Building a Lasting Legacy: Using Core Values to Play the Infinite Game in Life – I’m a Fixer. Dig deep down into my core, into those little secret compartments I have hidden and stashed all the shit I don’t want to deal with, the pain, paralyzing fears, emotional scarring, trauma, inadequacies, regrets, you name it. You will always find three things when I work with my coaches to release that stuff. An addiction to helping those I love, a distorted sense of pride that says I don’t need help from anyone, and I’ll prove that to you, and an obsessive passion for more tools.
Now, if you know a little of my story, have heard me talk before, or read some of my articles.
You know that I grew up in a family of heroes. Military, law enforcement, healthcare, and lifeguards were all service-orientated people who ran towards the danger. And I am also grateful I was old enough to see, observe and understand their struggles, flaws, battles, challenges, and the toll they took on them and their families. It allowed me, later in life, when I had become a certified mindset coach and study NLP. To shift my mindset and pull from that wealth of experience to help those like my heroes and their families.
“Give me a child for 7 years, and I’ll show you the man” is often attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. The idea behind this statement is that a person’s character, habits, and beliefs are primarily formed during childhood before age seven, and these traits tend to persist into adulthood. This is because a child’s mind is in a Theta state during the first five to seven years. They are literally downloading everything they experience into their subconscious mind. It’s the primary way we learn a language and social cues before we can read or write.
Remember the last time you attended some sporting event, concert, or show or watched a school play with your kids? Remember all the smartphones in the air, blocking your view, recording everything they could?
That’s what kids do:
- They can only truly process and understand what they see once their conscious brains develop at five to seven years old.
- They can’t think about how they want it to affect them and program that in their unconscious mind.
- They know it all as they download it.
What made my values stick in me was that the men I grew up around all had and lived their lives guided by and processed through these same core values.
In other words, the experiences and influences a person has during their first seven years can profoundly impact the type of person they become as an adult. This can include things like their values, beliefs, personality traits, and even their career path. While it’s inevitable that people will change and grow throughout their lives, the idea behind this statement is that early childhood experiences can influence a person’s long-term trajectory.
Good men raise good sons who have good sons, that raise good sons. This lasting legacy, these core values of being a good man, are emulated as young boys when we look up to those men around us, trying to understand what we have downloaded. And ladies, before you jump on me that women are just as important, I know that and celebrate it. Return to my Mother’s Day article in this magazine’s May issue, my Momma is my superhero.
Changes will come. Now we could have lifelong discussions and debates on whether genetic, environmental, or social surroundings are more important and the research and science around that. I like to keep things simple, and as my Grandma Judy used to say, “I want you to know what I know. What you do with that is up to you. I love you either way.” I know when I explore back into my early childhood with my coaches, the values I hold dear and use to guide my journey in life were always there in the men around me. Tell the truth, keep your word, take care of your family, do what’s right, stand up for others, actions speak louder than words, be a gentleman, and show everyone respect.
Ok, one quick story I still vividly remember.
It was Christmas. God, I miss Christmas at Dama and Tampa’s house. I call my grandparents that to this very day, long after they have passed. I loved these events; yes, that’s what they felt like to me. It was my super bowl growing up, a chance to be around all my heroes and the food. Everyone was headed over to the park to throw the football around. I remember them walking down the driveway, like a slow-motion moment in a movie. Laughing, windblown hair, theme song in the background, the whole works. I remember standing there with my shovel, in awe of them, in Dama’s front yard. “Are we playing football now?” I excitedly dropped my shovel.
Uncle Jerry said in his booming baritone voice, “We are, but you still look like you got work to do.” “I can finish after we play,” I announced. “We’re eating after we return, then presents. How can you?” Uncle John asked. The 10-year-old in me was about to throw a tantrum. All year, I’ve waited for this, and I wanna play. That’s when Uncle Mike asked me a straightforward question. “Are you going to break your word to your grandma and not finish her Christmas present just to throw a football around?”
I was livid, but the thought of breaking a promise to Dama was unthinkable.
“No, I just really wanna play with you guys.” They were down the street, just turning the corner, when the rage hit me. I dug holes faster, pissed off and not caring how Uncle John had taught me. Finally, the rage settled and quickly turned to a furry of movement, do the job right. I got into what Uncle Jerry taught me: the work zone when you forget what you’re doing, and it just happens.
