Are you stuck? Unmotivated? Directionless? Empty? Bored? Maybe it is time for you to shake yourself up a bit. Push yourself in some direction. Take a risk. See where you move yourself. Sometimes I have to jump start myself. How about you?
How Stuck are You?
So often, we have low periods, ebbs within the flow of life. If you find yourself stuck, you might want to look at what has you there. You could be sabotaging yourself. On the other hand, maybe you are just temporarily stuck and need to work though the next step.
Check Your Values
Sometimes our ebbs are indicative of a value to which we are not paying attention. What do you value that you are neglecting?
Evaluate Your Survival Needs
You might do an intensive search inside of you to see what needs you are not fulfilling. There are so many needs for you to look at. Are you meeting your physical needs? Do you have all your survival needs in place? Especially in these times of economic recession, you may have to evaluate and assess your financial position. With homeowners being upside down in their mortgages, do you need to do something in this area? Do you have six months cash set aside? You cannot address your higher-level needs well if you have something in this survival area to fulfill. Start taking action if you have any financial circumstances in bad shape. Be sure to look outside the box for different solutions. Brainstorm.
Then move yourself into an investigation of some higher-level needs. Do you have lots of pleasure and fun you are participating in and creating? Do you have some form of recreation you love to do? Are you eating well, exercising, and playing? What do you do for fun? What makes you laugh? Do you have enough of this? If not, put some fun into your schedule each week or day. You cannot wait to laugh on Saturday. If you are having financial difficulties, it is especially important to add pleasurable activities to your life.
Need for Engagement with Life
Let’s take a look at what activities you do weekly that are really engaging for you. If you have a hobby or interest like quilting, needle pointing, playing bridge, baking pies, golfing, tennis, travel, antiquing, or sailing, you have many opportunities to feel some passion, contentment and fulfillment in doing something you love. Finding an activity in which you lose yourself brings a lot of happiness. If you find this in your work, you will be among a third of people and one of the wealthiest people alive. This is the concept of Zen and the art of “X”. Find something you enjoy doing in which you become one with the activity – where you lose yourself in space and time. This optimal experience or “flow” as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has termed it is one of the key elements of happiness.
Be of Service
One of the most important things to do to get yourself fully “living” your life is to get beyond yourself. Think about someone else. Help someone. Help many others. Find a way to be of service to others. Donate your time and talent to improve the lives of others. Sometimes you keep your world so small you drown yourself in your own self-pity. Get beyond the walls of your house and your heart, to pay attention to others.
Make Your Relationships Magnificent
If you are still stuck, directionless, empty or bored, get involved with people. Call friends and suggest getting together. Join activities where you might meet people who share your interests and values. Reach out in friendship. Continue developing meaningful relationships and do things regularly together. You will be happier and live longer if you have friends to see and places to go every week.
Get out of your own little world and connect with others. There is a lot of love and happiness waiting for you to create.
How do you go about making things better in your life? How do you deal with your guilt, hurt and anger? How do you get past your excuses? What can you do to start moving through and letting go of past hurts, failures, and “stuff”? This week we will take a look at where you can start on your own or with your coach or therapist.
When you want to improve your life, where do you start? How do you go about it? Many clients have come to my office wanting to be out of the pain they are in and desiring to experience more happiness. They arrive with many different presenting problems and we always look at the superficial solutions to those symptoms. But there is always something underneath that we can discover which dictates their sabotage or repeated failures in life. It’s usually about their excuses. So, whether they come in for help with depression, anxiety, trauma or a relationship, we look at the underlying causes, the excuses, and the patterns that began in childhood which do not work so well in adulthood. So often we learn beliefs and behaviors when we are two, three, four or five years old that do not work quite the same when we are 30 or 40. This is the stuff of therapy.
For those of you who are reading this who are not in therapy and who do not wish at this time to begin such an adventure, I’d like to offer you some things which you can do on your own which will give you insight into your core beliefs and help you clear unfinished business of childhood and early adulthood. I also want to help you stop your excuses and start being successful in the areas you have avoided. I also want to help you forgive yourself and others and get onto the business of loving – loving yourself and loving others.
If you are in therapy, this will help you in working with your therapist. It may give you an outline for self-help work or you may pick and choose what you and your therapist think will help you with your particular issues and patterns. If you are in coaching, it will also help you to work with your coach on what you do to excuse and sabotage your success.
Where to start?
