Aliveatwork's Blog


Divisive or Decisive … It’s Your Call!

DIVISIVEIt’s easy to get caught up in the barrage of divisiveness that seems to be running rampant in our world.

The politicians in Washington D.C. can’t seem to get pass the bipartisanism that divides us … even when the future of our country is at stake.

And if you consider the magnification of this divisiveness by the media who seems hell bent on exaggerating either the US side or the THEM side, it could lead you to feel quite hopeless … if you let it.

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher who said …

In truth, the world is neither for us or against us: it is but raw material in our hands, and can be heaven or hell according to what we are.

The level of success you have in your life will not be determined by which side of the aisle you stand on. It will be determined by the actions you take, based on the priorities you have in your life, with the resources’ you have in front of you, at this moment in time.

Wasting your time and energy debating, fearing, or condemning others or their ideals will not help you to achieve the level of success you want and are capable of.

What if …

  1. What if today you decided that you were going to get clarity on what it is you really want to accomplish in life?
  2. What if today you decided to stop filling your mind with all the bipartisan garbage and media trash and instead, focused solely on achieving your goals in both business and in life?
  3. What if you made a detailed list of actions to achieve the results you wanted and then prioritized them in order so that you had a plan to follow that would keep you on track?

You have the power to create your life to be anything you want it to be. You simply have to decide what it is that you want and then prioritize your action steps  so that you can achieve the results that you want.

Two final thoughts …

  1. Don’t allow someone else to determine your level of success.
  2. And for god’s sake … don’t allow someone else to determine what your experience will be while you are living and breathing on this good earth!

 



Holidays … A Blessing or a Curse?

blessing-or-curse-e1302612954465Sometimes in the heat of an unfavorable situation we wish things were different.

We wish that the circumstances unfolding in our life were unfolding in a different manner … preferably in someone else’s life.

And yet how many times, after the fact, after time had passed, were you able to see the good that resulted from the situation? The very same situation you were cursing a day, a week, or a few months ago!

During challenging times it can be hard to focus on the good. Why? Because we are so focused on how uncomfortable, painful, stressful, or inconvenient the situation is that we are experiencing.

The holidays can be stressful, they can put undue pressure on all of us. For some reason, our feelings (negative or positive) seem to get magnified as we come to the end of one year and transition into the next.

Here are 3 thoughts that can help you focus on your blessings this holiday season: 

  1. It’s All Temporary – Remind yourself that all things in life are temporary; including pain, discomfort, stress and visits to or from your relatives during Xmas.
  2. Count Your Blessings – Literally … make a list of all the things that are going well in your life and the things that create a feeling of being blessed. Yes, that includes your spouse and children (remember some folks will not be experiencing the holidays with their whole family this year … people will be missing for one reason or another)
  3. Get Out of Your Head – A friend of mine once said, “A walk through my mind is a walk through a dangerous neighborhood.” Sometimes we get so focused on ourselves (inwardly) that the only way out of our pain and discomfort is to focus (outwardly) on others by blessing them with an act of kindness.

This holiday season can be crazy, hectic, rushed, stressful, uncomfortable, and filled with angst or …

It can be joyful, wonderful, relaxing, peaceful, and filled with blessings.

I guess you just have to decide what you want it to be and then focus on looking for whatever it is you want … a blessing or a curse.

Have an extraordinary holiday season!



Goodwill Hunting?

Good-Will-HuntingIn the movie Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon plays a tough, wise-cracking, but emotionally scarred math genius  named, Will Hunting. And although he is extremely brilliant he is working (hiding) as a night janitor at Harvard.

Robin Williams play a therapist who attempts to help Will go inside of himself in order to own the truth about his abusive past and discover his authentic self.

The climax of the movie is a scene where Williams, on the verge of giving up on his rebellious patient, takes a leap of faith and starts telling Will, “It’s not your fault, listen to me son, it’s not your fault.”

Damon literally pushes back but Williams persists, “It’s not your fault, It’s not your fault,” until Will surrenders and the tears erupt like a broken dam.

Have you ever put up a facade that things were fine on the outside, yet on the inside you were going through a tough time (troubles at work, fractured relationship at home, the loss of a loved one, or just plain loneliness)?

