It’s Hard To Be Humble…John Page Burton

You are about to read my 170th blog post! This is quite an achievement considering a college professor once told me I “lacked communication skills”. I’m grateful that I didn’t allow his criticism to deter me from making a living as a professional copy writer, author, peak performance strategist or from earning two degrees in the field of mass communications. I enjoy sharing my perspectives with you and I want to thank you for reading and appreciating my work, it means a lot.

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of us crave recognition. “Men die for it and babies cry for it” is a quote I heard many years ago that still rings true today. When I “surf” my social media streams, I can’t help but notice all of the people who “advertise” their victories with the hope of garnering “likes” and “comments” that will further validate their achievements. I know that when I experience a win my initial reaction is to want to shout “hell yeah, I did it” and commence the celebration! With this being said, I have gradually learned to simply say thank you to my creator, express gratitude for my experience and get back to work. I can ensure you that I am not attempting to be holier than though, rather I’m sharing my “newly found” sense of humility, which by the way I am quite proud of! The seeds of humility are usually planted in childhood, although most of us don’t grasp the concept until much later in life. Society promotes a win-lose model in which winning is the ultimate goal. Looking back on my youth, I never truly grasped the concept of shaking hands with the other team after “losing” the game. It sucked to lose, I wanted to win. As an adult, I carried my “win at any cost” philosophy into every area of my life. The cost became family, relationships, friendships and partnerships. It wasn’t my success that was getting in the way, it was my lack of humility. How each of us can learn to appreciate our wins, embrace our losses and remain humble in the process is the topic of my 170th blog post.

Humility…A check up from the neck up.

Heart space vs Head space- Our head space encourages us to feel one thing, our heart space another. With regard to our victories, it is important to reside in our heart space. In my head space it is always about me vs. you. This is a win-lose model. In my heart space I appreciate my victories, however, I am keenly aware that they are a “temporary reward” for my dedication to a chosen endeavor. I also recognize that it is only fair that others have the opportunity to experience victories as well. As hard as this can be, it is a true win-win model. Residing in our head space will almost always demand the need for winners and losers. Our heart space allows us to recognize that today I had a victory, tomorrow is another day.

Unsolicited recognition-When we come from a place of true humility we don’t have a need to solicit recognition from others because our primary focus is on showing appreciation for the gifts given to us by our creator. We recognize that the only recognition that matters is of an “eternal” nature. We don’t need or seek approval, however we gratefully accept it when it arrives of it’s own accord. The comedian David Spade, recently was asked what he thought of Reese Witherspoon’s comment “do you know who I am” as she was being arrested. His comment was priceless…”If you have to ask that question then it is pretty obvious they don’t”.

Mindset- Being humble is a mindset. Humility is focused on gratitude, lack of humility features shameless self promotion, usually followed by a heavy dose of gloating. When we develop a mindset that is focused on gratitude we will naturally draw more success into our lives. People will desire to help us, favorable opportunities and events will show up in our path and we will exude an endearing aura of personal confidence and happiness. To me, nothing is more annoying than being around someone who has the insatiable need to draw attention to themselves. Conversely, nothing is more calming than to be around a person who is self assured and who acknowledges that their perceived success is due in large part to the combined efforts of countless others.

Blessing-Being a sports fan I was excited to see Nick Foles, a former University of Arizona Wildcat and now the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, tie an NFL record by throwing 7 touchdown passes in a single game. This is a monumental feat to say the least. His interview after the game illustrates his character more than anything else. He stated to a reporter that his three priorities (in order of importance) are “faith, family and football”. The very reason he was being interviewed is the least of his priorities. Nick recognizes that football is a temporary blessing and although he appears very grateful for the opportunity to get paid to play a game, he is also grounded in humility. Each of our lives are a gift that I believe should be honored accordingly.

Lease-Recently, a friend made the comment that they had a “new lease on life”. All of us, no matter how much we accomplish, how many toys we collect, how gynormous our house is or how many cars are parked in our garage must face the fact that we are going to die. We are leasing our time on earth and we will be remembered by how we treated the people we shared this time with. I have never experienced a eulogy highlighting the departed’s “uncanny ability to gloat over others”. In the end we will be remembered and rewarded for our humble service to mankind.

Ego-The Ego desires for us to seek approval, crave attention, win at any cost, gloat, compare ourselves to others and take FULL credit for our achievements. The foundation of the Ego is INSECURITY. The last thing our Ego wants is for us to acknowledge that a power far greater than ourselves is the driving force behind our accomplishments. The Ego always wants to make it about “us” and encourages us to never give any credit where credit may be long overdue! The Ego is indeed the “great separator”.

It’s hard to be humble, however, it is through our humility that our greatest rewards will be realized. In the words of the Dos Equis man…”stay humble my friends”.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

The Secret to Dying Rich…John Page Burton

No matter how much “stuff” we accumulate or how much “money” we earn, ALL of us are going to die. Death is the great equalizer! In our final moments we won’t crave the “stuff” we have accumulated or have a desire to fondle the piles of cash hidden under our mattress, rather, we will crave the love and connection of our family and friends. How we spend our final moments will be a direct reflection of how we lived our life. Dying rich should be our goal. Below, are a few of my thoughts on how each of us can begin filling up our emotional bank account as we travel down our chosen path.

*Nurturing our personal relationships. Far too many of us focus our non working energy on work related issues that we bring home from the office. Many of us routinely find ourselves immersed in someone else’s drama. This causes us to miss out on countless opportunities to connect meaningfully with family and friends. Remember…where our focus goes, our energy flows. Work is important , however, it should never dominate our personal lives. Our personal and family relationships require us to be fully present. In order for this to happen we must side step drama and leave our work at our desk. Ponder this… Are work related thoughts and conversations dominating your personal life? Do you routinely find yourself getting dragged into other peoples drama? Would the quality of your personal interactions improve dramatically if you focused your non work time nurturing them?

*Treating everyone with dignity and respect. When we make it our mission to live from this perspective we tend to find that the world opens up to support our journey. Despite what many of us have been led to believe, none of us are “better” than anyone else. ALL of us were born into a different set of circumstances. We are well served to be grateful for our blessings and refrain from judging others for what they have or don’t have. Remember…but for the grace of God, there go I. Ponder this… Do you find yourself judging other people by what they have or don’t have? How do you treat people when you believe nobody is watching you?

*Proclaiming our authentic self. This means that we speak our truth and run our own race. We don’t compare ourselves to others and we operate in a manner that is congruent with our values and beliefs. We are not swayed by the opinions of others and we freely stand up for what we believe in. We follow our heart and only engage in activities and vocations that are in alignment with our authentic self. Ponder this… Are there areas in your life where you are “selling out” on your truth? What would your life look like if you began living in a manner that honored your true, authentic self?

*Serve. Givers gain. Whenever we volunteer, we have an opportunity to connect with other like minded people and collectively we can effect change. When we give back to our community and the members within, we are honoring God’s blessing by sharing our time, treasure and talent. I believe that the more we give, the more we gain. As my mentor Tony Robbins often says…”the secret to living is giving”. Ponder this… What can you do this week to help someone who needs a helping hand or a little inspiration? Make the commitment to get more involved in your community. Teach your children the power of giving.

*LIVE NOW. A few years ago, Tim McGraw wrote a hit song called “Live Like You Were Dying”. In his song he shared many of the things he would do if he knew he only had a short time to live. We don’t need to receive a “death sentence” to start living. It begins with a conscious decision to begin doing the things we desire to accomplish and doing them NOW. Ponder this… What are some of the things on your bucket list? What do you desire to accomplish over the next 5 years? How would you feel if you began living your life with true passion?

Here’s to dying RICH!

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

The Problem With Perfection…John Page Burton

I recently visited with a client who has spent the majority of his lifetime struggling with the concept of “perfection”. For as long as he could remember, he had been admonished to do things “perfectly” and was routinely chastised or punished when he failed to achieve the level of “perfection” required of him by a series of “well meaning” role models, including his parents. Because of his skewed reality around perfection he struggled to achieve a true measure of happiness in his intimate relationship or career. Millions of us can relate to the expectations of “perfection” that have been placed on us by our parents, athletic coaches, teachers and other role models we have encountered along our journey. I know that for many years I felt like a total “loser” for not living up to the demands of perfection placed on me. That was then, this is now. Today, I strive to do my very best in every endeavor, however, I realize that for me, “perfection” rarely happens and I’m fine with that. One of the fundamental problems with our obsession for perfection is that over time it tends to create an array of personal and health challenges. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Avoidance strategy. Many of us are using our quest for “perfection” as a means of avoiding potential rejection and therefore protecting ourselves from opening up and becoming vulnerable. For example, we have all known someone who is looking for the “perfect partner” and isn’t willing to “settle” for anyone who doesn’t measure up to the exact profile they have designed. Or how about the person who won’t go to the beach until they are in “perfect” shape. In both cases “perfection” is being conveniently used as an excuse to keep them from addressing their self doubt and fear and in both cases it is keeping them from having fun and meeting some really awesome people.

Judgment. How many times have we failed to make a connection with someone because they were not driving the “perfect” car, wearing the “perfect” clothes or living in the “perfect” zip code. Our need to pass judgment may be preventing us from meeting talented, progressive people. I know several extremely accomplished professionals who drive older model vehicles,regularly wear shorts and flip flops and live where they “feel the vibe”. You can’t possibly know anything about someone unless you have a conversation.

Health. Our quest for “perfection” can lead to a variety of health problems, including diet pill addiction, Anorexia, Skin Cancer, disfigurement from plastic surgery and an array of other health related challenges. Accepting ourselves for who we are is the first step toward optimal health. Diet and exercise are natural, proven strategies for living a longer, more enjoyable life.

Parenting. Anyone who has been subjected to the pressure stemming from parental demands of “perfection” has experiential knowledge regarding the emotional damage it can cause. As parents we want our children to do and be their best, however, the reality is that from time to time they are going to fall short of our expectations. It is up to us to teach our children that failure is an essential element of success and encourage them to embrace failure as an important part of the success process.

