Archive for May, 2010

WHAT IS PRESENCE?

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Most of us have good ideas and intentions. The challenge is to carry them out to fruition. As a writer I’m always thinking of new ways to communicate my everyday experience of life, just like a comedian is thinking of the humor in that same experience and the musician thinks of the rhythm that he or she is feeling.

With that in mind, I began writing more often. Each day I would chronicle my insights and experiences that I thought would be interesting to share. But like a lot of good ideas, not all of them are carried out to completion.

It seems as if many of the people with whom I work as a life coach have the same challenge. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s one of your challenges too. As a result we stop short of really getting to know something. We don’t get to experience that depth of understanding.

We resist being in the moment. Our mind detracts us from whatever we are doing. “There is something else we could be doing” we think to ourselves. Or we might be thinking, “why am I here, I don’t want to do this.”

What you are experiencing in form or the other is what I call resistance. Overcoming resistance is one of the biggest challenge that we all face. It shows up in so many aspects of our lives. It’s only when we go deeper that we can experience those magical moments. Let me give you an example.

I was looking forward to going to yoga this morning but at the last minute thought about bagging it before I left the house. But i didn’t and went to class. It took a while before settling in and being present. I felt great after class. That was just one experience, but it is that thought process that occurs in almost everything we do.

During the class I had so many thoughts about just letting it go and not being there. It’s that duality that we all experience. We are physically present at a particular place..doing something…yet at the same time our mind is some other place. And with all of the latest technology, it makes the problem even greater. As soon as it’s feasible, one brings out their cell phones.

That’s what I’m working on–being totally present…I think that’s what charisma is all about. People who we perceive as charismatic have that ability to be present and to exhibit presence. Think of it in another way. What is presence? Being present.

It’s something you can work on and develop. In a subsequent blog we’ll talk about a few things that can help you develop this quality.

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. He is the author of, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes, in which many of these ideas are discussed.

Don’t be like the guy in the movie

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Last night my son and I watched a movie, Kicking and Screaming, that we had seen before. I’m always touched by movies that involve family dynamics. This one especially got me.

Essentially the movie was about the relationship between a father and son and their relationship to winning. The son hated his father’s obsession with winning and being the best. However in his desire to beat his father he becomes just like his father. He sacrifices his own relationship with his own son and forgets what his true values are. Isn’t that what happens to many of us?

In the struggle with making it in the world we lose sight of what is important to us. It consumes and drains us so that we don’t have the time or the energy for other things.

Our relationships suffer and we suddenly wake up one day and realize that our life seems empty in many ways. We might regret some of our past decisions or conduct. It’s time to assess what’s going on in our lives.

Take inventory by asking yourself the following: Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished so far this year? And then ask yourself how satisfied are you with whom you have become? Perhaps the answer to the second question will be more revealing. Don be like the guy in the movie.

Taking time for yourself everyday before the day gets going is the best way to take care of yourself. if you have been following me, you know that I believe strongly that how you start your day sets the tone for the day. Take time for reflection–meditate–think about your blessings–be curious as to what the highlight of your day might be.

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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 25, 2010.

THE POWER OF DOUBT

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

For the last ten years I have had the luxury to think about the human process. Not only have I had the opportunity to observe my own process, I have been privileged to meet thousands of people who are seeking to better understand their lives so that their life can become one of joy rather than struggle.

What I have seen is that living with doubt is one of the biggest challenges we all face. Too often we let doubt stop us and prevent us from taking that next step in our life. We focus on what might go wrong and as a result stay stuck in our comfort zone.

No matter what we do, we are going to experience doubt to some extent. Many of us experience this as fear or anxiety. We don’t like it and will do anything to avoid it.

We have a strong desire to get to that place in our lives where the doubt is minimized or barely perceptible. But to eliminate all doubt before taking the next step will result in a life that is unexplored and unfulfilled. It leads to a life that is predictable and routine. Mediocrity becomes the norm.

Change your perspective and think of doubt in a different way. Doubt is a reminder that you are thoughtful and insightful. It creates an edge that is exciting which prepares you for the unexpected and unpredictable. In the long run it leads to a more fulfilling and successful life. It allows you to get in touch with your passion.

