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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The Benefit of Checking Into REHAB…John Page Burton

If you’re the type of person who sets big goals and desires to play an above average game of life you’re more than likely aware of the benefits gained from a trip to rehab. I recommend checking in quarterly. I like to refer to rehab as my “check up from the neck up”. Similar to residential real estate, my rehab process reflects a period of restoration. I keep what is working and remove or modify what is not. My trip to rehab is designed to move me closer to my stated objectives both personally and professionally. Let’s check into rehab…

REHAB…What really happens behind closed doors?

Review. Our first step is to take an in depth look at what has and hasn’t worked during the previous quarter. Did we reach the goals we set? If not, why? In order to reach our objectives we must have a strategic plan in place along with a reliable system to measure our progress. We must be willing to make course corrections when necessary. Conducting a comprehensive review enables us to analyze our past performance and then chart a new course for the upcoming quarter, a course that is based heavily on our past success. Heed the adage…”if it ain’t broken, don’t try and fix it”.

Edit. What needs to be changed, modified or re-designed? If something isn’t working it’s often time to make a directional shift. Having edited the previous quarter we can now establish new objectives and create a detailed strategy for accomplishing our goals.

Habits. What habits are keeping us from reaching our stated objectives?. What new habits can we establish that will support our vision? For example, we may find that we have created the habit of avoidance in a specific area of our business. This habit may be what is keeping us from reaching our full potential. Armed with this awareness we can begin establishing new habits, habits that will move us closer to our stated objective and away from our avoidance strategies.

Action. What actions do we need to take in order to meet our objectives? Action leads to results. Massive action leads to massive results. I refer to this as the law of action. When we hit the proverbial wall or find ourselves experiencing doubt or fear the ONLY way we will experience a BREAKTHROUGH is by engaging in massive action. Action is the great equalizer.

Brainstorm. What new, innovative ideas will we incorporate into our next 90 day burst of focused activity? What resources (material and human) can we enroll into our action plan? Who can we add to our mastermind group that will bring additional insight to our mission? (If you don’t have a mastermind group it is a good idea to start one) Brainstorming is inspiring and can be extremely beneficial as we grow our business. Remember, the quality of our life experience is a direct reflection of the questions we ask.

I gain tremendous value from my trips to rehab and my hope is that you will find your experience fruitful as well.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

Are You An “ANGRY FORGIVER” Suffering From “RESENTMENT FLU”…John Page Burton

If you have spent any time in or around the personal development arena you have probably heard the term “angry giver”. This term is used to describe the type of person who readily gives their time, treasure and talent to everyone around them but rarely does anything to nurture themselves. They smile as they busily meet the needs of everyone else and “proudly” state that “they are the only one who can be trusted to perform the task at hand”. Their pasted on smiles and tired sighs are feeble attempts to mask the anger they feel inside. They are ANGRY because they know they are allowing their own fear and insecurity to keep them from honoring their desires and dreams. I have also come to believe that many “angry givers” are also “angry forgivers”….Let me explain.

WHEN WORDS of FORGIVENESS JUST DON’T CUT IT…

In my coaching practice I work with numerous clients who have experienced a significant degree of emotional and in some cases extreme physical pain. Most attribute the root cause of their pain to parents, siblings, spouses, teachers, relatives or someone else entrusted to protect them from harm that failed to do so. At some point, most of my clients have been encouraged to first forgive themselves and then forgive their “betrayers”. They have been led to believe that they will not be able to begin their healing process until they speak WORDS of forgiveness. As someone who has experienced a reasonable amount of life pain, I contend that simply speaking WORDS of forgiveness will not create inner peace. We must give ourselves permission to confront and release our ANGER! I did not begin healing the wounds from my past until I OWNED and processed my true feelings. Over the years, I have met and continue to meet people who much like myself were “ANGRY FORGIVERS”. We spoke our words of forgiveness when we were around our church brethren, spiritual teachers and guidance counselors but on the inside we remained angry and resentful. Many of us even publicly declared that we had forgiven ourselves and our “betrayers” yet routinely drank or drugged to numb our pain and anger. Anger has the potential to infect every area of our lives and therefore we must quit deceiving ourselves and confront our “TIRED STORY.

THE “TIRED STORY”…

The majority of our pain and suffering is based on a “tired story” that we continue to tell ourselves. Each time we tell our story it gains more traction. Our story is based solely on OUR perspective and more than likely it took place many years ago. Many of the “main characters” from our story are old or dead yet we still hold them responsible and BLAME them for everything we deem “wrong” in our current reality. Everyone around us suffers as a consequence of our “tired story”. Remember, when we cast BLAME we effectively shut out the perspective of anyone else. As adults we often blame our parents for the many ways “they wronged us” during childhood. For years, I blamed my father for my “unhappy” childhood. Finally, toward the end of my fathers life we had an open, honest conversation. My father shared HIS perspective on the events of my “unhappy” childhood and as a result of our conversation I effectively laid my “tired story” to rest. ***We also tend to cast blame on those who are not present to defend themselves. After all, if they were present our blame might not hold up to scrutiny.

ORIGINS of ANGER…

We have ALL had experiences we would just as soon forget. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Many of us were effected by the physically or verbally abusive parent, the cheating spouse, the perverted teacher or the drama that unfolded with an alcoholic parent or spouse. All of these scenarios can make a profound impact on our psyche. These experiences also leave us feeling hurt and angry. We may have become obsessed with revenge, become sick with resentment flu or even taken aggressive steps toward hurting the other person. When we experience these emotions we are not in forgiveness mode but rather revenge mode…we want our “betrayer” to pay for hurting us! When we harbor anger and resentment yet proclaim forgiveness we are doing significant emotional harm to ourselves. We are in reality, “ANGRY FORGIVERS”!!!

3 STRATEGIES TO HELP US LET GO of OUR ANGER & TRULY FORGIVE…

1. Re-direct the blame. Recently, Tony Robbins shared something that really hit home.
He proposed that rather than continuing to go through life blaming our “betrayers” for what they did “to us” we would be wise to begin blaming them for what they did “FOR us”. For example, because of a horrific predatory experience at the hands of her father, one of my clients now blames her father for teaching her to be more protective and aware around her own children. Rather than blame her mother for leaving her alone for several days at a time, another client now blames her mother for teaching her to be a self sufficient women. Rather than blaming her overweight father for dying when she was eight years old, another client now blames her father for leading her to the healthy lifestyle she now maintains for herself and her children. Tony refers to this as CONSCIOUS BLAMING. Conscious blaming allows us the FREEDOM to make peace with our past challenges rather than dwell in our “TIRED STORY”.

2. Shift Your Perspective. Remember, our anger originated from a past experience. I would contend that in the present moment most of us are quite content. The fastest way to shift out of anger and resentment is to view it from a different perspective. Let’s say for example that during childhood I resented my brother Bob for getting most of my mom and dads attention. I was angry toward my parents for favoring him. Last week I got angry with my mom and finally told her how I felt. My mother explained…”I’m so sorry you felt that way and have been angry with us for so many years. We didn’t know it at the time but your brother Bob had what is now known as Attention Deficit Disorder. It was all we could do to keep up with him. I’m sorry if you felt that you were not important to us, it was just so overwhelming”.
This conversation would more than likely shift our perspective allowing our anger to subside. I encourage my clients to first seek to understand before demanding to be understood.

3. GET PISSED! Tell them how you really feel! The longer we hold things in the more damage we do to our physical and emotional health. With this being said, there are ways to release our anger without creating more psychic drama. I encourage my clients to write “the letter they never send”. In this letter, directed to the object of their anger, I encourage them to put it all on the table, word for word… really let them have it!!! I encourage them to read it out loud (preferably in front of a mirror) emphasizing their anger. When they are done, I ask them to rip up the letter and flush it down the toilet. They have effectively said what needed to be said and have flushed the drama out of their life. In another exercise I will ask a client to sit in a chair that is directly across from an empty chair. I encourage my client to visualize that the object of their anger is sitting directly across from them. I encourage the client to hold nothing back, telling them exactly how they feel about the betrayal. This usually proves to be a very emotional exercise but the result has a very cleansing effect. These are just two of many methods that can help us release our anger and truly move us toward GENUINE forgiveness.

