My Mother’s Wisdom

January 30, 2019

We’ve laughed about it over the years. The three things my mom told us every morning as we walked out the door for school.

As a kid they seemed annoying. Designed as something to inhibit the budding free spirit every adolescent craves. I guess Mark Twain’s old saying about how dumb my parents were at 14 and how smart they became in seven years when I reached 21 was accurate.

My mother was a child of the Great Depression. She was the fifth of six children who lived past infancy. Her father died when she was eleven and she left high school after her sophomore year so she could get a job with health insurance for herself, her mother and the one sibling that remained at home.

She worked in a dairy until she was twenty one when she and my father married. For the next fifteen years or so she worked in our home. During that time she developed a real passion and talent for drawing, painting, china painting, ceramic sculpture and was the best cook and baker I’d ever met.

We even had a kiln in our basement.

My father loved my mother without reservation. In other words, unequivocally. I am still in therapy because he refused to pay the additional twenty five dollars to upgrade my bike from a three-speed to a ten-speed but he paid put a 220 voltage outlet in the basement for my moms kiln.

Somewhere from those experiences in her life came the three things we heard each and every morning – Our marching orders.

Keep your eyes straight ahead. She wanted us to be safe. She wanted us to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. If you looked to the left or to the right, you’d be tempted to pause and investigate and only God knows who or what was over there. You might get hit on the head and sold to a circus.

You have no opinion. Opinions get you in trouble. Trouble finds the teacher. The teacher call mom. My brother and I would sit on the steps towards our basement trying to figure out which one of us was about to get in trouble. (Most of the time the call was about me!)

You can have all the opinions you want. Just keep them locked tight in your head and you’ll be okay.

Keep your big mouth shut! If you know me, you know this was the suggestion (?) most difficult for me to master. Along with having lots of opinions I was usually pretty vocal in letting the world know what those opinions were.

I’m driving down the road one morning trying to find a way to complete this post. It’s hung here for a few days now and I was getting worried.

Why does Wednesday morning always get here so quickly?

It dawned on me that my mom put stuff out there the way she knew best and what her life experience had taught. I mean, how many kids do you know leave school to be the sole support of their family?

So, while I was sitting in yet another meeting that showed little chance of going anywhere meaningful I re-crafted her three rules of life into what they’d come to mean to me.

Always keep looking forward. Keep your eye on your goals and don’t let anything or anyone distract you from where you’re headed. 

Keep growing and keep learning. Keep close watch over what you believe today and always compare it to where you were and where you want to go. Keep your options and your opinions open and closely held.

Choose your counsel wisely. A friend once put it to me like this: There are 3 or 4 people I’d get out of bed for in the middle of the night and get out of jail, no questions asked. They are the people I have learned to trust. A few more who I’d help; but wonder why they called me.

Finally there is everyone else.

I’d tell them I was sorry and go back to sleep.

The moral?

There are those people we’d do anything for. Keep them close and cherish them.

My mom went to be with the Lord January 1 of this year. She, along with her wisdom will be missed.

P.S. Happy Sixty Third Birthday to my brother Joe

A Heroes Journey is published each Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM CST

Above All Else: To Thine Own Self

Can we talk?

I promise it will stay just between me and you.

Is it just me, or do we spend a lot of time investing ourselves in things we are really not committed to begin with?

Did you ever notice it’s never small things?

It always has to be big and significant.

Getting out of debt in one year when our spending habits rival that of a small country and saving and investing is a nice thought.

Loosing fifty pounds and running a triathlon when we haven’t moved off the couch since God was a little boy.

Stuff like that.

What’s really sad is we don’t come up with this stuff on our own. We’re told that if we don’t buy in to these programs there is something wrong with us.

It’s called marketing our pain.

Let me find your tender spot.

Let me show you how everyone else – all the cool kids, are handling life and then wrap it all up by asking:

Don’t ya wanna be just like them?

At some point in time we all did. We wanted to stop pressing our noses against the window and be allowed into the party. We are told they have something we don’t have and for a jar full of magic beans it can be ours.

