Three Mindsets that Keep You Stuck

 Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

One of my favorite books is Who Moved My Cheese?  by Spencer Johnson.  I especially like the children’s version with it’s colorful pictures and clever text. As a school counselor, I read the story in classrooms and discussed the behavior of the four characters with children. I’ve also loaned book out to friends going through a transition or loss.  It is the story of two mice, Sniff and Scurry and two little people, Hem and Haw who are camped out in a maze in the midst of an abundance of cheese.  They are all enjoying the cheese, however there is a dramatic difference between the mindset of the characters in the story.

Are You Hem and Haw or Sniff and Scurry?

Sniff and Scurry think ahead and  plan for the obvious;  the cheese won’t be around forever.  Even before the cheese is gone they begin preparing to move forward and look for more cheese.  They develop a strategy and begin the difficult task rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen.

Hem and Haw have a different mindset.  Not only do they not realize that the cheese is dwindling down but they also have an expectation that someone else will replace the cheese and continue to supply it once it is gone.  They are oblivious to the problem looming on the horizon and are taken by surprise when they arrive one morning for their daily nourishment and find that there is no cheese to be found.  They are furious and distressed over their situation, yet they continue waiting in the same spot day after day for more cheese to magically appear.

Do you see yourself in this story? Are you expecting that status quo will stay status quo?  Are you resisting the changes, the transitions in your life?  Or are you developing a plan and mapping out a strategy?  At the end of the day, will you say, “I’m glad I did” or “I wish I had”?  While getting started is an action step, many times it is our internal mindset that prohibits us from taking that first step.

Three Mindsets That Keep Us Stuck

The first mindset that can become a roadblock and keep us stuck is:

Not knowing what we want. If we haven’t yet set a goal or cast a vision,  it’s hard to achieve it. Many times we distract ourselves by identifying so many possibilities that we are overwhelmed with the choices. We say things like, “I could do anything…if I only knew what it was that I wanted to do.” Not pinning down a goal can become an excuse for not moving ahead, for not taking action. Pick one or two ideas and put 100% of your effort into achieving it. Sniff and Scurry knew exactly what they wanted and unlike Hem and Haw they took action.  Hem and Haw however had a different problem…

Fear of Failure. We know what we want but we are afraid to go for it. We are afraid we may fail. We are afraid we aren’t good enough, competent enough, talented enough.  We have a desire, a dream, but we are afraid we may be turned down, rejected or embarrassed if we don’t achieve it. We may put forth a small effort to no avail. We say things like, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” We are actually cheating ourselves with this one.  The resources in our lives are often available, if we will only recognize them and make use of them. Failure is not an indication that we can’t reach a goal.  It is only an indication that we may need to take another path.  Sniff and Scurry tried lots of different paths to the new cheese before they found the right one.  Sometimes it isn’t failure that we’re afraid of though…

Fear of success. Just as fear of failure can paralyze us, so can fear of success. What if we don’t really know what to do, how to act, how to perform? What if we are overwhelmed with the responsibility of success, the amount of time and energy that it requires? What if we are successful and people find out we are an imposter? Again our internal voice is paralyzing us with what if questions. We may say, “What if I succeed and they expect me to know everything and then find out I don’t?” We fail to recognize the flexibility, the power and the control that we have in any given situation.

Overcoming negative mindsets and the dragon in our brain that reinforces them can sound like a daunting job.  It is difficult but not impossible. Roadblocks can be challenged and the road paved for success. Don’t let lack of a focused goal or fear of success or failure keep you from making that first step forward.  Challenge the resistance and keep going even when your feelings aren’t in line with your actions.  Join me Sunday for a teleseminar that will address the challenge that mindsets can be as we become dream achievers.

FREE TELESEMINAR

Find Your CallingReinvent Your Life for Creatives

Join Lynne Watts and Kathy Brunner for a lively discussion that will include the following:

Take a seven question assessment that will determine if you are more right or left brained.
Discover the top three negative mindsets that are holding you back
Learn how to nurture your creative passion.
Learn to create a viable business with your creative talent.
 
