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The Power of Internal Reflection

Self Reflection

At the start of the month, my family received the worse news anybody could expect; we lost a family member. It is devastating news and it’s been overwhelming for all of us. While each of us deals with death differently, there is an underlying commonality that brings us together. Death spurs internal reflection of our authentic selves and an appreciation for the lives we are blessed to have.

Our lives are the summation of our decisions up until this very moment. They define our integrity, the way we perceive the world, perceive our selves, and perceive others. We don’t spend enough time reflecting on our journeys because “we don’t want to live in the past.” But it’s the past that often times helps determine the futures we want to lead. Think of a time in which you shared a story about somebody who passed. Each great memory we share is because of a decision we made to be there at that exact moment. Use these stories to gain clarity about the decisions you’ll make in the future.

We do this because it’s a reminder that we often take life for granted. It’s not on purpose, not because we’re too busy, or even because we forget. It’s because we’re simply living our lives and lose sight of what’s important. We all do it and it’s at times like these, when somebody we love losses what we hold dear, that brings us solemnity and reflection. These are the times that we should take stock of our lives;  appreciate what we have, visualize what we want in our lives more than ever, and seize the days that we have! We only get one chance in this life and we have to maximize our time to fulfill our God-given potential.

The power of internal reflection comes with the candid realization that we are on the right or wrong paths, that we should be taking steps toward new goals, re-imagining old goals, and prioritizing certain aspects of our lives.

Grateful for today

To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable

~Erich Fromm

What changes have you made since the loss of a loved one? Why did you make these changes? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below, subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Learn from Your Parents

Mom and Pop

We don’t give enough credit to our parents for who we are as individuals and who we hope to be in the future. I am more reflective and thankful today than I ever have been about what amazing parents I have been blessed to have in my life. It’s become more prevalent to me since I moved away from Reno to Denver to follow a path I envisioned for myself for the last four years and none of it would be possible without my parents.

I’ve been going through the recruitment process with a reputable company over the last several months and I recently had a sit-down meeting with the managing partner of the office here in Denver and he asked me two of the best questions I have ever been asked. They weren’t particularly deep questions but they were simple and I’d never thought about them before: (1) What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your mother? and (2) What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your father?

They’ve been married for 25 years, have 3 idiot sons (I’m the middle), and a soon-to-be grandchild and this post is for them:

Mom

Mom

It’s difficult for me to put exactly what I want into words when discussing my mom (and my dad too). She’s been through a lot in the last couple of years and she’s handled it with more conviction and humility than anybody I have ever met. Behind the conviction and perseverance that I see in her, is her unwavering integrity and poise. It’s these qualities that she has bestowed upon me that I hold dear. To be a source of strength and compassion to foster an inner integrity beyond myself. It’s because of my mom that I have begun my own journey to make the world a better place by being a better person for not only myself, but for those around me.

The most important things I’ve learned from my mom is perseverance, integrity and compassion.

Dad

Pop

My dad is a big kid at heart. Some of the funniest and most memorable stories are because of him. I owe my personality to him. Through all of the hilarious “Jorge” moments, I am the man who I am today because of the father that he was when I was a child and still is as I enter a new phase of life. The amount of self-assurance and personal value that I recognize in myself is because of the qualities I saw in him. His dedication to my mom and our family has inspired me to discover a new level integrity so that I can become a loving husband and father like him.

The most important thing I’ve learned from my dad is responsibility, self-reliance and dedication.

With every great journey, there is a companion and my parents have been on this journey for over 25 years. Throughout my life I have had the example for what I want for myself. Each day that I struggle I have the best two people in the world to call for advice, guidance, and inspiration. I love my parents.

What have you learned from your parents? From you Mom? From your dad? When was the last time you spoke to your parents? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below, subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Pay Attention to the Pennies

Penny

My grandfather passed away in 2006. One of his favorite quotes to his grandchildren was “A man’s gotta have money in his wallet.” He’d then casually slip each of us a “mallard,”  or a $100 bill, and send us on our way. In fact, my brothers and I each have the “Last Mallard” that he gave us six years ago. It was not long ago that one of my brother’s co-workers was sharing a story about every time he finds a dime, he considered it a gift from his aunt. So brother asked where his dimes were from our grandpa. That’s when the pennies started showing up in the oddest places and times that he’d never expect. We call them “Pennies from Heaven.”

