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Dear Self…

Dear Self,

I’ve been thinking…and we need to talk. As you know, every year at this particular time, I tend to look back and reflect on my life. I try to focus on the good things that I’ve done.

But I’ve noticed something different this year.

Sincerely,
Me

Dear Me,

Well Me…I’ve been meaning to ask you about this for a long time; but the truth is, sometimes you’re not very open to feedback. In your work as a personal development and transition coach, you typically suggest that people look forward, not backwards. But–particularly during this time–you seem to be focused on the past. Kind of hypocritical isn’t it?

What gives?

Sincerely,
Self

Dear Self,

You know, it’s my birthday! I’m 53 and looking back on my life, like I always do. I will say that I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing good about a birthday is that it seems to consistently be an event, a point-in-time, that causes me to reflect back on my life.

But again, this year was a little different.

Me

Dear Me,

You sound neurotic. I’m a little concerned.

Okay…so your reflecting back…and something is a little different this year. I give. What are you seeing?

Sincerely,
Self

Dear Self,

This year I’ve been thinking about how I think. I’ve noticed that when I look back each year, I see the SAME images and have the same thoughts–every single year!

I don’t get it!

I’ve been working my ass off so I can buy and do stuff that ultimately will improve the quality of my life–and that of my family. Thus, you would think this would also add to the quality of my memories. You know “stuff”, to help me stay looking young, cars…this stuff, that stuff, other stuff, and more stuff. But as I reflect back, for some reason, I’m not remembering all that “stuff.” I’m not remembering nor seeing how that stuff has added much significance to my life…or my memories.

Yeah! What gives?

Me

Dear Me,

This is not good! Maybe it’s dementia. Maybe you’re just forgetting. It happens. Don’t be so hard on me . . . I mean you…yourself.

But again–and in case you’ve already forgotten my question–what are you seeing? What do you “keep” seeing each year during your birthday…during these “moments of self-reflection?”

Sincerely,

Self

Dear Self,

Like I said, despite all my best efforts to increase the quality of my life with “stuff,” all I keep seeing when I reflect back are a few simple things. But be forewarned, they are not very flashy.

For instance…

– I see a God who loves me without condition and who simply wants me to love and be loved. I used to say (about God), “I’ll believe it when I SEE it!” Now I say, “You’ll SEE it when you believe it.”

– I see the times that I took my daughters (when they were just little Smurfs) on walks around parks and neighborhoods and taught them (literally and figuratively) how to stop and smell the roses. I used to regret that I didn’t teach [my now] grown son the same…but his mother obviously did a great job with that–so it’s all good.

– I see my wife who wakes up with a smile, and goes to sleep with a smile–everyday. I see that she is always so kind to me. She constantly reminds me of the Elton John song where he sings…”how wonderful life is while you’re in the world…”

– I see a million (give or take a few) old and new friends and my family on my Facebook page that remind me that the world is so full of wonderful people.

I know Self… These things seem way too simple to be true. Could it be that this is what life is all about—when you drill it down?

Me

Dear Me,

Interesting. So maybe you need to work harder at becoming richer and more successful…so you can buy more “stuff.” But maybe they need to be of greater significance–bigger, better, flashier; maybe then you’ll remember all the “stuff” that makes your life wonderful.

Or…you could always buy yourself a better memory.

Sincerely,
Self

Dear Self,

Hummm…I just had an epiphany! The more I think about it, the more I realize…it is in fact these few simple things in life that make my life so wonderful. So maybe I should reflect on them EVERYDAY–not just on my birthday. Better yet, maybe I should LIVE them everyday–and not just think about them as past or future events, but live them in the present.

Yes! That’s the secret! Thanks for the chat Self…gotta run. Think I’ll go talk to God, smell a few roses with my daughters, love my wife more, and post this to my friends on FB.

Thanks,
Me

A Grateful Heart…

Lord, Rid me not of stress and anxieties because they are painful;
rid them because there is no room within my grateful heart. ~ krm

The thought above came to me this morning as I was running the treadmill. Life has been crazy-busy lately–thus stress and anxiety worked its way into my mind. Was feeling like crap.

As I jogged, I was thinking about the millions things to do and the problems to solve. I’m trying to work it all out in my head, yet the only thing I accomplished was to add more stress and anxiety by thinking about it.

So I decided instead to just meditate and pray. I hung on to one of the treadmill sidebars and then closed my eyes. I tried to clear my mind first … then speak to God.

As usual I opened my prayer expressing my gratitude to God…but the moment the words came from my mouth, “Lord I am grateful…” I realized, at best, it was not true–I wasn’t feeling nor acting very grateful. I was feeling like a victim, stressed about all the “stuff.”

My thoughts distracted me away from my prayer–and while that’s nothing new, but here was the thought (or message): Kevin, you have so much to be thankful for, yet you are filled with stress and anxiety.

The shift.

Immediately following this realization came a real calmness…and all stress and anxiety left–or perhaps was forced out. There simply was no room.

Stress and anxiety don’t exist in our lives simply because we have problems, but more because of the absence of gratefulness. Stress and anxiety will find little–to no–room in our hearts when our heart is filled with gratitude.

How would you finish this statement? If I live with a grateful heart, then…

Greetings Friends…

It is a rare occurrence that I get to speak locally, so I am DELIGHTED to tell you that I’ll be speaking at JoZoara’s Coffee House in Murfreesboro, TN for the next four Fridays.

