Stop Believing Your Own Lie

 

 

hope 001

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” — Thomas Merton

What are your challenges today?

What possibilities exist in just one of those challenges?

If you faced your right now with courage, faith and hope, then what would be the outcome?

I was reading an article referencing the story in the bible of the good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37. The thought behind the article was about tangible things we can do to live our faith. The premise of the installation I was reading had to do with how “to love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31.

As I was reading the article I started to ask myself, what if I don’t love myself? What if I have such a deep belief that I am not enough, that I am not worthy of love for myself and from myself that I can’t find it inside of me to love any neighbor? What if the people that were not the good Samaritan also felt and believed they were not worthy of giving or receiving love and so that was why they just kept walking by?

This happens sometimes when I take my morning walk. Suddenly I freeze inside and don’t say hello or good morning first. I feel overwhelmingly shy and wish that the person I am walking past will say hello first and force me to say hello back. I hate when I start believing this shyness to be true about me. I’ve worked on this issue over and over and what I know is that when something I perceive as a negative about myself to be true it affects everything I believe about me. The bottom line truth of it is that I am too much in my own head and making something as simple as saying hello to someone all about me and not about them. In the story of the good Samaritan, the man that stopped to help the other was in no way in his own head. He wasn’t thinking about his own comfort or discomfort, he was thinking only of how he can be of aid to someone in need. He was using the gifts God gave him to help someone. Could life sometimes be as simple as saying hello to a neighbor and therefore setting the tone for the whole day in happiness?

“Reality is a projection of your thoughts or the things you habitually think about.”
Stephen Richards

It is hard to stand so far back from the experiences of my life and not take it personally sometimes. I have been looking for a supplemental job; something I can do in between coaching. It just seems like every time I send out my resume` I hear back with a rejection. Accumulate enough rejections and it starts to affect my psyche. Self-love and self-worth become an issue for me at that low point and it becomes difficult to keep lifting myself up. I try not to dwell on those negative feelings because I know it will become an everyday thought but sometimes……

I can probably do lots of internal work for the rest of my life trying to figure out where the heck these limiting beliefs came from, how it all really got started but until I can forgive myself, until I can truly have faith in myself this is my challenge. I know I must self-discover and recover from these limiting beliefs. It will take lots of courage and hope to work through this. A very powerful way for me to get started on this recovery process is to create my “if, then” statement. If I practice having faith in myself then I will come out of this a better person and a more peaceful person inside and out. This will help me step away from me and step into serving others.

Two years ago I decided I had had enough of looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw. I wanted to eat healthier and I knew I didn’t want to go on a diet so I started by creating my “if, then” statement: If I want to feel better physically and emotionally when I look in the mirror then I will choose healthier foods for my body each time I sit down to eat. Repeating this “if, then” statement has helped me lose weight and has empowered me to make the food choices a lifetime evolution not a diet.

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
— Brene Brown

If I can be successful in one area of my life then I can be successful in another area of my life.What I have learned so far is that when I feel overwhelmed with a negative thought I see myself as a victim. A victim of my own creation. The first step is to work through my victim story and start to own my life again. I need to take charge of the decisions I have ever made and will ever make and be firm within my heart that what I decide is what is ultimately best for me.

So the questions are: What am I believing and what can I let go of within that belief?

In her book, Loving What Is, author Byron Katie asks the reader to go through 4 questions that guide the thought process and action steps toward letting go of limiting beliefs about our victimhood. As a victim we continually treat ourselves as if whatever hurts us we look to put blame on the person(s) that caused us to hurt. We deflect away from ourselves because it is too hard to admit that we could be inflicting the hurt.

The 4 questions are:

Identify your belief and ask yourself, “Is it true?” Ms. Katie asks the reader ” is it true that the name you answer to is really your name?” It was a name given to you at birth and was drilled into you as your identification but is it true that your name is really who you are?

How can you be sure that this belief is absolutely, without a doubt, true? If you believe that you don’t love yourself, where can you show proof that this belief is absolutely true? Within your proof can you continually find more proof as you ask yourself if each thought you are trying to justify is absolutely true.

How does it feel to believe this belief about yourself to be absolutely true? If you cry or whimper or bawl your eyes when you can feel what it feels like to believe this limiting belief you hold inside of you then chances are the belief is not serving any good purpose and therefore inner peace and outer peace toward yourself and others is not possible until you can let the belief go. Set yourself free and be at peace.

Who would you be without this belief? For me, I would be a kinder, more compassionate, a more loving and patient person with my “neighbors” and with myself. I would have a voice and be proud of it; I would stop letting myself be a victim of my own life. I would be free of a very dark and sinister cloud.

The 5th step is not a question but a call to action. Turn the belief around. Stop wasting life minutes by being the victim and believing your inner story. Look at the picture of the life you have created through this limiting belief and see the clear sky all around you. If control is an issue for you then recognize what you can do and leave the rest. Let come what comes, let go what needs to go.

So I ask again, what are the challenges/beliefs you are facing right this minute?

How can you start, right now, to face that challenge/belief with courage, hope and faith and turn that inner turmoil around?

Where would life expand and bring out the best in you because you are free from that limiting challenge/belief?

“I have known friendship love, parental love, romantic love, family love and unrequited love in my life time, but the only love that made a difference was self love. You don’t need confirmation from the world or another person that you matter. You simply do matter. When you finally believe that truth and live it then you can do amazing things with your life!”
Shannon L. Alder

When I read this quote I realized, God doesn’t make junk. I’m here because he loves me and wanted me to be here; he has a purpose for my life. If I believe in his love for me and that I matter then my gratitude for all he has given me should propel me toward using my precious life minutes for good thoughts and good actions toward and for myself as well as my neighbor.

