written by Mick Ukleja

4 Ways To Make Friends With Your “Negative” Emotions

I was in my car hurrying to an appointment. It felt like I was hitting every stoplight. At one intersection the light finally turned “green” and the driver in front of me did not notice. What in “blazes” is wrong with them? Are they texting? Checking email? Or just “brain dead?” I “lightly” honked my horn. They finally got going, but it was too late for me to get through the light!! I HAD to wait for it to turn green again! I was upset.

Put yourself in that position. Would you be having an amygdala moment? The amygdala is that part of the brain that processes emotions known as “fright”, “flight”, or “fight.” It happens, doesn’t it? Everyday and in everyway, these little irritations (who left the cap off the toothpaste tube?), happen at work, at home, and in between.

The question is what would you do to calm yourself down? For many people, their emotions are mysterious and they don’t know what to do with them. Perhaps you have been modestly successful in dealing with them.

As children, most of us learned to avoid negative emotions. This was often the message we got from our families, and it has been a common experience to see it modeled by our parents and other adults as well. Add to this the message from culture, which implies that our negative emotions are unreliable. So often our strategy is to ignore them. However, they still persist.

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written by Mick Ukleja

Every Card Deck Has a Wild Card. Use Yours!

WildcardDepositphotos_12291349_s-2015-copyEveryone comes into the world with a hand full of cards that was not of their own choosing. It’s the hand they were dealt.

  • We have innate intelligence that was hard wired upon our entrance.
  • We didn’t choose the family we were born into – nor did they choose theirs!
  • The connections in our formative years were determined by someone else.
  • The disposition logged into our genes began to take on a life of its own.
  • The circumstances of your childhood were not designed by you.

“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.”  – Robert Louis Stevenson

We use the gambler’s metaphor of being dealt a bad or a good hand. Yet we forget that wild cards also exist in that deck.

We all possess a wild card.

Just as in a game of poker, a wild card can make all the difference in the world. That wild card consists of the choices we make and it impacts all the other cards. Using that card well is the key to success. Life has continuous forks in the road, and it’s important to make the choices that your future will thank you for.

Here are 5 things to remember as you play your wild card.

1. Always start with the end in mind. We make our decisions and those decisions turn around and make us. Go out in time and determine the final outcome you desire. Too many people approach life like it’s a lottery ticket – if you hang around long enough your number will come up. At last, everything you’ve ever wanted will be yours! But it never happens. Just ask those who bought a ticket. There is a 5,000,000 to 1 chance of picking a winner — which equals zero.

2. Make sure your choices are adding up. Focus on the now. Knowing your desired “end” points to what matters now. If it doesn’t matter tomorrow then it doesn’t matter now. So focus your energy on today. Look at the path that will get you to the life you want. Are the current choices being made moving you down the road? Do those choices add up? Where do you need to hit the delete button, and where do you need to adjust? What should you continue to do? Do the math.

3. Never fail to choose yourself. It’s very exhausting to pretend to be who you know you aren’t. Wearing masks wears you out.

Faking becomes fatiguing.

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written by Mick Ukleja

3 Essential Mindsets To Make Your Twenties Count!

I recently did a training session for the leadership team and staff of Special Olympics of Southern California. One third of the participants were Millennials.  Their attentiveness to career development and life choices was personally encouraging.  These 2 things are also at the core of the present day topic of Extended Adolescence. Just as the category of adolescence was inserted between youth and adulthood around the beginning of the 20th century, so also extended adolescence has today been inserted between adolescence and adulthood.  All this has lead to the popular notion that “30 is the new 20.” But is this the case?

The answer is both yes and no.  Let me explain.

YES. It’s true that leaving home happens later than it used to.  Parents helping their 20-something children financially is commonplace.  Parent-child relationships are more connected than past generations.

However, the question that arises is this:

  • Does extended adolescence have any long-term negative effect on 20-somethings?
  • Where is the line of harmless connection to home and parents and a mindset that becomes toxic?
  • Is there an attitude that causes 20-somethings to get stuck?
  • What is harmless, and what can become harmful?
  • Is it possible that some important growth steps could be stalled, negatively impacting these emerging adults.
  • Are there steps  that Millennials in their second decade cannot afford to miss?

Even though there is nothing wrong with having a close connection to home, that does not erase the need to grow into adulthood.  There is still the need to become productive, and take advantage of future opportunities.  Thinking it will work out by starting in one’s thirties has created personal disappointment, often referred to as expectation hangover.

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