It All Matters: I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Is Gone by Paul Cummings

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I'm always drawn to books that can help me find clarity, focus, and more confidence. There are so many distractions pulling at us from every angle. Our brains become fuzzy, our goals fall to the wayside, and we feel disconnected and off track. I'm excited to share this insight from Paul Cummings on how you can start to see clear again and the importance of doing so.

I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Is Gone

By Paul Cummings

Do you know who Johnny Nash is? In my opinion, he is a genius who provided a tremendous life lesson hidden in the lyrics of a great song. If you investigate the meaning behind the message, you’ll discover the impact of his words.

Have you ever realized that your perception of life is the lens through which you view your life? Our perception truly shapes our reality. Is your lens clear, and do you like what you see? Or have you allowed circumstances in your life to cloud up your lens and change your viewpoint and perspective?

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone.”

I love this lyric. Here is a person who has cleaned his lens. The rain was blocking his vision of life. When the “hard rain” is pouring down all around, it’s easy to miss the beauty around you, the opportunities open to you.

“I can see all obstacles in my way.”

This person has arrived at a moment of clarity. Now that the rain is gone, he can finally see the obstacles preventing him from the goals and dreams he has been pursuing without success. Once you define and acknowledge your obstacles, you can create a compelling plan of action to turn these obstacles into tangible opportunities.

“Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.”

Wow, this is such a powerful use of words! We have all experienced "dark cloud" moments in our life. We have been hurt and disappointed. We have experienced losses and unexpected moments of sadness. We have been this close to a major victory only to fall short and have to start over. To me, these powerful words represent a message of hope. The dark clouds in our life will disappear. We will maintain our faith and belief that things can and will work out in the end.

“It’s going to be a bright bright sunshiny day”

Beautiful optimism! What an inspiring and positive outlook this lyric project. This person has cleared off the lens, recognized the obstacles, removed the dark clouds, and replaced his blindness with a powerful vision. The road ahead is bathed in bright sunshine.

Johnny Nash's words are open to interpretation, but I believe the rain could have been a series of negative emotions. The obstacles could have been the source of that (rain) pain. The dark clouds could have been the acceptance of those negative emotions causing blindness to the possibilities. The bright sunshiny day could be the moment the person said, “No more! From today forward, I will take hold of my life and choose to look through my lens with the hope, faith, and confidence that a bright future brings.”

Clear your lens and embrace your future - every day. What song has a lot of meaning to you?

Make A Difference Today,


More about Paul Cummings

Paul Cummings is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Paul D. Cummings World Wide Enterprises, a global training and teaching company that has motivated and inspired hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses to make real and lasting change. Fueled by his personal and corporate desire to give to others, Paul developed skills and techniques in Leadership, Goal Setting, and Sales Techniques, including his Grid Square Technology.

Paul continues to revolutionize the way people and businesses learn by making learning simple, affordable, fun, and efficient. His Level 10 philosophy has become the benchmark that others have aspired to achieve. His latest book, It All Matters: 125 Strategies to Achieve Maximum Confidence, Clarity, Certainty, and Creativity releases October 9, 2017. The book provides an all-encompassing framework for achieving the life of your dreams offering strategies to inspire professionals—and help them develop skill sets, build knowledge, improve attitudes, and develop work habits that pay off.

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The Word? Fertilizer!

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

If you had the guts to even set some New Year’s resolutions then congratulations are in order. By now 92% of you that set goals have already flunked. Pretty depressing right? I learned long ago to forgo setting any wild vague resolutions as they consistently vanished into thin air by January 30th – or before.

This year, I decided to choose a single word for the year to focus on instead of any resolutions. I wanted a word that is unique, represents who I am, and will guide my course for 2017. My word? Fertilizer. Yes, you read it right. You see, I am a garden geek and I love designing and growing gardens. That passion flows into other areas of my life.

Even if you regularly kill plants you probably know the value of fertilizer. A feeding to your plants will boost growth, strengthen the roots, aid in preventing diseases, condition the soil for long term health, and give you an overabundance of veggies that 5 families can’t consume. In short, fertilizer is like magic in the garden.

I am passionate about digging for the gifts of others and nourishing them so that they can bring out their best and grow to have an impact. I aim to be the fertilizer to those around me this year. This simple word will drive me to:

  1. Look for the beauty in those that I meet and learn how I can help them to grow their inner beauty to the surface
  2. Strengthen the roots of others through opportunities, learning, and forming strong relationships
  3. Discover ways to protect friends from “diseases” such as lack of confidence, low self esteem, or uncertainty
  4. Uplift others and help them to “weed” out those people from their lives that are unsupportive or mock dreams or aspirations
  5. Impact one “plant” at a time growing him/her into a colony of incredible people with positive attitudes and purpose to support growth
  6. Support the health of others so that they are resilient and strong in chasing their uniqueness and bold ideas

If I focus on being a fertilizer this year my hope is that I can feed others so that they will grow and glow. My word will remind me what is important and how I can have an impact. In turn, my own growth and sense of giving to others will be accelerated. It is the year of fertilizer.

