Saturday, December 8, 2018

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

It's just around the corner! You ready?
Christmastime is the favorite time of year for lots of folks. The malls are decked. Everywhere you go you hear the sounds of holiday music. Neighborhoods are looking brilliant with lights and displays. The energy and excitement seems to penetrate us. It really is a special time.

Unless you're not ready for it and especially if you don't care about it, all of the hoopla is just that. I know some people who feel that way. They are the bah-hum-buggers, and they are quite serious about it. It makes you wonder what caused that negative perspective of such a popular holiday that's filled with so much joy and meaningfulness. Was it a bad childhood? Is it because they don't buy the hype? Is it because they don't believe in the birth of Christ? Or are they just plain ol' naysayers, destined to be bah-hum-buggers for life about anything and everything? The latter is probably true.

With all the hype, energy and joy, you would think it would be an easy lure into one of the year's best holidays, but not so for some. Inwardly, many are suffering emotionally. Many are sad and lonely, especially during this time. Many feel the pain of happinesses stolen from other times in life and find it difficult to celebrate now or anytime. There could be a myriad of reasons why. Probably the most important thing for those of us who are caught up it the movement is to be understanding and compassionate whether we understand how they feel or not.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. While we are enjoying it from all of our various happy perspectives, let's remember to share our joy with a kind word to all. Someone may really need it. You may not be able to change their bah-hum-bug perspective, nor change the state of things for them, but you can be light and love for the moment. Keep yourself in ready-mode for that. ~ S.R.F.

Saturday, November 10, 2018


We are entering the holiday season and with that usually comes more up close and personal contact with family, friends, associates and coworkers. It can be a fun and festive time. With Thanksgiving right before us, have you given any thought to the things that you appreciate in life? Sometimes it's the little things that we can be the most grateful for:
Can't be thankful? Think again.
1. Another day. Life doesn't always seem fair or even bearable, but each day is another opportunity to stay in the ring. Keep on fighting your fight and be thankful that somehow you still have enough fight in you to keep it moving.

2. Another chance. Do you feel like you have flip-flopped your way to this point, having accomplished or achieved very little? It's the story line for so many individuals. Life is simply hard to figure out on a lot of days. We often say in troubled times "If it's not one thing, it's another." That very well may be true for some, but fortunately we can add that we also have another chance to make things better and that is definitely something to be thankful for.

3. Another way. This is also the season when we begin to think about our challenges and changing things. We are about to embark on a New Year and we want to do better, be better and make better things happen. We can. We can be thankful that there are better opportunities and choices we can make toward our futures now and later on. We can assuredly move forward knowing that there are many positive, productive and promising ways to make the rest of our lives the best of our lives.

If you're feeling like you can't be thankful, think again. When you're celebrating the holiday with family, friends, associates and coworkers this season, be thankful for that too. Remember, Thanksgiving is another day, another chance and another way to let others know you appreciate them. ~ S.R.F.

Thursday, October 25, 2018


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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Thinking Positive Ain't Always Easy

I believe in the power of the mindset. I can remember all too well some of the challenging mindsets that I've had to reset. It wasn't easy, but it was definitely necessary. Changing negative thoughts and behaviors is never an easy thing, but it's doable with consistent and conscientious effort. Embracing positive thinking isn't like an overnight do-over of how you've been thinking, or a simple mental makeover. It's work, constantly.

While you're working at it, realize that staying positive isn't always easy either. In this article I'll share some of the measures I took toward mastering my mindset. Some of them just might work for you, too.

Trash it!
There are certain ways of thinking that just had to be totally trashed, and I do mean gotten rid of. When you realize certain things you do get you nowhere fast, that mode of thinking and behavior has to go. One quick way to know if you're doing that very thing is look at the results. If they keep you failing, faltering or falling flat, that's an indication that wrong thinking may be the culprit. Einstein said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Insanity; yes, it can be a conditioned mindset. Put the brakes on that thinking if you expect things are going to turn out differently at some point. Unless you're trying to do something like the 13,000 attempts it took to discover electricity, it's time to stop the insanity. Consider trying something new.

