Time to Fly

I have recently made a huge life change.  I know this is not news to those of you that know me, I have a tendency to do this from time-to-time, but for the benefit of all, let me explain how this works for me.  Maybe it will help you pursue something you have been thinking about doing.

I have been planning this change for quite some time.  I have been thinking, dreaming and building up my dream life for about 2 years – before I even came out to California.  I have been putting together a foundation, slowly and surely building it up very carefully one brick at a time.  Now it’s not perfect, nor is it complete, but I’ve got a good base together.

From here I finally have made the leap!  I decided I needed more time and focus on my number one priority.   Too many responsibilities that were more stressors than stress reducers were taking valuable time away from what I truly wanted to do and more importantly feel called to do.  So with a little help I have taken the leap and am stepping away from the security that also has been holding me back.

Now I’m not about to tell you that this is not scary as hell, because it is!  What I will tell you is that even though I’m scared, I’m also at peace.  I am moving forward in the ways I think are right for me, but I am also working hard to listen to and be guided by the Universe.

I tune into the Universe, or my intuition in a very basic way.  I am acutely watching and listening for signs and indications that I’m moving in the right or wrong direction.  I am looking for recurring themes in what I’m reading, listening or hearing about from others and seeing if there are patterns.  When I hear the same thing from a couple different sources, I figure – ok, time to analyze this and see if I’m being sent some type of important information.  For the most part, I think I’m being directed to some great new ideas and concepts that are helping to move me forward.  The peace I feel comes from understanding that as I maintain a close watch on messages around me, I know I won’t drift too far from the right direction before figuring I’m off.

Something I also feel is a very important indicator to determine if I’m following the right direction is how I’m feeling.  I am continually checking myself.  Do I have anxiety?  Am I happy?  Do I feel good about what I am working on?  Do I feel good about the people I’m surrounding myself with?  This isn’t a moment to moment thing, because we all have fleeting feelings all day long, rather this is an overall combination of those moments.

So I take in this information as it comes and from there I put faith in myself and my abilities.  I know this sounds simplistic, but I think it’s something many of us have lost, I know I have from time to time.  This is probably the hardest part and the most important muscle to be exercised!  I put faith in my ability to hear the wisdom of the Universe and follow the path that is before me with confidence that I will make the best decisions at each given moment.  That does not mean this will not have bumps or be flawless, I know I will stumble, but I do have complete faith that I can and will pick myself up and move in the direction that will provide me the best success each and any time it happens.

I think the final piece of this is that I believe I will succeed.  It is important to know the end goal is imminent even though it may not look the same in the end, it will be the right space for me based on the information received along the way.

As far as we know, we only get so many trips around the sun.  I decided that since I’m not sure how much time I get here, now was a great time to live the life of my dreams.  Is it your time?

Time To Fly
Time To Fly

10 things I learned running my 1st marathon

I had the most fabulous opportunity to spend a weekend with a dear friend who had recently been declared cancer free.  He gathered a group of the most inspirational and beautiful spirited people to create Team Choose Joy and together we ran the Austin Marathon raising funds for LiveStrong.

I’m always looking for reasons to celebrate, and being declared cancer-free is one of the most celebratory occasions I can imagine!  Often people gather and celebrate a life once it has passed; so rarely do we celebrate a life being lived.  It was wonderful to be able to celebrate Sean’s successful treatment and the all the effort and energy he put towards his treatment and ultimate triumph over the disease.  The amazing people running in support of Sean were all living strong and wonderfully fulfilling and purposeful lives and many, I later found out, are fighting their own battles – but nothing was stopping them.

I have learned so much from runners, they never cease to amaze me, and once again, I learned a tremendous amount as I tackled this new goal with many more experienced runners by my side.

Here are a few lessons I learned along the route of my first marathon:

