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Archive for August, 2011

As some of you know I’ve been spending part of my summer working with a group of children from Korea who are here for a cultural exchange and to learn and practice their English.  Not a small feat for anyone, let alone a groups whose ages are around 12-14 years!

Part of what I am doing is working with them to hone a speech on a hero of their choosing.  They are pretty invested in this because there is a contest and boy these kids are competitive!  Call it a contest and they are all over it, practicing and working even at break time. 

Love that enthusiasm!

I have noticed something however.  All the same ideas are coming through in terms of what a hero means to each child. It always come back to the same couple of ideas.

A hero

  • tries hard
  • never gives up
  • cares deeply
  • lives from integrity

Want to hear something else really interesting?  Many of them chose a grand historical figure but a few chose a parent and we even have one who chose a teacher.  Still, the stories might be different but the base reasons listed above still come through. 

You know…there is a great lesson to be learned here.  These things matter a great deal. When you exemplify these character traits it not only matters but touches others lives deeply.

Some of us think of heroes as giant figures who complete fantastic tasks like Hercules of mythology. In fact heroes surround us everyday. They inspire us, move us and hold us up.  Sometimes we don’t even take notice of these un-sung heroes and still they make a difference.

Fabulous!

Looking at those traits; who is a hero in your world?

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I have some bad news for some people out there in the world.  I suspect they already kind of know about it though.  Either way, here goes!

A lot of people want to improve their life through finding balance, affirming who they are, creating their purpose and finding their passions.

Unfortunately a lot of people also want to do this quick and easy. They want a magic pill in the form of that one great workshop, the best-selling book or that one deep and insightful guru who can explain it all. 

That’s not going to happen.  There! I said it, the bad news it out!

I bet a few of you are wondering why I keep talking about living from your core values or finding your purpose at this point right?

The thing is my friends, you can do all those things you crave but there is no magic pill.  You have to do the work, put in some effort and sometimes be willing to risk, fail and try again.  Sometimes it’s hard.  And that’s okay.  This is how we learn what really matters.

I always say I ‘try’ to live and make my life choices from my values.  I say ‘try’ because sometimes I falter. I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t from time to time.  How is it possible to have nothing left to learn?  Sometimes making choices based on my truth is scary and to be honest I sometimes get myself in some ‘interesting’ situations.  Hmmm, even precarious!

So why bother right? Why not live the easier way of conformity and quiet acceptance of what society tells me to think and feel?

Let me explain it this way.  If I have a tough situation I have two ways to handle it..kind of like a band-aide that needs to come off.  I can live from my personal values and face the music quick and fast like pulling the band-aide off suddenly.   Or, I can ignore my values and make poor personal choices like when you slowly pull off the band-aide.  In the last way, I prolong the lower level uncomfortable situation; dragging it out unnecessarily causing me a lot more unhappiness and stress.  Or like the quick pull I deal with it, face it and then can be peaceful much quicker. 

The crappy uncomfortable situation still needs to be dealt with. The difference?  When I go to sleep at night I rest easy knowing I have stayed true to myself. 

 Fight it or embrace it life is going to happen anyway.

 

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Last post I had a little rant about people and the BS we put ourselves through. You can check that out here.

One the biggest loads of BS I have seen lately is people trying to tell me they don’t have ‘time’.

No time to:

  • eat healthy diets
  • exercise
  • call friends
  • read a book to learn something new
  • relax and recharge
  • write the book they’ve had burning inside them
  • and so on…

You know what I mean right? All those things we ‘say’ we want to do but then use the excuse that we don’t have time.

I call BS on this.

Yes you do. You are choosing to spend your time on other things. You are using this as an excuse.

If I told you that you can get a free all expenses paid 4-day trip to Disneyland you’d find the time I bet! We make time happen for our favourite TV shows don’t we? We MAKE it happen even if that includes recording it and watching it later…we still ‘find’ the time.

If it is important enough that I hear about it from you repeatedly or that you make goals regarding it then you can find or make the time. And yes, if you are client of mine I WILL call you on this and then help you prove it to yourself. What you DO with that it ultimately up to you of course.

Check out my post on how to think about the choices you make regarding time that I wrote previously to help you understand what I mean about choice.

The point it things happen, we might need to readjust or plan it out but there is time. So, either get to it and make the choice to create the time either by using time better, eliminating time wasters or you can decide to continue on using excuses…only now you know them for what they are!

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This might be a bit of a rant today, but I’ll try to contain myself.  lol

I would have never made a good poker player or a spy for that matter.  I cannot hide how I feel very well at all. Most of the time I’m thinking that’s a good thing, although it does tend to cause me to get into some trouble now and again.  Okay, probably more often than I’d care to admit. 😉  To be honest, I’ve come to appreciate that about myself. It helps me maintain my integrity because I just am sucky at not being honest.

The thing is I can’t stand the BS, or games or political correctedness.  I really don’t deal well with all that nonsense. I look at that kind of crap as a barrier to living well and living authentically. I also think that we buy into this ‘stuff’ and it is a big, a very big, part of what is wrong in our society. Have we lost our integrity and ability to stand firm?

The worst part? We play these same nonsense cards with ourselves.  I have many people who tell me they want to live authentically and perhaps in that moment they really do.  But then…well they don’t.  It may not even be that they do something opposite of what they believe in…they just do or say nothing.

This isn’t living authentically.

We have to stop being afraid to be wrong in someones eyes. It’s okay if not everyone likes us, agrees with us or approves of us. You know what? BS is still BS even if we all agree on it by not standing up and disagreeing.  The truth is still truth if we worry about calling it out and someone else doesn’t like it or it is hard to look at. 

  • We ignore our money issues instead of facing them and learning to live within what we have and looking the bottom line in the face. 
  • We accept what others say as gospel instead of asking questions because we want to belong and ‘not rock the boat’
  • I’ve seen many people walk by and pretend ‘not to see’ or ‘not to hear’
  • To often we think these gurus have it right when they may not even walk the talk they are giving
  • We hide our hurt and pain and even our joy
  • We often ignore our hearts and guts instead of having faith in our own wisdom

How to live authentically?  

Learn who you are.  Live it consciously and on purpose. 

It isn’t a part-time job you can schedule around the other stuff in your life!  I am well aware it’s not always easy in the moment but it will be easier and happier afterwards.  

Don’t get me wrong. I slip-up too sometimes, but I strive to make conscious choice so I can be true to me. Sometimes it’s scary, sometimes its really hard and I have to push myself but when I do I usually find two interesting things happen.  First, no one usually flips out (I am pretty good at tact I think lol) and often times it seems to open up the gate for others to step forward and be open about how they feel as well.  Second, I feel lighter, happier and free.  Authentic living truly does bring back to you the peace and happiness we crave.

 Live YOU in every moment. Especially the hard ones.  

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Waiting for a phone call the other day I got to thinking about some of my goals. It’s about that time of year when I like to check in on how I’m doing and where I’m going. Sometimes I find my goals really don’t serve me anymore or I realize that I need to adjust my sails to get where I’m going.
 

This wasn’t about that so much. I have been feeling a bit frustrated and blocked in certain areas of my life.  I quipped the other day to a friend that I feel like I’m doing 2 steps forward, 5 steps back.  I was reflecting on this as it really has been feeling this way.

I realized something though.  Two things actually.

First, I had a flash of insight with the fact that the goal may not be the ultimate end result. Perhaps it is the lessons I’m learning along the way that will matter far more in the end.

Second, perhaps the universe is blocking me for a reason. Perhaps it is pulling me backwards in the hopes I will stop and look at a new direction?  Could it be that the place I think I am headed isn’t the place I’m meant to be?  I noticed in the last little while I’ve felt like I’m searching. I’m not even sure what it is that is missing because I am pretty clear on my purpose and my plan. 

I feel like I’m waiting for a sign or a hint but I’m not sure what that could pass as a sign or a hint these days.  Change is definitely in the air.

Of course I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I am perfectly willing to accept a memo, note or even a text from the

This might be nice once in a while lol

universe about this. Never  does seem to happen that clearly  though. 

Have you ever felt this way? What did you do?

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Oh, I know I’m going to hear about this one. But wait! Let me explain first.

Affirmations are a wonderful tool, but there is one very important thing many people are not doing first that make the affirmations rendered pretty much useless.

Let me quickly review what an affirmation is. Basically it is a tool that we use to create a powerful, positive mindset. Many people, coaches included believe strongly that using affirmations can completely change your life. It is a way of training your subconscious mind to focus on the positives rather than negatives and attract success into your life.

While I do very much believe in positive affirmations, I do have something to say about the process. I know…shocking isn’t it? lol

The reason many people do not find success with using affirmations is often quite simple to explain. They expect to simply ignore the things that were negative in the first place. You can’t ignore these! You must examine them, find out where these negative thoughts are coming from first.

Making the connection to where our negative beliefs about ourselves come from, look like in the light and how the world works can be mind-blowing at times. We feel an understanding of self that is deep and hits right into our soul. Without this understanding and examination of self using affirmations would be like putting a band-aide on a deep gash..it just won’t work.

You must not ignore who you are today and how you got here. It is vitally important that you face up to and accept yourself openly before you attempt to change your thinking. You need to examine your current way of thinking and understand why you do think that way. Otherwise you will simply fall back into the same line of thinking again and again.

So, yes…affirmations can be a powerful tool; once you’ve done the hard work of self-examination before hand!

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 Last post I talked about how important it is to get clear on what we are really talking about when we talk about the concept of Personal Core Values.  I talked about the importance of distinguishing them from our morals and belief systems. 

This post I want to talk about how we define our own, very personal, values.

As you all know I can be a bit quirky and have no trouble with putting my own views out into the big wide world.  So you can probably quess I have an interesting view about defining values. I don’t think they can be defined within a single word. I truly believe that we need to use a number of words and phrases to encompass all that a value holds for us.  this makes it far  more clear as well as incredibly personalized.

Take one of my top values; the one of compassion. How I live by this value in my own life might be slightly or dramatically different from how you live by it in yours; even if we both have it high on  our top 10 list. 

Before you read on, think about what compassion means to you.  Then compare it to my own definition.

I define it for myself as having patience and kindness for all living creatures. I also include in that standing up and speaking for those who do not have a voice; even when it isn’t popular.   

The idealistic single word we give to the value really only has meaning when we give it meaning. It is important to explore what these words mean to you and how you actually live through that value.  For me, I live this value in a big way through my work with animals and shelter. I also live it in my willingness to speak up for children who need help.  I have defined what this actually looks like in my life so that I can make clearer choices that are in balance with my heart and soul.

This works with all values.  Take money for instance.  For some making money is about the prestige, about making ‘something’ of themselves.  For others it might be more about security and peace of mind.  For still others it might not be a value that they find worthwhile at all except in terms of how they can apply it to taking care of their family.

The lesson here is that we need to use a word to describe our values as merely a starting point, a reference really.  Before we can start truly living through them however, we need to understand clearly what they mean to us. We do that by exploring the concept more deeply. 

 

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