Encouragementology
The Right Recipe, Patience & Persistence

The Right Recipe, Patience & Persistence

February 11, 2020

How can you slow down and let things come to you yet maintain a level of persistence and not give up? It’s a great challenge for all of us and who doesn’t like a challenge? What end of this scale do you struggle with most? Is it different depending on the situation? Let’s test ourselves and see where things get a bit lopsided. Remember, you’re in charge of the way you proceed, the pace & timing as well as the tenacity and grit. Let's find the right recipe for patience & persistence. 

Someone once told me I was politely persistent instead of pushy. It might have been one of the nicest descriptions for my efforts. I’ve been in sales virtually my whole life so professionally, I always walk that line. There are outcomes and expectations set for me every year, every quarter, every month. Persistence is a must and patience hard to practice. I feel like politely persistent was a clever way of letting me know that I had found that balance. Professionally, check but personally it’s something I struggle with daily. 

For me, the scale is always tipped to persistence. I’m very goal-driven and always willing to put in the work to make things happen and NOW. But the return on investment can be a waiting game and that’s where I fall short. The minute something doesn’t meet my expectations and proposed timeline, I start to self-doubt. Was this really a good idea? Maybe I rushed the process? Maybe it’s not going to work? 

The keywords here are “my expectations”.  I’m disappointed and doubting my ideas and myself because I couldn’t meet my own expectations. Obviously there is a nugget in there that is begging to be explored but let’s build a visual here. If the scale is tipped and the patience is on the ground where is the persistence? It should be all the way at the top but that isn’t indicative of human nature. When self-doubt creeps in and everything comes to a halt. Instead of pushing harder we drop everything and walk away chalking it up to a bad idea or worse, a measurement of our own effort and worth. 

How many times have you hit some resistance and bailed on your idea? How many critics does it take to make you go another way?

Self-confidence is the confidence in your own abilities. You want to know how to do something, you research, learn, practice, and do. You do it over and over with success and now you have confidence in your ability to do that well. You are self-confident when it comes to that. 

Self-esteem is the cognitive and emotional appraisal of your own worth. Your self-esteem is directly tied to the way you think, feel, and act. It also determines your relationship with yourself and others. 

When I hit a snag and am plagued with a moment of self-doubt I try and stop myself from allowing the worse case scenarios from taking over. Doesn’t that always happen? It’s like a movie playing out. Something doesn’t work as you planned or expected and you start questioning every other aspect. And if it stopped at questioning we’d be ok. We don’t have all the answers at this point so, in a normal scenario, the questions would be left unanswered. But that isn’t good enough, we have to play it out.  ..."Then this will happen and then I’m SURE this will happen, and then that certainly won’t so I will lose everything!" Whoa - reel it in and deal with one obstacle at a time. 

Part of your plan should include space to handle setbacks. When your timeline is so aggressive and rigid that one NO will throw the whole thing off, you need to add in some wiggle room. During this time you can evaluate your current plan and decide if it’s just a waiting game or you need to re-engineer your approach. You might need to abort it all together and go to Plan B but without time and space and the mental safety net, you might hit the ground hard and give up. 

Plan B isn’t going into the journey lacking self-confidence. It’s respecting your vision and fueling your persistence. Why go back to the drawing board? That seems like starting completely over. How about a change of plans - fully thought out plans. This may help keep your self-confidence intact to get you over the hump. 

Practicing patience can get you through the long stretches of space. The waiting game. You have a great idea, you’ve done the necessary research and planning, all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed but why isn’t anyone as excited about this as you are? What about the plan that has 10 steps but between 4-5 there is a huge gap of unforeseen waiting? Not in your control but yet, you’re waiting. How do you keep your spirits high and soldier on?

Every one of us wants to hit it out of the park on the first swing. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have gotten up to bat. No one starts out on the journey to a life goal wanting to hit adversity, miss milestones, and plan for failure. We want to win! 

But taking a step back and gaining a new advantage, might help you see that it’s all part of your life’s plan. Yesterday I was thinking, WOW time is going so quickly! Weeks are flying by which means a year’s end comes before you know it. Someone once said to me, “time must pass quickly for you” - it made me stop and think. What she meant was my life was so full of goals and projects that I never set idle and she was right. 

Before I started this topic I told myself that I needed to slow down. I am so focused on timelines and what I have coming up that I’m missing where I am. I don’t want life to pass me by being proud that I hit a milestone with accuracy. I want to enjoy each moment it takes to get there. To do this will require adjusting the timeline and being a little easier on myself. 

I think we’ve found the right recipe and are ready to concoct a successful plan! Each idea plays a critical part in us being triumphant. Without a healthy self-concept, this journey will be difficult if at even started. Take time to build a solid plan based on research and the necessary steps to reach each milestone. Build-in space to wait and to listen. Your timing rarely works so don’t get distracted in the silence. Have a Plan B and don’t be afraid to use it. 

Enjoy the ride. Don’t be so focused on the end goal that you miss new opportunities and overlook what you have now. 

Time is too precious and the only thing we don’t have enough of. Don’t be so hyperfocused on getting ahead that you miss the truly amazing moments that happen every day.  

I have an app on my watch that reminds me to breathe - I had one that reminded me to stand up and I already turned that one, off. I also have a sign on my bulletin board that says “drink more water.” I do wish I would look at that one more often. I think I will add one that says “look around”. Sometimes I get so focused on my work that I forget to look up and look around, notice the day, and look outside. This is going to be the start. Just, notice the day. 

CHALLENGE: Find a healthy balance. Take an inventory to find where you are depleted or coming up short and tip the scales. Persistence only works when you feel confident in your plan and satisfied in yourself. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Resources:

Fast Company: 7 Habits of Highly Persistent People

Dr. Neel Burton

Adam Sicinski founder of IQ Matrix

Ally Palmer on Tiny Buddha

 

 

Cracking the Code, 4 Agreements

Cracking the Code, 4 Agreements

February 4, 2020

Could there really be a code to help us figure this whole thing out? Could we really boil it all down to a few easy steps? Sometimes life blindfolds you, spins you around and hands you a bat. You spend your life whacking away just trying to make it through. But what if there was a key that would unlock a different perspective? Sometimes all it takes is a shift in our thinking and everything looks different. Could it be that simple?

So where did everything start to get cloudy, off-kilter and overly complicated?  Can you pinpoint the day that 2 and 2 no longer made 4 but because your thoughts were so deeply rooted in your own belief system, you accepted the answer, right or wrong? It’s hard to land on that very day in our domestication where things just didn’t add up. 

You were born perfectly happy, without judgment or bias. As you started to grow, your thoughts, opinions, goals, expectations, and fears were created for you. Your caregivers began to program you with what they knew at that time. They decided what you needed when you were upset, created a reward and denial system to help you understand right from wrong, built your boundaries to help protect you, and taught you how to find love & appreciation while avoiding judgment and rejection. Or at least that was the goal.  Don’t touch, that’s hot, get down you might fall, stop running you might get hurt, don’t talk to strangers, be kind to the elderly, stand up for yourself, turn the other cheek and so on. If I hit someone, I get punished, so hitting people must be bad. If I say “please” and “thank you”, I get rewarded. So, being polite must be good.

They also programmed our goals based on social norms. You must get good grades to get into college, you have to go to college to get a good job, you need a good job to find a good partner and get married, you need to have a stable income to have a home, you need a good home to start a family…

As little children, our true nature was to love and be happy, to explore and enjoy life; we were completely authentic. But then we learned to be what others thought we “should” be, and because it’s not okay for us to be what we are, we start pretending to be what we are not. By the time we are teenagers, we’ve learned to judge ourselves, punish ourselves, and reward ourselves according to agreements that we never even chose. 

We are now stuck and limited by those beliefs. We’ve made an agreement to believe and protect these ideas at all costs. 

how we got here so how can we crack this code and make happiness a reality? How can we get back to that fun-loving child you know the one….the one who thought everything was possible? We have to adopt a new way of thinking and make some new agreements with ourselves.

I recently read and or listened to a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements and found myself in an AH-HA moment. I have always said you learn by trial and tribulation or by an awakening. Obviously, awakening is much more fun but generally happens later in life. Its often followed by statements like, “Man, I wish I would have learned that earlier” or “Why in the world did it take me so long to get here?”. See most of the time, an awakening is a simple twist on perspective that challenges everything you knew to be true and sheds light on a new way of thinking.

I’ve decided that I need to read more thought-provoking books. I have limited free time so I don’t have the pull to get lost in fiction but would like to spend that time challenging myself with some new ideas. I’ve been a subscriber to Audible for some time and was attempting to work through some big books. All the while my credits were adding up. Now, Audible is great - it’s fun to hear from the actual author in some cases and in others they add musical elements and sound effects to bring the books to life. Lately, I’ve been craving the written word. My eyes have been in “scanning mode” for almost two decades and it’s starting to wear on my ability to concentrate so I decided, touching a book and stringing sentences together was important.

Before I canceled my Audible subscription to make the leap to print, I loaded up my library with my leftover credits. During this self-help grab, I ran across The Four Agreements. I have referenced Don Miguel Ruiz plenty of times and thought this would be a chance to dig a little deeper into his work. The audiobook is a little over 2 hours and the printed book is 138 pages. A testimony to this simplified perspective.

Everything we do is based on agreements we have made - agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves.

The Four Agreements are:
Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Don't Take Anything Personally.
Don't Make Assumptions.
Always Do Your Best.

Be Impeccable With Your Word.

You have the power to create love and to spread love through your words, your actions, and your energy. In a world where you may feel weak and helpless to bring about change, remember this power. That power can be used for good and it can just as easily be used for bad by sending out hate, judgment, and negative energy. 

Think about how easy it is to get pulled into a gossiping situation, judging others, and making assumptions that support your claims. You have the power to walk away and not participate, protecting yourself and rejecting negativity. 

Don’t Take Anything Personally

As a people pleaser, I find this much harder than it sounds. I take everything personally because I feel directly responsible for other people’s comfort and happiness. Now I’ve worked through a lot of this with a considerable amount of research and practice but it is still a knee-jerk reaction. Someone is in a bad mood and my mind wants to go to “what did I do?”. Someone doesn’t show me the amount of attention I feel I deserve or want and I think “What did I do?”. It sounds ridiculous to think that I’m in that kind of control or that everyone’s problems had to have something to do with me. 

When I heard this agreement I imagined myself floating over a scene looking down and watching it all play out. I think it was my way of pulling myself out of the direct line of fire and getting a more global view. It really helped. It also helps me to imagine everyone as an adult with the same set of life skills that I have. Everyone is capable of living their life, and good or bad, making their own decisions and guess what, it doesn’t directly affect me. I’m living my life too. 

Remember growing up hearing: I'm rubber you're glue, your words bounce off me and stick to you.

Oh if it were that easy. Getting back to that level of disregard starts with a healthy self-concept and self-love which can be found in agreement #1. Being kind to yourself and getting back to our true nature; to love and be happy, to explore and enjoy life; being completely authentic. When we have high regard for ourselves it’s easier to cast off negative attacks and not take things personally.

Don't Make Assumptions.

Not taking anything personally gives you immunity in the interaction that you have with other people, and not making assumptions gives you immunity in the interaction that you have with yourself, with your voice of knowledge, or what we call thinking.

How many times have you started a story and then you end that story with your own assumptions of what “probably happened” or “could have happened”. Before you know it, that’s the story, right or wrong. You tell that story and then others add their assumptions and then before you know it, we aren’t even talking about a real event. 

Just as you are making those assumptions, so are others making the assumption about you. Imagine what they must be saying because they don’t have all the facts. How easily a story can be twisted in a negative way with only assumptions to go on. 

As you practice being impeccable with your word and not making assumptions - STOP the story where the facts end. I was told this one time and what an awakening. Just be ok with not knowing the end of the story. As humans, that can be a challenge. We have to have a complete story to tell. The problem is, we don’t always use the rosiest of endings. 

Always Do Your Best.

What a beautiful concept that can actually take a lot of unnecessary pressure off. Just do your best. Not sure if you’re good enough - just do your best. Worried you can’t complete the task - just do your best. Giving your best no matter how much you have to give at that moment is all you can realistically do. If you give your best, you can have peace of mind knowing you did the best you could do at that moment. What a freeing feeling. I have always used this philosophy when talking about failure. If you did your best and you still failed then you can walk away knowing you did everything possible. If you didn’t give your best, then you left the door open for self-doubt. 

In this fast-paced world where the perception is bigger, better, faster, stronger - it’s easy to buy into the unrealistic pursuit of perfection. I hear it all the time, “I’m hard on myself because I want everything to be perfect.” “I’m not satisfied until it’s perfect.”

What if you just had to do your best. Not feeling it today? Just do your best. Not sure you know much about it? Just do your best. If you just do your best, there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.

If you have done your best and your inner Judge tries to judge you, you’ve got the answer: “I did my best.” There are no regrets. That is why we always do our best. It is not an easy agreement to keep, but this agreement is really going to set you free.

CHALLENGE: Revisit ideas and beliefs that may no longer serve you. Challenge their place and purpose in your life. Sometimes a slight shift of perspective can open up a new world where peace and happiness are in reach. 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Feeling Successful, Creating A New Definition

Feeling Successful, Creating A New Definition

January 28, 2020

Whether you are hitting it out of the park or barely getting off the bench, this is the show for you. Webster defines success as, accomplishing an aim or purpose. Setting a goal and hitting a target. But what if you could feel successful in your everyday? Just living and breathing and having that feeling of success. Sounds ominous and over the rainbow but, what if? Would you search a little longer for that feeling? Go a little deeper to experience that on a daily basis? I think we need to redefine successful and look at ourselves in a new light.

So, how are you feeling today? Did you wake up on top of the world? The alarm goes off and you popped out of bed, “creator of your own destiny!” Onward and upward. Wouldn’t that be great? First of all to pop out of bed when the alarm goes off, forget all about the destiny stuff for a minute. Are any of us that eager to start the morning? That’s on the to-do, work on popping out of bed. 

Or does your morning look a little different? SNOOZE, snooze again, yet again. COFFEE...no talking….more COFFEE. UGH, the list is already a mile long with all the things I failed to accomplish yesterday. How will I ever feel successful when I can’t seem to accomplish anything?!?

WOW ok, if your morning looks like that, we need a redefinition STAT! 

Let’s start with expectations and potentially, unrealistic ones. 

Alexander Pope said: “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” 

Have you ever wondered why we set our expectations too high?  It’s great to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone but what do we expect a big payoff every time?  Sometimes the expectations we have for ourselves were actually created by someone else.

Your parents expected you to sit up straight, be home early, get good grades, be quiet, clean your room, clean your plate, find a good partner, settle down, have a family, contribute to society, ….already I’m exhausted and those aren’t even my own! What happens when we pile all of ours on top? No wonder life can feel overwhelming and we can’t seem to get anything accomplished. 

What if we let go of all the expectations we’ve been drowning in and swim back to shore free from them all? What if we started over and created our own set of expectations specifically for us right now. How would they look? 

  • I expect to get enough sleep to re-energize my body and renew my mind
  • I expect kind words from myself and those around me
  • I expect challenges and will accept the outcome knowing I tried my hardest
  • I expect nothing but what I have to give at that moment
  • I expect to be loved and will start by loving myself

If we created our own expectations in this manner the feeling of success would come much easier because we are setting ourselves up for success instead of failure. 

Ok, you’ve done it, you‘ve accomplished your goal, you’ve hit your target now what? Why can we do everything right and yet we still don’t feel successful? What’s missing?  The feeling. 

When goals are expectations set by someone else or society in general then we don’t have an emotional connection to them and the feeling we are looking for won’t be as strong if even felt at all. We need to feel something for what we are trying to do or we won’t feel anything at all. 

Remember the swim back to shore and the re-engineering for expectations? It’s time to do the same before you take aim. Make sure where you are going is where you want to go so when you get there you can experience that feeling.  Life can’t just be one drudge after another always moving the carrot further away. Sometimes you are sprinting, sometimes walking, sometimes you are on your hands and knees crawling. 

Are you waiting for retirement before the fun begins? Did you buy into the concept of working your entire life, scrimping and saving so that you could do whatever you wanted to do?  Is that success? My visual of that is dragging my beat up and broken self across some fictitious finish line only to collapse on the other side.

What if…..you could have successful events and mini celebrations along the way? What if you could retire while you’re still working for what you want. 

Christopher D. Connors from Medium says it may actually improve our lives. Love what you do. Live for what you do. Pour your heart, soul and all you’ve got into it. But for goodness sake, celebrate yourself when it’s merited and deserved.

But by all means, celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Don’t get self-conscious. Don’t get into the whole false-humility thing. Celebrate yourself when you’ve done something great.

CHALLENGE: Celebrate YOU. Not for all your goals accomplished but for the fact that you are here, giving it all you got! Redefine success and find gratitude in the journey, not just the destination.

I Know YOU Can Do It!

What Are You Waiting For?

What Are You Waiting For?

January 21, 2020

What are you waiting for? How many times have you asked yourself that question, frustrated by your lack of motivation, unclear vision, or blatant self-sabotage? It’s easy to bury your head in the sand and wait for that “special delivery” you know the one - the awesome opportunity that just falls in your lap? Still, waiting huh? Maybe your awesome opportunity was gobbled up by someone who was tracking down the driver instead of waiting for the doorbell to ring? Better yet, be the inventor, the designer, the production, and the deliverer of your own destiny.

