Archive for August, 2010
There are days when I wake up and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the good life I have and for all that the future holds. I look at all of the things that I’ve accomplished in my life, all of the obstacles I’ve overcome and have reason to be proud. I consider the friends and family I have in my life and feel fortunate. And I think about all that lies ahead of me – all that is possible in my life – and I feel truly blessed. Today and always is a day of gratitude.
Life lessons come from all sorts of places, and interestingly enough, I’ve learned many life lessons from Bob. That’s Bob in the picture. We celebrated our fifth anniversary together this month, and I have to say that overall, it’s been a good five years. Here’s what I’ve learned from Bob.
Ask for what you need. Bob never hesitates to ask for food when he’s hungry, for a scratch behind his ear, for the chance to snuggle under the quilt when we watch TV, or for a chance to get his daily Big Bob Body Rub (a routine I sometimes regret starting!).
Love freely. Bob never cares about what kind of day I’ve had or what kind of mood I’m in. He runs to the door to greet me when I come home, and he purrs and meows with abandon, zigzagging between my feet as I make my way through the house, rubbing against my legs and head butting my feet with the greatest affection. He doesn’t worry about rejection or hurt feelings. He just loves me all the time.
Play each day. Bob always makes time to play. Unfortunately for me, some of his best play time is when I’m trying to sleep.
Be creative. Bob’s favorite toys include an empty box from Barnes & Noble, paper (any size or shape will do), and a bright red ribbon from Bed Bath & Beyond. His life is clearly quite interesting, because he thinks outside the box even when he’s in it.
Take naps whenever needed. Bob’s taught me that when my body says “rest,” I should do just that, and often times a quick cat nap is just what we both need.
Stretch often. Bob doesn’t go anywhere without stretching first, and after learning how to stretch properly, I can see why!
Be curious. I understand now why people say that curiosity killed the cat, because there’s really nothing that Bob won’t poke his nose into; there’s nothing he won’t investigate, again and again and again. After all, you never know what opportunities may be just around that corner.
Get a different perspective when you can. Bob’s a climber. He’ll climb anything he can, and his favorite place seems to be that 18″ space between the top of the vertical blinds and the ceiling. And when I climbed on a chair to get him down that first time, that’s when I realized how different things can look from where you stand.
Never judge a book – or a cat – by its cover. Bob was apparently hit by a car before I adopted him, and as a result, he only has half a tail. At first I wasn’t really sure if I wanted a cat with half a tail, but I just couldn’t resist his charm, so I brought him home, and that’s been a decision I’ve never regretted!
Let the sun shine on your face (aka: Know what makes you happy, and then do it every day). Bob’s favorite place to be every morning is in my bedroom, sprawled out on the floor with the sun shining directly on his face. He just lies there, purring his heart out with his eyes squished shut, basking in his own little nirvana. He reminds me how good my life truly is!
What are your life’s lessons?
“Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.”
~ Winston Churchill, British prime minister
Setting goals has become a regular part of my routine throughout each year. The first goals are set at the end of the previous year so that I can welcome the New Year with a plan in place, and then I review and revise those goals as needed in April. I then review and revise my goals again in late August and early September to coincide with the new school year.
I’m a firm believer that if you write your goals down, you are more likely to stay focused on those goals and actually achieve those goals, plus decades of scientific research show that that’s true. I am also a firm believer that if you really want something, you need to have a crystal clear vision of what it is that you want, and you need to send that message – in both words and a vision – out into the universe. Now I’m not saying that if I just wish really, really hard for something, it will magically happen. What I’m saying is that I believe if you make a steadfast commitment to achieving your biggest, boldest goals and you do everything in your power to manifest those goals – including writing down your goals, envisioning them, and sending them out into the world – then yes, you are more likely to achieve what you most desire.
That said, I’ve added three new goals to my list. They are to:
- launch a new course entitled Author’s Empire that helps authors get their unique message into the hearts, minds, and hands of a global audience by teaching them how to effectively and strategically repurpose their book’s content;
- engage people from around the world in my Live Like It Matters coaching program, helping them to challenge the self-limiting beliefs, fears, and habits that have been holding them back while creating unbeatable self-confidence, cultivating passion, and charting a course to create the life they both desire and deserve; and
- hold a retreat for women who are ready to nurture their souls, tap into their passion, and live their true purpose.
Years ago I learned that when you give, you receive, and while each of these new goals is about enriching others’ lives and creating more depth and meaning in their lives, I know as well that when these goals are manifested, I will be the richer for it.
Bad habits will always keep your biggest dreams and best intentions at bay. Bad habits are those nasty things that interfere with your ability to live like it matters.
Five Common Bad Habits
Successful people have successful habits, and less successful people have less successful habits. Below is a list of those habits that could be stopping you from creating the life you most desire.
Lack of Focus
The biggest reason why people can’t stay focused is because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing in the first place. Having a crystal clear vision and plan are essential to maintaining your focus.
Successful people take immediate action. Less successful people wait, often times until a life-changing opportunity passes them by. The ability to take quick, decisive action will go a long way to moving you closer and closer to achieving your biggest, boldest desires.
Perfectionism blocks progress, and therefore, will always keep you from reaching your goals. Focus on getting things done rather than on making them perfect, and you’ll begin to make significant movement forward toward your goals.
Lack of Healthy Boundaries
It is okay to say “no” to people and to their requests. It is okay to set limits on the kind of behavior you’ll tolerate from others. It is also okay to eliminate the toxic people from your life. Once you learn to set and enforce healthy boundaries, you’ll find that many of the roadblocks that were once in your way are now gone.
How many times a day do you think truly successful people check their Twitter or Facebook activity or shop on line or check their e-mails or search for the latest YouTube videos that have gone viral? I don’t have an exact number, but it’s certainly less often than less successful people. Engaging in time wasting behaviors is usually a sign that you have one or more of the bad habits listed above.
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Now if you have more than one bad habit, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Just pick one habit to work on first so that you don’t overwhelm yourself and then get discouraged when you find you can’t overcome them all at the same time. Start small and work your way up. You’ll be surprised how much progress you can make overcoming these obstacles when you simply make it a priority – starting right now – to tackle your bad habits.
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
~ Jackson Brown Jr., writer
Resistance to change is not a new idea or a new phenomenon, and it’s certainly not one that is going to go away anytime soon and that’s because change is everywhere. It exists in practically all aspects of life and affects virtually every individual worldwide.
However, people vastly differ in how they respond to change. While some people actively seek change and gladly embrace it, others avoid it whenever possible and, still others openly resist it.
So How Do You Handle Change?
Do you resist change or embrace it? Do you run from it or walk toward it? Do you fight against it or master it? Do you ignore it, pretending that you don’t need to change or that change isn’t coming, or do you put yourself in the driver’s seat and take charge of the change?
Some of your wildest opportunities in life come as a direct result of changes that you make in your life. However, if you bury your head in the sand, then you’ll miss what could possibly be opportunities of a lifetime.
So Why Do People Really Resist Change?
The number one reason why people resist change is because all change involves loss.
Even the changes that we desperately want to take place in our lives involve loss which is why seemingly positive changes, such as losing weight, getting a better job, or ending a bad relationship, are often times hard to achieve. The fact is is that each time you make any sort of change in your life, your life – and you – are different in some way. A part of you, a part of your life, and a part of your personal life story are lost. And let’s face it: loss is hard to deal with! In fact, it’s something most people would prefer to avoid if they had a choice.
The challenge, though, is that you can only become the person you were meant to be by growing and changing. Nothing stays the same. Nothing – not even you. And loss is simply an inevitable part of growth and change. Make a commitment today to start seeing change in your life as something that’s going to help you and that’s going to enrich and fulfill your life. Next time you need to make a change, not matter how big or how small, embrace the change and promise yourself that you will give up desires to resist the change.
Another story that the Zanders tell in their book, The Art of Possibility, is about an experiment that Mr. Zander conducted while employed as a music professor at the New England Conservatory in Boston. This experiment was called the “giving an A” experiment in which every single student in his class started the semester with an A.
Here’s how rest of the story goes as told by Mr. Zander:
“A few weeks into the first year of the giving the A experiment, I asked the class how it had felt to them to start the semester off with an A, before they had to prove themselves in any way. To my surprise, a Taiwanese student put up his hand. Apart from a natural diffidence to speak up in a foreign language, it is rare for students from Asia, often among our most accomplished performers, to volunteer to speak in class. A few of the Asian students have tried to explain to me why this is so. In some Asian cultures, a high premium is traditionally put on being right. The teacher is always right, and the best way for students to avoid being wrong is not to say anything at all. So when this young student raised up his hand quite enthusiastically, of course I called on him.
‘In Taiwan,’ he explained,
‘I was Number 68 out of 70 student. I came to Boston and Mr. Zander says I am an A. Very confusing. I walk about, three weeks, very confused. I am Number 68 but Mr. Zander says I am an A student…I am Number 68, but Mr. Zander says I am an A. One day I discover much happier A than Number 68. So I decide I am an A.’”
I love that story because it shows the power of our perceptions! It shows that if you want to be an A, then you can decide right now, right this instant, to be an A. I’m asking all of you to decide right now to be the most amazing, the most remarkable, and the most brilliant A that you can be – no more 68 out of 70 – you are an A.
When you believe that you are an A, you view the world differently. You start to see possibilities and opportunities that you never noticed before or that you never believed could be yours for the taking. When you are an A, you think bigger and dream bigger than ever before. So get started today ~ don’t waste another minute being 68 out of 70. Be an A, and DREAM BIG!
“Someone might have a germ of talent, but 90% of it is discipline and how you practice it, what you do with it. Instinct won’t carry you through the entire journey. It’s what you do in the moments between inspiration.”
~ Cate Blanchett, actress
A few years ago I found a great little book by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, and I have to admit that I bought the book simply because of its title which is The Art of Possibility. I just love that title!
In this book, they tell a story that I think really captures the difference between dreaming big and dreaming small. I don’t know who originally told the story, but I think it very nicely illustrates an important point about how we view life.
“A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying,
SITUATION HOPELESS STOP NO ONE WEARS SHOES
The other writes back triumphantly,
GLORIOUS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY STOP THEY HAVE NO SHOES.”
How you view the world determines how you live your life.
This is your life – your future. If you want to live big, if you want to make a difference in this world, then you must dream big!