The Gratitude Project

There has been so much hard news lately. It easy to get discouraged and feel somewhat hopeless in the face of  powerful storms and mass shootings.

I want you to help me on a project that I think will help during this time.  Remembering what we have to be thankful for in the midst of all this craziness can help bring us some comfort and peace.

Here’s how you can help.

  • Take your phone or computer and record yourself for 10 to 15 seconds with this info:
    • You first name
    • Where you are from
    • What you are thankful/grateful for
  • Email that recording to evolvingselfaudio@gmail.com

Here’s what I’ll do.

  • Take your short audio clip and combine them into one audio file
  • Release the recording before the US Thanksgiving Holiday

Here’s what you’ll receive.

  • Encouragement and amazing stories

 

Forward this to your family members, your social media contacts, and anyone you think would be interested.

I think we could all use a little encouragement.

 

Solve Your Problems By Not Focusing On Them

 

There are times in life when it seems that we can’t find answers to our problems.  No matter how hard we try to come up with the solution, we get more frustrated and anxious because we are not making progress. If feels like we are spinning out of control or going down a dark tunnel with no return.

One of reasons for this is that we are trying to use our analytical mind to solve complex problems.  Our analytical mind is great at solving problems that have concrete solutions like balancing an out of balance checkbook, scheduling a vacation, or finding an alternate route to work.  But when we have problems in our health, relationships, or career our analytical mind isn’t helpful because problems in these areas are often complex.  We need another way to solve them.

The best thing we can do is to let go and stop focusing on our problems. This sounds crazy, but it works. When we stop focusing on our problems with our analytical mind, we allow our creative mind and internal wisdom to work on the solution in the background and bring the solution to the foreground when it’s done.

We have all experienced this when we’ve been stuck on a issue at work. We try hard to figure it out and get to a point of frustration where we say, “Forget it!  I can’t figure this out!”.  At this point you get up and go for a short walk or go for a cup of coffee.  As you are drinking your coffee and looking out the window at the beautiful day you suddenly come up with the answer!  That is your creative mind and internal wisdom at work.

I encourage you to listen to this short podcast and learn more about how our creative mind can help us solve some of our more frustrating problems.

 

 

 

If you have questions or topics you’d like me to cover in a blog or podcast, email them to me at dennis.robert.bird@gmail.com

 

 

6 Questions to Ask When Making Hard Decisions

Credit: Flocutus

Photo: Flocutus

Do you have a hard decision to make?

Life is filled with circumstances where we need or are forced to make hard decisions.  The reason these decisions are difficult is that there is not always a clear way forward and we are filled with anxiety about making the wrong choice.

In my life and in the lives of many people I’ve coached, I’ve seen people struggle with decisions around:

  • Starting or ending a relationship
  • Leaving a job or staying
  • Committing time to an activity or saying no
  • Starting a plan to get healthy or doing nothing
  • Making a significant purchase or holding on to your money
  • Moving a family for a work opportunity
  • Planning to retire or keep working
  • Starting a business or working for someone else

Whatever the hard decision you need to make, I find the following questions helpful in making the best decisions we can.

1. Is the option in alignment with my values?

One of the biggest stresses in life is when you act in ways that violate your deepest values. If we make choices that conflict with our values, then this is an indication that an option may not work for us.  Not all of our values have equal importance in life. I think it’s helpful to rank order your values so your decision falls within your highest priorities.

2. Is the decision about something where there is clearly a right or wrong?

Many decisions we struggle with have nothing to do with right or wrong, yet we have anxiety about making the wrong choice.  If you are buying a car and staying within your budget, does is ultimately matter if you buy a Toyota or a Ford?  If you are pursing a new job and have two offers, could both options be a good fit?  If there is no discernible right or wrong, what seems best to you? In these types of scenarios, you can’t make a bad decision so determine what may be the better option for now.

3. Do I have enough information to make the decision?

Sometimes we get paralyzed when making a decision because we don’t have all the details about the benefits or drawbacks of our options.  This requires that we take time to ask questions, do some research, or consult with experts.  Once you have the information you need, the path to making a better decision will be clearer.

4. Will I regret choosing or not choosing an option later in life?

Author Mark Twain has this great quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

When making a decision about how I am going to spend my time or resources this is a question I often ask. I find that if I believe I will regret a decision later in life, then I have the insight of what I need to do now. Sometimes playing it safe is the best option, but sometimes taking a calculated risk, trying something new, or starting a new venture will lead to less regrets.

5. Have I talked through my options with people I trust?

Don’t go it alone when making tough decisions.  We all need an outside perspective to gain clarity on next steps.  Engage with good friends, family members, and colleagues.  Read books written by authors you admire.  Talk with a leader in your business or industry.  Hire a coach. I believe it’s a good idea to have a good mix between people we consult with, some who have personal interest in our outcome and some who don’t.  This mix will give you different feedback.

6. Have I given this decision enough time or too much time?

There are decisions we can’t rush. The outcomes have significant meaning in our life and relationships. The decisions could affect others and so we need to take time gather information, ask ourselves the above questions, and consult with people we trust.

The are also times when we are delaying a decision we know we need to make.  This heightens anxiety and leads to frustration.  If we are taking too much time it may be a signal that we don’t feel capable to make a good decision or that either option we choose has difficult components.  In these situations I encourage setting a deadline for a choice to made, gathering any missing information, and talking with people you can trust and who will hold you accountable.

 

A  challenge in making hard decisions is that sometimes there is information or experiences you can never know unless you try. When people are going through divorces, leaving a job, or moving to new cities there is anxiety of the unknown.

Will I be OK?

Will I succeed?

Will I like it there?

Sometimes we will make a decision that we later regret and here is the good news.  I don’t think any experience in life is wasted as long as we learn and grow as individuals. We all make decisions given the information and context of our life at a given time, so let’s have so compassion on ourselves.

One of the best decisions you can make is to be your best self. Start there and use the above questions as a guide on your way.

 

 

If you find this helpful or any other information on my website beneficial, hit the share buttons and spread the wealth!

Does Saying “I’m Sorry” Mean More Than “I Love You”?

 

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How often do we say or do things to people we love that we regret?

If life were perfect the answer would be “never”. But the reality is that we are all flawed and will cross the line into hurtful words and actions.

Healthy relationships are not conflict free.  Conflict is a part of life, but what sets healthy relationships apart from unhealthy, is the ability to repair after conflict.

Psychologist and researcher Dr. John Gottman and his colleagues has studied the interactions and conversations of thousands of couples.  He has found that a key to healthy relationships is the ability to:

1. Repair through words and actions that say “I’m sorry”.

2.  Work to build  trust through exploring the life of the person you love with questions and listening.

Listen to podcast above and hear a short excerpt of a speech given by John Gottman on this topic. Plus I summarize my thoughts on why saying “I’m sorry” is difficult for us and addition steps for building our relationships so our repairs are helpful.

 

If you’d like to read more on this topic I highly recommend John Gottman’s book:  The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

His strategies apply to our relationships with our spouses, partners, children and friends.

Drive By Wisdom: Should Humans Be On The Endangered Species List?

 

We need to consider our future as a species.  Human’s are brilliant, special, and inventive.  But we are also destructive, abusive, and violent.  In this short video I’ll explore my thoughts on our future and ways we can make a difference for our species, other species we share this world with, and our environment.

Drive By Wisdom: Ask For What You Need

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard for us to get our needs met if we are not willing or brave enough to ask for what we need. In this episode of Drive By Wisdom, we’ll explore how asking for help can improve your life.  Click on the video below: