Laying On A Nail

The other day I heard a story about a man visiting a farmer. As they sat on the farmer’s back porch, the man couldn’t help but notice the farmer’s dog was whining and moaning.

The man asked the farmer, “what’s wrong with your dog?”

“He’s laying on a nail,” replied the farmer.

Confused, the man asked, “well, why doesn’t he get up?”

Without skipping a beat, the farmer said “it doesn’t hurt bad enough for him to move.”

I think there a lot of us laying on nails, right now. We’re unhappy, but not miserable so we just accept it. I’m here to tell you – It doesn’t have to be this way, and you deserve better!

What nails are you laying on?

Often, it doesn’t require a huge change to make a huge difference.

Get off that nail TODAY!

You Have More Control Than You Think…

One of my passions is coaching. I make it part of my leadership practices, but this goes beyond management styles. Truly effective coaching can really have an incredible impact on people’s everyday lives…not just when they’re at work.

With this being such a passion and priority of mine, I’m constantly learning and growing – to not only be a better coach, but to be able to be an example of what I teach.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned recently is that we truly have more control than we think we do. In those moments when everything seems like it’s an uncontrollable tailspin – we really do have the power and ability to pull out of it.

We are responsible for our own experiences. No one can make us feel a certain way, unless we give them that power. The fact is, we experience what we are doing. If a person says, “I feel sad,” they are actually doing sadness. In other words, they are using their body (their breathing, their facial muscles, their voice, their language, and their belief structures) in a way that causes them to feel sad in that moment. Consequently, this feeling can be changed in a moment if a person has a compelling reason to do so and enough alternatives.

Ultimately, individuals always have the power to choose what they think, believe and feel, regardless of past conditioning. All change happens in a moment. The moment we change what things mean to us, we create a lifelong transformation in our experience.

I think that last line is the most powerful. The moment we change what things mean to us, we create a lifelong transformation in our experience.

Really think about that for a moment. If we’re able to change what a bad experience means to us, we would have total control of how we’d feel about it…wouldn’t we? Once the experience happens, if we can train ourselves to take a step back and truly evaluate what happened to make us feel sad (angry, frustrated, insignificant, etc), we’re then able to take that and turn it around through a positive reaction.

For example: If the experience makes us feel hurt or betrayed – that is a direct violation of our basic human need to feel love and connection. The automatic response is sadness or depression because in that situation we’re focusing on ourselves. We’re giving ourselves the attention we feel we need by turning inward and feeling sorry for ourselves.

My challenge to you is…instead, once we’ve established what has happened – we can then take back control and do something that reestablishes that need in a positive way. Maybe you take the kids to the park, reconnect with an old friend, or give a family member a call. Whatever it may be…you know the things in your life that fulfill that need – so turn to those. In an instant, you’ll be reestablishing that connection and fulfilling that need…but in a positive way that YOU are in control of.

Pain by itself is not a long-term reinforcement; only pleasure is. Find the things that give you the most pleasure in all the difference aspects of your life and make a list if you need to. Keep it handy! When we experience pain in our lives, it creates a hole inside of us. It’s up to us to decide what we fill it with. Will you fill it with sadness, anger, frustration, and depression? Or will you fill it with love, passion, and gratitude?

Remember: pain is an inevitable part of life…suffering is a choice.


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! 


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!


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)