Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

If what you are doing isn’t working, do something different. Choose a new path. Make different choices. Different results come from different actions. Just stop it. Really. Life is a continuum of actions and reactions. So act and react in a new way.

Ask yourself these questions:
What am I willing to do differently?
When am I willing to do it?
How will I stay committed to doing it?

Understand, you don’t have to do anything. Changing yourself is not a requirement. You have free will. But, if you are dissatisfied with the current condition of your life, then only you can alter it. Blaming your past, your parents, your partner, or your present circumstances only serves to keep you enslaved to the present situation.

Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Most of us aren’t insane. So let’s don’t act like it. If what you are doing isn’t working, do something different. Sure, it might take a while – but so did Rome.

Freedom Living Life Coaching

Liking It Is Not Living It

We all do it. Most of us multiple times a day. Some say we’re addicted. We probably are. I’m talking about Face Book. Look around the mall, coffee shop, heck even the side walks are jammed with people face planted into their smart phones, engaged in social media. Okay, so I’m not even going to delve into the statistical data and multifaceted arguments about all the physiological erosion taking place. I have a more specific concern.

It’s that Face Book like button I’m worried about. I know, we all wish we had an unlike button many times too, but we don’t. That’s beside the point. Here’s the thing – we troll through our news feeds liking and sharing these cute pictures with these fancy quotes and sayings embedded in them all day long. But are we really paying attention to the words. Many of the ones I post and re-post garner that ever popular comment; Amen, frequently. I know what it means. You really liked it. It struck a nerve with you. It stirred your heart a little. Good. But here’s the thing; Liking it does not mean you’re living it. See, information is not transformation. When you like something someone else posted or quoted, do you ever stop and consider why you liked it? Did it really stir you? What is it that made you say “amen”?

While I often try to offer original thoughts and ideas, I mostly consider myself a curator. I am a collector of thoughts, and ideas, and quotes – verses, proverbs, saying, and such. And I love sifting through them and sharing the ones that mean something to me – or, ones I think will mean something to the followers on my page. But here’s the key; If it moves you, move into it. Inspired action is the only path to authentic, productive change. Otherwise we’re just members of the Amen choir. If something moves you enough to hit the like button and/or re-post it, then also consider why it was so significant.

As an example, I recently posted a photo with this quote by Pablo Picasso, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” I liked it because I believe it’s true. And because I believe it’s true, I’ve spent a lot of quiet time seeking to understand my purpose. I’ve allowed the idea to transform my life.

If you like that quote, consider why? If it stirs you, don’t ignore it.
Does that make sense?

Unless we are actively pursuing the substance of those thoughts, and verses, and saying, and quotes, and ideas, then all we are really doing is collecting information. If these pieces of revelation don’t inspire us to alter our life in some fashion, we are just wasting our time and our Amens. If you like it, live it. Find a way to incorporate those notions into your journey. Consider rethinking the like it button as your live it button. When you click it, believe you are saying, “I am going to take this idea in to consideration and find a way to incorporate action into my life.” How would your life be different if you lived the likes?

Epiphanies; A Handbook for Unleashing “Aha” Moments

Happy New Year!  January is stereotypically the month where we make “resolutions” about the changes we’d like to make for this year. I’ve learned through the years that resolving to do something doesn’t necessarily guarantee the outcome. Just because we long to change, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Resolving is just the first step. What must happen next for any significant, lasting change is a transformation in our thought process about the routine, or habit, or transition we wish to make. In order for an old habit to be truly broken, we must eradicate old thinking and the replace it with new thinking. We must take inspired action, over and over again in order to condition our minds to the new idea or habit we wish to implement. And one of the first steps in that process is to analyze your current circumstances; ask tough questions of yourself, and them make affirmative statements that you will use to teach your mind the new way of thinking.

One of the ways I like to use to teach my mind to think differently is through Epiphanies – Aha moments – ideas that slam the breaks on old thinking and cause you to stop and interrupt the traditional, learned thought patterns. They create crossroads in our brains; A statement or quote, a profound phrase, followed by a few probing questions and then a positive forward thinking statement that can prompt a different action. They are so provoking that you are now forced to try to ignore the idea. Do this enough, and eventually you will begin to shift from can’t to can, from should to could, from dream to action.

I’m working on a new book called, Epiphanies; A Handbook for Unleashing “Aha” Moments. The goal is to help the reader experience that shift. What follows is a sampling of the material that will eventually find it’s way into that book. I hope it helps, even if only in a small way, to shift your thinking from some day to today.

