JAM with Mike

Motivation to Start Your Day!

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Thursday December 14, 2017 #928

Bottom line if you want success of any kind: you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Every time you can’t, you have to do it anyway. That last mile, the last set, the last five minutes on the clock.”

~Tim S. Grover

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Being challenged, even scared, is an everyday part of life for those who choose to become the best they can be.  By definition, achievement means overcoming some sort of obstacle to reach your desired destination.  Somehow, successful people manage to accept, if not become comfortable with, this state of being. It is a choice you can make at any time: to accept and embrace the discomfort and push on anyway. Life will be challenging when working on anything worthwhile.  You might as well embrace it since it is part of the journey.

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Personal Agility

Tuesday December 12, 2017 #927

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

~John Wooden

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When I see people struggling, whether personally or professionally, most often the root cause seems to be an inability to evolve with the fast-changing environment we live in today. Probably one of the most crucial skills we all need to develop and continuously exercise, is personal agility.  Agility is the ability to both quickly assess changes in the environment and then make necessary adjustments to be most effective.

What I often see are people failing to take note of changes around them or even in themselves, and if they do recognize the changes, the inability to react effectively.  Sometimes the correct action is no action at all, when change will produce no benefits.  But usually some change, even incremental change, is needed in attitude, behavior, or skills, to take full advantage of ongoing changes.

Adopt a curiosity about the world around you.  Listen, observe, read about, and experience the environment you live in and the people you share it with. Next, adopt a positive attitude about change. As it is said, “change is the only constant” so you might as well decide to be positive about it! And finally, be ready and able to make changes in behaviors, skills, and attitudes to make the most of the changes that occur.

This is the work of life:  embrace and choose to change, since you will be changed regardless.

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You’re Actually NOT the Center of the Universe

Thursday December 7, 2017 #926

“You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.”

~Olin Miller

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Too much energy is expended on building up our reputation and worrying over appearances, convinced that others are watching our every move and judging us.  This is a very human condition, to think we are the center of the universe.  In fact, the reality is that few if any are thinking about you or watching you, and certainly not judging you.  They are too distracted by their own perceptions of themselves being on display and being judged.

Relax, and be how you would like to be perceived not because people are watching and judging you, but because it is the right thing to do.  This is not permission to not be the best you can be, but rather to do so for your own self-worth rather than the approval of others.

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Choose Your Life

Tuesday December 5, 2017 #925

“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.”

~Mandy Hale

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In every moment of every day, we have the ability to choose our direction or to choose our reaction to what comes to us. To make the most of this life, be intentional and courageous and choose whenever possible the actions you take and thus the direction of your life, vs. letting others choose for you.  And when unable, due to circumstances, to move in your desired direction, choose to accept and learn from those moments.  It is in these challenges when we learn and grow, giving us the power to better control our direction and reduce the challenges.

What will you choose today?

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Being Thankful

Thursday November 23, 2017 #924

“Interrupt anxiety with gratitude.”

~Danielle LaPorte

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This simple message is quite powerful. When you find yourself in a challenging situation and your anxiety level is rising, it is amazingly effective to pause and reflect with gratitude on the opportunity you have at that moment to experience this opportunity to learn how to deal with such situations. Be grateful for all you have experienced and learned thus far which has prepared you with how to decide what course of action to try.  Be grateful for the ability to choose your attitude as well as the action to take. No matter whether you succeed, be grateful for the knowledge that you will get through this and be better for it.

With the strength this reflection provides, you will find yourself less anxious and able to move forward with more confidence, and the ability to bounce back quickly if you do not succeed, with the courage to try again.

And on this Thanksgiving Day, I reflect with gratitude on all this life has given me thus far, both challenging and easy, and what it will bring me in the future.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers and thank you for being on this journey with me.

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Dream Big

Tuesday November 21, 2017 #923

“Dream like your life depends on it. In a sense, it does. One is not put on this earth to simply live a mediocre life, but should be able to experience their life to its fullest and everything that it has to offer. So dream. Dream big. And follow this up with meaningful action. Bring your life to the highest level that you are able to. After all, what is living if it’s not being lived to its fullest?” 

~Nicole Addison

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If you are like most people, when you read a quote like this, you are reminded of all the really cool things you want to make time for but usually fail to make happen. This can be exciting adventures, higher education, going for a promotion, taking on a challenging assignment, etc.

But, let’s be realistic.  Most of our time is spent in rather mundane activities.  The point is not to be doing exceptional things constantly, but rather to ensure we make time for the exceptional as well as treating every moment, even the mundane moments, as opportunities to experience them exceptionally.

So yes, determine a cool thing you want to do or achieve and take action today to make it happen.  AND, while doing the mundane things that take up much of life, be open, aware, and grateful for the beauty around you, the wonderful people, your health, and the privilege to be alive and experiencing this life right now.  Dream big – and, it really is all exceptional.

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Limiting Beliefs

Thursday November 9, 2017 #922

“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullsh*t.”

~Elizabeth Gilbert

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We each work to find or create evidence of our perception of ourselves and the people and the world around us. Even if our perception is fundamentally wrong, we tend to only see what agrees with our delusions.  Especially when our perceptions are negative it can be extremely difficult for anyone or anything to burst our perception bubble.

Real change, even transformational change, comes when we are somehow able to see through this façade. Only then can we really see the truth about others and especially ourselves. And only by seeing the truth can we then take steps to improve ourselves and help others.

The best way to try to stay honest with reality is to constantly learn, and not in the cocoon of similar believers. Interact with people who think differently than you.  Travel to new places and embrace different cultures.  Read broadly. Constantly ask, “Is my perception reality?”

The world has become more and more splintered between groups thoroughly convinced that their beliefs are the only correct ones, and anyone who believes differently is not only wrong, but demonized. The only way we can break this dangerous and destructive cycle is to start with the premise that “different” is not “evil”, just different. This is true or politics, culture, sports, and even religion.

Don’t get trapped into limiting beliefs. If that is where you find yourself, I hope you get “tired of your own bullsh*t”.

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Noticing the Miracles

Tuesday November 7, 2017 #921

“It may be just a romantic notion, but I’ve come to believe that absolutely everything is special and sacred. It’s simply because the miracle is so pervasive that it has become invisible.”

~Jerry Downs

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I find this quote from Jerry Downs, an amazing photographer, author and keen observer of life, to be quite inspiring.  In our rush through life and with tremendous distractions all around us, there are innumerable miracles we miss every hour of every day.  We are distracted by so much noise that we fail to notice and therefore fail to appreciate the many amazing people, places and objects around us.

While it is almost impossible to shut out all the noise and distractions, it is possible to pause for a few moments at a time and intentionally take notice of the world around us.  Many do this through meditation and other similar practices.  But anyone can choose in this moment to pause, focus, seek out the beautiful, the special, the sacred in the person we are with, in the room or place outdoors we inhabit, and in the environment we find ourselves.

Pause.  Open yourself and your senses up to where you are and what surrounds you.  Notice the little miracles all around you and take it in with gratitude.  Then, move back into the flow of the noise and pace of the world, with a bit more optimism and positivity you have gained from appreciating the moment of grateful reflection.

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Measuring Success

Thursday November 2, 2017 #920

“Success has always been easy to measure. It is the distance between one’s origins and one’s final achievement.”

~Michael Korda

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Measuring yourself and your success against others is folly.  Your perception is always wrong as you can never truly understand another person’s reality.  Either you are overestimating your own worth and achievements or underestimating them.  Don’t bother comparing.  Focus only on a clear picture of where your own reality began, and on all the progress you’ve made in your personal journey.  Certainly use others’ journeys as inspirations and examples of what is possible, as well as paths you want to avoid.  But never compare yourself to them.

With a realistic reflection on your own path and armed with the knowledge of others’ journeys gleaned from a curiosity and desire for excellence, chart your own course forward.  Allow yourself self-recognition for your progress, avoid chastising yourself for failure or a slower than desired pace, and repeatedly take action to move forward.

You have successfully come this far in your journey.  Now, move forward to your next successful achievement: measured by the distance from now to then.

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Working on Me

Tuesday October 31, 2017 #919

 “If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself.”

~Stephen R. Covey

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 So often we can find ourselves paralyzed by feelings of things working against us, our fears, obstacles, naysayers, and more.  Many or most of these things are outside our direct control.  But rather than give up or become paralyzed, focus on the one thing you can control: you.  Determine your attitude vs. letting circumstances dictate it. Learn a new skill.  Find a new resource. Focusing on you will enable you to determine a way around a problem or improve a situation.

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