Just Gonna Stand There and Watch Me Burn

But That's Alright Because I Love the Way You Lie

Your journey starts today

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright, because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright, because I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie.  Eminem

I have so many things that I want to accomplish in life.  I think that’s when I’m in life’s sweet spot.  I’m at my best with a goal and with a vision.  As I write this post I have my personal Life Plan right next to me ready for its umpteenth edit since I drafted my first version in 2003.  It needs to be relevant.  What worked for me when my oldest kid was 5 won’t work when he’s now 17 and almost ready for college.

I love the way you lie…….

It starts with brutal transparency with yourself to yourself.  My great friend, Steve Scanlon, who runs ReWire, Inc (see www.rewireinc.com) says that the longest journey any person can take is the 12 inches from your head to your heart.  Not only is the journey long, its where the lies show the most.  Or do they.  The lies are their and it’s those very lies, that unless exposed will keep you from the calling and passion that’s been placed in your heart.

Now I know we said things, did things
That we didn’t mean and we fall back into the same patterns
Same routine….

It’s so much easier to sacrifice a dream, a passion, a calling than it is to deal with the lies that we tell each other and the lies we tell ourselves.  The funny thing is when we’re lying others know that we’re not the real deal.  They know something is missing, but yet we lie.  We protect the façade.  The greatest lie is the lie we tell ourselves.  The second greatest lies are the continual ones we tell others especially those closest to us.  But it’s so much easier to “fall back into the same patterns, same routine than it is to actually be fulfilled.  Easy is the enemy of great.  Not everything needs to be hard, but accomplishing your dreams, your vision and being fulfilled, is so much more difficult than easy and falling into the same patterns and same routines.

I apologize even though I know it’s lies
I’m tired of the games…..

But the lies continue…..I’m at a point in my life where I am tired of the games that I play solo.  It seems that I don’t play games with others anymore, but I have a PhD in gaming myself.  I’ve lived too long.  I’ve enjoyed so many things along the way, but being occupied is different than being fulfilled.  The games with others start when we first stop playing games with ourselves.  Those 12 inches.  What a journey.  Some people will spend a lifetime never travelling those 12 inches.  If you’re like me, I get half way there but bail out often.  I don’t want to tell myself that I’m a fraud so it’s easier to bail and fall back into the same patterns, same routines.

I think the funniest thing is that when we lie to ourselves we actually hurt those who we’re closest too.  They’re close to us because they see those glimpses of our DNA that we decide to share with the world from time to time.  They’re in you’re life because they’re attracted to you, but you can’t impact their life because you haven’t dealt with the lies in your own life.  Those 12 inches become your Everest.  And when we fail to take on our mountain……

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright, because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright, because I love the way you lie

MY JOURNEY restarts today.  Want to come with?

 

If Eminem Can…so can I…AND YOU.

The Battles we face turn most away from their success, but we move forward

Lose_Yourself

I love how Eminem starts his song.  He’s trying to break out and get his break in the rap world.  He steps outside of himself and says what he thinks others are saying about him when he steps onto the stage:

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s chokin’, how, everybody’s jokin’ now
The clocks run out, times up, over, blaow!
Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy

 I just love this self introspection.  Here he is looking at himself as the way that he believes others see him.  He fails….He’s a mess, but he keeps on plugging.  I love how he fails and says that he’s mad but he won’t give up that easily.   Everyone fails, but his persistence turned out pretty well for him.  Make sure that you have the same focus and tenacity….

Look
If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?

I’ve Been Watching You Dad….Ain’t that Cool?

I'm your buckaroo, I wanna be like you

I’ve been watching you, DAD….and…..let me forewarn you….I will do what you do.

 “I’ve been watching you, dad, ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food, and grow as tall as you are
We got cowboy boots and camo pants
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you.”

Rodney Atkins – “I’ve been Watching You.”

This past week my wife, Michelle, had her best friend, Lori, in town for a week.  We were invited to a cookout with Lori and a number of other families.  We spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out and left late to go home.

