Encouragementology
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!

Becoming Your Own Mentor

Becoming Your Own Mentor

November 26, 2019

Do you need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a cheerleader in your corner or are you capable of being your own support system? A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. Typically that would be someone who has been through “it” already and is able to help you see a new perspective. An aerial view when you are sill macheting your way through the jungle of self-discovery. Where do you get your inspiration? Who gives you insight and a different perspective?

Maybe you have someone or a group that can give you the type of insight you need to plan for the future and maybe you don’t. How can you become your own mentor?

First, it helps to know what makes up a mentor. An experienced and trusted adviser.  A mentor may share information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling.   

A good mentor possesses the following qualities: See if these bring a person in your life to mind or how YOU can fill these shoes for yourself and others.

Good listener/sounding board

Someone that is going to hear you out, listen to your dreams no matter how ridiculous and unattainable they may seem. 

Flexible

They are able to meet you where you are on your journey When things get difficult, speed up or drastically slow down, they are able to adjust and maintain interest and input.

Value diversity of perspectives

Someone who can see things from all angles and even if they don’t have first-hand knowledge are able to be open enough to explore other ideas. 

Knowledgeable

Has seen a thing or two and when in doubt, will do some research to come up with an educational and thoughtful approach. 

Nonjudgmental

Listens and responds without bias. Are able to help you with your vision since it is YOUR vision. 

Able to give constructive feedback

Understands constructive vs destructive. Can respond with helpful ideas and a new approach to help you over a hump or around a sharp curve. 

Honest and candid

Direct but thoughtful. You aren’t looking for someone to mince words but you do want a gentle touch from time to time. 

Able to network and find resources

People need people.  Willing to meet and introduce new experts into the equation. Ask questions and explore their ideas.

Willing/able to devote time to developing others

Takes the role seriously making you a priority. Understands that helping others to reach their goals helps in their own self-development.

Eager to learn

Never too old or too wise to learn something new from everyone they meet.

I am queen of the pep-talk. I will rally behind someone at any moment and quite possibly without being asked...oops! I love a happy ending and I see possibilities everywhere. Sounds pretty peachy huh? Well now let’s talk about the downside so we have it all on the table. Sometimes people just want to vent and they don’t want you to solve their problems. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It’s real. Some people just want you to be a sounding board and not step in as the superhero. This is so uncomfortable for me but even this is a chance to grow. I have to learn to just listen and be supportive without offering any advice. 

Some people don’t like sunshine when it’s cloudy. Some people want time to process the challenge, sit with the sadness, and then move at their own pace. I know weird right? But I have to learn to respect that process and not try and force the clouds away to quickly. Moving someone through the process at an abnormal speed may mean the lesson is rushed and therefore missed altogether. 

Some people don’t want ME to solve their problems. Ouch right? But seriously, even though I think I’m being helpful, solving everyone’s problems is not helping them at all. They need to experience life just like everyone else, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Moving through every stage will give them the tools they need to handle what else life has to throw at them. 

Life is full of challenges so to say you’ve been through some and have more ahead is an understatement. You are met with challenges every day. How you react and what you learn is up to you and could help you to create a foundation of wisdom. 

If you blindly react, blame, and deny your responsibility then you miss the opportunity to grow. You have choices in life and not everything happens to you some things happen because you reacted with the information you had at the time or you gave the power to someone else to make decisions that weren’t in your best interest.

Can we really get to a level of perspective to see the learning in all our challenges? This is one of those important milestones along our journey. Self-reflection, responsibility, and change!

Some of the simplest things can be the hardest to understand and adopt. For some reason we know it to be true, we even feel it deep down, but until we claim it and say it out loud it’s like the concept doesn’t even exist. 

So be kind to yourself, these may be some newly adopted ideas. But remember, as a mentor, they wouldn’t just help you through a challenge with their depth of knowledge, they would help you evaluate where you currently are, help you identify areas for improvement and help you prepare to avoid future potential threats. They would help you take your time and see a situation from all angles weighing in past experiences and relying on your values and intuition. 

Sometimes you have to trust yourself. That’s hard to do when you’ve struggled and found yourself in what seemed to be, hopeless situation after hopeless situation. The more you accept and look for the lesson the faster that will happen until one day….YOU just know and are confident in your decisions. Ask yourself and then listen without judgment and be patient. 

Sometimes it takes breaking it down to the nth degree to get a clear understanding of just what choices you have. Most people can identify being at a crossroads more than once in their life and being paralyzed to move. Full of self-doubt and not feeling qualified to make the next move. What an overwhelming feeling. But the fact is, you have the power. You’ve had it all along. Maybe not a full understanding of everything life throws at you but the power to work it out, to find a solution, and to make the right choice. 

Don’t be so quick to look to others for all the answers. Invite in the experts, listen to your heart, do some reminiscing and fact gathering, probe life events for the lessons, and trust yourself. 

CHALLENGE: Forgive yourself for past failures and instead look for the lesson that could give your foundation stability. Before you rely on others' opinions or direction trust yourself to have your back and be the support you need to find your way through.  Share this new confidence with a friend as they find their own footing. 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Routine Rut? Redesigning Your Day

Routine Rut? Redesigning Your Day

November 19, 2019

Do routines sound relaxing to you? The comfort of knowing what’s coming around every turn so you can spend part of your day on autopilot? What happens if routines get too easy and comfortable? Maybe instead of comfort, you identify with: Up at 6:30AM, coffee by 6:33AM, Shower, drop-offs, work, meetings, dinner, sports, laundry, exhaustion, BEEP BEEP BEEP. Has your life become too predictable? Has autopilot removed the sheer enjoyment of living? Are you in a rut? No need to worry, you have the opportunity to take back the control to re-engineer and redesign your day. 

So..Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit. We can all fall into habits that no longer serve us. When we bare down and keep digging faster instead of smarter, we get a BIG hole and have possibly lost track of where we’re going. 

You can think of autopilot has a handy time and skill saving friend. Something to take over and make sure you get to where you are going with consistency and timing. OR you can see autopilot as denial keeping you in a routine for longer than necessary. It’s just, “what you do”, “second nature”, you’ve “made your bed”.  WHAT? No! Never accept mediocre, never accept less than you deserve, never settle for what you know now. 

Live is about challenges. Challenges that we encounter in our lives and life that we chose to challenge. Take on the stigma, the faulty perception, the inherited belief system and push back. Your life and your routine can change every day if you want it to.

The first step is admitting to yourself that you have a problem with your current quality of life, then identifying what and where, and THEN and only then, you make a change. There is power in hearing but empowerment is in DOING. 

 

I read an article by James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer who studies and writes about human behavior.  That article is titled: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick. 

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.

How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.

How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits.

How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray.

There is a four-step pattern that is the backbone of every habit, and your brain runs through these steps in the same order each time. The cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue. Together, these four steps form a neurological feedback loop—cue, craving, response, reward; cue, craving, response, reward—that ultimately allows you to create automatic habits.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Nope, life is complicated and human behavior is never predictable. And remember, you are ever-changing so just because you didn’t see it before, just because you haven’t taken the control that you now know you have, doesn’t mean you can’t reroute, and redesign your day. James Clear just taught us that motivation comes for the habits we form. Unsatisfied with your routine and the habits that YOU’VE created, time to make a change. 

Ready for sooner rather than later? Have we directed the light into the corners of your denial only to find a routine rut?? Maybe your routine is dictated by time. You might feel everything you are doing now, within a 24-hour cycle is of the utmost importance and if you could squeeze out a few more moments you might be able to change the design of your day.

Ready to get out of the rut?  Re-evaluate your goals and update your wants and your needs. You might be stuck in a routine trying to get somewhere that you don’t even want to go anymore. Routine ruts can prevent us from seeing new opportunities. Routine ruts can falsely keep us in our comfort zones never letting us stretch ourselves. Routines can keep us from finding our purpose and reaching our true potential. 

CHALLENGE: Recognize the rut and ask yourself, what’s next. Don’t get comfortable with the same-o same-o. Push yourself to reevaluate and set your sights on a new direction.  Make tomorrow the day you try something new and then GO! 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

 

  

Overwhelmed, Ways to Organize the Pressure

Overwhelmed, Ways to Organize the Pressure

November 12, 2019

What is your tipping point? The straw the broke the back? Most of us will say we are great multi-taskers, handling personal life, work, family, friends and so on.  But the truth is today, maybe more than ever, it’s very easy to overdo it and get overwhelmed. Never have we had so much information to consume, so many revenue streams to make ends meet, so many connection points to maintain, and so much pressure to reinvent, upgrade, and evolve. It’s exhausting! It’s time to get honest...you can’t do everything, successfully! Ready to examine what’s filling your plate and dragging you down? 

So what has your bogged down? Can you put your finger on IT? Maybe it isn’t just one thing but a collection of too many yes’ and commitments you made to be the hero, only to find out your human. Some of us just can’t say NO. Maybe it’s believing we have more time and ability than we actually do and maybe it’s because we just don’t want to disappoint anyone. 

Getting to the breaking point can be easier than you think.

It’s kind of funny that I'm doing a show on ways to organize the pressure and the feeling of being overwhelmed. I tend to feel this way often and even though I’m self-aware and understand the steps to make a change, I don’t. I’m in a season in my life that many of you can identify with, trying to make something happen. I have a lot of irons in the fire because I’m passionate about so many things and I want to see them all successfully growing. My justification to myself is this is only temporary and once I hit this milestone or that milestone I will ease off the throttle and let life coast a bit. But is that really true? 

 

The fact is, I enjoy being busy. I enjoy managing a lot of fun projects and seeing the fruits of my labor. To me, this new schedule or phase of life is my source of entertainment. BUT…...at what price? 

 

As I add more to my plate, what happens to the crumbs? Do they get pushed off to concentrate on the bigger portion or do you just keep loading it up?

 

It’s easy to put the same weight and level of priority on everything in front of us. We make lists, set alarms, create reminders, and have mini command centers everywhere we land. It feels good to cross things off and end our day with a completed list...but does that really ever happen. What happens when it doesn’t? It creates another layer of leftovers that get added to today’s list and before you know it, you are far behind. OVERWHELMED!

So what do we do in the midst of all this….we grab our phone and check social media to consume even more! The one moment in the day when we could breathe, meditate, wonder, or relax and we just can’t take it. We want more, more, more! 

 

And it’s not just the internet. We are bombarded every day in every way by data that demands our attention. Signs, blinking, flashing, BIG Signs, talking signs, bumper stickers, decals, brochures, flyers, catalogs, handouts, newsletters, blogs, magazines, newspapers…..the list just goes on and on. 

As consumers, we love the convenience and fail to realize the implications of never getting a mental break.

Unplug. Not every hour of every day but DO make a conscious effort to limit your intake. Go on a data diet and push back from the computer and put down the phone. Get outside and instead of grabbing the earbuds to occupy your mind with music, a podcast, or book…..listen to nature. Think, wonder, imagine, and give your brain the much-needed break it’s longing for. 

Never getting through it all or carrying too much of it around we feel behind and overwhelmed. Why are we feeling responsible and as a result, disappointed in our assumed performance? Letting go of this lifestyle is as much about the act of consuming as it is the guilt of not. 

Whether it’s life, health, business, or personal relationships - let’s adopt, all I can do is what I can do and that’s enough. Many of your spinning plates will run idle until you can get to them and some will not. Evaluate those and decide if they are a must-have in your world. 

  • Do you have control over the situation
  • Does this activity give you comfort, provide for your necessities, or bring you joy?
  • Do you have the timing right?

Where you can, downsize and consolidate your plates so that you can easily manage what you have? It’s true, during certain seasons of our lives we have more control and at others, it seems to get the best of us. Today we are becoming aware of the situation and that’s a positive step in the right direction. Being self-aware means you have the space and time to consider all your options. Timing is everything and when the timing is right, it’s best to streamline and take control. Your brain will thank you, your family, friends, and co-workers will appreciate your new-found freedom, and life will get just a little more fun and enjoyable. 

CHALLENGE: When you get the pangs of discomfort, evaluate your todo list to find which plates might be unseasonably placed. Only do what you can do and let that be enough. Full throttle has its place but only in the straightaways. 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

Unplug…and Reconnect with LOVE

Unplug…and Reconnect with LOVE

November 5, 2019

Do you need to turn the volume down, change your frequency, hit the reset or just unplug? Sometimes we lose track of the mission and get lost in the details. You’ve heard you can’t see the forest for the trees, right? It’s easy to try too hard because you love too hard. It’s also hard to protect and share your heart when your human. Sometimes you just have to unplug….take a step back and change your angle to get a different perspective. You can have all the good intentions you want in the beginning and still lose focus on the mission. 

So before we change angles lets take a personal inventory and see where we are. What isn’t working? What have you tried over and over to exhaustion only to find out, it’s not working? What came to mind when we started this show? Where do you need to unplug?

It’s hard to admit you may need to give in and change your approach. Most of us feel like the control is within is to make something happen or make someone see our point of view.  “If I could just say it differently if I could just show them how…” The word powerless is a difficult word to say and accept. No one wants to admit they can’t do something and that they are powerless. But sometimes, it needs to come to that before you can make a change. 

Why do you think the first step in any 12 step program is to admit you are powerless? We admit we are powerless and that our life has become unmanageable.  Only after admitting you are powerless can you begin to make changes in yourself. You have to give up the illusion of power.

It is not difficult to overestimate the amount of control we have over our lives. Unfortunately, many cannot shatter that illusion until they hit rock bottom and are confronted with undeniable proof that everything is not okay. 

Many people resist the term powerlessness because it contradicts much of what we have been taught. Believing you can do anything and fix everything if you just try harder and want it enough is instilled in us at an early age. The truth is we cannot do or fix everything, regardless of how hard we try or how much we want it. We cannot control the weather, war, illness, or other people.

Step 1 can be applied to all areas of your life and isn’t just the start of recovery. Even if the word “powerless” may not describe every situation, you can admit that you don’t have all the answers and you might to seek an expert and try another approach. Can we all get there? 

What about the person who can’t get off the couch, or out the door. The person who spends all their resources, time, and energy caring about and for others. I meet these people all the time. The ones who are exhausted, depleted, overwhelmed, and out of ideas. The ones who wouldn’t know what they needed or even liked if you gave them ample time to answer. They are so far down on their priority list that it might as well be the fine print. It’s difficult to convince this person that their suffering is their choice and that unplugging to give themselves a little self-care is critical. 

So if that’s you or you know someone who fits that description, have patience. You can talk till you are blue in the face but they have to see the problem to see the solution. 

What a freeing feeling, to let go of the control you believe you have over other people and activate your power in your own life. 

After you’ve completed your personal inventory (which by the way isn’t a one-time thing.) Why don’t you try reconnecting with LOVE for yourself, your gifts, your smile, your patience, your creativity, and your heart…..

These qualities are what makes you, YOU and when you look at the needs of the world, the REAL needs, there is a place to use these gifts where they will be :

Respected

Honored

Cherished

Exemplified

Shared

Reciprocated

When you reconnect with your purpose driving your passion, life is in balance. When you keep your connections healthy and unattached, love and respect are mutual. 

When you allow yourself room to grow and space to evolve, self-discovery is an exciting journey.

CHALLENGE: fuel your fire, shine your light, share your spirit, but make sure you find a place where that effort can grow and truly make an impact. Unplug and shift your position to get a better perspective and protect your heart. LOVE IS THE ANSWER!

 

I know YOU can do it!