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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6 Steps For Conquering Our Negative Self Talk (VOICES)…John Page Burton

Why do some people thrive and live seemingly happy, fulfilling lives while countless others seem to struggle to get by? In my work as a peak performance strategist and mentor, I routinely find that it almost always comes down to the “voices in our head”. Some of the voices we listen to are empowering, others, not so much. Our capacity to manage negative mental chatter plays a key role in determining the overall quality of our lives. The voices we choose to listen to dictate whether we experience joy and success or frustration and pain. Many of us engage in negative self talk to such a degree that our primary emotions have become anger, guilt and shame. These voices encourage us to stay within our comfort zone and make our decisions based on whether something brings us pain or pleasure. Others listen to positive, empowering voices which encourage us to take risks and go after our dreams. I believe that the “voices in our head” do in fact dictate our level of success as well as our sense of personal fulfillment. The question becomes… how can we stop our negative chatter when it comes up? For the next 30 days I encourage you to make a commitment to pay close attention to your self talk and to follow these 6 steps to help break the old pattern and create a new one.

Conquering Our NEGATIVE Self Talk…

Validation. The first step toward conquering the “negative voices” is to question if what we are saying to ourselves is even true? For example, “I never get anything right” usually has nothing to do with our current reality. We are still listening and reacting to the condescending voice of a parent or teacher who repeatedly admonished us during our formative years. The truth is that we get a lot of things “right” and like everyone else we will make mistakes. Our goal is to monitor our language and speak a NEW truth over the lie each and every time it comes up.

Ownership. We must be willing to take ownership of our negative self talk. In other words, we must acknowledge that we are speaking negatively about our self to our self. Far too many of us attempt to justify our negative self talk which adds more fuel to the lie. The long term danger of negative self talk is that when we repeat a lie long enough we begin to believe it. Most of us wouldn’t take ownership for a crime we didn’t commit yet many of us consistently and consciously take ownership of a worn out childhood story. Our goal is to quit justifying and defending our NEGATIVE self talk. BULLSHIT is BULLSHIT no matter how you package it!

Imagination. Imagine what your life would look like if you removed negative self talk from your vocabulary? Imagine your intimate relationship, friendships and career rising to a whole new level? We must establish and hold a vision of how our new habit of positive self talk will enhance the quality of our life experience. Affirmations beginning with “I AM” can be an effective way of re-programming our self talk. “I AM more than capable of meeting life’s challenges”, “I AM intelligent and gifted” or “I AM willing to learn new things” are all examples of empowered statements that can “overwhelm” our negative self talk. Every time a negative voice creeps in we must counter it with a positive “I AM” statement. Practice will produce results.

Choice. We CHOOSE our thoughts and our self talk is a bi product of what we are CHOOSING to think about. If I believe that the world is an unsafe place, it stands to reason that my self talk will reflect fear, scarcity and lack. If on the other hand, I believe that I live in a world of unlimited opportunity and abundance, my self talk will be uplifting, hopeful and positive. When we change our thoughts our language changes.

Expression. We must create a new HABIT of speaking positively over everything and everyone. Speaking words of gratitude and repeating positive affirmations are proactive ways to solidify our new habit of positive self talk. When we notice that we are starting to head down our familiar path of self condemnation, we can counter the voices by expressing our new truth. This is what is meant by having a conscious awareness.

Simplify. Keep this process simple. It doesn’t have to be complex. Remember… Our NEW thoughts become our NEW words, our NEW words become our NEW actions, our NEW actions become our NEW habits, our NEW habits become our NEW way of being.

We get to CHOOSE what we focus on. From this day forward we are the master programmer. What we CHOOSE to tell ourselves is now totally up to us. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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…..

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.

Learning To Approach Life With A Profound Sense Of Purpose…John Page Burton

Are you treating your life like a hobby or are you approaching it with a profound sense of purpose? Far too many of us are in “hobby mode” because we don’t believe that we deserve success or we have become deathly afraid of failure. Others have not given themselves permission to dream any bigger than what they were told they could achieve by parents, teachers, friends or others who themselves were afraid to leave their own little box to explore all of the amazing opportunities available to them. If you truly desire to play a much bigger, more impactful game of life then the tips below are guaranteed to move you in the right direction, provided you initiate them.

