Aliveatwork's Blog


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 …



What If … ?

You, you may say, I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

John Lennon

Years ago there were a series of Hewlett Packard commercials whose tag line were “What If …”

Since then a number of folks have done similar “What if” campaigns, Nike and Michael Jordan, the NHL, even the Cleveland Indians (now that’s a real what if!)

The idea is to get people to imagine something beyond what is in front of them.  To imagine something more than what they are currently experiencing or to ignite their hope for the possibility of something better. Especially if things are not going too well at the present time ( i.e. the Cleveland Indians haven’t won a world series since 1954).

As I thought about how powerful the “what if” question is, I realized that for many people the “what if” question actually has the opposite effect. In fact for some folks the “what if” question can actually suck the power right out of their idea or worse yet … themselves!

How many times have you had a truly great idea until you started asking yourself the “what if” question. What if things go wrong, what if I fail, what if I lose, what if I make a mistake, etc.

So that got me to thinking … IMAGINE if for the next 10 days you looked at every decision or situation from a more positive perspective?

I am not saying you should ignore glaring negatives and forge ahead blindly. However, I am challenging you to look at the possibility of what is good, possible, and true.

Below is a list of  10 Positive “What If” questions  to ask yourself the next time you have an idea, are stuck trying to make a decision, or just not sure what to do:

  1. What if I succeed beyond my wildest dreams?
  2. What if this is the perfect decision?
  3. What if I already have the perfect partner for me?
  4. What if I wasn’t afraid?
  5. What if I believed I was enough … more than enough … in fact way more than enough!
  6. What if I loved my spouse, my kids, my brother, neighbor, sister, as much as I love myself? (yes the golden rule)
  7. What if I knew I was brilliant, smart, and amazing?
  8. What if I knew I couldn’t fail?
  9. What if I trusted myself?
  10. What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? (Yeah, I know but it’s worth repeating!)

So there you have it!

Use this list for the next 10 days every time you have a decision to make or dilemma on your hands and just watch what happens to your life.

You just might find … “It’s easy if you try …. and It isn’t hard to do!”



Humor is a Funny Thing … Seriously!

As we approach the 4th of July we are already officially past the half way point through the year, I thought we would take a laughter break.

You may recall in the Jack Nicholson movie, The Shining that, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

That said, I thought I would share some of my favorite one-liners from two of my favorite comedians, Henny Youngman and Steven Wright.

You might be thinking, I don’t have time to laugh … actually you don’t have time not to!

Humor has been scientifically proven to improve mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

And to think … no co-pay and no deductible!

So here you go:

Henny Youngman:

  • A doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bill, so he gave him another six months.
  • A man goes to a psychiatrist. “Nobody listens to me!” The doctor says, “Next!”
  • My wife and I have the secret to making a marriage last. Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, a little wine, good food. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.
  • The Doctor says, “You’ll live to be 60!” “I AM 60!” “See, what did I tell you?”
  • Any married man should forget his mistakes, there’s no use in two people remembering the same thing.

Steven Wright:

  • I installed a skylight in my apartment… the people who live above me are furious!
  • I poured spot remover on my dog. Now he’s gone.
  • I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.
  • My neighbor has a circular driveway… he can’t get out.
  • What’s another word for Thesaurus?
  • When I was a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child… eventually.
  • “I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.”
  • “Why are there five syllables in the word “monosyllabic”?”
  • “Do Roman paramedics refer to IV’s as ‘4’s’?”
  • “Is it possible to be totally partial?”

Some folks take themselves way too serious. They never take the time to relax, laugh, and to simply enjoy the moment.

We can get so stressed out over the little things in life that we actually make ourselves sick: ulcers, muscle tension in our necks, backs, and shoulders, and all sorts of ailments that are a result of too much stress on our bodies.

Remember to take time to laugh each day it can save your life … after all … laughter truly is the best medicine!



When I Grow Up … Making Your Dreams Come True!

Do you remember when you were a kid and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up?

“I want to be a … fireman, policeman, a nurse, a superhero, etc.”

So what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was 7-years-old I wanted to be an entertainer, a stand-up comic. My parents and I would listen to Pat Cooper albums and we would laugh hysterically.

Pat’s real name was Pasquale Caputo and he would talk about growing up in an Italian Family. It didn’t matter if I understood the jokes or not … if Mom and Dad were laughing, I was laughing too.

When I was 16-years-old, I wanted to be the drummer for Van Halen. It didn’t matter that I didn’t play the drums, I dreamed of getting an emergency phone call from Eddie Van Halen telling me that Alex got sick and they desperately needed me!

What is it about children and dreams?

When you’re a kid your dreams and ideas are unlimited, you don’t care if it’s realistic or not, you simply believe you can be anything you want to be.

When a group 5-year-olds were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, the number one response … a super-hero.

What is it about adults and dreams?

At some point most adults give up on their dreams and end up settling. The excitement and aliveness that once filled them seems to fade away each year that passes. Almost as if time is slowly erasing the image of their dreams they painted so many years ago.

A recent Salary.com survey found that only 16% of the people surveyed said they were living their childhood dreams. They went on to say that 60% of those surveyed still wished they could fulfill their dreams!

So what about you?

Maybe your dream to be a ballerina or a policeman changed over the years. The core question here isn’t whether you actually became a super-hero or not … the real questions are:

  1. Are you happy?
  2. Do you love what you do?
  3. Do you love the person you’ve become?
If the answer to any of those question is “no” or “maybe” here are 7 steps that will help you:

7 Steps to Realizing Your Dreams:

  1. Ask yourself: What did I want to be when I grew up?
  2. Look for any correlations between what you wanted to be and who you are today.
  3. Write down on a sheet of paper 10 things you love to do?
  4. Look for any gaps between who you wanted to be and who you are.
  5. Look for any gaps between what you do and what you love to do?
  6. Write down one action you can and will take today to close that gap (make a phone call, an appointment, or put on a cape and run around the house).
  7. Commit to doing one of the things you love to do once a week for one month and watch what happens to your happiness meter.

No, I never became a stand-up comic or the drummer for Van Halen and yet … I love what I do … I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Sometimes I get chills thinking that I get paid to be a professional speaker and to help other realize their potential. It’s like I’m living a dream!

Oh and one last thing … I have a drum set in my living room that I play whenever I want to feel like a rock star …

I’m sure Eddie will call … eventually!



Hey Don’t Wait … I Got An Idea!

This week we’re talking about ideas …

After pondering the topic I had this realization … ideas are simply thoughts that when acted upon, materialize in the physical world.

For example, the Empire State Building was just an idea that formed in someone’s mind. It took action and a whole lot of collaboration to make it come to life.

How many times have you had a brilliant idea  … THAT YOU NEVER TOOK ACTION ON?

Three months later you see your idea materialized in someone else’s business, family, career, relationship, etc. and you say  to yourself, “I coulda, I woulda, I shoulda!”

It is the actions that you take that bring your ideas into existence and sometimes taking action is the only thing  holding you back from being more successful.

Just think if Nicolas Appert never invented the idea of canning food in 1809, Ezra J. Warner might not have been the one to invent the can opener in 1858. Both of these inventions were simply ideas that were acted upon.

So the next time you have an amazing idea … ACT and act fast.

The longer you wait the greater the probability that you will never bring your idea into existence … and someone else will.

It is better to bring an idea that is 70% complete into this world than to NEVER bring an idea that is 99.99999999% complete …

So what amazing ideas have been rolling around in your mind lately?

And you were waiting for what … ?