You can sign up here:
http://acalledwoman.com/teleseminars/
 
It doesn’t matter if you are on the right track. If you are sitting still, you will get run over.  ~Will Rogers
 
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Two Simple Steps to Being a Writer

I sent an email to a writer friend, encouraging him to join a critique group that I attend.  I explained that it was a group of other educators and that many of them wrote young adult fiction, an interest of his as well.  Guess what his response was? “That sounds like fun, but I’m not sure if I would have anything to offer.  I’m not a real author, and I’m really not a writer;  a real writer would write more than I do.”

Last evening, I attended a new writer’s critique group and as we were leaving another new member of the group commented, “I’m not really a writer you know.”

My response to these two non-writers? “STOP IT!!!!!!!” You may think this was insensitive of me.  After all my mission  is to encourage, empower and inspire through coaching others. Seriously.  However, I learned this particular technique from one of the great therapists of all time;  Bob Newhart.

Bob Newhart – STOP IT! from Kevin Kinchen on Vimeo.

Do you talk about yourself the same way that my friends do?  Do you say you’re a writer wannabe, or maybe an aspiring writer?  Do you say you’re not a real writer?  If you were you’d write more, have something published, sell more books?  Well, STOP IT!!! I’m not even asking you to  pay me five dollars for this advice.  Writers write and if you do that, you qualify.  It’s time to stand up and announce boldly and confidently your mission.

Two Simple Steps to Being a Writer

Change Your Mindset

If necessary spend some time practicing what to say until it comes naturally.  “I write young adult fiction.”  or “I write a blog.” or “I write fortunes for Chinese fortune cookies.”  Be proud.  Be bold.  Be confident.  Be excited!

I know that it doesn’t feel natural. I know that sometimes it feels fake and phony.  Sometimes though, the hardest person to convince of the truth, is yourself! Remember my writer friend that I invited to the critique group?  He’s already co-authored one book and has a whole young adult book completed. The other new member of the critique group?  She writes a regular blog that goes out on her company newsletter.  I’m not making this up.  STOP IT!!

Change Your Habits–Write, Write, Write

Create a schedule and stick with it. Take a writing class.  Hire a writing coach. Find an accountability partner who will keep you on track. Be committed.  Be intentional.  Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but the more you practice the more perfectly natural it will feel to say that you are a writer.  Because you write.  A lot.  And that’s what writers do.

Do you tell people you are a writer?  Or do you tell people you are going to be writer?  Someday? Well, STOP IT!!!  Start today BEING the writer you want to be.

FREE TELESEMINAR

Find Your CallingReinvent Your Life for Creatives

Join Lynne Watts and Kathy Brunner for a lively discussion that will include the following:

Take a seven question assessment that will determine if you are more right or left brained.
Discover the top three negative mindsets that are holding you back
Learn how to nurture your creative passion.
Learn to create a viable business with your creative talent.

 

Join us on Sunday, August 24th at 8pm EST when Kathy Brunner and Lynne Watts from the Called Woman Creative Team will share valuable information on the very timely subject of:

Find Your Calling–Reinvent Your Life for Creatives

Can’t Attend the Teleseminar?? Don’t Worry-We will send everyone who signs up a replay later.

Want answers to YOUR dilemma? Email your questions and/or situation and we will discuss it during the recorded teleseminar

Email Lynne Watts here:

www.lynnewatts@comcast.net

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. 

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  ~Howard Thurman


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I Appreciate You!

August this year is a very different month for me.  Usually August means that I am back at work as a school counselor in an elementary school.  It means getting up at the crack of dawn, scheduling and teaching guidance classes, coordinating upcoming standardized tests and meeting with teachers, parents and children about a variety of problems.  However,  at the end of last May I retired from a career of twenty years.  This August  I am up at the crack of dawn (some habits are good habits!),  writing children’s stories with  an empowering message and coaching others in finding their purpose and reinventing their lives. I love my new work and my new focus!

As I retired from my school counseling career, I was given a parting gift.  It was probably one of the best, most meaningful gifts I’ve ever been given.  Just looking at the picture of it in this blog brings tears to my eyes. Here is a picture of it:

The Background to the Gift

I’ve written before about choosing one word to guide you through the year.  I’ve done it in school guidance lessons and as part a small group of women.  Last year we decided to do this as a faculty and after a week to think about it, each teacher presented his or her word for the year at a faculty meeting.  We took pictures of the teachers as a grade level with their one word and put it on the website.  It was fascinating to see.  There was Focus, Determination, Listening and Invest among many others.  My word for 2014 is Adventure.  We each wrote or printed the word and hung it outside our office or classroom.  It was a wonderful reminder each time we visited another classroom, what that teachers’ focus was for the year.

