Are you Any-body or some-body?

Are you Any-body or Some-body Special?

Being different in life is a great way to build your self confidence. The definition of self confidence is, “You decide to take a specific action so that you can earn and deserve the right to feel good about yourself.”

I was contemplating this last weekend on my long run and started to thing about the implications of the definition. I know I have covered this in previous thoughts but some things are so important, sometimes, they bear repeating.

Do you realize the amount of freedom we are blessed to have? In America, almost Any-body can do almost anything. That is the dream and the hope that has built this nation. The sad part about America is that although almost Any-body can do anything, most Any-body and Every-body tends to do what is easiest. We all tend to take the path of least resistance in life. We see this everyday in work, finances, health, and relationships.

Any-body can do something but it takes Some-body special to do what others are not willing too. It takes Some-body special to get up on a Saturday morning at 5am and go out on a training run for 17 miles. Any-body can sneak out of the office early on Friday to get to happy hour but it takes Some-body special to put in that little bit of extra time to get the job done right before leaving. Anybody can go out and get a credit card and get in debt by overspending but it takes a special Some-body to earn, save and actually own their home and car mortgage free. Anybody can put on that extra 20 pounds by sitting on the couch every night watching TV (one statistic I read stated the average child watches 22 hours of TV per week and adults average 8 hours per week—but they can not find time to exercise or spend quality family time). Anybody can go to work for somebody else, not pursue their dreams and put in their 8 hours and go home. It takes a Some-body special to understand their interests, strengths, and purpose in life, create their own business, and take on the risks of being an entrepreneur and providing jobs to others so they can feed their families. Any-body can not be invested in their community and not go out of their way to cultivate friendships outside of co-workers. It takes Some-body to find a meaningful pursuit that helps others less fortunate than them and invest their time building relationships with others. Do you get the point?

My question to you this week is, “In your life, where are you showing up an Any-body?” Where are you doing what Any-body and Every-body else is?” Where are you buying into the status quo of underachievement, living that unfulfilled meaningless life, and believing that you can’t do anything in the current economics to make your life better? Any-body can be an ant, following the ant in front of them, going to the same piece of food, taking your little piece and returning home. It takes a Some-body special ant to break away from the status quo and go find food itself. That is what builds up the self confidence of the ant and in the end benefits the entire community! Step up, face life’s challenges, commit to something different that Any-body COULD do, and be that Some-body special to ACTUALLY do it.

"Two Roads Converged…"

“Two Roads Converged…”

Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of taking Isabelle to school. As we came up to the stoplight leading out of our neighborhood, the line was very long and I guessed that it would take about 3 light changes before we would be able to turn left onto the main street. We were looking at a ten minute wait in line which meant she would be late for school.

Instinct took over and I quickly merged into the right hand lane. I drove past the long line of cars straight up to the light. At this point, the only way for us to go was the “wrong” way. We had to turn right instead of left, which took us farther away from her school. Isabelle immediately realized we were going the wrong direction and asked, “Daddy, why are we were going the “wrong” way?”

I turned right, drove 100 yards and turned around in a different neighborhood entrance. Almost immediately, I was able to make the left hand turn onto the main street going towards Isabelle’s school. As I drove, I explained to Isabelle that I was taking a “secret short cut” to school and even though it seemed like the “wrong” way, sometimes going the opposite way of everyone else was quicker. We would have to experiment and see if it was true. In this case, it was true, much to her delight. She even waved at the line of cars as we passed them, who were still waiting for the light to turn green.

A similar experience occurred at the Atlanta airport last Friday. I was waiting for my return flight and needed to stretch my legs one last time before boarding time. As I walked farther and farther down the terminal wing away from the main hub, I noticed that not only did the people traffic lighten up but the drink prices for Coke and water dropped with every store. It was also amazing that the Coke prices were lower than the water prices. Isn’t it ironic how what is better for you is sometimes more expensive and what seems easier, less expensive and more convenient is sometimes not as good for you?

In today’s world, with the media news, business forecasts, stock market news, and radio ads, you may need to get away from the mainstream, take a walk away from the mainstream to where it is not as crowded. It is good to notice where opportunity lies and more often than not, it will be away from popular idealism. Making a little bit better investment on what you are feeding your mind, body and spirit can make a big difference in your health. It can also provide you the edge that will make a small difference in your life today and a very BIG difference in your life in the long run. Make the investment in yourself that will yield results for you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. If you take the initiative to walk a little farther away from the crowds you may be surprised at the deals you will find.

This morning Isabelle asked me if we were taking the “secret short cut” to school. It took me a moment to understand that she had changed her association from us going to school the “wrong” way to the “secret short cut” way. Separate yourself from the rest of the people who are waiting in line for something different to happen. That is the secret to getting ahead. All of the answers you need to overcome any challenge in your life right now are out there waiting for you. Be courageous, brave and try going the “wrong” way once in a while. We will see you at the “secret short cut” turnaround and we’ll be sure and wave “Hi!”

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What are you Willing to Give Up?

What are you willing to give up?

Have you ever had a nightmare that seemed real? During Nicolas’ youth sports we saw many nightmares come true when it came to watching fathers coach their sons’ team. Whether it was the other parents in the stands complaining of favoritism and unfair playing time, the coach getting upset at how his son was playing or the son acting out in defiance of the father; it seemed that for both the father and the son there was more pain associated to coaching and playing than pleasure.

So, there I was on the Board of Directors at the YMCA, my son on a basketball roster that had no coach, and the Director of the YMCA asking me if I had ever considered coaching.

Of course, I had considered it and promptly dismissed it. I had all of the freedom that I wanted being the “Best Fan” on the sidelines. All I had to do was show up, sit down and cheer for Nicolas from the bench and occasionally bring drinks. Bringing drinks was the best part because I could bring his favorite flavor Gatorade and be the hero without much effort.

As I heard myself say, “Sure, I can be an assistant coach for the team,” I was screaming inside of my head, “What did you just say?” And, as I showed up on the first day of practice, as the Head Coach for the team, I was way out of my comfort zone.

A funny thing happened as the weeks of practice and games progressed. I received some basketball training books, I checked out training DVD’s from the library, and continued to educate and discipline myself to show up with a plan for every practice. I agonized over every drill, every tip, hint and suggestion that I gave every young boy. I arm chair quarterbacked myself in my abilities after every practice and game. And, through personal discipline to always be a better coach, learned a lot.

One practice in particular, I took candy to reward players for some drills we did at the end of practice and as the boys eagerly grabbed and fought for their favorite flavor, one young boy on the team, Johnny declined. His dad explained to me that for Lent he had given up candy. Johnny was 9 at the time and I was seriously impressed at the character and discipline he was living. As I learned more about Johnny I found that he played on our team, his school team, and lived at the gym playing ball with the grownups 7 days a week. His mom would pick him up from his school practice, feed him in the car and bring him to our practice. Sometimes after our practice, if his schoolwork was completed, his dad would take him to the gym to play.

Many people in life want the Freedom and instant gratification that comes from having no discipline or rules. You have heard people say, “I want to be thin so that I can eat whatever I want” or “I wish I was rich so I could buy anything that I wanted and not worry about money ever again.” If you were thin, you would not eat anything you wanted and if you did, you would not be thin for long. Same with being rich, if you never focused and concerned about how you spent your money, you would find yourself broke.

True Freedom in life comes only through discipline. The word discipline comes from the root word disciple, which means, “a student, a learner.” Discipline also comes in two different forms. We can discipline ourselves to NOT have something. During Lent, it is traditionally represented as something that you “give up” for the 40 days. If you are older, you may remember that every Friday it was tradition to not eat red meat. Fasting is also associated with Lent in order to represent cleansing and purification. The ability to discipline ourselves also can be done to “have” something. I personally am giving up procrastination and am disciplining myself to “Have” more focus in my writing and business sales everyday.

