Don’t Give Up On Life!

Have you ever wanted to give up on life?  Have you felt like you had your chance and now, well, maybe that you don’t deserve another one.  You might have had as many as three really big chances, but you blew them all in your mind.

Don’t live your life like a baseball game.  If you think every time you come up to bat and you “strike out” you have failed, think again.  You don’t have to make room for someone else to be the next batter.  When you feel like you’ve dropped the ball in the outfield, are you ashamed and feel like you have committed an “error”?  Do you feel like you only have so many “at bats” before the game is over?  And you probably get less than 9 times in your life (innings) to do it?

So, instead, think of it this way….. this is YOUR life!  That means every player on the team is you. You are the batter, the pitcher, the catcher and the in and outfielders. If you take a swing and you miss – you aren’t quite on your path, but you’ve swung at life and are actively participating.  That’s great!!! You are already wayyyy ahead of some people!  So you try three times and then have to step aside for the next person to try – hey! Remember this is your life.  Every person that comes up to bat in your game is you!  You can try as many times as you like – if you pop up or fly out, or even if you are in the field and drop the ball, it doesn’t matter.  It’s just one more thing you’ve learned you don’t want to do or one more way you’ve learned how not to get what you want.  Every time you swing or try to catch the ball you are stepping toward your dream.  No one bats anywhere near 1,000.  And Ty Cobb who had the best average ever only hit the ball somewhere on the field a little over a third of the time.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Edison made more than 1,000 attempts to create the light bulb before he had 1 that worked.  And when someone asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he said.  I never thought of it as failing, I just found 999 ways how not to make a light bulb.

So hang in there, keep looking for the bleachers and you’ll hit that home run!

Can You Die From Embarrassment?

Have you ever felt like you were going to die from embarrassment?  You know – the formal dinner party where you let one rip with noise and all, or the romantic moment with someone new when you belched. Or maybe when you were in school and the teacher asked you a question and you had no idea of the answer.

I remember when I was in Toastmasters and the first time they asked me to speak in what they call “Table Topics”, which is impromptu speaking for at least a minute.  They can ask you anything and I remember standing there after reading my question.  I had something I actually thought of to say and then I ran out…just…nothing.  If you know me this may surprise you, but I could have sworn the woman timing me had totally not started the timer.  I was embarrassed and walked away feeling like a failure.  I didn’t go back to that club.  But I tried others and eventually I even won a 1st place award in our division for Table Topics.  That felt like a huge accomplishment!

We’ve both probably had much more embarrassing moments than that, but you get the idea.  You don’t necessarily have to even learn exactly what caused it, but generally it’s pretty obvious.  Even if someone called you out and you blame them for embarrassing you, it’s actually something within us that caused us to get embarrassed and self-conscious.

Do we feel stupid or silly when someone calls us out?  Or do we just feel embarrassed without that like we call ourselves out because we think we should feel embarrassed?  Have you ever gotten embarrassed for other people at what they’re doing, and they don’t at all?  Have you ever wondered what their secret is to having this amazing self-confidence?  Or maybe the stupidity not to realize they SHOULD feel embarrassed? 

Some people simply don’t care what others think.  They seem to love themselves, warts and all.  I’m thinking maybe we just need practice at trying things that in the past might have bothered us.  So like my Table Topics talk, maybe we could try practicing more.

So try dance like no one’s watching.  Sing at the top of your lungs when you have the windows open, or go hug a tree in a park.  Try smiling if people say you’re strange or different.  Be you!  No one else can do it as well.  And anyway, everyone else is already taken.

Worried You’ll Forget Something? Make a List…Change Your Life!

Do you feel really worried you’ll forget something important because there are so many things to do and you can’t remember all of them?  Or are you doing that already?  Are you missing deadlines? Afraid it’s a symptom of something bigger?

Sometimes our mind gets so bogged down that we can’t think straight and we need a little help.

Before you freak out, try this.  Write down every single thing you need to do as it occurs to you.  A yellow pad works great, or typing it up…but if you keep adding to it at odd times, a yellow pad is the way to go.  You might want to make two columns or put it on separate pages if you have a work and a home life list.

How to start?  Just go for it!  Empty out your mind of all the things rolling around in it that needs to be done.  Work, kids, errands, you name it.  I have one for my business and one for everything else.  If you think of something at night you need to do and the list gets long, and in the morning you thing…uh oh…what did I want to do?  It seemed so important last night… hmmmmm….. Having the pad next to your bed or at least a small pad that you can transfer the info from to your main list can be a game changer.  And you’ll sleep better too!

