January 15th, 2012...Are Your Resolutions On Clearance Yet? Turning New Year’s Resolutions from Fiction to Non Fiction
An article written for The Coaching Center of Vermont on what happens to your New Year's Resolutions a few weeks after they sounded so "do-able".
Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.....(An article written for the Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition
Change. It’s all around us, every day. Take, for instance, the change from 2011 to 2012. How many resolutions did you make this week? "In 2012 I will workout more, I will become more focused on my family, I will look for a new job, I will get a handle on my stress level.”
Thoughts this time of the year lean heavily towards "change.” In fact, every year, we promise ourselves that something we are currently doing currently needs to be done differently. We concentrate on changing our behavior, our habits, doing more, doing less. We vow to "change.” And often we fail…why? Because we are asking ourselves to do the one thing our body is hardwired to NOT do….change.
As a Performance Life Coach, I spend a great deal of time with my clients focusing on change they desire, or navigating change made for them. And one thing is for sure, change is inevitable. Change has always been a necessary aspect of life and work, and our world is changing rapidly.
Change is "the act or instance of making or becoming different.” We make thousands of changes everyday. We change our mind, our clothes, our thoughts, our focus, our attention, and professionally, we even change words everyday (think spell check… Change, Ignore, Change All, Ignore All…). In our lives, we have the same choices as the computer options – to ignore the change or embrace the change. But changing the spelling of words is easy compared to changing behavior patterns. Changing our behaviors, and how we think, how we feel, our jobs, our partners, or our location can be some of the largest fears we face in life.
For each of us, our success and well-being depends on how well we adapt to change. How we emerge on the other side of change is based on how well we navigate through the change. And let’s be honest, most of us are NOT good at navigating change. Without conscious thought, we either sail through changes in our lives or the change in front of us leaves us paralyzed. And the end result can often leave us missing an opportunity that was knocking on our door.
"The key to change…is to let go of fear.” - Rosanne Cash
Why are we so reluctant to address—or even admit—change in our lives? Because change is hard, dangerous, scary, tiring, frustrating and repetitious. Even positive change such as getting married, having a baby, or getting that "dream job” can generate a great deal of fear.
With change, you are blind to what is coming next. Most people thrive on predictability, sureness; the security of knowing what is around the corner. Change means stepping into the unknown and losing that security, leading to paralysis.
Change also means giving up control, which can create enormous fear. When you are not in control, you lose your sense of invulnerability and quickly see you are less powerful than you thought. So to avoid feeling out of control, you hunker down and ignore the change in front of you.
But change doesn’t just evoke emotional responses. Neurologically and physiologically, our bodies and mind do not want change either, except if it’s to avoid pain. When your mind detects a difference between an existing condition and a new condition, it produces an "error” signal. The error signal received by the amygdala (the prehistoric part of the brain that tells us to be wary of saber toothed tigers) sounds an alarm producing the emotion of fear. The prefrontal cortex receives the fear signal and creates what it believes to be the necessary response—typically "stay away, stay far far away.”
"If you don’t create change, change will create you.”
There is a beauty in our own chaos. Change is disruptive and our own chaos is safer. People choose to stay unhappy because they fear change. Even if you are profoundly unhappy you are, change is scarier because the unknown of the change feels larger than the unhappiness we are feeling.
Change also takes time and patience and in today’s "do it now society”, change often comes too slow so we give up quickly.
But by avoiding change, we create even bigger problems, such as lost opportunities, broken relationships, or an unhappiness that cuts to the core. Major changes in people’s lives can be painful, so those changes are fought until people reach their misery threshold and then reluctantly do something rash to escape a bad situation.
What would it be like if you could face change from the beginning? Or even, embrace change?
"Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have trying to change others.”
The key to navigating change is to know what stage of change you are in. People react, respond and adjust to change in a sequence of six predictable stages, deemed The Change Cycle.
The first stage, where a great deal of stress occurs, is around loss, specifically the loss of safety, security, or the loss of something known. Loss, chosen or not, affects our bodies deeply, and often this is where we choose the "Ignore” button in our own change navigation. We get a quick peek at change coming and we high tail it the other direction.
But navigating change is not as impossible as it sounds. And, even better news, you can reduce the discomfort, fear, and stress caused by changes in your life if you are aware of them, aware of how you are reacting to them, and consciously exploring your options without automatically running the other way.
Throughout 2012, OIWC will address the topic of change. We will uncover what your comfort level is with change and use that information to begin to navigate your change. And we will help you identify where you are in The Change Cycle, because knowing where you are and were you are headed are important to feeling secure. If you are ready to consciously hit the "Change” button in 2012, then stay tuned…. OIWC will show you how.
For more information see:
If you are not aware of the author Paulo Coelho or interested in climbing Everest, that shouldn’t stop you from reading the following “Manual for Climbing Mountains”. And when you are done, ask yourself “in my own life, how have I been climbing mountains?” And then run out and check out Paulo Coelho!
A] Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing.
