At a recent lunch with a long-time friend, we talked about our lives, personal and professional …what is working and what is not….we laugh, we cry, we discuss, we share….we have plans for the short and long term to fix, improve and embrace our lives….

OR NOT……sometimes, we are so lost or deep in the mud of life that we cannot see a plan or way out…..OR we revert back to the actions and plans that worked in the past OR we look to the actions that worked for others or we read in books or see on TV…..

In our discussion, it became clear to me that the plan for my friend going forward at this stage of her life will not look like her plans of the past. They are nice plans, they have worked for her in the past, they have worked for others, they are highly respected etc ….BUT not for my friend at this time in her life…..

She is lost and is depleted of energy. She feels the weight of taking care of family members, being a part of the ever changing client and business landscape, getting older, keeping up with technology, and so it goes….there is also the heavy weight of self expectations….”I should get on the treadmill”, “I should lose weight”, “I should have XX $ in my retirement”, “I should have this figured out by now”. …you get the picture…what she wants NOW is different and yet we revert back to what we think we should be doing, not what we really want or need now.

A great plan will be one that works for my friend NOW, for the next 10 years, not the last 10-20 years….they need to embrace the goals of the next ten years and not the goals of others….they may be baby steps and not one big fix-it move things that will get my friend closer to her goals of the next ten years…

So the desired outcome is different as well as the methods to get there are different…..this is scary and liberating at the same time……my friend left our lunch meeting with a bit more optimism….she has permission and encouragement to take baby steps, to review her assets, to make changes that serve her next 10 years…. and to call me whenever needed.

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I am intrigued by finding joy in my day, my life. If I can add more joy, more moments of sheer happy, I like my day and my life so much better. I can be building the life that meets my objectives in so many ways…more on that later…

So, as part of my building the life I want, I set out to be super aware of when I smile. How often do I smile or laugh without even realizing it. If I can be aware of these moments, I can work to add more of that to my life. I can also realize what makes me spontaneously happy.

I was not surprised by the usual suspects – a touching story on TV, a cute puppy, a great joke among friends. But then there were the surprises….the moments I may be alone or with others where I laughed without borders, where I smiled on end.

Find these moments….your body will tell you what brings your joy in so many ways. When we are aware, we can work to find more of these moments and little by little, be more joyful each day.

 

 

 

January 1! woo hoo! I love this date. Great memories, new beginnings, hope, excitement, promise and opportunity!!

January 1, in my earliest memories, was a time to drive to my aunt’s house, celebrate her birthday, watch reruns of the Rose Parade, eat the last of the Dutch Christmas goodies and visit with cousins.

As I got older, it was a time to create resolutions. Time to create a list of one to many things to change, to become a better person in some way. Even the performance plans at work start with calendar year. I started on January 1 and made progress on these things in many years. But the list did not change than much from year to year.

I still love January 1. It is a time of hope, of starting over, of making a change to improve in some way. However, the focus is changing for me. It is not just a list of things to do, to cross off the list. It is about creating and enhancing my life. It is about looking at the desired outcome rather than the specific actions or things to do. How can I enjoy each day? how can I ensure I laugh each day, experience more joy? impact more lives? learn something new each day? Having this focus allows the things I do to change from time to time. It allows me to incorporate actions that make a difference and encourages me to make real change, not just a list of things to do.

Whatever you want to do, whatever you want to feel, now is a great time to assess, listen and take action. Use January 1 as your new beginning, make a list of things OR assess what outcomes you want by the next January 1. I am committed to making this the best year yet. I wish the same for each of you. Let’s make it happen in 2015!!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year for so many reasons.

1) It is national holiday. We relish the history of the first Thanksgiving dinner and recreate it to whatever tradition is important to us. Many have a 4 day weekend, which seems like a timeout from work and day to day life.
2) There is lots and lots of food. We enjoy the familiar and may try a new recipe from time to time. We may travel to get to a special dinner. And the best dinners have just the right amount of leftovers.
3) Retailers deploy all their marketing strategies to get us to shop with them. Grocery stores have incredible deals. Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official beginning of the holiday shopping season. I find this so interesting to see what is offered, who is offering, and how people are responding to each offer. The frenzy, excitement and anxiety amazes me…and yet, I find myself getting swept into some of it.
4) It is the official beginning of the holiday season. Time to decorate, plan and/or attend parties, shop, ship, have those special lunches and dinners with friends you only see once a year, send cards or letters. Each year, I decide what level of holiday activity I want/need to do. I gave up doing all of it every year a long time ago.
5) I also take the time of this Thanksgiving break to reflect on the year that was and the year to come. 2013 has been quite a year for me and so many around me. I am so thankful for the journey of this year and excited for 2014. It is amazing to me how much can happen in less than one year. With the support of so many friends, family and partners, the past few months have resulted in a rebirth on many levels.

Thanksgiving 2013 is here…enjoy your traditions, your time, your family and/or friends. It is our national timeout…make the most of it!!

