#074 Gratitude Makes Everything Better!

#074 Gratitude Makes Everything Better!

Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can stop fear, anger, and anxiety in their tracks.

“Gratitude is the intention to count-your-blessings every day, every minute, while avoiding, whenever possible, the belief that you need or deserve different circumstances.”
~ Timothy Miller

I Love November!

I LOVE November!!

I love Halloween, which is the day before November.

I love Thanksgiving, and I love when my birthday falls on Thanksgiving.

I love the fall, the leaves, the cool/changing weather, and I love everything about November.

And, I especially love the focus and extra push when it comes to gratitude, appreciation, and giving thanks.

The Power Of Gratitude

I believe that gratitude is a simple, yet powerful emotion.

There are some positive emotions that some people struggle to experience. Some people have a hard time getting to compassion and love, but gratitude seems to be a positive emotion that most people can experience fairly easily and consistently.

I believe that gratitude is a super emotion. It has the power to stop other negative emotions dead in their tracks.

Let me give you an example.

A while ago, I was trying to talk to my son who was talking on the phone. He “sh”d me.

I was annoyed and continued trying to talk to him. He yelled at me to “Shut up!”

I was a little more annoyed until my wife took his side and said, “Benjamin, leave him alone. He’s on the phone.”

Then I was MAD!

I was livid. I thought, “She was supposed to take my side.”

I’ve trained myself to have warning bells that go off in my head when I experience anger, and I realized what was going on.

Instantly I chose to think, “It’s kind of great that my son has a mother that is willing to take my son’s side.”

I remembered how frustrating it was as a teen when my parents would gang up on me.

All of the sudden, I felt GRATITUDE!

I felt gratitude for my wife, how she was BEing as my son’s mom, and I was grateful for her and my son.

Gratitude stopped my anger right in its tracks.

In an instant, I went from being livid, to being grateful and appreciative for my wife and son.

Gratitude is a super emotion!

Gratitude as a Feeling

Gratitude is a feeling, an emotion.

It is created by our thoughts.

It is created when we choose to appreciate our circumstances.

Gratitude is when you intentionally choose to be grateful and appreciative for your circumstances.

Gratitude is a powerful driving emotion.

We know from the model that our feelings drive our actions.

When I’m grateful I take actions like serving others, appreciating others, treating others (and myself) with kindness and patience.

Gratitude drives actions that create results that I love in my life.

Gratitude as a Way of BEing

Gratitude can be more than a simple feeling.

Gratitude can be a way of BEing. It’s a choice.

I love BEing grateful. It is one of my favorite ways to BE as a dad.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably caught yourself being ungrateful.

If you’re like most people, when you’re ungrateful, you probably parent with less kindness and compassion.

It’s okay to catch yourself being ungrateful. It’s part of being human and being a parent.

BUT, you also have the power to BE grateful!

AND, I promise . . .

Gratitude WILL change EVERYTHING!

How to Develop the Superpower, GRATITUDE!

  1. Set your Intention Early and Every day!
  • This has been powerful in my life!
  • When I get up, I set my intention for the day.
  • I guide my mind as to where I want it to go to work.
  • This takes practice, but it’s totally worth it.

2. Practice BEing Grateful Daily.

  • This one goes right along with #1, once you’ve set you intention, simply practice!
  • Don’t expect yourself to be perfect.
  • Just commit to practicing BEing grateful every day.
  • It will become more and more natural.

3. See The Power of Gratitude In Your Life.

  • As you set your intention and practice gratitude, see the power in your life.
  • See how BEing grateful impacts your life.
  • Look for new and more things to be grateful for.
  • Find new ways to be grateful.

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal.

  • Seriously, there are some many things to be grateful for, and when you start to look for them, you’ll be overwhelmed with all the gifts in your life.
  • Keep a gratitude journal so you can remember and fully appreciate your life.
  • This journal will help you look back and see your own growth.
  • It’s fun to look back on things you were grateful for.

