Saturday, August 29, 2009

Identify Distorted Thought Patterns...

The kindest form of life management is to recognize the truth about yourself. It's the discovery of self which enables meaningful interactions with others. At first glance this statement seems pretty easy to accept until we are forced to apply it to an area of our lives that's at some sort of standstill.

The standstills are in fact places where recovery is desperately needed. They also happen to be the places where resistance is subconsciously or consciously stronger than ever.

Why is this?

It's incredibly revealing, painful, disturbing and regretful to look at the totality of our lives. To make matters worse, not many of us were raised to "do endings well" so rather than face the possibility of confrontation, we learn to internalize what's wrong, & second guess ourselves. This leads to mistrust of self and the world around us & a lifetime supply of ego and pride which provides a false satisfaction that keeps us UNdelightfully STUCK!

So we go through life with a limp that diminishes our courage to fight our battles alone.

After getting past the negative self talk & the ramblings of my ego which rationalized the counterproductive behavior, I came to the realization that I tend to internalize things. After I identified my need, the next step was to identify the last several times I did things differently, leaving my thoughts and inner voices intact. These were the discoveries:

1) I didn't internalize the situation when I spoke up for myself.
2) I didn't internalize the thoughts as long when I quickly shifted my thought toward something else.
3) I didn't internalize the situation and thoughts when I read affirming thoughts previously created by myself when the world seemed a o.k.
4) I didn't internalize when I spent time with people who were affirming, yet honest with me. Essentially when I felt they had my best interest at heart, I was free to share more of myself authentically.
5) I didn't internalize information when I would read, memorize & meditate upon scriptures.

Now its your turn to identify an area of need & list the discoveries when you noticed life was somehow different. Even in the midst of the storm, or biggest setback, you noticed calm waters.

So with my list in hand, I played the movie in my mind by recalling the three areas of my life, most in need of this sort of change. They were professionally, emotionally and relationally.

Since these three areas were going in 3 different directions, synergy was required if recovery was my ultimate goal. Synergy occurs when two or more things are working together (muscles or drugs for example) to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.

The tools I had in my possession could assure change as long as I became increasingly mindful of the ways I people please, exercising the choice to say no as well as share "what's true for me" without second guessing myself. Although setbacks and mistakes were certain, now I could endure past the past and anticipate the result: reclaiming the free-spirit nature I never knew.

This is a journey that I've discovered is life long, meandering and is getting a little easier on some days, less easier on others, yet all the while well worth it. I also have noticed that I'm better at expressing my viewpoint, than I was even weeks ago.
Literally, every day in every way, I am getting better and better.

And so can you! Share your journey to inspire me and countless others.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Are you playing the score of a lifetime with what you have left?

In 1995, Violinist Izhak Perlman performed at the Lincoln Center in NYC. Perlman was stricken with polio as a child, so he has braces on both legs & walks with the aid of two crutches-very slowly.
The most remarkable thing happened that night. Just as Perlman completed the first few bars of his performance, one of the strings on his violin broke. The audience gasped & began silently lamenting mostly about the long wait they’d just endured watching Perlman hobble across the stage to perform. Now what would happen?
The unthinkable occurred…Perlman used the three strings he had left and played the most exquisite score, even going so far as to create new sounds never heard from a violin.
After the breathtaking performance, the audience went into a massive pandemonium of cheering, yelling and utter astonishment over being able to witness firsthand, the unthinkable being done.
Perlman smiled and while wiping the sweat from his brow humbly stated “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
This is the task facing each of us today & for the rest of our lives. In the midst of uncertainty, we literally are forced to RE-THINK every aspect of our lives. Nothing is sacred. Nothing can be overlooked, ignored or forgotten as far too much is at stake for doing so.
Now is the time to clearly identify what you have & use it to acquire the life you envision for yourself. You & I must use what we do well as the bargaining tool to craft the masterpiece entitled life!
But how, when so many unimaginable things have happened?
It begins with changing your perspective. Perspective is very powerful because it dictates your emotions. If you look at the world from a selfish &/or defeated perspective, you will see the world through the lenses of “Look what ______ is doing to me! “You can’t trust anyone. They’re all out to get me.”
So let’s work together & defend the beachhead of your inherent strengths by learning to convert your challenges into growth opportunities.
Answer the following questions:

1) What are two things that you do well? What two things do people admire you for & wish they could implement in their lives?

2) What two things do you stress most about?