We learn through gaining knowledge, taking action and self evaluation. The freedom of movement a thin person experiences only comes by being disciplined about what they put in their mouth and how they move their body to exercise. A rich person is rich because they have disciplined themselves on how to maximize their income and cut their expenses to an acceptable standard of living for themselves. Johnny will grow up and experience the joy and freedom of being on his high school team, college team, and I believe the NBA because he disciplines himself to create positive habits and behaviors that put him ahead. The freedom to REALLY develop a meaningful relationship with my son only came when I overcame my own fears and insecurities. I disciplined myself with gaining knowledge, planning, taking action, and self evaluating my performance to become the coach that I wanted to be for myself, my son, and his team mates.

If you want to travel more, buy that new car, improve your relationships, move towards that more meaningful job it will only come from disciplining yourself to do something new in order to grow. I would encourage you to find a place in life where you can set a higher standard of discipline for yourself. You will be amazed at the results you will receive from it in the long run. Nicolas will not remember that I used to bring Lemon-Lime Gatorade for his drinks once a season, but he will always remember me as his coach and “Best Fan.” You can the freedom to have all that you desire in life with a little more discipline. It is the essence of success and the cornerstone of character.

To your continued success,

James M Murphy

Simon Says…

Many years ago when I first started watching an occasional episode of American Idol, I was shocked, speechless, and sometimes stunned by what “Simon says.” However, I have watched many episodes since then and out of all of the judges, I look forward to his feedback the most.

As a member of Toastmaster’s, nothing bummed me out more than receiving a speech evaluation of, “You are so much better than me so I don’t even know what to say,” or “you are so good, I can never find anything to say bad about your speech.” All that I heard was, “Blah, blah, blah.” That feedback was extremely ineffective and meaningless to me. I imagine the evaluator felt they were cheering me up and making me feel good. Many times, I left the meeting questioning how good or poor my performance was.

So there I was last night in front of my bathroom mirror, brushing my teeth, and thinking, “What would Simon say?” I had lost 5 pounds about a month ago and had not gone up or down since then. I stopped exercising due to some serious chest congestion but had not made any further progress. As I pinched the bit around my waist and turned sideways, I gave myself a Simon, American Idol, reality check. My long term goal was not being met and even though I have a million reasons, “why,” my waist and self image were staying the same. That direct feedback did NOT leave me with a good feeling.

When a person stops and evaluates the situation they are in, there are always two ways to look at it. When I looked at myself in the mirror, it was a great time to acknowledge what was great about the situation. I was down 5 pounds, had not gained it back, and was having this painful discussion with myself! However, with an honest long term evaluation of where I was now and where I want to be this summer when I take off my shirt at the beach, there was clearly more progress that needed to be made. I was still able to pinch more than an inch and it was hard to stomach! Truthful feedback, even when it is not what we want it to be, engages our levels of emotion and motivation which allows us to keep working towards our goals or get frustrated, give up, and quit.

In that painful moment a profound decision was made. I recommitted to my goal and vision of being on the beach. The next morning I was running again and making better food choices. In Toastmasters’, I found some good honest “Simon says” evaluators and engaged them to give me honest, direct, and blunt feedback after the meetings on my performance. I have a newfound appreciation for my new version of “Simon says…”

If you are stuck in a place without much motivation, the first thing you can do is to give yourself some direct “Simon says” feedback. Get real and evaluate your performance today in relationship to what it takes to “be the next American Idol.” Evaluate your current performance to what it will take to win the whole competition. It will show you where you can grow and be more instead of becoming complacent and feeling good where you are. After all, having watched several seasons of American Idol, Simon has always been right.

Are you thinking BIG enough?

Are You Dreaming BIG Enough?

Every night before dinner, we say Grace. It is a great moment for us to remember what we are thankful for in life and share what is in our heart with each other. My 5-year old daughter, Isabelle, said grace last night and this is what she shared with us, “Starlight, Starbright, I wish for all of the beautiful things in life, for all our dreams to come true, and we learn a lot, Amen.” Then she asked me a question, “Daddy, will it come true?”