“The most common commodity in this country is unrealized potential.” (Calvin Coolidge)
What is that one thing you know you’re good at, but just can’t seem to act on it?
What is one thing you can do to change that?
Don’t go to your grave with your song still in your heart.

“Greatness, whether athletic or otherwise, doesn’t come from those content on just being but from those who seek being the difference.” (Kirk Mango)
Where in your life have you become content being like everyone else?
What is one thing in your life that you would like to be different?
Being different might not always be popular, but it can sure be fun, if you let it.

“If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” (Roopleen)
What dream are you still sitting on?
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, some place you’ve always wanted to go?
We only get to do this lifetime once. See a chance, and take it.

“F.E.A.R. has two meanings; forget everything and run, or face everything and rise.” (Zig Ziglar)
Which one will you do?
What’s the one thing you fear most?
Imagine your life if you could overcome that fear. If you can imagine it, you can live it.

Change is just a two dimensional word unless you take three dimensional action.

“Once a person is determined to help them selves, there is nothing that can stop them.” (Nelson Mandela)
What’s one thing you can do right now to change your current circumstances?
If you are not determined, what is stopping you?
Picture your life as it would be on the other side of your circumstances. Feel it. And let that lead you there.

“Think so far outside the box we can’t even see the cardboard.” (David Murrow)
Can you think of an area in your life where things look pretty limited?
Where do you feel like you are boxed in?
Much of society is designed to operate in the box. But, much of the real life exists outside the box. Don’t be limited by boxed up thinking.

“Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.” (Helen Keller)
Where in your life do you feel like you are avoiding danger?
Would changing your ideas about security change the way you live your life?
We like to think we’ve arranged life in a way to where things are secure. But the big question is, would you still be okay if everything changed.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Anonymous

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.” (Jim Rohn)
Do you find yourself counting the days to your next vacation the minute you get home?
Does vacation feel more like an escape from your life?
If you vacation to escape, there’s a good chance your might need to re-evaluate what you do with the other 51 weeks.

“Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once. Be comfortable with growing older.” (Louise Hay)
Do you ever find yourself feeling too old, or too young – wishing your were older, or young again?
Do you ever catch yourself looking back in regret, or ahead in fear?
We forget that life is a journey. This is not the end. We are merely passing through. Where you are is where you are supposed to be. Embrace that today.

Greg Tutwiler, life coach

Practicing The Revelation

Spring is a new season. It’s a season of change and transition. As the earth evolves through this changing season, so do we. It seems to be at the heart of the nature of God. We would do ourselves a huge favor to develop a better understanding of this process and how it applies to our lives. We have become so used to now, now, now, that waiting and patience seem to have become a lost art.

As I try to discern God’s message to me for this present season of my life, it has felt more personal; closer to the vine. As I begin to knock on the front door of my 50’s I am becoming acutely aware that I am also being encouraged to make some alterations in my lifestyle. The late night snacks, cheeseburger lunches, and Dairy Queen Blizzards need to be phased out in favor of more life sustaining meal options and health motivated physical activity. So I decided to try an experiment.

I went to my local book store and scoured the magazine rack. (Yes, they still publish print magazines.) My theory was that I could subscribe to a handful of life-theme magazines, rely almost solely on the information obtained from them, apply the principals learned, and see significant life changes within a three of four month period. I began my research in December, carefully selecting the magazines that I thought would give me a rounded perspective on aspects of life like healthy food choices, supplements, exercise, mental alertness, spirituality, and well being.

I subscribeSummer Reading Programd to four that I believed would supply me with the right mix of material to achieve my goal: Experience Life, Yoga Journal, Eating Well, and Science Of Mind. (Also note that I am a strong proponent of prayer, Biblical application, and faith, so this will also be a major part of the mixture.) One revelation that came to me during my research recently was this:

Revelation is not transformation. We must practice the revelation, otherwise we are just gathering information without producing any real transformation. We need to immerse ourselves in the material, write down the revelations, and then practice those revelations into our lives moment by moment, day in and day out until they become our new truths.

And thus the experiment begins. I plan to share the major revelations here as they unfold for me during my daily morning research. Today is May 1st, and to be fair, I plan to give this season until the end of August for measurable results.

Here are my first revelations, and seems appropriate to kick off the journey with.

” … when people start exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly  … for many people, taking time for fitness is a keystone habit that triggers widespread changes.” (Experience Life jan/feb 13, page 51.)

