Encouragementology
Releasing Fear As A Factor

Releasing Fear As A Factor

June 30, 2020

SHOW NOTES:

Fear, rational or irrational, is real. How you feel, justified or not, is important, to you so it’s worth exploring. Having fear is one thing but being controlled by fear is definitely different. Think about your fears right now. These could be fears that you were alerted to today and fears that you’ve carried around a lifetime. What kind of role do they play in your life? Fear can be exciting and fear can be paralyzing. On this show, we are going to be talking about all aspects of this natural reaction, how to harness these emotions, and how to overcome their power.

I’m going to share two of mine. Both are pretty irrational but to me, they seem uncontrollable. I HATE JUNE BUGS. I don’t like any bugs really but June bugs are particularly unpredictable. You know, you’re outside, enjoying a lovely summer evening. Bugs are out and minding their own business or so you thought. Then without any warning, BAM, one comes out of nowhere and it is buried in your hair. So buried that you become a raving lunatic trying to get it out. Can you picture it? I can and it’s making my skin crawl just thinking about it. 

My Father always assured me that I am so so much bigger than that little bug and their’s no way it’s going to hurt me. And as logical as that sounds my fear is overwhelming.

Ok, now #2 might be even harder to believe. Hi, my name is Kendall and I’m afraid of balloons.  "Giant fun ruiner party of one your table’s ready!" Imagine my poor kiddos faces when I told the hostess to skip the balloons at the table and there is no need suggesting picking one up as we rode home. Being trapped in a car with one was out of the question.

This might be a good time to talk about what does afraid actually mean in this instance. Of course, I’ve done the math, what could possibly go wrong. What am I actually afraid of, the pop? I’m not sure but all I know is I’m very uncomfortable being around balloons. They cause me to be distracted wondering where they are going to waff to next. I don’t like the sound of them being twisted so balloon art is out. Mylar ones are the worst because as they lose steam they are way more elusive and even follow you around. 

What is the difference between fears and phobias? I found some invaluable advice in an article for helpguide.org from Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

What is a phobia? Almost everyone has an irrational fear or two—of spiders, for example, or your annual dental checkup. For most people, these fears are minor. But when fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, they’re called phobias.

A phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, you can develop phobias of virtually anything. While most phobias develop in childhood, they can also develop in later life.

Understanding your phobia is the first step to overcoming it. It’s important to know that phobias are common. (Having a phobia doesn’t mean you’re crazy!) It also helps to know that phobias are highly treatable. No matter how out of control it feels right now, you can overcome your anxiety and fear and start living the life you want.

Self-help strategies and therapy can both be effective at treating a phobia. What’s best for you depends on factors such as the severity of your phobia, your access to professional therapy, and the amount of support you need.

As a general rule, self-help is always worth a try. The more you can do for yourself, the more in control you’ll feel—which goes a long way when it comes to phobias and fears.

We dig into:

Tip 1: Face your fears, one step at a time
Tip 2: Learn to calm down quickly
Tip 3: Challenge negative thoughts about your phobia

What about fears that are situational, temporary, or suggested. Words are powerful and marketers learned long ago, the power of suggestion well ….is powerful! On this show, we look at the power of the media to influence and elicit fear.

In an age of information overload, is everything you hear, see, or read, good for you? Could too much information be damaging the way we perceive the world and our place in it? How can you safely glean what you need to stay informed while creating a healthy boundary to protect yourself from the rest?

Is it healthy to hear the good but mostly the bad and ugly 24 hours a day?  I found a very interesting article for psychology today called If It Bleeds, It Leads Understanding Fear-Based Media by Deborah Serani Psy.D

News is a money-making industry. One that doesn't always make the goal to report the facts accurately. Gone are the days of tuning in to be informed straightforwardly about local and national issues. In truth, watching the news can be a psychologically risky pursuit, which could undermine your mental and physical health.

News programming uses a hierarchy of if it bleeds, it leads. Fear-based news programming has two aims. The first is to grab the viewer's attention. In the news media, this is called the teaser. The second aim is to persuade the viewer that the solution for reducing the identified fear will be in the news story. If a teaser asks, "What's in your tap water that YOU need to know about?" a viewer will likely tune in to get the up-to-date information to ensure safety.

It's been said that fear-based media has become a staple of popular culture. The distressing fall-out from this trend is that children and adults who are exposed to media are more likely than others to

  • Feel that their neighborhoods and communities are unsafe
  • Believe that crime rates are rising
  • Overestimate their odds of becoming a victim
  • Consider the world to be a dangerous place

Releasing fear is not as easy as deciding this is the last day you’re going to be afraid. It’s a great declaration and one that needs to be made, but that’s just the start. Next, you have to be willing to face the fear, challenge it, try to adopt new coping strategies, and stay consistent. You have to want freedom more than you want to be afraid.

SHARE THIS SHOW with a friend show who needs to hear that their fears are real and there is hope to overcome them.

CHALLENGE: Evaluate each fear to uncover the source. Don’t accept defeat but realize you can assert your authority and make real changes in your life. You deserve peace, freedom, and all the power that is available to you. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Who Needs Jelly When You Have Jam?

Who Needs Jelly When You Have Jam?

June 23, 2020

Are you tired of feeling like you’re never good enough? Let’s not beat around the bush here, keeping up with the Jones is exhausting not to mention, completely unfulfilling. Just when you feel like you’ve arrived, you find out that where you are is only halfway there. You are NEVER there! How can you relax and enjoy life when you always feel like you’re behind, trying to get somewhere; anywhere? Well, you can’t. And you can’t run fast enough to catch up with the Jones and if you did catch them you would find out they are trying to catch the Smiths and they aren’t happy either. Ready to celebrate now, dream about later, and plan for tomorrow?

I guess I should explain the title of this show. Who needs jelly when you have, jam? This started as a literal question and then inspired a more metaphorical idea. I was making a PBJ, yep it came to me that literally. I love jam but in the past, Matt has bought jelly. I’m not a fan. It’s too gelatinous and doesn’t spread at all. It’s weak and just leaves lumps all over your bread. I’ve recently discovered whipped peanut butter which could be a topic in and of itself but it would be a shame to plop some grape jelly on top of smooth peanutty goodness. Now jam, that’s my jam! It’s full of fruit, spreads like a dream, and is packed with flavor. So while constructing my sandwich, I said out loud, “who needs jelly when you have jam?” 

I’m serious. Was jam not delicious enough for the kings and queens that they requested a more subpar version? I did a little research, well let’s just say, a little more than I should have ever done. Jam dates back to the crusades and jelly, made from fruit juice, sugar, and gelatin came much later and was heavily consumed by the military during the war. 

At any rate, the metaphorical entry into this conundrum is this; why wasn’t jam good enough? Rich and pure, a sweet way to deliver fruit, why mess with a good thing? When will we be happy with who we are? When will we be able to say we are good enough just like we are without the pressure to reinvent? 

Self-acceptance is a tough but important subject and a critical part of our journey to self-discovery. When we talk about accepting ourselves just the way we are, we’re not talking about dismissing growth and evolution. We are talking about loving yourself today without the…..yeah but notion. Yeah, I love myself….but. 

