Archives for 2018

2018 needs an anthem

Music by Jesse Kruger on Flickr

3-5% of the world’s population is apathetic to music…  This post is for everyone else.

I saw posts of heartache from a young woman who had been cheated on. She was exactly the age that I was when my cheating boyfriend and I finally broke up. Only, I was over it pretty fast. Once the full truth came out, I was determined to get back to me.

I went on dates, hung out with friends, especially my guy friends, and started a band with the friend who introduced us. Music was instrumental (no pun intended) in helping me heal and rebound. I remember the P!ink song “There You Go.” Not only was it constantly on the radio, but it was in my head, making me feel powerful and fierce. It was my anthem.

I met my husband within 4 months, even though I wasn’t looking for a relationship. We fell madly in love pretty fast. When I did see him again at a mutual friend’s engagement party, it was like the song was coming true.  That was a beautiful redemptive moment.

I wish I would have thought to use music the same way when I was laid off in 2002. I think if I would have had an anthem, I would have stayed motivated, even when three different companies strung me along for months waiting for financial approval to hire me. Instead of desperately holding on to hope and giving up my power to those companies, I might have charged forward, making things happen as I know I can do now.

The better we feel, the more we can take on.

Do you have an anthem for 2018? If not, I invite you to check out the songs below and adopt one of these. I offer something for everyone, and my reasons for including them.  I have included them on a YouTube playlist so you can play them in succession, as well as individual hyperlinks.

  1. Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles

I have to start out with a classic, one I think most people know, recognize, and a song for which most people have some memory association. I used to sing thing song to my babies as I changed their diaper in the morning.  I would open up the curtain and see them smiling at me.  It makes my heart happy to remember how blessed I felt to start my day that way.

  1. It’s a Beautiful Morning, The Rascals

This is another classic tune I would sing to my girls, and I still do. Sometimes the sun would shine through this weeping willow tree and give the whole bus stop a glow. I’m not a morning person, so I need a little extra help to rise and shine.

  1. One Moment In Time, Whitney Houston

This was recently resurrected for me watching the U.S. figure skating national championships. You might remember this song as the theme song for the 1988 Olympics in South Korea, and it was chosen as the anthem for an up-and-coming future Olympian, Starr Andrews. (She had a viral video 7 years ago.) She, now 16, actually skated to a version of this song that was sung both by her and Whitney Houston. Watch the video and try not to be inspired as she is overwhelmed by one of many moments in time.

  1. Fight Song, Rachel Platten

If you are a music snob like me, you might resist this song because it’s a pop song. I changed my mind when I learned that she was a 34-year-old married woman when this song, her first hit, finally broke through. That is an unheard of age for a breakout performer!  This was literally her fight song. Everyone in her life was trying to help her see that she had to pick a consolation career and this song is her middle finger. I’m okay with my girls loving it and playing it incessantly. It’s a guilty pleasure. Go, Rachel!

  1. Don’t Stop Believing, Journey

I hate to be cliché, but Journey’s Greatest Hits is one of my first CDs. I am a child of the 80s, and I was a small town girl. Eventually, I was also the singer in a smoky room.  We are living just to find emotion. There’s no happy ending in this song, just a call to action to be present in the moment, winning or losing, and to keep hope that a better life is waiting.

  1. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley

The beach is my happy place, and I have fond memories of Jamaica. You don’t have to have travelled there to appreciate Bob Marley and his music, but being there did make an impression on me. It made me wonder if the constant playing of Bob’s music throughout the resort was meant to induce a benevolent brainwashing. If you ever feel like an island, as troubled as that island might be, remember you are a beautiful island, and every little thing is gonna be alright.

  1. Like the Ceiling Can’t Hold Us, Macklemore

I’m going to start to get a bit more niche with this song and the ones that follow. You may not be a rap fan, but this song describes a triumphant journey from poverty to prosperity, from addiction to redemption. Macklemore is a comeback story, an underdog story, and so far has a happy ending. He has repaid loyalty to his girlfriend, now wife, and best friend Ryan Lewis. He used his rising fame to propel a performer, Wanz, who had killed his dreams to test software back into music. Wanz won 2 Grammy Awards for his part in Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” hit.

  1. Shine, Trey Anastasio

Trey is the lead singer of Phish. Phish is a jam band, which means they play improvisational rock much like Miles Davis played improvisational jazz. In my personal opinion, listening to this song on YouTube is 1/100 of the experience of seeing Trey or Phish live. (Yes, I have also seen the Dead, several times, but not with Jerry.) Though you may feel uplifted by the song, the live experience is other-worldly. Being in a musical experience with a large crowd is one of the most connecting experiences there is on the planet, and this is an audience that is for the most part awake to that, which makes it a level-up experience. Yes, listen, but experience it if you can.

