Appointments and Lollipops

A few years ago, I was working in a retail store of a cell phone provider and I was having a bad day. And I mean B-A-D! What I was feeling was clearly visible; you could see it in my posture and it was certainly all over my face. Seeing my distress, a customer asked if she could give me a hug. As she embraced me, she said something in my ear that I will never forget. She said, “Don’t let anyone steal your joy!”

I was dumbstruck by this statement! I had never heard anything so powerful. She was right; I was letting a temporary situation rob me of an otherwise good day. This stranger not only gave me good advice and an amazing mantra to live by, but she gave a new behavior. I started showing up for my “appointments”.

When I say appointments, I really mean opportunities. This woman caused me to remember times when teachers, friends, and family had shown up for appointments in my life to help me on my journey and/or inspired me to be a better person. I realized that I could do the same and so can you!

If we pay close enough attention, we can see when we have an appointment, an opportunity to be a positive influence and presence in someone’s life. Seize those opportunities in every arena.  At work be specific in your praise of a co-worker, “You taking ownership of this project was a huge help to the team. We’re lucky to have you.”  Thank your friends for stepping out of their comfort zone to be by your side, “You are the best for coming to Zumba with me! I couldn’t have walk in the door by myself!”  Show a little extra kindness like letting someone stand under your umbrella on a rainy day while you both wait for the bus.  You may think to say something difficult like, “You were really out of line today.  That’s not like you- what’s going on?”  Sometimes your appointment may be to not say anything at all and just listen.  These little moments matter immensely and they change lives.   Now shouldn’t you be going? I think you have an appointment!

To better illustrate my point please watch this TED Talks video.

Flip the Script

Very often in our pursuit of happiness we say, “I want ________.”  We may go as far as to say,  “I will do ________ to get _________.”  But have you ever done or attempted all the “right” things, but you still cannot get what you want?

About a month ago, I was lamenting about my weight, AGAIN! I thought, “What’s wrong with me?! I know what I want!  I know how to get it! So WHY can’t I do it?!?!?”  I was asking the wrong questions. A quiet voice inside said, “What do you need to be successful?” The answer surprised me.

The answer wasn’t another diet plan, exercise machine, or more will-power.  I heard myself say that what I needed was peace.  I needed to find peace somewhere in my day – everyday.  Then more answers started to come, like that I only needed to please myself not some society standard of beauty.  I heard the voice say, “What would it mean to complete this goal?” Again, the answer was surprising.  I said that perhaps I would not have to be so brave all the time.  At this weight I always feel that I have to fight or stand up for myself even when it isn’t totally necessary.

I wrote down all of my answers to these 2 questions and reference them when I feel a little lost. And to answer my call to peace, I get up early.  I spend at least 10 minutes before I get out of bed to pray and meditate in order to prepare for the day; so when my feet touch the ground I am  ready for whatever comes my way.

If you are struggling to make progress on a goal/dream.  Perhaps you are asking yourself the wrong questions and therefore getting the wrong answers.  Flip the script and ask a new question! These fresh answers may lead you down the path you’ve been looking for!

Give Yourself Permission

permission

I saw this graphic from THEHIYL.com on Facebook last week and I thought, “YES!”  We need to give ourselves permission to live the lives we want.

In Sherri Sherpard’s book Permission Slips, she talks about that great feeling we would get as children when we would receive a permission slip.  Whether we had a permission slip to go on a field trip, or a doctors note that kept us out of dodge ball week in gym class, or a study hall pass to practice music instead of doing homework, these allowances made us feel special.  So why don’t we give ourselves permission to do the things we need to feel extraordinary?

Somewhere we got the message that self deprecation and self-sacrifice are needed to be successful and to be a good human being. NOT TRUE!!! We have to start building ourselves up.  We can then, share the wealth, and  build up others, but it starts with you.  So today give yourself permission to be great! Here are some of my permission suggestions for myself and for you!

Give yourself permission to:

Love yourself just the way you are today.

Love your body just the way it is.

Feel genuine joy.

Laugh louder than you think you should.

Buy something nice for yourself.

Eat a cookie!

Give someone a compliment. (Start with you!)

Sing loudly and badly if need be.

Dance like no one is watching.

Call an old friend.

Do something daring.

Be bold.

Try something new.

Try something hard.

Speak your mind.

Play hookey from something.

Say NO!

Pray.

Fail.

Be briliant

Dream.

Believe.

Sure there may be things on this list or your list that you want to do better, but today, as is, you are perfection! Believe that! Comment below and tell me what you are giving yourself permission to do!

The Non-negotiable Phrase

I have always loved the movie Mary Poppins! Julie Andrews as Mary is just the best!  I love this character, because she was an unheard of combination of magic, good sense, and strength or rather she was an amazing, confident, and innovative-thinking woman! Mary always knew how to shut down negative thinking with a good non-negotiable phrase.  Everyone needs at least one.  I have several!

A few months ago, I was interviewing with a company via Skype in an Au Bon Pain cafe.  It was a second interview with 4 people- one sitting next to me  and the other 3 in New York City.  The interview was going really well and towards the end they asked me to describe a time when I had really messed up in a big way at work and what I did about it.  To be honest I was stumped.  Of course, I have made mistakes in the workplace, but I am very particular about the way I work; constantly double and triple checking my work to make sure that it is on point.

