I had this great epiphany while peeling carrots yesterday; yes, carrots. When you are open for change and growth in your life, even carrots can coach you! You need a little background first, however. My family has gotten very healthy since February. Together, we have lost almost 150 pounds, 62 of those are mine. We have stopped eating processed food and have embraced a nutritional cleansing program that is LITERALLY changing our lives. We feel and look amazing. We have so much energy and feel so vital that our once chaotic life has fallen into a routine… a FAST routine, but still a routine. We are, like most families: busy. Busy, Busy. BUSY. It was only when I was peeling those carrots yesterday that it occurred to me how much “busy” is costing us… and not just my one family, but what “busy” is costing us as a nation.
When is the last time you peeled a carrot? I bet it has been a VERY long time. You know why? Because we all buy baby carrots now. They are cute. They are fast. They are easy. They don’t make a messy pile of peels and junk up your kitchen. You can just reach in the fridge and grab a handful and go. It is SO great. We are SO smart. And we are SO healthy and prepared, aren’t we? NO! We are not. We are BS-ing ourselves. Baby carrots are HORRIBLE for you. They are just REAL carrots, cut into little uniform pieces and shaped pretty. They are soaked in chlorine bleach and then served up to you wet, in a bag. Gross.
Baby carrots are the perfect metaphor for most of our lives: they are cute with their little, perfect, rounded corners and their grab-and-go ease, and we are tricking ourselves into thinking we are making a healthy, educated choice. When, in REALITY, we are opting for a fast, toxic substitute to the REAL thing that only makes us LOOK and FEEL like we are doing well. There is no such thing as a “baby” carrot. They are not even real!
This is OUR life, America. We are constantly opting for a cheap, toxic substitute because we are unwilling to stop our frenetic lives for a moment and do the heavy lifting. And, really, the heavy lifting isn’t even that heavy! Do you know how long it takes to peel a carrot? THREE SECONDS. I timed it. For three seconds, we are willing to sell out our health and ingest toxins, just so we can check off the next thing on our to-do list THREE SECONDS sooner.
“We are a mess and we are sacrificing quality for quantity every, single day.”
And it’s not just the carrots, trust me. Look at YOUR life. Our schedules are over-filled to that point that our priorities are upside down. We have no time for family dinners, game nights or REAL conversations. We replaced these things with tv dinners, fast food, television and texting. We fill our lives with clubs, sports, kids’ activities and technology and we are become zombies in the midst of this one amazing life we have been given. Look at who we are becoming as a country–from rampant obesity, to presidential candidates that are corrupt cartoon characters. We spew mean things anonymously all over the internet instead of creating teams and real solutions to solve global problems. We’d rather inhale a drive thru crap burger in the front seat while we continue on to our next agenda item, than STOP, plan, connect and nurture. We are a mess and we are sacrificing quality for quantity every, single day.
I have a challenge for you this week: STOP BEING BUSY. Literally, sit down and cancel all that stuff you are running to and from after work. Unless your kid is a soccer prodigy, one week of missed practices won’t hurt her. SLOW DOWN. Breathe. Re-connect. Peel REAL carrots.
You are asleep at the wheel of your life and you are missing it — ALL. OF. IT.
I’ve been wildly successful on a nutritional program I started 10 weeks ago. I have a lot of weight to lose (like 160 lbs. and I’ve lost 40 so far!) I love this program and I often tell people how “easy” it is. However, this really doesn’t tell the whole truth and doesn’t always equip other people to be as successful as I am being. I want you to know that while it’s easy for me, it doesn’t mean I don’t struggle and make imperfect choices sometimes.
I have been addicted to food since I was 6 years old. Someone I trusted would sexually abuse me and then take me to McDonald’s to “heal the wound.” This went on for years and I learned that the more I ate, the better I felt. Food became my drug of choice to push the pain down into a place where I could no longer feel it for awhile. As an adult I’ve been in therapy, grappled with these issues, gotten mentally healthy and have triumphed over the abuse. However, my relationship to food, almost like a lover, has never changed and I have remained obese for 40 years.
