If you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING!

What’s our natural tendency when things go wrong?

What happens when someone says something we don’t like?

What happens when we’re looking for something but can’t find it?

We obsess over mistakes, seethe and complain to anyone who’s willing to listen to how hurt we are, or turn the place complete upside down because we just can’t LET IT GO!

The first rule of holes is – when you find yourself in one, stop digging.

This however might be the most violated piece of commonsense wisdom in the world, says Ryan Holiday.

Tony Robbins cautions – see things as they are not WORSE than they are.

Like anything else, the first step is always awareness. Recognize that you’re in a hole.

  • If you have an unhappy client that is constantly complaining, and nothing you do is ever satisfactory, then you’re in a hole.
  • If you’re losing money on a project and you haven’t yet reached the end, you’re in a hole.
  • If you’ve been trying to make a relationship “work” for a while but the more you work at it, the more it stays the same. Guess what? You’re in a hole.

The “Law of Holes” adage first appeared in the Washington Post dating back to 1911.

“Nor would a wise man, seeing that he was in a hole, go to work and blindly dig it deeper…”

This old proverb can be applied to business, economics, gambling, friendships and love. The philosophy is a simple way of learning to let go.

In the Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday advises:

Today give yourself the most simple and doable tasks: just don’t make stuff worse. Whatever happens, don’t add angry or negative emotions to the equation. Don’t react for the sake of reacting. Leave it as is.

STOP DIGGING!

Click here if you need help planning your way out?

Caught my eye…

Do you think you need permission to succeed?

We admire folks whose names we see in neon lights. We celebrate bestselling authors, athletes, chefs, ninja warriors, ordinary people showcased doing extraordinary things…yet we fail to picture ourselves as successful.

Countless people have asked me some version of – “How do I find my purpose, and when I find it, how will I know that it’s mine?”

Initially I subscribed to the “find your passion” philosophy but then many would complain that they had no idea what they were passionate about.

Then there was the whole “do what you love and the money will follow” movement. Still many remained confused as they loved many things but simply did not have an idea how to make money doing that.

More recently, exploring your ikigai has become popular. [If you’re interested in exploring this further click here for a workbook guiding you through Finding your Ikigai.]

Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.”

When combined, these terms mean that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose.

The famous Japanese sushi chef Jiro Ono provides an apt illustration of ikigai, conceived as devotion to a pursuit that brings a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment.

Chef Ono has devoted his life to innovating and perfecting sushi-making techniques. He runs a small, exclusive 10-seat sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

Chef Ono has achieved the highest Michelin restaurant guide rating of three stars and is widely considered the most accomplished sushi chef globally.

Central to Chef Ono’s ikigai, one might say, would be pursuing excellence in sushi preparation and sharing this excellence with those who love sushi and fine dining.

So how do you discover YOUR Life Purpose?

The purpose of your life is to serve in a way that brings great joy to yourself and others. Don’t worry about finding it. Instead focus on serving a purpose and then your purpose will serve you, like it seems to be doing for Avalon Arscott who caught my eye this week with her tag line:

Breaker of Language Barriers. Speaker of French and Spanish

Avalon is the CEO and Lead Language Expert at The Language Boutique. She had a clue about her love for languages at the tender age of 9, where she imitated accents, while listening to Spanish tapes her mother would play in the car. Unconsciously she was gleaning a vital skill that would catapult her into doing what she does today. English is one of the hardest languages to learn and teach and so she feels well equipped to teach Spanish and French in a way that is practical, functional, engaging and inspiring. 

In her book Yes Shonda Rhimes starts off with “Hello I’m old and I like to lie”. She makes things up because she has to. She enjoys making stuff up. It’s in her DNA.

“The very thing that had me on my knees in church during recess reciting the rosary for one nun or another at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Park Forest, Illinois, is an actual honest-to-Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph job.”

The only obligation you have is to use your abilities to the fullest. You’re here and that’s all the permission you need to be a success. Not sure what you’re bringing to the table? Start here…

The psychology of suffering…

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in contemplating what it really means to be awake, adding: “Only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life.”

That’s what legendary philosopher and founding father of modern psychology William James (January 11, 1842–August 26, 1910) addressed half a century after Thoreau’s famous words, in a superb speech he delivered before the American Philosophical Association at Columbia University in December of 1906.

“Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake… We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”

This statement is still true today.

Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, better known as Reverend Ike, was an American minister and evangelist based in New York City. He made famous the following statement:

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH HELL TO GET TO HEAVEN”

His newspaper ads proclaimed:

  • “UNLEARN sickness and know health.
  • “UNLEARN poverty and know prosperity.
  • “Learn how to break every limitation and solve every problem YOURSELF.”

In our search for success, what we don’t realize is that we are really looking for ourselves. Sadly most of us don’t realize it.

Most of us believe that in order to experience happiness, we must first go through suffering. We must suffer first, before earning our reward.

We were put on this planet fully loaded to significantly contribute to our individual success yet the psychology of suffering requires that we not use the very tools and talents that we were born with.

No one is average

In his book ‘The End of Average’ Todd Rose shows that no one is average. Not our kids, not us, not our employees or our students. It’s a fact with enormous practical consequences.

While we appreciate that people learn and develop in distinct ways, these unique patterns of behaviour are lost in our schools and businesses which have been designed around the mythical “average person”.

It’s time to change that!

We must accept the challenge of using the tools and talents we possess. Abraham Lincoln said that “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Let our purpose be to make our lives as successful and as happy as we possibly can.

To paraphrase author, Keith DeGreen from his book ‘Creating a Success Environment’ – Let us view our existence, not from a mantle for suffering but as a dress rehearsal for the eternity of happiness we deserve.

This is the month to step back and reset

We are midway through 2021. It’s probably a good time to take a look at the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.

  • Is this still what you want?
  • Do you wish to change your direction?
  • Do all these goals still matter?
  • Have your daily actions brought you closer to your goals or further away from them?

A reset is a time to reinspect your goals and your energy levels

Chi, also ki or qi, is the inner energy each of us possesses, the life force that permeates the universe. Your Chi is the source of creativity and the amount you have to spend on any given day is limited.

You might be using up all your Chi on everything else BUT your goals. This may cause you to feel frustrated, discontented and probably angry at times. These emotions make it even more difficult for you to get back on track.

You need to gain control over your stress

For me it was giving up crazy expectations I had for myself and my life. Not only around thoughts like “I should be here by now’ but also around how much I could actually get done in a day.

Until I started to time exactly how long I took on specific projects and tasks I was lousy at guestimates. Something I thought would take one hour, in reality took four. I was mindful not to squander time while I was measuring. I worked with a timer and took breaks in between each hour spent on work.

It is important to guard our Chi, and also develop a ritual for renergization which might include a cup of tea, a short nap, a 15 minute walk, or just sitting doing nothing – staring into space for ten minutes.

Whatever you need, give yourself that creative nourishment

As you reexamine your goals, remember that your body is an energy vessel and you need to constantly fuel and rest to recharge.

Now might be a great time to get your annual wellness checkup. If you don’t have a regular doctor, check out one of my clients Dr. Ryan Rabilall at OMNI Total Health. He doesn’t know I’m writing this and I have no arrangement to receive any commission for referrals. OMNI is a client and I totally believe in their focus on the total you, not just your physical health. Phone: (868) 233-6526 Email: info@omnitotalhealth.com

Although you may have a plan, keep yourself open to opportunities as they arise and be willing to go in another direction.

Not sure where you stand today? Click here to take this first step NOW!

Don’t stop trying in trying times

The late and beloved rabbi of famed Temple of Shalom in Chicago, Louis Binstock said that often it is not the wrong start but the wrong stop that makes the difference between success and failure. To quit while we’re ahead would be silly; to quit when we’re behind is even sillier. It requires will to hold on a little longer. It requires wit to know that the measure of success is not the luck, the breaks of the game, but the conquest of failure.

The trouble with most of us is that we stop trying in trying times.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Hoover’s response to the Great Depression versus Roosevelt’s response in the context of what our nation needs to hear right now as we go through this pandemic.

Hoover’s response to the crash focused on two very common American traditions: He asked individuals to tighten their belts and work harder, and he asked the business community to voluntarily help sustain the economy by retaining workers and continuing production.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in 1932. He immediately embarked on an ambitious plan to get the country out of the Great Depression.

America has seldom felt worse than in 1933, the depth of the Great Depression. With unemployment reaching 80 percent in places, people were desperate. Many lost their homes, and when the banks began to fail, their last dollar as well. The message from newly elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was bracing: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Roosevelt’s optimism created what Newsweek columnist and NBC News contributor Jonathan Alter calls “The Defining Moment.” Here’s an excerpt:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

Addressing himself to the causes of the economic crisis and its moral dimensions, Roosevelt placed the blame squarely on the greed and shortsightedness of bankers and businessmen.