Sometimes what people project to the outside world isn’t an accurate picture of their inside world. And the holidays can be especially tough because there is an expectation to be cheerful and filled with holiday spirit even though there is an emptiness on the inside.

What if … you believed that over the course of the next 2 weeks you will encounter someone who is in need of an extraordinary act of kindness?

What if … you believed that this person was put on your path for the specific reason that you were chosen to show them that they matter, that they are valuable, or that they are not alone?

What if … by helping that person you later came to the conclusion that they were really put on your path to help you in some unexpected way?

This holiday season, do a little goodwill hunting … it will certainly bring a bit more peace on earth and who knows … maybe even some goodwill towards men (people).

Happy hunting!



A Quality Quality

quality-seoHow do you define quality?

Is it something that you value when buying goods or services?

What about when it comes to your qualities, how would you define your qualities?

Quality when used as either an adjective or a noun pertains to excellence or value.

I once had the opportunity to listen to a speaker present who was extremely intelligent and very much a self-described introvert.

During the Q & A period someone who apparently admired his qualities asked him this question, “How is it that you can be such an intellect and an introvert, but yet you speak with such casual easiness?”

His response was astonishing. He replied, “I have spent tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours working to be able to come up here and do this, so please don’t think it is easy!”

Making it look easy is the sign of a true professional.

So many of us watch professional athletes or musicians and gawk at the amazing ease at which they perform and yet we never see the years of hard work, the 10,000 hours of practice, or the countless hours in the gym. We never really see the blood, sweat, and tears it took to get to the point of making it look … easy.

So what about you? What profession are you in and what qualities are you working on? Are you working on those qualities so hard that when people see you at your craft they say … you make it look … so easy!



Purpose: Are You Being Called to Play a Bigger Game?

The other day I was conversing with a colleague and fellow coach by the name of Barry Zweibel. We’ve been friends and have had a Mastermind of sorts since the day we met about 12 years ago.

We were talking about life in general when Barry, as only Barry can do, pulled out a 2 x 4 and walloped me upside the head with a question that challenged what I believed about my purpose in life. He was challenging me to embrace my purpose at a much higher level.

Now if you asked me, I would tell you that I am living my dream, I love what I do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else at this point in my life (speaking, coaching, and consulting).

But Barry was challenging to go deeper into my purpose and look into the recesses of my heart and soul for any remnants of old beliefs, ideas, or defense mechanisms, that were holding me back.

And of course I found them. I won’t bore you with the details, I will however tell you that I had to search deep in the recesses till I discovered some leftover remnants of good old-fashioned … fear!

Now I’d like to tell you that as a Professional Speaker and Executive Coach that I have overcome all my fears and I am completely self-actualized … but the truth is I am not. I am not perfect, I bump up against things that slow me down and temporarily hold me back. I guess the key words here are slow down (not stop), and temporarily (not permanently).

Fear can cause you to drift from your purpose, it can stop you in your tracks, and it can kill your dreams. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown fear that is evident to you, it can hide in the deep pockets of your mind and actually disguise itself as reason, logic, security, or limited success.

That said I want to share with you a quick way to get out of your fear and moving forward again so you can achieve the level of success you want.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself To Put Fear Behind You:

  1. What am I afraid of losing? Fear is always associated with loss and the quickest way out of fear is to identify the loss.  I refer to these fears that can occupy your mind as Fear FILLERS ™ – Loss of  F-reedom, I-income, L-ife, L-ove, E-go, R-eputation, S-ecurity.
  2. What is the truth? Will I really lose my freedom, life, etc.? Remembering that 93% of the things we fear never happen!
  3. Now that I know the truth, what action do I need to take to move forward.

This a simple process that will take you from a fearful place (emotion) and move you into a more logical place where you can move into action.

So … got any leftover remnants of fear hiding in a corner in your head, heart, or soul?



10 Things You Need to Know About Purpose …

Every since the beginning of time humans have searched to find their purpose in life.

Thousands of  books have been written and hundreds of thousand of speeches, lectures, and discussions have been given on the topic of purpose.

