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So here I am out on a five day exhibition with my family. We decided to get out of Dodge and go explore the wilderness of Eastern Oregon, and we’re having a great time. So what I’ve asked the team to do is put together a mash-up of some of the best listener requests that we’ve had for Author of Your Own Story with the over 100 Daily Growth Hacks we have, so I hope you enjoy these next couple days. We’re going to revisit these older Daily Growth Hacks so you can go ahead and go back.

If you haven’t heard them, go back and do the work and get a chance to actually listen to them. And remember to go back and listen to the whole library while it’s still available. Now if you have heard these before, don’t worry. Doing the work again, you’ve changed, so you’re going to have a different outlook on each of these Daily Growth Hacks. That’s it for me, I’m out living the Author of My Own Story lifestyle and I hope you’re doing the same.

Today I’m going to talk to you about relationships and what do I have to do with mowing the lawn? Well, I was just talking to a client of mine, an extremely intelligent, successful man. And he was talking to me like, “Yeah my girl, she’s just nagging me to go mow the lawn.” So I asked him, “Why aren’t you? I’m just curious.” He said, “I’m just being lazy.” So we started talking about other things, and you pick up on these patterns when you’re coaching for a long time. But we started talking about the rest of his life. And what we were talking about was him working on his house, his business, then what he was doing with his meditation practice. Always his answer is, “Ah, I’m just being lazy.”

See, he had built a successful business, and he built it to a point that allowed him not to work if he didn’t want to. That’s fantastic, that’s great, that’s something that I worked on with him to get there. But now he’s being lazy. We’ll call this guy Ken. So I was like, “All right Ken, so why aren’t you mowing the grass?” “I’m just being lazy.” “Okay, so break it down for me, what happened, how does the grass come up?” “Oh my girl, she’s always telling me ‘Go mow the grass’ and the next day it’s ‘Hey, the grass is looking really bad, I drove by, our neighbors are gonna start complaining’, and I’m always telling her, I’ll do it tomorrow, or oh yeah I got that, I’ll do it today later, or the weather’s not that great, I’ll get to it.”

It had nothing to do with the grass. Really, it had to do with what he felt was his manhood as we broke it down. Now he didn’t see this. Mowing the grass would take him 20 minutes, he can listen to a podcast like this, multiple ones, get great insights and ideas while mowing the grass, or just spend time enjoying the moment of mowing the grass. It wouldn’t have taken him much time. He doesn’t have anything on his schedule. The real reason, is he was really saying F.U. to his girl. He was saying, “Don’t tell me what to do, I’m the man, I’ll tell you what to do.” You see, he was a coward. He was too scared to say that to her face, so what he did is say, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it, oh yeah I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it the next day.” And after several weeks she felt bad I assume after keep asking him to do this basic thing for their family, just go mow the lawn. She was being the breadwinner, she was taking care of the kids, he was just laying on the couch being lazy.

But the reality of it is he didn’t feel man enough because of other things that were going on in his life. Then when she asked him to please go mow the lawn, he took it as her telling him what to do and taking away his power. You see, in relationships, there can often be a power struggle, especially in what we call a level one relationship. Now some people call it a level four, it really depends on what you want to do, but anyway, the bottom of the barrel relationships, where it’s really horse trading or like, “You do this for me, I’ll do this for you.” That’s not a relationship, that does not love, that’s a commerce. I give you money, you give me my taco, my car, whatever. I tell you this story because in relationships, oftentimes the things that upset us aren’t the things that we’re seeing. They’re stories that we’re creating on the outside.

So I want you to think about where are these things happening in your relationship. Where in your relationship is a boss, co-worker, spouse, sibling, asking you to mow the lawn, and really you’re saying F.U. in a passive-aggressive way? Look deep because it’s happening. We have things coming at us all the time. We have text messages, phone calls, emails, the TV is on, the radio is on, we’re always constantly being stimulated. Oftentimes that affects our communication. And the reason it affects our communication is oftentimes things are said and misinterpreted. Now, this can happen by text messages or chats often because you can’t hear the emotion that somebody’s sending through. You can really misinterpret that. But even talking one on one, you can misinterpret the intention of something that somebody says or a busy lifestyle.

