Archive for June, 2011

Small Rock; Big Tumble; and Bigger Questions

June 23, 2011

Who knew such a small rock can instigate such a big tumble – not to mention even bigger questions?!

The background: Very early this morning, I set out on a little run before work. It’s been a while since I felt like running because I’d been fighting a cold, feeling tired and a little off my ‘mojo’ of late. But in the last couple days I felt a return to my old self. With some deliciously-renewed energy and enthusiasm I headed out for a run. Ahhh, all was well and I was feeling great.  As I ran (super slow), I noticed the birds, gardens and my mind blissfully wandered…until I tripped, crashed and fell. Ouch.

In a nano second, I was on the ground, the world spinning, nauseous and with an aching ankle and a bloody knee.  What the  @#@# (expletive)! That was my first reaction. I looked over and saw the culprit: an iddy biddy pebble. That little, modest thing somehow got under my foot and tripped me! Such power! Stupid, bad rock! Stupid me for not seeing it! Now I’m going to miss my golf, not be able to run….yada, yada, yada….let the whine’n’worry fest begin!

I heard my little (coaching) voice inside me whisper: Is that all y’a got? Maybe there’s  another way to experience this?

Y’a think?

I had no way of going back and reversing that fall. But I did have a choice in how I’d deal with it – right then and there. So yeah, I decided to look at this tumble in a new light. Accidents happen (and thankfully this was just a small one).  Recently  I’ve been paying more attention recently to a more soulful and spiritual way of approaching my work and life. Well, no better time than now to apply that philosophy. I reminded myself that I can do better. How I look at ‘the stuff that happens’ in my work and life has much more impact on how I actually experience my life  than the actual events and circumstances.  Living and working a meaningful (tgim) life means we have to navigate these ‘tumbles’ and falls in a moment by moment way.  The tough part is remembering to do that in the moment.  But I did, kinda.

You see I’ve just started to tune into a powerful series of teleseminars put on by Jennifer Mclean. Jennifer has interviewed 24 of the world’s most renouned experts on topics related to living and working more soulfully, joyfully and authentically (yummo!).  James Redfield, Dan Millman, Wayne Dyer, Marshall Goldsmith, Sonia Choquette, Hale Dwoskin – to name just a few.  Chock full of tips, lessons, wisdom, these sessions remind me of the choices we have and lessons to be learned in our ‘moments’. I just listened to the first few this week, so fresh in my ears I looked at this tumble in a new light and with new questions.

There are lessons in everything that comes our way in life (the good, bad and ugly). As I brushed myself off from the tumble I wondered what the lesson was from this fall. I reflected on this as I hobbled home. I noticed I could walk but couldn’t run. Was the universe telling me to slow down? Maybe.  More lessons started to bubble up as the day wore on because I stayed in the question (and particularly, as I write this post – writing helps us reflect!).

Being of service to others — people can be generous and kind and it feels as good to give as it does to get.  Well, it was a quiet street but one gentleman who was tending his garden saw me lying on the ground. He came to offer help. I was okay (ish) by then but was so grateful that someone was there to offer help. I told him so. We had a nice chat as I tested out my ability to walk. Two strangers connecting and some gratitude shared. I think we both felt better for it.

There are no coincidences: I asked this gentleman his name. He said it was Patel. Hmmm. My “patella” (knee) was bleeding.  Coincidence? Perhaps? But James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy) says there are no coincidences in life so if that’s true, what was the significance of this? I don’t know yet, but as I look at my knee in the next few days I will be thinking about this and I have a hunch it won’t be about the bruise, scab or swelling. I think there might be something more here at work….those lessons perhaps, still unfolding?

All we have right now is the present:  It’s good to make plans and to have goals. I’m a huge advocate of that. But if we only focus on what’s next, we miss the ‘now’.  I started off worrying about my future golf, running, mobility, etc. But I quickly shifted to focus on what I could do ‘now’: to ease the swelling of my ankle;  AND to reframe my thinking so that I can be resilient from yet another potentially ‘mojo threatening’ event, ruining my day. The result was much better. Not only did I take care of the ankle (less swelling), my mojo is just fine!

My Take Away: Today’s tumble reminded me that I have the power to choose how to be with the seemingly irritating stuff that happens. Today’s accident wasn’t about the fall at all. Today’s accident was a metaphor for all the other stuff that bugs me in life or appears to set me back  such as the work deboggles, the lack of time, the unforeseen challenges – and more.  It’s not always the big things that are going to derail us. The small stuff can – if we let it – take us away from experiencing the good in life (it was such a small rock afterall….and just a little fall).

