help with decision making

Feel like you don’t have enough time?

“You have exactly the same amount of hours in the day as Mother Theresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Albert Einstein.” – H Jackson Brown Jr.

Why some people seem to have more time than others…

part one

24 hours in the day. That’s what we all get. Time does not discriminate. But why is it that some people manage to get more done than others?

Likely, they have mastered not only time management but also learned to prioritize their actions, set healthy boundaries, and delegate the things they aren’t good at. They know what builds momentum and what sabotages their energies. And, they spend the most time doing the most effective things to achieve their goals.

That’s a lot! So today I’m only focussing on setting healthy boundaries, playing to your strengths, and getting help with the rest.

Here is the truth…You will never be great at something you have to work hard just to be good at. Focussing too much energy on things other than your strengths will not only waste a lot of time but leave you feeling frustrated as well. But, if you put that time and energy into your natural talents, you will more quickly succeed. You should always cultivate your strengths.

I’m not giving you the “get out of jail free” card and saying self improvement is a waste of time! Nor am I suggesting to blow off paying your bills because you are better at lifting weights than balancing your checkbook! Some of our weaknesses do indeed need to be addressed before we can more effectively move forward in our lives. But usually, to successfully navigate those challenges we require help…this is why therapists, coaches, trainers etc exist! I’m not saying to go into denial. If you have issues that need to be resolved, for example procrastination issues, anxiety issues, health issues, you may want to hire a life coach or a therapist or a Doctor. Just like if you are an actor and learning your lines is tough for you, you may need to enlist a friend or an acting coach to run material with you.

However, not all of our obstacles are “issues”. Some of our self sabotage falls under the heading of plain old bad time management. And you’re not alone. Most of us were never taught how to effectively manage our time.
Having said that, approaching things from a place of strength is always more effective.

Delegating tasks and setting boundaries can help you get more done as well. One of my most successful friends designs amazing sets that have earned her 8 Emmy nominations. She’s clearly pretty good at designing! But that’s primarily all she focusses on…she doesn’t paint, build or decorate the sets. She has excellent shoppers who are great at getting good deals. She has people working for her who are talented painters and carpenters thus freeing up her time to stay focussed on what she does best.

She also is very clear about her boundaries. The prop master does not get to borrow from her art department, and visa versa. Having clear boundaries actually aids in keeping confusion to a minimum. Everybody know where they stand which is why nobody’s feelings get hurt when she says ‘no’. And despite working crazy hours, she also is managing to renovate a friends condo and redo some else’s office! Talk about getting lots done!

So notice those people around you who get so much done. Are they sticking to a specific and concise plan? I bet they are. Likely they have delegated a few things to other people so they can focus on what they do best. Thus, being wildly efficient and getting tons done! Also, they likely aren’t agreeing to do a bunch of things that will steer them away from their goals, either. They can say ‘no’ and set clear boundaries.

Where are you in terms of your time management? Are you wasting time doing something that is not contributing to your strengths? Are you agreeing to do too many things that kill your bliss? Is it a challenge for you to ask for help? Do you feel like you “don’t have enough time” yet seem to have time for Facebook and Netflix?

This is a tall order for a lot of people. After all, it’s an entirely new way of looking at your days. If this feels overwhelming and you want help with it, get in touch and together we’ll figure out your best game plan.

And pass this on to your friends, retweet, repost…share the knowledge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why waiting to feel inspired leads to procrastination.

Nike’s famous slogan, “Just Do It”, is more than just a cool catch phrase. Taking action is actually the first step to feeling inspired. Inspiration only comes from experiencing something…not contemplating it.

Many of us have this equation wrong. We think motivation = action. And as a result, we have wasted precious time waiting to feel ‘in the mood’ or ‘motivated’ to take action. This is a common root cause for many of our procrastination issues. But, we will never actually feel motivated until we DO something. We must first take the action, then the inspiration to remain on task will kick in. (in about 10 seconds, actually) Action = Inspiration.

Plenty of parents have tapped into this truth without knowing it. “Go do something!” is usually their response to a bored child. Then, before long, their child is busy playing at something and is no longer bored at all.

Personally, I can use my newsletters as an example of how taking action leads to motivation. Sure, sometimes I’ll read a quote and get excited and my writing comes easily. But usually, it’s the other way around. More often then not, I sit down with a loose idea without really knowing where to begin. So, I just start writing. I don’t wait to have it all worked out before I start. And, after a few ‘clunky’ sentences it usually starts to make sense and I can express myself more easily. I call that first draft my vomit draft so I’m not hung up on getting it right. I just get it out. But then, the next day, I’m more interested in rewriting it because I took the initial action to do it in the first place. My action (sitting down to write) leads to my motivation (to rewrite and publish the piece).

Most musicians aren’t particularly excited to practice. But, once they ARE practicing, they are having fun and enjoying the experience. (And usually practice for longer than they had planned.)

No, you won’t find inspiration when ironing. But the heaps of clothes will likely keep growing if you wait to feel motivated. However, once you start, isn’t it amazing how quickly you get through all of it?

Most people know they should exercise more but don’t because they are searching for ways to feel motivated to work out. This is the classic excuse people give themselves when trying to start a new fitness regime. But that’s rarely how it works. Ask any regular exerciser and he will tell you…the toughest part is getting started…once they’re moving, it’s no big deal.

One final thing about taking action…don’t overwhelm yourself into doing a lot of things. Start with ONE thing. You are more likely to get more done if you start with one specific thing to do. If you overwhelm yourself with too many tasks, you’ll freeze and get nothing done. (As I’ve said in earlier newsletters, I give myself only 3 things to do a day…3 things that if completed, will bring me closer to my goals.)

So what are you avoiding getting done? How can you “just do something” to get the ball rolling? Try this approach of “just doing one action to move me forward”… and see not only how much more you accomplish, but how much more fun you have with the process.

And if you need help with this, get in touch and together we’ll create a doable plan for you.

Don’t forget to forward this, retweet, or repost if you liked it!

“We are the Choices we Make”

“We are the choices we make”…Meryl Streep

News flash…you will never “find” yourself. The truth is, we “create” ourselves…every moment of every day.

That means our thoughts, our language, what we choose to act on, and what we choose to skip, all will have an effect on our lives. And not just our lives, but the lives of others as well.

We all know that saying “one person can change the world”…well, the reason it sounds cheesy is because there is truth to it. The ripple effect is real. There was a study done on this very topic. (“Implications of Vascular Theory of Emotions”…very dry read!) It’s summary states that 1,000 people are within 3 degrees of each other. That was not a typo…you are 3 degrees away from effecting the lives of 1,000 people. So how you show up in your life really matters. There is no better time then right now, to own our lives and the actions we take. And not just the big juicy actions…the little decisions matter too. And how you talk to yourself is crucial to your success and self worth. Despite how small this distinction is, it’s effects on your life are huge.

Do you ever listen to what you say to yourself? We all do it…we all have that running commentary going on in the backs of our minds. Who does your voice sound like? A cheerleaders or jailer? A loving supporter or destructive tyrant? A compassionate parent or an abusive one?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” is total Bullshit.

Words mixed together into sentences are bundles of emotions. They can move you to tears of joy, or tears of pain.

Words matter.

Most of us have some fairly vile self talk that we fall victim to sometimes. And we all know that we would never say those things to another living being. For some of us, our self-talk is so violent it’s not fit for anyone to hear. Yet we listen anyway.

Why is it important to change our inner dialogue? Well, let’s apply some common sense. Let’s say the only water you drank was polluted and toxic? What would eventually happen? You would BECOME polluted and toxic.

It’s the same with thoughts! If all you feed yourself is harsh criticism and shame, you will BECOME fearful of everyone and most likely paralyzed by your shame.

So how can you expect to go out and take risks, and make the world a better place, if you think you are something to be ashamed of?

