A few years ago I had nothing. I mean nothing. No hope. No money. No cat. Well I guess I had two of those but not one cat in particular, I will get that story later on.
The future looked bleak for me. Not for lack of trying but just lack of really producing the outcomes in life that I really wanted. I wanted more money but I didn’t want to really work. I wanted a better looking body but I didn’t want to work out. I wanted my wife to love me more but I didn’t do anything to show her love. Look, I was really down.
I remember packing up some old stuff we had laying around the house to go sell at flea market on the side of the road. We made just enough money to eat. Let me tell you how awesome that felt. We had to pull off the old “selling out” trick, which is selling everything you got at the market to a career marketer for a bulk price. Forty bucks was hard to come by at this stage in my life.
I was always a hoarder of sorts. So the fact that I got so low that I was selling my useless shit instead of buying useless shit really hit me hard. I had to do something and I had to do it fast.
I had been working at a restaurant one day a week and trying new jobs throughout the week. I hated them all, so I would just quit. No real plan, just quit. I started to tell myself that I was just a quitter. I wouldn’t have so much stress in my life if I would have just quit college like I quit all these jobs I would tell myself. I was completely living in my past and regretting all of it.
All of it, except one thing. The beautiful woman that I swore I would protect and provide for. I love her so much. To be honest, I loved her way more than I loved myself. Which was a problem. Because no self-respecting woman of intelligence like my wife is would find a self-loathing down and out, pathetic excuse of a man loveable, let alone attractive.
So enough is enough. I wasn’t going to be lazy anymore. I called the restaurant and asked if they had any serving shifts available.
“Sure, come on in at four.”
I nervously looked at the clock. It was already two.
“Alright! That’s awesome! See you soon.”
I couldn’t believe that I said it. My insides were all balled up.
It was like they were shouting:
“Seriously? You are going to work tonight. Don’t you want to be lazy and lay around crying about having nothing and being sad and depressed? “
“No Goddamn it! I’m done with this. I am going to go and make something happen!”
(Although, it probably isn’t appropriate to tell God to damn anything, but if one must I think sadness and depression would a great thing to be damned.)
I didn’t know it at the time but that attitude and that statement is what really turned my life around. Since this I have come to the realization that life is something that we create for ourselves. Life is not something that just happens to us by chance. We truly have the ability to have the life that we want to have. And this reality came crashing home for me in the negative sense when I realized that my lack of responsibility created the life I didn’t desire. So when I took the responsibility for my own success seriously and started thinking and working towards my goals an odd thing happened. I actually started feeling happier and then actually started achieving my goals.
I went from a one day a week server to a store manager, making more money a year that I had ever made, in just six months. The focus and the energy that is required for us to move to the next level is always available, it’s just a matter of us deciding every day to tap into it.
I know that there is another level for me. And I know that there is another level for you. That is what this book is all about. I want to use my experiences and my stories to help move us forward in our lives to fully live life on our terms, whatever that means for you.
I truly believe that there is nothing impossible in this world. The more that I study and learn the more that I believe that God, or the Universe, or the Vortex, or the vastness of the Galaxy, whatever you want to say does actually have our backs. There is something to getting yourself centered and focused every day that helps propel your actions to the outcomes that you seek. So it is a matter of identifying what it is that you seek and what daily habits would be required to achieve the best possible outcomes to get you what you desire.
So without further ado; it is time for you to RELEASE YOUR INNER ZILLA!!!!
Wow! That is an absolute awful smell I thought to myself. Where or what is that coming from? There is probably just something they have forgotten about in the kitchen I thought. They are cleaning up a bunch of old food and nasty things after all.
Wait there’s that smell again. But this time it is by the front door? How can that be? Maybe they are pumping the old grease or something and it is making it smell like a sewer. Yeah that’s probably it.
How in the hell is this smell in the office now? I know they aren’t pumping the grease this late at night. Where is it coming from?
It wasn’t till I got home and took my socks off that I realized the Gawd awful smell that wreaked havoc on my nose all night was actually from my very own feet! My cool new socks that had ridiculously sophisticated pictures of cats with glasses and ties weren’t equipped enough to handle old dirty dish water getting all over them and not producing nose toxics strong even to lay down a horse. I was embarrassed to say the least.
But why? Why was I embarrassed? I worked hard, even though I didn’t have to, and got dirty and smelled a little different because of it. So what?
All too often this is the negative self-talk that comes out of working or doing something that we don’t really want to do in life. I didn’t want to work as a restaurant manager. But yet I had bills and responsibilities so I needed to have a good steady pay check. So are you ready to order? I found myself talking down to myself over things that would not have been nearly as negative if they had happened in other circumstances.
Like what if I was a firefighter and I had rushed into a building to save a life and my socks stunk the whole joint up like an old bag of trash that was three quarters full of used baby diapers left out on the porch in the middle of August for a week. (I in no way am saying that my neighbors have left their trash out on their front porch for a week in August…it was only five days!) I don’t think I would be embarrassed of my stench at all. But rather proud of it! High-fiving people and celebrating what an awesome day it was.
How we interpret things and thoughts that we have quite literally changes our lives. Henry David Therou said “Changes do not change; we change.” This is why it is important to set goals and move towards the goals with relentless belief and energy. When you believe whole-heartedly in something the way you interpret things that happen to you go through your belief lens and point you in that direction. We see this all the time in religion. Someone prays to God for healing but yet the person remains sick and dies. They say well God needs a new angel or God’s will be done. The person makes a miraculous recovery. They say I knew God answers prayer or the prayer warriors always get their way. You see the belief system is locked in on God so the actual physical result only matters in the sense of how to explain that God is still in control. The belief system is set up and then the events or thoughts are interpreted through to the main belief system.
