Getting Stuck in The "What Is"

We’ve all had things show up in our lives that we didn’t want. Twenty five extra pounds on the scale. Passed over for a promotion that you were certain was yours. Your significant other decides to leave the relationship and you’d thought that you were working things out.

I’ve coached hundreds of people with countless variations of the same stories. What happens is that we get stuck on the circumstance that we’ve created and allow it to impact how or even if we choose to change it.

Let’s look at the conversation about excess weight. Your clothes get tight, the mirror isn’t as kind and you fall into a cycle of self-judgement. But you make the choice to shed the pounds and join the gym, go to a weight loss support group or start a new diet.

The problem is that if you bring all of your self-flogging thoughts to the solution you’ll significantly reduce your odds of succeeding. You mentally abuse yourself with a horrible internal chatter about how much you hate what your life looks like. If you do happen to achieve the results you desire and don’t shift the internal conversation, you’ll likely recreate the same reality. The weight comes back on with a few extra pounds, you don’t move to a better job or you keep attracting the same type of relationship.

The first step to changing this is to accept the reality, the “what is”. You don’t have to like it but just take a deep breath and own it. Without any judgement.

Each time you find yourself falling into the dark pit of chastising yourself, imagine that you’re reaching down, grabbing your hand and pulling yourself out. The more you do this, the easier it gets.

I promise you two things, if you don’t change the conversation that you’re having with yourself you will never permanently change your reality.

And if you do overcome it and succeed, you have.

Congratulations.


What's Your Why Not

When you set out to achieve a goal, it’s good to know your “why”. What is your motivation? This is what will get you out of bed, into the gym or back to school.

What is misunderstood though is your “why not”. This will stop you dead in your tracks. What’s worse is that the majority of people have no idea what this actually is.

Say for instance that you’ve set a target to increase your income by 25% this year. If I asked, you could tell me how this will improve your quality of life, get a better vehicle, payoff debt, take that overdue vacation and such. These are your “whys”.

Next, you start doing the things that should bring this to reality. Polish up your resume, post it online, network with people who can connect you to the next opportunity, hire a marketing social media guru to increase your business visibility, for example.

A few months pass and nothing is changing. It’s almost like you’re on a deserted island or invisible even. We are wired to find an explanation and so you go about the business of figuring out why nothing is working. Some common stories are that there aren’t enough jobs available, being overqualified, under educated, too old, too young, social media marketing is overrated and so on. This is what you’re calling your “why nots” but it isn’t what’s stopping things from showing up.

I invite you to look below what you see on the surface.

Is it possible that you don’t feel good enough or worthy of a better income and life? Or perhaps you’re just afraid of what the expectations might be with this new reality.

It’s a rare excursion to look below the superficial and requires a level of self awareness. Find a friend or hire a coach and invest in yourself.

It’ll be worth the work.

I promise.

Life Without An Agenda

If you haven’t heard of Breanne Zolfo the owner of Cafe Fresco yet, you will shortly. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview this incredible woman for my radio show. She has a natural business savvy, confident and comfortable with a discerning eye. As I watched her engage with her staff, I saw a mutual respect on a foundation of camaraderie.

She’s owned her coffee shop for six years, the most recent four allowing her breathe easily. When I first visited, I was delighted to get my to-go cup with a hand written message on the coffee sleeve. It was inspirational and exactly what I needed at that moment. I felt as though it had been written just for me. I found myself going out of my way to visit her shop when I needed a shift in my mood requiring more than caffeine could tackle.

This is a common experience. There is a special energy that ignites generosity. Patrons often pay it forward anonymously.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago. I noticed that Breanne was getting media coverage for the impact she’s making in our community. The coffee sleeves caught the attention of a local journalist. But there’s more. She and her staff visit local grocery stores and wait at the register to pay the bill for someone they’ve never met. Every Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Moms and Dads get a free cup of coffee. This isn’t to get business exposure but rather a way of giving back in appreciation of her own loving parents. The last holiday she served over 700 cups.

CBS New York brought their crew to NW Indiana to interview her. The feature has broadcast multiple times and each time her email inbox is flooded and the phone started ringing. People from miles away called her to pick up the tab for the everyone who came in for the day. She personally responded to every email and answered the phone whenever she could.

We had a great radio show and chatted a bit afterwards. I left with a renewed sense of hope and after a day of reminiscing, I was struck with what I experienced in her that I’ve never seen in anyone else.

Breanne has no personal agenda. It’s not that she’s contributing and is humble about her service, but rather she does these things without any consideration to how the actions will impact her own life. She resonates pure compassion without an ounce of ego.

She is quite simply remarkable.

There is bigger vision that’s on the way to fruition so stay tuned. She has only scratched the surface for impacting lives and the ripple effect is going to be huge.

What Doesn't Kill You Might Just Cripple You

It always been rubs me the wrong way when I hear “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but not really sure why. Maybe because it’s an absolute and those are virtually impossible to prove true. There are exceptions to most every rule.

Recently, it hit me though. As I was navigating the single gal dating waters yet again and commiserating with others in pond, I found that many folks have a story to tell.

As they ramble on, yes ramble, a common theme emerged. After sharing a tale of woe playing the role of victim with their ex stepping in as the villain, the story concludes with why they’ll never find love. They make decisions about the lack of good candidates, the moral fiber of men or women and other epitaphs around trustability.

I think that it’s easier to end the story here. Hobbled by a poor decision.

The harder path is to ask what that experience taught you and what you need to do to learn the lessons from the experience. That’s the work that’ll “make you stronger”.

Set 'Em Up

If you decide to take on a new activity or project to create a better life, take a look at your thoughts. I used to always plan out my worse-case scenario outcome, thinking that if the actual results were better it would be a success that exceeded my expectations. Be careful. This could set you up to miss your mark.

The Places You Go

First time speaking to a new audience today: 

In front of young girls incarcerated in the Lake county juvenile detention center.

I was nervous about how it would go but as I wrote my talk I got energized. I could go deeper with these gals and it opened up a new possibility.....

It was a hit. I connected in a way I’ve never experienced and the Q & A afterwards blew me away! 

Don’t judge kids who’ve made decisions from the best places they knew .. just to survive their worlds.

We all have a story and deserve compassion.

The county asked me to come back when they get new gals admitted and I was humbled & flattered and answered “Absolutely!” without skipping a beat. 

I’ve been aware and grateful lately of what I get back when I show up to give.