Hopes and Dreams

So last April, when we did the posts on hope and change, one of the people that we wrote about was my friend Rob Skiba. He was the dreamer I met in the winter of 2003. He had moved here to start over and he worked for years traveling the world working for East-West Ministries, which is based here in the Dallas area. Now he is working on the film project called Seed. He has many adventures with his wife Sheila. They are partners in life and partners in business.

What I wanted to bring up in this end-of-the-year theme of hope is this question: How are you with hope in your dreams? They say it is darkest just before the light. In our lives, it is so hard keep our dreams alive in a world where people have to work two and three jobs just to keep food on the table. We never know how close our dream is. Well it’s the end of the year and for so many people they hoped just to live through this year.

When it comes to dreams, most of us have bigger dreams than just getting through the year alive. I think back to the movie, Pretty Woman, where the old man is walking down through Hollywood, and you can tell he is aged. He is saying “Welcome to Hollywood. What’s your dream? Everyone who comes to Hollywood has a dream what’s yours?” When you think of a seasoned, older man who is asking you about your dream, that is a sign of hope.

So 2012 is just around the corner and a dream in your life should still be alive. Just the other day I was talking to someone from the Detroit area who was telling me of the struggles her city has faced over the past few years. Well she told me she still has a dream alive. That is hope; even with all that some people have been through they still have a dream.

What is the dream in your life that you need to keep hope in? Take a look back to see the post in April. See what Rob went through in his life. I remember days of walking out to see him in the hall at church because he really did not want to be around any encouragement. I remember the first dating relationship he tried after his divorce, and when that ended how he took it. Then I think back to when I was going through tough times and he had a good job. It was Rob who came over and paid to fix my car when I was almost walking in the winter time.

We will all have times of doubt in life, but the dream that is inside of us should always stay alive. If you feel like you have no hope, it’s time to grab hope the most. Remember it’s always darkest before the dawn. Take out a sheet of paper and write down your dream one more time and post it so you can look at it and remind yourself your dream is still there. Hope is the key to keep any dream alive. So what’s your dream?

I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time to live your dream, to love what you do and those you share life with. Keep hope alive in your dream and soon you’re going to be a RockStar in your world.

Be Yourself in a professional world.

Good Tuesday morning to you. Today I want to present to you a guest post from a very important person in my life. Gwynne she is my business partner, life partner, and most recently we started planning or her to become my wife. The great thing is I’m going to become her husband too.  Enjoy her ideas about Professionalism.

 Yesterday’s topic was about maintaining a professional demeanor, especially in the social media. When I read that post, I wanted to delve further into the idea of how and when to keep your personal self separate from your professional life. 

Whether you own a business or work for someone else, you will most likely find many times that you must hold back parts of your personal self when you are in the professional or business world. I know we all want to be true to ourselves and we don’t want to lie about who we are, but there is a time to reveal details about your personal life and a time to keep things to yourself. 

Let me give you an example. Like Tim, I am a motorcycle rider. I’m passionate about it – so much so that I don’t even own a car. That means rain or shine, I’m on the bike to get myself to work and some days I come in looking the worse for wear. It also means that I have to work out how to get into my professional dress after arriving at my destination on those occasions when I must dress up. 

I work as a Director of New Business for a national specialty retailer and am often on the road, in meetings with potential customers. My industry is a very conservative one: healthcare (my company operates gift shops in hospitals). The last thing in the world I can do is show up for a meeting in jeans, leather chaps, hair soaking wet from rain. But I also don’t want to sacrifice who I am – a Lady Biker – for a job, no matter how much I enjoy the job and how important it is to my family. That means sometimes I can be myself completely (regular office days) and sometimes I have to do a quick change into someone who makes customers more comfortable. And I have to be OK with it, not grumpy or unhappy. 

Even if you are self-employed, you will find there are times that you need to tone things down and put on a professional veneer. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. It doesn’t mean you’ve sold out and it doesn’t mean you’re lying about yourself. It means you understand how important your customer is and are willing to do certain things (including changing your appearance and demeanor) to make that customer or potential customer comfortable. 

There are lines we all must draw about how far we’re willing to go to succeed in a job. For example, I worked in the oil field for many years and saw women all around me advance because they were willing to sleep their way to a better position (if you can call it that). I wasn’t willing to do that and, in the end, I came out just as well by working hard and giving my best effort every day. 

When it comes to how you dress and how you behave, only you can decide how far you’re willing to go and what you are willing to do in order to keep your customers comfortable. Tim made a decision many years ago that if he couldn’t conduct his business wearing jeans, it wasn’t business he was interested in. That may seem pretty limiting but that is his choice and it is one that hasn’t hurt him. Now, he’ll work to make sure he has a dress shirt that’s ironed and ready for special events, as well as a suit jacket, but he always wears his jeans. 

It may seem like a very fine line, a tough distinction when deciding how much of yourself to reveal and how to present yourself in a business or professional setting so I’m going to give you a few pointers that have been helpful to me: 

1. When you work for someone else, their rules trump yours. I know it doesn’t sound fair, but if someone else is writing your paychecks, they have the right to ask you to dress a certain way. If you don’t like it, you have the right to look for another job. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Ross Perot’s company was known as one in which you had to wear a suit every day along with a tie. In the computer industry, where dress codes were more and more relaxed, this may have been a sore spot for some people but if they wanted the prestige and the paychecks, they conformed. 

2.  When you work for yourself and need customers, you must decide what is more important – their rules or yours. When you need customers, like when you’re starting out, it is important to make yourself as non-threatening as possible to potential customers, meaning you want to be at least somewhat generic in the things that don’t matter and, I hate to tell you, but for your customers, in most cases, your politics and your religious beliefs don’t matter. 

3.  It’s good to keep part of yourself just to yourself (and your family and friends). If you reveal too much, you lose your private life and it’s important to have a private part of you so you don’t get completely sucked into business. It’s not healthy to be all business, all the time, even if it’s your own business. You will burn out that much faster and if you reveal too much personal information, you will never be able to pull away. You will also have trouble separating your friends from business because there won’t be anything that distinguishes the two relationships. And, you can never un-say something once you’ve said it…or posted it. Better to say less than too much. 

Ultimately, only you can decide what is so important to you (wearing jeans all the time) and what is flexible (riding a motorcycle every day without anyone else having to know it). If you’re smart enough to create your own business or succeed at your job, you’re smart enough to know what to keep to yourself and what to publicize.

If you like to read more of great things Gwynne posts about try reading Lady Biker Travel. She tell stories of her travels as a female motorcyclist who only rides bike, she is just as unique of a person in life as me but she is better looking. So take her advice today to live your dreams, love what you do and become a rockstar in your world.

100% what are you giving?

I thought really hard this weekend on a great theme for this week. After thinking about it, I have decided to name this week: “Giving, Receiving, Planning and Growing.” I want to start off today by asking this question: “Are you giving 100% to what you are doing?” As I ask this I know many are going to say “I give more than that; I’m always giving more than I should.”
I want to break this down into three parts today to let you really look at yourself and answer honestly when you ask, “Am I doing all I can do?” Think about your work. Are you doing the best job you can do? Each day we get up and want to do better in our lives. We head towards a job, you may like it or you may not like it. Many people I work with want to change their lives; some are forced to change because they are in a start over point. The key we end up working on together is this: to start over successfully, you must work yourself up to giving 100% at everything you do. If you want to start over in life, want to get to a point in order to earn a better position, or want to open doors for the job or business you want to start, you must first prove you can do the one you are at now. One of the many things I liked about reading Tim Ferris’ book, The 4-hour Work Week, is that it talks about how many hours some of us waste each day on tasks that are not productive.
So if you have a job you want to get out of, first you need to become the best you can be at doing that job. You do this by doing what you are told to do, then doing it better than expected, then finding ways to do it even faster and better. Here is how this relates: if you are giving 100% at your job that means that you are not wasting time. Your boss isn’t paying you to play around on facebook or to read books. You are being paid to do a job; you need to be doing that job.
When I say “give 100%” I mean, give the best you can give. The truth is, when people say they give more than 100% they are lying. You can only do what you can do; that is the truth. More than that is impossible. There was an example I once saw that demonstrated in words how the numbers don’t add up to more than 100%. I looked for it but couldn’t find it. If you know of it, please leave it in the comments for me so we can both share it with the other readers.
Basically, doing your job at 100% is an example. Right now, if you say you are giving 100%, you are more than likely spending part of your day goofing off in some way (I know; even I do it). We always should be honest with ourselves about our work habits and commit to doing just a little bit more each day to improve. When we do that, we will become better and more efficient at what we do. Then when you leave work feeling satisfied, you will carry that to your personal life, maybe even start your side business or work on that dream that you always wanted to do.
The last thing I want to cover is the flip side: don’t overdo it in life. Giving 100% in all that you do is great, but you need to learn to focus on whatever you are working on and get it done; then move on. In the world we live in we tend to become so fast-paced that we end up taking on more than we can handle.
This weekend, Gwynne was able to complete one of the many Harley challenges we are doing. It seems that at any given time our riding group can be in the middle of three or four different riding projects or challenges. The problem with all of that is we usually give 100% at the beginning, but when a new challenge comes out we can tend to put the others aside to get this new one started. If we’re not careful, we can stress out about all these different challenges that were created just for fun!
The key to life, just like with our riding group, is you don’t have to do everything. Many of you have jobs where you have many different projects to get done. That would be a bit different than what I’m talking about here. Still, try to break them down and get one done at a time.
Another thing I read recently might help: If you are given a project and know you can have it done in, say, two days, don’t advertise that. Say you can probably get it done in three and a half days. It is better to give yourself the extra time; then, when it is done, take the time to review it before turning it in. Chances are you’ll still turn it in earlier than you planned and this makes you look better. But if you let them know you could do it in two days, even if you complete it in that time, next time you might be asked to do it in even less time or you may run the risk of not turning in your best results.
If you take your time to enjoy life, don’t spread yourself too thinly; that way you will have more time to enjoy the little things. Imagine if you gave yourself some space in life and were able to take one day of vacation after that weekend convention you went to. You could spend the extra day to let it soak in and meditate on the things you learned. Or you could take the extra day to be able to have your family come visit and see some of the sites.
I’ll finish up today by telling you how I learned to take some time in life to enjoy. I moved to Dallas in 1999. I had lived here for almost three years before I went to see some of the famous spots in Dallas. After three years of being here, a friend and I went down to see the place where JFK was shot and to walk through the museums. Have you seen the famous places in the town you live in? Before I moved to Texas, I lived less than 20 miles from Valley Forge. I only walked in that park one time to help a friend find a picnic area for an event. Don’t go through life in such a hurry you miss the places people always wanted to see.
Take time to start planning your life out; give 100% at your work and realize you have only 24 hours in a day. Stop trying to live 26 hours in a day but make good use of every hour you do have. Take some time in life to rest because our bodies need the rest. Enjoy your life. Find out what treasures are less than an hour away and go enjoy them with your family.
I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time to live the life you always dreamed of, to love what you do and those you share life with. Plan and strive to give 100% – the best you can – in everything you do to become the RockStar in your world.

Live like you were dying

Good Thursday morning to you. It’s another great day in the week of simple lessons. I was glad to be able to pull from three fairly tales to show great lessons so far this week. When I write these posts each day, I am usually focusing on some things I am going through, thinking about growth I need in a certain area of my own life. I know most people think of life coaches and people in the self-help industry as know-it-all experts. Well we are still learning about life, and I know I have learned a lot about life over the years. Yesterday’s post was one of those I still learn from. Today I want to spread to a subject that I deal with now and probably will till my time on this earth is gone.

This past weekend, something happened with two people I know and have spent time with. I would not say I was close friends with them and we didn’t spend a lot of time hanging out together, but I definitely knew them. Both of them have had an impact on my life over the past ten years. I have sat with them over dinner or drinks on a few occasions, had a few conversations with both of them. And, in the same weekend, both of them “decided” it was time to leave this planet. They moved on. One was late in life – an older man who had lived a full life. The other was a lady who was younger than me. She was an inspiration to all she touched. I’m not going to tell their full stories, but I will give you a few details about each.

Herb was a man who one day felt God had told him to go into a strange mission field, not far from his home. This mission field was to form a ministry to motorcyclists. He did that for the rest of his life. If you ever met Herb, all he asked for was a hug. If you helped in the ministry anywhere, he was the first to say a humble “thank you” for your work in spreading the message. The last time I saw him was last year when a friend of mine, Elton, passed away. Elton was working at the headquarters of the ministry Herb started. I loved to hear Herb talk about his ministry and his love for what was created out of his simple ministry was apparent. On Saturday his walk of service on this earth ended when he went to his heavenly home.

The other person was Cindy. The first time I met Cindy was at a Bible fellowship class at a church I attended in the Dallas area. She had a smile on her face that was contagious; when you were around her, you felt like you needed to have one as well. Through several events with our class I got to spend time with her. When I owned my car cleaning business I cleaned her car on a regular basis.

Over the years we lost contact, then two years ago I ran into her again at a Starbucks while getting coffee. She told me of her round with breast cancer. I had heard of her sickness, but this was the first we were able to talk again. I had coffee with her and she told me all she had been through, and how she was now being asked to speak at events about maintaining her faith through her battle with this disease. On Sunday her battle was finished.

So why am I writing about these people today? Well another old friend wrote me today to tell me they also had a health scare. It reminded me of the song that Tim McGraw sings about living like you were dying. I want to ask you, if you found out this year was your last, what would you change? Would you do some crazy things like skydiving, climbing a tall mountain, maybe even taking an ocean cruise?

When Gwynne’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease, her father retired (he was 65 but had planned to keep teaching a few more years because he loved it so much). They sold their home and moved to the Dallas area to be near Gwynne and her brother. Then they set out to make every moment as valuable as it could be. They took many trips, especially cruises which they had always loved. Now that her mother has died, her dad always says he doesn’t regret a single penny they spent on their travel because it provided so many rich memories he can hold onto now. They lived their lives knowing Eleanor’s time was limited.

In my life, I have plenty of things that I want to do but have not yet done. But If I got news like that, I could still say that I love the life I have lived; I am happy and have no regrets. If I could do it over, I would do a lot of the same things, making some of the same dumb mistakes, I’m sure.

Maybe in your life, you have a goal or a dream that you are chasing really hard. Maybe you are so set on reaching the goals you set for 2011 that you are not really living today. I work many hours to reach for the goals I have and I love the work I do. But I still take the time each Friday night to head out on a motorcycle ride with my friends, to get some dinner and just hang out and chat. Then a few of us head to Starbucks afterwards to have coffee and basically just shoot the breeze. Every few weekends, Gwynne and I hop on our bikes and ride. We head out like we will this weekend to do some fun things, carry a tent and our sleeping bags and camp out. Most nights when we’re home, we get the chance we play a fun game of scrabble with Gwynne’s dad. We enjoy our life, for we know we may not have tomorrow.

So I ask you, are you living the life you want to? Yes you have to work towards your goals; yes you have to do some things that are not fun at this time; yes some of your business deals fall through. We have tenants who have paid rent late, or left and walked out on a lease. We have bills come due when we hope to do something else with the money. It’s called life. But you can still live and enjoy it while it happens. So today’s simple lesson: Live like you were dying.

I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time to live the life you always dreamed of, to love what you do and those you share your life with. Start really living each day like you want, soon you will be the RockStar in your world.

Don’t Know What You Got?

Today I was sitting in one of my favorite Starbucks working on the new coaching program for 2012. While sitting here I got to talking with the person who was seated at the table next to me. We talked about what we do for a living. I’m telling him about writing this program for self-help and how I speak to inspire and motivate people. The first thing that he remembered was Matt Fowley, and he asked, “Do you live in a van by the river?” If you have never seen those sketches of Chris Farley doing the motivational speaker, I encourage you to go to YouTube and look them up. I watched a few yesterday and noticed how hard David Spade was trying in those sketches to keep from laughing at Chris Farley. The comedy of Chris Farley was just so funny.

This week as we went through a great theme of the grass is greenest on the side you water most, it got me to thinking of Matt Fowley. In all those sketches he would tell everyone their life was going to be so bad and they were going to end up living in a van down by the river. It is so hard for us to see the green grass at the point we are standing. We are always looking at what is wrong. Funny, have you noticed how you tell your kids how bad it’s going to be?

The great key to life is we all have to start from somewhere, and old Matt started from somewhere but ran his life in a bad cycle that ended up with him living in the van down by the river. Think about this when you are starting over. First ask yourself, “Do you know what you’ve got?” While looking up web names for upcoming programs today, I thought hard about how at one time this concept of Rocker Life Coach was unknown. The web name, the programs, the ideas, they were nothing but an idea in my head. Just like Facebook was an idea in Mark Zukerburg’s head. Like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod were ideas inside Steve Jobs’ head.

I started this just like they started their dreams. What we had were the tools inside ourselves to start the dream that the world now sees. Yes, we all want that instant idea to just pop up and we can take a deep breath and say “Success!” Well they all take work, just like this week’s concept of green grass. To make your grass green in your lawn of life you have to water it. Imagine all those people who have built great Farmville, and FarmTown game farms on the web. They all started with a small square of nothing, planted some seeds and let them grow.

So let’s take this week and look at your life. Do you want to make your life better? Are you sick of looking at your neighbor’s life and thinking his world is much better than yours? Let’s start with a plan and get there. 2011 is a little more than three-quarters of the way gone, but you can plan for 2012. Start by knowing what you’ve got now and start planning the next year. This does not mean that you give up on your goals this year; finish those you know you can. But if you already see you are not set up to finish them this year, start planning for 2012.

For five years of my life I planned to start an investment company. I wrote my goals every year. Each year, my plan was to buy two houses that year. It took five years to get set up for that. The year it happened was the year I noticed the tools that I didn’t have, and what I needed to get to make it happen. What tools are you missing that you could get in three months to start achieving that goal next year?

As we close this week out, make a promise to yourself that you will start planning ahead. No more waiting till it’s too late. Promise yourself you know what you’ve got inside you that is a dream and get a plan to make the dream work. If you want the dream to work, make not just one plan, but five or ten plans to make it work. Hire a coach to get those plans in action. If you cannot afford a coach, then find a coaching program that will work for you to achieve the dreams and goals you want in life.

Stop looking at what others are doing and talking about how they have a good idea. Stop the words from coming out of your mouth that say, “I could have come up with that.” If you had an idea and someone else did it, come up with a better idea close to it, or find a new idea. If you thought of one way, you have the mind to create another way. Don’t let the dream die. It’s time for you to live a life with green grass under your own feet. After all, if you don’t, it just may be the end of the world (if you listen to Family Radio).

I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time for you to live the life you have been dreaming of, to love what you do and those who you spend life with. Start with what you got to become the RockStar in your world.

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