So, what if you could change your belief system in your life? What if you could set it up to where all the things that happened to you, good or bad, moved you closer to the desired goal that you wanted?
Through years of research and study I have developed a short little phrase that has an acronym with it that helps me filter all things through to my ultimate belief system. Release Your Inter Zilla!
How to Release Your Inner Zilla!
First, what is your inner “Zilla?” Zilla is an acronym.
l-look the part
We will take a look at each of these five areas to work towards having the life that we always wanted. This is a journey that will require constant renewal. There are times that parts of your “zilla” will change or shift. That’s okay! Remember it is yours, not anyone else’s!
Let’s start to unpack this with how to identify your zeal.
Chapter 1: Zeal made out of Steel!
Z – Zeal
“Fan is just short for fanatic. So that’s why I am not a ‘fan’ of anyone or any team. I just can’t lose my sense of reason and logic like that.”
That may sense like a strange greeting to you but most philosophy professor, especially ones that are teaching at conservative Christian universities, are strange right. It definitely didn’t help matters that I was standing there in the school of Religion and Philosophy office with my Cincinnati Bengals hat, my Cincinnati Bengals jacket, my Cincinnati Bengals jersey, my Cincinnati Bengals shoes, my Cincinnati Bengals socks, my Cincinnati Bengals undershirt, and yes my Cincinnati Bengals underwear on. He didn’t even know that I had my Cincinnati Bengals wallet with my Cincinnati Bengals credit card on me.
So maybe my being a “fan” had turned to the fanatical side of things. Is that entirely a bad thing? I mean if you are going to believe in something you might as well go all the way and believe in it completely. The reason a lot of people don’t achieve the success that they want is because they aren’t fanatical about anything. There is no definitive goal or purpose. For me, there is no way in the world that anyone will ever say that I am a bandwagon jumper when the Cincinnati Bengals win the Super bowl.
Let’s not pretend that obtaining everything you want to get out of life is as easy as loving your favorite sports team but there are definitely some comparisons. I love the Bengals so much that I have had Christmases where you would have thought it was Mike Brown the owner of the Bengals’ birthday and not Jesus’. That’s right, Santa even knows my desires! What if my dream job was so known and brought me so much joy when I talk about it that people got me Christmas present that represented it? I bet I would get that dream job fairly soon.
That’s the thing about zeal. When you have so much zeal for something it starts to spread like wildfire. Every person you come in contact with catch a little bit of the fire, even if you don’t talk directly with them. What do you want to have? A million dollars? A smoking hot spouse that you just can’t resist? A vegan cat food company? Start a yoga for macaw lovers’ class? Maybe make fudge that is shaped like octopi that scuba divers just die for? Whatever it is; you must have relentless, never-ending, gut-wrenching, you-couldn’t-stop-me-if-you-tried zeal for it that moves you to take action.
So where does zeal come from? And how can I get it?
Zeal really starts with what you like. And by like I mean completely insanely obsessed with passion that flows throughout your veins because it is everything you live for like! I remember as a kid I liked playing Mario and watching sports and wrestling with my dad. I played some seriously Mario, like every game and studied it inside and out. I also loved playing Ken Griffey Jr presents Major League Baseball. I played every game of a 162 game season with the Cincinnati Reds. This is what brought my zeal for the Cincinnati sports and playing some sort of video game every day. What is it that you liked to do as a kid? Be honest and let your little kid come back and have some fun. Be as outrageous as you can. Who cares if you can’t completely connect the dots right now just list what activities or events that really got your blood pumping. If you really can’t think of much from when you were a kid then think about what you did in college or after work or now. Just start making a list already, that’s the main thing!
Did you get something on all ten spots? You can add more than ten if you need to. What stands out on your list? What is it in your life that really brought you alive? If it was dancing, if it was singing, if it was writing, if it was tossing whole watermelons to a hippopotamus, it doesn’t matter as long as it is yours! Does it make your heart sing? Is it your true deep down, it doesn’t matter if hellfire comes raining down, I love this so much and no one will change this about me zeal? And get as specific as you possibly can with whatever it is. The more narrow your focus the better. Once you know what your target is to hit then it is just a matter and getting all the equipment and training to strike the bulleye!
Your zeal is ____________________________________________________________________.
So it really is your zeal? Great! That’s really important. Because the next step will really put that zeal to the test.
Chapter 2: Don’t be dense! Be INTENSE!
I – Intensity
Have you ever had sex camping before? (Made love for you more sensitive souls out there.) It was bleepin’ in tents! Those are the types of jokes that my grandfather would come up with out of nowhere.
I loved hanging out with my grandfather. I don’t know exactly why but papaw was just the right amount of caring and crazy for me as a kid I guess. We would go to McDonald’s for sausage biscuits, the local dinner to chat with his friends, even the Wal-mart café where he would bring his own mug and demand free coffee. Come to think of it, I guess food was a big part of our time together that may explain something.
There was something about papaw’s spirit that has always interested me. No better story illustrates this than going to the flea market.
Now I’m not one for a crowd much as some I’m already on high alert about walking around a crowd filled with a bunch of people scrawling around for junk that they think is a great bargain. Good thing I was going with papaw!
“Get out there and move that orange cone!”
“Uhhhh…I don’t think you are supposed to move those papaw?”
“Well how else am I going to get my car through there to drive through the flea market then? I don’t feel like walking….now get out and move the cone!”
“I don’t thin…..” I was getting out of the car as I was finishing the sentence knowing full well it didn’t really matter what I thought at this point.
