Stop! Don’t start your day yet!

Please, don’t start your day yet.

Stop right there. You are getting ready to put your life on auto-pilot. Your life is not a Tesla. Don’t start your day until you have finished it.
Red Tesla model S - auto pilot

Autopilot is only for planes and some cars

You do not need auto-pilot for your life. You only get one shot at this. If someone said, “Here, I have deposited $1 million dollars into your bank account. The only stipulation is that you must be purposeful as to what you spend it on.” Would you then go and spend it on whatever hit your fancy at the moment until you had nothing left in your account? No, of course, you wouldn’t, but why do we do this with something that is worth much more than money, our lives. Learn to start your day on the right foot.

Every day is a do-over

Yep, every day is a do-over. We have the opportunity to right the mistakes of the previous day. We don’t have to treat life as if we were shampooing our hair. Rinse and repeat.  When you wake up in the morning, there are of course specific routines that we perform that are good and necessary for all of us, but after these routines have been performed, now it is time to figure out how you want today to be different than yesterday. In this age of texts, emails, voice mails, Skype, Hangouts and the plethora of other means of communication, we have to turn off, shut off, disable those things that demand our attention. Many of these things are merely digital reminders. They aren’t even human! If this day that you have been given, and by the way, each day is a gift, is worth living, then give yourself the best chance to make it better than yesterday.

Each day is like a ski jump

For me, each day is akin to a ski jump. Once you leave the gate, it’s all downhill. Gravity takes over, and there is no stopping.
sitting at the top of the ski jump

I don’t know about you, but it is almost impossible to stop that quick gliding down the slope. Once you start your day, it seems as if gravity takes over.  I liken it to standing at the gate, without your helmet, maybe one ski isn’t fastened in the bindings properly, you left your goggles at home, and then it begins. It’s too late. Your day has already started and at this rate, it’s not going to go well. You have to prepare before you make that long ascent to the top of the ski jump. At home, you would double check to make sure that you have all of your equipment, your skis are waxed to the condition of the slope, you have had ample protein and hydrated your body so that you are ready to go. Also, spending time in prayer or meditation will settle your mind. If I was going to go down a ski jump, all I would do is pray “Oh God, why did I agree to do this!”

Finish your day before you start it

Yep, you heard it right, finish your day before you start it. Know what you want to have accomplished before the end of the day. Know what is going to make the most significant difference in your life today and for others. Make that a priority. Carve out the time required for this. Don’t let anything short-circuit your plan. It’s not enough to think about it.
cartoon character holding oversized pencil with a task list. Start your day right with a to-do list.I find that writing things down solidifies them in my mind. Doing this at home NOT at work is the only way to clear your mind from the distractions. The nonspoken demands that just being in the atmosphere of work tend to kill that quiet space. Once you are at work, you have started that slide down the ski slope.

You will find that this works

I challenge you to try this for one week. If this does not work, then you can unsubscribe to my blog. For those of you that are not subscribers, if it does work, then subscribe.  I have found that this method does work. It is VERY powerful if you will do this in quiet before you begin your day. The goal is to stand at the top of the slope, confident that you are prepared, then let the wind blow through your hair as you glide to the best day of your life!

ski jumper flying in the air

Who loves pulling off a band-aid?

I don’t know about you, but I hate pulling off a well-adhered band-aid.

Knowing that the band-aid is probably going to take off some of the hair on my arm while I quickly yank it off makes me want to leave it there. Ok, it’s getting dirty, and it has gotten used to it’s home on my arm. Do I need to pull it off? They say that just pulling it off quickly is the best practice. Pulling it off slowly only lengthens the pain.
image of a band-aid

Where am I going with this analogy?

I’m at a spot in my life where I’m not comfortable with where I am.  I’ve painted myself in a corner. Even though at the same time, I don’t want to exert the work required to make a change. It’s sort of like, well, pulling off a band-aid. You know that something needs to be done because we can’t live with an old band-aid on our arm, but it’s going to hurt to make the change. There are uncertainties. Will the wound be healed underneath? Will I have to put on another band-aid? Well, you know, the only way to find out is to rip off the band-aid or make that change in your life so that you can find out.

I know I need to make a change.

Yes, I know that I need to make a change, it’s become obvious.
I told my wife, “We can’t go another year like we just had. Work has gotten to the point where it is affecting us physically and mentally.” We were looking for that buoy that we could sail to. Without the buoy to navigate to, we were merely going to sail in circles.
red buoy in the ocean

You see, that buoy that we are circling, has a long cable that goes to an anchor at the bottom of the channel. It’s not going anywhere, but then, neither are we. To sail away from this buoy means going into the open sea where we can’t make out where the next buoy is. Ok, I’ve skipped to another analogy. Hey, this is my blog, deal with it! I need word pictures to make sense of my thoughts. I’m sick of the buoy that I am circling, but like a band-aid, it’s gonna’ hurt to rip it off and leave.

What to do when there is no clear direction.

If you have been living with this band-aid way too long or circling this buoy so long that you’ve begun to talk to it and gave it a name, then it’s time to make the change. Rarely do we make changes so radical that we can’t retrace our steps if it is a bad decision. If this is the case, then why do we delay? It’s what I call the band-aid pain aversion syndrome. You know that there ARE changes that you could make today so that tomorrow isn’t a repeat of today, but the question is, will you? Even if there is no real clear direction, after a while, we have to have faith that some action is better than none.

There is a whole ocean out there with different lands to explore! Can looking at the same old life buoy be that pleasant compared to the mysteries of what life has to offer? Deep inside, you know that NO decision IS a decision.

Come on, pull off that band-aid!
image of band-aid with text rip off like a band-aid

 

 

Hey Entrepreneurs, LIGHTEN UP!

Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?

I have been self-employed most of my life. An entrepreneur is all I’ve ever wanted to be. As a child, I had businesses that I started; they weren’t much, but I knew that I wanted to create something that was lasting and create my destiny. I grew up with stories of my relatives who invented things like the peanut harvester, shock absorbers, and other machinery. Many of my relatives had made the trek to Alaska and started their own business to take advantage of people moving there to seek their fortune. I knew that I wanted to be part of that history as well.

entrepreneurs  are born, not made

Entrepreneurs are born, not made

I have always had that entrepreneurial spark. I thought that since I had that entrepreneurial spark, everyone had it. What I have found is that I was wrong. You see, If you compare people’s personalities to vehicles, I have been trying to make very lovely sedans into sports cars.  A sedan is excellent for getting around town, dependable and a good value for your money, a sports car, not so much. It is made for two things and two things alone, speed and maneuverability.  I can put a cool steering wheel and nice rims on a sedan, but it’s still a sedan. I’m not saying that you can’t add some skills to people who want to learn new leadership skills, you can. But to try and take someone that wants to be great at their job and shoving them into a leadership position is just wrong.

The quicker you learn this as an entrepreneur, the better

Ok, so you are the entrepreneur, you are wondering why everyone that you give an opportunity to is not taking you up on it and not meeting your expectations. “If I can do it, then they can do it.” you think to yourself. WRONG! If they had that entrepreneurial spark, they probably wouldn’t be working for you. If you hired an administrative assistant, let them be a great assistant, don’t try and shove them into a position they never wanted. If you are looking for people who have an interest in learning to develop that entrepreneurial talent that they ALREADY possess, then that is fine, make sure you know what YOU are looking for in potential employees.
happy being me - an entrepreneur

To those past and present employees that I have tried to make into something you never signed up to be, I am genuinely sorry.

 

Face it, You’re Addicted to Love. Wait, I Mean Email!

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…..

Have you ever sat by your mailbox in front of your house or apartment for 8 hours? I’m not talking just one day waiting for that acceptance letter or for your Little Orphan Annie decoder ring. I’m talking, just setting up a chair by the mailbox, five days per week, 8 hours per day? You weren’t waiting for your scholarship letter or even your passport to be delivered. We are talking mainly junk mail. You know, advertisements, pizza coupons, catalogs you never ordered and an occasional electric bill. When you receive your electric bill, do you tell the mailman “Hold up, I want to write a check, get a stamp, then give it back to you.” I’m thinking no. Email is now our preferred method of communication.

Addicted to email. Lady sitting at by a mailbox.5 Clues You are Addicted to your email

  1. The first thing you do in the morning is to check your email.
    I’m talking before you have had your morning cup of joe or take the dog for his morning walk. You get out of bed, and the first place you head is for your phone, tablet, laptop or computer. God forbid that someone if they needed you would call you. Don’t you know that email is so much more personal and urgent?
  2. You sync your email so that it is always alerting you when you get a new email.
    I don’t know about you, but the majority of my emails updates on something I already know about. They are not life-changing. If they were life-changing, I would have told the person to call me the minute they had the news I wanted to hear.
  3. If you don’t check your email, you feel that nagging thought that you are missing something.
    Well yes, you are missing something, people who want to sell you something, ask for something or just let you know of an upcoming event. Sure, there are interoffice emails and answers from clients on proposals you have sent, but have you thought about calling these people or asking them to call you once they have their answer? If they want to go ahead with the proposal, they will probably want to call you if you have directed them to do so. If they don’t, well……you will probably get a rejection by email.
    dear John typewriter. are you addicted to email?
  4. You are behind on big projects you should have already completed.
    Instead of deciding what you wanted to get accomplished before the end of the day, those things that are going to mean the most at the end of the day, you just wait for an email to arrive so you can read it and reply. Instead of planning your day, you let your emails plan your day for you. Even if you are a CEO, if you are doing this, then you are a slave, not the master of your destiny.
  5. You leave work or your house feeling that you wasted another entirely good day and can’t figure out what you did that day.
    You know what, you are right. You did waste another perfectly good day. You let a bunch of 1’s and 0’s, digital media dictate your day for you. Your inbox may be empty, but so is your essential project list empty; you know, the one that you created a month ago that you haven’t looked at. You have become a slave to your emails. They now control you. You have given up all autonomy to others. Their agenda has now become your agenda. You don’t have a plan. This incessant phrase controls you.
    you've got mail picture. are you addicted to email?

