Is Fear Stopping You From Going For The Gold?

Over the last few weeks, when I’ve been in line at the store or just picking up my daughter from school, it’s been hard to avoid hearing people comment on the latest catastrophe that should have us all distraught. Some people seem to focus on the media’s forecast of doom and gloom geared at making the public fearful and outraged. The problem with this is that it’s very difficult for us to move toward what we want in our lives if we refuse to let go of what doesn’t work because we’re afraid and have too little faith. Edmund Burke put it this way, “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”

This reminds me of when I was a kid and learning how to swim. The Instructor told us to hold onto the edge of the pool with our hands and then to kick our feet in the water. This was an exhilarating experience and I looked forward to cruising around the pool with the agility of an Olympic champion. The only thing stopping me from realizing my fantasy was letting go of the wall. That’s because, I’d seen other children let go and then start to panic. They hadn’t listened to the Instructor’s directions and began to flail around gasping for air and then swallowing water, which of course made things that much worse. I wanted to swim, but I was afraid to let go of the wall. My fear of what might happen stopped me from going for the gold that day. Thankfully, as the summer progressed I felt more comfortable in the water and my trust in my Instructor grew. I knew that if something were to go wrong, that she was there to help me; I wasn’t alone. It works that way in life too. Many times we are so busy looking at the setbacks others are experiencing that we don’t realize that we have taken our focus away from our own objectives and our unique purpose. We have forgotten that we are not alone in our efforts. If we follow the instructions we have been given and trust that The Creator is there to help us, then we can “Go for the Gold” without fear and excess hesitation!

This week, I ask that you identify one area in which fear is preventing you from letting go of the wall. What truly scares you about this thing? Write down what you’ve acknowledged. I challenge you to then list at least 3-5 approaches you can take to work around, over or under this area. It’s time to stop letting fear cause us to focus on what we don’t want and start having faith in the possibilities that lie ahead for us. Go for the Gold!

Upgrade You

Do you still use a rotary phone, or have a Beta VCR and a black & white TV in your family room? Are you still wearing sky high bangs and Jordache jeans? Most likely the answer is NO! When it comes to fashion and electronics most of us make it a priority to upgrade to the best that we can afford. My cell phone company offers a discount on cell phones after you’ve had your phone for 2 years so customers can take advantage of the latest technology and gadgets. Why is this appealing to me and many others? We want to make sure that what we are using is the fastest, most user-friendly, most reliable, most attractive thing available. That leads me to wonder, why we don’t have the same desires for ourselves.

We need to regularly upgrade the operating system in our computers to receive the highest level of performance from them. Likewise, it is imperative that we improve the operating system that is our mind in order to benefit from the highest level of performance. To put it plainly, we need to upgrade our mindsets! What worked well there and then, may no longer work here and now. I often saw examples of this concept in the workplace. We had a practice of manually running several reports on a weekly basis. This process was very time consuming and full of opportunities for human error. Then, some of our systems and programs were updated, and therefore had the ability to automatically generate the reports. But, despite this advancement, employees continued to manually generate these reports. When asked why they continued to do it that way, they responded “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” What area in your mindset needs to be upgraded?

I attended a workshop with Jack Canfield this weekend that focused on success principles. During the workshop, he did a demonstration to show how much control our thoughts, a.k.a. self-talk, have over our physical reality. Jack had a volunteer hold his arm straight out, so that it made a 90 degree angle from his body. Then he pushed on the volunteer’s arm to see the baseline level of resistance, which was very strong, so the arm was hard to push down. Then Jack told him to think of something that made him feel bad, thoughts like “That was a stupid thing to do. No wonder you didn’t get that promotion.” Then, he tried to push down on the arm again. This time his arm went down easily when it was pushed. Next, Jack repeated the process except with a positive thought about a success that made him feel good. The arm went back to being strong and difficult to push down. The purpose of me sharing this with you is to demonstrate the enormous power that our thoughts (self-talk), have on every aspect of our lives, even down to our physical state.

Now that we know the significance of focusing on the positive and not the negative, focusing on the solution and not the problem, what are we supposed to do about it? One thing we can do is to be very clear on what we want in our lives, careers, relationships, finances, etc. Then, we should keep those thoughts in the forefront of our minds. Another critical component is to surround yourself with people, ideas and things that empower and uplift you. This helps you to stay in a place of generating solutions and attracting opportunities. The problem with allowing pessimistic people into your inner circle is that negative people focus on the negative things. Before you know it they are spewing their unconstructive thoughts on you, so that you can carry them around. Please remember that like attracts like. What do you want to attract into your life? Peace and Joy, or Hurt and Anger?

