Whatever Your Past, You Can Write A New Ending To Your Story

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Rewrite Your Story

I remember her sitting on the couch, telling her story. My mom was listening, nodding her head and taking it in. This woman had a tough life and she recounted stories of abuse, of hurt, of neglect. My presence barely registered as she poured out her pain. Only a few, carefully chosen questions, that was all it took from mom. Like a skilled surgeon piercing infected skin, she used a question like a scalpel, surgically timed and designed to alleviate pain.

 

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” -Shakespeare

 

It’s funny how I can recall the room so clearly now: the curtains and wallpaper in the room, the sofas, the layout, the piano nestled in the corner. It’s all etched in my memory. Also etched in my memory is the story. It was different from others, sure, but in so many ways it was the same.

My family took people in; mostly people in trouble; people in need; people with histories, pain, and shame. Though we were not the wealthiest in the world, there was always room for one more at the table. Some came for a single meal while others would stay for years.

As I listened to the particulars of this woman’s story, I felt for her. You couldn’t help but be affected as you heard the details.

I learned some lessons:

  • Pain can be used as a powerful force for good.
  • We don’t have to keep re-reading that chapter.
  • We can turn the page.
  • We can welcome new characters, new narratives, and new opportunities.
  • We can write the ending.
  • We can create a story worth living, one that can inspire others.

 

“Your life’s best chapters are ahead of you. Turn the page with great expectation.” -Skip Prichard

 

You say, “Skip, I didn’t have that kind of life. I didn’t have abuse or pain. Life was normal.”

Leaders: Choose Your Season

Four season tree

Time to Pause

This morning I went for a walk in the woods behind my house. It’s that time of year when winter’s line is blurring into spring, and spring is beginning to win. The trees remain leafless, and yet, if you look closely enough, you can see the tiniest hints of green scattered here and there. Days are beginning to shift and I feel the restlessness of nature. A slight wind is at first cold and biting before it shifts to a warm, teasing breeze. Walking to the back of the house, I glance up and watch quietly as a small bird ducks under the deck, carrying twigs to make a nest. Spring, undoubtedly, is on the way.

The changing of the seasons. I’m not sure why, but it makes me stop and think more. It’s time for a pause, a look back and a look ahead.  Spring is an exciting time, filled with new possibilities.  To fully take advantage of its hope, we need to discard what we are carrying to free us to take on new opportunities.

 

“You cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself.” –Jim Rohn

 

Behind us, let’s leave:

  • The ideas of yesterday that didn’t work.
  • The insults and criticisms that others launched, still clawing at us.
  • The clutter of our lives. Yes, spring cleaning allows us to remove the physical clutter. But don’t stop there. It’s the spring cleaning of our thoughts that will yield a great future.
  • The missed goals of what we didn’t do. Holding onto them will only weigh us down.
  • The negative people who don’t believe in us and don’t join our vision.
  • The regrets of yesterday that we continue to allow to rule over today.

 

“Each of us is imbued with the power to choose to the season of our mind.” -Skip Prichard

Leadership Tip: Leave behind the negative people who don’t join your vision.

 

Ahead of us, let’s grab onto:

  • The dream that we shoved into the drawer, but hold onto.
  • The new idea that may prove to be the catalyst of our future.
  • The untried, the experiment, the positive.
  • The new friends who inspire us and push us out of our comfort zone.
  • The wisdom of the past that whispers its undeniable truth.
  • The happiness that trembles just beneath the surface, wanting to inspire.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” -Stephen Covey

Leadership Tip: Embrace friends who inspire and push you out of your comfort zone.

 

Our Choice

5 Simple Steps To Blow Your Productivity Through The Roof

Octopus In Business

This is a guest post by Tor Refsland. Tor decided to leave his six-figure job to follow his passion – to help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can do what they love. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to double your productivity in 7 days.

Have you ever experienced this?

