I’m going to share with you a productive secret that very few people will ever share with you. And it may even shock you. Are you ready? It’s okay to be selfish in the morning. No, actually it’s absolutely necessary.
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend selfishness, because it can really damage relationships. But, when you think about it, what is your most important relationship? (Hint: It’s the one you’re most likely neglecting.)
It’s your relationship with yourself, right? If you’re not treating yourself with love, patience, and respect, you won’t be able to show those qualities to others. And you won’t have enough energy to be productive in life.
So, I’m suggesting you do something just for yourself as soon as you get up. It might be making your bed, exercising, reading something inspirational, or meditation. Whatever fuels your creativity and energy. Become a master of your time and set intentions for how you want your day to be.
Now let’s increase your productivity in life by using this same “principle of selfishness” as you carve out the first hour of your work day to focus on your own project. (Of course, this works well if you run your own business. But the principle can also make you indispensible in whatever organization you work for, because it effectively prioritizes your day.)
Too often we jump into taking care of others’ requests or ‘urgent’ needs. Emails, voicemails and the like can wait…they’ll still be there later. Responding in this reactive manner makes you feel like you’re always trying to catch up. Like there’s not enough time. Like you’re not doing what fuels your soul. Like you’re missing out.
On the other hand, if you guard the first hour of your workday, you’ll feel like you’re living up to your potential and that you’re accomplishing something important. In turn, this energizes you to do more, and you build momentum, getting more accomplished with less effort.
Try the following steps to ease into this new morning routine:
- Block out the first hour of every workday on your calendar. Make this a recurring event, and let everyone know this hour is taken. No compromising!
- Avoid distractions and set boundaries you can live with, like not checking your email, social media or answering your phone.
- If you have a mandatory meeting at this time, consider starting your day an hour earlier so you honor your commitment.
What do you do with the first hour of your new schedule?
Choose a meaningful and/or important project to work on. Look for something that you’ve been intending to do, but haven’t gotten to yet because you’ve been too busy taking care of everyone else’s priorities. For entrepreneurs this can mean working on your business instead of in your business and coming up with plans for future growth.
Then, start making notes for what needs to happen to make your project a reality. Once you have these notes, organize them in a book, card file or small sheets of paper. Put one task per page, card, or piece of paper with instructions of how to do it. If you don’t know, then your task is to find someone who can teach you or can do it for you.
How do you organize all these notes into a productivity strategy you can reuse in all facets of life?
- Break your project down into monthly benchmarks for success.
- Break each month’s objective down into weekly tasks.
- Break down your weekly tasks into 3 critical items.
Start your day working on your single most important item. Once it’s completed, move to the next. If you don’t accomplish all three tasks within the hour, move the unfinished task to the top of your pile to work on tomorrow. Oftentimes you’ll accomplish more in this first hour than you otherwise would all day.
This process helps you become more mindful as you regularly pause to breathe and assess what’s most important to you everyday. You develop a skill that helps you to be fully engaged and productive in life.
Need some help getting started? Whether it’s personal development, improving your health or marketing your business, I’m here to help you stay on track and reach your highest purpose. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype), and let’s get started.
“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” ~ James Allen
We don’t often think about this, but if you make a choice, you also make a sacrifice consciously or unconsciously.
For example: You give up work time to read a book. You invest in your education rather than taking a vacation. You may even purchase shoes instead of food. In each case you sacrifice something to get something you value more.
Each sacrifice, each choice brings you closer to, or takes you further away from, the amazing lifestyle you desire. To get it, you must pay the price of success.
What will excellence cost you? Focused action, hard choices and consistent follow through. You have to become what some might view as “obsessed’ with getting results.
How do you pay the price of success? It could be money. It could be physical effort. It might even be your health if you’re not careful. But your greatest asset is your TIME. Once you spend a second of it, you can’t get it back. It’s in limited supply, so spend it wisely.
However, success isn’t solely guaranteed by how much time you put into an endeavor. Perhaps you’ve heard that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” Malcolm Gladwell posed this rule in his book, “Outliers.” It gives you the impression that you have to put in a vast amount of time and deliberate practice to achieve excellence. (Deliberate practice means pushing your skill set as much as you can.)
But I don’t think that time and deliberate practice are the entire equation for success.
Excellence doesn’t just take time and practice. Your heart, soul and mind must be involved as you find and fulfill your purpose in life. If you aren’t good at an endeavor or you’re doing it just because someone else expects it, no amount of time and practice is going to make you great at it.
When you’re firmly convinced of your purpose, you’re more than willing to make sacrifices to fulfill it, because it fills you with joy and brings out the best in you. Some women have achieved excellence by being wonderful wives and mothers. While the world in general doesn’t give them the recognition they deserve, I think they’re awesome! Others achieve excellence in their chosen profession. That’s awesome too!
Personally, I’ve found my purpose by being the best daughter, wife, friend and coach that I can be. I love assisting women to achieve their purpose whatever that might be. Will this be enough for my lifetime? Time will tell. We all have the freedom to rewrite our lives any time we want.
One thing I do know is that you don’t get anywhere without some level of sacrifice.
On the other hand, be careful about the price you’re willing to pay for success. You don’t ever want to trade your reputation, ethics or integrity for a quick gain. It’s not worth it.
Giving up on your dreams is not a good option either. It exacts a high price in regrets and unhappiness. Don’t quit because you can’t figure out what to do next. If you want it enough, you’ll find a way.
Granted, it is human nature to default to what we’re used to, what’s in our comfort zone. However, growth depends on discomfort. Creativity isn’t sparked in a circle of comfort. It’s sparked by challenge, by needing to think outside the box, by deadlines, by stress, by what’s called, “Optimal Anxiety”. To achieve greatness, you have to push yourself.
Yes, we live in a world that loves instant gratification. But there are no shortcuts to excellence. It’s so satisfying to take your time and do it right. It will cost you, but it’s worth it.
Would you like to ensure you’re spending your time and energy on the right thing for you, right now? Then please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). It pays to explore new ideas and paths that can help you get closer to what makes YOU feel like a success.
“To confront a person with his own shadow is to show him his own light”. ~ Carl Jung
Have you given away your power?
Perhaps it started years ago… Many times when we’re young and go through a crisis – caused by divorce, death, illness, or abuse – we never have the room to explores and process all of the emotional polarities that come along with these experiences.
As a kid, you think you have to be mature. You have to show your parents, teachers and friends that you’re fine, that you can handle it… But what you’re really doing is learning to suppress or disown your real self.
As a child trying to protect yourself, you put on a persona. The problem is that persona lives on and you may stop yourself from saying things you want to say; you hide your emotions or your pretend to feel something that you don’t. You show the world a censored version of yourself.
In time, we can bury our authentic self so deeply that we actually lose sight of who we really are. The persona you put on as a child, or Shadow Self, is still there under the surface causing havoc. (Read my previous blog post that explains your Shadow Self.)
To accept your true self you have to identify, acknowledge and own the repressed parts (the good, the bad and the ugly) you may have been denying for years. Consciously integrating your shadow self allows you to reclaim the power you once gave away. It enables you to recognize your uniqueness and the gifts you have. The ultimate result? Total self-acceptance brings inner peace.
This process isn’t easy. To reclaim your disowned parts recognize that…
- You can’t bypass your past experiences and the unfelt emotions.
- You can’t get rid of emotions like you can’t get rid of energy. They can only be transformed (emotions = energy in motion).
- You must bring adult witnessing, compassion and understanding to those young parts to foster healing.
- You prolong the disattunement (lack of harmony) that you experienced while growing up by failing to attune to your emotional needs in adulthood.
Are you ready to make room for your younger self? Integration is the healing process of identifying, acknowledging, embracing unprocessed emotions from childhood.
This process involves embracing both sides of your emotional polarities. What does this mean? You can’t have confidence without insecurity; humility without arrogance; compliance without rebellion; tenderness without hardness.
As you read these emotional polarities (opposites), did you judge one emotion as good and one as bad? Is it hard to acknowledge that you possess some of them?
In these polarities, neither emotion is right or wrong, good or bad. They just are. And we need to acknowledge that we possess them without judgment.
I’m not advocating that you unleash your emotions on others without restraint. I am saying it’s important to mindfully acknowledge how you feel, reclaim your feelings, process those feelings, and then express them in productive, non-destructive ways.
It can be very telling when you feel inordinately irritated when you see such qualities in others. Often this is triggered because you’ve disowned this quality within yourself. Ask yourself:
- Why does this aspect of a polarity bother me?
- How do I hold its counterpoint?
- Why do I view it this way?
- When did I start to disown this in myself?
- Was it because of what someone said or something I experienced?
- What was the context then?
- What is the context now?
- What will happen when I acknowledge this disowned polarity in myself?
It’s a fact of life that emotional polarities exist within all of us. Bringing them to the surface and acknowledging them enables you to free energy that you can productively use in your personal growth. This is so much better than continuing to feel irritated when you see it in yourself or others.
You can become resilient, successful and capable despite your difficult or traumatic past experiences. I’d love to partner with you on your journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“We tend to think that vulnerability is associated with weakness, but there’s a kind of robust vulnerability that can create a certain form of strength and presence too.” ~ David Whyte
Do you have secrets you’ve never shared with anyone? Perhaps something that happened to you as a child? Maybe it’s simply a feeling that is so raw you’re too uncomfortable to share it with anyone?
All of us have secrets we hide from others and perhaps even from ourselves. (Carl Jung called this our Shadow Self.) We hide what we dislike about ourselves or feel is unacceptable because we want to feel safe, respected or accepted. If we reveal how we really feel deep inside, we’re afraid we’ll be rejected.
When do you develop this Shadow Self? And how does it undermine your life, your relationships and your sense of purpose?
Your Shadow Self is usually developed in your childhood. Maybe your parents or teachers taught you what they’d been taught – “don’t cry, pull yourself up by your booth straps, put on a smile, be strong.” You got the message that it’s good to bottle up or choke back your emotions. Overtime you came to view certain emotions and qualities as “bad” so they must be hidden when you feel them.
