Tag Archives: stress reduction

7 Principles for Extracting the Extraordinary in You

extraordinaryWhat does it take to live an extraordinary life? What would that mean for you on a day-to-day basis?

I was recently reminded of some simple (yet not necessarily easy-to-do) concepts that if installed in your life would place you squarely on the higher road, the road less traveled.

I’m still working on some aspect of each of these myself. It’s a lifelong discipline. Not for the faint of heart, but surely well worth the effort.

1. Be truthful.
Being truthful is about honesty and accuracy. The accuracy aspect is about re-conveying an experience such that your words evoke the thoughts and emotions you experienced in the person you’re sharing with. While each of us has our own perspective of life and interpretation  of events, if your intention is to have them experience what you did, you’re on the right track. No shading of the truth to make yourself look better.

Additionally, the honesty aspect will likely cause you so alter your behavior. You may have heard the phrase, ‘Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper.’ Living your commitment to transparency encourages good behavior and lack of deception at work and home.

2. Give more than you take.
Give freely of your time, love and money. Give generously and not with the expectation that your gifts will be repaid. Purposeful giving fulfills you. It’s almost like you’re not giving for the benefit of the recipient. Make life easier for yourself and others. Don’t forget yourself. The problem some over-givers encounter is that they deplete themselves in the process and end up feeling resentful.

3. Don’t take what isn’t yours.
This is more than just ‘don’t steal’. It’s about not benefiting from ‘mistakes’. Now I’m all for serendipity and miracles and to be honest, I don’t know that I can tell you how to distinguish between those incidents and the ones that are to be avoided. I think the barometer here may be how you feel internally although the internal barometers of habitual ‘takers’ are probably flawed.

Here’s an example…My husband and I were shopping in a store last week. We bought something together and each paid for half in cash. The cashier gave us both our change back, but it seemed like too much. I didn’t say anything, not sure there was a problem, but the more I thought about it, the more I was pretty sure we got too much change. My mind tried to justify it by telling me ‘It’s a big store. They won’t notice it.’ But my heart felt something else. So I went back to the store, found the clerk and reminded him of the transaction. He couldn’t really validate the error with their sales system and ended up telling me to keep the $5 for my honesty.

I left feeling happier, but I still feel like giving that $5 to someone who needs it more will make me even happier. Think “Pay it forward.”

4. Make the world a better place
Do your actions make life easier for those around you? Is the world a better place because of what you think, do and say each day?

Or do you make people jump through hoops to get your favor? Do you consistently ‘block’ other people’s progress?

How would you behave differently if you knew your purpose was to leave the world in a better place because you lived here? Be constructive. Be helpful.

5. Honor life.
All living beings have the right to their lives. Respect them. This applies to not only to humans (even the ones you don’t like) but to non-human creatures as well. Last summer, I accidentally severed a praying mantis while pruning some plants. I was heartsick as he stared at me mournfully it seemed, with half of his abdominal cavity missing.

While I carefully carry spiders out of my home, I still intentionally kill crickets and scorpions when I find them inside. I guess now, I’ll work on finding some non-lethal way to rid them from my home when I encounter them.

6. Do no harm.
Intentionally ending the life of another (even an ant), when living rigorously, is an extreme measure. But what about the ‘little’ harms we do during the course of life?

Have you ever tried to get someone in trouble at home or work without first discussing the situation with them with the intent to resolve it? Do you gossip?  Do you have nasty, judgmental thoughts about others?

Once I took this discipline on, I had to confront the judgments I made of others. Casting frequent silent aspersions seemed automatic at times. I’ve taken on the practice now of blessing people, especially those my internal judge initially denounces.

7. Recognize that you are the source of everything.
It’s easy to blame others for the status of the world and even for your experience of your own personal life. In the training and coaching I do, I often share the concept of “Those idiots over there…”. When you place blame on your co-workers, spouse, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, strangers, political opponents, you rob yourself of power. You pine for changes in them. You want to ‘fix’ them.

You can’t change them. You’ll never change them. And if you wait for that, you’ll be in misery forever.

