Thursday, December 30, 2010

5 Secrets to Happy Holidays

Here are my 5 secrets to the happiest of holidays.


#1) Slow down.
I'm a rush type person, so my speeds are "Quick...Zippy....and Speedy." Slow it down. Keep it simpler. Enjoy whatever is going on, and rest between bouts of parties and visits. The simpler I have made this time of year, the more I have truly enjoyed it. My family does a secret Santa rather than buying tons of gifts for everyone. Even Mom's table is going to be a little simpler this year. It puts the focus on being together.

#2) Be extraordinarily kind.
In the rush of gift buying and mall shopping, sometimes we forget to be kind. This is not always an easy time for people. Take notice and perform a random act of kindness, and your holiday will be brighter.

#3) Take some time alone.
It's so easy to get distracted by the to do list. This is also a great time to stop and smell the candles and listen to the angels sing, and a great time for a heavy dose of gratitude.

#4) Get involved.
Oh, I know this seems counter to what I just said. It's easy to be shallow, surface and not really present this time of year. But, who needs you? If you're alone, who else is alone that you can help? Get involved with the people you care about or need you. Make an effort to really connect.

#5) Let go.
Nothing is gong to happen on schedule. The dog may eat Grannie's gift. The weather won't be what you want. Let it all go. It's part of the holiday experience...and actually what will make it memorable. Laugh about it. Laughter is an amazing spiritual energy. Enjoy it all. Focus on being happy and loving no matter what.

On that note, I can't tell you how important all my friends, clients and subscribers are to me. I thank you and appreciate your involvement. Here's to a wonderful holiday for you and yours!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Gratitude Game

As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a good time to be thankful for the good things in our lives.

While most of us view ourselves as thankful for our blessings, we determine what we believe to be a "blessing" and what is not. However, some of your greatest blessings may not initially look all that positive in the beginning. For instance, my experiencing Cancer is what turned my life around and opened the door to a good health consciousness and rewarding life work. Today I always give thanks for the gift of Cancer, but at the time it was fearful and overwhelming. The first thing to understand about gratitude is that it is not a selective process.

The Gratitude Game begins with the premise that genuine thankfulness begins with being grateful for everything..yes, absolutely EVERYTHING in your life. Yes, your business challenges, your work struggles, maybe even not knowing what might be next. Here are the steps to the Game:

1. Make a list of anything you perceive as positive in your life. The people who love you are a good start. Anything good about your work, your relationships, special advantages or support you've received, anything nice someone else has done for you. Just write down everything you can think of that is good about your life. Be truly grateful for it.

2. Next write down everything ordinary that you take for granted: the roof over your head, your sight, your hearing, the ability to chew, your health, and so forth. When you really think about it, there are so many small, inconsequential conditions that conspire to create a good lifestyle. This is a good time to recognize them.

3. Finally, write down any painful, uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and events, some of which may feel uncomfortable or difficult right now…and get grateful for them. Why? Difficulty is how we learn the lessons of life. No one said it was all going to be easy. But, gratitude opens you up. It helps you release the resistance (oh, why did this have to happen to me?) and embrace your difficult circumstances and allow the most good to come from them.

What creates your reality is not what happens to you, but how you RESPOND to what happens to you. Life does have challenges, but there is a positive side for each and every one of them. Be grateful for the gift inside of every heartache even if you can’t see it right now.

4. Give thanks for those blessings that are on the way. Feel them coming. Expect success. Expect the best and be grateful for it.

After completing this little game, how do you feel? Everyone who plays is a winner because I'll tell you a secret, gratitude allows you to receive more; it is the foundation of all abundance. An open, gracious heart is a powerful magnet for good. Money, opportunity, and joy flows toward gratitude. Try it and see. Let me know your results.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How to Control Overwhelm

“Overwhelm” seems to be more the norm than the unusual today. We’ve grown used to being “overwhelmed” as a way of life, but did you know it can rob you of your motivation, your health, your relationships, your financial stability and your overall well being?

When we are facing a career change or major life transition or thinking about what we’re going to do next, we can feel overwhelmed even when we are doing nothing. The thoughts in our head just take up so much space!

But, you CAN do something about it. It’s not HAPPENING to you. It is the result of certain behaviors and mindsets, and I’m going to talk about some of them over the next few weeks so that you can join me in DECIDING that this is no longer a useful coping mechanism.

Are you ready to do something about it? I am. You CAN change this destructive habit, and in the next weeks we’re going to tackle this together.

