Freedom, Listen, Uncategorized

How to Win a Fight

If you prefer to listen click the link to the audio

Have you ever used the phrase fighting fire with fire when it comes to an argument with another person?  I always picture someone spewing a ball of fire from their mouth into an already out of control fire only to see the fire completely engulf both people bringing them both down. Yet I see this mindset and strategy used all the time when human beings are engaged in a battle.

The term fighting fire with fire originated from a 19th century fire fighting method where small fires were set in advance of a larger fire coming to reduce the “fuel” in the larger fire’s path.  The concept seems great but it gave rise to other issues.  Without a way to put out the smaller fires before a larger fire approached, the whole strategy backfires resulting in fire completely devastating the area.

What can we learn from the 19th century fire strategy?  One, we don’t even use is correctly when we fight. Iit’s not a very smart strategy when it comes to human behavior.  And two, why start additional fires when the goal is to put the fire out?

If we are only starting fires, elevating our own anger, in the face of someone who is already angry we are only successful in intensifying the anger in the room.  With both parties now angry, and fuming, no one can see above the flames.  No one is in a state of mind to reduce the heat and hear the other person.  We are now in a battle to out anger the other party and create even more destruction.

More Fire = More Anger = More Destruction

Fires don’t put out fires.  Fighting doesn’t create peace.  An eye for an eye doesn’t bring about vision.

Instead of bringing more fire to the fight, try to understand why the person is upset to begin with.  Try hearing them out.  That’s really all they want.  They want to feel heard.  They want to calm down too and not feel they have to fight their way through life.  To win a fight you must first stop fighting.  Then you can hear what needs to be heard and you will see the fire, the anger, the fear in the other person turn down and end its destruction.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

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Freedom

Answers For Who Will You Become

Click Play if you prefer to listen.

We spend a great deal of time and energy thinking about what we want from life and how we don’t have it yet.  Being caught up in our desires for the future, we forget to look at today.  We have forgotten to cherish the experiences of the moment that always let us know how we are doing and how we are making progress toward a future of our dreams.

Are we striving so hard for a “future” we don’t even pay attention to what we are creating today?

In order to design a life you want to live, you must first see and experience the moments of today.  No one has your unique set of experiences, desires, group of people or even outlook on life quite like you.  If you are trying to fit yourself into someone else’s formula for the good life you will always feel a bit out of place.  Perhaps it is time to come up with your own answers and create your own formula for living your best life.

The answers are only in one place.  The answers are inside of you.  Deep down you know who you are and who you want to become.  Instead of looking to the outside for the answers it’s time to look inside and remember who you are.  Looking to the outside only gives you the “shoulds” our society would like to see.  To live your dream life, you will need to shake of those “shoulds” to reveal the life you were born to live.

Finding the answers starts with the asking yourself the right questions. Spending time listening to yourself in quiet contemplation is necessary on the road to your best life.  If you are not sure what to ask, here are some sample questions from my book, A Year of Questions.

  • What is your overall dream for your life?
  • How would you describe yourself? What makes you, you?
  • What are your values?
  • What reoccurring thoughts do you have that keep you stuck?
  • What would you like to think about yourself, others and the world you live in?

Take some time to come up with your own personalized answers to those questions.  You never know where they may take you.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

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Freedom

You See What You Are

Do you ever wonder why some people react to a comment, a situation or even a commercial and you do not?  Or what about the times you get upset or excited about something, yet the people around you don’t?  The truth is, you see what you are.  You can only relate to those things in the world that represent a piece of you, whether that piece of you is known to you or repressed by you.

Take for example a social encounter where you walk away offended by another person’s apparent lack of social queues.  They interrupt conversations, burp openly without an excuse me or you just don’t like the way they dress.  There is a reason these behaviors rub you the wrong way.  Yet, there were other people in the room experiencing the same offensive person, but they walk way with a completely different impression.  Perhaps they even walk away holding that person in high regard.  Funny how different people can experience the same thing and walk away with different opinions.  Neither more right or wrong than the other.  Each experiencing their own truth.