It’s a lie.
Denying your emotions actually makes you weak, needy and more vulnerable to life events. Sadly, most of us walk around cut off from our body – the vessel for our emotional experiences – and live our lives from our thinking mind only. This makes us incomplete.
While working with hundreds of clients, I’ve discovered that there’s usually a pattern underlying current challenges. At some point in our past, most of us thought we had to leave behind or abandon our younger self to survive and become an adult.
But that Shadow Self is still there under the surface. Often it shows up as unresolved issues, limiting beliefs or unchallenged “truths” along your journey to adulthood. The associated emotions may disastrously resurface as anxiety, depression, or illness.
When this happens our reflex is to push our Shadow Self back, to get rid of it or deny it. It feels foreign, scary and confusing to acknowledge your past hurt, sadness, grief, or loss. You want to just forget it and keep it in the shadows.
How can dredging up the past possibly bring you closer to healing?
It’s common to imagine that embracing your disowned emotions will devastate you and interfere with your ability to be a functional adult. Yet the truth is that you’re not operating at full capacity when you’re not connected with those parts you have disowned. You are literally missing parts of yourself.
As a child, we have a coping mechanism; we develop adaptive skills to keep the disowned ones hidden. For example when you disown vulnerability you might:
- Develop an inner perfectionist to avoid feeling “less than” when making mistakes.
- Develop a tough exterior, becoming overly self-reliant and independent so you’re not disappointed and hurt by others.
- Develop a need to take care of everyone else because no one is taking care of you.
Yet the truth about vulnerability is that it can be empowering if we develop what David Whyte, my favorite poet, calls “robust vulnerability.” This seemingly counter-intuitive concept is to allow vulnerability into your life so that it strengthens you from the inside.
Do you see how these adaptive skills can keep you from realizing your wholeness and true self? Your Shadow Self keeps you from letting your light, your true brilliance, shine. And when you’re always trying to hide who you are, you won’t have the energy to forge close, rich relationships. (In reality, you’re not hiding it very well either.)
The good news is that you can become whole again! You can learn to welcome, deeply hear, understand, and value everything about yourself, even the disowned parts of your Shadow Self. Then you can integrate them back into who you are and how you express yourself.
For some this can be quite challenging and frightening to do alone. I’d love to support you on your journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
Isn’t it time to “see and embrace the elephant in the room” and finally take the steps to feel whole and in harmony with who you’re meant to be?
Your approach to life is influenced by so many factors – your genetics, upbringing, culture, beliefs, values, and more. As a result, everyone has a unique approach to life that is either slightly or vastly different from your own.
Some people go through life doing just enough to get by. They’re the make doers who are perfectly happy making do with whatever happens. At the other extreme are the perfectionists who strive to do everything perfectly no matter how complicated the process is.
In the more sustainable range are the following:
- Simplifiers (who do everything the easiest way possible even if adding that little extra would produce better results).
- Optimizers (who look for the best solution even if it’s more complex and increases the odds for complications).
- Maximizers (who never cease to educate themselves and learn from others so they can excel at what’s important).
Actually, a balanced life involves all of the above, except for perfectionism, which only brings you stress from having unrealistic expectations of yourself. The trick is to know how to approach life on the terms that serve you the best in your present circumstances with the least amount of cost (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual). The good news is that you can choose to alter your approach to life whenever it suits you.
But how do you know which approach is the best at any given time?
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase about “knowing when to pick your battles”. Some things just aren’t worth fussing about. While others things matter a great deal. Often you don’t know what you’re dealing with until you’re well into the project. That’s why it’s so important to be flexible, resilient and adaptable.
However, as a general rule of thumb, whenever possible choose simplification, because it maximizes and frees up your personal energy. You’re not worn out from one task, so you have plenty of energy for the other activities that the day brings you.
Doing things simply makes it easier for not only yourself but for everyone involved. And it’s a huge time saver and keeps your stress level down. It’s best to avoid complicating something if there’s no need for it.
If you can simplify, streamline and document any system, you won’t have to expend the time and energy to re-figure it out in the future. This kind of simplification pays off in a big way. It even allows you to delegate tasks to others knowing that they’ll do the work to your satisfaction.
By simplifying your daily life as much as you can with supportive routines and habits, you have the luxury to optimize, or even maximize, the things that really matter to you. Instead of doing it so-so, you can truly master what you’re passionate about.
This principle works in all aspects of life and business. Just get started doing what needs to be done, step-by-step, and when you have the luxury of time, come back and master what’s really important. Over time, you may find that what you thought needed careful, meticulous attention doesn’t really need it, while things you neglected need your undivided attention.
When you’re mindful about reviewing your day, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and you’re tuned in to your own feelings and those of the people around you, you develop the flexibility and creativity to make course corrections in your approach to life as needed.
If you feel like you need to make some adjustments in your approach to life, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to partner with you as you discover new ways to live life to the fullest.