Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

No SMART Goals? June 7, 2016

I will admit – I am a goal junkie.  It’s borderline problematic as I am a bit too enthusiastic about creating outcomes I can measure, and sigh….  picking a deadline that inspires me to rattle and roll.

It’s taken me the better part of my life (4.5 decades in exactly 3 days) to realize; however, that achievement and success are the best of friends but they are from different families of origin.  In fact, much like you can live a fulfilled life during long absences from your best friend, so can success when achievement is on an Alaskan Cruise.  And yes… I know that achievement cannot actually board a cruise ship but this sounds much more elegant than saying “when achievement succumbs to failure’s sword.”

Imagine a day of complete and utter failure.  Every goal missed.  Every attempt thwarted.  Can you count this one as a success?

I believe yes, if you have appropriately tuned your definition of success.

To me, success lives at the intersection of authenticity, purpose, and contribution.  It’s the YES! when I can audit my outcome and know that I made a meaningful impact to the vision by stretching myself, challenging the status quo, and giving the best I have to offer without compromising my spirit. 

And “tuning” your success radar is more than pretty descriptive words that intellectualize the concept.  It requires that we drop this definition into our heart and soul; feeling it deeply.  That we are inspired by the intent & fulfilled by the effort.  If these two conditions exist, the outcome is whipped cream and a cherry.

I am not excusing poor results.  I am simply suggesting that there is more to success than results.  If we have truly aligned our efforts with our passion and talent, the results come.  However, we are successful because we lived & worked from a place of authenticity, courageous effort, and a willingness to try again even when facing the sword of failure.

PS… In a world that launches fireworks for first place and gives everyone a snow cone win or lose, taking time to teach our children the true definition of success has never been more important.

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Be careful what you claim June 2, 2016

Yesterday, a lovely woman said to me, “My anxiety is very bad right now.”

Seems harmless enough, yes?  And anxiety (or fear or depression or any other feeling that drains your energy) is not bad.  There is no shame in a racing heart or heaviness of mood.  In fact, if we believe that the world moves in harmonized order, we accept that day is followed by night and winter follows summer & fall.  If we believe that the universe modulates itself; gently flowing across a continuum of expressions, we can trust that our own emotional continuum is as natural as the movement of the planets.

Darkness in our life is a great teacher; giving us the sacred opportunity to turn inward to quiet space & deep knowing so that we may see again the magnificence of what we cannot intellectualize.  So that we may, perhaps even because we’ve run out of options, trust the divine.

One of my favorite teachings is this:  “Suffering happens when we make the impermanent permanent.”

In the moment, we experience life.  We feel sadness, joy, impatience, peace.  And then that moment passes, and we are presented with a new moment in which we can be fully present or we can stay locked in the past.  When we stay locked, our bodies are alone in the present moment because our minds are still reliving what has already ended.

Thoughts are sticky.   It takes intention to clear our minds of what was to make room for what is.  Negative emotions are even stickier.  They love to cling & grasp to your consciousness.  They can become so familiar that we develop a relationship with them; hence labeling something as “MY anxiety.”   And when we claim it as ours, it becomes part of us in a permanent, deeply integrated way.

See the difference between:  “I am currently feeling sad” versus “My depression is rearing its head.”  I believe we should welcome a full rainbow of emotions; learning from each one, feeling life deeply, and being willing to honor the light and the dark.  This is wholehearted living.  Just stay awake to what you identify as part of your DNA.  Let the impermanent be impermanent & celebrate the natural ebb and flow of your life.