Bravery

When you approach your present state through the lens of your future dream, taking action isn’t scary, it is simply the next logical step.

I recently had a client who is just getting started building her dream business. She has all the tools she needs for success, she is developing a following and she knows exactly how she wants the business to grow and progress. The problem? She still has a successful, prestigious full-time job that pays the bills. She is straddling both worlds and desperately trying to keep her “side gig” a secret. She is constantly worried that her current employer will discover her secret and she will get into trouble or get fired. So she keeps playing small. Keeping her side business under wraps and limiting its growth. She is not taking the actions she knows she would need to take to move things to the next level. She is consciously sabotaging herself.

When I work with clients in the space, I take a journey with them into their dream. When we project ourselves into our future self, into the person living the dream, we gain clarity for our present self. When you imagine yourself living your future best life, you can unwind that success and evaluate the steps that you would need to take at each point along the way. You can slip into the thoughts that created the confidence that moved you to that place of success.

That exercise allowed my client to see that her path to success would require her to be bold. To be afraid of the consequences but to take the actions anyway. Her future self would tell her to stop playing small. Her future self would tell her that she built her success by taking action toward her dream despite the risks and despite the fear.

We must approach every day as a page in our success story. When you look at you dream and your path to achieving that dream, where does today fit? Where does next week or next month fit? What steps were you taking at this stage of the journey?

We all have fears that are keeping us stuck—that convince us that we should play small. Consider the impact those choices are having on your ultimate dream?

Is your dream worth being afraid but experiencing the fear and doing it away?

Achieving our dreams is not easy. It is not without fear and personal risk. That is why so many of us relegate our lives to playing it small. If you could have a chat with your future dream self, what advice would you give yourself today? I suspect that advice would be simple:

Be. Brave.

Take the next steps in your adventure. Let me coach you toward your dream.

Jealousy

“There are two types of pains – one that hurts you and one that changes you.”

Jealousy is such an unpleasant emotion. It communicates to us that we are losing at this game of life. That someone is getting something better than we are getting. That the hand we were dealt is less than. It’s not fair.

All of those thoughts that drive the feeling of jealousy set us on a path of bitterness and anger. The actions that result from those types feelings serve only to confirm that we are, in fact, lacking in some way.

When you think I wish I had their life, why can’t I have their luck, why don’t those things ever happen to me, we lash out at the people around us, we show up to our jobs and relationships disappointed and wanting them to be different. We disconnect, we do the bare minimum, we don’t take actions that would generate success or create the life we wish we had and think we deserve. The net result is that we create a life that is not what we would like it to be. Simply by carrying those thoughts around, we set ourselves up to fail. We create a life that is less than.

The actions that will create the life we want, the type of life we are JEALOUS of, will not be created from a place of anger, jealousy, and bitterness about your current state. You must shift away from thoughts of jealousy if you truly want to create the life of your dreams.

Instead of looking to the lives of others and being jealous about their accomplishments or possessions, why not look to others as sources of inspiration. If they can do it, I can do it. I could do something like that. I am lucky to have someone like that in my life to inspire me and who can provide me with support to achieve the same thing. From those thoughts, we can generate feelings of hope, motivation and excitement about our future. From that space, we can create anything we want.

The people we encounter in our lives are there for a reason. Rather than seeing people as “more fortunate” that we are, consider what they are in your life to teach you. Maybe they are there to be an example of what’s possible. If so, you are missing a great opportunity and a potential teacher by choosing jealousy.

Clean up your thoughts. Stop being a victim of luck. Get inspired by others and stop indulging in jealousy—it is only delaying the creation of your dream.

Are you ready to take your life to the next level? Work with me and let’s create the life you have been dreaming about.

Failing Hard

Have you ever asked yourself why you aren’t doing something or why you aren’t taking action toward your goals? What I have found is that most people simply are afraid to fail. If you are going on a diet and plan to lose 50 pounds, do you tell your friends? Do you put it on Facebook and declare it to the world? Probably not and here’s why: no one wants their failure to be up for public scrutiny. As humans, we prefer to fail quietly and privately or not fail at all. If we succeed, great, THAT we will shout from the rooftops. But if we keep our failures privately, it’s like it never happened. No unmet expectations of others and no disappointments other than your own. But what is so bad about failure after all?

The fear of failure, the fear of embarrassment, the fear of how we will feel if it all falls apart, is at the heart of it all. Here’s what our friend Merriam-Webster Google has to say about fear:

an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Let’s break this down…

Fear is an “unpleasant emotion” caused by a “belief”. Beliefs are choices we make in our brains based upon thoughts we hold to be true. So fear is an uncomfortable emotion caused by our thoughts. That is all that is holding you back from taking action, from making that move, from leaving your soul-less job. You are letting your brain ruin all the fun.

