Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is Happiness connected to Relationships?

3 Strategies to find fulfillment from the people around you

By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach

Relationships- we all are impacted by them, but have you thought about how much of our happiness actually comes from being in a healthy relationship? MTV did and recently conducted a massive study to see what made their viewers, (ages 14-34) the happiest... and the answer may surprise you. The number one answer by a huge margin was that these young people longed for a connected relationship with their family.

To be happy at home isn't limited to the younger audience either, because USA Today surveyed an older audience a few months back and discovered the same pattern. The majority of people in the United States define happiness more from the health of their relationships than by their income, house, car or job success combined! I believe God designed us to experience connected relationships and so when we are blessed enough to be in one life is great. However, when we are in a struggling relationship it saps the joy and sucks the energy out of life. If you are having the time of your life with the people in your home, rejoice and make some great memories! And if you aren't, then here are some tips to help you find the love and laughter again.

Blended personalities bring value or war

I saw a desk sign once that read, “everyone here brings happiness- some by leaving and some by staying- which are you?” We all have some degree of relationships and we all them- so why does it seem so hard to find healthy ones? Simple, everyone is different, and those differences either make for a wonderful “blending” of people and personalities, or it creates the ingredients of a major war! No one wants more problems, and since everyone is longing for the best relationship possible, so here are some quick tips to help you have healthier relationships.

1) Start with you

Are you taking responsibility to deal with the major issues in your life? For instance, if you know you have a short temper, take ownership of your anger before you begin to look for another group of friends or family that will just “put up” with your behavior. Scripture teaches us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “be slow to anger” so start with looking into the mirror of your souls to see what needs attention. Once you see what needs work get busy working on it and if you get stuck, find a coach to help hold you accountable to grow.

2) Do a relationship evaluation

After you have taken bold steps to face your fears and doubts, you should actually sit down and evaluate your current relationships. I suggest that you confidentially list out the key people in your life on a legal pad by name. Start with those closest to you, perhaps parent, child or family relationship, dating or marriage partner boss or co-workers, as well as your spiritual relationship with God.

Pay attention to the strengths of the relationship as well as what needs improvement. As you map out these relationships it will be easy to create a specific action plan. Once you have a plan in hand you can make better decisions about which relationships are working well, and meeting needs in your life, as well as which ones may be a “bottomless pit” of irresponsible behavior and may never grow into a healthy relationship. (There are times that this evaluation process will reveal tremendous problems that require some intensive help from a counselor or clergy member to deal with to make life work better).

3) Prioritize key relationships

Once you have a master list of relationships, you can then quickly see which ones create a source of support and emotional strength so you can regularly nurture them. Too often we take our daily relationships for granted, and spend too much time reaching out to others. Better to spend our emotional energy on staying close to the people that God has placed around us than to abandon those people and try to live life alone.

It won’t be easy to get along with some people in your life, but by taking time to build stronger relationship connections you build greater happiness and fulfillment. Relationships can add value to you today, and for decades to come. Sounds like a great trade for a lifetime of happiness.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2009), To subscribe to this valuable weekly resource visit or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Influence: Connecting with People

By Dr. John C. Maxwell

As a train's source of energy and direction, the locomotive plays a vital role. However, unless a locomotive connects to other cars on the track, it is relatively useless. A train's value comes from its ability to transport massive amounts of cargo, and doing so requires the locomotive to link up with dozens of freight cars. Traveling by itself, a locomotive would arrive at its destination empty-handed. In that case, its journey would be nothing more than a waste of fuel.

Leaders are like locomotives in that they're blessed with drive, energy, and vision. However, until leaders learn the art of connection, their influence remains minimal. In isolation, their talents accomplish little, and their efforts are squandered.

Let's look at practical ways whereby leaders can make meaningful connections with others.

8 Steps for Connecting with People

#1 Don't Take People for Granted
Weak leaders get so caught up in the vision of where they're going that they forget whom they're trying to lead. Instead, leaders would be wise realize that connecting to people and developing them are the surest ways to gain influence. Results happen through relationships.

#2 Possess a Difference-Maker Mindset
A hesitant and indecisive leader doesn't enliven the hearts or imaginations of people. On the contrary, leaders who influence and inspire have a difference-maker mindset. They connect with others by passing along an infectious confidence in their ability to succeed.

#3 Initiate Movement Toward People
Freight cars sitting on the railroad tracks won't go anywhere by themselves. They will rust and collect dust unless a locomotive makes contact and connects to them. Similarly, most people stay parked due to self-doubt, fear, or absence of vision. It takes the connection of a leader to tap into their potential and rouse them to action.

#4 Search for Common Ground
Anytime you want to connect with a person, the starting point should be shared interests. If you're attentive to the hobbies, histories, and habits of those you lead, then you will find ample areas of common ground. Launch out from these areas of agreement to build rapport.

#5 Recognize and Respect Differences
We are capable of finding common ground with others, but at the same time we need to acknowledge that we're all different. The greatest influencers realize that differences ought to complement rather than clash. When you demonstrate regard for diverse personalities and meet people on their terms, they will appreciate your sensitivity and connect with the understanding you've shown.

#6 Learn the Key to Others' Lives
People have core motivations that vary drastically, and a leader has to discern them to forge a connection with others. Generally, the key can be unearthed by examining what a person has already done in life and by discovering what he or she aspires to do in the future. Once you've found the key, do not exploit it. Turn the key only when you have the person's permission, and always use it for his or her benefit - not your own.

#7 Communicate from the Heart
Nothing repels people like a phony leader. Be authentic when you speak, and align your actions and words. People respond to passion, and they will latch onto a vision when it's communicated directly from the heart.

#8 Share Common Experiences
Shared experiences cement a relationship. For this reason, it's wise to be intentional about eating out with teammates, inviting them to join you on an errand, or taking in a play or ballgame together. The more time you invest in those you lead, the greater the connection you will forge with them.

One is too small of a number to achieve greatness. No one ever accomplishes alone what he can do in partnership with others. If you're looking to grow as an influencer, start by strengthening your connections with the people around you.

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World's Top Leadership Guru by He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies. Find out more at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

6 Steps to a Stronger Mind

by Mark Victor Hansen

Our minds are all we've got. They are the source of who we, both personally and professionally, are. They determine our success or failure. They are our strength and our weakness.
With the quality of our entire lives resting on our minds, it's unbelievable that we choose to fill them with so much garbage. The amount of negativity from television, newspapers, tabloids and other media that bombards us on a daily basis is amazing. We would never think to fill our bodies with only junk food, right? Heck no. We know that if we ate nothing but French fries and ice cream we would experience negative consequences like skin blemishes, weight gain and rotting teeth.

But with mental junk food we don't see the physical consequences right away. When our minds are constantly filled with negativity and bad news, our minds begin to decay. That's why we need to develop a strong, Herculean-esque mind.

Developing your mental muscles will give you the power to accomplish anything you want in life. Sure, it takes some discipline on your part, but look at the world's greatest bodybuilders. They don't show up at the gym every once in a while. They create a workout schedule and they are at the gym every day, no matter what.

Hire yourself as your “mental manager.’ Figure out how much you're going to pay yourself and make up a job list. Here are six jobs to assign to yourself to create a stronger mind.

1. Read Right
How much good news do you see in the newspapers? Editors usually say, “If it bleeds, it leads.’ Not much chance of positivity there. So, read something else. Read books – good books. Books that motivate you. Books that inspire you. Look up some of the great inspirational authors on or in your local bookstore. Read them every morning and/or every night, before you go to sleep.

2. Share Your Mind
Find someone, or a group of someone's, who have the same desire to share positivity. This is called masterminding. Great successes are created when great minds come together and think about the same things.

3. Find A Mentor
My mentor was Buckminster Fuller and I learned more from that man about life than I ever hoped to. Who are the people you admire most, whether you know them or not? Figure out whom you'd like to emulate and study them. If they offer seminars, attend them. If they've written books, read them. Just a few I'd recommend are: Tony Robbins, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Zig Ziglar.

4. Listen to Motivational/Inspirational CDs and Tapes
This is one of the most important habits you can create for yourself. Find inspirational audio messages and listen to them over and over. Earl Nightingale, one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time, had this to say on the subject: “Tape listening is the most important advance in technology since the invention of the printing press.’ With audio tapes and CDs, speakers can reach 10 times as many people as the printed word ever could.

5. Sign Up and Attend Seminars
The motivational messages you hear at seminars, and the inspirational people you meet, reinforce your self-esteem and positive thinking. You can search out seminars via the internet, newspapers or local colleges and universities.

6. Turn Off the Television
On average, the television set in an American home is on over 7 hours a day. Just like any bad habit, it needs to be broken. I'm not saying that all television is bad. Heck no. I'm simply recommending that you cut back on your television viewing. Decide how long you're going to watch television and then turn it off when you're time is up. Try cutting back your television viewing one hour every day at first. You can use that time to read a book, listen to a motivational tape, walk your dog or spend time with your family.

After reading these six steps maybe you're saying, “But Mark, I can't do it. I just don't know if I can be this dedicated to bettering myself?’ Who else are you going to be dedicated to if not yourself? Because when it comes right down to it, folks, you are all that you've got. Jobs and relationships come and go. Children grow up, leave the nest and get lives of their own. Then there you are, alone with yourself. Why not create a “you’ you can be proud of.
"Amaze yourself; manifest your full potential."

Reproduced with permission from the Ron White Ezine. To subscribe to Ron White's Ezine, go to Copyright 2009 All rights reserved worldwide.

Hope is the Great Activator

by Zig Ziglar

"Without hope what good is tomorrow?"

We are surrounded by people who need hope in their lives. We don't often see their need because a lack of hope is not easily communicated. People aren't prone to say, "I need hope." Nonetheless, when we listen closely, we can hear the cries of the hope-needers. Or oftentimes we can see it in their actions.

For example: The student with no hope of passing won't study. Why bother? The sales person with no hope of making the sale won't make the call. What's the purpose? The couple whose marriage is in trouble won't seek counseling because (they think) it's all over anyway. The relative who hasn't spoken to you for three years won't try. What's the hope? The senior citizen who doesn't think anyone would be interested in helping him won't ask. The nurse who doesn't think anyone appreciates her wisdom won't offer it. The manager who doesn't see a chance of being promoted often gives up. Why try?

But give any of these individuals hope and some exciting things can happen! . . .
You were born to win! But in order to be the winner you were born to be, you've got to plan to win. You've got to prepare to win. And then, and only then, can you legitimately expect to win.
Winning is not an accident. It's a result of a deliberate plan. A plan filled with hope and encouragement. Would you like to be a powerful person? Or a more powerful person? Then you need hope. People who build hope into their own lives and who share hope with others become powerful people. Doors open for these people!

Now here's the good news: Hope is a choice! Yes, that's right. You can make a decision to be a hope-filled person. You can make a decision to share hope with others. Even if your own need for hope is running a little dry, you can still give others hope. In the process of doing so, watch what happens. Your personal hope quotient is bound to rise.

Author John Maxwell says if there's hope in the future there's power in the present.
Hope is the great activator!

If you want to make things happen in your life, and you want to encourage others to make things happen in their lives, rely on hope! Discipline yourself to see the "hopeful" side of any incident. Include expressions of hope in your self-talk. Share words of hope with the people who surround you.

Are we offering you a "head in the sand" approach to life? Are we saying that you should walk around with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, oblivious to daily reality? Of course not. However, we do believe that we have a choice. Hope is a choice. We can look at any unfortunate or bothersome situation and say it's hopeless, or we can look for the hope in that situation. The choice is always ours!

Take a moment today and think about the last 24 hours. Did you spread hope, either by words or action? Or did you choose the opposite approach? Are you a hope-giver? Do you want to be? Look forward now to the next 24 hours. Think of three ways that you can be a hope giver. Now go do it . . . and watch what happens!

Reproduced with permission from Your Achievement Ezine. To subscribe, go to All contents Copyright © except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Get Connected- Surviving and Thriving in the New Economy!

By Mary Gardner, for the Orlando Business Journal

I just finished up a workshop for the unemployed and the biggest take away came as such a shock to me, since I’ve been an entrepreneur for 16 years. It’s the fact that many of the people who are unemployed have been “company” people their whole career, some of them at the executive level who got early retirement, and they have never given any thought to starting a business, freelancing or temporary work. They had seen themselves primarily as an employee and now are feeling stuck because some of them had sent out nearly 200 resumes and hadn’t gotten but a few phone interviews.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics most jobs are never advertised and are found through personal contacts. One source mentioned that 80% of jobs were found through their own network and not through job listings via the computer. The two largest job listings of Monster and Career Builder receive thousands of resumes per job listing the chances are slim that your resume will get noticed.

So, what should a person do if they’re stuck without work and are not able to get the ball rolling or they’ve lost a lot of their work that they did have if they are an entrepreneur? I spoke at the Winter Garden Rotary recently and shared the strategies to adjust to the new economy. Here’s the outline, which is based on the Acronym ‘I CREATE’

1. I am responsible- If you’ve lost work, then use this time to strengthen the other aspects of your life, i.e.: relationships, health, develop dreams, enhance your spirituality, and as you build up the other areas of your life, the stress of the financial situation won’t be as difficult. If you’re floundering, go to workshops, join groups on and hit the social networking scene.
2. Change has occurred- Things are different now and won’t be going back to the way they were. Many companies have downsized or gone out of business. Many industries will never return. But we’ve all been through this before! Remember these jobs that have fallen by the wayside? Typesetting, secretarial dictation, IBM punch card operator, and the Fax Machine Operator? It’s possible your job will never return so it’s important that you accept it, and get busy with a new plan!

3. Readjust Expectations- Many of us were used to a certain work lifestyle of conferences, paid dinners on the company or staying in cushie hotels. Regular increases of wages were also common, work came in pretty steadily and a lot of people enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. But, the past is the past, and we’re living in a different world and have to adjust to what it takes to make it.

4. Eliminate Baggage- Cut the fat from your business, and from your life. A core concept in coaching is to eliminate the tolerations from your life. What does that mean? That means get rid of whatever is draining you! Clean out the clutter in your office so you can focus on what matters. Eliminate people who are negative from your life and turn off news stories that aren’t positive. Replace your news with and follow people who are going to stimulate your mind and challenge your thinking, and bring new insight to you. This is the NEW News!

5. Analyze all possibilities- Consider going back to school. With the new stimulus package there is money available for financial aid. After speaking with my good friend, Julia Daniel, enrollment recruiter for Ashford University ( she suggests finding an online school whose tuition for four years will fall under what monies you can access from the government. Some online universities are more expensive and you’ll be stuck in the middle of finishing your degree and will be on your own. Find out more by contacting her directly at Some of the top industries of the future are IT/computers, education, environment, energy, health care, federal government, law, aerospace manufacturing and security. All of these growing industries will be easier to access if you have the right education or credentials.

6. Team up with others-This can be for the job search or working on a project with others. Get back in touch with old employers to see if there are part time or freelance opportunities. Meet people at Job Fairs, or workshops. Develop new friends on or Send out your resume or a menu of services to your friends and ask them to send it out to their networks. Offer a contest to give your services away to 10 people for a week and blast your email network. Ask your friends who they can introduce you to and go on informational interviews to see if you like what others are doing. People are willing to help others now, just like after 9/11 when our country was in a crisis, people WILL help you if you ask!

7. Enact a new plan- Get your game face on! This is the time to be aggressive, not depressed and sitting back and wondering what the government will do to bail you out! Start your networking plan by joining networking sites like Linked In, Facebook, Plaxo, JobFox, Ecademy, Twittermoms, or any that are a fit for you. Get involved and let people know that you’re an expert at what you do by providing good information!

My good friend Dwight Bain, a fellow coach and therapist uses the term, “Portfolio Career” to explain how to pull this entire process together.

Here’s how he explains it: “Portfolio income, (like a pie graph from a financial or stock portfolio), is what I call having multiple streams of income flowing into your business. And in these tough financial times when people have seen their retirement portfolio decrease, it's more important than ever to keep building value into their professional life with the addition of strategic choices to create another income stream. How do they find it? Well, you start by finding a coach to guide you in 're-engineering' your career path because they can help you move from frustration to fulfillment in mapping out the next steps to a better life.”

To sum it all up, I love the quote by a man who suffered more than most of us will ever endure, Viktor Frankl, who wrote the book, “Mans’ Search for Meaning” about surviving the Holocaust concentration camp. He said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”

If he can survive that, then we know that we can endure this!

About the author: Mary Gardner is a Communication Coach and columnist for the Orlando Business Journal. Access all of her coaching resources at

Do You Know Why You Are In a Recession?

By Patrick Morley, PhD
(The following article is adapted from Pat Morley’s book, How to Survive the Economic Meltdown)

John was highly leveraged when the stock market crashed. By Friday morning of Wall Street’s worst week, John’s equity was paper thin.

