155. It can’t be over until it’s done.

With 2016 a mere few hours away, many people turn their thoughts to setting resolutions for the new year.

New Year’s resolutions are a tradition as old as the celebration of New Year itself and there is one other tradition of the same vintage – breaking them.

I remember reading a study on the speed with which New Year’s resolutions are broken and as it has been several years since I read that study, my memory is a bit hazy but I do recall reading that the vast majority of resolutions – more than 70% – are broken before noon on January 1.

The most common resolutions have to do with health and personal wellness and more people pledge to quit smoking and lose weight the moment the clock strikes 12 heralding the birth of a new year than at any other time.

Sales of gym memberships surge during the month of December and into the early part of January and regular users of gyms frequently complain of how overcrowded their work out areas are during this early part of each year.

They also know these conditions prevail for only a few short weeks before things return to normal and the new members disappear for one more year.

I have never been a proponent of New Year’s resolutions however there is one I will propose this year.

Adopting this resolution will address what is, I believe, the single biggest reason for why we break our New Year’s resolutions in the first place.

This resolution is also a new habit I would like to introduce. The Habit of Finishing What You Start is one that distinguishes those who succeed from those who don’t.

We’ve all met people who have quit smoking only to start again. Indeed, Mark Twain famously announced, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”

And we’ve also experienced those awkward moments when we run into someone we haven’t seen for a while. The last time we saw them they were proudly displaying their new, svelte body after having lost large amounts of weight and now we try so hard to pretend not to notice that all the weight has returned along with a bonus.

There are numerous studies devoted to understanding the characteristics and traits of success. It is well known that persistence, perseverance, determination and the ability to push past adversity are crucial.

And the driver behind all of those traits is the unblinking, unswerving and unrelenting commitment to The Habit of Finishing What You Start.

It is long been said that there are four rules to greatness, and if we commit ourselves to living within these roles and not bending them at whim, we will achieve results far beyond our wildest imagination.

In no particular order. those rules are:

Be on time.

Be polite.

Keep your word.

Finish what you start.

Many of us exhibit extraordinary skill at being starters and with boundless enthusiasm and commitment begin new projects with great regularity.

We start a weight loss program, join a gym, break up our cigarettes and throw them into the trash, pledge to quit drinking, undertake to get up an hour earlier each morning and hit the treadmill, quit spending hours playing computer games, enrol in a course, download software that will enable us to learn a new language and a whole host of other “must do” projects only to cast these aside by using a readily available resource called justification to rationalize why not finishing what we have started is the correct thing to do at this moment in time.

The Habit of Finishing What You Start removes barriers to success. Once we adopt The Habit of Finishing What You Start we move from being great starters to great finishers and simple logic tells us that we can never win if we keep leaving the field before the end of the game.

So if you’re still undecided as to whether or not to once again play the New Year’s Resolution game, my advice is to do so by vowing to make The Habit of Finishing What You Start the one resolution you will never break.

And by doing so, by this time next year your life will have changed in ways you never dreamed possible.

Happy New Year.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

P.S.

Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or tellmemore@strategicpathways.net  and let me know what you think.

Your opinion truly means a lot to me.

Thank you.

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154. Resiliency defeats adversity every time.

Dictionary.com defines adversity as follows:

  1. adverse or unfavorable fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress:
  2. an adverse or unfortunate event or circumstance:

Adversity is a condition familiar to many of us and perhaps even more so in these uncertain and challenging economic times.

Over the past several months I have met with people who, sadly, have immersed themselves in their own misery by allowing only thoughts of doom, gloom, misfortune, struggle and distress to occupy space inside their heads.

Many years ago Robert Schuller, a renowned pastor, televangelist and author wrote a book,  Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do.

The premise of his book was quite simple; it reminded us that The Habit of Resiliency is one we need to lean heavily on when adversity finds its way into our lives.

At some point in each of our lives adversity will make an appearance.

As I listened to many of these folks share with me their limiting views of how narrow their choices were for a happy futures I couldn’t help but think of the famous quote attributed to  Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

In my mind, I rewrote that well-known line, changed a few words here and there and thought to myself that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of despair is for good people to believe in its inevitability.”

The Habit of Resiliency is the sworn enemy of adversity and is one we must absorb into our very being if we don’t want to hardship to stick around.

Resiliency means more than bouncing back.  It means never allowing thoughts of defeat and hopelessness to enter our minds.  Instead of focusing on what is, resiliency means focusing on what could be, and putting all of our energy into turning that “could be” into our reality.

It saddens me when I hear people talk of the feelings of hopelessness and the seemingly insurmountable difficulty of the challenges that lie ahead.

We have often talked about the fact that “everything we believe to be true is true… until it isn’t.” and as long as some people hold these desperate truths to be self-evident, their lives are doomed to a downward spiral of sadness, hopelessness and depression.

On the other hand, those who choose to believe that adversity is simply an opportunity in disguise and that regardless of the bleakness of a situation, we can and do have the means and capacity to rise above it and prosper, will grasp hold of The Habit of Resiliency with both hands and not let go.