Roosevelt then turned, in the following excerpts, to the daunting issue of unemployment, which had reached a staggering 25 percent when he assumed office:

…the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously.

There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.

After touching briefly on foreign relations — “the policy of the good neighbor — the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others” — Roosevelt turned again to the economic crisis, assuring his countrymen that he would act swiftly and with determination.

In these times that we face in Trinidad and Tobago, we need to keep hope alive.

I am not saying ignore the facts. As Roosevelt said – Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of this moment. We cannot deny the realities of the COVID-19 virus but we simply cannot stop trying. We cannot lose hope and we must remain open that there is a way, even if that way has not yet presented itself.

I wrote on Saturday about two businesses that were lockdown inspired. This might be the time that you need to take a step or two backwards to reorient yourself and prepare to take a next step.

If you have difficulty reimagining your life and discovering new possibilities, use the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch.

Where will 2022 find you?

Like it or not, you are EXACTLY WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.

Maybe you are unhappy.

Perhaps you are in a job you’re thankful for, but silently hate.

You might be out of a job now given COVID-19 and its effect on work generally.

You might be working but your hours have been severely slashed.

At this moment your future may look doubtful.

But this is your choice

Dr. Robert Anthony says that believe it or not, we would rather be in an unwanted situation than pay the price to change.

If I offered you the following options – the red door is the devil you know, the blue door is a new beginning, which door would you walk through?

Sure each situation is different. You might feel trapped where you are but don’t think that you can change now.

Regardless of our special circumstances, Dr. Anthony says that we have permitted the present environment to limit our thinking.

“By choosing to let a person, circumstance or condition dictate our happiness, you have abdicated your life to something OUTSIDE yourself. In effect you have declared that your situation is greater than the POWER with you to change it.”

If you want to travel, to go where you’ve never allowed yourself to go before, if you truly want to embrace being free then your thinking must control your limitations instead of your limitations controlling your thinking.

If you declare yourself a prisoner, you will ALWAYS be a prisoner

“Once you make up your mind to be free,” Dr. Anthony says, “and tell yourself you are sick and tired of being sick and tired you will be motivated to make necessary moves toward liberation and find a way to cease being sick and tired.”

We are approaching the half-way mark of 2021. Do not act as if you had a thousand more years to live.

The world needs what each one of us has to offer.

Time is not waiting. Dorothea Brande says that in the long run it makes little difference how cleverly others are deceived; if we are not doing what we are best equipped to do, or doing well what we have undertaken as our personal contribution to the world’s work, at least by way of an earnestly followed avocation, there will be a core of unhappiness in our lives which will be more and more difficult to ignore as the years pass.

The seeds you plant today is evidenced in the fruit. You cannot reap what you do not sow. We need to guard our time and not waste it on aimless conversations with the same unevolving topics, the same opinions, the same half-aimless observations to make on the same recurring situations, the same automatic indignation at the same old abuses, the same illustrations to prove the same points, and a few lukewarm arguments to bolster up what may once have been opinions but are now seldom more than prejudices.

We need to prepare for the calm before the storm. The world of work is changing again.

Now is the time to look to your gifts. You can no longer undertake work which calls for only a small part of your abilities and training. The world needs what each one of us have to offer.

Don’t submit to the will to fail. Instead look toward 2022 and ask yourself: Where would you like to be?

The first step is to start right where you are. Click here to request a tool that will help you determine just that.

Caught my eye this week…

Every creation starts with a lump of useless clay. The potter leaves a part of himself in every creation. Only the potter can hear the clay. He listens to know its breaking point, to learn its limitations, to reach past them or to accept them and make them a thing of beauty.

regina brett

It is always scary to put ourselves out there for the world to see. Many writers, artists, singers, lego-builders, doodlers, cartoonists…sometimes remain in the closet because they don’t want to be judged.

Regina Brett shares that when someone points out her flaws it’s difficult for her to accept the ‘unseen order’ in her life because she wants to be perfect. Yet in reality, most of the blessings that come to her, and most of the blessings that come through her, come through the imperfect.

Two creatives caught my eye this week. Zucca Meals and Decadence in a Jar.