5 tips for playing a much bigger game of life….

1. Quit dabbling. Far too many of us are “dabbling” our way through life. We get excited about something, run with it for awhile and then lose interest and move on to the next “bright shiny object”. When we live with a profound sense of purpose we are able to harness the power of focus and begin accomplishing great things. What would your life look like if you quit dabbling, defined your purpose and applied the laser focus necessary to see your dreams become a reality? My guess is that you would begin to feel better about the new, committed you!

2. Get curious. Curiosity leads to opportunity. As children most of us were quite curious about the world around us. We tried new things, explored unchartered terrain and didn’t take NO for an answer. Slowly but surely, we found ourselves stepping into a custom designed box. We were encouraged by our parents and teachers to choose a specific path and then follow a set of instructions that would lead us to our “final” destination. Many of us woke up one day to the realization that this plan wasn’t working and the air in our little box was getting thinner. What would your life look like if you began approaching it with a sense of curiosity and you gave yourself permission to try new things and explore new opportunities? My guess is that you would quickly tear the lid off your tattered box and begin racing toward the opportunities awaiting you!

3. Give yourself permission to be great! We are usually our own biggest critic! Most of us judge ourselves far more harshly than anyone else ever could. We compare ourselves and our success to those around us and when we don’t feel like we are measuring up we become even more judgmental and critical toward ourselves. What would your life look like if you took your gaze off of others and began running the race you were destined to run? My guess is that you would have more energy and be a much happier person!

4. Seek role models. Once we define our purpose it’s time to find a role model, coach or mentor who can help us create a road map to reach our destination. There are no shortcuts to success, however, a good coach or mentor can help speed up our learning curve by sharing advice and designing strategies based on proven results. What would your life look like if you had a clear cut plan of action for achieving your goals as well as a coach or mentor to hold you accountable? My guess is that you would experience the magic that happens when responsibility meets accountability!

5. Embrace failure. I recently wrote a book titled Wisdom Through Failure. The premise behind this book is that in order to gain true wisdom we must accept and learn to embrace failure. We are all going to fail. When we personalize it we build scar tissue that causes us to become resistant to taking risks or trying new things. What would your life look like if you put yourself in a position to fail? My guess is that you will feel far more empowered than you will if you continue to play it safe?

I believe that all of us desire to make a difference in our world. The difference between you and somebody you envy is that you settled for less! As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Cheers!

What Your Bank Account May Be Saying About You…John Page Burton

Our beliefs and values shape our life experiences. Our relationship with money is an extension of our beliefs and values. Lets take a look at two different bank accounts and see what each one may be saying about the mindset of the account holder. Remember…where our energy flows our money follows! ***I understand that good people fall on tough times. This message is geared toward the person who has created these money habits of their own free will.

Account Holder #1

*Overdraft and service fees. Easy come, easy go. The account holder craves instant gratification, routinely putting off until tomorrow what they could easily write a “hot check” for today. This instant gratification mindset shows up in relationships, friendships and their work environment. When things aren’t “fun” they tend to become frustrated, anxious and bored. They live for the next “quick fix”.

*Hundreds of dollars in “fast food” charges. The account holder does not prioritize their physical or emotional health. Their lives are out of balance. People who consume large quantities of “fast food” tend to lack the mental and physical energy necessary to make a significant impact on the world. The “fast food” lifestyle features higher instances of illness and disease which translates into time lost from work which translates into additional loss of household income.

*Multiple (minimum due) payments made to credit card companies. The account holder is irresponsible. This is yet another example of their instant gratification mindset. The account holder lives life using bubble gum to plug holes in the dam. Excuses and justifications are predominant in their speech. This is a very stressful way to live life.

*Repeated ATM withdrawals at casinos. The account holder has an addictive personality and more than likely is using avoidance strategies to cope with extreme internal pain. Addictive behavior will predictably show up in other areas of their life and is more than likely wreaking emotional havoc in their most intimate personal relationships. Drinking, drugging and overeating are but a few of the behaviors common to this account holder.

Account Holder #2

*Interest earned on checking and savings. The account holder places a high value on and pays close attention to their money. Their mindset of what we appreciate, appreciates will spill over into other key areas of their lives.

*Payments made to charitable organizations. The account holder is service minded and cares about humanity. They routinely volunteer their time and are outward focused. Gratitude is a core guiding principle in their lives. They teach this sense of responsibility to their children.

