Overcoming my Fear of Swimming

2014-08-15 20.24.40

 

This is a picture of my community pool.  This is where a miracle happened.  This is where God winked.  This is where fear was conquered. 

This past Sunday my husband and I participated in a "Couples Challenge" with other couples from our church and neighborhood.   The challenge consisted of a 16-lap swim, various body weight exercises, and a 3-mile run.   When my husband first mentioned this "challenge" to me several weeks ago, I just laughed.  I wasn't interested.  Afterall, other than floating on my back  and swimming doggie paddle style, I didn't know how to swim.  I had no form.  

Although I'm fairly athletic, I had this fear factor around swimming.  I attempted swimming lessons as an adult to learn "freestyle" but it didn't really work out.  I could sort of do it but not really.  It was ugly. I felt like I was drowing every time I tried.  I always felt like I was swimming for my life as if I had a shark chasing me while trying not to drown.  It probably didn't help that my instuctor was a former Navy Seal and I felt like I had more of a drill seargent rather than an instructor.  It was terribly uncomfortable.  I was always tight and tense in the water and I never learned it.  

Two weeks before the challenge date, I start getting all these emails from people participating in the challenge.  The couples were talking about how they were training for the event.  Some did it while on vacation while others practiced their swim in a lake or their run in our neighborhood .  At first I was annoyed to get these emails because it assummed that I would participate.  I copped an attitude.  I was thinking, how did I get on this email list when I didn't even agree to do this.  Apparently my husband signed us up.  One week before race day, I realized we were participating whether or not I could swim.  I decided then to sign myself up for 2, 30-minute swimming lessons.  Breast stroke was one of the swim types listed so I asked my instructor, Alicia, to teach it to me.  I had my 1st lesson on Monday and my 2nd lesson on Thursday.  Race day, mind you, was Sunday.  On Monday, we used a kick board and I learned the motion for the legs.  On Thursday, I learned what to do with my arms, how to push off the wall, and how to combine the arms with the legs.  Alicia was incredibly patient and encouraging to me.  After putting it all together, I could swim a lap.  And after some practice, I  could swim 2 straight laps with plenty of energy left.  That was a miracle!  And the strange thing was that I enjoyed it!  It was fun and relaxing exercise. I had never EVER EVER in my life been able to swim 2 straight laps.  I hugged Alicia.  I couldn't believe it.  Learning how to swim has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  I felt like I had just learned another language.  I felt unstoppable. This opened new avenues of adventure for me.   The thought had crossed my mind how cool it would be to do a sprint triathalon if only I had not feared the water.  Well now, I have conquered the water.  To God be the glory!  Thank you Jesus!  Philippians 4:19 says, "and my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."  I felt so empowered in learning this little bit of swimming that I have decided to continue taking weekly lessons to learn the other styles of swimming.  

Now back to the race.  It was a team effort so I only had to swim 4 laps while my husband swam 12 laps. We placed 4th out of 6 couples but I was pretty darn happy considering we only trained together for 2 days and I learned a new skill out of it.  Not to mention we had fitness instructors, a former coast guard member, and college swimmers in the group.  We're talking about a very athletic bunch we have here.  I was just thrilled to have conquered a fear and learn how to swim.  

What's the moral of the story?

Luke 17:27 says, "what is impossible with man is possible with God."  Sometimes the "thing" that you fear the most just needs to be handed over to God.   Don't attempt to do it alone in your own strength.  Ask for God's help.  Because I had a horrible past experience with swimming, I had a mental block around it.  It felt like it was the impossible.  When faced with "the impossible" believe God will see you through it.  Trust that He will make it possible and He will show you a way.

What's that thing you fear that if overcome could have a huge positive impact on your life?   

What's the upside of overcoming your current fears and handing it over to God?

Fear is a miserable thing!  It keeps us from realizing our full potential in life.  See fear for what it is...a lie.  When fears creep in your mind, expose it.  Pray about it, talk about it with friends or write down your thoughts in a journal.  The more airtime you give fear, the more ways you'll come up with to overcome it.  Overcome fear through exposing its lies and overcoming it with the word of God.  What is FEAR?  False Evidence Appearing Real.  It's like seeing a shaddow of a spider taking up an entire wall and assuming that's the actual size when in reality it's only 1 centermeter in size.  Act on your fears, trust God, and find a treasure.  

