Archive for January, 2009

Smile and Laugh a Little Bit More than Yesterday

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I just got off the phone with one of my life coaching clients, let’s just call her Betty. We discussed a simple technique that would assist Betty in empowering herself.

If you have been a reader of my blog for a while or have read any of my other materials you know that I make frequent reference to that voice of judgment VOJ) which I call your gremlin-that voice that drives you nuts. No matter what’s going on, the voice takes over and tries to make you miserable. And if it doesn’t make you miserable it creates doubt in whatever you are doing.

It’s like a hypnotic spell that runs your life. I have found that the best way to break the spell is for you to just notice it by giving it a name. My gremlin’s name is Ralph. Whenever I worry about the future or am overly critical of myself, I know that it’s Ralph rearing his head.

There’s also that voice that puts a smile on my face…that voice that says, “hey you are doing great.” So that’s been the theme for the day with all of my coaching clients. Think of a name that embodies that person you would like to be-that person that makes you feel good when you think about them. The next time you look in the mirror smile and say to yourself, “hey, you’re doing great.”

Smile and laugh a little bit more than yesterday.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

Get ready for more good in your life.

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

When I read Les’s email this morning I had a big smile on my face. Last week I asked Les, who is one of my life and business coaching clients, to write out what he learned from last year’s economic crunch. Les who is an architect summarized the year for himself…clients cancelling projects, low self-esteem, eating more than he wanted to and thinking about leaving the area. He was on his way out.

He hung in there. What we had been discussing in our coaching relationship is his relationship to the unknown. He saw the unknown as threatening and scary. Many of us do.

He slowly began to think about the unknown in a new way. I suggested that he see the “unknown as his friend.” With that in mind he became curious as to all of the good that might happen. I even suggested that this year could be his best year in his business. It all started with a call out of the blue as Les calls it. It was for a big project. This was the first of just many projects that have been coming his way. He has been on a roll and has a full schedule.

What I have seen is that this cycle for Les was just one of many that we all go through in our lifetimes. What we have to learn to do in the meantime is to hang in there until the tides change. But if we let the cycle get us too far down we won’t be ready to enjoy the next phase of the cycle when it comes and it will.

We have a choice. Choose happiness. Smile and laugh a little bit more than yesterday.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

Make this the Year of Accepting Yourself

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Themes for the year. That’s what we’ve been discussing in the life coaching and executive coaching sessions so far. For example, your theme might be making your life an adventure. Or it might be seeing yourself, dancing for joy. Mine was seeing this year as a magical year.

Yet there is one theme that needs to be in the forefront. It is the one theme that holds us back from living a fulfilling life. And that is accepting ourselves. There is that voice that we repeat to ourselves, if only this was different about myself. It might be twenty pounds lighter, a few inches taller or shorter, more hair or different color hair. And I’m sure you have your variation on this theme.

In a life coaching session yesterday, let’s call her Bonnie felt that if only she were fifteen pounds lighter she would feel better about herself. Truth be told, Bonnie is a striking woman who most people notice. I guarantee you that noone thinks that Bonnie needs to lose any weight. But that’s not what’s important. Bonnie believes that if she lost that weight she would feel better about herself. She might for a while and then something else would come up. Bonnie has to accept herself and her perceived imperfections.

Many years ago Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, wrote the book PsychoCynernetics. Maltz noted that most of the patients who consulted with him, didn’t like a physical characteristic about themselves. He observed that even after performing the surgery and correcting the physical quality that they didn’t like, they still didn’t like themselves.

Maltz concluded that unless they were willing to do the inner work, their feeling about how they looked wouldn’t change. Unless they learned to love themselves, they would feel dissatisfied.

Loving yourself is a choice that you make over and over again. How we see our lives is a decision we make. Choose happiness and your whole world changes. What is it that you don’t accept about yourself? How would your life be different if you accepted that part of yoruself?

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

The “Dark Clouds” are lifting.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Where were you on this historic morning? It was a special moment that I wanted to share. When I heard that the town was opening its chambers so that we could see the inauguration together, I made the decision to head on down there. I left the house early and parked the car. On my way down the street, I stopped in the coffee shop, which also had a big screen and began a conversation with a good friend.

