Using Feedback As Your Guide…John Page Burton

As each of us move forward in our  personal relationships or professional ambitions, it is  important that we solicit constructive feedback from people who have achieved what we desire to accomplish.  There is a distinct difference between feedback and criticism. Criticism is negative in nature and is rarely “asked for.” Feedback is an agreement between two parties, designed to produce positive, growth oriented results.

WHO SHOULD WE SEEK FEEDBACK FROM?

Life coaches, business leaders, mentors and teachers are all great sources of feedback.  With few exceptions, close friends and immediate family members are not reliable sources for quality, unbiased feedback.  Seeking and being open to feedback is the first, important step in helping each of us make the major changes or slight modifications that will allow us to play a much bigger game of life.

USING FEEDBACK AS YOUR GUIDE

Here are just a few of the benefits that we receive from unbiased feedback…

*It can help us design new strategies and expand upon existing ideas.

*It can assist us in defining our message and help us become more effective communicators.

*It allows us to find out what our customers really want.

*It can provide us with new emotional insights that will allow us to create much deeper connections in our intimate relationships.

*It can be instrumental in helping us make directional shifts in our careers and personal relationships.

*It can provide valuable guidance and inspiration as we replace harmful habits with new, empowering ones.

TIPS FOR RECEIVING FEEDBACK

*Don’t take it personally. Feedback should always be looked upon as an opportunity for growth.

*Feedback should be objective. The sole purpose of feedback is to give you options to look at and things to consider.

*It is advisable to solicit more than one opinion. If you begin to see a pattern developing,  it is more than likely something worth paying attention to.

Remember, feedback is important for those of us who aspire to be the best version of ourselves. I look forward to your thoughts and as always, I welcome your feedback.

5 Skills That Will Enhance Our Communication Skills…John Page Burton

The ability to effectively communicate our ideas and thoughts is crucial as we develop and grow our personal and professional relationships. Here are 5 skills that can have an immediate impact on our ability to get our point across.

*Less is more. Be concise and get to the point. People that ramble and talk over others are annoying and their message is easily lost. Be mindful of  using filler words such as “um, like, so, you know, etc. Filler words are NERVOUS words. TIP… Enlist your friends, family and co-workers to help you identify your most commonly used filler words. Once you become mindful of these words, you will start to catch them and can remove them from your  vocabulary.

*Monitor your language. Profanity is always discouraged. When you inject slang words such as “man” or “dude” into a conversation you are establishing yourself as an uneducated person. It is also wise to keep your religious and political opinions to yourself. TIP…Make a list of all of the profane/slang words that you use on a regular basis. Stand in front of your bathroom mirror and say these words out loud for 5 minutes. Do you feel intelligent and empowered after saying these words to yourself?

*Your physical presence. Your physical presence will often speak louder than anything you verbalize. Confident communicators possess an empowering physiology. Here are a couple of quick tips for making a good first impression. Stand tall, shoulders back and maintain eye contact. When shaking a person’s hand be firm but not overbearing. Weak handshakes, especially in men do not convey confidence. TIP…Be mindful of each conversation you are engaged in. Pay attention to your posture.  Are you maintaining eye contact? How are you dressed? Become more aware of your presence and adjust accordingly.

*Pay people compliments and express gratitude. Develop the habit of paying genuine compliments to others. Seek positive things that people are doing and acknowledge them for it. Give thanks throughout the day for everything that you have and all of the opportunities that lie in front of you.  TIP…When you first open your eyes in the morning, speak words of gratitude for everything that you are grateful for. Throughout the day continue to speak words of thanks for all of the wonderful opportunities and people that are in your life. Express thanks for your health and well being. Look for opportunities to compliment people that you come in contact with. Look them in they eye when you share your compliments. Do these things without fail for the next two weeks.

*Listening. God gave each of us two ears and one mouth. Our goal should be to listen twice as much as we talk. To be an effective communicator you must become an excellent listener. Learn to ask people questions and focus on their response. TIP…Monitor all of your conversations for the next two weeks. Each time you engage in a conversation ask that person a minimum of 3 questions. No matter how tempting it is, don’t respond until they have finished talking. Develop the practice of listening more than you speak.

My hope is that you will find these skills to be helpful in every area of your life.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.

Rediscovering Our Sandbox Mindset…John Page Burton

What separates the person who chooses to live their life by design from the person who is willing to settle for “whatever cards they are dealt?” What is the difference between the person who makes a decision to start their own business from the person who remains in a dead end job that they detest? Why do some people enjoy healthy, exciting, relationships while others find themselves constantly battling with everyone around them?  I believe the answer to these questions can be found by taking a journey back in time and stepping into the sandbox of our youth.

Sandbox Traits….

INQUISITIVE. As children we were open to learning new things. We were curious about everything and we remained open minded. We were not prone to judgement and we based most of our decisions on whether something caused us pain or pleasure. Something to think about… Write a paragraph that describes something that you are interested in learning about.  How do you plan to accomplish this goal? Example. I desire to learn Spanish. I will sign up for a Spanish class at the local community college. Have fun and don’t let your ego tell you that it is impractical…just start writing!

