Are you a half empty glass or a half full glass kind of person? I think that neither one of those statements are true. I don’t believe in either or statements.
I think that the truth is always contained in an “all of the above” kind of answer. I think that every answer depends on the situation and the day it happens. Sometimes you will view your life through your limitations and sometimes you view it through your strengths. It’s all up to you and the choices you make. Your emotions will always be the colors of how you see your life.
Sometimes you will allow your limitations to rule your emotions. What if it is your limitations that make your story have real value in helping someone else in their own life journey? When you think about the “feel good” books, movies, stories that we love to watch and listen to – isn’t that what makes the heroes journey so amazing? The fact that they were able to rise above the limitation? It’s what separates your story from simply being an “ordinary boy meets girl, falls in love and marries to live happy ever after” kind of story.
There is no growth of character in that story. It is the overcoming of the obstacles to true love that gives the story a reward. If Snow White had no wicked stepmother that was jealous and wanted her dead; if Sleeping Beauty wasn’t cursed by the evil fairy; if the Little Mermaid didn’t foolishly trade her voice for legs with the Sea Hag; all of those wonderful stories we grew up with wouldn’t have survived through the centuries. It is the drama of overcoming the limitations that feeds our souls, not just the “happy ever after” ending.
It is from the damage you have had in your life, that the gold within you is purified. It is the refining of your soul through life’s fires that makes it into pure gold and shines out brightly for others to see.
“The light you’re seeking out there is already within you. You hold the light of millions of stars inside your own beating heart. Stardust runs through your veins and comets shine through your eyes…, My beautiful friend, no one can dull your spark because it comes from within you, it’s yours. Your spark comes from being wildly yourself; it comes from accepting yourself – strengths and flaws and all. It comes from being the person that you’ve always wanted to be. And the more you align with your heart, the more you allow your true light to shine.” – Nikki Banas
It isn’t that some people are heroes and others are not. It is in the overcoming of the obstacles, the living through the adversity to the other side, that you are revealed as a hero. It is in the doing of the thing that you thought you couldn’t that your inner strength is revealed.
J.K. Rowling said, that if she had succeeded in anything else, her true calling would never have been called forth. The one place that she belonged, would never have been uncovered. So when you think that you’re just a failure, think again. It simply means you are still revealing who you really are and what you were born to do. Failure is simply a matter of opening the wrong door. Keep walking down the hallway and trying more doors.
Adversity is a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. Boiling water soften potatoes and hardens eggs. It’s not about the water boiling, it’s about who you are and what you are made of. You have the strength to be a shining star in the dark night. Just keep taking one more step. Don’t look at how far you still have to go. Just keep taking one more step and give it all you have. You can do this!
“People are like stained-glass windows…, when darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Just remember each time you made it to the goal line. Each time you climbed another mountain. Each time you were defeated and got back up again. It is in the conquering the challenge, that you begin to understand just how strong you are. Every time a doubt enters your mind, think of all of the times you conquered a similar doubt. Every time a fear tries to stop you in your tracks, think of all of the other fears that you have walked through.
A really good friend of mine has a different kind of bucket list. His list isn’t of the places he wants to see, or the things he wants to do. It’s a list of the things that he’s afraid to do. And every year he crosses out one or more things on that list. He loves the feeling of conquering a fear. It gives his life a special meaning. It lights him up. He sails high on the adrenaline rush for months afterwards.
“Do the things that light you up from the inside out. Write that book that you want to see written. Make the pottery that you want sitting on your shelf. Cook the delicious meals that you want to enjoy. Fill your walls with art that you adore. You are meant to live your life beautifully and entirely yours. You are meant to fill it with all of the colors and art and wonderful things that fill you with delight…, You are meant to live in a way that lights you up from the inside out.” – Nikki Banas
Are you living through a challenge right now? Get excited about it. Get passionate about fighting for your dreams. About living your passion. About tearing down the barriers. About crossing the line and living the life that scares you. Discover what you are made of. Broaden your horizons. Learn something new. Experience something that scares you and makes you heart beat faster just thinking about it. Create a bucket list that challenges you and changes you.
“Be a warrior. Fight for what you believe in and never, ever hold back. Fiercely go towards your dreams with boldness and lust. Hold your ground in the face of conflict. Knock barriers down with courage and grace. Do not give up when you find yourself face to face to an obstacle, instead continue forward with abandon. Keep the fire in your heart burning strong and do not ever let your flame fade away. Remind yourself that what you are fighting for is worth it. And remember that you will overcome everything that comes your way – because my beautiful friend, you are a warrior.” – Nikki Banas
This blog is a little heart rendering, so I am warning you ahead of time. It might be the one you need, and it might be the one you want to avoid.
I thought I knew what grief is all about. My mom died from cancer when I was in my 30’s. I was one of the primary caregivers the last three months of her life. It was a wonderful gift to be able to care for her as she made her transition. I thought I was ready, but I don’t think that anyone can ever be ready to lose a parent.
About a year after her death a lot of secrets came out of her closet. It was probably the hardest year of my life, even harder than losing her. It ripped that window of grief wide open. I thought that I had made it through the grief process. I was wrong. I had to then process the anger of what she had hidden. The anger of not being able to talk it through with her , so she could explain it all.
Eighteen years later I lost my 19 year old nephew when he was murdered. Starting this blog was how I started processing the loss not only of him, but what we all lost in relationship to our sister.
Nine years later I lost my birth father and had to process the grief of not just losing him, but losing the opportunity to have the kind of relationship I always wanted, but he wasn’t able to provide.
The following year I lost what I call my bonus dad. He had a long journey of heart disease that slowly took away his health. His was probably the easist death to process, because in the 15 yrs he lived with us, he had cleaned up what needed to be cleaned up with me.
I thought that with all of these losses, I knew what the grief process was all about. I had experienced it many times. I understood the grief stages. More importantly I knew I would survive. I thought, “I know how to do this”. Then a few months ago, my three year old grandson was killed in an accident. I now know grief in a totally unique way.
This journey I now understand is not only individual to the person, it is individual to what has been lost. The loss of someone so young rips apart your heart. Then experiencing the loss through your own child, as you witness his struggle to find his way through the grief process, turns your heart to ashes.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with a limp.” – Anne Lamott
The truth is that grief for every person is a solitary journey. I can’t know how great my son’s pain is. I can’t understand the anger and depression that he is currently working through. I have no real idea of how to help. I struggle for the right words to say, and even if I feel I have found them, I struggle to know the timing of when to say them.
