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I Will Try Anything Once

It was July of 1994, I was twenty-five and naively fearless, when I embraced a new motto that changed my life…  I Will Try Anything Once.  I had just been laid off from my job at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and my friends, Kenny and Kansas, had just returned from Europe.  They were bursting with hilarious back packing adventures that intrigued me to call Julie, a childhood friend, to hear about her back packing experiences.  With enthusiasm and a hint of jealousy she offered to loan me her back pack and go through her journal to provide me pages of places she loved to visit, stay and eat.  It was the sign that led me to Barnes and Noble where I picked up the back packer bible, Let’s Go Europe.

Once I secured a: passport, Euro Rail pass, youth hostel card and cheap plane ticket by giving up my checked luggage to a courier service (obviously pre 9/11) my momentum was strong enough to overshadow my fears.  Back packers are an adventurous community of temporary nomads that bond over their passion for travel.  On trains and in youth hostels we share experiences which provide the compass for choosing our next destination.  Although it was not uncommon to travel alone I was relieved when Tony, a friend of a friend that I barely knew, offered to join me for the first weeks of my journey.  At the time back packers did not travel with cell phones and there was not an internet cafe on every corner.  I sent postcards to catch up loved ones on where I had been and how I was doing.   It was seven weeks before I called home and I did so via a pay phone, so I was grateful to start my journey with the help of an unexpected partner.

This is one of the many times in my life where I put my logical mind aside and relied on my heart and gut.   I was led by a feeling that drove me to get started, then gathered information and I was not exactly sure what I was getting myself into.  This was a part of stretching myself and in hindsight I was grateful for not knowing how it would turn out.  If you told that my back pack would break open upon my arrival at Heathrow airport or that Tony and I would nearly kill each in the first few days of the trip, the logical side of me might have intervened.  After making that first step I chose to figure it out because the thought of going home was an unappealing back up plan.

Stretching myself brings incredible opportunities.  Throughout my life, my I Will Try Anything Once motto has loaned me courage to try things I never would have otherwise.  The most exhilarating part of my back packing trip involved stepping outside of my fear of heights to go bungie jumping in Greece and to climb glaciers in Switzerland.  Stretching myself opens my mind and helps me avoid complacency, which drives me a bit insane.

So what is next BIG stretch for me…  I am going to write a book.  My gut is telling me to make this a priority in 2012 or I may never do it.  Before October of 2009 I would have never even thought of attempting this even though people had suggested it.  My fear… I was the furthest thing from writer or a story teller.  I had no writing experience.  Ironically I won a book proposal program, which I saw as a sign, and gradually started to explore it.  I have an idea of the huge mountain I am about to climb and I realize the odds are against me (which I kinda like) but for whatever reason, I am willing to stretch myself way beyond my comfort zone and see where it takes me.

Will you join me?  How do you want to stretch yourself in 2012?  It can be anything, big or small and I would love to hear about it!

 

Action Ideas & Tips:

 

  1. Be Open to Possibilites

Start to pay attention to what your heart and gut are telling you.  They provide clues and if you start to listen you can hear them.  What intrigues you? 

 

  1. Start with a Little Reaserch

Instead of thinking of all the reasons why you can not do something, start to explore the possibilities.  

 

  1. Take a Baby Step

Make a move in that direction.  What is one small or big thing you are willing to try to test the waters and see how it feels?  Find supportive people with whom you can talk about this.  



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Are You Looking For More Energy?

La Jolla, California

Thinking about this idea can fill you with panic, bring you peace or anywhere in between.  What I love about this theory is that it awakens your mind to take inventory of who you are choosing to surround yourself with and how they effect you for better and worse.  As you raise your awareness you will see the opportunities to increase your energy.

EACH and EVERY interaction you have with another person is an exchange of energy.   Your energy and their energy collide into each other like a ball to a paddle in a ping pong match.  There are two types of energy: anabolic and catabolicAnabolic energy is positive and uplifting.  Catabolic energy is negative and draining.  Being aware of your energy, as well as the energy of others, creates endless opportunities.

Your energy is continually shifting throughout each day.  If you are in a great mood and get on the phone with a friend who continually focuses on and complains about all that is wrong, it can be hard to keep your energy elevated.  Afterwards you may feel depleted or even drained.  Being exposed to catabolic energy can really wear on you.  Yet talking with a friend who makes you laugh or helps you to see the situation in a more positive way after you have you receive challenging news that makes you grumpy can quickly raise your energy.  Logically you enhance your energy by spending less time with those who consistently bring catabolic energy into your life and more time with those who commonly bring anabolic energy.