Let me give you an example. Maybe I came home from work and I just noticed that the kitchen counter was just messy. And I might have said, “Geez, the kitchen’s so messy,” and she might hae replied right away, taking offense, thinking I was attacking her, saying, “Well gosh, I’m working all day too, you could do something.” And then that would escalate, “Hey, that’s not what I meant.” But by saying that’s not what I meant, does that ever really help? No. No one just stops and goes, “Oh that’s not what you meant, well jeez, please tell me.” It doesn’t work that way. Emotions start to escalate. They go kind of up an escalation ladder. Now, backing into that she would ask for an apology. “Yeah, apologize to me.” “Well I’m not apologizing,” I would say, “You know, I didn’t say anything wrong. You’re just being sensitive.” Which is always guys, the worst thing to say, right? But back then I just wasn’t as clear, I’d be like, “Look, I’m not apologizing, I wasn’t wrong in this situation.

I just simply made an observation that the counter is a mess, and you took it the wrong way, that’s your fault, your problem.” You know I kind of was a jerk I guess because I didn’t know any better back then. But what I came to understand is what I really was sorry for was the way that she felt. I never wanted to hurt her feelings. I love and cherish my wife. I want her to always be happy. So what I’ve learned to do over time is apologize for the way the other person feels, the way that my words landed. So that I own that responsibility between the communication, between what comes out of my mouth and how it lands in that other person’s brain. So what I would say now is, “Geez, I’m so sorry to hurt your feelings. I didn’t mean that at all, and I love and cherish you. So let me explain what I’m trying to say.”

When I say that I’ve taken ownership, I’ve apologized for hurting her feelings. And now her defenses go down, right? Her defenses go down because she can relax and actually receive what I’m about to say. So what I’ve learned to do is take responsibility for my words and how they land on the other people. Now, this doesn’t mean lying or apologizing for what I say, you know sometimes I do if I say something wrong of course, but often times it’s like, “Hey, I’m sorry that didn’t land properly, let me try this again. I really respect you and I really want you to understand where I’m coming from, and I want to understand where you’re coming from, and make sure you feel heard.”

What I want you to do is list maybe the top five most important relationships in your life right now. And what I want you to journal about is where in those top five had you had conflicts and maybe, or you’ve had conflicts where you don’t feel fully understood or heard. What I want you to do is reach out to those people. Reach out to each of these people and then I want you to listen. I want you to fully hear them. I was at the gym this morning working out, and there were two guys talking. One guy turned to his friend and started correcting his form. Now I had just met these guys a few days later, and the instinct to jump in and tell him that his advice was wrong was really high in me. I really had to fight it. You see, I’ve spent over two decades in the fitness field and acquired over 18 degrees and certifications, and have been teaching fitness to people as well as to fitness professionals for a very long time.

So that innate nature inside of me, just to correct him and give him the right information was going so strong. And it made me start to think, “What is the outcome that I want?” You see I had just met these guys, and they’re both really nice. I could have stepped in and said, “Hey look, the advice you’re giving is really bad. You know this person might actually hurt themselves,” and embarrassed his friend. But I could tell that he was actually really enjoying helping his buddy out. And really what I would have done is just pushed them both away. So I sat back and relaxed and just simply had conversations with them. What this made me realize is, as little as three years ago my need to be right was so strong within me, that it actually shattered relationships around me. I did this in relationships, friendships, but also in my marriage.

Now I could have been doing the dishes. You see I was brought up a certain way, that when you did dishes, you had them so sparkling clean, even before you put them I the dishwasher, and I would correct my wife. I would go over and say, “No, no, no, you’re not doing this right,” and talk to her. Taking out the trash, “No, no, no, we’re going to sort it a certain way,” there was my way, the right way in my relationships. What I found is it caused so much strife between my wife and I, between my friendships. I constantly felt that I needed to correct people. This could have been on news stories, politics when I hear people disseminate information that was just blatantly incorrect. You see, I had a shift. I had a shift where I decided, “What is my outcome I this situation?” You know in a conversation, I don’t have to be right. And often times I probably am not. There’s a gray area. If it’s a relationship conversation I can choose to be happy, sit back, relaxed, and have that conversation.

Now I see this a lot, within my own family, when they’re talking about politics. You have people on the left, and you have people on the right. And sometimes, they just don’t agree, and they end up really driving each other apart, and not enjoying each other, in fact disliking the other person based on opposing views. Now I’m going to give you the opportunity here, or the paradigm shift, that you have the possibility of choosing to be happy in these situations. And I can tell you from my own experience in relationships when I’ve made this shift from wanting to be right to want to be happy, it has made me such a happier person. It has opened me up to new relationships, and my relationship with my wife has never been better.

So I’m going to ask you this today. Where across your five to thrive and especially in your relationships, are you striving to be right? Are you striving to be right with a co-worker? Are you striving to be right with a friend? Are you striving to be right about politics? Is it about sporting events, my team’s better than yours? Where are you stuck in the black and white situation of being right, versus being happy, and where is this creating unhappiness in your life. Take action in this moment of clarity to choose happiness. Patterns are just certain things that we see coming up in our lives over and over again. Think about the relationship you’re currently in or just were in recently. If you haven’t been in a relationship, think of a friendship. But it’s easier sometimes to think about romantic relationships. My guess is, each relationship that you’ve had has a very specific pattern that we could break down together.

