Listening to our Inner Critic for our Excuses


We all have what seems like exquisitely great reasons for why we feel stuck or are unable to move forward in some way.  And the more we allow these stories to run rampant, the more they become self fulfilling prophecies.

But if we slow down and listen to what that voice in our head is saying, we can consciously question the excuses we are making.  (and we all make excuses so don’t beat yourself up about this…)

Excuses make us the victim of the situation.

And they usually start the same basic way…

“I can’t because…”

“I would, except…”

and  “Once I’ve…”

Anytime you hear yourself thinking something starting with those words, you are lying to yourself.  You are making excuses and falling victim to your stories.

And when you feel like a victim of your circumstances, your energy is quickly drained and you do what your primal outdated instincts tell you to do…you shut down.

And that is, in my opinion, why we need to question and then own our excuses.  We need to rephrase them in a more honest way that might even empower us.

Let’s say, your excuse is that you need to keep your day job.

“I can’t start directing because I need to keep my day job.”

First you replace “I can’t” with “I won’t” and then see if you are still on board with the truth.  

So, the above excuse becomes the statement, “I won’t start directing because I need to keep my day job”.  How does that feel?  It may be true that yes, you need the money to feel secure and to have your needs met.  Or maybe this statement allows to you set a more aggressive savings strategy so you can plan to quit your day job sooner than you think.

More importantly, do you see how owning the truth is more empowering?  You are taking responsibility for your decisions.  You are in charge.

What if your excuse is “I would, except I don’t have enough time.”  (Not having enough time and money are the biggest excuses and they are both total horseshit.  I dedicated an entire chapter in my book, “Crafting a Better Life”, to the lack of time excuse.)

A more honest statement might be, “I won’t because I don’t want to: miss my show, get up early, rearrange my schedule, miss happy hour, go out in the rain, spend more money, sit in traffic…etc.  Do you hear yourself making excuses like that?

“Once I’ve…” is trickier because sometimes the timing isn’t right for us to take action yet.  But even then, you can make a more honest decision.  True, maybe you can’t start working as a real estate agent until you are fully licensed.  But, you CAN spend some time on Sundays going to open houses and observing how other agents pitch their houses to prospective buyers.  There is always SOMETHING you can do to move you forward.  

Jane Goodall didn’t wait to become a scientist (women didn’t have the option for college back then) to study the chimps in Africa.

Nelson Mandella used his time in jail to become the leader he would need to be once he was eventually freed from prison.  If anyone had an excuse to sit around and feel sorry for themselves it was him!

“Where there’s a will there’s a way” is not a cheesy catch phrase.  It is the truth.

So…what’s your excuse?  Start listening in to what you’re saying to yourself.  Start paying attention to when you tell your friends you “can’t”, “would”, or “once I’ve” and question the validity of that.  Then either own your excuses or take action.  Pivot out of victim mode and put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life.  The star in the movie of your life should be YOU, not your circumstances.

If this is an area you need help with get in touch and we’ll decode your thoughts together.

And as always, retweet, repost, and forward this to your friends.

The Worst Part of Self Sabotage

The worst part of self sabotage…is the stories we tell ourselves

Growth does not occur in a straight line.  We wish it did, but that just isn’t the case.  Most growth happens in fits and spurts with some side stepping and back pedaling along the way.

Self sabotage is a natural part of the growth process.  So, rather than avoiding and resisting it, let’s take a closer look at it and maybe find a bit more compassion for ourselves. 

First, let’s examine how self sabotage helps us.  I know, you’re thinking, “What?!?  That’s insane!”

But if you take a closer look at how and when you sabotage yourself, it’s usually right about the moment you are either about to break through a barrier or charter the unknown.  And that creates a good amount of fear for all of us.  And our instinctual minds do not like the unknown.  It likes what it already knows to be safe and predictable.  Sabotaging our growth, as maladaptive as it seems, is our mind’s way of keeping us safe.  So managing your fear and the self sabotage it creates is a crucial part of growth or change.

