Making U-Turns On The Road Of Life When Necessary

archery-weekendsEveryone in the goal achievement space talks about how important it is to have a clear vision and specific idea of what you want to achieve – even me.  However, I have a number of clients coming to me saying, “I want to work with you, but I really don’t know what my goals are or should be.”

Sometimes the hardest part of achieving your goals is figuring out exactly where you want to go. I’m telling you, although it is helpful, it’s not necessary and I don’t want that to stop anyone anymore!

I’ll let you in on my journey – when I started out, I had no idea where I was going and what I wanted out of life.  All I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, was that I didn’t want to be or stay where I was at the time.

That knowledge was just enough to start on a plan, before that I was just complaining and we know how far that propels you!

The reason that knowing where you don’t want to be works is much like a GPS.  I don’t know about you, but when I get in my car and set my GPS it tells me to start out going south or west or something.  I don’t know where my south or west is, I barely know my left and right some days!

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So you know what I do? I just start in the direction my car is pointed and the GPS redirects me as necessary.  My experience with the GPS is the same in life, you get those same nudges if you set out in a direction that isn’t a match for you regardless if you have set a clear direction or know your south from left.

Have you ever started a project or something and everything seems to be against you?  Nothing goes right, there are obstacles around every corner and it just feels like a slog to get this thing accomplished?  Yah, me too.

Now, I ask you, have you ever started something and it all just falls into place?  You have all the things you need and a few extra things just show up and they seem to help you when you weren’t even expecting or planning for them. Everything just feels in flow and like it’s working.  Yah, me too.

That’s what I mean when I say if you start off on a path that is not the best one for you at the time, you’ll figure it out pretty quickly.  In fact if you don’t figure it out, in my experience you will continue to get obstacles and barriers until you notice, hey, this isn’t working for me, maybe I should try something else.

I know this and trust this now because I’ve seen it happen countless times both in my life and in others.

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So many people are not sure where to start or exactly what they want and this trips them up and they just don’t start anything.  I can tell you that they don’t figure out what they do want any faster by not moving.

I encourage you to think about a few things you want in your life.  Is it a new job but you don’t know what’s a good fit for you? Is it a new location? Something else?  No matter what you are looking for in your life, take a step – any step and see where it goes next.  Each time you take a step, ask yourself, does this feel right?  Are things seeming to fit?  Am I uncomfortable because this is unfamiliar or because this is not right for me?

You really know what is best for you.  Not me, Tony Robbins or any guru out there.  It’s up to you to discover it by taking small calculated steps to either move you away from where you don’t want to be or to move you towards what you desire – or both!

If you only know where you are is where you don’t want to be, then take a step at a time away from where you don’t want to be, and see where each one brings you.  Trust yourself to pick up on the signs if where you are heading is not right for you.

Of course if you ever need or want someone to talk out your next steps with, you have a goal achievement specialist in your pocket, don’t hesitate to reach out if you want.

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Give It Up!

I know that this is not what you are used to me saying.  I know I am usually the one pushing you forward and encouraging you to keep going.

Today, I’m changing my tune a bit to both keep you on your toes and to lighten your load.

Sometimes to keep moving forward you need to look over what is going on in your world.  So let’s examine a few things that might be worth giving up.

I hear all the time that in order to be successful it is a hard road that requires sacrifice and pain. This thought is the basis of the statement that “if it were easy it wouldn’t be worth it.”

I’m here to challenge all this.

First off – if we buy into the notion that whatever we’re working on is hard, we look for ways to prove this.  If you are trying to lose weight and you tell yourself how much stuff you can’t have and how hard it is to stay on track – how do you think you feel about your eating plan?  Then, top it off with what everyone refers to as a “cheat meal” and then feel wonderful about that!

If you’ve been reading my work for any amount of time you know how powerful I feel language is.  I believe this is where many people can benefit from a change of mindset and it will make a huge difference in how it goes for them.

