Are You Ready to Bloom?

 

flowers-in-bloom

Spring is here! It’s been a long slog through the winter months and for some of you, the evidence of spring might still be more of a promise than an actual fact, but still…

The snow is melting, the reservoirs are filling (a good thing here in the drought affected West!) and nature is beginning to awaken from her slumber by pushing little green shoots up from the soil.

Spring holds the promise of bringing forth all that we planted in the fall and dreamed about in the dark of winter.  Spring is the moment when new life appears and the cycle begins again and what’s true in nature is also true for you.

For example, what did you “plant” in the fall or dream about in the dark winter months that’s now ready to grow?

Getting things to flourish in your life is a lot like growing things in the garden.  The quality and quantity of what is produced has an awful lot to do with the kind of preparation that’s been done.  If we want beautiful flowers and abundant fruits and vegetables, it isn’t enough to stick a seed in the ground and hope for the best.

We need to tend the soil by making sure there is adequate nutrition for the plants; checking for bugs and diseases; pulling weeds and removing competing plants so we don’t inadvertently encourage and support what we don’t want versus what we do.

The cool thing is that what works in nature is exactly how it works in our personal and professional lives.  For example, do you…

Landscape architect design garden planHave a plan?  Successful businesses and nourishing relationships, like beautiful gardens, don’t just happen.  Having a detailed vision of what you are trying to manifest is crucial to your success.  To have a garden that’s lush and appealing means that even before you put a single seed into the ground, you have to have at least a general idea of what you want to grow.  The same is true in other areas of your life.

So often, I see clients who are frustrated because of what they perceive as a lack of success and yet, when I ask them to fully describe what success looks like for them, their images are vague and hazy.  That’s where vision boards and journaling can be helpful to help you focus and articulate what it is you truly want to create.

Next, have you eliminated clutter?  
How much of what takes up space in your life is actually useful?  A garden that still has last year’s leaves and detritus molding over the ground will not be as fruitful as ground that is freshly composted and fertilized. Trees and bushes that have never been cared for will not produce nearly as much as those that have been shaped and pruned.  It’s the same with you.  Creating success requires the energy to focus. If we feel overwhelmed or bogged down, or everything around us is cluttered and disorganized, the energy we need will be dissipated and weak.

Cluttered Garden ShedClutter can take many forms.  For many of us, a major form of clutter are the old stories and limiting beliefs we carry around inside of us.  Many of them are completely outdated, but we’ve told them for so long, they’ve become habit.

Do you want to increase your income this year?  If so, have you examined your personal “money story” to make sure that it’s supporting your wishes?  Stories and beliefs like “making money is hard” or “money is evil” or “people who have money are selfish and greedy” might be a story handed down from your family or ancestors.  If it is, it’s going to compete with your desire to make more money and possibly sabotage your best efforts to be prosperous.

Or perhaps you need to examine your environment.  What about the people you hang out with?  Do they want to create the same level of success that you do?  Or do they tease you about your “dreams” and make you feel bad when you don’t want to just hang out because you need to work on your book or attend an important networking event.

It’s been said that you are a reflection of the 5 people you hang out with most.  Look around you.  Are those 5 people doing things that inspire and motivate you or are they holding you back with their own fears and limiting beliefs?

Eliminating clutter (in all its many disguises) is a powerful step that can feel very challenging to conquer.  Enlisting the help of a coach can make a big difference in whether you get back on track or stay overwhelmed and bogged down.

And finally – do what matters MOST!

We don’t have unlimited time, space or resources, as much as we’d like to believe otherwise.  Everything is energy and everything takes energy.  If you want to create anything extraordinary, be it a garden or profitable work that you’re passionate about, you need to focus (and do!) what’s most important.

In The One Thing, The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller talks about the myth that “Everything Matters Equally”.  “Equality is a lie”, he says. “When everything feels urgent and important, everything seems equal.  We become active and busy, but this doesn’t actually move us any closer to success…”

We need to decide what is most important to us…and then commit to doing that at the exclusion of all the other things that are vying for our attention.  We need to be ruthless with our time, our energy and our resources because if we aren’t, our hopes and dreams will simply drain away like water from a leaking can.

Flower Garden
So! Make this the most abundant year of your life by making a plan, eliminating clutter and then, focus every day on doing the one thing that will produce the most bang for your buck.

If you’re stuck, or need some guidance and clarity on the one thing YOU need to focus on, CLICK HERE to schedule a complimentary Strategy Session.  We’ll explore what needs to happen for you to bloom, and if it’s a good fit, how we might work together to create an explosion of abundance in your life or business.

 

 

A Thanksgiving Wish for Home

Thanksgiving is almost here!

In thinking about it and what it means to me, I found myself remembering a wonderful independent film I saw recently called Unbranded.

It’s a documentary about four guys who take a string of recently trained wild mustangs on a 3000 mile journey from the border of Mexico to Canada across the great American West.The film was inspired by a deep desire these guys had to get back to nature and challenge themselves as well as bring attention to the issues facing wild mustangs in this world of shrinking open space.

The journey begins as they prepare to start their trek through the Arizona desert and I was completely engrossed in the film from the moment the first frame appeared on-screen.

Through Arizona, across the red rocks of Utah and then over the border into Idaho. As the majestic front range of the Rockies rose up in front of the riders,  I suddenly felt my whole body shift.   My shoulders dropped, my breathing slowed and my energy field expanded in a way  it never does in everyday city life.  I knew this place.

A small still voice inside me whispered, “welcome home”.

How about you?  Where is home for you?

Not just the place where you park your car or store your stuff, but the deep, expansive place of belonging?  The place where you’re grounded?  Where you feel loved and secure?

For me, that place is in the mountains, in nature.  California is where I need to be right now to do my work in the world, but Idaho is home. I’m so blessed to be able to live there part time because it’s where I feel most at peace.

Does your “home” feel like this?

I hope it does.  If it doesn’t, what are you willing to allow, change or release  in order for things to shift?Being “home” isn’t always about location, of course.  When you love yourself to the core; when you believe in yourself and know that who you are, as you are, is exactly perfect,  well then…you ARE home, regardless of your position on the planet.

So that’s my Thanksgiving wish.  That where ever  “home” is for you this Thanksgiving, it’s filled with peace, love and belonging.

Expect good things!

p.s.  CLICK HERE for more information about the movie UNBRANDED (it’s awesome!)
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 © 2015 Shannon Presson

Grief Ceremony for Donuts

donuts

For most of my life, I was skinny. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Then I turned 40 and suddenly everything I ate stuck to me like hot tar.

Especially things like donuts.

Oh, how I loved donuts. Going to the donut shop and seeing them all displayed on the shelves – covered in glaze or chocolate or sprinkles – always made me happy. I’d sit in the shop at a table by the window, drink coffee and eat my donuts as I watch the world go by. It was my favorite Sunday morning ritual.

But then, things changed.

I’d eat a donut and afterwards, feel sick and lethargic. I still WANTED to eat the donuts, but every time I did, I regretted it.

The whole thing got depressing.

When did I stop being the skinny kid who could eat whatever she wanted? How did I turn into this middle aged woman who could put on 5 pounds just walking BY the donut shop?

I resented the passage of time that was “robbing” me of my vices and I lamented that I wasn’t going to be around forever.

That’s a lot to put on a donut.

Maybe for you, it’s not donuts. Maybe it’s something else. Something you used to love or enjoy or whatever and now, it’s no longer an option for you. But you’re older, hopefully wiser and you recognize that some things just have no place in your life anymore.

Which isn’t to say that it’s an easy transition or you don’t feel conflicted.

What gets most of us in trouble though is that we don’t deal with the conflict. You know something isn’t good for you anymore (bad relationships, food that isn’t nourishing in any sense of the word, old memories that continually connect you to the pain and suffering of the past) but the idea of dealing with it feels like it’s going to be even more painful so you take the easy way out and just ignore it.

Except, like the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, it doesn’t go away.

The problem is that we don’t have good system for grieving. We’ve lost connection to the rituals that allow us to express our truth in ways that actually heal. We’re told to “just get over it”, or “time heals all wounds”. But the truth is, not acknowledging the suffering actually makes it worse. What we resist, persists.

So, back to the donuts.

I realized that in order to let go of the donuts, I had to acknowledge what was really going on. That I was older, that my body was older. I wasn’t who I used to be anymore – and that was okay.

I needed to grieve for my younger self and for all the donuts (real and metaphorical) I would never eat again. And what I needed was a ritual to make it happen.

Why a ritual?

In an article in Yoga Journal, author Katie Silcox said it best:

“Because a ritual returns you to what matters. The very act of beginning a ritual puts us in a state of mind where we can break with the routine patterns of the mundane and remember the sacred.” Mar 16, 2012 Yoga Journal / Katie Silcox

What mattered most to me was that I could honor that part inside me that felt sad about the passage of time Rather than chide myself for the way I felt or worse, pretend I wasn’t feeling what I was feeling (a guarantee that I would keep eating donuts!),

I chose to bring focus to what was true for me in that moment, knowing that by calling it forth and honoring it, I could release it and get closure.

Exactly the sort of thing that rituals were created for.

So I went out and bought a carefully chosen baker’s dozen. Sprinkles, maple bars, old fashions, one with glaze, one with chocolate. French, crullers…a big pink box full of enough sugar and fat to put me in a diabetic coma.

I took the box home and laid them out on a beautiful platter. Then I carried them out into the backyard, where I had spread a picnic blanket on the grass, next to some empty flower beds.
I spent some time remembering all the late night runs in my teens to the donut shop. All the Sunday mornings with coffee and the paper.

I cried for the fact that I wasn’t 20, or 30 or even 40 anymore and that things I could do then, I can’t do now.

I cried for all the mistakes I made; all the bad choices. I cried because I’m human and I’ll probably make more mistakes but now, because I AM older, I’ll be able to recognize that there is no failure, only information and that everything is an opportunity for learning.

When I felt like I had let it all go, I dug a hole in the ground and buried those donuts.

I’ve never eaten one since.

 

© 2015 Shannon Presson

What’s Your Pink Flamingo?

 

Donald Featherstone, creator of the iconic pink plastic flamingo that has decorated lawns for decades, died Monday in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  An art school graduate, Featherstone created the pink flamingo in 1957 as part of his job at Union Products, a plastics company he eventually became president of.

Imagine that.

Having a job where you get to make fun stuff that becomes a cultural icon.  There is even a National Pink Flamingo Day, a day created in his honor in 2007 by Dean Mazzarella, mayor of Leominster, Massachusetts, to honor the 50th anniversary of the plastic flamingo’s creation in his town.

Of course, I’m sure Mr Feathertone never imagined that future way back in ’57 but regardless, he had an inspiration, made it real and well, even today there are a couple of those tacky birds sitting in my backyard because I love the complete goofiness of them.  Me and millions of other people, apparently.

And that’s my point.

You just never know what’s going to come of your creative inspirations or goofy ideas.  You don’t know what will grab people’s attention or spark a movement or whatever.

But for so many people, the ideas that light us up are quickly extinguished by the “Yeah, but…” stories that set out to crush us with thoughts like  “it’s a dumb idea or who’s going to pay for that?”  And then the idea gets tucked in a draw or pitched in the trash and it’s back to same ole’, same ole’. Nothing new and nothing changes.

So in honor of the awesome Pink Flamingo and all they stand for, how about today you turn off the yackity yaks in your brain, and let your imagination soar.  Give space and support to those off the wall ideas and see where they take you.

Imagine the equivalent of seeing your idea, product or service on the proverbial front lawn of every house in America.  Of having a holiday declared in your honor.  Imagine bringing joy and fun and playfulness to others, simply because you had an idea and took action.

Will all ideas turn into Pink Flamingos?  No.  Will yours?  I have no idea.

But what I do know without a shadow of a doubt is that if you DON’T take action, your idea won’t go anywhere.

Period. End of report.

And I think that’s really sad because what if your idea was so awesome, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Me and a million of my closest friends.

Are you willing to risk missing out?  I hope not.

So get out there! Gather your excitement, take a risk and make peace with your discomfort.  Go out and make something happens.

The Pink Flamingos and I salute you!

 

 

 

Dogs, Cats, Gas Tanks and Love

dog and catThere are not a lot of things that I am certain about.

For example, I really don’t know why dogs eat things that smell disgusting and then want to come close and share their breath with you.

Or how cats know the exact moment to jump on your keyboard and cause all your hard work to disappear down the rabbit hole of lost data.

I certainly don’t truly understand why, if we get to choose the time, place and experience of our existence before we are born, that we would willingly choose what seem to show up for us sometimes.

But the one thing I do believe is that Love is at the foundation of all that we are.