Now that pattern could be meet somebody and then ends up being the wrong guy, he ends up being an alcoholic or a drug addict, or abusive, or maybe just lazy, or doesn’t like the outdoors, or whatever it is. You find that person, and you don’t find out until months later and you’re just in too deep. Let me give you a very specific example of a client I was just talking to. This individual, a successful businessman, and he was just having so many problems in his relationships and he was so down. He was telling me, “I just don’t get it, I’m getting so jealous. This girl that I love, I just love her so much Doug. What happens is I get so jealous of her and I’m just scared she’s gonna leave me.” This woman was very open with her friendships with other people. She was in his eyes, flirtatious.

What he wasn’t getting was this pattern he was in. But when I walked it through for him, he went, “Oh my God. This is something I’ve been doing my whole life.” Hey these patterns, we all have them. I have my patterns and you have yours, and most of us started forming these patterns as protection mechanisms so we could socialize in the environments that we were in, and so we’ve been doing these patterns in some way, shape or form since we were really little. One of the keys I see to breaking these patterns, and this happens 9 times out of 10 if not 10 times out of 10, spend time filling you first. Fill your cup. Many of us just don’t even know what that means. So today what I’m going to ask you for your homework, is sit down in your journal, and write what makes you happy. If you haven’t been happy in a long time, first I’m sorry, and you really need to get in our community and jump onboard, and maybe work with one of our coaches to get you on that track, but hopefully, you have. And hopefully, you can see those things that really fill you up.

Maybe, if you’re having a hard time, you’ve been married for many years and the relationships kind of gone dead, and instead of having a marriage, you’ve got a roommate, or somebody else? About what you did when they first met, what were those things that fill you up then? Chances are they’re very similar, and chances are the things that fill you up as a child are very similar to things that fill you up today. So what is it like to be in a relationship with me? That’s kind of an odd question, but it’s a question that I sent to five key people in my life. I sent it to my wife, one of my brothers, and one of my co-workers as well as two friends. Now I sent this in an email, and I also followed up with each person just so they knew where I was coming from. And in the email, I started off with, “Hey, I have a question for you, because I’m on a path of personal growth. I really would like you to take a few moments to answer this question. What is it like to be in a relationship with me?”

Now I also told them, “Please be transparent and honest. I’m not going to hold any of this against you. This is for my growth. And actually, the more open and honest you are with me, the better this is going to be for me.” The results that I got back, frankly actually surprised me. It surprised me in a couple different ways. One is I was really taken back by all the great things people had to say about me. For some reason, I was really focused on the negative. I was thinking of all the things that it could be like to be in a relationship with me. I run multiple businesses, I’m a little spastic. But the results that I got were really heartwarming. You know, people said often the comment about my integrity, my loyalty, that I had their back, that I loved them and would always look out for them before myself. And they knew I would always be there for them and have their best interests in mind. That really touched me.

That’s the way that I want to live, but you know, you don’t always know if people see that. But I also got some criticism. The biggest critique for me was my moodiness. I run multiple businesses, and so sometimes I’m up late at night just thinking about ideas or what have you, and I don’t sleep that well and I get into the stress of the day and I don’t manage as well as I could, and I tend to take it out of those people that are closest to me. Does that sound familiar to you? Probably. A lot of us do that. And it’s something that I’ve been working on. Which was also cool, because my wife told me, “Hey this is where you were when I met you, and now here’s where you are. So this is what it was like to be in a relationship with you at this time of our relationship, and this is what it’s like to be in a relationship with you now, good and bad.” That was really eye-opening for me as well.

And it was really heartwarming that she took the time to actually write that out there. What I’m going to ask you to do, today your call to action is to do the same thing. Pick five people that you’re close to in your life, family, friends, co-workers, that’s up to you. But pick at least five people and ask them that question. What is it like to be in a relationship with me? Now, of course, that’s you in this case, and the more honest people are with you, the more you’re actually going to see your actions and be able to pivot and make a change where you want to.

Now, of course, you’re perfect just the way you are. You don’t have to make any changes. But you also can make those micro-adjustments where you see fit, just like I’m going to. Have a great day, and remember, share this with at least three people that you know, build your tribe, start the conversation. I’d love to talk to you about it more in The Author of Your own Story group, and that’s it for today. Have a great day. And remember, go out and be, be Author of Your Own Story.

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