Posts tagged with ‘gratitude’

02 may

Let Go of Blame

MikeRobbinsNewMichelle and I were having dinner with some friends a few months ago and our friend Joel said, “I’m practicing giving up blame completely.”  As he said this, I found myself simultaneously inspired and confronted. As I’ve explored the idea of letting go of blame in recent months, I’ve been quite humbled and surprised to realize how pervasive blame is in our culture, my community, and in my own life.

How often do you find yourself blaming other people or circumstances for your stress, frustration, or for things “not being the way they ’should’ be?”

For me, blame shows up in various places and ways in my life.  Some of the most common focuses of my blame are my past, my family, the economy, people I don’t agree with, my body, my clients, my schedule, my responsibilities, and more. And, the harshest blame is usually reserved for me – blaming myself for making mistakes, not doing things “right,” and simply not being good enough.  Maybe you can relate to some of this?

While blaming other people, challenging circumstances, and even ourselves is common, understandable, and reinforced in our culture, it never leaves us with any real power or with the ability to make positive, healthy, and lasting change in our lives. Blame is about avoiding responsibility and not dealing with the real issues at hand.

One of the best analogies for this is that of an orange. If I have an orange in my hand and I squeeze it, what will come out of it?  Juice.  If you squeeze it, what will come out of it? Juice.  If we give it to a friend of ours and they squeeze it, what will come out of it?  Juice.  Why?  Because, that’s what’s inside the orange.  It doesn’t matter who squeezes it or even how it is squeezed, juice will always come out of the orange (because that’s what’s inside).

You and I are like oranges and our “juice” is emotion.  We have every possible emotion within us – joy, guilt, love, shame, gratitude, anger, peacefulness, fear, happiness, rage, excitement, sadness, and more.  As we walk through life, other people, certain situations, and specific personal thoughts and reactions “squeeze” out some of our own “juice” in the form of these emotions. However, instead of taking responsibility for our emotions, we blame the people around us, the situations that arise, and even ourselves for “causing” these feelings within us.

What if we stopped doing this and let go of blame?  This doesn’t mean we live in some unrealistic, Pollyanna world where nothing bothers us.  It also doesn’t mean that the things that have happened in our past, the relationships we currently have, and the important situations in our lives right now (and the ones that show up in our future), don’t impact us.  What it does mean, however, is that we take full responsibility for our lives, our reactions, and, more important, our emotions.

Here are a few things you can do or think about as you practice letting go of blame in your own life:

1)  Take inventory of who and what you blame. Start to notice, with empathy and compassion (i.e. without judging yourself), who and what you blame the most in your life.  Maybe it’s your work, your spouse, your past, your co-workers or clients, the state of the world, or other things or people.  The more specific and honest you can be about the focus of your blame, the more ability you’ll have to let go.  Remember, some of this blame may be overt (direct, and easy to notice) and, some of it may be more covert (hidden, subtle, and “justified” in such a way that it seems “true.”)

2)  Inquire into what it would be like to let go of blame. Start to ask yourself, especially with the specific people or situations where blame comes up a lot, what it would be like, look like, and feel like to let go of blame in your life.  Allow yourself to imagine this, think about it, talk about it, and ponder it.  Regardless of how easy or difficult you think it would be, just allow yourself to imagine your life without blame. Inquiry is a powerful tool when we use it consciously like this.

3)  Take responsibility for your reactions and emotions. In just about every instance, the person (including us) or situation that we blame brings about a specific emotion or reaction (or set of emotions and reactions) that we don’t like. Instead of blaming, what if we took responsibility for our reactions and emotions, and allowed ourselves to vulnerably acknowledge and express ourselves fully.  As Eleanor Roosevelt so brilliantly said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Letting go of blame allows us to be free, to take back our power, and to avoid the trap of thinking that someone or something else has the ability to dictate our experience of life.  Whether our life is “wonderful” or “difficult” is always up to us.

