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Summertime in Northern Michigan!

Whether or not you are a fan of Kid Rock, there’s a good chance you may have heard the lyrics to “All Summer Long.”  Not all Michiganders would confess to the song writers playful teenage antics (at least not publicly) but anyone who has vacationed in Michigan can relate to the key lyrics of: “It was summertime in northern Michigan.”  

The other day at an Advisory Committee Meeting I chair, the introductory questions was, “Name one thing for which you are grateful in the last two weeks.” One response was, “Summers in Michigan!”

Yup, there’s nothing like it. 

Last weekend Deb and I had the opportunity to enjoy some of Michigan’s beauty: Lake Charlevoix area.

I officiated a wedding on the south shore of Lake Charlevoix on Saturday evening. The setting was magnificent as the guests observed the wedding ceremony with Lake Charlevoix in the background. The reception was on the roof-top deck on star-lit evening cooled by the lake breeze.

Sunday we leisurely toured Charlevoix – walking out to the lighthouse – then Petoskey, and Little Traverse Bay. The myriad shades of the blue water were breath-taking. The next two days spent at Boyne Mountain Grand Lodge Resort lounging at the pool and reading couldn’t have been better.

Whatever you may do this summer to get-away, relax, recalibrate, or somehow take care of your spirit, may you truly be re-created:

RE-CREATE: to refresh by means of relaxation and enjoyment; restore physically or mentally

Posted in Blessing, Soul Care | 2 Comments

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“You’re Reading the Classics!”

I was with a client a few weeks ago and after a session we were conversing about life and he noticed my John Steinbeck book and noted, “Oh…you’re reading the classics!” It was a simple observation. Yet it meant something much deeper for me.

Most people who know me would classify me as a reader. However, my reading is limited to a few key learning areas. To be truthful, I’ve never been drawn to novels or classics. My wife reads them rigorously. Per her consistent urging I may read one autobiography or history book a year (Last year it was Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.) She repeatedly tells me that I should expand my reading horizon, “It would be good for me. I think you will really enjoy them.” Her chastising has fallen on somewhat deaf ears. That is, until this summer.

As my son, who loves to read as much as if not more than his mother, and I prepared for our second annual “Man-Cation” my wife inquired which book I was taking. I was silent and then hemmed for enough time for her to shove Steinbeck’s East of Eden into my hands. Expressing just enough compassion combined with earnest intent, I got the message. My client made the comment just days later.

Here’s my confession. I had never read this classic before and not only did I read it, I enjoyed it. My wife wryly smiles at my admission. And, she is right, it IS good for me!

Parenthetically, yesterday I reconnected with a friend of mine who I haven’t seen for years, himself and avid reader. Of course, he inquired about what books I was reading. When he asked the question I noticed my overall response was more receptive. I spent the next minutes absorbing not only his interest in books but taking as many recommendations from him as I could. If it’s a sign, I got it!

With all that in mind, I share with you a quote from East of Eden – which most of you have probably already read – that I read for the first time and now on which I am reflecting:

“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted shortcuts to love…We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.”

Posted in Noticing|Awareness | 6 Comments

Respond vs. React

This week I spent time in a few different coaching sessions in a dialog about the difference between responding and reacting. As I sat down to write the blog post I “googled” the concept and the following blog came up number one. I thought she explained it marvelously. With permission of the author I share it with you.

 By Carolyn Mycue

Often times we use the words “respond” and “react” interchangeably.  Even when I check my MS Word 2000 thesaurus, the top synonym for each word is the other.  I’d like to take some time and share with you what I feel is a very fine but powerful distinction between the two.

When we react, we are coming from a place of limitation.  This limitation is the result of direct experiences that have caused us to narrow our ability to see a situation for what it really is.  These direct experiences cause us to think we know what something is about and what it means to us (good/bad/indifferent), and then when we come upon that thing again at a later time we react with a pre-established bias and with pre-established behavior.  Some of this type of reaction is useful and helpful, such as a reaction to imminent danger such as fire.

But by and large, most of our reactions take the form of personal indulgences or injustices.  These reactions limit how we see ourselves and the world around us, and are a large source of so much of our suffering and unhappiness.  They limit the possibility for us to act in a different way.  For example, if as a child you were the target of a lot of yelling, you develop coping mechanisms to deal with that behavior.  As an adult, without awareness of those coping mechanisms, you are probably going to react in much the same way as you did when you were a child.  These limitations prohibit us from being able to respond to situations and drain our empowerment to effectively make whatever changes we need to make.

A reaction also sets us up to play the victim in situations and then we try to, either inwardly or outwardly, make the situation or person wrong.  A good example of this can be seen in situations where we find ourselves saying “You’re behavior makes me feel (insert feeling here).”  An important distinction is that no one’s behavior can ever make you feel anything.  What you feel as a result of someone’s behavior is up to you.  To use the above example, if someone yells at me, I can react from a place of feeling threatened if that’s what my past conditioning has set me up to do.  Or if I am aware enough of those triggers, I can recognize that there are many other ways I could act, and then I can choose from that list of actions and respond accordingly.

