Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ever been lost?

Ever been lost?

Tim Connor

As you begin another new year let me ask you – have you ever felt lost in any area of life?  Feel lost at some point last year? Don’t want to live the coming year lost?  I could go on, but I know your time and attention span is short so on to my purpose of this short article.

Years ago - without your GPS lady if you got lost you had to stop at a local gas station or some business to ask for directions or you just could have stayed wandering in hopes of eventually finding your way to your destination.

I recall a few years trying to find the rental car location at the Denver airport and driving in circles cause my phone had died.  Missed the flight and spent a lot of extra time at the airport.  Ever had a similar experience - and not necessarily at an airport?

What exactly does it mean to be lost? For help I turned to the dictionary – misplaced, vanished, missing, mislaid, no longer possessed or retained, lost friends, no longer to be found – finally – having gone astray or missed the way, bewildered as to place, direction etc.

So, let me ask you where in life can we be lost?  Here are a few – wrong career – lost? Bad or poor relationship – lost? Bad or poor personal habits – lost? Financial mistakes, too much debt or bad spending habits – lost? Confusion about what really matters in life – lost? Yes, there are many others but let me ask you – ever felt lost in any of these areas?  I know I have and I’m not ashamed to admit it - cause - till I did I was unable to find my way out of lostness (yes, I know that’s not a word).

Being lost in any area of life can waste time, energy, resources and life in general.  Ever stayed in the wrong job to long? Guilty!  The wrong relationship too long? Guilty! So, Tim where are you going with this?  OK, there are five things we need to consider when it comes to being lost; where are we lost, why are we lost, are we lost because of ourselves or others, have we been lost in this same area in the past and how do we get un-lost?

where are we lost – Lost is more an emotional than physical issue.  Generally speaking your GPS lady is not going to help you get out of a bad relationship or job.  The best way to determine if you are lost is to consider the following; if you are feeling a lot of - stress, confusion, anxiety, frustration, a lot of negative or invalidating self-talk, resentment, disappointment, unmet expectations, you are most likely lost – maybe not super lost but lost nonetheless. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a relationship, business, career or any other area – it’s most likely a time for – a change, letting go, surrender, new growth, acceptance, an ending, a new beginning or at the least some quiet introspection time.

why are we lost – well, a few taken from the above pretty much sums this one up. We are lost because; we feel stuck, feel obligated, are afraid we can’t handle change, don’t like uncertainty, are in blame mode, feel abandoned or just lonely - any or all of these and many others can contribute to lost feelings or actually being lost.

are we lost because of ourselves or others – there is little in life we can control, in fact the only thing we can control is ourselves – our decisions, choices, attitudes, mindsets, feelings etc.  You would be amazed, maybe not, how many people believe they can control – the weather, the traffic, other people, consequences and just about everything.  Got news for you – no can do – no matter how hard you try or how much you feel you should be able to control everything. So, if you are a control freak I’m guessing you are lost a lot and why? Because you are placing your destiny, legacy, happiness, health etc. in the hands of others or circumstances that you will never be able to control. So being lost is ultimately a decision we make due to any number of uncontrollable factors.

have we been lost in this same area in the past – This one is simple – if you have ever been lost a second or third time in the same life area – guess what?  Right, you didn’t learn what life wanted you to learn during the previous lostness so it’s giving you another chance.  And guess what?  If you don’t learn it this time it will keep giving you more opportunities to learn it until you finally do.  Boy, I am so guilty of this one that I hate to admit it in public.

how do we get un-lost – well there’s a book here but I’ll keep it short. In no particular order of importance;

-spend more time in honest self-examination and introspection.

-create an honest support group (3-10) of people who you can bring real issues to and they will be honest with you no matter what. Never rely on just one person because no matter how smart they are you will only get their opinion and trust me – one is never enough.

-Have a couple of coaches – never just one and make sure they have experience in the areas where you want or need guidance.

-Learn to accept the truth and not your version of it.

-Change your mindsets about change, uncertainty or new beginnings.  See them as positive, necessary and valuable.

-Get outside of your own ego-driven attitudes, paradigms and comfort levels.

-Admit failure, mistakes, poor choices and/or decisions.

-Don’t get stuck in other’s realities – stay focused on what is really happening or going on and not what others want you to see or believe.

As an author, I could go on for pages with this stuff, but let’s wrap it up with one key point.  Sooner or later in the adventure we call life - all of us are going to feel lost, get lost or be lost in some area of life.  If you live life to the fullest you can’t avoid mistakes, bad decisions or choices, failure etc. “lostness” but what you can do is learn from it or them, so you don’t keep getting lost again and again in the same life area.  There yet???

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Is it ever too late to make a second impression?

Is it ever too late to make a second

first impression?

Tim Connor

Trust me, standing in front of 1000 people I can assume (I hate assumptions) that at least 10% of the audience doesn’t like me before I open my mouth. Never had that experience?  Well, how about meeting a blind date for the first time hoping that you don’t do or say something stupid?  Never had that experience either?  OK, how about waiting for an interview for a job you need to get for any number of reasons and you just hope they will approve of you and your resume, experience and yes, the color of your hair, the shoes you are wearing and how tall or short you are? 

I know you might think I’m being a bit silly or even paranoid but believe me these and many more experience like this happen every day.  Want proof?  If you have never read any of my articles or books and are reading this one, I’ll guarantee you have already made a judgement – to keep reading or click on something else.  Am I right? Well, if you are in the second group you haven’t even made it this far.

