Saturday, January 12, 2013

Be An Action Hero

“You can be on the right track and still get run over if you're not moving.” ~ Orrin Woodward

When I was a kid, I used to love comic books. Superman, Batman, Justice League of America. They all were well worth the 12 or 25 cents I'd gladly shell out to catch up on their incredible adventures and their mostly secret lives. But, I must admit that Green Lantern was my favorite and that in the back of my mind, somehow he and I were really the same person. C'mon, you did the same thing -- didn't you? Moving on.

The main attraction to these super-heroes was some unique and incredible power that could be used to vanquish evil, restore order and remind us of the good that we were capable of doing. Of course, those costumes or suits were pretty cool too.

Today, we think of them as action heroes -- people who we can count on to do the right thing at the right time. Their most incredible power is usually courage, determination and a sense there is something bigger than themselves. And, as much as we like to believe that we ourselves fit into this category, an honest and open look may reveal otherwise.

The truth is, we can resolve, plan, study, train and prepare ourselves to move forward and still miss the most important and measurable step of all. We simply fail to take action. Plain and simple. In fact, as you read these last sentences it is likely a wave of guilt or at the very least, discomfort washed over you. Why? Because you know this is undeniably true in all but a handful of people you know. And, of course we know ourselves -- and there lies the rub.

We have great intentions. We say we're going to do it this time. Just wait until tomorrow comes, that's the day that will change everything! One question: How is that working for you?

In my business, as a coach, mentor and community builder, I am constantly talking about slowing down and facing the brutal reality of the situation my clients or students have put themselves in. We talk about the need for positive change that involves changing the information we allow in, which in turn changes the way we think, which in turn changes the actions we take, which in turn changes the results we get. Makes sense, doesn't it? And yet, time and time again it is the action step that interrupts and derails the process -- and renders accountability for results weak and basically pointless.

The Orrin Woodward quote above, really hits it on the head. We can resolve to do the right things. We can be on the right track with great information and associations that have the power to take us so far beyond the current and propel us in the stratosphere of the success and accomplishment we seek. We can plan and post quotes and make dreamboards -- oh, I'm making friends now -- but if we never really "do" then we relegate ourselves to the "friends of tomorrow club" where the oasis of what we've promised remains a mirage.

The good news is; it's never to late to take action -- even if it is only the smallest step. In fact, if you're going to be that person of action, I can reasonably guarantee that it is the small step that makes the biggest difference. Why? Because every journey whether it is to the mall or to the moon really does start with taking the first action step. So it goes for the changes we want to make, the dreamboards we want to fulfill, and the person we wish and hope to become.

Whatever that first action step is for you, I implore you to take it. It may hurt and you may actually fall in the process. So what. Get up and start again. Every step gets easier and every step increases the chance that you will actually develop a new habit -- the habit of taking action.

If you think about it, you'll also come to realize that there is someone who is just waiting for you to be that person of action. Perhaps there are a number of someones. You know who they are. Go ahead and be what they always knew you could be -- a true action hero.

If you'd like to have an accountability partner, I am more than happy to be there for you.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. Just do me a favor. Do it now -- not tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What's New In You?

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is always something exciting about seeing something brand new. Whether it is a brand new baby, a brand new car, or as we celebrate today -- a brand new year. When something is so new, all of the possibilities of greatness are on display. There seems to be a limitless stream of thoughts and visions that run through our head. But unfortunately, as most of us have experienced the newness and the excitement it brings tends to fade away -- and often very quickly. Why?

After all, it is a brand new day and a brand new year. What can possibly get in the way? How about the same old you? Same thoughts. Same fears. Same excuses. Same baggage. Same relationships. Same old you. But then again, you already knew that didn't you? You've lived with yourself long enough to know how true this really is. The question is what will you do with it?

It is difficult to truly fathom the remarkable and even truly desired change we want to see if we cast its possibilities against what we are today. Quite simply, if we want our circumstances to change, we must change. In a prior post, Change -- An Inside Job, we talked about how the heart of the problem is that the heart is the problem. If we change our heart, we change our thoughts, our perceptions, our fears, our relationships, and most importantly we make room for the newness we seek.

"And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins." -- Mark 2:22.

As this verse suggests, it is impossible to be filled with something new and alive if we are pouring it into an old, damaged, corrupt vessel. In the end, our best efforts are wasted and poured out on the ground. So, doesn't it make sense to, as Emerson says, write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year? Renew your heart and you've renewed your wineskin. How?

The truth is that if you do the same thing you've always done, you'll get the same thing you've always gotten -- at least to some predictable degree. However, what we do is controlled by the way we think. So, the real change has to come there -- in our thinker. But to change what comes out, we need to change what goes in. As, the old computer saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.

Make a decision today, this first day of the year that you will change what goes into your thinker. Make a decision to read more. Did you know that reading 15 minutes a day allows you to finish the average book in 30 days? That means by this time next year, you will have read 12 new books!

While on your daily commute, make a decision to shut off the radio and listen to quality CDs that are intended to give you the self-directed education that can change your thinking and change your life. Give it 30 days and it will become a habit that will increase your knowledge and your personal fulfillment. LIFE offers some great leadership and personal development material and I urge you to take a look. You may even want to consider taking the Mental Fitness Challenge to give yourself a jump-start in the most critical areas of your life.

Make a decision to change your relationships and surroundings by seeking out those people who are of like-mind that they may hold you accountable to yourself and the change you mutually seek. I'm thankful to be in just such a community of leaders and coaches that are committed to helping others live the life they've always wanted.

It won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it. We can help. Write it on your heart!