A random free flowing list may look something like this:

Pick up dog food
Take car in for oil change
Research car parts for Tuesday presentation
Order new school shoes for Melvin
Tighten kitchen sink faucet
Learn how to run Facebook Ads and when to do them
Call mom
Work out car pool with Lucy
Pick up anniversary gift

You get the idea. You might want to underline or star those of extra importance or that have a date connected to it – like the anniversary gift. If you were separating out, you’d move the research and the Facebook ads to a separate page or column.

Sometimes you might even write out a whole page in one sitting.  One thing leads to another and as your mind empties, more and more ideas come forth of things you forgot you needed to do, but which … someone … might be nagging you about doing that you just never get to.

If you try this you should find that your mind becomes quieter and any stress you feel over forgetting anything just melts away.  If you cross off things as they get done, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment too – an added bonus!

One hint, keep your list generally in the same location so you don’t have to hunt for it when you want to write something down.  And at some point, rewrite your list picking up the couple of things that are left to do, as well as all the new things so that it doesn’t get too messy and you miss a couple of things at the beginning that you didn’t get to yet.

If you already are a list maker, this is just a gentle reminder to start doing it again if you’ve let it lapse, and if you aren’t give this a try!  It may just become your new best friend.

Expectations vs. Law of Attraction…Who Wins?

Do you remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh?  He always was so morose and just unhappy.  He never had any joy.  He kept his head down and in that deep pitched, sad voice would say something kind of brave and pretty pathetic.  He never expected anything from life and basically never got anything.  Or at least he didn’t feel like he had anything.  His expectation and what he was attracting were totally in sync.

But have you ever heard someone say “I never expect too much so I’m not disappointed.”  I’ve been confused by that for years.  I mean, can you find happiness and joy in your life if you only have low expectations of people and situations?  If the law of attraction really works, and you get what you put your attention on, then if you expect people who won’t be there for you, who won’t love you or stand up for you, a horrible boss, a bad landlord, a car that constantly breaks down, a spouse who doesn’t understand you, not enough money at the end of the month, or…shall I go on?  What do you think you will attract?

It’s even in our pop culture.  In the movie Sleepless in Seattle, Bill Pullman kids Sandra Bullock that – “Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it.”  He was kidding, but still…

On the other hand, I’ve heard couples who have been together a long time saying they bring out the best in each other, and singles say that is what they are looking for in a partner.

The law of attraction and what you expect in life, if in alignment, seem to go pretty much hand in hand.  So maybe, just maybe, if you want more in life; more joy, more respect, and even more success or more money, it is better to focus on and expect the good in people.  You can even take it to the extreme and focus on what you love about people, on seeing the best person they can be, on a car that runs perfectly and that bank balance that always has money in it at the end of the month.  And then maybe, just maybe, people will start stepping up and when they are around you, they will be a better person, and life will start looking a little sweeter.  How wonderful will you feel when someone says you bring out the best in them?  You can smile and know that you expected nothing less.

So answering the question, expectation vs. the law of attraction, who wins?  It can be you!

No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk…Why Not?

The saying goes – there’s no use crying over spilled milk, but what does that mean exactly?  So it’s over, get over it?  While that may be true in a very abrupt way, sometimes we need to take that time to cry, to mourn and to be in the moment of loss, even if it is a small loss before we can move on.

If you have a small loss, say you actually can’t find something that isn’t super meaningful or expensive or inconvenient, you may have a momentary, well drat, but it may be just a minor blip on your radar.  But as you go up the scale, the biggest incident could leave you a mess needing years of therapy.

So say you lost or dropped your phone, or ran it over or something, while this is generally not life altering and something you would spend a lot of time mourning over, it is super inconvenient and if you haven’t shared or backed up to the cloud your favorite video of baby’s first steps, very sad indeed.  But we generally don’t let this wreck our life.  After maybe crying out of frustration at the loss or inconvenience, we call Verizon or Sprint and pay the extra postage for the overnight.

But then we get to the bigger things, the car smash up, the bad news from the doctor, the laying off from a job, or the loss of a loved one.  How do you take that?  Do you give yourself time to move through it at your pace or do you stuff everything and not cry over spilt milk now?  Everyone needs their own time and space.  Some people get over things faster than others and some just pretend to themselves that all is better – or just pretend to others putting on that brave face while falling apart inside.

Please, please, please, honor your process!!!  Whatever it takes and however long it takes.  If someone says – hey aren’t you over that YET???  Give it a momentary thought.  Check in with yourself.  Because if you are on the road to recovery and are turning yourself around, you can ignore them.