Call to Action

In the next month (30 days) start to explore and work on the challenges and limiting beliefs you are facing and make it a goal to set yourself free. Create your “if, then” statement and begin. Here is a worksheet that you can copy over and over again that could start to help you be free of your victim story and start to propel you toward the love God intended all along.

Let me know how you are doing and if you need support through a tough spot call or write to me.

Moms Sleep Then Conquer the World

wellness

Moms Sleep then Conquer the World

“Now for a good twelve-hour sleep, I told myself. Twelve solid hours. Let birds sing, let people go to work. Somewhere out there, a volcano might blow, Israeli commandos might decimate a Palestinian village. I couldn’t stop it. I was going to sleep.”  
Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Oh the joy of that first newborn baby. How prepared are/were you for those sleepless nights?

When my daughter was born I did everything I was told to do in order to take care of her and myself. She and I were in a world to ourselves and it was bliss except where sleep was concerned. Very quickly I learned that a bad night’s sleep can wreak havoc on every single part of the rest of my functioning life. I slept when she slept because I could and that part was fine but the nights were another matter. It was easier in the beginning when she was brand new because she either needed a diaper change or she was hungry but as she got older and I started weaning her off the breast she would wake for reasons like losing her pacifier during the night or  just wanting to be held for a while. It was impossible to get her into a routine of sleeping through the night.

If you are like me you feel like pulling your hair out because the mystery that has become sleep is overwhelming. There are pages and pages of information through Google to help parents search about how to get a better night’s sleep with a baby in the house. At the top of the list is establishing a routine as early as possible. I did not do this because from day one my daughter slept through the night. Sleep became a problem as she got older. Of course the routine will change and evolve over time as it should but staying firm to the structure is a great place to start. Years later I can tell you that eventually the babies grow and learn to love to sleep. See, there is hope but until then……

Not too long ago I was working with a client who is a new mom and going through these elusive sleepless nights. As fate would have it I have a coaching colleague who specializes in sleep disorders. Dr. Kevin B. Handley, Ph.D. was more than willing to offer up some great inside information and advice when it comes to getting the sleep we all need in order to have a happier, healthier life. I hope this brief interview will be of help to you:

By way of introducing you to my readers please briefly talk about how you recognized a passion in working with people with sleep problems? 

“A couple of things came together at the same time to help me recognize this passion for sleep. After the birth of our first child, my wife and I were generally surprised at how little people knew about how sleep works, especially in infants and children. At the same time, I had begun teaching at the college level and was surprised by how many people in my classes suffered with sleep problems. I knew the statistics, but it was still shocking when two thirds of a college class raised their hands when I asked “how many of you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep most nights of the week?” Lastly, when I began to focus on sleep enhancement in my clinical patients, it was obvious that sleep was a linchpin that led to better results in less time.”

I know that insomnia is your ideal client specialty but I am wondering if there is one common question or issue that clients bring to you regarding sleep outside of insomnia. 

“The most common question is “why am I tired all the time.” There is an epidemic of willful sleep deprivation in the United States. People simply do not value sleep and do not believe that they need more sleep than what they are getting. Unfortunately, this begins in childhood. A close second would be parents’ awareness that their children aren’t getting the sleep they need and they don’t really know how to help them.”

How important do you think it is, especially for moms with infants, to get GOOD sleep? What does GOOD sleep look like to a specialist like you? 

“It is essential that new mothers get good sleep. But unfortunately, new moms have poor sleep habits that were in place before the birth of their child. Mothers with infants do get referred to me, but sadly, it’s often after a period of extended sleep deprivation has already driven a mother to the point of exhaustion and often depression.

Good sleep means that you get enough sleep, at night, and on a regular schedule. People need to sleep a minimum of seven hours straight and preferably, with a standard wake up and bedtime. There’s also a functional aspect to it. You know that you’re getting good sleep when you wake up refreshed, stay alert all day long, and have the energy and focus you need to get done what you want to get done in your life.”

How does a mom with an infant even begin to incorporate the habit of good sleep and what do you suggest as a starting point for establishing a routine? 

“When you are a new mother and you start to lose sleep, your problem-solving skills aren’t what they should be and you can easily get overwhelmed. People can even get overwhelmed by listening to too much advice about how things should work. 

The key is to make small changes over time, but make certain that the changes you make are actually good ones. The good news here is that a few simple changes will enable your baby to sleep through the night without much effort because that’s what babies are designed to do. Most babies are born with the ability to sleep on a schedule. Unfortunately, we parents fail to honor that schedule. Newborns are not going to sleep through the night, but when they are biologically ready to do so, it isn’t that hard to achieve a regular sleep schedule.  When you put in place a few simple principles that help baby fall asleep and stay asleep, the baby’s tendency to sleep on a schedule will kick in and everyone will sleep better.”

When your children were infants, did you have sleep issues to deal with regarding yourself and/or the baby and if so how did you solve those issues? 

“We’ve never really had sleep issues with our children, but that is only because we went into it with a full understanding of how sleep works. We also were able to organize our life in a way that honors a child’s natural sleep schedule. This is difficult for most households with working parents, but it can be done.  Of course we were tired from getting up in the middle the night to feed, but we dealt with that by changing our sleep schedule and planning to get more sleep.

