'If' is one of my favorite words.
'If' lives in the land of possibility, creativity, imagination.
'If' creates space.
'If' is non-confrontational, non-threatening, a white flag in the sea of battles fought in our minds.
'If' is the question I ask of myself when I want to create more, learn more, see more, BE more.
'If' is the question I ask my clients when they are feeling stuck and they just can't seem to see their own answers staring them in the face.
"If' takes us out of absolute truths we've convinced ourselves are true and allows us to see other paths.
IF you were to have the support you needed, what would you be able to create? IF time weren't an issue could you get this done? IF you knew what to do next, what do you think that step would look like? IF this project succeeds, how would that feel? IF this project fails, what would be the worst thing that would happen? IF there were no way to fail, what would you create? IF I were given a really great Kate Spade bag for Christmas, what color would it be? (okay the last one was for the benefit of any family who might be reading this…. and it'd be green).
"I wonder IF I could make that" precedes most of my jewelry making and what if is the question I asked prior to publishing my magazine, launching a new site and 10,000 other things I've created in my life.
'If' opens us up to unlimited potentiality.
Allow yourself to practice childlike curiosity and ask yourself 'if'…
Last week one of the most amazing coaches and mentors, Debbie Ford, died. Debbie Ford has been a driving force in the world of self growth, specializing in her Shadow Work and her most recent book Courage about her process driven approach to conquering our fears, accepting our flaws and tapping into our potential. And here's the thing - it was published at a time when she needed more courage than ever - in the middle of her 2 year fight against Cancer.
It brings tears to my eyes when you think that this person who has conquered so much in her life and has taught millions of people to step up and love themselves and shine was in the background suffering.
Every day we are confronted with hundreds of choices that either make us feel confident and strong or rob us of the things we desire the most. When we lack confidence, we feel unworthy of having what we want, of speaking the truth, of making decisions that improve our lives. When we feel weak, helpless, or powerless, we lack the strength to ward off the thoughts of defeat, negativity, and fear that fill our minds and prevent us from moving forward and living in harmony with our deepest desires.
For decades, Debbie Ford has been helping people break free from the emotional baggage that has held them hostage. In Courage, Debbie Ford provides a life-altering path to discovering confidence and authentic self-expression. By learning to accept all of who we are, including our histories, our flaws, our misgivings, our weaknesses, and our fears, we discover that what keeps us stuck and feeling weak is nothing more than an illusion of the past. By showing us how to be confident, stand in our strength, and feel great about ourselves, a new self emerges with the power to accomplish anything. Introducing seven guiding principles, Ford expertly leads readers out of the common pitfalls of fear and insecurity and into the strength, power, and freedom of a courage that has been present all along.
She was in fact coaching what she knew intimately which is why her messages made such an impact. They were authentic and tested. You knew that if it worked for her it could work for you.
Even after a lifetime of teaching her calling her life was not perfect. And neither is yours, or mine or all of the other people that we compare ourselves to each and every day. "I want to be just like her" will never happen because what you want to be like is the public persona. It's not reality. Like Debbie they can just as easily be in the background suffering.
Things in our life derail even the enlightened.
And we have two choices: Keep putting on the face that you have it all together or draw on the pain and the mistakes and the Shadows like Debbie did and teach from that space. Learn from that space.
Thank you Debbie Ford, Queen of Shadow Work, for your inspiration that I hold in my heart and in my coaching practice.
You can find more stories about Debbid Ford here.
I totally give you permission to mess up your business, to take chances even if they might fail.
I give you permission to stop and look around and get rid of the stuff that's just not working. Just let it go and move on.
I give you permission to work from bed or to rock your good heels in the grocery store, to wear plaid with polkadots or white after labor day.
I give you permission to have good days and bad days. Heck, I give you permission to have good minutes and bad minutes.
I give you permission to hug your babies even if they're too cool to be hugged in public.
I give you permission to laugh at inappropriate moments and to stay in when you're feeling like reading.
I give you permission to succeed. The real kind of success - the kind that you feel in your heart that will sustain you and make you happy.
I give you permission to over use exclamation marks and underuse commas!!!!!!!!
I give you permission to celebrate every moment of every day, shamelessly being proud of everything you do to make your world and the worlds of those around you brighter and better.
I give you permission to be YOU - completely authentically unapologetically messed up gorgeous you (without a single comma in the group!).
Anything else you need permission to do or be? I give you permission to ask yourself for it. Because you don't really need anyone else's permission to do or BE anything.
