finding joy and meaning in the midst of change

That Ability to Laugh

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Welcome to the new year. What does that mean to you? Have you thought about what you wanted to accomplish this year? Or perhaps you thought about what you wanted this year to be about? How about? More joy, fun, laughter, less struggle which includes minimizing the stresses that go along with the struggle—all those good things.

It’s a little different each year. Sometimes we’re determined to make our relationship better, or to create a new one. Yes that elusive significant other. And then there are those times when we focus on developing our careers—an ongoing journey. Or perhaps redefining them. Some years we look forward to simplifying our lives. Nothing to do, but to be with our selves—for some the biggest challenge of all.

When it’s all said or done, probably what is most important, is our ability to laugh and smile. Stuff happens. We’ll hit some of our goals—we’ll have successes, disappointments and the cycle keeps repeating itself. The quality of our relationships at times goes up and down like the stock market. It’s just the way it is. But there is one quality, above all the others, that lightens us and changes our outlook on life. Which is—

That ability to laugh! Priceless…a gift….a laugh a day will keep the doctor away.

Until next time, walk in freedom and have a laugh on me.

JOURNEY ON

“I’m called to inspire others to reignite the spark inside of them that has been dimmed by years of hard work and struggle.”

Mark

Mark Susnow knows change. He is an executive-life coach, life-discovery guide and recognized thought leader 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 and Discover the Leader Within. Contact him for an initial complimentary session.

Make Time for the Jollies

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

There is an expression that I came up with a few years ago…it was actually more than a few years ago—which is Make Time for the Jollies.

What i mean by that expression is to take time everyday to do something that gives you pleasure…we all have things we like to do, but very few of us, make them a priority. Regardless of how busy you are, you can always take a few minutes to do something that is fun…you’ll still have your “to do” list, but taking five or ten minutes or even an hour, won’t get in the way of your completing your list. What you’ll find is that when you are working on your list, whether it’s a mental list or a physical one , you’ll be more efficient and productive and be able to complete it in less time. You’ll also enjoy the process of completion more.

It doesn’t matter so much what it is, it could be a dance class, going to the gym, writing in your journal, going to a yoga or Tai Chi class or taking a walk in the woods…What does matter is that you do something. Every day! Make it a necessity. When I was younger I made time for a run every day. Smiling is a big component.

Having a morning ritual, helps in making the jollies a part of you life. You have the time. You just need the commitment.

Until next time,

JOURNEY ON

“I’m called to inspire others to reignite the spark inside of them that has been dimmed by years of hard work and struggle.”

Mark

From “the Soul of Uncertainty.” A thought…in the midst of the storm, somewhere in the clouds and in the darkness there is a rainbow. Keep looking for it, and you’ll see it. Our lives are the same way. In the midst of the loose ends and uncertainty in our lives, there are possibilities and opportunities and of course rainbows. Enjoy them.

Mark Susnow knows change. He is an executive-life coach, life-discovery guide and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. 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. Contact him for an initial complimentary session.

Creating New Channels of Thought

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

We had talked about developing a new mindset in the last blog—a version of— it can easy, have value and the process of creation can be an exciting adventure of discovery. What would it take to instill this mindset into your everyday experience of life?

The power of the mind, if channeled in the way we want, can change our perspective about life. It is our mind that keeps us stuck with versions of its limiting beliefs that we are not good enough. In a way that belief is a self-defeating mantra that we repeat over and over again, although we’re not consciously aware of doing so.

Let’s start repeating a new mantra, the one that empowers us to see our life in a more exciting way. Here’s what I would suggest…real basic stuff….write out a positive affirmation of the belief you want to instill. For example.
Life comes effortlessly to me and I’m ready and willing to receive its abundance….in the morning take a few minutes for reflection and then read it and repeat it to your self 10 times.

Try it on and see how it fits. The experts say it takes 30 days to instill a new habit….Let’s start with today and tomorrow and go from there, so that each day is just about that day….

Journey On

“I’m called to inspire others, to reignite the spark inside of them that has been dimmed by years of hard work and struggle.”

Journey ON

Mark

Mark Susnow knows change. He is an executive-life coach, life-discovery guide 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.

So Which one are you Going to Focus on?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The average person thinks over 60,000 thoughts in a day. It isn’t an exaggeration to say our minds are superactive. And we know from the work we have been doing that our mind is extremely powerful. Our thoughts have the power to create our reality and certainly our experience of reality.

Many researchers often liken our minds to computers. They’re amazing and have the power to do extraordinary things, both positive and negative. What matters is how we program them. To make our computers more efficient we install the latest software which is a step in the right direction. But without more is not enough.

It’s the data we input into the computer that makes the difference. We have to let the computer know what we want. And our lives our like that. Our subconscious mind is the engine that runs our life. It is our thoughts and actions that help program our subconscious minds. So we have to be mindful as to what we input.

We want most of those thoughts to be positive. In that way we program ourselves to think more positively and to be happier.

We all want to know how we can do that. If you have been reading this blog before you know that quite often i make reference to the morning program. How you start your day sets the tone for the day.

The best investment you can make, with the highest rate of return, is to take time in the morning for inner reflection. Sit quietly in the beginning for 5-10 minutes. Then focus on what you are grateful for. What this does is shift your focus from what isn’t working to what is. In essence you shift your focus to the good. And after you do this, then wonder about what the highlight of your day might be. Again you’re thinking about the good. In the process many of those thoughts that you think about will be more uplifting. In the process you’ll smile and laugh more.

Journey ON

Mark

Join Mark and his cohost Ralph Marston for the Journey On radio show. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journeyon.

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. In his prior career, he was covered by the NY Times, Boston Globe, and Rolling Stone Magazine. He is the author of Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.

Life Lessons from the River

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a formula if followed would be the answer to all of our problems and concerns. We are intrigued by books and lectures that promise us happiness and a better life.

If you have been a reader of this blog, you know that I make frequent references to the river.  Perhaps you already know the story. When I was 13 years old, my Uncle Sam took me on a weeklong river rafting trip on the Green River in Colorado.  We flew from San Francisco to Boise and then caught a little six-seat plane that flew us over the mountains and landed in a town near our campsite.  We then got into an old school bus that drove us to the river.

On the second day of the trip I was swimming along the side of the raft when I noticed the raft getting ahead of me and I heard the yells:  “Get in the boat. Get in the boat.” But it was too late. As I swam toward the boat, I became exhausted from the struggle. I heard more yells: “Stay in the center. Stay in the center.”  That’s what I tried to do. I let go as I was swirled through the rapids a few feet behind the boat. I made it to the other side. I was now in calm water and able to relax for a second until I noticed the next series of rapids approaching. At the last second my uncle extended an oar and miraculously I was able to grab it as I was pulled onto the boat.

On the way home, my uncle said something to me that was prophetic. “ You’ll think about this trip later in life.“  It wasn’t until many years later, on a return trip to Colorado, while visiting a friend that I thought about it. As I sat high on a mountaintop, staring into a reddish canyon, I saw a river. I reflected upon my river experience many years previously. I thought about my life and all that had occurred up to that moment in time. There were the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows and the remarkable people who had been my guides on this journey. I reflected upon eight principles that have been my inner guides that have helped me navigate the changing nature of the river.

  • Find and live from your center. When you are centered and connected to your source, you are connected with the source of everything.  That’s when you are able to let go, to trust and to flow with what is. When I let go in the river and stayed in the center, I became at one with that same energy and power that had forged a path over thousands of years. Meditation has facilitated my connecting with that center on a daily basis.
  •  Develop the practice of gratitude. I was grateful for that oar. I was grateful that I got to experience the river. And I am grateful for my life. We have much to be grateful for.  We are truly abundant.
  • Be curious. Think of your life as a river with its lessons, challenges and complexities. Being curious about the changing nature of the river enables you to know and sense its many currents. As this knowing emerges, you’re more comfortable with not knowing where the river is taking you. In the process you become the person you’ve always wanted to be, fully present with life, and passionate about living.
  • Be prepared. I wore a life preserver on the river. When you are prepared you can relax and enjoy life’s unfolding. Preparation involves nurturing your mind and body, including eating well and exercising. It involves working on yourself and being receptive to new ideas and concepts. In the process of becoming an expanded person, your sense of what is possible in your also expands.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.  I could have stayed in the boat and played it safe but I was curious and adventurous. My comfort zone for me was my law practice and as a result my life for many years was on hold. Getting in the current and flow of life involves risk, but that is what you must do if you want to realize your full potential.
  •  Learn to let go of resistance. Resistance is a constant  struggle. At some point in your life, not only do you become tired from the struggle, you become tired of the struggle. When you allow yourself to flow with what is, you experience a synchronicity that can’t be described in words.
  •  Trust others and work together. You can’t do it alone and why would you want to. When you are open and willing to receive you create a synergy in your life that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. When the oar is extended accept it.
  •  The River of Life is a great mystery. I am becoming increasingly more comfortable with not knowing the next step. And when it comes I enjoy taking it. The river is unpredictable and you can’t figure it out.

As you begin to integrate these eight principles into your life, you’re more confident that wherever the river takes you, you have the tools and inner resources to swim in the deeper waters and swifter currents.

