Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tackling big challenges with small actions

"We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.
- Calvin Coolidge, American president

This is a perfect illustration of tackling big challenges with small actions. It also shows the power of focus. There's a growing tendency for people to want to have it all. Not wanting to sacrifice anything, they run themselves straight into the ground--sometimes literally--only to end up frustrated, unhealthy, and tired, with nothing to show for it. What they don't realize is that you can have it all (or close to it). You just can't have it all right now. Does it feel like you're always busy, but you never seem to get anywhere? That's because when you try to do everything, you don't do anything well. Your child may force you to learn this lesson anyway. Instead of living your life all at once, try doing one thing at a time. Choose one goal and, through some small "things" every day, focus in on it until you've succeeded. During the day, put your full mind and efforts on one task at a time. You'll be much more productive (and calm) in the long run. sparkpeople

Spend ten minutes planning that goal and some actions steps. Get a notebook just for your goals. Once you get started, you may not stop at ten minutes, but schedule that ten minutes daily or 4 times a week. That way it doesn't seem intimidating. Then how will you be accountable to yourself for making the time? Get an accountability buddy (a friend you will e-mail to when you've taken a step each week. If they don't hear from you, they'll be asking "What have you done toward ____ this week?"

Often if I say I will exercise for 15 min., if I get started, I have no problem stretching that to 30 minutes. It's getting started. I have a goal to book a vacation for myself to reward the last 3 years of school work and completion of my masters degree. So I've spent 10-15 min. several times a week looking at my options. Once I choose my destination and mode of transport, then I will start rounding up reservations and tickets. Hmmm...Hawaii or a cruise to a tropical island? More on that later!

Like the commercial says -- Just do it! Baby steps will get you there - No action won't.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I did it! I really did it!

Crack out the Yipeee Girl! I finished my comprehensive exam for my master's degree as a reading specialist. If I just use this knowledge in the classroom to be a better reading teacher, it was all worth while. The essence of it is, when I decided to start this journey it was only because the school system was paying the tuition, not because I had an overwhelming desire to go back to school, or learn something new, or even to challenge myself.

As the journey progressed, my mother made her transition, I had to opt out of the first class of the program (this is the one I am taking right now). My marriage went by the wayside the end of that year and I stated the program in January, as a completely bereft person. Taking classes with some of the best women I know kept me sane--forced me to think of something beside my own pain.

The rest is history--I discovered coaching--hired a coach or two--enrolled in coaching school and am now truly living a new life. Coaching others is my way of giving back. I want everyone to know, no matter what you think you know about yourself, there is so much more untapped inside. There are dreams and adventures, days of peace and days of bliss.

Today is a day of bliss-I completed something I never dreamed I wanted, but as the coursework went on, I was learning so much about who I am and can do. A celebration is in order!
Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.

- Sally Koch

You can impact more people than you'll ever know

Too many people sit on the sidelines of life waiting for that one great opportunity or the chance of a lifetime. We seldom realize that while we are waiting, we are missing the small opportunities to make a difference that surround us in our everyday lives. For example, you could pick up the litter on a street that you travel often, help someone carry her groceries to her car, or offer to help a child read a book. Of course, this list could go on and on. Your small action could make all the difference in the world to someone and you may never know it. Don't sit around and wait for the BIG CHANCE because you never of those small opportunities might turn into the next chance of a lifetime.
sparkpeople healthy reflections

Every conversation you have with others is a chance to be the one ray of light in their lives. Calm voice, non-reactionary, impartial witness to their story, encourager, cheerleader, supporter of vision. A smile and eye contact--It's amazing what that will do for someone's heart.

What have you done this week? Do you take the time to look around your surroundings in the hurry of the day? Who is in your immediate vicinity? Do you look at them? No, I mean REALLY look at them? What do you see? How about in the landscape? I've taken to picking up paper towels in the restroom on the floor. I mean how hard is it to put it in the trash? The next person in the door will appreciate it. Maybe the fact that the floor is clean will encourage them to make sure their trash makes it in the bin.

A kind response to an e-mail. We choose how we set the tone in the world. Be the change, be the calm, be the light that brighten the world.

Happy Thanksgiving--I have so much to be greatful for! Hey! You're reading my blog!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taking the Path to Personal Growth

When you stand still, you reject the struggle, and you refuse to change and grow. Ultimately, you reject fulfillment, happiness, the dance for joy and everything else that is eternally good.