So, I sat there nervous and frustrated with myself, feeling like Winnie the Pooh, “think, think, think,” and I finally said, “I’m sorry.  I honestly can’t think of anything.” Then, I instantly laughed and said, “I’m Mary Poppins! Practically perfect in every way!”   This got a huge laugh! What I said was witty, intelligent, and keen- just like me!

Now, I certainly do not think I’m perfect – no one is; we all make mistakes. However, I am a dedicated, hard-working, amiable individual.  This phrase said just that in a tongue-in-cheek way. It made me undeniable!  Well sort of… Ultimately, I did not get the job, but my gut told me that I was better off.  Nevertheless, every time I recall that moment, I feel amazing, confident, and in full ownership of myself.   Nothing wrong with that!

Different situations call for different non-negotiable phrases, so add a few to your arsenal. A good non-negotiable phrase will shut down inner and outer adversaries as well as give you strength and confidence! So “think, think, think,” about your non-negotiable phrase!

I have the same problem with my purse!

Beware the Whisperer

A few years ago I was living in Chicago on my own for the first time- no parents, no roommates, no boyfriend.  I loved it, but I was in the habit of feeling alienated and annoyed with my life.  (Notice I say “in the habit.”)  One night before I drifted off to sleep, I heard a whisper in my head that said, “I just want to be left alone.”  I realized that I had this thought all the time.  Not only did I think this, I said this phrase probably several times a day and had for a few years.  You see, while I did love being on my own, I was lonely and really wanted a boyfriend and more friends.  It occurred to me that I was alone, because I was putting it out into the Universe several times a day that I wanted to be alone.  Have you done something like this?

The Whisperer is hard to catch, because it is a repetitive thought that you may have had for years.  It often gets crowed in with other thoughts of your day, so you may not even notice that the Whisperer is there. The best time to actually hear it is right before you fall asleep or just as you wake up.  I heard mine this morning say, “I feel like crap.”  I haven’t slept as much as I like, but I certainly don’t feel like crap; I instantly told myself, “I feel good.”  Not a total truth, but a better investment of thought.  I can always get more sleep to feel better, but I knew I would have a terrible day if I let that thought permeate me.   Again, it occurred to me that I’ve been saying this phrase for the last couple weeks.  I’ve been saying this to myself through out the day, to my mother when I talk to her on the phone and to my husband when he asks how I’m doing.  I often suffer from insomnia, which doesn’t leave me in peak condition, but giving power to such a negative thought is certainly not helping matters.

When you catch the Whisperer, draw your sword and lop its head off with the direct opposite thought! It says you’re worthless, you say you’re valuable.  It says you’re depressed, you say you’re full of joy.  It says you’re fat, you say you are fit and healthy.  Be warned the Whisperer’s “head” tends to grow back, so you will need to be vigilant in your opposite message.  Say it over and over again if you must. Your counter points don’t have to be true in the moment, but they will become the truth the more you say them. You may even need to seek a professional’s help to catch all that the Whisperer is saying to you so that you can best combat it.

Finally, if you are having trouble finding the right words to fight the Whisperer, just take a page out of Stuart Smalley’s book…

SOMETHING TO PONDER: by George Carlin

Sometimes I find that someone else can better sum up my feelings on a topic or on life in general.  My friend Dr. Matthew Russell recently posted this on Facebook and I wanted to share it, because I so whole heartly agree with the sentiment.

SOMETHING TO PONDER: by George Carlin

George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.”

Thank you George for getting it right once again.

Aside

Take 10!

At some time or another, we have heard someone say , “Take 10!” when we have been working hard on something.  We know that phrase to mean to take a break. Usually, ten minutes gives you time to get a drink of water, take a few deep breaths, chat with a friend, and/or clear your mind.   That ten minute break releases you from the responsibilities at the time.  There is magic in 10 minutes of time.  While it can help you relax, ten minutes can also get you closer to your goals.

When we want to reach a goal it’s easy to think that we have to spend every waking moment in its pursuit.  That may work at first, but it can become overwhelming in scope and actual execution, especially when you have other responsibilities and commitments.  So take 10.  Give your goal ten minutes of time.  This will not only make the goal seem easier, but it may increase your results.

For example: If you wish write a novel and you are spending 3 hours a day pounding on the keyboard, yet your work is uninspired and ends up in the trash, take 10.  Set a timer and give yourself ten minutes to work on a scene or character. This will focus your work like a laser!  You will have to be clear and concise.  Later you can put your ten minute sessions together and see what you’ve created.  Your work may have changed for the better.  Or let’s say you are trying to exercise more.  Many exercise DVDs start with 45 minute videos.  You may not have that sort of time or trying to do 45 minutes at the beginning may be too daunting causing you to quit exercising.  Take 10!  Do ten minutes of the video, find a DVD that is split into ten minute segments or just go for a  ten minute walk.  It takes the pressure off to know that you only have to exercise for ten minutes.  You may even find that at the end of ten minutes you wish to exercise a bit longer.  Or when learning something new, like playing the piano.  Practicing for ten minutes a day sounds a lot less intimidating than practicing 1 whole hour once a week.

Achieving our goals doesn’t have to be all about getting from A-Z.  It really is more about the sum of its parts and every little piece counts.  So, what could you take 10 on?

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