If you want to lose 50 pounds, don’t let an unpleasant emotion hold you back, don’t be afraid to fail. So what if you fail? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Embarrassment? It’s just a feeling caused by what you are thinking. How you will feel after a failure is driven 100% by what you make that failure mean. We all do it. You set a lofty goal and then when you miss the mark you think “I’m never going to fit into those pants again” or “I’m never going to get promoted” or “Why do I even bother trying.” Ugh those thoughts are dream-killers. You are choosing to think that garbage and it is making you feel terrible.

If you have a lofty goal that you are not pursuing, ask yourself why. What is the worst that could happen? You don’t achieve it? So what? What is it about that failure that is so scary? 99% of the time we are afraid of how we will feel once we fail. We are afraid of feeling disappointed in ourselves. So instead, we put our little dream on the shelf and feel disappointed in ourselves for not trying. Don’t you see that we are already feeling those things we are trying to avoid!? Instead of trying, failing, and feeling disappointed. We are not trying, not failing, and feeling disappointed all the same. People, this is some kind of crazy.

I am challenging you to try and fail, despite the fear. Try and fail and feel those feelings having known that you actually tried. If you’re going to feel crappy you might as well do something first to feel crappy about. Don’t feel crappy about your inaction. You don’t deserve to feel crappy about your situation unless and until you have actually tried and failed.

But let me challenge you even more. I submit that, if you try and fail and continue to try and fail, despite those feelings, you will win every time. Every single time you try and fail, you will develop yourself. You will learn how not  to achieve your goal, you will learn alternative methods to try and achieve your goal. You will learn how to manage those feelings of shame, fear, embarrassment, etc. You may not even have the same goals on the other side of all the trying. I do not believe that someone can try and fail to achieve a goal repeatedly and gain nothing from the process. It’s impossible.

If you are not trying and failing on a regular basis, my guess is that you are already sitting with those ugly feelings you are trying to avoid by preventing failure. If you are not trying and failing at something all the time, I am begging you to examine what it is that is holding you back. Shame? Embarrassment? Those are all just feelings. Driven by your thoughts. Driven by what you are making your “failures” mean! Failure doesn’t have to mean you are hopeless and destined to be unhappy. Failure can mean that you are dedicated to learning and evolving. To challenging yourself and learning to manage your brain. Are your dreams really worth ignoring because you don’t have what it takes to experience uncomfortable emotions? Take that leap.

What is the worst that could happen?

Coach with me and learn the skills to fail forward.

Want More. Fail More

Want more. There is no question mark in the title of this post. This is less a question and more a directive to you: Want more for yourself. Want more for your life.  

If I had a magic wand and told you that I could give you the career of your dreams, would you be interested? What if I told you I would give it to you only if you first promised to fail 10 times trying to do it on your own? Big fails. EPIC fails. All I ask of you is that you try to figure it out on your own 10 times, and fail 10 times. After those 10 tries, it’s yours. Fail ten times and I will waive my magic wand and I will make it so. Would you do that?  

Of course you would. The problem is that we are truly faced with this very offer every single day of our lives and very few of us take the challenge. We are too afraid to fail. We are too caught up in our reptilian brain that says “welp, I hate my boss and I don’t LOVE my job but it pays the bills and life is secure under this cozy little comfort blanket. I am not going to rock the boat, things are fine; this is what it means to be a grown-up.”

Are things fine?

Are you going to be satisfied when you are 80 years old and you look back at that job and that life that were just fine?! What if you were diagnosed with cancer tomorrow and had only one year left to live? Would you keep playing it safe and being fine.  

Fine is such a blasé, gross word. There are so many beautiful words in our vocabulary. If “fine” truly sums up your present state, rest assured, my friend, you are far from fine. I refuse to believe that we were meant to live a life that is “fine.” I believe we were meant to live a life that is exciting and full of highs and lows and all the colors of the rainbow.  We aren’t meant to live in the doldrums.

I want you to live with the old lady version of yourself on your shoulder urging you on, saying, “let’s make this happen, lady, I’m not getting any younger!” 

Years ago I found myself in the middle of a violent and abusive relationship. Drifting through life pretending I was fine despite my deep depression and dark thoughts. You know what finally snapped me out it? What really made me wake up and decide I wasn’t going to live like that anymore? I could not reconcile the person I had become with the person I dreamt of becoming. I looked in the mirror and realized that my 5-year-old self would be disappointed in the woman I had become. Ouch. It broke my heart how far I had strayed from my true north. I wanted more for myself and I had set my little 5-year old heart on a bright future. A future that I was presently squandering. 

