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.

But for the Grace of God Go I

But for the grace of God go ITime is measured in many ways.  By the breaths we take, the lives we affect, the pages we turn on the calendar…

Grace visits us in the largest and smallest of moments. Grace is the pause before the sigh. The hope beyond the suffering.

As my step-sister, Judy, nears the end of her battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she writes:

“Well, folks, the guess work is over, kinda. In 2005, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s MALT Lymphoma and went through all of the scary stuff that goes with it. Now in Grace Personifieda very tragic but enlightening way, after 9 years, my lungs and my spleen are covered with tumors that are going to be my end.
Not to worry, I have grand plans and am looking forward to the adventure that I’m about to embark on.
Believe me when I say that I am not loony, I am scared of pain and panic, just not my trip. I felt sure this would be the best time to talk of this because tonight starts the morphine and loopy drugs.
I have appreciated each and every one of you. You have brought so many oohs and aws and laughs and tears. I don’t know you all personally but, I feel a kinship.”

There is a certain clarity that is demanded of us when the physicality of life begins its end.  No one knows that lucidity like those who travel that journey.  As spiritual leaders, they personify grace, courage, and faith. We find inspiration in their words, as they find peace in their hearts.

Like the poetic words of Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet:
“…In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity….”

Judy graces us with the reminder that while she now measures time in hours, eternity is but seconds away.

May God bless her as she crosses-over, hold her in His arms, and remind her that she is forever.

For those who have loved and lost, may every shining star that glows in every night sky remind you how bright your loved ones are.

The Secret to Success: I Failed

The secret to success is found in failures.

I built a long list of accomplishments over the years. The secret? An even longer list of failures. My discovery: the secret to success is found in failures.

My list of failures is so long I can list them both alphabetically and chronologically.  And that is simply the secret to success.

Honestly, I’m not really good at succeeding. But I’m great at failing. And it just so happens success is a fabulous and accidental by-product of failure.

Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before he invented the light bulb. History is crowded with amazing talents — from Henry Ford to Michael Jordan — who failed miserably before skyrocketing to success.

It’s difficult to talk about failure because it exposes our vulnerabilities. How ironic that we feel shame about the very thing that leads to our success. Often times, our society rewards success and belittles failure.

One of my favorite success stories, James Altucher, candidly writes about his long list of failures. We should all be so vulnerable. Our stories connect us. You admitting failure gives me permission to do the same.

I often tell my son, who wants to be a computer scientist when he grows up, that the secret to success does not necessarily include a college degree. In fact, I tell him that he does not need to graduate from college. He needs to dropout after his first year because that’s what the really successful guys did (Gates, Zuckerberg, Dell, Jobs).  Seems those guys know a thing or two about the secret to success.

Sometimes failure is helpful because it means you took a risk and put yourself out there. Failure can indicate you stretched yourself a little too far. Maybe inherent to failure is the willingness to take risks. Taking risks leads to all kinds of opportunities. Opportunities lead to success.

Sometimes failure is helpful because it means you hated what you were doing so much that you purposely sucked at it. That’s ok. Because you learned what you don’t like. Which hopefully led to something you like.

Secret to Success: I Failed & Why You Should Too | Christine Boudreau

Sometimes you feel like a failure even though maybe you aren’t. I often felt like a huge failure when I was working on my masters degree, holding down a demanding full-time job, and raising my one-year old son. I continuously felt like I was either failing my boss, my family, or my professors.

I’m currently in the process of writing my first book. (Yay!) It is something my soul has wanted to do since as far back as I can remember. I battle my doubts, fears, and insecurities at every step. Sometimes I fail, the demons win, and I don’t touch the keyboard for days.

Failing is just part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Know success is right around the corner. The trick is persistence. Get back on the horse.

I work hard at trusting and having faith in God. Believing there is reason for everything. Trusting this is my purpose, my calling, and the work God intends for me to do. I remind myself to “let go and let God.” Which I fail at a lot.

Have you ever failed at anything? I’d love to hear your story!