The Power of Fancy-Schmancy Things

I go to work. I open a new Word document.

And lose a stare-down contest with a blank page.

My stomach curls into knots.

Über famous marketing genius and all around smarty pants, Seth Godin, says he never gets writers block. He says no one ever talks about getting talkers block. He writes the way he talks. So he never gets blocked.

But I’m stuck. I get another Diet Dr Pepper.

Still nothing.

Then I realize I have some laundry to do. Maybe if I physically move, I’ll come up with something to write.

Anxiety gnaws at me like an arthritic knee. I wring my hands. I click my favorite clicky pen.

Clickity click. Clickity click. Clickity.

Click.

Click.

Click.

Will it be good enough? What if no one cares what I have to say? Hasn’t it already been said before?

Sigh.

I shudder under piles of work. I must write articles, blog posts, newsletters, chapters, sentences, words, thoughts, ideas. Good ideas. Smart ideas. Ideas people feel inspired by. Ideas people want to share.

Are my ideas worth sharing? My frustration crushes me as I worry about my inadequacies.

And it’s not even 9am!

I need something.

More Dr Pepper?

A life coach?

 

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

One of my favorite tools is Dr. Gloria Willcox’s Feelings Wheel. She organizes 72 feelings into a pie chart of sorts and buckets them into these 6 groups:  sad, mad, scared, joyful, powerful, and peaceful.

Looking at the Feelings Wheel here, you see how a feeling like embarrassed is really about feeling insecure, which is really about feeling scared.

I further deconstruct Dr. Willcox’s entire wheel into only 2 emotions: love and fear.

In other words, all of the sad, mad, and scared feelings are actually just fear.

All of the joyful, powerful, and peaceful feelings are actually love.

Think about that for a minute.

At the root of all of your feelings are two things:  fear or love.

In other words, every single feeling comes from either fear or love.

Yep.  Every.  Single.  Feeling.

Let’s say you’re jealous because your friend has a fancy-schmancy house/car/job/fill-in-the-blank. If you peel back the onion of jealously, you find what’s hiding underneath is selfishness. If you peel back selfishness, you find anger. And anger masks fear.

You’re not jealous of your friend, you’re afraid you’ll never have a fancy-schmancy house/car/job/fill-in-the-blank. And you’re afraid if you don’t have that thing, no one will like you.

In other words, you’re afraid you’re not good enough without that fancy-schmancy thing.

Don’t let that scare you.

Fear is nature’s way of alerting you to potential dangers.

Fear protected you during caveman days by detecting real dangers like lions, tigers, and bears.

Today, feelings still sense risk, but sometimes most of the time the risks aren’t all that real.

Like being afraid your writing is horrible, and no one will read it. Or feeling embarrassed about your dream job, so you don’t pursue it.

Next time you feel jealous, stupid, or embarrassed, ask yourself what are you afraid of?

 

Running with Love

Fear is a great motivator.  It forces you to run away from something, like a hungry lion.

But only love moves you to run toward something.

And therein lies the beauty of the Feelings Wheel: The thin line separates love from fear.  It is two sides of the same coin.

Do you buy a fancy-schmancy new house out of fear (afraid you won’t by admired by certain people) or love (the architecture and large backyard remind you of summers at Grandma’s)?

Do you choose a career because you’re afraid if you don’t, your parents/peers/society won’t approve? Or do you choose the career because it’s what you love to do and is an expression of your soul?

Any time you make choices based on fear, love gets pushed aside.

 

When love gets pushed aside, God gets pushed aside.

The more time you spend in fear-based feelings, the further you are from God.

Because emotions are energy. Energy vibrates. Fearful emotions vibrate at a lower frequency. Loving emotions vibrate at a higher frequency.

God and angels vibrate at the highest frequency – love.

If you want to connect with God and angels, you gotta get on their wavelength and vibrate at the highest frequency. The more time you spend in the higher emotions, the closer you will be to higher powers.

In her book My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor, says, “…when we feel intense negative emotions like anger, jealousy, or frustration, we are actively running complex circuitry in our brain that feels so familiar that we feel strong and powerful.”

She also says, “I learned that I had the power to choose to hook into a feeling and prolong its presence in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.”

She describes that an emotion physiologically runs through our bodies in 90 seconds.

