Releasing Fear and Resistance

In hopes of helping you keep or maybe re-discover your perspective, I’m pulling back the curtain and sharing my recent journey into the depths of Resistance and back again.

Being in business is the most proactive personal development activity on the planet. Life is too, of course, and being in business forces you to face your stories and fears in ways that other dimensions of your life don’t.

If you’ve been in business any length of time, I”m sure you can relate!

You probably went into business filled with excitement, exhilaration, optimism and a sense purpose in every fiber of your being. There was no time for doubts and distractions.

For me, I had 20 years of business, marketing and teaching experience – how hard could it be?! I was ready!

And we don’t know what we don’t know. We feel called to great heights, and often don’t even see the stumbling blocks, much less the abyss.

Fast forward to this fall. Being in business has been an transformational roller-coaster experience.

Hopefully, you’re enjoying the rewards too – working with amazing clients, helping them transform their lives and businesses as they transform yours. Developing new friendships and relationships along the way, crossing thresholds, changing your old stories, releasing baggage you no longer choose to carry. The wins, the losses – the growth!

Holy moly! Business in a nutshell.

Just when everything seems great…

So this time, when fear and Resistance came, (it never truly goes away) I thought I was ready.

As usual, it reared it’s ugly head seemingly out of the blue. And as I look back now from the other side of the crevasse – I see the warning signs that were there. The hesitations and stumbles, the doubts and distractions that began to PILE on, the procrastination – and finally – the paralysis.

Damn. It was deep. I was stuck. And terrified. For a dark time I wandered perilously close to the edge. I had my first ever anxiety attack. I had a huge pit in my stomach – daily. I took a break. Unplugged completely.

I felt so confused! I’d always moved through my stuff with meditation, journaling, movement, breathing – intentionally and fairly easily. Over the past several years I’d peeled back various versions of “I can’t do this”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not worthy”, “Who am I to do this?”.

Why was this time so HARD?

I’d done the work. I’d released those stories. I thought.

And here they were again – on steroids! I recognized they were all variations on the same theme. Distinctly different, and very similar. As I worked through this massive block I discovered how our thoughts cluster around and obscure our core negative beliefs. These tricky devils work together to protect us from our deepest fear. Oh they are slippery. That’s why it can feel like they come back, even after you’ve done the work on each one.

“You again?! I thought we were done?”

I’m so glad for my an incredible support system. Without it, I’m not sure I’d be writing to you today, renewed, re-energized and on fire! I hope so. And I’ll never know. As I shared my deepest fears with my mentor and mastermind members, they helped me see the thing – my core negative belief – that was holding me back.

I don’t mind sharing it – but it’s kind of long and complicated.  Seems like most stories are, right?

Working through this particular story with the help of people I know, love and trust was a longer journey than I thought it would be. Thankfully, I’m well on the road to recovery, and so grateful for every person who has walked alongside me.

And I’m grateful for you. You are the reason I do this work. And why I’m sharing such a personal journey.

Steps to Releasing Resistance

Please, remember, when you’re dancing with your own demons – they’re there for a reason. There’s a lesson to learn. Lean in and ask for guidance, for answers. You’ll find them. You already know what the answers are, sometimes it just takes a mirror to see them.

If you’re struggling with fear, or any of the masks it wears: confusion, procrastination, anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, and worry, to name just a few – the most important thing you can do is practice gratitude and faith.

It’s impossible to stay stuck in fear if you can find the things in your life you are grateful for. You may not feel grateful as you make your list. That’s ok for now. Just make a list and keep adding to it. And allow the love to come through again.

Remind yourself that you are here for a greater purpose, and have faith that you will find the way – and that you aren’t alone. God, the Universe, Spirit, the Divine, Source – it’s real. Remember who you are. And take time for self-care during this period. Rest. Trust. Breathe. Move. Find a trusted friend or colleague to talk to.

And write. Pour out the confusion and anguish onto paper. Don’t edit your thoughts – just write a stream of consciousness from the heart. Keep your hand moving across the paper until you have filled 2 pages. And do it again the next day, and the next. This activity, born from Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way is one of the biggest gifts I give myself.

It will bring out the best and worst in you. And will help the fears surface and find their true voice. Don’t be alarmed by this.

Just acknowledge them, thank them for trying to keep you safe, love them, and let them go. Release the resistance.  The fear.

As one friend put it – “It can stay in the car with you if it must, but it can’t drive!”

Next time it happens, when you feel the fear and resistance arise, remember this is part of the journey. It is truly darkest before the dawn. And, if you persevere, you’ll grow in ways that may surprise you.  You WILL find the treasure you seek – it’s more beautiful than you can imagine!

You have gifts and talents to share – and you’re amazing, perfect, and enough – just the way you are.  And so am I.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

The Best Way to Get Something Done is to Begin

business masterminds

I am not a writer.

Yet, I made a decision to write a blog post every week for a year. I did this for many reasons, primarily to find my voice, the unique message I’m meant to share. 

When I was younger, I used to write, a lot. I mean MUCH younger. I wrote short stories, and poetry in grade school – and I loved it.

I have written many things in my career. Newsletters, Annual Reports, Press Releases, Radio Commercials, Technical Manuals and much more. Some were more challenging to write than others, but none were as difficult as this 52 week assignment has been.

So I procrastinate. I lay in the grass and gratefully soak up a few rays after the long winter. I find new recipes for the fresh produce from the farmer’s market. I take a nap. I even did some overdue housework this week (!) – and I think about what I will write – but I don’t write.

And this week I am behind. Again. It’s Saturday.  My deadline was Thursday.  Riley, my beautiful Springer Spaniel  is begging to go for our weekend hike in the mountains – and I have to say no, not now.

Thankfully, I have a VA who helps hold me accountable. In order for her to meet her deadline, I have to meet mine. When I do, I can focus on the “C” level tasks that grow my business – and take weekends off! When I don’t – my self-imposed consequence is to “stay after school” and process the post myself. Which is what I will be doing today.

So what’s really up? Why do we put things off to the last minute? We all do – hence the number of posts and podcasts on procrastination!

Why DO we Procrastinate?

Some reasons are more obvious that others.

  • We don’t like the particular task
  • It isn’t urgent and/or important enough relative to everything else we have to do
  • We think it will take too much time
  • We don’t know what to do or how to do it
  • We are too busy with other things

I think it goes even deeper.

  • We are afraid the result won’t be perfect.
  • We are afraid to be vulnerable.
  • We are afraid we will fail.

Now, I am a huge proponent of scheduling and being organized. I have a great system developed over time that I will share in the next few weeks.

Even so, things fall through the cracks in spite of our best intentions. Sometimes our minds become full and we become less mindful of what we need to do. And sometimes we just intentionally put things off!

So. Now what? Here is what (usually) works for me:

Getting Unstuck and Taking Action

1. Recognize WHY you are procrastinating – it is different for everyone and for every task – and the first step to getting “unstuck”. Once you know why you are putting something off – you can usually, logically, get yourself in gear.

In my case, writing is not my favorite task. I would much rather work in (any) other areas of my business!

2. Verbalize the consequences of putting off the activity. Ask yourself, what will happen if I don’t take action now? If the answer is increased stress, or lost income, or not living up to a commitment you have made – then you know it is time to act.

Frankly, the result of not getting the post to my VA on time is not a huge penalty for me. I don’t mind the next sequence in the system. Now, I WILL have the post processed through step “B” by Monday because I do want to avoid step “C”! That is too painful for me! Fortunately, my VA rocks that piece!

3. Decide to take action. Just do it. And set a timer!

My favorite tool for getting unstuck on a project is to use a timer. I set it in :30 minute increments so I can get up and move around every half hour. This keeps my body and my creativity flowing. I decide ahead of time how long I will allow myself to work on a post. (Usually 90 minutes) And then I get it done. I know I only have a certain amount of time, so I stay focused and commit to the process.

4. Celebrate! Do the Happy Dance! Revel in the feeling of accomplishment. You have earned it – and proven once again that you can do anything you set your mind to.

These steps work for me when I am consciously avoiding a small task or project that doesn’t have a huge amount of pain associated with it.

What if You Don’t Know Where to Begin?!