  1. Going In the Right Direction, Robert Randolph and the Family Band

It was a Sunday morning at the first Bonnaroo, a mega-musical festival in Manchester, TN.  Robert Randolph was playing. I was raised Catholic, but don’t practice. I had always kind of wished I was Southern Baptist, because they really seem like they are in the music unabashedly. What a way to worship, I thought.  Seeing Robert that Sunday morning put me in a state of glory I had not yet experienced. I would go every Sunday if Robert played!

  1. You Get What You Give, New Radicals

The video perfectly depicts my early work experiences at the mall. The song and video are a plea for the downtrodden, the underemployed, and the suicidal to give the world a chance and recognize your own worth.

 

Share in the comments on your favorite anthem, and listen to the complete playlist, which will be updated with your suggestions.

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 3 of 4

What does 2018 have in store?

Some things may seem out of your control, but there is no good outcome that can occur by spending time thinking about them. Rather, invest time in creating a vision of your new year that inspires and empowers you to do what is in your power to do so, which is all you can do, and yet, is much more powerful than you might expect.

Already the days are getting longer, and the dawn of a new era is always just a decision away.

We will talk about 3 new categories this week, with 3 more remaining. These categories are all important to your overall happiness and fulfillment. We tend to think that we can compartmentalize our life, and even having such categories might imply that, but what we need to realize if we are ever to achieve mastery in our lives, is that each category impacts the others.

Whether you have someone to kiss at midnight this year or not, we are going to start by recreating your vision of romance.

7. Love Life

Who has a relationship that you envy and why?  Some may tell you that envy is unhealthy, but that’s only if your admiration of someone’s life makes you sad instead of inspired. What would your life be like if you were able to have the kind of love that you admire?

If you have been in a long-term partnership, as I have (married 12 years, together for 17), you might feel as though it has already been as good as it will get. We can’t go back to the past, but we can infuse fresh life into relationships. I have seen miracles happen in this area. The magic comes from communication, compassion, and generosity.  Tony Robbins has some great videos of moments that he transformed relationships in minutes. It is possible!

If you are unattached, but wish to be, I have some friends in your boat, too. I have no answers for you. You probably have gotten a lot of advice, and perhaps even been set up more times than you care to have been. Some may think your standards are too high, or perhaps even feel like you choose the wrong matches. It’s still worthwhile, in my opinion, to create a vision of your ideal mate – the qualities, physical features, etc. While you are doing so, be in the feeling of having this person, rather than the feeling of missing this person.

The same method works for an established relationship:  it is the emotional component that activates the law of attraction. When American Indians did rain dances, they didn’t pray FOR rain, they prayed FROM rain – from the feeling of gratitude that rain was already coming.

You may have a great relationship, in which case, enjoy making plans of how you can deepen your relationship in the New Year – adventures you can have, ways to test yourselves and grow in new ways.

8. Lifestyle

From what I see, most of us start out our lives determined to live a certain lifestyle and then make decisions that we think will lead us to live that way. Sometimes, however, we want to live a different life than the one we were raised in, and may struggle to know what different decisions could be made that would help us transform our lifestyle.

Do you know someone who has a lifestyle that you would like to attain? Are there biographies available? Are they accessible? Could you interview them? Perhaps they might even be willing to mentor you. In my experience with successful people, many of them enjoy their blessings even more when they are able to pay it forward and help others.  A willing student is like a brand new canvas they can paint.

You may not need a full transformation of your lifestyle, but perhaps just a level-up in 2018.  Maybe you have been sacrificing travel for family obligations and next year’s level up is to travel more often. Where do you want to go? What are the costs of going? What are the landmarks you want to visit or adventures you want to experience?

Other things you can look to level-up:  vehicle, technology, garden, kitchen, office décor, organization, automation.

This category can seem superficial to some, and therefore unimportant. I want you to consider that while the true measure of a person is not what they possess; we often tend to measure ourselves this way anyway. We may even determine that we should deprive ourselves to be a good person, or that we are less than because we don’t possess what others do.

I don’t condone this thinking, but it happens, and society supports it, even breeds it.

Sometimes, things make us happy. Should we measure our lives by them? I’m not one to say “should” or “shouldn’t”.

I do know that there are scientifically-proven benefits to feeling happy, and if something makes you happy, you would be doing yourself good to allow yourself to enjoy it.

9. Character

How often have you thought about what kind of person you want to be, or how you want to be remembered?

The classic movie and book, A Christmas Carol, always makes me think about what impression people have that I might not know they have about me.

Did you ever picture yourself at your funeral? What do you think people would say? What would you want them to say?

One exercise a coach brought me through years ago was making a list of the top 5 people I admired, and then listing their top 3 qualities. It was said by this coach that these qualities are actually your true self, and that is the reason these qualities appeal to you.

We may not always operate in accordance with those qualities because what we learn and endure throughout our lives may take us out of alignment with those qualities, but they are intrinsically a part of us.

To help these qualities manifest more often, we must first raise our self-awareness and notice when we are not exhibiting those qualities. Then, we keep recreating and reinforcing a vision of ourselves as someone who consistently exhibits those qualities, and soon we make more decisions from this place of being. Then we also start enjoying the outcomes of making those decisions in terms of our relationships, improved habits, and peace of mind.

I know this makes it sound so simple. The truth is our brain defaults to make this type of change very challenging. It is possible, however, with a clear vision of the desired changes, resolve to stay self-aware, and commitment to sticking with it.

Which of the 9 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you?

Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover the last 3 categories next week.

 

Have a memorable, safe, EPIC new year!

Europe – The Final Countdown (Official Video)

Europe’s official music video for ‘The Final Countdown’. Click to listen to Europe on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/EuropeSpot?IQid=EuropeTFC As featured on 1982-1992.

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 2 of 4

Thinking by Creative Ignition on Flickr

If you celebrate Christmas, this next week will be hectic. As you lay your head to rest, instead of visions of sugarplums (whatever they are,) you might see all the things not yet done – presents not bought or wrapped, recipes not yet altered to accommodate Cousin Joe’s lactose intolerance. You might spend your time going through a mental checklist of people wondering or feeling like there was someone important you missed.

If we took a page from nature, however, as the first day of winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, we would see more stillness – an incubation (at least we do here in the Northeast). Even nature knows there is a time to rest and reflect, a time to renew and plan for what kind of rebirth is wanted or needed.

This can also be the most active time of the year to be together, and being together is what we try to remind ourselves this time of year is all about.

We’ll take a look at three more areas of your life to reflect upon and recreate for 2018, starting with the one that takes a lot of focus this time of year, even as we naturally crave seclusion.

  1. Social Life

Once I started digging into the personal and professional development world, there was an advice that really bugged me, and it continues to, even though at times I think it is sound. The advice has been regurgitated in various forms. Jim Rohn, who I quote a lot and love many of his teachings, says that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Other teachers flat out preach that you need to leave negative people behind you and fill your inner circle with more positive, wealthy people if you want to get or stay positive and wealthy.

When I was in college I had heard that your network is your net worth, and that was so discouraging. There was some family who were (are) wealthy and prominent, but they had proven to be not very helpful, and that was the only existing route I could see to elevate myself.

I was grateful to find, as a recruiter when I started to network more, that new connections can be made, and fairly easily.

That being said, I wasn’t about to leave behind my friends. Yes, I wanted to spend more time around people who followed a path to success that I aspired to follow, but I couldn’t just cut off from my life the people who care about me, though they may not be successful, wealthy, or even positive.

The whole personal development world is now plagued by people who are aspiring to be ascended in higher thought and living, but who create a contrast between themselves and others less ascended. I see this only leading to disdain.

There are some obvious reflections you might have: did you see your loved ones enough? Did you entertain as much as you could have? Are you losing connections to friends you intend to keep?

But also consider that if you can spend more time with successful people and add to your knowledge and inspiration, the time you spend with less successful people will enable you to add something positive. Just stay mindful so that you don’t fall into a superiority trap.

As you start to see a better way to be and live, it’s natural to notice more how the people who are not living better are choosing that, and to be frustrated by it. If you really want to change it, though, you will not be effective from a place of judgment. Once you achieve a better way of living for yourself, the next thing to work on is how you can accept others where they are. And, sometimes you will also see opportunities to set healthy limits for how much you let others keep you down.

  1. Intellectual Life

As my senior business students shared their goals, it was clear to me that they were putting the accountability on their development in the hands of their future employer. Does it belong there? Is every employer going to care where you want to see yourself in 5 years as it does NOT relate to their company?  I am tying intellectual life to develop because there is a strong correlation between new knowledge and development. Can we effectively grow without gaining new knowledge?

