When what has been done in the past, isn't working, it's time to make different decisions and take different actions. As Einstein quoted, "doing the same things and expecting different results is the definition of insanity". Yet, this is exactly what many do....keep taking the same actions, doing the same things, making the same decisions, and wonder why nothing changes for them. Many believe "the way we've always done it", is a reason to keep doing something, even when it isn't working.
So, how does one come back from extreme adversity? When everything falls apart, there are TWO choices. Give into the adversity and become avictim of that adversity. The other choice, is to find seeds of opportunity within that extreme adversity to take a new innovative direction. We have all heard the phrase "when one door closes, another opens". Although most have heard this, those that play the victim role, can only focus on the closed door.
Most would be familiar with the economic situation that Detroit has been facing. Detroit is a great example of how to take the worst economic situation, and within it find new innovative opportunity. Detroit is setting many powerful examples of pulling out of adversity with new innovative solutions. One powerful example is within education. A charter school made up of innovative educators that are putting their hearts into making a difference to youth. Such a powerful example. As Ellen mentions, many of these children are poor and/or homeless. This is one of the most adverse situations anyone could be in, and would be very easy to accept the victim role. Because of vision, and caring educators, these children are beautifully clothed in uniforms, are excelling and beaming with authentic happiness. Take a look at this short video:
Another great example of seeing what many are resisting is in relation to business. Of course a massive number of individuals have been affected by the state of the economy and the closure of businesses that have been the main employment stream for many years. Through this adversity, Detroit sees the solution is entrepreneurship to create new opportunity and self reliance.
See article about what Detroit is doing:
Entrepreneurship is something that is often not considered through mainstreams "best thinking". Society is conditioned to play it safe, to need "security", and to not risk. What greater risk is there than putting your future in the hands of any employer, in a changed economy that no longer provides job security? Every single sector is being affected by this type of adversity. It's been stated that the work that will be done by today's youth, hasn't been invented yet. Detroit is coming back from adversity, and is leading the way by understanding the principle of finding opportunity within change and adversity. One of the greatest gifts we can give our youth, is to let go of the "best thinking" that brought us to this spot, and develop the mindset to be the CREATORS of their future through entrepreneurship, and not be the victim of a changed world. Well done to Detroit on walking the walk, and being the example.
I read an article recently, and there was a statement in the article that is the cause of many failed opportunities in all areas of life. "They cave in and join the herd".
"The herd" is the perceived"normal". The herd is the thinking that most in society have been conditioned to believe is the correct spot to be. If you think and take actions outside of the herd mentality, those within the herd question your thinking to such an extent, that it destroys your belief, confidence and personal certainty to move forward in a different direction.
Nothing happens within the herd. This is conforming to mediocrity, and in many cases, an example of an old saying, misery loves company. Society is conditioned to believe this is safe, when in fact, it is one of the biggest reasons people give up on the futures they truly want to create. You may have personally experienced this, or perhaps you have been a member of the herd that is holding someone back. How do you identify this?
-You have an idea and share it with someone important in your life - that person questions and squashes the idea to such an extent, you give up and don't pursue the idea, and conform back to "what is normal", or "traditional thinking". Although you have the agreement of others in the herd when you conform back, it doesn't feel right for you inside.
-You feel frustrated and a lack of personal control - people often feel unhappy and unfulfilled inside and can't identify why. Some may think they suffer from depression, and although that could be part of it, many times an individual is living their life by someone else's agenda. It may be working a job you don't like, spending time with people that you do not resonate with, or feeling like you don't have choice. This feeling of a lack of control in your life, leads to unhappiness, stress, anger, and feeling unfulfilled.
-Take a look at your life and your results - is it the same as everyone you know? Is it the way you want it to be? If it is the same as everyone you are surrounded with, and it's not what you want, it is a sign you are living in the herd.
-Are you guilty of holding someone else back? - has someone shared ideas with you and you have given them feedback on why it isn't a good idea? Perhaps someone you know wanted to go a new direction, start a new job, go back to school, write a book, end a relationship, start a business, get in shape, run a marathon, etc. If you feel you gave them advice that indicated they should not leave the "safety" of the job they hate, or the relationship that is abusive, or told them it's too late to go back to school because they have responsibilities, or it's too risky to start a business, or this is the way it is.....they have made their bed and now must accept it, then you are attempting to hold people back in the herd, because of your own insecurities. That may be hard to accept, but it is exactly what happens.
Once you identify if you are conforming to the herd, the next step is to learn how to take your own path.
-Surround yourself with new people that are supportive of the direction you want to take.
-Thank the "well meaning" people in your life that are giving you advice that does not resonate with the direction you want to take, and be willing to go against "popular opinion". Sometimes you have to love people from a distance to honor yourself and the new path you want to take.
