How To View Change Through a New Lens

How To View Change Through a New Lens

What if we all viewed change as a creative process that opened us up to new possibilities? Do you think our relationships, workplaces, communities and the world would be different?

Let’s explore this perspective a bit further. Imagine if you were laid off. Instead of feeling angry, anxious and unsure of what to do next, what if you viewed the change as an opportunity to do something new, perhaps launch a new business you’d been thinking about for a few a few years, but had been afraid to start?

What if after a partner left you, you took the time to reflect on the relationship; what worked well and what didn’t? And, you took the time to write down all the lessons learned from the relationship as well as the qualities you wanted in a significant other and in a relationship? For example: someone who makes me laugh, who is a great communicator, someone who is physically active, and who loves being in nature? I did this a number of years ago and within 5 months of doing so my life partner and soul mate showed up who had all of the qualities I had written on my list!

Imagine if you were working in an organization that had a change in leadership, and instead of feeling uncertain and fearful, you viewed the change as an opportunity to learn and grow.

I invite you to “try on” this new perspective of viewing change over the next week and notice what you observe. It could be something as small as changing the way you usually respond to a person or situation. I welcome your comments and experiences below. Feel free to share this post with others who you think might benefit.

 

Anything is Possible!

Anything is Possible!

I just finished reading my friend and colleague Barb Edie’s inspiring new book Creating the “Impossible”. It reinforced my belief that my dreams are NOT too big, and I CAN accomplish them by following my heart, asking for what I want, and being open to opportunities and people who come my way.

What dream do you have? How do you want to make the world a better place? What skills and talents do you have to draw on to move toward your vision? Who can you partner with to support you to move toward your vision?

In August 2010, I felt like I wanted to make a bigger difference in the world. I had launched my coaching business 18 months before, and had a network of coaches in Canada and the US specialized in coaching people through a variety of life transitions; career, relationship, health … . Our clients were getting some good results, but we weren’t positively impacting enough people; things weren’t moving fast enough. My soul was telling me that there was something more, something bigger. I had been studying Body-Centred Coaching with Marlena Field and was engaged in the last teleseminar of the program. She asked for a volunteer to demo a body-centred decision-making process. I volunteered. Marlena gave the following instructions:

Find a line on the floor. Now think about what you want. Notice if any negative emotions (e.g. fear) or limiting beliefs (e.g. I can’t possibly do that!) come up for you. Imagine each of those emotions or beliefs as stones in a pack on your back. Then imagine each one of them falling to the ground. Notice how light and free you feel. Now envision what you want. Cross that line on the floor however you wish – leaping, running, walking, and while doing so say aloud what you want. … Pay attention to people and opportunities that present themselves in the days and weeks following.

I leapt across the line, a carpet in my office, and yelled “I want to PLAY BIG!”  Within two weeks I received an email inviting me to “throw my hat into the ring” for one of 3 positions in the health sector in a new high level program the Canadian government had launched in Afghanistan. On receiving the email, I knew in my heart that this was my opportunity to PLAY BIG. I said “yes” to being interested, and within one month I had “won” the contract to be a Technical Advisor in Policy and Planning to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Afghanistan. Two weeks later I was on the ground in Kabul. I ended up living and working in Afghanistan for 13 months and helped the MoPH develop their first strategic plan, and built the capacity of internal teams to do strategic and operational planning using participatory processes. It was an amazing experience! … You’ll never guess what the “line on my office floor” was. It was an Afghan prayer mat I had been gifted while working in Pakistan a number of years before!

I invite you to try the process above and ask for what YOU want. Then notice, in the weeks following, what people and opportunities present themselves to support YOU to “create the (seemingly) impossible”.

In her new book, Barbara Edie shares stories from her own remarkable life, as well as those of a number of visionary change-makers from around the globe who are making the world a better place. Compelling, inspiring, with powerful lessons, and questions for contemplation woven throughout, Barbara takes us on an incredible journey showing us how that when we listen to and trust our inner wisdom, dream big, and follow our hearts, anything is possible! If you want to be inspired get your copy (print or ebook) of “Creating the Impossible: What It Takes to Bring Your Vision to Lifetoday.

I welcome your comments below. Feel free to share this with others you think may find it of interest.

 

The Power of Unplugging & Being in Nature

The Power of Unplugging & Being in Nature

Sunset& Monkeytree Sooke

I recently returned from a 3-day retreat where there was no cell service and no internet. What an unusual and blissful experience!

When my friend who I was driving with said there was no cell service at the retreat location, I initially felt some relief and then quickly thought of whom I should text to alert them.

When we arrived at the “spot”, a rustic building by the ocean, I started to relax and drink in the beauty of our surroundings. When I checked into my room, which was small, yet comfortable, I was intrigued by the monkey tree outside my window and felt blessed to have a room with a view of the ocean. For me, being by, in or on the water is where I feel most at home. At a Vision Quest a number of years ago, an aboriginal elder dreamt in my medicine name, which is “Laughing Otter Heart”. Initially I thought, that’s not as reverent as my friend’s name “Soaring Dawn Eagle”, yet it so connects me to the essence of who I am; to water, being in nature and my playful side. Now I smile when I think of it.

Within a short time of being at the retreat center, I felt all my cares melt away; my shoulders lightened, my mind quieted and I connected to my “being” side, (as I am often “doing”). I so enjoyed the three days of interacting with the other amazing women, facilitating my portion of the workshop and basking in the joy of being “unplugged” and in nature.

Did you know that the Japanese have done longitudinal research on the benefits of walking in forests? They have found that walking in forests strengthens your immune system, reduces your heart rate and your blood pressure. Based on these findings, they have institutionalized what they call “forest bathing” or “forest therapy” and have created a number of centers across Japan where people can go and walk in forests. How powerful is that!

With such busy lives and the associated stresses, regularly spending time in nature, and unplugging from technology are simple yet powerful practices that have amazingly positive benefits on our bodies, our minds and our relationships.

When was the last time you unplugged and spent time in nature? I welcome your thoughts and experiences below and invite you to share the post with others.

 

 

 

 

 

How Do You Find Peace Amidst the Chaos?

How Do You Find Peace Amidst the Chaos?

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Since today is the UN International Day of Peace, I thought it timely to share some thoughts on how you can find peace amongst the chaos of daily life and work.

Many High Achieving Women are restless from a young age. We are on a constant quest for knowledge, meaning and experience. We set a goal, achieve it and swiftly move on to the next project (often more than one at a time 🙂 ). We are always in motion and focused on achievement. Do you relate?

Some High Achieving Women may believe that inner peace cannot coexist with their drive to succeed. They worry that if they slow down, take some time to explore and find some inner peace, they will lose their passion and no longer be successful. From experience, I can tell you that finding inner peace allows you to be more successful, happy, content and fulfilled in all aspects of your life.

When you think about finding inner peace you may visualize yourself on a mountaintop in lotus position, far away from your current reality. Realistically though, as appealing as that image might be, most of us don’t have the time or the money to spend our lives meditating on mountaintops. I’d like to share a poem that for me describes inner peace (source unknown).

“Peace.

It does not mean to be in a place

where there is no noise, trouble

or hard work.

It means to be in the midst of

these things and still be calm

in your heart.”

What do you do to find inner peace?

Here are a few proven strategies and powerful practices that help me stay calm, focused and grounded.

  1. Meditating daily; I find the 21-day meditation challenges (CDs and MP3s) available through www.chopra.com helpful in practicing meditation, and learning to focus on one concept or idea.
  2. Spending time regularly in nature.
  3. Being grateful for what I have.
  4. Doing yoga three to four times a week.

What about you? What strategies have you found helpful to stay calm, focused and grounded in spite of the chaos around you? I’d love to read your comments below.

 

Believe that You are here to Make a Difference

Believe that You are here to Make a Difference

Many High Achieving Women know from a young age that we’re here to make a difference in the world. We may know that we are here for an important reason but have no clue as to what that difference is.

In order to truly understand yourself and discover what difference you are here to make, it is important to uncover your unique gifts and talents, as well as to identify your passion and life purpose.

Discovering Your Passion

“Your passions are the loves of your life … things that are most deeply important to you… things that, when you’re doing them or talking about them, light you up … When you follow your passion you love your life.”  

(Chris & Janet Atwood, The Passion Test)

When you find your passion and live your life aligned with it, you feel truly joyful, fulfilled, and at peace. It lights your fire and fuels your enthusiasm for life. You feel that you are indeed doing something that makes a difference in the world and you feel alive.

We all have unique gifts and talents to share with the world. I invite you to do a short exercise.

My Unique Strengths and Talents

Things I’m good at that come easily; e.g. mathematics, writing, athletics … Things I enjoy doing; e.g. being in nature, playing piano, teaching others …

i) Fill in the table above. Don’t take a lot of time to think about it. Write down the first things that come to mind.

ii) Circle the items that are similar or identical from each list.

iii) Rate each of the circled items on a scale from 1 to 10 according to how much it excites you/the level of passion you feel around it – “1” being “no interest at all” and “10” being “red hot”

Another clue as to whether something is a passion is if you lose track of time when you’re doing it (e.g. editing film, doing photography … )

iv) From the above, identify your top 3 to 5 passions .

Just being good at something doesn’t mean it is your passion or will fulfill you if you work in that area. I’m sure you know someone who was good at math, went on to study mathematics, taught it at school or university and over time was miserable and not at all happy teaching math everyday. So what we’re good at can provide clues to our passions but are not necessarily connected with them. Things we enjoy doing; e.g. connecting with and inspiring others, are usually better clues to what may be our passions. A passion is often a blend of what we love and what we’re good at. As well, your passions may change over your life-time.

What was your experience with the “unique strengths and talents” exercise. Did you learn anything new? Did it confirm to you that you’re on your path? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Please share the post with others you think would appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

Reclaiming Your Life & Making a Difference

Reclaiming Your Life & Making a Difference

ReClaimLife-1What do I mean by reclaiming your life? Many High Achieving Women give to other people, causes, and their work BEFORE they give to themselves. They put themselves at the “bottom of the list”. If they do take some time out for themselves, they often feel guilty that they are not working, or selfish that they are not giving to others. Sound familiar?

Reclaiming your life means consciously examining your activities (giving to others and to yourself), making a decision as to what changes you want to make, committing to them and then making those changes. Here’s a short exercise.

In what areas of my life am I giving to others, how often and how does it make me feel? Here are a couple of examples. I invite you to create your own table and fill it in.

Activity Environment or Individual/Community # of hours/wk/month Feeling state*
1) Volunteer Board member National Not-for-Profit 2 hrs/month ++
2) Driving my 2 kids to their sports activities Local hockey arena(s) & soccer fields 4 hrs/week +
3) Always being a sounding board for my girlfriend On the phone or at her house or mine 4 hrs/week

* ++ (extremely positive; energized & excited) , + (positive) , N (neutral) – (slightly tired, frustrated &/or resentful) or – – (exhausted, extremely frustrated &/or extremely resentful)

Add up the number of hours per week and per month you are giving to others and also notice which activities drain you and which ones really “juice” you.

Next, answer the question: In what areas of my life am I giving to myself, how often and how does it make me feel?

Activity Environment or Individual/Community # of hours/wk/month Feeling state*
1) Yoga classes Local studio 4.5 hrs/week ++
2) Having a massage Therapist comes to my home with her table 1.5 hrs/month ++
3) Having lunch with a friend Local restaurant Once/wk x 1.5 hrs. ++
 …

* ++ (extremely energized &/or supported), + (energized &/or supported) N (neutral)

Add up the number of hours per week and per month you are giving to yourself and note which activities really “juice” and/or support you and any that don’t.

Compare the difference between the two tables. Do have any insights?

I invite you to make a conscious decision to let go of one or several GIVING behaviours that are draining you. Decide on the best strategy for letting go of, or delegating those activities, and set a date to do so.

Now review your second chart. Note the activities that are really energizing and/or supporting you. Do you want to increase the number of hours per week you do those OR are there some other things you’d love to try (e.g. taking piano lessons). Add those to the list and set a date to begin them.

Notice how you feel when you “let go” of some of the GIVING activities that have been draining you and when you add more activities where you give to yourself. I invite you to journal about your experience.

Sometimes we go through life and think that we don’t have choices. In fact, we always DO.

When you reclaim your life, you serve as a role model for other women in your family, community, workplace…; so while doing something for yourself, you are also making a positive difference in the lives of other women.

Did you have any new insights from the exercise? Have you committed to making any changes? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share the post with others.