You can only see what you know.  We can only see what we are even if what we see we do not like. Notice that you are around millions of pieces of information every single day and not every one of those will trigger a reaction in you and many of those pieces of information will not even register consciously with you.  This is because you do not relate or hold that information important to who you are.

Let me put this into slightly different terms that we see and feel to some degree every day:

JUDGEMENT

When you feel judgement well up inside of you it is because you are afraid that part of you may come to the surface.  You are facing what you fear is a capability you have within yourself.  This is something you have shoved down and spent a great deal of energy keeping hidden from yourself and from the world.  You think if that part of you comes out you may be ridiculed, seen as worthless or worse case scenario become an outcast in today’s world.

Our inclination to judge others is only a judgement of ourselves.  We would not feel a need to vilify a behavior, attitude or appearance if we did not recognize this potential within ourselves.  This explains why we find ourselves fighting so fiercely against those things we judge as wrong.  We have been fighting to keep this part of ourselves from surfacing.  Once you can see that what you judge in others is only a fear you have for yourself, you can begin to move forward with an open mind.  Remember what you see as a horrifying trait, someone else sees completely opposite.  Begin to see that your judgement of others is an invitation to take a closer look at what you are hiding from yourself.

ADMIRATION

When you find yourself drawn to someone or something sparks a positive surge of energy through you, know this is something you recognize with yourself too.  We admire what we desire.  We desire what we are deep inside.  We want nothing more than to fully step into the person we were born to be and to be that every day.  When we are presented with an experience of admiration this is life’s invitation to show you what you are that you are keeping from expressing on a regular basis.

Notice the next time you feel that surge of admiration.  It makes you feel good.  You will find yourself saying oh I wish I could do that or I can totally do that.  You would not have the vision to see it, feel it or even speak about it if you didn’t already have that piece inside yourself already.  Take a deeper look at what specifically you admire about a person or a thing and look for all the ways you have shown up in the world with those same traits. Once you know what those underlying traits are, make a conscious effort to be more of that in your day to day.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

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Freedom, Uncategorized

No Need to Hide

Listening is one of our most powerful tools to invoke change in this world.  In a previous article, Listening is an Act of Love, we talked about the life changing power of listening and some ways to develop that power in your everyday life. I challenged you to take the concept out into the world by turning down the dialogue in your mind (judgement, formulating a response and thinking of your to do list), turning off distractions (phone, computer, television) and tuning into the person right there in front of you.

This week the focus is on what happens when we don’t listen.  How does that really impact who we are and how we show up in the world. Not listening has far reaching implications not just in our lives but in the lives of those we interact with as well.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement” – Brene Brown

When we simply listen to another, we change lives by allowing people to express themselves fully and honestly. These types of expressions let us fully process, heal and emerge into the people we are were born to be.  In contrast not listening causes harm and in many cases devastating damage.

When people do not feel heard, they shrink, hide and become someone they are not in order to gain acceptance.  People who do not feel understood tend to exhibit anger, resentment and bitterness.  We put on masks that become hard to remove.   The longer we put on the masks the more misunderstood we feel because we stop showing up as ourselves.  Our hearts become hardened the more we feel unheard and misunderstood.  As this downward spiral continues, we find ourselves in a state where we can’t even hear our own voice and you certainly can’t hear the whisper of inner wisdom.  We value who shows up in the world less and less because we show our true self to the world less and less.

Don’t be that person who causes people to hide.  Be the person who shows up every day, open, curious and willing to hear.

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Freedom, Uncategorized

Stop and Ask

You would like to change your life, but you have no clue where to even start. All you know for sure is that this is not the life you had in mind for yourself and something has to change.

You are not clueless about what you want or even who you are and who you want to be in this world. You already know things about yourself. You know the roles you play in life: a child, an employee, parent, and spouse. You know what excites you and what weighs you down. Where most of us struggle is trying to identify our passions and purpose. The clues are there, you know somewhere deep inside what is calling out to you. Over time, you just let your truth slip into the back seat as the worldly “shoulds” took up the space in the front seat. You know the “shoulds” that play in your head: you should do this not that, you should want that over there not this, you should feel this way… You let the “should” take the wheel. No wonder we look around one day and wonder where we are and how we got here.

If this is where you find yourself, it’s time to stop and ask yourself some questions.  Ask questions that will reconnect you to your truth so you can get yourself back into the front seat of your life.

1.What do I like?

This sounds so basic and simple, but when was the last time you took inventory of what really excites you?  Keep a piece of paper close by and write down everything you like and everything you don’t like. Yes, everything: people, situations, food, weather, anything and everything.   After 1 week look over your list and ask yourself how you can reduce the dislikes and bring more of your likes into your life.

  1. What do I value?

Your values guide how you think and ultimately how you behave.   Values define what is most important to you and provide you with a framework on how to make decisions in life. Uncovering your values will show you who you are at your core before the world told you who you should be. Once you identify your core 3-5 values you can start living into them on purpose by choosing to do things that align with your values.

Sometimes all we need to do is to stop and ask the right questions.  You already have the answers somewhere inside of you.  Now, it’s just a matter of tapping in to hear your truth.

 

 

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Freedom, Uncategorized

Permission to Dream

Are you one of the billions of people who feel there is more to life than this?  There is a common dialogue I hear about why people feel off track and stuck in a life.  It goes a little something like this:

How can we live into our fullest potential when we are living in a world that measures, judges and punishes everything we do? Of course we find ourselves and others living a mediocre life.  We are merely surviving from a place of fear, doing what our fears say.  Fear is running our lives.  Fear is what holds us back from being who we are meant to be.  In turn, we have created a society of fearful robots and treat them as if they are incompetent to keep them fearful and feeling inadequate.  A never-ending cycle of people moving through this world as untapped potential, never growing and therefore miserable with their lives.

Yet we continually search for who we are, but too fearful to step into just that: who we are.

How can we step into who we are and who we want to be when we are scared? When we fear we may not thrive or worse we fear there is nothing out there for us if we do.  We were made to grow.  We are designed to dream, to tap into what lights us up and to uncover our potentials. You know this because you search, you experience moments of feeling totally aligned, you know in every cell of your body there is a whole ocean of this life to dive into.

What if you gave yourself permission to focus on what it is you want?  Allow yourself to day dream about who you are when you experience the feeling of being in alignment and in flow with this life. Focus on what it would be like to become that person.  What would it be like to show up in this world as who you are in every moment?  What would you feel, what would you experience, what does that look like?

 

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Freedom, Uncategorized

One Question for Big Changes

The New Year confetti has settled and the momentum has fizzled out on your resolution.  Now that we are 2 weeks into the year, it’s time to get real and honest with ourselves.  Look around and you see life somehow returned to the way it was last year.  The resolution you declared with so much passion, the one you swore up and down you were going to stick to no matter what, has been thrown aside like that unwanted Christmas gift.  Every year we make these resolutions, yet they don’t seem to work.  They come in as boldly as the New Year with promise of instant change but somehow they fade away as if they never happened.

There is a reason resolution fade away as soon as the New Year confetti settles.  It is simple when you think about it.  Big, sudden, forced changes do not last.  Just like the big sudden change of your in-laws coming into town and staying with you for the holidays, it’s simply too much stress to last forever.  Another way to look at big changes is to imagine stretching out a rubber band. A rubber band cannot stay stretched unless you continue to put stress on it or that forced stretch will either break the rubber band or frees itself by snapping far away from your fingers.  Resolutions are big dramatic changes and shocks to your reality that cause a great amount of stress.  You didn’t train, lay some groundwork or prepare yourself before the big day.

