Inspiration In Practice

I am always taken aback when someone tells me how inspiring my life is to them. It certainly makes my heart happy that I am helping others consider options that they may not have thought possible originally and I am so grateful for the reminder of the ripples my life generates.

I love to set big goals that most would shy away from because I have learned that there is as much ability to reach an amazing goal as an average one! I have also learned by stretching myself over the years that I am far more capable than I allow myself to believe most days.

I want to let you all in on the whole story though – I have the same fears, insecurities and self-doubts as everyone and I don’t always get it right.

Leaper

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Look, you all have been in my world long enough to know I’m a leaper. I have had tremendous success and a few epic failures. I know there is more than one side to this coin I’ve chosen for my journey.

What fuels my courage?

The possibilities of each leap I take are my main inspiration.  I do a lot of research on the bigger leaps I take, but there is always an unknown. I plan for what I can and anticipate as much as possible, however I have learned that I cannot control the outcome.

I have  learned that control an illusion, and my grandest idea of the best outcome is limited by my experiences. There might be a far greater outcome possible if I get out of my own way and let it unfold!

Epic Failures

I have also had the benefit of failures of epic proportions both business and personal. The benefit to these experiences is that at my lowest point, I was never out. I got pretty low and close to the absolute bottom and I learned that if you jump in a body of water and hit the bottom, you can propel yourself to the top at a speed that shatters a slow swim from the middle!

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Plan B

My sister and I have a history of making plans that somehow might just not turn out exactly as we originally planned. My Type A sister has come a long way and now without any hesitation will say, “Oh well! What’s plan B?”

We call ourselves the Plan B Girls now because it never riles us and because we have a goal in mind and we are determined to figure out a way to get to what is important. We have have learned not to waste time with what could have been and go around what is inconvenient or unplanned to reach our end goal.  It’s brilliant!

When Contingency Planning Gets In The Way

I am a risk manager by trade (20+ years in the legal field will do this to you) however, there are times when you can sabotage your goal by planning on “what if’s”.

Sure I recognize that things won’t always go the way I am hoping and planning. When setting goals with others and myself, examining the full picture is critical to be prepared for what might come up.

Be careful though not to scare yourself right out of your dream!

Right before I left California I almost did this to myself. I was halfway done selling all my items and planning my move to another country and I woke up one morning in a complete panic!

What if my clients don’t follow me online?

What if I get to Panama and I don’t have any way to make money?

What will I do if I can’t run my business in Panama?

I worked myself up so much that I actually considered scrapping the entire move and going back to the workforce and getting another paralegal job (gasp!)

My Truth

It was in the moment that I was considering scrapping my business and getting a “real job” that the nausea set in. It was immediate and visceral and unable to be ignored.

The one thing I have learned is that my body speaks to me! In those moments of self-doubt and insecurity when I retreat to the familiar, my body says, “I don’t think so! You don’t belong there anymore, you’ve learned what you were supposed to – time to move on!”

Wow, I’m so glad for this!

Conviction

In the case of my Panama move, well, you all know how that turned out and I am happy to say, I’m having one of the most successful years in my business to date.

I had to do a couple of things to get here though:

  1. Decide that this was the path I wanted and it was indeed possible to succeed.
  2. Determine what markers I would use to signal a need to reassess my move.

Once those two items were in place, I was ready to move on with confidence that I would not hit total bottom and become homeless in Panama before reassessing my options. I further committed to making it work because I believed in my business and I’d seen my clients follow me when I moved from Boston, so I had proof it could happen.

Your Turn

So now I ask you, are you talking yourself out of what you really want to accomplish? Is there a possibility you are selling yourself short?  I am certain you are far more capable than you give yourself credit for!

I encourage you to set your real goals this year, you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that maybe you’re even a little afraid to tell others about because maybe they’ll laugh or try to talk you out of them.

As I head forward into a new year in a new location, I am filled with gratitude for this audience with whom share my journey. It is you who continue to inspire me to see how high I might reach and if I in turn inspire you a bit to reach as well – then I am doubly grateful!

Let’s do this!

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Cultivating Courage

There are so many things that keep people from living a life they dream about. There is one thing is more powerful than even the dream itself though.

You probably have experienced this in your life, it’s the thing that prevents you from asking the pretty girl out or talking to that handsome guy. It’s the thing that prevents you for asking for the raise or promotion or starting your own dream business. It stands between you and what you really want.

It is FEAR

When I hear of this it breaks my heart because, although I’ve been stopped by fear too, I have learned to cultivate courage and because of this, a whole new world has opened up for me.

I would love to encourage you to explore and enhance your courage.

Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it is the making of action in spite of fear.

– M. Scott Peck

So how do we cultivate courage in the face of fear? There are several methods – what I do is; Name it and face it head on (not for the faint of heart!)

