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.

How to Deal with Change: Discover the 3 Stages of Change and What They Say about You

See if you really know how to deal with change - consider the three stages of change, what each one says about you, and how to deal with change comfortably.“The only thing that is constant is change.” ~ Greek philosopher, Heraclitus

Life is full of uncertainty and change. And really isn’t that a good thing? Wouldn’t you get tired of the exact same thing day after day after day…? If you’ve learned how to deal with change, your attitude, your outlook, your abilities to function in the real world will provide the basis for building a successful and happy life despite what happens.

However, major problems arise if you haven’t learned how to deal with change effectively. If you haven’t been given the tools to see life as it really is, you’ll be living with fantasies that paralyze you. And if you don’t know how to mindfully choose your state of being, you’ll never see the full potential for what could be possible for your life.

Of course, it’s natural to resist change at first. We all do it, especially when we feel fearful and unsafe. At other times, we may get stuck in the second stage of change – falling into a rut, merely existing, keeping the status quo, not rocking the boat as we maintain the life we have. I believe that the best way to live is the third stage of change –when we lean in and embrace it as we see the life we’ve envisioned unfold.

So how do you deal with change? Of these three stages of change, which do you stay in the longest – resistance, maintenance, or embracing a larger vision? Not sure? How do you react to the following statements?

I know how to deal with change because:

  • I’m prepared to adapt to whatever comes, instead of wishing life was different.
  • I see opportunities rather than challenges or roadblocks.
  • I choose to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.
  • I see what’s really there not making things more complicated than they need to be.
  • I trust that I’m capable of handling whatever comes.
  • I give myself permission to “fail” and try again until I get it right.
  • I forgive myself readily, instead of beating myself up.
  • I confidently move on from mistakes without doubting myself.
  • I see when something isn’t working and adjust.

Do you see yourself in this list? Excellent! Then you’re on your way to mastering change. If, at present, you can’t own all of these as your truth, don’t despair. You can learn how to keep your sense of humor and gain a better life through change.

A surprisingly simply way to do this is to read my ultimate favorite book: Who Moved My Cheese – An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change In Your Work and In Your Life by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It’s a simple story that uses metaphors, but how you interpret it and apply it to your own life gives it the greatest value. It’s a story of two mice – Sniff, Scurry – and two Little People – Hem, Haw – who find their way through a maze to get to the cheese – what you want in life.

Some of the lessons you’ll learn about how to deal with change are:

Change Happens

They Moved the Cheese

Anticipate Change

Get Ready for the Cheese to Move

Monitor Change

Smell the Cheese Often so You Know When It’s Getting Old

Adapt To Change Quickly

The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, the Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese

Change

Move with the Cheese

Enjoy Change

Savor the Adventure and Enjoy the Taste of New Cheese

Be Ready To Change Quickly and Enjoy It Again

They Keep Moving the Cheese.”

You’ll see that ATTITUDE is everything! Every time you make mindful choices that supports the lifestyle you envision for yourself, you’re taking back the control you need. Each success empowers you to go on to the next with confidence. If you want more “cheese” in your life and need to learn how to deal with change more effectively, give me a call and we can set up an appointment in person or via Skype so I can help you “read the writing on the wall” as you progress to the next chapter in our life.

Excellence is a Habit that Prevents Self-Defeating Beliefs and Behavior

Excellence is a habit that prevents self-defeating beliefs and behaviors from getting a foothold, thereby giving you the resources to make your life vision a reality. What is the controlling force in your life? Is it conscious choice or the power of habit? If you picked “habits’, you’re right!  And that’s a good thing, because if you had to stop and make a brand new decision about every little thing in life, you’d never make it out of bed, let alone get to work. You might get stuck on something nonessential like – “Should I put my shoe on my left foot first this morning or on my right foot?” Most habits are behaviors that save you a great deal of time.

But not all the habits are helpful. Some actually get in your way of making progress toward desired goals. For example, you might want to lose weight, but if it’s your habit to watch TV while you eat, you won’t be mindful about the type and amount of food you eat. It also promotes a less active lifestyle. Bad habits like this one are cruel taskmasters. They stop you from being the best version of you possible.

Excellence is a habit that supports you in your quest for a more fulfilling life. Let’s first see how bad habits are able to get such a strong hold over you.

