5 Reasons to Meditate (And how it can help your life and career.)

I have learned that everything – our successes and our failures; our hurdles forward and our reluctance’s to grow – all emanate from the relationship we have with ourselves. It is the bruises and bumps that our soul’s endure that either motivates us or holds us back in our lives, and our careers

I heard this a number of years ago when I was on a retreat. I found it to be true. When I choose to be open and explore who I am and why I am – no matter how painful that may feel at the time – it allows me an opportunity to heal and to grow.

When I have a discovery session with someone I ask is if they have a meditation practice or carve out some quiet time for themselves to reflect on what’s going on in their lives. When they learn to seek themselves through meditation, they are always surprised how things begin to flow for them.

Over the years I have discovered five benefits of creating a successful meditation practice

Meditation can help deal with stressful situations  I have practiced meditation since the late 1980’s. It is my go-to remedy when I feel the muscles in my shoulders and lower back slowly start to tighten until I am the last person you want to be in a room with. Stress breeds stress which……… wait for it……….. breeds more stress. When I’ve worked myself into a dither over something I probably don’t have any control over to begin with I take a pause.

Okay, on top of being really good looking I read minds.

So you want me to leave my workplace and go off in a corner and chant for an hour?

Well, not exactly.

Close your eyes, inhale a deep breath, hold it until the count of five and then slowly exhale, five times.

But isn’t stress natural and inevitable? 

Yup, it is but if we learn how to deal with stress and create strategies to control it we are in control of how it affects us.

While you am concentrating on your breathing it disengages your mind for a short period of time. The whole exercise takes less than a minute.

Which leads me to my next point.

Meditation can help increase focus and attention. The phone is ringing, your smart phone is dinging, and three people are impatiently waiting to dump their issues in your lap. Your head is spinning.

I used to drive myself crazy trying to win a war I had no business fighting.

I started taking time at lunch to relax and rest my mind. I didn’t have a smart phones with apps. I had a cassette recorder with some guided meditations on tape and I’d sit in the car and take some time to reboot.

A smart phone and a good set of ear buds can get you focused and back to dealing with priority issues quicker than you think.

Meditation can boost your creativity Contrary to centuries of mythology the quickest way to advance your career is not to marry the bosses children or suck up to an executive vice president. It’s learning to think and approach an issue from a different perspective.



It’s a great way to get noticed, but…………… (There is always a but ain’t there!) you have to clear out all the useless traffic that’s cluttering your mind like the 405 on a Friday afternoon! When we’re not thinking clearly, we cant focus on creating solutions and we shut down and rather than having the confidence to take a risk with a suggestion or solution that no one else has thought of.

The operative word here is thinking clearly. Daily meditation can help you locate that nasty old clutter and remove it so you can focus on your natural creativity.

Meditation can help overcome anger and confusion I cant’ think of anything worse than being stuck!  First we get frustrated, then confused and if we don’t work our way through the issue, we get angry.

The anger is directed at ourselves because we haven’t figured out an answer to our dilemma. (Even though we like to think it’s because our fourth grade teacher never called on us.)

There are all sorts of modifiers we use when we want to describe being angry. What they mostly say is that our internal field of vision is cloudy and uncertain. Meditation allows us the opportunity to explore our inner self and create ways to deal with our anger and confusion. C

Meditation is a practice not an event. Okay technically this isn’t a benefit but if we don’t embrace this notion right from the beginning we are apt to crash and burn – big time.

When I began meditating some thirty plus years ago I almost stopped after a few days. I had this notion that I should be deep in some foggy thought process for at least an hour each day and wipe my mind totally blank during that time. Otherwise, I wasn’t doing it the right way.

Fortunately a good friend set me straight.

Like everything new, meditation takes time to get the hang of. I started with five minutes each morning and worked my way up to ten. Some days I was surprised when the my clock went ding and some days I kept wondering if the darn thing was busted. Ten minutes! It seemed like 10 years. 

Today I meditate for no longer than thirty minutes each morning.

Clearing our minds? Some days its a breeze. Some days it’s a struggle. What I’ve learned is to hang in there, brush my thoughts away very gently and focus on my breath.

I’d suggest you begin with some guided meditation. It’s like learning to ride a bike with training wheels.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate. The key is to create a practice that benefits your life the most. When you do you will begin to see some positive changes in your life:

You’ll have more energy

You’ll focus on your goals

You’ll open yourself to more self development. 

I promise.

What “New Marketing” Really Means

Can we talk?

I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts on the “new” marketing for some time.

Why?

I know some really honest people, chock full of integrity, not so much concerned about earning seven figures as they are getting paid for the value of what they share with the rest of us and as importantly making a contribution. Remember that passion and enthusiasm that got you started?

Then, there are the others.

I thought they’d largely vanished. They are the folks who still poke and prod, get up in our faces and suggest that we never really belonged at the cool kids lunch table anyway. They’ve located our pain and they have the answer.

I had an experience the other day that caused me to write this post.

