Parenting with Love

“…your security is guaranteed through the sharing of your love.  The peace and safety for which you yearn is not a matter of food, clothing, and shelter. It is a matter of love. Love and be loved, and all else will be added unto you.”  Neale Donald Walsch

We’re a pretty insecure people.  We look in the mirror each day, and throughout the day when we pass reflective surfaces, we ask our friends how we look, and struggle with fears about why people like us.  Any parent you talk to will remark on the bullying and drug addictions of the younger generation.  It’s not easy to be a kid and they’re looking for escapes.  Not convinced?  Check out the news, there’s been a bunch of suicides of those who were bullied, not to mention those caught with drugs.

It’s not easy to be a parent, and there are only so many battles you can fight on behalf of your kids.  It’s not easy with the roller-coaster economy we’re in to not take the job offers that come your way even if they take you away from your family for extended periods of time.

It’s unfortunate that many of the insecurities we learn as children travel with us into adulthood.  We still wonder if we’re good enough at home, for our partner, at work, with our friends, as a contributor to society.

What if we all stopped dealing in and sharing judgements and started spreading love?  What if we did more than drop food and clothing off in third world countries and instead showed them love and how to do jobs that would provide for their families?  What if we gave monies to charities to help people not for the tax write-off we get?  What if instead of providing food stamps we taught people how they could make the money to pay for their own food?

What if the problem wasn’t providing the basics of food and clothing and security, but something more essential than that: love?

As we begin a new month tomorrow, the month of February also known as the love month, choose an area of your life that needs more love in it and focus on adding love to your life this month.

The Power of “No”

I say “no” to potential clients on a daily basis.  Yes, I’m serious.   No, I’m not independently and permanently wealthy, so if I was in business just for the money I wouldn’t be turning them down. I have standards and requirements when it comes to who I agree to work with.

I do have a bit of a helper complex; I like to help people fix things.  It’s a big part of who I am.  While I might fantasize about what the world would be like if everyone were “helped”, I do know it’s not realistic.  And in starting this business I made it a point to work with clients who remind me what I love about the world, not the not so great stuff in it.

So I say “no”.  And you know what?  It makes me feel good and terrible at the same time.  I don’t like turning down a potential sale, I don’t like not helping someone, but knowing I don’t have to deal with their high-and-mighty attitude, overbearing personality, and control freak nature makes it worth it.  I don’t need to work with everyone, just those who genuinely have a heart to thrive in business and do their part to impact the world.

“I found developing the ability to say no expanded my ability to say yes and really mean it.” Susan Gregg

Saying no to things that don’t make me happy, don’t help me fulfill the mission and vision I have for my business, aren’t things I’m very skilled at, or things that I don’t feel comfortable doing allow me to excel at doing the things I do enjoy.  Saying no gives me the opportunity to help more people get clear about who they are and what they’re here on earth to be doing.  Good leaders know how to say no so they can say yes to things that not only help their bottom line, but are best for all people involved.

This week I encourage you to say no to things that don’t feel right, things that aren’t right for your company, and things that make you less of a person or leader.  It’s important to have standards, you’ve got a right to enforce them too.  What have you said no to lately?

Kindness Anyway

It’s not always easy to be kind.  You can always find rude and nasty people if you look hard enough (sometimes it’s too easy to find them).  Kindness is more than doing a good deed now and again, but it does start that way.  As I was contemplating the darker side of kindness, if you will, I ran across this poem:

“The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
Kent M. Keith

It’s not easy to be ourselves when the world seems out to get us and no one else.  It’s not easy to show kindness in the face of hatred.  Being the bigger person takes effort.  But the only way the world will change is one act of kindness at a time.  This is one of the lessons one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, learned while he was imprisoned.  He learned that what got him into the situation he was in was certainly not going to be what got him out of it; he had to change.  And change he did.

We’ve each got a similar choice to make.  No we may not be in a physical prison, but we too have to realize that what got us into the not so good places we can find ourselves in is not what will get us out.  Let’s change the world one kindness at a time.

Winning and Losing

If you’re a sports fan there’s a good chance you’re thinking about the upcoming Superbowl.  You may not have a team in (I’m a Saints fan), but chances are you’re still interested in the outcome (go Seattle!), or at least watching the game to hang out with friends. As I was thinking about it I was reminded that there’s been lots of losers so far and there will be one more.  There can only be one winner.  The concept of winning and losing is one we have to deal with from a young age.  What do we do with the disappointments and victories our kids experience?  How do we explain the concept of something that is a game but so much more?

