Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Old Friend Vance

With Barnum and Bailey bringing their 3 ring circus to my town this week, I found myself readying to join the many families who love the "greatest show on earth". I decided to go over early, and watch them setting up. As I walked around, enjoying the many sights and sounds, I ran into Vance, an old friend, one of the many performers who has been working with for Ringling Brothers since 1984. I met him about 18 years ago when I first visited with my children. While he seemed to have put on a few pounds, he looked majestic in his circus garb.

I was so happy to see him, but after visiting with him for a bit, was saddened to see he still had the same issues he's been carrying around for these past two decades. Like so many of us, Vance had been conditioned since a young age to respond a certain way and was unable to pull away from those issues that kept him stuck. Since discovering my path to becoming my own wingman, I’m thrilled how quickly I can now spot someone who is still tied to some past limiting belief. We’ve all been there though, and of course it’s easier to see when it’s not ourselves who are stuck, when it’s not us who have given up trying.
Henry Ford’s words,
"Whether you believe you can, or you can't, you are right" rung so clear to me yet again as I hung around Vance.

Gavin de Becker explains the dynamics of learned helplessness in his book, "The Gift of Fear, Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence,"

"You'll never amount to anything"; "You can't sing"; You're not smart enough"; You're a loser"; "You should have more realistic goals"; "You're the reason our marriage broke up"; You're worthless". These criticisms are heard in so many homes around the world, and of course more damaging are the words we say to ourselves. “I’m so stupid”; “I’m such a failure”; “I can’t do it”. These statements are like stakes driven into the ground, with heavy chains attached, and we all reach the point where we believe we can not pull free. And at that point, we can’t”, for when we believe we can't, we can't.

"Unless and until something changes their view, unless they grasp the striking fact that they are tied with a thread, that the chain is an illusion, that they were fooled, and ultimately, that whoever so fooled them was wrong about them and that they were wrong about themselves-- unless all this happens, these children are not likely to show society their positive attributes as adults."

Seeing Vance, I would have liked to show him that the “chain” that was holding him back was nothing more than a thin rope and he could break it with one strong step forward.

By this point it was clear to me I would not be able to help him, but hopefully this message can help you break free of those deceptive shackles that are keeping you stuck.

You see Vance is an elephant, and his behavior, which is known as “conditioned response”, works like this…
"The way circus elephants are trained demonstrates this dynamic well: When young, they are attached by heavy chains to large stakes driven deep into the ground. They pull and yank and strain and struggle, but the chain is too strong, the stake too rooted. One day they give up, having learned that they cannot pull free, and from that day forward they can be "chained" with a slender rope. When this enormous animal feels any resistance, even though it has the strength to pull the whole circus tent over, it stops trying.”

So I ask you, have you been “conditioned” to respond a certain way? Are you holding onto harmful memories? Is the “chain” that is holding you back from your goals really just a slender rope?

Today’s wingman practice…
1. Question any and all beliefs that may be holding you back.
2. Give it just one more try and see if it really is an unbreakable restraint.
3. If it doesn’t work, try once more.
4. Look to see if there are any “baby steps” you can take. Think Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in “Shawshank Redemption” and how it took him almost 20 years to free himself from his prison.
5. Start taking those baby steps.

Thanks for allowing me to be your wingman today.
In Appreciation,

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Groundhog Day Recipe

Yesterday was Groundhog Day so it was no surprise when I sat down and turned on the television, the movie Groundhog Day was just beginning. This beloved comedy stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a self centered, obnoxious TV weatherman who, much to his distress, must go to Punxsutawney, Pa. for the annual ritual of the groundhog coming out and "predicting" the weather.

Due to cosmic forces and good Hollywood writing, Phil ends up in his own personal hell, reliving this day over and over and over again for an undetermined amount of time. This got me thinking about how we, as humans, get stuck in our own endless loop, and how we allow our own thoughts and beliefs, to keep us there.

Much like in the movie, when we do nothing different in our own lives, the days and events of our existence don't ever seem to change. Phil Connors goes from bewilderment to despair to boredom to hopelessness, much as we do, each in our own way, resigned to the repetitiveness of our own reality.

The experiences that unfold each and every minute of Phil’s same day, reflect our own journey and feelings of being trapped by the sameness of our condition.

He begins to realize he can change his day by changing his attitude, his behavior and his habits. Instead of allowing his situation to continue to dictate how he feels, he takes control of his circumstances, and begins to embrace the opportunities this time loop has given him.

He finally begins to live each day, and not only becomes a talented piano player and ice sculptor, but also, a fantastic wingman to the various townspeople who need him, be it catching a boy falling from a tree, fixing a tire for older women in need, or saving a choking man by doing the Heimlich maneuver.

Again, as I watched this story unfold, I was mesmerized by how this movie so perfectly reflected what so many of us allow to become our lives.

As Paulo Coelho once said,
                 We can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one”

By repeating our past habits, our days become so similar; it’s as if we are living each day over and over again, much like Phil Connors.

As we watch him giving his television forecast for the umpteenth time, we finally see his evolvement.

"When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."

Surely, these are not the words of a man who sees his life as one long monotonous cycle.

So here, in this little romantic comedy about one day in the life of a bored and bitter man, we are given a recipe for a full and meaningful life.

For Phil Connors, it was helping others, connecting with community, studying new skills and learning more about himself. Much like Phil, our journey is to find our own recipe for delivering us from where we stand today, into our own rich and meaningful tomorrows.

You don’t need to become a jazz pianist or ice sculptor overnight. But, by changing one habit, one encounter or one experience, maybe your groundhog won’t see his shadow this year, and your spring will come a bit earlier.

Thanks for allowing me to be your wingman today.
In Appreciation,

Thursday, January 31, 2013

“Imagine” by John Lennon

So yesterday, I left a morning meeting in Philadelphia and drove to a presentation in King of Prussia, Pa. If you know the area, you know I drove on the Schuylkill expressway to get there. You also know the odds of there being a great deal of traffic are pretty good.
Lucky for me I left plenty of time as I ended up in a traffic gridlock.

After sitting for some time, I could feel my energy going to that dark place. I shifted my car into park (yes, it was that type of congestion) and decided to change the radio station from sports talk to music, and just as I did, the song “Imagine”, by John Lennon started to play.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

With my car in park and not going anywhere quickly, the music enveloped me and I allowed my imagination to take over. That’s the great thing about practicing my wingman philosophy, messy situations like traffic jams no longer throw me into a destructive place. By doing my one minute practices I am able to stay in control of my feelings, which usually enables me to be more productive, more efficient, and certainly, more calm.

As the music played, I began to have fun with the words.

Imagine there’s no traffic
It’s easy if you try
No cars around me
Open highway all the way
Imagine always being early for every meeting you attend

Imagine there’s no worries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to stress you out for
And no deadlines too
Imagine all your pressures, dissolving in thin air

You may say I’m a Wingman
but I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

As I sung these words in my car, I began smiling. My energy immediately shifted and I could actually feel my vibration rising. As the song finished on the radio, and my words still hung in the air, I recognized the traffic had begun to loosen up.

Yes, it really happened that easily. Perhaps it’s because of all the positive momentum I’ve now built up over the last few years, but it now seems when I’m able to change my thoughts, I am able to change my world.

The ability to quickly change a poor situation into a more favorable one does not happen overnight. Nor does a positive attitude, but if you begin consciously practicing tonight, I assure you, tomorrow will look a little bit better. As a client of mine said to me yesterday afternoon, “staying upbeat requires work”. Yes it does.

The good news is I shortened the time required to just one minute a day.

As a Law of Attraction Life and Business Coach I often give my clients one minute of homework. Perhaps you would like to try it, so today, take one minute and let your imagination take over. Imagine you in better health, thinner, wealthier, in a more loving relationship, more confident, clearer, and/or calmer. For just one minute imagine your world as you would like it to be. As you do, you’ll allow your vibration to begin improving, and one thing I’m certain of, when your vibration improves, your relationship with everything around you, health, money, people will improve as well.

Give it a try for the next three days, maybe you’ll surprise yourself with the positive momentum you will gain.

Thanks for letting me be your wingman today.
In Appreciation,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Your Check Engine Light on?

Check Engine Light

So lately I’ve been discovering how my outer circumstances are a direct reflection of my inner being. How if some misery is taking place, such as I’m not happy with my financial situation or I find myself fighting with loved ones, then most likely there’s something off kilter going on inside me.
And lately, I’ve learned a fantastic lesson.

If I can see the problems going on inside of me, I can change them from the inside out. Change the unbalanced feeling inside of me and my outer reality changes as well.  Sort of like when Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.

That’s when I saw the above sign and realized that maybe what we as humans need is a “Check Engine Light” to let us know when something is amiss inside us. Perhaps then we could change it before our bank account, our relationships or our health takes a turn for the worse.

The real lesson though, is that as humans we believe it is easier to fix our “situation” by focusing on our outer circumstance. I’m finding it easier and more efficient to focus on how I’m feeling emotionally, for when I’m able to calm myself, or improve my vibe even slightly, my physical situation changes as well. The good news is there are many practices to help us do this, and by definition of the Law of Attraction, when we can raise our vibration even by the slimmest of margins, the things around us change as well.

I had a perfect example of this last week. My son and I have been “banging heads” for a while now, and I haven’t felt particular good about it. He was being forced by his mother to go to a self help/bible study class given by a teacher she really enjoys and I was drafted to drive him. An hour drive each way, lunch, plus the class, gave us plenty of time together which usually ends with us fighting. I realized I’d been very focused on how much we constantly fight, and how he “needs to change his attitude”. I’d also been very aware of not feeling particularly happy around him lately. I felt frustrated. I felt guilty. I felt blame. I felt disappointment.

I decided to try a practice I read about from Abraham-Hicks called “Which Thought Feels Better” in the hopes that by raising my vibration I could begin enjoying our relationship much better. The first step was to identify how I’d been experiencing him.

He never helps me.
He’s very stubborn and even though his way doesn’t seem to make sense, he doesn’t listen.
He doesn’t seem to care about me at all.

I then began the process by reaching for thoughts about him that felt better. As I wrote my thoughts down, I also wrote if the thought felt better, worse or the same as the vibration I was currently feeling.

I began…
I wish I had taught him better. (worse)
He has so much potential. (better)
He’s not working to his potential. (worse)
He’s very irresponsible. (same)
He’s a pain in the neck. (same)
I remember when he was such a sweet, nice boy. (better)
I know he has a lot on his mind. (better)
I remember the difficulties of being his age. (better)
I don’t have to “fix it” today. (better)
Things have been getting better between us. (better)
I want to have a better relationship with him. (better)
I know he wants us to have a better relationship. (better)
I know I am able to change my attitude and by doing so I can make things better. (better)

As I consciously worked on raising my vibration around our relationship I noticed a slight bit of relief. My next step was to set my intention to spend some quality time with my son, enjoying his company. This practice helped change my internal temperature, allowing me to reduce my resistance and begin the steps toward approaching him differently. I’m happy to report we had the best day we’ve had in a while, filled with heartfelt conversation, laughter and hope.

If your “Check Engine Light” is on, I urge you to try this practice and hope it works as well for you as it did for me.

Thanks for allowing me to be your wingman today.
In Appreciation, 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” William James

I mentioned this quote on my radio show on Wednesday night, and many people responded to it. I decided to do some further research and found William James to be quite a brilliant man. It was then that I decided to turn this quote into one of my one minute practices.

Do I understand it correctly?  Is Professor James saying all I have to do to alter my life, my situation in life, is to simply alter my attitude.
I can practice that.

Do you understand what that means? You don’t have to do anything major or anything drastic. All you have to do, is alter your attitude. Smile. Laugh. Or maybe you need to cry and get it out. Either way, it’s a great time to start being a better you. To start doing more of what you want to do, to start enjoying the best life you can imagine.
And you can start it so easily.

Just by changing your attitude.

My wife points out however that when we’re really deep into a feeling, she doesn’t believe it is that easy to “just” change one’s attitude.
She even had the audacity to point out that when I was in a “mood” the other night I wasn’t so quick to just change it because I, like so many of us, get invested in our feelings.

So what are we mere mortals to do?
Practice baby, practice. But how do we do that?

As I walked this morning I was stressing about something so I thought it would be a good time to practice getting my “William James” on. I did it by repeating the quote over and over in my mind to begin the process of turning a theory into a belief.