How is a habit formed? Any activity or thought (physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual) will become a pattern or a habit if you repeat it often enough. They actually create physical, electrical and chemical pathways that become set in your brain. Yes, there are well-worn paths in your brain, and they got there just like you’d make a trail through a grassy meadow by going over the same ground again and again until you wore down the grass into bare soil. (If you’d like to learn more, check out Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I highly recommend it.)

Once patterns of behaviors are set, they run unconsciously in the background, like your computer’s operating system. You don’t see them or think about them, but these unconscious patterns control your life.

Many of the patterns are laid down as a result of fears from early childhood events, and they will draw you off the path to success. Here are some of the worst habits that even leaders may fall prey to…

  1. Failure to hold on to your purpose.To know what adds meaning to your life, you must make time to be quiet and thoughtful. You need to be willing to be vulnerable and dig deeply into what really matters to you. Once you identify your purpose, success requires that you hold on to it and not let go. Being specific and intentional about what you want drives the creation of excellence as a habit and keeps you from reverting to the past.
  1. Unclear goals. A vision without a plan is just a wish. You have to define your goals and then chunk them down into baby steps so you can successful accomplish them.
  1. Inaction. Once you have a well-defined plan and you’ve defined your mini goals, you still need to take action. Procrastination and perfectionism are enemies to action. Effective leaders don’t wait for the perfect moment or try to plan for every contingency. Taking the first step may be the hardest, but have faith that everything will fall into place as you go.
  1. Loss of focus.Distractions and overstimulation interfere with planning and achieving goals. When your mind leaps from one thought to another, practice calming breathing exercises. Regularly spend time in mindful meditation. Learn to focus on one thing at a time.
  1. Acceptance of the status quo. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you’re content with where you are, that’s fine. But if you want to excel, it requires that you take risks and get out of your comfort zone. You can’t change what’s going on around you until you change what’s going on within you. Rekindle the fire within yourself. Your determination and commitment will enable you to attain the success you seek. Each success fuels your self-confidence and spurs you on to greater efforts.

Do you agree that excellence is a habit you want in your life? Then, I’m happy to invite you to a special talk: Choose Life Enhancing Beliefs on Thursday, August 25th. Nando Raynolds and I will be meeting with you in Ashland, Oregon to share how NLP can expand your abilities for happiness and excellence. This is a great first step in reassessing your goals and analyzing your life to see if you’re incorporating excellence into your habits. Learn more about it by clicking here or contact me for more details. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Time Management Tips that Reduce your Stress and Increase Productivity

Seven easy time management tips that reduce your stress and increase your productivity by encouraging you to choose a state of mind that supports you.Do you feel like you’re always battling against the clock and there’s not enough time to do what you need to get done, let alone what you want to do?  And since the long to-do list never gets finished, are you left with a nagging feeling that you’ve failed in some way?

You CAN relieve these stressful feelings by mastering time management skills, learning to stick to your priorities, refusing to get distracted, and choosing a state of mind that continually supports you. As a result, you’ll feel a lot happier about the commitments you make. To that end, here are some suggestions:

Seven easy tips to reduce your stress and increase your productivity

Time Management Tip #1. Live an embodied life. When you have collaboration between your body, mind and spirit, your daily routine will revolve around your life’s mission. You’ll reflect the harmony of being fully present in all you do as you align your gifts and skills with your unique purpose. In turn, your life will become more meaningful and satisfying.

Time Management Tip #2. Set your intention. Before sleeping each night reviewing your accomplishments and allow yourself to feel success even in the little things you’ve done. Declare your intention for the next day. When you wake up, again declare your intention, and it will keep you motivated to follow through. (Your intention might be a goal, making peace in a strained relationship, or something that supports your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.)

Time Management Tip #3. Resist the urge to multi-task. Have you seen the juggler who keeps many things in the air at once, but as soon as he drops one, they all crash? That’s what multi-tasking does to us. On the other hand, when you focus on one thing at a time and do it well, you increase your self-confidence, lower your stress and you get more done.

Time Management Tip #4. Prioritize. It’s okay to make a mile long list. Just don’t stop there or you’ll add to your sense of overwhelm. Pick two or three items from the list that are highest priority and focus on accomplishing only those tasks. Delegate when you can. And educate people that you won’t respond immediately unless it’s an emergency but that you’ll get back to them in 48 hours.  

Time Management Tip #5. Use time-blocking. Group related tasks into blocks of time. Say you have a doctor’s appointment – take your shopping and errand lists with you and do it all in the same trip. Or instead of reading emails all day (which is a huge time waster and stalling tactic), check them only in the block of time you designate for it. Allow sufficient time for each block of activity. Schedule the hard to do tasks when you have your greatest clarity and energy. Set a timer for 20 minutes and see how much more productive you become!

Time Management Tip #6. Be reasonable in your expectations. Don’t overbook. Leave plenty of flexibility in your schedule to allow for the unexpected. That way you don’t add to your stress by feeling rushed or pressured. Learn relaxation techniques that let you unwind regularly throughout the day.

Time Management Tip #7. It’s okay to say “no”. Women are especially prone to taking on too much at once. Before agreeing to a request, give yourself time to consider it. You don’t need to feel compelled to give a reason when you decline, and you don’t need to feel guilty in honoring your own time and commitments, because you’re allowing opportunity for someone who really wants to do it to say “yes.”

It’s essential to choose a supportive state of mind and eliminate limiting beliefs in order to use these time management tips most effectively. In our FREE talk on August 25thChoose Life Enhancing Beliefs, Nando Raynolds and I will show you how to utilize NLP techniques in your life. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon at 6:30 PM to 8PM. Learn more about it by clicking here or contact me for more details.

Building Momentum to Achieve Excellence In All You Do

Building momentum lets you do more, with less effort and greater results - learn 3 ways to harness the power of momentum and stop always-starting-over cycle“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie 

I want to do it, but… I’ll do it when… I’ll get around to it if

It’s easy to master the art of procrastination, isn’t it? We put it off. We postpone. We ignore it. We hope it will resolve itself. We just don’t get started. And this inactivity leaves us feeling stagnant and in a rut. It feels like we’re always struggling in an uphill battle.

Never rising to a challenge or finishing a task undermines self-esteem. There’s no sense of adventure. No feeling of accomplish. No satisfaction, self-confidence, or ambition. There are only excuses so we don’t have to leave our comfort zone. That’s not the kind of life I want to live. What about you?

I want to feel alive, to try new things and experience each moment fully. I want to derive joy and satisfaction from what I do and who I am in all my relationships. If that’s how you feel too, then building momentum and harnessing its power is essential.

Momentum is an interesting phenomenon. Once you get the ball rolling and you build some momentum, it becomes self-perpetuating. It just keeps rolling under its own steam. Remember how it feels to ride a bicycle. The first few pumps on the pedals give your leg muscles a workout, but as you pick up speed, that bicycle takes you a long way while you coast along for the ride.

The longer you wait to take action, the more you procrastinate, the harder it is to get started and build some momentum. Circumstances will never be perfect. If you’re waiting until they are, you’ll be waiting forever. It’s not going to be any easier tomorrow. In fact, delaying makes it worse, because the resistance in your mind gets stronger. We convince ourselves that what we want is too difficult and we talk ourselves out of trying.

Taking consistent action is vital to building momentum. If you consciously and consistently take action every day, you’ll see that it takes less effort on your part. You’ll begin to enjoy your activities and you’ll feel empowered and confident. How do you do it?

Building momentum in three easy steps:

1) Make a commitment to yourself because the action is important to your happiness. Keeping the rewards of your goal in mind will fuel you to keep taking consistent action. If it’s not that important to you, just let it go and focus on something that really matters. Once you make that commitment, the majority of your attention should go toward moving forward. That’s how you build momentum!

2) Take the first baby step. What’s the one thing you can do right now to get started? Get up and do it! (Please wait until after you finish this article, of course.) Even tiny actions will eventually build momentum and produce results, as long as you’re consistent. 

3) It’s the journey, not the destination that’s important. More often than not, you will learn more about yourself and grow as an individual if you focus on the process of how you get to your goal. Many people abandon their goals because they don’t see the big vision results they expected fast enough. Slow down and enjoy the process. Don’t get so obsessed with results that you discourage yourself. In other words, focus on the baby successes, the changes you make, and the knowledge you acquire as you move forward.   

