Who Told you That?

mirrormirror

 

“Understand: people will constantly attack you in life. One of their main weapons will be to instill in you doubts about yourself – your worth, your abilities, your potential. They will often disguise this as their objective opinion, but invariably it has a political purpose – they want to keep you down.”

― Robert Greene, The 50th Law

When I was little my dad used to play at rough-housing with me and my siblings. There was a game he called “King of the Mountain” and the object of the game was to knock off whoever tried to get to the top of the pillow mountain first. We loved this game because first we got to play with dad, always a great time, then we got to make a huge mess of all the pillows we could find in the house and then make a humungous mountain as tall as we could possibly reach. I have to say that to 3, 4, and 5-year-old eyes this was the tallest structure ever created. We then would clear away all manner of hurtful hard objects and proceed to strategize as to just how to climb this monumental structure without getting caught and tackled to the ground. There was a hysterical amount of tickling involved in this game designed specifically to weaken our little bodies enough that we couldn’t find the strength to climb anything at all, all while trying to prevent dad from reaching the top of the mountain and declare himself King.

One could argue that this was a life lesson in how to overcome impossible obstacles that life will inevitably throw at us; how to overcome those demons that are designed and determined to keep us down physically and mentally, philosophically and psychologically whether in words or deeds and life lessons in how to get creative in problem solving all while laughing out loud. Blah, blah, blah; we just thought it was so fun to spend undivided time with dad. But wait, now I’m curious…..

What keeps you feeling down? What mountains are in front of you that need to be climbed? What motivates you to climb those mountains?

There are many important questions that come along in our lifetime. Questions that create angst, change, upheaval, awareness, peace, etc. Of all the questions that I have come across as a life coach, the one question that seems to have the most impact is the one question that attacks the essence of who my client is at any given moment. This question seems to evolve and keeps evolving as we learn and grow and become. This question has the potential of becoming habit forming; a reminder to always check my sources and resources in order to keep fear at bay and inner strength at the ready.

The questions I ask myself on a daily basis are, for the most part, always in helpful surrender to aid in making me the best possible version of who I strive to become. Who I am today is in no way who I will be later in life and although who I was yesterday may carry over into who I am right this moment, my “yesterday” self always has the ability to be better tomorrow. What is this incredible question?

Who told you that?

This question falls under the auspices of false beliefs or limiting beliefs and carries a tremendous amount of weight inside our heads and hearts. Most of us allow that the things we choose to believe, whether we realize it as our choice or not, are the things that hold us back from a fulfilling, productive, purposeful life. For a lot of people, believing the limiting beliefs we cling to holds a lot of fear in preventing us from exploring all kinds of fearless possibilities.

This question has been a constant companion for me for many years. It takes on many faces such as, who told you that you are not worthy of a better life, a better job, or a better outcome? Who told you that you have to compromise on what means the most to you? Who told you that if you experience happiness of any kind you are only allowed that one-time experience and then doomed to misery thereafter? Who told you that the love you have in your life is all you are allotted in one lifetime? Who told you that brown and pink don’t go well together? Who told you that if your children are not successful in their own right that means that you are not a successful parent?

More importantly when did you start believing all of this?

For as long as we live there will be life moments that test our inner strength; that make life feel as if this one time experience is the most impossible mountain to climb. Questions like this one help to keep us grounded and present and focused on being and becoming our best selves. The fear factor here might be, “what if I can’t answer this question or what if I stay stuck in my limiting beliefs?” I suggest taking time to unpack the question step by slow moving step until you come to understand how you got here.

Family therapist, author, marathon runner and professor Cami Ostman teaches an incredible workshop on how to successfully put the “Who told you that” question to the test and how to successfully answer it and use the question and answer to your advantage. When we feel stuck in our fear of not being enough and believing that we are truly not enough Ms. Ostman says that “we are not aligning with our true nature; we are not aligning with our core selves.” She goes on to say, “Our true nature, our core selves, are calm, joyful and centered. Most of our limiting beliefs start in childhood based on what we perceived as a need to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable or hurt or shameful or weak. Our true nature thrives on genuine support from others and uses 4 qualities to help us thrive.” Those 4 qualities are:

*Clarity of purpose: Who does it benefit to take the road less traveled? Who does it benefit to follow the leader?

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!” Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

*Faith: Enjoy each step along the way and know that whatever choice you make; all will be okay.

“Realize that if a door closed, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you.” Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

*Commitment to ourselves and our purposes: What is one tiny step you can take each morning to bring you closer to where you want to be?

“If you had started doing anything two weeks ago, by today you would have been two weeks better at it.” John Mayer

*Sovereignty: The unshakable knowledge that we are the supreme rulers of our own minds and choices and decisions. Who has given you permission to question your own self- worth, in other words, who told you that and why are you believing it? When we truly believe that we are sovereign over our hearts, minds and bodies then we are free to come and go, to explore and choose wisely and be impactful in all we do.

“Peggy is a sovereign nation. She governs herself and those around her by her own laws.” Katlyn Charlesworth, The Patriot’s Daughter

According to Ms. Ostman, bringing forth your true nature is a practice of letting go of fear; letting go of limiting beliefs, letting go of those things that were told to you whether to protect you or to scare you to stand still. Ms. Ostman suggests respectfully thanking all the parts of us that tried to protect us from the fears that are holding us back, wishing those parts well and firmly telling those parts that it is now time to take the reins and face the fears and the adventure that awaits.

As If….

A great way to begin your journey of shedding those limiting beliefs, of shedding fear is to take these 4 qualities and start with the end in mind. Let’s play….

Kari always wanted to be an artist. Her talents have been recognized by the obvious people in her life, her art teachers, her friends, her classmates, etc. but for some reason Kari has not taken all of those accolades and turned it into the art studio/gallery that she has always imagined. Kari doesn’t believe within herself that her art work is good enough to sell or that strangers would want to buy what she is creating. She is beginning to feel like doing art of any kind is a waste of time and that she needs to start getting serious about her life and start to make a living. “It feels like there is just too much wasted time in art and I need to pay my bills and just get on with my life at this point.” Who told Kari that art is too much of wasted time? Who told Kari that being an artist isn’t a serious pursuit of making a life? Who told Kari that she isn’t good enough to make art her career? When did those limiting beliefs start to take deep roots in her heart and mind?

There are a few choices Kari can make: She can give up her art completely and get a “real” job, she can only do her artwork for her own pleasure and joy, she can give her artwork away to friends and colleagues as gifts so that at least her art will be “out there” even if it hangs in someone else’s house or office or she can imagine one last time what it would be like to have the art studio/gallery she always dreamed about.

Kari chooses to imagine one last time about her art studio. Kari chose the “as if” option and she lets her imagination run wild with the end in mind, “as if” she made her dream come true and opened her art studio and became the successful artist she always dreamed of becoming. Out loud Kari imagines it is opening night at her art studio and the walls are full of her artwork in every medium. There are lots of people at the opening tonight including people that came as guests of those that received an invitation and the biggest surprise of all is that the media are here tonight to interview Kari and get her story. Kari imagines the gorgeous outfit she is wearing and imagines that her parents are there and feel so proud of her for sticking with her dream and making it come true. Kari imagines the food and drinks being passed around, she imagines the pockets of conversation going on around her studio, she imagines the music playing in the background and how great everyone looks tonight because they came to this special event. At the end of the night Kari imagines her most sacred piece of art being sold to an art collector and Kari being commissioned to do work for businesses in and around her art studio.

The greatest take away for Kari in playing the “as if” game is that she just thought about even more ideas on how to make her studio/gallery a great success. By opening herself up to the possibilities and by letting herself feel the happiness in her core-self, by freeing her mind and heart from limiting beliefs, Kari has experienced more joy in these few minutes than in the past year of struggling to be “practical” about her future.

Call to Action

Find a friend, mentor, coach, or use your own reflection in the mirror and play the “as if” game with your dreams. No limiting beliefs allowed. Dress the part, play the music, set the scene and have at it. Notice everything, the way you look, the way you feel, the way your thoughts expand. Who told you that you can’t make this vision your reality?

