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Archive for April, 2012

I guess I’m pretty passionate about getting my message out there in the big wide world.  I suppose I might, on occasion, get a bit riled up and pull out my soap box but I promise you it’s because I care.

A couple of days ago a friend and I were talking about an issue she was having at work.  At one point she rolled her eyes at me and said “hold on, I know what you’re going to say here…mindset right?”   I had to laugh because she was exactly right.  

The thing is your mindset touches everything. It affects how you see and recieve life.  Not sure you believe me?  Let’s explore a little here:

  • you want to lose weight? —> mindset matters big time
  • job issues stressing you out? –> mindset can help you manage the issues
  • parenting is hard isn’t it? –> mindset can change your way of parenting
  • relationship issues? –>  mindset helps you solve problems without anger
  • single and can’t understand why? –> might just be your mindset
  • dealing with an injury that creates painful living? –> mindset makes a difference in pain and your ability to manage it
  • upheavals in life happen but can leave you feeling lost –> mindset helps you manage the stress
  • want to start a business?  –>  mindset can make or break it
  • trouble with money? –> mindset can help you change your relationship with money

You see where I’m going with this right?  You have my point?  Your mindset matters!

The truth is your thoughts create your life.  Your mindset creates the thoughts; good or bad. 

Here’s the good news!! You can choose and change your mind at any point, at any time to serve you better. 

Now you know the truth.  No escaping it now. You have to do the work, make the choice and stand up in your own life and to choose better

Don’t get stuck in the idea that what you believed yesterday must be dragged into today.  I mean you wouldn’t continue to sit on a chair that was broken right?  Or read a book with half the pages missing?  It just doesn’t work.  SO, get rid of the chair, book and that yuck mindset and order up a new one.

I might take time to get comfortable in this new chair; just as it will take time for your new mindset to become your familiar default.  You may need to do some adjusting until it feels just right for you, but you can do it.  It is so worth it. (Contact me if you want some help getting started)

This is where affirmations can work so beautifully.  They help us replace that old yuck mindset with one that works for us.  I have been working with affirmations for a long time now and I’ll be honest I wasn’t sold on them at first.  It seemed a little out there (science agrees it works) or even too easy (it’s not).  I can tell you this…it works. 

When you change what you believe, then your actions change as well.  This is where you start building a life you love.

Today’s affirmation:  I am open and ready to receive all the good and abundance the Universe has to offer.

 

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Benjamin Franklin once said that “energy and persistence conquer all things.”

That guy knew a very big secret to success and to happiness. It isn’t just about talent or skill set.  It more often is about persistence.

This is true in every aspect of life.  Ever heard the saying that overnight success takes 10 years?  It’s really bang on. We can learn the skills needed if we continue putting the energy into it. There are so many examples of people who are successful who were not especially talented, educated or extra smart.  They found success through persistence and dogged determination.

I know this is going to hurt some people’s sensitivities but sometimes it needs to be said.  This is so often the point where I see people struggling when they come to me and say that they can’t figure out why success eludes them. 

What do I hear? Things like…

  • it’s really hard
  • I slipped off the wagon so now it’s over
  • I don’t know how
  • no one told me
  • I made a plan and it didn’t work
  • this wasn’t how it was supposed to be

It’s really hard to watch the disappointment and frustration on people’s faces when I feel the need to bluntly explain some life lessons.  Please take what I’m about to say with the love and care that is intended.  

Lesson:  Success rarely hits you on your first foray out.  You are foolish to think you can do everything in one shot simply because you made a plan.

Okay but here’s the good news.  You did find success…just perhaps not the one you were looking for.   Just because you planned for huge success in one area doesn’t mean it will work out.  Still, you gained valuable insights, skills and learned more of that which you needed to know.

This is where persistence comes into play.  You’ve got to keep going, adjusting the plan and perhaps even the goals. 

 This is true all over the place.  It’s true for business, career, relationships, healthy living, wellness…heck learning to ride a bike!  You name it, if you give up because the first try didn’t work you’d still be stuck crawling around on all fours. 

Nothing is as powerful as persistence.  If you have passion for something you will be determined to persist. 

One of my favorite metaphors for persistence comes from the story of how a small stream can, over time wear away solid stone.  Water would not seem at first to be able to change the way that the hard stone looks but through time, persistence and movement it most certainly can.  In fact the water’s movement shapes entire landscapes…all through persistence.

Have you ever noticed a flower or bit of grass growing in a strange place?  How about through rock?  How do you suppose a fragile flower manages to fragment rock? You know…persistance. 

