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.

How to NOT Do It All

Do you feel like you have to do it all? You’re not alone.

There is only so much time in the day. We can’t do it all. You have to pick and choose what you’re gonna focus on.

How do you know what to focus on?  Here are 6 steps to NOT doing it all that worked for me.

Step 1:  Begin with the end in mind.

What do you want to accomplish in life? Literally, in this lifetime?

LIFE IS SHORT. VERY SHORT.

I cannot stress this enough.

You will wake up one day, and it will be over. What will you wish you did more of? Less of?

Let that answer guide ALL of your decisions about where and how to spend your time.

Step 2:  Define SMART goals and focus only on them.

Maybe you want to be a good provider for your family. Maybe that means make millions. Maybe that means make $100k/year. Whatever. The goal has to be SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Actionable
Realistic
Time-Bound

In other words:

If you want to run an online kid’s clothing boutique that generates $100k/yr in net income by Q4 2016.

Then that is your goal. Period.

Everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING ELSE should support that goal.

Does            get you one step closer towards that goal? NO! So don’t do it!

I’m not kidding. DO NOT             UNLESS IT FURTHERS YOUR GOALS.

Now, maybe your goal is to be the most loved, cherished, adored, helpful friend and person on the planet — the person who goes out of their way to help everyone with everything. Maybe you want your tombstone to read:

HERE LIES SALLY. SHE HELPED EVERYONE DO EVERYTHING. THAT WAS HER GOAL.

Just remember that every single thing you do needs to be in support of that goal.

However, don’t assume that you will accidentally also achieve another, secret goal of $100k/yr in net income.

Which brings up another point…

Step 3:  Be honest about your goals.

If you want to be THE leading expert on all things related to belly-button lint, then so be it.

Do not judge your dreams. LIVE THEM.

No one will laDon't Judge Your Dreams. Live Them.ugh at you for following your passion and living your life your way. If they do, tell them to call me, and I’ll set them straight.

In other words…
Don’t create goals because you should or you have to. That’s lame. You will never accomplish lame goals.

Create goals that speak to your heart. Goals must excite you and make you say, WOW, wouldn’t it be cool if I really achieved that?!

HAVE TO Goals sound like:  I need to lose weight.

WOW Goals sound like:  I will lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks and totally rock that killer red dress hanging on my door and treat myself to a night of dancing.

Which brings up another point…

Step 4:  Write down your goals and prominently display them in a place that you see every single day. Or even better, hang it in a place you see every minute of everyday.

Mine are on the bulletin board that hangs over my desk. I literally sit with my nose 24 inches from that bulletin board everyday.

Do your goals stare you in the eyes daily and dare you to achieve them?

Another thing…

Step 5:  You cannot have disparate goals.

It’s ALL got to line up with each other.

Goal #1:  I will become a famous rockstar and tour the world.

Goal #2:  I will be a rockstar mom who takes my kids to school everyday.

Those two goals don’t line up. If you really want to, you can find a way to make it work — maybe the kids and their teacher go on tour with you.
My point: Make sure your goals line up. Work together. No conflicts.

Speaking of no…

Step 6:  No is a complete sentence.

Because our time is LIMITED, you HAVE TO get comfortable with saying NO. It is a complete sentence.
Successful people make it a habit to say no all the time.

One more thing…

I promise if you follow this advice, as you take your last breath and reflect on your life, you will say:

I did it all.

Solve Your Problems Today

Solve Your Problems TodayLearn how your thoughts can change your world this very instant.

The first step in solving your problems today:  Grab a sheet of paper.  Or open the note app on your phone. In 2 minutes, quickly and without really thinking, make a list of everything wrong or unsatisfactory in your life.

Your list might include things like:

  • I was laid off and can’t find work.
  • My colleagues don’t listen to me.
  • My boss is a micro-manager.
  • I never have enough money.
  • My ex-spouse is difficult to deal with.
  • I need to lose weight.

Now, next to the original statement, re-write the statement using the word gifted, so that it is worded like this:

  • My company laid me off.
  • My company gifted me a lay off.
  • I need to lose weight.
  • My body gifted me additional weight.

Think about how these revised statements are true.  You may feel resistance to viewing hardships as gifts.  They don’t feel like gifts.  Force yourself to see how something so horrible could maybe, quite possibly, actually be a blessing.

Maybe your lack of money motivates you to find a higher paying job.

Maybe being over-weight causes you to join a fitness program where you meet the love of your life.

When you look at your hardships as gifts, your perception changes.  When you view problems differently, you are able to see new solutions.  God’s grace is in your ability to see things differently.

Sometimes the hardship doesn’t produce a blessing immediately, but if you look long enough, you will find it.

For just today, don’t think in terms of what someone “did to you” or “gave you.’  In fact, eliminate the verb give from your vocabulary today.  Replace it with the word gifted.

My ex-spouse gifted me with a bad marriage.

Now search inside your self for how that is true.

Always show gratitude for the gifts in your life.  Silently thank the person for their gift.  Now you are on your journey to healing, and solving all your problems. Your life will change the instant you perceive your hardships as gifts, your tormentor as a gift-giver, and practice gratitude for all the above.

Remember — forgiveness is the act of forgiving.  Thank you for giving me this gift.

I’d love to hear from you! How will you solve your problems today?

Escape the Rat Race Now

Do you fantasize about escaping the rat race?  You’re not alone.

Jennifer, a highly educated & successful woman in her late-30s, expresses a desire to escape the rat race.  She dreams of abandoning corporate life and starting her own company.  However, she believes she has a stable job at a reliable company making good money.  She is afraid of losing that stability.