It’s time to say No!

This has become like a drug. Why do you think when you log into your email, it asks for the ‘User’ ID? It’s not going to be easy to wean off of this drug. It’s going to be painful, and others, those ‘Pushers’ of email are not going to like it. They won’t like that you don’t instantly reply to their never-ending emails. You will have to set boundaries. You might even have an auto-reply that says something like this: “Thanks for your email. I check my emails twice per day. I will get back to you as soon as I am able. If you need assistance quicker, you have my number.” Can you do this? Do you want to do this? How has this been going for you so far? You know what I’m talking about.

Test for email drug usage

Set up an auto-reply for one day. “I will be out of the (office, desk, area) today. I will answer your email tomorrow when I return.”
If you are expecting some big email, then let your associate, spouse or significant other, check the subject or senders for you to make sure this base is covered. I didn’t say it was going to be easy, but if you can’t make it without emails for one day, then you are out of control and have given this control to anybody that decides to fill your inbox.

Are you a Joseph? Destiny and Your Life

Do you believe that you have a destiny?

I’ve felt that I was created for something extraordinary since I was a child. I don’t mean that I wanted to always be a doctor or an astronaut. I’ve just felt as though I was created to be something that was bigger than myself. I know what many of you are thinking. “He thinks he is Joseph with his fancy coat of many colors. Let’s throw him in a well.” Well wait, before you throw me in that proverbial well, maybe you have felt the same way at times in your life.

joseph and coat of many colorsIt started when I was young

It all started when I was young. My parents were musicians and artists. Maybe I got it honestly as they say. At a young age, I was put in front of people to play the piano, sing and act. I’m surprised I didn’t end up in vaudeville, but that was before my time. I do know that I had quite a vivid imagination. I always had projects going, either building underground forts, spaceships, digging a fish pond in our backyard, setting up all kinds of trails and rides. You see, I didn’t want to sit and watch TV or read a book. I wanted to do something that was worth writing about. I saw each day as an opportunity to explore, think of what the world needed, then go out and create it.

At age 14, things started to change

When I turned 14, my body started to change, my voice cracked, my outlook turned more introspective and I started to wonder what I should put my hand to in life. I had obtained my first job. We lived near farms so working on a farm was the easiest place to get a job. I worked 40 hours a week during the summer and this taught me the meaning of hard work, but this also took a lot of time from when I would spend thinking and being creative. It was then that I started to wonder what my destiny in life was. I know that I was quite young to begin thinking of this type of thing, but as I said, I was introspective. I tried a bunch of different things, but none of them really grabbed me like rocketry. I really wanted to push the envelope of what was available to kids in regards to model rockets.  I wanted to discover new methods of propulsion. Unfortunately, I got a bum steer from a well-meaning uncle that told me that going to work for NASA wasn’t a good idea in the 70’s due to the downsizing of the Apollo program. It was my fault for listening to him. I don’t blame him.

nasa logo

Now that I am a few years older

Well, I’m not exactly 14. I’m now 62. No, I didn’t go to work for NASA. I started my own business and it has worked out quite well. I’m not complaining, but there is still that nagging feeling that there is something out there that I am supposed to become. It is now stronger than it ever has been. I don’t see my age as a hindrance. I see it as years under my belt that gives me the wisdom to go to this next phase of my life. I still love to learn. I  started taking cello lessons, like to read about Physics and I’m open to new technologies and ideas.  I get up early each day, looking forward to what the day has to bring, spending time reading, in prayer and meditation and planning.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

I don’t know, maybe I have a Joseph complex. It could be, but I really don’t think so.
C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” Do you believe this? Do you think you are too old to dream new dreams?

In the comments section, why not add your 2 cents or let me know if you have felt the same way about your destiny at any point in your life. Maybe they made more than one of these multi-colored coats!

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