Keep this in mind next time you are feeling frustrated that success did not show up for this round of effort. 

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock,the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”
~Buddha~

And may you find the pleasure that comes from the lessons learned by simply pushing forth and staying determined.  Every flower, every person will bloom when they are ready, but not before they do the work to find a way to feel the warmth of the sun.

 

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Can share a little with you today

At the start of April, I was, for all accounts and purposes, thinking I’d lost my ever-loving freakin mind.  Okay, that might be tad dramatic but I was feeling like I may have bitten off a bit more than I could chew!  However, I tend to do that on occasion and find it works for me.  Maybe I just thrive under pressure? lol

Along with my regular ‘stuff’ I jumped in full throttle to make my vision a reality with the Coffee with Soul Series.  While organizing and creating all of that I was also getting myself certified to administer the super insightful DiSC Assessment.  Believe it or not I actually found time to sleep too!

I know I’ve said it before but I have to say it again.  When you say ‘yes’ you find some amazing things happening.

Coffee with Soul has been so freakin amazing.  The speakers I gathered together are super, but I already knew that!  Still, they came through with so much more than I had expected.  The best part is that it’s been really FUN for me.  I am getting so much out of this experience!  I can’t thank all the people who agreed to step into the role enough  for the support and love they’ve offered.  I invite you to check out the replays on the website.  It’s not too late to register for the upcoming calls either.  There are some goodies sent out with the emails!

The coursework for the DiSC was not exactly easy, but at the same time I gained real insights into my own life and behaviours!  A double bonus.  While it made me have to take some serious time to sit and reflect it also created some shifts in my understanding and relationships.  Honestly, even if I never use it in my coaching practice (which I totally will!) it would have been worth every penny. 

I’ve spent the last 5 years working through a lot of this same stuff myself and I’m really excited to share what I know, my experiences and help others move through it all.  I know how much I struggled to figure it all out and would have loved to have found a workshop like this one.  

I have also been blessed with a copy of Marth Giffen’s book Be Social, Be Rich.  If you do social media, or want to, I can’t recommend this book enough! Or Martha for that matter.  She rocks the social media stuff.  It doesn’t hurt that she’s super sweet, funny and personable. 

Crazy month so far right?  Very busy and yet all I can think about it how so very lucky and blessed I am.  Reading this over I keep thinking of more people, events and things to be so grateful for that I actually get a bit teary eyed. 

Why do I get so emotional when I reflect on all these blessings?  The thing is over the last 5 years I’ve dealt with a lot of crap.  A lot.  In fact, I still am dealing with some of it but the thing is, I’ve chosen to create a grateful heart to live from. I choose to focus on what is GOOD in my life, the blessings, the opportunities and the joy.  I could have slid into a victim mindset, a blaming mindset; but I did not want to live feeling bad all the time.  This has served to continue to bring more good things into my life to be grateful for.

I tell you sometimes I get so frustrated when faced with people who seem to have misery as their default expectation.  I know there is a choice.  While we have moments of upset, times of worry and sadness but this shouldn’t be the fall back on how we live most of our lives. 

I want you to know this.  You can choose to let the bad stuff go.  Do what you can to change it, fix it or mend it. Then let go.  Peace, love and a life worth living has never come from living in a place of misery.  This lesson has been one that I am most grateful for. 

I have had days where breathing and having something to eat was all I could come up with to be grateful for…and so I chose to focus on being grateful for it.  Seasons change and so do our circumstance so be careful what you choose to invite into your life.  More things to be grateful for seems like a wise choice don’t you think? 

Have you noticed you attract what you focus on?

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You can try to find it.  Some people search endlessly for that perfect thing, or person that will fix everything and will bring the beauty, the joy and the ‘fabulous’ into their lives.  The whole knight in shining armour idea.  Once they find it, life will be wonderful.  Until then, gosh…well it’s sad what you’re missing with a ‘until then’ attitude.

You can keep on searching for lifetime really and who knows you might even find some bits and pieces of things that work for a time. 

Want a simpler, faster and more authentic way to have a beautiful life?  One that lasts?

Be the beauty in your own life.   Create what you need and want.  Make the best from what you have and be grateful.

Look at it this way.  If you have to go out and buy gloves to scrub toilets with…why not buy gloves that are a pretty colour?  I pin my hair up when doing chores and I often use a really pretty clip to do it.  My Dad used to put on his favorite music nice and loud when he was doing things around the house or turning the garden over in the spring.  He made not of had a fun chore to do, but he found a way to make it more enjoyable.