Next time you feel a negative emotion bubble up, pause and allow it to find its way out of your physical system. Then choose to replace it with kind, loving thoughts.

Or said another way:  You choose your emotions; they don’t choose you. You own the power of decision. If you want to feel excited, then choose to feel that way. If you want to feel scared, then feel that way. It doesn’t matter which emotion you choose – as long as you realize it’s you who does the choosing.

Sort of.

 

The Devil Made Me Do It

There’s two voices in your head constantly battling for power – ego and spirit. Devil and angel. The historical battle of good vs evil lives in the daily minutia of your choices.

Fear is nothing more than the ego at work. Ego is the boss of the lower emotions.

When you feel fear, let it be a red flag that ego is driving your decisions.

Ego never once gave anyone good advice.

Ego loves to spend time on the fear side of the Feelings Wheel. For example, the more ego keeps you focused on depression, shame, and guilt, the less your spirit gets to come out and play.

Ego does not want your spirit to play.

Because when your spirit is in charge, life seems breezier. Easier. Less stressful. Emotions like content, trusting, hopeful, and energetic emerge. When you spend time on the love side of the Feelings Wheel, ego loses.

Ego hates to lose.

So it tells you things like your writing is terrible, and no one will read it. It tells you that your dreams of becoming a commercial airline pilot died with your youth. It tells you that you better keep that miserable job you hate so you can afford that European Rover you can’t afford.

It’s smart that way.

But you’re smarter.

You’re reading this.

Which tells me that my writing isn’t that crappy.

And fear is a big, fat liar.

So next time you feel fear, tell ego thanks, but no thanks.

Feel the fear, but run with love toward that thing you want.

It will be waiting with open arms.

And if you’re lucky, a Diet Dr Pepper.

Best Darn Company to Work For (Or How to Lead from the Edge)

Best Company to Work For or How to Lead From the EdgeEDS was the best darn company I ever worked for.  Until it wasn’t.

It was 1998.

Ross Perot left the building, but his boys still ran the show.  Which was good. Because they learned from Ross and knew how to do things.

Big, important things.  Like lead the biggest jail break in history.

And other stuff like create an entire industry where none existed.

I led a team of people in a hot, new department that built websites on this new invention called the internet. We were a group of young, smart, and ambitious idiots.

And none of us knew how to convert a business to the web.

But neither did our clients.  So like all good consultants, we pretended to be a page ahead of them in the textbook.

A textbook that hadn’t been written.

We had to write one.  And fast.

Because this internet thing was proving to be more than just a fad.  Companies were anxious.  This was a new kind of old.  The Wild West Web.  And businesses clamored to claim their stake in the great www land grab.

Slurpees + Panty Hose

I conducted a meeting with all the do-ers on our side, all the do-ers on their side, plus all of the executive do-ers.  We met in the conference room, over-looking the helipad, with powerfully important leather chairs and granite table tops.

The conference room over-looking the helipad signaled this was THAT kind of meeting.  Like prom but for corporate people.

It was a meeting of the minds of two Fortune 100 companies.  They brought their geniuses.  We brought ours.

Our goal:  To translate a century-old bricks and mortar name-you-would-totally-know convenience store to the web.  It was ground-breaking.  It was historical.

It was ridiculous.

I asked the important client muckity-muck to kick-off the meeting with a few words about their over-arching direction and vision.

He said, “The site needs to be cool, crazy, and sexy.”  And with that, he packed up his belongings and walked out of the meeting.  From the hall he shouted, “And it needs to sell Slurpees and panty hose.”

Back in My Day

In those days, basic components of a website – shopping carts, checkout, tax calculations, graphical user interface (GUI), navigation – didn’t exist.  There was no website to go to where you could download a website in 2 minutes.  No web-in-a-box to build upon.

Google had not even learned how to eat solid foods yet.  It was only 2 months old.

We did things the old-fashioned way:  A combination of fake-it-til-you-we-make-it, guessing, duct tape, bubble gum, and big boy pants.

The Edge Cuts Til You Bleed

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re doing, and there is no manual to follow.  No one’s done it before.  You are on the cutting edge.

Heck, you define the edge.

How do you lead when you’re at the edge?  More importantly, how do you become the best damn company to work for — from the edge?

