Maria Connolly, LPC

Tag: mastery

Mastery is the ability to focus deeply on a compelling area of personal development and having the courage to pursue that course until you make it an intrinsic part of who you are.

10 Principles of Mastery — Become Highly Skilled and In Demand

These 10 Principles of Mastery will help you find your motivation and give you the attitude and emotional skills needed to master a new skill or profession.“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ~ Robert Greene

Now that we have more free time to finally master a skill, where has the motivation gone? Maybe you created a list of things you could do, during this stay-at-home social distancing. However, now that over a month has passed, has your list been neglected? I understand. During stressful times, it’s hard to focus. Our bodies are flooded with stress hormones that make us pull back in, to keep ourselves safe. We feel tired and afraid to start anything new. That’s why I think it’s time to redirect our focus. And the principles of mastery will help us do that.

Firstly, I encourage you to get outside for a walk, dust off your dreams, turn down the noise from the news, and focus on the one thing you really want to master. Take a notebook with you and jot down ideas as they come to you. When you find a spot to sit, create a checklist of all the things about the subject you already know, and then the things you want to know.

A book that has really helped me is Mastery by Robert Greene. After studying the lives of numerous influential figures, he learned that our culture has many myths about genius that need to be debunked, and he distilled the wisdom of the ages, revealing the secret to greatness in his book.

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Leverage Lifelong Learning into a Life that Fulfills Your Dreams

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Daily we’re confronted with new things to learn — about ourselves, about others, about life on this beautiful planet and, yes, about business and technology, too. Some things we enjoy learning; other things are more of a chore. In fact, it can feel overwhelming at times trying to keep up with all of the things we have to learn. However, I am firmly convinced that lifelong learning is imperative for survival — our finances, mental health, and physical well-being depend on it! Besides, it just makes life more interesting.

There are different styles of learning. In school, we relied on memorizing facts until we took the test. Then we promptly forgot it. While memorization and gathering facts exercise the brain, the lifelong learning that serves us best is being able to see and implement the practical application of the information we’re receiving.

I’ve found that a mindfulness practice really assists me in assimilating information. It helps me to slow down and focus. I’m able to compare new information with what I already know and connect the dots. Then I can see how the new information can be used in many aspects of life.

Are you a lifelong learner? Lifelong learners have a number of characteristics in common.

They…

  • read books every day.
  • skip TV and do something creative instead.
  • exercise regularly because physical fitness makes them intellectually dynamic.
  • like to challenge themselves and reach new goals.
  • have diverse interests.
  • never feel too old to learn.
  • embrace discomfort, because they know there’s always a solution if you keep looking hard enough.

When lifelong learning is your way of life, you’ll have a competitive edge in today’s job market. You won’t feel stuck in your profession, because you know you can learn new skills that will advance your career and make you highly sought after as an expert in your field.  

Being a lifelong learner slows down cognitive decline. Just as your body needs exercise, your brain does too. That’s why learning a complex skill like a new language or a musical instrument, is so good for you.  

Lifelong learning makes you a happier and more interesting person. Boredom won’t rear its ugly head. You’ll always have something to talk about, so your conversations can be more deeply meaningful. There are so many benefits from lifelong learning.

As Leonardo da Vinci said,

Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”

The only downside to being a lifelong learner is if you hoard the information and never use it. That would be like having millions of dollars, but you’re homeless and starving. For example, you can use your learning to reinvent yourself in the following ways:

What changes would you like to make? Sometimes it can be challenging to take the leap from knowing information and using information in a positive and productive manner. I invite you to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s talk about the skills you have and the skills you still need to acquire to create the life you’ve always wanted.

Would you like to read more on this topic? Here are some of my other blog posts about lifelong learning:

Great Leaders Never Stop Learning – Have You?

Interested in Continuous Learning? How Adding Slack to Your Day Helps

Embodied Learning – A Lifelong Practice that Leads to Excellence and Mastery

And sign up for my newsletter to stay up-to-date on some of the training opportunities I offer…including, Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP coming up September 26 to 29, 2019.

