“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.
- 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.
“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.” ~ Beyoncé
No matter what we’re trying to achieve, there always seem to be an in-between stage that gets us stuck. For example, you hit a plateau when you’re losing weight. Or you have to spend money you don’t have to make money. Or you’re working on developing leadership skills, but you have no one to lead. Or you want to build your coaching business, but you need coaching experience to attract new clients.
That in-between place isn’t comfortable, because it tests your faith in your dream, your belief in yourself, and your commitment to growth. These growing pains are a natural part of life and aren’t to be avoided. Rather embrace them as indicators that you are ready for the next level. Get excited about them. Don’t dread them.
Louise Santiago, Niina Gullsten and I have just completed this year’s Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat. I am feeling grateful, inspired and blessed! It was amazing and awe-inspiring to watch the women attendees courageously face and overcome doubt and indecision, as they worked on developing their leadership skills more fully.
Over the course of our time together, a common theme kept appearing: A person succeeds when developing leadership skills becomes a daily practice. Here are some tips we discussed:
Become more intentional. Whether it’s in regard to your relationships, business, or personal well-being, the more intentional and thoughtful your decisions become the better outcomes you will experience. Mindfulness is foundational to being intentional, for it builds within you a strong sense of identity and purpose. If you find yourself just drifting through life, take some time to mindfully reflect on where you really want to go and who you want to be.
Expand your circle of influence. Cultivate conversations and relationships with people who have different experiences and backgrounds. This diversifies your view of the world and lets you learn valuable lessons about yourself. It will reveal your strengths (e.g. patience) and your weaknesses (e.g. prejudices). Your communication skills will be tested, since you’ll be out of your comfort zone and you’ll want to pay closer attention to what’s being said and how it’s being said. But testing your conversation muscles is a win-win, because communication skills are paramount for developing leadership skills.
Step into leadership opportunities, as they come your way. Volunteering in your community is a great way to gain experience. Mentoring young women is a wonderful way to ensure our future is brighter. Even if you only lead one person toward achieving success, you will have accomplished a lot.
Developing leadership skills becomes more organic and intuitive, and less painful, when you look for opportunities in your daily life to practice them. Don’t be afraid to step up. Our recent retreat reminded us that women are amazingly powerful, beautifully humble, and awe inspiring as they support each other and step forward in all aspects of their life! Make a commitment to yourself and join us in 2020 for another great adventure.
Or if you’re ready to get started right now, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to share with you some of the new insights I’ve gained from this fabulous group of women.
“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” ~ Steve Maraboli
A husband and wife were driving through an unfamiliar section of the city. She read the map and told him to turn left or right at the intersections. He faithfully followed her every direction, until finally she wailed, “Now YOU”VE gotten me lost!” True story? Yes. (It wasn’t my honey and me, it was an acquaintance of mine.) It just illustrates that we, as humans, are quick to blame others for the results of our own actions. We take offense instead of taking personal responsibility.
People have become very confused about how to respond to life, because of conflicting messages they’ve received since childhood. For example:
- It’s common to praise children for everything, which can inflate the ego and instill a mentality of, “I’m entitled. The world owes me”.
- Parents make excuses for their children and blame the teachers, when the child gets in trouble or under performs.
- Rather than learning that actions have consequences, many young adults get bailed out of their problems, so they never learn resilience or what their own strengths are.
- We’re told “you’re entitled to your feelings and to let it all out”, without learning how to responsibly manage those emotions productively.
- We’re taught to stand up for ourselves and not be doormats. However, by not giving an inch we hear feedback as criticism from which we must defend ourselves.
We’ve lost our sense of humor and take ourselves too seriously. Becoming offended over real and imagined slights has grown into a problem of epidemic proportions. We see evidence of this in the irritation, sarcasm, hostility, resentment, pouting, grudges, rants, rioting, assaults, road rage, “going postal”, school shootings, and even terrorist attacks.
Here are some things people say in order to avoid taking personal responsibility:
“It’s not my fault!” While excusing ourselves, we hold others to an impossibly high standard.
“It’s not fair!” Because we fail to develop gratitude, we compare our life to others and become embittered and perceive the good others experience as a personal grievance.
“It’s his fault!” Shifting blame, when things go wrong, is easy.
“He started it!” When someone slights you, you respond by giving him the cold shoulder. Your own hurtful behavior is okay, because he did it first.
“He’s out to get me!” It’s all about us. We don’t make allowances for others’ good intentions. Instead we cynically search for their “sinister” reason.
If you want inner peace, cultivating the habit of personal responsibility is vital. I love how Iyanla Vanzant puts it:
“One of the greatest challenges in creating a joyful, peaceful and abundant life is taking responsibility for what you do and how you do it. As long as you can blame someone else, be angry with someone else, point a finger at someone else, you are not taking responsibility for your life.”
Taking personal responsibility for the good and the bad in your life is one of the most empowering things you will ever do. Only then can you shape your future. Consider this: the word responsibility is made up of two words…response and ability. That means you have the ability to mindfully choose your response to whatever happens. As Viktor E. Frankl said,
“Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Taking personal responsibility is a habit you can cultivate over time. It’s like a muscle memory. You do it often enough, it will become automatic. So it’s up to you to decide. What kind of person do you want to be? If taking responsibility is important to you, start with these suggestions…
- Before responding, honestly ask yourself, “What part did I play in this situation? How did I make it worse? How could I have made it better?”
- Recognize your own limitations. You’re not perfect, so give yourself some slack and avoid becoming defensive and prickly, when others point out your “faults”. Accept it with grace and humor. And give others some slack too.
- Sincerely apologize for your actions or your lack of actions.
- Welcome feedback and learn from it. Even if you think it’s undeserved, you can find something positive in it, if you look hard enough.
- Look for the good in others and don’t impute wrong motives. If you’re suspicious, respectfully ask them why they said or did something, rather than jumping to negative conclusions.
- Accept your life, without judgment and resignation, rather than wishing things were different. View today as a starting point from which you can create something better.
- Let go of the past. You have the choice and the power to change your future.
Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’re not taking personal responsibility for our actions. If you’d like to enhance your emotional intelligence and communication skills, so you can turn even the most trying situations into positive outcomes, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). You can do this!
“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.
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.
- Celebrate the Unique Person You Are and Stop Being a People Pleaser
- Finding Your True Self – The Key to Embodied Leadership
- Find Your Zone of Genius and You won’t Have to Hustle So Hard
- 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.
- How to Fully Utilize the Power of Gratitude in Your Life
- 3 Tips to Get You Headed in the Direction You Want to Go.
- 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.
- 5 Principles of Thoughtful Leadership Makes Good Leaders Even Better
- 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.
- Overcoming Fear of Failure – One of the Most Valuable Lessons Learned in Life
- 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!
- Women – Use This Secret Advantage to Secure Leadership Positions
- 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.
- You Don’t Have to Be a Natural Born Leader to Make Leadership Your Career
- How to Deal with Fear – Ten Ways to Cultivate a Fearless Mindset
- 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.
- 25 Ways Highly Successful People Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves
- 7 Strong Leadership Scenarios: How Do You Measure Up?
- 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.
- 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!
“A relaxed aware body-mind is the conductor of creativity” – Mark Walsh
Did you know that scientists are trying to teach Embodied Intelligence to robots, Artificial Intelligence [AI] of the future? One project “aims to build a theoretical framework for embodied artificial intelligence that treats the brain, body, and environment as inseparable cognitive elements. This theory will guide the creation of artificial agents that adjust their neural networks (brains) to feedback from their bodies and surroundings.”
These scientists know that embodied intelligence is essential for being a positive force in today’s society; yet, it’s ironic that today’s educators are neglecting to train HUMANS in these very important life skills! But I see this as an opportunity for you to rise to the top of your profession, by honing your embodied intelligence. This will put you leaps and bounds ahead of the pack, so to speak.
How can embodied intelligence help you to succeed in life and business?
How often do you experience the disconnection between knowing what your best behavior is and not being able to make yourself act in harmony with it? It can be frustrating and demoralizing! You want to go exercise, but you roll over and go back to sleep. You want to eat more healthfully, but you reach for the bag of chips. You want to speak with confidence, but you slump and start mumbling. The key to removing this inner conflict and gaining greater harmony between your thoughts, emotions and actions is to develop a greater understanding of your shape somatically.
What do I mean by “your shape”?
Your shape is the totality of your experience: it’s the story you’ve collected over the years about yourself, about other people, and about the world. Making sense of your story, understanding where you come from, understanding what you believe, and how your emotions are showing up in your body, are all impacting whether or not you can step into the next phase of your life. Without this understanding, this embodied intelligence, you’ll go through life like a character from one of James Joyce’s stories – “Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.”
What we learned in our first five to seven years of life makes certain behaviors more habitual than others. That’s when you formed your unique stress response. Maybe you learned that drawing inwardly kept you safe. Or you learned to get angry and scream to be heard. Or you learned to please others, so you didn’t face confrontation. These responses to triggers follow you throughout your life, unless you mindfully retrain your mind and body to handle them differently. Knowing isn’t enough. Real change comes when you reprogram your body/mind connection with new behaviors and become the best version of yourself.
Your new shape – your positive mindset, the stories you’re telling yourself, your demeanor, the way you hold yourself – will help you make more compassionate and wiser choices.
When you tap into your body’s wisdom, you “turn on” your emotional intelligence and find your true self. You can, therefore, create faster and more sustainable shifts in your behavior. Understanding how to heal the mind/body connection – the embodied – somatic – whole person is powerful! The first step toward greater emotional intelligence is to daily practice mindfulness, so you’re fully present in the moment and recognize how your emotions and thoughts are affecting your body – your posture – your energy.
After studying embodied leadership at the Strozzi Institute and practicing the Feldenkrais Method®, I understand better how to teach you to connect with and learn from your body to grow and enhance your leadership presence and skills.
When you change your body shape, you can change a deep-seated behavior, which significantly improves your leadership outcomes. Act like a winner, and you’ll be a winner. Act like a leader, and you’ll be a leader.
Since most of us have been taught to spend time in our heads, accessing the vast embodied intelligence in the entire nervous system has become a dormant skill. But you can revive it! If you’d like to learn more about shifting away from a reactionary response to a more intentional state, plan on joining us at our Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. We’re empowering women, like you, to live a vibrant life, elevate their presence, and make a difference in the world.