Later I hear my beautiful bride yell “Grant!!!!”  (it was one of those tones that where every kid knows that they’re totally screwed.  I cringed because my little G was in deep water and I’m thinking….Oh no, now what?)

Grant: Coming!!!

Michelle:  Grant, I just got off the phone with Lori.

Grant:  Uh…huh?

Michelle:  Lori told me that when you were there you went up to her and (she pauses for effect and both Grant and I are internally freaking out) you asked her twice what you could do to help her.  You asked her how you could help.  Then Michelle grabs him and says “I’m so proud of you.”

Grant has one of those million dollar smiles that only an 11 year old boy in a crew cut can show.  He beams with each side of his mouth almost hitting each ear.

I grab the back of his head and pull him to my chest and say “dude….I’m so proud of you.  Do you know why you’re so good at that?”

Grant: No?

Me:  Because my dad was AWESOME at helping mom.  And he showed me how to love and help out.  I do the same to mom.  You see that and because of that you’re going to be a great husband and dad one day.”

He keeps smiling, but little tears develop inside with this smile.

We got back home, and I went to the barn
I bowed my head, and I prayed real hard
Said, “Lord, please help me help my stupid self.”
Then this side of bedtime later that night
Turning on my son’s Scooby Doo night light
He crawled out of bed, and he got down on his knees
He closed his little eyes, folded his little hands
And spoke to God like he was talking to a friend
And I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to pray like that?”

He said, “I’ve been watching you, dad, ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food, and grow as tall as you are
We like fixing things and holding mama’s hand
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we, dad?
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you.”

With tears in my eyes, I wrapped him in a hug
Said, “My little bear is growing up.”
He said, “But when I’m big, I’ll still know what to do.”

Good or bad….they do what you do.  I have counseled and represented many adult kids who ended up being like their parents.  You may be a product of your parents, but I assure you that your kids will do what you do.  Bad parents?  You can change that and be involved with your kids.  Great parents?  Don’t get lax.  They will do what you do.  Be mindful and know that these kids are always watching you.  They will do what you do….always over anything you ever say.

YOUR Decision to Be Great isn’t as Difficult as Wendy’s Decision

Wendy's Story

This story of Wendy should inspire you to go from Good to Great

This story of Wendy should inspire you to go from Good to Great

Wendy (not her real name) was the youngest of four sisters. She was beautiful, dynamic and full of promise when I first met her.  She was well-spoken and maintained a good position at work.  She was about twenty-one years of age and dating a boyfriend who really cared for her.  She had been living on her own in an apartment by herself.  She seemed quite normal and balanced in most ways.  To the average outsider, it seemed as if she had the perfect life.  Why would a young girl with a seemingly perfect world see a counselor like me?

As we met, Wendy began to confess that she had anger issues against her seemingly perfect boyfriend. She admitted that the boyfriend was fair to her, kind to her and treated her with the respect that every woman wants.  But she had fits of anger and rage against him.  She really wouldn’t explain why.  He seemed perfect after all.

After we had established the proper rapport, Wendy stated something that stunned me. She broke down crying hysterically in session.  After working to regain her composure, Wendy said that she had been molested by her father.  She added that all of her sisters had been molested by her father as well.  As if that wasn’t stunning enough, Wendy said that she was still being molested by him even at twenty-one years of age.

Although I could never comprehend the horror that she had suffered, my heart was torn as much as it could be for another human being suffering a tragedy that I would never experience. I could only imagine the pain that she must have endured growing up.  Wendy’s childhood was lost early in life and been repeatedly violated ever since.

My mind raced. I didn’t know how to respond?  Do I tell my supervisor?  Do I tell the police?  Do I just let her continue to spill her soul to me?  What can I say to someone like this?  She came from a very middle class family in a fairly wealthy community.  I’m abhorred at what I have just heard.  Do I let her know that I feel disgust and I wasn’t even the victim?  How could she continue to let this happen even though she’s living on her own?  Do I tell her that I have three brothers and that I can get them all to over with me to kick this guy’s ass?  If she wanted to kill her father in revenge is it really too extreme?  Did she need help planning a murder?

