September 7th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
You can have all the knowledge in the world, but it means nothing without building up the confidence to do something with it.
Two decades ago, when the bullies at our high school called her a nerd for being a virgin and a straight-A student, my best friend Sara smiled and confidently said, “Thank you. I’m really proud of it.” She honestly was. What those bullies said never bothered her one bit. And this is just one tiny example of Sara’s incredible self-confidence.
I was reminded of Sara this morning when I received an email from a blog subscriber (subscribe here) named Lane who is struggling with a similar bullying issue at a small community college where he’s taking classes. After describing his predicament in detail, he ended his email with this:
“I love your book and blog. Both have helped me get through a very low point in my life. But even though I’ve made progress, I often struggle with my self-confidence. These bullies really get the best of me. And I know my shattered confidence is really taking a toll on me. Therefore, what I need now more than ever is to learn how to walk in a more confident person’s footsteps, by changing the behaviors that kill my confidence.”
So, pulling from a decade of experience as a life coach, in an effort to help Lane walk more closely Sara’s footsteps, here are some toxic, confidence-killing behaviors to avoid:
- Getting caught up in lots of needless drama. – Some people love to stir up controversy and drama for no apparent reason. Don’t buy in to their propaganda. Stay out of other people’s drama and don’t needlessly create your own. Instead, imagine what would happen if you spent this entire day, and every day hereafter, with all your energy directed toward your most positive possibilities. Rather than being annoyed, be amused. Instead of getting angry, become curious. In place of envy, feel admiration. Life is too short to argue, fight or be negative in any way. Count your blessings, value the people who matter and move on from the drama with your head held high. Keep reading →
September 3rd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
“Anything is better than lies and deceit!”
How could anyone fall for that? How could I have been so foolish? Why do they believe such lies? How could we have been conned like that?
There are emotionally manipulative people of varying degrees all around us. When we are young we like to think that we are immune to the psychological pressures that confuse, manipulate and condition other people. We are not so gullible, are we? But part of truly maturing as an individual involves understanding how you too are led by the environment, influenced by others, and driven by the needs you have as a human being.
Human beings can be manipulated precisely because we share innate psychological characteristics that render us ALL susceptible, to a point. Although, like any other weakness, some people are naturally more prone to succumb, while others have higher levels of immunity to the external pressures that can make us do things we would normally never think of doing.
But assuming that we are already “immune” is naive and the surest path to being a victim of manipulation. Let me give you a powerful example:
Emotionally Manipulated to Death
The day is November 18, 1978, and you’re in Guyana. There you stand in the middle of Jonestown, a loyal member of Jim Jones’ cult known as “The People’s Temple”. He commands you to drink a cup of poisonous, cyanide-laced Kool-Aid and take your own life.
What do you do?
Well of course you don’t do it, right? Who is Jim Jones, or anyone for that matter, to tell you to end it all? You are not a robot that can be ordered to kill yourself against your own will! But an astounding 907 people simply followed his orders and died that fateful day. And many of these people poisoned their children before they took their own lives. People who wanted to live and wanted their children and spouses to live. Keep reading →
August 31st, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
Seven weeks ago today, Angel gave birth to our son Mac. The experience was miraculous. As every parent can attest, the miracle of childbirth takes on a whole new meaning when it’s YOUR child being born. It’s one of those life experiences you can’t fully grasp until you live through it.
Anyway, I awoke this morning thinking about the whole experience, and two thoughts immediately came to mind:
- How in the world did Angel and I suddenly become parents? Whoa!
- There are so many things I want to tell Mac – as soon as possible, before he’s in school with his friends and too cool to listen. And before Angel and I go from “mommy and daddy who knows best” to “mom and dad who couldn’t possibly understand.”
So in no particular order, here are 40 things I intend tell him (and his sister or brother when they come along):
- Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. – Don’t base your attitude on how things are. Choose your attitude so it supports and expresses the way you wish to be. Frustration and stress come from the way you respond and react, not the circumstance themselves. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress is gone.
- What you experience starts with your perception. – In almost every case, nothing is stopping you… nothing is holding you back but your own thoughts about yourself and “how life is.” Your perception creates your beliefs. And your beliefs create your behaviors. And your behaviors produce your experience.
