Success, Happy & Hope Are Greater Than Failure, Grief & Sorrow

Success, Happy & Hope Are Greater Than Failure, Grief & Sorrow

Following the foregoing mathematics formulas – Success, Happy and Hope are greater than Grief, Failure and Sorrow.

I am often approached with questions that focus on the metrics that govern happiness. This question really underscores one seven-letter word: SUCCESS. When you think about it, this word dominates almost every phase of your life. Are you happy in your profession? Are you successful in your relationship? Were you successful in losing weight. Was your meeting successful? Have you found your personal success as a mother/father?

The peculiar thing about success, is that it is extremely difficult to hold onto because it is a constant moving target. Unwanted and unexpected dreadful grief happenings often present horrendous detours in your happiness. You may feel successful one day and then the next feel you have completely failed. Measuring your personal successes yearly can be daunting and discouraging. Measuring day by day is a better option. On a daily basis you are better able to focus on the things that make you happy and feel worthwhile. Daily success in reconciling your grief is sometimes one step forward and two steps backward but in the end your success will be greater than your failures. Success is reaching a small goal and beyond. Success is reaching a happier moment beyond your hoped-for dream. The absolute grand champion blue ribbon prize is when you are truly successful and actually feel rewarded and find joy in the healing journey.

When our six children were young, my wife and I carefully made a list of values we would try to live by as a family. Some we gave careful attention to included things like “Merchants would always pray together as a family” and “Merchants would never swear in our home” and “Merchants would try to always share and express love for each other” and “Marchants will always try to do our best in everything we do” and “Marchants will never, never give up.”

Then as years passed by we look back upon the foregoing values and other family values and analyzed if we stayed the course. Were we successful? We noted the realization that our family values needed some fine-tuning along the way as success was a constant moving target. Unexpected challenges in life’s journey necessitate tweaking one’s values and efforts. Grief can result in an absolute need to repair and refurbish your life. Willingness to try to mend the cracks in your life will lead to your success.

As I ponder the true definition of success I recognize success is unique and personal. So, to answer the question at hand: success can be defined in so many ways but when you come to clearly know who you are and like your new you – to feel free in your own personal quiet way and accept what and how you are – then you have straightforwardly arrived at your own SUCCESS.

Success in grief reconciliation is fleeting as is failure. Failure and success are two variables that can endure. Which do you want? I prefer happy-ever-after. My success metric used to be tightly tied to my calendar. Life’s experiences have helped me realize that spending my time sensibly and happily is far more important. Perhaps Woody Allen was correct – 80% of success really is showing up. I’ve learned how to enjoy daily baby steps. Happily, ever-after is a worthy goal.

You only have one life to live. Don’t ever compare your life to others as a measurement of your personal success. To live life successfully, happily and hopefully is what you should pursue. Even when grief circumstances turn your life asunder and you feel torn apart, success, happiness and hope should be your goal. They are greater than failure, grief and sorrow. It is my humble prayer and desire that a happy success may follow you in your grief relief journey.

Struggle and Triumph— Motivation

Struggle and Triumph— Motivation

What I learned from a close friend and his 14-year-old daughter:

Are you motivated enough to reach the top regardless of your struggle? I witnessed the most amazing thing a few weeks ago. My good friend and his family, along with me and another friend, decided we wanted to tackle a 14er. I

have never been to a summit that was more than 14,000 feet high and wanted to see what that was like. It was 5:30 am on a Saturday and my iPhone that was sitting on my night stand started to sing and vibrate. It was time to get up and get the day started. I rolled out of bed and grabbed a cup of coffee as I started packing for that day’s adventure; an adventure that I have never attempted.

As I was sipping on the hot coffee I started going through my closet wondering what people wear that climb to the top of a mountain. What was the temperature going to be and what was I willing to carry with me on my back? I have heard to wear layers because it can get cold, so I put on some comfortable clothes and packed my warm shirt, sweat shirt, gloves and a hat. I threw it all in my pack with my water and grabbed some snacks before headed out the door. My friend and I arrived close to the same time. We were sitting in a carpool parking lot near the foothills in Colorado. We were waiting for Shawn and his family to arrive, talking about what to expect when we started our hike. We were both excited and nervous for the day. Shawn finally pulled up behind us in his pickup and we threw our packs in the bed before opening up the door to jump in. As I opened the door, I was surprised by his 14-year-old daughter, Delaney. I was not expecting to see her, and got excited when I was told she was coming along. What a great experience for her. I was thrilled to be part of that.

The five of us drove up to the mountain together. During the 45-minute drive, I discovered that Delaney was not feeling well, but she was excited for the long hike. As we drove up the access road we started seeing people park on the side of the road. We were a mile and half down the road from the parking lot and the start of the trail. It was a busy day, so we briefly discussed our options and decided as a group to just park and walk up the hill. After walking 45 minutes we made it to the start of the hike. I could tell this was going to be harder than I expected.

