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Take Personal Responsibilty

“Did you ever stop to think that everything you are or ever will be is completely up to you? Just imagine! You are where you are because of who you are. Everything that exists in your life exists because of you, because of your behavior, words and actions.

“Because you have freedom of choice and because you have chosen each and every circumstance of your life, you are completely responsible for all of your success and failure, your happiness and unhappiness, your present and future.” Brian Tracy

There’s no magic pill that will make you happy or successful. The simple fact is you have to face your fears and go in the direction of your choice. If your goal is to succeed in your family life, business dealings, spiritual growth or social circles, you must take the bull by the horns and address those areas – and it begins by taking personal responsibilities for your choices and actions.

Our culture no longer believes in tasking personal responsibility. People are eager to place blame elsewhere. For example, if you made a bad decision in a real estate investment, it had to be the fault of the sales person, developer, or someone else close to the transaction. If you lost money in the stock market, it has to be the broker’s fault or the bad advice from Uncle Harry.

If your personal life is in shambles, of course the cause is the spouse you married or your family of origin. The causes of your failures seem to belong to everyone but whom really is at fault.  That would be you.

Here’s how you unlock to door to enjoying the freedom of success in all areas of your life. Before you develop positive, self-affirming, self-talk scripts to enhance your personal development and growth:

1.      Acknowledge that you are solely responsible for the choices.

2.      Accept that you are responsible for what you choose to feel or think.

3.      Accept that you choose the direction for your life.

4.      Accept that you cannot blame others for the choices you have made.

5.      Tear down the facade of defense or rationale for why others are responsible for who you are or what has happened to you.

6.       Embrace the belief that you are responsible for determining who you are.

7.      Point the finger of responsibility back to yourself when you discuss the consequences of your actions.

8.      Take an honest inventory of your strengths, abilities, talents, virtues and positive points.

9.      Let go of blame and anger toward those in your past who did the best they could, given the limitations of their knowledge, background and awareness.

10.  Let go of your anger, hostility, pessimism and depression over past hurts, pains, abuse, mistreatment and misdirection.

I know from personal experience that it’s easy to name all the things that rendered you incapable of reaching your goals, but it’s a good deal more gratifying to tell others how the same things didn’t stop you and to describe the brilliance with which you met each challenge (not the mention how you were inspired to succeed).

Successful people don’t place blame or make excuses – because they don’t have to. There is almost nothing you can’t plow through or work around.

From this day forward, choose to take responsibility for your own actions and choices. Find the power in taking personal responsibility and you will be free to live a much fuller and happier life. It’s amazing how liberating it is to rid yourself of the negative energy associated with the blame game.

Now, go make it a great day.

Swing Away

“In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.” Hank Aaron, Baseball Player

One of the greatest hitters in baseball history is Mickey Mantle who is remembered as a great home run slugger, but did you know he struck out more than 1,750 times?  In addition, he walked to first base more than 1,750 times.  In other words, there were more than 3,500 times he went to home plate and didn’t hit the ball.  That is the equivalent of seven full seasons he never had a base hit!

Here’s the lesson:  it’s not the misses that count, it’s the hits.  Learn from your misses but focus on your hits.

When I make a mistake I increase my awareness and improve my performance. I refuse to relegate my disappointments and failures to the back of the bus and purposefully move them up front where I can deal with them, work out the kinks, make adjustments and get back on track toward success.  I turn my mistakes and failures into stepping stones toward my goal.  I figure if didn’t make a mistake yesterday, I didn’t’ learn much.

If you want to enjoy success in your personal life and business, and overcome the invisible handicaps that are detrimental to that success, step in the batter’s box and strike out a few times.  It’s okay – never fear failure!

Here’s how you step up to the plate:

1. Decide what it is you want to do and carve out a niche for yourself.  If you try to be all things to all people the deck is stacked against you.  You have to find a unique position for you

2. Set some measurable goals. You need both long term and short term measurable goals. Write these goals out on paper.  Until you write them down, they simply do not exist.

3. Define how you will attain those goals. Write a step-by-step plan that clearly defines how you are going to reach your destination.

4. Work your plan. As you do the daily activity it takes to accomplish your goals, focus on that activity rather than the goal.  If your goal is to purchase one rehab property each month, focus on the activity that will result in that one purchase.

5. Make adjustments as needed. When a mistake is made determine where you went wrong and readjust your approach but do not allow yourself to become distracted from achieving your goals.

6. As you work your plan, start thinking about ways to give to others.  If you cannot give away your money, it owns you.  You will become self-focused and shallow and contentment will always elude you.

7.  Be a mentor to others. There are millions of people who would like to be where you are.  Take one or two along for the ride with you.

