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Writing For You Life

Many years ago, 18 to be exact, I had an experience that was very influential. I had a 12 step sponsor at the time who, every time I would present some subject I wanted to discuss and get his advice would ask me, “Did you write about that yet?” My answer, because I didn’t write about anything, was always, “No, I just want to talk to you about it.” Well one day I visited him and that discussion took place but instead of relenting and engaging in a discussion, he said, “You know what? I am not going to discuss this with you until you have written about it!”

No matter how much I pleaded, he was adamant. I got real upset, stormed out of his house, went to the local supermarket and bought a 5″x7″ spiral notebook and a ball point pen. I went home and wrote because I really wanted his advice.

After I wrote a page of “screw you’s”, “how dare he not talk!” and the like, I settled down to write out my original problem about which I was concerned . Lo and behold, when I was finished writing about the problem, the solution popped into my head and I didn’t have to talk to him about it after all.

Little did I know when I was storming out of his house that he had just given me his best advise. I have been writing every night before I go to bed ever since.

Many years later, I took a workshop series on “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron, a seminal work for people interested in improving their creativity. Her first suggested practice is called “Morning Pages.” The assignment is quite simple, write three full size notebook pages every morning with train of thought writing. That is allowing the hand to write what the brain is thinking without editing. Because I had already been writing at night for many years, I quickly embraced this practice. My fellow workshop mates really struggled with this assignment. They reported that it took them hours to finish three pages. That seemed very strange to me because I whipped them out in 45 minutes. After questioning them on how they were writing and comparing that to what I was doing, I got a grasp of the difference. That difference is the key to writing Morning Pages.

Because my Evening Writing was all about dumping my feelings, frustrations and joys of the day onto the pages, there was no reason to be creative and so I got in the habit of continuous writing until there was nothing more to write about. Along the way, I had established rules for myself concerning this writing. I did not erase or correct anything including misspellings. If it was an obvious poor choice of words, I put a line through it and continued on. The mission was to get it all on paper quickly and go to sleep.

When I started doing Morning Pages, I approached that writing the same way. My fellows were trying to craft a literary work of art, even though the author warned them not to, so they labored over every word and phrase. No wonder it took them so long! So the take-away from this story is that when doing Morning Pages, once the pen starts writing it does not stop moving until all three pages are done! Period! If I run out of thoughts then I will describe the comfort of the pen and how smoothly the ink is flowing (I have now graduated to gel pens!), just write gibberish, or curse me out for ever committing to this exercise, but through all of that the pen does not stop.

This is an important part of doing the exercise. To understand why, we need to remember how the inner and outer minds function. Sometimes the outer mind is called the left brain or logical mind, and the inner mind the right brain , or creative one. I like the simplicity of using inner and outer minds. All creativity and exquisite action comes from the inner mind. The outer mind, when it is not busy guarding and protecting all the inner mind’s operating programs, acts as the editor of all actions. It is the part that worries what other people will think, if things make sense, and if the spelling is correct. It operates in real time, meaning very slowly.

The inner mind computes at the speed of thought, a gazillion times faster than the outer mind. Any time a person is operating at their exquisite best, like a champion basketball player at the top of his game, you can bet that his outer mind is not engaged and he is operating exclusively from his inner mind.

The same goes for writing and other creative arts. The purpose of keeping the pen moving is that it is moving faster than the outer mind can keep up with, so eventually it stops trying to, and gets out of the way. At that point pure thought and action start spilling out of the creative inner mind and onto the paper. What you are currently reading was produced exactly in this manner. Because I have been doing this practice for years, all I have to do is start writing and I am immediately in that flow of creativity.

I find that my Evening Writing and my Morning Pages are a great pair of practices. Before I go to sleep, I write my Evening Writing, in bed (use a ball-point pen, so if you fall asleep with the pen in your hand it won’t drain into your sheets). That writing allows me to clear my mind of all the accumulated feelings and noise of the day. Once it is written, that infernal loop of self-talk ceases and I can get to sleep. If I have written about a problem, by morning I usually have a solution. Because my mind is clear, I get a good night’s sleep so I wake refreshed and eager to see just what my inner creative mind will produce in my Morning Pages. Just like washing and showering wakes the body up, Morning Pages wakes the mind up. If you are not looking to be a writer, this exercise is still useful because it gets all the creative juices flowing and sets one up for a marvelous day!

©2012, Jason Wittman, MPS

About the author: Known as “Successful Peoples’ Secret Weapon,”  Coach Jason Wittman, MPS has been a mentor coach and adviser to business and professional people for over 30 years. Find out more about his services at http://MyCoachJason.com

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publish it unedited, in its entiety, including this ending blurb.

