“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Where are you headed in life? Are you on the right path? Are you feeling lost? Is it time for a course correction? Every so often it’s beneficial to ask questions like these so you can assess your wellbeing, dreams and desires…and then change what isn’t working for you any longer.
Take a moment to experience how your body reacts to the following seventeen areas of life. Does each one make feel free and joyful, or do some of them make you experience pain, loss or other negative effects?
- Growth & learning
- Daily relaxation
This exploratory exercise helps you identify the areas of life that are making you feel lost. It takes courage to give attention to these feelings, but it’s the first step to feeling whole again. Over the last few years, I’ve been coaching people to extraordinary personal success. Along the way, I’ve gleaned some life lessons that you can use to create more joy in these lost areas of your life. Here are three of them that make the biggest impact:
1. Be the boss…take responsibility…make the hard choices. I’ve found that so many people struggle with taking ownership of their own lives. Somewhere along the way, they’ve given away their power to things that don’t serve them anymore. They don’t feel like they control their own lives.
But at some point, you have to realize you chose those things…the job, the family, the life. You may not be able to change your past, but if you want your future to reflect your desires, start managing your life.
I don’t mean quitting your job, divorcing your spouse and abandoning your children. Instead of following the whims of your past, mindfully shift your thoughts and experiences to ones that bring you joy. No matter what the circumstance is, you can change your focus. Rather than fixating on an annoyance, look for the positive in each experience. As you make this your new way of being, you’ll find that the former irritations and annoyances bother you little, if at all.
2. Distinguish healthy habits from mindless routines. Pay attention to how your daily habits may be shutting you off from new experiences. For example, when you work for yourself, you sit at home in front of a computer a lot. This creates tunnel vision. If you don’t go out to lunch with friends; if you don’t leave the house; if you don’t get outside stimuli…life begins to stagnate. Your daily routine imprisons you, without you even realizing it.
Look for ways to shake things up…eat a different breakfast, try a different exercise routine, accept more invitations to get out. Become more mindful and self-aware of what you say “yes” or “no” to. In that way, you make each decision a choice, not just a reflexive habit that may not be serving you any more.
3. Ask for and accept help…often. Independence is especially prized in Western culture. But think about this: what dreams could you pursue, if you relied more on others who want to help? Let go of that voice that says you have to do it by yourself. (If you’re curious about exploring a coaching partnership, but you still have reservations, please reach out to me with any questions.)
When you’re feeling lost, it’s important to actively choose systems for living that help you become the person you want to be. If you’d like to dig more deeply into assessing your state of wellness, I invite you to download my free 7-Point Wellness Assessment. It’s one of the tools I use in my coaching practice to start clients on the journey to finding their personal truth.
“For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.” ~ Larry Eisenberg
As each New Year begins, people want to accomplish more with their lives. Perhaps you do too. Have you noticed how you tend to get off to a good start, but then the stresses of life quickly sidetrack you? Are you tired of getting pulled down by stress so you never get real traction on what’s most important to you?
Before real change can be accomplished, it’s important to do foundational prep work that will support you in your new life. And one system that will really support you is having a stress management plan that helps you to find and retain peace of mind despite what occurs in life.
Stress is a huge factor in our lives. You may not be able to avoid stressful circumstances or situations, however you can control your reactions and responses to them. Stress management is a skill you can learn, but it does take daily practice.
When you feel yourself spiraling into the “stress abyss”, what can you do that will consistently lift your spirits and help you find peace of mind once again? Here are a few suggestions that I’ve found very helpful:
Set intentions, not goals. When you’re setting powerful intentions, you’re creating within yourself a new and specific state or frame of mind that fosters peace and serves your purpose in life. Each time you reinforce who you want to be, what you wish to contribute, and how you choose to touch the lives of others.
Honor your emotions. Every thought or belief is connected with an emotion, which has a physiological response in your body. Tune into your emotions and identify each sensation as you experience it. Honor the messages that your body is sending you about your feelings. Don’t try to override them. Suspend any judgment of them. Simply observe them for what they are.
Be mindful and in the moment. What you’re experiencing today isn’t permanent. Tell yourself, “this too will pass.” Just acknowledge that moments of stress will pass, emotions will fade, and circumstances change and this will take the pressure off and give you a sense of relief.
Transform your body, transform your life. Building awareness for how you use (or abuse) your body at any given moment is the key to transforming your body and your life. By being mindful of your physical experience, you’ll create a vessel that can experience greater strength, balance, serenity, wellness and happiness.
