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Choosing A Life Path

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Choosing A Life Path

How prepared were U for life when U left your parents’ home and went out on your own?  Maybe U went to college first, then out into the world, or maybe U went right into the workforce and started earning a living.  How did U want your life story to go back then?  I would guess that U have learned a lot about life and about yourself since then.  Do U wish U had taken a little more time to think about your future and plan a few things before starting out?  What do U tell you children about planning and about thinking and having a strategy for their lives’?

The company I founded, LifeLongU™, creates and distributes guides, workbooks and some videos which are designed to help U develop yourself into the person U want to become by helping U define who U will be as the main character in your own life story.  We realize that everyone is on a path in life, but maybe not a path that includes continual self-development and improvement to becoming a better person and learning to do things they may not yet be able to do.  This takes planning, usually some education or training and also some specific action.

Going through any of the LifeLongU™ programs is taking action.  It is U educating yourself on how to plan your tomorrow and your future life.  It is your first steps to becoming the person that will do the things your main character in your life story does and working on a plan to become the person who does them.  It is taking action, deciding on the better paths U want to take and moving in those directions.

What we want to help U achieve by going through our workbooks is to really think about what U want your life story to be in your future, look at some pathways that interest U and then learn more about them.  The truth today is that U can have multiple paths to follow and most of us do.  U can study to learn a specific trade, skill or talent, but U don’t have to stick with it your entire life.  U can change and go down a different pathway by adding different skills, knowledge or talents.  Maybe even change your entire direction.

Will U become the main character in your life story after going through one workbook, probably not.  But it may be your first big step.  To become that person, U need to take more steps and U need a direction to go.  Right now, U may be at the “crawl-walk” stage of your life planning.  Everyone starts moving forward by learning to crawl and walk, right?  Then they learn how to run, then to drive and maybe even to fly.  There is a first step U need to take.  Crawl, then walk, then run, then drive, then fly.  When U learn and put into practice all U can, U will go farther and faster than ever before.  Who knows what your true potential really is in your life or in what stage U reach it? 

Our workbooks and guides were created to help U become aware and to think about some of the things U may want in or for your own life and to provide some additional ways to learn even more about yourself from other individuals.  Learning more about the different topics will help U become better prepared for your future.

Many individuals have been introduced to different opportunities throughout their lives. The more skills they have or the more prepared they are to act on those opportunities, the better off they may be in their future.  We want to help U be prepared, to have a plan and to work your plan.  Things will come up, and some rain will fall, but by having a plan and communicating that plan to your loved ones for their support as U work through it, U should be able to weather any storm and bring more sunshine into your days.  It might sound a little hokey, but it really is that simple.  Understanding where U want to go and how to get there, learning as much along the way as possible and allowing others to help U is part of life planning, and it all begins with taking a first step in the right direction.

Part of the life planning process is to simply walk through the many areas U will undoubtedly go through in your own life.  U will work and have a career, and U will have to deal with money, finances, health, and relationships.  Hopefully, U will have a life outside of work — maybe some traveling, seeing new things, exploring the world and nature, or maybe developing new or strengthening current beliefs.  If U haven’t already, U will begin to fully understand the fulfillment U can get by helping others.  U will also grow older, and, at some point, your life will come to an end and U will move on.

Having a life plan now will help U be prepared to face many more events in your life. It does not have to be like it was when U first left your parents’ home.  A plan effectively worked throughout your life will enable U to achieve much more than without a plan.  U are going to live your life either way, so why not have some plans that help U become who U want to be in your future.  Be that main character in your own life long plan and story and reach your full potential.  Decide on who your main character will be, pick your directions to go and take your first steps and work to become that person.

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU.com

Here are our workbooks and guides:2017-07-24_0540 2017-07-24_0545 2017-07-24_0557 2017-09-02_1528 2017-07-24_0543

 

 

 

 

 

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Confidence

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Confidence

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”, Henry Ford

People who are self-confident tend to be admired many times by others and can inspire others with confidence.  They can appear to be more of a risk taker because their confidence allows them to face many of their fears head-on, unlike those with less confidence.  They typically are full of positive energy regardless of what they are going through in life.  They simply see that the world is filled with options and opportunities and believe their glass is at least half full.  What a great way to go through life!  Having more confidence should be on everyone’s list of goals in their life plan. 

Think about this: if U don’t believe in yourself, why would U expect others to?  Self-confidence is a state of mind that comes from a belief in your own abilities, skills and experience.  It can be improved through training, talking with other people and personal development. 

Here are some things that will help U boost or increase your confidence levels.  Some of them might sound very superficial, but they work:

  • ¨ Groom yourself properly; showering, shaving or putting on makeup is somewhat of a basic thought, but when U do these things, to the extent of your own style, U feel good about U, and that helps your confidence.
  • ¨ Now that your body is clean, the clothing U put on is also important and can build your confidence.  Dressing for the occasion and to your own style makes U feel good about yourself, U feel more successful and others may see U that way, and again, will increase your confidence.
  • ¨ Think and act positively, it builds; don’t think or act negatively, it destroys.
  • ¨ Much confidence comes from knowing who U are, your values, your principles and the direction U want your life to go. When U study the material for an exam thoroughly, U are confident U will do well, right?  When U prepare a life plan, which helps U understand in which direction U want to head, that builds self-confidence as well.
  • ¨ Life is filled with many challenges that need to be overcome, don’t look at them as problems; instead focus on the solutions that bring the challenge under control by your terms.  That change in view can make all the difference.
  • ¨ Be generous to others.  Giving makes us feel good inside, and our gifts can help others in need.  Confident people give and help others.
  • ¨ Become an active person.  Exercise regularly, get out and go places, meet others, and engage in your life.  All of these activities build up your confidence and self-esteem.  This is your life; enjoy it, don’t hide from it.
  • ¨ Explain something U understand and know well to others.  Maybe U are knowledgeable on a specific sport, have a hobby where U have an above average level of experience with or U experienced something unique that U can share as somewhat of an expert. 
  • ¨ Work on developing yourself into the character U see as your future self in your own life story and make U a better U as part of your life long plan.  Add more knowledge, develop more skills and create new experiences in your life.  When U work harder on U, U will feel more prepared to take on and deal with anything that comes up with confidence.