And this is the part that most people miss: People get tired and then get stressed about how they’re going to get everything done. The choice to deprive yourself of sleep is never a good one. It simply does not work.  It starts with a mindset shift. You have to believe that more sleep for yourself will result in more sleep for your child and that everything will get done more efficiently when you’re well rested. In fact, our commitment to our children’s sleep helped us diagnose our second child with medical problems that had not been detected. With all of our standard procedures for getting him to sleep not working, we knew that something else was wrong. It turned out that he had severe reflux. We would not have known that this was a problem if we didn’t have a good sleep process in place that should have promoted him going to sleep easily and without fussing.”

Is there a magic bullet or magic spell that could be used across the sleep issue spectrum to help people sleep better with infants or start to sleep better overall? 

“I wish there were! But I think the closest thing we have is the realization that getting sleep isn’t as difficult as people think. I think the best place to start is to realize that the benefits of sleep will come, but it takes a little bit of time. Over time with adequate sleep, people can enjoy better health, better mood, and even weight-loss!  I think the best place to start is to create good sleep hygiene:

*Rid the sleeping environment of anything that might keep you awake.

*Start by creating a sleep environment that is cool, quiet, and very dark.

*If you use electronic devices all the way up until bedtime, try turning them off about 15 minutes before bed.

*As far as a sleep schedule goes, choose a standard wake up time and get up at that time every single day, regardless of how you slept the night before. You will be surprised at how quickly you can resolve most sleep problems by simply getting up at the same time every day.”

My mantra is “if not tonight, then tomorrow night.”  People tend to worry about getting enough sleep, but they forget that they can do an awful lot under conditions of sleep deprivation. With infants, it’s important to remember that infants are programmed to sleep on a certain schedule and if we make just a few small adjustments, that schedule will kick in and they will sleep like champs!

Digging a bit deeper uncovered this information from the WebMd archives, “Everything can wait to get your attention except the baby. It is very tempting to want to spend that quiet time getting chores done or reading a book or catching up on correspondence. The fact is that no amount of cleaning or “catching up” is going to keep the house clean or caught up for very long. When the baby is up so are you so taking advantage of the time to rest your mind and body are just as important if not more so than cleaning the house.”

 “People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.” –Leo J. Burke

So what can moms do to get their sleep on?

Get help right away. Don’t play the martyr. Ask for help from anyone that is willing and able to give it. My husband and I were so tired after the birth of our 2nd child that we both came down with the flu. I had to ask my mom to take the kids for one whole day and an overnight so that we could medicate and sleep. It was the one and only time in my whole life, then and now that I slept for one whole day straight. It felt so good and so necessary.

Prioritize your time. Seriously consider all that you want to get done in the course of your day and then pare that list down to what you know for sure you can get done, allowing for flexibility with the baby dictating the flow of the day.

Consider keeping a journal of your sleep times and circumstances so that you can find patterns that you can capitalize on. For example when is the best time for you to nap when baby naps? What foods sit solidly in baby’s stomach that makes for the best night’s sleep? What daylight pattern seems to work best for baby and you?

Count on things changing because they will. We get so caught up in the day to day that we gloss over the changes that take place in our schedules, routines and children. As they get older, although they are still changing all the time, the changes are less noticeable. When they are little they change so fast and furious that it seems impossible to keep up. My daughter completely stopped napping at age 1 and my body was not ready for it but motherhood calls so I had to be awake and ready. I promise that when your child walks down the aisle it won’t matter at all that the dishes didn’t get done for a week when he/she was 3 years old.

Rule out sleep disorders like sleep apnea or anemia that could leave you feeling overly tired. Not enough sleep can lead to depression so pay close attention to your mood swings and overall well-being. Your moods affect the baby so take care of you. A 20 minute nap during the middle of the day should revive you enough to get through until bedtime.

In another interview I did with a coaching client and new mom, Stephanie Read had this to say regarding her experience with sleep issues:

“It took me a full year to regain a sense of self and motherhood because I was so tired. It helped that I had a husband/partner that was willing to do whatever I needed when it came to sharing the schedule of taking care of our son. HOW I asked for his help was as important to our relationship as his physical help. It is hard for husbands to bond and get that baby time when mom is breast feeding so I learned early and quickly that the tone of voice I used, the way I phrased my questions, and the way I needed his help was a key component to his ability and love of helping and bonding. Following a schedule that he and I made together was the best overall action step.”

Other suggestions:

Do not eat too close to bedtime. I played around with this one for many years and what I have found to work for me is to finish eating for the day by 7pm.

Eliminate as much light as possible when going to sleep.

Try not to drink too much before bedtime. Stop at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Put an end to cardio workouts at least 3 hours before bedtime.

Keep the room cool to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sleep in loose fitting clothes or nothing at all.

Try to get 7-1/2 hours of sleep each night. This means going to sleep by 10p or 11p the latest. Get your partner or extra hands caregiver on board to help with this. A happy, rested mom creates a happy baby.

Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.”  
Jean-Pierre Barral

In doing these interviews and learning ways in which to help moms sleep better I thought to myself, what if the tiredness mom’s feel isn’t solely based on their baby’s sleeping habits and erratic night patterns? What if it is a sense of having to be all and do all now that they are moms? I thought about this because that was me playing at perfectionism.