For the One Word booklet, each teacher was asked to share one word that they felt described me.  The results were fascinating and touching.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • compassionate-three times
  • inspirational/motivational-four times
  • creative-four times
  • calm-six times

Here was a wonderful benefit of the best gift ever: I felt truly appreciated and honored.  Even now, two months later, I am grateful for such a special and meaningful expression of appreciation.

We All Need AIR

Chris Hogan, All-American college football player and currently a speaker for the Dave Ramsey organization states that “appreciation is oxygen for the soul.”  He has created mnemonic, AIR, that stand for Appreciation, Inspiration and Recognition, all key elements of that oxygen so necessary for the health of our spirit.  When we neglect these elements, we often allow the negative voice in our brain to have victory over us.  When we live and work in an environment that doesn’t provide appreciation, inspiration and recognition, we become discouraged and unmotivated.

  • We all need appreciation.  Appreciation for a job well done.  Appreciation for our talent and energy.  Appreciation for who we truly are and how we share that with others.  Appreciation can come from many sources.  it can come from mentors and friends, professional contacts and family.  Do you live and work in an environment where you are appreciated?  Do you let others know that you appreciate them?
  • We all need inspiration.  We can be inspired by the books we read and the seminars we attend, the leaders we encounter and the peers we work and play with.  We need to be intentional about planning for our own inspiration so that the well doesn’t dry up.  In order to inspire others, we need to nourish ourselves.
  • We all need recognition.  As women, we often modestly say, “I don’t need to be recognized for what I do.  I don’t like to be the center of attention.”  But it does feel good doesn’t it? Recognition may be a public recognition  such as being named employee of the month or teacher of the year.  It can also be a personal email or letter that notes your accomplishments.

I once worked for a principal who expressed gratitude to others by giving them a little stick on pin that said, ” I appreciate you”.   She gave me one after I helped with a project and I wore that pin on my name tag until it fell apart.  Appreciation, inspiration, recognition.  They are as necessary as the air we breathe.  They don’t have to be as formal a parting gift filled with special words.  They can be a heartfelt compliment, a caring hug or a listening ear.  We all need appreciation don’t we?  When was the last time you felt appreciated?  When was the last time you were recognized for your hard work?

Join me on Sunday, August 24, when Kathy Brunner and I will present a free teleseminar on:

Find Your CallingReinvent Your Life for Creatives

Here’s what we will be talking about:

Take a seven question assessment that will determine if you are more right or left brained.

Discover the top three negative mindsets that are holding you back
Learn how to nurture your creative passion.
Learn to create a viable business with your creative talent.
 
You can sign up here:  http://acalledwoman.com/teleseminars/

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Lynne’s Five Laws of Desired Difficulties

My life hasn’t been perfect.  Has yours?  I’ve experienced everything from the loss of a job to the loss of a parent and husband.  I’ve had interpersonal conflicts and personal failures.  I grew up in what used to be called a “broken home”  and I’ve been so shy that I was afraid to try anything new. What have your struggles been?

Gratitude for Difficulties

Are you ever grateful for the difficulties in your life?  Everywhere we look there are reminders to count your blessings. We start gratitude journals and publish what we are grateful for on Facebook. I just finished a seven days of positivity challenge on Facebook.  There are whole websites and programs devoted to recognizing our successes and being grateful for them.  Do you ever  express gratitude for your failures and losses?  Or do you try to overcome and forget about them?

In one of his weekly podcasts, Dan Miller of 48 Days to the Work You Love, talked about his childhood.  He grew up in a Mennonite family where money was considered evil and poverty a way of life.  There was no running water in his house until he was in the 8th grade.  He worked hard on the family farm and was not allowed to watch tv, listen to music or enjoy social or sporting events.  He didn’t have any support for attending college as education past  high school was considered dangerous and unnecessary. Despite all this adversity, Dan is grateful for this lifestyle.  Out of it came an independent spirit and love of reading and books.  He learned to earn his own money, to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and create his own opportunity.  He believes that he is the successful entrepreneur that he is today because of the adversity that he faced in his childhood.  Do you have a similar story?

