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V – Visualize how you want to be.  Years ago I thought about selling Avon, but the idea terrified me.  Ring doorbells and talk to people I had never met before!!!   Encouraged by family and friends, I decided to give it a try.  The first few times I visited my territory, I drove around the neighborhood for awhile and then went home and told my husband that no one was home.  I couldn’t admit that I was afraid to ring that first bell.

My best friend Trudy was an Avon Lady, so I visualized myself as her.  I cast myself in the role of a successful, outgoing Avon Lady.  And that was the internal message I played over and over in my head when I started ringing doorbells.  Now I wish I could tell you that I was wildly successful and made lots of money selling Avon, but that wasn’t the case.  But what I learned about myself was priceless.  I could talk to people I’d never met.  I wasn’t completely comfortable doing it, but the people I met never knew.

Now I feel quite comfortable connecting with all sorts of people.  I begin with a smile and then a brief comment on whatever is going on in the moment.  Sometimes we continue the conversation and sometimes it’s just a brief, but pleasurable encounter, leaving both of us feeling good!

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A – Accept what you can control and dive in knowing you will give your best effort, but aware that you are not always responsible for the outcome.   When my daughter was playing in a sectional basketball game in middle school, they were ahead by one point with only a couple of seconds on the clock.  Just as the buzzer was about to go off, a girl from the opposing team hurled the ball from half court and miracle of miracles it went in.  It was a fluke and even though my daughter’s team had played really well, they lost that game. 

Most times the outcome is out of your hands, but you can always celebrate your personal effort because that is all you have control over.  Your lists, planning and action are all within your control and that is powerful.  If things don’t work out exactly as planned, there may be a lesson in that and opportunity for growth. 

Recently, after careful planning and rehearsal, an event did not go as I had hoped, and the next day my daughter just happened to share this quote by the Dalai Lama:

 “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

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Rehearse.  Go through the motions even if you doubt yourself because sometimes you don’t really know what you are capable of until you try.  When I rehearse for a part in a play, I always rehearse in the shoes I will wear as that character.  Then I am in role from the bottom up. 

If you are going to dance – put on your dancing shoes.  If you are going to run – put on your running shoes.  You can begin by walking, but you’ll have the right shoes when you are ready to pick up the pace.

The more times you say out loud and put into action a new idea or behavior for you the more likely it will become second nature.  Don’t worry about being embarrassed if your partner or family catch you practicing in front of the bathroom mirror.

Enlist mentors so you can rehearse your ideas or presentations for them and get honest feedback and increased confidence.  Also let them know that you are ready for critique and will not be defensive.  This is the time for you to be open-minded and accepting.

And make sure they are positive people who will pump you up.  You don’t have to be famous to have a fan club.

Next up – A

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Using the word brave, we’ll start with the letter B.  Brand yourself internally.  We all have those little voices in our heads and some are louder than others.  Companies pay thousands of dollars for ad agencies to develop a brand so that the business is readily recognizable.  “You deserve a break today . . .”  

 We brand ourselves, often unconsciously, by our internal dialog.  There is a body of evidence that proposes that language influences how we think.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “We are what we think about all day long.”  Replace any negative talk inside your head with positive talk.  Recall the words I used to describe a psychological fall: mistake, failure, fiasco, catastrophe.   How you label the “fall” will influence whether you try again. 

If you replace the word failure with lesson, for example, you are more likely not to give up.  That’s what Thomas Edison did and 10,000 lessons later, he had a light bulb.  

 Use the word catastrophe as the descriptive and that’s when you crawl in a hole and never come out.

 The word failure gets a bit tricky, because there is also a difference between calling something you did a failure and calling yourself a failure.  Pay attention to how you speak about yourself to yourself.  Calling yourself a failure can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

 Developing a positive self-image and a brave heart starts with what’s inside your head!

Next up – R

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Develop a Brave Heart

I stumble through life in the literal sense and give my family plenty of opportunity for laughter.  And while the falling down is sometimes quite painful, thank goodness, I pay attention and learn how to lesson the potential for falls in the future.

 Number 1 – Accept I am not a candidate for downhill skiing     –    and  . . .

 Walk slowly     –     Stay focused       –    And most importantly, laugh when it happens

 The point in all this self-disclosure is that, most assuredly, as you experience life, you will fall down too.  Maybe not in the physical sense, but rather a fall in the psychological sense.  You will try something and it won’t go as expected.  We’ll call it a mistake, failure, fiasco or catastrophe.  I’ll talk more about labeling.

 You all know that unless one falls off a cliff into an abyss, we are likely to recover from a physical fall.  But the psychological fall????  Well that’s a little more challenging to bounce back from.   

 A blow to the ego can cause a lifetime of suffering and prevent you from ever trying again.

 I accept that I will continue to make mistakes, so over the years I developed techniques to overcome the possible devastation, embarrassment, chagrin and paralyzing fear that could accompany a psychological fall.   I am absolutely not immune to those feelings creeping back, but I am much more resilient and I don’t let a failure prevent me from trying again.   To overcome the hesitation and fear of putting myself out there – I developed a brave heart.

 Increasing my bravado was done in increments.   When I was a younger woman, I never did anything spirited.  I never did anything that I wasn’t good at and since I didn’t think I was good at anything, well you get the idea.  I never put myself in a position to suffer public embarrassment.  I never laughed when I fell down.  I just wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. 

 So, how did I transform from a shy, never take a chance because you are such a failure at everything kind of girl into a woman who says she has a brave heart?  I’ll tell you how I got it and you can have one too.  Just think about the word B-R-A-V-E and change the internal label.

 Next post: How to begin the journey

 

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I believe that happiness is based, not on material things, but on liberation, peace and wisdom. 

When I think of liberation, I know that I need to free myself from self-limiting inner dialog.  At this point in my life, I am aware of my limitations, and I am also aware of my capability.  I will not spend time lamenting about what I cannot do.  I will spend time using my talents and strengths to enhance my life and the lives of others.

When I think about liberation, I know I need to free myself from guilt and concern regarding what others might think.  I cannot control their thinking, I can only control my own.   I will choose as my companions, people who are kind, gentle and not quick to judge.

When I think of liberation, I know that time spent in meditation or in nature is valuable time for me to replenish my spirit.  It is not time frittered away, but time with an unanticipated value from the dawning realization of a solution to a nagging problem, or the sweet moment when a melodious birdsong leaks into my head.

When I think of liberation, I know it means that I can design my life!!!

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When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. 

Whether we know it or not, none of us is.

We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten.

Food is never just food.

It’s also a way of getting at something else:

Who we are, who we have been and who we want to be.

 

Molly Wizenberg from a Homemade Life

 Thoughts???

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We moved back to New York and until we find a home of our own we are living with our children.  We go from house to house (there are 3) trying not to wear out our welcome.  We are constantly looking for pieces of paper or items of clothing in the piles of boxes in storage.  Sometimes we find them and sometimes not.  I find myself wondering if I really need all this stuff and then I think about some of my treasured memorabilia and decide I do. 

This has been a humbling and enlightening experience.  I thought I knew my children pretty well, but now we’ve shared more in the past several months, and I feel even closer to them.  Each home is differently run and I sometimes feel like a chameleon adjusting and blending.  I’ve certainly mastered the art of keeping my mouth shut.

This is a temporary situation for me, but there are those of us who wander for ever.  Not so much in the physical sense of not having a permanent home, but in the spiritual sense, never landing in just the right spot or maintaining a safe existence. 

It doesn’t have to remain that way.  What would you do if you could have any life you want?  How would you go about getting it?

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We are packing to move and I was sorting through books and came across one of my favorites – The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. He describes the book as a practical guide to personal freedom and I couldn’t agree more. He offers straightforward and simple tenets to use as a compass.

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word – not only with others but with yourself, use words to encourage, profess love and say what you mean.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally – most people are not “out to get you” and are operating in their own version of reality.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions – about anything! Ask questions and openly communicate to gain understand of others and situations.
  4. Always Do Your Best – sometimes this is less. It’s better to narrow the playing field so there is less regret.

Probably the biggest challenge for me is not to take things personally.  I’ve been working on this for years and that includes the little voice in my head, as well as what others say or do.  I have sometimes been my own worst enemy!  We don’t have to digest the poison words we tell ourselves or that others offer.  If I project the need to be abused, sure enough someone will come along to satisfy that need.

There’s moving from one physical location to another, and I hope this is the last time I have to do that:)  But in the spiritual sense, I intend to always be moving toward more acceptance, peace and personal love, so that, as a Personal Life Coach, I can share those gifts with others.

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In 1901 H.C. Booth was sitting in a rocking chair on his front porch watching the dust blow.  As he observed the wind blowing clouds of dust down the road, he opened the eyes of his soul and said aloud, “What if we could reverse the wind?  Then instead of blowing dust, we could pull up the dust.”  Later that year Mr. Booth invented the vacuum cleaner.

How often do you take the time to sit in a rocking chair (assuming you have one:) and just be?

What do you think you would discover if you looked through the eyes of your soul?

If your life is sucking up dust like a vacuum cleaner, what can you do to reverse the process?

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