The only person you can change is you. The only person who can change the experience of the life you are living is you.

When you shift your thinking, emotional responses and actions, you will start having a new experience of life. Additionally, your new perspective, behavior and words will eventually impact the people around you and their response to you will likely change as well. The dynamic of your relationship will be different.

So stop trying to fix them. Work on improving yourself.

One of my favorite sayings is, “We all have more options that we generally see and more control than we tend to take”. So I challenge you to implement the ideas mentioned here. Open your eyes to options that are currently hidden from your view and take control of the way you live your life.

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How to Know If Your Business Loves YOU

There are several prerequisites for having a business that loves you as much as you love being a business owner.

It’s tempting to delude yourself into accepting less than you deserve because you’re so enamored with the concept of being a business owner.

The reality of it can be a much different story.

When we live in a state of delusion, we’ll accept less than we deserve. We put up with and tolerate behavior that is not conducive to our well-being.

So how do you know if your business is being true to you? How do you know if it’s putting you above all else? How do you know if it would take a bullet for you?

“What’s a body to do?”, you ask.

Establish criteria and expectations that will allow you to lead a lifestyle that inspires you.

1. Schedule vacations

Without proper planning, you could end up working throughout the entire year. When you do your business planning (you DO do that don’t you?), decide how much time you want to take off and then block it out on your calendar. You don’t have to know where you’re going to go (although that helps), you just need to commit to when.

2. Work in your sweet spot

Most people go into business because of a passion or area of expertise thinking that’s how they’ll spend most of there time. Then they realize there is so much more that’s required in running a business. When you’re new you may not be able to afford all of the help you need, but before you think you CAN afford it, start outsourcing tasks you hate or aren’t good at. Doing so will actually free you up to be more creative and thus afford you the time to work on things that will generate more sales.

3. Value your time an expertise

You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Focus on sharing your gifts with others for recompense in addition to the pure joy of it. Don’t undervalue your knowledge and passion. People need your unique perspective and want help from someone who knows more than they do.

4. Work with people you adore

This is definitely one of the big perks of being in business. You get to choose your ideal clients. This is particularly true if you’re in a service business. You target the kind of folk you want to work with. You don’t have to make an ‘offer’ to everyone if you’re not interested. Or, you could add a premium to the price so it feels more palatable to you. I don’t strongly recommend that option. It’s one thing to charge more for work you enjoy less. It seems almost mean to do it for such personal reasons as not liking someone. Just say ‘no’ and move on.

5. It pays you well

I remember talking with a graphic designer 20 years ago when I first started my jewelry design business. I sold hand-crafted earrings and necklaces at Art & Wine festivals in northern California. As we were chatting about my new business (I was very excited), I revealed how much I paid in entrance (booth) fees for the more popular shows. Her reaction was “Oh. I guess you’re happy to just break even.”

I looked at her in dismay. “No”, I said. “I almost always make a substantial profit. And on those occasions when I don’t, I know it’s an aberration and I don’t do that particular show again (unless it was just rained out which was a rare occurrence).

Pristine Beach East Zanzibar
Image via Wikipedia

That jewelry business paid for a 3 1/2 week trip to Tanzania for a safari, a week in Zanzibar and a week in the ‘bush’ with the Masai. It was a great way to start off in the business world. And even today, my pricing reflects the value I provide to my clients not just the minimum to ‘break even’ and cover the bills.

So, if your business loves you, you’ll enjoy your work and your clients. You’ll have time to relax and enjoy live.

You’ll be valued by your clients and you’ll be paid what you’re worth.

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3 Steps to Happiness and Prosperity

It’s funny how we hold onto discarded things not realizing what that does to trap our energy.  What I discovered when I stumbled upon a relic from my past could help you free up some mental and emotional energy to reinvest in your current day-to-day life.

I had just missed participating in a “Sell Your Gold” event at my professional association’s holiday extravaganza.

So when I returned home, I started combing my closets and jewelry cases for items that had lost their psychological value for me that I could turn into cash.

I came upon a beautiful ring case, not even remembering which ring was inside.  When I opened it up, I was surprised to find my ‘half’ of a wedding band set my previous husband and I had designed.

The set was laden with Adrinka symbols that had a lot of significance for us and where we each were in our spiritual life journey.

Years later as our marriage faltered and I realized I was more attached to that ring and the symbols of our marriage than our ACTUAL marriage, I knew it was time to go.  We separated and divorced. I tucked the ring away, moved on, moved to Phoenix, married my college sweetheart and forgot about the ring.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the ring and looked at it fondly – not longing at all for the ex-husband, but touched by the symbols and design process that had created the ring years earlier.  I put it away again and apparently, forgot about it again.

Last week, in my hunt for buried jewels, I found it once more.  This time, my reaction was “Whoo hoo! Bonanza! This will be a great trade in!”  There were some remnant memories of the creation process but clearly any attachment I had for keeping the ring was gone.  I took a picture, called the gold dealer, got in the car happy and was on my way.

I got a better price than expected. Double Bonanza!

On the drive home,  I was surprised by the sense of light-heartedness and freedom I felt. Getting that forgotten and years-unseen ring out of my home and life somehow felt like an unexpected Declaration of Independence.

Reminds me of that hair dye commercial based on the South Pacific song, “Gonna Wash that Man/Grey Right Out of My Hair”.

While I hadn’t been feeling the need to wash the ex right out of my hair any longer, once the opportunity arose, it felt great!

So, how does this apply to you?

1.  Clean up. Clean out.
Cleaning  your environment and life of discarded and unnecessary things, frees up an amazing amount of energy that you can’t anticipate nor appreciate until you’ve done it.

So go through your drawers, closets, garage and car to throw out, give away or sell things that are taking up physical space.  They’re probably draining your emotional space on an undetectable, subconscious level too. You’ll be energized by their absence.

2. Forgive and move on.
I read a Facebook post on someone’s wall today about the power of forgiveness.  The main reason people seem reluctant to forgive is that they think they’re doing something for the object of their resentment.  The secret is that forgiveness is just for you.  It allows you to at least start the process to ‘wash that memory out of your life.”

Forgiveness takes time, but if you’re not willing, you can’t even get started.  If you’ve been holding on to any grudges, tell yourself you’re WILLING to forgive and eventually you will.  You won’t forget the lessons you learned, but you will regain part of your soul.

3. Give thanks for what you have
Every night I say thanks for the life I’m living.  Some people keep a gratitude journal that documents the wonderful things in their lives.  Writing makes them more real and less transitory (ergo forgotten). Tell the people around you precisely what you appreciate about them. You’ll lighten their day immeasurably and feel happier yourself.

I remember reading a book on loving relationships and one of the exercises involved
saying something nice to your partner every day.  Not only does that bring more love and joy into the relationship, but by some function of the ego which can’t distinguish between you and ‘other’, makes you feel happier too.

So clean out those closets, brains, hearts and relationships and make room for new, happy and prosperous experiences in your life.

What’s Your Exit Strategy? What’s Your Stay Strategy?

Whether you own your own company or work for someone else, it’s critical that you have an exit strategy.  Unless you plan to work until you die, you need to start taking actions NOW for how you’re going to gracefully step out and how you’ll spend your time once you do.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a number of conversations with executives, professionals and business owners (primarily women) who have dreams of life beyond their current circumstances.

They envision being well compensated in a job or business they love, having the respect and credibility from peers, bosses or clients they believe they deserve and having the time and resources to pursue their dreams.

They all, however, were dealing or putting up with circumstances that were literally suffocating their souls, extinguishing their dreams and leaving them feeling exhausted, sad or even worried about their future.

The one thing they each were lacking was – can you guess?…


At some level, they didn’t feel fully equipped to have their dream life NOW.  They felt at the effect of others around them who seemed to hold all of the power.

From my perspective, it seemed there were three key ingredients that, if implemented, would make all the difference in the world.

1. Self-definition
Because it felt to them that others were more powerful than they, that they were unable to truly define, and stand for, who they are and what is important to them.