I also know from my own history of grief that just showing up and giving a hug can get someone through one more day of loss. What tends to happen with loss, is that at first everyone is there to support you. But time moves on for all of those dear friends and family members. They have processed the loss. They have moved on with living life, because that is what life does, it goes on.
When you have a loss that happens too soon, that feels too much to bear, your time line moves much slower. So it becomes a solitary journey. No one but you knows how great the hurt is. No one but you can know the gaping hole left in your life, especially when that someone is your little boy. And no one but you can mourn the silence, that was once filled with laughter as he ran around your house chasing the dog. It is the nature of love and of death to touch every person in a totally unique way.
“You’re under no obligation to be the person you were before life flattened you. You’re just not. Trust yourself to navigate this part of the journey.” Stephenie Zamora
Grief is not a journey in which you just push yourself through the stages and arrive at the end. There is no pushing through. What there is at the end is acceptance. You absorb it deep inside and it lives forever in your broken heart. Like a deep cut, it eventually scabs over. It is a healing process, where you pick at the scab and it bleeds and produces a new scab, over and over. Until one day you are picking at the scab and it just falls off. It leaves a scar that fades with time, but never completely goes away.
Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith, but the price of love. If you find yourself stuck in stage for a long time, it is time to seek a qualified therapist that can help you unblock the dam that has been created. If you find your friends and family are worried about you; if you find yourself putting on the fake smile and working hard to create the impression you have moved on (when you haven’t), it’s time to seek counseling.
“Grieving is a process. There’s a process of the shock, the anger, and then coping with the situation. You have to experience all of those levels to move forward, and sometimes you need help in that” Angela A Bridges
5 Facts about the stages of grief
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hallow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” favin.com
3 things to know about the denial stage of grief
“A thousand moments I had just taken for granted…, mostly because I assumed there would be a thousand more.” Morgan Matson
Anger – You may feel as though the whole world seems to be conspiring against you. You are mad at everyone, especially God. You feel as though you are walking a road to your own death, burning in the fires of your devasting anger. I think this quote describes perfectly why there is so much anger. You’ve lost all of those future moments.
“In grief, depression is a way for nature to keep us protected by shutting down the nervious system so that we can adapt to something we feel we cannot handle…, as difficult as it is to endure, depression has elements that can be helpful in grief. It slows us down and allows us to take real stock of the loss…, Allow the sadness and emptiness to cleanse you and help you to explore your loss in its entirety. when you allow yourself to experience depression, it will leave as soon as it has served its purpose in your loss.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Depression – I think it has to do with the hole in your heart. It is consumed with emptiness. You can’t fill it up or sew it back together. So you mask it. You deny to others that you are continuing to grieve. You’ve run out of tears, out of anger, out of the ability to cope. So the quiet emptiness just grows until it consumes you. You’ve shut off the support system and isolated yourself behind the mask. You are alone and feel like you will be alone until you die. You feel that your family and the world would be better off without you. You think that you are all alone in your grief, that everyone else has moved on. It’s depression that is controlling the mindtalk and thinking. When the grief turns into this kind of depression it’s time to take off the mask and seek help. Even though you think you can’t escape the sadness, therapy will help you see past the depression.
At the end of the grief process, it is not so much a moving on, as a moving forward – as you bring your loved one along in your heart and your very breath. They are a part of you now and always. You move forward with them. You continue to engage in life because you’ve become inspired by this love. That is my wish for all of us. To reach that space where we are able to continue our journey with a peaceful heart. With the good memories that make us laugh and smile. With that inner knowing that your loved one is still in your heart. The connection is still there, it is still real, it has just changed form.
In part One of this blog we talked about how:
Charting your course means that you need to be open to adjustments, revisions, false starts, rewriting your goals, refocusing your passions. You need to be able to both dig in your heels and let go at the same time. You must, must, must have a willingness to change.
What I love about “Alice In Wonderland” is that nothing that she experiences was normal, predictible behavior. Her journey gets started because she is curious. She follows the white rabbit, who was talking to himself about being late and holding a timepiece as he runs by. Curious, she follows him down a rabbit hole and falls into an unbelievable world. She is faced with choice after another choice, with no reliable way of knowing what one is the right one.
Along the journey she meets The Caterpillar with his famous line, “Who are you?”. He helps Alice to adapt to Wonderland by eating the magic mushroom.
She meets The Cheshire Cat several times in her journey. He floats, evaporates and disappears and shapeshifts throughout her journey as he offers cryptic pieces of advice. He is the only character who actually listens to Alice as he attempts to help her navigate Wonderland.
In Alice’s adventures through Wonderland she is faced with truly “wicked problems” as she trys to get back home with her head still attached. It is her curiosity that gets her through as she meets new characters and tries to understand the stories strange rules of how life operates in Wonderland.
As you live your life you will come across many rules that others blindly follow, without asking themselves ‘why’. When you ask why, they will say, “that’s the way it has always been done”, because they don’t even know why. They have no curiosity about the rules. “It’s just the way they do things here”, they will say.
“Life is like a game of chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with insight and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way. We become each and every piece within the game called life.” – Allan Rufus
Each chess Game consists of 32 initial pieces. The game of chess has specific rules on how each of the pieces can be moved. In theory it is possible for a game of chess to never end, with an infinite number of moves. Consider the whole board when making a move, because each move impacts the entire board.
When my kids were teenagers I used to try to get them to understand the importance of the decisions they were making in their lives using the chessboard analogy. I taught them that while the move or decision that they were making might be according to the rules and thus legal, it didn’t make it the right decision. Sometimes the right decision is to take another path.
The chessboard shows up in Alice’s journey in Wonderland. “Chessboard Behavior” in this quote refers to how in playing the game of chess you make strategic moves. You think ahead to the piece you are contemplating on moving. You try to guess the other players response and then your response in turn. You envision out multiple moves and then then go back and think through another move and contemplate it out several moves. You keep doing this until you can choose the best strategy.
While you are guessing on the other players moves, as you get to know how they play the game, your guesses become more and more accurate. You gain knowledge, skills, and with natural talent you can make winning choices.
“The chess-board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us.”
– Thomas Huxley
There is an article published called “Brain-Heart” which contains way too much information and is in such detail that it isn’t easy to put into a simple sentence or two. In this article, he links spiritual traditions and science together in an interesting way. He is demonstrating Dragonfly Eye thinking, by combining the boxes of both science and religion to see what else could explain how in quantum physics atoms could be linked across far distances. That energy is informed by what David Bohm called the implicate order and what physicists now regard as the quantum vacuum or zero-point field.