As you think about the top five people you are choosing to interact with, it is helpful to look a complete picture to fully understand the chronic effect they have on your life.  Instead of looking at an isolated incident think about a numerous interactions to see if overall you feel more uplifted or drained after being with someone.  Be aware of the energy you are bringing to the interaction as well, because this a key component.  When you increase your awareness of your energy and others you will begin to see how you can make changes to increase your energy.

There will be people you want to spend more time with and others you may want to interact with less.  Thinking back, I remember when I was faced with a tough choice.   At the time my short term options were:

    • continue to spend my time with friends who provided someone to do things with but were draining to be around
    • gain a lot of free time on my social calendar.

I choose to break away.  Even though it was not easy it was definitely worth it.   After spending a few weekends alone at home I started to find amazing new friends that I laughed with often, had more in common with and could not wait to see.

We all have the ability to create an energizing tribe.  Positive influences make your life brighter and more interesting.  They become your safety net to cushion any falls and help you break through the hard times.  When you succeed they are bursting with excitement and cheering you.  Your energy soars when you create this type of tribe.

Is this what you want?  Then NOW is the time to start taking action.

 

Are You Ready For a 3 Day Challenge?

For the next  three days I challenge you to tune in and take note of how you FEEL when interacting with others.

    • Do you feel uplifted, inspired or rejuvenated?
    • Or do you feel depleted, drained or exhausted?

Be clear that people, especially the ones you choose to bring into your life, are not suppose to cause you more stress, create drama or have overall negative effect on you.

Is there is a hidden narcissist, critic or dream killer in your midst or a proverbial “Debbie Downer” lurking around?  Gossipers, drama queens and complainers steal your energy too.  Hanging around this type of negative energy enhances the pull to join in to feel a part of group.  Be aware, most of us were brought up to blend in and our own desire to be liked, accepted or feel a part of a group which can tempt us to make unhealthy and unproductive energy choices.

Once you are clear on who is depleting your energy you have the option to change how your interact them.  As they say, people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  Everyone will not be your best friend for life and that is ok.  When you choose to change energy stealing relationships you make space to maintain an energizing tribe.

 


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What If the Back To School Excitement Never Had to End?

Every August the back to school buzz is played over loud speakers everywhere. It’s inescapable message signifies a fresh start to an exciting new year of learning for kids.

How does back to school evolve after you graduate and move on to your first job in the “real world”?  As an adult have you ever considered how your life could be different if the back to school buzz became the catalyst to set up your next year of learning?

When you were a kid, learning was valued and the expectations were clear.  You showed up to school, successfully completed the work and then you moved on to the next grade.  Upon completion of traditional schooling, there was no longer a clear growth and development path for you to follow.  All of a sudden it was up to you to proactively find learning opportunities and seek out teachers, mentors and coaches.

Life is full of choices.  Not everyone chooses to proactively become a life long learner.  Many people slip into the quicksand of reactive “baptism by fire” learning, meaning you learn on a need to survive basis.  This learning can be beneficial but it often feels hard and less than exciting.  There are healthier ways to learn and grow.  Without growth you experience stagnation, which can make life feel less than challenging and maybe even boring.  Now is the perfect time to stop wishing life was different and start creating the opportunities you crave.

If you choose personal growth it has to be intentional, meaning it is your responsibility to drive this growth.  Realizing that this growth is up to you can be a powerful shift.  It means you are no longer waiting around for others to direct and choose for you.  I guarantee choosing based on your needs versus others will be powerful and more interesting.  Your journey is unique to you so I encourage you be proactive.  No one else knows you better or will be attached to your mental, physical and financial benefits in the same way.

It is definitely NOT to late to try anything!  If you think you are too old, don’t have time or don’t  know where to start feel free to give me a call.  Start by finding what excites you and/or what you feel will most impact your life and then create your plan and a positive growth environment.

I hope that this year, and for years to come, you will see back to school  as time to ignite your next exciting year of learning.  Below are tips to help explore your pathway.

Action Ideas and Tips:

One of the many benefits of getting older is that we have the opportunity  to create our own curriculum based on: what peaks our interest, what we have been longing to try or what we feel is missing in life.

    • If you desire more peace and less drama you may choose to study mediation or yoga you may take classes at your gym or go on a spiritual retreat.
    • If you want to communicate better with your husband you may take a seminar with Harville Hendrix or read a book on the topic and practice new approaches.
    • If being published is a life long dream, you many start by taking a class at your community college or join a writing critique group.
    • If you want to master French cooking, you may decide to start by creating a MeetUp group or maybe you enroll to study at Le Cordon Bleu.
    • If you are an avid traveller you may want to learn a new language or take research different cultures and countries.

These are just a few ideas but I hope they get your mind flowing with the possibilities for growth and learning.  There are unlimited options and approaches for how you will learn.  It is your choice if you want to start by dipping your foot into the water or jumping off of the high dive.

~ Something to think about ~

What comes to mind you when you think about the following quote?

The most important relationship in the world is the one you have with yourself because everyone and everything is a direct reflection of the quality of that.” ~ Mari Smith

 


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Feeling Overcommitted & Stressed Out?

Seattle

On a beautiful Sunday morning a few weeks ago I woke up in a panic thinking about my upcoming schedule of commitments and my very long to-do list.   Once again I found myself overcommitted and my anxiety was building.  Have you been there?

Immediately I could see the red flags.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed with no true down time in sight.  I was unsure of what to do because I feared disappointing others.  In the past, my solution would be a “you can do this” pep talk and then push through.  This choice came with repercussions that typically left me feeling drained to the point where it seemed like I was crashing straight into a wall.  Rushing through everything and happily checking off the proverbial boxes, I sailed through the motions in a zombie like fashion.   Exhausted and unable to connect or engage with what I was doing prevented me from fully enjoying the moment.

This time was different.  I recognized the situation and knew the consequences.  Before I always believed that when I committed to anything, I had to stick with it, no matter what the cost.  Challenging this belief I realize this is not always the case.   It was ok to lighten up on myself and my schedule by setting more realistic expectations.

My next challenge was that I wanted to do most of the items on my schedule, so deciding what to cancel or postpone was not going to be an easy task.  Upon examination, it became clear that very few items on my “to-do list” had to be done as quickly as I originally thought.  Self imposed expectations and deadlines are hard to let go because I, like most people, are either anxious to reach the finish line or fear others will not approve my choices or be upset with me.  These can be powerful drivers with personal consequences.  Choosing what means the most to me and giving a little on my expectations allowed me to start cutting back on things.

As I cancelled plans and explained why, I found that others seemed to understand.   At times people were not overjoyed with my decisions, yet often they were not fazed at all.  In the end, I found relief which allowed me to be connected to my life and my energy level increased, too.  I broke free of survival mode, to enjoy my life again.

You have four weeks left of summer.  What changes do you want to make so you can truly ENJOY them

 

Action Ideas and Tips:

Next time you feel overcommitted try the steps below to find relief.

Step 1:  Stop & Evaluate the Situation

Ask yourself… 

  • How did I become overcommitted?
  • Is moving forward as planned worth the long term consequences?
  • What really really feels right to me versus what is based on others expectations?
  • What is most important to me?
  • What do me want to be different?

Step 2:  Explore the Reality & Possibilities

Ask yourself… 

  • Even though these are things that I want to get done now, what can be postponed for sanity sake?
  • What am I doing because I fear of disappointing others?
  • In the worst case scenario, if I made adjustments what could happen?  How likely is this?  How would I handle it?

Step 3: Make Choices & Adjustments  

Remember when we talked about Suzy Welch’s decision making tool called 10 10 10, which stands for 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years?  It suggests that when you are faced with tough decisions you consider the outcomes and consequences of your choices beyond the immediate, to see the, mid and long term effects as well.  Stepping out of the moment, where reactive decisions are made, and thinking through this in relation to your values allows you to make hard choices with a lot more clarity.

 


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Journalling Gave Me an Unexpected Gift You Can Give Yourself, Too!

Rodin's ~ The Thinker

I would have never believed my journals would ultimately become my most prized possession when I started journaling 5-years ago.  When I was recently asked, “What is your most prized possession, not a person but an object?” it clicked in me how valuable they had become to me and how lucky I am to have started this practice.  It was also confirmed that others feel the same.

Journaling allows me to take the thoughts, concerns, frustrations and fears that fly around in my head and give them a home to live and breathe.  It is safe place to express whatever I am feeling, work through concerns and divulge my desires without judgement.  It provides time and space to sit with my thoughts, and to connect to what matters most to me.  As a result I make clearer decisions.

