Archive for November, 2010

SO WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

For many years I have been a spiritual seeker. It’s a passion, a vocation and way of life. It helps me feel inspired. I’m one of those people who is looking for the meaning of life. And after many years things are coming together. My book Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes was recently published. As part of my journey I have talked to many, read hundreds of books on the subject of personal development and have also been blessed to coach thousands as their life coach. You probably want to know what I’ve discovered. More on that later.

In the middle of all of this is my love of sports; particularly football and basketball especially when my teams are winning. So it’s a fun time of year for me. I love going to the games at my alma mater, Berkeley which has brought back fond memories of being on the campus. And I love to see the leaves change color. It reminds me of my youth when I played these sports myself.

Sports reminds me of what’s possible in life, especially when you have focus and commitment. It’s also an escape from the problems of the world and the concerns of my life. In some ways it simplifies life. If it doesn’t work out this year there is always the hope of next year. We can’t always win but in the process we learn something.

So what is it that I’ve learned? I’ve learned to let go of trying to figure it out. I’ve learned to become more comfortable with “not knowing.” I’ve learned that life is a great mystery. And that’s ok. It’s actually more than ok. It’s great. I’ve learned to dance on the river, rather than struggle in it. And you can too.

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.

THOSE MOMENTS OF GRACE

Monday, November 29th, 2010

There are those days. You’re wondering if you are making any progress. The circumstances in your life that have bothered you, still bother you. What concerns you, still concerns you.

You question. You read books. You read blogs. You listen to podcasts and still there is that voice…you know it…yes that voice.

It never seems to stop. In fact at times it casts a hypnotic spell over you. You are a prisoner. You can’t break out. And then you do.

During the last few months I have been a guest on many radio shows promoting my new book Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes. Their seems to be a voice out there that things are tough; more so than at other times. And while it’s true that many of us are hurting and many can’t find work, there has always been challenging times. That’s the way life is. There will always be challenges, some more difficult than others. We can’t avoid them. We can try, but sooner or later we’ll have to come face to face with them.

Our work is to develop the life skills necessary to navigate these challenges. They won’t go away. But we can experience those moments of grace; those moments when are minds stop churning and we’re able to experience a stillness when we a deep-rooted experience peace of mind. You’ve heard me talk and write about these moments many times. How do we get there? Is there a road map?

There is–and it starts with taking the first step, which is sitting still in the morning before you do anything else. Focus on your breath for at least five or ten minutes before you concern yourself with the concerns of the world. It’s one step at a time.

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.

WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF GATHERING OUR TRIBE

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The holidays are right around the corner. Next week is Thanksgiving. For some the holidays are stressful with all of the gatherings, extra responsibilities and socializing.

They also are an opportunity, to reach out and reconnect with some old friends. It was great hearing from my old friend Don who has been living in Vienna. We go way back. It was only when I ran into Sharon, a mutual friend, at an event that his name came up. I hadn’t thought of him until that night. I immediately asked her for his email, and contacted him. It went something like this. “I knew you when. Who are you now? Things are sure different. I’m not the same person I was back then. I’m more mature and confident. I’ve evolved. Many of the things that were important to me have been integrated into my life. Now I have new questions. I’m curious about what’s next. I’m curious as to who I’ll connect with.

That’s the way it is for all of us. We keep evolving and those in our life have also evolved. Why do we reconnect with some and not others? While there is no exact answer, fate and destiny play a role here, I have a theory.

On our path to wholeness, not only are we reconnecting with ourselves, we are in the process of gathering our tribes—those “kindred souls” that at one time in our lives we weren’t able to recognize or weren’t ready for them.

Now here we are. We can connect in a way that was not possible before. But it’s up to each of us to reach out as I did with Don and begin the process of gathering our tribe. They’re waiting for us to show up. It’s our time.

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.

IF YOU’RE SO INCLINED

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

I’m a reader. Most likely I read at least 20 books in a year. When I was a lawyer I didn’t have as much time to read books that I wanted to read. But since I’ve been a life coach, I read many self-help books and recommend them to clients. I even have a reading list on my website. But there’s nothing like a good novel.

Of course with my background as a trial lawyer my natural bent is to read novels with a legal and or political twist. I have my favorite authors. But there’s nothing like getting turned on to someone new. You read one book and then you read another until some of the authors themes and ideas repeat themselves. Then you are in between. You’re in the mood to read a good book, but don’t have one.