So to echo the teachings of James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy) and others – there are no coincidences or accidents in life.

So thank you to “Patel” for his generosity and Jennifer and her panel of experts for her series. And mostly, to that little rock for pretending to get in my way and reminding me how to see the bigger picture.

To a TGIM work and life

Eileen

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Half Time Review: Did your goals ‘stick’?

June 20, 2011

It’s June.  We’re half way through the year! How’d that happen so fast!? 2011 has been busy!! I bet the same for you too.  Well, half-time is a good time to check in on how the year is going. In my December TGIM worklife newsletter I presented 12 questions to reflect on for the new year.  In particular, what you wanted for 2011; and the personal and professional goals you were setting for yourself.   

So??? How’d that goal-thing work out for y’a thus far?  Since I practice what I preach as a coach, I took some time to check in with the goals that I set for myself. I had a whole bunch – some personal, some professional and some financial.  I have to say, it was incredibly energizing to reflect back on the stuff I did achieve and/or make progress on. A very satisfying “Ta Da” indeed!

On the flip side, there glares at me, in an-oh-so-accusing manner, a bunch of goals that were left unattended, unfulfilled….and in some cases, simply forgotten.  

Uh oh. What do I do about those? The more I focus on them, the more deflated, frustrated I feel. So to walk my talk, I let go of the judger and invited the learner in for a conversation (with myself….yes, I talk to myself frequently!). I asked myself some non-judgmental questions: where I am now; what matters most right now; what may have changed since the new  year that impacts my goals; which ones do I need to re-ignite and which can I simply let go of. Also I asked how am I measuring  ‘progress’? In some instances, I realized I had actually progressed substantively on certain goals but not in the way I initially imagined. On first glance, I may have judged a goal a ‘fail’ but in the deeper reflection, I realized that I had made important progress simply with new insights and/or reframing the goal, etc. So being open to how I define success changed my perspective considerably.

I now feel more clear on how I can focus my attention in the second half of 2011. Where to re-adjust, re-focus and move forward from here.

HOW ABOUT YOU?  Before we get too deep into the summer months, how about a half-time reflection on where you are and where you want to go for the remainder of the year. Think professionally, personally and in any other realm that matters. TGIM work+ life encompasses ALL of you.

Here are few thought-starters to help you with that reflection:

 1) Take stock: When you reflect on the goals you declared at the beginning of the year, which ones did you act on? Go ahead, and celebrate your progress and accomplishments (Ta da!). 

2) Re-prioritize: Of those goals you may not have gotten to yet, which ones are still important to you? Which ones have lost their appeal? Let go of the latter, and focus on the ones that still have meaning to you.

3) Do a reality check: Look at the ‘volume’ or magnitude of your goals. To what extent were your goals realistic to accomplish?  What changes might you make to the goals that were too big for now yet still important?  Sometimes ‘chunking’ down a goal (breaking into parts) means you can still honour the goal, but commit to do-able bits along the way. 

4) Do a ‘passion’ check: when you think about your goals, do you feel inspired and energized? If not, then ask again: was this truly a meaningful goal to you. If you think it was and still is, then spend some time connecting to what this will give you if you achieved it. Get to the ‘heart’ of the ‘why’ for this goal and keep this top of mind to stay motivated and inspired. i.e. if you are trying to ramp up credentials to advance your career, are you doing it just because you ‘have to’ (for that next career step) or can you find other compelling reasons for advancing your skills, learning, etc?

5) Develop an action plan: Without an action plan, goals default to ‘wishful thinking’.  Identify the ways you will advance on your goals. Will you carve out time in your schedule? Take a course? Keep your goal top-of-mind with a visible reminder? Creating changes in your current life to accommodate? Other?

6) Enlist support: You might be clear on wanting to achieve certain goals, but perhaps feel a little stuck on how to get there. Enlist some support from a professional coach or someone who can help you. Talk, engage, get ideas and create an action and accountability plan to make it all happen!

And then, because it is summer afterall, don’t forget to make some time to chill out a bit and relax (perhaps that is one of your goals? It is one of mine!).

To you, your goals and a work+life that matters. TGIM!

Eileen

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