Archive for March, 2008

The Movie of your Life

Monday, March 31st, 2008

For the last few years I have been in the process of writing a book. The subject and purpose of the book has changed more than a few times. At first I thought it would be great to have a book as a way to help grow my business and what I’m doing. And then it turned out that I was asked to join other writers in a collaborative effort which came out as 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Once this was published my original reason for writing a book changed.

Then I was encouraged to tell my story. That was a challenging project because it can be neverending. Once you tell one part of your life, you think about something else. I have led a pretty interesting life and of course think that I have a unique story to tell. And I am sure that most of you do too. It’s in the telling of that story that you find out things about yourself that you forgot. There’s a lot more to the story than you realize.

For a second, imagine that you are getting ready to go to a movie with a friend. You’re not sure what you want to see….so you pick up the movie section and sure enough there is a movie about your life.

The first scene begins with your life now including the roles and identities that define you to a large extent. It includes your hopes, your dreams and your doubts.

What are the roles that you would be playing? What do you identity with? Right now I am playing coach-mentor, father, husband, and renaissance man. I have played lawyer, musician, athlete and poet at different times of my life. Right now I am embracing this role as a renaissance man….it all makes sense for me and it’s fun.

It enables me to live a balanced integrated life and incorporate all of my past experiences and beliefs into being in integrity with who I really am. It’s a matter of throwing off the shackles which have confined me, which usually are the past judgments of others and of ourselves.

So here’s the challenge. If you threw off all of those past shackles and all of the shoulds and woulds, what would your movie be like? Who would be playing you in the movie? And what role would you be playing?

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow ,JD, is an Executive and Life Coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former successful trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

Five Things you can do to Change your Mood

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Since I have been a student and teacher of personal development, which has been my whole life, I keep coming back to one thought that influences everything. No matter what is going on in your life, how you view it is determined by the meaning that you give it. For example, one person might see the ending of a relationship as a devastating blow. For another, the ending of a relationship might be seen as a ticket to freedom and an opportunity for a better life.

In the workplace a job ending could be considered a big loss for one person and or for another an opportunity to find something better. Whether something is a disappointment or an opportunity is your attitude toward it. And what distinguishes a problem from an opportunity the attitude you bring to the situation, rather than the event itself.

Lately there have been many articles and books written about the Law of Attraction, which essentially is that we attract to us what our dominant beliefs are. So if we believe that it’s going to be a good day, it most likely will. By the way that’s where the highlight of the day comes in that I wrote about in the last blog.

Let’s go one step further and agree that the Law of Attraction works. So if our dominant beliefs determine our experience of life, what happens when our beliefs are negative on?. What happens if we doubt whether we can make it or it will work out?

I’m not saying the goal is to remove all doubt. We’re always going to have a degree of doubt and that’s probably healthy. It gives us an edge, which in many situations motivates us to be at our best.

With all of the negativity out there, it is challenging to remain positive. Yet there is no question that we tend to be a little bit more negative that we need to. So if our beliefs are so crucial, how can we change them?

Our beliefs are directly linked to our attitudes. If we have a positive attitude we’ll believe we can do almost anything. So the question then becomes, if Attitude determines everything, how do you change it? For example, you might be in a bad mood and don’t feel like doing anything; or you might be worrying excessively? How do you get out of your funk? Here are some practices that have helped me from time to time. First the obvious ones.

1- I always look at my diet. Usually caffeine is the culprit. Then I’ll add some fresh squeezed juices and make sure I’m eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. And it goes without saying that you want to minimize red meat and chicken.

2-At least once a year and usually two or three times, I’ll cleanse my system. I follow the recommendations of the Stanley Burroughs Master Cleanse for approximatelyy five-eight days. I just finished my spring cleanse and feel great. Believe it or not the first time I heard about cleansing was when I was in Law School and I have been cleansing ever since.

3-Another inquiry I make is to look at my activity level. Usually when I get in one of those moods I’m not exercising. I have found from working with many different people that getting enough exercise is perhaps their biggest challenge. I guarantee if you exercise regularly you won’t stay in a funk. It’s impossible to stay down when your heart rate is in your target zone.

4-Of course I make sure that I make time for the morning program, which I wrote about in the March issue of Letters on Life. Wondering about the highlight of the day is a great inquiry. It creates a positive expectation. You can ask this question in almost any type of situation. Let’s say it’s an event that you don’t want to go to. You might ask yourself the following question: “I wonder who I’m going to meet and what the highlight of the evening will be.