Summary of Things That Build Confidence:

  • ¨ Positive thinking, looking for the good in things
  • ¨ Work on becoming a better U
  • ¨ Add exercise and activity to your life, be active
  • ¨ Meet new people
  • ¨ Give yourself credit for being U
  • ¨ Avoid negative people, places and thoughts
  • ¨ Learn from mistakes, (“all of us” make them)
  • ¨ Develop plans, take action and do things
  • ¨ Be prepared; creating a life plan will help with this while also building confidence
  • ¨ Learn a new skill or ability

U Can Learn More About Confidence by Reading These Books:

By Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU™

 

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Passion

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Passion is an exciting word, isn’t it?  “PASSION”!  It elicits several different meanings, but for purpose of this discussion we are referring to the non-sexual meaning of your true passions, which are those powerful emotions of extravagant fondness, enthusiasm or desire U may feel for doing or experiencing a specific thing.

Living life every day without interacting in an area that is not part of your true passion can be very monotonous.  Isn’t enjoying those things U truly love, partially, what living is all about? 

I have always loved being by or on the water, after all I grew up in Minnesota, the “land of 10,000 lakes”, but for various reasons I never did.  So, after my divorce, I had a work opportunity on Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina.  My passion for being by the water, walking on the beaches, watching the sunrise and set and feeling the wind on my face, rose to an all-time high.  Within seven months, I took more than 2000 photos of what I saw there, and I still could not get enough beach time.  That kind of passion might live in each of us.  For me, I did not realize it was a passion, or something I simply liked, until I experienced it fully and over a long period of time.  Taking so many pictures, hurrying to get through work and get back to the beach to once again experience the peace and beauty I felt there was evidence enough for me that it was one of my passions.  

Your passions, of which there may be several, may not fully manifest in your life until U have an experience that heightens them to a level where U feel them for the true passions that they are.  Until then, U may just see them as preferences or things that U may like to do, given the chance. U can learn to distinguish a passion from a passing interest by asking yourself whether it is something U can take or leave depending on the situation or whether it would really matter to U if it were not in your life. 

When U spend time in your passions, your thinking is much clearer, and your mood and overall attitude is so positive that the other things U do in your day are also much more enjoyable, even if they are not passions of yours.  Just spending some quality time in your passions may be all it takes to turn all of the parts of your life in new positive directions.  Figuring out what your passions in life are should be one of your goals in your life plan.  Spending time in your passions will affect your life in powerful ways and will certainly make your days more enjoyable.

When U think about where your true passions lie, think about what U want your life story to be.  By thinking this way, U will likely be able to identify your passions.  Are U a world traveler, a writer, a photographer, a business person, a social worker, a minister, a teacher, a mother, father, wife or husband?  Do U love to help others, help animals, or help the environment?  Are U an explorer?  Do U like to fish, hunt or pick up seashells on the beach?  Do U love fashion, being in top physical shape, or working on cars?   Your life story is yours to tell all the world.  It is up to U to live up to your full potential and do what U were made to do — and if U are passionate about what U do, U never know how far U really can go in life.  Follow your passions!

Find your passions by:

  • Finding out who U want to be in your life story
  • Owning your uniqueness, include that in your life plan and be the person in your life story
  • Understanding that waiting for a better time or for more money to enjoy your passions are just excuses; U will be happier if U enjoy your passions, U simply need to figure out how best to make that happen
  • Thinking about what U really love to do and then go do it

Some Books You Might Want to Read on Passion:

  1. The Minimalist Mindset:  The Practical Path to Making Your Passions A Priority and to Retaking Your Freedom by Danny Dover
  2. GUTS:  Find Your Greatness, Beat the Odds, Live From Passion by Sam Bracken
  3. The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose by Janet and Chris Attwood
  4. Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

 

By Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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Make Your Time Count

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Time

U know, of course, that there are only 24 hours in any day, and how U use them is totally up to U.  However, it certainly may not feel like that is the case.  It is very common to wish U had more time, and in most cases that wish can be granted by simply becoming more organized and following a few simple rules regarding the management of your time.  Below, we have listed several things U can do to give yourself more time or to get more done in the time that U have. 

Your time is yours, and U are given only so much of it.  That fact is very important to remember when U are working fervently on an activity that is not part of your life plan.  Think about what U are doing.  Does it add to your life long plan and story?  Many of us get caught up in “ruts”, and it may take a serious life event (such as the illness or death of someone close to us) for us to recognize that things need to change.  At that time, because of the event, we may be open to big changes in our lives. 

Have U ever sat down and thought about how U spend a weeks’ worth of your time (equal to 168 hours); from Monday to Friday and also Saturday and Sunday?  The short and easy task of quantifying what U do can tell U a lot about what needs to change.  LifeLongU™ has developed a time template in Excel™ format that can help U identify where your time goes.  It allows U to walk through your week and allocate time spent in different categories, and it helps U by adding it all up and showing U how U are using it.  This quick activity will show U how your time is being spent, and then it’s up to U to change the patterns.  U can find it at http://lifelongu.com/life-balance/time-spent/.

For instance, say U come home from work and sit down, and watch a couple of hours of TV, because the day was long and U needed a break.  If U do that every day during the work week, that is five days multiplied by two hours per day, for a total of 10 hours of used time.  What could U have done with better use of that time.  This little example becomes even more striking when U multiply it by 52 weeks per year, now U have 520 hours vested in watching TV.   How else could this time be used? 

It goes without saying that we all need a break to relax from time to time.  But too much time spent on activities that do not help U grow into that person U see yourself becoming in your future can be viewed as wasted time. Now if U decided to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike during this TV time, that would be different.  What if U replaced some of that TV time and read several books on things that interest U like a hobby, biography or something on your career.  What could U learn with better use of that time?  Time spent together watching a great movie or TV series can be quality time with your loved ones as long as U feel it is time well spent.  This is just one good example of an area where it is easy for us to get into a rut without realizing it and waste a lot of our time.

Your life, itself, is a special gift and the remaining time U have left, is also a special gift.  If U learn to use it wisely, your life will benefit greatly by doing so.  Make your time count!

 

Here is a short list of things that can lead to U having more TIME:

  • ¨ Set several main goals for each day
  • ¨ Prioritize those goals, and work on only the most important one until it is complete before starting the second-most important, and so on
  • ¨ Pick one goal, work only on it until complete
  • ¨ Check your email less often
  • ¨ Learn to say no
  • ¨ Delegate to others and let them help U
  • ¨ Understanding how U currently spend time
  • ¨ Automate as many things as U can
  • ¨ Understand that there really is no more time and that having “more time” is really a matter of how to use the time U have in better ways
  • ¨ Eliminate those things that waste your time

 

U can learn more ways to free up your TIME by reading these books:

¨ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R Covey
¨ Time Management by Brian Tracy
¨ Time Management from the Inside Out, 2nd Edition: The Foolproof System for Taking Control for Your Schedule & Your Life by Julie Morgenstern
¨ 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students & 239 Entrepreneurs by Kevin Kruse
¨ Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind by 99U

 

To learn more about this and other pathways of self-improvement, download our Personal Development Pathways Volume I guide at www.LifeLongU.com

Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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Happiness

Happiness

Happiness is really a mood or state of being.  It is a way U might feel at a certain time, and that feeling is described as positive, good and joyful.  Many people think about being happy or strive to be happy all the time.  But that really is not realistic all the time, for what goes up, must come down, right?  If U were always happy, that state of being would become your norm, and that level of happiness would start to feel average.  This would create a need to feel above average and a new level of happiness would be needed, and that could go on and on.  Experiencing the down times that come in everyone’s life as well as the up times helps each of us to know the difference and appreciate the happiness we feel.  Having said that, we certainly can program or arrange our days to have many things in them that do make us feel happy.  Just make sure U don’t keep doing the same things every day, or that “average” feeling described above might appear, replacing your happiness with feelings of monotony.

Keep in mind also that U are always the one constant whether U have or don’t have happiness.  If U always stay in the same places, work the same routines and visit the same establishments, it is very likely that your happiness will be low.  Try changing your routine, do a new activity or do some traveling.  Experience some new things and make some new friendships.  These new experiences increase your probability of more happiness while also making life more interesting.  It only takes one happy event to make U feel good again.  If U don’t plan for a little change in your life, U may realize one day that U are in a “rut” and doing the same things over and over.  The stability of that rut might feel comfortable, but if U allow for some changes once in a while, things in your life might really feel great most of the time.

Everyone’s version of happiness is also a little different.  Going out and socializing or having a great meal or conversation with family and friends can be good sources of happiness for many people.  Staying in good shape, eating healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep all can help U improve your mood and maintain a positive outlook, which all work in your favor to experience happiness.  But again, U create most of the happiness in your life and many times it does not take much effort on your behalf to be happy. 

Stay away from negative thoughts and negative people.  Negative situations and experiences do come up, and U must deal with them, but U should focus on treasuring your positive experiences and creating more of them.  Happiness is an emotion, and U can create emotions through activity, so do something U love and enjoy.  Look around, see what others do that makes them happy.  Give it a try, if it works for U too, so much the better. 

Being happy also means adhering to your value system.  If U are constantly going against your own grain every day, doing things U don’t really believe U should be doing, that type of activity can be a negative emotional drain on U and prevent U from being happy.

Finding your true purpose in life, sticking to your value system and working to develop yourself into the person U truly want to be in life can help U feel happier.  Working with a good life plan can help U do this and more.

 

Here is a short list of things leading to happiness:

  • Express gratitude on a regular basis
  • Practice being more optimistic
  • Engage in frequent acts of kindness
  • Savor joyful events
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Keep learning new things
  • Stay physically fit
  • Create goals and accomplish them
  • Be part of a group and get to know others

U can learn more about HAPPINESS by reading these books:

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to Act by Russ Harris
Paths to Happiness: 50 Ways to Add Joy to Your Life Every Day by Edward Hoffman
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau
The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky
The Happiness Mindset: 12 Strategies for Happiness & Success I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Younger by Brandon Stanberg

Gary Kiecker, LifeLongU™

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A Secret for a Great Life

A Secret for A Great Life

The other day I was on one of my long walks enjoying the lake area I am so blessed to live by and saw a father cutting grass on a riding lawn mower, which by itself may not be so note worthy, I admit.  However, helping him and maybe getting in his way a bit were two of his children; both kids where about 6 to 9 years old and each were also driving a small vehicle; one a small look-a-like riding lawnmower – kids version and the other a kids small ATV.  The dad riding his mower had just come to the end of his cut with both kids following close behind and as he turned around they emerged right in his path and there the three of them sat looking , laughing and enjoying an intimate family situation. 

