Urgent should not decide….

“Step by step, drip by drip, you carve your path by focusing on what matters”

Pretty simply stated in Seth Godin’s blog today.

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Knowing what you want and publicly committing to it, then take daily action

Goals

In my constant work to improve, I thirst for knowledge. Where I often lack ambition is in the doing. I recently started working through a goals planning program. Once the dreaming, distilling and discovering why is done, the program is 12 weeks of daily work on just four specific goals. Yes, just four.

When the talent is there to increase the quantity then it’s okay to do more. But of far more importance is creating a program that I will be committed to every day. One in which each goal is specific, big enough to be hard to obtain but grounded in a monumental importance to me. Otherwise I won’t act and I won’t be disciplined. The program says most fail in the third week. This is not easy for me to do but I am making a public commitment that I will not fail completing this program.

By the end of this week, Sunday May 24th I will have worked through and established my four goals. Then the actual work begins. Honestly there is a sense of relief that I have stated I will do this, there is a plan to work through and I need only to do something each day towards each of four goals. Everything else will fall into place.

It feels good. Pick something you know you want to do, that’s important to you and then chip away at it daily for just 12 weeks and see what kind of progress you make. I will update mine in this forum.

Finally…I get to play golf again

After more than a year with tears in both rotator cuffs and other shoulder issues I can finally play golf again. This really speaks to a commitment to physical therapy. I was mostly good at doing it regularly. 🙂 I have also now been able to start working out with weights in a more serious manner to get some strength back.

Today I am play the first round on an 18 hole course in well over a year. CordeValle in San Martin hosted the Frys.com PGA event for a number of years. I volunteered as a marshall at that event for two years. This is a fabulous Robert Trent Jones Jr. PGA level course and the round is to benefit the CordeValle Youth Golf Foundation.

So, thanks for reading my totally selfish post. It feels good to have life start to open up again.

The recurring theme of life… it keeps happening no matter what you’re experiencing

Distraction

This may seem like somewhat of a repeat theme, I’m not sure.

Have you ever noticed that we commonly default to a position of “when I’m done with…” or “As soon as this happens I will….”?

Why are we compelled to not do the things we consider important to us when the tactical demands of day to day life get in the way? Is this a question of our ability to distinguish urgent from important or something deeper?

I fall victim to this to regularly and I actually think about it and make corrections. What about those who are not as tuned in to their lives as I am to mine?

From observation I am concluding that this is a psychological and physiological condition that comes with being human. We will neglect something important to us (notice that my last post was 9 days ago? I have declared writing is important to me) when urgency presents itself (I had the responsibility to manage a very difficult piece of business but I could still have found time to write – there was not 9 days worth of work that had to be done).

Remember you are human and subject to the distractions of life but also remember that you can choose just how distracted you become and still make the important a priority over the urgent (it’s likely a lesson you will need to relearn on a regular basis, but worth the effort).

Go out and create something today.

The insidious creep of self talk

sails

I am pretty good, not great, at managing my mood. I check on it regularly, pause when I feel that something may not be right and do a mental inventory of what I am thinking and why. You know, the kind of thing that helps to correct your course.

Sometimes though, self talk is smarter than I am. Sometimes it knows that a large push off course is just too noticeable. So it makes little tiny changes, sometimes only one or two a day. Over a week or two or three these little changes in my mood begin to add up. I start to notice that my general attitude, the outward part of my personality, the reason people like me and want to be in my space doesn’t feel right. Conversations don’t seem to occur as often and when they do they are not as positive and directed towards forward momentum.

I just realized last night that I am off course and have been for several weeks. Call it lack of attention, maybe I didn’t care as much about it because of the things that I was managing. I am not sure but I know that I haven’t been myself lately.

If there is one thing of which I am sure, in every period of my life when I was not feeling great, not having good results, feeling lost in my work or art, I was the reason it turned around. A decision was made and action was taken.

In every case things got better, sometimes quickly sometimes not but always better.

Life is too precious to spend your time wallowing in quicksand, sinking ever deeper and repulsing those who may want to lend a hand and help pull you out.

Pay attention to your self talk, your primitive mind, but also pay attention to what you are feeling in the moment, in every moment. That is the only way I know to discover when your monkey mind is making tiny shifts in your perspective. Find them before you are fully off course and your long term benefit will be immense.

Are you running from or running to?

frustration2

Frustration, disappointment, failure and often, even success, can invite our inner voice to start questioning who we are, what we are doing.

Am I just grinding out the work I have been assigned or am I doing something meaningful? Something that will make a difference for me? For the world? (that is never too big a question to ask)

Self talk and self doubt usually leads to thoughts of changing something. Snap decisions based on an emotional experience, even a stretch of bad days and experiences are seldom grounded.

One question that may help is if you are thinking of running, are you running from something or running to something?

Change can sometimes be the right answer but make sure you are asking the right questions. If you are, then leap. You may grow into the next stage of your personal greatness.