5- Music is a great mood changer. Almost instantly it gets me going…it’s hard to be down when you’re dancing. i remember when I was a trial lawyer. I compiled a group of songs that inspired me before beginning a trial. The music from “Rocky” was one of those pieces.

These are just a few of the things that have worked for me in the past. Hopefully I keep learning.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow ,JD, is an Executive and Life Coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former successful trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

The Highlight of the Day

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

For some years now, I start my day with a ritual. After meditating and focusing on all of the blessings in my life, I start wondering about what the highlight of the day might be.

What I mean by highlight can be a conversation, a walk in nature or a feeling that I have. It might a feeling I get watching a movie or reading a book. I certainly felt that way watching a few movies recently. I already shared with in a previous blog, August Rush. If you haven’t already seen Across the Universe, it’s another great one.

When you come from a true place of wonderment, you don’t know when you will experience these moments, but you are open to feeling it when it occurs.

It might even be that there are two or three moments that in their own way elevate how you feel. Once that occurs you feel a flow in your life. It’s contagious. You come to expect it.

That’s the way it’s been lately. I already told you about the Golden Gate experience. And Sunday was another one of those moments. Not only did I connect with a new friend, I also found a new music partner. It was great sharing common ground about the creative process with someone new. It was a great day which has become the norm rather than the exception.

Wondering about the highlight of the day, helps you create a positive expectation as to your experience of life. It’s a great practice and takes just an open mind and a little curiosity. Experiment with it for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference. I bet you will.

Keep me posted.

JOURNEY ON

MARK


THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow ,JD, is an Executive and Life Coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former successful trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

Law of Attraction or Being in the Flow?

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

We were on our way to the city to meet Jim and Fern who we haven’t seen in many years. They were in town for a conference. Our plan was to meet them for lunch, at Green’s, the vegetarian restaurant run by the Zen Center, located in Ft.Mason, the historical landmark.

I needed to be back in Marin for a series of coaching calls beginning at 3PM. This would give us plenty of time to visit, have a leisurely lunch and catch up and maybe wander around the Fort.

It was an incredibly beautiful day. As we were driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, I noticed all of the people and bicyclists making their way over the bridge. I couldn’t believe I had never done that myself. So I said to Annie, “Someday lets walk or ride our bikes across the bridge.

It was great to see them. I had known Jim for over 30 years. As we were finishing our leisurely lunch it was time to get outside. As we were getting ready to leave, Jim said that he had a favor to ask me. “Could you drop us off at Vista Point, so that we could walk back over the bridge?”

I said,”Sounds great, we’ll do that with you.”

We got in our car, drove over the bridge and parked at Vista Point, and took in the awe-inspiring views.

Our plan was to walk back with them to the North Tower. We began our walk until it was time to say “good-bye” and turn around.

As we were saying our “good-bye’s”, they mentioned that they were thinking of going dancing that evening. They said that they had been hearing a lot about West-Coast Swing, but didn’t know much about it.

Both Annie and I simultaneously replied, “We have been working on this dance for over a year now.”

And then they asked, “What’s it like?”

We took that as an invitation. “Watch, we’ll show you,” we replied.

And before you knew it we were dancing at the foot of the North Tower on the bridge.

As we got back in our car and drove back to our house, I kept smiling as I was thinking, Was this the Law of Attraction working or just being in the flow?

I’m not really sure and I don’t even know if it matters, but either way we had a great day.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

Find your Passion for Living

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

I’ll just call her Betty. I’ve been Betty’s life coach for some time now. She’s an incredibly dynamic woman who is struggling to develop a business that doesn’t allow her to bring out who she really is. It’s working one-on-one as a health care consultant.

Betty needs a bigger game. What gets her excited is being in front of groups. She is a born leader and has made a difference in almost everything she does. Now that her kids have left the house she is ready for the next step.

However Betty is looking for validation through the success of her consulting business which is slow.

When I asked her why its so important to be successful in her consulting business, she replied that it would make her feel needed and wanted and validated.

I asked Betty if there were other ways that she could feel needed and wanted.

When she saw herself in front of the room at a big charity event introducing the guest speaker she got excited. When she saw herself influencing decision makers she got excited especially when it was connected to a cause she was championing.

Betty now knows what she has to do and is excited about going in that direction. In a few months Betty is introducing a major celebrity for at an event for a well-known clinic. When she thinks about it, she smiles and gets excited. She gets to express who she really is.

You can too find that passion for living when you play a bigger game. Step out and dance.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

What are you Avoiding?

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I just watched, Click, a film with Adam Sandler, which had an interesting premise. What if we had a universal remote that could speed up our life so that if we really wanted something we could get it much sooner, just by clicking on the fast forward button.

