“The brain can be developed just the same as the muscles can be developed, if one will only take the pains to train the mind to think.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
You think you don’t deserve it. You think you can’t do it. You think taking charge is for someone more experienced. You think someone else can do it better. You think small. You think too much! Sound familiar? You’re not alone! The only thing that keeps us from attaining our dream is our own thought process, so it’s time to change your thinking change your life.
Especially as women, we can be our own worst enemy. While gender is still a factor in whether a person is viewed as an influential leader or not, we can’t use that as an excuse any longer. The business world is changing and women are proving to be very effective as leaders.
Yes, the battlefield has moved from the boardroom into your subconscious mind. You tell yourself you want one thing, but your unconscious mind wants something else. This creates serious roadblocks that seem insurmountable. The good news is that Neuro-Linguistic Programming can help you change your thinking and ultimately change your life.
You are an emotional, thinking, physical and spiritual human being. All these Parts are intertwined and inseparable. Your thoughts influence your emotions, which are experienced and stored in your body and manifested through body sensations. If there is a disruption in one Part, or there is a miscommunication between Parts, you will be conflicted and your thinking will become distorted.
If you’re feeling heavy you may be experiencing sadness. Shame feels shrunken and withdrawn. Reflect on how anger makes you feels hot and stormy, while excitement feels energizing. Emotions live inside your body, changing your physical experience can cause you to believe and act in specific ways. One moment you’re happy (emotion) on top of the world, so you’re feeling spacious and light in the chest (body sensations). Then something happens to make you feel anxious (emotion). It feels like your world is caving in, your shoulders slump and you feel deflated and dull (body sensations).
By changing your physiology, you can alleviate these body sensations and alter your emotional experience. For example, if you feel shy and uncertain, you’ll gain a little more confidence by breathing deeply, softening and straightening your spine, lifting your head and looking people in the eye. The more you practice this, the more confidence will become your natural state. You can actually reshape your thoughts and emotions just as surely as you can reshape your body through exercise, thereby creating a harmonious mind body connection.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming can help you tune into your emotions and identify each sensation as you experience it. When you honor the messages that your body is sending you, you won’t try to override them or dismiss them. Instead you’ll be able to suspend judgment and simply become an observer of them. In this way you can accept them for what they are and change what isn’t serving you.
Here are four of my favorite NLP techniques you can use to gain mastery over your mind and body, so you finally achieve your dreams.
NLP Achoring Techniques. Associate a signal or trigger (tapping your chest, snapping a rubber band, squeezing your fingers) with a physiological response (an emotion, mood, or mental state) of your choice.
Visualization. Your brain believes what you think about, so repeatedly imagine the outcome you desire.
Parts Integration. If Part of you doesn’t think you can do it, then use my Tea Time Exercise to bring harmony within yourself, so ALL of you believes you can.
Reframing. Identify unhelpful thoughts and replace them with positive statements that support a positive self-image.
Try these NLP techniques and see how they can change your thinking at a subconscious level – change your state – change your behavior – change your results or outcomes – change your life. By mindfully choosing to overcome your mental roadblocks, you can become more influential and effective. This quote by Earl Nightingale is so true…
“The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominating thought.”
Now, more than ever, it’s vital for women to develop and enhance leadership qualities within ourselves and the next generation of younger women. We invite you to join us at our annual Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. (FLOW stands for Fierce Leaders Organizing Worldwide!) We’re empowering women, like you, to change your thinking change your life.
If you’re hiking in the woods near my hometown in Oregon and you see the glowing eyes of a cougar, will your heart start racing? Of course it will! The fight or flight stress response kicks in with a vengeance, because you’ve heard reports of people being killed by big cats like cougars. You know you’re in danger. Your life depends on what happens in the next few seconds. It will take all the courage you can muster to stand your ground, maintain eye contact, and raise your arms to make yourself appear bigger and noisier to scare the big cat off.
Sometimes we meet people who are like wild animals. You might even work with them or they might be your family members. There’s no reasoning with them. They have mercurial personalities – their mood and behavior change in a flash. They’re so unpredictable you don’t know where you stand with them from one minute to the next. On the other hand, you may personally have trouble regulating your emotions so little things trigger either an aggressive or defensive state. In either case, the key to achieving more peace in your life, is to learn to tame your fight or flight stress response.