Step 1:  Admit you’re an idiot.  Don’t lie about what you don’t know.  Admitting weakness is not a weakness.  Truth builds trust and shows you know yourself.

Step 2:  Be prepared to look stupid.  You are human.  All humans, at some point, look stupid.  No sense in pretending you are the one human who does not have the stupid gene.

Step 3:  Know your strengths and weaknesses, conduct a SWOT, create a gap analysis, run a regression test, and all other things they teach you in B-school.  File it in the circular file for later use.

Step 4:  Get comfortable with discomfort.  Ambiguity is your friend.

Step 5:  Ask for help.  From the customers.  Not your client, but the customer.  AKA the end user.  They are the only people who know anything.

Step 5.5:  Listen.  To your gut.  To the customer.  To the competitors.  To Sally in Accounting.  Especially to Sally in Accounting because she hasn’t been part of the discussion.  She has fresh ideas from outside the box.

Step 6:  Brainstorm every possible solution.  Promptly throw all those solutions in the trash.  Brainstorm all other possible solutions.  Dig out of the trash the first round of solutions.  Implement the first idea.  It was the best one.

Step 7:  Convince everyone you have the solution, and you know everything. Broadcast to your competitors that you wrote the book and won the Nobel, Pulitzer, Heismann, and received a Purple Heart.  Tell everyone that Famous Celebrity will play you in the movie.  This builds your ego, which you need for Step 12.

Step 8:  Practice saying, “It depends.”  The consultant’s answer to everything.

Step 9:  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Leading from the edge means that you are, well, on the edge.  As in the edge of a cliff, which can be a scary place.  Make friends with fear.  Make decisions to do things no one has done before.

Step 10:  Do not get comfortable.

Step 11:  Find all analogies.  While this particular thing has never been done before, humans have been around a long time.  Something like it has been done before. Figure out the parts that are similar to some pre-existing thing and learn from that.

Step 12:  Never doubt for one minute that you can do it.  You absolutely can do it.  You will find away.  No one goes home until you do.  Like that scene in Apollo 13 when the engineers have to determine how to remove the carbon dioxide from the Lunar Module using parts thrown on the table.

Step 13:  Do not build the solution – or your business – based on Wall Street’s opinion of you, your business, your solution, your customer, or your end user.  Because when you do, you won’t lead any great jailbreaks or create industries where none existed.  You’ll die a slow death where your employees bleed every last ounce of creativity out the veins of Wall Street’s greed.

47 Life-Changing Books Christine Loves

47 Life-Changing Books That Will Move You to a Higher Shelf

These 47 life-changing books honestly changed my life. They are a must-read. I absolutely adore each and every one as if they were my own children.

They have inspired me, forced me to look in the mirror, and increased my awareness.

Some chewed me up, spit me out, and taught me what life is all about.

Some were wise. Some were kind. All of them evolved my mind. 

47 Life-Changing Books Christine LovesI can’t say I have a favorite. I can’t say exactly which one you should start with. It depends where you are in life and which problem vexes you at the moment.

Some were written decades ago, yet their meaning and lesson are still relevant today.  Like A Course in Miracles.  It is by far the longest book on this list, but don’t let that intimidate you. Even if you skip around and read bits and pieces, it will profoundly affect your life.

You’ll learn key life-lessons from children’s books without any words, like Zoom by Istvan Banyai. It is deep and insightful. Powerful and moving. It shows you how perception changes the meaning of everything.

The astonishing photography in The Art of the Snowflake brings to life that indubitably no two snowflakes are alike. It underscores the fact that if something so simple as frozen water is beautiful, complex, and intricate, then we as humans are equally fascinating.  A great book to peruse when you doubt the magic in everyday things.

If you want to dissect your fears and expose your vulnerability, start with Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown.

In The Luck Factor, psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman puts luck under a scientific microscope for the very first time, examining the different ways in which lucky and unlucky people think and behave. Remarkable studies + fascinating finds. I love his last name is Wiseman. Is that luck?

Lynne McTaggart proves there is a conscious interconnected energy field that rules all life in The Field. Maybe we should call it God. I don’t care. All I know is that I’m ALWAYS seeking proof (damn left brain!), and this book has LOTS of it. It will satisfy the most data-hungry of you.

