By Casey Grey
I love Mondays!
What comes to mind when you hear, "Oh, looks like somebody has a case of the Mondays."
It's unfortunate that most of our society associates this with a negative feeling. If somebody is in a bad mood and it's Monday, it's OK. That's expected because it's Monday. Why do we accept this?
More importantly, if this is true, why would that person continuously put themselves through the pain of feeling this way every Monday?
Mondays are the gauge for my life. If I ever start to dread waking up Monday or If I start living for the weekends, there's something wrong. It's time to make a change.
Our environment has a huge impact on who we are and what we do. Our environments will force us to create habits whether we're aware of them or not. Habits can make us or break us. They're either serving us or hurting us.
One of the things I like to do is design my environment to win.
If I want to start flossing, I will put the floss beside my toothbrush or in a location where it catches my eye. If I want to eat healthy, I will purchase healthy food and keep all the junk food out of the house. If I want to stay consistent with my workout, I will join a club where people pull me to be better. If I want to stay off social media then I will install a program on my computer which prevents me from going on social media. If I want to stop watching TV, I will get rid of my TV. If I want to read more, I will put books in places I will see them or listen to audio books while I drive.
You get the point...
I believe a big part of habits is self awareness. If you know what triggers your bad habits, you can avoid those triggers. On the flip side, if you know what triggers your empowering habits, you can put yourself in those situations more often.
How can you improve your environment today?
Trying... What a useless word.
I admit, I'm guilty of using this word. I'm trying to remove this from my vocabulary... Wait... I will remove this from my vocabulary.
I don't see any use for it. I'm either going to do the task I have set out to do or I'm not. I'm committed or I'm not. I'm strong enough or I'm not. There's no in between. Do it or don't do it.
If I think back to when I use this word, it's either when I don't really want to do something or I'm not confident I'm able to do it. In either case, it's usually just a mind shift that's required or a commitment.
Let's work together to remove this word-that-shall-not-be-said from our lives. Let's replace it with something that empowers us!
I'm baffled when people tell me they CAN'T do something.
I can't loose weight. I can't quit my job job. I can't start a business. I can't go on vacation. I can't quit smoking. I can't quit eating meat. I can't buy a new car. I can't. I can't. I can't.
The truth is that people do these things every single day. People who say they can't are CHOOSING not to do these things. They are choosing to prioritize something else. Which is totally fine if that's what they want to do! Just stop saying that you can't, because you can.
Our brain is a powerful tool that, if used properly, can propel us. If used improperly, it will keep us stuck. The thing about our brain is that it does not want to be wrong. If you tell it you can't do something, it will say, "you're right! Let me tell you all the reasons you can't do that."
The same thing is true when you say, "I can and I will." Your brain will say, "Alright! Let's figure out how to do this!"
Just like going to the gym you need to exercise the brain. You need to train it. You need to start with the 5 pound dumbbells and work yourself up to the 100 pound dumbbells. Increase that weight every day.
Remove CAN'T from your vocabulary and watch the magic that happens in your life.
One of the things I enjoy doing with my son, Sullivan, is watching animated movies. It's the little kid in me I guess. What I love most about these animated movies is the message in them. Every once in a while there's a really good one that truly stands out.
This past weekend, we watched The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince). This one stood out!
There were so many amazing messages throughout the movie and it was truly captivating. The one that stood out for me was, "Growing up is not the problem. Forgetting is."
For myself this was a reminder that nothing ever dies until we forget about it and nobody ever dies until we forget about them.
There's a similar quote in the song Glorious by Macklemore where he sings:
I heard you die twice, once when they bury you in the grave
And the second time is the last time that somebody mentions your name
It's a reminder to focus on what is most important. To focus on the people who's lives I can have a positive impact on as appose to the number of followers I have on instagram. To have fun, be a kid, smile, laugh and cry. To be present with the person in front of me. To write about what inspires me. To approach everyday with a sense of excitement and curiosity.
By doing these things I will be setting myself up to remember.
And when I remember I will be the best version of me.
If you have kids or a dog, or have seen people interact with their kids or dogs, you know how "crazy in love" parents and dog owners can be.
Specifically, have you ever seen a parent greet their young child or a dog owner greet their dog after day away? The excitement and love that comes from both sides of the interaction is contagious. There's no way to watch this event without smiling.
When I see my wife after a day of work, I don't exude the same excitement as when I see my son. Why? I love her just as much as my son. Why do I hold back this excitement? What am I afraid of?
When I see my team members at work, I hold back as well. Why not show them I'm happy to see them and proud to have them on the team? I don't need to hug and kiss them like I do with my son but I can show excitement.
This awareness has brought up an interesting question in my mind...
What if I greeted everybody with the same excitement I have when greeting my dog or child? How would that improve my relationships?
I believe there is a big difference between marketing and branding. Marketing is a strategy whereas branding is a symbol of who you are as a company or a personal brand. Marketing can be implemented over night whereas a brand could take years to establish.
A brand is the foundation to any great company. When a brand is established, the marketing changes and becomes much easier.
I was recently going through the process of purchasing new vehicles and one of the vehicles was going to be driven mostly by my wife. As I worked through the vehicles, I knew the "features" that she wanted. I could find vehicles with all the features she wanted (plus more) but when I showed her them, she was not really interested. She would have happily driven any of them but they were not her first choice.
I worked through the new vehicle options at the dealership and then started working through the used vehicles. Eventually I came across a beautiful car. It was 5 years old but priced very well and had fairly low mileage. It did not have all the features my wife wanted but it did have a few additional ones that could offset those.
The morning after I found this, I was sitting at my computer and I called her over. I said, "What do you think of this?" as I showed her the picture. I watched her as she looked at the pictures and started to scan the details. He first reaction was, "Meh, it's OK..." But not 2 seconds after she said this, she followed it up with "OH! It's a Mercedes?"
Needless to say, she became interested and was very happy when I showed up that day with the car for her to test drive. I'm pretty sure it was sold before the test drive but that was more for me ;)
Brand trumped everything in this case. The prices, the features, the interest rates, none of those mattered to my wife. They did to me and this particular car checked the boxes but if my wife didn't like it, I was not going to buy it.
I have a bad habit of getting frustrated very quickly. Most people will not see this but those closest to me have definitely seen it. I am obviously aware of this habit and have become much better but it still happens from time to time. More often than I would like.
Although I could probably guess where I learned this habit as a child, it does not really matter where it came from. I'm more interested in figuring out how to replace it with a good habit so that I can be better to the people around me and myself.
The thing about habits is that they are often unconscious. We do them without realizing it and hopefully we catch ourselves before it's too late. It's a lot more difficult to get rid of a habit than it is to replace it. So what I can replace frustration with?
Actually, before I even get to that place, let's walk through some other things I noticed about my frustration.
When does it usually happen?
That last one is usually self inflicted. If I make a mistake and something takes more time than I feel it "should" have then I get quite frustrated with myself.
The great news about all this is that I can easily control the first two. Both of which are better for me anyways so it would be silly not to do them.
The third one is a little more difficult but if I handle the first two, it will be easier. For number three, I need to have a pattern interrupt in there. What can I do when I catch myself getting frustrated?
Or perhaps we can ask some logical questions about this pattern. Luckily I'm a male and logical thinking works well for me.
Has getting frustrated ever served me?
NO. Although I bet I have gotten frustrated or upset at people in the past and received what I wanted and now my brain has registered that.
Is there a better way I could have handled these situations?
YES. Coming from a loving, compassionate and empathetic space is always better.
Will I feel better when I prevent myself from getting frustrated and instead come from that loving space?
YES. Getting frustrated does not feel good nor is it good for my body. It also makes those around feel uncomfortable or angry towards me. Not only do I feel better but all those around me feel better.
What can I do when I catch myself getting frustrated?
Let's start with doing something silly. Something that will make me laugh. I will stick my finger up my nose and start talking in a stupid voice about the thing I'm frustrated about so I can realize how ridiculous it is. This is a trick I learned at Unleash the Power Within and it's time to put it to use again.
How will I make sure I get better at this? I will ask those around me to read this and call me out when I get frustrated so that I have to stick my finger up my nose in front of them.
If you see me getting frustrated, call me out!
What habits do you have that are no longer serving you? What are you going to do about them?
I've made a point to add fun into my life over the past years and really stepped it up in 2018 with the purchase of a 1977 VW Camper Van and Skydiving. In 2019 I've added skiing with the family and gymnastics to the list to start the year off.
The thing I've realized about fun is that it has nothing to do with the thing you are doing. It is all about the attitude you bring to that thing you are doing.
I was reminded of this during my first gymnastics course. The teacher, Alex, did a fantastic job at breaking the ice with all of us rigid adults. For the first warm up he had us put the top of our head on the lower portion of our partners back while holding their waist. Our partner then had to try and deke us out while trying to touch our knees as well. Before we knew it we were all laughing and having a great time.
There's nothing like getting to know somebody for the first time like putting your face right above their ass...
Fun is an important part of a successful business in my opinion. Business, just like life, has its challenges. When those challenges come, are you going to let them hinder your success and complain or propel you to the next level while having fun throughout the process?
As I like to tell my teams, "Not all situations are fun but fun can be brought into all situations."
Have you ever learned from somebody who you thought you were suppose to teach?
As parents, society talks about how we are suppose to protect and teach our children. To make sure we raise the next generation "right". Give them the opportunities that we did not have. Put them in better schools, sports and other extra curricular activities. Be the best! You want to win but don't worry if you loose because you still get a medal.
Alright that last comment may be for another post...
What if we forgot about all this? What if, instead, we tried to learn from our children instead of feeling like we need to teach them everything?
Yes, I know there are certain things we do need to teach our children like not to put tweezers in sockets (yes, I did this when I was a kid) but that's for general safety. I'm talking about the deeper stuff.
What I'm talking about is the ability to BE. As parents we are always DOING and in turn we teach our kids what to DO and what NOT TO DO. "Do this!" and "Don't do that!" are regular sentences our children hear.
We, as adults, have been tainted. We are now living our lives while wearing glasses which project all of our past experiences. Therefore we make decisions on those experiences which may or may not be the best decision for that moment. We think the decisions we make are best for our children because we're the boss but somebody else may make the complete opposite decision for their children. Who's right?
I say, "Who cares!?" We're not puzzle pieces who need to fit into a specific spot. We are all individual puzzles with millions of our own pieces and new pieces are being made every day.
The greatest teacher I have had in my life is my son, Sullivan.
He does care about the past or the future. Who only cares about the present. How does he feel right now in this moment? He's all about the NOW and what's in front of him.
He loves people. All people. He does judge or label anybody.
He is curious. He asks questions (and lot's of them) about anything and everything.
He is determined. He is willing to fall down and get back up again and again and again.
My wife, Natasha, and I went skating with Sullivan a couple weeks ago and skated about 5km. Sullivan skated the entire time but he likely did 7km with all the zig zagging he did. He also fell down dozens of times and took hundreds more strides than we did. Not once did he complain or get discouraged. He just kept getting back up and he was having a blast. He didn't care about what others thought. He was having fun and he was with mommy and daddy.
The most important thing I have learned from my son is who I am.
He does what I do, not what I say. If I have a bad habit, he'll pick up that habit. If I'm quick to get frustrated, he's quick to get frustrated. If I eat shitty food, he'll think it's ok to eat shitty food. If I sit and watch TV all the time, he'll want to watch TV all the time. If I work too much, he'll tell me he wants me to work less. He is a projection of his environment and Natasha and I are the main environment.
Learning does not stop when you're an adult. It never stops. Learning is growth and if you are not growing, you are dying.
And teaching does not only begin when you are an adult. We teach through what we do and who we are.
Remember, our children are watching you. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."