Covered Walkway

Taking a Break

Covered Walkway

This week I think we all need a break.

I invite you to spend the couple minutes you would usually take reading this article to think about three things you are grateful for (write them down if you’d like!) and then close your eyes and allow yourself to feel gratitude. Really feel it! Let your thankfulness seep into every nook and cranny of your being.

When you’re finished take a deep breath and get a glass of water.

Enjoy your break.

Sad Young Woman

I Knew It Was Going to be a Bad Day

Sad Young WomanI went to bed the other night frustrated with myself. It was after midnight (a very late bedtime for me) and I just knew that the next day wasn’t going to go smoothly as a result.

How did I know that?

Easy, that’s my past experience.

It goes like this: go to bed late, the next morning sleep in a bit (because not getting enough sleep makes for a bad day too!) and then be frustrated with the time that is ”lost.” Spend the morning frustrated that I still have five things to do and only time for three. Constantly check email and Facebook just in case something important comes through. And at the end of the day I’m frustrated and upset with myself because only two things of my five tasks actually got done. I might attempt to go to bed early, but I’m not tired – just annoyed. At this point one of two things happens: (1) I get to bed early and start the next day “right” or (2) I stay up late again and have a repeat of my bad day.

So, I was thinking about this as I got ready the next day and I suddenly remembered an article I wrote over two years ago when I was still an employee. The gist of it is that one or two (or more) events don’t determine the flow of your day unless you let it.

Well, crap. I guess I don’t need to have a frustrating or bad day. Wait – that’s a good thing!

If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: The past does not equal the future. Because you failed yesterday; or all day today; or a moment ago; or for the last six months; the last sixteen years; or the last fifty years of life, doesn’t mean anything… All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now? – Anthony Robbins (emphasis added)

Just because my past experience is that staying up late means the following day will be frustrating and generally bad doesn’t mean that I’ll have that experience every single time. Unless of course I make it happen.

I want to point out all the assumptions I made about my day (time was lost; I’ll get an email that I just have to respond to immediately; need to start the day right).  I feed my own frustration with those assumptions.

Was my day perfect? Well, no – but who really wants to be perfect?  (I shared a great quote about this on Facebook last week click here to see it)

Did I get my five things done? Nope, and I was okay with that.

Why was I okay with that? Well, why get frustrated about it? Frustration doesn’t get things done any faster.

It’s easy to read about someone else’s experiences, but how do you recognize it for yourself (and recognize it early) and change it up?

Well, I just happen to have a couple thoughts on that!

  1. Are you thinking something along the lines of “UGH! Because I did that now this is going to happen!”
    Take a step back – how realistic is that? What’s something else that can happen? What would happen if you smiled, took a breath and re-prioritized instead of going “UGH!”
  2. Are you should-ing on yourself?
    Do you find yourself saying “I should have done this” or “I should be doing that” or “this shouldn’t be happening like that”?
    Yes? Take a deep breath – maybe even get out of your office or house for a few minutes. Go for a walk. Is it too cold out? Walk up and down some stairs or do jumping jacks. Really, I’m serious, it can help to get your blood flowing and put your mind on physical activities for a little bit.

And next time you find yourself in the midst of a day that’s just not going “right” – remember that quote above.

If none of that is working, write down three things you’re thankful for, then take a breath and smile and write down three more. Gratitude is a great mood lifter!

So, to borrow from Tony Robbins: What are you going to do, right now? Share in the comments below!

Another article you might want to check out: Throwing a Pity Party

Image courtesy of Jeanne Clair Maarbes /
you! hey! you - we like you - you're great! know yourself - believe in yourself

Others Believe in You

you! hey! you - we like you - you're great! know yourself - believe in yourselfThe past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about what I’m grateful for. Fitting since this week is Thanksgiving for the US.

There are many things to be thankful for and one that’s been on my mind off and on for months is the people who asked me to take on responsibilities that I didn’t think I was capable of. These people saw potential in me that I didn’t recognize. They offered me opportunities that I would have never asked for and for that I am very grateful.