Be thankful for your doubt but don’t let it stop you.

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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 25, 2010.

The Key to Changing How you Think

Monday, May 17th, 2010

So what’s going on. Are you surprised or perhaps disappointed by what’s happening? Or is it what you expected?

Now think about what you want to accomplish. What changes will you have to put into place to make it become a reality? I guess I’ve asked a lot of questions. Questions are powerful and are probably the most effective way to shift your focus. If you notice I am assuming that for you to live the life you really want that you will have to make some changes in your life. Let’s explore this concept.

If you are thinking about lack and limitation ask yourself what questions you are asking yourself. Usually you aren’t even aware of what they are. For example, if you have had a few disappointments in business you might be asking yourself how things can get worse, or what else can go wrong.

When you are in a downward spiral use empowering questions to change the spiral. For example again using the few disappointments scenario an empowering question might be: I wonder who my next client will be or what my next project will be? Or you might ask yourself this question. How does it get better than this? So you begin to think of solutions rather than problems. You’re curious and begin to develop a mindset that is attractive and resourceful.

How you frame your life determines your life because it is a fundamental law of the universe that what you focus on expands. CHANGE YOUR THINKING–CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 22, 2010.

The more open you are, the higher you can climb

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Imagine you’re in a rut. Every time you look out you see the same thing. You see a mountain. You know if you climb the mountain things will look different. As you climb higher you are able to see more. In the last blog, I talked about trying a different approach to reach the pinnacle of that mountain.

Personal Development is like that. You have to be open to change. The more open you are the higher you can go. Eventually you’ll get near the top and what you see expands you.

When you reach the peak your view is unlimited. You look in every direction and your view is unobstructed. You consider things you’ve never thought were possible. You’re confidence is at an all time high. You experience a magic and excitement. You’re looking forward to what’s next.

But it doesn’t stay that way. You come back down and return to the starting point— well not exactly the starting point because you’ll never see things the way you did before you began the journey. You had a glimpse–a glimpse that keeps you going even in the darkest moments.

That glimpse lets you know what is possible and you gratefully accept the challenge. It also prepares you for the next challenge; a new mountain that you can’t even imagine at this time. It’s only when looking back you realize how far you’ve come.

I invite you to read my new book Dancing on the River. It’s a guide into unknown territory. After reading it, you’ll be more comfortable with “not knowing” what the future holds. You might even feel that the unknown is your friend.

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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 22, 2010.

What does what just happened really mean?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

This is my favorite time of year. The rainy season is over, yet the streams on the mountain are flowing freely. The mountain is lush and full of breathtaking wild flowers. One way of enjoying the lake is walking around it.

But lately I have been riding my mountain bike. You cover a lot more ground and there’s something about getting on the bike. You feel elevated-you feel invigorated.

Yesterday I rode from my house to Phoenix Lake which is approximately a mile and a half ride. On the far right edge of the lake you have a choice to continue on Lower Shaver up to Five Corners or to turn left and climb Fish Grade or Eldridge. Fish Grade for me has always been out of the question since it’s so steep. So my choice really was Eldridge or to continue straight.

I wanted more of a challenge so I decided on Eldridge. The slope on Eldridge is slightly elevated for the first 100 yards and then there is a 50 yard stretch in which the slope is greatly elevated before leveling off.

To say the least this stretch is a challenge; on some occasions I’ll get off my bike and walk or once I get to the top I’ll rest for a bit.
I wanted to break this pattern and tried a different approach which was truly transformative.

Once I started climbing the steep 50 yard stretch, instead of wondering if I could make it to the top, I focused on the step or two immediataely in front of me. It became a mental discipline. I didn’t look up 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 at all. It was only when I looked up at the top of the incline that I noticed the steepness. As I focused on what was immediately in front of me I reached the top and continued on my way. I wasn’t tired or winded. It was as if I was riding on a level trail.

I realized now that it wasn’t the ride that made me tired, but how I felt about the ride. Like so many things in life, it isn’t what happens, but the meaning we give to what happens.

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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 22, 2010.

What’s in the way of your recommitting?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE: Do you sometimes wonder what your life would have been like if you only kept at it? It could be any one of several things. It could be further developing a creative talent, or moving forward on a career opportunity. What would have happened if you followed through on that path?

