6 Pathways toward Attracting your Dreams

Attracting Dreams pic

“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.

Spring Clean Your Creativity

 

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Spring Clean Your Creativity

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Walt Disney Company

Does your mind runeth over with ideas and creativity? Do you ever find that your creativity is blocked and you feel lost as to what to do next? Sometimes when I’m writing I feel lost in either too much to write about or not enough topics to choose from and I freeze.

In those times I wish I could take a vacation from my mind, just leave it home and just breathe without wondering about everything there is to wonder about. It’s not really a good idea for me to do this because I’d lose a very important part of who I am. BUT…. What if I could spring clean my mind instead?

According to the gurus of positive psychology, the late Dr. Christopher Peterson and UPENN professor Martin Seligman, the act of creativity falls under the virtues heading of “wisdom and knowledge.” In their book Character Strengths and Virtues they write that “creativity is a cognitive strength of thinking that is used in novel and productive ways to understand and accomplish things. It is NOT limited to artistic expression alone.” In other words, you don’t have to be a musician or a painter to have creativity or to be creative.

Recently, I volunteered to do something creative that I’ve never done before: work with a colleague to produce a virtual-workshop to present to our coaching community. Our workshop was on the topic of home business loneliness and we specifically centered our presentation on loneliness prevention strategies that exist with regard to the mental isolation and geographical isolation of running your own home business. This was very challenging for me because I had high expectations for my presentation and also had certain content criteria I had to meet. I got clear in my mind about what I wanted to present and gave myself a pep talk. My mind, my brain, my spirit, my creativity were all challenged and as a result raised in consciousness.

The short story is that the workshop was a huge success filled to the brim with giveaways, resource lists, hope and passion. The long story is that it involved a lot of research, practice time, re-writes and a spring cleaning of my own personal doubts. I found that anxiety and perfectionism are the enemies of creativity. I stayed with my objective to meet my participants’ needs as well as maintain my passion for this subject. I needed to stay focused, creative and empathetic and curious.

The take away for me after stretching myself with this workshop is that everyone has the ability, capability and tools to be creative. We just have to clean out old notions of what creativity means and open our minds to what we can discover when the clutter clears away and we allow ourselves to explore the depth of our imaginations.

Where To Begin

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”
Hugh MacLeod, Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

Where does one begin to spring clean the mind to discover creativity? I think it’s important to know that at its core creativity is valuable. This means, “The created product and its creator have brought beauty, elegance and/or function into the world”, so says Drs. Peterson and Seligman. They go on to say that “creativity is trait-like, meaning it’s an everyday creative who can use objects to create something new from something old.” For example: someone who rearranges furniture to create more pleasing aesthetics to a room and create better function, or the person that changes an ingredient in a recipe to make it their own dish. Creativity is and should be fulfilling. Creation on any level just feels good.

Just like when you get ready to spring clean your garage or attic, spring cleaning your mind to allow for expansive creativity opens emotional doors to worlds you’ve yet to discover.

Tina Turner said it best when she said, “Sometimes you’ve got to let everything else go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything….whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it, because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”

In order to gain perspective, ask yourself:

1)      What is possible?

2)      Who will this affect/benefit?

3)      If this doesn’t lead to the result I want, would I still be glad I took the time to work on it?

Your answers should be personal because after all, creativity starts within your heart, mind, environment, soul depending on where the influences are allowed to flow from. If you are going to benefit, if you are going to be positively affected, if this is important to you, then everyone around you will benefit as well.

Every day “creatives” leave room for curiosity, open-mindedness and critical thinking. Are you an in the box every day creative meaning you only seek creativity within the structure of your daily routines or an out of the box everyday creative meaning that you follow where your thoughts and ideas lead you whether it is on the t0-do list for the day or a stimulus in your environment that caught your imagination? I am learning to be an out of the box every day creative by practicing it. I stay present in my daily agenda and goals but within those goals I let myself stay with a thought a lot longer than normal; I try not to only stick to my agenda, I do the creative things that I feel passionate about and allow myself to explore more deeply the things I am curious about, and I allow myself time to breathe and get clear so that I can be ready for the next idea to wash over me.

