Archive for February 2011

The Power of Acceptance

February 24, 2011

For this week’s audio podcast, click here.

For much of my life I’ve struggled to accept certain things about myself, others, and life that I don’t like.  Being someone who is committed to change and transformation, the idea of “acceptance” has often seemed weak, wimpy, or like an admission of failure or powerlessness to me – although I have pretended to understand, believe in, and even teach the power of acceptance for a long time.

The truth is, I’ve been scared to fully embrace acceptance – worrying that if I truly accept certain aspects of myself that I don’t like, things about others that bother me, or circumstances in my life or in the world that aren’t okay with me, then somehow I wouldn’t be motivated to change them in a positive way or, even worse, I would get resigned about them and they would always stay the way they are – which, of course, to me would be “bad” or “wrong.”

The famous quote by Carl Jung, which I have quoted in both of my books and find myself saying all the time comes to mind here, “What you resist, persists.”  It seems that I (and so many people I know, work with, and talk to) am constantly “resisting” (more like fighting against) the way things are.  Whether it’s with our body, our work, our spouse, our family members, our friends, our co-workers, our finances, the state of the world and economy (especially these days), or many other things – we’re often arguing with reality instead of accepting it the way that it is.

Even though it can be scary and counter intuitive at times, acceptance is the first step in transformation.  It’s very difficult and quite stressful (as I know from experience) to try to change things from a place of non-acceptance.

Acceptance is not resignation, failure, or agreement; it’s simply telling the truth and allowing things to be as they are.  When we accept ourselves, others, and life – we can create a real sense of peace and let go of much of our suffering.  And, from this place of peace and truth, we’re more able to not only appreciate life, but also to manifest the kind of circumstances, relationships, and outcomes we truly want.

Action:  What You Can Do

Make a list (in your mind, in your journal, or on a piece of paper) of some of the things in your life right now that are causing you the most stress, pain, or anxiety.  These things may have to do with work, money, relationships, health, things happening in the world, your body, or anything else.

As you think about or write these things down, ask yourself if you’re willing to “accept” them as they are right now.  You don’t have to like, agree with, or want them to be this way…but, if you can start to accept these things, people, and situations in a genuine way – your ability to be at peace with them (and your life) and to ultimately change them in a positive way will be enhanced significantly.

What have you been unwilling to accept in your life?  How can practicing the power of acceptance create more peace, joy, and fulfillment for you right now? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog below.

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Go For It – The Power of Boldness

February 17, 2011

For this week’s audio podcast, click here.

Do you consider yourself bold or someone who goes for it with passion in life?  Some of us do, but most people I know and work with, myself included, admit that they don’t often think of themselves as a bold person.  Or, if we’ve done or said bold things in our lives, they seem to be few and far between…and they also seem to scare us half to death.  Hence, we often don’t find ourselves going for it in our work and our life – or not nearly as much as we’d like (especially these past few years).

Being bold, while scary and challenging for many of us, is essential if we’re going to live an authentic, successful, and fulfilling life.  Boldness is about stepping up and stepping out onto our “edge” in life – pushing the limits of what we think is possible or appropriate.  It’s about living, speaking, and acting in ways that are both courageous and true to who we really are.

Because we’re all unique, our individual versions of boldness will look quite different.  Something that might be “bold” for me, may not be so for you – or vice versa.  Going for it has to do with us getting in touch with our deepest truths, passions, and desires in life and then having the courage to live and act “out loud” in a way that is congruent with this.

Here are five key reminders of what it takes to be bold and go for it in life:

– Be True to Yourself – Tell and live your truth with courage, vulnerability, and commitment.  We must also remain in a constant inquiry with ourselves about who we are and what’s important to us.  It’s okay and necessary in this process to admit when we’ve made a mistake, gone off course, or done something that’s out of integrity for with ourselves, as well as if we feel totally lost (which we will at times).  Being true to who we are is about being ruthlessly honest and forgiving with ourselves (and with others) in a way that is both fierce and compassionate.

– Live with Passion – Passion comes from within us, not from the external circumstances, events, activities, or people in our lives. Being bold is about going for it, not holding back, and giving ourselves fully to our work, our relationships, and our lives.  To do this we must generate authentic passion, which is both a powerful emotion as well as a state of being as well.

– Step Out – Challenge yourself to say and do things that are outside of your comfort zone and that scare you.  This will force you to “step out” in your life and step in to who you really are.  We often don’t think we’re “ready,” we sometimes don’t know exactly what we’re supposed to do, and we almost never have a guarantee that things will work out.  So what!  As Ray Bradbury famously said, “Jump, and build your wings on the way down.”

– Lean on Others – Support, inspiration, and accountability from other people are essential along our journey of boldness and authenticity.  We can’t do it all by ourselves and it’s imperative that we reach out to others who believe in us, will tell us the truth, and can help us when we get stuck.  Create a “dream team” of powerful and supportive people around you with whom you can share your hopes, dreams, and ideas.  And, be willing to ask for and receive their support, contribution, and generosity.

– When You Fall Down, Get Back Up – It’s important to make peace with the fact that you will fall down, probably a lot, if you’re really going for it and playing big in life.  How we respond to falling down is what truly makes the difference in our lives.  When we make a commitment to ourselves to get back up, dust ourselves off, be real about how we feel and what happened, and not let it stop us from being who we are and going for what we want – we tap into what true power, boldness, and authenticity are all about!

What are you willing to do in your life right now to “step out” and go for what you really want in a bold way.   Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog below.

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How to Appreciate Your Challenges

February 10, 2011

 For this week’s audio podcast, click here.

Are you facing challenges in your life or your business right now? These days, there are some real challenges facing many of us – at work, at home, in relationships, with money, with family, with housing situations, and much more.