You could choke on the sheer volume of inspirational memes flooding our social feeds telling us to Love thyself, #selflove, You are beautiful just the way you, keep calm and carry on. Don’t get me wrong, those are lovely sentiments, but do you believe them? What do you tell yourself when no one is listening? When you get up in the morning and are getting ready for the day, what internal dialogue is playing out in your head?

We can fake it with false personas showing the world we have it all together. Strong, confident, driven, and full of life but when we are alone, do we buy into something much different. 

We’ve all heard the term, fake it until you make it. But let’s push back; when do you make it? What constitutes, making it? Instead, you get so comfortable with faking it that you forget to make it. This just becomes another false persona. Underneath you are just as insecure as yesterday. 

Maybe the Jones are faking it and don’t even get me started about the Smiths! 

I spent the better part of my 20’s, 30’s, and even 40’s trying to get somewhere. I invested all my energy in to climbing the career ladder and raising children. When I look back to find me, the real me, in all of it, I’m hard to locate. Of course, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and a healthy balance of family, work, and self-care at age 30 might be the unicorn of all requests. 

There is a good reason you don’t figure it all out until you are older. If you did you might have taken a much easier path.  The challenge was in figuring it all out. Now it’s time to shift your focus, unpack some of the pressure, and find the real you. Open the door and let yourself be exposed to new ideas, challenges, and freedom. 

Being happy with who you are is different than being content with where you are. I love to set goals and brainstorm creative new ideas. Do I have to have something to shoot for to…..be happy? Could I be content just being where I am today? 

Never stop learning and growing, it’s a part of the necessary evolution for your journey. But instead of looking at what someone has that you don’t, look at them. We can learn so much from each other if we take the time to listen. Get past pleasantries and for goodness sake, don’t talk about the weather. Unless you are both farmers or concerned about an outdoor event you both will be attending, avoid this stale, and overused conversation starter. Now, if you want to find gratitude and start the ball rolling, appreciating the blessing of a beautiful season then by all means! 

But spend some time talking and catching up with old friends, exploring what makes them who they are, and finding opportunities to meet new people. So many of us feel alone in our pain or experiences but you would be surprised who can empathize and even sympathize with what you’re growing through.

Your life is far too valuable to waste chasing material possessions. Find joy today by choosing to pursue “better,” rather than “more.” Treasure your relationships, not your possessions. Your connections will be your most valued treasures. Your jam! Stop searching for the jelly and overlook what or who is right in front of you.

CHALLENGE: Don’t waste a second feeling behind or overshadowed. You have everything you need and it’s enough. Pursue happiness through contentment and your relationships with others. Treasure your uniqueness, it’s your jam!

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Resources:
Ash Rao for thriveglobal.com
Leo Babauta writes about the Incredible Power of Contentment for zenhabits.com
Barsha Nag Bhowmick  for Times of India

Sorting it Out, What Stays and What Goes

Sorting it Out, What Stays and What Goes

June 16, 2020

Can you say, overwhelmed? How could you possibly make sense of all the information, directions, advice, restrictions, opinions, ideas, research, statistics, and more? It’s impossible. Oh and wait, you had your own before you heard anything else. Being in this chaotic state might encourage you to shut down as you try and process it all or to be defensive, as you shelter and protect your own ideas. Well, relax, it’s not an all or nothing situation. Life is evolving and you are evolving too. Maybe not at the same rate but there is always room to grow and expand your ideas. Now, what stays and what goes?

You might be settling in with some decaf or an adult beverage, propping up your feet, pen, and paper in hand OR you could be in the car looking for positive alternatives to get from point A to point B. At any rate, we will be breaking it up with three musical breaks. I’ll play something fun and meaningful but the idea is to get some space to let a little of this soak in and cause you to generate your own questions.

Let’s first find the source of the chaos. It doesn’t take a genius or an extensive study to uncover the fact that today, everyone has a platform. Before 24hour news coverage, the internet, and social media, people shared ideas with their family, coworkers, and close friends. It was more of the telephone game which had it’s own pitfalls altogether but now, you can inform the masses of how you feel on any subject under the sun at any time. And it’s not just you, it’s everyone. Information overload! At the same time, our brains are revolting saying - ENOUGH. I’m not reading all that so instead I will scan. 

Hey hey brain, the marketers beat you to it. Add sensational headlines, breaks in the text, different font, color, and size, embedded videos, and jumping ads. They are working to get your attention and leave an impression one way or another. No wonder burying your head in the sand is still a popular option.

But if you can sort through all the hullabaloo to find what fits for you, you might have a chance to shift your perspective in a healthy way. 

What happens when all the information just causes you to feel worse. Worry, anxiety, fear, anger, and helplessness. Your positive energy replaced by the negative energy you absorb. Some of us can’t practice; I’m rubber and you’re glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. 

It’s important, to be honest with yourself to develop a healthy boundary and strategy that works for you. Finding gratitude first thing and keeping it throughout your day is paramount in a healthy lifestyle. There are those who haven’t uncovered this secret yet and will test you daily with their negativity.

Choose wisely, what you participate in. Ask for permission to share, not by raising your hand but by noticing the other person and where they are. This models the behavior you expect in return. Now, it’s slow going. Our culture has become accustomed to oversharing so you might have to be patient. 

Start a conversation with a positive statement and avoid the feeling to, “me too”. This means to allow someone to share a story and then move on without your input. It isn’t always necessary or productive to share your relatable event as a way to connect. While you’re at it, restraint is a wonderful virtue. It’s ok for someone to share their opinion without opposition. Listening to someone is not agreeing with their position, it’s just listening. Allow them to speak their mind, when you’re willing, and then move on. A conversation at the water cooler or even on social media is not the place for an educational moment. 

What could you glean from this avalanche of information? What stays?

Adopting new ideas and gaining a new perspective is all apart of your new vantage point. Let’s crawl back up there and look at the mouse maze that is information overload. From this height, you can see the pitfalls (mouse traps if you will) that lie and wait for you at every corner. You have the power to share, learn, and grow while creating healthy boundaries to avoid these danger zones. 

It starts with knowing yourself. What’s important to you? Not protecting an idea or belief that was handed to you to guard but really exploring your own feelings and eventually, taking your own path. 

Without a strong core belief, it’s easy to get pulled into the majority mash-pit and before you know it, you’re being transported to the stage on the hands of others.

Trust yourself. Sit with your own ideas in a quiet space and believe in your intuition. Don’t feel right? Instead of ignoring those feelings, explore them. Doing your own research starts with asking questions and challenging beliefs. Talk to people you trust, read articles from reputable sources, then be still, and listen to your heart. 

I’ve been in sales my whole life. Polite persistence using the power of persuasion. Even though I’ve had a very successful career there is always room for improvement. Do you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? You’re wrong. Do you believe you can’t change the fabric of who you are and your core believes? You’re right. So as always, let’s find a healthy balance. 

I love going to sales conferences. The energy and enthusiasm are contagious and you leave feeling that Rocky moment of being on top of the stairs in Philly pumping both hands in the air. Bring on Monday! Now, for a sales veteran, I might say “eh, I’ve heard it all before. No reason to fix what isn’t broken”. This means I shut down and just enjoy the snacks and comradery. 

But you can always learn something new so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. Send new information through your filter. Ah-ha, that’s very interesting. How does that apply to what I already understand? Could this enhance my perspective and give me some additional tools on my journey? What steps will I take to adopt and practice this new idea?

The idea is, not everything should or will be absorbed. But you should be open to the possibilities of picking up something new that could enrich your outlook, inform you ideas, and assist you in challenges ahead.

Hopefully, you found a few nuggets to help you get through the chaos, know what to unpack, and what to send packing. Every day it’s a constant stream of information, ideas, and opinions and if that isn’t enough, everyone is sharing their own as well. Taking what you can use to enhance your own, avoiding the negativity sess pool, and letting go of what doesn’t serve you is a healthier alternative to burying your head in the sand but even that, has its place.

If you want to share Encouragementology with a friend who needs to know they are not alone in this journey of self-discovery, you can visit encouragementology.com or anywhere you stream your content to receive this episode and all others. Follow us on Facebook for additional encouragement throughout the week!

CHALLENGE: take what you want and need, release what you don’t, and know you are in charge of the process. You have the power and the intuition to sort through and be selective. Find your gratitude and fight to keep it for a healthy protectant to get through the chaos.

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Resources:
Dr. Judith Orloff
Laura Shin writes about the thoughts of Daniel Levitin
Karen Young for Hey Sigmund

Listening to Your Heart the Only Voice that Matters

Listening to Your Heart the Only Voice that Matters

June 9, 2020

Let me start out by saying, there is no hidden agenda here. No one is telling you to defy authority or ignore the ideas and opinions of others. Encouragementology is about the road to self-discovery, healing yourself, and helping others. When you find your place in the world and your voice, you can encourage and make a measurable impact.  You have a lot to say, and feel, and do. Staying in touch with who you are and what’s important to you is paramount in leading a satisfying life. Dare I say happy? Yes, you deserve happiness no matter what. Happiness doesn’t happen when you put our head in the sand and turn a blind eye but it does happen when you listen to your heart as a guide.

I don’t need to reiterate the fact that we are living in some unforeseen times. It’s impossible to get informed without getting influenced; feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. You can’t turn around without statistics, updated totals, aggravated news headlines, and angry opinions being shoved in your face. For many, they’ve made the choice to unplug and go on a Facebook diet but it’s still the topic of every conversation. It’s hard to escape and you feel guilty for wanting to. 

There seems to be an overwhelming need to do something, anything but the problems that exist seem too big and overwhelming themselves. We’re at an impasse and for many, a standstill. Worry, anger, despair, frustration consume us and we feel too small and insignificant to do anything. But if you don’t do something positive then that’s as good as doing something negative; and the pressure keeps mounting. 

How do you feel? What is important to you? What are you afraid of? Don’t think about the surface level answer but dive down deeper. Ultimately, what are you afraid of?

So much of what we think and feel on the surface is about acceptance. That’s completely normal. Everyone wants to be liked and accepted. You might be at a new job trying to fit in, part of a new family, attending a new school, or settling into a new community. Before you stake your claim and put up your flag it’s normal to sit back and observe the culture to see what’s important to everyone else. 

It’s even normal to start adopting the practices and beliefs as a part of belonging. Let’s say you move to a rural area where hunting is a normal part of life, or you are adopting a new culture in a different part of the world. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and share, learn and grow. 

But when you lose your ability to listen to your heart as a way to please others, it’s time to right the course on your journey to self-discovery. 

We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day so let’s start giving. I’ve been a little obsessed with this song lately. At first, the words came to me and I thought it was important to listen to them as a reminder that we do have the power to make a change, and then watching the video again transported me back to a simpler time in my life. At that moment, it provided some much-needed comfort. 

Let’s climb up to our higher vantage point for a minute. Sometimes it’s critical to get an aerial view of the challenges we are facing to find a different perspective. Information and opinion overload is like being blindfolded, spun around, and handed a bat. We can just start hacking away in frustration and because we feel like it’s our only option. 

You have POWER! Never forget that. You can lead a march AND you can help the person next to you. The one who’s problems might have been overshadowed with the state of the world but still so very important to them. Reaching out and letting some know you see them and you hear them can make all the difference. 

It’s important that we don’t get lost in the shuffle when our voices can’t be heard over the crowd. You are important and you matter. You have an opportunity to listen to your heart and those you encounter. Connect, understand, and encourage. 

A practice within Encouragementology is; Here’s Your CUE. It stands for Connect, Understand, and Encourage. You might have heard me reference more than once. I gave it an acronym to help it stick and make it tangible. It’s simply a reminder of something so obvious it bears repeating. 

Step outside of yourself and your own issues and connect with someone. Notice the world around you and try and empathize with another human being. It could be an elderly person who needs a kind face and an ear to talk to. It could be a single mother struggling to make it all work and keep her sanity. It could be a divorced Father trying to navigate life and learning all by himself. It could be a youth confused and frustrated by the pressures of the world and not feeling as if they measure up.

Don’t like a post or leave a comment. If you feel that’s the only way to break the ice, send a message but be prepared to do more. We need human connection and even in a time when it may seem impossible, go out of your way to reach out. 

Next is understanding. Be willing to listen without judgment or advice. Just be there for someone.  Open your mind and most importantly, your heart. True connections are made, heart to heart. Active listening takes practice and discipline. Listening without creating your own story in your mind or shifting the focus to problem-solving. Just listen to the story and ideas as they unfold. 

When it’s appropriate, offer words of encouragement. I say appropriate because it’s natural to want to solve someone’s problems and rush to get them over a hump. Words of encouragement can come off as a battle cry and rallying for the finish line if delivered too early. People need a chance to talk through the challenge and formulate a solution when they feel ready. 

Then simply, letting someone know you heard them and you believe in them can make all the difference. I know YOU can do it! Breathing these types of sentiments into the wings of someone grounded may be all it takes to give flight. I know YOU can do it!

You might be thinking, yeah yeah but I always make the wrong decision. Nothing ever works out in my favor. I’m always on the losing end. Blanket statements using generalizations mean you miss the details. The ones that spell out the time you won. The time you hit the nail on the head. When the forces of nature had you in their current and life was going your way. 

It’s easy to overlook the good when the bad hits hard. But take a moment right now. Close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart and take in a deep breath. Hold it. Now slowly let it out. As you exhale, let all the negative and pent up frustration leave your body. Push out all the questions left unanswered and the wrongs that can’t be made right. Drain your body of anger and despair. 

Now, sit quietly with this empty feeling. This peaceful, easy feeling. Before you take in a big breath, sucking in all the stress, anxiety, and weight of the world, be mindful. You own your body and your mind and you choose what goes in it. It’s ok to take a day off and back away from the chaos to regain your barrings. You need a moment to reconnect with yourself and your own feelings and to listen to your heart. 

Each day, you choose. Begin your day reminding yourself of who is in charge. As your morning begins and you start absorbing all that is around you, pick your path. Avoid toxic conversations, pass up the chance to validate someone else’s opinion, and don’t forget, negative media is a choice. Unplug and turn off. 

Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s empowering. 

If you want to share Encouragementology with a friend who needs to know they are not alone in this journey of self-discovery, you can visit encouragementology.com or anywhere you stream your content to receive this episode and all others. Follow us on Facebook for additional encouragement throughout the week!

 

CHALLENGE: Turn down the chaos and turn up the volume on your inner voice. Your thoughts, ideas, and opinions matter. Instead of persuading someone else, convince yourself. Listen to your heart and let it guide your day. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Resources:
Philippe Isler  Follow Your Heart, Not Your Fear
The Science and Secrets Behind Seven Words That Motivate, Engage, and Influence by Tim David

 

 

Next Steps: Dream, Plan, Execute

Next Steps: Dream, Plan, Execute

June 2, 2020

It’s time to move on! No more shoulda, coulda, woulda's. Do you want something new, different, better? It starts with you, believing in yourself and transporting your thought process to a new dimension. Yep, I’m talking about dreaming. It’s where all great ideas start. This time, imagine yourself in the center of it all having exactly what you envision. Where are you? What are you up to? It’s fun to escape reality and the pressures of the day and wake up in a wonderful dream. SNAP, ok next step is to develop a plan, solid yet flexible. Every good journey starts with a roadmap and provisions. Then comes the fun part and sometimes frustrating part, the execution. Having a hard time getting your engine started? It’s ok, you aren’t alone but set it on cruise as we walk through these steps and more!

If you could unhinge yourself from where you are today, get plucked out and plopped into another place, time, situation, career - where would that be and what would you be doing? I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been asked to dream or the first time you’ve caught yourself thinking of something or somewhere else. 

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes and vary in degrees. You might imagine selling it all and moving to the Caribbean or just an easy change to your weekly schedule. No one is judging your dream and the rate in which your mind travels. Just open it up to the possibilities and let go. Sometimes our dreams are limitless like we rubbed the lamp and are presented with just three wishes. Remember doing this as a kid? It never failed, one of your friends would ask for something dumb and everyone would be quick to let them know they just ruin one wish. They would egg them on - bigger, bigger, bigger. Don’t just ask for a million dollars, as for all the money in the world. Why did you ask for a bicycle? You’ll probably get one for your birthday, you just wasted a wish! 

Some dreams are just on the other side of a challenge or obstacle standing in your way. They represent freedom if you could just get to the other side. It’s all part of the process and borders the wall of the plan. It’s natural for your mind to shift to problem-solving in the plan once you’ve landed on a dream you want to execute.

So like you would tell the young you with 3-wishes, go bigger! Let’s talk, big-picture vision right now.

It’s important to paint a visual picture of what you have in your mind. Consider putting together a storyboard either cutting up magazines, drawing pictures, creating inspirational messages or changing your desktop background, and starting a new Pinterest board. Whatever will put your dreams in front of you on a daily basis. There is power in visualization and writing it down. 

Matt and I are very goal-driven and several years ago we started a new tradition. Every year at the end of the year, we list all the things we accomplished that year. Not a blow by blow, just big picture. It’s always a surprise and a great way to get an aerial view of gratitude. It’s so easy to forget all that you’ve done when you are still plowing through the list. Take a moment to reflect and celebrate. 

Next, create your list for next year. Even though this is our year-end tradition, you can do it at any time. Why not tomorrow? Make a list of all the things you want to get done. We have a journal to log these lists so we keep it all together and have a great place to visit and reminisce. 

Have you ever been told, “you can do anything you want”? Well, you can’t. Not to burst your balloon in the midst of your dream but we are moving on to the planning phase and it’s time to get realistic. That doesn’t mean you can’t try and push yourself but you might have to be flexible enough to modify your dream to match your capabilities. 

Ex: you’ve always wanted to be an astronaut and at age 50 you finally decide to add that to your vision board. Well, you might never make it to the moon but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of astronomy and travel. How else might you fulfill this passion? 

It’s important to dream big without limits so that you can stretch your mind and explore all the possibilities. But a plan is a road map and it takes a vision from a daydream to a reality. 

You might have logical limitations, physical limitations, or just obstacles and weaknesses. Let’s focus on the things in your control that might be holding you back. 

Let’s start with the first dream on our list. What is preventing you from achieving this? Put them all into the following buckets:

 

  • Logistics - is it just not possible in its current state? Could you envision a modification that would still address your passion but be better align with your capabilities? If yes, set aside some time to dig into what it is about that dream that gets your excited.
  • Resources - what would you need to pull together to move this idea from dream to reality; time, money, knowledge, proximity, etc?
  • Obstacles - what stands in your way of getting to your goal? Confidence, ingenuity, time, self-doubt, priorities, etc?

 

This is a logical way to work through your list. They are all important and that’s why you wrote them down but a good place to start is; lowest risk and greatest reward. So let’s start with the last bucket, Obstacles, and or weaknesses. 

List all the dreams that qualified for this bucket and then next to each, list what could be standing in your way. 

Maybe, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do but as soon as you let yourself dream, self-doubt creeps in and you talk yourself out of it. It might be negative self-talk inspired by limiting beliefs. Somewhere, someone told you that you can’t. You don’t possess the skill, talent, or natural ability to have what you want. Time could be an obstacle and a weakness. You’ve created a schedule so rigid that it doesn’t allow you to dream, explore, and try new things. Overcoming this could be as easy as realigning your priorities and letting go of things you’ve inherited but shouldn’t be responsible for. 

Work through this list in that manner to gain a clearer picture of what stands in front of you. If you make it to the other side, you’ve already come farther than most people do in this process. How many times have you had a dream and immediately shot it down with the first sign of resistance? Dead in water and that’s why it still remains; a dream. 

Our plan is to take it to the next phase, execution. What took years to deny only took moments and a little soul-searching to uncover. 

Dream, Plan, then execute. The steps just take a little work, thoughtful strategy, and a willingness to try. Day 2 of execution takes drive. The staying power to stick it out no matter what comes your way. 

You could find that on day 32, your dream might need some re-engineering or your plan might need some modification. You might even find that your execution efforts have been spotty at best. Don’t pull the plug! This is where flexibility comes into play. No need to scrap the dream and beg the genie for another turn on that lamp. Just take a moment and re-envision and revisit each step. This isn’t an all or nothing process and you deserve the added effort

CHALLENGE: Open your mind to limitless possibilities. Grab a dream that has been swirling around and design a plan that meets yet challenges your logistics, resources, and weaknesses. You deserve to see what’s over there on the other side. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Taking Charge, Creating Your New Normal

Taking Charge, Creating Your New Normal

May 26, 2020

A “New Normal”, sounds exciting huh? I mean “new” signifies fresh, something we haven’t done before or had before. A new experience. But today, new normal brings with it fear and uneasiness of the unknown. Instead of excited about a new adventure we are panicked by the uncertainty. We are paralyzed to move until this new normal has been created and communicated. What will this mean for us, what will we do? Close your eyes and sit still imagining you are in a room all by yourself. It’s quiet but you can hear a hum just beyond where you are. There are many doors around the perimeter. Open your eyes….which one will you choose? It’s not a question we’ve considered because when you feel powerless, you imagine yourself without choices. You’re simply responding to what is happening and waiting….oh the waiting for something, anything, to happen. What if, you could create your own new normal? Your desired outcome? Not suggesting going rouge and or dictating what the world does next - but don’t forget, even in what feels like a powerless situation, you have power! 

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. We’ve all heard that saying. It may seem like a justification for tragedies that we can’t foresee and that don’t seem fair. As if good people should have a cakewalk and bad people should be the only ones suffering. But life remains unpredictable and sometimes cruel and unjust. All you have to do is die and pay taxes - I’m sure you’ve heard that one too. So simple and stripped down to the bare minimum, but there is so much in between. You have a heart, a mind, and a gut and all of them are learning and responding in their own ways. When we shut down and sit in that room waiting for directions we give the power of our own intuition, away. 

But...it is normal to react this way. We have to try and understand our normal reactions before we can take charge and reroute them in a positive way.

It’s important to understand and validate these feelings before you can pack them away and adopt new more empowering ones. So many times we are urged to move through emotions at a rapid rate - “Just get over it already”. “You can’t do anything about it so just move on”. And where there is some truth there, pushing someone through a series of emotions just because you don’t empathize or understand them is the wrong move. Just like the 7 stages of grief, it’s a process and whether it takes you 10 minutes or 10 months you must move through them. 

What can help is to continually put things in perspective and trust yourself. You are a smart, sensitive, thoughtful, and rational person. You have the power to sort through information, gain a higher perspective, run it through your internal committee (heart, mind, and gut), and then make a decision that serves your the best. 

Everyone is individually going through this at their own pace and in their own time so empathy, patience, and understanding are key. Your opinions are just that, your opinions. They may not be agreeable to all those you encounter. Your internal committee (heart, mind, & gut) may see things differently than even your own partner. We are all individuals and wired uniquely and that’s what makes us special. It’s important to remember, fear is real even with it seems irrational. It’s there, causing our mind and even our body to paralyze. Find compassion for those who see things differently. Muster patience for those who differ from your understanding. Give encouragement to those who need to feel they aren’t in this alone. 

Even though we are in the midst of something unprecedented in our lifetime, coping, overcoming, and moving on are timeless. Tragedy hits hard, separates, confuses, and frustrates leaving its victims in a state of shock and despair but the hope is today. Not tomorrow but today. You have the power to heal and push forward.

So what does your new normal look like? If the restrictions were fully lifted today, what would you do differently? Take this time to collect your learnings and create your own new normal. 

I have realized that during this time apart, it is apparent that my life revolves around and is nurtured by other people. I need people. People need people! Through technology, we’ve found a new way to stay connected that I might carry into my new world. I’ve worked remotely for years so video conferencing isn’t a new concept to me but I have never used it to connect my family members living in different parts of the country. What a treat to have everyone hear updates and see expressions across the family. Before it was the old telephone game, “hey did you hear from so and so, yeah I think that’s what she said….” I’m going to make family zoom calls an ongoing practice to stay connected when life prevents us from being together. 

Since most of my outreach that required me to be in person was shut down, I found myself with a lot of extra time to focus on other enriching activities. Some of which I had always wanted to do but never tried. My new normal doesn’t have phrases like “I’ve always wanted to do that….but” Now I’m going to do “that”. Life is short and unpredictable and I don’t want to have such a rigid routine that I miss out on my heat’s desires. I’ve always said, maybe you can’t go to Bora Bora tomorrow but if you want to go  - you can! Start making plans today. How much will it cost you, how much is that divided out monthly, how much can you afford to put away, Ok now, how long will it take you to get there?

Family time is important and easy to take for granted. For me, I’m empty nested so during isolation, my family time has been seriously compromised. Before the shutdown, I was busy running from job to job, appointment to appointment, and my family time was, seriously compromised. In my new normal, family time is cherished. I want to make standing family dinners a real thing. I long for enthusiasm, laughter, and over-talking each other. The feeling of home where everyone is comfortable, safe, and together.

What will be your takeaways? How will they impact how you prioritize moving forward? 

Do you want proof that life is good and change is happening? Get outside and watch this beautiful Spring unfold into summer and enjoy the fact you are here witnessing it all. There is no rush to solve the world’s problems or even clearly define your “new normal” today. Instead, take a moment and appreciate where you are right now!

CHALLENGE: harness your power, forge your own path, and create your new normal. You are brilliant and resilient. Instead of leaving this tragedy scathed, you are empowered to take charge of what’s next.

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Looking in the Mirror for the Who Instead of the What

Looking in the Mirror for the Who Instead of the What

May 19, 2020

How much of your worth is measured on what you do and what you think you are instead of WHO you are? Let’s not beat around the bush and just get right into it. Who are you, who do you aspire to be, and who do you want to see YOU? It’s important to separate accomplishments and accolades, trials and failures, to find the real you. Your core. The you that’s inherent even when the world has tried to shape and mold you to fit their whims. Let’s focus on finding you, the who vs the what. 

So what do you see when you look in the mirror? Right now I see someone in desperate need of a haircut, color, & facial. And if I’m not required to actually look decent in a reasonably short amount of time, I’m going to forget how. But I also see someone who is human. Someone who is resilient, patient, positive, enthusiastic, passionate, driven, dedicated….but human. Someone who has been challenged and as a result hasn’t always been kind to herself. Someone who looks to solve and fix the world’s problems but someone who is human.

It’s ok to be human. It’s ok to have days you don’t feel proud or moments you wish you could forget. But it isn’t ok to bury the real you under the need to please others and become someone you aren’t because you were told, you aren’t ok the way you are. It isn’t ok to measure your worth on what you could or could not accomplish. This is your one beautiful life and if you don’t see it that way then let’s see what or who is standing in your way and blocking your vantage point.

I’m not saying it’s easy. The road to self-discovery is windy, long, at times bumpy, but in the straightways, so worth it! Societal perceived pressures are not making it any easier, that’s for sure. Accomplishments, wealth, beauty, success, and fame are not only all around us, but plated up and in our face on a daily….nay, hourly basis. It’s so easy not to feel like you measure up and as a result, focus on the what. 

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a movie star. Not an actress but a movie star. To me, this represented glamour, lights, cameras, fame. If you asked me I would say I wear a long sparkling red gown and I used to kiss my parents goodnight twisting my head back and forth, like a true Hollywood style kiss. 

As soon as I was able I was trying out for plays or hosting my own. Thank goodness I didn’t have youtube during my formative years. I’ve always had the gift of gab so I guess sales, was a natural step when the talent agents weren’t all fighting to sign me. I love presenting information and the art of negotiation. I’m extroverted and have been told more than once, politely persistent. I’ve been successful on my chosen career path but….that’s not WHO I am, that’s what I do. 

Professionally, I’m direct, aggressive, and will go to the mat defending my point of view but personally, I’m more agreeable, kind, flexible, and compassionate. I will always be outspoken but I don’t always share my feelings. Instead, I worry about how others feel and work to make sure everyone is comfortable and well-loved. 

Who am I? I would love to say a healthy mixture of both, at least that’s what I strive for. I would like the care and compassion to enter my professional life and assertiveness and strong voice to enter my personal life. 

