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!

 



Do You Really Know How To Swim?

high_dive

Recently, a friend of mind and I were discussing the topic of commitment. I was sharing a situation where I felt that I needed to be ‘all in’ or not. Fence-sitting for too long can be uncomfortable.

Let me add here, that at times, I have been known to analyze, scrutinize, and over-think, a situation to death … and this was one of those times!

My friend Matt was telling me about a television show he watched where they asked a guy if he knew how to swim. The guy replied, “Sure, I watched videos on the internet and practiced on the kitchen floor!”

Matt was quick to follow up with, “Imagine someone thinking they could swim because they watched a video, rolled around on the floor, BUT never got in the water!”

It get worse!

He then said “So are you in … or are you out … you know you said those exact same words to me not too long ago … remember?”

One of the worst things about having a close friend is that they will remind you of things you told them when they were in a similar situation. One of the best things about having a close friend is that you can trust them to tell you the truth … even when it stings.

What’s The Point?

  1. You can’t swim … until you get in the water.
  2. You won’t realize your dreams … until you take a step to act-u-a-l-i-z-e them.
  3. You aren’t a leader …. because you read a book on leadership or have a title!
  4. You aren’t a parent … if you’ve never raised kids!
  5. You will never experience love … if you’re not willing to be open your heart, take a risk, and let it in!

If you truly want and desire something you have to be willing to take a leap of faith and jump into the deep end of the pool. And you have to do it … even if you’re afraid.

A lot of people have dreams and desires … few people are willing to risk what it takes to experience them.

Bill Cosby once said, In order to succeed, your desire for success should (must) be greater than your fear of failure.

So do you need to jump in the pool in some area of your life?

If so … my wish for you is that you choose … the deep end?



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?



How Do You Solve A Problem Like …

At any given time in life we are all faced with problems and challenges.

It’s a fact … you can’t navigate through life and avoid having problems.

Problems will come no matter how hard you wish them away. What you believe about problems and the actions you take as a result of your beliefs will determine your level of happiness as well as your ability to work through them towards a solution.

That said … here are 6 lessons I have learned about problems:

  1. Whatever problem you are experiencing … chances are someone else is dealing with one that would make your problem look like a sneeze in comparison.
  2. While it is our inclination to immediately try to resolve the problem, sometimes it is best to sit in it for a short spell. Why? Just to make sure you are understand and address the cause of the problem and not just the symptom(s).
  3. You can ignore a problem and bury your head in the sand. However, it is just a matter of time before it rears its ugly head  again. Only this time the head will be a little bigger and a lot uglier.
  4. At some point after sitting in a problem (for too long) and not coming up with a solution – the only way out is to take the focus off of yourself and serve others. Self-centered-ness can lead to depression.
  5. You can change your perspective on problems by asking yourself, “What can I learn from this experience? and “How can I benefit from what I am learning?”
  6. If the problem exists … the solution exists simultaneously … you just might not be able to recognize it in the moment. Step back, breathe, and walk away for awhile. When you come back there is a good chance you will see things in a different light and the solution (which may have been there all along) will be more evident.
  7. (Your turn … fill in the blank)

Obviously the list is incomplete. Maybe a great question to ask at this point would be … “So what lessons have you learned from your problems?”

Would you be willing to share your wisdom with the rest of us?

Who knows,  your wisdom might just influence someone who needs a little help today and besides we’d love to hear from you!



Faux Praise … Faux Pas
November 8, 2012, 6:45 am
Filed under: Aliveness, Authentic Leadership, Joe Contrera | Tags: , , ,

Much has been written on the positive effect that praise can have on a person.

Whether it’s an employee, coworker, or your children, healthy praise can help a person to feel good.

Yet there doesn’t seem to be as much written about the negative impact that false praise can have on an individual. This typically happens when the intent is to manipulate or to selfishly serve the needs of the person who is giving praise.

Recently I listened to an audio book written by Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich) in 1938 entitled, Outwitting the Devil. It was held back from publication for 73 years because of what Hill wrote about the the church, the government, and the media. It was finally released in 2011 at a time when the challenges our country was facing in 1938 are eerily similar to those we are challenged with today.

In a later chapter Hill writes that one of the most powerful ways a person can drift  from their definite purpose in life and get off-course is if they have an inflated desire for praise and admiration. Hill labeled it as the ego of men and the vanity of women (the word metrosexual wasn’t invented yet).

Now regardless of whether or not you believe Hill is being sexist, the point here is that faux (fake) praise can lead you down a path to faux pas (mistakes).

Think about it … if a person’s sense of self worth and value is tied to external factors such as praise and admiration from others, they are setting themselves up to be redirected by those same outside factors. Some of the greatest con men who ever lived used faux praise as a powerful tool to mislead their victims.

So what about you? How is praise impacting your life?

3 Things Ask Yourself About Praise:

  1. Do I seek praise from others (external) so that I can feel a sense of sense of self worth and value (internal)? Granted everyone needs a pat on the back. However, if you don’t feel valuable on the inside nothing anybody can say from the outside will give your life meaning.
  2. Do I feel a differently when I receive praise from someone of the opposite sex?  Yes, we all like praise, but if you get a much bigger buzz off of a compliment from the opposite sex you might want to pay attention and ask yourself why?
  3. Do I ever give praise in order to manipulate others so that I can get what I want? A good rule of thumb here is to give praise to an individual with no strings attached. Simply give them the compliment and walk away. Hanging around and then asking for something in return will give the other person a sense that they are being manipulated.

Zig Ziglar once said, “If you’re sincere, praise is effective. If you’re insincere, it’s manipulative.”

And that’s all I have to say about that!



An Opportunity of a Lifetime

Webster defines op•por•tu•ni•ty as:

1. an appropriate or favorable time or occasion:
2. a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.

So what might be stopping you from taking advantage of a favorable time or occasion?

Maybe you’ve heard this before …

I would … if it were only the right time.

I would if the economy, situation, recovery, timing, circumstances, or situation were … right!

When I reflect back on some of the greatest opportunities in my life,  it always seemed like at the time, it was never the perfect time to take action.

February 8, 2000. I am sitting on a beach with my mentor overlooking the Sea of Cortez, it’s a turning point in my life.

I want to be a professional speaker and yet I am afraid of unlocking the golden handcuffs that had me locked in to a highly paid job that I had outgrown.

My mentor says to me, “So when will you leave your job and follow your dream?”

“September …  I will resign in September,” I reply.

He asks again only this time louder, almost shouting, “So when will you leave your job and follow your dream?”

I was shaking, I was scared. He was challenging me to walk away from my identity, my security, and everything I had worked toward for 17 years!

23 days later I resigned and my life has never been the same!

And why am I telling you this?

Chances are you have a dream or an idea that you haven’t acted on … yet!

Maybe you hear that inner voice whispering that you are not living the life that you want to live or being the person you know you can be.

Do you find yourself saying, “I will jump when the economy turns around, the election is over, I feel more secure, the stars are aligned, or when things feel more right?”

The truth is …  there is no perfect time, right time, safe time, etc.

There is now! Right now!

Right now is the perfect time to make that move, to start that business, to play big, to take a leap of faith, knowing you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

NOW is an opportunity of a lifetime … you just have to open your eyes and let go of your fear.

So are you ready for your opportunity of a lifetime?



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?