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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 Mike Robbins on May 2nd, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

20 apr

You Have More Than This Requires

MikeRobbins96I had a powerful conversation recently with my good friend Theo. I was telling him about some of the intense challenges I’ve been facing and my underlying fear that I simply can’t handle all that is going on (and what I fear may unfold in the coming days, weeks, and months). Theo listened to me with empathy and compassion, and then said something simple, but profound. He said, “Mike, it’s important to remember that you have more than all of this requires.”

As I took a step back and allowed what he said to resonate with me, I was touched by a few specific things. First of all, I appreciated his acknowledgment and reminder. Second of all, it allowed me to take inventory of some of the adversity I’ve overcome in my life, and, in doing so, it reminded me that I am quite resilient. And, finally, over the next few hours and days after Theo and I had this conversation, I got to thinking more and more about the power of the human spirit.

In just about every situation and circumstance in life, we really do have more than is required to not only “deal” with what’s happening, but to thrive in the face of it. As the saying goes, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” And while I don’t believe that we have to necessarily suffer and struggle in order to grow and evolve in life, one of the best things we can do when dealing with adversity or challenge is to look for the gifts and find the gold in the situation as much as possible.

Think about how this plays out in your own life and how it has played out in your past. Often we have things happen that initially we don’t think we can handle – sometimes these are things we consider “bad” and sometimes they’re things we consider to be “good.” Feeling overwhelmed is feeling overwhelmed, regardless of what it is we’re feeling overwhelmed about.

However, as we look back over the course of our lives, we can probably find many, many examples of times we were able to overcome challenges, deal with fear, rise above limiting beliefs, and deal with things we didn’t initially think we were capable of. Another great saying that I love is, “circumstances don’t define you, they reveal you.” Ain’t that the truth?

Here are a few things to think about and do so that you can remind yourself, especially when things get particularly difficult or scary in your life, that you do, in fact, have more than the circumstances or situations of your life require.

1) Remind yourself of all you’ve done, experienced, and overcome. Take some inventory of your life from the perspective of resilience. Think about all the times you’ve dealt with change, loss, newness, fear, pain, disappointment, failure, etc. – and been able to work through it. You’ve also probably had many experiences in life where wonderful things and exciting opportunities showed up for you and you were able to step up and take your experience of life to a whole new level. Even though we’re all unique, our stories are different, and we have varying personalities and life experiences, most of us have done, experienced, and overcome a lot in our lives up to this point, and by remembering this and acknowledging ourselves for it, we can create an even deeper and more authentic sense of self confidence.

2) Remember that you have a great deal of support and you can reach out for it. One of the things that can get in our way when life gets intense, is that we sometimes think we’re all alone. No one understands me. No one really cares about me. No one has time to support me. Regardless of our circumstances, relationship status, or family situation, just about everyone of us has some important and powerful people around us who we can lean on and who would be happy to help us – if we’re willing to ask for and, more importantly, receive their help. This one can be tricky for many of us, myself included, but when we remember that other people love being of service and our request for help is not a sign of weakness, but a clear indication of self care as well as a beautiful opportunity for people to serve, it can empower us to reach out and tap into the incredible amount of resource we have around us.

3) Focus on what you appreciate about yourself and your authentic power. Self appreciation and self love, as I write and speak about often, are the cornerstones of self confidence and authentic power. Having a fundamental belief in our own goodness, power, and beauty are essential to us living an empowered and inspired life. While it’s not always easy to do and can sometimes seem downright counter-intuitive, selfish, and arrogant, self appreciation is truly the “key to the kingdom” when it comes to personal empowerment and resiliency. Remembering that we are good enough just as we are and have all that we need within us and around us to deal with the stress, challenge, and uncertainty that is somewhat inherent to being human in today’s world, is essential to our well-being and overall fulfillment in life.

Regardless of what you’re dealing with in your life right now – however hard, easy, challenging, or wonderful things are – you truly have more than is required by any of the circumstances and situations of your life. And, the more we remember this and live from this perspective, the more freedom, power, and peace of mind we’ll experience.

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 Mike Robbins on April 20th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

18 mar

Live Like You’re Going to Die (Because You Are)

MikeRobbinsNewYou’re going to die. I’m going to die. Everyone around us is going to die.

The reality of death is, of course, both obvious and daunting for most of us. With the recent tragic events in Japan and some very serious health news I received from someone close to me, I’ve been thinking about life and death a lot this past week. I was on a run a few days ago and thought to myself, “I wonder what it’s like to know you’re going to die?” Then I thought, “Wait a minute, we’re all going to die – we just don’t act like it.”

As simple as this thought was, it was profound for me. I don’t live my life all that consciously aware of my own death. My own fears about death (mine and others) often force me to avoid thinking about it all together. I do catch myself worrying about dying; sometimes more often than I’d like to admit, especially with our girls being as young as they are – Samantha’s five and Rosie’s two and a half.

I also don’t talk about death that much because it seems like such a morbid topic, a real “downer.” I worry that it’s too intense to address or that if I focus on death I will somehow attract it to me or those around me superstitiously.

And, as a culture we don’t really like to talk about death or deal with it in a meaningful way since it can be quite scary and is the exact opposite of so much of what we obsess about (youth, productivity, vitality, results, beauty, improvement, the future, etc.).

But what if we embraced death, talked about it more, and shared our own vulnerable thoughts, feelings, and questions about it? While for some of us this may seem uncomfortable, undesirable, or even a little weird – think how liberating it would be and is when we’re willing to face the reality of death directly.

Steve Jobs gave a powerful commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 entitled “How to live before you die.” In that speech, he said, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Contemplating death in a conscious way doesn’t have to freak us out. Knowing that our human experience is limited and that at some mysterious point in the future our physical body will die, is both sobering and liberating.

The reason I’ve always appreciated memorials services (even when I’ve been in deep pain and grief over the death of someone close to me) is because there is a powerful consciousness which often surrounds death. When someone passes away we often feel a certain amount of permission to get real in a vulnerable way and to focus on what’s most important (not the ego-based fear, comparison, and self criticism that often runs our life).

What if we tapped into this empowering awareness all the time – not just because someone close to dies or because we have our own near-death experience, but because we choose to affirm life and appreciate the blessing, gift, and opportunity that it is.

Here are some things we can think about, focus on, and do on a regular basis that will allow us to live like we’re going to die, in a positive way:

1) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – As my dear friend and mentor Richard Carlson reminded millions of us through his bestselling series of books with this great title, life is not an emergency and most of the stuff we worry about, get upset about, and obsess about is not that big of a deal. If we lived as if we were dying, we probably wouldn’t let so many small things bother us.

2) Let Go of Grudges - One of my favorite sayings is, “holding a grudge is like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die.” Everyone loses when we hold a grudge, especially us. If you knew you were going to die soon, would you really want to spend your precious time and energy holding onto anger and resentment towards those around youor people from your past (regardless of what they may have done)? Forgiveness is powerful – it’s not about condoning anything, it’s about liberation and freedom for us.

3) Focus on What Truly Matters – What truly matters to you? Love? Family? Relationships? Service? Creativity? Spirituality? Our authentic contemplation of death can help us answer this important question in a poignant way. If you found out you only had a limited time left to live, what would you stop doing right now? What would you want to focus on instead? And while we all have certain responsibilities in life, asking ourselves what truly matters to us and challenging ourselves to focus on that, right now, is one of the most important things we can do.

4) Go For It – Fear of failure often stops us from going for what we truly want in life. From a certain perspective (the ego-based, physical, material world) death can be seen as the ultimate “failure” and is often related to that way in our culture, even though people don’t usually talk about it in these blunt terms. However, this perspective can actually liberate us. If we know we’re ultimately going to “fail” in life (in terms of living forever), what have we really got to lose by taking big risks? We all know how things are going to turn out in the end. As I heard in a workshop years ago, “Most of us are trying to survive life; we have to remember that no one ever has.”

5) Seize the Day – Carpe diem, the Latin phrase for “seize the day,” is all about being right here, right now. The more willing we are to surrender to the present moment, embrace it, and fully experience it – the more we can appreciate and enjoy life. As John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Living like we’re going to die is about remembering to fully engage in the present moment, being grateful for the gift that it is, and doing our best not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. If today were your last day, how would you want to live?

