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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.

Developing Discipline and Mental Strength to See You Through the Tough Times

If you want to handle any crisis, start developing discipline, mental strength and grit right now, so you have the skills available when you need them.“No mud, no lotus.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Discomfort. Sweat. Getting dirty. Roughing it. Exhaustion. Frugality. When did these words take on a bad connotation – things to be avoided at all cost?

Luxury. Easy Living. Excess. These are the things that people are pursuing with damaging results to their health and happiness. It’s no exaggeration that, for some people, missing their morning latte can ruin their whole day.

As Thich Nhat Hanh noted, without slogging through the mud, you can’t find the happiness of the lotus. He also said something else that I think is very profound, “When you learn how to suffer, you suffer less.” Isn’t it true that when you know how to do something, it’s easier to do it…even if it’s enduring through challenging times in life?

So the question is: how do you go about developing discipline and mental strength? Waiting for a challenge and hoping you survive isn’t a good option. That’s like trying to run a marathon after being a couch potato for years. You’re going to get hurt. It would be advantageous to start developing discipline, more grit and mental toughness right now. Then you’ll be better prepared for whatever comes.

I’ve been enjoying a book by Joe De Sena called Spartan Fit! 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit. It refers to Seneca, a Stoic philosopher, who was one of the wealthiest men in ancient Rome, yet he spoke out against the corrupting influence of wealth and leisure. He practiced a series of mental exercises to ensure he would never become dependent on his wealth. Every month he spent a few days living in poverty until he became content with only the necessities of life…the clothes on his back and the food for his next meal. He said:

“In times of immunity from care the soul should toughen itself for occasions of greater stress…In times of peace a soldier performs maneuvers in order that he may be equal to the strains of war. If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes.”

Our physical strength only grows as we push ourselves and challenge what we think we can do. Run a little bit farther…Lift a heavier weight…Hold the position a little longer. It only makes sense that we can prepare our minds and spirit to handle hardship and challenges, too.

Make a practice of looking for ways to challenge your mind with mental obstacles in the same way you challenge your body with physical obstacles. Here are some ways that you can begin developing discipline and mental strength.

Start every day on the right foot. Find a routine that allows you to set a positive and productive mindset. For me that’s making my bed. It’s an immediate win!

Prepare your mind and spirit through a practice of journaling, meditation, prayer, or motivation mantra.

Reinforce your values and personal boundaries as you review situations that didn’t have the desired outcome and consider how you’d handle it differently in the future.

Avoid negativity and distractions, like checking emails or listening to the news, until you’ve set your intentions for the day.

View all movement as exercise and training. Your mental health depends on your physical health. It’s time to take control and make time! When you have the mindset that you’re constantly in training, you’ll look for opportunities like taking the stairs, parking at the furthest spot in the lot, and so forth.

Recognize “resistance” as a force within you that you can control. When you see a resistant attitude as an enemy you can defeat, you’re not judging yourself any longer by thinking there’s something wrong with you. You can see that it’s simply a wrong attitude, and you have the power to change your thinking.

When reflecting back, almost everyone agrees that their happiest times are during the pursuit/work/action that got them to a particularly triumphant moment.  I would love to partner with you as you push your boundaries to excel. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Failure Leads to Success When You Know this Olympic Secret

Learn how to reframe your view of failure and attain greater success in everything you do, by identifying and imitating the mindset of Olympic athletes.Are you a fan of the Olympics? I’m constantly amazed at the skill and dedication these athletes bring to their events. How do they do it? More importantly, how can their example help “ordinary” people be successful in life? Of course, they train for years, but the significant key to success is that they’ve developed an essential mindset – they’ve embraced the concept that failure leads to success.

Normally, how does failure feel? Even now as you think about it, does the heavyhearted feeling come creeping back? Do you sink into your chair as you relive the embarrassment and discouragement? Many people view failure as something to be avoided at all cost.

But highly successful people, no matter what their field of expertise is, know that failure is essential for success. But knowing it and embracing it are two different things. What’s their secret? The strongest predictor that failure will lead to success is when people have resilience and perseverance. They just never give up because they know that everything they experience teaches them something and gets them one step closer to where they want to be.

This attitude toward mistakes and failure makes all the difference in the world. Those who excel in life have worked hard to develop this attitude that hardships, obstacles and challenges are opportunities for learning lessons about themselves and the world around them.

An interesting example of how failure leads to success is that of Lex Gillette. He’s a silver and gold medal winner from past long jump competitions and will be representing the U.S. in the 2016 Paralympics. He is also completely blind! He trusts his coach to set him straight for each sprint and guides him with clapping and cries of “Fly, Fly, Fly” until he reaches the spring board. (Watch it here.) Before each competition they walk around the boundaries of the sand pit to help him create a map in his mind. What powerful proof that mastering your inner game really works!

He hasn’t gotten to where he is without his share of failures, however. And he makes this interesting observation, “Failing at something is essential. You go through some sort of hardship, and it helps catapult you to a higher level. I’ve had a number of failures in my life, and I’ve been able to tap into that inner strength in order to come back and be resilient. I see failures as stepping stones and things that I’ve had to do to get to my destination.”

Interestingly, Michelle Segar, a motivation scientist and director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan, noted that once a person fails, “you don’t have that fear over your head anymore, then you can really focus.” 

Another study interviewed 10 Olympic gold medalists and found that they all consider failure to be essential to winning their gold medals. “The majority of participants stated that if they had not underperformed at a previous Olympics, they would not have won their gold medals.”

The researchers hypothesize that learning from previous failure happened in two ways: 1) the athletes focus on why they feel distressing emotions, not on the emotions themselves, and 2) they distance themselves psychologically from the negative experience. They think about what went wrong and use it to propel themselves toward success in the future.

The only way to truly fail is to give up and do nothing —failing to properly prepare, failing to give it your all or failing to learn from past experiences. Would you like to learn how to reframe your thoughts so that every failure leads to success? Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is a highly effective set of tools for accomplishing this. Please join us for the fall session of our Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP Class. Click here to learn more or contact me with any questions. It’s going to be a life-changing experience!

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.


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