Archive | December, 2012

Without Fear – What Will I Feel?

19 Dec

It’s really interesting. So many people ask me, “If I overpower my fears, what’s left? What will I feel then? Nothing?” It’s as if they fear giving up fear, and are afraid they’ll become something like an emotional zombie. Silently walking the streets searching for a feeling.

Then there are those people who desperately hope to give up fear seeking what they believe to be the opposite of fear – constant joy and happiness.

Now having overpowered the majority of my fears, I can truthfully tell you that neither of the above happens. First the opposite of fear is love. Without fear you are able to share your love with others in a manner not available to you before. No fears of being rejected. No fears of saying the wrong things. Just your heart reaching out to the hearts of others with no expectations beyond the connection made.

When you succeed at giving up your fear what is left is all your other feelings. Except this time they don’t come wrapped in paralyzing fear. When you experience joy you experience it without the fear that it is fleeting, and you may lose that joy. When you experience sadness, you experience it without the incessant mind chatter and the fear that your mind will grow the sadness into a dark depression.

Is this good? I think it is but you have to make the final determination. And this is where you rely on that wonderful universal gift, the gift of free choice. You may choose to give up fear because you are sick-and-tired of the little life you are living, and all the things you give up when living a fear-based life.  Or, you may choose to keep the fear because you fear the unknown more. And are afraid that you won’t know how to deal with a true emotion that doesn’t come disguised as fear.

To your “true” feelings,

Michael

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Keeping Your Promises!

18 Dec

We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears. ~Dag Hammarskjold

I don’t think there has ever been a truer statement then the one from Dag Hammarskjold above. For those not familiar with Dag Hammarskjold, he was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. He is best known for being the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving in that role from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961.

As human beings we were programed to be optimistic. It is our natural state. And when we promise another that we will do something for them, our promises are made with the full intent of providing the other with the best that we can offer. It could be a promise to a child, a spouse, a boss, co-worker or even a customer. We intend to deliver.

Although, a promise and delivering on that promise are two sides of the same coin, there is often a disconnect between agreeing to the promise and following through on that promise. That disconnect is usually fear. The fear we feel when delivering on the promise forces us to step outside of our comfort zone.

For example: we promise and agree to sit on the board of a local non-profit. Having served on many boards I know that as board members we are often asked to volunteer our time, business skills, knowledge and advice. As a board member of the Northern California chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation I had various duties assigned to me. When I became President of the board I took on additional responsibilities. And one of those tasks was to be the voice of the chapter. That meant delivering many talks and speeches to members, future members and high level donors.

Fortunately, by this time I had overpowered my fears of public speaking. Otherwise my presidency could have been a disaster. But for many other people whose desire it is to serve others, they must often face and try to overpower the fears that emerge when they try new things, winning some and losing others.

Making promises to provide others with something is always a noble gesture. But before making that promise, make sure you know what the future holds for you. If you know you’re going to face fear on your path to delivery, make sure you can face and overpower those fears. If not, what you deliver may not come close to what you promised.

Best always,

Michael

It Felt Soooo Good!

17 Dec

Have you ever experienced unconditional love? I think I have. It happened maybe two or three times, but a long, long time ago. Let me tell you what it felt like.

On each occasion I was with my mother and she had done something for me that was out of the ordinary. I remember one time when I was about nine years old and mom and I were out shopping. I loved putting together plastic model airplanes and ships, and we were about a block away from my favorite hobby store. I asked her if she would buy me a model airplane that I wanted. Now usually whenever I asked for something I typically had to almost beg and plead for it, but on this occasion she responded almost immediately with a yes, adding, “You’ve been a good boy this week. Why not.” I was thrilled.

After purchasing my model plane we left the store hand in hand and began walking home. As you might imagine, I was feeling pretty good. About a block down the street I looked up at my mother and she looked down at me. She had this incredible look of love on her face and my body reacted as never before. I began to shiver, but not in a bad way. It was like I was overwhelmed with joy and thought my body would burst from these glorious feelings. At that moment I knew what I was feeling — my mother’s unconditional love.

As I mentioned, I’ve only felt this on a few occasions. But there was no doubt it was real. As I’ve grown older I’ve often thought of those wonderful moments. I believe they were a gift from God. It’s what he wants each of us to experience. I’ve asked God to give me more. And maybe he will. What I would love to do is to learn how I can create these feelings in myself. Then I can teach others how to create their own.

If you’ve ever experienced these feelings of unconditional love I welcome your stories.

To unconditional love,

Michael

Where Do I Begin?

14 Dec

Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.  ~Richard L. Evans

Everyone needs a hero or two. Especially if you’re starting a new venture. If you’re up here in Silicon Valley there are plenty of heroes you can look up to: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Gordon Moore, Guy Kawasaki and many others.

But, the problem with emulating a wealthy or successful person is that we recognize them at the height of their career. They have arrived. Some are even lauded for their “overnight success.” But the true lesson of how they succeeded goes back to when they had nothing but an idea and a dream.

First, very few successful people can be classified as an overnight success. What lead up to that success was usually years of hard work, first learning a craft and then practicing that craft over and over until they were the best of the best at it. For Bill Gates it was learning to program computers starting in high school. For Steve Jobs it was his tinkering with early computers and his belief that he and Steve Wozniak could build a better one.

Every successful person started from a place just like the place you are right now. I know that place. It’s scary. Having started a number of successful (and unsuccessful companies), I know the fear and doubt that come from stepping forward with only an idea and a belief in yourself that you will succeed. This is the place where everyone starts.

Starting a new career, company or even a new relationship, all come with risk. Remember risk is nothing more than giving up the known for the unknown. But along with the fear you are going to experience, will come doubt. Doubt that you may not be capable or talented enough, or in the case of a new relationship, lovable enough. Believe me – you are enough.

Inherent in you are all the things you need to create your dreams. Know that the path may not always be easy, but the people and the resources you will need for success are already on your course. They’re waiting for you. All you need to do is overpower your fears and take your first faltering steps.

To new beginnings,

Michael

My “True Self” Knows No Limits

12 Dec

A Born Rich Affirmation: My “True Self” knows no limits; that in truth, I am quite capable of having, doing, or being virtually anything I desire to be.

It has been said over and over throughout recorded history that we, as human beings, are powerful beyond measure. That if we only recognized our divinity, our greatness, given to us by our creator, we could accomplish virtually anything. So, why are we not, these incredible creators of miracles?

According to A Course in Miracles, when we were born a veil came down blocking our remembrance of who we really were, the holy children of God. We took on the cloak of a human body that caused us to forget that we were divine, incredibly powerful and destined for a life of greatness.

You see, this human body came with two equally strong emotions; love and fear, plus a thinking mind and a built-in nemesis, the ego. In addition, we have been given the gift of free choice. God promised us that our gift of free choice would be unconditional, meaning that no choice we ever made would be judged by God.

But God did say that although we have free choice, we still must live with the consequences of our choices. And here lies the problem. We desire love but often let fear overwhelm us, especially when the ego speaks up and sides with fear. Then it reminds us of all our past wrong choices and all our “not good enough” beliefs about ourselves. And, so we settle for a life of littleness even though our Father promised us a life of Greatness.

All of the above is the bad news. Now here is the good news. You can change your life this very moment. And you do it by changing your thoughts. No longer do you have to accept negative delusional thoughts that lock you in fear. Decide now to monitor what you are thinking. This is actually quite simple. Positive thoughts give you feelings of joy and happiness. Negative thoughts create the fear you feel in your body. Next time you are feeling fear stop and examine what you are thinking. Once identified as a negative thought replace it with a positive one. And this is how you do it.

Say out loud: “(Your higher power) I cast the burden of this negative thought about _______ on you, and I go free. I ask that you replace this thought with a positive thought about _______.

To your Greatness,

Michael

I Could Have – But I Was Afraid!

11 Dec

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. ~Louis E. Boone

One of our greatest fears is the fear of failure. Exactly when and at what age we took on this mantle of fear I’m not really sure. I think it comes when we join other little children in pre-school or kindergarten classes. Up until that time we were the centers of our own universe. Now, we had to comply with a set of rules and regulations given to us by these giant authority figures. Don’t hit or push other children. Learn to share your toys with others. Don’t speak unless spoken to. Wait your turn. Don’t bud in line. Just the beginning of following a lifetime of rules.

With rules comes compliance, or in some cases non-compliance. And with non-compliance comes judgment. Good little boys and girls follow the rules and bad little boys and girls who don’t, get punished. The age of judgment has befallen us. From this point on everything that we do and say will be judged and evaluated by someone other than ourselves.

Do you remember what else came with a teacher’s reprimand? The laughter and snickering of our classmates. This often hurt more than the teacher’s words. The response from our peers embarrassed us, and we swore at that point to not put ourselves in that position ever again. But of course that was far easier said than done, considering the fact that as human beings we take a perverse joy in judging and laughing at others. As long as we aren’t the target.

As we grow older and experience more and more of these embarrassingly judgmental circumstances, our fear of failure grows, and we develop ways to avoid these situations. The number one avoidance method is to not do anything until we are sure we won’t fail. And since we cannot know beforehand what we do will succeed or not, we often choose to do nothing. We begin avoiding new things, and thus have limited ourselves to only what we know and are comfortable with.

And then we grow older, and naturally begin looking back over our lives. This is when it hits you. Along with all your triumphs and successes comes a list of all the things you did not do, because you were afraid. For some, those that faced their fears and took risks, there may not be too many of these. But for many others this list of could have done, might have done and should have done, tells a story of a life of littleness.

Now a life of littleness may be what you desired. And although, I believe that each of us was created by God to live a life of Greatness, he did give us free choice and promised never to judge us for the choices we made. So, if you are looking back over your life with regrets of what you did not do, remember, you don’t live in the past (it’s gone), nor the future (it’s not here yet), but only in the present. Don’t be afraid to experience new things NOW, and live the life you’ve always wanted.

My love to you,

Michael

You Couldn’t Ask for a Better Habit!

10 Dec

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.  ~Aristotle

What’s the first thing you think of when you read the above Aristotle quote? For me, it’s the word “choice” that pops up in my mind. Why choice? I think it’s because we have been given the greatest of all gifts by our creator. We have been given the gift of free choice. We can choose one thing over another, or we can choose nothing. This in its own way is a choice.

Most animals rely on instinct. And we too have and use instinct. Although most of the time we don’t follow the signals our body sends to us. We’re actually too smart for that. Preferring to rationally think things through. “Rationally” being the key word.

Every single day of our lives we make hundreds, maybe even thousands of choices.  And the majority of them we give but a nano-seconds worth of thought to. What cereal do I want to eat this morning? The light is turning to yellow, do I want to speed up and sneak through or do I want to stop? And then there are those that we should give added thought to before we decide, like, do I want to say that to her even though it will likely hurt her feelings?

Whenever we take on a new responsibility, a new job, a new assignment, we have a choice as to the quality of our output. We can strive for excellence or take the easier route, with the belief that good, is good enough. If we can consistently choose excellence, although harder and more time consuming, it then becomes something that we repeatedly do, like shaving and putting on make-up, and thus becomes a habit. A very good habit to have.

If I can offer you one bit of advice today, it would be choose wisely. Think things through before you choose. And always remember, choices have consequences.

And if you have children at home take the time to teach them how to make the right choices for themselves. Teach them the Universal Law of Cause and Effect. Then whenever they leave the house, tell them how much you love them, and to always choose wisely.

My love to you,

Michael