Because our lives are often stressful, many people live in a perpetual state of fight or flight stress response. This state should only last as long as you are in real danger. Then, it’s supposed to calm down. When you live under prolonged stress, your body thinks it’s in danger, when it really isn’t. Being in a constant fight or flight state will eventually lead to many health problems like poor digestion, adrenal fatigue, obesity, insomnia, and anxiety. And it doesn’t do your mood any good either, so your relationships suffer.
The good news is that sympathetic nervous system, which kicks in your fight or flight reaction, can be calmed down. The key to turning it off is to mindfully reassure your body that you are safe. When your body believes it’s safe, it shifts into parasympathetic mode, which signals your heart to slow down, your lungs to breathe deeply, and your digestion to resume.
How do you switch off the fight or flight response? A good place to start is to practice mindfulness in these three ways:
- Practice mindful awareness. Suspend judgment as you tune into your body sensations. Learn what the fight or flight stress response feels like in your body. Accept your natural biological response and give each sensation a name. Naming each one lessens its power. Reassure your body that you’re okay.
- Practice mindful breathing. The situation may seem to be out of your control however you can always control your breathing. And that may be enough to get you out of the fight or flight stress state. Here are some breathing exercises that will move more oxygen to your cells and shift you into the “I’m-safe-to-rest” mode.
- Practice mindful assessment. Discern the difference between discomfort and pain. Distinguish between unpleasantness and danger. Give your body the information it needs to know that the situation at hand is not going to kill you. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s not life threatening. Sit with and completely absorb the feeling that you’re safe.
When you give your body a chance to recover, you’ll improve your health and your relationships. If you’d like to learn more about shifting away from a reactionary response to a more intentional state, plan on joining us at our Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. FLOW stands for Fierce Leaders Organizing Worldwide! We’re empowering women, like you, to live a vibrant life, elevate their presence, and make a difference in the world.
“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” ~ Roy L. Smith
Do you think of self-care as relaxing in a flower-strewn bath, letting stress melt away? That is certainly one small aspect of it. But the best self-care skills take a lot of commitment, hard work and grit. It’s not glamorous. It’s not pampering. It’s getting tough with yourself as you make choices that nourish your body, mind and spirit.
Some people say that self-care is selfish…that nurturers can’t take the time. However, I’ve found that too often this is an excuse. As leaders in our industries, community and families, we need to create within ourselves the strength to lead. This takes strong self-care skills that are based on discipline. Otherwise, we can’t influence others – our business associates, our romantic partners, our children – to become the best versions of themselves.
Self-care is not indulgence. It’s discipline to do what’s best for YOU and others. Can you really say you’re taking care of yourself if you’re sitting for hours, eating tubs of ice cream? NOT! Real self-care skills require mental toughness and a deep understanding of what really matters.
Five essential self-care skills everybody needs:
Get plenty of restorative sleep. This means mindfully choosing to quit working or looking at a screen an hour before bedtime, allowing your mind to shut down and peacefully drift off to sleep.
The problem: After a stressful day, it’s easy to mindlessly watch TV or your Facebook feed. Or if you have a deadline, you push to get it done.
The solution: Put the remote in a hard to reach place so you have to think about what you’re doing. Create a special space and time for a relaxing project (like talking with a love one or doing something creative). This should quiet your mind so you can fall asleep quickly. Don’t allow anything to break this appointment with yourself. You’ll accomplish more in the long run.
Exercise regularly. Our bodies are designed to move and work. If you don’t, you’ll hurt and become more anxious and stressed.
The problem: People hate discomfort (not the same as pain), exercising in front of others, going to a gym, getting sweaty, etc… What’s you’re current “reason” for not exercising?
The solution: Find something you love. Mindfully focus on the increased energy, mental clarity, stamina and endurance you achieve each time you push yourself.
Eat healthful foods and stay hydrated. Throughout history, nations have used starvation as a way to torture and control others. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you willingly deny your body the fuel it needs?
