Happiness Through Character

How is the reputation you have with yourself? I know this can be a tough question. The biggest slap in the face that you can ever experience is thinking that you are “the only one that will know.” A huge part of your happiness is how well you are following your virtues. Following your virtues makes you feel better about yourself, especially in a society today where it is becoming harder to find good virtues. No one is perfect. If you cross your virtues, then stop, reset, and carry on.

If you feel that empty gloom inside, it’s time to visit your character. If you feel that this is all there is, then it’s time to get yourself back on track. Bottom line, character is your integrity gauge. The law of integrity is when what you say, think, and do is consistent. Folks, practice this law of integrity and get ready to unleash the fury of high self-esteem. A high self-esteem will bring all sorts of joy into your life. When you treat others how you would want to be treated yourself, your self-esteem rises. When your thoughts match what you say, and when what you say matches what you do, you enter the highest state of integrity.

Contradiction is self-destruction. Solid integrity is about consistently making decisions that are congruent with who you are. It takes courage to live an integrity-filled life. The word integrity literally is defined as one hundred percent whole. Live with integrity or choose to live with the feeling of knowing that you consistently and deliberately make the wrong choices. That doesn’t work! The more you practice integrity, the higher your self-esteem rises, and the more you will feel better about yourself. You will be more fulfilled emotionally, make more money, have more solid loving relationships, and have the ability to conquer more fear on a regular basis. When you feel better about yourself, it affects everything that is important in your life.

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Forgiveness Perspective

My business attorney told me one time, “Everybody has self-interests, and other people’s self-interests may not be the same as your self-interests.” I thought that was great. Strive to be proactive the next time someone trespasses against you. Expecting the best in people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also accept the worst-case scenario. To recognize that others’ self-interests may not be the same as your self-interests helps take the emotion out of a situation that you feel you were crossed with. Not everyone has one hundred percent integrity. Many times what is perceived as an attack against you is that person’s process of becoming a better person. The person that crossed you may still be learning the fundamentals of the Big Six: Honesty, Respect, Loyalty, Faith, Courage, and Love. It is totally out of your control. If you act with one hundred percent integrity, then most of the time, others will also when dealing with you.

So who did what to you? What are you still upset about? How is carrying that around going for you? I understand that forgiving Johnny for stealing your lunch money may be much, much easier than forgiving your spouse for adultery. I understand that forgiving that stranger that door dinged your car may be much, much easier than forgiving the man that molested your child. There are certainly various degrees of how easy or difficult the process of forgiveness is. My hope is that regardless of the circumstance you need to forgive, it is becoming more clear that resentment will not get you to your greatness. Resentment is continuing to swallow that poisonous pill, expecting the other person to die. Resentment and unforgiveness steals your light, not theirs. Are you going to let them hurt you twice? Once with the action they performed against you and now for the rest of your life? Elevate! It’s hard but worth it.

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No Regrets!

Live the life you have always wanted to live. If not now, when? If not you, then who? Come on! You were destined for greatness. Think like a person that has a high belief in themselves. The road to someday leads to nowhere. The time is now.

I saw a current picture of an old poster cover girl model the other day and she had aged considerably, as we all do. One of her gifts to the world was her outer beauty. Her time had passed with this gift. Have you ever met a retired sixty-year-old NFL player? Their gift had obviously passed, too, hadn’t it? Folks, don’t put all of your self-esteem in your current talent. You are not only destined for greatness, you are destined for all-time greatness. It may change like beauty or athletic ability does, but you are not your talent. You are much more than that. Be your best and elevate your gifts. Live all out now, because when they fade, they fade. At that point what makes a winner a true winner is to recognize that although their gift to the world did not last forever, their shining light will. It may be reinvention time for the next gift to the world. The time is always now!

