Tag Archives: clarity

Write, Rescue and Live Your Dreams

I’ve never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances. Anne Tyler

In the interest of complete transparency, I’ll make a true confession: this is a really long post for me. I get carried away when I get on the topic of writing. You may want to read this in 2 parts.

I don’t write every single day, but I do get something written in my journal most days. It’s a ritual and a habit for me. I’ve learned that I have access to a wisdom, a confidence, an advisor and a best friend, when I write stuff.

You’ll find the most amazing things start to manifest in your life once you start writing things down.

I starting writing in my journal two years ago. Lots of amazing things have happened since then.

For example, take my move to Charleston. One year ago my coach and I had been working on several issues. One day in February she asked me if I wanted to staying living where I was (that was Greenville, NC.) Location was not one my issues, but her question did make me think. (Coaches are good at asking these kinds of questions.)

That started the process of deciding where I wanted to live. I begin to write about the kind of place I’d really like to live. For years I had simply lived where my husband worked, I had never even considered choosing a place to live. The whole story is too long for a blog post, but some of the top characteristics of my ideal place to live included warm weather, not too far from my family in Atlanta, charm, some degree of international culture, and new kitchen appliances.

I narrowed my choices to 4 cities: Atlanta, Savannah, Miami and Charleston.

Well, most of you  know, I ended moving to Charleston, SC, in August. And just this morning, on the way to violin class, my teenage daughter said, “Mom, I am sooo glad we moved here. Our life is perfect.” And yes, all of our kitchen appliances are new. 😉

I totally believe in the rewards of writing. Through writing you can do things like:

*Find your forgotten passions and live a life of your dreams.

* Get over your fear of failing — when you see in writing how irrational it is.

* Live authentically after seeing how you’ve been driven by other people’s agendas.

* Keep moving forward when your thoughts get negative.

* Break through some of the old mindsets and habits that have held you back.

You’ve probably owned a lovely journal for years. Maybe you have several. Maybe you’ve even started a few times and then gotten too busy.

That’s the way life is. I hope reading this inspires you to pick up that journal….one more time. (It really helps if you schedule time for journaling before your week gets started.)

I’m writing this for all my friends and clients who tell me they want to write, but they don’t know what to write. They have this weird idea that they should know what they’re going to write, before they grab a pen.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

But before I tell you the rewards from writing, allow me to remind you that they don’t come unless you write. And you won’t write unless you plan on a place and time for you and your journal. I suggest you start with 5 minutes a day. No more, it’s better to write more frequently; it’s that flow of ideas and thoughts you automatically generate, once you commit to writing.

1 – Writing organizes your thinking.

If you’ve ever decided to observe your thinking process, You notice that there’s usually this circular process. You think one thing and then the next and then the next, and then you start all over gain.

Writing gets these thoughts down. You can see them more objectively and decide whether they’re worthy of your thinking time and energy.

Thinking is not linear. Writing is. You can only write one word at a time. The process of writing forces you to slow down the thinking process and organize those unruly ideas. Writing puts your thinking into a modality, or form, that can be more useful to you.

Long ago, before writing was accessible to everyone the way it is now, writing was associated with power. The ancient pharaohs of Egypt may not have known how to write, but their cadre of scribes were key players in the executive suite of the time. An idea written down has more potential than a vague thought.

2 – Writing gets the questions out so they can be answered.

We tend to think nebulous, fuzzy, ephemeral thoughts. We have vague desires and fluffy ideas about what we’d like to do and know. If you want answers, you gotta ask questions. Writing gets the question down where you can see it and where your mind can start to answer it.

Let’s say you want to know how you can create more financial sufficiency. You want more money, sort of. But your mind needs more clarity to produce the kind of ideas that can really benefit you. Writing can clarify what does creating total financial success mean to you? (I’m using a financial example, the same thing applies to experiencing better health, a more relaxed relationship, or a more rewarding career.)

You probably don’t have a specific idea yet, or maybe you would have already written it down. That is fine. Write down something, and see how that feels. In four days, you may have a clearer idea of what financial success means to you: getting out of debt, investing in real estate, developing a new stream of income, paying for a child’s college…..you decide exactly what you want to do first.

We also tend to think the same few thoughts over and over again. Writing gets us past these old ideas and brings up new ones. Think about going to someone’s home at the beach or in the country, a home that isn’t used everyday. What happens when you start running the water? Usually it’s brown. To get the clear water, you must allow the brown water to run out.