Death can be difficult and scary scary for many of us to confront. There is a lot of fear, resistance, and “taboo” surrounding it in our culture and for us personally. However, when we remember that death is both natural and inevitable, we’re reminded that everyone’s life (whether it lasts for a few days or a hundred years) is short, precious, and miraculous. This awareness can fundamentally and positively alter the way we think, feel, and relate to ourselves, others, and life itself. Living as if we’re going to die (and remembering that it’s guaranteed) is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and those around us.

How can you start living your life for more conscious of your own death, in a positive and empowering way? What can you do right now to let go of what’s not important, focus on what truly matters, and seize the day? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog below.

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 Mike Robbins on March 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

04 mar

A Bad Day for Ego is a Good Day for Soul

MikeRobbinsNewA few weeks ago I listened to a radio interview with Michael Beckwith, author of Spiritual Liberation, and he said, “A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul.” When I heard this I laughed out loud. The wisdom of his statement resonated with me deeply. I thought about a number of experiences in my life which have been quite “bad” for my ego (i.e. embarrassing, disappointing, and even painful), but in hindsight have been great for my own growth and development.

Over this past week, I’ve had two specific situations, one in the middle of a seminar with one of my clients and another in a personal conversation, where I felt embarrassed – things didn’t turn out at all how I wanted them to and it seemed like I messed up. As I experienced these situations and have been reflecting on them, although I didn’t like how they unfolded, I recognize that the discomfort involved in both instances was about me protecting my ego (in other words – wanting to look good or at least not to look bad).

In retrospect, I’m grateful that both of these things happened exactly as they did. They were and continue to be good opportunities for me to learn, grow, and evolve – both in my work and my life.

Too often our desire to protect our ego – to avoid failure and embarrassment – causes us to sell out on ourselves, not go for what we truly want, or hold back in a variety of detrimental ways. When we remember that even if things don’t turn out the way we think we want them to, not only will we survive, we can grow in the process. As the saying goes, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”

This is not to say that the only way to grow, evolve, and transform in life is through suffering, disappointment, or pain. However, when we do experience difficulties, failures, and challenges – all of which are normal and natural aspects of life and growth – we have the capacity to turn these “bad” things into incredible opportunities for healing and transformation. While it may not seem that way to us (or our ego) initially, the deeper part of who we are (our soul) knows that everything happens for a reason and there are always important lessons for us to learn in each situation and experience in life.

Think of some of the things that have happened in your life that seemed “awful” to you at the time, but in hindsight are things you’re incredibly grateful for now.

The most elegant, pleasurable, and self-loving way for us to grow and evolve is through joy, success, and gratitude. However, due to the fact that difficulties do occur in life and that we often give away our power to the “bad” stuff (through resistance, judgment, or worry), learning to relate to our challenges in a more positive and conscious way is a crucial part of our growth journey.

Remembering that what’s usually at risk in life when we get scared is just our ego, can remind us, with compassion, that we don’t have nearly as much to lose as we think we do. Embodying this insight (that a bad day for our ego is a good day for our soul) with empathy and perspective, allows us to live our lives with a deeper sense of forgiveness, faith, and authenticity.

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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 Mike Robbins on March 4th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

27 feb

The Power of Acceptance

MikeRobbinsNewFor much of my life I’ve struggled to accept certain things about myself, others, and life that I don’t like. Being someone who is committed to change and transformation, the idea of “acceptance” has often seemed weak, wimpy, or like an admission of failure or powerlessness to me – although I have pretended to understand, believe in, and even teach the power of acceptance for a long time.

The truth is, I’ve been scared to fully embrace acceptance – worrying that if I truly accept certain aspects of myself that I don’t like, things about others that bother me, or circumstances in my life or in the world that aren’t okay with me, then somehow I wouldn’t be motivated to change them in a positive way or, even worse, I would get resigned about them and they would always stay the way they are – which, of course, to me would be “bad” or “wrong.”

