Friday, October 31, 2014

Life's Turning Points

Turning points
Tim Connor

Sooner or later, people who are on the road to continued personal development, have an epiphany or what I refer to as turning points in their life, career or relationships.

Turning points happen in our life when we are ready and willing to see life differently and take action on the inner guidance we receive.  They can cause us to rethink previous actions or decisions, current attitudes or how we perceive our future.  They can give us valuable insight into how to embrace a happier or more successful lifestyle or just help us let go of regret, negative emotions or memories or thoughts that if continued can sabotage our inner peace and achievement.

Over the years I have had several turning points that have reshaped how I perceive myself, how I interpret the behavior or words of others and how I need to change some mindset or behavior if I want to continue down the path towards increased success or inner peace.
Turning points can be triggered from anywhere; other’s actions, life circumstances, struggle, inner frustration or just the desire to improve or change something in your life that just is no longer working.

Some of the signals or symptoms of turning points can be; inner pain, increased stress, dissatisfaction, confusion, uncertainty or the need to gain better control over yourself and your beliefs, attitudes or thoughts.

Let me give you one quick example of a turning point I recently had in my life.
I am a giver.  I have always put other’s needs or desires ahead of my own.  Last year in a relationship it hit me like a baseball bat – why do I always sacrifice my agendas for other’s agendas?  Is it insecurity? The desire to please? The fear of loss? Or some other emotional need?  My discovery was simply – in certain situations this is appropriate responses to their desires, circumstances or needs but not as a constant rule of thumb.  I need to more carefully evaluate their needs against my own and make better decisions when it comes to my life.  As a result I developed one of my life mantras – “I will not let other people’s circumstances or life situations determine my reactions, responses or actions.”

I’m not there yet but I am making significant progress.  Every change in life takes patience, persistence, courage and will and none of these are easy when we have a history of opposite behavior or decision making.

Every turning point in your life comes with advance signals, warnings or messages that something is about to change or needs to change.  We have a choice – we can listen and heed these or ignore them but in the end if a turning point is necessary in order to live life with more success, happiness or inner peace we will either learn the lessons and make appropriate changes or we will continue to live with fear, disappointment, regret and stress.

These signals can vary from inner pain or anxiety to subtle messages from others even total strangers.

Years ago after an all day seminar on goals, discipline and attitudes a person came up to me and said, “Why should I listen to you, you are overweight.”  Wow – what a message.  I thanked him and then spent time in self-evaluation considering his remark and my effectiveness as a speaker.  Yes, this was his opinion but perhaps others in the room felt the same way and the essence of my message was lost.  What I do know is that hearing this was uncomfortable but it became a significant turning point in my life.

How about you – getting some signals today from any source giving you the opportunity to reconsider your lifestyle, personal values or beliefs or something as simple as how you react to criticism or feedback?

Change isn’t easy for any of us especially those traits, beliefs, values or attitudes that have been entrenched in our fabric for many years.  But, change sooner or later is inevitable when there is a need for a new direction in life.

There are many factors that prevent us from making these changes like; arrogance, denial, ego control, prejudices or just the unwillingness to admit that some area of our life needs to change.  In the end life is about forward progress, learning and adapting and if we fail to bring the willingness to change to any situation we are setting ourselves up for continued frustration and uncertainty.

Any change requires courage, persistence, the ability to handle failure and obstacles and the desire and will to make the change.  Without any of these you will discover that past attitudes, mindsets and fears will continue to dominate your life.

The price for not changing is too high and the success of change that gives you greater happiness and contentment is well worth the price.  The question is – would you rather live with the continued pain caused by not changing or would you rather free yourself from the hold that the past has on you.  You choose.

“From his cradle to his grave a man never does a single thing  which has any first foremost object but one – to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort for himself.”
Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Does climbing the ladder of success require losing yourself

Does climbing the ladder of success
require losing yourself
Tim Connor

You may be familiar with a quote, “What good is it to climb the ladder of success if it’s leaning against the wrong building?”

Here’s my quote, “If you lose who you are as you climb the ladder of success, in the end you may gain success but was it worth it?”

Let’s get to the heart of this issue.

First of all success isn’t the destination but who you have become, what you have learned and whether you have enjoyed the journey.  Too many people sacrifice more than necessary to reach a place that they hope will give them contentment, happiness, financial freedom and inner peace but statistics over the years have proven again and again that just achieving wealth or financial independence isn’t a guarantee for happiness or satisfaction with life in general.

If you are not enjoying the thirty or forty year journey as you gain achievement and ultimate success (regardless of how you define it) what’s the point?

Life isn’t about the end but the process of moving toward the end.  Too many people look back with far too many regrets that they have finally discovered that it’s too late to change the past.

I can give you hundreds of stories or examples from my world travels where people sacrificed relationships, health, inner peace and general satisfaction with their life chasing an elusive future that has no guarantees that it will end as you want it to, need it to or feel you deserve.

Real success, like anything else that turns out correctly is an ongoing process not a single arrival or destination achieved.

Having recently spent 14 hours flying home from Greece I was amazed at how many people live the time they are given with frustration, impatience, anxiety and disappointment.  Yes, arriving safely was important but let me ask you a simple question – If you knew today was your last day of life what would you focus on, how would you spend your time, how would you treat others or just live your final hours?

With fear, anxiety, stress, frustration or disappointment or with joy, peace, happiness or a simple thank you for the life you were given?

Yes, the simple fact is that your answer will depend on how you have lived your past and are you ready to move on or are you leaving with regrets?

Back to the title – I’ll wager that as the years have passed your definition of success has changed or gone through a few transitions.  I’ll bet that your definition of success at 55 (if you have reached that age) is a great deal different than what it was at 25.  If you are 25 I’ll bet that when you reach 60 (and with luck and good fortune you will) you will look back and say – “Wow, I never saw that coming, I never thought _ _ _ _ _ , or who could have guessed _ _ _ _ _!”

We all are who we are and who we are becoming.  Some people will like you, some will love you, some will hate you and some won’t care either way who you are as life is about them and not you.

You have a right to be who you are (assuming you are not hurting other people in the process) and who you are becoming.  People who need the approval of others to be ok with themselves ultimately live with constant stress, low self-esteem, anxiety and disappointment.

We are all changing and growing but the question is – who should determine that path – yourself or others?  For me, I like who I am and on a few occasions in my past I sacrificed that because I believed that was my role or responsibility as a parent, spouse, son or business owner to behave as was expected.

As a speaker and trainer I have been in front of over a million people in 25 countries and I’ll guarantee you that some didn’t like me or my style or approach and that some did, but in the end at the end of the day I had to look in the mirror and say to myself – “Have I been true to me or have I sacrificed that in the name of success, acceptance, wealth or political correctness?”

In the end, we are all on our very personal journey and in the end if we lose who we are I believe we lose everything.

I was not put on this earth for your approval.  I was not put here to be what or who you think I should be - I was put here to be me whatever that means.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and
liking how you do it.”
Maya Angelou