Anecdotally in my own life, I started to see my development accelerate exponentially in my 20s when I did three things – hired a coach, started to network (as stated before), and started reading non-fiction habitually. Then in my 30s it seemed clear that I didn’t just want to read, but I wanted to discuss with others what I had been reading. I had forgotten in my 20s how much I missed discussing ideas, as was encouraged and came naturally in college. I started attending more lectures and meetups, and even started my own mastermind and meetup.

I have to admit that when I’m really busy, reading and discussing are what I cut out, but because I made them such habits and enjoyed such a boost of growth from them, I go back to them as soon as the dust settles.

It’s the best time of year to develop your reading wish list, since you may even receive one as a gift. Ask others what to read based on your goals or resolutions for 2018. People only recommend books they have read, so make a note of who recommended what and invite that person to discuss the book once your done. This helps you create a goal for finishing the book and also nurtures your social goals.

  1. Family

It seems this should be higher up the list, right?  The thing is, if money isn’t the area of your life that vexes you the most, it could be this. If this is true for you, it may seem more logical to survive the holidays and then reflect, which can look more like venting.  We can do better than that, though, and starting to achieve peace in this area by doing what is in your power to do (because we can only control our actions, not those of others) will enable you to start the year more as the person you want to be. We can’t pretend a new year will change you, but if you can demonstrate to yourself what you are capable of in this area during the time of year where the expectations are highest, you will feel more empowered to create an even better vision of your family life in 2018.

(I know very few people who can’t relate to this. If you are one of them, count yourself so blessed!)

Some of what I have learned about myself in relation to my family through my personal development has to do with me NOT wanting to feel bad and the lengths I go to not feel bad, which can include making my family wrong to make me feel right. Once I realize I am doing this, I feel worse, but only then can I start to course correct and forgive myself and them – which is very powerful.

There is one mantra that I hear a lot at personal development events that helps me maintain my sense of humility and acceptance of myself and others – “We are all doing the best we can with what, where and who we are at each stage of our lives.”

If you are feeling extra stressed this holiday season and the source is your family, watch some Brené Brown interviews on YouTube. Practice ho’oponopono, which is a Hawaiian practice that induces healing and forgiveness.

Notice that my advice in this area is actually more around action than reflection; this is because I feel I personally spend too long reflecting in this area, and not spending enough time actually making efforts that can improve it, which take practice because this is the area where triggers are voluminous. This also means that this is the area where there is the most opportunity for growth, but where growth is the hardest.

Which of the 6 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you? Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover 3 more areas next week.

 

Cheers to a year that is better than any before!

Sting – Brand New Day

Music video by Sting performing Brand New Day. (C) 1999 A&M Records

What do you want to leave in 2017? What do you want to add to 2018?

Part 1 of 4

Notepad Art by Stephen Dann on Flickr

As the year winds down, and holiday activities kick into full gear, not all of us are focused on the reflection that actually comes naturally this time of year, nor are we always thinking about the new year until we make it through the other winter holidays.

However, before a commercial, consumerist, highly socialized society created new traditions for this time of year that keep us busy rushing around, the tradition was very much focused on peace, quiet, reflection, and resolution.

In Vishen Lakhiani’s book Code of the Extraordinary Mind, he recommends reflecting on 12 different categories of your life and rating where you are and creating a clear vision of where you want to be to know where to focus on improving and determine how. We’ll go through all 12, 3 at a time, leading up to the New Year. Starting…now!

  1. Money

There are the administrative tasks, like making sure your financial records are in order, that need to be done. This gives you the chance to pay attention to a very critical part of your world, your income, where a lot of us derive our value, right or wrong. Even if what you see when you confront the financial part of your life isn’t what you sought, noticing a contrast sets the foundation for creating a new financial goal and vision for the new year. Many people save this reflection for last, or might find it ironic that I appear to be discouraging materialism toward the beginning of this article, but quickly put the focus on money. This says a lot about your relationship to money, actually. Have you been taught that money isn’t spiritual, or that having money means not being spiritual, or even that it’s evil, or to love it is? How do you treat money? If money were your lover, would it want to be with you based on how you treat it? We all know that money is essential to living, but often we resent it, neglect it, or even fear it. I am not promoting making money the most important area of your life, but I am saying that if it is the area of improvement that you want most to focus on improving in 2018, give it the focus and attention it deserves.

If you hadn’t reached your 2017 goals, what accountability can you take for that, and what new knowledge can you gain, people you can meet, or habits can you create to bring about a better result in 2018?

Also, in regards to bookkeeping, here are 5 tips for people who changed jobs in 2017.

2. Career

Speaking of jobs, there is also a very good reason I started with money. While there is a “market price” for most positions, did you know you can still reverse engineer your income to match your desired lifestyle? If there is something that you LOVE to do so much, that you would do it for free, but it traditionally doesn’t pay well and you need to make a good living, there has never been a better time to build an income infrastructure that allows you to do what you love WHILE earning a healthy income. There are formulas you can follow, depending on what kind of life you want to create, and while I’m not saying they’re easy, or even simple, if you have the resolve and vision to pull you through the challenges, you can absolutely follow steps that will lead you to freedom and empowerment in your career. Too many have settled for the “safer” path, but how safe is it really?

“Life is all risky, if you think ‘trying’ is risky, wait til’ they hand you the bill for NOT trying. Wait til’ you get the tab for not investing. It’s all risky, getting married is risky, having children is risky. Don’t worry, in life, you’re not going to get out alive” ~ Jim Rohn

Is your health suffering because of stress at work or based on finances? Do you ever go to work with anxiety, or even physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches that could be caused by anxiety?

Do your relationships suffer because of the time and energy required of your job? Is there a level of joy in life you have yet to experience because your priority was financial “security”? Is your job that secure?

Here’s the most important question: Does your job give back to you as much or more than you give to it?

Most people have not yet tasted what it is like to be exhilarated by their jobs, and if you have tasted it, have you been striving ever since to re-create that feeling but landing jobs that continually fall short?

There is a formula and a system (with tools) you can follow that will put the power back in your hands to bring this experience into or back into your life. We previously made this available to you, have since dropped the price dramatically so that it’s affordable for most people, and intend to bring you a new and improved format that maximizes retention, application and FUN in 2018.

3. Health

Speaking of health, our life expectancy just went up dramatically, but we will only live that long if we take proper care of our self-healing bodies. This, I know from experience, is no easy feat. But good health enables all of the other areas of our lives to operate. Without it, we can’t expect to achieve fulfillment in any other area of our lives, so it’s pretty important.

So many people struggle to create better habits in this area. We all have heard by now that diets don’t work, and that aiming for a healthy lifestyle of moderation instead is a more realistic goal. That sounds like a commitment, though. It’s scary. From 2015-2016, I was in great shape. I started small, with subsequent 21-day challenges. Within those 21 days, I lost enough weight to motivate me to continue my journey, developed better awareness of old habits and created new ones, and improved my relationship with my body, which was an unexpected, but a very welcomed, outcome.

Honestly, my habits now are a far cry from those, and a year is a long time to sustain results, but it wasn’t a lifetime. I had began to crave better and better results, and dove into more and more intense exercise regimens, and stricter and stricter diets, until – I needed stitches in my arm and wasn’t able to lift for a month. When I read Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin pointed out that often when we develop good habits in one area of our lives, we find it naturally easier to develop good habits in other areas of our lives, as well. From my observations, health is the area in which I see that trickle down impact most powerfully, and I can say that when good health habits deteriorate, good habits in other areas tend to go downhill, as well.

It seems counter-intuitive, because if we devote more time to health, we’ll have less time to sustain all of our other habits, but I am challenging myself, and I challenge you too, to creating a habit of devoting time to exercise and nutrition, starting simply. I will exercise 5 days per week to make it a habit, even if it’s only 10 minutes, but it has to challenge me at least 3x per week, in other words, I will work to my limit. I will also make sure that I eat something plant-based with every meal before I go for a starch, meat or treat. I am not committing to depriving myself of anything. I will make this about ADDING what is good for me, which I feel will naturally lead to a decrease in cravings for what I know isn’t good, but I enjoy.

Starting small worked for me at the beginning, and I believe it’s sustainable for a lifetime, though I may not experience the initial large weight drop that motivated me so much the last time.

It’s all about finding what works for you, and if you form healthy habits, but they don’t have the desired outcomes, such as massive weight loss, you know at least you are gaining better health.

Next week, we will explore 3 more critical areas of your life to evaluate as 2017 winds down and 2018 approaches.

Remember to rate yourself in these areas and write down a vision in each of these that inspire you to make changes in 2018.

Counting Crows – A Long December

Listen to more from Counting Crows: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/Essentials Explore the incredible history of Counting Crows here: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/artists/counting-crows Stream a playlist of their biggest tracks: http://playlists.udiscovermusic.com/playlist/counting-crows-best-of Experience Counting Crows on Vinyl LP: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/f6ubC Follow Counting Crows https://www.facebook.com/countingcrows/ https://twitter.com/CountingCrows https://www.instagram.com/countingcrows/ http://countingcrows.com/ Music video by Counting Crows performing A Long December. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 2,037,577.