align your personality

I recently watched an interview from last year of Oprah being asked questions about her career and life by a Stanford business school student.

For some reason this one piece of advice that Oprah offered stuck out for me:

“Align your personality with your purpose.”

I was intrigued. It was one of those statements that made me stop and think.

I think what struck me about this the most was how whole life encompassing this idea is. Think about it: if your personality is really and truly lined up with your life’s purpose, it’s going to impact your whole entire life. It’s going to make most of us show up in a whole new way.

What does it really mean for your personality to be aligned with your purpose?

Well for starters, you’ve got to be clear on your purpose.

So, what is your purpose?

Your purpose is the reason you’re here on earth in this life – it’s your mission and what gives your life meaning.  And when you connect with it, it resonates deeply.

Years ago I did this exercise, and what rose to the surface for me was: to help others connect with who they really and truly are and live from that place.

And over the years I’ve revisited the idea of my purpose and similar versions of the same message always comes back.  That’s kind of how you know you’ve landed on it.

So basically what Oprah is suggesting is to line up your purpose with how you think, feel, and behave.

But, how do you actually do this? How does this play out in real life?  The short answer is with intention.

How we feel drives how we think which drives how we act.

So we have to decide.

How do I want to feel?

We start here because this is our ultimate outcome.  With any goal in life, when it gets down to it, we’re really going after it because we want to feel a certain way.

I’ve found that the best way to sort out how you want to feel is to identify your core desired feelings.

What would I need to think?

What thoughts would I need to be thinking to feel how I want to feel?

To show up as the person I want to be?

What thoughts do I need to get rid of?

How do I want to behave?

How do I want to show up in the world?

Are there behaviors or habits I need to let go of?

If I was living (insert purpose here) each day, what would that look like?

If I was truly aligned with my purpose, how would the conversations I have each day change?

If you haven’t seen the Oprah interview, check it out here. It’s cool to see Oprah on the other side of the interview for a change:

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How to create a life vision

February 17, 2015

how to create a life visionI’ve been wanting to write out a new life vision for myself for a while now – since my new year planning back in December. But, for some reason I kept putting it off and resisted doing it. And by now I know better than to force it when I’m just not feelin’ it.

But lo and behold, last weekend I actually wrote out my life vision. It was Saturday morning.  I grabbed my coffee, my snuggy, some loose leaf paper and pen and turned on the Billie Holiday channel on i-tunes and got down to it.

I’ve done this exercise several times over the years, but there was something different this time: it actually flowed and felt easy. I think it’s because I didn’t use too much instruction, I just allowed myself to write. I also recently listened to Natalie Sisson share her painted picture via podcast, which is really the same as a life vision. Natalie’s painted picture is actually really long, but it totally flows and feels authentic as she goes through every part of what she sees happening for her business and personal life. It was inspiring to hear her vision and I think having heard it recently inspired my own life vision.

If you’re not really familiar with a life vision, it’s basically a picture of what you see for your life in the next three to five years. It’s all about envisioning what you want to create without thinking about how you’re going to accomplish it or letting fear or limitations get in the way.

Why a life vision is so awesome

One of the key things about your life vision is that it’s not about an end result.  It’s about harnessing what you want to create and explaining it in detail using your senses. How your life looks and feels.

What’s awesome about going through this exercise is that it helps you to really get into the feeling of what you’re creating.  It’s inspiring.  It’s one of the pieces that once it’s done, you can keep near you for daily motivation when you need it.

A lot of times we can get really caught up in the logistics of what we want to create and this can really hold us back. Many times you don’t know how something is going to happen and that’s totally ok or normal. It’s about trusting and allowing it to unfold without having all of the answers.

How to do the exercise

I say to allow yourself at least two sittings to write out your life vision, and more if you feel so inspired. Be sure to write your vision in the present tense as well. This helps you own it and know that the creation of this vision is actually happening now and not in some far off distant time.

For your first pass, just let it flow. Get comfy – whatever that means to you. Light a candle. Pour some tea. Put on some inspiring music. Wrap up in your coziest blanket. You get the idea.