When I was younger, my goal was to live a carefree-adversity-free-life. I hoped to avoid conflict and failure at all costs. I tried to fly under the radar and stay out of sight.  I truly thought this was the way to be successful and move forward in accomplishing goals. I’ve come to realize that not only is this impossible but it also creates a colorless, ordinary risk-free life.  Is that your goal?  Or would you prefer an extraordinary life of color and adventure?

Lynne’s Five Laws of Desired Difficulties

After a lifetime of trying to avoid risk and failure, I’ve finally learned that there is much to be grateful for in difficulty and adversity.  Here are five things I’ve learned:

  1. In every adversity, there is an opportunity.  It’s not always easy to see.  It takes a certain perspective, even sometimes the advantage of hindsight to find it.
  2. The only people who experience a life free of failure are the people who never take a risk or try any thing new.  If you take a risk sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you always learn.
  3. You can turn any difficulty into a learning experience if you will focus on being a learner instead of a loser.  Rather than emphasizing that you failed look for what you have gained.  I never said it would be easy…
  4. Difficulties make you more empathetic to others, especially those who have experienced similar ones.  It can help you forge close relationships.  It also gives you an additional way to serve others by sharing what you learned.
  5. Depending on how you handle them, desired difficulties can be the foundation of your greatest successes.

Avoiding Failure and Risk Means Living an Ordinary Life

Some of these have been hard lessons to learn.  It is still easy for me to sit back and let life ramble on without direction or purpose while I wait for things to happen.  It is hard to step out on faith and try new things that may not work.  It is hard to look for opportunities in the midst of tragedy or loss but I do believe it is the best way to live.  Rather than trying to avoid failure, I now take planned and intentional risks to live a life that is truly full of color and excitement.

What about you?  How have failures or losses in your life been opportunities?  Are you grateful for the desired difficulties as well as the blessings in your life?

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The Key to Success? Massive Failure

fallentreequoteI was talking with a teacher about a student in her classroom whose behavior was out of control one day to the point that she decided he needed a visit to the principal to reinforce the rules. She had to admit that she was amused however at his comment upon arriving at the principal’s door. It seems that under his breath he muttered, “I bet nothing good ever comes out of a visit here…”

Success is a word that is discussed and thrown around a lot.  In schools, teachers are focused on making sure students are successful.  Businesses set  and achieve goals in order to be successful.  We are all interested in learning how to be successful in our careers, in our family life and in our social life.  We can even learn how to  be successful in our spiritual life. There are books, classes and even coaches who chronicle how to be successful.

Failure on the other hand is something to be avoided, isn’t it?  There is lip service given to learning from our mistakes, but do we really accept failure as a necessary part of the path to success?  Do we dash head long into failure or try to skirt around it?  In an article from Darren Hardy of Success magazine, he writes that some of the best advice he ever got on how to be successful, was to increase his rate of failure.  He was told he should try to fail fast and often.  Does this sound crazy to you?  Does it make you nervous? It does me!

“I wasn’t failing, I was learning how to succeed.”

This quote from Ted Turner re-frames the experience of failure.  Rather than looking at it as something to avoid, he approaches it as a learning opportunity.  There is much to be gained from failure and not just how to avoid it next time.  Sometimes there is opportunity in failure to begin again using the lessons learned.

“The key to success is massive failure… whoever can fail the most, the fastest and the biggest, wins.”

says Tom Watson of IBM.  How can this be true?  Here is an example:  Today when I stopped for gas, there were several sales people offering to spray some magic wax product on cars as a demonstration of it’s amazing ability to clean off all kinds of stuff.  Some of the sales people were standing around looking uncomfortable, but the one that approached me knew what he was doing.  He wasn’t pushy just helpful. He identified things on my car that needed cleaning and showed the benefits. He showed off the product. He made a sale.  When you are selling, the more chances you take at failure, (in this case approaching people who may say no), the more chances you have that you will find the people who want to say yes.  How many no’s does it take to  get to a yes? An average of seven, I’ve heard. If you approach failure as a necessary experience to get through to get to yes, it becomes something you want to seek out frequently.

