Archive for November, 2009

Does it all come down to handling stress?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

If that is the case and I think it is, our focus should be on developing attitudes we can integrate into our belief systems that help us develop an attitude that it’s all going to be ok. Almost everyone that I have worked with as their life coach has suffered needlessly because of their fear that it’s all going to fall apart. Charles Swindell wrote many years ago that it isn’t the fact or circumstances that determine how we feel about our lives, but it is our attitudes.

You’re probably wondering…”yes that’s great, but how do I change my attitude.” I want to let you know that you can change your attitude but it takes work and is a process that keeps evolving.

It begins with your making a fundamental shift as to how you start your day. If you start the day in a hurry and feel anxious, you’ll be anxious all day long.

This is the approach that I encourage others to adopt. Take time to meditate before leaving your house or turning on your computer. Then focus on what you are grateful for. You are more abundant than you realize. You have many inner resources that you take for granted; to give you a few ideas…think about your intelligence, your ability to connect with others including animals and nature…your humor and resilience. If you make this a habit, you’ll be surprised how many inner resources that you do have.

Then take time to be curious about the highlight of your day. Look for the good in every person you meet. As your day progresses, you’re more excited about each new person you meet. It might be at the coffee shop, the bank or at the gas station. There is a light in each of us, but if our eyes are closed we won’t see it. It’s amazing how people respond when you take the time to smile.

Being curious is an antidote to being judgmental. When something happens, rather than judging it as good or bad, or positive or negative, be curious as to how it’s all going to unfold.

By being curious, you won’t be so caught up in giving every event in your life more significance than it deserves.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, 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 in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Keep your dream alive

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

in a life coaching session yesterday, i discussed with let’s call him Carl, the importance of having a dream that is independent from what you do in the world. For Carl and many others, the stress and demands from meeting our financial and personal obligations takes most of our energy. We don’t have much left over.

To have a dream that demands more of us and doesn’t help us meet our bottom line, at times seems unrealistic. But that’s exactly what we need to do. Otherwise we are subject to the ups and downs of the external world; our relationships, health, and finances. Carl and many others that I work with as their life coach would like to see peace in the world. Carl is in the process of starting a community of people who focus on inner peace in themselves and in the world.

But he has found much resistance in trying to bring people together. I remember at one time in my life I was faced with the same dilemma. I wrote back then, “Should the visionairies of peace stop loving, then the prophets of doom, will have their day of gloom.” Whatever our dream, we need to keep it alive. Noone else will do it for us. Sometimes just having the dream is enough. As Martin Luther King said, “I might not get to the mountaintop with you,” but he had the dream for others to believe in. Keep the dream alive. There might not be much agreement, right now.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. 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…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Life is a Series of Nows

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a time to come together, to reach out and to be with others. It’s a time to think about what we’re grateful for. And when we do, we experience the present moment. Think about what we had to do to get here. Some of us traveled many miles and toiled many hours preparing food. Others warmed our houses and created an inviting space for others to come together.

So when we give thanks for our life we no longer think about the future-or have regrets about the past. It’s a day when we live in the present-with its perfection. Giving thanks really is an acknowledgement of the present moment.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. 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…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

that’s what life is…a series of moments of now.

It’s much easier to be happier when we are in the present. Just for today everything is perfect…

That’s the gift of gratitude…we’re living for now. And that’s all there is. This moment!

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

Monday, November 16th, 2009

“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.” Albert Clarke

When I went into the coffee shop this morning, the manager offered me an eggnog latte. This gesture reminded that the holidays are around the corner. Thanksgiving is a time to rejoice and to be thankful for all of the blessings in our life.

Focusing on what I am thankful for, on a daily basis, has been significant in changing my experience of life. Because the media fuels the fires of worry, it has been a big challenge. Bad news sells. Even though on any given day there are more positive things that happen to us than negative things, it doesn’t seem that way. We become slaves to the latest alarm on global warming or dire report on the economy. With a 24/7 media, events, people, and things anywhere in the world, often having nothing to do with us personally, have the power to control how we feel.

In the process of writing this article, I made a discovery. There is a website http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org that focuses on good news, yet very few people know about it. Just for fun, I went to the website and looked at some of the articles for the day I began writing this article.
30 Top Surgeons Give 200 Kids a Better Life
Recycling Heroes include Parks, Schools, Stadiums and Corporations
Uruguay Becomes First Nation to Provide a Laptop for every child
Corvette Brings Tons of Toys to Atlantic City
Honest Filipino Worker Returns $320,000 found in cash
Target, CVS Encourage Recyclable Shopping Bags with Cash Rewards
The Green Lining in Economic Bust is Land Preservation

Gratitude is an inside job—it’s a consciousness from which everything flows. Grateful people see life as a blessing, as a gift. Being grateful includes being thankful and appreciating life. It’s a choice that we make over and over again. Choosing to be grateful becomes a life affirming habit.

I was reminded of this most recently. The synchronicity was amazing. I had just finished writing the first draft of the chapter on Gratitude that is going to be in my book. In the mornings, next to the coffee shop that I frequent, I occasionally purchase a periodical at the local Safeway. For the last few years I have always look forward to seeing Amy, one of the checkers, who always seems so upbeat. I asked her what her secret was. She told me that she practiced gratitude. It was a decision that she made years ago that became a life-affirming habit.

