spiritual life coach

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

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!  

 

Clearing the Slate for 2019

A Clean Slate

This is a follow up to my previous newsletter… ‘Creating Space’. 

This idea of cleaning our slate is one that I usually suggest doing later in the year.  But I have found that starting this process in October is more effective for both myself and my clients.  

The idea is to go into the New Year owning everything on your to-do list.  As well as owning your bigger goals that you may or may not include for the new year.

When I say “owning” your to-do lists and goals, I mean…taking full responsibility for what you are putting your energy behind.

If you thought of energy as currency…hard earned cash…what would you invest it in?  Because you get to decide how, where, and what you will invest your energy in.

So this process begins with writing down (not in your head) everything you have to do.  Your ‘ultimate to-do list’, so to speak.  This includes bills, work assignments, agreements with others, your personal goals, appointments, holiday gifts…everything.  I like to give myself at least 3 days to make up this list.  Little things pop into my head when I’m driving or in the shower so I keep adding to my list as these things come up.  So, for the next few days, jot things down as they come to you and do not discriminate.  Big or small, put them all on paper.

When you think your list is finally complete, set aside a few uninterrupted hours to actually study at your list.

Circle the doable items that will give you a great sense of relief knowing that they are finally DONE.  In other words, by actually completing these things, you will be entering the New Year “mentally” clutter free as well as opening up the time to start new things.  

Then, cross off or politely bow out of the things you agreed to do for other people that no longer serve you..  These are things that simply won’t get done or will hold you back from the more important tasks on your list.  Again, politely bow out of what you had initially agreed to doing ideally in the next 24 hours.

Then, look at the “big goals” that you did not accomplish.  

Because, to truly clear the slate, you may choose to eliminate some goals all together.

So look at the goals that are currently not happening.

Why didn’t you accomplish them?  Is it possible that they no longer serve you?  Sometimes letting something go is more empowering than hanging onto it for dear life.  Goals and dreams actually do have expiration dates.  Put on your truth lenses and ask yourself if this is still worthy of your time and effort.  Ask yourself why you set this goal in the first place and more importantly, do you still feel the same way about it now?  This step of letting go may feel painful or sad, but there is great power in being honest with yourself.  Honoring where you are NOW will ultimately help you to make better decisions as to where you want to go in the future.               

How do you know if it’s time to let it go?  

Is it taking too long?  Is the pain outweighing the joy?  Are you getting nowhere?   Are you hanging onto it because you are afraid of what other people will say if you decide to “give up” on it?  Is there something else nagging away at you?  Could you actually try something different or new and still fulfill the desire that the original goal was meant to achieve?

Sit with this awhile.  These are not easy questions to ask…even harder to answer with honesty and self compassion.  But they are worth asking and answering.  

You may decide to let it go.  You may shed a tear or two. But then, you can allow yourself to open up to other possibilities you were too preoccupied to see.

Or, you may decide, “Absolutely NO!  I’m not letting it go.”  And in that realization you will discover more clarity as to WHY you must keep this on your list of goals and desires.

The point is to be honest with yourself.  And compassionate.

Now…what can you do before the end of this year to both clear your to-do list and move your goals forward?

Write out a new list of what will be done THIS year.  Schedule when and where in your calendar and start taking action today.  I suggest setting an aggressive course of action now which will allow you to have more time to enjoy the holidays when they arrive.

The idea is to start 2019 with a CLEAN SLATE.  Not a slate with stale leftovers from last year.  Ideally the only goals being invited into the New Year are your passion projects that you have revisited and have even more clarity on.  All the other stuff should be completed or at the very least, completed as much a possible before the New Year begins.

So…write it ALL out.  Decide what shall be done, what shall be let go of for good, and what shall be reinforced and invited into the New Year.

And, stay tuned.  I have a “Getting Our Shit Done” challenge coming up in the next few weeks.  I suggest you get a jump on it and start clearing your slate now!

Go getter’ done!

And if you want some extra “kick butt mojo”, get in touch and we’ll tackle it together.

 

Who’s REALLY in Charge?

…Your “Master” emotions.

Master emotions: knowing how you want to feel can literally change your life

 

We all have vast emotional lives with desires for specific experiences. Some of us value freedom and adventure whereas some of us prefer to feel content and safe. Which means the more we hone in on what makes us tick, the more likely we are to succeed regardless of the goals we set.