The question you now face is crucial.  What are you going to do with this information?  My advice is to swing away.  Strike out, make some adjustments – most of all enjoy the ride.  Life can and should be a thrilling experience, but it’s up to you to make it happen.

Batter up!

The Challenge of Change

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. C.S. Lewis

Change (sometimes called challenges, disappointments, failures, and the like), in our lives is something most of us tend to avoid.  Change is hard whether in personal relationships, business, politics, finances – whatever. It’s like the bird trying to come out of the egg.

In reality, the only constant is change. We are in a state of flux until we die. Although facing change head-on is like swimming against a river’s current the benefit is that the process, while painful at times, sharpens our senses and makes us stronger as we struggle to adjust.  Yes, it would be much easier to simply go with the flow but any dead fish can do that and who wants to be a dead fish?

The struggle that comes from the emotional, psychological and physical effects of change is necessary to go forward and grow stronger. If you don’t move forward, you will move backward – there is no staying the same. It is the struggle that enables you to achieve the next level.

Don’t be a dead fish that floats with the current (death) or an bird that won’t break free of it’s shell and only wished it could fly (slavery). The goal is to look at change with expectancy (positive mental attitude) and embrace the opportunities that will come to you as a result of enduring the pain of breaking free from the challenge of change.

Living is a grand experience.  Embracing change will make it possible for you to learn life lessons and live life to the fullest.

Now, its up to you. Go create an amazing day.

What Others Think About You

“Why do people accept the opinions of others about themselves as truth? Who is going to live the rest of your life anyway? Doug Firebaugh

What is the value of someone’s opinion of your ability and personal worth? When we were teenagers, most of us wanted the acceptance of our peers. As a result, it mattered a great deal and we wanted to conform (non-conformists conform to the mores of other non-conformists!).

By the time we were in our late 30s and 40s we said we didn’t much care what “they” thought. But by then our lives were molded as we tried to live up to the (sometimes) impossible standards.

Now I find that what was really important at age 20 does not register on any scale of importance I now embrace. The time I spent thinking about what other people thought about me was, for me, truly a waste of time. On top of that, I’ve learned they really didn’t spend too much time thinking about me anyway.

Today when someone has an unsolicited opinion of me that I find objectionable, I simply think, “That person is rather presumptuous, isn’t he/she?”

The life you are living is yours. So find purpose and live it to the fullest. What others think about you will not pay your bills or produce wonderful relationships – nor does what they think really matter!

Just remember the value of someone’s unsolicited opinion of you is worth every penny you paid for it!

If you’re interested, here’s my advice:

1.      Find objective truth (as opposed to subjective truth) in which to adhere and serve as an anchor for your life and life’s work.

2.      Be yourself! Along your journey in self development, set goals that accomplish things you believe important.

3.      As stated in body of this article, find purpose in your life and live it. You are here for a reason. Why are you here?

4.      Regardless of the nay-sayers, embrace and apply principles that build your personal character and help define the person you want to be.

5.      Make time for meditation and reflection. In our fast pace society, this time is needed so we can reconnect with our values and moral compass.

6.      Truly realize that success is not accomplished in a vacuum. We need other people in our lives. With that recognition, we can learn to give of ourselves to others who are less fortunate that we are.

7.      When you fail to live up to your ideal standards, and you will on occasion, recognize the failure, make adjustments, and then simply move forward. Here’s how one first century thinker dealt with the issue of moving forward in his personal life: “But this one thing I do–forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies in front of me, with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize . . .”

Now, go make it a great day by focusing on the “prize” – forward looking – regardless of what “others” have to say about it.

Power In Embracing Enthusiasm

“You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars. With it, there is accomplishment. Without it there are only alibis.” Henry Ford 

Enthusiasm is rarely a topic that comes to mind when we think of success. And yet, without it life becomes mundane and the spark we wish to ignite in others fizzles away without the desired result.

Embracing enthusiasm is important because it replaces fear and worry. When I was in my early 40s I experienced what many call a mid-life crisis. Prior to this dark, short chapter in my life, I was accustomed to making many and huge decisions. I spiraled downward into a period of depression in which I could not decide on the color of my socks each morning.

The catalyst for my turn-around was the new project I tepidly decided to take on. Early in the process, enthusiasm was a quality I forced on myself.  I pretended I had it until it finally showed up. It showed up because (I think), as others became excited about my dream, their excitement spilled over to me and replaced pretending enthusiasm with the real thing.

I grew into a bona fide, honest cheerleader for finding success in very “today.” That was the end of “bad days” for me. Now there are good days and, better yet, great days!  And an interesting thing happened: my enthusiasm and excitement became contagious. Others reflected my newly refashioned positive mindset. The spark I sought to ignite became a forest fire from which many lives were positively impacted.