1-you can’t win everything.  Even if you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth the chances of you not getting everything you want are pretty good.  Not everything has a price and can be attained.  Put the most effort into the battles you really want to fight.

2-you can improve your chances for success.  There are tons of books you can read, courses you can take, people you can talk with, work you can do, all to improve and increase your chances of success.  Best of all, you don’t have to parent your kids through their struggles alone!  You can’t change everything, but you can always find a way to gain an edge if you are willing to make the effort.

3-failure isn’t permanent.   This is one of the most important things to communicate to your kids; it’s important for them to realize that when they get beaten they can’t stay down, they have to come back again.  No, they don’t have to win the Superbowl next year if they lost this year, they can go on to win at other things; things that may end up mattering to them more than one night of success.

It all comes down to seeing the bigger perspective.  Each and every experience we have we can learn from.  Don’t restrict your lessons or successes, keep an open mind and be willing to move on.

5 Mistakes Businesses Make

With the beginning of the year and many people having already given up on their resolutions, I thought it appropriate to talk about mistakes, especially a few key ones people in business make (these are only a few, there are many).

1-speed.  I don’t know too many people who don’t enjoy speed once in a while.  Whether it’s a motorcycle, flying a plane or a fast roller coaster, there’s something thrilling about going fast.  However, in business speed is a double-edged sword.  Yes, you want to get to the market so your product or service isn’t beat by someone else, but at the same time if you go in too quick you’ll be laughed at for your less-than-ready product or service.

2-fear.  Fear is a powerful tool, motivator, and killer.  It can bring you to the greatest success or biggest failures of your life.  I’m not suggesting you always have to overcome your fears, but with a bit of study on the risk and reality of that fear you can decide if it’s holding you back from success or not.

3-jumping the gun.  Yes, sometimes you just know that something is a perfect match.  But all too often we jump in with both feet before doing the research or reading everything.  Check out the instructions, talk with people to see if you’re a good match, find out the whole deal before you talk money or contracts.

4-ignorance.  This is a big issue for a lot of people and companies.  However, ignoring the problems won’t send them away, nor will being ignorant of what you do/don’t know.  This means you need to talk to people, be aware of the money situation, find out what’s going on, find out what people are looking for, and find out what’s really selling.

5-sales.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the bottom line in business is not the money but the people.  Behind each and every dollar are people, many people who are impacted by the money spent.  Just because you have an online business doesn’t mean that the money is any less personal or connected to a person.  There is always a person on the other side of the money.

In the future we’ll cover more, if you have a specific mistake (mentioned here or not) that bothers you, share in the comments.

The Business of Kindness

There are a lot of things that can make you successful, but 99% of the time hate isn’t one of them.  In fact, negative emotions like hate and anger usually repel people.  However, choosing to present a kind and welcoming attitude and face for your business can not only attract people to you, it can help bring them back over and over again.  No, I’m definitely not talking about the sickly-sweet or fake kindness that some people use.  That’s not effective in making friends, winning clients or running a business.  People don’t respond to falseness or lies.

On the other hand, the benefits of true kindness are endless: people like you, trust you, recommend you and return to you.  No, I don’t suggest you’re so kind that you get walked on, that won’t help you achieve success or the other goals of your business. There’s a line between being kind and being a pushover; being a pushover isn’t being kind to yourself or others.

Being kind in business means leaving the attitude at the door, not bringing your problems to work and choosing honesty and integrity in all work situations.  It means not cheating or doing deceptive marketing, not shorting your customers, and not treating your employees like animals.  It means contributing to the community, being respectful of employees and customers and your ultimate goal being to help people.

As those of us in the USA recognize Martin Luther King Jr. today I encourage you to remember that you can get a lot done with just words.  Choose words that will build your people and your business up, not tear it down.

Together Forever

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
A. A. Milne

To celebrate Milne’s birth I thought we’d hear a bit of his wisdom, and although it’s not Pooh wisdom, it’s something to learn from all the same.  It’s unfortunate that we don’t build relationships often in which we feel this way.  I know many people go into relationships hoping for a few good years, and maybe some kids.  But how many of us go into a relationship hoping we can stay with them until we die?  In some ways it’s understandable since we are in a period of time with such change and little permanence.  We see jobs come and go, money flow in and out, technology and society change quickly, just to name a few.

But when it comes down to it that’s a piss-poor way to live.

I know that life is temporary and we need to live each day to the fullest.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have long, satisfying relationships.  In fact, we seem to spend more time ruining relationships than truly trying to make them work.  So it’s no wonder that our relationships don’t last.  Not everyone divorces but there’s certainly a serious lack of life and passion after being together for a long time, mostly because they haven’t been proactive about cultivating a relationship like Milne speaks of.