The experience of the universal domain of consciousness, is the same in all religions, and in all religions it inspires a sense of oneness and belonging. Michael Beckwith affirms that “when you strip away the culture, history, and dogma of every religion, the teachers of those religions were teaching very similar principles and practices that led to a sense of oneness.”
Ervin Laszlo says, the quantum vacuum is like “the Akashic Field of ancient Hindu spiritual tradition. The Hindu say the Akashic record is a field from which all the universe is formed and which holds all that ever was, is or will be. The Hindu also say that the Big Bang that started the universe, and the big crunch that will happen when the universe goes into reverse and collapses back into itself, is only a part of many cycles of universes, just like ours, appearing and disappearing, just like the subatomic particles in our world.”
Putting this into a simple example that I read about many years ago, is what happened around the world when 9/11 happened. Scienctist have for many, many years recorded the magnetic waves rising from the earth into space. Many months had passed since 9/11 and they were looking back over time tracking the waves on the report when they noticed a huge spike simultaneously around the world. When they tracked backwards they discovered it happened just as the planes were hitting the twin towers. It was if the information had been communicated around the world at the exact same moment. It was the field.
I remember the day as though it was yesterday. Literally 20 minutes before the crash I was writing in my journal before work. In my journal I recorded how I couldn’t comprehend how someone could become so wrapped up in hate and dogma that they felt that God wanted them to kill people they didn’t even know, who had done nothing to them. They hadn’t committed an act of atrocity that required revenge. The actions themselves are designed to create fear, chaos and hatred – to cause separation. The planes hit the towers as I was driving to work. It still gives me goose bumps as I feel that in that moment of writing I had tapped into the field. I didn’t know what was about to happen, but somehow I knew something was about to happen.
When you tap into this field, I think you tap into divine guidance. In mediation, in journal writing, in walking through the forest – there are times when your mind is freed from the controlling structures you keep it in. When intuition comes forth. It’s how you get the idea to call a friend or family member. It’s how when you have that thought, the phone rings and it is them. It’s a connection to the field.
Storytelling engages the emotions required for actions. Show and tell is how you connect others to your story. When you want to sell something showing through storytelling is like sitting them in a theater to watch an engaging drama. You can make them cry (pictures of abused animals or a small child in torn dirty clothing looking like they are going to cry). Commencement speakers tell how they graduated from this college, share the story of their careers. “I did this and so can you” is the motivational theme of the speech.
Using the show-and-tell mindset you are bringing whomever you are talking to into the picture you are creating. You need to be clear in your own mind what actions you want to flow from your story, what idea or thought process you are trying to change.
In the graphic above, you can imagine that the children pictured are trying to talk mom or dad into paying for them to join a sports team or a dance class. In the child’s imagination they are going to be a star. What is it that would make mom and dad open their wallets?
If you can get the person you are talking with to enter into your vision, you need to create a moment of “awe”. This past month two different billionaries left the atmopshere for a very short time and saw something amazing. The astronauts say that when you see it you can’t help but be transformed. The saw the earth from space. It is called the Overview Effect. It creates a cognitive shift, something changes when that happens. An emotional cracking open of yourself, a blast of realization and resonance.
I have felt this moment of “awe” a few times. The first time was holding my newborn son. I don’t think that it is possible to explain the shift that happens in that moment. The transformation that happens when you realize this small tiny baby depends on you for life, and that you would give your life for that child in a heartbeat. Awe is something that happens in a heartbeat. A shift that says your world has changed, and it can never be what it was before.
If you can tell your story with “awe”, there is nothing that you can’t do. Nothing you can’t accomplish. “Awe” draws those who are listening to your story to see all of its potent possibilities. All of the paths of the chessboard that you can move in. It takes you in to Dragonfly Eye thinking. You are floating through the field and soaking up the knowledge of the universe. You see the hand of the divine in the story as it unfolds. You embrace uncertainty as your closest friend. And curiosity takes you on a new adventure.
If there is one thing that is making a big turnaround today, it is the thought of how you influence and inspire others. For years in social media many have had this misconception that you can create a perfect life online. That somehow this “perfect” version of yourself would inspire others. All of the posts were about these “perfect” moments that were happening in a persons life. Nothing was posted that didn’t fit into this perception of perfection.
Like the years of photoshopping models into this idea of what a perfect body should look like, instead of inspiring others to reach towards perfection, it created the opposite. It fed into the lie, that some how you are not good enough. Not rich enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough – that your breasts were too small, your stomach not flat enough, your thighs were too large, you had the wrong kind of hair, the wrong color skin, etc…, this idea of perfection (which shifts with the seasons and years) is not how we inspire others.
The problem is that perfection isn’t how life is. It’s messy. It’s imperfect. Most of the time it feels like a disaster. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, not the advertising agency or the social media influencer.
“Seek the approval of no one. Never change who you are. Don’t fit the mold that others have created for you.” – Adverstu.com
I worked fulltime when my kids were growing up. I tried bribery, threatened grounding and created punishments. Nothing convinced my kids that they should walk into the house and put their things in their bedrooms when they got home from school. Nothing I tried convinced them that when they finished raiding the refrigerator because they were starving, that they were capable of putting those dirty dishes in the sink – let alone the dishwasher.
Instead, this was our pattern. On Mondays the house looked presentable, because I had spent the whole weekend cleaning. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday our house slid downhill in a mountain of toys, discarded clothing, schoolwork that fell out of bookbags, whatever the dogs and cats had played with or destroyed, and of course dirty dishes. By Friday I would collapse under the mountain and pray that no one would come knocking at my door expecting entry. My house never looked like the perfectly organized home I always dreamed of.
You don’t inspire others by being perfect. You inspire them by how you deal with your imperfections.
“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best version of themselves” – Steve Maraboli
For me the inspiration came not from working myself into exhaustion. It didn’t come from yelling and screaming at my kids in frustration. It came from doing the things that I knew were the most important. Those things changed as my kids grew older, but it all started from the same place – spending time with my kids. Sometimes that was just relaxing and watching T.V. Sometimes it was watching them play in the back yard. Sometimes it was taking them to the movies and watching something that I never would have chosen to watch, but that they did. We went roller skating, to bonfires on the beach, to backyard bar-b-ques with friends and families. As they grew older, it was transporting them to outings with their cousins and friends. Then it was the terrifying years of being in the car with a student driver.
It was different activities, but the inspiration was the same. Supporting my kids in whatever way I could to grow up happy and healthy. Now that they are all grown up and having families of their own. Now I get to laugh at them going through the same states of imperfection in raising their children. And I get a lot closer to that imagined state of a perfectly organized home 🙂
What is being inspirational to others about?
Simone Biles demonstrated what being inspirational is all about in the 2020 Olympics, when she pulled out of some events to focus on her mental health. There is greatness in listening to yourself and advocating for your needs. She identified within herself where she was. She drew her own boundaries in order to keep herself safe and healthy. Like Naomi Osaka, she recognized the interconnectedness of mental and phsyical well-being. When Simone decided she couldn’t compete in several of her events, she stayed and supported her team.
She took a different path than expected and it took tremendous courage to stand up before literally the whole world and do this. She demonstrated the courage to protect her heart, soul, mind, body and spirit.
I love the thought, that each decision we make to walk our own path, is a comma, not a period. The path didn’t end. It is continuing onward. There are times when we need to stop and refuel. It isn’t a period, it is a comma – a pause to take a breath. You refuel so that you can have the energy to finish – it’s the finish which is a period.
And at the end of each finish, you get to choose what new adventure awaits. You get to start down a new path of self discovery.
You might think that when I chose to create this quote and graphic that I was thinking of judging and forgiving others. It is very true that when you seek to understand others, that judgment goes by the wayside and patience comes in for the struggles that they are having. However, when I was thinking about what to write about this morning, it was in connection to self judgment.
“Self awareness is not self judgment. It is looking, and seeing, and discovering who you really are. So check your judgment at the door.” – Trans4mind
You set goals, dreams, ideas of how your day is going to go. You are plan your life out. You will grow up, graduate college, get a job, marry and have a family, climb the corporate ladder, live in a nice home with the white picket fence, and live happy ever after. And then it happens. Self sabotage enters into the picture and you do it wrong. You destroy what you’ve built. You crush someone else. Self judgment burns you like a fire that is raging out of control.
Negative self talk enters your head:
“What upsets people is not things themselves, but their judgments about these things.” – Epictetus
You are not perfect. Nobody is. So you will make mistakes. Some of those mistakes will be disasters. Some of life’s disasters happen from things not in your control. Your mom dies from cancer; your nephew is murdered; your grandson is hit and killed by a delivery truck. Life just happens.
You can’t go back and change what happened. But you can in any moment create a new beginning. Starting over. Let it go. Done is done. Stop carrying the emotional baggage of your past. Take responsibility for your actions. Rectify whatever can be shifted into a better place. Then free it from your mind.
As part of your self awareness journey, you have to discover the courage to ask the difficult questions, both of yourself and others. You need to learn to communicate clearly. It is one of the hardest lessons.
Sometimes you are so scared of what the other one might say, that you don’t ask the question that you know in your soul needs to be asked. Or, you lie to yourself that you can make something happen that you know is not really in anyone’s best interest.
Self awareness takes a lot of courage. It is the only way to avoid the misunderstandings, drama and sadness that happens when we ignore the signs and continue walking down the wrong road.
“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are, or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions.” – Stephen Covey
It might be time to start examining all of your assumptions. Get curious as to what you things in life you think that you understand. Years ago there was an aquaintance in the church I attended. Someone had seen her having dinner in a restaurant with a strange man. When they left the restaurant they were holding hands and the man kissed her goodbye. That person went around telling everyone that she had a boyfriend. The gossip took off like a wildfire. What really happened was that her brother was traveling and stopped off to see her for dinner on his way to another location for business. The person who saw her made an assumption and they thought what they saw was the right interpretation of facts. It wasn’t.
How many assumptions about yourself, others, and life itself do you have that could have another interpretation?
I love the writing of Joseph Campbell. He talks about the cave you fear to enter. There was a demonstration of this in the original group of Star Wars movies. When Luke is being taught by Yoda and he enters into the cave. He asks Yoda what he will find inside and Yoda tells him, only what you take in with you. Per Joseph Campbell, “The cave you fear to enter has the treasure you seek.” You need to find your own cave. Own the fear(s) you have and enter it. Like Luke you will learn something powerful about yourself.
“Own the fear, find the cave, and write a new ending for yourself, for the people who you’re meant to serve and support, and for your own culture. Choose courage over comfort. Choose whole hearts over armor. And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid. At the same exact time.” – Brene Brown
So set your intention to keep moving forward.
Create the space and intention to remove the armor that keeps you feeling like you’re stuck. You’re not really stuck. You just need to check the thinking that created the circumstances you find yourself in.
If you were to concentrate in this moment, what is the one thing that you most desire in your life right now?
Someone out there would give anything to:
This list could go on and on. Some things on this list are within your control to obtain. The dream of the new home or car; the promotion or the new job – all things that you can work for and earn or obtain.
It might be that you’ve tried to get pregnant, had medical procedures to assist, and still can’t get pregnant. It might be that obtaining this dream means that you have to adjust to a new reality of foster care or adoption to have children. To match your dream of a child, to the child’s dream of parents to love them.
Some things might take a different path altogether. Being with a loved one who has died, you might take the path of talking to them in a praying meditative state. Or maybe the path of writing that letter telling them everything you never had a chance to say.
When you were a kid, did you ever take a magnifying glass or even just a glass and focus the suns energy on a piece of paper until the heat got hot enough that it started a flame? It takes focus to keep the glass still and just wait until the paper gets hot enough. If you keep moving the paper around, it will never get hot enough to create the flame.
Creativity generates ideas. Inspiration takes those ideas to the next level by thinking about them.
It takes focus to follow the trail that the idea came from. It takes getting outside of the normal day for just a few minutes to say, “I wonder what happens next, and next, and where does it go from there”. It takes focus to not get lost down the rabbit hole of other thoughts and ideas and just stay on this one trail with no distractions. You have to harness your creativity and focus your thinking down a particular path to reach the destination.
Let’s just take the first dream on the list above and “find the perfect mate”. Maybe the first thing you do on this path, is to take a piece of paper and write down all of the details of what your idea of a perfect mate is. Write down as many things as you can think of, even what seem like silly details, such as they put the cap back on the toothpaste. What their character is like; how they look; what their dreams are; what music they like; do they need to sing karoke with you ever Friday night? Do they love to line dance at a country western bar? Do they love chocolate? Go all out and write down everything your heart and imagination can think of.
Once finished put that list in a drawer and forget about it.
Now start a new list. This list is the most critical list of all that you’ve ever made. This list is about who is that person, with all of those qualities that you just wrote the pages about, who is he/she looking for? This is going to be about the list of changes that you are going to make in your own life, to attract that dream partner into your life. This list is the secret of how the only person you can change is yourself. This list is about the secret that when you start making changes in your own life, your life dramatically changes. Your life improves by the amount of focus, power, brilliance and energy that you use to implement changes.