That’s what Adam Sandler did. He was up for partner in an architectural firm, but it would be a year from the present. So he used fast forward to the day he would be named partner. And from there he fast forwarded some more to the day he was Architect of the Year. But by this time he was an old man and suffered from debilitating health problems.

In the film you see all that he missed…his kids growing up…his wife falling in love with someone else. It makes you think. Are we living too much in the future or are we taking extra steps to avoid experiencing what’s happening right in front of us? Usually it’s a combination of the two. We do anything to avoid pain. We keep busy, take mind altering substances. Caffeine speeds us up and alcohol slows us down. And of course there are many other substances.

So the question is what are you not willing to look at? Perhaps a little truth searching would be helpful. I remember when I used to struggle with relationships. I was in a rocky relationship that I described as “off and on.” The truth was that it was usually off and dragged on for two years. I didn’t want to look at the truth because I didn’t want to say that I was alone. So I put up with the pain to avoid looking at something much deeper.

Then one day I realized that I was alone. Having a relationship didn’t change that. Once I realized that I was alone, I began experiencing solitude which brought me a sense of inner peace.

Don’t be afraid to look at the truth. As they say the truth sets you free.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

Would you like to learn the secret of time management?

Monday, March 17th, 2008

I’ve been thinking lately about that feeling of “not having enough time.” I say feeling because you do have enough time. But it’s that feeling of being in a hurry that prevents you from being in the moment and enjoying life fully. Time management is not about systems and “to do lists.” It’s making a paradigm shift as to how you view life.

Most of us start the day like we’re trying to catch a train. We wake up, grab a cup of coffee, look at the paper and listen to the news. And many of us turn on the computer, check our email or a few websites. Now we’re ready. We rush out of the house to make an appointment or meet a deadline or to put the finishing touches on a project. From deadline to appointment it goes. When we leave work we have other responsibilities and obligations, and it doesn’t end until we go to sleep, and for some it still doesn’t end. We never do catch the train. We forgot one essential thing. We are the conductor and the train can’t go anywhere without us.

What if you knew deep inside that the train wasn’t going anywhere? What would it take to develop the wisdom that there was a better way? What changes could you implement that would make a difference? I was a busy trial lawyer for thirty years, always running to catch the train. I still remember racing to the court room full of coffee and stress until I realized I was the conductor of my life. That realization allowed me to make life altering changes that continue to make my life more enjoyable, more successful and more fulfilling.

Here’s what I discovered. How you begin your day sets the tone for the day! It all starts with creating your perfect morning. This is your morning, no one else’s. It’s an opportunity that comes around the same time every day. Consider waking up to music you love, rather than to the music or news on your alarm clock. Here’s what I do. I begin my day with meditation. If this is new to you just sit silently for 10-15 minutes before doing anything else. I suggest using a timer, while you are meditating., so that you don’t think about what you have to do when you leave the house.

Once your timer goes off allow yourself gently to focus on what you are grateful for. You might have a tendency to think about what isn’t working in your life or to worry about the future. If you do, you’re not alone. Most of us have this tendency to varying degrees. By focusing on what you are grateful for, you shift your focus to what you have and what is working rather than on what you don’t have. Gratitude helps you shift your focus! And we know that what we focus on expands.

Then start to wonder what the highlight of your day might be. I scan my day quickly and wonder if this is going to be the moment. I also wonder if the highlight might be something that I’m not thinking about at the moment. That’s the fun part. I’m open to being pleasantly surprised. The gratitude and highlight part of the morning program usually takes just a minute or two.

As you leave your house and begin the flow of your day you look at each experience and wonder if this is going to be the highpoint of your day knowing there is more to come. The concept of looking at the highlight of the day can be used in any situation even one that seems unpleasant. Imagine a meeting that you are going to have with someone, who let’s say to be nice, is “difficult.” Looking for the highlight in this experience or in this person can totally change your attitude about the meeting. I had my share of those meetings especially when I was a lawyer. Most all of the people that I work with also have those meetings. By the use of gratitude and wondering about the highlight, you are creating a positive expectation as to how you want your day to go.

As the day unfolds, if you sense that things inside are heating up, consider taking a little break. You might even stretch for five minutes or walk around the block. And there are no rules that you can’t listen to some good music. As your day progresses the biggest difference is the knowledge that you can be busy and be relaxed.

I have found that starting the day this way increases my energy and efficiency throughout the day. When I leave my house centered and focused there is a much greater likelihood that I can maintain this balance throughout the day. There has been plenty of research by psychologists demonstrating the value of taking the time for morning meditation or creative silence. This has been my practice for over thirty years and very rarely do I feel overwhelmed. And this was so even when I was in the middle of a trial. I find that I laugh more and generally enjoy my day. Of course I have my challenges and lose my focus periodically, but not for long. And before I go to sleep I again think about what was most special about this day.

