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