When they say you can’t…

cant-hookOne word in the English language makes me cringe more than most others, it’s the word “cant.”   It limits your ability and keeps you bound to where you are at.  The “can’t” mentality will hold you to where you are and prevent you from going where you really want to be.

This is true in every area of your life.  If you truly believe that you cannot do something, then you are right.  If you look for reasons for why something is NOT possible, then you will find multiple reasons to substantiate your belief.

There is a tool used by loggers called a “Cant Hook.”  It is a necessary tool for moving logs when they are too heavy to roll.  Loggers don’t want to hit the dirt with their chain saws, and the cant hook is a sturdy tool that moves the log so the cut can be made without hitting the dirt, and dulling the chain.  Basically this device comes into play when the loggers cannot physically roll the log without assistance.  It helps them when they simply “can’t.”

What do you do when you feel like you can’t do something?  When something seems impossible, difficult, or daunting do you make excuses or do you look for possibilities?

The first thing you should do is to discard the word “can’t’ and replace it with something like “possible” or “can.”

The language we use and our terminology will affect the outcome of any situation.  So refuse to consider limitations in your mind and live with the freedom you were intended to have.  Great things have been accomplished when people had a vision and didn’t allow themselves to be tricked into looking for reasons to quit.  They pressed on and dealt with the obstacles as they came up, not allowing themselves give in and cave under pressure.

When the pressure to quit is increasingly strong, then grab a can’t hook and eliminate the idea of “can’t”, because you absolutely CAN if you persist and are strong mentally.  It is simply a matter of deciding if you want to put forth the effort and not give up on something that is important to you.

Be of a courageous mind and refuse to give up an walk away in defeat.  We always have a choice in how we view things and  it’s a choice only we can make. Either focus on why you can or why your cant, it’s up to you.  You can win and you can achieve if you believe and act accordingly.  So always look for whey you CAN in every situation and you will reap exactly what you set out to do.

Ignite your passion!

Who’s in charge

Choose-Self-paced-or-Live-On-lineMany people I talk with have the inner belief that you are either dealt a certain hand, or that things happen to them because of this destiny that is going to happen.  I hear phrases like, “things happen for a reason”, or “it wasn’t meant to be.”  While it is a nice thought and can be an intellectually stimulating topic of conversation, nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the greatest gifts we have is the freedom of choice.  The freedom to choose what we want in life.  There may be points when we have to deal with obstacles in life and circumstances that may be negative, but we all choose how we handle adverse situations.  From the beginning of time mankind has had the ability to make his own decisions.  That is a tremendous privilege and responsibility.  We must accept responsibility for what we have in our lives, good or bad, and accept responsibility.

The paradox here is that the idea of freedom of choice is the thing that can set us free from believing that we have to accept something.  For example, how many times have you heard someone say that God gave them a disease or ailment?  Some profess that they have a chronic condition to make them a better person.  How about when you didn’t get a job you wanted and you say to yourself that it wasn’t meant to be.  There may be other factors, like more qualifies candidates, or your background wasn’t sufficient or maybe you had poor performance on the interview.  None of these circumstances should be chalked up to “that’s how it should be”, or “it must have happened for a reason”.

Granted, that at times, bad things happen to good people.  But how we deal with the situation determines the outcome.  Ultimately it is ourselves, who has the power to determine what is in our life.  Not every single thing, because there are factors that affect us like, environment, society, etc, but overall we do have the ability to shape the world that impacts us and how we view it.

The people who achieve greatness in life are those who look for the circumstances they want in order to succeed and if they can’t find them, they make them.  Think of the settlers that came to America wanting a better life.  They picked up their loved ones and what possessions they could carry and left to a foreign country with hope and a desire to make the life they wanted.  At times, things came up that challenged them, but they kept their eyes on the life they wanted to live and let nothing stand in their way.  There are hundreds of stories of men and women throughout history who were faced with insurmountable obstacles and, through persistence and unwavering conviction to principles and their ideal, came out on top and beat the giant that faced them.

We are affected by the past, but we can also shape out future into the life we want by making choices that align with what we want.  Our vision should always be positive toward ourselves and those around us.

Every day is a golden opportunity to make our lives what we want.  Things will inevitably come up, but we are in charge of our lives and we need to stake our claim on what we want every day.  Move toward what you want by choosing what is right, just, and making it yours.  There may be a fork in the road, but you choose which way to go at that point.

Choose life.  Choose good.  Choose what you want in your life.

Ignite your passion!

Just the facts ma’am

joe fridayAs a sales professional it is critical that you stick to the facts and behave in an ethical and honest manner.  How many times have you heard a politician distort facts or leave out a crucial statistic?  It makes me sick.   In the long run they only hurt themselves.  Compromising in this area will cost you dearly.  The price?  Integrity, value, self-worth, credibility, and a litany of other characteristics that make you an asset.

