Maria Connolly, LPC

Tag: Living Fully

Self-Transformation – What’s the One Activity That Gets the Best Results?

Self-transformation is a life-long journey meant to be explored with curiosity and enjoyment. Use these five steps to find YOUR path and avoid getting lost.“Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

When you’re working on self-transformation, what is the one activity that will get the best results, in the least amount of time? Is it meditation? Joining an exercise group? Hiring a life coach? Actually, the best activity you can choose to do is getting to know yourself REALLY WELL! I agree with what Steve Maraboli said:

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.”

When you think about getting to know yourself better, consider that all functioning systems work in predictable ways. If you press on the accelerator, your car goes faster. (If it doesn’t, you know to look further for an underlying problem, such as lack of fuel or a clogged fuel line.) Most actions have reliable consequences, once you learn the system. Your mind/body/spirit connection works similarly. Once you know how all of your systems work optimally, you can accelerate your self-transformation as desired.

However, self-knowledge can be challenging, because we are often unaware of crucial Parts we bury in the dark corners of our consciousness, our Shadow Self, and we are not consciously aware of their ongoing and profound impact on us. Everything we do — the way we communicate, make decisions, engage in life and with others socially — is under the influence of these deeply buried Parts.

This can result in fooling ourselves. When a new opportunity opens up, we may dismiss it because we think, “That’s for someone else, not me” – meaning “I don’t have enough education, experience, time, etc.” Whereas, what’s really happening is that a subconscious Part of you is saying things like, “I’m scared! I’ll mess up and be humiliated. I don’t deserve success; I’m not good enough.” We can convince ourselves that lack of education is the rational explanation, without ever being aware of the internal disharmony going on.

How do you bring your Shadow Self out into the light so self-transformation becomes possible? It doesn’t happen over night. So please be patient and compassionate with yourself. If you’ve made some New Year’s Resolutions, you may want to put them on hold, because you’re only going to frustrate yourself trying to attain something you’re not ready for. Integrate your Parts first and then self-transformation will naturally follow.

Your personal journey to self-awareness is unique to you. Go at a rate that is sustainable for you. Sometimes you’ll push yourself; sometimes you’ll have to back off, especially if you’re dealing with a past trauma. My 4-Step C.A.L.M. Process can be very helpful at times like this. When the pain becomes unbearable, rest and circle back around to it at a future time. The important thing is to keep stepping forward toward deep and intimate self-knowledge, always without judgment and with loving acceptance.

Self-awareness is a life-long journey meant to be explored with curiosity and enjoyment. Through the process of increasing self-awareness and self-knowledge, the Parts of you in the shadows will emerge gradually. Here are five practical suggestions for moving forward:

1. Break your routine and quiet your mind. Getting out in nature is an effective way to disconnect from a hectic pace and reconnect with yourself. Meditation is another useful skill.

2. Daily practice mindfulness. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of practicing mindfulness DAILY! It’s one of your most vital self-awareness skills.

3. Recognize your patterns and rituals. These are the things you do on auto-pilot. Some will serve you and some won’t. Self-awareness is the key to doing more of what’s working.

4. Listen to your body. You are a somatic being. You can’t disconnect your body from your mind, thoughts or emotions. Treating yourself holistically is a way to obtain balance and harmony. Use my Assessment Tool to gain more clarity.

5. Keep learning. When you learn a new skill, you can more easily see the narrowness or expansiveness of your comfort zone and personal boundaries. Then you can use the PERMA Model to tweak them to be more in alignment with your purpose.