So what is it going to take to make someday, today? We can make excuses all day long and justify every failed attempted but let’s be real, what are you waiting for? It’s important to be honest with yourself, peel back the excuses and get to the root of the problem. If you want to go somewhere, anywhere, but can’t seem to take the first step, guess what, next year you will still be here. RIGHT HERE, in this exact same spot. It doesn’t happen unless you make it happen. 

Oh sure, sometimes you stumble on an amazing opportunity, a gift really. However, if you don’t snag it, POOF, it’s gone. It still takes you.  With your head down singing the “Whoa is me” theme song you run a real risk of not even seeing the opportunity. So let’s not wait one second longer. And just in case you are waiting to see what’s at the end of that rainbow? Newsflash, you will never reach the end of the rainbow for two reasons. The first is because it’s an optical effect, it moves as you move and so you can never reach the bottom. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, a rainbow is really a circle, it’s just that we only see half of it.

What’s your favorite objection? Come on, let’s be honest - what do you say the gives you justification for NOT NOW, MAYBE LATER? That’s right we all have them. I’ve got my go-to’s for the gym, eating healthy, cleaning out my closet etc. Before we can overcome these objections we have to understand why we are self-sabotaging in the first place. 

Ready to get out of your own way? Sometimes WE’RE the ones making everything so difficult. You get an idea of something you want to do and seconds later, you’ve talked yourself out of it. Self-doubt is a powerful critic and given the chance, it will zap your confidence and make you regret even having a dream. Where does it come from and how can we make it stop? Just like self-sabotaging, you have to recognize you are doing it to put a stop to it. Self-doubt can be deeply rooted so don’t think you can catch it and squash it overnight. But if you want to finally get over the hump and on your way to realizing your goals, you have to take it seriously. 

At one point or another, we will all find ourselves experiencing some sort of self-doubt; it’s part of being human. 

It’s easy to recognize your faults. Instead of positive daily affirmations, I’m sure your mantra sounds more like; You need to exercise, you’re lazy, you’re getting fat, look at those wrinkles, you don’t have anything cool to wear, you don’t know enough to add to the conversation, you should keep your mouth shut, you can’t do that, you’re too slow, you’re not smart enough. STOP! 

Why not start with ONE thing you truly value about yourself. Go deeper than something monetary or a physical attribute. Something about your moral character. Understanding your worth will go along way in giving you the confidence to go for it. 

Here are some of mine:

  • I love that I’m fearless - not with skydiving or snake charming but imagining anything is possible
  • I love that I believe everyone likes me - it makes it so easy to approach anyone with a smile. 
  • I love that my mind is always inventing
  • I love that I see the good in people first

CHALLENGE: Ask yourself the question and respond with honesty, “What are you waiting for?”. Take the time to peel back the excuses to find the underlying reason you haven’t gone for it! Make someday, today and make a radical move forward. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Loosening Your Grip and Letting Go

Loosening Your Grip and Letting Go

January 14, 2020

What are you clutching so tightly? Control, perceptions, limited believes, expectations, guilt, or shame? Has your focus been less than laser because you’re worried about loosening your grip and letting go? In a world full of multi-tasking melodramas, what a weird feeling it would be to be free. Free from the pressures of propping up the world. Free from searching for positivity while absorbing, classifying, and managing negativity. Free from society’s expectations to look, act, and be someone who you aren’t. Free from the heaviness of regret. How free would it be to just let go? 

Are you ready to go with the flow? Sounds easy enough right? Why then do we create obstacles for ourselves? Imagine a river current, beautiful, rapid, motivated. Now let’s throw in a dead log of shame, some out of control brush, unrealistic expectation boulders, and why not top it off with a powerful perception undertow. Are you getting down that thing in one piece? Doesn’t sound like an enjoyable ride, does it? 

To go with the flow you have stop fighting, loosen your grip on the things you are dragging behind you, and let go!

Our minds get clouded with misconceptions and convince our hearts that we are right in our feelings. In some ways, we know that line of thinking is somewhat upside down but the “What-ifs” keep us from truly being able to let go and walk away. What if they need me? What if they can’t go it alone? What if the naysayers are right? What if I really am a failure? What if they think I’m selfish? What if no one likes the real me?

What does it take to be classified as a “good day” in your book? Easy morning routine, traffic was non-existent, got a great parking space, work was easy, hitting targets, getting noticed, great lunch, good conversation, children behaved, homework was easy, bedtime was a breeze, and I fell right to sleep.  Let’s say you have a hiccup in that perfect schedule of events? Just throw a wrench in any one of them. 

  • Overslept
  • Out of coffee
  • Traffic due to construction
  • Best spots were taken
  • Challenging projects
  • Boss showed disappointment 
  • Lunch was subpar
  • The watercooler was a bunch of negative Nellies 
  • Children were defiant
  • Homework felt like college-level
  • No one wanted to go to bed but me!
  • I tossed and turned most of the night

How would you describe your day if even one of these things happened? Challenging? Horrible? A complete mess?

My point is, one negative event gets all the power and always trumps the good. Unless you make an intentional effort to notice, clarify, and quantify. 

  • Notice: What actually happened. Now, stick to the facts here. No embellishing. 
  • Clarify: How big of a deal was this negative event and be honest here. An annoyance, costly, harmful, dangerous? We can tend to have the “sky is falling” type mentality for anything that presents a challenge.
  • Quantify: if you listed all the events of your day how much good can you list that will outweigh the bad? Don’t give one bad event the power to crush the good.

Let’s change our thinking for a minute. What if, the whole world isn’t against you? What if you are being propelled through the bad with all the good? What if opportunities keep presenting themselves because you are meant to succeed? What if your challenges and the way you’ve overcome them have been an inspiration to someone else? 

Are we starting to see that freedom is possible? “Yeah I’m free...but.” No buts allowed in a freedom speech. If you were about to attach a condition to your but, just back away. You aren’t free yet. We need to unpack some more things, purging the bad to find the good. 

An emerging theme here is control and your lack of. You can’t control another person. We all have choices and right or wrong, we will all make them and no matter what you do, life goes on. You can’t control past events. Sometimes we get hurt and sometimes we hurt others. Since the past is just that, past tense, all we can do is learn from the mistake because life goes on. You can’t control someone else’s expectations of you. All you can do is be the best you, and life goes on. 

What would happen if none of that mattered? If it was just you, living your best life. Sounds glorious huh?

Where you lack control you do possess power. The power to make real changes in your life and the lives of those around you. Doing the work to free yourself from the things that have you trapped will fuel your power over the positive. 

Once unencumbered you have the power to:

  • Change your perception. You can see the positive first. You can challenge limiting beliefs and test your abilities. You can rewrite your ending. You can choose to believe in your strengths while embracing your weaknesses. 
  • Forgive yourself. You can revisit your failures looking for the lessons. You can give yourself permission to move on. You can use your experiences to help others overcome challenges. You can be kind to yourself.
  • Impact others in a positive way. You can choose to send out positive energy letting go of negativity. You can encourage someone without even knowing their story. You can help others see the blessings over the challenges. 
  • Live your best life. You can start giving priority to your wants, needs, and desires. You can explore new territory, meeting new people, and learn new things. You can start putting yourself first. 

 

CHALLENGE: Accept your lack of control and embrace the power you possess to challenge, change, and let go. Allow your mind to float unencumbered and take you to places only you can go when you are free to live your best life!

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Beyond the Resolution

Beyond the Resolution

January 7, 2020

Happy New Year! Happy NEW Year full of possibilities. A chance to start fresh, wipe the slate clean, another chance to do things you’ve always wanted to do. One year = 365 possibilities…and hey, this is a leap year so you actually have 366!! I’ve said, written, texted, and bitmojed “Happy New Year” to everyone I’ve come in contact with. I’ve heard the quintessential resolutions; This is going to be the best year yet!”, “I wish you nothing but the best!”, “Health and prosperity for all!”. How can you maintain this momentum after the party is over? Let’s look at ways to go beyond the resolution.  

How many times have you used the start of a new year to give you the momentum to make it over the hump? It’s electric! Everyone stays up late, in some cases, champagne is flowing, glitz, glam, music, party favors, and even a countdown. Sounds like the right recipe right? The clock strikes 12 and there are hugs, kisses, and high-fives. We made it! Made it through another year, brought it to a close, moved the calendar forward, and now we have a chance to do something new. 

Jan 2nd of course. I don’t think any of us are fooling ourselves to think goals are put into action at noon on the day after a mind-blowing holiday. That day is for sleeping in, reflecting, eating some ham & beans, and get ready...to get ready. By then, however, you have your resolutions in mind. What you are going to do differently from the start. A goal to jump-start your year.  What’s yours? How and when do you determine your new year’s resolution? 

This weekend I witnessed a family creating theirs together and toasting after each one. One was to travel more, finish a project, take a class, but the best was the Mother who wanted to lose 20 lbs and was willing to give each person $500 if she missed the goal. I almost spoke up to get a piece of that action!

What crazy resolutions and conditions have you made? What is your normal time limit? 

Matt and I make annual goals with quarterly targets. We do this with a lot of thought and not toasting at midnight. I have a journal book that I keep our year-end list and goals for next year. It so fun to check things off and see how much you’ve actually accomplished and then brainstorm about what’s next. Our goals have more to do with developing our businesses but could include things like, meet new people, read more books (set a goal for the amount) or travel to a destination. 

I know better than to profess a grand weight loss attempt or even to increase my workout or for me, to just start working out.  FAIL. I have done the looser and more broad versions, to get more exercise and to eat healthier. So subjective but if you squint, I might have accomplished that one. Last year it was to stop feeling guilty about not wanting to do those things. I’m actually close to mastering that one. 

CNN Health says to:

  • Make it specific - Eating better and exercising more are all nice ideas, but they're too general and don't give you a plan of action. 
  • Make it possible - Avoid resolutions that sound great but are unattainable. In fact, make them something you will enjoy. 
  • Allow yourself to fail - Everyone screws up. Expect to have occasional slips. But don't let the occasional missed exercise class or Friday workplace donut throw you off course.
  • Set yourself up for success - Know your limitations. If you're avoiding sweets in the new year skip the bakery aisle at the grocery.
  • Know yourself - Decide the type of person you want to be, then prove it to yourself with small wins over time.
  • Make it public - If you're surrounded by supportive friends and family, making your goals public and asking for accountability can help. 
  • Show don't tell your children - Parents can open the door to a conversation with their children about resolutions by talking about their own reflections and hopes for the new year. 
  • Change it up - Instead of being overwhelmed with one big goal consider a year of 12 monthly micro-resolutions.

Goals are important. Looking ahead and finding ways to improve, learn, and grow is important. But goals shouldn’t be only thought about or confined to the first quarter of every new year. However, breaking a big goal into quarters is an easy way to easily digest a major milestone. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with your already busy 9 to 5, day-to-day by trying to find the time to “improve” yourself. But focusing on just 90 days at a time can seem more manageable. So pick a goal, something with a little more wiggle room that you can tweak, adjust, or clarify as you go. Then look at all the steps you need to go through to hit that goal. These could be logistical, financial, personal, or emotional. Make a map for your plan of action and create quarterly milestones. 

Now you have a reasonable and achievable process with built-in destinations for celebrating your wins! Go You! 

It’s important to find an accountability partner to give you constructive feedback while keeping your focused. Share your quarterly plan and then meet regularly to check your progress, strategize to overcome any challenges, and modify the plan when appropriate. Oh yeah and don’t forget, to celebrate with you when milestones are met. That’s so important!

Ok, I’m sure by now, you are feverishly writing down your goals, your milestones, and even some pitfalls to be mindful of but let’s go back. I want to go back to 11:58PM on Dec 31st when the music was picking up, people were getting closer together, and glasses were being raised. I want to remember that feeling. The feeling of accomplishment, of comradery, and of hope. We were celebrating together, whether at home or at a fancy party, we were all in sync wishing our friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers a Happy New Year. Wishing them well and encouraging them with the hope of a happy new year. 