So just in case it was too awkward walking through a crowded flea market I got to experience driving through a crowded flea market. People were super excited to hear the loud honking when they were in the way. I mean couldn’t they see the big Pontiac that was rolling through the walkway?
To beat it all, Papaw kept complaining about how there wasn’t anything useful at this flea market and how it was just a waste of time. Okay then let’s go back home before we flatten someone right before they haggle down the price of an old bed frame.
Then the old Pontiac came to a screeching stop. The window goes down…
“Hey how much for that picture!” Papaw shouted.
The man was still trying to fully take in the fact that there was guy driving through the flea market, when Papaw wouldn’t let him off the hook; “Come on that picture right there of Jesus how much? I don’t have all day!”
“30? That’s a nice picture of Jesus but I don’t think it’s worth 30…how about 10?”
Are you kidding me right now? Not only are we driving down the middle of a flea marketing but papaw is trying to haggle down the price of a picture of Jesus! Not to mention the fact that he really had no need for a picture of the man from Galilee or the fact that it probably wasn’t even an accurate portrait of him; how could you try to undervalue the price?
It’s this kind of intensity that we lack in our lives. At first, it’s easy to miss the intensity in this story. It didn’t matter that there were orange cones blocking the way, or that it wasn’t socially acceptable to drive through a flea market, or that people were getting more and more noticeably annoyed, or that the picture of Jesus was in his mind over priced…he was going to do whatever it was that he wanted to do.
What do you want to do?
Don’t just sit there, move the damn cone and go haggle the price of God down! Unless, of course just sitting there is what you really what to do, although I doubt it.
I remember years ago I decided that I needed to start working out. I was on the way home from a Super Bowl party and it just hit me. I am out of shape and I did not have the body that I want.
“I should do something about it.” I thought.
The next morning I woke at 7 am and went the gym at the school and did a half-hearted workout on a treadmill. The sole purpose in my mind was to just get up and move every day. The next day I got up at 7 am again. The next day, 7 am again. Now, mind you these workouts are not that much. I ended up not going to the school because it was too cold outside and just doing some crunch with an ab roller thing that was big and clunky and took up too much space for too long not to be used at least a little bit.
The super weird thing is that I ended up sticking to this half-hearted habit. I kept getting up early and doing little crunches. Then one day, about two months later, I gave a P90X dvd that had collected dust on the shelf and hit play. I got my ass handed to me. But there was something about it that I liked. It was the level of intensity that I needed to get to my desired goal or zeal for my body.
I was hooked. I hit play every day for four months. Yeah, that’s right I did an extra month of the program. People noticed the change in my body everywhere I went. I was pumped. Then something strange happened.
Some say that it is just life that happened. I got a new job, a better one more in my field but new none the less. We moved to a new town, only 10 miles south but new none the less. There was so much change in my life that my focus shifted to other areas and thus my intensity for my body and health shifted as well. Days, weeks, and then months went by where I didn’t work out at all, let alone something as extreme as the P90X. Guess what happened to body? It went back to the same results that I had been getting before.
The level of intensity that we put forth in our zeal will dictate the outcomes of our actions. Thus, if you have a desired outcome in your mind as to what it is that you want and turn up the intensity towards that outcome you will acquire the desired outcome. The catch is that there usually always is more intensity that you can bring to the table. For my example, I work out like a mad man with the P90X but I didn’t follow the diet guide. I know other people that followed the diet guide religiously but weren’t disciplined with the work outs. We still got desirable outcomes but we could have gotten even more desirable outcomes if we would have increased the intensity level.
When one is intense about something their focus in completely on that thing or goal. This will make the simplest of tasks more difficult to perform because there is a level of focus that is required for everything that we do.
To illustrate this, there was this time at a restaurant I worked at where a couple with a new born baby came in to eat. The guy ordered from the server for the two of them because the woman didn’t speak any English. Let’s be honest for a second here. This new Latino mother was a complete and utter smoke show! She blew by ten on the scale with ease. Which makes the situation where the young new born baby got hungry even more perplexing.
Now it’s not a matter of whether it is right or wrong to breastfeed in public. Although, that never really seemed like a real problem to me personally. But in this specific case the new mom was probably so into being a mom that she didn’t consider covering up; which wouldn’t be a worry or problem, except the baby didn’t really seem that hungry. There was actually a time that the child fell asleep! The hot mommy still left the boobie out just in case the child wanted a little mid nap snack.
A guy sitting at the table across the dining room had the perfect view of this scene. There was definitely focus in his eyes. The poor guy couldn’t figure out what to order for the longest time. Then finally just mumbled something about meatloaf with chicken gravy and a large milk.
Yes this guy may have been a creep that was enjoying the peep show a little too much. (Or a lot too much!) But this is a great example of how when we truly like something or enjoy something there is a new level of intensity that focuses all our energy on that thing or event or goal. When we align our desires and dreams in the way that gives us this kind of focus; this kind of holy crap there is a hot woman with her breast out for me to see laser vision focus, we can and will achieve whatever that dream is!
Whatever it is that you have full zeal for make sure that you have arranged your dreams and goals in a way that will push your intensity forward every single day!
Chapter 3: Love; there is none above!
“I am soooooooo excited! Finally Chipotle is opening in the town I live it! Today is the day!”
I just couldn’t hold in my excitement! My favorite burrito place was finally just miles from home and I knew exactly where I was heading after work. So you can imagine my bewilderment when no one else at work had ever eaten there; many had never even heard of Chipotle.
“Are you kidding me? How do you not know of the greatest restaurant chain of all time? The most paramount Mexican experience anyone can achieve this side of the border? Let me guess you all don’t even like cilantro?”
This completely floored me. Not just because the people I worked with didn’t know my favorite place but because there were three Chipotles about 20 minutes away! It wasn’t like it was completely new to the area; it was just opening a new location closer to my house. I couldn’t believe that all these people were so close to something so awesome and never tried it or, for some, never even heard of it.
Once you have identified what your zeal is and you have your intensity meter up high; don’t underestimate the amount of exposure you are going to need. You have to spread the love! And just when you think you have told everyone you could possibly tell…tell them again! If you are truly excited and truly intense about whatever it is that you want and your belief about it has resonated so deep within yourself your love for it will pour out and spread to everyone around. Everything you touch can truly turn to gold!
The notion that a huge food chain can be just miles from people and them not even hear about shouldn’t scare or worry you but motivate you! This means that overexposure is not a real thing! Keep advertising. Keep talking to people. Keep moving forward. Never stop just because you think everyone is tired of hearing about your zeal. Trust me, in this world the people that have the most zeal are the ones that people flock to.
Just look at athletes and celebrities. They love their crafts so much that they pursue theit goals with purpose every single day and the show everyone all the time just how relentless they are for their zeal. You will never be able to spread your love for your zeal enough!
I remember a time when I was teaching a young adult class at a church. I ended up getting really into the lesson plans and really loving the class. There were a few weeks that the attendance doubled. Then I didn’t something weird. Me doing weird things is not uncommon at all but I think this weird thing is something we all do at different points in our lives. I stopped talking about the class. Now don’t get me wrong, I still studied for it. I prepared the same way. But for some reason I just stopped talking about the class at work or with my family. I didn’t want to bother them with talking about it because I didn’t want to pressure them into feeling obligated to attend. Wow! How’s that for some zeal and intensity?!
“Hmmm hey hmmm remember there’s that little class thing…that I ….huh….teach every week….if you aren’t…huh….too busy…I know I told you about it before….but….huh….it’s only like…..huh….an hour. Oh I understand if you can’t….huh….make it.”
Geeeezzzuusss! I didn’t even want to attend after that sales’ pitch!
Let your desires run wild through you. Let what you want fully embody you all the time. Let what you crave to become so completely who you are that people cannot help but see it when they talk with you. Quite literally, let the maniac run wild in you!
You what to become a comedian. Make people smile constantly.
You what to become a fitness instructor. Live, breathe, eat fitness 24/7.
You what to become a millionaire. What do millionaire say and do? Do and say those things!
You what to become an astronaut. Tell me about outer space.
There is a pillow that my wife got years ago that is on our couch. It simply reads, “Whatever you are be a good one.” That’s it man! You can be whatever you want to be…but you better be a damn good whatever! Let’s get over ourselves and move forward with spreading the love as far and wide as we possibly can.
You are unstoppable. You are so loving that people will feel you giving them your zeal and intensity when they meet you. You spread the love continually…until you don’t.
Wait…what? Why would you stop spreading your love?
You know what your zeal is. You have focused your intensity. You starting spreading your love. Why would you stop?
I think it is the reason why I stopped talking about the class. Fear creeped in. While, the opposite of love is hate I feel that fear could be the true opposite of love. It is often out of fear that hate comes to be. Scared that the room won’t be big enough. Scared that there will be too many people and they may never quite down. Scared that there may be one person that shows up that is smarter than me and then everyone wants them to teach the class. Scared that you will try and not succeed. Scared that people will critique and analyze you to death. Scared that you will get made fun of and have your feelings hurt. So I will just lay here in a ball forever and ever and do nothing for the rest of my life thank you very much!
There is another way! There is a way of constant, continual love. But it will be like showering or eating, you will have to do it repeatedly every single day to keep it alive.
I heard an acronym for fear the other day; False Expectations Appearing Real. To eliminate fear, we can establish daily routines that enable love for us and then it will pour out to others. When we focus so much on the worse possible outcome and we dwell on how bad things will be or how stressed we are about an upcoming project, we create anxiety in ourselves that paralyzes our actions. It is ridiculously hard to love something or someone when you are filled with the worse possible scenario of the future.
The more time and thought that you give fear the bigger it grows and the lack of love and excitement there is. Think about a time that you had a big assignment due or a loved one that was sick or a big interview coming up. The more time in between you and the events that you feared the more you worked it up in your mind, thus pushing love and your zeal and intensity out of focus. If you have something that is fearful for you, which is not a completely bad thing you must push yourself out of your comfort zone, you can greatly reduce your anxiety for it but eliminating time between you and the gut-wrenching stress ball that is your scary monster. If it is a phone call, make it. If it is an interview, go to the interview now. Wait…I can’t do that the interview is not until next Thursday. That’s fine. Google interview questions, get cleaned up, wear what you are going to wear, drive where the interview will be if you can and “go to” the interview. There is nothing stopping you from being completely in the moment and taking complete and utter control of your thoughts and actions.
Stop pretending that you can’t do want you want because you are afraid. You can’t do want you want because you have chosen repeatedly to let fear, false expectations appearing real, over take you. Thus removing your spark for life; your love and energy that you spread to the world. Come on man! We all deserve better than that! We all want your love and energy in this world.
I remember when I decided to go back to school. I had dropped out for three years and thought that I was just another statistic. I couldn’t go back. I mean I had a good job, I wouldn’t be able to work as much, I wouldn’t be able to afford tuition, and besides I wasn’t smart enough to pass the classes anyways. Now I’m not saying that it was easy or that I did it the best most perfect way. But when I finally made the decision to quit my job, move states, re-enroll in college and get my degree. There was nothing that was going to stop me. Three years later I graduated, consequences be damned.
When you fill your head with “I can’t” it sends signals to the brain that you in fact cannot! This works the same way with “I can.” Now I really wish I would have believe I could go back to school and not use any loans. But now I believe whole heartedly that I will find a way to pay off all the loans. There’s that fear creeping back in again! It never seems to leave completely but we can keep it under control and constantly work to use it to remind us to focus on loving our zeal.
Tony Robbins tells the story:
There was this king years ago that was so rich and powerful that he had this vision of having two palaces instead of just one. The king had so much drive and charisma that he achieved his goal of two palaces in just a few years. He was so proud of his kingdom. It was one of, if not the biggest, kingdoms in the world!
This king was on top of the world. Then he heard about a popular peasant beggar that would travel around from town to town with only a blanket, lantern, and a magically lamp. The story about the beggar was that the magically lamp would double any wish that you wished!
The king was more than intrigued. He just had to talk to this beggar and make him an offer for this lamp. I mean, if the beggar really cared for his king he would probably just be happy to give his lamp to the king.
The king’s men found the beggar and brought him to the king. The king was very polite with the beggar, at first. But when the beggar refused to give him the lamp the king was enraged.
“Why would you deny your king this great treasure? Don’t you care about other people? I mean, you don’t even use the lamp, if you did you would have two blankets!”
The beggar still refused and went to leave. But the king had his men seize the beggar and took the lamp for himself. The king ran gleefully into his chambers and hurriedly rubbed the lamp to get the genie to grant him a wish.
“Genie, I would like 100 rubies!”
“Oh wise king why just a 100 rubies? Why not 200 rubies?”
The king jumped around all excited then is great!
“Ok. Ok. I will take 200 rubies?”
“Oh wise and great king why just 200 rubies? Why not 400 rubies?”
This is unbelievable the king thought! Wow!
“Alright how about One million rubies!”
“King you are so wise! But why one million rubies? Why not two millions rubies?”
“Yes! I want 10 beautiful woman to be my wives!”
“King! Why just 10? For someone like you why not 20?”
“This is some incredible!”
The king went on doing this for days, and then months until he finally starved to death and died.
Just wanting more for the sake of wanting more is not enough! You have to make sure that your zeal and intensity is lined up with a reason; with your love! Your love will direct and guide you with the big why of why your zeal is your zeal. What you are going to do with the desired outcome of what you are working towards. If all you do is want money just to have money then that is a big reason why you are not making the money you want. If you want a different career just because you kinda think it would be cool that is a big reason why you are not heading a different direction to work.
When we identify what the reason is for zeal this will make our message shine through with our love. For example, maybe you want to make a million dollars but you have never thought about what you would do with the money. What if you paid for your nephew’s college tuition for him to become an engineer that develops a new way to get clean water to Africa. Now, be sure to not force someone to do something that they don’t want to do. But this is a great example of how you can make your why something really big and life changing for millions of people! This, alone, will be more motivating and make you want to get up and take more action than just simply saying that I want a lot of money.
Dream big! Then dream bigger! That is the message of the lamp. Why not double it up? But don’t get caught up in simply doubling your material things but focus on what those material things are going to bring forth. Education, freedom, hope, clean water, food, family time, new ideas, etc.
Mediate on these things. Then act.
It can’t be understate how simple actions can really make a huge difference in your life when it comes to fully living out your love. For me there was something that I did, or hmmmm didn’t do, every single day that I had not really noticed. Until I started doing it and then my wife noticed and I felt different about the day, everything changed and changed instantly.
So what was this incredible thing that I started doing that changed my entire life and showed my love for myself and my wife every single day? (I know that I am probably over selling it a little bit but seriously this is good. Maybe I read the intensity chapter too many times!) I started putting the ironing board up every day after I used it.
I know, I know. You are thinking,
“Seriously? That’s it? That’s what changed your life completely?”
Yeah it really did. I had to stop and really think about how it started. When I first got a restaurant management job we lived in a big house and were both managers needing to iron our clothes every day. So we had a room that had the ironing board setup. But throughout the years we have moved to different apartments and had different ironing needs. Currently, I need the iron for every work day and my wife doesn’t. Currently, our apartment doesn’t really have a good place for it to be setup. But in my world of habit I never really thought of not having the ironing board setup ready for use whenever the thought of an unwanted wrinkle would spring up. Until one day, randomly, I folded the board up and put it in the closet. There was so much room to walk around upstairs then that it felt more “free.” I couldn’t believe that one little ironing board could take up so much space!
After a few days of folding up the ironing board, my wife started commenting on it. How much she really liked me getting the ironing board out of the way and it really made the apartment better. That’s when it hit me! Wow! Our actions really do make things better or worse. My silly habit that I had packed around with me for years of leaving the ironing board setup was making our new apartments worse; when all I had to do was change my habit a little bit and the whole place improved.
When we have our zeal matched with our intensity, we need to make sure that we have it lined up with love. Not love for our habits because our habits could be bad or just simply like the ironing board. We need to be aware of how we are making other people and things feel. Unfortunately, I have seen too many people that loved alcohol or drugs more than they loved their loved ones or anything else for that matter. How our actions, our new found intense actions that are geared to our zeal, impact our living arrangements and the people we live with need to be taken into account with love in mind.
Now, I can’t stress it enough, that I am in no way saying that you have to please every single person in your life. Being a people pleaser can be a very negative and self-defeating attribute. But understanding that when you start to change things and really release your inner zilla people will start to notice and they may not be as excited or supportive of you as you would hope. That’s okay because you know that you are going to love them no matter what because you may not be able to control them or change their minds but they damn sure cannot control you and change your mind!
