Sunday, December 25, 2011

Is Expectation the Problem? (Read Time: 3 min)

What are your beliefs about expectations?
Do you think having expectations are a good thing or a bad thing?

There are those who believe that the reason people don't manifest what they want is because they have expectations.  They argue that releasing all expectations and going with the flow is the source of emotional and spiritual freedom... and the manifestation of one's dreams. 

Lately, I've been mentally debating the issue of expectation and I completely disagree with those who say "release ALL expectations."  And here's why.  The expectation is not the problem; the lack of openness is.  In any situation, you have to know what you want.  There's a part of creating a thing that requires you know what exactly you are creating.  Specificity comes in knowing the what.  Opportunity comes in being open to the how.

What most people do, however, is get vague on the what and rigid on the how and that's where expectation becomes a problem.  When you begin to say "I have to have this job by this year and this date", you are locking yourself in scarcity.  You are showing that you don't trust life to work on your behalf.  You are trying to control what's not in your control which creates more insecurity, not less. 

The moment you say "I have to be married and have my first child by 28", you are demanding from the universe what only the universe can decide and provide.  But letting go of the how doesn't mean you completely disregard holding the vision.  If you're a writer, hold onto your vision of being a writer even as you open yourself up to the way in which your writing manifests itself.  If you're an actress, continue acting and keep the vision of yourself winning that Oscar ever in front of you BUT be open to roles that don't pay or roles that aren't 'Oscar material' so the universe can act on your behalf.

The problem with manifestation isn't that you expect too much; it's that we believe for too little.  We count on the universe failing us.  We expect life to turn its back to our needs so we vie for control only to find out that our restriction on life puts a restriction on our dreams.  

The answer isn't to expect less.  The solution is to believe for more, stay open to possibilities, and let go of any thought or belief that says "I can't have both."

Remember: life works.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

7 Ways to Get Unstuck NOW! (Read Time: 3 min.)

What do you do when life feels like it's at a standstill?
How do you get out of a life rut that seems to keep repeating itself?
Who do you have to become to live the life you were born to live?

All of these are questions my coaching clients ponder at one point or another.  They're questions I ponder almost weekly.  When I look at my life, I oftentimes find myself asking, "Am I being bold?  Am I giving ALL I have to ALL I do?"  Some days I answer an affirmative YES and, other days, not so much.  That's the journey called life.  Anyone who tells you that every day is a perfect 100 of being bold, stepping out, and living fearlessly is lying.  We all have low moments.  The key is this: you don't want a low moment to last a season in your life.  You don't even want it to last a month.  If you've been in a rut for more than two weeks, guess what?  It's time to do something different. 

Here are 7 ways to do exactly that:

  1. Choose your attitude as soon as you wake up.  I cannot underscore the importance of choosing which type of person you're going to be today.  In this world, there are two types of people: 1) those who wake up and say "Good God! Morning!" and 2) those who wake up and say "Good morning God!"  Which are you choosing to be 85% of the time?  Again, it's a choice.  When you first wake up, take your time getting out of bed, say a prayer of thanksgiving, think of three things you're grateful for and then literally say out loud "Good morning God!"  Be your best cheerleader and pep your step out of bed.  Say to yourself as you get up, "I'm ready for the excitement of today!" or "What a wonderful week this is going to be!" or "I'm getting in the driver's seat today and I'm ready for the ride!"  Pick a mantra that fits your personality, one you can hold onto and buy into.  And then get up everyday consciously and positively.  It makes a huge difference in how the day plays out, especially when not-so-good things happen.
  2. Get 20 minutes of sun a day.  Yes, California people, I'm especially talking to you.  Some climates don't allow for ultra sun 365 days a year but certain climates do.  No matter what, when you see the sun pop out in the sky, MAKE time to go out and bask in it for at least 20 minutes that day.  Remember: the sun is a vitamin and it'll improve any mood you're in.  Get your fair share of it. 
  3. Embrace the situation and find the opportunity in it.  Here's the thing about undesirable circumstances: within them are opportunities that most people miss.  Don't be most people.  When you find yourself in a situation that doesn't feel good (like being extremely in debt, not having enough money, being overweight and not wanting to be, illness of any sort, relationship makeup or breakup, loss of a loved one, loss of a friendship, job that you hate, etc.), ask yourself two questions: 1) What am I here to learn? 2) How can I use this to get to where I want to go?  Seriously answer those two questions and take your time with it.  When you step back from your problems, you're able to see more clearly.
  4. Find new friends.  Oftentimes, we hang out with the people who magnify our current situation.  I'm not saying drop friends you've had since the 7th grade.  What I am saying is to do a negative energy friend check.  If you're going through a period of unemployment, the last thing you need is a friend calling you every day to tell you how bad the stock market is doing, how high the unemployment rate is and how scared she is she might lose her job.  Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not drag you down.  If your inner circle tends to be on the negative side, get a new inner circle.
  5. Look for stories of peers (those you know and don't know) who are doing what you want to do and remind yourself, "If they can do it, so can I!"  BUT you have to go a step further.  When you see someone like you doing what you wish you could be doing, you have to back up the feeling of confidence with three powerful steps you can take to get there.  Make the steps simple, solid, and your will unshakeable in getting it done.  For example, you look on Facebook and you see the story of an old classmate of yours who lost 80 pounds.  Instead of feeling jealous, get jazzed.  If he can do it, so can you!  In that moment, make a decision about what comes next and choose to take three simple, powerful steps right then and there. 
  6. Write the 5 things that would make your life flow.  When you're stuck, that's all you think about it.  What we focus on grows so if you're feeling stuck, the last thing you want to be thinking about is being stuck.  Instead, pull out a sheet of paper and ask yourself: What five things would have to happen in my life for me to feel like I'm flowing with life?  Write the answers and then ask yourself "If I had those five things, how would I be feeling about my life?  What would I be doing then that I'm not doing now?"  And, okay, here's the hard part: start feeling and doing that.  The feeling, in this case, is more important than the doing so if owning a yacht is one of your five things and you don't have the cash to go on a yacht or buy a yacht at this moment, figure out what owning that yacht would allow you to feel and start invoking those feelings.  Remember: as a man thinketh, so is he.
  7. Look yourself in the eye and ask, "What payoff do I get for being stuck?"  Yes, you have to get real with you.  As Albert Einstein put it, "Nothing happens until something moves" and you've got to be the person who moves it.  If you've been stuck for years, guess what?  There's some payoff in stuckness for you.  Otherwise, you wouldn't be there. If you can get real and find out why you're stuck, you'll also be able to figure out how to heal it, feel it, and get on with life.
At the end of the day, your life is up to you.  You can stay in a rut if you want to.  You can bask in playing the victim or being the martyr or living the life of your dreams only in your dreams.  All of those choices are yours to make.  But, if you're going to create a life you love to look at, you actually have to take the steps to create it.  Don't wait for the "right" time.  There is no "right" time.  Start now!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What is the Inspiration of Your Life? (Read Time: 3 min.)

Wal-Mart is such an interesting place to learn spiritual lessons.  Every time I drive by my local Wal-Mart, I see one or two homeless people standing at the curb with signs that read things like "Down and out.  Please help" or "Pregnant and no where to live.  Please help" or "Unemployed with five children.  Please help."  I see the look of despondence, the disheveled appearance, the lack of joy in the eyes of people who, whether they know it or not, are asking of life a certain price.  Part of me wonders "How did that person get there?" but a bigger part of me asks "Is that all they're willing to ask of life?" 

i've been in very low places.  I've hit rock bottom and I know what it feels like to wonder if your existence matters at all, if who you thought you were really makes a difference in this world.  So many of us define our lives by what other people think of us, say to us and need from us.  We do that so much that when we're not talked to or thought of or asked to do something, we feel irrelevant.  Here's the problem with that: who you are is so much bigger than what you do.  And when what you do is something you can no longer deliver, the definition of your life will go away if what you've defined as your essence was really simply a series of actions.

