Are you listening to the right people right now?

When we were young we learned about proper nutrition in school. We learned about nutrients like vitamins, proteins and calcium. Foods were sorted into cliques called food groups. We discovered that our favorite foods like cotton candy, donuts and Cheez Whiz were nutritional ghost towns. While spinach, which was among the un-coolest foods, were the nutritional equivalent to Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Cue the Mariah Carey meltdown.

Eating the right things has a major impact on how we feel. As adults we know which foods we should and shouldn’t eat. We know which foods help us feel good, and which ones make us feel bad. #waferthinmint

But it is just as important to recognize the nutritional value of what you listen to. The music you listen to while lying in a hammock is different from the music on your workout playlist. Because what you listen to has a major impact on how you feel.

We all get to choose what we listen to. And who we listen to. And how much we consume.

Take a moment to evaluate your listening habits.

  • Are you listening to the right things right now?
  • Are you listening to the right people?
  • Are you hearing things that make you feel better or worse?
  • Is it helping or hurting your fortitude?
  • Is it positively impacting your mood?
  • Is it making you want to charge the hill or crawl in hole?
  • It is providing answers?
  • Is it inspiring good ideas?
  • Is it calming?
  • It is me you’re looking for? (Lionel Richie wants to know)

Selective Hearing

I have developed highly selective hearing. I have a hard time hearing that which doesn’t help. That which doesn’t get me closer to the answers, make me feel better, or give me something actionable to do. You can do the same thing. And it extremely helpful during challenging times like these.

Key Takeaway

Pay close attention to what you are listening to right now. And who you are listening to. Become a picky listener. Listen to learn. Listen to become energized and inspired. Listen for the good stories. Listen for the positive outlook and the great advice. Remember, You get to choose what you tune in and what you tune out. And the results are significant.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The great value of sunshine people.

Last Wednesday afternoon the doorbell rang at my house. I didn’t panic. Instead, I calmly got up from my desk and walked through my house to the front door. Just like I was trained to do. Based on the time of day, past experience, and that fact that only authorized professionals should be ringing your doorbell right now, I expected it was our mailman, Mike. It was either him or some rascally kid was leaving me a flaming bag of dog poo.

Mike

Luckily, when I opened the door Mike was standing on my front porch. He had a very special delivery for me. And it wasn’t a flaming bag of poo. Truth be told, I have no idea what was in the boxes and envelopes that Mike delivered that day. The most valuable thing Mike brought to my house wasn’t in a package. It was his I-am-so-happy-to-see-you smile.

Every time I see Mike he is like a ray of sunshine. He emits such positive energy that he makes me want to send boxes to myself, just to see him show up at my front door. Because you can’t help but feel good when you are around him. Its his super power.

Right now, as we are sheltering at home, a smile from the outside world is a rare and welcomed treat. A treat that many people are having a hard time serving up during the COVID-19 Circus World Tour. Today, there seems to be an optimism shortage. Which makes sunshine donors like Mike even more valuable. Because good vibes are even more important and more impactful now than ever.

Key Takeaway

If you are a naturally positive person make sure to share your sunshine with others. If you need a sunshine donor, reach out to someone you know who has an abundant supply. A friendly smile and a warm hello go a long way to offset the news media’s focus on the bleak. An optimistic perspective is like a breath of fresh air to others in your orbit. So if your light is glowing bright, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. It will illuminate a brighter path for others to follow. I know. Because right now I wanna be like Mike.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Are you on your heels or toes right now?

It is easy to feel unbalanced right now. COVID-19 has infected every area of our lives. It’s not just our health. Work, school, worship, restaurants and bro-hugs have all been impacted. As the coronavirus blows across the country, and creates a new abnormal normal, it is time to check your stance.

Today’s question is:

Are you on your heels or toes right now?

Heels

If you are on your heels, you are letting the current situation get the best of you. You are not well balanced. You are simply reacting. And you can easily be knocked over by the next challenge that comes your way.

Toes

Right now you need to be on your toes. It means you are actively managing your situation. You are ready for whatever comes next. You are prepared to take on the next challenge. You are in a position to help others. And you are thinking ahead.

The Opportunity Stance

If you are on your toes it means you are seeing opportunities emerge. Today there are chances to help put your time and talent where it can be most impactful. There are opportunities for learning, growth, and skill development right now. In fact, this may be the best opportunity for self improvement you have ever had. Unless you have been to rehab.

Innovation

If you are on your toes you have the ability to innovate. You see the business opportunities and investments opportunities that are here today, or coming tomorrow. Which is only a day away. There will be a great demand for new ideas to better prepare us for our next great challenges. They have to come from somewhere. Why not you?

The Right Way

If your are on your toes you can help others get right, do right and be alright, alright, alright when the virus clears and we are back to full speed. It means that you will be the first to move when the red light turns green. And when the light changes, we will enter one of the most exciting eras we have ever known.

Key Takeaway

Even in this unusual and challenging time there is so much good around us. And so much more good ahead. Don’t miss out on any of it. Every great story needs a challenging plot twist in the middle to make the ending better. So make sure you are on your toes right now. Be ready when opportunity calls on you. And let’s make the rest of the story the best part of all.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

 

This is the best fuel for the best attitude.

I  am in the middle of a major research project on life. While the research is ongoing, I have discovered, after collecting more than four decades worth of evidence, that life is hard. My study reveals that life is hard at work, at home, in your relationships, and even on vacation. No one is immune. And there is no cure (except that 80’s band with Robert Smith).

Facing Reality

Things go wrong all the time. Disappointment shows up repeatedly without an appointment. Things break. Bills pile up. Bills lose Super Bowls. And just when you think you are in the clear, something happens to remind you that you are clearly not in the clear.

Entrepreneurship

I started my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, two years ago. And I have faced a constant stream of challenges, requirements, setbacks and surprises. As an entrepreneur, you have to be ready for whatever craziness comes your way. Because it will come, and it will be crazy. Like marrying-a-Kardashian-crazy .

A Common Trait

Since starting my entrepreneurial journey I have surrounded myself with other entrepreneurs. I have noticed that the rock stars have a special trait that enables them to be successful in the face of the constant barrage of adversity and the WTF-ity they will inevitably face. And it just may be the most valuable asset in their organizations.

A  Helium Attitude.

Helium is perhaps the most magical element on Earth. Because it floats! In fact, you can fill a balloon with helium and the balloon floats too! Had Sir Issac Newton seen a helium balloon float skyward as he saw that apple fall earth-ward, he would have had a much tougher time discovering the laws of gravity. Because helium always rises above the gravity of a situation. Your attitude can too. If you let your attitude get sunk by setbacks, then your attitude is not an asset.

I don’t think about having a good attitude. Because I don’t know what that means. I think about having a helium attitude. Which is a mindset, an approach and an interpretation of the facts that rises above the circumstances. A helium attitude remains up, even when your plans fall down. Thus it always provides the perspective that things will get better. This is an entrepreneurial imperative.

Lifting Others

The helium attitude helps lift others too. Someone needs to rise above the disappointment and frustration that we all inevitably face. The helium attitude bounces back quickly, and offers other people a high point to focus on as they navigate forward. Which is why it is important for parents, leaders, teachers and preachers to fill their attitudes with as much helium as they can get (#highandfunnyvoices).

Key Takeaway

Life is unpredictable. One moment you feel like you are on top of the world. The next moment, you feel like the world is on top of you. But a helium attitude rises anyway. Don’t let setbacks, curveballs, and negative people drag you down. Do what helium does, and just keep rising. Your attitude is everything in life. Make sure you fill it with the right fuel.

How to write my favorite word the way I do it.

Do you have a favorite word to write? I do. I have written a library’s worth of words in my lifetime. But for fun and flair, there is one word that beats them all by a cursive mile.

Attitude

Here’s how to write it the way I do.

  1. Grab your favorite pen.
  2. Prepare to write in your flowiest cursive.
  3. Draw a looping lowercase ‘a’ like you are circling the key point on the page.
  4. Let each of the next letters flow like you are sketching a roller coaster.
  5. After you finish the ‘e’, cross all three of the ‘t’s with one stroke. Do it as if you were crossing the most important task off your to-do list.
  6. Dot the ‘i’ like you are an orchestra conductor hitting the final note in the final song of the final concert of your career.
  7. Look at the word you have just written and realize that it means everything in life.
  8. Write the word again and again and again, until the ink in your pen runs dry.

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Life lesson in London.

The Dinner

A few years ago my wife and I went to London. We went without our three kids, which made it feel like we were playing hooky on a global scale. On the second night of our trip we had a world-class dinner experience at The Ritz.

Afterwards we strolled down Piccadilly, hand in hand. It was a wonderful July night. We were excited to be in one of the world’s greatest cities. We were adventurously far from home. And we had just finished a meal that we would talk about for the rest of our days.  Life was good.

The Show

Then something even more interesting happened. There, in that date-night glow, we witnessed a show that no one in the world saw except us. It was a one-man, one-act play.  The script had 5 words.

The stage was on the landing in front of a shop on Piccadilly. A homeless man was making his bed for the night. He was just steps off of the very busy street, outside, exposed to the world, and the elements, with no privacy. Like a zoo animal on display.

As he went about his routine of preparing his bed for the night he said:

Life is hard. No complaints.

I will never forget that. In those five words this man summed up a simple truth about life. And how he chose to respond. He clearly understood that life is a challenging game. He accepted the challenge. Even on the days when it seemed as if he was losing.

Inspiration comes in many forms.  That night I was inspired by a homeless man who faced a reality more challenging than most of us will ever face, without complaint.

On this Monday, as you head back to work, back to school and back to your own challenges, I remind you that, yes, life can be hard. But how you choose to respond to it is entirely up to you. And it is your response that makes all the difference.