because people fear that others’ reactions, no matter how confident we are on our knowledge about any certain subject that we are speaking about, will be not satisfactory. We start to doubt ourselves and our abilities, but more so, if people will laugh at us, not pay attention to us, or most importantly – say that we didn’t do a good job. The person with a low self-image has anxiety about everything the public can see about you and starts to panic with random thoughts. Is my zipper down?” “Is my hair messed up?” “Do people not trust me?” “Will more successful people than I sense that I’m not confident?” “Oh, I better not ask that successful person for their opinion because they will think that my idea is stupid.” A low self-image in our adult years is sometimes the result of accumulated criticisms one has received over the years as a child or adolescent. We look at people more successful than us or look at people who have authority in our families and take either a negative or positive criticism and apply it to our own self image.

To have a high self-image, you MUST be confident in your beliefs in yourself, what you hope to achieve and not worry about how others view you. My favorite quote is “You were born an original, do not die a copy.” We’re all individuals. We are all different. We all hope to achieve different things. If you constantly worry about how one of your peers is going to view you and your actions, it TOO is another anchor that will prevent you from moving forward. Advice is free, be cautious of who you take it from. If you are about to make a big financial decision, who do you think you would want to seek out for advice, a friend who is knowledgeable in financial planning and investments or your broke uncle who is living paycheck to paycheck? Anyone can give advice, but the people that give it to you do NOT have to live with the results that result from YOUR choice. Make your choice YOURS. Do not live your life based on the approval of others.

Self-Worth Whether you truly believe you deserve the results that will come from your actions. Anyone ever heard of achievement anxiety? It’s a form of fear of failure, but more importantly, it’s not a fear of accomplishing the task at hand, it’s being anxious or doubting that you deserve the benefit or will be able to handle the benefit that you achieve. For example, most sales positions are paid in some sort of commission. When I first started in my “real” sales career, I was paid a minimal base salary, given great benefits, and was paid a commission based on the sales that I brought in. There were benchmarks on what was expected. As I gained experience on the job and became more confident, my income grew. Looking back, sure my income grew from day one to say, fifteen months on the job, but then it plateaued. Why did that happen? Now one would answer, “Well, I worked hard and I made great money, enough for me to pay all of my monthly bills, contribute to my retirement and my savings, and still have a little left over to play with and have a social life.” But why did my income plateau? I probably would have said back then, “If I’m comfortable and paying my bills, then I guess I’m working just hard enough to make a living and nothing more.” At a position where there is NO cap on commission, where there is NO LIMIT on the potential of income, why was I only working hard enough for me to pay my bills and be comfortable?? Because I looked at making an exteme amount of money as being unrealistic, but furthermore and more importantly, I didn’t feel that I DESERVED an extreme amount of money. This thought process comes from our environment. Especially with the Occupy Movement currently, rich people are looked at as selfish, as ignorant, as un-caring, thoughtless people. We are taught “anti-rich” thoughts as children with phrases like “stinking rich” or “filthy rich”. We learn to look at wealthy people as snobby and greedy. We are unknowingly TRAINED to think negatively about having extreme amounts of money.

I remember during a sales meeting in August of 2010, we were asked by our Vice President of Sales to tear a sheet of paper out of our notepads and write down how much income we would like to make; what we each wanted to strive to make in a year. We all tore out a piece of paper, wrote down our number down, folded our papers up and passed them down the conference table to the VP. There were numerous numbers from $150,000 all the way up to $500,000 a year. As the numbers were being read aloud and passed aside to read the next, the VP said, “Wow, only $80,000? Someone doesn’t have very high expectations for themselves.” That was me. I was already on pace to hit that $80,000. I didn’t feel I deserved any more than that. I had a very, VERY, low self-worth. My confidence in my job affected my self-esteem, which affected how I felt about how others felt about me, which affected how I felt about the rewards I realized in my outer world – or my self-worth. Furthermore, I was fearful of not only how I would be perceived in my family or by my friends if I did make more than that, but fearful of how I would MANAGE that money. See, self-worth is KEY for money management. People with money are looked to as ignorant and snobbish. People who come from low-income households have negative perceptions about wealthy people. We are unknowingly trained to rid ourselves of money because we subconsiously 1) don’t feel we deserve it, and 2) we do not want to be looked at by others in the same way. See, as soon as I got paid I would make sure my bills were paid and instead of saving any money for a rainy day, I would piss it away by spending hundreds of dollars at the bar. I would piss it away gambling hundreds of dollars at the casino. I would buy stupid things that I didn’t need. I would do ANYTHING to get that money away from me because I was so fearful of being looked at as a wealthy person. I didn’t feel I deserved the wealth. That is why most people who come from low-income households stay in the same financial situation. They fear that their families or their friends will look at them as being “too good” for them, or “leaving them behind”.

Get out of that mindset! Feel in your heart that you are comfortable and confident in your abilities. Feel in your heart that others look to you for knowledge, leadership, and they ultimately respect you – that is if your actions are lawful and moral. If they don’t, you can’t control how people react so don’t worry about it. And most importantly, believe in your heart that you FULLY deserve every single reward that comes from your faith, your hard work, and your determination.

Just sitting here thinking this morning, and I couldn’t stop wondering about all the things that we as a people want to do, not only for ourselves, but for society as a whole. I choose to believe that all people want to do the best for themselves, want the best for their friends, loved ones, family, etc, but what holds them back? I started throwing out a bunch of ideas, or what later I discovered were only excuses…and what I realized was that the “excuses” were stemming out of one emotion: Fear.

People won’t do ALOT of things because of fear:
-What if I can’t do it?
-What if it doesn’t work?
-What will people think of me?

What if fear was taken out of the equation? Watch what happens….
-What if I CAN do it, and I could do it better than anyone?
-What if it DOES work, and it works better than I could have ever imagined?
-People will think no matter what and it’s beyond my control, but at least I took a stand for MYSELF, and nobody can take that away.

See what happens when you’re no longer afraid? Things start happening. If we continually live our lives in fear, the status quo will always remain. If we don’t conquer our fears to change our situation, a situation where we live free of fear will never be experienced! Think about how fear affects us on a daily basis, with work, with investments, with our relationships, with friendships….so give yourself a chance with EVERYTHING in your life. Listen to a friend, give your bf/gf a kiss just because, put yourself out there without fear of what the response could be…you got a 50% shot the results are a positive one! 🙂