So we showed up at another book club meeting. This was the 12th one in 2 years. We were a Personal Development book club focused on non fiction books that would help us develop our leadership skills at our jobs.
As I looked around at the people in my book club, I wondered, “what have we done with all of this knowledge we have read?” From what I could tell, not one of us had been promoted in our careers, or had done half the things we said we were going to do.
Here’s the deal. Reading these books is great for development. It does help us stay motivated and inspired, and can give us some fabulous ideas for our businesses or life.
BUT WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING WITH IT.
We have to stand on all of the books we have read, and take a GIANT LEAP into action. It is hard. And for our book club, this was the scary part that no one seemed willing or able to do.
So this got me thinking. What is the point of all of these books and the hundreds of dollars and time we have spent reading them?
As it turns out, the personal development industry is a $9.9 BILLION DOLLAR cash cow, and is projected to grow another 5.6% per year. American consumers are willing to pay lots of money for self improvement products and services!
So what have we done with all of this information? If we don’t hold ourselves accountable, it isn’t good for much.
Right then and there, we each made a commitment to each other. No more excuses. We were going to hold each other accountable. We were going to take 1-2 ACTION items, that made sense to us, to do something with.
Then we were going to check in with each other every month at this club and say “did you follow through? Did you ACT on what you said you were going to act on?”
Until we take the GIANT LEAP CALLED ACTION with this information, it is all just wasted time. ACTION coupled with ACCOUNTABILITY is even better.
So tell me, in the comments below, what have you learned from self development books and what are the things you are going to take a GIANT LEAP into to TAKE ACTION on today?
So I am super predictable. Every day, I hit the wall at the exact same times. It is pretty annoying. Especially when I have a lot of work to do and just need to crank it out.
I deal with THE GREAT FOG…Every. Single. Day. I find it hard to focus, I feel disorganized, overwhelmed, and can’t think. It is like a FOG has flooded in my brain and has taken over. A cloud that I can’t see through. I have memory problems, I get into a bad mood, and I just can’t get anything done.
My brain and my body are TI-RED. It usually happens right when I need to be WI-RED! THE GREAT FOG IS THE WORST.
What to do about it? I talked to some doctors to learn more information about what this is and how I can deal.
To break out of THE FOG slump, there were common themes:
Since THE FOG is because we are fatigued, one of the best things we can do is get a good night’s rest. They say 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night should be our target. No screens allowed in that bedroom though!
2) GETTING A MOVE ON
Moving our bodies is sometimes the easiest way to clear THE FOG on out of here. When our brains aren’t getting enough H2O, we get THE FOG. So exercise can improve circulation. Even a walk or light stretching can help us.
3) TAKE A BREAK
It’s good for us to take breaks sometimes! Positive coping skills that relax or turn off our brains may clear up THE FOG. Meditation, taking a hot bath, reading, or doing whatever gives us joy will help improve our mental health, and THE FOG will disappear.
When we are going through THE GREAT FOG, it is often hard to get ourselves to do any of these things, but the results are totally worth it. We can give ourselves a big boost and shake off THE GREAT FOG by just changing how we do a few things.
So tell me, in the comments below, have you ever encountered THE GREAT FOG and what helped you get through it?
She leaned in towards me, focused on my every word. There was a look of concern in her face as I kept telling her my story. Her eyes were kind, full of concern for me. I could actually feel the love she was sending my way.
As I told her how much I missed my Mother, the gut wrenching guilt I go through every day, and why I feel like I need to keep torturing myself, she listened to my every word without interrupting. When I said all I could say, she sat back, folded her arms, and looked me right into my eyes. She said, “the fact that you are feeling this way is an indication that you are a good person. Your mother knew you loved her. That is enough. You are enough.”
As I breathed out, I felt a huge weight lifting off my shoulders. I felt flooded with happiness. It was almost like I was intoxicated. I felt as content and happy as a sleeping puppy.
What was it about this woman that made me feel so calm, confident, content? Why did I want to be around her longer, forever if I could make it happen? I had a feeling of being intoxicated. I was on a liberating high.
I was Emotionally Intoxicated.
Later, as I thought more about the high I was on when I was around her, I realized that the reason why I felt like that came down to one thing.
She was fully present with me.
When someone is present in the moment, who is not mentally rushing around in their heads about the next thing to do or think about, we feel it. We can sense the connection they have with the moment and with us.
Being around a present person is Emotionally Intoxicating.
To be around someone who is confident in the moment, who isn't in a hurry to do more or get more, we feel the calm and the confidence. People in the present moment know they already have enough, that they are enough.
It is Emotionally Intoxicating, and it is powerful. Being present in the moment is a powerful attribute bosses look for who want to promote leaders for their team, because it comes across as confidence. It is a powerful and attractive quality to potential romantic partners who want to be with someone with a special charisma. It is powerful to children because it gives them a soothing sense of calm when they are around an adult who is present.
It is powerful across the board. And it is Emotionally Intoxicating to be around.
So tell me, in the comments below, how are you going to show up with more in the moment presence today and create this Emotional Intoxication for people you are with?
Ahhh….the NEW YEAR!! Isn’t it great? A time of new beginnings and new starts. An opportunity to start fresh, a clean slate. An entire year at our fingertips. Whatever we want to do in the next year we can achieve. So much to look forward to!
And for 40 - 50% of Americans, we will start with a list of New Years Resolutions. A list of things we want to achieve or accomplish in the upcoming year. So when did we start making these New Years Resolutions anyway? Why did we start doing this? I did some research online to find out more.
As it turns out, humans have been making resolutions for thousands of years. THOUSANDS OF YEARS. The ancient Babylonians were the first people to make resolutions over 4,000 years ago and were the first to hold celebrations in honor of the new year. They made resolutions to their Gods promising to return borrowed objects and pay of their debts. If they kept their word, the Gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If they didn’t? They would fall out of God’s favor – a place no one wanted to be.
Then in ancient Rome the Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, which is how we got the name January. Julius Caesar changed the calendar to make January 1 mark the beginning of a new year, circa 46 B.C. Romans believed that Janus looked ahead into the future, so they offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.
Christians started a watch night services practice around 1740. Commonly held on New Years Eve or New Years Day, it marked the time to think about one’s past mistakes and resolving to doing better in the future.
Today, most New Year Resolutions are focused on self-improvement. For most of us, the common resolutions are to eat healthier, get more exercise, and save more money. Yet studies show that only a small percentage of those who made a resolution stick to it. According to one study, 80% of us will fail by the second week of February.
So what gives? Why do so many of us fail?
According to researchers, it comes down to the enjoyment factor. For most Americans, their New Years Resolutions are looked at as sacrifice, pain, and misery. Instead of thinking of how great we will feel when we can fit into our favorite jeans again, we focus on how awful we will feel when we have to order the salad instead of the Burger. We focus on the short term pain, not the long term pleasure.
We also have a tendency to overthink it. Instead of just going for a run after work, we have an internal battle in our minds between doing what we want to do (relaxing) and what we should do (running). We analyze, think, dread it. Then we convince ourselves its too hard, we are too tired, its all too much. We would have been better off just running. Not thinking about it so much.
We should all over ourselves. Instead of thinking “I should save my money and not buy this dress” we can transform the conversation in our mind to “I will save my money and not buy this dress.”
It’s a 3 Step Solution to the Resolution:
My New Years Resolutions? In addition to exercising more, eating more healthy, and saving more money, I have a mantra of Own It. Own my own business, my own car, my own home. Own my life and stop blaming other people or circumstances for the position I am in today. No one got me here except myself.
So tell me in the comments below, what are your New Years Resolutions for 2019? How are you going to be sure to Own It for yourself?
With 2018 winding down, I wanted to say THANK YOU.
THANK YOU for inspiring me every week with your comments, words, and wisdom.
THANK YOU for fearlessly believing in the right that each of us has: to Command Joy in our lives.
THANK YOU for making this world a better, more positive, and happier place to be.
THANK YOU for all the joy we will create, here, together, in 2019!
Cheers to a happy, healthy holiday season!
Our inner guidance system has the directions to our intended destination. It is there at all times, keeping us on the right road, leading us, directing us, telling us where to go and what to do. It is guiding us in the direction of our path. It keeps us on course. It tells us the road we should be taking.
But we don’t always follow the GPS!
In life, we get off course. We go the wrong way, we turn down the wrong street, we get lost. We stop listening to our GPS system. Sometimes we turn it off completely. We ask for direction. We listen to and follow the route that others tell us to go on. In effect, we turn off our compass, we ignore our directions. We go the way others tell us to go. We take the recommended safer route, putting us on a path that we were never meant to travel.
It is easy to get lost and to ignore our GPS. But we can change that starting now.
The way we do it is by questioning any negative feelings. When we feel or experience any negativity, we can stop. The negative feelings we are experiencing is because our GPS is telling us to go a different way or down another road. Like our smartphone’s GPS, it will tell when we need to stop, turn around, go back.
