Posts tagged with ‘Family’

27 feb

3 Ways Families Are Like Conveyor Belts

RobertCordrayConveyor belts are a great asset to businesses, whether they’re used in warehouses, assembly lines, or other applications. In the same way, families are a great asset when each member supports the others, pitches in, and works for the good of the whole.

There are 3 ways that families are like conveyor belts:

1. Like conveyor belts, families are always on the move.

Life, like business, is always moving, and it seems that something is always happening to upset the apple cart. Unexpected events, like illnesses or accidents, call for changes. Family members are ready to roll with these changes, and help out wherever they can. A family in Dallas had a mom, a dad, and three college-aged kids. When Dad was struck with multiple sclerosis and confined to a wheelchair, Mom took over the driving until Dad was able to purchase a modified car. The kids also helped out with driving and assisting Dad with physical therapy, and cheered him up when he felt down.

Even when no major problems arise, family members often arrive at new milestones in life. A family in Maine had two at once. John graduated from college and entered the military as an officer, and Dad got a big promotion at work. The other family members were supportive and encouraging, congratulating them both and wishing them well. When the conveyor belt of life rushes into new situations, families are ready for both the joy and the challenge.

2. Families work as a team, like an assembly line.

Conveyor belts are often used as assembly lines, and families work as a team on an assembly line, producing happy and productive members. A family in Ohio had 2 kids who loved sports. Their parents attended every game, and their dad coached baseball and track. When the kids wanted to try a new sport, their parents encouraged them, and when the kids didn’t do so well, Mom and Dad told them, “That’s ok, as long as you do your best.” Mom and Dad emphasized that team spirit, fair play, and sportsmanship were as important as winning, and the kids repaid their support by being good team members and good sports.

Another family in Tennessee was not into sports, but they had a favorite project they did together. All good singers and musicians, they sang and played Christmas carols at the retirement home in their community every Christmas. Dad played the guitar, Mom was lead singer, Jeff played the violin, and Sara the clarinet. Just like conveyor belts are used in an automated material handling system, this family work together as a system to making the world a happier and more loving place.

3. Like assembly line workers, everyone plays a different role.

When a conveyor belt acts as an auto plant assembly line, each worker on it has a different job; one worker installs the motor, another puts on the fenders, and another does the painting. In the same way, each person in a family has a role to play, the role he or she is best suited for. In the Smith family, Dad was a model of strength, and taught the others responsibility by going to a difficult job. He was also an example of love, a sentiment President Howard W. Hunter past prophet of the LDS church, expressed in his inspirational quote, “One of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Mom taught love and patience by being an example. When 4-year-old Bobby colored on the wall, Mom understood that the wall was very tempting, but explained that paper is for drawing.

Each child was encouraged to discover a sense of self, and to develop his or her best attributes. Sally was very motherly, and helped with the baby. Tom was good at repairs, and put a new cord on the vacuum cleaner. Rob helped Mom learn computer skills. Each person in the family felt that he or she belonged, and had an important part to play.

Like conveyor belts, families are team-oriented, but with a place for individuality. And like conveyor belts, they’re adaptable, but there for the purpose of a greater good.

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 Robert Cordray on February 27th, 2014 in Family, Relationships, Teens | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

07 oct

Feel Cared About

RickHansonWhen Have People Been Caring?
The Practice
Feel cared about.

Everyone knows what it’s like to care about someone. Remember being with a friend, a mate, a pet: you feel warmly connected, and want him or her not to suffer and to be happy.

On the other hand, you’ve probably had the sense, one time or another, of not being cared about. That you didn’t matter to another person, or to a group of people. Maybe they weren’t actively against you, but they sure weren’t for you.

As soon as you recall a time like that, it’s immediately clear why it’s important to feel cared about – which is to the heart what water is to your body.

Sometimes we feel embarrassed about our yearnings to be cared about. But they are completely normal – and deeply rooted in evolution. Love, broadly defined, has been the primary driver of the development of the brain over the last 80 million years.

Our ancestors – mammals, primates, hominids, and humans – survived and flourished and passed on their genes by learning to find good mates, bond with their young, draw males in to provide for children, create “the village it takes to raise a child” whose brain is quadrupling in size after birth and thus needs a long and vulnerable childhood, and team up with each other to compete with other bands for scarce resources.

