5 Steps Toward Cultivating a New Life

 

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“Yellow decided to risk for a butterfly. For courage she hung right beside the other cocoon and began to spin her own. ‘Imagine, I didn’t even know I could do this. That’s some encouragement that i’mon the right track. If I have the stuff inside me to make cocoons—maybe the stuff of butterflies is there too.” Trina Paulus, Hope for the Flowers

On a very rare and random quiet afternoon I was browsing the internet for odd stories. There are plenty of them out there but some just seem too ridiculous to pay any attention to. What did catch my attention was a list that supported my hope for the arrival of spring. I came across a list of flower names and what they mean.  Here is the gist of the list:

Gardenia – Grace

Iris – Faith

Lilac – Youth

Lily – New Life

Poppy – Imagination

Lotus – Purity

Sunflower – Happiness

Violet – Humble

Orchid – Beautiful strength

Rose – Love

I was particularly interested in Lily because Lily of the Valley is the flower for May and my birthday is in May; the day that I was granted access and honor to live out an undetermined amount of life minutes and to leave my soul print on this gracious life of mine.

“And then Jonah heard God’s voice. “Jonah, do you know what the difference is between you and the trees?” He was confident it was God because God usually asked questions but gave no answers. Jonah didn’t need a divine answer to this question, he knew it. “Yes,” he said. “The difference between me and the trees is that the trees let go of their leaves. I keep holding onto mine. The trees make room for new life. I don’t.” David W. Jones, Going Nuts!

I have been on a journey of the personal and spiritual kind and have come to realize that at the same time as I am learning and growing I have not been making room for new leaves to grow; hiding behind a past that I hold tight to like a scared rider on a rollercoaster. I have been holding on to the totality of all that has happened in my life to make me who I have become so far that I was choking the essence of my life away, until now. I have recognized a deep need to make changes and knew that this need I have been feeling was going to lead to me starting a new life. I had to find my big, deep breath and begin; something.

How shocked I felt to learn that Lily means new life. Making up my mind to change has breathed new life into me. When I started this year I was determined to live my life backwards. I was determined to understand all the nuances of living outside of my comfort zone and doing all the things I thought I was afraid of doing. I was determined to live in the unknown and to try to understand the depths of “living in faith, not by sight.” I was determined to walk through every door presented to me that would normally be a door I would never even consider touching the handle of.

“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.” Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

What I like about the unknown of a good or bad situation is that yes it may be bad on the surface but good can come out of it and it may be good on the surface but it can lead to better if we keep riding the wave of goodness. What I have learned so far is that patience and time need to make their stand in these situations and we need to allow for that.

A few posts ago I talked about my journey into volunteering and how my life unfolded to reveal the most uncomfortable opportunity for me up to that point. This opportunity stands as the example so far, of what possibilities exist in a new life; of what happened to me because I didn’t know I could do anything like this; because the encouragement that has come from this backward opportunity has opened the doors of wanting more opportunities. Everything I do now is touched with the vision and heart of knowing that because other people matter I then matter too. The opening quote so eloquently says, “If I have the stuff inside me to make cocoons”, or in my case, to make a difference, “maybe the stuff of butterflies is there too”, or for me the stuff of loving kindness. Who knew?

A couple of months into my volunteering a paying job opportunity came along. It was a very long time coming and it was the most odd, most crazy, most out of my comfort zone job I could have ever imagined for me to do. I took it, no questions asked. It has added to my feeling of a new life in the way I learn this job, in the way I interact with new people, and most of all in the way I see the value of work itself. I feel like a flower blossoming. I feel like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. I feel like all I want to do is pay forward the life lessons that my new life minutes are teaching me. And so I write to you to share some thoughts…..

So how can we each help ourselves create a new life attitude:

Take a deep breath: It takes an incredible amount of courage to make any kind of change but the change can’t happen unless you get started. One big, audacious, enormous, cleansing deep breath and then say to yourself, “It has begun.” Then, go, be, do.

Buy new shoes: For my new job I needed new clothes but I didn’t want to spend the money on new clothes. I just wanted to enjoy the feeling of having money for a little while. Truthfully, I wanted to enjoy the feeling of freedom I was experiencing by having the money. I wanted to honor the promise I made to myself that once I had a job I would put financial support for others at the top of my to do list. It has been so fun having the freedom to choose who and how I support causes and charities that are so meaningful to me. However, new shoes help to make old clothes feel and look new again. When you feel good about the inside of you, you want it to show on the outside and vice versa.

Let time be your friend not a four letter word: What do you want to change, what challenge do you want to meet, what has your life become up until this moment and what do you want it to become from this moment forward? Meeting new people, starting a new job, eating new foods, learning a new language, whatever is “new” for you in helping to create a new life, allow time to work its magic. Just keep working your life minutes to their fullest each day and before you know it a week, a month or even a year will have gone by and you will look back and see just how absorbed you have been in the flow of living in your new life.

Don’t be afraid: Actually, it is perfectly okay to be afraid but don’t let that fear stop you. Feeling the fear is how you know you are on the right track toward a new perspective, a new life. Keep going and believe in your new life and keep showing yourself how your new life or new attitude or new perspective can change the outcome of a once stressful or undesirable situation. With each breakthrough away from a predictable fear and predictable response to the fear you will gain inner strength and empower your heart and soul to keep exploring and living your new life. You just might attract people to your more hopeful, positive new life and gain supporters or a new love or just lots of great friends. You might just realize for the first time that you are a great friend to yourself.

Stay unpredictable: Let life take you for a ride. Don’t try to control every aspect of every day. Life is not something that can be controlled if you are ever going to actually live it to its fullest. Unpredictable things happen in life, good and bad, so stay open and even more unpredictable in the face of what gets handed to you. You just might be pleasantly surprised at how brave and curious you really are.

A New Life Begins Even When One Ends

Last week a dear friend of mine lost her young son to a senseless car accident. My heart broke into pieces for her loss and pain but she was courageous and brave and most of all she was not afraid of this new life that she now had no choice but to face and so I was not afraid. I was not afraid to hug her, I was not afraid to honor her son, I was not afraid to face all the personal feelings that this particular tragedy stirred up inside of me, I was not afraid to think about my own death in the someday and get specific on how I want to be remembered and suddenly my new life outlook took on even more meaning. This horrible tragedy injected my new life with even more determination and purpose and empowerment.

A new life has begun for my friend. She has to go on living and becoming and growing her heart and soul without her son. Her new life could be magical and wonderful while her heart has become a stained glass window of broken pieces capturing the fractured sunlight of her life minutes. Her story will be spectacular and dramatic and a must read, but not yet.

And isn’t that the point; the existence of the “not yet”? It takes patience and tolerance, curiosity and perseverance, hope and faith and gratitude. It takes a whole lot of courage and love to move through who you were to who you want to be or at times need to be. Every little thing you do or don’t do makes a mark on your soul and on the story of your life. Some people make bad choices when challenges are put in front of them and the story ends. Some people get to the next page of their story and face the challenge of continuing on or start a new chapter. If you continue on make it count. Learn from everything that comes on your path. If you start a new chapter then be new in it. I’m all in and it’s been beautiful.

“Sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Sometimes we hide the very core of our existence because we fear the judgment of others. Sometimes the universe shifts and we are provided with a brief moment to begin anew. These moments allow us to become fearless and let our perfectly created souls shine.” Cori Garrison, New Beginnings

With all my heart I say to you, shine on…..

Call to Action

What does a new life or new beginning look like for you?

Where do you want to start your new life? In the current chapter or a new chapter of your story?

What is holding you back from entering your new life?

How can I help you today?

 

In memory of Alex Grasso. A son, a soldier, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a friend. You were a success in every role you played. Rest in peace in your new life……

8 Essentials for Thinking Like a Child

 

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“Would the child you were yesterday admire the person you are today? If not, adjust for desired results.” Ziad K. Abdelnour, Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics

When a child is born there is an immediate and uncontrollable feeling of awe and wonder and reverence toward some higher power, maybe it is G-d for you, that here in this tiny package of humanity is this amazing miracle of life.

As adults we treasure this miracle and we dote on this miracle and we do all we can to feed the spirit of this miracle as it grows. We take possession without realizing that we possess but at some point all too quickly the child becomes its own person.

Once the identity of the child starts to come through we see in this miracle the only word that can describe a child, determination.  A child’s determination says, “there is only right now in this moment and this is what I want to do, accomplish, conquer, master, overcome, make happen so watch this….”.

So what happens along the path of growth that stunts the natural sense of determination and turns this miracle into a human of sorrow, self-doubt, limitedness, and negativity and how in the world can each of us humans get it back for keeps?

 “Children see magic because they look for it.”Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

Every day to a child is like a first day. Every day is filled with new discoveries, new awareness, and new abilities and with each new thing a child can do the child wants to shout to the world, “hey ma, look what I can do” or “look what I just did.” It’s almost as if the child performed the greatest magic trick ever.

Do adults lose their magical abilities because no one is watching or cares to watch anymore? Oh sure, some adults have the ability to see magic throughout their whole lives, just look at Walter Disney, but it’s more than just seeing magic, it’s also feeling magic and feeling that all things are possible and never being influenced otherwise. When did it become childish to let magic into your adult life?

I remember working in a middle school with kids who got sent to detention a lot . Although it was the policy of the school to make the detention room as somber and negative as possible so that the kids would not want to go back there ever again, I couldn’t help but make the room scream of possibilities and dreams and jokes and riddles and hope. Does that make me a rebel? I don’t think so. I just can’t help imagining what it must be like to have to deal with the thought of feeling like a failure and not knowing what to do with that feeling except to be angry, all the time. I pray I created hope and possibilities for these kids to be able to see beyond the anger they were feeling.

Sometimes as adults we look at children and think to ourselves what can children teach us that we don’t already know now that we are the adults; I mean we’re adults, so we have already been where they are, right? The one thing that keeps coming back to me is that a child can teach us to see what a child sees and what a child hears and the unrelenting, untouched, uncomplicated thoughts of a pure mind on the verge of innocence lost. Sometime it is essential to stop and listen to the words of children:

There is a really good reason why we start out helpless and small and unknowing; so that adults can be reminded of the freedom, joy, un-limitedness of who they used to hope to be when they grew up. I believe children know more than adults do. They are pure, untainted entities that embody every possible person they want to become and they don’t care who knows it or what they each look like exploring all those magical possibilities.

 “I wept because I was re-experiencing the enthusiasm of my childhood; I was once again a child, and nothing in the world could cause me harm.”Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

It’s not rocket science to imagine all the ways in which we can re-capture our innocence and feelings of being a child but just in case your mind is stuffed full of adult mumbo jumbo here is a little list of ideas that just might take you out of the limitedness of adulthood and open the imagination doors of the child’s soul inside of you:

    1. Take the blame with “relish”. As a child you gladly took responsibility for your actions anytime you did something you thought was justified or amazing or fun. Harness that positive energy of owning your actions by finding all kinds of ways to take responsibility for your actions as a grown-up. Only do those things that will leave you feeling proud to own up to something.
    2. Be Dramatic. Sure you might have thrown a temper tantrum or 2 when you were feeling out of control as a kid or feeling like no one was listening. (Perhaps you didn’t but wished you could). It was dramatic to live in your imagination and to act out as a kid. How can you use that dramatic flair of yours to make a point, to get ahead, to add spice to your days? Use your imagination and create that dramatic magic that is still living inside of you.
    3. Ask why as often as you can. How many questions do you ask in a day? Children ask questions constantly because they are not afraid of sounding ignorant. They use the information like Popeye uses spinach. Information empowers them and enables them and strengthens them. As adults we hide our questions for fear of being stared at by everyone in the room or fear of sounding ignorant. Drop the fear, ask the questions. There are no stupid questions. The question not asked is the key not found that could open all the other doors.
    4. Be the cardboard box. According to an article written by Chelsea Greenwood of the website, http://www.success.com/article/think-like-a-child, Alison Gopnik, a professor of philosophy at UC, Berkeley says, “children are designed by evolution to be extremely good learners. They are the research and development division of the human species, and adults are the production and marketing.” How amazing would it be if a simple cardboard box really was the answer to all boredom and limitedness of the adult mind? Get out of the cardboard box adulthood put you into and make something magical happen with it once you are on the outside.
    5. Be relentless. How often do you take your kids to a store to discover that you didn’t even make it passed the welcome sign and you realize you are already counting to 10 just waiting to hear them say, “mom, can we get this”, or “mom, can I get that toy”. They don’t take no for an answer. My youngest has learned a great skill over his short little life, the art of the negotiation. Sometimes when I am feeling weak and overrun I call it manipulation or in today’s terms, bullying, but the truth is he has learned how to negotiate to get what he wants. How many times during the day do you hear the word no when presenting an idea or asking for approval on a project or for a raise? Be relentless in your wants. You believe in what you are seeking so keep seeking until you get that yes. No is not an option.
    6. Be in awe. Too often as adults we are tainted and narrowed by all that we have seen and learned and we choose to put blinders on to all else except what we want to learn and choose to see. Take the blinders off, step way back and be in awe of everything around you. Be the sponge, be the clean slate, be the child that is fascinated with all things unknown and big. Get down on your knees if you have to and look around, look up, look down and change your perspective.

      7. Play : Where did recess go? Public schools hardly encourage recess anymore for fear it will interfere with test taking. The adults of tomorrow are not going to have much to fall back on when they need to harness their imagination because imagination time is being sucked out of their learning. Chelsea Greenwood takes a page from author, speaker and futurist, Jack Uldrich and quotes, “play allows people to practice skills they might need later down the line. Play has consistently been found to reduce stress, increase energy levels, and brighten people’s outlook, increase optimism, and foster creativity.” Start or join the company sports league, start a chess group, bring your guitar to the office and serenade your co-workers during lunch. Play your heart out!

8. Laugh Your Ass Off:: I’m sure you’ve heard this statistic, that children laugh an average of 400 times per day whereas an adult laughs an average of 15 times per day and I must say that the number 15 seems a bit high to me. Have you heard a child laugh lately? You need to because you are missing out on the most out of control, smile inducing, free spirited moment of life, ever. On the website,  http://velutions.com/prankbaskets/zLaughter.htm, it lists several reasons to laugh each day such as “laughter is the best medicine”, not only for adults but for children too. Laughter is good for oxygen intake, reduction of stress, is good exercise, and among many other things is a great bonding mechanism and best of all laughter cuts across all language barriers. Everyone speaks laughter. If you want to learn more about how laughter can increase work flow and be a positive influence at the office please consider reading The Levity Effect by Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher. If you want to make something contagious, laugh.

It all comes down to this: Kids don’t know to be hard on themselves. They like who they are and they should. Take a page from your own story when you were a kid and BE PROUD OF YOU. Celebrate like the child you still are. That child’s soul is still in there. The only difference is the body got bigger and then therefore so did the expectations. My son was born to a family of average height people. He is 6’2”, which is no big deal except in our family and he always saw his height as a negative. He likes it now, mostly because he can look down on his dad, but he tried to walk smaller and behave smaller because people outside of his family always expected more from him thinking that he was older than his actual age due to his height. That added expectation played havoc on his psyche no matter how we tried to celebrate his individualism. He needed time to grow into all of himself, inside and out, and for the most part so far he has become proud of what he was given and who he is becoming.

Now, repeat after me:

 “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”Edward Everett Hale

It was only you that day when you pulled yourself up from the floor to take your first step. It was only you the moment you climbed those stairs for the first time. It was only you the instant you went from not balancing very well on the bicycle to riding like you were born to ride. It was only you when the puzzle got solved by the thoughts you applied and then made the connection that opened a world of possibilities for more.

Oh, if only we didn’t have to lose so much of the soul of the child inside of us when we grow up. I leave you with this amazing poem by an utterly amazing and talented author who never forgot the child inside, and I wonder: Would any of this poem work for any adult? Perhaps we should take a chance on one of these ideas and just go outside and play, even if it isn’t Saturday…..

“I cannot go to school today”

Said little Peggy Ann McKay.

“I have the measles and the mumps,

A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

 My mouth is wet,

my throat is dry.

I’m going blind in my right eye.

My tonsils are as big as rocks,

I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox.

And there’s one more –

that’s seventeen,

And don’t you think my face looks green?

My leg is cut,

my eyes are blue,

It might be the instamatic flu.

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,

I’m sure that my left leg is broke.

My hip hurts when I move my chin,

My belly button’s caving in.

My back is wrenched,

my ankle’s sprained,

My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.

My toes are cold,

my toes are numb,

I have a sliver in my thumb.

My neck is stiff,

my voice is weak,

I hardly whisper when I speak.

My tongue is filling up my mouth,

I think my hair is falling out.

My elbow’s bent,

my spine ain’t straight,

My temperature is one-o-eight.

My brain is shrunk,

I cannot hear,

There’s a hole inside my ear.

I have a hangnail,

and my heart is …

What? What’s that? What’s that you say?

You say today is ………….. Saturday? G’bye, I’m going out to play!”  –Shel Silverstein

 

Call to Action

GO PLAY!!! Find that inner child and kick ass!!

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.  Not ready yet? Please visit my website at www.journeyoncoaching.com. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

6 Pathways toward Attracting your Dreams

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“She wasn’t where she had been. She wasn’t where she was going, but she was on her way.” Jodi Hills

I’m sure by now many of you have heard about visioning, vision statements, laws of attraction, positive energy, etc. It sounds good on paper and in conversations but does it really work and how can you make all that magic happen for your life?

