Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ego – Is yours stealing your inner peace?

Ego –
Is yours stealing your inner peace?
Tim Connor

Ego - we all have one, the problem is it contributes to your stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, regret or contributes to your inner peace.  What’s the difference?  Well when it’s under control it helps us get through life with contentment, success and little stress.  When it’s out of control it is the cause of every negative emotion and most negative circumstances.  Don’t believe me?  Read on.

There are a number of ego issues that impact our sense of inner peace and contentment.  I will only discuss seven in this article.  Not in the order of importance as each one can dominate a person’s life even though they may not have any of the others they demonstrate in their life.

It’s all about me –
Generally people with an out of control ego tend to be very self-absorbed. In other words their agendas, conversation, needs, wants and behavior is very ‘about me’. Yes, many of these people can have compassion, understanding and interest in others, but if this is the case it is usually grounded in some form of selfishness or even narcissism. 

They can hide these attitudes or behaviors and come across as sensitive and empathetic but beware they are very good actors or actresses.

Control –
The ego does not like to feel out of control.  It wants, no it needs to be in control of all things whether personal, relational or in your career or business.  Yes, to be successful you need to have a secure and healthy ego but I can’t tell you how many business leaders I have known over the years that put their own ego’s control ahead of the success of their business or organization. When the ego in us feels out of control we tend to feel insecure, unsure and even emotionally unstable. In these situations we will make irrational decisions, sabotage relationships and increase our stress level.

Looking good –
The ego in us needs to look good and not how we define looking good but how others, society, clients, friends, peers and even family define looking good.  Looking good means we are aware of all of the factors people use to judge others.  The problem is you can never satisfy everyone’s view or interpretation of what looks good and what doesn’t but we keep trying; new cars, new homes, extravagant vacations, corporate airplanes, fancy offices etc.

Patience –
People with an out of control ego lack patience.  They are always in a hurry and get upset, frustrated or even angry when things don’t happen according to their schedule, expectations or agendas.  I don’t care if it’s a traffic jam or someone is late for an appointment.  If the waiter takes too long to bring the menu or someone doesn’t respond to an email or phone call as quickly as you think they should.  As a sidebar the biggest contributor to stress and therefore illness, broken relationships and even death is a lack of patience.

Validation –
The ego needs validation.  It needs to be respected, appreciated, valued and often liked.  There is no way that everyone you meet in life will like you and many people may not appreciate the things you do for them and demonstrate their appreciation. If you expect everyone in your life to value you, you are living in La La Land.  When the ego doesn’t get what it need or wants it will often get defensive or even angry.  Many times these reactions are unnecessary given the circumstances and can often destroy a relationship.

I’m better, smarter etc. than you –
The ego thinks it is always the smartest person in the room regardless of the topic or nature of the conversation.  I can’t tell you how many times when I was in front of an audience that a person spouted off far too long trying to convince me or other members of the group that they knew it all.  Knowledge is different than wisdom (as I have discussed in previous Boosters). Just because you think you know a lot doesn’t mean you are wise or even intelligent.  Yes, there are many smart people out there but my experience is that people with big egos need to be smart even about things they know nothing about.

Self-esteem –
Self-esteem is simply what and how you think about yourself.  What you believe you are.  The ego will tend to have an exaggerated view and opinion of itself therefore a rather phony high self-esteem. This level of self-esteem is not grounded in reality but pure fantasy and as a result it will often create circumstances where eventually the person will not be able to effectively hide this low self-esteem or a lack of emotional security.

Summary – any or all of these when a part of a person’s behavior and/or out of control will impact their career, relationships, happiness and inner peace in a negative way.  I am not suggesting any of these are good or bad, you can be the judge of that and how they are impacting the important areas of your life and their overall influence on you.  But, I will say that when any or all of these are a major part of your personality and displayed consistently and overtly they will tend to contribute to higher stress, less life satisfaction and general displeasure.

“The man who fears suffering is already suffering
from what he fears.”
De Montaigne

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Hurry Syndrome - got it bad?

The “Hurry” Syndrome
Got it bad?
Tim Connor

OK, you are going the speed limit and someone whizzes by you like there is no tomorrow – ever happened? Or have you put your life in jeopardy by weaving from one lane to the other in a hurry to get somewhere to then just sit in front of the TV chilling?

There are millions of ways people hurry through their life and I won’t bore you with any other examples, but I will ask you in all seriousness – do you have a bad case of “Hurry Syndrome”.

Well Tim, how can I answer that if I don’t know what you are talking about?

The Hurry Syndrome – when you lose touch with the present moment because you are obsessed with the next one.  Clear enough?

