“Could you have possibly poured any more salt in the wounds of our near-death marriage? My wife had already been hounding me about putting some action behind my words, and then you gave her just a little more fuel for the fire in our marriage that’s already about to burn to the ground.”
I waited for some context around the accusation, although I assumed that they’d read something I wrote or watched one of my videos.
Before I could ask, he took a piece of paper out of his pocket and began unfolding it. He read it as a man with a mission: prove me wrong.
“It’s also not just enough to watch personal growth videos or read personal growth information. What nourishes our brain is creating change in our lives.
I’m not speaking of radical transformations overnight. As a matter of fact, the greater growth comes from an ongoing pattern of seeking growth and making changes step by step…daily. Action steps… daily!”
I knew he was reading from a recent blog. I nodded with understanding and ask, “Does this mean that you’re doing everything you know to do to revive your marriage, and your wife hears you saying the right things? But your actions, behaviors, and choices do not match your words?”
He appeared stunned as if I’d spoken to her and demanded… “How’d you know?”
I smiled and leaned in, as I told him that this is a common misconception about what it takes to have success and fulfillment in marriages, in businesses, in finances, and in all other areas of our lives.
“We all hope if we read enough and watch just the right number of videos, somehow the knowledge will call us and eject us from the awful place that we find ourselves in.”
My client then professed, “Well, that’s the way I’ve always thought it would be! Ever since she said she thought we were done, I’ve read lots of things, I’ve watched some videos on saving your marriage, but nothing seems to be working.”
I empathized because I once was stuck in the same place that he was in.
I wanted better in my life.
I read about better things.
I even attended workshops and seminars.
Self help on self by self-helpers.
But…I too was caught in a drive-through microwave-mindset.
You pull up to a book and expect to drive in/drive out fixed, in the drive-through lane with a healed marriage. Or you pop the latest business tricks into the microwave and in three minutes? Expect your revenues to turn around…why of course!
Add to that that you never have to leave your recliner to change the temperature on your AC, turn your ceiling fan on high, surf channels. And if the timer on the oven goes off at an inconvenient moment in your show, you can ask Alexis to turn it off.
We want it quick, and we want it to require very little from us.
Newsflash! Extraordinary lives, marriages, businesses, and futures require diligent, consistent efforts and action.
“So, you’re saying that my problem is that I should be doing all the stuff I read about and watch…even when I don’t feel like it,” my client asked in a demanding tone?
“Well, I hadn’t gotten there yet, but since you’re doing the preaching, I’ll just say…amen,” I responded!
I shared with him what I’d like to share with you today.
Champions, understand the ABC’s of fulfillment:
There’s no question that the speed of technology, that’s vastly improved our lives, has also created an unrealistic expectation of how long it should take, to heal a lifetime of brain-branded habits. Habits and isms that control and/or influence every word, thought, action, or reaction in life.
There’s just no quick fix when relationships turn into the proverbial ball of string cascading downhill.
But just imagine that that ball of string represents billions of ‘individual/independent’ electrified trauma tattooed thoughts.
Motivated by ongoing mental conflicts between…
Doubt and faith
Fear and bravery
Anger and kindness
Misery and peace
Risk and safety
Now IMAGINE…ALL of them circling this desire; I want to love and live abundantly!
In moments like this, life is calling for one thing: intention that is not dependent on our definition of time … but real surrender. That’s when our hearts (and not are heads) start running the show.
You simply MUST apply knowledge to reach abundant life and extraordinary results! How? With action, behavior, and change. What does that mean? DO something with what you learn. APPLY it!
Let’s look at what Champions know about the power of ACTION! Ready, set … ACTION!
1. Faith without works is dead.
When I was in my late teens, I attended a conference, and heard a message that has impacted my life for good over the course of many years.
The speaker read this:
Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners? That faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that weave of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.”
He began to explain that in life, if you’re not willing to take steps toward what you’re believing for or stand up for what you believe in, all of your good thoughts would be for NAUGHT…Nothing!
Because at that time, I was so imprisoned by fear, I thought maybe I should just give up believing in or for anything.
But then toward the end of that message, he said: “Everything that’s uncomfortable, that would lead to good if we did it…that is the next right step. But you MUST take a step!”
Years later, I heard John Maxwell say something similar:
“Everything worthwhile is uphill. There’s nothing in your life worthwhile that’s not uphill. Here’s the problem … we have uphill hopes, but we have downhill habits. You’ve got to go from good intentions to good actions.”
Recently in my IOP (Intense Outpatient Program), I had the participants listen to a video by Brene Brown. In more modern terms, she said the same thing.
“We have a culture of fun, fast, and easy. We have a culture of people who don’t do discomfort. I’ve never achieved a single thing in my career or life comfortably. You must take action and step into discomfort.”