It wasn’t until I tried this program that I began to have power over food. While I have been “awake” to my patterns for decades, I have had little ability to adjust my choices and avoid being controlled by compulsive eating urges. For me, this program has been a game-changer. While I still have cravings, they are muffled. As I make better nutritional choices and feed my body dense superfoods, my body is getting balanced and the cravings no longer have hold on me. I am in charge of my choices rather than being swept up by the food craving like a wave crashing a buoying seashell to shore.
Part of my health transformation is the following: I think it is important to realize that changing the way you eat is a LIFESTYLE, not a diet. It’s about making better choices every day to build the best version of yourself. This truth applies to EVERYTHING in your life you want to change, not just weight loss. It applies to exercise, productivity, nurturing talent… This applies to anything you want in life, that you currently lack.
I’ll give you an example: I haven’t eaten through a drive-thru window for almost 3 months; something I did almost daily before February. Yesterday, I sat in the parking lot of Kentucky Fried Chicken for about 10 minutes considering whether taking a lunch home would be feeding my soul or feeding my demons… yesterday the verdict was demons, so I drove away. Another day, picking up KFC and going on a picnic with my family might result in a different answer. But the fact that I’m AWAKE to my automatic ways of being and consciously choosing is a symptom of transformation.
The point is that SUCCESS is a result of CONSCIOUS decisions you make in your day, moment by moment. And each day, those decisions become habit. And, after weeks, those habits become who you are and how you live. This is not just in relationship to food.
Don’t sell yourself short because you ate popcorn last night. But, in the same breath, don’t give yourself room to eat popcorn today. You are stronger than you think and can do MUCH MORE than you allow yourself. BE STRONG and don’t let food (or whatever YOUR vice is) control you.
Be awake and make sure your NEXT decision always builds a better YOU.
APPLY THIS: What is your biggest vice/bad habit from which you want freedom? In the next 48 hours, notice how it uses you and stop before you do it an consciously CHOOSE whether or not you will continue. Please share in the comments what you discovered.
Sometimes all you need is a good laugh to start your week and Jimmy Fallon is the guy who does it for me. #MakeItAGreatWeek #LaughterReducesStress #THEbestMedicine
We wear busy-ness like a badge of honor. Really, the sleep you are NOT getting is adding to your failures and your ineffectiveness. Your lack of sleep is a function of you NOT managing your personal resources well.
Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night’s sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making.
CALL TO ACTION: Make sleep a priority this week–SCHEDULE IT! That’s right, schedule your bedtime and get at least 8 hours of sleep every day this week. How did it feel?
I talk to potential clients all day long that really have NO idea how powerful they are. Some are wildly successful in many areas in life, but in one area, they are just stuck and can’t move forward. Others are wildly unsuccessful and get stopped everywhere; they have multiple failures and can’t figure out why their great ideas don’t turn out… the problem, no matter the client, is almost ALWAYS the same: they have NO IDEA who they ARE, or how powerful they are.
I used to have these 2 dogs; a Lhasa Apso and a Bull Mastiff. The Lhasa was 25 lbs., the Mastiff about 125. The Mastiff was HUGE. His head was the size of watermelon and when he was running toward a stranger, barking–their life would flash before their eyes. He was massive. The other dog, however, was one of those white, yappy lap dogs that you want to kick like a football to get him to shut up. He was almost all white with long hair covering his eyes and was always mistaken as a girl: “Aw… what’s her name? She’s sooooo cuuuuute! What a little princess.” Strangers LOVED this dog. However, strangers were erroneous. The dog to fear was the white one. The Lhasa was cunning and evil. He would bite you in the face before you knew what hit you. He hated almost everyone and was incredibly aggressive. The Mastiff, on the other, was afraid of his own shadow. The funniest daily event in our house occurred when Max (the Mastiff) would tear around the main floor, tongue flapping behind him running for his life… you guessed it, being chased by the Lhasa, nipping just feet from his heels. Max ran like his life was at stake. He was terrified. And, you know why? Elliot (the Lhasa) knew how powerful he was. He had what dog trainers often refer to as “Little Dog Syndrome;” that condition where 25 lb. dogs think they are the alpha and they can rule the world. The funny thing about that is they most often do.
