Archive for March, 2013

Focus on Where you Want to Go.

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

I’ve been a life coach for twelve years now.  I’ve noticed how many of us stop ourselves because we focus on the wrong things. Yes, we all have  been disappointed by life; things haven’t worked out the way we wanted them to, but at some point we have to let it go.

We need to look forward and do what is necessary.  It might be a conversation that we need to have or a decision that we need to make, both of which we avoid doing.  When we finally face the situation at hand, quite often it works out better than we had anticipated. There are numerous conversations that I have avoided having, yet when I finally had the conversation it was quite empowering for both of us.

Start paying attention to what’s possible in every situation.  You already have thought about what might go wrong. You’ll always be able to find something. Don’t keep your attention there. Think about where you want to go and what you want to create.

See what’s possible in every situation. Focus on that and you’ll surprise yourself.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

The Challenge is There to Support you

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Most of us have, at times, wished that life was a little easier. Yes we do “struggle” at times, probably more than is necessary.  It’s one thing to work hard, but when we caught up in the hysteria of not succeeding that hard work turns into struggle which can be draining and stress- invoking. The struggle is not in the ‘doing part’, but in the mental  conversation that we have with ourselves about the doing of the actual project.  Quite often the thinking about doing something consumes more energy than the actual doing.

Let’s change the concept of ‘struggle’ to ‘hard work.’   With hard work you know that in the end you will succeed if you apply yourself.  The time, energy and preparation that went into the successful completion of the project gives you a great feeling fulfillment.

If everything was just handed to us, free of difficulty and effort, then we wouldn’t have the same level of fulfillment.

The difficulties are there to challenge us to dig deeper and transcend our current level of expertise.  Every challenge provides us with many opportunities for us to be the best “us” we can be.

Recently I was the keynote speaker at an important conference. I took on the preparation for my talk as a challenge.  The enormity of the event motivated me to prepare more thoroughly than I normally would have, so that when I took the stage I was confident and didn’t have to think about what I was going to say. I felt great afterwards.  Without the challenge I wouldn’t have had the same result. The challenge is there to support you.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

The Solution Begins with You

Monday, March 25th, 2013

As an executive-life coach, I work with individuals on both personal and professional concerns. So often they’re intertwined. So it was with Carl who is an architect. He had been negotiating with a client over an extended amount of time. Carl did not look forward to further conversations with his client who had become unreasonable and somewhat hostile. After every meeting or conversation, Carl felt drained.

I suggested to Carl that the solution starts with himself. Although he takes good care of himself, we agreed there was room for improvement. I suggested to Carl that he begin meditating again on a regular basis so that he wouldn’t be as reactive and lose his center. The next conversation went much smoother, although they didn’t reach an agreement.

A week later they met again at the jobsite. I suggested to Carl that he wonder about what the highlight of the meeting might be. We agreed that there was going to be a highlight. It might be something different than he expected. Carl was looking for the good in the meeting. It was the best meeting they had. Although they did not reach final resolution, they moved close to reaching an agreement. Even if they don’t reach an agreement, and Carl is prepared to walk away, he had a positive experience and a good time. And after the meeting he felt empowered.

Keep it up Carl. You can integrate the suggestions I made to Carl into your life.  Meditate and wonder about what the highlight of your day might be. These simple suggestions can change your experience of life.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

Truly Listening

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

When you truly listen you experience the present moment, free of judgments.  When something happens in our life, we make up a big story as to what it means based upon our limited perspective.  Don’t go there. The meaning we give it is based upon our past experience.  None of us have a crystal ball into the future. Life can turn out much better than we expected. Be open to that possibility.

Truly listening involves being in the present moment. Learning to truly listen is one of the most important skills you can learn. It has the potential to transform your life.

Listening is an art form that very few of us have mastered.  So often, in our conversations, when someone says something to us, rather than listen, we think about how to reply.

I have found a good practice is to not only listen, but to let the other person know your understanding of their communication. That lets the other person know that they are being heard.  And that’s what we all want.  We want to know that we matter. Listening involves experiencing the essence of the other person and what is behind the words.

See what happens.

Journey On

Mark

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

Break the Habit of Negative Thinking

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

In a life coaching session yesterday with one of my clients we discussed negative thinking. What exactly is negative thinking and what can we do about it.  The simple answer is that negative thinking is and has been a life-long habit.

So what can you do to change this habit?  Start your day differently. Notice what you do in the morning. How you start your day sets the tone for the day!  Choose to start it differently. What’s on your phone or online can wait until later in the day.

Here’s what I suggest. Sit for a few minutes in silence and then slowly focus on what you are grateful for. What that does is shift your focus from what isn’t working and what you don’t like about your life, to what is working and what you do like about your life. This practice goes a long way toward breaking the habit of negative thinking. If you don’t break the habit it can become hypnotic. And you know how it works. Before you know it you begin imagining the worse case scenario. There’s one more thing you can do to break this habit.

After you have focused on what you are grateful for, wonder about the highlight of your day. Many of my life coaching clients have reported to me that over time there expectations have changed and that they expect good things to occur. As your day progresses you’re wondering what the best possible outcome can be. This thinking can become an empowering habit, one that empowers you.

Consistent positive thinking, not only changes your outlook on life, but it also empowers you to see opportunities that previously you would not have looked at.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

Avoidance is not the way to get rid of a problem

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Getting on the Positive Side of Change is an ongoing process. Wishing that things will change won’t get you on the other side of the problem.  Unless you  deal with the situation,  it won’t magically go away.  You need to take some form of action rather than  avoiding the difficult situation.  Putting it on the back burner, doesn’t relieve the stress the situation causes you. Because  at a certain level you are living the situation every day. Quite often it’s a conversation you need to have with someone. At other times it might be a business decision. There is always something we avoid doing.

I have found that when I have taken action and been proactive, I usually feel better afterwards. Usually those situations that I have been avoiding are much easier to deal with than i had anticipated. And quite often I have been energized by the engagement. I know with conversations that I have been avoiding it’s usually that way. The conflict or unease that I had with someone becomes a springboard for better connection.

Whatever it is take a step forward toward resolving the situation. Quit wasting time and energy thinking about it and do something. Even putting a date on your calendar to take action is better than doing nothing.

One thing I know for certain is that when you don’t deal with the problem you still worry about it and on some level it fuels an underlying anxiety that doesn’t need any more stimulus.

Now is the time to confront what you are avoiding. Begin now.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

What is the one thing you would really like to do that you’ve put on hold?

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Have you thought about how fear keeps controlling you?  No matter what you are doing or thinking about doing, you can imagine  a scenario that seems much worse than it actually is.  Our imagination is powerful. There is an acronym that illustrates this point. FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. So what happens. These worse case scenarios not only cause us enormous anxiety, they keep us from participating with life.  We stay on the sidelines and watch the river of life pass by without us.

As Mark Twain once said:

“Twenty years from now

You’ll have more regrets from the things you didn’t do, than the ones you did

So throw off the bowlines

Sail away from the safe harbor

And catch the trade winds in you sail

Explore…Dream…Discover.

So what is it that you’ve dreamed about doing. I’m sure there are at lease a few things. What if you wrote down on a piece of paper what it is and make a promise to yourself. What if you promised that whatever it is for you, you begin it within the next year. What then? Imagine whatever it is to turn out better than you anticipated.

Begin the journey now.

Journey On

Mark

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

What can you Learn from Difficult People?

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Most of us would love to be able to flip a switch and change the circumstances in our lives. We would start with the difficult people…those people who are unreasonable and sometimes just unpleasant. In your mind, they are the source of your upset. Whatever we want to do, they want to do the opposite. You know who they are. They might be a family member. Family members, are masters when it comes to pushing our buttons. They might be someone with whom you are intimate. Or they might be in the workplace; a coworker, a person in authority or someone with whom you come in contact during your day. Wow——quite a list.

I have found that through the years in my executive coaching practice that interpersonal conflict is a big concern. We can  eliminate some of them by changing our circumstances. But it’s difficult to eliminate  family members and in the workplace, we are reluctant to give up all we have worked hard to achieve.

Let’s take the stand that these difficult people and difficult situations are there to help us grow. When I begin working with a client as their executive coach, what they discover is that person, with whom they have difficulty, is symptomatic of a life time of communication issues.  Over time what was once a weakness becomes a strength. In the process not only do they learn how to turn this conflict into an opportunity, they also learn about themselves. They learn how to be assertive and, yet at the same time, respectful. They learn what their triggers are and create a system to respond, rather than react to these triggers. They learn to stand up for themselves.

They find that when they become better communicators, everyone with whom they come in contact is positively affected. Here’s how David Phipps, one of my first coaching clients, described his experience with this work: “The most profound change I have noticed from working with you has been in my communication. For the first time, I am able to be more myself, open, honest and real with everyone-my life partner, my friends, with those I manage, and those who manage me. They, too, have noticed and applauded this transformation.”

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

 

 

Spreading Seeds of Possibility

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Nature has its many mysteries. When we look deeply there is always a gift. Not only does nature nurture us, it reminds us of the cyclical nature of life. It also reminds us how unpredictable life can be.