What was it about these two products that stood out for me?

Their story.

For Zucca, whose pumpkin soup I’m about to try it was the tagline

Inspired by Italy, made in Trinidad.

This one line drew me in. I wanted to know more. This is the power of story.

In the last 24 years, no other writer has likely lured more travellers to Italy than Frances Mayes. Her 1996 memoir Under the Tuscan Sun tells the story of how she fell in love with a rundown 200-year-old villa outside Cortona, and how she painstakingly restored it alongside her Italian neighbours. 

When asked what still fuels her love of Italy Mayes said:

From the first trip until the last one, I experienced exactly the same sensations – the feeling of being at home. Who can explain how you can sense a metabolic connection with a foreign place, when you have no genes, no ties? Colpo di fulmine – “love at first sight”. I travelled to Italy originally to see the art and architecture. I live there now half of the year for about 1,000 reasons, but the most profound: I open the door and say aloud, “I’m home”.

Maybe that was why Zucca’s tag line drew me in: the allure of Italy and perhaps the gift of being able to get a taste of Italy right here in Trinidad and Tobago…delivered straight to my home!

Necessity is the mother of invention and Tami needed an alternative income stream when because of Covid, she could no longer work as an aesthetician. Zucca was her answer to many of the challenges faced in these turbulent times and the consistent positive reviews keeps motivating her to make small batches of pumpkin soup daily.

Decadence in a jar was lock down inspired by a 17 year old Chelsea, in Chaguanas. She decided to put her love of baking to create a brand that helps her anxiety and channel her creativity.

Cooking or baking has become a common cure for stress or feeling down, but there might actually be some science to why small creative tasks might make people feel better. According to a new study, a little creativity each day can go a long way towards happiness and satisfaction in the bustle of daily life.

In order to put together a good meal, cooks have to be constantly in the moment, adding ingredients, adjusting the heat of the stove and tasting their food to make sure everything will come out alright—all of which can be helpful techniques in treating some forms of mental illness.

“A lot of us turn to baking when we’re feeling low,” Melanie Denyer, the founder of the Depressed Cake Shop, a bakery designed to draw awareness to mental health conditions says.

Baking may not be a be-all-end-all cure for mental illness, but anyone in need of lifted spirits should consider pulling out the flour and warming up the oven.

In Chelsea’s own words…

Creativity sparks resilience.

What have you been too afraid to share, to let the world know about? Start today, and who knows – you might catch my eye!

P.S

I’ll be writing the stories of both Tami and Chelsea. In order to get those stories – subscribe here.

How do you choose a teacher or coach?

Most of us who train never believed it possible to do the things we now do. But we trusted the teacher who told us we could do it if we would just try. And the teacher was right.

jennifer lawler

In July of 2011 Seth Godin wrote a piece called the arrogance of willful ignorance. He suggested that “If you’re doing important work (and I’m hoping you are), then you owe it to your audience or your customers or your co-workers to learn everything you can.”

I would add that it is our responsibility to teach what we learn but to appreciate that our audience may not initially be receptive when we first start delivering our “curriculum”.

Lester Wunderman believed that the curriculum theory of data-based target marketing had a far greater potential than any other form of advertising.

Advertising is a form of teaching that leads to selling, and the best way to teach is with programmed strategy. Curriculum marketing converts “suspects” to “prospects,” prospects to customers, and customers to repeat buyers.”

Lester Wunderman

In 1980 Mr. Wunderman approached his friend, Dr. Hans Guggenheim, an anthropologist at MIT who was also an expert on learning theory and asked for his help in learning about learning.

Dr. Guggenheim explained that the teaching of any subject was based on a planned “curriculum”. The curriculum was designed y educators to teach an entire subject one fact at a time. It was divided into what educators called “chunks”, the amount of learning a person could absorb at one time. A curriculum was a planned learning program broken into “chunks” that were communicated, taught and reinforced one at a time, like putting together a string of beads. Each bead was different, but when strung together they made a necklace.

Wunderman then asked Guggenheim if he thought it possible to create a curriculum that could teach people to buy Ford cars.

This entire experience created what we now call education-based marketing.

As service professionals we need to remember that you will not be trusted immediately after your first ad, or first post, first blog or initial face to face visit with a potential customer.

We also need to keep in mind that even if someone wants to work with us they may not want to go ‘all in’…they may first want to test the waters.

