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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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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Forgive or Forget?

Forgive Or Forget

We have all heard forgive and forget, and many times this is very valid. We need to expand on this one a little. Depending on the severity of the action we were resentful about, sometimes we need to forgive and not be so fast to forget. For example, if you left your purse out next to a coworker and that coworker stole your purse, then even though everything was forgiven and made right, don’t leave your purse out around them again. I know there are varying degrees of this; however, there is a difference between unconditional love and being naive. There is a difference between being blindly positive and being cautiously optimistic. If a convicted child molester has sought forgiveness and paid his dues, it doesn’t mean I am going to let my children spend the night at his house. This is called being smart.

Forgive

Don’t confuse this with “never trust others.” We should always expect the best in others unless they give us a reason not to. If you have been burned before from someone, let it go, move forward with a clean slate.

Expect the best in others and at the same time it is okay to be prepared for the worst. It is okay to trust and verify. The worst thing we can do is generalize all people because we were treated a certain way by one person. For example, “I don’t trust men because I was physically abused by my first boyfriend.” or “I don’t trust women because I was cheated on in college.” This will not serve you. Forgive, forgive, forgive, and YES, forget in those situations. When I say forgive and be slow to forget, I am referring to a particular person, not a generalization of people. Yes, we should forgive our enemies but do not forget their names. Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.

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Creating Congruent Programs: Fundamental Programs

Creating Congruent Programs:  Fundamental Programs

“Indecision may or may not be my problem.”
-Jimmy Buffett

I have been excited to write this chapter for quite some time now. Over the years, I have wrestled with several conflicting programs. Some things that were taught to me have worked really well and some have not. I hope some of the distinctions that I have made create clarity for you as they have done for me. As you already know, we have the choice on how we want to think. How you think gives you the results in your life.

Congruent Problems

A good rule to follow is to think like someone who has what you want in that area of their life. If someone has a great spiritual life and it is evident by the results in their life, ask them their thoughts on spirituality. If someone is super fit and you can literally grate cheese off their abs, ask them how they think about health and fitness. If someone has gobs of cash, ask them their thoughts on moolah. If someone is voted the best husband and daddy in the world, ask them how they think about family.

We all have a fundamental premise on what we believe for every category of our life. If we have not created certainty about what programs run our mind for the important areas of our life, it is happening without you knowing it. Have you heard, “When it rains, it pours!” or “All bad things come in threes!” or “Things have been going really well, I’m waiting for something bad to happen now.”  When you are going through a challenge in life, do you really want to think that it is going to start pouring on you now? Or do you really want to think that after every challenge you’re going to get two more challenges back-to-back? Do you really want to think that when things are going well, a challenge is around the corner? Of course not! We all have hundreds of these little thought programs that we live by. Our job is to make sure we are conscious of them and that they are serving us.

We’re going to explore a few areas of life and get certain about what we believe about them. We are going to get certain about how we think about each area. If we don’t like how we are currently thinking in each area, hit the delete button and reboot. The best way to see how you think in each category of life is to ask yourself if you like the results you are getting in that area. We touched on this in the Choice and Responsibility chapter. When we are certain about where we stand and how we think, we are in control. When we are in control, we get what we want.

THE FUNDAMENTAL PROGRAMS

The following are my programs for the top four areas of my life that I focus on the most. This is how I think in these categories. These programs have served me well. I share them as an example. What are your programs for these areas? After reading these, either hit the download button or start programming your own. As soon as you are certain about the program, remember, your thoughts become your feelings, your feelings become your actions and actions become your results! Thoughts really do become things. Choose the good thoughts!

GOD

God represents: Unconditional Love, Strength, Wisdom, Encouragement, Security, Guidance, Peace, and Understanding.

God’s number one and two commandments are to love Him and treat others how you want to be treated.

My faith in action, by helping my fellow man and utilizing my gifts and talents, is more important to God than what name I call Him or spiritual practice I follow.

HEALTH

When I am strong and vibrant physically, I am strong and vibrant in every area of my life.

It is my responsibility to take excellent care of the body I was given for myself, my family, and all those I love.

My health is elevated by: avoiding toxins, maintaining my spine and nervous system through chiropractic adjustments, eating lean, clean and green, exercising regularly, and living the Elevate mindset.

FAMILY

Extraordinary relationships require extraordinary people.

Family is a gift for the purpose of life-long happiness and growth together.

Family is based on: unconditional love and commitment, communication, and total acceptance of one another with a shared purpose and vision.

WEALTH

Money is a tool of exchange for goods and services sold, and by itself, has nothing to do with good or bad.

Money represents: achievement, production, the entrepreneurial spirit, freedom, and America.

My relationship with money is a healthy, loving one and money flows to me because I manage it well.

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Love People!

Love People

Love people. One way to do this is to help others. Contribute. I don’t believe we were born to keep our talents to ourselves. I believe we have a moral right to help others and bring them closer to their purpose, to give them opportunities to elevate themselves. Don’t you feel great when you are helping someone with your time or money? Have you done that lately? Who needs help around you? Who do you know that truly wants to better themselves? Help someone today,  small or big, give it a shot. Help others. This is the ultimate action step in loving people.