I hope that by the time we are in our rocking chairs, looking back at what we did, we are able to say, “Thank God for a strong belief in myself. I went for it. I did my best. I have no regrets. Regardless of whether I achieved my goal or not, I went for it. I did the most I could with the most I had. I stepped up to fear. I may be at a different stage of life now and that is what happens to us all. I will never say I lived a life of quiet desperation. And that makes me happy!”

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Unusual Encounters

I was having lunch with a friend of mine last week, and we were talking about homelessness. He had just come from volunteering, and he said they had handed out lunches to about two hundred homeless people. We both have different views on this; however, we can definitely see each other’s points. After lunch, I was walking back to the office, and I came upon this young man in his late teens, early twenties. He was on his phone, pants down to the middle of his butt and his hat on crooked. I judged him. I did. I failed my little character test for the day.  Damn, I’m still a work in progress!

So as I passed him, he asked if I had a dollar. We continued to walk side by side, and I said, “Yes I do. I have lots of dollars.” I kept walking and he was keeping up with my pace. There was an awkward silence and he said, “Well, can I have one?” I looked at him sincerely and said, “Why should I give you a dollar?” He said it was for a meal. I told him, “Look, I was poor for a long time, and I have had to make really good choices and much sacrifice to get where I’m at today. Do you have a job?” Something clicked in him and he began to get very passionate about the fact that, although he did not have a job, he had a purpose. He told me about how he writes lyrics for the youth to encourage them to do good in the world and make a difference. I told him I was not going to give him a dollar, but that he could walk with me if he still wanted to. He did. I told him about the Elevate movement and how our purposes line up. We introduced ourselves to each other, and, with a huge smile, he said his friends call him “Sweets.” We laughed together.

He gave me his number, and I told him I might call him to shoot some hip-hop videos on our site, www.ElevateBook.com/Bonus. He said that he hopes that I do. For the record, I did. Check out the video. After our walk, I gave him ten bucks and said, “You don’t sound like someone who should be asking for money; go get some lunch.”

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Be The Change

I ran into a checkout clerk the other day who was clearly having a really, really bad day. She was rude and upset. My first instinct was to treat her the way she was treating me; however, I remembered that people need love the most when they deserve it the least. Her bad attitude was really disguised as a plea for someone to love her. I softened my voice, looked her in the eyes with a compassionate look on my face and sincerely said, “One of those days, huh?” She literally started to cry. This simple connection with another human being made her cry. All I did was relate to her and let her know with five little words that it was going to be okay. We all have bad days now and then. She was smiling by the time our brief interaction was over, and I like to think that she was much more pleasant with the customers next in line.

When we are the change, others become the change, and slowly, we get back to a society that cares for each other. Slowly, we get back to a society that loves one another. Slowly, we get back to a society where we don’t have to be as concerned about the next bombing or tragedy. I know this is a lofty aspiration, but hey, let’s be the change and go from there.

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The Oak Tree

I live in beautiful Colorado, and we get to experience seasons here. Last fall, this huge oak tree caught my attention. All of its leaves had fallen, and I was able to see its gigantic core and many branches. It inspired me to contemplate on character. Character is like that mighty oak tree. The strong core in the middle represents our core values. It represents who we are and what we stand for. It represents our vision and our purpose. The harder and longer we work on our character, the deeper our roots become and the thicker our core gets. The more resistance we take against our core and the more decisions we make that we know are the right ones, the stronger that core becomes. As we grow this foundation, our life begins to branch out into what become the key areas of our life.

The branches represent what is most important to us. Every decision we contemplate runs through those branches and then to the core, our character. When we make the right decisions, decisions that come up every day in those key areas of our life, the core and the branches get bigger and stronger until eventually, we stand as that mighty oak does. Even if we currently feel that our core is weak, and it could be taken out by a small gust of wind, we know we have the choice to build from there and become that mighty oak. And hey, if it makes you feel better, know that even the mighty oak started out as a little nut.

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What is Love?

what is love

So, what is love?

