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Continually grow as a person and find your work/life balance

Are Your Life Goals Aimed High Enough?

Creating and setting the right life goals means you aim high enough to challenge yourself, instead of settling for what’s comfortably within your reach.“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~ Michelangelo

This time of year there’s a lot of talk about setting life goals and achieving life goals. But the most important conversation centers around this question – are you setting the right goals? Rather than settling for what’s comfortable and easily within your range, are you aiming high enough?

Archery is one of my favorite activities and I often think about how it’s a great metaphor for achieving your fullest potential in life. There are a number of life lessons you can learn from archery. Here are a few:

 

Lesson #1: Without a target, there’s no purpose.

What would you do if I handed my bow and arrow to you? Your first question no doubt would be, “What do I shoot at?” When you have a target to aim at, you gain a sense of purpose. It changes how you feel. You become excited about the challenge before you. The first time you hit the target is thrilling! Adding a target changes the way you view archery. It gives context and meaning to it.

The same applies with life goals. They change how you feel about life. They alter how you approach each day. Without them you’ll merely exist and meander through life without direction and without much accomplishment.

 

Lesson #2: Anchor yourself for success.

One of the first things you’ll learn about archery is how to position yourself and hold the bow and arrow. When you take your stance, you need to create an anchor point – the fixed position of the bowstring hand on your jaw or cheek while aiming the arrow. It gives you the strength and balance to shoot safely and effectively.

For life goals to be effective, it’s important to incorporate the practice of centering yourself, which helps you feel still and aware as you connect with your inner being. When you know who you are, then you know how to create life goals that get you to where you’re going.

 

Lesson #3: Aim high for the long-term

The first time you shoot an arrow you’ll pick a target that’s close to you. As your skill improves, you’ll want to move the target farther away to see what you can really do. Yet, as the distance increases, your arrow may fall far short of the mark. Why is that? You have to adjust your aim a little higher than the bulls-eye to compensate for the pull of gravity.

You want life goals that push your self-limiting boundaries. And to do that you’ll want to aim higher than you can ever imagine it possible to achieve. And when external forces make you miss your mark, you’ll need the flexibility to adjust and try again.

 

Lesson #4: Measure your progress

Of course, you don’t expect to hit the bulls-eye the first time you shoot the arrow. You’re happy just to nick the target. Then you’re thrilled to hit the outer ring. Each ring gives you something to measure your progress by.

Worthwhile life goals need to be specific and measurable. When you see where you were and how far you’ve come, it promotes self-confidence and builds momentum for further progress.

 

Lesson #5 Partner up for accountability

Being a member of an archery club makes you show up on time. It’s a lot more fun and motivational when you see how others are hitting the mark!

When you have an accountability partner for your life goals it holds you to a deadline. And you’ll be much more likely to push through the days when you don’t feel like it.

 

What are your life goals for 2017? My colleague, Nando Raynolds, and I love helping people become outstanding by teaching both the “what” and the “how” of extraordinary success. Come and check us out at our next free talk on January 12th on “Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet!”  Click here to get the details

Maintain Your Inner Strength and Stop Giving Your Power Away

Maintain your inner strength or painful life events may cause people pleasing behavior that erodes your power until you’re not able to stand up for yourselfHave you ever bared your feelings to someone you trusted, but they responded with a dismissive or judgmental response? Perhaps it even caused a rift in the relationship that has never healed?

That rejection can cause a life-altering pain. In order to avoid experiencing that pain again, you may adopt a people-pleasing behavior. You hide your feelings, needs and opinions, so they won’t be trampled on again. And over time you find that your inner strength has seeped away. You can’t even say “no” when you need or want to. Instead you remain quiet and acquiesce; silently berating yourself because you wish you could stand up for yourself.

Perhaps this is how you’re feeling right now. Painful life events can give you a double whammy – the initial pain and then a lingering unresolved hurt that actually redefines who you are and robs you of your power. Would you like to become more assertive as you restore your inner strength and reclaim your authentic self once again?

Let’s first examine some situations that can destroy your inner strength and rob you of power. It can happen…

  • When someone says something negative, critical or judgmental about you and you remain silent or mentally agree.
  • When you shift into a reactive mode and you don’t give yourself time to think and be who you really want to be.
  • When you stay so busy you don’t have time to think and process life.
  • When you don’t mindfully and daily reflect on what’s important to you.
  • When you’re emotions are out of control or you’re discouraged and depressed.
  • When you’re not getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise.
  • When you isolate yourself and aren’t making meaningful connections.

All of these manifest a lack of self-love, which drains your inner strength. But you can restore your self-worth! When you retrain your brain, you’ll be able to access your inner strength and power again.

How can you replenish your inner strength and reclaim your power? Here’s a practice that can help you reconnect…

  1. Close your eyes and become fully aware of your breathing and your body sensations.
  2. Breathe deeply from your belly until your body and mind relaxes.
  3. Now, think of the last time you gave away your power and scan your body, noticing where you feel tense.
  4. Welcome whatever emotion arises and accept it with kindness.
  5. Ask yourself, “What past story is this emotion connected to?”
  6. What happened then is not your reality today, so tell yourself, “I release you,” and let it float off into the sky.
  7. Open your eyes and shake it off.
  8. Do a few somatic movements to discharge any lingering self-limiting beliefs.
  9. Now bring awareness to your core, and connect to all that empowers you – your strengths, talents, resilience, and good qualities.
  10. Focus on these empowering thoughts to restore your self-love, inner strength and power. Be convinced you can do and be anything you want.