However, what if there was a way to make big, bold changes in your life this year?  The change you have been promising yourself but always seem to slip out of your grasp.  You can have that kind of change and at the end of the year you will look back to see and celebrate how far you have come.

How?

By taking small, purposeful steps every day.  Small incremental shifts make sustainable changes possible.  One small shift every day, from now until the end of the year will multiply your chances of making your dreams come true.  Think about that for a moment – 1 small shift.  A small step every day to get you from here to the end of the year is easier than attempting to jump from January to December in one giant leap!  Imagine how awesome your life will be after 365 small shift.

If you aren’t sure where to start or what small step to take, allow me to share my secret with you.  This changed everything for me a few years ago.  It is simple and you will get better and faster results than you imagined.  All you need to do is ask yourself a simple question:  What is the next right action I can take? Simple questions produce powerful results.  You do not need to know all the steps or have all the pieces figured out – just do the next right action.  What a relief! I find this especially powerful when I notice I have gone off track.  Instead of beating myself up and stressing myself out, I simply stop, take a deep breath and lovingly ask myself; what is the next right action I can take?  Works like a charm.  Added all up, those little steps build up a ton of unstoppable momentum.

Here is a bonus secret for even faster results.  Every time you do that next right action, celebrate. I like to do a little happy dance when no one is watching (ok I do happy dances even when people are looking)!  Even a smile to yourself is a private celebration.  Whatever makes you feel all warm and fuzzy or excited do it!  Also keeping a daily or weekly journal of all your wins is a great way to celebrate.  Journaling is an awesome practice and you will be able to look back over the year at all the little steps you took that added up to your big change.  Then you will really want to do that Happy Dance.

This year, once the confetti has settled, you have your plan to stay on track.  You are prepared.  You are ready to take on that big, bold resolution: One small, next right step at a time.

 

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Freedom, Uncategorized

The Distractions of the Past

Psychology has it place in the world.  I love psychology, even have a graduate degree in the subject.  I completely geek out on the study of human behavior, motivation, theories, techniques, cognitive and behavioral modification therapies, well I think you get it.  While psychology can give us a glimpse and help us understand the underlying reasons we behave or think the way we do, it does not necessarily do a great job in helping those of us in our everyday life.  We can spend a whole lot of time breaking down why we did something, or why we think the thoughts we think that led us to the behavior, but if all we are doing is continually looking at the past then we never be able to enjoy our life in the present.

To make truly profound shifts and transformations in any area of life, whether it is business, relationships, financial, and even in your spiritually, you must acknowledge the past for what it is and incorporate what you gained or learned from the experience.  Acknowledge the past as something that it is done, complete and can do nothing to you right now in this moment nor any other moment in the future.  We cannot go back; we cannot make changes to the past. Trust me, I tried to go back a few times and it did not work, it only left me sitting there exhausted, scared, frustrated and embarrassed.

Even though the past is already a done deal, I see it taking over and destroying so many lives, relationships and businesses.  The past is weighing so heavily on people because they keep trying to change it, control it, run it over repeatedly in their mind. They keep it as a focal point and filter for which they live their lives.  Herein lies the danger, because what you focus on will surely grow.  It cannot help but grow because while you are focused on the past there is no room for anything else.

Maybe you don’t focus on the past; perhaps you do everything in your power to resist the past.  You create ways to never repeat the past and avoid it at all cost.  Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but what you resist will continue to persist.  Yes, the past is still a strong focal point even when you are resisting.  It takes a great deal of effort and energy to resist something.   It would be like me telling you not to think about zebras for the rest of the day.  You are not allowed to picture a zebra in your mind today.  What just happened? Are you thinking about a zebra right now?  Well stop thinking about zebras already! Oh wait that is just the resistance thing I was just mentioning.  Resistance and avoidance do not work very well.  This is why just trying to think positive thoughts all the time to avoid negative thinking often backfires.

Here is what I believe.  We must start with where we are right now.  Look around you. Is your life what you want it to be?  If not, what do you want your life to be like or feel like?  Oh, that sounds wonderful!  Get yourself dreaming again, light yourself up, get enthusiastic about life.

Uh oh! Let me guess, you have a voice in your head telling you: you can’t have that, you can’t do that, oh that is selfish, how will you get that done, you don’t have that kind of money, you definitely don’t have the personality, your family would never go for that….

Every single one of those little voices in your mind are nothing more than a distraction. They hold no truth in them whatsoever.  The mind loves to hear itself talk and it loves to tell you that you cant.  But I am telling you that you absolutely can.  If you are still reading this I know you can and have probably gotten over more distractions in your life than others to get you to where you are in life today.

Start where you are right now.  Determine where you are today and if it is not where you would like to be, started taking steps today.  There are infinite possibilities out there waiting for you. You know which ones light your fire and inspire you.  Your past cannot hold you down when you see it as it is, in the past. You are free to live and experience this life in this moment with a clear and curious mind and an open heart.

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Freedom, Uncategorized

Stepping Out of the Trap

As I looked back though my personal journal this week, I found an entry from a time I was trying hard to overcome some fears in my life.  As I read the words, they spoke to my heart and reminded me how to keep fear and control in proper perspective so they don’t completely consume, overtake and leave me feeling trapped.

In life, I notice things going off course or not going my way whenever we judge our circumstances, outcomes or people harshly.  When those things don’t go the way we think they should, we then enter into a state of fear and in turn we attempt to force control over the given situation.  I see fear and control as the trappings of our mind that create to feel of quicksand.  The more we struggle and fight with the quicksand the faster and deeper into the trap we go.  Notice the cycle.  The more we judge the situation, person or outcome harshly the more we feel we must control. The more it doesn’t bow down to our control or turn out the way we want, the greater the fear.  When fear enters the picture, we feel trapped and try even harder to control the situation.  We think forceful control will somehow get us out of the state we find ourselves. But more often than not, we only discover that fear turning into panic and then becomes all-consuming.  HMMMM, something seems really off about the logic here.

If I continue doing the very thing sinking me farther into the trap, what can I expect?

Here is where a personal coaching strategy comes in.  If you can catch yourself in the judgement phase great.  This is one of the earliest places we can step out of the quicksand with little damage done.  For some of us, yes, I am included; we still need to go into the fear trap a little deeper before we catch ourselves.  Wherever you catch yourself in the cycle is perfectly fine.  Noticing you are in a cycle to begin with is a giant leap and gets you more than half way out.  This is the point where you finally stop fighting and struggling and become still enough to see what is truly happening.

Standing still in the midst of our judgement or panic and fear may seem counter intuitive, but it is the best step to getting out of the fear cycle.  Just like when you find yourself in quicksand. The minute you get still and stop struggling to get out of it, is the same minute you stop yourself from sinking farther in.  When we slow down, we wisely and strategically make moves necessary to free ourselves from our perceived troubles and fears.  The act of slowing down allows you to see the truth of what is happening around and inside of you.  Once you identify the truth of the situation or expose the trappings in your mind, you can begin save yourself from the trap.

Once you have slowed down, exposed the lies and identified the truth, the rest is easy.  All the other stuff was just a distraction, like a blindfold over your eyes keeping you from seeing where to go next.  With fresh eyes and a clear perspective you are able to see and accept where you are right now.  You have slowed down enough to do a true assessment of the situation and begin to make the most important moves that will give you the greatest progress.

Here is a bullet point version for your personal coaching moments:

  1. Notice you are in a cycle of judgement, control and/or fear
  2. Slow down – Stop fighting and struggling
  3. Stand still for a moment – Know that you are alright, see that fear cannot overtake you
  4. Expose the lies in the trap (perceived troubles and fears)
  5. Accept where you are
  6. See the truth
  7. Make the next most important move

My wish for you is to take this out for a test drive this week and let me know how it plays out in your life, work and even in your relationships.

Have a wonderful week.

 

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