The basis or foundation of all impressions is simply that a person sees something, meets someone, experiences anything and their first reaction is a – No, Yes or Maybe.  In other words, whenever or whatever comes into our life from any source we will on first reactions – resist it, accept it or decide to consider it.

As a global speaker I have watched thousands of people in my audiences have one of these three reactions. Why? Why do we react the way we do?  I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Let me explain.

There are over 300 billion brain cells/nerves in your head.  Every one of them has 5000+ neural connections and as a result there are over three trillion chemical reactions/responses every second in your brain. And what are these?  Well first do the math – a big number of stuff going on in your head while you jog, read, watch TV, attend a staff meeting etc.

In other words – every thought you have ever had, every experience you have ever had, every memory you have ever had – get it?  It’s all stored in that small device in your head – everything since your birth.

So, you meet someone new – during the first 10-30 seconds your brain is searching through literally quadrillions of facts and memories trying to decide how to react to this person.  And guess what – even if you have never met them before, know nothing about them – whatever – within 20 seconds you will form an opinion and a reaction that is not grounded in the present reality but years of past experiences and memories.

So, your opinion of this new person has nothing to do with them but your interpretation of them based on similar historical events, people or situations.

I know you probably didn’t want this much information and I’ll bet that if you formed an opinion before you got this far you have no idea what I’m talking about now cause you stopped reading a few paragraphs up – deciding that you didn’t like where I was going, you didn’t agree with it or it was making you feel uncomfortable or it wasn’t what you were expecting based on the title.

In other words, getting a second chance at a first impression is not you giving me another chance to be perceived better by you but you giving you a second chance to change your mind based on new information that is added to the mix of your history, therefore permitting you to see things differently, better or more relevant.

For those of you who want a simpler approach I offer the following.

There are ten primary areas that contribute to first impressions of others and often even lasting ones.  They are; your words, your actions, your decisions, your attitudes, your example, your congruence, your consistency, your integrity, your values and your beliefs.  I’m not going to delve into each of these – if you want to make better impressions on others – do the research, but I would like to cover briefly what I feel are the five most important ones.

Your congruence – Congruent is simply where two things mean the same thing or are consistent or in harmony with.  For example - if you say you will meet me for lunch at noon and you show up at noon – you were being congruent.  If you said you would and you got there a half hour late – you weren’t congruent.

If you keep saying one thing and keep doing something else – well – sooner or later first impressions will plague you for a long, long time.

Your words – Words matter.  When you say I will always and you deviate just once – always means nothing and so your words no longer have value.

Your attitudes – Attitudes are a reflection of beliefs, values and conditioned experiences.  We feel and think what we do and then express these with a variety of – yes, no or maybes – attitudes. What’s an attitude? It’s simply a consistent way of thinking about something and then responding accordingly.  For example, if you are a liberal – conservatives get on your nerves because they have bad attitudes and vice versa. If you are twenty and are having a serious discussion with someone in their eighties, I’ll guarantee that before the conversation is over sooner or latter one of you will get on the other one’s nerves and blame it on – you have an attitude issue dude!

Your consistency – I’m not going to explain this one as I’m sure you know what this word means.  All I want to say is that when you lose consistency in serious matters you lose credibility and often respect which contributes to poor impressions.  Don’t believe me – look up the acceptance level of the average politician.

Your example – Notice how all four of the previous examples are related?  Well, they are – deviate or swerve form any one of them and the other four are impacted – therefore your image and the impressions you make or continue to make.

Want to make better impressions – first of all you will never get the same reaction from different people on the same behavior because everyone’s mental barometers or expectations are unique.  So, stop trying to please everyone – it’s a waste of energy, time and life.

The answer is - be who you are not who others want you to be, expect you to be, demand you to be.  Period - stop working for other people’s approval – again – a waste of time and energy. Yes, we all need to keep getting better, wiser and smarter but until we are perfect we just need to chill, be and let other’s attitudes, expectations, rules, needs etc. be them and not us.

I was not put on this earth for your approval so get over it.  If you don’t like me or approve of me – Ok, but I am not going to change me to satisfy your expectations of me and as a result, lose myself in the process.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Had a door close in 2017 you didn't see coming?

Had any unexpected closed doors in 2017?

Tim Connor

We have all experienced a closed door in some area of our life at one time or another and if I were to guess, you had at least one closed this year.  If you haven’t you were either locked in your closet for 12 months or you have a magic wand that you wave in front of every closed door and it opens for you. I will also wager that you have had the opportunity to go through an open door this year but hesitated or just took a different path or decided to go through it.  Yes, I’m doing a lot guessing but having had my share of both open and closed doors in my life and I have learned a great deal about both and how to treat them.

But first what are open and closed doors and what’s their purpose in our life?

Open doors are opportunities – for; new relationships, new careers, new interests, new people in our life, new habits, new mindsets and new attitudes to etc. - just to mention a few.  What are closed doors?  Just re-read the previous examples with a twist - open doors are what we can do or choose to do or take advantage of while closed doors are things we can’t do or control, we don’t want or don’t like, we don’t think we deserve or feel are unfair again - etc.

The critical lesson life has taught me during my many years is that whether a door is open or closed is not the issue, but how I react to or handle whichever life gives me. Both are in our life to teach us.  What?  Read on.

What are some of the potential reactions or responses we can take or have to either open and closed doors?  But before I dig just a bit deeper a thought – have you ever considered that just because an open door opens in front of you that you don’t have to go through it?

We’ve all heard the line “when one door closes another one opens”. What this line fails to include is – just because it opens doesn’t mean it’s a good decision or move to go through it. Ever gone through an open door and in hindsight wish you hadn’t?  Ever not gone through an open door and in hindsight wish you had?  Well, welcome to Life 101.

OK, a bit more about closed doors – When a door closes in our life whether a personal, career or business one - there are usually lessons to be learned, signals to pay attention to that we have missed for any number of reasons or changes that need to be made in our life, career or relationships that we have avoided, procrastinated about or just stayed in denial. Doors can close for many reasons; poor timing, skill inadequacy, immaturity, denial, ego, pain avoidance, personal shortcomings, avoidance techniques, insecurity, emotional reasons or even things like guilt, regret, remorse and what I refer to as “stuckness”.

Most of the doors that close are warnings that are for any number of reasons in our life to prevent us from continuing down the wrong, destructive or time-wasting path. Let me ask you - have you ever had a door close and you went outside and cheered at the top of your lungs?  Probably not, but I’ll bet after some time, careful consideration or introspection that you said to yourself “YES” this was a good thing for whatever reason?  I have, and I know both are possible and either immediate and/or long-term awareness that this door closing was necessary to move on and if it hadn’t closed I would have continued to waste time, energy and/or resources.

I have been asked by a number of people over the years, is it God that closes or opens doors? I am not qualified to answer that question now or ever, but what I do know for sure is that there is always some kind of divine or life intervention when these confront us.  Eric Butterworth one of my former mentors called it “life adjustments that need to be made in order to stay on the right path.” I don’t know what’s around the next bend and neither do you - so we can’t possibly know all of the consequences of decisions made today and their future – short or long-term outcomes.

When a door closes we have a choice – reflect, consider, ask and even pray or we can whine, complain, blame, cry, point fingers or hide but in the end this door closed for a reason – we don’t, nor may ever know why it closed at this time or in these circumstances, but what we can do is see it in terms of who we are, what we want, where we are going, where we have been, what we need to learn, where or how we need to change or who or what we need to let out of our life.

Instead of asking – why me, why now, why this or why anything how about saying - this is here for a reason – what can I learn, what is this trying to teach me about me and not necessarily teach me about it or you?

On to open doors –  First just because a door opens for you, you don’t have to go through it.  And do you know what the biggest mistake is that most people make when dealing open doors and whether to avoid them or go through them? Think about it.  Make it personal. What did you learn or are you learning? Well, I’ll save you some time – most people only focus on the short-term benefits versus the long-term consequences of open doors.

So, when a door opens how should we react or decide.  First of all – ever had a door open before the other one closed?  In other words, in a relationship that’s not over or been ended but you met someone new you were attracted to?  How about a career or job? Ever been offered a new position while you are still in a current one?  These are common occurrences that happen to millions of people every day - plus many others that is too long of a list to include, but I’m sure you get my point.

What are our open-door options, choices or actions?

The answer to this question only has two ways you can go – go through the open door or don’t – that simple, well the choice may be simple, but the details can be really complicated.  So, what should be our benchmarks or rationales be for going through it or not?  There are many but here are just a few of what I feel are the important ones.

-Consider both the short and long-term consequences of your choice or action.  No, you can’t know them all whichever you decide, or will you ever be able to be certain about anything or everything, but you can use your history of; previous circumstances, decisions, actions, choices and outcome patterns as a way of looking at what you are facing now.

-How does it feel – to go through it or to not?  No, you should never make decisions purely on feelings, but they do matter and can contribute to better decisions. Or better still, what is your heart saying not just your mind or thoughts?

-Ask people you trust like friends, mentors, coaches’ impartial folks for their insight, input or guidance who don’t have agendas. Avoid asking parents, spouses, relatives or bosses. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask them, include them or consult with them – just that their advice could be skewed or prejudiced.

-Pray and meditate and listen to your inner guidance system.

-Don’t rush or make the decision or choice under pressure or in a hurry due to any outside source. If you are being pressured in my opinion walk away and don’t go through it. Just my take.

-Trust yourself, but also question yourself and discover motives, fears, dreams, hopes, concerns etc.   Ask yourself why am I making the decision I am?

-If appropriate do the due diligence or research.

-Don’t repeat the same decision patterns of the past that have not worked out well.

These are just for starters as you can find many more in a variety of articles about this process – just google – closed and open doors or contact me and I can recommend several books by great authors.

Let me close with two quick questions.

-Facing either a closed or open door as this year comes to an end?

-Don’t feel you deserve the closed one or not sure what to do with the open one?

Guess it’s time for some serious reflection.  Oh sure, you can put it off, but one thing I have learned, when life comes to teach you a lesson and you avoid it or refuse the learning, trust me, sooner or later there will be another chance to learn the same lesson in the future.  Maybe different people, different circumstances or different timing, but the lesson will be the same.  So, the sooner you learn the lesson the more time you save in the future learning new stuff rather than repeat lessons.

Have a super holiday season

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Eight words than can change your life.

Eight “L’s” for a contented life

Tim Connor

I thought I would keep things simple with this article since the average adult attention span is less than 15 seconds.  And, yes, there are many more words than eight words or concepts that when interpreted correctly and integrated into our activities, decisions, behaviors and life in general can have a significant positive impact on our life outcomes and consequences – but here are a few that I believe are an important foundation.

FYI – Starting in January 2018 for the first 26 weeks of the year - each week I am going to publish a new article focusing on eight specific words –  on a different letter in the alphabet (starting from A-Z). I thought I would get a head start on 2018 with the letter L (giving you a preview of this process before it starts in a few weeks).  Starting January 8th 2018 if you want to see each week’s article on the words I have selected – check my blog or my website every Monday and click on the heading - Wisdom.

OK, here are the first eight as a teaser;

Learn – If you are not learning you are stuck.  Doesn’t matter whether you are twenty-five or seventy.  We were not put on the earth for a few years to learn in high school or college and then just float through the rest of our lives. Learning is today becoming easier and harder for many reasons but in the end if you don’t make it a life mission to learn every day – why are you still here? Learn something new every day.

Love – I’m not referring here to romantic love but the mindset of love.  We have two basic emotional states that determine the quality of our lives – love and fear – that’s it.  Both of these have many sub emotions that they support whether joy or anger, peace or hate, forgiveness or jealousy. So, the question is which determines your actions, decisions, behavior and consequences today – the negative ones or the positive ones?

Let go – Sooner or later we all need to let go of something – regret, pain of loss, skills, activities, success, good looks, people etc.  Whether it’s giving up skiing or scrabble, your high school sweetheart or lost loved one – holding on for too long causes unnecessary ongoing emotional pain that will impact other current circumstances, abilities or relationships in a negative way. Letting go isn’t easy but it is necessary if you want to move on with peace, success, happiness, contentment and less stress.

Listen – Do you talk too much? I know I do as a global professional speaker I get paid to talk but you what I learned a long time ago – I can get paid more if I listen better and more.  I don’t care if it’s a spouse, customer, employee, one of your kids or a total stranger you learn nothing while you are talking that can help you become wiser, get smarter or improve a relationship.  Youi can only do these when you listen.

Lighten up – Most people take life far too seriously.  I recall a quote I read years ago by one of my mentors Og Mandino who told me to “Take what you do seriously but who you are lightly.”  I asked him what he meant by that and his response was classic, “Tim, you’re here for a little while and then you are gone – your legacy will be who you touched with your life while you were here not what you did.”

Laugh – It’s a medical proven fact that people who laugh more live longer and get sick less than people who don’t.  Know anyone who can’t or won’t laugh?  Walks around with a constant frown on their face? Or Is always critical and complaining about something?  Well, guess what – all their frowning and complaining doesn’t change anything but what it does do is shorten their life. I’m not talking here about constant joke telling but a light and playful spirit that sees the good rather than the bad, the positive rather than the negative and the hope rather than the despair.

Lead – Leadership or leading is not being the School Principle, Company CEO or State Senator.  Leading is setting an example.  Yes, during history there have been many negative and disruptive leaders but there have been more creative and positive ones.  The answer to a better organization, family, church, school or government is not a bunch of elected leaders but an entire group that takes seriously the simple role of setting a positive example and living congruently with what they say.

Labor   I’ll close this one with a simple concept – Nothing worthwhile is free or easy.  If you want something in life – a better relationship, better career, better business better health – better anything it takes effort and not mindless effort, but effort grounded in wisdom, patience and integrity.

And your thoughts are?  What words (with the letter L) would you add and why?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

21 of my life mantras

21 Of My Life Mantras

Tim Connor

We all have our favorite sayings, verses, quotes or just simple and honest ideas that in many ways each day govern or direct our lives either directly or indirectly.  Over the years I have developed what I call my “Life Mantras List” that are the primary and critical thoughts or concepts that I use to live, work and play each day and as this year (one I am grateful for - for many reasons) comes to an end I thought I would share just 21 of them that are the foundation as to how I try and live my life each day. There is no order to the following as I have not included all of the items on my list but just some of the major ones that I thought might trigger some action, reflection or introspection on your part. Please accept that I am in no way suggesting that if you don’t have a list, your items are not the same as mine or any other criteria - that mine is better than or more appropriate than yours. Just sharing.  By the way, just to be clear some of these are not my original ones but things people over the years have taught me.

Since this will be my last article submission for this year – I offer you my very best wishes to you and your friends, family, customers or co-workers for a safe holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2018.

Here’s my list;

I am on God’s schedule. This one doesn’t need any further explanation.

I’m just getting warmed up. I don’t ever plan to retire – why would I want to stop doing what I love – speaking around the world and writing in my spare time.  I’m not famous, a celebrity or wealthy but I am having a blast and hopefully getting better every day.

If it happens I’ll get excited if it doesn’t I won’t be disappointed. We can’t control much in life.  So, the best thing we can do in my opinion is do our best to do what we can and then let go of the outcomes.

It’s not over till it’s over. Too many people die emotionally before they do physically. If you are one of these people why?  Live while you still can.  Yes, age and health issues can change lifestyle, but they don’t have to eliminate it.

God is in control.  Again – this one speaks for itself.

No excuses will ever be enough when you give up on your mission. Doing your best is no guarantee that you will win or achieve your goals or dreams.  But not doing your best sure won’t work in your favor.

This life is not about me but you. I was put here to serve not be the center of attention or the center of your world.

Life is short and fragile – you are here for a littler while and then gone forever. Having survived a few recent health challenges, I can tell you – live to the fullest while you can.

I will learn as much as I can every day and share everything I learn.  Read, learn, grow and share every day, otherwise what’s the point?