Doing the right thing… it’s not really that hard (soapbox warning)

In my line of business I see all kinds of “interesting” behavior on the part of individuals “practicing”, people who have the same obligation to operate ethically, within the same regulations and with the same fiduciary responsibility that I do. Yet routinely I see actions and modus operandi (MO for you cop show fans) that not only seem counter to those obligations but clearly put their own interests ahead of the principal client.

Case in point – I am working with an individual whose home is in foreclosure. He had a work place accident that put him on limited work capability and his reduced income along with his workers comp claim income are no longer enough to pay the mortgage. He is also caring for his elderly and mentally compromised mother in the home the she and her late husband bought and raised this person in. He desperately wants to keep the home.

Thanks to the preying of some unscrupulous people that may not be possible. His first mistake was trusting an attorney that advertises by mail with an official looking document that says they can not only stop the foreclosure but can get his loan forgiven and this is common. I have news, IT’S NOT COMMON! However this individual was in dire straights and has a natural belief that people are good. Fast forward 6 months, a $7000 retainer and $1250 per month and the result is zero. The attorney sued the lender using bogus grounds and the case was dismissed…wait it gets better. Not only was the case fatally decimated by the demurrers filed by the attorneys for the lender but the case was dismissed by his own attorneys when they couldn’t bill his debit card because it had expired and the new one hadn’t been provided to the attorney yet. There are email communications that are just plain shameful from my perspective and I’m not an attorney but I’ve been around enough to know. As a result his home remains in foreclosure.

In steps the next victim chaser. A real estate agent that preys on people that get foreclosure notices. He locks them into a contractual obligation regarding the rights to sell the property with a period of 2 to 3 years (a traditional term for a listing in our current market would be 3 to 6 months), has them sign documents that indicate he will be working on a loan modification and then goes dark, there is little to no communication. Eventually the lender that is foreclosing will make it necessary for the owner to sell rather than lose whatever equity they have and because this agent didn’t do anything to stop it, will get to sell the house and make half of a total of 6% commission on the sale. His language in the contract makes it clear he will not allow the contract between him and the seller to be cancelled therefore trapping the seller in a no win scenario.

I know it”s taken a while to get here but in both of the examples above for the same client good work could have been done that not only earned the professional service provider a fair income for their effort but also been honest, ethical and responsible from a fiduciary perspective.

There are plenty of cliches regarding good people, bad people and how good and evil compete but come on. Is it really that hard to do the right thing?

I am not a Utopian, and I have no rose colored view that if I just believe it, people will be good. No, I know better because I see it everyday. Why is it that I feel the need to treat people honestly and with respect. If I can run my business and earn my living that way, so can others. And the world should demand it from them.

The wisdom of youth

Easter weekend. Things haven’t been great lately (notice a lack of posts?). I took good Friday off and planned to just turn everything off (except NCAA basketball and the Dub’s).

Friday I got a call and had to meet someone for a business requirement Saturday at noon. Okay, I accept the responsibility but it does kind of put a kink in the day if you’re planning on doing nothing, right? I get up Saturday and barely get into my doing nothing when I have to get ready to go meet this person. What should be a 20 minute appointment for an appraisal turns into an hour+ because he is talkative, nice guy but I didn’t prepare an exit plan for an overtalker. I didn’t care that his wife wants him to paint his baseboards. My self talk is getting the better of me and I can feel that old monster negativity settling in, planning to ride out the weekend.

Done with that, head home, watch NCAA until a little after 5 when I get a call from my daughter. Now, I was expecting this call because I asked her to connect with me so we can catch up. She’s busy, head coach of a club volleyball team, collegiate honors academic in psychology and business, athletic scholarship athlete, basically she is crushing life and loving it. Not the kid she once was and I couldn’t be more proud.

In short we had what I expected to be a 10 minute talk turn into over an hour and she put my in my place, with love. It was emotional, but I realized just how sad sack I had become. In her honesty, she helped me to recall promises I had made but not kept, how she felt she had missed much of what should have been a great life together with me. She also confessed there were aspects of her life that she felt she had let herself down. We never got to surf together, something that was a driver in my life until I got caught up in the raising a family and corporate ladder climbing hamster wheel. As a result I didn’t take very good care of myself. While I am healthier today and for the last 2 years than I had been for the prior 15+ I realized that I am still young. Mid point is not the end.

We both made a promise to each other when we ended that call, and we both kept it when we checked in on Sunday. The wisdom of youth helped to center me, helped to put my perspective back into line and provided a willingness for my spirit and body to make changes. My promise was to get back to the gym in the morning. My alarm is now set for 5am daily and today was day 2. The picture below is of the moon setting over the Water Tower in Downtown Campbell, I saw this on my way HOME from the gym Easter morning, thinking about how I had kept my promise. Pretty sweet.

MoonsetOverTower_Easter2015