And they will find a way of making the proverbial lemonade out of lemons.

We are self-energizing creatures and we can use adversity to fill our bodies with the slow, painful, soul destroying, overbearing types of energy that enhance our beliefs in the difficulties of our challenges thereby paralyzing and preventing us from seeking and creating a pathway back to happiness and fulfilment.

Or we can fill our minds and bodies with a powerful, determined energy and use this energy to inspire us to do the things that produce results that enable us to stand tall, feel good, and, most importantly, kick adversity in the body part that causes it maximum pain so that it scurries away, never to return.

The Habit of Resiliency is available to all and yet it is only grasped by a few. The fact that life can be unfair is just that, a fact and we will all be effected by it at some point. When that happens, when adversity reaches out and touches us, the true test of who we are begins and it is in this moment that those of us who hold on to The Habit of Resiliency will rise above the challenges before us and emerge at the other end better, stronger and happier than ever before.

When times are tough The Habit of Resiliency is the best friend we can hope for as it will guide our minds and spirit to the very places they need to be in order for our bodies to take the action and do the very things necessary to give us the lives we want and so richly deserve.

The Habit of Resiliency: Make sure it is beautifully wrapped and placed under your tree on Friday.

Merry Christmas.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

P.S.

Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or tellmemore@strategicpathways.net  and let me know what you think.

Your opinion truly means a lot to me.

Thank you.

153. Whatever it takes.

Two days ago I ran into an acquaintance I had not seen for some time.

The last time I talked with Peter he was working for one of the many Oil & Gas companies in the city. Peter is an engineer, close to 30 years of age, and is the proud father of three young, gorgeous kids.

It’s been some times since he and I have talked and our chance encounter took place in a most unexpected venue – the lobby of the condo building I live in.

As I stepped out of the elevator I noticed somebody standing in the vestibule using the interphone system to gain access to the building.

A moment later the door opened and I realized it was Peter entering the building.

What caught me by surprise was the reason for Peter being in the building. He was delivering pizza to one of the suites.

I don’t know which of us was more surprised by this unplanned meeting but after a brief greeting we both agreed I would wait in the lobby for him to deliver the pizza so that we could chat for a short while.

A few minutes later Peter came down in the elevator and we spent the next few minutes getting caught up on each other’s lives.

Like so many of his fellow Calgarians and Albertans Peter had gone into work one morning to discover that he no longer had a job.

He did not been employed by the company long enough to be eligible for more than a few weeks’ worth of severance pay.

He told me he spent the next few days meeting up with former colleagues who, like himself, had suddenly found themselves unemployed but, he quickly realized that these coffee-shop meetings were no more than opportunities to reflect on the bad times and reach agreement on how poor their prospects were for the future.

Peter has always been a practitioner of The Habit of Resiliency and has long believed that when faced with a setback the only action is to bounce back.

With a wife and three young kids to feed, a mortgage and all other living expenses to pay Peter set out to “do whatever it takes” to bring income into his home and minimize disruption to his family as much as possible.

He told me that many of his former colleagues were horrified when they learned that he was delivering pizza as they felt it to be unfitting for a person with an engineering degree to do so. After taking much ribbing from these folks, he elected not to tell them that he had a second job working a lunchtime shift as a server at a local restaurant and that he was driving a school bus in the mornings and afternoons.

He explained to me that resiliency means that no matter how far you bend you never break and that while he understands that it may be some time before he will find employment in his chosen profession he will never be unemployed because, in his words, “there are more opportunities out there then there are people to fill them.”

The Habit of Resiliency is one we all need when faced with tough times for it is in these moments of challenge that our true character is revealed. The real test of our mettle always comes when adversity is staring at us.

I am proud of Peter and the many like him who, in these challenging times, refuse to be broken and who are willing to use every ounce of resiliency in order to do what they need to do to provide for themselves and their families.

Peter told me that the time spent delivering pizza, serving food in a restaurant and driving a school bus is far better, far more productive and far more nourishing for the soul than the time spent bemoaning our fate and focusing on all that is wrong with the world.

The Habit of Resiliency – it just makes life better.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

P.S.

Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or tellmemore@strategicpathways.net  and let me know what you think.

Your opinion truly means a lot to me.

Thank you.

152. This is not optional.

If ever there was a time for The Habit of Resiliency to become inextricably connected to our very souls, that time is now.

For tens of thousands of people living across the province of Alberta the year 2015 is not going to be remembered favourably.

Almost daily I hear stories of people I know whose security of well-paying jobs has been pulled out from under them leaving them unsure about what to do next and extremely worried about their future.

 

And while I personally only know a few of these folks, the media tells us they number in the tens of thousands.

 

Many of these folks have spent years and years toiling away at the same company, always believing in the myth of job security and are hopelessly ill-prepared to deal with their present predicament.

 

But, as the old saying goes, “the show must go on,” which for these recently unemployed masses means that life must go on and it is the level of their resiliency that, more than anything else, will determine what both the immediate and long-term future will bring.