The whole world was watching as the new president took his oath of office. We are beginning a new era…an era full of hope and optimism, yet one with more than its share of challenges.

More than ever with innovative technologies almost daily, the world is not only changing rapidly but is connected in ways that never before existed. Through the internet, within seconds, anything we write can be read by someone around the world.

These last eight years have been challenging….the most challenging in many years. As a society we created the ground work for someone like Obama to show up. It was first the change of consciousness on an inner level and then the manifestation of this consciousness which is Obama. But first we had to create George Bush to get there.

And that’s the way our life works. It is our nature to create our lives as we live them. One thing always leads to the next. Even when you see darkness, you are preparing yourself so that you can see the light. Struggle prepares you for ease. Discipline leads to freedom. That’s the polarity of life’s seeming contradictions…it’s the duality we experience in day-to-day living.

There is no ending, just constant evolution. It’s all as one of my teachers would have said, “Grist for the Mill.”

You can’t stop the “dark clouds” from drifting through so don’t obsess about them. Know that when the “dark clouds” dissipate, you’ll see the sun again. Better days are here again.

Instead of sailing into the headwinds, we are sailing with the wind at our backs. It becomes more fun and more exciting.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

We still have work to do

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I have noticed that their is more optimism than there has been in a long time. And yes we still have a lot of problems. Many folks that I run into are excited about this Tuesday…we still have work to do, we will be reminded. We don’t mind because we believe that we have the leadership to guide and inspire us. We are willing to do our share.

So many times in our lives we have held back, never really allowing ourselves to think about our deepest longings for the fear that we will be disappointed. Isn’t that the way it is in many relationships that we have. To avoid feeling pain, we hold back, keeping something in reserve in case it doesn’t work. That’s our strategy and there is nothing wrong with it unless we stop going for our joy. And that’s what we do too often. We stop going for it and instead let the fear of the pain, run our lives.

I wrote in the Year of Living Magically that we are on the verge of a dawn of a renaissance. In more ways than one we are experiencing a rebirth in the way that we are thinking about the future. We are hopeful….it makes what we are doing now seem more meaningful.

As Martin Luther King once said, there is a Fierce Urgency of Now. Don’t wait any longer. The time is at hand. Whatever you dream about doing, do it now.

The world needs you. Know that by you being you, you are making a unique contribution to the world.

Choose to be connected…choose to accept more joy in your life…choose happiness.

Journey On

Mark

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

MAKE THE CHOICE

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Let’s just call him Les. Les is one of my business and life coaching clients and is an architect. His business was down last year and in December he was real discouraged. i told him that none of us can predict the future. I reminded him that life is cyclical and things can turn around in a second. Just when we see a trend that seems like it is never going to stop, before we know it, it has reversed.

In our coaching session before the holiday I suggested to Les that next year, 2009, could be his best year yet. When we met yesterday, Les told me that he his bid on a project was accepted and most likely this year will be his best year yet.

He also told me that in December when I suggested to him this possibility, he didn’t think it was possible.

So here he is right on the verge and the year has just started. In my last newsletter I held the vision that this year is the year of living magically.

Imagine this year in that context. As the year progresses you think about the magic in your life. You are looking for the magic. You are also allowing yourself to think in those terms. Allow yourself to accept and receive the blessings that are coming your way. Stay open. It is a choice you make over and over again. Choose happiness-smile and laugh a little bit more than yesterday and Journey On.

Mark

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

Make time for the Jollies

Monday, January 12th, 2009

So here we are. I bet you’re curious about the title. No I haven’t lost my mind. Let me tell you how I came up with this phrase.

We all have our share of challenges that concern us from time to time; some more challenging than others. Some of us even feel overwhelmed by what they are faced with. Others, although not overwhelmed, are very concerned by what they are facing. So much so that they don’t do anything about it. They know what they have to do, but a paralysis sets in. They lose their nerve, and feel like they are losing control, yet hang on by a thread.

Even though life might be like that for you, there are still a lot of things that have given you joy at one time or the other. They might be little things that you have forgotten about because of all of your responsibilities. If you let them, your responsibilities and obligations take over and run your life.

