Pain and Suffering

With everything that has happened, both in my life and in the world, over the past couple of weeks – I felt it was important to share this with you. The title of this blog can seem daunting and negative, but the truth is…this is reality for so many people. 

Here are two truths: 

1. Pain is inevitable. I know what you’re thinking…”Gee, JR, thanks for the motivation.” But hear me out. Throughout life, we’re going to experience pain. There’s no way around it. People are going to say mean things, we’re going to lose our job, our family members will die, friends will die, sickness will occur…these things are going to happen. What I’m here to tell you is: 

2. Suffering is optional. 

I’ll share with you what I believe to be the difference. 

Pain is when your life conditions don’t match your model of the world, but suffering comes when your life conditions don’t match your model of the world AND you feel powerless against it.

The most important thing to remember is we are NOT powerless! We absolutely have the ability to adjust our circumstances and prevent (or eliminate) suffering. We can ALWAYS do something to change the pain. If we can’t change our environment or circumstances – we can adjust our model of the world. We don’t have to accept the limiting belief that we have no control over our lives!

One of the greatest gifts we’ve all got is the ability to truly step out of our pain. I’m not saying “not feel it” but make the conscious decision to not stay in pain. We have the ability to actually USE that pain as a motivator…use it as drive…to get back on our feet and into the model of our world that we control! 

Are you experiencing pain or suffering? What are the real reasons behind it? What do you need to do use the power you’ve already got within you to change your situation? 

You are not powerless against your situation! As my mentor, Tony Robbins, would say: “Unleash the power within!” 

God bless! 

~J.R.

Trust Me

Once in a while, we experience an event – sometimes an entire series of events – that really makes us take a second look at…well…everything.

The past week has definitely been one of those. Once again, my family suffered a tragic loss when my cousin died suddenly. His mother keeps a small dry erase board on their kitchen counter, and every day writes an motivational phrase or scripture verse on it. I was standing there as she took the dry erase marker, trying to wrap her mind around everything that had happened in the past 48 hours, and says “I don’t even know what to write” – then without really even thinking about it – wrote: “God is in control.”

I don’t know if she even realizes the impact that moment had on me, but it’s something I’ve thought about a lot since. While it was certainly a message of hope and strength for her, it really got me thinking. I found myself really evaluating the level of trust that I had in God. Did I really believe he was in control? Did I really have the ability to put everything aside and just put all of my faith in Him, through this?

As the week progressed, difficult phone calls, funeral arrangements, the funeral itself, and then the daunting task of “getting back to normal” – this still weighed heavily on me. It was during a conversation the day after the funeral, that everything really became clear to me. God was in control. Here’s what I learned.

Her sister (lives 2 1/2 hours away) happened to be in town that day for a doctor’s appointment and was able to rush right over Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning I was preparing to leave town for three days to attend a work related conference. Because I was planning to be gone on the work conference, everything at work had been set for me to be away for the remainder of the week. This allowed me the ability to be with my family, and not have a second thought about anything. Other family members had similar stories. Out of town trips that ended with them being back in time to be there for my aunt and uncle…unexpected time off…schedules that just “happened to line up.” There are countless stories like this from last week.

I think it’s important, at this point, to say that my cousin took his own life. I waited until this point, because I think it’s important to point out that I don’t believe suicide is part of “God’s will” for us. I believe there are things in this world that happen and aren’t part of “God’s plan.” This being one of those. I do, however, believe that God’s plan during all of this was to send a clear message to us. The message was “I’m grieving with you. It was My heart that broke first. This wasn’t something I had planned for any of you, but I’ve made sure everything else was in order for you during this difficult time. I’ll see you through this.”

It got me thinking about the key figures throughout the Bible and the amount of blind trust they had in God. The one that stuck out to me the most was Noah. Noah trusted in God enough to take on the task of building an ark. Can you imagine the things people were saying about him as he built a giant boat? He trusted, and built it despite them. I do believe, however, that Noah could have swatted those two mosquitos and no one would have minded. Anyway, I digress…

My question to you is the same question I’ve been asking myself this past week: “Is God really in control of your life? What do you need to let go of and REALLY trust Him with?”

Whatever it is – do it. Trust me. :)

Attitude is NOT everything – but it’s close!

