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What makes you come alive?

Woman leaping

In my blog last week I shared my favorite quote of all time by Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I 100% believe this quote is true. You will have the most impact when you do what makes you come alive.

So how the heck do you know what that is?

Here’s a short exercise to help you figure it out:

  • Get out your journal
  • Write down at the top of the page, “I feel most alive when…”
  • Set a timer for 5 minutes and start writing!
  • Don’t pick up your pen until the timer goes off. Just keep writing. Don’t worry about grammar or if any of your responses are embarrassing or weird. You don’t have to share them. Just write.

Now’s the moment of true. Look back at what you wrote. Are you doing what makes you come alive now? Are those things a part of your life?

If not, what’s one small change you can make to get some more aliveness in your life?

I’d love to hear your reflections from this exercise – comment below or send me a message with your takeaways!

My favorite quote of all time

Howard Thurman Quote - Do Not Ask What The World Needs

Any other quote lovers out there?

I LOVE quotes. There’s something about them – so short and simple, but they hit right at the heart. There are many quotes I’ve gone back to time and time again over the years, but there is one that rises to the top above them all:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

I love this quote because it reminds us that you have the biggest impact when you tap into your true inner voice, follow your curiosity and do what makes you come alive.

You don’t have to suffer through a painful job just because you think that’s what you need to do to make a difference.

You can live in aliveness and joy.

It is possible.

What’s your favorite quote? Comment and let me know!

My favorite mindset hack to let go of perfectionism

Hands in the air

If you’ve ever found yourself re-reading an email for the eighth time or tweaking an already-done PowerPoint, this message is for you.

Ditto if you’ve spent weeks fiddling with the font on your website, have a blog that’s been sitting in your drafts folder for days (or weeks…or months…) or have an idea you’ve been waiting to share because it just needs a little more research.

Here’s the mindset hack: Go for 97.

Let me explain.

100% perfection isn’t possible. You’re human. No matter how hard you work, there will always be an error. You could always do more research, always wordsmith a document one more time. You need to take a stand and let go of 100%.

AND…the effort it takes to go from 97% to 99% usually isn’t worth it.

So go for 97.

I can already see the engineers and accountants questioning this approach, so I’ll tell you now – there’s no actual math behind this. It’s a mindset shift. That’s it.

But it’s a mindset shift that’s given me permission to let go and be imperfect so I can spend my time doing something that will create a bigger impact than changing from my font from Cambria to Calibri.

Think about it….if it takes you two hours to go from 0 to 97% and then ANOTHER two hours to go from 97% to 99%, isn’t that a waste of time? I KNOW how much potential each of you has and I want to see you spending your time and energy doing what matters to you and what can make a difference for others.

Another thing – I use this mindset hack for things that I consider FINISHED. Done. Complete. As good as they’re going to be.

Drafts don’t get 97%. Neither do pilots or experiments or basically anything I’m doing for the first time.

They get about 80%. Maybe less.

As someone that used to expect things to be successful the first time around, putting something out into the world at 80% was hard! The story behind getting to 80% is too much for this blog, but let me know if you want to know more about it and I’ll be sure to share in a future message.

For now, aim for 97%. Catch yourself when you’re crossing past the 97% line and force yourself to be done. It will be uncomfortable! That’s okay. Embrace the discomfort and stop working anyway.

Let me know how this works for you! I always love to hear your stories.

Healthy excellence vs perfectionism – What is the line?

Arrow hitting the target perfectly

I facilitated a webinar for a company last week on perfectionism and A LOT of people showed up. The #1 question they asked?

When is striving for excellence and achievement GOOD – and when is it perfectionism?

Such a great question!

Because I know many of you struggle with perfectionism and overachieving, I wanted to answer the question for you too.

Here’s the official, researched response:

Healthy excellence means you can learn from mistakes and let them go. You experiment and try new things and see yourself as worthy and separate from your job or goal, so you don’t personally feel like a failure when something goes wrong.

Perfectionism is believing you cannot fail. It’s just not an option. Your goal or job becomes your identity. You might stop yourself from trying new things because you aren’t certain you’ll be good at them. Or you may work yourself into the ground to make sure you are successful. Your inner critic keeps an archive of all your mistakes and failures, repeating them inside your head over and over. It might feel like life has become a giant report card.

For me, the line is more of a feeling. When I’ve crossed the line, I feel an internal drive to keep working harder to prove myself. I feel like things have to be successful the first time around or that I’m not allowed to fail. There’s usually a tiny pit in my stomach, an underlying feeling of low-level anxiety that isn’t terrible, but it’s persistent.

This feeling is my clue that I need to check-in with myself, do some grounding activities like hiking or cross-country skiing, and say no to more things. This will get me back on the healthy side of the line.