Some of us, people like you and me, discovered there was a better path.

Living in pain is a really steep price for admission to the party.

Come closer. Just between me and you.

They’re not our goals. They’re the cool kids goals, who BTW really aren’t any cooler than you or I. We’ve just been led to believe we are lacking.

We are Pavlovian in our behaviors. We perform on command. One morning we wake up and we decide right then and there we are going to change how we live and who we are in thirty days or less and we’re mystified when things don’t change.

When we don’t reach the level of peak performance immediately we automatically declare ourselves flawed because, after all, the gurus tell us if we follow a guaranteed, time tested prescription we’ll gain instantaneous success and if we don’t…………..

If we don’t succeed post haste it has to be some sort of fatal, genetic flaw inside of us After all, their process is a seven figure revenue generator. They know whats best for you and I and the universe. They help you identify your pain points and then they throw salt on them until you yell Enough!

We open our wallets, take out a third fourth and fifth mortgage and when everything is not coming up roses we’re told we didn’t read the fine print.

The results, you see, are not guaranteed.

Within that statement lies a tremendous truth.

The only person who can guarantee results in our lives is me and you.

Years ago I attended a seminar and one of the speakers asked us to write ten positive things we identified in ourselves. Things that made us stand out and be successful. We could take as much time as we needed.

Next we were asked to write ten negative things we identified in ourselves and we were given a ninety second time limit.

A show of hands at the conclusion of the exercise told a chilling tale. Hardly anyone, me included, finished the list of positive attributes. Nearly everyone, me included, finished the list of negative attributes in the allotted time and most of us finished early. ( I exceeded the requirement.)

We’ve been conditioned to improve, constantly. It’s never accomplish, savor and enjoy. It’s always move on to the next thing. Nothing is ever good enough. Why are you still sitting there? Don’t work to your strengths. Remove your weaknesses. Nothing is not good enough.

And all that rot

If you’re like me your inbox got flooded with postings during the month of November and December. They exhorted us to begin turning the page in 2019. Time to set goals. Time to change. Time to be the me I always wanted to be. (Sans a few extra pounds I am happy with me!) Time to get with the program. Time to earn six figures in sixty days by building a list of 2000 personal connections overnight.

So is it any wonder, that when we sit down at the keyboard, fingers poised to create greatness, that a small voice deep inside tells us we’re never going to make it anyway. Why bother. You haven’t succeeded before and you wont again.

I am going to ask you to hold my hand and take a huge leap. I am going to ask you to look at the goals you’ve recently set and as yourself this question:

Are these truly my goals? Did I set them with my own unique DNA in mind?

It’s difficult at first to break away from the madding crowd. To reboot, to look at the map and realize it has been upside down for quite some time

Stepping out and charting a course with our specific skills and talents in mind is heady stuff and there probably will be pain and doubt and all that stuff that makes us stronger and wiser.

You may not get there right away but when you do the feeling of accomplishment cant be beat

You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go  ~Dr. Seuss

.

A Heroes Journey is published every Wednesday at 7:30 AM

The Secret Behind Reaching 100% of Your Goals

That’s me. I was fifty seven years old and preparing to run in my first 5K. It is the craziest and most self satisfying thing I’ve ever done. Joan and I were walking in the Owensboro Kentucky Barbecue Festival 5K in May of 2010 with some of our kids and their girl friends. Fun times. Somewhere towards the end of the course I saw people running and laughing and having a great time and I thought “I wonder what that would feel like.” So just like that, on a beautiful Saturday morning, I decided I was going to become a runner.

It almost didn’t happen

Hind sight being what it is, I’ve come to realize that I do that a lot – Make quick decisions.

The next Saturday I purchased a pair of good running shoes. One of my sons, an avid runner, went with me and helped me pick out the right pair. I went home, laced them up, walked out on front porch, did some stretching, and started to run down the street. I made it about two hundred yards and everything started to hurt. I was out of breath. Maybe it was my imagination but I swear I saw angels circling over head lighting the path for me to come home.