As scary as it was to create and deliver my workshop presentation, I allowed myself to enjoy the time spent on the research. I enjoyed the collaboration process with my colleague. The feedback from the participants was so much more than I could have ever imagined. The content was something I really resonated with and, therefore, it allowed for my own richness and passion to come through. Participants used words like empowering, uplifting, over-flowing. Passion and curiosity created content, content created interest, interest created exploration, exploration created creativity for out of the box research and open-mindedness.

Best- selling author, Michael Neill says,

“If we treat whatever stands in our way as an obstacle, we can bring the full creative resources of our mind to bear on the situation and find ways to get over, around, or through it.”

Being scared was my obstacle and I am so glad to have found a way to get over it and through it. I am armed for next time. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when facing your creative block or fear of being blocked creatively,

“You must to the thing you think you cannot do.”

What are some ideas we can all practice toward becoming more creative? To free our minds; to spring clean what we know and allow for the unknown to propel us toward new discoveries?  

10 Stepping Stones to Becoming more Creative:

1-      Meditation breathing: This allows for you to begin the positive open-minded flow of ideas

2-      Visualize: What do you want? Get clear, see your ideas. Make a vision board that shows in pictures, drawings and writing all that you intend and hope for.

3-      Stay present: Don’t spring too far ahead of you ideas that you start to feel overwhelmed or try not to fall too far behind that you become overwhelmed with trying to catch up.

4-      Don’t forget your funny bone: According to Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher of the successful book, “The Levity Effect”, incorporate fun and humor into your agenda and project. Bring fun snacks, spin around in your chair while brainstorming, tell a joke, keep fun toys nearby like silly putty, paper airplanes, etc., play great music. Lightening up and approaching from a fun point of view allows for out of the box thinking and powerful creativity.

5-      Journal your journey: This will allow you to keep moving your thoughts and creativity forward and to remember what you want to achieve without the pressure of cluttering your agenda or goals.

6-      Get physical: Use warm up exercises to get you ready for the days’ tasks even if it’s physical tasks. This gets your mind, your heart and muscles determined and ready. It lets your happy cells and happy chemicals (endorphins) flow through you to feel energized toward your accomplishments. Physical can also mean taking a trip to a library, museum, park or perhaps a show to help you see even more of what your imagination needs to propel you toward your creativity.

7-      Recruit: If your task is too big for just you, ask for help. “The more the merrier” cliché applies here.

8-      Time Out: Music breaks, food breaks, journaling breaks, walking breaks. BUT…. be mindful of your break time. Taking too much time could cause your momentum to suffer.

9-      Step back, take notice: Allow for perspective and evaluation. Allow yourself to feel grateful for every tiny step you take toward your goal. Allow gratitude for your interpretation, your voice, your spirit.

10-   Celebrate: Acknowledge your success by celebrating your every accomplishment. Creativity is a celebration, a great and wonderful, out loud reflection of YOU. Be proud and celebrate.

Inspiration To Get You Started

I recently came across a story that I think gets to the heart of creativity:

An Old Sioux Legend

In ancient times, the Creator wanted to hide something from the humans until they were ready to see it. He gathered all the other creatures of creation to ask for their advice.

The eagle said, “Give it to me and I will take it to the highest mountain in all the land,” but the Creator said, “No, one day they will conquer the mountains and find it.”

The salmon said, “Leave it with me and I will hide it at the very bottom of the ocean,” but the Creator said, “No, for humans are explorers at heart, and one day they will go there, too.”

The Buffalo said, “I will take it and bury it in the very heart of the Great Plains,” but the Creator said, “No, for one day even the skin of the earth will be ripped open, and they will find it there.”

The creatures of creation were stumped, but then an old blind mole spoke up. “Why don’t you put it inside them—that’s the last place they’ll look.”

The Creator said, “It is done.”

In the very popular book “The Artist’s Way”, author and teacher Julia Cameron lists 10 basic principles of creativity. The one that resonates with me the most, the one that inspires me is her #4 principle: We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to create.”

The Vietnamese Zen Buddist monk, teacher, author, poet, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Every thought you produce (create), anything you say (write, sing, etc…), any action you do, it bears your signature (creativity).”

Deepak Chopra writes, “The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.”

To all of these great and wonderful inspirational thoughts and words I say, never stop creating who you are and who you want to be. No one suffers for your intuition, your courage, or your curiosity.

