Sample excerpts from the “Brutally Honest Life Management Journal”©
What Is Brutally Honest?
The Brutally Honest system is the sum of the authors’ life experiences, work, passion, and the obstacles we have overcome. We designed a system to combat the type of failure experienced with mainstream self-help products. Brutally Honest consists of a revolutionary three-step process. As you work your way through this journal, you will also work your way through the three Brutally Honest steps.
In the first step, you will begin by narrowing in on, defining, and creating a crystal-clear picture of what it is you need and not what society says you need. This is the critical difference, what has transformed the lives of the authors’ countless clients, family members, and friends.
Step one, the Breakdown Phase, will lead you through an intense yet magical journey into the deepest reaches of your being, where you will ultimately reach your Soul’s Core. It is at this magical and illusive place where individuals are finally alone with their thoughts, where stereotypes don’t exist, peer pressure is gone, and guilt, marketing, and social pressures all disappear. Only once you arrive at Soul’s Core will you be ready to develop your individual and personal Brutally Honest Target Zones®. Target Zones are your personalized goals, which form figurative targets that you seek out, aim for, and unite with. Once you are at the Soul’s Core, the Brutally Honest system moves into overdrive in assisting you to clearly define your Brutally Honest Life Management Systems®.
Step two of the Brutally Honest system, unlike most self-help programs, incorporates all areas of your life and transcends to your family, friends, and associates by way of the positive energy that emanates from you. The Brutally Honest system is designed not only to be implemented by you but also to impact anyone else with whom you choose to share your newfound gifts. Whether it be a Family Law client who will now need to plan for their, and their Children’s new futures, or any other individual getting ready to combat any one of life’s many obstacles, Step two helps them gain clarity in defining these most crucial decisions and to chart a path to their attainment. It is through clarity where fear starts to be eliminated as one’s goals becomes more readily attainable.
Most programs find one family member attending an all-day or weekend seminar and coming home hyped-up and motivated. His or her family, however, not having gone through the same experience, is not able to fully appreciate what that person went through and doesn’t experience the same feelings. The authors have determined that one key component to creating a fulfilling life is the unity of the family. Using the Brutally Honest system generates true communication, perhaps for the first time in years, and families are energized in a common goal.
Lastly, once the life plan is solidified, step three, the journey to Utopia, begins. This journey to Utopia is an ongoing process to not only reach the goals set in one’s Brutally Honest Life Plan but also to learn the critical skills of self-evaluation as the journey unfolds. Most programs teach one how to set and achieve goals. While this is admirable, the reality is that no plan can be left unchecked. In the process of transcending through the Brutally Honest Life Plan, you will be taught how to define, evaluate, re-evaluate, and continue to improve your life. Most self-help systems end with the individual attempting to achieve his or her predetermined goals. We recognized, after years of practice and teaching, that things change in the real world-and change quickly. With the Brutally Honest program you are about to embark on, you will learn the skill of adaptation and develop the mind frame to react quickly to life’s curve balls. You will be ready and able to spread the word to others. One of the most rewarding activities we can do is to mentor others and make a real difference in someone’s life. Frankly, that is the reason Brutally Honest exists.
Utopia is the never-ending pursuit of excellence measured by the satisfaction of living life to the fullest.-Gregory LaMonaca
By undertaking the exercises throughout this journal and recording and writing down your answers, you will be able to measure where you have been, where you are presently, and where you want to go. This self-analysis forms the basis of Brutally Honest.
Who Are We and Why Did We Do This?
Why we did this is an easy question to answer. The simple, Brutally Honest truth is that we both believe that if you do not mentor and help others, then the gift that God has given you stops. Despite our diverse and varied backgrounds, what has been paramount to each of us is helping as many people as possible achieve their hopes, dreams, and goals and imparting in them the passion and desire to go forth and to help as many people as they can, thereby insuring an ongoing ripple effect, which will expand exponentially into infinity…
Over the years, despite our initial differences, we discovered that we shared countless things in common, the core of this similarity being our unwavering belief in family, faith, and loyalty and an almost obsessive desire to help others. The ability to face and deal with adversity, to hold tight and let go, to think deeply and be whimsical, to plan a safe voyage step by step and plunge down the face of a wave all combined to forge the phenomenal friendship that has formed the backdrop of this book. We spent many hours together in a legal forum and through these countless hours of hearings and counseling, our stories began to unfold and our friendship deepened. Neither one of us had a silver-spoon life, and both of us had to overcome much adversity to get where we are today; however, both of us have consistently kept journals of our lives, and from those journals we were able to learn from our pasts and plan for our futures. Please remember that if your life is worth living, then it is worth recording.
Like a fine wine that has come of age, it is now time to tell our stories to the world. It is time to tell the world the straightforward, Brutally Honest principles that shaped our lives and brought us success. It is time to continue the Brutally Honest cycle and give to others so that the process can regenerate and continue. This may sound a bit out there to you right now, but-believe us-when you finish the journal you will understand the power of the statement….
The following are two of many “shadow boxes” that appear throughout the book giving detailed comments from the author’s:
I walked into Gregory LaMonaca’s law office to meet the man whom my friend said would guide me through the maze of difficulties that custody and divorce hearings would become. I did not know what to expect, but I figured I could handle everything because I am Jim Grim-warrior of the corporate world and eliminator of all that stands in my way. When I left Greg’s office I realized that I had much to learn.
Greg LaMonaca is not your typical attorney, if there is such a thing in the world. Greg introduced me to a concept he developed called Brutally Honest, and it positively changed my life forever. Through his initial interview of me as a potential client he made me realize that learning and growing was for everyone and that, if you think you have it made, you might just have been made. (Think about that.)
I remember Greg asking me if I ever read motivational books or read books about great leaders. I remember thinking, “Why would I do that when I have me to listen to? I am a great leader, and I trust only me.”
When I think back on this statement I am overwhelmed by my stupidity and arrogance. The reality is that many of us live in a world where we start to believe our own self-talk. We stop looking for ways to learn or better ourselves through the thoughts of others. If you want to give yourself a gift that will pay immediate and never-ending dividends, commit to reading a motivational book or listening to a motivational audiobook or attending a seminar. You will never regret this decision. Take stock of your Brutally Honest Inventory today and add to it immediately.
As I lecture daily to family, friends, and clients, your life is the sum total of all of the parts, not just one of them. I call these parts Brutally Honest Target Zones. Imagine a pie that represents your whole life. Each slice represents the various areas of your life: family, finances, career, health, and other factors unique to you. When you are confronted with a perceived or real crisis, you typically zoom in on the one slice of the pie that is currently in crisis. It is easy to see how doing this would lead someone to feel depressed.
In working with these individuals, I get them to zoom out and look at the whole pie. Then I have them focus on what is going right as opposed to what is going wrong. After that, I have them zoom in on a slice that is going exceptionally well. Once there, I engage all their senses, asking them to describe the personal traits that helped them to create these positive results. I explain to them that these traits are like ingredients in a recipe. I tell them of my world-famous “cheesy omelet,” which my daughter loves me to make for her. The ingredients consist of two eggs, milk, spray oil, and cheese. These ingredients collectively make up the perfect omelet … or do they? Actually, they only make the perfect omelet if used in the right order and in the right amounts. If I throw the eggs on the ground, spray the oil in the air, and fry the cheese in the pan by itself, I won’t produce the ultimate omelet. By using the same ingredients, in the right amounts, in the right way, and in the right order, I perfectly replicate the ultimate omelet each and every time.
Life works much the same way as creating the ultimate omelet. By asking a person to determine what ingredients make up the slice of life that is going very well and in what order to apply what quantities, we identify the makings for the ultimate slice of pie. Once I’ve gone through this with someone, I have him or her zoom out again from the ultimate slice, look at the whole pie, and then zoom back in on the slice that is causing problems. We then simply apply the same ingredients from the ultimate slice (which, for example, may be courage, character, tenacity, commitment, or loyalty) to the troubled slice, in the same order and in the same quantities. This approach has helped countless individuals to begin the process-sometimes instantaneously-of correcting problem areas in their lives.
When confronted with a problem or crisis, do you allow it to overtake your entire life or do you put it in perspective? Do you consciously visualize similar problems you have encountered in the past that you successfully overcame or do you dwell on the new crisis as if it is the end of the world?
The following is a brief excerpt from a Chapter within the book whereby I list one full year’s worth of notes from my personal journal as I went through one of the most challenging times of my life. The full chapter contains verbatim, detailed entries which demonstrate the power of keeping a journal.
A Year in a Life:
Greg’s Personal Journey of Life, Love, and Life’s Many Splendid Lessons
At age fourteen, a time when most children are dealing with typical teenage issues like dating, acne, beginning high school, and a menagerie of other milestones, I was blessed-yes, blessed-with a diagnosis that has afforded me a life of lessons that have shaped my character, personality, drive, and being. While initially characterized as an enemy that invaded my body, over the years this enemy became an ally that I have embraced and vowed never to let overcome me. I have chosen to have it assist me, teach me, and guide me. Benign tumors, throughout many areas of my body, would debilitate me at times, causing me to be unable to walk or lift my arms. I experienced multiple bouts of radiation therapy; severe lethargy; thousands of hours in hospitals; hundreds of different doctor visits; innumerable hospital stays all over the East coast; tens of thousands of X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, mylegrams, bone scans, blood tests, pokes, and prods; multiple periods of disability; multiple surgeries; and a traveling army of pain that would cripple me at times. All this created an inverse effect on my brain, as it strengthened my resiliency and determination. Through my well-documented medical journey I may be able to help other children someday who are afflicted with a similar condition, as I am the test case for future generations and have been written up in medical journals.
They say that the mind represses those things that would cause pain if revealed. In the pages that follow, I reveal to you a year of my personal journal (a year where I went from performing martial arts, weightlifting and being close to 180 pounds to being operated on 4 times after being paralyzed from the waist down and unable to walk as a result of a tumor on the spinal cord, hospitalized for 2 months, long and extensive rehabilitation and a weight loss of over 40 pounds) in an effort to show firsthand how I have used my journal to capture, learn from, grow, and permanently memorialize significant life events that have shaped who I am. With minor exceptions, what follows are exact excerpts from my actual journal. As such, while some sections may appear repetitive or disjointed, I have left them that way for accuracy and accountability. While most entries were written on the date referenced, some of the entries were written after the fact out of necessity. Keep in mind that your journal is your journal. There is no correct format. Use the following as a guide only. It is with extreme reverence and respect that I share these pages with you…
Thank you for reading these sample excerpts from the Brutally Honest Life Management Journal.