But most of us don’t get that far.  Why?  Because of the stories we tell ourselves about the sabotage itself.  This is the worst part of it.  If we fail to examine our beliefs about ourselves when we fail, we will remain stuck in those patterns that stop us.  

Pull out your journal or you tablet…do not do this in your head.  When you get in your own way, what do you tell yourself?  Most of us beat the crap out of ourselves and fall head first into the raging sound of our inner critic.  The loudest voice in our head becomes the one that is reminding us of all our failures.  It’s screaming that we should just quit now and skip the agony of the likely failure in the future.  This is a vicious voice that if we listen to without question, will stop us dead in our tracks.

Write it all out.  

Then, take a deep breath and notice the tone and volume of the thoughts.  Most of us would be horrified if we spoke that way to any other human being!  Yet we do it to ourselves without even questioning it.

Given what it’s saying and how, is this someone you should be taking advice from?  This tyrant in your head?  I hope your answer it ‘NO!”

Now think back to a time when you dropped the ball.  (I know, this feels like no fun!  But it’s incredibly helpful in the long run.)   Note what you did and when.  What was happening?  Was something new or different about to happen?  How were you feeling?  And what specifically were you thinking?  Were you berating yourself in some way at the time you stepped off track?  How was your energy and what were you focussing on?  Can you figure out what triggered your inner critic to grab the megaphone? 

The more specific you are with your triggers and the thoughts that follow, the better equipped you are to handle them the next time your fear arises.  You also can more easily predict when and how you might want to sabotage yourself.  Knowing that, you can plan ahead for it.  Then, when the urge to jump off track comes up, you can stay present and take action despite the fear.  You’ll be ready for it rather than be taken off guard.  

So, be gentle and curious.  Write out the inner monologue that is keeping you safe and causing you to sabotage yourself.  Then get specific about what triggered it to ramp up it’s volume and what you did when you listened to it.  Figure out when it could get triggered again and be ready to take action instead.

This is a tough topic for all of us.  Please, if you are struggling with this, get in touch.  Together we’ll dig deep and get you on track to achieving your goals.


Don’t Hope. Decide. Then, Resolve.


“We are not doers, we are deciders.  And once we decide, the doing becomes easy” – Ralph Blum

Think about how you feel when you “hope” something will happen.  Most of us feel, ‘okay’.  Maybe ‘slightly positive’.   But also, hoping for something makes us a victim of the outcome.  Hope offers us no power in the situation.

How about instead of hoping for something, you DECIDE on it instead?  How does that feel?  That most likely empowers you to take action and puts you back in the driver’s seat.

Hoping is looking up at the sky and waiting.  Deciding is looking around you to see how you’ll make it happen.

So when setting goals, even little ones, like tidying up for example, drop the hope and replace it with a decision.  You’re not hoping to tidy up your bathroom today…you’re DECIDING to do it today.  You can feel the energy is completely different from one statement to the next.

For your bigger goals, add the extra cherry on top…RESOLVE to do it.

When we resolve to make it happen, failure is no longer an option.  We are stating to ourselves (and the universe) that “this WILL happen” and “I am the one to do it!”  Pretty powerful.  This does not mean you will single-handedly succeed.  To succeed you will likely need support.  So asking for help is an important part of this decision you’ve made.  But by resolving, you are now opening yourself up to all the opportunities that will help you to succeed at your goal…  Including unseen synchronicities that are on their way.

And I highly recommend telling other people what you have decided to do.  By telling other people, you up your game and the desire to succeed is just that much stronger.  

Any big goal I’ve ever achieved, (quitting smoking, getting my green card, writing a book) I announced to other people. By telling other people my goals, I was now being held accountable and being held to my word.  It put the pressure on me to actually succeed. 

So, beware of ‘hope’ when goal setting.  Instead, take the plunge and DECIDE.  Then tell all your friends and RESOLVE to accomplish your goals.  And then, go do it!