Recognize negative thinking and change it. Sometimes we add stress to situations by letting our thoughts get away from us. Do you notice a tendency to default to negative outcomes and think the worst? Our minds are powerful and they influence our daily experience. Take control of your life by controlling your mind. Meditate daily. Choose positive affirmations. Take time to journal. Write yourself loving reminders. Do whatever you need to keep your thoughts in check.
Stop and start again. Sometimes when you’re stressed it’s because you’ve taken on too much. Give yourself permission to stop. There’s power and healing in the pause. Situations and circumstances will wait for you, even if your pause is just to a count of 10. And you’ll be able to approach them with greater patience, confidence, and ease when you take time to center yourself before proceeding.
If you’re committed to finding peace of mind and living a life of purpose, but roadblocks keep arising, perhaps it’s time to reach out. Please 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.
Review some of my previous stress management articles:
How to Soften the Body to Withstand Stress and Roll with the Punches
Feeling Overwhelmed All the Time? 8 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety and Stress
Time Management Tips that Reduce your Stress and Increase Productivity
How to Stay Calm under Pressure
Self Sabotaging Behavior – 5 Traps Women Need to Avoid to be Truly Happy
Feeling Trapped in Life? Master Your Inner Game to Free Yourself
Achieve Deep Relaxation through Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Five Breathing Exercises for Balancing Your Life, Your Mood and Your Relationships
How to Deal with Fear – Ten Ways to Cultivate a Fearless Mindset
Regain Control as You Discover How Food Affects Your Mood
Seven Ways to Break Free from Being Too Busy
The 90-Second Secret to Mastering Your Emotions
“Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over. Self-acceptance begins, and the self-love will grow so strong that you will finally accept yourself just the way you are. That’s the beginning of the free human. Self forgiveness is the key.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
Does it feel like your happiness depends on the whim of every circumstance that comes your way? You lose your job, a relationship falls apart, you have a health crisis and it feels like your whole world crashes down around you. This emotional rollercoaster can make you feel so powerless.
It can’t be helped. External factors will affect you. Yet you can regain strength and get right with yourself again by practicing an ancient Hawaiian discipline called Ho’oponopono.
You haven’t heard of Ho’oponopono? Well, let me introduce you to a marvelous, almost hypnotic practice that helps you center and harmonize yourself.
The Hawaiian word comes from ho‘o (“to make”) and pono (“right”). The repetition of the word pono means “doubly right” or being right with both yourself and others. Lasting happiness springs from this deep sense of congruency.
This process begins with finding your reason for being here on Earth. What is your big purpose – your why? This has to be something that comes from deep inside you, not based on pleasing someone else. When your reason for being resonates with your heart, mind and spirit, it becomes your path. That’s what it means to be Pono.
Then when you know your purpose, what you’re meant to do and what you’re meant to have flows from that. The things you then have and the things you do will bring you happiness because they’re in harmony with your reason for being.
How is this tied to self forgiveness? As human beings, we all make bad choices, we make mistakes. If we don’t have self forgiveness, we won’t feel comfortable in our own skins and we won’t be able to forgive others.
If you haven’t forgiven yourself, you can’t be Pono. Something will always be off, out of kilter. Everything you do, everything you see in yourself and others will be colored from this skewed point of view.
For example, if you’re hard on yourself and judgmental this is how you’ll look at others too. The thing that you can’t stand most in others is often a trait you hold deep within yourself. When you can forgive yourself of that trait, it will no longer be a sore spot in your view of others.
Learn to accept yourself, love yourself, and let the negativity go. After all, how can you feel good about yourself and your own life if you’re constantly remembering, reliving and keeping score of wrongs done to you or that you’ve done?
“Although you should not erase your responsibility for the past, when you make the past your jailer, you destroy your future. It is such a great moment of liberation when you learn to forgive yourself, let the burden go, and walk out into a new path of promise and possibility.” ~ John O’Donohue
How do you practice self forgiveness? Tell yourself the following phrases until you believe them…“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” When you feel anger, disappointment or other hurt feelings welling up, turn inward, connect with yourself and lovingly forgive yourself of the things that trigger these responses.
Does this work? Definitely. Watch this video to see how Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len effectively practices Ho’oponopono within the prison system. If it can work there, it will work for you.
When you discover the inner peace that comes with being Pono, it helps you let go of negative feelings towards others. The very essence of ho‘oponopono is that you can forgive others because you see your connection with them.
When you become right with yourself, you become right with others. This is key to creating lasting life changes. Every day, we’re given a positive seed to plant with the responsibility to help it grow and flourish. Certainly we wouldn’t want to poison and kill it with negativity.
If you’re ready to break the negativity cycle and would like someone to support and provide accountability for you, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s get started!
“You can do anything you set your mind to!” Did you ever hear these encouraging words from a parent or teacher as you were growing up? Did you believe it then? Do you still believe it? Or somewhere along the way did you quit believing because you started telling yourself self-limiting stories?
Too many times we’ve replaced the encouraging voice in our heads with ones that tear us down and keep us little. They come from our own fears and insecurities or we’ve actually heard them from other people who abusively denigrate and belittle. We’ve heard it so often that we begin to believe it ourselves.
The self-limiting stories we tell ourselves are usually focused on generalizations, negativity and comparisons with others. You can recognize them, because they often start with statement like these…
“If only I was … I could …!”
“I’m not good at…”
“I’ve never been …”
“Who do you think you are…”
“He gets … because he’s gifted. He doesn’t know what my life is like.”
Just because something doesn’t come easily to you or you’re inexperienced, doesn’t mean you can’t do it well. Perhaps you’re not the most talented speaker today. Your story doesn’t have to be that you’re not a gifted speaker. Your story can be that you want to be a talented speaker and you’re willing to do a lot of hard work and preparation in order to influence people with your message. And that’s a new story you can create for yourself.
This shift begins when you become aware of the self-limiting talk running through your mind. Think of that commentary like a Narrator – the voice in the background that is giving substance to the story. Most people are oblivious to it. But with greater mindfulness you can stop yourself from automatically saying, “No, I can’t”, and just listen to the objections in your mind. Without judgment, write them down in your journal.
Ask yourself if it’s true. You may think, “I’m so stupid!” But you’re not. You many have made a mistake, but that doesn’t define who you are as a person. Evaluate it. You’ll see that the Narrator is only offering one perspective, based on previous experiences. You don’t have to accept what the Narrator is telling you, especially if it’s disempowering. See all the good things you have accomplished.
Affirm what you know is true. Maybe you don’t know how to do something. But you have the ability to learn. We’re all a work in progress, adding layers and layers of experience to our core values. And that experience is valuable. Set your intentions for how you want to live each day. Stay in touch with your values and you’ll stay aligned with your purpose.
Tweak your story. You don’t have to totally reinvent yourself. Take the parts that don’t serve you any longer and overwrite them with choices that create the best possible story. Daily reflect on how your choices fit into your greatest purpose.
It takes mindful effort to process through the stories you tell yourself. But you can change your story and you can change your life. I would love to partner with you as you go through the process. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore your options. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.
When you were in school, did you enjoy homework? I remember the collective groan that used to echo throughout the classroom. Yet, it really is an effective way for students to grow personally and academically.
As I reflect on those years, I’m grateful now. Not only did homework help me remember the lesson, it accelerated my personal growth for it taught me to 1) be disciplined, 2) make priorities, and 3) learn how to learn. Today, I regularly use homework in my coaching practice and I’ve seen that my clients who follow-up and do it dramatically accelerate their personal growth.
Not convinced? Check out these seven reasons for doing your coaching homework and see if they don’t rev up your personal growth…
- Remain focused.
We all know the benefits of putting notes where we see them constantly. In that way, we won’t forget the task or goals we need to accomplish. It keeps us from being distracted. Coaching homework gives us something to focus on in between sessions. Working on your personal growth every day is key to becoming the person you desire to be.
- Reflect deeply.
When you delve deeper into a topic you covered in session, you often need quiet and solitude to mindfully reflect on it. When your coach gives you homework, think of it as a map to your personal growth as it helps you explore the pattern of your actions, thoughts and feelings.
- Retain through repetition.
Our brains benefit from repetitive patterns. Your personal growth depends on remembering new things. Routines, checklists, and templates save you time and ensure you retain what you’re learning.
- Reasonable expectations.
You can’t expect overnight transformation. It takes daily baby steps, rather than giant leaps once a week. Coaching homework makes big challenges seem not so intimidating. It lets you know that you’re not the only one with this issue and it reassures you that there’s a process that works.
- Recognize results.
It’s important to track your progress – even the tiniest of wins. When you start getting discouraged, you need to be able to look back and see how far you’ve come. An important part of coaching homework is recording your feelings about each step forward and owning your triumphs.
- Reframe to fit.
While many of us struggle with similar issues, you have a unique learning style and speed. Coaching homework let’s you mull over the information and make it your own as you reframe it to fit your personal growth needs.
- Revisit and expand.
The first time you go through an exercise, you’ll apply it for those circumstances. As your experience widens and your abilities grow, you’ll be able to revisit an exercise with a fresh perspective and gain more from it on a deeper level.
Are you ready to ramp up your personal growth? Do you have something specific you want to work on, but you’re not sure where you should start? I would love to partner with you and share proven personal growth techniques that get results. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore your options. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.