Caught up in Causes & Crises and Avoiding the Obvious

“Don’t find fault.  Find a remedy.”   Henry Ford

It’s amazing how all of us make something out of nothing.

In fact, I believe one of the reasons the Seinfeld show has lived on in residual rerun heaven is because it is true to life on so many levels.

As Jerry Seinfeld has stated many times, the program was all about nothing.  On its surface, that’s a correct statement.

And, I’m not here questioning his mission or motives.  After all, he wrote the show and made a fortune so he would know better than anyone else.  It was his vision.

Now before I go on any further, please know this piece is not some quasi-erudite attempt at analysis of the show and explain its true meaning.  The show is what it is and that’s it.

But, there is a point to all of this.

Seinfeld was always about the “superficial something else” rather than substantive and significant concerns.  And, the show worked because it mirrored real life.  It was and still is a funny show.

And, the truth is it’s so much easier dealing with the extraneous and tangential, making them an integral component of life rather than engaging in the actual.  That takes time and could be painful.

Recently, my wife and I ran to a woman we have known for quite a while but hadn’t seen in years.

At first, I could not recall knowing her.  However, the more she talked (and she talked and talked), the more I was able to decode the reason for the memory lapse.

Call it selective brain stunting, memory repression, suppressive awareness, call it whatever you like.  But somehow, I just didn’t want to remember her.

There’s the old saying about “what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve.”  Well, my medulla oblongata had done an outstanding job of erasing almost all mental traces of this woman.

She was a nice person.  It wasn’t the fact that she was so long-winded.  I could deal with that. It was the steadfast evidence that she was a “cause” person and everything important in her life seemed based on some impending crisis. For years, that’s been her modus operandi.

That was her whole tone of conversation.

She would tell us about her latest findings, gruesome discoveries and harrowing tales of impending disaster but we never got to know her and find out what made her tick.

After a while and by design, we would see less and less of her.  We wanted more than hearing about the latest conspiracy or catastrophe in the making.

A steady diet of gloom and doom doesn’t fit my regimen.  There’s enough problems in the world and I do my best to either avoid trouble or find a workable solution and move on.

I give props to her and to anyone else that dedicates time, money and effort to make the world a better place.

We need more of that from all of us.

I am not a psychologist but believe this person’s constant and ever-changing involvement in Causes and Crisis had more to do with personal Deflection than curing and solving universal failings and discomfort.

Let me explain.  We all need a reason for being and life today can be very challenging. “Sticking with it” and “giving it your best shot” are not only admirable qualities, they are indispensable criteria for survival.  That is a given.

What I’m referring to is living a life replete with crisis and causes absent the pursuit of solution.

We all get “hung-up” on things in life.  At times that allegiance can transform into something fixed and unwavering….until…..

…..Until, like fashion, the arbiters of agitation decree that it is now imperative to fix complete attention on the newest crisis model.

Again, this piece is not meant to discredit the worthy efforts of those who offer their support and/or devote their lives to making the world a better place for those in need.  We need more people who really care and do good works.

What I’m saying is it’s all too easy to get lost in trend than to actually take time to unearth and accept the actual you.

Years ago, my main topic was “The Surrender Solution.”  It was not about giving up.  It was about surrendering.  And, surrender is the acceptance of a new beginning.

What is obvious to others is unseen by ourselves, thus we discount the conspicuous because it appears hidden and concealed in plain sight.

That new beginning can be scary.  It’s a revelation that involves forgiveness.  Forgiving others who brought pain, sorrow and discomfort to our lives.

More importantly, it means forgiveness and acceptance of who we are, what we have or should have done  We can spend so much time in life beating up on ourselves for the smallest and most insignificant matters that happened in the past.  And, where does it get us?

Here’s the kicker: Most of the time, we are the only ones carrying the burden because the issue is long forgotten and now meaningless.  It should be dead.  It has no value, but we keep it going on our own revival circuit..

But when is enough, enough?  Isn’t it time to  hold the crucifixion, someone forgot the nails?

Hey, we are dealing with non-substance.  But when did sense enter into the equation.  We are human.  We are fallible.

Because we are not perfect, we will continue to make mistakes.  Sure, we can look back in retrospect on some really stupid things done in life.

Talk about cringe factor.  I could spend years in a corner berating myself for all the senseless and hurtful things I’ve done.  But, where does it get me?  In reality, all that is right now is a “was.”

It’s the past.  The date of expiration on the guilt-trip package came and went all so long ago.  It is not deserving of respect, attention or restoration.   It can only bring on illness and worry or worse.

I can’t change what has happened and can only learn from the experience and hopefully then move on to being a better person by forgiving myself.

Look upon it this way: Your self-appointed sentence has been commuted for time already served.

So stop trying to be what you are not.  You are no god and never will be.  We are human.

We are surrounded by artificial intelligence, holograms, CGI and avatars but, nothing takes the place of the real thing.  And, the real thing is the real you.

We are the Source of what we do in life. Now, I’m not overlooking Divine participation, but it’s up to us to choose our path and destiny.

We are over the age of 50.  Isn’t it time to get in touch with who we really are? if for no other reason than it assists in revealing and implementing solutions for so many causes and crises. It’s coming from the heart.

If there is another way, please let me know.  This is not a time for doubt and uncertainty.

Singer/Songwriter Jimmy Buffet has a very funny take on vacillation when he said. “Indecision may or may not be the problem.”  Love it.

When you get down to it, life is not a Seinfeld episode.  It’s not all about nothing. It is about something else.  That something else is getting to know yourself.

No longer are you a stranger to yourself.

Whatever it is in what you believe, whatever issues, crises and causes demand your passion and attention, they are fueled and given force by the complete you.  There is no doubt because the truth comes from your core.

Being in touch with the real you activates an inner compass that neither accepts nor tolerates deflection or self-deceit.

Being one with yourself activates the self-forgiving heart.

False Starts, Heavy Hearts

”Today will never happen again.  Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all.”                                                                Og Mandino

You might have heard the story about the great escape artist.   This man could not be confined.  He could extricate himself from any prison, any sealed enclosure within a very short amount of time.

This man wowed the crowds the world over with his unusual talent.

One day, he received a challenge from a small town sheriff: Try and flee from his jail. To make it more interesting, the lawman said the town would pay him one million dollars if he could free himself within 20 minutes.

But, there was a caveat.  If the breakout specialist was unable to flee his incarceration within the 20 minute period, the artiste would be forced to remit one million dollars to the town.

Needless to say, he was up to the challenge.  The offer was accepted readily by the performer.

Now, there was much angst, consternation and fear coming from the town’s people in this small, poor village. If the great escape artist freed himself within the allotted time, the municipality would be on the hook for one million dollars.  That would force the town into bankruptcy.  So the agreement by the community was far from unanimous and was ushered along with much uncertainty.

The great escape artist arrives in town.  He is greeted by the locals with much fanfare and hoopla accompanied by a high degree of underlying apprehension and concern.

Then, after brief welcoming remarks, the lawman, the escape artist and the assembled crowd, walk over to the sheriff’s office.  The performer is escorted to the holding cell by the officer who then slams the door tightly shut.

It is now Showtime!

The great escape artist gets to work.  For him, this is a “no brainer” payday.

Five minutes pass and the great artist is hard at work. He has freed himself from the most escape-proof institutions all over the world.