Paying attention to the Pennies is not only our way to stay connected to our grandfather, but it’s also an excellent metaphor for the clues life leaves for us when we’re on our paths. Success leaves clues and it’s a matter of looking in the right place at the right time to know we’re on the right path. These clues come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Between the feedback we get from others, our previous successes and failures, and the visions we have for ourselves, it’s important to recognize which aspects can help steer us in the right direction.

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize these clues and often times they’re scarcest when we really need them. That’s why it crucial to have a success journal. Remember that little book we use to log our past successes, future goals, and dreams? This is the perfect time to reflect on how far we’ve come and use those lessons to refocus on the future. We’ve had successes before and we’ll have them again. Connect the dots that gave lead up to our past successes. Often times we’ll be amazed at how many things had to align at just the right time to make it happen. If we can begin to recognize this pattern, we can effectively see the clues that may be around us now.

Looking Up

I am currently on my own new path. I graduated from college, moved to a new city, and am trying to find my way to the success that I want in my life. While I’ve had some success in recognizing some amazing opportunities, it’s been a challenge to determine whether it’s a penny in my path or not. I’ve spent a lot of time doing the physical “leg work” to find them as well as talking to as many people in my family and inner circle for their feedback. I’ve received feedback on just about every opinion I could imagine and what I’ve determined is that only I can recognize the pennies and ultimately, pick them up.

Are you looking in the right place? What do you look for when on your path to success? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Double Standards

I talk a lot about integrity. That’s because I believe it is what defines each and every one of us in our core. It what allows us to be our authentic selves and gives the ability to express it to the world. Along with the things that help us find that inner integrity to express our authentic selves, there are behaviors and actions that detract from finding our integrity. From not honoring, resenting others, and to maintaining double standards.

Double standards hold ourselves to different standards than those around us. Not only are we fabricating our integrity, but it’s an outright lie. One of the first principles I shared was about how we deal with other people and how we can change our perception so that it doesn’t cost ourselves more harm than it should. But those principles can only exist and be practiced if we know who we are and what we stand for. We can allow others to believe what they believe, say what they say, and do what they do because it’s about them and their own story. It’s not about us. When we begin to engage them in their conduct and impart our values upon other, we had better be certain where it is that our integrity lies.

Beyond the standards that we hold and judge other on, it speaks enough about who we want to be as individuals. But reaffirming our personal agreements that we make with for ourselves isn’t enough. It requires commitment and practice. We can tell ourselves “only just this once,” but it accumulates to the double standards that we carry for the rest of our lives. We need to take the time to asses what little exceptions we make in our lives and stop them. It may not happen over night, in a week, in a month, or a year; but it’s the small steps that make the big changes. The big change we want to see and experience is the ability to be comfortable and confident in the integrity that we have built, found, and share with the world.

What double standards do you hold? Have you changed your outlook because you weren’t holding the same standard for yourself? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Honoring Our Integrity

This post is a bit more personal in nature because I am going to share some personal perspectives and relate them to the principles I have shared over the course of my blog. The recent development about Gen. David Patraeus’ indiscretions serves as a learning opportunity for all of us when it comes to the agreements we make in life and the integrity we establish within ourselves. These behaviors are not new, probably more common than we want to admit, and will most definitely be prevalent throughout our lives. Not even some of the most famous and revered people have fallen: Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr, and the list goes on. It can speak volumes of their character without them ever having said a word or even getting to know us.

What it comes down to is our integrity. It comes down to what we believe, the type of person we want to be, and the kind of lives we want to lead. The agreements we make in life, regardless of the nature of these agreements, are a part of the mosaic of our lives that define us. They define us because that’s how we want to be defined; by our own volition. If we want to be remembered for something,  The person who makes and breaks agreements is not the person we should want to be.

