It’s not about you…


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People are so wrapped up in their own lives. They really are.  The Second of the Five Agreements is don’t take anything personally.

Do me a favor, don’t just read my blog – get the book.  The Fifth Agreement is one of my top five most influential books I’ve read in my life.  And it’s worth reading over, and over and over and over….basically any time you catch yourself breaking one of the agreements, you should go back and read it again.  Because it makes life SO. MUCH. EASIER.

Have you ever watched one of those shows where there is a staged crime and then several eye witnesses are interviewed to give descriptions of the event?  They all have different answers, and they all remember different things.  Our life is much like that, too.  First, people will always be concerned with their own welfare and happiness, including people that are concerned about others who you would never accuse of being selfish.  My own mother in law – the most caring and sweet person in the world, makes the most selfish decisions.  She REALLY LOVES to throw birthday parties for her family, and if she doesn’t get to she gets mopey.  Even though her son would rather not ever have a birthday party, she makes a huge fuss about it and we basically have to have the party to make her feel good.  She says it’s about him, but it’s really about her.  She wants to have the party because it makes her feel good to do it for someone else.  Many a martyr or kind saintly figure we come across might plea that they always have others in mind, and in their viewpoint they do.  Take the story from another person’s perspective, and it changes.

So even when someone is doing something nice for you, they do it because being nice feels good, because being kind makes their spirits rise, because they are generally nice wonderful people, yes – but it also fits into their paradigms and their story they are crafting about the nice person they are.

When someone makes a decision that is inconsiderate or frustrating to you, it’s not about you either.  You have to remember that everyone is playing out their own version of the script.  No one sees the same thing, no one reads the same thing, and no one can understand everyone else’s emotions and thoughts.  And if you continue to take everything everyone does personally, then you are in for a looooong and difficult, frustrating ride.

Take me for example.  I am in a direct sales party plan business.  In the beginning of my career, I would feel very personally attacked by any hostess who cancelled her date with me.  How could she?  Doesn’t she know this is my income?  How come she was so thoughtless?  Finally I asked one lady – what could I have done differently to hold this date with you?  She explained absolutely nothing!  I had sensed stress from her earlier on, and took it as her not wanting to communicate with me, and it ends up all along she was beating herself up about not being able to get people to come to her party and she felt guilty.  She wasn’t trying to be mean to me at all – she was just upset.  She ended up canceling finally and coming clean,  but for two weeks before we had our open and frank conversation I’d been thinking why doesn’t she like me? I’ve been so nice?  Why won’t she answer me about her guest list and how many people she has coming to the party, has she even sent out her invites?  I tortured myself for no good reason.  A great life skill set you can foster is asking direct and simple questions (that will be a later blog).

A popular example we use in our industry is one about restaurants.  Let’s say that you own a Chinese restaurant.  And I’m your best friend  (I hate Chinese).  I would come to your restaurant ONCE to be nice, to support you ONCE, and I would never ever ever ever come back.  If I’m like most people, I’m not going to tell you I don’t like Chinese. If you took this personally, you would wonder forever why didn’t she return, doesn’t my friend like me, doesn’t my friend want to support my business, did I do something wrong, was the food bad?  No, the food was great, for Chinese food (ick).  And every time someone asks me for a great Chinese restaurant I would tell them your place, but if someone asked me for a great restaurant, I would tell them about my favorite place, Public House 124 down on Main.  Not your restaurant.  It’s not about you, it’s about me, and my personal tastes.

Now, that line above… If I’m like most people… let’s talk about that line for a minute.  Remember yesterday’s blog?  Agreement number one is Be Impeccable with your word.  A better friend than I would have said, hey I’m going to come to your grand opening and invite all my friends, but I really really dislike Chinese food.  Don’t take it personally,  I won’t ever choose to eat there, but I’ll definitely recommend your place to anyone that asks!

By taking things personally, we end up making so many assumptions and thinking with our ego, rather than just saying it is what it is, and I can’t possibly know everything.  There’s a lot of negativity that comes from taking things personally.  And so much freedom from just deciding not to.  As each moment passes, it passes, and that’s all we deal with is what is happening in the moment.  Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.

