Archive for July 2008

Reminding Us of What’s Important

July 28, 2008

As you have probably seen or heard about, Randy Pausch, professor at Carnegie Mellon University inspired millions through his “last lecture” which he delivered last September called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Below is a segment of that lecture that he reprised on the Oprah show a few months later:

Randy Pausch passed away on Friday, July 25th. He will be greatly missed by his wife, three children, all of the people who knew and loved him…and by millions of us who never got to meet him, but were touched by his message, his story, his wisdom, and his courage.

He wrote a book based on this lecture that has been at the top of the bestseller list since it came out in April. Click here to purchase.

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Your Personal and Emotional Emissions

July 26, 2008

Over the past few years, like many people around the country the throughout the world, I have become more aware of my own consumption, my use of resources, and how what I do impacts the planet. Thankfully as a world we are beginning to wake up more and more to the impact we have on the planet and the importance of each of us doing our small part to conserve the finite amount of natural resources we all have to share.

Whether it is driving hybrid cars, recycling more, buying environmentally friendly products, letting our business and political leaders know how we feel and that this is important, and more – there are lots of things we can do and that many of us have started to do based on the increased awareness of the situation with our environment.

With all of this raised awareness about the environmental impact of what we do, use, and how we live…I think we might also want to consider how we feel, the thoughts we have, and what goes on within us as well.

What kinds of “vibes” are you sending out into the universe, towards others, and in general? When we live with a lot of unexpressed emotions and negativity within us we are contributing or even “polluting” the collective consciousness with all of this. We are “emitting” a lot of toxic energy into our relationships, families, work places, environments, and to our overall society. We don’t usually think about it like this, but it is true. Twenty or thirty years ago, not too many of us thought that how much we drove, what kinds of products we chose to use, or where we put our waste made all that much difference. Now, thankfully, we know better.

This same thing is true for our thoughts and feelings. I am not advocating or even suggesting that we have to be happy all the time and that we should feel guilty for our negativity, quite the opposite in fact. I am suggesting, however, that we become increasingly aware of our internal state and begin to take responsibility for the fact that our thoughts and feelings not only impact our lives and goals, but the people’s lives around us and the overall world as a whole.

When we each do our own part and begin to wake up, deal, heal, and let go of the toxic stuff within us – we can become a catalyst for positive change and also we do our part to cleaning up the emotional and energetic environment of the planet.

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Love Endures

July 24, 2008

I recently saw this wonderful video and was moved and inspired – check it out:

As I watched this video, it reminded me that love and appreciation are the most powerful forces in the world. Our egos and life circumstances sometimes cause us to “forget” this, hold grudges, and disconnect from others – but when it comes down to it, love never dies and we are all connected to each other in infinite ways.

As the end of the video suggests – let’s all use this as a reminder to reach out to some, re-connect, forgive, or simply tell someone important to us that we love them.

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Focus on Who They Are

July 22, 2008

Would you like to be more effective at appreciating the people around you?

An important distinction we can make in our desire to appreciate the people around us more successfully is to remember the difference between recognition and acknowledgement.

Recognition is about rewarding the actions and results of others. It’s important, as most of us like to be recognized (even if we get a little uncomfortable or embarrassed about it) and many of us notice (or get upset) when we don’t get recognized, especially if we think we deserve it.

As important as recognition is, it’s also limited for a few reasons. First of all, it’s always past based. Second of all, not everyone responds to or is motivated by recognition in the same way. Third and most importantly, it’s always about results, what people have done, and what they’ve accomplished, not necessarily who they are.

Acknowledgment on the other hand, includes recognition, but can be much broader, personal, and ultimately powerful. An acknowledgement is any act of appreciation for another person. A performance award is an acknowledgement (based on results), but so is a smile (which may or may not be based on anything specific). Telling your spouse or child they did a good job cleaning up the house is also an acknowledgment (based on something they did), but telling them that you love them and how grateful you are to have them in your life can be done for any reason and at any time.

If we want to have the people around us feel appreciated, it’s important for us to focus more on who they are as human beings, what we appreciate about them personally, and not simply focus on what they accomplish or don’t. And, sometimes the most important time for us to acknowledge others is when they fail or make a mistake. While we can’t always acknowledge the outcome, we can almost always acknowledge the effort.

Utilizing the power of appreciation and becoming a master at the art of appreciating others is about us both re-actively recognizing the great things that people do and more importantly pro-actively acknowledging them for who they are, what qualities they have, and how they positively impact our lives and others simply by being who they are.

Action: What You Can Do

Think of three or more people in your life who you interact with on a regular basis. For each person, think of something specific you can acknowledge them for – not something they’ve done or accomplished, but something about who they are that you appreciate. It could be their attitude, their effort, their commitment, their friendship, their humor, their honesty, or anything else…feel free to come up with more than one thing, as I’m sure there are many.

Take some time today to let each of these people know and to acknowledge them personally, not because they did anything to “deserve” it, but simply because you feel moved let them know how they impact you in a positive way. Have fun with it and see what happens!