With each passing year I am blessed to share the journey with many likeminded travelers.  Thank you for expanding our circle by forwarding this link to those in your circle. By the way when is your next river rafting trip?

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Please join me for the Journey On radio show. I am cohosting the show with my good friend Ralph Marston who publishes the Daily Motivator.  Http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journeyon

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—Defining Moments

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

When you discover and honor your true nature and core beliefs, your life will be more consistent with the self you want to awaken.

What really matters to you? Until you know what’s true for you, it will be difficult to live a fulfilling life.  That’s what our journey together is about.  This exporation has no ending, because as you experience different phases in your life, what’s important to you also changes.

Discovering your core values is a lifelong quest.  Until you connect with y9our authentic self, you will nevver connect with these values.  It’s like turning on the light switch when the electricity is turned off. Connecting with your authentic self turns on the electricity…Living from you center connects you with your authentic self and core values. In the last few blogs you have been given tools and strategies to connect with that center.

Let’s build on that. Take a few moments to think about your life.. Think about your values, what you are doing and the people in your life. All of your past experiences, the people you have met and the choices you have made, contribute to who you are today. Without any of them  you wouldn’t be the person you are today.  Your core values and beliefs about what is possible in your life are a reflection of these past experiences.

When you take the time to reflect upon your life’s journey, you’ll discover key moments from the past that have contributed to who you are, what you stand for and clarity about your life purpose.  Sometimes these moments were in response to life’s challenges when you arose to the occasion. At other times you answered the call of a yearning inside, which ultimately determined your character and destiny.

I refer to these times as defining moments. Identify three of them in your life. Those moments that you can fall back on to remind you what you really stand for. One of them  might be a decision.  My decision to begin meditating was a defining moment in my life. My decision to make a career change  from trial lawyer to coach, speaker and author was a defining moment. Making the decision is the beginning of a new journey. Are you ready?

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.

Living on the Positive Side of Change—Curiosity

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

You have been introduced to meditation and the power of gratitude. After I have meditated in the morning and focused on what I am grateful for, I wonder about what the highlight of my day might be.  This simple practice helps me cultivate curiosity into my life.

Being curious is such a power thought process. Here’s what you do. Briefly scan your day to remind yourself what’s on your agenda.  After you have done that, as your day progresses, be open to seeing the good in every encountner that you have.  The highlight might be something unexpected and it might be a little thing. We tend to overlook what at first glance might seem insignificant  This practice will open you up to a whole new universe.  It might be a smile while you are waiting in line at the bank or the grocery store.  It might be a thank-you from someone.  It might be a greeting from a pet.  Hopefully, by the end of the day, you won’t be able to make up your mind as to what the highlight was because you’ll have two or three great choices. What at one time seemed like a mundane task, becomes something that you look forward to.

For the next week integrate curiosity into your morning as you begin the day and see what you notice. The important thing to take away from this is that there is always a highlight. It just might be different than what you think. Be open to that new possibility.

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 Positive Side of Change—The Reduce Worry Process

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

I’ve found from my years as an executive-life coach, worry is one of the biggest challenges that most of us face. In previous blogs you were introduced to the benefits of a daily gratitude practice.  I’ve found that expressing gratitude on a daily basis helps me to overome my tendeny to worry.  I know this tendency places me in good company.  When I feel myself worrying excessively there are three questions I ask myself.

The first is, “What is the worst that can happen?” Remember  worry is an irrational emotion.  There is an acronym that reminds mo of this truth : F.E. A. R.: False Evidence Apppearing Real.

I then ask myself, ” How likely is it that what I’m worrying about will happen?” This question gets me out of the irrational mode.  When you are in the irrational mode you usually imagine the worst-case scenario.  This inquiry forces me to detach from what I’m feeling, even if just for a few seconds.  Once I’m feeling calmer, I’m ready to explore the likelihood of the particular thing I’m worrying about actually occurring.  Usually I come to the conclusion that there is little likelihood of it happening.

The next inquiry I have found quite powerful.  Ask yourself what the result would be if everything went your way. Very few of us consider this possibility.  When you allow yourself to fully explore and imagine the possibilities of everything working out in your favor, with the same intensity of emotion that you have when you worry, before you know it, your’re out of your funk and excited again. More often than not I am pleasantly surprised.

We have no way of knowing what is going to happen in the future, yet for some reason when we worry we think we do.  In the process of training our minds to think more positively about the possibilities in our life, life beomes less of a struggle and more of an exciting journey of discovery.  Since we know what it’s like to dance on the river, we welcome what’s next.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive & life coach and 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 

FROM BELIEVING TO BELONGING

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

We’ve all had dreams at different times in our lives. Without them our lives wouldn’t be the same. We wouldn’t have accomplished much of what we have so far. We wouldn’t be living the life that we are living today.

But it’s a balancing act. Sometimes these dreams and visions get in the way of our experiencing the present moment. In my conversations with many like-minded travelers, I am reminded that many of us have forgotten how to have fun, how to play like we did when we were kids. To help us remember what it’s like, I encourage people to reflect upon their childhood. What did they do when they weren’t in school? When they had a choice to choose an elective, what did they choose and what did they say no to? Growing up I had a choice between music or an elective that involved making things. I’ve played music my entire life, but am not very good when it comes to making or fixing things.

Think about what you did to have fun. It helps to have a good imagination. Sports were a big part of my life. I had visions of becoming a professional athlete. But as I got older, and competed against other kids from different areas of the city, no matter how active my imagination, I realized my limitations.

Growing up, both sports and music were a big part of my life. No matter the sport, I had my teams that I rooted for. It’s amazing how important I made that weeks game. Not only did it give my life meaning, it was an escape from the rest of my life. Much of the time I found myself rooting for the underdog. Sometimes the only ones giving the underdog a chance were the underdogs themselves. When the underdog won, I felt so good. It reminded me of what was possible in my own life. It reminded me of how powerful believing in one’s self can be.

One of our local basketball teams, the Golden State Warriors were perennial underdogs until seven years ago. They rehired an old coach who miraculously turned them around by getting them to believe in themselves. It was contagious. The fans started believing too. In fact that year they made the playoffs and the team slogan became WE BELIEVE. As you entered the stadium you were given a yellow t-shirt, one of the team’s colors, with the slogan We Believe printed on it.

Well it didn’t last. The team reverted to their old ways and became underdogs again. Within three years the team was sold and the coach fired. Ownership completed a turnover in the team’s roster. This year they’re back and having a great year. But there’s a different feeling. It’s no longer We Believe; it’s now WE BELONG. The distinction seemed profound. It’s been on my mind. How is this subtle distinction relevant to the rest of our lives?

The dream or vision keeps us moving forward and gives us a reason for living. But at times it takes tremendous effort to keep the dream alive, especially when we might be the only one having the dream. Even when we have our share of doubts, we keep going. Ultimately it’s getting to that place in our lives when we courageously stand up to the uncertainty in our lives. Even in the face of this uncertainty, we experience moments of grace when we have occasional glimpses of a life that at one time we could only imagine. But there is still the striving and the insecurity.

At some point there is a shift in consciousness. The feeling of believing morphs into a feeling of belonging. Our expectations for ourselves, and the acceptance of our greatness, emerge. We now say to ourselves, “This is where I belong.” At times this shift is elusive. While we do feel a sense of community, it’s much more than that. It’s a feeling of acceptance. It’s a feeling of peace. It’s a feeling of knowing this is where we belong. We are home.

My team, the Warriors, initially believed that they could be an elite team, but they hadn’t experienced it as of yet. When they momentarily had a glimpse of it years ago, a seed was planted that when cultivated properly could grow into who they are today. They have an expectation of winning. They have an expectation of excellence and greatness. They’ve cultivated their garden. They are ready to reap the harvest and share it with others.

We all have a longing to be part of something greater than ourselves. The feeling of belonging transports us from the “I” to the “We.” From that feeling of WE, we experience a profound sense of connectedness. A connectedness to community and a power greater than we are.

So with my team, it’s no longer a once in a while kind of deal. They’re for real. They belong. So do you. So do all of us.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive & life coach and 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.

BE A DREAMER

Friday, January 4th, 2013

In getting on the positive side of change, we’re aware of the balancing act we play on a daily basis. Imagine….You’re driving your car. You’re looking at where you are going. But in the rearview window you see headlights. You are distracted by the headlights and forget where you are going. That’s what happens when you lose your center.

It could be said that most of our life is like that….trying to maintain that balance so that we’re moving forward. So that we keep our eye on what’s important to us and what we have to do to get there. While it is true that the past does have some relevance, more important is what we’ve learned from it and how we are going to build upon it. It doesn’t do any good to dwell on what has happened in the past or the missed opportunities. “If only I said this. If only I did this instead. If only I tried harder. If only I took advantage of the opportunity.”

It’s time to get excited about what’s ahead. Stretch yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Imagine what your life would be like if things work out better than expected. What a great thought. What if in the morning, after taking time for meditation or quiet reflection, you visualized that life. Yes you made it a habit. Everyday. You build on it. Be a dreamer. As John Lennon sang, “I might be a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

So stay focused on where you want to go. Take every opportunity you have to move forward in your life.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive & life coach and 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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