New Rules for Leadership You Can Use to Influence Real Change

“To watch people push themselves further than they think they can, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s really human.” ~ Abby Wambach

Leadership has always been based on a hierarchical model — where a few have power and control over the many. But in the 21st Century, the in-your-face boss is no longer the only model for successful leadership. Nor is it the most effective one! We have discovered new rules for leadership that are building a new model — one that employs a more expansive and collaborative approach.

I believe leadership is an innate ability of every person. Even if you doubt you have it, believe me, YOU DO! And the good news is that you can enhance, strengthen and refine it. If you don’t believe me, think about the many ways you already lead others today. For example,

  • You lead your family members to become the best they can be.
  • You lead your friends in ways to make their lives easier and better.
  • You lead your business peers through supportive networks that lets each one use their unique skills so you can achieve a shared vision.

WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game.As a woman, I’ve been on a journey to discover my own unique brand of leadership. I recently stumbled across another great resource for refining my rules for leadership. I found them in a book by Abby Wambach, WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game. I highly recommend you read it. She’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion and is noted for her leadership skills as she helped transform her soccer teammates into one of the most successful, powerful and united Wolfpacks of all time.

I wholeheartedly agree with her 8 new rules for leadership that encourages women to “claim their individual power, unite their Pack, and take their lives, families, careers and world further than they could have imagined.” In the list below, I share her rules for leadership along with links to articles you can read on my website that share similar lessons. (If you order the book, let me know what you think!)

1. “Create your own path”. This is something I’m passionate about. Only you can live your life and bring your gift to the world.

    1. Celebrate the Unique Person You Are and Stop Being a People Pleaser
    2. Finding Your True Self – The Key to Embodied Leadership
    3. Find Your Zone of Genius and You won’t Have to Hustle So Hard
    4. Embodied Leadership – A Lifelong Practice that Leads to Excellence and Mastery.

2. “Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve”. This is so true! Gratitude is an essential part of your mindfulness practice. And you can’t wait for success to come to you.

    1. How to Fully Utilize the Power of Gratitude in Your Life
    2. 3 Tips to Get You Headed in the Direction You Want to Go.
    3. Feed Your Ambition & Catapult Your Leadership Career to Success.

3. “Lead now —from wherever you are”. No longer do we lead from out in front. We can guide from the sidelines as we encourage the most qualified person to run with a project or initiative.

    1. 5 Principles of Thoughtful Leadership Makes Good Leaders Even Better
    2. 7 Ways to Model Purpose Driven Leadership in All Aspects of Life

4. “Failure means you’re finally IN the game. Personally, I don’t think in terms of failure. Instead I consider each setback as an opportunity to learn something new about myself.

    1. Overcoming Fear of Failure – One of the Most Valuable Lessons Learned in Life
    2. Failure Leads to Success When You Know this Olympic Secret

5. “Be FOR each other”. This is where women really shine as leaders. We know how to collaborate!

    1. Women – Use This Secret Advantage to Secure Leadership Positions
    2. How to Develop True Emotional Intimacy between Friends

6. “Believe in yourself. Demand the ball”. So many times we get in our own way and keep ourselves small by feeling inadequate or unprepared.

    1. You Don’t Have to Be a Natural Born Leader to Make Leadership Your Career
    2. How to Deal with Fear – Ten Ways to Cultivate a Fearless Mindset
    3. When Opportunity Knocks – are You Ready to Step Through the Door?

7. “Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders”. I do believe it’s our responsibility to shape a better world by nurturing and empowering others.

    1. 25 Ways Highly Successful People Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves
    2. 7 Strong Leadership Scenarios: How Do You Measure Up?
    3. Develop Leadership Skills in Women Who Want to Make a Difference

8. “You’re not alone. You’ve got your Pack”. I love how we can create a synergy and accomplish so much more when we work together.

    1. Strong Convictions – The Secret to Becoming an Influential Leader in Your Community

Even though leadership is an innate part of us, it can lay dormant, buried, disguised, or unappreciated. Are you ready to step up and apply these rules for leadership in new and exciting ways? As Abby Wambach says, “You never know if you can actually do something against all odds until you actually do it.”  If you’d like to team up with me, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Together we can accomplish great things!

How to CALM Your Mind Using My 4-Step C.A.L.M. Process

Learn how to CALM your mind by using my 4-Step C.A.L.M. Process. Even in times of great stress, practicing it will help you achieve calm and peace more quickly.“I have never experienced a stressful feeling that wasn’t caused by attaching to an untrue thought. Behind every uncomfortable feeling, there’s a thought that isn’t true for us.” ~ Byron Katie

Many of you are doing a great job of maintaining a peaceful state in your lives through practicing mindfulness and other somatic skills I’ve shared with you. Yet in times of great stress, some clients tell me that they can’t help but revert back to a reactive state, which makes them feel out of control, defensive and on edge. Negative thoughts stream back into their minds. Let me reassure you, that’s quite natural. Don’t give up! The more you practice mindfulness the more it becomes your default method to calm your mind.

To make it easier to calm your mind during stressful times, I’ve come up with an acronym to help you remember the steps to take. It’s C.A.L.M.

Before I dive into how to CALM your mind, it’s helpful to understand the two systems or states your brain functions under –

  1. the reactive fight or flight response (sympathetic nervous system) or
  2. the responsive rest and digest state (parasympathetic nervous system).

To put it simply, these two systems transmit valuable information via your neurochemical systems that make the body/mind connection.

Ideally, you want to experience the responsive rest and digest state most of the time. It’s the “shock absorber” in your brain that stops feelings like fear, frustration or anger from taking total control over your actions. Because you have an underlying sense of security and fulfillment, you can observe your feelings without judgment, name them and rationally cope with them, without getting too stressed out.

The fight or flight response should only switch on occasionally, when you’re faced with real danger. After the threat passes, you should quickly return to the rest and digest state in which you feel safe and peaceful.

Are you ready to learn how to CALM your mind? It will allow you to pause and let your rational brain catch up with your emotional brain and give it some guidance.

C stands for Connect. Connect with what your body and emotions are telling you. Notice your body sensations or physical reactions. Identify the feelings attached to them. Name them. Remember, feelings are not right or wrong. They just are. Work on accepting and exploring your feelings.  

For example, your husband says something that hurts you.

Your response: I feel hurt. I’m clenching my jaw and tensing my shoulders. I feel sick to my stomach. I feel threatened. I feel ridiculed. I feel belittled like when my dad said I was just a stupid girl.

A stands for Assure. Assure yourself that you’re safe. Observe your thoughts. What story or assumption are you telling yourself to make you react this way?

Your response: Oh, I was thinking he doesn’t respect me anymore, that he would leave me. That’s not true. We’re committed to each other. He’s just upset because of what I did. He doesn’t understand. (Breathe…Relax.) I’m safe.

L stands for Live YOUR Truth. It’s possible to cause unnecessary stress for yourself by trying to please someone. The sad fact is we often think we’re pleasing someone by pulling back from our dreams or putting ourselves down, which only makes us miserable. And it makes them miserable, too. That’s not what they want. They just want to understand. Each of us has to live our own truth – not somebody else’s.

Your response: This is important to me, because _____. I know he doesn’t understand. Collect my thoughts, so I can explain it to him patiently and reasonably. He probably feels threatened too. Reassure him that I’m not leaving. I’m committed to our relationship.

M stands for Mindfulness. Mindfully and purposefully choose the thoughts and actions that support the life you want to live.

Your response: I’m a powerful, intelligent woman who has a lot to offer my family, career, and community. I have a purpose and there are things I can do right now to move me closer to fulfilling that purpose. I know I need to include him more often, communicating my desires, plans and goals, so he doesn’t feel left behind. I feel calm, happy, and safe.

Would you like more training on how to calm your mind and live up to your full potential? Then plan on joining us at our Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. Yes! We’ve changed the name to reflect more accurately how we’re empowering women, like you, to live a vibrant life and make a difference in the world.