  1. Just show up – making the commitment to be there – ready or not is the most important part.
  2. Just keep moving.  Start out with a goal time and pace if you wish, but no matter what, keep moving in the direction of your goal.  Eventually you will get there; maybe not as you expected but you will arrive at the destination as long as you don’t stop.
  3. Be open to the unexpected.  Plan for your race, however be open to new obstacles that you didn’t anticipate.  Throughout the course there are many variables and some are out of your control, do not let the unexpected throw off your race.
  4. Enjoy the encouragement and feedback from people along the way.  You will have to dig deep at some point and you will likely need their voice in your head to help pull you through those times.
  5. You can do almost anything you think you can do.  Remember though, if you let your confidence fade, you can also talk yourself out of what you are truly capable of accomplishing. This works for or against you, the choice is yours and it will make or break your results.
  6. Enjoy the process.  It might be your first or your 100th time doing this but each time will have something unique about it.  Be open to experiencing each time to its fullest.
  7. Rally the troops!  If you do things with a group of likeminded people the joy will exponentially raise (remember this goes for negativity too!)
  8. Trust the original idea, not the current discomfort.  Remember during times of doubt, at one time, you thought this would be a good idea.
  9. To every uphill there is a downhill and the trick is to manage your pace as best you can through both.  Also remember, sometimes the biggest uphill is right before you reach your goal!
  10. Above all, smile.  People are watching you and even as you struggle, you might be inspiring someone.

We each have our own battles along this road, but we are all running this race.  I encourage you to just show up each day and move forward at whatever pace you choose with joy and passion for the length of your course.


To Fail Or Not To Fail…Is It Even A Question?

There is so much being written and discussed about failure these days and I find it very conflicting, so I thought I’d chime in with hopes of adding a little ThriveLife perspective to the topic.

There are those who think failure is a good thing and a great learning opportunity, they say, “Fail hard and often – it’s a good thing” or “If you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough.” Those who think failure is overrated as an educational tool – [paraphrased from a Peter Thiel interview] “..we often look at failure as the one thing that didn’t go right, however, it is often the case that something failed for reasons 1 through 5 but only reason number 1 is examined as  to the cause of failure.  Because of this, on your next project, you fail for reason number 2 etc. so people miss the point and lesson of failure.”

Where do I stand on this subject?  You all know I’m a great advocate of risk taking, so you know I have an opinion about failure!

Failure is an end game and I just don’t see things that way.  Failure to me does not exist unless you name it as such and call an end to your attempts or given goal. I’ve done many things that didn’t workout the way I thought they would or should, but they always worked out another way.  Is that failure?  To me, I don’t count that as failure.  I have tried things that didn’t move me forward, and then found I was re-directed to another path that was a better fit for me.  In the end, I still was moving, maybe a little cha-cha for a bit, but then a side slide and moved another step and wa la!  Again, if I called it a failure, at which point would the failure have occurred?  If I didn’t stop working out other routes to the desired result was my time and work to that point failure?  If I don’t stop, simply change course, is that failure or just recalculating?  If one way doesn’t work then that is not a failure in my opinion it is the knowledge needed to try a different way.

I’m not trying to get all sunshine and no rain on you.  It rains, it sure does, and even sometimes it downpours – but is that bad?  As my mentor Tony Robbins says, “things only have the meaning we give them”.  Sometimes the rain gives you some new information that you need to change course or time to evaluate what is going on.  Once the storm passes maybe things look a little different and you find a different path appears.

Until you decide the journey is over, keep moving – sometimes it will be forward, sometimes backwards or sideways – but keep moving.  A GPS cannot redirect you if you never put the car in drive because you are too afraid to get lost or fail.  You only fail by not attempting or by quitting, until then it’s just more information about what does and does not work for you or to reach your given goal.

So go out there and put you life in drive!


The State of Happiness

Why do so many people seem to be searching for happiness these days?  There are books about it, movies about it and every advertisement seems to be selling something promising happiness.  This seems to be a big topic these days, and not being one to shy away from the big things, I decided I would share my views.

Is it possible that we have spent so much time and emphasis on this state of being that we’ve lost touch with what it really is?  Is it possible that we’ve mis-defined happiness?

It seems to me that maybe, just maybe, expectations of what happiness is are off.  Maybe because of social media and TV, hollywood and airbrushing, that many people are comparing their day-to-day lives with their Facebook friends’ “highlight reels”  Let’s face it, as the song goes “no one hangs bad times on the wall.”

I am learning that happiness is understood by so many as being this constant state of total bliss.  Boy, what a big order to fill!  I believe that by this desire or definition, people miss the happy moments and the gratitude that comes from fully experiencing and enjoying those just for what they are – moments.  In pursuit of grandeur so many people are missing the many joys in each day in search of those perfect days.  In the end, the pursuit of this constant state diminishes their daily joys and make them even less happy!  Hmmmm

When I ask my clients to describe what happiness is to them, I usually get a bit of a confused expression back.  When given some time to really think about the concept, I can often get a more clear response, but the fact is that many of the people who come to me in search of this illusive state have no clear personal definition to it.  Lesson one, you cannot successfully pursue something undefined.  It will forever remain illusive.

There are several exercises I work on with people to gain clarity and a definition of what they are truly in search of so that we can put together ways to bring more of these events, situations and moments into their lives.  What most people are interested to learn is that happiness is not just some glorious day filled with everything you love.  Happiness begins and grows with the little things that might bring a smile to your face, or just a small feeling of joy in a moment.

My opinion is that it is the cumulative collection of these moments and small things that bring a state of happiness.  Of course there will be days of complete bliss and days of sorrow, that is life, but the actual understanding of what makes someone happy and recognizing those items and moments is critical to one’s happiness.  When all is said and done, happiness is not so illusive after all!

So I ask you, what are your happy moments?  How can you bring more of those into your life?

My Happy Place
My Happy Place

Navigating through the fog

Ever feel like you are moving through quicksand?  Ever wonder why, try as you might, you just can’t get where you want to go?  I believe this may be a sign, you may not want exactly what you think you want.  Let me explain.

I have a client who came to me the other day at the end of a goal workshop.  She came to tell me how inspired she was and how she couldn’t wait to begin working with me on her career goals.  I briefly asked her what they were and she told me – she had this degree and she was tracking to get herself this dream job.  Great, right?  Everything in place and a clear direction!  Except, you have to add in the human part.

I asked her if she had a mentor or knew anyone who had achieved what she wanted.  Another big score, she said yes!  She had talked to many people and they told her the only way to do this career was a certain path.  Well, first off, anyone who knows me understands that “only way” is just a challenge in big, bold letters for me!  But this is not me, so for this woman we had a direction, a path and a clear sense she was eligible for this whole desired outcome.  Great!

Here is where the complications arose and the quicksand begins to develop.  The track she needed to set herself on included two to three years of doing a job she just flat out really didn’t want to do!  Here is where it all gets tricky for most people and I expect a few of you might be in a similar situation (clearly different but same).  She kept moving on the same path hoping that it would change yet she was going no where and wasting so much time.  She was in dead-end after dead-end jobs because she was trying to avoid the job she didn’t want to do, and she was still trying to get to her result the same way.

Enter E – your coach for change.

So I asked her, what is it about this end goal that inspires you; why do you want to be where you are looking to be?  She explains (of course adding in that she doesn’t want to do what she’s been told is required, but she still wants this goal).  I ask her, is there any other job in your field of choice that might have some of the same qualities of your goal job?  Is there any other career that you can think of that might bring you the same satisfaction and joy of this goal job?

After a few questions and some thought, it turns out that there might be several options for her that might bring her the same, or close to the same, satisfaction that she desires, without the career track that she has been so desperate to avoid.

Watching her work through this thought process was like watching fog move out of the San Francisco Bay.  At first it looks like it is never moving anywhere, then some movement begins, and with some gentle breezes and the persistence of the California sun, the whole sky clears and the beautiful Golden Gate bridge stands out among the bright blue sky.

Sometimes people get so stuck on one path that they fail to see other options.  They are so focused on the decision they made and so intent upon working their plan that it blocks the signs that maybe, just maybe, they need to rethink their goal and maybe tweak it just a little.

If you find yourself striving and feeling like you are up against a wall or keep coming against wall after wall.  If you feel like you are trying to run in quicksand, I suggest you stop!  Think for a bit.  Assess the signs, are they trying to get your attention?  Might your GPS being trying to tell you, “make a u-turn when possible”?

Sometimes a rest stop along the highway of life gives you time to pull out the map and really figure out, is this the right destination I’m headed to?  If there are things between me and my goal, are they movable?  Are they something I even want to overcome or contend with?  If the obstacles are so solid or against your true self, I believe you will sabotage any efforts you put forward because you can’t make yourself do something that you don’t want to do and have it turn out well!  Try as you might, if you really, in your core are against doing something, you will move forward maybe, but you will be slogging it the entire way and come up against obstacle after obstacle at best or at worse just fail miserably for no reason.  This is the Universe giving you signs – it is what you do with those signs that makes both the journey and the result worth the effort.

Take a moment to think about your path and your desires – have you been receiving signs?  Are you on the right track or might you sit back and rethink how you might get your desired result by a different path?

The difference between reaching a goal at all costs, and reaching a goal that is in tune with who you truly are is the difference between accomplishment and success.