freedom

Break the Habit of Negative Thinking

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Like most people I’m sure you hear that voice—the voice of judgment, the inner critic that keeps repeating some version of the theme that you’re not good enough, or it won’t work. I think of this voice as your VOJ.
You would give almost anything to silence it. At times it feels like a hypnotic spell has been cast upon you.

The good news is that you can break the spell by starting your day differently. What I discovered and keep coming back to, is that how you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day!

If you start your day in a hurry, most likely you will be in a hurry all day long. If you begin your day being centered, you will better able to handle what comes up. Sure there will be those moments, but they won’t throw you or if they do, not for as long.

Integrate the following practice into your life. When you first wake up in the morning, sit for five or ten minutes in silence and then slowly focus on what you are grateful for. This practice shifts 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. This simple practice goes a long way toward breaking the hypnotic habit of negative thinking. If you don’t break the habit, before you know it, you begin imagining worse case scenarios.

The sooner you can recognize your voice of judgment that in coaching we refer to as your gremlin, the sooner you can move beyond it. Perhaps counterintuitive, all you have to do is to notice. That’s it. What helps is to give it a name so that you’re somewhat detached from the feeling. I call my gremlin Ralph. This simple practice of just noticing is profound. Don’t judge it. Don’t beat yourself up. Just notice it and then say, “Next.” Try it for 30 days and see what happens.

This practice is a great first step to becoming a more positive person. 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. And more importantly life seems less stressful.

If you are curious to find out how I can make a difference in your life both personally and professionally i invite you to contact me at 415.453.5016 or email me at mark@inspirepossibility.com. I also design programs and trainings that support organizations in creating a more fulfilling and productive culture. http://www.inspirepossibility.com.

Journey On

MARK

“At times our own light goes out, and is reignited by the spark of another person.”

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. 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.

Turn on the Electricity

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

You walk into a dark room and turn on the light switch. Nothing happens. You try another light switch and again nothing happens. You even try a different room and still nothing happens. Now you know that the electricity is turned off.

That’s what our lives are like when we are not connected to our personal power. We waste a lot of time attempting to achieve, and get nothing in return. We waste a lot of energy. Rather than changing a few external things like changing the light bulb or calling an electrician we need to look inside to discover the source of our faulty connection. And we know it begins with us.

Imagine driving your car when your shock absorbers are old and broken down. Every bump in the road is magnified so that even the smallest bumps affect you. After a while all you see are the imperfections in the road. Does this seem familiar? When you are connected to your center, instead of seeing imperfections, you see possibilities.

Here’s what I suggest that will begin the process of connecting with your center. Begin your day by taking time for yourself and I mean before looking at your smart phone. Sit quietly for ten minutes. Then think about what you are grateful for. One more thing. Think about what the highlight of your day might be. First think about your scheduled meetings. And then leave open the possibility that something great that is not on your agenda right now might occur.

What happens is that you create a positive expectation that something great will happen during the day. So you’re open to it. Try it for 30 days and see what happens. It works. This has been my practice for many years and that of the many people with whom I have been privileged to coach.

Enjoy the Adventure,

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. He is the author of Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.

GETTING FREE FROM THE TUNNEL OF WORRY

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

I know very few people who wished they worried more. Most of us would give almost anything to have a successful strategy for reducing worry. When we worry it’s almost as if there is a hypnotic spell cast upon us. It’s all consuming and limits our ability to see the opportunities and possibilities that currently exist. It’s as if a huge cloud gets in the way of our seeing the sun and the light that it can give us.

Most likely this limited way of thinking has been a habit for quite some time. Our imagination runs wild and our mind conjures up various scenarios none of which have a happy ending. We can’t imagine any other possibilities. I know because I was like that and I didn’t like the way this mindset made me feel. Fortunately that has changed over the years.

Many years ago I had a big discovery. When I focused on what I was grateful for after meditation, I noticed that over time I became more optimistic. Even when I thought about some of my concerns I didn’t get plugged in as much. Rather than focusing on what could go wrong and what I didn’t like about my life, I focused on what could go right and what I like about my life. I focused on the good stuff. As my gratitude practice evolved, I noticed that I worried less.

This was just the first step in helping me overcome some of my limiting beliefs and disempowering ways of thinking. Focusing on what I was grateful for, helped shift my attitude. This change in attitude was just one aspect of my overall strategy to reduce worry. Over the years, I noticed my own tendencies and those of many of the people with whom I worked as an attorney and as a life coach. I discovered three important questions to ask yourself when you feel yourself excessively worrying. I have found that these questions have the potential to shift your focus from one of worry to one of possibility.

