A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”

—St. Francis of Assisi

Image of a sunbeam coming through a tree

Image from Unsplash by Darren Bockman

Who are the people in your world that light up your life?

Take a minute or more to make a list of these special people, and note the qualities and characteristics they exhibit that caused you to put them on your list.

On the flip side, note the individuals in your personal and professional communities that cast shadows over your world and reduce your aliveness and life satisfaction. What are their specific behaviors and attitudes that cloud your world?

EXERCISE:

Beyond spending far more time with the first group and less with the second, how can and will you personally bring more sunshine to those around you, for the benefit of all?

This effort will almost certainly attract many more sunbeams from others who also desire brighter days.

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out

“It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.”

—Carl Sagan, 20th Century American Astronomer

Image from medium.com

Who in your personal or professional life do you consider the most closed minded and stubborn? If you are like many of us, you might say, “Where do I start?” and be able to create a reasonably long list in mere minutes. What are the benefits and down sides of having such a closed-minded view of things?

On the other hand, who are the most open and receptive folks you know? Who are those who will try on the views and perspective of others, easily and fully? What are the benefits, and in the case of today’s quote, the downside of seeing the world primarily through the lens of those around you?

EXERCISE:

Imagine your mind is a screen door or window. How would the flow of air on a summer day be similar to the healthy flow of new ideas with a wider perspective foster more quality relationships and life success?

 

A simple Hello could lead to a million things

“A simple ‘Hello’ could lead to a million things.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding up pink balloons spelling "hello"

Image from Unsplash by RawPixel

I see a very kind woman most mornings at my health club. Her name is Pat, and her primary job is to swipe each person’s membership card as they enter the facility.

I know her husband’s name is John, and that she, like me, has a passion for books and reading. Perhaps what is most notable is that she welcomes each person with an authentic ‘Hello!” and a pleasant glance, which in turn generates a reciprocal greeting and kind words from almost everyone.

On days Pat is not at the front desk, the greeting ritual is far less likely, with the front desk person and most of the patrons going through an almost robotic entrance.

EXERCISE:

Where could a few more Hellos, Good Mornings, Pleases, and genuine Thank You’s lead to millions of wonderful things to brighten the day? How can you be more like Pat in your personal and professional communities?

Will you look back on life and say

“Will you look back on life and say, ’I wish I had,’ or ‘I’m glad I did’?”

—Zig Ziglar, late American author, salesman, and motivational speaker

What percent of the day does the average person seem content, happy, or even joyful? Alternatively, what percent of the day do they go through the motions, feel stuck, or experience regret?

Where do you fit on this spectrum of feelings, day-to-day, week-to-week, or even year-to-year?

Someone once shared the thought that life is a bit like a toilet paper roll. The more life sheets you use, the faster it spins.

EXERCISE:

What steps can and will you take at this point in your life to have many more “I’m glad I did” moments in the years ahead?

My daughter Rachel suggested a wonderful book related to this topic, titled A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – How I Learned to Live a Better Story, by Donald Miller.

Not all storms come to disrupt your life

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a dark purple sky with lots of lightning

Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Thomas

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve loved listening to the rain. I recall vividly the storms at summer camp – particularly at night, after a long day of playing, which was my job at the time.

In the morning, the air seemed extra fresh and clean, clearing the way for the start of a new day filled with adventures and new opportunities to explore.

Just as a storm during the day disrupted outdoor activities, so can the storms that enter our professional and personal worlds stop or detour us from our desired intentions.

EXERCISE:

How can you relate and interpret more of the storms in your life as moments to pause and reflect on how they may actually be clearing new paths for you to explore and pursue?

Experience and enthusiasm

“Experience and enthusiasm are two fine business attributes seldom found in one individual.”

—William Feather, 19th Century American Publisher

Image of a man leaping for joy on a mountain top

Image from Unsplash by Peter Conlan

How much experience do you have in your current profession?

How enthusiastic do you feel each morning as you head off to work?

If you are among the fortunate few, you would score high on each measure.

If, however you are like many people, you often begin your work efforts or new job with considerable enthusiasm, and only minimal or modest experience.

As time moves on and experience increases, many find their excitement and enthusiasm beginning to fade, sometimes to the point of reaching a dead end.

EXERCISE:

What strategies and approaches can and will you take on to maintain or – better yet – increase your current levels of enthusiasm? How might this help you gain greater experience and mastery in your chosen profession?

Your Chances of Success

“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”

—Robert Collier, 20th Century author of metaphysical books

Cartoon of a man with devil/angel on his shoulders

Image from theconversation

Think back to when you were small, watching your favorite cartoon. For me, it was Saturday mornings with Looney Tune characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

Can you recall an episode or two in which your favorite character is faced with the pivotal choice of good versus bad, or perhaps a “Yes, you can!” versus “No, you can’t!” coming from an angelic or devilish character standing on opposite shoulders?

Through science and technology, it has recently been determined that the energies associated with our optimistic and positive beliefs actually correlate to better outcomes in our lives.

EXERCISE:

How can you increase your chances of personal and professional success by exercising and building your angelic belief muscle on a daily basis?

Guard your good mood

“Guard your good mood.”

—Meryl Streep, Three Time Academy Award Winning Actor

Image of Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace

Image from Flickr by Dave Strom

Do you lock your home and your car before you leave them? Perhaps you may even have an alarm system, or a dog that barks when strangers come to your door.

Consider all the passwords and encryption systems used to protect your valuable data and, of course, your financial information.

Given today’s quote, who and what are the thieves that diminish or empty your “good mood” account?

Take a moment to get very specific about who, what, and how these daily bumps and roadblocks shift your ups to downs, often leaving you upset and drained.

EXERCISE:

What are some new and creative ways you can better guard and protect your mood and put more pep in your step?

A fun little book you might enjoy is Zapp: The Lightning of Empowerment

If 40 is the new 30

“If 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40, why can’t Tuesday be the new Friday?”

—Author Unknown

Image from meetup

What do most people consider their favorite workday of the week?

You would be among the majority if your first response was “Friday.”

Whether you are an avid TGIF person or not, most of us do have a bit more pep in our step on Friday. We’re looking forward to the weekend, in anticipation of fun, adventure, family time, or just time to relax.

Take a look at your feelings about Sunday – especially after dinner time, or for that matter, any other day of the week. How positive, hopeful, and pleased do you feel as you look forward – or dread – other days of the week?

EXERCISE:

What strategies and approaches can you apply every morning to have a stronger spirit of excitement and adventure as you walk through each day?

Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.”

Kid President (Robby Novak)

Image of "Kid President" Robby Novak

Who are the special people in your life who make you feel great just by being around them? Take a minute to investigate all of your personal and professional communities today, and even those in the past. Who are the special folks you look forward to seeing, with considerable anticipation and delight?

Now, what makes them so amazing? What unique qualities and super powers do they possess that are so magnetic and wonderful you can’t help but feel extra fantastic in their presence?

Among all the attributes you discovered, I bet one of them is that they focus most of their attention on those around them, and not on themselves.

EXERCISE:

How and where will you focus more of your daily efforts being somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody?