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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Are You A CAREfrontational Leader?..John Page Burton

The vast majority of us will serve in some type of leadership capacity. Many of us will lead companies or sales organizations, others will lead classrooms, community organizations, political groups or non profits. The most important leadership role we may ever experience is the role of parent and family leader. We must also focus on becoming a consistent leader of self. During a recent conversation with my friend Ross, he referred to me as a “CAREfrontational” business coach. I asked him what he meant and he replied “you are very direct in your communication, yet your compassion and understanding clearly shine through”. I liked his term CAREfrontational and promised Ross that I would incorporate it into my next article on leadership. Let’s take a closer look at two different leadership models…

CAREfrontational vs Confrontational Leadership.

Far too many leaders in their quest for significance, employ a confrontational, authoritarian style of leadership. Most confrontational leaders believe their approach produces results and garners respect. In reality, this approach is extremely polarizing within an organization and over time it tends to contribute to higher turnover rates and a decrease in productivity due largely to the volatile nature of the work environment. Some of the words commonly used to describe confrontational leadership include; argumentative, combative, contrary, volatile, quarrelsome, contentious, scrappy, authoritarian, unfair and dictatorial. Some of the feelings this type of leadership creates within the rank and file of an organization include; mistrust, fear, doubt, drama, self protection, concern, trepidation, anxiety and security. Confrontational leaders create a culture of ME vs you and “I am always right”!

The “CAREfrontational” leadership approach is focused on the organization as a whole. The CAREfrontational leadership model seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, understand their primary communication style and focuses on exploiting the strength and leveraging the weakness of each member of the team. This leadership style encourages delegation and prioritizes time management. The communication style of a CAREfrontational leader is explicit yet respectful and is designed to instruct not degrade. Words used to describe this leadership style include; team, health, welfare, maintenance, concern, interest, importance, provision, responsibility, collaboration, growth and trust. Some of the feelings this leadership style creates within the organization include; pride, integrity, belief, autonomy, freedom, creativity, expression, fulfillment and personal responsibility. Doesn’t this seem like a more inspiring and empowering WORK environment?

QUESTIONS…

Which type of leadership model do you believe fosters a true sense of team? Which business environment might have a lower turnover rate? Which model encourages vision and collaboration? Which business environment is more authentic to the human spirit? Which environment would you prefer to work in?

The myth surrounding the CAREfrontaional leadership approach is that it is to “liberal” and doesn’t create a big enough gap between “leadership” and the “employee”. I disagree. The confrontational leadership approach has proven to be highly effective in the United States military where breaking our soldiers down and building them back up is essential for survival and success on the battlefield, however, the confrontational leadership approach is very INEFFECTIVE in today’s competitive business environment where INNOVATION tends to trump intimidation. Unhappy, stifled employees, simply transfer their talent to an environment that is more conducive to their personal and professional growth. The CAREfrontational leader understands that TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK and they strive to create synergy as they grow and protect the financial interests or their organization.

THE BOTTOM LINE…

Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege to spend time around an array of very dynamic, highly effective, CEO’s and business leaders. One of the common traits inherent to each one of them is their ability to create a compelling vision and sell that vision to their entire organization. I refer to this as the “buy in”. The “buy in” is essential for creating massive results in any organization. Rather than take an authoritarian approach, CAREfrontational leaders take a much different approach. They seek out and hire “play makers” and are then willing to get out of their way and let them make plays. In the sports world, this philosophy has proven to be a successful formula for winning CHAMPIONSHIPS. Another significant trait found in CAREfrontational leaders is their ability to build, nurture and maintain influential networks. THE TAKEAWAY…A truly effective CEO or business leader is rarely the person who has the most impressive credentials but rather the person who carries the most influence. Our personal and professional circle of influence say’s more about who we have become professionally than our resume does. In the spirit of polarization, confrontational leaders tend to infuse their insatiable need for significance into the organizations and networks they belong to. On the other hand, CAREfrontational leaders understand the value of relationships and make building and nurturing them a top priority.

In my role as an executive coach, my clients hire me for one reason, they desire to become more effective leaders. I am not concerned about being popular, I care about my clients achieving the results they seek. Can I be direct? Yes. Do I care? Absolutely. Can I be extremely CAREfrontational, you bet! Do the majority of my clients respect me? I believe my authenticity shines through more often than not. I encourage each of you to take a closer look at your current leadership style and ask yourself if it is helping or hindering your organizational growth? Admittedly, this is a tough question to ask as our Ego has a significant investment in our current reality but it is a question that we must pose if we desire to be the amazing leader we are capable of becoming.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.a41

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.