Focus means that you have to say no to anything that is not moving you forward in the direction of attracting your life partner. You are surrounded by people who will take you off the path you are walking down. There are constant distractions trying to sidetrack you. So you say no to going out Friday night with your girlfriends because want they want to do isn’t in line with anything that you wrote down your perfect mate would want to do.
Remember that you wrote down that your perfect partner loves to line dance in country western bars. You’ve always wanted to try it out because it looks like fun. You never have because you don’t know anyone who would go with you. So you’ve never gone. So focusing on making changes to youself means, you check out some country western bars and find one that has free line dancing lessons. You go to the next lesson and start learning how to line dance.
Just keep making these small changes to how you live your life in line with the values that you say you want in your life. Step by step you become the perfect person for the perfect mate you are wanting to attract into your life. You focus on what matters and let go of the rest.
Keeping in line with attracting that perfect mate, you’ve now went through all of your closets and dresser drawers and have space allocated to that perfect mate to use. You are ready – now those dormant forces are going to align to collaborate and transform your dream into reality. There are so many wonderful stories out there about men and woman who have done this and attracted their perfect mate.
You can use this process to achieve every single dream you have. You make the changes in your life that are necessary to create the space for your dream to come true. Feel right now, how you imagine you will feel then. Bring those emotions into your reality today. Life the life today, that you have been projecting into your future.
“Stay focused on your goals, your peace, and your happiness. Don’t waste your time on anything that doesn’t contribute to your growth.” – ihearts143Qutoes
Sometimes simple things are the hardest concepts to put into action. Anne Frank is quoted as saying, “Whoever is happy will make others happy too”. Such a simple yet profound statement coming from a young girl who was in hiding from the Nazi’s makes it even more impactful.
I really love the days when I wake up happy and feeling like this is going to be a good day. For me, it’s kind of a bouncy energy, light and airy. Have you ever felt that way? I’ve even used the analogy of the energy being like a balloon. I feel like I am filled with a bouyancy that will allow me to fly through my day with no obstacles. Then someone comes along, who is filled with negative energy. Their balloon doesn’t lift up, but instead drags on the ground. The negative energy is contagious and loves to come along and pop others balloons. Just a simple statement coming from someone shooting out negative energy can steal your happiness in a moment.
About 10 years ago I received a promotion that I had been working for all of my life. When my then boss called me into his office and delivered the good news it came with a caveat. He said, “It doesn’t come with a raise and it doesn’t really mean anything. Title’s are pretty worthless.” Talk about taking out all of the positive energy in the room – he gave me this beautiful balloon and then immediately popped it. He made me feel like what I had worked so hard for all of those years was meaningless. The goals I had set from highschool for myself were meaningless.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading around how managers are becoming more like coaches than bosses. This past year, I received my “Inner MBA” which is a MBA course from NYU in being a Compassionate, Resilient, Mindfulness Leader. I am also getting certified in Positive Psychology. I think that both of these courses have really expanded my view of how one negative person in your personal life, or work life – can negatively impact not only your relationship with them, it also muddies the water of every other relationship you have.
“Neurologist claim that every time you resist acting on anger, you’re actually rewiring your brain to be calmer and more loving.” – Positive Energy Quotes
Everything that I read about the energy field that we have as humans, reflects that it is like a magnet and positive attracts to positive. One of my favorite philosopher’s is Jim Rohn. He had this way of making everything so simple. When I lived outside of Los Angeles, I would listen to his recordings on my commute back and forth to work. California drivers can be pretty aggressive. Jim talked about how you can shift your mind to not allow others to pop your balloon of positive energy.
So when someone cut me off or was driving aggressively, I started to practice what he talked about. My immediate first reaction was anger. I wasn’t an aggressive driver, so I wouldn’t try to cut off the bad driver in revenge. But it would pop my balloon of positive energy and drain it completely dry. So part of my practice was to catch myself letting someone else drain my positive energy. It took a few weeks, but I got to the space where I was able to be grateful they were in front of my car – their cutting me off was saving me being rear-ended by them when they couldn’t stop fast enough. I would actually say out loud, “thank you for getting in front of me”.
You can apply this to anyone in your work or home life that constantly has negative energy. In your mind you can practice the Jedi mind trick – “I’m not the person you are looking for. You can go about your business. Move along, nothing to see here”. Send them on their way, being happy that you were able to keep your balloon flying high.
Just as negative energy is catching, so is positive energy. Have you ever been in a creative space with others and seen this happen? It’s like the idea that one person generates takes on a life of its own and touches each person in the group. They take the idea and reshape it. Expand it. Evolve it into the perfect thing that is needed to move the project forward. It is a Eureka!! moment. It’s like everyone in the group is holding on to a large number of balloons of positive kenetic energy.
“Vibrate so high that toxic people if your life fall back, because they no longer know how to approach you.” – Unknown
When you get into this space of positive energy generating a field around you, those people in your work and home life just stop coming around. They don’t understand you. They even have a term for you, being a “Pollyana”. Pollyana had a game she called the glad game. So take it as a complement and keep shining out your brilliant light of positivity.
“The game was just to find something about which to be glad about, no matter what it was…, you see, when you’re hunting for the good things, you sorta forget about the other kind.” Pollyana
They can’t relate to someone who refuses to enter into the drama that they create. You never have to get rid of those relationships. When you keep that positive field generating around you, they will stay away themselves. It is sort of like a repellant, and they consciously don’t even realize that they are avoiding you. You just have to stay close to those with a positive energy, people and places that make you feel glad to be alive.
Like most things that I talk about, this is all about doing the work on the inside. You have choices every moment in your life to let someone into your energetic space or keep them out. It takes work and time to learn, but it is so worth it. Instead of having your mood reflect everyone else’s day, it can begin to reflect what you have personally chosen to accept. When someone comes into your space with a low frequency, negative vibration, choose to energetically push them on their way. “This is not the droid you are looking for. Move along.”
Right from the moment you are born, you are taught to pay more attention to what others expect of you, and to ignore your own wants and needs. You are taught to be “unselfish” and put the needs and wants of others before your own. As a child were you constantly being compared to others?
Or maybe it was the opposite and you were really talented, got good grades, outshined others. Did you feel peer pressure to be less than you were capable of being? Did your friends or siblings make you feel bad because they couldn’t or just didn’t want to put in the effort to excel – and they wanted you to be the same way?
Most schools have the cliques – and the “nerds” were never treated the same as the “jocks”. Comparisons start at an early age and seem to follow us throughout our lives. If you spend all of your time trying to live up to, or down to others expectations, it can feel like you’re in an ocean surrounded by sharks. They surround you just waiting until you can no longer keep your head above water.
“In therapy I have learned the importance of keeping spiritual life and professional life balanced. I need to regain my balance” – Tiger Woods
I thought that these quotes by Tiger Woods really revealed how from a young age he had spent most of his life, first living up to his fathers expectations, later coaches expectations, and then the expectations of his fan base. It can cause you to become extremely imbalanced between your career and the rest of your life (relationships with spouse, children, your health, your spiritual life…, etc).
Part of what you have to do is to back off from living up to others expectations, and take the time to consider who you really are or what you really need. Especially when you are in sports or some other field of entertainment, you can get so caught up in thinking that you are only the “golfer” or the “basketball player”. Christopher Reeves became known as superman, a sterotype that became his public and private persona. The truth is, that you are more than just whatever talent you might posses. If the ability to play golf, or basketball, or play the part of a superhero goes away, you are still the same person.
You need to stop ignoring the calls of your soul/spirit or heart. You do not have to stop being who you really are inside, in order to fit into the expectations of the world. Choose to listen to your soul. Listen to the deepest needs of your heart. Choose to be free of the shackles of others expectations.
“To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are You Committed, or are you not?” – Lebron James
As a mom, you can feel incredible pressure to be “super woman”. To hold down a fulltime job, and be a fulltime mom, and the sexy wife. To have the perfect children who are the best at whatever they do. To drive the kids to sports, to music lessons, to every extraculricular activity. To have a spotless house with nothing out of place. You create the weight of mountains on your shoulders and push yourself to always be doing, doing, doing. Until that day you drop dead of exhaustion.
“20 things that women should stop wearing after the age of 30: #1-20: The weight of other people’s expectations and judgments.” – Maura Quint
As a dad, you can feel incredible pressure to work 80 hours a week to meet the ever upward constantly changing goals. To convince your boss, that you are ready to take on more responsibility, you feel that you have to work longer and longer hours. To be the last person to leave at night and the first person into the office in the morning. They may even joke that you must sleep at work. I always remember this line in the movie “Baby Boom” where the boss says something like “he doesn’t remember how many grandkids he has, but he knows to the cent how much money the company makes on a daily basis”. So many men fall into the trap of working so many hours to get ahead in their career, that their family suffers from them never being around.
“Expectation feeds frustration. It is an unhealthy attachment to people, things, and outcomes we wish we could control; but don’t” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
You are not supposed to live your life meeting the expectations of others. You are supposed to define your own individuality. To be your own unique person. To follow your own path. To choose your own adventure and strike out on the road less traveled. Be extraordinary instead of the rat in the maze trying to find the same piece of cheese. You are the person who gets to choose what matters and what doesn’t. The meaning of your life is whatever you want it to mean. It’s the meaning that you give to it that makes it your life.
“The secret to happiness and peace is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and making the best of it.” – Marcandangel
As you leave behind the expectations of others to discover who you are and what’s important to you – remember to allow the same for others that you love. When you live your life according to who you are, and don’t put the weight of expectations on others on how they should live their lives, you create the space to be happy. You no longer feel disappointed because you “failed” to live up to the expectations of others – and, you are not disappointed by the actions of others not meeting your own expectations. You learn to live in the world of “what is” instead of “what it should be”.
“No more expectations. Just gonna go with the flow and whatever happens, happens”.
Going back to what Tiger Woods said, achieving some kind of “balance” in your life is what is important. Living according to who you are, and not putting pressure on others to meet your expectations doesn’t mean “whatever happens, happens”. It doesn’t mean that you don’t try to do better, and be better. It doesn’t mean that you stop trying to rise to your full potential in your life. It means that you have a good working balance between taking care of your family, and yourself – which includes your emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual good health.
I thought that this quote from Stephen Hawking was so spot on. He said, “When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one, really appreciates everything one does have.” Sometimes you have something happen in your life that changes everything. Maybe you get a medical diagnosis of ALS like Stephen. What you thought was important suddenly isn’t. You are just happy that you are still alive. You experience a freedom, that sort of says – ok, I am in the basement, the bottom of what’s possible. Anything I achieve from now on is good, great, and better than anyone thought it could be. Just think of everything that Stephen Hawkins accomplished from that space of “zero”.
So free yourself from the expectations of what others expect from you. Get still and start from zero –
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking
Have you ever felt lost? That feeling that says you don’t know how you got to this place in your life. That fear that eats at your soul, causing the “fight, flight, or freeze” to send you literally fleeing into the darkness, with no idea where you are, or where you are going. You have no idea how to extract yourself from the situation that you have somehow blindly created. My visual mind sees the proverb of “painting yourself into a corner”.
‘All progress starts by telling the truth.’ – Dan Sullivan.
If you don’t take the time to listen your inner voice that is what happens. You get lost in the maze of unconscious decisions. You come to a dead end, but can’t remember the left and right turns you made. Unconscious decisions are almost always made from the inner child, who is trying to protect you. Unfortunately the inner child is under the “illusion of knowledge”. What you understood about life at 4 or 5 years old; or 10 or 11 years old; or even 18 or 19 years old; that knowledge doesn’t compare to what you understand at 30, 40, 50, or even 60 years old.
These unconscious decisions are made from the “illusion of knowledge” in which you use the same old childish ways of thinking to make decisions that are incomplete, incorrect, or even self-sabotaging and paint you into a corner. All progress begins with you being honest with yourself. Becoming self aware.
When you wake up to who you are, you become more self aware. Every experience in your life is contained within you. Some parts of those experiences, instead of being healed were judged and rejected as being wrong. They were pushed into the shadows to be hidden. When you begin the process of integrating the pieces of you that you have named as shadows, you begin the process of healing those judgments. Those experiences are not broken pieces of you. They are just mislabeled. Healing them means that you are alive.
What you do with your life from this moment of truth is so important. It is part of the self discovery of who you are. For me, I identify with being a life long learner. Of seeing the connections to everything and everyone in my life. Of being strategic in following my decisions on life’s chess board as far as I can and then making the best decision I can see. I know that many times these decisions will not be the best, but I have left off judging them as shadows. I do the best I can in that moment – and that whatever happens will just create a new learning opportunity. I try my best to remain open to the fact that the “truths” I know today can be changed by the experiences of tomorrow.
I love the analogy of a rainbow. You might think of the primary colors as being the colors of the rainbow. But it is actually the combinations of those colors in millions of shades that make up who you are in this moment. No one else has your colors in the shades and combinations that make up who you are. Don’t reject your colors. Build your own life from those colors, taking in others perspectives and keeping what resonates with you and leaving what doesn’t behind.
Watching my grandkids grow up, I have seen things about my own life, that I never thought about before. In my own childhood I came into adult responsibilities at grade school. I stepped in trying to be the perfect little girl that picked up all of the pieces of motherhood that my mom was dropping or abandoning in living her life. I got breakfast for everyone, made sure they got to school, helped with homework, cleaning the house, and so on. I missed so much of the “fun playtime” of being a little girl, but of course I didn’t know that at the time. I thought how I was being raised was normal.
There were a lot of things I did different in raising my own children, but at the same time my mom still peaked out in what I said and did. I think that for most of us, that is a true statement. There were a lot of great things in how my mom raised us. Almost ahead of her time she had no filters or judgments based on a persons race or sexual preference. For her, it was all about who you were at a soul level.
“The wild woman NEVER FADES, she is constantly shaking loose everything that is not pure soul…,” – Shikoba
When I look at my grandkids I see the “wild soul” in its pure existence. Like my mom and even myself, I see my own children try to tame that spirit in my grandkids. They try to break it up into things you don’t say, how you don’t act in a certain way. I don’t think that the “children should be seen and not heard” way of raising kids is very prevalent today, but I do think that the practice of filters is still hammered into our children.
It teaches them to filter out their inner truth, their honesty about how they are feeling, and instead speak about a filtered, watered down truth so that they don’t go against the rules. Then as adults you have to awaken once again to those truths. To be honest in what you think. To shake off the shackles, the masks, and become once again fully alive.
Most of the time you are not awakened gently. You are awakened by the betrayal of a friend or loved one. You are awakened by loss. You lose a job, a significant other, a divorce, a death of someone close to you. Sometimes it comes from the violence of someone who is supposed to love and take care of you. Sometimes it comes from finally admitting you have an addiction that is destroying your life.
With each challenge to awaken, you grow. You get stronger mentally. Your emotional turmoil, from floundering to find your way, creates a muscle of resilience that helps you bounce back again and again. You learn to give a voice to everything inside of you. You grab hold of that wild spirit that has been trounced on and beaten into submission. You free it, letting it breathe in the freedom of expression in your own unique voice.
“They are scared of women like you. Women with hearts big enough to house a suitcase full of pain, women with laughs so therapeutic they can heal wounds, women with a passion fierce enough to start wildfires. They are scared of what they can’t tame or understand” – The Inner Voice
Each awakening starts a new journey of self discovery. You go back to the beginning and start releasing everything that no longer serves who you are becoming. You let go of the pain. You let go of the victimhood. You let go of the judgments against those who failed you when you needed them most. All of the feelings of abandonment, betrayal, hurts both physical and emotional. You let it all go. It no longer matters to the new person you are becoming. It’s all “water under the bridge”, gone and never to return.
Waking up is not for the faint hearted. Self Awareness is like picking at the scabs and scars to dig down beneath and dig out all of the roots of feelings and emotions that never served you. You begin to see a new life path forward. A path of freedom from the past. The chaos never leaves, because it is within that chaos that growth happens.
The chaos becomes the road sign for a new adventure. For a new journey to uncover more of your “wild soul”. The chaos is the preview of “coming attractions”. It makes your heart beat faster. It slips in the joy of showing the world another piece of your magic. It is the process of learning to know and accept yourself on all levels.
“Within her soul a seed of resilience was planted. Even in the darkness she knew that as long as she kept reaching up towards the light she would grow.” muses from a mystic
When you focus on personal growth and self awareness, you experience life on a whole new level. Your life becomes filled with peace, love, joy, passion and fun – all within the chaos container you have built. You see how to structure your life, design your life – all on your own rules. You have the potential to make your life be anything you want.
It’s time to step out from the stories of who you are. To grow instead that “wild soul”, and start creating the story of how you want your life to be. Acknowledge and free yourself from the past. Heal the present. Listen to your inner voice. Refuse to surrender who you are, to what others want you to be. Love yourself, your body, mind, and spirit -celebrate it. Surround yourself with other “wild souls”. Write out your own story and dance it into life.
Listening to internal guidance can be very hard to do when life is stressing you out. The noise of the chaos around you drowns out that inner voice. Everyone will have an opinion on what needs to be done. People will freely tell you how to live your life, what choices you should be making. They will show up, try to convince you, dazzle you, and intimidate you.
The first thing to do is to drop resistance to what is happening. “It is what it is”. When you stop fighting against it, you find the ability to cope with what is. You lose a loved one, it can’t be changed. Your employer lets you go, it is what it is. Coping can only begin after acceptance of what is. Since you can’t change it, stop pushing back.
Glennon Doyle in her book Love Warrior said: “I have met myself, and I am going to care for her fiercely.” She outlines phases that we go through in life. The typical hero journey where life is good, then tragedy happens, and then we find our way out. In the process we make discoveries about who we are, and we make changes in how we show up in life.
At this moment in time the whole world is in a unique place. The whole world has been going through a massive hero’s journey. It began at the beginning of 2020.
STAGE ONE: LATE STATUS QUO (pre Covid)
You are living in your comfort zone and life is rolling along. You might be hitting a few speed bumps once in awhile, but on the whole, life is good.
STAGE TWO: FOREIGN ELEMENT (Covid)
…Bam! An unexpected event occurs. The foreign element of Covid instantly and urgently, changes everything. Your entire life is turned upside down. And it’s not just you. It is happening to everyone around you too. From normal minor things such as getting groceries, to something more major such as the kids being home-schooled. If you’re lucky you’re working from home, if not you may have been furloughed or laid off from work. You’re required to wear a mask everywhere. You’re told to shelter at home.
STAGE THREE: CHAOS
You may have thought at first that this would be a very temporary situation. Maybe a couple of months. But instead those couple of months go past a year, and you find yourself entering into a weird “new normal”. Then just when you have adjusted to this new normal, it happens again. Your kids are going back to school – but what does that look like? Is it safe? Your job is calling you back to fulltime in the office, but you like working from home fulltime. You feel like you get a lot more done each day, and who needs that commute? Plus now you can be home when the kids get home from school. Just the thought of going back to that old daily commute puts your stomach in a meat grinder. Or maybe you want to have the ability to do both, having one or two days in the office and 3 or 4 days at home.