-TRUST yourself. We have intuition for a reason. It is to guide us to make decisions that are right for our lives. The key is to trust and listen to this inner voice, and take the actions to support the direction you are being guided to take.
-Be willing to stand alone in your vision and know you will get negative feedback, it is simply part of the process that anyone that makes this choice does experience. Success is created by being willing to just push through it and not let it control or direct you. By being willing to take this stand for the life you want to create, you will meet and align with new people that see what you envision and will become part of your support system.
Listen and trust your inner voice. It is the key to breaking out of the herd and creating the life you truly want to be living.
HOW MANY TIMES have you been stalled in the action steps you should be taking because you are attempting to figure out every possible step and outcome in advance? A principle I learned is to always take the next step to bring you closer to where you want to be.
It is during this process that we often figure out the next step to take, as a result of something that may have happened during that process. For instance, we decide to contact someone as our next step and during the conversation with that person, you learn some valuable new information, that gives you a new step to take which you couldn’t possibly have known to take in advance. Sometimes, it is a course correction that you couldn’t have known to take, without this new information you gained from the last conversation.
As I have taken these steps consistently, I have often paused to look back and thought I couldn’t possibly have imagined these new steps would present themselves as opportunity. Some of the things that have happened have amazed me, and I didn’t imagine would have come along. Very often, I didn’t even know these new things I have come across existed until I got to that spot of learning and being introduced to the new idea. Understanding this concept takes the pressure off of pre planning and feeling like you have to have the whole picture figured out perfectly. And very often it turns out better than you even imagined when you first started out towards the goal. Just taking the next step with intention reveals the next step to take. So simple, it is often overlooked.
How have you seen this play out in your action steps?
Society is conditioned to fear change. Since this is so ingrained into the mindset, that is where the struggle comes in for most. When a person feels they have no control over change,it depletes ones confidence and self esteem, it causes stress,unhappiness, resentment, and leads to living an unfulfilled life. It is a perception, that one doesn't have control. Any individual can make a conscious choice to take control of their own lives and change anything they want. It is the perceived fear they have no control, and they must conform, that causes the struggle with change. So how does one change this?
-Realize you have choice, and stop telling yourself you don't - This is a common issue that causes some of the challenge with change. People often feel they don't have a choice, and use all their energy in negativeemotions that harm an individual physically, emotionally, in business and in relationships. When a change is present, ask yourself better questions and realize your solutions are notjust A or B. There is an entire alphabet of possibilities...get creative and FIND new solutions that feel right inside.
-Recognize when you have any negative emotions around change, it is a sign you are at the "effect" of change, and not being at "cause". When we feel at the effect of something, we feel we have no control. The choice in this situation is to be a victim, or, embrace and find new opportunities within the change. Keep searching your mind for solutions that feel really good inside. Strive for win/win solutions. That is a sign you are making a good decision.
-Do not discuss the negative emotions you may feel around change, with others that are complaining. It is a default setting within us to flock together with like minded people. The last thing you want to do when you feel negativity is to have a pity party with someone else. This is where so many steer wrong. It becomes a contest of who's situation is the worst. We have all heard phrases like "misery loves company", or "you think that's bad, listen to this". You will NOT find productive solutions by complaining with others that are complaining along with you. This is the time to dig deeper within yourself, or seek advice from someone that you know is either experienced in this area or has out of the box, positive, creative and innovative thinking.
-CHOSE to be positive and solution oriented -Even if you have not been up to this point, you CAN shift your thinking and become more solution oriented. We believe what we tell ourselves. If we are telling ourselves there are no solutions and we have to just accept this is the way it is, and we are expressing negative emotions, we will believe what we are saying and thinking. You CAN make a CONSCIOUS choice to override your past way of thinking, and choose to become more positive and solution oriented. Surround yourself with people that are positive and solution oriented. Remember whoever we surround ourselves with, will influence our own thinking.
Here is an example of a change I have been dealing with personally, that will demonstrate this.
The neighbor behind us has a dog that barks hysterically, high pitched, non-stop whenever they are outside. Last summer was the first year they had the dog, so we came to accept that it was a pup and not yet trained. This summer it hasn't changed. No one ever tells the dog to stop barking. This is one of those things that drives me crazy, and last year when it started, instead of reacting and yelling at the neighbors to keep their dog under control (which many years ago would have been my reaction), I decided to turn up my music when this happens, so I can't hear it. Up until today, that seemed like a solution. However, I was reflecting on it as I was working by the pool and the dog wouldn't stop barking. Being as I was working, it occurred to me that I also find my music very distracting when I am working and in deep thought or conversations. I don't typically turn on music when I am working so I can really be present in what I am doing.
I reflected and asked myself what else can I do? This isn't solving the challenge by turning up my music, and quite frankly, MY actions are probably ticking off other neighbors. As I was reflecting on this and asking myself these questions, for the first time, I heard the lady say "Buddy, no". This was the first time in 2 years I heard anyone correct this dog. Immediately I had my answer.
When we were teaching our dog not to bark at every little thing, we came across an idea that worked perfectly. You get a squirt bottle and fill it with water. When the dog barks, tell it "no barking" and if it doesn't stop, give it a little squirt. It doesn't hurt the dog, but they don't like it. It doesn't take long at all for them to learn. Once they do, if they are barking at something inappropriate, you just call their name, hold up the squirt bottle and firmly say, no barking. This worked perfectly for us...our little dog only barks if someone comes to the door.
So, tomorrow, I am going to knock on their door when we are out for our walk, and say that I heard them attempting to stop Buddy from barking, and want to share an idea that worked for us.
I feel GREAT about this. The solution of turning up my music was still leaving me feel ticked off inside that I was "at effect" of someone else's actions, or in this case, lack of action. With this new solution, I feel "at cause", with a true win/win solution.
Although this is a basic personal example, the strategy works every time in any kind of situation. It is the THINKING that makes the difference. The end result is you will feel great you found a solution that is win/win which builds confidence, self esteem, and personal certainty, it eliminates the stress, resentment, unhappiness, and the physical effects that go along with this, which allow you to feel better inside. THAT is a sign you are on the right track.
Dan Roth, LI's Executive Editor, asked me to join others to share my thoughts to help guide the graduating class of 2014 in a series called #IfIWere22 . I am actually going to go back to when I was 19, because I distinctly remember something very important that will shape your life, if you take the lesson to heart.
When I was 19 I was engaged and about to marry, just days before my 20th birthday. There was a "moment" when I thought I was making a mistake and thought about not going through with the marriage. I quickly told myself it was just pre marriage jitters (which I had heard somewhere through my childhood). My father was an alcoholic, and if I called the wedding off, it meant I would still have to live in that environment, so I quickly gave my head a shake and told myself there was no other choice. Looking back, that was the biggest lessons of my life. Here are the first 2 lessons from that:
THERE IS ALWAYS A CHOICE - and it isn't just A or B. There are choices you haven't thought of in every situation. Learn to ask yourself better questions, such as what else could I do, what are other choices and solutions I haven't thought of, and what do I need to do to make the best choice happen.
2nd - That little voice, was the voice of intuition. It was right. 4 years later I was divorced, and so was my mom. The fear that I had wasn't real about living with my dad, because my mom ended the marriage, and I could have been there to help my mom through the challenges she went through. Follow your heart, our intuition is our own "internal guidance system." It is there to GUIDE you. The KEY is to listen, and follow the messages you hear when you get authentic with yourself. Really LISTEN to your intuition and allow it to guide you. Listen to your inner voice in relationships and in business. If either doesn't feel right, there is something better waiting for you. Have the courage to take a stand for what you deserve in your life.
-Don't be afraid to take risks - Society is conditioned to buy into fear and limiting beliefs. This is why so many in life struggle. Be willing to take risk - this is where the biggest rewards are and the least competition. On the topic of competition, it is only present when people think there is a lack of something. When you are willing to take risk and go after what you want, you will meet others on that same path, and it often leads to something bigger than you ever imagined, that hasn't even been created yet....there is no competition there.
-The most important thing you can do right now, is to reflect and get absolutely clear on your passions and what truly makes you happy. What do you love, what are you good at, what are you most interested in, what would you like to learn? Many people go through their entire lives searching for happiness, and waiting for the next ____ to "make"them happy. It doesn't work that way. Happiness is within you. It is YOUR job to discover it. The key is to listen to your heart and follow the path your heart is leading you.
-Consider self employment as a viable choice for your future. There is no such thing as job security...we are NOT in the industrial age any longer. The only job security there is, is your willingness to do what it takes to combine your ideas, skills, knowledge, education, passion, and combine with all the technology options available to create your own work. It has been stated that over 65% of the work that will be done by today's youth hasn't been invented yet - this is exciting!!!! GO AND BE THE CREATORS! There are choices out there for you in your career that no one has thought of yet.
-You are going to be working for a long time. Find a way to connect your passion to what you do for a living, you will never feel like you are working. Work for the meaning of the work and provide value - you will feel personally rewarded, and the financial reward will follow.
-Take personal responsibility for everything in your life, good and bad. Don't put blame on others. Have a high standard of ethics and integrity, because that will last long term and set you far above most others.