We spend so much of our time trying to get somewhere. Get through school, get through college, get a good job, get married, get the family, get the better job, get to retirement, get out and see the world…...5, 10, 15-year plans. 

Now, I’m a goal setter don’t get me wrong. One of my most precious assets is my brainstorming and creativity. But I’ve learned something on this journey, too much focus on the future means you miss the present. It’s important to have something to shoot for and something to look forward to but never lose touch with where you are. There are great things happening right now, right where you are and if you only set your sights on the future, you may miss them. 

Just like you are outwardly growing your personal and professional life, you are internally growing yourself. Don’t lose sight of the trifecta because they all matter.

CHALLENGE: Look in the mirror with a different focus. Instead of noticing all that is wrong, take a special interest in all that is right and worth exploring to deepen and strengthen who you were meant to be. WHO you are will always return the brightest reflection. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Resources:
Maria Stenvinkel for Tiny Buddha
Meg Selig for Psychology Today
Noonday Ventures What If Who You’re Becoming Is More Important Than What You’re Doing?

 

Making the Best Out of What Feels Like the Worst!

Making the Best Out of What Feels Like the Worst!

May 12, 2020

I’m sure this catches you as no surprise but in times like this, you’re going to have to dig deep. When negativity is all around you and emotions are high you might have to pull away from the pack and blaze a new trail. Fill your space with positive energy, whether in your house, over virtual calls, or through your social media feeds. Don’t take on the responsibility of rallying the majority. Set a new example and encourage others to follow. Right now, we are talking more about getting rather than giving. I know, strange right? But we're talking about getting over it, getting on with a new attitude, getting creative, getting out of your comfort zone, and NOT giving up!

So let’s get real, are you struggling to maintain a positive attitude in the middle of what feels like an impossible situation? Do you feel like you are in a B level rendition of the movie Groundhog Day? I get it. One of my favorite things to talk about is what I have coming up on my schedule. I was one to really pack it full. Coffee catch-ups, brainstorming sessions, support groups, dinner with friends, live music, you name it…..I love having a full and rich schedule. In comes, screaming halt and I’m lost as to what to be excited about. “Hey, what are you up to today?” oh…..yeah, same thing as yesterday.  

I’m sure it’s dawned on you by now that YOU are going to have to dig deep to shake it up a bit or change your vantage point to gain a new perspective so you can carry on in a positive way. 

Yep, as always, YOU are in charge of making things different. So many times we forget the control is in our power and we wait around for something new to happen TO us. Like that is going to be a magical knock on the door with the itinerary to our amazing new day. Turn the music back up, that knock is not coming. Even though there are plenty of restrictions currently in place, it’s still up to you to adjust your own schedule and attitude to make the best out of what seems like the worst. 

Want some fun and creative ideas and a little different perspective? Yeah, me too. That’s why I’ve done the research for you and mixed in a little of my own MIDY - Make it Different Yourself. 

Of course, before we can just step over these feelings and move on we need to explore the why so that we can understand the how.

Remember, sheltering-in-place and the challenges of a pandemic may not be the only thing you are struggling with. Life changed and in many cases, became more complicated in the middle of what you were already dealing with. Sorting out those feelings may come with a new set of instructions. 

Maybe the relationship with your spouse or partner was already on shaky footing and you were negotiating more time apart vs unlimited time together. Maybe you were in the process of looking for a new career opportunity or changing jobs. Maybe you were already dealing with a health scare and trying to come to terms with a new course of treatment. Perhaps you were just getting started with what, just might have been, the most perfect relationship - absence makes the heart grow fonder?  Let’s hope so!

My point is, we are all dealing with something and the layers might be plentiful. This is a good time to be aware of those around you and what they might be dealing with. For so many it’s not as simple as staying at home, getting a little time out of the office, and finally using your kitchen. So before you lash out in frustration with lack of understanding (not that any of you would do that), rise above and be open to a different perspective. 

Sympathy is much easier than empathy. This is when it’s appropriate to take some time and explore the “what-ifs”. The part of someone’s story that isn’t visible on the surface and aspects they may not be comfortable sharing with the world.

Hey, don’t take anything personally and as we’ve already mentioned, people all around you are dealing with their own stuff. Some people are really capable of managing stress and acting appropriately and there are many more that aren’t. Did you ever think that they may be lashing out as a result of some challenges in their life that aren't going well? Frustration can bubble up in all facets of our lives and in our relationships with others. 

Take a step back, breath, and give them the benefit. A free pass. 

So many are trying to be flexible and adjust while attempting to survive and thrive. As you make adjustments for everyone in your world including, family, friends, and clients - remember, you are going through this too.  You are going to have bad days where the snooze is a little to close for productivity. Forgive yourself for a few reactions instead of actions. 

Need a daily pep talk to remind yourself of the importance of keeping up, figuring out, and moving forward? Yeah, I think we all do. How about a daily, call, video chat, or meme exchange with a good friend or better yet, your accountability partner. I have a morning exchange with one of mine. We love ridiculous animal videos or memes and more importantly, we love to add our own narration or justification to the content. That’s really the most fun. It’s a way to take, what could have been, a stressful start to the day, and make it joyful. Who doesn’t want to start each day with a belly laugh? 

Maybe a morning podcast pick-me-up might do the trick. Can’t find the other half of that glass so early in the morning, rely on someone who wakes up that way. There are endless inspiring podcasts and 77 more episodes of this one. Use search terms to find areas of interest and then try out a few. You don’t have to follow, download, or commit to anyone. Just see what fits your mood. 

Align what you do with your passion and purpose, and even the worst day isn't so bad.

Tell that to a professional Mother or Father, working from home, as they homeschool their 3 young children while trying to keep the cabinets full, the laundry basket empty, and the sanity of all parties, balanced!

I’m empathizing with your right now. For me, I’m empty nested, down to one pet who keeps me active and already working a job from home for over 6 years. Sounds like a dream huh? Well, even the best situation can be challenged when your routine is turned upside down. I’m tired of my own cooking, long to see my friends, hug my adult children, and be free to travel outside of my rural oasis. 

So to get out of my own head and away from my own "woe is me" celebration, I’m going to give you some tips that I have collected over the many years of keeping your sanity while working at home. 

It’s easy to think “What a gift, now I get to do my dishes, clean my house, be available for a few errands, AND get all my work done!” But adopting this idea means you have to clean your house, do your dishes, run the errands AND get your work done. Your work at home attitude needs to be Hey, I can sleep a tiny bit extra, I’m saving on gas & eating out, and IF and only IF I forget to get dressed from the waist down, it’s no big deal. Other than that, it should be business as usual. You need to get up and establish a workday routine or run the risk of overload and overwhelm. 

Since you won’t be meeting coworkers at your favorite lunch spot, take this time to tidy up around the house or prep for dinner. If the time is used wisely, this could be a delightful addition to your schedule. 

Set work barriers and boundaries with your family so they clearly understand the new routine. 

When I’m at my desk I am working. 

