Archive for January 2009

Yes We Can!

January 20, 2009

These three words, “yes we can,” became the manta for Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign. Whether you voted for, support, or agree with President Obama or not, these three words are powerful and important for each of us in our lives, especially in the face of the challenges that many of us are facing these days.

When we believe in ourselves in an authentic way, we allow ourselves to trust that we can do whatever it is we desire and that no matter what our current circumstance may be, we always have the power within us to overcome, accomplish, or manifest anything. As Henry Ford famously stated, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

Being optimistic is and always will be a personal choice. And, it’s not always the easiest choice to make. Some of us are more predisposed to be negative, while others of us are more predisposed to be positive – based on a variety of factors (personality, beliefs, family background, environment, focus, and much more). However, all of us can practice and enhance our ability to be optimistic in our daily lives. It’s both a choice and a skill.

Being hopeful and positive doesn’t mean we avoid the challenges of our lives or pretend that there aren’t problems around us, it’s that we choose to focus on the good stuff, find what’s working, and trust that things will work out. This does take a certain amount of faith and it challenges us to let go of our need to control, explain, and understand everything at all times.

Here are a few simple things you can do to enhance your own ability to be optimistic in life:

  • Tell the truth – Admit to yourself and to others your own fear, worry, and negativity. While we don’t want to complain or dwell on things in a detrimental way, so often we deny or avoid our true negativity or pessimism, which keeps it stuck. When we admit it and own it, we have a chance to move through it and to let it go consciously.
  • Practice looking for the good stuff – This is an art and a skill that we can practice all the time. It can be challenging to find the good stuff in the midst of adversity, but that is the most important time to do it and the most valuable way to practice. The more you do it the easier it gets. This is all about us giving up our desire, need, and right to be a victim in life!
  • Surround yourself with authentically optimistic people – Choose to be around people who are genuinely positive and hopeful. This doesn’t mean that they’re happy all the time or always super upbeat (although they often will be, most likely). Seek out people who choose to appreciate life and to focus on what’s working. Doing this will not only be more fun and empowering for you, but it will also support you in your desire to be more optimistic in your own life.

Optimism is essential to our happiness, fulfillment, and our ability to overcome and persevere in life. It takes courage, boldness, and trust – things that as we all know are important, but not always easy in life. As you look at your own work, relationships, and life in general, where can you say “Yes I can?” and allow that statement to empower you in an optimistic way? The more we say “yes” to ourselves and to life, the more life and others say “yes” back to us.

I say to you, me, and everyone around us – YES WE CAN!

How will you enhance your ability to be optimistic in life?

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Start By Appreciating Yourself

January 6, 2009

With the new year just getting started, many of us are focused on our goals, intentions, and resolutions for 2009. While this is a wonderful and exciting aspect of every new year, one of the most important things we can focus on this year is appreciating ourselves – first!

If you’re anything like me and most of the people I know and work with, you probably have a tendency to be hard on yourself, or at least to think you have to achieve your goals or do something “good” in order to pat yourself on the back and appreciate yourself. What if we started with self appreciation, instead of waiting until we think we deserved it or had time to do it?

When we take a deeper look at most of our goals or intentions, for 2009 or in general, what we’re really after is a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and, most importantly, self appreciation. We think that if we achieve our goals, we’ll be happy and feel good about ourselves. However, as you may have noticed throughout your life – not only is this not true, it creates a great deal of stress for us in the process.

While I am a big advocate of creating healthy, empowering, and bold goals this new year and in our lives as we grow and evolve, what we have to remember is that without appreciating ourselves our goals are meaningless. And, when we do take the time to appreciate ourselves – regardless of what’s happening on the outside – three incredible things happen. First of all, we put ourselves in the best possible position for the fulfillment of our goals. Second, we give ourselves first what we’re going after ultimately – a positive sense of who we are and what’s valuable about us, right now. And third, we make ourselves available in a genuine way to be there for others and appreciate the people around us.

Here are a few suggestions for ways you can take care of yourself and appreciate who you are as we move into this new year.

Suggestions:

  • Create a regular self appreciation practice. Write in a journal, talk to a friend, meditate/pray, or do anything else that speaks to you with a specific focus on what you appreciate about yourself. Do this as often as possible – make it habit.
  • Schedule time for yourself. Regardless of how busy you are, how many people depend on you, and all the things you think “need” to get done – one of the most important things you can do to honor and appreciate yourself, is to take time just for you. It doesn’t matter what you do – read, take a bath, go for a walk, sit, participate in an activity you love, or anything else (as long as it is enjoyable to you and makes you feel good). The most important thing is for you to take time for just you.
  • Ask for support. One of the best ways we can honor and appreciate ourselves is to reach out and ask other people for support. For many of us, this can be scary and difficult. However, when we do it we allow others to be of service (which most people love), we remind ourselves that we are worthy of people’s support, and we remember that we are not alone. One of my favorite sayings is, “the answer is always ‘no’ if we don’t ask.”

I wish you the very best as you step into this new year. What a wonderful opportunity we each have to create 2009 to be a fun, growth-filled, exciting, and rewarding new year. If we put appreciating ourselves at the top of our list of intentions, we’ll set ourselves up for true success and real fulfillment.

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