A prime example for you. I had a fear of drowning, so I did what every normal person does and signed up for scuba diving class. My thought was the best way to conquer this was to put a load of heavy stuff on my back and get dropped into the ocean where the bottom was forty feet down.

I know, for most people that is crazy! And for me, it was even a bit crazy, however all my fears disappeared when after having what felt like twenty pounds of equipment on my back where I could barely stand up, imagine my surprise when I couldn’t get below surface! My instructor had to come over and put more weight in my vest!

It turned out, and has almost proved true every time since, that usually my fear is completely made up out of my imagination. I have learned that I have an incredible imagination and one that works even better when I have few facts involved.  If I gather  more facts about that which I fear, I can sometimes ease my fear.

How about you?

If you begin to really think about something you are scared to do in your life. Regardless if this “thing” is small or large and really research it or look into it in detail, you might find out that you are making fake news about this “thing.” By looking into the real details you might find it no longer quite so scary. In some cases combatting your imagination with enough truth will allow the fear to subside enough to make a step.

Another technique I use is the best case/worst case scenario. I often find myself developing this worst case scenario which is (again with the incredible imagination) a spectacular fail. You know the kind, where you don’t only fail, but you have an epic fail where your whole life crumbles in one fell swoop.

I have come to realize – through many failings – that I rarely, if ever, have I failed this spectacularly. If I did, it would make a great story and one you would certainly one day find here, but alas, it has yet to happen.

The converse of this worst-case scenario is what would happen if you spectacularly succeed? We often get so caught up in preventing an epic fail, we hardly look at the benefits of taking such a risk. The benefits are usually great (which is why we want to do the “thing”) however we spend little time with our imagination focused on what life will be like if we succeed – even a little.

The final question to ask yourself is, what will your life be like if you never try? When I took my scuba course, I got a certified teacher and went though all the classes and guess what? I didn’t drown and I’m a certified diver and have been all over the world diving and I absolutely love it! My life is forever changed by the opportunity to explore a part of this planet that not everyone gets to see.

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

– Benjamin Mee

So I encourage you to work through one of these exercises in your journal, muster up your twenty seconds of courage and try something you’ve been afraid to try. The amount your life expands when you overcome a fear is fantastic and it leads you to the knowledge that you are truly only limited by your own thoughts.

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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.

Start Before You’re Ready

What are you waiting for?

I want to let you in on a secret of mine. You will never be exactly ready to do whatever it is you are thinking of doing but are afraid to do.

Whether you want to start a business, ask out the cute guy or girl, ask for a raise or move to a different country – whatever it is (and I can say, I’ve done all of the above) you may not ever be ready.

You know what I say to that? Do it anyway!

There are so many people I work with or just come into daily contact with that are missing out on experiences because they are not quite ready.

Is there something you would like to do but are afraid? Awesome, this means you are one of the lucky ones that has found something of meaning for you! Now, make a plan and execute on a small, introductory scale. Try it out and see if it is what you wanted, hoped or expected. Once you take the first step, pivot, tweak or scrap altogether accordingly.

imagesThis is what I call living in the first kiss moment. You know that scary, exciting moment before you kiss someone for the first time? You don’t know if it will go well or not, you don’t know if you will enjoy it or not or how they will react to you. There is a whole bunch of fear and you are never quite ready for the kiss – you realize you ate garlic at dinner, your lipstick is not right, your shave is not close enough whatever the case may be – but you lean in anyway.

There is so much emotion and angst packed into a first step, but usually, there is a lot of information that comes out of that very first step. You figure out quite quickly if you want to take another step, you obtain feedback from receiving parties, you figure out minor adjustments right away.

By starting in a direction you will learn all sorts of things. You will discover if this is the way you really want to go or not, you will discover a bit about yourself, you will flex the muscle of trying something that scares you. You will begin to discover you are far more ready than you let yourself believe.

My request to you this month is to find that thing that you are putting off doing because you are not “ready” and do it anyway.

Here is the thing – I have spoken before about already being in a “no” state. The thing you want, you already don’t have so asking for it and not getting it doesn’t change anything, but if you do get it, it’s a win. Really you have nothing to lose since you never had it and only the possibility of “it” to gain.

So I encourage you to request that raise you deserve, ask out the cute guy or girl, move forward on creating that business and ask for that first kiss. Anything might happen, but I promise you that there is very little you can’t survive, and most often people find that they not only survive but thrive by continuing to live in the first kiss mindset.

Drop me a line (Elizabeth@ThriveThisDay.com) and let me about your first kiss experience!

The Pain of Indecision

Fences contain or protect but they are not designed for growth

Are you sitting on a fence right now? I mean this in a symbolic way, not in a literal way. Is it one of those pokey, picket fences or is it just a comfortable post and rail fence that allows you to have one leg on each side? How are you feeling there?