It is important to keep in mind that every person who shows up in our lives has been placed there to play the exact role we need them to play at the time. The only way we can maintain a depressed state is if we continue to focus solely on OURSELVES. Change your focus…change your life!

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

Learning to Manage Our “Destructive” Emotions…John Page Burton

“This too shall pass” is one of the most powerful beliefs that a person can maintain. When we adopt and speak this truth, we are communicating from a place of undeniable faith. Whether we choose to view our life experiences as good or bad, we are mindfully acknowledging that they are needed for our growth. Ultimately, how we choose to interpret our life experiences will determine our emotional relationship with the world around us.  It is relatively easy to exhibit confidence when things are “going our way” and much more difficult when we are confronted with challenges and adversity. Learning to manage our “destructive emotions” is critical to attracting success, happiness and abundance. Let’s take a look at what I consider to be our 5 most “destructive emotions” and how we can effectively manage them and begin living a happier, more rewarding life.

*Frustration. When we function from a place of frustration we are effectively blocking our creativity and intuition, limiting our ability to solve problems. Frustration is a bi-product of fear, mainly a fear of failure. Frustrated people are prone to making excuses, blaming others and personalizing every adverse experience. Our breakthrough will occur when we learn to release our attachment to the outcome. In other words, we must set our intentions and then focus exclusively on the process that will lead us to our desired end result.

*Anger. Anger is a control based emotion. For many of us, anger is triggered when we feel that we have lost control over our intimate relationships, our family, our work environment, our health or even recreational activities such as sports. Another trigger for our anger is our need to be heard and to be right. Often, we become angry when people disagree with or oppose our beliefs. For others, anger can be triggered when we perceive a loss, betrayal or violation of our subconscious rules. Our breakthrough will occur when we learn to minimize our expectations and become more flexible in our approach to life. We must learn to become more respectful and tolerant of other people and their differing points of view.

*Inferiority. This emotion is characterized by a low sense of self worth. When a person struggles with feelings of inferiority, it is not uncommon for them to live in a world of “make believe” where they project a larger than life image of themselves. Living in this fantasy world allows them to deny their actual feelings of inadequacy. Their constant fear of rejection is complimented by their long standing belief that they will never be good enough, smart enough, educated enough, affluent enough, attractive enough, or a multitude of other “not enough” feelings. They fear “looking stupid”, saying “something dumb” or doing “something wrong”. Our breakthrough will occur when we learn to accept ourselves for who we are and make the conscious decision to live in the present moment.

*Envy. This emotion is rooted in a profound sense of insecurity. Envy is a perception based emotion.  A person who is grounded in envy will never be satisfied and nothing will ever be good enough for them. Envy is a very competitive emotion. Envious people can be very manipulative and are more than capable of flying into fits of anger and rage toward those they perceive to have what they desire. Envious people can be very disingenuous, often saying one thing to someone’s face while saying something entirely different behind their back. Our breakthrough will occur when we realize that there is more than enough for everyone and that it is our job to focus on running our own unique race.

*Guilt. Guilt is a very crafty, fear based emotion. Guilt can be used to manipulate another person or it can be used to draw attention to ourselves. We may verbalize our “guilt tactics” or we may use the “silent treatment” to get our point across. Guilt can be used to validate our long standing “victim stories” or allow us to justify “being right” about our current circumstances. Guilt is often used to deflect responsibility for our actions. Our breakthrough will occur when we make the conscious decision to take full responsibility for our lives, circumstances and actions. We now recognize that playing the “victim role” no longer serves us.

Which of these emotions are you carrying around with you? How are these destructive emotions serving you? What would your life be like if you replaced them with empowering emotions?

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.