So the distinction there is that no one is making me feel anything.  They are doing what they are doing, and it’s my pre-established bias that makes me feel a certain way.  If I can recognize that trigger, I can open myself up to new options and respond to the situation more compassionately.

So to be able to respond means I am free to act instead of react to a situation.  It opens me up to more gracious behavior, and empowers me to effectively make whatever changes need to be made without adding more fuel to the fire by triggering the other person’s reactions.  Responsibility means “the ability to respond”, and when we reclaim that power, we can diffuse difficult situations, we can modify our harmfully indulgent behaviors, and we begin to find a new deeper level of trust for ourselves in this world.  We are then free to love difficult situations as much as we love the lovable ones because they no longer threaten us, and those responsible actions of love are far more powerful than any reaction of fear.

Carol’s Blog- http://carolynmycue.wordpress.com

Posted in Noticing|Awareness, Personal Development, Reactions | 4 Comments

Dynamics of a Transformational Person (4of4)

This is the fourth of four BLOGS dedicated to reflecting more of the “why” of being a transformational person. My premise is that if someone understands the “why” being of transformational person it will inspire them and give them sustainability.

Transformational people are externally-open!

Let’s set the stage. Being someone who is externally-open does NOT mean you need to be an extrovert nor be a person who is non-principled or can be easily swayed. Rather, it means having an openness to learn and become aware (of yourself and situations around you).

When I served as the general manager of a conference center we continually stressed the importance of being open to new ideas or processes. It didn’t matter if the process made sense and would make the job more efficient, there was some type of push-back – some more intense than others – that the new approach would make matters worse or even damage morale. We also taught our employees that owning a mistake and displaying a willingness to learn from it revealed emotional maturity and should be pursued. Yet, they would remind us how difficult it was to avoid the first response to blame someone else or lie to avoid responsibility.

We humans share a common trait, we go to great lengths to defend the status-quo or what we perceive as “normal.” Routine is not bad; mindless routine is. Consistency is beneficial; mindless consistency is debilitating. Defending a principle is not bad; being closed-minded is. The question is, “Are you open?”

How do I know if I am internally-closed? Evaluate your response when change is suggested, constructive criticism is offered, or your point of view challenged. Do you roll your eyes, huff, or mumble under your breath, “Whatever!”? Do you feel yourself shutting down; not listening? Are you preparing your defense instead of using your energy to listen and learn? Do you find yourself blaming others, passing the buck, or repeatedly saying, “No!” If you do, these are signs that you may be bordering on being internally-closed.

Transformational people – who are pursuing inner transformation and a new normal – choose a different perspective. They intentionally put rhythms in their life to support the “why”: they seek to become people who are externally-open.

  • They are aware of their tendency to resist anything that challenges their “normal” and  make conscious decisions to become more aware of themselves and the situations they are in
  • They become avid learners of themselves
  • They seek feedback and look for the kernels of truth
  • They are open to the possibilities of being challenged
  • They take themselves less seriously and are open to more enjoyment and fun

If you to take some steps on becoming a transformational person, step four is to intentionally look for ways to be open. When you know the “why” your “how” and “what” will have the right inspiration and direction.

What if… you took the opportunity to become aware and open to learn?

Posted in Change, Noticing|Awareness, Personal Development, Transformation | 2 Comments

4 Ways to Turn Rejection into a Motivating Force

Written by M.Farouk Radwan

Founder of http://www.2knowmyself.com

We all feel bad when we get rejected and we all wish to know how to handle rejections in a better.

There are tons of advice about getting over rejection everywhere and most of them are useful but what I thought about is finding new advice that can’t just let you get over rejection but that can help you turn this rejection into a motivating force that can push you forward.

In this article I will tell you about four things that can help you become motivated after you get rejected!

4 ways to turn rejection into motivation

  1. Decide that you will prove those who rejected you wrong: Soichiro Honda the founder of Honda company was rejected when he went for a job interview to work for the Toyota company. The man didn’t just decide to get over rejection but he decided to create a company that competes with Toyota in order to prove them wrong and this is how Honda was born!! When someone rejects you decide that you are going to prove him wrong even if that was few years later
  2. Learn from the mistake: Each rejection can be considered a blocked road or an opportunity to learn how to do things in a better way. If you got rejected than promise yourself you are going to do your best the next time and you will find yourself motivated.
  3. Read about the success stories of successful people: Almost all successful people were rejected many times during their early years. As soon as you reach about such stories you will discover that you are following their path exactly and that there is nothing wrong with you.
  4. Write the names of those who reject you or keep their pictures: When I first started my website a man sent me an email making fun of me. I felt really bad and I decided to save his email to reply back one day. 3 years later when the website was getting 500,000 hits/month I mailed him telling him about the progress and the man didn’t dare to reply back J One of the most powerful things that can motivate you after rejections is to keep a list of the people who rejected you so that you can contact them later and tell them about the great mistake they did.

Final words about rejection

Of course I am already assuming that the rejection didn’t happen as a result of your fault. If you didn’t do your homework then failed to reach something then you should focus on working harder instead of trying to prove others wrong.

This approach should be used when you believe that you did your best yet you found many rejections.

Let me know what you think…

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Rejection | 4 Comments