Grab Life by the Balls

It’s a sports thing (NO! Really)

Grab control of your life and never let go

Doug Howardell

Table of Contents About the author (That’s me) Chapter 1- Want to Grab Life by Balls? Chapter 2- Who do you think you are to tying to Grab Life by the Balls? Chapter 3 - What would you do if you only had the balls? Chapter 4 – Intermission – Seven Stealthy Skills to help you grab and hang on Chapter 5 –Your Plan to Grab Life by the Balls Chapter 6 – So Grab Already and Hang On for a Rough Ride Chapter 7 – Pop the champagne, Do the dance

About the Author
(Does any one read forwards or prefaces? I never do.) (You can skip this section if you are in a hurry.) Let me start by telling you a little about me mostly cause it’s my favorite subject but I am also an object lesson. For most of my life, life had me by the balls. I was pathetic. I was so in the grip that I was afraid to go to my next door neighbor to ask for ice cubes. I actually had that experience. My parents were having a classic 1950’s cocktail party. They were running low on ice so they sent me next door to ask the people we had lived next door to all my life if they had any ice cubes they could spare. I reluctantly went next door and stood in front of their door but could not muster the courage to knock. I went home and told my parents that the neighbors weren’t home. I could not ask for something the neighbors had, weren’t using and didn’t cost them anything. I was pathetic. Life certainly had me by the balls. It didn’t get any better when I was an adult either. I remember when I bought my first house; the back fence need some repair. I could not bring myself to go to the neighbor and ask them if I could access the fence from their yard. There I was, willing to fix, at the cost of my time and money, our mutual fence and I couldn’t ask. That fence never did get fixed. That’s what happens when life has you by the balls, you don’t get even your simple needs met and broken things stay broken. I lived my life well into my 30’s without getting my needs met. I did become real good at meeting other people’s needs though. Not that I could articulate it at the time but I strived to meet other people’s needs because they would tell me what a good little boy I was. My self-image was so low that I craved other people’s praise more than I wanted to be in control my own life. This behavior led to, among other things, two failed marriages. On the other hand, I did achieve some degree of success at a job I hated. That may sound contradictory, success at a job I hated, but I run into that all the time. Trying to earn praise by doing all the right things worked well in business, to a point anyway. I always volunteered to do more or stay later. I worked hard on every task. Because of my hard work and dedication, I got some praise and was promoted several times. As far as anyone could tell, I was on top of the world. That was as far as anyone but me knew. I knew I was afraid to ask for ice cubes. I knew that I was not in control of my life. I knew somewhere deep inside that life had me by the balls. Then one day my boss signed me up for a personal productivity class. The company had decided that we should all use the same daily planning tool so they signed us all up. What the company may or may not have understood was that the daily planning tool was based on identifying your personal priorities, you own values. Something about identifying what was important to me and building my daily activities around that, appealed to me in a way I could not identify. I learned the system and still wanting to be praised as a good little boy, put it to use every day. Though it wasn’t until years later, that class that asked me to identify what was important to me, sent me on a 20 year voyage of discovery, my own Iliad and Odyssey. I spent the next 20 years reading self help books, listening to audio tapes and attending personal growth work shops. Along the way, I decided to wrestle by life away from all the people who I let control me. I decided to grab life by the balls. I made the decision to end a bad marriage. I made the decision to quit

my job and become self-employed. It was not an over night process. It was a series of steps that led me to be writing this book today. So now, after 20 years of work, I can share with you what I learned from reading and study and from putting what I learned into practice. The first thing I learned is that there is nothing new I can tell you. It’s all been said; it’s all been written. Some texts quoted by Deepak Chopra are thousands of years old. Books were written in the U.S at the start of the 20th century and more are still being written every day. The next thing I learned is that across the number of texts on the subject, there are core truths, time proven principles, and time-tested techniques. So what I can offer is the distillation of my 20 years research project, the experiments I ran on myself and my unique voice; my unique way of articulating the truths. And by-god, I can make it fun and entertaining along the way. For some of you, my presentation of the principles will resonate, for others it will not. It’s really just a matter of are you ready to take control of your life or are you not there yet and does the way I say it connect with your soul. If the words in this book reach even one of you in a way that gets you closer to getting control over your life then I have fulfilled my mission, lived my life’s purpose. But more on life purpose later. For now, get ready to Grab Life By the Balls. And by the way, we’re having a little party later. Do you have any ice cubes you can spare?

Chapter 1

Want to Grab Life by Balls?
Grab Life by the Balls. How’s that for a title? Well it got your attention didn’t it? I could say this book is about sports. You didn’t know that? Yea, I’m an excoach in the big leagues so I’ve got lots of stories to tell where sports teach us life lessons. OK, I made that up, never coached so much as T-Ball, but I want to use sports to give me some cover and with a title includes grabbing balls, I need all the cover I can get. Not a sports fan? That fine, once I set up the big picture, I’ll never mention sports again. Trust me. We have four major sports in the United States, basketball, football, baseball and hockey. Some of you would add soccer to the list, but let’s leave soccer out of this for now and focus on basketball, football and baseball. Let’s look at how each of those games is won. What would you do if you were playing basketball and your teammate knocked the ball away from the opposite team and the ball came toward you? If you want to win the game, you would grab the ball. When you grab the ball you can score and win the game. It’s the same thing in football. The other guys fumble and the ball is within your grasp. What do you do? You grab the ball and give your team the opportunity to score. Baseball, guy hits a line drive over the second baseman’s head and the ball comes rolling to you. Wanna win? Of course you do, so you grab the ball. Which leads me to the conclusion that to win at the most popular games, you have to grab the balls? Well the same is true in life, if you want to win the game of life, you have to grab life by the balls. Enough about sports, what I am really here to talk about is your life. This book is about controlling your life. It’s about deciding if you want to be in control of your life or if you are content with having some one else be in control. It’s not a magic formula for getting rich. I’ll leave that to the guys who talk about buying foreclosed real estate. Being in control of your life can lead you to wealth if that’s want you really want. It’s not about how to control others. It can lead to you being a leader if that’s what you really want. It IS about success but you have to define success. Grabbing life by the balls is not a paintby-numbers technique to get to some place someone else has defined. It is about you knowing who you are, and what you want. It’s about knowing what you are willing to give to get what you want and how to about getting what you want.

The secret formula to grabbing life by the balls • Know who you are • Know what you want • Know what you are willing to give to get what you want • Know how do you get what you want • Have the courage to take action

I don’t promise you it is easy to grab life by the balls. I do promise it’s hard work. I do promise you it is work that everyone who chooses to, can do. I do promise you if you do the work, you will be in control of your life and being in control of your life will lead getting what you want. Back to the sports metaphor for a second, (see how I lie? I’m back on sports again), my high school coaches, always said that sports were more than a game; they were life lessons. If we accept that tired cliché just for a moment then I’ll never bring up sports again, that means if the way to win at most sports is to grab the balls then my working principle is, to win at the game of life you have to Grab Life the Balls. If you think about it, there are only two choices. Either you grab life by the balls or life grabs you by the delicate bits. Either you are in control of your life or your life is in control of you. Below you get to answer the most important questions in this book or in your life for that matter: Y/ N Do you want to be in control of your own destiny? Y / N Do you want to have control over what you do, when you do it and with whom you do it? Why would you want to be in control of your own life? I’m from L.A. where the actors say, “What’s my motivation?” What’s you motivation for wanting to grab life by the balls? The answer to that question is different for everyone and there are some people who do not want to. But for those of us who do want to control our own lives, why do we want to? It’s easier when someone else is in control, isn’t it? When some one else is in control they do all the thinking, they figure out what must be done. Then they tell us what to do and we just do it. We finish that set of tasks and they tell us what to do next. It’s a great way for a lazy person to live. It’s only way for young children to love. Young children do not have the knowledge or experience to control their own lives. Neither do teenagers but you can’t tell them that. The whole struggle we parents have with our teenage children is that they want to be in control of their lives and we don’t think they have enough knowledge or experience. They think they do, hence the struggle. At some point we are expected to become adults. We are expected to take control of our lives, to make our own decisions. The very definition of a fully functioning adult may be someone who is in control of his or her own life. By the time we are adults we have usually acquired the knowledge and experience to let us safely control our own lives. Yet so many people are willing to surrender control to someone else or just abdicate control all together. I ask again, why do you want to have life by the balls? Is it better to be in control or to be controlled? Shout it out!

A Tale of Two Trips

Imagine: You are in a car going up a mountain road. It’s dark. There is snow on the
road and icy patches. You are the passenger. The driver is going fast, too fast. You can see the shear drop off on one side and the rocks of the mountain on the other. You can feel the car slip on the ice as you go around corners. You start to think which would be worse to drop off the side of the mountain or crash into the rocks on the uphill side. You ask the driver to slow down but they ignore you and continue on at the same speed. It starts to snow. The visibility gets worse yet the driver continues at the same speed. At each curve, and this is a windy road so there are lots of curves, you can hear the tires squeal.

