Sunday, April 29, 2018

Do You Have Integrety?

Integrity means following your moral convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances.Values, goals, and decisions exhibit your integrity. When you behave your beliefs you are congruent, you are unified or more whole.

When we are behaving outside our values we are conflicted, living a more stressful life. If you value honesty and work for someone who requires that you bend the truth, or who forbids you telling the truth, you lose your integrity. It is a high price to pay. And it results almost always in high stress that takes a toll on your body, mind, spirit, and relationshihps.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that you found your company's priorities are antithical to your values? Have you chosen a career that gives you the opportunity to serve others and then discovered that the organization that hires you is more interested in the financial bottom line than the giving of quality care?

Or do you find yourself making choices that aren't in line with your personal values and wonder why you feel so uinfulfilled?

When you observe others behaving in ways you can't understand, consider what their real values were and how their life has gone off course. This is most observable in those who are addicted to a substance or behavior. The addiction takes over their life and they lose themselves. 

What we need in today's society is a greater emphasis on personal integrity. Too many of us get caught up in the "mob mentality" and behave in ways that just don't fit us as we strive to fit in with the crowd. 

Below are some examples taken from the website:

How to Have Everyday Integrity

  • Keep your promises even if it takes extra effort.
  • Go back to a store and pay for something you forgot to pay for.
  • Never betray a friend’s trust even if you get in trouble.
  • Inform the cashier he gave you too much change back.
  • Do not gossip or talking badly about someone.
  • Remain true to your spouse or partner.
  • When in a serious relationship, don’t keep secrets from each other.
  • Return money that you noticed someone dropped without expecting a reward.
  • Ignore someone’s advice on how to cheat on your taxes and not get caught.
  • Do not let someone else take the blame for something you did.
  • If someone gives you confidential information, never tell anyone what you know.
  • When it is obvious to you a relationship is over, don’t drag it out but discuss it openly.
What examples can you think of? Add them in the coments.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How Do YOU Make Decisions?

Have you ever thought about how many decisions you make in a day? It could be hundreds! Most, however, are incidental rather than life challenging. We decide to get out of bed in the morning. You might say, "I really don't have a choice. I have to go to work!" But it is a choice, one you decided on long ago and continue to make it automatically, without thinking much about it.

And through the day nearly everything you do is the result of a choice you make, one that is new or one that is habitual. Think about each activity you do through a day. And then consider how it really was a choice.

One of the classes I taught as a mental health counselor in the state corrections facilities for adult males. Most inmates had no insight into what decisions got them into prison. They lived life rather reactively, thinking they didn't have a choice other than the one they made to cause harm to someone. So learning what decision making is about and how to claim your personal power to make decisions that make their lives better was enlightening.

One doesn't have to be a criminal to make bad choices. We don't even have to be in trouble. Most of us aren't aware that WE made decisions at all. Like those who don't consider getting up in the morning as a real choice, for instance, might live reactively without making healthy choices.

So, what is involved in making good choices? I found a website that gives an outline similar to what I used with inmated. While it is mainly for those making life-changing decisions, it works for all kinds of decisions.

Let's look at some examples:

Stop and Think. The more important the decision the more important this step becomes. Eliminate impulsive behavior. Making rash choices can lead us astray very quickly. Consider shopping for big ticket items without thinking about it first. Lots of mistakes can be avoided by simply taking time to consider the choices and determining which is best for you.

Consider Your Goals. Nearly any choice can lead you either toward your goals or away from them. What leads to your immediate gratification may lessen your ability to reach more long term goals. Buy that huge flat screen t.v. now will make it harder to achieve saving for the trip to the beach you've promised your family. Marrying really young could prevent your starting the career that will make you feel confident and provide income to raise a family. You get the idea, right?

Determine Facts. Determine if you have enough facts to make an intelligent choice. Are the sources of your information reliable and truly informed. Ask people who have experience, pursue information in books, on the internet, other media. Be sure these are reliable sources.