Transform it!
Perspectives about things often need to be challenged and changed. Sometimes we will go through our entire lives thinking and behaving some kinda way because that's what we saw or at some time xperienced. Many, many negative themes and ideologies can be imbedded in us, and we respond accordingly until we learn that better ones work. "Work" is a keyword here: we must make it a 24/7/365 effort of reprogramming how we have otherwise been thinking. Efforts like self-talk, affirmations, Bible scriptures, vision boards, books, seminars, new environments, new friends, and new and more positive involvement in options and opportunities will impact change. It will take all of this, and then some. The point is, however, that to reset yourself in a new direction, and a new dynamic way of thinking is going to be in your hands. You can do it if you are committed and consistent. It can change your entire life.

Get to the Truth of it!
Truth be told, a lot of our thinking has been created by things being planted in us, pushed down our throats, and we swallowed it up without inspection or investigation. In the great majority of cases we were much to young to define it, or make any determinations to understand or change it. We just do it, believe it and live it, right or wrong. When it's been brought and taught to us right, that's great. But when it's wrong, and we're living it out wrong, it's unhealthy thinking all around. Unhealthy thinking creates an unhealthy life. 

For instance, if you grew up in hardship, or in a toxic or dysfunctional environment, that doesn't mean that you have to experience the same kind of life experience. Unfortunately, many people don't break the cycles because this is the experience that they learned from, and had their belief systems developed in. The truth is, we can change almost any of our thinking to gain more positive and productive actions and results. If you begin to tackle the lies that say this is all you'll ever be or achieve, and that certain things are not possible in your case, you are well on your way to the truth of who you are, how capable you are, and how productive and successful you can become.

Train yourself to do it!
Our mindsets are truly powerful. You can train yourself. You can program yourself with happy, healthy thinking. You can do better, be better and live better. You can find a new outlook that makes everything you do better. Will positive thinking make your world perfect? Of course, it won't. Positive thinking isn't about making things perfect or appear perfect. It's about perfecting a way of thinking that will, without question, make a difference in how you view yourself, your life and your future. And, that, my friend, is worth all the time and effort you can put into it. So, if you think it's time for a reset, don't delay. You are probably right, and on your way. ~ S.R.F.

Monday, September 3, 2018


Is fear getting in the way of daily life? Are you challenged by thoughts of failing? Are you afraid to make a move toward your goals? If so, it may be time to put your best foot forward and kick those fears right out of your life! Let's consider some strategies for making that happen:

1 First, take a look at the thing that scares you. Is it a real fear, or an imaginary fear? A genuine fear, something that could cause hurt or damaging results is real. If your imagination has told you that getting your degree or starting your own business is something to fear, that's not a real fear. That's you imagining all the ways something can't and won't work out. Start imagining all of the wonderful results you will probably get instead.

2. Secondly, lead yourself out of the dark. When you're in the dark, you can't see. When you allow yourself to stay in a place where you have made no effort to bring light upon your goals, you can frighten yourself into thinking that nothing you try to accomplish is going to work out. Lead yourself to the "light", that place of understanding that you are capable of accomplishing many things, both great and small. Listen to some motivational messages. Hang out with some motivated people. Truly motivated people are not hampered by fear. They take deLIGHT in helping to motivate you.

3. Lastly, give fear a swift kick. Make a decision right now that you are going to win the fight over your fears. Kick those fears in the "but"! "But, I can't..." "But, I don't see how..." "But, I won't succeed...." But, but, but! No more paralyzing BUTS! Give those fears a swift kick, then put your foot down, stand up tall and declare "This fight is over! Fear, you lose!" When you stop allowing your fears to cause you to make excuses, you are going to win; not just this time, EVERY TIME. ~ S.R.F.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Be The Bigger Person: How One Boss and One Big Mistake Changed My Life

One of the greatest lessons I've ever learned came from my boss, a young leader in the organization where I worked in an administrative clerical position, one of my first jobs out of high school. He was a caucasian man, newly married with kids, very handsome, in his early thirties, smart, wise and observant. He wasn't real talkative or social, but he was a real boss, making certain to dot his I's and cross his T's all the time. It was necessary for the position he held, because errors were costly.

Well, one day I made a huge flub entering an incorrect data entry code that impacted every employee's check. The entire payroll had to be redone, several thousand checks. My immediate supervisor was livid. She yelled at me, and asked how I could be so stupid. She wanted to smack me, but thank God she didn't. Instead, she stormed out of the office voicing her utter disappointment out loud, real loud. She knew the task before us, re-doing the payroll, meant that we would be working into the wee hours of the morning. I don't know what she had planned prior, but whatever it was wasn't going to happen and she was plenty upset about it.

Our boss, the smart, wise, observant guy that was the head of our entire department, overheard how my supervisor had chosen to handle this issue with me. In fact, I could see him watching from the corner of my eye, looking and listening with his arms folded. He could definitely see that if she dared to follow-thru with that slap, that I was more than ready to smack her back. He came over to me once she had stormed out of our office, and all I could think was that I was probably about to hear more reprimand, and probably lose my job. Boy, was I wrong! I had never made any mistakes before at work, but this was pretty major as far as mistakes go, but here's what happened: my boss leaned over, and had such a compassionate look on his face.  He said "Be the bigger person." I said "I'm so sorry." He said, "I know."

Be the bigger person? What?! Wow! Need I say that he taught me so many lessons that day, most importantly that it's not what happens, it's how you respond to it. He taught me what it means to stay calm and in control of yourself. He showed me how to stay focused on what has to get done. He was saying don't come down to the levels that some people may want you to, be the "bigger person". He said, "You made a mistake that can be fixed. Everyone makes mistakes." That wasn't what I had heard before! If you made mistakes, you were considered stupid and inadequate. Those were the messages I was most familiar with. Some of you know exactly what I mean, because you heard it, too.

I will never forget him, not ever. That day, even though it occurred decades ago, has impacted how I live, and how I treat people. It was that powerful. It's the very reason that I believe so profoundly in how little time and effort it takes to make a permanent, lasting impression on someone. At any moment in time, you can say and or do the very thing that can flip the entire script on someone's way of thinking or believing about themselves or life.

Indeed, within a few minutes my life changed in several ways because of my boss and my crazy mistake. He will always be a big person in my eyes, and I am, and will always be the bigger person because of him. ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, July 6, 2018


Self-reflection has to be one of the most difficult of challenges. If we are going to be honest with ourselves when we do it, it feels like having major surgery without anesthesia. It hurts when we dig into ourselves. It’s painful when we strip away falsehoods we’ve been telling ourselves about ourselves. 

Cutting away everything that is not genuine, honest and true within ourselves can be absolutely excruciating to our heart, mind and soul. But, getting to the real heart of who we are requires that kind of surgery and looking within.

If we can’t be totally authentic, then we can’t live truthfully. In the end, that’s what hurts the most. However, "self-reflection surgery" can make a major difference in the way we are and the way we live. If we approach it earnestly, it won't be painless, but it will be worth it.

Here's some tips on getting started:

Self-reflection is not a beat up and bash yourself session. When we look at our faults and flaws, we want to do so sensitively and carefully. Admit those things about yourself that you know are not favorable, the things you know work against you. Write it down, and declare war against it. Work on yourself hour by hour, day by day, until you release the actions and behaviors you don't like about yourself.

Self-reflection is growth. The whole idea is to prune away things about yourself that don't enhance you as the person you see yourself becoming. Pruning makes room for new growth, healthier growth. Let go of your bad attitude. Let go of your attacks on people. Let go of blaming. Let go of hurting others. Look for ways and reasons to present your best self to the world.

Self-reflection is one of the most powerful and positive things you can do for yourself.  You really want to be awesome? Noticed? Attractive? Loved? Respected? Get your "surgical tools" ready! List everything that you need to do to be everything you need to be. If you need help, get it from a counselor or life coach. There is no reason to wait. There is no reason to procrastinate. Let that person who helps become a "mirror" for you, too. It will take some time, but each and every effort you make is taking you into the most powerful and positive way of living, doing and being. You deserve that. ~ S.R.F.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Leave the Door Open

Have you ever said no to something without even thinking it through? Maybe you didn't feel there was a need to, however, there are times when we should take pause before we close the door. Oftentimes, we hesitate to see the big picture. We feel like whatever we know at the moment is enough, and again, that may be true. But, what if we left the door open a little bit, could that possibly be the very door of opportunity that we wanted to open? It's definitely food for thought:

1. Before you close the door, think about what is really going to happen. Is that the end result you really want, or is your "no" in defiance or some other reason? Are others involved? Will your "no" eventually cause problems? Is your "no" going to continue an argument or chaos? If so, you may want to leave the door open for better and more positive communication, the kind that will bring about a positive and successful path on which to proceed.

2. Is the reason you said no because of fear? Our fears will cause us to shut down opportunities because we think we may fail hard in the sight of others. We think we won't succeed, so we act as if whatever it is lacks in importance. Don't say no to an opportunity. Say no to your fear.

3. It's sad, but true, that some of the people closest to us don't want to see us grow and succeed. We buy in to the negativity and lack of support, so we fantasize about our goals and dreams, but because of the "approval" we think we need, we say no to our futures. We allow ourselves to be dictated by what others believe we can and should do, and we end up doing nothing. It's a huge sacrifice to make, so in our own best interest we must muster the conviction to say "yes" to ourselves, and "no" to the others.

Leave the door open, even if you don't discuss it openly with anyone else. Pick it apart. Process it. If it looks like it can work, go for it. If not, let your no be your no, and no one else's. Take charge of the doors that open and close. If it means a successful move is in front of you, leave the door open. Peek in and see what you think. ~ S.R.F.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Overwhelmed? Handle Your Tasks Like a Boss!

Many of us have long to-do lists, and loads of other responsibilities on top of those. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. We could cut the lists down and unload some of the responsibilities, but too often we still feel like what-the-what else can I do? Well, don't dismay! There are a few things that you can do now to get over being overloaded and overwhelmed, and start handling your life like a true boss! 

1. Get some help. Seriously.  
I heard an amazing story about a true superwoman a few years ago. She was the special guest speaker for a class I sat in on at the corporate university where I worked at the time. She was married with kids. She was working full time. She had just obtained her degree and was headed to law school. She had one child while in school, and said she still wasn't finished growing her family yet. She said she had no choice but to become a good manager of her life. She solicited friends and family members to pick up her kids. She had someone help them with homework. She had relatives prepare dinner nightly for her family. She had help come to keep her house clean and neat. And, with all of this, she somehow still made sure her kids and husband felt her love and presence.

This woman was a master at doing life skillfully, and that was the takeaway she wanted all of the professionals in the room to grasp. Her message was inspiring and empowering. So, why not give it a try? Ask trusted, reliable friends and family to help out with some of your errands and chores. If that doesn't work, hire someone to be your personal assistant for a few hours a week now and then. A lot of unload can happen in three or four hours, and it's worth the fifty or sixty bucks you invest in someone. It's a win-win all around.

2. Get a professional organizer to come in for a consultation with you. He or she can help you find the weak spots in your days and hours, and help you structure your life in a more efficient way. Many of the things on our lists can be taken care of in a short amount of time, sometimes within minutes. But, when we keep adding things to the lists instead of taking care of them and taking them off, the potential for stressing and feeling out of control is great. Once you organize your thoughts, you'll organize your lists and manage the time and dedication needed to handle matters, and at the same time you'll be organizing your life. It's a sure formula.

3. Get online and look for support groups. There are many, many busy people just like you. Join them in conversations. Go to their meet-ups. It's a great way to de-stress and learn some new life skills for handling the tasks of our daily grinds. Find out what their balancing acts are like and what they do to cope with life, work and family. Be honest, be open. Learning one new, really great skill, or embracing a new idea you had not thought of could change the game for you. You could go from being overwhelmed to underwhelmed in no time. It can happen!

Juggling the tasks of daily life can be more than a notion, I know, but they can be handled. Decide to make some boss moves today. Try a thing or two or three from this list and see if that does the trick. You may be pleasantly surprised, and it just may take the load off. ~ S.R.F.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Somewhere out of someone's genius came this new, slick catchphrase "Sorry, not sorry!" It's the clapback to those who dare to challenge the boldness and uniqueness of the way many choose to be and live, and theoretically it serves as an answer that pretty much settles the matter. People are doing life the way they choose and they are not sorry.

What is the defining difference between those who go boldly forth to embrace life and those who shrink back in life in fear of what others may think of them? Here are some thoughts:

1. Those who are living unapologetically know who they are and how they came to be who they are. They dare to be authentic and they are not sorry that they don't play fake.

2. Those who are living unapologetically are confident about how they live their lives, without needing approval or acceptance from anybody else. They live the life that brings them satisfaction and happiness and they are not sorry about their choices .

3. Those who are living unapologetically are not fazed by the opinions of others, particularly negative information and vibes. They care about bigger, more important things, things that really matter. They could care less about what others think unless it carries value, and they are not sorry regarding those they shut their ears to.

4. Those who are living unapologetically are not intimidated by what the majority is doing, and won't be swayed by the popular stance just because everyone else is on board. They believe in what they believe, even if it's unpopular with everyone else, and they are not sorry to stand on their own views.

5. Those who are living unapologetically are free from norms if it forces a negative impact on their way of life and work. Their independence is a priority above all else and they are not sorry about how they set the personal standards in which they create and live.

6. Those who are living unapologetically have a level of self-assurance and self-acceptance that keeps their head above the crowd. They are not typically looking down on others, but if they have to keep certain people at bay, they do it and they are not sorry about why and how they do it.

Living unapologetically is something you grow into. The more you learn about yourself and others, the more you understand that you don't have to be apologetic about how you do life. Live confident. Live bold. Live out loud. Live with zest. And, above all, live with conviction about who you are and what you believe. For that, my friend, there is no need to be sorry. ~ S.R.F.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Are your days filled with blues, blahs and complaining because you just don't feel like you've got your act together? Does it feel like your self-worth and self-esteem has sunken to an all-time low? You don't believe you've accomplished enough in life? Well, don't dismay any longer. What you think is reality, may only be your mindset, and you can master that.

It's tricky. 
We convince ourselves of our own unworthiness for various reasons. Someone may have told us we were unworthy. We may have tried something and failed, and now we feel like a failure. Certain things may not have worked out well for us in life, work and relationships and we feel pretty lousy about ourselves as a result. Surely, these situations can have a tough impact on us, but it should be temporary, not a lifetime of beating up on ourselves, or a life sentence of self-punishment.

Know the truth.
The truth is, just about everybody experiences some of those feelings, but not everyone takes it lying down. You see, things are going to happen that challenge us to question our worth. However, we have to be smart enough and wise enough to challenge those questions right back, and make sure we give ourselves solid, right answers. We will become whatever we tell ourselves. We must tell ourselves we're worthy.

