The 5 Most Ridiculous Excuses Of All Time…John Page Burton

We live in a world where making excuses is commonplace, especially among the truly complacent. Excuses limit our possibilities and stunt our emotional growth. Many of us are unaware of just how many excuses we are capable of delivering in a single day. I challenge you to pick one day this week and consciously take inventory of how many times you find yourself making an excuse. If you’re like most of us, you may be surprised at how many times you find yourself making excuses and just how subtle some of them are. Excuses keep us stuck! If we truly desire to grow personally and professionally, we must quit making excuses.
I have compiled a list of what I believe are the 5 most ridiculous excuses of all time and why we need to move away from these limiting beliefs.
The 5 Most Ridiculous Excuses Of All Time….
IT’S TOO LATE…In reality it’s never too late to pursue our dreams. For example, countless senior citizens are going back to college and earning degrees, the average age of a first time millionaire is 56,  a 93 year old women recently completed her 1st Triathlon and the life expectancy for men and women worldwide has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. “It’s too late” is an avoidance strategy that is keeping far too many of us from taking risks and enjoying a rich, rewarding life. It’s only too late when we’re dead!
I DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT LOOKS…Madison Avenue has done a masterful job of portraying success  as bright lights, fast cars and hot bodies. In reality, looks often open doors, however, it’s our work ethic, ingenuity and persistence that will determine how far we go. If you happen to consider yourself aesthetically pleasing, thank your creator but don’t use looks as a barometer for success. Looks can be deceiving. 
I’M NOT AS GIFTED AS HE/SHE IS…We are all blessed with specific skills and talents. It is entirely up to us whether we CHOOSE to use them or not. I always encourage my clients to focus on their strengths opposed to their weakness. Our weakness is another person’s strength and vice versa. Identify and exploit your unique gifts.
I DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS…Making connections and building networks takes time, effort and a great deal of patience. Be mindful of the law of reciprocity which basically say’s…If you help enough people achieve what they’re seeking, those same people will help you achieve what you’re seeking. Givers gain.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN LUCKY…Luck has very little to do with success. Preparedness and timing play a far bigger role than luck. If we are relying on luck to determine whether we succeed or fail, we will be disappointed most of the time. Our job is to create a success plan and follow that plan. (A good coach can be very helpful) When we are focused, determined and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, the right people and resources will appear. This is a function of being immersed in the success process rather than being lucky. Hard work trumps luck!
 
We all have doubts and fears! We become truly empowered when we trade in our excuses for meaningful ACTION. 
 
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5 Characteristics Of True Personal Power…John Page Burton

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If you are a student of personal growth you have more than likely heard the words “personal power”. I routinely refer to personal power when I facilitate seminars and I have written about it in both of my books. I am often asked by clients to define personal power and to explain how a person comes to possess TRUE personal power. I define personal power as “a person’s ability to consistently take meaningful action and by so doing set an example that others desire to emulate”. In short, personal power is a bi-product of consistent right action. It is a MINDSET.  

Let’s take a closer look at what I believe are 5 characteristics commonly found in people who possess TRUE personal power…

PATIENCE. They keep things in perspective. They embrace the process.  They allow things to evolve. They don’t fear failure. They are not reactive when dealing with people or situations.
OWNERSHIP. They take ownership (responsibility) for their choices, decisions and actions. They refrain from blame. They operate with a bottom line mentality.
WISDOM. They make informed decisions based on prior experience and results. They crave knowledge and possess a profound willingness to learn. They are teachable regardless of their experience or level of success.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. They manage their emotions and seek to understand the emotions of others. They are empathetic. They make outstanding leaders because of their ability to connect with and relate to others. They make decisions based on information, not emotions.
RESPECT. They respect themselves and others. They treat ALL people with dignity and respect. They may disagree with you but they will refrain from making you”wrong”. They respect different points of view.
TRUE personal power evolves over time. It is not exclusive to a chosen few but rather to those who commit to mastering these 5 characteristics.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

5 Rules For Living A Truly Rewarding Life…John Page Burton

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“Rule # 1 is life is hard and it’s unfair”! Growing up I lived next door to a cranky old man who shared “rule # 1” with me every time I mowed his lawn or shoveled his driveway. I routinely smiled and agreed with him out of fear that if I didn’t acknowledge his negativity he might withhold payment for my services. It has been estimated that 65% of our belief system is formed by the time we are eight years old. This “Doubting Thomas” could have left a negative imprint on my 10 year old psyche but I didn’t allow it! Even at a young age I held a belief that achieving anything of value would require hard work and a little bit of luck . All I had to do was look at my lawn mowing, snow removal and lemonade stand business’s to validate this belief.
All of us are governed by internal rules. Most of us established these rules at a young age. It is not uncommon to carry these rules into adulthood. For example, if we were betrayed by a parent(s) at an early age we may have adopted an internal rule that people can’t be trusted. Consequently, we go through life testing everyone’s allegiance. As children, some of us were caught in the wake of divorce. Because of this experience, many felt abandoned and established an internal rule that has kept them from getting “too close to others”  because after all, “they will end up leaving anyway”. The fear of abandonment has caused many of us to habitually test people’s loyalty and we may even adopt a philosophy of “I’ll leave you before you leave me”. These types of rigid internal rules have caused many of us to consistently “blow up” friendships as well as our most intimate of relationships. These types of internal rules not only stunt our personal and emotional growth but also leave us feeling lonely, sad and confused. But let’s not stay in such a negative mind space, instead let’s look at 5 rules that will allow us to live a truly rewarding life!
Rule # 1. Life is an adventure! Live it with passion and purpose! The key is to determine what we desire to achieve and then pursue it with laser focus. Living our lives to please others or taking an easy, comfortable route through life is surviving not thriving. We are never to old to begin a new chapter, sadly far too many closed the book in the prime of their life. CONTINUE TO DREAM BIG AND GO AFTER IT!
Rule # 2. Let go of EXPECTATIONS.  Our goal is to release our death grip on expectations. When we “expect” things to go exactly as we want them to we usually end up disappointed. I have a friend who has made a very long list of “exactly” what she is looking for in a man. Her list is so extensive and demanding that if Jesus Christ asked her out on a date he would end up getting the boot! The reality is that she desires to stay in her comfort zone and will find something wrong with every man she meets and will easily justify it by referring back to her ridiculous list of expectations.
Rule # 3. Trust your inner voice. In my experience, my inner voice is right 90% of the time. When we learn to trust our inner voice and make our decisions accordingly we have fewer regrets. I personally believe that our inner voice is the voice of our creator and I have become conditioned to rely on it. Every time we follow our inner voice and the outcome is positive (90% of the time) we have created a strong reference point for future decision making. When we are facing a tough decision, it is always a good idea to go somewhere quiet and simply listen. The answer can usually be found in our quiet moments.
Rule # 4. The past is a reference point, not a permanent resting place. As a life coach I experience the past on a daily basis. The vast majority of client discomfort involves their attachment to events from the past. It took me years to realize that there wasn’t a thing I could do to change the past. What I could do was change my relationship to it. I could use it as a reference point to help me make better decisions in the present moment. Re-living the past dampens our relationships and the overall experience of the present moment. If you are still enslaved to the past it may be time to seek outside help to determine what pleasure you are deriving from your tired old story.
Rule # 5. Show yourself some GRACE!  We learn through a process commonly referred to as trial and error. In my book, Wisdom Through Failure (2014) I provide countless examples of why failure plays such an important role in the development of our emotional intelligence. Many of us are relentless in our attacks on ourselves. “How could I have been so stupid”, “I should have used better judgement”, “I’m so fat”, “I look stupid in this dress”, “I can’t believe I fell for that guy”, the list of negative self talk is long. The key is to catch ourselves in “mid beat down” and re-phrase our speech. “I will certainly be wiser next time”, “I will keep a closer eye on my food plan”, “I will continue to live with an open heart”, “I look pretty darn good for a man in my mid fifties”. Many of us have become our own worst critic and it’s time to become our own best friend.
If your currently living life by these simple rules….GOOD FOR YOU! If you find yourself living a life that is far from what you know you are capable of, I would encourage you to begin incorporating these rules into your daily routine.  We all deserve to live a rich, rewarding life!
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

