Enjoy Life

Are you a super-busy, stressed out parent?

If so, you may often forget to enjoy your life and your family.

It’s easy to get caught up in work, paying the bills, caring for the kids, caring for our spouse, the house AND working on building a better future for ourselves and our family.

Sometimes we lose sight of the blessings we have and get lost in the things we’re striving for.

But what’s the point of attaining the next goal, the next paycheck or a clean kitchen if we’re not enjoying our lives?

I challenge you, and myself, to enjoy every moment we can. Because one day, we’ll run out of moments. I for one want to look back with a smile on my face, not regret.

And remember, you are not alone …

Make a Date with Destiny: Schedule a Deadline for Your Goals

I used to think that setting a specific date on my goals was unrealistic. I felt that I’d accomplish what I set out to do when I was done, and that a definite completion date was forcing the issue, and would cause too much pressure.

Boy was I wrong.

For years I have set one-year and five-year goals for myself, but there was a time when the specifics of my “due date” were relegated to a statement like, “a year from now I will have accomplished my goal of (insert specifics here).”

One day it dawned on me that each time I stated my goal, along with the fact that I’d accomplish it one year from now, I was always the guy who would accomplish his goal ONE YEAR FROM NOW. I was never getting any closer to the due date because as each day passed, my deadline kept extending to exactly one year.

Placing an actual date on my goal moves me closer to the deadline each day. And as we all know, when a deadline we’ve committed to draws closer we get moving in an effort to accomplish our goal (or project). The pressure of an oncoming deadline creates the momentum necessary to accomplish it. Otherwise, it’s just too far away to take seriously.

Even if you’ve discovered what it is you want, defined it clearly and set attainable steps toward accomplishment – without a specific completion date, we’re far less likely to get where we want to go. Without that date, how do we set milestones or a timeline of when we need to have each step of the process done?

The pressure I was once so afraid of creating is actually a key ingredient to success.

What if a deadline arrives and we haven’t accomplished our goal?
Then we need to reassess and figure out why we weren’t able to accomplish our goal. At that point we can refocus our efforts on the goal, set a new plan and a new completion date.

Check out the following links for more details on goals:

A Fresh Look at Goals for Parents, Kids and the Family
The Magic If: Do you Know What Your Future Looks Like?
Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

And remember, you are not alone …

The Magic If – Do You Know What Your Future Looks Like?

When I speak about goals to students and families, one of the things I do is help people create a 5-Year Vision – a very specific picture of what they want their lives to look like and who they want to be five years down the road. It’s something I learned about from Brian Tracy.

What I’ve found is that many people say they have no idea what it is they want to be doing, or who they want to be in five years. But when I ask a very simple question, almost 100% of the time their “not knowing” melts away and a clear answer begins to manifest.

So what’s the question?

What if? What if you did know? Who would you be? What would your life look like?

This question comes from the famed director and teacher, Constantine Stanislavski, one of the greatest contributors to modern theater and film acting.

Stanislavski had a theory called the “magic if,” and he instructed his actors to ask questions like: “what if I were this character? What if this were my role? How would I act? How would I react? How would I feel? If this were my life, what would I do? Who would I be?

You might be wondering what this has to do with your life. An actor playing a role and a real person are totally different – right? Not as much as you might think.

When you’re an actor, you audition for a role and you either get offered the role or you don’t. If you’re offered the role, it’s your choice whether or not you accept it. It’s completely up to you.

Life is the same way. Whether you know it or not, we’re all actors. At least to the degree that we ALL accept the role being offered to us or we don’t.

As an example, let’s say you’re a sales associate. What’s being put upon you is the role of sales associate. That’s what’s you think you should be doing, that’s what you’re being told you should be doing. And so you go into work every day, and you love it. You love working with your boss, you enjoy being a sales associate – helping people find what they need, merchandising the store, etc. It’s a good company and you’re satisfied – great!

You’re accepting that role, and you’re happy about it. It’s the role you want.

Now let’s alter the situation. You’re still a sales associate, but now you hate it. You despise it. You can’t stand your boss, you loath your calling in life – or more specifically what you think your calling in life is. And even though you hate coming into work every day, you still do.

You’re accepting that role of sales associate. It’s your choice whether or not you change it. Just like the actor, you decide.