Then grab some paper or a journal and start writing. You can use these questions as prompts…

  • What do I want my life to look like in the next three years?
  • What am I creating?
  • What’s around me? Colors, sights, sounds?
  • How do I start each day?
  • How does what I’m experiencing feel?
  • Who am I working with?
  • How does my space feel?
  • Who do I spend time with?
  • What’s the impact of what I’m doing on the people around me – family, friend, clients, the world?
  • Who am I becoming?

Go with whatever comes to mind first.  Without over-thinking it, allow you mind to wander and capture whatever you see. Your life vision is not a plan with specific rigid goals – there’s much more dimension to it – you’re creating your ideal scene. Again, Don’t worry about how you’re going to make these things happen, just go with what you see.

Once you’ve gotten the first part down, you can then go back and fill in what’s missing. Keep these areas in mind:

  • Relationships – friendships, significant other, family, community, etc.
  • Business or career.
  • Finances.
  • Health and wellness.
  • Fitness and movement.
  • Spirituality.
  • Creativity.
  • Lifestyle & daily habits.
  • Home & surroundings.
  • Learning & personal development.

Once you’re done and satisfied, put your life vision in a place where you can easily access it. You may want to keep your life vision private, which is what I do. Or you can also share it with someone – business partner, significant other, friend, coach –  if you’re feeling really excited and feel like it would benefit you in getting someone else involved in it. Sharing it can also help bring you some accountability on making it happen!

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Why Your Message Matters

January 29, 2015

Your Message #2 (1)

So, when you hear someone say “marketing message” does it make you clam up a bit? Does it sound like business mumbo jumbo you’d just assume do without?

What’s even more annoying is that your marketing message can feel really elusive, especially if it’s not clear to you what it is. It’s kind of like this thing you keep trying to grab but can never quite get a hold of. I totally get it.

So why do we really care about our message, anyway?

Well, as a heart-based solo entrepreneur, your message matters because it’s an extension of you. Your message encompasses what you do and who you offer it to, but it also includes your why.  Your mission and your deeper passion. The reason behind why you do what you do.

The reality is that you use your message to communicate to the world every day in different ways. You use it when you meet someone new and they ask what you do. You also use it on your website, in blog content, and basically anywhere you are communicating about your business – verbal or written.

The good news is, your message doesn’t have to be this elusive thing out of a business textbook. It can actually be something you feel good about, that you use every day, and that you look to for inspiration.

Here’s how having a clear message can really make a difference…

Your message connects you to your tribe.

People want to work with others who they truly vibe with.  They want to work with someone who understands them and has had some of the same experiences. So adding personal elements is key. It helps your clients, readers, audience, whomever to connect with you.

Your message is the anchor of your business.

Having a clear message tethers your business to something solid. And when you stray, it helps you come back to your core.  It also helps you know what content to produce and what products to create so that you can serve your people. It’s kind of like a daily beacon for you, keeping you focused on what really matters.

Your message is your inspiration point.

Being grounded in your message helps you stay connected to your work on a daily basis. Let’s face it, even if you’re doing work you love, it can be hard to stay excited day in and day out. On those days where you wake up feeling uninspired, remembering your deeper why can really help to bring you back to feeling good and excited about what you’re creating in the world.

Photo Credit: Bjørn Giesenbauer via Compfight cc

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Friday Inspiration

June 20, 2014

friday inspiration

 

Martha Beck dishes on finding your superpowers and how they’re often not what you expect.

Amy Butler’s Blossom Magazine…gorgeous and soulful.

Wayne Dyer discovers that intention is not something to be done, but rather to connect to.

Tiny Buddha…when less is more.

Sticking with it when you want to give up from Chris Guillebeau

Happy weekend!

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We’re Never Finished

March 31, 2014

purple flowers - small

We are never finished.

There is always more to learn.

A new mountain to climb.  New things to discover.

Perfect, done, and arriving do not exist.

We’re never finished.