One wish for you dear reader, is that you find yourself surrounded by people who recognize you are extremely capable of things beyond your current belief in yourself. Surrounded by people who encourage you to seek out (or create) those opportunities just beyond your comfort zone.

Occasionally, take a step back and see yourself as they see you. Take strength from that.

If you currently do not that have those people in your life, I encourage you to look for them. Join groups where you can find them and also be that person for someone else.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know that I’m a big fan of quotes. Here are a couple to think about:

Many of our fears are tissue paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. – Brendan Francis

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. – Thomas A. Edison

If you need any help finding those people who know you’re capable of great things – let me know by leaving a comment here or emailing me at support [at] OneInsightCloser [dot] com

A Familiar Story, New Focus

Has anyone ever told you a story you’ve heard many, many, many times before? You know it pretty well, but this time, the person telling it focuses on a different part or puts the emphasis in a different spot and suddenly the whole story is changed for you.

I had this experience in church on Sunday. The story was how Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Normally, the focus of this story is that all 5,000 people were fed and there was food left over.

However, when Pastor Grace told this story on Sunday, she asked “What if the miracle wasn’t that everyone was fed? What if the miracle was that they gave thanks for the little that they had?” These questions completely changed the way I heard and viewed the story.

Have you heard of the term “lack mentality”? Basically, it describes coming from a place of lack, a place (or feeling of) of never having enough and always needing more or fearing that something might not be available when it’s really needed. When someone is coming from a place of lack two things tend to happen:

  1. You never have enough
  2. You miss or under-appreciate what you do have

When you reframe the story by asking “What if the miracle was that were thankful for what they had?” it shifts the story somehow. You notice that they weren’t focusing on what they lacked. Instead, they appreciated what they did have when it would have been perfectly natural to do otherwise.

And thinking about all of this naturally leads to the next questions: “What are you focusing on?” and “What are you thankful for?”

What does this have to do with your business? What does it have to do with getting things done? It has everything to do with both of those things. In our businesses we tend to notice when we don’t have enough clients, money or time. Yes, it’s important to recognize when those things are a problem, but we often do it without noticing that we also have things to be thankful for.

You focus on needing more clients, but aren’t grateful for the ones you have. You  focus on a goal that wasn’t met, but don’t recognize the progress you made toward the goal. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

So, instead of focusing on how little money, time or whatever that you have (or don’t have), what if instead you spent that time (and energy) focusing on how wonderful it is that you do have some money, time or whatever? How would that shift your view? Your attitude? Your business? How would that shift your story?

Pity Party

Throwing a Pity Party

Have you ever thrown yourself a pity party? I did for a little bit yesterday. My goals felt too big and the path there seemed too daunting (perhaps I should have gone back and read this post from last week). In the past, I have stayed in that place for days at a time. Everything that came my way was another thing to add to my already heavy load.  I was just waiting for that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

This time my pity party was a little different.  I noticed it sooner for what it was and allowed myself to wallow in it.  Yes, I consciously made the decision to stay there.  Probably not what you’d expect a person who’s all about taking steps to be happy to admit, right?

Well, allowing myself to stay in my pity party did come with strings attached: I set a time limit.  Once I recognized it for what it was I gave myself ten minutes of really feeling sorry for myself and then I had to move on.

Once my ten minutes were up I wanted to feel better about myself.  That can be easier said than done.

The first thing I did was take a few deep, calming breaths.  Go ahead and do that now.  Breathe in deep through your nose and out through your mouth.  Relaxing isn’t it?

The second thing I did was think about what’s going right and what I’m thankful for.  Gratitude, it’s a great mood lifter.

So, next time you want to throw yourself a pity party, go ahead! But make sure you’re consciously making that decision.  Also, limit how long the party is and then spend some time being grateful for other things in your life.

Interested in reading more about gratitude? Check out these posts:
Being Happy – Gratitude
Day 130 in Gratitude (a guest post I did for my friend Linda)
Photo credit: Pity Party by Evil Erin via flickr