What will YOUR word be in 2017?

Phew It's Done!

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles via Freedigitalphotos.net
“Just as a puppy can be more of a challenge than a gift, so too can the holidays”John Clayton

Come on…. I’m not the only one thankful this time of year that the holidays are over. Admit it. This time of year can bring an overabundance of too much cheer with holiday parties, socials, present shopping, suffering with some relatives, and feeling like you just can’t do enough. We find ourselves in a vortex of activity and anticipation. I liken the time after the holidays to the sensation of feeling exhausted and experiencing the joy of falling into a huge pillowed pile of soft white down blankets. “Ahhhhhhh”.

Although I am a gardenaholic and love spending time outdoors creating, digging, and fussing in my garden, there is a feeling of “phew” once the season is over and my garden slowly falls asleep. I’m sure that many of us are feeling that way right now.  The big event is over and we have time to relax and rebound before the next “season”.  There has been a hustle of activity and sense of urgency and we just can’t take the time to sit back and enjoy the season that we are in. It’s only afterwards that we exhale and realize what a ride it has been.

This time of year gives me a chance to relax without the worries of watering the garden, deadheading, throwing all my creativity into the ground, and I can reflect. I have the time to look at what I have done this past year in my garden and start to plan what next year will bring via UPS! The garden catalogs are starting to flow into my mailbox and I’m getting eager to start fresh and make changes the next season.

This is also the time for you to plan for the next season before you set some 2016 goals that you may or may not keep. Before you can plan for change you need to get the cobwebs out of your brain, relax your mind, and open up your thinking. Now is the time to reflect on what brought you joy last year and feel accomplished, may it be in your personal or professional life. Only then can you set goals or look forward. Get the cobwebs out of your head before you tackle new growth.

Sit down and say “Phew”

  • Admit that you are glad the hustle and bustle is done. Don’t feel guilty. Society has brainwashed us all into feeling guilty if we aren’t all happy, giddy, and fulfilled this time of year.
  • Purge both mentally and physically. It will make you feel better and like you are making progress. Even if it is symbolic you are one step closer to bringing in the new.
  • Focus on you. Spoil yourself in a fashion that you normally don’t (no red sports cars now...)
  • Try a new hobby for the month. It may open new ideas or doors next year.
  • Read. Yes, pick up a physical book and just read.
  • Disconnect at 6 pm every night from all your gadgets and social media. Try it even for 1 night. Then try going 2 nights. The world will not end without you. Facebook will be waiting for you.
  • Watch some trash TV – within reason. Now, if this has been a habit of yours all year do the opposite – turn it off or discover new genres in shows.
  • Take a sick day. Yep. Call in sick on a day that you will be the only one home. Enjoy the day without guilt and love it!

Once you decompress and let go, you can look forward to the New Year and plan your growth. That’s what I do every year both in my personal and professional life. It’s not easy for me to sit back and relax; in fact it’s a struggle but I need to do it. It really helps to clear out the old to focus on the new. Try it!

Picture Your Goals For 2015

"Make sure that you visualize what you really want, not what someone else wants for you" - Jerry Gillies

Visualize your goals - I'm planning for Spring!

Although winter continues to rage in many areas of the country, the first signs of spring arrived in my mailbox this week. I received the first of many garden catalogs that start hitting households across the country in January and February. There's nothing better to a gardener than sitting in front of the fireplace with a cup of coffee and a pile of garden catalogs with a Visa Card nearby.

The internet is a priceless tool for finding unique and specialty garden companies. It's the ultimate way to find catalogs to spurn your imagination and check customer reviews. I'm still a bit old school because I love to hold a catalog in my hand and page through every section while writing a wish list of plants for the new year. The pictures connect with me, give me ideas, and help me to plan new gardens or make changes. The pics are priceless aids in combining colors, textures, and sizes to intermingle in my existing beds. If the gardening  bug has hit you, it's simple to find some great catalogs for inspiration. Once you are on "the list" you will be not be disappointed opening the mailbox every day. For a list of garden companies, to order an online or mail catalog go to Direct Gardening Association . Enjoy!

 Our eyes are one of our greatest gifts and they allow us to visualize what words can't quite do. Many of us are visual by nature and pictures stay in our minds longer. Pictures allow us to make new creative connections. The internet has opened up a whole new world for visual enticement, along with online sales. I buy most of my plants online these days because I can locate what I want and lurk about for the unusual. I get inspiration from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, company websites, and blogs. It can get rather addicting!