“Exercise spills over.” James Prochaska, RI University.

That’s enough to get me jazzed up. How about you?

A Two Dimensional Life

I have this little epiphany taped on one of the pages in my journal:
Change is just a two dimensional word unless you take three dimensional action.

It’s a haunting little thought. Even the idea of change can stir uncomfortable emotions in most people depending on the circumstances. We’re creatures of habit. We don’t like our little arranged lives being messed with. Yet we know life has taught us that change is inevitable. So we either embrace change or resist it. And I must admit, I resist it way too often.

Yet, there it is again, change, staring me in the face every time I scan through the pages of my journal in all it’s two dimensional glory. But I know too that in order for things to change, things must change. And that generally only happens if I initiate it. I can have the greatest ideas in the world, (and I think I do), but no one ever gets to see them or benefit from them if I don’t take some kind of action. I will have to change a behavior, or a habit, or a routine; something, if I hope to see any fruit from my ideas.

The key? How much does the outcome matter? How much do I really care about seeing my ideas come to fruition? What are the unintended results from not changing? Am I willing to do whatever it takes? If I am not, then I really have no basis for complaining about my circumstances. We’ve got to be willing to choose to do whatever it takes to change our circumstances – and then put one foot in front of the other with diligence and determination. If we will do that – results happen. If we won’t, then life is nothing more than a continual exercise in frustration.

The Unfolding Life

We so often struggle trying to coming to terms with who we are, and what we are to do while we are here on earth. When Jesus tells the disciples the greatest command is to “love your God, and to love your neighbor – as yourself,” we often overlook the as yourself part. If you haven’t learned to embrace your own journey and the fact that you are always changing, it’s mighty hard to love yourself. More often than not we are at war with ourselves; trying to hang onto some flag we’ve planted on some hill somewhere. Call it a career, a retirement plan, a vacation home, or just maintaining an image you think everyone expects you to portray. It’s a battle that generally isn’t worth fighting.

Ever wonder what would happen if we just laid down our sword and quit trying so hard to be something we were never meant to be? I mean, maybe there is another flow to life that feels more like a lazy stream than a raging river. Life is going to change anyway. And you are going to change anyway. Age has a funny way of doing that to us. Bill Thrall, author of the book The Cure, writes, “Nothing you believe and depend upon is more magnificently freeing than this single truth; you are no longer who you were, even on your worst say.” Isn’t that reassuring?

Each day has a whole new set of opportunities to embrace life and to learn to love yourself. When you do, that is when authentic life begins to flow forth and you no longer are attached to the fruit of life. You no longer seek blessings – you just seek to know the author of the blessings and life as it unfolds.

21 Day Challenge, Day 21

Change is inevitable in life. We grow up, grow old, and grow out. Most people understand that, and learn to adapt to the subtle changes in life that come upon us. And just as a river’s water is altered by the rocks, and branches, and outcroppings it encounters along the way, we too are affected by those symbolic occurrences in our lives.

Have you ever noticed a twig or leaf get caught behind a rock in a river? It’s stuck there possibly forever. The only way it will move out from behind that rock is if something changes. We often find ourselves metaphorically caught behind a rock in life – and there we sit, waiting on something to change. The problem, just like the stick, is that all the while change is still occurring. The stick will eventually rot and break apart. Can you get the picture?

Just because we refuse to change, doesn’t mean we are immune to changes. How many people do you know whose lives are rotting away because they refuse to take charge of the changes? Somehow we think avoiding change protects us from the fears or the uncomfortable experience we suppose accompanies it. Fans of the TV series Star Trek will remember this classic line; “Resistance is futile.” Really, all that resistance does is guarantee that we miss most of what life was designed to offer us. Daniel Craig wrote, “At some point life starts to pass you by and becomes about avoidance.”

Choosing change is really choosing life. While change can challenge you emotionally, it’s still better than the pain of regret looking back wishing you do it differently. But life is not a trial run. Today is today, and we’ll never get another chance to live this day again. When faced with an opportunity to change, take it. Chose change over regret. Live the kind of life that allows you to look back and say; “wow! what an adventure. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

21 Day Challenge, Day 18

One of the more difficult emotions to work through while bring about change in your life is that of irrelevance; the idea that your success (or failure) doesn’t really matter. The trap is that if it doesn’t really matter, then why try? We live in a world where our influences, especially the media (news, Hollywood, reality TV) throw a wet blanket over anything that’s outside a dictated mind set. It’s predominately negative, doom and gloom material. But deep inside all of us there is this subconscious desire for good in spite of what we are consciously led think. That is what drives us to reach for change; a desire to make a difference. And the reality is that when we change, the world around us changes too.