I love how learning about each agreement reinforces the others.  Be honest, say what you mean, be direct with your communication, be impeccable with your word, but also realize that most people aren’t always following agreement number one.  Any situation you face where other humans are making choices – it’s not about you.  Unless they’re actually following the first agreement and tell you it’s about you 😉 (kidding).

The 5 agreements

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Conviction and doing what you say you will….


I find myself in a bit of a pickle today.  I’m not whining, no not at all.  I’m just explaining to you my morning, so that you can understand where I am coming from later.

Thanksgiving Day was wonderful.  We had lots of great time with family, we had delicious food, and after a pleasant evening with our legal family, we headed out to our Thursday night poker game, to spend the evening with more people that we love – our friend family.  We didn’t even stay out that late, but my husband was mighty tired, and I think probably had turkey induced snoring of godzilla-esque nature.  I could not sleep.  I headed to the couch.  Then the cats fought all night, including jumping onto my chest mid fight and waking me out of my barely attained slumber.  I actually went BACK to bed at 5:30 when hubby woke up and fell asleep.  I had a lot planned to do today, but I slept until 10:30.  That’s the joy of working for yourself, I just flat out don’t set alarms 90% of the year.  But I had a lot planned today.  Including an hour of phone calls that had to be made for business, and deliveries to clients.  Waking up at 10:30 was NOT part of the agenda.  My agenda tonight includes a family birthday party, which I need to make a dressing for, and a party for my husbands’ job.

When I got home from my deliveries around 4:30, I realized I was really really short on time.  But I was also worn out and useless.  I took a look at the rest of my to do list, and decided to do one of my favorite things – take a power nap.  That, my friends, is a 20-60 minute nap, depending on what you want to gain from it.  I find that 20 minutes is great, because at 40ish and up, my body just wants MORE sleep, while 20 minutes just gives me a little pep of energy.  Learn more about naps and the perfect length – it’s neat info!

That meant I had exactly 80 minutes left when I got up to make the calls, and get the dressing ready.  WAIT!!!!  Mid calls, I realized I pledged to write this blog DAILY for 28 days.  I’m probably NOT going to write it when I get home after a work party, right?  So, now my agenda includes blogging in what was now 40 minutes left.  And I could easily make the excuse that I ran out of time, but I gave my word.

Which is why I am writing RIGHT NOW.  To make sure it gets done.  And the feeling of doing what I said, and upholding my word feels much better than the guilt (bad vibration) I would feel not getting it done.

Which brings me to another favorite saying – HOW YOU DO ANYTHING IS HOW YOU DO EVERYTHING.  If you are a person of your word who gets what you say you will done, then you always do it. If you are a late person, you are always late, (me 5-7 minutes and I’m bound and determined to change that). If you ditch out when you had an appointment, then you always do.  If you don’t show up to things you said you would show up….you get the point.

One of my favorite books ever ever ever is “The Fifth Agreement” by Don Miguel RuizDon Jose Ruiz, and Janet Mills.  The first agreement to having a happy and fulfilled life is this:

Be IMPECCABLE with your word.  Speak with integrity.  Say what you mean, avoid speaking against yourself or others, and use the power of your word in the discretion of truth and love.

Not read it yet?  DO IT.  It will change your life.

The 5 agreements

I hope you enjoyed my brief post today.  I’ll go over the rest of the agreements over the next few days.

Join the Gratitude Bandwagon


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It’s obviously a good day to mention it, and Facebook is filled with gratitude posts and my inbox is filled with gratitude articles. While I want to be different and never want to follow like a sheep, I couldn’t think of a better thing to write about today.  Perhaps it’s permeating the ethos today.

However, today is not the first day I’ve thought about gratitude.  I’ve been focusing on it for over a year now, and it’s done me a world of good.  If you haven’t jumped on the gratitude bandwagon yet, you should think about adding a daily gratitude practice to your day.  It’s the white magic of the world.