The famous quote by Carl Jung, which I have quoted in both of my books and find myself saying all the time comes to mind here, “What you resist, persists.” It seems that I (and so many people I know, work with, and talk to) am constantly “resisting” (more like fighting against) the way things are. Whether it’s with our body, our work, our spouse, our family members, our friends, our co-workers, our finances, the state of the world and economy (especially these days), or many other things – we’re often arguing with reality instead of accepting it the way that it is.

Even though it can be scary and counter intuitive at times, acceptance is the first step in transformation. It’s very difficult and quite stressful (as I know from experience) to try to change things from a place of non-acceptance.

Acceptance is not resignation, failure, or agreement; it’s simply telling the truth and allowing things to be as they are. When we accept ourselves, others, and life – we can create a real sense of peace and let go of much of our suffering. And, from this place of peace and truth, we’re more able to not only appreciate life, but also to manifest the kind of circumstances, relationships, and outcomes we truly want.

Action: What You Can Do

Make a list (in your mind, in your journal, or on a piece of paper) of some of the things in your life right now that are causing you the most stress, pain, or anxiety. These things may have to do with work, money, relationships, health, things happening in the world, your body, or anything else.

As you think about or write these things down, ask yourself if you’re willing to “accept” them as they are right now. You don’t have to like, agree with, or want them to be this way…but, if you can start to accept these things, people, and situations in a genuine way – your ability to be at peace with them (and your life) and to ultimately change them in a positive way will be enhanced significantly.

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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 Mike Robbins on February 27th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

25 feb

Go for It – The Power of Boldness

MikeRobbinsNewDo you consider yourself bold or someone who goes for it with passion in life? Some of us do, but most people I know and work with, myself included, admit that they don’t often think of themselves as a bold person. Or, if we’ve done or said bold things in our lives, they seem to be few and far between…and they also seem to scare us half to death. Hence, we often don’t find ourselves going for it in our work and our life – or not nearly as much as we’d like (especially these past few years).

Being bold, while scary and challenging for many of us, is essential if we’re going to live an authentic, successful, and fulfilling life. Boldness is about stepping up and stepping out onto our “edge” in life – pushing the limits of what we think is possible or appropriate. It’s about living, speaking, and acting in ways that are both courageous and true to who we really are.

Because we’re all unique, our individual versions of boldness will look quite different. Something that might be “bold” for me, may not be so for you – or vice versa. Going for it has to do with us getting in touch with our deepest truths, passions, and desires in life and then having the courage to live and act “out loud” in a way that is congruent with this.

Here are five key reminders of what it takes to be bold and go for it in life:

1) Be True to Yourself – Tell and live your truth with courage, vulnerability, and commitment. We must also remain in a constant inquiry with ourselves about who we are and what’s important to us. It’s okay and necessary in this process to admit when we’ve made a mistake, gone off course, or done something that’s out of integrity for with ourselves, as well as if we feel totally lost (which we will at times). Being true to who we are is about being ruthlessly honest and forgiving with ourselves (and with others) in a way that is both fierce and compassionate.

2) Live with Passion – Passion comes from within us, not from the external circumstances, events, activities, or people in our lives. Being bold is about going for it, not holding back, and giving ourselves fully to our work, our relationships, and our lives. To do this we must generate authentic passion, which is both a powerful emotion as well as a state of being as well.

3) Step Out – Challenge yourself to say and do things that are outside of your comfort zone and that scare you. This will force you to “step out” in your life and step in to who you really are. We often don’t think we’re “ready,” we sometimes don’t know exactly what we’re supposed to do, and we almost never have a guarantee that things will work out. So what! As Ray Bradbury famously said, “Jump, and build your wings on the way down.”

4) Lean on Others – Support, inspiration, and accountability from other people are essential along our journey of boldness and authenticity. We can’t do it all by ourselves and it’s imperative that we reach out to others who believe in us, will tell us the truth, and can help us when we get stuck. Create a “dream team” of powerful and supportive people around you with whom you can share your hopes, dreams, and ideas. And, be willing to ask for and receive their support, contribution, and generosity.

5) When You Fall Down, Get Back Up – It’s important to make peace with the fact that you will fall down, probably a lot, if you’re really going for it and playing big in life. How we respond to falling down is what truly makes the difference in our lives. When we make a commitment to ourselves to get back up, dust ourselves off, be real about how we feel and what happened, and not let it stop us from being who we are and going for what we want – we tap into what true power, boldness, and authenticity are all about!