In this context, being cared about was crucial to survival. Mammals, etc. that did not care about being cared about did not pass on their genes. No wonder you care about being cared about!

Studies show that feeling cared about buffers against stress, increases positive emotions, promotes resilience, and increases caring for others. Plus it feels darn good. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on October 7th, 2011 in Family, General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

16 sep

Focus on What Truly Matters

MikeRobbinsNewOver the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about what truly matters. My mom’s diagnosis, illness, and death have caused me to stop, question, and look more deeply at the things and people in my life that are important. Through the pain and challenge of this experience, I’ve also been grateful for the perspective and awareness it has opened up.

What I’ve noticed is that, sadly, I don’t focus on what and who truly matters to me as much as I’d like. I tend to get distracted by fears, ego-obsessions, drama (in my own life and in the world), ambitions, and all sorts of survival instincts and emotional reactions. While I understand and have empathy for the fact that this is all part of being human, I also recognize that when I get distracted like this, I’m not able to fully engage in the most important activities, relationships, and situations in my life. Maybe you can relate?

Why do we get so distracted in our lives? Why does it sometimes take illness, crisis, injury, tragedy, or even death to wake us up and get our attention?

First of all, I think we clutter up our lives with too much “stuff.” We’re too busy, over-committed, and information obsessed. Our to-do lists are too long and we run around trying to “keep up” or be “important,” and in the process stress ourselves out to no end. Even though many of us, myself included, often complain (out loud or just in our heads) that we can’t do anything about this – based on the nature of life today, technology and communication devices, and/or the responsibilities of our lives, families, and jobs – most of us have more of a say over our schedules, how much we engage in electronic communication, and the amount of “stuff” we clutter into our lives. Much of this distracts us from what’s most important.

Second of all, it actually can be scary to focus on what truly matters. Some of the most important people, activities, and aspects of our lives are things that may seem “unimportant” to those around us. These things may or may not have anything to do with our careers, taking care of our families, and may not even be things that other people like, understand, or agree with. Even if they are, sadly, it’s often easier to just watch TV, disengage, and merely react to what’s going on around us than it is to engage in the things we value most.

Finally, we may not know what’s most important to us or at least have some internal conflict about what “should” be. Whether it’s our lack of clarity or it’s this phenomenon of “should-ing” all over ourselves (or maybe a bit of both), focusing on what truly matters to us can be more tricky than it seems on the surface. With so many conflicting beliefs, ideas, and agendas (within us and around us), it’s not always easy to know with certainty what matters most to us. And, even if we do, it can take a good deal courage, commitment, and perspective to live our life in alignment with this on a regular basis.

While these and other “reasons” make sense, not focusing on what matters most to us has a real (and often negative) impact on our life, our work, and everyone around us. We end up living our life in a way that is out of integrity with who we really are, which causes stress, dissatisfaction, and missed opportunities and experiences.

What if we did focus on what truly matters in our life all the time – not simply because we experience a wakeup call, crisis, or major life change – but because we choose to in a pro-active way? What would your life look like if you let go of some of your biggest distractions, the often meaningless worries and stresses that take your attention, and actually put more focus on the people and things that are most important to you?

Here’s an exercise you can do now (and any time in the future) to both take inventory of where you are in this process and also to get you more in alignment with what truly matters.

1) Make a list of the most important aspects of your life. You can either write this list down on a piece of paper or in your journal (ideal) or simply make a mental list. These “aspects” will vary depending on your life, interests, priorities, etc. For most people, however, they tend to be things like family, personal/spiritual growth, health, career success/fulfillment, making a difference in the world, fun, money, friends/community, travel, adventure, creativity, home, and more. While you don’t need to rank them necessarily, thinking of these things with some priority can be helpful.

2) Make a list of the things you spend most of your time doing and thinking about. Take inventory of your day today (as well as the past few days, weeks, and months) and make a list (in writing or in your head) of where you spend your time and attention. Tell the truth, even if you aren’t proud of some of the activities or thoughts that get a lot of your focus. With this list it’s important to rank them in some way – so that you’re clear about which activities, thoughts, relationships, and more get your attention specifically, and how much you devote to each of them.