They felt stuck in the roles they had been given to play and looked longingly toward the future when they would finally be happier.

My advice to them (or you if you find yourself in a similar situation): be true to yourself.  This is your life and it won’t last forever.  Know what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Don’t buy solely into other people’s dreams and expectations that are counter to who you know yourself to be.

2. Self-determination
Once you’re clear about where you stand, it will be easier to let others know who you are and what you need.  Without that, you’ll continue to feel frustrated, hopeless, resigned, depressed and afraid.

My advice to them and you: don’t wait.  Be clear and public about your needs and goals NOW. Make requests.  Make demands when necessary.  Make life go the way YOU want – now.

3. Focused action toward their goals
It’s one thing to dream big, it’s quite another to make those dreams a reality.  When you’ve defined yourself and your direction, the path before you will become clear.

It still requires you to take action.  Seeing the path and having it in front of you is not the same as walking on the path.  Rita Mae Brown defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”

Action is required. Action builds confidence.  Action gets results.

My advice to them and you: Take action.  Identify one thing you can do like making a request, taking a class, telling someone “No”, researching your passion or getting help to make it happen.  No one can or should try to do any worthy effort alone. And living a big life is definitely a worthy effort.

So what does this have to do with an exit or stay strategy? Start working on your exit strategy now.  Don’t wait until ‘the time has come’.  You’ll be scrambling then.  And it may come sooner than you expect.  Plan now. Act now.

Make sure you have a stay strategy that isn’t just going along for the ride.  Use your self-definition and self-deterimination to make your current life/career/business more to your liking now.  Again, act now.

Your life is in your hands.  Make sure you’re living YOUR life, not someone else’s.

From Overwhelmed to Overjoyed in 5 Simple Steps

A lot of people these days are trying to do more with less which leaves them feeling a bit anxious and stressed. It’s critical that we invest time in making sure we’re living our best life and that often requires that we take a more proactive approach in directing it.

When we don’t do that, we work on other people’s priorities and end up feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Women in particular feel the stresses of juggling family, career and self. Work life balance is completely missing and it seems there is no way out.

One of my fundamental beliefs however, is that “We all have more options than we generally see and more control than we tend to take.”

One way to take that control is in implementing the RENEW My Life System: From Overwhelmed to Overjoyed in 5 Simple Steps.  Here are those 5 simple steps.

1. R=Reveal & release the obstacles on your path
This step is critical in figuring out what is really bothering you and weighing you down. You are probably clearly aware of the more obvious ones, there I’ll bet there are many more that have become mild irritations that you don’t even notice anymore. Do an assessment and Clean Sweep of the domains of your life (relationships, work/career, physical environment, etc.) and get really clear about exactly what needs to be dealt with.

2. E=Elect and claim the future you desire and deserve and make it happen
When you are caught up in the daily grind and treadmill of life, your dreams end up languishing on some mental bookshelf collecting dust and growing weak or dying altogether.  You must reclaim those dreams and believe that they are truly yours.

Your limiting  beliefs get in the way, so it’s important that you do what it takes to stay positive, focused and committed to reaching your goals and knowing that you do deserve the life you envision.

3. N=Nurture your mind and soul with empowering beliefs and behaviors
You have heard on airplanes how important it is to put on your oxygen mask first when traveling with children. The same is true for you in life on the ground.  Put on your mask first.  Do the things that bring you joy and courage. Stop wishing and complaining. Take action!

4. E=Eject the things that no longer serve you
As you become more focused on your own life goals and what’s really important to you, you will become less tolerant of the situations and people around you that are inconsistent with your renewed vision for your life.  Find the courage and make choices that will bring your desired life closer to reality.  Make requests of others.

Eliminate distractions and tolerations.

5. W=Win at the game of life
Set yourself up for success. Focus on what’s really important. Start delegating. Keep growing. Invest in activities and programs that will help you develop more power, confidence and mental muscle.

When you use these 5 RENEW steps, you’ll find more work-life balance and joy.  The overwhelm will diminish and you’ll be happier with your life, family and circumstances.