When we hear the term “friendly competition” or “competitive spirit” the term challenge comes to mind for many of us. We may think of accepting the challenge, but often, the “challenge” leaves us feeling like we have no choice but to accept its terms. This introduces conflict. Conflict or chaos is the root of competition and challenge, so how can we truly have a “friendly” competition? As an over-stressed society, why would we want to invite more chaos into our daily lives? The spirit can be defined as the essence of, the soul, or manifested feeling. When combined with the word competitive, it produces chaos of the soul or the essence of conflict. We accept, all too willingly, in “friendly” spirit, competition; which is in conflict within our well-being- and a contradiction. No wonder there is a clear loser! I’d like to say there are no winners when we are in competition with one another. One may think, feel, and perceive themselves as the winner, but in truth, there can be no winner in arrogance. Let me explain.
Action is energy. When we choose to enter into conflict we are inviting in more conflict. A close friend of mine sees competition as a pursuit of excellence. When I thought about this, I had to give the thought some merit, whereas, pushing ourselves in pursuit of improvement, excellence, and growth puts us in a state of forward momentum and energy- which many would agree is a good thing. Where the problem comes in, is when we introduce another into our personal pursuit of excellence. We can push ourselves, but it is imperative to our well-being that we do not compare or measure ourselves against that which others are or have. Why? Because it causes us to feel inadequate or just the opposite, it can cause us to believe we are better? By whose standard? The dictionary defines arrogance as having an attitude that you are better, smarter, or more important than another. The strength in arrogance is that it is an overbearing attitude. Regardless of the intention, when we believe we are the winner over someone else’s shortcomings, how can we truly be a winner?
Rather than focusing on competition, we need to be focusing on collaboration. Instead of a weight loss challenge where there is a clear winner and loser, why don’t we use our energy to support each other? When energy is combined, it has greater power. Look at major fundraising efforts, such as those accomplished through crowdsourcing or humanitarian efforts. In the business world we develop strategic plans that require the collaborative efforts of many to execute and reach a common goal. There is no room for self-serving efforts in collaboration- however, when we combine energies, everyone wins. The sum of many parts combined can go much farther than any individual effort. Instead of waging a bet against each other, let’s wage that together we can accomplish this.
Collaboration brings forth positive and productive energy. It helps us eliminate chaos and conflict from our lives. We cannot be happy and joyful while we are in a state of chaos and conflict. The two cannot co-exist. To become happier, joyful, and to welcome in a state of well-being, we must push conflict and all of its sources out. Because for every force, there is an equal and opposing force, conflict will continue to try to push into your happy space- therefore, we want to eliminate as many opportunities for conflict to enter as possible.
Conflict and chaos are addictive. I’m sure you know a drama queen or king. Drama, drama, drama; these people seem to feed off the energy of drama- the truth is, they do! A chaotic energy state is so highly charged, that many become addicted to the high energy state. They continually look for more energy to feed their chaotic energy supply. What happens when they come down off their high? They are in the misery of the negative chaotic state which is now sapped of energy. What they don’t realize is that there is an equally charged positive state- joy! Joy does not leave you feeling drained like chaos- just the opposite, you feel energized. Positive energy has a positive effect. Negative has a negative effect.
So why don’t people flock to happy and instead choose chaos? In part, because of terms like “friendly competition.” We have chosen to accept into our reality that there is something weird about being happy and joyful. You say, “I feel really good about this or that.” What is the response from another? “Oh, you better watch out, I know someone that….,” followed by something from another person’s life experience (which has nothing to do with you, by the way). The conditioning of the mind over our life introduces a pessimistic component where we feel we must introduce chaos to counter happy. Happy people are strange, right? Wrong. You might think, what’s up with that guy? He’s always so happy! Isn’t it strange how we do this? Instead, let’s join him and collaborate on happy. We so easily choose competition against each other instead of working with one another toward a common goal- being happy. We are all connected. Because of our connected energies, opposing forces are continually at work, pushing against us, in competition for our happy- and who wins in competition? Nobody.
Today, look for ways to collaborate with others toward being happy. Have an enthusiastic attitude as you take on your day. Look for ways to build collaboration toward the goal of mankind- personal happiness, joy, and a sense of well-being.
Jolene a transformative, motivational speaker on excellence. Her latest book, Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset, is available for pre-order and will be released in August. Jolene enjoys helping people find their ‘it’- the driving force within to reach their personal best.
When you think of the word valuable, what do you think? Perhaps you conjure up images of gems, fine paintings, or other objects of high value. The dictionary provides us with the following definitions-very useful or helpful; a thing of great worth. I’d like to provide you with another definition which I hope you will use to redefine valuable in the vocabulary of your success in life.