My theory is that there are two kinds of fence straddlers and I’m sure if you don’t agree, I’ll hear about it in emails (which I welcome). There is the one that is terribly uncomfortable straddling the fence. They lean on one side they get poked and it hurts then the lean on the other side getting poked again and it hurts and they struggle to take the leap. They are not comfortable where they are and each time the lean to one side or another they get poked and they want to avoid the pain so they end up feeling stuck.

Then there is the person that is sitting on a fence, who enjoys the view on each side of the fence. From atop the fencepost they get to see both sides of the fence without leaving either one. A “cake and eat it too” situation, however the person is never fully present on either side and lacks the benefit of fully engaging. The other issue with this is that this straddler gets to tell themselves stories of how they are getting the best of both worlds and may not fully comprehend what they are missing and the pain they cause others from their non-committal state. There is a lot of movement in this state but no moving forward so the person feels stuck and stagnant although not totally unhappy they lack that feeling of happiness they are seeking.

Do either of these situations sound familiar? What is holding you back from deciding which side of the fence you want to be on?

How is making no decision a better decision then the wrong one?

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Neil Peart, Freewill

I don’t mean to trivialize any of these situations. People often find themselves on these fences at the crossroads of pretty important decisions. It is the sheer magnitude of the decision before them that causes the fence to appear in the first place.

I have been through some pretty tough situations myself so I know the depth of thought these take. I am not promoting a big leap here without careful thought, however I am your coach and I will not encourage or allow you to stay there up on a fence – at some point you will become impaled or get splinters where you don’t want splinters!

So how do you move forward when you feel each decision will have strong consequences?

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Get honest with yourself, understand what brought you to this situation requiring a decision? Is this something you need to decide for you or is someone else requiring you to make a decision? Remember, there is absolutely no benefit to blame in this stage – or at any stage for that matter – so stay away from that thought process while deeply considering what are the options before you.

Should

While thinking, if the word should comes up, I request that you automatically check in with yourself and find a different reason. If you feel you Should anything, it is not in alignment with you and it is an expectation put onto you by someone or something else. Do not let this feeling of what you “should do” dictate an important decision.

Values

Review your values and how they may play into this decision. If you are deciding based on something outside your values, I’m going to go out on a limb to say you are going to be unhappy with your decision. A good decision will be routed in your value system and you will be able to feel more confident in your choice because of that.

ACT

The final step is to act. Yes, you need to actually act on your decision! If it is a wrong decision, don’t be ashamed to notice and correct, but if you make no decision, everyone loses! If it is the right decision, it won’t necessarily be easy, but there is often a sense of relief after making it. There may be pain that comes from it, or further struggle, but there will be the sense that it is over and the decision has been made and your energy can now be put to use moving forward.

The Relief

I’m not suggesting this is an easy thing to do, however a life lived in indecision or worse yet, drifting for lack of decision is not the abundant life you deserve. I encourage you to live lives that you wish to embrace everything and if this is not the life you are living, make a decision to create that for yourself. You deserve it!

So decide away! And know that you are always just one decision away from whatever you wish for yourself.

-E

Finding your Inner Compass

I remember the day that it all hit me – I really don’t want to do this. It wasn’t until that moment that I could find my clarity. It was in the moment I figured out what I really, viscerally, didn’t want to do, that I could identify better what I did want to do.

It all started when I decided to hire a life coach for myself. I had never done anything quite like this before. Sure I had been to counselors or therapists before at various times in my life, but I didn’t feel like I needed therapy, just help with direction of what did I want to do next in my life.

I was about 40 years old at the time and had raised my children, created a good career, not one that I loved, but I thought, who needs to love what they do? I was good at it and that felt good and it paid well, so it was really good enough. However, good enough was no longer how I wanted to live my life.

I wanted the life I saw Richard Branson living. I wanted to be in love with my job and career as much as he was. I wanted time and space to be able to travel and do the inspired things that made me come alive. I wanted to give my energy to those causes that I felt deeply connected to.

The Flail Before The Fail

So I began to flail – I tried all sorts of ways to make my career more of what I thought I wanted. I created groups, I began speaking at conferences and I found that I was no more happy then I was originally and I realized I was thoroughly stuck!

It was at this point I decided to hire my own life coach to help me figure out how to make my career more fulfilling. It turned out through a couple sessions of chatting and running various tests that my personality and desires did not match what I was doing. No wonder why I could not find a way to make it better! But then where do I go from here?

 

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Ahhh, Direction

After a few more sessions we worked out a direction for me and I must admit I was pretty excited. We developed a plan and a path but the more steps I took, the less excited I became – was this normal? My sessions with my coach ended and I kept moving forward because this was the path my coach and I had decided I should take to get to where I ultimately wanted to end up.

My lack of excitement soon turned to procrastination, then to dread then to pure avoidance of any of the steps on the identified path. In one moment of complete clarity sitting in front of a stack of unopened mail related to my chosen path it hit me.