Self Examination. When we demand “perfection” in others it is always a good idea to examine our own motives. Why are we demanding “perfection”? Years ago, I coached high school baseball. I remember a particular parent who managed to always find something wrong with his son’s performance. One night, after a game in which his son had gone 4 for 4 and made several spectacular defensive plays, I observed the father verbally abusing his son as they walked to the car. Troubled by the incident, I called the players father and asked him why he had been so upset after the game? He explained that there had been a professional scout in attendance and that his son had gotten a late jump on an attempt to steal second base. The father went on to share that he had never been able to play college or professional baseball due to an eye injury suffered during his senior year of high school and that all he had ever wanted was for his son to have the opportunity that had alluded him. FYI… His son never played another inning of baseball after he graduated from high school. A few years ago I ran into him at a local restaurant and asked him why he had decided not to pursue college ball? (He certainly had the talent) “Coach, by the time my senior year rolled around I hated the game, no matter what I did it was never good enough for my dad and I just didn’t want to see him in the stands anymore”.

The problem with “perfection” is that it is unrealistic. I believe we should all strive to be the best at whatever we do, however, we must also realize that we are human and that we will fail and experience set backs. The pursuit of “perfection” can cause us to hold back from trying new things, meeting new people and from taking risks. Strive to be the best version of yourself and show yourself some grace.

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

5 Tips For Developing A “Garage Sale Millionaire” Mindset…John Page Burton

Let me begin by confessing that I am a “garage sale junkie”. I love garage sales! Recently, I found a bottle of wine that had been produced exclusively for the late actor, Dean Martin. The label bears his likeness and the wine is 35 years old. The label also stated that only 850 cases of this wine had been produced. (this could be a good or bad thing?) My cost for this very cool find was a whopping $1. But I digress, this article is not about my love of garage sales, it’s about defining our relationship with money.

MONEY

Money is either a small sheet of paper or a piece of metal, WE attach the meaning to money. Depending largely on our upbringing, we either have a healthy or an unhealthy relationship with money. Many of us are frugal and hunt for bargains. Shopping this way allows us to channel the money we are saving into interest bearing accounts and investments. Over time, this money can become significant and help provide us with a secure retirement. (“garage sale millionaire”) Others find it challenging to exert any type of spending discipline. They habitually make purchases on impulse and tend to pay full retail price for everything they buy. Unfortunately, many wake up one day to find that they are in significant financial trouble due to their lack of discipline. Below are 5 tips for developing a “garage sale millionaire” mindset.

THE “GARAGE SALE MILLIONAIRE” MINDSET….

*Get in the HABIT of spending less than you earn. Let’s face it, we live in a world with a ton of cool toys. Delaying gratification can be extremely hard. The first step on the road to financial freedom is to spend LESS than we earn. You may be saying yeah, yeah, yeah, I already know that. The question is…are you practicing it? This one habit can dramatically change your financial future. Examine your monthly bank statement and determine where can you cut wasteful spending? Make the commitment to this for one year. You will be amazed by how much you save!

*Pay CASH for purchases. I employ 2 strategies that serve me well. If I can’t pay cash for it, I don’t buy it and before I make any significant purchase I ask myself if it is something I NEED or just something I want. Something I NEED will always take precedence over something I want. Paying cash and avoiding impulse buys helps curb wasteful spending. We can then invest this “impulse money” into our future.

*Look for opportunities to create new streams of income rather than new lines of credit. I carry one debit card and one credit card. I focus my energy on looking for opportunities to create new streams of income. This mindset is a proactive wealth building mindset opposed to a “credit” mindset. For example, this past year I wrote a book. My book has become a NEW stream of income in the Burton household. I have not applied for any new lines of credit this year. ***One of the best TAX strategies we can employ is to own a home based business. New stream of income, new TAX savings.

*Avoid paying retail. Turn this concept into a game. Garage sales, consignment shops and services like Craig’s list are great places to find items that are in great condition and many items are brand new. Diana and I have furnished three homes employing this strategy. We have saved thousands of dollars and routinely receive positive feedback on how nicely our home is decorated. For example, we recently purchased a desk for our mountain home. The estimated cost of this desk was $1000. We were able to purchase it for $50 dollars and the seller even threw in a high end desk chair. Our patience paid off! FYI…you are the only ones who know how much we actually paid for this gorgeous desk. Ha, Ha!

*Make financial education a priority. A person doesn’t have to make a lot of money to save a lot of money. However, we must make financial education a priority and we must design a financial strategy and maintain the discipline to see it through. Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman are best selling authors who specialize in providing their readers with great strategies for creating financial freedom. Go to the local library and check out their books. (I just saved you $50 dollars) Make an appointment with a TAX professional to develop a strategy for paying less TAX. Meet with a financial planner to help you maximize your retirement plan. Remember, burying our head in the sand or relying on the government are not proactive financial strategies.

I have been wealthy and I have been broke. I can honestly say that a life free from financial worry is a much easier one to live. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, running out of money before you run out of month or you just want the peace of mind of knowing that your retirement is secure, then I encourage you to begin developing your own “garage sale millionaire” mindset. Here’s to prosperity!

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