Develop Options. I always advise people to only make a decision  when you've thought of an odd number of choices. If you have two options, look for a third or more. Never settle for an even number of choices. If it is an especially important decision, talk to someone who can help you identify more options.

Consider the Consequences. This is probably the biggest mistake the inmates made in their lives. Will the choice fit your values? Eliminate any consequences that will be unethical. Will someone be harmed by your choice? Will you feel good about your decision in the future and you look back on your life. If you buy the big flatscreen t.v. will you end up with not enough money for your child's school supplies? Identify who might be affected by your choice and how the consequences could affect them.

Choose. Make a decision. If the decision still doesn't seem clear,  talk to people whose judgement your respect. Or think of somone with strong character what they would do in your situation. Consider if you would be proud and comfortable with everyone found out about our decision. And, of course, treat others the way you want to be treated, the golden rule, and keep your promisses.

Monitor and modify. A wise person learns from their decisions.  What were the effects of your choice? If they don't have the results your intended, or they cause more undesirable reslts, assess the situation and make new decisions. If need be you can change your direction to get you where you want to be.

Check out the website above and consider what would work best for you. If you are just learning to make better decisions you might want to write out your steps to your decision. Learn by doing!

Want to know more? Check out this TedTalk on YouTube:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

So What Is a Good Goal for You?

When I worked as a Mental Health Counselor in the Department of Corrections I taught a Life Skills Class. One of the lessons was on goal setting. But that was more than ten years ago and I couldn't recall all of the lesson. So I had Bing searching for me and found this: It uses the same acronym I used and reminded me how to explain what a good goal would look like.

The acronym is SMART.

A SMART goal has five features:

It is specific [S]. For instance, if you want a better job you describe the specifics of what a better job is for you. You may want a job that has regular hours, has health benefits, pays a certain amount, and is working with people or things or nature, etc. So describe what a better job means for you, specifically.

It is Measurable [M]. There is a way to measure the goal so that you can identify when it is accomplished. You may have a time limit for reaching the goal. Or you might have a specific way to know it is accomplished, like "before I am X number of years old" or "before I get married", etc.
Goals that are vague "someday" goals do not keep you focused on them.

It is Attainable [A]. Your goal must be possible for you. I might want to be a millionare by the end of next year, but that isn't possible for me at my age and experience! And you want your goals to be in agreement with the rest of your life. If you want to have more time with your family and at the same time you want to get a job that has you travelling often, this could create a problem.

It is Realistic [R]. Be realistic AND optimistic. Be careful to not underestimate yourself. But also set goals that you know you can reach. Be reasonable and rewarding so that you can maintain motivation to acheve it.

It is Time-based [T]. Set reasonable time limits on the goal. One way to do that is to determine objectives that get you to your goal For instance "I will create a resume by the end of next week." and "I will research the job market for the kind of job I want by the end of the month and schedule an information interview with potential companies next month.

It is very helpful with long-term goals to break them down to bite-sized objectives. It is also important to be sure that those objectives do not create a time-crunch with your other goals and objectives.

You may want to write out a timeline of your goals and objectives to be sure you don't over-schedule your time. Running into time crunch is one way we sabatoge our goals.

Check out the wibsite noted above and download SMARTER Goals Template.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

So, How Are You Living Your Values?

If you have taken the time to identify your own values and you have explored how your behavior does or doesn't match your values, you may or may not feel you are living a fulfilling life. Why might you feel unfulfilled even when you are successful?

The thing is, our journey to success is often soley goal focused. We strive toward a goal and feel glad for a bit. But then we find compelled to work toward another goal. Goal after goal we experience success and still don't feel fulfilled.

Perhaps we have failed to choose goals that are based on our values. We focus on the goal and lose sight of finding the values on the road to reaching each goal. We end up frustrated or disappointed even if we achieve that goal. Take a look at this brief and simplistic video to illustrate that point.

So much in our lives depend on our values, on who we are as a person. Take a look at your goals and the way you travel toward them. 

Maybe you find that the goal you have chosen requires you to be away from your family a great deal of the time. And you highly value building a close and happy family. You may want to modify your goal and find other ways to achieve it that don't take you away from your family so much of the time.

Go back to look at your values and take a hard look at how your goals relate to them. Enjoy your journey to the successful completion of your goals.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Speaking of Values in Action: What Do You Never Have Enough Of?

Money? Love? Clothes? Shoes? Friends? Energy? Sleep? Time?
[This is an old post from last year that seems to fit for now.]

There is a commercial on T.V. about the value of time and that we must fill it with what matters. Time is a resource that is non-renewable. When it is gone there is no replacing it. So all of that got me to thinking about time, and about what matters.

So if you want to fill it with what matters, what matters to you? And, are you spending time on what matters to you?

When I was working as a counselor/educator some of the exercises we put our clients through were value clarification exercises. We seldom really look at our values as often as we need to. Every choice we make either moves us toward what we value or away from it. 

Let's just look at the things we began this post with: Money, Love, Clothes, Shoes, Friends, Energy, Sleep,Time.

Money can buy clothes and shoes. Maybe enough money could offer you "friendship" of people attracted to your money. However, these aren't real friends. 

And while having enough money might make it possible for you to have the opportunity to sleep more, money alone won't help you go to sleep and sleep restfully. And energy? Wish it could! 

So when we spend our time on all those things, what will we have? Money won't buy love. 

What IS important to you? And what DO you fill your time with? 

Are you working long hours away from home and loved ones? What if you only worked enough hours to have your basic needs met. Then what would you do with your time?

Is feeling useful, doing kindness, or serving the good of others important to you? Are you spending any time on that?

I'm guilty of wasting LOTS of time, even though I know that at my age my allotted time is limited. I rationalize it by thinking I've been busy all my life and now I'm retired. Some tell me that if I'm doing something I enjoy I'm not really wasting my retirement time. 

And then another part of me tells me that there are other things that matter to me that I COULD be doing. That's when I work on this blog, or take surveys, or share information about causes I believe in, or keep in touch with family, or volunteer.

Funny, when I was working full time I didn't think about wasting time. There never seemed to be enough of it to waste! I loved my work and believed it was worthwhile. 

So where are you in this whole Time and Values thing? What do you think about how you are using your time?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Values, Beliefs, Attitude

Did you take time with the last post to determine what your values are? Any surprises? Sometimes we don't really think about what is important to us, we just "go with the flow" of our daily lives without much thought about it. But determining what you value most can help you make better choices about your behavior. When we act on what we value we develop integrity.

So when you focus on what you truly value, the next step is to look at what you believe to be true about each value, whether it can be proved or not. Sometimes our beliefs are based on reality. But sometimes they aren't. And that is when our beliefs can get in the way.

And then you need to consider your attitude, the way you express yourself in thoughts, words, and action. This is often what people see first, so it can be important to consider.

The video below can help you examine these values, beliefs, and attitude in your life. Be more of who you are.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Where Do You Stand?

No, I'm not going to get political. But I think we so often just "go with the flow" that we really don't take time and energy to deterimin what you stand for.

There is a difference between what we believe and making a stand.  What are your values? And how do you base your behavior on those values? Are you true to your values? When you aren't you are conflicted and you self-esteem is reduced.

Take some time to consider what YOUR personal values are and how you might make better decisions about behaviors that fit your values.

What are your top 5 values? What of your behaviors reflect those values? Note specific actions that are examples of you acting on your values.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Start changing the world by being a better person. 

Be good to as many people as possible.

Don't be afraid to say "yes".

How do you show up?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

What Will Be Your Legacy?

When you reach the end of your life what will you know that you have done to make the world better for those who follow you. We are each leaders of some sort. We have a chance to lead into a better world.

And, since we don't know when our life will end - it could end tomorrow - we need to decide what change we want to be in the world and begin to make it happen.

Keep your focus on moving yourself and those around you toward a better life. 

Click on this UTube video: