By Scott Westerman
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“You are today where your thoughts brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” ~James Allen

“You’ll get there a lot faster if you recruit some accountability buddies!”~Yours Truly

Oh how hard it is to turn thoughts into actions. Earl Nightingale’s famous maxim, “We become what we think about,” is one of the great philosophical truths of the age. But in some cases, turning thoughts into actions can be a challenge, especially if those actions require us to step outside our comfort zone and expose ourselves to discomfort.

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Building Mental Toughness

On October 2, 2016, in The Pass It On Podcast, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman
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What is the single greatest factor that can help you face any challenge and take major steps in the direction of any goal? Mental toughness. But what is it? And how can we integrate it into our daily life?

Former Navy Seal, Mark Divine, writes that mental toughness is a skill set that can be learned. In his book Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level, Mark breaks it down into four ideas, micro-goals, breathing, positivity, and visualization.[1] Let’s explore each in turn.

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The Unknown Zone

On October 2, 2016, in Monday Motivator, The Pass It On Podcast, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman
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“Discovering the next chapters in our adventure stories are often hard because we only know what came before.”

The memories that Facebook serves up via their “On This Day” page can be at once both joyful and sobering. On any given date, I can look back over the last eight years and be reminded of the highs and lows.

A friend recently commented on this, noting that a few short years ago, she was struggling in a job she didn’t enjoy. Whereas today, she’s living the dream, feeling professionally fulfilled and happy within a corporate culture that is in sync with her values.

Back then she was living in “The Unknown Zone”. The current reality wasn’t working. And future prospects were far from clear.

How many of us are in The Unknown Zone right now?

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On September 25, 2016, in Monday Motivator, The Pass It On Podcast, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman
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“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” Unknown

One of my favorite success quotes is attributed to the actress Mae West. “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

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The Ever Present Past

On September 18, 2016, in The Pass It On Podcast, The WestermaNation, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman

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Scott’s Maxim: “Most of our bad juju is self created and a result of continuing to think about what we might have done, instead of what we still can do.”

Class reunions are a time for reconnection and reflection. As the years pass, people grow and change. Many of the people we knew during high school and college end up leading very different lives than we expected. Your popularity then doesn’t guarantee your happiness now. Outcasts and introverts can blossom. The “most likely to succeed” sometimes don’t.

Memories inevitably flood back as you recognize now unfamiliar faces you used to know. And if they open up to you about their adventures, regret may creep into the conversation.

What’s keeping you up at night? That’s on the short list of questions I ask alumni whenever we are one on one. Almost always the answers end up being about things that might happen and things that have already happened.

Worrying about the future is useful only to the extent that we channel that energy into productive activities that influence positive outcomes.

Worrying about the past is a total waste of time.

Wise sentiments. Now, if we could just convince ourselves to believe them.

The “ever present past” keeps us from living in the now. We relive past mistakes, things we wish we had not said or done, missed opportunities, hearts we have broken, people we offended, anger felt toward those who have hurt us. And not just what happened yesterday. Many of us are still paying penance for things we did years ago.

This is wasted energy.

Life eventually marks us all as damaged goods. Since we become what we think about, focusing on what might have been, or worrying about what might be can cement self fulfilling prophecies. The most productive thoughts are centered in the now. What will you do today to take one step in the direction of being the person you hope to become?

The happiest people is see at class reunions are those who have come to terms with their past, accept the realities of their current situation and are executing a plan to get happier.

If you have lost something important, find something else that fills the void in a healthy way. If you screwed up, learn from it. If you hurt someone, apologize. Then, let it go.

Easier said than done. But we only have so much time and our energy reserves are finite. Every moment you spend thinking about the past, or worrying about what might be, is a present moment lost.

And life happens in the present.

Have a great week!

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Keep Breathing

On September 11, 2016, in The WestermaNation, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman
Do you know someone who seems to love to wallow in self pity? There are people out there who thrive on unhappiness. Most of them don’t do it intentionally, but they like nothing better than a good audience to listen to them tell you how horrible their life is. And boy, can they tell the story. They weave a tale of woe that could depress the most positive thinking motivational speaker.

Here’s a fact of life: Sometimes life will suck. Bad things happen to good people and good things sometimes happen to bad people. Just don’t get attached to the “suckyness”. At times like these I often think of the parable about the student and the master.

“I’m having a terrible day,” said the student.

“Keep breathing. It will pass,” said the master.

The student did as he was taught and within a few days he found himself enveloped in warm feelings of happiness and fulfillment.

“I did what you said, and today I feel wonderful,” said the student.

“Keep breathing. It will pass,” said the master.

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be,” writes Cheryl Strayed in her book book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. “Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”

I would add this: Acceptance may sometimes feel like an empty room. But If we keep our hearts open, something magical ultimately walks into that room to fill the void.

“In the end,” writes Jack Kornfield, “just three things matter: How well we have lived, how well we have loved, and how well we have learned to let go”

When you must do things you don’t enjoy, do them to the best of your ability, have faith that with determination and practice you will discover a path that suits you, and understand that all things.. both good and bad.. are temporary.

Happiness is nothing more than a state of mind you choose to manifest. So is suffering.

Do your best to manifest good things. Be prepared to ride out the inevitable storms with courage and grace.

And whatever your current situation, always remember that nothing ever stays the same for very long.

Keep breathing, it will pass.


Living in The Now

On September 4, 2016, in Monday Motivator, Spartanology, The Pass It On Podcast, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman
It’s easy to peer into the unknown and worry, to look in the rearview mirror and regret.

We can become paralyzed if we imagine some inevitable future pain we must endure, fearing that traumatic scars, real or imagined will damage us beyond recognition. We sometimes choose to give up on a dream, rather than risk the heartbreak inherent in the inevitable failures that show us the way to making them come true.

How can some people find seemingly unending reserves of energy and courage to try again and again, even as an objective mind tries to convince a subjective heart to give up?

The Swiss Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, challenges us to remember, “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

Those choices can make all the difference.

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Chasing Happiness

On August 29, 2016, in The Pass It On Podcast, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman

From 2012, here’s one of my most requested messages about, defining, bracketing and “chasing happiness”. It’s a good shot in the arm for anyone starting something new, or perhaps assessing the current chapter you’re writing right now in this great adventure we call life.

“In essence, our lives are about defining, bracketing and chasing… Happiness.”

(From my keynote at the 2012 Choices Conference in Grand Rapids.)  As I write this I’m freshly returned from a trip to Asia. 48 hours ago, I was standing on a street corner in the center of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Here you’ll find an example of nearly every nuance in the broad spectrum of humanity. Men and women in $1,200 suits share the same sidewalk with burquas and Nike t-shirts. Every form of commerce is in play here from oil executives and government ministers to prostitutes and peddlers of Rolex knock offs. The obese and the underfed, the well educated and the uneducated, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Confucians and I suppose more than a few atheists, all breathing the same air, existing elbow to elbow.

What, I wondered, do all of these people share in common? When you peel away the Maslow pyramid and get to the essence of these millions of concurrent lives, what is the common question that is in the back of everyone’s mind?

So I decided to find out.

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Prioritizing People Who Care

On July 17, 2016, in Monday Motivator, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman

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“Prioritize people who care, in the end they will be the only ones there.”

Giving hearts can be trapped in un-productive relationships. The flip side of compassion can sometimes be a tendency to hang on to someone when you should be letting them go.

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Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

On June 26, 2016, in The Pass It On Podcast, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman

We got an email at work this week warning us to stay away from the legendary Brody Square dining facility at Michigan State. There are several thousand Methodists on campus for the church’s annual convention and, as I found out when I ventured to Brody last night, the place was jammed.

So I took the email’s advice and went to Snyder Phillips tonight. As I was walking in, a collegue was walking out. “500 kids just came in there for dinner,” he said. “You’re about 5 minutes too late.”

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