Thank God For Dirty Dishes…John Page Burton

I recently attended a dinner party. The evening featured a plethora of great conversation, an abundance of laughter and it seemed that everyone genuinely enjoyed being in each others company. As the evening wound down, our host sighed and said, “I guess it’s time to tackle all of those dirty dishes” at which I remarked “thank God for dirty dishes”. We pitched in, cleaned up the kitchen, said our goodbyes and headed out into the night. On the drive home my wife and I began talking about the significance of “dirty dishes” and just how grateful we are for all of the “dirty dishes” we continue to have the privilege to wash.

What it means to have “dirty dishes” in my sink.

*I enjoyed a meal.
*I have the financial resources to purchase food.
*I am not starving.
*I have a roof over my head.

Many of the things that I take for granted are considered a luxury in 97% of the world. Most of what I complain about would be met with a blank stare by a person who lives in Haiti. The “left over” food that many of us routinely throw away would save lives in 3rd world countries. Being mindful of just how good I have it tends to keep me grounded whenever I find myself going into “complainer mode”.

With this being said, I must leave you as my wife has just informed me that it is my turn to do the dishes.

With much gratitude…..

Embracing our MISTAKES…John Page Burton

Many of us routinely “beat ourselves up” for making mistakes. Rather than embracing and learning from our mistakes we speak negatively over them. “How could I have been so stupid” or “I never get anything right” are some of the common utterances of a person who is in bondage to their mistakes. When we shift our perspective and begin viewing mistakes as learning opportunities we become increasingly open to venturing outside our comfort zone and we begin taking the type of risks that can significantly elevate our game. Remember, mistakes are one of the prices we pay for growth.

What our MISTAKES can teach us…

Modification. Mistakes can provide us with an opportunity to change our behavior. For example, if you or someone you know has ever been cited for DUI, you are well aware of the behavior modifications that must take place if the person charged desires to remain out of jail and keep their job. Mistakes are often the gateway to massive change.

Introspection. Mistakes provide us with an opportunity for self examination. Whenever I make a significant mistake I engage in a process of introspection. What could I have done differently? What led me to make this decision in the first place? What will I do differently next time? Rather than “beat myself up” I choose to reflect and re-direct.

Sabotage. Why do we make the same mistake over and over? When we continue to make the same mistake over and over it is often an indication that we are intentionally trying to avoid something we perceive as uncomfortable. Recently, one of my clients experienced a life changing breakthrough when she recognized that she had engaged in a series of “abusive” relationships because she was afraid of allowing herself to be completely vulnerable and intimate with a man. For years she had been sabotaging her happiness.

Trust. Embracing our mistakes allows us to trust ourselves at a much deeper level. By accepting that I am not immune from making mistakes, it becomes easier to make bold decisions. I recognize that I will make mistakes (poor decisions) from time to time, however, my intention is to use them as a barometer for my growth rather than berate myself because I am not “perfect”.

Accountability. Mistakes shape our character. When we make a mistake do we take personal responsibility or do we seek someone to blame? Far too many people in leadership positions look for a “scapegoat” rather than taking responsibility for their decision, learning from it and moving forward. Accountability and personal responsibility are key characteristics of authentic leadership.

Knowledge. If we are open to learning, mistakes can provide us with a wealth of knowledge. Many of us have heard the saying “only a fool makes the same mistake twice”. Not true. Many of us are capable of making the same mistake several times before we grasp the lesson. I say “only a fool doesn’t eventually learn from the same mistake”

Empathy. Mistakes can help us to be more understanding and tolerant of others. Once I embraced the concept that I am always going to make mistakes, I became less judgmental of others.
Over the years, this understanding has helped me become a much more empathetic, effective leader.

Solutions. Mistakes usually inspire us to look for solutions. Throughout my academic career, math was not my best subject. I routinely made mistakes. My teachers would encourage me to keep reworking the problem until I found the solution. This same philosophy serves us well in any area of our lives where we find ourselves routinely making mistakes. We can’t stay stuck in a problem if we are actively seeking a solution.

Remember, when we choose to embrace our mistakes we are choosing to embrace personal growth.

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

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.

It’s Hard To Be Humble…John Page Burton

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

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

Humility…A check up from the neck up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

The Secret to Dying Rich…John Page Burton

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to dying RICH!

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

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

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

MONEY

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

THE “GARAGE SALE MILLIONAIRE” MINDSET….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOCUS,FOCUS,FOCUS…John Page Burton

Bright, shiny objects have been the demise of many a dream. Our societal obsession with bright, shiny objects is often the root cause of marriage, business and financial problems. Bright, shiny objects routinely show up in our path in the form of people, possessions and technology. Our attraction to them is driven by the Ego and only serves one purpose and that is to throw us off course. Referred to by their more common name, bright, shiny objects are DISTRACTIONS. Many of us have created the habit of employing distractions as an “avoidance strategy” whenever we find ourselves on the verge of leaving our comfort zone. So how do we curtail our attraction to bright, shiny objects? When they appear we must remember the three keys for overcoming them…FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS!
*Try not to get them out of order!

Where our FOCUS goes, our energy flows.

Below are a few tips for maintaining FOCUS as we move toward our goals and dreams.

FUN. When we inject an element of “fun” into the pursuit of our objectives the process becomes more enjoyable. When something is “fun” we tend to maintain our FOCUS for longer periods of time and we are less vulnerable to bright, shiny objects. It is human nature to move toward things that bring us pleasure and away from things that cause us pain.

OBJECTIVITY. When we look at life with an objective point of view we tend to see bright, shiny objects for what they are…distractions. Remaining objective as we move toward what we desire does wonders for our mental and emotional health.

CHALLENGE. Most of us are up for a good challenge. The pursuit of our goals and dreams should always be challenging. Weak goals leave room for distractions, BIG goals require discipline and FOCUS. The higher we set our personal bar the more dedication and commitment it takes to reach our destination. This leaves little room for distractions to creep in.

URGENCY. When we add a sense of urgency to our goals we tend to take massive action. Urgency requires action, complacency requires nothing. Creating a sense of urgency will keep us FOCUSED and we will begin viewing distractions as the nuisance they are.

SIMPLICITY. The more complicated we make something the easier it is to lose FOCUS and quit. Once we have determined what it is we desire to achieve we must then design an easy to follow strategy for reaching our objective. The less complicated the plan, the easier it will be to FOCUS on the process.
KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Take inventory of your bright, shiny objects and determine what your life would look like if you began shifting your FOCUS in a more empowering direction. Remember, we get to CHOOSE what we FOCUS on and that in and of itself is very powerful.