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.

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Are you a SPEWER or a DOER?…John Page Burton

There are those who DO and those who SPEW. More commonly stated…those who “walk the walk” and those who “talk the talk”.

Webster says…

do: transitive verb. To bring to pass, carry out, perform, execute.

spew: verb. Spout, gush, spurt, discharge, emit, eject, vomit, flowing in a fast and forceful way.

All of us know people who are “doers” and we probably know some who are “spewers”. The majority of successful people I meet tend to exhibit a high level of self confidence. Their speech and physiology reflect this self confidence. Doers never apologize for their success. On the other hand, spewers go to great lengths to “talk around” their lack of results. “The timing just isn’t right” or “I need to talk this over with a couple hundred people before I can commit” or “I need to wait until I have enough money to get started” are examples of what you can expect to hear from a spewer. Regardless of timing, funds or consensus, doers take the ball and run! “Spewers” know a bit of lingo here and there but routinely disappear whenever they are challenged to step outside their comfort zone to take meaningful action or personal responsibility. Lets take a closer look at some of the key characteristics of DOERS  & SPEWERS.

DOERS….

Focus. Doers set meaningful objectives and get to work. They remain focused in the face of adversity. When problems arise they channel their energy toward finding solutions. They do not get distracted by bright, shiny, objects.

Love Challenges. Doers love challenges and thrive on being told that something can’t be done, especially if the challenge is being directed at their ability.

Prioritize Health. Doers rely on energy and realize that health is their greatest asset. They exercise and pay close attention to what goes into their body.

Bottom Line Mentality. Doers take full responsibility for ALL of their actions and decisions. Doers want the ball when the game is on the line and their followers want to get it to them!

SPEWERS…

Talkers. Due mainly to their profound sense of insecurity, spewers “talk the talk” but rarely back it up with any type of meaningful action. They will be among the first to let you know when you are “doing something wrong” but rarely can they provide a solution for doing it better..

Prone To Blame. Spewers are masters of the blame game. They habitually blame other people or circumstances for their lack of initiative and results.

Bullies. Spewers routinely force their thoughts and beliefs onto other people. If you disagree with a spewer or present them with a differing point of view they may try to overwhelm you with BS and if that doesn’t work they may revert to anger.

Quit Easily & Often. When the going gets tough, spewers tend to exit stage left. Quitting is a habit. They quit, rationalize it and move on to the next “great thing”. They rarely give anything a chance to germinate. They possess an instant gratification mindset.

FROM SPEWER TO DOER IN 3 STEPS…

1. Facing our fears! When we take ownership of our fear we no longer have to make excuses or blame people and circumstances (spew) for why we can’t do something. Once we acknowledge our fear we can then move to the next step….

2. Commit to taking MASSIVE ACTION. The most effective way to overcome our fear is by overwhelming it with MASSIVE ACTION! When we remain in action mode we don’t have time to focus on fear. Once we have committed to taking MASSIVE ACTION the only thing we have to remember is….

3. Don’t quit. No matter how hard things are, how loud the voices in our head become or how many “your a loser” programs we begin running, it’s imperative to press on.

If you made it to the end of this message my guess is that your a doer. Remember, solidifying a new habit takes 90 days of focused activity. If you find yourself struggling in an area of your life an effective life or business coach can help you successfully execute these 3 steps. Here’s to doing!!!

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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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SHIFT Happens! Change Is A CHOICE…John Page Burton

“We problem solve from the past, we create in the present”. I tend to feel guilty, frustrated and angry when I choose to visit the past. I feel happy, fulfilled, energized and inspired when I choose to reside in the present. All of us drag around baggage from the past, some of us require two bellhops! Freedom comes when we take ownership of anything we regret or feel badly about, acknowledge that we did the best we could with what insight we had at the time and we move on. MENTAL SHIFT=FREEDOM. “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. Over the years, I have coached hundreds of clients who formed their identity around an event(s) that happened somewhere in their past. “I’m an incest survivor”, “I’m the child of an alcoholic parent” or “I had to fight for everything I ever got” are some of the more common ways many of us choose to stay connected to our past. The key word is CHOOSE. I know that for years I chose to identify with my past, which contributed to a great deal of discomfort and what I refer to as my “lost years”.  Once I consciously made the decision to “stop identifying with my past” my life began to take on a much deeper meaning.

SHIFT Happens…

Self Awareness. We begin to fully embrace who we are TODAY the moment we make the conscious choice to stop identifying with the negative messages/labels our parents, teachers, siblings or friends unconsciously bestowed on us. When we come to realize the identity of “our youth” doesn’t serve us as adults we have taken the first action step toward creating a permanent SHIFT. With self awareness comes a profound sense of personal responsibility. We can relish our NEW role as the chief architect of our life.