My client moaned as he said, “So I guess what you’re trying to tell me is that taking the actions on what I’m reading in the books and hearing in the videos…even when I don’t feel like it…is something I just have to do?”
I laughed as I responded, “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”
I followed up with, “Everything worth having in life requires action. Uncomfortable action.”
(Note…Neuroscience has discovered that it’s not just the reward of reaching a milestone that releases the neurochemical dopamine, but it’s wiser to reward ourselves in the process and effort towards a goal, releasing ongoing drips. Our brains and our bodies, when exert the effort, act as our personnel encourager/trainer/desire builder. I’m guessing you’re all in – in finding that part of yourself. I can help!)
He nodded in agreement and rolling his eyes at the same time.
“So, I have a question for you. But before you blurt out an answer, I want you to really consider what I’m asking. Is your marriage worth a little bit of uncomfortable action?”
And for you who are reading this, it may not be your marriage you’re concerned with. But …
Is your business worth a bit of discomfort?
Are your finances worse some discomfort?
Whatever area of your life needs improvement or complete turnaround…
is it worth a bit of discomfort?
I’m guessing … IT IS.
I glanced up at my client to hear his response.
“Well…to be honest…the pissed off part of me that’s sick of all of this, wants to say ‘hell no.’ But deep inside, I believe we were meant to be together, and I love her. But does it really require all this hard work?”
I smiled with understanding and said, “It’s all a part of the dilemma that I started with. ‘Drive through, microwave results, requiring very little of me!?’ We want great things, but we don’t want to have to work that hard. We want the drive-through microwave experience.”
I paused to get a read on him and continued.
“It’s not that it’s all that hard to be honest. It just requires a little discomfort. And we all tend to lean toward giving up the best and most fulfilling things in life in deference to what’s easy or doesn’t require that much effort from us.”
I paused because I could tell he was processing something. So, I waited.
“Are you trying to tell me that her asking me to do these things doesn’t mean she’s trying to punish or control me? She just wants me to do a few things that might be uncomfortable…to make our marriage work?”
Rather than answer the question for him, I invited him to answer it for himself (particularly since I did not know his wife.)
“Probably not. She’s a great woman. She really is. I guess I just tell myself she’s too demanding when I don’t want to do what she asks me to do.”
I smirked, “And when you don’t do them and she’s hurt uh…let me guess… you shut her down by gaslighting her with… ‘You’re overreacting!’?”
So, in Dr. Phil style I inquired, “How is that working for you? And what is it doing for or against your marriage?”
With sheepish shame he nodded. But I could assess that he was not fully on board by his facial expression and body language.
I continued, “In some ways I understand. To be honest, much of our culture rewards the attitude of:
- Why should I be inconvenienced?
- Or even worse: If it’s hard, it was not meant to be.”
He nodded in understanding, and a guilty look as if I’d read his mind.
Again, I asked, “Do you have any faith at all in your marriage? And I’m not talking about religion here. I’m asking…do you have any faith that your marriage can be good again?”
He nodded positively.
“Tell me one uncomfortable step you’ve read about or watched that you could take today?”
He looked as if I’d presented him with an algebraic formula that would take us to the moon.
Finally he landed on, “Get out of my chair and hug her when she comes home from work?”
Normally I follow that by asking if that was uncomfortable. But the expression on his face told me he thought I was asking him to lie down on the guillotine table.
“It sounds like a great place to start,” I responded!
What about you?
What baby step, that’s a bit uncomfortable for you
could you take to begin the journey?
What actions will bring extraordinary results in your marriage?
In your business?
In your finances?
In your life?
2. Actions override your brain.
Sometimes, we get stuck.
We don’t have the energy, the motivation, and sometimes even feel like we’ve lost our desire.
Many times, our brain is on a toxic never ending loop:
- “This’ll never work out.”
- “Is this really worth it?”
- “I’d be better off to just…(quit, cut my losses and move on, you fill in the blank)”
We would all like to think that we should just tell our mind to stop it. But as Dr. Andrew Huberman says,
“It’s very difficult to insert intervene on the brain with the brain. We know that when the mind isn’t where we want it to be, we need to use the body to intervene. Behavior. Action.”
Our brains and our bodies are intricately woven together; one feeds off the other.
But when we’re stuck … action, behavior, change … all override the brain and its emotions and perceptions. What does that mean?
GET UP AND DO SOMETHING! TAKE ACTION!
“I’m stuck all right! Stuck in a world of hopelessness,” he shamefully said.
I assured him his healthy shame was not weakness. And that if he’d take action, it would begin to heal the shame.
I asked if he was willing to share one of the thoughts, he was stuck in so I could help him select an appropriate breakthrough action.
He blurted out, “Oh, that’s easy… ‘She wants too much and nothing I do will ever be enough!’?”
He shrunk back as if he thought I might smack him and we both laughed together.
“Let me help you with this!”
It was obvious he preferred the help over the smack.
“I’d guess the truth is that what she’s asking for is not that overwhelmingly demanding…and that it’s your fear telling you that it would not be enough,” I stated.
Affirming what I’d said.
I asked, “Can you give me an example of something she’s asking of you that keeps you stuck in this loop?”
With an eye roll, he moaned, “She wants me to ask her about her day and put my cell phone away during dinner.”
I chuckled as I responded, “And I can imagine you think you’re going to be at the dinner table with no phone for the next three hours?”
His belly laugh confirmed that I’d guessed correctly!
“May I suggest this? May I suggest that this evening, you take her to dinner, leave your cell phone in the car, and tell her you would like to enjoy an hour with her? And as the hour nears an end, tell her you enjoyed the time with her.”
You could hear his fear spilling out: “What if she wants to talk longer? Or stay for drinks?”
Now it was me who was laughing hysterically.
“Just be authentic and honest. Tell her that you’re truly wanting to make honest effort moving forward, and that you had truly just poured out all that you had to give at this moment. Ask her if you could do it again in a few days.”
He was looking like I’d shared a magic secret to escape. I continued.
“If she’s as awesome as you say she is, I’m sure she would be understanding and honor your request. And I’m guessing she’d be grateful too.”
“I know you’re right, and I will do it, against my better judgment,” he replied.
I encouraged him, “Override that ‘better judgment’ with action and let’s see what happens. I can almost assure you that your action will override the loop you’re stuck in, along with your fear.”
I could see he was beginning to ‘get it’ by his sincere nod.
What about you?
Where are you stuck?
And what ACTION can you begin to break through the endless mind loop of toxic nonsense?
And take charge of the awesome life you deserve?
3. Action is investment into your future.
Read all you want; watch all the videos you want.
I believe that’s a great thing to do!
However, resist your urge to believe that an accumulation of knowledge can or will transform your life, your marriage, your business, your finances, or anything else.
I asked my client, “If getting out of your chair and hugging her and maybe even adding a kiss on the cheek would put the magic back in your marriage and in your future; would it be worth it? And would an hour over dinner, listening to her talk and share once a week be worth it, if the intimacy came alive again?
Now I had his attention!
“Oh-yeah,” He proclaimed!
Most of us do not have the ongoing awareness of what we do daily (and whether it’s great or awful) or what we say daily (and whether it’s great or awful)… Whatever it is … it is what we are investing in our future.
The big questions are…what do you want your future to look like?
And are your actions bringing that to a possibility?
If you’re investing in complaining, predicting the worst possible future, and speaking that and planting those kinds of attitude seeds, you’ll indeed reap an awful future.
But if you’re investing actions to create the best possible future in your marriage, business, finances, and life…it’ll be awesome.
How are you investing?
I asked my client: “What kind of future do you see for your marriage? For your lives together?”
With a slight smile, I asked what he was hoping for, “I always envisioned us retiring together, on the beach.”
Now he had my attention because that is my life dream.
“Would you be willing to replace the moaning thoughts of what she wants and needs, with visions of the two of you walking hand-in-hand on the beach at sunset? And going to the pier to get fresh fish and grilling and eating it out on the balcony overlooking the ocean,” I suggested?
I could see he was feeling it, so I continued.
“I can assure you that just like in bumper cars at the Texas State Fair, if you collide those moaning thoughts with those exciting visions and thoughts, it will set the negative way back.”
Hope had come alive in his eyes for the first time.
(By the way, in the next visit, he came in with a bright smile and proclaimed, “You mean that was all it takes?!” as if a miracle had occurred.)
What about you?
What future are you creating for yourself?
And is it the future you desire?
You’re investing in your future with your
Invest in an amazing fulfilling future with your actions!
In a beach resort in Fiji, I learned about the power of action. There was a group of about 20 of us, and Tony Robbins was telling us we were all MIA. And we get to choose which MIA we were in.
He said we’re all either:
- MIA (missing in action) … or in
- MIA (massive immediate action).
I was planning my future as an author, as a therapist, and as someone for training amazing life coaches, to broaden my influence of healing and pointing people to abundant life.
After 10 days of strategizing, examining, and retooling my values and determining my massive immediate action steps, there was no turning back.
What I accomplished over the next number of years transformed my life. Emotionally, in relationships, professionally, spiritually, and financially. It all began with massive immediate action.
Don’t be missing in action. If you’re not taking action, you’re missing out on all of the good action!
I’m sure you’ve heard knowledge is power. Well…maybe there’s a grain of truth in that. But the REAL truth, and where the real juice in life is…is that knowledge plus ACTION creates power…IS power!
I’d like to challenge you to take one step of massive immediate action in some area of your life where you deserve improvement, growth, or change.
Find the POWER in abundant living.
The formula is free,
accessible to all,
KNOWLEDGE + ACTION = AN ABUNDANT LIFE!