 

How To Win The Rehab Game

For those of you who are reading this article because you think that I am going to give you a method to make rehab easy so that you can slide right through, hassle  free, you are right but not the way you  think you  are right. What I am about to present is a way to get through rehab in the shortest amount of time and emerge from the other side with the tools and the skills to begin the journey to a wonderful life.

If you thought that by titling this “how to win the game” I meant “how to game the system” you couldn’t be farther fro correct. If you Are an alcoholic or drug addict, you are already an expert at gaming the system If you are now entering a rehab after a successful career of gaming the system, you know how well being successful at gaming the system really works for the quality and welfare of your life. There is an old rehab saying “The cheater cheats him/herself!” That is why when you are successful at gaming the system, you loose at the game of life. When you are an expert at gaming the system, you also become an expert at gaming yourself. You lie to yourself so often that you believe your own lies. You take the easier, less painful way instead of choosing a path based on what will be a winning method because you tell yourself that it will work even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it has never worked before. You choose it because you choose anything that is less painful and less painful. That is why doing more of whatever it was that got you to the door of rehab became the immediate answer to most painful problems. When you scam the system you usually scam yourself in the process. So when I say I am going to teach you how to win the rehab game, I really men how to  WIN! If you follow these simple suggestions you will have a tough but easy time in rehab and you will get through it and on to the rest of your life in record time.

How do I know this is true? Because I have been in this rehab game for a long, long time. I have worked in just about every part of the rehab game from being a counselor to starting and running a residential rehab and have managed to have lived a life without needing or wanting to use any of my old goodies for well over thirty years. I know what I am about to teach you  works because I have personally witnessed hundreds of folks just like you work their way through the rehab game. I am a keen observer. I noticed  what those folks who got through rehab in record time and learned all they needed to have the tools to build a great life, did while they were in rehab. I also watched all the others who tried to do rehab the same way they did their life when they were using. They lied, to themselves and to the staff, and lots of the time actually got away with it. The problem is that when they lied and took the shortcuts  they never grew inside and never learned the tools that are so necessary for the outside of rehab. They didn’t understand that rehab is just a rehearsal for life after rehab. It is time out from the real world where there are usually heavy consequences for goofing up and making lousy choices. They didn’t understand that in rehab, they could have the freedom to make wrong choices and just get the feedback they need to learn what choices really work, without having to risk anything. Many of these folks actually were good enough at lying and cheating and scamming that they gave the appearance of having gotten all they needed to get out of rehab and graduated. The problem is that they were all appearance. Then once again used all their cunning skills of their using life to give the illusion of having learned the lesions by feeding back to the staff all the right answers and doing all the right actions that the staff expected without doing any of the tough work one the inside. So when they graduated and went out in the real world with real consequences, they did not have the tools they needed to both survive and thrive and quickly turned to some form of addiction once again.

So here is my best suggestion on haw to really win at the rehab game.

This first one is the most important thing that one must do to win at any game that involves learning new skills to win. This is the process that all winners do and all people who don’t win never do. It is very simple while being painfully difficult at the same time  One has to become ultra honest with oneself and admit that they don’t have the foggiest clue as to what to do next. They have to really know that they do not know. Only when you know that you don’t know are you ready to hear and do whatever it is you are being taught. If you have accepted that you do not know the answer because you have tried doing it the ways you have always done it and ended up without success, they you will be finally open for suggestion and direction.

Without getting to the point that you know that you do not know, what happens is that you are given a suggestion and you reject it without ever doing it. You will have a thousand reasons why it won’t work all of those reasons based on what? Oh yes, your old thinking which worked so well that you are now in rehab. Get it? Your old thinking patterns got you to rehab. The reason for being in rehab is to learn new patterns of thinking that will really serve you . If you have gut level gotten that your best thinking when you were using got you to nowhere except to rehab (possibly via jails and loony bins) then you will put your ideas of what sounds good aside and be open to not only hear new suggestions, you will actually follow through and actually do the suggestions and then notice what the result s of doing the suggested work .

I can always tell who has accepted, gut-level, that they who that they do not know. They jump on every suggested course of action and put it into action, without question and then check out the result. Those who have not yet accepted that they do not have the answers and are still under the self illusion that they are smarter than their teachers, don’t do the work and instead spend their precious tie in rehab, punching holes in everything except their own baloney. They will have a thousand reasons why a suggestion will not work, without ever doing the work. I have actually said to counsellees of mine when I kept getting reasons why what I was suggesting to do wasn’t going to work, “If you know so much about what works and does not work, how come it is that you are sitting in that chair (the resident in a rehab chair) and I am sitting in this chair?” When you hear yourself questioning a suggestion from someone who obviously knows more than you do on a subject before you do the suggestion and check out the results that doing the suggestion brings you, you need to remember that if you knew the solution you would have not asked the question and shut up and go do the work!

If you have embraced what I have written so far and are actually doing the work without reservation and excuses, then you have finished the preliminary work on the 1st of the 12 steps. for I believe that the essence of that step and the intended outcome of working that step is coming to the understanding that your best thinking hasn’t worked and that you know that you do not know. If you have done this, then you are well on the way to winning at the rehab game!

What you resist persists!

Environments – Part 8 – The Network Environment

Thank you for sticking with me this far. I hope by now you are getting a greater awareness of the environmental influences on your life and a greater appreciation for how great a an influence they have on our life choices and attitudes. This times discussion is on the Network Environment. This environment consists of your customers or clients, your social networks both on-line and in person, your memberships in organizations and your partners and alliances.

Some of the considerations to ponder when evaluating how well your network environment is supporting your life and your goals include how well your network responds to your requests for help and assistance. Is the support one sided or do you and your network share referrals and information regularly? For networks to really work there needs to be a goodly degree of mutuality otherwise one side will feel sucked upon and resentments will grow and destroy the network relationship.

Whereas the personal environment will tend to have people who reflect your thinking, attitudes and lifestyle, the network environment, if cultivated well, is the place to be exposed to interesting and diverse opinions, cultures, experiences and backgrounds. A great network environment will serve as both a supportive one for your businesses and, with the exposure to new ideas, cultures, outlooks and novel ways of doing things, can be a catalyst for personal growth.

An important and often overlooked part of this environment is that of your clients and customers. Are these folks ones that you like to work with, that inspire you to do your best work or are they people you dread to deal with or bore you to death? If it is the later, your business life will be a chore rather than a joy that you look forward to. Michael Port, in his great book, “Book Yourself Solid,” introduced the concept of having a “Red Rope Policy.” Just like in the nightclub, where the Red Rope keeps the boring people out of that environment, having one in your business where you screen out or refer out clients you would rather not deal with, will greatly increase your level of enthusiasm where you look forward to going to work.

That was a long way of asking if you are tolerating people in this environment. The fewer the tolerations, the more supportive this environment will be in your life.

If you have questions or comments, please post them in the comments section. I am looking forward to a lively discussion here on the blog.

If you would like to explore how coaching with me can give you the winning edge to play better and win in all of your life’s endeavors, I offer a free, exploratory session of about 30 minutes. Call me at 323-850-8005 or email me to book a time.

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with it: “Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes “My Coach Jason’s Tips for Winning at Life” monthly ezine. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE subscription information, and how you can benefit by his coaching

Environments – Part 7 – The Personal Relationship Environment

We are going to get personal in this installment of the Environment series. This environment is all about family, close friends and colleagues -The Personal Relationship Environment. This one is not only personal; it is quite critical to growth and success. The mantra of “The Environment Always Wins!” is especially true when it comes to relationships. The clichés of “You are as good as the company you keep” and a quaint country version of it, “If you sleep with pigs, you end up smelling like pig sh*t!” are based on a millennium of painful experiences as a result of poor relationship choices.

Some of the ways that relationships can contribute to personal disaster include the neigh sayers, negative people, and people with different aspirations and life direction than yours. If you are a creative person, an innovator, or an entrepreneur, the worst people to hang out with or ask for an opinion about your latest creation or project are the neigh sayers. They will tell you every way it isn’t going to work. Many times they will do it with really good intentions of being the “devil’s advocate.” That’s a great service to call upon prior to the launch of a project, as a final bug check, but during the creative process, that kind of negative support can be disastrous.

Living or working in an environment filled with negative folks, such as depressed people and people with no drive or enthusiasm for life will eventually take its toll on even those with the most positive attitudes. Likewise, living with people whose live goals are fundamentally different from your aspirations, can make getting to your goals way more of a project than it need be. For example, I once had a client who was in the process of starting a new business and was living in a retirement community. With most of his friends retired or actively planning retirement, the topics of most conversations were about their next cruise or golf game and they had very little interest in discussions of his latest business venture. Eventually he found that he was losing focus on his new venture, in favor of thinking about the next game of golf. When he joined a small business organization and joined their social activities, his focus and enthusiasm for his project soared.

Hopefully, you have an appreciation for how important being aware of who is in your relationship environment and to what degree they are supportive of continuing self-development. Part of that awareness needs to be the awareness of who, amongst your relationships, you are tolerating and what is the cost of tolerating them in your life. As with all tolerations, it is important to weigh the positive payoffs of keeping the source of the toleration around vs. the negatives including building resentments for that source. You might have a spouse or relative that is a neigh sayer and yet is a powerfully positive loving part of your life. Once aware of that neigh saying aspect, you could find other folks to bounce new ideas off of. No one person need fulfill all needs in your life. The best way of dealing with tolerations is to get rid of the source or, in this case, recognize that they are who they are and go find other people who are better fitted for the task.

This message and all the subsequent ones on the Environments will be also posted on my blog,  If you have questions or comments, please post them in the comments section. I am looking forward to a lively discussion here on the blog.

If you would like to explore how coaching with me can give you the winning edge to play better and win in all of your life’s endeavors, I offer a free, exploratory session of about 30 minutes. Call me at 323-850-8005 or email me to book a time.

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with it: “Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes “My Coach Jason’s Tips for Winning at Life” monthly ezine. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE subscription information, and how you can benefit by his coaching.

Environments – part 4 – The Spiritual Environment

The environment we will investigate this week is the spiritual one. My definition of spiritual in this context is a bit broader than usual. I see it as that intangible construct that allows people to make sense out of the unexplainable and unanswerable parts of their lives and their worlds. For many people that involves some degree of belief in a higher power that is labeled in many ways. Along with that belief can be belonging to an organized religious organization that supports and helps strengthen that belief. For others who do not believe in ethereal, higher power explanations, including those who call themselves atheists, they have various ways of explaining the unexplainable that range from “the universe” to scientific theories.

It is very important to work on a personal unifying explanation of, as one author called it, “Why bad things happen to good people.” Without some sort of a spiritual grounding, a person can risk falling into a downward, depressive cycle as a result of unexplainable personal trauma and tragedy. Having the ability to call on the comfort of feeling like they are not alone in the world has assisted lots of people get through troubled times.

For this environment, we need to inventory what we believe to be our version of a spiritual force. How do we nurture that belief? Do we pray, meditate, write, or use other ritual practices to connect with that force? Are we supported by a community of like minded people? Do our spiritual concepts support our ability to be at peace with our lives? Is there anything that is getting in the way of our having a firm connection with that spiritual belief? If so, are we doing anything to change or are we just tolerating it and living in resentments?

When I work with my clients in this area, we explore the above questions so that they will be able to fine tune their sense of spirituality so that regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in, they will have the comfort of knowing that they are supported in their journey through them.

If you have questions or comments, please post them in the comments section after each post. I am looking forward to a lively discussion on-line on the blog.

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with it: “Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes “My Coach Jason’s Tips for Winning at Life” monthly ezine. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE subscription information, and how you can benefit by his coaching athttp://MyCoachJason.com

The Environments and Why They are Critical to Continuing Success

JUST DO IT!

Nike has a good motto, “Just do it!” This is the final step in the process that I call “Playing Full Out!” The quality of one’s life becomes so much better when playing full out. This is because most likely they will be doing exactly what then have wanted to do and most likely will be living in the world of success instead of the world of “if I only had.” I say that “just do it” is the final step. Before taking that step, it is very important make sure that all of the environments are going to be able to support that action step.

There are actually ten environments that we operate in. Because the environment always wins, it is real important to make sure that all of them are at least neutral if not supportive. A quick rundown of the environments is in order.

Picture a bulls-eye with a center target and concentric circles surrounding it. The target is the individual and each of the circles surrounding it are the environments. The most inner circle is the Inner Mind Environment. Working out from there are: the Mimetic Environment -  which is the information and ideas to which we are exposed; the Spiritual Environment; the Immediate Personal Self one -  things like our choice of clothes and our hygiene; the Financial Environment – our relationship to money, money management, advisors and attitudes about spending and savings; the Relationship Environment – our family, close friends;  Network Environment – partners, organizations, clients and associates; the Physical Environment -   our immediate home surroundings, our office or work environment; the Social Network Environment;  Peripheral Environment -  our community, the nation and the world.

It just so happens that, generally, the relative importance of each of the environments for the person decreases as they are farther out from the center. Of course, the exception to that is when something in one of the outer environments directly impacts on the person, such as civil unrest or war in the peripheral environment.

I started this message by saying “The environment always wins!” This is almost always the case. No matter how strong people are or think they are, eventually then will end up reflecting their environments. To be aware is to be alive! To be aware of what is going on in your environments, you need to know what they are and what to look for. For the next nine weeks I am going to explore each of these environments with you.

This is a series of ten postings, one on each of the Environments. If you have questions or comments, please post them in the comments section after each post. I am looking forward to a lively discussion, on-line, on this blog.

If you would like to explore how coaching with me can give you the winning edge to play better and win in all of your life’s endeavors, I offer a free, 20 minute, exploratory session. For more  information, please go to the website.

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with it: “Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes “My Coach Jason’s Tips for Winning at Life” monthly ezine. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE subscription information, and how you can benefit by his coaching at http://MyCoachJason.com
  
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