-Be the leader in your own life - don't wait for things to happen, go out and MAKE things happen. You have potential for a reason.....TO LIVE INTO IT.
-Don't give into fear. First, fear is not real, it is imagined in the mind, and will hold you back from what you want more than anything. YOU are driving your thoughts, and you have a choice whether your thoughts are based on fear or courage. Successful people have all the same fears, the difference is, successful people push through the fear. THAT is how fear actually disappears.
-Step out of your comfort zone consistently - Nothing great happens within the comfort zone. When you are willing to take a step out of your comfort zone, and do this continually in your life, you will grow more and accomplish more than you ever imagined.
-Keep learning and growing your knowledge - Nothing stays the same, change is constant. Be a life long learner and you will continually put yourself at an advantage.
-Embrace change and find opportunity within it - As I mentioned, change in life and business is constant. Don't resist change, instead embrace change and ask yourself what opportunities you can find within the change. It is very often the stepping stone to something incredible.
-Have more courage - This is the opposite of fear. By pulling out the courage from within, you will continue to raise the bar on what you are capable of.
-Surround yourself with like minded, positive, people, and let go of the negativity you come across in life - sometimes you have to love people from a distance.
-In business and in life, ONLY take advice from people that have the result you want and are therefore QUALIFIED to give you advice. Any other advice is usually from "well meaning" people, usually living inside the box of fear, conformity, theories, and mediocrity. They are NOT qualified to give you advice, no matter who they are and how much you may love them.
-Work hard, but play just as hard. It's important so you don't burn out.
-Remember as you build success, to reach back and help others to reach their potential. That is what true leaders do. True leaders are not threatened by the success of others....they reach back and help others succeed. This is one of the responsibilities of leadership.
-Know your parents did the best they could with what they knew. Good or bad, take the lessons and raise the bar to be a better parent yourself. When we know better we do better.
-Forgive - I learned to forgive my dad long after he passed away. Forgiveness is something you do for YOURSELF so that you are not carrying around the anger, the hatred, or any other negative emotion. Forgiveness allows you to let go and take that burden off your shoulders. You cannot be the best version of you, if you are carrying negative emotions inside of you.
-Marry your best friend - Why would you settle for spending your life with anyone less. Respect each other always. Do things you can both participate in. Share your dreams and goals together. Learn how to dance...you will be able to have a ton of fun with this as a couple for your whole lives:)
-When you have children remember to take time out as a couple - for date nights, and holidays....the kids will grow up and leave eventually. You want to have a great relationship with your partner still when they do. Don't hesitate to take the kids out of school to travel the world. They will learn more from this than anything they miss in the classroom.
I did manage to find the love of my life and have been happily married now for almost 29 years, with 2 grown successful kids. Ten years ago, I found my passion. It took that long because I didn't understand the relevance of identifying your passion, and had to go through all the stepping stones of challenge to find and identify it. People search their whole lives for happiness. Happiness is within us. Our job is to reflect and authentically identify our passion and then make sure all the decisions we make in our lives support it.When you are willing to do this, you will feel such a sense of control in your life, and will find that happiness within you. Life is a journey, not to a destination, but to be lived and enjoyed every moment of the ride!
How often have you heard the phrase, the timing isn't right? People have been so conditioned to use this as an excuse. How can you take control and change this default behaviour? Ask yourself - Do I live for the now or for the future I want?
If you are living for the now, there will always be things that get in the way, and there will never be a "right" time. They seem like legitimate reasons, when in fact they are excuses because of non commitment to the future goal you want.
When you are living to create the future you want, it means there will be times that the timing doesn't seem right. There will be times when you feel you are too busy and don't have time. There will be times you just don't feel like it.
Successful people have learned to embrace every opportunity to take action. How can you turn your thinking around to live for the future you want?
-instead of saying the timing isn't right - ask yourself HOW you are going to change your schedule around and find the time required. What else do you have to put in place to be able to take action...make a list and find ways to make it work.
-instead of saying you are too busy and don't have time - ask yourself what you can let go of to make time for something that will create the future you want. Identify the areas that you are wasting time. Recognize the opportunity you have and don't let it slip through your fingers because of this excuse. Short term pain for long term gain is a motto that I have effectively used to push through times like this.
-instead of focusing on not feeling like it - ask yourself are you committed to the future you want, and how would that change your life. Ask yourself how long you are going to keep settling and avoiding taking action and making excuses. Picture yourself living this life you are about to create and it helps in drawing the energy and self motivation required to take action.
There is no such thing as the right timing. If you are committed to the future you envision, you cannot just live in the now. You must be willing to change your thinking to do what it takes to create your future.
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader