We all have that little voice in our head that trips us up – that makes us feel insecure and unsure about who we are and what we’re doing. It’s no wonder.
We are bombarded with ads and commercials that tell us we’re not good enough, smart enough, sexy enough, or skinny enough. But it’s time we regained our power.
So I’d like to offer you five easy ways to inspire yourself. Putting these steps into your daily practice will not only inspire you, but empower and motivate you like never before.
Here are the 5 steps with brief examples below to get you started:
- Be kind to yourself
- Pay yourself first
- Know that it is more powerful to go towards something rather than away from something
- Trust yourself
- Understand that you don’t need as much as you think you do
Be kind to yourself – here are three easy ways:
- Savor the next bite of food you eat or the next sip of beverage you drink. How does it smell? What does it remind you of? Feel it on your tongue and feel it nourish your body. Even if you’re eating fast food, think of it nourishing your body supplying it with needed energy.
- Hug yourself. Go on – wrap those arms around yourself and give yourself a hug. Breathe in deeply and feel your hands around you. Let go. Repeat as often as necessary.
- List 10 things that make you happy, and try to do at least 3 of them every day.
Pay yourself first. When I was in high school and got my first job, my dad told me to pay myself first. I asked, “Does that mean I can buy that sweater I want from Hudson’s?” “No,” he said. “Then you’re paying Hudson’s first.” That stuck with me. I worked hard for my money and I wanted it to work for me (not Hudson’s).So, I opened a savings account and put $10 of my paycheck in that savings account each pay period. Then I used the rest to pay bills.
“I asked, “Does that mean I can buy that sweater I want from Hudson’s?”
“No,” he said. “Then you’re paying Hudson’s first.”
But isn’t paying bills important and more urgent than saving money? Yes, at times it is. But someone will always hound you to pay bills – you will find a way to pay them. But, no one will hound you to take care of yourself – to save money for your future. You must make that happen. Why? Because this is the most effective, proven way to financial freedom. And when you have financial freedom, you no longer have to work – you can choose more freely what you do each day. And that is a beautiful feeling.
It is more powerful to go towards something rather than away from something. When we think about changing something in our life, many of us say things like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to stop smoking”. What this does is create a kind of void around where we are going – we are running away from weight gain or smoking, but we’re not quite sure where we’re going. What if we told ourselves a different story. For example, what if we said, “I want a healthy, toned body”; or “I want strong healthy lungs”. In going towards a picture of ourselves as healthy, we automatically make better choices. And the rewards will follow.
You don’t need as much as you think you do. Somewhere along the line, we forgot who we are at our core. Big cars, big homes, big bank accounts took over and left us feeling like there should be something else. Something different. Somewhere along the line, we’ve converted curiosity about the world into constant worry about status. We can change this simply by reminding ourselves how blessed we are for what we have.
“We’ve converted curiosity about the world into constant worry about status.”
Watch the sunrise or sunset. Take a walk. Look at the moon tonight. Try something new, or teach one person a skill that you have. It can be anything from baking a cake to learning a computer program or changing the oil in a car. In this way, you are not only reminding yourself that you have something of value to offer others, but you’re bonding with the other person and empowering them in a way that just doesn’t happen otherwise.
The Indigo Girls wrote a powerful song called “The Thin Line”. In it, they sing “Now I’m trying to get back to what I know that I should be. Hoping to God, I was just a temporary absentee”. We’ve all been absent from our own life – we forget who we truly are on a spiritual level, and we let the worries of the world consume and control us. The great thing is that we can change it. And we are changing it – one person at a time. Here’s to your power!
I don’t want to change the world. I don’t care about being famous or flying around the world on a private jet. I just want to be.
I want a loving, healthy relationship, a happy, healthy family, to be debt-free, and I want to own my own home. I enjoy being comfortable. I’m 41 and feel like I’ve earned the right to coast a little bit.
But in this crazy world, my dream sounds boring. In this crazy world, being comfortable and content with your life means you’re not stretching – you’re not trying hard enough – you’re not thinking BIG enough – you’re not enough.
We have to stop.
I feel so very blessed with my life. I have everything I ever hoped for, and I’m happy. I’m not going to be the next Suze Orman or the next Marianne Williamson. But I’m going to be the first ME. And the best way that I know how to do this is to simply be. We can’t keep comparing ourselves to everyone else – we have to remember our own dreams. Focus on our own life – it’s not selfish – it’s essential. Focusing on other people is actually much easier than focusing on our own self.
Build the life that you TRULY want – not the life you think you should want. Along the way, remember to pet the puppy, smell the flowers, and smile at the sky. Just be.
Maybe the goal in life is not to “be happy”, but to “be human”.
To be human is to express all our emotions – anger, sadness, love, pain, fear….
To be human is to fall, is to stumble, to fail. And to keep picking ourself up time after time after time.
To be human is to understand that anger shows us where we are hurt, and tears show us where we have loved.
Every tear we shed has to be shed. Don’t bottle it up. Let it out – time after time after time. We can’t dictate when our grieving ends – only our heart can do this. Let yourself grieve. Let yourself love. Let yourself be.
When we allow ourselves to truly feel the full range of emotions within us – when we cry & kick & laugh & scream – we bring more of who we are into this world. And, yes, that’s a good thing.
As Marianne Williamson said,
“so often we try to hide who we are rather than heal who we are”.
We can heal only by bringing our full self to the table – to show up fully – with all our bruises and all our scars. And to hold ourselves gently, knowing we are growing.
Do you have a project you’re working on, but can’t seem to get it done?
Do you have goals set, but can’t seem to work towards them?
Why is it so hard for many of us to follow-thru on what we say we want? Maybe we’re afraid. Maybe we’re lazy. Or maybe we’re just not really clear on what we want or how to go about getting it.
Here are three simple steps to help you follow-thru on your goals. For the month of March, I encourage you to follow these steps and see what happens. If they don’t work for you, drop them. But at least give it a shot.
Step 1 – Write Your Goals Down – But There’s a Catch
Let’s look at the goal of “losing weight”. First of all, if you want to lose weight, what do you hope to gain from it? In other words, what do you REALLY want?
You probably want to have more energy, be healthier, have more vitality, and maybe fit into an old pair of jeans. So, rather than write “I want to lose xx amount of pounds”, try writing what you really want. Which might sound something like this:
“I want to have more energy, be healthier, have more vitality, and fit into this pair of jeans”.
Ok, so we’re getting a little more clear on what we want.
Step 2 – Write Your Goal Down as Though You’ve Already Accomplished It, and Thank God for Your Blessing
Try this. Instead of writing “I want [goal]”, try writing “I have or I am [goal]”. So, using our example above, you could write:
“I have more energy, I am healthier, I have more vitality, and I fit into my old pair of jeans!” Thank you, God, for this blessing.
Feel the difference? When you state your goals in this way, something magical happens. You begin to feel like you do have more energy; that you are healthier. The following story helps illustrate why this works:
Imagine being in a restaurant and the waiter comes over to take your order.
“I’ll have the filet mignon, please”.
He says, “very good, how would you like that cooked”
You interrupt him and say, “no, you know what, I’ll have the chicken, please”
“ok, very good”
“No, wait a second, could I just have the Caesar salad, please”
By this time the waiter will probably be annoyed with you, and may even mess up the order.
Now, imagine yourself talking to the Universe, and asking for what you want when you don’t really know yourself. No wonder life seems confusing at times – it’s because we are confused.
We can ask for what we want, and, then we can act as if we’ve already attained our goal by focusing on our behavior.
Step 3 – Focus on your behavior not benchmarks
If you focus only on the number on the scale or the number of calories you eat, you are focusing on the benchmark – the goal of losing xx amount of pounds – and that’s not what we want. That’s like a student focusing on grades rather than studying the information in front of her.
Improve your chances of achieving your goal by focusing on your behavior. What do you do every day towards your goal? When you want to reach for a piece of cake or a bag of chips, re-read your goal aloud. Literally say “I have more energy, I am healthier, I have more vitality, and I fit into my old pair of jeans!” Thank you, God, for this blessing.
Maybe get up and walk for 5 minutes repeating this in your mind. (Regardless of your goal, getting up and walking – even for 5 minutes – is an excellent way to improve your energy and introduce new ideas).
When you’re done, if you still want the cake or the chips, then enjoy them. Eat half a piece of cake and savor every bite. Or put a handful of chips in a bowl, close the bag and put it away. Then, enjoy the chips.
Obviously, it’s not wrong to enjoy snacks – in fact, it’s probably wrong not to enjoy them. Because that leads to mindless eating, and mindless eating isn’t what we want.
Behavior is a process – and that process becomes a habit. Focus on the small steps you take every day. Be aware of what you’re eating, and enjoy it in smaller portions than before.
I’m not saying this is easy, but it’s important. Working towards something that we truly want puts a process in motion that brings us more energy, more strength, and more enjoyment in our life. Every outcome we achieve in life is created by a process. These three steps help you develop a new process for yourself that, if followed, will lead to your attaining your goals.
Here’s to living life fully,
Just because you’re not on an African safari, or skydiving, or scuba diving in the South Pacific does not mean you’re living an unfulfilled life.
Real adventure starts within. Real adventure starts with looking inside yourself and discovering the depth of who you are and what you are meant to bring to this world. Real adventure starts right here – right now.
And you don’t have to give up anything to live this life of adventure. You don’t have to give up your day job, or anything that brings you a sense of security. But you do have to have the courage to ask yourself the deeper questions your soul is asking – and, more importantly you must listen to the answers. Then, when you’re ready, you can try.
But, trying is embarrassing. Whenever we try something new, we risk making a fool of ourself. We risk being laughed at by others. We risk failure.
But we risk so much more if we don’t try. And trying something new can be as small as trying a new restaurant or as big as starting your own company. Ultimately, you decide what you would like to try.
As the new year begins, what do you hope to do? What dreams do you have? If you are ready to try something new, I invite you to join me in my class called “Now What – what to do when you’ve done what you should, and are ready to do what you dare.”
Please click here for more information.
(This class is held in-person in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but I will soon be offering a similar class as a teleseminar – details will follow soon).
And, as 2011 comes to a close, and the door to 2012 swings open, I encourage you to take a deep breath, and walk thru that door knowing that this is the year you try something new.
When you’re in a swimming pool, and you really don’t know how to swim, it’s only when you hit the bottom that you can push yourself back to the surface. That’s how life feels sometimes.
How can I change my mind about the world around me and invite a bigger view of the world in.
What do I want to do? What happens if I fail? What happens if I succeed? What happens if I do nothing?
Imagine a full moon. Bright orange, heavy in the sky. It’s one of those moons where you feel you can reach out and touch it. “Wow, look at the moon!” you might exclaim to the person next to you. And they glance, and kind of grunt “yeah”.
Now imagine standing on the beach with the ocean stretching far in front of you. You hear and see the tide coming in….the tide going out. Magnificent. There is something about the ocean tides that help people release all stress. Now imagine the life in that ocean. If you’ve ever been snorkeling or scuba diving, you know there is so much more just beneath the surface that we never see until we make an effort to look.
Now see your breath. In and out. In and out. In tune with the tide.
Many people never even notice a full moon. Some people who live near the ocean take it for granted. We often fail to connect the dots between the life force that keeps the moon in the sky, that causes the tides to go in and out, that allows us to breathe. And we forget to connect those dots with the vision staring back from the mirror each day. It’s in us, too, you know.
“Yeah it’s beautiful”, we might say. Or we may really appreciate it and be in awe. “It’s AMAZING! Wow!” And the next minute we say, “Oh crap, I forgot that deadline, and I still have to do ________ (we can fill in the blank)”.
And so it goes. And so we go.
We wear our pain in the lines on our face; the sometimes far-away look in our eye.
White women are quickly becoming the forgotten gender – except, of course, for sex.
Now that we have a black male President, I think white women have the right to rebel; to throw things; to yell, to punch, to say “what the fuck.”
But we won’t. We’ll keep moving ahead the best we can.
You know who we are. Look in our eyes. We are more alive, more free, and more wild than we appear. But we don’t know how to shake off the air of reserve that we’ve been taught to carry for so long.
The most important first step is to acknowledge every level of your being – be a saint, and love her. Be a slut, and love her. Be a professor, a student, a wife, a mother, a dreamer. BE.
The most empowering book I’ve ever read on this subject is Marianne Williamson’s “A Woman’s Worth” – whom obviously gets all credit for the title of this post.
We are all struggling under the weight of something heavy. Live free and support your fellow women.
Have you ever taken on a task that you didn’t think you could handle?
- Maybe you ran a marathon.
- Maybe you started your own business.
- Maybe you signed your first 30-year mortgage.
Remember the initial fear? How am I ever going to do this? How am I ever going to make it work? Remember all of the obstacles you faced? Remember all the questions you had?
And, of course, there were no answers to these questions. But, there you were, in the deep end of the pool, and all you can do is learn to swim or drown.
What does this have to do with Seinfeld? Do you remember the episode where George Castanza (Jason Alexander) and Jerry are sitting in Jerry’s apartment, and George says, “I think that ginger ale at the coffee shop is just Coke and Sprite mixed together. How can I prove it? (a few seconds pass) Ah! Can’t, dammit.”
So many of us do this. We have an idea, a thought, even a revelation. But, just as quickly, we stamp out that fire. We ask “how”. How am I going to do this? And the dream dies.
One of the most crucial mistakes people make is to give up on something before they’ve given themselves a chance to experience it. It takes time. Go easy on yourself. It’s a new process when you ask yourself new questions or try new things. Think about your favorite food. There was a time when you had never tried it. What if, the next time you go to eat something new and hear yourself say “no, I don’t want to try that”. what if that becomes your next favorite food?
Work thru the “how”. To have a dream is to have obstacles. And yet, so many people with a dream stop at the first sign of road blocks. They seem to think it’s a sign “NO! Don’t do this!” But maybe they are misinterpreting the signals. Maybe obstacles are here to show us how badly we want something. As Steve Pressfield writes in “The War of Art” – “the more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it”.
Use your obstacles as signposts that you’re on the right track. If you want to know how something works, find out. If you want to know how it feels to follow your dreams, find out. Don’t be like George Castanza and simply say you can’t. Find a way to make it happen. You’ll be glad you did.
Is there anything you might be thinking about now that brings up obstacles? What are you doing (or not doing) about it? I’d love to hear from you.
Sometimes I’m afraid of not having enough money. Sometimes I’m afraid of not living up to my full potential. Sometimes I’m afraid of trying to grow my own business.
And yet, I truly believe that my life is blessed (as is all life). I marvel at the baby birds being fed by their parents, and the beautiful flowers in bloom. I believe that I’m guided by a force far greater than the thoughts that are floating around in my head.
But, if I’m truly guided by a force (I call this energy God, but in my mind, this is not a religious affiliation) – If I truly believe this, why am I afraid? Why do I fear anything? Melissa Etheridge sings “where is your faith, and where do you put your fear?” I put my fear in “not being or having enough”. I put my faith in ‘God’. Why do I sometimes feed my fear more than my faith?
What about you? Can you relate?