So let’s start by discussing the concept of “time.”

Yep, when we’re overwhelmed, we feel a constriction of time. Time is like having a limited amount of space in a drawer, and an infinite amount of things to put it in it. Everyday people around us are constantly making up new things for us to put in our 24 hour drawer. The list is growing and expanding as we speak. (Well, I’m writing.) Yet, there is still only the same amount of space in that drawer.

In fact, our language is often about feeling “jammed up,” “tight,” and, well, “overwhelmed,” because our drawer is overly full.

It’s important to note that mental energy has the power to really fill up the drawer! There’s nothing like a solid negative thought to get your drawer filled to the brim.

The drawer is the same for everyone, by the way. I have the same 24 hours in a day that you do. But, those who are centered, focused, satisfied and fulfilled make different choices than some of us who are rushed and overwhelmed all the time. They choose wisely what they put in their "drawer," and what they leave out of it. And, they make no attempt to do it ALL. They are content with choosing less in their drawer – and enjoying it more.

According to Jeffrey Davidson, a time "attitude" consultant, "the mega-realities of life in America are that there are too many people, too much information and limitless choices. The one thing that isn’t limitless is time - there is only so much a person can accomplish in a day. Those ever growing realities make learning to ’manage’ your time only a short term solution," says Davidson.

So, you can see, that tomorrow, next week, next month next year, the demands on your time are going to be greater. You no sooner get a handle on your current situation then 6 …or 20…. new things show up, and your time management plan is a shambles.

Now let’s go back to the drawer. The quality of your life is determined by what you choose to put in your drawer …and what you leave out every day.

What qualifies as a “choice?” You have made a choice when you say “Yes, I’ll do that.” Or “yes, I’m going to buy into that negative idea.”

So, how do you determine what goes in and what gets left out?

Passion goes in. Dreams, visions, fun, laughter and creativity go in. Anything that captures your imagination and makes your spirit soar goes in. Time with family, Disneyland, nature and self-renewal go in the drawer.

For some amazing reason, passion, joy, balance and play actually increases space in your drawer. That energy creates more energy.
It also keeps the negative thinking quiet as well.

But most of us fill up our 24 Hour Drawer with less than meaningful activity, stressful work, and bland relationships in hopes that somehow, someday there will be "extra" time to pursue something we care more about. It doesn’t work. It only makes you feel more hopeless and helpless…which starts another round of space filling negative thinking.

So, make a note to start to remove energy draining activity, meaningless tasks and anything that doesn’t inspire you…OUT of the drawer. If you are wondering how to determine that, sentences that begin with “I have to, ought to and should” tell you what needs to go out.

These are all things that you are resisting and don’t make you feel good, and will trigger negative thinking which triggers even more overwhelm.

But you may be thinking, “What will I do about my responsibilities?”

In my next article I will talk about exactly that.

But, right now, I suggest you begin to become aware of your drawer. What are you putting in your drawer and what could you leave out?

This is the beginning of releasing overwhelm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The 3 Phases of Transition

When I was in the 4th Grade, my teacher explained the process of how a perfectly good caterpillar morphed into this icky looking thing called a cocoon and then eventually evolved into a beautiful butterfly. I learned then that there are 3 simple stages of change and transition that are universal. You may be in one of them right now.

Are you facing a transition? Maybe you are thinking about changing careers or the way you do business. Maybe you want to do something different with your life, but you don’t know what. Perhaps you are retiring or are recently divorced. Have you moved or experienced the loss of someone you love? Here are the 3 phases of typical life transitions that everyone experiences.

Phase 1: They all begin the same way: with an end. Something changes; sometimes something goes wrong. You lose a job, an important client, or even a loved one. It is the END of something, for all new beginnings start with an ending.

Suddenly you no longer identify with the person you have been, but you are nowhere near the person you want to become – and maybe don’t even have any idea who this new person will be.

Phase 2: You are at the edge of one cliff, seeking the other side, but with a sense of emptiness and loss in between. It’s literally the bridge in between. It feels like a void. It is a void. You are grieving.

How do you get through it? Here is my advice:

1) Don’t rush.
This is a time when you need to internalize more than externalize. Take time to be alone. Don’t rush through this stage even though it’s uncomfortable. (Most of us are desperate to get through it which actually prolongs it.) This time is the fertile ground upon which you building your life as a butterfly. Spend some time exploring possible visions of a new future. You will not only feel better, but the energy of the new visions will actually be creating it.