One of Ms. Ostman’s most successful practices is to interview fear and listen to what comes up in that discussion. If you are interested in trying this interview with fear, please give me a call. You will be changed from this experience.

On a piece of paper make a list down one side of the paper of all the things that you believe today. On the other side of the paper make a list of how you came to have each belief; in other words, who told you that? On a new piece of paper make a list of all the new things you are now going to believe that will help move you toward the person you want to be. Keep in mind on this new list, that YOU are giving yourself permission to believe these new things, act on these new things, dream these new things and become these new things.

Write a good-bye letter to your old self letting go of the fearful things that you have told to yourself or have been told to you that you are currently believing; letting go of the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from becoming your true self. Before you end the good-bye to old self letter start to write about all the new things your new, free self will be experiencing from now on. What successful, happy, expansive experiences will you be adding to your new life? How much can you honestly feel inside of your core-self that you believe you honestly, courageously, and wholeheartedly will experience in all the amazing life moments that are destined to come to you?

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.

4 Powerful Ways to make a Soul Connection

0001Black Swans

How do you receive messages from the universe?

In what ways do you stop what you are doing to listen to the messages?

Where in your body do you feel connected to the messages being sent to you?

How do you show gratitude for the messages?

“Gracious acceptance is an art…..an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving….. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him/her to express his/her feelings for you.” –Alexander McCall Smith

For me, messages come along every day. I hear them in simple quotes that come along just at the “right” time, I hear them in lyrics to a song especially when I’ve heard the song many times but THIS time I am really listening, I hear them in certain words that people use that get my attention, I hear them in stories that clients tell me or stories that I read, or when emotion and energy are high. These messages are the ones that let me know that I am about to learn something and really need to pay attention.

I recently met someone that my soul connected with quickly and deeply. I wasn’t looking for this kind of connection and I wasn’t prepared for it when it came. I remember saying to this person upon our first face to face encounter how weird I was feeling at the moment we hugged “hello” because I felt like I had known him all my life. I felt peaceful and alive. I was easily able to maintain eye contact with him during the entire time we were in conversation, I was not distracted at all by what was going on around me, I recognized little things we had in common, passions for causes larger than ourselves that were in complete synchronicity to our life purposes, we connected in the same kind of spiritual/life language that each of us spoke and our curiosity about life itself seemed very much aligned. It was powerful for me because I had never known a connection like this in my life.

The connection for me was undeniable and I know it will stay with me forever.  I’d like to believe that the purpose for our encounter was to exchange an energy vibration that we each needed to recognize in order to move forward with our own life purpose. We are not friends or colleagues or acquaintances. As quickly as the connection was made it was gone. We were just two souls passing through each other’s lives for an oh so brief moment and I believe that the purpose was to leave a message. For me the message was to stay open, live with passion, receive with humility and gratitude, consider everything that comes my way and pay it forward and to find the love, endlessly, in everything I do.

“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie onto the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” –Oscar Wilde

A soul connection doesn’t happen very often, at least not for me. It’s kind of like when Bugs Bunny knew in his body that a carrot was beneath his feet and his whole being would vibrate and shake and tremor. Do you remember that cartoon episode? That was a soul connection; no doubt, no hesitation, no second guessing. He was so in tune with his own soul vibrations that he knew to trust it when it showed up that strongly.

Perhaps you have had a similar experience like when you catch a suspended moment in a stranger’s eyes or when you seem to easily strike up a conversation with someone when you know well that making small talk is not your strongest character strength. I believe that you were recognizing the other person’s amazing beauty and vibration. You found a comfort in their soul and connected to it right away. These micro moments of recognition, of messages that are trying to reach your soul are so powerful and everlasting that you are changed forever. The universe is speaking to you, asking you to be present, to notice, to stay open, and to recognize your own beauty and vibration because you matter too.

“Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, Amen.” –George Saunders

Listening to your soul vibrations, making a soul connection to the messages that are being sent to you is a practice worth strengthening. Very often we block out the messages that come to us for reasons like we don’t feel deserving, or we don’t want to hear that particular message or we were taught at a young age to stay focused on what is right in front of us….not to read too much into things, etc.