Let me get to the point:
No one can motivate you to live your life's purpose. 

There is no magic bill, book, audio, or seminar that will make you stand in your greatness and be the miracle that you are.  No other person can build your momentum for you.  You must choose to be the inspiration of your life.  You must look for and hold onto the thoughts, feelings, and ideas that will keep you closely aligned to what you were put here to do.  You will forget in tough times how great you are.  You will lose sight of the end goal when an obstacle knocks you off your feet.  You will have moments where you want to turn back because the road ahead is so scary in your sight and guess what?  It's in that moment that your fate is decided.

At some point, you've got to choose to believe PAST
what you see. 

What see is changing all of the time.  Every circumstance is temporary.  In one moment, it's there.  In the next, it's gone.  That's how it goes.  But if you buy into how you feel in this one moment, you'll set yourself up with choices that could last a lifetime. 

In any given circumstance, make sure you know two things:
1) How this circumstance fits into fulfilling your dreams
2) The perception with which you can AND will handle whatever comes.


 "When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change."

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Are You Living By Wisdom or Woe? (Read time: 3 min.)

How do you learn your spiritual lessons?
Do you learn by the wisdom of past experiences or do you insist upon learning the hard way, having repeated experiences present themselves to you so you end up suffering in order to grow?
How can you learn your lessons by flowing with life?

These are the questions that I plan to answer today.  I've been reading  Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine PotentialPersonal Transformation Books) by Caroline Myss and in the book, she says the following:

"You can choose to learn by wisdom or by woe."

So often, we receive lessons only to resist them, insisting that the lesson being presented is not the lesson we need to learn.  We wish for a better past, hope for a better future and then feel trapped by a present that keeps us suffering in each moment because we choose not to believe what we see. 

When will you believe that you don't have to suffer to grow?

The journey of life is filled with ups and downs.  You've been here before.  You will probably come here again.  There's nothing in this lifetime that you weren't equipped to face and conquer.  There's no lesson that's too big for you, no truth that's too real for you.  You can live the life you were born to live... and live it well. 

Here are three things to remember as you learn your spiritual lessons this week:

1) You are free to choose.  There is no suffering that you have to go through.  At any moment, no matter what you're going through, you have the option of choosing peace.  Don't co-sign on other people's non-sense and drama because that's what you've always done.  If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.  If you want to be a new you, you must show up as that person.  Before going into any drama prone situation this week, consciously decide how you will show up (no matter how anyone else chooses to).

2) One of the greatest lessons we are all here to learn in every single lifetime is forgiveness: forgiveness of ourselves and others.  When life isn't working the way you want it, take a few minutes to ask yourself, "Who am I not forgiving?"  Once you know, begin to affirm non-stop "I am willing to forgive myself and others."  Notice that I'm not saying do a blanket forgive job.  Forgiveness doesn't work that way.  It takes the time it takes to forgive.  What I am saying is this: Work on forgiveness on a daily basis and, eventually, forgiveness will come. 

3) Feel and release anger, let go of resentment.  Anger is natural; resentment is not.  Resentment will rob you of the creative energy of your life.  We mistakenly let our egos run the show and feel we are owed our right to resent.  We look at people who have done us wrong and say, "I will never forgive that person" as if our reliving the past sends that person to hell.  Quite the contrary, our resentment keeps us in hell.  Don't do that to yourself.  You have a right to be angry so get angry and get that anger out of your body ASAP but do not allow resentment to lodge in your soul which, in turn, will manifest in your body.  This lifetime is too short to let someone else's actions impact your destiny.  You could always come back and learn this lesson next lifetime but since you know what the lesson is, why waste a lifetime learning it?  Get the lesson now...

After all, you weren't built to be broken.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Obstacles Lie... (Read Time: 2 min.)

Do you believe what your obstacles are telling you about you?

There's a tendency to look at long-standing obstacles as insurmountable circumstances. Far too many of us get caught up in the belief that the problems we face are bigger than our ability to solve them. When you find yourself stuck in a mental pattern of believing that there's nothing you can do about the situation, here's the ONE thing you need to do to get unstuck...

Convince your mind that you CAN overcome the obstacle.

If your mind just popped up with, "Easier said than done", that's exactly my point. You get what you believe. Even though you might be saying, "I can overcome this", what's the real feeling and belief behind your words? What you believe will always manifest in action. If you've been dealing with a situation for years and haven't taken a proactive stance in improving it, guess what you're really saying? "I have no control over this... Things won't change... It doesn't matter what I do..." Is that how you want to live your life?

Your powerfulness or powerlessness will be determined by you. Yes, there will be circumstances outside of your control. Yes, you will encounter bumps along the road. But what is your mind focused on: the obstacle or the solution? Where do you go mentally every time something doesn't go your way? Are you ready for defeat or are you counting on success? It's a mindshift and it won't get made without a commitment to do so.

So here's the commitment: Use the next seven days to deliberately say a positive word about everything. This is a tall order so get yourself ready.

For example, if you have a long commute to work and you get in your car every morning thinking "There's probably going to be traffic", that's what Norman Vincent Peale (in The Power of Positive Thinking) calls a little negative. Reframe that. Instead of expecting the obstacle (traffic), expect a positive outcome. It doesn't have to be Pollyannaish in nature but you can choose to think "I'm going to have an enjoyable ride into work." Now you might still get traffic but if your mind is focused on having an enjoyable ride then you'll bring an audio CD or your ipod and listen to music or podcasts you love. Either way, the trip is enjoyable.

Join me for the next seven days and cleanse your mind.


"A mind free of negatives produces positives,

that is to say, a clean mind will deliver power."

- Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

7 Signs That Guilt is Running Your Life (Read Time: 3 min.)

How many times have you made decisions based on an overwhelming sense of obligation?

What, in your past, makes you feel indebted to act or behave in certain ways in the present?

What particular choices or situations of yesterday still haunt you today?

If you can answer any of the above questions, you know what it means to live with guilt. We talk about guilt in logical, intellectual terms. People say "Guilt is a useless emotion" or "Guilt is a waste of time" or "Everybody makes mistakes. The point is to move on." All of those statements are true but the problem with those statements is that no matter how many times you tell them to yourself, there are still moments (or minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or decades) where guilt creeps in and takes over.

Guilt is like a bacteria: without proper treatment, it spreads.

But how do you get over the guilt of poor choices made in the past when you live today with the consequences of those actions?

How do you let go of what you "should've" done when what you're doing now still isn't getting you what you really want?

I will answer those questions in my next blog post but before you can even tackle the "what's next" of guilt, you have to get very clear on the extent to which guilt is running your life. Many people think that their lives are run by things like loyalty, commitment and integrity. While that's noble, guilt oftentimes masks itself as one of these noble three. It's important that you know what drives your life so you can sufficiently and completely take your place behind the wheel.

Here are seven signs that guilt is running your life:

1) You do things you don't want to do because you feel you "owe" it to people.

2) You don't take risks or step out in life because you remember what it cost you to do that the last time and you'd rather not step out only to lose again.

3) You apologize ALL the time to EVERYONE about EVERYTHING, even when what you're apologizing for is not your fault.

4) You mentally beat yourself up for past choices and use criticism to force yourself to do the "right" things now.

