About 30 years ago I studied the work of Dr Irving Oyle. Dr. Oyle was an MD. He was one of the first physicians who parted company with the medical professions' belief that illness was purely a physical phenomena.
Long before it had become a popular concept, Dr. Oyle spoke of the mind-body connection. He said that repetitive negative thoughts and emotions can be detrimental to our health. Further, he said that positive thoughts released positive chemicals in the body that led to enhanced health and well being.
Dr. Oyle left the medical profession and went on to speak about these concepts as early as 1978. He coined the phrase 'Joy Juice' as the chemical release that accompanied happy thoughts and emotions. I thought the phrase so appropriate that I've used it ever since.
What is your joy juice factor?
- What do you really enjoy doing?
- What makes your heart sing?
- What nourishes your spirit?
- What replenishes your energy?
- What are you grateful for in your life?
I invite you to join me in this exploration. Using these questions as a guide, make a list of all the things that bring you pleasure and joy.
My short list includes:
- Watching the sun set every evening
- Going for a long slow swim in the afternoon
- Reading books on everything from neuroscience to leadership
- Driving cross country
- Talking-story with my dearest friends
- Sitting and just 'being' with family
- Calling my mother for a chat
- Sitting in a hot tub under the stars
I could go on.... But what's your Joy Juice list? Just hit the talking bubble at the bottom of this blog and let me hear your JJ list! And remember that Joy Juice is the secret to long life and well being so do something or some things that make you happy every day.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! And to all of you, thank you so much for the Birthday messages! I was and still am overwhelmed with the love and thoughtfulness of your messages! And each personal expression touched my heart and inspired my soul.
On the morning of my birthday as I was lying quietly in bed contemplating my time on Earth, I felt an overwhelming love surround me. At that moment, I accepted the gift and invited the love into me. Instantly it poured into every cell in my body and filled my heart to overflowing. In reflecting at this moment, it seems that the universe was gifting me with just a portion of the expression of its love for all of us. And I share it now with all of you...
Just sit, be still and invite the love of the universe into your heart. And in the presence of that love, visualize your next stage in life. See and feel the year as you would like it to be. Every new year is like an extra birthday for each of us. It is a time to re-invent yourself! Take the day or an an hour or even a few minutes to re-envision your life. Visualize a happy path filled with joy and abundance. This is my New Year's wish for you!
Thank you for being in my life!! I love each and everyone of you! And I pray for each of you the best and most joyful and successful year ever!
You are not what you appear to be. You aren't even who your friends and family think you are. If you were, you'd be stuck in the past: yesterdays images replaying today like a movie you've experienced before.
Instead, consider this: you are a hero in the making. Let me define what I mean by this. To me a hero is anyone who lives the ordinary life in an extra-ordinary way. We've all heard that before. But I don't mean that as some superficial flippant phrase.
I mean it from the depths of my heart. It is the intention to live on the edge of yourself out where the unexplored you exists. It is the willingness to give life to something not yet born in yourself. It is the willingness to discover a new part of yourself every single day.
It is a whole hearted willingness to explore and stretch the preconceived mental and emotional boundaries that I have held for myself. Its the willingness to reignite the inner fire every day in order to become a better human being than I was yesterday.
Let me share about my dear friend Lovell Harris. Lovell was one of the young men that I mentored many years ago in my career. Lovell was born in Saint Louis Missouri and he was raised in the projects. At that time the projects in St. Louis Missouri were one square mile with 30,000 people living in tenement buildings.
Lovell lived in one of these tenement apartments. He was one of six boys. They lived with their mother, who was the only working adult in the family, her mother and his alcoholic father. I don't intend to share the whole story with you as it is in my book GPS for Success.
But the bottom line is this. Lovell said, "I had to decide that I wasn't just a black boy from the projects with an alcoholic father who beat me and called me stupid whenever he was drunk."
Lovell was clear that his birth was not his birthright. It was not what he was born to be. He refused to be conditioned, for the rest of his life, by his early years. He went on to a remarkable career as a speaker and trainer and now runs 3 companies of his own.
So where are the boundaries? Where are the limits? Who sets them? And who said so? You know who said so: the neural pathways in your brain that were laid years ago based on the opinions you accepted about yourself. These have now become habit. Don't let your habits hold you prisoner! Don't let your past determine your future!