 

Dictionary.com defines resiliency as

  1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
  2. 2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

 

I have long believed that our lives are governed by two types of lists. The first is our “Must List”, the second the “Should List.”

 

The difference between these two lists is best defined by the word optional. Activities listed on our “Must List” must be done regardless of time, circumstances or competing functions. They are not optional.

 

Our “Should List” lists those things that need to be done whenever the opportunity arises. These activities are optional and there is no urgency attached.

 

Let’s set these aside and focus only on the “Must List.”

 

The Habit of Resiliency, and everything it stands for, must become an indelible part of our “Must List.”

 

Resiliency means:

  • You stare adversity straight in the eye and say “bring it on.”
  • No matter how many times you are knocked down, you get back up.
  • No matter how often you are rejected, you never give up.
  • There is no such thing as failure, only outcomes.
  • You view every temporary defeat as a step forward towards permanent victory.
  • No matter how much you bend, you never break.
  • Your resolve never weakens; your smile never fades.
  • You get up each morning determined to succeed.
  • You are always the victor, never the victim.
  • You ignore those who say you can’t for you have no doubt you can.
  • When the going gets tough, you get tougher.
  • The more it hurts, the more you strive.
  • You accept nothing less than what you deserve.

 

The Habit of Resiliency must become a non-optional, Must Do part of the everyday function of all those folks whose lives have been turned upside down by the dramatic downturn in Alberta’s economy. Each one of them needs to find the path that would lead them from the myth of job security to the comfort of income security.

 

Many years ago during a low point in my life, a friend brought me a copy of a poem she thought would bring me some comfort.

 

The poem was untitled and the author unknown.  Over the years I have pulled out the piece of paper and read this poem hundreds of times; each time it reminded me that there is no substitute for resilience and adversity stands no chance when pitted against committed perseverance.

 

I hope you enjoy the poem is much as I have for the author explains The Habit of Resiliency far better than I ever can.

 

When things go wrong as they sometimes will, When the road you are trudging seems all uphill; When funds are low, and debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh; When life is pressing you down a bit – Rest if you must, but don’t you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns; And many a fellow turns about When he might have won, had he struck it out; Don’t give up though the pace seems slow; You may well succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than It may seem to a faint and faltering man; Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the Victor’s cup! And he learned too late, when the night came down, How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out, The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are It may be near, when it seems afar. So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit, It is when things seem worst you must not quit.

 

Limitless resiliency is embedded in our DNA. All we have to do is make a habit of it.

 

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

 

P.S.

Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or tellmemore@strategicpathways.net  and let me know what you think.

 

Your opinion truly means a lot to me.

 

Thank you.

151. It’s not worth the risk.

We have spent the past two weeks discussing The Habit of Non-Complacency and I have received numerous calls and emails from people sharing with me their experiences of how complacency has led to damaged relationships, accidents, serious injury, job loss, financial ruin and, according to one caller, a preventable highway death.

There is little doubt that complacency has entered all of our lives at some point and perhaps it is a worthwhile exercise for all of us to take a stroll down memory lane, review and revisit some of our past experiences and notice that only sheer luck has prevented our complacency from causing damaging or even disastrous results.

The Habit of Non-Complacency is our insurance policy against taking things for granted, assuming that because things have worked in our favour before they will always work in our favour in the future and the potentially disastrous thinking that permits us to do things we know we shouldn’t be doing based simply on the fact that we have done these very things many times in the past with no deleterious result.

Who among us can truly say they have never taken their eyes off the road while driving, not bothered putting on our seatbelts because we are only driving a few blocks or engaged in some form of distraction while operating a vehicle.

Complacency easily creeps into our relationships causing us to forget the contribution that “please” and “thank you” make towards ensuring quality rapport with others and, even worse, can easily lead us to taking for granted those very people who mean the most to us.

As I listened to the stories of those who contacted me the one word that kept repeating itself inside my head was the word “preventable.”

Every story shared with me was a story where this word could have been used to explain why the events described need not have happened.

In each case the actions of one or more people choosing to do what they knew they shouldn’t be doing or not doing what they knew they should be doing because of an overconfidence that they would “get away with it” or a false sense of certainty that nothing would go wrong created a consequence of pain and despair not only for themselves but also for others.

The Habit of Non-Complacency is one that needs to be firmly entrenched in our very being so that it can serve as a reminder that the past does not equal the future which means that just because something bad has not happened before does not mean that it cannot happen now.

The Habit of Non-Complacency teaches us to be vigilant each and every time, to never let down our guard, to not to take anyone or anything for granted and to never assume we can get away with shortcuts.

It also does one more thing. By following The Habit of Non-Complacency we can be assured that the energy saved by taking a shortcut here, cutting a corner there or taking an unwarranted risk will never be spent fuelling a lifetime of regret.

Which makes The Habit of Non-Complacency worthwhile indeed.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

P.S.

Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or tellmemore@strategicpathways.net  and let me know what you think.

Your opinion truly means a lot to me.

Thank you.