Become more aware of how different foods affect YOUR body. For example, you may not be able to eat wheat like other people do. While your taste buds say, “Yum!”, your body cries, “Why are you poisoning me?!”
The problem: People hate to “go to the bother” of fixing healthful meals. They’d rather grab something and run.
The solution: Make healthy eating your passion. The Whole30® program changed my life. Find something that works for you. Take a class. Find a recipe buddy. Make sharing meals with friends and family a regular, pleasant activity you look forward to.
Create boundaries. We “take care of others” in the sense that we support them and respect them. In our families, this means providing food, clothing, shelter, open communication and love. But each person is responsible for their own well-being. If an option isn’t right for you, have the mental strength to say “no” despite how others react.
The problem: We have the tendency to either be controlling or be people pleasers.
The solution: Give others respect by letting them take care of themselves. YOU are responsible for YOUR emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Be financially independent. We all have needs. Having MORE doesn’t guarantee more happiness. It’s a trap to compare what you have with what other people have or with what you see in magazines. Gratitude for what you have will help you see the difference between needs and wants.
The problem: Living with credit card debt or paycheck to paycheck is stressful.
The solution: Live within your means. That includes having the discipline to save a certain amount out of every paycheck for an emergency fund and a certain amount for your retirement. Pay off your credit card debts so interest rates don’t eat up your funds.
It takes discipline to always do the things that are good for you. Why not reboot your self-care skills by joining us at our Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. You’ll return home with renewed purpose and energy!
“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” ~Walter Anderson
If you hold an emotional state long enough, it will change your brain chemistry. While we are products of genetics and past experiences, the good news is that we don’t have to be stuck with our present state. If we don’t like it, we can consciously make our futures brighter.
Neuroplastic healing can change and form new connections in your brain. However, this process of healing can be slowed by anxiety disorders. According to ADAA, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million aged 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
How do you know if you have a normal level of anxiety or suffer from anxiety disorders? It’s best to consult with a mental health professional to be properly diagnosed, because it’s important to receive appropriate treatment. Here are a few things for you to consider…
In a study by Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, researchers found that people diagnosed with anxiety are less able to distinguish between a “safe” stimulus and one that was earlier associated with a strong emotional response.
“In the study, researchers trained people to associate three distinct tones with one of three outcomes: money loss, money gain, or no consequence. In the next phase, study participants were presented with one of 15 tones and were asked whether they’d heard the tone before in training or not. Correct answers were rewarded with money.
People with anxiety were more likely than healthy controls to think that a new tone was actually one associate with money loss or gain. Those differences weren’t explained by differences in participants’ hearing or learning abilities. They perceived the sounds that were earlier linked to an emotional experience differently.
Functional magnetic resonance images (fMRIs) of the brains of people with anxiety versus healthy controls showed differences in brain responses, too. Those differences were mainly found in the amygdala, a brain region related to fear and anxiety. These results strengthen the idea that emotional experiences induce changes in sensory representations in anxiety patients’ brains.”
People with anxiety disorders are living with brains on overdrive. As a result, they often experience the following…
- They have difficulty trusting people, seeing threats where there are none.
- They think that people are talking about them behind their back.
- They have a difficulty reading facial expressions and body language.
- Making conversation is painful.
- They tend to judge themselves harshly.
- They prefer to stay at home where it’s calm and controlled.
- They are filled with pent up energy that produces unpleasant body sensations and difficulty in focusing.
- They can’t shut their brains off and relax.
- They hold themselves and others to impossible standards.
- They struggle with perfectionism, often reacting in one of two extremes – quickly giving up or refusing to quit until they reach a self-imposed goal.
- They tend to have a negative self-image.
- Emotional triggers cause them to overreact with a fear response.
- Everything is overwhelming and stressful.
- Decision-making skills are hampered by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.
- They are “thin skinned” and easily wounded emotionally.
You may recognize a few of these traits within yourself to some degree, because we all experience feelings of anxiety. After all, anxiety is a naturally neurological function that protects us from harm. But to experience them day after day is draining and debilitating.
You CAN learn to consciously and mindfully process and extinguish your emotional responses. If you suffer from undue anxiety, you CAN naturally improve your skills to cope and learn to live life on your own terms. By patiently taking one step at a time, you can achieve the life you desire. As Thich Nhat Hanh says,
“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”
It often helps to work through your anxieties with a trusted friend or partner. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s work through the rough patches together, so you can fully feel the exhilaration of life.
“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson
Everyone lives by certain rules of conduct or moral code. The narcissist lives by, “I’m the only one that matters”. The cynic lives by, “Do unto others before they do unto me”. What about you? What is your personal code of ethics? What is your character based on? What do you stand for? These are heavy questions that take honest, deep introspection and time to answer. Yet, to live fully, only you can find your own answers. No one can give them to you.
If you don’t have a strong personal code of ethics, you’ll have difficulty standing up for yourself when you’re challenged. Peer pressure will get you every time. Times of intense stress will make you feel as if you’ve lost your way. You may often feel the need to find yourself, because people have been telling you what to do and what to think your whole life. If you detect any of these issues in your life, now might be a good time to strengthen your resolve by reassessing your personal code of ethics.
Ethics are moral principles that govern your behavior; a set of values that day in and day out dictate what we do. Your personal code of ethics is the unwritten rules you live by. Sometimes these can be a bit vague because they are unwritten and change according to circumstances. For example, you may value honesty, until honesty causes you to lose something you value more.
Many of us adopt our ethics from family, without realizing it. Why not take some time to review your personal code of ethics by writing them down? This will allow you to fully commit to these principles of life. And, in turn, you’ll gain an unshakable inner strength and confidence. Knowing your personal code of ethics consciously will help you make important decisions more easily.
Here are three steps for creating your written personal code of ethics…
1. Ask family and friends to describe you. This is a good place to begin collecting the qualities that are intrinsically you. Write down everything they say.
2. Identify beliefs that influence your decision making process. This will take time. Reflect on everything you’ve done in your life and identify the ethics that motivated your decisions. For example:
- If you give your word and do everything to keep it…then honesty and reliability are important to you.
- If you’ll fight for what’s important, mental strength and personal integrity are important to you. You aren’t one to take the road of least resistance.
- If appearances matter, then you’re likely swayed by others’ opinions and fitting in is important to you.
- If serving others is your focus, then making money probably isn’t number one on your list.
- If cutting corners to save money is your way, then pride in workmanship may mean little or nothing to you.
Here are some other contrasting ethics to help you think more deeply:
- Tell the truth. Use deception when threatened.
- Keep your promises. Change plans when a better invitation arrives.
- Punctuality. Always late.
- Fit in. Set trends.
- Always kind. Brutally blunt.
- Comfort seeker. Push the envelope.
- Work hard. Do just enough to get by.
- Life is cheap. Life is precious.
- Trust everyone. Trust no one.
- Save for a rainy day. Spend it as soon as you get it.
I appreciate how Ayn Rand gives us some thought-provoking direction:
“There’s nothing of any importance in life — except how well you do your work. Nothing. Only that. Whatever else you are, will come from that. It’s the only measure of human value.”
3. Take it a step further and identify WHY you believe in what you believe. You may find that many of your whys are based on cultural background, family tradition or religious training. If the foundation for a belief is shaky, the belief will be shaky. So be sure to dig deeply to find YOUR firm basis for each belief. Remember to operate out of your code, rather than letting others dictate how you react.
When creating your personal code of ethics include a beginning section that contains these two things:
My purpose: Are you writing this to adjust your behavior; to become sure of yourself so you can be more tolerant of others; or to confirm your beliefs and find inner strength to be true to yourself? Answering this question allows you to develop the philosophy behind your code. Some examples of underlying philosophies are:
- Live and let live
- Make the world a better place
- Exceed expectations
I Aspire to: Write down the best version of yourself and what you can do to reach it.
As you write your personal code of ethics, you may find things you’d like to change about yourself. Maybe you’re more demanding than you’d like to be. Or you play it too safe. If you’d like help with developing your “next step” plan, 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 on this journey of self-discovery.