After a flurry of fresh snow, there is a sense of awe and transcendence that you experience as the sun melts the snow that is clinging to the trees. You feel a lightness of being as you look around and breathe in the fresh air. But it’s not always that way.  Many of us have been in the midst of a violent storm that we thought would never end. Because we have been through many storms before, we have learned a fundamental truth. No matter how dark it seems, we know that the light of spring is coming. However with many of the personal challenges that we face in our lives we forget this lesson. At times these challenges overwhelm us, and that is all we see.

Spring, with its sense of optimism and hope, is a time of new beginnings. We ready ourselves for the spring ritual of planting our gardens. Although we don’t totally understand the process, we know for certain there’s an intelligence in nature’s way of doing things. But we need to do our part.

We prepare the soil for planting by first pulling out the weeds, which are the limiting beliefs that clutter our minds. Then we turn the soil and mix in compost and fertilizer before spreading the seeds, which are possibilities in the gardens of our subconscious mind. We don’t know how many of these seeds, or which ones, will emerge from the darkness to the light. But we have faith that if we tend to our garden, some seeds will grow.

We also know from our work together that our intentions determine what we harvest. Not only do these intentions provide food for the body, they provide food for the soul. From the darkness there is a miraculous process that gives birth to creation. That’s the way it was for each of us. We emerged from the darkness of the womb to the light of the day. As we continue on our journey that light becomes brighter. There are two themes that keep emerging in this luminosity.

Happiness is a choice that is not dependent on our circumstances. There might be circumstances in our life that we wish were different. By courageously facing this dissatisfaction, we begin shifting to the Positive Side of Change. Once this occurs, the flame inside of us begins to burn brightly again.

It is our life fulfilling destiny and the evolutionary promise of our soul to live on the Positive Side of Change. Whatever is happening in our life, especially the challenges, is the precise location of our evolutionary edge. Yet we all fear change and waste energy trying to avoid or control it. We stay stuck in unfulfilling careers or relationships rather than enter the unknown territory that lies ahead.

We have an inner GPS of Change that empowers us to skillfully navigate the changing currents of life’s challenges and to consistently recognize opportunities for success and personal growth.

The second theme is that our ability to experience joy and love keeps expanding. Here’s why. We’ve been through more. We’ve faced more adversity. We’ve been stretched. We all know that there are things in the world that are horrific and tragic. Some of us have personally experienced some of these events. No one is immune from this pain—it’s part of being human.

As a result our hearts are more open and we’re able to experience more joy, and to love more deeply. We’re gentler with ourselves and have learned to accept the things about ourselves that we can’t change. We’ve learned to accept the imperfections in life.

By focusing on what gives us joy, rather than on the imperfections, we learn to smile in the midst of the storm. We know we’ll get through it. We’ve been there before. We focus on what’s right about our life. We smile for no reason. We stop asking “why.” We’ve made the choice. Keep making that choice. Keep spreading the seeds.

Think of this spring as a time of possibility. As spring unfolds it is my hope that the seeds you plant renew your sense of hope and optimism. May you be inspired by the journey.

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

Getting on the Positive Side of Change—Making the Choice

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression that there are no coincidences. I am amazed at the synchronicity that continues to show up in my life. It seems that it occurs on a regular basis. I expect it. When Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes was first published, I was frequently on the radio. On one show the host had difficulty in pronouncing the last syllable of my name correctly. It’s actually very simple. Finally I said, “It’s Now, as Now is the time to be happy.”

 Now is also the time to begin whatever it is you are thinking of beginning. Many of us have a reason that’s in the way of our enjoying the present moment. It goes something like this.  “When I’m in a great relationship, I can be happy. When I’m out of the relationship, I can live again. When I have a better job, my life would be better. When I have more time, I’ll do it.”

 I’m sure this dialogue seems familiar. Making decisions is like that.  We want to know every possible outcome  before committing. We wait for the perfect scenario before moving forward.  We’re never going to have all of the information or a guarantee of how something will turn out, until we begin. Sure there might be some curveballs along the way, but we have the ability to swing at them and surprise ourselves by hitting a few out of the park. But until we swing at a few, we won’t the develop the confidence to  play the game. We learn from doing and from our mistakes.

Getting out of your comfort zone and leaving the familiar behind can be scary. But the potential for a fulfilling and exciting life is enormous.  The bigger game is not playing the game because you’re afraid of failing.

Making the choice to play the game of life is just the first step. And it’s the most important. Once you’re in, stay curious as to where it’s going to take you. You will be pleasantly surprised.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. 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 and Discover the Leader Within.

 


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