Archive for June, 2009

THE SECRET TO OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION

Monday, June 29th, 2009

It works. It’s easy to find an hour to do anything. What this means is that you can complete major projects without altering your schedule. Just knowing this gets rid of a lot of stress. First estimate how long you think the particular project will take. Let’s say five hours. Then schedule it into your appointment book. Then it’s a matter of honoring what’s in your appointment book. It seems that when we write something down it has more significance…It makes it more real.

Here’s another way to look at it. Think about all the things you are “good at” or perhaps were “good at”. All of them required practice and commitment. Big projects are nothing more than a bunch of little ones. A movie is really hundreds of stills moving at an accelerated pace.

Part of living in this day and age is to slow down the pace. So the movie of your life is nothing more than just a series of moments. And as you become more focused on these moments rather than the future you’ll be less stressed out. You’ll enjoy what you’re doing more and less concerned what will happen down the road.

So slow it down and enjoy the moment. The one hour formula is a good start. As you are consistent with this practice your life will be dramatically different.

Mark Susnow’s life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

BE WILLING TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Right now I am thinking of all that I have to do. Sometimes the thinking about it prevents me from actually doing it. Sound familiar? For example until I sat down and started writing this blog I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. I wasn’t sure where I was going. Now that I am actually doing it I see a direction. I have been doing this for a while, so I have learned to trust the process.

And that’s the way with many things in life. Until you actually begin the journey you won’t know where the path that leads you to the magic garden will be. Don’t wait for the whole path to be revealed to you, it never is. As you become more present to what’s in front of you and all around you, you will be better able to recognize the opportunities that are presented to you.

Sometimes it’s a matter of creating your own path. Be the innovator and be willing to think out of the box. Being a master thinker and creator is a great asset. But you also have to take action. So here’s your part.

Perhaps there’s something you really want to happen in your life, a life dream, and you are not sure how to make it happen. After you have identified what that is, what are three things you can take to help you realize your dream?

When will you take them? Who is going to hold you accountable for going forward?

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow’s life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Have faith that it’s all unfolding for your greater good

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

I was having breakfast with an old friend this morning. We’ve been friends for many years and have seen each other evolve through many stages in our lives. He knew me when I was single and a trial lawyer. He was with me when I made the decision to transition from being a trial lawyer to becoming a life coach.

It’s been nine years since I left the law practice. In the eight years that I have been a life coach I have worked with over a thousand people in different ways. Many were stuck in their lives or were looking to answer a particular challenge. Many who I work with are very successful. If you met them, you would think that they didn’t have a problem in the world. They seemed self-confident and reassured and charismatic.

What I have found is that no matter how self-assured and self-confident one might seem when you meet them, on the inner level they experience the same doubts and insecurities that you do which is usually a version of, “Am I good enough?”

In our work together, we change that mindset so that the unknown rather than scare you, excites you. And you stop worrying about what people might think of you.

In fact, I think that all worry is based upon a false belief about what we think might happen in the future. And we know that the future is unknown. We have a choice that we make over and over again about how we hold this future.

I know what my choice is. Even if it doesn’t work out the way I hoped, it’s never as bad as I thought. Whatever happens I have more tools to work with. And I’m not as stressed, out so that when things go my way, I can enjoy the moment. I have learned to make friends with the unknown. That our work…having faith that it’s all unfolding for our greater good.

Mark Susnow’s life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

WHAT IS YOUR HEART’S DESIRE?

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I have noticed for a month now that I need very little sleep. By 5AM it’s light and stays light until almost 9:30. So I’m more active and more physical and I don’t have any desire for caffeine. I’m feeling the natural flow of life and of course in the winter when the days are much shorter we stay home more and sleep more. We more reflective. I remember last winter I felt so sluggish I thought that there was something wrong with me.

It’s learning to be in the natural flow of life. It’s flowing with the changes of the seasons. When we are in tune with nature, our whole being is affected.

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and Fathers day. It’s a day to celebrate, to rejoice and to think about our intentions for our life. There is tremendous manifestation power on this day.

What is your heart’s desire? Hold that in your heart and mind as you enjoy this day.

Happy Solstice….happy Father’s day.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow’s life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Why I meditate!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Many of us are familiar with the word “meditation”; some have experienced meditation in a class or workshop or church gathering. For me, that initial experience was sufficiently profound so that I was open to the opportunity to learn more.

I started becoming aware of meditation in the late 60’s and in the early 70’s. I was an attorney and musician at the time. This was a revolutionary and exciting era when many of our traditional values and beliefs were challenged. Even such basic institutions as family, religion and politics were reexamined.

The youth of the 60s and early 70s were open, albeit sometimes naïve, in looking at everyday
life in new ways. Few icons of Western culture escaped our scrutiny. We were accepting of
different cultures and political systems and increasingly receptive to Eastern philosophies and
cultures.

At the time, I encountered others who’d discuss meditation or were themselves meditators. In 1971 my life began falling apart. By December of that year, I decided to begin meditating. It was perhaps the most significant decision I’ve ever made.

Once I began meditating I started to feel hopeful about the future. I experienced new levels of consciousness and awareness and noticed moments of inner joy regardless of what was going on in my life. I soon developed a burning desire to understand what I was experiencing and read as much as I could about the spiritual and health benefits of meditation.

I was particularly interested in the health benefits of meditation. There’s a great body of literature that claims that long-term meditators have lower blood pressure and cholesterol readings; breathing slows, stress hormone levels fall and there is generally an increased sense of well being– and usually meditators seemed younger. On a practical level it made sense to me. And those occasional moments of tranquility were wonderful when they occurred but they were always unpredictable. The promise down the road intrigued me.

My challenge was to make the commitment. Once I did I made the time for my practice so that it could develop.

This required a leap of faith, but I soon noticed several important benefits. Through regular meditation practice, I was calmer and took less time to make decisions. I needed less sleep and had more energy.

It was interesting to me that I always seemed to have plenty of time to meditate and to do what I wanted. I now have an active practice as a life coach but even as an attorney, I always had plenty of time to enjoy my family, practice yoga, play music and meditate.

Many would be practitioners get hung up on the form or technique, thinking that there is one way that guarantees enlightenment. Whether to have a mantra, or to listen to the breath or to watch one’s thoughts becomes more important than actually meditating. The focus then becomes a search rather than a journey. Remember it’s the practice not the technique that makes a difference in your life.

The technique or form of meditation is a means to take us from the external to inner states of being. I like to use the metaphor of a huge lake with an island in the center. The shores of the lake represent the outer world and the island represents the deepest parts of our being where we connect with the infinite intelligence of the universe.

The concept of NAMASTE is a way of saying that the deepest part of my being is connected to the deepest most sacred part of yours. It’s another way of describing what is possible through meditation.

In the early years, my commitment to a daily practice and belief in the ultimate benefits of meditation kept me going. That is not the case now. Over time, my relationship to my practice transformed and I no longer require an external reason to meditate. I no longer meditate because I made a commitment.

When I meditate consistently, I feel happier, more content and more connected to everyone and everything in my universe. There are fewer bad days. I don’t need as much sleep; I am more enthusiastic about each day and have a deeper experience of inner peace. When I don’t meditate, I feel like something is missing. I look forward to getting up in the morning to meditate. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. I look back over the last thirty years and think of all the changes that have occurred in the world and in my personal life. I have no control over these changes and there will be many more to come. But to an extent, I can control my reaction to these changes and events.

The one constant in my life has been my meditation practice– and no one can take that away from me. It is not like a job or a relationship or a world event that is unpredictable. Choosing to meditate is totally within my domain.

At this point in my life it is the communion with the spirit nature of my being that gives my life real meaning. For me, that is the result of the meditation. I don’t even question it. If I miss a session once in a while I don’t make a big deal of it because I know I will return to it the following day. And on that day, I may smile for no reason or even lose my ability to worry.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow’s life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Are you Taking the Time for Meditation?

Monday, June 15th, 2009

I ran into, let’s call him Peter, at the coffee shop this morning. Peter is not a close friend or life coaching client, but an acquaintance and reader of my newsletter, Letters on Life. He let me know that he was beginning therapy for an underlying anxiety disorder that he has experienced since childhood.

This condition manifests physically as an increased heart rate. Peter is a great intellect and has a powerful mind. He has an answer for everything and most things he can figure out. So he figured that therapy is the answer. It will be to a certain degree.

One thing that Peter has not explored is a more holistic approach to look at what can he do to transcend this tendency to be anxious.