Your efforts do matter, all of them. There are even those that suggest people around you are dependent on your efforts of change. You set examples by your actions, big or small. There are movements like Pay It Forward, and Be The Change that promote this idea that world change is initiated by individual change. When you take a risk and begin to alter your existence, you open the gates around you for others to try it too. In a way, you give others permission to mimic your efforts.

General Erick Shineki said, “If you don’t like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less.” Accepting feelings irrelevance might seem easier in the short term, but in the end, is much more painful. And the payoff for change is so much better. You win, and others around you get the benefit. Believe in the power of your influence – even if you don’t directly see it. Your efforts are not irrelevant. They are vital.

21 Day Challenge, Day 7

Congratulations! It’s day seven. You are 1/3 the way through your 21 Day Challenge! How does it feel? I have two thoughts for you; if you’ve been successful, made some progress – celebrate! Seriously. Reward is important. You’ve been working hard. Acknowledge your results.

And, if you’ve been struggling, finding it hard to progress – don’t get discouraged! We’re not measuring perfection, we’re seeking personal advance. Realize that a) you have two whole weeks left in this specific challenge, b) the only failure is quitting – and “quit” is not a word we are allowing to be a part of this, c) you can do this! Just the fact that you are trying to stay on board with this is encouraging. So be encouraged! Every day is a new day, and a new opportunity to begin, continue, and to win.

Keep this in mind too – if you’ve been at this from the beginning it’s possible the euphoria of the early stages is waning. Maybe you’re tired of oatmeal every morning for breakfast or frustrated by the slowing of progress. It’s okay. That’s part of the process. It’s almost like withdrawals. Your body has gotten used to a particular pattern, and now you’re upsetting the old routine. When the alarm goes off an hour earlier than it used to so that you can make it to the gym, your body reacts and your mind says, “what are you doing? We still have another hour.” But your subconscious is trainable, and that is the reason for the 21 days of repetitive effort. So, while we are seeking a specific goal that is measurable, we are also retraining the subconscious mind to interact with life differently. It just takes time.

We are ultimately on the path to creating lasting change, not just short term results. And that you can be proud of.

Change, I Dare You

I woke up this morning at five AM with an epiphany. Wednesday (12/5) marks 21 days til Christmas. Various research suggests that it takes 21 days to change a habit; or at least initiate positive change. If that’s true, 21 days would certainly also be a good time frame to accomplish a desired goal. And I have a few goals, changes, bad habits, etc., that I’d like to address. So I grabbed my journal and a pen and captured as much of the incoming information as I could (hoping I could go back to sleep). Following is the deciphering of my notes and idea:

I am offering a 21 day challenge. Give yourself a Christmas present. Challenge yourself to focus intently on one or two specific goals for the next 21 days – quit something, start something, change something – lose a few pounds, begin an exercise routine, learn a new craft, adopt a new hobby … Change is difficult, and oh, how we resist it. But the only way for something to change is for you to change something. We cannot change something we are willing to continue to tolerate. What are you tolerating? What change would you like to make in your life? What goal would you like to accomplish? If it’s a smaller goal like painting that room you’ve been putting off – make a commitment to paint it this weekend, and then pick a new goal. How much can you get done in 21 days? Create a list of small projects that have been haunting you – and knock them out. You have two days to think about it.

I came up with a list of 21 attributes of change. Each day I’ll pass one along to those of you who decide to participate, as a way of encouragement. They will be the beginnings of the manuscript I am preparing for a new book; “Yes You Can! 21 Attributes Of Personal Change,” which is one of my two personal goals – the other is to lose 10 pounds. I believe (which is one of the attributes) I can accomplish both. But here’s an important piece; IF we fall short, we haven’t failed. We have only failed if we never try. If we don’t completely reach a specific goal, we celebrate the progress, reset the due date, and continue on.

I will set up a facebook community page (Yes I Can) for those of you that wish to receive some daily encouragement. Your presence and participation will encourage others as well. All of this is a big undertaking for me, but it’s been on my heart for some time – probably like many of you with your own goals. But there’s no time like the present. And why not wake up Christmas morning with the personal gift of knowing you did it!

Email me if you’re interested in joining the “Yes I Can” challenge. I’ll add you to the list, and fill you in on the details as we go. (By the way, there’s not cost for this – it’s my Christmas gift to you.)