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I want you the think of the busiest road in, or near, your town. I mean crazy busy. Think of a road where there is a tremendous amount of traffic, both sides of the road are littered with billboards, hundreds of businesses line the road with distracting signs, traffic lights interrupt your driving every few hundred yards and there are people crossing the street at busy intersections. Your eyes dart from one distracting stimulation to the next, not knowing what to focus on. It feels crowded, crazy and hectic.

 
road1

Got that picture, and hectic feeling, in your mind?

 

Good.

 

That is the typical mind these days. Between the multitudes of tasks we are responsible for each day, the multitude of interruptions our electronic devices provide, the overwhelming number of emails we receive, and the multitude of other thoughts and worries that fill our heads, that busy street is what our brain feels like. It is a crazy, hectic street where we are unable to focus on any one specific thing.

 

And that is only what our conscious mind registers and deals with! Our subconscious mind is processing many more times the information you consciously see. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that the conscious mind processes 2,000 bits of information per second, while the subconscious mind processes 400 billion!!

 

Essentially that means that you aren’t really aware of all the information and distractions flooding into your head.

 

BUT . . . what this also points to is the amazing volume of unused processing power many of us are wasting if we do not let our subconscious mind work on some of your daily challenges. If you are constantly running around, doing things and filling your day with activities or “to do” lists, there is no way you can perform at your optimal levels.

 

If you truly want to improve your performance, focus and success, you need to find a quiet, less busy street so that your subconscious mind has some time and space to go to work.

 

Here are 3 things you can do to create a quieter street for your brain.

 

  1. Turn off all email/text/Facebook/Twitter notifications when working on important tasks. Trust me, the world will not end if you do this. You must stop being at the beck and call of the world and start setting your own schedule in order to create your life and your success.
  2. Clear the clutter from your home, workspace and life. You won’t know the impact this has until you do it, but the subconscious mind is taking in all that clutter and trying to process it. And in doing so, it is clogging the neurons in your brain that you want to access and use to think about and create greater success and peak performance.
  3. If you have been stumped by a problem and just can’t seem to reach that breakthrough or solution, give it a rest and let your subconscious go to work. Take time to go for a run, meditate, go for a bike ride, sit quietly, take a nap, hike, take a bath or whatever it is that clears your mind and allows the subconscious to go to work on your challenges and problems. Doing so always produces a possibility or idea to move you closer to the success you want.

 

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

- Hans Hoffman

 

It seemingly goes against conventional wisdom to do less in order to do more. But out of that simplicity, clarity emerges. And from that clarity, direction emerges. And from that direction, focus emerges. And from that focus, achievement emerges. And from that achievement, success is found.

 

You can choose to stay on that busy road if you want, but if you do, consciously realize what you are risking by doing so.

 

There is no doubt that science has played a HUGE role in revealing the power of the subconscious mind. There is probably no greater experiment, or scientist, that has played a larger role in establishing the importance of this power than the one demonstrated in the video below. :)
 
 

I recently took a few classes in Tae Kwon Do, the martial art originating in Korea.

 

I gotta admit, I took them because of a Jason Stratham movie. Well, not so much because of the movie, but rather what I saw in the movie – the quiet confidence both lead characters had knowing they could defend themselves and those they loved. It was that confidence that finally motivated me to explore martial arts, something I wanted to do for a while.

 

But I was surprised by what I experienced in my first class.

 
Ying_yang_sign

Shortly after I walked in, I saw two students quickly moving through their forms (a pattern of motion). Their speed and movement was aggressive, and I immediately felt myself draw back thinking that this is not what I wanted. I am not an aggressive person.

 

During the class, there were many times when we were supposed to forcefully vocalize a sound to accompany our motions. This felt almost impossible for me to do, and if I made the sound 5% of the time, that was a lot. But making this sound was important. It provided additional power to the movement and I felt the difference it made when I did it. Still, I struggled.

 

Feeling my power with this much intensity was new to me. Striking. Hitting. Defending. Kicking. It was not who I am. I am more peaceful.

 

But the practice of all martial arts is not about striking, hitting, or kicking. It’s about owning your power, feeling your power, being confident that you know how to use it, and most importantly, consciously choosing when to use it.

 

By the end of the class I felt quite different having accessed that part of me that is so powerful and feeling what it was like to not be afraid of what I am capable of. Just like the movie, I felt more confident. I noticed I was standing taller and felt more firmly grounded when I walked.

 

Even after just one class, I had a greater understanding of the quiet confidence I sought – It is one thing to know and have access to your power. It is an entirely different thing to actually use it.

 

Don’t be afraid of either, for I am convinced that this is the place from which your ability to change the world is sourced.

 

The measure of a man is what he does with power.

- Plato

 

Power is not something we hold over people. That is fear or domination. True power is the understanding that you are capable of anything and can exercise that power to manifest your dreams or the dreams of others. Power is something that is sourced from within and given to others, or the world. That is true power.

 

So, how will you choose to use YOUR power?

 
If this video doesn’t inspire you, or at least reach deep down inside you and plant the seed of wonder, begging the question, “What am I capable of? What is my true power?” than perhaps nothing ever will.
 

The previous two months I wrote about The Three Deadliest Words You Can Say and the Most Powerful Words in the English Language.

 

If there is one point I want to communicate, it is about the power of our words and the importance of being mindful of our choice of words. Whenever we speak, the words we choose are an affirmation of who we are and what we believe. And they have a very powerful impact on us and the lives we are creating, whether we realize it or not.

 
I am

This month I want to highlight what I believe is THE MOST IMPORTANT word you will ever choose in your life. It completes a very short and simple sentence.

 

“I am ____. “

 

“I am” is the beginning of perhaps the most potent sentence you will ever utter. It is a declaration; an affirmation; a belief. And if you say or think it enough, it begins to become your truth.

 

Given that, the next word you choose after writing, thinking or speaking “I am” should be chosen very carefully, for it will no doubt define you and shape your life.

 

All too often I hear people being incredibly careless, lazy and unconscious about their choice.

  • I’m not pretty.
  • I am so stupid.
  • I’m not worth it.

 

With all of these careless choices, an important distinction needs to be made that dramatically changes the meaning of these sentences.

 

I am vs. I feel

 

I am stupid vs. I feel stupid, or I am unworthy vs. I feel unworthy, significantly changes the energy of this sentence. And it is a vital difference.

 

The first is a declaration of who you are, and it defines you. The second is simply a description of your emotions and how you are feeling in the moment. To go through life expressing or describing your life using the first can be detrimental to your happiness and satisfaction. Expressing things the second way acknowledges that the situation is just temporary and that you have the ability to change it.

 

To truly empower your life and honor the magnificent person you are, be mindful of the next word you choose after thinking or uttering the words “I am.” Whether you are aware of it or not, it will define you.

 

“Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through.”

- Douglas Adams

 

I often tell my clients that I listen between the lines (as opposed to read between the lines). I believe the words we choose are purposeful, whether we are aware of it or not. And those words speak a truth about who we are and what we hold deep within our heart and soul.

 

If you want to change your life, your business or the world around you, be mindful of your words. They are one of the few things you have complete control over, and they are one of the few things that can, and will, directly impact how you create and perceive the world around you.

 

You are what YOU believe! Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are or what you can do!
 
 

Last month I suggested that the three most DISempowering words we could ever utter are, “I don’t know.” These three words give us an excuse to pretend we don’t know what to do. They allow us to stay stuck and not move forward, keeping us safe in our comfort zone.

 

Given that I am all about creating possibility with my clients, now it is time to share what I believe are the three MOST POWERFUL words you can say. I have come to understand their power based on the last 15 years that I have been coaching. During this time, most of my clients have been entrepreneurs and business owners, a truly unique group of people who possess an incredibly inspiring spirit. I love working with these clients . . . and here’s why.

 

Entrepreneurs and business owners have a mindset that when confronted with a challenge or uncertainty, they don’t stand around in a helpless state, scratching their heads, muttering “I don’t know what to do.” They don’t have the time or luxury to do that! They have people, and a business, counting on them.

 

Instead, they create an amazing transformation of thinking that allows them to immediately get into action. Intuitively, they transform the uncertainty and challenge of “I don’t know” into an inquiry that looks like this:

 

I don’t know >>> How Can I . . .

