Monthly Archives: May 2014


Button pushers destract us from living our authentic life
Photo: George Hodan

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs

Button pushers abound. They are everywhere. They come in all sorts of different guises:

  • The boss who’s never satisfied and never praises even your best work
  • The acquaintance who always one-upsmanships you (“You’ve got a headache? I’ve got a migraine!”)
  • Gossiping neighbors or coworkers
  • The cable company that takes away programming you and your family are used to, and the only way you can get it back is to buy yet another “package” from them with a bunch of other programming you don’t want
  • In-laws (need I say more)

These button pushers sap our energy by redirecting our energy toward anger and frustration, and in the process they chew up valuable time in the present, we could better use toward our own future achievements.

There’s a lot of advice out there about how to handle button-pushers, including:

  • Don’t take the bait in the first place – ignore them
  • Steer clear of them in the first place
  • Feel sorry for them instead of angry, because obviously they have emotional troubles
  • Count to ten

 All great advice, but easier said than done.

 So, maybe we need to look a little deeper to determine the real reason we so often indulge button pushers, and why it’s so hard not to be suckered into their negativity trap.

I have a theory that it stems from a misguided and subliminal attempt to put off dealing with feelings within ourselves that maybe we’re not quite worthy of, or capable of, getting on with the business of living our own lives, on our own terms. Somehow, maybe we don’t deserve to achieve our greatest desires.

We are like the would-be artist, standing before the easel, afraid to touch brush to blank canvas.

In other words, button-pushers serve to distract us from our own demons, and provide us with excuse after excuse to procrastinate our life away.

Because button pushers can often serve as handy-dandy distractions for what’s really bothering us about ourselves, attending to the problems generated by button pushers, we subconsciously buy for ourselves time away from the real work of our life – getting our own emotional house in order, arriving at what we truly want out of life, setting our own goals, and letting nothing and no one derail our plans.

However, the moment you claim the right to the ownership of your own life, free and clear of all guilt or doubt, the moment you follow both your gut and heart, you begin to write your own script, free of the results of other people’s thinking, eschewing any ‘ghost writers’ in the process.

In this new context, button-pushers begin to diminish in their importance. They become pin dots in the night sky, barely visible next to your great big fiery sun!

If you find yourself ‘going off’ frequently at the hands of button pushers, this may just be the sign you’re looking for that things need to change. If you use button pushers as ‘litmus paper’ in this way, then they have served you well, at last!

Please share your thoughts on this subject in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature




Praying for gentle raindrops after the fire
Moyan Brenn –

When any calamity has been suffered, the first thing to be remembered is how much has been escaped. – Samuel Johnson

In our business lives we can often become cynical and jaded about human nature. We can begin to view the whole of humanity through our less than happy experiences with those who conspired to get us fired, or those who didn’t have our back when we needed them, even though we never failed to have their back.

There is another side to human nature though, and I witnessed it during the recent wildfires here in San Diego County, in Southern California.

Watching the coverage of the many bumper to bumper evacuations along winding, detoured routes, in triple digit sweltering heat, car after car passed by the news cameras, and even though they were aware that their homes might be reduced to cinders, folks remained upbeat and calm, grateful that total strangers were handing them ice water to keep themselves, their children, their grandparents, and every conceivable sort of pet quenched.

Occasionally, news people would slip a microphone into this or that car to ask what else people were able to take with them, and in every instance the answer was family photos, either in album form or on a hard drive. When it counts, more people than not have their priorities straight!

Selflessness was also in evidence during the devastation. One instance in particular got my attention. People evacuating their neighborhood noticed a cat in an upstairs window of their neighbor’s house, one paw against the glass pane wide-eyed, alone, afraid, and trapped. They knew that their neighbors had left for work hours earlier and flames were beginning to shoot up into the air from the back of the house. At risk to themselves, they forced their way into the house and rescued their neighbor’s cat.

In other instances, even as their own homes burned to the ground, people stayed in their neighborhood to hose down their neighbor’s homes, saving their neighbor’s homes in the process.

San Diego, I’m proud that you are my neighbors. And, I’m grateful to you for giving my faith in human nature a much needed booster shot!

As we take stock of what has happened, we can take some comfort in knowing that we escaped far worse, due to the timely efforts of firefighters and the exemplary response of private citizens.

Now, let’s all pray for a few gentle raindrops, and a lot of healing.

How do you view human nature? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature




Your life is a one of a kind brand just as each piece of hand-thrown pottery is unique
Photo: Hans

Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. – Shakti Gawain

Hand-thrown, hand-painted pottery bowls, may all be vessels but they are also unique in and of themselves. It’s the same with people. We are all made of the same stuff, and all connected by our humanity, and yet each of us is unique. The line, form, color, and texture of our lives is specifically our own, and is our richest source of all we could ever hope to be.

Why then, do we spend so much time and effort conforming to the mediocrity of collective indoctrination?