Fall has arrived in Arizona and I am thrilled. The season is a time to celebrate so many things, including cooler days, fabulous sunsets and sunrises and the entrance to the winter holiday festivities. Fall is a time get out of the house, to take a walk, to breathe the cooler air and enjoy the outdoors a bit more.

I also use this time to plan my holiday strategy. What do I want to do this year for Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. Without a plan, I find the holidays have passed me by and I did not get to do some of the traditional things I like to do. So some years, I bake a lot, or decorate like Martha Stewart or have elaborate parties or try  new recipes or decoration ideas …and some years I scale it back a bit. The idea is to prepare and ensure I enjoy myself and not go crazy in the midst of it all..

What other goals and actions do I want to accomplish by the end of the year? This applies to my personal, physical and business sides of things… now is the time to review, revise and get it done.

So let the fall festivities begin…enjoy each day…make them count!!

It’s halftime 2013 style. The game is half over, the players are in the locker room looking at the score, listening to their coach, strategizing on what to do, what to change, how to win the game. They are taking a break from the game to refuel, rest and restrategize. They listen to their coach, they may give and/or receive feedback from their teammates.

If they are winning, they want to keep the advantage. If they are losing, they want and need to figure out how to change it up, how to win.

The fans are watching the halftime entertainment and hoping their teams come out, recover from their mistakes or capitalize on their strengths and score the win. There are families, friends and foes all wanting some outcome from the game. Not all of these fans want everyone to win. They have favorites too. They have opinions. Some have played the game and want to see you win. Some have always wanted to play but could not for some reason. So it goes in the game of football.

In a professional golf tournament, after two rounds, only the best get to continue to the final two rounds. The best scorers, the top 50% make the cut. They get the chance to win, to continue towards their goal. It did not matter if they won the past 4 or 14 tournaments, only the best golfers in THIS tournament get the chance to come back and compete, another chance to win.

So forgive me for the loose comparison to life and sports….but 2013 is half over. What is the score? Did I make the cut? In football, I can assess, make changes, listen to the coach, take a break, come back stronger and win. In golf, I may or may not get the chance to play the final two rounds and win, to increase my chances of earning some part of the winnings. After two rounds, I can and will assess the course, the conditions, the competition and make changes to optimize my potential to lead, to win.

I spent the first week of July 2013 taking a break from the usual routine. I left town, golfed a few rounds, shopped a few new places, ate some great meals, enjoyed a different view from my room, took lots of photos, took a few more naps, ran outside in less than 100 degree temps.

Taking a break is always good for me. It allows me to think, to review, to dream, to assess. I start every year with goals, dreams, resolutions and hope you do too. It provides direction and focus to my life. Assessing where I am, what I have accomplished, what I still need and want to do are critical. It also allows me to celebrate what I have accomplished. It is fun and insightful and brutal at the same time.

And then I return to the game, to my life. I complete the second half of the game, I hope I made the cut, and will continue, place well and win…I want to finish strong. I want to win for myself and for my fans. Maybe it will inspire future and potential players that are watching. I cannot control all the elements of life, of the game, but I can assess, redirect and move forward. I know the rules and in some cases, can change the rules. I can redirect my strategy for optimal outcomes.

I have enjoyed the haltime break and am ready to move forward to the second half of 2013. I have made changes to the game plan, to my strategies and plan to finish 2013 strong and enjoy the journey along the way!! I wish the same for all of you!!

 

The June Challenge to ‘do one thing every day that scares me’ has come to end as we run out of days in June to complete the work. However, the lessons, the awareness, the layers of understanding that I have obtained will remain and continue into the coming months and years.

As I worked through this challenge, I began with an extreme awareness of my daily activities. I looked at each little thing in my daily routine. I added and deleted, amended and enhanced, made changes to reach my overall goals for the day and month. This awareness was intense and acute and a bit severe, but it worked to really look at what takes up my day and determine if it supports what I want to accomplish on a day to day, month to month basis. It is easy to get caught up in the requests and needs of others. Over time, my own goals and needs were second or third priority. So this heightened awareness is good thing.

But is this really addressing ‘scary’…that led me to think about what is scary? I felt that this first phase was a bit of pulling on the low hanging fruit and that there was more work to do…that led me to fear. For some, being scared is associated with fear of loss, fear of rejection, fear of failure and so forth. One might be scared to climb a mountain due to fear of falling or getting hurt. One might be scared of making a career change due to fear of failure, fear of acceptance, loss of income. I can also see that once a fear is addressed or noted, it no longer had the same power over me. I can and have made an action plan to address the fear or goal. I have experienced this in my own life on numerous occasions. So, this second layer of awareness was also a great benefit of this June challenge.

The last biggie or gift of this challenge was that scary can be a good thing. It brings about an anticipation of achievement or excitement or some form of happiness. The scary element allows and encourages me to be excited, maybe even a bit breathless about reaching a new goal. Without a bit of fear or scary, it would not challenge me to reach a new goal. I might not be challenged to try new tactics or make new connections or learn a new skill which are needed to grow. This came to me from comments by friends of this blog….so thank you!! You are so right.

Going forward, I will embrace and actively pursue scary activities and goals, adding them to my daily and yearly goals. It is vital for me to maintain the awareness, to acknowledge and face the fears, to grow and be my own continuous improvement project. I realize that it is the pursuit and achievement of the seemingly impossible or unlikely goals that have provided much satisfaction in my life. They have added to the overall joy and laughter and richness of my life. Sometimes I proved to others that I could do something, something the one I had to convince was myself. Life is certainly more rewarding for me due to the scary things I have done and will continue to pursue.

Face and embrace your ‘scary’ goals!!

Week 2 of the June  Challenge…to do something each day that scares me….has uncovered a few more truths for me.  The first week was about creating an awareness of what I do each day…..incorporating easy things to do, things I have been wanting to do and now have tried them and/or incorporated them into my daily life. It was about really be observant of my actions and activities….even my thoughts. In retrospect, it seems like low hanging fruit, easy to do things and not really getting to the real scary, the real nail-biting sort of things that the advice or quote was intended to accomplish.

So I spent some time really trying to determine what is SCARY? And I determined that scary has an element of fear, related to loss. Some people are scared of the dark, some are scared of flying, some are scared of starting their own business, some are scared of getting married, some are scared of being single. All of these situations have an element of loss. You may die, or be rejected, or lose money or lose a friend or lose an opportunity or be alone.

Or you just might NOT lose and that could be scary in some ways too…..you achieve a goal and now what? I think that is scary for some.

When I think about scary for me, I can come up with a list of things. And while my list is not important to this note, the process of determining what is scary is important. Now that I have this list, I can conquer it one by one…once I identified the scary item, it loses it power over me.

Knowledge and awareness is power..knowing what scares me and why it is important to me is the first step to taking back the power to have the life and results I want and deserve.

For the record, I have identified several scary things for me…one of them is to run a full marathon in 2014….I will keep you posted on my process of accomplishing this big, hairy, scary goal..

The challenge continues….have a great week!!

I have completed the first week of my June Challenge to do one thing every day that scares me. Each day I have made an effort to do something different, to change it up, to try new things. I am finding this to be interesting and insightful for me.

At first, I thought…no problem…but as I reflected on my routine, my day, my actions, I had to work to think of something scary or at least different. This process of really looking at my day has been insightful. It created and encouraged an awareness of what I do and whether I should still do it. It also made me think of things I have always wanted to do and never got around to getting done. I also realized I get into a comfort zone of doing the same things at the same time in the same way. I shudder to think that I am that boring or predictable.

I also had to define scary. I was not ready and do not think I needed to jump off mountains without a safety net or eat uncooked meat or anything weird like that..so for now, scary is defined as something different. Since it takes me out of this stealth comfort zone that I have created, that could be scary in some ways. It could be something I have been wanting to do or something that interests me or something to help me think or view a situation from another point of view.

So for the first week, I did little things. On the first day, I had to consiously look at each thing I was doing, decide if I was still going to do that and then work to incorporate a new activity. Some days it was as simple as eating popcorn with my left hand. I listened to a new/different radio station on the my drive to work. I tried a new recipe. I ran a new route in my neighborhood. I listened to an audiobook rather than listen to the radio. I then reversed my running route. I golfed at new course, using a club that I rarely use. I attended a launch of a network TV Show by Kandi Lee. I sat in a different chair at the office and at home.

Now I will acknowledge that these actions are not really scary. I took the challenge to see what would happen, what changes I would see, what changes I would want to keep…what would it do, how could it improve me or move me forward? does it matter to challenge myself?

So far, I can tell you that I eat slower and have seen the world with a different lens. I am more observant and aware of how I see things, how I act, how I plan my day, how I spend my time. I have also expanded my recipes and radio selections. It will help me from getting stale, to see more options. I think this will help me be more creative and see more possibilities for me and others.

So the challenge continues. I will continue this exercise of expanding my views, actions and results. I look forward to your insights and comments.

It is time for a new challenge for me.

Just last week, I completed my 10th half marathon. It was a terrific experience once again, filled with internal debate, delicious dilemma, aches, pains, inspiring moments, beautiful sights and ultimate success. I will write more on this at a later post. This challenge of running half marathons has been fulfilled and now folks are telling me I could run a full marathon…..really?!?

Challenges are a way to stretch, to reach new goals, to do things you never thought you could do. They also help you focus on what you want to do and not get caught up in the day to day activities. Challenges are also seen as goals to some folks. For me, a goal is something you work towards and achieve with a plan. Challenges are similar, but stretch your brain and body to do things you did not think you could do for some reason.

So for this month, starting June 10, I am embarking on a challenge that I have recommended to others…Do One Thing That Scares you…..I read this on a coffee cup as a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. My goal is to do this every day for the rest of June….I will post my findings and learnings on this blog. I invite each of you to join me in this endeavor. Track your challenge….do it daily or once a week, whatever works for you. Observe what you choose as challenge and/or what scares you and what you did about it. How did you feel? What change did it make for you?

I will do the same. I look forward to hearing from you. I also look forward to seeing/feeling what this does for me.

Enjoy each moment!!