I want you to have that wake up moment too. I want you to see the big picture, step out of the race, breathe, and own your space in this world.

What do you want your story to be? What kind of tales do you want to create for your old lady self to recite to her friends in the retirement home over a cup of tea?   What kind of legacy do you want to leave?   Don’t disappoint yourself by living out of tune with your purpose. You never know what news is waiting for you tomorrow.   How do you find that purpose? Coach with me and let’s find out.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Henry Ford.

Your Brain Suffers from Stockholm Syndrome

For starters, let’s just clear up a few things up. As a life coach, I am not asking you to hire me because I have all the answers. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I, my friends, do not have it “all together.”

I have, in fact, shown up to work at a big fancy law firm with my shirt on inside out or having forgotten to do my eye make-up on just my left eye.

Just like all other humans on the face of the planet, I am challenged every day to evolve, to learn, and some days it’s a challenge just to fix my face and be kind.

No, dear readers, I do not have all the answers. If you ever encounter a life coach who tells you that they have the answers, take a mental picture and walk away slowly. Any one who claims to have all the answers is either an enlightened being or a narcissist.

What I can offer you is a ‘how to’ guide to yourself. Did you know that your brain has between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day? I can’t even manage my ABCs if I have “wordy” music playing in the background. It’s a wonder we can get anything done with all those thoughts wandering around up there. But here’s the real deal. Those thoughts are choices. They are not facts, they do not necessarily represent the truth, and they do not just happen to you.

They are things you are choosing to think.

You control them. They are options and you are probably picking the crappy ones. If your thoughts are all choices and can be characterized as truth or falsity, don’t you think we should spend some time looking at those thoughts? I don’t mean the thoughts “that pen is pink” or “the sky is blue”. I am not challenging you to get all red pill, blue pill, matrix-style on me. The thoughts I challenge you to evaluate are those that have an impact on our daily lives. Those thoughts that drive our emotions, even if subtly.

Here’s the truth: your reptilian brain is stuck in a ‘thought routine.’ It is telling you, and you are believing, all sorts of things that aren’t true. And it is all happening without your awareness.

Here are a few of my own wonderful thoughts that required some challenging:

  • my boss has no idea how to manage people
  • my co-worker is a judgmental prick
  • I can’t be a partner and have a family
  • no one else works as hard as I do
  • I am a terrible public speaker and I hate doing it

These types of thoughts often seem like bare naked truth. We like these thoughts, we LIVE these thoughts, we snuggle up with these thoughts at night when we are mad at the world or burying our faces in a gallon of pistachio ice cream. Every time I see that boss at the water fountain, I can just feel the irritation boiling up in me. Inevitably, I end up in a mental argument with him about how incompetent he is and how he’s an energy vampire sucking the enjoyment out of work for all of us who have to work with him. And on and on it goes.

Your brain evolved to keep you safe. Your brain did not evolve to “damn the man”, buck the system or get uncomfortable.

Your brain evolved to keep you in the cave; safe, warm and sheltered from the elements and predators. In order to do big things, you have to experience discomfort, fear, and uncertainty. Those types of actions will require you to either ignore all those thoughts in your head (white knuckle resistance) or develop alternative thoughts.

For example, it’s certainly possible that all of the above thoughts about my career and my boss are widely held and could potentially be proven true in a court of law by a jury of my peers. But couldn’t the following also be true?

  • my boss is doing the best he can with the limited abilities that he has; no one ever taught him how to be a leader
  • my coworker is incredibly insecure and is hard on everyone but especially on himself
  • I can make my career be anything that I want it to be–with or without a family–because, after all, it is my career
  • I go to work and do my best every day. I work diligently and honestly and make myself proud every day and that is all that matters
  • I can learn to be a great pubic speaker

Maybe that boss is doing the best he can. Maybe he knows he isn’t doing a good job and spends all day long stewing about how he is probably going to get fired and then how is he going to support his kids and send them to college?! Is that true? I don’t know. Could it be true? Certainly. Are there things about that boss that you don’t know? Absolutely, 100%.

I’m not saying that you have to see everything and everyone with rose-colored glasses and you most definitely should not delude yourself or lie to yourself about anything. Ever. What I’m saying is that there are good things or unknown things about every person and circumstance in your life. Why not spend your energy thinking about those things instead or, at least, considering their existence? Because, after all, what you are thinking is truly a choice.

The reason this work is so important is because those thoughts elicit feelings that will drive your actions and ultimately your results. Your thoughts are the very root of your feelings, your actions, and your results. Period. Crappy thoughts = Crappy results.