And yet, how many people do you know, if asked, could succinctly complete the following sentence, “My purpose in life is to …”

So I thought I would share a few insights I have gleaned over the years regarding this life altering topic.

 10 Things I’ve Learned About Purpose:

  1. Without purpose, people drift from one thing to the next or they wake up one day feeling trapped in a situation or place they don’t want to be in.
  2. Purpose leads to clarity and clarity leads to focus … focused energy, focused actions, and focused results … and that leads to happiness.
  3. When a person loses their purpose in life they soon atrophy and their desire to live diminishes. (think about someone you know who retired and lost their desire to live).
  4. Finding your purpose in life doesn’t mean you have to find a cure for cancer or quit your job and move to Africa and work for Feed The Children.
  5. Discovering your purpose begins with being crystal clear about your strengths, talents, gifts, and brilliance and then showing up with them in all you do.
  6. You will never find your purpose in life if you spend your time watching Honey Boo-Boo, Redneck Island, Pawn Stars and the other garbage on TV.
  7. You will know you’re on the right path if when you embrace your talents, strengths, and gifts and others begin to consistently recognize you for them.
  8. The number one cause of Death of Purpose is fear … fear of success, failure, loss, dying, surviving, disappointing, poverty, etc.
  9. The single most important factor in finding your purpose is Belief, believing that you were put here on this earth for a reason and discovering that reason needs to be the number one priority in your life. Living out your purpose needs to be the second priority.
  10. Discovering your purpose is an inside job, it already exists inside of you, you just have to clear out the old beliefs, lies, and junk that are preventing you from seeing it.

Need a kick start?

Go online an order the StrengthsFinder  2.0 book by Tom Rath. It contains an assessment that will give you your top five strengths. It is extremely accurate and will start you on your path of discovery.

Obviously the list is incomplete, feel free to add your wisdom in the comment section

One last question: So … how would you complete the sentence, “My purpose in life is to …”



It’s not my Fault … it was the At – titude ….

You’ve heard them …

On television, in the news, at your office, your church, even your kid’s volleyball game!

People complaining and blaming others for their short falls and failures.

It surprises me that they actually believe their failures have nothing to do with themselves. They believe the fault lies with some – thing or some – one else.

I believe the reason many people do not succeed at the level they desire is because they have blocked their path to success with self-imposed obstacles.

Self-imposed obstacles can show up in any number of different ways, however most of them originate from our internal thoughts and beliefs.

So is it possible your path to success might be littered with a few limiting beliefs?

Below is a short list of 10 self-limiting beliefs (obstacles) that could be stopping you.

  1. Believing that your past will determine your future.
  2. Believing that everyone else has what it takes to succeed .. everyone BUT you!
  3. Believing that there is not enough abundance in the world and you must take from others to have enough for yourself.
  4. Believing those old, worn out lies that were handed to you as a child. Beliefs like … “You will never amount to anything because you are not __________ enough or your too _________ (fill-in-the-blanks).”
  5. Believing that other people knows what is best for you.
  6. Believing that you shouldn’t ruffle any one else’s feathers so it’s best to play small to keep the peace.
  7. Believing that you must play the cards you were dealt for the rest of your life (hey, if they can change decks in Vegas … you can change the deck you were dealt … you just have to change what you believe).
  8. Looking at the resources you have and seeing them as obstacles.
  9. Believing that you are responsible for someone else’s obstacles or self-limiting beliefs (thanks to my friend Richard for sharing).
  10. Forgetting that you are extraordinary and powerful beyond measure … yes you are amazing!

When we don’t succeed it is easy to point our finger at something else and say … it was the altitude, it was someone else’s fault that I … lost, looked bad, didn’t deliver, or didn’t win.

It takes a courageous person to own that the reason they are not winning is due to their own self-imposed obstacles.

Zig Ziglar once said that “it is your attitude not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.”

Let me just say in the spirit of Zig …

“Your ability to fly is determined by your ability to remove the self limiting obstacles(beliefs) from your path. The fewer obstacles in your way … the higher you will go!

So what altitude are you cruising at these days?



Dollars and Sense …
September 20, 2012, 9:01 am
Filed under: Alive @ Work, Alive at Work, Aliveness, Joe Contrera | Tags: , , , ,

Money is an extremely powerful force and much has been written about its impact on people and society.