An article appeared in the Business Insider in July of 2012 and writers Aimee Groth and Ashley Lutz interviewed Esther and Jerry Hicks, authors of the book, Law of Attraction: The basics of the Teachings of Abraham. In their article the writers listed ways in which you can attract more of the life you want. In a nutshell here is the list:

  1. You attract good or bad experiences based on your thoughts. In other words keep your thoughts as honest and pure as you can because even the bad stuff gets in.
  2. Thinking about something means you invite it in, even if you don’t want it.
  3. The more you focus on something, the more powerful it becomes. Don’t worry, be happy.
  4. It’s better to trust your emotions than over-think a decision. I talked about this in my post, Decisions, Decisions ( http://journeyoncoaching.com/2014/07/14/decisions-decisions-5-mindsets-toward-making-your-best-choice/).
  5. Make good things happen more quickly by thinking about them more. Jerry Hicks says, “When you give your attention to a subject and you feel only positive emotion about it, it will come very quickly into your experience.”
  6. You have to see things as you hope them to be, not as they are. The example here was that Michael Phelps would envision himself winning each swim race every night before he went to sleep.
  7. Devote time to powerful thinking. Spending time each day thinking and visioning your goals increases your chances for success.
  8. Everyone has the same chance at success. Success is not a limited resource.
  9. When disappointment shows up allow it in but do not allow it to make a home there.
  10. Avoid negative experiences if at all possible. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting experiences as much as you can. “Your attention to anything  has the power to draw it closer to you.”

While I was going through my coach training one of the hardest yet at times most impactful questions we were encouraged to keep in our arsenal was the question of what do you see for yourself or where do you want to be in 3, 5, or 10 years from now? It’s a hard question to answer for most but a great pathway toward a true vision for your life for some if not all of us.

A college student came to me for a few sessions wonderingif she was on the right path for her life. She said that she goes through this type of angst at the start of every school year because so much money is required in order for her to keep on her path toward her bachelor degree goal. Each year she wonders if the money is worth it because she has yet to sit in a classroom and not only find respect for the professors but to feel like she is learning anything of value for what she struggles to pay for this degree.

So the question came up in a session, “what do you see for yourself when these last 18 months are over?” There was no hesitation for her to answer and say that she wants to get her bachelor’s degree yet she kept on going with her thought process until I jumped in and stopped her. “Stop right there. Don’t think beyond the want. Let’s see what it will take to make the want possible.”  And so began her journey toward her vision of becoming a bachelor degree graduate. My client felt that her overwhelm was not only in finding the money each semester but also in the unknown of whether she could finish in 18 months or would she have to extend her education time line.

Visioning becomes easier when it’s broken into smaller pieces. If 3, 5, or 10 years is too much to manage then break it down into more doable pieces like 3, 5 or 10 months or even smaller pieces by measuring progress and achievements by weeks or days.

So, let’s start with a vision statement. A vision statement is a description of a desired outcome. The statement is filled with energy and determination. The statement creates a mental picture of your goal and would reflect the best possible outcome. A vision statement is letting go of all of your inhibitions and really stretching way outside of your comfort zone by imagining only the good that will come of your creativity in the end. The challenge is to go as far out of your normal way of thinking in order to get to where you want to be, in other words to open your eyes and see things as they could be.

So how do we begin to form a vision statement? Assuming you have already asked and answered the burning question of “what do I want” here are a few steps to help you get started:

According to Dr. Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D. and her book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, “visionaries are asked to surrender and allow the dream or vision to materialize rather than to force it. Visioning emphasizes the heart’s desire, not what we ‘think’ we want or what we think is ‘possible’ or ‘practical’.”

  1. Describe your vision statement using “now” words. Use words as if your vision were really happening and you are working it every day. “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” –Victoria Moran
  2. Make it personal. Use emotion when talking about or describing your vision. How does it make you feel to talk about it or work toward the goal you envision? Do you get excited, overwhelmed, scared, or energized? Let all the emotions come as they may. In other words how passionate are you? Does what you describe inspire you to do more, go further? Do others feel compelled to listen and support you? “The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there is nothing to make it last.” – Nicholas Sparks
  3. Stay in touch. Use describing words like colors, smells, sounds, shapes, activities, outcomes. Make the vision as detailed as possible. Make your vision as tangible to the listener as possible, even if the listener is only you. “When you work on the little things big things happen.” –Rodger Halston
  4. Let the journey take you away. Get lost in the flow of working toward your dreams. Don’t limit yourself to only what you see. Follow your heart but stay flexible so that when the road curves and twists and bends away from your original path you will be able to expand and hone your vision even further. It’s not so much how you start but that you start. The journey is in the details and the story is the journey. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway
  5. Leave the inner critic at the door. Try not to let the “logical” part of you take control of the creative part of you. Think like a child who doesn’t know about limits and let the limitless you shine through. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein
  6. Say a prayer. The more energy and support you can bring to what you want the greater the likelihood of your vision coming true. “’Help’ is a prayer that is always answered.” – Anne Lamott

“The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. VISION will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve excellence. Only VISION allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. VISION has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our VISION is what we become in life. ” Tony Dungy

Call To Action

What do you want? Start with something small and build from there. As you make each small want a reality you are building confidence and limitless possibilities toward the bigger visions of your life. Don’t hold back. Share your wants with me and remember I’m here to help in any way that I can.

Images by bing.com/futuresobright.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.

And Now, The End is Here

 

Whew! Look at us!! We made it!!! We are at the last step in our change ethic. This final step is what Drs. Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente call the termination step from their book, Changing For Good.

In most cases, like this mini-series, it has been at least 2 months that you have been working hard at making whatever changes you chose and you have been working hard. I hope you were keeping a journal and tracking your progress. You deserve a moment to look back and really take in just how much effort you have devoted to this process and to feel proud of all that you have accomplished.

“Life is a race, and what matters most isn’t when a person crosses the finish line, but how strong they have grown along the way.” –Jen Stephens, The Heart’s Journey Home

In their book (Pg. 274 CFG)  , the doctors say that the termination step is defined as” Exiting the Cycle of Change”. The doctors contend that “the problem or behavior has been resolved with no further threat or temptation or the new behavior is integrated into the person’s life in a way that takes no effort or struggle to maintain. Behavior is now automatic and fully a part of the person’s everyday existence.”

