Monthly Archives: February 2012

18 Ways To Inspire Everyone Around You

  1. Be authentic and true to yourself. – In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.  No it won’t always be easy; because when it comes to living as a compassionate, non-judgmental human being, the only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is learning to walk a lifetime, comfortably in your own.
  2. Stick with what you love. – Take part in something you believe in.  This could be anything.  Some people take an active role in their local city council, some find refuge in religious faith, some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in, and others find passion in their work.  In each case the psychological outcome is the same.  They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in.  This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.  It’s hard not to be inspired by someone who’s passionate about what they’re doing.
  3. Express your enthusiasm. – Passion is something you must be willing to express if you want to inspire others.  You can gain a lot of influence just by publicly expressing that you are excited and passionate about a topic.  Expressive passion is contagious because of the curiosity it stirs in others.  You’ll get people wondering why you love what you love so much.  Naturally, some of them will take the time necessary to understand what it is about the topic that moves you.  (Read How To Win Friends and Influence People.)
  4. Excel at what you do. – People watch what you do more than they listen to what you say.  Be someone worth emulating.  Most people are inspired by GREAT musicians, writers, painters, speakers, entrepreneurs, engineers, mothers, fathers, athletes, etc.  There’s only one thing they all have in common: They excel at what they do.  There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right.  Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies.  Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.
  5. Focus on building your character. – Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.  Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others temporarily think you are.  A genuinely good character always shines and inspires in the long run.
  6. Care about people. – People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.
  7. Challenge people to do their best. – As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”  If people know we expect great things from them, they will often go to great lengths to live up to our expectations.
  8. Lead by example. – Practice what you preach or don’t preach at all. Walk the talk!  Be the change you want to see in the world.  If you really want to inspire others to do something, then this ‘something’ should be a big part of your life.  You don’t necessarily need to be an expert at it, but you do need to be passionately involved.
  9. Articulate what everyone else is thinking. – We are very connected to each other in various ways, the most important of which is our thoughts.  Out of fear, or passive shyness, lots of people hesitate to articulate their thoughts.  If you take the risk and say the things others are holding back, you become the glue that brings people together.
  10. Make people feel good about themselves. – People will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.  Start noticing what you like about others and tell them.  Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to excel.  As von Goethe once said, “Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.”
  11. Help people heal. – Instead of judging people by their past, stand by them and help repair their future.  In life, you get what you put in.  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.  Everyone values the gift of unexpected assistance and those who supply it.
  12. Share lessons from your successes and failures. – When you can, be a resource to those around you.  If you have access to essential information, don’t hoard it, share it openly.  You have more to share than you realize.  Mine the rich experiences of your life and share your wisdom from your unique point of view.  Be vulnerable.  Be willing to share your failures as well as your successes.  Others will relate to you.  They’ll understand that they’re not the only ones with challenges.  (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
  13. Keep your cool in tense situations. – What you do in a tense situation says a lot about your limits.  People take note of how far the pressure or social discomfort around you goes until you lose control of yourself and the situation.  President Obama, who often displays a calm and collected persona, had a joke in his speech at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner awhile back where he said, “In the next 100 days, I will strongly consider losing my cool.”  Obviously this made him appear even more calm and collected.  Bottom line: Keeping your cool in tense situations lets people know you have a mind of steel – a personality trait most people are drawn to.
  14. Focus on the positive. – Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow.  Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad.  It just depends on your perspective.  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  So stay positive, appreciate the pleasant outcomes, and learn from the rest.  Your positivity will help encourage those around you.
  15. Keep your promises and tell the truth. – Inspire people with your dependability and commitment to the truth.  If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT!  If you say you’re going to be somewhere, BE THERE!  If you say you feel something, MEAN IT!  If you can’t, won’t, and don’t, then DON’T LIE.  It’s always better to tell people the truth up front.  (Read The Four Agreements.)
  16. Listen intently to what others say. – Make people feel important, and inspire them by showing them that they are.  Eyes focused, ears tuned, mobile phone off.  In a world that can’t move fast enough, someone who can find time to listen to others is always appreciated.
  17. Communicate clearly. – Mystery does not inspire.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Share your vision and ideas often with those around you.  Also, be sure to maintain eye contact when communicating; it’s one of the most alluring forms of personal communication.  When executed properly, eye contact injects closeness into human interaction, which captivates attention.
  18. Be faithful to your significant other. – There’s nothing more inspiring than the unwavering love and commitment between two individuals.  Furthermore, your sustained fidelity in a long-term intimate relationship creates a healthy foundation for everything else you do.

source: http://www.marcandangel.com


Finding Love

I spent most of my time in my late teens and early twenties on finding love, or so I thought at the time. In actuality I was seeking self-acceptance, approval and identity. I was deeply insecure and had a great fear of being alone. I jumped from relationship to relationship, all the while searching for myself. But the act of seeking self-worth through my external relationships took me further from that which I longed.