I posted a this quote on Facebook earlier:

Great attitudes don’t guarantee a team’s success, but bad attitudes certainly guarantee its failure.

The response it received inspired me to share this blog with you. John Maxwell taught me that the saying “attitude is everything” isn’t entirely true…ability is certainly a huge key to success. If you’re a terrible athlete, no amount of great attitude is going to get you into the NFL. However, attitude is the difference maker. With all things being equal, tie goes to the great attitude. That’s what makes your attitude the difference maker in the outcomes you realize in life.

Attitude is the one thing all human beings have complete control of and yet many unknowingly choose a negative attitude. If we understood the power of our own attitude in our lives, most of us would change it immediately. How many times have you been told to change your attitude? That is a common order from most parents and teachers!

Attitude is created by your thoughts, feelings and actions. Your mind controls feelings and decides whether these feelings will be positive or negative through your thoughts. Your body then follows these thoughts through actions and behaviors. It sounds simplistic because it is.

Through our thoughts, we create an attitude. This attitude is expressed based on how we internalize ideas. Our mind and body move into a new vibration of conscious awareness known as feelings. These feelings are then displayed through actions and behaviors that produce the results in our lives.

Attitude [Thoughts + Feelings + Actions] = Results

Imagine feeding our minds with positive thoughts and flow through the process. We will end with positive results. Now imagine feeding our minds with negative thoughts and flow through the process. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

By changing our thoughts, we can change our attitude, which will ultimately change our results. Attitude is the creative cycle that allows us to feel a certain way and then take the necessary action to a specific result.

Start with the end in mind and make the decision that today is the day to change your attitude!

Affirmation

This is one of the most important and effective aspects of being a great leader, but is often one that is utilized the least. When used properly, genuine affirmations will strengthen your relationships to new levels! 

This lesson is rooted in the principle: “We see people as we see ourselves.” That means that if you don’t see yourself as a strong, confident, effective, passionate individual…you’ll have a very hard time seeing any of those qualities in other people. My mentor, John Maxwell, puts it like this:

Whenever I see my staff, I put an imaginary “10” on the forehead of each individual. This helps me treat each person like a 10, a high performer who makes a difference to me and the organization. Inevitably, they respond as if they ARE a 10!  (John Maxwell Leadership Bible)

There are a few key elements to having this be truly effective. Let’s run through those. 

  1. Make them sincere. This is probably one of the most important. If the other person doesn’t sense that you’re being genuine, you’re dead in the water. Not only will you not improve the relationship, but you’re likely to destroy it. Always be genuine and authentic about what you say.
  2. Make them specific. Get very pointed and detailed about what you say. This will go a long way to adding credibility to your affirmation or compliment and really let the other person know that you are truly paying attention to them and what they’re doing.
  3. Make them public. Declare these honoring words in front of others. It’s one thing to compliment someone in private, but when you do this in front of their peers and/or other members of leadership it magnifies it tenfold at least! 
  4. Make them personal. Be personal about what you say. The easiest way to make sure you’re personal is to truly speak from the heart. 

Put simply: Leaders bless people. Be a blessing in someone’s life today! 

(John Maxwell Leadership Bible; p.824)

Change! It’s Not a Bad Thing…

If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. ~ Albert Einstein

I love that quote!  Change is that scary word that most people shy away from.  I don’t want to change.  Why should I change?  Why doesn’t everyone else change to accommodate me?  If I change, then I will be out of my comfort zone.  Why change something that isn’t broken?

  1. Asking someone to change is like expecting the sun to not rise.  Isn’t it a pointless request?  Change comes from within.  Change is something we do with ourselves.  Only we can control us, no one else.  So why ask, expect, anticipate, anything from someone else?

Let’s focus on how to change us.  First why would anyone want to change themselves?  Is it because they don’t like the outcome?  Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you really want to change their mind about something?  You try so hard to convince them that your point of view is right and theirs is wrong!  Can’t they see that?  I mean do they realize just how foolish their ideas are?  Ha!

Cause and Effect.  Facts and Theory.  Yin and Yang.  If you don’t like the end result, then you need to change the actions.  If the facts don’t fit the theory, in other words, the end result of the facts is not the theory then the facts must change.  Your actions (cause) create an end result (effect).  If you don’t like the effect, change the cause.  If you want a particular effect, but aren’t getting it, then change the cause.