I like seeing these types of things as they remind me of when my own son who used to walk next to me at about that age and push his own child version of a lawn mower as I walked and mowed our own lawn. Those types of intimate moments were great to share with someone special and great teaching moments although they never felt like I was a teacher.

At this age young people are so impressionable and they want to be and do things that their parents do.  It is important that parents set the right example, do the right things and that they explain how to do the right things to those young impressionable minds, even as those minds grow much older.  Understanding how things work in the world in which we live is important when building a life for oneself, wouldn’t you agree?  I believe we are always both the teacher and the student and should try to take advantage of any opportunity to learn from others as well as share with others something you may know.

As you read this article, I assume you are much older so I would like to ask you several questions.  Can you name three things that you want different in your own life right now…three things that you may want to change about how your life is going?  Maybe there are several skills or abilities you would like to learn or do better.  What about your physical condition, your health and diet or what about traveling to some of those exotic places you always wanted to visit?  Is your career where you want it to be; how are your finances; is retirement even an option?  Are you happy with your relationships; are you really in them?  How do you treat those people who really love you?  What about your spirituality, what do you really know about the Bible, God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and life after death?  What about your generosity, your giving to others and simply helping others more; maybe educating and helping direct some young impressionable minds?  You know you may want many of these things in your life or want to simply make some changes to your life, so why haven’t you done it? Why are you where you are right now?

To make large changes in one’s life or to attain better than average results in the world you need to have some sort of a plan.  We have all heard things like, “you don’t build a house without first having  a blueprint” or “you don’t drive to a new destination without having a map on how to get there” so why would you want to live the only life you have without some kind of a plan to follow and guide you?

 Think for a second about a young person just starting out in the world, maybe it’s your daughter, son, niece or nephew or better still it’s you when you where much younger and that person comes to you for advice about how to live the best life story possible.  What do you tell them?  The advice you give them can literally change their future.  You wouldn’t say”just take things one day at a time and see how it plays out”, would you?  Remember, you love this person and they respect you enough to ask you for your life’s advice.   

Wouldn’t you sit them down, explain that life is filled with choices and that there will be decisions they will need to make everyday which can really affect their future, that it’s important to make good choices.  Wouldn’t you tell them that there will be many challenges to overcome and what works best is to be prepared for those challenges…to have their mind, body and soul in tip-top working order so they will be better prepared to make the best choices?  Wouldn’t you try to show them that to get to this state of life readiness, they really need to lay out a plan?  They need to have a sense of direction of what they want from their life and to have some level of self-awareness and that starting with a basic fundamental plan for their life is a good place to start. 

Wouldn’t you explain to them that it’s ok to make mistakes, that everyone makes them, and that we must learn from them and try not to make them again…that our mistakes are usually events that provide us with our best education in life and we should view them that way.  Wouldn’t you tell them how important it is to forgive others who made mistakes as well, remembering that none of us our perfect. 

Wouldn’t you point out to them that in life, discipline is very important…doing certain things correctly and over a long period of time can eventually provide a very positive return on that investment of their time, money or effort?  That saving and investing a portion of their income, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and staying active and living a life true to their values, beliefs and having integrity is very important. To never give up on faith, hope and love that they all have their place and are needed.  

Wouldn’t you say to them that the world is moving very fast and as you get older you will realize how fast time truly moves by and you should not waste it but use it wisely.  Wouldn’t you tell them that learning new things, studying topics they are interested in and developing themselves throughout their life is very important in their future years and will constantly add to their lives in ways they may not understand right now. That it is never too late to learn or experience something new.  Wouldn’t you try to explain that as they got older, the knowledge and experiences they will absorb in the years to come will make their view on life different and they will be able to see so many opportunities around them they would never otherwise have seen. You might also try to explain to them that as they grow older they may also start to see and feel some regrets about not doing some of the things they should have done many years ago. 

You may also at this point try to convince them of the importance of writing things down and to draw up an actual plan of how they want their life to go; how they want their life story to unfold; what they may want from their life.  This plan for their life may help remind them and re-focus their attention to the things they may want to do now and later in life, they will really appreciate that they actually did the things that were on that plan. Also to communicate this plan to their spouse and ask them for their plans so you can both truly enjoy the lives you both want to live and merge both your plans into one.  As they grow older they will have that life plan to look back on and see where they were, what they did and didn’t do and how they got to where they are today.  They will see many of the challenges and options that were presented to them and what decisions they made and how things turned out and be able to learn from their pasts.

As you go over this with them would you not start to think and ponder to yourself why you are not doing this very thing as well right now?  You know it is never too late to start planning for tomorrow and beyond.  You know there are things in your life that you want to do, things you want to experience and there is still a person you are yet to become.  You know all this, so make your plans and live your own life story. Write down some new exiting chapters and then go live them. This is, I believe, a secret to a great life.  Always remember, it is never too late to make plans, accomplish goals and become a better you.

Make sure to leave comments about this article below.  You never know whom you might help when sharing your own life’s wisdom and by all means, have a talk with a young person and explain to them the importance of plans and executing on them. 

Here is a nice quote and wish to end with by Jonathan Swift, “May you live everyday of your life”.