You are going to fold up the ironing board of your life because you love the people that you live with, even if it is just you, and you love and respect your living space that much! Let the haters hate. Who really cares because at the end of the day they will be wanting your love because there is nothing stopping you from being the most caring, loving person you know right now. So only imagine how much more loving and caring you will be when you realize the life of your dreams!
Chapter 4: Be Ready! Always be Ready!
L-Look the part
“Wow! You almost need a bigger shirt!”
I know that I had put on some pounds but this was a new low. A complete stranger was telling me how my t-shirt wasn’t big enough. Well, that makes me want to go down to krispy Kreme and eat a whole dozen donuts then get back home to deep fry a whole packet of oreos and then finish it off with one of those big iced cookies from the local bakery. Hmmm…I think I can see why my shirt is getting too small, it must have shrunk in the dryer!
I turns out that the real reason the guy was saying my shirt was too small was because of the name on it not my gut. It was a t-shirt with the Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadez’s name spelled out on the front. The guy was just trying to be nice and make a conversation and here I was being all self-conscious and making it about my insecurities.
This is why for you to truly live out your dreams and release your inner zilla, you have to look the part. If you want to be a lawyer do whatever you have to do to get a suit and tie. Go down to goodwill every day until you find one that fits you if you don’t have the money! Borrow it if you have to. The point is that if you have doubts and insecurities about you even belonging in the world that you are striving to be in, you will self-sabotage your own success.
So you know what you have zeal for and you have focused your intensity on it. You have love for yourself and others, now envision what you will look like when you have it. If you are so far removed from whatever it is that you want that you just can’t possibility think about yourself having it, then look at someone who does have exactly what it is that you want. What do they look like? Whatever came to your mind, do whatever it takes to look like that!
If you were having trouble with where to focus your intensity then this may be the area. There really is something to the old saying “fake it until you make it.” When you go out into the world strutting around like you are top shit then guess what someone just might think you are in fact top shit!
I remember an old boss of mine that when he was an assistant manager at a restaurant they had a big meeting for all the managers to attend. Him and his buddy were on their way to the meeting and wouldn’t you know it, traffic was a mess and they were running late. This was apparently a problem for several people because when they called to say they were running behind they were met with “oh that’s ok just get here when you can.” That’s not the general response! But hey they thought might as well make the best out of this situation, so they stopped for some lunch.
After lunch they realized that they were right down the street to one of the restaurants in the chain they worked for.
“You know what would be fun?” One said.
“Going in the restaurant and acting like we were the big bosses!”
“Oh man! We got ties on and everyone else is going to the meeting! They would completely fall for it!”
So there they went. The walked right in like the owned the place; because well in their little charade they did! They looked all through the kitchen, inspected all the food, observed the servers, and even took some notes for good measures. They would chat a like bit to each other once in a while to really get the story going. And then they just left. They didn’t say a word to anyone, just left.
When they finally arrived at the meeting, everyone was in a complete uproar because there had be a report that the vice-president and owner of the company had been out visiting a local store! Their little prank had worked so well that all the managers at the meeting had bought it! All, except for the one that was their direct superior, which ended their laugher rather abruptly!
That’s the thing when you look the part, you end up having the convince that you need to have the part. All too often we end up not having what we want because we think that we will be different when we get it. But really we have to take the bull by the horns and do whatever it takes to be what it is we want to be. You what to be a zoo keeper but you never are around any animals or even talk about them? Are you really sure that you want to be a zoo keeper? Just cut the bullshit already and get serious about what it is that you really, I mean really deep down, want! Then when you know what you really truly want your zeal and intensity will propel you to start looking like it! And you will be surprised how fast you will be mistaken for already having exactly what it is that you wanted. And before you know it; it will be yours!
Remember, just simply looking the part is not enough. Looking the part will help put you in the mindset to work towards the goal of your zeal. This is the first step to doing an amazing job. You have to do work that you are proud of. This does not mean that you have constantly proof read your work and end up never finishing. Get your work out there and then get better!
A few months ago there was a Dairy Queen that opened down the street. I was so excited to go down and get some ice cream, even though it was late October. Sure we had to wait a while on our order, no problem it’s a new store opening that’s part of the process. When my wife’s blizzard came out though, something weird happened.
The girl just froze. She was standing there with the blizzard in her hand not moving. It felt like four years but it probably wasn’t even four seconds. Why was she froze just standing there? If you have ever gotten a blizzard at Dairy Queen you know that they are soooooo thick that they flip them upside-down to illustrate the thickness. Well, this blizzard wasn’t quite thick enough! The poor girl was fighting against the training and muscle memory of flipping the blizzard upside-down because if she had it would have been all over my wife if she flipped it!
Was the blizzard still super tasty? You bet! Was the blizzard made exactly how Dairy Queen desired? Not really! When it comes to your work and the results you want to produce make sure that you are conscious of when you produce something that is not good enough to flip upside-down. Be mindful that if you serve a blizzard that is a little too melty don’t beat yourself up so bad that you can’t get anything else done for a week but don’t let the melty blizzard become your new standard.
Move forward to make your standards upside-down flippable. (I don’t know that flippable is a word but now it can be! Someone had to make up every word at some point right!?) Get better and better as you move forward and grow in momentum.
A lot of times people hear that they should look the part and start at that point. There is a fine line between dressing and acting like you have the position and title you want and being that super annoying know-it-all douc bag that everyone avoids. I don’t think that that line is that fine really either. You know right away those people that think they are more than they really right. They may have the zeal but they have put their intensity in the wrong places and don’t show love to anyone or thing.
We have got to make sure that there is a balance when it comes to looking the part and looking like we are a know-it-all fool that is just trying on daddy’s suit. Study, learn, and develop all your skills that point you in the direction of your dream and then look the part. You can do this immediately. You want to be a lawyer? Look up what it takes to be a lawyer and learn something about it every day and start dressing nice. The big difference then is that you just go about your day like normal. The annoying people always try to cram their expertize down everyone’s throat but you are genuinely being what you want so just let it happen naturally. Every day learn more and more and move forward while dressing and appearing more and more like the person you dream of and the next thing you know one day you will wake up and be that person!
Quite simply, there is a lot of truth in the old saying, “fake it until you make it!”
But we still have one more thing to remember and it will help us with the everyday goals of looking the part and that is….
Chapter 5: Be Aware of Accountability. Have Accountability to be Aware of.
“You know what would be an awesome thing to do?”
“Take some cookies to the little kids in the truck that are waiting!”
Wow! That is a nice thing to do but I would sure like a cookie, I thought to myself. Here I was standing in some stranger’s dining room on December 23rd waiting for the cops to show up, mad that they didn’t offer me a cookie and only gave them to the little kids that were there. Man, I’m not selfish at all!
So how did I end up in the stranger’s home waiting on the cops? It’s not what you think, I swear! A surprise winter storm rocked central Ohio out of nowhere. It being Ohio and all this came as no real surprise to me but I guess others were a little thrown off. I had been at the church all day and didn’t think much of the 45 minute trip home until I went out to my car and had to unbury it from all the snow and ice. No worries I thought, my wife isn’t with me to stress me out so I will just jam out to some music and take my time getting home. This plan worked perfectly until the car in front of the truck that was in front of me decided it would be a great time to do a brake check. Turns out their brakes worked pretty good; so did the truck’s, my brakes weren’t that bad but the slip-n-slide that it create was not good. Not good at all.
What do you do when you are driving head on into a truck? To be honest, I didn’t have much time to really think about it. I wasn’t going to like the outcome of smashing my PT loser, I mean Cruiser, into a Dodge Ram; so quick turn to the right it was. Luckily, it was just a ditch. The next thing I know the man driving the Ram was helping pull me from the car that I almost flipped completely over. Gee, glad my wife wasn’t there to stress me out right; I clearly had everything under control.
The people that lived in the house across the street heard what happened and offered to let me stay in while I waited on the police that people in the Ram had already called. All these strangers and they had all taken care of everything so fast. Or I had blacked out and it took them forever either way they were all so nice.
About an hour later a state trooper and tow truck driver showed up and got my car out of the ditch. The officer was super understanding and made sure I was good enough to drive my car home. Which was a solid maybe but it worked out. I had just enough Christmas cash left in the car to pay the tow truck and limp my bruised ego and torn up PT home.
After working all day, my wife had fallen asleep so she had no idea about what had happened or that it was even snowing. I had to come clean; I had wrecked her car. But….but….you are the good driver was her response. Yeah…I was.
Fast forward years ahead and there is a winter storm in Tennessee where we are living. No worries, I am a great driver in the snow; it’s actually pretty easy just go slow and try not to get stuck where you have to stop, I instructed everybody. A snow storm in Tennessee is a lot different than a snow storm in Ohio that is for sure but the concepts are the same.
The crazy thing is that I was completely convinced that I was a good driver in the snow even though I had wrecked years prior. I always believed that I was an awesome driver in the snow because I would remain calm and go with the car while keeping some control. Just because one goofy night I almost met my maker because I wasn’t disciplined enough in my own teachings doesn’t make me any less awesome at it. Does it?
The beliefs we have about ourselves and our abilities matter! They more than matter; they make us who we are! Nobody is perfect. Great athletes have bad nights once in a while. All too often we change our personal beliefs about what is possible in our lives because of one bad night, or week, or hell even a year. What difference does it make if you have been bad at something your whole life if today you are better?
“I’ve always been overweight”
“I can never be promoted, no matter how hard I try”
“I guess I better start liking cats more because those are the only living creatures that will want to live with me”
So what if whatever bad thing has been your story your whole life…that doesn’t mean you’re not a good driver in the snow.
For whatever reason, I just never could shake that reputation. I am good driver in the snow and ice. I tell the story of my crash to my friends and family now and they can’t believe it. How quickly that could have changed if I would have let it. If I would have be scared and never drove again in the winter or if I had freaked out the next snow and wrecked again right away that would have changed the way I felt about my abilities.
We have to take on this responsibility for the beliefs that we hold true to our lives. The best way to do this is to step up some kind of accountability. This is why affirmations and incantations are so effective. This practice and discipline help to hold us accountable to the beliefs that we want to be accountable to. Too many people hold themselves account to bad or wrong things that really just hold back or leave them without the very thing that they wanted in the first place.
We have the power to focus on whatever story or belief that we want to about ourselves. The last part of releasing your inner zilla is to make daily habits that hold your absolute best beliefs for yourself up in the forefront of your mind as often as possible.
I had a boss years ago that would always talk about the shaving cream principle. He would say that if we ordered too much product then the employee would get use to have too much and thus use too much. But if we had just enough product to barely make it by the same employees would develop a habit of stretching it and not wasting it; like the end of a shaving cream bottle.
Every time that I get to the end of my shaving cream bottle I will think man I need to stop and pick up some more before I run out. Then after a week of not wanting to go to the store or forgetting when I’m there, I shaking the bottle and watering my hands as much as possible to hopefully get just even lather going to not give myself face burn. But wait I thought I was out a week ago? Nope. I just had to use the proper amounts and take the proper actions to stretch the needed substance for there to be enough.