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do." - Henry Ford 


Gardening and Life

Gardenoflife

Life is like a garden.  It needs consistent attention and care for it to be beautiful and serve its purpose.  What can you do to create a flourishing personal life that has the look and feel of a flourishing garden?

In life and gardening, there is a constant weeding out of weeds.   On a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, we need to take a look at what weeds are popping up in our life that need to be pulled out. 

What do weeds represent?  

Things that drain your energy.  Get rid of everything that you're putting up with, tolerating, or enduring.  

Let's look at 3 areas of your life where weeds grow:

1.  Your Home.  Make a list of 5 things you are tolerating in your home, whether or not you see a solution to each item.  Identify them whether big or small.   This can be:  location of home, messes in closets, clothes that need to be altered or repaired, walls that need painting,  light bulbs replaced, etc.

2.  Your Family/Community.  Make a list of 5 things your'e tolerating about your family or community, whether or not you see a solution to each of them.  Examples include:  improve communication with spouse, let go to one-way friendships, let go of obligations, too many commitments, etc.

3.  Your Work Life.  Make a list of 5 things you are tolerating about your work or professional life, whether or not you see a solution to each of them.  Examples are:  low pay, not enough recognition or appreciation, working for a tough boss, stressed out, not enough challenge, etc.  

Why do we allow weeds to grow?

1.  Too many weeds get us overwhelmed that we tend to put them off.

2.  We can't identify it.  We don't know it's a weed.  I once had a beautiful green stock come up from the ground in my garden, only to find out later it was weed.  

3.  It's too big to handle on your own or you don't have the right tools to take care of it.  I once struggled to pull out a big weed.  After fighting with it for 20 minutes I asked for my husband's help. We wanted to get it at the root so my husband grabbed a shovel and helped me to dig it out.

How to clear the weeds?

1.  Identify them.  Take an inventory.  Make a list of life's weeds.  Categorize them into smaller groups.  Find time to take care of them one at a time.  

2.  Figure out if it's yours.  Can you do something about it or are you looking at your neighbor's weeds? Work on the things you can do something about and let go of the one's that aren't yours.  

3.  Get support.  Ask for a friend's help.  Hire a coach or counselor.  Take a class and learn a new skill that will help you remove the weeds.  

4.  Change your perspective.  Instead of holding on to past hurts or disappointments (also weeds), ask:  What have I gained from having this weed?  How has it served me?  Be grateful for it and let it go.  

5.  Check your readiness factor.  Some weeds are not as important as others.  Let those go for now and only work on what you want to work on.  

 


10 Tips for Getting Over Hurt Feelings

Writing

I coach many people around discovering their "dream job" and strategies on how to get there but sometimes I meet people who unexpectedly lost a job and are grieving it.  These people need to identify and express their emotions before they can really move on.  Here's a great article written by Lori Deschene that will help you if you're going through that.  

1. Define your pain.

It’s not always easy to identify and understand what’s hurting you. Some people even stay in abusive relationships because it’s safer than acknowledging their many layers of pain: the low self-esteem that convinces them they deserve abuse, the shame over being treated with such cruelty, and the feeling of desperation that convinces them there’s no real way out.

The first step toward finding happiness after having been hurt is to understand why you were hurt, to get to the root of everything that makes the memories hard.

2. Express that pain.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to communicate how you feel to the person who hurt you; and if you can, there’s no guarantee they’ll respond how you want them to. Say what you need to say anyway.Write in your journal. Write a letter and burn it. Get it all out.

This will help you understand why you’re hurting and what you’ll do in the future to avoid similar pain so you can feel empowered instead of victimized. Research has actually proven that people who focus on lessons learned while journaling find the experience more helpful than people who don’t (focus on lessons).

(My thoughts:  Identify your feelings.  Are you feeling hurt, angry, guilty, betrayed, insecure, afraid? Giving thought ot how you're feeling can be very helpful in processing all your emotions in the wake of this life changing event.)

3. Try to stay in the present.

Reliving the past can be addictive. It gives you the opportunity to do it again and respond differently—to fight back instead of submitting, to speak your mind instead of silencing yourself. It also allows you to possibly understand better. What happened? Where did you go wrong? What should you have done?

In other words, it allows you to torture yourself. Regardless of what you should have done, you can’t do it now. If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, you may need professional help to avoid revisiting the incident. If you don’t, you need sustained effort. Fight the urge to relive the pain. You can’t go back and find happiness there. You can only experience that now.