I’m a naturally pessimistic and I’ll admit it – negative person.  Sarcasm in droves, and my mindset has always run to the worst case scenario in life.  I think I might write this in every blog – what you think about comes about.  I found myself in not happy places in life, and I found myself angry and upset at where life had landed.  Even when things were starting to turn around, my attitude was that God had blessed me beyond my worth and that I should expect it all to come crashing down around my ears any day.  I took some good advice from friends and sought out the help of a mentor, and I learned some great tricks to refocus my mind and calm that worrying ego.  I’ll share them a little later in this post.

There’s great reasons to be grateful.  Studies show that grateful people suffer from 10% fewer stress related illnesses, have on average 7% higher income (but if you look at any of the millionaire coaches, you’ll see that gratitude tops their lists), they have more energy, fewer headaches (so true! I used to have 3-4 a week, and never have them now), get better sleep, have higher emotional intelligence and less depression.

There are some really neat info-graphics from Templeton.org and mindvalley academy you should read for more…

And what’s better than better health and life?  I’ll tell you – getting more of that better health and better life.  See, gratitude works exponentially.  Oprah says

Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never, ever have enough.

Gratitude is what helps your soul blossom open to receive all gifts.  It’s not always easy, and it’s certainly not second nature in the beginning of changing your perspective.  On days when I catch myself going down an ungrateful and negative road, I have to stop and backtrack.  Say a prayer: pause, reflect, reset.  And if you don’t have it completely in your heart, fake it till you make it.  There’s nothing like a negativity train to bring down an entire group of humans.

I’m not perfect yet, and I’ll never be perfect, but I can take today to put my foot down and be more steadfast in my practice.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus

Here’s my two practices:

1. When I wake up, I have to think of 5 things for which I am grateful before I get out of bed.

2. Before starting a task like making phone calls to clients or teammates (something that can cause nervousness and be uncomfortable at time – anyone who has done cold calls knows this), I make a gratitude call first.  I call someone to tell them how much I appreciate them, or thank them for their business.  It elevates your mood and your energy.  Gratitude is second only to love when you look at the vibrational energy of emotions.  When I show gratitude first, everything else is more enjoyable and successful.

I hope that you had a relaxing and refreshing day with your family and loved ones.  Many blessings to you now and always, and thank you so much for visiting my blog.  Post a comment or share if you enjoyed!

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I can and I will – secrets to happiness


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A few days ago I earned a trip to Paris for two with my company.  I had already earned it for one, but going without my husband was not an option.  Believe me, I am ecstatic that I get to go back to that amazing city, one of my favorite places in the world, but I am not surprised.  I’ve made goal setting and achievement my business and a habit.  And honestly, it’s not so much a forced habit as an addiction.  I read something a friend posted about trying to earn the same trip, and it made me really sad – she said something along the lines of almost being close to the goal, but she’d never really intended on earning it, but now that she was close, she would try.  Excuse me, but WTF?

I try to learn as much as possible about being happy, about achieving, about growing as I can, and I can tell you even from my novice perspective, not really intending on achieving something is a sure fire way NOT TO.  And if you want to be happy in life, you should start setting some goals NOW.  And I don’t mean little goals. I mean big scary goals that make your guts ache a little.

In our brains, there is a section called the substantia nigra/ventral segmental area or SN/VTA.  It’s the “novelty center” of our brain and releases dopamine when we encounter new things.  Dopamine makes us happy.  Doing new things makes us happy. Here’s a real life situation:  My husband is a creature of habit, and while generally a nice and happy guy, he’s not on fire about things – usually.  Fortunately, his old company shut down, and he lost his job.  While he was training for his new job, he would come home every day and he would not shut up about all the things he was learning.  He brought home books to do extra study, he looked at websites, he talked to me nonstop, and he was so friggin happy! He was like a kid on Christmas morning going over all his new presents.  He was truly happy and blossoming.  I’d read about this chemical happiness from new challenges, but never noticed it happening before.  It was so fun to watch! That release is what triggers us to want more new things, because then we get another release.  Silly visual – I like to think of it like a hamster that has figured out the release trigger for his treats.

