Happy Friday Quote– Reflecting on who you are and what you want in life…

Quote: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”  — Kurt Vonnegut

Reflection: Vonnegut nailed–We all need to slow-down and find out what’s really inside us.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Take 30 min. this weekend to relax…the capture your thoughts on who you really want to be…

Have Fun, Coach, Mark 

Daily Quotes and Reflection: The Art of Effective Communication

Quotes: On Art of Communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Barnard Shaw “

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Dr. Peter Drucker

“Any problem, big or small …always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening. Emma Thompson

Continue reading “Daily Quotes and Reflection: The Art of Effective Communication”

Daily Quote and Reflection: Self-Belief

Quote :“If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done…Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second…I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour — his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.Vince Lombardi

Reflection: Coach Lombardi is talking about great leadership being based on individual achievement to give your all and winning. The X factor for him in the success of a leader was to challenge yourself to have a positive mental map that focused on clear thinking, discipline, mental toughness, perfect practice and the desire to be victorious in what ever endeavor you pursue. His philosophy was reality focused based on the belief that we all choose what we do with our lives and that we are responsible for our choices. Responsibility is defined as learning to choose behaviors that satisfy our needs and, at the same time, do not deprive others of a chance to do the same. He was an assertive leader who at times pushed players to heights they did not think they could go. Yet, he was very well-respected and loved by all. He preferred players who were more self-directed and responsible for their development but showed how leaders need to respect the individual strengths of his players in finding the right formula for building a winning team. 

Self-Coaching Challenge:  What is your philosophy of leading? How does your philosophy compare to Vince Lombardi’s “win at any cost” but do it  fairly and within the rules of the game? If you belong to a team what has been your finest hour? 

CHOICE— What Does EXCELLENCE Look Like In Your Life?



Modification and Update of Tom Peter’s In Search of Excellence 

EXCELLENCE is not an “aspiration.” Or “Purpose statement”


 EXCELLENCE is your next conversation.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is your next productive presentation and meeting.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is shutting up and listening—really listening.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is your next customer contact.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is saying “Thank you” for something “small.”

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is the next time you shoulder responsibility and give the credit away.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is waaay over-reacting to a screw-up or other people’s inappropriate behavior

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is the donuts or flowers you brought to work today.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is lending a hand to someone  who’s fallen behind schedule.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is  learning  the way folks in finance or HR] think.and feel

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is waaay “over”-preparing  for a 10-minute presentation.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is turning “insignificant” tasks into one-step at time significant changes and models of …


Or not.




New Poem–“Stuckness” by MW Hardwick

“STUCKNESS” …by MW Hardwick 

Being “stuck” or broken means not growing.

Giving up on things that matter—love for yourself and others  

Staying “stuck” is settling and playing life the safe way.

Always avoiding risks and protecting self with heavy metal—

Bracing against life’s un-certain ways and waves of change

Not thinking. It’s giving up ownership and control

Of to whoever or whatever is in front and all around you.

Stuckness is the death of self-respect.

Signaled by being sad when alone…

You avoid decisions… daydream about what could have been.

You talk a lot about what you’re going to do. But do nothing.

You lay awake at nights and sleepwalk by day…

Tightness rises in chest…and dark rings around the eyes tell the story

Little things preoccupy your thinking, irritability and anger become the usual.

It takes more time and energy to get going in the morn 

Liquor store guy becomes your best friend, visits are daily…

You are isolated ignoring family and friends

Satisfaction and happiness allude your consciousness

You find every day the same old, same old…talking about the same things day after day

Your sense of purpose — remains loss in thoughts of disaster

There seem to be no answers for this inner turmoil and chaos 

Then I awake from this fog and step by step find ways to let the sun in–

 I find focus by looking at my strengths and talents I can give to the world…

 I start moving slowly again and focus on things to be thankful for

My physical energy starts to charge up

as I grind to start doing rather than thinking…

I take my dark pieces and stump on them and out

And slowly, slowly a vision for a positive future appears.

Foggy and ghost like  I find one thing a day to be satisfied with—

an interaction, a sun rise and colorful yellow chickadee or  a colorful rose…nature is restorative…

Personal relationships reappear more peaceful and settled

 I find meaning in small pleasures—

a cup of coffee or juicy orange…

I focus and think clearly.