SOLUTION ORIENTED. Children ASK for what they want and seldom take NO for an answer. They will pose the same question in multiple ways until the answer is YES. Children are extremely persistent, they will find their way around most obstacles because they are solution oriented. Children  are  also “breakthrough” minded. Something to think about..Write a paragraph that describes a situation in your life that is causing you unhappiness or stress. Are you focusing on the problem or are you focusing on finding a solution? What would your life look like if you found a solution to this temporary obstacle?

SPEAKING OUR TRUTH. We have all heard the phrase “out of the mouths of babes.” If you ask a child a question you will usually get a very straight forward answer. Children readily speak their mind and are not overly concerned with   “looking good” programs. Something to think about…List 3 lies that you are telling yourself. What are these lies costing you? List 3 NEW truths that you will begin telling yourself. How will these new truths enhance the overall quality of your life?

LIFE IS A GAME…Children inject fun and excitement into everything they do. To them, life is a game! Children rely on their imagination as their primary navigation tool. Children are dreamers, who view their life as an endless road of possibility. Something to think about…Write down 2 NEW things that you are looking forward to experiencing this week. What are 3 things that you absolutely LOVE about your career? Your relationship? If you could vacation anywhere on earth where would it be? Life is a game that we should look forward to playing!

LEAP OF FAITH…By nature children are risk takers. They trust that everything will turn out fine. Most children believe that they are unstoppable. As we grew older, all of that changed. Something to think about… Write a paragraph that answers the following questions. What is an area in your life in which you feel stuck?  Why are you afraid to move forward? What are the negative voices telling you?  How would your life be different if you were willing to take a giant leap of faith and face your fear head on?

We were all once innocent children playing in the sandbox. As we grew older we slowly but surely moved away from a world of endless possibility into a world of conformity and fear. In order for us to feel alive and achieve our greatest life purpose we must reconnect with our sandbox mindset.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

5 Steps For Overcoming Our FEAR…John Page Burton

There is no such thing as being fearless, EVERYONE experiences fear on some level. Here are 5 steps that I consistently follow to confront and overcome the fears that show up in my life.

1. Identify your emotional reaction as the fear begins to surface. What are you afraid of? Is this fear life threatening? (If it is life threatening you have a very legitimate fear) Do you feel anxious? Do you feel rejection? Do you feel a sense of failure? Does this specific fear cause you to feel depressed? EXERCISE..Identify a fear that you are experiencing on a regular basis. Write down every negative emotion that this fear brings up. Be specific.  (A tightness in your chest or throat, pit in your stomach, scary memories from the past etc.) How is this fear serving you?

2. Take ownership of your fear. Denying that you have this fear or trying to sidestep it will prevent you from conquering it. Until you own your fear, it owns you. EXERCISE…Write a one sentence affirmation. Today I am going to face my fear of_____ I will no longer let it control me. (Read and repeat this affirmation at least 50 times per day until you have conquered your stated fear)

3. Determine the price you are paying for holding onto this fear. Fear usually hurts us both emotionally and financially. We allow our fear to keep us from looking for a better job or pursuing  business opportunities. Our fear may keep us trapped in an abusive relationship. Our fear often keeps us from stepping up and saying or doing what we know is right. EXERCISE…Write a paragraph that describes in detail what your life would be like if you didn’t allow fear to control you.  How would your life improve? What would facing and conquering this fear do for your self esteem, your career or your personal relationships?

4. Take ACTION. The only way we can overcome our fear is to face it.  Once we conquer a fear it loses it’s power over us. For example, if you are afraid of heights, go skydiving. If you are afraid of public speaking,  join Toastmasters. EXERCISE…Enlist the support of a friend, mentor or coach who does not share your same fear. Ask them to support you and hold you accountable as you set out to conquer your specific fear. Establish a specific date that you will experience your breakthrough. Create a “breakthrough reward” that you and your accountability partner can enjoy once your fear has been conquered.  The reward will make it more fun!

5. Pick another FEAR and repeat steps 1-4.

This 5 step process works!!!  I would love to hear your feedback or any of your “fear busting” techniques.

Characteristics Of C.O.U.R.A.G.E. John Page Burton

What does it mean to say that someone has courage? Our soldiers certainly  display a tremendous amount of courage, our Olympic athletes display courage and a person who is facing a terminal illness must also be able to summon courage on a daily basis. A person who has decided to start a new business or is embarking on a new career must be able to harness courage. So what does it really mean to be courageous? Here are several of the key characteristics commonly found in courageous people.

C=Conviction. They possess an unwavering belief.  Once they have established their objective they move toward it with laser focus. They block out distractions and treat set backs as no more than a temporary nuisance.

O=Optimism. They seek to find the positive in every situation. They have  tremendous faith and believe that they will prevail in the face of any challenge. They rarely if ever second guess their decisions. They are solution oriented.

U=Unselfish. They will readily take the backseat if it will produce a greater end result. They willingly step into adverse situations time and again as their personal comfort is secondary. “Bring it on” is their mantra. They are true team players.