So that’s where I was a few days ago when I went into Barnes and Noble to talk to the store manager about promoting my book, Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes. While I waited for the manager, I browsed and my eyes gravitated toward the title, Djibouti, Elmore Leonard’s latest book. I picked it up, read the inside jacket and bought the book.

I’ve been reading it the last few evenings. Although he’s written several novels over the years I’ve never got into him until now. I’m excited and intrigued. There’s a whole new universe of adventure I can explore if I’m so inclined.

I’m not suggesting that you run out and buy his book or any book. My purpose is to remind you that there is a whole universe out there that can keep you fully engaged if you’re so inclined to explore it. It could be related to your relationships, your career, a hobby or almost anything. But you have to be curious and take that first step.

That first step might be just calling a friend. Or as in my case, signing up for a course. It was 11 years ago that I called a life coaching school and signed up for their program. One thing leads to the next.

What might that first step be for 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. He is the author of, Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes.

You’ll always find a reason

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Let’s go back in time, but before we do that take stock of your life now. Are there any things you would like to change? Do you ever say to yourself, “If only this were different?” If you don’t say that you are doing pretty good. You are the exception. It is a common pattern with most everyone I know that there current circumstances gets in the way of their enjoyment of life.

I remember years ago when I was a young lawyer my life was going pretty good but there was that one thing—you know that one thing-the one that you keep obsessing about. It’s blown out of proportion. It could be someone in the workplace who triggers you. It could be a difficult situation at home.

There is always going to be that thing that you believe when resolved will be the end of your problems. It doesn’t work that way. There will always be the next thing…that loose end, the uncertainty. If you keep finding reasons which prevent you from being happy, you’ll never be happy. You’ll always find something.

As I have said many times happiness is a choice. There will always be loose ends and uncertainty. That’s the way life is. Ideally we want things to fit into a nice package with a bow around it. Embrace the loose ends. Be curious as to how it’s going to resolve. Make the inquiry an adventure.

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.

HAPPINESS IS A DECISION

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

In the last blog I discussed how many of us think that when what bothers us goes away, we can be happy. That was in response to the question, “What is the biggest challenge that we all have?” As we know something else will always come up that concerns us; perhaps even more significant than what is currently bothering us.

Another big challenge that we all face is that what we say and do is limited by our limiting beliefs. Because these beliefs limit what we think is possible, we play it small. We stay in our comfort zones, make unhealthy career and relationship choices and are afraid to rock the boat. You notice that I say “choice.” I know that the origin of many of our limiting beliefs is unconscious. To change some of these beliefs we need to make a choice. That’s what Dancing on the River is all about. It’s a consciousness that is a reflection of a life decision to be happy in the moment that you make over and over again. Yes, we can choose to be happy. We can choose to focus on what’s good in our life, rather than on what isn’t working and what is wrong.

Challenge these limiting beliefs. Beliefs are just beliefs, they are not fact. It’s not the circumstances or facts of your life, but the attitude that you have toward them. Focus on the good, on what’s working.

CHOOSE HAPPINESS

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.

DON’T WAIT TO CHOOSE HAPPINESS

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Recently on a radio show, I was asked what I think is the biggest challenge that people have. As a life coach for the last nine years I have noticed certain tendencies. I don’t know if I can boil it down to just one thing, but I’ll give it a try.

Many of us have the mistaken belief that when what bothers us goes away that we’ll be happy. Or at least less stressed. While that may be true temporarily, it doesn’t last very long. It’s not the circumstance that is causing the problem, but the patterns we have had our entire lives that determine how we react emotionally. Something that we perceive as negative affects our entire moods. We overreact to normal situations and find ourselves upset more often than we would like. When we’ve had a chance to reflect we can’t believe that we acted the way we did.

For example, business is tight right now. You think that when business picks up that you can relax. That’s not the case. And you don’t know if business will pick up in the current business you are in. And if it does you might not have as much time as you did before to enjoy yourself. And this could also apply to your relationships. Don’t wait to enjoy yourself. You might not get another chance. And if in our example business does pick up, you might have other problems such as relationship or health challenges. You will never get another chance to live this moment. Forget about this idea that “only if” something was different you could be happy. It not the circumstances but your beliefs about what the circumstances mean that determines your happiness. Happiness is a choice. Choose happiness.

Well I think that about covers it. I’ll explore it some more in a future blog.

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.

This Amazing Adventure called “You”

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Wherever you are in life’s evolutionary cycle, you’ll eventually come to the same realization. The outward journey of seeking success and what you might call “happiness” is only temporarily fulfilling. Finding joy and meaning is an inner journey.