The really interesting thing is what happens after I finally remember to get the new bottle. I am so excited that I spray out way too much. Like I’m talking I could literally shave every single hair on my body….twice. Why so wasteful after being so stingy for so long? Some would say that this speaks to the need for moderation in everything. That being stingy creates the need to show abundance once we get the opportunity. Like when we go on some ridiculous fad diet only to devour whole row of Oreos as soon as the self-imposed time for the diet has ended.
While moderation does have its place I would like to suggest something less as the reason for the high shaving cream usage when there is a new bottle. Awareness. The secret “A” word that goes along with accountability. The shaving cream lasted so much longer because I was completely aware of how much I needed and how bad I needed to stretch it. Think about your time or money. How much more time do you have when you are completely aware of it? Does your money last longer when you keep track of it down to the penny? Yes and Yes.
Being aware of what is going on in our lives gives us a leg up on a lot of our competition. Most people are just going through life and living in whatever way that they have been taught or seen. Not really giving a second thought to what they are doing with their time or resources. When you start tracking your time, money, food, etc. you start taking full control of your life and thus taking full control of how much shaving cream you use. Remember it is important to keep this realization in your mind even after you start getting more success because it is so easy to forget to be aware when you have a brand new bottle of shaving cream!
Conclusion: Are You Ready?!
“Mom, why do we have these big humps on our backs? We look really silly compared to the other animals. And do you know how many times I get asked what day it is?”
The baby camel had always been self-conscious about her appearance and now she finally got up the nerve to ask her mom about it.
“Oh honey, we camels have those big humps to help us store water for long trips across the dessert. We can go for miles on journeys that other animals would only dream of!”
“Ok…that makes sense I guess. But mom why do we have this funny looking feet? They are some clunky and awkward. The other animals always make fun of me for my clumsiness.”
“Oh sweetie, that because you aren’t traveling across the sand dunes. Those feet of yours are perfect for getting the needed traction on the long journeys that those other animals would only dream of!”
“Ok…but mom what is the deal with our eye lids? Three different lids! I have such a hard time trying to fit in with the hump and the feet then I get called three lids all the time now too!”
“Oh dear…Those eye lids protect your eyes from all the sand that the wind blows around in the dessert. We can safely go on long journeys that those other animals would only dream of.”
“Hmmm…that does make a lot of sense. So we got the humps on our back to store water. We got hooves that are great for sand travel. And we got eye lids that protect us from the sand getting in our eyes. We are truly equipped for an incredible journey momma! But then….why are we in the zoo?”
You are equipped for an incredible journey! You have all the resources that you need to live out the life you have always dreamed of having. Get out of the zoo and start the using your hump, hooves, and eye lids. Whatever those are to you. Release your inner zilla to the world, we all want to see it!
Conclusion Two: The Missing Cat
Oh I can’t believe I almost forgot. Before I leave I have to tell you the story about the cat. You know from the beginning. The mopey no hope, no money, no cat line? That cat represented a turning point in my life. (All be it, not a direct turning point more like a slow moving barge beginning to turn in a ridiculously painful slow crawl of a turning point. But a turning point none the less!)
It was February 14th 2009. Yeah that’s right Valentine ’s Day! And for the first time in our adult lives my wife and I both had the day off. So we did what every married couple does on Valentine’s Day, we went to Sam’s club. Wait what? Yeah I know, I’m very romantic! My wife got a call on the way back home. Her parents had decided to call their twenty plus year marriage off. Even as an adult the news was completely devastating.
“Let’s go to the humane society and pet a bunch of cats.” I blurted out. My wife and I always love visiting with any kind of animals, but sixty plus cats is completely awesome!
We had no idea that the very cat that was playing with the door handle was the one that would enter our lives forever. The slender black and white kitty had a bad cold and would eat all day long but Dry Bones was just perfect for our little make shift family.
This cat was just completely ridiculous. He would run to you if you had a blanket so he could curl up underneath it. He would stretch as high as he could if you were close to the can opener. If a little kid came over Dry Bones would just lay around limp with them and let them drag him around. He was the living embodiment of love and acceptance.
It was only a few years later when we hear the shriek and I ran out of the front yard down the street to see the black and white fluffy fur laying there in the middle of the road. My wife was yelling from the porch. My mom and dad were rushing out to see what happen. But there was a moment before they got there. Just a little moment of silence as I knelt down in the middle of road and heard nothing…
Deep sigh. “Oh Dry Bones. I can’t believe this. You helped me so much. You won’t ever leave me.” I whispered to him.
I hit the lowest point I had ever been. I couldn’t get a job that used my degree. I couldn’t get motivated to write or work on my own. I felt like my decision to quit my job and move to a different state led to our “kid”, our Dry Bones, to die. I couldn’t get out of the funk because I was blaming myself. I felt that I had completely let my wife down. I felt like I had completely let my family down. And I continuously felt like I was letting myself down.
But then one day, after I had swallowed my pride and took a restaurant job waiting tables, I was leaving work one night walking through the parking lot when I stopped in my tracks. It had been months and I was starting to dig out of the funk I had put myself in when I was looking at what appeared to be a ghost. A black and white cat was sitting across the parking lot by my car. He was sitting just like Dry Bones.
“I’m so sorry Dry Bones!” I told this random cat.
I swear this cat looked at me like what the hell are doing? Get your act together and start kicking ass like only you can!
Too be honest, I cried all the way home. But I also realized that could take my pain and make it work for me. Three months later I got that promotion at work. My wife got promoted as well. Our relationship got strong. Our lives shifted and moved forward because our mindset about our pain and bad choices changed.
We got tattoos representing our Dry Bones and representing our pain that now moves us forward! Don’t let bad things bring you down allow them to move you to new heights that you have never dreamed were possible! Let your pain be the key to release your inner zilla!