While my head was spinning, I decided to let Wendy continue with her story. As the story unfolded, she revealed that this had been going on since she had hit adolescence.  All of her older sisters had been robbed of their childhood as well.  I wanted to know why, at twenty-one, she was allowing the abuse to continue.  I pressed her as to why she allowed her father to continue even though she was out in an apartment of her own.

Wendy told me that she moved out and got her own apartment in the hopes of separating herself from her father. To ensure that she always had enough money to afford her apartment, she became the one of the best employees at work.  She couldn’t fail.  Moving back in with her father was not an option.  Wendy told me that when she got the apartment she was excited to be free of the threat of her father’s passes at her.  To further protect her, Wendy kept the blinds shut so that any passerby could not determine whether or not she was inside the apartment.  But although she had moved out on her own, her father came knocking and began to force the issue again.

Despite all of her precautions, dad still came by. Her father would knock on the door and say “Wendy, I know that you’re in there.”  Quietly she would freeze both from sheer terror and in order to ensure that no sounds would be emitted from her apartment.  Her father would knock all the more.  In fact, he was relentless.   He’d yell “Wendy, I know that you’re in there.”  Though she refused to answer the door, her father would throw down the final words that would ensure his conquest over her.  “Wendy, if you’re not going to let me in, then I’m going to go get it from one of your sisters.”  It was finished. Wendy lost.  She would get up, walk over and open the apartment door.

This was probably one of the most devastating times during my short career in clinical psychology. Wendy became one of my favorite clients for reasons that I’ll delve into later.  I really wasn’t equipped to deal with something of this magnitude this early in my career.  But she trusted me and I really felt a personal responsibility to help her find a solution out of this hell that she was living.  She needed healing.  Her pain was incredible.  I wasn’t experienced enough to be handling something of this magnitude, but our relationship had evolved to the point that she trusted me in spite of my inexperience, and in spite of the fact that I was male.   If I bailed out and turned her over to another therapist, I would be one more male letting her down.

Personally, this case took an immense toll on me. This was supposed to be just a job.  I was to use this internship to learn.  Therapy 101 says that you can’t get attached to your clients.  And I definitely wasn’t supposed to bring any of this home with me.  This would be difficult.  I came from a great family.  My parents loved me.  They challenged me, but the one thing that my parents did that Wendy’s didn’t do was that they protected me.  I was crushed know that her father, the one who brought her into this world, her personal protector as assigned by God, had violated each of his daughters…each and every one!

To make matters worse, Wendy’s mother permitted the abuse. Mom knew of the atrocities and did nothing to stop the molestation of any of them.  Wendy told me that she vividly remembered a time that her father had his friends over for a weekly poker game at their house.  The father had excused himself.  When gone for more time allotted for a bathroom break, Wendy’s mother went looking for him.  She found him molesting his daughter in the middle of the hallway upstairs.  In the middle of the hallway!  Wendy remembered her mother going up and hitting the father and yelling, “get back down to your poker game.”   Dad got up and went back downstairs and rejoined the game and mom went back about her business as if nothing had happened.

By not fighting for her daughters, Wendy’s mother was condoning her father’s actions against each of the daughters. Wendy’s mother violated her as much as her father had.  Each parent had made the decision that Wendy and her sisters were disposable and not of any importance or worth fighting for.  Even today, I’ll never understand the amount of damage that Wendy’s parents did to her. I don’t know how a child or adult will ever be able to let go of something as horrendous as what she had experienced.  Wendy was violated and destroyed by the very people that were assigned to protect her.  The only people that Wendy learned to trust were her sisters who were experiencing the same hell that she was.  But it was Wendy who offered herself as the sacrificial lamb in order to protect the others from their demented father.