On this journey, you’ll discover a new state of being. You’ll know what it means to be Dancing on the River, which is a reflection of a life decision that you make to be happy and to enjoy life in this moment. You’ll discover that your enjoyment and appreciation of life is not dependent on what might happen in the future. It might take a while to come to this realization, but once you do, you’ll have the potential to awaken to a rich inner life that is more fulfilling than you can imagine. I say potential because it doesn’t happen overnight.

It is my hope that by integrating the following six insights and practices into your life this new consciousness will become your natural way of being.

1.How you start your day sets the tone for the day. If you start the day in a hurry it will be extremely difficult to slow down. Most of us rush out of the house in the morning trying to make an appointment or deadline. Underneath the concern that we won’t be able to get it all done is an underlying anxiety that won’t go away. You sometimes wish you had a magic wand that could make things better. Although there is no magic wand, there is a morning practice that can minimize much of that anxiety. After you wake up and before you do anything else, take 10-15 minutes for reflection. Perhaps you already have a meditation practice. If you don’t, just sit still in a quiet place and pay attention to your breath. I have also found that journaling is a great way to center yourself before you rush out into the day.

After meditation begin to focus on what you are grateful for. Perhaps there are only a few things that you can think of in the beginning, but once you make this a daily practice, you realize how blessed you are. By focusing on what you are grateful for, your focus shifts to what’s right in your life, rather than on what’s wrong. It’s an amazing practice, which has the power to transform your life.

2. Develop the practice of Curiosity. I didn’t realize how powerful of a concept this could be until I integrated it into my life. In fact if I write another book it will probably will be about the power of curiosity. Here’s what I suggest to get you going. In the morning, after expressing gratitude, reflect upon your day wondering about what the highlight of your day might be. By being curious as to what that is, you’ll create a positive expectation as the day progresses. No matter what is happening in your life, rather than worrying about the outcome, be curious as to how it is all going to unfold. By being curious, you’re also open to those pleasant surprises—those moments of grace that uplift your spirit. Remember that this is a practice and like most things, the more you practice the better you get at it.

3. Learn how to recognize and know your VOJ. The VOJ is that voice of judgment that drives you nuts. You know it. We all do. You would give anything to silence it even if just for a few minutes. The sooner that you can recognize your VOJ, which in coaching we call your gremlin, the sooner you can become free of its hypnotic spell that can last a lifetime if you don’t do anything about it. But the doing is a different type of doing. It’s just noticing. I have found that giving this voice a name has been effective in breaking the spell that it has over me. I call my VOJ, Ralph. This is a lifelong challenge so don’t be discouraged if you don’t notice anything immediately. The journey is never-ending.

4. Self-Acceptance is the next practice. Let’s be honest with ourselves. There are certain things we can’t change. We can’t change who are parents are. We can’t change our country of origin. We can’t change all of the injustices in the world, although we might try. But we do have the potential to change how we think about ourselves and how we think about the circumstances of our lives. Even though we are our own worst critics at times, our work is to accept those things that we don’t like about ourselves—that dark side often referred to as our “shadow.” You know what I’m talking about so I won’t go into detail. Once you accept those things about yourself that you don’t like or are embarrassed by, you feel lighter and freer. And isn’t that what it’s all about–becoming lighter.

5. Introduce positive self-talk into the conversation. Now that you are more familiar with those voices and patterns that have been running your life, it’s time to listen to a new voice that needs to be nurtured and cultivated. It’s a voice if honored and cultivated can change how you think about yourself. I call this voice your VIP. It’s the voice of Inspiration and Praise that we don’t listen to, or hear enough. That voice has become my inner champion. When I think that I shouldn’t have felt the way I did about something that happened, or that I shouldn’t have acted in a certain way, my VIP sends me a few words of encouragement by saying to me, “You’re doing great. You handled that well.” It takes conscious effort and resolve to cultivate your VIP. As you learn to trust and listen to it, how you feel about your life will begin to shift.

6. Make time for the jollies. So here we are again with another new phrase. No I haven’t lost my mind. All of us have faced challenges that at times seem overwhelming. Even in the midst of these challenges, there are many things that can give us joy. They might be little things that we have forgotten about. Don’t overlook them.

The Jollies is taking the 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, even if you still have loose ends in your life and your “to do” list is full. It took me a while to come the realization that there will always be “loose ends” and uncertainty. If you always wait for the perfect time to begin something new, you will never begin. The only perfect time is now.

So there you have it. As my good friend Lois said to me, “The journey might be challenging, but the scenery can be spectacular.” There’s only one thing left to do. Enjoy the journey.

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.


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