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Tuesday, 06 February 2018 04:59

Mindfully Making Self-Care a Priority

It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the day to day, but when you lead a busy life, it becomes that much more important to set boundaries and take good care of yourself on all levels. Doing this mindfully can involve some finagling, especially if this a new concept for you or you have a lot of obligations that have already piled up. Excellent self-care includes but is not limited to reprioritizing, setting boundaries, creating time for yourself to recharge, and not giving away your energy if it isn’t a win-win-win situation or it makes you feel dread or resentment. Although this sounds easy enough, you may find yourself giving in to obligations or requests without truly thinking about them first, which can create more chaos within your life. This can result in a vicious cycle that could very well end in exhaustion or burnout, so please allow me the honor of sharing some thoughts and ideas with you about mindful self-care so that a truly detrimental situation can be avoided.

Nourishing yourself happens on many different levels, but the first step is for you to make the conscious decision and commitment to do exactly that: nourish yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to wake up with a perfect routine tomorrow, but rather, incorporating small daily habits one at a time can greatly increase your wellbeing overall and provide you with more energy, a perception that you have more time, and an increased ability to get everything done that you set out to during any given day. The last thing any of us want is the feeling of burnout, which can also lead to depression or other health problems related to stress. This is the part we want to avoid, so here are a few realizations that have helped me along my own journey, and I certainly hope that they help you on yours.

  1. Remember that no one will take care of you as well as you will, no matter how valiant and admirable their efforts. Caring for yourself keeps you emotionally and psychologically healthy, and this includes finding ways to meet any needs you may have, including needs to “talk shop” or socialize. Typically speaking, if a human being becomes too dependent on someone else for their basic care, it creates codependent relationships through long-term conditioning and can result in resentment and—you guessed it—burnout, stress, and depression. To help prevent this for yourself, it’s important to know how to identify what your needs are and how to meet them in the most effective and healthy ways that you can on your own.
  2. You are your own best friend! If you treat yourself well, you will attract the circumstances and people into your life that will also treat you well. This is what it really means when they say, “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.” It’s much deeper than being superficially confident and calling that self-love. Rather, this unconditional love for yourself can be achieved by going within and uncovering various different layers of your personality and why you may choose to keep these aspects of yourself buried or hidden from others. That’s not to say that you have to go shouting all of your deepest, darkest secrets from the rooftops; rather, it simply means that you, within yourself, recognize and become aware of your quirks and idiosyncrasies and uncover what may have caused them and what causes you to hide them. For example, what impression did you get of a certain habit or behavior when you were a child, and how did that perspective affect your subconscious beliefs about that habit or behavior as an adult? Introspecting about this can greatly increase your inner peace as you work through ideas or beliefs that you can now recognize as being false or conditioned. Once you recognize this, it becomes easier to change those beliefs to serve you within this life rather than working against you.
  3. Every single human being has been conditioned in some way. All this means, essentially, is that we spend our entire childhoods allowing other people to dictate our lives to us—parents, teachers, older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents—essentially everyone. When you begin to become aware of the beliefs that were drilled into your head as “truth” by generations before you, you can also begin to analyze them and understand which ones you agree with now, utilizing discernment and your own logic, life experiences, and knowledge from continuous learning. You can then also identify those beliefs that you don’t or have never agreed with and begin to un-condition yourself or replace those belief systems with your own intentionally. And yes, you are the only person who should be telling you what you think! Anytime someone else tells you what to think as a child and it goes directly against your own ideas, it creates cognitive dissonance and conflict within you, which in turn also creates a dependence on those people telling you what to think because you probably get into trouble for disagreeing. This can result in all manner of personality disorders and false programming that will need to be undone as you grow into adulthood, especially if you intend to be a functioning member of society and be fully able to care for yourself. Understanding this conditioning is what many people now refer to as “waking up” or having a spiritual awakening, which makes it way less woo-woo and esoteric than it may sound, especially as science continues uncovering and providing evidence of these ideas.
  4. To truly be yourself, you must know who you are. So… who are you? If you’ve ever watched the movie Anger Management, you might remember Adam Sandler’s character losing it a little bit when he was asked this because he was answering with what he does for a living, his hobbies, etc. So, I challenge you today to begin digging deeper to truly uncover the core aspects of yourself. This can be accomplished through inner work and working through what you don’t like or want, in order to determine what you do like or want. Not only does this allow you to be more of who you are, but it will also increase your clarity about your true self and your life as a whole. This will also diminish the power of your ego, organically switching your perspective from one of pride to one of humility. Take that, ego!
  5. Not only do you need to know who you are… in order to truly show yourself unconditional love and nurturing, it’s important to accept yourself as a complete being, not just for the positive aspects of your personality or life experience. Of course, those positive aspects are what you will want to cultivate more of, but any shame, guilt, or negativity you feel about yourself will need to be healed and shown love to before you will get to that point. If you think of your emotions as energy, the positive ones being bright and the “negative” or undesired ones being dark, it becomes much easier to imagine how tainted and corrupted our energy and emotional state might be if we allow these feelings of shame and guilt and fear to permeate and fester within us. Having a creative outlet for these types of emotions is incredibly beneficial, and you could say that creatively expressing these negative emotions will get them out of you and allow you to transmute them into something more positive, namely your creative expression. Whether this is painting, writing, woodworking, making ice sculptures, or customizing your yoga routine doesn’t matter; this creative expression will be unique to you and only you can determine what works best for you, your needs, and your lifestyle.