Ten minutes into the challenge, he is showing signs of concern.

Now with only five minutes left, he is laboring furiously.

With only one minute left, the great artist is sweating profusely and can’t understand why this particular jail door is so hard to unlock.

The twenty minutes have expired.  For the first time in his career, he has lost a challenge.  He is crestfallen and he is out one million dollars.

The town folk are both shocked and relieved.

He is totally frustrated. Still imprisoned behind bars, the great escape artist asks the lawman what made this particular jail cell so escape proof.

While waiting for a response from the lawman, he leans against the cell door and, suddenly the jail door opens.  The cell gate had never been locked in the first place.

The moral of this story is don’t allow yourself to be incapacitated by pre-conceived notions.

False Starts, Broken Hearts.

These are tough times.  That’s a given.  We are over the age of 50.  By this time in our lives, there’s been a bit of soul searching and reevaluating what is really important in life. Not only that but, along the way, we have even picked up some smarts bestowed upon each and every one of us, compliments of the gracious and peachy wisdom fairy.

But, even with all this going in our favor, most of us don’t take advantage of our talents and gifts.  Why?  I’m not sure but I’ll take a stab at it: It takes time and lots of introspection.

Here’s the kicker: Recent findings show that most of us would rather inflict pain upon ourselves than endure 15 minutes of peace and quiet.

Silence, meditation, prayer; call it what you will, it’s the means of opening wisdom’s door.  But, it’s not held under lock and key.  It is there for the taking; just open the door.

In the past, I have written about my formula:  Noise + Distraction and Resistance = Scattered Potential and a World of Stress.

We can’t stand the pain of failure we are experiencing, even when it lacerates the very essence of who and what we are.  The sad truth is it’s much easier to accept, endure and prolong current suffering than to hazard another course of action. It’s easier to deal with the devil you know than………………………………….

Perhaps, it’s the dread of facing fears and dealing with our own inner contagion.

This is not religion.  But, there must be some truth to the time tested old saws about the devil in details and the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

Dismissing these alerts creates a climate of prolonged and needless torment.

But, some people don’t want to be happy. They revel in the questionable delights of disenchantment and schadenfreude. They do not want help. They are not ready for assistance.  That’s not abandonment.  It is not “writing them off.”  It’s just the truth.  Helping people who don’t want help wastes precious time that should be devoted to helping ourselves.  It’s deflection of personal responsibility.

Let me go back to an old theory of mine, “People hear what they want to hear and only hear what they need to hear when they are ready to hear what they heard.”

And, it’s so much easier to get lost in pandemonium and diversion.  That is here and now. It’s an anodyne.

On the other hand, success and accomplishment have total disregard for immediate needs. These are the bitches of serendipity.

They come and go as they please, leave no posted time of arrival or departure and convulse with laughter at our frustration with their delays and cancellations.

Thus the certainty that accompanies the temporary reprieve takes precedence over the ambiguity of the unknown.

It can be compared to the quiet before the storm or the suspenseful scene leading up to the appearance of the monster or villain.

It’s like we have been trained to distrust silence. That upsets the apple cart and places an expiration notice on the acknowledged status quo.

Perhaps, it’s the worry and agitation. They come in tandem with the false assumption that doing nothing leads to nothing; and that’s considered a waste of time.  Or, it could be we are afraid to take the time to find answers and solutions in order to experience a more productive and meaningful life.

Half-hearted measures of the past have a way of magnifying in reflection thus impeding further discovery and resolution.

It is as if we become so addicted to the endurance of pain, that it is actually easier to continue with the burden and torment we know than surmount the uncertainty of the unknown; even if it renders a more positive result and outcome.

Yes, we are over 50.  We are wiser. But it’s the implementation of that wisdom that takes a while to kick-start into motion.

We have to rise above our inner demons.

All of us have the distinct ability to make our lives a living hell.

We also have the manifest capacity to rise above our immediate circumstance and achieve what it is and where we want to be.

Yes, life is hard.  But, what choice do we have.

We brand ourselves with failure when failures, flops and fiascos are only steps on the way to success.

The journey has not ended.  So, why stop now?  Take a break.  Get into silence, prayer, meditation.  They will guide you to answers.  Don’t deride it.  Don’t dismiss it.  Don’t give up.

You’ve tried everything else.

Don’t anticipate.  When you least expect things to happen, that’s when they always do. So turn attention to other things in life.

Let it happen.

Follow through by giving yourself a break. No more false starts and heavy hearts.  The future has its own disclosure process.  You have done all you can.

Life can be similar to a boxing match. There is no fighting in-between rounds.  That’s the time to rest and regain strength.

Excuse the mixed metaphors but you have been running so far, so fast and so long that it’s time to allow opportunity to catch up with you.

 

It’s a Rough and Bumpy Road on the Way to Easy Street

             What a childhood I had, why, when I took my first step, my old man tripped me!         Rodney Dangerfield

A recent article cites evidence that billionaires really are smarter than the most of us.

Ever wonder why?

Is it because they have more patience?  Is it because they are focused?  Do they work harder?  Do they work smarter than most of us?

I don’t know.  And, I’m certainly no billionaire.

Realistically, I want more out of life than where I am at this moment and I’m sure that same aspiration applies to you.

And, that leads to the point of this piece.

Do you ever have those times where everything turns to crap.  I’m sure you have.

On a 103 degree LA day, the car air conditioner goes out on my way to pick up my daughter and my 3 month old Grandson, the car wheels are shaking, the sensors are giving faulty readings showing that the car needs oil and the engine needs work.

Oh, and the brake lights don’t work.  And, to break up the monotony, I’m in the midst of 2 IRS audits, I need a new computer and the printer just stopped working and my stomach has been bothering me for 7 months and none of the specialists seem to know why.

I asked for a second opinion and the doctor said…yeah, and you’re ugly too!

On the belly issue, I don’t have gender identity issues, so I know I’m not pregnant,  but I always wore ‘hand-me-downs”…………………………but, my sister has such great taste!

I’m not going into lurid details about my set of woes, because, let’s face it, you’ve got your own set of challenges, so who cares.

It’s like, take care of it and deal with it.

I mention this to make a point:  Either bitch and moan about my string of “issues”, feel sorry for myself and rack up  points at the nearest meeting of the LSBA.

Ever hear of it?  It’s a very special club.  LSBA stands for  “The Life Sucks Benevolent Alliance.”   Like I said, it’s a very special club.

Sidebar-Unfortunately, these organizations don’t seem to last all that long.   Extensive research shows the top two reasons are:

1).  There’s always unexpected misfortunes and calamities stopping  members from ever showing up for meetings.

AND

2).  Because members of The Life Sucks Benevolent Alliance have so many
“issues”,  there’s never have enough money to cover the cost of dues.

Now, I’m not picking on people who have really had it rough.

In fact, those who have truly experienced tough times, really tough times, are usually more grateful than the rest of us.

I’m a big proponent of the Law of Attraction.  I really believe what the mind can conceive the mind can achieve.

On the other hand, the conceive/achieve formula can all turn out to be the exact opposite of our expectations. You see, what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve but, it can also be….that the mind can deceive.

You’re only fooling yourself if you don’t really believe in what you’re doing, what you’re saying and how you’re acting.