5. Share Your Gratitude with Others.

  • You can’t make others feel gratitude, but you can lead by example.
  • Help other people feel loved and appreciated by sharing your gratitude for them with them.
  • This may help others see things that they are grateful for.

Call to ACTION!

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#074 Gratitude Makes Everything Better!


Yelling is great for communicating with someone who is far away, but when you yell at someone who is close to you it only triggers their flight or fight response.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
~ Robert Fulghum

If You Want to Stop Yelling At Your Teen, Stop Yelling at YOURSELF!

Okay, so this might be a stretch. You probably don’t “yell” at yourself out loud, but be honest, how do you speak to yourself on the inside?

How often do you “yell” at yourself in your head?

How often do you tell yourself that you’re “not good enough”, or that you “should have done better”?

The truth is, if you want to stop yelling at your teen, you have to stop yelling at YOU!

Start treating yourself with kindness, and it will be easier to treat your teen with kindness.

Why Do We Yell?

If you’re like most parents, you yell to be heard.

Maybe you yell out of anger, overwhelm, or fear.

If you’re like most parents, sometimes you yell because you believe, “that’s the only way my kids will listen.”

I want you to dig deeper.

Why do YOU yell?

My guess is that this is something that you saw your parents do. Maybe it’s a habitual response. Maybe it really does seem like it’s the only way your kids will listen.

The best way to start controlling the urge to yell is by understanding all the deeper reasons behind the why, with compassion!

No matter how much you have yelled in the past, remember that you have always done your best. Appreciate your constant effort as a parent to show up and do your best.

It’s hard being a parent.

What Does Yelling Do?

Yelling triggers the Fight/Flight/Freeze response.

This is why yelling is a good idea when trying to protect a child from a dangerous situation. You yell “STOP” and a child is likely to freeze before running into a busy street.

However, when it comes to teaching something to your child or teen or punishing them, or disagreeing with them, yelling is not the best option.

Like I said, yelling triggers the fight/flight/or freeze response.

It actually puts your teen in survival mode. When getting yelled at, rather than listening to what’s being said you start focusing on the speaker because you perceive them as a threat. You start looking for an escape or you start getting angry in preparation to fight for your survival.

Think back to the last time you got yelled at. How did you feel, scared, defensive, embarrassed?

Because you go into survival mode, your primitive brain takes over and your prefrontal cortex takes a back seat.

Your ability to learn at a high level is greatly diminished. Instead, your primitive brain creates an emotional response that quickly turns into a habit.

I’ve taught about how “calm is contagious” as Rorke Denver says, and how humans are herd animals. The other thing that yelling does is escalate the emotional tension. It spreads to the person being yelled at, and they are likely to yell back.

This is the fight response.

How to Stop Yelling

  1. Explore the why behind your yelling (Remember, this also applies to your inner self-talk.)
  • When I explored this for me, I realized that a big reason why I yelled was that that was what I learned from my parents and other adults in my life.
  • I usually yell out of anger.
  • I yell because I want to control the situation.
  • I often yell because I want to control my teenager.

2. Have compassion for you and your teen.

  • It’s okay that you’ve yelled, and you’re probably going to yell again.
  • You want to be better, and that’s a powerful place to start!
  • You and your teen ARE DOING YOUR BEST!

3. Practice who you want to BE when parenting is easy.

  • It sounds weird, but try it!
  • When parenting is easy, intentionally practice how you want to speak to your teen when things are hard.
  • This will create a new way of BEing, which will create new habits.
  • Practice intentionally BEing the parent of your dreams, especially when it’s hard.

4. Practice who you want to BE when parenting is hard.

  • Obviously, this one is harder, but it’s powerful.
  • When parenting is hard, intentionally fall back into what you practiced when things were easy.
  • Practice getting anger and fear out of the driver’s seat.
  • Practice intentionally BEing the parent of your dreams, even though it’s hard.

5. Use Thought Downloads and the Model

  • Use the model to explore the thoughts and feelings that lead to yelling.
  • Use the model to explore the results that yelling creates in your life.
  • Use the model to practice intentional parenting.