 “The increase in volume, speed and size of my failure also increased the volume, speed and size of my success.”

writes Darren Hardy, publisher and founding editor of Success magazine.  What if you set a goal for yourself, not of how many times you could succeed but of how many times you could fail?  What if the magic wax salesman set a goal of 25 no’s in a day, or in a couple of hours?  What if he met his goal?  Don’t you imagine that he would have also been the most successful of the sales team that day?  Those other sales people who were standing around waiting for things to happen didn’t hear any no’s… they also didn’t hear any yeses.  He would have taken the most risks but he would have also reaped the most benefits.  He would have heard, “No thanks” the most but I bet he would also have heard “OK, I’ll buy that”  the most too.  In the process, he would also have learned a lot about the best approaches to use and practiced them the most frequently.

Failure.  A word and experience that most of us avoid.  But contrary to  popular belief, failure isn’t the end of the road, just the beginning of a new path.  Failure isn’t just useful.  It isn’t just a great opportunity to learn.  It is often a necessary part of success.  In many cases, where there is no failure, there is no success.

Since I believe that failure is an important part of winning that we all need to learn to cope with, I’ve written a new children’s picture book on the topic. In the newest story Wyatt didn’t make it on the All Star Baseball Team and he feels like a loser.  All his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach.  How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future.  Will he give up trying new things?  Will he have the confidence to try again?  Check out Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning here:  http://wyatthewonderdog.com/booklaunch

Join the Called Woman Network and get regular inspirational messages and the Called Woman Manifesto:  http://acalledwoman.com/

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Three Benefits of Scheduling a Time of Rest

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I am writing this post from the beach where I am relaxing and fellowshipping with friends for a few days. We are sitting on the balcony; drinking coffee and watching the dolphins cavort in the ocean. The ocean is clear, blue-green and there is a gentle breeze blowing. Can you close your eyes and imagine yourself here with us?

It is Sunday afternoon and I am trying to follow the good advice of everyone from God to the last book I read on personal time management and have one day where I am not driven to accomplish anything but instead I rest and rejuvenate. I am sitting on my screened porch; drinking iced tea and reading a book that I have been anticipating delving into for quite some time. Can you close your eyes and imagine yourself here with me?

The Importance of Scheduling Time to Rest

Rest, rejuvenate, revive, replenish. How often do you accomplish this goal? This is always on my list but it is a challenge to succeed. What is the purpose of this time? Not only does it renew our energy but it also gives focus and jumpstarts our lives in a very positive contemplative way. Can you schedule a regular time for this? Can you renew your spirit with fun and friends? Can you unplug from the routine, the technology, the constraints of your life on a regular basis? Resolve to take some time off each week during which you do not touch your computer, check your email or Facebook or worry with your schedule, routine or daily chores. How does that feel? Are you more creative? Energized? Relaxed? See what I mean? God had it right along.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3

The Benefits of Scheduling a Time of Rest

In my last post I wrote about coping with the stress of change.  One way to accomplish this is to set aside time for rest and rejuvenation.  Aside from the fact that it feels good to rest what are the benefits?  There are several:

  • It renews you mentally.  Some of my most creative time is following a period of rest.  Rest gives our brains a time to process the world around us.
  • It renews you physically.  Even the most active and athletic among us need a time for our bodies to rejuvenate and rebuild.
  • It renews you spiritually.  Restful times are times when we allow our spirit to be open to God’s message.  So much of the time,  our lives are filled with the noise of our technological industrial world.  It takes a special mindset to tune-out the noise and tune in the quiet.

I hope you too schedule some time to relax, rejuvenate and refresh your spirit.

“Solitude well practiced will break the power of busyness, haste, isolation, and loneliness.”   Dallas Willard

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Coping with the Stress of Change

unevenroadsignThere’s a cartoon of a dog that pulls and pulls at a leash tied to a stake, trying to break away.  He wants to do more, explore more, venture farther afield. Or so he would have you believe.  Suddenly,the straining and pulling causes the leash to break and the dog is free. Guess what the dog does next?  He grabs the ripped end of the leash, runs back to the stake and ties it securely to the stake.  Then the dog returns to pulling and barking and straining at the leash. Do you know anyone like that dog?  Don’t we all try to return to our comfort zone when change occurs?

Looking for Meaning in the Midst of Change

If your life’s path has taken a rocky turn and left you struggling to make sense of your situation, take comfort in the fact that there are others who have experienced similar life events and who can provide guidance along the way.  Everyone handles difficulties differently but the one universal factor that I find in those who are resilient to change and tragedy is that they find meaning in the midst of the pain.  When  I found myself drowning in the midst of numerous family difficulties in recent years, an insightful friend said to me, “Maybe this happened to free you to do something different with your life that would be meaningful in a bigger way.”  At the time, I felt misunderstood but after some thinking about my situation, I knew she was right.  I was still sacrificing my time and energy to a family that had outgrown  that type of relationship.  It took a major upheaval to restructure my thinking.  It was time for a new, more mature approach that allowed me to develop interests and talents outside the family group.  My life had taken an unexpected detour and I could either fight the changes and try desperately to return to the past, or I could look for the opportunity in the midst of change.  I could enjoy the new roadway and look for new vistas.

Asking the Right Question

When faced with unexpected change, tragedy even, most of us tend to ask the question, “Why me?”  “Why did this have to happen?”  What if there is another more important question that we need to ask in order to discover the answer to the first question?  What if we need to ask ourselves, “What’s the opportunity in this?”  Sometimes in the midst of discovering the answer to the last question we learn the answer to the first one.

Finding the Support You Need

There’s one other important thing we must do to cope with the stress of change and that is to find support.  Support can come in a number of different ways.  It might be a close friend or a family member.  It might be someone that has traveled the path before you and who now seeks to encourage others.  It might be a group or an individual.  It could be a professional counselor or mentor.  In any case, the hardest part of any stressful time is the feeling of being alone.  Find someone to support you and you will greatly improve the situation.

When we are no longer able to change a situation- we are challenged to change ourselves.  Vicktor  E. Frankl

Looking for the purpose or calling in your life?

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One Word and Vision Boards

Cathysaravision lizbeckyvision visionboard meellenvision

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the last two years, I have chosen a word in January to give me focus for the year.  This is in addition to setting goals.  Choosing the word takes a bit of thought.  I want it to stretch me and ground me at the same time.  I want it to encourage and inspire.  Last year my word was JOY and this year, as I moved into retirement from my school counseling job of twenty years and into entrepreneurship, I chose, ADVENTURE. I have a group of women that I meet with on Thursday nights and I encouraged them to all choose a word as well.  In our recent meeting, I felt it was a good time to revisit our words and talk about how we are using the words in our lives.

While we discussed our word and what it had meant to us so far in our year, we created vision boards.  This is a great way to create focus around a central theme.  Here are some directions for how to create vision boards.

Supplies for a Vision Board

Creating a vision board is very simple.  You will need the following supplies:

  • Poster board or cardboard–any size is fine but think about what you want to do with the board to help you decide.  Sometimes a small board that you can take with you when you travel is a good  idea.  Or maybe you want a larger board to focus on each morning or even to  hang on a wall in your house.
  • Lots of magazines–you can ask co-workers, friends, or even medical offices for their cast-offs
  • Rubber cement or glue
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Fun stuff–glitter, feathers etc
  • Music to create by…

How to Create a Vision Board

Once you have the materials you are ready to go!  You can create the board alone in your home or get together with friends. Here’s the process:

  1. Peruse the magazines and tear out the pictures and words/phrases that catch your eye.  Make a stack.
  2. Sort the items you selected and arrange the ones you like on the board.
  3. Glue them down in the pattern/collage that you have created.
  4. Add any decorative items that you wish–using gel pens, glitter, feathers etc to finish your board.

Types of Vision Boards

You can create a board around a theme, a word, a goal or multiple goals.  You can use pictures, quotes, even photographs. There are no rules for vision boards.  Here are the basic vision boards that you could consider:

  1. A board that centers around a certain goal.  I have a board that is centered around the goal of writing and publishing for instance.  You might have a goal around getting a new job or losing weight.
  2. A board that is more general and open to possibilities.  This might be a board that gives a certain feeling or atmosphere such as serenity or adventure.
  3. A board that is created around a certain theme or even one word that will inspire you for a period of time.
  4. A transition board.  This might be the board you would make as you move into retirement, or motherhood or college or a first job.

How to Use the Vision Board

  1. Put it in a prominent place.
  2. Focus on the board on a regular basis.  Incorporate it into your daily review of goals and action steps.
  3. Add to the board as you feel inclined.

I have used this activity in various workshops and training classes and it is always a hit!  Have you ever made a vision board?  How have you used it?

 

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My Life is an Empty Shell-Finding Your Calling

Stories only happen to people who can tell them.  Lou W. Stanek, author, critic and teacher

Last winter was a pretty rough year for Atlantans weather-wise.  Unless you live in a cave, you probably heard about Atlanta’s Snow-pocalypse 2014. Motorists were stranded in cars for hours while others were stranded at the office. Students were stranded on school buses or at schools overnight.  Even today in the summer’s 90+ heat, if you say to someone, “Where were you during the Snow-pocalypse?” you will trigger memories.  Everyone has a story to tell.  I was talking with someone recently about how they survived the disaster.  The worst part for her was being stranded at home. She lives alone and has no children or family in the area. She told me. “I was bored to tears with being stuck at home for three days.  My life’s an empty shell and I didn’t know what to do with myself.”  An empty shell? How sad that someone feels so empty that being snowed in for three days,  meant she almost went crazy.

 

Finding Your Calling

I believe that we all have a calling, a mission that we have been uniquely gifted for.  We’ve been given talents and abilities that complement that mission.  So often people let life happen rather than making it happen. They meander from day to day, without goals or a clear direction.  When disaster or tragedy strikes, they have few resources for coping with it.  Something as small as being stuck at home with no one but yourself for company becomes a major ordeal. I understand this mindset. My early years were spent wishing, waiting and wondering if I’d be able to accomplish my dreams. I thought that the stars had to align, the universe had to be generous and the right people had to wander into my life. I gave away my power to anyone and everyone.  My life was at the mercy of my circumstances rather than me looking for the opportunity in the circumstances.  I didn’t set goals and I certainly didn’t create an action plan to make my dreams reality. I had an exhaustive to-do-list and I was very busy but without any clear direction. I said yes to anything and everything without evaluating whether or not it fit in with my purpose.  Living life intentionally has changed my focus and my life.

 

Living Life Intentionally

How do you live your life so that instead of thinking of it as an empty shell, you experience life as full and abundant?  It first takes a change in your mindset.  Rather than looking at life as something that happens to you, you begin to see life as something you create.  Much like a writer writes a story or a film-maker creates a film, your job is to determine the plot, the direction of the story arc of your life.  Of course you can’t control everything.  I understand that.  But you can control your reaction.  You can control what you do with the events that occur.  You can begin to look for the possibilities in everything.  Even when there are no impending changes, you can remain open to the possibilities that are all around.  Sometimes you even create change!

A great book that addresses this style of living and our tendency to cling to status quo is Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.  There are two approaches to life in this book.  Hem and Haw enjoy the comfort of the status quo without ever anticipating or preparing for change.  Sniff and Scurry enjoy the present abundance but also plan for the future and notice the evidence of the changes that are coming.  They explore the world around themselves.  They discover new experiences that are even better than the past.  They anticipate and find abundance rather than scarcity. What character do you identify with?  Hem and  Haw or Sniff and Scurry?  Are you waiting for good things to appear in your life or are you out looking for them and making them happen?

Living A Balanced Life

When we fail to be intentional about where we are going in life, one of the consequences is often a life out of balance.  Generally, this means that we invest too much time and energy in one area and neglect other equally important areas.  For instance, we may invest in our work and neglect family or friends or our spiritual growth.  We may invest in our family, but never set aside time for our own personal lives.  Lives are never perfectly balanced and there are certainly particular seasons of our lives that call for some sacrifices in one area or another.  However, if we consistently starve one area  of our life of time, attention or energy, then we will one day discover that we have created a situation that may be hard to restore.

What about you?  Are you creating and telling the story of your life?  Are you living an intentional and balanced life?  Take the Thirty Day Challenge and let’s create a story worth telling!

 

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