Posts tagged with ‘Change Optimist’

07 jun

When Is It Your Turn to Step Up?

JayFortePersonal accountability and responsibility seems rare today. Some step up and take ownership of their work, lives and the needs of others, but many more don’t. This isn’t a criticism – it is an observation.

So, here are several situations – how would you respond?

- You see an elderly woman walking around a parking lot, looking lost and disoriented.
- A toddler walks over to the front door of the coffee shop and opens it, intending to walk out to a busy street; you see the parent is in the store.
- The girl scouts are selling cookies. The marching band is selling candy. The military is collecting in the street corner for wounded soldiers.
- A homeless man is drinking what is left of a soft drink he found in a cup in the trash.
- A tornado rips through a town making hundreds of people homeless – in the next town.
- A drought creates a food shortage for thousands of people – thousands of miles away from you.
- Your kids run the water constantly while they brush their teeth.
- Your favorite restaurant serves very large portions that are mostly trashed.
- At the airport you watch as a traveler throws a plastic bottle in the rubbish, though the recycle bin is immediately adjacent to it (or far away from it).

Your responses are your choice. For these situations, when do you say something – or do you say anything? When do you do something- or do you do anything?

What if the situations were reversed and you were the victim or the person needing help in these situations? What would you like to have happen?

I do not believe the difficult or bad things in life happen as part of some pre-determined plan or divine retribution. Life just happens – both the good and the bad. The planet goes through its cycles without any specific awareness to where we live, or with any malicious intent – it does what it has always done. Sometimes there are sunny days; others times there are hurricanes, earthquakes and droughts. Sometimes we have positive events; sometimes we have negative events. It is the way of our world.

But regardless of what happens, we are here. It is my belief that we are social creatures to help, guide, learn from and support each other. Sometimes we help; sometimes we need help. The flux of the world teaches us to discover our greater selves – to see the magnitude of the gifts we received (talents, aptitudes and passions) and to activate them in us. If things in our world were always fine, we would never be challenged to develop our greatness – to see our true capabilities. In challenge, we see qualities we did not realize we possess; we access our greatness.

I believe that each of us is unique, and this uniqueness is part of a greater plan. This uniqueness is exhibited in the specific gifts (talents, aptitudes and personality) we received. It is our responsibility is to become acquainted with these gifts to bring them to the world – because there will be some time when the world will you’re your best and mine. To respond we must know our areas of greatness. Not knowing misses an opportunity to make the difference the world may need.

President Woodrow Wilson said, “You are not here to merely make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” You are here for you and for things greater than you.

When an earthquake strikes, (because it is part of what our Earth does), it may be up to us to respond and help. When a drought impacts another part of the world, something we are great at may be what the victims need. We step in. We help. Because we share this world with others. Because we share our best with others. And maybe what this particular event needs is what we do best. Then it is our turn to step up. Not always, just when what is needed is what we do best. Our turn.

And when life happens to us – we have a hurricane, a fire, or a personal tragedy – because this is part of life – we look to the greatness of others to help us through our tough times. Then it is their turn to step up.

Sometimes it is up to us; some times it is up to others. Sometimes the world is calm, sometimes it is not.

We have the resources to survive – we have them in each other. And trauma and challenge help us learn about them. When each of us knows our inventory of talents and strengths, we can then decide when it is our time to step up to a situation that needs what we do best. We can respond.

Our world is becoming more interconnected and interdependent. Events like global warming, the Middle East conflict, nuclear weapons, diseases and natural disasters have universal impact – we are all affected by these. Robert Wright presents in his book, Non Zero; The Logic of Human Destiny, that when we work together to settle and respond (in an interdependent world), we create “win-win” outcomes. When we disregard, disrespect, refuse to help, or do not understand the needs, challenges and values of others (in an interdependent world), we set ourselves up for a “lose-lose” outcome. We have the ability to achieve “win-win” when we bring our best to the complex world we live in; we settle for “lose-lose” when we don’t commit our best – when we don’t step up.

Consider these four ways to be an active player in a world that needs you to be your best and to step up when it is your turn:

- Know yourself – know what you are good at, what moves you and what are your best areas to support others.

– Stay connected to your world. Your world is larger than you. Know what others need to help them on their journey.

– Commit to action when called on. Have the courage to step up and take responsibility when others need you. Don’t wait to be asked.

– Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need others to do their share. We all need help some time.

We have the collective genius, intellect, energy and passion to help when others are in need. We have the ability to handle complex issues, understand our planet and keep people healthy, safe and valued. This can happen when we are responsible and accountable to know how to contribute our best, and when our best is needed. We must know when and how to step up, and when it is fair to ask it from others.

So back to the situations I offered at the start of this post. What do you choose to do? When is it your turn to step up? And when do you need others to step up for you?

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. He has just completed his new book, Happiness Matters; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on June 7th, 2010 in Family, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 mar

Live Fired Up!

JayFortePeople tell us life is tough, tense and difficult. And we believe it.

I don’t listen to what people say. I think life should be thrilling, exciting and energizing. Life is not a dress rehearsal so I want to be passionate, enthusiastic and fired up in my one shot at life.

We choose how we live. We allow the discussion in our heads to direct us. And today, much of this discussion is negative – it highlights the things we can’t, shouldn’t, or couldn’t do. We dwell on it and soon we believe that is the way it must be…it will be. But, we can redirect this internal dialog to positive; our self-talk can be optimistic. Our choice.