How do you feel? Are you nervous and scared or relaxed and content? Do you like that feeling? Do you close your eyes so you don’t see what is happening? IS THAT HOW YOU’RE LIVING YOUR LIFE, with your eyes closed while someone else is driving? Is that how you want to live? Now reverse the scenario. You are in a car going up a mountain road. It’s dark. There is snow on the road and icy patches. You are the driver. You can see the shear drop off on one side and the rocks of the mountain on the other. You are going a speed that you feel comfortable with for the conditions. You can make sure the car does not slip on the ice as you go around corners. You know you won’t drop off the side of the mountain or crash into the rocks. You slow down when you need to. It starts to snow. The visibility gets worse. You slow down a little more. At each curve, and this is a windy road so there are lots of curves, you make sure the tires don’t squeal. How does that feel? Doesn’t it feel more comfortable when you were driving? If you were in control then you would know the feel of the car on the road. I, for one, would rather lead my life with my eyes open, controlling the direction and speed that I am progressing. I want to be the driver, not the passenger. How about you, driver or passenger in your own life?

Another Driving Analogy Those of us who drive in major cities, especially fools like me that live in Los Angeles know how it feels to be stuck in rush hour traffic and no one I knows likes it.

Imagine: It’s 6:00 PM on Friday. You are leaving work after another long week. You promised your spouse you’d be home for dinner at least once this week and this is your last chance. You pull out of the parking lot on to the main road. Traffic is stopped. It’s a four lane road and it’s stopped in all directions. You can’t move forward or back. You can’t change lanes. You are stuck. You are going too slowly so you won’t get to home for dinner. And just to complete the scene, you just realized you left your cell phone on your desk. You can’t even call to explain why you’ll be late again.
How does that feel?

What’s going on in a major traffic jam? Well first and foremost you are not in control. Most people get very frustrated. Do you know that a recent study I just made up shows that 58% of the American population feels frustrated everyday? Whatever the real number is, and who cares about statistics, many people are frustrated everyday. They are stuck in life traffic. They can’t get to where they want to go at the speed they want to get there. They honk the horn. They shout at the drivers around them. They pound the steering wheel or do the life equivalents of those behaviors, like acting out to get attention, like being abusive to others, like exploding with rage. Or they suppress it all and like a great writer once said, they lead lives of quiet desperation. Sound like anyone you know? Sound like the way you want to live your life? Who said that anyway?

Why do you want to have life by the balls? Because it feels better to be in control of your own life.

How do you know if you have life by the balls or if life has you by the naughty bits? What does it look like when life has you by the balls? How does it feel when you have control of your life. Given our complex, interdependent lives, none of us get to do what we want all the time, so how do I know who’s in control. The answer is the thoroughly researched, extensively tested and meticulously documented “Suckiness Test.” This scientific break though can be summarized in one question. When you wake up in the morning do you think, “This day is gonna suck.” If yes, then life has you by the balls. If no, then you have to ask a few more questions to determine who has grabbed whom. Exercise 1-1
The Patented Suckiness Test
When you wake up in the morning do you think, “This day is gonna suck.” A. Everyday, and I'm always right B. Every work day sucks C. Certain days suck less than others D. Never think that, life is great Are you enthusiastic, and excited about what you have to do each day or do too many days suck? A. Can I just sleep the day away and skip all the crap? B. Just gettn' by. C. Hey, most days are pretty good, ya know. D. I can't wait to get out of bed in the morning and get started. Do you live for Friday night and dread Monday morning? A. I start getting depressed Sunday afternoon or evening. B. TGIF baby! C. Sometimes D. Everyday is a great day How do you feel when you are doing what you do everyday? A. This sucks B. Just doin' what I got to do to get by C. Most days, I'm cool. D. Love my job, wouldn't do anything else How do you feel about the world? A. Who cares? The heck with all of it. B. Most people suck, it's a cold place out there C. Most people are OK, and stuff happens but what the heck D. It's all good How sucky is your home? A. My place sucks, my neighborhood sucks and so do my neighbors. B. My neighborhood sucks and so do my neighbors but I like it inside my four walls C. Hey, it's all cool around here. D. I love where I live. Is your family cool? A. They all suck! B. Some suck more then others. C. Yea, they are alright. D. My family's great, man! How's your love life? A. What love life? B. Could be better C. Pretty dam good D. Perfect, fabulous, could not be better Total Answer Score

Scoring: After answering all the questions, score each answer using the scale below. A = 1, B=3, C = 6, D = 10 Total up the score and find your life on the Suckiness Scale 72- 80 means you think most of your world rocks, but do you have Life by the Balls? 61-71 means you think you have a significant amount of suckiness in your life and you really ought to Grab Life by the Balls to make it even better. 49 - 59 means you think most of life sucks and you need to Grab Life by the Balls. 48 and below, Dude, time to get a grip. You need this book now. Read faster.