Not everything in life is super fun but it doesn’t have to be super horrible either.  There is always a way to make it less crappy, even if it’s only a little.  It’s all about how you approach things.  Yup, I’m talking mindset and what we choose to do with it.

You can start by looking for places to insert your own brand of fun, or joy as I talked about above. 

More than that, you can being to look around and notice all the amazing stuff that already surrounds you.

It’s raining?  Listen to the rhythmic beat of the rain on the roof, the shape of the clouds reflected in the puddles, the smell of the fresh world.  The array of umbrellas walking by can be quite beautiful if you step back and appreciate it.  Appreciate the gifts that the rain will help provide after it ends.  Rainbows, puddles to jump in, clean walkways, birds playing and bathing in the water…So much to enjoy.

Or you know…bitch and moan because it’s not a perfectly beautiful day.  You can do that too I suppose. 

But I have to ask you, which mindset is going to serve you better?  Choose!

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If you know me at all you know I practice living from compassion as often as I can. It used to scare me the lack of compassion in this world but what I’ve learned over time is that compassion is a teachable value.
 
We should be teaching and talking to the children of the world how to live from a compassionate and kind space don’t you think?
 
As an experienced teacher in a number of grade levels and different types of classrooms I can tell you this: you most certainly can teach compassion.
 
As a coach, I can tell you that the abilitiy to learn compassion is not just limited to children. Anyone who is generally, mentally healthy, can be taught to live with and from compassion and kindness.
 
At this point in my little rant people have asked me why on Earth we, as a rule, aren’t living from compassion.
 
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
~Dalai Lama
That is a heavily laden question with many aspects to consider. The joy for me is in the knowledge that it can be done. Each person, has different areas of consideration that would of course need to be addressed. Some are cultural, some are traumas, some are a lack of having been shown or experiencing compassion.
 
In truth it’s been my experience that many adults who shy away from compassion have an idea that it is a place of weakness and fear making themselves vulnerable. It has also been my experience that once they have been given more information and explored the value more deeply, people can see that it is in fact a place of strength. It can be really difficult to jump into this directly with adults however. They tend to be more resistant to change around most things.
 
Still, there are some commonalities that should be looked at that can move anyone forward along the path of compassionate living and the best part is they apply to just about anyone in any age bracket.
 
First, we need to work on bringing mindfulness to the table. Mindfulness is a non judgemental, breath by breath awareness of the self. Sounds simple but it amazes me constantly how many people simply are not aware of how their self fits into their world, affects it and moulds it.
 
When you create an awareness of the self that is not judgmental; you can then approach others with the same non-judgment. This is a huge part of compassionate living.
 
Children are not usually born mindful. In fact their base survival instincts require them to be super ego’s who are focused solely on their own needs. Makes sense for a baby who can’t do anything for themselves but it shouldn’t and doesn’t have to stay that way.
 
In my grade one classes I used to do guided meditation just after lunch. Very simply and really more of a check-in and breathing exercise. It was really wonderful the way the children took to it. It also gave them something to do when they were upset. Trust me..it was easy to teach and it worked. Amazingly well.
 
A surprising side effect was a huge increase in empathy. Empathy is the other key ingredient to living from compassion. This is also another skill that is not generally innate but can be taught at a very early age.
 
So, what does this mean for adults? It means we need to do the same both for ourselves and then for the children we raise. We can work on building our own mindfulness, empathy and practice living from a compassionate place.
 
Don’t be fooled either, I use the word practice because it is just that. Some days and some people are harder than others.
 

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I read a statistic that said the human brain has around 60,000 thoughts per day. Wow, assuming that is true that’s a lot of mental energy isnt’ it?

The other thing I already know is that we tend to believe 95-99% of what we think.

Our thoughts come from a bunch of places but the two biggies are the cultural upbringing we have and what our brain is compiling from all the messages it’s receiving from our senses.

How many of those thoughts are facts and certain do you think? Not as many as you think. It makes sense that we believe our thoughts are true and correct. After all our pre conceived thoughts help us make sense of our world so it is only logical that we believe them. The real question is whether that belief is a wise one.

Did you know our senses can deceive us (long story on the nervous system…you can trust me or you can look it up) and how our brain interprets these messages can be flat-out wrong. Think about how optical illusions work. This is just one problem.

However, as a Coach I’m much more concerned with the thoughts that come from our upbringing. Our thoughts here create our belief system. Yet, they can be as confused (and confusing) as an optical illusion. As adults we often hold onto beliefs that do not serve us any longer. In fact they might even be doing us harm.

“Change your thinking, change your life,” ~Ernest Holmes

Our self-esteem is created by our thoughts. How we perceive the world around us is created by those same thoughts. We believe them to be true and interact with other and the world around in kind. This is on of the reasons I find it so important to explore and understand our own belief and value system. I discuss this much further in my book “Shine On.”

These types of beliefs around our self is often rooted in those childhood belief systems that are most likely outdated (in the least).

Thinker cat is thinkingStart looking to become aware of your thoughts. Questions them, question what you believe to be true. I am willing to bet money that you too hold beliefs that are, in fact, keeping you stuck. Stuck sucks.

You become what you believe you are. It’s time to start thinking about what you are thinking.

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In the post Do This Instead I mentioned 5 things to consider when you think about how to improve your life, mindset and disposition.

“He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.”
~Samuel Johnson

The five things discussed were;

  1. Metacognition
  2. Be curious
  3. Living from Wonder
  4. Persist
  5. Laugh from your belly

A pretty good list if you ask me.  In fact I think a number of the comments agreed.  Good news! I have a few more to share with you.

Before I do that however, I want to mention that in no way do I suggest you should or could go ahead and simply change all of these to perfect your life over night.  Goodness..that’s just crazy talk!  What I suggest is you take a look at these and imagine where you could open up to possibilities of change or growth in your life.  Pick one to focus on and go from there.

You can make goals (yup even SMART goals) around each of these to give yourself some focus and purpose.  You spent a life time establishing habits, you can’t expect to simply exchange them for new ones in one fell swoop.  If you need some help there…let me know at info@rivendllcoaching.com !

With no further ado:

1. Learn to listen.  Yes, yes I know. Most of us have perfectly decent ears that work but in all truth most of us suck as good listeners.  Being a good listener takes focus and practice. We should strive first to understand before we worry about being understood.  It takes a fair bit of mental energy devoted to another person’s thoughts and ideas to be a good and empathetic listener. 

2. Take Responsible Risks.   Remember when I told you for one month I was going to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came my way..even if it was a bit scary?  Well in that yes month I did take some personal risks and it really paid off.  However, they were responsible risks.  I mean let’s face facts; if you had suggested I jump off a bridge I’d probably have said no anyway. It wouldn’t be a responsible risk.  There is a difference.  Being adventuresome doesn’t mean being stupid.  Take the level of comfort and competence you already have to the edge and see what awaits you.

3. Think about it upside down.  Now if you can stand on your head and think about things go ahead; please enjoy the view. I, however, will simply use this expression to mean that you need to be flexible in your thinking and practice seeing things from a different perspective.  Innovation comes from trying a novel idea.  When you generate options and alternatives you let go of your obsession with a specific outcome and might just end up with something pretty freakin amazing.   So, practice asking yourself  “what else is possible here?”

4. Live from Compassion.  Seriously, if you didn’t know I’d put this on in the list you haven’t followed me very long.  When you  make choices and decisions with compassion as the base for them life is kinder, gentler, more peaceful and much more loving.  Keep in mind that having compassion in mind in the way you treat yourself is also important.  You are, after all, setting a precedent for how others act towards you.  You want to get rid of a lot of crap and negativity in your life…this is a perfect place to start.

5. Remain open to Continuous Learning.  There is no time in the human condition that we should be done with learning.  There is so much to understand, explore and be thrilled by.  When you stop learning and entertaining new ideas and ways of seeing things…it is there that you cease to live and simply exist.  Accept that there is much we don’t know, much we can learn and go out to find it.  Throw your pride and need to be ‘right’ out the window and become open and aware that ‘you do not know’ and this is perfectly okay.  This will stop you from fighting  life’s lessons and instead bring peaceful acceptance of all that life offers you.

6. Choose to have found your bliss.  Right here, right now is all we really have.  Yesterday is the past and is gone, tomorrow is an unfulfilled promise.  Today is it, this very moment.  Please lovelies…don’t waste it. There is happiness, joy and love to be found even in the worst of circumstance;  if only you will open your eyes and heart to it.  You have to choose to see it.  The more bliss you choose to focus on, the more you will find.  It’s the Law of Attraction lovelies..and it works.

Let me know what you think of these six habits and the first five. 
Which ones jump out at you?  Made you think?  Disagree with me on any?
What are you going to work  on…and how?

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