I am sure we all send our thoughts and prayers to the people in Japan who will be homeless and without loved ones tonight. I was browsing through my resources for a quote and these two jumped out. I am sure there will be stories of triumph among the tragedy. Let’s look for them!
“The courage of very ordinary people is all that stands between us and the dark.” ~Pam Brown, 1928
“Disasters sweep the world – war and disease, earthquake and flood and fire – but always in their wake come acts of courage and concern that astound the human heart. Light in utter darkenss.” ~Charlotte Gray, 1937
Say a prayer of thanks tonight and send loving thoughts to Japan. Help anyway you can, it matters for the person you have helped!
One day a maid thought, “My mistress has a very good reputation: I wonder whether she is good by nature, or is good because of her surroundings. I will try her and find out.” The following morning the maid did not appear before her mistress until nearly noon. The mistress was vexed and scolded her impatiently. The maid replied, “If I am lazy for only a day or two, you ought not to become impatient.” Then the mistress became angry.
The next day the maid got up late again. This made the mistress very angry and she struck the maid with a stick. This incident became widely known and the rich widow lost her good reputation.
Many people are like this woman. While their surroundings are satiafactory they are kind, modest and quiet, but it is questionable if they will behave likewise when the conditions change and become unsatisfactory.
(Copyright 1966 by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, “The Teaching Of Buddha”)
Tough times do not build a business’ character, they reveal it. Is your customer service department stressed? Does that show up in the levels of customer service? Are you sacrificing customer service to keep that extra few cents only to lose long term sales with unhappy customers? When your customer service answers the phone are they looking for the good in how they can help or are they looking for ways to just have the problems conveniently go away.
Businesses that last long term continue to provide positive and affirming attitudes and service even when the times are challenging and intense. It is under stressful market conditions that you can grow your customer base the easiest with outstanding service because much of your competition is passing their stress onto their consumers. What reputation is your company building in these competitive times?
I have a great postcard of George Bush with a quote from him saying, “And one of the things we have got to make sure we do is anything.”
How profound is that simple crazy logic. So many times we get stuck in our heads and forget to just do something to move towards our goal! It is hard to engage faith and just take an action. It is so easy to walk from one side of the room to the other when our eyes are wide open but when you close them it is such a different experience. However, if you really want to get to the other side of the room, you still have to do something.
Next time you are stuck, remember that it does not matter what is going on inside your head. If you want something, “One of the things we have got to make sure we do is anything!”
“Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them.” -Zen Saying
Getting to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a perfect metaphor to illustrate this Zen Saying. When approaching the rim of the canyon, stay focused on your outcome, which is to get to the bottom of the canyon. As you walk up to the edge of the canyon and look over, be careful not to let the height overwhelm and bind you in fear. Similiarly, don’t give up, turn around and walk away (or get frustrated and jump!). The solution lies in walking along the rim of the canyon, continuously assessing the landscape, and looking a solution. Eventually, you will find the path down to the bottom and success will be yours!
“Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them.” -Zen Saying
“The optimist proclaims we live in the best of all possible worlds and the pessimist fears this is true.” ~James Branch Cabell
What do you believe about your life today? Is today the best of all days? When I was younger I never understood the movie with Bill Murray called, “Groundhog Day.” Now, I understand. Every day is what you make of it. Not everything that happens to us is within our control and influence everyday, however, the meaning that we choose to attach to it is! And those meanings determine the actions we will or will not take. Since life is always changing, anoptimist believes more often that not, that it is always changing for the better! Continue to have an ever-changing, outstanding week!
To your continued success,
“A man can get discouraged many times, but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else and stops trying.” — John Burroughs, Writer
Living a successful life means choosing which actions to take in your personal and/or business life everyday. When a person shifts their focus away from actions that are within their control and instead focus on how the results are not what they wanted, life gets difficult. Success and failure begin and end in the mind.
Be careful what you believe to be true because everything in life is dynamic and changes; sometime for the better and sometimes for the worse. Example: in 1938, Time Magazine’s Man of the Year…Adolph Hitler. You best day could turn into your worst and your worst day could turn out to be your best. Stay flexible in finding a way to turn your worst day into your best and life will be much more fulfilling!