 

  • How can I grow my business?
  • How can I take advantage of the current market?
  • How can I develop a new product?

 

possibility1This re-framing of any dilemma that faces entrepreneurs and business owners drives them to find an answer. It drives them to find a way to solve whatever problem or challenge confronts them. Their thinking and commitment doesn’t allow for them to pretend they don’t have an answer. Rather, they exist in what is possible. And this way of thinking is exhilarating!!

 

Without fail, they find a way and discover a creative solution that addresses the problem they face.

 

“How can I” (or “How can we” when it involves other people) are the three most powerful words in the English language. These words immediately move you from being stuck in a space of uncertainty to getting you to a place of action and thinking creatively.

 

So why not take a cue from these fantastic people and transform your “I don’t know” into “How can I . . .”

 

I think you will find that your life immediately becomes more enjoyable and satisfying.

 

“What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”

- Thomas Merton

 

There are always two options that can be pursued when a problem presents itself. The first allows you to be defeated quickly by thinking you do not have the answer to the challenge. That is the path of “I don’t know.” The second promises a path of inspiration and endless possibilities. That is the path of “How can I . . . “

 

The path you choose is up to you, but I challenge you not to utter the words, “I don’t know” for the next month and see how your life changes.

 
 

“How Can I . . .” is a mentality. A mentality of possibility. This short video describes that mentality perfectly.
 

When I work with clients, at some point during our work together I will ask them what their goals are or what they believe gets in the way of them accomplishing their goals. It is not unusual for their first response to be, “I don’t know.”
 
These are the three most disempowering words in the English language!
 
When my clients respond with these words, without fail, I will challenge them and suggest that they actually do know and the only reason they are saying they don’t is so that they don’t have to do anything.   Their response allows them to hang out in a nebulous cloud of uncertainty.
 
Lost and Confused SignpostBut the truth is, “I don’t know” is nothing more than a smokescreen that allows people to stay stuck and not move forward. It gives them an excuse to pretend they don’t know what to do or what they truly want. It is a way of keeping them safe in their comfort zone.
 
 
I believe the reason we do this is because in reality, we humans are amazing beings! Deep down we actually know that we are capable of accomplishing whatever we set our minds to. And I think we are afraid of that. Once we declare what we want, we almost always achieve it! I have seen this proven over and over again for the past 15 years by my clients.
 
The trick, of course, is knowing what we want. Once we identify what we want and declare our goals, we begin to move toward them and achieve success. It’s just who we are and how we are built. And it is AWESOME!!
 
So stop pretending that you don’t know what you want in your life or business. If you don’t know, or you pretend not to know, that opens the door for one of 2 things to happen, neither of which you will be happy with.

  1. You will stay stuck and your frustration will grow.
  2. Someone else will define for you what you want.

Thankfully, as always, the solution here is not rocket science. Simply take some time to sit by yourself, quiet the mind, be honest with yourself, turn off any “voice in your head” that might be influencing you – other than your own – and answer these questions:

 

  • What do you REALLY want?
  • What will make you happy/smile?
  • If you knew you or your team could not fail, what would you do?

 

Believe it or not, it is that simple.
 
If you don’t run your life, someone else will.

- Anonymous

 

Pretending you don’t know what you want, or not taking the time to find out, is a surefire recipe for frustration in your life. There are enough obstacles in life that will inhibit you from having what you desire. No need for you to be one of those obstacles.
 
The good news is that if you find yourself to be an obstacle, it is the one you have the greatest control over removing from your path to success.
 
(Stay tuned! Next month I will share the 3 Most Powerful Words in the English language!)
 

We’ve all heard the familiar scoldings growing up. “Quit fooling around.” “Will you please grow up.” “When will you stop acting like a child?”

 

Well if it were up to me, the answer to that last question would be never.

 

In an effort to eliminate the childish qualities from our behavior as we race toward adulthood, our child-like qualities often become part of the collateral damage. And that is too bad. By losing our child-like qualities, we lose an immensely valuable resource – the ability to play.

