My Life’s Priorities (part 2)

by Michael D. Hargrove Print a PDF of all of the Life’s Priorities exercise worksheets here Reduce your priorities into ONE word for each (you may want to combine or eliminate some of them). Remember this is your life and your priorities. Their definition need only be relevant to you. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Now go back and rank them (on the right) in order based on the following criteria: the definitions ,values, rules and beliefs attached to each of these priorities. © Copyright 2013 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc. e-mail Michael Hargrove Follow on Twitter @MDHargrove Sign in to Friend Michael...

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My Life’s Priorities (part 1)

by Michael D. Hargrove Print a PDF of all of the Life’s Priorities exercise worksheets here or use notebook paper.   List your life’s priorities or everything in life that’s important to you. Avoid using one word answers like “peace,” “happiness”, “love,” “success”, etc. at least for now. Be specific and detailed. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. You can use the back of this sheet if you need to. Next Goals Page © Copyright 2013 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc. e-mail Michael Hargrove Follow on Twitter @MDHargrove Sign in to Friend Michael...

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Life’s Priorities Exercise

by Michael Hargrove     Tweet   “If you don’t stand for something, then you’ll fall for anything!” – Jim Rohn Unfortunately, most of the people we know fall into that group of souls who simply go from day to day, situation to situation, gladness to gladness, crisis to crisis, reacting to whatever is thrown in front of them. They never really think about what they want, what they believe, and what they stand for. They sort of live their lives in a fog, neither overjoyed nor miserable, devoid of any real passion, asleep at the wheel. Furthermore, we have found that two of the most common causes for talented, energetic, driven, goal oriented people to consistently fail to reach a particular goal are either that particular goal was someone else’s goal for them or it was in conflict with their life’s priorities to begin with. When we set goals without first establishing our life’s priorities, we unwittingly set ourselves up for a frustrating series of subconscious self-sabotage, or worse yet, we achieve the goal and are miserable because of it! The following is one of the first exercises in our workshop entitled: Make A Decision: Goal Setting Simplified. It takes about 30 minutes to complete for most and requires a quiet place with no interruptions. Afterwards, we need to take a few minutes to really assimilate these new found priorities of ours. The benefits of completing this exercise are many. One of the most obvious is that all of our decisions (major and minor) become infinitely easier to make. When we come to a fork in the road of life, we simply have to choose the path that is in harmony with our life’s priorities. Another benefit is the depth of character this exercise fosters (an explanation of this follows). One more is that we’ll now have a “things to do” list for our lives. Pretty neat, huh? One advantage, perhaps not so obvious, is that we now have a much better chance to really listen to another’s point of view without fear or prejudice. They may talk to us for 20 minutes, and they may even be able to change our mind, but they can’t change us. And that’s an extremely empowering place to operate from!   Our passion for life is in direct proportion to he level of character we posses. Character is the security we have based on our integrity to our own value system. Times of crisis do NOT build character… they simply expose it. Stephen Covey Link here for first Goal Sheet  © Copyright 2013 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc. e-mail Michael Hargrove Follow on Twitter @MDHargrove Sign in to Friend Michael...

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Attitude Is Everything

By Francie Baltazar-Schwartz   Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed Him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.” “Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested. “Yes it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.” I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live. “Weren’t you scared? Did...

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The Changing Nauture Of Friendship

(Found on the Internet without an Authors Signature)   As we have grown and changed so have our ideas on friendship… 1. In kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one. 2. In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls. 3. In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up to the class bully. 4. In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus. 5. In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn’t have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with Nasty Nicky or Smelly Susan. 6. In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of the bus for you. 7. In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to Nick or Susan, your new crush, and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said no you wouldn’t have to be embarrassed. 8. In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had forgotten about. 9. In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball cards so that your room would be a “high schooler’s” room, but didn’t laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears. 10. In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went with you to that “cool” party thrown by a senior so you wouldn’t wind up being the only freshman there. 11. In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed their schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch. 12. In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you rides in their new car, convinced your parents that you shouldn’t be grounded, consoled you when you broke up with Nick or Susan, and found you a date to the prom. 13. In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pick out a college, assured you that you would get into that college, helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go… 14. At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you. 15. The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you clean up the bottles from that party, helped you sneak out of the house when you just couldn’t deal with your parents, assured you that now that you and Nick or you and Susan were...