Above all else, making the conscious decision to nurture yourself and committing to it is the main hurdle. Once you’ve done this, even if you don’t get everything “right” immediately, you will still have made that decision and be committed despite setbacks no matter what those might look like, and this will allow you to be compassionate for yourself and for your progress… even if you fail at first. Once you’ve established this decision and commitment within your conscious mind, you can take steps to help yourself through meditation, self-hypnosis, and healing music, among other practices. Once you set your intentions, everything else has a tendency to begin falling into place organically.

Thank you so much for joining us this month here on the Mindful Leader Blog! This month’s topic is nourishing your body, mind, and spirit, so I hope you come back to join us each week for more in-depth mindfulness techniques and ideas.

 

For more information about the Mindfulness Movement or the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

http://executivecoachinguniversity.com/mindfulness-movement

 

As we go through life, we typically have a series of experiences that are meant to teach us important lessons. Some of these experiences are wonderful and exciting, while other experiences are challenging or even traumatic. Why is it that most of us are more likely to remember the traumatic events and cling to those rather than focusing on the positive events and realizing that a balance of both is needed for a life to be fully experienced and fully lived? In this article, I’d like to discuss some ways to let go of the pain of the past and focus on remembering the happier times so that your perception of your own life, your story that you tell yourself, can be upgraded to be more beneficial to you and help you attract and manifest a more positive life experience overall.

 

No matter how hard you hang on to that grudge, it will never hurt the other person as much as it will hurt you and your wellbeing. Rather than getting revenge on that person (or hurting them somehow), you end up destroying yourself in the process and sabotaging your own growth and evolution as a human being.

 

So, what’s the solution? It’s easy to tell someone, “Let go, man. Just let go.” But what does that actually mean in practical terms, and how might this letting go process manifest itself? When we’re dealing with inner work, mindfulness, and intangible processes, it’s important to remember that what’s going on within you might look completely benign or unexpected to someone outside of yourself as they cannot feel your progress the way you can. All they see from their vantage point outside of you is that your “normal” behaviors have changed in some way.

 

Normally, this letting go process happens over time and somewhat organically (“Time heals all wounds.”); however, with each generation learning less and less about emotional expression and more and more about emotional suppression, it’s no wonder that mental health issues and stress problems have skyrocketed. Fortunately, it is becoming more and more obvious to more and more people that we are each responsible for our own lives and we create our experiences based on how we feel on a regular basis. People are realizing all over the world that we must change ourselves from within on an individual basis in order to see a positive impact in the world, and this is inspiring many people just like you to practice mindfulness, meditation, and personal accountability for all aspects of their lives.

 

Here are five ways to help you know that you’re in the process of letting go, and how you can encourage and speed up that process for yourself.

 

1. Recognize that the only person who you are really responsible for is you. If someone has done something hurtful to you in the past, letting go does not absolve them of their wrongdoing. Rather, it absolves you of carrying the burden of pain around with you for months, years, or even the rest of your life, lightening your load and allowing you to rise higher. If they can effortlessly go on with their lives despite something they have done that they “should” be feeling guilty about in your perception, then why should it be your responsibility to carry around any negative emotion or remnants of pain throughout your daily life?

 

2. Rather than turning your love and caring only outward toward other people, turn it inward to yourself first. Yes, this may feel like being selfish when you first start doing it, but I am here to let you know that everybody else is not your responsibility. I can’t even tell you how important that is, especially for those of us who are highly sensitive, empaths, or recovering people pleasers. It’s okay to focus on yourself and care for yourself first! It will actually help you to better care for those around you if you take care of yourself first. The common example of this is when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first.

 

“You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone.”

– Abraham Hicks

 

3. Realize and remember that the past and future only exist in your mind. Past regrets and projections of worry into the future are your ego’s way of distracting you from the present moment, which is all there is. Think about it. The future exists only within the projections you give it, and the past exists only when you’re thinking about it or talking about it with someone else. It’s completely intangible, just as the future is. The only reality is in the here and now, so focusing and centering yourself in the present may give you a new perspective on life.

 

4. Blame is toxic to the blamer, so don’t project it onto anyone, no matter how much you feel something is their fault, and even if it is their fault. Forgive them for whatever it is they did, not for their sake (because they probably don’t feel bad about it anyway), but for your own sake and the sake of your sanity. Remembering that nobody’s perfect, everyone messes up from time to time, and it could happen to anyone may help you to get to a place of forgiveness and letting go of blame.

 

5. Finally, utilize the tools that are available to you to help yourself, whether that’s using tarot cards, EFT (tapping), somatic experiencing, hypnosis, chakra cleansing, or any other method you are drawn to. One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is to learn how to quiet your thoughts. Racing thoughts can be difficult to reel back in (they pick up momentum, just like anything else), which is why this is best achieved through a daily practice. Meditation can be a great start to doing this, training yourself to stop listening to every little thought that flies through your head and allowing those untamed thoughts to affect your emotions. When you meditate, it trains your mind to calm down and not be so frantic all the time. However, meditation is not the be all end all of this process, as the real habit is formed in your everyday activities, actions, and responses to situations that come up. Being mindful is a moment-to-moment habit, and once you’re able to practice this without necessarily meditating all the time (20-30 minutes a day is highly recommended for upkeep), you’ll be able to keep your thoughts turned down, so to speak, enough to where they don’t control your emotional state anymore and you can direct your focus on purpose.

 

Your emotional state is your responsibility, and this is the truth for everyone. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care or shut yourself off from others. Rather, it just means that you don’t make someone else’s problems into your problems. If you feel energetically capable of helping, then by all means, go for it… but it is always better to teach someone a skill so that they can help themselves. This is as true for emotions as it is for other areas of life, so understanding how your emotional system works and interacts with the rest of your body systems (your mind, ego, wellbeing, health, etc.) can ultimately mean the difference between thriving or merely surviving. With that said, I encourage you to keep learning about and practicing mindfulness! You have access to your inner power any time you choose to tap into it, so why not tap into it more often than not? Your soul is infinite and eternal, pure love and light. Only you can allow it to shine through in your everyday activities.

 

 

For more information about the Mindfulness Movement or the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

http://executivecoachinguniversity.com/mindfulness-movement

Let’s talk for a moment about the concept of letting go. When most of us consider letting go, we look at the thing we want to let go of without looking at the underlying reasons why that thing is so difficult to let go of. It becomes an impossible task to break a habit, simply because we are comforted and soothed by that habit and haven’t addressed the emotional issue causing this dependency on things that aren’t necessarily good for us. These habits can run the gamut from nail biting to drug addiction, but many of them are caused by hidden emotional trauma or subconscious conditioning or programming. Those internal things are what cause the dependency on whatever habits we have a hard time giving up, so it stands to reason that those are the things we should address in our mindfulness efforts, not merely the surface habits. Knowing this, we can finally begin to move forward with letting go of habits that don’t serve us.

 

This sounds like a lot of work, getting to what’s underneath it all, and make no mistake: the more unresolved issues you have, the more work you will need to do within yourself to address, release, and replace the habits that don’t serve you with habits that do. You can begin to determine which habits don’t serve you well based on the way they make you feel overall. Let’s take a shopping addiction as an example. Society likes to joke around about “retail therapy,” which makes this a habit that is not taken as seriously as it probably should be because we live in a society that promotes consumerism. However, that doesn’t mean that a shopping addiction is healthy or that you can’t choose to be a different way. And this goes for anyone who feels trapped by one or more bad habits; your definition of a bad habit will be different from others’ definitions of it, and as the above quote states, everyone is different and this is a complex topic.

 

To help you determine whether you want to phase out a particular habit or not, we have to first consider where the habit comes from, and where your belief about the habit comes from. For example, if you grew up with a parent who smoked but whom you also admired, you might subconsciously believe that smoking is admirable or makes you look a certain way. Realizing that this is only your conditioned belief about the habit can help you work through the layers of subconscious beliefs and begin letting them go. You might ask yourself, “Is smoking really an admirable trait? Does it really make me look cool, or do I just look gross?” You may also begin to condition yourself out of it by looking at graphic smoker lung photos, hearing people hacking up their lungs constantly, or otherwise making it seem disgusting to yourself so you become discouraged on a conscious level.

 

Maybe smoking isn’t your habit, so let’s go over a few basic questions you can take some time to reflect on when you’re looking at your habits and determining which ones to change. Any time we discuss inner work, being completely honest with yourself is paramount. You don’t have to tell anyone anything, but be honest with yourself.

 

1. When do you tend to participate in this particular habit? Is it when you’re stressed, sad, depressed, lonely, ambivalent, confused, stuck, etc.? Be very specific about how you feel and where that feeling might originate from. If you have flashes of memories or feel on the verge of a breakthrough, write it down.

 

2. How do you feel while you indulge in this habit versus shortly afterwards? Do you feel guilt or shame after partaking in this habit?

 

3. Why do you think that this habit is bad? Is it because you really think so, someone else convinced you (for example, a religious parent telling their child something is bad or a sin even when it isn’t; think Stephen King’s story, Carrie), or because you actually know, within yourself, based on educated research, that this habit is hurting you in the long run?

 

4. What experiences have you had around other people with the same habit? Have those experiences been mostly positive, and maybe you feel like you’ll miss out if you don’t continue the habit? Or have they been mostly negative and you use this habit to punish yourself subconsciously, for example any time you think you fail?

 

5. How do you feel about simply replacing your negative or bad habits with positive or good habits? Going back to the smoking example, maybe instead of smoking, you choose to go for a walk or do ten minutes of yoga when you have that urge. This is one way to less painfully phase out bad habits and develop good ones: replace the existing bad habit with a new good habit.

 

With these questions, you can determine where your habit comes from, why you do it, and whether you’re being true to yourself and your potential or not. You can also begin to understand the emotional aspects of why these habits get stuck, part of which is subconscious conditioning. Figuring out how you’ve been conditioned by your surroundings, experiences, and the people in your life can help you to create any changes you want to.

 

Be aware that beginning this journey into changing your habits can be challenging and may bring out some interesting responses among the people you surround yourself with. Self-improvement is a lifelong process, so don’t let anyone discourage you no matter who they are or how much you think they mean the best for you. It is extremely common for people to develop codependent relationships that have to be broken and rebuilt when those habits change, which can and most likely will make some waves and create some drama. Depending on how enmeshed everyone involved is, this could last for a while and cause all manner of problems.

 

Remaining strong throughout this process is difficult, so you may or may not relapse and slip backwards a couple of times. However, this is the part where you have to forgive yourself and remember you did it before, so you can do it again, and it will be fine. Loving the part of yourself that is attracted to this habit is important as well, so don’t judge yourself too harshly or beat up on yourself for anything. That will only prolong the process of getting back on the horse, so to speak. Forgiving yourself and understanding that your bad habit or addiction isn’t you will help a great deal.

 

Habits are the foundation of major life changes. A little effort every day can make a massive amount of difference in the big picture, so creating your life around habits you want to be sure to have each and every day is the best way that you can change anything you want to. After a week or two, the habits begin to become effortless, as long as they are maintained every day. If you skip out on them for too long, they will become more challenging to pick back up, so do what you need to do to take good care of yourself and manifest the life of your dreams, one habit at a time.

 

 

For more information about the Mindfulness Movement or the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

http://executivecoachinguniversity.com/mindfulness-movement

 

 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 03:47

The Art of Mindfully Forgiving Yourself

Forgiving yourself is an extremely valuable tool on your journey to being the best version of yourself. This goes hand in hand with personal accountability for your portion of responsibility in whatever situation you’re dealing with. True healing takes admitting at least your part in whatever is happening while also recognizing the other person’s part, and remembering that none of us are perfect. As a mindful leader, it is part of your duty to pay attention and be aware of each side of the story as much as you can. Sometimes it takes a little time and inner work to get there, but with practice, you can get there almost instantaneously if you focus. Let’s explore how forgiving yourself will ultimately make you a much stronger, wiser, and more patient and understanding individual.

 

One of the first things to realize is that many of us tend to beat up on ourselves about what we’ve done wrong for much longer than is necessary, which creates an inner environment that opens you up to people taking advantage of you because they know they can do whatever they want, but you’ll take the blame and responsibility for it... because that’s just the good-hearted type of person that you are. Having said that, this gives you all the more reason to develop a healthy and appropriate length of time to process your portion of responsibility rather than moving into martyr mode.

 

Your inner critic can be very noisy and – quite frankly – a nuisance until you practice mindfulness and self-awareness and recognize that this is all just part of being human. None of us are perfect, and keeping this in mind allows you to forgive yourself as well as others much more quickly. Love yourself despite your mistakes, and keep them in perspective by taking a bird’s eye view of the whole situation rather than just the piece of it that you feel is your fault. Remember that the best thing you can do for yourself is learn from the experience and move on. Dwelling in guilt, shame, and fear is actually unhealthy and detrimental to your effectiveness as a person, the message you have to share, as well as eating away at your sense of self-worth, so why make life more difficult for yourself through this kind of subconscious self-programming?

 

On that note, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to help you forgive yourself and move on to solutions and lessons learned, that way you have the tools to handle things in a more constructive way later, as well as being unlikely to make the same mistake again.

 

Elements of Self-Forgiveness to Keep in Mind

 

·         In order to make the most of your self-forgiveness, it’s a good idea to begin from a place of calm and peace, preferably where you remember that you are (and deserve to be – we all do) loved unconditionally. Whether this unconditional love comes from yourself, your spirit or inner being, or an individual that is close to you, tap into that feeling of being loved unconditionally. This is the foundation.

 

·         Next, remember your strength and positive attributes or traits. Are you patient? Understanding? Wise? Practical? This could be anything that you love about yourself and can remember demonstrating at some point or another in a life situation. These are things you know to be true and can be confident in, which in turn will make it easier to admit fault that is actually yours, forgive yourself, and move on.

 

·         Remember to look at the situation in context and take full responsibility for whatever it is that you need to forgive yourself for. If it was a simple mistake involving your skills, then there’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Simply learn from the mistake, correct it if you can, and do better next time. If it was a moral conflict, make sure that you feel appropriate guilt and shame, but no more. Nursing these feelings can open you up to all kinds of problems later on, so don’t prolong the healing process unnecessarily.

 

·         Pay close attention to the parts of your experience that are especially painful, as this is where deeper healing takes place. Look at what happened and feel the pain and guilt, but imagine yourself shining a loving light onto it and realizing that, without doing this, you are much more likely to get stuck in the negative cycle of beating yourself up over it.

 

·         Take responsibility for your part in things and acknowledge the aspects of the situation that you aren’t responsible for. Then consider what you’ve done already to try to rectify the situation, and do anything else that you feel you must in order to mend fences. If you’ve already done everything in your power, then the rest is outside of your control and there’s no point in dwelling on it more. At that point, it’s senseless and does more harm than good. If there’s more that you can do, then do it – not only for the other person involved, but also for yourself. Knowing you’ve done everything you could will help you to learn from the experience and move on.

 

·         That brings me to the idea of learning everything you can from the situation and then releasing it. Letting go of trying to control the outcome of the situation will allow you to move on and do better the next time you’re faced with a similar situation.

 

Be honest with yourself and do what you can, but don’t allow your inner critic or self-deprecating thoughts to lull you into a false sense of over-responsibility. No one human being is required to carry the weight of the world, but if you continuously don’t forgive yourself, then it may very well feel like you have the world on your shoulders. This feeling can become crippling over time; the more weight you add with every misstep or mistake, the heavier your burden will be. This infringes very much on your ability to help others, and as a mindful leader, this will likely have a ripple effect on every area of your life.

 

I hope that these ideas help you to reach a place of forgiving yourself much more quickly. One of the most important aspects is to feel the feelings you feel, acknowledge them, and then let them go so that you can move on to do much better in your life as a whole. This is part of the work that allows you to be better than you were the day, week, or even month before, and oftentimes, steps and layers are required in order to fully reach this peace. You can only work your way from one step to the next; there’s no jumping up the entire staircase to reach the top without learning the lessons you learn along the way. Abraham-Hicks refers to this as being ready to be ready to be ready... because you can’t get there from where you are without taking the steps necessary, and life tends to lead us to exactly the steps we need for growth and inner peace... usually with absolutely perfect timing (whether we can see it in the thick of it or not).

 

Thank you so much for joining us today on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and please come back next week for another article about forgiveness.

 

 

To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

 

http://executivecoachinguniversity.com/mindfulness-movement

 

 

The brutal truth of the matter is that we won’t be fully honed or skilled in these practices, especially getting comfortable with uncertainty, until we’ve experienced a period of uncertainty that essentially gave us no choice but to get comfortable. Things being up in the air basically force us to let go of control and hang on to faith instead. If this isn’t something you’ve done before, then it might help you to read on about things you can do to help yourself feel less like you’re being dragged through the mud by life and more like you’re being “pulled” to your calling by life. On the outside, the circumstances and situations could be exactly the same... but one person might handle it with a nonchalant attitude while someone else might handle it with a reactionary mindset. Let’s take a closer look at a mindset of being comfortable in times of uncertainty.

 

There are some common sayings we can turn to in times like these, some of which may not always make sense until you’ve had an experience where it clicks. However, they are very valid sayings and can be used to give you comfort in uncertain times. By practicing the following mindset shifts, you make your emotional wellbeing the primary focus as you work through whatever circumstances or challenges you’re faced with.

 

1.      “When one door closes, another one opens.”
This is advice to keep your eyes out for opportunities and remain open to seeing them despite your challenges. In order to be on the same wavelength or frequency as your solutions, though, you must have a mindset focused and directed toward more positive aspects than negative. If you are staying focused on the problem and thinking about it, giving it your mental and emotional energy, then the solutions may not find you because they are on an entirely different vibrational frequency. It isn’t that they aren’t there; it’s that you aren’t in the right mindset to see them. If you need help getting out of a funk, try meditation, yoga, or going for a walk.

2.      “Let go and let God.”
Essentially, this saying means to let go of your need for control. When you try to control everything around you, chances are that you feel like you have no control within yourself, of your emotions specifically. This essentially means you try to control your environment and external people and circumstances in order to attempt to control your own emotions. This is akin to building a house on a faulty foundation – if you really want to get somewhere, you will let go of the control tactics and begin replacing them with mindfulness practices so that you can heal yourself and quit worrying about everything “out there.”

3.      “Have the serenity to know the difference.”
This line from the Serenity Prayer is important to remember during challenging times, especially if whatever is happening is very emotional for you. Being serene – peaceful, calm, tranquil – can also be achieved through daily meditation practice. When you are able to maintain a somewhat objective point of view despite emotional volatility in a situation, you are better able to recognize what is yours and what isn’t. Is this really your responsibility? Is this really something that’s your problem? Or is it better to step back and let it go? Remember... you can always come back to it later when tempers and other emotions have cooled.

4.      Don’t worry about a thing.
Worrying is like projecting your fears into the future... and if you’re any good at manifesting anything, which we all are (whether we know it or not), there’s a good chance that these worries and fears being projected into your future may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have you ever met someone who believed that they were cursed in some way, shape, or form? And every time, without fail, that thing they thought was cursing them would show up. Now, what’s the deal... are they actually cursed? Or are they so worried about what’s coming that they make it happen one way or another? This is why it’s better to keep your mind clear rather than running on autopilot (aka auto-manifesting). If you’re not thinking about anything, then chances are that you aren’t projecting worries and fears into the future or being nostalgic or regretful about the past. If you catch yourself thinking worrisome thoughts, direct your attention somewhere else. The more you do this, the less you’ll worry.

5.      Be discerning about what you give your attention and energy to.
If you have something that is a priority which you should be focused on, such as a project, work, or some other activity, then choose that as much as possible. If you have children, creative passion projects, a fun hobby, or anything similar to focus on that helps you stay in tune with your inspiration, then set aside time for that and make it a priority because it is imperative to replenish your energies and get into that inspired zone from time to time. If you don’t do this enough or haven’t found anything like this to focus on, then your chances of falling into addictive behavior increase, so find something organic that makes you feel naturally passionate and make that your new addiction, so to speak.

 

I hope that this month’s blog articles have helped you to become better at being uncomfortable and not knowing what’s next. Uncertainty is a part of life, and if you don’t know how to handle it in a healthy manner from your own perspective, which will be different from anyone else’s, then I highly recommend you start learning and getting to know yourself better. You are much stronger than you think, and you can handle more and come out a much better person than you think, so changing the way you think of yourself is a good first step. It basically boils down to confidence. Are you confident in your ability to figure things out? If not, then you might run into trouble. Let’s prevent that from happening, shall we?

 

Thanks so much for joining us and reading about resilience this month! I invite you to come back in November for a new topic on Mindful Leadership.

 

 

To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

 

 

http://executivecoachinguniversity.com/mindfulness-movement

 

How much control do you think you have over your life? During any given day, do you have control over much of anything, really? Well, maybe a little. However, the real question is (and be honest with yourself here): Do you feel like you need to be in control of everything around you all the time? The difference between being in control of your own mind and being in control of your environment is night and day. Let’s pinpoint some of the key things involved in healthy control over your mind versus unhealthy control over the environment.

 

The one extremely obvious point to note is that one version of control turns your focus inward, while the other version of control turns your focus outward. Why does this matter?

 

Have you ever tried to control the ocean? That would be impossible for one person to do. And you know as well as I do that barking orders or yelling at the ocean wouldn’t change a thing. It would simply continue on its course, ebbing and flowing in its natural rhythm.

 

However, you can go within and make the decision to go with the flow of the water. This allows for collaboration and harmony rather than control and force.

 

We could learn a lot from the ocean. Actually, we could learn a lot from water in general.

 

Becoming Like Water

 

Water, though flexible, is powerful, steady, and persistent as it carves out its own path. It is confident (have you ever seen water hesitate?), reliable, and typically stays put unless it gets too hot, in which case it evaporates and eventually falls back to the earth. No matter how you look at it, though, water is always present in the now because it has no mind to think thoughts of worry about the future or regret about the past.

 

1. The present is everything.

When you focus your attention in the present moment, you begin to notice details and spaces that you may not have noticed before. Time may even stretch out for you. This is because you have found a state of being completely focused and present and your thoughts aren’t a part of this focus.

 

Should you notice your thoughts wandering, just bring your focus back to your breath. The breath is vital to us, not only for staying alive, but also for connecting with our inner selves and balancing us out.

 

2. Breathing is powerful.

Think about it. With each breath you take, millions of tiny cells carry oxygen to every part of your body to keep it functioning properly. If any part of your body loses oxygen, your body will begin to shut down. If your brain loses oxygen for too long, it dies and can no longer function.

 

Breathing is life. If you’d like to do some mindfulness breathing, breathe in through your nose, hold for four, then out through your mouth, hold for four. You can count out four seconds, and then as your lungs become stronger and grow in capacity, you may begin to increase your count.

 

3. Life is liquid.

Just like water is liquid life, life is fluid like water. You may be able to see the big things coming and prepare for them, kind of like large rocks, waterfalls, or a boulder in a river, but you can’t always see all of the little obstacles hidden beneath the surface, nor can you foretell what other unforeseen things may interfere with the flow of the river.

 

You must remain flexible. If you aren’t able to go with the flow and work with it, your entire life experience will feel like an uphill battle of “making” things happen. If you choose instead to consider multiple options for multiple potential circumstances or outcomes, you will already have a higher chance of success because you’re addressing the problem creatively. Master this and you will be able to handle anything life throws at you!

 

4. Maybe the world does revolve around you… just a little.

By that, of course, I mean YOUR world. This is true for every person on the planet; think of yourself as a smaller universe within a larger one, within a larger one, within a larger one. Each level is within another level, all the way on up to the entire expanding universe and all the way down to the tiniest atom.

 

Knowing this, you can approach people you lead in a way that takes their perspective (“the world revolves around me”) into consideration while also helping the whole. Your own perspective will broaden the more you understand this, so try to look at everything from as many angles as possible.

 

5. Nobody else is really any of your business.

When you spend the majority of your time worrying about what someone else is doing, saying, or thinking, you hand away your power over yourself on a silver platter. If someone else is constantly worried about what you’re doing, saying, or thinking, they have given you power over them and it isn’t always pretty for either person.

 

Instead, focus on what you’re doing and staying in the moment while you’re doing it so that you can milk it for everything it has to teach you and show you by studying the details. This is how to remain mindful while you’re working on anything, whether you naturally enjoy it or not.

 

Thanks so much for reading! I certainly hope that this article helps you become a more mindful leader than before.

 

 

To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

 

 

http://executivecoachinguniversity.com/mindfulness-movement

Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:00

Build Resiliency for a Better Life


As the New Year hits, most of us turn to recapping the year behind us, then setting goals for the year to come. Goals are fantastic as they help us set a direction. If you don't know where you are trying to go, how do you ever know if you get there?

When I think about resiliency as a goal, I think of being resilient as building a better foundation, so that we are more able to adapt, flex, and grow through the things life brings our way. Being resilient means demonstrating our ability to effectively and easily navigate our lives.

We have all heard the motto; "It is not what happens to us, but how we respond that matters." I am forever working to increase both my own and my children's level of resiliency. I want us to be prepared for those times when we may be knocked around, or even down. I want us to get back up, dust ourselves off, and have a reserve of energy to make what we want happen.

If you wish to take a look at your level of resiliency (or how well you bounce back), try taking a look at some of these aspects of your life.

  • How healthy are the key relationships in your life?
  • Are you able to nurture a positive view of yourself?
  • Do you accept change as part of living?
  • Do you see crisis as an insurmountable problem (perhaps it is part of our journey)?
  • Do you know your goals and continue to move towards them by taking decisive action?

Try to slow your pace a little. Stop, look, and listen, so that you understand what is really happening vs. what story you have built around the situation. The story is not tangible but will drive our emotions and therefore our actions. Be deliberate in the things you focus on.

Resiliency is a great goal. With a little focus, you can build it and be a better person for having it.

All the best!

Find out more about Jenna here.

 


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© 2015 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.



Tuesday, 03 September 2013 14:42

Are You Good Enough?