I’m sure you have noticed some changes in the way you are thinking about yourself and your life as a whole and not just about the particular change you are engaged in creating or bringing about. Once you started feeling a bit of success toward the changes you were making I can’t help but wonder what else popped up that led you to feel that another change might be necessary or dare I say really wanted.

For me, although the surgery itself was a change and had an ending of completion after recovery, I knew that I didn’t want that one change to be the end of any changes I might go through. Instead I used the surgery as a springboard toward other changes. I capitalized on how proud of myself I was for having the courage to go through with the surgery; I capitalized on how much better I felt about myself and what I was seeing in the mirror. I became more determined to continue to take care of my body inside and out and I built upon each little bit of self-confidence by taking steps toward a new career, among other things. The good feelings I was experiencing because of how good I was starting to feel overall left me behaving more open and less reserved as a person and people started noticing me more. One good thing leads to another.

 

“A story has no beginning or end; one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” – Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

“Life changes are essential for maintenance; a new lifestyle is essential for termination. The difference is in the permanence of the change. In maintenance, you modify parts of your life such as social contacts, daily schedules, behavior patterns in order to overcome your problem. In termination, you institute a healthier lifestyle as a means of preserving your gains and promoting new growth.” (Pg. 278 CFG)

In his book, Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, Dr. John Norcross poses the question as to whether termination is ever really achieved. Although there has been heated debate on this issue, Dr. Norcross points out 3 conditions that are met in order to classify termination as a real step toward lasting change.

*You have reached termination if your temptation to regress or relapse across triggers is low

*You have reached termination if your self-efficacy to maintain is high across situations

*You have reached termination if you have established a healthy lifestyle that precludes the old problem behavior. Zero temptation = 100% confidence. (Pg. 198 CO)

Don’t panic if you don’t quite meet these 3 conditions. That just means that maintenance is where you are at and that is a great place to be because your awareness is very high and failure or relapse is not an option if you can help it however, you recognize that it might happen and you are choosing to always be aware of that fact. Good for you for recognizing a weak spot and sticking with your processes.

Your changes and how you chose to use the tools at hand to succeed in changing a problem or behavior or thought pattern is your personal stamp on the process. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Produce your thoughts with care and personalization, act as if you have already won, and wear proudly the signature of your success because no one could have done it the way you did it. Take time to really acknowledge and thank those allies of yours. These are the same helpers that will stick with you now that your change process is at an end. Most of all celebrate yourself for your success and perseverance.

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do it has increased.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember the steps it took to get you here:

*Make a pro/con list about the change you want to make. There should be at least a 3:1 ratio of 3 pros to every one con

* Clarify your WHY in terms of making a change.

* Visualize what life will be like if and when you make that change.

* Create a support group.

* Research and gather information to support your efforts.

* Develop a “worst case” scenario.

* Set clear and specific goals toward the change you want to make and how to deal with stress and anxiety within the action of changing.

* Monitor your progress while in the throes of your actions steps.

* Monitor any inner critic that pops up to sabotage your efforts.

* Use your allies as often as possible.

* Renew your commitment as often as necessary. Never lose your WHY.

* Always celebrate along the way each and every little success. Keep your motivation high.

* Forgive yourself through a relapse or slip up. Get back on track right away.

* Only you will know deep inside if you are ready for termination of your action steps or if you are going to hold the line and maintain your efforts for a while longer.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

My Story

There is no end here. I am not in termination regarding the personal changes I want to make. The “changes” have now become a part of me and it is “me” that I am working on, probably for the rest of my life. There is a person that must be developed, released and set free because of all the changes I have made so far and I am in exploration of just who that person must be in order to reach fulfillment and authenticity. I will hold the line on the changes I have made so far. I will not allow any slip ups from here on out. I like who and what I have become so far. I am very much okay with never reaching termination because that only means I am alive and learning and sharing and creating. Please consider joining me in my quest. This is the greatest adventure yet.

Call to Action

Now that you have a taste of your own inner strength and power perhaps you will take on this challenge and dare to be……

 

Dare To Be

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you are feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find their way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel that you have done your best.

Dare to be the best you can/At all times/ Dare to be…….”

Thank you for joining me in this mini-series. It has been a great pleasure to share these insights and strategies with you.

Journey On….

For information about coaching, creating lasting change in your life, help with figuring out who you want to be when you grow up or just an ally in the struggle to move up the ladder of life please contact lisa@journeyoncoaching.com or call 203-560-3061.

For more wisdom wizards please visit Lisa’s website at www.journeyoncoaching.com  or visit Lisa’s Pinterest Board at http://www.pinterest.com/lisazaccagnini/wisdom-wizards/.

 

Images by bing.com

On Your Mark

Ready, Set……Gather

Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

Walt Whitman, Leave of Grass

You are getting ready to take a trip. You are preparing to take a journey that will transform your life if you let it. Gather that which you will absolutely need.

In this third installment of YOU DECIDE I will be talking about the stage of change called Preparation.

“All things are ready, if our minds be so.” – William Shakespeare, Henry V

When you were contemplating changing a behavior there were many steps you took toward the act of thinking about what to change and how to change. The preparation step in changing the problem you want to change “takes you from the decisions you make to the specific steps you take to solve the problem during the action step”, so says the authors of the book, Changing For Good (CFG) (pg. 146 CFG). Soon we will discuss the 4th step on the ladder of change, the action step.

It is very important toward your success to fully engage and not skip over the preparation step.

According to Dr. John Norcross and his book Changeology (CO), he says in his “Prep” stage of change, “There is a tiny exception to the rule of planning/preparing for change: Planning can be unsuccessful when conducted with dysfunctional perfectionism. A fascinating line of recent research suggests that extensive planning can backfire for some perfectionists. For them, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Planning that triggers constant critical self-examination can obstruct progress. There is a solution…. Tame your self-criticism, understand that no plan is perfect, and keep moving forward. If you keep criticizing yourself, add not doing so to your list of resolutions.” (Pg. 85 CO)

“I have learned that the person I have to ask for forgiveness from the most is: myself. You must love yourself. You have to forgive yourself, every day, whenever you remember a shortcoming, a flaw; you have to tell yourself “That’s just fine”. You have to forgive yourself so much, until you don’t even see those things anymore. Because that’s what love is like.” – C. JoyBell C.

