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10 Top Tips to Stay Motivated and Focused this week…

Ever seem a little scattered? Do your business goals seem elusive and just out of reach? Are you frustrated at the end of the day because you never completed what you needed to? Are you so scattered that you don’t even have time to read this post? If so, then here are the Top Ten Tips to stay focused this week…

10. Answer the question, “What is the specific result I am focused on achieving this week?”

Without a clear destination you can’t get where you want to go. Imagine getting in a plane and just taking off to “go somewhere.” Use the SMART goals format to define your destination. Simple & Specific, Measurable & Meaningful, As if Now & Action oriented, Reasonable & Realistic, and Timed Towards what you desire. Specific is Success!

9. Get Motivated by Listing all the emotional reasons “WHY” you want to get to your destination.

When a goal is set in place…so are the obstacles that will be needed to be overcome. This will take energy and energy lies in generating the emotional “WHY” we want it. For ourselves, our kids, our spouse; dig down deep into that well of emotion and let it all gush forth. For extra credit, link up your life purpose to the goal and your identity to really get some power.

8. Find New People:

You are where you are, in part, due to the peer group you have around you. My workout buddy in the morning is the best. We both push each other. We are doing the Insanity workout and just this morning as we were completing our workout, he asked if I wanted to get in an additional 15 minute “pump” on the weights. He pushes me even when I’m tired and am ready to be done. I reciprocate by making sure I am at the gym every morning before he is. That way, he knows he has to bring the DVD’s or he will let me down by not showing up. We both add value to each other in different ways.

7. Clear Your Clutter

Get rid of anything that isn’t supporting your success. There needs to be emptiness in order for something new to come into your life. If a woman wants a man in her life but is sleeping at night with extra pillows and her pets…there’s no room for a man in her bed. If a guy doesn’t clean out 3/4 of his closet, get an extra toothbrush, have his/hers towels, and cleans out two dresser drawers, how will there be space for a woman to come into his life? Clear out your junk and make room!

6. Define & Master a Single Core Skill

Focus on changing one specific behavior that will move you towards your goal. You can prepare to walk/run all day with the right shoes, the music, playlists, weather, timing, treadmill or outside, determining your routes, estimating your time; but in the end all you have to master is putting one foot in front of the other for an extended period of time. Master taking one 8-10 inch step at a time with good form and posture.

5. Get comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Let’s say a person wants to reduce their weight. They will need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. When they “FEEL” uncomfortable because their stomach grumbles and they would normally go for some food, how can they start to feel comfortable with that moment and appreciate it instead of dread it? (This leads to #4)

4. Find a new, more empowering belief

Using the example above, when the stomach rumbles and they start to “FEEL” uncomfortable, insert a new belief for the old one. If the normal process is: stomach rumbles, the person says, “I’m starving to death and gotta eat” interrupt that self talk with, “excellent, that means that I must be thirsty” and then take a new action and drink water. (Sounds silly but I did that when I lost 60 lbs over 20 years ago and it still serves me to this day!)

3. Create Small Reminders

If you have a bigger goal of a trip, weight loss, business goals, etc. remember that where your focus goes your energy flows. Change your passwords to reflect your goals: ToughMudderNov2018, StBarth2017, CollegePaidinFull, Beachretirement2035, and BE CREATIVE. Put pictures on your mirror, in the shower, above your bed, in the bathroom, dash of the car, create reminders everywhere. These small reminders will help you stay focused and on track.

2. Create Quiet time to Focus

I recently read an article stating the main reason most small businesses fail is because of lack of planning. Strategic, purposeful thinking can only be done in a quiet setting and it should be done consistently (preferably a block of time weekly and even daily!) In order to create this space…find somewhere outside of your normal office, etc. (I have a client who uses a study room at his local library, no one finds him there) This will avoid the trap of the business running the person instead of the person running the business. During this scheduled quiet time see point #1.

1. Master Fear Management

I don’t care if you are the CEO of a Fortune 50 or a small solopreneur. In today’s competitive market the need to be innovative, creative and flexible creates HUGE uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds FEAR. Fear can be present due to change happening in the negative, ie going bankrupt and also the positive, ie problems that arise from rapid growth and expansion. Master Your Fears. Embrace them everyday because if you succumb to FEAR it will only lead to low self confidence, being motivated by necessity instead of possibility and worst of all, create a scarcity mentality. MASTER FEAR by doing at least one specific task everyday that you fear the most in your business. Eat Uncertainty and Fear for Breakfast to earn your dessert after dinner.