What does that line feel like for you? When do you know you’ve crossed over from healthy excellence to unhealthy perfectionism?

What change really looks like in your life

road spirals up a mountain

I gave myself a soft deadline of this Thursday, January 16 to launch an online course for all of you.

Knowing that I’m an overachiever that tends to take on too much, I consciously told myself it was fine if I didn’t meet the deadline. It was completely okay if the course didn’t launch until next week. After all, what does 4 or 5 days matter in the grand scheme of things?

I told myself these things – and still this week I could feel the overachiever inner critic popping back into my mind telling me I better meet that Thursday deadline. I better work nights and push myself to get it all done. The familiar feeling of low-level anxiety crept into my belly.

And then I caught myself.

Instead of just telling myself it was okay not to meet the deadline, I actively gave myself permission to launch next week.

I realized all these feelings pushing me to meet a completely arbitrary deadline were just old patterns and old beliefs. And I didn’t want to listen to them anymore.

So I let them go.

And I was immediately relieved. SO relieved. Now that the pressure of the fake deadline is gone, I can actually ENJOY the process of creating the course. And I can enjoy the next several days of my life as well.

This is how change happens – any change. It’s not a linear process where one day you decide to be a different person and you slide into that new way of being without any bumps along the road.

No.

Change is catching yourself earlier and earlier. Instead of berating yourself for being back in the same place, appreciate how far you’ve come. Realize a year ago you wouldn’t have even NOTICED you were in old habits and beliefs, let alone redirected yourself.

You are on a journey. Despite how often it feels like you’re running in circles, let me assure you – you are moving forward. You are evolving and growing every day. You are letting go and unlearning and becoming more and more of the person you are every step along the way.

Give yourself grace.

What do YOU desire this year?

woman holding sparkler

When was the last time you asked yourself what YOU really wanted? Not what your boss or spouse or parents wanted, but you? Not what you thought you wanted when you were 25 or what you are “supposed” to want, but YOUR desires, right now, at this point in your life?

I’m guessing it’s been a long time for many of you. Even those of you that spend a lot of time reflecting and setting goals can get caught up in the “supposed-to’s” instead designing the life you desire.

It’s time for you to reconnect to you.

To hear the whisper inside your heart that’s been waiting patiently for you to listen.

To feel where you’re being called this year.

I have 3 journaling prompts to help you do just that.

I recommend setting a timer for 5 minutes, putting your pen to paper to answer the first prompt, and then writing continuously until the timer goes off. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation or even if you’re making sense. Just write. Repeat with the other two prompts. Here they are:

  • If you had a magic wand, what would be different one year from today?
  • My heart is telling me to…
  • At the end of the year, I’ll regret if I don’t…

After you finish writing, go back and read through what you wrote. What jumps out at you? What messages is your true inner voice telling you about where you’re being called this year?

My biggest lesson of 2019

My biggest lesson of 2019
The outdoors called to me yesterday. I had this weird desire to go out walking in the 40 degree mist and fog. I thought the path through Hidden Falls Regional Park would be plowed, making it easy to navigate.
 
It wasn’t plowed. The park wasn’t even open. I had to park above the entrance and walk down. And the second I arrived, the fog lifted and the mist cleared. The sun even came out for a few minutes.
 
So basically, this walk was nothing I expected.
 
And it was perfect.
 
It was perfect because the closed gate over the entrance kept almost everyone out, so I walked in peace for an hour and only saw four people.
 
It was perfect because the sun shone through the clouds and created layers of gray on gray on gray over the river and it was spectacularly beautiful.
 
It was perfect because the unplowed path was just slushy enough to make me slip and slide and make it all silly and playful, but not so much that I actually fell down.
 
It was perfect because I realized in the moment just how perfect it was and then I got to think of all the reasons it was perfect and better than any of the expectations that had gotten me outside in the first place.
My biggest lesson of 2019, maybe of my life as a whole, is to create expectations and then hold to them lightly. Set goals and get clear on your dreams and then be open to completely different possibilities along the way.
 
Suffering happens when you expect something has to be a SINGLE way. You have to meet that goal or else you’ve failed. That experience or relationship or person better be how you envisioned or it’s terrible.
 
Joy happens when you dream and plan and scheme and then let yourself be a part of the journey. When you let go of the expectations of what happiness was supposed to look like and embrace the joy that is already here in this present moment.

That’s my lesson learned this year. What’s yours?

You Are Whole On The Journey

Friendly Beaches, Tasmania, Australia

I’m seeing a TON of podcasts and emails right now about doing a deep dive not just into the last year, but the last DECADE. And then planning your big goals and dreams for the next year – or decade – of life.

I’m all about reflecting. And I’m all about big dreams. I have an entire day blocked off next week for reflection and strategic planning for 2020.

But I also know it’s easy to look back and instead of seeing what you’re proud of, you see all the places you feel behind. And then that feeling quadruples when you starting thinking about the future and some imaginary point when you’ll finally be have it all together and be complete.

I had a client recently tell me that she didn’t feel like she could rest until she was fully formed. Like she wasn’t already enough in this moment.

Have you ever felt like that? Like you just need the better job or a revenue level and then you will have made it. Or you need to get married. Or have kids. Or buy a house. Or lose 20 pounds.

Just one more thing and then you will be enough.

I’m here to say YOU ARE ALREADY ENOUGH.

You are both whole and constantly forming at the same time.

You are already amazing. And you are developing and learning every single day.

You have nothing to prove. You can stop hustling and take a breath.

You deserve to feel good on the journey – because it’s all a journey.

I’ll say it again. You are already enough.

Remember this as you reflect on the last year and dream your dreams for 2020.

Self Care During The Holidays

Candles - self care during the holidays

The holidays are supposed to be joyful, right?!? And they can be – or they can be total chaos.

Overachievers and perfectionists (which I KNOW many of you identify with!) have a special challenge during the holidays – taking perfectionism and applying it to holiday cheer.

You have to find the best gift for everyone, get out your glue gun to create the most perfect ugly Christmas sweater, decorate your house and tree and cookies to look like a Pinterest board, and put that stupid Elf On A Shelf in the most creative place each day (I’m not a parent, so maybe I shouldn’t comment on this, but I do not get Elf On A Shelf! It seems like just one more thing on the to-do list during an already busy time.)

It’s time to stop. You are not responsible for creating the perfect holiday.

But even if you know that logically, it can still be hard. And this is a busy time of year for most people even if they aren’t overachieving at holiday making.

Here are my top 3 tips for self-care during the holidays:

  • Say no. I’ve written about saying no many times. It’s because most of us need to do it WAY more. The holidays are no exception. You get to say no to a party invite or a cookie exchange or even a volunteer event. Your no is not a judgment on the person extending the invite or your relationship or the worthiness of the activity – it’s just a no.
  • Take 5 minutes of your day just for yourself (or more if that works for you!): December is actually a slow time of the year for me in my business, which means it’s a good time of year to start new habits. Before diving into work each morning, I’m spending a few minutes journaling. I light a candle and write. It’s the perfect start to the day. You can take a bath, sit quietly with your cup of coffee, or just breathe for a few minutes.
  • Choose present over perfect: I’m stealing this from a book title (one I haven’t actually read but had to buy because of the title and is now sitting on my shelf). You will be more joyful this holiday season if you are present. Throw perfection out the window. Enjoy right now. Love the people you’re with. Doing this will create the moments you wanted in the first place.

What listening to dozens of writers has taught me about life

What listening to authors has taught me about life

I have always LOVED listening to writers. If you ask me to go to an event where an author is speaking, I’ll probably say yes.

I saw Elizabeth Gilbert in the basement of a Barnes & Noble right after Eat, Pray, Love came out – and right before she became uber-famous. Half her family was sitting in the basement of that bookstore AND Richard from Texas was there. They both signed my copy. (Which, sadly, was lost somewhere in all my moves.)

Jacquelyn Mitchard came to my dorm in college and told us that she writes ideas for her books on post-it notes and tosses them into a plastic container in her closet. When the container is full, she knows it’s time to start writing.

Ann Patchett outlines her entire book and then sits down to write it in single draft. Of course it’s edited, but she knows EXACTLY what is going to happen in the whole book when she sits down to write.

Brené Brown got stuck while writing one of her books and invited a bunch of friends to a working weekend on the beach where she told them her stories and they helped her finish the book.

Colson Whitehead, Chris Van Allsburg, Nicole Krauss, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan…they all have a different story.

You know what I learned from listening to all these amazing writers?

THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE A BOOK.

There is only figuring out the way that is going to work for you.

This is true for everything in life. Yes, you can listen to mentors and get advice from people that have gone before you. But then you have to turn inward, listen to yourself, to your true inner voice, and decide what’s going to work FOR YOU.

You get to decide the right way to do your career, to parent, eat, and take care of yourself. You get to decide the right way to do LIFE.

There are many great paths. You get to choose the ones that are right for you.

 

If you know something needs to change in the way you work and live and want guidance figuring out the right way for YOU to do life, schedule a free coaching consultation with me now. We’ll get underneath what’s holding you back and figure out if coaching is the right solution for you.