What would happen if we stopped to smell the roses, to savor the moment a message was sent?

How much more connected to our soul, our inner voice would we be?

What beauty would we find with this new, enlightened realization that the message was trying to send?

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” –Dr. Brene` Brown

The soul connection I felt to this new person that swiftly breezed through my life was a strong vibration that forced me to take notice. It opened up words inside of me that have been sitting at the surface of my soul but for some reason I was denying their existence. Words like reverence, awe, grace, spirituality, forgiveness, wonder, and self-worth. These are scary words for me to delve into. Each one of them is asking me to face demons that I feel I am not ready to face. But what if the message is that the universe feels that I am ready to face these words? What happens if I keep denying them? What happens if I open up each word one at a time and discover their power and their soul and make a connection?

So, that is what I am going to do. I am going to open each word and learn more about myself, about connection, and about how to use these amazing words to strengthen my existence and purpose.

I am starting with soul connections because that is the strongest feeling and word combination that has attached to me. Each of us has a unique energy or vibration that we live with and that lives within us.

Sometimes we let it drain out of us when we are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, angry, lonely or unlovable. Sometimes we feel an abundance of energy and find it hard to contain. We may have recently had a lot of good things happen or we may be awakening to a new understanding or awareness that has changed our lives from the inside out and we feel compelled to connect with people of the same energy and awareness. I think that most of the time we live in a steady stream of energy that when honed properly guides us through our day to day and helps us make decisions and connections.

Have you ever noticed how you feel connected to someone romantically but not to everyone you meet?

Have you ever noticed how you feel connected to someone with a bit more compassion than normal, or clarity about their story, or playfulness or negativity?

Have you ever noticed feeling connected to someone but not recognizing connection back from them?

What were you meant to connect about?

Each soul connection vibrates your own energy toward that person’s own energy. Some people are meant to stay within a soul connection for a long time and some are meant to stay only for a short time but each connection serves a purpose. We may never know the true purpose but I believe that staying open to allowing those connections to be made and then knowing when to let go is very important. I don’t believe in empty soul connections. I may not feel the same energy connection toward someone that has a strong energy connection to me but that doesn’t mean that my purpose in their life is meaningless or vice versa. I do believe that when the purpose is served the relationship will end and we will both be better for having made that connection, if we allow for that learning and awareness.

So how do you begin to create awareness toward a soul connection?

Here are 4 ways that have helped me to create connection:

Live with intention:

“You’ve been given the innate power to shape your life….but you cannot just speak change, you have to LIVE change. Intent paired with action builds the bridge to success. You can’t just want it; you have to do it, live it… BE it! Success isn’t something you have, it’s something you DO! – Steve Maraboli

My soul connection came about because my intention was to network with people who had the same intention as I do to help bring about a positive change, one person at a time. Had I not taken the leap of faith and initiated the conversation, the connection, then none of this would be possible.

Ask for connection through the universe and through reaching out to other people:

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —  Maya Angelou

As I mentioned above, I reached out. I made the connection live through declaring my intention to connect. I always ask the universe to please guide me to the people that can help me so that I can then in turn help them. Every person I meet has the potential to connect me to the next person and get me to where I want to go. I know when I’ve connected positively because the feedback is intense and positive.

Seek out attributes in other people, places and activities that make you feel alive:

“Seek out that particular attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice that says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attribute, follow it.” –William James

This is an on-going process for me. I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge, my connections, and my tribe. I try to look for people and groups and activities that are of the same thought processes and intentions as mine. I believe more soul connections are possible if I surround myself with people who think about the world and see the world the way I do or hope to. However, there is always something to learn from those that exist outside of our own attributes. Staying open and curious will always lead to some stage of enlightenment.

Leave something behind that your soul can connect to when it goes to the next plane of existence:

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies…something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die…It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” –Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

This to me is one of the ultimate ways in which we make soul connections that last not only in this life plane but carries over to every other life plane that our soul has. Great examples are the souls of my children. I have endless, as far as I know, opportunity to change and shape and mold their souls from the way it was when they were born into something that is a reflection of my existence when my hands, my heart, my words are taken away. The same holds true when someone says to you that you are unforgettable. You have left a seed of yourself in their soul to last through infinity. What could be better than that?