 

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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A Family Helps

A Family Helps

In life, most of us will go through some very difficult times, as the world seems to present us with many different challenges to overcome.  We might believe we have no control over them, and they may seem to keep happening and occurring just to us.  In this life, one of the toughest challenges many of us face is the death of a parent or child. 

A death of this type is a very tough event to get through, whether expected or unexpected.  This event happened to me and my family in April of 2017, several weeks before I wrote this article, my father passed away, so I know from experience that it can be very trying emotionally, even for someone that has usually been emotionally strong.  It’s been said that U really never miss something until it is gone, and I believe that is true in the case of people as well.  When someone U love dies slowly over a period of time and U see them gradually change into something that really is almost unrecognizable from who they used to be, it gives U a new appreciation for the person they have been.  When U can see the constant pain they are in daily, the discomfort and the uncertainty in their face about what is happening to them every time U visit or see them, the inevitable end might be viewed as more of a blessing; after all, part of life is death, whether it comes slowly, quickly, expected, or is a surprise.

I come from a family of eight; my parents, one sister, four brothers and myself.  Because my siblings and I were all born within a period of about eight years, we grew up very close and shared almost everything.  By today’s standards, we were not a family of means or even a middle-class family, but our parents were good providers and we always had more than enough.  We understood the value of work, and we were very happy and content with what we had.  We grew up on a farm in Southwestern Minnesota and at one time or another we had almost every animal U might imagine on a Minnesota farm.  We raised almost every type of fruit, vegetable or flower this part of the country allowed us to raise…and we loved it (except for picking cucumbers – seven acres of cucumbers that is).  Most of us kids played sports growing up,  and our parents supported those efforts.  There was a healthy atmosphere of competition among us.  Even though we were allowed to play seasonal sports, that did not excuse us from the many daily chores we all were required to do; animals needed to be fed, gardens needed to be tended and work needed to get done. We always kept pretty busy.   Because of our work and playtime together and as well as our close ages, we grew up as a very close family, and a family can help get U through the tough life events that happen from time-to-time.  When one of us is feeling really down, the others can help out by simply being there to help dispel the negative energy.  I like it when a family can come together, help and supporting each other.  I believe that is the way God intended it to work.  

The relationships among the members of a family are very unique.  Except in the case of adoption, U really cannot pick your family.  When your parents combined their genes to create U (and your siblings if U have any), U had nothing to do with it.  All of your natural siblings come from your bloodline, and from your parents.  That makes your relationship unique right from the start.  Many siblings grow up together, spending a lot of time with one another at an early age; whether they want to or not.  This, again, makes the relationships in a family unique to that family.  Your immediate family may also go through some very specific challenges while U are spending all that time together growing up, which is a very impressionable time for children and young adults.  What happens to a family and how they handle it also creates a specific relationship within the members of the immediate family.  Remember, U did not pick this family, U were born into it and developed from your experiences growing up together.  I believe God wanted U to be there for a reason.  U may never come to fully understand that reason; nonetheless, U are part of the family U were born into.  For all of these reasons, a family relationship is very strong and unique.  It is so unique, in fact, that U might find U can move away for many years, then come back to your family and see your yourself and your parents and siblings falling into the same roles each of U held within the family when U were growing up years ago.  That is a strong relationship. 

There are many other ways that a unique family relationship helps through tough challenges.  In events of crisis or when someone in the family is faced with challenges, the family can be there to support each other.  They share the family history of being together for many years and can almost instantly understand other family members’ reactions or needs to challenges and experiences.  

A family member can help at these times, like no other person can.  Of course others, outside of the immediate family, can also help.  But it remains true that immediate family have a unique understanding of each of the other family members and might better understand how best to help in a specific situation.

Besides the immediate family that U were born into, there are also several other layers making up a strong family.  If your family members are older, U or your siblings might already be married and maybe even have children.  Your spouse, your own children and maybe even their children are also very unique.  U can feel this when U hold your spouse or your child.  Just try holding your first grandchild in your arms and tell me U don’t feel the unique relationship that exists. It’s there, I know.  Every time I hold my nine-month-old granddaughter, just holding her makes many things in life okay.  

If U are lucky enough to still be surrounded by those family members U grew up with after starting a family of your own, U may find that U now belong to two or maybe even more immediate families.  Each of the members of those families knows U in a different way and may be able to help in challenging times differently.  They may not even have to do anything other than just be there.  Try to allow your different families to help U.  It may be good both for U and for them.

Still further removed, but still members of a family, may be your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  In my case, between my mom and dad and their siblings, we had 13 aunts and uncles which multiplied into many many cousins who also had many children and our overall family became very large.  If U have a similarly large family, U naturally cannot see all of them as often as U may like, so the relationship again is unique.  U are brought together because of family births and bloodline and are somewhat pushed into developing a relationship that turns into family friendships.  This type of family relationship, when all its members are brought together can be very supportive and fun.  As in the case I just recently experienced with my father’s passing, a large family can really help.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the type of family I have discussed in this article.  If that is U, then maybe U were meant to be the start of a new family?  Remember, Adam started out as one, God added Eve to his life and then they were two.  Give that some serious thought.

As a Christian, I also believe that God plays the bigger part in how we might deal with things like this.  Our faith in Him and His Son Jesus Christ, along with the Holy Spirit, makes us members of another family, one that makes our overall family very strong, especially when we all share that faith.  When your earthly family combines with your Heavenly family, U will be able to get through anything that the world has to throw at U. 

A family helps a lot.  Make sure to allow them to help U and make sure U help others in your family.  As they say, giving feels better than receiving, and I believe this works in families too.

I wrote this brief article to help me better understand the relationships I had with my family and to help with my own grief with the death of my dad.    Family is important to me and it should be to U as well.  U only have one, and it’s usually much larger than U think.  May God bless yours!