3) Compare the two lists and see how you can get them even more aligned. As you compare these two lists, if you’re anything like me – you may notice that they’re quite different. Often what we say is most important to us isn’t the same as where we devote much of our time, energy, and thought. Without judging yourself, tell the truth about where there are differences in these two lists and spend some time inquiring into why this is the case. And, as you think about this, ask yourself how you can create more alignment with these two lists. In other words, be more conscious and do whatever you can to focus more on what truly matters to you!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info –

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Posted by Mike Robbins on September 16th, 2011 in New Directions, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

28 nov

How to Have a Great Thanksgiving

MikeRobbinsNewWith Thanksgiving upon us, I’ve been thinking about my own love/hate relationship to this great holiday. It can be a wonderful celebration of gratitude, appreciation, and family connection. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also tends to be about feeling obligated to spend time with the people we’re “supposed” to, eating too much food and feeling guilty about it, and pretending to be grateful when we’re actually annoyed and stressed out.

What if we could make this Thanksgiving less stressful, more fun, and actually be able to enjoy ourselves, appreciate our family and friends (even the ones who drive us nuts), and focus on what we’re grateful for in a genuine way?

Here are some important tips you can use to make this year’s Thanksgiving one you truly enjoy and remember (in a good way):

1) Be you – Instead of trying to be who you think you “should” be with your family, friends, in-laws, or guests – just relax and be yourself! So often we put undue pressure on ourselves to be a certain way, impress people (even those we know well), or do or say the things we think others want us to. When we let go of trying to please everyone and we’re able to be true to ourselves, we create a genuine sense of freedom and peace. This also means that we think about what would be fun for us and our immediate family to do for Thanksgiving and communicate this to everyone else (in-laws, extended family, etc.), even if it may upset or disappoint some of the people involved.

2) Look for the good – Make a commitment to focus on the things you like and appreciate about your friends and family members, instead of obsessing about the things that annoy or upset you about them. We almost always find what we look for in others and in situations. When we let go of past resentments, we’re able to see people with new eyes. As the saying goes, “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Whatever we choose to do on Thanksgiving and whomever we choose to spend our holiday with, if we make a conscious decision to enjoy ourselves and to look for the good stuff in an authentic way, we dramatically increase our chances of having a positive and pleasurable experience.

3) Make it fun and easy – Do whatever you can for yourself and those around you to make the planning, food preparation, clean up, and the whole Thanksgiving experience as easy, fun, and stress-free as possible. This means we keep it light, share the responsibilities, ask others for help, and do the things that we enjoy doing – instead of burdening ourselves and feeling like a victim about it all. Too often we spend and waste our time and energy being uptight, doing things we don’t truly want to do, feeling resentful towards others, and creating a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration. Thanksgiving can be lots of fun, if we’re willing to go with the flow and make it easy on ourselves and for others.

4) Express your appreciation for others – One of best things we can do for other people (on Thanksgiving or at any time) is to let them know what we appreciate about them in a genuine way. Acknowledging others is a true “win-win,” as we always get to keep what we give away to others when we appreciate them (i.e. the good feelings are shared by us and those we acknowledge). There are many ways we can appreciate people on Thanksgiving:

- Write “I’m thankful for you” cards and give them out on Thanksgiving (or mail them beforehand)

- Pick someone at the dinner table to acknowledge, and then ask them to “pay it forward” and appreciate someone else in the group – go around until everyone has been appreciated

- Pull people aside on Thanksgiving (or give them a call) and let them know what you appreciate about them specifically and genuinely

5) Count your blessings – Remember that in the midst of all the commotion, stress, and activity of the holiday season, Thanksgiving really is a time for us to reflect on what we’re grateful for – in life, about others, and especially about ourselves. Take some time on Thanksgiving to focus on what you’re grateful for, the many blessings in your life, and the things you appreciate about yourself. A great way for us to remember and to celebrate the many blessings in our life, especially on Thanksgiving, is to take some time during our meal and allow each person at the table to talk about what they’re grateful for in a genuine, specific, and personal way.