2) Discover more about yourself.
Get clearer about your deeper self. It will pay off handsomely. Find out more about what really inspires, motivates and impassions you. It may be time to make new choices, and you want to base it on fresh information.

3) Get support.
As a Mentoring and Mastermind coach, I believe there is magic in being with others who are also going through transitions. You are not alone. Support eases the pain considerably.

The final stage, Stage 3 of transition, is the butterfly emerging. Remember, we are always renewing ourselves – whether we choose to or not. It’s part of life. But while the “cocoon” part is still icky, there is no doubt you will evolve into a butterfly.

Transition is not a punishment, nor the ending of your life. It is the ending of some part of your life for sure, but that is only because you have a New Beginning coming. We tend not to see that. We handle our endings badly because – well, we see them ONLY as endings.

So, for whatever endings you may be experiencing, remember it is the signal that a New Beginning is coming.

If you want coaching, clarity, self-discovery or support threugh a transition go to www.firedupforsuccess.com or our networking site at www.firedupmastermind.com.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WHICH IS BEST: A GOAL OR A VISION?

So, you're stuck.

Everyone asks: What's your vision? What are your goals? Wait, which is which? Where do you start?

In my Fired Up Mastermind system, we each create ONE 90 Day Vision and then move forward through the Mastermind teams by making incremental goals in alignment with this Vision.

But, here are some great questions I have been asked, and thought I should address:

Q: Why only ONE vision? I have a lot of things I want to work on.

A: Most of us lack focus. We are assailed by information, e-mails and TO-DO lists of all kinds. It's not that you can't address several areas in your life as they come up, but it’s important you have one simple focus for 90 Days. You can still do other things. But, the one Vision will keep you centered, help you to organize your time better, and feel like you have accomplished more at the end of 90 days.

Q: What’s the difference between a goal and a vision?

A: A vision has a more emotional content. It makes you FEEL something. It embodies nebulous states of being like freedom, success, abundance, respect, balance, etc. Often a vision is just presented to us. Some of you have said things like, “Suddenly I saw what is possible.” Or “I know I want to be a speaker and I can feel myself on stage talking to hundreds of people, but I have no idea how that could happen.” A vision is a piece of your dream.

A goal is the quantifiable measurement of your actions. For instance, for the speaker above, a 90 day vision might be broken down that in 90 days they are starting to do talks. Wow!

Then the goal actions might be to investigate at least 3 programs that service speakers, join Toastmasters, and define a topic. Some of you might be familiar with the “SMART” goals concept that defines good goals as being “SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ACHIEVEABLE, REALISTIC and TIMELY.” These are the earmarks of great goal setting.

Q: Does this mean you think a vision is more important than a goal? Do I need a goal or do I need a vision?

A: We all need BOTH. You need something meaningful, passionate and fulfilling to work toward, and you need the small, quantifiable, simple steps to move toward it. Unfortunately, many of us set goals before we have a strong sense of a passionate vision.

For instance, you might decide your goal is: “I’m going to increase my income by 50%in the next 6 months." Good goal, but is it appropriate for you? Is it really what you want to do? Do you want that much more work? How will that impact your lifestyle? In reality, you may want that money because you believe it will bring you more freedom. The driving vision then is all about freedom. Everything needs to be geared toward creating more freedom for you. The best goals are connected to a vision.

If you want to connect with a more meaningful vision, just discuss below or contact me. Stay fired up!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mid Life Change: Making a Choice for Job or Business

"I don't know if I should keep looking for a job or start my own business," is a comment I hear a lot. After a lot of years in career development, I no longer view it as a choice. I believe having some sort of business is a required life skill today, whether or not you have a job or are job hunting. Why?

1) You need to have more than one stream of income.
In this age of uncertainty and sudden layoffs and change, you need a little back up even if you're positioned for a getting another job. "My Mary Kay business was just enough to keep me going with my layoff package; thank Heavens I had it," says Jody, one of my clients. Having a side business gives you a little protection and security. You can't spin your wheels "worrying" about retirement; it will shut you down. But, you can proactively do something about it.

2) You can use your side business to bolster savings and retirement accounts.
Getting a pay cut is commonplace and usually cuts into the very thing you need: your savings and retirement accounts. Your second income can keep those somewhat funded while you are waiting for things to get better or looking around for something new.

3) Developing business skills makes you more marketable.
We are in an era that is not focused on "jobs," as much as "projects," 'outsourcing," and "part time." Having a business teaches you about leading, time management, marketing, and presenting - all of which are important in the marketplace today. Also, starting to look at your work life as a business comprised of "services you are offering" is more empowering and allows you to think in terms of 2 or 3 "clients" you serve as opposed to serving only one: a boss.