I find the reason why many people are more negative than positive is they do not know themselves well. As has been said, “We fear because we forget how capable we are.” We activate our negative self-talk because we forget (or don’t know) how talented, wise and competent we are. By knowing ourselves well, we learn how to use our hardwired talents, strengths and passions to successfully direct our lives to areas that support what we are good at and love doing. This engages our confidence and competence. This activates our positive self-talk. This helps to fire us up.

Many people also look to others to make their lives great. We want our partners, spouses, friends and families to make our lives fun, dynamic and easy. Though they are part of this process, the choice of being thrilled (or bored) about life belongs to each of us – not to others. It is our responsibility to choose how we move through life in the best and most fired up way.

Though I write, speak and teach about connecting to talents and passions, and getting fired up in work and life, I still have my days where the negative and challenging thoughts are louder than the positive ones. I know this will happen so I created a list of things I can do get myself re-fired up – re-energized – and back on the ride of life. Here are some of my techniques to light the fire instead of dousing the flame. Use these and share what works for you:

  1. Laugh. A minute of laughing can boost your immune system for more than 24 hours (a minute of anger weakens your immune system for 4 hours). So find humor in everything. People are naturally comical, pets too. Stop finding faults and find humor. (I have the klutz gene –it is a family trait. If I got upset every time I bumped into something or tripped on something, I would always be upset. Instead, it is a great opportunity to laugh).
  2. Read an inspirational quote or text. Find authors, famous or familiar people who move you with their perspectives, attitudes or energy. Keep these handy.
  3. Think about two great things that have happened in the last day, hour or even minute. Dwell on these, not on the things that did not work so well. Applaud yourself for your great work, even if you were the only one who noticed it. Praise and (a little) self-praise are good ways to stay fired up.
  4. Develop a network of fired up contacts – people you can contact to help you reconnect to your fire. The commitment, however, is you are the same resource for them. Sometimes we need a little help to get the fire going again.
  5. Do something kind or unexpected. Send a card, make a call, serve your kids, partner or spouse breakfast in bed, make your favorite desert or meal and bring it to a friend. Get out of yourself and pay attention to someone else. Their reactions will fire you up.
  6. Tell a story about a time when you were younger that highlights happy and great times. Show pictures, watch home movies and share feelings. Celebrate your personal stories. Never miss providing an ovation after a story. Everyone loves some applause. It fires us up.
  7. Make the ordinary things around you, extraordinary. Dinner – ordinary. Dinner with the best dishes, flowers and cloth napkins – extraordinary. Lunch – ordinary. Lunch with candles, a card, your favorite soup and music – extraordinary. Bring home flowers. Make your own scented water to spray on the laundry. Stack laundry with each person’s name on it and a surprise in the bottom of each pile. Change the color of your front door – to something that gets the neighbors talking. Buy something bright to liven up an ordinary room. Notice “ordinary” then do something to make it extraordinary. You get a “two-fer” – a “two for” the price of one fire up. You get something extraordinary and you get fired up doing it.
  8. Music – high-energy music can get you fired up. Turn it up loud, close the door and dance. And if you have the nerve, dance with the door open and invite others to join you. Find your fire up song and play it when you need to get energizing. My favorite “change my mood” song is Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas’s “Smooth.” My favorite get fired up and dance songs are Frankie Valli’s Oh, What A Night, Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” or Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold.” What are yours? (I know you have some.)
  9. Go for an “inspired walk.” Some people find inspiration on a busy city street with lots of action. Others find inspiration in a quiet walk on a beach, through the woods or in the mountains. Bring your iPod with inspirational music (your definition of inspirational) to add to the moment. Or, just learn to listen to hustle, or the natural quiet. Get reconnected to your internal fire with others or by yourself, whichever activates you.
  10. Make plans for fun. Once a week plan an event that gets you excited. Try a new restaurant. See a movie. Go to a lecture. Do yoga. Buy an outrageous coffee drink. Have game night with your family or friends. Host an American Idol, reality show, awards show or big game evening. Start a dinner club with other couples or singles. Host a progressive party around your neighborhood. Create one fired up event; its anticipation is energizing.
  11. Love your job. Choose a job that plays to what you are good at and love doing. Know yourself well enough to know how to play to your talents, strengths and passions. A job of purpose, power and passion will keep you energized and fired up throughout the day.

Some say life is tough. And some feel they should suffer through life. Go ahead. That is not for me; that is not the story of life I intend to write. I have learned the more I know myself, the more I can direct my response to my world and play to my strengths. I can control my response to conflict and put myself into more areas of joy, happiness and energy. My choice.

We are amazing creatures. Each of us is hardwired with amazing gifts – unique gifts – that take much of our lives to interpret and learn to use. We did not arrive on the planet with an owner’s manual; we write it each day as we live. The more and quicker we learn about ourselves, the more and sooner we get introduced to the things that make us sizzle and those that make us fizzle. So, figure out how to add more sizzle. Then live fired up!

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on March 19th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

06 sep

How to Become a Change Optimist

Last week I did a podcast with a wonderful reporter, Allan Hunkin, who has interviewed some of the top experts in the life improvement space-folks like Jack Canfield and Robert Kiyosaki.

The focus was on sharing insights I had discovered from interviewing thousands of people going through change, and what I am witnessing more and more every day on our site.

Read more »

Posted by First 30 Days on September 6th, 2008 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in

14 mar

Are You a Change Optimist?

I’ve been thinking a lot about optimism this week. I recently met Laurence Shorter, who spent the last two years searching the planet for the most optimistic people he could find. He’s compiling his findings and interviews in a book that will be published next year. Talking with him got me thinking about who are the most optimistic people I know and could recommend to him.

Read more »

Posted by First 30 Days on March 14th, 2008 in Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in