5 Things We Can Learn From ANGRY People…John Page Burton

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Is it just me or does it seem like there are a lot of angry people buzzing around our planet? Most angry people are two faced. They exhibit a public face and a private face. For example, the other day a man driving a high end vehicle, dressed in a suit and tie swerved his car and nearly ran me off the road. When I pulled up next to him at the stoplight and gave him a puzzled look, he promptly reached down under his seat and with a smirk on his face, brandished a hand gun! I certainly don’t care to do business with him! My social media streams feature countless posts “attacking” religious choice, sexual preferences, race, political affiliation or anything else that is determined different from the posters belief system. One of my clients recently asked me “why so many people seem so angry”? It’s a reasonable question. Many are quick to blame their anger on the economy, world problems, political agenda’s and even technology. I routinely interact with people who “ooze pissed off”. When I ask them why they are so angry it’s not uncommon for them to snap back… “I’m not angry”. Be honest, all of us get angry from time to time, it’s human nature.  As a coach, I routinely see the effects of unresolved anger. Divorce, illness, job loss and family challenges are some of the unfortunate consequences of unresolved anger. I have identified 5 characteristics commonly found in angry people. Also, here are five things I have learned on my own journey as a “recovering angry person”…

Acceptance. Because they have never completely accepted themselves, angry people struggle to accept others. Most of the angry people I have known share the common characteristic of being fearful people. Angry people have an above average fear of failure and are prone to anger when they find themselves roaming outside of their comfort zone. Angry people are quick to judge others because it is easier than facing their own fear.  I have learned to face my fears when they come up and to give myself some grace when things don’t happen EXACTLY the way I want them to. I remind myself that life tends to happen when we are making other plans.
Neurotic. Angry people tend to be compulsive worriers.  “95% of what we worry about never happens and the other 5% never looks as bad as we envisioned”. This quote is a reminder to focus on what we can control rather than on what may or may not happen at a future point in time. I have learned to stay in the present moment as much as humanly possible. I problem solve from my past, I create in the present.
Grudges. Angry people tend to hold grudges. My mother had a falling out with her two brothers over the disbursement of my grandmothers estate. Tragically, my mother passed away having not spoken to her brothers for over thirty years. Grudges rob us of our joy and over time, holding grudges may bring about physical or emotional health challenges. I have learned to speak my truth and move on. I remind myself that resentment only robs me of the energy I need to move toward a compelling future.
Reactive. Angry people tend to be reactive people. This is where the saying “they really have a chip on their shoulder” comes into play. Last evening I ran into a person who unbeknownst to me has been holding a long standing grudge toward me for not continuing to donate money to the charitable organization they represent. When I explained that I had decided to donate elsewhere because I had not received a thank you note or receipt for my previous donations they bristled and began to make it personal. “You misspelled my name when you signed my book” was one of the many “digs” this person leveled at me in an attempt to dodge any role they may have played in my decision to donate elsewhere.  In short, reactive people usually hear what they want to hear. Rather than be proactive and seek to understand they tend to pounce! As a “recovering reactive person”, I have learned to count to ten before offering my thoughts. “Seek to understand, then to be understood”. (Covey)
Yesterday. Angry people spend a great deal of time living in the past. They robotically recount the details of past hurts and disappointments and carry much of this anger into their present reality. Someone who disagrees with or upsets them may suddenly take on the identity of an unfavorable person from their past. A current spouse begins to remind them of an abusive parent, a new love interest does something that reminds them of a former spouse, an innocent mistake by a long time friend instantly becomes a betrayal of epic proportion or an admonishment from an employer becomes the voice of a demanding, perfectionist parent. I have learned that dwelling on the past only distracts me from the present. I get to CHOOSE what I focus on and I CHOOSE to focus on NOW!
We all get angry, it’s actually good for us to let off a little steam from time to time. If we find ourselves becoming an angry, ticking time bomb, it’s time for a check up from the neck up! A good coach or therapist can help us clear the clutter and allow us to live the joyful life we deserve.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Cheers!