It is encouraged during preparation to continue to re-evaluate yourself and the problem you want to change while at the same time maintaining a feeling of confidence about your decision to change. The preparation step says things like, “Get ready, we are heading out”, “What should I pack for this journey”, “I think I can do this”, “Oh yeah, that is why I wanted to make this trip a success”.

The preparation step looks forward in all ways. “It asks you to focus on finding the most suitable type of action to overcome the problem.” (pg. 146 CFG) “We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” – Thomas Edison

It is a fine line at this step in the changing process to also be feeling ready to take action rather than just prepare. The problem with skipping the preparation step is that we tend to wish that just admitting we have a problem that needs to change would be enough to make that wish a reality. Remember that wishing is not enough to make most things happen. You have to find the energy to back up the wish and that energy creates hope which will lead to success in making anything you want, possible.

“If you are going to make a change, you are going to have to operate from a new belief that says life happens not TO me but FOR me. “ – Tony Robbins

Your old-self needs to imagine the new-self and get a mental picture going of what it will look like when you are working the change steps, what it or you will look like when you are fully engaged and making the changes happen.

You started to draw this mental picture during contemplation but now you are adding colors and roads to take and mapping out where and how you will travel. Hopefully you are going to eliminate unwanted surprises along the way by being mindful of what you pack, how you pack and how you will set out toward your destination. Surprises arise no matter how well we plan but trust in the research you have done, the self-talk you have engaged in, the team you have put together and the outcome you want to achieve.

If you know ahead of time that nothing is perfect and imperfection can be an ally then when the surprises crop up you will be able to handle them.

Now would be a great time to get your juices flowing by making a list of all of the perks of your changes. Here are some questions to get you started. Expand as far out as you can with each answer. Get detailed; get into a great story of your journey here:

What are all of the positive outcomes once my changes are complete?

What will I be capable of accomplishing when I change?

Who will I be free to become?

How will not only my life but the lives around me be better because of these changes?

Keep this list with you wherever you go. It is an important tool you will need to reference from time to time.

“Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.” Nelson Mandela

Are you serious?

If this changing thing turns out to be too difficult will you give up?

When you were thinking about changing a problem way back in contemplation did you think this would be easy?

 “Many individuals make personal change a goal but often times the goal gets relegated to a place somewhere between getting a haircut and going shopping. If you attempt to accomplish too much, you will ultimately put off the more difficult tasks that change requires. You must concentrate on making this change task a priority on your to-do list.” (Pg. 151 CFG)

“What I like most about change is that it is a synonym for ‘hope’. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is ‘I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it’”. – Linda Ellerbee

Don’t forget to track your progress through this step of preparation. According to Dr. John Norcross there is a way to track patterns of the problem you want to change. He suggests taking at least a few days, maybe 5, to learn about the pattern. He encourages you to become a “behavioral detective”. Ask yourself these questions so that your actions steps, when you get to that step, will be understood more clearly:

  1. What times of day are the most problematic?
  2. What are the situations that trigger the problem I want to change?
  3. What are my feelings that trigger the problem?
  4. What rewards am I offering myself that maintain the problem?
  5. What are the delayed consequences of the problem that I typically forget about? (Pg. 90 CO)

If you are looking to understand more about what triggers behaviors that need changing then the book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a must read. He not only focuses on the new behavior but he helps you to become aware of the triggers that set off the old behavior.

 

COMMITMENT

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” – Peter F. Drucker

Part of the process of preparation is commitment. Part of the commitment process is also known as willpower. Having the deep, unflinching belief that you will succeed no matter what happens along this journey. “When you make such a commitment, it is an act of faith in yourself. Begin by having faith in all you have accomplished during the contemplation step.” (Pg. 152 CFG)

The definition of willpower reads, Noun: Control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control. Words that strengthen willpower are grit, drive, resolution, and resolve. I would offer a more powerful word than all that I have mentioned so far and that word is courage. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to even think about change of any kind.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

I didn’t know that when I thought about finally taking seriously the need to have the surgery. I didn’t realize how courageous I was being in gathering my facts and making a plan, preparing for the surgery despite all of my deep, deep fears. Having courage as my ally was very powerful once I realized I was embracing that value.

I was at a moment where I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be and live a life that seemed out of my mental and physical grasp for so long. “I’ve chosen my life, now I want to start living it.” – Stephanie Meyer, The Twilight Saga. OH YEAH!!

Take a moment and allow yourself to think about the fears surrounding you within the changes you want to make. Think about what courage means to you…..

Where do you feel the fear?

How strong is the fear that it will act as the winner in this battle toward the person you want to be?

When in your life have you shown  willpower or courage toward something that scared you, and you won?

Who was there for you through your fear and through your courage to help you face the battle ahead?

Your hands are shaking, your body is cold, your wits are scattered, your breathing is labored and shallow, what will it take at this exact moment to push through and move forward anyway?

It’s a date.

Just like a date is set for a wedding or possibly a birth or just like a graduation date is set rain or shine, a start date toward your commitment to change is an important preparation step.

Committing to a specific start date drowns out procrastination and jumping the gun of action. When you choose your start date get real about it.

Perhaps there could be significance to the date you choose (see my personal list at the end of this post). Make sure that the date is not too far off from where you are right now. Too much momentum will be lost if you wait too long to get into action.

When I chose the date of my surgery I picked a time that I knew I would be off from my job with enough time afterward to recover adequately. I also made sure that I had just enough time to keep preparing myself for the surgery but not too much time to build so much anxiety that I would definitely cancel the surgery.

 

 

Your Team

“Nobody can achieve success alone. –Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

We touched on this in the contemplation step by thinking about who you choose to be on your support team. As always I offer myself as your cheerleader of support should you need that one extra person or that one person you can count on without any doubt.

Dr. Norcross covers quite admirably the intention of a team for support. He suggests:

“Make a real list now of potential allies. Keep in mind their availability, shared interests with your interests, and their ability to support and not criticize”.