BONUS TIP:

Get an unconditional form of support to keep you on track…like an Executive Business Coach. (You know I had to plug that in!) Regardless of whether it’s me or not, no one earns a Grammy, an Emmy or an Oscar and stands on the stage during the acceptance speech and says, “I DID IT ALL MYSELF!” They all have people to thank…people who believed in them, provided support in those troubled moments of doubt, uncertainty and FEAR and pushed them to stay focused on their dreams and goals.

FOCUS!

To your continued success,

James

Challenge your limiting beliefs!

You have heard the question “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?”.

Well, I have another question for you:

“If you have a limiting belief but refuse to think about it, do you still have a problem?”

The mind is an interesting muscle.  Once it assigns a meaning to a particular situation or event, it starts building additional thoughts and beliefs to justify that initial meaning.  For better or for worse.

Years ago, I had a limiting belief that I could not run;  it hurt my knees too much. I built a wall of beliefs around that belief to justify my not running.  Then one day I decided to challenge it by running two miles, walking a mile, and running one more.  I chose a new belief: “I can run three miles.”  In that moment, I refused to think my old limiting belief and replaced it with another one.  And, my mind responded like it always does; it started to look for new beliefs and thoughts to strengthen that new belief. I found a way to use my mind in a way that was to my advantage.  The new beliefs, strengthened with consistent running, changed my life.

The results speak for themselves: 15 half marathons, 13 marathons, one 40-mile trail race, 50-mile race and 100K trail race in the next 20 years. I found that, in the end, I changed something even deeper than a belief. I changed my core identity. I changed from being the “fat band kid” to being a “long distance endurance athlete” and “zen-runner.” Changing who you believe you are is the deepest change you can make.

I encourage you to question your own thoughts when you think something limits you. Just because you think a thought, does not automatically mean that it is true.  Go and find a way to disprove it, even if it is in a small way.  Adopt a new belief and strengthen it with consistent actions.

Let you mind weave new beliefs and thoughts around it to strengthen it, and over time, you will achieve more that you ever thought possible.  It will give you the strength and courage to truly change your life.

Running two miles did not lead to “long distance endurance runner” overnight.  Initially, I never dreamed I would go out and complete a 100 kilometer race with total confidence in my ability to go the distance.  But once I challenged my initial limiting belief, it led me down many paths, many races, many spiritual moments, and a more fulfilling life.

And as for the philosophical question of whether or not a falling tree makes a sound if nobody is there to hear it, the answer is “It doesn’t matter because you will be somewhere else, thinking about something else, and making your life be something better!”

 

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Focus in 3-Steps: Executive Coaching John Wooden Style

In a previous post, I talked about the acronym F.O.C.U.S.S. and how a person can create greater levels of purpose, self-confidence, and direction. Today, I’m going to approach the concept of “focus” from the perspective of one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, John Wooden.

“In 1948, I began coaching basketball at UCLA. Each hour of practice we worked very hard. Each day we worked very hard. Each week we worked very hard. Each season we worked very hard. For fourteen years we worked very hard and didn’t win a national championship. However, a national championship was won in the fifteenth year. Another in the sixteenth. And eight more in the following ten years.” ~JW

My question is this, “Did the teams develop to a point where they could finally win a national championship or did Coach Wooden develop himself into a national championship coach?”

 

First Step: Be clear who you are and what Skill you choose to pursue excellence in (internal focus).

If you are going to become a master at a skill or craft, make sure it is one that you love and will emotionally support you for the next 20 years. Then, work to be the best!

To support this assertion another quote, “I am not what I ought to be, not what I want to be, not what I am going to be, but thankful that I am not what I used to be.” ~JW   Focus on being your best now in this moment, every moment!

“For an athlete to function properly, he must be intent. There has to be a definite purpose and goal if you are to progress. If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren’t able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment.” ~JW

 

Second Step: You must set goals that align with the expression of who you want to become and the skill you are choosing to master.