The MVP Formula For Becoming A Legacy Builder…John Page Burton

What does it take to build and leave a true legacy in life and business? Is there a formula for success? If so, is it reserved for a privileged few? Why do some people rise to the occasion, achieve massive success and enjoy relative happiness, while others possessing far more natural ability end up achieving nothing of real value and spend the majority of their lives angry and frustrated?

Over the past 20 years, I have had the privilege to spend time with LEGACY BUILDERS and I have also had the opportunity to spend time around far too many chronic underachievers. What’s the difference? It’s actually quite simple… LEGACY BUILDERS embrace what I refer to as the MVP formula.

Becoming a legacy builder…

Mission. First, we must find our calling, one that propels us out into the world. Next, we must be willing to share our message with everyone who will listen. Our mission is our “special assignment”. Our level of conviction will determine the success of our mission. Our calling must be compelling enough to overcome the many obstacles we will encounter on our journey to success. What is your mission? What would you be willing to sacrifice everything for? Recognizing our true calling and making the DECISION to take ACTION is the first step toward building our legacy.

Vision. The challenge with FUTURE vision is that it requires us to visualize something that we can only see through our imagination. This can be very hard for a person who resides in a “show me first” world. Vision is “blind faith”. Do you currently hold a grand vision for where you would like to go and who you would like to become? “Without a vision, the people will perish” is a biblical truism that is a time tested, proven, game changer. What does your ideal legacy look like? Hold this vision and keep moving forward!

Passion. Passion is a powerful, compelling emotion. Passion is ambition materialized into action. Passion is heart centered. Passion fuels our mission and will keep us focused on our vision. Passion is the glue that keeps us on point as we build out our legacy. What are you passionate about? Will your current level of passion carry you across the finish line? Without passion most of us will quit easily and often. Our level of success is the bi-product of our passion. Passion is contagious! Passion inspires!

PERSONAL GROWTH….

The MVP formula alone will not carry us across the finish line. We must be committed to developing and maintaining the skills necessary for us to reach our goals and build our legacy. Our commitment to sharpening and enhancing our skill set will have a huge impact on our success. When we prioritize continuing education and personal growth we are taking significant ACTION strides toward the creation of our legacy.

Build on my friends!

As always, I welcome 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…..

Take ACTION Even If It’s Wrong…John Page Burton

We live in a society where most of us seem to be hung up on the concept of “right or wrong”. Please don’t get me “wrong”, I’m not talking about breaking laws and causing harm to others as that is just plain “wrong”. I’m talking about the “right and wrong” that is keeping many of us from playing a much bigger game of life. The majority of my clients initially hire me because they feel that they need “some direction” in their lives. Nine times out of ten, it is not direction that is holding them back but rather their fear of doing something “wrong”. Their fear is keeping them from taking the ACTION necessary to passionately go after their dreams and ambitions. For example, I have a client who invests a tremendous amount of money on personal development and business related courses. He knows the “lingo” of the business world, the “buzz words” of personal growth and has read “Think and Grow Rich” 25 times. The problem isn’t his educational commitment, it’s his unwillingness to take ACTION. A failure to take ACTION can almost always be attributed to an overwhelming fear of being or doing something “WRONG”. Remember, knowledge is a good thing, APPLIED KNOWLEDGE is a great thing! Everyday I TEACH and PREACH this simple philosophy….”TAKE ACTION EVEN IF IT ENDS UP BEING WRONG”. Taking ACTION is a decisive first step toward a compelling future. In other words DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!!!

3 Strategies For Taking Action. It is important to note that we learn some of our greatest lessons from failure and in order to fail we must first be willing to take decisive ACTION!

1. Get clear on what it is you DON’T WANT. Until we have identified what we are no longer willing to settle for, it is impossible to harness the emotional energy necessary to propel us into the future. When we remain stuck in dead end jobs, meaningless relationships or unhealthy bodies (I’m not talking about a serious illness) we are telling ourselves that we are “not worthy” of happiness and success. The day we wake up and find ourselves truly PISSED OFF by what we have “attracted” into our lives is the day many of us will begin taking the ACTION necessary to move us toward our destiny. If we don’t like what we have “attracted” thus far, now may be a great time to make a significant course correction and start sailing in a different direction.