The world has changed and what you thought you knew cries out for reexamination. What you’d hoped for, planned for, or predicted before Covid has changed. It may no longer be possible or even desired. You need to figure out what really matters to you. This is not a pleasant process because it is filled with so much uncertainty, both for you, your family, and your employer. But if you just take the time to do the work, it will get you somewhere important. The feeling of being in this chaos phase can be likened to taking a car engine apart – there can be confusion as to what is wrong, what needs to be replaced. But if you work through the process of clearing up the confusion, you can make some really important and life changing discoveries.
STAGE FOUR: TRANSFORMING IDEA
STAGE FIVE: INTEGRATION AND PRACTICE
This is the stage where you try out those new ideas from your epiphany. Your employer insists on everyone coming back to the office fulltime. You suggest a hybrid workplace. You have done the research and have the data to support your idea. Maybe it just starts out with coming back to work in the office every other day; two days a week or three days a week. Suggest that in 30 or 60 days you both reexamine how it is working out. You follow other companies and what they are doing. You discover some best practices to implement. You generate and discard several ways of transforming the workplace until you find the one that fits your workplace culture.
This same concept works for any new ideas you want to implement in your life.
STAGE SIX: NEW STATUS QUO
This happens when your breaking outside of the comfort zone shifts into the new comfort zone, the “new normal”.
STAGE SEVEN: START DESIGNING YOUR LIFE
Pick a regular time several times a year, in which you can take out those kaleidoscope “eyes” and start to DESIGN and prepare for A NEW ADVENTURE.
You can be pro-active. You can choose how the stage resets. Your washing machine has more than just one cycle. Instead of waiting for the foreign elements to bring in chaos, you can choose to start the process of enlarging your comfort zone now. Be pro-active. Instead of just imagining what you want to do someday, “I’ll finally write that book” or “I’ll finally travel to a foreign land” or whatever you always say your going to do someday. You still won’t have the time, the money, or whatever you think that you are lacking in this moment when someday comes. You just have to go within and shift to stage four and start transforming your idea to make it happen today.
While it is always good to know your limits – it is never good to accept them at face value.
Your current limit is just that – a current limit. There are so many ways to exceed those limits. It may mean leaning a new skill. It may mean using leverage to get around it. When the Apollo mission had to figure out a way back home, the scientists took an inventory of everything they had and figured out a way to make something they didn’t have.
Water is another great analogy. In order to get around obstacles, it can use the power of a rushing flood to break apart an obstacle. It can freeze up and expand thereby crushing an obstacle. It can flow deep within the surrounding area to get under an obstacle. It can be fog, rain, hail, sleet and snow. It can work with the wind in a hurricane. Knowing your limits means thinking outside of the box to discover a way around or through the limitation and still be able to achieve the desired results.
Be like water. Be magical. Design something new and wonderful.
“You can’t tame the spirit of someone who has magic in their veins.” – SageGoddess.com
When was the last time you did something that was both scary and exciting? When was the last time you felt that mix in your stomach that said simultaneously, “No don’t do it?” and “Come on lets make this happen“?
“Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt
What if doing one thing that scares you, was on your “to do” list every day?
What else would you put on this list? What pops into your head?
How many days would you push that scary thing, to the next day on your “to do” list? 1 day, 2 days or everyday?
How many things have you thought about trying, but put off or backed away from? How many things have you been scared to even try?
If you did try and failed, did you quit?
If you tried to surf once and fell off the board, did you say – “Forget it, I will never be able to do this?” The odds of being able to surf on the very first try are so high I couldn’t even type out the number. To learn to surf, you try and learn something. Then you repeat it over and over, wave after wave, until you have learned enough to stand up on the board and ride it into the shore. And even when you are an expert, one thing you know for sure – you are still going to fall off the board.
Using your imagination, would you be able to put a new or scary thing to try on the list every day for a month?
If you never try, you won’t know what you can do. I don’t believe that anyone really lives up to their full potential. You are capable of so many things that you won’t ever think of to try. When my mom was in a early 50’s her best friend talked her into a art class. My mom didn’t believe she could draw or paint and I don’t think beyond school drawings she ever tried. But her best friend had started painting porcelain tea cups and wanted to get better at it, so she convinced my mom to sign up for the class just because she didn’t want to do it alone.
A funny thing happened. My mom painted this amazing forest scene that I have hanging up in my living room. Her first painting revealed an unknown talent. She would have never known if her best friend hadn’t twisted her arm to sign up for the class. If you never try, you won’t get to feel that satisfying feeling of breaking out of your patterns and doing something amazing.
The funny thing about comfort zones is that they are very static. You have a routine that you follow, day in and day out. You punch the clock in the morning when you get up, and then you punch the clock at night when you go to bed. I remember years ago I worked with a firm that bought failing healthcare businesses and turned them around. On the bottom floor of our building was a TGIFridays. Every day the President of the company placed the same exact order for a sandwich. He never tried anything else on the menu. I always thought how boring.
I love to try something different when I order food in a restaurant. Something I don’t know how to cook. There are so many amazing cultural foods out there. Even in the U.S. they don’t make things the same way in the South as they do in Texas, as they do in California, or the Pacific Northwest, or Duluth, or NYC.
The thing is – unless we break out of the comfort zone, we can’t grow to a new level in life.
“A ship is always safe at the shore but that is not what is was built for” – Albert Einstein
This week, make a list of things outside of your comfort zone. Pick something that could become a hobby that you’ve never tried to do, something with your hands that engages your creative powers. Pick something that could build your confidence and courage to grow that comfort zone just a little wider, a little longer. For my mom it was an art class. It doesn’t have to be something terrifying. It could be something that you always wanted to do but are scared to try. It could be something you don’t think you can do, like painting, sculpting, woodworking, or even knitting.
If you want to go skydiving, maybe the first step is a hot air balloon ride. It gets you up in the air and grows your courage just a little bit. Maybe the next step is just going up in the plane and seeing everyone else take that leap out into nothing.
Sir Edmund Hillary is famous for climbing Mt. Everest. But that wasn’t his first climb. His first climb was in 1939 ascending Mt. Ollivier. Unless you are a mountain climbing fan or expert you would have never heard of his first climb. It was 1953 when he ascended Mt. Everest. The years between were spent expanding his comfort zone to the point that he could attempt and finally achieve the goal of climbing Mt. Everest.
So start small – pick something that expands your comfort zone and begin growing into your full potential. Each victory or achievement builds upon the courage and confidence to get to the next level. Find your own Mt. Everest and go for it!
“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise up to meet” – William F Halsey Jr