You are sitting with your laptop late at night and you have had waaaay too many cups of coffee. You could probably have stopped with your cup number 5, since your body seems to have become temporarily immune to the invigorating effect of the caffeine.

This is NOT the way you wanted to spend your evening. However, you know that you didn`t have a choice. It was a choice about YOUR life and death.

You have procrastinated for so long, and while you were looking the other way, your neglected tasks formed an evil alliance to bring you down.

You know for a fact that if you can’t handle the ever-growing to do list tonight, you will drown.

Can you relate?

If so, no worries. I’ve been there, too.

Relax, there is still hope.

Let me show you the 5 simple steps to blow your productivity through the roof today.

 

“The big difference between successful people and people who aren’t is how they spend their time.” -Tor Refsland

 

 

1. Long-term goal setting

Step 1 is to have clarity and know where you want to go. This should be a long-term goal.

They say that successful people are good at making decisions that will bring them closer to their long-term goal, while people who are not successful make decisions that give them a quick reward.

Life and business are like chess.  A good chess player has the ability to think many moves ahead.

What is the best destination for your business and life?  Do you know what you want to achieve?

Find out and then set the correct goals.

Great, let`s move over to the next step…

 

2. Planning

Brian Tracy says that every minute spent in planning saves you 10 minutes in execution.

You should put all your tasks in your master to do list.

What does that mean?

It means that you should have ONE to do list. How many?

One.

 

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.” -Brian Tracy

 

There are 3 methods when it comes to handling your to do list.

A. Plan your to do list one week in advance

B. Review your to do list the night before

C. Review your to do list first thing in the morning

You probably think that method A will take some time, and it does. However, it will make you crazy productive. This is for the hardcore people who want BIG results.

I would at least recommend you to use method B and C.

The big difference between successful people and people who aren’t is how they spend their time.

Needless to say, if you don’t already use a to do list, you should start now.

If you have many to do lists, start using one.

Okay, you get the importance of a to do list.

Then over to the…

 

3. 80/20 rule

Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life

Senior Couple Putting On In Line Skates In Park

Refire!

Most of us are looking forward to retirement. When that day finally arrives, what’s next?

Do you know someone who has recently retired and is struggling with lack of purpose?

How do you make the rest of your life meaningful and impactful?

Bestselling author Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager and psychologist Dr. Morton Shaevitz don’t believe in chance meetings. When they met on a flight from San Diego to New York, the two discussed the issues of aging.  Instead of the “best years are behind us” approach they decided to write a book about making life in your later years more meaningful than ever.

 

“Retiring suggests shutting down. Refiring means engaging in life.” -@DrMHShaevitz

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Morton Shaevitz about the new book Refire! Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life.

Reframing Retirement

Many people think “retirement” is the happy destination. Your new bookRefire! Don’t Retire gives different advice.  What does it mean to refire?

Refiring is a process where the primary focus is not on career advancement, financial gain, or specific types of achievements, but rather, healthy living, warm and significant relationships, continued learning and cognitive growth, vitality and meaningful involvement, and the development of a personal sense of spirituality. Retiring suggests shutting down. Refiring means engaging in life.

 

Refire Emotionally

  1. You start with “refiring emotionally.” Why is that first?

There isn’t any particular reason this was first, but being socially isolated has been shown to contribute to emotional and physical decline. So that makes it a good jumping off point. Identifying those people who are meaningful in our lives, building stronger connections, reaching out to new people, opening up, and getting close can also sometimes help to establish a good foundational support system for your refiring process.

 

Fact: Being socially isolated contributes to emotional and physical decline.

How to Envision Your Limitless Potential

Hand held medal against a stormy sky

Tune in to the Power of Blind Ambition

Many of us start a new year with a list of resolutions and aspirations.  Those goals can quickly disappear as we replace goals with excuses.  A regular diet of motivation helps me redouble my efforts, so I regularly look for inspiring people, books, speeches, and songs.

That’s why I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with Patricia Walsh.  Talk about overcoming obstacles, pursuing dreams, and not letting an excuse derail goals.

At age five, she was blind from a brain tumor.  Later, fighting depression and hopelessness, she made a decision to reclaim her quality of life.  Now, she has written an inspiring book, Blind Ambition: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want .  She has a successful career as an entrepreneur, a software engineer, and a professional speaker.  And I almost forgot to mention she is a champion athlete.

Don’t listen to the voice telling you to give up on your goals.  Don’t settle for mediocrity.  Don’t limit your potential.

Instead, tune in to the power of Blind Ambition.

 

“You can never go wrong by lifting someone up.” -Patricia Walsh

 

Shatter Expectations

I’ve interviewed another female Ironman, Chrissie Wellington.  Reading her book was the closest I’ve come to understanding what it takes to compete.  It’s a grueling challenge.  And you’re blind and you did it.  What motivated you to shatter expectations?

I stumbled into shattering: I think my friends and family assume that I set out with a determination to turn the world on its ear from the get go.  Truly the spirit of the initial events was more of a, “What could possibly go wrong?” to which the response was. “Everything could go wrong,” to which I then responded, “Even if everything does go wrong, this won’t kill me.”

My initial motivation was to reclaim my quality of life.  When this all began, I had a smoking habit, was the life of the party, and as a result was overweight and feeling lost in my own skin.  As my dad started struggling with his own health, I realized that my habits and patterns not only emulated his, in many ways they were worse than his.  I started running as an attempt to reclaim my health.  The result after months of trial and error and continuous improvement was not only a betterment of my physical health, but it had become a lifeline for what had been a shattered sense of self.

In completing my first marathon, I proved to myself that I was not and never have been damaged goods.  My sense of ability was through the roof.  When proposed the opportunity to take on ever increasing challenges I jumped at the chances.  After years of marathoning, a friend dared me to do an ironman.  When I took on ironman it was out of a curiosity and a wonder for my own capabilities.  I was in way over my head.  I had never swum or biked.  The amount of help and coaching I needed just to finish was daunting.

Walsh9780071833820It was after completing my first ironman, Lake Placid 2010, when I became the first blind female to have completed an ironman with a female guide, that I saw the opportunity to reclaim expectations.

There is a thriving prejudice of reduced expectations of persons with disability.  I feel it every day.  People are surprised when I am able to order for myself at a restaurant.  People approach my friends and congratulate them on their generosity for taking the blind kid out for an adventure. People do not see me as an accomplished adult.  The challenge for me every day is to fight the impulse to become a defensive person.  When faced with these reduced expectations, my want is to rattle off my resume.  My want is even to make that person feel lower, but what good would come of that?  I know better.  If I were to ever really have that honest reaction, everyone would walk away feeling awful.  I acknowledge my role has to be that of a gentle educator.  After my initial success in ironman, I had the opportunity to race with a hero of mine.  It was then that I saw the gleam of light that I could be a competitive athlete by any standard.

I believed that if I put in the time and effort to be among the top finishers for my age group, then I could offer up an example of appropriate expectations of the blind.  That is to say blind and disabled people are not lesser than, they are equal to, and in some cases even greater than those without disability.  Truly it isn’t about the comparison, it is about the assumption.  The efforts of persons with disability should be taken on their own merit, absent of the expectation of diminished value.

 

“Excuses are a mask for fear and self-doubt.” -Patricia Walsh

 

Finishing my second ironman in 11:40 was groundbreaking for me.  In 10 months I had reduced my own time by three hours.  I had set an example of an athlete with disability who two years into the sport could be ranked among the top 10 finishers for her age group.  I was then recruited to compete at a different distance for the US National team.  My secret hope is to come back to ironman after Paralympics, as I left wanting more.  I know I could be among the top finishers in following my own fuel-fire-blaze hierarchy with the emotionally intrinsic goal of continuing to chip away at the reduced expectations.

 

Limitations and Excuses