The 3 Most Influential Conversations We Can Have…John Page Burton

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During the course of any given week, most of us engage in hundreds of different conversations. Our conversations may be centered around small talk at the water cooler or they may showcase our positions and ideas. Some of our conversations will be sad or painful while others will be light and cheery. Our conversations may inspire, enrage, motivate, inform or educate those around us. Of all the conversations we engage in, I believe there are three that carry the most influence. Let’s take a closer look…

1. Our conversation with our self. All of us maintain a running dialogue in our head. How we speak to ourselves tends to become how we carry ourselves. Our self talk becomes our mindset. For example, when we experience a set back or failure is our self talk judgmental and self deprecating or is it encouraging and uplifting? When we experience a big win, is our self talk boastful or is it grounded in gratitude and humility? If we are constantly talking trash to our self, it’s time to take out the garbage! Remember, over time, our self talk will determine the quality of our life experience. We can CHOOSE our self talk.
2. Our conversation with our children. How we communicate with our children has the power to groom them for success or keep them from realizing their true potential. We must ask ourselves if our conversations with them are empowering, engaging, instructional and uplifting or are they critical, demeaning, one sided and controlling. Research has shown that 65-70% of our belief system (how we view the world) is formed by the time we are eight years old. Strive to be an empowering communicator.
 
3. Our conversation with our Creator. Initially, this can be a very challenging conversation because we can’t physically see or hear the person we are talking with. At times, this conversation may seem a bit one sided but gradually it becomes the foundation of our faith. Our creator does not mock our questions, judge our answers or lead us down a self serving path. Our creator desires that we freely share our challenges, dreams, desires and fears  so that we can receive the guidance we seek. In order for this to happen, we must be willing to reach out and begin our daily dialogue. Prayer opens the door of clarity and understanding.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feed

 

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.

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 Secret to Dying Rich…John Page Burton

No matter how much “stuff” we accumulate or how much “money” we earn, ALL of us are going to die. Death is the great equalizer! In our final moments we won’t crave the “stuff” we have accumulated or have a desire to fondle the piles of cash hidden under our mattress, rather, we will crave the love and connection of our family and friends. How we spend our final moments will be a direct reflection of how we lived our life. Dying rich should be our goal. Below, are a few of my thoughts on how each of us can begin filling up our emotional bank account as we travel down our chosen path.

*Nurturing our personal relationships. Far too many of us focus our non working energy on work related issues that we bring home from the office. Many of us routinely find ourselves immersed in someone else’s drama. This causes us to miss out on countless opportunities to connect meaningfully with family and friends. Remember…where our focus goes, our energy flows. Work is important , however, it should never dominate our personal lives. Our personal and family relationships require us to be fully present. In order for this to happen we must side step drama and leave our work at our desk. Ponder this… Are work related thoughts and conversations dominating your personal life? Do you routinely find yourself getting dragged into other peoples drama? Would the quality of your personal interactions improve dramatically if you focused your non work time nurturing them?

*Treating everyone with dignity and respect. When we make it our mission to live from this perspective we tend to find that the world opens up to support our journey. Despite what many of us have been led to believe, none of us are “better” than anyone else. ALL of us were born into a different set of circumstances. We are well served to be grateful for our blessings and refrain from judging others for what they have or don’t have. Remember…but for the grace of God, there go I. Ponder this… Do you find yourself judging other people by what they have or don’t have? How do you treat people when you believe nobody is watching you?

*Proclaiming our authentic self. This means that we speak our truth and run our own race. We don’t compare ourselves to others and we operate in a manner that is congruent with our values and beliefs. We are not swayed by the opinions of others and we freely stand up for what we believe in. We follow our heart and only engage in activities and vocations that are in alignment with our authentic self. Ponder this… Are there areas in your life where you are “selling out” on your truth? What would your life look like if you began living in a manner that honored your true, authentic self?

*Serve. Givers gain. Whenever we volunteer, we have an opportunity to connect with other like minded people and collectively we can effect change. When we give back to our community and the members within, we are honoring God’s blessing by sharing our time, treasure and talent. I believe that the more we give, the more we gain. As my mentor Tony Robbins often says…”the secret to living is giving”. Ponder this… What can you do this week to help someone who needs a helping hand or a little inspiration? Make the commitment to get more involved in your community. Teach your children the power of giving.

*LIVE NOW. A few years ago, Tim McGraw wrote a hit song called “Live Like You Were Dying”. In his song he shared many of the things he would do if he knew he only had a short time to live. We don’t need to receive a “death sentence” to start living. It begins with a conscious decision to begin doing the things we desire to accomplish and doing them NOW. Ponder this… What are some of the things on your bucket list? What do you desire to accomplish over the next 5 years? How would you feel if you began living your life with true passion?

Here’s to dying RICH!

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

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.