The first is, what is the worst that can happen? Remember worry is an irrational emotion. Quite often when we excessively worry, we feel as if we are forever stuck in a long and dark tunnel with no end to it. There is an acronym that reminds me of this truth: F.E.A.R.: False Evidence Appearing Real. When you worry, you can’t see clearly and you distort reality. You only see one possibility and not only does th tunnel seem darker, there doesn’t seem a way out.

I then ask myself, “How likely is it that what I’m worrying about will actually occur?” This inquiry 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. Even imagine things working out better than you expected. 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, you’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 becomes 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 Changes and Discover the Leader Within.

THE BIRTHDAY CARD

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

I got the invitation. It was an invitation to one of those birthday celebrations that signify that you are embarking upon a new era. This symbol is easily recognized by the zero after the first digit. I remember when 21 was the big one to celebrate. It meant that you were legal which gave you new found freedom. Then it was changed so that 18 was legal and you could experience the new found freedom that you didn’t know that you had. Sometimes we wait too long.

Then I hit 30. From that point on the birthdays with the zero as the second digit became more significant. They became a time for reflection. Where am I in my life? What have I accomplished? What am I most proud of? In what areas of my life am I disappointed or struggling.

No matter what we are doing or what phase we are currently experiencing in our life’s journey, our challenge is to get on the positive side of change. With that in mind, what changes do we need to make, if we want to experience our life as an exciting journey of discovery? How can we make our life more of a celebration? What can we do to let more joy in?

This has led me to celebrating with friends each new birthday, especially the ones with the zeroes as the second digit. A few years ago I got a great card for one of my birthdays. It was the perfect card for where I was at that time in my life. It was what I needed to be reminded of at that moment.

From that moment on, I was inspired to look for the perfect card for each person with whom I was invited to celebrate. This practice has become a ritual that I look forward to. There is a magic in this process. It puts my attention on the greatness that I see in the other person. It also gets me in touch with the greatness that I see in myself.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re wondering what card I chose….here it is..

“I would rather have a mind opened by Wonder than one closed by Belief.”

STAY CURIOUS AND 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.

ECHOES OF THE SELF

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Do you remember your first teacher? Mine was Mrs. Burdette. I don’t remember much about her, except her name. Since then I’ve had many more teachers and mentors who have all contributed to whom I am today. We learn from all of our experiences and from everyone we meet; some more significant than others. Although we don’t always remember their name, we usually remember the story they told us. When you are a writer, you’re always looking for that story or insight to share. It’s a gift when you hear such a story. So it was with delight when my youngest daughter, Savanna, was visiting last week and I experienced such a moment. As our conversation evolved she shared the following story that speaks for itself.

A son and his father were walking on the mountains.
Suddenly, the son falls, hurts himself and screams:
“AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating,
somewhere in the mountain: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”
He receives the answer: “Who are you?”

Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”
He receives the answer: “Coward!”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”
The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”

And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”
The voice answers: “I admire you!”

Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”
The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO,
but really this is LIFE.

It gives you back everything you say or do.
Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.

If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart.
If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence.

This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life;
Life will give you back everything you have given to it.

YOUR LIFE IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT’S A REFLECTION OF YOU!

As I shared with you in the beginning, quite often we don’t remember the name of the person who tells us the story, even though we remember the story. Savanna and I attempted to determine who wrote this one. We searched the internet and found the story, but the author was unknown. Whoever he or she is, we want to thank them from the bottom of our heart for the gift of their wisdom.

JOURNEY ON

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.

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE PURPOSE?

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Do you ever wonder about what your life purpose is? Most of us have at different times in our lives. I know I have especially in my formative years. I wanted to be a lawyer so that I could “make the world a better place.” My purpose was to change the world by fighting for social justice. When I graduated from law school, I put myself in situations so that I could be a player in effectuating that change at the sacrifice of financial reward. In truth it wasn’t really a sacrifice because I was committed to what I felt I was here to do.

In those days I lived very simply and my expenses were low. As long as I could pay my bills I wasn’t concerned because I was living my dream——what I was here to do.

Yes there were plenty of obstacles, but I didn’t seem them as obstacles. They were steps along the way that had to be dealt with to get where I wanted to go. There were also many challenges and disappointments along the way that over time strengthened me. But as we all have learned the river is constantly changing.

Some of the social issues that I was involved in rectified themselves and the focus of my law practice changed. It no longer fulfilled me. I started questioning the work I was doing and whether in the big picture it made a difference. At that point in my life, there was a divergence between my work and my life purpose.

When I began raising a family I questioned the value of what I was doing. When you experience new phases in your life, your sense of purpose also changes. I listened to the river and for the last twelve years have experienced a new phase. I began the work that I do now.

My purpose is inspiring others to feel more joy and fulfillment in their lives.

JOURNEY ON

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.

WHAT DOES MATURITY MEAN?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Do you ever think about what maturity means? I’m sure most of us have at times, but I want to give you a new way to think about it. By no means do I want to negate what you already believe. Maturity is that moment in our lives when we step up and take responsibility for our well-being and our happiness.

With this new sense of responsibility comes a new-found freedom. We no longer blame others or our circumstances for our dissatisfaction with life. We notice what occurs but we don’t judge it.

Imagine what that would be like. This is it. We are responsible for what we are experiencing in this moment. It’s liberating. We don’t need to look further. We don’t need to make someone wrong. It’s no ones fault. We are free from the blame game.

With this new sense of maturity we have a new sense of confidence. A confidence that our moment-to-moment happiness is a choice and is not dependent on something occurring in the future.

So what that means is that we have to constantly make that choice. By doing so we are demonstrating our confidence in ourself and our faith in our capabilities. Actually we are doing much more. We are reinforcing this new sense of freedom.

JOURNEY ON

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. Give yourself the gift of coaching and make an investment in your future.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Sometimes it gets confusing. We have heard or read many times that one of the keys to happiness is focusing on the here and now. But how do we reconcile focusing on the present with having a vision for the future.

We all have had goals and dreams at times which have a long term horizon. When I was younger it was becoming a lawyer. And when I began my coaching career I had a vision of where I wanted to go with it and who I wanted to become. Yet there was the day-to-day navigation of getting there. There were the doubts and the uncertainty. “Was I on the right path? It’s not the way I thought it would go. It’s harder than I thought.” What was it that enabled me to hang in there?

It’s the vision of what we want down the road that keeps us going in the darkest moments and in the midst of uncertainty. In the beginning that’s all there might be. Just a vision——but a vision of what’s possible and a belief that this is our life’s work.

So we take a small step in the direction of where we want to go. At the time it might not seem significant. In retrospect we see that it was just one of many steps that have propelled us on our way. That small step over time gets magnified. I remember when I made the decision to become a coach. I was on the island of Kauai. I picked up the phone and signed up for the next program. And on the plane coming home my first client was waiting for me.

That phone call at the time seemed insignificant. Yet it was the first step that has led me to where I am at this time in my life.

Take the next step!

JOURNEY ON

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. Give yourself the gift of coaching and make an investment in your future.

TAKE THE STEP IN FRONT OF YOU

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Whenever I get on my mountain bike and approach a hill I look up. In my mind I have a whole story about how steep the hill is and whether I can make it to the top. I’ve been on the trail many times, so I remind myself to focus on what’s immediately in front of me which is the next step. That’s the way all of our life is. Life’s complexities can be broken down into smaller segments. Whenever you have a big project to complete, break it down into smaller pieces.

When I was a trial lawyer and was getting ready for a trial, it would seem overwhelming at times, until I changed my thinking. I looked at the trial at a series of segments that had their own schedule. Each piece seemed manageable. Rather than being overwhelmed, I was able to focus on what had to get done.

All you can do is take the step that is in front of you. Life has an order to it much like building a house. First you have to work on the big picture, the plans, before you can start building. You have to get the right person who shares your vision. Before you can put the house up, you need to complete the foundation. Again you have to find the right workers who share your same vision and sensibilities.

Whatever it is you are thinking about doing, whether in your personal or professional life, take one step at a time. That’s all you can do. And that next step is always immediately in front of you. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and trust. Trust because sometimes you aren’t able to see much more than that next step. Trust to know that you are on the right path even when you come across a few detours. And there will always be a few in the form of the doubts and insecurities.

Enjoy the journey

Mark

Mark Susnow, is an executive & life coach and speaker 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.

Walk Through the Door that’s Open

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

If only we can have the perspective of hindsight? Some of you may already know this about me, but my goal in college was to become a dentist. Yes, I know that’s hard to believe. My father and uncle were both dentists and it was ordained that I would follow in their footsteps. All through college I took courses with one objective in mind——get into dental school. Well, I did get in and actually went for a year and a half before flunking out. Wow was I disappointed and my confidence was at an all time low. What I had worked for my entire life up to that point wasn’t going to happen. My entire college education seemed like a waste. Now I had no direction. That was my reality. In many ways I felt like a failure. But there was a part of me that felt liberated. I could begin “my life.”

It was also the beginning of the path that I am on now. I had always wanted to be a trial lawyer and then went to law school and embarked upon a long law career that was quite fulfilling for many years. And when I no longer felt a purpose for the work I was doing, I was motivated to ask myself, What’s Next.

And so it is that I have been on this journey for the last eleven years. It’s been quite a ride.
What seemed initially like a disappointment, flunking out of dental school, actually was a turning point in my life. It was a new beginning. I felt liberated to embark upon my life’s journey, not someone else’s.

The next time you feel disappointed, wonder about the opportunity you are being presented with. Look around. What do you see? When one door closes, walk through the one that’s open.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive & life coach and speaker 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.


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