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 Problem With Perfection…John Page Burton

I recently visited with a client who has spent the majority of his lifetime struggling with the concept of “perfection”. For as long as he could remember, he had been admonished to do things “perfectly” and was routinely chastised or punished when he failed to achieve the level of “perfection” required of him by a series of “well meaning” role models, including his parents. Because of his skewed reality around perfection he struggled to achieve a true measure of happiness in his intimate relationship or career. Millions of us can relate to the expectations of “perfection” that have been placed on us by our parents, athletic coaches, teachers and other role models we have encountered along our journey. I know that for many years I felt like a total “loser” for not living up to the demands of perfection placed on me. That was then, this is now. Today, I strive to do my very best in every endeavor, however, I realize that for me, “perfection” rarely happens and I’m fine with that. One of the fundamental problems with our obsession for perfection is that over time it tends to create an array of personal and health challenges. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Avoidance strategy. Many of us are using our quest for “perfection” as a means of avoiding potential rejection and therefore protecting ourselves from opening up and becoming vulnerable. For example, we have all known someone who is looking for the “perfect partner” and isn’t willing to “settle” for anyone who doesn’t measure up to the exact profile they have designed. Or how about the person who won’t go to the beach until they are in “perfect” shape. In both cases “perfection” is being conveniently used as an excuse to keep them from addressing their self doubt and fear and in both cases it is keeping them from having fun and meeting some really awesome people.

Judgment. How many times have we failed to make a connection with someone because they were not driving the “perfect” car, wearing the “perfect” clothes or living in the “perfect” zip code. Our need to pass judgment may be preventing us from meeting talented, progressive people. I know several extremely accomplished professionals who drive older model vehicles,regularly wear shorts and flip flops and live where they “feel the vibe”. You can’t possibly know anything about someone unless you have a conversation.

Health. Our quest for “perfection” can lead to a variety of health problems, including diet pill addiction, Anorexia, Skin Cancer, disfigurement from plastic surgery and an array of other health related challenges. Accepting ourselves for who we are is the first step toward optimal health. Diet and exercise are natural, proven strategies for living a longer, more enjoyable life.

Parenting. Anyone who has been subjected to the pressure stemming from parental demands of “perfection” has experiential knowledge regarding the emotional damage it can cause. As parents we want our children to do and be their best, however, the reality is that from time to time they are going to fall short of our expectations. It is up to us to teach our children that failure is an essential element of success and encourage them to embrace failure as an important part of the success process.

Self Examination. When we demand “perfection” in others it is always a good idea to examine our own motives. Why are we demanding “perfection”? Years ago, I coached high school baseball. I remember a particular parent who managed to always find something wrong with his son’s performance. One night, after a game in which his son had gone 4 for 4 and made several spectacular defensive plays, I observed the father verbally abusing his son as they walked to the car. Troubled by the incident, I called the players father and asked him why he had been so upset after the game? He explained that there had been a professional scout in attendance and that his son had gotten a late jump on an attempt to steal second base. The father went on to share that he had never been able to play college or professional baseball due to an eye injury suffered during his senior year of high school and that all he had ever wanted was for his son to have the opportunity that had alluded him. FYI… His son never played another inning of baseball after he graduated from high school. A few years ago I ran into him at a local restaurant and asked him why he had decided not to pursue college ball? (He certainly had the talent) “Coach, by the time my senior year rolled around I hated the game, no matter what I did it was never good enough for my dad and I just didn’t want to see him in the stands anymore”.

The problem with “perfection” is that it is unrealistic. I believe we should all strive to be the best at whatever we do, however, we must also realize that we are human and that we will fail and experience set backs. The pursuit of “perfection” can cause us to hold back from trying new things, meeting new people and from taking risks. Strive to be the best version of yourself and show yourself some grace.

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.

