Archives for the month of: January, 2011

It’s that time of year when the President of the United States delivers his annual address to Congress and the country, reflecting on the reality of where we are now and the direction he plans for us to go over the coming year and beyond.  It’s a snapshot of what’s happening at this point and time in our history; it’s a laundry list of the tasks that lie ahead which is meant to be both specific and visionary.

Since we’re only 25 days into the new year it’s still a good time to think about what you want in the coming 340, so why not take these chilly days to snuggle up with a journal and write a personal state of the union for your life? How are your unique gifts, talents and abilities uniting with your work?  If not utilized in your current job, how you do express them in your everyday life?

How are you connecting and uniting with the people around you – be them family, friends, co-workers or strangers?  How is the internal vision of you are and what you want uniting with the reality of your life at this particular moment? If you could freeze frame your life right now and look at it 10 years from now, what would you think, what would you tweak?  What concrete things do you want to achieve and what is your overall vision for 2011 and beyond?

If you don’t yet have all the answers, a great way to start is by using these questions as a guide, attend the upcoming Visioning Workshop on Feb 5th, or simply give me a buzz and we’ll explore, evaluate, organize and come up with a plan to lobby for and legislate all that you want to accomplish in your own personal corner of the world.  And when you’re done you can do a little dance to the J.Geils Band catchy hit tune which you will then not be able to get out of your head.

“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the most common desires I hear from clients when embarking on a new career or making a transition is that they want to be doing something with meaning, something that helps people.

My approach is to ask them,  “What is the thing that makes you, you? What you are passionate about; when do you lose track of time?” I inquire as to what their fantasy job would be, and very rarely does that answer have to do with becoming a social worker or joining the Peace Corps.

You don’t have to become the next Mother Teresa, Gandhi or MLK to make a difference and live your life in service to others. Perhaps that may be your path, but as Dr. King also said, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” Running for public office or volunteering on a regular basis can certainly fill that role, but service can be expressed in a myriad of forms that aren’t always so obvious or grandiose. Just being yourself and doing your best at YOU allows us to benefit from whatever unique gifts and talents you possess.

When one’s work is done with love and integrity, every job is one of service. MLK day is also about celebrating diversity, which can refer to many things including occupation.  We all have jobs that make the world go round. Whether it’s the super taking care of your building, the bus driver making sure you get to your destination safely, the guy who makes your coffee and bagel every morning, the janitor that cleans the public restrooms you use, the designer of the clothes you are wearing, the comedian that made you laugh last night, the singer whose song you enjoyed on your Ipod, writer whose novel you devoured over the weekend – no occupation is too insignificant, as long as it is done to the best of one’s ability, you can see how any of those people have served you on some level.

And regardless of your job, there is also the service you can provide by smiling at someone when you’re walking down the street, or showing a kindness to a stranger, and notice how for moment you made someone happy or uplifted them in some way.

The thing that I enjoy most and lose track of time doing is talking to folks about their life’s work and helping them make their everyday existence as meaningful and peaceful as possible. I would love the opportunity to help you connect the dots of your life, create more work/life balance and recognize the value in whatever you do,  so just give me a buzz as I am always here, at your service!

Some days you wake up and your computer decides to not work.  A snow storm hits and your flight is canceled or the sanitation department neglects to plow your street. Your internet goes down for three days. There are millions of things each day that are literally out of our control.

A good way to handle situations like these is to know that something positive will come as a result – the saying ‘there are no problems, only opportunities’ is a good mantra to lean on. Being snowed in allows us to catch up on sleep, spend more time with ourselves and/or our family and clean our apartment; having to live unplugged and actually pick up the phone can be refreshing, or the hard drive being replaced solves other mysterious problems the computer was having!

Our goal is to use our time and energy in ways that suit us best when we have the freedom and choice to do so. And when we don’t have that option, it’s about making the best of it because the things we do have control over are our reactions, thoughts, words and deeds in whatever situation we find ourselves in that may or may not be to our liking. Unfortunately in extreme cases where people don’t or are unable to control them, other influences can easily penetrate, and in a worst case scenario can lead to devastating effects like we recently saw in Tucson, the lessons of which we have yet to fully understand.

Over the break I read a book about Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison, and whose tiny cell I saw with my own eyes when I visited Robben Island.  Talk about having a controlled and measured response! Being incarcerated as a famous political prisoner, he could not change his circumstances, but could decide how he maneuvered within them. By doing so he sharpened his character, perceptions and strategy so that when he was freed and went on to govern and unite the country, he was more than prepared to do so, and did it in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness to boot!

One way to take control of your life is by asking for help. Because we live in our heads so much, having an unbiased, supportive person to talk to about where you’re at can give you a fresh perspective and new ideas so that you can respond more effectively to whatever’s happening around you – and it signals to the Universe that you are ready to make changes for the better so it can do its part, too.  Id’ love to be that person, but if not you can always get a hit song like Janet Jackson did back in the day and rock it out…

I recently read that “a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the amount of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” Most people begin a new exercise or other routine in the New Year which can have you feeling sore or out of sorts, and doing this with our patterns of interaction and communication can reap rewards as well.  Like any muscle, growth happens outside of your comfort zone.

Maybe that conversation needs to be with your boss, that contact for your dream gig, your partner, a parent, your neighbor, that cute guy/girl you’ve been eyeing, that celebrity you’d love to talk with, or just putting yourself in a foreign social situation.   But it’s also that honest conversation you need to have with yourself in order to face the reality about your life as it is versus how you’d like it to be; because the one common denominator in your life is YOU, and taking responsibility for why it is the way it is is paramount, if not always pleasant.

The good news is that if you do have a chat with yourself on a regular basis then you can know what changes you need to make to get your life closer to your ideal!

Not quite feeling it?  I say ‘fake it till you make it.’ I’ve also quoted Einstein’s definition in a past post that ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results’ so if things aren’t going your way, why not try a slightly different approach from your usual m.o.? Or you can go whole hog and be like  George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode where he does the exact opposite of what he would normally do, to some hilarious effects and success!

So this year resolve to have those challenging conversations, care less about what people think, try new things without worrying if you’ll look foolish, stand out in a crowd, and be okay with not being perfect. (well, those were some of mine…just insert whatever makes you uncomfortable)

Wondering how to get from here to there? Give me a buzz and I’ll be your personal trainer to stretch those inner muscles, help you have that heart to heart with yourself and make your discomfort as comfortable as possible along the way!

Click here for my 2011 New Year’s Coaching Kick-off!

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