 

The value and benefits of play cannot be overstated. Studies have found that fun and play are foundational elements in unleashing a person’s creative powers to think differently. They are a critical ingredient in connecting people, improving relationships, increasing productivity, breaking down communication and personal barriers, and alleviating stress and tension.

 

Unfortunately, all too often I find that many grown-ups shun the idea of having fun and playing, especially at work. It is as if we believe work can’t or shouldn’t be fun . . . otherwise we wouldn’t call it work. Right? You’ve probably heard someone say that at some point in your life.

 

The only thing that mentality leads to though is more drudgery in our workplaces as we slog through the day.

 

game1 But what if we worked differently? What if we changed our mentality and approach to work and brought more play into our workplace? What if we addressed “serious” work-related issues by playing games?

 

That is something I have been doing with my clients for many years now, and if their success is any measure, I would say that playing games actually provides them with a competitive advantage as it unleashes all of the benefits listed above and improves the performance of the employees and the company as a whole.

 

Of course, these aren’t just any games. It’s not like we break out into a game of freeze tag in the middle of a meeting . . . not that I don’t think corporate America could benefit from a good game of freeze tag. Rather, these games are customized, non-electronic, experiential games that are designed to further a company’s goals and facilitate the important conversations necessary to advance progress.

 

And I believe play has a cumulative effect on people and companies. The more you play, the more creative, productive, connected and stress-free you become.

So that leaves just one question -

 

Are you playing enough as an adult in your workplace?

 

It’s time to shake up the way we relate to work – especially in larger organizations and corporations. There is a reason why children laugh and play more than adults. You may think the easy answer is that children have less to worry about. But maybe the right answer is that they remember something we don’t. Perhaps we adults need to learn the valuable gift of play children have to teach us.

 

Seven days without laughter makes one weak.

- Mort Walke

 

Talk about gaming the system! Enjoy this moment of fun from the classic 1980s movie WarGames, where even the most serious of topics was made into a game.
 

Last week I read a news article about this video. It is a short, 90 second, impassioned plea from a father asking a large corporation for a simple favor. The video plea went viral and received over 1.5 million views in just one day.

 

 

In a USA Today article about the father’s (John Berlin) plea, Berlin said, “I touched the hearts of a lot of people. I wasn’t trying to do that, but I did … I just wanted to see a one-minute video.”

 

The one minute video he is referring to are those magnificent “Look Back” videos Facebook is creating based on a user’s posts over the past 10 years. If you are on Facebook and haven’t done yours yet, I highly recommend it. Berlin wanted to see what the video would look like for his son who passed away in 2012. As often happens when one is led by their heart, Mr. Berlin received his miracle and Facebook agreed to overlook its current policies and create a “Look Back” video from his son’s postings.

 

Then I thought about the amazing work Maggie Doyne is doing in Nepal. You can see her impact here – http://www.blinknow.org. I remember way back to when she was just starting her non-profit organization in 2006, when it was little more than a pang in her heart. Overwhelmed by the thousands of orphans she saw in Nepal due to a 10 year civil war, she said something to the effect, “I don’t know if I can help them all. I just want to help that one right there.” She was referring to a young 6 year-old girl named Hema who she had connected with on one of her first visits to the country.

 

These two beautiful moments, and the impact they have had on the world, demonstrate the perfect model for changing the world. Simply put . . . stop trying to change the world.

 
ripple3

If you really want to change the world, just focus on your passion. What calls most strongly to your heart? Focus on that. Focus on what you care about most, take one SMALL STEP toward that, and let the ripples that passionate and caring step creates do the rest. It will undoubtedly have an impact and will change the world around you.

 

So, what is it you care about most?

 

I can’t imagine a better time than Valentine’s Day to take your first step and send out that first ripple of love.

 

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

- Pablo Picasso

 

What good is a gift if you keep it beautifully wrapped, yet hidden in the back of a dark closet, never to be opened. A true gift is one that is shared with others, and when it is, it spreads joy to all those fortunate enough to share in it. Don’t keep the passions you hold deep in your heart from the rest of the world. That is your gift. That is what the rest of the world awaits for. And until you share it, neither you, nor the world will be complete.

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