What do you want to accomplish? I encourage you to begin today with one baby step that moves you toward that goal. This daily success will fuel your momentum to continue tomorrow. And do you know what builds momentum even faster?  Getting someone to help you, instead of trying to do it all alone. I would love to assist you. I’m hosting a new workshop, The Power of Embodied Presence – Empowering Women Through Somatic Education and the Art of Relationship, on July 16, 2016. Click here to learn more.

Overcoming Fear of Failure – One of the Most Valuable Lessons Learned in Life

This simple exercise in overcoming fear of failure is one of the most important life lessons you’ll learn, for it frees you to become the best YOU possible.“Failure is the foundation of success and the means by which it is achieved.” ~ Lao Tzu

One of the most common fears people have is fear of failure. Some even have a phobia about it called Atychiphobia. How do you feel about failure? Has it stopped you from trying to do something, even though you wanted to? Or do you view failure as a steppingstone to achieving better things? What value do you place on failure? Do you view it as a negative that’s taking away from your life or a positive that’s giving you a valuable gift? Just imagine how overcoming fear of failure will improve your quality of life.

The way you feel about and manage failure will profoundly influence your ability to achieve excellence. There are three key points to creating a positive view of failure:

  1. Redefine Failure. Failure is really a great teacher if you don’t let perfectionism get in the way. Perfectionism causes you to beats yourself up emotionally. Shame based emotions like these lower self-esteem and makes you want to give up.
  1. Have realistic expectations. Build your self-esteem by only demanding of yourself what you can realistically do. Don’t set yourself up for toxic emotions such as guilt or shame. They only make you feel less than deserving of success.
  1. Heal your thought patterns. Creative visualization and mental rehearsal will transform failure into opportunity and hope – the faith that things can be better. Stimulating hope is vital for being resilient and able to move through life gracefully.

Instant gratification is an enemy to success. Realistically, it takes anyone thousands of hours of work and education to achieve excellence and mastery. It takes time to hone your skills. The truth is there’s always going to be someone better or worse than you are. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself, not anyone else. The real question is, “How can you become a better version of YOU?”

Neuroscience shows that we all cycle through four stages between our thoughts and actions…

  • Thoughts are the triggers and catalysts.
  • They, in turn, elicit your emotions.
  • Emotions cause a chemical reaction in the brain.
  • These neurotransmitters and hormones produce a physiological response in your body that affects the quality of your performance, either beneficially or detrimentally.

This is where the power of visualization helps in overcoming the fear of failure. Remember – your brain can’t differentiate between what you visually imagine and what is really happening. Here’s a simple two-part visualization exercise to help you retrain your thoughts – the foundation of your actions – to be more positive…

The first part of the meditation exercise for overcoming the fear of failure.

  • First thing in the morning, sit quietly with your eyes closed so you can fully concentrate. Take three deep breathes. Think of something or someone that makes you feel heartfelt appreciation. Focus on this for a moment.
  • Next shift your thoughts to happy thoughts or prayers for someone else.
  • Now turn your focus back to the day ahead of you.
  • Identify the top three priorities for you today and their positive outcomes.
  • Visualize the ideal result you hope to achieve.
  • Open your eyes and proceed with your day.

The second part of the meditation exercise for overcoming the fear of failure.

  • At the end of the day take a few deep breaths.
  • Reflect on what happened during the day.
  • Acknowledge and feel good about the successes and fun you had. Express gratitude to the Universe or a higher power.
  • Now honestly acknowledge any setbacks. Take responsibility for it, but don’t wallow in it. Appreciate that you’re one step closer to realizing your goal. Express gratitude for this feedback and learn from it.
  • Tell yourself out loud, “I give myself permission not to be perfect.”
  • In your imagination, go back in time, and make believe you’re doing it over. Reframe it and change the scene as you imagine handling the situation better.

You can’t control everything that happens in life. But you can control how you think about it, how you interpret it, and the value you place on it. This exercise is a powerful tool that helps you do that more effectively. I would love to partner with you in your quest for excellence. Contact me and we can talk about what’s the next best step for you to take. And be sure to download your free copy of The 7-Point Wellness Assessment – Create Change Through Awareness. 


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