In my own life, I keep pretty busy, but lately have made time for tennis. At one time in my life, I use to be a pretty good player. I hadn’t played for five years. I forgot how much fun playing tennis is. Going dancing is always lot of fun. It’s really taking time to do what gives you joy. So when I say make time for the jollies…I mean make time for what gives you “joy.”

Those things that you have to do or that you are concerned about, don’t go away. Even when you get them off your “to do” lists, they reemerge in a different form. Even when your “to do” list still has plenty of things on it and you still have loose ends in your life, what are some things you can do that will give you the “jollies?” Make a list that has at least 3 things on them. Make an agreement with yourself when you’ll begin them.

JOURNEY ON

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

THE YEAR OF LIVING MAGICALLY

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Sometimes you’re just ready to say, “Yes.” So when I read the email about the show, To Whom the Bridge Tolls, a satire about Marin Life, I knew what I wanted to do this New Years Eve. Annie and I asked our good friends Rick and Nancy to join us. With my expectations running high, I wasn’t disappointed. I laughed non-stop as one line after the other made fun of Marin living, which I am proud to be part of. Not only was it great to laugh, it always feels good to laugh at yourself. With that sentiment in mind, I totally cracked up, at the joke about Life Coaches. Sometimes we get so caught up in the personal challenges we are facing, we aren’t able to laugh, which is what we need to do.

As the showed progressed from one skit to the other, I was thinking about that second when the New Year would be here. It has been a challenging year for many. I like to think of myself as a visionary thinker. I believe we are about to being an exciting new era. We are on the verge of a new Renaissance. All of the ingredients are there; the leadership, the spirit and the vision. To say the least I’m excited about 2009.

I want to be fully engaged in this Renaissance. My thoughts shift to who I need to become to experience that magic. I think about what I can do to make a difference in the world. I think about those inner qualities that I need to work on, so that I can become the person I want to be. We keep evolving.
it is
The beginning of the year has a unique quality to it. We have momentum. We try to leverage that momentum in different ways. The traditionalists use New Year resolutions to help them achieve what it is that they want in the beginning of the year. They declare, “ I’ll lose ten or twenty pounds.” Maybe you have a different number. Then they declare that they will give up something- it might be drinking or smoking or eating dairy or something else. They’ll resolve to exercise three times per week and take a new class. It works for a while, but only for a while.

Many spiritual teachers encourage us to work with intentions, which can have many meanings. Last year at an intentions workshop we explored what our intentions were for the upcoming year in the various phases of our life. We looked deeper into what it was that we were really committed to and were asked to complete the following sentence: “My deepest intent” is to………… For me the words just flowed out effortlessly. “My deepest intent is to inspire others to believe in themselves.” In many ways I saw my deepest intent in alignment with my life purpose. I still do. As I begin this year I can think of nothing more that I would like for others than to believe in themselves. The work we do keeps evolving. We keep refining what we are here to do. Last years intention has evolved into what it is currently, which is to awaken in others the knowing that what’s possible in their life, materially, spiritually and emotionally is greater than they can imagine.
Now this knowing doesn’t just mean that you can wave a magic wand and your life will be different. It’s a process that needs nurturing and cultivating. If you are patient, the magic will come. It just might show up in a different context than you originally thought. But to get there you have to do the inner work. There are no shortcuts. The inner work involves your commitment to a spiritual practice. It might take a certain level of discipline initially, but over time it becomes a way of life. Once this shift happens, you look forward to your practice. Over time you experience a deeper level of inner peace. From this place of stillness, you become aware of possibilities that you never knew existed.

There is one other piece that I have found quite helpful in doing the work. Goals can be a powerful ally in transforming your life. Yet many people have an aversion to working with them or choose modest goals so that they avoid disappointment. We all have been disappointed by life at times and it hurts. fe in the pastReaching your goal is not as important as who you become in the process. Goals are not an end- all but a beginning. no matter whate we are talking about They create a focus so that in the process you become more than who you are now. realIf your goal is to have a great relationship, you have to first become a more evolved. If your goal is to become a successful entrepreneur, you need to first become more adventurous, more confident and more resourceful.