What makes you mad? What can’t you stand? What drains you or zaps your energy? What causes you pain? What are your guilty about? What would you like to change in your life? These questions about negative influences in your life or negative reactions should shed some light on where you can begin. Start journaling about these questions. You might separate them into items or issues or people or situations. When you are writing about them, just let your thoughts flow and your feelings get expressed. Be sure to indicate what happened, who did what (including yourself), who had less than respectable behavior? What did you do that was a mistake or wrong in some way? What did others do that was a mistake or wrong in your opinion? How did you feel or how were you affected by what happened? How do you think the other people involved may have felt? What good came from this? What good could come from this if you determined that it would? What action do you have to take to compost this experience and make it a learning experience in your life rather than a drain because of negative emotions? How will you take this action? When will you do it? Who will know about it? Who can give you recognition or praise about correcting this lesson in life?
Whenever you have a negative experience or something that has affected you in a negative way, try to identify your errors, the others’ errors and what you can do to correct it. Also identify the lesson in it for you. Find a way to become grateful for the experience and feel and express your gratitude. It might take you a couple months to get over the anger or hurt. It is important to get over it. It’s important for you to move past this place to a place of acceptance, understanding and even gratitude for having an opportunity to learn and grow.
Gratitude improves optimism, increases positive emotions, reduces stress and delivers many more positive results. All you need to do is think about your own things for which you are grateful, do it on a regular basis, and you will be happier.
Expressing our gratitude is an activity that increases our happiness levels by over 25%; gives us higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress; gives us better sleep quality and more energy; and it is one of the more effective ways of coping with disease, disability and even death. People who keep gratitude lists make progress toward completing important individual goals such as academic, interpersonal and health-based, according to research by Robert Emmons.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Establish a daily habit of recalling and writing ordinary events that happened to you today, the valuable people in your life and what they contribute to you. Spend the day looking for people, incidents, events, and qualities that you enjoy and that support your life. Look for the gifts, grace, benefits and good things in your life.
1. Think and recall throughout the day the good things happening…
2. Write at least three things of gratitude toward the end of the day.
Share Gratitude with your Family
1. Have your family share at dinner three things that happened to each of you that were good or things for which you are grateful
2. Have our children recall and speak gratitude when going to bed
3. Share gratitude blessings with your spouse at the end of the day
4. Make Thanksgiving a holiday of super big thanks all around the table
Write letters of gratitude
1. Write thank you notes for gifts, events and special thoughtful acts
2. Write letters of gratitude to people who have improved or touched your life – teachers, friends, family members, old friends, former spouses, etc.
3. Write birthday letters sharing about the person’s qualities and good acts
Think of ways you can see the challenges of life as a gift and then how you can express your gratitude.
We all have done things we don’t feel good about - things we wish we had not done. We also hold on to acts others do that have hurt or angered us. We have a choice to carry these burdens around with us or do what my favorite monk in literature did, “leave them at the river.” Let go of your guilt, judgements, hurts and anger. Do the loving act and forgive!
It is important to forgive yourself the mistakes you have made and the things you have done that have been most hurtful to others. By writing them you give yourself the gift of making your load lighter as you attempt to experience more happiness.
It is a good thing to forgive people who have done things that have been hurtful to you. It allows you to move on past that incident or wrong and be in present time without bitterness or anger in your heart. Forgiveness is for you, not the other person.
This is a simple exercise. Either take out your journal or sit at your computer and start writing:
1. These are things I have thought, said or done for which I want forgiveness or for which I want to forgive myself.
2. These are things others have said or done that I want to forgive, clearing me of all negative feelings.
After writing the items, say aloud you forgive yourself and you forgive others. Ask for forgiveness and imagine being your perfect spiritual or higher self, understanding, accepting and loving yourself. Imagine your parents doing the same. And sense the forgiveness of God or the creative force of the universe. Then again say aloud your forgive yourself and you forgive others who harmed you.
Sometimes it is important to share these things with your clergy, a therapist or a trusted friend. Receiving acceptance and feeling the caring or love of another makes it easier to move into forgiveness and let go of the negative feelings.
Life gets better and well being is strengthened when you regularly clear and forgive these actions of yours and others. Feeling gratitude after forgiveness helps solidify the release of negative emotions.
How do you make sense out of wanting to do something but not doing it? What can you do to get unstuck? How can you stop sabotaging your success? We all have goals and dreams we want to accomplish, but often we do not. Some people seem to just sail through with success after success! How do they do it?
Getting yourself unstuck requires motivation, a certain awareness, and discipline.
I have a dear friend who has wanted to write a story about his aunt for a couple of decades or so. After enough avoidance and busyness, focusing on other business ideas and even start-ups, he decided he had enough failure and wanted to see some success. He had to dig down to find his motivation - the joy of having his children and best friends think highly of him. Then he had to get his awareness up to his mind in 2009. He had failed at enough great ideas - just thinking and talking about them. Now he wanted to put a great idea into action. Finally finding enough self esteem and confidence, he started to write. And what a beautiful writer he is! Now it’s time for the discipline. Every weekend he is creating the time to write.
He finally got down to his negative core beliefs and worked trough the stages of change to take action. You’ll hear about the book when it is finished! Check back in about a year.
Look at some of the negative beliefs you have that are self-limiting or that sabotage your ability to be your very best. Sometimes we refer to these beliefs as negative self-talk or negative tapes in our heads. They are “gremlins”. These are the things we believe that hold us back or prevent us from being authentic and healthy. Some examples might be: I have to be perfect; I can’t make a mistake; I am not smart enough; I can’t do it; If I am successful I will have to be accountable; Money is the root of all evil; etc.
Find some of your self-defeating beliefs and write them. Using all the enthusiasm you have, write the opposite, motivating, positive belief about yourself. Spend the day thinking about and repeating inside your head these lovely affirmations of your authentic self. If you find the negative beliefs winning, keep working to prove the positive is true. Find the evidence and convince yourself of your greatness!
If you still have difficulties succeeding at your goals, do they line up with your values? If they do, read James Prochaska’s book, “Changing for Good” and get into the action stage to make your dreams come true.
When was the last time you received a truly lovely compliment? When was the last time you showed your appreciation in words to a loved one or a co-worker? The world needs more compliments, please start a positve pandemic…
Expressing positive things about another person is like giving them a gift. It says you recognize something special, unique or even just ordinary about them. By bringing it to their attention you are encouraging them to continue doing or being that positive way.
It is also important to tell them how it affects you. An example could go like this: “You called to tell me what you would like to do this evening. You are sensitive to my need to plan a little in advance and I appreciate that you are considering my preferences.”
Please give 3 compliments a day to anyone with whom you are living or spending a lot of time (spouse, children, co-workers, or friends).
Acts of kindness performed by all of us make the world a better place. It feels good to have someone let us in line at the grocery store or to have someone pickup the $20 bill we just dropped or, better yet, to have the waiter tell us of the $200 error we made in his tip. What are you doing to show your kindness to others? Giving and receiving, it feels so good!
Doing an act of kindness is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others. When you do something thoughtful or nice for another, the regard comes back to you in multiples. You help make a better world when you pick up trash that blows around your neighborhood. Your vacationing neighbor appreciates putting the newspapers and trash can out of site. The elderly woman at the doctor’s office is thankful for your holding the door and the elevator.
Your magnitude of loving and sense of happiness can grow exponentially if you do some acts of kindness as secrets. The secret act of giving can be enormously fun and fulfilling.
During the holidays we sometimes play “Secret Santa” to someone in the office and leave them small gifts like a special coffee from Starbucks or perform a small task without them knowing who is doing it. Why not be a Secret Pal all year long? I know a creative and big-hearted woman who secretly goes to a friend’s home and decorates the outside of it for every major holiday. She does it in the middle of the night so her friend never knows who the Secret Decorator is.
Take this challenge: do one act of kindness each work day this week, Monday through Friday.
If you are wanting to try another challenge, here it is: Select three things to do in the next month that are secrets from the receiver. Be a “Secret Pal” and do something for three different people where they cannot discover who you are. Good luck! Please share your stories with us if you’d like. We’d love to hear from you!
Stressed? Use laughter to lower stress hormones, boost immunity, and relax your muscles. Laughter reduces fear and anxiety while enhancing resilience. The bonus you receive from laughter is the bond you establish when you laugh with someone. Laughter is the free anti-aging prescription.
Stress is a normal part of life but sometimes we have too much, requiring us to call on our resilience to deal with it. Our response to stress is a complex series of hormones surging through our bodies, our sympathetic nervous system amps up, and the limbic brain goes into overdrive.
Stress causes heart attacks in men and reproductive problems in women. We narrow our focus and respond less to new ideas. We sleep less and argue more. Irritation and frustration are heightened while romance and sexual interest are lessened. So what are we to do?
Our resources and resilience are called out to the forefront. This is the time to use your resources to create positive emotions. We know from Barbara Fredrickson’s theory of “broaden and build” that positive emotions like joy, delight, lightness and amusement allow us to expand our thinking.
We know from many researchers in medicine and positive psychology that humor is a strength that diffuses the stress and allows us to manage it with easy success, returning us to a healthier state physically and psychologically.
The things you might do to reduce your stress include reading the comics, look up some of those silly emails we all receive, call a friend and ask them to help you laugh, watch a funny movie or listen to a comedy show. One of the easiest and most rewarding things to do is watch a baby and enjoy their amusement with life. Go to “You Tube” and watch funny videos to change your outlook and your chemistry in just a few minutes.
One of the main things to do to reduce your stress is to start laughing. Join a laughing yoga group or a laughing club. Without anyone else to depend on, just start laughing. Fake it until you make it and you will reduce your stress. Try it in the morning – just laugh, even if you don’t feel it. Keep laughing; try it for 5 minutes or 20. Even 1 minute is a stretch! If you have to prime your pump, think about Lucille Ball, a master of creating laughter. Try it now.
Laugh away your stress.
Time off to do nothing, have very few responsibilities, create a change of pace and scenery, these are all things we need for our body, mind and soul. Be nice to yourself and give yourself a vacation!
I’m being very nice to myself and going on vacation. If you need help doing this for yourself, call me at 702-242-4222 and leave a message. Please note I will not return the call until I am back. Enjoy life!
Be loving in all the relationships you have to make yourself feel happier and to be more satisfied in life. We’ll look a little at how I arrived at some of this thinking and later we’ll explore what you can do to improve all your relationships
Today I have been reading and reflecting on love. In thinking about love, I looked at our purpose in life, how to fulfill it, and how to be happy. That led me to this: Love is the answer to life. It is the only way to live. And its the only thing we have to do…
When I was ordained as a minister my spiritual teacher gave me a blessing that said to teach love. I have been wondering about the focus of my dissertation and the book I have been told and prompted to write for quite some time. I feel about ready to do so. It seems I should have put it all together, but, you know how sometimes it is difficult to see the forest for the trees? Well, I got lost in all the positive psychology research – necessary for a dissertation. I was advised by several advisers to write my own stuff. My way of doing things had to be in there. So, today it is coming together better than ever.
Learning and studying The Need for Positive Regard: A Contribution to Client - Centered Theory and understanding Unconditional Positive Regard from the man who coined the term was what my Masters studies were all about. And my life at that time was in large part learning about how to love, individuating, maturing, being in emotional control, understanding my core beliefs, being autonomous, and becoming a better person. I was mentored by a master who gave me the opportunities to develop my talent in helping others heal their conditional love and learn to love unconditionally in their personal and business lives.
The answers about how to have a better life and how to feel happier all comes from the life and teachings of Christ. I doubt that if the University of Chicago would have known, they probably would not have granted the first theoretical dissertation, in psychology and under Carl Rogers, for a theory that explained Christ’s life and ministry in theoretical constructs as the way to understanding how a human develops psychologically. But they did. Christ is the example: love unconditionally and you are the Christ consciousness we all have within us. We can do as many miracles and more. We simply have to put into practice loving attitudes and actions.
I studied Christ in Sunday school, in MYF, in college. My mother took me to attend all types of religious services as we learned about them together. Later my work took me to the depths of schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, alcohol and substance abuse, teen delinquency, psychopathology and sexual perpretration. I continued my quest. I studied Buddhism and A Course in Miracles, meditated, prayed, and read. Then I studied the ways of the saints and from all faiths, their religious experiences. I went on to study possession and exorcism. These were followed by spiritual practices and I became an ordained minister. With my father’s joy and my teacher’s ministerial blessing I began to “officially” teach love.
I added to my mission working with thousands of couples who were trying to love and struggling. I helped parents learning to deal with power while loving their teens. And I have worked with the worried wealthy and executives from around the world trying to create heart-oriented organizations and communities. We’ve been adding to their lessons on how to love in all relationships, partnerships and marriages, families, their work, their businesses, their communities. From governors, statesmen and CEOs to the homeless, I have been learning about love as I have helped myself and so many others. We have all improved our lives, careers, organizations, families, primary relationships, and all our loves.
