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3 Ways to Stop Fighting the Wrong Battles in Life



3 Ways to Stop Fighting the Wrong Battles in Life 3

How to finally stop fighting the wrong battles in your life

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster” –Sun Tzu


1) Figure out which battles are worth the fight

Being in a position of constant opposition is not a sustainable lifestyle. It can lead to chronic or severe stress that may possibly induce more serious health problems. What that means is we all need to pick and choose our battles.


Look at the big picture.

As a coach, my plan of attack much of the time is to start with the big picture and work backwards. When you’re feeling anxious or obsessive about winning, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • What would your ideal end result look like?
  • How important is that ideal for you?
  • And how could the fight ‘cost’ you?


There is one more question that many of us won’t answer correctly, but give it a try:


Is this about my ego?

When ego is play, we justify the altercation as being about something else. (That’s why I said this answer is rarely answered honestly)! Ego is a very common factor in battles, and I rarely see it end well when ego is in control.



Money is another common basis for taking on a struggle. I personally believe one should take the ‘high road’ in this case, only because money comes and goes and is rarely worth losing your mind over.


However, tell that to the single parent working at least one full-time job to make ends meet. (Or anyone else who is working their butt off).


In that particular example, money is representing more than it’s monetary value. It’s representing time, effort and integrity of that single parent and the wellbeing of his or her children – which is then what he/she is actually fighting for.


Whether money is a right or wrong battle depends on how you view it.


But no matter what’s coming in to play as you face a battle, asking yourself the three basic questions will help put the situation into perspective so you can gain a better sense of control over your positioning.


2) No you don’t have to defend yourself!

So, somebody picks a fight with you or pisses you off and now it’s war. The natural reaction for anyone is to defend themselves. In the case of harm or abuse, you must absolutely defend yourself.


In a scenario involving only disputing, there is a stigma that you’re considered a wimp or doormat if you choose not to defend yourself. When, in actuality, you’re the more stronger and confident person by not engaging.


Input from the universe

So, the universe was kind of helping me out on this blog by offering some first-hand experience. Just yesterday, I was blasted on social media for a comment I wrote. It came out of the blue, and the attacker got personal – I felt like I got punched in the stomach.


Right reaction v. wrong reaction

My gut reaction was anger and I should blast him back. But, no, that would definitely be stooping to his level. Then my inner-coach was like ‘we should look at this from his perspective’. So then I was much more civil and thought maybe I should just admit that I don’t understand how my comment was offensive and it certainly wasn’t coming from a bad place.


I continued to go through every possible scenario of defending myself until I implored why it was so important that I defend myself to some avatar. (Because of course online rage-a-holics never use their real picture). It was important to me that I defend myself because I was embarrassed that I might look dumb, and I was afraid that I would be viewed as weak for not fighting back and risk the possibility of enduring more beatings from this person or someone else who felt like throwing a punch.


So I chose not to engage. Not so shockingly, life is carrying on as normal. I’m still alive and I saved myself the stress and negativity of becoming engrossed in combat.


And life goes on…

I’m now telling you firsthand, you will still live even if you don’t defend yourself in a battle that is irrelevant in the big picture.

3 Ways to Stop Fighting the Wrong Battles in Life 3
3) Change your perspective about conflict

Think of how many battles you face each day. Staying in bed vs. getting out of bed; egg whites vs French toast; gym vs. sitting on the couch. Those examples were primarily for an individual with no family obligations. If you have a spouse and kids, you might have filled your hundred-battle quota by noon. And if you leave the house – forget about it – commuting battles, coffee line-cutters, co-workers….ugh!


Use positive motivation

Let’s not look at these as battles anymore. You might curse me out when I say this, but give it a try. Find the positives in the difficult scenarios and then move forward with that motivation and desired outcome.


For example, I’ll go back to my online rage-a-holic encounter. People who are mean (or bully-ish)tend to impact and change their victims. My motivation was to maintain my own beliefs and positivity and not let this person ruin my day or change my behavior. My adjusted outlook allowed me to carry on with my life and brush the person off like an annoying bug.


My best advice when switching from conflict to positive motivation is to have confidence in yourself and what you believe is best for you.

3 Ways to Stop Fighting the Wrong Battles in Life 3

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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