5 Ways to Lead a More Fulfilling Life

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At some point in our life, we’ve all asked the question, “Is this it? Was I put on this planet just to pay bills, work long hours and never have enough time in my busy schedule to have fun?”

If you ever felt like the opportunity to live a fulfilling life was passing you by, you are not alone. A few years back I remember feeling this way soon after I received a significant promotion. Although the new assignment came with more money and a better title, I no longer did the work that I was passionate about.

On top of feeling dispassionate, the job required longer hours. Longer days impacted quality family time, gym days became infrequent and my eating routines fell by the wayside. This is not what I envisioned as an ideal way to live my life and new I had to make a change. I’m sure you can relate to a time in your life when it felt like you were going through the motions with little room for passion and reward.

I often hear people say, “Once I get the ________ (raise, promotion, house, car, etc.), then I’ll be happy.” This way of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. It actually prevents us from living life to the fullest.

However, the exact opposite is true. Focusing on creating a more fulfilling and happier life will actually increase our pay grade inside and out. Sound too good to be true?

Research has shown that satisfaction and fulfillment are key components to a successful career. Optimistic thinking leads to increased performance and accomplishment which sets us up for a more prosperous career.

Our brain performs best when we are in a positive mindset. When we feel optimistic about our future, we are more energized, focused and better problem solvers. On the other hand, when we are consumed with our problems, we are drained of our focus and energy needed to perform optimally. High performers add more value and thus take home bigger paychecks.

Living a meaningful and fulfilling life goes way beyond the monetary gains. It centers us on becoming the best version of ourselves. Leading a happier life allows us to show up more fully at home, work and in the community. As a result, we show up more powerfully as better parents, spouses, friends and employees.

It’s never too late to start creating the life we want. We all have the power and everything needed to alter our destiny. The key to doing this successfully is letting go of all of our inhibitions so that we can start working toward building a life that we absolutely love every day.

If obstacles are getting in your way, here are five ways I used to start creating a more fulfilling life:

1. Keep Healthy– A healthy mind, body and spirit is key. Treat yourself to the gift of your own attention by eating well, working out and meditating. All will help you increase optimal functioning.

2. Leave Your Comfort Zone– Seek out new opportunities. In the process, your confidence will increase allowing you to take more healthy risks. Transformation only happens beyond your comfort zone.

3. Stop Complaining– Complaining reinforces a negative state of mind and offers no solutions. Take ownership of your happiness. Next time you feel frustrated, take a few deep breaths and focus on something positive.

4. Show Your Gratitude– Write a thank you card, pick up the phone, volunteer or send someone a book they would enjoy. Tap into your heart and let others know how much you appreciate them.

5. Be Valuable– Instead of focusing on your personal success, focus on being of value. Bringing value to a relationship, business or community increases abundance and fosters reciprocity – the more you give, the more you receive.

Are you ready to create a life where you wake up energized and excited about the day ahead?

You have everything that it takes to create a life complete with happiness, abundance, and fulfillment. Looking back that promotion actually was an opportunity in disguise that transitioned me to a life beyond my wildest dreams. You can do the same. These are five ways that will help you on your journey in achieving your own happiness and fulfillment.

Fatherhood Picture Of The Year Contest: And The Winner Is…..

First, I’d like to thank all the families who contributed to the Fatherhood Picture of the Year contest. It has been a huge success, as we received an overwhelming response of amazing pictures depicting modern day fatherhood.

Pictures were submitted by wives, husbands, children and friends, which made it all the more fun. The decision to choose a winner was extremely difficult, so I enrolled the help of my own children in the process.  Before I announce the winner, I’d like to personally thank and recognize all the fathers for being such great role models in the lives of your families.

And the WINNER is……..

All nine fathers below are the winners. Yes, that’s right, we have an 9-way tie. These submissions of our fathers in action were too good to pick just one winner.

Congratulations to all our fathers below. As promised, each winner will receive a FREE coaching session from me.

Here are our winning father’s:

Charles Jones shows that “proud papa” smile moments after the birth of his precious newborn

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Jeff Bogle sharing the sunshine with the light of his life

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Darryl Mathis in the New York State of mind with his adorable children.

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Rob Barea teaching his son that fatherhood is a marathon not a sprint

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Jon Harrison and his son “May the force be with you”

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Jesse Foster shows what being an ambidextrous father looks like

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Michael Vigneau riding the waves of life with his little ones

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Brian Henderson sharing creativity and endless possibilities with his daughter

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Brian Mininger with his own version of the “Fab 5”

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Congratulations to all our winners…

Happy Father’s Day!!!

Want To Be A Better Father This Year? A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Want to become a better father?

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

In today’s world where work-life integration is difficult for many, I’ve been fortunate to have the best of both worlds. A career that incorporates the very thing I love most…Fatherhood….

The work with fathers and leaders around the country is an amazing and purposeful journey. An added benefit to this work is the ability to share some of my own experience as a father for them to relate to.