Habits. We can now begin creating new habits that will support our SHIFT. The most important one is our habit of “self talk”.  Do we speak in past or present tense? Is our “self talk” uplifting or self deprecating?  This single distinction/habit is a game changer in the world of SHIFT. Our growing self awareness encourages us to pay closer attention to our “self talk”. We understand and embrace the philosophy of “garbage in, garbage out”.

Independence. Freed from our past programming, we are now solely responsible for creating and designing our NEW life plan. In other words, we have given ourselves permission to paint our own, unique mosaic. At first, this can be daunting because we have always relied on the opinions and direction of others.  The key is to jump in and start applying the first brush strokes on our new canvas. As they say “try it, you’ll like it”.

Faith.  As we begin experiencing results from our new SHIFT, we are establishing a core FAITH in our ability to create the results we desire. Over time, our “muscles of faith” will grow stronger and stronger until they become our new foundation. The most effective way to build muscles of faith is through a willingness to take risks. The bigger the risk the greater our faith must be and this is how permanent SHIFT HAPPENS.

Tenacity. Each time we experience a breakthrough in our personal or professional lives we have effectively established a new point A. We have created a positive reference point that we can reflect back on, one that gives us the courage to move toward our next challenge. Every significant breakthrough in life began with a decision to make a SHIFT.  A SHIFT is the result of our tenacious desire to do and be more.

Until next time….Here’s to SHIFT!

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5 “NEEDS” That Stifle Our Personal & Professional Growth…John Page Burton

We all have needs. We need air, water and food to survive. Most of us have a need to feel safe, secure, loved and cared for.  I believe we can all agree that these are healthy needs. Unfortunately, not all of our needs are healthy. Many are destructive and can significantly stifle our personal and professional growth? Let’s take a closer look at 5 unhealthy needs and what we can do to create a shift.

1. The Need To Be Right. This need causes people to become argumentative, confrontational, condescending and vindictive. This need is Ego driven. The need to be right can be very polarizing in our personal and professional relationships. A person needing to be right struggles to consider any point of view that differs from than their own. Growth occurs when we become open and accepting of NEW and DIFFERENT beliefs, opinions and perspectives. It’s not as important to be right as it is to be respectful in our communication with others.

2. The Need For Constant Approval. This person expects to be acknowledged for everything they do. This juvenile, insecurity driven need is emotionally draining to spouses, friends, family members and co-workers. If you don’t acknowledge and shower them with praise they often become angry and resentful. Growth occurs when we learn to be humble. Our ACTIONS will always speak much louder than our words. We must learn to accept unsolicited praise, say thank you and move on. Nobody likes being around a person who “gloats” or demands acknowledgement.

3. The Need To Be Noticed. A person driven by this need is heavily influenced by appearances and is always in search of a new audience. They tend to base their self worth on material possessions and will go to great lengths to “flaunt their stuff”.  Characteristically, they are loud, boisterous communicators. They will do anything to grab the spotlight and they love to be seen as the “star of the show”. When they feel ignored, many will throw “adult temper tantrums” in a last ditch effort to satisfy their craving for attention. Growth occurs when we realize that substance is much sexier than stuff. People who crave notoriety tend to be seen as “show offs and braggarts”. People who exhibit humility and gratitude are generally seen as intelligent, trustworthy, responsible people.

4. The Need For Control. This need is fueled by insecurity and fear. Control is an avoidance strategy. At a subconscious level, the controller is simply avoiding their own self doubt and fear by focusing their energy on “fixing” and “manipulating” the people around them. Controllers are disappointed, frustrated and angry most of the time because rarely if ever do the people around them live up to their rigid expectations. “Control freaks” have a deep seated fear of being out of control and will do everything they can to control their environment. Growth occurs when we release our death grip on control, face our fears, embrace and accept failure, learn to delegate, appreciate that most people don’t desire to be “fixed” and commence on a dedicated journey toward self acceptance.

5. The Need To Be Needed. In my book Wisdom Through Failure, I refer to this need as “Helpful Harry Syndrome”. Helpful Harry routinely prioritizes the needs of others before his own. At first glance this seems to be a noble trait but in reality it is an avoidance strategy. Eventually, Helpful Harry becomes an angry giver as he comes to realize that many of his needs are not being met. The need to be needed does not encourage self sufficiency. In other words, “Helpful Harry’s” are teaching their children, spouses and employees to rely on others first. Growth occurs when we establish the habit of meeting our own needs before we focus on meeting the needs of others. With that being said, it is important to prioritize the needs of small children, those with disabilities and of course the elderly. We must encourage our adult children, spouses and employees to become problem solvers and doers. Admittedly, many may consider this a “self centered” approach, however, in the long term it will pay big dividends.

The beauty of personal growth is that ALL of us are a work in progress. It is VERY safe to say that none of us will ever achieve total mastery. We are human! Our goal is to recognize a familiar program when it begins to run and make an immediate shift toward our truth. With each shift we lay the foundation for our NEW REALITY.  As a wise man once said…SHIFT HAPPENS!