If you need some help in decision making or extra support, get in touch and we’ll figure it out together.

And, as always retweet, repost, and forward to a friend.

Rejection as a Tool for Action


Nobody likes being rejected.  Yet every single one of us will face it at some point.  And the more risks you take, your odds of being rejected will go up too.  The bigger the risk, the bigger the possible set backs…but also, the bigger the win.

So how do we ‘manage’ rejection so it doesn’t stop us in our tracks?

We can start by being honest about it and then using the rejection as a push forward.

The ‘honest’ part of it is two-fold.  Not everything is for everyone.  And nobody is loved by 100% of the people.  Everyone has their specific likes and dislikes.  So you will always have those people who just won’t accept you, your projects, your humor, whatever, regardless of what you do.

Next, ask yourself if you have anything to learn from the rejection.  Sometimes there is a nugget of good feedback in being rejected.  This is not an opportunity to beat yourself up!  This is a chance to step back, put your ego aside, and see if you could have done things differently and if that would be an improvement.

Then, ask yourself, “What’s next?”.  By asking yourself this question, you are redirecting your brain to look for new things to do rather than staying stuck licking your wounds. 

Get in the habit of asking yourself that question every day.  The first thing that will happen is you’ll notice you’re getting more done!  But more importantly, you’ll already be in the habit of pivoting away from what stops you and towards what you can actually do about it.  Cuddling up to ‘feeling sorry for yourself’ cannot exist if you are in creation mode.

So, when you get hit with rejection, remember…nobody wins 100% of the time.  Ask, “Is there anything I can learn from this?”.  And finally ask yourself, “What’s next?”.  And then go do it!

If you’re working on something you want support with, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

And remember, retweet, repost, and forward this to a friend.

How to Get Out of your Own Way…workshop in February

It’s February already! Don’t let another year speed by without seeing your goals come true.

In this 3 hour workshop, you will gain clarity on why you want what you want, discover your patterns of resistance and self sabotage, learn quick and effective strategies to move beyond what’s holding you back, and leave with an effective and doable plan to make those goals happen. We’ll cover everything from porcrastination, breaking bad habits, managing rejection, negative self talk, changing our energy to match our goals, and using mindfulness as a tool for change. Learn how to cultivate what you’re truly passionate about in order to create the life you are meant to live.

Location: West Los Angeles

Date and times: Sunday February 24th, 1pm – 4pm

cost: $50 (must register by Feb 15th

Sign up today! Space is limited

It’s Rebellion Time

Rebellion…another approach to goal setting

“When we harness our rebellious energy, we reject what most may accept, and focus on creating what we believe to be possible…we do not dwell on what has already been proven.  Instead we create the future we already know is possible.”  

  • Tara Bliss

There has been a recurring theme going on these days with not only my clients, but my friends as well:

We’re tired, burnt out, and want to go hide in a cave.  The last thing on our mind is goal setting for our future.

Personally, this year has been one of the most emotionally challenging years in a long, long time.  We’ve seen people’s personal lives politicized to the point of causing families to be ripped apart.  Death threats, hateful tweets, and offensive behaviors have become what feels like the norm for many of us.  And most of us are still mired in cultural expectations that we’re not only blind to, but don’t even agree with in the first place.

But hiding in a cave isn’t the answer.

We do have a say in how we create our lives and the world around us.  

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi

Yeah, yeah, yeah… but are we actually doing what he’s suggesting?  Are you BEING what you want to see?  Are you acting on the belief that you can co-create your future?  Or, are you hanging onto the belief that it’s too late or you’re just not up for the challenge?

No, it’s not too late and yes, you can handle the challenge.  I think where we get stuck when confronting change, is when we assume the future will unfold the same way the past did.  But if you bring a more rebellious energy to your goals, you can reshape the trajectory of your life and the world around you.  Rebellion has both destructive and creative energy behind it.  That is the road to change.  And a way more fun way to approach our goals.