I believe it is what we come from and it is where we will return to when this moment of our existence ceases to be.  I can’t prove it.  I don’t have any personal memory of myself before I was born and I’ve never had a “near death” experience unless you consider the dog breathing on me after he ate something rotted and gross.

But we all have to believe something so this is what I choose.  I choose to believe that not only is Love the foundation of all things, but that it starts with our selves.

As women, we come into this world hardwired for care giving.  We give to everyone and everything until we are burnt out and exhausted. It’s crazy.

Imagine driving around town with a laundry list of errands to get done.  Occasionally, you check the fuel gauge to make sure the car doesn’t run out of gas.  Why?  Because we all know that an empty tank STOPS the car.  There is no negotiation, no reprieve, no maybe.  No fuel – no go. 

And yet, woman try to run on empty all the time – and This. Needs. To. Stop.

You are not being selfish when you take the time to for yourself. You are being prudent and wise.

I believe that Love is what we are made of, it’s what we came from and it’s what we will return to. Love is unlimited and without end so let’s not be stingy with it.

Especially with ourselves.

There’s plenty of Love available, so go ahead – spread it around, share it with everyone, but most important, lavish on yourself.  Do what it takes to renew, refresh and regenerate YOU.

Then, once your own tank is full, you’ll be able to go back and have the resources and the energy to finish your errands,  handle the dog breath and prevent the cat from destroying your great American novel…

Expect Good Things!

 

If Your Life Was a Pie, How Would You Slice It?

pie slicesWho doesn’t love pie, right?

Wonderful holiday pies, pies with berry filling oozing out of the crust; crème pies filled with your favorite flavors, sweet pies, savory pies…

Yum, yum, yum!

Perhaps you’ll bring one home for your next dinner party to share with family and/or friends.

Or maybe you’re an awesome baker and will make one yourself.

When it comes time to serve that tasty pie, you’ll divide it up. Maybe the pieces won’t be perfectly even but everyone who wants a piece will get one. And since you’re doing the pie cutting, you might even cut yourself one that’s a tiny bit bigger because after all, you did all the “heavy lifting”, right?!? (truth bomb here…I know I would!)

I’m pretty sure dividing up that pie will be easy and effortless.

Of course, being that the pie was so delicious, some might want seconds (sure, if there’s any left) or maybe even whine a bit because their piece wasn’t big enough (too bad, so sad!).

But regardless, everyone at the table (including you) who wants pie will get to enjoy a piece because it wouldn’t make sense to do it any other way, right?

So, how come it’s so easy to divide up the “dessert” pie fairly, but when it comes time to dividing up your “life” pie, things get so out of whack?

I hear it from my clients all the time. They’re tired and overwhelmed and when we take a look at how they are dividing their time, it goes something like this…

A big chunk of time goes towards work. Then there’s a piece for the kids. And the chores. And don’t forget family obligations and oh yeah, your spouse or significant other.

At the very end of that litany is a small voice that says “and after I take care of everyone else, there’s no piece left for me.”

Well, who made THAT decision?

When did you decide everyone else deserved a piece of the pie EXCEPT you?

You can offer all sorts of reasons and make all sorts of rationalizations as to why it is the way it is, but the truth is, some part of you is deciding you don’t matter. Or that you matter a lot less than everyone else.

So, in the immortal words of Bob Newhart, you need to STOP IT!

Of course, it’s not that easy to do, is it?

Those old stories and judgments about “who do you think you are??” are always hovering in the background, waiting to pounce whenever you think about having the situation exactly the way you want.

But underneath the guilt and the shame and the feelings of being unworthy, is the part of you that decided a long, long time ago it was safer to give it up than it was to have it all.

It’s about time to make a different decision, wouldn’t you agree?

So,

Step one is to take 100% responsibility for yourself and the decisions you are making. This can be a tough one because in the past, we might have seen ourselves as the victim or without power. Let today be the day you decide that YOU are in charge rather than at the mercy of circumstances.

Step two is to move away from Judgment and Criticality and into Wonder and Curiosity. Instead of judging yourself as “less than” or criticizing yourself for not being super human, allow yourself to just get curious about why things are the way they are and wonder what else is possible? Playfulness and humor are good skills to support this new behavior.