5 Childhood Messages That Keep Many Of Us Stuck…John Page Burton

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Within the personal growth industry there is a widely held belief that 65% of our belief system is formed by the time we are 8 years old and by age 18 over 90% of our belief system has been firmly established. Do we believe the world is a scary, unjust place or do we believe it’s a safe place with unlimited opportunity? Are we bold or fearful? Do we ask questions or do we simply accept things at face value? Do we live with passion or are we complacent? Are we willing to take risks or do we prefer to stay in our comfort zone? Are we tolerant or intolerant of people who hold different beliefs than we do? The answers to these questions tend to be a direct reflection of the messages we received during our formative years. Having interacted with thousands of people in my capacity as a life and business coach, I have been able to identify 5 childhood messages that have kept many of my clients from achieving the results they truly desired. On a personal note, I spent years “re-wiring” my own belief system, much of which was a direct result of the messages I received throughout childhood. Below are 5 childhood messages that are keeping many of us stuck.
THE MESSAGES…
*Shut Up, unless you have something important to say! Many of us have still not figured out what constitutes important? We remain silent even when we know that something doesn’t feel right. We “keep our mouths shut” in abusive relationships, unfair work environments and in our dealings with friends and family. Over time, “going along to get along” has become our way of being. Our challenge is to begin using our voice in a respectful manner whenever we have something to say or add to a conversation. Each time we verbalize what is on our mind we are building muscles of courage and most importantly we are honoring ourselves.  This is an important first step toward self empowerment.
*Quit being so selfish! In my book, Wisdom Through Failure, I refer to a character named Helpful Harry. Harry has spent most of his life doing everything for everyone and very little for himself. Harry is a people pleaser. Harry is also an ANGRY GIVER! Whenever Harry does something for himself he immediately feels guilty and begins rationalizing his behavior. Harry will buy a beautiful new tie and then return it to the store an hour later because he feels guilty for spending money that “should be going to something else”. Harry’s challenge is  to become self centered. When we are self centered we are choosing to nurture ourselves and we are focused on doing what is in our best interests. This does not mean that we have to quit being generous, it means that we prioritize our needs. We can start out by doing something nice for ourselves once a week and build from there. Being self centered is not selfish.
*Why can’t you be more like your sibling? The message most of us received was that we were not good enough. Many of us are still comparing our success to the perceived success of others. For example, when I self published my first book, Wisdom Through Failure, I found myself comparing my book to every other author in the personal development arena. Once published, I obsessively tore through my book looking for every error, criticized myself endlessly and drove my wife Diana crazy with my never ending revisions. I was blind to my own content because I was comparing my work to that of Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield. When I stopped comparing myself to these “heavy weights” and focused on creating the best version of my book an interesting thing happened…my book gained traction and has become very well received by a worldwide audience. Our challenge is to run our own, unique, race! Comparing ourselves to others is a flawed practice because we really don’t know what has taken or is taking place on the other person’s journey.
*Quit acting so stupid! The message many of us internalized was that we were not smart. Far too many have become chronic underachievers due mainly to a fear of doing or saying something that could be perceived as foolish. In my practice, I routinely work with clients who are able to breakthrough this limiting behavior by creating a new story and hence a new reality around the intelligent, innovative people they actually are. Our challenge is to replace a past lie with a new truth.  A good coach can help you achieve this breakthrough by effectively guiding you to your new truth.
*Quit being so emotional! As a coach, I interact with clients who are very comfortable showing their emotions and others who will fight tooth and nail to keep them in lock down. Many men, including myself, have been admonished since childhood that showing our emotions is a sign of weakness. “Real men don’t cry”, “don’t be such a wimp”, “toughen up” and “quit acting like a girl” were all phrases I heard  growing up. On the other hand, it is socially acceptable for women to show their emotions, in fact it is expected. Recently, I was involved in an intervention designed to remove a wife and three small children from an abusive home. The husband, a former college football star and successful business owner had been arrested for a significant act of domestic violence. Everyone who knew the couple seemed shocked and most characterized them as such a “happy couple”. What they didn’t know was that the husband had developed a significant drinking problem shortly after his brothers death, had become very distant, refused to talk with his wife about his mood changes and finally one night when she pressed him to talk to her he broke her jaw, 2 ribs and dislocated her shoulder. In a subsequent conversation she admitted that she had never seen him cry or discuss his feelings as it pertained to his brothers death or any other challenge in his life. This is a tragic example of what can happen when a person doesn’t release their emotions in real time. Being an emotionally healthy adult involves being able to release our emotions in healthy ways. Our challenge is to give ourselves permission to share our feelings rather than hold them in to a point of combustion. A good coach or therapist can help us design a healthy strategy for managing our emotions.
In reality, most of us also received some very empowering messages designed to encourage and inspire us to become the best version of ourselves. I welcome you to take a look at any areas in your life where you feel stuck. Are any of these childhood messages contributing factors to your frustration? If so, it may be time to take the proactive first step toward creating a brand new story to tell yourself.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback! #myindustry