Think about the type of support you want from these allies. Should these Special Forces be good listeners, pep talkers, someone who has already had success in this particular area of your change, or should these allies be neutral to you like that of a coach or trainer or therapist? Those most able to help are who you ultimately want.

Listen to their words when you ask for their help.” Is there hesitancy? Would this person or persons give unwanted advice or encouragement? Can you be honest enough within yourself to politely say “no, but thank you” to those well intentioned people”?

When you have successfully established your list of allies “don’t email them your request and intentions. Make it personal and leave them feeling important. Call on the phone, get together in person, or send a fancy over the top invitation by mail”. Establishing the feeling of specialness and importance toward your allies will help them understand just how precious this request is to you.

Be prepared to answer questions as clearly and precisely as possible. “Let them know the plan of action, how you prepared, why this is important and what you are going to achieve with their help. Two minutes is all you really need”.

One of the questions from your team might be “What can I do to help”? All of the work is really coming from you so just letting them know that their support and willingness to hear what you have to say through the process is the most important thing they can do.

“Be willing and able to offer the same kind of support to your allies as they have been willing to offer to you”.  To see the full list of team building steps please read Changeology by Dr. John Norcross, Ph.D. and find his list on pages 92-96.

 

“One secret of success in lie is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” – Benjamin Disraeli

At the end of the prep chapter from his book, Changeology, Dr. Norcross lists possible days to set as your beginning or start date. I like his pattern of thinking but I want to get a little creative here and suggest other possible start dates.

Since we are still in the beginning stages of a new year I will offer possible start dates I like and that take you through the month of March. Keep in mind that you can choose to get started any time of day or week or month just because you make it so. Get inspired to find your own wacky or meaningful start date to make these changes in your life so that the dates you choose is that much more memorable and positive:

Your Birthday

Monday

Sunday if you believe that the week actually starts on a Sunday

Graduation Day

First day of any season

January

8: Bubble Bath Day (a great way to start to ease yourself into a change)

13: International Skeptics Day (a great day to prove the naysayers wrong)

24: Compliment Day

25: Opposite Day

February

1: National Freedom Day

7: Start of the Winter Olympics 2014

17: Random Acts of Kindness Day (Be kind to yourself)

22: Be Humble Day

March

3: I Want You To Be Happy Day

16: Everything You Do Is Right Day

20: Proposal Day

30: I am in Control Day 

My Story

I spent 2 more months, February to early April, researching, gathering my plan of attack should I jump ship or follow through, making my list of allies and most of all I did a ton of self-talk.

While making my plans toward the surgery I had also started to be mindful in a big way of my diet. It wasn’t just that I needed the surgery, there was a whole inside/outside image I was trying to achieve and each baby step toward that image was a positive step toward the happiness I wanted so desperately.

By the time the surgery came around I had lost noticeable weight and felt good about the direction I was going. That feeling helped empower me toward not backing out of the surgery. Even with all of that empowerment I was still fearful, nervous, second guessing my decision, I mean after all I have been living 11 years without having the surgery what would be the harm in waiting another year or two?

I think it is very okay to admit to yourself that you still feel fear and doubt while in the midst of preparing to make a change. I think it is normal. The question is, at the very moment of that start date toward change, if you turn back now and give up on making that change that you wanted so badly to make, what kind of person will you feel like? Will you respect yourself? How can anyone respect you if you always back out of what you say you will do? Will you let fear of the unknown always rule the day? What would it feel like to go through with the change and get to the other side?

“As long as we dare to dream and don’t get in the way of ourselves, anything is possible, there is truly no end to where our dreams can take us.” –Hilary Swank

Call to Action

Please take some time to answer all of the questions posed in this post. Only you can know for sure if making any change in your life is what you absolutely want to do. Here is a great website to visit and use to help you get started toward your goal of change. This website helps you to create good habits and all of the information is backed up with scientific research on behavior change.

Professor BJ Fogg teaches at Stanford University where he leads the Persuasion Technology Lab. He also runs the website: http://tinyhabits.com/ This site will help you create new behaviors in your life. On a very small scale I tried his techniques and I can absolutely say that it worked. One of his key strategies toward being successful with any kind of behavioral change is to celebrate your wins. I like the sound of that. Positive reinforcement is always a good thing. Good luck!!

For information about coaching, whether it is in a like-minded group atmosphere or one on one please contact lisa@journeyoncoaching.com or call 203-560-3061. For guidance through contemplation let’s chat for a bit.

For more wisdom wizards please visit her website at www.journeyoncoaching.com  or visit Lisa’s Pinterest Board at http://www.pinterest.com/lisazaccagnini/wisdom-wizards/.

Images by bing.com

Here are the 3 books that I recommend reading:

http://www.amazon.com/Changing-Good-Revolutionary-Overcoming-Positively-ebook/dp/B003GYEH2Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389141403&sr=1-1&keywords=changing+for+good                        

http://www.amazon.com/Changeology-Steps-Realizing-Resolutions-Norcross/dp/B00CAYHN72/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389141450&sr=1-3&keywords=changeology

 

     http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400069289/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=boxofcrayons-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1400069289&utm_source=Box+of+Crayons&utm_campaign=ab0e2acbe5-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_74d9eafd37-ab0e2acbe5-70349973

 

 

 

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.

 

 

“Fake it ’til you make it…”

fake it 001Whispers from my Wallpaper

 

          Fake it ‘til you make it….

Have you ever heard this phrase? What does it mean to you? I think it takes on different meanings depending on who is applying it. For me it calls to something deep inside, confidence and attitude. It asks me to challenge myself and dare to live “as if…”.

My oldest son is leaving home next month to test his independence and his self-confidence by moving far away from home, away from his safety net, his foundation, his comfort zone. As his mom it is hard for me to come to terms with his decision, but if I step back and put myself in his shoes I can almost taste the excitement of the adventure and feel the energy of ownership of making his own decisions, his own space, and his own time. Who among us doesn’t remember the feeling of wanting to take life into their own hands? He always imagined himself a leader, a doer. He is now faced with faking it ‘til he makes it; to dare and live “as if”; putting on the mask of the person he wants to one day become.