He said, “If the market goes down another 100 points today, they will call my margin account and I’ll lose everything. On Monday morning, I’ll have to start over.”

As we talked on, John explained, “You know. I think I needed this. I’m only in my early 40s, but I’ve made so much money that I stopped working about a year ago.

“Basically, I’ve been sitting around on the couch watching movies and getting fat. My life was headed nowhere. God has my undivided attention.”

The most difficult lessons to learn are often the ones we already know.

Living By Your Own Ideas

Like John, during good times a lot of people get lax about doing life God’s way. In fact, a lot of people have never really been trained to understand God’s way.

I see this every Friday morning at The Man in the Mirror Men’s Bible Study that I teach here in Orlando. Every week we have four to eight visitors. They sit at a “first timers” table with me.
Invariably, many of them have professed faith in Christ. But they want the best of both worlds. They want the benefits of Christ, but they also want to taste the good things the world has to offer. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

They read the Bible for comfort, but their Forbes for direction. They have been shaped more by the herds of commerce than the footsteps of Christ.

As a result, they have spent the last five, ten, fifteen or more years living by their own ideas. Their lives have not turned out the way they planned. And now they are miserable.

Biblically, these men have let the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of money choke the word and make it unfruitful (Matthew 13:22); they’ve let the yeast of culture work through the whole batch of dough (Galatians 5:9); they’ve done that which is permissible but not beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12); and they’re high risk for a great crash because they built on sand and not the rock (Matthew 7:24-27).

It’s not as though these men want to struggle or fail. But their capabilities are not equal to their intentions. As Denzel Washington, playing a recovering alcoholic ex-military bodyguard in a Latin American country, said in Man on Fire, “You’re either trained or you’re not trained.” Spiritually, most men are not. As a result, they end up Christian in spirit, but secular in practice.

So what are the root problems? There are two: idols and lies.

An idol is anything of which we say, “I must have this to be happy.”
Every morning you go into a world that all day long tempts you to exchange the glory of God for an idol (Romans 1:23).

I race a vintage Porsche and have used racing as a platform to build relationships with men and share my faith. One day a man who never misses a chance to race asked me quite seriously,
“When does my passion for racing become an idol?” Good question.

All idolatry is rooted in unbelief. This unbelief can take many forms, but at its root is the powerful lie, “Jesus Christ alone is not enough to make me happy. I need something else.”
An idol is something we worship. The issue is looking to anything except Jesus Christ for identity, meaning, and ultimate purpose. An idol is anything that becomes the object of inordinate affection—anything that competes with our full surrender to Christ.
John Calvin said that men are “idol factories.” Perhaps nothing interferes with our faith more than the root problem of making idols—it’s the “next step” after believing a lie (see next section).
We can make idols of almost anything, but common examples today include:

Titles and positions (especially if the job doesn’t generate a large income)
Homes (i.e., attaching personal worth and identity to a dwelling)
Country club memberships (i.e., being part of the “right” crowd)
Ministry titles (e.g., elder, deacon)
Relationships (e.g., idolizing a wife)
Affiliations with important people
Cars, boats, planes, motorcycles
Our bodies (i.e., physical appearance)
Superior intelligence
The praise of men (what C.S. Lewis called “to win worship”1)
Even our own righteousness!

Idols make promises they cannot keep, which is why a man can be on a winning streak and still feel empty.

All of us either live by the truth or a good lie.
Every morning you go into a world where all day long you are tempted to exchange “the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25).

There are two languages in the world: truth and lies.
The first language—the native tongue—of every person is the language of lies. When we receive Christ we become bilingual. We learn a second language—the language of truth. But what happens when we don’t regularly practice speaking a second language? We revert to our native tongue.

How do we fall back into our native language? No one, Christian or otherwise, will choose to live by an obvious lie. Which counterfeit dollar bill is most likely to make it into circulation? It’s the one that looks like the real thing.

In the same way, the only lies that make it into circulation are ones that appear to be true. A good lie is probably only one or two degrees off course. Otherwise it would be rejected.
The problem with a good lie is that it will work—for 10, 20, even 30 years. But ultimately it will fail you, and often at the worst possible moment—like now, during an economic meltdown.
What does a good lie look like?

Two Really Good Lies
I’ve fallen for two really good lies in my lifetime.
The first lie became my worldview when I started in business: “Money will solve my problems, and success will make me happy.”

I would set a goal, work real hard, six months would go by, I would meet the goal, experience euphoria, then two weeks would pass, the novelty would wear off, and I would have to do, what?
Set a new goal. And the new goal had to be, what? Bigger, brighter, better, higher, faster, sleeker, shinier, etc.

Then I would work real hard, six months would go by, I would meet the goal, experience euphoria, two weeks would pass, the novelty would wear off, and I would have to set another goal. Again, bigger, better, and so on.

The more I accomplished the more miserable I became.
I was committed to a “set of Christian values.” After all, I grew up in the church and was a moralist. But I was surprised to discover that my wife, Patsy, was committed to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Over time, I too embraced Christ as my Savior.

However, at the time I was a materialist, and no one told me to stop. So I was both a Christian and a materialist, which led to my second error.

Lie #2
The second lie I bought, which also became my worldview, was, “I want the best of both worlds.” I wanted everything Christ had to offer, but I still wanted the best the world had to offer too.
At the ten year mark in my spiritual journey, I realized that my faith was producing a different kind of result than many of my friends.

I called a “time out” that I thought would last a couple of weeks. Instead, I spent the next two and a half years staring at my navel. One day I read Matthew 13:22:
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

I said, “That’s my life.” I was reading my Bible (the seed), but I had worries piled high trying to cram in as much of the world as I could. And money had choked off much of what I was reading in my Bible.

Once I realized my loyalties were divided, I surrendered and made Jesus “Lord” of my life as well as my “Savior.” Of course, Jesus is always the Lord, whether we acknowledge it or not. But we can live in rebellion against Him, as I had been doing.

Do you know how you got off track?

Solving the Right Problem
What is the fundamental problem you should be trying to solve? If you don’t get this right, you risk prolonging your pain.

Our nation is facing a problem of biblical proportion. As a nation, we have been living beyond our means. We have too much national debt. Many of us have too much personal debt.
As a result, most observers would say we have a financial problem. And we do.
But this “presenting” problem is really the symptom of a deeper problem.
Fundamentally, we have a spiritual problem. It is a problem of the human heart. We have disobeyed God. Moses started talking about this about 1,400 B.C. He said,
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)

We see this same sentiment throughout Scripture—Old Testament and New Testament. We are told not to follow the practices of the world, adopt worldly customs, intermingle with the world, make treaties, imitate detestable ways, covet gold and silver, become be engrossed with the things of this world, love money, love the world or anything in the world, or worship other gods (Leviticus 18:3, 20:22; Exodus 34:12,16; Deuteronomy 7:2-4, 7:25, 8:19, 18:9; Joshua 23:12-13; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 Timothy 6:9; 1 John 2:15-16).

And what happens if we do? We become ensnared, we turn back, we do what seems right in our own eyes, we form worldly alliances that become a temptation and a trap, our hearts become stubborn, we cling to deceit, we exchange the truth of God for a lie, and we end up worshipping other gods.

Intermingling with the Culture
There are a lot of Scriptures that explain how people get caught up in the world. Psalm 106:35-

36 puts it this way:
But they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them.

You already know that you can’t serve both God and money, right? But that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it?

The Apostle Paul put it this way: “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7).

Two verses later, he answered his own question. The problem is, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (Galatians 5:9).

And that leaves us where we are today. None of us planned to be in a prolonged recession. But here we are.

One of the essential questions you need to answer is, if applicable. “Do you understand how you got off track?”

Is the problem that you have lived by your own ideas? Did you make an idol? Did you believe a lie? Did you adopt worldly customs and get snared? Understanding the problem you need to solve is crucial.

If you are trying to solve the wrong problem, then you can only succeed by accident.
For a comprehensive look at how to solve the right problem—or understand how you got innocently caught up in this mess, go to and download a free PDF copy of How to Survive the Economic Meltdown—my gift to you.

Dr. Patrick MorleyAfter building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, Dr. Patrick Morley founded Man in the Mirror, a non-profit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the bestselling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.
1 C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962), 15–16.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Words To Learn

By by John C. Maxwell

In my years studying leadership and evaluating leaders, I have stumbled across a leadership shortcoming that continually amazes me. Leaders will manage a team, work with the same individuals every day, yet hardly know anything about their people! These leaders have never prioritized acquainting themselves with the dreams, thoughts, hopes, opinions, and values of those they lead.