  • Just because I’m on the internet does not mean I’m surfing and have time to watch a cool video you found. 
  • Regardless of the proximity of my desk to the kitchen, I can not make you a snack. A phone call and a zoom meeting are the same thing but one of them could catch you in your underwear in the background. 
  • Anytime you hear me talking or listening intently, so unless you’re bleeding or on fire, don’t interrupt. 
  • I need bandwidth to do my job so a company meeting might, no will trump the next level of your game. 

If you don’t have a home office that is a designated space, get creative, and make one. Partition it off as much as you can, try creating a screen for a room divider. Create notes that you can post on the perimeter to communicate what you are doing and what you need. 

Most importantly, breathe and realize this too shall pass. Everyone is going through this one way or another so I’m sure you have a coworker who is struggling to keep it together on their end too. Feel free to share these tips with your team. 

CHALLENGE: Instead of burying your head in the sand to weather the storm, challenge it head-on with the power you possess. The power to react with control, to adjust with creativity, and to thrive with ingenuity. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

RESOURCES:
Joseph Wilner for You have a Calling
Art Markman for Fast Company.
 LOLLY DASKAL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LEAD FROM WITHIN
Victoria Joanna Bailey for Best Health Magazine

Centering Yourself to Find Balance

Centering Yourself to Find Balance

May 5, 2020

In this crazy time when we are determining what is essential and what isn’t it dawned on me. HEY - YOU are essential too! And now more than ever, you need to know that, embrace that concept, and find a healthy balance of taking care of everything, everyone, and yourself. Sounds impossible, right? I get it. Even though it would seem like things have slowed down and there is less to do, emotions are high and the stress and anxiety cocktails are flowing. How can you compartmentalize the tasks while separating the feelings so that you can handle it all with grace and balance? Yeah, I don’t know either but I’m going to help you figure it out. 

Did you forget about you? It’s ok, to be honest, and admit it, it’s easy to do. When we are faced with challenges beyond measure it’s natural to move swiftly into problem-solving mode. Well, of course, there is the mini-meltdown and whoa is me pity party of one but THEN it’s problem-solving. What can I do to get through the day with the least amount of damage and lasting scars? But when the challenge is widespread and everyone in your immediate circle is feeling the pressure it’s natural to try and take on the world and lose yourself in the process.

Not only is it about logistics, food, laundry, income, homework, toilet-paper….it’s about emotions. Feeling down, frustrated, overwhelmed, scared, depressed, angry. When you try and manage these feelings for everyone you are concerned for, your resources will become depleted with nothing to nurture yourself.

But you’re the rock, right? The only one who plans, organizes, knows what’s going inside and outside the home, the only who can find anything or fix anything. At least, that’s what you’ve told yourself and conditioned those in your household to believe. How could they possibly manage without you?!? Well, we’ll get to that.
With that kind of pressure you’ve put on yourself, how could you find time to take care of your own fears and feelings?

I think the first thing we need to do is to re-engineer the way you see your role. You can gain some much-needed freedom just by getting a different vantage point. That’s really all it is. Back up and look at the bigger picture. I say it all the time but when you are too tactical you can’t be strategic. Since I’m a visual learner let’s paint a picture that might help illustrate this better. Imagine digging a ditch. You are in there head down just digging away. At some point, if you don’t step out and set your sights on the horizon, where do you think you would be? Imagine the line that ditch would take. Another one I like to use is chopping your way through a jungle unable to see what’s in front of you. You just keep pushing forward, hacking away. If you could get an aerial view, ie; the bigger picture, you might be able to save yourself a lot of time.

That’s what we are trying to do here, save us a little time and a little heartache. As with any good process, your goal is to make it more efficient, impactful, and successful. Couldn’t you do the same thing with life? Now granted, you can’t prepare and plan for everything - look where we are right now for instance. Sometimes we learn very valuable lessons through trials and tribulations. Others come from enlightenment and revelation and sometimes, it’s a golden nugget of wisdom or experience that you receive at the most perfect time.

Are you overly empathetic? Or Sympathetic? The difference between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms is: sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters. empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another.

I used to think I was overly empathetic and would give the example that I could never work at a prison because I would feel so bad for them. Not bad enough to slip a file into a cake or anything but just sad that they were being prevented from all the wonderful riches of life. I was worried I would take that home with me and affect my own emotional health. I genuinely care about people. Much deeper than the rhetorical all American greeting  “how are you”. I do really care. As a life coach and a support group leader, I have the opportunity to listen and share with a large variety of people. The issues and concerns are wide and deep. But what I’ve learned is you can listen, understand, have compassion, even offer support but in the end, everyone is in the middle of their own journey. We can accept help and even be guided along the way but the mast majority is up to us to figure out. So it’s important to let everyone experience their life the way it was meant to unfold. 

Doesn’t that provide a huge sense of relief? If you could truly adopt that idea, can you see how it removes the pressure you might have been feeling? You can be there to love and support and even offer guidance but the ultimate responsibility is not yours. You are only in charge of your life. 

Does this sound familiar to you? It’s easy to justify these feelings with the stance that you just care, maybe too much, or that you are just trying to help. There is plenty of time to take care of yourself, what’s really important is everyone else’s needs.

I really thought I was doing it all and doing it all successfully. Perfectly positioned in the ditch and working my fingers to the bone to get somewhere. No clue where just burying my head and working harder. All the time trying to control, carry and fix everyone around me. Don’t get in my path with a problem or I will drop everything and try and fix it right then and there. Can you imagine what my ditch must have looked like from an aerial view? ZIG-ZAG or even around in circles.

If I could have reached that higher vantage point sooner, I could have saved myself and others so much time and heartache. Hindsight, right? Today, I’m so glad I’m there. It doesn’t mean it’s not still a knee-jerk reaction but I’m aware and that’s the first step to change.

Remember to be kind to yourself through the process and repeat the following affirmation: I respect and love myself enough to recognize when something isn’t healthy for me, and I am confident enough to set clear boundaries to protect myself. 

Do you feel strong and in charge? If you’ve been practicing all that we’ve mentioned prior to the alternative, just know, there is nothing inherently wrong with you. It’s ok to care and caring too much allows for life lessons as well. So you’ve done nothing wrong here. But as always, we are trying to achieve balance for an optimal life. So digging, uncovering, exposing, treating, and practicing a new behavior is healthy and can happen at any point in your journey. We are always learning and evolving so it’s never too late to let go of behaviors that no longer serve you and adopt healthier ones. You ARE essential and YOU deserve the time and attention. Remember, this is your journey, and the way you chose to travel and what you ultimately achieve is up to you. 

CHALLENGE: Realize the overwhelming feelings you are having isn’t a result of having too much to do but instead, an out-of-balance sense of responsibility. Remember your needs both physical and mental, are essential. Begin letting go and channeling your energy into healthy boundaries that will protect and guide your journey. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Show Resources:
Melissa Renzi  for Psych Central. 
Elizabeth Shuler  The Science Behind Why We Absorb Others’ Emotions (and How to Deal)
Alana Mbanza for Tiny Buddha.
Mental Health America

 

 

 

Dealing with Frustration in a Positive Way

Dealing with Frustration in a Positive Way

April 28, 2020

UGH, how are you dealing with YOUR frustration these days?  Letting it out, keeping it in, channeling it in a negative direction, stress eating, stress napping, or caught in a constant ying-yang struggle of gloom & doom meets, silver lining? One thing is for sure, these are stressful and uncertain times. It’s hard to be strong every day when you are navigating a storm. Even Happy-Go-Lucky types can have bad days. Frustration is a part of stress and worry and a natural emotion. Before you succumb completely, let’s explore positive alternatives to this life challenge.

Frustration: the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of the inability to change or achieve something. Nailed it! We are definitely experiencing something we can’t immediately change. Have there been other times in your life where you have been stuck in an impossible situation?  If you are remembering a specific time, how did you get through? How were you able to overcome that situation? Sometimes, we have to be reminded of the power we have. Especially in what appears to be, a powerless situation! The power to adjust, accept, navigate, modify, and overcome. You did one of those things to be able to talk about it today. 

No one WANTS to be sad, in a bad mood, angry, depressed, or frustrated. Sometimes the feelings are overwhelming and we can’t see what lies just beyond success. It seems so far away and unattainable at times why bother right? Wrong. You have the power to dig yourself out or prop yourself up. There IS a silver lining in everything you just have to get to the right vantage point to see it. 

Now, I’m a positive person who always looks for the silver lining. You know the one, sometimes you seek them out because they can help you find the good in all the bad and sometimes you run from them because they never RSVP for your pity-party for one. But still, they have the unique ability to let things go and radically make a switch to problem-solving when things get rough. Yep, that’s me. It’s the main reason I became a Life & Recovery Coach. For years friends and acquaintances would say, “don’t you ever get down?” Or “how are you able to just let things roll off your back and move on?”. The only thing I can tell you is, I don’t like to be in a bad mood. I don’t like to be sad or frustrated. I need and desperately want to be happy so as a result, I don’t stay stuck. At least not for long. 

That doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days or that I don’t get stressed out. I do. I just don’t stay there very long. I have a moment of pause and reflect and then I move into problem-solving mode and get to work. There is always another idea you just have to be open to exploration. 

Recently I was feeling anxious and frustrated. Seeing the world suffer, being unable to fix the problem, unable to gather with the people you love, and prevented from being there for the people who need it most is feeling unfair. I had and may still have restless feels. Like an animal in a cage just pacing back and forth back and forth. Yes, happy to be alive but unable to fulfill a purpose. It has given me a lot of time to reflect and forced me to a new vantage point to see the bigger picture. 

People need people and no matter what we produce to simulate that experience, it will never replace the benefits of human to human contact, love, and support. My hope is that we all come to this conclusion and fight not to lose it in everything that we do. 

Clearly giving to others is healthy for our community and vital to our survival. Finding ways to give, support, and connect during these trying times can add to your frustration. Remember when I said, a better vantage point? It’s easy to get frustrated and feel defeated when you feel you are going this along. You are just here digging away in the ditch by yourself or machetting your way through the jungle on a solo mission but news flash. We are all facing challenges right now. You are not alone even if your proximity to another person begs to differ.

A friend of mine gave me a visual from another vantage point. Instead of thinking that we are all in the same boat dealing with exactly the same things considered, we are all in the same storm but in different boats. A crisis can impact each person differently but still, that person is impacted. Finding a new vantage point means getting above your own cause and effect and trying to empathize with the world around you. 

Everyone is looking for a diversion right about now. I’m learning the violin & Spanish and knitting a sea of scarves. I’m also getting outside and appreciating nature. What a better reminder that things are going to be ok than the changing of the seasons with a nice slow, stunning roll out. I’m also reconnecting with my thoughts. Just over a month ago, I was not only burning the candle at both ends but I had all of them on fire. I had almost all day, every day, planned out. If I wanted to fit in some “me-time” I had a few spots left or could try and move something around. 

I love to be busy and productive but is that what I was doing? I felt overwhelmed but I couldn’t let anything go. I needed to be in charge of everything on my schedule to feel good about myself and to feel like I was doing my part. 

Fast forward and it’s an intentional reminder that you can’t do it all and guess what, you shouldn’t try anyway. Life still goes on whether you are running 90-to-nothing to say ahead or you are barely keeping up. It still goes. How do you want to participate?

I’m always talking about a healthy balance. Everything in moderation even, moderation. But I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. I was frustrated. When you get the nudge, a simple reminder, or a hammer over the head, take notice. Your body and your mind are trying to tell you something. Also, the universe and your higher power might be redirecting your trajectory but if you are so bull-headed to believe you have life figured out then, frustration is inevitable. 

Getting out of your own head and focusing on someone else might be the right type of diversion at a time like this. Let’s crawl up to a higher spot to get a better vantage of what’s going on around us. This will help us deal with our frustration in a positive way.

Remember those boats in the storm? Frustration can come from every angle and for any reason. Part of practicing empathy is to try and understand your neighbor's frustration may be the same or totally different than yours. Nevertheless, they are still frustrated. During a crisis, the point of impact can come from any direction, and in most cases, multiple ones. You might have lost your job as a result of a government shutdown but your neighbor might have lost a loved one. You might feel slided by the takeover but your neighbor is scared by the threat of something they can’t see or detect. All of those fears and frustrations are real. 

Before you judge someone based on their reaction to a crisis, try and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe use this as a connection point. Not to ridicule and belittle but to understand. Fear is real. Loss is long-lived. Frustration can be overcome. 

When we isolate we have a tendency to escalate and exaggerate our feelings. Getting worked up when you can’t make an immediate change in your circumstance and snowball the effect. 

STOP - no really, say stop to interrupt this behavior. You are in control of you. No one else knows what’s going on in your head so want a way out? Find the door.

FREEZE - take a snapshot of where you are in your stress. You need to see yourself reacting in order to change directions. Hover above to get a better picture of the mouse maze you are in. 

UNDERSTAND - peel back the stress to find the source. Remember, frustration is the reaction but what is the cause. In times like these, it may take very little for you to react so be willing to laugh at yourself.

BREATHE - not to put you into some type of yoga routine you aren’t ready for here but breathing is multi-beneficial. You get more oxygen to your brain but most importantly, it gives you space to react appropriately. 

SOLVE - try to solve your situation instead of adding fuel to the fire. “Pity party for 1”. It’s easy to stew the pot by continuing the rumination but where is the productivity in that? Instead - what can you do now to move on. This may be as simple as changing tasks or moving to another room. You might just need to table it for a better and more accepting time of the day; square peg in round hole kind of thing. 

FORGIVE - It’s ok to get frustrated. You are human. Forgive yourself for the mini-meltdown and try and learn something. Maybe a trigger point like balancing the checkbook before the coffee is a no no or trying to make an elaborate family dinner on a little sleep is a disaster. Just know your threshold and right now, until you can work through this hump on your journey, avoid it. 

You have the power to calm, redirect, and learn. When strengthened, a valuable tool you will use often on the road to self-discovery.

CHALLENGE: Take this time to reflect on your true feelings. Frustration is just a symptom of the inability for immediate change. Redirect to connect and empathize with others to gain a valuable vantage point.

I Know YOU Can Do It!