Finding Purpose in LIFE

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” – Roy Disney

What do you want? Make a list. What do you want? is an easy question.  We’re programmed to respond. Usually with a long list of things. I’ve had that list. I wanted an expensive watch, a cool sports car, money, a sexy woman by my side, a great loft apartment in a luxury high rise, a great body and wardrobe to go with it. I want everything everyone else wants because that’s the game, right?  I want stuff I don’t really want because that’s how great marketing works… to make me want things I really don’t need to impress people I really don’t like.

Luckily, like a child, I’ve learned to ask WHY? Why do I want what I want? The more I asked why the more I discovered I don’t know what I really want.  I know I’m supposed to want stuff.  Capitalism doesn’t work if nobody wants stuff… I want stuff to fit in. I want stuff to feel good enough. Somehow I want stuff that everyone else wanted for me.  The more I questioned why I wanted the things I wanted I didn’t want it anymore.

So, what do I want?  Maybe I want is to choose what I want myself.  I rarely have made choices in my life that were truly my own.  I chose to pursue things, goals, etc. Many of my achievements have been note worthy but to me disappointing.  While I should have celebrated, I usually just started toward another goal that inevitably led to another disappointing accomplishment. It became clear. My goals are not my goals, and my wants are not my wants. They are the wants of my fears… Then what are my wants and how do I find them?

I’m at a point in my life that the more important question is what is my purpose? A far more difficult question to answer than, what do I want? After a lot of thought and writing, I came up with a simple acronym that encompasses fairly well the purpose of a GREAT LIFE.  I believe the purpose of LIFE is to Love, Inspire, Forgive, and Enjoy. In searching and finding who and what I love, what inspires me and how to inspire others, a practice of forgiveness, and enjoyment through pleasure, connection, and meaning, I’ve found my purpose to life. Today, for me, what I want is directed by what I feel my LIFE purpose is.

I offer you this simple exercise in finding your purpose.  Simply answer some of the questions to uncover the LIFE you may choose to pursue.

LOVE. Try writing about it. What do you love? Who do you love? Who loves you? What are you passionate about? What excites you? What would you do if you couldn’t fail? What could you do if you had no fear? How much time do you spend with the people you love, doing what you love? What are you willing to do to spend more time in love?

INSPIRATION. What/who inspires you? Do you inspire others? How? Does your life inspire others to follow their dreams? Are you an inspiration to those who love you?

FORGIVENESS. Do you have a practice of forgiveness? Do you hold onto resentment or anger?

Enjoyment. Where do you find pleasure? Who do you enjoy connecting with? Who’s presence makes your heart beat? What brings you a sense of challenge and fulfillment? When are you most excited?

How much time do you spend in your purpose? Are you actively pursuing the LIFE that would bring you the greatest sense of fulfillment, meaning, and joy?

What do I want… I’m a broken record. I want to be successful in my career, I want to be married to a beautiful, loving, considerate, passionate, intelligent woman, and God willing, a healthy daughter or son. I want to have time to spend with people I love.  I want the people I love to have all the I could wish for myself.  I want to help people through my writing, workshops, speaking and coaching. I could go on…  I know what my LIFE purpose is and everyday, I choose to live my LIFE.  

The GREAT LIFE is driven by commitment to purpose. I strongly feel that if you uncover your LIFE purpose and have the courage to choose to live your LIFE everyday, you will one day look back on a truly GREAT LIFE.

Self Sabotage: You Only Have Yourself to Blame

“You only have yourself to blame.” – Dr. Albert Castanon

First, let me clarify the idea that you are to blame for your problem… As adult we choose the story we want to tell.  We choose the story we want for our lives.  As adults, free to make choices, we are the willing victims of those who would keep us from our highest potential.  As children we might have been victims. And NO child is to blame themselves for abuse that causes scars that in adults result in addiction, self abuse and self sabotage.  Yet as adults we are free to find help to cope with the past if it keeps us from living the life we desire.  As adults we choose self sabotage when we choose to not seek help or support.  As adults we choose to hold onto stories that somehow always seem destine to be repeated.  To those not willing to change your story, self sabotage will surly find you no matter how successful you become.