Don’t you want to be able to look yourself in the mirror and like what you see?  I’ve said many times that you cannot take short cuts when it comes to selling or genuine success.  This includes a moral code that cannot be broken.  And it doesn’t matter if anyone ever finds out, you will know.

Your personal integrity is one of the most valuable things you can acquire.  You cannot buy it because it is earned over time.  Yet, how easily some just give it away and concede something that is priceless.  How you do things and the core of your being are important.  I want my children to be proud of who I am and what I stand for.  When I’m gone I want people to remember me for someone who stood for something important and can be an example for others.

Recently I heard a politician talk about something in which he was endeavoring to paint a picture for people about an issue.  He used a particular fact in which to make his case.  The sad part is that he left out three other facts that paint an entirely differently picture that the one lone fact he used to make his case.  My question to you is this:  Is your agenda more important that selling out your integrity?  If you were to gain the whole world but lose your soul, then you have lost everything.  If by your actions you alienate those most important to you then you have lost.

Integrity is one of those priceless things that cannot be purchased like talented players at the trade deadline.  Maybe some never have it.  Those great qualities that men like our founding fathers are not easily earned but can be lost so quickly.  Once it’s gone it is difficult to get it back if not impossible.

The point of my rant is this:  In all of your interactions, handle them like they are the most important events in your life and consider how you will think about it years from now.  Keep your integrity close to your heart and treasure it.  Don’t be like a cheap politician with an agenda, you are better than that.  Be someone of substance and character.  Be someone your mother would be proud of.

Stick to the facts in a balanced manner.  What I mean by that is that when you are revealing an idea, concept or solution, give the whole picture, stick to the facts, and do not leave our crucial information.  Retain your integrity.  Live on a higher plain and let the quality of your life be seen by all.  It will pay off for you one hundred fold.


No Limits

limitsHow many times have we put limits on ourselves?  We probably do it every day without realizing it.  People put barriers on themselves and will never rise above the limits that are self-imposed.  And they truly are self-imposed.

Remembering the 2012 Olympics in London, there were incredible performances and records broken.  Dreams realized for some, and hopes of others, shattered.   These athletes only get a shot every 4 years and are competing against the top performers in the world.  Years or grueling training and just about every area of their lives are managed in light of their upcoming competition.  Diet, leisure, rest, social interaction, exercise, weight, conditioning, and their schedule are subject to how it will prepare them to be at their peak level at the time of the event.

The event that impressed me the most was the Women’s 400 relay.  Team USA had some setbacks and disappointments in years past as a team and personally.  Obviously they were all top athletes capable of competing at this level.  In reality, all who qualify for the Olympics have the ability to win.  But occasionally individuals, whether competing as a team or individually, rise to the occasion and really seize the moment.  Some squeak by and others are clearly superior to the competition.

The Unites States Women’s 400 Relay team was poised to be competitive in this event and many thought they could win.  However, in these events there a lot of things that can go wrong and the difference between winning and not winning is razor thin.

Most events are won or lost before they begin and it goes beyond physical conditioning.  The deciding factor many times is the belief system and the mental training.  I’m sure it’s intimidating to line up against the best in the world in the same event all trying to win.  There are always challenges when hanging off the baton too, and many teams have forfeited by handing off to slow, too fast or dropping it.

As the race began, the US got off to a good start in the first leg and were very much in contention, next Allyson Felix pulled away from the pack with blazing speed, in the third leg the lead was maintained, but the fourth leg was run by Carmelita Jeter, who absolutely destroyed the competition.  There was a point when she knew that they had a good chance to break the record and she ran with blazing speed the entire leg with every intention of not only victory but breaking the record.  As she crossed the finish line, she pointed to the clock, realizing that they had beaten the record.  That record was set in 1985 by the German team and was obliterated by over half a second (which is HUGE in the 400).  Teamwork, belief, and determination prevailed as they broke a barrier and refused to be subject to limits whether self-imposed or from others.  They seized the moment and realized their dreams and came out victorious.

It inspires me to see athletes rise to the occasion and claim victory (especially is they are from the United States).  Those girls deserve those medals but even more, they are now part of history in the record books.

May you days be filled with victory and excitement as you remove the limitations you have put on yourself.  Refuse to settle, but claim what is yours and be the victor you have always dreamed of becoming by daring to dream big and see it through to the finish line.

Ignite your passion!

Be Original

US FlagRecently a top ranking US government official said that one of their inspirations was Mau Tse Tung. At first one might think that referencing eastern philosophy is sort of “out of the box”, innovative and intelligent. After all, it’s trendy and hip to revere modern day revolutionaries and rebels. Schools are now introducing out kids to Castro, Mau, Marx and other so called rebels. And yet, you hardly hear of our founding fathers, the principles they stood for and how many gave of their own blood.

I don’t think people look far below the surface to truly understand what some of these people stood for and what drove them. They read a couple of quotes and have an outline of what they were about and then buy a T-Shirt with their picture on it because it is “in” at the moment.

