Act Like An Olympian In Your Own Life

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Since the snow continues to accumulate here in Iowa I thought I would try my luck at skiing on Saturday. My niece wanted to ski and Bob’s nephew wanted to snowboard and because they still think of me as the hip and crazy aunt who will try anything, I could not disappoint them.

I’m not really sure why I thought I could ski since I haven’t been on skis in over 20 years and I’ve never once had a lesson. Maybe it’s the subliminal messages the Winter Olympics athletes are sending us to get out and act like an Olympian in our own lives.

By attempting to ski I learned about myself, fear, fun, and falling down. As much as I like to think I’m able to listen to my body’s wisdom, my head hijacks whatever is attempting to communicate through my extremities at the first sign of danger.

In my case, this happened as soon as I slid by boots into the skis and attempted to maneuver over to the bunny hill. The ability to put one foot in front of the other without falling over suddenly became a monumental task.

What was I thinking?” became the only thing I was thinking. Until I fell and then, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” became the predominant thought.

Take off your skis!” Kat advised as I pondered how my knees and feet might work in unison with skis pointed in opposite directions.

You can do it!” Brad encouraged.

And I did.

After a successful run down “Rookie’s Ridge“, I moved on to the “green” hill where I wiped out a couple of times and skied right into a snowbank.

I think it takes most people 3-5 minutes to ski that slope. I’m pretty sure it took me 35.

Come on, Pen! Try going a little faster,” the young ones quipped.  It sure seemed like I was moving at top speed when I skied into the snow bank.

Luckily Kat and Brad were more patient than I ever expected them to be.  They even acted like they knew me when I came careening into the chairlift area.

Did I have a fabulous time? A humbling time would be more like it.

In my mind, I still believe I’m their age. It always shocks me when my body reminds me this is no longer the case.

But courage begets courage. I’m not sure I would have even agreed to try this had I not just started a mastermind group called Practicing Everyday Alchemy and been buoyed by the support and faith of a fearless group of amazing alchemists.

Every Olympian has an entire team behind them encouraging, supporting, training, and seeing them through their toughest and most glorious moments. Why wouldn’t I put a similar support system in place when I take my leap into the unknown?

Having just read an incredibly insightful book by Shawn Achor called Big Potential, I wouldn’t attempt anything worthwhile without assembling a star system that allows me to not only to tap into my potential, but the bigger potential of everyone in the group.

It’s often the tiniest of actions that catapult us out of our comfort zone and into what I call our evolutionary zone. Sometimes it’s heading to the slopes. Other times it’s passing on dessert or an alcoholic beverage.  It could even be cleaning out a room in order to create some breathing space.

What courageous acts –  big or small – have you taken lately?

Who makes up your star support system and allows you to shine your light in new and adventurous ways?

Please share in the comments below so we can celebrate your moments of magnificence with you and those who made it possible for you!

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Will You Be Part of The Dream Team?

Margaret Mead quote

What if you could put together a Dream Team and surround yourself with people who *get* you? People who innately understand who you are, what you want to create in the world, and know how to make it happen?

I used to think this was a pipe dream for me.  I felt I was too quirky or creative or woo-woo or whatever for most people, so I tried to keep it all under wraps.

Until I realized all of that “weirdness” was really what people wanted to see, hear, feel, and experience with me.  The boldness of being myself gave other people permission to do the same.

In a world full of carbon copies, there is nothing more daring that being an original. And nothing more liberating.

I have spent a lifetime purchasing personal growth programs to improve my performance in just about every area of my life. And though I am forever grateful to the gurus who have shown me their way, none of them could really show me my way. 

That was up to me to figure out.

And for most of my life, I thought I had to figure it out alone.

But last year I decided to combine forces with others on the same path.  I joined a couple of coaching groups, became a  Rockstar and a Wildflower, and that changed everything.

I did more in a year than I had in a decade.  Not because I didn’t know how to do these things, I just didn’t have a Dream Team in place to help me get these ideas out of my head and into the world.

Now that I do, I want to help you create the same. Because if you could do it alone, you would have already.

I know you are brilliant.  You are funny and creative and have a dream inside you that you have kept hidden from everyone because you can’t bear to see it fail.

But what if you couldn’t fail?

Or what if you could fail but had a team of incredibly supportive people in place to help you rebuild or dream a better dream?

What if these people has eyes, ears, and expertise in areas you didn’t and would gladly share their perspectives with you?

What would that be worth to you?

After sharing The 12 Days of Coaching last month, I had an epiphany.

More than information, what people are really craving is community.

Since you are part of my community, I want to share an opportunity that only comes along once in a blue moon (literally…the opportunity ends with the blue moon on  Wednesday, January 31) to Practice Everyday Alchemy with me and some of the best and brightest people I know.

This mastermind group will meet monthly for 6 months.  We will mindfully master the challenges that wake us up at all hours of the morning. And we’ll learn to thrive with a little help from our fellow Everyday Alchemists.

If this sounds intriguing to you and you would like to learn how to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary,  please click here to check out the details at www.practicingeverydayalchemy.com.

But don’t wait too long.  The first Mastery call is next Sunday, February 4th and I’d love for you to be on it.

If you’d like to talk with me in person about this and see if this is for you, just fill out the contact form below so I can connect with you. 

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If you have been or are a part of a Dream Team now, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

 

 

 

Start With Why

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As any of you who have been around small children know, kids are curious.  Their favorite question is “why?” Whatever answer you provide inevitably leads to another question.

They beg for you to “tell me more” regardless of how ready, willing, and able you are to dig deep into the subject of their inquiry.

Over time their questions may wear you down and you may tend to treat all questions as irritants rather than clues that unlock the great mysteries in life.

Questions like, “How much?” ,”By when?”, “Where in the world?”, and “What the heck?” often hint at answers that may be just as tiresome as the questions.

As a naturally curious type and a firm believer that the right questions asked at the right time can change your life, I invite you to not give up on questions.  (In my last post, I asked you a whole bunch of them!)

Just keep it simple and start with why.

If you are making New Year’s Resolutions this year, why do you want your life to be different?

I’m sure you have a compelling answer.  I’m also sure it’s not the first one you will come up with.

If you stay as persistent as a child and let one answer lead to another question, then you might discover why it really matters.

And then you are on to something.

The reason most resolutions fail is not because you don’t have the discipline, willpower, wisdom, strategy, or support to achieve them.  The real reason resolutions fail is because you don’t have a clear and compelling reason to work through the challenges that will present themselves as part of your journey.

What you’re resolving to do is difficult.  It’s the reason you haven’t achieved or been able to sustain your success before.  So what’s different this time?

If nothing has changed and you’re not willing to do anything different, then don’t waste your time making the resolution. It just leaves you feeling bad about yourself.

But if you are willing to do something different, whether that be to hire a coach, take a class, or join a support group, then write your goal down and take at least ten minutes to imagine what it would feel like to achieve it.

Then grab a pen and paper and write this down at the top of the page:  THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT & I WILL DEFINITELY SUCCEED BECAUSE.  And then list at least 10 reasons it is  different and why you will most definitely succeed.

I recently did this and came up with 25 reasons I will be able to create a thriving business doing what I love, with people in love, in places I love.  And let me tell you, it was one of the most empowering things I’ve done.

I got the idea from Mike Dooley’s book, Playing the Matrix, where he talks about creating results based on how you want to feel instead of focusing on what he calls the “cursed hows” and attaching to the results of getting what you think you want.

If you are resolving to be a better version of yourself in 2018, give yourself a boost by writing down the reasons you will succeed.  This is something you can look back on any time you are tempted to give up.

Here are a few of the things on my THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT & I WILL DEFINITELY SUCCEED BECAUSE list. I  hope this helps you jump start your list:

#1 – I’ve prepared for it and have a strategy.  I’ve invested an incredible amount of time, money, and resources to make this happen.  I’ve taken lots of baby steps, tested the market, and had consistent, small successes and epic failures.

#2 – It has become my #1 priority.  I have given up many things so I can spend time building my business.  I invest any extra time I have and money I make back into my training so I can work with great coaches, be a part of a supportive community, and continue mastering new technologies. I follow my fascination and never stop learning.

#3 – I get by with a little help from my friends.  I have been actively building my community for several years. I now have an amazing tribe of peers, mentors, and clients who do great work and are willing to collaborate, support, participate, and play along.

#4 – I’m not attached to the specifics of how it needs to happen. I step into the flow of my life and focus on feeling good, staying healthy, being creative, trying new things, doing things that make me feel alive and energized. Of course, I’d love for this to yield certain results, but I’m not so focused on those results that I limit myself or miss even better opportunities. I celebrate the smallest successes as I keep the big picture in mind.

#5 – I show up.  Every single day I take one small step in the direction of my dream.  I stopped hiding. I shed my invisibility cloak so I can do the things that scare me (like make a lot of videos), and keep putting myself out there in fun and creative ways.

#6 – I live in a loving and abundant universe.  I am connected to source energy.  The only lack is a lack of imagination. My life supports me, my tribe has my back, and the universe conspires on my behalf. I’m grateful to get to do this work.

#7 – I own my throne.  I stand in my power and attract fabulous clients, co-creators, friends, mentors, opportunities. I’m done apologizing.  I want what I want.  This is who I am. These are my gifts. This is what I charge. This is how I work.  This is the time I have available.

#8 – There is enough for everyone.  My success inspires others. My fearlessness, my failures, and my willingness to take action encourage others. We’re all in this together.

#9 – I fire on all cylinders – or all 7 chakras, as I prefer to say.  I am grounded in my body as well as open to spiritual assistance and worldly wisdom.  I love to think and create and spend  my time with heady stuff.  That makes it tempting to ignore my body. I’ve learned to embody and bring my ideas into my body and get grounded. When I eat healthy foods, get outside in the sunshine and play with the dogs, and get some body work when I need it, everything goes much smoother.

#10 – I honor  my lineage.  I stand on the shoulders of giants.  I value the teachers, mentors, coaches, shamans, spiritual teachers, and students I’ve had the good fortune to work with. I honor them by continuing their work in my unique way and value all of us by charging enough that I can support my business and continue to share the message.

Here’s to you being wildly successful in 2018.

I’d love to see your list and learn about your dreams for the New Year.  Please leave your comments below.

 

 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before the End of the Year

Joyful woman enjoying the winter snow .

For someone who is not real big on the holidays, I absolutely adore these days between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Part of it is because I work full-time at a college and, like our students, we get these glorious days off  before starting full steam ahead again in January.

The other part is I happen to believe there is something magical about these days.  Because they are the last days not just of the month or the quarter but the whole year, people tend to write them off as an insignificant segue into start of a New Year.

But I know better.

It’s as if these days have a secret they will share only with those who can get quiet enough to listen and be still enough to notice.

While many people are bustling about returning items, reconnecting with family and friends, or trying to check off the last few items on their yearly to do list, I’ve been quietly calling the pieces of myself back home in order to acknowledge all the adventures I’ve had during this trip around the sun.

Before I even begin thinking about what I want to create in the New Year I ask myself a series of questions about the current year. The answers I get inform my direction and my intentions for the upcoming year.

I wanted to share them with you as a way to consider what 2017 has meant to you. You may want to sit with them, answer the ones that feel most in need of answering, skip those that don’t make sense for you, or make up your own.

After allowing my answers to these questions to reveal themselves to me, I take out a piece of paper and put a big plus sign on one half of the page and a big minus sign on the other. Armed with the insights from this year, I can clearly articulate what I want more of and less of in the New Year.

Because this is a process and the questions require time to marinate, I first read through them and let them seep into my psyche before attempting to answer them. Then I grab a pen and let the answers come to me.

By about Sunday I’ll be able to collect my responses and apply the perspective they afford to the New Year. On Monday I’ll spend some time welcoming 2018 and contemplating the choices ahead of me. I’ll Name & Claim what I intend to create and then release that intention into the wild.

I share this with you in hopes that these questions might help you find some clarity and direction in the New Year. Maybe you can ask some of these questions of your family and friends at a New Year’s Eve gathering?

May you savor these last days of 2017 as they share their secrets with you.

Baby Steps & Best Advice

  • Where did the smallest step produce the biggest result?
  • What was the best advice you were given this year?
  • Who shared it with you or how did it find its way to you?

Body Wisdom

  • How aware of your body were you throughout the year?
  • Did you feel connected to your body and allow yourself to feel the pleasure of being in a body or did you disconnect and spend the majority of time in your head?
  • Did you have any health challenges or achieve any health or fitness goals?

Experiences

  • What books, movies, music, conversations, trips, trainings, or classes forever changed the way you think, feel, see, or experience life?
  • What places provided you with the most peace or inspiration, the best working environment, the most creative conversations, the most nutritious and delicious food and drinks, incredibly beauty, or fascinating people?
  • Where did you love hanging out and with whom?

Fears & Thrills

  • What was the scariest thing you did this year?
  • How did you feel once you faced your fear?
  • What was the most thrilling thing you did, said, felt, or experienced this year?
  • What made you feel most alive?
  • What caused you the most pain or regret?

Gadgets & Gizmos

  • What new technology did you master that catapulted your business or personal life forward?
  • What products, apps, or life hacks made your life easier, more organized, or more fun?
  • What purchased created the most joy and/or frustration as you worked through the learning curve?

Gifts

  • When and how were your gifts recognized and appreciated this year? (By you and others.)
  • When did you need to activate your superpowers and how did you do so?
  • Was there a particularly painful lesson that held an exquisite gift for you?
  • When did you have to practice patience and learn to move at the pace of grace?

Health & Well-Being

  • What creative, meditative, fitness, or health practices did you begin that made a noticeable difference in the quality of your life?
  • What new foods or drinks did you discover this year that you now can’t live without?
  • What really nourished you?   (Mind, body, and spirit)
  • What health care practitioners offered you the most comfort or provided you with the most helpful information necessary to achieve your optimal health and well-being?

Homefront

  • Were there any new arrivals in your home? (Pets, people, plants, furniture, etc.)
  • Were there any departures in your household or family circle?
  • Did you move or add on to your existing home or somehow alter your living arrangements?

Livelihood & Creativity

  • Did you start a new adventure, begin a new business, retire, or leave an old career to start something new this year?
  • Who was on your dream team? What collaborations or partnerships gave you the most joy and brought about unexpected or innovative results?
  • Who needed to be fired from your life? What relationships created chaos, unnecessary drama, miscommunications, or major meltdowns?
  • Where did you create something amazing out of nothing?
  • Where did you take “massive imperfect action” as my coach likes to call it?
  • What crazy idea captured your attention and refused to let go until you took action? What happened next?
  • Where did you lose track of time and fall into the flow of doing what you love?

Money

  • How did money show up in your life this year?
  • Did you experience any money miracles or windfalls?
  • When did you feel especially abundant? What thoughts, practices, purchases, or actions contributed to that?
  • When did you feel constricted or tight about money? What thoughts, practices, purchases, or actions contributed to that?
  • Did you read any books, attend any seminars, work with any financial wizards or coaches who helped shift your mindset around money?

Relationships

  • Who walked into your life this year? How did their presence impact what’s possible for you?
  • Who walked out of your life this year? How did their absence create more presence for you?
  • Who do you long for? Who is missing in your world?
  • What relationships shifted or transitioned as you changed and grew?
  • Where was your love most needed and how easy was it for you to offer it up?
  • Who surprised you with their unwavering support and love? Who disappointed you?

Travel

  • Where did you go this year and how did you get there?
  • Did you travel for business, for pleasure, out of obligation, and/or because it was your soul’s calling?
  • Who did you meet in your travels?
  • What did you see?
  • How did it change you?

Spirit/Divine Intervention

  • How did God/the Universe/the Great Creator/Divine Feminine or Masculine reveal itself to you? How did you respond?
  • Were any of the answers you were seeking hiding in plain sight?
  • What was lost? What was found?
  • When did you feel closest to God or Source energy?

Surprise

  • What was surprised you most this year?
  • How did this surprise rearrange your reality?
  • What unlikely sources of support, funding, friendship, or freedom showed up for you?

World Events

  • How did world events impact your actions?
  • Did these events alter your opinion of humanity or change the way you view the world or the future of the planet?
  • Did these events catalyze you to join a movement, stage a protest, offer aid or assistance to those in need?

If you had to sum up the year in 6 words, those words would be:

___________    _____________    _____________     ______________   _______________    _____________

* Mine would be:  You can’t make this stuff up.  Really, it was that kind of year! Totally amazing.

Top 10 Takeaways from the year? List them here!

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I’d love for you to share any aha’s or epiphanies that may arise from these questions in the comments below.

 
 

Start Before You Are Ready

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I just got back from spending a few days in Boston with my tribe of transformational coaches and creatives.  I’ve only been a Rockstar on a Mission since March and a Wildflower since September but I barely recognize the quiet, questioning version of me who wondered whether investing in these coaching communities could catapult me out of my comfort zone and into my contribution zone.

I know now it was the only thing that could.

I’ve spent years lost in cyberspace, investing in online programs that promised all kinds of incredible results from the comfort of my couch. I eagerly downloaded all the modules and organized them in binders and convinced myself that doing that was the same as doing the actual work.

It wasn’t.

You have to change out of your pajamas, take a shower, and get out and meet people if you intend to save the world. Because you just can’t do it in isolation.

The evening before I invested what seemed like my life’s savings to become a Rockstar, I cataloged every single program I had invested in for the last 30 years.  As impressive as this list was in length and depth, I became painfully aware that I’d kept most of those experiences and the wisdom they afforded locked in a virtual vault somewhere inside of me.

One I had apparently lost the combination to.

I realized my success could only come from cracking the code and sharing what was inside instead of keeping this treasure tucked away.

It also meant shedding the safety of my invisibility cloak and showing up in full Queen regalia, ready to Own My Throne.

As soon as I stepped into my Rockstar role, I began to crack the code. I gave myself one year to play full out with a group of others committed to doing the same.

We would leave no stone unturned as we dived deeply into the beliefs and stories surrounding our resistance, fears, and ability to move forward.

It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been pretty. And it certainly has not been for the faint of heart. It has taken a lot of time, money, and, in my case, airplane tickets to far away places.

But eight months into it, I’ve done things with my tribes that I could have never done on my own.  I’ve led my own Tapping Into Your Wellpower retreat, I’ve led tapping circles at other retreats, I’ve led my team on a scavenger hunt at the Natick Mall, and I’ve gone to the pyramids of Teotihuacan where I learned sacred ceremonies to harness air, water, earth, and fire. I have spread my message from coast to coast and met shamans, healers, artists, mentors, coaches, and collaborators of every kind.

I share this not to boast but to tell you if you want to change the world (by first changing yourself), you can.

You just can’t do it alone.

And frankly, why would you want to?

There are so many fascinating people who have done what you want to do.  Learn from them. Take advantage of the their vantage point – even if they are only a few steps ahead of you. Study what works and what doesn’t.  Give yourself the gift of their guidance even as you chart your own course.

And by all means, start before you are ready. You’ve heard me say this before but it’s worth repeating.

There will always be a hundred things you think you need to know or do or accomplish before you start.

You don’t.

You’re stalling.

You’re scared. Believe me, I know.

The truth is you can’t know or do or accomplish many of those things that loom large until you start. You can’t fully appreciate how Facebook Live works until you do a Facebook Live broadcast. You can’t know how you will host a retreat until you host a retreat. 

What do you want to do by when?

Set a date.

Tell the world.

Then get to work.

Let the goal pull you forward instead of allowing your fears to hold you back. Let the excitement of publicly committing to your goal burn through your fears and be the catalyst for taking easily executable action steps. These steps will help you establish a steady rhythm of fear-busting moves that combat analysis paralysis.

And let me share one more little secret.  Getting there can be as thrilling as arriving. It’s all about the journey, the climb, the road to redemption.

When I announced my Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat I had no idea who would come, how I would coordinate all the moving parts, or what I would offer as a follow-up.  I only knew I was committed to doing whatever it took to make it the best retreat I could.

Because I had enrolled in a Retreat Blueprint program, I had an idea of what was necessary to run a successful retreat. But because I had never actually run one myself, I had to become a marketing machine, an event planner, a customer service rep, and anything else that was required. As if by magic, becoming all that activated my super-powers.

Who you become along the way determines how deeply and richly you can celebrate once you reach your destination and how confidently you continue to move forward.

When my retreat went off without a hitch, I celebrated like it was 1999. And when no one was watching, I danced around my house to my favorite celebration song. And then I headed to Mexico to embark on a scary, new, life-changing adventure.

So please, as Goethe suggests, Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

I’d love to hear about the magic you are conjuring up. Please let me know in the comments below so I can cheer you on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever You Think You Can Do, Begin It!

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Our Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat is just 9 days away! I’m so excited to be spending a day at the Rickert Lodge in Bellevue with such fabulous new friends.

It takes courage to commit to spending a day doing a deep dive into those areas where most people are content to stay where it’s numbingly comfortable.

Up until now, I’ve attended retreats. Lots of them. This time I’ll be leading one.

It’s a gigantic leap but one I’ve been preparing for all summer.  I’m thrilled to put my spin on the lessons I’ve learned from hanging out with some of the best teachers in some the world’s most beautiful places.

I have grand plans to host future retreats in the places dearest to my heart like Santa Fe, St. George, and Monterey. But for my first go round, it makes sense to stay local and start small. I’ll get through 1 day and work my way up to a week.

I couldn’t ask for a lovelier setting than the Rickert Lodge in Bellevue, Iowa. It’s close to home but far enough away from my normal work environment that it feels like a get-away.

The biggest challenge has been to pick just one theme for the day. I remind myself it has taken me a lifetime to integrate the various teachings and experiences I’ve had.  As tempted as I may be to throw a little bit of a lot of things into the ring, the last thing I want to do is overwhelm someone coming to me in search of tranquility.

So I will teach something I love (tapping/EFT) that I know can make a profound difference in the lives of others in a very short time.

Today I said to a co-worker, “This is what it feels like to realize a dream.

And remarkably it feels like another day in paradise. A day where dozens of creative decisions and compromises must be made, people surprise or delight me, others challenge me, and the dogs still demand a walk. (Because they know the walk puts it all in perspective.)

This is the beauty of stepping into your well of power and owning your throne. It forces you to be a better version of yourself. Putting together this retreat has proven the Goethe quote to be true.

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, power and grace.”

All kinds of things came into alignment as soon as I committed to hold the retreat. I have become more of a business person than I ever thought possible for a creatively quirky individual. Incredibly, I now have a YouTube channel, an active Instagram account, and have done several FB Live segments.

Upleveling is oddly disorienting until you realize this is what you were born to do.  Then you understand that there really are no mistakes, just learning opportunities, and no matter how steep the learning curve, what’s on the other side is usually worth it.

Doing the necessary hard work is really the only way to appreciate the magnitude of what you are able to manifest.

There is still time for you to join me at the retreat. We have the perfect size group for this kind of transformational work (20 people), but there is always room for you if this speaks to your heart.

Contact me if you are interested in attending or would like to host an event of your own and need a little nudge to make it happen.  Click on the Retreat tab above for all the details.

 

Vision Quest

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The topic of today’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series is perspective.

Hopefully the Get Stuff Done & Have Fun 21 Day Challenge has prompted you to view what’s fun for you to do as something that’s also essential for you to do.

The 5-10 minutes it took to do something creative, thoughtful, or fun as part of your daily challenge most likely colored your whole day with a dollap of delight that just a few days ago you may have determined you didn’t have time for.

Think of all the joy you would have missed just last week alone!

By now you could be seven days into the challenge.  Even if you are only a day or two into it, how has challenging yourself changed your perspective?  What is possible for you now that you didn’t think was possible last week?

Here’s what I learned is possible for me.

I am smart enough to deal with IT issues by calling the help desk and patient enough to stay on the phone as long as it takes to resolve the issue. While this is anything but fun for me, it does give my inner geek a thrill to reconfigure my whole internet setup so that it runs faster and with less downtime. And there is a badge of honor that comes with surviving the on-hold hell of being transferred and re-routed and explaining your situation succinctly to each new agent.

Ironically, every time I uplevel my business or upgrade my skills, it’s as difficult as the first time. Sometimes, even more so because I assume I know what I’m getting into and the learning curve will be easier. But not having been at this level or having dealt with the difficulties that come with playing in a bigger arena, I can’t know what I don’t know until I’m faced with not knowing.

That’s where beginner’s mind is most helpful.

And tech support.

Since I got my first MacBook Pro in May, the Apple Care people have become my new BFFS. Yesterday is was the WordPress Happiness Engineers.  Today it was my foreign friends at Netgear who spent the morning teaching me about modems and routers and secret reset button that you press with a paper clip after entering a special code. (Not disclosed in the instructions.)  Tomorrow I suspect the people at Mail Chimp will be welcomed into the fold.

And what a curious fold it is!

“It takes a village” is all I can say.  To build a dream, create a life, find a tribe, or manifest a vision. It takes a pit crew. The kindness of strangers.  A treasure map. Some perspective. And a few good dogs snoring and farting freely at your feet.

Let me know in the comments below what you are dreaming up and how I might support you.

 

 

Rules of Engagement

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Today’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series topic – engagement – takes last week’s topic of Showing Up one step further. Because if you were at all impressed with what happened when you showed up and were present, you’ll be blown away by what happens when you show up and engage with others.

How many of you who are reading this – or any number of blogs – have left a comment? If you haven’t, what stops you?

  • You don’t want to take the time or go through the hassle of figuring out how to actually leave a comment?
  • You’re reading it from a location that doesn’t lend itself to responding?
  • You think you don’t have anything to share?
  • You assume other people will respond so you don’t need to?
  • You prefer to keep a low profile and keep your opinions private or anonymous?

I certainly have used every one of the above reasons for not engaging with someone whose insights have totally shifted my way of thinking, saved the day, rocked my world, or even irritated the heck out of me.  So I totally get it.

I once read a blog post that challenged readers to engage by essentially calling us out as a cyber-stalkers. A bit harsh? Maybe. But I had to admit, I could be a bit more involved in the communities I was claiming to be a part of.  I posted my first comment that day on that blog.

Carolyn See’s book, Making A Literary Life, hints at something similar. She suggests we write a “charming note” to someone we admire in the industry five days a week , every week, for the rest of our lives.

Now that’s a tall order, but I bet you can write a charming note, send a quick email,  leave an encouraging comment, or, at least very least, “like” something once a week.  Just this morning I responded enthusiastically to an email from someone who consistently sends out great content. It made me feel as good as it’s bound to make the recipient feel.

This easily executable action not only helps another person feel appreciated. It allows me to be seen as a player, a contributor, an influencer or expert in my field. I really cannot afford to miss an opportunity like this to engage.

But Penny,” you argue, “it’s easy for you. You do this all the time.”

Oh, not so.  I’m a strange mix of an extroverted introvert.

If I know my job is to be the Hostess with the Mostess, I will play the part with gusto. It does takes practice, however. And I’m going to need a long stretch of silence and solitude to recover from that enormous output of energy.

But I’ve learned this.

Until you’re all in, until you do that thing that you think you cannot possibly do, you’re never going to succeed – even on your own terms. Because your success depends upon you showing up and engaging with others as only you can.

You cannot hold back.  You have to put your whole self in. Whether you shake it all about is your business.

How do you do that?

Let me share what I call my Rules of Engagement:

  • Suit up.
  • Show up.
  • Share.

Until you apply these rules of engagement with other human beings, no one is going to see and respond to your light in the way you long to be seen, felt, or heard.

I guarantee this will make you feel vulnerable. So we’ll talk about how to work with your vulnerability in next week’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series.

In the meantime, let me know in the comments below (or send me an email at penny@wellpower.com if that feels safer) what you’d love to be – or already are – known for, seen as, or valued and respected for.

For example, I’d love to be known as the go-to expert in transformational coaching. I’d love to be valued as someone who *gets* you and helps you unleash that certain something that makes you, you!

Now it’s your turn.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Also, head over to my YouTube Chanel, subscribe, and catch today’s video on Engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom Through Discipline

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From fireworks to parades to hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball, many Americans will find a way in the next couple of days to celebrate the freedom this country was founded upon.

With the need to be free hardwired into our operating systems, it’s the rare person who willingly gives up that freedom without a compelling reason. Yet, to achieve almost anything worthwhile, sacrifice is usually required. At the very least, discipline is demanded.

Think about the last thing you wanted to learn, do, or achieve that you knew nothing about. Chances are you did not just do it and become an instant expert.

Say you want to get in shape to run a 5k race in October. If you’ve never run anything but late, then you’ll need a strategy, a training schedule, some dietary guidelines, and basic structure in order for your plan to succeed.

Too often we’re seduced by the idea of easy.

Now I’m all for things being easy, but the things that really matter usually do so because of the time, effort, and discipline required to call forth our commitment and courage. When we can conjure up those characteristics, then unlikely allies and opportunities also arise and ignite a spark we may not have even known was in us.

This summer and fall I am taking on a couple of things are way beyond my skill set. I’m making a video series called Sunday Summer Stretch Series (watch today’s episode here) and hosting a retreat in September called Tapping Into Your Wellpower. (Watch for details posted here this week.)

I refuse to let the fact that I currently don’t have the expertise I would prefer to have to boldly go where I have not gone before stop me from heading in that direction. I have traveled enough to know there will be rest stops, restaurants, and resources along the way. Consequently, I trust I will be okay.

If I let the reluctance to start because I have no guarantees I will succeed stop me, I’d never get anywhere. And, oh, the places I would like to go!!

To me freedom is always hard won. While I’ve never fought for my country as some of you have, I fight daily for my dreams and the privilege to help you realize yours as well.

I’d love to hear how you are not just celebrating your freedom, but finding it through discipline and exercising it by stretching your skill set this summer.

Tell us all about it in the comments below. (Accountability does wonders!)

 

 

 

The Learning Curve

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It’s that time of year when students of all ages are graduating on to bigger and better things. In my family alone, we have three graduations in as many weeks.

After a couple of decades of being out of school, my sister just completed her Master’s Degree in Student Leadership.  Her daughter is finishing her last week at SCAD and will be heading out to California to start her creative career with a hat maker. And my nephew just graduated from Illinois State University and is on his way to Wyoming with his girlfriend to experience a summer working at Yellowstone.

Oh, the thrill of the open road and a new chapter!

This is the promise of new beginnings. Anything is possible.

The reality is that new beginnings are available to us at any time, although we sometimes need a little pomp and circumstance before we’re officially ready to roll.

I prefer to start without the fanfare.

I tend to launch before I know what I’m getting into.

Because if I knew what would be required of me to do half the things I long to do, I’d never do them.

It’s too daunting.

The learning curve is too steep.

If I knew how ridiculous I would feel prior to feeling fabulous or smart or trendy, I would never conjure up the courage to connect or create in all the ways that really light me up.

If I knew how much time, energy, and effort would be required to learn something people half my age were born knowing, I’d be tempted to use the “I’m too old for this” excuse.

But it’s that attitude that ages us faster than anything else.

The thing is, before we can get there from here, we have to go through the I-have-no-idea-where-I-am-or-what-I’m-doing place.  No one talks about this place because once we get where we’re going and know what we’re doing, we often erase limbo land from our memory.

It’s human nature to want to forget our ineptitude or gloss over the obvious errors in our thinking or the epic failures we didn’t anticipate.

But these often make the most memorable stories and become the beginnings of our greatest adventures.

Countless success stories start with the adventure that went awry, the chance meeting that wouldn’t have happened if all had gone as planned, or the random recalculating of  an accepted hypothesis that resulted in a scientific breakthrough.

There is an urgency about getting to the Promised Land, wherever that may be. We want to start out making top dollar. We want to instantly become an internet sensation. We want everyone to know our name. We want to succeed in business without really trying.

But there is a necessary learning curve. This is that magical time when we are humbled and frustrated and overwhelmed and filled with uncertainty that’s only occasionally sprinkled with awe and amazement and enthusiasm about what’s possible.

It’s this grace period when we get to fly under the radar, make mistakes, and hone our craft before we get pummeled by public perception.

It’s when we realize how lucky we are not to have our dreams realized before they are fully formed.

I recently came across a book titled “What’s In The Way, Is The Way.”  This echoes the idea we’ve been tossing about in my coaching program that the life we’ve lived so far, with all its trials and tribulations, has provided the precise experiences we need to succeed.

Whatever impeded our journey informed our journey and placed us in the perfect position to offer the unique contributions we can today.

So, graduates, as you saddle up and ride off into the sunset, remember it’s the detours, flat tires, the missed turns and the learning curves they afford that hold the real gifts.

I have no doubt you will get to your Promised Land with the flair and finesse that only you possess. Just remember to embrace with grace the path that leads you there.

I’d love to hear what you are graduating from at this juncture in your life. Please leave your comments, insights, or advice for fellow graduates of all kinds in the comments below.