- Matthew Kelly, classical actor and game show host

Action is the only way anything ever gets done. Sitting around and waiting for life to happen to you will only guarantee one thing: that you're not going to end up with a life you love. By waiting, you can react to what's tossed your way and nothing more. It's easy to take a passive approach to life without taking chances. It's easy to fall into a rut and do the same things the same way all the time. Change is sometimes hard, but it's change that will reveal all the wonders that life has to offer. You can break out of your set ways by taking action. Try doing the same thing a different way. Jump in with both feet and learn something new. Ask a friend to teach you a skill they're good at. Grow as a person and your world grows with you. (healthy reflection 11/16/08)

Rejecting the struggle--for many years I was an expert at this! I thought I was rejecting what didn't want. Life eventually threw me three hard balls in a row. The last one knocked me out. The only way to get back up was to change. And learning to embrace change saved my sanity.

When I first hired a life coach, he would give me a challenge, and I would reply, "I don't know if this is REALLY what I want to work towards." His reply was, "It doesn't have to be your final goal, but taking any action is better than none. Even if it helps you decide what you don't want to do."

I often felt paralyzed to decide what I wanted and how to get there. Baby steps. When I thought of different options, I began to listen to my intuition. I learned to feel the reaction in my body, and choose the one that would light me up the most.

My second coach helped me think up ways to be accountable to myself. One day she said to me "It's your ___n life! Ask for what you want and need." That became a new mantra for me. It's my ___n life. I get to decide what I want in it! If you have a desire to make changes in your life, it IS possible. Take action now and adjust as you go. Embrace change--Take action--Life is not set in stone--it's ever changing and evolving.

And hey, hire a coach if you need one! They want what you want for yourself and will help YOU take action to get it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Overcoming obstacles one at a time

Fall seven times. Stand up eight.

- Japanese Proverb

Your goals may not come easy. There is no accomplishment without work, and no "win" without something to beat. It's easy to get discouraged when roadblocks appear--in fact, it's only natural. You've invested time and emotion into creating the perfect plan, and then something has to come along and muck it all up. Sometimes, though, all you have to do to beat that barrier is to get back up and move forward again. Obstacles are like the Wizard behind the curtain--they're a lot less intimidating once you see them up close. Next time you take a step back, don't let guilt pile it on top of your previous "stumbles." Just take two steps forward and you're still farther along than you were before. It doesn't matter how many walls you face. You only have to get the better of that last one. healthy reflections

For most of my life I was not one to set goals or intentions. I lived life on a daily basis--reacting to the good and bad, the fear and the doubt. Not much of a way to make progress. Not to say I didn't learn lessons along the way--Boy, did I learn some hard ones!

It wasn't until I had nothing to lose, that I had to guts to start living authentically. First I had to clarify my values. Just what did I stand for? I visualized my future life--perfect in every way and looked backwards. How did I get there? What was I doing? How could I work towards that life now? Working with my coach I started taking some baby steps. I used to cringe when he said take action this week. Often I wasn't sure this action was what I needed to get my ideal life, I was paralyzed by what if this isn't the right way to go, I'll have wasted, time, money,...But eventually I learned-- I'd be one step further along the path. I'd know what I didn't want if it didn't work out. I've graduated to if it scares me I want to try it. Because I know that 9 times out of 10 the wizard behind that curtain isn't as scary as I thought. Baby steps--just do it!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Are you afraid to try or are you afraid to fail?

To swear off mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas.

- Leo Burnett, advertising pioneer

A well-lived life is not for the timid. The world was never meant to be approached with extra caution and fear of making mistakes. Kids know that you have to jump in feet first and be willing to take some lumps on the head if you're going to have any fun. When did we stop trying new things? Why did we stop taking risks? In large part, we're afraid of messing up. We've settled into our comfort zones and don't want to look like a fool to ourselves or others. What's the price we pay for our pursuit of perfection? No growth, no sense of discovery, few real experiences. The sacrifice isn't worth it. Are there points in your life that you wish you could have back because you didn't pursue an idea or a new interest? Those chances are gone forever--but you'll have more in the future to take full advantage of. It's been said that most people don't learn much that's new past their 20s. That's an awful long time to stay stagnant. The only mistake you should be afraid to make is not trying. healthy reflections

Lumps on the head. How many of us learned our lesson afterward or did we require a few more wacks? Jump off the cliff--out of the safety zone--guess what? Sometimes when you jump, you find out that it wasn't such a long way down. It was just an optical illusion. Ya never know unless you try. So go ahead, take that watercolor class, lead a teleconference, or go bowling. want something bigger? Stepping out of the zone may mean saying "No, I can't do that for you right now. Maybe another time.", speaking to your boss about a well deserved raise in a confident manner well thought out reasons why you are so valuable to the company, or start investigating a new line of work, if that is where your heart is. I'm learning, if it's a little exciting and yet a little scary--Try it...You might like it!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Living according to your true values

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.

- John Locke, philosopher

The best intentions matter little if your daily life doesn't reflect those values. How can you make sure that your thoughts and actions match? Good or bad, your values are shaped by your actions just as much as they do the shaping. Actions that are true to your values build a stronger personal foundation that others can see. Why are the memories of our greatest personal and public heroes so powerful and timeless, long after they're gone? They stood for something. They were living, breathing examples of the values they prized. It takes courage, a belief in yourself and strong determination. But it can be done. Do one thing today that shows the world what you believe. Do one thing that you know is right. Do one thing that would make your hero smile.

A huge shift in my life happened when I clarified my values and decided to live in alignment with them. Things I wanted started falling into place. I got more of what I wanted, things seemed to "flow" more easily. My fears about life's uncertainties lessened tremendously. Without fear standing in the way, I was able to ask for what I wanted more easily (not in a "gimme" kind of way), but in a respectful gracious way. Acting from a place of honesty and grace--being the change I wished to see--made me realize that everyone just wants to get their needs met. It doesn't means someone else is right or wrong---more or less. They just are.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Playing to your strengths

If you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses. - Dan Sullivan, business coach

It's tempting isn't it? It's so much easier to see what's wrong with yourself and your life than to take advantage of what's right. The problem is, too much focus on the negative can affect your attitude and opinion of yourself. It's a quick road to burnout. While it's important to pay attention to things you can improve, your best bet for a breakthrough lies in maximizing what you're already good at. The secret is to use those strengths to help boost yourself up where you need the help. What are your major talents? What do you have a special knack for? Set specific goals to improve those talents and don't fret as much about your weak spots. They'll get the extra help they need as you climb higher.

Courtesy of Healthy Reflections

What are your strengths? Mine are flexibility, openness, connection, relationship, honesty, intuitive listening, support, dependability, and perseverance. How did I discover this? At a time in my life when my confidence needed a boost, a coach told me to ask some of my closest friends to tell me what they saw in me as a friend--in other words, my strengths. I then had to believe what they were telling me, so I started noticing when I was BE-ing those traits and told myself--Yes, I am ____ ! Before long I not only began to believe this about myself, but started attracting people into my life who were aligned with who I am. Find your power-Shine your light! (c) 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Beautiful Handmade Soap


Are you looking for something different to put in the stockings this year? Look no further. Kaitlin Eastman produces wumpuswonder soap named after one of her cute little hairless ratties. Help a budding entrepreneur get a business off and running.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The beneficial beauty of selfless acts

Do something for somebody every day for which you don't get paid.

- Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, musicologist, doctor

Al was a smart man. He knew that generous acts benefit everyone, including yourself. The small actions you take now, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can have profound effects that you may never know about. Sometimes, just living as a good example has the power to inspire. Not quite as well-known are the physical and mental benefits that being a positive force can have for you. When you help others, stress decreases and causes less physical harm. Work and athletic performance improve. A positive attitude appears. And the mind is eased as troubles are put in perspective. Doing for others can involve a small gesture (pick up trash, write a note of encouragement, offer to mow your neighbor's lawn) or an ambitious undertaking (volunteer at a neighborhood center, mentor a coworker, work with disadvantaged youth). Make a habit of thinking "What can I do today to make someone's life easier?" healthy reflections

Now sometimes the person you do something for has to be yourself. Remember that you are no good to others if you are worn out and worn down. My gift to myself today is to turn off the computer. Work on my environment (yeah- ok- clean my house) so I'm ready to go to the movies later today. How about you?