Week 9: The Journey Continues – The Holliday Challenge

Here is an important rule for those who write a blog. It is every bit as important to publish your blog as it is to write it!

I learned that the hard way. I believe I missed a step last week and previewed instead of publishing. I was surprised when I couldn’t find week 9. For those who have been reading “The Journey Continues”, my apologies. Thank you for your patience. Here is what you should have seen last week:

An interesting week. Its the same number of days as a usual week but they say its shorter because of a holiday. Funny how a one day holiday can mean people have taken off for the week. If you are in the people business and need appointments to keep the income coming in, this can be a tough time of the year. Isn’t this thinking really part of the old blue print. I know there is no black Friday in my business and probably not in yours, but if there are no sales or recruits, no money coming in, well that mean that next Friday could be black Friday for completely different reasons. Lights out.

Let’s talk about the mental diet. Smoother does not mean without bumps.

I still did not make it a week without negative thoughts, but I made it farther than the previous weeks and things went much better even with added family events.

We had 3 family events jammed into week 9. A family wedding in Las Vegas, a birthday party for my daughter from out of town and I hosted Thanksgiving for 10 people.

For the wedding, I was assigned music duties. I had many logistical questions and not all got answered before the event, so planning was a challenge. I was given about 9 song suggestions from the bride, a comment about 60’s love songs, some vague suggestion about including the Beatles and an intro song that was extremely hard to find. I knew we had to cover about two and a half hours of music including the reception. No stress, right? I just hoped they could hear the music and the couple liked the musical choices. It turned out they loved it, the groom cried and I even received several positive comments from guests and family members.

My daughter’s birthday party was a much lighter event and came off without an issue even though the cake arrived after the first guests. I guess the offering of drinks helps removes the complaints from the complainers.

Thanksgiving can be very tricky at my house. That expression, “too many cooks in the kitchen” describes our house on some holidays. Unfortunately, most of those other “cooks” are usually just loiterers, hanging around in the kitchen. In the old days my wife got up early and we would cook at her mom’s house. Later as the family dynamic changed, we started hosting at our house. As my wife’s health deteriorated, I took on more of the hosting and cooking duties. For several years that included preparing appetizers, cooking most of the meal, (bird included) clean up, dishes and putting everything away. People would really disappear after dinner. It would happen so fast that you would wonder if it was the rapture.

This year something magical occurred. I had helpers and no complainers. My oldest daughter made appetizers while I tended to the turkey. My nephew jumped in and peeled potatoes. It all turned out great with no worries or tension. I even had help clearing the table and washing the dishes. Success!

With all of that, the events actually went better than expected and were less trouble than ever. It was the times before or after events where the restarts occurred. I am getting better at recognizing some of the trigger events and avoiding them. There is still some of the old way of thinking that keeps sticking up at times. Wouldn’t it be great if we could stop ourselves from speaking sometime? That is step one, of course. Next is not to mentally join people in their negative place.

How did you do? Any holiday mishaps? Holiday victories?

How are you doing with the time vampires? I am still struggling with them, but I did get better at recognizing them and I’m trying to overcome them with better organization and planning. I believe we should all add a clove of garlic along with the compass and magnifying glass. Won’t that be fun to explain to people we meet.

“Hey, why do you have garlic around your neck?” “Oh that? Its to keep the time vampires away.” That should start a great discussion!

Wishing you a great week.
Kurt Schmidt


Week 8: The Journey Continues- Halfway There!

It is hard to believe we are half way done with the Master Key Experience (MKE). On the one hand look at how fast the time went bye. One the other hand, look at how far we have come and all that we have learned. As an example, I never would have thought about having a blog before MKE. I know you are probably saying, “yah, we guessed that.”

Although I have attempted to change my negative thoughts in the past, doing it on my own had mixed results. Coming off a stressful job experience a few years ago, I was consciously trying to remain positive during a job hunt. I would stop when I would get negative and tell myself I was wrong (I know, negative) and that things weren’t going in the wrong direction. They were going to be better. A non-response or a “thank you, but” message did not have the same impact on me as it had because I would say, “that was just the wrong job for me” and “there is something better out there for me.”

It is a bit different when one is trying to make a positive, permanent change. When things change in your situation, you can’t go back to old ways later. You don’t get to be negative because your new coworkers or associates or friends or even family members are negative.

Don’t do it to fit in. Be positive and stand out!

Speaking of which.
Diet report: I did a bit better this week. Definitely made it past Sunday, this time. Made it to Wednesday afternoon, before I hit a rough spot. Then I had several restarts before I was back on track. I guess I still have a problem with doing things I don’t want to do.

The good new is that some family members have changed their attitudes, too, without knowing it. If (when), I was thinking negatively and was around others, I would catch myself, and then apologize to those with me. I also made sure they knew I was not speaking about them. It calmed down my daughter before she had a chance to fired up. I also tried to compliment others more often, instead of criticizing. Right know this is still a conscious effort, but the goal is to be more genuine and automatic about it.

I hope you are seeing improvement as well! Don’t forget to celebrate your successes. It is easy to forget it and not reinforce the good things going on.

Are you spending any time thinking about what champions do and don’t do? I know that I don’t practice enough. I need to do more fundamentals. It took me a long time to understand what that even meant in real life.

If you have your own business and someone tell you about all the free throws Kobe Bryant would shoot after losing a game, it doesn’t translate until you can break your business down and see what you must do daily to be successful.

Did you make calls? Do you practice what to say?

Are you prospecting? Do you practice what to say and how to say it? Are you enthusiastic?

Do you practice handling objections, practice closes? Are you seeking out the champions in your business and asking them questions to help your game?

I heard this week that successful people have libraries and the rest of the people have big screen TVs. Although I did not actually cut any electrical cords this week, I also did not watch much TV at all.

I don’t know about you, but I could really relate to the time vampires and the need to stay focused. I’ll admit it. I am easily distracted. Squirrel!

I was already aware of and battling several time vampires. This week I felt more empowered in my battle and even when they grabbed ahold of me, I was better prepared for the fight. How did you do?

I really liked the idea that you can’t manage time, only manage yourself. Do you remember a show called Heroes that was on for 2-3 years. This was just before all the superheroes and mutants came on the scene. There was a character who could slow down or stop time. He was unaffected by time. Isn’t that what we have been seeking for ourselves in the past.

Look at how many calendars, planners and date timers are available at the nearest Staples store? There is a whole industry full of consultants and gurus who, for a fee, will train you, your team or your company to better use time. With that in mind, how much more exciting and freeing is it to consider that this is all a hoax and that we should instead manage ourselves. Wow! Its like the battle has gone from multiple fronts to just one foe on one front. Ok, why is it that we always turn out to be our own worst enemy? Well at least we now know who we are fighting and we are more aware of our enemies’ tactics and weaknesses.

I am also very excited to have heard a definition of success that I can actually work with. Be the best you that you can be! Outstanding! I had heard something years ago about seeking to be a peak performer. Basically striving to be your best and to do it all or most of the time. That seems to have been replaced by Take Massive Action, or 10x your efforts or copying practices of the highly successful. Isn’t it liberating to see that I only have to max out my own skills and abilities? Be the best you that you can be! Isn’t that clear? Like Popeye said, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am”. He had it all the time. Forget Rocky and Bullwinkle (although I do love them). Popeye is the man. Stay out of fights, eat your spinach and do some good out there.

Until next week, don’t just be good, be great!
Kurt Schmidt

Week 7: The Journey To Positive Thinking Or Stop All That Negative Stuff and I Mean It This Time.

This week went by fast. It might be the time change or all the start overs. Any way, I can’t believe its time to write again. I was looking forward to it this week. Did you know that people are actually reading what we are writing and they had some great comments! Hopefully you and your blog are receiving similar comments and replies. So this isn’t a private journal anymore, like one of those movies where you write about your inner thoughts and some one else stumbles across it years later and then drama ensues. Hello to you who are reading this! Thank you for the nice comments and for getting the jokes too.

I learned this week that I know 2 of our Master Key people who have dropped out. I know. Very sad. Do you want their names? No, that would not be nice. One of them is the reason I know anything about MKE and the scholarships etc. I wouldn’t be here writing this (or any other blog)except he recognized the value and shared it with others. I think that is what truly makes the departure so sad.

Before last week, knowing that he and a few other acquaintances were out there, too, had some comfort. I was feeling a bit on my own dealing with this new and foreign class and its assignments. The early weeks were a little confusing as I got my bearings. It was good to know others were out there even if we weren’t in constant communications. This week as the others dropped away, feedback and comments came in from others in the MKE. The messages from you folks and my guide made me feel more a part of this group.

How is you diet going? I have never been one for diets? I guess I just watch what I eat and stay active. This diet is a completely different animal. A thought diet eliminating negative thoughts. Wow! Who saw that coming? At first I thought, this could be extremely hard for me. I am not grouch or anything, but I do know a few things about being critical and negativity. You see, I have a pessimistic brother with anger issues and a teenage daughter with a hair trigger. Perhaps some of you know some people like this, have teenagers, or recall how you were back then. How hard can this be? I assumed this would probably be easier for others. After all, no one is stressed or angry anymore because we all have it made. I do like this challenge/diet and even wondered while on the webinar, how long I could go without needing to restart. Okay, challenge accepted.

I did not need to wonder very long. I had a few restarts on Sunday afternoon. Then there was Monday morning. You see, I woke up with negative thoughts after a night of bad dreams. You may call it anxiety. I guess it is like Mark said, if you tell someone not to think about something, it becomes all they think about. I did a mental reset as soon as I could and did much better the rest of the day. I actually thought I was doing ok, most of the week. No issues with my daughter, stayed away from my brother and tried to keep good thoughts going. I’m not saying I didn’t hear from my daughter a few times, but because I didn’t join into the drama she calmed down. I focused on the possibilities instead of the problems. That helped me. Then Thursday came along. Yes, another reset! A stressful morning with a crazy afternoon and no time to eat or even have a drink of water is a great formula for a reset. It is funny how a lack of food on this diet has an opposite reaction, breaks the mental diet.

The battle continues. I have been knocked down but not knocked out. Hope your week went well. Keep fighting on. Until next week, peace, out! Kurt

Week 6: The Journey Continues-Are you where you want to be?

Hello! Once again we had a great Master Key Experience session this week with much to think about and even more to accomplish. I like writing this later in the week because there is much more to comment on. Hopefully more has been completed, so there is more to report. Certainly more time to think things through and not just bang out the first thoughts that come to mind.

Do you have your compass? What direction is it pointing? Is your path clear? The fog is lifting and the way is getting easier to see. Can you see it? Are you visualizing the future you? Will you follow the path or stay where you are? It is nice and safe, even familiar and predictable where you are. It is new, unpredictable, uncomfortable and maybe scary down the path. Which way have you chosen? Word has it that many have dropped out of the Master Key Experience over the last few weeks, either by choice, pressure from others or by neglecting homework assignments, causing a loss of their scholarship. Congratulations to those who are still striving and thriving.

Have you noticed any changes this week? I have. Are things getting cleared for you? They are for me. Is your confidence up? I am feeling more control. Are you feeling the excitement? The excitement is real. Why does this guy have so many questions this week? He can’t hear your answers anyway. Did you get your reminders up around the house, the car and at work? How many comments did you get?

My wife has a certain sense of order. Maybe you have someone like her in your life. She is not a fan of signs and things stuck to the walls, mirrors, etc. This created a need for me to get creative, but I made it work. I don’t know about you, but a reminder here and there is always helpful for me.

Speaking of reminders, this was week 2 of not offering opinions. It is one of the toughest parts of the this week’s assignments. Just when you think you are in the clear, it is announced that there will be no opinions offered again this week. Come on! Can I get a quota? I am really good at giving opinions. You don’t have to even ask. Can you tell this continues to be a challenge for me? I would tell you that I have excellent opinions, but then I would be offering an opinion again. Can’t win. I should have set a reminder for this assignment. First the Dodgers were playing for the World Series and had a couple of bad games and a game 7 loss. It is real tough not to express an opinion on that -during or after the game. While it is easy (and ok) to speak about the facts, it is not far from there to an opinion. Is an opinion wrong if I agree with you or if the opinion is a positive thing? I believe we are assuming opinions are a negative thing. Is that necessarily true? Isn’t a compliment an opinion?

I know that all the times that I slipped up this week, at least those that I caught were not compliments and should have been kept to myself. Ok, it could be said that it is true that those who cut me off in traffic really are bad drivers. Really those other words were just adjectives for those who missed the display of driving expertise presented by others. It is true that many opinions should be kept to ourselves. After all, your mother told you, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.” I am going with that approach.

While writing this blog each week I can’t help but wonder if anyone will ever see what I wrote and if so, will they like what I wrote or get anything out of it? Well, this week I got an answer to some of that. I am actually receiving feedback and it is encouraging. Some have even understood my jokes and odd references. Can’t believe it, but some have even read more than one weeks posting. Wow! Thank you! It’s good to know that you are out there. Thank you for what you have written and the thoughts and feelings shared.

That’s all for me this week. Until next week. In the words of Kaiser Permanente, Thrive!

Week 5: The Journey Continues- Is this the end or something better beginning?

Another great MKE training session this week and a lot to think about. In addition to the Sunday training, Monday Digital Solutions, handouts, lessons and homework, there is an assignment to write an interview. Who knew that there would be so much writing in a course about changing the way we think.

It is also true that habits are hard to break. One of this week’s assignments was to not offer opinions. That can be very difficult depending on one’s job and social obligations. It is one thing not to offer an opinion when someone asks us but what about advice? What about how we offer opinions and advice without being asked? What about other names for the same activities? We often make excuses and feel entitled to sharing our thoughts and judgements, even when not asked. I know I do. Opinions and judgements often roll out of our mouths without even an after thought. They say that the tong can be sharper than a sword and cause more damage. This is very true. Sad but true. Why is it that we can’t help ourselves from saying hurtful things to others. Especially people we care about.

This week we also learned the outcome of the survey and the decisions the group made. One was to continue the “pay it forward” so that the next class will have paid scholarships. A recommended minimum amount was agreed upon for each participant in the 2017 MKE. It appears that a surprising number of participants, on this MKE journey, will not be continuing because they did not complete the required weekly requirements including completion of this weeks survey. Others will not be continuing with us because they have made the choice to drop out of the journey. They may not see the value. Some will be ending their journey because they can’t or won’t pay the decided minimum “pay it forward” amount.

Others may have financial shortcomings and will not have the resources to make their payment. Either way, many will not be with us next week and that is sad. In any endeavor, there are some who can’t or don’t complete what they start. For those who require help to continue, I hope they receive it.

I know I am grateful for the scholarship I received and would like to continue further in this journey of discovery, but if I do not make it, I would like to wish you all the best and for your continued success. In a day or so we will see who is still going forward. I hope it is you!

Until, next time.

Week 4: The Journey Continues – Then the Fog Set In!

Hi and welcome to week 4.
Who says progress can be obtained without running into some obstructions. Right when I was coming out of the woods, so to speak, and getting a clearer view of where the Master Key Experience (MKE) is going, I got tripped up on the science. All my life I have enjoyed science and hearing about the wonderful discoveries that have been made. I even had plans in college to become a chemist. I have even read books about the brain and how it functions. After week 4’s webinar, I felt a lost.

First, I lost audio early in the webinar. How distracting? I caught up in time to see the video clip. I am not certain what was going on there. The content did not lend itself well to the choppy way its images and audio were received. It had a nightmare effect. I was not sure what it was about nor why we were watching it. I am very glad to learn that the video is also on the MKE website so that we can take another shot at it in hope of understanding it. Can’t we just have another Karate Kid moment or some Bullwinkle? That I get. I am fine with the note cards and personal examples but found this session confusing and hard to follow. By the time I thought I was getting back on track, the speaker starts talking about us quitting. Now is the time to quit? Wow. Curve ball. Maybe bean ball. Since each session builds on the previous one, I am concerned about what will happen next. Will there be yelling, pushups and a bell for us to ring 3 times? Not sure, but I can’t wait to see! “Thank you Sir! May I have another?”

Like many of the rest of you, I am still struggling with updating my DMP. It was hard enough for me to write about what I want out of life and then we upped the ante with PPN and then SMART goals. As if this wasn’t challenging enough, then I was asked to add feelings to the write up. Come on! I’m a guy. We don’t really spend much time in that realm. How can I write about something I don’t even spend much time thinking about under normal circumstances? Then comes revisions, with comments from a stranger who will become my guide. She of course asks that I add even more feelings. I did not even have a defined purpose several weeks ago and now I need to have feelings for it. If my conscious mind is barely dealing with feelings, why does anyone think my Subconscious mind is interested in them? Guys, help me out here.

As a rule I don’t allow strangers to touch me, so this is becoming even weirder as this exercise has strangers I have not even spoke to, are trying to get in my head. Don’t touch my brain! In the words of a Monty Python character: “My brain hurts.” Please don’t reply that it will need to come out.

Striving forward toward the goal! Session 5 is around the corner. More to come after session 5! My best to all who read this.