To Change Your Life, Change Your Perspective

I was walking along the beach the other day doing what so many of us do—thinking about the things in my life that I want to fix—when I noticed a crooked Christmas tree someone had planted in the sand. The tree was leaning far to the left and had an uneven shape. crooked tree

I wasn’t in the best of moods, so the crooked tree irritated me. I looked away and kept walking. But when I glanced back a few moments later, the tree appeared perfectly straight.

“Got it,” I said out loud, acknowledging the lesson in perspective that I was meant to receive. The tree hadn’t changed, but my vantage point had. Similarly, I needed to shift my perspective on my life.

upright tree

Immediately, I began thinking about my many blessings. And as I did, I began to feel happier, kinder, more of the world and less caught up in myself. I began to see possibilities rather than roadblocks, beauty instead of annoyances—all because I simply chose to be grateful.

Anyone can learn to do this, and it only takes a few minutes. Do it daily and it’ll knock your socks off.

How to Practice Gratitude

  1. At the beginning of each day, list five things for which you’re grateful. This positive start can carry through the day, helping you view challenges as opportunities.
  2. During the day, if there’s a bump in the road, take yourself back to your list. Notice how this feels in your body and how being grateful affects your words and actions.
  3. Just before bedtime, give thanks again for your blessings. You can do this in your head, but I think it’s more powerful to write them down. This end-of-day practice programs your subconscious with positive, empowering images and helps you create more positivity in your life.

If Not Now, When?

begin

Our best selves don’t happen by accident.

Most of us don’t just fall into our dream jobs or instantly have the lives we want. In fact, most people who succeed have been quietly working at it for a very long time. They’ve been making steady progress.

The good news is that success is replicable. By following these three steps, we can each create the lives we want for ourselves:

  • Picture it. Decide what you want to accomplish, and then act as if you’re already there.

    What does it feel like and look like? Imagine a movie of your ideal life playing on a screen and then step into it. Let yourself experience the joy of this new life.

  • Plan it. When you’re in this joyous state, list out the steps you’ll need to take in order to reach your goal. Begin with the end in mind, as the late leadership expert Stephen Covey said.
  • Take intentional action. Take your list of steps and break them into bite-sized tasks, then put each of the tasks onto your calendar.
    The idea here is to keep the tasks small. That way, you’re taking baby steps toward your goal while still managing your day-to-day responsibilities. It’s this steadiness that leads to success.

Whatever you want to accomplish, there is no perfect time to begin. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll reach your goals.

 

 

Unchained

unchained

How would it feel if you gave yourself

permission to reimagine

what you view as true?

 

If you shoved the lead door of “I can’t” open just enough to

get a glimpse of daylight,

to peek at possibilities?

 

If you unchained yourself

from having to be right, and

from doing things the way they’ve

 

always

always

always been done,

 

how could you better

be the person

the world needs you to be?

 

 

 

The Live in Peace Challenge

liveinpeaceWe often use the epitaph “rest in peace” when referring to those who have died. It’s a lovely thought, and one I think we should extend to the living. What if “live in peace” was what we all wanted for ourselves and for others?

Live in Peace

If “live in peace” guided our actions, what changes would we experience in our day-to-day interactions? Imagine:

  • a business negotiation where the intention was to find a solution that benefits everyone and to put goodness into the world
  • a conversation with a loved one where kindness was the starting point
  • a day-to-day interaction—at a restaurant or while commuting, for instance—where your best and kindest self drives your actions

“Live in peace” is my intention for this week. I’m eager to see how pausing to set this intention will change my words and actions.

Will you join me? I’d love to hear how “live in peace” changes your experiences in your work, within your relationships, and in your day-to-day life. Please leave comments here or in my Facebook Group.

 

The Warm Hearth

hearth.jpg

A warm hearth

is a shelter,

a place that draws us in,

invites us to sit a while.

 

Its humble strength

allows us to come together,

to see each other

in a softer light.

 

It is here, at the hearth,

that we come home

to each other

and to ourselves.

 

As the amber flames

serenade us,

our bodies and souls sway, soften,

prepare to receive.

 

And when we allow it,

when we answer the call,

the flames stoke the fire

of our own inner divinity.

 

We become our own hearths,

drawing others in, inviting them to sit a while.

We come home to ourselves and to each other.

We cast a softer light.

 

 

 

What Do You Want to Accomplish in Your Lifetime?

dreaming

I’m a planning junkie. In the last 30 years, I’ve tried dozens of systems, have read stacks of books about planning, have taken seminars and have used many of the planners on the market. I start thinking about planners in June. By July, I’m researching them. My fellow junkies and I spend hours discussing planner options in August. Sometimes we have to cut the conversations short because the excitement is too much for me and I honestly feel like I’m going to vomit.

I generally order next year’s planner in September. For 2019, I ordered a completely customized planner because I wanted to combine aspects of several of my favorite planning systems with some of the systems I’ve created for myself. Nerdy? Totally, but I fully embrace my nerdiness.

Ensuring my success

I always set goals in seven areas of my life: career, financial, health/wellness, family/relationships, free time, community and personal development. Then I set up a plan for achieving each of the goals. Because without a map, I’m not going to reach my destination–I’ll get lost somewhere along the way and look back later feeling badly that I fell into the trap of being busy and didn’t do what was most important to me.

Thinking big

When I went to set goals for 2019, I noticed something had happened to me over the last few years. My goals had gotten smaller. They weren’t reflective of my potential. And that made me feel pretty crappy. So  I added a new first step to my 2019 goal-setting process. To force myself to step back and to think bigger, I wrote a list of 100 things I want to accomplish over my lifetime.

Calling up my inner superhero

And you know what happened? It was really hard. At first, I couldn’t list more than three. That indicated to me that I definitely wasn’t thinking big enough, and that I also had lost touch with the part of me who, as a little girl, believed I could do anything. What happened to my bigness?, I wondered. I spent some time reminding myself of my capabilities. I wrote a list of things I have accomplished. I called up my inner superhero, and then I gave my 100 goals list another stab.

Saying goodbye to busyness

And this time, I felt an immediate internal shift. I wrote the list more easily, and I started working on some of the big goals immediately. I’ve already begun seeing results. I have renewed energy, which I brought into my goal planning session for the seven areas mentioned above, and I’m keeping the big picture in mind, which is enabling me to move more gracefully from one task to another. Keeping the big picture in mind also keeps me from loading up my to-do list with tasks that aren’t important and don’t help me reach my goals. I don’t believe in being busy. I believe in being purposeful.

I highly recommend trying the 100 life goals exercise. If you need help figuring out your life purpose, what you want to accomplish in the seven areas of your life, or in creating a plan to help you get there, book a coaching session with me. Together, we’ll help you move closer to creating the life of your dreams.

You Are Not Broken

When I hear people say that we’re all broken, I think about the Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The misfit toys—all unwanted because of their imperfections—live on an island, away from the rest of the toys. They wait on the island  until their ruler finds a child who will love them.

We all have imperfections. Many of us go through trauma at some point in our lives. And all of us have moments where we’re not our best selves. These experiences are painful at best, excruciating at worst. But they don’t mean that we’re broken.

What if, instead of holding onto our brokenness, we saw ourselves as whole, as being in the process of getting stronger? What if we trusted that somehow, we could get through this?

My experience during dark times is that I needed to process the emotions—the anger, the fear, the sadness—but every day, I also needed to find some light. It was the light, the abundance of love in my life, that gave me the certainty that I’d somehow get on the other side of the situation, even if I didn’t know how.

We don’t have to be perfect, and we don’t need to be happy all the time. We just need to be doing our best in the moment, understanding that our best will look different when life’s going well for us than it will when we’re suffering. And if we’re relentlessly grateful for the brightness in our lives, we’ll bring more brightness in.

Misfit toys see themselves as not worthy. They’re focused on their flaws and are destined for unhappiness. And because they’re so fixated on flaws, they tend to magnify those flaws.

But those who find a spec of light even when they’re in jet-black darkness are taking an important action, one that will help them recover and become stronger. By finding a bright spot and focusing on it, they’re magnifying that brightness.

 

Try this:

Be Relentlessly Grateful

People who regularly practice gratitude sleep better, experience more positive emotions, express more compassion and kindness, and have stronger immune systems. Nightly gratitude helps reduce anxious thoughts that keep us awake at night, and sets the stage for a more positive next day.

Before bedtime each night, write down three things you’re grateful for. In the morning, review your list before you get out of bed.

 

How We Spread the Very Things We Hate

The words we use have a ripple effect. They can either spread peace, kindness and compassion, or they can give fuel to the very hatred we’re trying to stop.

In short, we get more of what we focus on. So we can choose to put our words and energy toward the change we want or toward complaining about the problem.

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations,” said Mother Teresa, a missionary who dedicated her life to caring for the sick and poor. “I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

To get a better sense of what you’re putting out there, try this for the next week:

Before you speak or post something on social media, ask yourself:
✓ Is what I’m about to say focused on a solution or am I inadvertently giving the negativity more air time?
✓ How can I reframe my message so I’m creating meaningful change and helping others do the same?
✓What am I bonding with others over: problems or solutions?

Make the Most of Your Energy

Like many people, I sometimes end the day feeling that I didn’t make good use of my time that day—that I got some necessary little stuff done, but that I didn’t chip away at the initiative that’s most important to me. Or that I did make progress on the big thing, but the quality of my work wasn’t what I’d like.

In case you’re in the same boat, I wanted to pass along an easy tip from Dr. Isaiah Hankel, author of The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create, and Grow Their Way to Success.

Our energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. To ensure that your expenditure of energy is aligned with your values, you need to know two things. First, your values (Contact me if you need help discovering them). And second, you need to know when your energy is high and when it’s low. Dr. Hankel suggests that you set an alarm for once an hour and simply rate your energy level at that time on a scale of one to 10. Do this for three days to see your natural energy pattern. And then rearrange your day so you’re doing your most important work during your high energy time.

For instance, if your high energy time is spent in meetings, block off your calendar so you’re doing creative work during that time instead and have meetings at another time. During periods of lower energy, you can do less important things–answering emails or organizing your papers, for instance. Low energy times may be the best time for exercise because it’ll give you a boost that’ll help you keep going at a higher level for a few more hours.

I’m interested to hear how monitoring your energy level and rearranging your schedule to get the most out of those high energy times works for you.

 

Read more about natural cycles.