Ruh-Roh!

What the hell was I thinking? I was bald, paunchy and old. I’d just dropped major coin on a pair of shoes. Maybe I should sneak in the back door and chalk this up to a latent mid life crisis and hope its a month or so before Joan figures out what I paid for the shoes! Here was another adventure circling the drain. Another failure. What the hell was I thinking?

I spent the next few weeks making excuses to myself and the people who kept asking me How’s the running coming along?

The worst part was the things it was doing to my self confidence. 

Here we go again! Another hair brained idea that fell flat on it’s face!

Don’t you think it’s time you stopped chasing unicorns?

Your time has passed! Sit on the curb and cheer someone else!

The worst part? I’d done everything I was supposed to do! I wrote down my goal. They were specific, measurable, reachable, trackable. All those things.

****Hear crickets chirping****

I was really in a bind. I’d spent close to two hundred dollars on shoes. That’s an awfully expensive folly.

A trainer at my gym saved me. She told me about a program called Couch to 5K. It was an IPhone app designed to get you running five kilometers in 9 weeks. A voice told when the music started to play you should run. When the music stopped playing you should walk.

Even I could do this! Was that a glimmer of hope I saw peaking through the clouds?

Each week increased your run time and by the end of nine weeks you would be running five kilometers. It took me twelve weeks to complete the program because I was in worse shape than I’d imagined.

The practice was simple: The program allowed me to create a series of small goals to attain each week. When I ran more and walked less my confidence increased as well as my stamina. I was more focused and alert. I slept better. I was losing weight. Each week completed was a victory and each week made me want to do even more. I WAS doing this!

Looking back, I’d stopped focusing on the end result and started focusing on the activity I needed to get there.

Reflect on that for a minute before you hurry on. It was a series of small achievements that led to me ultimately reaching my final goal.

It would have been easy to give up and no one would have blamed me. They’d have said “Hey, at your age, at least your tried, ya know.”

You know what excuses are like right? Everybody has one. I’d carried around a whole bag of excuses for not reaching my goals. I almost short circuited because I was focused on running a whole five kilometers when I couldn’t walk to the end of the block.

My mind kept saying: If you cant do it all don’t do any of it!

That’s why ninety two percent of us who set goals don’t reach them. We have no idea or vision what success looks like. We get frustrated and give up. It’s like looking at the world through a shower curtain. Something’s there, you just cant see what it is and you don’t know how to get there!

I couldn’t see myself running the whole distance but when I made it around the block and was still alive something inside of me shouted encouragement. My confidence grew with each achievement.

That’s when I started to see success. It came in a million micro moments. I’d created milestones and landmarks that acknowledged my progress.

One Saturday morning in September of that year Joan and I got in the car and drove two hours for me to compete in my first 5K. I was nervous. You know, the good kind of nervous you get when you are excited about doing something.

I started and I finished and oh yeah, you remember the trainer who gave me the podcast program? A week before I competed she gave me another piece of advice:

Run the race you trained to run.

It would have been easy to get caught up in all the excitement of competing with hundreds of other people and forget my purpose. Her words stuck in my mind all thorough that first race.

I finished, not in record time, but I ran all the way and I was able to finish the race.

Next week I am going to share another tip that can help us reach our goals one hundred percent of the time. It’s going to be a bout the “C” word.

Yeah I know. Commitment can be a bear.

See ya

A Heroes Journey is published each Wednesday  at 7:00 AM CST.

3 things you need to know BEFORE you start working with a coach

If you are interested in working with a coach, I’d like to share 3 things for you to consider. I’ve been a career development coach for close to 20 years and a business coach for 10 years. Working with a qualified coach means you are going to make a financial investment in preparing for your future. It means the coach you work with has to be a person whose vision and passion aligns with yours. 

Here are 3 things to consider.

What are their qualifications and how long have they been coaching people?