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Another Random Act Of Kindness

by Michael D. Hargrove     Tweet   I want to share with you a true experience that changed the way my friend Tom lives his life and indirectly my view of the world. At the time, Tom was waiting tables at the Newport Bay Restaurant on the waterfront in Portland, Oregon. As he was listening to a couple he had been serving quietly explain how they had somehow misplaced their money and didn’t have a single credit card on them, his thoughts ran from how to avoid an embarrassing situation in a crowded patio of patrons to how this was going to absolutely kill his check average for the day. “An absolutely lousy way to end a shift”, he thought. His focus was riveted back to the flustered couple as the woman asked, almost whispering, “What do you do in situations like this?” Tom didn’t have a snappy answer to this but before he could even give them a look of dismay, a man sitting at the table next to them calmly said, “Dishes.” They all looked at the smiling face next to them and he jovially repeated, “There’s always dishes you know.” Well, the laughter that ensued was just what was needed to lighten the heaviness of the predicament for just a moment. Then the couple nervously rattled off a bunch of alternatives, “I know the bill’s for $57, but we have $40 dollars in the boat, we could give you that and one of our driver’s licences and come back later with the difference or we could leave you a $300 pair of binoculars as a deposit until we can get back here with a credit card or one of us could stay here while the other goes back to the dock to get our money or…” “There’s another option.” It was the man sitting at the table next to them again. “There is?” Tom asked. The man continued, “Yes there is…I could put your meal on my credit card, you give me the forty bucks and then mail me back the difference later.” Everyone paused in silence for what seemed like forever but Tom knew was a mere heartbeat or two. The lady broke in with, “You’d do that? Well, we could also leave you the binoculars or something…I mean we will pay you back. We own several businesses all over Portland and…” “Oh, please!” the man interrupted, “If I thought for a second you’d rip me off for twenty bucks, I’d never have offered.” All the while this man was smiling a smile that lead Tom to believe he knew something that everyone else was oblivious to. Not a sneaky kind of Œget one over on someone’ smile but one that seemed to be born of…well, pleasure. This guy was thoroughly enjoying this exchange. As the husband ran off to their boat to get the $40, Tom took the man’s credit card to ring up the bill. In his mind, Tom was half expecting the card to be maxed out or stolen. It wasn’t. He wondered what would possess someone to do this for a couple of complete strangers. Then he thought, “Well, my check average is saved but so much for the tip!” When he returned with the voucher and a pen, the other...

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Ten Rules For Being Human

by Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott   1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period. 2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.” 3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.” 4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson. 5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned. 6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.” 7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself. 8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. 9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust. 10. You will forget all...

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Parents: “Be Where You Are!”