This is where a coach or mentor can really make a difference. Having someone who is a compassionate “observer” of your choices and behaviors can bring about transformation much quicker than just trying to work it out on your own. A great coach asks the sorts of questions that can quickly move you out of the stuck place of “either/or” and into the expansiveness of “both/and” which opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Step three is all about nourishment and refining the act of receiving in equal measure to giving. It’s time to recognize that we need to nourish ourselves if we are going to be able to go the distance to make our dreams come true. Nourishment isn’t just about what you put in your mouth either. It comes from the Latin nutrire which means “to feed, nurse, foster, support, preserve”. It’s lovely when we are always nurturing others, but we must also receive it for ourselves. This means being an advocate for ALWAYS serving ourselves a piece of the “pie” rather than giving to everyone else and having nothing left for ourselves except crumbs and dirty dishes.

pie crumbs
I know you can do this because when you serve pie, you have no trouble figuring out how many people get a piece (including you) and that’s how many pieces you cut.

You need to do the same with your personal “pie”. ADD YOURSELF to the top of the list of people you’re serving and make sure that you get a big enough piece because you ARE doing the heavy lifting.

Everyone will still get served and you will feel so much more nourished and satisfied.

Best dessert ever!

What’s Your Hero Potential?

What’s Your Hero Potential?Ever wish you had a super power? X-ray vision, perhaps? Or the ability to fly, be invisible or move at the speed of sound?

If only you had one of those (or any other awesome power) you’d could be the hero, right?  You could save the day. You’d get so much stuff done.  You could do, be or have anything your precious heart desires.

If only.

But here you are.  Plain ole’ normal person.  Nothing special.

Or so you say.

But you’d be wrong, because who you are is truly one of a kind, full of unique gifts and talents.

In fact, who you are is so gosh darn full of Hero Potential, it’s downright scary. And the fact that it’s so scary is EXACTLY what’s keeping you from putting all your gifts and talents to full use.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before…We don’t fear failure, we fear success (crazy, huh?!?)

It’s not that you can’t imagine how cool it would be to have that new career, satisfying relationship or abundant lifestyle, it’s that the bigger your Dream Story, the bigger the Yeah, But Story shows up in resistance to that dream.

The problem is that you don’t recognize the resistance for what it is because resistance is tricky.  It disguises itself in all sorts of way.   Doing the “urgent” stuff, rather than the important stuff.  Clutter.  Watching cat videos on YouTube rather than following up on sales calls.  Buying into the opinions of others rather than hold good boundaries for yourself.

At its most powerful and insidious, it disguises itself as the voice of “truth” in your head that gets you to buy into the belief that you suck, you’re not good enough and everything you do is crap.

Trust me, I know.  Every time I sit down to write I hear that voice in my head sneer, “Give up! Nobody cares about what you have to say!!”

But here’s the thing.

Resistance (those Yeah, But voices and stories) are NOT EVER going to go away and if you don’t develop a solid strategy for dealing with it, then your Hero Potential is always going to stay exactly that…potential.

And that would be a crying shame because more than ever, the world needs what you have to offer.  Your gifts and your talents, delivered in only the way YOU can deliver them to the folks that can only hear it from you.

So what to do?

  1. Go for whatever it is you desire because you’re passionate about it…because it pulls on you from deep in your being, not because you think you should. I guarantee you the road is going to get rough and if you’re not committed from your heart and/or your gut, those Yeah, But Stories will derail you every time.
  2. Take 100% responsibility…. for the stories you tell. All stories serve some purpose so begin to recognize how the story you tell serves you.  So often we tell stories where we’re the victim and while it’s true that “we all have our scars to live with”, they need not define you unless you give them that power.
  3. Decide what to pay attention to.  Judgment and Criticality is all about keeping you small and powerless.  Wonder and Curiosity is all about expansion and possibility.  Which ones will you choose to embrace?
  4. Stop trying to do it all yourself.  Even the Lone Ranger didn’t go it alone.  Your Hero’s journey will attract many powerful Allies. Be open to whoever shows up and welcome whatever assistance they offer.  If no one shows up, go look for help.  Actively seek it. Get a coach, a mentor or a sponsor because their guidance will be invaluable in getting you where you want to go.
  5. Believe in Magic. As the Mad Hatter said in Alice in Wonderland, “Everyone wants some magical solution to their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic”.  Be someone who believes. Be committed to the biggest Dream Story you can imagine but don’t be attached to how it’s supposed to show up.  Make space for magic to occur.

Why?

Well, because within every Dream Story is an even bigger story that I call the Unexpected Story. 