As Always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.
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The “Magic Wand” Fallacy, 3 Reminders For Maintaining Our Perspective…John Page Burton

Life sure would be a lot easier if I had a crystal ball and a magic wand! By being able to look into my future, I could avoid all types of pain, angst, misfortune and regret. All of my decisions would be painless and profitable. If by some off chance my crystal ball malfunctioned, I would simply wave my magic wand and POOF…everything would be restored to my new normal.

If you are over the age of ten and have a pulse you have probably figured out that there is no such thing as crystal balls or magic wands. This is the stuff of Harry Potter. We live in a survival of the fittest world in which a great deal of pain and suffering has been thrown in for good measure. I may be rattling some of my “new age” friends but I encourage you to bear with me and read on. By understanding that bad things often happen to “good people” and conversely, good things often happen to “bad people” we can begin designing a vision for what we desire our world to look like and then set out to manifest this vision.

3 Reminders That Keep My Life In Perspective…

*Everything is temporary. By remaining grateful for ALL of my circumstances I am able to maintain a current perspective. When things are going well I am grateful, when things go south, I can remain grateful. Is it challenging? YES! However, I realize I am leasing my time on Earth and it is up to ME to make it count. Nothing in life remains the same. Embracing the temporary nature of things makes my journey far less frustrating

*Someone is always worse off than I am. On my worst day, someone is having a more challenging day than I am. When I am knocking on deaths door someone else will have died. If I lived in a 450 square foot apartment in the worst neighborhood in any town in America and I was only able to eat one meal a day, I would still have a higher standard of living than 95% of the world. This is a powerful reminder of just how good my life really is. Anything I create above and beyond this example is “icing on the cake”!

*I control my thoughts. This is an absolute game changer. What we think about, we have the power to bring about. Senator John McCain was held as a prisoner of war for five years. During that time he was beaten, tortured and deprived of even the most basic tenets of human decency. When he was asked how he was able to survive and keep his spirits up, he said, “I knew that I controlled my thoughts”. We all have the ability to control what we think about and what we choose to focus on. I know that when I began to change my thoughts from scarcity (what was missing in my life) to thoughts of abundance (all that was possible) I began to truly grow as a person and recognize all of the opportunities that were available to me.

We may not be able to wave a magic wand to make our circumstances change but we do possess the power to determine what we focus on. None of us have access to a crystal ball allowing us to gaze into our future but we can condition our mind to recognize that everything is temporary and that life’s storms will eventually pass. When we become consciously aware of the world around us, it becomes much easier to navigate through both our favorable and unfavorable experiences.

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

5 Benefits of Risk Taking…John Page Burton

We have all heard the saying, “the greater the risk, the greater the reward”. I believe that with every significant risk there indeed lies the POTENTIAL for a greater reward. It is human nature to take “safe risks”. A willingness to take greater risks is often what separates a person who lives a rich, rewarding life from a person who resides within their comfort zone. For many, the word risk represents a chance to achieve fame, fortune and establish a significant legacy. For others the thought of taking a risk causes an uneasy feeling due to a deep seeded fear of failure. Remember, RISK is a word, we assign the meaning to it. Below are 5 benefits that are born from taking risks.

1. Taking risks builds and strengthens emotional muscles. Each time we take a risk and subsequently experience success, we gain more confidence. This new found confidence gives us permission to take more risks which over time creates the conscious habit of risk taking. Every time we take a risk we are building a new layer of emotional muscle.

2. Forces us to confront and breakthrough our fear. FEAR is the #1 reason why people avoid risk. Risk represents the potential for failure and failure is the Ego’s chief weapon in the battle to quash our self esteem. Every time we take a risk we have the opportunity to confront our fear and when we succeed we enjoy a significant psychological breakthrough. Our FEAR no longer controls us.

3. Enhances our leadership ability. I have never read the biography of a successful leader who attributed their success to their uncanny ability to play it safe. Leaders are calculated risk takers who cultivate a following due to their bold spirit, vision and ability to routinely do what others won’t. Our natural tendency is to follow a risk taker.

4. Connects us with our authentic self. Our authentic nature is to play a big game of life. When we take risks, we are sending a clear message to the universe that we are honoring the talents we have been given and that we are putting our full trust in the process. This is commonly referred to as having faith. Our authentic nature is not to be meek and mild but to be brave and bold.

5. Quality lifestyle. Risk takers tend to live above average lives. They live their lives on their terms and usually have few regrets. Risk takers tend to enjoy above average incomes and experience the sense of freedom that comes with financial security. Risk takers generally possess above average emotional IQ’s and are very comfortable in their own skin.

It is difficult to feel satisfied when we know that we have given less than our best. For most of us, staying in our comfort zone is actually quite uncomfortable. We all have dreams, ambitions and desires and to achieve them we must be willing to take risks.

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