Archive for July, 2009

Why Resilience is Brilliance

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

July 9th, 2009

Resilience is brilliance.  That is a fact.  Twenty three years ago I was laid off from a blue collar job two months before my daughter was born.  I started college at age 30 and graduated Magna Cum Laude four years later with a double major in accounting and finance.  I was divorced when I was 38 years old.  After that I dated a few women who would tell you they are beautiful. J I survived a life-threatening brain tumor operation when I was 40 years old.   After that I discovered my real personality and actually liked it.  I discovered I love public speaking.  I have placed in the top three at the state level in six different Toastmaster speech contests.  At age 53 (now) I was laid off again.  Shortly after being laid off, I had my book published.  Now, I am working part-time in my old career, while I am taking classes to become a certified trainer.  I will transition from being a commercial credit underwriter to a full-time speaker/trainer/author between now and the next few years. 

So, why is resilience brilliance?  When we are done with all of the blaming and feeling sorry for ourselves we are forced to concentrate on what we can control.  We give ourselves no choice but to put all of our energy into it.  The situation forces us to have a goal, have a plan and do our best to execute the plan (one-step at a time).  The situation gives us the freedom to do these things.  If I would have quit my job when my daughter was born to start going to college at age 30 people would have said I was crazy and they probably would have been right.  I had the freedom to set a goal, develop a plan and execute the plan because I was laid off, there were no jobs in the geographical area, and I had two years left on the GI bill.  The key word is freedom.  Resilience is brilliance because it gives us freedom over our own fears.  Resilience gives us freedom to take control of our own life and make the best of the situation.  When we are resilient we quit worrying and making excuses.  Resilient people set a goal, develop a plan to reach that goal, and live in the present to execute that goal. 

That is the brilliance of resilience.

So what’s your goal?  What’s your plan?  You’re just one step away from beginning your brilliant journey.

Life without the Fear Factor

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

July 7, 2009

What are your biggest fears?  I am not talking about the fear of skydiving or the fear of eating bugs.  I am talking about day-to-day feelings that you don’t like and you alter your behavior and eventually your life to avoid these feelings. 

My two biggest fears are the fear of feeling disappointed and the fear of feeling embarrassed and criticized.  I don’t like to feel disappointed or embarrassed, and have spent a good part of my life trying to avoid these feelings.  What feelings don’t you like?

I spent the first 40 years of my life altering my behavior significantly to avoid the feelings of disappointment and embarrassment.  I was not aware I was doing this, but I was doing it. 

I did not have a life dream because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I didn’t attain it.  I did not let people see the real me and when they criticized me I got defensive.  Whether it is a curse or a talent, I happen to be a little on the quick-witted, smart-alecky side and this has caused some embarrassing moments and some criticism.  I tried to avoid this.  I was afraid if I showed my true self I would end up feeling embarrassed either because I said something that  would be perceived as not being smart or because I said something that might hurt someone else’s feelings.

Then a miracle happened to me.  Over thirteen years ago, four days after my 40th birthday, I was diagnosed with a large brain tumor.  A week later a benign tumor the size of a small peach was removed.  That isn’t all that was removed.  My fears of disappointment and embarrassment were also removed.  I didn’t know how long I would live because of the uncertainty involved after having such a traumatic operation.  I was extremely happy but I didn’t know why. 

Now I know why.

My fear of feeling disappointed disappeared because I didn’t have any expectations.  I had already surpassed my expectations by surviving the operation.  Without expectation of any future outcomes all I had was pure passion and enjoyment for whatever I was experiencing.  I was truly living in the present. 

My fear of embarrassment, which may be even stronger than my fear of disappointment, also disappeared.  Have you ever talked to a group of strangers and felt perfectly comfortable because you knew you would not see these people ever again?  That’s how I felt all of the time because I didn’t know if I was ever going to see anyone again, so there was no fear of repercussion.  I was happy to be alive, so the odds of me doing something to intentionally hurt my self or someone else were slim to none.  I was living in the present and I could be myself.  This is an unbelievably liberating feeling.

What feeling do you not like?  Have you been avoiding this feeling?  How are you altering your actions to avoid the feeling?  Do you even know?  What if you could eliminate this feeling without altering your behavior?  What if your true personality shined through you all of the time?  What if you changed your perspective? 

You could change your life.

First, you have to become aware of the unwanted feeling.  Be honest with your self.  You don’t have to tell anyone else. 

Next, change your perspective to change your mind.  Your perspective determines your thoughts, your thoughts control your feelings, and your feelings dictate your behavior.  If you change your perspective, you change your feeling and your behavior.  Whatever feeling you do not like, look at the situation from a different perspective and the feeling will change. 

What if your goal was to be alive today and you had already achieved that goal?  What if you had already exceeded your expectations, but you didn’t tell anyone?  What if you were so appreciative of being here that the outcome of any future event was not important?   

What if there was no pressure about the future?  What if there were no repercussions for your actions?  What if there was only now and you were free to do what you know is right?    

1.      I am thankful for everything.

2.      I have already exceeded my expectations.

3.      I am free from the outcome.

The fear is eliminated and my spirit is free.