“What can you smile about today?”

“What can you smile about today?”

—Calm app Reflection

Barry and Weston

In late August, Wendy and I had the opportunity to watch our three-year-old grandson Weston for four days. We found it pretty hard to believe that we actually raised two adults—now 36 and 34—given our frequent need to nap when Weston did!

Along with puzzles, toys cars, reading books, and finding clever ways to avoid going to bed, Weston’s favorite toy is Play Doh. Over the years, he has assembled quite a collection of colors, and the other day he had the great idea of mixing them all together.

Being a serious guy, I was sure this was not appropriate. I insisted that he keep the colors separate, which made both Weston and my wife pretty upset.

Upon reflection, I realized that what mattered was the big smile this process brought to his little face, and not the grumpy, rigid method I was holding on to.

EXERCISE:

What brings a smile to your face?

Take a look at the grins of those you love and consider those smiles even more important than your own.

What can and will you do to bring even more miles of smiles to your world?

“Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds — all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.”

“Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds — all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.”

—Edward Everett Hale, 19th Century American author and historian

Image from Unsplash by Antoine Dautry

If you are a negative, half-empty, or pessimistic individual, you may wish to practice your subtraction or division to improve your life. If you lean more strongly toward the positive, half-full, or optimistic scale, consider your addition and multiplication skills.

Many of us travel through time via various mental pathways from the past, to the present, and often into the future. If you happen to be in the half-empty camp, your troubles can easily add up and multiply beyond those present in the moment.

Using your mental muscles, selecting only one trouble at a time on your current doorstep can reduce your worries and lift the load more easily.

EXERCISE:

For the optimists among you who sees opportunities in most obstacles, feel free to add, multiply, and embrace as many possibilities as you wish.

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.”

—Seneca The Younger, ancient Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman

Image from Unsplash by Erik Karits

How old are you?  If you have a dog or cat, how old are they?  How would you live your life if you knew that each day would cost you seven?

What would life look like if each and every day were lived as if it were a lifetime?

The mayfly has the shortest lifespan on earth — 24 hours or less.  They probably don’t waste a single second.

EXERCISE:

365.1825. 3650. 7300. These are the number of days in one, five, ten, and twenty years.

What can and will you do with each of those daily lifetimes ahead?

“You don’t need a new year or the new day to start over. You only need a new mindset.”

“You don’t need a new year or the new day to start over. You only need a new mindset.”

—Hazel Hira Özbek, poet & musician

Image from Unsplash by Elena Koycheva

In his 2018 book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Dan Pink does a solid job pointing to a variety of scientifically proven insights about how to live, work, and succeed.

With the stumbles, delays, and stops presented by COVID over the past year, many of us are looking for a fresh start, to get back on track with various personal and professional priorities.

EXERCISE:

Consider reading Dan’s book or check out one the many strong YouTube video summaries. Look beneath the many insights from his research and see for yourself where and when your mindset plays an important role in choosing to take on a new activity or task.

 

“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”


“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Sharon McCutcheon

Do you take a daily vitamin or perhaps a variety of supplements each morning to support your health?

What foods do you eat for breakfast to start your day?

How much time do you allow for yourself to feed your mind before you jump into your busy schedule?

Consider yourself a sprinter about to run the 100 meter dash in the upcoming Olympic Games. How important is it for you to be powerfully positioned in the blocks when the starting gun goes off?

EXERCISE:

How can you add one or more positive thoughts or nuggets of wisdom to your morning routine?

Consider sharing this lesson or insight with at least one person in one of your communities.

 

“Attack issues, not people.”

“Attack issues, not people.”

—Liz Wiseman, Author of Multipliers

Image from Unsplash by Photos Hobby

With the U.S. elections only six weeks away, the frequency and intensity of personal attacks are at a fever pitch. We are clearly not united.

Through the media and in our own local communities we can observe many types of attacks, including those leading to serious injury and the loss of life.

Even when an attack is not specifically physical, harsh words and verbal assaults cause great harm. Take a minute to look specifically at your own world — examples you have observed over the past week or two.

Mother Teresa once stated that she would never attend an anti-war protest, but would gladly participate in a rally promoting peace.

Instead of attacking what we are against, perhaps a shift to what we stand for could be a critical pivot. We could all come together to solve our most significant collective issues.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life would attacking issues — not people — be the best approach to bettering our world?

“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Milan Degraeve

Where are you finding yourself these days?

How would you rate yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

If you feel down, stuck, and in a rut, almost everyone in your personal and professional worlds can relate!

The wonderful news is that friends, family, and our numerous communities are coming together to lift one another up.

I am sure you are helping those around you as well.

Sometimes, however, we do not take the time to lift ourselves out of these holes. On many occasions, we tend to dig them deeper and make things worse.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life are you finding yourself in a hole in which you are—knowingly or unknowingly—still digging?

How can and will you stop adding insult to injury, and start filling in and repairing these areas?

Feel free to reply to this post to share the hole-filling efforts you take.

“They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations.”

“They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations.”

—Sir Francis Bacon, 15th century British philosopher and statesman

Image from Unsplash by Marten Bjork

If time is the coin of life, how are you currently investing yours? A frequent coaching exercise for individuals who wish to master this elusive resource is a Time Log.

It begins by tracking professional and personal chunks of time in a log. The next step is evaluating not only where that time is spent, but also the level of satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness experienced.

Sadly, statistics point to well over 50% and up to almost 70% of people experiencing reluctance and significant dissatisfaction in their vocational efforts. Perhaps we need to shift from the idea of “that’s why it’s called work,” to a far more enjoyable and engaging perspective.

EXERCISE:

To what extent do you wake up with an “I don’t want to ____” view of your current job or career? How would pursuing a vocation that far better suites your nature provide a stronger foundation for a richer and happier life?

“Use ‘Truth Talk’ sparingly, like a seasoning.”

“Use ‘Truth Talk’ sparingly, like a seasoning.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Josh Massey

How often do you use a “tell it like it is,” “tough love,” or “scared straight” approach in your personal and professional interactions?

Where does this “Truth Talk” or as Coach Marshall Goldsmith suggests, “Feed Forward” provide the desired outcomes you intend?

Where are you currently a bit too heavy-handed on the salty or peppery words and attitudes you offer others?

Although often well-intended, our truth and desire to offer our “correct” perspective on virtually any matter results in making the other individual wrong. This usually causes them to shut down or push back with their own truth talk to defend and protect their behaviors and views.

EXERCISE:

How and with whom would a lighter hand on the salt shakers of your truth talk help lower the blood pressure levels in your most important relationships?

“The story of each stone leads back to a mountain.”

“The story of each stone leads back to a mountain.”

—W.S. Merwin, Late American Poet

Image from Unsplash by Daniel von Aarburg

Can you recall anyone telling you that you are “a chip off the old block”?

Perhaps you’ve used this phrase to refer to some bright, precocious youth showing great promise and demonstrating the positive qualities of their parents, teachers, or other well-regarded people.

Who have been the rugged, mountainous individuals in your life?

How have they shaped and carved your character, personality, attitudes, and talents?

What experiences and life lessons did they provide to help you become the person you are today?

EXERCISE:

Who are the people in your personal or professional worlds that see you as their mountain? How can and will you intentionally guide, teach, and coach them to be their very best?