The best leaders are readers of people. They have the intuitive ability to understand others by discerning how they feel and recognizing what they sense.

I have found that leaders overestimate the amount of time and effort needed to get to know someone. In fact, in only one hour with you in private conversation, I could, probably by asking three questions, find the passion of your life:

What do you dream about?

A person's dreams are powerful revealers of passion. When a person starts to talk about their dreams it's as if something bubbles up from within. Their eyes brighten, their face glows, and you can feel the excitement in their words.

What do you cry about?

Passion can be uncovered by peering into the hurts deep inside a human soul. The experience of pain or loss can be a formidably motivating force. When listening to a story of grief, you hear a voice thick with emotion, you see watery eyes flooded with feeling, and in that moment you glimpse the intense connections between a person's deepest pain and their greatest passion.
What makes you happy?

I have fun hearing what makes people tick and seeing the smile that comes when they talk about where they find joy. Enjoyment is an incredible energizer to the human spirit. When a person operates in an area of pleasure, they are apt to be brimming with life and exuding passion.
If you can uncover a person's dreams, hurts, and joys, you've discovered the central dimensions of their life.

About the Author: John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World's Top Leadership Guru by He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies. Find out more at

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

by Jim Rohn

Now, here's the second law that changed my life forever to understand sales and marketing. I learned the law of sowing and reaping. And in the law of sowing and reaping is also the story of the law of averages.

Jot this down…the story of the sower. It comes from the Bible. I am an amateur on the Bible, but this is such a useful story. Here's what the story says, and take notes, because the drama's in the details.

The sower was ambitious. Evidently, he was ambitious. When you read the whole story you'll conclude yes, this was an ambitious sower.

Here was number two. He had excellent seed. The sower who sowed the seed had excellent seed. And the excellent seed could be an excellent opportunity, an excellent product, an excellent story.

So we've got an ambitious sower with excellent seed. But now here are the rest of the details of the story. For your information, for the drama of your life, so you can understand things better, learning some of this is how I got rich by age 31.

The sower goes out to sow the seed, but the first part of the seed falls by the wayside and the birds get it.

So jot this down. The birds are going to get some of the seed. The birds are going to get some of the seed.

Now you say, "Mr. Rohn, what does that mean?"
Well, I invited John to come to a meeting. He said he'd be there Tuesday night. Tuesday night I show up. John isn't there. I say, "I wonder why John didn't make it."

Now I know the answer. The birds! The birds! John had this great idea of coming to the meeting to look at an opportunity, and somebody stole it and said, "You're not going to go see network marketing." And he says, "Well, maybe not."

So have you jotted that down now? The birds are going to get some.

Now when the birds get some, you've got two options. Number one is to chase birds. You say, "Well, let me get hold of the person who talked him out of coming to the meeting. I'll tear him a new page." I wouldn't do this.

Here's what happens if you go chasing birds. You leave the field. If you go chasing birds now, you leave the field. Which is going to distract from your future, not add? So you can't chase birds and try to straighten this stuff out.

Here's what it is. It's just one of those things, and here's the best comment when things are a little disappointing. "Isn't that interesting?"

You just have to say, "I thought sure he would be there. He promised me. He promised me! But I know it was the birds." And you just have to say, "Isn't that interesting?"
Now here's the rest of the story.

The sower kept on sowing. See, that was the secret to his success. He kept on sowing. And if you keep sowing, you can sow more than the birds can get because there aren't enough birds. If you keep sowing, there are some birds but there's not enough, because the Law of Averages will work for you.

My mentor taught me, "You know, Mr. Rohn, there are only nine or ten real nasty, miserable people in the whole world. Now you know they move around a lot and you're liable to bump into one once in awhile, but when you bump into one you say' 'There's only 9 more like you--I can handle that--in the whole world?'" Now here's what else it says. The sower now keeps sowing the seed. Now the seed falls, the story says, on rocky ground where the soil is shallow. And the rocky ground where the soil is shallow is not of your making, because you had excellent seed and you were an ambitious sower.

So the rocky ground where the soil is shallow is not of your making. But here what it says happened. This time, the little seed that falls in the ground starts to grow and the little plant starts to grow. But the first hot day, it withers and dies. Not an easy thing to watch.
I finally get John started. Sure enough, three or four days later somebody says "Boo!" and he's gone--doesn't show up at the second meeting. And I say, "I thought sure John would last a week."

What happened? Jot this down. The hot weather is going to get some. And this is not of your making. Here´s what you must say when that happens. "Isn't that interesting?" What can you do? The answer is nothing.

You say, "Well, I'm going to try to change this!" I wouldn't take that class. You know, the sun comes up in the east and somebody says, "Why is that?" I wouldn't spend much time on that. Just let that happen.

Don't go for this why, why, why stuff. I'm giving you the answers here. The answer is in the structure and in the consequences and is in the deal. The answer is in the deal. Anything beyond that is not worth studying.

You say, "Well, how come some just last a little while?" I wouldn't sign up for that class. Here's the answer: Some don't stay. You just have to jot that down. And when some leave you say, "That's one of those that don't stay."

Now, you know what category to put them in, and you can't solve this now. It's like rearranging the seasons. You can't fool with that. All you can do is cooperate with the way things are set up. I didn't set it up.

You say, "Well, it shouldn't be this way." Well, when you get your own planet you can rearrange this whole deal, but on this planet you´re a guest. You've got to take it as it comes.
Now, here is the secret to the ambitious sower with good seed. It said he kept on sowing.

Now, here's what he had to do to keep on sowing. He had to discipline his disappointment. This is a key phrase now to use for the rest of your life. You must learn to discipline your disappointment. Because you didn't set up the set up, and some are not going to stay, and that is not of your making.

Now, if you made gross errors and you ran them off, see that'd be different. Now you're responsible for that. But if it's in the normal course of things, this is the way things are.
Now, here's what it says. The sower keeps on sowing. Now it says the seed falls on thorny ground. And somebody says, "Well, how much of this do you have to go through?"

Well, hang on. It's not the end of the story now. Now the little seed falls on thorny ground and now the little plant starts to grow again but as the little plant starts to grow, the thorns choke it to death and it dies.

So jot this down. The thorns are going to get some. And that's not of your making.
And what are these thorns? The story even called these little thorns little cares, little distractions, little something's. Who knows what all they are.
I said, "John, we had a meeting last night. You weren't here." And John says, "Well, I can't make every meeting."

I say, "Why not? You're part-time."
He said, "Well, the screen door came off the hinges and you can't just let your house fall apart. You've got to take some time and fix things up."

And I can hear the thorns growing. He said, "Some extra trash had piled up in the garage. You can't let mountains of trash take over. You've got to keep your trash hauled out."

People who let little things cheat them out of big opportunities. People who let little things cheat them out of big opportunities, and you feel almost helpless. What could I do about that? And that's nothing. And you say, "Well, why is this?"

I'm asking you not to sign up for that class. Don't sign up for these, "Why is this?" classes. It's just the way it is--like winter following fall and spring following winter.

So have you got that? The thorns are going to get some.
But now here's the good news. Let's read the rest of the story now quickly. The sower now keeps on sowing the seed. Keeps on sharing the story. Keeps on giving an invitation. Yes the invitation can be more powerful for me as it was one year later than it was the first month, because now I'm saying I'm making twice as much money part time as I'm making on my full-time job.
Yes, the story can be more powerful, but the Law of Averages is still going to work. But now here´s what the story says. Finally the seed falls on good ground. Now put this in parentheses. It always will, if you keep sowing. If you share a good idea long enough, it will fall on good people.
But now here's the rest of that story. Some of the good ground did 30%. And some of the good ground did 60%. And some of the good ground did 100%.

You say, "Well, why the difference in numbers?" I wouldn't sign up for that class! Have I said that often enough now? Don't register for that class. It's just the way it is.

Now I tried to get the 30´s to do 60. Found out it was more than I could handle. I used to say, "I'll make them successful if it kills me." I almost died. No, you can't do that.

Here's what you do. Let the 30's do 30 to the best of their ability and keep doing 30, because that's how they build their lifestyle and get what they want out of life. And let the 60's do 60. And let the 100's do 100.

Now how can you get some to do a 100%? You've got to go through all these experiences and you've got to talk to all these people.

Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to All contents Copyright © except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

Failure to Finish

4 key factors to guide unmotivated students toward academic success

By C. Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach

Have you ever wondered why so many students get close to the ‘finish line’ of a semester or even graduation and then fail to finish? Parents, teachers, guidance counselors and tutors can be cheering for a student to push forward to finish strong and sometimes they just sit down and give up. You’ve probably seen it. A bright young person starts out with promise and potential and then halfway through a semester they literally run out of gas and ‘check out’ as it’s called because they completely lose the motivation to finish school.

Academic Atomic Bombs
When a student ‘checks out’ it isn’t because they don’t know what to do. You can tell them continually that they should be doing their homework, turning in class work, completing reports and playing by the rules to get good grades and move forward with their academic career. Yet they won’t do it. You can beg, you can plead, but basically they stop doing the right thing to oftentimes doing nothing. Since schools reward behavior that is measurable, it’s like creating an academic atomic bomb that literally ‘blows up’ their grades which can wreck a future transcript.

You may be thinking that this is an overreaction, yet many colleges and even prep schools look first at the transcript before they look at the person. If you have ignored, neglected or abused your grades it will hurt your academic future. Yes, I know, schools and universities should look at the person, they should look at character traits or consider someone who is nice or likable, but the fact of the matter is they look at academic performance by looking at grades. If someone ‘checks out’ and gives up on trying to finish strong it will cost them, and if you are the parent or guardian paying for their future education, it will cost you too.

Fear of Success
Failure to Finish isn’t limited to students in school. It can show up in many different areas of life. People who know they should send a thank you note for a kindness given and then procrastinate forever and never get around to it. Creative types with a good idea they believe would help others and maybe make a lot of money, but they just can’t quite get the paperwork filled out to file a patent; then next thing you know they see their idea on an aisle at Wal-Mart and kick themselves for not following up.

I wrote about this huge gap in people knowing what to do, but then never doing it in my book, ‘Destination Success’. Giving up before a big finish is actually driven by the fear of success because it’s not about getting the right information, the right facts, the necessary details. Nope, usually it’s more about the motivation to do what you know you should do. The fact that students fail to finish is in some ways representative of the adult world. Many people don’t do what they know they should do, and sadly many people suffer the consequences of missing out on a lot of joy in life because of it.

Missing the Marathon
If you have ever participated in a marathon you know what I’m talking about. I saw it during a Disney event my little sister Trish talked me into running. We prepared for months and she coached every step of the way on how to finish strong, yet only a few miles into the race there were literally thousands of people in front of us walking. Yes, I said walking! They missed the concept of 26.2, or at least my understanding of what the Greeks had in mind when they created a distance run that only counted if you finished! They missed the marathon concept, just like students miss the very basic idea that no matter how much fun, or misery they may experience in school- it only counts if you finish the race!

So why do so many give up within weeks of the ‘finish line’ at the end of a semester? Here are four main reasons.

1) Fearful
They are afraid about the future, about what life in the ‘adult world’ will be like or afraid to grow up in general. It’s normal to feel afraid, yet someone who is overwhelmed with fears can often become indecisive and ‘zone out.’ Since running away from reality feels easier than facing it for some people they completely deny what’s happening to their grades and future. Some do this in a passive way and just slowly sink, while others try to avoid reality by using substances or media to escape. Yet there is no avoiding the end of a semester, and the end of academic dreams if you let fear overtake your future success.

2) Friends
It’s true. Birds of a feather do flock together, and students who are unmotivated about finishing can find each other across a crowded room. Highly disciplined and super motivated students hang out together to challenge each other toward greater success, and the opposite is true about the undisciplined. Your son or daughter may begin to hang out with the wrong crowd to hide from facing their academic future. Sometimes it’s to irritate their parents, but more often than not it’s because they don’t fit in with the winners at the front of the race, so they just sit down and hang out with those who appear to not care about the educational race they are in… but if you look closely you will see the insecurity and doubt in their eyes.

3) Frustrated
This group could include parents and teachers, but I’m mostly thinking about students who are trying, but it’s just not coming together for them. They want to finish strong, but lack the horsepower to really pull out in front of the crowd. These students are at great risk, because they will face a choice. Finish with mediocre results and try again next semester, or just check out to avoid feeling the pain of not performing to their potential. I’ve especially seen this with highly creative or bright students who partied or procrastinated until the last minute and then couldn’t pull out their grades. Their frustration often comes out as anger directed toward the closest person to them, usually a mom. It’s not fair, but it happens because they let the frustration take over, which blocks their ability to finish strong.

4) Failing
Sadly this group is the easiest to spot because they checked out a long time ago. When a student has reached this level they are so unmotivated that they give up on even trying at the most basic of tasks so their grades become a ‘free fall’ down to zero. To totally and completely fail crushes confidence and for many the desire to try again; which leads many students to give up on school completely and just drop out.

Not finishing education makes sense to them at the time, but it costs them dollars and cents for a lifetime. Consider the numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau to see how expensive it is to give up on education.

Average Annual Salary
Masters degree $74,602
Bachelors degree $51,206
High School degree $27,915

Finding the energy to Finish
So how do you motivate an unmotivated student? Well you start by dealing with your own frustration so you can think clearly about a strategic plan to guide your son or daughter toward the better life that education can bring. Here’s the key areas I use to find a way to inspire a young person to get back in the race and find the energy to finish strong.

1) Insight
This often begins with the parent closest to the student because they already know so much about their personality, their character and their drives. The Bible has a verse that I pray every day, “If any many lacks wisdom let him ask God and it will be given to him.” (James 1 ). Insight is to ask God to reveal the special gifts and abilities that your student has, and no matter how far behind they may be they have some talents. It takes insight to see it and then it takes courage to stick with it to light the fire of desire in the heart of one who may have given up.

2) Interests
One you know which gifts, talents, abilities or skills that you are looking for in a student, the next part is to help them see how those unique gifts could be transferred into something so interesting that they really want to show up and learn more. There is an old saying that the curious are never bored, which is true. When a student is inspired about pursuing something interesting to them they can lose all track of time because they are fascinated with the topic they are studying.

3) Important
Once a student gets inspired to pursue the subjects that are interesting to them, the next element to add to stir up motivation is to discover what is important to them. What is valuable? What activities do they believe in? Everyone believes in something yet often haven’t taken time to explore to discover what causes or activities they are motivated to join.

Here’s a comprehensive list to use to help your student find what is interesting or important to them. Review the categories with your son or daughter to find a logical place to begin getting motivated again.

What is Interesting or Important to Motivate your Student?

Academic Achievement Award, Accelerated Reader, Essay Award, French Honor Society, Geography Bee, Girl Scouts Bronze Award, Honor Roll, Junior National Society, National Jr. Honor Society, Perfect Attendance, Poetry, Reading, Reading Olympiads, Reflections, Writing Essay, Science Olympiads, Spanish National Honor Society, Spelling Bees

F.C.C.L.A, Future Educators of America, Future Farmers of America, Future Problem Solvers, Geography Club, German Club, Girls Athletic Association, Girl Scouts, G.R.E.A.T. Program, History Club, International Club, Journalism Club, Junior Achievement, Junior Beta Club, Junio, Classical League, Key Club, L.O.G.O.S. Youth Program, Latin Club, Letterman Club, Math Club, Math Team, M.E.S.A., Mountain Biking Club, Model UN, Multi-Cultural Club, National Junior Beta Club, National FAA Organization, National Forensic League, Newspaper Club, Odyssey of the Mind, Outdoors Club, People to People Student Ambassador Program, Pep Club, Photography Club, P.R.I.D.E. Program, Quill & Scroll Society, Quiz Bowl, Robotics Club, Running Club, S.A.D.D., S.A.V.E., Science Club, Scrabble Club, Service Club, Sign Language Club, Ski Club, Spanish Club, Speech Team, Sports Club, Stars Club, Stock Market Club, Student Advisory Committee, Student Council Member, Student Government Assoc., Technology Club, Temple Youth Group, Varsity Club, Vocational Industrial Club, Winter guard, Yearbook Staff, Y-Club (YMCA), U.S. Achievement Academy, Youth Leadership Program

4-H Club, Academic Team, Acteens, Awana, Assisteens, Beta Club, Bible Club, Builders Club, Book Club, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, C.A.R.E. Program, Chess Club, Church Youth Group, Civil Air Patrol, Computer Club, Dance Club, Drama Club, Debate Team, D.E.C.A., English Club, Environmental Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Foreign Language Club, French Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Class Officer, Class Representative, Community Volunteer, Hospital Aid, Library Aide, Editor, Photographer, Reporter Office Aide, Peer Mediator, Peer Tutor, Red Cross Aide/Volunteer, Junior Engineering Technical Society, Safety Patrol, Special Olympics Volunteer, Student Ambassador, Teacher’s Aide, Yearbook Editor, Yearbook Photographer, Yearbook Reporter, Astronomy, Babysitting, Computers, Cooking, Making Models, Modeling, Pageantry, Painting, Photography, Playing Guitar, Playing Piano, Playing Violin, Playing Drums, Scrap booking, Sewing, Mystery Shopper, Singing, Traveling, Spending Time w/ Family & Friends, Video Games, Writing Stories, Writing, Poetry

Acting, Art, Arts & Crafts, Dancing, Drawing, Acapella Choir, Acrobatics, Art Club, Band, Chorus, Orchestra, Ballet, Baton Twirling, Band, Chamber Orchestra, Choir, Chorus, Church Choir, Church Dance Team, Church Drama Team, Church Musicals, Church Plays, Drum Major, Drum Majorette, Clogging, Color Guard, Community Theater, Dance Team, Drama, Drill Team, Flag Corps, Handbell Choir, Hip Hop Dance, Irish Step Dance, Jazz, Jazz Band, Jazz Dance, Marching Band, Modern Dance, Music, Orchestra, Praise Dance, Pep Band, School Choir, School Musicals, School Plays, Show Choir, Stage Crew, Step Team, Swing Chorus, Symphonic Band, Talent Shows, Tap Dance, Variety Shows,

Archery, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Biking, Billiards, Boating, Bowling, Boxing, Camping, Canoeing, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Dirt Biking, Diving, Field Hockey, Fishing, Flag Football, Floor Hockey, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Pop Warner Score Keeper, Sports Reporter, Sports Manager, Presidential Physical Fitness Award, Gymnastics, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Hunting, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Karate, Kayaking, Lacrosse, Motocross, Paintball, Pom Pom Squad, Powder-Puff Football, Racquetball, Rock Climbing, Rollerblading, Roller Hockey, Roller Skating, Rugby, Running, Sailing, Scuba Diving, Skateboarding, Skating, Skeet Shooting, Snow Skiing, Skimboarding, Snowboarding, Snowmobiling, Soccer, Softball, Surfing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Black Belt/Tae Kwon Do, Tennis, Track, Track & Field, Tumbling, Volleyball, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Water Polo, Weightlifting, Woodworking, Wrestling, Yoga

Now that you have generated the insight to map out the key areas that motivate your student you are ready for the final stage.

4) Identity
When a student has figured out who they are, and what they enjoy doing, they are actually living out their purpose and having fun doing it! Perhaps the huge success of the Disney television movies, “High School Musical” is because it shows what most students would like their school experience to be. At this level a young person is totally excited about going to school because when they know why they are going it’s not hard to stay in the race. In fact, it makes it easy to move from a failure to finish to moving forward with a new dedication to finish strong!

Bonus Scholarship Strategies
When a student gets motivated to be their best, you can log on to any of the following websites to begin the search for the extra educational income for them to move forward to a new level of success.

"I Don't Want to Pay for
College Board
College Net
FAFSA (Financial Aid)
Fast Aid
Fast Web
Financial Aid
FL Funding Publications
Free Scholarship Search
Go College
Petersons Educational Portal
Valencia Foundation
Wired Scholar
Holocaust Remembrance
College Prowler
Maryknoll Essay
Ranger Battalions Ass. of WWII
Flipnot Innovations
Brianstorm USA
Brickfish Scholarship
Navy League Foundation
Horatio Alger Scholarship
The Anne Ford Scholarship
Ronald McDonald House
Cappex Hardship Scholarship
American Fire Sprinkler
Into the Best, Inc/Free Will
Women Marine Association/

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint."Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2009), To subscribe to this valuable weekly resource visit or call 407-647-7005"About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Solve Stress and Save Money by Shopping Wisely

By C. Dwight Bain

One of the strategies our family has used for over ten years to solve stress and save money is to work off of a weekly shopping list. It's a simple process of printing out a weekly sheet of paper with the type of products that our family typically uses. We fill it out as a family throughout the week to prevent forgetting something, or buying too much of the products we already have on hand. It keeps us organized, and saves a lot of stress by following a plan, which also helps us to budget our spending before we get to the store.

Once we make the list and review it by looking into the fridge or pantry to make sure that nothing is missed, then we grab a yellow marker to identify the products that we have coupons for, since we save about twenty dollars per week by using the manufacturers coupons from the local newspaper. It may sound complex, but it's actually a simple process to solve stress by planning ahead and working together as a family. Just take our list below and customize it to your own home and stage of life. This process works for us, and I would challenge you to give it a try and see if it works for your family too!

Home Shopping List

Week of:
(Kindly circle what you need this week so that we can plan and spend wisely as a family)


Milk Squash Bread Downey Toothpaste/Kids
Orange Juice Salads Cooking Oil Laundry Detergent Kids shampoo
Eggs Strawberries Chips Towels Detergent Body Wash
Coffee Cream Grapes Olive Oil Bleach Deodorant Soap
Yogurt Bananas Soups Trash Bags Razors
Bacon Oranges Kids Soup Garbage Bags Hair Care
Chicken Nuggets Apples Pasta Mixes Spray Starch Deodorant wash
Chicken strips Peaches Garlic/Spices Stain Remover Hand Gel
Hamburger Nectarines Sauces Paper Towels Feminine Product
Sirloin Burgers Lettuce Pancake Mix Toilet Paper Super/Scented
Pork Chops Tomatoes Pancake Syrup Napkins Breathable to-go
Fish Potatoes Spaghetti Toilet cleaner Prescriptions
BBQ Chicken Lemons Oatmeal Dishwashing Liq. Citrus Shampoo
Grilled Salmon Celery Salad Dressing Dishwasher Soap Contact Lens Fluid
Canadian bacon Eggplant Ketchup Glass Cleaner Face Soap
Turkey Lunchmeat Mushrooms Mustard Spray Cleaner Cotton Rounds
Bagels Peanuts Nuts Laundry Spray Ear swabs
Sour Cream Corn Granola Water Softener Shaving Cream
Cheddar Cheese Carrots Rice Foil/Wrap Hair Conditioner
Grated Cheese Cantaloupe Honey Locking Bags Mouthwash
Cheese Sticks Grapefruit Jell-O Mildew remover Hand Soap
Low fat Cheese Zucchini Popcorn Furniture Polish Body Soap
Colby Cheese Crackers Wipes Aspirin
Sliced Cheese Beans tissues Vitamin C, E, B
Cream Cheese Chips & Salsa Clean up Travel Sizes
Corn Dogs Hot Tea Cheerios Dog Food
Plain Yogurt Decaf Tea Bags Special K Dog Snacks
Chocolate Pops Bottled Water Snack Cakes B/W Film
Waffles Apple Juice Pickles Tape
Frozen Pancakes Coffee Hamburger Buns Computer Paper
Frozen Broccoli Capri Suns Peanut Butter Plastic spoons & forks
Frozen Pizza Decaf Coffee Chips for lunches A/C Filter
Frozen Dinners Peach Tea Mac & Cheese Water Softener Salt
Ice Cream Grape Juice Pretzels Printer Ink
Fudgecicles Grapefruit juice Cereal Batteries (AA, C, D, AAA)
Frozen Strawberries Green Tea Brownies Fire Ant Killer
Popsicles Gatorade Spaghetti sauce Clear Light Bulbs

Achieving Your Dreams

by Jim Rohn, Master Coach

While most people spend most of their lives struggling to earn a living, a much smaller number seem to have everything going their way. Instead of just earning a living, the smaller group is busily working at building and enjoying a fortune. Everything just seems to work out for them. And here sits the much larger group, wondering how life can be so unfair, so complicated and unjust. What's the major difference between the little group with so much and the larger group with so little?

Despite all of the factors that affect our lives - like the kind of parents we have, the schools we attended, the part of the country we grew up in - none has as much potential power for affecting our futures as our ability to dream.

Dreams are a projection of the kind of life you want to lead. Dreams can drive you. Dreams can make you skip over obstacles. When you allow your dreams to pull you, they unleash a creative force that can overpower any obstacle in your path. To unleash this power, though, your dreams must be well defined. A fuzzy future has little pulling power. Well-defined dreams are not fuzzy. Wishes are fuzzy. To really achieve your dreams, to really have your future plans pull you forward, your dreams must be vivid.

If you've ever hiked a fourteen thousand-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains, one thought has surely come to mind "How did the settlers of this country do it?" How did they get from the East Coast to the West Coast? Carrying one day's supply of food and water is hard enough. Can you imagine hauling all of your worldly goods with you... mile after mile, day after day, month after month? These people had big dreams. They had ambition. They didn't focus on the hardship of getting up the mountain.

In their minds, they were already on the other side – their bodies just hadn't gotten them there yet! Despite all of their pains and struggles, all of the births and deaths along the way, those who made it to the other side had a single vision: to reach the land of continuous sunshine and extraordinary wealth. To start over where anything and everything was possible. Their dreams were stronger than the obstacles in their way.

You've got to be a dreamer. You've got to envision the future. You've got to see California while you're climbing fourteen thousand-foot peaks. You've got to see the finish line while you're running the race. You've got to hear the cheers when you're in the middle of a monster project. And you've got to be willing to put yourself through the paces of doing the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. Because that's how you realize your dreams.

Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to All contents Copyright © except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

5 Reasons Why Dreams Don't Take Flight

By: Dr. John C. Maxwell

Most of us never see our dreams come true. Instead of soaring through the clouds, our dreams languish like a broken-down airplane confined to its hangar. Through life, I have come to identify five common reasons why dreams don't take flight.

#1 We Have Been Discouraged from Dreaming by Others
We have to pilot our own dreams; we cannot entrust them to anyone else. People who aren't following their own dreams resent us pursuing ours. Such people feel inadequate when we succeed, so they try to drag us down.

If we listen to external voices, then we allow our dreams to be hijacked. At some point, other people will place limitations on us by doubting our abilities. When surrounded by the turbulence of criticism, we have to grasp the controls tightly to keep from being knocked off course.

#2 We Are Hindered by Past Disappointments and Hurts
In the movie Top Gun, Tom Cruise plays Maverick, a young, talented, and cocky aviator who dreams of being the premier pilot in the U.S. navy. In the film's opening scenes, Maverick showcases his flying ability but also displays a knack for pushing the envelope with regards to safety. Midway through the movie, Maverick's characteristic aggression spells disaster. His plane crashes, killing his best friend and co-pilot.

Although cleared of wrongdoing, the painful memory of the accident haunts Maverick. He quits taking risks and loses his edge. Struggling to regain his poise, he considers giving up on his dream. Although the incident nearly wrecks Maverick's career, he eventually reaches within to find the strength to return to the sky.

Like Maverick, many of us live with the memory of failure embedded in our psyche. Perhaps a business we started went broke, or we were fired from a position of leadership. Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality, and all of us have encountered that gap. Failure is a necessary and natural part of life, but if we're going to attain our dreams, then, like Maverick, we have to summon the courage deal with past hurts.

#3 We Fall into the Habit of Settling for Average
Average is the norm for a reason. Being exceptional demands extra effort, sustained inspiration, and uncommon discipline. When we attempt to give flight to our dreams, we have to overcome the weight of opposition. Like gravity, life's circumstances constantly pull on our dreams, tugging us down to mediocrity.

Most of us don't pay the price to overcome the opposition to our dreams. We may start out inspired, but through time we fatigue. Although never intending to abandon our dreams, we begin to make concessions here and there. Through time, our lives become mundane, and our dreams slip away.

#4 We Lack the Confidence Needed to Pursue Our DreamsDreams are fragile. They will be buffeted by assaults from all sides. As such, they must be supplied with the extra strength of self-confidence.
In Amelia Earhart's day, women were not supposed fly airplanes. If she had lacked self-assurance, she never would have even attempted to be a pilot. Instead, Earhart confidently chased after her dream, and she was rewarded with both fulfillment and fame.

#5 We Lack the Imagination to DreamFor thousands of years, mankind traveled along the ground: by foot, by horse-and-buggy, by locomotive, and eventually by automobile. Thanks to the dreams of Orville and Wilbur Wright, we now hop across oceans in a matter of hours. The imaginative brothers overcame ridicule and doubt to pioneer human flight, and the world has never been the same.
Many of us play small because we do not allow ourselves to dream. We trap ourselves in reality and never dare to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. Imagination lifts us beyond average by giving us a vision of life that surpasses what we are experiencing currently. Dreams infuse our spirit with energy and spur us on to greatness.

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World's Top Leadership Guru by He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies. Find out more at

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Losing Love and Sex while Married

By C. Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach

Why do so many people lose love and sex while losing their marriage? Research shows many different factors that lead to relationship failure but let’s make it personal and explore some hidden reasons that move couples from ‘happy ever after’ to over to shattered dreams and hatred.

Jessica and Phillip have been dating six months. They spend long nights together talking about how good things are for them. It feels like they have shared their entire life’s history with each other, so Phillip eventually asks Jessica to marry him. They feel so “in love”, that she instantly says “yes”! Soon they are off to see their pastor for premarital counseling. They discuss finances, children, careers, houses, and in-laws as they map out what it would be like as they begin their lifetime together. One summer day they stand before God and their friends in a little church to say “I do”. Ironically, less than a year later they were in a counseling office complaining about all the things that are wrong with each other.

What went wrong?

Many couples wonder how they could have spent so much time together before the wedding and then completely miss the challenges that show up after the ceremony. They enthusiastically began the journey toward a lifetime of intimacy but get discouraged and sidetracked along the way. Many couples lack a true understanding of the deepest needs of their partner, including an understanding the important issue of communication, trust, romance, sexuality and how these factors all relate to marital intimacy.

I believe that God created men and women to be in an intimate relationship. In Genesis 2:18, God recognized that Adam’s deepest needs were not being met and said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Humans were created with needs that could only be met through an intimate relationship. God designed us to long for and receive love and acceptance from others. This begins in childhood when we look into our mom or dads eyes and their face reflects love and acceptance back to us. As infants, we should receive nurturing from our parents to meet our physical and emotional needs. If our needs are met in loving caring ways, then we grow to feel secure and loved and accepted. The problem is that many people are raised in families that don’t know how to love and nurture and reflect God’s love because of their own wounded emotions. It’s like the old saying…

Hurt People – Hurt People

Many people don’t even know what is wrong or missing in their lives or relationships but still spend a great deal of time and energy looking for it. That’s why people who are single spend so much time searching for someone to spend life with. Having someone accept us in a dating relationship leads to the normal expectation that we are going to get that deepest longing fulfilled in marriage a relationship can only be as healthy as the people in it.

Sex does not equal intimacy

Many people equate sexuality and intimacy. Nothing could be further from the truth! The physical intensity of experiencing sex is only a reflection of one part of a relationship. You may be asking, “How could a couple like Jessica and Phillip ever learn about intimacy and how to meet each other’s needs?” Well they have to start through understanding each other. Then they need to communicate their needs to each other. And frankly for most of us it will be impossible to really connect at the deepest level of a relationship, which is about trust, not sex.

Building a spiritual and emotional connection is the best way to meet your partners needs, because God can give you the strength to reach out in love to your mate even if your own needs are not currently being met. If Jessica begins to meet Phillip’s needs then Phillip will be “able” to respond back and begin to meet Jessica’s needs. It may seem backwards because our culture demands that we get our own needs met before we begin to meet someone else’s needs. Take care of yourself first, and if there is any energy left over, then reach out to help your partner. The truth is someone has to start the healing process toward marital connection, especially when things aren’t going well, and that someone is usually the healthiest one, which may be you!

There are countless books that deal with identifying our deepest and most intimate needs. They list the qualities of acceptance, affection, appreciation, approval, attention, comfort, encouragement, respect, security, and support. Take a moment to look over this list and pick out your own top three needs. Then guess your partner’s top three needs. Intimacy is described as “in-to-see-me”. If you take a risk and become vulnerable then you can share who you really are, and what you need. Once you feel safe enough to share those needs and feelings with your partner you will begin to experience intimacy in the relationship. Greater emotional and spiritual intimacy is the hidden key to achieving greater sexual intimacy. It starts on the inside psychologically and then flows into the physical. Basically deep intimacy starts in the brain before it ever flows into the feelings of romance or sexuality.

How can I communicate my deepest needs to my partner?

A very useful communication tool is the “I Message”. It goes like this. “I feel hurt when you talk to me in that tone of voice because it’s disrespectful and it doesn’t seem like you care about my feelings.”

“What I need is for you to approach me using respectful words or hugs. Using an “I Message,” communicates your deepest needs without attacking, blaming, criticizing or creating an argument. It is an appropriate way to share your deepest needs, which is the key to a more intimate relationship.

So, what is intimacy?

It is more than sex, and more than just being open with each other. It is learning to communicate at the deepest level of feelings, opinions, dreams and hopes about the future. It is about building closeness through the world of ideas, sharing moments of beauty, creating a playful and flirty life together, whether it is a date together or working on daily tasks. It is being able to face struggles, differences, problems and pain together and growing closer for having shared the experience. Many couples, like Jessica and Phillip, begin by sharing hours of talking, but their conversations are about surface events, entertainment or other peoples’ actions and opinions. Sometimes couples share their opinions, but unless they share their honest emotions and hopes for the future, they have not really experienced the depth of intimacy in communication needed for a fulfilling relationship that will last through riches and poverty, sickness and health, until death ends a lifetime of love.

If you long for this type of an intimate relationship or are experiencing difficulties in your marriage- don’t’ panic. I believe God designed marriages to succeed, so if you really want to have the best relationship possible He will show you the way. If things aren’t going well you may need some outside help because if you knew how to fix it on your own, you would have already done it. I challenge you to get help before you or your partner gets discouraged to the point of despair and gives up. There are professionals who can help you get back on track to enjoy an intimate marriage and the love of a lifetime that you deserve.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group eNews (Copyright, 2004-2009), receive this valuable weekly resource by subscribing at "About the author- C. Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

58 Warning Signs of Cheating Partners

These are the most common signs of a partner who has detached from you because they are attached to someone else. Check off any of these traits you have seen in your relationship over the last 6 – 12 months. Be honest, the future of your relationship together could depend on it.

____ Mate is working longer hours on the job and not coming home as much
____ Your spouse has become lazy, especially with household responsibilities
____ Working late every day, with no noticeable increase of income or volume of work
____ Leaving very early for work
____ Increased use of the internet, emails, IM’s, texts, Facebook or twitter
____ Unaccounted for time away from home
____ Additional mileage on odometer for no apparent reason
____ Smelling of perfume, nicotine or alcohol, like they have been to a club- not work
____ Increased use of alcohol/tobacco
____ Increased use of personal pager or cell phone, especially at odd times
____ New clothing or hair style, with tremendous attention to outward appearance
____ Increase in exercise/personal grooming
____ No longer wearing a wedding ring
____ Taking trips alone to the store or coffee shop, often for unexplained reasons

____ You notice charges on credit card statement that don’t make sense
____ Money becomes more of an issue between the two of you or frequent fights over spending
____ Hiding phone bills or travel expenses
____ Lying about raises, bonuses, or overtime pay
____ Discovering secret checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, or post office boxes
____ Unexplained purchases on credit card bills
____ An increase in ATM cash withdrawals for no logical reason
____ Purchases of flowers, jewelry, lingerie, perfume, or other intimate gift items that the spouse didn’t receive
____ Discovering financial records (cancelled checks or utility bills) that indicate spouse has a separate residence

____ Your spouse in indifferent to family events like birthdays, holidays, or family vacations.
____ Your spouse seems bored. Bored with you, with their job, with kids, with hobbies, and basically with home life in general
____ Your spouse seems to want danger or thrills in their life
____ Your spouse has low self-esteem or insecurity about themselves
____ You notice your spouse has a sense of confusion about their identity
____ Your spouse gets very defensive if you mention suspicion of infidelity or affairs
____ Saying “It’s in your imagination” is a common excuse for their actions

____ You find your partner has been lying to you about a variety of topics
____ Your partner abandons their religious belief system
____ Your spouse seems more secretive or deceptive
____ Abandoning faith or previously held values or morals
____ Not trustworthy or constant violations of trust
____ Secrecy or unusual activity that is very out of character for them
____ Your partner is disrespectful or rude to those who hold traditional values

____ Your spouse is suddenly more attentive to others than usual
____ Your spouse is dressing nicer, looking nicer to everyone but you
____ They don’t want to go anywhere or do anything with you anymore
____ You feel as if you are being avoided by your spouse
____ You have considerably less intimacy in your relationship
____ You notice less affection, kindness or tender connections in your relationship
____ You sex life is practically non-existent
____ You can’t get your spouse to communicate with you
____ You can’t even get your mate to fight with you because they are so detached
____ You spot withdrawal or restlessness when they have home or church activities
____ Leaving home during an argument instead of staying and working it out
____ They have new friends that you’ve never met or are not allowed to meet
____ Hang up or anonymous phone calls at your house
____ No longer interested in you or the things important to you
____ New sexual techniques or the pressure to perform uncomfortable sexual behaviors
____ Finding birth control items hidden away in secret places
____ Finding new or hidden lingerie/ sexy undergarments
____ Unusually close to a ‘friend’ of the opposite sex who they talk about often
____ Saying “I need space” from the relationship or home responsibilities
____ Saying “You should go on with your life” or “I’m not good enough for you”
____ Separation to not only move out – but clearly to move on

Stages of Adultery

Nearly all affairs follow very specific patters they generally fall into six stages, according to several leading researchers which can last for a period of weeks, months or in rare cases, for years.

Adultery Stage One- Just Talking
They develop a close emotional bond. Sometimes it occurs on the Internet, at work, or in the neighborhood. They get to know each other. There’s a spark. They want more.

Adultery Stage Two- Secrets & Lies
Things are heating up by keeping feelings for the other person a total secret. Lies, deception and cover-ups fuel the fire of lustful desire even more. They don’t tell their spouse or friends that they are attracted emotionally or romantically to this person. Fantasy is very powerful and pushes the secret relationship deeper into the shadows and darkness.

Adultery Stage Three- Romantic Dating
They meet for lunch, workout together or play tennis. Even though a casual observer would call this type of relationship ‘dating’ the new lovers may not see it that way and fiercely defend their actions as innocent. They start seeing and doing everything together. They begin to tell themselves that this is just a work pal, just a friend, but can’t deny that they dress special and look forward to being with them, even for the most mundane of activities.

Adultery Stage Four- Fatal Attraction
The romance and secrets keep heating up the secret relationship until an explosion of physical desire creates sexual contact. They justify that it “just happened” and can’t explain their actions, yet want more of the forbidden fruit.

Adultery Stage Five- Discovery & Decisions
The secret affair is discovered by someone and a decision must be made to stop the lies, set boundaries and seek professional help to restore or to move forward with the new person.

Adultery Stage Six- Restoration or Separation
Research shows that an overwhelming majority of people caught in an affair decide to restore their marriage. They say good bye to the secret lover for good and take bold steps to restore trust into the relationship. In seriously damaged relationships they may move out and move on to begin the process of ending the marriage through divorce to start with someone new.

How can you tell if a Relationship is really Friends or Lovers?

You meet or talk with someone of the opposite sex you are romantically attracted to and feel that you can’t tell your spouse. This includes Internet, email, social networks, chat rooms, text messaging or twitter.

Emotional Affairs
Confiding things you are reluctant to tell your spouse creates emotional intimacy that grows greater in the new friendship than in the marriage. A common pattern is confining negative things about your marriage to the new partner. This is boldly signaling that, “I am vulnerable” or I’m available”, which tends to heat things up with the new person.

Sexual Chemistry
It can occur even if both people don’t actually touch. Saying suggestive things to a new person, like, “I’m attracted to you,” or “I thought about you last night, but because I’m married I can’t do anything about it.” This tremendously increases the sexual tension by creating the desire to taste the ‘forbidden fruit.’

Side by side or face to face?
Remember the old saying – “Friends stand side by side, while lovers stand face to face,” We all need friends who support us and who encourage us to honor our commitments. Lovers are motivated to use the relationship to meet their needs and neglect other family members. One relationship is about adding value to the other person to meet their needs in a healthy and appropriate way, while the other is about immediate gratification to indulge selfish desires. Friends will tell you truth and protect you from going down roads that will destroy the good things in your life. Lovers often play along with the deception, but everyone knows that the secret will one day come out and often in a shame filled way. When that happens, the chemistry of the affair is usually replaced by the despair of trying to rebuild broken trust. It can be done, but usually can’t be done alone.

If you, or someone you care about is facing a secret affair- get help now! Marriages can recover from shattered trust in time, but it is essential to have some professional guidance to prevent more pain. There are many options available to those who want to rebuild and I believe that is always for the best, no matter how complex the situation, there is a way to work things out if both people are just willing to try. Hey, someone you know might benefit from this resource, so help us to help them by sending it along with our prayer that they take bold action today, to avoid regrets tomorrow.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint

."Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group eNews (Copyright, 2004-2009), receive this valuable weekly resource by subscribing at "About the author- C. Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change