Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Value of Time


7months ago, I jumped in feet first and joined the group of business owners of the world. And one of the positive experiences from those last 7 months, is my appreciation for the value of time.

If you haven't figured it out yet - time is definitely a beautiful commodity. What you do with it, shapes (in so many ways) what your life looks like. And yet, while almost every one of us wishes for more time, we misuse the very time that we already have.


One word - procrastination.

Although most people don't intend to procrastinate, most people don't hesitate to admit that procrastination is a problem for them. And if it is a problem for most people, it is a problem for most organizations. Putting things off means that precious time is lost. And as I always say, "time wasted is time lost" and the big idea on time is that once it's lost, it can never be regained.

This does not mean that every minute of your day, week or month needs to be scheduled. You can still be spontaneous and seek adventure but if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. In fact, usually the people who have the most time for fun are those who know how to plan and then maximize their time well. On the reverse side, those who leave life to chance and make no time to set schedules, articulate goals and follow plans, are those that feel overwhelmed and stressed the most.

Therefore,

reduce your stress by maxmizing your time - success will follow.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing

The end of the month and like all sales teams hustling to reach budget we present the scrambled Seven Day Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

By receiving an education we are already placed into the top 1% richest people of the last 1000 years. It is a wonder that we don’t use that education to create more powerful thoughts instead of the drivel we are fed about how tough it is to survive out there.

How much would you sell your eyesight for? A million dollars? How about your ability to walk? Ten million?

You are already a millionaire; you just don’t know how to look at it yet. Practice giving by being thankful for what you already have and I’m sure more will come your way. Humility is an under appreciated value.

Has there ever been a time that wasn’t tougher than the old days. Every generation thinks they had it hard. News flash: they are all hard and all easy depending on whether you are doing well or poorly based on the objectives you set. For instance today everyone thinks it hard to get a house in Vancouver because of the prices. They say, “Well the prices are just so outlandish today. You had it easy back then.” Yeah right. Easy. Like 20% interest rate easy.

It isn’t a competition to see how difficult you see YOUR life and nobody cares either.

Like Lincoln said, “I may be slow, but at least I’m moving forward.”

Look at the world through different coloured glasses and you’ll be surprised what you see.

Well that’s it; a couple of perspectives to share and ponder while you rush about. Comments are welcome and we will see you next week for some more Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

Monday, February 26, 2007

how to leave a job



as promised, today's blog is a free education on what / why and how to leave a job. share this with your kids, team mates, co-workers, employees, bosses, etc so we can MINIMIZE any negative perceptions associated with moving on.

1st of all, using scott's great points on the 5 steps of grief (posted in yesterday's blog), it's important to recognize the decision to leave a job is not an easy one. having said that, there are certainly things one can do to reach the acceptance stage and make the transition as smooth as possible.

the following are the processes that can help you, make your way onwards and upwards with positive feelings, minimal drama and optimal memories.

1. tell your manager first. whether you are looking or have found something, walk in and give them plenty of notice. they will appreciate this professionalism rather than hearing it from the customer or the team first.

2. take the high road at all times. people LOVE drama and will try to engage you in the dramatic side of what / why & how. simply tell them the decision has been made in your best interest. when you stay high, people are left with an elevated perception of you.

3. save your best till last. during the last 2 weeks, work like it was your first two weeks. wrap things up in an orderly fashion and get back on the radar that got you hired in the first place. what this does is elevate your departing stock, ensure reference letters are signed and make you look GREAT in the eyes of the team, customers, management & organization. legacy!

4. have a plan b in mind prior to announcing your departure. whether its travelling or the confirmation of another job make sure you are not simply throwing your hands up aimlessly and walking away.

5. thank those who you have worked for and with. there is nothing more powerful than having a group of supporters who WANT to help you with your next venture.


5 dont's when leaving a job.
1. don't ever email or call in your resignation and give no notice. you walk in to your manager, sit down, discuss the strategy and then give your best effort over the last 2 weeks. remember, the impression people (manager, team, customers) will remember is the first and last one.

2. don't "rally the troops" to believe because you are leaving, they too should leave. just because your time and attention span have narrowed, doesn't mean others has.

3. limit your comments to how the organization has treated you to "it's been a great time, i have benefited / the organization has benefited and that's what matters most". investing energy slinging mud will not likely help you get that reference letter you need.

4. don't whisper in the customers ears. people are savvy and more times than less, you look like the fool.

5. don't leave a job bitter. again, that's a choice of which you have the ultimate control over. you have likely invested a lot of time and energy at your work and should want to be remembered for the good and not the dramatic.

again, leaving a job doesn't have to be dramatic or negative or destructive. its all in how YOU decide to conduct yourself. trust me when i share the fact you will get much much more out of the entire experience by leaving on as good as or better terms than when you were hired.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Understanding Grief

This is my hip. It has been like this since November 30th. I was a very happy and active person and over time I could feel my hip get older and older until it eventually gave out. Thanks to modern medicine I will be able to resume my active lifestyle without pain.

This blog is not about me though, I do not want you to feel sorry for me, what I want to do is to educate you on the 5 stages of grief because we all will go through them as well as deal with someone who is grieving.

Understand this; we all are in the business of making those around us better, like it or not, because it makes our lives easier as well as improves our self-worth. In order to accomplish this it is essential that we understand what is going on in the lives of those around us so we know when to push them, sympathize with them, or when to let them be. One common situation we will all encounter at some point in our lives is to deal with someone who is in grief, ourselves included, and we need to know the signs in order to continue to fully understand what that person is going through. Without understanding the signs of grief, or choosing to ignore them, we will never be able to truly make others better.

Grief (noun); the cause of intense, deep, and profound sorrow, especially a specific event or situation.

Grief is mostly associated with personal loss. This could be in the form of death, but also relates to the loss of a job, a child going to college, divorce or breakup, and in my case a surgery and the loss of lifestyle. The thing is that grief is specific to each person and while some may not feel any emotion with a situation, others will grieve. What we as friends, colleagues, employers, and family members need to know is what and why the people around us are grieving for. It isn’t until we do this that we can attempt to understand how to deal with their behavior.

The 5 Stages of Grief are:
Denial – we deny that this is even happening to us and don’t accept the reality of the situation that we are in. By denying our reality we don’t have to deal with the pending consequences of the situation.


Anger – “why is this happening to me”? We have finally realized what our reality is and become angry about the situation. This anger is played out internally as well as externally, but isn’t always obvious as it can be passive as well.


Bargaining – this is where we begin to make deals for a better personal outcome. This usually happens before the loss occurs.


Depression – this is where we feel an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, mostly because we no longer have control over the situation. Again, this is not always external and obvious.


Acceptance – this is where we finally take personal responsibility for the situation and look to make it better, not bearable, better. By regaining control of our lives we then seek ways to make it better.

We will all grieve at some point in our lives and we will need to go through these 5 steps. I have gone through mine and in May I will be able to run again, therefore completing my grief cycle. As hard as they are to go through, they are easier to tackle when you have someone who is sympathetic to your loss. Simply saying that it is the past and you need to move forward is not advice enough, and in reality is a disservice to the person in grief.

Since we all at swimupstream are in the business of people, it is our job to find out how to guide someone through their grief. Yes, sometimes a kick in the butt is essential, but more essential than that is meeting the person at their grieving point and then traveling with them through the 5 stages. Letting them feel the extreme sorrow while guiding them, not pushing them, to the light at the end of the tunnel is our only option. We make people feel better about themselves, and because of that we need to understand the individual differences people have. Then, and only then, can we truly help a person. There is no cookie cutter approach when it comes to self-efficacy.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Clearing Debt

North America is swamped with debt. Here are some stats that may astound you:

  • The average person has eight credit cards and owes over $13,000 which creates interest payments that eat families alive.
  • When polled , 97% of people are actually unsure of how much they really owe
  • The same number were unable to provide a reasonable answer as to how to solve their problem
  • Most people owe $1.19 for every $1 they earn
  • Money issues are the leading cause of divorce

I may be going out on a limb here but I think that there is a big connection between what we see and hear, and then consequently how we act.

Our governments are borrowing and lending while the marketing of consumer products has become so psychologically advanced that we have come to trust the marketing messages subconsciously. What happens is that our minds start to turn our “wants” into “needs”. People begin to need the latest car, the designer dress and need to look like the magazine covers. Blindly we follow.

Nobody looks at the consequences and due to our serious lack of economic education during our formative years we haven’t even got a clue the there really is a consequence to the buying actions.

Beyond the debt consequences here are just a very few things that happen when we stop questioning why we are doing something;

  • Personal image issues like anorexia become heightened because there is a perfect look we strive for
  • Consumer products become cheaper in price and quality because we are all buying the same things from the same “big box” stores
  • Traffic issues become normal as our image is attached to our products and thus we need to have our own cool car. The environmental issues here are a totally different topic but you can see some problems if we keep this up.

Tackling an issue like debt has far reaching positive results. By tackling debt I think you can wake up your should and mind to becoming the unique individual you were born to be. By tackling a subject that has a strangle hold on so many people you can break free of the traps that money can drag you into.

It isn’t a coincidence that most wealthy people have sought to create a better world rather than build their money. Tackle your debt issues, manage your money and then unleash the real you. Don’t be a sheep and blindly follow. Find out who you are meant to be and make sure the world finds out your purpose.

I truly believe that undoing the binds of consumer financing will help clear the view of your path towards happiness. It may seem like you are keying in on money but try to look at it like you are clearing a way for the real you to shine.

Learn to manage your money and you will be surprised at the other things you learn about yourself.

Friday, February 23, 2007

to all people under 25

the world does not revolve around you.

i know, this information is contradictory to everything you have seen & heard, but it's really important that you understand the statement so YOU do not come crashing down when the lights fade.

ex. bald brittany spears. need we say more. that woman has to go all the way back and start again, with two ill equipped children in tow who will be brought up through money instead of mommy.




we had a person email us her notice last night. "sorry, i just can't handle it and i think its best if i just quit now". imagine, 40 or so years ago, her grandfather sending his notice in on a piece of paper. what would have happened to him?



(that's tar & feathers by the way)

to all young people under 25, don't ever email in a resignation. in fact, since some of you have never been taught "how to" leave a job, that's going to be monday's blog, but it ties in nicely with today's topic "ITS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU".

get over yourselves.
you are not special.
learn what the words integrity & responsibility entail.
do not continue to be so inwardly focused.
selfish is a lonely place... long term.

this isn't a rant, because we will get over your absence faster than you will. however you will take this same attitude, into your next job, relationship, interaction etc. and get walloped there too (and by the way don't put my name down for a reference)

sure, you think its 'easy peasy', and other friends, owners & people will embrace you just like we did (initially), but like a one year old tea bag, you will begin to lose your flavor and it will happen quicker and quicker each time until you realize its YOU who has to adapt to the realities of the world and not vice versa.

now, for all those GREAT young people out there (and there are 'some'), keep doing what you are doing, because compared to your counterparts, the world is your oyster for the simple reason that YOU are flowing with it, instead of believing it is contingent on you.

and if you love health and fitness, we have a few openings!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Higher Order of Thinking (H.O.T.) Part 3



Two weeks ago we laid out 11 stages of thinking, rationalizing, acting, basically stages of living and leading yourself. To recap, the 11 levels of thinking we identified are;
  1. Need Now: The lowest level on Maslow's Pyramid of needs. Basically, the way a baby cries for a bottle, or a toddler wants their mommy and doesn;t stop to think that they are blue in the face and whaling at the top of their lungs in Wal-Mart.
  2. Want Now: Selfish, "me, me, me" attitude combined with a hint of what they actually may want. No idea where they are headed because they are focused on the now.
  3. Not Now: As these spoiled kids get older, and responsibility hits them in the form of their first job, or chores, etc... the first reaction is often to shirk away from that responsibility.
  4. What Now?: "I have a job" or "I went to school", now what? This is that wonderful transitional period when children become adults because they stop doing what they were told, and start identifying for themselves what they want out of life.
  5. Why Now?: This is the fighting getting older/ responsibility/ having to think on their own stage. Much like the "not now' stage, only you have more money and can do more damage to yourself without any direction.
  6. Right Now: Once they truly know where they want to go, this is the first step towards truly growing up and maturing- seizing opportunities and getting busy living because it is what they want.
  7. More Now: This is where we start to increase our acheivement, desire, and effectiveness by implementing more/ better time management strategies, we improve our skill sets, and we allow ourselves to want more out life.
  8. Share Now: This is where we become less selfish and we share what we know, and where we are headed, with those who are important to us.
  9. Love Now: This is the stage of life that not everybody hits (but we hope that you do) wherein you know who you love, what you are passionate about, and why it is good to be you.
  10. Mentor Now: This is where we take the love of what we do and combine it with humility as we teach others to do the same and pass their teachings on. It is about affecting change within the world you live in.
  11. Leave Now: This is the final chapter of our evolvement- self actualization. As a matter of fact, this stage is often not complete until after we are dead, because the key to this stage- is legacy. Leaving a legacy at your job, within your home and community at large, and in the world... making it all better than you left it.