You’re not fooling anyone especially yourself.  So, stop the nonsense.  This ain’t junior high and you’re over the age of 50.  Hello.

Most of us want a better life.  Life is rough and, as much as I’d like to ignore that, the truth is it’s getting rougher every day.

So, what do you do?  What can you do?

Recently I read where meditation actually increases brain function. Hey, we all want to take it easy.  Meditation sounds great.

And, I’m not being patronizing.  The problem is the amount of time it takes to relax, get into a meditative state and then actually let yourself go.  It seems the times you need it most are usually the times when we’re experiencing the highest amount of stress.

Unfortunately, in real life, there really are no time-outs or commercial breaks

Sure you need it. I need it. But, taking your eye off the prize can put you even further behind the 8 ball.

When you’re under the gun, it just doesn’t seem right to stop.  It breaks the rhythm of what you’re doing at that moment.

I’m not knocking meditation.  I know it works….when I’ve got the time to meditate.  That’s my bad.

Right now, I don’t do as much as I should and I know I need to meditate..

On the other hand, maybe this is the price of doing business.

Let me explain.  Earlier I talked about billionaires being smarter than the rest of us.  Is it because they put so much extra effort into what they’re doing?  Is it because they are better able to put aside life’s challenges and go right through the “incidental” things that stop and impede most of us from completing the things that are so essential to success?

Are they working with ease?  Meanwhile, we have our nose to the grindstone, always focused and goal oriented

I don’t know.

But, let me throw this out at you.  And, I’m really thinking about this:  We all want more.  We dream what it would be like with more of…whatever we want more of?

But, are we willing to pay the price for the prize of success and greater happiness?

Here’s what I’m talking about.  We all bitch and moan.  That’s part of life. But, let me run this by you.  If you can’t handle the problems, the troubles and the tribulations you’re facing right now, do you really think you’ll be able to handle even more pressure and problems that always seem to go together with each step up, as you’re on the way to greater fulfillment?

Now, you’re probably saying, “duh.”  OK.  Hey, we don’t all learn life’s lessons at the same time or the same way.

I admit it.  I’m Exhibit A.

Ever notice when you hit some “Motherlode of Success” that almost, out of nowhere, bills,  unexpected expenses, charges, payments, taxes and fees seem to appear out of nowhere. It’s like your good fortune comes with a down payment of additional negative incidentals.

And you say to yourself, “What the heck is all this?  Haven’t I paid enough dues”?

And, you’re right.  You really have.  But, let’s get real.

As you climb the success ladder, you have to pay an entry fee.  It’s like the government.  Sure, you’ve paid your taxes, but now you’ve got to pay “fees.”

If you’re not willing to pay those fees, then you’re not ready to take the next step to success.

We all think, if only.  If only what?  Success comes with a price.

If you’re not willing to pay those dues, fees, etc. then stay where you are.

And, here’s something else to consider-Gratitude.  Be grateful for what you have right now.Trust me on this.  No matter how bad things might be for you right now, if you can’t find anything to be grateful for, then you’re not ready to take the next steps up.

Life only gives you what you can handle.  And, if you can’t handle what you have right now, you’ll never get beyond where you are right now.

When you think of life that way, it’s enough to make you rethink your pathway to greater happiness and success.

So, let me ask you, what do you really want?  Is it money?  Is it happiness?  Is it achievement?  What is your goal?

Whatever it is, you have to be ready to step up and pay the price.

You can’t put aspirations on a debit or credit card.

Be grateful for what you have at this moment.  It makes it so much easier.  And, you might find out that the next steps up become so much easier.

And, let’s try some meditation.

Otherwise, you might find out that it really is a rough and bumpy road on the way to Easy Street.

 

 

 

 

 


l

Getting Out of Going in Circles

“I used to run in circles going nowhere fast.”  Keith Urban, Singer

Ever feel like you’re in a rut; like you can’t seem to get out of…getting out of your own way?

If that means anything to you, if it somehow resonates, then welcome!  Just know that you’re not alone.  You’ve got company.  We are legion.  I’ve been there many times.  At times it actually seems like I’ve taken permanent “rut” residence.  Yeah, I’ve been there more times than I care to admit.

But, after a while, life in “rut ville”  gets to be like a broken record; if anyone remembers records at all.  You get stuck on stuck.

That reminds me.  Now, I’m getting off the subject, but ever notice that even with all of today’s advanced audio technology, woofer, amp, pre-amp, speaker, left-handed gamble-sprocket, what comes out of all of it usually sounds so unbelievably tinny.

I’m a Radio guy.  Sound has played a very important  part of my life.   For me, nothing compares to the warmth that comes from old fashioned vinyl disc.

……….As you can tell, I’m quite susceptible to distraction.  For me, a gentle wind could easily be the culprit that causes the premature demise of a thought seeking meaning and purpose while in the meat of mid sentence.

………….I beg of you, don’t let this happen to you.

I try and work out most every day.  Like I said, I try.  Anyway, the other day, as I was getting ready to head  over to the gym, and I just said, “screw it.”

I was so sick and tired of the same old work out going to the gym, getting on the treadmill, jogging a few miles, doing some machines; doing the same workout that I’ve done a thousand times or more.

So, I said the hell with it and headed outside to jog around the neighborhood.  I’m lucky in that I live near the Pacific, so that’s literally a day at the beach.

I was feeling good, so I kept on jogging, slowing down, do some fast walking, jogging a little bit more, when all of a sudden, I realized I was about 6 miles from home.

Wow! Good for me, right?  Wrong!  Now, I’ve got to head back.  6 long miles.

But, it got me thinking.  It’s so much easier to keep on going.  So why stop. But, we look back and worry…how am I going to get back?

Now, don’t get me wrong, of course I want to get back home.  I’ve got a good life, a great wife who puts up with me and deserves her just due and will be rewarded handsomely in the great beyond.  I’ve got 2 grown daughters who have their Dad wrapped around their fingers and an absolutely adorable grandson.

But, that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about choice.  What do you want to do?

Do you want to keep on going until you attain a goal, or would you be happier and feel more secure going around in a circle?

Going around in a circle all day long…you’ll wind up dizzy but you’ll definitely get to know the lay of the land.  And, it’s secure.  You know eventually you’ll wind up back where you started.

Is that what you want?  Do you want to keep going in circles.  You don’t achieve much.  It’s not a great conversation starter.

Let’s get real.  Going in circles means there is no room for growth.  It’s a life that’s similar to Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”

There is no creation.  Come to think of it, there’s not even any re-creation.  You can’t replicate creation.  It’s one of a kind.

Even clones aren’t exact replications.

Everything outside of an original becomes what it is; second best or worse.

Setting out on your own and losing sight of home base can be unsettling.  It’s a gamble.  There’s no guarantees.

Without getting political, think about Greece and Spain. Beautiful countries.  But, so many people opted for an existence based on going in circles.  They got what they got and got by.  They weren’t rich.  They weren’t poor.  They got by.

Until something happened and that “sure thing”, that “going in circles” style of life went bye bye.

Somebody or some thing upset the circle of security.

And now most people there don’t know what to do.  They are so addicted to an existence based on going in circles, they have little or no experience with the concept of getting out of going in circles.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are times when most of us  find ourselves in a rut.

Hey, we fight the good fight and many times, we lose the battle…but not the war.  And, we need to take some time to lick our wounds. It’s part of healing.

It reminds me of an old Dustin Hoffman movie, called “Little Big Man.”  Ever see it?  Great flick.

There was a character actor.  It was Martin Balsam.  The character he played was always “fighting the good fight.”  The first time you see him he’s talking about what happened in some battle and you notice that he’s wearing a patch over one eye.

The next time on camera, he’s now missing an arm. And every following scene with Balsam, he’s missing either another appendage.

But, he’s still ready for the next campaign.

It was hilarious because it’s so true.

You take a break, but you battle on.

There’s very little virtue in a life that’s encased in security.  It’s not life.  It’s wasting away.  It’s decay

Let me explain.  Life is filled with temptation.  Leading an existence so filled with certainty is like a book that’s never to be read.

One of the tenets of creativity is uncertainty.  It’s part of the birthing experience of creativity.

It’s reworking, re-writing, re-starting, starting over, reigniting and improving in order to make things just right.

Ever go to any of those retirement villages.  There’s a big one down in Florida.  At these centers, there’s 2 main groups of people that inhabit these over the age of 55 communities.

The first group loves the life of leisure.  They get up in the morning, play golf, play tennis and swim all day. They have lunch with the same crowd, head on home for a nap, have a cocktail before dinner, play cards, watch tv and then on to “beddy bye.”

The other group still lives life.  They may be retired, but they’re still working.  They may have cut back.  But, they volunteer, they work part-time, they get involved where they live, as well as outside the community.

They have good days and bad days.  But, they are vital.

And, surprise, surprise. There is very little inter-action between these two groups.

Why?  Because they have so little in common.  The First group is going in circles.  The second group, in some ways, are like kids with crayons who have a tendency of drawing outside the lines.

It’s like going out on a run.  It’s more important to  keep on going and worry later on about how to get on home.

It really is all a matter of what’s more important to each and every one of us.

At times, it might even seem ridiculous, but my choice is getting out of going in circles.

 

 

 

 

Failing on the Way to Success

 “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”  Yogi Berra                                           

Every time I see that Berra quote, I have to laugh.  It’s not only funny, it’s true. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  It’s like it never ends.  It reminds me of the story about the stressed out executive. Every time he turned around he had to make another decision.  It got so bad, he stopped turning around.

So you have to ask yourself what is it you want to do?  What do you want to accomplish? What is important and what takes priority?

Whatever is on your wish list amounts to nothing without a high level of passion, conviction and action taken.

A few years ago, I interviewed a time management expert.  His name is Peter Tula. Check him out.  Tula is fabulous and what he told me was invaluable and made so much sense.

His advice: Iimagine having 95-one dollar bills in one hand and in the other, you are  holding 5-one hundred dollar bills.  Then, throw all that money up into the air and let the money fall all over the floor.

The next step: You have 10 seconds to pick up all that money.  So, ask yourself, what denomination are you going to reach for first?  Will it be the dollar bills or the five $100 bills?

What great advice!  Of course, we would all go for the bigger bucks.  That’s natural.

But, more important and significant are the choices we make.  What are the $1.00 choices and what ideas or projects do you consider to be $100.00 choices.  When you look at it that way, it really is up to you and what you consider to be of value.  Fabulous advice.

That’s not to say you can’t do everything.  When opportunity strikes, go for it, but prioritize.

I don’t know about you but I love what I’m doing.  Being over the age of 50, life has provided me a wide array of experiences; mostly good and some a lot less than swell.

Sure I’ve made some bad choices along the way but I think I’ve learned from those experiences.

Every once in a while, I’ve been known to brow-beat myself based on some past judgment lapse, but signing up for membership in Masochists Anonymous ain’t no option that’s even open for discussion.

I believe in the Law of Averages. Even when the only luck you’ve got is bad, eventually things do change for the better. That is if you allow it.

We learn from failure.  And, I find most people don’t use failure to further their lives and fortunes.

Now hold on, let me explain.

There is nothing worse than whiling away in splendid ambiguity.  You’ve got to make up your mind.

In life, we make choices.  Sometimes we don’t know what choice to make and then get stymied.  I believe one important reason for that is a mind set where the fear of and expectation of failure exists.

As you know, I’m an Author and a Speaker and now a Coach.

What I see missing in plans of action are failure steps.

Now, I’m not an advocate of the school of thought where if at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you even tried.

Funny line.  Now that might work in politics, but it doesn’t work here.

What I’m talking about is placing failure steps into a plan of action.  I’m not talking about celebrating failure.  But include some failure as steps needed to be taken on the way to success.

In other words, by failing you are actually succeeding.  You’re succeeding because you’re supposed to fail at a particular stage.  It’s built into your plan action so it doesn’t come as a surprise.  Some failure is expected. 

Look back.  Remember years ago, as you were working your way up the success ladder, it took some time. There were ups and downs. But, now in retrospect, it is pretty easy to overlook all those shortcomings on the way. And, who wants to dwell on that?

We’re human and past disappointments become meaningless.  Sure, they are lessons learned.  But failure is trounced by the number and quality of accomplishments  accumulated over the years.

So failure is not an option, right?

Wrong. And, therein lies the problem.

It is absolutely essential to eventual achievement to recognize and integrate failure steps into any plan of action in order to enhance a greater probability of success.

Consider it insurance.

Business consultant Mark Cofano says it is absolutely essential to include the possibility of failure into an action plan.  He refers to it as the Fatal Flaw Analysis.

Failure to do so gets us stuck, wastes a lot of time, wears us down and gets us nowhere.

And, once again you find yourself whiling away in splendid ambiguity wondering where to go and what to do.

Just the other day, I gave a talk.  Because the event was held a few days prior to a holiday, the audience size was fairly small.

But, it gave me an opportunity to add some new techniques I had learned recently from two expert coaching mavens, June Davidson and Dian Anderson.

First, I listened attentively.  Then I had members of the audience discover their own solutions.  I didn’t provide answers.  I just asked a lot of questions.  If I did anything it was guiding participating audience members to some solution.

Out of the questioning came some keys to resolution.  Needless to say, in the short amount of time we had to do this exercise, it gave the participants some food for thought.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”  And, right now, I’m seeing quite a few heavenly creations that I call opportunities.

Currently, I’m helping raise $15 million for an environmental project.  I’m assisting a friend in selling lighting by getting him to the right people.  I’ve got my Radio show on Talkers.com.  I’m studying Coaching and working with a Radio syndication firm selling programs to stations.

Will I fail?  Of course I will.  I have included failure steps in my plan while I’m on my way to success.  Will any of these projects flop?  I don’t know but I’m a persistent SOB and there’s enough on my plate where if one thing doesn’t happen, I’ll just throw the cards up in the air and pick another $100 idea.

The best part of all this activity is the energy it gives me. I am not bored.  In fact, I can’t get bored. I don’t have the time.  These are all “hands-on” opportunities.

Believe it or not, I am not overloading myself.  Just as with the time management expert, I have my order of priorities. I’m just making sure that they are of the $100 variety.

I’m sticking with it so I don’t go on overload.

All of this activity gives me more information, information that I’ll add to my platform presentations and my second book.

Speaking of which, it is now half way to completion and should be out in a few months.  The book is called “The Upside to Down Times.”

One undertaking powers my interest in other areas.  Plus, it’s surprising how often all these projects are similar in nature and seem, at some point, to actually intersect with each other.

What I’m saying is that once getting beyond the initial stages of mechanics and basic understanding of each area of interest, I found out that there’s surprisingly so many similarities to everything else.

It proves to me that there really is nothing new under the sun.

Do I know anything about the science behind environmental projects?  Nope.  When it comes to lighting, the only thing I know how to do is throw a mean electrical switch on and off.  Radio is in my blood so that takes care of the show and syndication.

And I’ve been writing now continually for the past few years, and my composing is actually improving; not award winning but…improving.  Most important, I’m now comfortable with the notion that writing is really all about re-writing and re-writing with the hopes of expressing myself with greater clarity.

I’m certainly no genius.  If I can do it, I know you can too,  in your own way.

The hard part is just getting started.  Don’t worry about starting at the beginning.  Just start anywhere. If you give it time, whatever project you’re involved with will disclose its own form and reveal its own beginning, middle and an end.  Remember you are failing on your way to success.

Otherwise, what’s the alternative?  Let me tell you: wiling away in splendid ambiguity is a tough way to live.  So, make up your mind what you want, be specific and allow for some failure in your plan of action otherwise you become a featured player in the story of your life.

Isn’t it time you do what you want to do?  Failure is just a stepping stone on your way to eventual success.

.

 

A Few Things

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we see through it.”    Jean Paul Satre, Philosopher/Writer

You know you’re getting older when life slaps you silly with the sudden recognition that you were never really as smart as you thought you were back in your 20’s and 30’s. 

The worst part of this realization is the accompanying paralysis that takes place.  I call it Achievement Hibernation.

You look back in retrospect on all the foolish and outright stupid things done “way back when.” This is accompanied by the concomitant practice of diminishing past accomplishment and dismissing lessons learned along the way.  Sound familiar?

The result: You wind up beating up on yourself incessantly.

What’s overlooked is an undeniable truth:  When you’re younger, you’re Invincible.  You have little or no real life experience but why should that be a hindrance? Relatively speaking, your slate is clean and free of error. OK

The world would be so much better off if only mere mortals would abide by every syllable enunciated by you.

Of course, to the Invincible, this is not hyperbole, it is only truth. It’s noble.  And, of  course, humility comes easy to all great minds.

Yeah, got it!  Nothing like walking on sponge.   

When we look back on our youthful, boneheaded miscalculations, we can wind up taking permanent residence on what Author/Speaker Brian Tracy calls, “Someday I’ll.” 

We become gun shy, and lost in the notion that further undertakings will only add to our list of glitches and shortcomings.  So we fester in the delusion that Achievement Hibernation is the best course of action. 

So, what do you do?  Reflecting on the past is a worthwhile mechanism.  We all should do that every now and then.

But, life is movement.  Life is error.  Life is filled with misjudgments.  Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes, forgive ourselves and then get on with life.  None of us is perfect.  We are all certifiable “screw-ups.”  

In fact, this just in: HSN no longer carries Sackcloth and Ashes.

Here’s something else-

You become aware of the paradigm that if you’re over the age of 50, most likely you’ll never land another full time job. And, this is true.

Now, hold on.  All hope is not lost.  It’s just a matter of readjusting to the realities of today and that does not mean giving up.  No way.  Read on.     

Today, it is all about projects.  Very few organizations are going to hire those of us in the aged 50+ category on a full-time basis. Those days are gone.  BUT, companies need you on a project to project basis. 

You are needed for your experience, your knowledge and know-how.  Then, when the project is completed, it’s on to the next project. 

So, as soon as you land that project, start looking for the next one.

It might not be right, but, it’s real.  And, unless you have an “in” someplace, you’ll be dealing with people in Human Resources 

Now hold on:

Good old HR.  And, who works there?  HR is inhabited primarily by people in their 20’s and 30’s.  Sound familiar?

Look back to when you were their age.  You too thought you knew all there was to know.  These are the brand “Invincible” recruits. That means anyone beyond their immediate age cluster is considered a relic; nice to look at under sealed glass for a moment and then move on before you get infected.

But, you’re probably thinking that even though some strands of grey hair have begun to populate the top of your head or maybe there’s been a hostile takeover by grey follicles, that shouldn’t be a problem?

It is. 

Let’s get real.  You look older than someone younger than you.  You don’t have much in common with them either.

And, here’s the real challenge: Why would an outfit hire you if you’re just as good as the person they just got rid of?

Why replace mediocrity with mediocrity?

Reality Alert:  You’ve got to be better than most and prove it.  And, you are better and can prove it..

Now here’s the good news:  If you have an “in” or get beyond the HR process, most likely, you’ve got some technical skills.  Plus your strong suit is the ability to get along with others.  You have excellent communication and social skills compared to the Invincibles.  They inhabit “Text and Twitter-land.”  Business has discovered that Social Networking ain’t the same as Social Skills. 

And, add this: You know how to spell correctly and write a complete sentence.  Invincibles may possess every academic degree imaginable but most can’t write a complete sentence or spell correctly,  Today, this is a major concern for Business. 

You don’t make many sales in 140 characters. Face to face wins hands down over interface. 

Shakespeare once said, “All the world is a stage.”  Guess what?  He’s right.

Recently, I interviewed Author/Speaker and Master Sales Trainer, Tom Hopkins on my eponymous radio show heard weekends on TalkersRadio.com, 9PM Eastern, 6PM PDT.

Even though I mentioned this in an earlier piece, his advice bears repitition. It is that important. Hopkins said to be prepared for “No.”   

It takes 5-6 no’s to get to a yes.  So whether it’s an interview, a sales call, a follow-up or whatever, load up.  Be prepared for no’s.  Be prepared to come back with another of your assets.  Have 5 or 6 answers or attributes ready in waiting.

You have enough past experience to call upon; good and bad.  You have depth. Use all you’ve got to get what you want. 

One more thing- 

I just finished reading an article about “The Yummies.” Yummies stands for young, urban  male. They lack self-confidence but to make up for their deficiencies they “dress to kill.”

HSBC Bank forecasters are telling their clients to forget the young or middle aged woman.  The real money today is found targeting young urban males.  

But looking good goes only so far. You can walk the walk.  You can talk the talk, but customers balk at the walk and the talk if there is nothing behind walk and talk.  (I kinda like that.)

What I’m saying is being a theorist goes only so far,whether male or female.  Customers can smell inexperience a mile away.  The Invincible can be all decked out in a $1500 outfit but that doesn’t increase the credibility of an empty suit. 

The 50+ Adult has experience and knows that when dealing with customers, “you are on.”  We are more outgoing.  We have excellent social skills. We’re playing a part and for most of us, we’ve played these roles so well, they have become a part of our fabric. We know how to play to an audience, whether large or small.  

Ever work in a grocery store?  Do you know what they call the area where goods and products are displayed for shoppers?  It’s known as “the Staging Area.” 

Where does a doctor perform surgery?  Sure, it’s at a hospital.  But, where do doctors perform in the hospital?  What most of us call the operating room is known in the medical field as “the Theater.”

What I’m getting at is when you’re “on”, you’re on.  It’s all “Show Business.”  Now, please don’t misinterpret that to mean anything allied with Entertainment.  You see it’s about how you Show or demonstrate that you mean Business in an entertaining way.

You might not be Invincible but you’re pretty damn good.

So get off your butt, stop beating up on yourself.  You’ve done enough of that.  Get back into action and win.  Do it.

What a Year!

            It Was the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

A Tale of Two Cities-Charles Dickens.

 2014.  What a year!  2 weeks ago, my daughter Dana made me a Grandpa for the very first time. Kazuo Bryan Folick graced the world with his presence.

What a cute little guy.  He even cries cute.  There is no doubt there’s Show Biz blood flowing in his baby veins.

As a proud Grandparent let me say with all modesty the little guy is a scene stealer who stole my heart.

If you are reading this piece, the odds are you are over the age of 50.  That means there is a good possibility that you too might be a Grandparent. So, it goes without much fanfare to state that Grand-parenthood is a very special club.  There is no special handshake but members are afforded very special status.

There is nothing quite like it.

On the other hand, one of my very best friends died yesterday.

His on-air name was John Darin.  His birth name was John Christian Miller.  In Southern California, John Darin was a very well-known Radio and Television news anchor.  Before turning to news, he was a leading DJ personality at many of the top Radio stations in LA.

If you ever saw any of the early Ginsu knives television commercials, then you know John Darin.

It was Pancreatic Cancer that did him in.  His passing left a gaping hole in my life.  He was a best friend, a mentor, a joy and a lot of laughs to hang with.  And, I know I’m not the only person feeling this loss.

I’m not sure an IRS audit constitutes some stabilizing middle ground position but, it’s what I must contend with at the moment.

And, we’re just into March.

Babies, Death and the IRS have their own set timetables that don’t necessarily adhere to any clearly understandable protocol.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I got the word that my daughter was in Labor, which put us on official “Baby Alert.”

We took the first plane out from Los Angeles over to Houston to meet the newest addition to the Heatherton clan.

Seeing and then holding my Grandson for the first time transcends any worthwhile, meaningful or accurate verbal description.  It brought me to tears.  The experience is something so spiritual.  The Japanese language sums it up best, “Shi gatta ganai”; meaning it can’t be explained.

An event like this helps put things in proper  perspective; as in what is really important in life.  For me, it’s love.  This child was brought into the world by love. He is the result of love.

Watching my daughter, Dana nursing little Kaz while my son-in-law, Andy is stroking Dana’s back was an experience I will treasure for the remainder of my life.  It was Love taken to a 3rd  echelon.

It was nothing short of a spiritual experience.

We get so worked up about the Incidental things in life; Taxes, Traffic, Career, etc. that it’s all too easy to neglect the meaningful and ignore the Essentials when what really matters are those rare moments of inexplicable rapture and harmonious solace that give life real meaning.

At the same time, my friend, John, called to let me know he had Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.  He told me this as if it were no big deal.  Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, by any definition, is a death sentence.

Since I am a Cancer survivor, I suggested to John, keep a journal.  Write down what you’re going through, what you’re thinking, how the Cancer changes your outlook so that when the Cancer goes into remission,  you’ve got a best selling tome ready to hit the book shelves along with TV/Radio interviews as well as many in-person presentations.

He agreed.  I wanted to give him hope but, I know him well enough to know that he saw through my charade.

I asked John to give me his sister’s contact number as she lived nearby his treatment center so, I could get an update.  The next day I spoke with her.  She told me the Doctors had told John the recovery outlook was grim.  He had anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months left to live.

Talk about the Best of Times and the Worst of Times.

With both events happening at the same time, I’m not sure if I’m crying Tears of Joy or Tears of Sorrow.  Honestly, it’s exhausting.

And then, there’s the IRS.  I’m being audited.

Right now, I could give a S- – t about Taxes.  They’ll get their pound of flesh and then-some on a payment plan.

At this moment, I am numb.

I can’t wait to see little Kaz again and I’m missing my pal, John.

The only consolation for me is Gratitude.  I’m so glad I’m here to see and hold my Grandson, little KazB (as in Cosby) while at the same time grateful to have been honored having John Darin as one of my closest friends.

John had a very unique sense of humor.

After I received the call regarding his passing, both my wife and I were just a wreck. We had planned to go out that night but neither of us were  really in the mood for fun and games.  But, I didn’t want to go home.

We tried a few places but nothing seemed right.

I don’t know why but we wound up at a Mexican Restaurant with a sizable Mariachi Band serenading the customers.

Even though we were in an adjoining room, we could still hear the music.  It was enough of a distraction where my wife and I could commiserate without being conspicuous in our sorrow.

We needed to be lost in a crowd and we were.

As I mentioned, John had unique sense of humor.

Out of nowhere, the Mariachi band and the singer went into their rendition of “New York, New York.”  New York, New York in a Mexican restaurant?  OK, maybe at a Mexican restaurant in Gptham but in LA?  This was a serious case of the strange.

It was sooo unexpected and so out of place that it turned our tears to laughter.  Hearing “New York, New York” Mariachi style is one of the most surreal experiences ever.

I will never be convinced otherwise that my recently departed friend John caused Divine intervention to take hold and was completely responsible for this laugh-out-loud incongruity.

That was John Darin.

2014.  What a year.  It really is the best of times and the worst of times.

So, I am left with wonderful memories of a great guy.  I look forward to seeing my Grandson, KazB and now must contend with an IRS audit.

I can only hope that during my appointment with the Internal Revenue that somewhere  nearby and within listening distance, there’s a Mariachi band playing “New York, New York.”

 

The Allure of the Quick Fix Distraction

A Problem free life does not exist.  If your life has not problems, you are not truly alive, and that’s a big Problem.”  Unknown.

OK, I admit it.  I’m lazy.  The way I see it there’s nothing like meandering down memory lane without a thing on my mind.

One of my favorite asides comes from Australian Journalist/Poet William Wentworth who seems to have lionized the lackadaisical with this brilliant summation: “A day spent in a round of strenuous idleness.”  Beautiful!

Sure, every now and then, we all need to get away, charge up the batteries and bask in the hot sun.

But as a career kick start mechanism, it is not viewed as a fast track gateway to the corner office.   I don’t know why. (:

But, we all need a break.  We’ll get away, take a drink or two, have a nap, enjoy a get together with friends, go to a movie, etc.  But these palliatives lack the capacity of permanence.  They come and go.

So, when in pain, unsure of how best to proceed, distracted or just burned out, we indulge in the quick fix antidotes.  The problem is after a while, these placebos lose their kick and then there’s need for even more quick fixes.  Then, we wind up in worse shape than beforehand.

Let me tell you, I’ve been fighting myself whether to write this piece or go see a flick.  What’s more important to me?

Honestly, I’d say the movie.  Now, come on, what’s more appealing to you? Writing an article or rushing to the cineplex, devouring a bag of popcorn and gulping down a large size soda while taking in the all time action-packed thriller, “Celery Stalks at Midnight”?

Let’s face it, that’s a tough call :)

Unfortunately, the distraction is only a quick fix.

By any stretch of the imagination, writing an article for my blog-site does not offer me a “high.”  It’s a struggle.  However, when I get through writing and re-writing, I experience a greater level of satisfaction.  I invested time and effort in completing something that I crafted.

It might not be perfect.  Some may think it’s a piece of garbage.  Maybe when re-reading this piece in retrospect, I might agree and find fault with spelling, punctuation, the whole idea of the article, but this is my creation.  It is an extension of me at this moment.

And, the satisfaction component has a greater shelf-life than any “quick fix distraction.”

More importantly, it acts as a building block for more accomplishment.  Who wants to get rusty?

Life is tough.  If only there were one answer, one way or key to achieving success.  There ain’t none.  It’s all about experience, chemistry, timing and a dozen other factors.

But doing nothing is the fast track solution to going nowhere.  Let’s face it, a day at the beach can be fabulous.  The sun, the sand, the surf.  It’s all mesmerizing.  As good as it is, I would not want to live there. Why? Because It becomes the status quo. It loses its special appeal and value and becomes the same old, same old.

If you are reading this, there is a good probability that you are over the age of 50.  If so, like me, you’ve probably had more than your share of triumphs and turn downs. And, odds are the ledger is weighted more to the latter side than the former.

Recently, you might have seen actor Matthey McConaughey on one of those endless award shows.  In his award acceptance remarks, he saluted and thanked his Mother.

As a kid, his Mom would kick him out of the house.  She did not want him watching TV all day(the quick fix).  She had him go outside and play, create and learn.

Daytime was playtime.  For McConaughey, that meant experiencing and discovering life first hand; not through the contrivance of others.

It has certainly paid off well for him.

Quick fixes become addiction gateways.  It’s going from one distracting anodyne to the next escape mechanism. It’s life avoidance.  All that is left is the hollowness of virtual existence.

Recently, I gave a talk out here in Los Angeles.  It was to a group of people who, in one form or another, are in transition.  They were either “in between success” or considering a career course change.

This was a great group.  I really liked them and gave them my all.  Glad to say the feeling was mutual. One of my greatest satisfactions is connecting with people and seeing them succeed and achieve the success they want.

There was one young woman who raised her hand.  She thanked me and said she got a lot out of my presentation but…….   But, she felt I was not specific enough in helping her make a successful transition.

She wanted to know “the one key” to getting job.  Honestly, it broke my heart. Maybe it was due to her age.  Maybe it was me.  I don’t know.  It just goes to show you can’t help everyone.

It just takes time, experience, chemistry and the will to abandon the allure of the quick fix distraction.

What I’ve learned is no matter what we see, hear and learn, there is a gestation period of acceptance.  None of us learn or accept at the same time or level.

What makes slowing down,  practice and acceptance more challenging is the fact that we live in a world moving at warp speed with quick turnarounds, fast food and instant decisions.  So the very thought of contemplation, digestion and consideration are dismissed as an abomination; inconsistent and antiquated in today’s “quick fix” climate.  .

Without getting too much into the political realm, all too many of us bought into the rosy spin and narrative of Obama Care.  The Media, Hollywood and Politicians painted glorious visions of joy, happiness and Tinkerbell for one and all.

The promise was quick sign ups, no hassles.  Don’t sweat the details,  we’d all know more about the ACA when the bill became law.  .

Imagine, free medical care, no costs, no worries.  Right?  Nirvana!

Not every solution to life’s problems is settled in the 22 minute sitcom time frame.

And yes, haste really does makes waste.

We all know that’s right but, who has the time.

So, we suffer the “quick fix” consequence while meandering down Memory Lane without a thing on our mind.

 

The Polar Bear Club, Risk Taking and Dr. Joe Vitale

“It’s better to be in charge of Change than to have to React to Change”

Roger Ailes

Thank God, 2013 is a memory and a horrendous one at that. It was the kind of year that seemed like it would never end. And, to make sure it would not reanimate, in a “just in case scenario:, I was ready, willing and waiting in the wings to beat it with a big stick. Yes, perhaps I take “The Walking Dead” episodes much too seriously.

I don’t know about you but 2013 seemed like every time I turned around there was something going terribly wrong.  It got so bad, I stopped turning around.

So, on Day 1, 2014, I decided to take charge, and not just talk change-that’s for theorists-but undertake some serious transformations.

As silly as it sounds, I had a brainstorm of an idea while watching the news.  There was a piece about the local Polar Bear Club.  For those of you unfamiliar with the organization, the purpose of the club is for members, thrill seekers and dunderheads to gather at a lake, river or ocean and throw caution to the on shore winds and a run into shiver-causing waters every January 1.

I don’t know what got into me but I made up my mind to join in.

Hey, it was the first day of the new year. It’s best to begin somewhere so, why not start at the beginning, right?  Charge!

OK, cut to the chase:  I drove to the beach where the Polar Bear event was held and joined 500 of my newest, closest friends that had assembled at the water’s edge.

It was a beautiful Chamber of Commerce Southern California day with a predicted high of 70 degrees-Downtown. That mild forecast did not apply to beach temperature realities; that called for a high somewhere in the 50’s.

OK, not relatively frigid or bone chilling, but cold nonetheless.

While waiting for the starting signal, I was beginning to get second thoughts about this experience and thinking it was all wet; which it was.

Those on-shore winds put in a guest appearance.  That made the 50+degrees temperatures feel even colder.  Let me put it this way I was beginning to freeze my butt off.

Now Southern California January cold is laughable and wimpy compared to the frigid climates of New York, Chicago or Seattle; No argument there. But, at that moment, I could have cared less about New York, Chicago or Seattle’s chill. I was dealing with my own immediate meteorological concerns and I was freaking cold.

The signal came.  It was Showtime! With some hesitation, I joined the hundreds of-what appeared to be-fearless aquatics drive, dive and dunk themselves into the cold Pacific waters.  Immediately, my feet went numb, a wave hit me.  And then, and then……it wasn’t all that bad.  It was cool but I could handle it.

Now, I did not stick around for a lengthy swim. There was nothing more to prove and it was definitely not the time for “macho.”   60 seconds of in and out followed by towel dry, hot chocolate, picking up an official Polar Bear Certificate suitable for bragging and framing and then heading on home do not score macho points.

The experience was a learning lesson.  But, it was not what I had expected. Sure, I did it but, in the grand scheme of things, it was really no big deal.

Hitting the waters was a bit of a shock. That’s a given.  But the anticipation of cold water exposure was so much worse.  And, it made me realize how the mind to magnifies things in preconception to the actual event. Most occurrences are nowhere as catastrophic as imagined.

When you think of it, we are reluctant risk takers. It is simply amazing that we accomplish as much as we do.  If only there were a device to disable angst and dread, we’d all be masters of the universe!

We all go through times of uncertainty.  Putting aside religion and spirituality, most of us look for solutions to improve our lot. Some look for THE ANSWER.  Unfortunately it’s never that simple.  There are so many components to an answer.

Being 50 Plus, life experience has taught us there is not all that much that is really all that simple.

And, life can be very stressful.  Unless you’re a masochist in good standing, who likes discomfort?  So, it’s natural to be pain-averse especially during these challenging times.

Earlier this week, I gave a talk. The presentation was tailored to job seekers whose current status fell in the “in between success” category. That’s not meant to be patronizing.  Unemployment is a growing and festering reality.  It is also a state of mind and a negative one.  In between success denotes hope, discovery, aspiration and expectations of light at the end of the tunnel.  This is not word play. Attitude is everything. It is “taking charge.”