Oprah says, "Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher." And it's so true but it's something I stumble with all of the time. There was a time when I was absolutely everywhere - I was at all the local events and online on every social network all of the time. I accepted every Facebook friend request, followed back on Twitter and took business cards from people whose services I would never need. Why? Actually, I have no idea. I guess it felt good to have large numbers of contacts, like I was validated and popular.
And then one day I realized as I was flipping through my streams that I didn't like most of the posts. There were complaints and political rants, senseless negativity and humor that was not humorous. I don't even want to go into the GIF posters. So I began the process of unravelling all that I had built. 1,000+ connections on LinkedIn and I realized that I hated using the site. It made me tense and felt like a task I 'had' to do. So I deleted my account and it felt so freeing! I had no idea that having my energy was being tied up in something so silly was a giant waste of my resources. It wasn't lifting me up and deleting felt like an anchor being cut off.
What else was dragging me down? I started looking at my stream differently. Every time I saw a post I didn't like or a person pop up that made me feel less than happy I deleted, removed, unfriended or muted. I was a total post Nazi. I started following people who inspire me, not just businesses that wanted me to like them, friends or no. I asked myself if what the person was delivering was something that would lift me up, add value to my life, make me smile just to see their name.
The energy I put into my brain is the energy that can be used to make my life amazing - or it can be the energy that drags me down. It's a choice.
I'm not obligated to be friends with anyone or to read or see anything that doesn't move me. I control my stream - me, it's my stream and I choose to be lifted.
One of my clients said to me that one of her biggest struggles was because "Life is really unpredictable and I'm not a spontaneous person". Deep breath there because you know what? She's right. Very few of us can go with the flow all of the time... most of us try to control the path we're on, change the course of our day, resist change and shy away from the unexpected. So today's blog was my response to her... I figured it could help a couple of you control freaks (like myself) out there too :)
Life IS totally unpredictable - there is absolutely NO way that it will ever meet your expectations. Sometimes I will go over a conversation in my head, one that hasn't even happened, and I expect a specific outcome and when the conversation happens it is always different. That's part of life. But it is unsettling. So here's something you can do that can start helping.
Set aside a portion of your day that is completely controlled and non-negotiable. It can be as little as 15 minutes where you know exactly what to expect and the results are the same all of the time. It's like a little routine, perhaps it's even one that you already do but don't notice. When I shower I do things in the exact same way every time - I wash my hair, then my face, then I put on my conditioner, wash my body, shave arms then legs, exfoliate my feet, rinse off the conditioner. It is something I can control. It's predictible and stable and steady. You probably have tons of routines that you do each and every day that you don't pay any attention to.
It's about the intention behind the little habits you have - instead of just going through the routines, do them intentionally and with purpose. Because here's the thing - life will always throw you curve balls so you have to have periods of time for your brain to feel in control, to know what to expect. And once you start intentionally giving yourself things that you control then the un-planned things are less jarring because you have basically created a nice solid stable core, a foundation where you know the outcome. You can say to yourself "I know that the rest of my day may turn out topsy turvy but right now I'm comfortable knowing what to expect."
In this way, our habits become the very things that set us free. So.... down below in the comments section, tell me about one route or habit that you do daily - you probably don't even think about doing it - and then do it today with purpose, like it's something special and see if that doesn't make a small difference in your day...
I have a pet peeve - okay I have a few: toilet paper that's been hung backwards, people who shout on their cell phones in the store, bags of chips that haven't been closed. Those are just a few. But my biggest pet peeve (with the toilet paper thing a close, close second) is the statement "I don't have time". I have written about it before and I will write about it again because it bugs me that much. That much x10,000.
If you were to ask me what the #1 excuse women give for not doing something it would be that one sentence "I don't have time". Tell me that you love to read but you don't have time to because your life is just so busy and my bull-shit-o-meter goes off like fireworks on the 4th of July. Tell me you want to start a business but you're already working 65 hours a week for 40 hours of pay and you just don't have the time and I have to tell you that you're lying.
You're lying to yourself if you think you'd do something if only another magical hour appeared in your day.
You're lying to yourself if you think that the reason you aren't doing something is because you truly don't have the time.
You have the time. You're just CHOOSING to spend it on something else. And if you truly madly wanted something, you would find the flipping time - and you'd find it in the same 24 hours that you just said were too full.
See what you spend your time on really is up to you. No excuses, no boundaries - just your choices. Even spending time to go to the bathroom is a choice - one I fully support by the way, much better than going where you stand. And the minute we change our relationship with our time and day into something that we create is the minute we start understanding that it's not about the time at all.
Some people go hiking and take dance lessons and blog and generally do stuff that they love to do - because they have chosen to spend their time allowance on those things. So when you find yourself saying that you don't have the time, ask yourself if that's really true. If it's just something you don't really want to do (like exercise) then change that statement to "I choose not to take my time doing x-y-z" or if you find that it's really important then find the time. Shut down Facebook and take a bike ride or leave work on time so you can start building up your own consultancy business or put a book in your car so you can read in between other things. Get creative with your day and stop making excuses.
The time is there if you choose to take it. Tell me below in the comments what you've been avoiding by making the time excuse... and how you're going to change that.
And by the way, the toilet paper should hang over the top.
I'm laughing at my inability to take multiple trips to the car when I get home - you know what I mean. We get home and try to bring everything from our day inside all at once. I'm talking on the phone, grabbing my bag which has my laptop and life inside, oh don't forget my bottle of water and the mail, there's that bag of trash from the back seat and the bag of dog food for the pup. And if I balance it just right I can even grab my sweater I took off last weekend that shoved in the trunk. And looking like a homeless circus performer I try to unlock my front door. Fumbling for my keys which were just in my hand but somehow I can no longer find, I invariably drop something.
I could have taken a couple of smaller trips to my car. I mean it's seriously only a few extra steps. But CLEARLY, Superwoman does not need to do that. I can carry everything at once like I'm magic and arrive in one piece, unwrinkled and perfectly balanced.
Or I'm simply delusional.
So let's think about it - how many times do we do this to ourselves? Not just physically but emotionally as well. We believe that because we are able to prop one more item on the top of our load (or our to-do list) we should - that it will save us time and energy to carry it all at once instead of bringing in one or two manageable things at a time and going back for the rest. When the truth of it is 9 times out of ten we will drop something (and usually it's the most precious things - like the phone that we're talking on) and then we'll have to set everything down to pick it back up again. And it takes more effort and concentration to create this balancing act .
So just for today I challenge you to take on a smaller load. Trim your list down to the top 3 things and tackle them first - and then take a freaking break. Don't pile on more just because you can. And once that first round is done and your hands are empty, then go back out to the car to get more. Carrying more than we can is a formula for failure so stop it - do what you can and go back for the rest.
So check it out - what I'm saying here is that manifesting alone doesn't work. I know all of the gurus are telling you to do it and since 'The Secret' came out it's a trigger word for all things in the self help world. But I'm here to tell you that it's crap and to stop depending on your manifesting dreams to create things. You can manifest until you are blue in the face but without a deep belief, a willingness to let go and the ability to take tiny little actions on your dreams they are just that - dreams. Fancy, woo-woo day dreams.
The Universe wants you to have everything you ask for and I do believe in asking for what you want. I'm a spoiled only child, it's what we do. But when Life reaches out to give it to you it's up to you to reach out and take it!
What it comes down to is that most people stop at the first step of manifesting, the asking part, and don't follow through on the back end and then wonder why they haven't gotten what they ordered up. Hello? You think your angels are short order cooks or something?
Listen, manifesting is basically outlining what you want very clearly, to get a clear image and feeling of your dreams and goals. It's like creating a road map and feeling the wheels turn beneath you. And that's great - it's an important part of the process but it's just one part of the process. It's not the end of the road.
There's a whole part that happens BEFORE you ask... you have to clear the road of anything that says 'I don't believe I can really have this'. And then you have to add a dash of passion to your request - apathy never inspired anyone out of their panties.
THEN you ask.
And THEN you let it go. Not the dream but your grip on the dream only turning out one way. You let it go into the universe and you start taking tiny little steps, inspired actions that feel right.
Don't stop there. Imagine that you really want a pair of perfect nude colored heels (yes, a shopping analogy - shocked?). You sit down daily to pray that you have a pair of these shoes. You can get the color, the height, the lining, open toed or closed, sling back, etc. just right in your mind. You are manifesting the crud out of these shoes. And as the weeks go by, praying every day for these shoes, you still don't have them. Why? Because you didn't go shopping you fool! What, the Universe is just going to magically drop the shoes in your closet because you asked for them?
Okay sometimes a girlfriend sends them you you but a lot of the times, No.