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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 Mike Robbins on February 25th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

14 feb

How to Appreciate Your Challenges

MikeRobbinsNewAre you facing challenges in your life or your business right now? These days, there are some real challenges facing many of us – at work, at home, in relationships, with money, with family, with housing situations, and much more.

The challenges themselves, even the most difficult ones, aren’t usually the real issue; it’s our relationship to them that causes us the most difficulty and suffering. Think of what your life, your relationships, and your career would be like if you didn’t complain about or resist challenges when they showed up? For most of us, myself included, this would make things very different and much more enjoyable.

Resisting, complaining about, or even feeling sorry for ourselves about the “bad” things that are happening is totally normal and what we’re often encouraged to do by people around us and our culture in general – whether we do it out loud with others or just in our own heads. However, these things, while understandable, don’t address the real issues, the genuine emotions we’re experiencing, or make things better for us.

I’m not advocating that we pretend everything is “fine” when it isn’t in some phony, Pollyanna way – that’s denial, which won’t help us either. However, the question in life isn’t whether or not we’ll face challenges, the question is what will we do and how will we respond in the face of the challenges that arise? Do we avoid really dealing with difficult things and learning from them by playing the role of the victim and not acknowledging our true feelings about them or do we face them directly, acknowledge our emotions, and choose to grow from the experience? It’s always up to us.

On our path of life, growth, and success, we all encounter difficulties. Many of the most successful and fulfilled people who’ve ever walked the planet have faced incredible obstcles. What if we actually appreciated these challenges? Remember, appreciating something doesn’t necessarily mean we like or enjoy it. Appreciation means that we recognize the value of it.

Here’s a list of some things we can appreciate when things get tough:

- Challenges often give us important feedback about where and who we are
- Challenges give us contrast and can help us appreciate things when they get easier
- Challenges can allow us to wake up and notice all the good things that are happening that we weren’t paying attention to
- Challenges are almost always a great opportunity for learning, growth, and improvement
- Challenges give us an opportunity to get in touch with, take responsibility for, and express our real emotions

By learning to appreciate our challenges and see the opportunities in them, we take our power back from the situations and circumstances of our lives. Our ability to appreciate difficulties, learn from them, and use them to our advantage, gives us an important insight into who we really are and how to create success and fulfillment in a conscious and deliberate way.

Action: What You Can Do

Make a list of some of the biggest challenges in your life right now. What can you appreciate about each of these difficulties? What are you learning from them? What are you able to appreciate in yourself and your life because of these things?

If you look for it, you’ll be able to find many things to appreciate about every one of them. Appreciating our challenges can allow us to accept them, learn from them, and ultimately take back our power from them. Doing this reminds us that we’re the authors of our lives – not the circumstances we’re facing.

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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 Mike Robbins on February 14th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

02 feb

Let Go of Worry

MikeRobbinsNewHow often do you catch yourself worrying?

When I was a kid my mom used to say to me, “95% of what you worry about never happens.” I think she recognized that I was the “worrying type” and was trying to help ease my mind. Although this rarely worked, I appreciated her sentiment and know now that she was right.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been prone to worrying. I continue to work on this, let it go, forgive myself for it, and choose different ways of being in the face of my fear. And, I still catch myself worrying more than I’d like – about the future, about my body, about how things will turn out, about what people think about me, about money, about the well-being of my loved ones, about the state of the world, and much more.

However, no matter how much we worry, it never really helps. And, as we look deeper at what worrying actually is – a set-up for failure, a negative attractor, and a denial or avoidance of feeling our true feelings – we see that it can have a damaging impact on our lives, our work, and our relationships. When we worry, we’re simply preparing to be upset or angry – assuming something won’t work out in the future.

Worry not only creates stress, it has an impact (usually negative) on what we create and manifest, and on our experience of life in general. Worry is a superficial emotion. It’s clearly something that many of us are all familiar with, can share with others in a way that will garner sympathy, empathy, or even pity, and is easy for us to go through daily life experiencing. However, underneath our worry are usually deeper emotions like shame, fear, guilt, hurt, or anger; many of which are more difficult for us to feel and express.

If we’re able to tell the truth and face our deeper feelings, we won’t have to waste our time and energy worrying. We can then deal with the root of the issue, not the superficial impact of it (which is what worry usually is).

There’s nothing wrong with feeling scared, angry, hurt, and even “worried,” in and of itself. These emotions, like love, gratitude, excitement, joy, and others are very important to our human experience. Emotions that are felt deeply and expressed appropriately give us power (regardless of what they are). Emotions that are not felt deeply, that are denied or avoided, and are not effectively expressed, can be damaging to us and those around us.

Worry is always a sign that there are some deeper feelings or issues for us to address. It’s often a good reminder for us to get more real, take better care of ourselves, and pay attention.

Below is a list of some things you can do when you get worried. These simple ideas can help you move through your worry in a positive way:

1. When you notice yourself worrying; stop, check in with yourself, and take a few slow deep breaths (all the way down to your belly)

2. Ask yourself, what’s underneath my worry? (i.e. why am I really worried and what am I really feeling?)

3. Face, feel, and express these underlying emotions – get support from others in this process if you need it.

4. Once you have felt and expressed these emotions, choose how you want to feel and what you want to create, instead of playing the role of the victim.

5. Appreciate yourself for the courage it takes to be honest and to deal with the challenging situations or emotions you’re experiencing.

6. Focus on the good stuff in your life (i.e. be grateful for what you have, who you are, and what you’re going through)

7. Be of service to others – generously put your attention on those around you who can benefit from your help. It will be a great gift to them and to you. Service can allow you to shift your attention from your worry to what you have to give, which is a true win-win for everyone involved.

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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Posted by Mike Robbins on February 2nd, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , ,

01 feb

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

MikeRobbinsNewHow do you feel about asking other people for help?

I’ve noticed that many of us, myself included, get a little funny about requesting support. While we’re all different and we each have our own unique perspective, reaction, and process as it relates to reaching out to others, it seems that this can be quite a tricky exercise for most of the people I know and work with.

I have somewhat of a bi-polar relationship to asking for help myself. I can definitely be a “lone ranger” at times and often, especially when I feel stressed or pressured, try to do everything myself – either because I feel insecure about asking for support or because I self righteously think that I’m the only one who can do it the “right” way. On the other hand, I can sometimes be quite pushy, forceful, and presumptuous with my requests (aka demands) of support (or so I’ve been told). Ah, to be human!

However, as I’ve also experienced personally and seen in others many times throughout my life and in my work, there is a beautiful place of balance between going it all alone and demanding help from others in an obnoxious way. This all stems from our ability to genuinely ask for and graciously receive the support of other people. The irony of this whole phenomenon is that most of us love to help others, while many of us have a hard time asking others for help ourselves.

Requesting support can often make us feel vulnerable. We usually think (somewhat erroneously) that we should be able to do everything ourselves or that by admitting we need help, we are somehow being weak. In addition, many of us are sensitive about being told “no” and by asking others to help us we put ourselves out there and risk being rejected.

What if we had more freedom to ask for what we wanted and for specific support from other people? What if we could make requests in a confident, humble, and empowering way? What if we remembered that we are worthy of other people’s help and that our ability to both ask for and receive it not only supports us, but also gives them an opportunity to contribute (which most people really want to do).

It still might be a little scary, we may get our feelings hurt from time to time, and on occasion people may have some opinions or reactions to what we ask for or how we do so. But, when we give ourselves permission and remind ourselves that it’s not only okay, but essential for us to ask for help – we can create a true sense of support and empowerment in our lives and in our relationships!

Here are a few things we can do to have more freedom and confidence when asking for help.

1) Make Genuine Requests, without Attachment. A “genuine” request can be accepted or declined, without any consequence. In other words, if we get really upset when someone says “no” to us, not only were we attached to the outcome, it probably wasn’t a real request to begin with (it was a demand). When we ask for what we want, without being attached to the response, we have more freedom to ask and ultimately our chances of getting what we want are greatly increased.