Today we are discussing "Want Now" mentality. People in the Want Now stage never see past their own wants and perceived needs. They are unable/ unwilling to consider another person's point of view, and when push comes to shove, a different viewpoint that conflicts with theirs will be considered 'wrong' by a Want Now thinker.

The one good thing about a Want Now thinker is that they make great allies if your wants are aligned. If there is any misunderstanding, however, remember that to a Want Now thinker, their opinion is more important than yours.

People will stay in this mode of thinking until they have hit the brick wall enough times by not getting their way. At that point, their selfishness will prompt them to try other means to get what they want. The danger then, is that someone may graduate from Want Now to Not Now or even What Now, but if they do not address the selfishness that held them in the Want Now stage for so long, they are apt to return here sooner rather than later.

Only when these slef-interested individuals truly embrace a more caring perspective can they leave the shackles of "Want Now" behind. Then they are ready to move on with their lives....

So are we: next week we will cover Not Now mentality and how it may still affect your life.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Going Out To Play


This last weekend I was fortunate enough to visit the Great White North of the Yukon with eight great individuals and have fun in the snow. Yes, like a child, nine grown adults enjoyed the great outdoors and and had the opportunity to 'play'.

'Play' - the perfect description of our experience.

When I got home, I thought of just that - we got to 'play' - and then reflected on the importance of play. I thought, how often do you ask an adult "what do you plan on doing today?" and get the response "Play"? Unlike the answer you would receive from most children...and maybe that is why our world is broken.

What would your life look like if there was more playing?
What would your experience of work be like if you had more fun doing your job...no matter what job you do?
What would your relationship be like with more spontaneity, laughter, and festivity?

Because as adults, we generally stop playing once we assume the responsibilities of life - the children, the bills, the mortgages, the businesses, etc. And we become nothing more than deterioted children.

Why?

It doesn't have to be this way. Playing does not necessarily require money. Find the time to be a little silly and reckless. Be innovative at work and imaginative at home. Go out for dinner and drinks to enjoy some laughs with friends. Get back to that sense of wonder you knew when life was all about riding your bike, throwing the baseball around...and enjoying every second of this journey called living.

And the next time someone looks at you and asks you what you plan on doing today...I invite you to confidently give the one reply that matters:

"I am going out to play!"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing

Just as the Olympic Committee can’t get 100% support for anything they do we present you with the ever contentious Seven Day Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

Going back a ways we have reported and commented in the swimupstream files about the connection between child obesity and the amount of television that the youth are watching. We were clear that too much t.v. was a problem and over the last week a British Study has revealed conclusively that children who watch too much television will severely inhibit the production of the hormone melatonin. The result, and pay close attention to this list, is early onset puberty, poor sleep cycles, obesity, poor vision, an increased risk from a DNA level of cancer, and every hour of t.v. watched increases the likelihood of Alzheimer’s. Seriously, I’m not making this up. You can look it up in the journal Biologist. Maybe it is worse than we thought…..

Just an observation; currently it takes about 4 to 6 hours to make it through the passport line in Vancouver and then over one month to receive said passport. Having been deprived of a calendar day waiting for my passport and having had the luxury of being able to travel extensively I feel that there is possibly a disease that infects all employees if they are in charge of dealing with you and your passport. First, why are all border guards and passport office employees so rude? Second, when did the memo go out that their job was as important as the Prime Ministers? I am all for taking your job seriously but if you were going to take homeland security as seriously as you want us to believe then perhaps we could all see you actually working to make the line go down! The reality is that most of these people are just incapable of giving their all because they hate their work. Without passion and care you have poor attitudes and the fallout is a poor working environment and in this case longer lines. To bad we can’t fire the lot of them and start again. Get a better attitude and make sure you choose a job you want to do.

The Olympic clock was unveiled this past week to great fanfare and some interesting protesting. B.C. is familiar to protesting and over time we have seen a lot of environmental displays such as the Clayquot Sound campers, the Green Peace boats and even groups that were the voice of reason against the Olympics. Everyone has a right to their opinion and everyone has a right to be heard but in the case of the clock it just seems a bit late? When your voice can’t be heard chaining yourself to a tree or protesting for a belief that stands for something bigger than you, like the environment, is probably a great thing. The clock protest just seems misplaced and weak. There was referendum, the decision to go ahead with the Olympics was made and whether you voted for or against, we should now all be moving forward in an attempt to reap a great reward. Those in charge of the Olympics have nothing to do with the lack of funding for housing. Take your message to the government offices, work hard at getting your housing message to the correct people and direct your thoughts relentlessly through the media so that others can embrace your cause. Killing the time and effort of others is just shameful and helps to erode the credibility of your cause, which housing for all fundamentally is. Nobody cares now and judgments are made on the way you look and act rather than on the message you are trying to impart. The Olympics are coming so embrace them and try to partner with them to find a way through and be heard. The shameful display at the clock ceremony did nothing for your housing message.

There is always a better way to be heard. It is rarely the easiest route.

An ex-NBA all-star, working for the NBA CARES, comes out with a major slam on gay people this week. He is quoted as saying, “I hate gay people.” Okay. There are a few points here that are quite easy to make. Of course, in a nation that is only slowly building racial tolerance to a point of decency [that is decency but by no means acceptable standards] an African American slamming another minority group just seems crazy. I leave that to your intelligent minds to digest and make opinions on. Second, using the hate word is just mind boggling from a member of a group called NBA CARES! Bizarre to say the least. The point I think more about though is how many of the judgments of athletes, movie stars and general media subjects like Paris Hilton, do we just accept. The slightly less controversial topics are probably the killers as we allow them to just seep into our minds. We are human after all and through the media information just creeps into our minds without us filtering that information. We don’t question it and for the most part just blindly accept it. How will our children fare especially since they haven’t been able to build a mind set for questioning and accepting yet. It is scary to think that most of our information we just blindly trust. Maybe watching less t.v. will give us the time to think and ponder who it is we are and what it is we are here for.

Well that’s it; a couple of points to digest and ponder while you rush about. Comments are welcome and we will see you next week for some more Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

Monday, February 19, 2007

the reality is : we are NOT equals.

not in opportunities
not in capabilities
not in intellect
not in experience
not in physical abilities


instead of pretending we are for the sake of establishing some kind of 'even' playing field, how about we celebrate the fact we are NOT equals and seek to understand how the end result is completely based on the sum of its parts.

i stink at mathematics and guess what. i shouldn't & don't have the opportunity to be an accountant. not to fill a male accountant quota, not because i am of a fraction (small) of african american decent, and not because i tried really really hard. if i took a test, i would come LAST. read that L.A.S.T. not, "needs work", not "great attitude", not "should advance to the next grade", and not the green ribbon.... coal in stocking. potato on plate. goose egg on paper.

in the real world, there is a first and there is a last and those two realities are so far away from 50%, C+ and status quo that by the time many of us realize that, its too late and we have a hard time coping. i didn't make my high school hockey team because i wasn't good enough. it sucked for me, it hurt my feelings, but it made me try harder and be a better player in other sports where i did excel. my parents didn't sprint to the coach and demand i play and they certainly didn't play any inequality trump cards. i sucked at that particular sport.

for 10 years i have run a successful business, and it floors me the way people come in, see what is in front of them and believe there is an entitlement to earn, talk to and treat me as their equal. you are not my equal. listen 10 times as much as you speak and perhaps one day you will make it there (and i am not being cocky).

for 6 years i have been a parent of 2 kids. on occasion, they will forget that my responsibility to them in to be the rule maker. until they have a foundation of knowledge and / or experience that can allow them to understand what they are negotiating for, they don't have that privilege. it's my way and i & they better hope to hell i have got my shit together.

and for 35 years i have been my own person in a system of individuals called the human race. i didn't smoke when others lit up, i stole when others were honest, i played sports when others goofed off and i shit disturbed when others were paying attention. but i can cling to one definitive claim to fame.

i NEVER aspired to be equal to others. a) it's not realistic and b) i didn't lack ambition.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Change

"every person is perfectly designed to get the results they are getting."
- Tim Kight

Interesting when you think about it because we spend so much time complaining about not advancing in the world and focusing on who is holding us back, when the reality is that the less amount of time you focus on changing your design the less amount of results you will get. This is not rocket science, just a brilliant way of putting your life into perspective; you are where you are at because it’s where you are designed to be. The beauty of the statement is that if you are unsatisfied about the results you are getting then you need to change the design.

Changing the design is tough because it means that we have to look at ourselves and be very critical judges. We have to not only ask, but answer hard questions about how we led ourselves into the positions we are in today. This means that we have to take full accountability for the decisions we have made, because those decisions led us to the position we are in. Whether you are the CEO of your dream company, or you are flipping burgers at a local fast food joint; the reason is because of you, not because someone held you back or had it in for you. Yes there are elements of the design that might have started you off disadvantaged, but the path you set forth came from the decisions you made. When we finally learn that we are the ones to blame, positively or negatively, for the positions we are in, then, and only then, can we make the changes in the design necessary to change our results. Yet we still resist change in ourselves because it is more difficult to accept our faults then it is to blame others for them.

Here are the most common reasons why people resist change:
1) People don't understand why the change is necessary.
2) People don't believe the "change" will work.
3) People believe the old way is better.
4) People are afraid that they themselves might fail.
5) People don't trust the motives of the change agent.
6) There is evidence that the old way works.
7) There is little or no evidence that the new way will work.
8) The pain associated with changing is greater than the pain of
remaining the same.
Adapted from "Beyond Change Management," a course offered by Boise State University's Center for Professional Development, in cooperation with Bryan Yager.

It is now up to you to evaluate where you are and what results you have accomplished, find where your resistance to change is, and then gather the courage to make the necessary changes that will deliver the results that you want. It is not an easy process, nor is it meant to be, it is a challenge. By taking the challenge you are accepting the opportunity to fail, but who knows, you might find yourself there already.

"The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance."
-Nathaniel Branden

Make yourself aware of your design and then accept that you can get better results.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Best Toothpaste Ever



Kids are just perfect. They say what they feel and never waver. If they are upset they just break down in the middle of the super-market.

They haven’t learned to care what people think of them….yet.

I’ve learned a lot about myself after Henry, my son, was born. Mostly I’ve learned that every day is worth living at 100%. You see, Henry never takes a second off and when he decides he’s done, he just goes to sleep. Live hard, sleep hard; that’s his motto.

When did the vast majority of us stop living like this?

I am a very active guy but looking at my little heir I can’t help but think there is more I can fit in. I don’t mean activities either: I mean more great moments of 1000% attitude.

I’ll have to practice, as I challenge you to do also, so I can break some of the cycles and concepts that were set in early in my life but practice is what makes us better. For Henry he just does it. For Henry he is just plain ready to rock every day.

Do you want to get there? Do you want to have more inspired moments no matter what your day seems to have on offer? Then let’s all repeat after Henry [and every other three year old] and make 100% commitment a starting place for your new attitude…..

Get your toothbrush, look yourself in the eye, place the toothpaste on the brush and then start brushing. Right in the middle of your routine cleaning I want you to stop and yell at the top of your lungs, “This is the best toothpaste ever!” That is what I heard this morning at 6:30am and man did it make my morning fun. I'm learning to expect the unexpected.

Does anybody want to bet that they won’t feel just a little different and a little more present if they are yelling at themselves in mid-brush? Perhaps even in a better frame of mind.....

Attitude in about nine tenths of the law. Live life. Bring the right attitude every day and every play. You’ll have more fun and see things you never thought you would. Guaranteed.

I’m off to brush my teeth.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Fellow 'SwimUpStream'-er

Whether you like Bill Gates or not...this is pretty cool. Here's some advice Bill Gates recently dished out at a high school speech about 11 things they did not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good,politically correct teaching has created a full generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept sets them up for failure in the real world.

RULE 1
Life is not fair - get used to it.

RULE 2
The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

RULE 3
You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with car phone, until you earn both.

RULE 4
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

RULE 5
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping; they called it Opportunity.

RULE 6
If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

RULE 7
Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

RULE 8
Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

RULE 9
Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

RULE 10
Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

RULE 11
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Higher Order of Thinking (H.O.T.) Part 2

Last week we laid out 11 stages of thinking, rationalizing, acting, basically stages of living and leading yourself. Each week on Thursday we are going to further break down each stage, so that you can learn from each level of thinking and move towards a Higher Level of Thinking (HOT).

