Thursday, August 11, 2016

Breakout from Struggle to Grace

Is your life filled with struggle or filled with grace?

They say the work begins when you sign up and commit. I recently signed up to teach the Breakout Coach Training in the Netherlands next May. As I work on material for the course, the balance between grace and struggle rocks back and forth, from one side to the other.

In grace mode, I feel a tingle of excitement. Possibilities appear as unbounded as they truly are. I enter the space of creativity. Life is sweet.

In struggle mode I feel kind of tense, a bit grumpy and totally uninspired. Oh, and obviously unconscious, because who would ever choose that on purpose? Yet choose it I have. Sometimes I still do. Alas, the choice is no less powerful for being made in a state of grumpy unconsciousness. How to break out?

Thank heaven for consciousness -- that wake up call that brings us into the here and now. All you have to do is take a few breaths and notice who you are and what is going on. Then you can choose on purpose. Grace or struggle?

That leads to another favorite saying, when you know, you must teach. I love nothing more on this earth than to share how to break out from hidden limits in order to thrive and be happy. So since only 24 people will be able to attend the Breakout Training, I'm going to share some of it here as the work begins.

Here are some tips to break out from struggle:

When you tackle a new project or just begin a new day, take some time to reflect on how you would like it to unfold. No need to be reasonable here. Just let yourself know what you welcome into your life at this point. For the Break Out training, for example, I choose to be present for the highest good for everyone involved. I want to connect with the people who will get the most from our experience and bring the most to it. I welcome a time filled with learning, love and grace. I would like it to fill up quickly and easily too :-).

Notice how you feel. Your emotions provide wonderful clues about what is going on with you, especially your thoughts and beliefs. If you get caught up in fear, anger, dread or plain old grumpiness ask yourself what those feeling are about and why this is the reaction you come up with in these circumstances. Ask how you want to feel right this minute. Sometimes that's is all you need to transform the moment.

Look into your beliefs about struggle and grace. Success in grace mode may involve hard work; it does not require struggle. It allows inspiration, support, creativity, curiosity and happiness. Life in struggle mode indicates a conviction that there is no clear path forward. In that case, it's time to create one.

What happens if you miss the mark? Bruce Di Marsico, founder of The Option Method, said he always asked I wonder what this is for? instead of "Why did this happen?" It has proved to be a great question, leading to insightful answers.
    Wishing us all happy times in a state of grace!

    Wednesday, July 27, 2016

    Speak Up or Shut Up?

    The fiery political anger and fear in our USA election rhetoric raises the old question, speak up or shut up? Searching for an answer, I see relationships that ended when I delivered well intended but uncomfortable messages and others that grew deeper and stronger.

    I usually avoid public displays of political bias except when to do so seems just plain immoral. This is one of those times.

    I am very concerned about the influence of Fox News on my fellow citizens. I watch an actual speech on CSPAN and then watch a commentator on Fox News select a sound bite and spin the message in the opposite direction -- over and over.

    I see the same thing on CNBC and CNN but to a much lesser degree.

    That is why I urge everyone who watches the Democratic Convention to please view the actual event on CSPAN and make up your own informed mind. I hope we can share opinions and ideas across party and ideological lines and remain friends.

    I hope this heartfelt concern will strengthen our relationship. If not, I'm sorry to see us part.

    Wishing you inspired and informed voting.


    Wednesday, July 13, 2016

    Who Irritates You?

    I recently spent time with someone I'm tempted to say irritates the hell out of me, like chalk on a blackboard. Only I know I'm the one doing the irritating; he's just being him. It's my chalk and my blackboard -- all screeching and scritching up to me.

    I decided to make the leap from knowing to acting as if how I react really is up to me. I kept the chalk in my pocket and simply remained present. I had to remind myself to breathe and keep-chalk-in-pocket a couple of times. And guess what? I had a good time.

    Note to self and you: good times may await just beyond your memories of hard times and views of present injustice. The other thing I noticed was that without rancor, instead of stifling my irritated comments, I was able to speak much more directly and freely.

    I'm going to use this chalk-in-the pocket technique all the way through the election!

    Cheering you on to chalk-on-blackboard free times.

    With love,

    Monday, June 20, 2016

    How to Buck the Current

    Like swimming up a waterfall! Yes, changing a deeply rooted behavior can feel like that.  It is hard sometimes. But going with the flow when the current sweeps you away from your heart's desire is not the best approach to success and happiness.

    You may just have to buck the current. It's strong. All of the experiences in your life feed into it. The way others see you flows into the stream too. Then there all of those societal beliefs to pull you along, like:
    • It's bad to be the tallest poppy in the field
    • You can't teach an old dog new tricks
    • You don't deserve that
    • Desire is the cause of all pain
    Enough to make you give up? No, don't do it! Changing your life takes awareness and dedication sometimes, but not pain. It can be a great adventure.

    You can find a way out of rip-tides and cross currents in the mindset that keeps your old ways in place, with you bobbing about in the life-jacket you thought you needed to keep afloat.

    To grow your relationships, career, prosperity, you have to alter the beliefs that put you where you are in the first place and hold you there now. It may be one limiting belief, a cluster of them, or an undiscovered perception of reality that paralyzes you.

    No matter who tells you to get a grip and pull up your socks, or how much more you deserve, if you do not address your own underlying version of reality your chances of success are pretty small. When you start with the outside stuff, even the most expensive life coach or highly trained therapist is unlikely to help you move beyond your own reality. Changing circumstances does little to transform the quality of your life.

    This blog is full of articles about how to find and dismantle the beliefs that hold you back. My books, "Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past" and "Emotional Options" are dedicated to helping you breakout from the prison of your own limiting version of reality. I recommend exploring them.

    What I want to address here, though, is how to buck the current. Think of something you want and look inside to see what's been in the way. Every time you successfully discover that something you have believed is simply not true, take action in a new direction. Add strong desire for new outcome.

    Do something new or in a new way. You will build a new diving off point. The auto-pilot in your brain will change. Your past will actually change as you add new experiences to it that give it new meaning. You will be able to swim up waterfalls!

    Let us know what you find.


    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    The Emotional Advantage

    When I lived in Rosendale, NY Jeffrey Pease, while still in his teens, used to hitchhike 90 miles down from Ballston Lake to participate in my weekly group. One of the great delights of my coaching career has been watching Jeffrey grow and thrive over these many years. Here he is now to contribute our first guest blog with insights as Chief Marketing Officer of a leading tech company.

    The Emotional Advantage

    Walking into the wind along the Jersey City waterfront this morning I look back over the Hudson River at the resilient Manhattan skyline and make the most important decision of my work day – how I’m going to feel at the office.
    One hundred days into a new Chief Marketing Officer job, I think a lot about the crucial role emotional health plays in success. I’ve been happy at work and I’ve been miserable at work. Happy is better! Not just for me but for my whole team and ultimately for a tangible difference in company results.
    This is especially true for anyone in a leadership role. I’ve never seen a job posting that says “whiny executive wanted” or heard the words “that guy seems stressed and cranky; let’s put him in charge!”
    Emotional health offers a company a large untapped advantage that is largely ignored. In this case ignorance is far from bliss; it is perilous, because companies are populated entirely by people with feelings and ignoring them does not make them go away. The only emotions we can be fully responsible for, however, are our own. So while the emotional health of your workplace isn’t totally under your control, when you claim your own emotional advantage you can share the boost in creativity and productive energy it provides.
    Early in my career, I completely failed to claim this advantage. In fact, like most people, I did not even know it was available to use. I joined so many demoralized companies or departments you’d think I sought them out, like that friend who repeatedly attracts the same bad relationship with different people. Worse still, instead of using an emotional advantage once I’d chosen a company, I joined in the camaraderie of commiseration – reinforcing the perception of how much things sucked and how powerless we were to change them. You won’t be shocked to learn that my early career wasn’t crowned with glory.
    What changed? Sure I learned some things about the craft of Marketing and accumulated some good experience. But the more you achieve in your career, the less those hard skills matter and the more how you relate to and inspire (or demoralize) others comes into play. For that, the emotional advantage is foundational. I’m still not sure what makes that unhappy commiseration so attractive, but even in the toughest circumstances, the least helpful thing you can do when coworkers are sinking in emotional quicksand is to jump in too.
    Gradually I began to integrate years of work with emotions and the limiting beliefs that fuel them into my work life. Claiming my own emotional advantage allowed me to connect with disgruntled colleagues, not by diving in, but by throwing them a rope. It turns out that ropethrowing is a valuable skill when there are problems to solve.
    For the “how to" to claim your emotional advantage, I refer you to the work of Mandy Evans, especially her helpful book, “Emotional Options.” Here’s the “why.” If you have been trying to succeed at work so you can be happier, reverse that equation and prioritize being happy first. That in turn will likely make you more successful at work. If you want to lead people, that goes double!
    Back to the Jersey City boardwalk where I recall my first day leading a new team at a new company. Like every team and every company, it has problems and holds promise. I look over the water and say to myself, “no whining.” What follows is a hundred days of magic!

    You can learn more about Jeffrey Pease by visiting

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

    What to Follow in 2016?

     When he graduated from high school, my son went to college in Madrid. "Why?" I asked, stunned at the idea of him being so far away so young.
    "I decided to take your advice" he replied. How novel! 
    "What did I say?" I wondered, still in shock. 
    "You told me, that whenever I didn't know what to do in life, if I followed my intense curiosity, I would always be okay. And, Mom, I can taste fluency. I could do a year of liberal arts just because, or I really learn Spanish, so I'm going to live in Madrid.

    It worked out well, in his life, full of ups and down, as life is but always interesting. And in mine.

    Curiosity activates desire. Conscious desire (not to be confused with attachment) is the strongest motivation there is. Far stronger than resolutions. My curiosity has led me to travel widely. To learn how to lead groups and present seminars. To read many books and write some self-help books. To explore and break out from thousands of beliefs that hold people back, blocking happiness and success.

    I wonder where curiosity will lead me next. Maybe I can find a way to communicate how I broke out from a "how to get by on as little as possible" mind-set to one conducive to prosperity, in a way that will be useful to others. Should it be a book or a seminar? Would anyone be interested?Another compelling puzzle is how to contribute to a reading program for adults in my community since there is no longer an adult literacy program in Riverside County.

    I'll let you know where these threads lead and would love to know about yours. You can post them in "Post a Comment" below.  

    As we enter 2016, I wish you many blessings of health, happiness, love, peace on earth, and some wonderful adventures following your intense curiosity. 


    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

    A thankful Heart

    A thankful heart is a happy heart. My happy heart is grateful to you for sharing so much of my life -- triumphs and challenges are all richer because of you.

    I'm grateful for:

    • My dear family and friends.
    • My new knee
    • Living in this beautiful spot on this wondrous planet
    • Work that fills me with joy, keeps my interest, suits my talents, and bypasses most of my shortcomings
    • Everyone who ever read my books
    • My teachers 
    • My students
    • Kindness, love and generosity

    What are you grateful for? Share your gratitude here with a comment. We can make it grow!

    Happy US Thanksgiving and many blessings wherever you are.