The challenges themselves, even the most difficult ones, aren’t usually the real issue; it’s our relationship to them that causes us the most difficulty and suffering. Think of what your life, your relationships, and your career would be like if you didn’t complain about or resist challenges when they showed up? For most of us, myself included, this would make things very different and much more enjoyable.

Resisting, complaining about, or even feeling sorry for ourselves about the “bad” things that are happening is totally normal and what we’re often encouraged to do by people around us and our culture in general – whether we do it out loud with others or just in our own heads. However, these things, while understandable, don’t address the real issues, the genuine emotions we’re experiencing, or make things better for us.

I’m not advocating that we pretend everything is “fine” when it isn’t in some phony, Pollyanna way – that’s denial, which won’t help us either. However, the question in life isn’t whether or not we’ll face challenges, the question is what will we do and how will we respond in the face of the challenges that arise? Do we avoid really dealing with difficult things and learning from them by playing the role of the victim and not acknowledging our true feelings about them or do we face them directly, acknowledge our emotions, and choose to grow from the experience? It’s always up to us.

On our path of life, growth, and success, we all encounter difficulties. Many of the most successful and fulfilled people who’ve ever walked the planet have faced incredible obstcles. What if we actually appreciated these challenges? Remember, appreciating something doesn’t necessarily mean we like or enjoy it. Appreciation means that we recognize the value of it.

Here’s a list of some things we can appreciate when things get tough:

  • Challenges often give us important feedback about where and who we are
  • Challenges give us contrast and can help us appreciate things when they get easier
  • Challenges can allow us to wake up and notice all the good things that are happening that we weren’t paying attention to
  • Challenges are almost always a great opportunity for learning, growth, and improvement
  • Challenges give us an opportunity to get in touch with, take responsibility for, and express our real emotions

By learning to appreciate our challenges and see the opportunities in them, we take our power back from the situations and circumstances of our lives. Our ability to appreciate difficulties, learn from them, and use them to our advantage, gives us an important insight into who we really are and how to create success and fulfillment in a conscious and deliberate way.

Action: What You Can Do

Make a list of some of the biggest challenges in your life right now. What can you appreciate about each of these difficulties? What are you learning from them? What are you able to appreciate in yourself and your life because of these things?

If you look for it, you’ll be able to find many things to appreciate about every one of them. Appreciating our challenges can allow us to accept them, learn from them, and ultimately take back our power from them. Doing this reminds us that we’re the authors of our lives – not the circumstances we’re facing.

Where in your life are you currently facing difficulties?  What do you appreciate about these specific challenges (i.e. what are you learning from them and what can you be grateful for about dealing with them)? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog below.

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Let Go of Worry

February 2, 2011

For this week’s audio podcast, click here.

How often do you catch yourself worrying?

When I was a kid my mom used to say to me, “95% of what you worry about never happens.” I think she recognized that I was the “worrying type” and was trying to help ease my mind. Although this rarely worked, I appreciated her sentiment and know now that she was right.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been prone to worrying. I continue to work on this, let it go, forgive myself for it, and choose different ways of being in the face of my fear. And, I still catch myself worrying more than I’d like – about the future, about my body, about how things will turn out, about what people think about me, about money, about the well-being of my loved ones, about the state of the world, and much more.

However, no matter how much we worry, it never really helps. And, as we look deeper at what worrying actually is – a set-up for failure, a negative attractor, and a denial or avoidance of feeling our true feelings – we see that it can have a damaging impact on our lives, our work, and our relationships. When we worry, we’re simply preparing to be upset or angry – assuming something won’t work out in the future.

Worry not only creates stress, it has an impact (usually negative) on what we create and manifest, and on our experience of life in general. Worry is a superficial emotion. It’s clearly something that many of us are all familiar with, can share with others in a way that will garner sympathy, empathy, or even pity, and is easy for us to go through daily life experiencing. However, underneath our worry are usually deeper emotions like shame, fear, guilt, hurt, or anger; many of which are more difficult for us to feel and express.

If we’re able to tell the truth and face our deeper feelings, we won’t have to waste our time and energy worrying.  We can then deal with the root of the issue, not the superficial impact of it (which is what worry usually is).

There’s nothing wrong with feeling scared, angry, hurt, and even “worried,” in and of itself. These emotions, like love, gratitude, excitement, joy, and others are very important to our human experience. Emotions that are felt deeply and expressed appropriately give us power (regardless of what they are). Emotions that are not felt deeply, that are denied or avoided, and are not effectively expressed, can be damaging to us and those around us.

Worry is always a sign that there are some deeper feelings or issues for us to address. It’s often a good reminder for us to get more real, take better care of ourselves, and pay attention.

Below is a list of some things you can do when you get worried.  These simple ideas can help you move through your worry in a positive way:

  • When you notice yourself worrying; stop, check in with yourself, and take a few slow deep breaths (all the way down to your belly)
  • Ask yourself, what’s underneath my worry? (i.e. why am I really worried and what am I really feeling?)
  • Face, feel, and express these underlying emotions – get support from others in this process if you need it.
  • Once you have felt and expressed these emotions, choose how you want to feel and what you want to create, instead of playing the role of the victim.
  • Appreciate yourself for the courage it takes to be honest and to deal with the challenging situations or emotions you’re experiencing.
  • Focus on the good stuff in your life (i.e. be grateful for what you have, who you are, and what you’re going through)
  • Be of service to others – generously put your attention on those around you who can benefit from your help.  It will be a great gift to them and to you. Service can allow you to shift your attention from your worry to what you have to give, which is a true win-win for everyone involved.

What can you do today to let go of anything you’re currently worrying about?  How can you let go of worry in an on-going way in your life?  Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog below.

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