 I have the courage to face my fears.

 I offer compassion to others in need…

 I offer forgiveness to others easily.

 I am growing and developing.

 I sense the presence of a greater meaning in life or higher power.

 I have a regular meditative practice.

 I feel a sense of joy and peace when I am in the natural world.

 I feel a sense of gratitude for my life.

 I maintain a balance of saving and savoring the world.

 I invest time in making a difference to others or to the world.

 I know what I want to be remembered for…

Remembered for… Remembered for…

And look for and initiate external experience and activity — by knowing I have choices in life.

To do my life in my own way

And be who I am…. who I am…who I am…

And accept how I want to be remembered…by executing my power of purpose…


Longer, Better…LONGER BETTER…

Poem: Low Winter Sun by MW Hardwick


lost my courage, my frame of reference, and my cool…                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Winter Sun appeared low and blurred my vision                                                                                                                                                                                                         And I turn my back to gain a sense of control…and looked-up again with my eyes wide open.

My vision was better but something haunted me                                                                                                                                                                                                                 and caused fear again –

Light pour in and with this light–my trembling increased… my vision diminished…

In this moment I took a deep breath, paused realizing I was face to face with the fear of loss.

Loss of who I was and where I was going                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Slowly losing my sense of certainty and stability…

For this fear lives in the shadow side of my passions.

It lives waiting for the right moment to pounce – Each night in a different space…

Looking for the moment to betray…Each night when light diminishes

I confront these demons…I confronted them.

For vision only re-appears when you are strong –

Such toughness is learned from confronting and caring…

And imaging a better place by dreaming of and finding.

A magical moment and spiritual place beyond fear…

This place where I can pause and feel serenity…

 And solitude of awareness…and embracing the fear.

Knowing I am not the only one battling for clear vision, security and fairness                                                                                         

To sustain me…sustain me … and inspire me.

On this journey and mystery called life…life…life…

Self-Coaching Session–#1 Rule for Getting Started

The odds of having a successful self-coaching session increase when you set a positive tone for a session right up front.

You might ask how do I do this? You do it by being aware of what would make this next 45-60 min time well spent because you learned or accomplished something of value.

Specifically, you need to do the following to increase the odds for a productive session:

1. Ask what would make this hour the best hour of my week? Set a goal for the session.

2. Specifically define a Point A (where you are now) and a Point B (where you want to be by the end of this self-coaching session). Note that this is also important to do before each and every coaching session.

3. Confirm why getting to Point B matters to you. Doing this check makes it clear on why this session is worth your time and energy and provides a time for evaluation.

The self-coaches who don’t do this tend to get lost in a hairball of events, circumstances, and problems, without focusing in on a goal or result that matter. The session meanders without measurable traction or progress, and often the client gets frustrated or feels like they are in therapy. The coach sometimes has fun, but the client suffers.

In contrast, with a clear Point A and Point B, you the coach can dig into why the gap is between the two points of where you are now, where you want to be in the future and how to move forward toward insights, results, and value.

It’s simple a simple process but to execute and focus as your own coach you need to find a program that provides structure for your self-coaching sessions.

Similarly, never end a self-coaching session without a things to do action lists–reconfirming the value of the session by asking:

What was the most valuable thing you got out of today’s exercise or session? How is what you discovered going to change your daily activities or interactions with others? This type of self-reflective coaching re-grounds the value of self-coaching, and keeps momentum going into the next session. It also provides important information for your next personal journal activity. Remember the executive part of your brain and thinking is more focused when you capture and write insights and things down in black and white.

Next post I will share some excellent sites and other resources  you can review to help you get started in taking control of your personal development through self-coaching. For example, take a look at some of my posts on smart-steps and the plus-one coaching framework for personal change. technique.


Weekly Self-Coaching Challenge: Focus on Improvement of Interpersonal Skills

Quote : “All of the top achievers I know are lifelong learners … looking for new skills, insights, and ideas.

If they’re not learning, they’re not growing … not moving toward excellence.” Denis Waitley

Self-Coaching Challenge: 

One of the main components of self-coaching is for you take responsibility and set direction for your own grow and development as a leader. Personal change and growth demands commitment to figuring out how to continuously grow as a leader of others.