The Truth About “Magic Bullets”…John Page Burton

In today’s fast paced, I want it now world, millions of people are searching for the proverbial “magic bullet”. They want this “magic bullet” to immediately improve their health, business growth, intimacy and general happiness. Many of my clients initially seem quite receptive to any “shortcut” that would enable them to avoid putting in the hard work and discipline needed to achieve the success they seek. I routinely advise my clients that success comes to those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and engage in the SUCCESS PROCESS. Ironically, five of the key elements inherent to the SUCCESS PROCESS just so happen to spell out the word MAGIC. Let’s take a closer look…

MAGIC…

MOTIVATION. Motivation is an inside job, either you’re motivated or your not. There is no “magic bullet” that can motivate someone to do something they’re not dedicated to accomplishing. Find your “WHY”, design a plan, secure an accountability partner and get started!

ACTION. We must be willing to take massive action. Action doesn’t come in a “pill” or secret potion, it is born from BIG DREAMS. The bigger our dreams the more action we will be willing to take. Action builds muscles of courage and boosts confidence.

GOALS. Our attainment of a significant goal is a profound experience. Who we become as a person from the time we set our goal to the moment our goal is realized (the process) is the true “magic” of the goal. “Magic bullets” are not an option, hard work and sacrifice is the determining factor.

INTUITION. Tapping into and trusting our inner voice is THE grounding principle of the success process. All of us know how we truly feel in every interaction or situation we encounter. Our ability to communicate this truth sets us apart from those who are in a continual search for the “magic bullet”. When we are in touch with our authentic self we have little use for outside chatter. We take full responsibility for our RESULTS.

COMMITMENT. Without a high level of commitment we will never achieve anything of real significance. We must be committed to our plan of action. Our dedicated commitment to ourselves and our plan will get us through set backs, rejection, failure and our commitment will accelerate our resolve.

THE TAKEAWAY…

There is no such thing as a “magic bullet”. The only “magic” lies within the process. The process goes along way in determining who we become. LEARN TO EMBRACE THE PROCESS.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

10 Reasons Why Moms “ROCK” In Business…John Page Burton

After a recent conversation with a female client who manages to effectively balance the roles of being the primary care giver to three small children with also being the CEO of a progressive start up company, it dawned on me why “moms” tend to make such outstanding business leaders. The skills that are required of motherhood are basically the same skills that are required of a successful business person. Below are 10 examples of the traits and skills inherent to both “moms” and business leaders.

1. Organizational skills. “Moms” are highly proficient at multitasking. They know where things stand and how to maximize both time and material resources. They are masters of logistics who understand that the devil is often found in the details. They routinely inspect what they expect.

2. Problem solvers. “Moms” rarely sweat the small stuff! They know where to focus their energy and when to release control. When a problem or obstacle arises, they transition into solution mode and stay there until they achieve a favorable outcome.

3. Master negotiators. “Moms” occupy a permanent seat at the bargaining table. They must possess the ability to impartially consider all evidence, weigh each argument and often render their decisions in the face of extreme opposition. They make decisions that are congruent with their core beliefs and values.

4. Financial management. “Moms” are masterful at establishing and living within a budget. They understand the value of a dollar and how to make it stretch. They are value oriented and consciously seek out the highest return for their investment. They will plan for a “rainy day” and they understand the fundamental principles of income to debt ratio.

5.Resource management. “Moms” can make 3 peanut butter sandwiches using 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and convince their kids that bread is what makes the sandwich so tasty in the first place. They are masterful at recycling clothes, shoes, books, bicycles and just about anything else that can serve a secondary purpose and still keep them within or under their budget.

6. They are true servant leaders. Need I say more. The early stages of motherhood could be described as a thankless job in which the compensation is low and the frustration is high. Motherhood requires an extreme outward focus.

7.Patience. “This to shall pass” becomes a daily mantra. “Moms” learn that all storm clouds will eventually blow over and be replaced by blue sky and rainbows. They recognize that maintaining patience is critical to their sanity. They learn to focus their energy on what they are able to control in their present moment rather than dwelling on the past or living in the future.

8. Flexibility. “Moms” recognize that life happens when they are making other plans. They instinctively understand the value of contingency plans and must be extremely quick on their feet. They are acutely aware when they are trying to put a square peg in a round hole and will usually be among the first to acknowledge that NOW would be a good time to head in a different direction.

9. Compassionate understanding. Life holds a profound truth…STUFF HAPPENS! Feelings get hurt, ego’s are bruised, fears surface, anger arises, jealousy brews and through it all a “mom” must remain objective and compassionate with those in her charge. Compassion is a guiding light to those who are lost.

10. Sense of humor. “Moms” know the secret to life…don’t take yourself or those around you to seriously. Maintaining a sense of humor is the healthiest way to navigate through trying times. A sense of humor helps us to maintain perspective and is also a reminder that we should not go through life treating everything as either do or die. A smile can often melt even the hardest heart.

In short, “moms” are natural family leaders who also make outstanding
business leaders! As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

5 Steps To End The “Drama Habit”…John Page Burton

We all know someone who is addicted to drama. They are the type of person who struggles to engage in a conversation that is not centered around “woe is me”. They will openly air their “problems” to anyone who has two ears and is breathing. They are attracted to people who have an equally strong need for drama. They crave attention and routinely create drama in order to meet their insatiable need for significance. Anyone who disagrees with them or offers a “proactive point of view” may find themselves in the cross hairs of the dramateer. Personal responsibility is death to the dramateer and they will avoid it at all cost. The drama habit can be a hard one to break. Drama is addictive. Below are 5 steps to help us end our drama habit once and for all.

DRAMA REHAB…..

1. We must take ownership of our drama. Admitting that we thrive on and identify with drama is the first step toward breaking this habit. Have you ever confronted someone who is being overly dramatic? The first thing they will do is justify their behavior. “You don’t know the half of what I’ve been through and your calling me dramatic” is a typical response of a dramateer. Ownership is awareness and awareness leads to change.

2. Change our associations. The energy of drama needs to be fed. Dramateers attract other drama addicts. If we desire to break this habit it is imperative that we step outside our comfort zone and reach out to healthy, emotionally balanced people. It is time to cultivate a new circle of influence. At first this may be very intimidating because the dramateer is not used to having proactive conversations with people who will hold them accountable for their results. Changing our associations can “dramatically” change our life. Remember, the 5 people we spend the most time with will have the greatest influence in our lives. Choose wisely!

3. End the blame game. Dramateers struggle with personal responsibility and are always looking for people and circumstances to blame for their poor choices. Blame is a very disempowering emotion. When we go to blame we are sending a strong message that we are not in control of our decisions, behavior or choices. The only way to effectively end our blame game is by taking full responsibility for ALL of our actions. This is what is meant by emotional maturity.

4. QUIT trying to fix people! Much of our drama occurs because our “fix it” projects fail. When we try to “mold” people to fit into our model of how we want them to show up we are going to end up angry and frustrated. Most of us have no desire to be “fixed” because we don’t view ourselves as broken. We are far better off working on ourselves and attracting into our lives the people who are destined to be here. “If he/she would just do this then I would be more attracted to him/her” is a typical dramateer perspective. We must work on becoming what we desire to attract. Pointing the finger at someone else is an avoidance strategy designed to keep us from facing our own shortcomings. Drama is born from insecurity!

5. START talking about concepts and ideas and STOP talking about other people. “Small minds talk about people, great minds talk about ideas”. Drama is a result of our frustration with other people. Innovation is a result of our collaboration with other people. When we stop talking about people (gossip, judgment) and begin discussing ideas, our world will open up to endless possibilities. We will find that our physical and emotional health will “dramatically” improve and our interactions will be uplifting as opposed to destructive. Which sounds more appealing to you?

Drama is a habit. We can break this habit with some good old fashioned discipline. I used to get sucked into drama on a regular basis. One day a light went off and I realized that my constant involvement in other peoples “stuff” was robbing me of time, resources and most importantly JOY! Today, I am compassionate and understanding, however, if a person is not taking a proactive approach to solving or resolving their “problems” I have no problem exiting stage left. Drama is a game I choose not to play.

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

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.