On a hilltop station in Rajasthan, in the Aravali hills of India Mount Abu sits. It is a quiet place known for its ancient heritage and regarded as a scared destination for spiritual rejuvenation and empowerment. Here is where you will find the spiritual headquarters of Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University and well renowned spiritual teacher Dadi Janki. Her perspective on sleep and tiredness really truly resonated with me because I saw myself in her words when I was a new mom. I would like to share her letter to her students with you:

Dear Friend, 

Om shanti. Sometimes when we are together, you ask me why I don’t seem to get tired when I travel from India or give programs into the evening. Tiredness is a kind of sickness. When we work with honesty and love, everything happens without tiredness. When we know how to take cooperation from others, there is no tiredness. It is not a matter of how long we sleep that determines whether we feel tired. It is waste and negative thoughts and actions that create tiredness. Create positive thoughts and elevated actions and you will take strength from that, and your tiredness will leave you.

Work for money and you will count your hours and your salary. Work for love, and you can work sixteen hours a day with happiness and without getting tired. Serving others brings energy. You will then feel your happiness accumulating.

Love,
Dadi Janki

When I reflect on high creative moments in my life I remember the energy that existed there. I remember feeling alive and in flow with my purpose. Creative things like cooking a good meal or baking a great dessert for my family, choosing carefully the books I would ultimately buy for my children because our bedtime ritual always included one story each, purposefully setting time aside from “have-to’s” in order to create time and space for “want-to’s” like blowing bubbles outside for the kids to catch. It is in this flow state, where time and space and life all around me seems to disappear that I become one with my souls’ purpose. When I emerge from this flow state I am revitalized, happier than I’ve ever been and I naturally pass on those positive, life giving feelings to others. In hindsight is when I realized that my children were better in their overall well-being because I was better in my overall well-being.

Where can you let go of stress and worry and exist from a place of pure love, kindness and inner peace?

Call to Action 

All of the advice in the world is not going to present itself in the flesh at 2am when you are tired and again, still, trying to get the baby to sleep. There is however a bit of comfort in knowing that you are not alone. You are safe among a score of mom’s who are also sleep deprived. To this I say, this too shall pass and although I don’t miss those sleep denied nights I do miss my children being so little with so much of life still ahead of us. How can you appreciate each moment, good and bad right now, remembering all the while that there are no do-overs.

Image by bing.com

From the Inside Out

Daily Dose“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” — Eckhart Tolle

When I made a decision to take control of my relationship with food the first thing I noticed was how I felt on the inside.

As the inside started feeling better the outside starting showing that. I will never disrespect the inside again.

What beauty is hiding inside of you right now that needs to come out?

What is stopping you from making today THE day to make something happen?

If you knew you only had one more year to live, how would you like to spend each day until then?

What is one thing, one little thing you can do right now to get started?

6 Ideas that “Serve Us” in Service

My youngest child is about to graduate from high school and although it is a melancholy time for me and my whole family it got me to thinking about all the ways in which my life and our lives as a family is also ending in one area and about to take flight in other areas. Throughout the years of my children’s entire school career I have volunteered and served their education. I realized this week that I now have to look at new ways in which I can volunteer and serve not just my children’s extended education but also the world I live in. While it may have seemed easy to serve under the guise of being their mom, volunteering was not always easy for me.

I have always believed that we are all here to help and support one another in whatever ways our success characteristics show up but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a struggle sometimes. To say it was easy for me, an introvert, to stand tall and proud and open myself up the way I did by volunteering throughout these past 22 years, is to say that touching a hot burner is no big deal. It was a very big deal but the more I did it, the more I learned about myself and the more I wanted to keep volunteering and serving. I had to keep my motivation in the forefront which is that my children should learn not only from the words I say but also through my actions.

“Service is one of life’s great joys. It’s a privilege to be in service. It’s a great relief, a gift, to be faced with a job that you know absolutely you must do for the benefit of someone else; as long as you give yourself to it. You don’t need to worry about anything but doing that job well, and the satisfaction, when you do, is very beautiful.”
Claire Messud

To serve means to do work FOR somebody else; a helpful action. There is no “I” in serve or in volunteer. When we serve the needs of others we leave our own personal self out of the equation except in the physical doing of the action we are called to perform.

Not long ago someone tried to make me see that the only time we serve others is when it isn’t too uncomfortable or time consuming; that the only real time we volunteer is when we are serving our own interests in the tasks we perform. I took it as an offense at first because I don’t generally see myself as a selfish, self-serving person that way. I had to find out if he was right so I volunteered, out of my comfort zone, I read a lot and I did some soul searching. What I learned was that anything we do out of our normal routine of life like making time to serve the needs of others even if we know it is for their betterment and benefit is going to compromise our personal time and feel uncomfortable. We tend to think of ourselves as inadequate to truly serve other’s needs. What is your story?

A painful life experience can always be used in service to others. You must be willing to be vulnerable and open to share the details of your story and all that you went through. Although it is your personal story about how you handled yourself, what you learned and now how you share the lessons is what makes you unique. Your perspective belongs only to you but can absolutely help someone else see something similar in a whole new way. You and your story matter a lot.

According to Dr. Rick Warren, pastor, theologian, philanthropist, and author of “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” “Serving is the opposite of our natural inclination. Most of the time we are more interested in “serve us” than service. Many people fear serving others because it makes them feel as if they will be viewed as weak, vulnerable, less than or that they will feel those things about themselves. But I believe life is backwards. Yielding to the service of others actually makes us feel whole, important, empowered, special, loving and kind.

I had to ask myself some tough questions:

*“Is LIFE supposed to be about the “I” or is there room, throughout my whole life time to leave the “I” out and make our existence about LOVE and TEAM for surely there is no “I” in those?