So I want to challenge you to take 5 minuets at the end of each work day to identify what new interpersonal skills or insights are happening in your work life. Turn you observations into journal entries by focusing and answering these questions: What do I need to do more of… Less of… Keep the same…in regard to building more effective relationships with my colleagues and superiors.  During this exercise try to tune-in to your observation and listening skills. When you are in touch with people around you insecurity and stresses will decrease. This exercise teaches you how to obtain, process and give feedback to yourself.

Story Telling: The Women who Changed my Life Through Unconditional Love

Are you important? I hope you said “Yes” to yourself! I’m important and you’re important because we are all unique and different in our own right. We’re all unique people with unique and special gifts. Our importance is not always recognized and appreciated but we are still special. You do not have to be a celebrity to be important. Just ask your spouse, kids, parents, grandparents, friends or coworkers.

Everyday more and more people are discovering the power of story telling. Stories facilitate teaching life lessons and how people turn the moral lesson of stories into their values and then into to daily action. It is how we construct who we are and are place in this world.

Let me share one quick story. I knew an older woman in her late 60’s till she was 85+ years old who was an important person in my growing up and feeling good about me. She lost her husband at age 60 and never re-married she like telling me stories of her life, listening to the radio and working in the garden. She was a wonderful addition to our family; someone who was always willing to listen and comfort me.  She had not done anything that would make her famous but she’s important nonetheless. Who is this person? My Grandmother Annabelle Savage. If it were not for her I would not feel such a strong belief in myself. She believed I had the potential to do any thing I wanted to do. She was always on my side. What a wonderful and caring women.  From my limited perspective my grandma was very important and I’m sure from my brothers and sister viewpoints because she was a buffer from the strong mother and dad we had. Even my young friends who interacted with her came away feeling important and respected. She was the psychologist in chief for our family from the time I was six years old till the sad day we had to put her in a nursing home when I was twenty-one. A great role model and a wonderful friend who provided me support and ignited a belief in myself. She told me stories about her life, taught me baseball and let me enjoy the Green Hornet and Helen Trent  radio programs with her.

What I took away from this important and loving relationship was that every day as we meet people if we “make them feel important and respected” they’ll sense that and of course they’ll like us for it too.

 Don’t you enjoy it when people treat you like you’re important? It can be humbling at times but I know I enjoy it and I bet you do too. If we enjoy it then why not spread the joy and allow others to feel the same way? Here are a few simple things anyone can do to convey a sense of importance to another person:

  • Show respect – Respect comes easily through small geatures with phrases like, ” Go on I am Listening, Tell me more,”  “Yes please,” “No thank you,” “Excuse me”.  These are simple and none assumes anything from the other person.
  • Golden Rule – Treat people the way you’d like to be treated or the way you’d like someone to treat a loved one. This kind of behavior tends “to go around and come” back to you.
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy–  give the other person expectations to live up too This actually effects their self-esteem and many times creates an optimistic attitude toward life. Conveying belief in another person can help them do more than they thought possible and make them feel more important than ever before. Everyday try to give gift of the “self-fulfilling prophecy” and MMFI  concept.
  • Provide unconditional love and respect to all the people who you interact with.

We make requests of people every single day because we need other people. Recognizing that fact, this blog helps you learn to hear “Yes!” The more friends you make, the easier it is to influence people and hear “Yes!” But it’s not just about getting what you want. It’s about building relationships and enjoying our lives more because of those relationships. Make another person feel important today and that’s one step in the right direction in creating and making a difference in life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: What one thing are you going to do this weekend to make someone feel more important?

New Poem: Front-door Visitor

Poem: Front Door Visitor  by MW Hardwick 

As the afternoon sun shines high in the blue North Carolina sky

I walk out to get the mail–

Opening the front door I am greeted with fluttering of Mommy Bird

She lands on the front side-walk and looks surprised and anxious

I guess she didn’t count on visitors to her nest.

Being as surprised as her I stop and ponder about my visitor

She may be re-thinking about her decision to build her nest on our door

But who could blame her– nice location, protected from the rains and wind  

At the beginning of each season my wife adorns the front door with a new decorative piece 

Honoring the start of a new season

I guess at the same time birds start looking for places for nest-building,

In front of our door are two maple trees; suitable for nest-building

And if I were a bird this might have been on my list for nests.

Our unwelcome friend picks the greenish handbag on our door

With the dried hydrangea and pink ribbon stuff in this gorgeous carry bag 

I think this really is not an easy place to build your nest.

But as a shelter from the elements is a good spot to call home.

All during the day diligently flying in and out  finding twigs and food

This visitor is always on the go very little time for rest or pause.

I can see her anytime I want just by opening the door, but as a good neighbor.

I don’t want to disrupt her routine.

I can change mine till she and her loved ones are ready to go.

Then one morning last week I take a peek

The nest is now completely vacant, but this is not a sad time

The kids have left home and the cycle of  nature goes on…

Cause next year my door will again be there,


Ready to greet her…Ready to greet her…

Handbook for Creating and Living a Meaningful Life: 30+ Lessons of The Road.

Principles for  Creating a Meaningful Life.  38 Principles and growing…and creating Love 2.0  in your quest for meaning and fulfillment  

  1. Remember you never get a second chance to make a powerful “first impressions”.
  2. Learn to be a “dynamic and strategic” communicator. Find and use your voice.
  3. Always Be Learning- Develop a Growth Mindset so You Can Learn Anything
  4. Live your life by “playing to win and not to lose” by having belief in yourself.
  5. Learn to be patient. Persevere. Make the effort. And Practice to reach your potential
  6. Dare to be great. Live life as an adventure and always be a seeker .

  7. Be an Active listener. Start by seeking first to understand and then to be understood.

  8. Treat everyone you meet with respect and dignity.

  9. Don’t sleep walk through life. Experience it by being present in the “here and now”Being Present in the moment. This concept is defined as the ability to be completely in the “here and now” and being open and flexible enough to learn new ways to handle challenges, expectations, opportunities, unexpected crisis and conflicts. 
  10. Use the 5 to 1 rule to become a positive and enthusiastic force for others.
  11. Show gratitude and be thankful for your gifts in life. Experience the world as one of abundance not scarcity.Be grateful for good things in your life.  Acknowledge daily what is right in your life.
  12. Be open and flexible to different points of view. Always be willing to change and admit your ignorant.
  13. Be Mentally Tough. Never give-up, never give-up…learn to understand the principle of grit
  14. When dreams are broken re-frame them through personal change and self-renewal.
  15. Honor the 10,000 hour rule: Be persistent and patient put in the time and energy into being mentally tough and a master of your art.
  16. Learn the rule and financial rewards of compound interest.
  17.  Discipline yourself to never spend beyond your means.
  18. Practice Kaizen and look for ways to constantly improve both strengths and weaknesses.
  19. Commit yourself to self-development and life-long learning and improvement. Be open to feedback.
  20. Understand that happiness is based on relationships not money and material stuff.
  21. Be loyal and unconditionally support your family and friends. In life’s ups and downs they will be tested.
  22. Be decisive even if it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.
  23. Be a self-starter–take responsibility for keeping commitments DWYSYWD
  24. When you look back on your life try to live a life of no excuses or regrets by challenging the “status quo”earl and often.
  25. Be a leader of others. Do what you think you can’t do.Always give 100% to a cause. Be a kind and caring giver in life. Be a man and woman for others.
  26. Take good care of those you love.Practice and learn the C.A.R.E. model
  27. Don’t do anything that your Mom would say is stupid.
  28. Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt, see them as having good intentions.
  29. Practice self-compassion and empathy.
  30. Learn to trust others and give it away. Trust is the cornerstone for finding your truth in life
  31. Trust requires you to be vulnerable and self-disclosing. Eliminate secrets in life.
  32. Be more aware of your biases in life- rating yourself higher than others, confirmation bias etc. Work hard on eliminating your “blindspots”
  33. Choose a career that is aligned with your passion, purpose, values and beliefs. Do what you believe in and love to do. p25 Success Built to Last
  34. Remember that the last of human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude. Victor Frankl 
  35. Rule for interacting–Don’t forget to “MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT”.
  36. Take on challenges with your eyes wide open. Accept and promote the philosophy of “fail early and often” because it is the key to harnessing more self-awareness and encourages feedback that provides the fuel for personal and professional change and growth.
  37. This last bears repeating because it is the closest rule to my heart because it often reminds me of two famous quotes (available in several variations on the Web). First, there is Edison’s quote about failure and inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed, not once. I’ve discovered ten thousand ways that don’t work.” Then there is Frank Lloyd Wright’s insight “You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledgehammer on the construction site.”
  38.  Take time to recover and be more mindful in living life…
  39. Don’t try to manage “stress” in life accept that life is full of pain, suffering and stress.
  40. How do you go about getting feedback from others which is the lifeblood for growth and development?



Savoring the Moment vs Watching life past you Bye–Learn a new Scientific Approach to Happiness

Daily Quote: “It’s so beautiful here. I want to come back someday!” “It takes all my persuasive powers, to try to convince her that she is already here.” Elizabeth Gilbert 

Reflection: Many people get “stuck” because they are not living in the “here and now” and are not paying attention to experiencing the full pleasure of the moment. Their focus is on the past and what could have been except for bad decisions or a lack of luck. Or they get focused on the ‘what if’s of the future that they do not experience, let alone enjoy, what’s happening right now. We are eating a delicious filet mignon and think, “This is not as good as what I had last week at a much better price.” We are enjoying a run of significant revenue increases because of our relationship with a new client and think, “I hope they keep hiring us for these projects but I am not sure they will because they are talking to other vendors.”

We put enormous amounts of energy into comparing present experiences with past experiences or wondering about what can go wrong in the future. These “disaster fantasies” distract us from enjoying and fully experiencing the moment. Instead, I would recommend staying in the moment and focus or be aware of  whatever you’re doing at the present moment that is creating this wonderful thing—what psychologists call savoring. “This could be small things like enjoying your wonderful lunch with a caring and exciting client or colleague,  taking a warm shower after a run on the beach, or embracing the feedback of a wonderful presentation.  You could be savoring a success or savoring eating your favorite dessert,” explains Dr. Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California at Riverside and author of The How of Happiness. In this book the author identifies many scientific proven ways to purse happiness not as a “hit and miss” self-help approach but a s a deliberative and proven way to change your happiness quotient. Usually it involves staying in the moment and enjoying your present experience.

The flip side of worrying is ruminating, thinking bleakly about events in the past over and over again. So, if you focus your attention into the now, rumination ceases. Savoring forces you into the present, so you can’t worry about things that aren’t there.

Challenge: Today count the number of times you stop to savior the moment in your life? If it is two or three try to increase the number in the next week. Capture these moments and how they make you feel in your Self-Coaching journal.

Launch of Legacy Project–On Lessons Learned to Share with people in their 20’s

Legacy Project –May .13.2013 Learning from Hindsight–Seeing the Past with new eyes…

I have often wonder why younger people or for that why organizations or the government ( Viet Nam lessons not learned , so we plunged into Irag on false pretenses and little understanding of the differences of the Mid-East  culture or ideology and religions of the region) This approach to living seems to be set in stone. So we repeat mistakes that older generations have already experienced. I know the old saw that if you don’t study and understand history you are bound to repeat it. But that explanation is not enough. Maybe the younger folks just are not listen, or better yet maybe the older folks are not trying hard enough to share the lessons we have learned.  I would change the direction from external problems of health, Social Security prisons, politics and food to a more personal conversation. I have always been interested in reading and collecting the wisdom, stories and quotes of the ages. These would be reflections and principles that have guided your life and can be passed on to the next generation. As we all approach the “next act” of our life I wanted us to stop and take an inventory of lessons learned. These ideas, lessons, and thoughts will focus on how to enjoy a rich and fulfilling life.

These life lessons are made of experiences, stories, and teachings that you and I carry forward from our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, teachers, and mentors in life. These are the things we learned through our personal development and life experiences. These are the messages you might want to share with your grandkids or other younger people that might guide them through the ups and downs of life. I sense, in my discussions with people, a desire to pass on something more than material wealth. Many people have shared with me that they want to pass on something of themselves –something of the meaning and the spirit of living a fulfilling and good life. I think there is a yearning in all of us to share who we are and what life has meant and taught us.

So how shall we start the conversation? I have crafted the following thought starter questions to get us started. Please reflect and jot down your responses to the questions before the meeting and come prepared to share your insights and wisdom.