Love is unconditional acceptance of ourselves and of others. I believe a huge aspect of love, and especially unconditional love, is simply the act of understanding where others are coming from. For example, hurt people in our society hurt other people. I do believe there are consequences to our actions, regardless of why we did them.

However, if we can see that the people who perform harmful, destructive acts toward others are hurt themselves, it helps our ability to get on board with the concept of love. If we can practice unconditional love toward ourselves and others, then others see our example and the results this action portrays in our lives. If others can see this in us, they will want what we have, and we can influence others for the better.

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I Believe In You! Self Esteem and Believing In Yourself

I Believe In You!  Self Esteem and Believing In Yourself

Building High Self Esteem

SELF-ESTEEM

If you really aren’t sure how strong your belief in yourself is, then let’s test it. Low self-esteem is generally a good indicator of many of our character traits, including a strong belief in ourselves.

Ask yourself the following yes or no questions:

Am I too sensitive to criticism?

Am I extremely hard on myself?

Do I not own up to my responsibility?

Do I blame others?

Do I feel like I am a victim to other people and situations?

Do I excessively boast of my accomplishments, or conversely, make excuses for them?

Do I feel inferior or superior to others?

Do I completely avoid taking risks?

Is it hard for me to say no when I need to?

Do I often say what people want to hear versus how I really feel?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, guess what? You’re human! If you answered yes to many of these questions, it’s time to fix that low self-esteem. It’s time to create a solid belief in yourself. We all have varying degrees of low self-esteem at times. Consistent low self-esteem is a symptom from not believing in ourselves. Not believing in ourselves is usually based on consistently making poor choices and not taking responsibility for them. We can recognize it in ourselves because it comes out many times when we are around people that are doing a better job of taking consistent action in their lives than we are. For example, when you see someone who is incredibly fit, do you get crushed inside or do you say to yourself, “That’s going to be me soon! I can do it.” When you see someone with more wealth than you, do you say to yourself, “Look at that filthy-rich snob!” or do you say, “They must have really worked hard and created value for many people, like I am doing, to achieve such a great accomplishment!” How do you talk to yourself?

Another good measure of how much you believe in yourself is by how well you are treated by others. To believe in yourself is to have value in yourself. Others will treat you the way you treat yourself. If you value yourself, others will value you. Until you value yourself, no one else will. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

In order to develop a solid belief in yourself, you must first decide which side of the fence you would rather be on? Do you want to be a person with low self-esteem or high self-esteem? Do you want to be a person with high belief in yourself or low belief in yourself? I am spending time on self-esteem because without recognizing if it is low or not, we won’t have the desire to increase it. Without high self-esteem, there is no true belief in ourselves. Which column do you choose?

LOW SELF-ESTEEM VERSUS HIGH SELF-ESTEEM

Low Self Esteem

  • Sees childhood adversity as a lifelong sad story as to why they are the way they are
  • Quick to anger
  • Self-righteous and stubborn
  • Overbearing and overcompensating pride
  • Critical of self and others
  • Entitled
  • Constant stress
  • Demanding attitude
  • Chaotic relationships

High Self Esteem

  • Sees childhood adversity as a strength and gift
  • Doesn’t anger easily and sees first to understand
  • Open minded and respectful to others’ points of vie
  • Recognizes pride as a humble, harnessed power
  • Non-judgmental and recognizes own fallacies and short comings as improvements that are being worked on
  • Recognizes need to contribute and produce
  • Prepares for upcoming events to avoid stress in most cases
  • Serving attitude
  • Solid communicative relationships

HOW DO I BELIEVE IN MYSELF?

The fundamentals of believing in yourself come down to faith and integrity. We will get more into faith in the next chapter; however, start with this: God created you for greatness. He created you for a purpose. You were born to thrive. You were born because He made you to fulfill your destiny and achieve your dreams. You have people to serve with your talents. God believes in you and He is the creator of the entire universe! I would say that is a pretty good source to believe in you! If He believes in you, then how about you believe in you. Make sense?