Or maybe look at it as a video game of life.  Remember playing Nintendo when you were a kid?  And you’d beat one level and mom or dad would come in and say turn it off….NOOOOOO one more level.  New thing=dopamine release.  Want to know what’s next?  Winning new thing=more dopamine, plus endorphins, plus oxytocin plus seratonin.  One more level.  Gotta get the next fix…  Scientists actually think the reason children learn to speak languages so quickly is tied to these neural chemical cocktails of happiness.

It’s a beautiful addiction.  New things are great! but achievement is BETTER.  The act of setting a goal and truly working on it, in and of itself creates happiness.  And we could keep talking science, we could even just say that your soul thrives on it, because it does.  The Japanese call it ikigai: that which I wake up for.  It’s these goals and causes that fuel our hearts and souls and set us on fire.  We anticipate not just the reward, but we enjoy the journey.

Why can’t it be a simple goal?  Because with a simple, easily achieved goal, there is no effort.  The mind feeds on that effort and the feeling of achieving those scary big goals is like none other.  I remember the first time I earned a trip with my company, I yelled in my office, but to me it felt like a lion’s roar.  When you set hard goals that are outside your comfort zone, it gives you authentic self esteem:  the true belief that you can and will.  The true belief in your abilities and powers and talents.  If you don’t test them, how do you know the limits?  I have not found mine yet…and I bet you won’t either when you really try.

I learned from Dr. Adam Fraser that in Goal Orientation Theory there are three drivers in people. 1 – the desire to WIN.  A very powerful one. You can see this anywhere from a game of Life around your kitchen table to a high school football game.  Even the audience wants to win!  2. Mastery – the desire to improve all the time, to master a new task, to complete a hard goal.  This is the driver that will let you wake up every day to put in a little more effort towards your dreams and desires.  This is what major athletes and CEOs and leaders live by.  Don’t let yourself be content with driver 3 – the desire simply not to lose.  If that is where your goal setting comes from, you will set tiny goals that don’t push you outside your comfort zone, because that third driver is fear based.  And there are only two things that you should really fear: loud noises and falling.  Everything else is just your ego talking.

So when you set a goal try to do these three things:

FOCUS – make sure that your goal is specific, and that you have reminders of your specific intentions everywhere – (notes on your mirror, goals on paper near your desk, write them down on the top of your daily calendar, or even make your commonly used passwords whatever your goal is).

STAY POSITIVE – if you’ve been reading along, you know that what you think about comes about.  Right now I could say, “my goal is to climb Mt. Everest.  But if my hearts’ not in it, and I don’t really think I can – I’ll keep saying “yah but that’s never gonna happen” in the back of my head, and then it won’t.  You have to keep those positive thoughts in your mind all the time. And if you aren’t feeling it – find a tool that helps you get there. Talk to a good friend, listen to a motivational cd, or go onto YouTube and just search motivation.

TAKE MASSIVE ACTION – meaning LOTS OF IT!  You can’t learn to run a marathon by going out on day one and trying to run 20+ miles.  Start with one mile, or half a mile, and keep running every day and add little bits onto your total.  What’s your goal? What’s the way to achieve it?  What’s one thing you can do NOW to travel in that direction?  Got an answer yet?  Then go do it!

success and belief

True Friendship


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They say that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.

I say: So choose wisely.

A long (not so long?) time ago, I was a medieval lit major at LSU.  I had this noble group of teachers who did a group taught class.  One was a history professor, one was world religions, one was English and the other philosophy.  They so fervently believed in what they were teaching, that often I felt more enlightened and more love than I did attending church.  One particular lesson was about Bonaventure’s “Journey of the Mind to God.”  If you’re a medieval lit buff like I was, you’ll understand the symbolism of God’s perfect love, the Rose and the travels of our spirits to a higher and higher circle of being…..ok I’m probably boring most of you.  Here’s the big takeaway I got from the whole process:

A true friendship is one where you both help each other grow and achieve and become MORE than what you are, and in the process become more loving and God-like.

You can call this Christian/peaceful/enlightened/whatever floats your boat, but they called it divinization back in the day.  (Funny, that word is so old my spell check won’t accept it.  What’s my computer got against divine love?)