4. Stop telling the story.

It may seem like another way to understand what happened, or maybe it feels helpful to hear someone say you didn’t do anything wrong and you don’t deserve to hurt. In all reality this just keeps you stuck right where you are: living your life around a memory and giving it power to control you.

No amount of reassurance will change what happened. You can’t find happiness by holding onto a painful story, trying to place in new, brighter light. You can only find happiness when you let it go and make room for something better. You don’t need another person’s permission to let go and feel okay.

5. Forgive yourself.

Maybe you didn’t do anything wrong but you blame yourself. Or maybe you played a role in creating your current situation. Regardless of what happened, you need to realize that what you did is not who you are. And even if you feel immense regret, you deserve to start today without carrying that weight. You deserve a break.

You can either punish yourself and submit to misery, or forgive yourself and create the possibility of happiness. It comes down to whether you decide to dwell or move on. Which do you choose: anger with yourself and prolonged pain, or forgiveness and the potential for peace?

6. Stop playing the blame/victim game.

Maybe you were a victim. Maybe someone did horrible things to you, or you fell into an unfortunate set of circumstances through no fault of your own. It still doesn’t serve you to sit around feeling bad for yourself, blaming other people. In fact, it only holds you back. You can’t feel good if you use this moment to feel bad about another person’s actions.

The only way to experience happiness is to take responsibility for creating it, whether other people made it easy for you or not. You’re not responsible for what happened to you in the past but you’re responsible for your attitude now. Why let someone who hurt you in the past have power over your present?

(My thoughts:  Ask how did my actions and the things I've said or failed to say help to create this situation or crisis?)

7. Don’t let the pain become your identity.

If everything you do and all your relationships center around something that hurt you, it will be harder to move on. You may even come to appreciate what that identity gives you: attention, the illusion of understanding, or the warmth of compassion, for example.

You have to consider the possibility there’s a greater sense of happiness in completely releasing your story. That you’d feel better than you can even imagine if you’d stop letting your pain define youYou can have a sad story in your past without building your present around it. 

8. Reconnect with who you were before the pain.

It’s not easy to release a pain identity, particularly if you’ve carried it around for a long time. It may help to remember who you were before that experience—or to consider who you might have become if it hadn’t happened. You can still be that person, someone who doesn’t feel bitter or angry so frequently.

If you want to feel and be peaceful and happy, start by identifying what that looks like—what you think about, what you feel, what you do, how you interact with people. Odds are this process will remind you both how you want to be and how you don’t want to be.

9. Focus on things that bring you joy in the moment.

You don’t have to focus on completely letting go of your pain forever; you just have to make room for joyright now. Start simple. What’s something you can enjoy in this moment, regardless of what pain you’ve experienced? Would sitting in the sun bring you joy? Would calling your sister bring you joy? 

Don’t think about the totality of the rest of your days. That’s a massive burden to carry—haven’t you hurt enough? Just focus on now, and allow yourself a little peace. You’ll be surprised how easily “nows” can add up when you focus on them as they come.

10. Share that joy with other people.

We often isolate ourselves when we’re hurting because it feels safer than showing people our vulnerability. What we fail to realize is that we don’t have to feel vulnerable all the time. We can choose certain people for support, and then allow ourselves time with others without involving our painful stories.

You can share a meal, a movie, a moment and give yourself a break from your anger or sadness. You don’t have to carry it through every moment of your day. Don’t worry—if you feel you need to remember it, you’ll still be able to recall it later. But as you allow yourself pockets of peace, shared with people you love, you may find you need that story a lot less.

***


Ignite: Life Lessons From a Coach

Ignite-fire

I am on fire today!  I just had an enlightening conversation with a buddy coach, Bruno, and I want to remember and share some life lessons from the call.  

1. Tip on making change possible

When you want to make a change in your life start by writing down all your obstacles to the change. Write down anything that could get in the way including limiting beliefs you may have.  For each obstacle, write a solution.  When I do this exercise, it's not surprising to have 30+ reasons not to change.  The purpose of this exercise is to identify the excuses, explose them, and do something about it so they're not holding you back.  

2.  Take 100% responsibility for your life

Bruno hired a new coach for himself and I asked how the coach was.  He said he decided it didn't matter who his coach was, he was going to be the best coachee he could be.  He was going to put forth his best effort no matter what.  That was a powerful statement!  What if we took this idea to all areas of our life.  What if we took out the excuse that we can't be our best because someone else wasn't inspiring us. Do your best anyway in all your relationships.  Don't blame others.  