2) Be Easy To Support. There are some specific things we can do to make it easier to support us. Such as:

- Be open to the coaching and feedback of others
- Thank people for their support
- Let people do things to support us in their own unique way instead of micro-managing them (this one is often tough for me)
- Allow people’s support when it is offered

3) Give Your Support to Others Generously. When we put our attention on supporting other people, the universe has a way of returning the favor. It may or may not always come back to us from the people we help specifically, and that’s okay. We want to do our best not to “keep score,” as many of us often do, but instead to look for opportunities to genuinely help those around us. When we do this, we remind ourselves of the power of support and we experience it as the true “win-win” it is.

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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Posted by Mike Robbins on February 1st, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

25 jan

The Importance of Flexibility

MikeRobbinsNewHow flexible are you? For me, it depends – on my mood, how much fear or resistance I have about something, how attached I am to a particular outcome, and various other factors.

However, as I look throughout my life (now and in the past), I realize that the situations, relationships, and experiences that cause me the greatest stress and frustration, are almost always the ones where I’m not being flexible. And, on the flip side, the more flexible I am – the more peace, ease, and fulfillment become available.

Today, more than ever, we are challenged to be flexible – in our work, our relationships, and in every other important aspect of our lives. However, due to our own fear, arrogance, resistance, stress, and obsession with being right, we often end up being inflexible to our own detriment and to the frustration of those around us (or so I’ve been told).

Being flexible is not about being weak or passive. Flexibility is a conscious choice, a powerful skill, and a valuable approach to the ever-changing, always-evolving world we live in. We can be firm in our convictions, passionate about our beliefs, and clear about our intentions, and at the same time be flexible enough to make significant changes and be open to new ideas along the way.

Here are some key elements to expanding your own capacity for flexibility in your life -which will lead you to greater peace, joy, and fulfillment:

1) Let Go of Your Attachment – Whenever we get attached to something – a specific outcome, a particular way of doing things, a rigid opinion, etc. – we are, by definition, inflexible. Letting go of our attachment to something doesn’t mean we negate our desire or intention, it simply means we let go of controlling every aspect of it, forcing the action, and our fixation on it being exactly the way we think it should be. This is a process of conscious “non-attachment” (letting go), as opposed to detachment (not caring).

2) Be Willing to Be Wrong – Most of us love to be right and will do and say just about anything to avoid being wrong. Our obsession with “rightness” and fear of “wrongness” often gets in the way of going for what we want, saying what’s on our mind, and letting go of our fixed ideas about how things are supposed to be. When we’re willing to be wrong (not necessarily interested in or intending to be wrong), we free ourselves up and give ourselves permission to take risks, try new things, and approach things (even really important things) with a creative, innovative, and flexible perspective.

3) Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously – Taking ourselves too seriously (something which I know a thing or two about), creates unnecessary stress, pressure, and worry. When we’re able to laugh at ourselves (in a kind way), keep things in perspective, and remember that most of what we deal with on a daily basis in life is not life or death – we can take ourselves less seriously and thus have a more balanced, peaceful, and creative way of relating to things.

4) Go with the Flow – If we pay attention to life, there is a natural flow that exists (although it may not always look like it or feel like it). The more we’re able to tap into the natural flow of life, trust ourselves and others, and believe that things will work out – the more likely we are to allow things to roll off our backs and manifest with ease. As Esther Hicks says, “Most people are rowing against the current of life. Instead of turning the boat around, all they need to do it let go of the oars.”

5) Get Support and Feedback From Others – The support and feedback of others is invaluable in so many aspects of our life and growth, especially as it relates to us being more flexible. We can learn from and model others who are more flexible than we are. We can also give people in our life permission to remind us (with kindness) when we get rigid, uptight, over-attached, and start taking ourselves too seriously.

Being flexible is something that’s often easier said than done for many of us. However, just as with our physical bodies, the more attention we place on expanding our flexibility the more likely we are to do it. As we enhance our ability to be flexible, our life can and will expand exponentially.

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 – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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Posted by Mike Robbins on January 25th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,