We explored integrity in the character chapter. When it comes to integrity, if you are consistently not being congruent with what you say, think, or do, it’s not going to help you. When these are out of line, it is impossible to build the foundation of belief in yourself. You must be able to love yourself, accept yourself, and trust yourself to get what you want. Make sure what you think and say are in agreement! This one sentence can go in so many different directions. What is glaring you in the face right now? What do you think of right away when you ask yourself, “Is what I am thinking, saying, and doing in alignment?” If it is not, begin to work on that first. Be that person! Be the person who does what they say and who says what they think, and watch your belief in yourself soar!

Once we get this foundation set of faith and integrity, it’s up to us to continue the belief in ourselves with our own positive self-talk. Our minds are our greatest encourager. Examples of positive self-talk are, “I can do this; nothing is going to stop me; I believe in myself; I am strong and courageous.” Try saying these now. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Our minds talk to us all of the time, remember? We all have that little voice in our head. If you don’t think you have a voice in your head, it’s the voice that just said, “What voice? I don’t hear a voice.” Yes, folks, if you have a pulse, you have a voice in your head. So if you are going to talk to yourself, you might as well make it positive! Avoid negative talk completely! At times we say negative things to ourselves that we would never say to somebody else. That is the opposite of believing in ourselves.

If not having a belief in yourself is your source of low self-esteem then let’s revisit the ten self-esteem questions. Assuming you said yes to some of them, how can we change your answer?

Am I too sensitive to criticism?

I recognize criticism as either constructive or destructive, based on who is giving me the criticism. If I respect the person’s results in their lives, I take their criticism as a willing and coachable athlete would take a coach’s wisdom. If I recognize the criticism as judgment from someone I do not respect, then I dismiss it and realize they are really talking about themselves.

Am I extremely hard on myself?

I know that I am a work in progress. If I fail, I pick myself back up and learn from what happened. This makes me more prepared for success the next time. I recognize that being too hard on myself does not serve me and gets in my way of achieving what I want.

Do I not own up to my responsibility?

I am ultimately responsible for everything in my life. When I recognize that I have the ability to respond to everything that comes my way, I live in a state of control over everything I can possibly have control over.

Do I blame others?

I recognize that when I blame, I lose. When I don’t own up to what happened it keeps me stuck in the same cycle. I know that to win means to not blame.

Do I feel like I am a victim to other people and situations?

I know that I choose my path. I know that I can control my life, and for the things that I cannot control, I learn from. I control how people treat me by how I show up to the party.

Do I excessively boast of my accomplishments, or conversely, make excuses for them?

I know that a healthy sense of pride is crucial for forward motion. I also know that no one likes to be around a boaster or bragger, and my relationships are important to me. I know that a bad day for my ego is a good day for my soul.

Do I feel inferior or superior to others?

I know that we are all works in progress and if I forget that, life has a way of balancing me out. I know that every person and situation is my teacher. I know that when compared to others, I am better or worse at some things, just like they are.

Do I completely avoid taking risks?

I know that success involves calculated risk. I know that I can’t be brave if I am not scared. I know that to be great I must push beyond my comfort zone. I know that all of the fruit is out on the limb.

Is it hard for me to say no when I need to?

I know that life is much more fun when I say yes versus no; however, I also know that my yes or my no is based on how much control I have over the key areas of my life. If I am getting out of balance, I know when to say no in that area.

Do I often say what people want to hear versus how I really feel?

I know that my feelings count and I am true to expressing them. I know that my opinion counts and I can make a difference by what I have to say.

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13 Habits To Develop Your Kids The Elevate Way

THIRTEEN HABITS TO DEVELOP YOUR KIDS THE ELEVATE WAY

How we communicate with our children shows them how to be effective and fully functioning now and in their adulthood. The following are the top ways you can communicate with your children to ensure that they develop the skills to get what they want as they get older. I have attempted to put them in order of use based on their age.

13 Habits Kids Elevate Way

1. Speak positive affirmations into their lives every night at bedtime.

Example: You say, “I believe in you! You are destined for greatness! You can do anything you set your mind to! You are a champ, you know that, Tiger?” You are setting them up for a positive self-esteem and an “I can do it” attitude!

2. Don’t tell them no, tell them to stop.

Example: Your child pulls on the cat’s tail. Instead of saying, “No! No! No!” say, “STOP!” This trains their mind that it is okay to take risks when they want to. Instead of their minds being programmed to always say no when they want to take a risk, their minds will become programmed to stop instead and think about what they are about to do and proceed if they would like to.

3. Address the behavior not the child.

Example: Your child throws a toy across the room. You say, “Johnny, we don’t throw toys across the room. That is not acceptable behavior.” We don’t say, “Johnny you are a bad boy for throwing the toy across the room.”

4. Teach them manners—“excuse me,” “please,” and “thank you.”

Example: Your child interrupts you midsentence while you are talking to another adult. You say to your child, “Wait until there is a break in the conversation and say excuse me.” Whenever the opportunity arises, always have them repeat out loud “please” and “thank you.” Did you know that studies show that people who say please and thank you are more trusted?

5. Make them ask for what they want and don’t let them say they can’t do something.

Example: Your child says, “I’m thirsty!” You say, “Okay, tell me what you want.” They say, “I want a glass of water.” Example: Your child says, “I can’t reach the water glass.” You say, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do, tell me what you need.”

6. Tell them what to do, not what not to do.

Example: If your child is carrying a large glass of almond milk, don’t say, “Don’t drop that glass.” Do say, “Hold on to that glass, tightly.” This trains their minds to think in a positive way and to think about what they want and not what they don’t want.

7. Don’t dismiss what they say as not being important.

Example: Your child says, “Mommy, the sun is up right now!” You say, “That is right, angel! You are so smart!” Do not say, “Duh, it comes up every morning, silly!” When we teach our children that what they have to say is important, and we validate that, it gives them the confidence to speak up when they need to.

8. Avoid use of the words: try, but, should, could, and maybe.

Examples: Try—Your child says, “I’ll try to pick up my room.” You say, “Do you mean you are going to pick up your room?” Do or do not. Do not try. Would/But—Your child says, “I would pick up my room but I want to do my homework first.” You say, “Do you mean, you will pick up your room and you want to do your homework first?” Should/Could—Your child says, “I should pick up my room today. I could pick up my room today.” You say, “Do you mean, I must pick up my room today; I can pick up my room today?”

9. When your kids ask you for something, see if they can figure it out themselves first.

Example: Your child says, “What is the capital of Colorado?” You say, “Hmmm, how would you get the answer to that? Let’s look it up online together and see if you can figure it out on your own.” Guide them to the source of the answer instead of just giving it to them. Train them to be solutions people.

10. Let them work out sibling fights on their own.

Example: They say, “Mommy, Billy hit me!” You say, “Talk it out together and then let me know what the solution is.” If they are unable to do that, give them suggestions and have them come back when they have worked it out. If they refuse to work it out, have them go in their rooms until they do.

11. It’s not did you win, it’s did you do your best?

Example: Your child comes home from her volleyball game. You say, “Did you do your best?” You do not say, “Did you win? Did you win?” If we are only happy if they win, it teaches them that you give them love only when they achieve something, instead of loving them because they are a human being. Hello, fellow Type A’s.

12. Teach them to use the word “I” not “you.”

Example: The child is talking about themselves and says, “You know when you get pushed around and you get really mad?” You say, “Do you mean to say, you know when I get pushed around and I get really mad?” Many of us explain how we feel using the word “you” instead of “I” when we are talking about ourselves. This allows them to not be responsible for how they feel. This teaches them that everyone experiences and feels the same way about life as they do, and they don’t.