1. Let’s begin by sharing our most favorite quote in how to live life– I love this one–

“Satisfaction in life lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”  Mahatma Gandhi: non-violent activist who helped lead India to independence. He was assassinated in 1948.

Your favorite quote:


What meaning does this quote have for you and why is it a favorite?


What is the lesson  underlining this quote that you would want to pass on to the next generation?


Please pass this post on to all your friends and have then pass-on their ideas by emailing me at mwhardwick44@gmail .com or my face book page. Thanks for contributing you maybe providing a 20 something an idea or experience that will save them from pain or harm in the future. Or better yet with an opportunity to create a more meaningful life.

Living a Meaningful and Purposeful Life: 35 Things that I learned too Late

Maxims for Living a Meaningful Life
Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

  1. Give away the credit demonstrates to others that you are a true leader.
  2. You must confront your problems and find solutions . Things do not get better by ignoring or denying they exist. As a matter of fact they get worst.
  3. Some problems have no solutions, so they just go on.
  4. Acceptance is not giving-in or caving. It is listening by using empathy to understand but not agreement.
  5. Lack of assertiveness has specific consequences to the quality of your life.
  6. To require that others respond to you as exactly as you want; means you give them control over you.
  7. “Finding” yourself is impossible but creating yourself is a worthwhile endeavor.
  8. Doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results is not only foolish it is a waste of precious energy and limited time.
  9. If you influence others to respond in the specific way that you want, and they do, you have rendered them dependent on you.
  10. Giving advice is only effective when you ask permission to give it. Permission is a powerful way to get listened too. Know one likes to be lectured too.
  11. Activity is not necessarily the same as productivity; doing is being efficient and does not equate with doing the right things first and foremost which is effectiveness.
  12. Assumptions are destructive in many cases because they can lead us down the wrong road and create misunderstandings.
  13. Suffering and pain is a decision that eats us up from the inside-out. Self-disclosure is a better way to go.
  14. Be aware of dogmatic statements that lead to self-centered and self-righteous behavior.
  15. You can be strong if you allow yourself to be trusting, open and vulnerable.
  16. The only thing constant is change. Often the hardest work is accepting the changes or transitions in life.
  17. The loss of curiosity and creativity is more destructive than risking and failure.
  18. The more you run away from something, the more apparent it becomes.
  19. We criticize and are sarcastic to prove that we do not posses the fault. Don’t confuse people say what you want to say clearly, concisely and directly.
  20. Caring confrontation is one way to heal disagreements.
  21. Only when you feel fully secure can you be aware of how afraid you were before.
  22. Fighting something engages it; accepting it clears the way to moving on.
  23. The answer always gives birth to and shapes the question. Only by listening to the answers can you finally give voice to the important question.
  24. Immature people can teach us the depth of superficial things.
  25. If you don’t change your direction, or know where you are going you are likely to end up just going where you are going and not know why.
  26. Asking why 5 times provides clarity to the reason you are doing what you are doing.
  27. Action is not the same as expectations. Judgment resides in the potential space between the two.
  28. Following the 3 to 1 rule of positivity creates more productive and healthier relationships
  29. It is a moment of liberation to know that your are responsible for your own attitude and choices in life.
  30. The thing that gets in the way of seeing something as it truly is is our pre-conceived picture of it.
  31. The most common thing that gets in the way of listening and understanding something, is your desire to talk.
  32. Fear, change and insecurity are are driven by vulnerability, low trust and lack of self-efficacy.
  33. Mistakes and failure are the best teachers if you are aware and observant in life.
  34. The past experience can be a powerful lesson if we are open to learn from what happened and what you need to do differently to get a better outcome.
  35. All you have to do is the next right thing. Sometimes it isn’t clear what the next right thing is, but you can almost always be clear as to what it isn’t.

Self-Coaching Experiment: Renewal through Reflection vs Autopilot Living.

Are you stuck and living on autopilot?

The Solution: Renewal and Reflect– Being focused and present in the “here and now” requires regular attention to our internal lives–what are our dreams and hopes and how do internal systems  such as self-talk and physical alertness or energy impact our stuckness or inaction? . One important way to renew from 21 Century always on and hurry sickness is to take a weekend break or ” recovery”. For example,  you might experiment with turning off  TV’s, radios  and all other technology gadgets in your live. When we take a break, we gain recovery time, replenish or energy reserves and gain insights about what activities play a part our busyness and stress in life. This recovery time provides the opportunity to focus on what is important in our daily living and what are time wasters and distractions.

When we lose touch with our core of interacting face to face and eyeball to eyeball we lose a chance for real connections based on attention and intimacy. Our perspective and positive connections decrease because of our removal mentally and physically from others. We gain back our perspective by turning off outside distractions and by letting our intuitive voice guide us.

Sometimes we are open to renewal because our energy is at low levels or stress is reaching a breaking point. When crises drop into our lives, we are forced to stop, challenge our thinking and actions and reflect on our next course of action . At times when things seem to be going smoothly, we may not sense the need at all. The truth is it is better to be proactive in understanding how we live are lives rather than waiting for outside events to happen to get our attention.

Taking a complete “blackout from TV and all other media may seem a bit extreme and strange, yet it can help us regain our balance and focus in life. So, how do we go about this renewal or recovery approach?

How to Renew and Recover

When we’re disconnected and not available to others we begin to disengage in personal connections and opportunities to really let others know we care. In order to know people, we have to listen to their stories. We live in an age when we rarely have the time to fully listen to and hear each other’s stories. So, we live on impressions and assumptions. We’re busy people, after all, and we want our friendships easy and stress-free.

Commit to go without media or technology gadgets for 24 hours! No cell phone, computer, laptop, Kindle, TV or radio for 24 hours—call it a “recovery holiday”

A break from techno-busyness forces us to confront core questions about life. “Do I see friends more often?” “Do I really know their stories?” “Am I accessible to those I love?” Where am I going with my life? Am I making the difference in the world I hoped to do?

In the morning, get up a little earlier. Before you get involved in anything, just sit quietly for ten minutes and take three deep breaths. Breath one–just be present. Breath two–develop a grateful for…list. Breath three–focus on your mission and purpose in life purpose. Breath four-smile. Breath five clear you mind. Breath six. twinkle your eyes.   Then envision your next 24 hours. Picture the activities of the day without outside interference and have to dos…no cutting the lawn, listening to baseball game or emailing friends. Picture the potential “Aha moments”—times where you will have face time with people.

Maybe choose one friend (or a colleague) and get to know their story. Throughout the day, look for Aha or purposeful moments—opportunities to connect with people through a question, a kind word, an extended hand. In these moments, ask people what they are truly excited about, passionate about, a recent vacation or Holiday that was exciting or special for them—and listen.

What is the mood of these purpose moments? My hunch is that you’ll sense the mood that most of us yearn for—someone in our lives who “gets us.” We want someone to push the pause button on technology and listen to our stories. We’re hungry for deep connection.

The essence of renewal was captured clearly by Gardner in a book entitled Self-Renewal: “Exchanging stories is like making love. It is mutual. It is intimate. It takes patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill, engagement—and it teaches those qualities too.”

Renewal of our operating personal operating systems is powerful. It slows us down. It teaches us that patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill and sharing are fundamental qualities to finding meaning in a harried and stressed out world.

By all means have fun with this renewal experiment and as usual share your stories with us so we can learn the benefits of this “recover weekend”.

Self-Coaching Tip: Be an Anthropologist by Being Present and Observant

” If you think self-belief and being more aware and observant  in life cannot make a difference in your life, think again” Jeffrey Brantley, M.D.  

The greatest thing I’ve got going for me is my ability to be observant and believe in other people’s talents. I am a feedback mirror because I hear and see people doing things they can’t hear or see themselves doing. Every great communicator needs that kind of feedback or they will not be stimulated to change or grow. Blindspots will trip them up on their path to success. Having confidence in yourself is important, but it helps to have someone who believes in you, too, whether it’s a spouse, a friend, a teacher, or even a coach. These important teachers and mentors can keep you from tripping-up in life by providing honest feedback and reality checks.

Challenge Assignment: 

1. List 5 people in your life who could serve as a reality and feedback coach?

2. Contact them in the next 24 hours and ask them to be your coach.

3. Be specific and concrete about what you want from them.