I still had two more rows of railroad ties to add when they came back too soon. They walked passed me, sweaty and laughing, as they continued up the driveway. Back down, they came with gloves on because we take care of family. Without saying a word, we were all in the work zone. No one needed to ask for a tool; it was offered, and no one was asked to pick that up. Someone was already reaching to do it.
This is how I was raised to believe real men worked.
- Hard, together, no one is above or better than another.
- Everyone pulls more than his weight, gets it done right, and gets it done as a team.
I collected my tools, and we stood in the street looking at the wall and walkway we had just finished. I remember standing there, just like I was one of them; I had become a man.
They started talking over me like I wasn’t even there. I bet we see a tear; she’s gonna love this; I bet it’s exactly like she wanted it to be. Then, Uncle John let out a whistle that could burst your eardrum. My Aunt Mary stuck her head out the front door and asked, “What are you whistling about? We’re almost ready to dish it out.” “Tell Grandma her present is ready. She’s gotta see this before it gets dark.” Uncle John replied. Seeing the joyful tear and getting that hug Dama gave me after seeing the front yard she had always wanted, was priceless. The core values, keeping your word and taking care of your family, were passed onto me that day, priceless. That feeling burned into my soul, just like a brand, and was now a part of the kind of man I wanted to be, priceless.
Now, as children in our Theta state, sometimes our unconscious mind edits the data we’re downloading.
It can interpret and creates behaviors differently than what was really happening. This distorted sense of pride or self-reliance that I didn’t need anyone and could do it alone. Took me a while to see how damaging that could be to me. Whether burning candles at both ends or trying to do it all hurt my health, I couldn’t be there at the level I wanted for those around me. To hold me back from being a better team member and believing in others. Be a leader who didn’t want to see people fail, so I took it on, so they wouldn’t. Rather than allow them to fail, try again, fail again, and try better. I wished I’d learned and implemented this in my teen years. What a great tool to have.
Now, if I started becoming the man I am today because of what I downloaded from the men I grew up around. And the NLP techniques(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and other tools I use as a certified mindset coach with my clients have allowed us to change the unwanted behaviors we have inside us and don’t want anymore. Then we can become the men we want to be, regardless of who we grew up around, who we are now, and any limiting beliefs we have for the men we will become. So why do I like speaking and working with men in the military, law enforcement, and first responders, and helping men become the man they want to be? It’s a family thing for me. To serve those who were called to a career of service. Let’s leave the legacy of being a good man for future generations.
Now, my Mom (Jana) reminds me how many women read this magazine.
NLP works for everyone. If you are a family member of someone who serves. Man, woman, father, mother, son or daughter, young or old, I don’t care. If you or your family is struggling, please reach out. If you are a support group for those in service or their spouses and families looking for someone to speak to or add to your group session, please reach out. I don’t claim to have all the answers or a program that works for everyone. I’m not a therapist, a counselor, a psychologist, or a doctor.
This magazine is filled with professionals in those fields, and they are some of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. Find the one you’re drawn to, trust your gut, and reach out to them. I’m a mindset coach. I’ve grown up in a family such as yours. I get it. Remember the movie “Taken?” I don’t have a lot of money. What I do have is a unique set of skills and experience. I will hear you, I will listen to you, and I will understand you. That’s how I would say it as a coach.
The world seems harsh right now, chaotic, everyone pointing fingers, blaming each other, forcing everyone to choose sides, and feeling under attack.
Let me give you a little NLP tool to take with you and use during your day, and discover how your mindset and those around you change theirs.
This is especially helpful around children. One of the presuppositions in NLP is, “People are not their behaviors.” When we use this, we try to take the “you” out of the way we communicate and focus on the behavior as a third party, so to speak. For example, whenever YOU do this, I get so angry at YOU.
Can you see how that can make someone feel attacked, make it feel personal? Now focus on the behavior, not the person. I’ve noticed lately that whenever I see someone do (THE BEHAVIOR), it brings up a lot of anger in me. Now don’t insinuate that you are talking about them while you say it. Remember, seventy-five percent of communication is non-verbal.
I just wanted you to know what I know. What you do with it is up to you. I luv ya either way.
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