I was not put on the earth for your approval. Like me – don’t like me – approve of me – don’t approve of me – I have to be me.  When I try to be who or what you want - I lose me – not going to happen folks, no matter how hard you try.

I refuse to grow up. I am forty years + younger than my age and with each passing year I intend to get younger and not older.

I will say thank you all day – every day. Again, this says it all.  No matter what or who comes into my life and whatever their or its agenda I will just say thank you.

Every day is a gift. Not talking here about presents, money, health or anything. Just that far too many people are not given the gift of life today.  We were – so cherish it and stop whining, complaining etc.

Failure is necessary to succeed. I have failed at more things and relationships than I have succeeded at during my life but each of them has taught me more about life and its value and purpose than any of the successes.  So, bring them on.

This too shall prepare me. One of my favorite people gave me this line.  It’s not this too shall pass (common phrase) but – well, read it again.

You are never too old or too young to dream. So, stop acting your age and go for it.

Quitting is stupid. Do I need to explain this one?   If I do well, no disrespect intended but you need to go back to kindergarten.

Don’t wait for God to start you – keep going till He stops you.  I love this one.

You never fail till you stop trying. Bought this sign years ago when I was taking my kids horseback riding.  It was in the gift shop.  It’s been on my wall for many, many years since that day.

It’s all trivia. You are born.  One day you will die.  Everything in between is trivia.

My age is just a number. “My age is none of my business.”  Mark Twain.

Da, That’s it folks . . .

Monday, November 20, 2017

You have only three choices.

OK, you have three choices –

resist, accept or consider.

Tim Connor

I know what you are thinking – three choices about what?  No, I’m not a psychic, but the title is basically saying in life we generally have three choices when it comes to decisions, actions and behavior.  Consider – A job offer? (three choices) Start a new relationship? (three choices) End a relationship? (three choices) Move? Invest? Retire? Start a business? Sell something?  Buy something?  (three choices).  See where I/m going with this?  Not yet?  OK, how about you are sitting in one of my seminars and as I share my ideas, approaches, solutions etc. you sit there thinking – this guy is an idiot or -  he is a genius or – I’m not sure where he is going with this, but I’ll give him a little more time?  (Three choices). Ever been there?  There now with a decision that needs to be made or an option you are considering that needs action?

I’m not trying to make something difficult or challenging seem simple or trite but ask you to look at most of life’s choices in a more practical way rather than what I hear so often “It’s complicate!”

What I’d like to share in this brief article is what contributes to which position we take based on the title regardless of what we are facing, dealing with or has come into our life unexpectedly – do we resist – say no, accept – say yes or consider – say I’ll think about it?

Yes, I could go on for pages and there are thousands of books that address this issue but let me give you my short version. (say yes!!!)

Why we say no (resist) – sure we all know about the impact fear has on our life, decisions and actions but have you ever considered what fake fear (yes borrowing a line from politics – but it applies here) has on your actions?  What is fake fear – it’s simply stuff that doesn’t warrant real fear in the present, but for whatever reason we talk ourselves into being fearful.  Should I ask her/him out?  Should I ask for a raise?  Should I _______?  There are literally hundreds if not thousands of - should I’s or should I not’s - that we don’t or do - do because of the impact of self-generated fear.  (Yes, I just made that up).  We convince ourselves that there is real (emotional or physical) danger with or without this action or decision.  And where does this come from?  I’ll tell you – 10 years of early mental and emotional (and sometimes physical) conditioning given to you by your early environment (parents, teachers, friends, relatives etc.).  They drilled into you – you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t, you will never, and you know what – you are still hearing those messages no matter how subtle or distant.  You are still behaving according to their rules, guidance or expectations.  Enough – that was years ago – you are a new you – turn them off, let them go and no longer give them power over your life.

Why we say yes (accept) – we all have real and imaginary desires, goals, dreams and hopes and we really want them.  Some we work hard to achieve while others remain in our “I hope someday” column but that’s what they are – hopes or dreams that we want, think we want, believe we want etc.  Ever had someone give you a special present you didn’t ask for, expect or deserve?  Did you refuse it? Return it? Probably not because deep inside you feel/believe you are worthy of it, deserve it or want it even though you didn’t even know it existed. 
Ever had a conversation with someone where all you did was keep nodding yes, saying – yeah or just keep agreeing with everything they uttered?  Where did this come from?  Read the above example (resist) again but this time just replace the fear and negative stuff with positive stuff – you know why – because the outcome has the same contributor or source – what you were taught, instructed, guided, conditioned etc. to believe before you were eleven years old.  Try it.  I’ll do one for you.  “Name” – have you ever thought about starting your own business?” “You know I always have but just didn’t know what the best time would be, or circumstances were - to begin.” “What are you waiting for?”  OK - here comes either the fake fear or the fake optimism – you will either convince yourself that now is the time (say yes – accept) or feel uncertain (say no – resist).  Or, the next camp which is to say – maybe (I’ll think about it). Think about something in your life right now where you are either in camp one (resisting) or camp two (accepting).  What’s contributing to the thoughts, feelings, emotions or actions? And where are these coming from?

Why we say maybe (I’ll consider) -  If you are still with me - I’m sure you know where I am going with the third option or choice.  Yes, you’re right – the maybe or I’ll consider it - is a mix of both camp one and camp two above and you just are not sure at this point which way to go.  Well, let me tell you if you aren’t sure which way will be your final verdict.  Whichever is the strongest in your mind, (you can’t or won’t lessons or can and will ones) history and experience will ultimately sway or convince you to go in that direction.

So, you have some no’s in your past, but you also have some yes’s there also.  I’ll leave you with a final question – you are considering something new or different (what should I do or say) you already know which way you want to go (and even will go) and you are just waiting to receive, feel or experience enough validation, evidence, proof or confirmation to admit your decision, choice or action.  Am I right?  Think about it.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

How do you feel about yourself?

How do you feel about yourself?
Tim Connor

This might, at first seem like a silly question – and probably one you have never asked yourself. I know I never have and I have written entire manuals that are nothing but page after page of questions - go figure.

How about another quickie – why is this question important?

Without appearing to be looking for either praise or pity let me share what this question did for me the first time someone asked it of me.  By the way, this person died over 100 years ago but is one of my mentors.  When I was recently re-reading one of his books after a few years this question just hit me between the eyes like a baseball bat.  Trust me – I never saw it coming, but when I put the book down and thought about it seriously - both tears and laughter filled my head for a long time.

You might be asking at this point – why – this question isn’t that big of a deal.  OK, well let me ask you a few more and then you can decide whether you want to finish this article or not.

Have any regrets in life?

Ever disappointed anyone? Yourself?

Ever felt abandoned or betrayed by someone?

Ever felt stuck?  Lost? Confused?

Ever asked yourself – what is this or why did this happen to me?

Ever felt like you got something negative you didn’t deserve?

I could go on but if all of your answers to the above were no – well - have a nice day. Yeah right!

First – notice that I didn’t use the words – describe yourself, defend yourself, define yourself, explain yourself or promote yourself. How do you feel about yourself – in other words – how and why do you – like, approve, love, accept, validate and justify yourself?  Answer these questions in writing - one at a time – take a few minutes and when you have finished the exercise come back and finish the article.

Did you do the exercise?  Let me guess – you just kept reading!  Oh well - here’s the rest of the article, hopefully it will have value for you even though you didn’t do your homework.

There are many contributors to how and why we feel about ourselves from time to time and just a few are – self-esteem, fears caused by either real or imaginary emotional or physical threats, the need for others’ approval, the desire to be in control of all areas of our life, the desire to avoid adversity, challenges or even failure and the need for validation and appreciation.

If we handle these or get the ones we need or value as needed on schedule and from the sources, we feel necessary guess what – we will generally feel great about ourselves and our life.  However, if we fail to get any or the ones we feel vital we will tend to let the absence of these have a negative influence on our self-perception and thus our feelings about how our life is, is going or how it might be in the future.

Keep in mind all of these self-emotions, reactions and responses are caused by expectations and often if not, always these expectations are not grounded in reality but controlled by ego needs, or insecurities caused by any number of situations, people or circumstances in our past.  The real issue is – how do these feelings contribute to the quality of our life?  It’s really simple but not easy – negative stuff tends to make us feel negative and therefore think negative stuff and these tend to create negative circumstances that drive negative emotions and feelings.  The opposite is true – positive stuff tends to make us feel positive and positive feelings generally create positive outcomes.  Neither of these are absolutes - as I said – they tend to.

So, the real question is – how can we learn to always feel good about ourselves no matter what is going on in our life, who is in it and/or what is missing etc.?
One of the topics I discuss in some of my seminars is – are you an inside-out person or an outside-in person.  Let me explain.

Outside-in people turn over the quality or the responsibility of their lives and how they react, accept, deal with etc. to outside circumstances or people i.e. the weather, traffic, long lines, unpleasant people, poor service, flat tires – you name it - if it happens to them they go into blame mode, whine mode, complain mode, anger mode- whatever.

Inside-out people just accept what is happening whether they like it or not, feel they deserve it not and deal with it.  They don’t scream, yell, panic, blame – whatever – they just wait, fix the tire etc. and move on.

So, before we wrap this up let me share a few ideas on how to better manage life’s circumstances that contribute to how we feel about ourselves. I call these my Life ”Mantras.” In no special order here are just a few of them; If you want the whole list let me know – it’s on me.

-If it happens I’ll get excited if it doesn’t I won’t be disappointed.

-I was not put on the earth for your approval.

-I can’t control much but IK can control me.

-If I’m thinking it it’s impacting me.

-Every day I can learn something important if I’m open and willing.

-We are here for a little while and then we are gone forever.

-I am on God’s schedule not mine.

-Every day is a gift.

-It is what it is.

-My life does not revolve around yours.

-Failure, adversity and trials are necessary to grow and get better and wiser.

-Gratitude and appreciation of others are more important than selfies.

-We’re born then we die – everything in between is trivia.

-If you don’t ask you will never know.

-It’s not over till it’s over.

-My age is none of my business.

-What can you lose that you don’t really need.

-Our dreams should be better than our memories.

-If you always tell the truth you don’t have to remember what you said.

Got any of your own that you use to help you deal with issues, people, challenges in a positive way so that they don’t have a negative impact on your day, life, career, relationships etc.?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Is technology stealing the quality of your life?

Is technology the answer to

life’s present and future challenges?

Tim Connor

Let me be perfectly clear from the outset – I am not against technology, change, AI, transformation or the steps we take into the future.  Also, I’m sure many of you will take issue with some of my points that follow – remember – truth is not what you or I think it is but – what it is.  But let me also be clear that I believe that not all of these advances will improve humanity’s ability to deal with many of its core issues such as; conflict, separation, loneliness, uncertainty, decision making, inner peace, fear, the need for love and acceptance, life meaning and purpose.

Trust me – your latest iPhone version, Facebook connection and iPad app are not going to solve your issues of patience, the need for control, stressors, but let me guess – at this point I have lost a large percentage of people who started reading this article and came to the conclusion that I am out touch, living in the past or just don’t get it?  For you folks check back with me in a few years and let’s chat about how technology has improved your overall life and its fundamental desires, needs and challenges.  For the rest of you who have an open mind, let me share what I believe are the positives as well as the negatives of our gradual addiction to any device or technology in general that we feel is vital for our existence and the ultimate achievement of our human purpose on the earth.

The age-old questions for thousands of years that have still not been answered – where did we come from, why are we here and where are we going still plague most of humanity and yet every year more and more technological progress is made.  Yes, technology may make some cures more successful and rapid, it may improve transportation and our ability to more quickly grab information that is vital and valuable. But consider - stress is still increasing, the divorce rate is the same as it was in the 50’s.  “Or, how about suicide rates among those 35 to 64 years old they have increased 28 percent (32 percent for women, 27 percent for men). The greatest increases in suicide rates were among people aged 50 to 54 years (48 percent) and 55 to 59 years (49 percent).  

Why?  There is more technology and information available today than at any time in history.  Isn’t it helping?  How about obesity - more than one in two adults and nearly one in six children are overweight or obese today. Adult obesity rates are highest in the United States. Obesity rates are projected to increase dramatically by 2030. Got an iPhone that will solve that?

Let me add before I forget what I believe is an important factor – one of the most critical things vital for success, happiness and inner peace is not information but wisdom and yes, information is a valuable contributor to wisdom but if you rely only on it – sooner or later your information will not benefit you but contribute to your life chaos.

You might think at this point I’m being negative but no matter where you look – in some segment of society technology may have many advantages but it isn’t solving many of life’s critical issues and trust me it never will.

There are more books, YouTube segments, motivational speakers, psychiatrists, life coaches available today than at any time in history and yet we still have many of the same problems people have faced for years  such as; impatience and how it leads to stress and then death, conflict and how it leads to separation and loneliness, fear and how it contributes to illness, uncertainty and change and how they lead to insecurity.

Had enough of the negatives?  I know I have.  So, Tim what’s the point of this article – what are you trying to say?  Glad you asked.  Let me briefly share what I believe are the basic causes and some simple solutions.

Before I do however, I want to go on record - during my career I have been a big advocate and supporter of books and studies by some of the world’s most trusted futurists, trend setters and thinkers who were sharing their insight, research and wisdom with the world.

There are some basic human needs that have not changed for thousands of years and are still relevant today – in no order here are just a few – the need for control, the desire for acceptance, answers to some of life’s critical questions, the fear of uncertainty, the concern of conflict and its impact and the need for connection.  Yes, there are others but let’s just briefly discuss these as they relate to technology and its benefits and or drawbacks to dealing with these.

Ever been to a social media site and seen an old flame, buddy or friend who was now more successful, wealthier, better looking or more connected or famous than you? How did you feel – glad, envious, sad, jealous – something else?

Ever received an email or text from someone wanting to end a relationship?

Ever gotten lost cause your GPS lady was in a bad mood? Just kidding but I’m sure you get my point.  Yes, technology has and will continue to solve many of life’s challenges and needs as it continues to advance but my question is simply – are you letting it replace the human element in your life, relationships, career or business?

Do you spend more time on your iPad, iPhone or computer than you do talking with or to – friends, spouse, employees, children, customers or friends?  Statistics now say that the average person spends between 6-9 hours a day looking at a screen!!!  I’ll let that speak for itself.

So, the answer – just a brief look at a few things to consider.

Words are important – Mark Twain once said, “if there is no malice in your heart there can’t be malice in your words.” Words matter – the ones you say to others and the ones you say to yourself.

Intent is critical – There are two types of intent – real intent and stated intent. Know the difference? Simple one is what you say and the other is what you do.

Beliefs are the foundation – Everything you decide, do, say, feel and have or don’t is the result of your foundation of beliefs. If you want something in life to change – you have to start, there.

Validation or self – People who make life about service to others have a greater impact on society than the world of “selfies”.

Gratitude vs. ego – People who come at life with gratitude and appreciation live longer and are healthier than those who don’t.

Everything is perception and mindsets – No one looks at anything the same.  Everything you think, believe, feel, decide is driven by your mental interpretation (perception) of others, circumstances and life.

Closeness and connection – Yes, solitude is valuable, but no one wants to spend all of their time separated from others.  We all want, once in a while or more often, to feel the human touch.

Humility is the difference – You will never be the best looking, smartest, most clever, best, wealthiest etc. person in the room.  Yes, maybe once in a while but it will all depend on which room you are in.

Conflict is normal – Why? Because we all have our own personal version of - right and wrong, good and bad, smart or stupid etc.

Change is constant – Change has been happening for over 150 million years and it will never stop.  But consider, it is happening faster and faster every day as we move into the future and this trend will not end.

Uncertainty is everywhere – nothing is certain.  Oswald Chambers once said, “The only thing in life that is certain is its uncertainty.” Period!

Fear is a choice – There are only two emotions – love and fear.  Love comes from a position of positive while fear comes from a position of negative.

Character matters – Who you are speaks so loudly.  What you do means more than what you say.

And finally, spirituality – You believe in God and a higher power or you don’t.  But, let me ask you – what would the world be like without a higher power governing human’s existence, progress and behavior? Just look back over the past two hundred years of all of the evil that has existed.  I ask you – if these people were able to dominate the world – what do you think life would be like today?

How is technology improving the above?  Think about it.  Yes, it may make positive contributions but are they the answer or do we need something else to ensure that human relationships control the quality of life and not robotic thinking and acting?

Yes, there are more and if you want to become familiar with them and their impact on life - just spend some time using technology to research the consequences of technology and change – you might be surprised.  Here’s just one link to get started

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What you resist - persists.

What you resist persists

Tim Connor

You may be familiar with the phrase – what you resist persists.  Exactly what does this mean and how does it impact the quality of our future and life in general?

Resistance - something that is a source of opposition to the flow of energy. In psychology - the process by which the ego keeps repressed thoughts and feelings from the conscious mind.

My definition – when we oppose, confront, struggle with or are in denial of what is – truth or reality.

Here are my thoughts.

The mind is in control of every aspect of our life.  It is filled with myths, memories, misrepresentations, old inappropriate information, experience, disappointments, lies and yes truth and experience. 

But the question remains, when confronted with circumstances, people or events that you are uncomfortable with, don’t like, disagree with or are afraid of how do you react?  What are your emotional responses? What do you think?  What do you do?  Here is the real issue – what memories or data does your mind default to in these situations - courage, confidence, hope, acceptance, trust, faith or action or fear, anger, doubt, resentment, worry, stress and anxiety?  Or others I didn’t list?  Another question is – do you have any control over which reaction you have or are all of your actions and/or reactions simply in your mind in auto-pilot?  Let’s take the first one first – what does your mind default to?

First, we tend to resist what we are uncomfortable with, can’t control, are unaware of or disagree with.  And why? For starters our mind can have two reactions to everything in life – come from a fear position – anger, stress, denial, anxiety or in summary – a flight, fight or freeze perspective OR from a love position – joy, peace, confidence, belief, hope and faith.  I won’t go into the years of research that has come to these conclusions, if you want the sources I’ll be happy to give them to you. Due to our biological historical makeup and human evolutionary history the average person initially always comes from emotions in the fear mode first.  This is our natural tendency and our homo sapiens heritage.

What you believe determines how you perceive people and circumstances. How you perceive these, determines your actions, decisions and behavior.  These actions contribute to your consequences and outcomes.

Do you have control over your response or reaction?

Emotions are the primary contributors to our reactions and responses to everything in life.  Let me repeat - we can choose to respond with fear emotions (and there are many) or with love (not romantic love) emotions. We can have control over our reactions and/or responses but the ability to control these requires a number of factors such as; discipline, confidence, acceptance, courage, self-esteem, values and belief structures and self-control.  When we let our emotions drive our responses we are literally turning the control of our life over to these outside circumstances or people believing we have no control over them so we are doomed to letting them determine the quality of our lives.  I know that most people have what they feel are legitimate excuses or reasons for some of their negative behaviors but in the end even these excuses are grounded in our emotional body.

Until we learn to let our desires, dreams, hopes and experience determine our responses to circumstances (coming from the love portion rather than the fear portion of the brain - archipallium or primitive reptilian) we will always tend to make things worse due to our lack of perceived control.

So, the answer to this question above is – Yes, but it takes consistent conscious awareness and presence to accomplish this.

How do we do this?

There are many ways to accomplish the above but keep in mind that it takes; patience, persistence, awareness, the desire to change, the willingness to change and mature actions grounded in discipline.  Here are a few things to consider to accomplish your desired changes.

Anchors and triggers – An anchor or trigger can be any approach you use as a reminder to think or act in a certain way when something happens in your life.  It can be an affirmation - verbal or illustration; it can be a sentence you repeat when something happens. For example, one of mine is – whenever I drop something I have trained myself to use that as a trigger to repeat one of my affirmations.  It can be anything that keeps you focused on how you want to feel or act no matter what is going on around you - now.

Evaluation – A careful and honest self-evaluation is essential if you want to change anything.  You need to ask yourself questions like; why am I here?  How did I get here? Why do I always act this way? Is this the way I want to act? Why do I let others behavior influence me? Etc.

Meditation – Mediation is simply quieting the mind for short periods of time and just listening – to your inner voice, your spirit, your experience etc. This is also an excellent way to manage stress.

Prayer – I won’t go into detail on this as there are numerous books available on why pray, how to pray, when to pray etc.  I suggest you read a few of them – regardless of your spiritual inclinations.

Therapy – This can be an excellent way to get in touch with some or all of the causes of thoughts, mindsets, attitudes, behaviors and feelings.  A word of caution however, if you are not willing to be honest during this process – don’t waste your time or money.

Focus – Focus is the single best way to create a moment by moment personal environment that is productive, peaceful and leaves you with few regrets and disappointment.  Focus isn’t easy as we live in a very distracting world but in the end if you can learn to keep your focus on what really matters you will be amazed at how much more effective you will be and how little what is going on around you controls you.

Learning – Keep learning.  Keep reading.  Keep growing. Keep adapting.  Use change as a positive motivator but don’t let it change you in negative ways.

None of these are magic bullets that will guarantee immediate change or success but they can help you to start moving in a new or different direction.