For immediate survival, that’s why. If we don’t all learn to be like the other kids in kindergarten, we quickly learn we’ll be singled-out and punished through ridicule or worse. We learn very early that the approval of others is integral to our need for safety and security.

We carry this knowledge into young adulthood where we must survive in the “market place.” We go to school and train for viable, bankable skills. Then we upgrade our skills continually as new information and technology forces us to learn the newest and latest whatchamadoodle. We even take on multiple roles at work, regardless of how well we enjoy those roles, in order to make ourselves indispensable and hard to replace.

At some point however, we need to step back and ask ourselves if we are just surviving, at the expense of thriving, and whether in the process, we are truly our authentic self. As Raymond Hull puts it:

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.

How Do You Know if You’re Surviving or Thriving?

We’re not thriving until we’re truly living our own brand. And, when we live our own personal brand we feel at peace, with energy and enthusiasm.

If we feel tension in the pit of our stomach, a loss of energy, and a lack of interest in our lives, and in the lives of those around us, then it is a sure sign that something’s gone wrong; we’ve lost our true path somewhere along the way in our quest to stay afloat.

Discovering What Makes Your Brand Unique

Here’s a three-step head-start to reconnecting with your pre-kindergarten self and activating your inner guidance system toward brand you:

Step One. Think of someone you really admire a lot. Athlete, comic, actor, writer, explorer, scientist; just be sure you’re thinking of someone who you admire, not someone you envy – big difference!

Now, write down everything about this individual that you admire. Be specific. Maybe part of what you admire was his/her willingness at the beginning of his/her career to get up early every morning to write his/her first novel, without knowing for sure that his/her book would ever see the light of day. Your list should include specific steps that person took to accomplish his/her goals as well as a character trait, or set of character traits that you can ascribe to each step that made his/her achievements possible.

Step Two. Analyze what you’ve written. You’ll no doubt notice that what you’ve written divides into two categories:

  1. Character traits that you yourself also possess, and you know you possess.
  2. Those actions and abilities that you believe make the individual you admire unusual and which you do not believe, at first blush, are things you could accomplish or character traits you possess.

Step Three. Well guess what? I have a theory that you can’t admire someone else without first having the entire “blueprint” within you as well. It may be in “code” at first, but the blueprint is there. In Step Three you need to read the “code.”

If you admire someone who broke a record in sports, and you’re not an athlete, I don’t mean you should try to become an athlete. As Judy Garland once put it:

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.

Therefore, a better way to interpret the code might be that you have it inside you to drive past preconceived boundaries in your own life. Maybe you decide to be the first person in your family to get a post graduate degree.

So, in this step, you review those achievements and character traits you at first believed you did not have in common with the individual you admire, and you now apply the salient points for each, to your own life.

To take the pottery analogy a little further, because what you need in order to live your own brand is already inside you, you really are malleable, like clay, in your own hands. You can be the one who molds, shapes and forms your own life, on your own terms, and in the process you will discover that brand that is absolutely, genuinely, yours and yours alone. Taking a closer look at those we admire, can greatly hasten the process.

Please leave your thoughts on this subject in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature






A Can-do Attitude Makes Things Happen And Guards Against "Rainy Days"
photo credit: familymwr via photopin cc

 Let Your Smile Be Your Umbrella

(On a Rainy Day)

Whenever skies are gray,
Don’t worry or fret,
A smile will bring the sunshine,
And you’ll never get wet!

 -Music by Sammy Fain, and lyrics (excerpted from, Let your Smile Be Your Umbrella) by Irving Kahal and Francis Wheeler

My Mom and Dad made things happen. They were doers. They built more than one successful business from the ground up, on a shoestring. Looking back on it, there was one ingredient crucial to their methodology for getting beyond merely dreaming and planning. That one ingredient was belief. They each believed in their own ability to take something from an idea to a concrete, recognizable, and viable form.

Why is Belief so Important?

Because, if we don’t truly believe we can make something happen, no amount of education, training, or hard work will get us where we want to go. When we don’t believe in our own ability we are at odds with the task at hand; we tend to focus on why something can’t be done. Belief presupposes obstacles, and finds ways to work around them. Belief therefore, is what helps us tough it out through the rough patches between the goal we’ve set for ourselves, and the realization of that goal.

How Can You Tell if Someone Has a Belief in Their Own Ability?

They smile. The outward manifestation of belief is a smile, and my parents smiled a lot! I’m not talking about some phony, keep-up-a-brave-front-no-matter-what posturing. I’m talking about an attitude of cheerfulness that comes from behaving as if what you are working toward accomplishing has already happened, because you know  it will happen.

An upbeat attitude and a confident smile was  the “umbrella” my folks wielded against the “rain” of self-doubt.

For Mom and Dad, belief had the effect of channeling all their efforts in the right direction toward the only inevitable conclusion, which was the successful attainment of any goal upon which they set their sights.


Whenever skies are gray,
Don’t worry or fret,
A smile will bring the sunshine,
And you’ll never get wet!

What role does belief play in keeping you motivated to attain your goals? Please share your insights in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature