Maria Connolly, LPC

Tag: Personal Growth – Professional Growth

Choose Personal Responsibility Over Blaming Others or Taking Offense

Choose Personal Responsibility Over Blaming Others or Taking Offense“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!

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!

Embodied Intelligence Isn’t Just for Robots

Scientists know it’s important to teach Embodied Intelligence to robots; yet, ironically, we are neglecting to train HUMANS in these very important life skills!“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.

Why I Participated in the 2019 CrossFit Open

I participated in the 2019 Crossfit Open. It was amazing! CrossFit teaches me to see every day as an opportunity to improve, get better, get where I want to be.“You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.” ~ Michael Phelps

Have you ever heard of the CrossFit Open? This year it’s happening between February 21st and March 25th. The CrossFit Games are world-renowned as a grueling test for the toughest athletes on Earth. It’s a five-workout competition. And it’s thrilling to see what people are capable of doing!

I love CrossFit and all that it stands for. I love its philosophy. I love its comradeship. I love the intensity. It’s my kind of workout. Every week I get to push my limits physically and mentally. I always learn something new about myself.

Since I started Crossfit over 3 years ago, it has become a metaphor for life: push your limits – find your strength!

Here are some life lessons you can takeaway from Crossfit training:

Your physical strength is fueled by your mental strength. When your body or mind says “you can’t”, try it anyway. More often than not, you can!

The more flexible you are the more resourceful, resilient and courageous you’ll be.

Progress doesn’t come automatically. There’s always a learning curve. Invest the time to develop skill “A” to get to skill “B” and so forth. If you jump from “A” to “Z” you’re going to hurt yourself!

There’s always some move you can make. Maybe you can’t do a Pull Up, but you can do a modified version of it, as you strengthen your body so that you can do it eventually.

Believe in yourself! Trust your coach and soak in the encouragement from your community. When you compare yourself to someone else, you hurt yourself. Use their success as inspiration instead.

Discipline and consistency build a reserve of strength, grit and conviction that gets you through the days when you’re feeling down. To become fit, you have to value your well-being over your desire to be a people pleaser

Can you see how these lessons apply to all areas in life? People say, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” We have the choice to let life happen or train for the long game. I’m in it for the long game.

I never thought I would ever enter the 2019 CrossFit Open, never. I thought of competing with my friends, but not entering at such an international level. But this year I did! Why? Because I believe in these principles and I wanted to practice what I preach to others.

Here are my scores on the 2019 CrossFit Open Leaderboard

If you go to the leaderboard website, you will see that I was there. It’s an amazing experience! No, I’m not in the top 10. That’s not the point. I trained to push my limits, to see what I could do. I accomplished more than I would have thought possible a year ago. And I know that next year I’ll do even more!

Ultimately, I entered the 2019 Crossfit Open, because I wanted to communicate these important messages to myself:

  • I am good enough right now.
  • I only compare myself to myself.
  • I push my limits to find my strength.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Don’t take life too seriously either.
  • Life is short, go for it.
  • Happy is on the other side of fear.
  • Courage takes you there.

During the open an amazing thing happened! Right after each grueling workout (five total), and not before I could stand and breathe again, it would all make sense. The everyday training itself started to make sense: how to train, how to push myself each day and week, how to gradually increase my effort, and why all of this is important.

In life, as in CrossFit, you have to train hard (with substantial periods of rest and recuperation in between) in order to sustain even 15 minutes of intense work. Imagine practicing your public speaking every day for just 5 minutes in the shower and then getting to your public speaking event and feeling like “I can do this!” This is what Crossfit has taught me to do every day. It takes consistent, daily discipline to get to the critical moment where I can perform well, with ease and skill.

I know I will do the open again…and again…and again. And from now on, I’ll see every day as an opportunity to improve, get better, get where I want to be. Like we learned from the story of the Tortoise and the Hare – slow and steady wins.

Would you like to find the same kind of courage, determination and resourceful within yourself? Please join us at our Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. I know you have it …let’s bring it to life!

7 Ways to Conquer Self-Doubt! Determination Is the Key to Success

Determination is the key to success. Everything you do begins with what you think. Gain greater control over your thought patterns by practicing these 7 skills.“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~ The Buddha

I believe that the phrase, “You are what you eat,” could be replaced with, “You are what you think.” When you feed your mind full of positive, grateful thoughts, you leave no room for self-doubt or negativity. You make better choices. You can’t help but become more productive, cheerful and enjoyable to be around. This in turn, makes people want to work with you and for you. Yes, you can erase self-doubt! But it will take time and effort. Determination is the key to success!

Are you determined to succeed in your quest to conquer self-doubt? Remember the fairytale The Little Engine That Could? He started the long trek up the mountain with a strong burst of energy and the self-talk, “I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can,” streaming through his mind. No one else thought he could. But his determination – the mental strength to try and not give up – was key to his success!

As a way to reinforce this same kind of mental strength and determination in you, here are some key ways to invite positive, self-nurturing thoughts to flow your way…

1. Always look for the positive. There is a world full of good things out there! Be determined to practice gratitude and feel blessed. Look for and appreciating the good that is present or that can eventually arise, from each situation. Greet each challenge as a blessing, because it will spark the growth you need to become more successful.

2. Zap negative thoughts. Just as a bug zapper “bzzzzts” and stops pesky annoying bugs, be determined to turn on your Negative Thought Zapper and stop them from taking hold and spiraling out of control. When you catch a negative pattern, assess it for truth, and then consciously re-phrase it to a pattern that oozes opportunity and possibility.

3. Speak positivity. I cannot stress enough the importance of being mindful of how you speak out loud and to yourself. When you start down the road of criticism, complaining, sarcasm, and abusive speech, STOP! Be determined to retrain yourself to seek ways to commend and build up yourself and others instead.

4. Shift your focus from getting to giving. When you become more other-centered – caring more for everyone else – you will be taking power away from the need to reach your quota, achieve a certain status, earn X amount of dollars, etc. When you become a person who serves from a state of compassion, people will respond and reward you with their business, with their cooperation, and with their respect.

5. When you doubt yourself, prove yourself wrong! If you haven’t tried, you’re lying to yourself when you say, “I can’t!” Nothing is accomplished by quitting before you even begin. Once you act in harmony with your intention to succeed, new avenue often open up before you, so you accomplish a task you never thought you could. And if, for some reason you “fail”, you’ll find a better path. No matter what happens, your self-confidence is lifted because you TRIED!

6. Envision the outcome you desire. It’s easy to let the disaster reel play like a movie in your mind, imagining everything that could go wrong. Be determined to replace it with a success reel. Play the “happy movie” of how everything turns out better than you dreamed of.

7. Take baby steps. Keep the big picture in the back of your mind, but only actively concentrate on what you can do right now, today, to move yourself forward just a little. It would be unrealistic to expect perfection. Rest when you need to, but never stop. Even taking a detour to learn a new skill is a step forward toward reaching your dreams of success.  

Of course, there will be times when you feel down, hurt or fearful. Allow yourself to experience those emotions, but do so mindfully and with the clear purpose of identifying where that feeling comes from and what it’s teaching you. Train yourself to get back up and believe more strongly in who you are and what you want.

Adopting these new thought patterns will take gentle, but firm work on your part. Your success depends on your determination to change your life to one that fulfills and satisfies you. As Channing Pollock put it so well…

“The only good luck many great men ever had was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck.”

Do you “think-you-can” succeed? Do have that kind of determination? If so, I-know-you-can! I invite you to join us at our annual Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. (FLOW stands for Fierce Leaders Organizing Worldwide!) We’ll help you turn your “I-think-I-can” to “I-know-I-can” to “I-did-it!” Determination IS the key to success!


Let's get started with 30 free minutes

I invite you to learn more about me and my coaching and counseling services. Please contact me to schedule an “It starts with you!” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me, in-person, by phone or via video consultation, so we can explore our partnership.

SCHEDULE


RECEIVE YOUR FREE 7-POINT

Wellness
Assesment

Create change through awareness with a FREE gift from Maria to you.
Download your Assesment today!

© Neways Integrated Wellness Center. All rights reserved. Site developed and hosted by Rogue Web Works.