Inspiration from Pinterest

This is the time of year when every TV network reviews the good and bad of the past year. It drives me nuts. I never like to dwell on the past and negativity. We need to learn from the past and look to the future. Naturally, we are also being inundated with goal setting ideas and tools to guilt us into setting goals for 2015. We have fitness trackers, apps, calendar sheets, and buddies to "encourage" us to stick our goals. Few of us do. It's human nature. I have started to get more serious at writing down my goals but I need to look at them every day. That's not happening much. I'm not one to plaster them all over my mirror and house as some hearty goal setters suggest. That would get awkward. I can just hear my kids heckle me now....

Looking back, I have always accomplished the goals that I carry around in my head. I just have not been faithful in writing a list. I need to make the process easier and well, more interesting.

 Just last week I discovered an alternative way to set my goals - A Vision Board.

I belong to a valuable LinkedIn Group called "Lead With Giants" with Dan Forbes. If being a better leader inspires you and you want to learn with the best, I suggest that you join the group. In his article Dan explains how to not use lists, but visuals to set your goals. He explains that a Vision Board highlights your "most important goals, aspirations, or intentions". You SEE your goals as opposed to looking at a daunting list. Most of us are highly visual and pictures stay imprinted in our minds much longer than words. Dan goes on to say that "Images and visuals stir our emotions so that powerful subconscious thoughts go to work to make our visions a reality". I love it!

Making your board doesn't have to be flashy or time consuming. You can be as creative as you want or not at all. I love it because you can glance at it quickly to remind yourself of your dreams and carry the image with you all day. Moreover, my goals are personal to me and only I need to understand what my pics  mean. My goals can lay out in public, yet only I know the true impact of the pictures. Dan suggests that you divide your board into four sections to be most effective. The areas include:

  1. What do I want to be?
  2. What do I want to do?
  3. What do I want to have?
  4. What do I want to leave?

Wow! Just asking yourself these questions will bring out more emotion and thoughts. You may set goals that you didn't anticipate. Perhaps your goals will be stronger than you originally planned.You may learn more about yourself and what is truly important to you. Find all the pictures that you can that depict and bring your goals to life. Place your board in a prominent place where you will see your goals several times a day. The best part of having a Vision Board is that it's flexible. You change it anytime. You can add to it or arrange your goals differently. Once you accomplish goals you can add new ones.

 Make 2015 YOUR vision and start your board this week. Here's the link to Dan's article for more inspiration: Lead With Giants Vision Board

Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build." - Robert Collier

I have a Vision Board all ready for my goals. Right now it's above my home office desk. Once my visions are complete, my board will come with me to work where I can look at them several times a day. The best part of my board is that my goals are out in the open, but only I know the true significance of my pics!

Happy pinning and have a wonderful and prosperous 2015!!

Picture your goals with a blank slate

What Are Your Words?

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning." - Maya Angelou

Picture courtesy of Endot via Compfight

If there's one thing that I quickly learned as a newbie gardener years ago, it was how important words are. Specifically, if you want to find a particular plant you had better know the exact Latin name or you could end up with the wrong plant. In the plant collector world this small error could cost you a whole lot of money! You could also end up with a plant that creeps and takes over your garden. Words are important. The right words even more so.

Plants have a common name - Lilac, and a Latin name - Syringa. Despite a year of Latin in school I try to stick with the common name because I can pronounce it! The Latin name for a plant is it's botanical name and it has two words. The first word is the "genius" which describes a plant's flowers, leaf arrangement, or growth habit. The second word is the "species". This describes a plant's particular attributes, habitat, or maybe unique characteristics. If you want to sound like a cool swag gardener - learn Latin and how to properly pronounce fancy plant words.

Not long ago I was soul searching. I identified two words that describe my focus and my personal drive in life. I use these two words to remind myself who I am and what I strive for in all areas of my life. They have become my mantra. My words are:

Why these two words? Simple. Grit means to have courage, a strong strength of character, a "sticktuitiveness", and hanging in there for the long haul despite challenges. Growth means to progress, develop, bloom, grow internally, and progress. You really can't have one without the other. They are co-dependent and work as a team.

What GRIT helps me with:

  • Courage to stay on course while facing adversity
  • Follow through, focus
  • Creativity
  • Optimism and positive attitude
  • Achieve goals and confidence
  • Seek excellence even though it may take practice and time

What GROWTH does for me:
  • Inspires my curiosity
  • Drives my passion to learn
  • Pushes me to constantly improve and become a better person
  • Measures my accomplishments
  • Never lets me be content with the status-quo
  • Keeps my propensity to get bored away
  • Defines who I am
  • Encourages me to help others find their passion and desire to grow

Photo courtesy of Hadock via Compfight

"People may hear your words but they feel your attitude" - John C Maxwell

What are YOUR words? Please share your mantra......