When I began coaching people in 2001 there were only a few of us outside the academic arena who were coaches. I received my coaching certification so I could offer it as an option to clients who used my human resource consulting business.

After I’d been in business for ten years, people started asking me what I did to create and maintain my successful business. They were people looking to leave the corporate world and start their own business.  

A few years later, I closed my human resource consulting practice and began career and business coaching full time. 

I still love helping companies with their training and development needs and public speaking is one of my favorite things to do. I am a blogger and have a YouTube channel. I never met a camera I didn’t like. My main focus is helping folks make their dreams come true, just like I did with mine. In other words I have been there and I have done that

There are some online programs that will certify you as a “coach” in as little as 5 hours of classroom training. That means you get a sheet of paper signed by your instructor and it tells the world you are a coach. The only requirement is that you have “a passion” for what you’re doing and score seventy percent or higher on a test that covers the material you learned. 

What is their process? How do they work with you?

It’s important you come prepared with a list of questions. 

The purpose of working with a coach, regardless of the discipline, is for you to reach a goal or implement a plan.  It’s that simple. What’s not simple is the “how.”

Every coach has a different way of helping their clients. I help you find out where some of the bottle necks and road blocks are and then guide you in creating strategies to overcome them. I am straight forward and honest with my clients. I ask my clients to take two behavioral assessments before we start working together. This helps me get an idea of how to communicate with them. I rarely take notes. I may write on a chart or white board if something they say strikes a chord with me. Mostly, I am a story teller and most of my examples come from things that happened to me during the course of my life and career. 

My coaching sessions are long conversations punctuated with questions and answers. The highest compliment anyone ever paid me was a client who said the best thing I did for him was to cause him to look at himself and his actions. When we began working together he was a high school graduate and in a low level job for over 17 years. Today, he is the vice president of mid-sized company and has a master degree in business administration. When he looked at himself he saw what he needed to do to reach his goals. As the saying goes, “It was simple, it just wasn’t easy.” That realization came through a process of self exploration and creating strategies.

Read the fine print. 

Every coach has their own set of do’s and don’ts. It’s important that you understand and agree to them BEFORE you begin the coaching relationship and what is required of both you and your coach. 

Do they have a cancellation policy? 

What are the ground rules about contacting your coach between session. 

What is their fee and how do they expect you to pay them? In a lump sum, or in installments?

These are all questions you should receive answers to so you understand what’s expected of you and your coach and by no means are they all the questions you should be asking. 

The most important thing for you as a client to consider is your personal level of comfort with the coach and their style. When you create a a productive relationship, amazing things can occur, for you and your coach. A good coach should support you, guide you, and teach you. 

Hope this helps and Happy Holidays to all of you. 

If you’d like more information or have a question about coaching you can contact me through my web site

Oh No! Not Another Post on Goal Setting

I am sorry. I have to. I am tired of watching people get ship wrecked half way to their destination when some up front  planning could go a long way towards them being successful. 

Wanna increase the possibilities of reaching your goals this up coming year? 

Read on.

Does the goal you’re looking at going to have an impact of your life? The late Zig Ziglar once said that if you want to evaluate the level of investment in yourself all you have to do is look at a plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken, he said, made a contribution. The pig, on the other hand made a commitment. 

That example has served me well over the years. If I am not totally invested in what I am about to do I will fail. That voice inside will tell me. “It’s really not worth it.” or “You are fine the way you are!”

For years Joan begged me to drop 50 pounds or so. I have a familial history of hypertension and had a lower back injury that when aggravated caused my sciatic nerve to act up. Ya think that would be enough, wouldn’t you? 

It did not. 

It took failing down in front of roughly forty five thousand people at a college football game and having to disrupt everyone’s plans for the day to cause me to reassess not only the impact on my life but on the life of so many others. 

Setting a goal to lose those fifty pounds suddenly became very personal and reaching it was going to have a positive impact on my life.

Take small bites. I spent a better part of my adult life trying to lose those fifty pounds. If you’ve been there you know it’s really frustrating. You plunk down some hard earned cash for a gym membership or a diet program and you start off great but you just can’t seem to sustain. After awhile you give up. This may be for everyone else but not for you. (Or me either.) 

The problem is not you or how you live or what you eat or any on that stuff. It’s a vision issue. We can’t fathom whats going to happen next week much less next year.  In my case I was never sure what someone who weighed fifty pounds less than I did acted and looked like. What did they eat? Stuff like that. While it was nice to day dream about it I couldn’t get my hands around its impact on my life. 

We live in a monkey-see-monkey-do world. When we have no basis for our goals we look to the right or left and copy what the person next to us is doing because, “Hey, if it worked for them it will probably work for me!” 

Until it doesn’t. 

That’s when frustration sets in and we start to doubt ourselves and why-the-hell-did-I start-all-of-this-anyway!

We give up. 

Call it fate or dumb luck I started to figure out that my weight wasn’t what was keeping me from reaching my goal. It was my behavior. (Eating a bag of Halloween Buterfingers does wonders for the midsection.) Now, I’d spent a ton of money on working with a couple health coaches and a personal trainer so I pretty much knew the “what.” I just needed to figure out the “how.” I tackled one issue at a time and set a monthly or sometimes weekly goal.

I didn’t starve myself or deny myself.  My goal was becoming  healthy. It meant making choices that would help mt move forward. At the end of a  month I’d evaluate my progress. If things were going well I’d keep-on-keepin’-on. If I’d hit a rough patch, I’d take a step back and look at what I needed to adjust. 

Find someone to help hold you accountable. Did you know the main reason we had homework was to make sure we had paid attention in class. It wasn’t to learn anything. It was to reinforce that the real learning came when the teacher held out a book or sheath of papers and deposited wisdom into our growing brains. 

Homework made sure we were paying attention.

I bring this up because as adults our goals aren’t much different than when we were in school. There was an end game then – graduation. There is an end game now – you fill in the blanks. Homework kept us accountable on our academic journey. 

Lemme ask you something? 

Who holds you accountable in the here and now. 

Every Monday, with the exception of holidays, I wait for my phone to ring. Some weeks I answer it quickly and joyfully, and others I let it ring. 

That’s usually followed by a text message: “I know where you live.”

It’s my accountability partner. 

Each week I share my progress towards my goals. They listen to me and give me kudos if I stay on track or, on the rare occasion I’ve been goofing off they help me focus. They know me, know my business and while we like and respect each other, they are not my friend. 

Sometimes they have to ask difficult questions. Accountability partners are the people who aren’t afraid to stick their heads in the lions mouth and don’t worry about getting it snapped off. 

If you don’t have one find one. 

That’s it for this week. 

Talk to you next Tuesday

You Can’t Know What You’re Worth Until You Figure Out Who You Are

 

I know, I know. We all  believe that we’re worth millions of dollars.

Lets agree that the potential is there.

Those pie-in-the-sky I’m worth a million bucks an hour mantras we speak are things we use to convince ourselves how valuable we are. It’s more of an affirmation to the world that we are a somebody. We can look in the mirror every morning and reassure ourselves that our emotional ten toes and fingers are where they belong

Do you remember the point I made in last weeks blog post?

Remember this part:

I network for three reasons.

  •        To build my referral network

  •        To test out a new program or product on a live audience

  •        To educate people on who I am and what I do.

It can be difficult sometimes to elucidate who we are and what we do.  what we do best.

The pool of business networking is murky, at best.

Yeah, I said murky.

You can ask 100 people how to effectively network and you’ll get 100 different answers.

Mostly we color ourselves deeply confused and as internet marketing guru Russell Brunson states so eloquently:

A confused mind always says NO!

If you ain’t quite sure what you are selling how the bleep am I supposed to know what I am buying?

Seriously.

I’ll shake you hand, smile, take your business card and as I walk away mumble What was that all about!?

Here is how we are taught to network.

  • Come up with a cute and catchy speech. Memorize the speech.
  • Hand out our business cards.
  • Search out people you might want to get to know and bribe, er, I mean ask them to have coffee or lunch with you. ( As business networking guru Dr. Ivan Misner once said Everyone has to eat lunch, right)

I followed this pattern for awhile. The part about lunch and coffee. I ended up gaining 30 pounds and investing in a personal trainer and a health coach!

When these strategies don’t get us the results we desire we figure one of two things”

  • The process is flawed
  • We are flawed

Until you know who you are on this journey of yours and what your gifts and talents are you are just spending time looking for…………… I mean, what are you looking for?

That’s where most of us need help.

That’s why I’m here.

 

John Jurkiewicz is the founder of a career and business coaching firm called New Career Creations. John has been in business, proudly, for 19 years. He offers a host of coaching services to help team members and business owners with their careers and businesses. 

 He and his wife Joan have been married for 44+ years. (Joan is already a candidate for sainthood!) Together they created  6 children who are creating their own, unique footprint in this world by using their gifts and talents to help make it a better place for all of us. 

#newcareercreations

 

 

3 Ways to Get Better Results From Your Network Experience.

“First you must be visible in the community.You must get out there and connect with people. It’s not called net-sitting or net-eating. It’s called networking. You must work at it.” Dr Ivan Misner


Hey. Mr. You-Know-Everybody! You wouldn’t happen to know where I could find a bee keeper? 

I did. Well, I knew someone whose mother was a beekeeper. My doctor’s office was next to a field and when he went to his car at lunch it was surrounded by a swarm of bees. He was allergic to bee stings. A connection I’d met at a local networking event told me his mom was a beekeeper one day while were having coffee.

So what does my doctor, and a bee keeper have to do with networking?

I network for three reasons.

  •        To build my referral network
  •        To test out a new program or product on a live audience
  •        To educate people on who I am and what I do.

There is no magic formula. I attend multiple events each week. There are weeks I will use more that one strategy depending on the group I’m with. If I am a first-time participant, they will hear about who I am and what I do. If I’ve been attending on a regular basis I may talk about my most recent program offering.

It isn’t what happens at the networking experience itself. It’s what happens before and afterwards that determines your success. When I am looking to add new people to my referral network, that’s where my focus is concentrated.

When I enter the room for the event I know why I am there for who I want to connect with AFTER the event is over. Sometimes it’s a brand-new connection in an area a client may need some assistance for. Sometimes its renewing a business relationship that I’ve not cultivated in a while.

Look at it this way: The event you go to once a week for 90 minutes or so is simply a staging area or a springboard for building your business. I believe that’s where we get confused at times.

If I walk in the door and am not sure what my purpose is in being there why should you want to engage with me and learn more about me? If I’m not crystal clear on my purpose and intentions I am asking you to pick through the mine field of my mind and try to figure out exactly what I am trying to say.

There are three things you can do to help yourself be more effective.

Prepare  I cringe when I hear someone say I don’t really have a lot to say today. I’ve been busy. Take ten minutes the night before and prepare. If it’s a group I meet with frequently and most people know who I am I’ll concentrate on a program or an educational moment. Something they’ll remember when they walk away from me.

Engage  No one likes to listen to some one drone on about themselves. Engage a group by starting with a question that pertains to your topic. It gets them involved and makes them feel included. Ask for their advice or ask what they know about something. In short, they become part of my short presentation. A bonus happens when one of their ideas or observations is something you can use in the future.

Be memorable (What’s Your Story)  The way you can tell the contenders from the pretenders is to listen to their story. Have they lived what they are talking about or did they read about it?

confused mind

Have they gone through the experience, know where the trap doors are and how to avoid some of the banana peels? It’s how I found out that one of the folks I network with has a mother who is a beekeeper. They told the story of learning first hand how their mom started a home-based honey business complete with bee hives. That’s something I remembered, and that memory became a referral.

One last thing.

Business working is hard work. It’s  not magic.