If you’re a writer & haven’t read War of Art by Steven Pressfield, shame on you. If you’re a human & haven’t read War of Art, tsk, tsk. This book provides invaluable lessons on how to keep your ego in check & your spirit in the driver’s seat. A must-read for any creative-type, real or wannabe.

In Proof of Heaven, Dr. Eben Alexander, a highly intelligent Harvard neurosurgeon, is convinced God doesn’t exist and near-death experiences (NDE) are fantasies. Until he has an NDE and meets God. Of course he does. I suggest renaming this book to: Proof of God Appreciating Irony.

I won’t go into detail on all 47.  How about you?  What are your favorite life-changing books?

  1. Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh
  2. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  3. Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  4. Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  5. Zoom by Istvan Banyai
  6. Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  7. Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
  8. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
  9. Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  10. Jesus Life Coach by Laurie Beth Jones
  11. The Path by Laurie Beth Jones
  12. You’ll See it When You Believe It by Wayne Dyer
  13. Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
  14. Peace from Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant
  15. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  16. Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  17. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  18. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander
  19. Map of Heaven by Eben Alexander
  20. My Stroke on Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor
  21. A Course in Miracles
  22. A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
  23. Illuminata by Marianne Williamson
  24. Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson
  25. Anatomy of Spirt by Caroline Myss
  26. The Field by Lynne McTaggart
  27. The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart
  28. Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  29. Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Marcus Buckingham
  30. The Power of Validation by Karyn Hall & Melissa Cook
  31. The Snowflake by Ken Libbrecht
  32. The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto
  33. The Afterlife Experiments by Gary Schwartz
  34. The Energy Healing Experiments by Gary Schwartz
  35. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
  36. Founding Fathers on Leadership by Donald Phillips
  37. Many Lives Many Masters by Brain Weiss
  38. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  39. Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
  40. The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking
  41. Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
  42. Living Buddha Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh
  43. Be Here Now by Ram Dass
  44. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  45. What Should I Do with My Life by Po Bronson
  46. Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser
  47. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Bonus Books:

  1. The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron
  2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  3. How to Practice by Dalai Lama
  4. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnatch
  5. Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
  6. Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss

How to Find Patience Now

How to Find Patience NowHas anyone ever got on your nerves?  Does your mother-in-law criticize your cooking?  Maybe your boss micro-manages you too much?  Is your daughter’s teacher is difficult to deal with?  If you’ve ever needed to find patience, then you’ll want to know…

The secret to tolerance:  Remember that we’re all doing the best we know how.

Someone’s best might be your worst.  And vice versa.

Find compassion for people who can’t operate at the level you need them to – when you need them to.

Whatever the situation — your job is to remember we are all wounded.  We all carry some pain.  Try to see people for the pain they carry versus the pain they cause you.

Love them through the discomfort.  Love yourself too.  Because you are only doing the best you know how.

Maya Angelou reminds us:  When you know better, you do better.  And sometimes having knowledge gives you the responsibility to lead others.  How can you teach what you know to others?  What have you learned of your own pain?

Perhaps you know the 3Cs — Catch It, Challenge It, and Change It.  If not, read my blog post 3 Steps to Drop a Bad Habit for Good to learn more.

One thing is certain:  Every relationship (good/bad, long/short, loving/painful) is an exchange of energy between two people.  Every exchange of energy carries with it the opportunity to heal.

When you exchange energy with someone — whether it feels like tension, friction, or compassion — can you leave that person with more positive energy than you take away?

If you’re always giving, then the teaching & the healing takes care of itself.  For everyone.

You have the power to heal others.  Not only with your deeds and actions, but more importantly, with your thoughts.

Ask:  If this person is behaving the very best they know how, what can I do to show them a better way?  Maybe a smile, a hug, or just a silent thought.  A prayer for peace and happiness to be found.  A prayer to resolve + evolve.

Put aside your ego (wants, needs, and expectations).  Simply observe.  Maybe ask what’s going on deep down inside.  Then just listen.

Share with them an article that helped you see things differently.  The definition of miracles is to see things differently.  How can you create miracles for someone today?

How will you find patience today?

There’s a reason you’re reading this today.  Everything has a purpose.  Be yours.