I started journalling after my mom died, when a dear friend gave me a gorgeous soft brown leather journal embossed with a heart on the cover.  She works with hospitalized children and explained to me how journaling provides her patients a safe and helpful place to process the thoughts and emotions they were experiencing.   Even though journaling was foreign to me, I was drawn to the concept because I was going through the most difficult time in my life and it was a way to help me move forward.

Eventually, The Artist Way inspired me to make it a daily ritual.  Instead of sporadically capturing my thoughts and ideas, I was challenged to journal every morning for 3 pages.  At first I was a little skeptical about doing this EVERY day.  I remember thinking, what would I write about?  Do I really need to write every day?  Finally, I realized I didn’t need an earth shattering revelation every day.  Often I journal about what happened the day before or what I want out of today.  I have found that the daily ritual leads to my breakthroughs and I frequently learn from the days that I initially thought were less interesting.

How does journaling help me?    Overall, I know for sure that journaling helps see life differently and thinking through things in this way is calming.  Through journaling I am able to release many of my frustrations and process the emptiness created through the loss of my mom.  On days I feel confused or mad about anything I can reach for my journal, which has become a healthier way to work through my raw emotions and connect to solutions.  When I hear something that is thought provoking or inspirational, I preserve the thought in my journal.   It keeps me sane when life gets crazy and I whole heartedly believe that the 20 minutes a day I spend journaling is time well spent.

Similar to my favorite novels, I smile, laugh and cry when read back through my journals.  It is eye opening and motivational to see how I have evolved.  They capture the details of my journey and the memories I may have forgotten.   When I am working towards a goal, my journals provide insight for why I am avoiding taking action.  I can explore and see life more clearly as I learn from my experiences and celebrate how far I have come.

How often do you take time to think beyond what is in front of you?  How different do you think your life would be if you were able to be more proactive and less reactive?  Journaling creates time for you to be with your thoughts.

 

Action Ideas and Tips:

I admit, in the beginning journaling can feel a little odd.  I remember looking for the “right way” to journal.  The perfectionist in me wanted my journals to “look neat” and I was concerned that I could not tear out a page when I made a “mistake”.  There was also the fear that others would read my “private” thoughts.  What I found is that there is no “right way” to journal, done is better than perfect, and the benefits outweighed my fears.  Here are 5 easy tips to help you get started.

Tip 1-   Try it for 28 days

Trust me, if you put yourself into journaling you will get a lot out of it.  All you need is a place to capture your thoughts.  I suggest a fun journal that you can find at any bookstore or office supply store but don’t let that stop you from starting as a notebook or your computer can work too.  You may be asking why 28 days?  Research shows that is how long it takes to create a habit.

Tip 2 – Create time in your schedule

I suggest journaling first thing in the morning. This provides a very effective and refreshing way to start the day as everyday life is less likely to get in the way.  Some people have success journaling at lunch, before they go to bed, on their commute home, etc..  What I strongly suggest is that you find consistent time and make it routine.

Tip 3 – Find a place free of distractions

Set yourself up to resist temptation and avoid others.  Remember this is your time to be with your thoughts and ideas.  A few of the common distractions are the TV, computers and other people. Try to pick a place free of distractions.

Tip 4 – Choose either a time or a page goal

Most people spend about 20 minutes a day journaling, but it is completely up you.  I suggest starting with a goal for the number of pages that you want to accomplish each day or a time limit and then adjust as necessary until you find what works best for you.

Tip 5 – Start writing

The best advice I received was to write my stream of consciousness.  Forget about creating perfection and don’t worry about editing, spelling or punctuation.  Simply write out the voice that is thinking out loud in your mind, whatever comes to you even if it is… I can’t think of what to write or I need to get x, y and z done today.  Trust me it will evolve from there.


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I Will Try Anything Once

It was July of 1994, I was twenty-five and naively fearless, when I embraced a new motto...
article post

Are You Looking For More Energy?

Thinking about this idea can fill you with panic, bring you peace or anywhere in...
article post
thumbnail Manhattan Beach, California article post

What If the Back To School Excitement Never Had to End?

Every August the back to school buzz is played over loud speakers everywhere. It’s...
article post

Feeling Overcommitted & Stressed Out?

On a beautiful Sunday morning a few weeks ago I woke up in a panic thinking about my...
article post

Journalling Gave Me an Unexpected Gift You Can Give Yourself, Too!

I would have never believed my journals would ultimately become my most prized possession...
article post