spriritual life coach

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!

When I grow up…

“what do I want to be when I grow up?”

I don’t know about you but I wanted to be one of “Charlie’s Angels” and definitely a part of the Jackson Five.

Obviously, neither of those things happened (…yet). So now we flash forward into being grown ups and for some of us, this question is still left unanswered. But, in my opinion, we’re asking the wrong question. The problem with focussing on what we want to “be” is that it stops us from acknowledging that what we really want is to FEEL a certain way. How will you FEEL when you achieve your goals? Why do you want what you want?

So the real question we should be asking ourselves is, “who do I want to grow into in this lifetime?” The truth is, a quality life is less about our achievements and more about our personal growth as we navigate our road to success.

Ask any successful person about how they felt when they achieved their goals. They will tell you that yes, achieving their success felt great! But they will also likely say, they were just as happy while working towards and striving for their goals. I’ve seen this time and time again with artists, entrepreneurs, and business people. They work hard and enjoy their success, yes. But then, they are soon setting a new goal to challenge themselves once again. Because successful people actually enjoy the process as much as they enjoy the results.

So, what are your goals these days and more importantly, who will you become as you work to achieve them?

Think about a goal you are passionate about…

What would your life look like on the road to that success? Who would you meet and how? Who would you have to seek out and recruit? Who would help you and how would you ask for that help? What would you have to learn? From whom? How would you get paid and who would you have the pleasure of paying, once the money started rolling in? What would you have the pleasure of buying for yourself and others?

What would your breakthroughs say about you?

Do you see a pattern emerging? Your answers to the above questions will steer you more clearly in the direction of how you want to live your life. Armed with this level of clarity, you have a clear roadmap as to how you want to feel on a daily basis. Meaning, you can feel that way NOW rather than waiting until you achieve your goals!

For example, I met a guy in Vancouver who was a ticket agent for Delta airlines. Probably not the most fun job in the world when you think of how many angry travelers you’d have to deal on a daily basis.

On this particular day, I had just taken a seat in the waiting area when he came on the speaker system to say “Hello my waiting passengers! I know you are admiring the beauty of the Vancouver International Airport so I have good news! You get to enjoy another 20 minutes of it! We will now be boarding at 2:45.”

All of us passengers looked at each other and laughed. (How often do you laugh at airports?!?)

Then, when boarding was to begin, he introduced himself as “Greg, your master of ceremonies…and these two ladies (gesturing to his co-workers) are my mistresses of ceremonies. Please have your passport ready when boarding.” Again, more laughter from all of us.

Our master of ceremonies then said “children and passengers needing assistance could board the plane.” At that point, a bunch of first class passengers jumped up and got in the line. He stared at them for a second, then, over the microphone asked, “are you all jumping into line because you behave like children and therefore need assistance?”

We all are laughing at this point. Even the obnoxious first class people laughed and even apologized.

It doesn’t end there! Once we were all on the plane and waiting to push back from the gate…Here comes Greg again over the loudspeaker. This time, he told us a funny rhyme, wished us all a safe journey, and said goodbye. To which we all responded…”Bye Greg!” (Have you ever remembered the name of the ticket agent you passed when boarding a plane?!)

This guy was clearly not waiting to achieve his goals before he started sharing what he was passionate about. Obviously he is a comedian or an actor or a comedy writer…But, he’s not waiting until he sells his script to hear people laugh at his jokes. Nope, he’s turned his day job into yet another area to share his humor. (And, when Delta sent me their survey on my experience, you can imagine who I mentioned as an outstanding employee!)

So, how can you approach your goals with this kind of passion? How can you enjoy the ups and downs along the way?

DO NOT WAIT until you achieve your goals to be who you want to be. Start to view your daily life as an opportunity to be your best self possible…start today…start now.

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How Being Self Critical actually Sabotages Your Good Intentions

Many of us are overly critical of ourselves. Some of us are hypervigilant about what we ‘should’ and ‘should not’ do to the point that any deviation from our plan is seen as a total failure. It’s an all or nothing stance to achieving our goals and it actually works against our odds of success. (if you are a self proclaimed slacker, than this doesn’t apply to you!)

A good example of this issue is the dieter who slips up. Maybe she has vowed to cut out sugar and then eats one of the cookies a co-worker brought into the office. Rather than letting it go and going back to her commitment, she proceeds to beat herself up with abusive self talk and by the end of the day is eating an entire cake by herself.