4) You can eventually make more money in a business than in a job.
Robert Kiyosaki, author of best selling Rich Dad, Poor Dad series, says that a job is the path to the least amount of money you can ever make in a lifetime. His answer is some kind of leveraged business where you are getting commissions from other people's work.

I'm not suggesting you quit a productive job today, but that you begin by taking a talent, passion or skill and start creating some income! If you're looking for work, do the same thing!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stuck: 4 Tips to Break the"Stuck" Spell

Jeez, with the dramatic levels of change going on in the Universe today, many of us are feeling disoriented, uncertain, and exhausted from trying to figure out things that are beyond our ability to figure out. I hear the stories all the time. We don't know what to do about our work, our money, and our future. We feel immobilized as if the Economy Fairy has put us under a spell.

In other words, we feel stuck. Is there any hope to break the spell? While there's no Handsome Prince waiting nearby, here's 4 tips that have worked for clients over my 20 years of coaching:

1) Don't Rush. Understand there is always a space between Endings and New Beginnings. While it feels empty, it's a critical to re-birthing. A caterpillar cocoons before it becomes a butterfly. All things in nature follow the same process. Rather than operating from panic, allow yourself to be still. Most of us have been so over-productive most of our lives that days "doing nothing," is viewed as wasteful. Then we beat ourselves up and try to move faster.But doing nothing is actually the stage when the most creativity is occurring. Creativity and new ideas need oxygen....space...in which to ferment and breathe. Allow that process to take place as it will serve you in the long run.

2) Identify with a Vision. It doesn't have to look anything like your old life...and probably won't. But you do get to choose your Vision. Let go. Get passionate. Get imaginative. A gardener puts seeds in the soil with a vision of what it will look like come Spring. No matter how fallow your life may look now, start planting things you really want to see bloom in your life later on. Go to adult school, take internet classes, blog, and hang out with people you think are really cool even if they can't help you with business.

3) Experiment and Move. Try new stuff. Visit new places, explore different activities. Transition is the ideal time of life to experiment. You'll learn new sides to yourself (which may or may not improve your marketability) and you will become more alive. That aliveness makes you powerfully attractive to all things: other humans, opportunity and money. If you stagnate when you feel stuck, you will only feel more stuck. Physical movement and activity can change your perspective very quickly...and open you to unforeseen opportunities.

4) Get Support. Of course, I am a huge believer in group support, collaboration and masterminding. One hour of masterminding can dramatically alter your outlook because you get someone else's ideas rather than constantly recycling the same limiting beliefs over and over, and wonder why things are not changing.

Try some of these, and let me know how it goes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

From "Fired Up" to Fizzle?

It's the beginning of a new year - even a new decade! It's exciting. Hope abounds. You might even have plans to eat more vegetables, de-clutter your office, and spend more time with your family.



This year for me is to expand the offerings and opportunties for the members of my Mentoring and Mastermind Network. (http://www.firedupforsuccess.com/.)



Here's the thing: It is estimated that 97% of all New Years Resolutions don't make it past the 3rd week. Wow! How could it go from Fired Up to Fizzle in such a short time?



We produce in our lives that which we are aligned with. Whatever we say, think, feel and do gives clear direction to our brains to create the outcomes. If we say, "This probably won't work," it probably won't. On the other hand, if we become positive, hopeful and optimistic, we will produce a positive result.



Henry Ford made the well known comment: "Whether you believe you can or can't, you're right."



But, in making change, the key is not doing something once or twice. It's about consistency.



It takes about 3-4 weeks of new behavior for the brain to begin to set a new pattern. It often takes months to put together those 3-4 weeks.



That's the value of a support group or mastermind. It's just not easy to embrace of way of being which is contrary to how you've been. Your brain simply isn't wired to do it yet. You're not bad or weak, just not fully programmed. You need to be around others who embrace this kind of a process. We all need for others to hold the vision of what is possible even when we aren't ready to embrace it for ourselves.



"I am just too close to myself to see my potential," said Julie, a nutritionist, to me one day. "I am amazed at what the others see and the ideas they have that I would have never had for myself. The group has really accelerated my progress. I could have never bbeen ableto stay this focused on my own."



Give up trying to do it on your own. Recognize we all need help. Want to go from"Fired Up" to more "Fired Up?" Get a mastermind group!