3) When & how do you get relief? Really think about this step. By noticing the exceptions-those places where you get PEACE, you can make those exceptions more accessible to the parts of your life that are most challenging.
4) Now list those exceptions (the way you get to the solutions & take the 1st week and practice implementing what works for you. Take the 2nd week to work out the kinks. Take the 3rd week to celebrate your new established HABIT.) Exception examples are “I notice I don’t get as upset when I focus on _____or do_____.” “I see that I’m not stressed when I respond to _______ this way? “I notice I’m better after _____.”

5) Promise yourself, in advance, to consistently check in to determine “whether you’re supporting myself as best you can?” “Is there something else that you need & how you might go about getting it.” “Where will you begin?”

The bottom-line…

Life inevitably throws each of us a series of setbacks. The difference maker is how we CHOOSE to respond over & over & over and over AGAIN. As you choose to respond differently, you’ll teach yourself to convert challenges into growth opportunities. This mindset and behavior will allow you to remain confident, courageous and phenomenal!
Now you’re another step closer to fulfilling your hearts desires!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Change...Why Is it so difficult?

Forgiveness is free. Grace is expensive.

The very thing you hold onto to keep doing things "your way" is the very thing that keeps you from realizing your full potential.

Why do you believe you can't CHANGE a certain aspect of your life, no matter how hard you try? What is it that you know if you KNEW it for sure, would permanently CHANGE your life?

If you're like me, understanding something in your mind and making it change the way you live, sometimes takes longer than I can imagine. I've learned the process is much more cumbersome than just changing my mind.
Rather, it's the result of my initial decision to CHANGE & willingly making successive choices to remain on task until obtaining the desire sought. This willingness is tested by your response to 1) difficulty, 2) desire, 3) direction, & 4) joy.


Sure you and I have ability. Yes we're smart. We think we're smarter than we really are. We know so much, however we have such minute coping skills to get us past "our stuff." But how can this be so? The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know.

This got me to thinking about how much better my life would be if I would promise to make a "I don't know list" before entering uncharted territory toward whatever goal I target to permanently CHANGE.

I decided to test this premise in my life and provide you with the navigational coordinates which will get you past those deep, internal wounds that keep you on the sidelines of life. No more band-aids for me!

The subject I challenged myself to CHANGE was perfecting my love walk. WOW, this was a huge undertaking, because I'm a self professed amazing, loving person. I immediately began to reflect on all of the loving things I do, say & think; how I'm such a wonderful & supportive person.
So after I finished feasting on my fully developed pride & ego, this little voice began challenging me to go deeper; to get past the nice stuff that keeps me SATISFIED, yet STUCK.

This voice helped to reveal the following I don't I could go & finally be at peace (professionally, emotionally, relationally & physically):

1) I don't know all there is to know about forgiveness. I'm ignorant about what it takes to win this battle.
2) I don't know many people who've successfully forgiven others.
3) I don't know many people who see much wrong with being unforgiving.
4) I don't know how to ALWAYS remember the benefits of forgiveness when in the middle of reliving "what was done or is being done to me by ________________."
5) I didn't realize that the reason my love is flawed toward people & certain situations is because I hadn't slain the giants of my past. How could I change when I didn't know how to reconcile the past wrongs done to me by people I no longer see or speak to?
6) I don't know how to stop being perpetually uneasy, worried and anxious about my life. I'm so wonderfully processed in certain areas of my life & so perplexed in other areas...I'm certain my husband & closest friends see with relative ease.
7) I didn't know the more I worry about what I don't know, the more time I lose focus on cultivating the ability to stop worrying
about what I cannot change; That I have to become committed to eradicating arrogance in my life. Nothing positive can come from worrying about the changes I wish I knew how to change.
Change only happens when I make a SHIFT in my behavior- where I choose to invest my time & thoughts.
8) I didn't understand ruptured relationships had affected me so deeply because I just covered up the emotional wounds with
busyness, people pleasing & telling myself to just get over it. This was nothing more than a band aid.

So you get the picture. I allowed myself 15 minutes to complete this exercise. I wrote down the most honest thoughts. Do this quickly before you begin to worry, feel worse than better about this area of life, & could make up some excuse which would allow you to get some false comfort enabling you to remain SATISFIED, yet STUCK.

Remember, honesty comes quickly! The longer you take to complete the exercise, the further entrenched you'll become in your issues. It's time each of us see our needs, grasp our innate value & see everyone as worthy of your intentionality. The economic downturn we are facing challenges us to think about what matters most & eradicate what doesn't.


So equipped with my list I set out to tackle these vices & eliminate them completely.

The first step toward my escape was to IDENTIFY what makes me weak & susceptible to unforgiving, anxiety &/or becoming fearful, in certain instances, while not in others? I did this step so I could stop being ignorant/blindsided by assumptions. Many of my challenges have been resolved because I NOW know the when, where, who, what & how I get myself into challenges with unforgiving which leads to a compromised loving of others.