Only you can take and score the suckiness test for yourself. Only you can decide if your life sucks or if you have life by the balls. This is not about how others see you; it’s about how you see yourself, about how you feel about your life. You can be President of the United States and life can suck. (I’d go so far as to say if you are President then life probably sucks pretty bad.) You can be the CEO of a large corporation and not have life by the balls. On the other side, you can be sweeping floors in the white house or in the corridors of corporate power and have life by the balls. It’s all about how YOU feel about your life. I’ve know doctors and lawyers, people we normally assume are doing what they want, when they want, who wished everyday they were doing something else. The doctor wanted to be a professional photographer and the lawyer wanted to get out of doing divorce cases because in the end, nobody was happy. She was tired of the negativity. Neither changed what they were doing because they had invested too much time and too many years to change once they figured out they didn’t want to do what they went to school for. Their education and experience had them by the balls. I know many senior managers at companies, people in positions that others hope to ascend to, who dread getting out of bed and going to work every day. Most of them continue to do that because they have so many years in don’t want to jeopardize their retirement benefits. Their pensions have them by the naughty bits. Is that how you want to feel everyday? Being rich does not mean you have life by the balls either. It’s not about what you have, not about what you’ve accumulated. It’s about how you feel about what you have. We could go on for days about rich and famous people who wind up in alcohol and drug rehab. Why to they need drugs or booze? They are rich beyond most of our dreams. They are recognized everywhere they go. They have the homes, the cars, the yachts. They go to the best resorts, and go on the coolest vacations. They get married and divorced over and over. They do drugs and crash their cars. They wind up on the cover of tabloids doing stupid things. As I’ve said, you are the only judge of who is controlling you life. No external appearance can signal the answer. It’s totally about what you feel when you lie awake at night. I could make up another study but that was only cute once, so let me say that I believe that most people do not have life by the balls. I believe from my experience talking to people in all walks of life that most people are just getting by or even worse, really hate some portion of their life. YET, they do nothing to change it, Why? OK, let’s do this again. Do you want to grab life by the balls? If you answered yes, then you want to be master of your own fate, want to control the events in your life, you want to be the ball grabber not the grabee. You are making a choice. Your choice also has consequences. You are either in control of you life already or at least working hard to be in control of your life or you are some degree of miserable. There are few things worse than wanting to control your own life and not being able to. If that describes you, if you want to have life by the balls but it either has you by your delicate parts or you are locked in a mutual gripping, then I hope to give you some insight about taking control. So again, our working principle is either you have life by the balls for life has you by the balls. Either you are in control of your life, or your life is in charge of you. What I’m here to share is how you can get a grip.

So, are you with me? Are you ready to grab life by the balls and take charge of your life? Here we go! 10 Simple Steps to Grab Life by the Balls 1. You have to know who you are. 2. You have to know what you want. Know who you are and what you want. To some of you that may sound easy, to others it may not. Either way, I say you need to be real clear on this. If you do not have it written down then you are not done. It’s amazing how hard it can be to articulate something like who you are. You may have some vague idea but the act of writing it down forces you to clarify it. Knowing who you are and what you want is the key. You can’t go on to the other steps until you have these two mastered. Once you have written down or otherwise recorded the first two you can go on. Chapter is all about helping you answer these first two critical questions. 3. Know what you are willing to give to get what you want 4. You must be clear about how badly you want it. These two steps are about your degree of motivation. Most people want to be rich or at least well off, but what are they willing to give to get it. Wanting is not enough. This is a give and take world. To get, you have to give. So what labor are you willing to exchange to get what you want? Are you willing to take risks? Risk your money, you life’s savings? Risk your house? Risk your marriage? Sell your soul to the dark side? As usual, I go to extremes, and use hyperbole to make a point. There is a price to pay to get what you want. It is imperative that you know what that price is and that you make a conscious decision to pay that price. The next step is doing the internal research, the soul searching is: 5. Figure out what has been stopping you. Another way to look at this is to ask who or what has you by the naughty bits. You can’t fight them off unless you know who they are. When I took this step, I discovered the only thing stopping me was, me. I discovered when doing this step that I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself. Why would any one give me even as little as an ice cube if I was useless, worthless. Of course they wouldn’t so I wouldn’t even ask. You will have to face you own demons before you finish with step 5. That possibility alone is enough to stop an awful lot of people from grabbing life by the balls. I say they are wimps. Don’t let it stop you. Stare those demons in the face and go, GRRRRR. That’ll scare ‘em. Now you’re ready for your attack plan. 6. Create a plan; it’s easier than you think. From your plan you will develop a list of what resources are needed; identify who has those resources and you’ll plan how to steal them. Sorry, I meant plan to get the resources you need. 7. Now act. Take action on accomplishing you plan. You’ll need to bob and weave as life throws punches, counters your moves (See sports again. You just can’t trust me), and tries to maintain its grip so be ready to change your plans to deal with the current circumstances. When it gets tough and, if what you want is substantial, it will get tough, you go to step 8.