If you’ve already set some goals for the new year, revisit them now.  And if you haven’t set any goals yet, think about something that you would like to see change.  This could be personal or cultural…just pick something for the sake of this exercise.  

Ask yourself:

What are my friend’s, family’s, and/or cultural expectations around this?

Do I agree with these expectations?

Which expectations can I get behind?

How would I behave?  What would I say?  Who would I spend time with and who wouldn’t I spend time with?

What would I watch or listen to in terms of the news, Netflix, Facebook, etc?

What would I say “no” to and what could I say “yes” to instead?

Asking these questions stokes our inner dormant fire.  If you were genuinely honest in your answers to the above questions, you will likely feel your energy perk up.   This is where rebellion starts.  And, good news… you have just gained more clarity about why you want this change/goal to happen in your future.

And I guarantee you will be more successful if you include collaboration.  Collaborate leadership is about dropping the pecking order and refusing to blindly follow orders.  It’s all about expressing and empowering not only your talents but also the talents of others.  It is inclusive, decisive, and powerful.  It is the opposite of oppressive power (which is divisive, destructive, and erratic).   And, no, it’s not about dropping our boundaries to be ‘nice’ either.  Collaborative leadership is every bit as much about owning our sovereignty.  In fact, it is when we have clear boundaries, we can freely share, grow, and co-create our lives.  

I believe it is time to pivot away from the single handed, oppressive hierarchy.  Instead, it is time to birth a new approach that holds collaboration and belief in our future as its’ new expectations. 

Are you with me?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.  And share your rebellion with me if you feel moved to do so.

And if you want to dig deeper into your own rebellion/goal setting, get in touch and we’ll strategize together.

And as always, retweet, repost, and share with friends.

  

Why our Goals Suck

Why our goal setting sucks, and why we will never achieve our sucky goals.

The most common times for goal setting is New Year’s and Birthdays.  Then, a few weeks go by and we notice we are not only off track, but we have already forgotten the goals we set.  

That’s because most of us set our goals ass backwards.  We think of our goals as accomplishments rather than journeys.  And because we don’t ask ourselves why we want what we want, we easily give up at the first sign of challenge.

There is a golden rule of the universe, in my opinion…

That which you desire has been deliberately put out of your reach so you can become the person who is worthy of receiving it.

That requires a whole different outlook and entirely a new approach to goal setting.  So let’s begin.  Ask yourself:

How do I want to feel every day?

Why is that important?  Because everything you do, every goal you set, is to help you feel a certain way.  Obviously, we all want to feel good.  But my way of feeling good is different than yours.  For me, feeling good might mean connecting to nature and my spiritual practices.  For you, feeling good might mean the thrill of adventure.  Or maybe, feeling good for you is all about family and intimacy.

The clearer you are about how you want to feel, the clearer your goals will be. AND, you’ll have a clearer pathway to achieving them.

So, let’s not wait.  Pull out a piece of paper or your journal and ask yourself some questions:

How do I want to feel every day?  

(Energetic?  Generous?  Grateful?   Sensual?  Passionate?  Creative?  Joyful?  Empowered?  Sophisticated?  Inspired? etc)  Ask yourself this question at least 10 times and rattle off whatever comes up.

And don’t worry if you can only come up with a few feelings. Write out what pops into your head even if you keep repeating the same feelings.  And don’t get hung up on the words…I have ‘creative expression’ as my top emotion and although that encompasses many feelings, that phrase vibes for me so that’s what I’m going with.

After all is said and done, how do you REALLY want to feel every day?

Now, on a different piece of paper jot down all your favorite memories from the last few years.  Feel free to include amazing memories that go further back in time, maybe even your childhood.

Now look at all those times and ask yourself, how did those experiences FEEL?  Did you feel a sense of belonging, or excitement or adventure or love?  Don’t over think it.  Just write out all the feelings that come up when you remember those highlights from the past.  