If you want help to peel back the layers to greater self-transformation, consider joining our 3rd annual Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat. Make plans now and enjoy the early bird discount!  And if you can’t wait to get started today, you can always contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

10 Energizing Positive Choices That Keep You Inspired to Become Your Best

Use the power of positive choices to to unlock within yourself more energy, resourcefulness, and commitment so you make the life changes you want this year.“Leaders who can stay optimistic and upbeat, even under intense pressure, radiate the positive feelings that create resonance. By staying in control of their feelings and impulses, they craft an environment of trust, comforts and fairness. And that self-management has a trickle-down effect from the leader.” ~ Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership

How would you like to unlock within yourself more energy, resourcefulness, commitment and resilience, so that this year you truly make the life changes you desire? Rather than bogging yourself down with weighty and unrealistic resolutions, making positive choices on a daily basis will help you create an environment with less time for bad habits and more time and energy for the things that light up your life. This is the recipe for success!

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Be Proud of Yourself and Unleash the Power of Small Wins

If you find it hard to be proud of yourself, learn how to complete your past, which includes intentionally noticing and celebrating the power of small wins.“Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.” ~ Paulo Coelho

This may be a very uncomfortable question, but I’ve got to ask it…are you proud of the person you are today? Surprisingly many people think they’ll be proud of themselves only when they accomplish or achieve something in the future. Maybe you even think it’s wrong to be proud of yourself, because of the culture you’ve grown up in.

On a related note, have you noticed how many goals, resolutions, and aspirations are based on not liking yourself? Most New Year’s Resolutions are approached from a scarcity or lack mentality based upon negative thinking…”I’m not skinny enough; I’m not smart enough; I don’t have enough money; I don’t have the life I want to live.” This can be so discouraging! The thing you dislike about yourself can easily become an obsession that overshadows all of the wonderful things you are.

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Transformative Leaders Aren’t Derailed by Uncertainties

If you want to live an extraordinary life, master 6 life skills transformative leaders use daily and don’t let anything stop you from obtaining your dreams.“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

Think about all of the most successful makeovers you’ve seen in business or in personal lives. The biggest losers exercise their hearts out. Huge corporations go through major shakeups that skyrocket their bottom line. Ordinary people do extraordinary things. In each situation it takes someone stepping up as a transformative leader with a vision for how things can be better. 

Transformation happens when intentional and mindful action is taken. It takes committed people rolling up their sleeves and wholeheartedly working toward a clearly defined goal, even if the odds are stacked against them. Waiting for the perfect circumstances has never been a key to success!

Uncertainties will never stop a transformative leader. Of course, they have doubts, fears, and limitations, but they move forward anyway. Transformative leaders may wish their circumstances were more favorable, but what makes them outstanding is that they start from where they are and keep moving forward, no matter what!

We all have the potential for being transformative leaders. As the old adage says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The transformative leader keeps looking for that way and doesn’t give up or give in to doubt. She doesn’t make excuses. She gets it done!

Do you wish you were that kind of person, but doubt you ever could be? I know you have it in you!

You can take the first steps toward showing up more fully as a transformative leader by developing or strengthening the following skills…

Keep your vision clear and strong. Never lose sight of your desired results. What you focus on becomes reality, so if you’re focusing on problems, they’re going to grow. Conversely, focusing on your vision keeps you in touch with your “Why”…why this is important to you, your family, your business, the world.

Choose full responsibility. Ultimately, what others do or don’t do should never be used as an excuse for your action or inaction. Of course, we don’t want to go it alone; it’s good to enlist the help of others. But when it comes right down to the nitty gritty, it’s your commitment that will keep the ball moving forward against all odds.

Keep your support system engaged. Everyone has a special gift, so encourage your team to build on your ideas and brainstorm strategies that get you from A to Z. Keep your ego in check. Resist any tendency to feel threatened when someone else shines. After all, it’s your team, it’s your project, it’s your guidance that lets them come up with innovative solutions. By their work, your brilliance is magnified.

Be mindful of your progress. You’ll keep yourself and others motivated by regularly acknowledging how far you’ve come. Transformative leaders recognize that all progress, small and great, is a cause for celebration! And this builds self-confidence. As David Storey said, “Self-confidence is the memory of success.”

Maintain momentum via baby steps. Stopping and starting, over and over again, makes everything harder. It doesn’t take big steps to keep moving forward. Be happy with baby steps.