As humans, we need more “Little Dog Syndrome” and less self-doubt disguised as humility. It’s not attractive to think less of yourself than you are. It’s not humble to cheat yourself out of your potential. In fact, it’s down-right stupid. I have the privilege to talk to some of the most amazing people on this planet on a daily basis, and, you know, most of them have NO idea who is walking right there in front of me, inside their skin. They think they are weak, afraid, and unable to accomplish their dreams. The really sad thing is… they are right. As long as they think they are powerless, they are. Most times, I meet people that do have at least some idea of their power; however, they are just as stuck because they won’t allow themselves to be great. They know they’re “big dogs,” but they afraid to let themselves be big in the world. They hide behind humility, fear of success and a concern for what others will think of them if they are crazy-successful. They make a mistake by assuming that being a “good person” means one can’t have money or lofty success; that you can’t REALLY be altruistic if you are rich.
I believe that each of us has an Elliot inside–hopefully not so aggressive and nasty (LOL)–but, really, a powerhouse of possibility and strength ready to jump at any, and every, opportunity. The problem is we tend to slink into a corner like Max… by the way, did I mention he was literally one of the DUMBEST dogs I’ve ever had. He had a good heart, though.
I’m a social media whore. Ok, let’s be kind… I’m a floozy. I love it. I value the ability to connect with so many people I would never, otherwise, connect with. I learn from social media. I laugh from social media. I get much of my news–family and world–from social media. I carry FB with me every moment and report on my life at a ridiculously frequent level; whether or not anyone even cares. I LOVE social media. It enriches me.
But then, I watched this video (ironically from a friend’s FB post) and started to question the role it plays in my life. I love asking questions. Challenging myself to examine my life and always up the level of intentionality with which I’m living…
Watch this and then join me in this conversation:
It is an interesting inquiry. Are WE innovating loneliness in our lives by creating intimacy-lacking relationships online? What does this mean for our future? What about our kid’s ability to become truly intimate? Will we be challenged to commit to true intimacy because of the way social media breeds self-centeredness, immediate gratification and self marketing?
Makes me want to go “Hmmmmm?” Now discuss…
As a life coach, I spend my days working to inspire, motivate and encourage people to be more positive and productive in their lives. My work is all about helping people like YOU make their dreams a reality in their day-to-day lives. So, given all that positivity, I obviously wake up in the morning full of sunshine, roses and possibility, ready to take on the world… NOT! I am just like most of the other 7.046 billion people in the world: my alarm goes off, I groan and roll over and feel like screaming “Nooooooo, God, whyyyyyyyyy?” at the top of my lungs. And some times that is exactly what I do. But what separates me, and more importantly, anyone else who is committed to living an amazing life, is that MOST of the time, we hear that glaring conversation of resistance in our heads, roll over and get out of bed to create a different conversation in the world. We choose, every day (mostly), to live consistent to what we’re committed to, NOT the automatic conversations in our heads.
It is not that resistance is ABSENT, it is that it is made INCONSEQUENTIAL in our lives by our choice to ignore it and choose a different conversation. We all have automatic conversations that limit us. The most powerful people, however, have learned to master the ability to choose (and create) what conversation(s) uses them. Will it be 16 snoozes and being an hour late to work that starts your day? Or, instead, will you get up, cause excitement and create something extraordinary? I choose the latter. But it IS NOT EASY. Choosing beyond your automatic conversations takes intentionality. You must distinguish your limiting self-talk. You must be awake to who you are committed to being, what you are committed to and how you are going to make it happen. Generating an amazing life means you have to design your life and how you live it on a daily basis. For instance, the automatic conversation I wake up into most mornings is “I don’t want to!” I don’t want to wake up, I don’t want to get dressed, I don’t want to get my kids off to school and I don’t want to see clients… if I was going to Disney World, I wouldn’t want to do that, either… you get the point. I just don’t want to. I know that this attitude is not going to get me where I want to go in life. So, instead, I choose a different conversation. I choose that who I am is that all people are heroes committed to creating an amazing life and an incredible world–and my job is to help them do that. I cannot do that with my head under the covers. Therefore, I put something on my nightstand to remind me who I REALLY am, so that when I wake up into “I don’t want to,” I am reminded to choose something different. My reminder is a plaque given to me by a friend that says “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, ‘Oh crap, she’s up!'” Now THAT inspires me. So I get up, put my feet on the floor and start creating magic.