I’ve always been an ambitious person and in addition to my job, I’ve often worked on side projects and other interests. But whenever I found myself in a relationship, I would drop everything that was important to me and would focus exclusively on the person I was dating. You see, I didn’t respect myself, and I thought that finding someone to love me was more important than anything else. During these time-consuming romantic courtships, I was distancing myself further from my passions, my purpose and my true self.

Looking back, I had entered many of these relationships out of infatuation or loneliness. It was the fear of abandonment or the guilt of obligation that kept me in these relationships. I often got into and remained involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. I would convince myself that no one else out there would love me, and so I settled. Despite my surface appearance, I was deeply unhappy.

My freedom day came roughly two years ago. In a state of deep depression over unsatisfied relationships and through a growing despise of my gross dependencies on them, a miraculous understanding came to me and I experienced a moment of clarity. At that moment I made a vow to end the pain. (Read my detailed journal entry from that day here.)

I started to devour as much material and wisdom as I could find on the topic of relationships, and studied (and continue to study) with relationship expert Alison Armstrong. I have come a long way from being that insecure little girl, and have learned much about myself in the process. Most importantly I discovered that once I started to truly love myself, and to focus on my own inner peace and wellness, true love came looking for me.

Problematic Relationship Patterns

Let’s first look at some common relationship problems and why many romantic partnerships do not work out.

1. Ego, Fear, & Emotional Insecurities

As with material possessions or professional achievements, relationships give our ego a method by which to identify who we are to the outside world. The problem is that we attach so much of our identity to the external appearance of our relationships that we lose touch with the parts of ourselves that are wise and conscious. The attachment to this false identity leads to a feeling of desperation rather than fulfillment. After all, without the relationship, or the job, or whichever other false identity we have chosen, who would we be?

Besides the ego identification, it’s easy to develop a dependency on companionship. That independent person that we once were starts to evaporate. Our mind becomes fogged and as our self-identification begins to attach itself to the other person, unconsciously or consciously, we become afraid to lose that person. We become dependent on that person and fearful of loneliness.

Out of our emotional insecurities, we start to become needy and to seek out validation from our partner. So, instead of focusing on the celebration of love and partnership, it becomes a game of how to protect ourselves from loss.

2. Communication of Needs

Out of a desire to avoid appearing needy and out of a fear of losing our partner, we start to filter what we say. In doing so, we do not communicate our needs clearly, openly or bravely. We somehow become convinced that our partner will magically know what to do to fulfill our needs. When our needs are not met, we secretly blame the other person and begin to resent them. When we are unhappy, our partner will pick up on the cues, and in turn, secretly resent us, thus starting a vicious cycle in the silent destruction of a romantic partnership.

So much of what needed to be said was not said, and bad feelings are bottled up and start to accumulate for both parties. Have you ever had a friend come to you and complain about all of the things they are unhappy about with their partner? Those are the kinds of things they should be telling their partner, if they actually want a change.

Worse yet is when one partner openly communicates their needs only to find that the other party is simply not listening, or does not fully acknowledge what was said, or makes them feel guilty for having those needs.

3. Bad Fit and Settling by Default

Deep down, we are all really good people. But this doesn’t mean that any combination of two good people will make a good partnership. There is such thing as a bad fit, and it is okay to admit it.

The best fits are ones where the most important values for both people are met. They must have life goals that align with one another and have a mutual attraction, understanding, and level of respect for each other. Both people must be committed to making the partnership their top priority.

Sometimes, even when we realize that our relationship isn’t a good fit, we justify staying in it with what seem like logical reasons. We may feel that we won’t find another person who accepts and loves us as much as the current partner. Or we may be afraid to be alone, so we simply settle by default. Each time we are reminded of the bad fit, we brush it under the rug and distract ourselves with some other thought.

We may feel that we are doing a service to the other person by staying in the relationship, but in reality, we are hurting them by not being honest with them and ourselves. And we are accumulating bad feelings and bad energy in our inner space.

Who Is Your Ideal Mate?

We all have a rough idea of what our perfect partner is like: beautiful, or smart, or rich, or educated, or tall, or petite, or pale, or dark, or handsome, or fit, with this car, or with that house or whatever else that strikes our fancy.

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Photo: Emily Helen, The Best Kauai Wedding Photographer

The problem comes when we find ourselves in a relationship and we are constantly comparing our partners with this conjured-up ‘perfect’ person. When that happens, we stop appreciating our partner for all the beautiful qualities they do possess.

The truth is this perfect person does not exist. More importantly, we may not actually need all of these qualities in a partner to be extraordinarily happy.

What we need is to identify the most important qualities that we must have in order to feel satisfied and fulfilled (more on creating a must-have list below). By not having identified the must-have qualities in our chosen life partner, we end up settling, and since the person cannot give us the things we truly need, we start to resent them. This will snowball into larger issues.

For example, if height is something that is really important to you, and your partner does not meet that height requirement, regardless of how much they try, they will never grow taller or shrink shorter, and this will bug you and affect your union.

In life, we will get random results if we have not specified what we want. Identifying and understanding what it is that we need in a relationship, allows us to set clear intentions, and in doing so, moves us closer to realizing our intended desires.

Identifying Must-Haves

Here’s a very affective exercise that I picked up from Alison Armstrong that will help you discover and identify the must-have qualities in your partner. I highly recommend taking at least 10 minutes to go through this, even if you are presently in a relationship.

Grab a pen and some paper. Find a place where you won’t be interrupted. Turn off the phone, the TV, the computer.

Ready? Here we go:

Step 1. The Perfect Image

On a blank piece of paper, list out all the qualities that your ideal partner will have. What kind of characteristics and qualities do you truly desire? Be creative and open. Use a bullet pointed list, not sentences. List out as many as possible, and use as many pieces of paper as needed.

Be as specific as you can. Get into details like physical attributes, values, lifestyle, views on money, spiritual beliefs, personality traits, hobbies, abilities, age, habits, profession, tastes, etc.

For physical attributes, include things like height, weight, body type, hair color, ethnicity, or anything that you would want if you had your choice in creating your ideal partner.

Step 2. Minimum Requirements (MR)

Minimum requirements are qualities you need from your partner, and without them, you will feel unwell or unsatisfied.

Go through each quality from step 1 and test it with this question:

“Would I rather be alone than be with a person who wasn’t [insert quality]?”

If the answer is yes, mark MR next to the quality, otherwise, leave it blank.

Don’t worry if your list sounds superficial or ridiculous. One MR item on my list is “Great dancer with rhythm and groove”, which may seem like a trivial or petty quality for some people, but is a deal breaker for me.

Step 3. Screening MRs

Now, filter through the MR list, for each item with the MR label, ask the following question:

“If a person had all the other qualities on my MR list, am I willing to let this quality go?”

If the answer is yes, cross out that MR.

The Selection Process

I believe it is crucial to identify and clearly communicate our relationship expectations and personal timelines early on in the dating phase. So often, we get into relationships with silent expectations of a future event that is important to us, thinking that our partner will come around to it when the time is right, only to find out several years later that things will never work out the way we expected. Some common unspoken issues of this nature revolve around marriage, children, financial goals, and even which city you settle down in.

First, be clear with yourself on these types of issues. Understand what kind of commitment you are looking for in a relationship, how you feel about children and where you plan to live. There are no wrong answers, but be honest and specific about what you are looking for in the current stage of your life.

Next, tell yourself that on all of your first dates, you will be clear with people about your relationship expectations and timeline, if any. It can be a scary and awkward experience at first, but it will become less of a nerve racking experience over time. And just think of all the time and emotional energy you are saving by being open from the get-go, instead of setting silent expectations that can lead to disappointment.

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Photo by Mike BG

On my first dates with any guy, I found that telling them my expectations was pretty nerve-racking, especially for men I was really attracted to, since they could potentially run the other way. I would begin to tell myself that this would be too much of a shocking conversation for most people to handle on a first date. Why not just wait until date 5 or 6, when I know that he really likes me? The answer is that by then I would have emotionally attached myself to this person and would then be in a situation where I would either have to settle for less than what I wanted, or break it off. It would have been much better to have learned on the first date whether or not we were a good fit.

 

Personally, I was looking for a husband and to start a family. I would tell them that I wanted to get married before I turned 30 and to start making babies within two years of getting married. Oh, and I would also like to have two children. “Are you okay with that timeline?” I would ask them. The men who were okay with my timeline stayed and the ones who weren’t went away. No hurt feelings and everyone wins.

Many of us have latched onto this concept of finding “the one” person out there for us, and so we linger in every relationship that pops up, fearing that we might miss out on “the one”. Think about the fact that there are 6.8 billion people on the planet. Doesn’t it make more sense that “the one” is more likely to be “the one-hundred-thousand”? I genuinely believe that there are a countless number of people out there who will be great fits for us, and it’s just a matter of filtering through potential partners until we find one of them.

As such, communicating your desires, needs and expectations, ahead of time, becomes crucial. For example, if having children is of utmost importance to you and your partner is set against having kids, then likely the relationship will not last and both parties are wasting time in the process.

Dating shouldn’t be about settling out of a fear that a better fit might not come along. I believe that dating is about identifying the qualities you need in a person and in a relationship, and then “filtering” through as many people as it takes until you find someone who possesses all the important qualities that you need.

Have you ever had the experience of shopping for a car, and found that once you targeted in on the exact make, model, and color you wanted, you began to see that car everywhere? From my personal experience, I found that once I became clear with what I needed and expected in a partner and in a relationship, more eligible bachelors who had those qualities started showing up in my life.

Love Yourself First

As I mentioned in the article How to Overcome Breakups, the art of loving yourself is not only important in the healing process from love lost, but also in finding love. I believe that we cannot truly allow others to love us, until we first love ourselves.

Another way of looking at this is to imagine each person in a relationship as a wooden stick. If one person is independent and the other is dependent, it’s like one stick is standing perfectly vertical and the second stick is leaning against the vertical stick. If the vertical stick moves horizontally, the leaning stick will fall. When two people are both independent and joined together through love, it’s like two sticks standing vertically. When they join together, they become a larger and stronger stick and they become interdependent and stronger. If one stick moves horizontally, the other stick will move with it.

Practice loving yourself: take yourself on a date, do things that please and relax you, spend quality time with yourself, write love letters to yourself, practice saying and feeling “I love you” in the mirror.

source: http://www.thinksimplenow.com


How to Focus?

Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of things you want to focus on? Yet, you find it hard to make real progress forward? Perhaps, it’s time to slim down your list and focus on just one or two larger goals. I too didn’t know how to focus until an unexpected conversation with my husband exposed my problem. This is that story.

For New Year’s Eve last year, Jeremy and I were looking for something to do—a traditional party with an actual countdown, mingling with strangers, getting dressed up in swanky outfits, holding champagne, kissing at midnight, etc.

I felt so relieved when we were invited to such a party. “Finally, we’re not going to be orphans this year,” I thought. However, the Universe had other plans for us; something sweeter, something better.

 

The plan was to put Ryan to bed, have dinner, and then go to the party. As we were having dinner, one conversation after another, we ended up on the topic “What do you want in the New Year? What are your goals? What do you want to focus on?

What started as a simple ten minute conversation over dinner grew into a two hour long, delicious sharing of our hopes and dreams for the future. It was one of the most honest conversations we’ve had. It was beautiful and worth savoring every breath.

One thing that became apparent was how scattered I was in what I wanted. My husband Jeremy had to stop me with “Oh wait, that’s too many things to focus on at once” as I listed all the things I wanted to focus on this year.

Despite my best efforts at simplifying my goals and my understanding that the more we focus on, the more diluted each goal becomes in its realization, I had too many “wants” and sometimes they conflicted with one another.

Using his supreme focus and sharpened managerial skills, Jeremy gently guided me in reorganizing my goals such that they were sorted in a hierarchical structure—with one big goal at the top to focus on, and lots of little goals that went underneath the big goal.

For my business, I had two big goals that were the most important which I will be focusing on. After examining all the loose goals, we determined that any career related goal had to fit under one of the two big goals. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be working on them.

Too many loose goals become a distraction, taking energy away from what matters most. If you don’t have a definite goal, you won’t know what you should be focused on and will end up drifting wherever the wind takes you.

It makes sense: We only have a limited amount of time each day. If we give attention to one thing, that means we now have less attention to give to another thing. Real results are produced as a product of focused attention. Scattered attention, attention focused on too many things can never produce real results.

I often violate this rule, especially last year, when I didn’t have any definite focus. I was floating around. Whenever something came along that sounded attractive, I would dive in and try it out. In the end, they were all distracters. As a result, I didn’t produce much. My heart wasn’t in it and my attention was being split into too many parts for any one part to become potent.

In the year 2010, I dabbled in wedding photography, internet marketing, consulting business, and the good mood blogging contest—all things which were nice to-haves, but took me away from what I wanted most: to create products that can help people, and to grow this happiness blog.

In chapter 1 of Napoleon Hill’s 1925 classic “The Law of Success”, he talks about the vital importance of having a definite purpose —the thing you want to focus on. The thing you want most to become realized.

Here’s a related quote from that chapter,

“Until a man selects a definite purpose in life, he dissipates his energies and spreads his thoughts over so many subjects and in so many different directions that they lead not to power, but to indecision and weakness.

 

With the aid of a small reading glass, you can teach yourself a great lesson on the value of organized effort. Through the use of such a glass, you can focus the sun’s rays on a definite spot so strongly that they will burn a hole through a plank. Remove the glass (which represents the definite purpose), and the same rays of sun may shine on that same plank for a million years without burning it.

Wow.

Thinking back to the times when I succeeded in producing concrete results, whether it was my first online business selling apparel, or graduating from university, or starting my blog, or even winning the good mood gig contest, I was completely focused, completely fixated, unwavering, razor sharp, focused on the end result (and on nothing else).

Ah, that’s the key I’ve been searching for, ‘focus’, and having a ‘definite purpose’,” I thought to myself.

I sat back, and watched as Jeremy excitedly helped organize my goals, and to simplify them, so that I can actually focus on just one or two things instead of fifty.

At an hour to midnight, Jeremy said, “You know, we can either go to the party and mingle with a bunch of people we don’t really know orwhile the topic is freshwe can go grab our laptops and organize our goals in a share doc, so we can keep each other accountable. And afterwards we can watch a movie and open a bottle of wine. What do you think?

It was so delicious an idea that there was only one possible answer: Of course, I would rather spend the night doing something personal and meaningful with my life partner.

Since, I had already gotten ready—all dressed up with my hair done and makeup already applied—which I pointed out to Jeremy long enough for him to say “Oooh, ahhh, pretty”, I ran upstairs like a little kid to change into warm comfy house clothes.

I then marched into my office, sat down at my desk, opened a Google doc and started typing. A few minutes later, Jeremy came in with two glasses of freshly opened red wine and his laptop. He sat at the reading chair—where I could see him in the dim shades of the reading lamp.

I had my goals organized in three major categories: professional, personal wellness and couple goals—as per Jeremy’s clever suggestion.

If you are curious, my two professional goals were: product creation and increase site traffic. From that moment on, I made a commitment to myself that everything I work on will fit into one of these categories. If not, I will not do it unless I choose to.

For my personal wellness goals, I had several loose goals. But the number one goal is to live consciously to the best of my ability by redirecting negative thoughts so that I am not stuck in a painful place caused by dwelling on the past or a nervous place caused by worrying about the future.

For couple goals, I wrote down the first thing that came to mind, “alone dates once a month”. I am so silly, I was in complete logical mode and was thinking about the actions to do, instead of the end goal those actions provided.

When Jeremy added his goals to the shared Google doc and it refreshed on my screen, I quickly scrolled to the bottom to his Couple Goals section. He wrote, “End 2011 with a closer relationship than 2010” and under that, he had “2 date nights per month” and “listen instead of argue.

I almost died when I read that- died in a land of happiness, a land of roses and rainbows. Jeremy is just so sweet. He’s always been so much more genuine about our relationship than I and so much more thoughtful. I have a lot to learn from him.

I looked over at him, there beyond my open laptop screen, under the warm lights of that reading lamp, with a kind of fondness that is indescribable. Tears welled up in my eyes. Those simple words on the screen meant and conveyed so much to me.

I jumped up from my desk , skipped like a bunny over to the reading chair in utter joy, and landed promptly in his lap. I pushed his laptop aside, snuggled up real close and said, “I love you babes. Thank you.

In the end, we didn’t do countdowns, or have champagne(we don’t even like champagne). Instead, we had the gift of a night, beyond anything I could have planned—a focused roadmap for this year, wonderful wine, delicious popcorn, priceless moments of connection, and a phenomenal documentary called “The Cove”(which I highly, highly recommend. Beautifully written, moving, uplifting and heart-warming).

Now that is a beautiful start to a new year.

What are your goals for this year? What do you want to focus on?

Consider, going through your list and pick just one or two things to focus on. Give it your whole attention and I am sure your focused attention and dedicated action will cause it to come into reality. I am reminded of a saying, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” It’s all a matter of deciding where to put our focus, and then allocating our time towards action for the fruition of that which we are focused on.

The same formula can be applied towards parenting or to improve a relationship. Focus, focus, focus is the key.

Remember, it is not possible to focus on many things. Pick just one and focus with all your attention to make it a reality, before moving on to the next thing.

Which one to focus on? That’s up to you. What does your heart tell you? What inspires you the most and gives you the most reward? Which goal gets you most excited about your future? Pick that one.

source: http://www.thinksimplenow.com