Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Lessons We Learn from Our Grandchildren

In my last post I spoke about reaching our goals, and how time plays a role in achieving them. Our goals can often seem so out of reach as to be unattainable. Sometimes it can feel as though we are deluding ourselves in the belief that we can reach them. I write about these concepts on how to stay focused for me as much as anyone else. I am not immune to the negative self-talk we give ourselves on a daily basis. We often are unaware of the little voice inside spewing all that negativity. Listen to your inner voice. I bet you too will be shocked to discover how poorly you speak to yourself. Listen also to what you say out loud. It’s a sure indicator of what is going on inside.

This negative self-talk is the end result of years of conditioning. Someone may have suggested we are not capable, smart enough, or that something we want is unattainable. We believe it. Maybe we make a mistake and are told we are stupid, dumb, or useless. We accept what others say about us instead of knowing who we are. We should be challenging these beliefs or rejecting them altogether. We should set our feet on the path of what we know to be true about ourselves and embark on a wonderful personal journey of self-discovery.

This lesson was reinforced when I saw again the video of my grandson’s first attempt at crawling. I knew instantly its value in teaching all of us about staying focused on our goals. In the video my grandson cannot coordinate his knees. When he pulls one knee forward the other comes too, so that he looks almost like he’s hopping. Would he have cared is someone told him that this wasn’t the way to crawl? Did he say to himself “oh I’ll never be able to get it right!” Of course not! He persists. At one point he tips over and plants his face squarely into the carpet. He doesn’t cry or get deterred, but gets up, and keeps going. Three quarters of the way to his destination, he pops into a sitting position, surveys the landscape, notices the progress he’s made and rewards himself with clapping hands. Then back to his knees until the toy he’s after is in his hands.

Children teach us so much about life. They have not been poorly conditioned by the judgments of others. Their little hearts are pure, and they live deeply in the moment and concentrate on each step they need to take. They don’t worry about the wrinkle in the carpet that might catch their feet. They are single focused in perseverance. Learn from them. Keep your eye on your goal. Don’t let others tell you how to get there. If the goal is a long way off, take small incremental “baby” steps in reaching it. Don’t give up at the first wrinkle in the carpet. Stop occasionally and notice how much closer you are to reaching your destination. Give yourself applause for sticking with it. After all, even babies are capable of reaching that which they are after. I’m not sure about you, but as for me, I will keep this image in front of me to stay focused on my resolutions as I head into the New Year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

How Long Will It Take?

A friend and I, by an outside view, could appear to be our own private book club. It’s true; we are on a path that has us reading some of the best books on the shelf to self improvement. Yet we are serious in our efforts. We are learning so much about ourselves. What we believe a thing to be, how we came to believe a thing to be, what we believe ourselves to be, and how we are challenging the very nature of all these beliefs. Mostly, what I am discovering about myself is how the beliefs I hold are not “global” truths about a topic, but really some fabrication of my own mind. I had never challenged or even considered some of these beliefs to be challengeable. Sound confusing? It sometimes can be, even for us on the journey.

My “new year of resolutions” is coming to a close. It’s been an excellent year for challenging myself, and seeing where I have come from and where I am now. Most notable to me is the realization of just how many fears hold me back, keep me from where I want to be, and once even resulted in illness. The thing about fear is that we don’t walk around saying to ourselves, “oh, I have to stay away from that because…” . We keep our distance from many things in the course of the day out of fear and never recognize it IS fear. We are blind to ourselves in this way. So imagine my shock when out of the blue, it occurred to me that one of my goals has been elusive because I’m walking around with an unacknowledged “fear” of my own.

What my fears are and toward what topics are not really relevant, only that I am now recognizing I have them. I learned the hard way in April, after a bout of shingles, and that I might possibly have brought this on during a period I considered close to crises. The crises of course had been a manufacture of my vivid imagination. Much of it was my own mind playing the fear game of imagined outcomes. Most of what we fear it turns out is what we “think” could happen up ahead. I had a lot of time to think during the illness, and decided to “get over myself” so to speak. I got back up, walked back into my life, and looked each day in the eye. I don’t assume any particular outcome anymore. I visualize what I want, not what I don’t want.

On the path to “better” there are humorous moments too. Like the constant reminder not to give up too soon.

“It will take two years to reach your goal” my friend is always saying to me.

He’s trying to keep me bolstered in the realization that our progress isn’t always visible in the day to day things, but over time looking behind us we can see the tremendous progress we have made. The two year mark was reinforced last week while my husband was watching golf. Tiger Woods had finally won his first tournament since the big scandal. When was that? You guessed it. That was exactly two years ago!

With the new year approaching I realize that I will need to extend my “new year of resolutions” at least for another year. I’m going to do as I do in business and assess where I am, make modifications where needed, and set new goals. But the journey will continue. For as in the words of my dear friend Lee Mowatt, “our up ahead has to look better than our behind.”

Reading List for your own journey:

360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell

Attitude is Everything by Keith Harell

Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

Developing The Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Go Put Your Strengths To Work by Marcus Buckingham

Healthy At 100 by John Robbins

Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley

Linchpin by Seth Godin

Maximum Confidence by Jack Canfield

Meditation in a NY Minute by Mark Thornton

Mind-Mapping by Michael Gelb

Quantum Memory Power by Dominic O’Brien

Ready for Anything by David Allen

The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John C Maxwell

The 7 Habits by Stephen R. Covey

The Angel Inside by Chris Widener

The Biology of Belief by Bruce H Lipton Ph.D

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

You Don’t Need a Title To Be A Leader by Mark Sanborn

You, The Owner’s Manual by Roizen and Oz