I am a self proclaimed expert in and on the topic of self sabotage.  I’m fascinated by it.  I’ve not only actively engaged in the process of sabotaging areas of my life but I’ve had the fortunate experience of watching others destroy their lives while working for many years in the casino industry.  I’m not taking this topic lightly… in fact I believe self-sabotage is the single greatest problem facing people today.

Self sabotage is the leading cause of death among Americans.  I’m making a generalization, but if you take heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, addiction related causes of death, and suicide together are leading causes of death among different demographics.  While many of these causes of death are very different one thing they have in common is these are diseases related to behavior.  Many of these causes of death are the result of poor choices that resulted in crippling diseases or sudden death.  But the disease is not what killed the person.  What kills people are the choices we make on a daily basis that leads to poor health.  The choice to overeat, drink to much, smoke, or the lack of willingness to get help, from a therapist, coach, or any number of professionals is the very definition of self sabotage.

Self sabotage is when we know what we want to do, we know how to do it, but we are unable to take action toward what is best.  Take for example, lunch…  When I go to lunch, I know the chicken salad is what my body needs.  I know it would taste great.  I really like chicken salads!  But I choose the burger and fries. Make this choice over years in one’s life and don’t be surprised when the doctor says you have heart disease, or diabetes, or hypertension, all caused by consistent choices that hurt your health.

Self sabotage is knowing what to do but unable to take action on the behavior that will get us what we want.  There are a number of factors that contribute to this but taking an open and honest appraisal at behavior that is personally harmful is a great start.

In another blog post I wrote that commitment to personal growth means there is no right or wrong, only honest evaluation of what works and what doesn’t and the willingness and courage to try something different. Self sabotage is often the result of not willing to change.  Identifying behavior that has long term negative consequences is the fist step.  Practice these 4 steps to start the process of overcoming self sabotage:

1. Get Honest.  We engage in only two behaviors every day, behavior that keeps us stuck or falling backward, or behavior that keeps us pushing forward.  Honestly look at your day and ask yourself do I spend more time moving toward my dream or away from it?

2. Take Responsibility.  For a while I use to meditate on the following affirmations: My life is my responsibility; Nobody is to blame for the life I choose as an adult;  I am the only one responsible for my life. I’m 38 years old, if I’m not happy it’s my choice.  If someone is keeping me from the life I want, I get them on my team for support, or I cut them from my life.  My life is my responsibility and I own all the good and turn lemons into lemonade.

3. Get Support. Even the greatest athletes in the world have a coach.  Support can come from anyone so long as you create healthy boundaries and you clearly articulate your vision and how the other person can support you.  Ask for the support you need, not the support someone offers.  I recently went to a trainer to work toward some health goals.  I asked for what I needed and he proceeded to tell me what he offered. What he offered was not what I needed so I found someone new!

4. Protect Your Success. You can’t outrun self sabotage.  Self sabotage is a powerful addiction… You may easily outrun it and cover it up with achievement after achievement but it will catch you when you least suspect it.  It starts with a tiny voice that says: your not good enough; your a fraud; you don’t deserve it… If you have a history of self-sabotage, keep a close eye on the negative thoughts. Particularly the one’s that tell say you don’t deserve success.  This includes the thought to share or give away the rewards you earn.

In the blog posts that follow I will cover the concepts behind my framework for understanding and building High Performance Psychology, motivation, the change cycle, emotional response to change, and understanding change vs. transformation.  A clear understanding of these principles will help you to crate a map to overcome your resistance to having a live filled with love, inspiration, forgiveness, and enjoyment.

GREAT LIFE isn’t always so great.

“I never said it would be easy.  I said it would be worth it.” – Anonymous

GREAT LIFE isn’t always so great.  Trust me I know… I get it.  It’s hard to get up some mornings and get myself to commit.  Some days I want to check out and watch a Netflix all day.  I’ve had a few of those days recently.  It’s done… It’s past.  All that matters is what I do today.

It’s 4:00 and I’m sitting in a Starbucks.  Old thinking is: the days almost over… hell, just relax and start again tomorrow.  But there is no tomorrow.  I don’t live my life like that anymore.  Start tomorrow means today is a day to let my negative thoughts wander; a day not spent headed toward my hopes and dreams; a day to not follow my bliss.  Start tomorrow assumes I have lots of time. I don’t have the luxury of time.  Right now I need to decide on working toward the life I want or surrendering to the way it is… I can’t do that…

So I’m a little stuck today… what do I do when I get stuck; Focus on having a GREAT day:

Gratitude:  I’m grateful for my life; my parents who love me; my health; a roof over my head and food; friends I can call; a car that works; support groups filled with people who care about me… I’m grateful for so much!

Recognize Negativity:  I’m in fear today.  I’m in financial insecurity. While I know I can make money, and that I have money to take care of my needs, I’m not making a living following my bliss. I’m not making a living the way a grown man should… Starting a business is not easy.  I’m afraid I may fail and there is no safety net.  I know my parents are there for me but that’s not an option.  They’ve done so much for me I can’t ask for any more help.  I don’t want to hit bottom.  I’m sick, physically sick of the online application process to fining work.  I’m sick that I’m forced to apply to jobs that I don’t really want.  BUT REALLY, WHO CAN’T RELATE?  Yes it’s ture that I not a success today, but it won’t always be like this. IT WON’T ALWAYS BE LIKE THIS!!!  Yes it’s true that I may fail, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure.  Yes, it’s true, I haven’t given my best effort at marketing myself and my business.  All that can change right now.  I’m not a failure, but I’m feeling the pains of a start up company.  I am smart, talented, and have a GREAT vision for my life and the life of those I work with.  Who am I to not be GREAT?  Who am I to deny God’s gifts to me and those around me?  I am a child of God.  I am an amazing man (as one of my coaching clients said this week).  I am better than I’ve ever been and only getting better…

Excitement: A year from now I’ll be on my feet.  I will work hard every day to align myself with my bliss and follow that path.  I will help to transform thousands of peoples lives!  I will be able to manifest my wildest dreams.  I will be living the life I was always meant to live.

Action: FILL YOUR CALENDER WITH NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES…. THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DESPERATE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE NEED YOU.  Call someone and ask for help.  Get to work.  Use part of the day to focus on applying to jobs, and a small part of the day focused on earning enough to finance your dream.  Pray and meditate and follow your heart and intuition.  Set a plan of action based on peace of mind not thoughts of fear.

Thanks:  I’m thankful for a friend who called today to share some good news.  I’m thankful for another friend who is experiencing success beyond my wildest dreams.  I’m thankful that I’m still very happy for those I care for when they are doing well and that I haven’t grown jealous or bitter at their success. I’m thankful for my friend Greg for reminding me there is always another perspective.  I’m thankful for parents who care enough to be willing to do anything to help me.  I’m thankful I’m taking responsibility for my life and I chose to live the GREAT LIFE today and not put off till tomorrow. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to share this with all those who read this and know that just because I write about the GREAT LIFE doesn’t make it easy to live.

My life is great.  It’s so easy to forget. I had a hard hit financially.  It’s funny how fear of finances is so crippling.  I have some money, and thankfully I have means of earning and people who love me to help me through.  I’m just ready for more.  I’m ready to grow.  I’m ready to take care of myself.  I’m ready to build a business that helps others.  I’m ready for all that comes with this life.  I guess I need to accept the hard part… I need to ask for more help.  I need to push through the discomfort and know this too shall pass.  I’ve done my job and God will take care of the rest. Focus on today being all it can be… Remember a bad day doesn’t mean its a bad life, but a GREAT day one day at a time is the recipe for a GREAT LIFE.

Finding MY Voice

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby

Its been a couple months at writing this blog, and while my site statistics are a little flat, I accept that this is all part of the process.  Since there are so few readers of my blog, I thought I’d share very open and honest about my process so far.  I’d have to say that my most difficult struggle so far is in finding my voice.