To recap, the 11 levels of thinking we identified are;
  1. Need Now: The lowest level on Maslow's Pyramid of needs. Basically, the way a baby cries for a bottle, or a toddler wants their mommy and doesn;t stop to think that they are blue in the face and whaling at the top of their lungs in Wal-Mart.
  2. Want Now: Selfish, "me, me, me" attitude combined with a hint of what they actually may want. No idea where they are headed because they are focused on the now.
  3. Not Now: As these spoiled kids get older, and responsible hits them in the form of their first job, or chores, etc... the first reaction is often to shirk away from that responsibility.
  4. What Now?: "I have a job" or "I went to school", now what? This is that wonderful transitional period when children become adults because they stop doing what they were told, and start identifying for themselves what they want out of life.
  5. Why Now?: This is the fighting getting older/ responsibility/ having to think on their own stage. Much like the "not now' stage, only you have more money and can do more damage to yourself without any direction.
  6. Right Now: Once they truly know where they want to go, this is the first step towards truly growing up and maturing- seizing opportunities and getting busy living because it is what they want.
  7. More Now: This is where we start to increase our acheivement, desire, and effectiveness by implementing more/ better time management strategies, we improve our skill sets, and we allow ourselves to want more out life.
  8. Share Now: This is where we become less selfish and we share what we know, and where we are headed, with those who are important to us.
  9. Love Now: This is the stage of life that not everybody hits (but we hope that you do) wherein you know who you love, what you are passionate about, and why it is good to be you.
  10. Mentor Now: This is where we take the love of what we do and combine it with humility as we teach others to do the same and pass their teachings on. It is about affecting change within the world you live in.
  11. Leave Now: This is the final chapter of our evolvement- self actualization. As a matter of fact, this stage is often not complete until after we are dead, because the key to this stage- is legacy. Leaving a legacy at your job, within your home and community at large, and in the world... making it all better than you left it.

This week we begin with "Need Now", and although we described this level of thinking by referencing the behavior of a baby, make no mistake- many adults are stuck in this level of thinking!

"Need Now" thinkers are characterized by selfish thoughts, behaviors, actions, and until they can even begin to admit and understand their selfishness, and that there is harm that comes from this (and value in changing) they will remain at the "need now" stage indefinately.

Basically, "Need Now" thinkers cannot get past themselves or their own problems. They 'know' the world revolves around them and are ill-equipped to consider other points of view. The world is better off by ignoring adults with this perspective, or kicking them in the ass until they are prepared to at least consider change.

When this happens, we are ready to have this group move ahead, either to the next level of thinking (Want Now) or possibly several levels higher.... tune in next week when we uncover "want now" mentality.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day


So what makes such a day so 'special'?

Well, maybe it is the unique greeting cards or the flowers that are priced twice as much as normal? Maybe it is so ‘special’ because it is socially acceptable to divulge into sweets and chocolate more than normal on this day? Or, for that matter, possibly because of the $13billion dollars that people spend across North America on February 14th?

Tell me why we need yet another day in the year to remind ourselves about the loved ones that we have in our lives. Why do we need a specific day to express our appreciation, feelings, and emotions to that one 'special' person in our lives?

Let this be a thought to promote that this special day can happen any or every other day of the year. Because I know that every other day...


  • Flowers are 1/2 the price and can be delivered on time.
  • You can actually get the dinner reservation that you really want at the time that you want.
  • No one is stopping you from wearing your red or pink outfit.
  • You will either be with someone to enjoy any thoughts, feelings, experiences...or you won't be!
  • You will actually be unique instead of following every other couple on this day full of marketing schemes.

don't just wait for ths one day - be special everyday.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Responsibility

Well the normal program for Tuesday morning has been interrupted because I just have to get this out. So we will take a break from the Seven Day Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing and come back next week with a strong effort.

This morning I want to just speak to responsibility. Yesterday I had the pleasure of going back to high school to try and give back to our youth. Just talk to them about all the mistakes I’ve learned from and teach them a little about responsibility for their future. It is a simple message but one that rarely makes its way into a jam packed school curriculum.

What disturbed me yesterday was the apathy of the teachers and not the students at all. In fact the students made me as excited as ever. For the most part they were just bubbling with energy and it gave me a real buzz to talk to them. The teachers; they were mostly a bunch of whiners. I’m sorry and I know its taboo to talk about the people that care for our children but each one I talked to had someone or something to blame. It was as if the subject of our speech opened up a floodgate of telling us how others need to take responsibility. All I could think was, “You’re whining about something in here but really that all you are doing. Just whining.” No action. Just blame.

I came across a teacher that told me she was upset that it had become her responsibility to teach kids about being hired and what it took to become a great employee. She felt it wasn’t her responsibility. I agreed.

She then went on to declare that she felt that all teachers had to take over for parents responsibilities. I then disagreed.

I explained that the education of our youth, whether at school or at home, needed to help students realize their responsibility to putting 100% into anything they do and taking full responsibility for their actions. I told her that was what she signed up for. She signed up to give her best so the students had the greatest opportunity to succeed.

True it wasn’t her responsibility to do the job of the parents and actually it isn’t a parent’s responsibility to make sure their children get a job; it is the students.

But it is our responsibility to put 100% into our life and our job rather than blame everyone else for our circumstances.

Don’t you think if we took responsibility for everything we could control we’d all be a lot happier?

Monday, February 12, 2007

head of the class



today, a fellow swimupstream writer and myself are giving a Hire Me :
(Maximizing your earning potential by understanding what it takes to be a
great employee) seminar to 1500 students at a high school. appropriately,
it's like my life has come full circle.

back in 1987, i was tearing around our gymnasium, acting the usual fool when
a teacher stopped the class and took me up front. i respected this guy
immensely and as he started in on how much potential i had to be great, you
could have seen my smile for a country mile. yet as his speech went on, i
got the feeling i wasn't being exemplified for my positive behavior, rather
i was being exemplified for how you can die with potential if you don't
apply it.

i'm from a small town, where secrets were no more than fables on a get smart tv show. everyone knew everyone else's business and this guy saw through me
like a food in saran wrap. his clever pump up beginning quickly turned into
a lengthy berating in front of the entire class, but it was done in such a
way that i couldn't get out of it (hard to explain). i think it was because
he actually cared and he was genuinely disappointed that made me nod my head and comply with his direction.

after the speech, fell a long silence. i found myself in front of the entire
class looking at the fork in the road. i could take a left and tell him to
fuck off, or i could take a right and learn how to take personal accountability.

as i stand once again, in front of classmates and peers, i will be excited to recant the decision i took and can only hope they will make the same choice. let you know how it went on friday!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It Isn't What It Is

I’m into semantics right now. I don’t know why, but what people say and how they say it is sticking with me. As much as I want to shake it, I can’t…it is what it is.