In order to make a change, or more specifically a change that’s going to give you a more fulfilling life, you’ll need to discover, clarify and set a new goal. Then you can make a plan to help you move toward accomplishment of that goal. For more details on what I call smart goal setting, click on the links at the end of the article.

One Final Note
Sometimes when you’re thinking about change, fear rears its ugly head. You may start thinking things like, “this looks too hard. I’m scared. What if I fail?” There will be a temptation to not try at all, to remain in the same exact spot that you’re in. But remember, failure is sometimes part of the process. It’s what we do with what appears to be failure that defines our future.

It took Thomas Edison over 10,000 “failures” before he invented a working light bulb. It took Colonel Sanders (Kentucky Fried Chicken) 1,009 “failures” before he received his first yes from a restaurant to sell chicken with his secret recipe.

As Brian Tracy says, “the five years are going to pass anyway.” When you arrive at that future time, will you be happy if you’re in the same place you’re in today? As hard as it may seem to make changes, it’s just as hard – and as painful – to stay where you are.

Don’t let the deceitful feeling of “comfort” with where you are stop you from having a truly fulfilling life. You have the right to accomplish your objectives and goals.

And remember, you are not alone …

Related Links:
A Fresh Look at Goals for Parents, Kids and the Family
A Fresh Look at Goals for Parents, Kids and the Family – Part 2
Goals and Emotions
Life is Like a Cup of Coffee
Smart Goals


Life is Like a Cup of Coffee …

Have you ever thought about the similarities between life and coffee?

Some people have good cups, some great – while others have a cup that’s bitter, full of yucky grains, or has simply gotten cold.

You could say the same about our lives.

In my experience as a dad and a man, I’ve found that many people think that they’re stuck with whatever cup they’ve been poured. Not true.

We all have the ability to empty out our cup, clean it, and start fresh with a better blend.

Stepping away from the metaphorical and toward the practical, what I’m really talking about is rebuilding our lives. Whether it’s changing jobs, going back to school, improving our health – whatever – there are steps we can take to go from bitter to better.

What about when others try to throw stuff in our coffee?

Sometimes it’s people we can easily avoid, like coworkers or acquaintances that are negative. But sometimes its family, and that’s a situation which becomes much harder to solve.

My youngest son has been throwing stuff in my coffee by waking up every night crying. This has been going on for longer than I can remember.

He’s obviously not trying to throw junk in my coffee – yet in it goes. Since I love him with all my heart, I want to help him, but this is making my waking hours incredibly difficult. From work, to exercise, to growing my speaking career – it’s simply much harder to move forward toward my goals because I’m exhausted.

Even in this case, there is a choice. If I let the circumstances dictate who I am, then I’m simply reacting to my environment and I am lost. If I remain true to who I am as best I can – as a dad, a husband, a writer and a speaker – then at least I’m not throwing more junk in my own coffee. It may not be perfect (yet), but this choice is certainly the better blend.

And remember, you are not alone …

Daddy Brain Speaks

When I began blogging in 2007, I had no idea that it would affect my life in so many positive ways. It is an honor to have had the opportunity to speak about modern-day dad issues on the radio, at conferences and in print. The greatest honor of all has been helping dads.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered my goal of becoming a speaker. I am happy to say that this dream has come true.

Through research, ongoing studies, personal experience and partnering with experts, I have developed workshops and seminars that help dads, students and professionals lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

If you’d like learn more about what I do, please visit Joey Guido Speaks, or give me a call @ 608-216-6760.

And remember, you are not alone …


Where Have You Been Daddy Brain? Time Management and the 80/20 Principle

You may have noticed that the frequency of my postings has dropped from 2-3 per week to about once per month. It’s not that I don’t have anything to talk about. Far from it. But recently things have changed pretty dramatically, and for the past three months I’ve found myself on a journey back to balance.

On January 20th, 2010 I was laid off of my job.

Wait, don’t feel bad. It was actually a great gift. For months leading up to the layoff, I had been wondering how I was going to make the transition from full-time copywriter to the next phase of my life – a combination of professional speaker, book author and freelance copywriter (a crucial ingredient until the former two professions get some momentum).

Believe it or not, I’ve had less time (and less energy) to blog since I was laid off.

Which leads me to an interesting concept I stumbled upon recently in a book called, The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss. In his chapter “The End of Time Management,” Ferris speaks of Pareto’s Law (also commonly known as the 80/20 Principle), which has vastly changed my life for the better. I’m hoping it can do the same for you …

What is Pareto’s Law?
According to Ferris, it was originally a “mathematical formula he [Pareto] used to demonstrate a grossly uneven but predictable distribution of wealth in society – 80% of the wealth and income was produced  and possessed by 20% of the population.”

But that’s not what I found interesting. The effects of this concept go WAY beyond Pareto’s original intention. It relates to each and every one of our lives – from time management, to what we do with our time to begin with (and who we spend it on).

Ferris goes on to explain, “80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Alternate ways to phrase this include:

– 80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes
– 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time”

Since I’m only able to work about a 20-hour work week (1. because that’s all the hours I want to work and; 2. family stuff won’t allow for much more than the 20 hours anyway), I started to examine everything I do in a day. From e-mails, to how I go about procuring work, to what I actually work on – I used a pair of questions Ferris asked to determine what’s effective and what’s been a waste of time.

1) Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
2) Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?”

Pretty simple. Pretty powerful, too. Some of the things I realized were that my hour-a-day online job search was basically a complete waste of time (although I do love using my Mac) – while referrals, developing my speaking career and contacting literary agents has been manifesting positive results. It’s important to remember that activity (being busy) is not the same as accomplishment.

How about the greatest source of my problems? Me. I’m not kidding. I was getting in my own way by letting stress, anxiety and worry get the best of me – and drain my energy. That had to stop (still working on this).

The good news is that I had some well-developed goals when I got laid off, so my transition had a clear focus from day one (if you’d like some help defining, setting and attaining your goals click here, or search keyword “Goals” in the search box on the right).

The truth is, you don’t need to lose your job to make a transition to a better life. Whether it’s managing your time, or setting goals for a better life, getting started now is the best way to reach your destination.

Picking up Tim’s book is well worth the investment. It’s full of great information, ideas and tools to help you accomplish some short-term goals. And it’s a good read. If nothing else, it will expand your thinking and show you that there are other ways to live (and manage your time). For more on Tim’s book, go to Amazon.com.

And remember, you are not alone …

Life is like a puzzle…with a lot of pieces

A couple of weeks ago I bought a 1,000 piece puzzle for the family to put together. When I looked at all the pieces, scattered on one of our play tables, I realized it was a lot like life. Let me explain…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s no one clear answer for anyone. No matter what you’re struggling with or working on, there’s not one sentence, exercise, vitamin, book or coffee blend that will make everything right. There is no instant answer. Instead, each day is like a piece of a huge puzzle.

If we focus on placing one piece in the correct place, each day builds on the previous one — just like a puzzle. If we try to put a 1,000 piece puzzle together in one day what happens? We fall short, get frustrated and perceive our inability to accomplish the goal as failure. The thing is, unless you’re a puzzle genius, there’s no way you can succeed if you try to do the whole thing in one day. Simply put, your goal is too large.

When I started looking at life this way, it greatly simplified things. Each day, I could either place ONE piece correctly, or fail to place it correctly. Since it’s a 1,000 piece puzzle, some things would clarify after only a couple of weeks — while others would take years to take shape. This simple analogy is a great starting point to look at goals. (Click here for more details on this subject, or search keyword “Goals” in the search box on the right).

What am I really talking about here? Perception.

We either see a situation as hopeful or hopeless. If we believe we can accomplish something, we will. Eventually we will find a way. If we don’t believe, then we won’t. Either way, we’ll be right.

How you perceive your life defines whether you become a shining star, or a burnt out porch light.

I realized that if I shift my perception a few things immediately change:
– I use less energy being positive than I do being negative
– If I’m perceiving a situation as positive, then I’m more likely to think, speak and act positive. This draws positive energy to me like a magnet (just as being negative draws negativity to a person)
– It makes things better for the people around me. My positive attitude helps improve their lives. It puts them in a better mood, and I’m more likely to be helpful instead of a hinderance

Have you taken a look at how you perceive things lately? Here’s a link to an article called The 7-day Mental Diet. It can help you eradicate negative thinking, so you can create a better reality for yourself and your family.

And remember, you are not alone…

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