You don’t have to make a choice between working with intention or working with goals. They work perfectly together like a great marriage. Intention is the feminine aspect and goals are the masculine.
There is a great opportunity awaiting you. What you don’t want to do is to sit back and watch it go by. It’s time to get involved and take that next step.

I love Marianne Williamson’s perspective:

“Our deepest fFear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to manifest the glory that is within us.
As we let our light shine
We unconsciously give other people
Permission to do the same.”

I enjoy sharing the journey with you. We keep learning all of the time. Make it fun. Laugh a little bit more than yesterday and

Journey On

Mark

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

We Choose What We Focus On

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

I had an interesting call in a life coaching session this morning with let’s just call him Carl. Carl was telling me about his feeling of not belonging especially in social situations. At the gym he would observe others talking with each other. At the coffee shop he would notice others engaged in conversation.

Carl came to the conclusion that he wasn’t that interesting nor a very good communicator which was different than my perception of him. In fact in my opinion, Carl, was one of the more accessible and engaging clients that I had worked with.

When I asked Carl to list the qualities he liked about himself, he included being friendly. Yet he focused on those few social settings when he didn’t see himself that way.

In truth Carl saw both sides of himself…yet he focused on the negative aspects of his communication skills. As we know from our work together, it is a metaphysical principle that what we focus on expands. If we focus on the negative, our thoughts will be predominantly negative. So in Carl’s case, his focus was on not being a good communicator. And that is a tendency that many of us have. We focus on what’ wrong, rather than what’s right.

So how can you change that? Change the question. Rather than judging what you don’t like and thinking that there is something wrong, change the inquiry. I suggested to Carl the following: Isn’t in interesting, Mark sees me as a great communicator and many others also see me that way and yet at times I don’t see myself that way.

I also asked Carl the following question: Is it true that you are not a good communicator and Carl acknowledged that he did not believe that. In truth Carl liked going to the coffee shop and drinking his coffee while reading the paper. It was a ritual that he enjoyed. He liked going to the office to get away from the rigors of the office. He wasn’t interested in socializing. Each moment we choose what we focus on. He chose this moment of sanctuary. Each moment you can choose happiness.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

The Hidden Benefits of Goals

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

It’s that time of year. We are full of resolutions for the new year….lose weight….better job and better relationship…be more positive and it goes on.

In the past I have found goals effective in motivating me in becoming the person that I want to be. I don’t always reach my goals, but I don’t think that’s as important as who I have become in the process.

This is why I say that. Think about what normally happens when you achieve your goal? You think about the next one and how do you determine what that is? Let’s say that your goal is is making more money. Let’s say that your goal is to make $200,000 in the next year which is more than you have ever made. Let’s say you make it. Then what happens. The next year you might set it at $250,000 or some number that you think is reasonable. Eventually what happens is that there will be a point when you don’t reach your goal.

Some people who I work with as their life coach or business coach don’t like to set goals because they feel that they are setting themselves up to fail. They are missing out on the real benefits of using goals. It is true that if you challenge yourself there will be goals that eventually you won’t reach. But the real question is how you feel when that happens?

Just because you don’t reach your goal doesn’t mean that you have failed. When you are not attached to your goal, the goal serves to motivate you to grow and become an expanded person.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s go back to our example of making $200000. Your number might be much higher or lower depending on what you are used to. But whatever the number, in the process of reaching for it, think about what has to happen. Who do you need to become and what do you need to do? The first thing that comes to mind is that you need to put yourself out there. You need to be vulnerable and risk having someone say “No” to you. None of us like that, but that is what it takes to grow. Get out of your comfort zone-try new things and expand your network. For some this is quite challenging.

Right now one of my goals is become a better west coast swing dancer. It means that I have to be vulnerable and dance with many new partners which brings up my fear of rejection and not being good enough. I know I have to go through this stage to experience more freedom as a dancer. And I know that this freedom in this aspect of my life will benefit me in other aspects of my life.

But think ahead for a second and imagine that the year is coming to a close. You didn’t quite reach your goal but you have become an expanded person who is more confident that believes in yourself. As you go forward in the next year, you bring this new expanded and confident you to all of your new endeavors. It’s a choice that you make over and over again.
Choose happiness. Choose to be more playful. Choose to make life more fun.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com


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