I didn’t try to dissuade Peter from therapy, but I suggested that he also meditate. Thru daily meditation, he could start to develop a stillness that transcends thought. That’s what meditation does. It’s not concerned with why you feel a certain way, or what caused you to get this way.

It takes you to that place beyond thought where the mind is still; where you are able to let go and let it be.

I don’t know if Peter will actually meditate. But I do know that the people who I work with in my life coaching practice who meditate regularly have an inner confidence that they didn’t experience prior to meditating. But you have to sit down and do it. You’ll have excuses why you aren’t doing it; but it’s going beyond your resistance where the real opportunity for transformation occurs.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow’s life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Why Smiling Makes you Feel Good!

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Smiles, frowns, and grimaces were once seen simply as expressions of feelings. However, researchers now see the face as a body organ of it’s own. Increasingly, scientists are realizing that facial expressions precede feelings and play a role in generating them.

The “Facial Feedback” theory proposes that if you ask a person to smile, she soon begins to experience the pleasant feeling associated with that expression. How? When you breathe through your nose, you exert pressure on the veins in your face. When you bring air through your nose, you bring air into your nasal passages, which cools the veins and the blood flowing through them. And when you use the “smile muscles” at the corners of your mouth, you change the direction of the blood flow inside your face in such a way that it causes the temperature of the blood to drop. This cooler blood enters the region of the brain known as the hypothalamus and causes the release of chemicals that can suppress pain and help a person to feel better.

Cooling the blood may promote the release of endorphins, which, decreases pain and gives you a lift. In short, smiling instructs our brains to feel good.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Throughout his life, Mark has always made a practice of taking a leap of faith whenever he heard the call for something more. His life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

RECOMMIT TO YOUR BETTER SELF

Monday, June 8th, 2009

We all have a desire to be seen or heard and to be acknowledged. We’re constantly working on ourselves to become a better person. There’s nothing more gratifying than knowing that we have positively impacted another’s life. It reminds us that we are on the right path. It encourages us to become the best we can be and to fully express ourselves. With that in mind, we work on cultivating a life force more expansive than our physicality. It’s that essence–that quality about who we are–that is often remembered more, than what we looked like or what we said. We wonder what we can do to cultivate this inner quality, which transcends how we show up in the world. We think of this energy as charisma or presence.

Let’s turn our attention to what we can do to expand the life force inside of us. Most, if not all of us, live too much in our heads. Our thoughts control our lives. So much so, that instead of moving forward, our good intentions, stay in our minds and don’t get acted upon.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to shift this pattern is to live from the heart. Cultivating a spiritual practice is the pathway that leads to this way of being. There are several forces at play here. Initially you have to make a commitment to the practice, which will support you in overcoming your resistance. Resistance prevents you from moving forward and living life fully. This is especially so when cultivating a spiritual practice or discipline. That’s why it’s referred to as a “practice or discipline.” Meditation, Yoga and Tai Chi are all practices that I have worked with at various times of my life. All of them cultivate the energetic life force which often shows up in the form of magnetism or enthusiasm. As an added bonus, several studies have documented the health benefits of these various practices. Not only will your ability to handle stress become better, but the benefits to your immune system are enormous.

When speaking to groups or to individual clients, I have noticed that many people struggle with finding their life purpose and the meaning of life. Because of this they sometimes feel lonely and alienated. This won’t change until they develop a connection with a higher power, greater than they are. Once they do, they will be reminded that they share this universe with many other species.

A spiritual practice is a great beginning, but just one piece of the pie. You still need to do more to expand your life force. I am a firm believer in the value of movement. There is nothing more profound than exercise to get your energy moving. Tell the truth. How often do you exercise? By exercising you get the endorphins going. Instead of feeling sluggish, you feel an energy that wasn’t there just a few minutes before. No matter how I am feeling emotionally, after about fifteen minutes of cardio, I feel much better. But as I have said before, you have to do the work.

Once you are grounded in a spiritual practice and exercise consistently, the next step, which is to live passionately, is not too much of a stretch. Finding something that you are passionate about becomes a reason for living. No matter what it is, that passion positively affects other areas of your life. In my former career as a trial attorney there were times when I was passionate about my work. But for the most part as time went on, it became mainly a business to me and I lost my passion for my career. If I didn’t have a passion for playing music and for my spiritual life, I would have felt like I was just going through the motions. Since I did have those passions, no matter what I was doing, I was able to bring my enthusiasm with me.