- Let go of the need to complain about life. – Spend your moments actually living its beauty. Change the phrase “have to” to “get to.” So many things we complain about are things others wish they had the chance to do. Keep reading →
August 27th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff
Life is rarely perfect, but it’s always pretty darn good.
This morning I saw an elderly woman in a wheelchair rolling down the sidewalk in the pouring rain just outside the coffee shop where I was writing. She was moving at a snail’s pace and I thought she might be struggling, so I ran out into the rain and asked her if she needed assistance or a dry resting spot. She smiled and said, “I appreciate it, but the rain feels great against my skin. I’m out here and going slow on purpose.”
I loved her sentiment – talk about the epitome of appreciating life. And truthfully, life is simply too short for anything less. When you’re young, you might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you. But trust me, it passes much faster than you think. You get grey hairs before you feel like a real adult. And then you have kids, and suddenly they’re off doing their own things. None of this is bad, of course. It’s an extraordinary experience, as long as you pause long enough to appreciate it all.
So that’s what I want to reflect on today – quick reminders about the things life is just too short not to appreciate…
- A peaceful, mindful present. – The best way to prepare for the future is to take care of the present. Goodbyes will always hurt a little. Photographs can never replace the act of being there. Memories, good and bad, will sometimes bring tears. And words can never perfectly describe the feelings they represent. But that’s OK. Pain is real. But so is hope. You have to make peace with your past in order to keep your present and future from becoming hopeless battles. Keep reading →
August 24th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
It’s time to break the habits that have been holding you back. Respect yourself enough to let go of the mindsets and routines that have been sucking you dry.
Bear with me for a moment. You know when you’re driving to an unfamiliar place, blasting the radio while simultaneously watching your GPS spit out directions? Then you suddenly get to that one part of the route that’s ridiculously confusing, so you lower the volume even though it has no direct impact on the way you read the directions?
That is your life. The radio noise you need to cut out to concentrate? That is the needless, energy-sucking noise in your head.
Turning down the radio in the car re-energizes your mind and offers you clarity when you need it most. You don’t really think about how or why this makes such a huge difference, you just know that it does.
Now it’s time to apply this same principle to all the other noise in your life, starting with the noise in your head.
The first step is to eliminate toxic, energy-sucking habits that support this noise. With over ten years of experience as life coaches behind us, here are ten such habits Angel and I have seen thousands of people struggle with, again and again:
- Pretending like everything is OK when it isn’t. – Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like giving up? There’s honestly no shame in it. You are not a robot; and even if you were, you’d still need to stop for maintenance sometimes. There’s no shame in admitting to yourself that you feel exhausted, doubtful, and low. This is a natural part of being human. The simple fact that you are aware of this means you are able to turn things around. It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there’s no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again. Keep reading →
August 17th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. Because it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Oftentimes things have to go wrong in order to go right. In fact, if the road you’re traveling is always easy, you’re likely going the wrong way. Some part of you knows this is true. Nevertheless, when life gets especially rough, it can be hard to remember.
So print this post out and let it remind you that, in the darkest moments, every failure is only a necessary step toward success, every discovery of what is wrong directs you toward what is right, every arduous trial today exhausts some tempting form of future mistake, and every adversity will only hide, for a short time, your ultimate path to happiness and success.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when life gets rough:
- It is your resistance to “what is” that causes your suffering. – Remember, happiness is allowing yourself to be perfectly OK with “what is,” rather than wishing for and worrying about “what is not.” “What is” is what’s supposed to be, or it would not be. The rest is just you, arguing with life. Think about that for a minute. This means your suffering only ever occurs when you resist how things are. You cannot control everything that happens to you; you can only control the way you respond to what happens. In your response is your power.
- Where you are right now is a necessary step. – Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on our ideals, that it is not where we should be or want to be. But the truth is, where you are right now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow. Keep reading →
August 13th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
I don’t regret the things I’ve done.
I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance.
In the end, more than anything else, we regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were too afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.
Think about it…
The big opportunity you procrastinated on. That friend you never called. Those important words you left unspoken.
You know what I’m talking about.