8. Drag others into the fight. I promise before you grab life by the balls, you’ll need teammates and each member of your team will contribute their abilities. 9. You’ll need to know when to quit, which is never! Persistence over the long haul is absolutely required to get the grip you want. This is the point when you’ll have to go back to the first five steps and lean on the work you did there. When things get tough remind yourself of what you want and how much you want it. 10. Reap the rewards When you have life firmly in you grip, when you are in control of your life, you will reap the rewards, celebrate the victory, do the victory dance and spray the champagne around the locker room. And don’t forget to taunt the other guys. It just feels so good. Sounds easy? So why do most people live, what’s the expression again, “live lives of quite desperation.” Because life has them by the balls and they either don’t know how to break that grip or they know how but choose not to for any number of reasons. Bad news, after today you can’t say you don’t know how. I just told you. Now what’s your excuse? Now we’ve come to the crux of the matter, the core, the essence of the issue, the meat and potatoes, I’m running out of clichés here so fill in our own expression for getting to the good stuff, the _________________________. Do you want to be in control of your life or do you want to give that control to others? Sounds like an easy question when I put it that way doesn’t it? It’s not random that I choose to use the image of grabbing life by the balls. It’s quite on purpose. I thought long and hard about it before coming to this graphic metaphor. Besides the fact that I’m trying to shock your sensibilities into paying attention, it’s also hard to say you would rather be in the grip then to take things into your own hands. Onward intrepid reader, come with me on a fantastic journey to

Grab Life by the Balls


Chapter 2

Who do you think you are to Grab Life by the Balls?
The starting point to grabbing life by the balls is knowing who you are. This chapter focuses on that. It’s my experience that most people struggle with this step. I’ll bet that if I asked you at a party, “Who are you?” Most of you would tell me your name and what you do for a living. BORING! If pressed for more detail you might go on to tell me you are also a mother, a father, son, uncle, sister. And if you are really outgoing you might tell me about your hobbies or the activities you enjoy. People, these are the roles you perform and the things you do. They are not who you are. You perform those roles because of who you are. You enjoy those activities because of who you are. I in no way mean to belittle the roles we all play or the activities we enjoy. If asked, I would tell you that I am a writer and speaker. I am a husband and father. I scuba dive, ski and backpack. My family is my first priority in life to the degree that it’s not fair to call the next item on the list number 2. It’s more like, number 1- husband and father and next is number 25, writer & speaker.

But still husband and father is not who I am. It’s because of who I am that I am a father. You choose the roles you perform because of who you are. You choose the activities you enjoy because of who you are. This works in the inverse of what most people say. Now you can say I’m splitting hairs here but I really believe this distinction is critical. The roles we perform change as the years pass. The activities we enjoy change over time. If I am defined by my job, who am I if I get laid off because there are moving the jobs to China? I’ll bet most of you know someone who was completely lost when they either

retired or lost their job. Some people so completely identify themselves with what they do for a living that they are literally lost when they lose their job. How many people do we know who retire and then die in short order? The same is true of people who define who they are by their family ties. If I am defined by family roles, what am I when my parents pass on, my marriage ends or my daughter moves away? Many of us fall into this trap but it is still a trap no matter how many of us are in it together. I hope it’s clear that I am NOT saying putting a priority on family and career is a bad thing. It’s just that they are not who you are. So if we are not the roles we perform or the activities we perform, who are we? How do we describe the essence of ourselves?

The world according to me You are the sum of your: Beliefs Values Abilities Feelings
Let me give a quick definition of each so we are on the same page. Beliefs are the things you are confident are true whether or not you have evidence to support it. Our beliefs drive our behavior. Some of our beliefs are very clear to us. We are well aware if we have a belief in a higher power. We are well aware if we believe that smoking causes cancer. Some, I’d say, most of our beliefs are not so clear or obvious to us but they still have a huge impact on our lives. Values are similar to beliefs. Values are the attributes and subjects we judge to be desirable. Examples of values would include peace, harmony, love, health, honesty, or freedom. We all have values but most of us have not taken the time to identify and record our values. Abilities are the actions, both mental and physical we are good at. Mental abilities include things like being mechanically inclined, being good at math, having a good memory, bring able to communicate well. Physical abilities are things like: being able to dance (clearly an ability I do not have), having good hand eye coordination (no again), running fast (strike three), etc. Feelings are our emotions, the inner sensation we get in different circumstances. Example of feelings would include: joy, sadness, love, regret, guilt and optimism.

You have to identify and prioritize your beliefs, values, abilities, and feelings to know who you are. And remember knowing who you are is absolutely a prerequisite for grabbing life by the balls. Aristotle or one of those other smart Greek guys said something like, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Of course he said it in Greek but you don’t want me to try to pronounce it in the original. I butcher my native language badly enough. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” If we accept that as wisdom that has survived the ages, then that means to have a life that is worth living you must examine what you do, examine who you are. I’m sure now that I have put it so eloquently, quoted minds greater that mine, made such a strong convincing case you are thinking, “Yes, yes, I am ready. I am ready to examine my life, to figure out who I really am so I can figure out what I want so I can grab life by the balls. Please tell me oh wise sage, how the heck to do that?” Well, I don’t know. Oh, look, we’re out of time. Gotta go... But seriously folks, it can be done. Beliefs, values and feelings can be hard to identify the first time but I’ll get you there one step at a time. Start from what you know.

Exercise 2-1
A. Write down all your roles. List things like employee, boss, business owner, softball coach, mother, daughter, voter / non-voter, parishioner / agnostic. B. Write down all the activities you enjoy. Things like sports - tennis, golf, or softball; like outdoor activities – skiing, hiking, or camping; or anything else – read, go to movies, or travel. Don’t worry about trying to separate roles from activities. Let’s see, I coach little league. Is that a role or an activity? NOT IMPORTANT! Just pick one for the love of Mike. (Where did that expression come from? Who is Mike and why do I want his love? But, I digress, again. I promise never to do that again.) What was I saying, oh yea, list your values and beliefs in any order that it comes to you. List them in any level of detail that works for you. There is no right answer, there is no wrong answer. Just start listing. Your lists should be no less than 20 items each. That’s the one rule on all the lists you are going to generate. Twenty is the absolute minimum. Any less than that and you are just not trying. Oh, wait I lied, like that’s unusual, there is another rule. You must record the lists in some manner. Most of us will write or type the lists but written words don’t make it for everyone. You could record it on tape or digitally. You could draw pictures or cut pictures out magazines. Do what works for you but you may not just keep it in your head. You do that and I will personally hunt you down whereever you hide. No, really there is a reason for this. It has to be real, tangible and you are going to have to refer back to these lists. Because I’m such a nice guy, in the appendix (that’s the section in the back of the book) there are templates for all the exercises. You can just rip these pages out and write

on them. If in the ripping process you destroy them or some how mess up the book, well then sorry, you’ll have to go buy another book. My publisher and I will both send you a lovely hand written note of thanks for buying two books. If you are like me and can’t read your own hand writing so you would rather type your lists, then I can help you there too. Go to my web site, and down load the FREE exercise templates there. While you are there you can buy all the cool Grab Life by the Balls chotskis. I really don’t have any stuff to sell but the templates are there. There are also opportunities to interact with other people who are trying to grab life by the balls.

See I’ll even help, Examples of Roles We All Play in Life. You can thank me later. Use for Exercise 2-1

Category Family

Example Roles Parent Spouse Ex-Spouse Child Sibling Uncle / Aunt In-law Grandparent Cousin Nephew/Niece Partner

Economic Colleague Business Partner Business Owner Employee / Worker Boss/Supervisor/Manager Ex-employee Specific professional title Unemployed Retired Volunteer

Category Example Roles Community Neighbor Consumer Driver / Commuter Resident Voter Tax payer Individual Diver Friend Citizen Vistor Patient Donor Leader Spiritual Worshiper Congregation member Beliver Clergy Other Girlfriend / boyfriend Fiancé Student

Example Activities for exercise 2-1. Oh, come on people. Do I have to do everything for you? Think about what you like to do with you time.