B] Know how to get close to it: mountains are often seen from far off – beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. But what happens when we try to draw closer? Roads run all around them, flowers grow between you and your objective, what seemed so clear on the map is tough in real life. So try all the paths and all the tracks until eventually one day you’re standing in front of the top that you yearn to reach.
C] Learn from someone who has already been up there: no matter how unique you feel, there is always someone who has had the same dream before you and ended up leaving marks that can make your journey easier; places to hang the rope, trails, broken branches to make the walking easier. The climb is yours, so is the responsibility, but don’t forget that the experience of others can help a lot.
D] When seen up close, dangers are controllable: when you begin to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to the surroundings. There are cliffs, of course. There are almost imperceptible cracks in the mountain rock. There are stones so polished by storms that they have become as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are placing each footstep, you will notice the traps and how to get around them.
E] The landscape changes, so enjoy it: of course, you have to have an objective in mind – to reach the top. But as you are going up, more things can be seen, and it’s no bother to stop now and again and enjoy the panorama around you. At every meter conquered, you can see a little further, so use this to discover things that you still had not noticed.
F] Respect your body: you can only climb a mountain if you give your body the attention it deserves. You have all the time that life grants you, as long as you walk without demanding what can’t be granted. If you go too fast you will grow tired and give up half way there. If you go too slow, night will fall and you will be lost. Enjoy the scenery, take delight in the cool spring water and the fruit that nature generously offers you, but keep on walking.
G] Respect your soul: don’t keep repeating “I’m going to make it”. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to be able to grow, stretch along the horizon, touch the sky. An obsession does not help you at all to reach your objective, and even ends up taking the pleasure out of the climb. But pay attention: also, don’t keep saying “it’s harder than I thought”, because that will make you lose your inner strength.
H] Be prepared to climb one kilometer more: the way up to the top of the mountain is always longer than you think. Don’t fool yourself, the moment will arrive when what seemed so near is still very far. But since you were prepared to go beyond, this is not really a problem.
I] Be happy when you reach the top: cry, clap your hands, shout to the four winds that you did it, let the wind – the wind is always blowing up there – purify your mind, refresh your tired and sweaty feet, open your eyes, clean the dust from your heart. It feels so good, what was just a dream before, a distant vision, is now part of your life, you did it!
J] Make a promise: now that you have discovered a force that you were not even aware of, tell yourself that from now on you will use this force for the rest of your days. Preferably, also promise to discover another mountain, and set off on another adventure.
L] Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains.
taken from “LIKE THE FLOWING RIVER” (Kindle Edition)
A dear friend and colleague was kind enough to reference me in one of her blogs...wanted to share her wise thoughts with the "FromWithin Community". Gaby reminds us to choose what we give our our energy to. Enjoy...
Amy Purdy. Who is she? She is a gifted athlete who deeply inspires me. "Use obstacles as something to push off from, not keep you back from." Her fresh perspective, dead on insight and uncanny knack of listening to the Universe gives me faith that there are people out there that "get it". Amy not only "gets it", she is writing the script for what it means to "get it". Check her out on www.amypurdy.com.
Happy Columbus Day! Today is a day to celebrate a man who made many, many mistakes and is still thought of highly enough to have a holiday named after him. Lesson of the day? It is ok to make mistakes....
Is Stress Management Counter Cultural?
The 4th of July in the United States is designed to be a holiday around celebrating freedom. Freedom from others who dictated how the Colonists should live, practice religion, think, feel, etc.
We celebrate our freedom now in 2011 with fireworks, cookouts, and parades. The question for you this morning is "what do you have to celebrate your freedom from?" Have you also been living as others think you should live? Are you feeling the ways others want you to feel? If so, today might be a good day to start living, thinking and feeling for yourself.
But most importantly, what can you celebrate TODAY that you are free of? Free of guilt? Free of having to work your dreaded job? Free of your past? Freedom isn't free. It comes with work, practice and intention. Now go celebrate that hard earned freedom! Go make some fireworks of your own.
Get rid of your guilt. It doesn't serve you nor does it look good on you. It is like wearing a mu-mu dress....hides all of the best parts of you. It is spring, time to take off the heavy clothes that hide all of you, time to put on something that shows off who you are and what you are capable of. So if you wear a "mini skirt" like self acceptance or a "little black dress" like gratitude, those will look so much better on....
If you are like me, you woke up early yesterday and tuned into William and Kate's wedding...What a wonderful celebration of love, but did anyone notice the celebration of "learning"? When William and Kate made their "getaway" in the Aston Martin on their way out of Buckingham Palace yesterday, thanks to William's brother, they rode away in style. But did you notice the "L" plate on the front of their car? In England, the L Plate it designed to signify that you are learning to drive. In this case, the plate signified that William and Kate were perhaps in "learning mode" as they ventured out into their new life as a married couple.
So it made me think.....how often do you allow yourself to "learn" or be a beginner? What are you currently doing that is new and requires you to learn? And more importantly, are you allowing yourself to learn and be new at something? Or are you seeking perfection from the start. What is more important - learning and enjoying the experience of taking in new information or being perfect at something from the start?
William and Kate seemed to be enjoying being "new" at marriage. What can you enjoy being new at?