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU, Inc.

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Strive for Excellence

 Strive for Excellence

What does it mean to be a man in today’s world?  What do you think a woman thinks a man should be?  If you are a man, what plan do you have for your life?  Does it include your family?  Are you looking for your perfect mate?  Do you have a plan to make your life better?  Are you striving for excellence?

Dr. Wayne Dyer writes that to attract the relationship you want you need to be that yourself. If what you are looking for in a relationship with another person is an exquisite sense of love, be that yourself.  He goes on to say that”You do not attract into your life what you want.  You attract what you are.” So what type of man are you exactly?  What are you attracting?  Is this what you want or need?

 

Some women say they need

I myself have been on several dating sites off and on over the past several years after my divorce looking for that special someone and I have read many profiles (to many) of what a woman really is looking for from a man.  I have to tell you, some of these are spot on and need to be brought to men’s attention.

Here are what some women say they need:

  • I need a man who is striving for excellence in every aspect of life.
  • I need someone who is striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation & mental stimulation. I don’t need a simple-minded man.
  • I need someone who is striving for excellence spiritually because I don’t need to be unequally yoked…believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster.
  • I need a man who is striving for excellence financially because I don’t need a financial burden.
  • I need someone who is sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded.
  • I need someone who has integrity in dealing with relationships.  Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man.
  • I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God.
  • I need someone whom I can respect.  In order to be submissive, I must respect him. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn’t taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive…he just has to be worthy.

 

Are You Striving for Excellence

I think this is a fantastic list for men to be striving for and discussing it with a woman they want a relationship with — many things have changed in the woman/man relationship over the years.  God created man / woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden to work together.  As time went on I think many of them stopped working together and woman got placed in the home and men out of the home.  In the not too distant past, the world wars helped to bring women back out of the home, but now most men and woman do not understand how to work together…the rules seem to be different and most do not understand how to respect the other much less plan for growth of them both, together.  That is a big problem I fear.  But one that can easily be overcome, if we as men, as leaders, as examples to others, take control of our own life; which means being responsible for those in our family and create a plan of always striving for excellence; then we can show the women in our lives that plan and work together with them and have the lives we both want.

As the list above shows you, many women want a man who shows he is a man by working at becoming a better man, does the difficult things, has strong convictions, morals and values, has integrity and treats her with respect.  Many women want you, the man, to show her you have a plan for excellence, a plan for your future and that you are working on it and showing progress.  If you are such a man or striving to be such a man you more than likely are on the right path to attract the woman of your dreams into your life, if she is not there already.  You will earn or have earned her respect and probably her love.  If you continue to further develop and work that plan throughout your life, you will most likely will keep her love or make it stronger.

If you are not doing many of the things listed above, why not?  What makes you think you should be made responsible for another person’s life if yours is a mess?  Why should a woman make herself submissive to you, when she and probably others, see the way you truly are. 

If you roll out of bed each morning, at 7:30AM and I mean roll because you are so out of shape, you certainly are not striving for excellence.  If you think your female mate is supposed to keep herself in tiptop shape for you, why are you not doing the same for her?  Remember, your body is a temple for God (1st Corinthians 3:16) and it’s your responsibility to keep that temple in good shape, for Him, for her and for yourself.

If you spend 2-4 hours or more watching TV shows or sports each day, you are not improving your mind in a way that will help you and your family prepare for a changing world, and it’s up to you to make sure your family is prepared.  You are the leader of your family, man up. 

If you have not owned up to your debt or taken responsibility working out a plan to repay it, again, you are not striving for excellence.  You may have to figure out how to create more revenue streams for yourself by adding a second job or by developing a business that provides more income to pay off the debts, but this is your responsibility, own it.  Yes, it may take some time, but share your plan with your mate and assure her you have a plan, and then work the plan.  Not having adequate income to repay your debt is just not an acceptable answer, it’s an excuse.  Don’t go there, figure it out, it’s what a man does. 

If you and your family are not going to church or your wife or partner is going by herself, you are abdicating your spiritual leadership role of a man and may be losing the respect of this woman.   Do you make sure to pray at meals giving thanks for the food on your table or pray with her together at night thanking the Lord for your blessings while praying for others in need?  This is what a Christian man does for and with his family.  He leads.  He strives for excellence in everything he does.

 

Take a Break, But No Pity Party

Am I perfect, absolutely not; have I ever been dealt what I thought was a raw deal and felt a little to sorry for myself, unfortunately at times, yes.  However I am a person who believes in striving for excellence and am on the path to being the best I can be in each area of my life, and this is a terrific feeling.  Creating a plan to strive for excellence in everything you do and then doing it, is what gives you self respect and makes you a better man while growing you to your new potential.  It’s your responsibility to do this, it’s what many women want you to do and it is the right thing to do.  Try it; I’m sure you will agree.

Everyone does get a break from time-to-time or may need a “pass” on something they did or something that happened to them; we all can understand that.  But don’t let it eat you up and certainly don’t expect a “pity party” to be held in honor of you going through something.  Be a man, man up and take control of things; you will keep yourself respect and feel better.  You will show others you are striving for excellence and a man of your word.  You will show the woman you love that you are worthy of her love, she will admire you more, look up to you with respect and things will be much better for it. 

Striving for excellence in all things is the manly thing to do.  Take responsibility for yourself, be worthy to others, create your plan to strive for excellence and then get it done!

 

If you would like to discuss creating a plan to strive for excellence in your life, please feel free to contact me at Coach@LifeLongU.com

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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See Yourself as a Business & Life Professional ?