I practiced saying and thinking about the quote.
Instantly, yes, really instantly, not only did my mind change and I started feeling better, but I also started seeing positives, and was soon laughing and coming up with some wonderfully creative ideas and strategies for the coming year.

Perhaps for some of you another idea would be to approach it like a science experiment. Pick a time of day or an event that occurs daily; your morning commute, standing in line at the coffee shop, your boss droning on and on at the morning meeting, your kid not emptying the dishwasher again.

Make the decision ahead of time that you will enter into that scenario with this practice in mind. So as this ongoing event happens once again, what is changing is not the event, but realizing it’s your choice to shift your thoughts and feelings towards it. This will take practice.

I find comfort and joy in the quote. Just knowing that anytime I choose, I can change my life by changing my attitude, brings an easy smile to my face.

So give it a try for yourself. Think about what this quote means.

It doesn’t mean to rush out and try to alter your life, it’s too big a job. Start easy by practicing altering your attitude, either when you’re struggling with a situation or when you’re in a great mood and want to stay there. If someone as brilliant as William James said it, you and I can certainly be open to the possibility it is true.

It may not seem it, but you are in a fantastic place right now if you are reading these words. For if you can now realize that you can alter your life, change your circumstances and create a life you desire, just by “altering your attitude” then your life is about to get a whole lot better.

Thanks for letting me be your wingman today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A View from the wing…

I’m happy to share with you this guest blog, written by my wife and wingmate, about finding angels and wingmen in the unlikeliest of places.

Imagining how the US Postal Service even begins to organize, manage and distribute all of its millions of letters, packages and boxes and actually sees to their accurate delivery is for me akin to understanding how airplanes fly. I know there is a science to it, but I figure there must be some divine intervention at play as well. And so, as I made my way to my town’s Post Office with a package for my daughter addressed to some strange sounding place in Kathmandu, Nepal, my confidence level wasn’t high.

At the counter the harried clerk asked me the destination of the package as she gave me the customs form and instructed me on how to fill it out. “What’s in the box?” she queried. I made a mental list: Airborne and Pepto Bismol, shampoo and lotion, probiotics and vitamin D, anything from the drug store that might keep her safe and healthy, there was her favorite childhood storybook in case a sad and lonely night ever surfaced, a pair of earrings, and some games and toys for the children she is working with in an orphanage in Kathmandu. And cards, birthday cards from me and my husband, “I miss you cards” and little love notes. “What’s in the box?” she asked again. “My heart”, I blurted out. The clerk, the harried, busy, overworked, clerk, stopped and peered at me over her glasses. “Is she your only one” she asked, I replied” Well, I have two step- kids as well”. She looked at me squarely. “So she’s your heart.”

This woman behind the counter, this stranger proceeded to tell me how she was an only child, an only daughter and when her mother was sick and dying she stopped everything to care for her round the clock. “I didn’t care about anything else, “she said, “the job, my routine, my life, nothing mattered but being able to care for my mother”. In awe, I replied, “She was so blessed to have you.” She smiled, “I was blessed to have her.”

She took my box then and taped and re-taped the seams, she covered the address so it wouldn’t smear, she marveled at the faraway journey my daughter was on. I asked her, “What are the chances this package will make it to her?” having been made doubtful by my on- line investigation of the Nepalese mail system. “I’d say 85%”, she offered, “but we are going to have faith and believe it will make it”.

So, there is a package out there moving toward a faraway place, held aloft by the USPS, the hands of strangers, airplanes, delivery trucks, and magic and faith. Kind of how we walk through life, how we send our kids out there into the universe. Just like that package, we tape it carefully, insure it fully, track its journey online as far as we can, and then pray. Pray that the box doesn’t break, doesn’t get lost or into the wrong hands. That it makes it to where it is heading, helped along by unlikely angels, who are all around us, even disguised as postal workers at the local post office.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A One Minute Practice…

For this morning’s practice I pretended the situation I can’t get out of my mind and is causing me stress, happened for a good reason.
Again, it’s only for one minute.
Perhaps there’s a lesson I’m to learn.

The practice… is to find it.
Think about what positives can come from it.
I knew when I hit on it, for it gave me a bit of relief, actually even felt good.
Try it if you’re stressing about something. It will help raise your vibration and give you some momentum towards feeling better and accomplishing more.

It certainly helped me this morning.

In Appreciation,