* Could it be that serving the needs of others wholeheartedly is just too simple a concept and therefore too simple an action to give meaning to our own existence as well as to those we would serve?

This led me to think about all the ways in which I have been outside my comfort zone in service to other people and trying to understand my approach to that service. Was it personal or was I actually in the shoes of the people I was serving? Honestly at times I would have to say a little bit of both BUT as I am getting older it absolutely is more in the shoes of those that I am serving because over the course of volunteering all these years in many different ways I have learned an important lesson:

Everyone is the same when there is a need, any need, to fill or support and the pure gratitude and gratefulness and love that comes as a result of fulfilling the need is actually quite addictive because it is coming from deep inside of the receiver and the giver.  For me ego gets left at home in a drawer, buried deep under a pile of photographs and papers and books and life lessons written in my gratitude journal.

“When we fix others, we see only brokenness. Fixers trust their own expertise. When we serve others we see the unborn wholeness of them; we collaborate with it and strengthen it. Others may then be able to see their wholeness for themselves next time.” –Rachel Naomi Remen

A person that can see their own wholeness, whether in big ways or small, is a gift because then that person will want to give to someone else. It is a natural, unstoppable feeling that is like a pull from deep inside your gut, the feeling to serve it forward.

So what can I do, now that I too am taking on my own life now that my children don’t need me as much?

I am a life coach and that is how I choose, among other ways, to serve others. Through my training and heart toward my new career I find myself volunteering a lot. With each new client I serve I am equipping myself to serve more people in a deeper, more wholehearted way.

Dr. Warren lists 6 ways to recognize your own power and willingness to serve others’ needs:

1-      Make yourself available to serve: make myself available to serve by always being ready when called whether it is through the PTO at a school, taking on extra responsibilities at work or when a client calls in between session meetings.

2-      Pay attention to needs: I try my very best to pay attention the needs around me. I look for ways to help people. I try to stay flexible in how I approach structuring my day having learned very well as a mom that days, months, life itself does not stick to any kind of structure or schedule; stay open to the road twisting. Dr. Warren quotes John Wesley, and Anglican cleric and theologian with this motto: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” Wow!

3-      Do your best with what you have: This is where those fantastically unique success characteristics come in to play as well as keeping an open mind and a positive attitude. What are all the things that make you so equipped to serve others? The overall attitude is to just do what needs to be done and don’t worry how you look or what kind of time it costs you. Know for sure that you are absolutely good enough and needed enough to manage the task at hand.

4-      Do every task with equal dedication: Lead with your heart. Big or small tasks, seemingly trivial or vital tasks, perceived need or not, help as equally as if it were life or death. That kind of passion is what makes a great world better.

5-      Make sure you finish what you start: Serve and volunteer until the task is done. Don’t leave your post mid-stream. Be the person that others can always count on from start to finish. You build trust from them to you and from you to you.

6-      Don’t toot your own horn:  Stay humble and modest. Don’t brag or boast about what great deeds you have done. Your efforts will speak a whole lot louder than you ever could anyway. Become like beautiful wallpaper. Pleasant to look at and admire that serves an important purpose by making the atmosphere that much more special.

Here are a couple of questions for you….

What matters most to you, how long you live your life or how you live your life?

Does the “how” in either case only include what matters to you?

Dr. Warren says, “When you attempt to serve in ways that you are not equipped to serve, it feels like forcing a square peg into a round hole.” At times I agree with this statement. It may feel like it wastes your time but can still teach you a lesson. Better service comes when you know your abilities and stories and talents and can use them wholeheartedly and willingly. However by challenging yourself to a new task you have an opportunity to see what more you are made of.

There is a Danish Proverb that in a nut shell says: “What you are is the universe’s gift to you; what you do with yourself is your gift to the universe.”

After I read that proverb I had a thought: Why is it that the smaller our world seems to get the lonelier we feel? Perhaps it is because we are not reaching out enough in aid to others? How would you answer that question?

So, in a round-about response to the person that tried to lump me in with those that only serve for their own fulfillment I remembered the cliché, “You never know until you try.” If you want to truly know what you are made of, all of your gifts given to you by the universe, all the potential still locked inside of you, all of your personal success characteristics, take a look at this short list and see how you can start to serve others.

Call To Action:

1-      Always lead with your heart. Make a list of what brings you pleasure when you take action.

2-      What would you like to do but feel inadequate to try? What have you always wanted to try but felt scared or found a reason not to do when presented with an opportunity?

3-      Ask others what they admire about you and the things that you can do or they have seen you do. This is meant to enlighten you as to how you are seen in someone else’s eyes.

4-      Ask yourself, where have I already experienced success? This can be in a big or small way. Where would I enjoy experiencing success?

5-      Experiment by volunteering to serve anywhere and take note of how you feel and felt.

Were you charged? Were you indifferent? Were you bored? How involved did you allow yourself to get? Did you lose track of time? You might just learn something wonderful about yourself just because you tried.

 

Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear how living outside your comfort zone in service of others was the best use of your time and life.

“The interior joy we feel when we have done a good deed is the nourishment the soul requires.” –Albert Schweitzer

Images by bing.com

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building and strengthening your success characteristics, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

How to make a change and mean it

butterfly

Change is a comin’….How to get ready and mean it

“When you are trying to motivate yourself, first, appreciate the fact that you are even thinking about making a change and then as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough.” Alice Domar

Is there something happening right now, in this moment that is making you aware that a change needs to happen sooner rather than later? Get out a piece of paper and a pen and let’s get to work on that change.

