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December, 2008:

2008:A Year of Learning

My biggest reflection on 2008 is on how much I learned. Here are my examples:

  • I released my first book
  • I decided to become a professional speaker
  • I decided to become a coach along with running treatment centers
  • I hired a coach to assist me in these new endeavors
  • I attended Jack Canfield’s Breakthrough to Success Seminar and enjoyed it so much that I attended the Advanced version two months later
  • I left the country for the first time in my life; by going to Canada and Germany

What a wonderful year. My family is healthy and happy, I feel a new motivation to grow and learn, my employees are wonderful, and my life is filled with joy. I am starting the new year filled with excitement and hope. How about you?

Start the Year Off Right

This will be the Weekly Perspective this week but I also wanted to post this here. I realize there will be a lot of similar information available so this is my contribution. Enjoy!

It’s the beginning of a new year!

What does it mean to you?  Many of us think about changes we would like to make, commitments we want to keep, and positive habits we want to form.  

Unfortunately, many of us will stop any real progress we make in these endeavors through self-sabotage.

Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure successful goals in the upcoming year:

·      Find an internal motivation. Even if the initial push to change is a result of the counsel of someone else, find an internal and self-loving reason to make this change… and write it down.

·      Set tangible and measurable goals. 

·      Share your goals with someone who will support you, such as a good friend, a coach or a mentor.

·      Keep a written account of the steps you are taking to reach these goals.  No step is too small to track.  Remember to celebrate your progress.

You may have heard this advice before in some form.  There is a reason…

It works!

There is a ton of information and support available specifically designed to help you make the positive and permanent changes in your life.  Create a strong foundation by remembering why you are seeking changes.

A better life is what you deserve.


I Turned Out O.K.

In my book, Relationships for the Intimately Challenged, I discuss limiting beliefs that affect people’s relationships at length. One of the main points I get into is negative scripting patterns that families hold on to in order to maintain security and the status quo. These scripting patterns are made abundantly clear through the ways adults view children and child rearing.

One of the most common limiting beliefs, and justifications for the mis-treatment of children, is “That’s how I was raised and I turned out o.k.” First of all, kudos to anyone who is able to rise above environmental limitations in order to create a life which is wrought with success and happiness. People with this kind of transcendent nature are not the ones who use this statement. The”I turned out o.k.” defense is normally reserved for the angry and jealous power hungry adult who yearns for the glory days of yester year when the rod was not spared and the child was not spoiled. You know him(or her), they’re the people with the terminal scowl on their face, their nose ever so slightly turned to the air.

My problem with the “I turned out o.k.” mode of parenting is that anger is justified with “love.”  Emotionally irresponsible adults give themselves permission to act out angrily towards those who rely on them for security because children need to know “who’s in charge.” We all need the security of parameters, no doubt. However, to assume that children’s feelings are less important than those of adults is indeed dangerous.

We learn how to process emotions and respond appropriately as a result of experience in combination with guidance. Children who are raised in an environment in which their feelings are less valid than those of adults will find a way to be heard.If a child chooses this route it is rarely positive. My suggestion is to be in a position in which you are able and have a desire to communicate ( speak and listen) to your children. You will see far more results from clear communication than from adhering to the antiquated “because I’m the adult, that’s why” mentality.

With all due respect to those in denial, the world is a different place today. To pine for the values of generations past is a waste of time and energy. It is also squandering an opportunity to open yourself up to a world which is ever-changing. Younger generations respect older generations because of the wisdom and experience they share. It is not because of the older generations ability to enforce it’s will. Every generation believes the world was better way back when. It wasn’t. It was a time that helped to create the perception of a collective mind-set. One of the keys to effective and loving parenting is the ability to adapt to the world in which we live today.

One Foot in Yesterday……..

Have you taken the time to absolutely enjoy this magical time of year? While driving around yesterday to wrap up some last minute holiday responsibilities I reminded myself of how fun the end of the year has always been. From Halloween all the way through New Year’s Day is an opportunity to both reflect and plan ahead. What makes it truly fun is doing this while staying in the now. Where people tend to get themselves into trouble is when they look back with remorse and regret and look forward with fear and dread(would you like some more ands?).

The now is the magic. My reflection gives me perspective. My planning gives me hope. When I am in the now. So by all means take stock of what you have done, accomplished, and fixed. Look forward to new challenges, adventures, and relationships. Place a foot in yesterday and one in tomorrow. Except this time BLESS all over today.



How do you define yourself? Is it your job? Maybe your possessions? Perhaps your spouse or partner defines you. Your family history? Your country or region? Your chosen religion? This list of questions could go on ad infinitum. The reality is that no matter how we try to define or identify ourselves nothing we find will fully capture our essence.

There is a tremendous amount of freedom in this understanding. I am not saying that the only road to happiness is to give up all worldly possessions and loyalties (although there may be a ton of wisdom to gain in this). I am merely trying to point out the degree to which we limit ourselves. 

None of this is a new idea nor is it meant to be. I have learned a lot over the past year about the process of disidentification and it has helped me in my ability to feel free. Our personality is only a part of what reflects our true essence and being. We should never confuse our personality with who we are. 

Practice enjoying your quirks and idiosyncracies. Take notice of your preferences. Enjoy who you are. Most importantly remember that your personality is ever changing, it does not define you. It never has to stifle your essence.

In the End, Relationships Count

The world can be very confusing. With the constant change, ideological differences, economic downturns,and rioting teenagers it can seem like there is nothing on which to hang hope. We can easily forget that the world has always experienced turmoil and upheaval in its continued growth and evolution. 

As segments of society struggle with their sometimes fractious need for superiority, there are some things on which we can rely. When we feel alone or misguided we can become grounded. 

Find friends with whom you

can laugh. Go to beautiful places that bring you joy. Finally, surround yourself with a loving family with whom you can share your life.

Count on the love in your relationships. At the very least they will carry you to something better.

Tough Times/Hopeful Times

Every week I write an e-mail/newsletter called “Weekly Perspectives.” If you would like, you can sign up for it by following the link. I normally don’t use this as a blog post but I decided to today because this week’s e-mail is one I believe will resonate with many people. If you already receive the Weekly Perspective I apologize for the redundancy. If not feel free to sign up for it and enjoy this post!

Times are a little tough for many people right now. There is a constant barrage of fearful news and every time things seem to improve someone else pops up with another message of doom and gloom. Couple that with the propensity for depression this time of year and it could be a recipe for disastrous conditions.

Yet there are many people who are excited and filled with hope. What is the difference? What separates those for whom thoughts of panic and despair overshadow optimism and those who are able to transcend the dark and depressed fray?

Those who maintain a positive and hopeful outlook are people who give themselves things to look forward to. They maintain an attitude of gratitude and actively seek solutions. They remove themselves from the blame, shame, and justify mentality and take responsibility for their happiness.  This is easier than it seems.

·      Focus on gratitude daily, whether by writing a list or simply being aware

·      Any time you find yourself complaining, write down a solution to whatever it is you are complaining about

·      Verbally express your love for the people in your life

You can make the world a better place. All it takes is a shift in attitude. 

Are They Pets or People?

After reading this article on Saturday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I was reminded why there is still a market for the work that I do. I am amazed at the general disdain of children. There seems to be an obsessive attitude in regard to children being “normal” and “well-adjusted.” Time and time again parents are instructed to create adversarial dynamics in their relationships with children and the results speak for themselves. I have been in the drug and alcohol treatment business for over twenty years and I can say with a great deal of confidence that techniques used to create “well-adjusted” children have resulted in the widening of the gap within families. 

Whether the belief is “children are meant to be seen and not heard” or that “leadership is more important than the relationship,” broken belief systems destroy self-worth. When an adult attempts to present him- or herself as having all of the answers and he or she refuses to admit when they are wrong, they destroy the foundation of honesty and integrity. This is not effective leadership, it is lying. When a child is sent the message that his or her feelings, thoughts, or ideas are worth less than those of adults, he or she develops feelings of inadequacy. He or she will either lash out at authority figures later or be forever passive.

The bottom line is that human beings thrive in loving and open relationships. Families remain close as a result of clear and honest communication. As generations of self-centered, angry, and power mongering adults continue to abuse children through acts of physical violence and demeaning words, less people want to have children. Does a better world start at home? If so, rather than being fixated on your children being “well-adjusted” focus on their ability to be honest, have integrity, communicate clearly, and treat others with love.