Love People

In summary, we have discussed loving God, loving ourselves, and loving people. Let’s be that change to ourselves so we can see that change in the world. Start with yourself, let it shine to the people closest to you, and let that cycle continue until we see a positive change.

Bottom line:

The best gift you can give yourself is the gift of God’s love. When you are loved by a source greater than man, it gives you the strength and power to love yourself. When you love yourself, it gives you the strength and power to shine that love to others.

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Marriage Best Practices

“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.”
-Winston Churchill

Marriage Best Practices

MARRIAGE BEST PRACTICES

If you have decided that you want a better marriage, you are reading the right book. Marriages will always have ups and downs; it is part of the game. It does take work and it is not always easy. The following list is my top ten for keeping myself and my wife fulfilled in our marriage. This list is for the married men out there. If you want an awesome marriage, here is your action plan:

Appreciate her every day. I’m not kidding. Tell her how special she is to you and why, every day. I know fellas, just trust me on this one. Sorry ladies, we need to be told to do this stuff. If you want a great marriage, just roll with this.

Make sure you know what makes her feel loved and schedule it in a variety of ways every week. Yes, schedule it. If you don’t know, ask her. If she doesn’t know, then take the Five Love Languages Quiz online and find out.

Be clear on each other’s needs. What does she need on a regular basis to feel like she is in a solid, committed relationship? Make sure you both are clear on your roles in the marriage. I do this and you do this kinda thing.

Remain clear about each other’s rules. “What are your deal breaker rules and what can we come together on mutual agreement with? Okay, here are mine. Are we both in agreement on each other’s rules? Are we both in agreement on the consequences if these are broken?” I know this sounds very business-like, but marriage needs rules. Two people on the same team will only work if both of them know what the rules are.

Keep the sexual chemistry going. This is touchy, but I want the best for you both. Are you both still in the same shape you were in when you got married? Hubby, are you carrying around a big beer gut now and wonder why you are not sexually stimulated by your wife? Work on getting sexy yourself, Fabio, and then see how sexy you find your wife. Both hubby and wifey need to take continued care of their health. It is not fair not to. Keep it spicy folks. Get your sexy on.

Schedule a date night every week. Go enjoy a night out together without the kids weekly. This is the time to not only have fun but to ask each other, “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our marriage this week? Okay, what can I work on this week specifically to bring it back to a ten?”

There can be no concealments with your wife. None. If you can’t talk to your wife with pure vulnerability then that is a big challenge to work on. Tell your wife everything. Look, if you have some concealments that you don’t think you could ever talk to her about, do me a favor and re-read the Forgiveness of Self and Others chapter. Get some help if you have to. I care about you too much as a fellow human being to not let your soul die inside because you think you could never tell her the truth. Marriage is sacred. If you are sincerely sorry and you discuss it openly with her, and she is not willing to forgive you, then, brother, it may not work out.  That is the risk you must take to be happy. Nothing is worth you losing your soul over by not revealing concealments. Remember, marriage is total acceptance of one another.

Have a common unified purpose. What can you both work toward that is bigger than each other or your marriage? This could be a spiritual purpose. It could be a helping mankind purpose. Whatever is most important to you that is a cause bigger than yourself, unite with your wife on it, and make that purpose happen together.

Your wife needs to know you are committed no matter what. I know they like to push us away sometimes, but just make sure she knows that you love her unconditionally and will be right there when she is ready. If you ever need space, make sure she knows you love her but need to be alone and will be back.

Make sure you both know that you are on the same team. You can never “win” an argument with your wife. Think about that. You win, she feels terrible, but hey, you won. That doesn’t work. Don’t argue, communicate. It is too destructive to argue. It is better to step away if it comes down to useless nonproductive arguing. Never explain away her feelings.

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Morning Attitude – It Can Make or Break Your Day!

Morning Attitude – It Can Make Or Break Your Day!

“Today is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I see fit. I can waste it or grow in its light and be of service to others. Today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. I hope I don’t regret the price I paid for it.”

—6th Grade Outdoor Education Camp Leader
Jefferson County, 1986

morning-attitude

Do you wake up every morning to an alarm clock or an opportunity clock? Do you wake up knowing you can accomplish any goal you set? Do you expect to be blessed so you can be a blessing? If not, start tomorrow morning. No, start now! Say to yourself, “I CAN accomplish any goal I set! I DO expect to be blessed today!” It’s all about attitude. For some of you, this may be over the top. If it is, be patient, you’ll get there if you choose. All great things develop over time with consistency.

It is important to start our attitude off in the morning because a single thought in the morning can make or break our entire day! If we start the morning off with a bad memory, for example, and replay the memory in our head all day, we’ll continue to expect what we are already getting. Change it. Your attitude can be optimistic or pessimistic. It is totally your choice. How you feel most of the time is a direct result of your attitude. Optimistic people scientifically are happier, healthier, and wealthier. They have stronger energy, are enthusiastic, and have stronger immune systems. I would like to choose this one, please.

Say to yourself,

“I CAN accomplish any goal I set! I DO expect to be blessed today!”

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