Success is never an accident. If you are committed to being extraordinary, you have to create effective systems that call you into extraordinary choices and action. So this week, don’t let your automatic conversations rule your day. Take back your life. Give up the snooze button and decide who you are going to be and what you are going to create. Today is YOUR day; OWN it.
CALL TO ACTION: Who are you committed to being in the world? Distinguish that and create a “reminder” for yourself on your nightstand or bathroom mirror. Read it every day and allow it to change you.
The holidays are an exciting time for most of us. With the sparkling glow of lights on the tree and neatly wrapped packages full of surprises, we anticipate Christmas with a child’s hope and look forward to unwrapping a shiny new year. It is also a time when we may begin to reflect on things that haven’t gone exactly perfect during the year; laundry-listing our weight gain, illnesses, car accidents, missed opportunities and failed goals. Our hearts ache as we count the empty chairs and miss dearly those we have lost – those that will not be here to celebrate the season with us this year. While the world is filled with overflowing joy, our attention sometimes turns to the sharp darkness in the corners of our lives, and in our world. It is critical during these doubting periods that we turn our eyes to the sun, remember who we are and push HARDER to make a difference in the world.
I have been going through a rough patch lately in my life with challenges to my health, in my family and in walking alongside others who are struggling with deep issues, both personal and in their businesses. It is easy to get discouraged and simply want to give up. Instead, I work hard to remind myself that it is during these struggles that who we are in the world is deeply tested and loudly demonstrated: will we push for possibility or set a chair for despair at our dinner tables? It is our strength and hope in the difficult moments that begins to change our lives, and the world around us.
“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, We Were Made for These Times
Your passion is your lantern. Your vision, your why… they are your shield. Your mission is your sword and it is each of our jobs to take up the “good fight” and cause change in our corners of the world; to bring light to the darkness. You were MADE for this. A hurdle is simply a hurdle and a mountain was set there to climb.
When we can face our challenges and push despair and failure aside, we demonstrate hope for others. We show the world who we are in the matter of our lives. We clear a path for those that will follow. We create real possibility in all that is around us. We begin to lead.
How many of you, growing up, would say to yourselves “When I get older, I want to be mediocre!” None of us… we all wanted to be heroes– doctors curing cancer, firemen, teachers, inventors, even adventurers. Yet most of us get older and get less motivated, more beat down by life, and settle for being less than what we are capable of. How easy it becomes to trade in our dreams of great accomplishments and a passionate life for being satisfied that our Mastercard bill is paid down to only $300. Every day is an opportunity for you to change this. Each day, you get a clean slate to invent yourself anew; to WAKE UP! You get a chance to get present to who you are and invent what you want to become. Each day you can begin to create the future you have always dreamed of.
I met with an interesting woman yesterday who reminded me of this lesson. In spite of experiencing a very difficult life, she has kept her dreams in tact. Early in her life, Debbie (not her real name) had been diagnosed with a muscular diseases that had her wheelchair-bound; doctors said she would never walk again. Then, twelve years ago, doctors found a brain tumor and she was given a terminal diagnosis, immediately after which, her abusive husband of 10+ years left her broke and alone to raise their 9-year-old daughter; he just couldn’t deal with her health pressures. In the past 15 years, she has even beat lymph node cancer. Yet, during these 30+ years of trial, she has never lost her sense of hope and purpose. She has relied heavily on her faith in God and her vision for her future. That focus has her walking, completely cured and currently starting a new printing business, which has always been a dream. Her daughter, now 19 years old, is attending college. This woman is an amazing example of the power of keeping a vision–your dreams–out in front of you. She has used her vision to propel her through the hardest of times so that she could rise to the occasion of her life and make her dreams a reality. When I asked her how she got through, she responded, “I operate in the miraculous.” She has been simply UNWILLING to be a victim of her circumstances and allow drama to be bigger than her dreams.