So this begs the question, what does this have to do with greatness. Wendy never had a normal life…ever!  Yet somewhere inside, Wendy said to herself “this can’t be all there is to life.  There has to be more to life than what I’m experiencing.”  How would she have any idea of what a normal life was?  Perhaps she heard her classmate girlfriends talk about the good times that they had experienced with their father?  Perhaps they spoke of their mother who wouldn’t allow her friends to do something because the denial was to protect them.  Maybe she envied other children whose parents would insist on being with them when their friends went off on their own in order to protect them.

For over twenty-one years she had no knowledge of anything normal, but something inside, deep down wouldn’t let go that there was something greater for her in this world. Her older sisters weren’t good examples for her.  The sisters never went outside for help.  Yet something inside of Wendy told her that she wasn’t going to be like her sisters.  That she could create her own freedoms if she would only take the actions necessary to search it out.  She didn’t know the route to get there, but she knew that she had to move forward.

As a matter of finality, Wendy and all of her three sisters did take appropriate actions in order to ensure that their father would never commit these crimes against anyone again. At the age of twenty-one Wendy had the rest of her life to create the life she wanted.  Sure she would need further help in order to deal with the bastardize view on life that she was exposed to during her youth, but she was free to do so now.

Wendy was a protector. Wendy protected her sisters.  Wendy would allow herself to be abused by her father in order to protect the elder sisters who shared the similar pain.  Wendy was not dealt the same deck of cards as most of society.

Wendy probably grew more than almost any of my patients under my care. I don’t attribute that to me.  I was no more that an encourager or guide for her.  Ultimately for Wendy to be set free, she needed to decide four things;

  • Was her life valuable enough for her to aspire to something greater than the hell that she lived daily?
  • Did she have a purpose in life that was worth living for? In other words, was the potential for her future greater than the pain of her past?
  • Could she even let go of her past and the associate atrocities in order for her to have a meaningful future?
  • Was she willing to pay the price to see if she could create something great with her newfound freedom?

You see, for a lesser woman, the answer would be no. Her father, her supposed protector, had broken and repeatedly violated the trust that comes with parenthood.  You might argue that a reasonable mother, once finding out that her husband, is the one exposing their innocent children to evil would immediately intervene and yet didn’t.

She had every reason to give up living.

You are called to greatness NOW! In case you are one of those people with short attention spans who skip the introduction of a great literary works such as this book, I’ll repeat myself again.  You, yes you, are called to be great NOW!   This is an important sentence for three reasons.  First the person that has been called to be great is you.  Not your neighbor.  Not the friend with the outrageously high I.Q.  Not the child heir to someone’s multi-million dollar estate.  You! Only you.  You have two choices…you can accept it and embrace this as a plan for your life or reject it and continue in the safe, yet unfulfilling manner in which your life may be led right now.

The second part of the sentence, “you are called to be great now” is the word great. One of Webster’s definitions of great is “eminent, distinguished or chief or preeminent over others.”  I love this part of the definition.  It’s irrelevant what your calling is in life.  Greatness transcends position or title.  What being great means is that you are to be eminent, distinguish or even preeminent over others in your calling.  That does not mean that you are someone to lord power over others, it only means that you are to be the best of what you are called to do.  From housewife to president of the United States, you have been given a DNA that no one else on this earth has been given.  You need to utilize it to the best of your abilities.

The third and final part of this sentence, “you are called to be great now” is the tense of the sentence. Being great is not about your future.  Being great is not about your past.  Being great is not about yesterday, last week, two weeks ago or ten years ago.  It’s not about your failures, your missed opportunities or about the devastating tragedies that may have happened to you in the past.  Being great is about being great…now, today.  And it’s designed for your future.  That future is the rest of your life.

When are you going to make your decision?????