This year, especially given all that has been going on in the world, the economy, and our personal lives, let’s challenge ourselves to make Thanksgiving more than just something we get through or even simply a nice holiday; let’s have it be a time of reflection, connection, and a celebration of the great fullness of life.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info –

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Posted by Mike Robbins on November 28th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

24 nov

The 3 Ways We (Accidentally) Help Our Kids Fail

JayForteI know we don’t mean to help our kids fail; sometimes we just do too much for them – we don’t make them do their work. Maybe we love them too much and want their lives to be easy. But too much of the wrong kind of help doesn’t prepare them define who they are, identify their talents, find their best place in the world and own their lives. I am a father of three daughters. I have learned some things that I feel have prepared them to step up and stand out in their lives – to own their lives. And I thought it was worth sharing.

My personal perspective is that the greatest gift we receive in life is the ability to invent our lives – we can create each day in the way we choose. And what we need to help us invent extraordinary lives – extraordinary according to our terms – we already have. We are born with unique talents and strengths (gifts) that exhibit themselves through our abilities and passions. We are great at some things, not others. We love some things and not others. Each of us is unique. Each of us is different. Learning about this difference is the key to inventing our most amazing lives, and helping our kids invent theirs.

For example, I am good at and love details, precision, social research and writing. My kids are not at all like this. They are more social, more scientific and are more take-charge. They would hate my job. And though I may feel that my job would be good fit for them and would give the resources to be successful in life, they don’t feel this. They must get up each morning and be thrilled by life. Following in my footsteps is not be the best choice for any or all of them. They need to choose for themselves those things that play to their particular talents, interests and passions. This is how they become successful. This is not what many parents do.

As a greatness coach and a parent, here are the most significant three ways I see that we (accidentally) help our kids to fail:

1. We do not help them know themselves – what they are good at and what they are passionate about. So many of today’s kids are very self-unaware; they have little sense of who they are, what their talents are and what they are passionate about. They go through life on autopilot – being directed by parents and friends – doing very little of their own thinking.

It is our role as parents to help them learn how to identify their talents, interests and passions. Many times our talents are so closely connected to how we think that we have a difficult time identifying them. This is a great opportunity for parents to share what they see in their kids and dialog about it. Catching a kid doing something great, and commenting on it, helps him notice his behaviors. And as much as we learn about what we do well, we also learn about what we don’t do well – also critical information. We aren’t good at everything but we each are good at some things. Learn to identify those things and we help our children learn to play to their strengths.

2. We don’t show them enough of their world, and talk to them about their options, so they can choose wisely in work and life. Critical to their success in life is first to know themselves, then to know their world. Their greatest success and happiness will be in finding places in their world that allow them to use what they are great – to have their greatest impact. For that, they must know their world to be able to choose wisely.

Connecting to what our kids are seeing and hearing is critical – particularly in today’s intellectual age. Kids see so much more than their Boomer parents saw at their age. And this information needs conversation – to help them become aware of what appeals to them and what does not. Family vacations, reading together, reviewing websites together, learning projects and being active in the community are ways to show kids what things are available – how large the world is. The more kids start to show interest in areas, the more they should be encouraged to investigate careers and work in those areas.

3. We define happiness for them by telling them who they should be, what they should do for work and how they should live. Many parents believe they know better so they choose their kid’s life directions. I remember telling my father as he told me what my profession was to be, that for me to be successful, happy and own my life, the choice about who I am, what I do and how I live, must be mine. Parents take away life accountability when they dictate the steps of life. The more we encourage our kids to know themselves and to know their world, the better decisions they will make about their lives. This allow us to be the guide from the side in their lives – available for counsel but always relinquishing the decision to the life owner. This is critical to help create the next generation of responsible, happy and personally successful people.

Each of us receives the gift of inventing one life – our own. It is entirely our choice how large or small we invent that life. In my coaching, I regularly see that parents want to ensure their children have happy and successful lives, so they take over and dictate life’s decisions. This generally creates the opposite response – instead of helping our kids feel successful and love their lives, they become unhappy and disappointed, feeling like they are living someone else’s life.