I am not saying that we should not consider the ideas from other cultures, but I am saying that we should deeply consider what these people were about and what they stood for before we just buy into what they believe. For example, people read a few quotes, many of which are nice, and think they truly understand. For an education official to publicly declare that they turn to Mau for enlightenment is hideous. History clearly shows that Mau believed in violence, tortured enemies, craved power, lived lavishly, murdered those who stood against him, and is responsible for the largest genocide in history. Yeah; sounds like someone I want to follow. Now compare that with the founding fathers of our country.

John Adams and John Hancock: We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]

John Adams: “I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen.” December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

Samuel Adams: “ He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all.”

John Quincy Adams: “The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.”

Ben Franklin: “the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.”

Alexander Hamilton: “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.”

Patrick Henry: “The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.”

Thomas Jefferson: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

James Madison: “ We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart.”

George Washington: “The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discrimination. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion” …and later: “…reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle…”

This is vastly different from Mau, Castro, Marx, and other trendy philosophy’s. And yet they are taught less and less in schools and even more so at our universities. .I cannot help but admire the commitment and dedication of our forefathers in that they saw a vision of our country way beyond their own lives

The words of our founding fathers are not the popular view today because so much pressure has been put on the shortcomings of our country, plus magnifying and distorting the truth about the founding of our country instead of embracing it’s greatness along with the privilege of living in the United States.  Aside from how our country has positively impacted nations around the globe.

I for one, refuse to be a sheep and to allow popular culture and trends to shape how I think. We should not just assume we really get what these so called rebels thought. On the surface, it may appear that they had a lot on the ball, but people that lived in these countries that were affected would probably tell you otherwise. Our forefathers gave their lives and sacrificed so that we can live free and to have the freedom to think for ourselves and to worship as we see fit. Oh yeah, for someone to say that we are not a Christian nation, when over 80% of the population is still Christian and to recognize the vision our country was founded upon, is absurd. Our forefathers founded this country on Christian principle.

So, be original, don’t follow trends. Know what you are following and who you are quoting before you open your mouth and insert your foot.

To your success and Ignite your passion!

Rome wasn’t built in a day

italy-rome-colosseumMany young professionals have struck gold with their ideas. Facebook, Google, and Microsoft immediately come to mind. It seems as if each surpasses the other with innovative ideas and give people what they want in a simple format. Generally speaking the public reveres these innovators and everyone wants to pick their brain and see if they can use the same formula to develop an idea like theirs. In interviews they are asked how they did it, and how they arrived at the point of coming up with the idea that made them rich. They are depicted as geniuses. And while, yes, they developed something out of nothing and the timing was perfect, it is not the norm. Most of the time building something of value takes time and should be done the right way. Not knocking the success of these individuals, hats off to them; just pointing out that generally success doesn’t happen that way.

I heard an Astronaut speak recently and got to meet him. He is in his mid 80’s, and seemed mentally sharp as well as physically. I feel confident that many generation X’ers and generation Y’ers, upon seeing him if he walked into a room may think of him as just another old man with stale ideas and old thinking. The underlying mentality is that the young people have the new exciting ideas that will take the world by storm.

Personally, I got an appreciation for how these Astronauts trained, sacrificed, risked their lives, and put the mission ahead of their own goals to advance technology and further science that would benefit us. Many involved in the space program don’t even get into space until their 40’s & 50’s. And that is after an incredible screening in every facet of their being. Then comes years and years of training and preparation. In some of these missions they faced incredible obstacles, overcame insurmountable odds, and did what was once considered impossible. The United States put a man on the moon back in the day where there were no cell phones, computers took up an entire room (and did a fraction of what an iPhone does), TV was black and white, and so much technology we take for granted was either in infancy stages or not invented yet. In spite of that, engineers, scientists, and others put their heads together and worked collectively to achieve something great. Sometimes it took several years to solve an issue that would affect the entire program.

Ever heard the phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well, it wasn’t, and get rich quick schemes will come and go and so will many of the innovations that mesmerize people today. The older I get (my real age you ask???, I’ll never tell), the more I appreciate that elderly retired astronaut and how he faithfully labored away at something he believed in and did it with pride. What about you? Are you laboring away at something you are good at and something you love to do? If not, that’s a shame.

Some observation I learned from the retired colonel:
• Doing things the right way will alleviate fixing it later
• You need to be flexible in your plan as things change and roadblocks arise
• When you work as a team, you will accomplish more
• A contingency plan is a must; you have to anticipate what could happen
• Know your destination and be clear on how to get there
• Smell the roses along the way; don’t get overly caught up in where you are going that you lose sight of the enjoyment of the journey
• Take pride in what you do
• Be solution oriented, not focused on the problem
• Appreciate the supporting cast

Anything worth having is worth working for and putting forth the effort. Things don’t generally fall into place as quickly as they did for those who benefited from the tech boom. Most of the time things that are worthwhile are earned by application of ethics and principle faithfully. So plan your work and work your plan faithfully and enjoy every step of the way.

Ignite your passion.