Remember to remember who you are. You are not your habits. You do not have to act them out anymore. Do something different.
- You think you're shy? Reach out and say hello to someone. Don't think about it. Do it now.
- You think of yourself as sophisticated? Do something silly. Laugh at yourself.
- You're afraid to speak up? Speak up anyway.
- You want to interview for a new job and you think you'll fail? Do the interview for the job anyway. Don't think failure is about you. Failure is how we learn. You'll do a better interview when the next opportunity comes up.
This is Core Training for the Brain at it's optimum. It's not just about becoming more positive. It's about deciding who you want to be and then doing what you need to do to become that way.
Every new day provides a new opportunity. Stretch and transform yourself a little bit every day until one day you no longer recognize the you that you used to be. You have become the you that you wanted to be and maybe even more!
Have fun. Be joyful. Be happy. Give thanks, for life is good and so are you!
There is always magic in the air (literally) when I fly and my trip to LA was no different. I was offered a seat up front and when the plane was fully boarded, I said hello to the couple sitting next to me.
At first, the banter went back and forth "Where are you off to?" - a filming for the Heroes for Humanity Project.
"And you?" They were on their way up for one of their niece's wedding. A bit more chatting and it turned out that I was sitting next to Al Wong, named by the New York Times, as the Happiest Man in America, and his wife Trudy.
We talked about love, joy, living in Hawaii, family and a lot more. We shared about heart happiness and how the happiness of our heart plays a central role in our overall happiness. We spoke of the power of a smile and the implicit joy that happens when we say "Aloha" and connect with other people.
Then Trudi shared how Al received the award. It turns out that over the last three years, Gallup has called 1,000 randomly selected American adults each day. The interviewers asked each person about their emotional state, work satisfaction, eating habits, illnesses, stress levels and other quality of life indicators.
Trudi shared that the call was amazing. As the interviewer was going through the list of questions with Al, she suddenly shouted to everyone in the phone room, "We've found him! We finally found him!"
"Meanwhile," she said, "Al thought the whole thing was a joke. He couldn't even believe that there was really such a search."
It was truly a memorable flight of the mind and heart as well as getting my physical being to LA for the filming. And the insight gained from this unforgettable few hours? It's good to reflect about our lives along some of the key indicators...
- How is your sense of emotional wellbeing? Are you happy during the day or do you have times of sadness?
- What is your stress level? Do you experience frustration, get annoyed or irritated? Or are you fairly consistently balanced and happy?
- Do you smile a lot every day? Do you connect with others, even strangers?
- How is your financial situation? Do you save regularly?
- Do you enjoy your work?
- Is your family situation happy? Are you divorced, single or married? And are you at peace with your situation?
To learn more about the award go here.
It has been a challenge getting to the internet while I've been on the road. Right now I am on wifi in active, energized and noisy Starbucks in Palm Springs, California.
My 93 year old mother took a dip in the last 2 months and my brother and I are getting her settled into a facility here in the desert. Mom has been healthy and cognizant all her life. She worked until she was 72. She remained very active in the years after that and the suddenness of the dip came as a surprise to me.
As I awakened this morning reflecting on all of these things, my heart rose up in thankfulness. I have seen with deep insight the true beauty and the seasons of this gift called life.
There are the years of childhood with its hopes and dreams of a future of one's choosing. Then there is the time of family and the 'command and control' years of professional life and career. These are followed by the play and harvest of your earlier work years. And finally the waning years and, if you are lucky enough to live that long, comes the season of frailty and the realization of vulnerability.
And so my thoughts turned to my Great Gratitudes - the things above all things that I am most grateful for in life. It was with humility and appreciation that I reflected on these as I was rising in the early desert dawn. This entire piece and what follows are directly from my morning journal.
- Mental Health - This includes strength of mind and memory. Clear cognitive ability and the ability to stay mentally focused. My uncle is 101 years old and he is still clear minded.
- Physical Health - If you have it , keep it with diet and exercise. Because if you live long enough you will need your body to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I know because I have 5 living relatives over the age of 95. My mother is not included in that number because she is youngest of all at 93.
- Emotional Health - This includes a high level of optimism and joy for both fill the heart and support every aspect of health and well being. The other aspects of emotional health that I am most grateful for are patience, self-control and resilience.
- Social Health - For me, I am ever thankful for family, friends and loved ones as well as the inner gifts of compassion and empathy. My daily prayer is that my heart be gentle and full of understanding and that my soul be giving and forgiving.
May all the seasons of your life be filled with awe, wonder and gratefulness. And may all of us be thankful for each day for these days of our lives are passing more quickly then we know.
What a joy to share with this legend. I had the opportunity to speak on the stage with his wonderful daughter Julie who edited 16 of his 18 books. The lovely lady to his left is his wife, Jean.
I was at the airport with Jocelyn Pratt yesterday - on our way to do a seminar on another island. We were in the middle of a 'Starbucks moment' when Jocelyn looked up and recognized the man at the table next to us.
He was Hannibal Means a gifted opera singer and performer from 'Americas Got Talent' sitting at the next table. Suddenly everyone in the direct area recognized him and people were jumping up to take photos.
We were on the same flight so after a bunch of photo shoots with various people, Hannibal, Jocelyn and I had almost a full hour together. He had just arrived from Australia and he was taking a few days to rest before doing a five program in Kauai.
Although not Hawaiian, Hannibal has the heart of Aloha. It was a connection out of time... magical, fun and joy filled.
I finally asked the $5 million dollar question I always ask, "So what is your secret to a happy life, Hannibal?"
"It was simple," he said. "Just say YES to life."
What a zinger.... I have always said, "Life works, if you will only get out of the way and let it." So I added a new one.
"Just say YES to life. Go with the flow; life works if you will just get out of the way and let it. Listen with your heart. Say a thousand-fold YES and embrace life for it is yours and yours alone to live!"
So here is my fabulous 5 for the day in list form to make it easier to integrate into your life today:
- Go with the flow. (If you notice resistance, take a deep breath and let it go!)
- Life works!
- Listen with your heart.
- Say a hearty YES to whatever comes your way.
- And enjoy the journey for it belongs to only you!
The dictionary says that success is defined as "the attainment of popularity or profit," or "a person that achieves desired aims or prosperity."
That may be the world's definition of success, but I define success as a measurement of the heart that only the heart can know. In other words even if the world says that something is successful, if you don't feel successful in your heart of hearts... what is that kind of success really worth?
I have coached hundreds if not thousands of people and many have shared their stories with me. Success is a feeling, an inner knowing, a sense of contentment at a job well done.
To me Success and Significance are sisters, two sides of the same coin. First I feel successful within myself and then I begin to step up and out to support and help others. Remember that success is winning and significance is helping others win.
When you live a life of significance, you feel truly successful. It is the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from helping others win.
Louise Mckay is doing just that. She is one of the three principals that came to my home in Hawaii for a private training. She shared with me recently that she returned to her school to hold their first staff meeting of the year and introduced the word HONOR as the focus word for the year.
Then she invited the entire to team to generate a list of 'honoring words' that could use in addressing one another.
The team came up with thirty or more honoring ways to speak with each other. Below are just a few:
- Would it be ok if…
- If you were in my shoes, what would you want me to say or do?
- Would you tell me what your biggest concern is…
- Can we work on this together?
- How is this working for you?
- What are your thoughts on…?
- Thank you for telling me
Louise is thrilled and amazed at the difference it has made in the atmosphere on campus. I encourage all of you who lead a team of any kind to follow in the model Louise has given us.
- Introduce the word - you might use HONOR or RESPECT or KINDNESS. You choose the word.
- Look it up in the dictionary with the team.
- Brainstorm a working definition that the team can agree on together .
- Divide the room into teams. Ask them to come up with words they could use when addressing each other that would reflect honor or respect or kindness that they agreed on.
And have fun with it. Louise tells me that the entire atmosphere in her school has shifted in a positive way. There is magic and joy through improved relationships and the work flows more easily!
On Thanksgiving Day I always write a list of 50-100 things I'm thankful for. The first thing on my list this year was the fact that my mother is still living. She is 92 and doing very well. Her mind is clear and she is still active and I am so grateful for that!
May all of you have a wonderful season with your families and bask in the joy of family and friends!