It’s time we changed our relationships with ourselves. And it starts by tuning in to what we tell ourselves on a daily basis.

I call the negative talk in my head “YSR radio…You Suck Radio”. And when it’s on in the background, I don’t just turn down the volume, I change the damn station!

I’m over simplifying, I know. But this self monitoring doesn’t’ have to be a total drag either.

Pull out your journal and write out your own “You Suck Radio” program. This won’t take long because you know it by heart by now. But taking the time to put it on the page is useful because then you can use your own words to shift your perspective.

For example, maybe you are unhappy with your weight. Write out all of your self talk around how much you weigh, why you’ll never improve, why you are destined to be as fat as a house for the rest of your life…(that was my self talk by the way), etc. Go for it. Let that vicious voice in your head have it’s say…and write it all down.

Now reread what you wrote. Is any of that true or helpful in any way? Does thinking you’re destined to fail motivate you to take positive actions in your life? And can the opposite be true as well…like the times you actually DID succeed at something?

What are you focussing on? Your successes or your failures? Is “You Suck Radio” blaring in your head? And if so, how do you think that will affect your day? How will it affect all the people you interact with today? Remember…we are all just 3 degrees away from affecting 1,000 people.

Start to listen to your thoughts about yourself. Your words matter whether they are directed at you or other people. Write them down and question their validity. Tune in to what station is playing in your head. And if it sucks, change the station.

Don’t forget to forward this to your friends, repost, and retweet!

Feeding the Wolves

In Wayne Dyer’s book, “the Power of Intention,” he shares a conversation he overheard soon after 9/11.

A grandfather and his grandson were talking. The grandfather said, “I have 2 wolves fighting inside of me. One is filled with anger, hate, violence and revenge. The other is filled with love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.”

“Which one do you think will win?” asked the grandson.

“The one that I feed”, replied the grandfather.

Stop and think about that for a second. Which wolf are you feeding these days?

Your self-talk, your values, and your beliefs effect how you react to your world. And your beliefs are created by thinking the same thoughts over and over again until you ‘believe’ they are true. Which means it’s important to know what you’re thinking!

When you are thinking attack thoughts, you are feeding the wolf of hate and negativity. Just like, when you are thinking loving thoughts you are feeding the wolf of compassion and kindness. I’m going to make the assumption that most of us would prefer to feed the wolf of kindness.

So, how do we manage our thoughts?

By paying attention. Here again, is yet another great reason to meditate and practice being mindful. And, I’m actually going to rename the practice of mindfulness to “mind awareness”, because that more truthfully describes the practice.

“Mind awareness” is exactly what it claims to be: becoming aware of what your mind is thinking. This requires you to disconnect from your thoughts and observe them, rather than associating and hooking into them. By that I mean, you don’t take your thoughts as “truths” and act upon them. Instead you notice them and allow them to show up. But, you take no action based on those thoughts because you are now simply observing them. Thus, you are disengaging from the power they have over you. They are just thoughts. You decide whether to act on them or not.

Not to get all “Matrixy” on you, but the truth is, you are not your thoughts…you are the one thinking your thoughts. Your true self is the” observing self” as some call it.

This is where meditation comes in. There are many forms of meditation. And there is a specific way to meditate for mind awareness.

Before I go any further, I want to clear up some confusion about this form of meditation. The goal is NOT to have no thoughts while meditating. The goal is to allow TONS OF THOUGHTS while meditating, and instead, notice the thoughts and then let them go.

So how do we do this? For some of us, we follow our breath in and out. Some of us use a mantra that we silently repeat in our head. Some of us listen to pretty music. (My faves are at the bottom of this newsletter) What’s most important is that you sit down and do it, not whether you’re saying the right mantra.

You sit, for a chosen amount of time, and notice when your thoughts distract you from your focus. Then, when you notice your mind has strayed, you simply return to your breath or mantra. That’s it. Easy peazy.

I can already feel your resistance…”I don’t have enough time”. First of all, you do…(my last newsletter was about that very thing and if you missed it let me know and I’ll send it to you). You likely have that resistance because someone said ’20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening were best’. Well, really? I started with 3 minutes a day! I’m not kidding, that is how I started my practice. Now, I meditate almost every day and for however long I can. Some days it’s still 3 minutes, some days 10, sometimes several times a day…As long as I’m doing it, it’s helping.

Let’s get back to how that translates into real life. When you practice noticing your thoughts when you are still and quiet, you will find it easier to notice your thoughts when you are busy living your life. And by noticing your thoughts, you can start to clear out some of the negative ones and replace them with something more positive. You will more quickly notice when you are being judgmental, impatient, and self critical. And because you are conscious of those thoughts, you can then actively begin to cultivate more compassion instead.

And, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

Set your time to meditate. Remember, just 3 minutes most days is a great place to start. I don’t care how busy you are, you can carve out 3 minutes to sit and notice your thoughts. Then start to be more mind aware throughout your day.

Some people have a reminder on their phone that goes off several times a day to remind them to observe their thoughts. Some people post it in various places reminding them to be mind aware.

After a while, you won’t need the reminders. But when first practicing this, I recommend doing something to help you remember throughout the day. After all, most of us are on auto pilot for a good amount of the time so remembering to shift into awareness can be challenging. So, set up some reminders to make your life easier.

Try this for a week and see how much easier it is to notice which wolf you are feeding…and let me know how it goes!

And, if you want to go deeper with meditation and mind awareness, get in touch. This is one of my favorite practices to work on with people.

And if you liked this, remember: retweet, repost, forward to a friend!

And lastly…if you want to meditate to my fave music…check it out here
(link)

How to use Polarization to Create Clarity

You’ve heard it over and over: “Like energy attracts like energy”…in other words, focus on the negative and you are sure to experience more of it.

yes, that is true when you are visualizing an outcome or a goal. Focussing on the negative will only prompt your brain to create more of that negativity. This is why I always say, when setting goals, clearly state them in terms of moving FORWARD. For example, you are not losing 10 pounds because you are sick of feeling gross…you are losing 10 pounds so you can feel awesome in your clothes. The first example is reflecting on what is not working, whereas the latter creates images in the mind of something positive to move towards. And our visual minds follow whatever image we put in front of them…so, dwell on what you DO want.

However, when it comes to making decisions, forming partnerships, launching projects, etc, having a clear look at what you don’t want will point you very clearly and quickly in the direction of what you do want. Polarizing your plan is an excellent decision making tool.

For example, let’s say you are producing a play. What don’t you want? Likely, you don’t want actors showing up late, set builders and stage managers not keeping their agreements, thus ending up having to do all the work yourself.

Now spin it to the positive. What does what you don’t want mean? For example, if you don’t want to work with people who are chronically late, then maybe you want to work with professionals who do keep their agreements and actually have a track record of getting things done. And maybe you want a more, collaborative team so its easier to delegate. Do you see how flipping the negative to the positive gives you a clear roadmap as to who you will work with?

You can use this for all your decisions.

Let’s say you are wanting to take a yoga class. Being clear will help you enjoy it more. If you’re like me, you likely don’t want to leave feeling sore and needing a nap! So then how do you want to feel? Connected to your body in a positive way and more energized than you were before class? Sounds good to me! Having that clarity will help you choose the time, the instructor, and type of class you’re going to take.

And, when you make the big decisions…buying a house, starting a new business, creating a project involving multiple partners…you can use this clarity tool to ensure you are gathering the right people to help you see your vision come true. This also helps you spot the red flags…the gut feeling you have about certain people. Likely they are exhibiting something from your “don’t want” list.

“Start the way you want to finish” is not just an old saying, It is absolutely true when starting something big. Choose your team wisely…by knowing what you want and what you don’t want.

So again, list clearly all the things you do not want. Then, spin that list to the opposite…what you DO want? Get clear on THAT list, and then go find your team!

And if you liked this…forward it, retweet it, repost it…share it!