Have a plan for the bad days. We all experience doubt and disappointment. Transformative leaders always have a backup plan for handling it. Perhaps it’s taking sufficient time off for some self-care to restore your energy. Or maybe it’s working with a coach to get you past a hurdle. Know yourself well enough to know what will get you out of the slump and back in the game.

As you read through this list, do you experience some resistance to any of the suggestions? Maybe you don’t feel like you can share your vision with others, or you don’t think you can afford to hire a coach. You can use that resistance as an indicator that this area deserves more of your attention right now.

When it comes right down to it, being a transformative leader just means you’re fully using your special gifts and owning your self-leadership. I’d love to help turn your dream into a reality. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’m confident that you can accomplish extraordinary things!

Self Leadership – The “Missing Link” to Living an Extraordinary Life

Self leadership means you make intentional choices that help you, your family and business to excel. Here are 7 ways to improve your self leadership skills.When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu

Take a minute to visualize all the people you lead… who do you see? Do you see your child, employees, clients, colleagues? But do you also see yourself? Self leadership is the most important type of leadership there is, yet it’s often ignored.

By leading yourself first, you make intentional choices that help you lead all those other people in your life. If you’re not quite achieving the life you want or if you feel frustrated with the people you are leading, then it’s likely your self leadership could use some attention.

What do I mean that your self leadership skills need work?

Well, if you complain that your husband doesn’t communicate with you, it’s likely your communication skills need work. Or if you feel like your team is always blowing your business budget, perhaps your budgeting skills need work instead. Or if your goals are never completed on schedule, perhaps your time management skills need adjusted.

To fix any issue or problem, you’ll want to first look to see how your own behavior is contributing to it. After all, it’s not fair to ask something from them, if you can’t deliver it yourself. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to strive for perfection. Rather, take a hint from Jack Kerouac when he said, “Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything.” Make changes to be true to yourself and not to please someone else. When you master self leadership, you model behaviors and traits you want to see in the people around you, and they, in turn, will reflect those behaviors back to you.

No matter what your area of interest is, there are 7 self leadership principles you can apply to obtain greater success…

Embody your purpose. Instead of waiting for “some day”, take steps to start living your dreams today. If you haven’t created a roadmap, vision board, or outline of how you want your life and business to be like, it’s time to do so now. Identify what you want, why you want it, and when you want it. Give yourself as many specific details and time limits as you can. And start taking baby steps toward your dreams.

Practice mindfulness. Self-awareness is essential for identifying your behaviors, beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses. Only then can you make changes that support, not sabotage, the kind of life you wish to live.

Choose personal responsible. Take ownership of your decisions, actions and outcomes. Shifting the blame to someone else isn’t productive. It’s your choice in how you want to be in any given circumstance.

Deepen your emotional intelligence. By managing your emotions, you increase your self-confidence and learn to influence others positively.

Master self-discipline. All aspects of life require self-discipline, if you want to fully live. Getting out of bed, eating healthfully, exercising regularly, being financially responsible, maintaining a productive schedule, to name just a few, take getting tough with yourself, instead of pampering yourself.

Develop systems for life. To move forward, it’s vital to plan the route you wish to travel. This includes goals, life systems and micro-habits that support you in your quest for fulfillment.

Adjust your dials.” Improve the quality of your life by heightening your mindful awareness of actions, thoughts, speech and emotions and how they are, or are not, serving you. When you make small, incremental changes to each area (family, career, physical well-being, spirituality, recreation, etc) or “dial in” your life, you’ll think in terms of creating life-transforming microhabits instead of vague, undefined goals that are unsupportable, like “going on a diet” for example.

Self leadership is all about the actions you take, the beliefs you cultivate, and the attitude you live by. I believe you can nurture and grow the leader within. To do so, I invite you to sign up for my newsletter, so you receive monthly doses of self leadership training. As you implement each suggestion, you’ll start to see tremendous personal and professional growth.

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