Here are a few pictures over the past year that highlight important fatherhood lessons:

1. Be Consistent- Show Up

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This is what me and my little man call our Friday Night Spot! On Fridays we stop by our favorite pizza shop and have a blast. By making this our special hangout, he looks forward to it and feels special.

Consistency and making your child feel special is important and helps with adjustment. Routines help our children understand what is coming next, so the world doesn’t feel like such a scary and unpredictable place. (warning- It could be fattening too)

2. Encourage and Support Them

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When my daughter was nominated for homecoming Queen, there was a lot of anxiety to go around. She tried to be cool and act as if she wasn’t nervous but as a father you know the “real deal.” We let her know that she is amazing and a winner no matter the outcome. The best moment came when I escorted her on to the field and she turned to me and said “Dad you’ve been treating me like a Queen all my life”

3. Have Fun and Laugh

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This was called the Toys R Us Takeover. Allowing your children to laugh and see the lighter side of you is important. By sharing this side with your children you actually help with their social and emotional development.

Research has shown that children who laugh more are healthier — they’re less likely to be depressed and may even have an increased resistance to illness or physical problems.

4. Teach Them What Gratitude and Service Looks Like

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There’s no better education than seeing the less fortunate first-hand. One way I teach gratitude is by bringing my children to feed and donate gifts to homeless families during the holidays.

Studies show that children who express gratitude through service reap concrete benefits, including greater life satisfaction and a better attitude about school. When children give their time and energy to help others, they’re less likely to take things like health, home and family for granted.

 5. Show Them The World

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Teach your children to follow their dreams and show them the world. They look up to you, so make sure your children know that anything is achievable, regardless of the current circumstances.

Do you have any pictures

depicting fatherhood that

you’d like to share?

How To Make Today The Best Day Of 2014

“Write It On Your Heart That Every Day Is The Best Day In The Year”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is the last day of 2014 and I couldn’t be more excited. Not because I’m looking forward to the New Years festivities tonight. I’m excited because I’m determined to make today the best day of 2014.

The end of the year inventory is already complete. I’ve written down the goals and dreams I will experience in 2015. These dreams are “goals with deadlines” to ensure that I’m tracking my success. The house has been cleaned, email emptied, clothes and toys organized and ready to be donated. This work has prepared me well for the New Year. But wait a minute 2015 is not here yet. We still have 18 hours left in 2014, so I’m determined to make today the best day of the year.

If you want to make today the best day of 2014, you can do so with two words…….. HERE AND NOW!

Some people get energized by where they are going. You can see them light up when they share their vision and goals. And some people get excited by how far they’ve come. Their story of overcoming hardships gives them confidence and courage. Both are good forms of motivation. However, I think the greatest feeling and source of motivation in the world is loving and appreciating where you are right, Here and Now. Not wishing you’re somewhere you’re not, but fully accepting where you are. In our presence—not the future or the past—is the gift of life. The best is not yet to come—it’s here.

Go out today determined to have the best day of the year. Don’t loose an entire day waiting for tomorrow. Start with gratitude and navigate the day in the HERE AND NOW.

Let’s celebrate Here and Now!

“Here And Now Is Where It Happens”

The 4 Keys To Increase Your Inner Paycheck

There is a big misconception held by companies and people that success leads to happiness.  I often hear people say things like “Once I get the ________ (raise, promotion, house, car, etc), I’ll be happy. This way of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth and actually prevents people from living life to the fullest. But did you know that this thought process can actually impact your paycheck?

Science and research has proven that fulfillment and happiness are key ingredients to a successful career. Optimism fuels performance and achievement which, in turn allows us to advance monetarily. The studies show that our brain is hardwired to perform at their best when they are in a positive mindset.  Its biological! Without getting all Mr. Goodbody on you, here are the facts:

  • When we feel optimistic about our future, dopamine and serotonin are released in our brains which in turn heightens our sense of well-being. This allow us to more rapidly organize new information and become more skilled at problem solving.
  • Conversely, when you focus on your problems it exhausts your energies and ability to work optimally. Low performing employees always lead to lower paychecks.

So it’s all about your inner paycheck. If you can create a life for yourself grounded in the things that make you happy it will lead to greater success.

Here are 4 keys to increase your inner paycheck:

  1. Keep Healthy– The most successful people understand the importance of keeping a healthy mind, body and spirit. Treat yourself to the gift of your own attention. Eat well, workout and meditate; they all increase optimal functioning.
  2. Stop Complaining- I knew a woman who always said she had issues. After we spoke a few times I asked her to slow down the pronunciation of the word ISSUE and break it down to IS U! Every time you complain, you reinforce a negative state of mind without offering a solution to the problem at hand. Instead, next time you feel frustrated, take a few deep breaths and try focusing on something positive.
  3. Journal- Take time every day to write down at least two positive experiences you had as well as gratitude. Include small moments of happiness and random acts of kindness. It is important you write it down so you can look back and remember all you have to be thankful for when life becomes difficult.
  4. Show Your Gratitude- Write a thank you card, pick up the phone, volunteer or send someone a book they would enjoy. One of the best ways to increase  happiness is by reaching out and helping others.