Most people do not recognize opportunity when it comes, because it’s usually dressed in overalls and looks like a lot of work! ~Thomas Edison
A true life story…
Once there was a gentleman from India who came to the Unites States in 1972. He received a green card and started to work very hard. In 1974, he went back to India to bring back his bride and start a new life together. H started a family and has two great children. In the meantime, he took the American entrepreneurial spirit to heart and while working full time went back to college full time to gain a degree in Computer Science and Business management. After he had been working for a while doing very well he was laid off from a very large national firm and could not find work. He hunted and hunted and finally found a great job in Washington, DC. The problem was that his wife and kids loved Raleigh, NC. So, he now commutes back and forth between Raleigh and DC, with a job he loves, a family he loves, and a wife who also works hard. She helped to raise the kids by herself, while working full time, and stayed active in the local Indian community. This mans children are now a doctor and a lawyer, I wonder why?
Just another story of greatness, lying within the depths of what this great country has to offer.
Grab your dreams and goals! Stay open to the opportunities that you create for yourself. If you are looking for something from the government you already have it…the ability to work hard and create a life you choose too, not one that is handed to you. That is the difference between the government/labor union workers and the independent thinkers and entrepreneurs who really drive this country forward!
BUILD YOUR DREAMS TODAY! (brick by brick!)
Are you Feeling Froggy?
Once there were two frogs freezing to death in Yellowstone National Park. Just as they thought they didn’t have the strength or courage to hop one more time, they came upon two different hot springs. One was so hot it was rolling and boiling over, while the other looked warm and inviting like a steaming hot tub.
The first frog was so cold he jumped and landed right in the boiling water. He was a lucky frog and as soon as he hit the water the geyser erupted, he was thrown into the air end over end, and landed in a pine tree. It was from that vantage point he saw a the piles of warm straw needles underneath him. He hopped down and burrowed in to stay warm for a while. He was a little shaken, a little warmer and had a great story to tell. The other frog decided to slowly lower himself into the calm pool of hot water, getting used to it and relaxing. He was not so lucky. As he relaxed more and more he failed to notice the temperature slowly rising. After about a half hour, he was too relaxed to move, and boiled to death.
As of August 31, 2010, I have officially resigned from my position as a Personal Results Coach with Robbins Research International. It has been 11 very fulfilling years and I have grown immensely. I have shared almost 20,000 sessions with my clients and learned more about psychology, human motivation and creating human change than I ever thought possible.
One of the things that I forgot about was life’s lesson that we are always in one of two places: looking where we want to go and jumping or telling ourselves that we deserve some rest after that scary jump we just had. It is tough not to stay in that killer comfort zone. It is always easier and requires less work to be in the comfort zone rather than marshalling the strength to keep jumping over and over and over again. That can get tiring…even for a frog.
One truth of life is that the only way to feel alive is to jump…a lot. That is the only way that we can ever get stronger, more confident, and create self confidence. The comfort zone will always be there to entice and lull people into complacency. It is easy to forget that frogs are made to jump! That is what they were made to do!
My Team Leader in the Army use to ask us before morning training, “So, do you feel froggy today?” I guess I do! Let’s see who can jump the farthest? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What are you too scared to do? What do you fear or procrastinate the most? What is that goal or dream your have given up on? Take that leap of faith! On your mark, get set, JUMP…..
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Over a year ago, I challenged one of my friends to run the Goofy Challenge at Disney. The Challenge consists of running a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. As I stood in the cold rain and sleet last Saturday, waiting for the half to begin, I was confident in my ability to complete both races within the time limits.
The half marathon went off easily and I made good time. I ran very steady and reserved because I was a little nervous about how I would do in the later stages of the marathon on Sunday. We went out for dinner Saturday evening and a few people asked me what my goal was for Sunday’s marathon. I replied with my usual answer, “5 hours or less and injury free.”
In the parking lot on Sunday morning, prior to the marathon, my two friends and I were figuring out where to meet up after the race. I found myself posturing down and telling them and myself, “I am not sure where to meet, you will both be way ahead of me, I just want to enjoy the experience, I’m not in this for a time goal, and I won’t be able to keep up with you so just run your race.” One of the guys said in a sarcastic tone, “OK, love the confidence, we’ll just meet back at the hotel.” It was a blunt honest comment that stunned me. The coach was being coached.
As the marathon started, I was holding back at about an 11+ minute/mile pace then slowly started to pick up the pace since I felt so good. At mile 6, I caught up to my friends and was averaging about a 9:30 mile pace with a 30 second walk through the water stations. I slowed down to run with my friends in TOTAL SHOCK and disbelief and was going to just hang with them for the rest of the race. One of my friends stopped at the water station longer than my race plan accounted for, so I pushed on by myself and continued to run my own race. Those automatic negative thoughts started to flood my brain again; “This is not right, feeling this good, they run faster than me, this is uncomfortable pushing myself this way but physically I feel so solid and the running is effortless, when are they going to pass me, I can’t possibly run the marathon faster than them.” At mile 13, the doubt increased as I realized I still felt great and was at a 10:00 mile pace. Furthermore, my friends had not passed me yet.
Then the negative thoughts tripled as I started the second half of the race, “Did I start too fast, was I going to burn out, would I crash at the 20-mile wall, Would my foot hold up, would I end up falling behind and finishing 30 minutes after my friends after all?” However, I just could not believe how good and solid I felt running, my energy was fantastic and my running felt effortless.
At about mile 16, still at my 10:05 pace, I realized that this was not a fluke. I was forced to accept that I was performing at a higher level due to all of the training I had put in the last year. I also realized that if I kept on pace, I could run a personal best marathon time. My personal best was 4:24:29 in New York 8 years ago. A bolt of lightning could have struck me down in that moment. It never occurred to me that I could run a personal best marathon time, in those cold and rainy conditions, a day after completing a half marathon. From then on, I stopped selling myself short. I was focused, on purpose, and found an internal drive to succeed that I had not accessed in quite a while.
I had been stuck in a comfort zone and stopped pushing myself to become more. Since this was my 10th marathon, I knew I could complete the race and get my medals. I would finish, have my little emotional moment, and it would be a good race. I thought it was enough just to be in the race. Up until that breakthrough moment, I was trying to convince myself that it was enough for me to be in the race. I was only participating in it. After that moment, I was emotionally engaged in the race and wanted to win. There was no satisfaction in “just participating.”
There is a real difference between participating in life and being emotionally engaged in life. Some people participate in their relationships and some people are emotionally engaged in their relationships. Some people are just participating at work and some are emotionally engaged in their work. Some people are participating at the health club and some are emotionally engaged at the health club. Which one do you think creates a more fulfilling life? Emotional engagement does not automatically come with participation. While you are participating in a worthwhile endeavor you still have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and test your limits.
I crossed the finish line at 4:26:04 and have never been more emotional after a race. I broke down in tears as the lady put my Goofy medal around my neck. I kissed her on the cheek and told her she was the dearest, sweetest woman in the world. That moment was so powerful for me because I quit holding myself back and emotionally engaged in the run.
I learned an important lesson from the weekend. You can sit on the sidelines and watch the race, you can be a participant in the race, or you can be fully emotionally engaged in the race. When you are emotionally engaged and push yourself to be, do and have more from yourself, then you are really living life to the fullest.
As a result, I am not holding myself back any more in running. I have already set some goals to run the NYC Marathon this year in under 4 hours. And for the guys in the neighborhood, after I run my 15 mile training run down to the Krispy Kreme 4 mile race next month, you can bet that I am going to work on those 12 glaze donuts with gusto and finish in under an hour.
I challenge you to stop being a participant in life and make every race your personal best. Emotionally engage life and its challenges and push yourself to break through your personal limitations to achieve more. Make 2010 a phenomenal year.
To your continued success,
James M Murphy
It’s That Time Again…
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve are three of the biggest holidays of the year. Within 6 weeks of each other, they represent the pinnacle of celebration for most Americans. These six weeks also represent the downward spiral of individual health that results in the fitness industries business boom come January.
The holidays also bring with them the same of excuses for poor eating, overindulgence and lack of exercise; we all know them by heart.
• It’s only one little cookie, it won’t hurt
• Christmas only comes once a year
• But it’s Grandma’s homemade pie
• It’s a holiday tradition; cookie exchange and fruitcake
• Just a little snack/beverage for the big game
• Everyone else was eating it too
• I will just start the diet after the New Year
I personally succumbed to that extra piece of cranberry tart and homemade apple
pie my neighbor made at Thanksgiving. (And, it was fantastic!) My excuses included, I will just run a little extra tomorrow, it’s a special occasion, and we never have that food in our house since Nick is allergic to wheat and this is the only time I can have it.
And as for running that “little bit extra” later to run it off, last Saturday, the alarm clock went off at 5am for my early morning run. It was raining outside so I hit the snooze, went back to bed, and did not get up until 9am. I had all of the justifications in the world why I did not run: it was raining, I am just getting over this sinus infection and need my rest to get better, it is too cold and wet, I deserve one morning to sleep in, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
As all of those justifications came flooding into my mind I had to remember that, “a justification is never an excuse.” This is especially true when we act in a way that is not congruent with our true self and our goals.
Guess who paid for my overeating and lack of discipline to get up and exercise? It was my wife and kids. Daddy Grouchy Bear came out and everyone was avoiding me. Finally, about 1pm I told my wife I had to go run or I just would not be happy for the rest of the day. Two hours later with 10.5 miles on my shoes, I walked in the front door and exclaimed, “Happy Bear is home!” And, that gave me the motivation that I needed when the alarm went off Sunday morning at 5am, to get up and out the door (by 6:45am) for another 12.5 miles.
The reality of the situation is that in January I can have a great Disney marathon weekend or I can have a great set of justifications and excuses that I can tell everyone for why I didn’t have a great Disney Marathon weekend. And in the meantime, my mental and physical health was still affected even though I could justify why I slept in. The people I love were still affected by my attitude even though I was able to justify why I slept in. They did not care about the excuses, only an unhappy husband and dad.
Justifications are never a good excuse for our poor actions, or lack of action. Watch those thoughts that tend to justify “why” something is done or not done. Don’t let them become the excuse you have for not doing what is most important for you. The holidays can be the best time to start the good habits that will give you a head start on those New Year’s resolutions. Drop that cookie, let someone else have that second piece of pie, and get your blood pumping doing something physical. Remember, these holidays only come once per year and so does every other day of the year. We are never guaranteed a tomorrow, only how we choose to live now.
Stop those justifications, stay focused on your real goals in life and if you don’t have any, maybe you could dream a little dream, or dream a BIG dream and create an amazing today for yourself. You may find yourself setting an example and becoming better for it.
I wish you a Happy Healthy Holiday Season filled with Love, Joy, Laughter and Happiness! (and devoid of justification and excuses)
To your continued success,
James M Murphy
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! FREE GIFT!
Download, “Maintaining Massive Momentum” as my gift to you! Just go to www.evolutionforsuccess.com and in the lower right hand corning of the screen is the sign up. Pass it along to all of your friends as some inspiration for the Holiday Season.
Blind But Now I See…
When we lived in Tempe, AZ, one of our favorite ways to pass the evenings was to hang out at our neighborhood park. Many of the parents there would enjoy the down time and friendship of neighbors while the kids laughed and played with each other.
One of my neighbors was a firefighter for the City of Tempe. One day, we started reminiscing about our respective training experiences; my Marshal Service days, his firefighter training. One of the training exercises they conducted was to place a dark gray cover on the inside of their air mask to simulate being blinded by smoke and then practice moving in buddy teams to clear a home, conduct a rescue, or practice putting out a fire. They had to rely on something outside of what they could immediately see, in order to succeed.
I guess that is true in many professions, take airline pilots for example. Have you ever really noticed how small the windows are in the front of the plane? How to they really see out of them? When it is raining, dark, or they are in the clouds, how functional are the windows in helping them to stay on course? Many times they have to fly blind.
Invariably, these same challenges happen in the pursuit of dreams and goals. Our vision can become blocked or clouded by obstacles and we can not see where we are going. What is there to rely upon in these times of need?
Staying focused on several things will allow forward movement towards our dreams. First, stay focused on the end goal, NOT what is blocking the line of sight. Expect and anticipate the moment when you will lose sight of where you are but don’t lose sight of the end goal. Anticipate the challenges.
Second, focus on core training principles, habits and behaviors that have allowed you to succeed in the past.. This helps to control the fear, anxiety, nervousness, or other emotional states that may be experienced when the obstacle blocks your view. Remember your support team, your co-pilot or buddy you are entering the burning house with.
