Success And Following Our Butterflies

As we take steps towards realizing our dreams, we often experience butterflies in our stomach.  Wikipedia says, “Butterflies in the stomach is most often experienced prior to important events…”

One way to deal with these butterflies is by deciding to avoid the important event.  The butterflies disappear.  Unfortunately, that opportunity to take a step towards our dream also disappears.

My wise Grandpa Francis has another idea.  When someone has butterflies in their stomach, he advises that person to “get the butterflies to fly in formation.”

Grandpa has a good point.  Why not celebrate our butterflies instead of working to avoid them at all costs?

As a professional speaker, do I sometimes get butterflies in my stomach before going up on stage to inspire an audience at a convention?  Of course!

When this happens, I make a quick decision to follow my butterflies by walking confidently up on stage to speak.  My audience and I both benefit greatly from this decision.

The next time you feel butterflies in your stomach as you approach an important event take it as a good sign.  The butterflies are here to show you the way.  Follow the butterflies and have a wonderful time directing them to fly in formation.

Game of the Day

Write a short letter of appreciation to all the butterflies you have had in the past and will have in the future.

Positive Impact

Four years ago, I lived in Sioux Falls, SD, while Hilary Kimblin, a massage therapist and yoga teacher lived in Los Angeles.  Four years ago, Hilary and I had never met. Four years ago, Hilary did something that empowered me to transform my life.  And neither of us had any idea until this past Sunday.

Do you have any idea of all the ways that you positively impact the people around you?

This weekend I attended the 6th Annual All-American Laughter Yoga Conference organized by a joyful visionary, Sebastien Gendry.

Laughter Yoga is a unique idea where anybody can laugh for no reason.  The best way to see what Laughter Yoga looks like is to Youtube Laughter Yoga and be prepared to laugh.

The final presenters at this Laughter Yoga conference were a dynamic couple, Jill and Dan Johnson.  Their presentation was entitled, “How Always Saying ‘YES!’ Changed Our Lives.”  I was highly interested in their presentation because on a number of occasions their decision to say “yes” empowered me to transform my life.

You see Jill and Dan said, “Yes” to becoming Laughter Yoga Teachers based on an experience Jill had.  After that they said “Yes” to starting a free Laughter Club in Sioux Falls, “Yes” to organizing a Laughter Yoga Leader training and “Yes” to training me to become a Laughter Yoga Leader.

Through leading Laughter Yoga sessions, I gained my confidence and love for public speaking and through attending Laughter Yoga conferences I made the friendships that would inspire me to move to San Diego.  Basically, these were very radical changes in my life.  Before becoming a Laughter Yoga Leader, I avoided public speaking like the plague and never imagined I would move to California.

How does Hilary, who I mentioned at the top of this post, fit into this story?

I found out today that she happened to be teaching a Laughter Yoga session at a conference in California about four years ago.  Jill, who had never participated in a Laughter Yoga session before, happened to be at that conference, and took part in the session Hilary was leading.  Jill was very intrigued and when she arrived home, suggested to Dan that they become Laughter Yoga Teachers.

If Hilary hadn’t led that Laughter Yoga session at the conference, Jill might have never been motivated to suggest to Dan that they become Laughter Yoga Teachers.  If they hadn’t become Laughter Yoga Teachers, I may have never known of the opportunity of Laughter Yoga and its transformational power.

In their presentation, Dan and Jill said, “Go towards what gives you strength and everything counts.”

Hilary transformed our lives simply by going towards what gave her strength and leading a group in Laughter Yoga four years ago.

When we say, “Yes” to the things that give us strength and share those things with others, we have no idea how far that “Yes” ripples out or how many people will be empowered to transform their lives.

Game of the Day

Think of the time when you were very surprised to realize the positive impact you had on somebody.

Know that your positive impact extends farther than you will ever know.


Take A New Way Home From Work Friday

Part of how we maintain our comfort zones is by only seeing the things that fit within the walls of our comfort zones.

I was able to maintain the idea that I was disabled only as long as that was the only reality I saw.

While gazing beyond our comfort zones can be challenging because the edges may be well hidden, we can start this process by developing a practice of seeing new things in our daily lives.  When we see new things, we become explorers of our world, the same as Columbus or Neil Armstrong.  Ok, I admit driving down Forth when you usually drive down Sixth might not be quite as incredible as sailing the ocean blue or walking on the moon but work with me.

We can start this practice of exploring today by simply taking a different way home from work.  On this route, you might notice new building or trees that you find beautiful.  You might see restaurants or stores you have never knew existed.  Within each of these places is the potential for new conversations, possibly conversations that redefine how you view yourself.

All of this could be available just by driving on a street a few blocks down from the one you usually take.

Please bring a map if you don’t know the area you are traveling in well.  Being lost is also beyond our comfort zones but not the point of today’s adventure.

Going a new way home from work may simply be a delightful change.  Drives where we see new things also have the potential to change our lives because we open ourselves to a world that is larger than the one we had previously known, a world beyond our comfort zones.

Game Of The Day

Take a new way home from work today and bring a map if you need one.

My Joy Principle of Personal Finance

In my finances, I made up a principle that I attempt to always follow.  The principle is- Buy only what brings me abundance now, as well as, in the future.

For example, I would follow my joy principle by spending money on a tasty and nourishing meal now, which would bring me abundance in the present as well as the abundance of health in the future.

Whereas, if I spent all my money to go on a delicious four-star vacation to Europe, the vacation would be extremely abundant while it lasted.   But once I ran out of money and had to mop the deck of some freighter to earn my way back home, the party would be over.  I would violate my joy principle, because while I created abundance in the present during my four-star travels in Europe, I jeopardized my ability to experience future abundance by spending all my money on that vacation.

I employed my joy principle of personal finance to great success in my move to San Diego.  When I was looking for an apartment, I found the perfect building in the perfect neighborhood.  I first looked at a one-bedroom apartment in this building.  The rent felt like it could call my ability to experience future abundance into question.

So, I looked at a junior efficiency in the same building and the rent was about half as much as the rent on the one bedroom.

At this point, I had the opportunity to think about which option would bring me the most abundance. Sure the extra space and the full kitchen in the one bedroom would be nice.

But I was also attracted to the coziness of the junior efficiency.  The junior efficiency had three huge windows and lots of light, which would bring me solar abundance on a daily basis.  In addition, paying half as much in rent would give me substantially more freedom as I began a new career doing what I love to do.  So I choose the junior efficiency, which provided me more money to spend on future adventures like whale watching, taking trips to LA, and eating out.

By choosing to live in a smaller space, it also cost less to furnish, which adds up to more future abundance.

The day I moved to San Diego, I was already saving a great deal of money.  I did this not by forcing myself to make a sacrifice. Rather, I focused on creating present and future abundance.

Game Of The Day

How can you apply the principle, “Buy only what brings me abundance now, as well as, in the future” to the purchases you make today?

From Blanket Forts To Living In The Can Zone

“A ship in harbor is safe– but that is not what ships are built for.”  John A. Shedd  *

I loved the idea of making forts as a small kid.  I remember once getting a bunch of chairs, draping blankets over them, weighing the blankets down with books and creating a fort.  Inside the fort, I existed in a small comfortable world that I had constructed. This world seemed cozy because once I was inside it, I was contained and unable to see beyond the soft walls of my fort.   This fort came down when my parents needed the chairs for our next meal and I moved onto other interests.

One of these interests came to be building a cozy comfort zone for myself.  I would gather some experiences like chairs. Then I would drape a grand belief over the top.

Have you ever built such a comfort zone fort?

The grand belief I draped over the top of my comfort zone fort was that I was disabled because I had a speech impediment and some coordination issues.  Based on my grand belief in my disability, I told myself that people wouldn’t understand me; people wouldn’t like me; people wouldn’t want to be my friend; women wouldn’t be interested in me; and that I wouldn’t amount to much.

I realize that the fortress I created sounds more like a painful place than a comfort zone.  But within this reduced world, I was comfortable because I didn’t have to be responsible for rising to my capabilities and living that life.  Other people would ask me to do challenging things and I could basically say, “I would love to but I can’t because I’m disabled.”  My dreams would ask me to do challenging things and I could push them aside with the same old excuse of “I’m disabled.”

Peter McWilliams points out, “To the degree we are not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us, than we have over ourselves.” **

Our comfort zones can become Can’t Zones.

From my perspective, there a multitude of difficulties with Can’t Zone forts.  I’ll talk about two:

First, our Can’t Zone forts limit our view of the world.  When I was hiding in my blanket fort as a kid, did that mean the rest of our living room and dining room didn’t exist?  Of course not!  I just couldn’t see them because I was hiding behind some blankets.

The same goes for our talents and our potential.  Just because we sometimes choose to hide from our talents and potential, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

The second problem with Can’t Zone forts is that they are flimsy like blanket forts.  Think of a blanket fort.  Somebody bumps into a chair or kicks a book aside and the whole thing comes down.

The exciting thing is this problem is also our access to living in the Can Zone.

For example, now I see my speech impediment as one of my greatest gifts because it allows me to connect with and inspire a wonderful variety of people.  The amazing gift of my speech impediment, more over, provides me a richness of life that I would never have been able to experience had I been born speaking normally.  This is me writing from the truth of my Can Zone.

I did not have to drill for years through rock to realize this truth, I simply had to be willing to lift the blanket off the top of my Can’t Zone fort and see my abilities and the world in an entirely new way.

I’m not saying that this was easy.  My Can’t Zone at one time did very strong because it was the only reality I allowed myself to experience.  It was a reality I was addicted to.

My work of healing was realizing over time that my Can’t Zone was not solid like a prison but simply a blanket fort that I could emerge out of when I was ready to live in my Can Zone.

* quote from quotationpage.com

** quote from thinkexist.com

Game of the Day

Speculate about what beliefs make up your Can’t Zone?

What would your life be like if you emerged from these beliefs to live in your Can Zone?

Freedom Is It

I used to minimize the fact that I was addicted to drinking Coca-Cola.  I would tell myself things like “I drink two to four real Cokes a day, but it’s not like being addicted to cocaine, cigarettes or alcohol.”

To me, my Cokes were a sweet addiction.  Pardon the pun.  Coca-Cola signs were red and white, strong colors and two of the three colors in the American flag. (If you consider white a color, but that is another discussion.)

Drinking Coke was just an indulgence not an addiction for me, I reasoned.  I thought that imbibing Coke was sophisticated.  It seemed so much more adult to go into a restaurant and proudly order a Coke rather than water, orange juice or, most embarrassing, an apple juice.  And I thought, for some reason that I can’t now quite fathom, that drinking Coke would impress woman.  (I was sorely mistaken, as a rule it doesn’t.)

I would get email forwards about the disconcerting concept that Coke removes rust from nails.  And concerned friends and family would advise me to quit.  But I would think, “I’m an adult.  I’m free to choose to drink Coke.”  Over the years, the advice to cease drinking my favorite beverage became stronger, and still I said, “I’m free to drink my two to three to four Cokes a day.”

Recognizing that I was free to continue to choose to drink Coca-Cola I feel actually played an important role in helping me put an end to my Coke addiction.  While my soda addiction limited my freedom, I would have limited my freedom further by pretending that other people where forcing me to give up my habit.

So for a while longer, I focused my power of choice on continuing my addiction.  Things changed when I finally decided to listen to all the good advice I was getting and focus my power of choice on creating a way to quit my habit.

This was an exciting point in my journey.  I discovered that once we freely decide we want to quit whatever we are addicted to; we have the freedom to create a way to quit.

Effective quitting looks different for different people. Some people just decide enough is enough and go cold turkey.  Some times two or more friends decide to quit an addiction at the same time and support each other through the process.   Some people read books or seek counseling to support their resolve to quit.  Some people join twelve steps programs and the list goes on.

When we decide we want to quit our addiction, we try different things and hopefully find an effective way to move past our addiction.

I was surprised to note that the benefits of successfully quitting my Coke addiction went beyond nutrition.  In finally choosing to give-up Coke and following through with that choice, I was able turn my wishes for a healthier lifestyle into effective action.

My addiction to Coke limited my ability to see what life had to offer.  While I was strongly focused on finding restaurants that served Coke, I was missing out on other aspects of life, same as if I walked around Rome looking at the sidewalks I would miss much of what the city had to offer.  When my focus was not on finding my next fountain Coke each day, I began to notice other details and activities like yoga, Laughter Yoga and eventually San Diego.   When I freed myself from choosing Coke each day, I started to free myself to live a life I deeply love.

Game Of The Day 

What thoughts come up as you read this post?

Appreciation Monday

We feel exhilaration when we see someone’s face light up as we genuinely appreciate him or her.

For the last few months, one of my intentions has been to voice appreciation for everyone I come in contact with.  Sometimes I simply smile, sometimes I acknowledge something I admire about a person, and sometimes I thank the person for what they contribute to the world.

This intention was put to the test recently when I was walking in a park.  I was about to pass by a man unloading portable toilets from a truck.  Instead, I stopped for a minute and thought about all this man does.  Because of his work people are spared pain and suffering and possibly embarrassment.  With this realization, I thanked him for the work that he was doing.  Then possibly a little stunned, he thanked me for what I said.

I find that by appreciating other people, we give them a gift, naturally make new friends and develop community around us.

Dale Carnegie once observed, “You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now.  How?  By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone…Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” *

I have also found another great benefit of this exercise.  As we develop more ability to appreciate the people around us, we tend to gain ability to appreciate ourselves.

* Quote from ThinkExist.com

Game of the Day

For one hour or for the whole day, find a way to appreciate everyone that you come in contact with.