I mean it – in your mind’s eye, pull yourself out of your routine way of looking at your world and allow yourself to consider what is possible.
When I started my business I had an idea, a vision of what I wanted to do, which is to help individuals realize they can change (radically even) their lives. Not only was it a vision but a passion of mine stemming from what I have seen and experienced as possible in my own life. Inevitability and perhaps not so uncommon, a short time after I started building my business I found myself challenged and my enthusiasm drooping.
My initial reaction was to question the “need” for what I wanted to provide. Actually, this was always the first sound of the doubt that came knocking on my door. “Ted, is there really a need for this? Are there enough people who need and want your help?” From there it could even snowball into a more profound doubt. “Ted do you really have anything to offer others? So you have many years of psychology and real life training – do you have enough to sustain a living.” Inevitably the picture of the individuals in my life that would use my support would narrow in my mind’s eye down to a crowd of 1 or 2.
Over time I found this self-talk to be a reoccurring theme. Initially I bought into those messages – hook, line and sinker. Even worse, not able or even willing to change my focus I could be in misery for several days! What a waste of my valuable time here on earth. After repeat episodes of getting down in the dumps through listening to that self-talk I began to catch them earlier until I finally was able to catch them when I first consciously recognized starting the mantra. And then I could make a decision, continue to indulge those thoughts and feelings or turn my attention back to what I wanted to create versus what I was afraid would happen.
So what can you do to improve your ability to create the life you want to live? We are bombarded on a daily basis with do this don’t do that messages from the media experts, self-help gurus and even family. One of the most powerful things I have learned in all of my study and reflection is to start small and build on success. For example, what I have found works for me is running 5-7 miles 3-4 times a week and a half hour of meditation/prayer 6-7 days a week. Would I suggest you start out with this regimen? No, unless you had already developed those habits to some degree.
What I would suggest is that you start out with a very light change in your habits. First and probably the most important, set aside 30 minutes of reflection time a week. This is a time for you to step back and pull your mind out of the details of your life so that you can see the big picture. From there you can reflect on what comes up (and to the extent possible, do this without judgment). The goal of this exercise is to allow your mind time to just be without direction and to reflect on what is possible (in your life, in your relationships, with your current challenges, etc.). You would be surprise at what your mind can come up with given the time and opportunity.
My second suggestion, start by walking a mile once a week. After a week or two re-evaluate – is this working for me? Do I like walking? Would I enjoy some other form of physical exercise better? Am I walking far enough or too far? The key here is to begin paying more attention to your body, to what feels good to you and what allows you to feel better about yourself.
A third suggestion, find an individual or several that have the ability to support you. What do I mean about support? I mean individuals that can accept you for who you are, can meet you where you are at (in this moment versus where they think you should be) and that you can trust with what you share with them, that it won’t be shared or used to harm you or anyone else. This could be someone in your neighborhood, a family member, current circle of friends, your church or even someone you have met in the past who you respected and felt could really support you. The point is – developing a support community can be a critical to your growth and happiness. You will be less likely to drop too low in your thinking and more likely to soar higher than you would on your own. Again! Start out simple, maybe a cup of coffee or phone call once a week. Make this easily achievable!!!
The key with these suggestions and most others I would make to you – allow this to be a process, a process of learning what you like and don’t like, what supports you and what does not, etc. These suggestions are meant to be a starting point of learning what helps you create and enjoy more and more of your life moments.
I hope you find this article helpful. By the way, I appreciate your comments and reactions to my post. It helps me understand what is making sense to you and what you find of value!!!
For many years now I have been a runner. During some months or years I have run 3 miles and during others 8+ miles. Now I typically run 6+ miles several times a week. That is not a hard distance for me to run today, but when I started out I ran all of ¼ of a mile, gasping for breath all the while. It did get easier every time I ran the ¼ mile mark but I inevitably re-experienced that uncomfortable out of breath feeling when I pushed beyond my then current ¼ mile comfort zone.
Getting beyond the ¼ mile seemed nearly impossible when I started running, but I found if I consistently pushed a little further every couple of runs I made steady increases in my distance. It required that I improve how I ran, how I breathed, and even my thinking about the running. Today I feel better running 6+ miles than when I only ran ¼ of a mile. I am stronger, get a better workout, and a bigger payoff physically and emotionally. Of course there is balance, between stretching further and enjoying the moment.
I say all that to ask, are you making decisions based on where you are right now in your life/business or where you want to be? Is it time to push forward to a new level? Are you working away at the status quo focused strictly on survival or are you consistently stretching beyond what currently feels comfortable?
There are definitely times we need to adjust to the markets or even phases of our lives. There are also times (if not always) that we need to know that our actions today create our future. It’s not our circumstances that make us who we are – it’s how we respond to them that does.
It’s March 3rd 2010 – it’s a great time to evaluate your progress and what you want to accomplish through the rest of 2010!