5 Suggestions For Achieving Happiness In Life & Business…John Page Burton

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As a coach, “I just want to be happy” is something I hear on a regular basis. Happiness is relevant and means different things to different people. One person may be extremely happy because they received a promotion at work while another person is equally happy because they are able to move off the streets and into a shelter. In reality, most of us define happiness based on the level of comfort we experience in any given moment. I have found in my personal and professional life that when I focus on the following 5 suggestions, my life and business thrive. When I deviate from them, I tend to experience discomfort and frustration. Let’s take a closer look….

1. Be PRESENT. When we dwell on the past or obsess about what may or may not happen in the future, we are missing our present moment experience. We problem solve from our past, we create in the present. Most of us have a pretty good present moment going on and the only way to ruin it is to jump back into the past or zip into the future. Stay focused on NOW and observe how your “happy meter” skyrockets.

2. Check the facts, don’t make assumptions. At one time or another, all of us have been guilty of making assumptions about someone or something. For example, we may have “assumed” that our boss was out to get us, our spouse was having an affair, our neighbor was a drug dealer or our teenager didn’t like us. By asking questions rather than making assumptions, we may learn that our boss’s decision to give us more work responsibility is because he is grooming us for a promotion. Our spouse is actually working late to earn extra money to surprise the family with a European vacation. Our neighbor works from home and because he met all of his sales goals he treated himself to a brand new BMW. Our teenager is actually being bullied at school and doesn’t know how to express their sadness and fear. By asking better questions and checking our facts, we can save ourselves and others a great deal of unhappiness and confusion.

3. Run your own race. Comparing ourselves to others only distracts us from reaching our full potential. Far too many of us base our success on the perceived success of others. The key word is “perceived”. I have known quite a few people who lived in gorgeous homes that were in foreclosure or who drove beautiful cars  that were on the verge of repossession. On the other hand, I know numerous people who live modestly, drive older model vehicles and enjoy 7 figure portfolios.YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER SO STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS AND RUN YOUR RACE!!!

4. Happiness is a CHOICE.  I am not going to be a Pollyanna and pretend that bad things don’t happen to good people or that life is all wine, roses and chocolate. Life can be very challenging. Choosing happiness means that we look for the blessing in every adverse situation we face. The blessing is there, our job is to find and embrace the lesson.

5. Listen to and learn to trust your inner voice. Our inner voice is a divine voice. When we listen to and trust our inner voice we are listening to and trusting our creator. We have all had those moments when we kicked ourselves for not trusting our gut. We knew something didn’t add up but we forged ahead anyway and lo and behold something was indeed wrong. We can save ourselves a great deal of unhappiness and regret by simply learning to trust our inner voice.

I hope these 5 suggestions will help you enjoy more happiness and less stress in your life and career.

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

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4 Step Formula for Facing & Conquering FEAR…John Page Burton

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We all experience fear. Many of us thrive on fear and use it as a motivator to accomplish great things. Others allow fear to keep them from experiencing their true greatness. When fear comes up, it’s an indication that we are outside of our comfort zone. The vast majority of what we fear is illusory (imagined fear). For example, I’m hiking in the woods and as I round a corner I see a bear 50 yards away. My fear would be very real! On the other hand, I have heard a rumor that a bear has been seen in the forest and therefore I make a decision to not go hiking in the woods because I may run into the bear and be killed. This is an illusory fear. Whenever fear comes up, it’s imperative that we face it head on in order to break its grip. Below is my 4 step formula for facing and breaking through fear when it shows up in my life.

FEAR…

FORMULATE a success strategy. For example, let’s say we have decided to leave the comfort zone of our job in order to fulfill our dream of launching our own business. This can be a fearful experience due in large part to the uncertainty and financial risk involved. As we begin to design our strategy, it’s important to begin asking ourselves some key questions. For example, who is our ideal customer? What material and human resources will we need? What is our budget? What is our timeline? As we begin to pour our energy into developing and executing our strategy, we will begin to see the unlimited possibilities for our new venture. (This strategy can be used in any area of our life where we desire to achieve success) Formulating our strategy/plan will create the initial “rush” of energy that will propel us toward the next step….
ENVISION a compelling future. One of the keys to conquering fear lies in our ability to hold a compelling vision of what our future will look like when we have broken through and achieved the results we are seeking. Remember, compelling vision=commitment and discipline. Small vision=excuses and distractions. A strong vision will lead us toward the next important step…
ACTION. In our battle with fear, ACTION is our most proactive defense. When we are fully engaged in the success process, we have very little time to listen to the voices of doubt and fear. When these voices begin to surface (they will) we can simply overwhelm them with ACTION. Taking consistent ACTION keeps us in a continual state of forward progress. Without massive ACTION we can’t help but remain a hostage to fear.
ACTION leads to the final step….
REFERENCES. Achieving the results we set out to accomplish is the bi-product of our strategy, vision and ACTION. Results validate our efforts and significantly boost our confidence and belief. Results also validate that we have the courage to face and conquer our fears thus becoming a much stronger, more capable person. Results serve as reference points that we can recall whenever we face a new fear or adversity.
The next time you experience fear or self doubt in any area of your life, I encourage you to implement this 4 step process and begin building a strong data base of fear busting references.

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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The Secret to Surviving The RIPTIDES of Life…John Page Burton

If you have ever spent time around the ocean you have more than likely heard the term riptide. Hopefully, you have never experienced a riptide while enjoying a swim. If by chance you have, you know that getting caught in a riptide is a terrifying experience. A riptide occurs when the sand suddenly shifts on the ocean floor, creating a canal that is approximately 8-10 yards wide. If you are caught in this canal the receding current will begin pulling you out to sea. For many of us, our immediate inclination is to begin swimming toward our “comfort zone” which in this case is the shore. As we exert our energy swimming toward the shore, the tide is exerting it’s own energy pulling us away from the shore and back out to sea. If we continue to fight the current, we will eventually use up all of our energy and drown. What we resist will persist. The secret to escaping the pull of a riptide is actually quite simple…CHANGE DIRECTION. By swimming approximately 15 yards to either side, a person is usually released from the pull of the riptide.

How many of us find ourselves valiantly fighting something or someone only to find ourselves being pulled further and further into a sea of drama. Our riptides occur at work, in relationships, friendships and for many, our internal riptides have pitted us against ourselves for as long as we can remember. We forcefully defend and justify our positions as we continue to frantically swim toward shore. If we would be willing to change our strategy and start swimming in a different direction we could be released from the bondage of our emotional riptide once and for all. Lets take a closer look at some of the ways we can avoid the push-pull in our lives.

COMMUNICATING OUR TRUTH IN REAL TIME. For example, if we really don’t desire to go to our sisters house for dinner, we need to tell her! Rather than “go anyway” and be miserable we must learn to be all right with asking for a rain check. When we express our true feelings in REAL TIME we can’t help but feel empowered because we are being true to ourselves. Many of us have conditioned ourselves to “go along to get along” for so long that at first “honest communication” may seem odd. SWIM TO THE RIGHT, it’s worth it! Our truth will indeed set us free!

STAY AWAY FROM GOSSIP. Gossip is unconscious, immature communication that never has a positive intent. When you find yourself in the pull of this disturbing current it’s time to SWIM LEFT, FAST!

MAKE COURSE CORRECTIONS WHEN NEEDED. When we recognize that something doesn’t feel right or simply isn’t working it is ALWAYS in our best interest to make a course correction. Trying to force things to work is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, it isn’t going to happen. Far too many of us are trying to “make” an abusive marriage work, “get through” another miserable week at work, “force” a sibling to finally “respect” us or “demand” that a parent be proud of us. Rather than continue to slowly drown in expectations, SWIM TO THE RIGHT! Our ability to be proactive will release us from our emotional riptide.

SURRENDER The Ego desires us to see ourselves as the end all be all. It is empowering to have a healthy sense of self worth and it is admirable to be willing to lead the charge but there are also times when we have to recognize that it is time to get out of our own way. Surrender comes in different forms. It may be to our creator or it may be to a spouse, co worker or friend. We should never feel shame in surrender. Surrender is a conscious acknowledgement that we have given our best but recognize our limitations in a given challenge. Rather than fight the current, we must SWIM TO THE LEFT!

Riptides are scary. Once we know how to release ourselves into safer water they will no longer hold power over us. Having a healthy respect for nature is always a good idea but having a healthy respect for ourselves is where the real magic happens. Here’s to swimming in the ocean!

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

ONE RUG AT A TIME, A Dogs Journey To Inner Peace…John Page Burton

A year ago this month Diana and I adopted a dog from The Humane Society of The White Mountains. Our new “fur buddy” had been significantly abused and for Mr. Deeks (his new name) the world was an extremely dangerous place where the next kick, punch or worse could come at any moment. He had been found roaming the woods with his brother. Both dogs were extremely malnourished, scarred and understandably mistrusting of humans. Upon arriving at our home, Mr. Deeks instantly found a specific place in the living room that he deemed safe, curled up in a ball and spent the majority of his first week anchored to this “comfort zone”. We fed him by hand. A week later we adopted a companion for him, a little puppy who we named Kensi. From the moment Kensi arrived in our home she and Mr. Deeks hit it off and we can’t help but credit her whimsical nature for bringing out the “inner puppy” in Mr. Deeks.

