Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

Get off the “keep going” wagon June 20, 2017

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divine spark

When we lose our connection with what lights us up or we discover our actions misaligned with our intention, it’s time for a self-audit pause.    That sounds easy, but it is in these moments that our mind screams “Keep Going.”

Here’s a simple method to self-audit:

  • Get quiet: create time to sit with your breath; landing the inhale on your heart  and releasing thought with the exhale.
  • Connect: this can be prayer, loving kindness practice, or just heart-centered breathing.
  • Believe:  Your spirit is the house of your divine spark (aka: higher purpose), and your inner wisdom knows this spark intimately.  Beyond words, you hold the truth of your purpose.  Trust it.
  • Gut Check: Not sure?  Ask yourself this simple question:  “If my life aligned with my divine spark 80% of the time, I would lay my head down at night and say, ‘Yes!  This is inspired living for me.’”
  • Drop it: What is contrary in your life?  It takes a bit of courage to let the rest of it drop away, but it is so worth it.
  • Move with purpose: As you leave the space of audit and back into action of daily life, stay awake.  Make the shift.

Be committed to your own path.  We have only this one precious life.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

What’s your PB? May 10, 2016

When you perform, how do you measure success?  By what’s expected of you?  A number set by someone else?  A comparison of yourself against your peers?

My son, Jack, recently ran his 200 meter junior high track event & was over the moon with his results.  Did he set a school record?  Beat the field?  Hit his coach’s number?  Nope. Nope. and Nope.  In fact, he finished in last place; over 10 seconds behind the first place runner.  So why the exuberance?

Jack ran his personal best time (which he affectionately calls his PB).  He knew he placed last, and still, he was completely content with his result because it was his best effort.  You see, Jack has a neurological “hitch” that compromises his motor coordination and muscle control among other things.  As a result, physical achievements expected of kids his age come slowly & painstakingly to him.

Wisdom like Jack’s is rare.  Jack understands his reality & refuses to be stopped by it.  He isn’t a pitbull – he simply keeps trying hard, accepts himself as he is and as he isn’t, and enjoys the process.  In fact, Jack rarely gets frustrated with what is.

I learn a lot from the way he leads his life.  I learn that, even in the midst of challenge, joy is an option.  I learn that, even when you pale in comparison to the field, steadfast commitment to your own progress is still success.  And I learn that accepting our weaknesses with as much tolerance as we embrace our strengths makes us a fabulous team member, exemplary role model, and happy person to our core.

Jack is the most humble person I know.  And yet, every time I tell him how awesome he is, he says “I know.”  Matter of fact.  Yes – I know I’m awesome just as I am and just as I am not.  May we all embrace our own brand of awesome; creating success against our own benchmarks and dropping the need to “be something” for someone else.

 

The Artist Otherwise Known As…. April 22, 2016

Prince: Industry Icon, Music Maverick, Record Label Titan, Artist Advocate.

This week, the death of Prince saddened an entire world.  To quote Whoopi Goldberg, “this is what it sounds like when doves cry.”  (also uttered by my equally poetic husband).

His life is worthy of examination if you are a pursuer of greatness.  So what was his magic equation?  Talent paired with enough good luck doesn’t cut it for a multi-decade ride as a living legend, influencer, and trailblazer.

PASSION:  Prince lived his life with laser focus on his passion.  The result?  Prolific music, discovery of modern talent, precise delivery of electrifying live shows, the ability to shape shift with changing times, and an output level that would take most people twice as long.

DISCIPLINE:  Most of us think about time as a limited asset; a constraining factor to achievement.  But if your achievements take half the time as others, you’ve doubled time. Not literally but practically.  Clearly, his volume of work alone is a phenomenal study in “time management;” turning the idea of time as a ticking time bomb limiting our potential on its head.

COURAGE:  Prince took a  stand against an industry he viewed as corrupt – not just for his own gain but for the benefit of well & little known artists everywhere.  He surfaced up and coming stars, he took risks on stage.  He stayed true to his essence without regard of criticism or judgement.  It’s so easy to allow the opinions & ramblings of others to sway us from our path; to create confusion, self-judgement, and doubt.  It takes something to continue to pioneer new paths in the midst of the world’s debilitating chatter.

ENERGY:  Prince’s professional life – big, bold, extroverted, performing in the public eye on a grand stage – was balanced by his personal life.  He was grounded in his faith, lived quietly, and understood that peak performance required healthy choices every day.  If you want your star to shine for decades, you must care and feed your light.

Prince had an unbelievably unique gift but doesn’t everyone?  Perhaps not all of us have that type of natural talent, but we all have the “right gifts” to make a meaningful impact on the world.   The question is:  Do we have the right thinking and right actions to ignite our contribution?

 

Mother Of The Moment Award March 18, 2016

Yesterday, I flat out forgot to take my kids to school.  Of course, there is a story behind this filled with hilarity and general confusion (all on my part), but the plain and simple fact is I went to work early & left my kids at home without a ride to school.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I think this is mostly funny with just a hint of self criticism.  However, I would not have felt the same 5 years ago.  It is in these moments that we witness our growth – if we open our eyes to see.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Each of us is doing our best in each moment.  Our “best” in any moment is impacted by many things, but in that moment, it is our best.  When we snip at our husband in the evening after a long day of work, making dinner, and checking homework, we are doing our best in that moment.  I have never in my life – either in moments of shining or faltering – said to myself, “I would like to be terrible right now.”  I trust you haven’t either.

Be gentle with yourself.  Be forgiving.  Apologize when you need to.  Try again.  Learn from your experience.  Show up, do your best, and let it go.

I often suggest to people this simple question to enable them to look at how lovingly they treat themselves:  “If that voice in your head was coming from a friend, would you want to foster that friendship and spend more time with that person?”  When we criticize, judge, blame, and demoralize ourselves, we are missing the opportunity to practice lifting ourselves up, believing more fiercely in our possibilities, and experiencing radical self-acceptance.  We miss the chance to create lightness.  We miss the chance to embrace our humanness.

 

 

The Secret Door February 24, 2016

Did you know that within you exists more wisdom than you could ever imagine?  That you have all tools you need to live a life about which you are both proud and excited; one of meaningful impact where you embody your core values in each moment, connect deeply with the present, and experience true, enduring peace.  All the while living in our nutty, hectic world in the midst of people and situations that continuously beg you to take the bait of stress, worry, and negativity?  All the while achieving goals, completing lists, and generally holding down the fort?

The gap between where you are and the possibility of that reality may seem vast, but I want you to consider the gap as your own personal quest.  This is the most important work we do in our lives:  moving towards truth & stepping into our most enlightened, peaceful, happy, fulfilled state.

You argue:  How selfish!  The work I do on “ME” cannot possibly be the most important.  I have children to raise, a spouse to love, a community to save, a job to do!  And yet, consider:  If you are stressed out, wadded up, worried, and exhausted; just how effective are you with the people you love the most and the work to which you are dedicated?  Put on your oxygen mask.

So, let’s get back to the secret door.  Through this door, you can access the wisdom for wholehearted living that exists in you.  You were not put on this planet without the tools to thrive.  You just have to learn how to find them and live them.

Begin to turn the knob and enter through the door; thus beginning a whole new quest in your life.  Don’t expect it to be easy or fast!  This is gradual, cumulative work for most of us; not a bolt of lightening.  (If it was that – we’d all take the hit once and live happily ever after).  This is work that starts with a decision.  This is work that demands you learn to tame your wild mind and step into your intuitive wisdom.  This is the work that recreates itself each day with new challenges and new opportunities.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take this quest!  The quality of your life depends on it!