Happiness is the key ingredient to increasing your “Inner Paycheck” which will lead to success in all areas of your life.  If you allow yourself to feel positive, your brain will take care of the rest.  You will see increases in productivity, resiliency and problem solving which in turn will lead to greater opportunities. If increasing your pay grade is your goal start with increasing your inner paycheck.

Share some of the ways you increase your inner paycheck.

Does Success Have A Look?

2014 has already turned out to be a more successful year than last year! You may ask be asking “how can that be we’re only 13 days in?” or better yet “this guy must have had a pretty terrible and unproductive year last year.”  Not the case at all; actually last year was a year of some major accomplishments, achievements, milestones, and learning experiences.  It was also a year filled with some major life changes and stressors, that left me mentally, physically and emotionally spent.  2013 was the first year I can recall saying to myself and hearing so many others say “I’m glad its over.” The statement is more figurative than literal of course because I have come to know the value of gratitude and the gift of staying in the present(that’s why its called a present ;)).  The ability to find joy in the journey has been a life changing process.  That being said, 2013 did not feel like much of a success.

So what made 2013 so difficult and this year so much more successful?  The major difference between this year (all 13 days of it) and last is that I’ve actually begun to define what success means to me.  If I can’t even envision what success means, looks, feels, and tastes like, how could I ever achieve it?  This has been a game changer and has allowed me to see the progress towards my own defined success.  It has also allowed me to learn, grow and stay energized through failures.  While I look back to see the my accomplishments over the past year I ask myself if that is really what success means to me?

The study of success in my life has been an ongoing process, as I’ve hit many of the milestones previously laid out but not formally scrutinized.  I’ve spent most of my career, both professional and personal, developing programs for the community and particularly at risk youth and families. In addition, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to speak, give workshops as well as training in many places around the country, over the past few years which has been both rewarding and humbling. I enjoy the human experience of providing hope where it seems hopeless, options to what appears optionless and voices to people who’ve felt voiceless.  This has been where I’ve drawn most of my success stories over the years and am very proud of them.

During this past year I was afforded many additional responsibilities and oversight in my work that temporarily brought me away from this passion.  At the same time I was going through a divorce and if there is anything that can drain your energy or view of success it could be a failed marriage.  It was an extremely difficult time but like many other times of adversity in my life, forced me to reevaluate, refocus, and rededicate myself.  The key to me was going through it without losing my passion and enthusiasm. Winston Churchill once said “Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.”  So that’s what I did.

I started looking at the legacy I want to leave and what needs to be defined.  It started with the self assessment and ended with an end of the year conversation with my good friend and a mentor, Jason Womack.  The conversation led to a simple question that I then posed to many people in my network. “What does success look like to you?”

What followed was extraordinary!  I received an overwhelming response from people all over the country giving their perspective and answers to the question.  There were some well defined and focused answers as well some people who were  admittedly befuddled.  Surprisingly, the responses of uncertainty came from some of the more influential and respected folks.  All of whom have acquired many of the trappings that society deems successful.  Money, homes, cars, businesses, status, etc. These very people reached out to me expressing the most inner conflict about the question.  They mentioned that these “things” weren’t what success felt like to them.  In fact the simple posing of the question had them questioning their purpose.

Some defined success as: achieving inner peace, self love, positively affecting the community, giving of yourself, and giving your children options, just to name a few.  What was interesting was that none were convinced that their ideal definition of success matched the commitment they made on a daily basis to achieve that success.  Furthermore, some admitted to putting minimal time and resources towards what they defined as success.  So why the disconnect between 1)what we think is success and 2) how much time on earth we spend doing things not correlated at all to achieving success? Because we rarely take the time (other than on New Years) to develop a daily practice of defining and working towards success.

So what does success mean to you? When I asked my 12 year old his answer was “Success is what you accomplish after years of hard work.” I was proud that my son connected hard work with success but realized something profound.  He at age 12, myself in 2013 and many of my accomplished friends are working hard to an undefined goal.  If we never define what success looks like in our life, then how will we ever achieve it?  Take some time to write down what success look, tastes, smells, and feels like to you.  Then ask yourself:

  • Is the way I’m living my life in tune with attaining my definition of success?
  •  If Success is being an active parent, then how much time are you spending with your children?
  • If Success means inner peace, how much time are you taking to get in tune with yourself and  spirituality?
  • If Success is helping people, how much of your time is taken only helping yourself?
  • If Success is a big promotion, then how much time are you taking to work harder and smarter?
  • If Success is writing a book, then how much time are you spending on research and writing?

Take time to think about this and ask are you being good to yourself or are you short circuiting your own success?

This is why my 2014 has already been such a success, because I’ve not only defined what it is but have done something everyday towards achieving it.  So take the time this year to define what success looks like to you, because nobody can make success look as good on you then you! Success does have a look, and it is up to you to tailor it as your own. Peace