2. DREAM BIGGER. Big dreams are exciting and can serve as great motivators. For example, twice a week, Diana and I drive through a specific neighborhood where we desire to buy a home. We are extremely grateful for our current Tucson home as well as our summer home in the White Mountains, however our dream is to own a home that overlooks the city of Tucson, affords us spectacular sunset views and backs up to a mountain preserve that we enjoy recreating in. The specific home we desire to purchase is not currently for sale, however we know that one day it will be. Whenever we find ourselves questioning WHY we put in the long hours and deal with the frustrations that come with being entrepreneurs, we simply drive to the top of “our mountain”, spread our blanket, pour a glass of wine, watch the sun set over the city below and we quickly regain our clarity of purpose. Our glass of wine is an ACTION step!

3. Facing our fear of FAILURE! Everyone experiences insecurities and fear. How we manage insecurity and fear is the key to living an abundant life. It is easy to tell someone that they must face and conquer their fear but is also much easier said than done. Most of our fear programs are deeply rooted in our subconscious. My belief (and this is not a shameless self promotion) is that the most effective way to overcome a fear is to hire a coach. A good coach will help you pinpoint the true origin of your fear and then help you design a strategy to breakthrough that fear. An effective client-coach relationship is based on trust. Most of us will FIGHT HARD to avoid confronting our fear. A good coach can help you FIGHT EQUALLY HARD to conquer it. Nothing of significance can happen without ACTION. A good coach will hold you accountable to that ACTION.

RIGHT and WRONG have one thing in common, 5 letters. Whenever we make the commitment to take action it is with the understanding that we may end up being “wrong”. A “wrong” ACTION simply means that we learn what we can from the lesson, re-group and take a new, more informed ACTION toward our goal or objective. Worrying about being “wrong” (failing) will keep us from living the rich, rewarding life we deserve.

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

7 Disempowering Traits To Move Away From…John Page Burton

We live in a diverse world made up of many different personality types. Therein lies the beauty and bane of existence. As a student and teacher of personal development, I am fascinated by the great adventure we call life and by how each of us chooses to participate in this adventure. In the past, I have written articles highlighting some of the traits found in leaders and others I believe we would be well served to move toward. Today, I desire to take a slight departure and examine 7 disempowering ADULT personality traits that I believe each of us should move away from. (nor would it be a good idea to include these types of folks in our circle of influence).

7 TO AVOID…

1. The Small Child. The small child is just that, someone who never truly grew up. They “demand” attention and acknowledgement from everyone around them and can be prone to adult tantrums when they don’t get their way. NO is their least favorite word and boundaries tend to frustrate and anger them. Because they choose to make everything about them, they are rarely good team players and often make challenging romantic partners.

2. The Mind Reader. The “mind reader” believes they know what you are thinking and they expect you to know what they are thinking. The fundamental problem with the “mind reader” is that the foundation of their communication is based on guesswork. “Mind readers” are implicit communicators who can be left dazed and confused when they are confronted by a “fact based” explicit communicator.

3. The Assumer. “The assumer” creates their own story line, one that is rarely based in fact. They form their opinions and pass judgment based on assumptions. For example, one of my neighbors told several other neighbors that we had decided to sell our mountain home. She later confessed that she had arrived at this conclusion because we had not come up for the summer when we normally did. We had not spoken to her since the previous summer and had NEVER discussed selling our mountain home. In reality, we had numerous social engagements during the month of May that prevented us from coming up sooner than we did. This is referred to in many circles as “foot in mouth disease”.

4. The Buck Passer. The “buck passer” has never met a decision they didn’t prefer to defer. Fearing they will fail, look stupid, piss someone off or be unpopular they simply leave the decision making process to someone else. “What would you like for dinner honey? I don’t know you decide. I decided last time, you decide this time. C’mon honey, you decide, I’m good with whatever you decide”. Sound familiar? The “buck passer” plays this game in every corner of their life and it can be “mind numbing” to be around for any length of time.

5. The Blamer. Nothing has been or ever will be their fault. This pattern began in childhood and has seemingly served them ever since. The problem is that conscious people see right through the blame game. Failure to take personal responsibility leaves the “chronic blamer” with one card left to play…the victim of circumstance. Taking personal responsibility for ALL of our choices and actions is true EMPOWERMENT!

6. The Distorter. Let’s just say that reality is NOT their constant companion. They will change or alter the truth in order to gain an upper hand in their emotional, financial or career objectives. Distorters create “smoke screens” in an attempt to hide their insecurity and shortcomings. Unfortunately, significant damage may occur before the veil is lifted.

7. The Magician. Now you see me now you don’t. The magician is adept at avoiding anything that is uncomfortable. When the going gets tough…poof, they’re gone! This includes relationships, jobs and friendships. Their life is a never ending illusion. They rarely stop “performing” long enough for anyone to meet the “real” person behind “the mask”. Should you challenge their authenticity, you guessed it…poof!

In fairness, we ALL tap into theses 7 traits from time to time. Our awareness of them is a positive step toward conscious living. If you strongly identify with any of them it may be time for a “check up from the neck up”. As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

Managing Our Demons…John Page Burton

All of us have demons and many of us find ourselves in a seemingly endless battle to exterminate these destructive “bed fellows”. As the recent death of Robin Williams clearly illustrates, our demons can exert a death grip on our soul. Our demons come in many different forms and no two demons are exactly alike. Your demons may be similar to mine in nature, however, the circumstances (back story) and characteristics of your demons will be vastly different from mine. This also holds true in how we CHOOSE to address them. For most of us, our greatest demons originated in another place in time, yet we have allowed them to travel with us wherever we go. A few of our more common “bed fellows” include the demons around physical, emotional or sexual abuse, body image, intelligence, sense of belonging, success, sexuality, financial loss, abandonment and relationship/marriage dissolution. Our demons from the past often surface and wreak havoc in our most intimate relationships. I can certify that my demons surrounding abandonment would routinely raise their ugly head whenever I found myself beginning to enjoy and place trust in a new, intimate relationship. As soon as the relationship became comfortable, an alarm would go off in my head screaming “danger, get out” and I would commence the slow, deliberate process of sabotaging and ultimately blowing up the relationship long “before my partner could”. Intellectually, it made no sense to “blow things up”, however, my emotional intelligence was not developed enough to quash my demonic thinking. I was finally able to destroy my abandonment demons when I was in my late forties.

For many of us, our demons surrounding abuse are the most difficult to make peace with. Abuse demons feature layer upon layer of scar tissue, often rendering us incapable of trusting anyone, especially ourselves. Many of us have turned to drugs and alcohol as a misguided way of quieting the demonic voices in our head only to wake up one day and find ourselves with an entirely new “bed fellow” to contend with. Demons attract demons!

A friend recently asked me how I have been able to overcome my personal demons and enjoy the happy, prosperous life I live today. My answer seemed to surprise him. I have learned how to manage my demons.

Managing Our DEMONS…

Distance. I have learned to distance myself from the past. I recognize that everything in the present moment is perfect and that ALL of my current pain originates from past events. Many of the sources of my pain and discomfort are no longer alive or living in proximity to me which illustrates the absurdity of hanging onto these programs. This realization and a great deal of daily prayer and self exploration enables me to view my life with a present moment perspective. I can manage the present moment and recognize that I have no control over the past.

Ego. Demons are figments of our imagination, hand delivered by the Ego. The Ego desires for us to stay in pain and readily uses guilt, shame, anger, jealousy, envy and depression to try and hold us hostage. I have learned to counter the darkness of the Ego with the light of compassion and love. I routinely find myself fighting my Ego and there are times when it actually wins a battle. The good news is that I have the awareness and resolve to win the WAR! The most effective way to manage the Ego is to look at everyone and everything from a place of compassionate understanding. We are ALL on our own custom designed journey.

ME. The greatest breakthrough I realized during my process of making peace with the past (demons) was the moment I truly understood that the quality of my life from that moment forward was entirely up to ME. I was “the adult” in charge and remaining a prisoner to my thoughts was INSANE. The quality of my life would be a direct result of the CHOICES I made from that moment forward. As simple as this sounds, taking personal responsibility for ALL of my actions and subsequent outcomes was the single biggest game changer in my process of personal transformation. When it’s about ME there is no room for demons.

Ownership. As long as I AVOIDED addressing and confronting my demons I remained in a state of constant pain. Once I took ownership of my right to CHOOSE what I focused on, my life began to change. Denial guarantees that we will continue experiencing pain. Taking ownership is the first step toward abolishing our demons and living a life of inner peace.

Numbing. When I was under “demonic control” I found myself “numbing” to avoid feeling the pain and disappointments in my life. My numbing included, drugs, alcohol, exercise, thrill seeking, work and travel. Once I made the decision to confront my demons head on, I found myself living my way into a state of moderation and balance. At first this was a bit odd but now I have become quite used to it.

Support. One of the best ways we can manage our demons is by seeking support. Friends, partners, spouses, life coaches and cause specific support groups are excellent resources to help us stay on track. Everyone’s pain is different and as I mentioned earlier, no two people will experience the exact same demonic experience. When we seek support we are sending a clear message to the universe that we are committed to ending our demonic bondage once and for all. Seek and you will find the support you need in the moment you need it.

ALL of us have experienced things we would like to forget. ALL of us have done things we regret. ALL of us have the capacity to offer and accept forgiveness but before that can happen we have to give ourselves permission to FEEL the FEELINGS. Once I made the decision to confront my demons and release my anger I was truly ready to move forward. This is an ongoing process. EVERYDAY I am tested to see how serious I am about managing my demons and living a pain free life. My personal report card indicates that I am a solid B student working toward an A.

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

5 Tips for Becoming The “Guru” We Are Seeking…John Page Burton

We live in a society where many of us are searching for a “guru”, someone who can provide us with the proverbial “magic bullet”. We desire our “guru” to readily give us the answers we seek as we travel down our chosen path. Recently, I was introduced by a client as their “guru”. I found myself feeling very uncomfortable with this designation. For the record, I am a peak performance strategist who is on the same journey as everyone else. I am not worried about becoming so enlightened that I one day ascend into the clouds, however, I am a bit concerned with the explaining I may have to do should “judgement day” become my reality. I appreciate the confidence my client has placed in me, however, the “guru” thing has got to go! FYI…WE ALREADY HAVE THE ANSWERS TO MOST OF OUR QUESTIONS.

Some of the words I found when I looked up the definition of “guru” included, master, teacher and guide. As a coach my job is to GUIDE my clients to their own conclusions. In my workshops and seminars I TEACH an array of strategies designed to help my students successfully navigate through life and business. Every time a client or student experiences a breakthrough I have the privilege to also learn a great deal about myself through their process of transformation . Again, MASTERY is not my current reality but certainly something I will continue to strive for.

5 Tips for becoming the “guru” you are seeking…

*TRUST YOUR INTUITION. We ALL have the gift of intuition. It isn’t just available to a select few. All of us have experienced a “gut feeling” telling us something didn’t feel right. Most of us at one time or another have gone forward anyway and later beat ourselves up for not “trusting our gut”. Our “gut feeling” is our intuitive voice. Our Ego is our counter intuitive voice. Our job is to follow our intuitive voice, and quickly discount our Ego voice. “Guru tip”…We ALL have the gift of intuition, USE IT!

*RELEASE THE PAST. Many of my clients hire me to help them design a strategy for making peace with and releasing their past. Everything we have experienced and overcome has been hand delivered to us by God. Why did God provide us with these opportunities? So we can learn, grow and be of greater benefit to others. I encourage my clients to look at events from the past as God scheduled opportunities. When we carry around the past it weighs us down in the present. If we saw someone drowning, most of us would strip off the majority of our clothing before jumping into the water. Why would we instinctively do this? Because we know the extra weight of our clothing will drag us down at a time when we need maximum energy. When we release the past we have more energy to create in the PRESENT. “Guru tip”…Embrace and live in the present moment. The present moment is where the magic happens!

*GET UNCOMFORTABLE. The more uncomfortable we get the more comfortable we will become. What this means is that when we change the way we look at things the things we look at change. Our breakthroughs occur in moments of great discomfort. Discomfort forces us to seek solutions and finding a solution serves to validate the trust we have placed in ourselves. When we stay in our comfort zone we reinforce our belief that we are “not enough”. Once we become comfortable being uncomfortable we have truly tapped into our personal power. “Guru tip”…Get uncomfortable and seek solutions.

*GET OVER YOURSELF. Humility is endearing. There is a big difference between humbly sharing our accomplishments and shameless self promotion. For example, I have a good friend whose son just graduated at the top of his class at a well known university. As she shared his monumental accomplishment, she repeatedly gave credit to all of the people “who had guided him along the way”. I had to remind her that she had also played a significant role in his accomplishment. Conversely, I was recently subjected to a 10 minute “rant” from a neighbor who had just found out that his son had been offered an athletic scholarship to a division I college football program. My neighbor went on and on about the sacrifices he had made for “his boy” and how “other parents were not as dedicated as he had been” blah, blah, blah. “His boy” stood next to him with his eyes diverted to the ground, clearly embarrassed by his dad’s commentary. I congratulated “his boy” for his accomplishment and the young man said “thank you sir”. “Guru tip”…Humility is always within our control.

*LIVE AUTHENTICALLY. First, clearly establish your morals, values, beliefs and personal code of conduct and then strive to live by them in an impeccable manner. These will more than likely change as we mature and grow. For example, when I was in my thirties my personal code of conduct dictated that I could faithfully attend church while engaging in an extra marital affair. My values and beliefs at the time allowed me to justify my bad behavior. I was not living authentically. Today, my values, beliefs and personal code of conduct would not allow for this type of behavior. Living authentically means that our actions are in concert with our thoughts and spoken words. “Guru tip”…BE YOU! LIVE TRUE TO YOUR VALUES, BELIEFS AND PERSONAL CODE OF CONDUCT.

We ALL have the ability to tap into and become the “guru” we are seeking. My hope is that these tips will help you become your own “guru”.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

The 6 Truths of C.H.A.N.G.E. John Page Burton

We have all heard it said that someone “has really changed” or that someone “really needs to change”. Maybe we have been accused of “resisting change” or have been encouraged to “be the change” we wish to see in the world. I once heard it said that the only person who truly embraces change is a baby with a dirty diaper! Change is inevitable. Let’s take a closer look at what happens to us once we embrace the concept of CHANGE.

CHANGE…

Choice. Change is a choice. We can CHOOSE to stay in our current circumstances or we can CHOOSE to change them. I have a client who “hates living in California”. They cite traffic, cost of living, taxes, lack of water, smog, angry drivers, ineffective government, left wing crazies and the surge of illegal immigrants as some of their reasons for wanting to leave the state. I couldn’t help but ask them why on earth they would ever desire to leave such a lovely sounding place? Their answer says it all…”from what I hear, everywhere else is just as bad”. I rest my case…CHANGE is a CHOICE!

Habit. Whenever we begin to change something in our lives, we also begin creating a new habit. The fastest way to change a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. For example, when I quit smoking I knew I would have to make some immediate changes if I was going to be successful. I bought a bike. Every time I had a strong craving I jumped on my bike and pedaled through the craving. I have not had a cigarette in 14 years and I cycle an average of 3,000 miles per year. Bye, bye, bad habit, hello good habit.

Action. Change begins in thought but is realized through ACTION. For a change to become permanent it must be accompanied by consistent ACTION. Again, using my smoking example, their are millions of people who are thinking about giving up cigarettes, however, most are unwilling to take and maintain the ACTION necessary to become a non smoker. The 3 actions to stop smoking are…1) DON’T BUY THEM! If you do break down and buy them… 2) DO NOT LIGHT THEM and if you break down and light one…3) DO NOT TAKE A PUFF. Anyone who takes and maintains these three actions WILL quit smoking and remain a non smoker. I know this strategy works because I followed it and quit. ***One of the hardest things I have ever done but well worth the short term pain it took to free myself from the bondage of nicotine.

New. When we make a change it becomes our new way of being. Anyone who has faced and conquered “the battle of the bulge” understands the power of change. In order to lose weight we must become committed to a new food plan and exercise routine. Our commitment to these fundamental changes will determine whether or not we release our unwanted pounds and if we are able to KEEP THEM OFF! Once a change becomes our new way of being, we no longer have to worry about going back to the way things were.

Growth. For most of us, our greatest personal growth occurs during periods of significant change. When the world around us begins to change, we have two choices; resist the change (reactive) or embrace the change and begin the process of adapting to our new reality (proactive). For example, I held a death grip on my CD player before finally embracing the world of MP-3. When I found myself experiencing a health challenge (Valley Fever) I found myself going through both emotional and physical changes. My ability to embrace and accept change was a key factor in maintaining my mental and emotional health while I recovered. When we view change as an opportunity to learn and grow it becomes much easier to embrace it.

Example. Our willingness to change can serve as an example for others to follow. A good friend of mine battled a prescription drug addiction for several years. One day his emotional pain became so great that he found himself reaching out to a local spiritual leader to help him end his dependence on prescription drugs. Over time, my friend was able to overcome his addiction and today he speaks to groups across the country about the dangers of prescription drugs. His willingness to make this significant life change has undoubtedly led to countless people being more mindful of the dangers associated with prescription drug use and we will never know how many lives he has saved.

Change happens! Our ability to accept it and use it as a stepping stone toward a more compelling future is the key. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.