The final step is to develop a consciousness of Impeccability, which extends beyond where you ordinarily stop. Most of us have a sense of integrity in our relationship with others. We do what we say we are going to do. We’re reluctant to let someone down, even agreeing to things that perhaps we don’t really want to do. As a result, quite often when we say “Yes” to someone else, we are saying “No” to ourselves… to those life-empowering agreements we have made with ourselves…such as taking the time for our spiritual practice, our self-care program which includes exercise and eating healthier. So often when we wake up in the morning we say to ourselves, “I’m not in the mood. I’ll skip it today.” I know that one well. The trap we can fall into, is that we might say the same thing the next day, and before we know it, we are out of the habit.

Resistance prevents us from fully recommitting to our better self. It affects everything we do in some way. It might be “not doing something” or it might be “not participating fully.” By developing a consciousness of impeccability we have an inner resource that helps us overcome our resistance. Imagine what your life would be like, if once you said you were going to do something, there was no more discussion and you did it.

Many years ago, my son Josh brought home from the gym a quote that uses the word Workout as a metaphor for that consciousness of Impeccability. Take the liberty to use a different word than workout if you feel so inclined.

A workout is 25 percent perspiration and 75 percent determination. Stated another way it is one part physical exertion and three parts self discipline.

A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday.
It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind and toughens the spirit. When you work out regularly your problems diminish and your confidence grows.

A workout is a wise use of time and investment in excellence. It is a way of preparing for life’s challenges and proving to yourself that you have what it takes to do what is necessary.

A workout is a key that helps unlock the door to opportunity and success. Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force. Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it.

A workout is a form of rebirth. When you finish a workout you do not simply feel better, you feel better about yourself.

I love hearing from you. Let me know what is going on in your life. Please feel free to forward Letters on Life to those in your circle.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Throughout his life, Mark has always made a practice of taking a leap of faith whenever he heard the call for something more. His life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

ONE STEP AT A TIME

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Lately I have been riding my Mt Bike. Yesterday I rode from my house to Bon Tempe which is one of the upper lakes. The first part of the climb isn’t too bad. In fact it’s a good workout but not necessarily challenging. But it’s the next part, from four corners to the upper lakes that is challenging. The incline is much steeper. In fact if you look up it seems daunting. yet you know that the steep part is not very far.

It’s just a few hundred yards…but that stretch is the challenge; on some occasions I have had to stop and walk my bike. I wanted to break this pattern.

Instead of wondering if I could make it to the top, I just focused on the step or two immediately in front of me. I didn’t look to see how far I had to go. For me the choice was simple. By breaking it down into small segmentss I didn’t notice any slope. It was only when I looked at the top that I noticed the steepness. As I pedaled focusing on what was immediately in front of me I reached the top and continued on my way. I wasn’t tired or winded and it was as if I was riding on a level trail.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Throughout his life, Mark has always made a practice of taking a leap of faith whenever he heard the call for something more. His life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Creating More Presence in your Life

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Whether as a life coach or when speaking to groups, I am often asked whether we can create more presence in our life. We certainly can. Since charisma and presence is a form of energy, the question is how do you go about creating energy– And then there’s the question of what type of energy.

If you look at charisma or presence as magnetism then charisma can be used in a good or bad way depending on the intention of the person…There are some people that are just plain charismatic no matter what they do…But let’s talk about what we can do to create it in our lives…To me charisma is a matter of creating more presence. So how do you do that?

1.Increase your energy by exercising and breathing fully….
2.Have a discipline like meditation, yoga or Tai Chi that creates prana or chi.
3.Be aware of the phrasing and cadence of your words.
4.Eat lots of fruits and vegetables in that they contain a lot of water which is what our body needs.
5.Be aware of your environment.
6.Notice how you move or dance.
7.Be a little unpredictable.
8.Find something that you are passionate about…that will transfer to other areas of your life.
9.Develop a connection with a higher power.
10. Become impeccable-keep your agreements not only to other people, but to yourself. Most of us are pretty good when it comes to keeping agreements with other people. The challenge is to to keep them with ourselves….to eat healthier, to exercise, to practice self-care.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Throughout his life, Mark has always made a practice of taking a leap of faith whenever he heard the call for something more. His life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. 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. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016


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