For the past 20 years, I have been involved in the personal growth industry. I have been mentored by some of the most recognized names in personal development, written two books and have built a successful international coaching practice. I say this not to impress you but to validate my commitment to personal growth. With this being said, 5 principles that guide my life today were NOT born from a book or seminar but rather from a conversation I had with an extremely drunk salesman at a bar in Tucson.
Let me explain...
Our conversation started with "so how's it going"? For the next 45 minutes he rambled and I listened. He spoke of earning a six figure salary as a salesman and shared how gambling and drinking ultimately cost him his job, marriage and home. He expressed anger toward God and everyone else he perceived had wronged him along the way. He recounted numerous stories highlighting his success as a high school athlete, a mere thirty years earlier. Tears welled up in his eyes as he shared his bitter disappointment at losing the state championship game to a cross town rival. He seemed to be grabbing at anything that would somehow transport him back to a more empowering time in his life. Ironically, at no point in our conversation did he ever take personal responsibility for the outcome of his choices. Our conversation left me feeling uneasy but also determined to avoid the traps he had fallen into. Could God have been talking to me through a drunk salesman?
My takeaways from this particular conversation have become the foundation for how I strive to live, coach, write and teach.
1. Keep things in perspective.
Sh#t happens when we're making other plans! For example, lets say that two people lose their job. One person goes into a downward spiral and ends up losing far more than just their job. The other person takes inventory of his skill set and starts a consulting practice. The meaning we assign to any setback or failure will determine how well we handle it. When we change our meaning, we change the experience.
2. Don't dwell on the past.
The past should serve as a reference point, not a permanent resting place. Remember, we create in the present, we problem solve from the past. Most of the unhappy people I meet tend to share one thing in common...they remain stuck in a story from their past. If you don't like your "old story", write a new one. We get to CHOOSE whether we are happy or miserable. The fastest way to stop "shoulding on yourself" is to create a new and compelling vision for your future.
3. Trust God.
It's much easier to ride out life's challenges when we enjoy a personal relationship with God. When the going gets tough, faith and prayer tend to illuminate our right path. Remember, we are exactly where we are supposed to be in this moment. The challenges we encounter have been divinely orchestrated for our growth. "If HE brought you to it, HE will bring you through it"!
4. What we fail to appreciate, depreciates.
Conversely, what we appreciate, appreciates. Expressing gratitude for all of our experiences is the foundation for enlightened living. When we don't appreciate and honor what we have been given, it may be taken away.
5. When the going gets tough, stay away from addictive behaviors.
When we face a rough spot, it's important to have a support system in place. We should never feel guilty about reaching out to a friend, coach, mentor or family member to ask for help in getting past our challenges. Alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, excessive exercise and shopping are addictive behaviors that can have dire consequences. The strong rise above their challenges, the weak succumb. BE STRONG!
Here's to you!!!