But it’s something you can change if you choose to.  You can try new things, go on dates, find more things to enjoy together, see a counselor or coach to work out your issues so you can get back to loving, and choose to let go of all the baggage you’ve carried that has come between you.

This week I encourage you to see each day as one of those days leading up to that 100 years and make it a great one.  It won’t be perfect, but if you put a little effort into it it can be a lot better than all the previous days you regret.  What will you do to make today a good day?

Soul Success

“”One of the primary goals I have,” Mr. Page said at the time, “is to get Google to be a big company that has the nimbleness and soul and passion and speed of a start-up.””

Making a business concept successful isn’t easy.  Unfortunately the focus of how to get to that success has been on what you need to do in your company to be successful; like marketing, social media, product and people.  Don’t get me wrong, those things are super important.  If you don’t have a good product you can’t be successful, and people have to hear about you somehow or you can’t be sell anything.  But if all you present is a product and try to make people buy it, unless it’s amazing, they won’t be super inclined to take a risk on you.

But I’ve talked with past company executives and present business “gurus” who all share Mr. Page’s sentiments: a business has to have a soul and a passion.  Why?  Because people do, and you’re always selling to people.  If someone tries to convince you that all you need is a product or service and a marketing plan and you’ll be successful, run fast away from them, they’re very wrong.

Your soul, passion, vision, and/or mission are all key to your success both now and if/when you become a large company like Google.  Why? Because people buy things from people they trust, and they can’t trust you if you just present a faceless, empty product.  One of the reasons Starbucks has become so successful is because they’ve given people something they can relate to deep down.  It’s not a surface attraction like Walmart and saving money, it’s much more than that.  They’ve figured out how to present a product that’s not only great, but the soul and passion of the presentation and atmosphere of the product and store do more than just take care of your hunger or thirst.

Don’t just make a product that will thrill people, make a product that will satisfy them for longer than the initial (or only) use.

Lessons of Kindness

Kids can teach us many lessons.  We just have to be open to those lessons and willing to accept wisdom from those who have less experience and fewer years than we do.  One of the biggest lessons we can learn from kids is the lesson of kindness to our fellow man.  Maybe you’ve had a random kid say hi to you in a store, or at a restaurant, or want to tell you all about the special thing that happened to them that day.  It’s simply because they want to share the love.  They want you to be as blessed as they feel.  When we choose to ignore their efforts or treat them as less than significant, we slowly crush them.  It’s no wonder that we can become boring people with little passion.

What can we do to fix that?  We can choose to look for the little, special blessings in life.  We can choose to look for the little gifts and blessings that come our way and see them as that, not just as part of our due for life.  For example, being thrilled over the perfect parking spot, your partner wanting a date night, your kids wanting to read a story, your boss wanting to talk a project concept over with you, the free coffee in the mornings, or the joyful greeting your pet gives you each day.

When you choose to see those special moments as the opportunities to let kindness into your life, not only do you present hope for the next generation, you allow hope the opportunity to take root in your life as well.  Today I invite you to open your arms to the softer side of life and see what you’re missing.  Follow your kids around for a day, try to see the world as they see it, let them tell you their stories and open your mind to the possibility that there’s lots more to life than you first imagined.

5 Relationship Rules for 2014

Today to help you get your relationships off to a good start in 2014, I have 5 rules/guidelines to share with you:

1-communciate more concisely and completely

2-complain less

3-date more

4-love more

5-forgive more

Of course there are many things that could make 2014 the best year of your relationship, but not only will applying these 5 rules in your relationship help you, they’ll overflow into other areas of your life.  When you and your partner practice better communication you’ll find you communicate better at work too (promotion anyone?!). When you complain less your friends will like you more.  When you date more your relationship will be more balanced and your kids will learn from others.  When you show your partner you love them more you’ll find that you see things in a different, better, light.  And when you forgive more you’ll feel lighter and better about your life.

Making any of these changes will be like going on a diet: it takes work.  You can’t just choose to give up complaining and expect that you’ll never complain again.  You have to be very attentive to what you’re saying and thinking if you want to give it up.  But the benefits of adopting these 5 rules in your life for 2014 are endless.  Even better, the only “expensive” one is the dating more, because you’ll probably have to pay a babysitter.  The rest are things you can do for free, without any tangible payments.

As I’ve already said, I want 2014 to be the year that you choose what’s best for you.  I want you to be in the relationship that is the healthiest for you, support your kids in ways they need as well as ways that grow you as a parent and set and accomplish goals this year.  What are your relationship goals for 2014?