Know your worth.
You deserve success. You deserve love. You deserve to feel significant, honored and recognized. It begins with you believing that, in spite of anything else that seems to force you to believe otherwise. You must begin to master your responses to the negative replays that swirl around in your head, the ones that are telling you how unsuccessful you are, how unlovable you are, how less than deserving you are. You are worth celebrating, and you must look in your mirror often and tell yourself that very truth. You must tell yourself with conviction, until there is no room for those negative thoughts. It's a battle for your mindset, and it's a battle you can win.

Change your reality.
You can get your act together. You can shake off the blues. You can beat the blahs. You can accomplish and achieve the success you desire. When you change those thoughts about yourself, you will change your reality. Step by step, day by day, thought by thought, you will see a new and beautiful change in yourself, your life and your world. You are so worth it. ~ S.R.F.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Authentic YOU

Most of us have several roles in life. We work. We have careers. We have families, friends and associates. We have church. We have groups and organizations that we are affiliated with. With all of these, we have roles and those roles very often have demands. As overwhelmed and exhausted as we may become, we bravely put on our game faces and do whatever it is we think we need to do.

In the dynamics of it all, the spinning around, the lack of time management, the pull of "people are depending on me" syndrome, the question arises "Who am I really?" and why am I not taking care of myself and my own needs?

Sometimes we get so lost in the demands and responsibilities that we lose touch with ourselves, or even forget who we really are. It is at that pivotal point in our self-discovery that we must free ourselves to become our authentic selves. That authentic self is the person who is truly in touch with his or her needs, wants, desires and choice of obligations and demands.

Finding our authentic self will mean letting go of the things that are unnecessary in many cases. It means letting go of the guilt we feel when we can't be the one who is the "go-to" guy all the time. It means letting go of the worry that people may view you differently if you don't make those commitments that you really can't handle. It means letting go of the roles that are not critical to your well-being, the ones that give you very little return on your investment, the ones that drain the the life out of you.

Your authentic self surfaces as you make these strategic decisions about what is most important to you and in your life, because it narrows everything down to what makes you and those closest to you happy. It may take you a minute, or maybe days or even months to do the cutting away that frees you to be your best you, and that's okay. Take your time and observe the success. You'll see that the groups, the affiliations, the stuff that you thought could not survive without you, did just fine as the door opened for someone else equally as committed and qualified as you. And, also in that process, you will have successfully managed to discover the best role you'll ever have to live up to in life: the authentic YOU. Make that one your greatest commitment. ~ S.R.F.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Make It a "Can Do" Year!

We're at it again, right? We're making those resolutions for 2018, and some of them are the ones pushed over from those undone in 2017, aren't they?! That's okay, better later that not at all. We can get this done this year! We're coming out of the gates and into the year with our biggest "Can Do" attitude ever! We're focused! We're filled with faith! We CAN DO this!

Dare to!

First, truly dare to believe that what you want to do can be done. Erase your doubt. Get it into your head that there is no looking back, no quitting, no failure, no telling yourself that you tried but you just couldn't do it. Unless it's something like flying to the moon on your own wings, you can.

Roll, Baby!

Secondly, roll with the punches. Everyday will not feel like you are winning. Some days will feel like it's a great day to quit. Those thoughts will always cause a setback! Recognize that whatever is causing the frustration or feelings of failure, do not mean that you can't do it. It means that you need to apply a little bit more mental strength than you did yesterday to get it done.

The course may change, but not the destination!

Thirdly, you set a deadline, right? Well, that may change. The goal may get reshaped, due to certain other factors. People who were on course with you may change, too. In other words, there will be changes more than likely along the pathway to your goal, but the destination doesn't change because of it! Stay on task. Keep your destination in full view.

You can do it!

Lastly, when you develop the "Can Do" mindset, it may not be easy, but you'll surprise yourself at the things you'll actually get done! Your accomplishments will be many, and you'll be knocking out that list of goals in no time. You can do it and you will! ~ S.R.F.

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