Photo: Rennett Stowe

I get it! Sometimes we are just running the motions. Meaning, you wake up, you get the kids ready for school, you start your work, eat lunch, pick up the kids from school, go home, cook & clean, pass out, and start all over. Or even worse, an issue pops up in the middle of the routine! I’ve been there. I have experienced this. To be transparent, no matter how far down the “path” you get, you can still have a less than spectacular day.


There is hope, and there are plenty things you can do. In fact, some of the things you can do are easy! They may not solve the problem, and… you have to put out the fire before you can concentrate on fire prevention. So let’s start with putting it out.


Death by Routine


First, figure out what is dragging you down. Is it the constant pattern or the routine itself? For example, one of my students emailed me and asked what they should do about the Monday morning desire for it to be Friday! He went on to explain how every day just seems the same and that his life was beginning to look like a series of predictable events that were all mind-numbingly boring!




This simple way out of this one is to create breaks in the routine that you have never done before.


Since the student who emailed me owns a motorcycle, I suggested he go out for a 10-minute ride on his work break. Don’t do it so much that it becomes a routine. Just do it once to break things up. During the “bike break” I had him think of other quick, easy things that he could do and he came up with an entire list of random fun breaks.


That poured into the weekend and he suddenly found himself having fun again. He started picking up habits that were helping him enjoy Monday!


Now, of course there is a deeper issue. Maybe it’s finding your life’s purpose, or maybe it’s connecting with a better job or a better partner. I do realize that. However, most teachers will tell you to focus on the amazing career that you want instead of dealing with the immediate issue, which in this case was boredom.

Instead, I suggest dealing with the immediate issue, and then focus on your dream. If you are ready to read about purpose, click here and read this blog post.


Death by Negativity


Ok, so maybe I’m using the word “death” a little much. Please forgive me. My point is to illustrate that you can be in a boring routine, or even having a fantastic day, and you still have to face negativity.


Negativity is dealing with another’s baggage. Have you ever seen a post on Facebook or maybe a news clip that brought up your own personal baggage? This occurs when you are going through your life and all of a sudden you are facing an issue that is more than you expected. Sometimes these are small annoyances, and other times they are life-changing experiences that you have to deal with. This happens to all of us including me.


For my long-term blog followers, you know how transparent I can be and I love to share. My wife does not enjoy this as much as I do, and we appreciate our different approaches to this concept.


Anyway, long story short: I am the president of the board for Hualalai Academy. This is the school my children went to. This is a wonderful school, and in July 2013 the new Head of School and I started working together. We both came into our jobs realizing that we had a massive challenge, which was the financial situation of the school. With my business background and his 12 years of experience running a major school we both thought that we could handle it.


Our business plan was solid and we got going. However, by November of last year things began to look bleak. Enrollment was not going up and the banks and investors were clearly not willing assist the school. We exhausted all avenues and were unable to secure funding to turn the school around. We both worked long and hard to make it possible, but the damage had already been done before we got there.


As the president of the board I had to deliver the news. As you can probably imagine, this was not easy. The parents and teachers who had gotten close to us thanked me and our Head of School for all the hard work. They knew we had done everything. And, there were a few that did not see it that way. In many stories, people want to know who the “bad guy” is.  For some people in life, finding someone to blame makes them feel better. It is easier to blame than to look in the mirror and/or step up to do something. For those people, I became the bad guy and it got intense.


Personally, I am fine with the “heat” from a situation like this. I have been doing public trainings for years and have received a bunch of different perspectives on what I teach. (I teach hypnosis, NLP and Huna, so trust me, I hear some “interesting” perspectives.) However, my kids became a target of some emails and interactions. To me this is unacceptable.


Now, I can go home and do Ho`oponopono. I can release negative emotions. I have the tools to enforce my boundaries in a positive way. However, the level of intensity of any situation should not be directed toward kids. That is my belief and I am good with it.


After much discussion and contemplation, my wife and I decided to put our kids in a different school. Rather than going through all the details, I will just say that, based on what they were experiencing, they are both happy and relieved.


My personal reason for doing this was simple. Since I am the head of the board I need to focus on shutting down the school and working for the faculty and staff. I need to be on my best “game” right now because it will take a lot of effort to salvage what we can. I need to be there for the Head of School because he needs board support to finish out the year. And, knowing who I am, if my kids remained in the school I would not be able to do that because of my love and concern for them.


This was a big fire to put out for me as much as it was for the two of them. My wife and I needed to feel comfortable. All four of us are now happy and focused. I can get back on track with the school and what it needs to do.


I’ve noticed that many people react to negativity like this by putting even more negativity out there. Yelling at someone because they’re yelling at you may not necessarily fix the problem. Are there times to fight fire with fire? Yes! Keeping that in mind, there are 3 things you need to do to create change:



  1. Release your baggage. Do Ho’oponopono, or any release technique that helps. In fact, as a special gift for you, here is a link where you can download and listen to my Ho’oponopono MP3 for free. I only ask that, when you’re finished, set your goal as to what you want instead. Setting a goal while you are angry is crazy! You don’t want to carry the baggage because it does you no good. There is no benefit. Do the release work, and then set your goal so it’s SMART.
  2. Take action. Sorry folks, you have to take action. Many take action first (e.g. fight fire with fire). This doesn’t always work. If you are fighting negativity with negativity, you are at risk for becoming the thing you most despise. Taking action means doing it from your heart and with a positive intention and goal.
  3. Maintain your focus. Once you are on the path and rolling, make sure you focus on the positive things. For example, my kids are making new friends and having new experiences. Is moving to a new school tough? Yes, and what are the good things? Also, now I am focusing on what we can do for the school and what positive things will come from it closing. For example, we’re working with other great schools to come in and use the campus.


What to do?


Handle the immediate issue. Put the fire out first. Then, once you have done that, peel the onion back and see what is next. Every day is not going to be perfect, but you can make it perfect by how you handle the situations. It may not always be easy, but in the end you will feel good about your actions.


Dr. Matt