 

Destination Disease begins when YOU Arrive

Destinations can be enticing

Enjoy Getting to Your Destination, but you can’t stay there….you have to move on

In October of 2015, I decided that while my business was good, it wasn’t as nearly as good or as fulfilling as I had imagined.  Change was necessary.  I am the type of guy who hates being stagnant.  For me, if I’m not growing, I’m dying.  Should I were to win the lottery, I wouldn’t just vanish and enjoy the windfall.  Truthfully, I need something in life to work towards and to be passionate about.  Don’t get me wrong….I’d travel to new destinations and spend a week or two hiking the Rockies and fishing in the ocean and exploring in Antarctica, but ultimately, it’d leave me empty…waiting to be fulfilled.

So today, I printed off my Life Plan and looked at it again.  What once inspired and motivated me, just wasn’t all that compelling anymore.  There were a number of reasons for it.  I had accomplished some of those goals.  Some of the goals felt unattainable.   Fortunately, I have a coach who forces me to keep looking down the road.  Keep the prize front and center.

It’s important to have anchor goals.  Those are the heartfelt goals built around your dreams, your passionsa and most importantly….YOUR DNA.

THE DANGERS OF SUCCESS……

I think the danger of what I see with a lot of folks is that they “ARRIVE” at their destination.   Destination Disease.   Destination Disease is when you’ve accomplished something and whether you’re aware of it or not, you are at the “now what?” stage.  There are a million responses that you can have upon arriving at your destination….but really there are only two real routes to travel.

The first choice is a mixed bag.  When accomplishing a goal, that goal needs to be celebrated.  It needs to be enjoyed and savored.  There has to be a moment to relish the results of the efforts that were spent.  Many never celebrate their successes, but many live in that moment…and refuse to move forward.

The second choice is to use this as a stepping stone to something bigger.  The BHAG  (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  What is your BHAG?

Just this past week, I’ve agreed to coach someone who just won her two year battle with cancer.  Her issue is pretty simple.  She beat cancer….now what?   Think about it.  Although she didn’t place an order, it came unannounced and decided to assault her.  She was forced into a battle for the better part of two years.  A life and death matter.  But she won.  If you think about the magnitude of the battle that she faced, for her, those two years were an all consuming battle.  Again….she got the victory.

But now what?  Nothing that she’s faced before in her life compares with her own fight for her own life, but she won.  She’s celebrated her victory, but she can’t spend the next 50 years of her life just celebrating this one victory.  With many, Destination Disease is the end.  They won….

This client is smart enough to know that the victory against cancer isn’t her end all game.  She still needs to grow.  She needs fulfillment and a plan.  The cancer battle becomes a part of her story.  It’s not her story.  It’s just the beginning of what’s next in her life.  The big challenge for her is finding out what’s next?  I’m thrilled to be a part of her journey….

But back to me….back to you.

I sit here revising my Life Plan, I need to make sure that it’s relevant and enticing.   I’m older, wiser and am tired of playing games with myself.  Momentary pleasures to escape the calling now bore me.  I’m best with that goal in front of me.  The passion, vision and direction need to be relevant.

I can tell you that I feel really good about where I’m headed.  But I will tell you that there were months, literally months, where I had no clue what I was doing.  I was going through the motions of life.  I was successful, but not happy.  I understand where the kids of the rich get into drugs and crime and even suicide.  Proverbs 29:19 says where there is no vision people perish.  I doesn’t matter how successful you are, without that vision the danger lurks.

I have rediscovered my passion.  I have that vision.  And….I get to help someone else find theirs.  In the next few blogs we’ll be discussing creating your own Life Plan and making it relevant, meaningful, and most importantly, fulfilling, real and exciting….

Think about where you are in life this very moment.  Have you arrived?  Have you just had your wheels jump the tracks?  Do you want back in?  Remember the excitement of your youth….it’s time to rediscover YOUR FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH.

 

 

 

A Seed Needs Darkness to Grow

You think about all of the dark times in your life.  Bad days, bad breaks, health issues,  finances, struggles with relationships.  We have bad days, bad weeks, bad months and even that certain year that we can’t wait to put behind us.