How many of us are confronted with trials and roadblocks that are not even 1/10 as dramatic as Debbie’s events, yet we get stopped short and never return to the path of pursuing our dreams? How many of us remain unconscious to the opportunity that each day brings to reinvent ourselves, only to keep trudging along our predictable path to mediocrity?
Debbie’s story is a testament to her tenacity and a lesson for those of us who are easily stopped. The lesson is that life is unfolding in front of you, you can either create your dreams, or move aside and suffer the consequences of human potential unfilled–continue simply trying to survive your mediocre life.
Today is your first blank slate, YOUR opportunity to operate in the miraculous… what are you going to do with it?
CALL TO ACTION: If you are not sure how to start, you might consider enrolling in 90 Days to Success: Closing the Gap Between Your Life & Your Dreams. It starts THIS Monday, so you must register TODAY! There is no more time to waste!
Urge surfing gives us power. It gives us power because it makes us conscious. When we use Marlatt’s SOBER technique mentioned in Wednesday’s blog, we begin to see the automatic ways of thinking and behaviors that covertly control our lives and direct us. These bad habits eventually disappear when properly attended to. When we are conscious, we are disengaged from the auto pilot that gives us so much of our lives, and thus, no longer defined by our bad habits.
When we are not living a life on auto pilot, we can actually choose to live our lives consistent with what we say we are committed to. This is my definition of integrity: being exactly who you say you are and doing what you say you are committed to. The only way we can experience happiness and true satisfaction in life is to live in integrity.
“Choice implies consciousness–a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice. Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present.” ~Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
I work with people every day who are almost completely unconscious in their lives. They go through tasks day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled. While we all have moments of joy and achievement, if we remain unconscious, those moments are few and far between. I have found that the key to feeling more joy and happiness in life is being present to the moment. The biggest thing that stops us from being present in the moment is our past. Our past is often the place where we were conditioned with the thought patterns that trigger our urges. These urges give us an auto pilot way of doing life that simply feeds our unconsciousness. Urge surfing it your first line of defense for this auto-pilot way of life.
Author Eckhart Tolle is one of the pre-eminent experts in the world on being present; being in the “now.” Marlatt’s work was all about how to get present to the now. Both experts identified that being present starts with surrendering to the moment. Whether it is an urge or an event, if you surrender to it and be with it, you can live a life that is directed by your commitments, not your feelings and urges. The result of a life lived inside of this kind of integrity is fulfillment, joy and true happiness.
“When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. You do not need it anymore. Presence is the key. The Now is the key.” ~Eckhart Tolle
I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2007. As one would expect, it was a horrifying diagnosis that was followed by surgery, months of chemotherapy and awful drugs. Yet, as one would NOT expect, this was probably one of the most blessed times in my life. Three days after the diagnosis, I surrendered to it. Breast cancer was mine, there was no escape or point to resisting it. There was no way out; only through. I chose in that moment to embrace the diagnosis and make the “best” out of it. I decided to use the forced “bed rest” and down time as a cocooning time. I used it as a chance to reinvent myself, my business and my attitudes about life. I had fun with it: I got a pink mohawk before my hair fell out and stayed present to all of the support I was getting from family, friends and my community. I was not alone and I didn’t have to suffer through the disease. I loved myself and I loved the moment… I learned every lesson it could teach me with a heart full of gratitude. This was my lesson in surrender and this was, surprisingly, a very happy and joyful time in my life. Now, I can hardly remember the difficulty of it; I mostly remember the joy.
CALL TO ACTION: Take urge surfing to the next level. Where can you surrender to WHAT IS in your life and be with it? Where can you bring the power of conscious living to your every day life?