Then, circle the ones you repeated the most…those top three to five feelings are why you do what you do.  By getting this specific,  you have just gained the clarity you need to set goals that you’ll actually want to accomplish.

Now is a perfect time to take a few deep breaths before asking yourself:

What would I like to accomplish so that I can feel the way I want to feel?  What goals, if I really went for it, would help me generate these feelings on a daily basis?  

Is this the year you write the screenplay, start a family, take your dream vacation?  What, if you really set your mind to it, would help you feel the way you want to feel not only at the end of the journey…but throughout?

Those are your new goals.

And one last thing…only set 2 goals maximum.  Because if this is the year you write the screenplay, you won’t have time for much else.  Setting one or two juicy life affirming goals is plenty.

And if you want help with this, get in touch and we’ll figure it out together.

And as always, retweet, repost, and forward to your friends.

The Gift of Support

GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF SUPPORT  

No addict ever got sober alone.  No book was ever published without being edited by at least one other person.  No house was built single handedly.  No community was created in a bubble.

We ALL need support.

So, as the year comes to an end… look at your life, your goals, etc.  Where are you struggling?  Where could you use some extra help?

Go get it.  Now.  Be generous with yourself and get the support you need.

Book the therapy appointment.  Buy a series of workouts with a trainer.  Book your session with your health coach, writing coach, life coach, spiritual coach.  Sign up now for that meditation class or painting class or college class.  

Not having the money is no excuse.  You can always pack a lunch instead of eating out, sell some of your crap on ebay, or skip out on a few happy hours.  And, the minute you step up by signing up, the funds show up.  I’m not kidding…I’ve seen this more times than I can tell you.  When you take a stand for yourself, the universe supports you…always.

And, by committing right away, (like, right now!), you will feel both relieved and excited about your future. 

Give this gift of support to yourself…Now.

You deserve it!

And, that includes reserving time with me!  If that feels right to you, then get in touch and let’s get a date on the books. …and I’d love to hear from you.

Live with passion and joy.  The world needs that special something that you were born to share.  Please, don’t wait.  Start sharing your talents today.  And if that requires some support…go get it!

And as always, retweet, repost, and forward to friends

Gratitude

BEING Grateful vs just thinking about it   

By now you know the importance of gratitude.  It not only helps improve your disposition, it also lowers blood pressure and helps you manage stress more effectively.  And it seems like these times are more stressful than ever so why not alleviate some of that stress…for free?!?

But here’s the mistakes most people make with practicing gratitude.  Most people give lip service to their gratitude list and never actually tune in to and feel what they’re grateful for.  And, they list the same 5 or 10 things every day creating a memorized list rather then a fresh, cultivated, and deeply personal daily list.

Many of us have kept gratitude journals, or lists of things to be grateful for, etc.  But simply rattling off what your grateful for doesn’t actually help very much.  You have to really tune into what you’re grateful for.  In other words, being grateful for the sun but not stopping to see how feels on your skin is ineffective.  For gratitude to start to work in your life, you need to stop and TAKE IT IN.  You have to BE/FEEL grateful…not just record it.

And, choosing to be grateful for new things everyday is the way to really utilize gratitude to improve your moods.  If you simply repeat the same few things every day, your brain just gets into a rut and you fail to see other things you could be grateful for.  If however, you force yourself to come up with new things everyday, your brain will naturally look for other ways to feel grateful.  Your focus will change to see the positive more often than the negative.  And, when dealing with stressful situations, you’ll be able to de-stress more quickly. 

And you can be grateful for little things.  Being grateful for seeing beautiful flowers, or feeling grateful that your car got you from point A to B can as helpful as anything else.  The important thing is to really feel into it.

So, yes, keep a gratitude journal or write your lists out daily.  But, find NEW things to be grateful for and really tune into how it feels to have that deep level of gratitude.  

 

Mindful Holidays

Here we are…knee deep into the holidays.  How are you doing?  Raise your hand if you’ve already eaten what feels like your entire body weight in holiday treats.  Raise your hand if you’ve already lost your shit with your relatives.

’Tis the season!

Okay, first of all, join the club.  In my opinion, there is WAY too much emphasis on this time of year, and WAY too much pressure for all of us to do things perfectly.

The truth is, it’s NEVER GOING TO BE PERFECT.  So let’s accept that.  And instead of killing ourselves to get it right, let’s find a way to actually enjoy the end of the year without shame, anger, exhaustion, and an extra 5 pounds to lose.

If you’re in the self help world (and if you’re reading this, you are) likely, when the word ‘mindfulness’ is muttered, you glaze over as if you were reading a computer manual.  It’s a phrase that has been overused and under-explained and truthfully underutilized.

Because of this, I created a few new names for this practice… ‘mind awareness’ and ‘presence practice’.  Both of those labels, in my opinion, more accurately describe the practice.  And also, I’m not using the word ‘practice’ by accident…we ‘practice’ this every day.

Let’s not waste time, let’s get right to practicing immediately!

Feel your feet.  How do they feel?  Are you in shoes? Socks? Barefoot? Are they cold?  Hot?  If you had to describe how they felt what would you say…in detail…?

Okay, you just got present.  You practiced ‘mindfulness’.  Well done.

But what’s the point?  Why do this?  How can this possibly help me when my holiday to-do list is longer than my arm and all I want to do is eat holiday cookies?

Here is the thing about our bodies and the presence practice.  Our bodies are living in the here and now.  Second by second, breath by breath.  Our bodies couldn’t care less about what you did yesterday or, what you have to get done by the end of the week.  Our bodies know nothing about shame, regret, or worry.  They are simply here, right now.  

So, when you are panicked about what to wear to the holiday party or worried about getting the table set in time for the guests, zone in on a part of your body and feel it fully.  (And, FYI, this takes about 30 seconds so ‘I don’t have time’ is not an excuse.)

“But I thought you had to sit and meditate” is likely what your voice of resistance is saying in your head.

Wrong.  Well, not entirely.  I mean, yes, it’s lovely to sit and notice your thoughts and breath in and out in stillness.  I highly recommend doing that as many days as possible.  But meditation without action is only getting 1/2 the benefit of meditating.  Think about it.  How many times have you finished your meditation practice, got on with your day, and were in a fight with your co-worker by noon?  (Confession…I have left yoga classes feeling amazing and within minutes caught myself flipping someone off on the drive home.)

‘Mind awareness/Presence practice’ is your meditation in action.  Stopping for 30 seconds to FEEL something in your BODY brings you to the present moment.  It interrupts your knee jerk reactions and negative assumptions.  It brings you back to the present moment thus releasing you from future worry and past guilt.  

And in terms of eating, if you find you are eating unconsciously, this practice helps you catch yourself before you overeat.  And if you do overeat, this practice helps you let go of the guilt or anger you may be directing towards yourself or others.

Once you get into the habit of doing this throughout the day (I recommend putting reminders on your phone to chime every hour), see if you can do it while you are busy at work, etc.  You CAN keep a part of your mind on how your feet are feeling while talking to your mother.  (Yes, it even works with mothers!)  You can notice how your breath feels as you inhale and exhale while shopping at Trader Joe’s.  You can notice how the sun feels on your skin, while sitting in traffic.

By just staying present with your body, your stress level is instantly reduced.  And less stress means better thoughts.  And most likely, more control over your reactions to other people. 

So, while you read the last bit of this newsletter, notice your feet, or some part of your body.  Just keep part of your mind tuned into that physical sensation while you read on.

Notice you’re not making your shopping list in your head.  You are present and able to absorb what you are reading.  And, you are more likely to remember everything you need to buy when you go shopping later.

Practice this incessantly over the holidays!  In fact, if you do NOTHING else, do the ‘presence practice’ all day long.

And if you want to bliss out to my FAVE tracks…

HAVE AN AMAZING HOLIDAY SEASON!