"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Forget New Year’s Resolutions


Better a small promise kept than a larger one broken. Most New Year’s Resolutions fail because they are lofty goals with insufficient foundation. If it were easy for you, you’d already be doing it. Can you imagine tackling Mount Everest without extensive preparation? Including successfully summiting many “stepping stone” peaks? Without a guide(s) and being part of a supportive team? A map, a course, a known path?

Successful personal growth, making progress on one’s path, starts with self-knowledge, a deep and intimate awareness of yourself.  Give yourself a PhD on you! Learn your triggers, your programing (including many sub-surface ones that run so constantly in the background you are totally oblivious to them), the in-depth motivations behind what you think of as your needs, wants, and emotions.

Write out your self-concept, who/what you are now and where you’d like to be, what you’d like to create. Think about why, what would be different, what benefits you are seeking, and how you will know you’ve gotten where or become who you want to be. Consider setting goals in each of the major roles in your life, set out action plans to achieve or move closer towards the ones that move you most.

Find source(s) of inspiration and visit them frequently. Observe yourself, what calls out your best self, what summons your lesser self. How to create more of the first, less of the second in your life? Journal! Faithfully record your thoughts and emotions, stand outside yourself and gently nudge yourself forward. Find or create affirmations that crystalize your dreams and lessons and help keep them in the forefront of your mind.

Visualize where you want to go, keep your thoughts positive, solution-oriented, and looking forward. You can’t change the past but you can create a new, better future. If you find positive thinking challenging, simply eliminate negative thinking! It is a waste of energy after all!

Focus on creating a burning desire for growth, learning, and creating your best life. Want power is mega times stronger than will power. Get “Want Power” fully on your side: “So easy when you want to, so hard when you don’t.” It’s your one and only life, release your brakes and create your personal masterpiece.

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Dysfunctional Habits: Trapped By Your Triggers

Old Habits versus Change messages

Knowing your triggers, your short fuses, is crucial to learning and substituting new behavior. If you are not aware of (and alert for) what triggers a toxic routine you will be challenged to change because you will be repeating the old pattern before you know it; trapped by your triggers!

Triggers tend to fall into five categories: Location, Time, Emotional state, People, and the immediately preceding action i.e. the Cue.

We tend to drink at bars but not in churches, we tend to eat, hungry or not, at set times, we are more likely to curse when we are tired, upset or impatient, certain folks tend to bring out certain learned reactions within us and hearing certain political opinions or seeing a given cultural emblem (a “Cue” or immediately preceding action) evokes a predictable response.

Reclaiming your personal power requires 1) Motivation, 2) Trigger Awareness, 3) A Substitute Pattern, and 4) A Plan to Cope with Stumbles.

We spend most of our lives in Plan B (at least! Maybe Plan C, D or E!). Understand that implementing anything rarely goes smoothly, mentally prepare for setbacks and understand that it is both normal and not the end of the world. Accepting this inoculates you against discouragement when the path proves difficult. I like the analogy of a rock climber strapped into a safety harness: you may fall, but only a short distance; recovery comes quickly because you prepared for setbacks.

Wealth is having good choices, a wise person creates options; your habits, no matter how dysfunctional, serve a purpose, fulfill a need, even if imagined or created by our fears or insecurities. The best way to change an undesirable pattern is find a new, more empowering one to take its place.

Many change initiatives sputter out because the motivation was insufficient. Want Power trumps Will Power all day long. The key is to use Visualization to create a driving “why”, stoke high the fires of Desire to create a Burning Reason Why Change MUST occur. See the benefits, see the new you, see it as real, dwell on it, see yourself as unable to behave or be any other way.

To build an effective new habit, you need five essential components: a reason, a trigger, a micro-habit, effective practice, and a plan.

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Don’t Hear the Attack


Ah, we humans! We are sensitive creatures; highly reactive to criticism, quick to defend our egos, our territory, our self-esteem. Our quick triggers make us prone to see or hear attack even when none is intended and worse yet, if there truly is an attack, our hyper-response tends to blind us to the message behind the attack, a message that could help us forge a path to a better place.

Engaging in a dysfunctional game of ever escalating attack/counter attack serves no one. “Don’t Hear the Attack; Listen for the Message Behind” is not saintly advice, but practical counsel. Listening for the message behind the attack is difficult, often extremely challenging. Set aside the form and words of the attack and ask yourself about the interest behind the position, focus on the “why” rather than the “what”. Make your internal dialogue about seeking information and understanding, not about your reply. Focus on what just might be right or reasonable about the other’s position/feelings and create areas of agreement that can potentially broaden.

Learn to re-interpret, re-phrase attacks and positions into possible interests and feelings and then check for understanding.



“You are constantly undermining my authority with the kids. Just because you don’t have the guts to follow through on setting limits doesn’t mean the kids don’t need them.” – Changing the Conversation by Dana Caspersen, 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution

Message Re-phrased without Attack:

“I think the kids need to have more limits. I am concerned that we are sending mixed messages and I feel angry and frustrated when you do not support my efforts to set and enforce limits.” – Changing the Conversation by Dana Caspersen, 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier