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.

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

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

WHEN WORDS of FORGIVENESS JUST DON’T CUT IT…

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

THE “TIRED STORY”…

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

ORIGINS of ANGER…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being Male Doesn’t Make Us Men…John Page Burton

Like millions of other American’s, I recently watched the “low lights” of Miley Cyrus gyrating across the stage, her tongue wagging provocatively, grinding her backside into the front side of Robin Thick, all while belting out the lyrics to the questionable hit “Blurred Lines”. To be quite honest, I was more disturbed by Robin’s behavior than by the behavior of Miley Cyrus. I am well versed in First Amendment Law and understand that Robin has the constitutional right to produce lyrics and music which can then be legally distributed and sold to anyone willing to pay for this type of “entertainment”. I also understand that neither Robin, his manager or his record label could care less what my thoughts are. With that being said, I will exercise my own constitutional right to share my thoughts with my “dude brethren” and hope that together we can rise to the challenge of grooming the next generation of family leaders.

BEING MALE DOESN’T MAKE US MEN, TREATING PEOPLE WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT MAKES US MEN.

I believe that the vast majority of American men, myself included, must do a better job of setting a healthier example for the next generation of family leaders. When did it become acceptable for a male comedian to refer to a female political candidate by using the “C” word on national television? As stated earlier, I am grateful to live in a country in which people are allowed to expose themselves to this type of abuse in order to ensure our democratic process and MY FREEDOM. With this being said, this particular comedians behavior is not only offensive but is a very poor reflection on his character. I can’t help but believe that he is also using his celebrity status as a platform to validate his obvious belief that it is perfectly acceptable for men to treat women in such disrespectful manner. What kind of example is being set by men (or anyone else) who show up at protests to spit and hurl insults at soldiers returning home from a war? Our soldiers have the intestinal fortitude to put their lives on the line for our FREEDOM and should always be treated with the respect and gratitude they have EARNED, irregardless of how we feel politically. Our next generation of family leaders are subjected to news accounts of male politicians texting photos of their body parts to women half their age, a presidential candidate cheating on his terminally ill wife or an attorney general romping with hookers using tax payer dollars. The world wide web provides our next generation of family leaders with a 24/7 window in which they observe behavior, develop beliefs and ultimately begin incorporating these beliefs into their own lives. The only way that men can counteract these bad examples of behavior is by providing the next generation with a more acceptable model of behavior. What type of people do we desire our next generation of family leaders to be? Men, we have the opportunity to shape the beliefs of the next generation and it is NOW o’CLOCK!  Men, we need to be teaching our children the principles and values of integrity and hard work instead of supporting men who choose to spend their time camped out in a city park, leveling charges of corporate greed and hurling insults at those who choose to engage in their right to build the American dream. Men, we need to be teaching our children the principles of respect and dignity and not supporting the principles of religious intolerance, racism, bigotry or hate. The next generation of family leaders is watching our every move and we need to make sure that we are setting a good example.

Men, I challenge all of us to lead like we have never lead before. I challenge each of us to engage in an empowering dialogue with the next generation. We need to teach them that democracy includes “civil disagreement”, not hate filled or disrespectful dialogue. We must teach our children work ethics and  encourage them to use their talents to pursue the American dream rather than become dependent on the government. Finally, through our own actions we must teach our children what it means to be compassionate. Some of the “toughest dudes” I know lead their families in prayer and spiritual study on a daily basis. We live in the greatest country on earth. The world watches us for a reason. Our next generation of family leaders are entrusted with preserving the way of life that our forefathers, family members and friends fought for, I believe we owe it to them.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

We Teach People How To Treat Us…John Page Burton

Whenever we engage in any type of human interaction, we are either directly or subconsciously teaching that person how to treat us. We communicate these messages to our spouse, children, friends, employers, business partners, clients and oftentimes even our next door neighbors. In each interaction, we are setting the tone for how we expect to be treated and we are also defining our boundaries. (Or lack of them) This explains why some of us are willing to draw the line in the sand at the first sign of disrespect or mistreatment, while countless other people allow themselves to be physically and emotionally abused. We are also setting an example that our children are likely to follow. For example, if mom allows dad to call her names or strike her, the son may assume that this is normal behavior between a man and a women. Later in life, he may model this same behavior with his wife. If on the other hand, the son observes the police taking his dad away in handcuffs, he may very well internalize the message that violence against women is not tolerated. Later in life, when disagreements with his wife arise, he is more than likely to engage with her in a non violent manner.

Here are 5 of the most common areas in which we have the opportunity to establish our ground rules of how we expect to be treated.

  • Verbal abuse. Do we allow ourselves to be the brunt of jokes, the target of cut downs, put downs or even religious, sexual or racially insensitive comments? When they occur do we laugh, cry, just shrug it off or do we put our foot down and take a strong stand against the person who is verbally abusive? Our response to someone’s verbal abuse will either end it or accelerate it. Are we willing to use our voice and speak up when we know that something is inappropriate or do we prefer to remain silent?
  • Physical abuse. Physical abuse toward women and children has almost become an epidemic. When physical abuse takes place, are we willing to remove ourselves and our children from the danger or do we attempt to justify the perpetrators behavior? “He or she is under a great deal of stress” is never a reason to allow physical abuse to happen to yourself or your children. Justification is often used by people who are afraid to establish clear cut boundaries surrounding physical abuse.
  • Time. One of our most valuable assets is our time. We live in a fast paced world where each and every minute counts. Recently, a friend got quite upset with me. I had purchased two tickets to a sporting event and I offered one of them to him. We agreed that he would meet me at my house not later than 6:15pm, or sooner. He agreed. At 6:25 I made the decision to leave for the game which started at 7pm. (I later retrieved a voice mail at 6:40pm letting me know that he was at my house and he apologized for running “a little late”) I sold his ticket to a person standing in the ticket line and I enjoyed the game. My friend clearly understands the value that I place on punctuality and accountability.
  • Our personal appearance. Our physiology, our speech, our manner of dress and our personal hygiene speak very loudly to those around us. For example, I have a female client who is very bright and attractive. She is having a very difficult time embracing “middle age”. When she “goes out,” she dresses in provocative outfits that are more appropriate for someone in their mid 20’s. She takes great pride in the fact that men half her age still “hit on her”. However, during a recent coaching session she bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t seem to attract any successful men that were closer to her age. (Possibly because she reminds them of their daughters?) Does anyone else see the incongruent message she is sending? Conversely, I work with a wealthy, male client who is also struggling to embrace middle age. Over the past few years, he has undergone a significant amount of plastic surgery and has become addicted to body building. He believed that by changing his appearance he would become much more attractive to younger women. In one of our recent coaching sessions, he admitted that his ideal mate would be someone around his age who had an established career and who desired to travel the world. He complained that the younger women that he was now attracting were only interested in a “sugar daddy”. In both cases, my clients are actually moving away from what they truly desire, due to the incongruent messages they are sending.  
  • In the working world. The majority of us spend at least 40 hours per week in our work environment. Our work environment can provide us with a wealth of opportunities to teach people how to treat us. Do we allow our boss to take advantage of our time by routinely expecting us to put in extra time without extra compensation? Do they ask us to come in on a Saturday without giving us adequate notice? If so, do we speak up or are we afraid that if we say something we will lose our job? Do we set boundaries around what are acceptable and what are inappropriate conversation topics with co-workers? How do we react when a co-worker, manager or boss directs a sexual comment or innuendo in our direction? How do we dress at work? Do we dress in a casual, provocative, conservative or disheveled manner? Your style of dress will have a significant impact on how you are treated by both your superiors and subordinates. The way we behave in company related social settings goes a long way toward how we are treated by management and even our fellow co-workers. Do we cut loose at happy hour or do we adhere to the “2 drink maximum” rule? Were we the star of last year’s Christmas party or do we interact in a professional manner? In every work related interaction we are teaching people how to treat us.

These are five of the more common areas in life in which we will have the opportunity to teach people how to treat us. If you want to be seen as someone who is reliable, be consistent in keeping your agreements. If you enjoy being the “life of the party” it is important to recognize that some people may be leery about placing you in a role of responsibility. If you value your time, don’t allow people to waste it. If you are struggling to find your ideal relationship partner then become who you desire to attract. If you find yourself in a physical or verbally abusive relationship, LEAVE! Again, we teach people how to treat us! We can effectively do this by setting boundaries and using our voice to let others know when they have encroached upon these boundaries. There is nothing wrong with having high expectations for how we desire to be treated. The sooner we determine what our expectations are, the sooner we can begin living our most authentic life.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.