3.  Play

There's a coaching program I took called The Time Peace Program.  One of my favorite mantras in it is "time is a tool that is exclusively mine to play with."  I love this concept because instead of feeling frustrated and overwhelmed when my schedule gets overloaded, I can bring play into the mix and experience a sense of lightness and freedom in how I chose to use my time .  I remember that I am in charge of my time and commitments and if something is not working, I change it....I play with it.  I move things around and have fun.  Bruno asked, what if I take this concept of play to other parts of my life.  For example, for all my meetings and activites today, how can I infuse an element of play into it.  If I did that, life would be more fun, carefree, and enjoyable.  How would your life change if you brought an element of play and fun into everything you do?


The Power of Habits

Make-our-habits

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Nai who has inspired and encouraged me to blog tonight. Thanks for your friendship Nai!  

I'm in a really good place in my life right now due in part to the positive daily habits I've established to support me.   I heard about this concept to establish 10 daily habits several years ago and it's just now that my habits are taking hold.

First of all, what is a habit?  The dictionary defines it as:

a :  a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance.

b :  an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

Why is it important to establish some positive daily habits in your life?  

Well, habits support the positive changes in your behavior that have a fundamental impact on your life.  For example, one of my goals is to have good teeth through my old age.  One habit to support that goal is to floss my teeth daily.  

Once a habit is formed, it becomes effortless and it becomes part of who you are.  It hardly takes any effort to do it because it becomes so engrained in you that it becomes an automatic way of living.  It's just like driving a car.  When you first learned to drive it took a lot of attention and effort.  But after a while, it became as effortless as breathing.  Healthy habits are fundamental to living your best life.

Establishing healthy routines gives you more focus, energy, and balance.  It frees you up to do really great work.  

5 tips to establishing great habits:

1.  Work on establishing 1 new habit at a time.  Building a new habit takes focus and energy.  Give yourself the space to make it a success.

2.  Give yourself 21-30 days to build a new habit.

3.  Make sure it's a habit that you want to do and not just something you feel you "should" do.  

4.  Do it with a friend, an accountability partner.  Something about having someone else walk alongside you as your struggle to make something a habit makes it all better.

5.  Spend at least 5 mintues a day visualizing the new habit.  This is a great way to use "dead" time like when you're waiting in line or have a few minutes.

The following are some daily habits I've established that have been a great support in my life:

1.  Reading my bible every morning.  

2.  Writing down at least 3 things I'm grateful for.

3.  Looking at or visualizing my goals that I have turned into positive affirmations on my pinterest board.  Sorry this is a hidden board.

4.  Making my bed.

5.  Flossing my teeth. 

6.  Taking my vitamins.

7.  Acknowleding/thanking my husband for at least 1 thing every day.

8.  Being in bed by 10pm.

I have a list of other habits that I look forward to establishing soon but for now this is a good start and it has made a HUGE impact on my life already.  

Need ideas?

Thank one person a day.

Drink decaf instead of caffeine.

Walk 3 miles each morning.

Meditate for 20 minutes.

Write in your journal.

Handle 1 unresolved matter.

Offer to help someone.

Read something you really want to read.

Follow your intuition at least once a day.

Go the extra mile for someone.

Spend an hour with your children.

Stop complaining. 

Stretch every day.

Expect nothing and appreciate everything.

 


Battlefield of the Mind

Chess_Wallpaper_2_by_dugonline

This morning I started a wonderful bible study suggested by my sister called, Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyers.   It totally made me do a 180 with my thoughts.  Up until this morning, I didn't realize how polluted I had let my thoughts be.  

It's so easy and natural for me to let my thoughts focus on where I am dissatisfied with my life  and what is not going well.  I have a very critical nature.  I have a knack for zoning in on what's wrong in my life.  Anyway, after doing this morning study's study, I have decided to place my thoughts on right thinking.  What is right thinking?  Thoughts aligned with God and his teachings.  

How will our lives be changed if we renew our minds according to God's word?  The answer is in Romans 12:2- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.  

This weekend I watched an Andy Stanley message called Breathing Room.   In the message he said a prayer asking God to help us remember that our days our numbered.  I love that!  I think so many of us take our lives for granted.  We think we'll live forever, that we'll be healthy most of the time, and that our loved ones will all be fine.  The truth is that we don't know when our time will be up and when our loved ones will pass away.  All we have is moment to moment.  So, I prayed this morning asking God how I could best live my life today knowing that my days are numbered.  The answer was to just be thankful and to count my blessings from moment to moment.    

I am grateful for:

1.  My husband and that God has blessed him with a great job.

2.  My family and how supportive they have always been.

3.  Having enough in my life.

4.  Not having to worry about where I'm going to get my next meal.

5.  My health and being able to do whatever I want physically.

6.  This moment and the reset on my mind.  

God, help us to remember that our days are numbered and to focus on right thoughts, your thoughts for our life, and to be content with what you've given us and what you've done for us.  

Amen


Uncovering the Extraordinary in Every Day Life

Creative

 

Last night I started re-reading one of my favorite books, Living a Beautiful Life, by Alexandra Stoddard.  In it she talks about 500 ways to add elegance, order, beauty and joy to every day of your life.  I'm getting to much out of it.  

She talks about simple rituals we can create in our every day lives to transform the ordinary to extraordinary.   One ritual I started this morning was to begin by lighting a peach and mango scented candle with a match.  There's something about lighting a match that is so aesthetic and symbolic of an act of igniting my day.  Then I turned on my ipod and put on the Fields of Gold soundtrack by Sting and proceeded to make my bed.  Just creating my morning mood with the right sounds, sights, and smell made my morning light and joyful as if I started my day off with a dance.  It was just so delightful!  

What small changes can you make so that you awaken something within yourself and engage with the dance of life?  

Here's a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke in his Letters to a Young Poet:

So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your every day life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty-- describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.  If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it;  blame yourself;  admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches;  because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place.

 


Attitude

Evening_Howl-(1024x768)-thief

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all"

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies,false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed".

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Are you aware of your attitude throughout the day?  Are you aware of where you focus your thoughts? Which wolf are you feeding?  

Awareness ------> Choices -------> Changes

What will you chose?


Excellence is a Habit


Habits

 

Yesterday I took a refresher coaching class on how build a solid personal foundation. Not surprisingly, deciding on and excecuting on a set of 10 healthy daily habits contributes to that strong personal foundation.   A daily routine will keep you focused, clear, motivated and moving forward.  These things you do each day will create fundamental shifts in you that will dramatically improve your life.  

One daily habit I've set for myself is to hand-write each of my goals in a way that reflects that I've already achieved them.  I write out my sentence goal 10 times in a special notebook and I do this for 21-days since it takes at least that much time to build a habit. I got this idea from the author Brian Tracy. For example, one statement I have is:  "I take action to improve the lives of at least 3 people each day."   It is my goal to make a daily positive impact on as many people as possible.  

Here is a website I am using to help aid me in my goal of writing down my goals daily. It's: http://habitforge.com/  It's free and it sends me an email each day reminding me of the habits I have decided on.  Once I take action on the habit, I go to the email to confirm it's completion.  It will send me an email for 21 consecutive days granted I take daily action for 21 days.  If I miss a day, it resets the clock and starts counting back to day 1.  

Tips for choosing your daily habits:

1.  Start small.  Start with 1 habit and build on your habits 1 at a time.

2.  Choose habits you WANT to do.  Design daily habits that you look forward to and that give you energy.  For example, many people want to establish the habit of getting daily exercise but I know few people who want to go to the gym to do this.  If this is you, what are other forms of exercise you could do?  I knew someone whose daily exercise habit was to walk his dog for 1.5 hours a day.  He was able to lose 40lbs. in just one year of doing this.  Can you imagine that?  For me, to enjoy exercise, I've got to mix it up.  Somtimes I go for a bike ride, play tennis, go dancing, go running while listening to an audiobook, or participate in any physical activity as long as I'm doing it with a friend. 

3.  Use visual aids.  Besides the habitforge website, I've made a weekly scorecard for myself to track my eating fruits and vegetables. I've posted this on my refrigerator.  On an excel spreadsheet, I listed the days of the week across the top on the heading of each column and on the left-hand side I listed veggie 1, veggie 2, veggie 3, fruit 1, fruit 2, fruit 3.  Each time I go to the refrigerator I am prompted to reach for a fruit or vegetable so I can make a mark on my scorecard.  It may sound silly but it's been pretty effective so far.  There's a saying of "what gets measured gets done."  

Questions to ask yourself:

1.  What are the habits that would enrich my experience of life, every day?

2.  What habits have I been successful at maintaining and what impact have they had on my life overall?

3.  If you maintained 1 daily a habit for a year, what would be it's impact to your life after that year?

4.  What support system(s), structures, people, will you put in place to support your daily habits?

 

 


Silence

Winter-silence

 

I just read an article on silence.  It was about how the world is getting louder these days and it's taking a toll on our health.  This article shows you how you can find peace and quiet for mind, body and soul.  You can read it here:  article on noise pollution and silence.

The bottom line to the article is that silence can connect us to each other.  It also actually helps to better connect to ourselves.  When we allow for silence and pauses in conversation, we can actually reflect on what was being said instead of just reacting.  

When we have quiet space around us, it allows for our creativity to flow and for our soul to speak to us. Creating quiet in your life is like an artist taking a blank canvas and sitting in front of it contemplating on what to create.  Listen to what wants to be created within you.  

Suggestions for finding silence:

1.  Turn off your car radio.

2.  Walk without listening to music.

3.  Do chores in silence.

4.  Close your eyes for 5 minutes and just breathe in silence.

5.  Go to a quiet museum and just reflect on what you're experiencing.  


What's the One Thing that Works Against Serving Others?

Busyness

This morning I was listening to an old Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast titled Mutual Submission from 9/06/08.  The whole thing was less than 23 minutes long and I found that last minute to be the most enlightening.  Here's today's bit of wisdom from Andy Stanley.

"The thing that works against serving other people in general more than anything else is busyness.  And when an organization has an unsustainable pace, the first thing that is going to go is my willingness or ability to dip into your world and help you.  I’m going to be so focused on me and my projects and my stuff.  If I have no margin than the idea of me somehow trying to find some extra time to serve you is just going to go away.  So I think the number one thing a leader can do is to make sure that they are leading an organization that has a sustainable pace.  A sustainable pace creates margin and it’s in the margin that we serve other people. "

Are you too busy?

How would your life be different if you had "extra" time or margin in your life?  

What one small change can you make today to create margin in your life?

 

 

 


25 Things That Give me Strength and Courage

Courage

This morning I attended a workshop put on by a fellow coach on life transitions.  One of my take aways was to make a list of 25 things that give me strength and courage to draw upon in the face of fear. Here's my list and I encourage to create your own.  

1.  Prayer-  Asking for God's supernatural help.   Praying for strength and courage.  

2.  Music-  Courageous by Casting CrownsFirework by Katy PerryYou Gotta Be by Des'reeBorn This Way by Lady Gaga.

3.  Bible verses-

Deuteronomy 31:6- Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afriad or terrfied because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;  He will never leave you nor forsake you.

2 Timothy 1:7- For God has not given us the spirit of fear;  but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.  

Isaiah 41:10- So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Philipians 4:13- I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 

Matthew 21:21 - Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, go, throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done.

4.  Positive Affirmations-

Every day I bring greater boldness and daring into my life.

Every moment of every day I am becoming more and more courageous.

Great strength lies within me at all times.

I always act in spite of any fears I may have.

I am a brave and valiant warrior.

I am bold and daring in all that I do.

I am calm and relaxed.

I am courageous in all things.

I am daring and love trying new things.

I am daring enough to face any challenge.

I am fearless when adversity surrounds me.

I am now free from all fear and worry.

I am strong, bold and confident.

I am fearless.

I breathe out all fears, and breathe in pure joy and optimism.

I am willing and ready to take risks.

I boldly go in the direction of my dreams.

5.  Family and friends who say encouraging things to me. 

6.  Positive self-talk.

7.  Visualizing my confident self.

8.  Reading something encouraging.

9.  Imagining and visualizing the best possible outcome to a situation.

10.  Attending workshops/seminars that inspire, educate, and encourage me.

11.  Setting new Big, Scary, and Audacious Goals.

12.  Playing a new song on my acoustic guitar and singing along.

13.  Participating in fun, new, and exciting activities that stretch and grow me.

14.  Being around bold and courageous people to pull me up.

15.  Being around fearful people to realize I possess strength, courage, and boldness.

16.  Exercise.

17.  Inspirational qutoes-

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.” - Mark Twain

“Freedom lies in being bold.” - Robert Frost

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  - Lao Tzu

“Believe you can and you're halfway there.” - Theodore Roosevelt

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." - Winston Churchill

18.  Having a clean and organized house.

19.  Journaling.

20.  Drawing out a mindmap to overcome the current adversity.

21.  Focusing on just one thing.

22.  Volunteering- it reminds me that I always have something worth giving.

23.  Dressing to the 9's.  Acting as if I am confident leads to a feeling of confidence.

24.  Making a list of positive things in my life that I have already achieved.

25.   Doing something that is way out of my comfort zone.


Caring for Tomatoes and Life

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Last week I got back from an amazing trip to California.  I went to San Francisco and partook in the 75th year celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge, got lost in the majesty of the great Redwood Forest, got entranced by casading waterfalls, lakes, and mountains of Lake Tahoe, and was in awe of the goliath structues and vastness of Yosemite National Park.  Suprisingly, the first thing I rushed to do when arriving home after being gone for 10 days was to care for my tomato plants.  

I bought one of those self-watering contraptions for my plants so that they would survive without my daily watering but I came back to find their soil severely dry.  It wasn't enough water to keep them completely healthy but it was enough to help them survive.  My, they had grown so much in 10 days!  I was thrilled to see their growth!  They had even started to produce new baby tomatoes!   Between my 2 potted tomato plants, I had 5 fruits.  My plants also had several yellow leaves and stems.  I carefully pruned my beauties of their ailments.  I LOVE the smell of tomato leaves on my hands and fingers.  It's so fresh and has a grounding effect on me.  I'm so fully present when taking care of my lovely tomato plants.  

What I realized from this practice of pruning my tomatoes is that we need to do this for our life.  Our lives have a way of organically growing  like tomato plants with some parts growing strong and some parts slowing dying. To support the healthiest growth in our lives, we need to step back, evaluate, and prune the parts that are holding us back.  These are the parts of our lives that drain our energy or don't add to the vitality of our life.  

There's a zen proverb that says, "Knowledge is learning something every day.  Wisdom is letting go of something every day."  

What parts of your life do you need to prune back or let go of today to achieve stronger growth overall?  This is not easy to answer.   Take some time to journal or talk about these things with someone your trust.  


Lessons in Persistence from a Second Grader

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This morning while eating a mango, I came across a story on The Today Show about a seconder grader, Dylan Hoffman, who won Google's:  "Doodle 4 Google" national contest.  Through his doodle he won a $30,000 college scholarship, $50,000 in technology for his school, his drawing above on the box of Crayola, and along with a whole host of other privledges.  

What surprised me the most about this win was his persistence in drawing.  His mom said he made well over 1,000 drafts before creating this piece.  He didn't draw just a few drafts that he wasn't satisfied with.  He didn't stop at 10, 50, 100, 500, 999 but well over 1,000 before he found one worth submitting.  I don't know what this means to you but to me this is a lesson in persistence and going after you want.  

I have so many clients who come to me in hopes of figuring out their dream job or to help them reach some big goals.  It's so amazing to me how easily discouraged they get after a few failed attempts at something they want.  If you're going to let a few tries get you down, you may want to ask yourself if you really want it.  If you really want to go after something, you'd make it happen.  

Success normally doesn't just happen after a few tries.  It takes a lot of work and effort.  The most successful people in the world have become successful from failing fast and holding fast to their dreams.  Thomas Edison had 1,093 patents in lifetime for different inventions with over 10,000 attempted inventions. He had a few successful inventions we know of including the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera but most of his inventions didn't take flight.  When asked in an interview, "Mr. Edison, how do you feel about the fact that you've made over 10,000 failed inventions?" Edison replied, "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work."  

In Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, he says it takes 10 years or 10,000 hours to gain mastery in a certain field.  "The people at the very top don't just work harder or even much harder than everyone else," Gladwell writes.  "They work much, much harder."  Achievement comes from persistent effort.  

Michelangelo is quoted as saying, "If people knew how hard I had to work to gain mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all."  

What few failed attempts have you let hold you back in life?  Have you REALLY given it your best shot? 

For the elevator to success, fail fast and fail often.  Are you willing to sketch over 1,000 rough drafts to get the winning picture?   What is your winning picture?  Are you willing to do what it takes now that you know what it REALLY takes?  Will you let go of perfection for progress?  We can learn a lot from a Second Grader.  

Thank you Dylan for today's inspiration!