The Art of Fulfillment

I was recently listening to Tony Robins talk about fulfilment, or the lack thereof, and happiness, or the lack thereof.

When you hear the word fulfilled, how do you experience it? What comes up for you? The challenge is that the world we live in is so hectic, and we spend so much of the day in a state of “mindlessness, “not noticing our surroundings or were we are. We are worrying about the next meeting, replaying the last one, wondering why so-and-so hasn’t returned our call. Our inner voice of negativity — whose existence causes doubt and insecurity and reminds us to think and dream small — is incessant.

The most precious moment we have is now. Life happens in the now, whereas frustrations and unhappiness live in the past. They nudge and poke at us, determined to define our present and future.

If you want to test the power and necessity of now let’s, consider breathing. Breath is the one thing that we can’t live without for the shortest period. How many us pay attention to our breath? We can live for days without water or food. But in the “now” how long can be without breath?

My mentor and friend Andrew Neitlich (Center for Executive Coaching) has some great questions about fulfilment: What beliefs do you have about fulfilment both in and out of the business world?

  1. What would a fulfilled team look like?
  2. What would it take to make this quarter the most fascination and rewarding?

Fulfilment, the sense of being at peace with who you are and where you’re at, wherever that is, is intrinsic. It’s an inner journey in which outer circumstances have little impact. Other people can’t give it to you.

Can you imagine feeling/being more fulfilled? What would life look like, taste like? What higher level would your relationships and health be? What would your sense of self be? And the fact is that the choice is ours.

This isn’t to say that the world isn’t a mean place sometimes. The economy can tank, relationships can end, people die. But paraphrasing Jack Canfield, it’s not the event that determines the outcome. It’s our response to it. It’s not about happiness always, but it is an iron-clad belief that living a fulfilled and positive life is your right.

Here’s a challenge for you: determine 3 or 4 areas in your life and/or business where you chose to be fulfilled (spirituality, trust, humor, the team you have, etc.) and just make the decision to drop the baggage, or the fear, or the indecision and clutter.

Unhappiness, unfulfillment, mindlessness — these are all choices that we make.

Why not make a different choice? It’s just as hard or as easy. The effort is the same.

It’s not magic, and it isn’t without effort.

The choice is always ours to make.

Community Service Award

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Jeff Miller receives Community Service Award at the 2016 Public Safety Awards Ceremony. Jeff, who was presented the award by retiring City of Rockville Police Chief Terry Treschuck, later stated “it was an honor to be recognized for community service and I am humbled to stand in the company of the other public safety award recipients who contribute daily to the welfare and safety of our community. I am especially honored to share a stage with Chief Terry Treschuk, who at the same ceremony received the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The Fallacy of Balance

mindfulness jmcaI have spent the better part of my 13 year coaching career talking about the importance of work life “balance”. Of late I have done an 180 degree turn away from that, coming to understand that it plays into a fallacy that we need to be different people in different situations. Who are we as a person, as a parent, as a professional, as husband or wife, and on and on and on. Lots of hats, lots of tension, lots of conflict. Ever try balancing on a high wire? It’s hard, strains lots of muscles, and is awfully precarious.
The alternative? If I am able to live a life of mindfulness and awareness, than it becomes about paying attention, noticing (therefore having to be present) and integrating who I am, not balancing different roles. I stay the same-it is the environment that changes. Of course there are adjustments that need to be made. But it is a lot less stressful than balancing. Try integrating and noticing. Mindfulness. Just a thought.

Life’s Journey – The Business Case for Balance

stones-balancingThere was a great article in Sunday’s New York Times Business Section about Aetna’s CEO, Mark Bertolini. The link is below.

Often, a jarring or near-death life experience can change the way you live your life – your whole life. And, considering how work and play are enmeshed today, it’s almost impossible not to have the changes or adversity in one part of your life affect the others.

In the case of Mark Bertolini, the determined CEO of Aetna dramatically altered his life after a nearly-fatal skiing accident in 2004. Today, he carries forth clear and lasting changes, including incorporating yoga and meditation into his daily routine. He’s also built programs to share these lifestyle practices and options, through classes and other methods, with his staff. In many ways, he practices what he preaches, which has had a tremendous impact on his life and the lives of his employees.

Read the article to learn more about his story.

What we gained from Mark’s story, and practice as part of our business, can be summed up in a few words: breathe, stretch and absolute clarity around your goals and visions. Practice yoga, stretching and meditation. Walk. And if none of the above works for you, find your own way. But have a way. It will create a more productive work environment, happy teams and greater employee retention.

Any machine that runs too hard and too often (your brain, in this case), will suffer burn out and be less effective. Short circuits and short tempers happen. Relationships, both business and personal, suffer. Your whole life suffers.

Leave the hamster wheel on the shelf. Untreated or ignored’ pressure leads to being overworked, overbooked and, ultimately, overwhelmed. It also impacts efficiency and profits. Does this sound too familiar or close to home?

Clients come to Jeff Miller Consulting Alliance to find different ways to live and work. They are looking for balance and clarity. They want to learn and practice methods of running a business that allows them to experience more of  both financial and time freedoms, and control they sought when they started their business or accepted a management or executive position. For more information and to schedule a brief call, contact us today.

Leadership, Self-limiting Beliefs, and the Cost of Fear

Belief (n): something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.

Fear (n): a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain — whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid

“Something believed.” Is the earth flat? This was something once believed.

Beliefs

A “belief” is easily defined — something we believe to be true. What’s great is that we can deepen positive beliefs, adopt new ones and change our current ones. The challenge is identifying and managing our negative beliefs — those that are self-limiting. Self-limiting beliefs prevent us from realizing our full potential. They limit our self view. They create fear, and they stifle our true expression of our development as leaders.

In my business experience, I’ve found seven common self-limiting beliefs:
•    I can’t trust people
•    I am not good enough
•    Conflict is bad
•    My family never had money so neither will I
•    I need to be right
•    I am too old
•    I am not smart enough

Where do these negative voices and thoughts come from? When did they start? How do they impact our strategic growth and focus?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

The above words from Franklin Delano Roosevelt are perhaps the most patriotic words evoked in the chaos of the 20th century. Proclaimed during the president’s first inaugural address (amidst the reality of a devastating economy and lack of confidence), the words are well remembered, and often quoted. But they are seldom embraced and not fully understood.

The fear that we experience can be paralyzing and corrosive. It prevents us from reaching our full potential. It immobilizes us. It keeps us in our comfort zone. And it is entirely based on a story track looping inside our heads.

You have to wonder what these self-limiting beliefs and fears cost us in terms of sales or profits, employee and customer service, strategic planning and business growth, family, relationships, health, sleep and tension. The list can go on and on.

Where do these beliefs come from? How long are we willing to hold onto them? What is the payback we’re getting from holding onto them? How much comfort do we really get from staying in our comfort zone? How can we reframe these thoughts? We need to be committed to asking the right questions.

What questions are you asking yourself?

Leadership

In his ancient military treatise, “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu says that true leaders stand for the virtues of wisdom, courage and strictness. They understand that true power lies in the ability to turn a negative belief into an uncompromisingly positive one by changing their response to it.

Leaders use not only their minds and bodies, but engage their hearts and souls as well. They have quieted angry and negative internal beliefs by learning how to reframe them. The brain is smart and won’t allow you to immediately transition from “I am not smart enough” to “I am smart enough.” The brain says, “after all these years you expect me to believe that?” But you can reframe these thoughts with a simple “if and/then” formula. Your new belief becomes: “if I am prepared and have stayed current on industry trends, then I will be able to deal with any situation that comes along.”

Ask the right questions, be fearless in facing beliefs that you aren’t necessarily profiting from, and be abundant in how you live and how you lead.

Limiting beliefs cause fear. Fear causes scarcity. Scarcity puts us in survival mode. Survival mode creates voids and paucity in leadership. Lack of leadership creates fear, and allows for the cycle to remain unbroken.

It is our obligation to break that cycle. We are leaders; we are strategic; we understand what leadership entails and the power it holds.