But, if you are stuck in the pain, again, please, please, please, step back enough to become aware of how awful things may be for you.  Allow yourself to reach out to a therapist, a clergyman or a life coach…someone who is an unbiased ear.  Sometimes we have friends who can help us, but a lot of times they can’t help but try to fix us in a way that they think would be right for you because they know you.  An unbiased ear will help you find your own answers and your own path gently being there for you when you need them.

So, no use crying over spilt milk?  Maybe…sometimes…and sometimes a tear or two, or a lot more than that, will help you grow and become stronger.  And we all wouldn’t mind that!

Don’t Be a Chicken…Be Selfish!

Do you put your children before you?  Your spouse?  Your parent who needs attention if they are older?  A sister or brother, or even friend who has a problem?  And if you have a boss, I’m pretty sure he/she rates a lot of time from you.  In fact, does everyone else come first before you because maybe you were raised that “looking out for No. 1” first is selfish?  This probably means that you are frazzled, stressed and generally getting to the point of frustration and maybe even burnout.  Balance in your life is very one sided or maybe you are even to the point of saying – balance, what’s that?

STOP – take about 15 seconds right now. Close your eyes and do a countdown this way – 10 – breath, 9 – breath, 8 – breath, 7 – breath, 6 – breath, 5- breath, 4 – breath, 3 – breath, 2 – breath, 1 – breath.  The breaths don’t have to take long, just don’t rush them.  And then roll your neck a couple of times, open your eyes and continue reading – – – – – UH UN, can’t fool me.  REALLY do it!!

So, how are you feeling?  Your mind should be a bit quieter and your stress/tightness should be a bit less.  You can probably see that when your children or spouse are balanced and happy, they are wayyyyyy more fun to be around, so why is it any different than you?  Aren’t you more fun to be around when you aren’t running around like a chicken with its head cut off (as my dad used to say – and yes, he was a farmer in Minnesota and so understood the meaning of the phrase up front and personal…ewwwww).

Do everyone a favor.  Start being a little selfish and be kinder to yourself.  Figure out what floats your boat; what brings you to a calm state, to an inner joy.  Find something you love to do and start small with 5 or 10 minutes a day and work up to 30 minutes or more if you dare.  Take the dog for a walk or go on your own, take 5 minutes for meditation, garden, take a bubble bath, do yoga.  If the family interrupts you at first just let them know gently that this is your time and you will get back to them in 10.  Unless a finger is cut off or the dog has eaten the coach, they should be fine for 10!  If you work up to longer, maybe even have a girl’s or boy’s night out once a month.  As you become more at peace, you will be calmer, less stressed and more fun to be around.  Don’t be a chicken – sometimes it’s okay to be selfish

Is Your Life Out of Balance?

How do you feel when you’re out of balance?  Generally we are concentrating all of our energy on one area.  Is it business, your children, or maybe it’s just trying to please everyone else so you are exhausted.

Take a step back for a minute – which is always a good idea.  How do you feel?  Did you over commit to something?  What are you doing to feel that way?  And what are you not doing?  Are you talking away from family time in order to travel more for your job?  Or spending more time with your clients than your significant other?  Or are you giving so much of your time to be “mom” that you feel you’re losing your identity?  Where are you and what does it feel like?

Then – take a break where you don’t think about the “problem”.  What does that look like for you?  Do you take a walk or a drive, phone a friend or loved one, hang out with your pet or your child or maybe hug a tree?  Everyone has a different way of staying centered and feeling more balanced.  Some people meditate and ground themselves.  They are all good ways as long as you don’t shift from one area of over-commitment to another.  You know what I mean!  Don’t just get busy in another area of your life in order to forget for a minute about another.  At least take a breath first.

If you aren’t sure which way to go, remember a time you were totally at peace, or at least more so than usual…what did that look like?  What brings us peace?  Is it the sound of a running brook, or children laughing; the sight of stately trees or the feeling we get when our dog greets us at the door after a long day, or petting our cat when they jump in our lap?  If we take even a moment for ourselves in the middle of our hectic day to close our eyes and imagine what brings us that peace, we will be able to breathe and calm.  Even better is taking time for meditation, rolling around with our children or our dog, or hugging that tree.  We will find our balance and some joy if we can quiet our mind and the rest of our hectic life for even those few moments.

Once you feel more peaceful, look again at that feeling of being out of balance from a higher place…a place more removed.  From there you can make better decisions on what you can do to not reach that place again.  How does your life need to shift?  Do you need to adjust your focus, your vision or maybe just the hours you put in?  It doesn’t mean you have to do it immediately, but a little clarity goes a very long way.

Are You Resisting Success?

How many times do we work super hard at something and get nowhere?  You have these dreams and goals for your business or your life, but do you feel like you’re in a canoe paddling upstream against the current?  Wouldn’t life be so much easier if you got into the flow of what your life should be?