When I think of this word, I think of it in the context of our ability to contribute to our well-being and our success- which you will learn, I find to be conjoined twins (much like our word). I see the word valuable as two words- Value and Able. Looking at valuable in this way provides you with a very different perspective.
What is the value that you are able to provide every day? Are you able to add value? Your ability, in whatever you do, depends on your mindset. Are you able? I cheer, a WHOLEHEARTED, YES for you. Is your mindset in a state that will allow you to be value able? Let’s explore this.
So what is value? I believe our dictionary definition gets close with words like helpful, useful, and of great worth. If you value something, it is dear to you. You can value your job, your family, your car, your health, or a myriad of people, places, things, and intangibles in life. When we combine value with able and look at it from a value added perspective we can see this as value to ourselves and value to others.
Ram Doss says, “Be still. The quieter you become you can hear.” I say that our well-being and success are conjoined twins- they share a common heart. Our ability to provide value is a state of consciousness that is realized through a successful mindset. “The mind is everything. What you think, you become,” Buddha. Our value is a condition within our mind. I can or I cannot. I will or I will not. I may or I may not.
The choice to consciously choose to add value to your life and to the lives around you sets your directional path toward or away from successful outcomes. I once sought the advice of a well-known author, in pursuit of my own writing dreams- he said, “Whatever you do, always provide value.” Now, of course I could have taken this statement at face value, but instead, I had to dive in a bit.
It’s easy to think, give to others something that they would find joy in receiving and one is providing value. But something we often don’t think about is- what are you providing to yourself that you find joy in? Our well-being, sense of joy, happiness, and peacefulness in our soul is inseparable from our success. When we give the gift of joy, of well-being to ourselves, we are enabling the imparting of value- we are valuable. It is only then when we can provide value to others, becoming valuable to them-only after we have become valuable to ourselves. Success in life begins with your well-being. So many people exhaust themselves in pursuit of success and suffer devastating burn-out or worse, crash and burn. What they fail to realize is that true success comes from tapping into our joy and becoming ValueAble.
Be encouraged as you go about your day to think about your value. What is good about you? Seek to identify positive qualities that you already have. Seek to identify positive aspects of your life and how you would like your life to be. You will then be on a Valuable path to success.
Seeking greater understanding of the power of your mind? Jolene’s Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset will help you break down the barriers that come between you and a successful mindset. Jolene is a motivational speaker with the National Speakers Association and a leader trainer with Toastmasters International. An author, avid community supporter, and business professional, Jolene’s development workshops bring practical, down to earth motivation to groups of all sizes and industry backgrounds.
“Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods. So let us celebrate the struggle!”~Stevie Wonder. Have you accomplished something that you didn’t think you could do? If so, I hope in the end you celebrated in your accomplishment, your triumph over whatever struggles you encountered along your path as this is an important component to your future success. Opposition is normal. Sir Isaac Newton developed the theory that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That said, when we progress forward or toward a goal, there is an equal force against us. This does not mean that we have a foe against us at every turn or that we have monumental challenges facing everything we do. It simply means that when set into motion one set of actions, opposite forces exist. These forces could take the form of time constraints, deadlines, limited resources, or even not knowing where to begin. When we accomplish something, anything, celebration in some way, shape, or form is warranted. This might even be as simple as a huge sigh of relief. In your mind you are saying, “Whew! I did it. I’m pleased with my accomplishment.” Positive affirmation is good for our well-being. It helps build our self-satisfaction, worth, and confidence.
Assuming that you have been able to think of at least one accomplishment, ask yourself this question; how many times do you stop along the way and celebrate the small, incremental accomplishments? How many times have you set out to accomplish something and you fell short of accomplishing what you set out to do? If you are honest, you, like me, and most others, have failed at accomplishing something that you were going to do. Why is this? Often times it is our failure to celebrate incremental successes- small successes. American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.”
Unfortunately, many think that a lofty goal is the way to go. Set the bar high and shoot for the stars! This is admirable, and I encourage this as it is a way to stretch ourselves, but we must not lose sight of our need for positive affirmation. The human body is attracted to positive affirmation. Your inner-being- you know the one when you say, “I just feel good inside,” loves affirmation. Feeling good is a great feeling. When we accomplish something and sigh, we have a sense of peace. We may smile or become joyful. Even a simple sense of relief upon completing something is a good feeling. Whether the relief comes after taking a stroll to the end of the driveway, for someone who is mostly immobilized, or the completion of a marathon for a physically fit person, relief from accomplishment feels good. The problem is that we often aren’t paying attention to incremental progress as we lose sight by focusing on the larger goal. For example, if I was to make a goal of losing 20, 50, or 100 pounds and didn’t celebrate the incremental successes-let’s say every 5 pounds, the bigger goal is so much farther away and my affirmation is delayed!