Sports / recreations Softball Tennis Golf Hiking Skiing Swimming

Hobbies Needle point Photography Drawing Collecting Gardening Music

Other Stuff (That’s the official term) Travel Family Reading Volunteering Movies T.V. (Please don’t pick this one)

So you make the list of things you already know, what’s the value of that? Well, slow down there and I‘ll tell you. At this point you have two lists with 20 items on each list. At about number 10 or 12 you will be thinking, 20, why 20? I don’t have 20 roles. The hell with him, I’m stopping now. Bad dog, bad, back in your cage until I ring the bell! There was a reason for making the lists 20 items. It makes you think harder and for most of us thinking is good. Forcing yourself to make a list at least twenty items long assures you won’t miss something. When I made my list of roles, I got to 10 easily. I had to work to come up with: resident of my town, voter, and neighbor, yet in retrospect those are important roles. So just make the damn list of 20 and don’t whine. The things I have to do to get across to you people. Once you’ve completed you assignment, turn it in and I’ll grade it. Don’t forget to put your name on it or I’ll take off one letter grade. OK, kidding aside, look at the list. Probably, 30 to 40 percent of the items on the list aren’t important. You just put them there because I made you. C. Strike the unimportant items off the lists. Eliminate the trivial ones. Then try to loosely prioritize the remaining items. Again, don’t make a big deal out of trying to rank the top five if you find yourself struggling. The exact order is not important but having a good sense of which ones are important is important. D. For each role and each activity, define how you want to be whether you live up to your ideal is not important at this point, just list how you want to be for each role. For the items remaining on both lists, the important roles and activities, think about how you want to be, how you want to behave in each of those roles. Example, Husband and father are tied for first place for me. I want to be a good husband and father. How does a good father behave? How does a good husband behave? Emotionally, I would be loving and affectionate, supportive and nurturing, and patient. I’d spend time, listen, and give wise counsel. (OK, so my family is in trouble there.) Physically, I’d protect my family from harm, provide shelter and food. (Good thing you bought this book.) Make sure you could define what each of the items on your list means. For example, loving and supportive means I tell my wife and daughter I love them, I help them with the things they want to do like help my daughter find the right college to attend. You could write down that definition for extra credit but at least make sure you can define each attribute if I were to ask. And I just might.

Summary of Exercise 2-1
A. Write down all your roles. List things like employee, boss, business owner, softball coach, mother, daughter, voter / non-voter, parishioner / agnostic. B. Write down all the activities you enjoy. Things like sports - tennis, golf, or softball; like outdoor activities – skiing, hiking, or camping; or anything else – read, go to movies, or travel. C. Strike the unimportant items off the lists. Eliminate the trivial ones. Then try to loosely prioritize the remaining items. D. For each role and activity, define how you want to be whether you live up to your ideal is not important at this point, just list how you want to be for each role.

Here’s an example of what you should have at the end of exercise 2-1. Example to be added here

From your prioritized list of roles and activities you can now start to identify your values and beliefs. Remember I said earlier that your roles and activities are driven by your values and beliefs. Look at your roles and activities and see what values and beliefs emerge. Let me repeat the definitions. Values are the attributes and subjects we judge to be desirable. Beliefs are the things you are confident are true whether or not you have evidence to support it. Look at what you do, your activities, and look at your roles. These are the places where you spend your time. You must have some belief and must value something to spend your time on these roles and activities. Again as example, examining my roles of father and husband, family member and friend I saw a pattern emerge. This led me to discover I had a value I called Love. Here’s how I stated my value after thinking about how I wanted to behave as a father and husband, family member and friend. Love is the reason for everything else. It is the only indispensable thing in my life. Love is the dominate emotion that I feel; it is the first and last thought of my day. I love my wife and daughter unconditionally. I love our extended family and friends in thought and show it in deed.. Exercise 2-2 Look at your prioritized roles and activities, identify your values and write a short defining statement for each of those values. Hint: Don’t tell anyone but there is a cheater list of values and beliefs on the next few pages to help you get started. Shhhhhh

Topics for Values and Beliefs for Exercise 2-2
Governing Value Value Community Collaboration Community Collective, Needs of the Community Common Purpose Community Communication Community Concern for others Community Consensus Community Consumer Rights Community Cooperation Community Coordination, Integration Community Diplomacy (over confrontation) Community Equality Community Fairness Community Fraternity Community Global View Community Harmony Community Hospitality Community Integration Community Mutual Benefits Community Neighborliness Community Oneness of purpose Community Organization Community Popular Will (deferring to) Community Regulation & Control Community Respect for Others (individuals, cultures, races) Community Service (to others, society) Community Teamwork Community Unity Community Win - Win Community World Unity Community Charity Community Civic Pride Community Compassion Community Courtesy Community Environmental, Concern for Community Essential Services, right to Community Helpfulness Community Safety Net (for elderly, unemployed, etc.) Community Service Self/Individual Adventure Self/Individual Continuous Improvement Self/Individual Creativity Self/Individual Direction, Purposefulness Self/Individual Discovery Self/Individual Fitness Self/Individual Individuality Self/Individual Innovation Self/Individual Pioneer Self/Individual Progress Self/Individual Resourcefulness Self/Individual Responsibility, Taking Self/Individual Change Self/Individual Chastity, Purity Self/Individual Cleanliness, Orderliness Self/Individual Efficiency Self/Individual Orderliness Governing Value Value Family Loving Family Affectionate Family Supportive and nurturing Family Patient Family Spend time, participate Family Children, Nurturing of Family Listen Family Wise counsel Family Protect Family Provide Family Share Family Communicate Fun/Joy Entertainment Fun/Joy Happiness, Pursuit of Fun/Joy Pleasure Fun/Joy Romance of Life Fun/Joy Self-Improvement Health Health & Well-Being Health Fitness Health Weight Health Exercise Health Blood pressure Health Cholesterol Health Mental Health Addictions Health Alcohol Health Drugs Health Disease Knowledge Education (Right to, need of, value in) Knowledge Genius Knowledge Informed, BeingKnowledge Intelligence Knowledge Knowledge, increasing, putiing to good use, sharing Knowledge Learning Knowledge Openness, Open-mindedness Knowledge Philosophy, a certain Knowledge Reason Knowledge Thinking, Thought Knowledge Wisdom Love Beauty (harmony of form) Love Beauty (of environment, art, people, etc.) Love Celebrity-Worship Love Culture (art, etc.) Love Family Love Family Values-honor parents, Nurture children, etc. Love Friendliness Love Friendship Love Love (Romance, other forms of) Love Loyalty Love Mannered, WellLove Perfection Love Quality (of work, service etc.) Love Simplicity Love Systemization

Adapted from WHAT ARE SOCIETY'S VALUES? by Roy Posner

Topics for Values and Beliefs for Exercise 2-2
Governing Value Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Power/Strength Spirituality Spirituality Spirituality Spirituality Spirituality Spirituality Spirituality Value Accomplishment Act on things Authority Commitment Courage Decisiveness Determination Direction, Purposefulness Discipline Empowerment of Individual Force Government Power Hard Work Money/Wealth Perseverance Power Prosperity Purposefulness Regularity Results-oriented Legality Self-Reliance Skill Status (individual, social, collective, nation's, etc.) Strength (physical, psychological, power, force) Success, Achievement Wealth Spirituality, Spirit Faith Charity Will of God Belief Nature, natural Natural laws, systems Governing Value Peace Peace Peace Peace Peace Peace Peace Peace Peace Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Value Calm, quietude, Faith Peace, Non-Violence Protection (of law, etc.) Rule of Law Security Solitude Stability Tranquility Accountability Accuracy Attitude, Right Behavior, ProperBenefits to All Content over form Equal Opportunity Factual Fairness Generosity Goodness Gratitude Grievances, right to express Honesty Integrity Justice Meaning Public Access Rationality Sacrifice Self-givingness Sincerity Tolerance Trust

Adapted from WHAT ARE SOCIETY'S VALUES? by Roy Posner

And here are some example value and belief statements Add Examples here

Exercise 2-3 Identify your abilities TBD Exercise 2-4 Identify your dominate feeling TBD Well, if you have been good little busy beavers, you have written down your beliefs, values, abilities, and feelings. Now it’s time to let them age awhile like a fine wine, in a dark cellar, on new American oak. Oh, wait I’m getting carried away again. (One of my activities is drinking good wine. Could you tell?) Set it aside for a couple of days then go back and read the lists again. Does it feel right? Have you described yourself? You may need to make some changes. That’s OK. Keep working the lists you’ve created until you recognize yourself in the words. There is one last step in getting to know who you are. Ever heard of an elevator speech? An elevator speech is what you would say to describe something to someone during the course of a short elevator ride. You have 30-45 seconds to explain the topic. I have a variation on that theme. Remember I started talking about being able to tell someone who you are when you first met them at a party or, in my case, in some sleazy bar. So I’ll call this the drunken slurring speech. No wait, that’s no good. How about the party introduction speech? Based on all the work you’ve done, describe you core beliefs, values, abilities and feeling to someone in 30-45 seconds. When you can do that you really know who you are. Exercise 2-Final Write you Party Introduction Speech. Add examples of speeches here

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