Call to ACTION!

Come join me in the Firmly Founded Parent Membership! The price is getting ready to go up, and we’re making it better than ever!

#074 Gratitude Makes Everything Better!

#072 Horror Stories About Grades!

We have been conditioned to think that grades are THE MOST important, but this is just herd mentality thinking.

Grades Aren’t As Important As We’ve Been Taught

When I was getting close to graduating high school, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to go to college due to my poor high school GPA (2.0 something) and my poor ACT score (17).

For years leading up to my graduation, I was told that I would have to improve my grades if I ever wanted a job other than digging ditches or some other type of manual labor.

For years I was told horror stories about people who had so much potential, but poor grades in school completely derailed and ruined their lives.

This is an example of herd mentality.

Teachers and school counselors believe that good grades are the key to success.

So of course, they are going to share this belief with their students.

Unfortunately, with teachers, parents, and school counselors all telling the same horror stories when it comes to grades, most teens adopt the herd belief without even questioning it.

For a long time, I worked manual labor jobs because I believed I was doomed to that life because of my high school grades.

Your Teen Is the Key to Thier Success, Not Their Grades!

I believe this with all my heart!

I am an example of this. I barely graduated high school. I thought of dropping out. My grades were not great.

And yet, I am successful.

I became a phenomenal teacher. My students loved me!

I got my bachelor’s degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude. That means I did pretty darn good in college.

I became a high school principal at a failing charter school on the Ute Indian Reservation, (without a master’s degree I might add).

Within a few short years we had turned the school around.

My high school grades are definitely not the key to my success, I AM!

The same is true for your teen.

Grades, friends, a starting role on their high school football team, none of these are the key to their success.


If you believed this, how would you feel?

If you believed this, what would that change in the way you parent your teen?

If you believed that your teen was the key to their success, your teen would be more likely to believe that THEY are the key to their success.

Values and Grades

It’s 100% okay to value grades. It’s also 100% okay to NOT value grades.

If you’re like most parents who talk to me about their teen’s grades, you value grades more than your teenager does.

Maybe you expect your teen to get nothing lower than a B, but they have several F’s.

If you’re like most parents, this difference in you and your teen’s expectations and values is causing some friction in your relationship with them.

If you’re like most parents, this results in yelling, arguing, fighting, and often grounding.

What if, grades aren’t as important as you’ve been taught?

What if your teen’s grades are actually a reflection of their values, not yours?

What if your teen has different values than you?

Your Relationship With Your Teen

At the end of the day, I promise you, your relationship with your teen is far more important than their grades.

I get it!

You still believe that grades are important.

You want your teen to get good grades.

I want to invite you to shift your focus to two things:
1. Your relationship with your teen, and
2. Your relationship with their grades.

Of these two relationships, which one will benefit your teen the most in 1 year, 5 years, 20 years, and so on?

Why is your teen so important to you?

Why are their grades so important to you?

I want to invite you to connect with your teen, RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE!

Regardless of what their grades look like, they will benefit from having a parent who can connect with them no matter what.

Once you build this connection, you will better understand why they have they grades that they do. You’ll be able to determine whether their grades are a result of not being high on their priority list or the result of some serious struggles.

Call to ACTION!

Come join me in the Firmly Founded Parent Membership! The price is getting ready to go up, and we’re making it better than ever!

#074 Gratitude Makes Everything Better!

#014 Impacting vs Controlling Your Teen

If you give up the desire to control your teen, you will have a powerful impact in their life!

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”
~ Jane D. Hull

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.”
~ Carl Jung

Control is Impossible

This is a really hard one for parents, even myself. We have this natural desire to control our teens.

Think back a decade or so, when our teens were young kids and smaller, we could control a lot of aspects of their lives. When we asked them to get in the car, if they said “No,” we could simply pick them up and strap them in a car seat. We were in control. Mission accomplished: kid and car and securely strapped in with no chance of escape.

