Now Complimentary Coaching Consultations available. Find out more and


Get FREE Updates!

Leaning into the Unknown

An Aspen is Not a Pine

This is a simple post, in length, in concept and presentation. This picture was taken in Colorado on January 2, 2012. Since November we have had 2-3 snow falls and consistent temperatures down into the teens overnight.

Something I have noticed over the years, many Oak trees keep their leaves (dead/dried) through the winter, most Pine trees have needles year round and Aspen trees lose their leaves in the fall.

Why do some trees keep their foliage while others lose theirs? I don’t know. What I do know, a Pine grows to be a pine, an Oak an Oak, and an Aspen grow to be an Aspen. And I would guess that each of these trees is best equipped to support whichever foliage they grow.

Now if we went and started plugging pine needles into an Aspen I am guessing with enough attempts to “change” the Aspen it would wither and die. Chances are, the Aspen is likely to grow into a magnificent tree all on it’s own, if left to grow as it was meant to be.

But isn’t that what many of us try to do, change ourselves (or even change others). We go around trying to plug pine needles into ourselves, trying to imitate others, when the foliage that we have brings out the best in us.

Joy & Satisfaction

Where are you putting your energy? Or are you? Is it flowing, impacting the world around you or blocked up and withdrawn. Which is more likely to create a life of joy and satisfaction?

What if you could choose when to stop and when to expand out? Of course the answer is you can – but do you?

Is there someone you want to call but continue to put off calling? An activity that is about expanding versus withdrawing, going unconscious?

Stop – Make the call. Spend 15 minutes really talking and connecting to your son, daughter, mother, father or friend. Stop and connect with you – feel your own heart. Connect with you and then connect with someone else.

Happy New Year to you.

What Next People?

So, what exciting things are you intending for 2012? What really sounds good to you versus what you “should” or “have to” do? I know, you may have things you don’t want to stop doing because of the impact on your life style. But what about the incremental steps you can start taking today to move you in the direction of what you really want to do and experience in your life? Dig down and dream, feel the excitement that comes with putting your ass on the line. Dream big and then take it step by step.

Go for it!

Creating What I Want Exercise

When we continue to hold onto the thought "I don't want", we are investing energy in what we don't want. In affect, we are increasing the likelihood that we will create what we don't want (by focusing our energy there versus focusing our energy on what we do want).

We have a choice to either focus on what we do want or what we don't want, knowing that our focus will move us in the direction of our thinking. If you continue to focus on what you don't want you are choosing to want what you say you don't want.

Below is an exercise to help you become more aware of what you are creating that you say you don't want.

1)  Start by listing ten (10) things that you think you don't want (i.e., don't want to do, don't want to experience or don't want to happen). For example, I don't want to miss the date for getting my newsletter article written.

2)  Now rewrite your don't wants statements replacing "don't want" with "want". For example, I want to miss the date for getting my newsletter article written. In this way you are taking ownership for the existence of these "don't wants" which are creating more of what you don't want in your life.

3)  As you rewrite each statement bring your awareness to what you are feeling in your body. Typically when I fully take ownership of these don't wants in this way I feel them in my chest, a heaviness or sense of self criticalness. After I fully own what I am creating and feel the impact of the associated feelings the need to hold onto my "don't want" thinking and feelings subside.

As I go through these steps, taking ownership for keeping these don't wants in my life, I have found I am much less likely to notice myself thinking in terms of what I don't want. And when I do I can stop and take ownership of how I am creating what I don't want. At that point I can shift to focusing on what I do want – creating more of what I want in my life!

You just listed 10 of your don't wants. I found that I had many beyond 10. I would suggest you go through these three steps again listing as many of your don't wants that you become aware of.


Thoughts that Achieve Goals

What might this list of thoughts have in common? I don't want to look foolish. I don't want to fail. I don't want to miss the deadline. I don't want to lose money. I don't want to lose my client. I don't want to stay stuck in this job. I don't want to have my kids talk back to me. I don't want my kids to fail. I don't want to hear my neighbors lawn mower. Etcetera.

When a thought is reoccurring we have an investment in it. These thoughts continue to occur because we continue to focus our energy on them. If we had no attachment to them they would cease to come to mind. In reality we are choosing these thoughts by continuing to focus on them. Given we are choosing to invest energy in them one could argue we want these thoughts in our life.

When we focus our energy on what we don't want we are missing opportunities to focus on what we do want. Yes, we want to make room to acknowledge what we don't want. Once we acknowledge what we don't want we have a choice. Do I continue to focus on what I don't want or do I focus my energy on what I do want.

What if there is a correlation between what we get in life and the energy we invest in thoughts of what we want and what we don't want? What could you be focusing your energy right now?

When a "I don't want" thought persist take time to see if there is a feeling below the thought that you could explore. There is a process of exploring and releasing the feelings that anchor these thoughts. I have frequent webinars and teleclasses that cover these issues. Check my up and coming Events page.

Failure or Feedback

We make a plan based on our vision, our high level approach, milestones and time estimates. And then we begin to execute against our plan. Some of us will move ahead taking action and some of us will avoid taking action. Why might some avoid taking action?

When we take action (or don't) we get results. For some, those results can be perceived as failure by using mistakes, missed dates, unwanted outcomes, rejection, lack of support, cost over-runs, etc. as evidence (of our failure).

Perceiving results in this way can be painful, diminish our energy, lower our confidence and even be used as an indicator of our value as an individuals. What is the outcome? We avoid taking some or all of the actions we can to realize our vision.

How might we view the results of our actions and our plans that will allow us to move forward unencumbered by the fear of failure?

By viewing our results as information. Information that does not define success or failure, but information that we can use to determine how we move forward. I can be disappointed or excited, but it is not a reflection on me as an individual. I get information, I decide how I want to move forward.

Moving Through Conflict

Some suggest that conflict is inevitable. I personally cannot agree or deny that idea.

What I have seen in others and experienced personally, is that speaking our truth – wants, needs, likes, dislikes and feelings about ourselves (versus others) goes a long way toward naturally dissolving what might have otherwise appeared as a irresolvable conflict.

Trying to maintain control might look like: You are always working or spending time with your friends. (The focus is on the other person.)

Letting go of control might look like: I like to spend time with you. I want to watch a moving with you this weekend. (The focus is on the speaker.)

If speaking our truth can be so effective in resolving conflict why don't we speak it? Because it means we must let go of our perceived control of the situation or outcome of the situation. Although it may be exactly what really needs to happen we are reluctant to let go of the known and step into the unknown. And yet, there is a powerful aliveness in letting go of the known.

Do you want richer, more satisfying and loving relationships? Let go of what you perceive to be control and safety and step into speaking the truth about you.

Beliefs that Sabotage Success

I can sell them on my ideas but am I all talk with no substance. I think too highly of my capabilities so it is bound to fall apart. Ouch. Not a real pick-me-up dialog with one's self in the morning. And yet this type of self talk can be so old, subtle and unconscious we do not even realize we are saying it to ourselves.

Do you know what is so intriguing to me about this self talk? We have chosen it and we continue to choose to keep it going. How?

Our negative self talk comes from our beliefs. If you did not believe what you tell yourself why would you continue to repeat it?

So how do we change our beliefs? First, by owning that it is our belief – no matter how we came to develop the belief, it is ours. No one can force us to create or keep a belief.

And second, by challenging the validity of our beliefs. If your beliefs are punishing you, don't you owe it to yourself to challenge the validity of them?

Show Up in Your Life!

You are in a business meeting or connecting with friends. Everyone is there and everything needed to make it a successful gathering is done – and it is lifeless.The attendees are there but the energy is low and most people are likely wishing they were somewhere else.

I was on a conference call the other day with another coach and colleague of mine Nancy Stubbs. It was a great call. The energy of the meeting was strong, creative and constructive. Not only did we accomplish a lot of good stuff, the call was also energetic and enjoyable!

Coming back to Nancy. What I noticed about Nancy on the call was her presence. It was strong, clear and present. It was not dominating or controlling. She showed up with her energy. She spoke when she had energy about a topic or idea and that added to the energy and enthusiasm of the call.

When you are in a meeting or social gather and you notice a lack of energy ask yourself if you are showing up. You want to move a relationship or career forward – show up!

Time Flies When I’m Having Fun

Have you ever gotten so into something you were doing that you lost track of time? I have, particularly when I was enjoying what I was doing. But what about those things we don't necessarily look forward to doing? It is possible to enjoy and get satisfaction out of those things that we may not be looking forward to doing?

I wrote an article the other day for The Good Men Project. To date I have only written one other article that was published. The thought of writing this article was daunting in many respects. I started working on it several times but I did not get very far. And then I sat down and decided I was going to really write it.

At first it was slow going, but as I gave myself to the task my article really began to unfold. All of a sudden I began to see my theme come to life and it began to flow in a natural progression. I was so into it that I did not even think of time or how much I did not want to do it. When I did realize how much I had gotten done I realized how jazzed I had be feeling once I really got into it.

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor E. Frankl

What could we experience if we chose to really get into everything we do? What if we could turn any activity into a satisfying and even energizing experience?

What if your experience was your choice?