You have to get up off your duff and do something, even a little something. Manifesting doesn't work unless you're willing to do the work before and then follow up on what you're envisioning. So dream your dreams as vividly as possible and yes, go ahead and meditate on them each and every day. But then go out and make them happen - Life can pave the road but you have to take the steps to create your perfect world
It started off innocently enough... I got a phone call from an acquaintance who was so excited because she had a perfect opportunity for me and she couldn't think of anyone else who could do it better. The opportunity? It wasn't a pyramid scheme, it was for a position as a Chairperson for a local annual festival. Unpaid - but ultimately to benefit several charities (although I was never clear who got what and how much). It's basically a golden ticket to have a camp spot and free access to world class entertainment, wine and food. And it sounded like fun the way she put it.
Except for one thing. I really didn't want to do it. See I had already started the process of untangling myself from volunteer obligations so that I could spend more family time and this particular event meant I was spending an entire weekend away from them. I know, they could come but my husband hates festivals and wine and it's not really a kid event. And internally I was saying to myself "please don't say yes".
And out of my mouth it popped. "Sure I can do that. No problem".
Seriously. And so I spent months of planning and a whole weekend of exhausting work in the heat away from my home and in the process I learned an invaluable lesson - I was finally done with saying 'Yes'. Over it. And you know what? It didn't hurt people's feelings when I said 'No' and it didn't bruise my ego to turn things down that 'only I was qualified for' and I found that it actually made me feel stronger. I was in control of my own destiny. Did I lose some friends? Yes, quite a few because I was no longer dedicating my life to doing things for free and I dropped out of the volunteer circle where those friends can be found. But guess what? If I need help on a project who would I call? Probably those same friends, because I know they can't help themselves and they would feel obligated to say 'Yes'.
How many times have you said yes when all you really wanted to do was shout no? Why did you do it? How would it have felt to have said 'No'? Sometimes you can justify the 'Yes'... in fact I bet most times you have some perfectly 'valid' reasons for moving forward. Perhaps it's 'no big deal' or 'they really need my help', or my favorite 'I'm the only one who knows how to do it right'. There are holes in your reasons and you know it.
Remember this - every time you say 'Yes' when you mean 'No' you give away your power. You weaken yourself because you're not honoring what you really want. And you think that 'No' is hard to say but it gets easier and easier because each time you do it you get stronger.
So yes, 'We Can Do It' - we can say that magical word 'No'.
Yesterday was an emotional day for me. My husband and I bought our dream home up on a hill with beautiful views and 4.25 acres and we've been so happy here (not the emotional part. Keep reading), but it also meant that we had to sell our old home. 10 years ago that was our dream home. We raised our children, our son was 1 year old when we moved to it and eventually our daughter graduated High School while we lived there. When I open the door I still can see our first dog Ginger running up to greet me every day. Her ashes are buried in the back yard. On the side yard is a piece of concrete we poured that has my kids' hand prints in it. The downstairs bathroom is tiny but it has 3 light switches and the toilet always makes a funny noise after you flush it. The spot on the ceiling in our master bedroom isn't water, it is a stain made by a sticky hand that my son got stuck permanently up there. The shelves above the linen closet is where our family photos sat. Every corner of the house holds some precious memory.
I went to do a final walk through yesterday and I literally sat on the floor of this now empty house and cried for a good 1/2 hour. Not the tear up kind of cry - the full on sob, can't catch my breath kind of cry. And somehow my husband was on the phone while I'm having my meltdown and being a man, did his best to understand the irrational woman on the other end of the line. He threw me a couple of "It's going to be okay" platitudes but I already knew that. It is already okay. We are so happy in our new home. My crying wasn't about being anything that could be fixed. And so I told him "I just need to be sad right now because I am mourning the loss of something that is near and dear to me. I just need to let out the sadness."
And so I allowed myself the space to feel whatever grief I was feeling. And as I walked out and locked the door for the last time and heard the familiar sound of the clicking of the handle, I didn't try to be happy or hopeful or anything other that what I was feeling right in that moment. I was sniffly and red faced and truly kind of pathetic and I was ready to own it. I needed to give into those emotions if only to honor my feelings of loss, even in the happiest of circumstances.
So sometimes being fully present or in the 'now' isn't about feeling all peaceful and happy - that's where we get lost and feel like a failure because we weren't perfectly self developed. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel the anger or sadness that pops up so that we can get on with the next step of our day or of our lives. When we try to be perfect and in control of all of our feelings all of the time we end up holding onto those heavy emotions and they never really go away. So to be imperfect and sit on the floor to cry because we're sad is okay - it's better than okay. It's because of those moments of release that I now have room for moments of joy.