That’s the new phrase I have been hearing over and over again, “it is what it is”. I hear it on the radio in interviews, it is on the television on talk shows, and I hear it daily in the conversations I have with others. It didn’t bother me until I used it in a conversation and realized what I had just done to myself. I gave in.

You see, saying “it is what it is” means that you have no responsibility in what is happening or has happened. It just happened and there is nothing you can do to either change it or gain empowerment from it. You have become a defeatist. The power has shifted from you to a situation, and you become reactionary instead of initiating action. Ultimately as humans we are looking to empower ourselves so that we can achieve. Through the way we speak (to ourselves or others), we are either giving ourselves the confidence and power to move forward or we are becoming subservient. In essence, through language and outlook we are either moving forward or we are stagnant (in some cases we are moving backwards).

At some point in your life (many times for the fortunate) you will have to make the decision of taking a chance and using your personal power, or sitting back and letting others do what you wish you had the power to do. In easy terms, you will have to either lead or follow. If you are going to lead, you have to be able to make decisions that are not just beneficial for you, but are beneficial for the entire group. Now imagine a situation in which a decision needs to be made (entering Iraq War, Immigration Reform, Global Warming, etc) and your leader says “it is what it is”, essentially giving no sound advice on what needs to be done. What do you do? How do you respond? Do you accept it as the way it is because your leaders said so? Hopefully not, hopefully you acquire new leaders or become a leader yourself. Unfortunately we have too many people who are willing to accept “it is what it is” and wait for change to come to them rather than making the change themselves. Leaders make change, they make decisions (even the hard ones), and they create new leaders. We are losing our ability to lead because people are unwilling to do what is needed, or unaware of what it takes, to become a leader.

So, very simple. It is not what it is…it is what you make it. You are perfectly designed to be in the exact situation you are in right now. If you don’t like the situation empower yourself and lead yourself out of it. If you are perfectly comfortable then provide an opportunity for others to learn from you and become their own leaders. If you don’t know how, then find someone who you admire and talk to them about success. Whatever you do, make sure that you are moving forward and making “it” what you want it to be.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Must For Success

All of the people that I follow and many of my friends, at least the ones I seem to keep in touch with, seem to have one thing in common.

It isn’t a technical ability that is earth shattering, although some posses great skill in their chosen realms.

It isn’t necessarily a positive outlook on life as sometimes these people have bad days like you and I.

It isn’t money as many of these people would do what they are doing for merely food and shelter.

The one thing that seems to tie the brilliant people I try to align myself with is their undying passion for what they commit to.

Passion. An underlying love for what they work and live with every day.

From music to business, health to sport, the topic doesn’t make a difference. These people are pumped up to talk about what they love and it makes them great to be around.

What are you passionate about? Is there a way that you can tie that love to a pay check? Would that make your life better?

This isn’t a challenge but it is a personal hope for the world. I’d like everyone to live their passion so they can have a great life. Take a look and see if you are matched up with the right job, partner or even hobbies. If you aren’t then maybe it is time to take the leap and look within to find out what your fire is burning for.

I personally guarantee that there will be fewer dog-days and more great sunsets.



Friday, February 09, 2007

“Pressure is what you feel when you are unprepared.”

(This was sent to me by a friend and i thought it was good enough to share).

For those of you who do not like football and clich├ęs skip this article.

Super Bowl XLI (aren’t the Roman numerals just a little pretentious?) is over. It recorded the second largest television audience ever, or so I read. Someone won, someone lost. Truthfully, I didn’t watch the game as we were stranded at Whistler - after the rock slide - without cable. But I enjoyed reading about it. And there was one quote that caught my attention. It was Peyton Manning (the Indianapolis Colt’s quarterback and ultimate MVP of The Game) who, in turn, quoted Chuck Knoll (hall of fame, former coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won four Super Bowls).

“Pressure is what you feel when you are unprepared.”

For whatever reason, I related to this. Perhaps this is because the quote focuses primarily on effort and intent. If one is well prepared and puts forward their best effort, in the end, they should not be pressured by the ultimate results. There is a great sense of freedom is this and I wish that I had learned it earlier. I also wish that my children could learn this as well.

There is a great deal of pressure on students today, much more so than a generation ago. And a great deal of this pressure is exclusively results oriented. Not every student will get 100% on every test or exam. Not every student will sink a three pointer at the buzzer to win the game. But if you study and practice hard and if you give it everything that you have, ultimately you can pleased- if not proud- of your efforts and accomplishments. And if the results are not up to the standards that you have set, learn from your mistakes, study and/ or practice harder and try again.

Peyton Manning is one of, if not the, hardest working quarterbacks in the NFL. And his postseason record, until this year, was terrible (it now stands at 7 – 6). He lost three BIG play-off games in 2004, 2005 & 2006 to the ultimate Super Bowl Champions each time (New England in ‘04 & ‘05 and Pittsburgh in ‘06). Each time he came back, worked harder, learned from his mistakes and ultimately prevailed this year.

Just to close the loop, by way of trivia, Chuck Knoll originally stated the quote above; Knoll both coached (as a safety) and later hired (as a Defensive Backs Coach) Tony Dungy (and he strongly supported Dungy as a potential head coach); as Head Coach Dungy lead Peyton Manning and the Colts to victory in this Super Bowl XLI; and Manning restated Knoll’s quote after the game.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Higher Order of Thinking (H.O.T.) Part 1



If you have read swim upstream, you have seen that we spend a lot of time on attitudes, mentalities, and the fact that you have a choice as to which attitude you embrace...





Perhaps it is time to lay out some of the possible attitudes or perspectives from which different people view the world, and difficult as it may be assign them a heirarchy that we can hope to ascend on our way to making better decisions and becomeing better people.

