Find Your Mentors

Piano Teacher

In Memory of Mr. French

I sat alone about halfway back on the right-hand side of the large church auditorium, lost in thought. It was the funeral service for Mr. French, my piano teacher. I did not know any of his family but felt compelled to honor the man who had faithfully worked to make me a better musician. I remembered all the times I walked up the stairs of his brownstone home and into the front room, where the intense smell of freshly brewed coffee and the sweet sound of piano music flooded my senses.

For years I couldn’t help but feel that we had all suffered a great loss that day and that Mr. French had with his passing taken so much talent with him, somehow leaving a musical void in the world. If only there was a way to re-capture his gift and bring back the music, he so effortlessly gave us.

Then one day it dawned on me. I was looking at his life and passing in the wrong way. His musical legacy continues to live on through all of his many students, each carrying on a piece of his incredible gift. His willingness to teach and mentor us was the very thing that has kept his musical legacy alive well beyond his natural years.

Who Are Your Mentors?

Can you name more than one person who speaks into your consciousness and inspires you to grow? Mr. French was my mentor because I showed up every week at his brownstone to practice my craft and learn from his musical talent. For you perhaps it is a business thought leader, a spiritual guide, or even an amazing music teacher. Can you name one, maybe two active mentors in your life today?

Identify your mentors. If you don’t have any mentors today decide what you are passionate about and start looking for someone that is ahead of you in this area. Seek out regular time with people you admire. If you can’t find anyone in person, sign up for podcasts from someone who is already successful in an area that you want to grow in. Make it your personal goal to be able to identify at least three mentors that challenge growth in you on a weekly basis.

Become a mentor. Develop personal skills that attract others to you who also want to grow in a given area. You don’t need to look for people to mentor, you just need to develop your core values to the point that others seek you out for guidance. If you hone your skills enough, they will find you. And when they do, carefully choose a few who you are willing to trust your legacy to and start pouring into them.

Leave a legacy. There will always be a part of me that Mr. French helped to form, no matter how much or how little I play music today. Every time I walk past the piano, I smell the freshly brewed coffee, and I hear the sound of his fingers gliding effortlessly over the keys. In many ways he imparted more to me than just music lessons, he trusted me with a little piece of his legacy. Thank you, Mr. French, for being one of the top mentors in my life!

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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Change Your Mindset – Change Your Future

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There is a proverb that says “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. Your life today is a direct result of what you have been thinking. More specifically, it is a result of what you have been thinking about yourself. If you are in a good place right now, it’s because you have had constructive thoughts that brought you to this point. If you do not like your current situation, it may be a direct result of a history of negative thoughts.

Change Your Thoughts 

There was a time when I was a natural at being a pessimist. I believed Murphy’s Law which is a supposed law of nature stating that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. What I did not realize at the time is that my thoughts were setting me up for future failure. This is where so many people live, constantly attracting the wrong results into their lives through pessimistic thought patterns and beliefs.

Poverty of the mind is just as real as, and often leads to, physical poverty. For example, if you think you are destined to be poor, then poverty will happily be your friend.  If you think nothing good can happen to you, then that will most likely be your experience. Your thoughts will eventually become your reality.

It’s time to change our thoughts! If you need to improve your health, start by thinking healthy thoughts which will then lead to healthier choices. If you need to improve your finances, start imagining ways you can reduce debt and increase your cash flow. Regardless of what you need to change, start by finding something positive in your life you are grateful for right now. Then start every day by consciously reminding yourself that you are grateful for this area of your life. From there, begin replacing negative thoughts about yourself with thoughts of gratitude, even before your actual circumstances have improved. You will be amazed over time at how a simple mindset shift can change your overall wellbeing.

Change Your Words  

There is a saying that sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me. This could not be more inaccurate. You may not be able to change what other people say about you, but you can change your own words. Start speaking words that serve you. For example, when I am working out each morning, I regularly say things to myself like I am getting stronger, I am getting faster, I feel younger. You might say this is nothing but mind over matter. Perhaps. But tomorrow I will be stronger, I will be faster, and I will feel younger and it will be a direct result of the encouraging words I am speaking to myself today.

What encouraging words can you start speaking today that will change your tomorrow?

Change Your Future

Remember, your life today is a direct result of what you have been thinking. In other words, your future will be a reflection of your mindset today. Teach yourself to be grateful for today and hopeful for tomorrow. Invest in learning how to change your mindset from being a pessimist to being an optimist. Leverage the Law of Attraction as explained in the book ‘The Secret’ to bring good things into your life. It’s time to change the future you, today.

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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Reducing Stress: 3 Practical Steps

Stress

We all know that stress is a silent killer, impacting our wellbeing in the present and our overall health long term. So, what are we to do? If you are like most, you are likely caught in the proverbial rate race just trying to get it all done and the thought of working to reduce stress stresses you out even more. So how can one reduce their overall stress index in the middle of a crazy schedule?

I know something about stress. There was a time in my life where for almost a full year I was under so much stress I could hardly eat, much less keep food on my stomach. The impact on my health was tangible and only getting worse. In the end, I had to make the choice to address the issue head-on. Here are three keys that helped me reduce stress and change my overall health for the better.

  • Stop worrying about things you can’t control. In her article “Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid” Amy Morin states that strong-minded people don’t waste energy worrying about things they can’t control. This is simple in form, but brilliant when applied. I have made it a personal mission to apply this principle to every area of my life. If traffic is heavy and causing me to slow down, I don’t worry. I can’t control it. If other people cut corners and lack integrity, I don’t worry. I can’t control them. Instead, I focus on what I can control, me!

Practice playing this principle out in one area of your life at a time. Before you know it, you will start to see your stress levels come down.

  • Set reasonable boundaries for work. I listened to a work coach this morning explain how to tell if you are a workaholic. He said to ask yourself the following set of questions. 1) What do you talk about most when you get home? 2) How much do you think about (or revert to) work after hours? 3) Are you able to take guilt-free vacations?

It is essential to set proper work boundaries for yourself. After all, your employer is not going to do so but instead continue to push for more efficiencies out of you. Do you have an established time you plan to leave work each day? Are you prepared to negotiate with your boss when they assign you that additional project you do not have the bandwidth to take on? What other ways can you address work scope creep? Remember, you work to live, not the other way around.     

  • Visualize what ‘stress-free’ looks like. What does a stress-free environment look like to you? Perhaps it’s a sunny day at the beach, or the sunset glowing across a calm lake. Maybe it’s that vacation you have been dreaming about. Visualize whatever it is in your mind, then go in search of a photo that accurately represents what you are picturing. Print it out and post it in the environment that is a know stress trigger for you. Whenever you feel yourself beginning to stress out, take 30 seconds to look at the photo and imagine you are actually in that place.

Now, take a look at the picture below that I have included as an example and just breathe for a minute.

Sunny ocean view
Stress free moment

The principle of reducing stress is so important to me now that I have incorporated it into my core values. It will take some practice but if you consistently incorporate these steps into your daily routine, you will begin to see a noticeable improvement to your stress index.

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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Healthy People: The 3 Things They Do

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For me, a healthy person is by definition a well-balanced individual. “Healthy” comes in a lot of flavors including physical well-being, mental soundness, the strength of one’s relationships, and the list goes on. For the sake of this example, let’s focus on physical health. What are the keys to living a healthy physical lifestyle? Why do some people appear to achieve this state with relative ease while others yo-yo between food fads, diets, and the latest workout craze but with no lasting results? Here is the answer in three not so easy steps!

They make healthy living a core value. Bottom line, healthy individuals tend to define what their core values are and healthy living makes the short list. They may not have a written list of core values (which I highly recommend) but they live by them just the same. As you age, you will not naturally fall into a healthy physical lifestyle. The fact is, it will come through careful planning and a core value that is set to some extent on defying the natural aging process. Planning for physical health must by default include a solid definition of the core attributes that define you. Once you incorporate living a healthy lifestyle into your core values, you will be on your way to realizing success.   

They have habits. I heard someone say that people do not fail for lack of goals, they fail due to lack of systems. This is why new year’s resolutions, like joining the local gym, are a complete waste of time. Setting goals without the necessary systems and routines required to support them are actually harmful as it tends to reinforce a track record of experienced failure. Living a healthy lifestyle requires systems that turn into routines that lead to habits (systems > routines > habits). You don’t argue with yourself about brushing your teeth each morning. This is because you have transitioned from learning the system of how to brush, then when to brush, to finally making it a lifelong habit. Once a healthy lifestyle becomes habitual, you will be successful in this area for the long term.

They have a vision. A wise biblical sage once said something to the effect that without vision, people perish. Vision (the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom) provides the underlying energy your core values and habits will need in order to succeed. Can you clearly imagine the healthy lifestyle you will be enjoying 5 to 10 years from now? If so, you have an initial vision. Can you apply wisdom to your imagination and envision why you need to be healthy 10-15 years from now? If so, you have a mature vision. This skill is absolutely necessary for long term success and has the potential to fuel a healthy physical lifestyle for years to come.

Vision for a healthy lifestyle
Vision for a healthy lifestyle

At the end of the day, people living healthy lifestyles have characteristics that brought them to this well-balanced place in life. Whenever I read about someone who has achieved health in an area of life, I look carefully for signs of the underlying principles that have contributed to their success. They may not specifically be the ones listed above, but if you look hard enough, they will always be there in one form or another.

So, what healthy, well-balanced goals do you have for life and do they align with your core values? If not, find ones that do then seek out systems that lead to routines which turn into habits. Finally, energize your habits with your life’s vision. If you consistently apply these principles, there will be no stopping you.

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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