The one thing I do know for certain is that there‘s a direct correlation between how I start my day and the quality of my life. Try a little experiment. For the next thirty days start your day on your own terms and discover the dramatic changes that are possible. Recently a friend asked me what I felt was the biggest benefit of being a long-term meditator. I thought about it for a few seconds and responded , “I very rarely feel that I don’t have enough time.”

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

LISTEN TO THE CALL

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I love to read an inspiring book or watch a movie. A few days ago I wrote about 3 Cups of Tea. Now I have another one. This time it’s a movie which is August Rush. I watched it Friday evening. I loved the ending. It’s about a boy who is given up for adoption who hears music inside him. He believes that the music will lead him to his parents. He follows the music until the final scene which left me with a wonderful feeling inside. And so I watched it the next nite with Annie. There’s a lot of great music in the film and some touching scenes. Don’t want to tell you too much. You’ll have to rent it.

It reminded me to listen to my calling. August Rush listened to the music and he followed it. We all have an inner voice that is telling us something, but quite often we don’t listen.

And quite often we can’t hear that voice amidst all of the chatter and clutter. We have to be still before we can hear the voice and then it’s up to us to listen. Once we hear the voice we need to have a map and direction. It might take years but at least we know we are going in the right direction.

I think most us want to know that we have a deeper purpose. Finding that purpose is what much of our search is about. For me becoming a life coach was a step in that direction. Inspiring others to believe in themselves is what motivates me. It’s taken me a while to get there with a lot of twists and turns along the way.

Once you have a glimpse of what it is, allow it to expand. One step leads to the next and before you know it, you are fulfilling your life purpose. It doesn’t mean that life is now a walk in the beach, but certainly you fell that the challenge is worth the effort.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

CHANGING HOW YOU REACT TO DISAPPOINTMENT

Friday, March 14th, 2008

In a life coaching call with (we will call him) Bill, Bill expressed his frustration with an employee. This wasn’t the only source of his frustration. There were a few other people who Bill found difficult.

Although this isn’t the only source of one’s frustration, most often our frustration occurs in the course of a relationship when our needs are not met. This can be in the workplace, at home, or in an intimate relationship.

We had an expectation and we feel someone let us down. That is the common denominator. How do we usually respond when our needs aren’t met? We feel frustrated as Bill did and either stuff it, or react to it.

In other situations it might be the accumulation of things that come up that drive us nuts. One event by itself probably would not tip us over the edge. But if we are already on edge because of the accumulation of the events, it doesn’t take much to reach our tipping point. We then react by feeling angry and frustrated.

This situation occurs in my work over and over again. So what can we do?

My answer probably will seem familiar to you. You need to make yourself stronger so that you are not so reactive. When I ask clients what there morning is like, usually they tell me that they are harried as they leave the house.

How you start your morning sets the tone for the day. It’s a matter of preparing yourself for what might come up during the day. Taking time for meditation before you rush out of your house is the best thing you can do. Taking breaks during the day is another great habit to get into.

You might think that you don’t have enough time if you add this to your schedule. It actually works the other way. You’ll have more time. You’ll be better organized and less stressed so when that situation comes up that Bill experienced, you’re calmer and better able to respond. You’ll be more efficient and get things done in less time.

JOURNEY ON

TIME

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

“WHAT IF” THIS HAPPENED CAN BE A GOOD THING

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Following up on my theme that what comes up in a life coaching session pertains to all of us I am relating what came up this morning.

Do you know one person who doesn’t worry? I don’t. I think that we can all agree that we would like to minimize our worrying. But what is worry?

That’s what we talked about in our call. When you worry, you believe that something in the future will occur that will a negative effect on your life down the road.

The truth is you don’t know for sure. So you are making a negative assumption about the future. That’s what we are doing. And rather than living in the present, we are living in a “what if world.”

Let’s flip it. But before we do that, let’s call worry…concern. Let’s take what we are concerned about and give it the best case scenario. For example we might be concerned about business. And we might think that if the business is getting slower, then in three months it will be even slower.

What if you said because this month is a little bit slow, I am poised to have my best month ever? Don’t you think you would have more fun while you go through what you go through? You know you would. Change the questions you are asking yourself.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW. There will always be something that holds you back; an excuse to put your life on hold. JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He also publishes, Letters on Life, an inspirational ezine. Signup! http://www.inspirepossibility.com.


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