Leaving The Blame Game Behind…John Page Burton

Have you ever been around someone who is addicted to blame? They are easy to recognize because the moment they walk in a room the life energy is sucked out the window! Something or someone is always responsible for their unhappiness and they habitually broadcast their woes to anyone who is unlucky enough to be within ear shot. “Targets” of blame include; parents, spouses, kids, relatives, sports teams, the weather, their boss, traffic, politicians, doctors and even almighty God is not immune from their trail of transference. Being around this type of person is extremely draining. Taking personal responsibility is WAY outside their comfort zone and therefore they DON’T! After all, it was never about them anyway!

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…The “SELF BLAMER” takes FULL responsibility for everything they should have, could have or would have done differently. Their regret seemingly spans a lifetime. A friend of mine still blames himself for an interception he threw in a state championship football game. 30 years later he still believes that he was SOLELY responsible for loosing that game. He is visibly angry when he talks about it (which is every time we get together). The “self blamers” defeatist diatribe is centered around a misguided belief that everything that is wrong, might go wrong or will go wrong is their fault. They contend their failed relationship, job loss, foreclosure, chemically dependent child, weight gain, hair loss or any other challenge in their life is a direct result of their own stupidity or inability to “get anything right”! Talk about an energy vampire!!!

Let’s take a closer look at the word BLAME…

Behavioral gratification. The “blamer” is getting a “fix”. A false sense of superiority drives the behavioral habit of outward blame. “Blamers” believe that by “devaluing” something or someone their own status will rise. Their belief is actually counter intuitive as most people view “blamers” as chronic underachievers or whiners. “Self blamers” tend to be driven by guilt and a profound fear of failure. By routinely blaming themselves they are able to justify “being right” about their setbacks and failures. The “self blamer” gets their “fix” through perpetual, self inflicted punishment. Our breakthroughs come the moment we take personal responsibility for ALL of our decisions and outcomes.

Loathing. When we don’t love and accept ourselves for the unique person we are, blame becomes a perfect fuel to feed our self loathing nature. Our breakthroughs come when we accept ourselves as the unique creation God intended us to be. Our goal is to become better, faster and stronger in every area of our lives. Achieving this goal means we must direct our focus where it belongs…ON OURSELVES!

Avoidance. Blaming YOU temporarily takes the focus off of ME. Blaming myself temporarily justifies my own lack of initiative and fear of taking personal responsibility. The key word is “temporarily”. The hallmark of blame is avoidance. Our breakthroughs come when we no longer need to focus on what is wrong with someone else because we are far to busy confronting and working through our own insecurities and fear. “What we resist, will persist” is the reality of avoidance.

Manipulation. Addicts habitually employ manipulative tactics to get what they want and give very little thought to the carnage left behind. The “blame addict” uses control, guilt and anger as primary tools to gain leverage. Our breakthroughs come when we focus on and prioritize integrity. In order for this to happen we must be willing to take full responsibility for our results and accept that failure is part of this process. Honesty and manipulation are polar opposites.

Emotional. Blame is the low man on the totem pole of emotional intelligence. Blame is “victim” oriented and a sure sign of spiritual immaturity. Our breakthroughs come when we make a conscious decision to stop living our lives based on pain and pleasure. In other words, we learn to consciously give praise for both our pleasurable and painful experiences. They each teach us a valuable lesson. For example, when we go through a painful break up our initial reaction is to “finger point” (BLAME). We will know that we have accessed our higher emotional intelligence when we can thank God for the lessons we learned and the growth we experienced because of the time spent with this person.

To overcome our habits of outward and inward blame we must be willing to make peace with our past. Blame is rooted in fear and insecurity. Determining and then extinguishing our fear is the first important step toward living a life of personal responsibility.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

The High Price Of Being Right About The Wrong Things…John Page Burton

Most of us have heard it said that “success at anything comes with a price”. The price we pay may be financial, emotional, our time or in extreme cases dismemberment or death. During the course of our nations history, countless men and women have traded their lives and limbs for our freedom. This is the ultimate price! Many of the luxuries we enjoy today were born from the financial, emotional and time sacrifices made by inventors and entrepreneurs. We spend our money enjoying the performances of athletes and entertainers, people who have paid a price to hone their skills and master their craft. Success at anything does include a price.

As a peak performance strategist I routinely see another price many of us are paying, a price that may be much steeper than our price for success. It is the price we pay to “be right”. Wars are fought, marriages dissolve, families are separated, friendships end, business’s fail, careers die, crimes are committed and when the dust settles many of us are left scratching our heads wondering what in the heck just happened? The answer is really quite simple…we had to satisfy our insatiable need to be right!

My clients hire me because they desire to experience a significant breakthrough in a specific area of their life. Regardless of whether it is a life or business challenge my job is to identify what is holding them back and begin moving them toward a solution. I have found that the vast majority of our emotional discomfort comes from the “death grip” we hold on our need to “be right”. I encourage you to examine areas in your life where you may be holding a “death grip” on your need to “be right”. Once we let go of this unhealthy need we can begin LIVING a rich, rewarding life.

Three common examples of our need to “be right”, the truth, and the price we may be paying for holding onto this belief.

*Relationships. “Nobody want’s to date someone who has been divorced twice”. We may go out of our way to avoid social situations and if we eventually do go out on a date we may unconsciously sabotage any chance for a second date. The truth is, our first two marriages were not with the right person or we would still be married. The right person will show up at the right time. Focus on becoming the type of person you desire to attract. As long as we remain in a defeated mindset we will continue to pay the price of loneliness, despair, anxiety, guilt and shame. We are also robbing others of the opportunity to meet an awesome person.

*Career. “I don’t have a degree (or a high enough degree) therefore I can only go so far”. This belief may hold us back from putting our hat in the ring for promotions, applying for more challenging positions or thinking outside the box and starting our own company. The truth is, a person’s “I WILL” trumps a person’s I.Q. every time. Steve Jobs didn’t have a college education yet created Apple Computer. A close friend of mine only attended high school yet commands a six figure salary in a Fortune 100 company. When we come from this mindset we may continue to pay the price of dissatisfaction, inferiority, economic woes, low self esteem and the feeling of never being challenged .

*Health. “Everyone in my family is obese, it’s genetic”. We may adopt a significant aversion to health and wellness. The truth is, with few exceptions people who are obese simply don’t place a high priority on diet and exercise. As long as someone remains in this dangerous mindset they are paying the potential price of disease, lack of intimacy, low self esteem, anger, guilt, embarrassment, bias in the workplace, challenged relationships and possibly death.

We all tell ourselves stories. Once we have told a story long enough it tends to become how we view ourselves. We validate our beliefs through our action. If I believe I deserve happiness and success I will take action that supports this belief. If I believe that I don’t deserve to be loved I will take action (or lack of) that supports this belief. In either instance I have the ability to convince myself that I am RIGHT. The key is not to fight to be right about the wrong things.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

10 Ways To GUARANTEE Failure…John Page Burton

During any given week, the vast majority of us are exposed to hundreds of “motivational” messages. If we are feeling depressed, overwhelmed, overweight, spiritually lost or our relationship has lost its zeal, someone has a solution for us. All we have to do is log onto our social media stream and we can find a plethora of motivational messages courtesy of any number of individuals who are more than likely just as challenged as we are. But what about the person who doesn’t desire to be “fixed” or “uplifted”, the person who simply wants to live a “low exertion lifestyle”? You’re in luck, this message is for YOU! I have compiled a “fool proof” checklist guaranteed to help you remain a chronic underachiever. These tips should serve you well as you continue to travel down the path of least resistance.

Ten Ways to Guarantee Failure…

 Establish extremely vague goals. Use phrases like “I think I want a new car” or “It would be cool to go on a nice vacation somewhere”. The vaguer your goal the greater the odds are you will never achieve it!
 Strive to NOT visualize your goals. Remember, if we stay focused on anything long enough it just may come to fruition. Be mindful of what you focus on. Step away from your dream board!
 When you verbalize your goals make sure to use negative language. THIS IS CRITICAL!!! Using words like CAN’T and TRY will help kill your goals before they have a chance to gain any traction. “I can’t ever lose weight” or I’ll give it a TRY” are highly effective goal killers!
 Don’t establish any type of measurement system. Your objective is to remain inactive! Having a plan or measurement system will just complicate this process. There is no need for you to feel that you should have to stretch and grow, just keep being you.
 Take minimal action. Talk about your goals, but under no circumstances should you move toward them. Action is a fatal mistake for the underachiever.
 Make sure the timing is never right. By implementing this strategy you will always have an “out”. For example, “I will start dieting after the holidays” or “I’ll wait until after the kids go back to school” are excellent excuses for anyone who is wavering about starting a weight loss or exercise program. The key is to always have an excuse or justification on speed dial.
 Don’t hire a coach! Accountability is the under achievers worst nightmare. The last thing you need is a success strategy or a coach holding you accountable for your results. Be the lone wolf!
 Make sure you have plenty of distractions. The more distractions you create the less time you will have to focus on your objectives. Be creative, distractions should be fun!
 Think small. The smaller you think the less you have to worry about. Owning a larger home, driving a nicer car or planning a dream vacation is just going to heap more responsibility on you. Your little box is warm and cozy, DON”T ROCK THE BOAT!!!
 AVOID personal growth! It is imperative to shy away from motivational books, CDs, speakers or uplifting blogs.
Inspirational messages will only confuse you. Remember, YOU are an underachiever, the world needs you. Don’t fall for the hype!

Hopefully you have found this message uplifting and helpful. I know that with just a TINY bit of effort and commitment you can easily remain within the confines of mediocrity!

Are Mixed Messages Blocking Your Success?…John Page Burton

Are mixed messages blocking your success? All of us send mixed messages and most of us are unaware of how much time we spend contradicting ourselves. Sending mixed messages means that our actions are not in alignment with what we “say” we desire. Each time we send a mixed message we are effectively blocking the receptive energy necessary to achieve what it is we say we want. In other words, we are sabotaging our success one contradiction at a time. Mixed messages almost always include the word BUT. The word BUT usually precludes an EXCUSE or a JUSTIFICATION. Here are some examples of the types of mixed messages many of us send. ” I really want to lose 30 pounds BUT with my schedule fast food is my only option”. “I can’t seem to find a suitable life partner” BUT I’m just not ready to leave the friendly confines of my one bedroom apartment”. “I don’t have enough money left to pay all my bills BUT who could pass up a sale like that”. Mixed messages show up in our relationships. “I think we should just be friends BUT I will still call you everyday”. “We shouldn’t live together until we get married BUT it would be great if we could sleep together seven nights a week”. “I hate you” BUT It’s only because I really love you”. “I want you to pack up your things and leave BUT your welcome to stay for dinner”. Mixed messages show up in our career and business. “I will do whatever it takes to get this company up and running BUT don’t ask me to give up my hobby”. “I sure would like to get that promotion at work BUT I’ll be darned if I’m coming in on a Saturday”. We do it in our spiritual practice. “I know that God won’t deliver more than I can handle BUT this seems to go above and beyond what a person should have to endure”. “I have faith that things will work out BUT it sure would be nice to see a positive sign every once in awhile”. “I love going to church BUT it really doesn’t fit into my schedule during football season”.

Mixed messages have the potential to unleash damaging emotions such as jealousy, anger, frustration and guilt. We can avoid a great deal of heartache by being more mindful of the mixed messages we may be sending to others as well as the ones we may be receiving.

Below are three strategies to help us become more aware of and breakthrough our “habit” of sending mixed messages.

1. Take ACTION. Do our actions support or reject what we say we desire? For example, if we desire to lose weight it is important to examine our current habits. With few exceptions, overweight people tend to consume more calories than they burn. Talking about losing weight and actively designing and sticking to a food and exercise plan are two different things. When we become a person of ACTION we leave little room for contradictions that show up in the form of excuses and justification.

2. Practice EXPLICIT communication. It is important to say what we mean and mean what we say. This is one of the most fundamental ways to eliminate mixed messaging. People who routinely send mixed messages tend to LACK CONVICTION. They don’t want to “hurt someones feelings” or “rock the boat”. The hallmark of “explicit” communication is CLARITY. Everyone involved in the conversation knows where we stand. On the other hand “implicit” communication leads to a never ending “guessing game”. Implicit communicators expect everyone around them to instinctively know why they are unhappy or frustrated. Their operating principle is that “they shouldn’t have to say anything” because “if you really cared, you would get it”. They routinely say one thing while acting in an entirely different manner. Welcome to the “super bowl” of mixed messaging!

3. Eliminating the word “BUT” from our vocabulary. Every time we use the word “BUT” we are running for our “chicken exit”. “I would love to learn more about your opportunity BUT”, (here comes the excuse) “that sounds great BUT”, “I would love to join you BUT”, “I would love to go out with you BUT”, “that sounds fabulous BUT”…blah,blah,blah. When we begin monitoring our use of the word “BUT” we will be able to see how readily we have used “BUT” to justify our lack of conviction. Many of us have been on BUT “auto pilot”. Explicit communicators rarely use the word “BUT”.

My hope is that you will find these strategies helpful as you move forward. Most of us will find that as we send fewer and fewer mixed messages our success receptors open up more and more. Before we know it we are playing our biggest game ever!!!

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.