See Yourself as a Business & Life Professional?

Have you ever thought of yourself as a professional in anything? A business & life professional?  What do you do really well?  What do you want to do really well?  Do you have a passion for something specifically, an area of your life that when you are in it, you simply smile and feel good?  Do you consider yourself to be a professional in it?  Is your goal to become a professional in it?  Business & life both need professionals.  Firstly, to simply show what can be done in a certain area of life or business and how well it can be done and secondly, to work with others and help them achieve a level of professionalism in their own right.

In the book, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, Gladwell repeatedly claims that to become an expert at something, one needs to spend approximately 10,000 hours practicing it in the correct way.  What have you done or are doing that will at some point add up to around 10,000 hours of your life (Sleeping & eating do not count)?  Is it in business or in life?  Are you at 2,000 hours?  5,000? Closing in on your 10,000?

To understand how much time this is let’s quickly look at the time involved in practicing your craft.  Let’s take 8 hours a day x 5 days per week x 52 weeks per year = 2080 hours.  Now take 2,080 x 5 years = 10,400 hours.  So if you practice your craft everyday for 8 hours per day for 5 straight years you can expect to become an expert in it.  Does an expert equal a professional?  I would think so. 

However, this articles intention is to have its readers think about becoming a professional, not an expert; becoming a professional in some sort of business or work activity and also in their own life.  Understanding that any area on which you focus on most is what materializes in your life is an important first step to developing a path toward becoming a professional or accomplishing a goal within business and life. You need to have focus on it, spend time working on it and use discipline to keep you on a path leading you toward your intended destination.  Some might consider this manifesting your reality, but this focus, time and discipline on any area of your interest will certainly improve your level of expertise in that area and if enough time is spent, you may become an expert in it as well.  Make sure you look at your choices thoroughly and chose the best path for you.

So what is it that you would, could or should be a professional at in business and life?  Considering the business side of this question first may be easier for some.  You may have worked in an industry or trade for some time and consequently have become very knowledgeable on how it works, who the movers and shakers are, what fundamentally drives it and how the puzzle pieces all go together within it.  Maybe you simply understand a specific characteristic or function within the industry or trade that marks you as a professional within it to others. Possibly you have a desire to become a professional within an industry or trade that you have little knowledge of yet, but have plans to learn, grow, focus, spend time on and use your discipline to develop skills, acquire knowledge and become a professional.  All these are good, just make sure you have an understanding of what you are doing, where you are going, are you adding value to others and are you learning new information on it for yourself as you grow as a business professional within this industry or trade.

What about the life professional?  What does this mean?  Let’s face it; you have “ONE” life to live.  You have one shot at making your one life the best you can make.  It’s up to you to become a professional at your own life.  Each of us as our own life professional has a responsibility to ourselves and to others around us to understand what makes you, the “You” professional.  Do you know what you want in your life?  Do you know your life’s purpose?  Not just any purpose mind you, “YOUR” life purpose.  What are your beliefs, your faith, your values and your morels?  This is what can make up your core.  What lifestyle do you live?  Is that the “YOU” professional you want others to see you as? Your friends… your family… your loved ones… your God?  Do you need to fine-tune your life professionalism?  Are you happy with whom you are inside?  Do you enjoy how your body feels, looks or the amount of energy it has daily?  Are you eating to live or living to eat?  Are you spending way too much time watching the world go by living vicariously as a spectator?  Watching TV, movies, sports, game shows, etc…?  Remember what we said above about what you focus on materializes in your life.  Don’t waste time sitting down and watching life go by spending 1,000’s of hours becoming an expert doing something like watching TV.  Make your life about getting involved with others, helping, sharing and truly living it.

Being the best life professional “YOU” you can be is your responsibility.  Don’t take it lightly.  Here too, you need to have a plan and focus it on personal self development, always growing who you are.  Understand what “YOU” need to do to be healthier and wiser for your own benefit and for the benefit of others.  Others depend on you being at your best; make sure your best gets better every day and then share it.  The “YOU” you are today, is your reality.  If you are overweight, out of shape, feeling down or don’t yet realize your life’s purpose, this is “YOU”.  Develop your vision of how you want to be in your future, create plans on how to make this happen, and begin your new journey.  Delays cost you time and that time cannot be replaced once gone.  The new “YOU” life professional that you can become is always in front you.  It’s the new “YOU” you can become tomorrow if you add something to the “YOU” today.

Working towards being the best business & life professional I can be is a lifestyle trait I certainly want for myself.  Sharing this trait with others and seeing them grow as well is worthy of a line item on anyone’s bucket list.  I hope you add it to yours! 

If you would like to know more about LifeLongU, please visit www.LifeLongU.com

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU

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The Attitude – The Passion – The Motivation

The Attitude – The Passion – The Motivation

In the business world and also in life, there are three words that can ultimately define who you are, what you will actually do and how successful you may be at accomplishing it.  Those words are Attitude, Passion and Motivation.  Each has its own unique meaning for each of us, however the simple dictionary meaning is:

Attitude a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something

Passion:  any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling

Motivation:  having a strong reason to act or accomplish something

 

These three simple words can have powerful effects on our feelings and ultimately in how we see the world and achieve different things in our lives.  They lay deep within each of our inner most self and can be positively or negatively triggered for our own benefit, but also for our detriment.  How well each of us understands and manages these three words can easily progress us far beyond where we may currently be in life.  Have you ever thought about what they mean to you?  How do you see the world around you? What is your attitude toward it? What do you desire?  What really is your passion?  What makes you get up early or stay up late each day or night?  What motivates you?  These are questions you may have thought about at some point in your life.  What have you done about providing a solution or simply answering the questions for yourself?