13. Don’t let them ask for money.

Example: Your child says, “Dad, can I have some money?” You say, “Do you mean how can you earn some money?” Money is earned and kids learn the value early. When they know they need to earn their own money to get the things and experiences they want, they become resourceful and very creative.

If you could put your entire parenting plan into five easy habits that if you stuck to, you would have the kids of your dreams, would you want to learn them? Me too, again and again and again! Make the following five habits part of your daily life and you will eventually have the best children on the planet! Always have a specific parenting target goal and review the Five-Step Action Jackson every day. When you hit that goal, make a new one.

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Your Virtues In Action – The Big Six:  Honesty, Respect, Loyalty, Faith, Courage & Love

YOUR VIRTUES IN ACTION

“My momma always said…,” okay, really now, my Mom always told me that I was only as good as my word. My grandfather spoke these words of wisdom to her and she passed them on to me. This phrase served me very well. It became one of my highest virtues. People who know me know that I do what I say I am going to do. I don’t always get it right, but this has certainly been a great virtue for me to live by.

Happiness Through Character

So how is your character? Let’s do a check in. What are the key virtues that you live by? For example: Honesty, Respect, Loyalty, Faith, Courage, Love. Let’s call these the Big Six. What are they for you? Deliberately following your virtues is your key to emotional freedom.

Let’s look at these virtues in action.

Honesty:

Tell the truth, folks. Be honest with yourself and others. People deserve it. Now, if honesty becomes cruelty, then don’t say it! Watch what you say. It is more important to be kind in some situations than brutally honest. Soften your words; be kind. Men, have you ever been put in a position to answer the question, “Honey, do these jeans make my butt look fat?” Yeah, that question! Women, don’t ask this question! It is a lose/lose situation. The question would not be asked if the woman liked her own butt in the first place! It’s a trap question for both of you.  I’m having fun but really, tell the truth.

Respect:

Most of us know the golden rule: Whoever has the most gold makes the rules. Just kidding, although that is very true. I am referring to a different golden rule. Heck, if we want, we can go golden or platinum. The golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. The platinum rule: Treat others the way they like to be treated. Both rules are great. Just respect each other. When you have respect for yourself, you will have respect for others.

One way to show respect is while you are driving. One morning, I accidentally cut someone off and they promptly put their finger out the window and showed me I was number one. I got the one finger salute! All I could think of was how miserable that person must be. It was unfortunate that my little mistake put them in such a huge reckless state. I felt sorry for them. Here’s a great rule to follow: When I am angry, I am stupid. Respect each other and don’t let others who disrespect you pull you into anger.

Loyalty:

I am referring to honoring your commitments here. Loyalty is when you do what you say you are going to do. If we don’t deliver on what we said we were going to do, it causes a small piece of mistrust to build up in others toward us. Eventually, when someone knows they can’t count on you, well, that is pretty much the beginning of the end. If you say you are going to do it, then do it. If you don’t do it, apologize and make it right. Loyalty is about keeping your commitments to yourself and to each other.

Faith:

Trust that God has destined you for greatness. Expect the best out of life. Trust that everything is going to be okay. Trust that whatever is happening at the time, whether good or bad, will somehow serve you for the better in the long run. We all have faith, even if we don’t think we do. Every time you kiss your family goodbye for the day, you are practicing faith that everyone will return home safely.

Courage:

Courage is going after what you want. Courage is stepping up to fear and pushing through it. Courage is going after what you want despite the voice inside telling you not to. We go into this one deeper later on.

Love:

Looking beyond our own various self-interests and performing actions that benefit others is the highest form of character in action. Isn’t unconditional love the ultimate in achieving bliss? To be able to say, “I love you” to those you like is remarkable. To be able to say, “I love you” to those you don’t like or to those you don’t know is the highest form of self-growth there is.

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