I wrote about this process before in terms of figuring out your soul’s desires. Today, let’s use the same exercise but this time, lets dig below those desires to see what’s really driving us. Because when we are at our happiest, it’s because we are feeling something specific…something that personally turns us on. And those specific feelings, are running the show.

Let’s get right to it!

Take out a piece of paper or open a fresh page in your journal.

Step one.

Don’t think…just write: your favorite memories from the last year or so. This can include trips, jobs, relationships, tv shows, parties, classes, etc. All the highlights. Without overthinking it, just write down the times you were full of life and happiness.

Step two.

How did those memories 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.

You will likely see a few feelings repeated over and over again. That’s fine…just write it all down.

Step 3.

List the top 5 or 6 feelings without worrying about being exact. One of my master feelings is ‘creative expression’ which isn’t really a feeling. But, when I’m engaged in a creative task, I’m feeling most like “myself”. It’s definitely a master emotion for me so I’ll stick with the phrase “creative expression”. I’m not getting hung up on the words because again…its about FEELING a certain way. So, list your top fave feelings.

Now let’s do a little comparison.

For example, maybe your list of favorite emotions is:
connection
exhilaration
supported
grounded
fluid/flow

Start with the first emotion and compare it to the next one.

What would you rather feel? Connection or exhilaration? Let’s say you answer ‘Connection’.

Move onto the next feeling for comparison.

What would you rather feel? Connection or supported? (These may seem similar but there IS a difference…you can feel supported without feeling connection and visa versa). Maybe you answer ‘supported’. That means you favor feeling supported over connection. So now you compare the next feeling to your desire to feel supported.

Again, what would you rather feel? Supported or free?

Keep comparing until you can easily see that you have 2 top emotions that outrank them all…these are your ‘master emotions’.

How does this help with goal setting? By creating opportunities to feel these master emotions while going for your goals. (And this may also shine a light on some goals that you’ve set that don’t actually serve you after all.)

Using my master emotions as an example: connection to spirit and creative expression…let’s see how I can incorporate these emotions into any goals.

Let’s say my goal is to lose weight. How can I feel my master emotions while I approach this goal? Maybe that means taking a ‘mindful eating class’ or exercising outside in nature. Can I be ‘creative’ in the kitchen and learn how to cook healthy foods that taste good? (And changing how we eat is by far one of the toughest things to do…having our master emotions front and center gives us the edge to overcome our resistance.)

If my goal is to shoot a short film, how can I incorporate my master emotions into the actions that I will have to take? For many of us, sitting down to write something like a short film (or a newsletter!) can be the toughest thing to do. But, if we can actually incorporate our master emotions into sitting down to write, we are more likely to actually follow through. For me? I’m definitely feeling creative when I write. But also, I try to write from the heart so I can still feel connected to my truth (connection to spirit) while talking about something heady like goal setting.

What if your goal is to go to Australia? Well…you will likely have to make some money! Brainstorm all the ways you can you bring your master emotions to your day job.

Use this tool for all of the goals on your list. If you can figure out how to utilize your master emotions, you will not only be more likely to succeed…but you will enjoy the process as well.

If this feels overwhelming, get in touch and we’ll go through this process together and get your year off to a powerful start.

And, remember to repost, retweet, and forward this to your friends.

 

 

What is your social media feed saying about you?

What are you putting out in the world?

I’ve said previously that although you may have no control over a situation, you do have 100% control over your response. How you react to whatever is happening is totally in your control.

And, is your responsibility.

Everything we do is either contributing to joy or adding to suffering. Everything. And how you show up to your work, your relationships, your art, and even your yoga classes, has an effect on the energy of others. You always have the option to add to the joy in this world…it’s a choice.

And never has that been more important than now.

Social media can be absolutely inspiring and thought provoking. I’ve read posts that were so heartfelt I’ve cried real tears for a person I didn’t even know.

And some of the most hideous and hateful things I’ve ever read have been on social media too.

Remember, social media never goes away. So my suggestion is to not just manage what you post…curate it as if it was a display of who you are. Because in many ways, what your Facebook page says about you, matters. Your Instagram feed is constantly putting out energy from the pictures you post. And others can see what you pin on Pintrest so even if you think you’re just screwing around on the internet, people are watching you. Remember, employers actually look at the Facebook pages of potential employees before hiring them. (thank God there was no internet when I was a kid!!!)

I’m not for a second suggesting that everything be cherry blossoms and fairy dust. But sincere comments add more depth to communications than attack tweets. We can be disturbed by the injustices of the world without shutting down the other side with a shaming post. Social media has the power to create positive change if we bring our humanity to it rather then our knee jerk reactions. And although bringing our truth to the world might be scary, our bravery and honesty will have a greater impact on more people.