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Choose to Be Happy

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July 10, 2008

With the first annual International Happiness Day taking place today (check it out for more info: www.InternationalHappinessDay.com) I am thinking about happiness today. What does it take for us to be really happy in life? How can we create more genuine happiness for ourselves and for those around us?

Most of us want to be happy; at least we say we do. So much of what we strive for in life are things we assume will make us happy – love relationships, goals, fitness, money, new experiences, and more. While there is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves, as we all know, none of them will make us happy.

Happiness is a choice and we have the opportunity to make that choice anytime, any day, and for any reason. We don’t have to wait for things to “turn out” or to be perfect, which they almost never do anyway. We can make a conscious choice at any moment to be happy.

Today, see if you can choose to be happy – not just because it’s International Happiness Day (although that is as a good of a reason as any), but because being happy is something we have the power to create and the more we choose to be happy the easier it becomes.

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It’s How We Play the Game That Matters

July 8, 2008

I recently saw an incredibly inspiring video that brought me to tears. The video involves a remarkable example of sportsmanship that took place on a college softball field a few months ago. The video is listed below for you to check out – you don’t want to miss it:

As I watched this incredible video – one of the best examples of doing the right thing and the inter-connection we all have as human beings I have seen, I was reminded of the fact that life is much more than about winning and losing, it’s about us reaching out to and supporting one another as human beings.

In the course of competitive culture, we often lose touch with what is really important. The way we go about something is as important as the results we produce. I, for one, sometimes forget this in my pursuit to be “successful.” However, this video is a great reminder to me and all of us that it’s not so much about who wins or who loses, but how we play the game that truly matters.

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Have Fun!

July 7, 2008

Sometimes in the course of daily living we have a tendency to get very “serious,” have you noticed? It’s easy to get caught up in the perceived stresses of our lives, the things we worry about, the stuff we want to change, and the things (and people) that get on our nerves.

What if we had more fun? What if we made a commitment each day to find the good, to laugh as often as possible, and to have a great time doing whatever it is we’re doing? Regardless of what we do, we always have a choice about our attitude about it.

We don’t have to take ourselves or our lives too seriously. And, we can still remain committed to our families, our work, and all of the important things in our life that we’re passionate about. Bringing a sense of lightness and fun to what we do, our relationships, and all the aspects of our lives gives us energy, perspective, and freedom.

Things are not inherently “fun,” “stressful,” or “boring,” they are whatever we make them! Even when and if we’re dealing with some serious circumstances or situations in our lives, we can still bring a sense of genuine lightness and perspective to them, which almost always make them easier for us to deal with.

When we remember that the “fun” in our life is generated by us, not by others or even the specific activities we engage in, we’re empowered to make any situation, relationship, or activity enjoyable – if we choose to do so.

Enjoy this day and see if you can find different and creative ways to have fun. It’s up to you and if you make a conscious choice today (and any day) to have fun, it’s a pretty good bet you’ll have a good one!

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Be the Author of the Book of Your Life

July 6, 2008

Our thoughts, feelings, and intentions have a big impact on the results, experiences, and outcomes of our lives. Conventional wisdom tells us that we live in the world of cause and effect – that our thoughts and feelings are simply reactions to what happens.

However, as we’ve all experienced in various ways throughout life – what we expect and focus on has a lot to do with what actually happens in life.

Michelle and I had a powerful reminder of this recently. We found out a few weeks ago that the baby girl, Annarose, we are expecting (our second, due in mid-August) was in the breech position (feet down). This becomes a concern when you are getting closer to the due date. We both immediately were scared and upset upon hearing the news, although we pretended not to be.

We started talking about it and after expressing our fear and concern honestly to one another, we went into action – talking to people, doing research, and finding out all we could about getting babies to flip around. As we found out, there are many physical, mental, and meta-physical techniques out there for this specific situation. We began to talk to Annarose, ordered a hypnosis CD, had a session with an intuitive, and Michelle set up an appointment with a chiropractor who uses the “Webster Technique” which is designed to help breech babies turn around.

As all of this was going on, even though we were both still concerned about it, we did what we could to focus on what we wanted and visualize Annarose turning around easily. On Michelle’s drive home from the chiropractor, she called me to tell me how it went. In the middle of our conversation, she said, “Hey, something is happening – I think she is flipping around!” The next day she went to Kaiser to have another ultrasound and it was confirmed, Annarose is now in the proper, head-down position. How wonderful!

Notice if you’re focusing more of your awareness on what you don’t want to happen, what you’re worried about, or what you think would be “bad.” Sadly, this is what most of us do all the time – automatically and unconsciously.

If we can flip our attention to what we want and away from what we don’t want, we are more likely to create the positive results we truly desire.

Remember, we create our reality – life doesn’t just happen to us. When we remember this, we can no longer be victims of our circumstances and we’re empowered to be the author of the book of our lives.

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