4 Step Formula for Facing & Conquering FEAR…John Page Burton

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We all experience fear. Many of us thrive on fear and use it as a motivator to accomplish great things. Others allow fear to keep them from experiencing their true greatness. When fear comes up, it’s an indication that we are outside of our comfort zone. The vast majority of what we fear is illusory (imagined fear). For example, I’m hiking in the woods and as I round a corner I see a bear 50 yards away. My fear would be very real! On the other hand, I have heard a rumor that a bear has been seen in the forest and therefore I make a decision to not go hiking in the woods because I may run into the bear and be killed. This is an illusory fear. Whenever fear comes up, it’s imperative that we face it head on in order to break its grip. Below is my 4 step formula for facing and breaking through fear when it shows up in my life.

FEAR…

FORMULATE a success strategy. For example, let’s say we have decided to leave the comfort zone of our job in order to fulfill our dream of launching our own business. This can be a fearful experience due in large part to the uncertainty and financial risk involved. As we begin to design our strategy, it’s important to begin asking ourselves some key questions. For example, who is our ideal customer? What material and human resources will we need? What is our budget? What is our timeline? As we begin to pour our energy into developing and executing our strategy, we will begin to see the unlimited possibilities for our new venture. (This strategy can be used in any area of our life where we desire to achieve success) Formulating our strategy/plan will create the initial “rush” of energy that will propel us toward the next step….
ENVISION a compelling future. One of the keys to conquering fear lies in our ability to hold a compelling vision of what our future will look like when we have broken through and achieved the results we are seeking. Remember, compelling vision=commitment and discipline. Small vision=excuses and distractions. A strong vision will lead us toward the next important step…
ACTION. In our battle with fear, ACTION is our most proactive defense. When we are fully engaged in the success process, we have very little time to listen to the voices of doubt and fear. When these voices begin to surface (they will) we can simply overwhelm them with ACTION. Taking consistent ACTION keeps us in a continual state of forward progress. Without massive ACTION we can’t help but remain a hostage to fear.
ACTION leads to the final step….
REFERENCES. Achieving the results we set out to accomplish is the bi-product of our strategy, vision and ACTION. Results validate our efforts and significantly boost our confidence and belief. Results also validate that we have the courage to face and conquer our fears thus becoming a much stronger, more capable person. Results serve as reference points that we can recall whenever we face a new fear or adversity.
The next time you experience fear or self doubt in any area of your life, I encourage you to implement this 4 step process and begin building a strong data base of fear busting references.

The Richest Man In The Graveyard…John Page Burton

To quote my long time mentor Tony Robbins, “our goal is NOT to become the richest man in the graveyard“.  I have been blessed with an amazing life and by the grace of God I currently want for nothing. I realize that my life could change in an instant and this serves as a grounding principle for how I treat and relate to others.  Recently, I engaged in a conversation with a friend of mine who believes that my wife and I “may be accumulating too much stuff”.  His underlying message is that we should feel a profound sense of guilt for earning an exceptional income and enjoying nice things. In reality, my wife and I have chosen to live a modest yet active lifestyle while we are still alive and able to enjoy it. I encourage everyone to do the same. We designed a plan to earn our living from the comfort of home which has allowed us to split our time between Tucson and the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona. In short, we work hard and we play hard! I believe that as long as we are socially responsible with our earnings we shouldn’t feel guilty about creating and maintaining an enjoyable lifestyle and neither should anyone else! Our goal is not to become the richest person in the graveyard.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER…

*He who dies with the most toys is still dead. Don’t identify with “stuff”. We are not our things! In our final days it will be people and memories that will escort us into the afterlife.

*Personal relationships and experiences far outweigh stuff. A quality conversation is just as important as a quality pair of shoes. Long after my mountain bike wears out, memories of the people I rode with will live on.

*Service & outward focus make the world a much better place. GIVERS GAIN.  A life of service is a life well lived. Our willingness to give back to society speaks more about our character than our bank account ever will.

*Rewarding our efforts. When we reach our goals, it’s important to do something nice for ourselves. NEVER allow anyone to make you feel guilty for achieving success.

*Abundance. There is more than enough of everything for everyone. Share the blessing by clearing the clutter. If you are not using something, there is someone somewhere that will. Pay it forward.

*Give credit where credit is due.
No one attains success without the help and encouragement of a host of other people. Give credit where it is due. Don’t brag or gloat. First and foremost give credit to our creator.

*Don’t judge others based on material possessions. Some really great people live in large, well furnished homes and other really great people live in tents in 3rd world countries. Possessions don’t make a person, character does.

Remember, the secret to living is giving.

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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.

REVENGE…It just feels good! John Page Burton

For many of us, thoughts of revenge feel pretty darn good! “I’ll get even with that no good jerk, nobody is going to wrong ME and get away with it” is a common utterance of someone immersed in a revenge mindset. Thoughts of getting revenge tend to get our blood pumping and give us a new sense of purpose, one which enables us to summon all of our plotting and planning skills and formulate a misguided strategy to right the “perceived wrong”. We are determined to channel all of our frustration and anger into one big, tightly wound ball of hateful energy and let it fly! It feels GREAT to visualize the misery we will inflict on that no good, scum sucking weasel! Sound familiar?

At one time or another all of us have harbored thoughts of revenge. For some, these thoughts have become all consuming and are clearly effecting a person’s physical and mental health. Fortunately, most of us fail to act on our thoughts of revenge or else our prison system would be more taxed than it currently is. We create a great deal of internal turmoil each and every time we harbor thoughts of revenge. Let’s be honest, people do things to us that make us angry. They may hurt our feelings, cause us financial harm or in many cases they subject us to significant physical and emotional abuse. We want our perpetrator to feel the same degree of pain “they have caused us”. We repeatedly visualize how good it will feel to “give them a heavy dose of their own medicine”. Thoughts of revenge allow us to seemingly regain the power that has been taken away from us. The Ego is LOVING every minute of this drama and is more than willing to add more fuel to an already raging fire. Revenge is a verb. Revenge is action! The Ego unconditionally supports our feelings of anger, rage, hurt, jealousy and disappointment.

Revenge presents itself either explicitly or implicitly. Explicit revenge is action based and immediate. For example, your dog just bit my kid. I am going to load my gun and shoot your dog. Implicit revenge is the most common form of revenge and thankfully for humanity it remains primarily in our mind. We consistently visualize what we will do to the person who “wronged us” and we create imaginary scenarios that depict the suffering and humiliation they will endure from our callous acts of revenge. Explicit revenge is clear and concise with an eye for an eye being the only rule of this game. Implicit revenge is a slow and painful emotional process that causes the person who is immersed in thoughts of revenge to relive their drama over and over. In the end they put themselves through twice as much emotional pain as anything inflicted by the perpetrator. The object of “implicit revenge” is oblivious to how much energy is being devoted to them and therefore the only person continuing to suffer is the person consumed with the thoughts of revenge. “The wheels on the bus go round and round”. Implicit revenge rarely leaves the planning stage. Over time, the intensity usually wears off and the person seeking revenge moves on to their next psychological drama.

3 questions that can help us manage our thoughts of revenge…

Did they really do something significant to us? Asking ourselves this question causes us to pause and ponder. This process can bring us to a more reasonable state of mind. Nobody is worth ruining our physical or mental health over. It is also a good idea to ask ourselves if the object of our anger is really just a trigger for something else that is lurking below the surface? On several occasions I have placed a target in the middle of someones chest for no other reason than they were available in the moment. My anger and frustration from another “perceived wrong” had been lying in wait, impatiently waiting for the perfect moment to strike!

Will I become a better person if I act out my revenge? The answer is always a resounding NO. Revenge never has a positive outcome. Revenge is an unhealed response that fosters more negative energy. The only way can we can truly grow and become better people is to take the high road and move on. If someone steals from us we can press charges and let the legal system take it from there. If our spouse cheats on us we can choose to seek marital counseling or we can hire a divorce attorney. Taking the law into our own hands and dealing out the punishment of our choosing is not a wise option. NEVER ACT OUT REVENGE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL!!!

What would happen if I simply let it go? We must trust the universal law that says… what goes around will come around. It may not come around the way we want it to but it eventually will come around. Letting go is hard to do because of the Ego’s need to control. As I wrote in my book, Wisdom Through Failure, I experienced issues with a neighbor over the non stop barking of his dogs. Eventually our HOA manager was able to get it to stop. We recently arrived at our mountain home (neighbor with barking dogs) to find that 3 of our upstairs windows had been shot out with a pellet gun. I can’t prove that he was involved, however, none of the other homes in our neighborhood had any pellet holes in their glass. Being that he is the only person who I had any type of conflict with, the odds seem reasonably high that he knows something about it. It’s his Karma. I filed a police report for insurance purposes and released it to the universe. FYI…I am human and had a wealth of vengeful ideas rolling around in my head but chose to not act on them.

Thoughts of revenge are a normal response when we feel we have been wronged. Holding onto these thoughts for any length of time is unhealthy. Carrying out acts of revenge is not only unhealthy but can have dangerous results. When we were children our parents encouraged us to count to ten when we were angry. The purpose of this exercise was to allow us to pause and ponder rather than respond impulsively. I contend that this is still some very solid wisdom each of us should strive to follow.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.
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Why It’s Hard To Go “Back Home”…John Page Burton

Recently, I enjoyed a wonderful evening of food and laughter with some good friends. We share the commonality of growing up in small towns and it wasn’t long before a humorous conversation ensued that centered on how uncomfortable we usually feel when we return home for a visit. We laughed about the “zingers” we routinely endure from family and friends. These “zingers” come in various forms, but the common theme is “how we could have possibly given up all of this, (hometown) to go there”. I shared a story of returning home for my forty-fifth birthday and how strange it was to see my childhood friend George, cruising up and down main street, his wife cuddled next to him in the front seat. As I enjoyed dinner at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the avenue, George passed by at least ten times. I fondly recalled how as teenagers George and I had routinely cruised from one end of town to the other talking about our dreams and how we were going to “blow this place” after graduation. I couldn’t help but wonder why George had never “blown the place”. I was also reminded of a quote by the late author, Thomas Wolf, who so eloquently stated “you can’t go home again”. I can’t help but draw a parallel to another quote I have grown to appreciate, “a mind expanded never returns to its original size”.
Below are some of the reasons why I believe it is uncomfortable to return home.
The crab pot analogy. If you have spent any time around the ocean you may have come upon a crab pot. As crabs are caught they are thrown into a pot that is void of a lid. You might be thinking to yourself, wouldn’t the crabs just crawl out and return to the ocean? The answer is NO, but not for a lack of trying. You see, as one crab begins to climb up the side of the pot and make a break for freedom, another crab will attach himself to the freedom seeking crab and pull him back down into the pot. This process repeats itself time and again, thus there isn’t a need to put a lid on a crab pot. Anytime we venture out of our comfort zone to explore new worlds or experience new things, we are bound to encounter people, often well-meaning friends and family members, who desire to “pull us back down” in order to keep us from disrupting their COMFORT ZONE. They will use criticism, sarcasm or other deflections to offset their own deep seeded fear of “leaving home”. We must keep CLIMBING!!!
Dumbing down. When we expand and grow, we become aware of the plethora of amazing opportunities available to us. Much like a child visiting Disneyland for the first time, we become consumed with our adventure and develop an unquenchable thirst for more. We now know what lies beyond the “city limits” and we are excited to return home and share this new found knowledge with our family and friends. Sadly, a short time after our arrival, we begin to notice that in our absence something has dramatically changed. We find ourselves “dumbing down” in order to hold a conversation while our friends and family gaze at us with vacant stares and robotically nod their heads as we describe our adventures in this “brave new world”. Within hours we feel stifled, frustrated and yearning to leave home again. We must keep LEARNING and GROWING!!!
Guilt. After choosing to leave the “city limits” of our youth, many of us find ourselves feeling guilty for making the decision to move forward. It was never our intention to hurt the feelings of our family and friends but we knew that staying around for their benefit would mean giving up on our dreams. Life is a process of trial and error and quite frankly most of us experience a great deal of error. When we return home and begin sharing our life lessons, we are often reminded by our loved ones just how “good we had it” and how sad everyone is that “we chose to leave them behind”. Initially, this drama can be easy to buy into and we may even entertain thoughts that we are being selfish and self-centered. We must remember that this is our personal journey and it is good to be SELF-CENTERED!!!
“Going home again” may be a physical visit or it may be a trip down memory lane. Once we have left the confines of “home” and entered the bigger picture we will never be the same. It is our acceptance of who we are today, combined with an appreciation of our past that allows us to step into our future.

Living A NOW O’CLOCK Mindset…John Page Burton

Life is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, one trip through. The purpose of a dress rehearsal is to work out the kinks in a performance. If something in a script or musical arrangement isn’t flowing properly, the director or composer simply requests “do overs” until it is right. If it still isn’t flowing properly, it can be written out completely and replaced with something that works much better. I can’t speak for you, but there have been numerous times in my life that I would have enjoyed tapping into my data base of hindsight and “done something over”.

In real life we don’t get an opportunity for “do overs”. We do however, have an opportunity to change or modify our future behavior based on the intelligence we have gained through our past experiences. This process is often referred to as “the school of hard knocks”. It is currently NOW O’ CLOCK and none of us know the date and time when we will experience our final curtain call. How do we intend to make the most of today? How do we choose to be in relationship with others? Are we living in the present or somewhere in the past or future? Here are a few considerations for living in a NOW O’ CLOCK  mindset.

Be present. Many of us spend so much time “doing” that we never get around to “BEING”. As my friend Crystal Horton so eloquently stated in a recent blog post…”we get so caught up in the details of the moment, that we miss the essence of that same moment”. How many of us get so caught up in making sure that everything is perfect at “the party” that we end up missing out on the opportunity to interact with our guests? The “party” metaphor provides a good example of how many of us have chosen to play the game of life. When we live in a NOW O’ CLOCK mindset we recognize the value of creating the time and space that permits us to interact on an emotional level with those we love and care about.

Bucket list. “When I retire I am going to take a trip around the world”. “Someday I am going to take up fly fishing”. “After I get all of the kids through college I am going to buy a 67′ Corvette and cruise the open roads”. Tomorrow may never come, NOW is the time to accomplish the things we desire to do. For many of us it isn’t about the money, it is about giving ourselves permission to reward ourselves as we move through life. Establishing and going after our “bucket list” activities while we are healthy enough to enjoy them, is a great way to honor ourselves and our efforts.

Expand the mind. “An expanded mind never returns to it’s original size”. Upon graduation from high school or college many of us left our learning habits behind. I am a firm believer that a person’s quality of life is greatly enhanced by their thirst for knowledge. Learning keeps our mind sharp and it opens doors of communication and friendship with other like minded people. Mastermind groups, book clubs, travel clubs and industry associations are great resources for expanding our mind. NOW is the time to keep learning and growing!

Taking risks. Playing it safe will never allow us to create a legacy. “He played it safe and never failed” is not what I desire to be written on my tombstone. “He played hard, took risks and made a difference” is what I desire mine to read. I am not an advocate of reckless behavior but I am a firm believer in the personal power that comes from leaving our comfort zone. When we live in a NOW O’ CLOCK mindset we are empowered to go after our goals and dreams in a focused, committed manner because we recognize that time is of the essence.

Prioritize. Many of us have such a long “to do” list that we never get anything done. Here is a helpful tip. Each day, make a list of the top 3-5 things that you must accomplish in your business or career and don’t add anything else until these tasks have been completed. Make another list of the top 3-5 things that you need to accomplish in your personal life. Again, don’t add anything else until these tasks have been completed. Some of us are so concerned with meeting everyone else’s needs that we fail to meet our own. Many of us have spent far too much of our hard earned money helping “wayward” friends and family members and as a consequence we fell short on meeting our financial obligations. We must learn to put OUR obligations first and quit apologizing! I truly believe that givers gain, however, we must remember to pay ourselves first.

When we live in a NOW O’ CLOCK mindset we are aware that every day counts and that it is our responsibility to make the most of it! We are not putting off until tomorrow (or next year) what we can accomplish NOW. Our time is valuable, our interactions with friends and family are precious, we are eager to soak up as much knowledge as possible and we have a burning desire to take full advantage of all of the amazing sights and opportunities our creator has provided for us to experience. There truly is no time quite like the NOW.

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