It’s what happened to Elizabeth Gilbert when she committed herself to the journey she wrote about in “Eat, Pray, Love”.

It’s what happened when Brené Brown decided to become really vulnerable and talk about shame.

It’s what was in store for Elizabeth Holmes when she wrote at nine years old “What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do.”

What’s Your Hero Potential?

The Unexpected Story. The biggest version of you. When synchronicity, coincidence and the Power that Creates Worlds line up to assist you because of your commitment to bring forth your Hero Potential.

The truth is – you don’t need “super powers” to be a hero.  You just need to show up.  Do what’s important. Follow your Heart. Recognize there is always going to be resistance. Get help when you need it.  Embrace Wonder and Curiosity. Then just keep on going.

The world is waiting for you!

What Scares You?

Happy Halloween!

On this day of spooky and scary, here’s a question for you.

What are you afraid of?

I was at a leadership conference last weekend and at one point, the facilitator asked this very question. 

As he went around the audience, people said things like:

I’m afraid to speak out
I’m afraid of being seen
I’m afraid of being stupid
I’m afraid of failure
I’m afraid of success

The list went on and on. I thought,  “Holy cow, there are people in this audience who are high achievers, making a big impact in the world as well as people just starting to find their most authentic selves…and yet, they all had the same fears”

Yikes!

Somehow, I thought that after one achieved a certain level of success, all of those fears and discomforts just faded away.

Apparently not.

Then I began to wonder what fears were REALLY driving me.  So I got out a sheet of paper and I made a list (try this at home, really!)

At the top of the page I wrote THINGS THAT SCARE ME!

And then I listed them.  And went deeper.  And listed some more. Then went even deeper, pushing the edge UNTIL I got to the core.  When I was done, there they were – out in the open, nothing held back.  Boy, oh boy, did I feel uncomfortable.

That’s when it hit me.  If I want to grow and create something extraordinary, I am NEVER going to not be uncomfortable. AND, as soon as I start to get comfortable, that’s when I need to push my edges some more.  Because that’s where the growth happens.  At the edges.

I’m sure I’ll still get scared.  But maybe Fritz Perlz was right when he said that fear is just excitement, without the breath. Perhaps the next time I get scared…I’ll just BREATHEEEE into it and see if the feeling shifts rather than use the experience to back down and hide out.

Try this exercise yourself and see where it takes you.  Send me a note and let me know how it went.  (I love hearing from my community… 😉

Of course, you might just LOVE being scared.  In which case, I recommend anything written by Stephen King.  That man scares the pants off of me!

Expect Good Things!

sig1

Does Everyone Know More Than You?

sad pug2Are you sort of down in the dumps because you’re sure that everyone else, whether it is in work/school/love, is so much more talented/confident/together than you are?

Well, here’s something to think about.

Most other people are not as confident as you think, and are probably just as unsure about things in their life as you are. This isn’t to say that there aren’t genuinely confident people out there who have their lives figured out (and golly gosh, I so want to be like them!), but even so, I’m pretty sure they didn’t start off that way.

So…here are three things to remember when your confidence is feeling a little hang dog…

1) Most people are just as lost/confused/unsure as you.

It can be pretty liberating to find out that most other people have the same fears and anxieties as you do. If you are dealing with new and difficult situations, it is easy to assume that others know some secret coping mechanism that you don’t.

But the truth is that most people, even if they don’t show it, probably feel that they are “winging it” just as much as you are. You can only plan so much in life, the rest comes at you and needs to be dealt with to the best of your abilities in the moment.

So don’t feel bad for not having all the answers, because few of us do. Just show up and face things head on.

2) The people who are confident and know what they are doing probably didn’t start off that way.

Of course, it’s not as if no one is an expert in anything. There are some people who have things together more than others, and walk around with the well-earned confidence to prove it. But keep in mind – they didn’t start off this way. No one is born an expert. They too started off with little experience, with questions, and probably with some anxiety. They just didn’t let all of that stop them.

Yeah, they probably made mistakes but so what?  See,  that’s the hidden secret.  The ones who make mistakes and keep going are the ones who build their confidence (and their expertise!)

confidence level conceptual meter

3) You are fully capable of rising to their level.

The key to remember is that with the same amount of experience, you too can become confident and comfortable in whatever you want to accomplish. There is no drastic difference between you and the people who seem to have it all together. We are all human, and we’re all good at different things, but we all also have the ability to learn, adapt, and grow.

So the next time you are feeling lower than a pug on a rug, remember that there is no unbridgeable gap between you and the people you think have it all figured out. Don’t let a lack of confidence keep you from going out, pursuing new things, and doing what you love.

What’s Your Story?

People headerA while back, a friend I’ll call Bonnie and I attended one of those award ceremonies where people vote to recognize the top business women with over one million dollars in revenue.

After the ceremony, Bonnie and I went down to the bar to chat. Inspired by all the achievements that were shared, I asked her:

“If you could do, be, or have anything in the world right now, what would you want?”

“I’d want to be on that stage. I’d want to be a million dollar business owner.” Bonnie replied.

Her answer surprised me, because although I didn’t know the details of Bonnie’s balance sheet, I knew her to be a very competent business woman. She was sharp, articulate, and running a business that if marketed and promoted correctly, would have no trouble exceeding the million dollar mark.

So I said, “Well, why aren’t you? “

And she said, “Because it’s too hard.”

Now, when I owned my IT consulting company we generated almost 2 million dollars a year in revenue. And while the business occasionally felt challenging, it didn’t feel “hard”. Plus, I knew that Bonnie loved her work, so I said, “Are you sure that’s the REAL reason?”

Bonnie stared off into the distance and said wistfully, “you know, not only was I the first woman in my family to go to college, but then I went on to get my MBA. Everyone thought I was “getting too big for my britches”. I think if I became a million dollar business woman, my family would just disown me.“

And there it is…the hidden story, the one that keeps us from extraordinary.

We all have them, those embedded stories running in the background, holding us back and keeping us from playing in the biggest way possible.

For Bonnie, at the core, it was a deep fear that if she went for the gold, the brass ring, she would be disowned, “kicked out of the tribe”. So in essence, in order to survive, she needed to stay small.

These stories create an unconscious “ceiling of achievement”, where we only feel comfortable and safe earning a certain amount of money or having certain amount prosperity. Especially if we grew up with stories like:

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees…
  • People who have money are greedy…
  • Making money is hard…
  • Money won’t buy happiness…
  • You don’t have what it takes to be successful…

These stories stay embedded in our unconscious, influencing our behaviors and running the show until one day, we long for a different outcome, a different experience. That’s when we butt up against the tried and true belief we’ve carried our whole life. All the skills and talents in the world won’t get you where you want to go as long as the old stories you’re tell are holding you back.

For Bonnie, the defining moment was at the awards ceremony when she could really valentine heart shape made by dollars isolatedfeel her desire to be a million dollar business owner.

Once she recognized what was truly holding her back, she had a choice about what to do next. She could continue to hold that story as her truth. OR she could work to create a new story that would support her desires, rather than sabotaging them.

Recognizing you DO have a story is the crucial first step in changing any behavior that isn’t getting you what you want. Of course, it’s simple to say, but not always easy to do, which is why reaching out for help can be super helpful at this stage.

The second step is to understand what that story is trying to get for you, because all stories at their core, serve some positive intention. If you don’t uncover what the story is trying to get for you, your unconscious will continue to sabotage you regardless of what you tell yourself. But once you understand the motivation behind the story and how it is trying to serve you, you can begin to craft a better story that gets you the same outcome but in more positive ways.

Of course, it’s not always easy to create a new story, because sometimes in order to do that, we have to create a new us as well. We have to say no to the negative influences we’ve allowed in the past, and sometimes we have to say no to the people who want us to stay where they are rather than go where we want to go.

None of which feels particularly comfortable and usually turns up the volume of those inner voices screaming “who do you think you are?!?!?”

Yet, once we DO decide; once we are ready to powerfully step into what lights us up, supports our dreams and makes us feel good, others will either line up with our visions or they will drop away on their own accord. But even more exciting is that NEW people will suddenly begin to show up who DO support our dreams and want to help make them real.

So, take some time to get in touch with those old family stories you’ve been living with, and ask yourself, “do these stories support my dreams and desires, or do they keep me stuck in a holding pattern of frustration and feeling overwhelmed?”

By recognizing the stories that don’t support you, you then have a choice to continue telling them…or not.

I spoke with Bonnie the other day, and she told me that every day, she is getting closer and closer to closing the gap between her and that award. When the time comes, she’s definitely got my vote!