It is really simple but we complicate it because we think it is everyone else that needs to change and not us.  Stop.  Take a breath.  Read that again.  It is really simple.  We want a different end result.  We need to make a change.

If you want to convince someone you are right and they are looking at you like you have three eyes… stop.  Look within.  Why do you want to convince anyone of anything?  If someone cannot see your point of view for whatever reason, if someone is doing something that you do not like, if someone or something is not what you expected… then look within.  Look at what you are doing, thinking, saying,… take the blame off others and look at your actions and make the necessary changes and adjustments to achieve the end result you so desire.

(Empowerment Mentoring)

Decisions

It’s been a while since my last post…largely because I’ve been in transition after a huge decision of my own. I was running the #1 radio station in central Florida. My current situation was ideal…a great job that I was extremely successful in, great friends, great co-workers, every reason under the sun to stay put. Instead, I stepped outside of what was familiar, and walked away from that to relocate over 1,000 miles away to Texas for a chance at an even larger opportunity. Don’t be fooled…making huge life decisions like that has always been difficult for me. Battling that voice in my head telling me that I’m making the wrong choice, I’m walking away from security, this new opportunity won’t be as good as what I’ve got, and I’ll probably just end up failing and regretting everything. I’ve had to do so much soul searching recently and forced myself to step outside my comfort zone. That’s what spurred me to post this blog. 

Decisions are a mental activity every one of us engages in on a daily basis.  From deciding when to wake up, to what to eat, to how to spend our day, to where to spend our money, to whom to spend our time with… decisions are part of our daily life. 

That doesn’t mean we are good at making decisions.  Many of us make very bad decisions every day and only a few of us make good decisions consistently.  Why is there such disparity in this?  What keeps us from making sound decisions?  

Did you know that you could virtually eliminate conflict and confusion by becoming proficient at making decisions?  Once you make a decision, you will find all the people, resources and ideas you need every time. 

Indecisiveness is a decision to not make a decision.  This is typically fueled by the fear of failure.  Low self esteem and succumbing to circumstances is why so many people make poor decisions. 

If you have an idea, a desire, a wish, a worthy ideal, make the decision to achieve whatever it is you want.  Once you make this decision, the people, resources, and ideas will be attracted to you because your belief in achievement will supersede your fears and circumstances.  Your belief will be the catalyst that changes your behaviors, your actions, and ultimately your results.

Keep your focus on your visions, your worthy ideal.  Refuse to worry about how it will happen – know that you are capable of anything you put your mind to and make the decision today to DECIDE WHERE YOU ARE WITH WHATEVER YOU’VE GOT.

(From “Empowerment Mentoring“)

Laugh, I Dare You!

I wrote a blog a while back about dreaming like a kid. Kids dream without limitation, because unlike adults, they haven’t been completely conditioned to think otherwise. It doesn’t stop there, though. 

If you think about it…children, by nature, are just happier than adults. Sure, you can say they don’t have the stresses of work and all the responsibilities, but I think it’s actually much more simple than that. Here’s an interesting fact: 

On average, children laugh 400x a day. The average adult? Only 12.

Think about that for second. When was the last time you were angry but laughed until your sides hurt? I can tell you…never! It’s impossible! You can’t be furious and truly laughing at the same time. It’s also impossible for you to think one way and act another. You can’t think positivity and exert negativity. You can’t think nice things about someone and be angry at them at the same time. 

Oh, and here’s something just as an added incentive – laughing 15 minutes per day sheds 4 pounds per year!

In the world of “on demand” and high speed internet, fast food, and everything readily available at our fingertips – we’re always looking for ways to improve our daily lives instantly. We want quick fixes, fast results, and don’t really want to work for it. Well, friends, here it is. 

Laugh. Laugh every day. At least 15 minutes per day. You’ll feel better. You’ll be happier. Oh, and like I mentioned, you’ll lose weight! :) 

And if you’re feeling REALLY adventurous…share a laugh with someone else! Do this, even if it’s just once, to see if I’m right. If it doesn’t really have a dramatic impact on your day – I’ll reimburse every penny you paid for my advice. In fact, I’ll double it. 

Here’s something to get you started:

http://youtu.be/Q9T8i4FkNVo

Be blessed!