Posted by: gregistheanswer | September 4, 2008

Tim Randolph on the Law of Duality

The Duality of Life

an observation

To best find balance in our lives, it certainly helps to begin with understanding. When we understand the nature of something, we are then better equipped to co-operate and interact with that object, being or Entity. For example, to someone with no musical knowledge, a Steinway Piano is a large piece of furniture that is capable of producing sound.
However, to someone with advanced knowledge of musical theory who understands how the keys interact and combine to create chords, the piano is then transformed into an amazing vehicle in which a powerful composition can be created that can physically inspire or emotionally move another human being. A little understanding can dramatically change the subjective value of any given physical or metaphysical object.
That being said, it is infinitely invaluable to understand how we as human beings work, and just as importantly, how our universe works. Let’s begin here with a basic natural law of our universe. I am speaking of the “Law of Duality.” Everything needs balance or opposite force in order to exist. For there to be Faith, there must be Doubt. If there was no doubt, how could we test our faith? The very nature of faith is to believe in the face of “no possibilities” or “adversity.” If doubt doesn’t exist, then faith doesn’t exist. Without balance, our universe might tip over so to speak. Night needs day and day needs night.
Once we really grasp this concept we are less anxious to compare things or to label things “good” or “bad.” Things just are and everything has its place in the balance of the universe.
Here is what I believe to be the fundamental origin of the duality:
We, as human beings, generate everything in our physical reality from only two core emotions: Love or Fear.
This is the most important part of the lesson: The source of “Love” is God. (Or the divine wisdom of the universe if you prefer)
The source of “Fear” is Guilt and Shame. (Separation from God)
Therefore, the duality really breaks down to represent “all that is connected to the origin of life” and “all that is separate from the origin of life.”
This basic understanding of one of our universal laws can greatly serve us to operate more effectively in our world, while simultaneously helping us to see the opportunity for balance in each of our more challenging moments.

Tim Randolph

Posted by: ogandocoaching | June 20, 2008

Remembering Tim Russert

Remembering Tim

Much has been written about the tragic death of Meet the Press host Tim Russert but I have some additional sentiments to share that I believe are relevant to our readers.

First, on a personal level, I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming emotions I felt as I watched most of the memorial coverage. The outpour of sympathy from world dignitaries and his colleagues was unprecedented for a person that reported on news rather than made it. And yet, for so many years you weren’t a bonafide newsmaker of national note unless you had sat across from Tim Russert on any given Sunday.

Russert was the embodiment of the American dream come true. A working-class Irish kid from Buffalo, New York that made not just good, but really good. When JFK made a rare visit to Tim’s hometown there were few other thirteen-year-olds that could boast that they’d maneuvered their way to actually shake the President’s hand. Was it luck or a foreshadow of destiny? Possibly the spark that ignited Tim’s passion for politics? How fitting that at Russert’s funeral John McCain and Barack Obama sat side by side, unaccompanied by aides and handlers, and in a way we had never seen them before.

So what can we learn about personal branding from Tim Russert? First, the significance of authenticity. Russert was not your chiseled-featured variety newsman. He had a Columbo quality, both in style and manner — and it worked.

Yes, he asked the tough questions – but with a sense of fairness you could always count on. These qualities earned our trust and elevated his broadcast to the “must do” Sunday news show, if you wanted to be taken seriously as a political figure.

Second; his countless expressions of generosity. He was a great father, husband, role model and a mentor to so many. Throughout the memorial coverage dozens of Tim’s colleagues and competitors shared stories of his thoughtfulness. ABC News’ This Week host, George Stephanopoulos shared that on the occasion of his daughter’s birth, Tim sent his family a pillow engraved with her name. Russert was never too busy to forget time-honored traditions and honest gestures of good will.

Sundays won’t be the same without Tim Russert and neither will the political season. Let us learn by his example. The important things in life aren’t found in the achievements we’re taught that symbolize success but rather in simple expressions of thoughtfulness and service to others.

Ed Madison

Posted by: gregistheanswer | June 13, 2008

“Insights Into Cultural Understanding” by Joel Martin

Joel Martin, featured in The Answer, is a trainer, coach, and consultant. See her bio here. Fascinating and passionate insights will now begin…

“Back in the day” the transformational trainer would float or charge confidently to the front of the room with the elevation that knowledge, dedication, and vision brings. Then he or she and would stand and with utmost seriousness, let us know that it was time for a new way of thinking. Of course we all knew who’s way of thinking was not working or not working as well as we wanted it to. It wasn’t that we were broken, we wanted to have the glow, the elan, the spirtednesss that the person who told us about this journey had. We were the folks called today Boomers, and we walked out believing that YES we could make a difference. The references that resonated within us were J F Kennedy’s declaration that we could send a man to the moon and back “by the end of the decade” that the way to live the training was to share it with others…

Today, things are vastly different. Many of those born in the eighties and later, Generations X and Y, are not participating in transformational trainings. What are we looking at in terms of evidence? Lower registrations. As we say, “rocks are hard and water’s wet” and a fact is a fact. Maybe not everywhere but it’s not like the good old days. What’s going on? Why? Is it skepticism? Because it is not measurable in the short run? Because it isn’t specific or it’s too personal or too “in your face”? Or because technology and familiarity have breed contempt? Or because ‘we’ haven’t reached them in media or language that they respond to? Or is it some other reason? (I would love to hear what you think about this.)

These are young people who have grown up with the importance of sports statistics, acting as coaches and General Managers with fantasy football, baseball and basketball teams. With video and computer games that provide immediately feedback and escalating personalized challenges. The games get more difficult as in life as you go along.

Another change is the use of language and the expansion of the meaning of words. For example being in a “community” (a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage) “(a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group) encompassed more back in the day than what we have become used to. We Boomers thought of community as family, friends, neighbors, or intimates of school and work. The way newer generations define communities include movies they like, food they cook , places they want to visit , youtube, Linkedin, myspace, and a variety of other groupings. Hey you can even find your significant other online. Who’d have thunk it.

Intimacy is another example. It’s still about who do I trust to know what is important to me, but you don’t need to know them. Blogs, Social Networks and Text Messages, which has allowed for intimacy with people or groups that have never met personally and in truth may only know each other by your gravatar (globally recognized avatar ) or on-screen persona.

These communities, unlike 1950 fan clubs, provide for “immediate” sharing feedback But what is different is the “web”. The web provides for immediate sharing, feedback, evaluation and creating new personal objectives.

Placing 300 people in a room to watch transformation happen, does not happen as often now.

Today, the newer generations are leery of all things costly that claim a secret intellectual value. With their laptops and cell phones, they compare notes within their various communities, they ascertain value quickly and ask the question “is there an Open Source ?” alternative that allows them to participate in a deeper way. Has anyone in my social network written a review on Digg or Stumbleupon – everyone is and can be an authority.

Privacy is another concern. They are used to learning in groups and sometimes anonymously using nicknames, avatar, gravatar etc. and creating their own communities to help facilitate their learning. Don’t try to share their information or take them for granted or they will turn on you. (Facebook)

Life is a Dress Rehearsal, in “ Second Life “. They can split their interest and personality and not feel conflicted.

Open Source is most often related to software but can also be thought of the opposite of sole source, as in “Sole Source Contracts” proprietary knowledge. In part because of OpenSoure, intricate games that simulate life like situations have been developed that provide the player with clues on how it is to be a race car driver, air plane pilot, an urban development planner and much more. In the process with groups playing within groups, they learn about leadership, developing strategy, building teams, making mistakes and experiencing success.

In one of their HBR posts John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas use the term “Gamers Deposition” in which they point to “five key attribute”of the gamer, which in my view is the same as saying post-1970 generation.

  1. They are bottom-line oriented.
  2. They understand the power of diversity.
  3. They thrive on change.
  4. They see learning as fun.
  5. They marinate on the “edge.”

Examining these five attributes, it becomes apparent that this new generation(s) are learning and applying the same principals we used to spend weeks doing in both business and personal trainings. This is how we did and may still phrase our work.

  1. Have a good relationship with your results.
  2. Everyone has a purpose and can contribute
  3. Embrace change, change is good.
  4. Discover and maximize your potential
  5. Push the envelope with outside the box thinking.
  6. Be personally responsible
  7. Be first then do to have

If I use the words “out of the box ” in one of my workshops, I could easily be asked by one of my participants, what box? If so, I’d probably be a little embarrassed, knowing that for this new generation their is no box and that “edge” for them is totally about a “Way of Being”. (Yes, some contextual distinctions continue to reign supreme.)

We don’t need to know it all, just be interested in learning.

The Internet is enabling a democratic learning process that for pre-1970 generations looks like anarchy. Who is in control here and who has the last word? The web has made it possible for us all to stumble upon new knowledge together. It’s good not to have experts, they can always in time proven wrong, then right, then wrong again. It’s a lot more interesting this way.

Originally posted at:

Posted by: gregistheanswer | May 31, 2008


Living is not the same as avoiding death.

These two things don’t get you the same thing.  X does not equal Y in this case.

I think most of us would agree that this is true, first of all.  Secondly, choosing Y, avoiding death, is not making the most with what we have here, this opportunity which we are living out every day and every year, culminating in what we call a LIFE.

But on what side of this coin we spend the most time is what matters.

One side of the coin is being fully alive, fully present, risking everything, every moment, blood pumping, full of vitality, eyes open, doing it and doing it right now with integrity and responsibility, learning everything you can and using what you learn to experience all that life has to offer.  And then getting up again and going for broke again.

The other side is avoiding pain, embarrassment, looking bad, and rejection, resulting in a life spent not knowing yourself and what you are capable of, while also not letting anyone else to know you and what you are capable of (such as love, connection, intimacy, vulnerability).  It’s full of justifications, excuses, and reasoning on why not.

I am most inspired by the people that have received a death sentence from their doctor.  Even though we all “know” that we have a death sentence hanging over our collective heads, and that we can’t escape this life alive, how many times have we been inspired by people like Dr. Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon University Professor, father, and husband, who has received the news that he has 3-6 months to live and makes the absolute most of the time that he has left?  Randy, thankfully, has used some of that time to communicate openly with us about his dreams and what it means to him to really live.  I feel that people like Randy, that are living out the rest of their time, are the people that I have the most to learn from.  And if any of us want to maximize the life we are living, these should be our role models.

Without further ado, for those of you that haven’t been introduced to Randy, here is his video.  Please note that he is still alive and actually just gave the 2008 Commencement Address (also on youtube).  Oh, one more, note..this is a long video because its a college lecture and fills up the entire hour period.
I hope you enjoy and learn and put it to use.

Posted by: gettheanswer | March 9, 2008

Fit for Kings and Queens

  Fit for Kings and Queens

“How to Love the Life You Live”

If your want to stay king of your castle or queen of your mansion, you need to be fit for the task.  What better way to do that than to create for yourself a body to live with (not to die for)!  Our greatest challenge is to be energized in the morning and have the vitality to take you through your day.  When you have aliveness and energy physically, it affects your mind and emotions.  And ultimately your spirit is uplifted.


So here are my six steps to a balanced life, in order to love the life you live: 

  • 1. Good Sleep — Ideally get about 7 hours and 20 minutes a night.
  • 2. Work Smart – Use your automated technologies and/or delegate to assistants.
  • 3. Stay Fit – Walk a lot. Take a brisk walk daily or exercise about an hour a day.
  • 4. Eat Well – Graze, but no real big meals. Drink water, eat veggies, dine early.
  • 5. Treat Yourself – Give yourself a healthy treat to reward your discipline.
  • 6. Share from the Heart – Feel deeply, love with passion, express yourself often.


Well, there you go. Now it is a matter of doing it.  It is my challenge too.  But I promise you, if you do it you will live well and live long.  It is the counsel of the ages by feisty old folks, wise villagers, scientists, nutritionists, and health specialists alike.  It has been the way of the sages, and it worked for them. So why wouldn’t it work for us too?  What do you think, and what’s your recipe for healthy living?

 Dr. Ray Blanchard

Posted by: gregistheanswer | February 7, 2008


“I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
~Frank Herbert from ‘Dune’~

If only that was the case. Then we would truly embody that which we came here to be.
But instead, fear has a strangle hold on our possibilities. Like the cold winds on a winter Nebraska night, fear has its grip on our throats, choking out the last gasp of our soul, subduing us in the domain of the ego, for all eternity.
Oh, not me, you say. I live my life courageously, without fear.
Indeed. I am sure that you do, at least in your filtered version of reality. But to know fearlessness, we should study the life of Mother Teresa, who lived in the squalor of Calcutta, a literal hell on earth.
This tireless saint, nearing the end of her life, had a heart attack. And after surviving this brush with death, (some say miraculously), she was advised to take it easy, that her non-stop life of self-less service could kill her.
Her reply was simple and silent. Within days she was back on the street, tending to the homeless and destitute of the world, with these words on her lips:
I believe in person to person. Every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the one person in the world at that moment.

-Mother Teresa of Calcutta~
Knowing the conditions of the streets that Mother Teresa worked, and the abject terror and poverty that surrounded her, I would assert that she had conquered fear, and realized in its absence the indomitable essence of her own soul.
For indeed, she realized that she was the one she was waiting for all along.
Mother Teresa didn’t wait for ‘someone to do something about this disgrace’, as I have heard so many people utter under their breath when they encountered an unfortunate soul on the streets. She opened her arms and her heart, and allowed love to pour out.
For Mother Teresa realized the ability to love many, if not all.
Virtually everyone today believes that it is possible to love only two or three people. When Jesus talks about loving our neighbor as ourselves, or the Compassionate Buddha tells us to love the whole world as a mother loves her only child, we believe it is all metaphorical. Mother Teresa says no, it is literal. Two or three people are not enough for our capacity to love. We should be able to love everyone – not feel a vague sentiment for a faceless mass, but actually be in love with every individual.
~Ecknath Easwaran~
That kind of compassion does not arise in the common man or woman. And why not, I ask? What is it about us that becomes so jaded and detached from the sufferings of our fellow man?
What has us convinced at our own self importance? What has us feel entitlement to the ‘spoils of life’? And to our own self-grasping attachment to the objects of our desire?
What power separates us from the unconditional love of the universe, and has us jealously protect the scraps of life like a mongrel snarlingly begrudging a morsel here or a tot there like Ebenezer Scrooge?
Why the ego of course!
That wily opponent that was birthed into being when we took corporeal form here on Planet Earth. Our great friend and fearless leader. (sarcasm). And what created our ego?
Why our fears of course. Or I should say, our inherited fears more precisely. The fears of our parents, our society, our culture, our religion, our schools, our peers, etc. You get the drift. We have inherited more fears than Lisa Presley inherited gold records. And here is the best part.
We unconsciously accepted them all!
But now that our eyes have been opened to the damage that they are causing us through their construct or dependent arising, —the ego, we can consciously choose to undo what has been done.
Now, don’t get me wrong. A few well placed personal growth books here, a workshop there is going to do wonders, but to really undo the damage that the ego has done is going to take some real work.
There is an old Buddhist proverb that says that it will take as long to unmake a thing as it did to make it. So, I am sure that many of you right now are saying, thanks for the good news! What if I don’t have that long?
Well, for the most part, your egos were created and in force by the time you were four years old. You have only been re-enforcing it since then! (With some exceptions based on the variety of life experiences out in the real world.
So at best, with diligent application, real transformation is not that far out of reach. But one thing I know for sure.
You have to be committed!

Because, I guarantee, you will get what you are committed to. And right now you are committed to your ego. Do you know how I know? Just look around you right now, and see how attached you are to the things that you have in your life. Your conveniences, your car, your clothes your technology, your MTV, etc.
You get the idea. Your material stuff, which, is actually getting in the way of your attaining the greatness that you have been hiding all along.
So who are you waiting for? Or better yet, what are you waiting for? A sign from GOD?
We spend a lot of our lives looking for role models, mentors, teachers, and gurus to guide us on our path. There is nothing wrong with this and, in fact, finding the right person at the right time can really help. However, it is important to realize that in the absence of such a figure, we can very safely rely upon ourselves.
For we carry within us everything we need to know to make progress on our paths to self-realization. The outer world is serving as a mirror. Or to use another metaphor, our inner fears have a magnetic force that draws to us what we need, in order to evolve to the next level.
All we need to do to see that we already have everything we need, is to let go of our belief that we need to seek in order to find!
So, like the litany of fear from Dune by Frank Herbert, face your fears, allow them to wash over you and through you. And when your fear is gone, you will find inside yourself, the hero that you have always dreamt of, that warrior of peace and love.

So when we find ourselves on our path, not knowing which way to turn and wishing for guidance, we can turn to ourselves. We may not know the right answer rationally or intellectually, but if we simply ask, let go, and wait patiently, an answer will come.
And remember and old adage, that the philosophers stone is usually found in a pile of dung! So don’t judge your experiences by there outward appearances, as you may just miss the greatest lesson of all!
Peace and Blessings on your Journey

Niall Nicholson
Transformational Trainer / Author / Coach

Posted by: youcountnow | January 24, 2008

What You Fear You Create

Have you noticed that what we fear, we tend to create?  Well it is not magical how that happens.  Take for instance the Stock Market these days. There has been lots of talk about a near-recession or a full blown recession is happening in our economy. Since that conversation began, did you notice how many Americans and foreign investors ran quickly to their brokerage firms and sold their stock, thus creating a massive sell off.  The sell offs then caused more panic and others went to do the same, thus causing the stock market to go down even lower.  Then the Finance Chairman lowered the interest rate by a huge amount compared to historical standards, calling it a “stimulus package” to offset the slide in the market.  Well, that action caused people to think, “Oh there must be something wrong”, and they panicked to cause a deeper plunge. At the end of the day, the results are matching the fears. Thus we create what we fear. 

We may not create it directly, but the dynamics that go into effect from one action can geometrically grow into major outcomes.  It shows you that your thoughts and actions make a difference and they influence other thoughts and actions which then affect you again.  So be careful what you think and how you act on those thoughts, because they may come back to you in spades.  What goes around comes around — “circle, circle!”. Said another way, every cause has an effect, and every effect has a cause.  This is what is meant by the law of attraction in action. It is not magical; it is dynamical.  You do, in that sense, create your own reality.

Let me know what you think on this, and how you see that happening in your life or in the world.  And what can we initiate to have something happen that we want to have happen?

Dr. Ray Blanchard

Posted by: youcountnow | January 23, 2008


“The space that every man occupies in the world is measured by the faith he expresses in connection with his aims and purposes.”   – Napoleon Hill

I have spoken to you previously about the necessity of wedding purpose to correct thought.  Intelligent, positive thinking will get you nowhere until it is guided by definiteness of purpose.  But even purposeful thought must be buoyed by an abiding faith.  The most noble purpose backed by the best-laid plans will prove no match for the twin cancers of fear and doubt if allowed to take hold.  Fear and doubt are as cryptonite to success and have but one antidote — faith. 

Haven’t we all seen an athletic event where one team has a big lead late in the game when the tide begins to turn and the team behind begins to make a move?  What usually happens is that the team in front begins to freeze up.  You can see fear and doubt begin to creep in and run away with themselves.  We end up watching a seemingly improbable come from behind victory by their opponent. 

True champions know that the victory is theirs whether they are the team ahead or the team making the move from behind.  You must have absolute faith in the outcome of your endeavors or fear and doubt will eat you alive when obstacles are confronted.  Neither fear nor doubt can occupy the mind at the same time as absolute faith.  When you develop a faith strong enough that there is no possibility of an outcome different from that which you desire, fear and doubt will find no room in which to occupy your mind and victory will be yours.”  — Jeff Young      

I found this to be an inspiring message in midst of all the things I got going on in my life that are so out on the limb that I get scared.  I often don’t know what I am going to encounter while i am going forth on my dreams, and sometimes I encounter things that I judge, at the moment to be obstacles to my path, only to find out later that they were tremendous learning esperiences that gave me insights and more power.  Funny how that happens!  Just shows you, that faith is what keeps you going in the face of challenges. When you got faith, you will overcome.

Share an example from your life, or from something you know about, that would illuminate this message.  People love hearing personal stories and examples.  I do.

Dr. Ray Blanchard

Posted by: ogandocoaching | January 16, 2008

Are you ready to get real?

Every year we make resolutions, plans, goals to take our lives, businesses, relationships to the next level – or get them on the track we want them to be. And somewhere along the line, old habits or patterns get in the way, or we get discouraged or busy, or something happens that derails us temporarily.

What is that?

Are you ready to get real about it, so that 2008 can be your best year ever?

Join us on January 21st at 8 pm ET/ 5pm PT for a real live opportunity to get coached by some of the coaches from THE ANSWER To Absolutely Everything. Here’s how it works:

  1. Register to join us on the call by clicking here.
  2. Submit your top challenge, goal or breakthrough that you want addressed during the call.
  3. Dial in to the call at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on January 21st (you’ll get all the details once you register).
  4. Get ready to get some work done during our call, get powerful coaching on your heartfelt commitments, and walk away ready to take tangible action on your goals.

So is 2008 going to be your best year ever? Join us on January 21st by registering for the call here and start driving it in that direction!

See you there!


Posted by: gregistheanswer | January 15, 2008

THE ANSWER TO: Winning Beginnings (by Terry Tillman)

2008!! Wow! We’ve already completed the first week of 2008. Wasn’t it only last year that we were reading about all the fear-based concerns forecasting the impending year 2000 “Millennium bug”? Was that eight years ago?

When Greg asked me to post a little article here my knee-jerk reaction was, “I’m too busy, I don’t have time…” And that’s the reason why I agreed to write this. I tell others to do the thing you don’t want to do if you want to be free, and grow and learn. Move into the resistance, rather than away back to the safe, familiar, comfortable habitual behaviors. So, let’s see what shows up here…

The transition from December to January, one year to the next, the old to the new is a time when many of us review and resolve. With good intentions we acknowledge where we fell short in the past and voice good intentions, goals and objectives for the coming 12 months.

Sometime during the first week of each year my wife and I sit down together, away from any distractions and go through what’s become an annual “ritual”—we go through a process to complete the year just finished and voice intentions for the coming 12 months (There’s nothing sacred about 12 months. That’s an arbitrary time period, so we could be talking about 6 months, or two years). We just did this two nights ago.

This is an important time of the year, because I know that where I look is where I go. I create my reality by what I focus upon. And I’m now committing a major part of my next focus. I’m beginning an action that will determine my experience and results for the next period.

Our first step is to acknowledge what we’re grateful for. We write this down. It’s usually four or five pages for each of us. I’ve made it a habit to look at what I have, do or am to be grateful for, daily. The end of the year list is a summary, and claiming, a receiving and acknowledging. With an attitude of gratitude I’m automatically abundant. I have the experience of abundance and I will never need to endure the loss of any one thing (You might want to read that again).

Every agreement or promise I make and every action I’ve started that is not complete requires a little piece of my consciousness and energy, usually unconsciously. So a next step in our process is to reclaim some of that energy. We list incompletions and decide what we intend to do to complete them. We eliminate or re-chose and re-commit. Often it’s as simple as declaring completion.

Much of the stress experienced in business and personal lives is the result of over committing—agreeing to do more than can be done well, thoroughly, enjoyably and in a balanced manner in the time allotted. If you want to have less stress, learn to say “no”. Be more selective in your choices and agreements.

If I want movement and change, if I want to start something new, I need to stop something. That means saying, “Yes” to one activity is saying “No” to another.

For example, last week I looked around my office and home and noticed that I had three books and four magazines open. I have been in the process of reading them—a couple of them I started several months, or more, ago. Those are incompletions, and broken agreements with myself (I’ll get to that in a minute). I know that I pay a big price for broken agreements, and lose energy and focus when my environment is filled with incompletes.

So what can I do? I closed two of the books and put them back on the bookshelf. I tossed a couple of the magazines in the trash, and I closed the others. Done. Complete! Energy reclaimed. Later I can choose again to read them. If I want. For now I’m choosing something else. I’m always amazed at how much better I feel after simple acts such as those. I begin to feel more in charge, more of the author(ity) of my life.

Some completions may take a little more effort and time. Some I can renegotiate (with myself, or someone else if they are involved). Basically I’m reviewing my past choices and bringing them into the present and making a new choice. Sometimes that may be the same one as in the past; sometimes it’s altogether new. After all, in some ways I’m hopefully a different person, with different information at this moment than when I originally made the choice. What would I chose now?

When I reviewed my incompletions last week I found very few projects and activities that I wanted to cancel, or say no to. That’s good news to me. That means I’m on course and have kept pretty current and present. I did however clarify or remember what my agreements and commitments are. That’s been very helpful to me already. A couple days ago the managing director of a company I’m an advisor to and investor in asked me to get more involved in a particular operational challenge the company was having. That would have entailed more work and time commitment. With the recall of what I originally agreed to fresh in my mind, and remembering what I’m best at and enjoy, it was easy to say “no”, thank you. In the past I might have been afraid I’d upset the client, spark disapproval, be judged, or even lose the contract (and money). However, I’ve learned that the price I pay for not being true to myself, and making my choices from the inside out, is even greater.

Often in seminars I will ask the group, “Who would like greater self-esteem? More confidence? Greater self-trust? Better relationships? More energy? Consistently, in every country (94 so far) and every seminar, around 95% of the hands are raised. And then we launch into a two-hour lecturette and process.

We probably don’t have the space for all that here, so I’ll just give the bottom line–THE KEY to experiencing all of these rewards is basically, KEEP YOUR AGREEMENTS!

Or, alternatively, if you are experiencing low self-esteem, lack of trust, low confidence, deteriorating relationships, low energy, look to your agreements. Chances are you’re overcommiting and/or not keeping them.

And, the reason we’re looking at this now, at the beginning of 2008, is that this is the time of the year when people make resolutions—This year I’m going to lose weight, start an exercise program, play and laugh more, risk more, travel to…, relax and pause more (work hard, rest often), take that speed reading class, spend more time with my children, write a book, eat healthier food, learn a new language… These are all agreements with our selves. And if we don’t keep them, we automatically suffer the consequences called low self-esteem, lack of trust, low confidence, deteriorating relationships, low energy. Automatically. A part of our conscious doesn’t register if we broke the agreement just a little or a lot, or if it was a big agreement or a little one. It is binary, Yes or no? Did you do what you said you’d do or not? Did you keep your word? The process is unconscious, internally, and the consequences are automatic. Whether we keep the agreement or break it. So, what do do?

Some tips to assist in keeping agreements:
1. Write done your agreements and promises. I have an agreement with myself that if it’s not written down I haven’t agreed to it. I also have a list in my Palm Pilot (soon to be transferred to my new iPhone) called, “Pretty good idea, someday maybe”. I’m curious, and active. I daily discover many things I’d like to jump into or learn more about. Some of those I don’t want to forget, so they go in my Someday Maybe list. It’s a great list, and I review it periodically. Every once in awhile I actually commit to something on the list. My best selling book was on this list for three years before I committed to writing it.
2. Learn to say “No”. You have that right, and I’d say responsibility. It’s part of being true to yourself and taking care of yourself and following your heart. I have a stress reduction seminar designed around learning to say no. It’s important, and it’s something a majority of us have difficulty with.
3. Renegotiate. We make agreements with the information, abilities, knowledge, skills and feelings we have at the time. As we get involved in whatever is the activity and process we gain more information, skill, knowledge and ability and thus at any future moment, if we were to make that choice again it may well be a different or modified choice. We have the right to renegotiate. To change.
4. Make agreements important. If I realize how important they are, and the consequences for breaking them and the rewards for keeping them, I find it easy to realize how important they are. And if I get they are important I will keep them.

This has gotten long. I thought I was going to discourse about intentions and methods, focusing on what rather than how and setting goals, and how those are different from Purpose, Mission, Dreams, Visions. Some other time…

Thanks Greg for asking me to do this. I’m already closer to where I want to be than when I began : )

Terry Tillman

For those of you who want more form and structure, here are some questions that can guide you in your 2007 review and 2008 goal setting. When I go through these kinds of questions I like to consider my answers in several area:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Mental
  • Spiritual
  • Financial
  • Family
  • Community
  • Service

Completing and Remembering 2007

What was your biggest triumph in 2007?

What was the smartest decision you made in 2007?

What one word best sums up and describes your 2007 experience?

What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2007?

What was the most loving service you performed in 2007?

What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2007?

What are you most happy about completing in 2007?

Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2007?

What was the biggest risk you took in 2007?

What was the biggest surprise in 2007?

What important relationship improved the most in 2007?

What compliment would you liked to have received in 2007?

What compliment would you liked to have given in 2007?
What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2007?

Creating 2008

What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2008?

What advice would you like to give yourself in 2008?

What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2008?

What would you be most happy about completing in 2008?

What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2008?

What would you most like to change about yourself in 2008?

What are you looking forward to learning in 2008?

What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2008?

What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2008?

What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2008?

What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2008?

Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2008?

What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2008?

The Answer

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