Set BIG, HUGE GOALS (external)!

For example, I chose a skill set of running many years ago. After thousands of miles of mastery, there was room for growth to always set the bar higher in terms of external goals: a 10K, half marathon, marathon, Goofy Challenge, 50-Miler, 100K Ultra and the pinnacle…100-Mile Ultra. Those goals took 20+ years of focus. As I took yoga along the way to keep flexible and train, I didn’t set a goal to become a yoga guru.

Big Goals provide the impetus to learn to perfect yourself in the execution of becoming more. They create the pressure to become meticulous because every detail counts. A hot spot on your foot in a 10K or half marathon is not big deal, on a marathon it becomes a little more important but during an ultra-marathon it means the difference between success and epic failure. Large goals are critical because they provide motivation to be diligent, prudent, and sustain a heightened level of awareness; internal and external. That creates focus.

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” ~JW

 

Third Step: Large goals create large obstacles to overcome.

This scares other people away from you so you have more time and energy to focus on your pursuits and not be presented with their problems.

How often during the day are we interrupted, distracted and presented with other people’s problems and life issues? People tend to conspire with others who will give them solace, empathy, and commiserate with them on their problems. The more a person commiserates with another, the more they keep coming back for more commiseration! If a heavy set person starts telling you how bad they feel, most people think it is OK to say, “I’m sorry, you know, it’s not really your fault. After all its genetics, thyroid issues, etc.” What happens when they get that response?  They keep coming back!

Granted it’s not polite to say to them, “then get off your fat buns and do something about it.” BUT, if you are setting a high goal of health for yourself, that person will naturally shy away from you. They know intuitively, as they see you pack your bag for a lunchtime workout, they won’t get much sympathy. You scare them away by setting higher standards.

 

BIG Goals scare people away because they suffer internally by comparison.

This cuts down in interruptions, distractions, and people telling you their problems. FOCUS comes from setting a higher standard than your peers. An added benefit is that the only people who will interrupt you are the people who have high standards and the exchanges will be more in the form of support, encouragement and sharing of tips that help you refine and master your craft. These can be good because they actually boost your energy, efficiency and the time spent for the interruption is time saved with what is learned by sharing.

Welcome the adversity and feelings of “being alone” in your singular pursuit. This creates focus. Here’s a supportive quote.

“When everyone is thinking the same, no one is thinking.” ~JW

 

Let’s recap these three steps:

1. Be clear on who you are and what skill you want to master (internal mindset)

2. Set Goals in that skillset that are HUGE, stretch yourself as high and far as you can go!

3. Get comfortable with scaring other people away and being alone…set a higher standard. Your only interruptions will be from others with high goals. Those interruptions will be fewer but very supportive!

 “The road to real achievement is usually bumpy and long, but you do not give up. You may have setbacks. You may have to start over. You may have to change your methods. You may have to go around, or over, or under. You may have to back up and get another start. But you do not quit. You stay the course.” ~JW

To your continued success,

James, Executive Business Coach

Learn more about Coach John Wooden here:  www.coachwooden.com

How to manage time…1 Simple Solution

Over the weekend a friend asked how business was going and I heard myself say, “I need the world to stop for 4 months so I can get everything done I want to…and then have it re-engage.” I got to thinking about what I said later that evening and I realized if that was truly the case…I wasn’t managing time effectively at all. How does an entrepreneur/CEO/Executive manage time better? Here is one simple solution…

First, accept the fact that you can not manage time. It isn’t time that needs to be managed but your mental focus and actions. A persons mental focus will always be in one of three places at any given time. the past, present or future and each one has a definitive purpose.

Looking back to the past allows us to reflect on successes and failures (which are just opportunities to learn). Understanding the successes and failures of the past allows a person to take useful strategies forward and find new ways to use and apply them. It also allows us to identify negative actions and behaviors and reframe them into positive “learnings” so any negative emotions disappear and new possibilities for how a person “could choose” to do things differently in the future are uncovered.

Focusing on the Future is crucial because it allows a person to focus on one of the greatest human needs…becoming more. If we are not growing we are dying, it is a fundamental law of nature. The challenge is that some people focus on growing more that is positive and some people get into the trap of growing more of what they don’t want. A positive future opens the door to possiblities, growth, and “more” of life. The negative future, signalled by statements like “I don’t know or want…” only perpetuates negativity, scarcity and disempowering emotions.

And last place your focus can be is in the present, being immersed in the exact action, thought, belief and feeling right NOW…and NOW…and NOW…and NOW…and NOW. The present is the hardest to focus on because the mind is constantly pulled between the past and future.

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION…HERE IT IS!

Future—Past—Present

Focus on exactly what you want in the future…(not what you don’t want, but what you do)
Think about what tools, strategies and resources you need to be creative, industrious and solution oriented FROM THE PAST
Combine both into ACTION NOW in the PRESENT clear of any distractions.

Oh yeah, celebrate your success from doing something different today! When applied consistently, you will find yourself more motivated, inspired, fearless, and results will start to show!

If you find yourself lacking focus, a fearless attitude, or clear direction forward…call today for your “Success-Now!” Session. (919) 792-0085.

In the month of August, email me at james@evolutionforsuccess.com with the word 30-Day Challenge. I will send you a 30-Day Success Sheet and two complimentary 15-minute checkin’s, personally with me, as my way of saying thank you for your support over the years!

To your continued success,

James

Venice: From Pain to Possibility to Prosperity…

Where is there PAIN in your life Right Now?

Most people will do almost anything to avoid it. How many times have you swept those deep feelings back under the rug. However, Pain can lead to Possibility which can lead to Prosperity. Venice, once the wealthiest city in the world is a testament to that ideology.

As Attila’s huns surged through Northern Italy raping and pillaging the Roman Empire, many refugees sought protection on the 118 deserted and desolate swampy islands of the Adriatic Sea. Even though the land was over 2.5 miles from shore and not able to support trades like agriculture; creativity and human ingenuity eventually took over.

Fast forward a few generation and Venice was born. With a newly develop transportation system of over 200 canals and 400 bridges it was a hub for world trade, power, and riches from all over the globe.

Pain in life is not something to be avoided, there is power and energy in it. The key is to take that power and energy and convert it to good use. Use that energy to build and create something better for yourself and others. There is true POWER in that ability.

Every great person in history, every movie ever made, begins in pain. Look at every Disney movie made, the opening scene usually has a parent dying or some tragedy. Pain is not to be shoved away into the dark recesses of our mind and body never to see the light of day. It is to be harnessed to build, create, inspire and give back to others in some way shape or form. You too, can move from Pain to Possibility to Prosperity and make a difference in the world!

If you need support with the transitioning Pain to Possibility to Prosperity in your business, Evolution for Success Executive Coaching can help. Call today for your personal one-on-one “Success Now” session.
(919) 792-0085

Or, if you know someone in Pain, a referral is the greatest gift you can every give.

You have problems, compared to what…?

Bad Monday

Are you having a bad day? I thought I was one day last week. I was going to be late for an appointment and I was really frustrated since being late is one of my pet peeves. My frustration level grew as I turned off the highway and my forward progress came to a screeching halt. In front of me was an accident and a long line of backed up cars. As I took the detour in front of me, I snapped the picture you see in the post above. An interesting thing happened as I drove past this accident. Somehow, seeing the plight of this truck driver, putting myself in his shoes, and thinking about the phone call he was going to have to make to his boss put my problem (frustrated by being 10 minutes late) into perspective.

One of the greatest questions I ask clients when they are frustrated and angry at a problem in life is, “OK, its bad, but compared to what?” As human beings, it is easy to get wrapped up in OUR life, OUR problems, OUR perspectives, and OUR beliefs. To jumpstart the process of getting a person out of their OWN way so they can work to a solution, just ask, “Compared to what?” When we shift our attention to the plight of others, the challenges of others, the life circumstances of others (that we can relate too) it helps to put things into a different perspective. When you can shift your “referential index,” how you are referring to something, with a different perspective, it lessens the emotional impact so you can think more clear and see the opportunities to think or do something different.

It is not to be used as a justification for NOT doing something different but a means of getting unstuckk so you can find a new solution and take action to achieve a different outcome. Next time you are stuck and think something in your life really stinks…just state the problem and then ask yourself, “Ok, this stinks but compared to what?” So you thought you were having a bad day, compared to what?

In the end, my ten minutes late was nothing compared to the delays this driver faced, his boss faced, and their clients and their customers may have faced. It’s good to keep life in perspective.

If you are feeling stuck and frustrated with your job, career, relationships or finances…CALL today to schedule your Introductory Strategy Session to start moving forward again. (919) 792-0085

To your continued success,

James

Use Adversity As a Stepping Stone: The Parable of the Wise Old Mule

Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records. William A. Ward

We all have challenges that crop up, we all hit roadblocks or situations that seem overwhelming or even hopeless.  And in each instance, we have a choice. We can give in to the fear, the frustration, the sense of hopelessness or we can use each difficult situation as a springboard to rebound and come out stronger.

One of my favorite parables is the one of the farmer and the wise old mule… It’s been told and retold countless times, but it’s a great reminder that often the problems we face also have the potential to benefit us.

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ — or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer felt sorry for the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and asked them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. 

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! This is what the old mule did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself. 

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought “panic” and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up! You guessed it! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually end up blessing him. – Author Unknown

And how often does it hold true in our own lives? Sometimes, it’s not easy to see that silver lining.  And often, to see it, you need to look at the adversities you face from a completely different angle.  So next time you feel discouraged, ask yourself how you can use adversity as a stepping stone to success.

Do you have a parable or story you love or that inspire you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Trouble Staying Focused on Your End Goal?

It’s easy to loose focus on your end goal when all you see is obstacles in front of you.

When we lived in Arizona, 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? When it is raining, dark, or they are in the clouds, how functional are the windows in helping them 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 obstacle blocks your view. To keep your focus, 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 and it has been a job well done.

 

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Life Coaching Tip: Stay Ignorant!!!

Sometimes, Ignorance is Bliss…

I heard a really interesting story the other day that you may find some value in when it comes to your personal development, attaining goals, and living life.

There was a man once who really wanted something in life. Driving down a country lane to get there, he accidentally took his eye off of the road and drove straight into the ditch. Fortunately, a local farmer was passed by thirty minutes later with a horse.

 

“Could your horse pull my car out of the ditch?” asked the driver.  

“Buddy’s a Clydesdale,” said the farmer, “let’s see what he can do for you.”  

The farmer hitched Buddy to the car and said: “Pull, Blackie, Pull!” Buddy didn’t move an inch. 

Then the farmer said, “Pull, Sampson, Pull!” Buddy still didn’t move an inch.

The farmer said again, “Pull, Jackson, Pull!” And still, Buddy didn’t move an inch.

Then the farmer yelled, “PULL, BUDDY, PULL!!” And Buddy pulled the car effortlessly out of the ditch.

The grateful driver was confused.  “Let me ask you a question,” he said, “why did you keep calling Buddy by the wrong name?” 

“Well,” said the farmer, “you see, Buddy is blind. And if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try.”

 

When I sit down with people in a life or executive coaching session and we define a compelling future for them, one of the first thing that shows up is their desire to know exactly what to do in order to reach the goal.

However, if someone really knew all of the problems, challenges, and emotional stress they were going to have to go through to achieve their goals…many would never even start!  If someone really knew, in advance, all of the challenges they would have to face to run their first marathon, get that next job, or find that dream spouse, they would be so overwhelmed they would probably never start.

So, sometimes not knowing all of the obstacles and challenges that are going to happen in the pursuit of a goal makes the term, “ignorance is bliss” true.

Successful goal achievement comes from taking on the challenges one day at a time, asking for help when you get off track, and engaging faith to access your untapped potential in the face of adversity. And no matter what, keep pulling even when you can’t see!

 

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Set Bigger Goals This Year!!!

Overcoming obstacles is in our make up!January is a time when memberships to local gyms skyrocket, New Year’s Resolutions are made, and peoples’ attention shifts to what they want to achieve in the next year.

Most people get excited about setting goals but few maintain that excitement through February and March.

I have a favorite saying: “When you set a goal, you automatically put all of your obstacles in place.” That part is not as exciting since the bigger the goals, the bigger the obstacles.

 

But, what if overcoming obstacles could be exciting?

 

What could a person achieve then?

What if people were made to overcome obstacles?

What if it was our natural instinct?

What if it was really all about overcoming obstacles to have a great life instead of achieving the goals?

The loggerhead turtle is only about two inches long at birth. It is stuck at the bottom of a hole two to three feet deep in the sand. It has to find a way out of the shell, past 40-60 other turtles, and dig upwards in the sand to open air. After it reaches the top of the hole, it has to orient itself to the water and travel up to 50 yards to get to the surf. Then, it is washed back up onto the beach an average of three times before it makes it out to sea. And that’s on a good night; If they don’t make it to the water before the sun comes up, they can become dehydrated and bake on the beach, get disoriented and go inland, or become breakfast for seagulls, vultures, and large fish. Less than 1% of all hatchlings will make it to adulthood. And yet, they can’t help but meet every challenge with excitement. As they make it to the ocean, they actually speed up!

It is that excitement that allows humans to feel alive, get strong, build confidence, and achieve greatness. It is how the 4-minute mile barrier was broken, the space shuttle was developed, the Berlin Wall came down, and the pyramids were made. It is how you learned to crawl, walk, and read this letter. People are preprogrammed to thrive on obstacles, overcome them, and have dynamic lives as a result.

It is not how long a turtle lives that makes a difference in life, but the difference he makes by living every second of life. Living a true life means living a life of overcoming obstacles to achieve and become more. It is a part of our natural instinct. Success in life is directly proportional to the obstacles that are overcome. So set some bigger goals this year! Set some fantastic obstacles for yourself!

Set your goals and reach them! What is Goal setting was exciting?

Loggerhead Turtles hatchlings.  Kiawah Island, SC.  Chances of seeing them hatch…one in a million!

How to save a Drowning Rat!

Would you be interested in knowing “HOW” to save a drowning rat?

There has not been much positive news for the past couple of years. The media seems intent on presenting everything noteworthy that is the opposite of empowering or positive.  …unemployment, foreclosures, budget cuts; it’s all around us.  Even putting the media aside, when we look at our personal lives, at our neighbors, family or friends, it’s clear that for many this is a stressful time.

By now, you probably want to quit reading this and get back to the news – after all, it is more cheery than my Thought of the Week! My mood is becoming depressed just writing about this. However, I may have a suggestion that may help us all cope with the negativity, But how does this relate to saving a drowning rat?

There was an experiment conducted where scientists put a single rat in a container it could not get out of and then filled it with water. They placed the container in a completely dark room, and timed how long the rat swam before it drowned. How long do you think it swam? Well, it lasted a little more than 3 minutes.

For the second part of the experiment, they placed a rat in the same container in the same room with the same water level, but this time they had a bright beam of light shine into the darkness for the rat to see. Guess how long the rat lasted before it finally drowned? This time it swam for over 36 hours.

When I was in US Army Airborne School, the Army Chaplain said a prayer with us before we loaded up for our first parachute jump. He stated that we had nothing to worry about, as the jump field we were about to fly over was the most holy place in Georgia. According to the chaplain, more people prayed flying over that small piece of land than anywhere else in the state. He encouraged us to add our little part to the holiness of the jump field site.

In life, if someone wants the identity of being an honest person, they have to experience a moment where the opportunity to steal is present and choose not too. If you want to be a person who is able to find new opportunities as we work through the changes in our world right now, you are going to be tested. We are all being tested, NOW.

It is hope, faith, and optimism that keep us from giving up when things seem hopeless, that keep us believing in opportunity and the promise for a better tomorrow. That is what brings us through dark times when we feel like we are swimming for our very survival. That is what makes the difference between making it 3 minutes or 36 hours, 3 days or 36 days, 36 weeks or the next 36 years. A person of faith is such because they have been tested and overcome. That is what gives you the courage to jump into a new experience, be a person of character, and keep swimming when everything around you seems dark.

What is the beam of light that gives you hope, faith, and optimism? Now is the time, more than ever, to feed your mind positive messages, drop on your knees and say a prayer, do whatever you can that will strengthen your sense of faith and hope for a better tomorrow.

There are always two things we can focus on; the darkness or the light. Engage in finding new opportunities. Engage your mind in what is bright and good. In order to focus on the light we need to engage our sense of hope and faith in a better tomorrow. I know you can last a lot longer than you think. Keep Swimming.