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Engage In Gossip… John Page Burton

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The truth be known, every now and then most of us enjoy a juicy piece of gossip. These morsels of misery let us know that we are not the only one facing life’s challenges. Misery enjoys company and boy oh boy do those poor Kardashian’s have it rough! Unfortunately, some of us are addicted to gossip. For example, on cool summer evenings my wife and I like to sit outside on our porch, turn on our fire table and enjoy a glass of wine. Sadly, we have a neighbor who loves to gossip. Whenever my wife and I see her walking her dog down the street we instinctively head inside. Sometimes she is able to “sneak up on us” and our conversation with her ALWAYS goes something like this….How are you tonight Babs (fake name)? “Oh heavens I just can’t believe what’s going on with our HOA board and did you hear about so and so and rumor has it that such and such is going on down the street”! She will ramble on and on and then seem quite put out when we come up with some “lame excuse” why we must head back inside. In the three years that we have been exposed to her, she has never once asked my wife or I a single question about our lives or interests but she readily “spews” details about the majority of our neighbors. Some of it is actually quite nasty! Surely, she must have some “dirt” on us that she readily shares with others as she makes her nightly rounds. “You know those Burton’s are (fill in the blank)”. The gleam in her eyes is a dead giveaway to the personal fulfillment that being the “purveyor of secrets” seemingly affords her.

Recently, after a one sided conversation with my neighbor, I began contemplating why some people are just naturally attracted to gossip while others (like myself) are absolutely repelled by it? What motivates someone to become a “serial gossiper”? Lets take a look at some of the possible reasons.

GOSSIP…

Generational. For many, gossip is a learned behavior. Many of us heard our parents, relatives and friends gossip and so in order to fit in we may have actively joined the conversation. Anything we engage in long enough becomes a habit.

Opiate. Similar to most drugs, gossip tends to give us a false sense of contentment. The gossiper gets a “rush” from sharing “secrets” and when their audience nods their heads in approval or offers up an acknowledgement like “REALLY, I didn’t know that”, the gossiper is off and running in an unfiltered continuation of whatever half truths they are sharing.