by Michael D. Hargrove – Soccer Dad     Tweet   When you really struggle to find 60 coaches for around 700 kids, you get to hear the words “I’m sorry but I’m just too busy” a whole lot! You want to say, “I’m busy too pal! I’ve got kids, a spouse, a business, a workout regimen, I speak all over the country, I coach baseball, soccer, indoor soccer, take the kids to gymnastics and swimming lessons, volunteer at the kids school, and I’ve volunteered to help put the club’s teams together. Okay, tell me again what it is you do?!” But of course, you can’t. You just smile and politely say how you understand how tough it is to raise a family these days…and how tough it must be to have a job like that…and how tough it must be to be them…and you go on to the next call. One point I’m fond of making in my workshops is to: “Be where you are…remember where you are and why you’re there!” The truth is, we’ve all been too busy at one time or another for the people and times we know in our hearts are the most important. Actually, I’ve been just as guilty as the next guy. We all must realize that the time to be involved with our kids is NOW, because it won’t be long before our little ones are asking us for the car keys and calling us assholes under their breath. Now, I know that no matter how talented a speaker I fancy myself to be, I can’t get through to everyone. Still, I find myself frustrated at the loss of adequate words to help others (even some of my dearest friends) come to see that these are our moments most precious. Oh, everyone says that they understand alright, but actions are the true test of understanding. So in the hope of getting more of us to act, I want to share with you someone else’s words (Michael Foster’s). I share this story to encourage us all to make the time now to notice, to listen, to encourage, to cheer, to hold, to love, and to be involved with our quickly maturing little ones.   Will You, Daddy? It’s strange, the things you remember. When life has crumbled suddenly, and left you standing there alone. It’s not the big important things that you remember when you come to that, not the plans of years, not the love or the hopes you’ve worked so hard for. It’s the little things that you remember then, the little things you hadn’t noticed at the time. The way a hand touched yours, and you too busy to notice, the hopeful little inflection of a voice you didn’t really bother to listen to. John Carmody found that out, staring through the living- room window at the cheerful Tuesday afternoon life of the street. He kept trying to think about the big important things, lost now-the years and the plans, the hopes and the love, But he couldn’t quite get them focused sharply in his mind just now-not this afternoon. Those important things were like a huge nebulous background in his mind. All he could remember now was a queer little thing: nothing, really, if you stopped and thought...

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Lessons We Learn From Geese

Lessons from the Geese, was written in 1972 by Dr. Robert McNeish of Baltimore.   Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a chevron or “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.   Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.   Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.   Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Lesson: We need to make sure honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.   Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock. Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are...

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When My Son Looks Over His Shoulder

by Michael D. Hargrove     Tweet My oldest son, Zachary, seemed to be getting worse. He is a great kid, quite big compared to other seven year olds, with an equally big heart and a wonderful laugh. Lately, though, Zach seemed to be sad, withdrawn, and grumpy. He whined a lot more too. Every day he seemed to become more and more negative, even occasionally being mean to his younger brother, Jeffrey, which, unlike other kids his age, was completely out of character for Zach. My numerous inquiries into how he was feeling and what was wrong were always met with the same sad; “I’m okay, Dad.” Finally, his despondent attitude became much worse and more the norm rather than the exception. I realized something had to be done. “You teach this state management stuff to perfect strangers,” I thought to myself “but you can’t even help your own child? C’mon Michael, walk your talk!” So, I asked Zach to join me alone in our living room to have a “heart to heart chat.” Now announcing; “Let’s have a heart to heart chat” to any child, let alone one who presently is prone to the fatalistic, is not the best of ways to embark on any meaningful exchange. Zach’s sullen expression, pathetic groan, and lethargic lope into the living room was my first clue to that fact. Still, determined to resolve this problem, I plodded on with all the finesse of a tornado. “What’s the matter with you, Son? You’re always in such a bad mood lately. What’s wrong?” Zach’s response was somewhat predictable; “I’m okay, Dad.” I pressed on, “You just haven’t been yourself, Zach. Is there something wrong at school or maybe with one of your classmates or could it be the baseball team?” “Everything’s fine, Dad,” he said quietly, “Can I go now?” Becoming frustrated, I said in a harsh manner, “Look, something’s making you sad, what is it?!” He looked at me with what was probably the saddest eyes I ever recall seeing and said, barely audible, “I just had a bad day is all.” Now maybe it was the feeling of frustration or ineptitude or the simple pig-headedness of wanting to “fix it no matter what” but whatever it was that was that was in my way, I simply didn’t see how disheartened and vulnerable my lovely little boy was at that moment. So I said to him, with the dismay and insensitivity only a father can master, “I don’t understand how a kid can have so many bad days in a row? I mean, you’re just a kid!”  Probably the wrong thing to say. Certainly the wrong way to say it. With a curious mix of disgust and tears in his eyes, Zach’s reply hit me with a force that literally made me wince, “Of course you don’t understand, Dad, I don’t expect you  to understand how anyone  can have a bad day!” This time I heard my son. I heard the hurt in his voice. I heard his aloneness. I saw the tears welling up in his eyes. And I knew he was right, at that precise moment, I didn’t  understand him! I recognized this as a magic moment for me and my child. So, in a quieter, much more compassionate voice I...

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