A consistent mindfulness practice gives you the inner strength to turn toward your feelings with acceptance. When you quit ignoring and fighting them, something will shift within you. You’re self-love will reassure you that you are worthy. You are loveable. You are valuable. You do have people who care about you. You do have a meaningful purpose in life. When you feel empowered in this way, you’ll be able to stand up for yourself, speaking your truth.

If you’d like a guide to restoring your balance, please, download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It will help you identify the areas that most need your attention right now and what you can do to bring healing and empowerment to your life.

Daily Taking a Break from Work –The Secret to Innovation and Excellence

Daily taking a break from work may seen foreign to you, yet it’s really the secret to greater innovation, performance excellence, and a life filled with joy.“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” ~ Anne Lamott

Every day we’re bombarded with advice to become more organized, to get more done, to write endless to-do lists as we break big projects into smaller portions. So the idea of daily taking a break from work may sound strange to you. And while I wholehearted support the concepts of being organized and prioritizing to get things done, there has to be a balance in life.

If you feel as if you have to be busy every moment of every day, and you don’t think you’re successful unless you have a lot of accomplishments – and you’re in an endless cycle of “Check! Done that! Move on! Check! Done that! Move on!” – perhaps it’s time to reassess what you’re really accomplishing.

Actually, scheduling some downtime and taking a break from work on a daily basis will increase your ability to come up with innovative ideas and creative solutions. However, a more important reason to take a break is that if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you experience burnout, which could damage your body and spirit so badly that they’re not able to fully recover.

So as a friend, let me ask you: When was the last time you really disconnected from your business and responsibilities? When you didn’t listen to anything but the buzzing of the bees? When you didn’t watch anything but the clouds floating by? When you didn’t plan anything except…well, you didn’t plan anything at all! How often do you get to experience total creative silence as you simply practice being in and enjoying the moment? If you can’t remember, you’re way overdue. You are, no doubt, already on cognitive overload.

Think about it: You know you need to eat every day, right? You do it, not only because it’s enjoyable, but you expend the calories in your output of energy. And your body automatically knows to breathe in after exhaling. Why? Because you use up your supply of oxygen and your body demands more. As children, we knew how to play…when did that change? When did people forget to take breaks and enjoy life?

You constantly give all day long. You push to do things for your family, your friends, and your job. Yet if you aren’t regularly taking a break from work, you’ll run out of resources. Your body and brain needs downtime to repair itself. Not only is a good night’s sleep essential for refreshing yourself, but taking a little bit of time off during the day is necessary too.

The benefits of taking a break from work are countless. Your mood will improve. Your stress level will go down. Your energy will return. Your heart will be healthier. Your creativity and productivity will skyrocket. Your relationships will flourish. You’ll do your most excellent work if you’re regularly taking a break from work.

Isn’t it time to give your body and brain the space and time it needs to process all that you’re taking in every day? Your body may already be telling you it needs a break…are you listening? Unfortunately most of us have learned to ignore these messages from our bodies. Please, download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. Go to a quiet place and give yourself the gift of reconnecting with yourself this month. You owe it to yourself.

Grow Professionally with 5 Rapid Transformation Strategies

If you want to accelerate your professional growth, here are 5 tips anyone can use to grow professionally and enjoy life more fully - tip 4 may surprise you“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” John W. Gardner

Isn’t it amazing to watch people completely transform themselves? One moment they’re a shy person and the next moment they’re confidently leading others. It’s as spectacular as seeing a beautiful butterfly emerge from a cocoon. How do they grow professionally, seemingly overnight?

The truth is this kind of transformation doesn’t happen overnight, does it? We aren’t born professionals – it takes time and concerted effort. However, there are strategies that you can use to grow professionally that will fast track your transformation as a confident leader in your field. Take a look at five of my favorites below:

1) Take advantage of targeted education. 

New practitioners, therapists, and coaches often struggle with maintaining focus, because there’s so much to learn when you’re starting your own business. It’s normal to get sidetracked. In order to grow professionally, you’ll want to fight that tendency and keep your goal foremost in mind.

Focus allows you to pick the most appropriate education for your current situation. Education is easily accessible via local or online courses, books and audios, podcasts, and joining specialized online communities, so take full advantage of these, but please do so purposefully. When you master one thing, move on to the next.

For example, over the years I’ve studied both traditional and non traditional methodologies. I started with western psychology and added specializations such as Hakomi, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Self-Relations and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. But what really accelerated my transition from therapist to Somatic Coaching is the deep study of The Feldenkrais Method® and Neuro-Liguistic Programming.

Just as a caveat: searching for a “perfect” program may become an excuse for not taking action. You may find that working with a personal coach helps you focus on the most effective path toward your goal.  

2) Ask for specific feedback.

It boosts the ego when someone says they like what you’ve done. But without specific feedback on what’s working and what’s not, you won’t be able to grow professionally.

It takes time and effort to establish a reputation of excellence and it starts with the right attitude. For example, professionals aren’t defensive when they receive criticism, because they know that, somewhere there’s a nugget of truth they can use. Then they willingly invest in themselves to become the best version of themselves possible.

3) Network for progressive advancement.

Whom you associate with directly affects how you grow professionally. You may not view yourself on the same level as well-known people like Stephen Gilligan, Byron Katie, Robert and Diane Masters, or Richard Strozzi-Heckler, but you might be pleasantly surprised at how approachable influential people can be when you sincerely reach out to them. Social platforms let us show interest in what they do and how they do it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (For example, please feel free to post your questions or comments about leadership, professionalism and personal growth on my Facebook page. I’m happy to chat with you.)

4) Go the extra mile.

Even if others are happy with a so-so result, hold yourself to a higher standard of excellence. Since an “okay” experience is quickly forgotten, push yourself to perform something truly memorable. Think creatively about how you can make it easier, more enjoyable, or more valuable for your clients.

5) Before saying “Yes” or “No”, mindfully consider your options. 

Some choices can be scary and that can make you say “No” reflexively. On the other hand, out of embarrassment or pride, you may be tempted to say “Yes” before fully knowing the scope of what’s required. Slow down and ask yourself why you’re reacting as you are. Then ask clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand the project at hand. By being willing to try new things, you demonstrate self-confidence, which inspires others to have confidence and trust in you as well.

Many years ago, one of my most influential mentors said to me: “When you are asked to do something, Say YES and then figure out how to do it!” This bold approach can bypass all the fear and anxiety of trying something new. It’s not for the faint of heart, though!

Which of these strategies are you ready to try? If you want to grow professionally it’s essential to have a plan. So, what do you really want to accomplish and how will you do it? Why not schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me so we can explore your options? I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Amplify Your Attitude of Gratitude – The Secret to Lasting Transformation

Amplify Your Attitude of Gratitude – The Secret to Lasting TransformationAre everyday challenges and demands making you feel stressed out? Take a moment and just breathe, because I’m going to share a secret with you that is guaranteed to make your day and life better.

It all begins with asking yourself, “What am I grateful for today?”

Did you know this simple question is powerful enough to change your brain’s chemistry? It’s true! When you experience gratitude, neural circuits are activated in your brain and the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin increase, which produces a calming effect.

So take a moment and pick one thing you’re grateful for today. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Maybe your spouse brought you a cup of coffee or someone waved to you as you drove past this morning. Allow yourself to really engage in an attitude of gratitude…

Think how wonderful the sip of strong hot coffee tasted as you watched the morning sunrise. Fully experience how that kind act makes you feel cared for and valued. How you feel blessed to have a good friend. How you feel validated as a fellow human being. How you’re not alone but are connected to a community of people who love you.

Now let’s take it a step further and think about how you can express this gratitude. Could you perhaps write a note of appreciation to that special person, telling him what you appreciate and why? Can you pass on the kindness to the next person you encounter? Don’t hold it in. Pay it forward.

It only takes a few seconds, but those seconds can change your brain chemistry, your emotional state, your attitude, your mood and your outlook. It makes your whole day better.

Even better than that, the more you stimulate these neural pathways, the stronger and more automatic they become. This is an example of Hebb’s Law, which states “neurons that fire together wire together.” The more you do it, the easier it becomes to hold a grateful state of being.

If you make gratitude a daily practice, you will transform your life. Negative events will recede from your view. Sure they’ll still be there, but you won’t focus on them. Instead you’ll rewire your brain to focus on the positive. You’ll see what’s going right in your life. Even in the most difficult situations, you’ll be able to find that nugget of good when you ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? When I look back on this experience, what will I be grateful for?”

Even if an attitude of gratitude doesn’t come to you naturally, with practice you can train yourself to shift your focus as you search for, discover, and appreciate genuine reasons to feel gratitude. Why not turn every situation into a mental game of challenging yourself to find one thing that’s worthy of your appreciation, and keep focused on that.

It helps to limit your exposure to negativity. If the conversation takes a negative turn, you can change the subject or excuse yourself. If the news is distressing you, turn off the TV. Tactfully let the Debbie Downers that you don’t appreciate negativity and this may actually help them to become more mindful. At the very least, you can be grateful that they no longer push your buttons.

I recommend you keep a gratitude journal and daily enter at least five things for which you’re grateful. The act of writing it down is a powerful way to shift your attitude of gratitude into overdrive. When you begin and end each day with gratitude, your whole life shifts in a more positive direction.

An attitude of gratitude is just one way to experience life more fully. Please feel free to contact me and schedule a complementary “Unlocking Your Potential” session. In the meantime, I must write in my gratitude journal…”I’m grateful for everyone who reads my blog and comments on my Facebook page. I’m blessed to have such a fantastic community of people who enrich my life.” I’ll be watching for your comments.


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