Sometimes the terms of our agreements change and that’s okay, but when they change, make it known that something is different. Sometimes they change for the better and sometimes they change for the worst; that’s the nature of life. It’s how we deal with that change that will define or alter our integrity. By engaging the change and seeking understanding is how we grow. The subversive, indiscretionary behaviors that so many engage in benefit nobody and deviate us from our integrity.

When we knowingly deviate from our authentic-selves and integrity, it can become a heavy burden. The longer we go without resolving the internal conflict the further away we become from ourselves. Only with a clear conscious can we move on and begin the process of getting in touch with our authentic-self. Even then, our integrity is forever changed. Those people who go through life denying this fact and justifying their behavior with fabricated bravado do so at their own detriment.

Think of the last time you found out about another’s indiscretion? How did you react? Was it somebody close to you? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Petty Grudge

We’ve seen it before and probably experienced it before. Holding a grudge against somebody because of something they may have done wrong is the worst way to handle ill feelings about somebody. More times than not, it’s something so silly that it’s embarrassing. We need to learn to let it go and have a talk. It’s time to be the bigger person and admit that something isn’t working and it needs to be addressed. By not dealing with it, we allow it to reside deep inside and can create resentment and anger. The fuming anger ball that overwhelms us commandeers our emotions and judgement. Take control before it does.

Holding a grudge is that ever-present pill that we swallow and expect the effects to harm the other person. We don’t know how long it’ll last, but we know we didn’t do anything wrong! Right? Well, odds are we’re just as culpable in the “grudge match.” Bottom line is that if it wasn’t some egregious act, then it’s silly and we need to get over it. Really assess as to why we’re so upset with the situation and if it’s worth it. By letting it go, we’re doing ourselves a favor.

Instead of holding it inside, take the extra effort and steps to talk to somebody; especially if we’re in conflict with somebody. Only by talking to them can we really find resolution and move on. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but remember the purpose of the talk: getting the conflict out on the table in order to better the relationship. The intent is not to hurt each others’ feelings, but to have a candid conversation about what’s wrong and where to go from here. If we’re not sure on what to say, rehearse the conversation we want to have in our head before hand. Really focus on visualizing what we want to say and how we want to say it. Ask for feedback from a close, trusted friend. Often times they might have insight or ask a question we never thought about that will change our entire perspective!

Holding a grudge? Why? What steps have you taken to resolve the issue? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Seize the Day!

Being in the present is more than paying attention to the people around us in our lives. It applies to opportunities and challenges we face on the path to success. Many of these opportunities come once in a life time and the challenges we face are unique opportunities that may open the door to a new realm of possibility. By procrastinating and waiting for that perfect moment, we’ll miss it entirely and not even know it. And when things don’t work out, it’s because we waited too long.

There’s no reason for us not to begin pursuing our dreams, goals, and passions today. Everything that life can and will throw us is an opportunity, no matter how small it seems. Each moment can build to the next. By continually taking on each challenge daily, weekly, monthly, and annually, we ensure our path on never-ending self-improvement.

We hear it all the time: the timing just wasn’t right. If that’s so, I follow-up with: Well, what or when is the right time? If we get into this habit (or are already there), we’re just finding ways to justify our inactions. By delaying what we can do today until tomorrow, not only do we limit the opportunity we have here and now, but also eliminate or restrict future opportunities.  Remember, we reap what we sow and by sowing actions toward our goals today, we reap the benefits down the road.

Sometimes opportunities are not obvious and require some digging and effort to find. Often times, we can create opportunities because we pushed that extra bit. These self-created opportunities are especially important because not only do we benefit and grow as an individuals, but we help lift those around us. Creating opportunities for others is to applauded; and it comes with a lot of responsibility. The mutual relationship that comes from a created opportunity can be very challenging and rewarding. they’re difficult because of the potential of interdependence. We cannot succeed without another’s help and vice versa. It’s also an opportunity to create a relationship. But by seizing the opportunity today, we can turn it into a great moment and opportunity for tomorrow!

Herb Brooks once said “Great moments are born from great opportunity.” Our lives are great opportunities, it’s our responsibility to make them full of great moments.

What are you waiting for? The perfect timing? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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