R=Resilience. They get knocked down and they pop back up. Their broad shoulders are capable of carrying a heavy load. They view the rewards of any challenge to be far greater than any short term pain.

A=Action. They take action! They never wait for the “right time” or “the right circumstances” to get going, they simply engage. Courageous people face their challenges head on!

G=Genuine. Courageous people never waiver in their beliefs. Their word is their bond and you can count on them to rise to the occasion.

E=Excellence. They desire to always deliver their best, mediocrity is not an option. When failure occurs (and it will) they view it as a learning experience. Through their example they inspire excellence in others.

Being courageous is more than simply overcoming our fear. Courage is a mindset that we will continue to develop throughout our lifetime. ALL of us will be placed in situations that will require us to be courageous and strong. It is in these moments that our true character will be formed.

I always enjoy hearing your feedback!

5 Tips For Playing A Much BIGGER Game Of Life…John Page Burton

Proactive people create opportunities and make things happen. Reactive people wait for things to happen and then usually complain about how unfair things are. We all get to choose how big or how small we are willing to play the game of life. This puts the ball directly in our court!

Here are 5 tips that will help you play a much BIGGER game.

1.Quit listening to the voices from your past. You are not your setbacks or failures. Setbacks and failures are necessary for our personal growth and maturity. Don’t personalize them!!! Learn from your setbacks and use them to your advantage.  Throughout our lives, a lot of “well meaning” people gave us a great deal of bad advice. Many of us still carry around the voices in our heads that tell us to always play it safe and to never do anything that can be viewed by society as impractical. THE EXERCISE…Every time you find yourself listening to a negative voice from the past SNAP YOUR FINGERS and speak a positive message.

2. Surround yourself with winners not whiners. Beware of energy vampires, whose underlying mission is to suck you into their never ending drama. If the conversation doesn’t involve talking negatively about their shortcomings or problems, energy vampires will struggle to follow the conversation. RUN!!!!!  Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? Those 5 people will have the biggest influence on your life. If you become the smartest person in your group, find a more challenging group. This is growth!  THE EXERCISE…Identify the five people who have made the most positive impact on your life. Call them  and thank them for making a profound difference in your life.

3.Identify and work with your strengths.  It is a waste of time and energy to work on our weakness’s. Focus on what you do best and continue to get better in those areas. Your areas of weakness will be another person’s area of strength. By doing this you will find that your energy and your overall productivity will increase.  THE EXERCISE…Identify your 5 greatest strengths and make the decision to become even stronger in those areas.

4.Take 100% responsibility for your life. RUN YOUR RACE!!! Don’t let other people determine your destiny. Quit making excuses. Eliminate any need you may have to find blame in others. Playing the victim role will never empower you! You are the CEO of your life, make your own decisions and stick with them. Seek solutions for the challenges you face. THE EXERCISE…Make a poster board and write these words on it..IF IT IS GOING TO BE IT IS UP TO ME!!!  Place it where you can see it at all times. Hold yourself 100% responsible for your results.

5.Watch your language. Our words become our thoughts, our thoughts become our actions, our actions become our habits. We must choose our words wisely. Eliminate the words BUT, TRY and CAN’T from your vocabulary. The words but and try always preclude an excuse. The word can’t means that you have accepted defeat in advance. Speak uplifting words to those around you. Go out of your way to offer people compliments. THE EXERCISE..For the next 30 days ask your friends, family and co-workers to hold you accountable each time they hear you say the words but, try or can’t. They can impose a fine each time they hear you use but, try or can’t.  BUT=$2  TRY=$3  CAN’T= $5.  Collect the money in a jar and then donate it to your favorite charity. *The charity will be very grateful for your generous donation.

True change takes awareness and practice. I hope that you find this information helpful! Your feedback is appreciated.

Becoming The C.E.O. Of Your Life… John Page Burton

The abbreviation CEO most commonly stands for Chief Executive Officer. Most of us translate CEO to the business world. The truth is that each of us is a CEO. We are the CEO of our life and much like a CEO in the business world, we are responsible for making important decisions and designing life strategies for ourselves and our families. Lets take a closer look at the abbreviation CEO and how it can apply to both life and business.

C=Congruency. Effective CEO’s stay true to their values and beliefs. They seldom waver. When in their presence, you learn quickly who they are and what they stand for.  They don’t let emotion run their life or effect their decision making process. They take the time to think things through and consequently they make informed decisions. They are accountable for their actions and their word is their bond.

E=Engaged. CEO’s are fully engaged in the game of life. They pay close attention to their surroundings and express a genuine interest in the people they interact with.  They prioritize personal development and continually strive to become more effective leaders. They recognize the value of spiritual growth and routinely express gratitude for their many life experiences. Their physical health is a priority because they understand the role energy and vitality play in their overall well being.

O=Opportunistic. CEO’s look for opportunities to serve others and to make ongoing contributions within their communities. They embrace opportunities to develop and expand their personal relationships. They seek out opportunities to learn from other successful people as well as looking for opportunities to pay their knowledge forward by mentoring others.

Whether you are the CEO of your own company or the CEO of your own life, these are traits that I believe will serve you well.
I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.