I’m beginning to realize that I speak from three very different voices.   There is the image of Albert that I want you to see who is “normal.”  There is Dr. Albert, the expert and passionate professional.  The most open, honest, and vulnerable of the three is the Albert who struggles with the same worries and problems that we all have.  No one voice is better than the other and they all have a place in communicating my philosophy of the GREAT LIFE.  The struggle I experience in my writing comes from the fear of not being good enough.  This fear causes me to be who I think you want me to be.  The ultimate sign of people pleasing and the key to failure. 

How do I need to be so that you like me?  It’s a question we all ask…  I think we all know the more important question is, How do I need to be so that I like me?  I don’t like myself when I’m not me.  I don’t like having to pretend to fit in.  The number one reason I love owning my own business is getting the opportunity to work with people I like and with people who like me.  When I worked in a traditional corporate setting, I didn’t always like myself.  I loved my work and loved the people I worked with, but the corporate culture created social “norms” that didn’t feel normal.  I went to work and tried to behave in a way that made me fit in to the culture and realized working in a traditional corporate environment wasn’t for me.  Leaving was an expression of my voice.   

So here I am, trying to find my voice, again.  Am I saying what I think you want to hear so you like me?  Or am I being open and honest with you because I like me?  Day to day it changes.  As I grow, I’m dealing with the pains of uncertainty.  Who am I as I continue to grow?  Who will I meet?  Who or what will I have to let go of?  Will I like the person I become?  Sometime, I don’t like who I’m becoming.  I feel a loss of control.  Albert Einstein said “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”  In my case everything is new and I’m afraid of making mistakes and often do.  I don’t like it… I’m afraid, you might not like me if I were not perfect. But I realize, I’m not perfect but neither are you.

We are not not perfect.  I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who was.  I’ve known lots of people who present an image of success that is pretty perfect.  I’ve learned through my work with some of them that they are not.  I’ve had incredibly successful people come to me and let me tell you, things aren’t always what they seem.  Some of the most successful people don’t have the luxury of being themselves because the’re too busy managing the way others see them.  I know that is not the life I want.  Yet fear of not being good enough for the life I want causes me to lose my voice and speak from a voice and perspective that I hope will gain your approval.  I can’t… I’m sorry. So fuck it.

Here are the steps I followed to find and express my voice.  I hope you follow them and find freedom in learning to speak from your most authentic self. 3/4 steps to finding my voice:

1. Choose it.  It’s either this life that I love for me, or I choose a life I don’t want for you.  I can’t make you happy if I’m not happy.  So I’ve chosen to follow my bliss and find my voice and share it with those who care.

2. Own it.  This is my LIFE.  This is my purpose.  The GREAT LIFE is not for everyone… Those who want you to live their way of life, probably aren’t living their own.  You define your GREAT LIFE and it’s all yours. Own your GREAT LIFE with pride.

3. Nurture it.  Your voice will evolve.  Challenging old beliefs, opinions, thoughts, may leave you rethink your own position.  Be flexible and open.  Identify when you are holding onto an old belief and question whether YOU actually believe what you believe.

4. Fuck it.  Fuck it because I don’t want to use this word because I don’t like the word but sometimes I need to say it.  Fuck it.  Because those of you who are offended by the word don’t need to be here; because FUCK is a feeling you will have if you pursue the GREAT LIFE, because it’s not easy and you will struggle.  You will make mistakes, you will be disappointed, you will feel scared, you will want to turn back and settle… Fuck it.  I’ve come this far, and there is no turning back.  The GREAT LIFE is my life and I want to live it, learn to accept it, and enjoy it.  I hope you do the same.

Sending you all lots of love and wish you a long and blessed GREAT LIFE.

Personal Independence Day

“In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.” – Virginia Satir

It’s July 4th and outside my window I can hear the booming sound of fireworks.  It’s in independence day and the country is celebrating.  Tomorrow morning I’ll be celebrating my personal independence day, as I do every day!

I love the quote I shared with you. It says everything I could write here. So I’ll make this short.  I love my GREAT LIFE…  I’ve said is before and I’ll say it again. This is my life and I can choose to live it for myself and those I love, or I can spend my life working in a job I hate, so I can buy things I don’t need, to impress people I don’t like.  I choose my GREAT LIFE.