At times, I have found myself feeling stale and stagnant. Those were the moments when I took my focus off of what I wanted for myself and was only looking at the things that were not going according to plan. In those moments, I’ve realized that something’s gotta give, or else! That’s the time for an upgrade, so I immerse myself in resources and environments that assist me with the necessary changes. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could subscribe to a plan that let us know we were eligible for a “New in 2” for our mindsets?

If you know that it’s time for you to upgrade your mindset, here is my challenge to you. Write down ALL of the negative thoughts (negative self-talk) you have in a given day. For example, “They won’t give me the raise I deserve; that’s why I’ll never get out of debt. Everyone in my family is big, that’s why I can’t lose this weight. All men are _________. I know they’re going to lay me off next. Etc, etc etc.”

  • Create a list of how it’s benefiting you to hold onto these thoughts. (I know it sounds odd that something so terrible could be beneficial at all. But, we only do things that serve us on some level.) For example:

­ I get to blame my problems on other people/circumstances.

­ I don’t have to commit to changing things.

­ I get to sing the blues with my friends, so we have a reason to bond.

  • Write down a list of how you would be benefited by releasing these thoughts. For instance:

­ I can take control over my environment.

­ I will be able to look for the solutions, rather than dwell on the problems.

If you’d like to share what you discovered, I’d love to hear from you! I’m here to help.

3 Steps to Creating Momentum

During 2009, God willing, I will participate in a few 5K and 10K runs. Of course to successfully do this it takes training, especially since I’m competitive and want to finish with a great time. Unfortunately, I’m experiencing the effects of not building sufficient momentum in my race training. Perhaps you can relate to this dilemma with some of your own goals for 2009. So I decided to highlight three of the essential elements needed to build and maintain momentum.

1. State your vision

  • It has been written that “A people without a vision will perish.” It’s so very necessary to have a big picture of what you want your life to be. It needs to be written, not just residing in your head. Otherwise you’re just hoping to have enough strength to make it from one day to the next. I’ve been there and done that. It’s not a nice place to visit, and you definitely wouldn’t want to live there.
  • Create a visual image of your dreams. Doing this, along with the written description will help it to reside in both the left and right sides of your brain.
  • Your vision will sustain you and redirect your energies when the going gets tough.

2. Create your goal

  • Be a specific as possible. What will it look like? How will it feel when you have attained your goal? If you’re not clear on these things, how will you be sure if and when you have achieved your goal?
  • Develop a plan of action. So many people stop at the creation of the goal and end up in what I call “Resolution Land” which is just around the corner from “Someday Isle.” You may know people that live there. They say things like “Someday I’ll clean out that closet. Someday I’ll start the fitness program my doctor suggested.”
  • Keep it visible; don’t let it fall off the radar. Remember out of sight out of mind!

3. Join a Mastermind group (or Hire a Coach!)

  • This generates energy and action-oriented thought
  • It also creates accountability, which is always helpful. You have a group of people to inform whether or not you followed through on your commitments. Nothing produces action like being held accountable by people you respect.
  • You also get the perspective of others, to increase your awareness of some areas that may be blind spots for you. This has been enormously helpful for me as I work with my Coach.

Often the most energy and effort are required on the start up of any worthwhile endeavor. I’m continuing to gear up for my next race (wish me luck)! While I do so, I will keep in mind these 3 steps to creating momentum: State your vision, Create your goal, and Join a Mastermind group (or Hire a Coach!).

Do you remember Newton’s first law of motion? It says, an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. In the most important areas of your life, are you at rest or are you in motion? Is your motion going in the direction you desire? If you don’t like your answers to these questions, what will you DO about it? That is my challenge for you today. Remember that I’m here to help!

A Mother’s Hope!

Mother’s Day holiday is coming up this Sunday and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I would address this day in my newsletter. Traditionally during this day we honor our mothers and mother-figures (anyone that did not give birth to us, but still treats us like one of her own children) for the love, guidance and compassion they give us, as well as for the many sacrifices they make on our behalves throughout their lives. This year, in addition to reflecting on the role that my own mother has played in my life, I’m also pondering the legacy that I’m leaving with my daughter, Maryam.

I’m sure that she will come home this Friday with a beautiful and priceless hand-crafted work of art that she made in school. And, of course I will cherish this precious symbol of her love for me as I cherish all of her thoughtful gifts. But, whatever the Mother’s Day gift this year will be, that is not the most important thing she’ll give me. The most significant gift she gives me is the sense of hope that she carries with her everywhere she goes.