We will feel it in our bodies – our inner voice will be shouting, we will feel tense, anxious, on edge. That’s how we know we went the wrong way. We may need to turnaround or re—route entirely.
When we are on track with our GPS system, we will feel energized, excited, enlightened. That’s our inner GPS. Our inner guidance system, leading us, directing us, telling us where to go and what to do. It will give us the fastest, shortest route to where we need to go.
Starting today, we can listen and follow our inner GPS, our guidance system that is always there for us.
Tell me, in the comments below, when have you followed your GPS and where did it lead you?
That quiet, small voice inside. The one that is always talking to us, yet we so often ignore. The whispering words that we so easily push away from our thoughts but that are always there. The quiet, soft spoken hum in the back of our minds, patiently waiting to be heard. We try as hard as we can to shove it aside and go on about our days, our weeks, and our years. Yet it is defiant.
In life, it is so easy to get started down a path of having to play it safe. We have bills to pay, health insurance that we need, kids to feed. It is overwhelming! The stresses of life are real, and they are harsh. There is so much that we are forced to think about, deal with, and face.
But despite all the cruel and unkind things in life, there is a greater force inside each of us. The whispering words are speaking to the true path that we are meant to be on, the real guiding energy. But it is so easy to push aside.
At this moment in our history and society, there are real responsibilities. We can’t get away with not paying taxes, our bills, our health insurance. But to ignore the whispers means to ignore ourselves. When we push aside our true calling, the real passions we have, we can become bitter and resentful. At life, at our bosses, friends and family. At ourselves.
So what do we do about it?
We can start small. Pay attention to the inner voice. Get quiet. Listen to ourselves. Understand more of who we are and how we are wired. Then we can take baby steps into something we really want to do. We can take a class, attend a lecture, visit a place that we have always been interested in. It doesn’t always mean that we need money or resources. A library has tons of information in whatever topic we are interested in learning more about.
When we start to follow the whispering words, we set our life in a positive direction, in line with our true guiding force. As we start to say yes to the whispering words, we will feel a sense of inner peace and contentment. Life will be easier with less drama and chaos. Things will start to unfold naturally, the way they were meant to be.
Listen to the Whispering Words. It’s important. We can do it!
In the comments below, tell me, how have you listened to the Whispers in your life and what happened as a result?
It is so easy to go through life holding onto the past. To the things that we wish we had done. We replay the negative things that have happened to us. In our minds, over and over again, we re-live the traumatic experiences. We relive the regret. The guilt. The worry.
The problem is that when we look in the rear view mirror all the time, it takes our attention away from the good things we have coming our way! When we are so busy beating ourselves up for past mistakes, we don’t have time to look forward to the future opportunity. When are eyes are focused on the rear view mirror, on the past that is behind us, on the things that have already happened, we can’t look ahead to the future.
Here’s the deal. Our past is a part of life. Good or bad, we can’t change it. So why do we keep looking back there and re-living it?
The key is to not hold on to it. Recognize that re-living it is not beneficial, it’s not moving us forward. We have to shift our focus to the windshield view. We did our best at the time with the information we had, and all we can do is our best again in the future.
A while back I met a friend’s grandmother at a baseball game who was 97 years old. She was dressed impeccably, beautiful with hardly had any wrinkles, and she was full of joy. As I started chatting with her, I realized she was sharp minded and funny. She didn’t miss a beat. I asked her what her secret was to living such a long, happy life. She said, "I don't worry, I let things go, and I laugh a lot". She's lived by the idea of looking in the windshield. She doesn’t hold on to past mistakes. I have to imagine that in almost a hundred years of living, people have had to have hurt her, she's had to of made mistakes, but she hasn't held on to them. She looks through the windshield window not the rear view mirror, and this has kept her young and strong.
We can’t continue the mistake of looking back. If we do, we will get bitter, live guilty, with a chip on our shoulders. That's going to keep us from seeing the bright future we have coming our way. We may not be able to keep bad things from happening to us or for the fact that we will make more mistakes, but we can keep our focus forward.
Instead of going through life looking in the rear view mirror, down on ourselves, living in regret, we can look through the windshield. We can't do anything about the past. But we can do something about right now. Being against ourselves doesn't help us do better. It pushes us down.
Instead of looking in the rear view mirror and reliving the past, why don't we forgive ourselves? Why don't we empty out the guilt? Why don't we turn off the accusing voices? How much space are we going to give to guilt, to shame, to regret, to being against ourselves? Whatever it is, it's too much.