The current presidential election seems to be juxtaposing the endless greed of the wealthy against the poor less fortunate who struggle to make ends meet.

Yes, money can corrupt and yet on the other hand money can also heal.

As with all things it really boils down to what you believe.

So what do you believe about money?

What did you learn about money growing up as a kid?

For me, money was always something everyone else had. It was something that you earned if and only if you worked extraordinarily hard. And most importantly … there was never enough!

Based on those beliefs, I found myself always working extremely hard and never feeling like I was making the amount of money that I really wanted. After all there is never enough!

It took a lot of reading and learning to realize that what I believed about money were simply old beliefs handed down that were based on false information. In other words my premise was wrong!

It took awhile, but I now have a different belief system and it seems to be serving me well.

Here’s what I have learned (now believe) about money:

  1. You have two choices when it comes to money. You can believe in scarcity and that there will never be enough. Or you can believe in abundance and that there is enough for everyone.
  2. Your level of income is directly proportionate to your level of self worth and value.
  3. If you want to make a million dollars … find a way to provide a million dollars worth of value first.
  4. The Beatles were right … money can’t buy you love.
  5. The more I give away the more that comes my way.
  6. Having a scarcity mentality when it comes to money only attracts more scarcity.
  7. Sometimes you have to invest in people instead of equipment.
  8. No one else is to blame if I am not making the amount of money that I want … not the government, the president, congress, my clients, my mother, or my kindergarten teacher Misses Shunk who told me there was no such thing as a green flower.
  9. Money can’t buy happiness, joy, self worth or value but the pursuit of it can cost you those very things.
  10. Money is not evil; it can heal, fix, create growth, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and heal the sick. It all comes down to whether you are coming from a place of love or a place of fear.

So there you have it … and what about you … what do you believe about money and how is it impacting your life?



And the Truth Shall …

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to work with a  group of Leaders. At one point in the day we arrived at a fork in the road.

Path A: Ignore the elephant in the room and continue to pretend that everything was “fine,” even though everyone knew it was not!

Path B: Own the truth about themselves and each other and speak it directly and without blame. Not from a place of anger but from a place of  ownership, responsibility, and intention.

They chose path B,  and I have to admit there were some very intense moments as we worked through the process. There was hesitation, fear, doubt, and all the things that normally prevent people from speaking their truth.

And when it was done …

There was relief, a lightness, a sense that a 100 lb weights had been lifted off of their chests … in a word … freedom.

No hiding, no pretending, just the truth.

So many time we are afraid to speak the truth, we fear the worst, because we fear loss of some kind. And yet time and time again when Leaders are courageous and speak the truth from a loving place and not a place of fear  … amazing things happen.

Teams become closer, walls come down, leaders get clarity about themselves and their colleagues.

Maybe that John guy was right, “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

So what about you … need a little more freedom in your life?



L-O-V-E: Who You Are …

This week’s topic is love!

And before you get all mushy and start conjuring up images of Romeo and Juliet or trying to remember when Harry actually met Sally, I want you to stop and go find a mirror.

Now I want to invite you to look into the eyes of the person in the mirror and ask yourself this question:

Do I genuinely love myself … exactly the way that I am (yes this includes all of the spots, wrinkles, blemishes, lines, etc)?

We’ve all heard the saying,  you can’t give away something you don’t have.

If that’s true, then you can’t fully love someone else … until you love yourself.

I believe many of us consciously or unconsciously deep down inside struggle with the question … Am I ENOUGH?

And that question causes us to devalue our worth and the love of ourselves.

Here’s how it could be impacting you in the love department.

When  you don’t believe you’re enough, you don’t believe you’re lovable. And if you don’t believe you’re lovable … when someone tells you that they “love you” … you don’t believe them!

And it doesn’t matter how many times they say it .. you still don’t believe them! Being loved begins when you believe you are enough and that you deserve love.

So what would your life be like if you knew you were enough? How would your relationships be different if you knew you were loved … just the way you are?

As singer song writer James Taylor once said, “You have to choose whether to love yourself or not.”

Choose wisely and often …