This past weekend Diana and I paid a visit to our friends Tom and Judy. Our dogs love to interact with their dogs and it quickly becomes a circus atmosphere as all of the dogs are rescues, with each dog exhibiting their own unique set of challenges and triggers. For example, Mr. Deeks is very cautious when he encounters sliding glass patio doors. On Saturday morning, “the humans” and all of the other dogs were in the living room area, that is except for Mr. Deeks who was standing in front of the sliding glass patio door making a familiar squeaking sound that lets us know he is afraid. I encouraged him to come to me. Initially, he put one paw across the door frame and quickly pulled it back. This process went on for several minutes. I continued to encourage him. Eventually, he stuck his head and two paws through the door frame but quickly withdrew to the safety of the patio. I continued to speak words of encouragement to my buddy. A few minutes later the squeaking sounds began in earnest and much to my amazement Mr. Deeks was standing on the first of three throw rugs placed between the patio door and the opening to the living room. He looked at me and again “bolted back to the safety of the patio but this time he quickly returned to the first throw rug. With his squeaker in full force he reached his paw toward the second throw rug, closed his eyes and launched onto rug #2. By now all of “the humans” were cheering him on. He quickly bolted back to the safety of the patio. Kensi began making her own unique little squeaking sounds and before we knew what had happened Mr. Deeks was now standing on rug #3. This time instead of racing back to the patio he began to extend his paw across the door frame leading into the living room. After about 30 seconds, he bolted back to the safety of rug #2. Yes, I said rug #2. Deeks had established a new safety zone. Finally, he looked at all of his raving fans, turned his squeaker up full volume, closed his eyes and made a dead run for the couch. Mr. Deeks was safely in my lap. Cheers went up and his sister Kensi began licking his face. Mr. Deeks had just experienced a major BREAKTHROUGH in Tom and Judy’s living room. For the rest of our visit Mr. Deeks cruised around the house, stood in line for treats and bascially acted like he owned the place. His courage combined with a great deal of encouragement and acceptance from Kensi and “the humans” had led Mr. Deeks to finally leave his comfort zone and enter a brave new world of endless possibilities. He had built new muscles of courage.

How many of us “humans” live in a world of fear and doubt? Our life experiences have left us feeling frightened and alone. We don’t know who to trust and so we cling tightly to our comfort zones. Much like Mr. Deeks, we desire to expand our world and experience what lies on the other side of the “patio door” but we end up giving in to our fears and we return to the patio feeling even more frustrated and defeated. All of us can learn a great deal from the journey of Mr. Deeks. Here are a few of my takeaways from the BREAKTHROUGH I witnessed on Saturday.

*We ALL need a companion, someone who is there to pick us up when we are down. (They may not lick our face but we know they love us unconditionally and accept us for who and where we are) We ALL need to know that we have “raving fans”, people who cheer us on as we build our muscles of courage. IF YOU DO NOT NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW PLEASE FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES AND BE THIS PERSON FOR THEM.

*We are not our past. People can be cruel. They can do very unconscious things to us. We must show ourselves grace and keep moving toward the light. There a far more amazing, loving, caring, understanding, supportive people than there are cruel people. We must give ourselves permission to trust again, albeit one validation at a time. This is often a very slow process but one we must engage in if we desire to find inner peace. We must be willing to approach our desires and goals ONE RUG AT A TIME. Once we experience this BREAKTHROUGH our patio doors will never hold us hostage again. We now know what lies on the other side and IT IS GOOD!

*We must show grace to ourselves and others. Saturday was not the first attempt by Mr. Deeks to cross through a sliding glass patio door. Prior to Saturday he had never done it before. We have encouraged him to join us on our deck at both our mountain and city homes and although he has stood at the door and squeaked he has always retreated back to the safety of the living room couch. With every failed attempt we have shown him grace and let him know that the patio was his to enjoy as well as ours. We never placed him out there against his will because we knew that this would keep him from ever having a patio BREAKTHROUGH. We showed him grace and didn’t make him feel bad because he was afraid. This continued grace allowed him to finally experience his BREAKTHROUGH on Saturday.

We were ALL born into a different set of circumstances. None of us are any better than anyone else! We are ALL children of God who have traveled down different, sometimes painful paths. Our challenge is to live our lives in a manner that prioritizes grace and unconditional love. Strength doesn’t come from inflicting pain, strength is born from compassion. BTW….Since returning back to our mountain home, Mr. Deeks has routinely traveled back and forth through the sliding glass patio door and now spends much of his time lounging in a patio chair. Go figure, he has expanded his world!

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