So how can you avoid lashing out when you see something disturbing and unacceptable? Stop. Take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself if you can at all relate or at least be compassionate about what this person has said or done. Then choose your language wisely. Avoid adding more fuel to the fire…and that might very well mean saying nothing at this time. If you’re really fired up, sleep on it. We always see things more clearly once we put a little space between us and the problem.

This is what taking responsibility for ourselves really means: Choosing the energy we are putting out into the world. You have the capacity to add to the sum total of joy in every moment of the day. You also have the power to increase the level of anger and hate in the world. How you REACT is YOUR responsibility. So, think before you tweet. Take a deep breath and reread what you are about to post. Are you being true to who you are or shaming someone for their opinion? What exactly are you contributing if you press “post”?

You always have a choice…especially on social media.

 

 

Cause > Effect Living on the Cause side of the the Equation

 

Life will throw curve balls at you. You will have obstacles to overcome and things will not always go as planned.

Car accidents, illnesses, lay offs, earthquakes… a lot of what happens to us is out of our control.

This is true for all of us including when we are going for our goals. Things will crop up that will threaten to sabotage our outcomes. Those are the effects of life.

But it’s a choice as to whether we allow those effects to rule us.

Thus the equation Cause > Effect.

The amount of cause in our lives should be greater than the effects. But unfortunately, most people live the opposite way around. They allow the effects to rule their lives resulting in added stress, anxiety, and depression.

The truth is, you always have a choice. Although your circumstances may be out of your control, you can choose how you approach the situation. You can’t control the weather but you can control how you’ll navigate the storm. You can’t control traffic (is that not true, my fellow Los Angelenos???) but you can control what you listen to while in traffic. (Recently someone shared that by simply switching to audio books instead of the radio, she has reduced her stress noticeably.) You can’t control the marketing campaigns that tempt you to pull into the drive-through. But you can plan ahead and pack a lunch.

How do you know if you are living on the effect side of the equation? Check out your “buts”. People living at cause don’t make excuses. And excuses almost always start with “but…”.

“But what if it doesn’t work out?”
“But what if I’m not good enough?”
“But what if I fail?”
“But I’ve never done it before?”
“But what if I’m too old/too young/ too whatever…fill in the blank?”

People living on the cause side of life don’t allow their “buts” to get in their way. Likely they have replaced those excuses with questions such as…

“Who do I know who can help me with this?”
“What do I need to learn about this?”
“What can I do right now to improve this situation?”

I’m a huge fan of the statement, “I’ll figure it out”. That ends the bullshit excuses of why I can’t get something done. “I’ll figure it out” leads to more resourceful thinking and triggers the trouble shooting part of my brain.

It’s time to see how much of our lives we are actually taking responsibility for, and what we are making excuses for. You can journal about this…you know your top 20 ‘reasons’ for not taking action by heart already. Write them out and question those buts…are they really just excuses? You can also take a few minutes a day and just observe your inner critic… and notice how often the ‘but’ word is used.

And at the risk of being preachy…our planet needs ‘all hands on deck’ at this point. Every one of us must be living with “cause” because our global community is drowning in the effects of our actions. We simply don’t have time for excuses anymore.

If you want support with this, get in touch. And please, retweet, repost, and forward this to your friends.

“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!

The Truth about Excuses

The Truth About Excuses…that four letter word that stops us every time:

We all do it. We use that four letter word “can’t” to avoid doing things for numerous reasons.

“I can’t get to the gym today because it’s too late.” “I can’t go to that networking event because I’m too tired.” I can’t sit down and write the next chapter because I have to call my mom”. “I can’t meditate every day because I don’t have enough time.” “I can’t go to that workshop because I don’t have enough money.”

(By the way, not having enough time or money are our most common reasons for why we can’t stick to our goals.)

But, the problem with buying into these BS stories is that they keep us in victim mode. When you say you “can’t” do something it suggests that you have no control over the situation at all.

Which by the way, is NOT true. Now yes, it’s true you can’t control other people, the economy, or all of your life’s circumstances. But you CAN control your reaction to what’s happening in your life. You have control over your attitude and responses. AND, by making one little shift, you can take back the reins of control once again.

How? Replace I “can’t”, with I “won’t”.

Ouch.

But, saying I “won’t” is more truthful, isn’t it?

It’s not that you don’t have enough time to meditate every day. The truth is, you just don’t “want” to carve out that time from your busy day. Finding the time will take work and require you to sacrifice doing something else.

It’s not that you can’t get to the gym, it’s that you “don’t want” to go to the gym. You don’t want to have to deal with all the effort that it will take, not to mention the potential muscle aches you’ll feel tomorrow.

Because if it’s really important to you, you’ll make the time and find the money to get it done. So, it’s not a matter of “I can’t”. It’s a matter of “I won’t”.

Which is super empowering! Because you are no longer a victim to your circumstances. You are taking responsibility for your actions and you’re either willing to accept your excuses or not. This honesty policy puts you in the driver’s seat.

Here’s a great assignment to bust those lies.

Write down at least 10 of your excuses. This shouldn’t take that long because we all know our excuses by heart. But, stop right now, and actually write them down.

This is not a “See, I AM a loser destined to be a failure” expedition. This is not something to beat yourself up about. This is part of being human and we ALL have tons of excuses that seem like really good reasons for not getting things done. Yes, me too!

So, write out your top 10 excuses.

Next to them, write out why those excuses are total BS.

As I said, time and money are our favorite excuses but rarely are they true. “Where there is a will, there is a way”. Why are those excuses big fat lies? Write it out.

Then, write out what you will DO instead.

For example, let’s say “I can’t get to the gym because I don’t have time” is your fave excuse. You’ve identified that’s a big lie because you do manage to have time to watch Netflix every day! So to revamp the “I don’t have time” excuses, you may:

– set your alarm for earlier in the morning
– gather your gym clothes and have them ready the night before
(I know people who’ve slept in their gym clothes so in the morning they just got up and went to the gym!)
– set a time to meet someone else at the gym (workout buddies work!)
– bring your gym clothes with you in the morning and then go straight from work
– look into classes being offered and schedule them into your week
– check out YouTube for FREE tutorials and classes which eliminates the time needed to even go to the gym
Do you see how there are actually many ways to “create” time by having a plan of attack? Just by having your clothes ready to go ahead of time, saves a lot of time if you are trying to squeeze in a workout before work…

What about the money excuse? “I can’t take that workshop because I don’t have enough money”. Really? Let’s bust that wide open.

you could contact the organization and work out a payment plan
ask the organization if they need volunteers which could help you lower your attendance fee or even eliminate it
you can make your own coffee and/or pack a lunch to save on overpriced meals out
could you pick up a side job?..maybe drive for Uber or create an account on Task Rabbit.
find a neighbor who needs help with babysitting or housekeeping
All of us have too much junk…do you have something you could sell on Ebay or Craig’s list?

Those are just a few ways you can create extra money for something, if you REALLY WANT IT.

Don’t let that four letter word “can’t” get in your way. Swap it out for the truth. “I won’t” and get honest about why you’re stuck. Then take back the reins of control by calling out your excuses and replacing them with concrete actions.

And sometimes this is too much to do on our own. “I can’t ask for help” is another popular excuse. If you need help, ask. Get in touch at brigittadau@yahoo.com and we’ll get to work on this together.

Living with Passion and Tolerating Fear

Fact: Your biggest passions will bring up your biggest fears. Why? Because going for what you’re passionate about raises your emotional commitment level. The bigger the goal, the bigger the challenge. Said another way, the more you ask of life, the more life asks of you.

Now knowing this fact is not a reason to set lame goals! I truly believe that we are all here to do something special and that likely has a lot to do with what we are passionate about. So set big juicy goals!

But then let’s be honest, we need to get comfortable with being…uncomfortable.

Synchronicity seems to be a law of nature. The minute we take the leap, if it’s in alignment with our passions, the universe sends us a hefty dose of happy coincidences. So, we’re jazzed and moving forward and feel somewhat magical as we see the help that comes our way. And then another law of nature pops up: something big comes our way and asks us “Really? Do you really have the guts to do this? How badly do you really want this?”

Maybe you actually get the audition you’ve been fighting for, or an advance for your book proposal, or a loan to open your own shop…that’s great! But now you’ve got to actually follow through. Put your money where you mouth is…and step up to the plate.

Which means for most of us: red hot fear.

People at the top of their game have found a way to get comfortable with being freaked out. And most often, they acknowledge their fears first…BUT THEN THEY TAKE ACTION ANYWAY. They also have something that else that is consistent for them to focus on. So, although dramatic change might be happening in one area of their life, there is something else NOT changing or being challenged at the same time.

For me, it’s exercise. I do a cardio workout every single day, pretty much first thing in the morning. (well, after some coffee!) I also meditate every day. Not always at the same time or even for as long as I may want, but I do it every day.

I also make sure to “create my day” at night before I go to bed. I’ve mentioned this exercise before but it’s worth repeating. Writing out how you want tomorrow to look, before you go to bed, helps your subconscious mind look for ways to make that happen. Also, when something happens that you weren’t anticipating, you have a plan to go back to after you have dealt with whatever challenge came up.

Even if your schedule changes day to day (as mine does) you can create some consistent actions that you take on a daily basis to create a sense of safety for yourself. By doing that, you are less likely to be thrown by your fears when they arise.

Remember, when your fear bells start ringing, first acknowledge your fear. You can even thank it! Your fear is signaling you that the time has come to take big actions on your passions. It’s telling you that you are officially upping your game.

And, keep cultivating some of those non-negotiable actions you already have in your life so you can feel stable in the face of change.

If you need help creating those consistent habits, get in touch (brigittadau@yahoo.com) and we’ll come up with a plan together.

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

How cultivating Happiness leads to Confidence and Success

Shawn Achor of Harvard has spent his life studying happiness and its relevance in corporate America as well as corporations around the world. Countless studies have been done to prove that happy workers not only perform better at their jobs, but actually create more profit for the companies they work for.

But, most of us are not CEO’s of Fortune Five Hundred companies. So how can we use this research in practical ways to improve our own lives? After all, if it works for corporate America, shouldn’t it work for us?

Yes it can! By practicing the same principles they do. According to studies, the minimal amount of happy/confident experiences required to increase the likelihood of success, is 3 new experiences a day. But, these experiences must be specific to our own personal preferences. And these preferences are known as, our ‘signature strengths’.

What does that mean? It means at least 3 times a day, you have to consciously engage in different things that make you feel confident and happy. Some examples: admiring the pretty flowers in someone’s garden, complimenting a co-worker, finding the humor in a situation, being grateful for a good nights sleep, learning something new, reviewing your previous successes… The key is, you have to figure out what makes YOU happy and confident and start looking for opportunities to experience more of those feelings on a daily basis.

So what makes you happy? Humor? Love of learning? Creativity? Gratitude? Curiosity? Sit for a few minutes and remember the times you were genuinely happy. What was going on? What were you doing? Did you find something funny about the situation? Were you engrossed in learning something new? Write down all the activities that contributed to your happiness.

And, when did you feel successful? What were you doing and how did it feel? For example, maybe you got the client because you were super prepared and have a knack for reading the room. Then ‘being prepared’ and ‘great people skills’ should go on your list of signature strengths. (If you want to get scientific about it, go to viasurvey.org and fill out their survey…its fun, fast, and free!)

Some of you still might think that pain and struggle is the only way to success and all this happiness talk is nonsense. Well, just to inspire you even more, here is an interesting experiment done by Margaret Shih at Harvard. She gathered a group of Asian women of the same IQ and administered a math test. But, before the test, she told them that because they were women and generally women are bad at math, she didn’t expect great scores. Not surprisingly, the women scored low. Then, a different test was administered. Only this time she told them that because the were Asian they were expected to do well because Asians are culturally better at math. You guessed it…they scored high!

Another test at Harvard, involving Doctors, proved that Doctors primed with happy feelings before seeing a patient, yielded more accurate diagnosis’ than those Doctors simply going from patient to patient. I don’t know about you, I’d rather have a happy Doctor see me the next time I’m sick!

Science has repeatedly proven that the happier and more confident you feel, the more likely you are to succeed. (and thus Corporate America has jumped on board because success = money!)

So…what if you primed yourself to feel confident before going into your job interview, pitching your project, sitting down to write, or dealing with your children? The key is to remember what makes you happy, and remind yourself of the great skills you already have (rather than what you lack).

So…think back to the times you were most happy. What was going on? What were you doing? What made you feel awesome and confident?

Get your list of 3-5 things that you can do on a daily basis to feel great, and then do them every day. (I have my list posted front and center on my journal so I start every day feeling positive and confident…and what are my signature strengths, you might ask? Gratitude, Spirituality, Humor, Love, and Fairness. So my day starts with a Gratitude list…every day.)

Again, I repeat, practice them DAILY. And more importantly, practice them purposefully and consistently when faced with challenges.

And…share! Pass this on to anyone you know who could use a happiness boost today! And feel free to share your signature strengths with me!