Try a New Way of Thinking Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions

We must master a new way of thinking before we can create real change in our lives. After all if the old way of thinking was working, you wouldn’t be looking for a change, would you? Here are 3 ways to introduce a new way of thinking into your life.“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” – Marianne Williamson

Years ago, when I was brainstorming the name of my business, Neways Center, I wanted it to reflect how we master a new way of thinking before we can create real change in our lives. After all, if the old way of thinking was working, you wouldn’t be looking for a change, would you?

I’ve noticed that people often use the New Year as a “when” moment…“When the calendar starts over, I can start over” type of thinking. It’s not a bad thing to use the calendar to renew your sense of purpose, determination and hope. However, keep in mind that dates come and go; real hallmarks in our lives occur as events. And events are the culmination of a series of baby steps that get you to a certain place, when you’re ready for it.

That the key to this new way of thinking: change doesn’t happen until you are prepared and ready for it!

How do you create a new way of thinking that results in real change? Here are three ways you can cultivate this new way of thinking in terms of hallmark events in your life that create sustainable shifts.

1. Schedule retreats not vacations. When you spend time and money booking a hotel room and traveling to a new location, you open up your mind to creatively think in a new way. It breaks you out of your routine, so you can try out being a new way, to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Rather than spending that time overeating, overdrinking and mindlessly “vegging out”, make them into self-renewal retreats. Go somewhere with minimal distractions, so your mind clears and you have time to reconnect with your mind, body and spirit. (You can read about our 2018 “Women, Wisdom & Presence” retreat to see if the 2019 retreat in the Grand Canary Island is a good fit for you. Contact me for details if you’re interested.)

Wherever you choose to go, take a journal and write down all the things you love about yourself and your life. Then reflect on what you can do to bring yourself more in harmony with your mission or purpose in life.

2. Build a supportive community. In life, we often get thrown together with people we wouldn’t choose as close companions. Adopt a new way of thinking about those you associate with…in person, online, or even through the entertainment you choose. Commit to seeking out and spending more time with only those that lift you up, challenge you, and support you in becoming your best you.

Plan a monthly event with a friend that supports your new way of thinking, one that prepares you to be in the right emotional, mental and spiritual space for enhancing your potential.

  • Schedule a set day and time for weekly phone calls to celebrate your wins.
  • Go all out and dress up for a self-renewal dinner, only ordering items that make you feel good.
  • Attend a live event together.
  • Exercise together.
  • Regularly share themed photos on Instagram that keep you inspired.
  • Explore new locations, new skills, or new experiences together.

3. Mindfully learn instead of judging. Resist turning situations into a way of labeling yourself as right or wrong, good or bad, smart or stupid. Start a new way of thinking: attract more positivity into your life by mindfully processing situations as learning experiences, without passing judgment.

You are the sum of years of experiences. Respect them as a part of your journey and use them as stepping stones to the future you want. Change your way of thinking so they don’t hang as weights around your neck. Be grateful for the person you are today. You are strong! You are enough! You don’t have to be like anyone else. You don’t need to “change” who you are.

Like a diamond, we are all simply in the process of smoothing out the rough spots so we can let our unique brilliance shine through. For diamonds to sparkle, they need light. You can shine light on yourself by creating a sacred space for reflection. Here are seven suggestions to get you started:

  1. Make a daily practice of walking in nature.
  2. Incorporate breathing breaks throughout the day.
  3. Light a candle, sit in a comfy position, and set one intention you want to model right now in your life. Examine that intention from all angles (how you see yourself, how others will see you, how it affects your business presence, etc) and fully visualize how it empowers you.
  4. Invite a trusted friend on one of your retreats, so you can process out loud.
  5. Specifically ask that friend what they admire about you.
  6. Think back over the past year. Visualize where you started and how far you’ve come.
  7. Keep a running list of all of the things you’re proud of – compliments you receive, accomplishments you have, connections you make, etc.

Lasting change starts from a place of peaceful acceptance. It’s a natural, not forced, progression. Do you want to get the New Year off to a great start? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Together we can create a plan that fully opens up this new way of thinking for you.


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