In this four-part series titled Winning at the Game of Life, I’ll be speaking about, well, “life”…and how to take more control, find more meaning, and a host of other inspiring ideas. You will walk away, not only feeling good, but ready to make some critical steps toward more success in life–that is, however you define success.

I’d would be so cool to see you there. The details are below–you can also download the flier at the link below.

See you there…

Kevin
PS…each week I’ll be giving away a 60 minute personal coaching session.


Oct 29: Discover Your Untapped Power Through Personal Growth
Nov 5: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
Nov 12: Take Control of an Out of Control Life
Nov 19: Living Life with Purpose, Meaning, and Laughter

Time: 7-9 PM | Place: JoZoara’s Coffee House – Murfreesboro, TN | No cover charge

GameOfLife_8x10

Download the PDF

I learned just a while ago that my friend Larry Baltz passed away in his sleep early this morning.

Larry was the owner a professional speakers bureau. But more, Larry was a really good guy. He always showed kindness to me and others that I know. He was always generous with his time and often gave me good advice about the speaking business…and about life in general. In his passing, it’s no surprise that Larry left a precious gift on his way out–a simple act of kindness.

My friend David Humes emailed me about Larry’s death…and so we exchanged a few kind words about him. But in one email David said, “I spoke with him (Larry) a couple of days ago and everything was fine…” and then David said, “this is a reminder of how fragile life is and to be grateful for each and every day.” I really thought about this message. I’d heard this many times before, but for some reason, this touched me a little different.

On the one hand, I expect these thoughtful words from David…it’s the norm for him (he truly epitomizes the “Attitude of Gratitude”). But on the other hand, I swear I heard Larry’s voice coming through the message–thinking to myself, “even on his way out he’s showing a little kindness.”

Well, who knows… Whatever the case, isn’t it so true–life is precious and can end any moment for any of us. But for so many, we live life moving too fast and in a way that we don’t really enjoy the precious moments.

It often takes the passing of somebody close to remind us–once again–to slow down, be grateful for life and to live and love the precious moments; and not to squander the precious time we have with the people we love and with this beautiful world God has given to us.

If you’re at odds with someone you love or have a lot of stress in your life, I want to encourage you to take time to sort it out–at least to the degree that it doesn’t take away from you and them finding peace and joy in this precious short lifetime that can go away any moment.

Finally, if you have a moment, say a little prayer for Larry’s family…that they find peace and comfort even in this difficult time. Also, ask God to pass on to Larry: “thanks for the simple act of kindness that he left on his way out–reminding us all how precious life is.”

Rest in Peace brother Larry.

Kev
P.S. Thanks David

Season’s Greetings

Kevin_Beach It has become a bit of a tradition for me to get up on
Christmas morning and think about my real gifts. As I take
inventory about the gifts for which I can be most grateful, it
always comes down to my family, friends, and the wonderful
people I have come to know throughout the year. I continue to receive so many blessing through meeting such wonderful people like you in my work and leisure.

Thank you for being in my life and for enriching it.

For some of you 2009 has been a difficult year–personally and/or professionally. But I want to encourage you to create and look forward to a year of promise and hope. Please know, if I can do something to support and encourage you to reach to new heights in your life, please know I’m standing ready to help.

I’d like to share with you something very special that I came across—or better stated, it came across me (some or many of you may already have experience what I about to share). Two nights ago, after falling asleep in front of the TV, I woke up at around midmight at the very moment this piece from a Christmas concert was beginning. I’ll tell you…even with sleepy eyes and a sleepy mind, I immediately recognized the blessing and gift that I awoke to.

So I went out to YouTube, found it, and now I want to share it with you. Before you listen, I encourage you to either put on a set of headphones (best) or to make sure you are in a quiet space with your speaker volume up. It is what happens when you bring together a simple but complete prayer, a beautiful song, an unbelievable vocalist, a great producer, and an amazing choir. Regardless of your religious affiliations, I promise you will enjoy this piece.

The song/prayer that many of you know is found in the new testiment of the bible (Matthew 6:9-13). During His Sermon on the Mount, which began with the Beatitudes, Jesus offered this prayer to His followers as a way to pray to God.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Best Wishes for the Holiday Season and Beyond.

Kevin

Scene from Marathon Man

Okay…let me come clean, it’s not true, I don’t love root canals. Frankly, I don’t even like going to the dentist. But this morning was a different experience after I somewhat anxiously walked into my dentist’s office to have my teeth cleaned.

From the moment I walked into the Sinquefield Family Dentist, I was treated with such a genuine warmth and by every member I encountered. But I must say, my hygienist Rachel really impressed me and was the source of a simple act of kindness.

First off, while she did a thorough job, she was also very gentle as she probed and prodded around my teeth. And if you’ve ever experienced the “Marathon Man’s” version of dentistry, you have a huge appreciation for the soft-handed hygienist. But the thing that really struck me about Rachel was her interpersonal skills and mannerisms. She spoke so kindly and in such a genuinely friendly way, that I forgot I was sitting in the dentist chair. She asked about my family (each by name), and about my work and travels. Every word was so positive and uplifting–and again, spoken in a genuine way.

You know, anymore, we’ve gotten so busy and focused on the future, that taking time to speak kindly and be friendly to others doesn’t seem to be as prevalent. But it makes such a difference. My tendency is to be friendly, but I must admit, my experience with Rachel makes me want to try even harder.

I want to encourage you to go out of your way today to be friendly. It’s pretty contagious…and it’s a very simple act of kindness that will make the space around you a really good place to be.

Ralph Marston once said, “There can never be too much kindness in the world.” Well normally I would agree until I saw this…