Aliveatwork's Blog


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?

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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?



The Problem With Loyalty …

Some leaders believe that because they hold a position or title, they deserve the undying loyalty of their people even when they treat others poorly.

That isn’t loyalty, that’s positional leadership and it is the lowest form of leader ship.

Some folks believe that because someone is “family,” they are entitled to the loyalty of the other members of the “family,” even though a member’s behavior doesn’t warrant it.

That isn’t loyalty, that’s dysfunction.

Politicians and voters believe that once you claim membership in a particular party, you must vote along party lines even if when you vehemently disagree  with a stance, position, or candidate.

That isn’t loyalty, that is submission bordering on totalitarianism.

Loyalty is not an entitlement, it is not a reward for achieving status, nor is it a reason to be guilted into doing something that you don’t want to do or saying something you don’t want to stay.

And yet people are strongly urged to vote along party lines to protect an idealism, they participate in unhealthy relationships in the name of preserving the family, and they believe that a word or letters after their name earns them respect.

As with all things … you can’t give away something that you don’t have.

In other words … you can not be loyal to something or someone else if you are first disloyal to your self!

It’s that simple …



What’s Really on Your Mind?

Every couple of months I have the privilege of working work with a group of folks from Best Buddies of Arizona.

Best Buddies is an international organization who’s mission is to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships, employment opportunities and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Each and every time I go I always receive an unexpected gift or lesson.

A few weeks ago while I was interacting with one of the team members, I was struck by the notion that I was surrounded by some of the most authentic people I have ever met in my life.

And that got me thinking … what is it about this extraordinary group of individuals that makes this experience feel so genuine?

As I pondered that question I came to this conclusion: The reason this feels so genuine is because they don’t hold back … they say what’s on their minds and have no problem telling you how they feel.

In a world of soundbites, political back-stabbing, spin, and dis-ingenuousness … they are a  welcomed breathe of fresh air.

No filters, no facades, and no masks. They live in the moment … totally engaged in life!

How wonderful is that … how authentic is that … how real is that?

What if more people spoke their truth instead of hiding behind a veil of filters and fear?

What if we didn’t have to be soooooooo politically correct that we defy logic because someone or some group is offended?

What if more people said what they meant and meant what they said at work, at home, and especially in Washington D.C.?

And for the record: I am not talking about maliciously hurting others out of  ignorance or fear. That isn’t the point, that is just the other extreme.

What I am saying is that we seem to be trading authenticity and truth for dis-ingenuousness and mis-truths.

My friend Richard shared this quote with me by Aristotle and I think it applies perfectly:

 “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

So what about you … what’s really on your mind?



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.



The Power of a Smile …
August 17, 2012, 5:45 am
Filed under: Alive @ Work, Aliveness, Joe Contrera, Leadership | Tags: , , ,

Occasionally I feel the need to share a personal experience with you especially when something impacts me in a profound way.

Yes, I know this is a business blog …

And yet in my day-to-day life I find it nearly impossible to separate the closely intertwined personal thoughts and emotions from my business.

The other day I was thinking about my dad who passed away last Thanksgiving weekend after years of battling various ailments.

As I thought about him and how close we were, I began to reminisce about moments that we shared as his life was winding down.

One of those moments took place last fall in his room at the nursing home. He was sharing a story about a prank he had played on one of his coworkers when he was a young man.

I had heard the story many times before … it didn’t matter … I could listen to his stories a thousand times over.

What struck me most about that particular time was that he was telling the story as if it was the first time anybody was hearing it AND it was the first time he had ever spoken what had happened some 50 odd years before.

He was smiling and laughing so hard he could barely get the story out.

It was in that moment … the smile and laughter on his face had erased all signs of age or ailment. In that moment … he was 28 years old again.

A smile is a powerful thing …

A smile can melt away sadness, erase the effects of age and disease, and can stir your heart .

It can remind you to appreciate the ones you love who are still here … and it can momentarily bring back the ones you love who aren’t.

The Power of a Smile … what an amazing thing!

Maybe today … you can remember something or someone to smile about?



L-O-V-E: The One You’re With …
August 1, 2012, 6:23 am
Filed under: Alive @ Work, Aliveness, Self Improvement | Tags: , , ,

I have a number of friends who are single …

One of the things I hear them they say is, “I wish I could find someone to love …”

I have a number of friends who are married …

One of the things I hear them say is, “Sometimes I wish I was single …”

I once heard a story that Pastor Joel Osteen shared. He said a man was married to his wife who had 80% of the qualities he loved and adored. However, she was  missing 20% of the other things that he wanted. So he found another women who had that 20% and he left his wife. Later he found out that this new gal definitely had the 20% … but she was missing the other 80%!

Does it seem like some folks believe if they were just somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else, they would be happier?

So that got me thinking ….

Imagine how much happier people would be if they simply … loved the one they were with!

Love the partner you’re with, the kids you have, the friends in your life, the parents you were given. Same goes for the job you have, the car you drive and the house you live in.

Life is just too short to waste it away thinking about being someplace else with someone else and having different things!

And that’s all I have to say bout that …