In my case, I often wonder how my life would have turned out If I kept at the Clarinet or Saxophone? Could I have had a professional career? Although I wonder at times what it would have been like, I’m glad I made the decisions that I did. I’m sure you wonder at times. No matter where we are in our lives, we come to those crossroads and make a decision to follow a path as far as we can to see where it goes.

But if we change paths too often, we’ll never know what it is to have a sense of mastery which is rewarding in itself. It gives us a glimpse of an awareness that pervades our entire life.

Perhaps you’ve had a sense of it at times. It’s not too late to recreate that feeling, but it takes discipline and commitment. That’s what it took for me to finish writing Dancing on the River. I was out of the habit of writing and forgot why I wrote in the first place. I forgot how whole it made me feel.

I forced myself to sit down and write until it became a new habit. You might wonder how long it it takes to develop a new habit. According to experts, it takes at least 30 days of repeating the same habit or thought until it becomes a new pattern. Many of us never get there because we are impatient and don’t give it a chance. Sometimes we think that it’s too late and we can’t go back.

While it’s true that we can’t go back, it’s never too late to try what we use to do in a new way–a way that’s more impactful, more revealing and more exciting.

What are your beliefs that limit your ability to give it another whirl? What is in the way of your committing? Take the first step and then from there go on to the next one.

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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 22, 2010.

Better communication starts with you

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Have you heard the expression “if you don’t use it you lose it.” I have had that thought on many occasions especially when I haven’t been doing one of my practices. It can mean many different things depending on who you are. It can show up in your life in various situations.

For example: Exercising—you know you need to do it but haven’t done it for quite some time. Your force yourself to do it, but it’s not fun.

It could be a spiritual practice. You’re resistant because you haven’t done it in a while and you can’t seem to fit it into your schedule. You’ve also forgot how good you feel afterwards.

In my case it could be writing. After I finished writing Dancing on the River, I lost my edge. I wasn’t motivated. Eventually I felt something was missing. I knew what I had to do. I sat down and began writing because that was part of me. It took a while to get back in the groove. At first it was awkward and difficult, but gradually it began to feel better.

Relationships can be that way. Let’s take a brief look at them. How satisfied are you with the quality of your relationships? What can you do to make them better? When’s the last time you made a new friend? How willing are you to reach out and begin a new conversation?

No matter who you are, you always have room for a new conversation which is an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. Real communication is an art form that is alway expanding and always full of new possibilities.

I have a challenge for you. Think about a person in your life with whom you would like to have better communication. What would have to shift? What would you have to do to make it happen? What’s in the way of your doing what you have to do?

And yes it usually starts with you. You have to make the first step. Be willing to put yourself out there. Perhaps make that phone call you have been putting off. Or send an email you have been delaying.

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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 22, 2010.

Who is in control of your life?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Who is in control of your life? Many of us are control freaks. We like to control what we do, who are friends are and how we spend our time. We are also led to believe that we create our reality. If that isn’t control then I don’t what is. This theme is a common thread with many of the people with whom I work with as both their executive and life coach.

Let me tell you about what came up with let’s call her, Susie, one of my life coaching clients. Susie, a brilliant professional woman, was extremely frustrated in her job. She was used to having her life exactly the way she wanted and creating success in whatever she did. However she had reached the point in her life when she felt more and more that her job did not fully engage her. Not only that but she found herself working harder and making less. She often wondered why she was there and what her alternatives were.

Up until recently she had felt that she had created a great life and was proud of it; a great family, success in her career and enthusiasm for living. Because she now felt at a crossroads she began to feel like a victim of circumstances. After all she was affected by the macro economic conditions, she thought to herself.

That raises the bigger question for all of us as to who is really in control of our lives. Is it our thoughts? Is it our habits? Or are we controlled by forces that we are unaware of?

When our habits control our lives, we pretty much go unconscious and our choices seem limited. Becoming more conscious is beginning the process of discovering how our habits run our life.

Be conscious. Be aware of how you get plugged in. Noticing is the first step in taking back your life. Notice when you get frustrated. Don’t try to figure it. For your curiosity there is a self assessment test on my website that takes under three minutes to do. 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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 22, 2010.


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