Her self criticism actually signaled the “what the hell” response. “What the hell, I’ve blown my diet. I might as well enjoy myself and eat whatever I want.” Sound familiar?

Science has actually studied this behavior and proven that the more critical you are of yourself, the more likely you are to fail at the very thing you are bullying yourself into doing. Instead of course correcting, you actually go further off the rails. In other words, if you want to spend less but berate yourself when the credit card bills arrive, you are more likely to go out and spend more money. If you are determined to cut back on sugar, but slip up with a piece of candy, you are more likely to eat more sugar for the rest of the day. If you have promised to keep in touch more regularly and notice you have fallen short of that promise, if you beat yourself up about it, you are more likely to isolate yourself further in response to your inner critic.

Bullying and tyranny never create the positive outcomes we want. And the worse the self criticism is, the more likely we will fail.

How do you get back on track?

Self supportive inner talk. This approach actually does make us more likely to succeed. Again, there is science to back this up. Being self compassionate when you slip up actually helps ignite your “will power instinct” which we all have. It’s hardwired into our brains. We all worked at eating, walking, speaking, etc until we succeeded. We needed to succeed at these things for our survival. I have several Pilates clients who have severe genetic abnormalities that make walking a true challenge. But, they have found their way of walking so they can get from point A to point B. They didn’t give up. We all have a primal instinct to survive.

So how do we “trigger” this instinct when we are faced with the temptation to throw in the towel and say “what the heck?” By learning and practicing self compassionate support.

What would you say to a friend who blew their diet? “You are a total failure and are destined to be fat for the rest of your life!” are not likely the words you would use! You’d probably say something like, “let it go, move on…we all have bad days. Just start again.” No doubt, you would be supportive.

For those of us who have lived with our self judging self talk for many years, we will find this approach to our mistakes rather strange. It might even cause anxiety for some of us. Journalling can be a very helpful tool to help with this. Write out all your judgments, criticisms, and self shaming words. Then, imagine being a supportive friend to yourself. Write out those supportive responses. For example: “I blew it again! I’m a total failure!” can be responded to by saying, “Welcome to the human race!…we all make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world just start again.” Also, take the time to really look at those harsh words you used on yourself. Would you EVER say those things to another person? No. The truth is, your inner thoughts are skewed and you need to retrain your brain to support you properly.

If you really want to create those changes and achieve your goals, you have to learn to manage your self talk. Because if you punish yourself harshly when slipping up, you are setting yourself up to fail. Period.

Start keeping a journal. When you can, write down what that voice is saying to you in your head. Then, rewrite it in the voice and with the words of a supportive friend. Notice how you are able to “bounce back” from the slip ups when you are feeling safe and supported. Stick with this. The more you do this with the harsh thoughts, the easier it gets to then turn them into supportive thoughts.

If you need help with your inner critic, get in touch and we’ll tackle it together.

WHY do you want what you want?

“CHANGE IS NEVER A MATTER OF ABILITY. IT IS ALWAYS A MATTER OF MOTIVATION”-Tony Robbins

So, here we are at the brink of a new beginning. We are inundated with messages of resolutions and self improvement. Many of us follow along and set some goals and then look back at them in frustration when, after a few months have gone by, we notice we have done little to achieve them.

Well, I encourage you to try a new approach.

Why do you want those goals in the first place?

That’s the most important question you can ask yourself when you are goal setting or looking to change something be it a bad habit, a relationship, your career…”why?”. Why do you want it to be different?

Here’s the trap…a lot of us will answer with “because I don’t want to feel ___ anymore”. In most cases, that answer pretty much insures that the change you want won’t happen.

Our brains are hard wired to “go towards things”. Particularly, things that make us feel GOOD. That’s pretty obvious, I know. But if you want to change something, you have to focus on how you WANT to feel when you have achieved that change. Not on how you don’t want to feel.

For example:

I want to lose weight.
Why?
“Because I hate the way my body feels in my clothes”…is the trap.
Instead maybe you can answer:
“Because I want to feel fabulous and confident in my clothes, I want to have more energy”…etc

Another example:

I want to earn more money
Why?
“Because I’m sick of living paycheck to paycheck”…is the trap.
Instead, maybe you answer:
“Because I want to take a vacation, get my car cleaned, go out with my friends”…etc

Another example:

I want to get a better job.
Why?
“Because my boss is an asshole and my life is being flushed down the toilet”…you can clearly see the trap there!
Another answer?
“I want to tap into my natural talents at work, I want my work to be fulfilling and soul affirming”…etc

You get the point. You have to phrase your desires in “moving towards” language. And then, focus on THAT rather than focusing on what you DON’T want to feel. Focussing on what you WANT moves you forward and brings you closer to actually getting it.

It also elicits the energy required to receive that which you want. This is not new age “woo hoo”, it’s basic physics. Low vibrational energy attracts low vibrational energy. And, high vibrational energy attracts high vibrational energy. So, focusing on what’s wrong, what’s not working…low energy thoughts…will attract more of that energy. The same is true for higher energy thoughts. Thoughts of enthusiasm, gratitude, and vitality attract more of those high energy vibrations. The old saying “ What you focus on, expands” is not self help jargon. It’s a law of physics.

And if I was breaking a habit or embarking on a new career, I’d be harnessing all the high energy I could! I’d want the law of physics on MY side.

By reframing your goals from “moving away from” (low energy) to “moving towards goals” (high energy), you can effectively get the energetic world on your side. Which leads to: better results more efficiently and with greater ease.

If you want support as you go for your New Year’s resolutions and goals, get in touch and we’ll get to work on them together.

How the Economic rule of 80% vs 20% can be applied to Your entire life

How the 80% vs 20% rule can be applied to action:

According to time management guru ‘Brian Tracy’, (and economist ‘Vilfredo Pareto’, who was researching time management back in the late 1800’s), 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. 20% of your customers will account for 80% of your sales. 20% of your products will account for 80% of your profit.

This means your actions matter. If 20% or your actions create 80% of your achievement, then those actions are more valuable and more necessary to pinpoint to help you succeed.

Your to-do list just got very important…if you have 10 items on the list, just 2 of those items will yield the greatest returns. What are the highest valued actions you can take to achieve your goal? Let’s say you are studying for a big test or finishing a big project. Is tidying your desk going to bring you as much success as ignoring the clutter and getting an extra hour of work done? No…the clutter can wait.

Start to get curious about what you actually accomplish every day. How much time are you wasting looking through junk mail? How many times a day do you check your email? If you cut back to checking it only twice a day, how much time would that free up for you to be more productive? If you’re responding to emails, which ones will give you an 80% return for your time? Bottom line…if it’s not a high value action, it can wait.

80/20 applied to obstacles.

You can apply this to self sabotage as well.

Here is an interesting statistic…only 20% of what’s holding you back is out of your control. That means, 80% of what’s not working, is IN YOUR CONTROL.

This is true for companies as well as individuals. The majority of your obstacles are internal. If you owned a coffee shop, for example, there are many areas you could look at to improve your revenue. Maybe the employee turnover is high thus costing you time and money to train new people. Your accountant might be off on their numbers or maybe your marketing campaign isn’t hitting your target customer. These are internal issues that you can improve upon.

This is the same for artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone tying to achieve a big goal. You control 80% of your obstacles.

Do you procrastinate? Do you skip running spell check when emailing potential clients? Do you waste time on Facebook when you should be revamping your resume? Do you fail to follow up? Are you chronically late?

Start to look at your behavior from more of a business perspective…where are the internal weakest links? Where are YOU holding YOU back? If you aren’t clearly able to see the ways you get in your own way, look at your past. Look at your previous let downs. What were the mistakes that YOU were responsible for? Where, why, and how did you drop the ball?

This is not a self shaming expedition. This is a close examination of where you can improve and ultimately experience more success. Ask any successful business owner, they will tell you that their struggles and their own mistakes showed them more about themselves than they ever knew before. Self examination is a necessary practice if you want to achieve your goals. Period.

So again, take a look at your to-do list…what are the highest valued actions? Maybe you can cut that list down to a few ‘mega’ tasks…What actions can you take today that if completed, will give you the biggest bang for your buck?

And then look at what internal obstacles need to be addressed. Where can you step up your game and why aren’t you already doing it? Where are you holding yourself back?

Get curious and specific. And then, go for it!
(Often our various forms of self sabotage can be hard to spot and even harder to overcome. This is where having a coach can be the smartest investment you can make when tackling a big challenge. I work with people on these issues all the time. And the actions I have them take towards conquering their obstacles, always produce 80% of their ultimate success. If this sounds good to you, get in touch and we’ll get to work!)