“The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen

And boy oh boy is it ever hard work to become yourself. Are you even there yet? Can you remember when you were little and dressing up for Halloween? The costume you chose, whether to be a superhero or a princess? Each costume came with a mask or make-up that allowed you to transform into the idea of who you wanted to be. Can you remember what you felt like once the mask and costume were in place? There was a sort of empowerment, ownership of this imagined you. Maybe grown-ups didn’t really believe who you were imagining yourself to be but you felt encouraged to go on and be your Batman self or your Little Mermaid self. You would never know that the grown-ups could see right through because they always greeted you as if you were the superhero or the princess. You were emotionally invested in the persona. Faking it at a young age gave you the freedom of your imagination and creativity to keep on putting on masks and trying them out as you got older. What stuck? What did you ultimately believe about yourself?

Emotions play a big role in all of our life pursuits. Emotions are our fuel. In his book, Happier, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar writes, “Emotions cause motion; they provide a motive that drives our actions; emotion, motion, motivation are intimately linked.” It is absolutely emotion that is driving my son to seek his independence and declare his abilities to himself and the world. Whenever I try to talk to him about this big step he gets emotional just trying to talk to me. It is emotion that drives the idea of “fake it ‘til you make it.” It is with emotion that we chose the costumes that we did when we were little. Emotion feeds our determination to conquer whatever we choose to do in life.

I have to wonder what his personal questions were:

1)      What motivates me to consider this move?

2)      What is the opportunity?

3)      Who do I need to be in order to become who I want to be?

The philosopher and founder of American Psychology, William James believed that  ”acting a certain way could make you feel that way.” In the thought processes of “fake it ‘til you make it” that is exactly the case. Hundreds of experiments have proved this theory correct. For example, a Clark University study showed that smiling, whether on purpose or naturally induced, made people feel happier. Try this experiment when you don’t really feel like smiling, smile wide and hold for 20 seconds. Take notice of how you feel during the experiment and at the end. Keep trying it and you will start to believe in the emotional effects of smiling.

Perhaps you are not taking a leap of faith and going out to conquer the world in the way my son has decided to do. Perhaps you are or will be a new college graduate and wondering what now? We live in tough economic times and finding a job in your field of study is not easy. You may and probably will have to take a job way outside of your degree in order to start paying back those student loans. Will you fake it ‘til you make it? Will you have the self-confidence and positive attitude to push forward no matter what? What mask will you choose to wear so that people outwardly will believe in who you are trying to become inwardly, but more so that you will start to believe in who you are trying to become? In every job experience you will have you will always need to ask yourself these questions:

1)      What gives my life a sense of purpose?

2)      What do I enjoy doing?

3)      What am I good at?

Answering these questions might guide you toward a calling or help you get through each phase of your life in general. Staying true to who you are and how you answer these questions will always lead you to doing good work. You might not yet know the answers to these questions because you are about to test them all out in the real world. Fake it ‘til you make it. Try on different masks and costumes until you find what fits.

DO smile always. People are attracted to smiling people.

DO stand up straight and tall and proud whether you feel like it or not. People will believe in your inner strength if they see it outwardly.

DO contribute where and when you can. Talk to people and be part of conversations. Make an effort to believe that you have something to say because you know what, you do have something to say, you do have worth and substance; you are enough.

DO know that you are not alone. There is a world full of people faking it until they make it; practicing to become the person they want to be.

DO know your own strengths. Take time to discover all the great success characteristics about yourself. It will empower you to smile more, stand taller and contribute endlessly.

DON’T hide in corners or find distractions like using your cell phone too often in social situations. Make people see that they matter to you and you will matter to them. People like to feel validated (and so do you).

DON’T gossip. Don’t tell tall tales and don’t talk about others behind their backs.

Dr. Ben-Shahar writes, “Happiness at whatever level, does not require a constant experience of ecstasy nor does it require an unbroken chain of positive emotions. To be happy, we have to feel that, on the whole, whatever sorrow, trials, and tribulations we may encounter, we still experience the joy of being alive.” There was pure joy in wearing those costumes so long ago. There can be joy in allowing life to be the teacher now. Putting on the fake it ‘til you make it mask has a more positive impact on the overall experience.  Despite feeling frustrated or let down by not getting that all important job in your field of study right away, smiling anyway, choosing to take each experience for all it’s worth goes a long way to help you and everyone around you believe that you are right where you should be. I know that my son will have no choice but to fake it ‘til he makes it because as far as the real world is concerned he is a newbie and at the same time doesn’t want his inexperience to shine brighter than his determination.

At the University of Rochester, researchers gave subjects an unsolvable problem. Those people that folded their arms in a stubborn pose persevered twice as long as the people that did not display any body language. A study in Singapore revealed that clenching your fist powers your willpower. Try some experiments to see if you can empower yourself to get through some tough moments.  Turn your have-to situations into want-to situations by readjusting your confidence and your attitude. Live “as if” this is exactly where you want to be, “as if” you are experiencing exactly what you hoped to experience. How we perceive the work we do, how we perceive the situations we are in matters more than the work or the situation. My son perceives his life’s journey to be in a different location from where he grew up, with different people surrounding him and influencing his perspective. He is approaching this with zest and humor and courage. What more could a mom ask for?

“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

What thoughts will you produce? What actions will you take to make your moments uniquely you? Will you smile anyway, will you laugh anyway, and will you allow for gain in the experience? What words will you say to start living “as if…?” What about you will you allow to bear your signature? Fake it ‘til you make it and enjoy the ecstatic experience. Journey On…

 

If you would like to explore how coaching can help move your life forward powerfully and purposefully, email Lisa for a complimentary 30 minute coaching consultation at: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com

Journey On Coaching Services would like to extend condolences to the victims and their families of the tragic Boston Marathon Bombing. I encourage all my clients to give to the American Red Cross or any charity in support of a stronger, happier, healthier America.