To get access to the gold in your mind, you want to allow the rusty thoughts to get out of the way.

3 – Writing connects you to your intuition.

Research supports a positive correlation between genius and intuition. The greatest innovative breakthroughs commonly come through images, not words. Nevertheless, writing gives you access to that wise self inside you, the one you often ignore, or have forgotten about.

There’s no real writing to begin with, only re-writing. Authors sit down and write. They seldom know what’s to come out through their hands and fingers by the end of the day. That’s the thing nobody knows about writing.

I hope you’ll join us for Passion Fruit Writing that starts February 02. (If you have ANY questions, please post them below.) It’s a dream of mine to share my love of writing with you. And remember, no one is grading this writing — it’s only for you.

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When Is It Right to Put Yourself First?

“I need to put myself first once in a while.”

“I never put myself first — I don’t have that luxury.”

“I wish I could put myself first for a change.”

These are the kind of comments I often hear from my coaching clients when we first start working together. A lot of times they look to me to give them permission to “put themselves first” every now and then.

They feel pulled from many different directions, stretched to beyond their capacity to stretch, and totally unappreciated for their effort to please all the parties involved.

Like them, I used to see life like a game in which we all would all take turns being first. The only problem was that it seemed like it was never my turn.

I let other people decide what colors to paint the walls, what kind of car to buy, where to shop,  or where to go on vacation. Not to mention, preparing mac and cheese when I’d rather fix cream of broccoli soup, or going to see either Alien/Terminator/Monster or Disney movies, when I’d much rather see something with Meryl Streep in it. Since these were never life-or-death matters, I just went with the flow, and adapted to other people’s choices. I was the easy-going one.

The thing is, when you never put yourself first, people think you don’t ever want to be first. Some people can even get the idea that you shouldn’t be first.

This tendency brought me very close to a total break down in 2004 when I miscarried a baby. Losing a baby is traumatic enough, but when you haven’t been taking care of yourself for many years, the effect is much more damaging than it would be otherwise. On top of that, I was agreeing to make an international move that I really wasn’t really crazy about.

This blog, and my coaching practice, are part of my healing process and my mission to help other super smart, high-achieving women.

So, back to the question, when is it right to put yourself first?

Well, you’re asking the wrong question. Think about asking yourself something else.

How can I take the best care of myself so that I can serve from joy?

The best gift you can give to your family, friends, co-workers and other loved ones is a happy you. But only you can decide what it takes make yourself happy.

The first step is to know your preferences. Do you know yours?

Real Life Clarity 101 For You

Real Life Clarity 101, the e-course, might be for you if you if you’re contemplating your next step in life. If you are perhaps overwhelmed, or feeling like you’d like a change in your life but you’re not sure how to go about it. Or if you’re facing a major decision. All of these played a key role in my getting started on this path to what I consider authentic success….a life of my design, on my terms. This e-course is all about clarity to know what you really want and confidence to go for it.

That whole process is what I put in the ongoing Choose Clarity + Confidence e-course. I decided to re-offer it in January with new material added. It’s a great way to get through those winter doldrums on an upbeat: with clarity to know what you really want and confidence to pursue it.

This is what Real Life Clarity 101 offers you:

  • Know what you really want versus what you’re supposed to want.
  • Create space for the new experiences you want.
  • Be confident in your decisions, actions, and attitudes.
  • Have more time for yourself and your special priorities.
  • Learn to truly value and take optimal care of yourself.
  • Recognize and break out of patterns that are holding you back.
  • Make better decisions faster!
  • Build rituals that serve you.

 I had so much fun putting this e-course together and I did it with one purpose: to share what I’ve learned to help other women be clear and confident. This is not a “get rich quick” or “have all the answers by tomorrow” e-course. I’m simply going through the process with you of defining what authentic success is for you, clearing out stuff that’s holding you back, and creating tools to help you get what you truly want. 

The thing is, it’s hard to recognize how you’re limiting yourself without compassionate and objective feedback. My own mentors have shown me that I am much more powerful than I ever really imagined. One enormous breakthrough my coach showed me was the cold realization that I was addicted to making things harder than they had to be! In other words, I was holding myself back. That is true more often than you think.