She debates things like:

    1. Financial concerns — How will I pay the bills?  How will I manage without group healthcare?  What if I lose my life savings?
    2. Failure — What if no one wants to buy what I’m selling?  What if I’m a horrible entrepreneur?  What if this business idea stinks?
    3. Other people — What will my parents think?  My spouse?  My colleagues?  Will I burn a bridge and never be able to return to corporate life?

All great questions and valid concerns.  Anyone in her shoes would have these questions.

Let’s consider:

  1. How stable is the job, really?
  2. How high-paying is the job, really?
  3. Of what are you really afraid?

Our perceptions either limit or enable our dreams.

Jennifer earns a healthy 6-figure income.  By most accounts, that is a high-paying job.  She works at a Fortune 100 company that has been in business for decades.  She assumes the company has a long future ahead of it, and so does she.

If Jennifer had a crystal ball, she would see the company’s industry shrinks over time.  And a recession hits.  The company fails, merges with a competitor, and drastically reduces headcount.  She is laid-off.

Escape the Rat Race

The crystal ball would show Jennifer that her salary is minor compared to the revenues she would generate with her own company.  More importantly, she would see the lives she positively impacts with her new company.

She’s still not willing to part with the golden handcuffs.  Her fears and perceptions limit her dreams.  Until she learns to follow these 6 steps to escape the rat race.

 

6 STEPS TO ESCAPE THE RAT RACE

STEP 1:  Remove the perception blinders.

What do you know is true?  How do you know this?  People used to perceive the world is flat, and it isn’t.  Don’t assume that if you perceive you have a stable, high-paying job, that you actually do.  Always question your perceptions.  Make sure they are serving you — not the other way around.  Don’t become a slave to your perceptions or beliefs.

 

STEP 2:  Believe in yourself.

It’s really that simple.

If you believe in yourself, an entire world of possibilities opens up.  If you are passionate about your dream, then believe you can do it, and you will.

Your dreams are the map to your future.  What you truly desire, you can create.  God (or whichever Supreme Being you believe in) planted those seeds in you for a reason.  You are uniquely talented and qualified to pursue your dreams.  If not you, then who?

Your dreams hint at your life purpose.  The future is waiting on you to fulfill your destiny and live the life you came to Earth to live.

So if deep-down you want to be a successful entrepreneur, then why not believe that you will?

 

STEP 3:  Develop an action plan.

Create a 30-60-90 day action plan.  Define what specific steps you will take in the next 30, 60, and 90 days to reach your goal.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  I recommend using Excel or MSProject, but you could easily use the back of an envelope.  What’s important is that you think through steps to get you to the goal.  And write them down.  So you can hold yourself accountable.

As Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”  What do you want to accomplish in the next 90 days?  Maybe in 90 days you want to have an executable exit strategy.  Maybe in 91 days from now, you want to be on the first day of self-employment.

No goals is wrong as long as it is SMART.  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, & Timely.  An example of a well written goal:  Lose 5 pounds in 30 days by exercising 4 times per week & reducing calories.  A poorly written goal:  lose weight.

Be sure to reward yourself when you reach your milestones.  As organizational behavior guru Dr. John Slocum says, “What gets measured and rewarded, gets done.”

You may also want to determine exactly how much money you really need to live on.  Strip down to the bare necessities.  Do you really need 300 cable channels?  Can you move to a location with a cheaper cost of living?  Sometimes you have to take 2-steps backward to take a huge leap forward.

 

STEP 4:  Analyze your fears.

What fears are blocking you from achieving your dreams?  Make a list.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and brainstorm a list of fears.  What are all the things that keep you from making the leap?  Be honest.  Ask your spouse, friends, trusted advisers to review the list.  Did you miss anything?

Create a risk mitigation plan.  It’s helpful to use Excel.  In the first column, make a list of all your fears and all the things that could go wrong (aka risks).

In the 2nd column, define the risk as high, medium, or low probability of happening.  Usually you will discover few risks have a high probability of actually happening.  This little fact alone will help minimize your fears.

In the 3rd column, define the steps you will take if the fear (aka risk) becomes a reality.

Now, you have a concrete plan to use in a moment of crisis.  Or analysis paralysis.

 

STEP 5:  Don’t be afraid to execute.

Don’t get analysis paralysis.  Don’t get hung at dreaming and not doing.  Stick to the plan.

Hold yourself accountable.  Tell a mentor, friend, or spouse your plan, and ask them to hold you accountable.

Create a motivational credo — such as Rat Race Escape Winner or Best Rat Race Escapee!  Make copies of the credo and place it so you frequently see it, i.e., bathroom mirror, car dashboard, refrigerator, etc.

When in doubt or afraid, do something.  Any little thing to move you in the direction of your goal is better than nothing.  Determine a company name.  Buy the domain name.  Fill out the necessary forms to establish a sole proprietorship or LLC.  Make a business plan (find templates on-line).  When the Negative Nancy voice in your head starts talking, any small step toward your goal will help quiet her.

 

STEP 6:  Belief + Faith + Trust

The holy trinity of success is believing you can and having faith and trust in God when you can’t.

 

I know these 6 steps to escape the rat race work because I lived it.  Jennifer is me.

 

I want to hear from you! Tell me your plan to escape the rat race.


About Christine Boudreau:  From trailer park to country club, Christine’s history proves you can beat the odds and achieve great success.  Today, she leads high-potential people through growth, change, and transition to accomplish goals and reach their maximum effectiveness.  For more information about her, read Christine’s Bio.