Now that I’ve been a mom for nearly a decade I know what huge dreams mommy’s have for their babies. I can still remember looking down on my daughter’s perfect, angelic little newborn face and feeling so full of love and awe that I could burst! Accompanying that love was a hope so fierce that I couldn’t contain it. My hope for my daughter was then and still is today that she worship the Lord God above all else; and, that she allow her life to be a shining light that acts as a beacon of hope, strength and service for both herself and for others.

Since I have this newly found perspective, I can be an even better daughter to my own mom as I know that what she wants for me is the same simple thing I want for my child. That I keep the torch of hope burning strong and steady. For I know that this hope is the legacy that has been passed down for countless generations of mothers. And, I intend to honor that legacy by allowing that hope to give birth to a powerful and lasting outcome. That powerful outcome is me knowing and pursuing my life’s purpose without fail.

Indeed we must be true to ourselves by living our lives as we choose and honoring the differences that exist between our mom’s and us. As we do this, we exist in a place of authenticity that also honors our moms. I believe the best gift we can give our mothers is to live purposeful, powerful lives. In our daily lives we give back to our mom’s when we honor our Creator and respect our fellow human kind with mercy and patience. We give our mom’s a present when we honor ourselves and remain in integrity. We give our mommy’s a priceless memento when we cherish the precious gift of life that she labored so diligently to bring to us. That means going about our days remembering that we are still someone’s baby and that makes us unbelievably special! Are you reflecting that awareness in your day-to-day life? Too often as we get older, we tolerate circumstances for ourselves that we would NEVER want our children to endure. Remember that you’re still someone’s child, whether your parents are living or not, and they want the best for you just as you do for your kids.

My challenge to you today is to ask yourself if you are truly honoring your mother’s or mother-figure’s hopes for you in how you are living your life. If your answer is “yes”, then wonderful! But, if you must respond with a “no”, then what will you do to change that, starting today?

Are You Killing Your Possibilities of Success?

Of course, you would not intentionally choose to kill your possibilities of success. But, if you are not aware of certain critical things, then it’s very likely that you are sabotaging your own efforts at achieving success on your terms. Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What is she talking about?” Let me make it clearer.

I’m referring to your environments; your home, car, office, family, colleagues, friends, books, music, finances, clothes, computer, spiritual practices and even your body create your environments. In order to identify what success looks like for you and then to achieve that success on your terms, you must make sure that your environments support your goals. You can read or listen to all the inspirational and motivational items you can get your hands on. But, if your environments are filled with obstacles or you are lacking the support and resources you need, you are setting yourself up for major disappointment.

That’s why it is essential to design the “world” around you to inspire continuous excellence. So many people like to criticize when someone who grew up in a disadvantaged background becomes financially successful, and then moves into a wonderful new space. Often, this move is because the new environment is more in line with who this person is now, as well as where she is going in her life. Consider the idea that your current environments are a reflection of who you were in the past. That’s perfectly normal. However, if you would like your present or future to be different than your past, then you may want to try making that change “from the outside in” by changing your surroundings.

I love to watch make-over shows like What Not to Wear and Clean House. During these types of shows, the guests get help in identifying the aspects of their wardrobe, home, etc that are no longer serving them. Many times they come to realize during the process that not only are these things not serving them, but they are also hindering them from moving forward in their lives, in the areas that are the most important to them. On these shows the process of making changes and acquiring new practices is frequently difficult, and sometimes painful. But, once the changes have been made, almost all of the guests I’ve seen acknowledge that they are now better equipped to live a happier and more fulfilling life. This is one reason that getting a make-over can make such a difference in a person’s life, despite the fact that the changes may appear to be merely superficial.

Let’s recap; your environments include your home, car, office, family, colleagues, friends, books, music, finances, clothes, computer, spiritual practices, your body and more. I challenge you to review each of these areas and decide if the way they exist right now is supporting your current goals and moving you closer to achieving them or if they are silently killing your possibilities of success. Start with one area and create a plan to re-design your environments one by one. You will be amazed at the residual impact this can have.

Universal Possibilities LLC is in the Building!!!

I’m so excited that my blog is finally active! I look forward to having The Starting Over Coach Blog be a source of inspiration, information, motivation, accountability and much MORE! I like to keep things fun & purposeful, and I’m so honored that you decided to spend some time here with me.

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