This e-course is for smart women who are doing fine, but you know inside you that there is potential for so much more to experience. It took a shocking, painful separation from my husband over 4 years ago, that led to an unwanted divorce, to shake me out of my own comfort zone and become a more powerful and happier person. The results have been phenomenal: I have become the confident, self-reliant person I always wanted to be. I no longer feel like the victim of circumstances.

Here’s how Real Life Clarity 101 is structured:

  • An interactive e-mail workshop January 18 through February 19, 2010.
  • You get to do the process on your own schedule, from your home or office.
  • 5 weeks of daily insights delivered to you.
  • Flexible weekly assignments to turn in for compassionate and objective feedback.
  • Guidelines for you to make tiny changes that cause huge impact.
  • A chance to focus and reflect on what’s really going on in your life.
  • Opportunity to sift through your priorities to determine what’s really important to you.
  • Support in identifying and letting go of energy drains.
  • Communicate more clearly and confidently.
  • Support material for your continued success after the e-course.
  • 100% money-back guarantee for first 10 days of the e-course – no questions asked!

For additional information and registration details, send an email with your name and “clarity” in the subject line to mixonian@gmail.com

Because of my time limits, participation in the e-course is limited to a handful. I really enjoy the one-on-one coaching through email so applicants are accepted on a first-come basis. Early-bird price cut available.

Paradox and the Holiday Whirlwind

I think you should know that successful blog post titles are straightforward; titles like the one above are supposedly confusing to the gods of Google and we blog writers are well advised to avoid them. But as you know, some of us are slow learners and I like to play with words.

I’m thinking you probably had a pretty hectic Thanksgiving holiday. It is such a blessing to share with family, and such a delight to sleep in your own bed again. Or if you played hostess, you’re probably enjoying some peace in your house today.

On our drive to Atlanta, my teenage son played some CDs he made for the occasion. On one of them he had recorded a song, The Rhythm of Life, by Sammy Davis, Jr. It’s a catchy tune, and the lyrics remind me of how our lives hang on the rhythms of holidays, school beginnings, birthdays, and music recitals.

 

A life well lived certainly has a rhythm to it, and it’s full of paradoxes. Think about these:

Time for family and time for yourself.

Money to save and money to have fun with.

Playing with children and hanging out with adults.

Exercise and rest.

Thinking and not thinking. (And like Einstein, getting your best ideas in the shower.)

Being fashionable and wearing whatever’s clean.

Getting things done and leaving space in your life for getting nothing done.

Making plans and allowing serendipity.

Eating healthy foods and eating chocolate candy.

Connecting with others, connecting with yourself.

Speaking and listening.

I read this by T.S. Eliot, the incredibly cool English poet, Teach us to care, and not to care; teach us to sit still.

In the holiday madness that is both fun and exhausting, I wish for you time to enjoy it all.

 

13 Things About Authentic Success

Would have been cool if I had posted this list last Friday the 13th. Here’s to living imperfectly!

1. It’s not about what you’re supposed to be so other people feel more comfortable around you.

2. You are the only one who can define authentic success for yourself.

3. It definitely involves allowing space in your life for silent reflection. I also call this doing nothing, but silent reflection sounds more intellectual and I’m still in academic recovery.

4. Taking extremely good care of yourself is essential.

5. If you want financial prosperity, you gotta invest in yourself first.

6. It takes confidence.

7. A lot of people will think you’re nuts if you follow this path of yours. That’s because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Speaking from experience, this is not that hard to get used to — gives you something to laugh about.

8. If you go for this, you may end up breaking up with your television, except for certain critical sports events. Most television programming does not support authentic success; it promotes buy this now happiness.

9. You’ll definitely have to repair some things and get rid of others. You may end up throwing away a whole bunch of stuff.

10. It’s so much easier when you’ve got a source of objective and compassionate encouragement behind you.

11. Don’t tell your friends about it; keep them guessing. Let them ask each other, “Say, what the heck is into Madeleine?”

12. Laughing at yourself is a critical component in most people’s authentic success. It takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a habit.

13. Most of authentic success is made up of your habits, guided by a clear intention.

You could say that the opposite of authentic success is frustration. I used to live a very frustrated life and now I don’t. Make up your mind now that you will have a bodacious 2010.

P. S. As of this writing, there are only 4 spaces left in the Choose Clarity and Confidence for 2010 mini e-course. Registration closes Wednesday.

Setting Delight-O-Meter Goals

sandytoes

If the idea of setting delight-o-meter goals sounds like an oxymoron, set aside your doubt and see what I mean.

In preparing for my Choose Clarity and Confidence for 2010 e-seminar, I have been following my own advice. Which I mostly do.

The first thing I did was my business plan. That was easier than you might think. I have a pretty solid business/marketing plan for next year. I really enjoy the process of developing a marketing plan because that’s where communication know-how works, or doesn’t work.

Then I remembered the rest of me.

I am not ALL business, and neither are you, even if you love what you do.

To keep on encouraging, you have to encourage yourself. To inspire others, you start by inspiring yourself. To really serve your clients, you start by taking extremely good care of yourself: mind and body and spirit.

Not taking care of yourself is what causes burnout, disenchantment and depression. But there’s more to taking care of yourself than simply eating properly and getting enough rest. Getting the bare minimum R and R keeps you running, but not flourishing. Keeping track of your own delight-o-meter maintains your personal source of creativity, inspiration and even healing.

So what kinds of things fill up your delight-o-meter? It’s good to know and to include those activities in your annual plan. Remember the saying, failure to plan means planning to fail. The point is not that your plan will unfold like a Swiss watch, but that it gives your guidance for making good decisions quickly.

So what is fun for you? Could be going to a museum, trying a new restaurant, visiting a fun store (even if  you don’t buy anything.) Or maybe it’s riding a fast boat, watching a NASCAR race, or eating at Sonic. Could also be playing hooky. Or doing something really out of character.

Spontaneity is great. But my experience is that planning for delight in my life is essential. Working comes naturally, having fun is something I have to be intentional about, or I put it off.

Try including delight-o-meter activities into your plan for 2010. I put those together with my plan for health and fitness.

5 Delightful Ways to Strengthen Your Core

barbell

No, this is not about Pilates. I like Pilates, I really like the idea of doing Pilates. But this post is about your inner core: Being authentically confident from the inside out. It’s a process, not a technique.

These are practices and habits I use to stay strong. By “strong,” I mean I don’t let things bother me. Like students who are upset with their grade. I understand they’re not unhappy, but that doesn’t make me unhappy.  Or dealing with a super late reimbursement owed me; I would prefer that it be in my bank account already, but I’m fine without it These sorts of things used to throw me off and were often used as proofs that the world was indeed, not on my side.

1. List your intentions. These are similar to goals, but intentions can be less precise. Goals, by definitions are measurable and have deadlines. Intentions can be pointing in a direction. For example, I intend to feel relaxed all day.

You can have big intentions like owning a self-supporting business. Small intentions can be connecting to people in a meeting, even if the purpose of the meeting is something else.

2. List the things you secretly love or enjoy. I know you enjoy pedicures, but do you enjoy hot sauce on your pizza? I do. What are the tacky things you really like, even if you’re not supposed to? Things like reading tabloids, enjoying bubble gum,  McDonald’s french fries, Smarties, NASCAR, flavored lip balm…the stuff that educated people are not supposed to be into.

3. Give yourself a break. Give your inner critic a short vacation. Don’t try to be all you can be for a day or so. Just be. When you show up at your office without keys on a Sunday, take it lightly and do something different.

4. Be bodacious in a small way. Surprise yourself. Surprise your kids, your neighbors and do something totally out of character. Sometimes I do this by singing, but usually my kids ask me to stop. Now. I’ve skipped at the beach, talked to people on park benches, worn a fake tattoo.

5. Laugh more often. Make it a point to laugh. Sometimes it won’t work out like you thought. I rented two audio books that were supposed to be funny.

One, by a British author, told of such a pathetic life and sense of self that I could only bear to listen to a couple of tracks. When she started talking about her husband and his toilet habits, I stopped pronto. The other audio book was a political commentary, not that funny but it gave me some good examples of rhetorical fallacies for my speech students. Made my job easier.

Children and pets are good for laughter. Put the friends who make  you laugh on the A list.

5. If you’re not that crazy about it, say “no.” This advice alone is totally worth the price of this blog. I got it from Christine Kane, who heard it from Cheryl Richardson. My daughters and I use that criteria for shopping all the time. Buy less, do less, have less, enjoy more.

There are other habits as well, but these are a good start. Write them down in your journal to remind yourself.