Third, rely on the fundamental instruments of your profession. Revert back to using the basic tools of your trade to stay on track and measure success. The firefighter relies on his boots, jacket, helmet, and breathing apparatus. The pilot relies on the compass, altimeter, fuel gauges, wind gauges and communication equipment. What are the instruments of faith you can rely upon in times of need?
When you are lost suddenly and can not see where you are going in pursuit of your goals. STOP, take a moment and reflect on what you can rely on. Who can you turn to in your buddy team for mental, emotional and spiritual support? No one ever achieves a goal without the help from someone who believes in them. What are the tools of your trade that you can always rely on without hesitation? Is it your brilliant mind, your technical aptitude, your emotional intelligence? What are your unique abilities that you take for granted everyday?
And, lastly, as you move through the inferno of obstacles or are blinded by the rain, clouds, and storm, keep faith and focus on your end destination. No fire can rage on forever and every storm eventually brings sunny days.
Remember, there are so many more resources available in the world to achieve your goals than are in your direct line of sight. It would even be exciting to put the screen in your visor and move into your obstacles once in a while. There is newfound confidence and freedom when the exercise is over, a job well done.
Burning Out in 1st Gear
I don’t remember when I came up with the belief that it is good to live a “full life.” However, I do know that it has a very different meaning from living a “crazy, hectic life.” Unfortunately, a “crazy hectic life” is what the first couple of weeks of September turned out to be for me.
There are many goals I am pursuing in life right now. I am taking some continued education, training for a marathon, staining my deck, painting my dining room, working, and also collaborating to start a Universal Personal Evolution Coaching Curriculum to kick off after New Year 2010.
Over Labor Day weekend, I found myself so busy working on all of these projects that became totally disassociated from my family. However, I was getting a lot of things accomplished. I was a multi-tasking machine. I was listening to the book an audio book for class while painting the deck, moving furniture and prepping/painting our dining room. I was up early in the mornings studying and working late, totally consumed with what needed to be accomplished. My mind and body were moving about 100 mph and would not slow down.
Looking back, the more consumed I was with what to achieve, the more withdrawn, disconnected and emotionally empty I became. I did not go for a run, read to my daughter at night, or play a little X-Box with my son. And just like a car stuck in first gear, the more I pushed on the gas pedal, the more I became frustrated at not getting where I wanted to go faster, pushed harder, and finally burned my engine out.
I had stopped the small fulfilling habits, patterns, and behaviors that would allow me to disengage the motor for a moment. In order to switch from first to second gear in the car you have to push in the clutch, disengage the engine from the car, shift to second gear and then re-engage the engine. When that occurs, the engine’s rpm’s decrease but the car is able to increase its speed. Miraculously, you get to your destination faster with less energy. After my emotional burnout, I had to find a way to disengage for a moment so that I could re-engage at a higher level. I made some time to reconnect with my son for a few minutes on the X-Box, spent a little time reading Magic Treehouse to Isabelle, and sat on the porch with Emmanuelle for a while enjoying her company. And, I went on a run that gave me the inspiration for getting back on track with the Thought of the Week.
A person can never make a great decision in a poor state, never make a compelling goal in a lethargic state, or create more loving connections with people while in a disconnected state. Life will never be defined in what we leave behind but what we leave through the relationships we have built with others. When we live our lives in first gear, pushing harder and harder and forget to stop, disengage into some meaningful activities that recharge us and allow us to re-engage life at a higher emotional level, we will always burn out.
The small investments in people and relationships made the difference between living a “crazy, hectic” and a “full life.” Taking time for family, taking time for self, and reaching out through these thoughts to the people I care about the most is where the energy of life is. And, I am happy to be back!
Remember to disengage once in a while and get back to the little habits and behaviors that refresh, recharge, and give your life the most meaning. Take a moment and give yourself some quiet time, enjoy holding your child’s hand-they will be grown soon enough, give a hug or kiss of appreciation to someone who loves you, or just stop, close your eyes for a second and remember to breathe!
You will see yourself shifting into a different gear, getting more done with less, and driving faster. I will be sure and see you next week with another, “Thought of the Week.”
Evolution For Success
James M Murphy
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Raleigh, North Carolina 27614
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