Spring is a great time for renewal, regeneration, release. Clean out what is holding you back and get your creativity on.

Call to Action

What did you take away from the Old Sioux Legend?

How can you use this legend to spark your creativity?

What would you like to explore this year, this spring, that you have been holding yourself back from exploring?

I challenge you to spring clean your mind and explore the endless possibilities of what you can allow yourself to see and what you allow yourself to find. All it takes is one thought, one idea, one spark and your big deep breath to say “I can do it.”

 

Are you really ready for the new year?

When December 1st hits I feel like every tick of the clock is amplified because with the end of the month comes the end of the year, perhaps the end of a decade or a century. Every day ends, every month ends but the end of December is somehow more significant. Conversely the monumental end of the month of December also brings the enormous beginning of a fresh and hopeful new year, a renewed commitment to old and new goals and old and new resolutions.

Resolutions are in the air. What are resolutions anyway? Promises we try to make to ourselves to do something different or better than ever before. Isn’t that the premise of change?

Whether graduating from school, going off to college, switching career paths, dieting or turning a new age, the word “change” is the main ingredient. For most of us change is very scary and hard to start; goals are hard to set. If we are lucky enough to get started on a change, on obtaining an elusive goal, it is even harder to continue and see it through. For some of us change is exciting, exhilarating. The path toward success with any type of change is our perspective about the change and our attitude throughout the change. The idea of “different” has most of us envious of those who accomplish their changes, meeting their goals and/or running for the hills when thought about in terms of ourselves.

Amy Wrzesniewski, a researcher at Yale University, came up with the term “job crafting” for individuals who completely enjoyed their jobs but they were also making little changes that made their job more enjoyable. In terms of life changes at this time of year I suggest “life crafting”. To put it simply, doing small things, taking baby steps to make your life more rewarding. People can change but at what cost? Change is a shift in identity. We can play with our identities and imagine many possibilities for our lives. Think about someone you know who has made a change, big or small. How did that person seem to behave through the change and as a result of changing? How did you feel in your reaction to that persons change? Now, think about yourself as you are today and in one year from today. If everything about the changes you want to make has gone as well as could be hoped for…

1-      What would the person you hoped to become look like?

2-      What would the changed life feel like?

3-      What is something small that you can do right now to take steps toward that better, resolute, changed life?

Making resolutions, promises to ourselves to change what we don’t like or increase power to what is already working is vital to our well-being. In support for our natural desire to change Robert –Biswas Diener says, “Goals are future-oriented benchmarks that help us organize our behavior. By establishing goals, both large and small, we establish a gauge for success, a guide for making decisions, and a target to move toward. In the absence of goals we tend to flounder.”

According to Jeremy McCarthy of psychologyofwellbeing.com, there are 10 strategies for accomplishing change, goals, and greatness.

1-      Know that change is possible.

2-      Know that change is not easy.

3-      Keep your eye on the prize BUT know that there will be hurdles to overcome.

4-      Don’t focus only on the goal, the change or only on the hurdles. Find a balance of foucs.

5-      Want the changes you seek. For example, “What would make me want to lose weight? “What would make me want to do more exercises? “What would make me want to stick to my goals for change?

6-      What is the smallest, easiest step to take that you know you can’t fail? For example if writing a book is one of your goals, try writing one sentence per day and before you know it you’ll have the makings of your book. It’s a step that there can be no excuses attached to.

7-      Recognize that there will be setbacks and plan for them. For example, IF I want to go to the gym to exercise after work and a colleague asks me to go to happy hour after work THEN I will either meet up with that colleague after my work out or get up early the next morning to go to the gym.

8-      Strengthen your will power. This can be done through meditation or personal challenges to test your resilience.

9-      Dig in and keep going. Persevere. Work hard to achieve your end result.

10-   Know when to let goals go. Sometimes, but rarely, will you realize that the path you are taking toward your change, toward your goal is not the right path. Be flexible enough to recognize that signs of a bad plan and be open enough to change course, change the plan but not give up on the idea of where you want to go.

In this new year that is fast approaching I wish you strength, perseverance and open mindedness toward your changes, your goals and your resolutions. Happy New Year!!!