*Dividend deposits, mortgage payments. The account holder is a planner and can be trusted with responsibility.

*Tuition payments. The account holder is a visionary thinker. Planning for future events is important to them. They can be trusted to take care of others. They are practical.

This begs the question…

Which of these account holders would you hire as an employee? Which one would be a reliable business partner? Which account holder would you desire to start a family with? There will be exceptions to every rule, however, our relationship with money is a pretty reliable indicator of how we will show up in other key areas of our lives.

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

8 Reasons Why People Remain Stuck In Life And Business…John Page Burton

Why do some people seemingly “sail” through life while others seemingly “flail” through life? Two words immediately come to mind…PERMISSION and CHOICES. Those who have CHOSEN to give themselves PERMISSION to “go after” all that life has to offer tend to make the game of life look so much easier than those who have CHOSEN to get bogged down in life’s minutia and “flail” their way through. As a peak performance strategist, I coach both “sailers” and “flailers”. I recently compiled a list of 8 common reasons why many people remain stuck in life and business. ***For the purpose of this article I am defining “success” as the attainment of anything worthwhile and rewarding.

1. LACK A TRUE VISION. Our journey to success will start with a compelling vision but must be followed by hard work and dedication. There are NO shortcuts! Our vision must be big enough and exciting enough to ensure that nothing can derail us from our dream. Frustration is usually birthed from a lack of focus. When our vision is small we tend to allow excuses and justifications to become our focal point. This is death to a dream.

2. MAJOR IN MINOR THINGS. Drama is another killer of dreams! I have seen countless people put their dreams on hold or lose momentum in their business because they seem to constantly be “coming to the rescue” of a “wayward” friend or family member. Helping people in need is a compassionate way to live life but far too many of us are using it as an avoidance strategy. Getting “sucked” into other peoples drama is an unconscious way to live and will keep us from “sailing”.

3. COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHERS. When I spend time comparing myself to someone else I am wasting my most precious resource…TIME! I am also sending a very loud message to the universe that I don’t appreciate my life and opportunities. This is NOT the message we want to send! My job is to run my race, not yours.

4. SEEKING ADVICE FROM THE WRONG PEOPLE. Once we create our vision and begin establishing our goals, it’s now time to seek counsel from people who are capable of helping us design a success strategy. It’s always wise to seek advice from people who have achieved the results we are striving to achieve. Their guidance can save us valuable time, resources and energy. It never ceases to amaze me how many people accept guidance from people who are no further along than they are? If you find that you are the smartest person in the room…FIND A NEW ROOM!

5. MOVING FROM “GURU TO GURU”. There is no such thing as a magic bullet! Knowledge is a good thing. APPLIED KNOWLEDGE PRODUCES RESULTS! A person can only take so many courses, gain so many certifications or earn so many degrees before it is time to APPLY what we know. Ask yourself…are you chasing your dream or are you chasing your “guru”?

6. LACKING A PROGRESSIVE CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE. The 5 people we spend the most time with have the greatest influence in our lives. It is imperative that we choose wisely. As we begin changing and growing so will our circle of influence. Many of us are surprised when friends and family members begin mocking our personal growth or even attempt to sabotage it. The reason for their behavior is simple, they want us to remain WHERE IT IS COMFORTABLE FOR THEM and they feel threatened by our ambition.

7. LOOKING AT THE “COST” RATHER THAN THE “INVESTMENT”. Successful people view personal growth and professional development as an investment rather than a cost. They invest in seminars, programs, workshops and they hire coaches while knowing full well that the true return on their investment will occur in the future. Cost minded people are focused on immediate return, have a difficult time delaying gratification and play a heavy game of “either-or”.

8. QUIT EASILY & QUIT OFTEN. Success is not for the faint of heart. I recently observed a person on my social media stream lamenting their challenge of getting their business off the ground. Which business I wondered? It seems like every month they are promoting a new business venture. The previous one “just didn’t work out”. My guess is at the first sign of resistance they quit and move on to the “next great thing”. What they fail to realize is that nobody wants to follow someone who quits easily and often. Anything worthwhile takes time, patience and a great deal of sweat equity before we can realize the joy of achievement.

STUCK is a CHOICE!

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