I Don’t Want To Take This Path!

I don’t wanna take this path, I don’t have to and I’m not gonna! The wash of relief came over me. I just couldn’t go through with the path laid out by me and my coach. I didn’t get any clarity at that moment of how I was going to get to where I wanted, but I sure knew how I wasn’t going to get there and it felt wonderful!

When I took a moment to look at my behaviors, it was completely clear that the path was completely out of alignment with what I truly wanted. The end goal was right on the money, but the path was way off.

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Gut Check

When I thought about the career move I wanted to make I was still excited. When I thought about how to get there I was unsure, but I just felt like I would figure it out because the goal just felt so right for me.

This was a new discovery for me that once I recognized this strong procrastination I was creating, I actually felt I was off balance. Once I recognized the off balance feeling, I could easily identify when that feeling went away and therefore what felt right.

 

I Know This Isn’t It!

I think this takes some time to develop, but it might be more present in your life already than you think. Right now you’re probably reading this article identifying with some part of the story. You know that nagging feeling that says, “I’m not sure what is right, but this isn’t it!” You’ve had those moments when you were not sure how you were going to do something but you just knew you had to move forward on it. Some people call those hunches, intuition, or gut feelings – but whatever you call them, they are there to be heard.

Some Ideas For You

I encourage you to take a moment to review anything you procrastinate. Take a moment to think about why you procrastinate this item. There are many reasons for such a behavior, but this is a good marker and it was a key marker for me.

Another idea you might consider is to review the feelings you have around various decisions you are making. Take some time to journal or meditate or do something active with this decision in mind and listen to where your mind goes, to your body’s reaction, your emotional response. I think you might surprise yourself at the answers that are trying to reveal themselves.

I truly believe we all know what is in alignment for us however, most of us have been taught to ignore what we’re feeling and move forward on our path. Ever see a young child fall down and begin crying? The parental reflex  response is “brush it off, keep going.” Although there might be nothing wrong with that approach sometimes, other times it is worth exploring while you’re down if a different option is better. Sometimes you find your compass while you’re telling yourself to get back up.

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The Key to Success

Just Show Up!

The key to success: Show up and don’t give up. This is it. It is that simple, don’t complicate it by thinking too much!

I have been a runner for almost 10 years. I have challenged myself many times along the way, and at times I have just complacently run along at a pace and distance that were comfortable for me.

I just recently ran my second marathon, I felt better prepared for it than my first because I had one experience under my belt. Although I had read the elevation map this time the hills still took me by surprise. I had read about how flat and fast a course this was, however neglected to remember it was still going to be over 26 miles of running! Of course I knew it intellectually, but I forgot how that feels in the moment.

The First Battle Is Your Mind

 I had a lot of time to think over the seemingly endless miles. There were many times where I was tired or sore and I thought about how much easier it would be if I just stopped. I began to try to figure out how would I get back to the start line to get in my car. Then almost immediately I dismissed the crazy idea; I started a marathon, I would finish it. What helped me through this was that I began to realize how far I had already run and how little was in front of me. I remembered the stories about how many people quit when they are right about to get to where they envisioned. At that point, there was no decision to make but to see it through.

Nope, I don't think so!

I started to see how much my life was like this marathon. I know it’s cliché, “Life is like a marathon” but it’s cliché for a reason. I have been going through my life and career as a 5k runner, occasionally throwing in a 10k. All these races were fine and even a little challenging as I sought to better myself through time and distance, but was I all that I could and wanted to be? Was there something more?

Becoming a Marathoner

Recently I left the corporate world (my 5k & 10k world) and became an entrepreneur (a marathoner). I get up before the sun to line up with many other great people seeking the feeling of self-powered accomplishment. We tackle hills together, some walk, some power up, and some just keep their pace slowly cresting the top. There is almost always a point along the course, or as an entrepreneur, where you question why you are doing this, is it worth it? There is most often a little pain along the way, but we keep moving forward, either slowing our pace or walking if need be. We each face our own challenges along the course, those known and unknown. We have to remind ourselves from time to time how far we’ve come so we don’t give up. The key to those of us that succeed is we just don’t stop, we keep moving forward because for us, there really is no choice but to see it through.

The Success Medal

I believe if we each live our lives as marathoners on our own course, regardless of the distance chosen, we will almost undoubtedly receive our medals. We prepare the best we can, read the maps and signs before we embark while understanding there will likely be unforeseen challenges and obstacles along the way. We power through, slow or walk if we need to but we keep moving forward. Some will get to stand on the podium, but we each receive our medal for our efforts and persistence.

In life success is our medal, some may have a faster pace than others, everyone has their own form and style, but if we just show up to the starting line and don’t give up, we can earn our medal. Where are you on your own course?

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