We all live in our relationships. And it is in these relationships that we all grow and become the best people we can. This is our purpose and our job! When we send our children off to school, we tell them their job is to learn: to go to school and listen, do their homework, study, and get the best grades they are capable of getting. As time goes on we add to their curriculum to become involved with activities of their choice and we advise them on sports, music, service, clubs and talents. We tell them to become good friends and we help them learn about friendships as they socialize through all of their schooling. In our places of worship we teach our children about various moral values. We teach them by our own modeling throughout our lives and in vivo about it until we stop teaching them.
How much of all this teaching is about love? A lot of it is, although we may not label the class as Love 101. None of us attends a class called Love.
I’d like to pull together what I have figured out how to love and use love to create your happiness and well being. Once we have taken care of our basic needs of shelter, food, water and sex, we set about to fulfill our higher level needs. We pursue relationships and nurture those we like and love, we establish ourselves in engaging work, we master some interests, and bring meaning into our lives by the service we provide to others. The essence of our pursuits is to create more happiness and well being through pleasure, engagement, meaning, and relationships. So it is that we spend our lifetime in the pursuit of happiness. If we love all the people and esoteric things with which we have relationships, we increase our happiness and improve our well being. You can make yourself happier and the world better. It is our journey and our destiny.
This looks at how a small business owner eager for business in an economic recession decides to select a client and do the contract negotiations so he protects and takes good care of himself.
I have a number of coaching clients who have little experience in knowing how to select a client or engagement for their businesses. One particular client of mine who is a fairly new consultant described a man who was extremely opinionated about how he wanted to run an event. One of the top managers in the company seemed to be in opposition to the potential client about some of the systems and spoke about how certain IRS regulations were not being followed. The potential client was looking for an event planner for a wonderful event for women with breast cancer. The more my client spoke with him about the possibility of a contract, the more he appeared to need a good consultant to make changes from his vision, a consultant to work with the development director and/or public relations officer, or new managers to run the fund raising and public relations aspects of the business. The question for my client was if her potential client would let go of enough control to make the project worth her while. Or would this man be too difficult? Would she be able to have an influence on the legalities? Often in looking at a possible client one has to look at their ethics and values and whether or not they are a good fit for you.
Make a good needs assessment of the client’s organization. In this case example we looked at what the client said he wanted; we discussed the aspects of a needs assessment and what the other manager was saying verses the potential client. My client looked at her calendar to see how much time she had vs. what was being asked for and what she assessed she would need. She also explored her costs and how they could be put into the contract. I think it is very important to do a thorough needs assessment when deciding on a potential contract. The best way to do this is to have meetings and individual interviews with several levels of management in the organization. It might even take several rounds of meetings. Then you can look at your costs, your time, the value to the client, and how you want to make your presentation and recommendations. You might be investing a lot of your time just determining if you want this client or this engagement.
My business client decided to have another meeting with the organization to follow up on the needs assessment. She came back with additional questions about the company which led her to assess her own responsibilities, liabilities and normal business questions for her operation. Additionally she needed to explore the personalities with whom she and her staff would be working, the cost analysis , various contractual issues, and her schedule. It seemed that after a week of studying these issues, my client determined the biggest concern for her was the possible personality conflict that could arise and how to handle it. Often my clients run into this issue - it is quite common at all management levels. You want to determine, if you can, how it might affect the outcome of the engagement. The other large concern was the ethical or legal issues. This, she determined in the needs assessment, would be acceptable because the concerns were not founded. Sometimes a needs assessment will give you this. If it is a small company you may not be able to have confidence in the answers you are getting. Do your due diligence.
What else do you need to do while doing the needs assessment? Look at yourself and your company. Make sure you have looked at the things above - values, ethics, legalities, personality ease or difficulties, cost analysis, schedule, etc. Proceed cautiously. Be sure to check with your own staff, advisers, or coach and your inner knowing. Be sure to take good care of yourself in taking on an engagement. Determine how much you want this client, this engagement or scope of work, your level of competence in delivering the needs of the organization, how this will help you, and how it will effect your psychological well being as well as your bank balance. There is more than a financial bottom line. Because the economic environment is difficult for many small businesses today, look at how this one client would fit into your schedule for several months and how this contract could lead to a larger percentage of your business.
How do you think you handle yourself in client selection and contract negotiations?