The 3 Words That Will Help You Have The Most Amazing New Year

So, a new year is here. How lucky are we to be here in this moment, anticipating an amazing new year. After all, your thoughts create your reality so with the arrival of a new year, think big.

How do you help yourself and your family show up to a new and open slate – filled with as many or as few opportunities as you want to bring to it – filled with as many or as few successes as you want to create? How do you look at a new year as a blank canvas, waiting for you to create your masterpiece – your year of amazingness?

My dad taught my 5 siblings and me a process to welcome the new year in – one that I still do and share with my coaching clients. Simple to use, it is a great way to get intentional in a new year or in any period of change. To make it work you only need to remember 3 simple words, Review, Rethink, Respond.

First, we were reminded as kids, Review what happened in the year that just finished – in other words, tune in and notice the details of what you have been through.

  • What worked and didn’t work well?
  • What were your greatest successes?
  • What were your greatest lessons?
  • How did you change and improve in the year?
  • How did you get a better understanding of who you are, what you are good at and what fits you in life?
  • What made you happy or sad?
  • What do you wish you would have done less of, more of?

Gathering information is the first step to becoming intentional about building your new year. Stop and notice you – and all that you remember. With the information we are ready to Rethink. Rethink what COULD happen this year – do more of what worked well, look for change in areas that didn’t go well. Imagine and visualize your wishes, dreams and opportunities – create a life of possibilities.

  • If you could show up to life in the way that you want, what great things will you dream up, invent, achieve and work towards this year?
  • What will improve this year over last year?
  • What will you continue to develop from last year?
  • What successes from last year will drive success this year?
  • When this year is over and you are celebrating how this year was happy and successful for you, what would have happened for you to think this?

With so many more options now in mind, select the one(s) that you want to implement and Respond. This means build a plan and go make it happen.

  • What is on your daily, weekly, monthly to-do list to move you ahead on what you want to do, learn about, grow into, develop or achieve?
  • What help do you need to get it done?
  • Who needs your help to advance their progress?
  • How is this helping you to tap into your greatness and to help you add value and make a difference in all you do?
  • Who are you becoming?

Review, Rethink, Respond. Three easy words to approach any situation (new school year, new job, new relationship, whatever). Review what your old behaviors or results shared with you. Use that information to Rethink what is possible, then choose wisely and Respond by building an intentional plan to work towards your 2016 goals. Use these to create an amazing new year – an exceptional 2016.

May you have an abundant new year, filled with opportunities that let you grow into your greatest self and to deliver to the world what you do and love best.


Be The Leader of Your Own Life, with John Spence, RFL12

Be The Leader of Your Own Life – Episode Overview

In this episode we get great leadership advice from nationally ranked leadership thought leader, speaker and author John Spence. John helps us understand what it means to be the leader of our own lives, and how we might be able to guide, support and coach our kids to be the leaders of their lives. We talk about how to develop and trust our own internal leadership voice, how to define and live our values daily. Leadership is not about a title – leadership is about behaviors. We all have the ability and capacity to act as the leaders of our own lives – if we choose to.

Attention and Intention

In this episode our attention is on leadership – what is it, why is it important and who is a good leader. Our intention with this conversation is define the attributes of life leaders and to help us develop these attributes in ourselves and in our kids.

Photo of John Spence in the episode "Be The Leader Of Your Own" LifeMeet our Guest John Spence

His middle name should be “leadership” because he is in the top 100 Leadership Speakers, top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America, top 500 Leadership Development Experts in the World and several other exceptional accolades. He is a trusted advisor, speaker, consultant, strategist and author who has the knack for make complex things awesomely simple. As an avid reader and learner, John is always sharing the best of what he knows to help others learn how to show up to their worlds wisely, professionally and successfully.

Guest Links:

LifeLeader behaviors:

  1.    Leaders are self-aware. They commit the time to learn what they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them. They commit to live authentically – to trust their own voice and not be pulled and distracted by what everyone else does.
  2.    Leaders know their values. They are clear what they believe and that there are accountable to live their values and bring their best to all that they do. They then know what they stand for and can remain constant when pressured by others for behaviors not in line with their values.
  3.    Leaders are focused. They know where they are headed and regularly ask themselves this question, “Is what I am going to do right now, going to take me one step closer to my focus or direction?” They are adaptable to modify their plans for change when needed and to stay on course.

How to help your kids be the leaders of their lives:

  1.    Be the leader of YOUR life to model the behavior; our kids learn more from what we do than what we say.
  2.    Hold your kids accountable for their actions, behaviors and impact.
  3.    Regularly discuss leadership (plenty of examples in the news each day); learn from those who are both excellent and poor leadership examples.
  4.    Encourage them to journal about what they want in their lives. This helps them to focus, be self-aware and be clear of their values to lead their lives in the directions that they want.

There are great leaders among us – most of them never have the title of leader, but their actions prove they are. Find them to learn from them. Then, become a leader of your own life.

Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1. Stop and notice 2 of your leadership abilities. How are you using them on a daily basis?
  2. Stop and notice 2 places that need you to show up, step up and speak up as a leader – at work, in the community, at school or at home.
  3. Stop and notice 2 people who model excellent life leader abilities – who are they and what abilities do you notice??

Get in the habit of stopping and noticing – and your world opens for you and your kids. The information you need to be successful and happy in life is always in front of you – you just have to stop and notice.

Suggested Resource

True Success – A New Philosophy of Excellence by Tom Morris, PH.D.

Be The Leader Episode Recommended Book One of the books that belongs in every family’s library, True Success is a roadmap of how to become successful in life by living as a leader of one’s life. Though the 7Cs of success, Tom Morris presents a formula for us to learn how to show up successfully to the moments of our lives. Said another way, he shares how to show up as a leader in the moments of our lives. Loaded with practical stories, examples and meaningful steps, True Success helps us all understand how to focus on and achieve the things that really matter to us – not to chase after the wrong things. And in the process, we learn how to own our lives and live as the leaders in our lives.

Share it with someone. We all need help learning to discover and achieve true success.


How You and Your Kids Get Told What To Think And How To Stop It

Studies show that when we band together we become a collective identity – a crowd, a herd, a mob. In the workplace we call it “groupthink.” We loose our ability to own our thoughts and take on the thinking and the behavior of others. We get pulled into acting and thinking like the loudest voice – which is now, not ours. You and your kids get told what to think; I have some information on how to stop it.

The Braindead Megaphone

MacArthur Genius Award winner, George Sauders, cautioned us about this in his epic essay, “The Braindead Megaphone.” He shares that the one with the megaphone influences what the rest of us hear (and therefore consider and do), even if what is said is false or inaccurate,

Today’s world is loaded with people with megaphones. They show up in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, talk shows and 24-hour news. Someone always has the microphone or megaphone and we move blindly from channel to channel and social media to social media absorbing these loud voices and considering them as true. Volume doesn’t make truth. Repetition doesn’t make truth. We know this. But we forget because it is easier to have others tell us what to think. It saves us doing the hard work of owning our thoughts, our beliefs, our feelings, our actions and our outcomes. Think of the impact on us; think of the impact on our kids.

Today’s instant connection technology ‘encourages’ this. I said ‘encourages’ not ‘blames’ because when we blame, we give any ownership – we absolve ourselves of responsibility. When it is someone else who controls, we are just victims.

But remember, at the center of every one of our actions, inspired by groupthink or not, is our choice. Too many times, we are mindless and let others decide for us. A better response is to realize that in the same moment we have the ability to challenge what we hear and intentionally use our gift of choice. Though a loud voice can pull us into a crowd, it doesn’t have to make us act like the crowd.

Some examples

Some megaphone examples with our kids:

  • They see others do drugs and drink and follow along.
  • They see someone being bullied or intimidated and ignore or avoid the situation or join in the event.
  • They are passionate and focused on a career or area in life but get pulled away from it by others who don’t see or appreciate its value for them.

Some examples with adults:

  • We see others send hateful email, tweets or posts and join in.
  • We make a racist or insensitive comment about others fueled by or instigated by a news or television show pundit.
  • We critique or put down another who doesn’t share our beliefs or values.

The megaphones are everywhere

We are pummeled into hearing and digesting what others tell us. That is UNTIL we choose not to. That is it. Stop and notice when you are hypnotized by the megaphone. Only then can you undo its hold. You can turn off the antagonistic “news” shows, reality series and vitriolic political commentaries. You can refuse to participate in things that take people down and lessen their value. You can refuse to play into stereotypes, biases and racism. You can. You just have to see when and how the megaphone influences you. Then choose to hear and direct your life in what is right for you – instead. And in the process, imagine what we have modeled as dads and moms – the lesson we have offered our kids – and the way we have changed our lives.

Sure, groupthink is easier; it does our work for us. But if we are to own our lives and raise kids who own their lives, we’ll have to get good at stopping and noticing the megaphone. Then, we can work hard to get the facts, understand our world and make decisions based on our voice, not those who seems to control the volume.

“I’ll Be Happy When…”

I’ll be happy when the people at my workplace are nicer.

I’ll be happy when my kids grow out of their teens.

I’ll be happy when we have a little more money.

I’ll be happy when our country isn’t so polarized or the world isn’t so crazy.

I’ll be happy when I get to retire.

I’ll be happy when the kids move out.

I’ll be happy when I move out.

Happiness Isn’t Just For The Future

Contingent happiness  – destined for another day – another moment. Not this one.

Of all of the things worthy of planning for the future, becoming happy isn’t one of them. Happiness belongs in this moment. Why would we ever spend a moment of life intentionally unhappy or tapping your foot waiting for happiness to find us?

Many people aspire to be happy because they believe happiness is a condition that has to be met. What if, instead, we realized that happiness isn’t conditional, but is a state of being – a choice – an attitude. I can choose to be happy in this exact moment even if my kids are not out of their teens, the people at my workplace aren’t nice, our country is polarized or I don’t have all the money I would like. Cause and effect is not the way to look at happiness.

Make Happiness Your Daily Choice

Happiness should be our approach to whatever comes our way in our day. It is our world that has told us that, in order to be happy, something first must happen. To be happy you have to meet the person of your dreams, go to a certain school, work for a certain company, drive a certain car… All just yack. All just noise.

Instead, look at the events of your life in this moment and choose to see a way to be happy. Not easy, I know. I struggle with this all the time. My brain defaults to the “I’ll be happy when….” formula. However, if I can stop and notice it, I can consider changing it.

There is no requirement that you be happy – you choose it – or not. But when you choose to be happy, everything about life changes. You’ll have access to opportunities and possibilities that the negative and unhappy mind has ruled out or refused to see.

To be ready for your great and amazing life, allow yourself to be happy without regard to what life sends you. Learn from its challenges and appreciate its successes – both are just events and neither need to dictate or influence your degree of happiness. As we learned that happiness is conditional, we can also learn that happiness is our choice – whenever and wherever we want it.