Every one of us has experienced feelings of regret. But it’s not too late to set things straight. We’re still here breathing. Today we have an opportunity to change tomorrow. Right now we can choose to erase regret from our later years.
It’s time to make the best of each and every day. Here are some ideas to get you started – ten things you can start doing now that you won’t regret 10 years down the road:
- Explore what YOU love, and own it. – If you spend your life trying to define yourself by what someone else loves, you’re going to be miserable. Try things – try everything. Explore. See what makes you hear music inside and what makes your heart swell, and then go do it. Find out everything you can about it. Find other people who love it too. If you waste time pretending to like something just because other people you think are “cool” like it, you’re going to end up with the wrong people and circumstances in your life. Love what you love and be yourself, and you will end up with a lifestyle and relationships that make you truly happy. Keep reading →
August 10th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
Your behavior is a little thing that makes a big difference.
In our line of work, Angel and I hear from hundreds of coaching clients every month. Through this experience, we’ve come across scores of toxic behaviors that push people away from each other. And we’ve witnessed the devastation these behaviors cause – to relationships, to personal and professional growth, and to the general well-being of both the individual behaving negatively, and to everyone in their life.
Let’s be honest – we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at one time or another. None of us are immune to occasional toxic mood swings, but many people are more evolved, balanced and aware, and such occurrences happen only rarely in their lives.
Whether your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or just a once in a blue moon phenomena, it’s critical for your long-term happiness and success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving negatively, and consciously shift your mindset when necessary.
The twelve most common toxic behaviors we see are:
- Being envious of everyone else. – Don’t let envy (or jealously) get the best of you. Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. There is nothing attractive or admirable about this behavior. So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s. Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition. You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Keep reading →
August 6th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff
I don’t need a certain number of friends,
just a number of friends I can be certain of.
Some of my best friends are family, some I’ve known since I was a kid, and others are newer friendships that continue to grow stronger by the day. Although they are all very different, every one of them is extraordinary. I wouldn’t be who I am today without these people in my life. And despite the fact that I know this, I often take my best friends for granted. I forget to thank them, for almost everything. So here’s my attempt at setting the record straight:
- “Thank you for making so many ordinary moments, extraordinary.” – Yes, sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary, just by doing them with the right people.
- “Thank you for always giving me the extra push I need.” – A best friend is someone who will inspire you to be who you always knew you could be. Keep this in mind. Anyone who helps you make your half-hearted attempts more whole-hearted through kindness, commitment and teamwork, is a keeper.
- “Thank you for telling me the truth.” – Remember, being honest might not always get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones. Too many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths. But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie. Best friends tell each other the truth, always. Keep reading →
August 3rd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff
Live by choice, not by chance. Make changes, not excuses. Be motivated, not manipulated. Work to excel, not compete. Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else.
Over the years, likely without your conscious knowledge, you have adopted self-limiting beliefs that are quietly sabotaging your best efforts for personal growth. If you pay close attention to your self-talk, these beliefs will reveal themselves in the form of excuses.
Truth be told, if you really want something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse… and then you will live with that excuse every day of your life.
This is precisely what makes so many of us unhappy.
Angel and I speak with hundreds of coaching clients and blog subscribers (subscribe here) every month, and this one self-defeating ailment always rears its ugly head eventually – excuses, excuses, excuses. And I’m not above the excuses either. I catch myself making them sometimes too. But that’s the key – we have to catch ourselves before our excuses become hopeless regrets.
So let this be your wake-up call.
Stop making excuses for why you can’t get it done and start focusing on all the reasons why you must make it happen.
NO more negativity. NO more laziness. NO more quick fixes. NO more blaming others. NO more “I’ll do it tomorrows.” NO MORE OF THESE EXCUSES:
- “It’s too late.” – It’s never too late to live a life that makes you proud. If you don’t learn anything else from this post, learn that. We get one shot at this. There’s no age limit on changing your course, and to settle in and be stuck in a life that isn’t authentic is a tragic waste. Honestly, it’s never too late or too early to be who you are capable of being. There’s no time limit – you can simply start and stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. You can make the best or the worst of it. It’s up to you, so make the best of it. Do things that startle you. Feel things you’ve never felt before. Spend time with people who help you grow. Live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, have the courage to make a change. Keep reading →