Here’s my advice to you if you want to enjoy success and are having a tough time getting excited:

1.  Fake enthusiasm until it becomes real (no, you will not be a phony)

2. Surround yourself with positive people (don’t listen to negative talk)

3. Think about how you can help others less fortunate than you (gets the focus off you and on someone else – which is a great thing for your well being)

4. Learn how to give yourself and some of your money to others (if you refuse to give, then the things you own and the money you possess OWNS you)

Norman Vincent Peale states, “Often enthusiasm is the bridge between poverty and prosperity.” I know, from personal experience, he’s right. He also wrote: “Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles and adds significance to all you do.”

Now it’s up to you. What will you do with this information? File it away in some dark corner, or get excited about your dreams and go for them? It’s your choice.

Now, go make it an enthusiastically great day

Money is Just an Idea

“Money is just an idea.” I like that quote and it’s something I believe! Recently a friend challenged my thinking when I used it: “That may be the dumbest thing you have ever said. ‘Money is just an idea’ is simply baloney,” he said. “There is no way having an idea will pay the rent or put gas in the car.”

I read a book that caught my attention several years ago. At the time, it was relatively new in the market place and the first of several books in a series. The little known author was Robert Kiyosaki and the book was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” It was he who used that statement and caught my attention.

Can money and wealth be just one idea away? Yes, it can and I will share with you principles  from which you can find that to be true. First, however, I want you to understand what it does not mean: You will not find $100,000 in cash on your nightstand when you wake up one morning with a great idea or two. Nope – won’t happen!

Here are four foundational principles you need to build upon if you want to experience, in the shortest amount of time, that “money is just an idea”:

1.    Good personal relationships – I’ve never seen anyone bring up the subject of good relationships in this context. But good personal relationships with your spouse and/or close friends are needed.

We are beings that need others. Without this ingredient you will always be looking for something more because you instinctively know something is missing. Besides, people in your sphere of relationships may help fund and/or market your idea.

2.    Good social skills – We do not succeed in a vacuum. Social skills will help you make contacts that can help transform your idea into a reality.

“Networking” is a trendy word now, but it’s also a needed ability. One theory suggests that you are only six people removed from someone who has what you need. Do you need money, information, ideas, support, or any other thing? Good social networking skills will open doors that will provide answers you require.­­

The good news is, networking can be learned. One way you can accomplish this is to form a master mind group with whom you meet on a regular basis.  This group of can offer support and information on your quest for success. Such a group has been a great experience for me and have permitted me to make business moves in a more timely fashion because they had experiences that aided my development.

There are books available on the subject of net working that can help you become more of a social networking person, too. Pick up two or three and get some good ideas on how to build social contacts and turn those social contacts into assets. Then, put into action what you learn.

One book you may want to consider is “Networking Magic” by Rick Frishman. Ivan Misner wrote “The World’s Best Know Marketing Secret, 2nd Edition: Building Your Business with Word-of-Mouth.”  Make the time to to your local library or order a book(s) on as soon as you can. You’ll not be sorry.

3.    Spiritual Balance – This area of our lives is often overlooked or avoided in much of the information written on the subject of success.

Here’s rock-solid truth: When we are out of balance spiritually, we start believing that we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around us. That kind of thinking leads to an empty, shallow existence.  Or, we start believing we are unworthy of anything thing good. The latter will result in lack of effort and a lack of motivation to move forward.

We are spiritual beings and benefit from time scheduled for spiritual “exercise” – just like we do from physical exercise. How will you build “spiritual biceps,” and develop a more balanced life, without focused effort for spiritual equilibrium?  You may contact me if you want to learn more about this.

4.    Financial basics – Turning your ideas into money will take some basic understanding of accounting and how money works. When I started my first brick and mortar business at the age of 20, I didn’t know if I had $5 or $500.

My advice to anyone wanting financial success is to take a local community college course (or self directed study) on basic accounting principles. There are also accounting software packages available that will assist you keeping good books, too.

After a solid foundation is constructed, you can build on it by gaining specific information, building a solid business model, and developing marketing know-how – all of which are subjects for other written pieces.

Money is just an idea away. But, you have to get in gear and go to work by defining in writing what you want to accomplish. Then, describe what you have to do to get there. After that, break down your goals into daily activity and DO the activity each day.

Kiyosaki also wrote: “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.” As you move forward, you will need to make adjustments as new problems and disappointments pop up – and they surely will.

Ultimately, if you work smart, you can realize your dreams by turning your ideas into money.

Now go make your dreams come true.

© 2010 by Don Loyd    All Rights Reserved.

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