Mentor (noun): an experienced and trusted adviser. Synonyms: coach, guide, helper, counselor, consultant.
Consider these questions:
What is important, meaningful to you now? What do you want to learn … change … improve … accomplish. How would you like to feel? What ignites your passion? What triggers your happiness and joy?
Make a list of your strengths and competencies. Review regularly. Edit and revise as you see fit.
Make a list of well-thought-out outcomes you most desire. Review regularly. Edit and revise as you see fit.
Know your B.S. (Belief System). Do you have a FIXED mindset … or a GROWTH mindset?
Focus on things that you CAN control or manage — choices, attitudes, actions, behaviors, mood, responses.
Take responsibility and accountability for “co-creating” or “shaping” the future you most desire.
Make a list of your own core values/virtues — or TARGET values/virtues. For example: loyalty, dependability, balance, compassion, kindness, generosity, passion, humility, bravery, professionalism, gratitude, flow, love, faith, patience, humor, ambition, optimism, confidence, fitness, wellbeing.
Then, review/reinforce regularly. Research and learn more about ways to demonstrate and embody them.
Compose appropriate “focus phrases” (sayings — proverbs — mottos — affirmations) Use them as reminders, positive triggers, inspirations, “alignments.”
Write, record, display the reminders and reinforcement that is appropriate to the outcomes you seek.
Make a “To-Feel List” — list of “target” or “most desired” feelings or emotional states. Review regularly. For example: happy, joyful, proud, enthusiastic, confident, grateful, compassionate, smart, lucky, appreciative, creative, energetic, inspired, calm, hopeful, positive, serene, helpful, loved, loving, valued, euphoric, strong …
Three other very helpful lists: • To-Do List – “Today’s Mission” • Inspiration List • Gratitude Journal
Gather intelligence, take notes. Flipboard. Google Search. Networking. Books. Magazines. TED Talks.
A KEY QUESTION: “What do I want to do, that I WILL do, to increase the likelihood of the outcomes I desire?”
Your goals should be appropriate, realistic, practical … they need to make sense.
To achieve specific goals: Break them down into small, workable steps. “What will I do TODAY?”
And … schedule those tasks and activities on your calendar! Give yourself honest feedback.
“PRACTICE MAKES HABITS” – to create a new habit or ritual, link it to an existing one.
• “What would I advise my dearest friend with the same goals, or challenges that I’m facing?”
• If a highly motivated person was seeking advice and guidance from you, in areas of interest to you … What would you tell them? How would you help them? Would you follow your own best advice?
Be honest with yourself. Be good to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be self-compassionate.
©2016 Jerry D. Posner
Grati-Tuesday Missives — January, February, March 2016
Grati-Tuesday Greetings, 1/5/16! Thank you, furnace! Thank you, space heater! Thank you, propane! Thank you, hot water! Thank you, electricity!
Grati-Tuesday Greetings, 1/12/16! Reasons to feel grateful? Reasons to be thankful? Reasons to express appreciation? Yes, many!
Grati-Tuesday Greetings: 1/19/16! Gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation – foundations of a meaningful day. Feel it! Express it!
Grati-Tuesday, 1/26/16: More gratitude = _____________.
Grati-Tuesday Greetings, 2/2/16! What goes in your gratitude journal? Things in your life that make you smile. People you love. People that love you. Privileges, blessings and gifts.
Grati-Tuesday Greetings, 2/9/16! “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” — Gertrude Stein
Grati-Tuesday Greetings 2/16/16! If you’re reading these words, you have much to be grateful for. Hot and cold running water? Electricity? Food and shelter? Take a minute to acknowledge the good stuff. (Makes it easier to navigate the tough stuff.)
Grati-Tuesday Greetings, 2/23/16! Breathe in and think, “I’m grateful I can breathe.” Then, exhale and think, “I’m grateful I can breathe.” Repeat for 60 seconds, and notice where your mind goes next.
Grati-Tuesday Greetings – 3/1/16! “Grateful for the compassionate, caring, constructive people whose lives impact ours.”
Grati-Tuesday Greetings – 3/8/16! From time to time, let your heart overflow with gratitude. How about now? Facebook will still be here when you’re done.
Grati-Tuesday Greetings – 3/15/16! “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” — G.K. Chesterton
Grati-Tuesday Greetings – 3/22/16! Add some gratitude to your attitude (as desired or as necessary).
Grati-Tuesday Greetings – 3/29/16! Gratitude and appreciation to the elementary and high school teachers! Thank you for your service!
Grati-Tuesdays November/December 2015
11/3/15 Grati-Tuesday! “When I look for reasons to feel grateful, I find hundreds, if not thousands. Sure beats self-pity!”
11/10/15 Grati-Tuesday! Think of just one thing that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be the thing you’re MOST grateful for, just any one thing. Okay, two things. Just two things that make you feel sincerely thankful. Alright … three
11/17/15 Grati-Tuesday Greetings! Gratitude for blessings we are privileged to enjoy, help us maintain balance … especially during tough times.
11/24/15 Grati-Tuesday Greetings! Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Why wait? Be thankful now!
12/1/15 It’s Grati-Tuesday! An intentional gratitude practice, like a daily gratitude journal, doesn’t guarantee miracles … but CAN increase their likelihood.
12/8/15 Grati-Tuesday Greetings! Savor this moment. Gratitude. Thankfulness. Appreciation. Perspective. Balance.
12/15/15: Grati-Tuesday Greetings! “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” — John Milton
Grati-Tuesday 12/22/15: When times are stressful and busy, it’s especially helpful to take a “gratitude break!” How about right now?
12/29/15: Grati-Tuesday Greetings! “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” – Cicero
Grati-Tuesday Missives: August – October 2015
8/4/15 Grati-Tuesday! The bummers don’t have to trump the blessings. Perspective and attitude shape our story. Keep gratitude prominently in the mix! And compassion.
8/11/15 Celebrate Grati-Tuesday! Start your day with gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation. Feel it, express it, share it!
8/18/15 Grati-Tuesday! On easy days, average days and hard days; take some time to express gratitude for the things that DO work, and the privileges that you DO have. A little gratitude can change the picture … especially so, on the harder days.
8/25/15 Grati-Tuesday! “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy. (This is an ongoing project!)
9/1/15 Grati-Tuesday Haiku.
brighten mood, not platitude,
9/7/15 (Labor Day) Gratitude to the people who do their jobs, so we can have the quality of life that we’re privileged to enjoy. If we made a list of them, we’d be writing all day.
9/8/15 Grati-Tuesday! A Gratitude Meditation: Breathe deeply, and appreciate where you are, what you are, and what you have. Repeat often.
9/15/15 Grati-Tuesday Greetings! “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” – Cicero. Spend some time with gratitude today.
9/22/15 Grati-Tuesday! “Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence” (neuroscience researcher Alex Korb). Be smart … feel grateful!
9/29/15 Grati-Tuesday! “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” –Gertrude Stein. So, express it … tell it … show it!
10/6/15 Grati-Tuesday! Three things to feel gratitude for (in random order): 1. You can breathe. 2. You have Internet access. 3. You are loved.
10/13/15 Grati-Tuesday! Add some gratitude to your day! “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop.
10/20/15 Grati-Tuesday! “Give gratitude equal time, in your mind!”
10/27/15 Grati-Tuesday! Right where you are now, take a minute and slowly look around. Do you notice anything at all that you could feel grateful for? Thought so!
Dr. Viktor Frankl … and Me
I never met Dr. Frankl, but I am deeply inspired by his philosophy and his classic work, “Man’s Search For Meaning” (1959). When I need inspiration and a better perspective on my own life’s challenges, remembering, and sometimes rereading that book usually does the trick for me. It has been known to snap me out of quite a few self-pity-parties!
Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997) was born in Vienna. He was a brilliant neurologist and psychologist who was an inmate in several Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Dachau, during World War II. His wife, mother and brother, also imprisoned for being Jewish, did not survive. His father had died earlier when they were all deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in 1942.
After three years in the camps, he was able to return to Austria, where he wrote the book that became “Man’s Search For Meaning” – the original title translated as “Saying Yes to Life in Spite of Everything: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp.”
He taught the importance of finding meaning in life, even when experiencing extreme suffering and adversity, which of course, he most certainly did.
I often quote Dr. Frankl in my workshops and lectures. My favorites are these two from “Man’s Search For Meaning”:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
When I face my own challenges, imagining a conversation with Dr. Frankl helps me gain a more rational, realistic and empowering perspective.
For example: I was having some work done on my car. While I was in the waiting area, a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple of years walked in.
“How are you Jerry,” she asked.
I was poised to answer that question by complaining about the expense of an unexpected car repair. But before I spoke, Dr. Frankl popped into my awareness and I thought, “what if Viktor Frankl appeared before me and asked the same question?” Would I be kvetching about a $250 bill, or telling him how grateful I am for the privileges and blessings I’m so fortunate to have? If I choose the latter, I’d probably feel a lot better! So, why would I choose the former? I wouldn’t. It’s just a habit. My “habit” would have “chosen” for me.
Conjuring up the mental image of a respected hero, especially someone who navigated horrific circumstances, might make it a little easier to wait in a long line at the ice cream shop … or cope with an unexpected bill … or respond to an event that is more inconvenience than tragedy.
Cognitive psychology calls this type of exaggeration “magnification.” I’ve also heard it called “awfulizing” and “catastrophising.”
So …”Don’t make mountains out of molehills!”
And maybe, your heroes can help with that!
THE STUFF WE TELL OURSELVES –
CREATIVE, OBSERVATIONAL, OR WHAT?
Have you ever repeated “negative affirmations” like these (to yourself or out loud)?
I don’t deserve to succeed.
The world is against me.
Miracles don’t happen, I never get a break.
I am conflicted about most everything, I can’t make any decisions.
I am a disappointment.
I lead a life of self-deception and sheer stupidity.
I cannot be happy. Ever.
I have absolutely no love in my life. None.
I must play the part of a tragic figure.
I must act sad and moody most all of the time.
I am never really good enough.
My timing is pathetically awful.
Most anything makes me angry, then I feel guilty, then I feel ashamed, then I feel angrier.
Let’s stop right here. Do these words help to create negative conditions, or are they simply a sad commentary on what is? These examples are meant to be somewhat irrational, absolutist, all-or-nothing assumptions, ’cause that’s how we sometimes (or all too often) think.
It’s true that words have power and that thoughts trigger feelings. Obviously, some emotions can be motivating … and others make us want to get back to bed, pull the covers over our heads, and have a personal (possibly perpetual) pity-party (not pretty)!
Our thoughts … the words we tell ourselves … might or might not be true or helpful. Yet, often by habit, we have been known to focus our thinking on negative, false, (definitely not helpful) words —negative affirmations, so to speak.
Do negative affirmations work as well as positive ones? Or, perhaps a better question is: do affirmations “work” at all?
How did you feel when you read the set of negative affirmations? Read the next bunch slowly and carefully, savor the phrases, and notice the effect.
I can make my choices based on the outcomes I most desire.
I am loved and appreciated.
I value and appreciate my life.
I have tremendous potential.
I am allowed to pursue my best goals.
I can find out whatever I need to know.
I am fortunate, thankful, grateful.
I am perpetually inspired.
I’m open and receptive to miracles in my life.
I deserve to succeed. I am allowed to succeed.
I can make the choices that make me happy.
I can do what I love.
I have great timing (after all, I AM reading this!)
For me, some kind of affirmation practice is useful in managing thoughts, and the results that follow. Importantly, they have to be worded in such a way that we can accept them as statements of truth. I think an “affirmation” that is clearly bogus (inflated, unrealistic, irrational, inappropriate) is more like wishful thinking than a practical tool. Nonetheless, sometimes miracles DO happen, and working with positive affirmations could be a catalyst.
What do you think?
15 For 2015
Daily Reminders for a Stellar Year
By Jerry Posner
1. Sometimes a single act of kindness changes everything.
2. Appreciate and treasure each moment … especially this one.
3. Need courage? Recall inspirational people and their deeds.
4. Preparation reduces fear and shrinks worry.
5. Angry? Count to twenty, slowly. Still angry? Do it again.
6. Expect miracles.
(If that doesn’t work, notice the ones that already exist.)
7. Gratitude: feel it, express it, promote it. Be a grati-tutor!
8. More facts = better beliefs.
9. Message from your Future-Self: love more, kvetch less.
10. If it’s too difficult to forgive and forget, just choose one.
11. Put on your (rational) thinking cap … and leave it on.
12. Courtesy is fundamental, indifference is the enemy.
13. Choose your attitude; many fine options available now.
14. Positive expectations just might skew the odds in your favor.
15. What we do, and how we do it, always matters.
“Since there’s always a choice … choose wisely!”
I first met Jerry at Canyon Ranch for his “Gratitude” presentation, and from that first hour in his presence, I knew he was someone who had the potential to be an impactful mentor and help me finally change my outlook on life. What I didn’t know at that time was how profound the experience would be, and how my husband would also decide to work with him, and in the end, how meaningful Jerry’s insights would be in our future together as a married couple.
What Jerry helped my husband with most, is realizing that he (we all) has the power to change his life by the choices he makes each and every day…. from the very small and mundane to the large and complicated.
I also found that Jerry’s way of coaching made what seemed like Mt. Everest-type obstacles in the past, start to seem like something that was clear, manageable and something I felt comfortable navigating. Taking true accountability was something Jerry taught me. He helped us start learning how to respond to each situation life hands us with compassion and intention. After 4-5 sessions with Jerry (which is generally a short time if comparing to a therapist), our lives have already drastically changed by changing our choices. In our house we now say “What Would Jerry Do?!”
Important Note: This IS a process… I’d like to say he is a “magician” but the tools he gives you must be used and practiced in order to get the desired results.
Jerry’s pearls of wisdom are like an angel on your shoulder in the toughest of times.
He redefines the word coach because there’s not just instruction, there is inspiration. He has given us the tools/resources and perspective to choose to create the best life we can for ourselves. We finished our sessions with Jerry feeling energized, informed, and ready to conquer whatever life has to throw at us. We are stronger as a couple more than ever, and it has connected us on a whole new level.