If you work on creating a positive atmosphere around what you are doing I guarantee you that it will make even the hardest tasks more pleasant and easier.

For example – when setting out for a long run, I can choose to think about the miles, the heat and the effort the whole thing is going to take me.  Instead in order to get a good run in, I think of the fact I’m doing meditation at the same time, how good I will feel when I’m done, how accomplished I will feel and how strong I am becoming.  I’m not telling myself anything that is not true however I’m just focusing on all the benefits of my run instead of all the challenges.

Status Quo

The other thing that deserves review is this idea of change.  This is a natural progression in life.  Why are we so against change?

I encourage you to give up on the notion that life should be the same all the time.  If we didn’t have ups and downs how boring would life be? [Raise Your Hands And Scream-Aug 2012]  Think of the blooms we would not see if seeds never broke their shells and sprouted their first leaves!  Think of the life you would live if you never grew up and never changed.

Give Up The Story

Finally, the last thing I want you to give up today is the notion that your dream life can’t come true. Please give up the thought that your dreams are too big, you’re too old or that your time is past or whatever is holding you back from chasing that spark that lights you up.

Look, if you are still breathing – even if you’re on life support – it ain’t over til it’s over!

When you give up all the stuff above, you make space for all the greatness that you can possibly hold, and if your arms get full, think about what else you can give up that is not allowing for great stuff to come into your life.

Focus on the benefits you reap from chasing what you truly desire.  Focus on the life that you wish to live and what you look, feel and act like when you are living that life.

Remember that change happens, it is not something to be feared or forced it is natural, doesn’t have to be scary and brings beautiful things like butterflies and blooms. Sometimes there is a spot during this that it feels like life is in chaos however it will pass and just understand it is a temporary part of change.  If you fight it less it will carry you along.

And last but not least, step into your dreams bit by bit.  Nothing is too big or crazy – look, we’ve got people sending cars to the moon and a guy who created the pool noodle.  So get crazy, creative and dream anything you want then take a small step towards it.

Look, you’re going to give up things along the road of life, let’s make them things that have been weighing you down or holding you back from living your dreams, not the dream itself.

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Making Your Own Luck

Often people tell me how lucky I am to be living the life and lifestyle I am currently enjoying and I will agree, in part.

Ask my kids or family, and they will likely tell you it took me a long time to change my luck.

For a long time in my early adulthood I would tell people that I was a dead dog shy of a hit country song. Let that sink in a bit – yup, lost the job, the husband or boyfriend, car got towed, family sick, knee-deep in debt, you name it, if it was some type of hardship I was walking through it.

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After I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I grew to understand at a deep level – lucky or unlucky, I was responsible for all of it. I knew the choices I was making – the good ones and the less good ones were producing the “luck” in my life.

This realization was one of the most difficult things I had to come to grips with however it was instrumental to making changes. The good and the bad luck I was experiencing was created by me.

Once I had this understanding I had the ultimate choice to make; what was I going to do about where my life was headed?   This thinking gave me freedom to change the direction of my life. If my choices were creating bad luck I could change anything that wasn’t serving my needs and make different choices to hopefully move me in a better direction. This is what I set out to do and this is exactly when my luck changed!

I began to make my luck. I got clear about what I wanted and went straight after it. I needed to make a better income to support my family so I looked in my company to find a job that I was qualified for. There was no job, so I identified a need in the company and showed them how I was qualified for that and I got lucky and they created the position and hired me for it. Luck? Yup, I made it myself.

Over the course of my career I have been lucky enough to do this a couple of times successfully in different companies. Another example was how I got lucky enough to work for Apple.

Once again I got focused on what I wanted, I set my sights on that and worked diligently to begin to build my luck. I talked with anyone I thought might have a hiring contact at the company, I scanned their corporate job board monthly and I applied when I saw an opening I was qualified for. The first time I applied for the position I did not get the job or even an interview. But when the same job became open again a few months later, I applied again and was able to move through the process to get an interview and eventually the job.