Feel free to add your input (because it only makes the outcome and the education for everyone better), but here is a possible order of the levels of thinking/ reasoning/ perspective that one may venture through in life:
  1. Need Now: The lowest level on Maslow's Pyramid of needs. Basically, the way a baby cries for a bottle, or a toddler wants their mommy and doesn;t stop to think that they are blue in the face and whaling at the top of their lungs in Wal-Mart.
  2. Want Now: Selfish, "me, me, me" attitude combined with a hint of what they actually may want. No idea where they are headed because they are focused on the now.
  3. Not Now: As these spoiled kids get older, and responsible hits them in the form of their first job, or chores, etc... the first reaction is often to shirk away from that responsibility.
  4. What Now?: "I have a job" or "I went to school", now what? This is that wonderful transitional period when children become adults because they stop doing what they were told, and start identifying for themselves what they want out of life.
  5. Why Now?: This is the fighting getting older/ responsibility/ having to think on their own stage. Much like the "not now' stage, only you have more money and can do more damage to yourself without any direction.
  6. Right Now: Once they truly know where they want to go, this is the first step towards truly growing up and maturing- seizing opportunities and getting busy living because it is what they want.
  7. More Now: This is where we start to increase our acheivement, desire, and effectiveness by implementing more/ better time management strategies, we improve our skill sets, and we allow ourselves to want more out life.
  8. Share Now: This is where we become less selfish and we share what we know, and where we are headed, with those who are important to us.
  9. Love Now: This is the stage of life that not everybody hits (but we hope that you do) wherein you know who you love, what you are passionate about, and why it is good to be you.
  10. Mentor Now: This is where we take the love of what we do and combine it with humility as we teach others to do the same and pass their teachings on. It is about affecting change within the world you live in.
  11. Leave Now: This is the final chapter of our evolvement- self actualization. As a matter of fact, this stage is often not complete until after we are dead, because the key to this stage- is legacy. Leaving a legacy at your job, within your home and community at large, and in the world... making it all better than you left it.

This is by no means the bible as it comes to self development, but it is a start. The key to remember is that not everyone starts at the first stage... and also that even as some people bring children into the world, they may be no more mature than their own kids.

We will be revisiting this concept over the next several weeks, where we discuss some of the key developmental milestones for each stage, and how you can move closer to leaving a legacy and just getting more out of life.

Cheers.... see you at stage one next Thursday

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How old are you?


Why does it matter!

Last week, I shared the perspective of getting older and the limitations that human beings create for themselves as their age increases. But what about the other side.

If age doesn't matter...then why do people judge individuals for their younger age?

Once again, the number of your age does not represent the level of our intelligence, ability, mindset, happiness, or success, yet, people tend to relate age with an increase in intelligence, wisdom, and life challenges.

Although this should be true...it isn't.

The level of your intelligence, wisdom, and success are developed and established through what you have learned from both the experiences and the people that you have been exposed to. If humans actually learned and trusted from those that have walked the same path before them (let alone learned from their own mistakes), they would be that much further ahead in the game of life. and yes, the game of life can be long, hard, and uphill but it can also be shorter, easier, and less steep if you choose to make it that.

Don't let people tell you that you are too young to own a business, to write a book, to provide advice, and to have other dreams that you wish to fulfill. It is not about how old you are, it is about the life that you have lived and the amount you are willing to learn from it. Believe in your ability, stay focused on your vision, and don't let anyone get in the way of that. And if you can get there faster than they did, you are doing your job.

The job of trusting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

you're in good hands?



(that's the allstate guy by the way)

well peyton, congratulations for staying awake for the entire super bore to take your first championship. thank god for multitasking or else, i may not have made it the entire time. i'd like to say i'm unsure why the event has to detract from the flow of the game... but it's because of money.

just like the nhl, mlb & nba playoff's literally connecting all sports seasons together (as well as decreasing the excitement during the season)the super bore also drags on like a fat water skier for the great anticlimactic ending that benefits everyone but the customer (aka: the fans). anyways, at least the symbol / prince / little guy didn't whip out one of his testicles or wipe out in the pouring rain during the halftime show.

my beef today is with insurance companies and how the first thing they say when you are reporting an accident / theft / vandalism etc is "you know your rates will go up if you run this through us, you may want to pay for it on your own".

thanks for caring. no really, i'm ok. not feeling good about you right now.

i am not sure why icbc is continued to be the ONLY option for bc auto insurers? seems like monopoly to me, but i am sure some red tape retard could provide enough paper for me to give up before getting even close to an answer.

i'm the kind of person who doesn't have a problem taking responsibility for their mistakes, but somewhere in your customer service manual should be section on at minimum pretending to be empathetic. i can help you with that if you want. actually, i'll pass on a tiny secret, so put down your coffee and inch close to the computer screen.

THE LAST THING YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT TO HEAR [first] WHEN THEIR HOMES HAVE BURNT DOWN, THEIR CAR HAS BEEN DINGED, OR THEIR HOUSE HAS BEEN BROKEN INTO AND VANDALIZED IS THAT THEIR RATES "WILL BE GOING UP AS A RESULT OF THIS".

things like, sorry for your loss, or that's why you paid for us, or no problem, we're here to help... are excellent substitutes. i bet you would have happier customers.

anyways, gotta run and listen to 1000 breakdowns explaining why the bears lost (cause rex grossman STINKS).

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It Takes Two Wings To Soar

I heard a saying on the radio yesterday that said “a bird can’t fly without two wings”. I don’t know if it a proverb or a well known saying because it was the first time I have heard it, but it caught me at the right time (strange how a simple saying can immediately change the outlook of your day, week, and life) and spread the seed of thought. Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply live by this saying in every sphere of our lives? All too often humans are flying in circles as one wing pumps much harder than the others leaving us to put way too much effort in the achievement of tasks. Let’s put this saying into simple areas of life where we often put in too much work with little return, or ignore one sphere therefore making us a less complete person.

Physical
We are all goal oriented people, meaning we have an idea and work towards achieving it. Physically we want to lose weight, run a 5k, be more active, etc. We work hard in specializing in one area and either 1) force success that we are unsatisfied with, 2) become distracted and move into a new goal, or 3) quit. In essence we are pumping too hard with one wing, therefore making the journey harder then it would have been if we just used the other wing to help us along the way.

Emotional
In a single day we run through a wide range of emotions, often getting stuck in either extreme of joy or sorrow. We stick with that emotion and let it dictate not only our day, but also how we deal with the people we interact with. When things are going great we use that wing to push us through our day and everyone thinks we are great. When things are going bad we push that wing to damage not only ourselves, but those around us as well (therefore becoming the jerk that everyone thinks we are). When we get stuck in either emotion, any emotion for that mater, we ignore the other emotions around us that either have the potential to bring us back down to earth or raise us up from a simple bad mood. In essence we don’t use both wings that make us emotionally “well grounded”.

Social
Using one wing socially only allows us to see one side of any relationship. Personally we only attach to the people we are comfortable with, therefore ignoring our ability to influence and better ourselves and those around us. Politically we associate with only one agenda, therefore pushing a cause that at best 50% of the people really agree with (15% of Americans have never heard of global warning, let alone have an opinion on it). By ignoring the ideas of the other side we are in constant conflict which causes us to fly in circles until ultimately nothing is achieved. Personally and politically we only learn from one side, usually those that we agree with, so what are you really learning? How are you really advancing?

The beauty of birds is that they soar. They use resistance to their advantage by making it their advocacy. When the resistance gets too great they use those around them to make a formation, which ultimately makes their lives easier.

Embrace your resistance, use those around you to become a better person, and use both wings to soar.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

could not imagine life without.



children.

natures best form of humility, children are the tangible example of your ability to be selfless, patient, focused, involved and a whole slew of antonyms for the word self absorbed. we are glad we had them. we needed them to realize life was about more than 'us'.

there's nothing better than hearing an i love you from a little one as you are tucking them into bed, or seeing the excitement on their face as they master a new skill for the first time. really, even for the most hardened hard ass, it's enough to make you melt.

the point of today's blog is our blatant influence on our children. inevitably they will inherit the best and worse qualities we posses through our spoken words and examples. with that knowledge our need to showcase our best product becomes more than a criticism from our significant other. it becomes a paramount 'must'.

also. we HAVE TO understand our responsibility with respect to children, which is preparing them for survival in the real world. there is no doubt about the fact we are the SLOWEST species to do this. it stems from our emotional ability to "feel". deep down we only want the best for our kids, yet the reality of the world and learning experience is that there is sickness in health, poverty in wealth and defeat in victory. our kids MUST experience the formers of each in order to appreciate the latters.



if you are reading this as a parent, "think" about your greatest strengths and pass those on with pride. also, "think" about the actions you see in your kids that you don't like. chances are, that apple is laying pretty close to the tree. whether they want to or not, kids will seek out the same character traits as their parents, in their spouses and that's why its important to be genuinely happy with the person you are with at home.

if you are reading this as young adult, 'think' about how you can really learn about your relationships and BOOK A DATE WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS PARENTS. right there, you will likely see exactly what you are getting!

...better hope they are cool.

Friday, February 02, 2007

the secret






unsure how many of you have watched this movie, but highly recommend it.
in a nutshell, its a great example of the power of attraction, meaning your mind (which controls your behavior) sets the tone for the direction & actions you will take pertaining to a given topic and / or on a daily basis.

skeptics will comment that its a little 'airy fairy',yet as the secret states, that's precisely why they remain skeptics. in fact, they will seek skeptical occurrences and ultimately ensure they are right.

we are all firm believers that anyone can accomplish anything. daily, we attempt to remove the stigma's associated with thinking otherwise. as i logged onto the swimupstream directory last night to preview the history it was unbelievable to see the reach this blog has had.

starting with 14 viewers / day in a demographic of vancouver in december, we have had people log on from australia, africa, all throughout europe, mexico and south america (not to mention a large volume in california and the eastern seaboard of the usa), we have reached up to 167 hits in a single day from all around the world.

we think that's amazing, yet will proudly say that we are not surprised. our secret if you will is aligning ourselves with like minded people who (on par) agree with the main message of empowerment we are delivering. we will continue to fill this void daily and are working on increasing the ease with which you can receive the swimupstream message. we are also in the process of presenting some helpful advise and tools you can chose to use or not use, to continually make you better.

so thanks for tuning in and at the same time - stay tuned.

we are really just getting started!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oh Yeah! For Weekdays



On the heels of what was hopefully a successful weekend (read Oh Yeah! entry Jan 27th), it is time to look at a few ways we can apply the 'get busy living' mentality to our Monday to Friday life; in short, it's time to actually live seven days a week!

The following are ten tips to maximize a few hours or even a few minutes during your work week so that you can create better balance, well-being, and enjoyment out of your life. Basically, we want you to separate from the herd and not have to wairt until the weekends to 'live'.

  1. "Random Tuesday": doesn't have to be a Tuesday, but take a random day off during the week and live that day to the fullest for yourself and those close to you. Don't call in sick to acheive this; be up front with your employer and then you don't have to sneak around.
  2. Ride, run, or walk to and from work: even once, but doing this will make you more mentally aware when you arrive, and change your perspective for the day. This will also help bring greater balance to your life, and we know that the more active you are, the healthier and often the happier you are.
  3. Prioritize your friends: Set weekly appointments/ get togethers with your best friends to ensure you stay in touch. These interactions always leave us refreshed and more fulfilled, and months can go by without seeing each other if we don't make it a priority.
  4. Make a 'date night': If you are married with kids, set a night a week you hire a babysitter so that you spend time with your spouse. Many divorces occur after the kids move out because parents realize that their relationship has dwindled due to lack of attention, and they become nothing more than co-parents. Know this ahead of time and make it a priority to actively take steps to flourishing your most important relationship.
  5. Have an 'activity night': Take turns having each member of the family pick a board game, card game, or movie to watch as a family. Pick the same night each week to show that family time is a priority. If something big comes up, try to reschedule for the same week.
  6. Dinner for one?: If you are single, chances are that you only take the time to cook a really nice meal when you have friends over or a date. Don't you deserve a treat? Get all the groceries you need to cook your favorite meal tonight, and then tomorrow get cooking your favorite meal just because you deserve it.
  7. Take the time: if you live near a river, mountains, park, the sea, or a beautiful oustretch of grasst plains... identify the most beaustiful landmark that is within walking distance to your work, and visit regularly. If it is a short drive, also make this trip a regularity of your schedule.
  8. Write it down: keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and the accomplishmentsa you had during the day. Write down any time you try something new like these strategies, and be sure to record in that diary or journal what happened, what you acheived, and how it made you feel. This is important because the rat race often makes us 'forget' how easy it is to actually lead a more fulfilling life because we just get busy again.
  9. Break the rules: Create a list of your established routines (not just the rules at work but the routines YOU chose to adopt). Do the opposite or at least an alternate to every single one for an entire day. As above, write down how liberated and different you felt, and you also might come across a new habit that works better than what you have been practicing.
  10. Go back to the rat race: Take every peice of advice from #1 - #9 above, see that your life can be better, and then on purpose go back 100% to the 'old ways'. Again, write down how it makes you feel, and what, why, and how you'd like to implement any changes.

    This stuff really works folks, but it takes 2 things...
  • Trust: in that there will be a positive outcome if you do things as they are laid out to you (not just here but in terms of systems at work, etc).
  • Effort: give all the above suggestions 100% effort- if it takes 10 weeks to try them all because you can only commit 1 day a week, that's fine- it still may result in meaningful life changes in 10 weeks instead of being further from your goals; further from greater hapiness in 10 weeks.

Best of luck, and now with today's and this past Saturday's entry, you have no excuse but to get busy living 7 days a week!