Our greatest role is to prepare our kids to take the baton and run their lives. We help them run successfully when we guide them to discover their unique greatness, understand their world, then find their best fit. There is a great place for each of us in life. Find that place and we love our lives. And loving life is what we want most for our kids.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, and greatness coach. He is the author of The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World, and Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition. His coaching and programs inspire executives, employees, parents and students to discover and play to their greatness, to live and work with passion, power and purpose. More information at and

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 November 24th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Teens, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 nov

The Greatest Holiday Gift

JayForteAh, the holiday season. And we are already bombarded with a Sunday paper that tips the scales with gift ads. TV and radio ads remind us of the best gifts to give, who not to forget and how to make the holidays special. Buy, buy, buy.

I don’t know about you but this can do a great job of interfering with the kind of holiday I want to have if I let it. I don’t want a holiday of stuff – I want a holiday of experiences and stories. I want a holiday of emotions and connection. I want the memories.

As kids, it wasn’t just the gifts that made us feel so terrific about the holidays, it was the memories of feeling important, cared for, loved and special. I remember very few of the gifts I received over so many past holidays. What I do remember instead is singing carols, having neighbors over, decorating the house and eating treats that only showed up at the holidays. When I think of these, I am immediately brought back to sitting by the Christmas tree. I can smell the evergreen. I can see the lights and tinsel. I can smell the cakes baking and can hear the laughing from the other rooms as neighbors come by. I am immediately transported to happy times. It was the event. It was the feeling. It wasn’t the stuff.

So here are some of my ideas of holiday gifts that move away from the stuff and go for the memories:

Hosting a party with friends where we celebrate our time together.

Having brunch with my kids where we can talk about life, their dreams of starting families and loving the moments we spend together.

Sending and receiving cards that say, though we haven’t spoken in a while, you are still in my thoughts.

Playing music that is festive and celebratory, inspiring a feeling of peace and calm.

Walking with friends, or as a family, through towns and streets decorated with things that are bright, happy and festive.

Telling stories around the table with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, about what life was like, how each celebrated the holidays, and what made life great.

Stopping for a hot chocolate on a cold night, because we haven’t done it in a while and nothing beats the smell of hot chocolate – with whipped cream or marshmallow.

Taking an extra day off from work to be at home (not out shopping) and playing games, working on family projects or inventing a new recipe together.

Making a video where each person in the family, or each friend, records a memory of the holidays, then shares the message with the rest of the world on YouTube.

Committing the time to learn how to discuss and communicate about the things that are important to each member of the family – to help them discover their talents, strengths and passions and build a life they love.

Buying recycling bins and having everyone in the household learn how to recycle everything that can be recycled – a gift to the planet.

Being invited to, and sharing in, another person’s holiday traditions with an open mind and an appreciation for its importance to that person.

Selecting something that the receiver adores, and the giver does not add to his debt.

Holidays are terrific. They make us stop the routine and come together to celebrate. And giving seems very much a part of the holiday. But we don’t have to give until we’re broke. We also know that things never truly bring happiness, memories do.

A good friend of mine has a small artificial Christmas tree that he leaves up and lit all year. Each month, he, his wife and his son, exchange small gifts. As he told me, it is not about the gifts. It is about a small Christmas tree that stays lit all year in their house to remind them that every day is to be celebrated. Brilliant.

So as the holiday approaches, may you find new ways to celebrate. May the gifts you give and receive be personal, focused on feelings and create memories. Wishing you amazing holidays that you fondly remember forever.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, life and workplace coach. He is the author of the books, The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World, and Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to help them live fired up! More information at and

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Posted by Jay Forte on November 14th, 2010 in Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Teens, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

28 oct

Get Ready to Pass the Baton

JayForteAs parents we all love to think our kids are great at everything. We love it when they walk early, talk early, excel in art class, earn good grades and are athletic. We brag, we boast – we feel so proud. It’s natural.

But nature, biology and even divine intervention seem to feel that we aren’t good at everything – that we should specialize. We are all different and must learn to understand ourselves to know our specific talents, strengths and passions – those attributes unique to each of us – so we can learn to find our best fit in today’s world. And when we find our place, we can create our best and most personalized lives – lives that are just right for us.