It’s been said that luck is where preparation meets opportunity and I am living proof of this.

This is a big reason why I believe in goal setting because the entire route to achieving your goal you are doing all the steps you need for your preparation. And if you maintain your eye on your goal while becoming prepared opportunity might just show up for you and you become lucky!

I encourage you as we move into Spring to take a look at what you are striving towards, set those sites and get focused and make some luck of your own.

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Living in the First Kiss Moment

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Your heart races a bit, your palms get sweaty and the promise of what might be is before you and you lean in.

This is what I call living in the first kiss moment.

These are the moments that hold a feelings of exhilaration and possibility together with the reasonable expectation that what is to happen is going to be great.

These moments of possibility are what gives life that spark. It is the feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone (or what I call the familiar zone) into a new space that you are not entirely certain of but are excited to be because it feels right.

This is the feeling that comes by living an inspired life. When you feel driven by purpose and inspired by the possibilities in front of you even if their outcome is uncertain.

So how do we create more of these moments in our lives?

First, take some time to think deeply about what stirs you. Is there something you do that you just can’t imagine not doing on a regular basis? Something that may come as second nature to you, but is a gift to someone else that doesn’t possess the same talent or skill?

Or think about what you are doing when time doesn’t exist or it flies by. Think about what just brings a smile to your face or heart when you think about it or are doing it. That is one of your “things” and there may be many, that’s ok!

Secondly, I encourage you to take a deep look at your values. In today’s society values can be subject to becoming hijacked without even noticing. One day you may find that you are doing things out of habit or societal norms.

If you take a step back and think about how you’re spending your time and energy you might realize it doesn’t match with your values at all! When you drift away from your values, what is important fails to receive the attention you feel it deserves and the result is usually not good. So take stock of your time and energy and how it is being spent and make some decisions about what makes you feel good.

Once you have these pieces together you know what you need to add into your life in bigger proportions. You need not sell all your belongings and move to the beach, or maybe you can, but this doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing way of living. Just take the time to find your bliss and find ways to put more of these opportunities and occurrences into your days.

In other words, lean in and take a step in the direction of where your passion and your values collide and enjoy!

If you are looking for more direction or in-person assistance with this process, I hope you will join me in one of the workshops I’ll be offering as I travel around the globe in 2018.

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In March, fellow coach Amy White and I are kicking off the first US date in Northern California with our seminar called Living Your Inspired Life. I hope you will join us for a full day workshop which will highlight the tools and resources already within you to discover and begin to live your life with many more first kiss moments. For more information and to purchase your ticket – see here.

Say No To Say Yes

imagesAs we kick off the new year it is a time of excitement for many. There is the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. The new year marks a starting line for many in pursuit of something they desire.

One of the biggest dilemmas in this time of year is the illusion of the fresh slate. The promise of the new year sometimes is so exciting that we want to target everything we want right away and we feel inspired to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way!

The dilemma is that the slate is not blank to start. Just because it is a new year does not mean there is no continuation of things from the earlier year.

You know I am always going to advocate that you set your sites on all that you want, so how do we fit it all in and not set ourselves up for failure or feel overwhelmed?

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How do we live a life of abundance in a space where time is limited?

I know you might think it is impossible to make more time, however I will explain how I’ve been able to change my FOMO (fear of missing out) to a life of abundance all by managing time.

I have many things going on in my life at any give time and yet I feel less pressured about time than I ever have before. This is accomplished by conscious planning and conscious yessing.

Say No to say Yes

I take careful consideration before saying yes to adding anything onto my plate or calendar. I will say this is still a work in progress and I do sometimes say yes and realize it was not the best decision and you will likely do the same, but I am miles ahead of where I used to be.