1)      Select a behavior or situation you genuinely want to change. This needs to be about you alone. It should not involve anyone else. Start to write about the change you want to make. Include every thought you have. No judgments.

2)      You should be able to track your progress. This can be done with a daily journal or on a calendar designated specifically for tracking this change or with the guidance of a helping professional.

3)      Your goal toward this change has to be real. Losing 30lbs. in 90 days is more of a fantasy than a resolute goal.

4)       Make friends with time. Create a vision board that outlines a 3 month plan, a 6 month plan and a one year plan. What would you like to have accomplished by each marker?

5)      The change has to be within your control as do the steps you take toward that change. If your desired change involves other people helping you then you lose a good portion of the control you need. Emotional support is all you will need from anyone. The rest is up to you.

6)      State your desired goal using positive language. Instead of saying what you want to change state how you will go about making your change; small steps you can do every day toward your desired outcome.*

“You have to speak your dream out loud.”– Kelly Corrigan

One year ago I was beyond fed up with the job I was in and wanted to make a career change. I was nervous because change in itself is not something I have ever been friends with but my need to get out of what I was doing was stronger than my fear of change. I quietly began to research where I might belong based on my likes and dislikes. I was still nervous at this point to tell anyone what I was thinking or feeling.

Once I saw myself in a career fit I went about writing down all the steps I would need to take to get me to where I wanted to be. I’ll admit that there were some steps I was against doing and afraid to do but I kept telling myself that anything worth having is worth working hard for. I didn’t put the pressure of a time frame on myself only in so far as I knew I didn’t want to wait to start. My emotional level toward making this change was very strong and very passionate.

I kept my passion level high and my determination level higher. The very first thing I needed to do was address the fear I was feeling around making this big change so I began by writing about why I wanted to make this career change. My “why” became my motto. The next thing I needed to do was to get important people in my life on board with my career change so that I had the emotional support I needed. I talked to my family about why I wanted to make this change. Hearing myself talk out loud was very important because it made the dream real and it got me the input and support I ultimately needed. I then had to deal with my inner critic who is a genius at always telling me that I was not good at making changes and that I was going to fail miserably. I kept asking myself, “so what?” until the fear became manageable and my inner critic had nothing left to throw at me. Once I started to feel strength toward my fear and my inner critic I knew I was ready to get started on my to-do list of steps toward my goal.

I worked those steps diligently and got a little thrill each time I got to check off an action step that I completed. Before I knew what was happening I had accomplished a lot more than I originally set out to do.

It is one year later and it has been quite an adventure. I had lots of encouragement along the way and lots of moments that could have brought me to my knees in defeat but I kept saying those two words, “so what” and in the end all the hard work was done by only me and I used my “disasters” as learning opportunities.

I can happily, powerfully and encouragingly say that I have accomplished most of the steps on my original to-do list and am working on a new list right now. I will never let my to-do list be empty. There are lingering steps I still need to take toward my original goal but I know without a doubt that I will get there and go beyond. As each to-do step was taken I could feel my confidence building and could feel how empowering those accomplishments made me feel. There are times even now when I feel impatient but I find that I am thoroughly enjoying the learning process and even more so enjoying all the new people in my life.

Recently I read an article written by a man who had gotten into a very bad car accident and died. He wrote the article from what he remembered of his death, what he thought about most of all at the moment he knew he died and of being brought back to life. It was a fascinating and surreal story; it gave me goose bumps. He left his reading audience with three questions that honestly, deeply resonated with me for which I now have made a permanent part of my wallpaper.  Whenever you are thinking about making a change, whether by choice or out of necessity keep these ideas with you as a guide post:

1)      Am I passionate? This speaks to all the reasons you do anything in your life. Are the things you do driven by passion toward your actions and goals?

2)      Am I productive? This speaks to how you get your passionate actions done. Are the steps you are taking toward your goal, toward what holds your interests, productive steps or wasting time kind of steps? Is there true purpose for your actions?

3)      Am I making a difference? This speaks to how what you do, what you want to do will impact others. We are all here to serve each other in some way. Even if your goal is to lose weight, how do you think your story will impact someone else? What difference will your weight loss make beyond your own health and well-being?  In most cases you will see that you are not alone in what you are going through. The difference is in the fact that it is you who is going through it and therefore your story should be shared.

“The defining characteristic of every successful person I have met? They have passion.” –Dr. Phil

*From the book, “Changeology” by Dr. John C. Norcross, PhD.

Lisa is a career and life coach. She has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book, A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. If you would like to explore how coaching can help you please write to lisa@journeyoncoaching.com to set up a free 30 minute coaching consultation.

6 Things I know for sure about being a mom……

6 Things I know for sure about being a mom….001

“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.”
— James Joyce

It’s not about me and it’s not about my children, it’s about the minds of the human beings I have been gifted to guide and stand with in times of trouble and triumph, laughter and rest.

In April of this year I wrote about how my older son came to me to tell me that he and his friends were going to move to Florida and make a life for themselves together, far from where they have always called home. They had no real plan other than this wild, 18 year old being impulsive, I gotta be free to be me idea. My first reaction was shock and speechlessness.

I’ve always been the kind of mom that doesn’t quickly fly off the handle until all information has settled in. Then I go a bit coo-coo if all the information doesn’t add up to logic on any level. I remember each time my kids would come home with a scraped knee and blood was everywhere and tears were everywhere I remained calm. I even caught myself each time thinking, “wow, I’m really calm right now, how am I doing that?” It was instinctual for me to behave that way. I don’t know why or where it came from it was just the way I always reacted to high stress situations regarding my children, keep them calm by remaining calm; my husband, not so much. I save all the “flying off the handle” at a moment’s notice just for him. What a lucky guy.