If we give space to our pasts, to the guilt, we won’t have the confidence we need to move forward. That will cause us to fail again. It's a negative cycle. The only way we can break it is to rise up and say, "That's it. I am done looking in the rearview mirror, living in the past, focused on my mistakes, reliving my failures, beating myself up. This is a new day. I'm looking through the windshield with great expectations about what’s to come."
I Hear You are the most powerful words in the English dictionary. These three little words carry so much meaning. When delivered authentically and with a pure heart, they can transform. They can help a frustrated person feel understood. An ignored person feel cared for. An anxious person feel loved.
Most of us are very good at talking, but not so good at listening. So when two people are talking at each other, it doesn’t make good communication. I Hear You offers validation. When we feel frustrated in life, it’s usually because we feel like our feelings have not been validated. All we really need is for someone to tell us that we are heard and understood. We want to know that what we are feeling is real and true.
But most people don’t really want to listen to understand. We get so caught up in thinking about what we want to say, or trying to fix things, that we don’t try to simply figure out why someone is telling us something.
I Hear You will help us with every kind of relationship. When we are talking to someone and they are telling us something that created frustration or anger for them, we can make sure we heard them correctly before trying to fix it. Saying I Hear You doesn’t mean that we agree with the other person, it means that we have taken the time to stay calm and understand.
It’s as easy as saying "I hear you say _____. If I understood you correctly, you must be feeling _____. Do I have that right?"
Try it today and in the comments below, tell us how I Hear You transformed your life or someone else’s.
She called me one day, crying hysterically. I could barely understand what she was saying, but I knew it was bad, really bad. “Erin, nothing’s going right in my life. It’s all too much. I can’t do it all. I am so over it.” This was my good friend Carol and I had never seen her like this before. Always happy, upbeat, smiling and laughing, I was at a loss for words. She was the one that always cheered me up. What was I going to say?
As I asked her what was going on, she explained how, over the last two years, she’d been so depressed. She wanted to run away. Work was overwhelming, her husband was draining her of all her energy, and she just didn’t see any of it letting up anytime soon. She sounded so sad! She was done. Broken. Over it. She said the only thing she wanted to do was run away. Live off the grid with no cell phone, no WIFI, nothing. Away.
When I asked a little bit more about what was triggering this, I told her that she had to change her focus. I said, “Look at you. You’re beautiful. You’ve got a great personality. You’ve got family that loves you. You’re healthy, and yet, you’re allowing these two circumstances, this one person to steal your joy week after week, month after month.” The fact is that there are some things in life we cannot change. We can’t change people. We can’t make them do what’s right. And if we are constantly trying to get people to act the way we want them to, we are only going to frustrate ourselves.
Then I started laughing…which, given the situation, didn’t go over very well. But I wasn’t laughing at Carol. I was laughing at our entire society. I mean, think about it. Our biggest problems are when we can’t get a good WIFI connection, when we have too many emails to read, and we have too much work to do. But yet, just a few generations ago, people came to this country with nothing. Just a hope and a dream. They took a chance, a leap of faith, leaving their hometowns on the other side of the world to start a new life. And more recently, women in this country were fighting hard for the rights to vote! To be able to work! And here we are, complaining and crying about it.
But the pain is very real. Even if the problems don’t seem that big of a deal, the pain is. So, what do we do about it?
We have to discipline ourselves to be grateful. We have to stay focused on the positive. Our minds naturally want to go toward the negative, it is just how we are wired. So it’s going to take a little bit of effort to shift ourselves to the attitude of gratitude.
The thing we have to remember is that everyone faces difficult situations in life. If we were to ask everyone in the world to put their problems into a big pile, we would gladly take back our problems.
When we are feeling like it is all too much and we feel ourselves spiraling downward, we can snap out of this crazy feeling. When we are overwhelmed and stressed to the max, we should have the attitude that says, 'no matter what's happening, I'm going to choose to be grateful.’
We tell ourselves: I'm not going to focus on what's wrong. I'm going to find something positive in my life. I may be sick, but, I am grateful that I woke up this morning. I may be struggling in my marriage, but I am grateful that I have a great family. I may be drowning in my work, but, I am grateful for having a good job. I may not have gotten the position I wanted, but I am grateful that I was able to see another sunrise, that I could hear the birds singing this morning, that I could smell the flowers.
With Thanksgiving Day approaching, I hope we will remember the people that came here to the US, leaving the only things they’ve ever known behind. In search of a better life. As we think about the hardships and the struggles our own families have had to endure, I ask you – what are you grateful for today? Tell me in the comments below!