When I had small children I had to consider them in virtually every decision I made in my life. Anything I chose to add to my schedule or did in my life including where to live or work was “checked” against if it was good for my family, or if it benefited them, or even as small as if I had childcare for them before I said yes. My children and my family were my touchstone.

My children are now grown and no longer a factor in my decision making, so I needed to determine a new touchstone. At first I found myself saying yes to almost everything because I had nothing holding me back – boy was that a mistake!

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I finally decided that I would clearly define my values and goals and begin to use those as criteria to determine what I say yes to and this has worked fabulously. So when I am approached to take on a leadership role in a volunteer organization, or when I have an inquiry to participate in an event it is easy for me to determine if it fits my values or goals and accept or decline with ease and no guilt.

Because I understand my time and energy capabilities, I know I have limitations on how much I can comfortably fit in one day. If I say yes to something only for the sake of not saying no to someone (we all do it from time to time) it may require me to say no to something I value very highly in my world.

When broken down in this way, I find it is an easier decision to make and I am able to easily review that I am not willing to compromise on my values to avoid declining an event or activity.

Besides, who says if I say no anyone will feel badly anyway? Deciding other people’s reactions to our decisions before we even deliver them are sometimes only a story we tell ourselves. Sometimes, the person to whom we decline an invite or an opportunity may very well be relieved or ok with the situation and hopefully will be led to someone more suitable for the job.

Real Life Scenario

The part where it gets tricky for me is where two of my values come up against each other. This happened very recently in a situation where I had just had several visitors to my home in Panama which I love however it limited the amount of time I could serve clients and work on my business.

Having friends and family visit is one of my greatest joys and part of my values for living this lifestyle, however, when I have back to back visits it leaves working on my business in a deficit. Making my business the best it can be and serving others is another of my values and priorities and at this time my business still needs a substantial amount of time to be at the level I wish it to be and beyond.

After several back-to-back visits I had a friend contact me to come down to visit and I had to postpone her visit. It is at these times, when two of my major values come into conflict that I must make a decision that is less easy. In this case I based my decision on the fact that I did not feel I could be fully present with her because I would be distracted by work I felt was not being done. Another value for me is to be fully present when I am with others.

By being more conscious of only saying yes to things that fit within my values I feel as though I have enough time to fit in almost all the things I want. When I fill my days with as many things that are connected to my values and joy I feel more abundant. I have begun to feel that I have all the time I need to fill my days with things that bring me joy and therefore make me more joyful for others.

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If you are not feeling abundant or are feeling like there is just not enough time to do everything, I encourage you to see what you are filling your days with. I also encourage you to look at your calendar for the week and see if there are at least three things you might be able to take off it this week and replace with something that brings you joy. Anything on your calendar that is not mandatory that you have mixed feelings about can be evaluated to see if it is something worthy of your yes.

 

Choose You

Choosing you is the most unselfish act you can ever do.

By choosing to be unapologetically authentic and doing that which is in your heart and those things that serve you, you in turn serve all those around you.

When you see someone who is living in step with their authenticity they have an ease about themselves. They have a glow and presence that exudes from them which gives off a sense of peace as they move through life.

When someone walks truly in their way based on their needs and desires it is the equivalent of a seed germinating. A seed needs soil, sun and water to grow, however what that seed is designed to be was determined long before it broke its shell casing.   And although environment might shape the size or height of the plant, it cannot change what the seed was designed to be.

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A daisy seed can never germinate into a rose.

I encourage you to follow your ideas, your thoughts and your desires.   I propose that instead of questioning if what you are doing is right or if anyone will like it you pursue it with the possibility that it simply must be because it is what you desire. Trust your desires are yours to follow like the seed trusts its nature to seek the sun.

I am not saying that living in this way is as easy as it sounds or that it will be an easy road just because it is a true path. In my experience it does have its difficulties and challenges.

I have found while following my path I need to work hard at making sure those I care about don’t feel forgotten or abandoned because my path takes me away from their daily lives. I have needed to address pain I can sometimes cause because my path is different that others may desire.