The second step is pre-planning avoidance. I plan by design over default. I have to get intentional about the changes I desire to make to keep myself free of arrogance & self-sabotage. When pre-planning avoidance, I remain cognizant of the role self-talk, & interaction with others play.


The third step is learning to ask for help! This steps the most challenging because people count on me & look to me as their where does this leave me to turn? So I turned to the Internet so I would know exactly where my focus should be when I did speak to one of my friends, family, counselor, or even a well intentioned stranger. I did exhaustive FOCUSED searches on "choosing joy," "prayer," "unconditional forgiveness," "learning to think in ways that are helpful for me," "forgiveness superstars," "how to permanently forgive," " grace & heart transformation," "why forgiveness is so difficult," "why me," et al.

This step was extremely important & enabled me to candidly speak to others about the challenges in my life. This focused intentionality allowed me to become aware of the envy, jealousy, fear, worry, loneliness, anxiety, frustration, & mistreatment that was dormant in certain aspects of my life.

The fourth step cements the process of CHANGE together. It builds accountability into your life in a way that shifts attention & consistently has defaults which re-calibrate your life. Its imperative that you and I are the most effective beings humanly possible.
What you & I refuse to face, literally has us by the balls (so to speak). Let me prove this point quickly. Just think about something you hate. Ok now STOP. Did you stop, or are you still thinking about it/struggling not to think about it? The more you think about something, the more it upsets you; before you know it, this is all you're thinking about!

We all need a road map!

This proves the key to change is to focus on something else & promise yourself, to no longer embark toward change alone! You need people I like to call "wise traveling companions" who will support you in the process of change. You also need resources-text message reminders, intentional & highly focused thought cards, written statements which embed your brain with permanent CHANGE! Always keep reminders of your targets on the dashboard of your mind!

Become the serotonin you need to put everything to bed that no longer serves you!

To your best life! You're more phenomenal than you think. More powerful than you know. If I can change, so can you! Transform yourself and your relationships.

Please post your comments & share your process of change. Lets each show up to the campfire with our log (for explanation, see prior post).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Where Do You Huddle?

Where do you huddle?

I recently attended Willowcreek Leadership Conference 8/6/2009-8/7/2009. One of the presenters discussed the ways we remain stuck. Collectively, this mindset leads us to the phenomenon of always learning, yet never applying; overcommitting with little follow-up and a life which feels pretty insignificant.

The consensus of the internet, the marketplace & authorities on life change is to CHANGE.

BUT HOW.......because it's easier SAID than actually done!
If you're like me, you really want to change your life, however start and somehow get stuck, or lost, or promise to begin again each day...however don't.

Or maybe you set the goal to lose the weight & lost it, yet your personal and/or professional life is in ruin and you can't understand why.

Each of us will ultimately wrestle with something, yet needn't be defeated by it. Most people who achieve things which appear majestic to us mere mortals are the result of 

1) Proceeding past the fear which presented at the moment.
2) Breaking challenging tasks into achievable steps. 
3) Refusing to be paralyzed by analysis.                       

This blog spot is my COURAGEOUS step toward getting out of the "I have to wait to share my gifting with the world until I have a major multimedia deal, am on every retailer shelf around the world and a regular guest on Oprah..." huddle.

Even without any of these deals manifested yet, I've been entrusted with the ability to architect an individuals life-personally, professionally, emotionally & physically.  

I'm living proof that we can overcome our obstacles by courageously taking the first step & knowing in your gut that the next guidance will soon arrive. 

   David Gergen, CNN Political Analyst, stated each of us are invited to the campfire of life.  We are free to get warm and visit as much as we want, however we are expected to bring a log to keep the fire going.  I see the log as our life purpose or unique gifting that no one else in the world can do like you do!

Now each of have a place where we can share our lives honestly & be equipped with ideas to live our best life.

Will you join me on this journey?

I'm committed to post at least one time per week, however as the conversation increases, I see myself blogging and responding to comments multiple times per day.

The first CN1440 thought I'd like you to ponder and share with fellow bloggers:


"What's the #1 thing standing in your way to having the life you envision? What have you done that's working and when will you do it again? What's your accountability strategy?"


Overcoming setbacks quicker. What works is that I'm a consummate learner. I consistently learn things and figure out ways it'll work in my life as well as in the lives of countless others. My accountability strategy is promising myself to "stop forgetting to remember."

To help me keep this process front & center for my life, I made a list of what I don't like, what I prefer & the ways I restore myself when setbacks happen.  

It's the ultimate way to prepare for war in times of peace....

Share yours,