Tag: coaching

Sign says results not excuses

9. Winning and Losing

RECONCILIATION IS AN accounting term that implies a balance between credits and debts with nothing due and nothing owed. Reconciliation with friends or family, for example, occurs when debts can be satisfied—through repayment, retribution or forgiveness. The act of repayment, retribution or forgiveness is the credit given that moves the debt to a zero balance.  

If the need for love, respect, significance, and security were not as important to us, let’s say, as water and air, reconciliation would be much easier. 

But they are important to us. 

In fact, they are critical to our survival, so much so that we will insist on repayment or retribution in order to gain whatever measure of love, respect, significance, and security we have lost. The need for these things is so important to us that the other option—forgiveness—escapes us because it is counterintuitive. 

If someone takes something valuable from you, forgiveness without repayment or retribution seems like losing, unless of course, you are the one needing forgiveness. 

When you were a child, you may have been forced to forgive others so that you could get on with playing, but if your heart and mind didn’t agree, your words were empty, and you weren’t reconciled in your spirit. 

After a lifetime of this behavior, the value of forgiveness could easily be diminished. 

The problem, as I see it, is that we need forgiveness and we need to forgive much more than we need repayment and retribution. We have amassed a lifetime of losses, and without forgiveness, those losses are like open items in one very large ledger. 

Sometimes it is because of the lack of forgiveness that even when repayment has been made, or retribution has been served, the items remain open. 

It may take a shift in your thinking to see the personal power you have forfeited for the sake of winning, or your unwillingness to forgive or be forgiven. But if not, I hope you will see the energy you have lost while waiting for justice. 

If you want to change your behaviors today, you will have to do the work to reconcile your past. 

If you want to tell me your past is unforgivable, I assure you that you would tell me the same thing a year or ten years from now, but you will do so with the same thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors you possess today. 

If you want sustainable results from our work together, you must choose forgiveness.

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,  throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.


And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,  for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.--Excerpts from Ephesians 4:21-32

This would be a good time to transfer the ledger you keep in your mind into your notebook. Make a note of the debts you think impossible to forgive. 

Capture the words you may have spoken to declare, “I will never forgive this” or “I can never be forgiven for that”. These are the debts that own you, therefore stealing your personal power—but by your own choice. 

Undoubtedly, your thoughts will have something to do with justice. If so, I’ll agree that forgiveness is not fair, but by now you know that life isn’t fair. The good news is that fairness is not a prerequisite, nor is it essential, to a successful life. 

What you’re after is peace and harmony, the effects of love, respect, significance, and security. Are you ready to do some work? If so, let’s start at the beginning. Read More...

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Lost in the woods with the sun shining through

8. Unmet Expectations

IF YOU WERE LOST deep in the woods, after what was supposed to be a well-planned excursion that included fun, adventure, and a safe return home, you would find yourself alert to the very real danger ahead.

At first, you might try to backtrack, but upon noticing that you were only walking in circles, rinsing and repeating the same steps, what would you do?

Imagine yourself alone and lost.

Imagine yourself tired, hungry, thirsty, and afraid. Imagine yourself taking an inventory of your circumstances. How did you get here? [biblegateway passage="Ecclesiastes 7:29"]

Will you blame God for making you a free-spirited person who likes fun and adventure? Will you blame him for not keeping you safe at all times? [biblegateway passage="Proverbs 19:3"]

Will you blame your mom, dad, or other caregivers for not better teaching you how to prepare for your future?

Will you blame society for not making directional signs for your every step?

Will you blame your friends who told you how much fun they had while taking similar journeys?

Will you blame yourself for being so careless and irresponsible?

For we are each responsible for our own conduct.—Galatians 6:5

To be sure, there is plenty of blame to go around, but in the end, you are still lost. You may want to lie down and die; feeling helpless and hopeless, but in your heart, you know this is not how you want to go, nor are you ready to go.

This trip was not supposed to be your last and you still have things on your calendar to do. Your life shouldn’t be over.

If only you could have a “do-over”.

If only you could see the people you love or at least have conversations with them.

The experience of being lost is frightening, but one does not have to be physically lost to feel lost. You can feel lost at the moment of any upset or unmet expectation.

Inside you and me is the desire for utopia. We want everything to be perfect. We measure people, places, things, and circumstances against a faulty expectation that somehow, everything should be, or could be, perfect.

What we fail to see is that “perfect” is not always measured by a universal standard of what you or I deem to be “without flaw or failure”. For example, if someone you love dearly is trapped in the rinse and repeat downward spiral of an insidious addiction, you might think it “perfect” that he or she is stuck in jail where you think it safer than the lifestyle the addiction brought. Your loved one might see things differently. In other words, “perfect” is a relative term.

“Perfect”, at the core, is the state of being when you enjoy a full measure of love, respect, significance, and security.

When some measure is taken away, either in reality or in your perception of reality, the natural response is to get it back. Until we learn new coping skills, our first thought would be to nurture the negative feelings associated with our loss.

Those thoughts, tied to our unmet expectations, yield resentments. Resentments that you control.

While you have no control over what happened—what has happened occurred in reality, or your perception of reality—you do have control over your thoughts about what happened.

If you will be honest with yourself as you capture your very real thoughts and feelings on paper, exactly as the words appear in your heart and mind, you will be doing the necessary work to learn new coping skills.

Otherwise, you will do what you have always done and whether you believe me or not, you will give your personal power over to your negative thoughts and feelings.

You do not have to live your life with your thoughts and feelings leading your next step. You can learn how to not let negative energy get the best part of who you are. Read More...

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The brain in need of reprogramming

5. Reverse Engineering

THE MEANING YOU GAVE to each event that happened to you in your early life was banked in your subconscious mind as a thought. From that thought came an emotion, sometimes positive, but sometimes negative. Either way, from the emotion you experienced came an attitude, sometimes positive, but sometimes negative. 

Your attitude led to a desire. If your attitude was positive, the desire was for more of the experience. But, when your attitude was negative, you experienced a very special desire.

That desire was to get back what you lost or to do something different so that you would never again lose whatever you lost. What did you lose?

A certain amount of love, respect, significance, or security. 

The desire caused a certain behavior. 

This behavior was a strategy, and it sometimes worked. But sometimes it did not. [biblegateway passage="Proverb 14:12"]

When it worked, your subconscious mind banked it as a winning strategy and one that could be used without thinking. 

Over time, your winning strategies became habits and you accepted them as a natural part of who you are. Your character was formed, and you were on your way to what you hoped would be a successful life. 

With a little reverse engineering you can see that if the meaning you attached to the memorable events that happened in your early life were from a child’s perspective, you could have attached the wrong meaning. Or at least a skewed meaning for lack of knowledge or experience. 

As a child, if someone called you stupid or ugly, you might struggle today to believe you are smart or beautiful. 

If you heard those disparaging remarks repeatedly, you might have developed a strategy to prove you are or are not stupid or ugly. 

Today you could be an underachiever or an overachiever simply because of the meaning you attached to the event. 

If the disparaging remark was something you could agree with, your subconscious mind banked it as the truth, and it would use all the other information you believed to be true to plot and plan your behavior so that you would remain safe from the pain of your truth. 

The truth of a child. 

From the words of a human being. 

A human being who is probably not ordained in the business of assigning intelligence or beauty. 

What I have described is the process by which we accumulate our faulty beliefs that lead to counterfeit strategies. Which leads us to hurt ourselves. And others. [biblegateway passage="Proverbs 23:29-35"]

While I have given you an example of a negative situation, you can also develop faulty beliefs and counterfeit strategies from positive situations. Let’s say you were the favorite child of a parent or grandparent and you were noticeably indulged above your siblings. Rather than feeling pain, you may have felt great pleasure in being favored. 

Your thoughts may have led to an attitude that you were special, and a desire to always be treated better than others. Today, you may expect to be the center of attention in everything you do and with everyone you associate. 

You may have chosen behavior that helped you get noticed, or you may have chosen friends who would see you as better than them. If you aren’t the center, you may struggle to get in the center, or you may abandon situations where you cannot feel important. 

If you are tired of fighting for center stage, you can thank your subconscious mind for banking the truth you believed as a child, and then do the work of revisiting the meaning you attached to being the little princess or momma’s boy. 

 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.--1 Corinthians 13:11-12NIV

If the belief is faulty, the strategy will prove to be counterfeit. Read More...

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Negative words guide our thoughts.

4. The Power of Words

NOTHING HAS EVER or will ever be created without the presence of words. The home you live in, the clothes you wear, and the car you drive were all created after the presence of three little words, “Let there be”. [biblegateway passage="Genesis 1:1-26"]

The same is true for the company that employees you and the product or service your company offers to the world. Whether your parents planned you or not, even you were created after the presence of the same three words.

Words determine your thoughts, feelings, attitude, desires, and behavior. Words precede your character and begin every relationship.

The point I’m trying to make is this:


The understanding of how words work in your life is a matter of life and death.

Freedom or bondage.

Intimacy or isolation.

You have a long history with words. They were communicated to you at the beginning of your life and soon thereafter, you began to give meaning to those words. At this stage of your life, you also gave meaning to non-verbal words communicated to you through facial expression, body language, and actions.

The meaning you gave to words, verbal and non-verbal, was stored in your heart, the human body’s first brain. It was not the verbal and non-verbal communication that guided your behavior thereafter, but rather the meaning you gave to words.

This conversation is important because you could not, and cannot control what was actually communicated to you as a child, but today, as you are trying to solve the problems out there, you have the opportunity to revisit the meaning you attached to what was communicated to you.

You might wonder what your childhood has to do with you now, but unless you can tell me that you had a frontal lobotomy yesterday, I will tell you that you have been very busy your entire life attaching meaning to everything that happened or didn’t happen to you.

Your subconscious mind considers the meaning you attached to everything that happened or didn’t happen to you as the gospel truth, and until you change the meaning, your subconscious mind, forgetting nothing, will direct your thoughts, feelings, attitude, desires, and behavior today. Why?

It is because your subconscious mind is designed to protect you.

It can calculate what you should do faster than you can think, and even though you may end up in the ditch, you cannot blame your subconscious mind. It responds only to the information given it by the conscious mind.

Like a computer; garbage in, garbage out.

Negative in, negative out.

Positive in, positive out.

Truth in, truth out.

...to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.--Ephesians 4:22-24(Italics mine)

Now, take a breath, and relax. You are an adult, but now you have the chance to change the meaning you attached to your past. Remember, you do not have to relive an unresolved childhood to identify the words you say to yourself about your past.

How is this so?

It is because by changing the meaning you attached to your past, you will also change your thoughts, feelings, attitude, desires, and behavior going forward.

At some point, you may even look back and be grateful for the problems you had out there.

The problem inside you is not an easy fix. It is simple, but because the human being is so complex, it takes time to correct. It takes effort and persistent practice to overcome.

It also takes courage.

However, it takes more courage to be an adult while giving control of your destiny over to a child, which in essence is what we do until we choose to stop.

Please don’t be discouraged because I said it takes time to correct. As quickly as you can see a different meaning, you can choose to accept it. For example, you might have believed you were fired from a job without good reason, but after capturing the negative words strung together about what happened, you might see another meaning available to you. I’ll give you an example.

I was unfairly terminated from a consulting job and it was a difficult blow. At first, my demons said I deserved better, but as I focused on my growing anger, humiliation, and pride, the demons also said I didn’t deserve the success I saw in the future with that company.

I spent a weekend nursing my wounds, and the meaning I assigned to the event went something like this: My client is a greedy, selfish, unkind pig. How dare him falsely accuse me of not being responsible for the success I brought from my experience and knowledge.

My story about what happened grew, not only by getting collaboration from friends and family but also by my subconscious mind.

The shame and humiliation from being fired triggered my subconscious to remind me of other times things didn’t go my way and before I knew it, I wasn’t the powerful woman I had been, but I felt like a little girl lost.

Alone, my thoughts turned grim as my demons reminded me what I really believed about myself: I’m not good enough. I don’t matter. I can’t trust people, especially men. I’m not worth what I think I’m worth. I am a fraud.

Can you see the downward spiral when focused on negative energy?

Stuck in a pit of despair, God did something for me before I ever knew he really loved me. He gave me a different meaning to consider: Read More...

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Finding problems like rocks in a shallow river.

3. Where’s Your Problem?

I ALWAYS WANT TO LOOK “out there” when I have a problem. I like to assign blame somewhere other than myself. 

After all, my intentions are always to win, whether that is in a relationship or in a project. Since I usually give my best effort, at least to look good, in everything I do, it is not natural to look “inside” myself. 

There is a correlation between success and the difficulty it becomes to look at me rather than “out there” when something goes wrong. When I am in a powerful position over circumstances or people, I don’t want to do the work it takes to consider what happened inside me before I react.

Instead, I want the negative energy I’m feeling already—because something went wrong—to go away as quickly as possible. If I have the upper hand, I would much rather kill you, thereby transferring my pain to you in the form of guilt, shame, or humiliation. 

I would much rather you feel afraid of disappointing me than to admit that what happened made me uncomfortable inside. 

The more successful I am in controlling people, places, things, and circumstances, the harder it becomes to take any responsibility for failures in my life. 

However, there is a cost to pay in trying to control the world I live in. The truth is that I don’t really want to control everything. I tried that and found it exhausting and after many failed attempts, I found it impossible. 

It also caused me to accumulate more negative emotions than I could vomit onto my next victim, and still look like the nice person I wanted to be. I knew I was an angry person inside, and I became short-tempered, living in a state of disappointment and letdowns.  

I have come to learn the work it takes to focus on what’s going on inside me, rather than the people, places, things, or circumstances, that seem to be my “problems”, is not hard. 

It just sometimes hurts. 

The good news is that it is far easier to change my thoughts, attitude, and behavior towards my problems than it is to change other people, places, and things. 

This is especially true when people in my life may not have a problem with whatever I see as a problem. 

As a result of my experiences, I have found some commonalities in the problems most people want solving, and some commonalities in the solutions, too. What I will share with you in this body of work are very simple, yet essential elements that were usually missing, misunderstood, or misused by the people I have helped. Read More...

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