Divide your service offerings into chunks and offer a fraction of your fully loaded menu. Once you gain trust on the small project, then your clients will e willing to take a greater risk is true.

Jennifer Lawler tells us that If you’re looking for a teacher or coach, begin with small things and if the teacher proves trustworthy in those small things, be willing to take greater risks and trust the teacher with more important and larger things.

Want help figuring out how to create your own curriculum marketing package? Start here.

Give people permission to stray

FRAME HARIRAK

 Those you had hoped to influence today may choose to follow a different path. This can be a good time to reflect upon the uniqueness of the destinies of each and every human being on the planet. What proved right for you may not be what is best for those who solicit your advice, and you should not regard their choices as a personal affront.

As someone gifted to see potential, (I’ve always intuitively known that, but my MCODE results confirmed it scroll to the bottom of the page), I understand how you might feel when you provide guidance to a friend, an employee, one of your peers or one of your managers and they take a completely different path contrary to your direction. After all, the reason why we offered the guidance in the first place is so they might adopt our point of view.

What if we shifted our paradigm and gave in the spirit of generosity, letting go of the outcome?

Wanting someone to take our guidance lock, stock and barrel means we want to control them and that is never a good idea.

What worked for us, may not be the best approach for them. We need to give people the gift of making mistakes, owning their choices, and eventually finding satisfaction in their own way…and as hard as it is for us to swallow this pill…in their own time.

People will take from us, what they find useful and apply it to their circumstances in their distinct way.

The best thing you can do is to seek first to understand another person, what drives them, what motivates their behaviour and the surest way that I’ve found to unlock the essence of a person is to look at what they like doing and do well.

Each person comes into the world with a predisposition to a natural style and natural pattern of behaviour. When they know and understand their patterns only then can they fully begin to tap into their true potential; only then can they truly have the confidence to be less defensive and more open to whatever guidance is being shared.

Dance with the Energy of the Universe

You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image-maker

gabrielle bernstein

We care so much about what other people think, yet we seldom slow down long enough to examine our own thoughts.

We need to think about what we think.

Marcus Aurelius was amazed by how easily we love ourselves above all others, yet we put more stock in the opinions of others than in our estimation of self.

We are willing to ditch our own approaches, beliefs and convictions to match the opinion of an influencer for no other reason than they have more followers than we do.

Abraham Hicks tells us that each and every component that makes up our life experience is drawn to us by the powerful Law of Attraction’s response to the thoughts we think and the story we tell about our life.

Our money and financial assets; our body’s state of wellness, clarity, flexibility, size and shape; our work environment, how we are treated, work satisfaction and rewards – indeed the very happiness of our life experience in general – is all happening because of the story we tell.

We have lost the ability to feel good about ourselves until some outside third party validates us.

In his Daily Stoic readings, Ryan Holiday cautions that although we control our own opinions, we don’t control what other people think about us, least of all. For this reason, putting ourselves at the mercy of those opinions and trying to gain the approval of others is a dangerous endeavor.

We often mouth that we believe in God, a Higher Power, the Universe yet we go about living as if what we believe in doesn’t exist. Instead we look to others just like us to guide us and help us in making important life decisions, while ignoring our own inner guide – out intuition.

My good friend and Master Certified Coach, Dr. Marcia Reynolds says in this articleWe all have intuition but we don’t consciously listen to it, trusting only what appears to be rational in our often irrational mind.

Whenever you are afraid know that it’s a sure sign that you’ve left the God of your belief and understanding out of the picture.

In her fabulous book ‘The Universe has your Back’ bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein says “…being in union with the energy of the Universe is like an awesome dance where you trust your partner so much that you just surrender to the beat of the music. When you begin to dance with the energy of the Universe, your life flows naturally, incredible synchronicity presents itself, creative solutions abound, and you experience freedom.

Whenever we disconnect from the Universe, this is when we lose sight of the safety, security and clear guidance available to us.

Today let’s start thinking about what we’re thinking. Look at ways that we seek externally the joy that only comes from within. Focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing. Let your intuition guide you to write that article, share that idea, call that person, and step back and admire in awe as everything falls into place, and is as it should be.

And the next time someone’s opinion manages to get inside your head, pause, take a step back and reconnect with that Source of Power that will always guide you to exactly what you need!

It’s time to reconnect to your power. To discover exactly where your power leaks are, start here.