Developing a Gratitude Practice

It’s one thing to believe in the benefits of a gratitude practice, but it’s another thing to embody it. Some days I feel it more than others. My practice has evolved over time. At the end of my meditation when my mind is still, I express gratitude for the health of myself and my family, and the love that is in my life. I then express gratitude for the qualities and attributes that I like about myself. Think of these qualities and attributes as your inner resources. You might not have a sense of what those qualities are for you. I began with just a few qualities that I liked about myself and kept adding to the ever-expanding list. Just to give you a few ideas, I express gratitude for my smile, my curiosity, my ability to connect with others, and my faith. I could go on and on and you can too once you begin this practice. Our tendency is to overlook these qualities. At first I was a little self-conscious, but I got over it, once I noticed how much better I felt about myself.

I noticed that I didn’t worry as much. Let’s face it, most of us worry more than we would like. By expressing gratitude we shift our focus from what might happen in the future to the present moment. It is in the stillness of “the now” when we feel connected to an eternal presence and peacefulness.

Not only is there value from a spiritual perspective, there is also value metaphysically. It is a metaphysical principle that what you focus on expands. Like attracts like. When you express gratitude for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, you energetically attract to you more abundance. For example, rather than thinking that you are not loved, focus on the love that is in your life. Think how magnetic those who feel love are. You want to be around them. Rather than thinking that you don’t have enough, be grateful for what you have now.

For many years, in spiritual and religious circles, we were taught that expressing gratitude was a righteous thing to do. It was one of the qualities of being a thoughtful and caring person. Recently, Dr. Robert Emmons, PH.D., UC Davis, and other gratitude researchers and social psychologists, documented that grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions, such as happiness, vitality and optimism.
Rollin McCrary and his colleagues at the HeartMath Institute, in Boulder Creek, California, found that consciously experiencing appreciation is beneficial in controlling stress and hypertension.

The Four Keys to Developing your Gratitude Practice.

1. Express gratitude daily for all of the blessings in your life. Your challenges are also blessings. Be grateful for the challenges and struggles in your life. With every adversity, there is a tremendous opportunity for growth. Our soul’s evolution is accelerated whenever there is a crisis in our lives. We become more our authentic selves. In the process we discard any baggage in the form of false assumptions that are weighing us down. None of us like to experience pain. We’ll do almost anything to avoid it, but know this. The greater your capacity to face and experience your pain, the greater your capacity to experience joy and happiness and the greater your capacity to love and to be loved.

2.Write a gratitude letter to a special friend letting them know how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are that they are in your life. Just writing this letter is quite moving and if that’s all you do that’s fine. I went one step further. I wrote a letter to one of my dearest friends and called him and read it to him.

3. Keep a gratitude journal everyday for 30 days. Even though you express gratitude daily for all of your blessings, write them down in your journal. In the process of writing them down, not only will think about them more, you will be reminded of other qualities and attributes you are grateful for.

4. Create your gratitude honor role. Think about five people in your life, perhaps teachers, parents or mentors, who have helped you become who you are today and who have made you feel special and appreciated. This is an incredibly powerful process that has the power to transform your feeling of inner joy and sense of well-being. As you think about each person, write in your journal how grateful you are for their presence in your life.

Feel free to share Letters on Life with those in your circle. Let me know what you discover. I love receiving your many responses and feedback and if you have other stories or suggestions to share for future articles, let me know about them.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. 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…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

They are waiting for your call

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Last year I made a point to reach out and contact friends that I hadn’t been in contact with for quite some time. It was a very rewarding experience…so I have been suggesting this to my coaching clients.

In the first feedback that I received, two calls were made and messages left on voice mail…within a few hours the calls were enthusiastically returned. And that was similar to my own experience….And then I received more feedback…just as in the first experience, these calls were also enthusiastically returned.

Believe it or not the holidays are coming up in three weeks. Sometimes during the holidays we wonder what to give another. Some of us struggle with this. Giving of ourselves is the greatest gift we can make. Most people are craving connection, but are so wound up in their life that they won’t make time for it unless they are hit over the head. Others are too shy to reach out and make the connection. They are waiting for your call.

To create more connection in your life, don’t wait for someone else to take the first step. It starts with you. Reach out and contact at least two people whom you haven’t been in touch with for at least the last few years. I know you will be pleasantly surprised and just might want to make this a regular ritual.

JOURNEY ON

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. 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…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Choose to live life from a higher level of thinking

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I have noticed that with some people that I work with as their life coach, their changes are dramatic. They’re not the same person they were when we began our work together.

They have more self-confidence and are excited about the future, but in the back of their mind, they remember that in the past when things started to go well, they sabotaged themselves. Things fell apart and they are now waiting for that to happen again.

It doesn’t have to happen. Once you go through the gate to a new way of thinking, you’ll never go back. That’s what happens when you are on a spiritual path…you are awake and aware of things that previously you were not conscious of.

You can’t go backwards. It’s too late, which is a good thing. I remember when I first began walking on the path of awakening there were times when I wish things were not so clear. I couldn’t deceive myself. I had to take responsibility for my life and could no longer blame others or circumstances, like my parents or what happened as a child.

I remember some people would say, “Ignorance is Bliss.” Once you know the truth you realize that “Ignorance is just Ignorance.” There’s no reason to try to glorify it.

The good news is that as you go forward from here, you’ll have more choices and possibilities to live a more fulfilling and successful life. You won’t go backwards even if you wanted to. On some level you are forever changed.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

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. 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…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016


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