We walked for about two hours before we reached what we thought was the half way point. I could tell Delaney was struggling a little, but she wanted to continue on. We walked for maybe another 30 minutes and she was done. We took several breaks but she was tired and did not want to continue. Looking up the top seemed so far away, so I understood why she wanted to quit. By focusing on a goal that was much easier to hit than the top, Delaney got up and continued on. Each time we hit a goal as a group, we took another break. This went on for a while before she decided not to get up for the next goal. By this time, we were getting pretty close to the summit and the rest of us really wanted to get there. We also did not want to leave someone behind. Shawn convinced us all to move ahead and that he would talk to Delaney. The three of us headed up.

Before we would get out of their site we turned around and saw that she was up and walking. Not wanting to pressure her, we did not give her any words of encouragement; as we had already done that a lot through the morning. We decided to stay ahead of them and let Shawn do whatever it was he was doing to motivate his oldest daughter. We kept walking while looking back to check on them. Each time we looked back she was slowing moving along in obvious discomfort.

We made it to the top and looked down the other side of the mountain. The view was amazing. We were literally in the clouds looking down on the world. The feeling of accomplishment I felt is almost indescribable. I took a drink of water and walked back to look down the path I had just came up. As I looked down, I saw a 14-year-old girl fighting for every step. She was in pain and was having trouble breathing in the thin air 14,000 feet above sea level. I looked over at her mom, full of pride, yelling down to her daughter. Yelling that she was on the top and that they were almost there. “Just come to me and you are done!”

As she got closer to the top, I took a few steps back, ready to watch her reach her goal. I took out my camera and witnessed an amazingly-special family embrace that I will never forget. She did it!

We rested a while at the top and I could just see the pride that Delaney felt. I could see the pride in her parents too. This was special. As a storm moved in, we moved out, starting our long hike back down. It was snowing and cold and our muscles hurt. Coming down was much harder for me than going up. As we got close to the bottom, I asked my good friend how he was able to motivate his daughter. I had to know! He responded like it was no big deal. He said that he told her he was with her no matter what. We were all going to the top but he was staying with her. He said that he would like to keep going and felt she was strong enough to do it, but whether they succeeded or failed, they were in it together. She did not want to let her dad down so she kept going.

How cool is that? The motivator was so unselfish. It was not a guilt trip; it was what Shawn honestly felt. He has a great relationship with his daughter and was not willing to leave her behind. He understood if she wanted to finish or not, although he was hopeful she would see her goal through. There are two struggle lessons in my experience up the hill.

  1. It is much easier to reach the summit one small goal at a time. It is challenging to stay motivated when you see how far the goal is, but if you can cut that into attainable pieces, you will reach your goal. Start with a five or a 10-year goal, but focus on one weekly or monthly goal at a time.
  2. You can get the motivation to keep going several different ways. It could start with your own intentions to reach the top, and then change to others helping motivate you or doing it for someone else. There is nothing more powerful than being motivated to accomplish something because it helps with something you have a deep passion for.

Shawn, the more I hang out with you the more I learn from you. You are an amazing business man, husband, father, and friend!

Never Too Late

Never Too Late

There are many people who feel a sense of shame, regret and to certain extent anger with themselves for not being fit. They feel like they’re “old” now and it’s really no point getting in shape because they are past their prime.

This begs the question… Is it really too late to start?

The answer is a resounding NO. It’s never too late to start exercising, eating right and being healthy. In fact, if you think you’re old, you really need to start. Age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel. All these are common clichés but they are so true.

You could be 60 but if you wish to build your body, there is absolutely no one stopping you but yourself. Of course, you should consult your doctor first to see if the activity you wish to engage in is safe for you. Once that is done, go ahead and start.

The truth of the matter is that whether you start or not, life is still going to pass you by. However, if you start training and eating right, in 6 months or a year from where you are today, you will look better and feel much better.

It’s never too  late. You may have neglected your health your whole life. You may have been too busy to exercise. You may have eaten whatever you could get your hands on. All these may seem like huge mistakes to you that you can never come back from.

You may feel like you have cheated yourself and you can’t go back in time and correct your mistakes. That’s true, but the past is history. The future is a mystery. What you have now is a gift. That’s why they call it the present. Use the gift of now… and start to make changes in your life today.

The mistake most people make is that the focus on what could have been instead of what they can do now. By doing what you need to do now, in future, you will not look back on your past with regret.
Start exercising. Go for a run. Workout with some weights. Swim more. Try rock climbing. Hike, bike, row, climb, jump… Do whatever gets your heart pumping. Move more. Do more. Never settle for good enough. Always give it your best.

If today you don’t say good enough, tomorrow you will always have enough. There are many people well into their sixties and seventies who are still working out with weights and have muscles that can make people more than half their age envious. Many of them started late. They had a lot of free time after retirement so they discovered the gym. If they can do it, so can you.
It’s all a mindset. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. There should be no room for regret in your life. The moment you embark on a quest to be fit, you will have no time to ponder past mistakes or lost time. You will be focused on your current training and beating your personal bests.

There is nothing to be gained from looking back at what could be. Thinking about exercising does not burn calories. Actually, getting out there and doing it does. So, get fit. Get strong and get your life back in order. You’re still alive and as long as you are, there is always time and hope.
Go for it!