5) You overcompensate in relationships by being the person who gives the most, takes the most, offers everything and asks for nothing in return.

6) You accept whatever people give you and think that you "deserve" it.

7) You allow other people to throw the past in your face and continue to operate in repentance mode with that person... and the debt never gets paid, you never get healed, and forgiveness isn't given (for you or them).

As you can probably tell by now, living with guilt is a horrific way to live... and yet so many of us do it. Why do we choose to let guilt drive our lives and what can we do to change?

Stay tuned for my next post and find out...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is Your Inner Child Angry? (Read Time: 4 min.)

Ever find yourself in a rage about what's missing in your life?
Do you ever hit a breaking point where you're fed up with doing everything for everyone except yourself?
Have you ever gone to bed or woken up angry because you're tired of feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and no one to help you carry the load?

That anger is your inner child throwing a tantrum. It isn't pretty but it is a powerful warning sign that your most important needs aren't being met. Before you say something you don't mean or do something you'll later regret, you need to stop, breathe and parent your inner child effectively.

As children, most of us lacked the authority or vocabulary to say to others, "Enough. You're putting too much on my shoulders. Let me be a child." In fact, many of us saw taking on parental burdens as a way of being "good." What we didn't know then is how deeply embedded both our anger and our grief would be about the fact that we were not allowed to be children cared for in the way that children deserve.

What ends up happening, then, is this suppression of resentment that we aren't able to voice as children. It lives below the surface until, as adults, someone or something, triggers old pain. When we feel as if we're being pushed to the limit emotionally or physically, that inner child lashes out in defiance, "Don't put that on me! I can't do all of this! Let me be a child!"

As adults, that can show itself as irritability, moodiness, withdrawal, rage and even sadness. But the real work of healing comes not in demanding that other people step up to the plate. The answer lies in accepting the fact that you don't always have to.

Your inner child may feel like he or she requires other people's participation to feel safe but the only person's involvement that is needed is yours. As the inner parent to your inner child, you have the right and responsibility to protect his/her sense of safety, security and childhood. You can say no to people, requests, and situations. It's okay to say yes to what you need. It's healthy to acknowledge where you feel overwhelmed or stressed. The goal is not to stop the anger but to channel the hurt into a space of healing.

How do you do that?

Here are three ways:

1. Make the moment safe. Sometimes, you'll have an inner child tantrum where needs can't be met in that moment. If you're at work and your boss has requested you stay late to work on a new project and you've got three other unfinished projects, a doctor's appointment at five, and still have to do grocery shopping for the kids' dinner tonight, you won't be able to say 'No' to everything and sit for an hour to meditate. You will feel stressed, pressed and maybe depressed. What you can do in that moment is remind yourself that no matter how many different directions you're pulled in, your responsibility is to do the best you can with what you have... and not worry about the rest. Make the moment safe by reminding yourself that it's not about living up to other people's expectations. It's about knowing what your boundaries are and honoring those as strengths and not weaknesses.

Give up the "I'll make it work at all costs" attitude. Instead, say to yourself "I will do the best that I can and that is good enough. Whatever doesn't get accomplished today will be available to accomplish tomorrow. I have time and I'm using it well." Keep saying that until your inner child feels calm, less pressured and safe."

#2- Ask for what you need and give it to yourself. When your inner child is acting out, ask the quesiton, "In this moment, what do I need? What can I give myself that would make me feel peaceful?" Sometimes what you need is a long walk alone. Other times, it's an intense gym session. At other times, it'll be a good cry. Whatever it is, acknowledge things that you can give to you... and then give it.

#3- Separate the perception from the people. Children like to blame other people for their problems. That's how they intepret their personal power. With a child, it's "She made me do it!" or "He wouldn't let me" or "If you'd done this, I would've done that." Those excuses are normal for children but they won't get you very far in adulthood. When the inner child is throwing a tantrum, we need to be very quick about keeping the focus on inner work and not outer expectations. People won't always know what you need or how to provide it. That's why you have the ability to meet your own needs. There is nothing that you need that you can't provide. Don't take offense when others lack the knowledge or ability to make you feel safe or secure. Oftentimes, they don't know how and even their attempts make things worse. Resist the temptation to accuse people of not being on your side simply because they don't fully understand your perspective. Those who love you are responsible for loving you, not parenting you. That is a role only you can fill.

At the end of the day, your inner child will throw tantrums. He or she will get upset. As long as there are unhealed places, there will be pain-filled triggers. Don't worry about the triggers. Be prepared to handle them as they arise. Stay focused on parenting, not on projecting and your inner child will learn that peace, like change, is an inside job.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Do You Let the Bitterness Go? (Read Time: 3 min.)

Are you still bitter about what someone else said, did or did not do in the past?

Are you still hanging on to some sense that you've been jipped or robbed of what you "should" have been given?

Is there a piece of you that wonders why things seem to go according to plan for everybody but you?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, guess what? Bitterness has found a place within you... and it's occupying space in your head rent free.

It's time to give bitterness an eviction notice!

I was watching a sermon by T.D. Jakes the other day and he said three points that were so powerful:

1. "Scornful people see everything as negative."
2. "Rejected people are dangerous."
3. "You cannot afford to get bitter because if you get bitter, you can't get better."

I could stop right there and you'd have a gold mine of wisdom but there's more that needs to be said. Any time you allow your anger about a situation to become the prolonged resentment of your life, you are operating in a space that cannot and will not succeed.

Far too often, we think our bitterness poisons the people we feel bitter towards when, in actuality, it kills our dreams from the inside out. You cannot live on fire and be your best if all you can think about is how other people have caused you to be at your worst.

What you focus on grows.

At some point, you've got to make a decision to be bitter or to be better but you cannot be both at the same time.

How do you let the bitterness go?

1. Recognize that the bitterness is doing way more damage to you than it will ever do to the person or people you feel bitterness for. Bitterness is a poison that kills from within. When you look around and notice that the people you're upset with have moved on and are enjoying their lives, you start to realize that the only person who's upset and stuck in the past is you... and you made that choice. Any choice you can make means you are free to choose differently in any moment. Now is as good a time as ever.

2. Stop expecting people to show up differently than they have been. When you release the need to have people show up in the way you "need" them to, you also release the power you've turned over to them. Let people be who they are and accept them as they are. When you do that, you free yourself to be happy no matter what anybody else says or does.

3. Every time you feel even a hint of bitterness, ask yourself, "Is this thought beating me up or building me up?" The right answer will jump at you. If the thought is beating you up, make a conscious decision to change the thought to anything that is peaceful, powerful, and involves you being joyful. The more consistent you get at doing this, the less you'll think bitter-filled thoughts.

4. Forgive yourself and everybody else. At some point, your bitterness is about you feeling like you didn't know better. It's about you feeling as if you've been tricked, as if you weren't smart enough to see the truth. At some point, before you ever forgive ANYBODY else, you have got to forgive you. Take a moment to get in a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and say the following affirmations from Louise L. Hay:

"I am willing to forgive myself and others.

Forgiveness is a gift I give to myself.

I forgive and I set myself free."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Does Your Pace Fit Your Purpose? (Read Time: 2 min.)

The pace you choose determines the success you experience. Far too often, our pace is either too fast or too slow. How do you determine the proper pacing of your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly agenda? Is your pace something that catapults your success or crushes it?

Here are a few tips to get your pace in line with your purpose:

  1. Throughout the day, do a 'rush' check. Ask yourself, "Am I putting whole mind into present action and focusing on doing my best work in this moment or am I rushing the process because I'm focused on what's coming next?' Rushing feels like pressure. Pacing feels like movement.

  2. Do things with efficiency in mind. Is what you're doing representative of great work or fast work? There's a difference between quantity and quality. When you focus on efficiency, you are focused on making EACH act a success. You're not in tomorrow's work because today's work has your full attention.

  3. Take a stress break. In the exact moment you begin to think thoughts like, "If this doesn't get done, everything's going to be a mess", challenge that thought by getting up, leaving the current situation, and taking a FIVE MINUTE break where you do absolutely NOTHING but relax, breathe, rejuvenate, and calm down. In those five minutes, slow down everything, including your breath, your step, the rate at which you speak, even your tone of voice. Take it from a raised or normal voice to a whisper. Allow your body and mind to slow down. After five minutes, go back to what you were working on and ask yourself, 'Did the world fall apart because I took those five minutes?' Chances are, it didn't.

At the end of the day, you have all the time you need to do all the things you need to accomplish. When God made time, He made enough of it. Time isn't the enemy but your approach can be. Choose your tactics wisely...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How Do You Believe You Can When You Think You Can't? (Read Time: 3 min.)

My husband and I have the luxury of working at home together. Yesterday, I was visiting him in his office and noticed he had an album of pictures of us when we first started dating. I flipped through those pictures of a smiling, happy, thinner me and I wondered, "Where did that person go?" It's only been three years since those pictures were taken and, yet, I feel a million miles away from what that person looked like... and then it dawned on, "What do I believe about this issue I'm having with my weight?"

Metaphysically, I get that extra weight is about safety, fear and protection. But, on a very real level, the weight is about something even bigger than that: it's about belief. We live in a world that says if you eat a piece of cake, you'll get fat. If you don't look like a twig, you aren't thin enough. The messages we've been bombarded with have, oftentimes, become the lies we've bought into as truth. Looking at those pictures reminded me of an all important truth from Wallace D., Wattles, "Thoughts which contain no faith create no forms."

But how do you believe you can do something when you truly think you can't?

Most of us resist believing in ourselves, not because we think we can't do something but because we don't know how others will react once we do. We're afraid to lose what's safe for what's unchartered. Whenever you find yourself more invested in your belief in limitation than you are in your belief in unlimited potential, take some time to explore:

1- Who am I afraid to be?

2- Why am I afraid to be all that I am?

3- What would I lose if I made every one of these dreams come true?

4- Am I really willing to not be who I am so other people can feel better about not being who they are?

5- What am I really here to do and how does not achieving this goal serve that?

6- If I knew I couldn't fail, what would I go after?

At the end of the day, you know what's keeping you stuck. You know what that belief barrier is. What you don't know is how to get beyond it. Law of Attraction aside, here are some practical things you can do to go from "I don't believe I can" to "I can do anything I set my mind to."

Here are three things you can do (and that I'm currently doing):

1) Create the recipe for your success. What is it going to take to get the goal or to achieve the dream you're looking for? Rather than focusing on how impossible it is, find examples of times in your life when you have achieved the goal and retrace your steps. Look to others who are where you plan to be and find out what they did to get there. Write those steps (keep the steps to 5 or less steps) down in a simple, easy-to-follow manner and commit to taking those steps. I find it easiest to put my steps on a 3x5 notecard so I can carry it around with me.

2) Make achieving the goal or dream the only option. This is a tough one for most people to do because once you make your goal the only option, failure is no longer a possibility. So many of us fear failure that we almost feel as if we're lying to ourselves when we take failure out of the equation. But the real issue isn't about whether or not you'll fail along the way (you will). The issue is what you're going to do with temporary defeat when it arrives (and it will). When you make your goal the only option, every action you take that opposes that goal becomes an opportunity for growth. When you have a goal to get fit and you have a really bad eating day, it isn't time to beat yourself up. It's time to come back to the drawing board and ask, "How can I show up differently tomorrow? What do I need to put in place to give me the support I need to stay true to my dream?" That's where you start to hone in and focus on what it is you really want. As long as you are on the fence about your goal, you are out of touch with the dream. You've got to be 100% sold on the fact that you can do this as a means of strengthening your resolve to keep doing it when obstacles come into play.

3) Make decisions from a place of achievement, not longing. Before you make daily choices that are connected to your goal, ask yourself, "If this goal were achieved, what decision would I make in this situation?" The person you need to be to get to your goal is the person you plan to be once the goal is achieved. It's so important to do what Wallace D. Wattles says, "You can picture in your mind how all things would be done by a person full of health and power, and you cna make yourself the central figure in the picture, doing things in just that way." When you envision yourself as the person you want to be and start living and acting from that source of strength, your decisions are different. More than that, you give yourself permission to be as powerful as you truly are and that's the key to self-actualization.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can You Handle the Truth? (Read Time: 3 min.)

Are you the kind of person who can hear anything from anyone without lashing out?

Can you receive the truth as well as you give it?

Do you listen to people or are you simply waiting for your turn to speak?

What does it mean when the people closest to you feel that they have to lie to you in order to be loved by you?

Oh yes, I'm talking to you... and I'm talking to me. Whenever we run into someone who has "lied" to us, the first response is to say "That person is a liar. He or she lacks integrity, respect and cannot be trusted. I will not associate myself with someone like that." Maybe you never said it out loud but I can guarantee that you thought it. But, here's the thing: people are mirrors of each other. We see in others what we hide in ourselves. And the question becomes this:

Whenever you experience a pattern of lying people in your life,
what lies are you telling yourself and what truths are you unwilling or not ready to hear?

At the end of the day, there will be those who lie to you because lying is what they do. It is their reality and they don't know how to exist in any other way but to distort the truth. Those people, however, will be the exception and not the rule. For the most part, people will lie to you because they are afraid of telling you the truth. They fear your judgment. They question your loyalty. They don't know if you can handle who they really are and they lie in the hopes that maybe you'll never have to find out.

But the joke's on them because living a facade gets old fast. At some point, we all have to show up and be exactly who we are. When the walls come down and the lies fade and the real person shows up, your response to that "real" person will prove to you why they lied in the first place. Most of us don't do a good job accepting people for who they are. We see what they show us and our response is "Be different." Liars get that. They understand that you aren't ready to see them for who they really are, that you wouldn't accept them if you did, and that the only way they can have a place in your heart or mind is by occupying an unreal role in your life.

That doesn't make it right. A lie is still a lie. If you're going to live in truth, you have to be able to receive truth. You've got to believe people when they show you who they are. There is no being real when two people are standing around doing the impression management thing. Until you can stand in your own power and until you can say with no apologies "This is me", you will find yourself surrounded by people who do anything but reveal themselves to you.

If what you want are people who will be real with you, then what you need to do is be a person who can take realness and not cringe, judge, shame, or blame it but embrace it and make clear, compassionate decisions with the information that's been presented. You don't have to have someone in your life who lies to you but you do have to be willing to see and accept the truth when people (in large and small ways) show you who they are.

Don't ask yourself why people lie to you. Ask yourself, "How can I be a person who people feel comfortable telling the truth to?" Again, it's not about them changing. It's about you being MORE of who you are, with or without their participation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Embracing What Comes (Read Time: 3 min.)

Today's been a real day of me dealing with how other people are showing up in my life... and I haven't been liking it. There have been all sorts of things to get offended by today. When I get a series of "offensive" opportunities, I know that the real issue aren't the other people; it's me. So, here's the question:

How do you embrace how other people show up in your life when you really don't like how they're showing up?

Hmm.... Hard one, right? Right! I was reading "The Art of Possibility" by Zander and Zander today and came across this line: "You see the "stumbling blocks" that stand in your way are part of you, not her, and only you can remove them." There are times when other people's behavior or actions will feel like stumbling blocks. It will seem as if they don't respect you enough or aren't considerate enough or lack some form of reciprocity that you need. The natural reaction to that will be to feel anger, disappointment, judgment, and blame. But what's that going to solve? Nothing...

At some point, you have to remind yourself that everything that you need is available to you. The question isn't "How do I get that person to behave the way I need them to?" The real question is "How do I get what I need even if that person doesn't change?" That one question changes the entire dynamic. No longer is your happiness, joy or success based on someone else's change. And here's the thing: you build the framework and you establish the resources. There is no one person who is irreplaceable in your life.

Far too often, we don't hear that enough. We think that a spouse or a parent or a job is something that we MUST have and can never be replaced when what we're really looking for isn't exclusive to that one person. It's available everywhere and all we need to do is change our mind about how and where we can get it. It's about shifting out of the "You've got to change" mentality and into the "I am the framework for everything that happens in my life.

If I shift, what I need will come to me, regardless of any other person's participation in me getting what I need."

Are you ready to shift? Can you make the change that says "I no longer limit me"? Can you do that? Because the moment you start to see unlimited opportunities in the landscape of your life, you will begin to understand that other people's behaviors, as much as they may appear to be stumbling blocks, have no real bearing on how and when you get your needs met. All of that is up to you...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting Rid of 'Just In Case' (Read Time: 3 min.)

Far too many of us have a 'just in case' mentality. Whenever joy or love or abundance enters our lives, we brace ourselves for what's coming next... just in case. We fall deeply in love only to hold that love back... just in case. We take on new responsibilities at work but only go a little above the extra mile... just in case. We allow our true selves to come out in social gatherings but we don't let people see ALL of who we are... just in case.

Aren't you tired of 'just in case'?

You can't be on fire for life if half of you is stuck in the "just in case" mentality. Sometimes we think that keeping the worst case scenario in mind by holding ourselves back is the only way to remain safe in a world that we don't control. The reality of the situation is that only by letting go are free completely free to allow in.

All of this is easier said and done. It's easier to feel 100% open to something whose outcome you're 100% sure of. Especially when life has knocked you down a time or two, it's hard to employ the idea of putting yourself all the way out there. But what's the alternative? Lukewarm is lukewarm no matter how you slice it. If what you want is a life that's full of love, joy, and peace, what you have to give to it is all that and then some.

Getting rid of 'just in case' isn't simply a mantra. It's a clear decision you make to stop settling for "just enough." It's about expecting the best in all situations, even the ones where it looks like you'll lose. It's about not needing to know every detail of how you'll get to where you're trying to go at the same exact time that you so fervently know you'll get there. It's the habit of looking for the bright side of things even where no bright side can be found. There's power in knowing that you can have whatever it is you say you want... even when what you say you want is bound to change.

If you're tired of playing it safe and sick and tired of expecting less than you deserve, here are five steps you can take to get rid of the 'just in case' mentality:
1) Keep your mind focused on the outcome you want, not the outcome you think you can manage. Here's where faith comes in. There's a part of every achievement that's you and a part of every achievement that's God. You have to know that if what you want is for you, there is nothing and no one that can keep it from you. Let God do His part and you do yours. Part of your "part" is keeping your mind focused steadfastly on what you want. God will always bring you that OR something much, much better.

2) Unlimit your personality. Be yourself in ALL situations. Don't be afraid to be who you are. If someone doesn't like you, let them deal with that. Be who you are and do so without apology or regret. When you stifle your personality, you don't give people an opportunity to experience you, to be transformed by you, to enjoy you. When you live your life doing that, you feel imprisoned and there's no peace in that. Don't worry about rejection. Rejection will come. There will always be those who don't like you for reasons you will never understand. If they're going to not like you anyway, why hide who you really are? At least if you're being yourself, when people reject you, it won't be because you hid behind a facade. It will be because they couldn't receive the magnificence that is you.

3) Go for more. Most of us shoot far too low. We have expectations that are far below our capabilities. There's no challenge in living that way. There's no passion in moving forward. At some point, you've got to be about going beyond what you think is possible merely for the game of doing it. Make no mistake. This is a grand adventure. Take whatever goals you have today and kick it up a notch (by 30%). Go for more than you feel comfortable going for. It is in your discomfort that genius will be born.

4) Check your ego daily. In one of her books, Marianne Williamson has said, "Humility is for the ego, not the spirit." Living in spirit doesn't require being humble because that isn't even a part of the spirit's vocabulary. However, most of us deal with our egos on a daily basis. The ego is very good at helping us forget where we came from or whose help we need. It's so critical that you check your ego at the door daily. On a daily basis, you need to remind yourself where your help comes from. Do not be fooled into thinking that your accolades, achievements, and progress are soley and completely because of you. The moment you do that, you are headed for a fall... and many of us live with 'just in case' because when we went high, we paid no respects to the God who took us there and, in that same period of time, we were brought low. Do not repeat that lesson. Check your ego daily and you do this through gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise. God is too good not to acknowledge that your every breath and your every dream comes and is activated fully and completely by Him.

5) Let it go. Holding on to a dream too tight suffocates it. Oftentimes, we hold on because we're afraid that if we let go, the dream will let go of us and it won't be achieved. There's a difference between focus and obsession. Your work is to focus on your goal and to believe, with faith, that you will attain it. Nothing in that describes says you need to spend every waking moment meditating on it, working on it, living and dying by it. That's obsession. There can be no idols in your life that require your ever-mindfulness on it. Goals that you worship are goals that you define yourself by and they are goals that, at some point, you will hit and miss. Put your dreams in their proper place. Keep your focus and your faith... and then surrender all of it and let go. What comes back to you will be far closer to the dream that any thing you can clutch, catch or hold onto.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Is Your Experience Wisdom or Judgment? (Read time: 3 min.)

Ever have a situation where someone shares a choice they've made, doesn't want advice but you can see the writing on the wall (and it doesn't look good)?

When you can see that someone you love is headed down a road leading no where, do you speak or do you listen?

How do you get over the feeling that someone you care about is making a huge mistake without interjecting unasked for advice?

I have had a few encounters this week where people told me about their life situations and I could feel the "No, don't do it!" rising up in me. Having been on the rollercoaster ride of their relationships with them, I can see where all of this leading... even if they don't. As I sat listening to their stories, fighting my desire to interject unasked for advice, the question occurred to me, "Am I supposed to share my wisdom or will that wisdom come out looking like judgment?"

In a little bit, I'll tell you what I did...

Here's the thing: people do what they choose to do. Embedded in that is the ability to choose, the right to mess up, and the strength to get back on track as many times as you stray from it. Somewhere, somehow, alot of us think we have to "save" people from themselves, as if our two cents is the thing that will cause the person to see the light. What if the light isn't supposed to be seen at this moment in time? What if this person has to go down this particular path because it's a part of his or her spiritual curriculum? Who are you or I to tell anyone what to do or not to do?

And, yet, the dilemma exists: uneasiness now or pain later. If you're a good friend or family member and you're invested in the person's happiness, you don't want to see that person fall into a trap that you can see coming miles away. How many partners, after finding out that the other partner had an affair, says "Everybody knew it but me." Nobody likes to be left in the dark. However, there's a difference between revealing wisdom and delivering judgment... and most people don't know the difference.

Wisdom can be shared but, in order to receive it, the person has to be ready to embrace what you have to say. There's no point in sharing wisdom with someone who'd rather live the lie than see the truth. You come out looking like a party pooper and nothing you say, from that point on, holds merit. No, wisdom is requested; it is not unsolicited.

Advice (and, with it, judgment) is almost always unsolicited. Sometimes people ask you for advice in one area and you take liberty to dole out opinions in five areas. At other times, a friend vents because they want you to hear and not comment and, halfway through mid-sentence, you're issuing proclamations and orders. Do you see what I'm saying?

A person's ability to take your experience for wisdom requires that they ask you to assume that role in that moment. Whenever you offer insight or advice on an issue you were not openly consulted on, you are setting yourself up for a perception based on criticism, blame and shame rather than on the true nature of your love, care and hope for this person's happiness.

So what did I do about all the issues and decisions friends relayed to me?

I kept my wisdom/advice/opinion to myself and supported them with one simple phrase, "Whatever happens next, I know you can handle it." After all, when someone wants to share with you their choice, what they're seeking isn't your advice but your support.

Offer support on principle and advice on demand.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Purpose of Impatience (Read Time: 2 min.)

What is the purpose of impatience?
Why is it that when we are doing the most it feels like we're accomplishing the least?
What does impatience have to do with purpose?

I woke up this morning feeling impatient. Things weren't moving fast enough. I felt like I wasn't getting to where I wanted to go as quickly as I'd like to. I felt myself focusing on all of the obstacles (big and small) and even though there were so many great things happening and even though I'd accomplished so much in such a short time, there was no room to notice miracles or blessings because my focus was on one thing and one thing only: what was missing in my life.

I got out of that impatient period as we all do and, from a perspective of renewed gratitude and excitement, I can say a few things about the purpose of impatience.

Impatience is a persistence test. The extent that you are willing to give in to your impatience is the extent to which the goal or dream you are pursuing is not big enough to keep your attention. If one bout of impatience can lead you to give up, give in or take a shortcut, guess what? You're more in love with getting the goal than experiencing it.

Impatience is a sign of decreasing faith. When you feel impatient, there are two major thoughts running through your head: 1) Nothing's working the way it should and 2) This might never happen. When one or both thoughts pervade your mind, doubt takes the place of faith. At that point, your impatience is not so much about the speed at which you're getting to the goal but the lack of trust you have in your ability to eventually make it to the finish line.

Impatience is an inner cry. Whenever we get impatient, it's because our inner child is throwing a tantrum. Whether that child is four, six, eight, or thirteen, what's really happening is this: our inner child wants what he or she wants as of right now, isn't getting it, and thinks that the only way to get the attention and time he/she deserves is by throwing a fit. It doesn't work for toddlers and it certainly won't work in helping us attract our success faster.

Impatience is a cover up for criticism and judgment. Oftentimes, the impatience we feel comes from a deep sense that we "should" have done things differently. There's also, within impatience, a sense that if we'd been more, better, stronger, richer, thinner, or some other category of "deserving", we'd have what we want right now. In this way, our lack of goal attainment isn't due to Divine Right Timing. No, the ego has stepped in and now says its due to our inability to be good enough to get what we want.

Impatience is a character builder. When you can feel impatient, recognize it for the trap that it is, and move beyond it, you are able to decide your emotions and your destiny. By bringing yourself to a place of gratitude, peace, and love, you have won a major battle. Your impatience is not your enemy; it is your teacher and when you can master the class of impatience, you are ready to take things to the next level. Impatience is a course that you'll take every year and sometimes every day. Mastery doesn't mean completion. Mastery means freedom to move forward.

So, if impatience is part of our spiritual curriculum, how do you overcome it?

You don't. You allow impatience to be what it is. You see impatience for the tool and teacher that it is. You identify which of the above purposes of impatience relate to you in this moment and you use impatience to get you closer to the goal, not farther from it. At the end of the day, your job is not to escape, eradicate, or overcome impatience. Your privilege is to learn from it and become more of who you are...

Friday, April 22, 2011

7 Ways to Get Comfortable With Uncertainty (Read Time: 3 min.)

Are you a control freak? Do you have to figure everything out before you make a single move?
Are you afraid to take risks?
Do you have to know that there's at least a 70% chance that things will work out before you step out?
Does uncertainty drive you crazy?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I have one question for you:
How's that working for you?

Life is filled with uncertainty. What makes life an adventure is the uncertainty. If you knew everything that was going to happen in your life before it ever happened, you'd end up in one of two states: 1) bored out of your mind or 2) simply out of your mind. There's a reason why most of us can't see into the complete and total future. Uncertainty is not an obstacle of life; it is the course of life. The sooner you get used to that idea, the more successful you will be in going after what you want.

When people talk about not pursuing a particular dream or goal, the first thing that comes up for them is the uncertainty. How will I know if this is the right path for me to take? What if this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing? What if things don't work out? How will I know when it's the right time? Here's the best part: there is no right time. The only way you'll know if you're supposed to have what you say you want occurs after you've begun pursuing it.

When you go for a goal or dream and doors keep closing in your face and the pit of your stomach keeps telling you that something in this situation just isn't right, that's all the sign you need to know that you're probably on the wrong path and need to make a few adjustments. That doesn't mean you give up the dream entirely. It simply means you need more discovery time to change your plans, be flexible in your approach and try things differently. As you tweak your strategy, your path will become clear. But, if you never leap out on faith and begin the work, you never get to find out if that's what you're supposed to be doing at this time.

Getting comfortable with uncertainty is a course in every single person's spiritual curriculum. Some of us do better in this class than others but we all have to pass it. The key to getting comfortable with uncertainty comes in understanding three points

  1. You don't control nearly as much in life as you think you do. Most of the major life events that will take place will happen whether you like it or not. It's not the occurrence of the life event that you control but it's your response that will dictate to what extent that life event affects you. You don't control people living or dying, getting pregnant, somebody staying or leaving you, getting fired from a job, losing a home in a fire. There are so many life transitions that will happen without your consent. When you truly understand how little of life's occurrences are in your complete and total control, you'll get good with the fact that being comfortable with uncertainty is the skill that you need to master. When you are good with uncertainty, it doesn't matter what comes your way. You know you can handle. You believe that things will work out for the best. This faith and ability to transcend circumstances makes you invincible. Don't live from the lie that you control everything. Live from the truth that no matter what comes your way, you can handle it because you aren't afraid of uncertainty.

  2. You are not Manager of the Universe. In our technologically savvy world, far too many of us think that God isn't required in their lives, that the click of a mouse or the creation of a new scientific treatment is all that they need to cure every ill of life. Here's the deal: God's one thought can fix a lifetime of problems and He operates bigger and faster than anything you can do. Why would you try to subconsciously take on His job when you simply cannot fill those shoes? Why would you want to? There's no employee alive who's going to do the work of the CEO for the production line rate of pay. When you get that you are not Manager of the Universe, that the world doesn't rise and fall based on your ability to "figure things out", you free yourself from the burden and pain of feeling like every decision you make has centuries of consequences. Resign as Manager of the Universe. Let God do his job. Put your intentions out there, take the actions you can take and do all that you can with all that you are but let God be God. There are certain things in life that are God jobs and those things, no matter how hard you try, are not up to you. The sooner you resign, the faster God can work.

  3. It's okay to not be 100% on board with a decision before you make it. When you don't have complete information, there isn't 100% certainty that things are going to work out. Some people have faith that gives them that feeling of 100% certainty but alot of don't. There are some areas of life where we can believe like nobody's business and have faith for years. There are other areas of life where we doubt from moment one. Just because your faith doesn't feel strong enough doesn't mean you don't keep moving in that direction. It takes a mustard seed of faith to move mountains. Resist the temptation to make your faith the reason why you aren't moving forward. Understand that in much of life, you'll have to walk with some doubt as you build up your faith. The problem with uncertainty isn't that you doubt your ability to make the right choice. It's that you live on the fence somewhere between one choice and the other and that paralyzes you from making a move at all. The paralysis is the problem, not the uncertainty about your options. Be okay with not feeling 100% sure. Step out and trust that whatever you need to know will be revealed to you. Take time to get quiet each day and listen for the messages from your intuition. When you get those messages, heed them and move forward in the direction you're feeling called to move forward in. Once you make a choice, don't second guess it. Go with it, listen for guidance and change as the guidance changes. Will you make mistakes? Yes. Will you be stuck in doubt and fear? No.

At the end of the day, you'll be in this spiritual class until you get this spiritual lesson. You'll be presented with uncertainty in every which way you turn until you can finally release the illusion of control and be willing to learn along the way. Why fight a part of what life is when it's not going away? Uncertainty is here to stay. It's not the uncertainty of your life that needs to change. It's your perception and dealing with it that needs to shift...

You weren't built to be broken...

How to Support Yourself When No One Else Does (Read Time: 3 min.)

Whose support do you have?

Whose support do you need?

Whose support are you not getting that wish you could have?

How do you stay the course when the people who are supposed to love you most support you least?

These are the kinds of questions that I get from clients all the time. I hear stories about unsupportive spouses, resistant parents, unruly children, and bosses, co-workers, and friends who work a living hell. When someone tells me about the lack of support they have as they fight to achieve their dreams, the 'story' quickly goes to how much easier achieving these dreams would be if this person had more help. If I let the story go on for a few more minutes, what I hear is the frustration, disappointment, and anger that this person feels about realizing that no one has his/her back.

While the emotions need to be recognized and validated, what is such a person to do? You can't force people to support you who don't want to. You can't make people see your vision if they're choosing to be blinded to it. You can't be everything to everyone and still have time to accomplish every dream in the time you'd like to. There's a choice that has to be made here.

When you don't have the support you need, how can you still achieve your dreams?

It won't be easy but there is a doable way to stay the course, even if no one else is willing to help you with it. The answer is simple: support yourself. How you do that is where it gets more complicated. Supporting yourself means you choose to have more faith and trust in who you are and what you're going after than anybody else does. Your faith becomes your immune system against the pain and anger you feel towards those who aren't on your side. In being your own personal cheerleader, you have to create a support system that exists outside of the people you originally thought would be in it.

That means you have to step out, meet people, connect with like minded individuals who can share you vision. It means you surround yourself with books, articles, audios, and videos from people who have a vision and who've accomplished that vision. You listen to the success stories of people and pay particular attention to the obstacles they faced and how they overcame those obstacles.

It means you don't talk about your vision with people who can't see or who won't support you. Talk about the weather, what's for dinner, how your day went at work but don't put your heart on the line knowing that it's going to get stomped on. That also means that even though those people aren't as supportive as you'd like them to be, you choose to love them anyway. You honor the good you see in them and you cast aside their inability to be who you need them to be. The sooner you can accept others for who they are, the sooner you can let go of the pain, hurt and disappointment of who they might never be for you.

Supporting yourself when no one else does requires that you trust yourself, believe in yourself, and hold on to the truth that whatever is for you will show up right on time. This means you don't act out of rush or desperation. You don't make choices because you're afraid that someone else is going to convince you not to make the choice. When you feel pressured (by yourself or others) to rush to a decision on something, 99.99% of the time, that decision will be a mistake. You can take the time you need to decide which path to go down. Nothing has to be decided today.

There's skill in trusting yourself. It means you don't rush but you also don't delay. It means you look for signs of what to do next and you put your faith and trust in those signs as you move forward. Trusting yourself requires that you are willing to make mistakes but it also means that you know that you will learn from whatever mistakes you make.

At the end of the day, rather than wasting time complaining and hurting over the people who "should have" supported you but don't, focus on fully supporting and trusting yourself. You are all you need to succeed. Other people can leave your life but as long as you never leave you, the success you obtain will be the result of what you give to it. Other people's support is nice and to get to your dream faster, it is necessary but if you don't have that at the moment, it doesn't mean you stop pursuing the dream. It simply means you go at a different pace while you search out and create a new inner circle of support. You can do this. Never confuse other people's limitations with your abilities. Let people have their limiting beliefs. Trust and support youself enough to not make theirs yours...

You weren't built to be broken...

Why People Postpone Their Happiness (Read Time: 3 min.)

We create our own happiness.

If that's 100% true, why is it that most people spend more time waiting to be happy than actually being so?

The answer lies in understanding why people postpone their happiness.

Most of us think that happy translates into a better state of being. When we think of happy, we think of more, better, bigger, increased and transformed. Happy, in this definition, becomes the ability to acquire what isn't currently there. Can you see the problem with that? If I have to have more to be happy, then I never will because I'll forever be on the journey to getting more. If happiness is an ever-improving process, then there is no arriving and staying at happy. Once you get the next promotion or find that next great relationship, you'll also find the next thing you want to pursue to be "happy."

What people won't say about this hamster wheel of a pursuit is that alot of people like being on the journey to happy because they're scared to live there. We like the feeling of being on the hunt, of working towards happiness, of cherishing the victory of finally finding it and the taste for adventure that comes when we discover that there's more happiness to go after once we arrive. It's a double-edged sword. You want to be happy but when you get there, you find something else to pursue so you can be even happier than you are right now. How's that working for you?

Truth be told, people postpone their happiness because they don't know how to be satisfied with the happiness they can create right now. Most people are afraid that their happiness, if they enjoy it too long, will disappear. If they always feel the longing for something more, they can also feel the safety of not getting too comfortable with the happiness available now. If you aren't afraid to lose what you've got because your focus is always on what you don't have, there's not as much to lose. If you can find full satisfaction in your life right now with things exactly as they are, there's a vulnerability that's required to enjoy the moment because should the moment change for the worse, you still lose.

What if, no matter what happened next, you could be happy now?

You can! Happiness, like change, is a personal choice. You don't have to have anything or anyone to be absolutely happy. All you have to do is choose to be so. It's time to say to yourself, "I'm not postponing my happiness anymore. I'm not waiting for the next best thing to come along. I am the next best thing. I was the next best thing two decades ago, two years ago, two months ago, two hours ago, two minutes, two seconds ago and I will be the next best thing as long as I have breath within me." How powerful is that?

When you choose to be happy for all that you have right now and you get good with enjoying every second of today, you free yourself to receive so much more tomorrow. Happiness does not come in the form of a new relationship, a new job, a new baby, a new car, or any new thing outside of you. Your happiness is you and choosing it now means you have to be willing to forgo spending most of your time in a future life that hasn't happened yet so you can fully embrace the life that's moving in and through you right now. Can you do that? Yes, you can...

You weren't built to be broken...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let the Perfectionism Go... (Read Time: 3 min.)

What does being perfect mean to you?

If perfection is something you can't possibly achieve, what's the reward your perfectionism attains in trying?

When your best is never good enough, how do you love ALL of who you are?

At some point, we perfectionists have to come to grips with one truth:

Being perfect never made anybody happy.

I was writing a lesson today called "Getting it Wrong is Key to Getting it Right" and I was thinking about how my perfectionistic tendencies have been operating in my life lately. I consider myself one of those "driven" people. I know I can achieve anything I set my mind to which means when I don't achieve a certain thing or land in a certain spot by a certain amount of time, I have nobody to blame but myself. That then leads me to work harder, heavier, go for more, accept less, and, before you know it, I'm back on the team of my inner critic going "You've got to do better!"

How's that working for me? Outside of the tightness in my chest, the clenched jaw that's become a habit, and the tendency I have to dive in deep on an area and not come out until I come out on top, it's not... So I wrote the lesson below for me and you because, truth be told:

Getting it wrong is key to getting it right...

Lesson 44- Getting it Wrong is Key to Getting it Right

Perfectionism is not a medal of honor. Most people call themselves "perfectionists" (including me) and think that it's a good thing. Perfectionism is one job title that the inner critic loves to hide behind. Since perfection isn't a viable option for a human being, when your life quest is to be perfect, you meet, time and time again, with failure. Trying to be what you weren't born to be is a hard place to live. Glorifying the act of "getting it right" is what causes people so much pain. A big part of getting it "right" is getting it wrong.

Failure is a step forward when you can see the lesson of the result and renegotiate your approach to the plan. People who are too afraid to fail are too weak to truly succeed. At some point, you have to be willing to take a risk, willing to fall on your face, willing to get back up again, and willing to do something different... without taking it personally. There are at least a thousand ways to get any one thing done. If you believe this, failure isn't a big deal. You understand that when a less than desirable result occurs, it's a prime opportunity for learning. You get to learn what not to do the next time. You also get to file away the plan that didn't get you to where you wanted to go so you know not to use that plan the next time. All in all, failure adds to your success if you're willing to learn the lessons of it.

Stop insisting that you can't move forward with a particular task unless you know it's 100% perfect. Stop taking a poor result personally and thinking that someone's turn down equates to you not being good enough. The only person singing that "not good enough" tune is you. Stop beating the drum of "It has to be perfect to be acceptable." Most of life's most valued treasures are so valued because they are imperfect. At the end of the day, you will crucify or resurrect your success based on your perception of what "getting it wrong" really means.

Let go of perfectionism. Getting it wrong is key to getting it right.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

There is No Safety Behind an Emotional Wall (Read Time: 3 min.)

When do your emotional walls go up?

How often do you find yourself hiding behind a stoic front?

Why do some people trigger your emotional walls and others don't?

In psychology terms, an emotional wall is similar to what we call suppression, being vaguely aware that you feel how you feel but working very hard to push it away. Emotional walls take on a bigger meaning because they involve the exertion of energy to such a point where you literally erect an emotional wall around your feelings, thoughts and behaviors as a means of protecting yourself from the possible rejection, hurt, and abandonment coming from someone else.

When you're in the presence of someone who you don't feel emotionally safe with, there's a tendency to erect an emotional wall. Rather than dealing with what bothers you about the interaction or having an open discussion about how this person makes you feel, the emotional wall lets you be physically present and emotionally/spiritually unavailable to this person. The thinking goes: "If the real me is locked away, this person can't hurt me." Truth be told, you're hurting yourself.

After a while, people become so good at erecting emotional walls that it's a natural, subconscious occurrence. You enter a room full of strange people, you put up your guard and you go about your business. It's not until we leave emotionally "dangerous" situations and feel free to be who we really are that we realize that what just showed up in us was actually an emotional wall. After a while, though, emotional walls get tiring. It's hard to live on the defensive, to feel like you have to protect yourself from everything and everyone. At some point, we all come to a place where we say, "Can't I just be myself and know that I'll be safe?" That's the break-free point for most people.

There's nothing safe about living behind emotional walls.

There's no real creation of intimacy if you clam up every time someone gets close. People feel when your emotional walls go up, even if you have a smile on your face and a pleasant tone to your voice. Fakeness shows. If what you want is to be free to be who you are, you've got to begin by knowing that you create your own sense of safety. Until you give yourself the security and safety that you require, it will be difficult to stop using emotional walls as protection mechanisms.

When you get that no one can hurt, anger, upset, or offend you without your permission, you also understand that you get to choose who you allow into your space and when. You get to decide. More than this, when you know that you can be fully yourself and still be able to say yes or no to what you do want or what you don't want, you gain a sense of self-efficacy that transforms your everyday living into a powerful demonstration of what it means to be who you are, where you and without apology. Somewhere, we learned that it was unsafe to be the real us. Somehow, we've got to unlearn that and teach ourselves how to be who we are wherever we are and know that we are always safe and secure.

Here are three ways you can do that:

1. Create rituals that enforce your feeling of safety. Whether that's music you play in your car on the way to a hostile work environment or a room in your house that's your sacred space in the midst of a rocky relationship or affirmations that you say in the mirror to evoke a sense of love and approval for yourself, find daily rituals that reinforce your sense of safety.

2. Remind yourself that no one has the power or ability to hurt you. Be mindful of your reaction to people when they don't behave the way you want them to. It's not their behavior that hurts; its your expectations not being met that hinders. Change your reaction and you your level of safety will increase.

3. Make a conscious effort to pull down emotional walls as soon as you feel them going up. Say to yourself, "I can be myself. I love and approve of myself. It doesn't matter who's in this room. I'm here to be me and if they don't like it, they can find some other place to be. Who I am IS enough." That kind of inner mantra goes a long way in helping you to, in the moment, take down the emotional wall. Recognizing its erection goes a long way in shortening its duration.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Being "Not Good Enough" Becomes a Crutch (Read Time: 3 min.)

What happens when the pursuit of perfectionism becomes a world class tour in not being good enough? How do you overcome the train of thought that says no matter what you do, you are not enough? When do you stop the non-sense of that story and make a different choice? Alot of us were raised with a rat race mentality. We strive to be better, stronger, faster, smarter and no matter how hard we work or how far we've come, nothing ever seems to be good enough. At some point, this story gets old. Some people give up on being "good enough." They throw their hands in the air and say "Hell, if I'm never going to be good enough, why even try?" Others nearly kill themselves for perfection, something they'll never attain, and then wonder why they feel like failures all of the time. Neither approach works. At some point, you've got to decide whether the not being good enough is a limiting belief you've inherited or a crutch you use to justify your own sense of low self esteem. It's possible to have a painful crutch. You can take a limiting belief and use it to your benefit. The benefit will be the pity parties you get to throw and the "Woe is me" stories you get to tell and it's not much of a benefit when compared to whole life success. But you can still choose it.
The question is:

Is that really what you want?

Don't allow being "not good enough" to become a label on your life that you then use as a crutch to explain why things never work out for you. That is a dangerous road to travel. We get what we believe and if your belief is firmly planted as the stop that says "I suck", then guess what? You will. Turn things around by disowning the "not good enough" mentality. Stop going for perfection. It doesn't exist. Stop making life about you having to work harder, be smarter, and do more than everyone else just so you can keep up. How tiring is that? No, life is not about competition; it's about creation. If your goal is to create a life you love to look at, don't waste time focusing on your deficiencies. Focus on your proficiencies. Every experience you have is a part of your lifelong spiritual curriculum and guess what? You don't get to graduate until you leave this earth... and then you get to go to the next spiritual classroom. Why waste time fighting to reach a point that you don't really want to get to anyway? You don't have to be perfect for someone to love you. You don't have to be flawless for someone to accept you. You are good enough exactly as you are and that comment doesn't have to scare you. Can you embrace yourself, love yourself, and adore who you are knowing that you are constantly growing and changing? Can you let go of what your parents taught you or your friends told you or what your spouse showed you and decide for yourself what you believe? "Not good enough" plagues way too many of us and it's high time we disowned the belief we never wanted and let go of the perfectionist way of living that does not align itself with wholeness, happiness, and the presence of peace.
Say it with me:

"I am good enough EXACTLY as I am..."

Share this site with others