Now, if your teen is anything like mine, it’d be nearly impossible for me to force him into a car or prevent his escape.

As much as we think we want to control our teens, the extreme measures that it would require, are laughable.

I often ask clients to explore just what it would take to control their teens. Every answer has been extreme, from tying their teens to a chair, or medically sedating them, ultimately every parent agrees that not only is it to extreme to control their teen, but that that they don’t actually want to control them.

Control Kills Connection

When we try to control our teens, we are trying to connect with them where we want them instead of where they are.

This is an example of trying to connect with a teen that doesn’t actually exist.

This results in a weak connection with our teen.

Think about it, as an adult and a parent, how do you feel towards people who tell you that you’re not good enough, or that you need to fix x, y and z?

When we try to control our teens, we’re basically telling them, “You’re not good enough to handle life, so I’ll take it from here.”

This creates feelings of distrust and resentment on both sides of the relationship.

What’s the Difference In IMPACT vs. CONTROL?

Impact is inward focused on the only thing we can control, ourselves.

Impact is focused on OUR impact. The impact that WE want to have and leave behind.

Whereas control is focusing on our teen, something definitely outside of our control.

Rather than focusing on our own result, our impact, we try to focus on our teen’s results, their choices.

Having an impact means that we show up intentionally to parent in a way that is inline with our purpose and vision for OURSELVES. I have an impact as a dad by intentionally teaching and coaching. I’m not doing it to change my teen or my kids, I’m doing it so that I am consistent with my purpose and vision as a dad.

The Action’s the Same, But The Intention Changes EVERYTHING!

In a recent coaching call my client said, “Well, I’d do the exact same action, but my intention changes my result. It changes EVERYTHING!”

BINGO! This IS it!

Often times parents will ground and take away privileges in response to a teens behavior, and usually it’s with the intention of changing the teen’s behavior. The only problem is that they are focusing on getting a result that it out of their control, their teen changing their behavior.

What if you grounded your teen, or took away privileges, but you were doing it to teach a lesson to fulfill your role as a parent? All of a sudden, your focus is on you teaching a lesson rather than changing your teen.

Rather than taking the car away to punish them into changing, what if you took the care away to help teach them responsibility. If they learn responsibility, great! If not, it’s no big deal, you’ll continue teaching and supporting them.

Control is Temporary, IMPACT is Eternal.

Your days of controlling your kids is temporary. As they grow, develop, and mature, they need to develop more and more control over their own lives.

In order for them to learn how to control their life, they need you to give up control.

By doing this, though, you will have a much deeper and profound impact on their life.

I want to invite you to stop focusing on control and start focusing on your impact!

Do you want to work with me 1-on-1?

I’d like to offer you a FREE discovery coaching session! On this call, we’ll work together to explore what your struggling with and ways that I might be able to help you through weekly coaching.

Click the link below to schedule a FREE discovery coaching session today.


#074 Gratitude Makes Everything Better!

#006 Perception of Success

Failure and Success Go Hand In Hand

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”
~Winston Churchill (Though after searching the internet, I’m not sure he actually said this.)

Too many teens think they are failing life.

Often times our teens think that success is what they see on social media, TV, and the movies.

They don’t realize that life rarely looks that way.

They don’t realize that success if often ugly, boring, and embarrassing.

Many teens are experiencing success in their lives, but because it doesn’t look like something they’d see on TicTok, or Snapchat, they don’t acknowledge it as a win, as a success.

Instead, they completely miss their success and chalk it up as another “failure.”

How to help you teen see the whole picture.

We can’t make our teens see the whole picture, but we can certainly help them see it.

Often times we are part of the problem when we refuse to be happy with our teens progress, just because it hasn’t yet met our standards or end goal.

Often times we too get caught up in comparing reality to the perfect image that we were expecting, and we don’t recognize the success for what it is. Instead, we are just disappointed that it didn’t meet our expectations.

Help your teen enjoy the journey.

Help them appreciate their growth along the way.

Praise them for their efforts.

Help them understand that sometimes success is simply not giving up.

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