An early teacher of mine on my personal growth journey, Kendrick Mercer, used to say that fantasies were good for us. His perspective was that daydreams and fantasies were how we rehearsed for our future reality. Continue reading
I have always been amazed by the trees along the fence line of my yard. They managed to persevere and shape themselves around the obstacles in their way as they grew.
Many of them have chain link fence that goes right through them. Others have poles or pieces of brick integrated into them in odd places. Continue reading
(I first wrote this in January 2015 and came across it today. The words and intentions I shared feel even more powerful now as I am about to turn 63. It’s time to re-commit and share them again.)
There are a lot of goals and resolutions set at this time of year about what we want to do or accomplish. While I am playing with some of the doing stuff, I felt more called to look at how I want to be and show up in this world. Continue reading
Do you believe in magic? What about magic words?
I know I do, because I have witnessed how our words can either empower us or keep us stuck.
Even when we remove the obvious ones from our vocabulary like can’t, won’t, don’t, should, or shouldn’t, there are other sneaky ways our language can limit us. Continue reading
If you are a human on planet Earth, you are probably spending a lot of time and energy on things that aren’t serving you well. Things like: Continue reading
Have you ever had little things on your calendar or to do list that you kept putting off?
I know I do. I could be an expert at it. It’s a shame I can’t get paid for it. Continue reading
Don’t get me wrong. I love my new life here in small town Missouri, but it hasn’t always been a smooth ride.
Several months ago I fell while out for a walk and hurt my arm. I could hardly move for a couple of days and then settled into a long journey of healing. There were many limitations to what I could do for what felt like a very, very long time.
Last month I caught the flu, or should I say it caught me. There must be something about these Missouri bugs because I didn’t get get sick in California, at least not for a long time. This flu knocked me down and it took several weeks to start feeling well again.
Add to that some plumbing problems and all of those little things called life and it feels like I got off track. Really off track… Continue reading
I’ve spent some time on Quora answering questions about life for readers and thought it might be fun to share some of the answers here. Maybe you have some of the same questions.
I may start doing this as a regular feature and welcome your questions for future posts. You can email me or contact me through my website to ask what is on your mind. In the meantime, here are some of my answers: Continue reading
My clients will tell you that I like lists. I use them for organization and to bring forward information in a simple and clear manner. My clients don’t do them all the time, but when they do it is usually to support them in an area they are working on. There are however, some lists that I believe everyone should have:
Your Turn: What lists do you think we all should have?
Email me if you would like a free exercise on how to identify your core values: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo courtesy of S. Allen
I believe that it is important to review and close out the year that is ending to learn all that we can from it. This simple year end process also opens the door to a deeper understanding for heartfelt intentions you want to set for the New Year.
I encourage you to find quiet time and a snugly place to curl up with pen and paper and ask yourself these questions: Continue reading
Every year about this time I revisit The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. Some years I even lead classes about them. They are simple, yet powerful tools that can help you:
We can feel driven by our clocks, calendars, and the expectations of others. Even more so by the expectations we have of ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but when I get caught up in this full on “doing” mode, I find that I miss out on the little special moments of my days. When the day comes to an end I may have a long list of wins, but did I really live? Was I fully present with and enjoying what was before me?
There are times when driving ourselves feels good or necessary, but it shouldn’t be our only way of being.
I love achieving goals, but I also crave feeling peaceful and being in touch with magical moments that show up each day.
The following ideas can support you in bringing more balance to how you use time and a sense of grace to your days.
Focus On Your Priorities: It’s easy to get distracted by working hard on the wrong things. Get clear about your values and most meaningful goals. These are what you should be focusing on. If you are spending time on something that is not working, try something else. It’s important to be intentional about how you use your valuable time and life energy.
Watch Out for Time Wasters: For me, it can be checking email or Facebook and then letting something I see sidetrack me. Time wasters can be things you just fall into, people who don’t respect your time, or choices you make influenced by underlying fears and other things that want to keep you stuck. If you find yourself spending too much time off track, return your focus to your intended goal.
Do Little Things with Great Love: Stay present to whatever you are doing. Even mundane activities can bring joy when you focus on their meditative quality. Every moment and every task has it’s own beauty. When you slow down enough to appreciate them your work can be more fulfilling.
Develop the Art of Puttering: Every once in awhile, especially if I have been too caught up in getting things done, I set aside a day for puttering. Puttering is the art of flowing gracefully from one thing to another as they come up naturally. I follow my whims. And, I usually get more things done than I do on those days when I am pushing. At the end of the day I feel at peace and grateful for how much I accomplished without even trying.
Don’t Make It Hard: If I had a dime for every time I told myself something was going to be hard I would be rich. Most of the time the things I was resisting turned out to not be hard at all. I spent more time in the uncomfortable resistance than it took to actually get the thing done. Beware of thoughts or words that make things seem difficult or challenging and if you are really courageous, eliminate the word “hard” from your vocabulary completely.
Give Yourself a Break: Lately, my favorite break is Squirrel Time. I step away from my work to sit on the porch and feed squirrels. They amuse me, warm my heart, and connect me with nature. Other breaks might include going for a walk, stretching, having a snack, dancing, or reading. Science says that our minds and bodies are more efficient when we give them regular breaks. I know they work for me.
Feed Your Engine: You will be more efficient in how you use your time when your mind and body are able to operate at their fullest potential. This means that eating healthy, taking breaks, exercise, and all those common sense things you know you should do will help you be more effective in the long run.
Having a healthy relationship with time is all about balance. You can push yourself at times, but not all the time. It is important to allow space in your days to observe special moments and let your work flow with natural focus instead of forcing things. When you do, you will limit stress, feel more peace within, and still get things done. And that, is a good thing.
I recently was a guest on a radio show and was a little nervous about it. So, I wrote up a few notes and set them in front of me as the interview started. What happened next was a little strange. My left eye became blurry and I couldn’t read. My notes were useless and I knew I had to “wing it”. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and fear started telling me to run.
When comfort zones are stretched, fear will start chattering about staying safe. “Don’t do that. They may not like you. It’s too big a risk. Why put yourself out there? I can keep you safe if you don’t do it.”
If we let that voice of fear control us, we stay stuck and play small. Without building new skills and meeting new people we miss out on the possibilities before us and will eventually regret not living our lives fully.
Comfort zones are flexible and meant to grow. I knew this in that moment before my radio interview and even though I felt like running, I faced my fear, stayed calm, and did it anyway. Here is how you can too.
Recognize fear for what it is. Your fears want to keep you safe, but they are often over reactive. They were installed when you were younger and less able to take care of yourself. So, when you are afraid of meeting someone new the risk may be low, but your fear is still operating from the point of view of the 5 year old who was made fun of at school.
Fear doesn’t realize you have grown and developed new skills. It is a gut reaction that wants to protect you at all costs. Even if that protection hurts you in other ways.
Breathe deeply, and relax your face, neck, and shoulders.
Focus on other people or being of service. Take your mind off yourself and make the experience about the other people involved. How can you make them more comfortable? What can you ask them about themselves? How can you leave the situation better than it was when you entered it? Fear is self-absorbed and focusing on other things can help shift you out of it.
Trust your inner self and speak from the heart. This is what I did on that radio show when I couldn’t read my notes. I had to answer from my heart and experience. By doing so, my interview was much more powerful than it would have been if I had used the notes. Trust yourself. You have everything you need inside of you.
Look for humor in the situation. When you look through an observer’s fly on the wall perspective things can seem quite amusing. Funny things happen when you stretch your comfort zone…
I remember being nervous about speaking before a group of people I didn’t know. When I went to the restroom before going on stage the water from the sink splashed over the front of my pants leaving very obvious water spots. For a moment, I just wanted to escape, but instead I went on stage and the first thing I did was make a joke about being attacked by their sink. It was a great ice breaker and the presentation went over well.
Humor can help you and the people around you feel lighter in stressful situations.
Make friends with your fear. Fear is not your enemy. It only wants what is best for you. It’s just a little over protective. So, have a conversation with it. Thank it for warning you. Let it know you’ve got things covered. And, ask it to help you in another way, like standing in the wings and cheering you on. You might be surprised how well it listens.
If fear is keeping you locked into your comfort zone and you would like the support of a professional life coach, I would love to talk to you. You can connect with me here.
As a coach, I hear a lot of people talking about trying to figure out what their life purpose is. For many, not feeling they know it is a source of great angst and leaves them feeling like they are living their lives all wrong. They feel guilty and ashamed that they are not doing this one great thing because they can’t figure it out. And, that makes them feel like a failure
My clients are often surprised when I share my thoughts on life purpose with them.
I believe it’s okay to play with purpose, but not let seeking it rule you. You can take quizzes and read books that help you connect with your values, natural gifts and what you enjoy, but that doesn’t always lead to knowing your purpose in this world.
You may also hear that if you just do what you love, you will be living on purpose. Supposedly, money will follow, but I am not so sure it always works out that way. Sometimes we need to do things we don’t love to take care of ourselves and loved ones.
I’m not usually a naysayer, but I’ve seen people get obsessed with this idea of purpose and shame themselves if they think they are not in alignment with it.
There is a more peaceful way.
Realize that your life purpose is not always a big, grand thing. It could be a series of little tiny moments where you start a butterfly effect without even knowing. It could be within arms reach within your family or the work you are already doing. Or, it could be a simple smile you give someone that lifts them up to do what they are meant to do in the world.
Don’t let this idea of purpose keep you stuck or control you. If you don’t have a sense of it, just live your life consciously. Follow your heart and intuition with each small decision you make and eventually you will end up in the right place.
Actually, I believe you are already there.
Seeking purpose takes you out of your life and present moments. It can distract you from the things that are most meaningful and cause you to overlook the very thing you are looking for.
It’s not big, its simple. Purpose is about living a life of alignment and making choices based on your inner knowing. It’s not something you seek. It is always there guiding you from within. And, you don’t need to know it’s name, shape, or form.
It’s time to take the pressure off and just live in a way that feels meaningful. You are always on purpose whether you know it or not.
It is true that people do yucky things. And, there are probably times in your life when you were truly a victim, but it is what you do afterward that matters most.
When you let yourself fall into the trap of blaming others and believing that people or your environment have conspired against you, you are disempowering yourself and embracing the role of a victim.
Living as a victim can be very seductive because it is a great excuse. People won’t expect a lot from you. You can play small, avoid risks, and sometimes not even have to work as hard as everyone else. It may even feel good because you get sympathy or attract attention.
I know, because I spent years rehashing the many ways I was a victim as a child and young adult. I was an expert at playing the victim role. I took it on as my identity as if that was all I was and all I could ever be.
The truth is though, that when you play the blame game you limit yourself, play small, and give your power away. You will attract the wrong people and the wrong things into your life. And, you will know somewhere deep in your heart that you are not being your best self or living to your full potential.
Even when you are sure that someone took action against you, blaming is not the answer. Your true power is in forgiveness, accepting responsibility for your life, and moving forward into the life you were meant to live.
Don’t let blame become the center of your life. Delete blaming words from your vocabulary and focus instead on all you have to be grateful for. There are people loving and supporting you at this very moment. Why do you want to give your life over to those who don’t? Leave it behind. Move forward. And, know that you are so much more than whatever someone once did to you.
Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.
The Four Agreements: Simple and Powerful Tools
We are a few weeks into the New Year which for many is when the excitement about goals starts to wear off and motivation falters.
How can you keep your goals and resolutions alive?
Stay connected to your emotional “why”:
Write about why your goal is important to you.
Create a clear picture of why your goal is meaningful and keep what you have written at hand for those moments when you need to be reminded of how powerful your goal really is.
Keep your motivation high by taking a couple minutes each morning to visualize yourself in that moment when your goal becomes reality. See yourself smiling, laughing, and glowing with success. Fell the feelings of wonder, pride, and gratitude coming up inside of you. Staying connected to this visual and emotional vision will dramatically increase your possibility of success.
Prepare ahead for moments when you feel tempted to go rogue or get too stuck to move forward:
Now you have a plan ready to be implemented when needed.
Motivation can falter, but you can keep your goals alive with a strong commitment and tools like these. If you would like more tools, support, or accountability through coaching, please feel free to contact me. I can help.
Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.
You might also enjoy this related article by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits: Instead of Goals or Resolutions, Try Creating Rules
If you are a human on this planet Earth, you probably feel like you don’t have enough money.
Since money represents security, safety, and worthiness in our culture this can be a real problem.
The very thought of it can trigger thousands of voices in your head that make you feel afraid for your future or not good enough.
And then, there is all of the programming you received as a child. Money is the root of all evil. It’s selfish to want money. Our family will always be poor. Rich people are the enemy. Continue reading
My weekly schedule has it’s own little routine. I generally have the same clients, meetings, and things to accomplish along with some time allotted for projects. And yet, sometimes I struggle to get it all done, while other weeks flow with ease. Why is that?
I have noticed an interesting pattern. There have been times when my energy was low and I told my friend (who is also the person I share my daily wins with) that I was going to give myself a break and just putter through the day.
What happened was always surprising.
I would feel relaxed, peaceful, centered and still get more done than on the days when I hit the ground running.
When I slowed down, I accomplished more. It felt good, too.
Now, the trick is to remember and embrace this art of puttering through my days. One of my strategies is to adopt a new theme song.
I invite you to join me in groovy land. All you have to do is slow down.