We all face challenges on the way to achieving our goals and need support to achieve them. I was talking to my cousin the other day about some sales and marketing issues in my business. He is a very successful entrepreneur and after our short 5 minute call, I left totally energized. He opened my mind to levels of success and prosperity that had not previously entered my mind. My thinking was stretched outside of the box of what I thought was possible and the vision I had for my business grew ten fold.

Are you dreaming big enough? That is my question for the week. Are you dreaming BIG enough? Take a moment and think of all that you can be. Even as you answer that, you are still more than that. And if you can dream even bigger than that, you are still more than that. And yet again, you are even more than that.

In today’s economy there is prosperity, abundance and the ability to achieve big dreams. Are you reaching out those people who will believe in you, your ability, and you being more than you think are? Your peer group is critical in terms of surrounding yourself with possibility. This is the greatest time in history to step up and create all that you desire. You will have to take on the challenges of leadership and uncertainty. You may have to stop relying on a business to provide a job for you and provide one for yourself. You may need to move, downsize, or one of many different things in order to set yourself up for prosperity in the future. No matter what it is, KEEP YOUR DREAM ALIVE and KEEP DREAMING BIG! Where your focus goes, energy and emotion flows.

My answer to Isabelle’s question was simple. “If you continue to believe in your dreams, surround yourself with people who believe in your dream, and work hard enough, all of your dreams will come true.”

Are you a great communicator?

Are you a Good Communicator?

Last weekend, I was in a local department store to pick up a back-ordered item that had come in. The store was fairly busy and there was a long line of people waiting in line to checkout. I overheard a nicely dressed lady, who was speaking on her cell phone, use that magical phrase, “What part of “NO” don’t you understand?”

It reminded me of when Nicolas was young. He had some of the greatest phrases. He came home from school one day and stated that we were going to be celebrating “Marfa-Loofa King Day.” He also loved to go swimming in his “bailing suit” and when things were going great he would answer “Okey-Donkey” instead of “Okey-Dokey”! My daughter Isabelle also has some lines to communicate. She loves eating those yummy little green fruits called, “Ba-kiwi’s. Originally, they were “Bikini’s,” but she took our correction well. She also loves to have “Syr-ee-up” on her pancakes and eat “straw-burr-erries.” My wife and I understood what they were saying but others had no clue as to what they were trying to communicate.

There are two great books, “Anguished English” and “More Anguished English” by Richard Lederer that give hilarious examples of miscommunication. Here are some headlines from newspapers that are noteworthy, “Dover Clinic Applauds State’s Unwanted Pregnancy Drive”, “Another Body Found Missing”, and “Nude Man Pulls Knife on Workers.”

In all of the above examples, who is communicating effectively and who is not? When all is said and done, the only meaning your communication has is the meaning the other person interprets from it, not the meaning you intended to communicate. Keeping this in mind could stop a lot of miscommunication and solve a lot of problems. For everyone out there who feels misunderstood, try communicating a different message.

As for our kids, we communicated effectively because we understood what they were trying to communicate even though the words they used didn’t make sense to others. My wife and I found their communications to be quite endearing, once we understood their meanings.

Next time you hear, “What part of “NO” don’t you understand?” in a conversation, you may ask yourself, “What part of “NO” did that parent not effectively communicate to their child?” Chances are, the child heard something very different than what the parent was trying to communicate and the parent was probably way off in what they were expecting their child to know or understand.

If you feel like no one understands you, try communicating in a different way. Use different words, phrases, metaphors or analogies. Remember, the only meaning of your communication is the meaning the other person interprets from it! It is your responsibility to communicate effectively with others.

Don’t Smash My Fruit!

Don’t Smash My Fruit!

My little one and I were at the grocery store the other day and had the most wonderful and frustrating experience. The gentleman in the produce section was courteous, helpful, and went out of his way to help us with our shopping. He gave my daughter a free banana and gave us a quick National Geographic lesson on how monkeys peel bananas upside down. (Yes, it was cool and really works!)

The young lady bagging our groceries provided us with the exact opposite experience. She was deep into a conversation with the cashier and as she reached out to place the bag of fruit into the cart she missed, and dropped it straight onto the floor! She picked it up and the next bag into the cart contained maple syrup, butter, and salsa. It landed right on top of my already bruised fruit! In my head I was screaming, “Don’t smash my fruit!”

I have to admit that “smashing my fruit” is a pet peeve of mine and this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. So, keeping my emotions in check I stated, “Excuse me, next time could you please not put the heavy stuff on top of my fruit?” The bagger ended her conversation, turned a quarter turn away from me, folded her arms, stared at the floor and promptly ignored me. So, I stated again, “Excuse me ma’am, next time please don’t set the heavy stuff on the fruit, that bruises it.” The lady stayed turned away with no eye contact and stone cold silence. I was shocked at her ignoring me.

By the time I reached the car I was very emotionally charged. I was frustrated at the way I was treated as a customer and mad at myself for all of the times in the past I didn’t say anything when my fruit was smashed. As I slammed the trunk closed, all I could think was, “THEY SMASHED MY FRUIT!” At this point, I was feeling a healthy amount of internal conflict between the need to gain other’s acceptance and approval or the voice that said, “stick up for what you believe in, that was horrible customer service!”

It was a perfect moment for some deep change. In any heightened emotional moment if you find a way to resolve the conflict inside, new beliefs will be formed at a very deep level.

In that moment, I made a huge decision to interrupt my old pattern of behavior. I pushed away all of the old thoughts and beliefs that were running around in my head and marched directly to the customer service desk.

I approached the manager and proceeded to tell her what was on my mind, “I just wanted to let you know about my shopping experience today. I had the most wonderful experience with the gentleman in the produce department. He went above and beyond in his customer service. My checkout experience was the direct opposite. The lady bagging the groceries dropped my fruit on the floor and then smashed them again when she put the other heavy bags on top. When I asked her as politely as I could to please not put the heavy stuff on the fruit she completely ignored me, twice. I just wanted to give you some feedback on my shopping experience today.” The manager thanked me for my feedback and said that she would make a note of it.

My voice and body were shaking with emotion as I left the store. In that emotionally intense moment I was able to anchor in some new powerful beliefs.

First and foremost, act in integrity with yourself. If I would have said something the first time my fruit was smashed I wouldn’t have been in such an intense place.

Give feedback so that others can take responsibility for their actions. Love the person enough to give feedback in a non-threatening way by addressing the behavior, NOT THE PERSON. As long as it is done without anger or malicious intent, it is for the other person to take or leave. I do not know what came from the experience for her on her end but she was the one to take responsibility for her actions from there.

Next time someone smashes your fruit, I wish you continued success in acting with integrity and giving constructive feedback to others.

If you need some support because too many people are smashing your fruit, interrupt your pattern! Call TODAY for your evolution towards greater success. Commit to 3 or more coaching sessions in the month of October and/or order a Sure Hire Assessment and receive 10% off!

Developing a plan!

Stop Thinking!

Many times in life we think about something that we would love to achieve or accomplish and then immediately talk ourselves out of it because the first thing that comes to mind is, “…but I don’t know how I will ever be able to do it.”

Most people take a great amount of certainty and security from “developing a plan” to achieve their goals. I am sure that you have heard the saying, “If you are failing to plan then you are planning to fail.” Waiting to take action until you have developed a plan sets up a perfect behavioral pattern for procrastination.

Many of the most fulfilling and rewarding goals I have achieved in life came from taking a bold, immediate action before I had a plan in place. Let me give you some examples:

• In 2007, I wanted to take a family trip to the Bahamas to visit friends, swim with dolphins and dive with sharks. Instead of waiting until I had the trip planned financially and logistically, I took the money I had saved and purchased the plane tickets. I had no clue how I was going to manage the time off work, get the family scuba certified, or make the rest of the money that would be needed for lodging. I let those parts of the plan develop after I made that first commitment. It was some great motivation to develop the plan and get it moving. We had a once-in-a-lifetime trip full of amazing memories.