Inspired by our DNA are brain connections that are strong in some areas and weak in others. Early in our brain development, the brain allows the weaker connections to wither, allowing our strongest connections to lead. These connections create our personality, preferences, talents, strengths and passions. We are hardwired in very particular ways and our greatest performance (and happiness) happens when we understand this hardwiring and use it to make meaningful decisions about our work and life.

Science supports that we are good at some things and not others; we love some things and not others. Our greatest impact happens when we play to what we are intrinsically good at. We start to know this as we reach our later teenage years. Some realize it sooner, some later. But to realize what we are good at and are passionate about takes effort. It takes work. It takes work that each of us must do; we can’t do this work for our kids.

As parents, our role is to get them ready so we can pass them the baton of life – to be capable of taking it and running their life’s race. They choose where, how fast, with whom and how to run.

We are their coaches and trainers. We help them see their greatness – their talents, strengths and passions. We introduce them to the world so they can start to determine their best place – their best fit. We introduce them to the world so they realize they have choices – and the best choices will be those that allow them to play to what they are great at and passionate about. To be able to make these choices, they must know themselves and their world. And we bring all this together for them when they are young. We help them they discover the unique gifts they are born with and start to find their best place in the world that lets be who they were created to be.

When each of my three daughters graduated from high school, we hosted a “passing of the baton” ceremony. We explain that in the past 18 years, we have worked to help them discover who they are and have tried to show each of them how big the world is – to see all that is available. But when the baton is passed, they will own it all – their direction, success, happiness and choices. They will need to find their best fit – their place in their world – to be happy and thrilled by life each day. This is what is required to take the baton – to own your life.

We are still available for counsel and conversation but they must use all that they have seen to start to make wise personal choices – not to please us, be who we think they are supposed to be, or live as we feel they must – but, rather, to define happiness and success for themselves. We don’t tell them who to be. We remind them they must be the best at whatever they choose – and their best and happiest lives will be built around what they are good at and are passionate about doing.

Each of my three daughters has chosen wisely for herself; each took the baton and has owned her decisions, career and life. We may not always agree with the choices, but we realize they now own and invent their lives – as we did so many years ago. It is a wobbly process to start but with the right coaching, they learn very quickly to make good decisions.

Someone told me once that the worst thing a parent can hear their child say is “I have a miserable life.” We want our kids to be successful, but must also realize that success in our eyes may not be success in theirs. Maybe the better line is that we want our kids to love their lives and be thrilled by life each day.

So how can you coach your children well, to be ready to take the baton when it is passed to them:

1. Spend meaningful time with your kids and let them share what they think, feel and love. Listen generously.

2. Expose them to many things; many times our kids become things or do things because they didn’t know greater things were available. One of my favorite ways of showing kids the great choices in the workplace is to Google “job titles.” The sites show titles of jobs that many of us never knew we could be. It expands their options.

3. Watch the personal biases and judgments as kids start to connect to what matters most to them. An impartial approach allows kids to consider everything.

4. Careers and interests don’t always follow from parent to child. Allow children to search for those things that capture their interest, and always require them to see how what they are interested in fits in today’s world (they still have to make a living and move out of the house!).

Our kids are great – at some things. And effective coaches help their players (or kids) discover the things they are good at and then work hard to get better in those areas. This allows them to move from good to great. And to be successful in life, you must find your thing, then be great at it.

For me, the greatest success as a parent is a happy and passionate son or daughter – one who loves his/her life and does each day what he/she does best. That is success in my book. I don’t need or want my kids to be like me – unless that is what they want. Besides, the world needs us all to be different, to add the texture, color and richness of ideas and impact. We invent our world by those who live in it at this moment. To have the best world, we need everyone in their “greatness zone” – that place where they are connect to their best and share it with all of us. Help them get ready to take the baton and live their greatness.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, performance consultant and life coach. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and The Greatness Zone; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform Your World. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He coaches individuals how to reconnect to their talents and passions to achieve extraordinary personal and professional performance – to live their greatness. More information at and

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 October 28th, 2010 in Career, Family, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Teens | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

14 mar

Daylight Changing Time

JayForteOnce a year we move the clocks ahead. We lose an hour. A priceless hour. This time of year reminds me of how precious our time is.

