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How Do We Choose

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We’ve all been given a lecture about “making good choices” at some point in our lives.  It may have came in the way of a conversation from our concerned parents to our teenage self.  Or perhaps a teacher or boss who had some higher expectations for us than we did for ourselves.  During our younger years there wasn’t much to weigh when it came to making choices besides how we felt about them. But as we get older, we realize how important our choices are.  We figure out that "living in the moment" is all fine and good, as long as that moment includes choices that aren't, well, poor.  I think it's fair to say that sometimes us humans, even in our older and wiser years, still don't make the best choices. In the super connected world we've been living in over the last decade, we get to see other’s choices every single day: their choice of words, choice of consumption, but mostly their choice of how they spend their time and how they feel about it (for the avid snapchatters out there).  All of this connection can give us a pretty good idea about who people are.  We are more accountable, more aware, (or at least we should be) of what our choices say about us.

We are our choices. But it is the poor choices that take up so much of our time, energy, emotions with the consequences of poor choices spreading to all the other areas of our lives: how we perform in our job and at home, how we interact with our spouse, kids, family, coworkers. Everyone.  Poor choices and the resulting consequences can intertwine into our lives and amplify any negativity or challenging situation that is lurking.

But do you know what the best thing is about poor choices?  There’s still a choice.  We can decide, and choose, to make a new starting point.  A point from which we can make the choices that will lead our life in a direction and a way that will truly serve us, and then ultimately serve others.  Sure, the consequences of previous choices might still be lurking around, but with every step forward—every good choice—we are leading our way to that life and that person we are meant to be.

But there’s so much to choose from? How do we choose? 

Those choices that lead us on our path to a life that brings us the most joy, happiness and purpose are almost the easiest choices to make, because they are entirely personal.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about us and what we choose.  It only matters that we are doing what is important to ourselves.  That we make ourselves proud.

What is important to you? What do you want more of, and why do you want more of it?  What do you value in your life?

When we can answer those questions to ourselves, it is much easier to set an intention of what we want our life to be.  And when you set that intention, it’s so much easier to make those choices that keep you moving forward, leading your way to creating a life you love.

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Making Ourselves Proud

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Let's clear one thing up here: creating a life you love is not just about achieving your dreams.

It certainly CAN be about achieving your dreams, but there are some people who are content with who they are, where they are at, and comfortable and happy with that contentment in their life.  For others it takes a little bit more work (and soul-searching!) to feel like we're delivering on that purpose-filled life.  Now that's not to say those content individuals don't have dreams, but they have found a peace and place that they feel truly happy in the lives that they live.  Think of that person you know that is just happy and joyful to be taking care of their family, their community,  and going to work everyday and contributing to the world around them in their daily tasks.  We all know at least one!

It is those steadfast people that are inspiring to all of us.  If they can be that happy, joyful, peaceful, content, kind, etc., then why can't I?  Well...why can't you?

Sometimes it's about attitude, but sometimes it's not.  Sometimes we just aren't doing the things that fill us up, or we're spending our time around people or doing things that are standing in the way of us reaching that point.  We're stuck.

Creating and living a live you love isn't about reaching for the moon or the stars, becoming rich and famous, changing the world or believing we can do anything if we just put our mind to it (although, I think a version of that last part is true).

It's about making ourselves proud.  That is something the contented experience already--they have that pride in themselves from their daily successes, and the secure, happy feeling they get from their day-to-day life.    I have a fantastic example of this that I came across on Facebook in the last week.  There is a local woman I know of whose son was in an accident and she has been by his bedside in the hospital completely immersed in what most of us can only imagine to be a very challenging time, but she has this incredible positive attitude that others notice.

This was her response to someone at the hospital who recently asked her how she stays so positive:
I think I find it easy to be positive because I like myself a lot! I'm a good person with a good heart and am always here to help out in any way! When I lay my head down at night I know I've been the best "me" I can be, and once you're truly comfortable with who you are, everything else comes easy! I no longer waste time on what others think of me! That alone frees up a lot of time to be happy!!
That's real life people.  When I came across it, it took my breath away.  She makes herself proud each and every day by being "the best me" she can, and also spoke to all the things that can happen to you once you find that space and place in your life.  Making yourself proud frees you up to be a person who isn't affected by what others might think about you, and frees you of the need to try and make others proud or think more highly of you.  It's truly all about how you feel about yourself.  And making yourself proud leads the way to loving who you are and what you are doing in your life.

We can all make ourselves proud.  Some of us are there already, but for those of us that aren't, it's important to take a look at what it is that you want in your life, what is truly important, what values that stands for, and then deliver on those values.

Once we get there, making ourselves proud is easy.

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Creating the Life You Love

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Creating the life you love.  When you hear me say that, or say it to yourself, you might experience a guttural reaction where more than few thoughts pop into your head about how it's not possible, and there's just too much in the way.  What we then resign ourselves to doing is looking at those that we admire that are living the life or have something that we want, and we try and figure out how they do it.  We think that obviously they have it all together, and because of that, they are so happy, content, calm, peaceful, joyful...(insert positive adjective here). There's a secret here. Ok, not so much a secret. But there is something we fail to realize.  No one has it all together. We all have chaos, stress, busy work, family and personal lives, with challenges that sideswipe us wherever we go.

So you're now probably asking, if they have the same chaos that I do, how can they possibly be so happy and content?

Because they have found the one thing that makes the chaos bearable, tolerable, and really in their eyes, beautiful.  They found themselves, and pushed themselves to be living their life's purpose. They live in all of those dreams they have, those heart-fluttering thoughts that we have all experienced, but a lot of us have had squashed by our own perceptions that the chaos and "practical reality" of our lives shapes what we can and cannot do.

Maybe some of you have had or have people in your lives that have told you to be realistic and that your dreams are just that: a picture or thought in your head.  I think it's fair to say that the people that say that to us have never had someone telling them to go out and achieve their dreams.  But you do!

I'm here to tell you that it is all possible, and it starts with identifying and saying out loud what it is you truly want for your life. 

What do you want for you? For your family, your community, and everything that you touch in your life.  That dream might not have something concrete in it just yet, or be some grand master plan, but before you can run you need to walk.  Your first baby step is to set an intention of what you want to bring in to your life, and as that intention grows in your mind and your heart, those things that you dream of will begin to materialize in ways that you could never imagine.

So what do you want?  Sometimes there is not an answer that is readily available to us.  Sometimes we just know the answer in terms of what we don't want.  It is important that you take that answer of what you don't want, and flip around in a way to state what it is that you DO want.  To do this you will have to ask some questions and have conversations with yourself that you don't normally have, digging really deep down for the answers.

So try it today.  Set that intention.   Instead of looking at the people you admire and wishing you could have what they have, take that brainpower and set it toward how you want to create that life your yourself. Even if your intention is to figure out how to bring that happiness and contentment to your life, that one step is better than standing still in a life you're not completely sold on.  It's one step closer to creating the life you love.

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