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

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medium_4383628003

There’s a lot of talk today about single people feeling bad because its Valentine’s Day and they’re without a significant person in their lives. Sure it can be hard to see your co-worker getting a huge delivery of beautiful flowers while your desk goes empty. Hearing all about your friend’s plans for a romantic dinner when you have none, can also be tough.

But when you take a further look, is this really the truth that we need someone else to make us feel good today?  That we have to feel bad that we don’t have that significant person present in our lives right now?

I think if we look closer, we just see conditioned thinking.  The underlying thought is: I need someone else to complete me.

Eeek, really?

There’s a lot of social conditioning perpetuating this thought too.

I’m not saying it isn’t great to find and connect with that special person.  I think most of us want someone wonderful to share life with.  I know I do, when the time is right.

But in the mean time, why not show up for yourself?  Why not give yourself what you’re longing to get from someone else?

The truth is that if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, it’s an opportunity.  It’s a chance to change your thinking and be your own Valentine.

Think about how you would want your Prince (or Princess) Charming – if he or she were in your life – to treat you today…

Would you go on a special date?

Would they write you a poem?

Would you cook a great meal together and set the table with pretty linens and flowers?

Would they give you a special gift?

Then get busy creating that experience for yourself.

Buy yourself a gorgeous bouquet.

Splurge on a special piece of jewelry.

Bake the most decadent chocolate cake – just for you.

Write yourself a sweet Valentine celebrating all that’s awesome about you.

Draw yourself a luxurious bath with candles, lavender salts, and some Billy Holiday playing the background.

Its time…be the one to really show up for you today.

Photo credit: Naguo Lisin

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Self Coaching 101

Its an understatement to say that learning about my thoughts changed my life.

Self Coaching 101 helped me to uncover what’s really going on in my own head.  This book illustrates the path of thinking and how thought shapes your life.

Why does all of this thought stuff matter?  Because its the super highway to feeling better.

Brooke, the author provides a really practical tool for looking at thought that looks like this:

thought modelWhen you work the model, you see how your thoughts create your feelings. You also see how a circumstance is just a neutral occurrence, shaped by the meaning we give it and the thoughts we have about it. Finally, we see how our actions are based off of these three, and how we ultimately create what we’re experiencing today.

Thinking is automatic for most of us.  And then worse, the trouble brews when we actually believe those thoughts.  But things start to change when we wake up and begin questioning this chatter.

This is a book that I go back to again and again. And I’ll warn you and say this work isn’t easy. Its lifetime pursuit: when you dive in you realize just how much there is to discover about your thoughts. Unearthing what was previously buried in your subconscious is not for the faint of heart, but it is life altering.

The bottom line: the model I learned from Self Coaching 101 and the awareness the model has brought about, have both helped me to feel better on a daily basis.

Check it out: Self Coaching 101 by Brooke Castillo.  You can also download a class she gave on the thought model here for free!

Photo Credit: Thought Model

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large money

Here’s the scenario:

Your mechanic calls and despite his initial estimate, your car’s going to need $3,000 worth of work to pass inspection.

You just opened to your mailbox to find out your condo board is assessing each unit owner an additional $1,000 this year.

Or maybe you just lost your job.

“OH CRAP!”  @#*&%*!

This is my knee-jerk reaction to these kinds of things, and I’m guessing not far off from yours. And rightfully so. Its scary to come up against an unforeseen financial situation where you feel like you just flushed money down the toilet or you have no idea how you’re going to pay the bills.

The urge is to panic and to worry. To get tense.

Enter the four letter word:F E A R.

Why me? 

How am I going to pay for this? 

Who’s going to pay the bills?! 

Once you’ve had ample time to freak out, its time to do something to counter-act your conditioned reaction.

You can shift yourself out of fear mode to a better place with one of these methods:

1. Treat yourself.

Take a nice long, luxurious hot bath. Or, go get a manicure or better yet, do your own nails.

Go for a hike.

Make yourself a delicious dinner.

The point is to do something nice for yourself. Because treating yourself with care is a reminder of the ultimate truth: this is only a circumstance and what matters most is that you feel better. I’m not saying you’ll magically forget your money woes, but taking care of yourself is a step in the right direction.

2. Give something away.

Remember the 6 winter coats hanging in your closet? Pick the one you wear or like the least to give away. While you’re at it, scour your closet for other things you no longer need. Pack them up and bring it all over to your local good will.

Or, give a couple of bucks to the homeless guy you pass every day. It may feel weird to part with cold hard cash at a time like this. I know when I find myself in a financial jam, my initial instinct is to hold on to every dollar and every thing I own for dear life. But when I can focus on giving instead of loss and lack, I notice myself feeling a whole better, feeling really lucky for how much I actually have.

3. Move towards gratitude.

Think about it: what can you appreciate right now?

Go out and clean out your care that’s in need of costly repairs. Show it some love and clear out all the junk. Wipe down the dust. Wash it and make the windows sparkle. Think about how much you appreciate the fact that you have four wheels to get you around.

Sit down with some pen and paper and brainstorm all of the good things about the job you just lost. Maybe the friends you made. Skills that you can add to your resume. Or write about what’s good about being let go from it. No more 90 minute commute. Maybe the opportunity to move your career in a whole new direction. I guarantee that if you ponder it a bit, there’s always something good available to focus on.

Feeling through your conditioned fearful reaction and getting through to the other side has power. The truth us that how we feel and how we think creates our reality. Lack just breeds more lack. You’re not likely to create what you actually need if you wallow in fear and stay in a place of scarcity.

So fly in the face of fear and find a way to feel better. Put yourself in a better frame of mind, on the road to creating positive new things.

Photo credit

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Gratitude

November 29, 2013

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I’m grateful in a different way this year.

Grateful for my challenges.

I see, I know that they are helping me to grow.

The difficult things have brought be back to myself, again and again.

My challenges are illuminating what matters to me in a whole new way.  What I really value.

Shining the light on my strengths and what’s awesome about me.

I can be with uncertainty and discomfort.  I can deal with change and not topple over.

I can accept.

And I can create again.

My hurdles remind me of the truth that when you shake it all out, I am fundamentally ok.

A truth that can be covered up, but always remains just under the surface for re-discovery.

This year, what was looking like my misfortune is what I’m most thankful for.

Photo credit: Rustiqueart

 

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Debt, My Teacher

November 21, 2013

heart in sky

When you’ve accumulated a whole bunch of debt, it can take a long time until you’re out from under it.  Depending on how much debt you have, it may be months or even years.

It can be really hard to separate yourself from something that you have a constant reminder of every day.  One of the hard things is that your behavior, your life, your mindset may be totally different today than it was when you created the debt.

Although I changed my lifestyle of spending and not paying attention several years ago, I’m still paying off the money that I owe as a result of that today.

For a long time it served as a constant reminder of past mistakes.  And it was difficult to move beyond the self loathing.  The anxiety of what I created was always weighing on my shoulders.

With the evidence in my face on a daily basis, I could hear the saboteur voice, “how could you be so irresponsible?”…”how could you be so stupid?”…”you’re so not good with money”…and on and on…

But, one of the keys has been in my noticing my thinking and my feelings.  As Geneen Roth says, until you notice and understand yourself, true change is not possible.  You can get everything you want and wish for and still not feel good, because feeling bad has been your default.  You don’t know any other way.

So I find I have to meet myself with kindness.  And at the same time, not ignore the shameful, fearful, anxious feelings that rise up.  I can’t pretend that they don’t exist.  Instead I must acknowledge them and let them run their course.  And then when it feels right, move on to a more loving and compassionate place.

If I close my eyes and picture myself years ago when I created the debt – confused, lost, uncertain, sad, disconnected from myself – I can’t help but feel compassion for that girl.  What I know now is that she was just looking for a way to feel worthy.  I know that she was really just trying to take care of herself.  I also know that she was only doing the best she could at that moment in time, and I feel nothing but love for her.

And, I know that this debt is here to teach me.  I can see it in a whole new way.

Its teaching me to be gentle and kind to myself.

Its teaching me to be peaceful.

Its teaching me love.

Photo credit:  Amy Lloyd

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