How can we keep that same feeling of hope and love for our fellow human beings throughout the year? Beyond the resolution? At that moment we weren't thinking of politics and how they divide us. We weren’t thinking about religion and what defines us. We weren’t thinking about race or gender and what separates us. We were thinking about hope and how it binds us all together. 

At that moment, through the excitement, it was natural but to maintain that all-encompassing feeling throughout the year, you will have to be intentional.  Each day we are hit with joy-stealing, hope-crushing opposition. So as you are creating your goals and developing your action plan, remember that feeling. When you are met with the ghost of year’s past,  the one that continues to divide, define, and separate us, remember that feeling. 

Together, we are so much stronger and productive. Hope exists to help motivate us to see opportunity, to believe in possibility, and to strive for better. Encouragement is the fuel. Tell someone they can do it, tell them that you believe in them, tell them they deserve all life has to offer and then some!

CHALLENGE: Remember those feelings that unite us instead of those that divide us. Harness the excitement of a new year full of possibilities and use it as fuel to get over the hump of self-doubt. Reach out when you need encouragement and inspiration - you might just be that, for someone else.

 

I Know YOU Can Do It! 

 

Discovering Your Passion and Purpose

Discovering Your Passion and Purpose

December 31, 2019

We exist on this earth for an undetermined period of time. During that time we do a lot of things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones basically just kill time. We all have things we like and stuff we enjoy doing but how can you discover your purpose through your passion? How can you tap into what drives you while leaving the biggest impact and imprint?

So when people say, “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?” what they’re actually asking is: “What can I do with my time that is important?”

Let’s take it on back as I frequently enjoy doing. Let’s revisit your childhood joys. Remember when life was carefree and you had time to dream and wonder? For some of us, it might take a moment to conjure up such a peaceful time in our lives. What did you enjoy doing? It might be easy to cast off climbing trees or playing in the mud but stay with me.  What did you see yourself doing when you grew up...you know before someone told you it was impossible, you aren’t smart enough, get your head out of the clouds or that will never happen. 

What if you could ask our 8-year-old self that question again. What do you want to be when you grow up?  

Haily Miller, the blogger from Everygirl has a few questions to get us started on this journey and I’m going to answer them on my end….you get ready to do the same. 

When do you forget to look at your phone?

  • When I’m exploring new places
  • When I’m connecting with new people
  • When I’m creating - bringing and idea, concept, or product together

What were things you loved to do as a kid?

  • Build businesses
  • Host plays
  • Anything theatrical or dramatic (roleplay)

What feels like active meditation?

  • Helping someone
  • Presenting new ideas
  • Art

What lights you up?

  • Anything creative (art, music, theater)
  • Meeting new people
  • Developing a new idea

What would you do if money didn’t matter?

  • Create art
  • Volunteer more hours
  • Travel

Now, look at your answers to uncover a common thread or theme. Looks like for me it’s creating something, meeting new people, and exploring. What about you?

Now take another step back and look at the bigger picture. Experience in life gives you a broader perspective and you have a better vantage point to see how this passion might fit into the world. Sometimes it’s not so specific but a direction you should explore. Sometimes its how your passion makes you feel or how it encourages others instead of the actual act itself. 

I found my purpose a little over 2 years ago. That isn’t to say it wasn’t always there or that I wasn’t exercising it to some degree earlier but until 6 years ago my journey was dictated by my ever-evolving life...trying to get somewhere, marriage, child, still trying to get somewhere, child, career change, multiple moves, still trying to get somewhere, another child, another career change, more moves, life delivered blow, another blow, life-altering change, career change…..etc. You see where I’m going right? I’m sure most of you can identify with a lot of that. It’s hard to zero in on your purpose or even fully embrace your passion when you are too busy trying to stay afloat and did I mention, trying to get somewhere. 

When I empty nested I decided to put myself first and really figure out who I was and what I wanted. A big part of both was where, when, and how I could give back. See my passion was people. I love people. I love to meet people, be around people, learn, study, and interview people and help people. Whatever I decided to do had to incorporate my love for people. 

But before I could do any of that, I had to figure out who I was, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I had to face my failures, admit my responsibility, forgive myself, find the lesson, and move on healthier and committed to being happier. To truly feel for another person is to have empathy. And to possess the ability to put yourself in another person shoes is to first identify with your own. 

Take some time for yourself, quiet time, where you can reflect on the different seasons in your life. What went smoothly and where did you hit opposition? Think about each of the challenges and really look at them. Sometimes we justify or make excuses to make a bumpy road more smooth but covering up the past isn’t dealing with it allowing you to move on. It just stays buried but shallow, just below the surface and can make embracing new ideas and new opportunities more challenging. 

Ask yourself this question, is there anything I could do to change that event for a more desirable outcome? The answer might be yes if you could develop a time machine but today, is there anything you can do? If not, you have your answer. However, we are human and a logical answer isn’t always good enough. What could you glean from that experience that could positively impact your future? If you can’t change it you might as well learn from it. It isn’t always about avoiding it in the future it’s about changing your trajectory altogether.

Obviously, the road to self-forgiveness and self-discovery isn’t short or straight and it isn’t the clearest path at certain times of your life but it’s always rewarding. Living a joyful life free to be yourself and connect with others in an authentic and loving way is the ultimate goal. Tapping into your purpose through discovering your passion is the big payoff. Remember, it may not be ONE BIG thing but multiple facets of who you are so don’t get discouraged looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow. 

How could you take this desire, this passion and impact the world? Giving back is as self-nourishing as it is paying it forward.  Find a problem you care about and start solving it. Just start! There are loads of great ideas and tons of compassion but until you activate your purpose and start pouring into other people, then it’s just good intentions and in this case, it ISN’T the thought that counts. 

Where to get started? Well, that’s half the fun! Look for a chance to jump in and then GO! Here’s a little secret, the world is in desperate need of volunteers and until you ask or respond when asked you will never experience the true reward. 

Obviously, you’re not going to fix the world’s problems but you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.

CHALLENGE: Remove self-doubt and free yourself to dream a little. Don’t lose sight of the wonder your true-self had before life said no. Uncover ways to harness the joy you receive from discovering your purpose to positively impact the world. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Priorities, Where Do YOU Fit In?

Priorities, Where Do YOU Fit In?

December 17, 2019

Are you a list maker? Do you think about your day, week, or month listing all the things you have to get accomplished? Where are you on that list?  It’s so easy to get swept up in helping everyone else, making sure they have what they need only to forget yourself in the process. As with everything, you may have to be intentional.  How many times do you say “I really need to start taking better care of myself”....”I really need some ME time”. What prevents you from acting on it?

We hear it all the time, it’s about time you start focusing on yourself. Your wants, needs, and desires. But to someone who is trying to juggle it all, that just sounds like white noise, an unattainable utopia. Maybe it’s for people who already have it all together. Maybe it’s after you take care of everything and everyone. Maybe it’s for the elite, the privileged. Nope, it’s for you and it’s for right now. You just have to create a healthy balance and make yourself a priority. 

Maybe guilt prevents you from shifting the focus. Do you feel guilty when you spend, energy, and resources that make you happy?  Do you feel selfish for even the idea of putting yourself first? 

Six years ago I started to explore this whole idea of putting myself first. Until this point, I put my work first, closely followed by family responsibilities, and trying to control everything and everyone else. I literally felt like I had a million plates spinning and each of them as important as the next. I know many of you feel this way and had I been able to see it then or listened to someone pointing it out, I would have been able to make some changes. So much of life unfolds through revelations after trials and tribulations. I’m hoping that we can shed some light on life’s little challenges and you can find alternative solutions sooner rather than later. But, some things just have to be experienced. 

I felt like I couldn’t put anything down or everything would fail. See I thought I had the power to control these situations and as a result, felt the responsibility. But you see, I didn’t. I could have dropped those plates and my life would have been the same, better in fact. Less stress, less anxiety, less heartbreak. Their lives would have been better, more accountability, more responsibility, more life lessons, and more growth. Remember I said, life unfolds through revelations after trials and tribulations. If I try and control, fix, and solve - who’s learning what? 

So I started letting go and creating more time and space to focus on what I could control ME. Turns out I had a lot of really good ideas and I totally got myself, no learning curve there or issues with communication, I just wasn’t listening before. 

I started out rediscovering who I was and what I liked, cherished, and valued. If you have spent your time living for other people chances are you’ve lost touch with those attributes, what makes you, you. 

Now that you have the “why”, what about the how? Well, it isn’t a switch you can flip tonight as you head to bed. They call it a journey for a reason. Somedays you will be slow to move, almost crawling and other days you will catch a head-wind and make up ground.  The fun is in learning who you are and discovering what makes you unique. Still, you might find making yourself and your new-found self-discovery mission a priority, a struggle. Life gets in the way. Remember those spinning plates? At different seasons they can pick up speed and content. 

Be intentional. Schedule yourself in the mix and give YOU the same weight or more as you do everyone else. Ready to shift focus?

Challenge: Life keeps moving at the same pace whether you are running ahead or running trying to catch up. Remember the tortoise and the hare? Create a daily ritual where you cross something important to YOU off your priority list. One a day will quickly add up and this will be one habit you cherish. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

Learning to be Yourself

Learning to be Yourself

December 10, 2019

When is the last time you were yourself? Truly yourself? It seems simple and a silly question because no one knows YOU better than you right? Why then do we have so much trouble letting our hair down, being confident in who we are and trusting our own opinions and intuitions? This may be the key and as elusive as the fountain of youth but don’t you think it’s worth it? If you’re ready to open up and trust that you are unique, talented, and worthy and that even though you may not feel that today...you could, then let’s go.

So if someone said to you…..who are you? How would you answer? Would you identify with your role in life: Father, Mother, CEO, Teacher, musician, artist, etc? Would you identify with your characteristics: chronically late, laid back, pretentious, a good friend, a great listener, etc? What if someone asked you if you were being “yourself” right now, how would you respond? 

How long does it even take to become yourself? I hope, even if you have a handle on who you are that you are still evolving and growing. But even from birth, you had some inherent attributes. Things that made you...YOU. 

I was outgoing from the start. I can remember before seatbelts my parents saying, “Kendall, sit back and be quiet!” Oh if I had a dime for every time I heard that phrase. In the first grade, Mrs. Sitter gave me an E in conduct and said: “she talks more than I do and I’m the teacher!”. My mother wasn’t worried about someone stealing me at the Mall, she was worried I would walk off with a stranger whom I already considered my best friend. This trait was inherent. Even though it has gotten me into trouble through the years it has also been my greatest asset and today my craft. 

What hasn’t been so black and white and what took some development is my confidence and my self-concept. Professionally I have all the confidence in the world. I know I’m good at what I do and an expert in my field. But personally, I am quick to bend and conform to what others want and need. I’m a people pleaser and as a result, I am worried about other people’s feelings, comfort levels, and opinions of me. 

Everyone starts out in life wanting to be safe, loved, and accepted. It’s in our DNA. Some of us figure out that the best way to do this is to put aside what we want or feel and allow someone else’s needs and feelings to take precedence. But this can be habitual and before you know it….you’re not even sure where your needs and feelings end and another begins. You lose touch with who you are and what you want. 

Switching the focus to yourself will feel awkward and yes, even selfish. In this state, you can put too much importance on the responsibility, ie control, you feel you have over someone else and put your own self-care on hold thinking you just don’t have enough time. 

But I challenge you, if this is your thinking, it’s time to let go. Slowly start stepping back and allowing your family, friends, and loved ones to lead their own lives, meet their own challenges, and right their own wrongs. It’s time you take care of you and in order to find the time you feel you don’t have, you must let go. 

What a freeing feeling. When you have all that time and mental focus back and channel it into your own journey, dreams, and goals; LOOK OUT! 

As a life coach I’m often asked if you could go back and tell a parent one thing to communicate to their child, what would that be. Without a doubt, it’s how to love yourself. Self-love and a healthy self-concept. When you have a strong core and sense of who you are it’s easier for you to stand firm on your morals and values. To defend what you believe instead of being afraid that it won’t be popular and you won’t be liked. 

A positive sense of self is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. Children with high self-esteem feel loved and competent and develop into happy, productive people. So maybe you didn’t get that positive reinforcement by your parents and now you are having to dig deep and do all the work on your own. Let bygones be bygones and embrace this journey of self-discovery. As hard as it is sometimes, you’ll be better for it. 

Now, how can you find your self-love and healthy self-concept so you can learn to be yourself? It starts with acceptance. That doesn’t mean you can strive for better and set goals and have dreams. It doesn’t mean settling in any way. It means accepting that you are you, unique, special, full of possibilities, creative, and passionate. Have acceptance is learning to love who are you are now. Love the person you are, the person you are trying to become, and everything in between. 

Many of us withhold love from ourselves because we don’t feel worthy...yet. We aren’t handsome enough, pretty, skinny, smart, talented….you fill in the blank. We are always under construction. Think of all the time we’ve wasted and love lost and all the time we’ve spent loathing ourselves. None of that can be undone but it can change moving forward. 

Take out a piece of paper and write down all the things you value about yourself. It doesn’t matter how small or short your list is, it’s a place to start. What do you like about you? 

Have you ever asked someone else? Try consulting your accountability partner for some honest feedback. Some of your most positive attributes that stand out to others may not even make your list. Don’t rely solely on your own overly critical eye to give an accurate account of what makes you, you. 

CHALLENGE: Let go. Release the doubt, the control, and the responsibility you’re carrying and channel that energy into learning who you are. Start with one thing you value and go on a quest to uncover more. Revisit the joy and possibilities your inner child possessed and get back to being YOU. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Using Your Past to Propel Your Future

Using Your Past to Propel Your Future

December 3, 2019

What do you think of when you review your past? A life full of rich experiences and cherished memories? Better days and bygones? Missed opportunities and regret? Or a  time you’re trying to forget? What if we could collect the memories from our past, organize their relevance, evaluate their purpose, discover the lesson, and learn from them. What if we could use our past to propel our future?

No one is perfect and no one can look back reflecting that everything in their life worked out just the way they wanted it. There are always ups and downs with highs and lows. But how low did it get and were you able or ARE you able to bounce back? That’s the key right? Keep going. No matter how hard it gets, keep going. Many of us would rather bury the tough times pretending they never happened and vowing to never speak of them again and others can’t seem to let it go and move on. Instead, staying stuck reliving the same tragedy or destructive behavior over and over and over. You don’t have to be a psychologist to recognize the danger in both of those tactics. 

You can see why “getting over it” is ideal but how hard it may be to get there without doing some significant work. This path to self-discovery is not always one of moving forward but may actually have a few detours and overnights as we unpack portions of our past. After a short stay and the necessary dissection of lingering issues, it’s time to move on. 

I’m good at letting things go and moving on. The primary reason is I don’t like to be sad or in a bad mood. I hate conflict and would much rather sweep it under the rug in lieu of harmony but I know, that can only be temporary. Those feelings and those scars are still there, just below the surface and it’s a shallow depth so it doesn’t take much to reach them. I could run across a trigger that would take me right back there or even more disturbing, a painful memory with no warning for no reason. I kept thinking I had the power to make it go away by pushing it down deeper but the more I pushed the more it weighed me down. 

Because of this, I decided to face the past. I went back and looked at events in my life with both eyes open so that I could honestly claim my role and look for the lesson. It wasn’t quick and it took a commitment. It doesn’t make it go away, there is still regret there but it does help me walkway from those feelings with a positive impact and direction vs staying stuck. 

As you start your journey back in time to understand how your past can uncover key ingredients for a successful future it’s important to:

Be kind

Remember you are always learning. Painful or regretful memories might be linked to vulnerable and naive periods of your life. You made choices with the information you had available at that time. 

Claim your role

Taking responsibility is an empowering step to forgiveness. Only when you claim your role in your past can you uncover the lesson. If you spend precious time blaming everyone else the lesson will get buried with your responsibility. Claim it, own it, then let it go. 

Forgive yourself

As much as you would like a do-over you are stuck with the past being just that, past tense and unchangeable. In order to find the lesson, you must forgive yourself. Too much time is spent ruminating over choices that can’t be undone. Channel that energy into understanding the lesson that is pointing you to a brighter future. 

Move on

Once you’ve done a deep dive it’s important to get what you need and move on. Replaying and rehashing painful times is not going to make it any clearer or easier. Shine a light in the dark corners of your memories and with an objective lens glean what you need to uncover the lesson and then move on to a healthier place. Your future, where possibilities are endless. 

Do you have enough fuel to propel you into the future? Obviously, that doesn’t happen in the span of a show but I am hoping you have enough inspiration to go back and do that work. You owe it to yourself to free yourself from whatever is keeping you stuck in the past or the present. 

Visualizing what you want your future to look like is not only super fun but incredibly important. Every year, Matt and I make a list of our goals for the next year but first, we make a list of everything we’ve accomplished in the current calendar year. What a rush. If you feel like the year passed you by without notice, take a look at what all you did do and I bet you’ll be surprised. 

Next, think about the year to come. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? Skies the limit but if this is all new to you, take it slow. Create some goals that you need to stretch to reach but that are realistically attainable in a calendar year. No reason to set yourself up for failure out of the gate.  We keep our lists in a journal-style book so we can easily revisit it when you need a shot in the arm or something to celebrate.

Now, go beyond next year and really visualize what you want your life to look like. Who are you? What are you doing? How does it make you feel? What is important to you? 

CHALLENGE:  Be willing to examine the rough spots of your past to smooth out the future. Every day we are growing and learning from other people and from our own experiences. Use those experiences, positive and negative, to uncover keys to propel your future. 

I Know YOU Can Do It!