If there is a huge project you are putting off – there are two more steps to add to the beginning of the process.

1. Chunk the project into smaller pieces that take one hour or less, and can be crossed off a list.

For instance, if you are creating a new product like a 6 month online program, or a new sequence to your marketing plan – that can seem incredibly overwhelming. And if you break it into a series of manageable tasks, it becomes very do-able!

Tasks for a training program could include:

  • Write a survey to send to existing customers.
  • Distribute survey to existing customers
  • Distribute survey to potential new customers
  • Research 2 competitive products
  • Research online learning platforms
  • Create Outline for program
  • Talk to trusted friend or affiliate about options
  • etc., etc., etc.

2. Schedule 1-3 of those hourly tasks in your calendar each week. Now you have a plan to eat that darn elephant one bite at a time! And if you begin to put off these tasks – start at the beginning of this post.

Of course this is usually easier said than done – and having a system to keep you on track and moving forward in your business is the best way to avoid the procrastination trap.

Ahhhh – there goes my timer!  Time to wrap things up and go for that hike!

We all have developed our own ways of dealing with procrastination – what works for you?

I would love to hear your comments below!

Living Life on Purpose

Intentional Entrepreneurs Masterminds

As I slow down and reflect, I realize I have been on a very long journey. (One that, hopefully, will continue for many years to come!)

For the better part of 5 decades, I lived an amazing life. I have a wonderful husband who I have been married to for over 25 years, and two young adult sons who are the light of my life.

Our finances have (mostly) been healthy; we have a beautiful home in a gorgeous location and we make time to enjoy life and each other. I have close friends and had a tremendously satisfying and varied career. I have been spiritually fed and over time I have learned to cultivate gratitude and patience.

Of course, nothing is perfect, I have lost both my beloved parents, and have endured the agony of watching my youngest child struggle with chronic illnesses. But I have always believed life is what we make of it – that we choose our attitude. This served me well for many, many years.

A few years ago, the combination of losing my dad very suddenly, dealing with a prematurely empty nest, and a significant personal crisis in my career rocked my world and shook me out of my complacency.

When I landed, I was lost and lonely.

I embarked on a journey of self-discovery that frequently brought me to my knees with unexpected opportunities for growth and the sheer joy of what is possible when we let go of our tethers.

Understanding came late in my life, but I finally realized that no matter our chronological age:

All our life experiences have uniquely prepared us for THIS moment.

We are all absolutely where we are supposed to be, right now.

There was a part of me that had always suspected this to be true. I was the first to chime “things happen for a reason” during conversations with others. But I had no idea how true it really is.

As I gave myself permission to remember who I was and why I was here I asked many questions. And wonderful, gifted teachers appeared along the way with the answers I sought.

I came to embrace the sacred responsibility which I believe we all share:

Our life’s purpose is discovering our unique gifts and sharing them with others.

The journey of self-discovery isn’t easy – and it isn’t hard. It is, however, the most rewarding journey of all.

If you aren’t sure what your purpose is – I encourage you to be intentional in your efforts to discover it.

  • Reconnect with your core values. Can you name your top 5?
  • Determine what motivates you to do your best. Recognition? Influence? Accomplishment? There are no right or wrong answers.
  • Identify your strengths. Are you a creator? A planner? A creative strategist? What are your good at?
  • What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?

Your purpose resides in the area where these overlap.If you aren’t sure, ask. Out loud. In writing. Ask what you need to learn to discover your purpose.

Then wait and watch. Listen. The answers will come.

You will know you are on the right path when your heart begins to sing – and fear will show up too. This is often how you know you are on your growing edge.

Many of us choose to express our life’s purpose through our work – which is a beautifully satisfying expression.

I knew I had chosen the right path (or perhaps it chose me?) when I discovered this quote:

“Most people die with their music still trapped inside.”

Reading it now, I still feel an ache inside to help others release their music.

I know without a doubt my mission is to help entrepreneurs be successful in their mission. I know the stats – 8 out of 10 businesses fail – and I know I have to do something about it.

Most people go into business because they are passionate about their purpose – not because they have a passion for business. But business IS my passion. After months of wandering, with that quote, I knew I was home.

Knowing this is my purpose keeps me going every day. The journey isn’t easy, as you know and if it were, everyone would be doing it. When we stay focused on the possibility and the promise – on the abundance of life – the pieces fall into place.

Trust the process.

I would love to learn about your passion, your purpose!  Please leave your comments below.

What is Your 20 Mile March?

Intentional Entrepreneurs Masterminds

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks required to run your business?  Or your life?

This was a recent hot seat discussion in one of my mastermind groups.  Everyone was dealing with this!!

We agreed it all boils down to work/life balance, and, business systems!

In order to do the work we love; serving customers, creating products, delivering services and solving our customers problems, we need to implement effective business systems to generate and nurture qualified leads and convert them into raving fans – i.e. paying customers.   Having systems to reduce the overwhelm creates a business that is easy, fun and fulfilling.

And it takes time.

So while we are working to create those systems – how do we maintain a life filled with family, friends, love, movement, meditation, spiritual and personal growth, travel, recreation, and ___________(fill in the blank)?!

This is a true “question of the ages”.  One that every human being seeks an answer to.

There are many practical strategies to deal with the question of balance.  (Our mastermind members shared some very creative tactics and we all left the session with several new nuggets!)

As with all challenges life throws our way, I believe combining mindset and strategy is the best approach.

With that in mind, I would like to share a story that has helped me virtually eliminate overwhelm.  Really.

The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

The year was 1910.   The South Pole was one of last unexplored areas on earth, and two great explorers were each determined to be the first to set foot on the bottom of the earth.

Robert Scott, an Englishman, wanted to plant the flag at the Pole for his country, while Roald Amundsen wanted to claim the victory for Norway.

Historians have compared these heroic journeys for over a century and found many distinctions between the two.

Among them is the fact that Roald Amundsen and his team of five men skied and sledged for 5-6 hours and went an average of 20 nautical miles a day. Day in and day out.  No matter how horrible the weather or how wicked the terrain.  20 miles a day was the goal.

Scott took a different approach.  On days when the weather and terrain were in his favor, he and his men might go 40 miles.  When the weather was foul, his team might not leave their tents at all.

The result?  One leader led his team to victory, and one led his team to defeat.  Can you guess who succeeded and who, tragically failed?

Amundsen planted his flag for Norway and returned safely, exactly as planned.  Scott and his men did reach the South Pole, and all of them died on their return voyage from exhaustion, starvation and exposure.

Both were great men and courageous leaders.  One had a detailed and thoroughly executed plan that include daily progress.  The other took a different approach, one heavily influenced by reactions to daily conditions.

In what has come to be known as the 20 Mile March, Amundsen achieved his goal by setting a steady pace and sticking to his plan.  No matter what.

Scott, on the other hand, pushed his men so hard on the good days, there was nothing left in reserve to continue the journey when the going was tough.

This powerful story makes me think of my business like my own 20 mile march.  I remember that each day I have to:

  • Set a goal, have a plan, and stick to it.
  • Keep moving forward.  
  • Set a steady pace.  

One thing that really resonated with me was finding the balance between full throttle and burnout.

On days when you are super stoked about your business and are on fire (!) – remember to hold back – because this can lead to burnout and exhaustion.

On days when you hate your business (!) keep moving forward anyway – because it is the nitty-gritty-daily-unsexy stuff that will mean the difference between success and failure.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, it is a sign that you are working too hard.  It sounds like a paradox.  It feels like you should work harder.  I think what you should do is breathe.  Consider your goals in business and life, and choose the best action for the moment that will move you steadily in the right direction.

This is how success happens.  One day at a time.  Slow and steady – like the turtle and hare – or Amundsen and Scott on the race to the South Pole.

How do you pace yourself?  What works for you?

Overcoming Obstacles

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Starting on a huge new project recently, I found myself in an old pattern:

  1. Excitement (Yay! New opportunity to serve and grow! Grateful!)
  2. Doubt (Ummm, wait a minute – this is huge.  Maybe I bit off too much.)
  3. Fear (Yeah.  This is too much – you can’t do this.)
  4. Self-talk (Of course you can, this is your strength, your passion and purpose!)
  5. Repeat!

As frustrating as it is to be caught up in the cycle again, it is also a relief because I know what to do next (it is, after all, my pattern).

I’ll give you a bit of the back-story here, which begins in the future…

In my vision of success, I am on stage sharing a powerful and beautiful message that NEEDS to be heard.    It is a simple yet profoundly moving message that inspires and enlightens – it resonates with audiences worldwide – changing behaviors, and ultimately lives!  

And here’s the challenge – I don’t know exactly what the message is, YET.  It’s a tease that flits around the edge of my awareness.  

It is there – and I will find it when the time is right.  Until then, I am doing my part; saying “yes” to the right opportunities to grow and develop, and committing to writing and speaking regularly.

This new project was an amazing opportunity.  A blessing for which I was very grateful.  And one which required me to conquer new territory and stretch in ways I had never thought possible.

Good stuff!  Right?!

The challenge was that my mind was playing an old story that said “You can’t do this. – You aren’t enough”.

Ironically, that was also the beauty of it!  This wasn’t new!  This was my pattern – my old story.

Has this happen to you? Have you experience doubt and fear when you are faced with a new project or undertaking?  

If so, consider asking why…  

  • Why is this happening?  
  • Why are these feelings coming up now?  
  • What can I learn from this?

Chances are you have an old story playing in the back of your mind.  Once you learn to recognize your story – you can rewrite it.

I rewrote my story by reminding myself that there is a tantalizing message I’m meant to share.  I have asked for insight and guidance on finding this message – “my voice” – and have been given a priceless gift.  An opportunity to grow.

The more I explore new ground, the more I continue to learn about other people’s struggles and creative solutions and the more my message slowly reveals itself.

So the next time fear and doubt make you question your ability, first realign your mind.  Remind yourself that you are capable and worthy.  More than that – you deserve it and you are perfect just the way you are to accomplish the task or project at hand.

We are meant to constantly grow.  We aren’t finished creatures yet.  And the best way to grow is to continue overcoming the obstacles we place in our own path.  Every time we do, it becomes easier, and we can remind ourselves of our true value, worth and purpose.

What do you think?  Do you find the obstacles you must overcome in business are more frequently mental in nature or are they physical, educational, technical or?  I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.

A Priceless Gift for 2015

Intentional Entrepreneurs Masterminds

As the year winds down and comes to a close, we celebrate our holidays with various traditions embracing faith, and the love and laughter of family and friends.

As I begin to look forward to the new year, I start seeking a word to guide me.  This word usually reflects a characteristic I want to practice, to improve.  For 365 days, this word illuminates my path and infuses my world.

This tradition has become one of my favorite gifts.

I am starting to try on a few new words for 2015.  One in particular is gently waving at me and we are getting to know each other…. more about that at the end of this post.

Sometimes it takes a few days to find my word.  Sometimes the word chooses me.  This year one word came to mind.   No reflection necessary.  I had been seeking meaning and answers for months –  and when I asked for a word – CLARITY arrived and became my touchstone in an instant.  With a capital C.  In my life, in my relationships, in my work.

What a powerful, evocative and amazing year it has been.  Clarity has brought me sanity and has provided new direction. Now, when my brain wanders I quickly re-center with clarity.

Clarity reminds me to ask myself,  “Does this help or hinder?”

Is it profoundly deep insight to illuminate my direction and follow my path? Or is it a distraction?  Does this revelation help me drill down my vision?  Or is it a bright shiny object in disguise?

Sometimes it is hard to tell, but when I remember to stop and ask the questions, I always discover the answers.  It has been such a life-changing experience, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts about my journey with clarity guiding my way.

Often, when a new idea or thought first reveals itself, there is no denying its incredibly magical and powerful potential!   If you are like me, you are always thinking of the next way to “revolutionize” your business, your industry, (or the world!), or dreaming of ways to help a totally new and different clientele.  That is just how our brains work!

To determine if our new revelation is as brilliant as it seems at first glance, I believe we all need CLARITY.

And I believe in the power of Clarity so profoundly it became one of the three pillars I built my business upon.  (The others are Action and Impact – I liken the combination to unifying the heart, mind, and soul).

