Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Passion Projects - Dream Big!

Finding a passion project is the best way to get unstuck, or to take huge leaps forward – which is exactly what we’re talking about: BIG dreams.

Here are 7 success steps for big dreams. Pay attention and write down the ones you find yourself having the most trouble with. Work on those the most to push through your barriers.

Step 1 – figure out what you’re most passionate about and give your dream a voice – say it out loud! To EVERYONE. Take Rachel Ray for instance: she was passionate about food. After managing two local food markets, she was approached about turning her recipes into a book – and her wildly successful career began. She has now published 12 cookbooks, has a show on the food network, a magazine, an online shop and a non-profit to teach kids and their families to cook together. All from a passion for cooking!

Step 2 - create a vision. It’s doubtful that Rachel ever dreamed of creating so many successful streams of income HOWEVER I am sure she had a vision in mind. Where do you want to take your passion project? Is it a personal project? A local project? National? International? What is your mission?

Step 3 - break it down. I would bet that most big dreams are never followed through because they feel TOO big. Take your dream and break it into steps. Tackle them a little at a time. Most big dreams take a while to accomplish, but as long as you’re moving forward, you’re always closing in on your dream. Brainstorm, explore ideas, map out who you need to talk to and when.

Step 4 – Align yourself with people who can help you. Tell everyone about your dream. Little by little, you will find yourself attracting the type of people you need who can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to ask people who they know! Start creating relationships with people who are already where you want to be. Putting yourself in the company of people who are already living your dream only raises your awareness that it CAN happen.

Step 5 – push past the fear. It will come. Some moment will stop you dead in your tracks. Understand that you will face this, but don’t let it take your dream away. Most fears only hold us back in our mind. Once we take action against them, they usually aren’t as bad as we thought.

Step 6 – put pride aside. I spoke to a restaurant owner last night who said his biggest piece of advice is not to be afraid of going backwards if doing so will help you in the future. So, if you want to open a restaurant, go work in a restaurant for a while! Your experience will be far more valuable than your immediate paycheck in the long run.

Step 7 – Above all, keep pushing forward and dreaming bigger. If it’s something you are truly passionate about, don’t give up too early. So many people jump ship right before the real growth happens. Do what you need to do to stay afloat. You’ll find that your dream takes on a life of it’s own. You’ve probably heard of theknot.com. What began as a site for weddings has grown to include thenest.com – a site for new homeowners. Plans are in the works for a site for new parents as well. When you give to others in a way that you are passionate about, you cannot help but receive, your dreams cannot help but grow and our life cannot help but become more full.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stuck like Glue

Standing still and watching the scenery is no way to get where you want to go. We’re reaching mid-year and a lot of people start to feel stuck around this time. Even the word feels sticky in your mouth as you pronounce it. Our temperatures are getting hotter and the air is getting thicker. Our springtime bliss is transitioning into summertime meltdown. Motivation isn’t at the top of anyone’s list! And we wonder why we feel stuck…

I think the first question we have to ask is where are you stuck? Is it in your job? In your marriage? In your personal life? What areas do you need refreshment in? Here is the toughest question of the day and I’m going to jump right into it: What are you doing about it?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again…expecting different results.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Action is essential to break out of any funk. You can only wallow for so long without getting tired of yourself. Imagine how others are feeling! Really assess what you are doing to break free of the anchor pulling you down. Is it what you’ve always done? Where is that getting you?

I would wager that 90 percent of my clients have found themselves stuck in a comfort pattern. What I mean by that is that they see the problem, but they continue to try to fix it using the same methods. It’s like driving to work on the same road, knowing it’s going to be congested because of construction but not leaving any earlier or trying a different route…and then complaining to your co-workers everyday that you’re late.

If you’re starting to feel like a broken record, you’re probably starting to sound like one, too.

It’s time to pull a Houdini. Do something new – it doesn’t matter what it is. Take a cooking class, start a book club, ask a new friend to lunch. What this does is attract a different type of person to you. What you’re doing now is allowing yourself to remain in a complacent role with friends that won’t push you out of your comfort zone. Once you start seeking out some new perspectives, your answer will come much quicker. Someone might even be able to hand you the key to free you from your shackles.

Try to keep an open mind with new suggestions. Be specific about what you need and why. Your problem so far is that you keep talking about getting to Z, but you keep working hard at X. Ask the right questions to figure out how to reach Y and then Z. Have a clear vision of what Z looks like and it’ll be much easier to solicit ideas, connections and inspiration from others.

Have a vision.

I talk about this one all the time, but here’s a slightly different spin. Come up with an idea. Any massively huge idea will do. It could be a new career, a long vacation or a far fetched connection. Get in the zone with this new vision. Talk about it, plan it, work toward it. You’ll immediately begin feeling better when you have something tangible you are working on. At first you’ll feel a bit rusty and you are! You’ve been stuck! Give it a little time for your muscles to loosen up and before you know it, you’ll be off in a sprint.

Surround yourself with people who support your vision. Having a partner or someone who can be your cheerleader is invaluable. Share your positive energy as you move forward and lean on them when you need help.

Take the first step.
Moving forward in some direction is step one. Momentum starts to flow pretty easily once you get the ball rolling. Standing still, or spinning your wheels applying for the same job you hate, or having the same fight is only going to get you to one place – exactly where you are right now. And, really, how is that working for you?

Keep an eye out for next month’s SHIFT for a follow up to this article with advice on where to begin your first steps!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Don't Mute Your Dreams

"Because you will never again be able to keep it (heart) quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you're thinking about life and about the world."

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

What dream are you trying to ignore? Listen to the fire within you - pursue your purpose.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Taking Action

So…creating action. Why are you taking action?

Why is your first question to any action step. Why am I taking this step? What does it mean for me, and what is the payoff that I get? When you can identify the reasons behind why you want something, it becomes more real for you and it’s easier to keep pushing forward in that direction.

BUT when it’s time to make that cold call or run our first 5K or ask for what we want, we freeze right? Fear creeps in. I know it’s happened to me plenty of times! By stopping in your tracks and dropping the idea, you are saying no to yourself before you give anyone else the chance to say no to you. I have good news about fear. The freeze stage is GOOD. It means progress is happening. You are moving out of your comfort zone and most often, the things you are most fearful of are the things that are most worth doing.

Fear can be a really powerful barrier, but it can be a really telling milestone, too. Notice when your fear shows up and how you avoid tackling your next step. Once you recognize that stopping point, it’s easier to identify it and move on through the next time. Shifting your perspective out of negative fear and into a measurement of progress can be a powerful tool toward following through with your action plan.

Fear of failure can be really debilitating, too. When you don't reach a goal, or have a history of not reaching a goal, try not to beat yourself up about it. Rather, ask yourself why (again...back to the why) you are doing the goal in the first place. What has shifted? Is this goal no longer meaningful for you? Did something happen along the way? Is there another goal you need to accomplish first?

The trick to taking action at any time is to keep that goal IN FRONT of you at all times. You can’t hide from it, you can’t say it out loud and then hope it happens. You can "if...then...maybe....when" until you're blue in the face. Sometimes you create your own opportunity. Taking a huge leap of faith isn't always a necessity, but taking the first step toward your goal is.

Be sure to set up measurable steps to reach your goal. Big goals such as weight loss, starting a business or being a better friend can be a little daunting to take in one big chunk. Break them down into smaller goals. For instance your process might go like this:
What do you need to do to lose weight?
Eat better and exercise.

How do you WANT to do those two things?
Walk everyday and buy better food at the grocery store.

How can you start that today?
Go for a 30 minute walk and run by the grocery store to pick up veggies for a stir fry for dinner.

Your next step is to tell everyone you know. When you're held accountable, you will accomplish more. Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it. Here are a few tricks for easier action steps:

Creative thinking when you get a no - there are many ways to drive from California to Charlotte. If you come across an accident that is going to tie you up for a long time, find a different route to get to your destination!

Dream Boards - these are visual collages of your goal that you can revisit everyday.

Index Cards –
write out your goals in positive, "now" language, complete with a set date and time of when you will accomplish them

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield - Read it!

www.Futureme.org - write yourself a vision of what it feels like to have accomplished your goal and set it to send on your projected completion date.

Ask for help -
align yourself with people who can help you reach your goal. It never hurts to ask!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Are you surfing your wave of tolerations, or drowning in it?

On any day, at any given time, we are tolerating something. It might be a person, a location, a job, a broken household item, an old car, etc. At times, our tolerations propel us forward on a fast current. Other times they hold us in place like a buoy in the middle of the ocean.

What is a toleration?

Tolerations are little tasks, thoughts, people and actions for which we make excuses. “My office is messy because I don’t have time to clean it...because my boss keeps me late…because my kids have practice…because I have too much other stuff to do.” This can quickly become a verbal flood of excuses that eventually drown out the positive aspects of your life.

Understanding the Flood

Beginning with the mind, your list of tolerations expands to overwhelm the items you want to do on your priority list. By not filing your mail or keeping up with routine maintenance, a pile begins. Before long that small pile becomes a mountain that seems too big or time consuming to conquer. Similarly, when you cannot say “no,” your schedule is at risk of becoming a toleration. If you stop allowing time for some of things you want to do, your tolerations sneak in and take over.

Next, your friends become weary of hearing the continuous rushing of excuses for why you haven’t just taken care of what obviously plagues you so much. How much of your conversations seem to be rattling off an excuse list, or a “to-do” list? If your answer is “a lot of the time,” then your toleration list is a long one.

Most severe is when your environment becomes contaminated; your mind, your conversations and your actions are all directed by the swirling list of tolerations that have helped you to forget all the free time you once had. Friendships dissolve as they tire of hearing about all the emergencies. You feel exhausted all the time because you are trying to catch up instead of keeping up and your mental and physical energy suffers, which can affect your mood and self-esteem.

At any point during the flood, you must choose whether you:
1. Put off and continue to perpetuate the flood of overwhelming “to-do’s”
2. Give in and begin checking off tolerations
3. Give up and remove the toleration by making a life shift

Put off

Your first choice is to ignore the flow of frustration and continue putting things off. For every day you choose to push aside your tolerations, the flood coming toward you gains speed. Take yourself back before the wall of tolerations began to take over. Would you have stood in that place and said, “In a year, I hope to be drowning in paperwork, treading water in my relationships and hanging out in a sea of unhappiness?” If you choose to put off your tolerations, you stand here, today, and say that for your future self.

Give in
Sit down and put all of the swirling tolerations down on paper in the form of a checklist. Prioritize which items are high-level tolerations and which are low. Begin to wade through the list one day at a time, conquering an achievable mix of large and small items first. Sometimes it’s just a matter of starting. Many of my clients have noticed that soon, some of the “consistent every-day items” can be taken off the list because they become habitual. Like brushing your teeth in the morning, filing your mail each day can be done without thinking about it.

Give up
Ever felt like you were living in a parallel universe? Sometimes you have to give up to make forward progress. Tolerating an environment, a job or a relationship can be overwhelming. When you begin to notice that most of your energy is wrapped up in one area, it’s typically time for a life shift. Life shifts create the nourishment for new growth. They are also the hardest to make. Ask yourself: are you getting anywhere doing what you are doing? Are your conversations focused on one area of your life? Are you tolerating more than you need to? If so, it’s time for an emotional revolution. Dive in, move past the fear of change and check the biggest toleration off your list.

Building the dam
Tolerations can devour your time and energy, or just nibble at you little by little. Think of each toleration on your list as a small crack in a dam. Each crack that you plug secures all that you’ve worked for from the danger of flooding. As you neglect the dam, cracks re-form and water will flow through. Neglect it long enough and you will be frantic to make large repairs. Neglect it for too long and it will break, washing you away with it.

If you need to, call in help. Sometimes you need an assistant, a bookkeeper, a maid, a therapist, a mechanic, etc. Whoever it is that can help you take care of your list, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. There is no weakness in asking for help - even if it’s only in the form of support from friends and family as you tackle this list.

Enjoy the view
Each time you take care of a toleration, reward yourself. It’s hard work! Experience the beautiful calm as you get things done and enjoy the free time you gain. Managing your tolerations allows for a quiet mind, a life with little to no unwanted surprises and a more relaxed lifestyle. If you’re tired of the storm over the ocean, maybe it’s time to buy the house on the lake. Enjoy the view.

Curse of the If...Then, Maybe...When...

Taking that first step is the hardest. I'll let you in on a little secret about life. "Perfect timing" comes very rarely. Having the stars aligned is overrated. You can "if....then," and "maybe....when" until you are blue in the face. Sometimes you create your own opportunity. Taking a huge leap of faith isn't always a necessity, but taking the first step toward your goal is.

I speak a lot about having a vision and it's very important - but it will only get you so far if you aren't willing to ACT on it at some point. Take a step today toward what you want! Create your opportunity and you'll find that others step in to help, support and encourage.

Cheering for you today,
Coach Katie

Monday, March 12, 2007

What were you expecting?

"When we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations." - Shakti Gawain

So, are you expecting....
success or failure?
love or lonliness?
checks or bills?
happiness or frustration?
excitement or disappointment?
ease or challenge?

Have high expectations for life and you will rise to the occasion. Have low ones and you will wallow in defeat. This can be difficult at times, but try to know deep within your soul that you are worth every positive thought and expectation. Practicing this also helps you to expect only that which you want and nothing else. Why would you hold an expectation for yourself and fulfill it if you didn't really want it?

Live with passion,
Coach Katie

Monday, March 05, 2007

Only the Wisest of Mankind Achieve...

"There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second." - Logan Pearsall Smith

What have you achieved in life that you are taking for granted? What could you be enjoying MORE? What are you grateful for?

Furthermore, what do WANT out of life? Instead of focusing on what you should have, or what you don't have, ask yourself what you WANT. Your chances of enjoying it once you get it are far greater this way.