The truth is that you could keep a seed on your desk for 5, 10, 20 or even 100 years and the only thing that it will contain is potential.  Once a seed is planted in the dirt, only then can it grow.  If you were to ask a seed if it wants to get planted and buried in dirt, it’d probably respond with “no way, it’s super dark and lonely down there.  I don’t want to go.”

How about you?  Going through some dark days?  In my last post, I talked about making 2015 the best year of your life….so far (see No Insanity in 2015)  The problem is that often times that despite the best laid plans and intentions stuff just happens.  So….the only thing that we have the ability to do is to respond to that deck of cards that you’ve been dealt.

Sure stuff happens, but that bad day, that bad break, that horrible event that just happened to you doesn’t collapse your dreams and your vision.  Nope…on the contrary, like the seed, you can’t grow without having dark moments.  The dark moments won’t define you, but it will create opportunity for you to grow.  Remember that seed can’t grow into anything special at all unless it gets alone in a dark and dirty place.

Keep your chin up.  You have all of 2015 to achieve what you’ve set out to do.  Don’t let the fact that you’ve been taken off track dictate your future.  Tomorrow could be the day that you finally get your big break.  But don’t sit and wait in hope.  Do your part.  Fight.  Fight as if your life depended on it.  Sure the circumstances can be tough, but nothing good happens in a pity party.

Remember that the seed must fight through the darkness to get to the sunlight.  You too, my friend must do the same.

NO INSANITY IN 2015

What is the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Each year promises new beginnings based on hope.  A hope for change.  Hope for better relationships.  Hope for better results at work.  Hope for better health in the new year.  Hope for better finances.  Hope is awesome.  It keeps us motivated.  It keeps us in the game.  But hope alone won’t change anything.  Hope, as always, will remain just that….HOPE.

Hope is in the future:

“I’m hoping for a better job in 2015.  I’m hoping to make more money.  I’m sure hoping that my health will improve next year.”  All of these ideas remain just that….they’re wants in the future.

THE PROBLEM WITH CHANGE

The problem with change is this.  In order to change something, it will actually involve just that….CHANGE.  If you are going to lose weight, it may mean that you are going to actually have to go to the gym on a regular basis.  It may mean that you eat healthier.  Sometimes, people suffer in mediocrity because by not working out, we can still sit on the couch.  We can still eat more junk food.  So the real heartfelt question is this:

IS THE PAIN OF CHANGE WORTH THE BENEFIT THAT YOU WILL REALIZE BY MAKING THAT CHANGE?

The worst thing that we can do is to be buried in our casket aside a lifetime of potential.  So, the question I have for you today is this?  Are you willing to make subtle, even small changes in order to get to where your goals are?  Remember, goals are dreams with a date on it.  I remember hearing that from my coach, Steve Scanlon.  When he was coaching me, I would share my dreams and goals and he would always respond with “by when?”

THE STEPS:

  1. Identify the reason why you want to go from point A to point B.   Make sure that the reasons are compelling enough to keep you on track;
  2. Identify the cost or disciplines that it will take for you to achieve your goal;
  3. Revisit the end result and make sure that the benefit is greater than the cost;
  4. Put a REASONABLE plan in place.  For example, if you need to lose 30 pounds write down your 30 pound weight loss goal, but then break it down to steps like 5 pounds in the first two weeks.
  5. Put the steps on your calendar so that the new activities support your vision and goal;
  6. Put a failure plan in place.  For example, if you want to lose 5 pounds the first week and the office throws an impromptu surprise party and you fail to adhere to your goal, chalk that up as a one day loss, but it’s not a goal loss.  The week could end up with a score of 2 losses and 5 wins.  That’s OK.  Too many people throw the towel in after a loss.

Discipline is a step by step process.  Build your vision.  Get your goals in place and build around it.  Remember, no insanity in 2015.  We’re done with all of that!  2015 is all about making a real, lasting impact upon your life.