In the process of true friendship, you become more and return to a more spiritual state of being than you were in the beginning.  When I was 20 this sounded wonderful, but impractical; and how were we to find God at the bottom of a beer can and pack of cigarettes?  I’m sure we thought we were doing the best we could.  Now that I’m in my 30s I see this happening in my life all the time.  But it wasn’t until I opened my mind to improvement and wanted to be more than what I was that many of those friends appeared.  It’s as if opening your soul to the possibility and telling God, praying to Him that you want to be a better human allows your path to cross with other like minded people.  And once those friendships start, you lose that fear of “what if they don’t like me anymore,” or maybe they will judge me for this, and any number of silly things that stress a normal relationship.  There’s never anger, only patience.  There’s never judgment, only understanding.  There’s an honesty and support like none other in these friends.  I count about a handful of them – some mentors, some partners, some friends – in my life right now….but I know there will be others.  We will be drawn to each other by a higher power and as one can help me step up higher into my possibilities, then I can help others.  It’s teamwork.  When I think about it, I imagine little pockets of teams all over the world trying to better themselves and the world around them.  Maybe they’re surrounded by chaos and other people who are immersed in the stress and worry and pain of their own tiny battles, but with each person they can connect with, they can make a change and make a difference.

I listened to a recording by Jeffery Coombs, who is a trainer and coach for business owners and network marketers.  He talked about how some people have clear minds and can make decisions, while others are simply caught in the chaos of their own lives and can never make decisions or give a direct answer.  I have a friend like that – she’s just caught in the chaos, and she can’t and won’t even answer a simple question like “Can you come over for dinner?” with a yes or no.  She has to hem and haw.  Because she’s worried about how her answer will make someone else feel, she can’t answer.  My circle of friends I spoke of before – one of the greatest gifts they shared with me is direct communication.  Say what you mean, mean what you say, and give simple direct answers.  Cut through the chaos.  With a true friendship where you can be so completely honest, there is no delay, there is no hesitation.  Where before I let her hesitation irk me, now I’ve learned to tell the friend – it’s ok – just tell me yes or no.  Either way, I still love you.

So if you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, don’t you want those five to be people that are helping each other, not keeping each other down?  Think about this, please, and give yourself the chance to experience more joy and love in life, and then to help someone do the same.

As always, if you like this post, please comment and share!  Thanks for reading!

Your friend,

Bethany

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What you think about comes about, part 2


Today I read an interesting article about how winners stay calm and positive throughout their days.  I really love how so many different sites offer articles and blogs about self improvement that get sent to your inbox every day.  When I have the time, I read them, when I don’t I figure the universe didn’t have that particular lesson in store for me that day.  This one had some interesting statistics about stress, and what it does to our mindsets and our ability to cope with situations.  You can read it here.

See, some amount of stress is necessary to achieve anything – we need incentives, we need drivers to do anything.  You reach for food when you are hungry, you go for a walk because you are driven to be healthier, to reach a desired body weight, or maybe because you are just plain restless.  People all over the globe start businesses, quit jobs, get new jobs, join clubs, churches or join an organization because of a want.  Sometimes, it’s simply the want to fit in and feel loved.  Sometimes it’s because they want something more and different in life.

Stress in itself is not bad.  Too much stress, however can paralyze you, cause numerous health issues, weight gain, depression….read the article….it’s bad. When I was still in retail, I had a lot of stress.  I lived in stress.  I was stress.  I was worried all the time about what if, and how, and I hope this doesn’t happen….I was worried about money, I was unhappy about time, I didn’t appreciate where I was, and I was always fearful that I would never get what I wanted.  To sum it all up – my entire outlook was based upon what I feared might be in the future.  And there’s this handy little acronym about fear:  F.E.A.R. is simply False Expectations Appearing Real.

Once you learn to live in the Now (and I’ll be honest, it’s a battle for me, a constant struggle, but I’m improving every day), life is less stressful.  The first few things in this article screamed at me that people who maintain their calm and composure live in the NOW. They don’t worry about the future, and don’t hang on to the past.  They have gratitude, they don’t ask the question “what if” and they think positive thoughts.