YouTube videos are my friends. Any time I’m stuck I’ll do a search and viola, there are a host of experts willing to share their thoughts with me. Some of them have made me look like I knew what I was doing , especially when it came to fixing things around the house

The other day I was interested in learning how people were using YouTube videos as a way to build their email list. After a few abortive tries I found one that looked pretty interesting. I hit pause, went for a cup of tea, settled in and punched “resume.”

The content was exactly what I was looking for and I even registered to receive the free gift the presenter offered if I’d share my email address.

I did. I know the drill. To get something you have to give something. No problem.

I knew what was coming next. It’s called the squeeze. You have my attention, you’ve plied me with all sorts of free stuff, now it’s time to reach into my pocket……….. Again, I do not have a problem with this.

It’s called sales and it is not a dirty word.

I read the landing page I was sent to. Again, good stuff. But………….Not anything I needed right now. I book marked it for future reference. Just in case.

Now, people respond to rejection one of two ways:

When I get notice through my provider that someone didn’t click though or left in the middle of reading something I’ll respond by telling them I’m sorry they aren’t interested and one last time in an appropriate way, share the benefits of what I am offering. I close by telling them I hope they enjoy my newsletter or blog or whatever it is they gave me access to their email for.

See, that email address is gold. They may not need the program I am currently offering but down the road something may be of interest to them and they may investigate further.

(Did I tell you one of my motto’s is “Measure progress with a calendar not with a stop watch!”)

The second way of responding to rejection was how I was treated. I received an email that suggested I’d never reach my life or business goals as long as I made the choice not to enroll. As a matter of fact, I was told I was now part of the 99% who didn’t want to work hard and make commitments. It was my loss.

The cool kids lunch table was getting father and farther away.

But ya know what? That’s how they wanted me to feel. They wanted me to feel hurt. They wanted me to lift my tear stained eyes and admit I had it all wrong.

They were my hope and salvation.

There was still time to act.

Let me ask you something?

How do you want to be treated?

Do you want a thank you, see you later, hope we can connect down the road and if not no worries.

Or

Do you want to be told you’re a quivering mass of failure who’ll never amount to anything.

The old way of marketing suggests I find your pain and exploit it. The new way of marketing suggests I find your strengths and passions and celebrate them.

There might even be a happy dance involved.

New Career Creations blends the disciplines of business, career and life coaching to assure their clients have the best opportunity to be successful in all areas of their lives and careers. We partner with you to create those possibilities. A Heroes Journey is published on Tuesday at 7:30 AM CST. You can contact us at John@NewCareerCreations.com

The Wisdom of My Father

I never heard him drop the F-Bomb

He didn’t need to.

He never went along with the crowd and if the prevailing notion of the day lined up with what he believed, so be it. If it didn’t, as he often said, “tough toenails.”

He knew a lot about a lot of things but you never heard him make you look bad. If he thought you were wrong he’d put it in the form of a question and allow you the opportunity to back track a bit and save face.

In the fifty seven years that I knew him, he only recommended one book for me to read. It was Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. He, himself, never had a problem in that area.

When I was old enough I worked summers in the factory he began his career in as a timekeeper. When people saw my name they’d ask me if “Are you Tom’s boy?” I never heard a negative word about him. This high praise came from men who found fault with the good Lord himself.

Don’t ever try to negotiate something with him when he believed his position was the right one. He was never mean or nasty. He simply held his ground and if you didn’t agree, after awhile he’d shake your hand and walk away. No hard feelings.

You could never convince him to do something he didn’t believe 100 percent in. Contrary to my mothers exhortation NOT to have opinions, my father had them and he held firm to them.

If you are thinking I am beginning to make a case for sainthood you’d be wrong. I came of age in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He and I disagreed on a lot of things especially the War in Vietnam. It made for some interesting dinners.

Looking back, as loud as those arguments became he never made them personal. He would tell me my thinking was flawed but he never attacked me as a person. He told me when I was older I’d look at things differently.

My dad believed in three non-negotiable things.

Your faith in God,

Your family

Your career.

Those were the three things that came before anything else.

I was working third shift when Joan called to tell me my dad had been hospitalized. He’d become violently ill in the middle of the night. It could be his heart. They were running tests. (Turned out to be his gall bladder.)

That morning I reached him in his hospital room. I told him I was going to pack, rest for a bit and head for Milwaukee. He stopped me and said, “You have a family and a job. You take care of them. They come first.”

The last words he spoke to me came two days before he went to be with the Lord. He had an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth and every word was spoken softly. He pulled me close to him, raised the oxygen mask and said

It’s been a good, long life. But gosh, it’s gone by so fast

He was 87.

There was always a sense of who he was and what he had to offer this world. He made no apologies for how he felt or what he believed and deep inside of him was a strong sense of compassion and understanding for just about everyone he met. You didn’t have to agree with him to be his friend.

He’s been gone for seven years. When I look back I’ve always wondered how he came to be so resolute and firm in who he was and what he believed. I believe it was the unshakable confidence he had in himself.

There’s a lesson there.

Four generations My dad, me, my son Matt and my grand daughter Ava-Jo

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

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