|Posted on December 12, 2017 at 9:40 AM||comments (2)|
To get a handle on fear and doubt, you first have to have a vision for your life. The great news is that every day you are making choices that creates your life. That's right, you are the author. Even if you are a believer in a supreme being having a plan for you, you still get to decide minute by minute, choice by choice how that plan unfolds. You have great power in your choices. Don't take that lightly or for granted.
So you might be thinking "Having a vision sounds good but what does that mean?". It means you are intentional about thinking about what you want your life to be. Because this can feel too fuzzy or too big or too whatever, I have my clients create a vision board as a way to put their thoughts on paper. And to commit to those thoughts by saying them out loud and putting them on display (even if only they ever see the board). A vision board also serves as a tangible and powerful reminder that can serve as your north star to keep you focused. When doubt or fear show up, look at your vision board and ask if the decision at hand is aligned with your vision for your life.
Once you have a vision and know where you are going, you can then turn to getting a grip on your fears with these 2 steps:
Step 1-Meditate on your fears. Let them bubble to the surface. Push yourself to be honest and name them. Are you scared to risk? Are you afraid others will judge you? Do you have limiting beliefs such as "I am not good enough"? What are the barriers that keep you stuck in a place you don't want to be? This process itself can be difficult. We spend a lot of time, money, & energy avoiding our fears which backfires and gives fear the power to control our lives. Fear is always going to play it safe. It's that ancient part of our brain's job to keep us safe that kicks into overdrive when we perceive danger. But the reality is we know longer are prey to the same kinds of predators as our ancestors.
Step 2-Do something to put the fears you've named in check. Show them who's boss! (You are the boss!) This also requires a tangible reminder. We all know how easy it is to let that little voice of doubt grow into a roaring lion in our heads. To help with this, I have my clients create a fear chair where they paint their fears onto a stool or chair. I even had my 8 year old do this a couple of years and it has been very powerful for her as she stares down all the fears that come with the onset of puberty. This chair project was inspired by a story Elizabeth Gilbert describes in her magnificent book "Big Magic." In her book, she also writes a letter to her fears letting them know that she respects them enough to bring them on the trip but that they in no uncertain terms NEVER get to drive (or even touch the control panel). Maybe writing a letter is your tangible reminder. Tell your fears that you appreciate how they keep you safe but that you are putting them on notice that they are no longer in control.
And now for the big reveal! Once you have a vision for your life and have put your fears in check, you can set 3 to 5 SMART goals to begin the work of turning that vision into reality.
I know that this is all easier said than done but trust me when I tell you that YOU do have the power to choose and create the life you want. I am living proof! I lived my life for decades in a fog (and vortex) of depression and grief as a result of childhood abuse. I let fear and doubts take the wheel for so long. Like the lotus flower, I transformed in the muck and bloomed into a strong, beautiful woman who daily practices using my power to choose joy over fear and doubt. Don't let fear and doubt hold you back from the joy of creating the life you want for yourself! You have the power of choice. Use it!
If you would like the support of a coach to guide and hold you accountable in this process of putting fears in their place and envisioning a life that is full of joy and purpose, take that first brave step and send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Posted on November 27, 2017 at 5:55 PM||comments (2)|
|Posted on October 6, 2016 at 2:30 PM||comments (10)|
As we continue our exploration of taming our fears in order to reach our goals and realize our vision for our lives, I find myself confronted by questions of worth. What is our sense of self-worth based on? Success? Job? Income? Stuff (house, cars, clothes, etc.)? Size of our waist or a number on a scale? The happiness of our significant other or children? Doubting self-worth is a common struggle. We fear we are not good enough. Somewhere along the way, we've bought into all the negative messages that make us doubt ourselves and have lost sight of our inherent value as human beings. If this resonates with you, know that you are not alone. Many of the 7 billion people on this planet share this fear too.
The truth is that this fear of not being good enough is based on a lie. The truth is you are worthy of all the goodness in life just as you are, warts and all. And it helps tremendously to know and believe this truth when life's challenges come our way. Recently, my young daughter was not picked for a theater role that she was very excited about. She was crushed and in that moment of rejection, forgot her value and worth. I reached out to a friend who is a successful actor and a phenomenal man that my daughter admires. He wrote her a letter that reminded her to know her value and to not ever let any of the rejections that come make her forget just how talented and special she is.
This affirmation made a world of difference to my daughter and to me as a coach who supports clients who struggle to remember their worth when dealing with career-related issues. Let's commit to appreciating our value as much as we appreciate others. Above all else, know that you are loved and loveable, worthy and valuable. We all forget from time to time. Find a way to remind yourself of the truth. Until next time, I hope you find joy in your journey!
|Posted on August 25, 2016 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
As I continue to make my way through Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic, I am paying even closer attention to the role of fear in our lives. I see it every day in my life whether in myself, my daughter, my friends and/or the wider world. For some, fear has a starring role and for others, fear is just one more member of the audience. For most, the role fear plays shifts and evolves. For now, I am only trying to focus on paying attention to fear. Not tame it. Not judge it. Not ignore it. Just look it in the eyes and say "Huh, what's up with that?!"
I saw fear in my daughter this week as she prepared for an audition. I saw fear in myself as I prepared to meet with potential clients to discuss my workshop idea. I saw fear in the grocery store in the woman who didn't have the money on her card she thought she had. I saw fear in a dear friend as she wrestled with some personal issues. The list goes on. What would your list include?
I encourage and challenge you to notice how fear shows up in your life this coming week. Next week, we'll explore how to check our fears and help others around us do the same. Until then, be well and choose joy!
|Posted on August 18, 2016 at 8:50 AM||comments (0)|
What's holding you back from joyful living?
It's the thing that holds us all back. It's fear. Fear of what is different for each of us though some of us have fears in common. One of my fears is around the notion of good enough. I bet some of you can relate. My coach challenged me this week find the joy in good enough and I have been wrestling with this notion for days and will continue to wrestle for the days ahead. You see, I'm one of those type A, overachieving superwomen who prides herself on being able to juggle it all. The truth is I am pushing myself from a place where the fear of not being good enough reigns. My childhood experiences gave me an internal script of not being good enough and I have been rewriting that script and rewiring my brain as an adult. While our fears may never go away because the truth is that fear serves the purpose of protecting us on a very primal, reptilian brain level, we can tame those fears so that we are aware of them but don't let them drive the bus. They don't have to control our lives. We can control them!
So, what fears hold you back from living a joyful life? Are they real and alive to you or are they repressed and periodically show up unexpectedly and throw you off your game? Whatever the case may be, see them. Really see them. Call them by name and embrace them. I have just started reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic in which she explores fear and creativity (and yes I know I'm late to the party in some circles but I'm okay with it because that's good enough). In the opening pages, she shares the quote below, and I am excited to read the rest of the book to see what she has to offer us on our quest to be our best selves and live a joyful life. Next week, we will explore in more depth how to manage our fears so that the treasures inside us can come forth. Until then, choose joy!
|Posted on August 13, 2016 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
This week was a very humbling experience for me. Ever have one of those weeks? I am very quick to offer help, playing for the "Do-gooder" team. What I'm pretty bad at is asking for help. How about you? You see, like many of us, I have been taught the individualistic part of the American dream that says that if you work hard, you can accomplish and be anything your heart desires all on your own. Being an educated white woman and knowing the things I know about our highly flawed and unjust system, I cannot be naive enough to believe this wholeheartedly. And yet, I struggle mightily to ask for help when I need it. This week, I was forced to face the truth that I needed to ask for help so that I can better provide for my daughter and myself. It triggered some painful history that I had to redirect to joy and gratitude. Rather than feel like a failure or inadequate, I chose to focus on being grateful for the support and privilege that I have when I need it.
How do you handle those moments when you need a life raft? Do you pull your bootstraps higher or turn to old vices to cope or do you risk vulnerability and ask for help? I don't know about you, but I can quickly get overwhelmed with all that's going on in my own personal life and in the world. As a coach, I've been blessed to support others who have been willing to ask for help in their personal and professional quests for engaging their strengths, finding their purpose, and pushing themselves to choose joy through it all. What I know for sure is that you and I have the capacity, no matter our circumstances, to be our best selves. No, we won't likely be astronauts or supermodels or even have 15 minutes of fame, but we can actually be bigger than these by daring to believe that change and joy are possible and knowing that's it's ok to ask for help to get us there.
|Posted on August 1, 2016 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
I don't know about you, but I don't think much about perseverance until I'm living a moment when I have to embody it. Pushing the last half mile of that walk or run or going up that mountain of a hill. Picking myself up after a set back at work or in personal relationships. Having faith in doctors and treatments during that health scare.
For some of us, parenting is one of the hardest challenges we face. We think we won't survive the toddler tantrum phase or the moody tween phase, but we do and so do our children. Because it is after all, just a phase. And the even better news is that we are often better for having made it to the other side of that phase!
As summer break draws to a close, kids return to school and work projects and pace pick up. It's easy to run out of steam quickly. But just like a long distance runner, we have to pace ourselves. Having a vision for our life including our career and related SMART goals helps us to stay focused, pace ourselves, and tap into our ability to persevere in the face of a challenging moment or phase. Having an accountability partner for support, whether a relative, a dear friend, or a coach, is helpful too. I shudder to think of the state of my psyche if I didn't have family, friends, and a good coach to support me through life's struggles.
Challenging moments can seem like a lifetime in duration. When you find yourself there, remember that it is just a moment or phase that will eventually pass. You will make it! Even when you don't know what to do, Get Up. Again.
|Posted on July 23, 2016 at 11:20 AM||comments (0)|
What does it mean to be creative? To live a creative life? It's not writing poetry, making pottery, or singing in the choir. Those activities and many others are ways we express our creativity. In a meditation this week (Deepak Chopra series), I focused on the Sanskrit Mantra "Ananda Hum" which means "I am unlimited joy" and the centering thought "I find joy in creative living." This meditation affirmed what I know to be true, that joy is possible when we are tapped into our true selves and engaging our natural strengths.
The trick to living a creative life is to turn the mundane things into those that bring you joy. It doesn't mean I will start to miraculously love doing the laundry and dishes, but it does mean that I can reframe how I think about them and get them done with less mental and emotional energy spent dreading or disliking them. This is true for work as well. If work feels like a burden, you likely feel stuck and joy may seem nonexistent. Consider how you can do the tasks of work in a way that reframes them into something that brings you joy. For some, it means making a major shift and for others, small adjustments are enough. You can create your own personal experiment to tap into your creative life by making the shifts necessary to turn the mundane and painful parts of your life into those that can bring you joy.
You are probably thinking "Yeah, easy for you to say. Where do I begin?" Start by noticing what (and who) brings you joy. And then find ways that you can make that which brings you joy more present in your daily life. Give yourself an early win and start with something that feels easy to change. Maybe the commute becomes a time you can sing or reflect on your goals or have quiet time. Maybe your lunch break is a time you check in with yourself about how you've experience and expressed joy so far in your day.
The simple truth is that it is up to you to make an effort. Living a creative life is akin to our quest for happiness. It's already there if we just tap into it. It doesn't mean every moment of life becomes sunshine and rainbows. It means we consciously choose to experience joy in each moment, we find the positive when it seems like there might not be any positive left. The more we choose joy, the more our brains and bodies will shift to make the practice easier and easier until it becomes natural for you. I am an example of the possibility of that transformation. I spent many years of my life in a fog of depression, pessimism, and negativity. I have clawed my way out of that way of being and over time rewired my brain and retrained my body to believe life is full of joy, happiness, hope, and many good things if we just have our eyes and hearts open to see and feel it. Do I get it "right" every moment, every day? Absolutely not! But I keep trying. Even when life and the world seem to be hell-bent on pulling me (and you) down, I keep clawing my way towards the light. You can too!
Most importantly, do what works for YOU. Not what you think you should do or what you feel pressured to be from external sources. Pay attention to the signals your heart, mind, and body send you. Get an accountability partner to help you make the changes you desire. Trust yourself to tap into your ability to live a creative life. You got this! Until next time, I'm off to find joy in the journey!
|Posted on July 19, 2016 at 11:50 AM||comments (0)|
I'll be the first to admit that it can be hard to manage my energy from moment to moment, day in and day out. I listened to a fantastic interview of Kristen Brown (part of Christina Boyd Smith's Corporate Rebel series) yesterday on how to manage your energy given all of daily life's little stressors (check it out here until July 24th). At one point in the conversation, she mentions struggling with having cranky resting face. I can relate because I too suffer from cranky resting face. While internally we might feel like we are listening or we are focusing on the person(s) with us, our body may be telling a different story. Our bodies and the energy we are giving off may be a barrier to communicating our joy. Feeling joyful doesn't mean we walk around with a fake smile plastered on our face all the time. That's not authentic. With all that's going on in the world (and maybe in your personal life), it can be a real challenge to have our bodies, especially our faces, mirror the joy we feel (or are striving to feel). Kristen suggests using all those trips to the bathroom we all have every day as valuable check in time. Check in with yourself about how the day is going, how you are feeling, and make an action plan for when you return to whatever you were doing before the break. Because we are communicating far more with our nonverbal cues than our words, we want to make sure our body language and energy communicate our values and make a positive impression. So, fix your face and get on with your day!
|Posted on July 6, 2016 at 2:05 PM||comments (0)|
We just celebrated our nation’s independence this week which has me thinking about freedom. Freedom and privilege. Do you feel free and privileged in your daily life? Do you recognize the blessing that it is to be an American citizen? Yes, I know life can be hard. That’s the human condition. But how much harder would it be if you were born somewhere or someone else? I ponder these questions, especially when I have the luxury of almost a month of vacation time with my daughter. I have no universal answers for you. What I do know is that I do my very best to remind myself on the hard days that my problems are “first world problems” as an American citizen. As a woman living in a country where I can have the privilege of taking my education and right to express myself for granted. A country where I can plan for my daughter’s future knowing she will have even more access to equality and freedom than even I do. As a white citizen, I know the system is rigged in my favor, as much as I wish that were not the case. I have the freedom and privilege to be able to voice my opinion, respect your potentially differing opinions, and protest that which leaves me heartbroken and angry.
This isn’t meant to be a soap box type entry, but a challenge to you (and me) to consider our freedom and privilege. Is there a cost? Who paid (and continues to pay) that cost? For your freedom and mine, I am grateful. And as always, I am here to support you in the struggle to find and hold onto the joy in your lives. Choose Joy today.