A woman in the audience in her 20’s who was “in between success” and had been for about 6 months asked me how to get another job.  What specific step would secure her a job?

Sometimes you just can’t help.  She was too young to understand.  She didn’t have enough experience to take charge of needed changes in her life. There is no “one answer.” There is no “secret handshake.” or :password”  that open the door to opportunity.  But, so many people, young and old, spend so much wasted time pursuing the “one size fits all” holy grail.  It does not exist and never will.  All it does is waste time and stifle advancement..

It takes experience, practice, rejection, timing, perseverance, chemistry, luck and so many other factors.

It’s similar to a car.  Just because you own one does not mean it runs.  Cars need an engine, gas, grease, oil, steering wheel, tires, brakes, battery, etc.  We know that. And from experience, we have learned there are many components working together for a car to be operational.   In other words, out of complexity comes simplicity

As many of you know, Dr. Joe Vitale is my mentor.  Years before he became a leading online marketer, best selling author, in-demand speaker, singer/song writer and now movie star, he found himself broke and homeless.

At the time, he could not get arrested even if he tried.  As he told me, things were so bad that when people asked what was it like living in a car he would laugh at that image and reveal that living in a car would have been a luxury.

His ambition was becoming a writer.  However, the scribes he admired were down, depressed and/or suicidal. Talk about inspiration.  That got him nowhere.

It took time, experience and being slapped silly by reality to finally come to grips with the notion that those he lionized did not serve him well.  What he needed was a course correction. Eventually,  he learned to emulate the lives and writings of more positive role models.  The rest is a history of success.

He took charge of his change.

Joe really is an inspiration.  If he can make it, so can you.  By the way, do yourself a favor and check out his new book, “At Zero” available at your local bricks and mortar, online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or by going to www.http://atzerobook.com.  You will thank me.

Let’s face it, take charge of your change.  You need to start someplace.  There is no one answer, no one way.  That Simplicity mindset will soon reveal its deceit.  You got to just go for it and dive in.

And, know this: Reality is not nearly as bad as the anticipation of it.. Don’t be afraid to fail.  In fact, your mission is to fail as you are on your way to success.  That’s building experience.

Go for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Status, Predictions, Fear & Priorities

You may have read recently about the newest status marker of the uber-wealthy.  It is no longer considered “au courant” acquiring a 30 million fixer upper.  Let’s face it, annnnnyone can do that.  The latest fashion indispensible is constructing a Moat built around the mansion.

A Moat?  Gators not included.  Love it!!!  Now, you must understand:  Whooooo wants to deal with the stench of the multitudes?  Amazing!

Perhaps, this medieval relic revival is not just an aesthetic statement but staunch acknowledgment of today’s apprehensive environment.

My ex-wife was a fashion forecaster.  Her job was predicting upcoming trends for retailers.  She was absolutely magnificent in spotting style trajectories long before the competition even realized there was a trend-in-the-making.  She was brilliant and passionate expressing herself…..verbally but, when it came to writing down all those findings, she would go positively apoplectic, totally berserk and just fall apart.

She could not do it. She couldn’t write if her life depended upon it.  So, after much frustration and tears, she would turn to me.  The best part was her consistency.  Her pleas for emergency assistance always started around 10:30 PM, the night before the following morning’s big fashion forecast presentation.

She would verbally explain her findings and then add in her prognostications. From there,  I’d write it all down and put all her research and conclusions in some orderly fashion and head to sleepy land around 5 AM.

I don’t know about you but it’s been my experience when immersed in something new, either you tune out what you don’t know or adapt to the new environment.  The upside to all this is picking up some new tricks from another trade and, if possible, applying and adapting them to your area of expertise.

I did and learned that forecasting of any kind is a lot more than mere observation, speculation and expectation.

Call me a forecasting maven?  No way.  But what I picked up has served me well.

What the Moat fad says is the wealthy are very concerned about their security.  But, these days, who isn’t?

Take a look around you. Most people are in Prevent Mode.  They don’t want to take on any more than is absolutely necessary. They are fearful. They want to hold on to their job. But, they can’t afford the visibility that comes with making a possible wrong decision. So, a non-decision is considered the best course of action as it is best to avoid or delay impending peril at all costs.

However, the reality is decisions must be made.  They can’t be avoided.

But, with so much down-sizing occurring, that reality only elevates already elevated stress levels.  Add to it the thought of going against the Prevent Mode Mindset in an environment of questionable job security and dwindling opportunities.  So, it’s no wonder most of us are ready to curl up in some fetal position over in a corner with a blanket covering the head while devouring a bag of Cheetos non-stop and hoping it would “all” just go away.

Call it C.E.M. as in Caloric Escape Mechanism.  Ice Cream, Fritos and Peanuts are all approved substitutes under current C.E.M. guidelines.

In other words, you’re doing what you don’t want to do but doing it anyway for the sake of a check and a job.

Talk about dichotomy.

Now, here is where you come in.

You are over 50.  You’ve had enough ups and downs in life.  This isn’t your first circus.  So, you know it’s not all cotton candy, bearded ladies and dancing elephants in the center ring.  What I’m saying is you have been there and done that.  You have beaucoup experience.

That’s not to make light of the harsh realities during these grueling times.  It just helps to put things in proper perspective.  Age works in your favor.  You’ve paid a lot of dues so  tough times don’t come as a surprise.

Because you’ve “been around the block”, you have a fairly good sense of self.

It’s a new year.  You have resolved to do better, get better and make more money, etc.  Resolutions are fabulous but lack currency without Priority.

And, that takes time.  It takes effort. So serve up some red meat with Resolutions by Prioritizing.  In fact, make a dual list of Priorities.

Let me explain.

While in Priority mode, take care of yourself but also allow time and do some research and discover the needs of a potential Employer/Client.

Identify their needs.  Go to Google.  Check out other search engines.  Go to their websites.  Go the “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” route; someone might know someone who knows someone, etc.  You get the idea. Find out all you can.

You have to understand how pressing the need is for solutions.  The plight of  Clients/Employers is tremendous and right now, they need your help.  They are scared and experiencing pain.

You are assuming the role of Physician.  Potential Clients/Employers don’t know it yet but you are working on their behalf to relieve their pain.  Make it your mission to diagnose what ails them and find a cure.

In your research you will discover a remedy.  Most important, you’ll come to recognize and accept the fact that you are The REMEDY.

Sounds like nonsense but it’s not.

Something you need to consider is Time Investment.  You have put so much time into finding Solutions to relieve pain, that it has become a Priority.  You lead now with a new-found conviction.

Most of us on terra firma like to reach out and help others.  Well, that is what you’re doing.

Helping another in pain transforms Priorities. You are no longer making your needs THE PRIORITY. That mind-shift takes the onus off you. As you are helping others, you don’t have time to consider your own concerns.

Your research takes time.  That time becomes a form of Rehearsal.

So, your snail mail/email/phone communications and eventual in-person meetings reflect your passion and determination for Solution. Because of this displacement, you present yourself with greater conviction because it is all about relieving the pain of others and not about you.

Their concern is your main concern.

In that state of mind, you are speaking truth.  You are speaking from the heart.  There is no second guessing.  You are way beyond that. You are presenting your findings to free that Client/Employer from Prevent Mode.

For you, there are now little or no nerves to contend with.  You have a prescription for their malady and that is you.