We need incremental celebrations to boost our confidence. We need the “positivity factor” gained through the “mini” celebration because affirmation gives us the encouragement needed that we CAN accomplish our goal. Affirmation boosts help drive us toward accomplishing our goals. So how can we ensure that we continually maintain a level of affirmation to keep us motivated so that we can reach that big accomplishment? Shift your perspective.
Your perspective is your vantage point. If you are looking at a pile of debt and have tried every which way to tackle the debt, but it seems like an impossible feat, change seats. The world is only as it looks from where you are sitting at that time. You may need to set mini goals that include seeking help from a professional that offers free advice.
How about wanting to maintain a tidy house? If your house is in shambles to begin with, just getting the house to a tidy state may be a major accomplishment and may require setting small goals. Perhaps this means one room or cupboard at a time. Whatever way you go about breaking down your big goal into little chunks, remember to truly appreciate each smaller chunk. In the case of cleaning the filthy house, when you decide to start with the bathroom, clean that bathroom until it sparkles and then be proud! Pride is not a bad thing- unless it is unnecessarily boastful. The state of appreciation fed by pride will bring your inner-being a strong sense of affirmation. When you share your little successes with others (only if they will reinforce good feelings) this gives you even greater affirmation. The reason why I added, “only if they will reinforce good feelings”, is because sometimes, toxicity in our environment from negative attitudes of others is what contributes to our current state to begin with. If you need to have your own private “celebration” in your mind and in your heart, then do so, but do it! Don’t let others rob you of your celebration. Keep it private if you have a toxic environment. How you feel is what is most important to your success. Who knows? Your detox may contribute to miraculous positive changes in your life as well as the lives of others!
In small successes we have big wins. “Be mindful of small things for it is in them that your strength lies” ~Mother Teresa. Now, go feel good and celebrate all the little things you do. You deserve to be celebrated!
Jolene’s book, Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset is available now for pre-order. Learn how to unlock the power of your thinking and your true potential with Thinking 101.
They say laughter is the best medicine. It would seem, then, that the best source of prevention of ills is a smile. U.S. Founding Father, Thomas Paine often repeated the words of Leonardo de Vinci, “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from duress, and grows brave by reflection.” Mother Teresa said, “We shall never know all the great things a simple smile can do.” A smile is often underrated. Have you ever walked into a situation, a classroom setting, a job interview, a social mixer, and all it took was one smile to bring a sense of relief to the tension that you had inside of you? The power of a simple smile is quite remarkable and can change the world. If only more people would unleash the power they have within through a smile.
“A smile is a warm universal language of kindness” William Arthur Ward. Regardless of the language or dialect we speak, a smile is understood by all. It is the unspoken word, yet communicated word of our soul. Just a simple smile can bring about a peaceful understanding, overcoming any language barrier. The universal nature of a smile is a divine by design to unite people across all time all time and space.
Paramahansa Yogananda, so eloquently stated, “Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” We, indeed, have the power to bring joy, peace, and serenity to others through the power of our smile. Think of your smile as radiating sun beams from your heart, warming those around you. As Omar Ashraf Ezzeldin once stated, “Happiness isn’t by having a smile on your face, it’s by having one on your heart.” This means that our smile is so powerful, and such an extension of our soul, that its mere radiation within us, can cause outward manifestation in ourselves and others.
Kindness is not an act, but rather a state of being. When we choose to dwell in a place of joy, love, compassion and kindness, our heart is moved to smile and its effects are far reaching. Our smile can enable us to powerfully affect the world around us toward positive change. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Smile- genuinely smile- and watch change happen. Watch the beauty that is within spill out into a world that so often accepts darkness as a cohabitant. Use your preventative medicine to inoculate the world around you from ill feelings. Infect others with your contagious smile. Today, may it your intent to deliberately infect the hearts of those around you with happiness and joy through the radiating sun beams of your soul, through your beautiful smile.
Jolene is a motivational speaker with the National Speakers Association and the author of Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset and It! Happens: A Practical Guide to Finding Your ‘It’.
We’ve all seen them, the people that when they walk into the room, exude confidence. These people seem to radiate, “I got this!” Who are these people? Were they born confident? How do we become more confident? I’d like to share with you how you can be “one of those people.” Hint: It’s in you already! Here’s how, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
In my book, It! Happens: A Practical Guide to Finding Your ‘It’, I provide guidance on taking steps to tap into your inner potential, confidence is a component. I go into greater explanation of confidence in my, soon to release book, Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset. Confidence, you see is a mindset. Confidence helps you tap into the greatness within you. You first must put aside some confidence-killing thought patterns and replace them with productive, confidence-boosting thoughts through the following activities.
1-Identify what confidence looks like to you. Confidence comes in all shapes and sizes. There is not one body type, IQ, or type of person that serves as the “poster child” for confidence. We all have the potential to be confident, so to see what confident looks like, just look to yourself. Look in the mirror. What do you see? Do you see a confident person, beaming back at you? If not, why? Chances are that if you said NO, you likely made a mental list of what you lack, whether consciously or not. Your mirror conversation (in your head) might go something like this,
“I don’t look confident. Confident people are thinner. John at work, looks confident. He’s always on his ‘A game’. I wish I were more like John.”
At this point, you need to ask yourself. What is it that makes John appear confident? What is it you think John has that you do not? What does confidence look like? If it doesn’t appear to look like what you are looking at, then let’s see if we can change what you are seeing.
Begin by making a list of things that you think confidence is. For example, you might think that a confident person is firm in his or her opinion, is not affected by what others believe of him or herself, or can win over a crowd with ease and is charismatic. Whatever you believe confidence is, write it down. Now look at what you wrote. If you don’t believe that person is the person mirror, why not? Chances are, you just came up with a list of negative thoughts about yourself as you stacked yourself up against others.
2-Shifting our Focus. Why is it that we have trouble focusing on our positive qualities? You have none, you say? Or you have fewer than most? When we stack ourselves up against others and form thoughts in our mind of how we are inferior, we shatter our confidence. This is a mindset-by choice. You are choosing to focus on what you don’t have, or what you perceive you do not have, and this is becoming your reality- lack of confidence. Proverbs states, “As a man thinketh, so is his heart.”
How can we expect to be confident if we choose to focus on what we are not? We must shift our focus. We do this by sitting down and making a list of our positive qualities and attributes. For example, you might be a great listener or have great analytical skills that have developed as a result of your lack of speaking confidence. You have honed logical thought, analysis and listening as a result of not talking. This is a GREAT skill! List it! Perhaps you graduated top of your class or maybe just graduating high school was a major feat. List it. Maybe you live in poverty or a dysfunctional family and are determined that this will not be a part of your future. List determination!
When helping people resume build and coaching them for interview success, I often tell them that if they need to think back to when they were in kindergarten to think of skills, do it. Were you the first to line up after recess? Sounds like you liked being punctual or were eager to learn new things. Are those qualities you possess today? Often, certain personality traits, characteristics, and qualities follow us through life. Really put some thought into your positive qualities. It may seem silly to go back to grade school, but this can actually help you to begin seeing trends within yourself and help you tap into some great thoughts of who you are. If you really can’t think of anything positive about yourself, make a list of how you want to be. Shifting our focus begins with moving away from what we are not, and looking at what we are or can be.
3-Blowing Up Negative-Rebuilding Positive. Confidence is a mindset. It is a choice to focus on the greatness within you. You have greatness within. Everyone does. Some just choose not to exercise it. From your list of what you believe confidence is and who you are, you can develop a confidence action plan. Let's say that you believe that confidence is charismatic, firm in opinion, well educated, or rich. The first thing we must do is blow up your pre-conceived notions of what confidence is.
For just a moment, close your eyes and visualize the demolition of an old structure with a huge explosion. I’m sure we’ve all seen enough action flicks that you can easily imagine an astronomical explosion in your mind. This explosion will serve as a mental destruction of all the negative structures or thoughts that inhibit your positive new thoughts. Every time you think of what or where you lack, imagine the explosion. Once the old structure has been leveled, you have room to rebuild a new and improved structure. Your confidence!
Now, for your GREATNESS list. You already have a list of things that you are or that you want to be. Let’s work from this list. Be proud of the qualities that you have and who you are. Confidence is an attitude which makes your reality. Just like being grumpy makes you less attractive, having an attitude of pride in yourself, makes you attractive. Others will translate your attitude into confidence. If you couldn’t find any positive qualities for your list and you made up a “what I’d like to be” list, let’s start working on that.
Your desire is such a strong emotion that it can transform your attitude at a shocking rate. And guess what, your desire can be turned into a positive quality. Put on your list: I am visionary. And then smile. Motivational speaker, Les Brown says, “You have GREATNESS within.” You do. You can choose to stack yourself up against others and see inferiority, or you can choose to focus on what you already have and the potential of how much better you can become. When we shift our focus and blow up confidence killers, we can be proud to embrace the GREATNESS within and exude confidence! So you see, you ARE one of “those people”; you just weren’t showing everyone. Show it off!
Jolene Church is currently working on a PhD in Organizational Leadership and is driven to help people unleash their inner potential. Jolene is an author and motivational speaker and is a member of the National Speakers Association and Toastmasters International.
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.