If you spend every day thinking pissy thoughts about your boss, you are going to feel terrible–angry, annoyed, unmotivated. It’s your choice. But why would you choose that?! Do you want to feel angry, annoyed, and unmotivated?

Let’s test this theory. Spend 30 seconds, reading through each of these thoughts and imagining them applying to situation in your life. Sit with those thoughts.

  • my boss has no idea how to manage people
  • my co-worker is a judgmental prick
  • I can’t be a partner and have a family
  • no one else works as hard as I do
  • I am a terrible public speaker and I hate doing it

Now how do you feel? Truly? How are you feeling right now after sitting with those thoughts?

When I read through that set of thoughts and put myself in that head space it make me angry and indignant. I stew about the ‘old boys club’ and I get down on myself and my shortcomings. I certainly don’t feel motivated to do much to advance my career or better my work situation. I feel deflated and hopeless.

How about this — did your brain have a hard time coming up examples of how those thoughts had been true in your life? I doubt it. Your brain is a magical machine and if you give it a task (i.e., a thought) it will get to work coming up with proof to support those thoughts.

Now take a spin through the second set of thoughts and do the same exercise:

  • my boss is doing the best he can with the limited abilities that he has; no one ever taught him how to be a leader
  • my coworker is incredibly insecure and is hard on everyone but especially on himself
  • I can make my career be anything that I want it to be–with or without a family–because, after all, it is my career
  • I go to work and do my best every day. I work diligently and honestly and make myself proud every day and that is all that matters
  • I can learn to be a great pubic speaker

How do you feel? Lighter than before? More open to new possibilities for your career and life? Was your brain able to come up with some semblance of support for these thoughts? When I read through that second set of thoughts and think of them in a way that I can find some kernel of truth in them and believe them, I feel differently. Optimistic. From that space I can make better choices and take actions that are more consistent with my values.

For example, instead of crucifying my boss in my head every day, I could instead think “he is doing the best he can and I know that if I needed time off or needed to vent to him about things, he would be there and he would listen.” Or “I know my boss and I have never seen eye to eye but he would truly be disappointed if I left; he really does want me to succeed.” Those thoughts, even typing those thoughts, makes me feel better about the situation.

Here’s what I am trying to virtually show you…Those thoughts bouncing around up there create your feelings. Feeling upset up about something? Stop and take 30 seconds alone to sit down and write down every freaking thought in your head. Those thoughts are what are making you feel that way. Nothing else. There is no event out there in the world making you feel a certain way and there are no humans on this planet making you feel a certain way. Those feelings are all based upon your thoughts – your CHOICES. Take a long look at all those thoughts you just wrote down–are they all true? Are they things you want to be thinking? Are those choices you feel good about making?

That’s the magic sauce, my friends. If you can gain awareness of your thoughts and how those thoughts impact your feelings and all actions that flow from those feelings, you can change your life.

If that doesn’t click for you, let’s bring Bill Nye into this. Check out the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto and his experiments on how our thoughts and intentions alter the shape and structure of water crystals. For the non-science-y ones of us, Dr. Emoto studied the impact of positive and negative thoughts and how those thoughts impacted water crystallization. Where water was exposed to positive thinking, the water formed beautiful, balanced crystalline structures. In comparison, those exposed to negative thinking or words formed distorted and unshapely crystalline structures. Now consider the fact that up to 60% of our bodies are made of water and our brains and hearts are over 70% water.

If you think those negative thoughts are hurting your boss, think again. They are only hurting you. Literally.

They are physically altering significant portions of your body, especially your brain and your heart. What’s more, those thoughts are creating negative feelings and let’s be honest, negative feelings don’t often inspire us to become employee of the year. So here again, you are only hurting yourself – your boss does not feel those mental jabs you are throwing. We can’t all be Jedi.

My work is founded upon this truth: our thoughts create our feelings which create our actions and ultimately our life. I promise you that I can show you that any action or inaction in your life and your career are being driven by thoughts you might not even be aware of or thoughts that are simply untrue. This not easy work and I am not concerned that I am giving you the keys to the kingdom by telling you all this. This is basic truth that every human should know. I work with my clients to learn the sneaky ways our brains trick us and hold us back. You will be amazed at yourself, I promise you. If it was easy, everyone would do it and everyone would be living their dreams. That is not the case because this stuff is hard. Plain and simple.

Learning the skills to manage your mind and your emotions is a challenge, my friends and I want to teach you how to do it. This is work that will change your life, your relationships, and your career. Join me. Your best life is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. Carl Jung.