When Mark Beecham was a minister, counseling a married man, he gave the man an assignment, which he didn’t bring to their next session. When Beecham asked why, the man responded, without thinking, that he didn’t bring in his homework because he left it at his girlfriend’s house. Of course, that created a new, unexpected issue for them to work on.
This story is one of many humorous and bizarre excuses that Beecham chronicles in his book, No X-Cuses. The book helps people to assume more control of their lives, instead of making excuses for it. Beecham is now a life coach and motivational speaker. A disciple of guru Les Brown, Beecham quotes him as saying that 87 percent of what we see and hear is negative. Overcoming it can be challenging. “We know Nature abhors a vacuum,” Beecham said. “We have to replace it with something positive or the negativity will come back in.”
He has experienced extreme negative circumstances in his own life. He was a victim of sexual abuse. One of his abusers threatened that if he told anyone, they would not believe him. Beecham believed the lie and held in his pain and outrage. Years later, while he was undergoing therapy, “I realized I was not pulling people into my life,” Beecham said. “That belief became my reality.”
Beecham, who is now a life coach and motivational speaker, said that we need to become aware of our false beliefs, “the things we grow up hearing and believing that aren’t really true,” he said. “We buy into them.”
He offers techniques for shedding false beliefs. “When there is a prevailing thought that I have identified with, I write it down on an index card. I put it in my pocket then look at it breakfast, lunch and dinner and say it out loud. Then I say out loud ‘it’s stupid to believe that. It’s nothing but a piece of bunk.’ It takes the power completely away from it.”
Writing down the false belief is critical. “Words are all we have and if we take time and write it down then we identify it and we can identify how to attack that stronghold. So the most important thing is to write the false beliefs down and identify them,” Beecham said.
The next step is to take action. One New Year’s Eve, when Beecham weighed 307 pounds, he decided to lose weight. He put a game plan together. On the first day of remaking his body, he did one pushup and one sit-up. “When setting goals, never ask yourself where you are going to start, start right where you are,” Beecham said. He also joined a gym and arrived there every day by 5:10 a.m. It took him 22 minutes to walk his first mile on a treadmill. But his program worked. In one year he lost 100 pounds and ran two marathons.
Another critical key to overcoming negativity is to be involved with something bigger than yourself. That something bigger can be God or a cause.
Beecham also advocates journaling every day. “It helps me create a game plan for every day, and track what I accomplished, as well as what was lacking that day,” he said.
Another important element in removing negativity is to spend time in silence or quiet contemplation. “Quietness is something that we are all ‘screaming’ for. We pour so much into activity,” Beecham said. “There are so many things we feel we have to do, the depth of our soul is calling out for some quiet.”
To that end, once or twice a year, Beecham spends a week at a monastery in the company of monks. “I get more accomplished then than at any other time,” Beecham said.
To learn more about Beecham’s coaching and book, visit his site.