Maybe we need to rethink our goals and dreams and perhaps even turn the boat around to get in the flow.  Or maybe we just need to pick our oars up out of the water and let our course correct without paddling (trying) so hard.  And to continue with this metaphor, maybe we are even in the wrong stream!

If you are tired all the time, exhausted at the end of the day, staying up way too late and going, going, going all the time, you might be resisting success.

And the really strange thing is sometimes we are resisting the resistance!  What do I mean about that?  Well, what did you feel when I said you might be resisting success?  Did you think, “No I’m not!”, or maybe “that sounds stupid”…then there is a real possibility that not only are you resisting the success itself due to some limiting belief that may no longer be serving you like you aren’t good enough, or smart enough, but you are even resisting the idea that you could be resisting success.

So let’s take a moment and feel into what resisting success feels like to you.  Think of something you want that is not happening for you, like losing weight or changing a job. How do you feel?  You may be wondering why it isn’t happening.  How do you feel if I say you are actively resisting the success from happening in that instance?  If you have any immediate NO, I’m not!!!  Then take a moment to embrace the resistance.  Know that you may be paddling really hard in one direction and the universe has a whole better direction set out for you.  If you can lighten up your feelings towards the thought that you are resisting success, one wall will fall and things may start moving.  At the very least you will have some relief.  If you pick up the oars and stop paddling for a minute asking for the highest and best to happen for you, you will be amazed once you get into the flow how things start moving along.

Is your Mind Spinning??? Release It!!

The following is a releasing technique.  There are a ton of them out there.  Some work better for some people than others.  So here is the one I posted.  You can use this for anxiety, people, situations…just about anything.  It is especially good for something you feel like you are spinning about; you know, where no matter how hard you try, that incident, person or feeling keeps coming back into your mind so much you may even be dreaming about it.

So first be really clear about what you want to release.  It can be the time your dog got lost and you were scared he wouldn’t be found, to a person who annoyed you at the office, to a guilty feeling you cheated on your “diet”.  Zero in on the feeling you are having about the issue, rather than on the other person or specific situation.  Once you are clear, let’s put a number from 1-10 on the uncomfortable feeling you are having so you can know later how this worked for you.  Let’s say you are an 8.

Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable if possible; close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  Bring the feeling front and center and really feel it in your body.  Imagine you have a balloon and you are filling it with that feeling.  See the balloon getting bigger and bigger until you have all of those feelings out.  Then look at the balloon you are pretending to hold in your hand. Realize this is a feeling that was created by you and doesn’t have to be a part of you if you choose to let it go.  Do these feelings serve you or are you ready to let them go? If you feel they serve you, in what way?  If it still makes sense to hold onto these uncomfortable feelings, you have this choice.  If you are ready to release them either pop the balloon or let it go seeing it disappear forever, along with the uncomfortable feelings.  Then check in with yourself.  Where are you now on the scale from 1-10?  You can do this exercise a few times to get the unwanted feelings down to a zero if need be.

To get the full impact and for an added layer, you can use a real balloon for this exercise.

Oh, and you’ll notice I never used the word “bad” for the uncomfortable feelings.  That is a judgment. The choice to label the feelings “bad” can make us feel wrong for choosing them in the first place, which is yet another feeling to let go of!

How to Love Yourself More….Stopping the Comparison

Did someone in your life ever say, if only you were more like your sister…your brother…Aunt Helen…or did you say that to yourself?  I guess I was lucky as I never had someone say that to me that I can remember.  Instead, I did it to myself…if I were only like Michelle Pfeiffer or Goldie Hawn (dating myself here!)…popular and successful and fun…then I’d be happy.  This thinking made me feel less, like I wasn’t enough.  Did you ever feel that way too?  Of course, we have to remember that this other person isn’t perfect either.

Basically it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Let’s try to stop comparing ourselves to others so that we come up lacking. That friend who just got promoted, the sister who found the love of her life and has a new baby, or that great ballplayer that just got the multimillion dollar contract may look great on the outside, but you may not know that they have a drinking or gambling problem, or may be losing their house, or their wife just left them.  Whether rich or famous, or just a family member, they have their fears, insecurities and problems too.

If you can’t stop comparing yourself, then look for the reason at depth that causes your envy. If it is because they have what you want, try to go beyond that.  If you must compare, look at their values, their beliefs and their habits and then look at yours.  Don’t make yourself be or feel less, but do realize that you can be more if you want to.  Don’t try to be a duplicate of the person you are comparing yourself to.  That job is already taken!  Even if you feel cranky or things aren’t going their best you can choose to be your best self; the wonderful, fabulous person you are at depth and were meant to be.