Good Enough 9.3.13

As a coach who works with high level executives I am continually connected to this feeling of not being good enough.  It doesn’t matter my corporate background, level of training, years of experience, or level of success, sometimes I can’t shake this deep down feeling of not being good enough.  Now this isn’t just a “Dear Ann” moment…it is actually a really big challenge that most people can recognize.

Through the hundreds of executives I have worked with over the years I have seen this belief come forward time and time again.  Some say that not feeling good enough comes from our youth and the influence our parents and support system kindly passed down to us.  Others say it is a belief based on certain past actions or experience that change the way we see ourselves in this world.  I think it’s a combination of both influential people and experiences.

The beliefs we have about ourselves, and others, are a direct link to how we behave in our career, relationships, as a parent, as a friend, and colleague.  Beliefs are the undercurrent that drives our behavior.  Whether we are aware of it or not, we spend so much of our energy trying to reinforce the feeling that we know so well (i.e. I’m not good enough) and we play out those feelings in the behavior we portray. 

Take a snapshot of where you are right now:

  • Do you need to control things?
  • Are you angry or frustrated a lot of the time?
  • Do you feel like everything is out of your hands? 
  • Do you feel like you need someone or some thing to be happy?

 Take a moment and ask yourself:

  • What do I believe about myself?
  • What kind of person have I been?
  • How do I present that belief to the world?
  • What do I need to let go of that may not be serving me?

When we can question ourselves with a purely curious nature, without judgement or fear, we can truly see what is happening behind the scenes of our lives.  We can start to piece together actions we may or may not have taken in our past.  We can see with more clarity why we are in the life situation we are in and why we may not be moving forward. We begin to own these things.

This may be an uncomfortable place to sit for you. For most individuals it is.  However, you cannot change what you are not willing to open up your awareness to. 

If you really want to create different outcomes in your life, you need to look at yourself and what role you play in this.  It is really easy to play the circumstantial victim, but you are cutting yourself off at the knees and playing small when you do this.  You are too good to play small!

Take a good look at yourself and your beliefs. Go forward with courage and determination to give the world the best of you. I know you are good enough!

To your continued success!



© 2013 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
“Ac·count·abil·i·ty “
Webster’s Definition: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. 

Many leaders approach “accountability” wrong!

For instance:

  • Many leaders see “accountability” as just a tool to make sure their workers are producing at the level they want them to produce.
  • Many leaders use a number of exercises to bring this about: Dashboards, Accountability charts or graphs, even “accountability meetings.”
  • Many leaders miss the fundamental and transformational point – high performance organizations (and individuals) don’t just talk accountability, they walk it…constantly!

Now, for those who get it right:

  • A few enlightened servant leaders understand accountability is not a tool, it is part of the foundation…part of the value system that everything is built upon. And it starts with them.
  • A few enlightened servant leaders focus first on holding the image in the mirror accountable before anyone else.
  • A few enlightened servant leaders understand leadership is an inside out process.  They get the fact that others will not practice healthy accountability unless they demonstrate how it is done. 

Make sure your inner world and outer world are in alignment. Hold yourself to a higher standard than those whom you serve. They will get caught in your updraft. 

Once you accomplish this, you will differentiate yourself by being one of the few who actually practice accountability, not just one of the many who preach it!



©2013 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Friday, 22 February 2013 20:45

Human Capital and Coaching

It is reported that recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent is widely recognized as the most critical challenge that organizations face.

Organizations are social systems.  All business is people business.  If an organization is having a cash flow problem, it’s not just a financial problem, it’s a leadership problem.  All organizational problems come down to people within the organization.

Most organizations still run under Pareto’s 80/20 principle where 20% of the work force does 80% of the work. This is endemic in almost every position, in every organization, and across all industries.  What does this mean?  The performance bell curve stills ends up being 10% top performers, 15% B performers, 50% C performers and 25% D performers.  This results in an almost uniform 33% human capital efficiency.

This factor in business creates the single biggest opportunity for increased growth and profit.  Your biggest asset is walking through your door every day and it’s not your customer.  Human Capital is the most important and most expensive asset of any organization.

Isn’t it time for you to invest in your biggest asset?

As a leader of your organization, is your energy spent enabling or disabling your workforce?  Many managers are unaware of their influence on the success of their employees.  Why?  Perhaps they never slow down enough to ask the tough questions of themselves to become aware of their contribution.  It’s time to own our actions, own our behaviours, and own our level of influence.   

What choices will you make to raise the capacity in your human capital?

How do you contribute to the level of success your organization is having?

Slow down and ask yourself the tough questions...and if you can’t, hire a coach that will.

To your continued success!

 

Jenna Forster

Director of Operations and Training

Executive Coaching University

© 2013 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.

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