“When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.” ~ Walter Payton
Our greatness, when reflected back to us, can be overwhelming.
We often don’t realize the impact we have on others, even when we’re just being ourselves. Who we are matters and what we do matters.
I was at a birthday party recently and the guest of honor was showered with accolades, poems, stories, and reflections on how she made a difference in so many lives. She shared, with a voice full of gratitude and tears, how all of this was very difficult to accept and embody. However, since she trusted us to tell the truth, she would do her best to open up and accept it all and allow the fullness of her impact to sink in.
I was moved by her honesty, openness, and authenticity. I’ve felt the same thing myself, but instead of sharing how difficult it was to take in, I just slapped a smile on my face and went numb. It wasn’t until much later (when I was alone and could process things) that I allowed myself to soak in the experience.
But in the meantime, I robbed myself of the opportunity to have a peak experience in the moment and I robbed the giver of being able to fully show my appreciation and gratitude for the emotional gifts that had come to me.
When you’re greatness has been reflected back to you, how have you responded?
“Life isn’t meant to be tolerated. It’s meant to be savored, devoured, marrow sucked and
How do you measure your life?
Many of us measure of our life based on our accomplishments, accolades, and achievements. But what happens if those aren’t as plentiful as we hoped for? Do we then measure our life as a failure? Or hum-drum? Or mediocre?
If we only measure our life based on the ‘big’ things, we can miss the precious moments in-between. We can get so caught up on the championships, the awards, and the ‘attaboys’ (or ‘attagirls) that anything less than a peak experience doesn’t count and we can find ourselves with low self-confidence and low self-esteem.
Facebook envy is a very real phenomenon when we measure our life based on what others are posting.
I love my peak experiences and big moments. I love basking in the afterflow of those things I’d be proud to write in my bio.
But there’s more to me (and my life) than that….so much more.
Life isn’t just about the great and the grand, the big moments and the applause, the peak experiences and the victories. If we measure our life based on these things, we are basing our life using someone else’s rules.
Been there. Done that.
“We write, we speak, we tell the truth about our lives- that's what we do. Why is being yourself considered brave? Or something you have to build up to doing? What is dying inside you while you wait until you are brave or courageous enough to be yourself? How many years are going by while we work on self-improvement, self-discovery and trying to turn ourselves into someone we are not?” ~ Denise Dee
I spent a lot of 2018 on ‘being myself.’
Of course, I had to first figure out who I was, and that’s different than who I thought I was. You know, the me without the labels or the ‘shoulds.’ So, when 2019 was approaching and my inbox was filled with promises to help me create my best year, programs to help me have my most productive year, or products to help me have my most successful year, I resisted that hype.
That’s not to say I didn’t do anything, because I did. But I did things ‘my way’ based on my work on ‘being myself.’ We’re almost at the end of January and I’m still continuing with the forward momentum I started at the beginning of the year. I haven’t’ abandoned my resolutions (of course, I don’t make any), but I haven’t abandoned any goals, desires, or dreams either. I feel like I’m moving in the direction I want to go with poise and purpose.
So, I thought I’d share some of what I did and maybe you can use these as an example of something you can try (maybe starting February 1) and see if by the end of February you still feel like you’re moving in the direction you want to go with poise and purpose.
It’s never too late to start.
I celebrated my accomplishments in 2018
I looked back at my calendar (and the notes from the Mustang Sallies group) and reflected on the areas that went well and the fun I had. I listed things like taking road trips, losing 20 pounds, purchasing a home, beginning to learn Hebrew, speaking at Unity Churches, and launching new products (and of course, much more). Then I reflected on how I did these things (taking action, scheduling it on my calendar, asking for help, etc.) and if there was further progress I wanted to make on any of these accomplishments.
Takeaway: This got me in a really good mood and made me realize all the opportunities that came my way, the impact I had, the fun I had, and how I got a lot of things right. There was a lot to be grateful for.
“Success is a state of mind. If you want success,
Success. We all want it and so few of us think we are it.
Let me ask you a question: what is your definition of success? Did you get this definition from your parents or teachers? Or maybe from your employer? Or maybe from the gazillion success gurus out there?
When we rely on other people to determine what success ‘looks like,’ then it’s often very challenging to live up to that determination.
Here’s what Webster has to say: “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” And what do all of those have in common? They are outward reflections that other people can judge. Ick.
Can peace of mind be considered success? What about self-satisfaction? Or maybe self-development and personal growth can be considered success. Personally, I love the idea of success stemming from each one of us living like we matter.
I subscribe to a lot of blogs, videos, and newsletters (too many). I downsize my subscriptions and then I upsize – and it’s time for another downsize. And so many of these blogs, videos, and newsletters focus on productivity and success. And while I get inspiration from many of them, it seems they mostly focus on externals like money and business building (okay, okay – those are the types of things I subscribe to).
My point of view is that success is NOT just about those things that we can measure.
Success isn’t about what we can ‘show off’ but how we ‘show up.’
“I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
Okay, I just posted a video called “Clarity is Power” and now I’m posting a blog called “Permission is Power.” So which is it? What’s more powerful, clarity or permission? And what does permission have to do with power? I’m glad you asked.
We get hung up on clarity.
I speak to many women who think that once they have this magical, mystical thing called ‘clarity’ then they’ll know their purpose, they’ll be happy, they’ll be able to move forward, and they’ll have confidence. But I think that we (especially women) use this lack of clarity as our excuse to stay stuck, to treat our purpose and our passion as a hobby, or to put off being bold or outrageous.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Clarity is a powerful motivator and accelerator. With clarity we have a sense of direction and vision. Our affirmations, visualizations, and meditations can be specific and juicy. Clarity is our guide and compass.
But what if we are afraid? Afraid to shine, afraid to stand out, afraid to lead, afraid to soar?
Sometimes we have blocks to our own brilliance and magnificence and then clarity eludes us. But if we say we want clarity, then it looks like we are blocked only because we don’t know where we should be going. Not because we are afraid to move or make a decision.
This is where permission comes in.
Let me ask you a question (or two or three). Are you feeling stuck? Do you feel frustrated or trapped? Are you embarrassed or even ashamed that you aren’t more successful or that you haven’t achieved more?
What you may need is permission for your desire.
"We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
Autumn is here!
For many people this is their favorite time of year. The warm days of summer begin to cool and the landscape turns gorgeous shades of orange and red. Admittedly, we don’t get much color change here in Sedona, so when I get to see an Aspen turning yellow or come across other fall colors, it makes it all the more sweet!
For me, autumn brings other things to mind as well. As the seasons change in seemingly dramatic ways, I like to reflect on my own changing seasons and the fall is a great time to do that.
Think of it this way: The trees are shedding what no longer serves them. They are letting go to make room for new growth in a few months. They don’t hang on ‘just in case’ they’ll need one or two of those leaves for something. They are shaking loose and setting themselves free (so to speak).
In the Jewish tradition, this is the time for Yom Kippur (Sept. 19 this year), Day of Atonement – and in New Thought/metaphysics we like to think of atonement as At-One-Ment. It’s hard to be ‘at one’ with the Divine when we are overloaded with limiting beliefs, holding onto grudges, or carrying shame. It’s hard to step into our full awesomeness and badass self when we are hiding out and playing it safe.
I’m ready to clear some stagnant energy. I’m ready to let go of the heaviness of judgement (of self and others). I’m ready to let go of those excuses that are music to my ears but death to my soaring dreams. I’m ready to recognize the ways I’ve missed the mark this year.
And on the other side of ‘letting go’ is embracing some new ideas and behaviors.
Are you ready, too?
“Don’t act like you are walking around with a Tshirt that says "I give Up!" on the front and on the back saying "I never started trying!"
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t very good at trying new things.
Being a bit of a perfectionist (okay, okay - - more than a bit), I knew I probably wouldn’t be perfect the first time I tried something new, so I just didn’t do it. I thought I’d rather get better at what I’m already good at. That was just an excuse to stay small.
Food. If I hadn’t already tried it, I wasn’t interested. My reasoning was this: “If it tasted good, my mom would have already served it to me growing up. She didn’t, so it must not taste that good.” So, I was in my 20s before I tried avocados, artichokes, or Japanese food. And it took about a million ‘no’s’ before I finally said ‘yes.’ I missed out on some good food, right? Another excuse to stay small.
Sometimes trying something new doesn’t work out so well.
The first time I tried to snow ski (I was in my 30s) at Lake Tahoe, I fell every single time I got off the chair lift. Talk about embarrassing! ‘Lean forward’ the guy said and I really thought I was leaning forward but I was falling backwards, so that didn’t make sense. Then I heard these magic words: “Try to stand on your tip toes when you get off the chair lift.” That did the trick. Something I could understand. From then on, no more falling backwards. And I was off snowplowing down the hill.
And sometimes trying something new works out just fine.
"These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after." ~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Yes, we are in the dog days of summer! Do you know why it is called that? Well, to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the ‘dog days’ happened when Sirius, the ‘dog star’, appeared to rise just before the sun. They thought that the combination of Sirius and the Sun caused the midsummer sweltering heat. Traditionally, the ‘dog days of summer’ are the 40 days between July 3 and August 11.
Darren Hardy is a success mentor and I subscribe to his daily video and he just finished a 10-step plan to beat the ‘Dog Days of Summer.’ He tells us that productivity actually drops by 20% during these ‘dog days.’
I was thinking about how these ‘dog days of summer’ might affect us on a more personal level.
Lethargy. Hopelessness. Lost. Confusion.
In these ‘dog days’ it might feel like we are all alone. We might sometimes feel like Spirit (or the Universe) is missing in action. Things take longer than we anticipate and it’s harder for us to sustain our momentum, let alone our motivation. Dare I say it: it might feel like life is HARD.
We doubt our dreams, we doubt our actions, and we doubt ourselves. We are ready to just say “I’M OVER IT!”
“Every time I hear a woman say that she wants to "play big"—and I hear that a lot—it breaks my heart a bit. I know what she means, and yet...it implies that it's something she's trying on, rather than something that's inherently her's already...from birth. She was born—indeed I believe we ALL are—with a bright light.” ~ Lael Couper Jepson
A wonderful blog post appeared in my inbox today from Lael. It made me stand up (okay, not really stand up, since I read the entire thing while sitting in my office chair) and take notice. And rethink my thinking. And ponder the significance of what it means when I say I want to ‘play big’ and what it means when I write about it or talk about it.
Is this a subtle acknowledgment that we are small and we have to transform ourselves into something else so that we can ‘play big?’ Do we need a makeover of some kind? Or does it mean that we need to simply recognizing our true essence, which is already big?
When you say or when I say “I’m ready to play big” does that mean we want to start living unapologetically? Does it mean we want to acknowledge and appreciate our gifts and talents and ideas without worrying that other women will think we are ‘full of ourselves?’
Women tend to worry about being too bold, too audacious, and too confident as if that’s a bad thing.
“People try to bottle up their emotions, as if it's somehow wrong to have natural reactions to life.” ~ Colleen Hoover, 'Maybe Someday'
Why am I on a kick about ‘hiding our feelings’ you might be wondering?
And even if you haven’t been wondering, I’m going to tell you. I was a master at hiding my feelings, even from an early age. I remember being on a camping trip when I was a girl scout and I had to carry a pot of boiling water from the stove to a table where we were going to wash dishes. Some of the water splashed out onto me and burned my stomach. Ouch, it really hurt! But I didn’t say anything or tell anyone. I still have a scar on my stomach from that event. (yes, that's my actual girl scout sash in the photo)
Another time I was taking bareback horse-riding lessons and the horse stepped on my toe (I was only wearing tennis shoes). Another ouch. And again, I just took the pain and didn’t say anything to anyone (no scar on that one).
Declaring my pain in those two instances would have been a natural reaction to life. I don’t think anyone would have criticized me for saying ‘ouch, that hurt,’ yet even from that young age (I think I was around 10 years old), I must have gotten a message that it wasn’t okay to share my emotions or feelings.
My married life led me to getting a PhD in hiding my feelings. My husband would use my vulnerabilities and weaknesses against me in some sort of emotional blackmail, so I quickly learned to hide any sort of emotions that could be used against me.
So, imagine my delight, when I found a belief system that seemed to encourage me to hide these negative emotions. And I pursued this belief system with vigor. I even became a minister and founded two churches.
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.