Significance. Gossipers are fueled by an insatiable need to feel important and be viewed as people “in the know”. When they perceive to have an audience they tend to become even more audacious and their filter is turned all the way to the OFF position.

Societal. Gossip is a societal obsession. The tabloids (National Enquirer) sensationalize and outright lie about everything under the sun yet people clear the news stands with millions of sales each week. Tabloid television (Entertainment Tonight) and reality shows (Housewives of Mozambique) enjoy extremely high ratings because millions of people prefer being anywhere other than in their own reality. Sadly, millions of people rely on gossip as their sole source of information.

Ignorance. Gossip is a by product of ignorance. True intellectuals talk about ideas and solutions, small minds talk about people and problems. I have always been able to get an accurate read on someone by carefully listening to what they talk about!

Power. Gossipers derive a false sense of “power” from  “sharing details about someone else”. There is no genuine “power” in “spewing” personal information and falsity about others. The gossiper is viewed by non gossipers as vicious and untrustworthy. They carry ZERO credibility!

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU ENGAGE IN GOSSIP….

1. Would I still share this gossip if the person in question was standing next to me?

2. Is what I’m saying about the other person designed to build them up or discredit them?

3. What void in my life am I trying to fill by routinely gossiping about others?

4. How do I feel when I find out that someone has shared an untruth behind MY back? (Gossipers usually employ a double standard)

5. Who would I become If I made the conscious decision to let go of my need to share gossip?

Nothing positive comes from gossip. Reputations can be ruined, employment opportunities may be tarnished and personal relationships can be damaged or destroyed. Before you engage in any type of gossip I encourage you to ask yourself these 5 questions. I believe that it will help you to make a better, more empowered decision.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts.

The Richest Man In The Graveyard…John Page Burton

To quote my long time mentor Tony Robbins, “our goal is NOT to become the richest man in the graveyard“.  I have been blessed with an amazing life and by the grace of God I currently want for nothing. I realize that my life could change in an instant and this serves as a grounding principle for how I treat and relate to others.  Recently, I engaged in a conversation with a friend of mine who believes that my wife and I “may be accumulating too much stuff”.  His underlying message is that we should feel a profound sense of guilt for earning an exceptional income and enjoying nice things. In reality, my wife and I have chosen to live a modest yet active lifestyle while we are still alive and able to enjoy it. I encourage everyone to do the same. We designed a plan to earn our living from the comfort of home which has allowed us to split our time between Tucson and the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona. In short, we work hard and we play hard! I believe that as long as we are socially responsible with our earnings we shouldn’t feel guilty about creating and maintaining an enjoyable lifestyle and neither should anyone else! Our goal is not to become the richest person in the graveyard.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER…

*He who dies with the most toys is still dead. Don’t identify with “stuff”. We are not our things! In our final days it will be people and memories that will escort us into the afterlife.

*Personal relationships and experiences far outweigh stuff. A quality conversation is just as important as a quality pair of shoes. Long after my mountain bike wears out, memories of the people I rode with will live on.

*Service & outward focus make the world a much better place. GIVERS GAIN.  A life of service is a life well lived. Our willingness to give back to society speaks more about our character than our bank account ever will.

*Rewarding our efforts. When we reach our goals, it’s important to do something nice for ourselves. NEVER allow anyone to make you feel guilty for achieving success.

*Abundance. There is more than enough of everything for everyone. Share the blessing by clearing the clutter. If you are not using something, there is someone somewhere that will. Pay it forward.

*Give credit where credit is due.
No one attains success without the help and encouragement of a host of other people. Give credit where it is due. Don’t brag or gloat. First and foremost give credit to our creator.

*Don’t judge others based on material possessions. Some really great people live in large, well furnished homes and other really great people live in tents in 3rd world countries. Possessions don’t make a person, character does.

Remember, the secret to living is giving.

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