• In June 2007, I had a goal to move to North Carolina. With the Phoenix housing market going downhill fast, I had to drop my tentative plan to sell my house and immediately put it up for sale. My final plan ended up including a double move with a 3 month stay in Colorado for a summer. One year later we closed on our new home in NC. If I hadn’t taken that first leap of faith, I might still be in Phoenix.

• In the back of my mind I have had a desire to run a 100 mile ultra-marathon this year since I just turned 40. You could call it the answer to my mid-life crisis. Instead of mapping out the six month training plan, core strength program, and eating regiment, I found a race that fit my needs, applied, and was accepted as one of the 250 runners of the race. Now, I have huge incentive and motivation to get my plan in place and have started running again. Wish me luck!

After you set your goals in life, sometimes it is best to sail to the new coast, burn your ship and then develop the rest of the plan on the fly. I understand this will cause a great amount of uncertainty, doubt, and fear. However, those emotions can be converted into actions and planning that will lead you to the desired end result.

If you are stuck in any of your goals, I urge you to find a way to put down the need to plan and instead take an immediate action that commits you to your goal. It is the immediate action that provides the motivation, activities, and opportunities that help you to develop the plan.

Your mind will be flooded with questions like:
• How am I going to pay for that?
• How can I make this work?
• What am I going to see and do there?
• How will I spend my time?

“Take action towards your plan NOW and you will naturally discover what needs to be planned for in the future.”

If you need some support developing a plan and taking action TODAY! Call TODAY for your evolution towards greater success. Commit to 3 or more coaching sessions in the month of October and receive 10% off!

All you need to succeed is F.O.C.U.S.S.

Struggling to make decisions? All you need to succeed is F.O.C.U.S.S.

So often I see people struggling to make decisions, succumbing to peer pressure, or feeling a lack of confidence. I see it in today’s youth and in top CEO’s of companies. How do we create the ability to make better decisions, become a leader of people instead of a follower, and build an incredible level of self confidence?

There are two areas that we can focus on to create change in our lives; internally and externally. So often, a classic pattern of the poor decision maker, the “Yes Man” in business, or individual with low self confidence is to put their attention to the external stimulus in life. A person gets lost in the external expectations of family, friends, co-workers, and social norms.

The solution lies in the acronym of F.O.C.U.S.S. This metaphor popped out of my brain during a presentation to coaches on how to better perform and support clients.
It simply stands for: Focus On Creating a Unique Self and Skillsets. What does this mean?

It means that a person who makes effective decisions, leads by example, and is confident in their lives first and foremost has a strong internal compass. Everything is run through their internal compass of what is right and wrong. They focus on what they are great at, what inspires and moves them, what brings joy and happiness to their lives and they naturally define, follow, and consistently develop their strengths and skillsets.

The chances of there being another you are 1:1,000,000,000 (genetically) and this number does not take into account the external environment of your cultural upbringing. You are the only one who can impact the world in a way that is special and unique for yourself. “Marching to the beat of your own drummer” is critical for success. As long as it is balanced with actions that are bringing greater good to others in the world, that is what it means to be successful.

Are you following the almighty dollar (that is not so almighty anymore), the pressures of your peers, family and friends, or are you living a life of your choosing, doing the things that you love and add value to the world? If you Focus On Creating a Unique Self and Skillsets the world and all of it’s opportunities will open up for you. Your quality of life will improve, your finances will improve, your relationships will improve, and you will find yourself a natural leader of your own life.

If you need support to Focus On Creating a Unique Self and Skillsets, contact me today for your FREE 30-minute coaching session. If you can change your life in a moment, think of what we could accomplish together in 30 minutes! Call Now: (919) 745-7569

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