Call to Action

Make a list of ways in which you can start to create intention toward making soul connections. Take small, meaningful steps toward bringing your intention to life. Recognize when a connection is grabbing your attention. Take time to notice where in your body you feel connected and notice how you feel. What words come up for you at that moment? How can you use those words to create more intention and pay it forward?

Good luck. I hope our souls meet someday…..

Journey On…..

If you would like to explore more about making soul connections or would like to learn how to activate your intentions toward purpose please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by sending an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com

 

 

8 Ways to celebrate the unofficial New Year

8 Ways to celebrate the unofficial New Year

 leavesoriginal

“Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know. Often finding meaning is not about doing things differently, it is about seeing familiar things in new ways.”—Rachel Naomi Remen

I don’t know about you, although I would really like to, but I have always felt that the start of September has been more of a symbolic start to a new year than the one the world has established at the end of December. Maybe a lot of it has to do with the start of a new school year? But think about this, most vacation time ends and schedules kick in with renewed vigor, kids do go back to school starting a new grade level and/or a new school, we tend to buy new clothes for school and work, a new season begins in September, for some people new jobs start in September, in some religions it truly is the start of a new year, new cars are debuted in September, and the new season of football starts in September.

Although September is not the official New Year on the calendar why not make it one for yourself. Think of it like fourth quarter with 30 seconds to go on the 20 yard line and you just know that this time a touchdown is going to happen. Think of it like your last chance at a do over, a chance to right some wrongs before the year officially closes or before your New Year resolutions really do run out, think of it like putting all the leftover ingredients into a stew pot and making the most amazing dinner you have ever made, ever, with brownies for dessert (just in case). That is doing something different with familiar things.

Today I was thinking about the fact that my youngest, my baby boy, will be entering his final year of formal education. Unlike in years past, this momentous event takes place early September this year. Although he feels his final year starts tonight with the official start of football practice I still have yet to buy the all-important notebooks and school supplies and the one first day of school outfit he has become accustomed to, so for me I have some time until the school routine really kicks in. I did however fill out all the medical and contact paperwork that is required each new school year and yes, of course, I cried. Why does time go by so fast? When the universe asked me to be my baby’s’ mom I said, “Yes, of course” but I was never asked if I was ready for him to be a senior in high school.

The thing about doing something familiar but finding new meaning in the familiar is that it changes our perspective on what we seem to take for granted. Even though another school year is about to begin and that in itself is so familiar, this year, besides the fact that it is a new school grade level it is also the last official school year for our family, it means filling out new paperwork so  that my son will get to drive to school for the first time, it means that the football year he has been looking forward to all his life is finally here, it means that he will enter this last school year looking like an underclassman but will walk out of school in June looking like he is ready for college or ready to join the real world, it means that every single day is his last day in the world he has become so familiar with, this year it means a new school principal and it means that he will have to, for the first time really, think about  and plan for his future once he becomes a high school graduate. There are also some firsts that will happen for him that could not have happened at any other time for instance his prom, being honored as a senior on senior football night, winning the pep rally for being the loudest class in the school gym, simple rites of passage that although we all tend to take for granted really should be honored and celebrated. There are so many opportunities each day to take notice of what we think are so mundane and really turn them into something special and meaningful.

So how can you take the familiar things and turn them into something special and unique and meaningful?

1)      Make the days stand out for their own merit. What can help make today meaningful? What would you like to do to make today meaningful? Don’t wait, do it.

2)      Choose simple pleasures like baking a cake for dessert simply because you want to or because you know your family or neighbor will be so happy that you did. A “just because” action makes an ordinary day and you feel special.

3)      Create a picture diary for the day, the month, or the year. If, like for me, this new school year is a milestone, then create a picture diary of every last day of this milestone year.

4)      Create a new habit. Work on changing one thing that you don’t like about your day or yourself and with this “New Year” start to make changes that will better define who you want to be. For some help with creating a new habit go to tinyhabits.com. I have used this website and it really did help me create a new habit.

5)      Add to your to-do list only ONE item that you really want to do that day and make sure you do it, no matter what. For me I enjoy making time for reading romance novels. Even if I only get 30 minutes at the end of my day I make sure it goes on my to-do list so that I don’t neglect what makes me happy.

6)      Listen closer, see deeper, or taste more. Use your senses to create a moment that means more. “Stop and smell the roses” as the saying goes.

7)      Clear the clutter. Clutter accumulates not only on our desks but also in our heads. Clear the clutter by writing it down in a journal or a daily diary, talking about it with a partner, friend or coach, or by putting it in a virtual file for later. Stop paying attention to the worry. The worry is only your energy going toward what you don’t want to happen. Create meaning by concentrating on what you do want to happen.

8)      Use your words. Say “I love you” more today, tell a joke, repeat a joke, remember who you spoke to today, compliment someone, say thank you” more often today, create possibilities, and create beginnings.

I always felt a renewed sense of purpose and energy with each new school year. Now that I work I still find myself looking forward to the change that the new school year brings. There seems to be a more electric charge in the air at this “New Year” time than at the end of December. I can still take advantage of the nicer weather and look forward to wearing sweaters when the cooler weather comes along but knowing that I don’t have to wear a heavy coat yet. I can take pictures of the changing leaves and really take advantage of the visual meaning of appreciating something familiar in a different way, I can enjoy watching my calendar get filled up with my children’s activities and to-do’s and I can relax in the comfort of knowing that I still have some time left to get to work on those long ago New Year resolutions that I have been putting off facing.

So what will you do this “new year”? How will you create meaning in the familiar by doing something different with it? I’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts with me here.

Remember that we set our own conditions to the events of our days and our lives.

I wish you strength, resolve and a wholehearted Happy New Possibilities Day.

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 supercharge your spirit please call or write to me and let’s chat in a judgment free, empowering, uplifting space. You can reach me at 203-560-3061 or lisa@journeyoncoaching.com. Your personal discovery awaits….

4 Ways to help you gain perspective

railroaddailydose

4 ways to help you gain perspective….

How a move to new office space created better perspective in everything.

Have you ever been stuck in a particular way of thinking or seeing the world around you? Have you ever wished for clarity or for a way to approach a situation differently?

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.”—Marianne Williamson

This happens to me all the time. I get that heavy feeling inside of my chest when I know I am stuck in my head and in my own perspective. It’s hard sometimes to ask for someone else’s point of view because you know for sure it will be counter to your own. It’s also hard when you know that changing perspective will mean letting go of what is familiar, that right or wrong your way of thinking is the only way you know and are comfortable handling.

Is it such a bad thing to take a different approach, to look with a new point of view?

For a while now I have been contemplating changing where my office is located in my home. I have been sharing office space with my husband for well over 8 years now and for a while we had also set up a small area in this small office so that the kids could have their own “office” space for school work. You can imagine how crowded our space felt on school nights with the gang all working together.

As I have been making my career transition I knew the day would come that I would need to have more office space to allow for me to have my clients meet with me in person, to sit and feel welcome and safe and comfortable.

Recently that day came. I got a call to meet with a client in person and I suddenly really needed to separate our offices and so I finally put my idea of MY office space into reality and made the move. Let me just say right now that I will never share office space again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I love being in their space 24/7 but honestly, I love my new space. I love the entire room I am in. We call it the fireplace room because, yep, you guessed it, the fireplace is the main focal point of the room. It is a bright area due to the room having the most windows, and it is cheerful and roomy and I am slowly creating the space to be cozy for my clients as well as my family. I love the new perspective I have now with the view from my windows of the front of the house and now also the back of the house.

I feel more creative all of a sudden. I find that I want to be in my new office all the time. I get more respect from my family because I have this established space. I decorated the space to accommodate my clients and I feel more professional toward my new career and it just seems like my family treats me with more professionalism.

Today I was working on my latest blog post and heard a noise at the back window. I turned and saw a bird hanging on to the window screen. I would have missed that sight completely if I was still in my old office space and I suddenly felt so grateful for the chance to see something I never would have seen before. My new space not only changed my feelings inside of myself but it changed my physical perspective on the small world around me. The sight of the bird on the window made me take a deep breath and just stop, for one minute and be grateful for the little things.

It may not seem like much to change furniture around in a room or to change the sheets on the bed or to just look out a window you have looked out of a million times before but what is amazing about all those “routine” things is that TODAY your perspective is different. Today you get to smell the freshly washed sheet smell, today you get to sit in a new position in the same old room, today you get to look out of that window and realize that yesterday you didn’t get to see that Cardinal bird sit on the tree branch and how amazing the red Cardinal bird looks against the deep green on the leaves of the tree. In a few short weeks those leaves will start to change and that deep green won’t be back again for another year.

Maybe you can’t change a room around but you can still change your perspective. All it takes is a bit of practice. Ask yourself a few questions:

1)      What do I want to get clear on?

2)      How can I look at this situation from a different angle?

3)      What are the possibilities if I just let go of this way of thinking or seeing?

Here are 4 ways that might help you gain perspective:

1)      Visualize. Take a piece of paper and crayons or markers or a pen and draw what you see in your mind. Taking your thoughts out of your head and making them come to life on paper or through a design program in your computer help to get your juices flowing toward deeper understanding of your need, your excitement, and your objective. Perhaps creating a scrapbook from old magazine cutouts that allow you to actually choose the pieces of the design or idea you are visualizing would help make it more real. Perhaps saying it out loud or writing it in a journal would help you get clear on what exactly you want to accomplish.

2)      Ask for another point of view. Maybe you would benefit from talking to someone about your perspective? Are you really stuck in an old way of seeing or thinking about a situation? Perhaps a partner, friend, coach, or parent might be able to help you get clear on what perspective to take.

3)      Physically walk around the situation. Getting physical is a great way to help your perspective get more laser focused. Go for a walk either through the space or the idea. Lay out your drawing and walk around the drawing. When I was thinking about which room would be best for my own office space I had to establish what my goal was, why I needed the new space and then where and how to make it happen. I walked through the room I was thinking of using many times before I settled on just where to put my desk, my computer printer/copier, my sitting area, etc. Taking my visualization ideas and mapping out my space physically helped not only in creating excitement but also in the eventual move into the new space. It took no time at all to get the room ready because I had done the preliminary work through visualizing and mapping.

4)      Don’t wait too long. The longer you wait to change your perspective the more you risk feeling like the change in perspective is out of reach. I knew eventually I would move my office and I also knew it would happen when the time was right but waiting so long left me feeling a bit hopeless that maybe I was being silly or selfish to want to change. Don’t wait. If your insides are ready for a fresh point of view then make the change. Had I changed my office perspective sooner who knows what would have happened to my creativity? Now that I am in my new space I feel so relaxed and open to possibilities. I am now visualizing new perspectives to give this space and what that will do for my clients. I am looking at how much more this new space can say about me.

After this amazing new office move I knew I needed to tackle one more room change. My husband and I had wanted to change the furniture around in our bedroom for many years but we had been putting it off because the room design we had in mind would force us to lose the headboard of our bed by moving the bed under the large double window. My old way of thinking was that we paid good money for that headboard it should not be put away in a closet, and besides, which closet had the most room to house the headboard? That one stuck perspective prevented us from doing anything new in that room for a very long time.

I was so changed and charged from creating my office space that I decided one Sunday morning to take my son and my husband upstairs and change the bedroom furniture around. For too long I knew exactly what I wanted to do with a new room design and so we did it. We took off the headboard.

What was I so afraid of?

Our bedroom looks like a hotel room now. We have a lot more walking space, we have a room that is not dominated by the bed and we have been sleeping better. The room makes sense now and I wish we had not waited so long to change our perspective.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anais Nin

If we can change our perspective, even just a little bit, if we can be open to possibilities just a touch, what will our new perspective bring to our lives, ourselves? Journey On…..

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

 

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!!!