I was up in New England visiting family this weekend. Sitting at the table we were reminiscing about so many years – jobs, dates, schools, awards, detention, cars; we talked for hours. We laughed about good choices and were embarrassed about bad choices. We remembered the times in our lives. We built these lives, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Time allowed it.

In the last several months, Facebook has reconnected me to many people in my past – people from my grammar school, high school and college. In conversations with my grammar schoolmates, we realized it had been 35 year since we had spoken. Time gone by. Priceless time. Time we don’t get back.

Time, both vague and empirical, defines our lives. It is a unit of measure that guides us through our days and our lives. And we know from the outset, time for each of us will be limited. As Neil Armstrong says, “I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”

It is therefore up to each of us to see the value in our time – not to waste it – but rather to treasure it, celebrate it and use it to help us develop the best life possible.

Time is a critical component of the formula for a successful life:

  • We must know ourselves – our talents, passions and interests (our true selves) – to know what makes us happy and what we are good at.
  • We must know our world, to know the canvas we have available to create our lives.
  • We use time to blend the two – our true selves and our world – to determine our unique fit – to create the best life possible.

Time allows this great life to unfold. Time is the enabler. But time is limited.

Consider the following ways to better use and treasure your time:

  1. Plan your day; this will help you prioritize your life events and get to the things that are important.
  2. Know yourself and know your world. Be constantly aware of what make you feel successful and happy. Build more of these into your day.
  3. Pay attention to your health; eat wisely and exercise to feel well each day.
  4. Build strong relationships; have loving and caring people in your life to share your time with.
  5. Create a list of the things you want to do in life – a wish list. Do as many as you can. It adds excitement, anticipation and energy to your time.

Daylight changing time is a reminder that life is not a dress rehearsal; this is all the time we have. And we should respect, care for and treasure our time. Many may complain about losing an hour of sleep, but really there are so many other things lost in this movement to daylight savings time; an hour of visiting a loved one, an hour of fitness, an hour reading and learning, an hour of travel, an hour of meditation, an hour of walking on the beach, an hour of family time, an hour of thinking time – another hour of progress in building an exceptional life.

Time doesn’t return. When used it is gone. Daylight changing time is a wakeup call. Commit to valuing time, and using it to develop your best life.

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 works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on March 14th, 2010 in Diet and Fitness, Family, General, Health, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , ,

22 dec

Holiday Traditions: Family, Feelings and Festivities

JayForteTraditions are the passing on of customs and beliefs from one generation to another. At this time of year, there are many traditions that focus on celebration, fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza. It may be December 25th, January 6 or any days before or after. It may be with candles, lights, gifts or song. It may be with pageants, rituals, food or religious ceremonies. Regardless of the manifestation, the essence is the same – family, feelings and festivities.

Different, but the same

Many people are upset lately by the use of the phrase Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Actually, Happy Holidays shows the awareness of and respect for the variety of holiday traditions that are celebrated this time of year – each meaningful, valid and right for those who celebrate them.

What makes our society so successful is its diversity. We are no longer a melting pot – where we have all blended to be like each other. Instead, we are now a tossed salad – together, but we maintain our identity and uniqueness. Our traditions are part of our uniqueness – they reflect our backgrounds, histories and perspectives. Our traditions help to keep us grounded, connected and happy. And whether we celebrate Dec 25, the week before or the week after, we celebrate with family and friends; we celebrate our feelings for each other – and we commit to the process of celebration.

When we accommodate and respect what and the way others celebrate, we actually learn more about each other; we better understand others and get closer to our own traditions. We are more connected as people.

The need to accommodate change

The second great thing about traditions is they evolve. Because people are influenced by life and today’s world, we constantly update our holiday traditions; we focus on their core meaning but change the way we celebrate them.

I remember the first Christmas after my parents divorced. The center of a close Italian family and its years of holiday traditions changed almost overnight. My brothers, sisters and I were determined to reinvent our celebration of family, feelings (because we’re Italian I’ll add “food”) and festivities and created a new manifestation of our Christmas Eve traditions; we created our “sibling party.” Though my five siblings and I are close, we committed that for at least for one night in the year, all six of us and our partners/spouses and families, would get together and celebrate the family, food, feelings and festivities that had always been so important to us. We maintained some of our prior holiday traditions and added some new ones. We stayed focused on the reason for getting together and rebuilt our (new) holiday traditions around it.

And as our kids start to meet their significant others and become part of another family as well, we will modify our traditions again. But the essence of our traditions is family, feelings, food and festivity. And if we need to create it in June instead of December, then June is just fine. If we need to host it on New Year’s Day instead of Christmas Eve – then we do. No complaints. No lamenting. No whining. We keep the spirit of our traditions intact – the date, time and place will move as life moves.

So, what is the real reason behind your traditions?

How do you keep the meaning of your traditions alive, as your family changes, grows up, moves out and moves on, and not allow these changes to undo what is important?

How do you work with life’s changes to keep adding more value to your traditions, share their meaning with the next generation and love the event, whenever and wherever it is?

What will you do to keep its essence clear and alive in a world that constantly changes?

“Christmas (Holiday) gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” 
~ Oren Arnold

Wishing you “Happy Holidays” – a time for the celebration of your traditions of family, feelings, food and festivity. May they be extraordinary.

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 resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 22nd, 2009 in Family, New Directions, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

02 dec

Stop Rushing Through Life

You would think with the amazing timesaving devices such as computers, on-line shopping, auto deli ordering in the supermarket, pick up areas for take out orders – that we would have all this time on our hands. But as one minute frees up, we stuff two more minutes of activities in it.

I often think as I get into the car, “I hope I don’t get a flat because my day is planned so tightly that I wouldn’t have time to get it fixed.” Now that is a problem.

For many, we are in a perpetual feeling of rushing through life – as if every event were just something we had to check off on our life ‘to do’ list. We didn’t remember it; we didn’t love it; but we checked it off and got it done. What a crazy way to go through life.

With the holidays around the corner, consider the following to slow things down, be more present and get more out of the time you have:

  1. Commit to doing a family activity (dinner and a show, short trip, etc.) instead of spending time rushing through malls buying gifts. Memories are better than gifts that end up in landfills.
  2. As a family, select one or two events to attend this holiday season (office party, friends and neighbors) and go have an amazing time – knowing you have the time to be there.
  3. Scale back on the food at the holiday dinner; we all need to eat a little less and we’ll have more time to spend with the people we care about – or (my favorite) get the family in the kitchen to help. It is a great way to start a new tradition. Why rush through the process of getting it ready when you can make the preparation as much of the celebration as the dinner.
  4. Work together to identify a charity or cause that the family feels strongly about. Commit the time to buy gifts, cook, paint, or help out in a way that the charity needs. Teach your family that it is important to make time to care about and take care of others who need the help.
  5. Identify five people you have lost touch with and send a holiday season greeting card. Include a picture (of you, your family, pet, etc.), your phone number and something you remember about the person. Invite a call. Reconnect.
  6. Commit to reading one short story or poem before bed. Set your rest period up to be truly restful by allowing yourself to slow down gently before you sleep. Or, allow yourself 10 minutes of meditation, yoga, a leisurely walk or decaffeinated tea – something to bring the pace down and allow yourself to truly wind down.
  7. Shut the computer off at dinner. No more e-mails; no more Facebook after dinner. Take out a game of Yahtzee, Monopoly or take out old pictures of when the family was young. Reminisce and share some of the forgotten stories.

Commit to ending the rush to get through life. Stop and sit a spell. Notice things around you. Talk to people. Get reconnected. Do fewer things, but do each a little better. Catch your breath.

Life is not a race or an event to check off on your ‘to do’ list. Life is to be lived and you can’t do that running at breakneck speed. Make this holiday the start of a moderated approach to life. As author Sherwin Nuland says in his book The Art of Aging (one of my favorite books), “ We use our 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to learn how to live successfully and well in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.” So, manage life now to not only have healthier years in the future, but to also be truly present today. Because once this day is gone, we don’t get it back.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 2nd, 2009 in Family, Health, New Directions, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,