Being grateful MUST be a feeling of gratitude in the present moment, it’s thankfulness for something/someone/a situation that you currently have or are in.  Yes, you can look back and be grateful for things in the past, but a comparison of what you have now, vs what you had then doesn’t really lead to positive thoughts.

Asking “what if” opens the flood gates of fear and worry.  Flat out just stop doing it.  Just ask yourself, what can I do now, in this present moment to enhance or improve my situation?  How much power do you have over the circumstances, what can you do about it?  Don’t even worry about what you can’t do.  There’s a quote that I keep in mind all the time (basically to remind myself not to worry).  It’s from the Bhagavad Gita:

Let not the fruit of action be your motive to action.  Your business is with action alone, not with the fruit of the action.

Short version – you can’t predict the future, so just focus on what you are doing right now.

And again, what you think about comes about.  If you’re constantly focusing on the negative, you will see and receive the negative.  No one opens a Where’s Waldo book and looks for the person in a purple t-shirt.  No, we’re looking for Red and White Stripes Guy with the Funny Glasses.  That’s why we find Waldo….because we are looking for him.  So change your focus…if you find you are feeling negative, like I was this afternoon, STOP and redirect.  What are you looking for, what’s the positive thing you could pull out of this situation?

If you appreciate what I shared today, do me a favor and comment and/or share with a friend.

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What you think about comes about


One of the best and most important things that I have learned over the past several years, is that what you think about comes about.  A negative mind attracts negative things.  A positive mind attracts positive.  And as crazy as it may seem, I think I’ve been of two minds about different things in my life.

I learned to set goals and dream big and be positive about my budding business, about my career and about money.  I read things that make my mind stronger and more positive.  (For the grandfather of all self improvement books, check out “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen read here!)

So many things in life have improved.  I had a lot of fun the other day looking at an old dream board that I made, and realizing that most of what I had put down to paper has happened!  But then every morning when I get dressed and every time I get a magazine in the mail that I would love to shop from, I have negative thoughts about my body and my weight.  I’ve always fought my weight – ALWAYS.  I yo yo dieted through college, I fought an eating disorder for many many years, and though I got as thin as I could get for my wedding 5 years ago, I’ve bounced back up once again, only to fluctuate up and down 10 lbs with every diet I’ve tried since then.  I’m about 25 lbs over where I would be most comfortable and happy.  And I’ve tried all the different mindsets, I’ve tried calling it a lifestyle, not a diet, low carb, no carb, carb cycling, high protein, balanced, small meals, less meals, shakes, you name it.  The weight does not want to go away.

Some great friends who are masters of mindset have been telling me it’s got to be my subconscious.  A tip I picked up the other day is not to call it “losing weight” any longer, because when you lose it, you try to find it again.  As I walked into my office the other day I looked at my current dream board (one of the best things you can do is have your goals up all over your house/car/bathroom/life so they are ALWAYS in your subconscious even when you aren’t actively thinking about them), and it hit me….I’ve tried all the things, but I’ve not changed my mindset about who I am.  Old me says I am a heavy person that has to work hard to lose weight.  It’s not easy.  Well, what I think about comes about, so it’s time to break that mold.

So – yesterday, I made a dream board – fit women doing fun things in bright and beautiful clothing – my weight goal of 195, plus my rules that I eat balanced healthy meals, meditate every morning (one thing I was never successful at before) and that I will change my mindset about who I am, and what my body looks like.

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This is not easy to share with all of you.   I don’t like posting that my goal for the world to see, but another thing I’ve learned is that once you put it down on paper, you’re more incentivized to attain it!

What are some things that have eluded you for years?  Why don’t you make a dream board!  Just get a big poster board, some magazines and a glue stick and go dream crazy or check out Oprah’s Dream Board tool to make one online.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. – Confucius

You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own. – Mark Victor Hansen

Do me a favor – comment below with your thoughts, and then if you’d like you can opt in to follow my blog via email subscription here.