Aliveatwork's Blog


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!

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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?



It’s a Manner of Respect …

I was raised to “respect my elders.”

I was taught that “children should be seen and not heard.”

And if I did those things I would be a well-mannered, well-behaved child.

Not saying it was perfect or right … just saying it is what I was taught.

Nowadays it appears that the pendulum has swung 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

We seem to have very little respect for our elders almost as if they don’t deserve respect. Seeing what teachers have to tolerate in classrooms from students these days is appalling.

Watching a 4 year old in a shopping cart having a melt-down because they can’t have what they want and then smacking their mother while the parent tolerates it simply seems absurd to me. Children are seen and heard so loudly that they seem to be the ones running the family.

I am not saying we should go back to the draconian ways of the past, I just think we need to find a balance, a center when it comes to manners and how we treat each other.

It all boils to respect and the golden rule:

  • You can’t be a parent who doesn’t respect yourself and then demand respect from your children
  • You can’t demand respect from the younger generations if you don’t respect them or model respect for the older generations.

Children want, need, and deserve to be taught self respect. They want, need, and deserve to know that they have self worth and value and that they can make a difference. It’s in our DNA. They need to know you believe in them and sometimes that means not giving them everything they want.

Throwing money at your kids so you don’t have to spend quality time with them or so they don’t have a meltdown is just one way of disrespecting them. It sends the message that they are not valued and they can be bought for a few bucks.

Well mannered individuals are individuals who respect themselves and therefore have the capacity to respect others as well.

So what are you modeling?



Your Best Is Not …

Have you ever been in a situation involving another person where you thought to yourself …

“You know, if they just worked harder they would be so much better off”

Maybe you exited from the highway and at the end of the ramp was a homeless person with a sign and you thought …

“If you would stop begging and go look for a job, you wouldn’t be in this situation.”

In situations that involve others we need to remember that we don’t know the whole story.

We don’t know: what they’ve experienced in their past, what they’re experiencing now, their mental capacity, how they think, what they think, or their background … were they  abused, a veteran, or are they developmentally challenged, etc.

We really don’t know anything about them and yet we judge them for not doing their best because it’s not our best.

In times like this, I find myself needing to regroup, step back, and say: “At this exact moment in time they are doing the best they can with what they have.”

Some may disagree … and for those of you who do, please know that you will never fully know what is going on inside the mind of anyone else. You can only project your own inner thoughts and beliefs onto them.

Here’s what I know … someday (hopefully) you are going to be much older than you are today.

At that point in your life you will not hear as well, you will move slower, think slower, and forget things. You will repeat stories over and over and you will need help to do the things that you used to do by yourself from the time you were 3 years old.

You will have good days and you will have days when you feel like you can’t do anything right!

And on those not so good days you will be praying that the people around you see someone who in that exact moment in time is doing their best.

2 final thoughts:

What you put out there is what you get back … eventually

AND your best is not the same as everyone else’s.



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!



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 … ?