Clarity isn’t always easy to discover, but here are three things that can help you find clarity in your business – a blend of the pragmatic, conscious and spiritual.

1.  Keep it Sweet and Simple. (KISS)

When thoughts collide and confusion appears, ask yourself “Is this a good fit for where I am right now?”  Does it mesh with your current plan of action?  Or will it take you in another direction?  Will it complicate your life? What are the implications one month or one year from now?

Hint:  Unless you are at the point in your business where you’re actively seeking new direction, an overly complicated idea probably is not a good fit.  The best ideas are usually simple to implement.  They don’t distract you from your course of action; they fit like your favorite jeans.

2. Keep a Clear Mind. 

When inspiration strikes, plan a solid 60 minute block of time to analyze it.  Then draft an outline.  Write a proposal.  Or get out your markers and draw a colorful diagram or picture.  Turn it inside out.  Look at all angles.  List pros and cons. Then put it away.  Literally and consciously.  Give yourself a set period of time to let go of the idea.  When it comes back for more attention before your deadline, and it will, remind yourself you are taking a leave of absence from this decision! Redirect your thoughts to something else and consciously, intentionally, release this particular thought from your mind.

3.  Keep an Open Heart. 

Intuitively, you know the answer.  You already know everything you need to know to make the decision.  To get to that core truth, open your heart.   When your aforementioned deadline arrives, listen to your instinct.  Feel the energy in your heart.  What is it telling you?  Is this “brainstorm” the real deal?  Is it the best way to go right now?  Tune in. You may feel fear even if it is the right decision.  This often indicates a universal thumbs up!  You are probably on your growing edge; a truly wonderful place to live if you want to achieve your fullest potential. Trust your wisdom to make the right decision.

Every time you complete this process, you drill down a little further on what does or does not serve you well.   You are gaining clarity and you are learning to rely on your intuition.

Remember, well-meaning friends, family and business associates can give you great advice and perspective, and can be added into the equation – but ultimately you are the best judge of what is best for you and for those you choose to serve in your life.  Only you can complete your journey.

So Clarity was my word, my friend, my gift, for 2014. It may sound corny, but there is some sweet sorrow in letting go and moving on.  At the same time, I am excited to see who my new companion will be over the next 12 months.  I’m trying on a new word that feels pretty good….next year I’ll let you know what happens!

What Does Being Intentional Mean?

Intentional Entrepreneurs Masterminds
To me, being intentional is like setting sail confidently in the direction of your dreams with the wind at your back.
 
Very simply, it means you go where you look. So, focus on what you want, and you will be successful in life, love and in business.
 
What you choose to focus on affects your emotions, your thoughts, your behaviors, and ultimately your destination.
 
And the best part is that it is always your choice!
 
When I wonder if I’m good enough or if I have what it takes, I choose to release the fear and focus on where I want to go.  I remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, that I don’t have to have everything figured out right now, and that I am absolutely where I am supposed to be.
 
I act in the direction of faith, instead of fear.  Moment to moment. One day at a time. 
 
Fear is funny, it can come at us directly, or masquerade as apathy, judgment, separation, doubt or any number of other unpleasant emotions.  And the treatment is always the same. Recognize it, release it, remind yourself you are perfect just the way you are, and continue your journey.
 
This is being intentional.
 
It starts with choosing your thoughts.  Then decide what you are going to do, and do it. Focus on the outcome, and stay the course.
 
Be intentional in life, love and business.  Focus on what you want, consciously choose your direction and take meaningful action.  This is how successful businesses are built.
 
It is a simple process.  Challenging at times, and as you learn to set sail in the direction of your dreams intentionality is the wind at your back that guides your ship toward the open skies of endless possibility.
 
How intentional do you think you are in your life right now?  How can you be more intentional TODAY?

Give It All You’ve Got!

Intentional Entrepreneurs Masterminds

To the best of my knowledge, we only get one shot at life.

This is it.  

And in spite of, (or maybe even because of?), the tragedies and ugliness we encounter with increasing frequency, we have an obligation to be kind to each other.  To be more accepting of our differences, and to live up to our own fullest and best potential.

As Mary Oliver so eloquently inquires:

“What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?”

It matters.

I don’t know about you, but for years I simply went with the current, taking life as it came.  Most of the time it was pretty darn good.  There were ups and downs, to be sure, but overall I was (and am) very grateful and always count my blessings.

Then it started to dawn on me.  There wasn’t any flash of lightning or sudden revelation, just a slow realization that there was more for me to do.  That I have a purpose.

I am in awe of people who seem to understand and accept this effortlessly and early in their lives– it took me almost 5 decades to wake up to this truth.

Like a glorious sunrise, the quiet understanding that I absolutely do have a unique and amazing purpose in this wild and precious world lit up my life.

The longer part of the journey, for me, was discovering what my purpose is.

It took almost a year of discerning my strengths and life experiences, reflecting on my values and beliefs, journaling thoughts and ideas, and, mostly, listening to my intuition and inner voice – but I found it.  I found my purpose.

What a powerful thing it is to know what you need to do in this world.  It keeps you focused, it keeps you motivated and grounded, and it keeps you going when things get tough.

Even though I KNOW I am living and working in alignment with my purpose – there are days I want to hide under the covers and never get up.  Funny.  I thought it would be so much easier.  I mean, when we are being intentional and are focused on what we are meant to do – it should be easy – right?!

Not exactly.  The truth is that we are never done. As long as we are on this earth, we haven’t finished our journey. 

For me, the more I grow and learn, the more I realize I have a LONG way to go!  And some days I feel like giving up.  This is hard stuff.  But then I remind myself that anything worth having is worth working for.

On those days, (like today!), I am grateful to receive encouragement from the universe.  It comes in many forms – like the song “Can U Believe” by Akon which reminds us to “ Give it all you’ve got!”

I played it twice on my loop around the neighborhood this morning – and now I’m ready to tackle this moment, this day, this life.

We only get one shot at it – so what are you going to do with your wild and precious life?

With Clarity Comes Sanity and Direction

Intentional Entrepreneurs Masterminds

Each year I choose a word to help me focus.  The word usually reflects a characteristic I want to improve, to practice and God-willing, to perfect.  For 365 days, this word becomes a mantra.

Sometimes it takes a few days to find my word.  Sometimes the word chooses me.  This year one word came to mind.   No reflection necessary.  I had been seeking meaning and answers for months –  and when I asked for a word – CLARITY arrived and became my touchstone in an instant.  With a capital C.  In my life, in my relationships, in my work.

What a powerful, evocative and amazing year it has been.  Clarity has brought me sanity and has provided new direction. Now, when my brain wanders I quickly re-center with clarity.

Clarity reminds me to ask myself,  “Does this help or hinder?”

Is it profoundly deep insight to illuminate my direction and and follow my path? Or is it a distraction?  Does this revelation help me drill down my vision?  Or is it a bright shiny object in disguise?

Sometimes it is hard to tell, but when I remember to stop and ask the questions, I always discover the answers.  It has been such a life-changing experience, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts about my journey with clarity guiding my way.

Often, when a new idea or thought first reveals itself, there is no denying its incredibly magical and powerful potential!   If you are like me, you are always thinking of the next way to “revolutionize” your business, your industry, (or the world!), or dreaming of ways to help a totally new and different clientele.  That is just how our brains work!

To determine if our new revelation is as brilliant as it seems at first glance, I believe we all need CLARITY.

And I believe in the power of Clarity so profoundly it became one of the three pillars I built my business upon.  (The others are Action and Impact – I liken the combination to unifying the heart, mind, and soul).

Clarity isn’t always easy to discover, but here are three things that can help you find clarity in your business – a blend of the pragmatic, conscious and spiritual.

1.  Keep it Sweet and Simple. (KISS)

When thoughts collide and confusion appears, ask yourself “Is this a good fit for where I am right now?”  Does it mesh with your current plan of action?  Or will it take you in another direction?  Will it complicate your life? What are the implications one month or one year from now?

Hint:  Unless you are at the point in your business where you’re actively seeking new direction, an overly complicated idea probably is not a good fit.  The best ideas are usually simple to implement.  They don’t distract you from your course of action; they fit like your favorite jeans.

2. Keep a Clear Mind. 

When inspiration strikes, plan a solid 60 minute block of time to analyze it.  Then draft an outline.  Write a proposal.  Or get out your markers and draw a colorful diagram or picture.  Turn it inside out.  Look at all angles.  List pros and cons. Then put it away.  Literally and consciously.  Give yourself a set period of time to let go of the idea.  When it comes back for more attention before your deadline, and it will, remind yourself you are taking a leave of absence from this decision! Redirect your thoughts to something else and consciously, intentionally, release this particular thought from your mind.

3.  Keep an Open Heart. 

Intuitively, you know the answer.  You already know everything you need to know to make the decision.  To get to that core truth, open your heart.   When your aforementioned deadline arrives, listen to your instinct.  Feel the energy in your heart.  What is it telling you?  Is this “brainstorm” the real deal?  Is it the best way to go right now?  Tune in. You may feel fear even if it is the right decision.  This often indicates a universal thumbs up!  You are probably on your growing edge; a truly wonderful place to live if you want to achieve your fullest potential. Trust your wisdom to make the right decision.

Every time you complete this process, you drill down a little further on what does or does not serve you well.   You are gaining clarity and you are learning to rely on your intuition.

Remember, well-meaning friends, family and business associates can give you great advice and perspective, and can be added into the equation – but ultimately you are the best judge of what is best for you and for those you choose to serve in your life.  Only you can complete your journey.

Banishing Fear; You ARE (more than) enough!

Intentional Entrepreneurs Masterminds

In one of my mastermind groups, I asked others what they struggled with as entrepreneurs.

Speaking from their heart, each person laid it out on the table.  As they shared their challenges and frustrations, the issues resonated with us all.  We felt each other’s pain.  Everyone one of us has fought the same battles in our entrepreneurial journey.  There was comfort knowing we weren’t alone.  (A priceless and intrinsic benefit of masterminding with a group of trusted colleagues.)

Some of the difficulties were practical, “How do I get it all done when there is just me?!” “What tasks do I delegate to whom?” “How do I balance doing the work I love with managing a business?” (I see more blogs on the horizon!)

Others were of a mental mindset like the one I’ll paraphrase here:  “How do I feel like an authority figure when I don’t feel like an authority figure?”

This last issue reverberated powerfully with me because I, too, had been working on this particular troll.

Here are three things that help me keep things in perspective!

No more IDK

Not long ago a wise person observed that I frequently and somewhat carelessly used the phrase “I don’t know” to preface my dialog.

Wise Person:   Why do you do what you do?

Me:  I don’t know, because I feel this is my path, my calling. It is in perfect alignment with who I am at my core and with the skills I have developed along the way.

Wise Person:  So why do you say “I don’t know”?

That simple yet profound exchange illustrated quite vividly that of course, I DID know the answer. Since then I have learned to refrain from saying IDK. When I feel the phrase ready to roll off my tongue, I stop and focus on what I DO KNOW. This simple act has helped me give myself a lot more credit! And that stops the troll from calling.

Remember the Big Picture

We each have years (even decades!) of distinct experience.  Our upbringing, life events, learning and encounters (case in point – #1 above) make us who we are.  We are each uniquely qualified to share what we know.  When we feel unworthy, it serves us well to remember the big picture.  Our exclusive life experience gives us each a rich and meaningful perspective and there are always people coming alongside us that need what we have to offer.

Let go of Fear

When you work from your heart, you can move forward in confidence.  Coming from a place of service and putting the needs of others first, you can’t fail.  You are perfect just the way you are.  Learn to recognize when doubt and fear begin to creep in.  You can feel your energy change.  There is a certain tightness, a contraction of fear.  Learn to acknowledge the fear – and simply let it go.  Fear is a lie that can keep you from achieving your fullest potential.  Don’t let it. Welcome it as an indicator that you are growing in the right direction.  Then breathe, relax your heart, and let it go.

Depending on how strongly fear has ingrained itself, you may deal with it often.  With patience and practice it goes away.   Learn to let that which is holding you down become a force to lift you up.  Keeping a sense of levity in the process is helpful.  When you catch yourself laughing at the troll and exclaiming “You again?!” you know you are on the right path!