Time to Breathe

60-year-old country singer Toby Keith revealed that he has been treated for stomach cancer for the past six months, is taking time out from touring and looks forward to resuming his life.

But first:  “I need time to breathe, recover and relax”.

Often adversity’s gift to us is discovering a way to be nice to ourselves.

If sickness makes us appreciate the importance of taking time for ourselves then it has delivered a precious present that can outlive the disease.

Pros Not Cons

People respond when they hear about advantages not disadvantages.

Sure, they can be scared into altering their behavior, but it never lasts.

Hard nose sports coaches can win through fear but they get fired as often as the so-called “players coach”.

Your children don’t want to hear about the disadvantages of social media or too much screen time, they will respond to the positive benefits if they ease off.

Employees can be asked to do it for “the team” but humans always want to know what’s in it for them and is it something they care about.

Give a person a possible positive advantage and they will respond.

Tell them to give up their phones because they are killing their sleep, losing the ability to concentrate and causing lots of unneeded anxiety won’t stick.

Show them proof that they can actually accomplish their dreams by focusing on one-to-one interaction and you’ve got a convert who will get their devices in balance.

5 Year Plan

There’s no way to see the future 5 years down the line.

Just try to put yourself where you were 5 years ago and you’ll see where you are now was not where you thought you’d be then.

It’s hard to predict life, friendships, challenges, unexpected events but there is another way.

Look for options – what ifs.

You can’t predict what will happen next but you can prepare for expected eventualities.

Setbacks

In baseball, you don’t hit a homerun every time at bat.

In fact, if you get on base one out of four times, you’re likely making a lot of money in the pro sport.

Sometimes you get stranded on base.

Or thrown out attempting to steal a base or score a run.

To count as a “run” scored, you often have to go through a lot of setbacks and close calls.

Life is no different.

Discouragement & Failure

Discouragement is a gift no one would ever ask for but it rewards you as a precursor to success – think of it as a gentle reminder.

Discouraged?  Get busy.

Same with failure – it’s not pretty and no one likes it.

But almost every successful person achieved their goals building upon the ashes of failure.

Failure is a reminder of how badly you want to succeed.

If you go back and try again, it means you really want it and have improved the odds for success.

What Would You Do?

I asked a student of mine who missed an A by missing a class presentation what would you do if you were your professor?

A different set of rules than what others are abiding by, the same or something else?

The matter was resolved quickly, graciously and impressively when this fine student concluded that they wouldn’t really do anything different.

The ability to see things from the others point of view is where understanding begins.

Practice Letting Go

No one ever suffered from not getting their way – often, it leads to better things and sometimes by letting go, it comes to you.

So how do we get there?

  1. Choose a day and try to give up having it your way as many times as possible – you have ultimate control of the situations, just look for opportunities to see what happens.
  2. No quid pro quos – don’t give something up as part of a deal to get something else because this is all about letting go of having to have so many things your way.
  3. Observe how happy you can make others and how powerful you actually feel once you make the decision on what to give up.

Not getting everything you want doesn’t mean not getting anything you want —  it actually helps you focus on what’s important.

Power Enabler

You don’t get power by taking it from others.

You give them power as tough as that may sometimes be.

The person who can make others feel empowered is the one who is truly empowered.

Quiet Hearing

A friend of mine sent me a link to a meditation site that included a great quote on the awesome power of listening.

The quieter you become, the more you can hear – Ram Dass

In the context of meditation, it is the sixth sense that comes from listening to yourself.

It can also apply to interpersonal relationships.

The more you open your mind to what others are saying, the more you can make an authentic response.

Starting Days Off Right

Before getting out of bed every morning, think of three people who love you.

Then, three things you are most grateful for.

When you are with others, smile at the next 20 people you see without saying another word (you will change your mood and bring out the friendliness in them).

Once a day do something totally different even if it is just taking a new way home in spite of what Google Maps tells you.

When away from loved ones even for just hours, greet them as if you were away from them for weeks when you return – their response will make it worth doing again and again.

Love your phone, but put it out of sight when you’re with someone in person you love more (research shows even when a phone is put aside, we’ll keep checking it).