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970), a very influential writer on personal success once wrote, “Whatever a man can conceive and believe he can achieve.”  I myself do believe this with all my heart.  If the Lord provides you with the ability to conceive an idea that helps or benefits your fellow man, He will also provide the way for you to achieve its end.  It might take a while for you to accomplish it and in the end how it gets accomplished may look nothing like what you originally thought.  But if you have the right attitude, are passionate about what you are trying to do and are properly motivation to accomplish what you have set out to do, I believe it can be achieved. 

 

The Attitude:  a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something…

Have you ever heard the saying, “Your attitude determines your altitude?”  How you see things has an effect on you and where you go.  When you see someone in an RV or camper, do you wonder where they are going, what new exploration and fun awaits them; or do you wonder if they are coming home to the grind of their everyday ordinary life?  When you are in an airport, do you see everyone coming home or leaving for an exciting adventure?  These are the eye glasses of “attitude” that shape how you are viewing the world and they have an impact on your life. What pair of glasses do you have on?  Are you a glass half full or half empty type of person?  Are you always looking for more to put in or always thinking its way to full? 

A positive attitude of wanting more will tend to make you focus and see many more opportunities in the world around you.  Everyday each of us interacts with others and events happening around us which may present opportunities to do good, to help someone or maybe even create a better mousetrap that has great business potential for you and your family. 

A negative attitude, on the other hand, will make your world much smaller.  You may tend to turn your head away when opportunities present themselves.  You may move away from challenges that will make you grow and become the person you have always dreamt about being.  A negative attitude may make you trust people much less and not see the good that does exist in most people.  How would you describe attitude to your children?  What are they learning from you as they see your attitude toward others?  What advice would you give your best friend about their attitude? The way you think and see the world will impact your life and others around you, make sure it’s positive. 

 

The Passion:  any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling…

What is your passion?  A compelling positive feeling to do something is what we are discussing here.  What are you compelled to do in the world with your life?  Do you know what that is?  Are you working toward that end?  Are you feeding that passionate emotion you have to do your great thing?  Maybe writing, painting, singing, coaching or helping others are what you are passionate about?  Maybe starting a business is your passion?  Maybe you have a strong compelling emotion to help those in need in another country or make sure your family is all happy and well cared for?  Maybe you have a desire to share a belief with the world and that has become a passion?  Maybe you are passionate to simply see the world and experience all its wonders?  There are many things we can feel passionate about as you can see. 

What if you don’t know what your passion is?  What if you don’t have one?  What if you don’t know how to tell what your passions are?  A simple test at http://thepassiontest.geniusu.com/ will help you decide this.  This is a fun quick test that sorts you through 30 different passions and helps you select your top five.  I did it and it works pretty well (for me at least).  Have fun learning something new about yourself!

 

The Motivation:  having a strong reason to act or accomplish something…

I am an avid believer of listening to motivational speakers in person or on audio books.  I have quite the digital collection and use them often.  I will almost always be carrying an earpiece to listen to them on my iPhone or iPad when I am out.  Listening at the right time can get me to do things I normally may have stopped doing long ago, if I were to continue to go it alone.  It’s kind of like have a spotter when weight training…”just five more reps” the spotter may say.  They will make all the difference and they will. 

What motivates you to go the extra mile?  We are not talking about doing the things you would normally do everyday…like eating, sleeping etc., although, hunger and fatigue can certainly be motivators.  What we are talking about is going the EXTRA mile; the mile that is above and beyond the norm, the average or beyond what others do.  That is the extra that makes its special, the extra that has an impact for you.  What motivates you to do this extra? 

I have often heard a story of motivation that goes something like this:  a man is out walking and decides to take a short cut across a pasture.  Unknown to him, in this pasture is a big bad mean bull (soon to be Mr. Motivation).  He quickly sees the error of his decision, but he is too far in the pasture to make a retreat.  His only course of action is to run to a large tree and somehow jump to the lowest hanging branch (about 11 feet up) out of the reach of the bull.  The bull has now made eye contact with the man and begins to charge.  The man runs with all his strength and speed to the base of the tree and with the bull now only feet behind him makes a mighty leap up toward the branch….and misses….luckily, he catches it on the way down. 

This is motivation, wanting to go the extra mile, putting in the extra effort and is what may get you what you are looking for.  Sometimes it is negative, like with the story of the bull.  What truly motivates you?  Money?  Fame?  Love?  Family?  Success?  Fear?  No Debt?  Freedom?  Health?  A Bull?  Use it to go your extra mile, it pays off in the end.

Do you see how important these three words are?  How having the right attitude in life is?  Can you see now how when combining your positive attitude with your passions how focused your life may become?  Can you imagine the opportunities that you may be able to see and act on when doing this?  Now add in your motivations.  When you are properly motivated, doing something you are passionate about and have the right mental attitude toward it, the possibilities can be endless.  When you have all this going for you, and you drop in an idea, event or purpose, just think how gratifying it can be for you…That is the real power of these three words: attitude, passion and motivation. 

I hope you are able to align your attitude, passions and motivations toward a common goal of your choosing.  If one of the three is missing, misaligned or negative it will lessen your chance of succeeding at what you are trying to do. 

To be able to work and do something you love for the right reasons can add so much to your happiness and enjoyment in life.  I feel it’s important for each of us to learn to do this as well as teach how it can be done to others if we can.  So please continue to learn, grow and share with others.

Good luck!

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU.com