Why do people feel the need to hurry everything or everywhere?  Don’t they know what they are missing now? Yes there are some occasions when we need to rush but my guess is the reason we have to is directly related to some lifestyle issue. There five areas I am asking you to consider when it comes to this hurry issue;

Tomorrow is not guaranteed – 48,000 people in the US died in their sleep last night.  Were you one of them? Thousands of people die every day for a variety of reasons – were you one of them? If you knew today was your last day how would you spend it?  You see here is the issue – today is the last day for thousands of people but they just don’t know it. The only thing we do know is that we are alive now and when you really think about it that’s all that is really important. So – how are you living today – as if you have hundreds or even thousands of tomorrows or like all of us you really don’t know?

Expectations can ruin your day – The number one cause of disappointment is unrealized expectations.  A major contributor to stress is disappointment.  Stress is the number one contributor to illness.  Get it – expectations shorten your life and why?  You can’t manage all of them or even some of them; they are in the hands of the Universe, life, God or others.  So why do you set yourself up for constant disappointment by life or others when you have little or no control over them? Is it ego?  Is it selfishness?  Is it self-absorption?  Or is it the lack of patience with yourself, others or life in general?

What are you missing – Got any regrets?  Someone you didn’t call because you were too busy and then for some reason they are gone and you can no longer talk to them, see them or be with them?  Your kids are now heading off to college and you think back of all those special times you missed because you were too busy or in too much of a rush to just stop and be with them while you still could? I don’t know about you but life is just flying by.  I look back on 40 or 50 years and think – where did they all go?  What did I miss?  If I could rewind the clock and calendar would I do things differently?  Not that old yet?  Hopefully you will be one day and all you will have is your memories, the question is will they bring a smile to your face or tears?

The past is goneWhen I say the past is gone I’m not implying that it was bad or good, filled with failure or achievements or wonderful memories or memories that make your hair stand on end.  My only point is that the past is dead.  Let me explain.

Last week you had a wonderful time with your kids.  Last month you got a promotion.   Last year you moved into your dream house.  Ten years ago you married your soul mate.  These were wonderful times.  Or – yesterday your car had a major mechanical issue, last month a dear friend passed away or five years ago you lost your job.  What’s the difference between all of these events?  Well, yes, some of them give you positive memories while others cause nothing but pain or regret.

But in the end they are all in the past – gone – yes you can relive them but here’s the problem – while you relive them you are in the past.  Whatever happened - happened – it’s gone - history regardless of whether your interpretation of it was positive or negative.

Why are you here – This is one of life’s fundamental questions that millions of people have been asking themselves for thousands of years.  Have you ever asked it of yourself?  If yes, have you figured out the answer yet?  If not why haven’t you asked it?  I know - if I will never come up with an answer what’s the point of asking the question?  Sometimes the thoughts we generate with questions even though we don’t get answers is a very valuable exercise.  Try it.

The gift of life is about four simple (no they are not really simple but this isn’t a book) ideas; living life to the fullest, giving and receiving love, bringing glory to God and service to others.  How are you doing?

In summary – Each moment life gives you is a gift.  Each breath you take is a gift.  Each heartbeat is a gift.  These gifts are to be enjoyed now not tomorrow “Do not worry about tomorrow – what you will eat or wear.  Today is enough.”  Recognize this?

All hurrying does is cause you to need to hurry to the next thing after you have hurried to the last one.  Stop for a minute or an hour and just say thank you for what you have and stop worrying about what you don’t have or won’t get to do in the future. Because one day it’s all going back in the box. 

“Everywhere I go, there I am.”  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Are you growing or dying?

Are you growing you are dying?
Tim Connor

What is growing?  There are two ways to consider this – your personal growth and your business growth.  Let’s discuss each briefly and yes there is a lot more I could say about both.

But first what is dying and I’m not referring to physical death.  Don’t assume that dying is a bad thing as it can create a new beginning, one that is timely, necessary or positive or it can be a fading away or losing something you value or cherish.

Dying could be described in a variety of ways so I’ll keep it short and simple with my philosophy – dying is letting go of what was and moving on to what is new so I see it as a potential positive.  You might think this statement is contrary to the title but think about it for a minute.  Dying can be a prelude to growing or choosing to wallow in that you had or have lost.  I’m not referring here to losing a loved one or something very personal like health.  My focus here is on having a mindset of continuous groth or using dying as a step before growth.  The key secret is if you continue to grow dying or letting go is a natural part of the life process.

Personal growth –

There are only two ways to go through life when it comes to personal growth – grow a little be every day or don’t.  I know this might sound like a simplified approach but think about it – every day you learn something – from a book, another person, a formal learning experience or through self-evaluation but every day your awareness of the need to keep growing in as many life areas as possible is foremost on your mind or it isn’t.  If it isn’t I’ll wager that as the months and years pass you continually face the same challenges or problems over and over again.  I am guilty and I’ll be the first to admit it.  I read every day.  I think every day.  I learn every day but if the learning is not in the necessary life areas well, I’ll tell you – life repeats.

Personal growth requires a variety of behaviors or actions things like;

-letting go of something that is sabotaging you in some way
-surrendering to something that is holding you back
-practicing something you want to do better
-changing something to improve
-trusting God and life
-challenging your perceptions
-questioning your opinions, values, prejudices, mindsets, judgments

If you will develop the daily habit of doing just half of these you will be amazed at the results you can achieve within 30-60 days.  A new you awaits every day of your life - the question is do you let the new and better you surface or do you keep him or her suppressed behind a shield of fear, low self-esteem, arrogance or some other negative habit or mental process?

Business growth –

Whether your business is growing or stagnant depends on many factors.  I can’t dig into each of them in this short article but I would like to discuss what I believe are the most frequent issues that are involved when an organization or business is not consistently growing.  The following are in no order of importance. I hope they prove to be food for thought.

Relevance –
Relevance – being connected: having some sensible or logical connection with something else such as a matter being discussed or investigated.  Having social significance: having some bearing on or importance for real-world issues, present-day events, or the current state of society or business.
Relavanceis the ability to bring real world experience, reality and perceptions into decisions, actions, activities and behavior that maintain a connection between your business’s products and services and buyer needs, wants and trends and the direction of market, technology and social influences.
There are many aspects to consider when it comes to this issue of relevance.  A few of them are; ego control, evaluating the past with integrity and reality, paying attention to trends, letting go of old emotional baggage or emotional attachments, the ability to throw away the box (not just thinking outside the box), bringing creative solutions to problems or challenges and the ability to focus on the positives and not the negatives.
Corporate self-image –

Organizations are made up of individuals with various self-images and therefore create what I refer to as an ‘organizational or corporate self-image’.  Organizations also create a destiny which is often consistent with how the combined group of employees in a department, division, group or even the entire employee base see themselves as an entity (their personal self-image). 
For example, if a group of employees in a customer service department see themselves as unimportant and unappreciated the department in general will tend to treat customers in much the same way.  Yes, there may be select individuals who treat customers with respect and concern, but by an large the department as a whole, because of it’s department’s low self-image, will treat most customers poorly.
If the management team in an organization, for whatever reason(s), is not in sync with its direction, goals, decisions, philosophy, communication etc. it will create confusion, a lack of harmony, very little employee empowerment and poor performance among its employees.
Corporate self-image is a major factor in determining organization success and relevance.

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." 
John Kennedy

Monday, August 12, 2013

Let me ask you a simple question.

Let me ask you a simple question . . .
Tim Connor

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

Stop whatever you are doing right now and what’s the first thing that comes into your mind?  Your;

list of things to do
love life
financial circumstances
today’s tasks
spiritual path
previous disappointments

Don’t rely on my list (it’s just to get you started but this list is not the issue but what comes into your mind immediately when you ask yourself this question) so - stop and ask yourself this question and then ask yourself – why did this come to your mind first?

What’s your point Tim?

OK, here’s another one – if you knew your next breath was going to be your last one would you answer this question differently?  I’ll wager the answer would be yes – unless . . . read on.

Let me give you a few of my favorite sayings;

-Want to make God Laugh – tell Him your plans.
-We are here for a little while and then we are gone forever.
-On the last day of your life everything is going back in the box, done.
-All you really have is your current breath.
-Don’t worry about tomorrow, today is enough.
-We are all going to die – what will be your legacy?
-Fifty years from now will what is going on today really matter?

I could go on and on, but I’m sure I have made my point.

In the end none of this stuff matters; your; family, passions, memories, plans, goals, possessions, stuff – got it?  Not being morbid here just wondering what drives your every moment? And I’m not implying that they are not important or valuable just that in the end only one thing really matters. Is what is important due to selfishness, self-absorption, acts of service, giving to others, living with inner peace, personal satisfaction or achievements or something else?

You have a relationship with yourself (self-respect, self-love, self-trust) and this relationship determines everything else in your life.

Treat yourself with poor self-respect and you will tend to treat others in the same way.  Why?  Because all of your actions, attitudes and behavior come from inside you, inside your thoughts.  If you don’t believe you are worthy you will bring this mindset to all of your relationships thereby attracting people who will tend to validate this self-belief in how they treat you and your inner self will agree with their judgments therefore just proving once again that you are not worthy.

Think for a moment who you have let into your life or who do you surround yourself with.  How do they treat you?  If they treat you with love then you can rest assured that they are doing this not because of who you are but because it is who they are.  When they treat you with love and you accept their love it is because you believe and feel you are worthy of their love.  But, the opposite is also true.  If they abuse you with their so-called love then this is because this is who they are and you feel this is what you deserve.  The key here is if you love yourself why put up with other’s lack of love due not to who you are but because it is who they are?

Your relationship with yourself is the most important thing in your life as it will drive your personal, career, relationship and spiritual growth.  How are you doing these days?

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined."
 Henry David Thoreau