On the other hand, I have been told from many that by following what I feel is my true path I inspire others to seek out their own. I have been told that my life example has opened up what possibilities exist in someone else’s life.

When we grow into what we are designed to be by simply cultivating the seed that we are, we become part of the harmony of those around us.  When we play the one instrument we were given we compliment others and become a symphony with others living authentically and we provide the music for those seeking to join the orchestra of life.

I believe we all know what we want to do deep down inside but most of us have spent years talking ourselves out of it, or having others talk ourselves out of our ideas.

For the next few weeks, I encourage you to keep a little notebook with you to capture ideas or thoughts that float through your mind. When you meditate, through a question out to yourself to ponder in your stillness and see what comes from it.

Who you are is unique and the biggest gift you can share with those around you is to become that which you were designed to be. So this holiday season, let’s start with giving ourselves the gift of authenticity.

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Gratitude In Practice

IMG_0798The practice of gratitude gets a lot of publicity each November in the US. The tradition of gathering together in community and sharing harvest was the custom we have since derived this tradition around giving thanks each year.  The very inception of the practice was an act of sharing abundance.

In this season of heightened awareness, I see people begin to post their 30 days of gratitude, which is always sweet, but somehow it often seems to be missing something for me. This practice feels incomplete to me.

As always, not being one to leave something untouched I took some time to uncover what about this month of statements of gratefulness left to be desired in my opinion. I stumbled upon the same issue I have with the “law of attraction.”

For those that know me, and know me well, it probably comes as no surprise to you that I find the need to add action in this practice. The whole idea of simply speaking or writing words of gratitude either privately or publicly falls flat for me without any action tied to it.

So where am I going with this you ask?

I think the practice of gratitude or giving thanks involves more than words. I think if someone or something has made such a difference in your life as to merit gratitude there must be something you could pay forward from it.

So in practice, I thought about my own gratitude and took an example from my own life. I am thoroughly grateful for my health and my ability to gather in community to exercise. The running groups, boot camps and fitness groups I have connected with over the years have made the difference to me in my attendance, enthusiasm and ultimately my overall fitness.

I could be privately grateful, I could even acknowledge them to my social media, directly to the organizers or even write a note of thanks or send them a gift to let them know how much their products, tools and organizations have helped me. This would feel good to me and if it was not a private silent gratitude, I’m sure it would feel good to them as well.

However…

I haven’t done this, I have decided to pay my gratitude forward thus adding a ring to the ripple effect that was begun with me. I began a fitness group in my new community. I created a space for people to join together to become the same type of support that brought me through the beginning stages of creating a fitness habit.

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Do you see how the latter effort adds giving to the thanks? This perpetuates the goodness I’ve experienced in my life and offers it to others. The ability to recognize the importance of something in your life and to translate that to share it with others is the highest form of gratitude I can think of.

Bringing this all forward, giving thanks for something is simply the first step, the follow up to this is to determine what actions created this in your life and what

action of gratitude or appreciation could bring this same joy I am feeling to another. To be grateful for your health is one thing, and to offer this great gift to another is the opportunity to expand the beauty.

Being grateful for something is not the end game, it is simply the beginning of the process. Recognizing something, especially the small things, is the first step to identifying its importance in your life.

Gratitude without action seems to me like a missed opportunity. For me it is important to express in a meaningful way my gratitude to a particular person in a way that identifies their importance in my world. To then share my gratitude in a tangible way instead of a silent prayer in solitude brings life and energy to that which I adore having in my life.

I encourage you to think about those things for which you are grateful during this month. Once you have your gratefulness in mind, think about how you might be able to share or create these experiences, feelings or things in someone else’s life.

The cycle of gratitude begins with acknowledgement and is amplified by sharing the gift.

My gift to you this month is this practice of sharing your gratitude with others.

-E