So I listened to what my son was saying and I decided that little by little I would throw up road signs for him to watch out for in the hopes that these signs would put enough doubt in his decision to leave and he would choose to stay home and keep going on the road he was already successfully navigating.  You know, those “what if”, “how will you”, “what will you do if” signs. Nothing deterred him and so he drained a portion of his savings account, packed his bags, quit his job and left. I deeply hoped that he would just take my advice and not put himself through all of this turmoil and hardship. For one very long month he navigated his own life, made his own decisions, experienced life on his terms and then…… he came home.

The very first thing my son said when he walked in the door was, “Well, that was quite an experience but I don’t think I want to go back. It wasn’t what I thought it would be.” Are those not the words a mother wants to hear? (Just so you know, when he left the room some time later, I did a little jig in the kitchen, twirling myself around and around with a smile on my face so big that my cheeks hurt.)

What happened next was life changing and again left me speechless. My son decided to enroll in a university not too far from home but far enough away that he would have to live there. He knew the financial implications of a decision like that but it was what he thought would be the next right move. He thought also that living at school would be a better life experience than having to navigate his life completely on his own, away from most of his other friends, and away from access to home. As a backup plan he made an appointment with the community college where is started as a freshman and decided that just in case he didn’t get in to the university he would give himself this final option and talk to an adviser there.

He picked up the mail on his way to his appointment at the community college and waited until he parked in the parking lot before opening the letter from the university. He didn’t get in. The university did not like his first year college grades.  Disappointed, he got out of the car and headed in to the community college and met with is adviser. The adviser was very honest and blunt with him telling him that if he wanted funding to be reinstated, if he wanted to attend any university after community college, and if he wanted to pursue the degree he was planning on then his grades needed to go way up and his commitment needed to be true and sure. When that ordeal was done he took himself to his old employer and asked for his job back. It wasn’t easy for him to actually take those footsteps toward this final decision. He said he was nervous and a bit shaky to have to actually go back to community college and to have to face his former boss and colleagues but he said he knew what he had to do and was glad to have the option as opposed to no option at all.  He got in to his old school and he got his old job back, both welcoming him with open arms and big smiles. Is that mature or what? Who is this kid?

When he came home to tell me what he did, I just stood there with my mouth open, again, speechless. This is becoming a pattern with him. What I noticed right away was that not one time did my son complain, or show an angry face or balk at the choices that were taken away from him or express anger in any way. His attitude was one of calm but disappointment and most of all perseverance. The disappointment came from within him. He was disappointed in how he performed at school and how that led to him not getting in to the school he wanted and the funding he desperately needed and he was disappointed that he wasted time in not working. However, he then said that he viewed this as his second chance and he wasn’t going to screw it up this time. How did the boy become such a man overnight?

What I know for sure about being a mom is this….

1)       Keep talking. Most importantly keep talking even when you see and feel like you are not getting through. Know that you are. When the words come from your heart, when you are completely engaged in your child’s well-being the words will come and they will get in. You have to trust this most of all.

2)       Keep believing. I knew deep inside of my soul that my son was capable of making good decisions and that he was just lost right now. I knew who he imagined himself to be when he “grew up”. Don’t give up what you know to be true about your children. Believe in them and they will ultimately believe in themselves.

3)       Keep being you. My children count on me to be me and all that entails. I talk too much and admit it, I cry when what I am trying to convey what touches my heart so deeply that I can’t hold back and I don’t hide my tears from them, I yell when I am at my fraying point and just so overwhelmed at their behavior, I stop talking completely when I know that I don’t have it in me to say something helpful or kind. Your honesty and authenticity is what they count on most of all. It is what sets you apart from the rest of the world and the people in their world. You become the one person they know will live in truth for them and with them.

4)       Keep the faith. I knew from my core that my son’s path was on the right track well before he decided to leave home. I believed with all of my heart that he was making a mistake but had faith that he would come to understand what I already knew. Faith is an unshakable belief in something or someone; it is confidence in that something or someone’ it is believing in something unseen. It doesn’t mean that you don’t question within yourself what you know for sure. That is natural but keep the faith anyway.

5)       Allow them to make mistakes. Each of us has free will. The greatest lessons learned are the ones that touch us from the inside out. My son couldn’t possibly understand or learn from just my words or my own experiences. He needed to feel for himself and experience for himself what I was trying to tell him. As hard as it was for me to know what he was up against I had to let go and trust enough that he would find his way. That trust alone allowed for him to create, on his own, the pathways out of his own mistakes. When he told me what he had done in terms of school and his job he was filled with self-pride. AWESOME!! It means everything that he took action to help himself out of a bad situation and it came from within himself. Now he knows what he is capable of. Now he has started the pathway to trusting himself and his own decision making processes. Now he sees and feels the difference between when things are “right” and when they are not “right”. Isn’t that what a parent wants for their children, that feeling for their child of “I did this”?

6)       Remember what it felt like when…..The greatest advice ever given to me was from my mom when my first child was born. “Lisa, remember what it felt like when you were 5,7, 10, 13, 18, 21…” etc. Staying in touch with who you were will help you better understand the roads your children will travel and navigate. Their personal experiences may not be exactly like what you went through but the life lessons are the same. Keep your heart open and your words flowing and your hugs at the ready.

bigmattThere will absolutely, guaranteed be more mistakes down the road but the fact that I now know he can learn from those mistakes and prevent them from becoming failures is uplifting and encouraging and respectful. I now have a much deeper respect for my son and I don’t see him as a boy anymore. I can now start to see him as the man he wants to be and I realize that it is going to take some getting used to in how to relate to this man I see before me. And just for a moment I allowed myself to also realize that my role as “mom” has just shifted and I allowed myself to miss the young mother of a young boy I used to be. It made me want to have another baby and start again but then I thought, no. This is right, this is the next chapter; this is how it should be. There is a time and season for everything and I welcome the time with open arms and a most grateful heart.

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.”—Thich Nhat Hahn

I have to say that my son is happy. He is happy with his decisions, he is happy with his action steps and he is determined and ready to take even more control of his life and all that goes in to making his life. He has always had an idea of the man he wants to be and now he feels like he is on the right road toward becoming that man he sees in himself; and he did it all on his own. Fantastic!

Please share with me your experiences about motherhood. It would be an honor to stand beside you on your journey through this amazing experience.

Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger.

Coaching is a great vehicle to help navigate through those sticky tough, tumultuous times of parenting, career and life itself. If you would like to see how coaching can help please write to me lisa@journeyoncoaching.com and let’s chat in a judgment free, empowering, uplifting space.

 

 

What’s the good word?

Express yourself..   emoticons emoticons.jpg1 emoticons.jpg2 emoticons.jpg3

 

Hey man, how you doin’?

How you doin’?

Aww, how are you doing?

So, how are you doing?!

Isn’t it funny how the same sentence can take on a different meaning and feeling depending on our inflection and use of wording and facial expression? How many times in your day or week do you feel yourself offended by the way someone speaks to you? How many times in your day or week do you feel validated by the way someone speaks to you?

I know that we all subscribe to the idea that since we live in America our national language is English, but have you ever stopped to think about how many dialects of English there are in this country of ours?

Depending on where you live in America your interpretation of our national language has a little lilt to it or a drawl to it or shorthand to it. How about the new language our cell phones are creating, the language of text? Now there is an interesting twist to the English language. I’m trying to learn text but it is so hard for me. To make it more confusing,  I find that I have to be so very careful not to use my children’s version of text when texting with a friend or a client. I always want to keep in mind the reputation I am cultivating and maintaining through my different options of communication.

All of this brings me to the idea of how our communication sets the stage, or verbal résumé if you will, for who we advertise ourselves to be in our world. I recently read a short article in Inc. Magazine written by M. Heffernan entitled, It’s Not Just Semantics. Words Make an Enormous Difference in Leadership.” In this fascinating and too short article Ms. Heffernan speaks about how the way we use our language in business plays a very important role in generating the business we want and the clientele we hope to attract and how our language sets us up as leaders in our business community. “All business involves communication.” But really doesn’t all of life, even in the everyday, involve communication?  Have you ever felt like you just can’t seem to get your point across?

Ms. Heffernan goes on to close her article by saying,When you use words loosely, without care and consideration, you erode trust in yourself and in what you’re saying. When you squander words, when you use words too often, you diminish your power.” How do you feel when you read this last sentence? For me, I believe it wholeheartedly. It begs these few questions:

1)     How do I want people to see me, to know me in the way I speak?

2)     What impression do I want to leave with everyone I meet?

3)     What do I want my personal, outward, verbal résumé to say about me?

4)     What can I leave for someone in the way that I communicate with them?

Lately I find that when I am composing a letter for instance, I automatically go to my thesaurus to research ways in which I can say a common word more creatively, more professionally, and/or more maturely. It’s actually kind of fun. I love words. I love playing with words. I love learning new words and finding meaning in words. I love the look on my children’s’ faces when I use a word they haven’t heard before or when I use a word that sounds funny to them. It makes them lean in a bit and listen more deeply to what I am saying. Even if they stop the conversation to ask, “What does that mean?” I know I’ve gotten their attention and that’s always a good thing.

Communication is the number one factor in whether people get along in any society. The deaf community has their own way of communicating and yet it isn’t off limits to those of us who want to take the time to learn it. That idea also is the same for foreign languages as well. How else might we learn new ways to communicate so that we leave a good impression of who we are and with those we take time to speak with? What are some ways in which you can re-create or start to create your verbal résumé?

1)     We can start by saying we will be more mindful of using swear words in any conversation and especially around children.

2)     We can be more aware of a person’s name. Everyone loves to be acknowledged and validated in the moment.

3)     We can try to be less distracted by what is going on around us while talking with someone. Stay focused and present.

4)     We can create interest in the conversation by repeating a brief snippet back by rephrasing what someone is saying in question form. For example: Joe says, “So I’ve been having trouble with getting my 3 year old to stop raising his voice in the library.” You say, “Wow, raising his voice in the library has become an issue for you? I think it’s great that you go to the library with him that often.”

Words allow us to draw mental pictures of the conversations we have been exposed to. Those pictures we create make the conversation more alive and meaningful and we are better able to recall it and pass it along. The mental pictures create a story and stories are a very powerful tool to use when speaking in any forum. The impression that is created in the way we speak can make or break who we are and what we want people to remember about us. Try an experiment this week and see how you can up your verbal résumé, your communication skills game. It’s so fun!!

 

If you would like to discover more about how your verbal résumé can create new business opportunities for you or how you can create a platform for more people to be interested in what you have to say contact Lisa at lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

Images courtesy of google.com