inspiration

The Challenge of the Times

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The world is changing faster than it has ever before. It’s challenging to keep up with the latest. Our greater dependency on technology fuels this trend. We know what the advantages to technology are. We have more opportunities and greater conveniences than we have ever had before. The advances in health care are enormous and the promise of the future is encouraging but the challenges are increasing.

The first challenge is how to wed our greater dependency on technology with our sense of self. Technology gives us the opportunity to connect with almost anyone anywhere, which leads to the concern that if we are not in instant communication we might miss out on something.—that text or call that pertains to a different reality than the one we are engaged with at the present moment.

As soon as we see or hear a signal that we have an incoming message, we interrupt what we are doing to notice the nature of that incoming message. Very rarely is it something important that has to be handled in the moment.

We pay a price for these distractions. In the process we lose our ability to really get into something and know it well. Rather than being in the moment with what we are doing, we are already thinking about something else. Is that something else more important than what we are doing now or the conversation we are having with someone else. Our minds are constantly at work trying to figure that out. We don’t know how to still the mind. We don’t know how commit to just being.

What has been lost is the ability to connect with others and to work together. The flow of our conversation and ideas has been interrupted so that we aren’t able to go deeper. The irony is that none of us like to be interrupted but that is exactly what happens. What makes it worse, is that we are being interrupted essentially by a computer. The energy changes and the connection has been lost. Sure we have more information at our fingertips, but we’ve replaced intimacy with information.

All of this leads to a greater sense of isolation. Even when we want to connect face-to-face we’re not exactly sure how to go about doing it. Communication is an art form and, like other art forms, needs to be practiced. We get better the more we do it. There is nothing better than connecting with another. In fact when we become master communicators it’s magical.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is how to make peace with an uncertain future. That uncertainty is there in almost all facets of our lives—our safety, our finances, our health, and our sense of wellbeing. The rapid technological changes contribute to this uncertainty.

Our challenge is to develop a trust that if we live totally in the present that the uncertainty we have about the future will unfold the way it should. Our part is to be 100% committed to whatever we are engaged in. It doesn’t mean to be in denial of some of the problems that we experience individually and collectively. But when we approach these concerns with 100% focus and effort, then we begin to discover solutions to problems that previously were thought to be insoluble.

Here’s a suggestion. For one precious moment, learn to trust it’s all going to work out. For that one moment just be. Then try it for ten minutes. Just be and give your concerns a holiday. They don’t need you all of the time. That holiday includes taking a vacation from your smart phone—plan your digital detox now.

Living in the moment and being present is an art form that can be cultivated. The ones that have mastered it have a presence about them. They are connected to the source of their personal power and all that is and has always been.

There are more and more articles in the main stream about the practical and spiritual benefits of having a mindfulness practice. Meditation in the morning is an essential practice to cultivate in this rapidly changing world.

“To dream – again. To dare – again.
To feel enjoyment and happiness – again,
or for the first time.
To realize – Ah, this is living —
This is the stand I take!”

What a worthy adventure we are on. Our job is to enjoy it, to be ethical and to live life fully.

Journey On

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. blogtalkradio.com/journeyon

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.

What is one change you are committed to making?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Think about how you live your day; your thoughts, your habits, the people you interact with. How did you feel afterwards? Were you energized or depleted? Reflecting upon our lives at times is invaluable.

It might be a little thing. I made changing my message on my answering machine into a big deal.I had the same message for two years….just saying that makes me feel like a dinasaur….stuck..resistant to change…and I’m not. I thought about changing my message on at least 100 occasions. And there were countless others who suggested my changing it. It’s amazing the amount of time that went to just thinking about it. And what’s also amazing are the spectrum of emotions that i felt and the reasons I came up with not doing anything. I know this was just a little thing which really wasn’t that important.

I was feeling anxious before making this change and this is from a person who is used to making significant decisions. Did you notice I did say “was”? I just made the change and with playing it back 4 times the whole process took under four minutes.

It seemed so easy and now I am thinking about making this change at least at the beginning of every month. Just think about other areas of your life in which you are reluctant to change. We can be stubborn sometimes, can’t we? But our resistance to change is what holds us back from having a successful and fulfilling life. Life is cyclical and full of changes…just think of the seasons of the year. We either create the changes in our life or we react to them. I know what I want to do and I am sure your preference would be to create the changes you want. But just start with one thing.

Declare yourself. Sometimes we just have to say we are going to do it. Make the commitment. Having someone hold us accountable is a big help.

What is one change that you can make today? Who is going to hold you accountable?

What a worthy adventure we are on. Our job is to enjoy it, to be ethical and to live life fully.

Journey On

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. blogtalkradio.com/journeyon

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.

Interrupt the Negative Thought Pattern

Monday, March 31st, 2014

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.
As we just mentioned these negative cycles can become hypnotic. The sooner that you recognize that you are in one of these negative loops the sooner you can break the hypnotic. Just recognize it and don’t judge it. Don’t beat yourself up. Notice it and then say, “Next.”

What a worthy adventure we are on. Our job is to enjoy it, to be ethical and to live life fully.

Journey On

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

You are the Creator of your Life

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Most of us from time to time overreact to a situation; it could be an interaction with another, or a transaction going south on us. We lose sight of where we were going and what we wanted to accomplish. Our challenge is to stay focused on our intention and not get sidetracked by the obstacles and challenges that get in the way. The obstacles and disappointments are there to challenge us. They make us better.

I have written and said on several occasions that how you start your day sets the tone for the day. If you start your day in a hurry, most likely you will be in a hurry all day long. If you start your day in a calm manner, most likely you will keep that calm and you will be better able to weather the negativity that comes up during the day. You will be more flexible and not overreact to the events that don’t work out the way you had anticipated. More important, as you begin your day, become clear as to how you want your day to be. And stay curious; imagine your day turning out better than you expected.

When you keep in mind what your intention is for the day, the obstacles and challenges that come up during the day, don’t throw you for a loop. Over time, you notice that you stop making excuses. You except what happened, stop blaming the other person and move on. You are the creator of your life, not the victim.

May you be inspired by the journey,

Have fun

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

Seeds of Possibilities

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

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, we have a sense of awe and transcendence as the sun melts the snow that is clinging to the trees. We feel a lightness of being as we 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.

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. We lose sight of what we want to create.

Then there is wonderful Spring. 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, with the proper nurturing, 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 events and 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.
Whatever is happening in our lives, 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.

Each of us has 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 fulfillment that are all around us.

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.

There is no better place to begin spreading those seeds than with those you love and care about. Please feel free to share this message with them. Let me know what’s happening in your life.

May you be inspired by the journey,

Have fun

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

The Path of Relationship

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
William James

We look to relationships to satisfy this craving. It’s our natural state to be loving. Unfortunately with the busyness of our lives we forget what that natural state is. There is nothing better than a great relationship. You feel that you belong. You feel empowered. You feel an incredible aliveness. But ultimately we have to learn to have a great relationship with ourselves. When we do, it enriches everyone with whom we meet.

We live in a relational world. At a fundamental level what we all want is to deeply connect with others, but we’re not sure how to do that. Successful relationships transform our families, schools, institutions, governments and the world we live in.

When you connect with your heart, body and soul, connection occurs in an instant. Connection begins with you, by your awakening to your true nature as a spiritual being having a physical experience. It’s “a knowing” that you are connected to a power greater than you. Connection is a path and like most paths, there will be challenges along the way.

The good news is that connection can be cultivated. Before I embarked upon my coaching path I was a decent connector when I wanted to be, but I didn’t consider it one of my strengths. This has changed over the years.

My first coach gave me a new way to look at connection, which has been instrumental in my cultivating the awareness that I have now. From that moment on, I became increasingly aware of how much I liked to connect with others.

The ability to connect with others opens up a whole new world. Connection transcends stereotypes and judgments, creating fertile ground for a new dialogue, a dialogue not
constrained by history, but open to common ground for a consciousness of possibility. By connecting, you make the ultimate gift to yourself and to others. It is when we give of
ourselves that we receive the ultimate joy.

Our bigger challenge is to receive from others. Many of us find it difficult to be supported and to let others do things for us. This might seem like somewhat of a paradox, but when we give to others we remain in control. It’s only in the act of receiving that we give up control and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It is in that moment when we feel the most connected to others. By receiving the gift of another, we are making the ultimate gift to them. Until we allow ourselves to receive this gift, we won’t be able to experience the depth and intimacy that we are seeking.

Let me share with you a few strategies that I have found effective in cultivating more connection in my life. After meditation, I express gratitude for the gift of connection that I have with others. Perhaps in the beginning of this practice I didn’t feel or believe it totally. But over time I’ve noticed that my ability to connect has become a strength. I’m certainly more aware of the connections that I do have.

Being curious is invaluable. In some ways, I’ve transformed being curious into a fun game. Whenever I go to a gathering, I’m curious with whom I’ll connect With so many of us asking the same questions, I’m curious about what I might learn when I connect with them. In the last few years I’ve expanded upon this practice. Before I left for a recent trip for Kauai, I wondered about with whom I would have the best connection. This set the tone and kept me curious during the whole trip. The synchronicity was amazing. We reach a time in our life, when those remarkable meetings seem to occur more often. Synchronicity then becomes the norm, rather than the infrequent occurrence.

Each time that I experience one of those chance encounters that provides a missing piece to the puzzle, there is a thought that deeply resonates within me. It makes greater sense to me now than it ever did. As we continue to evolve, we attract to us our tribe of kindred souls.

We are the source of the connection that we crave, which is fueled by our ability to come from the deep place of love within. Unfortunately too many of us are looking to find love outside of ourselves-it’s an inside job that has its own language.

The language of love is the most powerful language on the planet. In the English language, some of our deepest feelings can’t
be expressed in words. We can look to the Greeks for wisdom. Two friends touch each other’s souls but are not lovers. The Greeks refer to this love between friends as Philos.

The special love that we share for our family is different than any other love we experience. The Greeks refer to this love of family as Storge.

Spiritual love, or the love that is God is referred to as Agape.

The physical love, when lovers embrace, is referred to as Eros.

The language of love is an acknowledgment of a person’s essence and their inner beauty. If we are not comfortable with the more accepted language of love, it is important to create our own language; a language that acknowledges others, their
greatness, their gifts and their blessings.

By becoming more comfortable with this language, we open the doors to deeper intimacy. We begin the process of fulfilling the deepest craving that James refers to. Perhaps you have your own language and way of expressing it. Perhaps it’s with your eyes or your smile. Let’s be open to finding new ways in which to do that.

Have fun

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

Plan B is the Right Plan

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

At different times in our lives we have goals and dreams. They will change as the years go by. We believe that when we achieve these goals we will be happy and then we will be “really living.” In many cases that goal might be a certain level of financial security or a great relationship. But along the way we run into some obstacles.

We also discover something very profound; even when we achieve these goals we still feel something is missing. We all know that feeling. There is that moment when we wake up and discover that our assumptions about what we needed to be happy were not true. We discover that what we thought was the perfect plan, was not so perfect.

What defines us is how we handle that disappointment? That’s our challenge. It’s part of being human. The ones who are the happiest and most successful are the ones who can shake it off and go on to plan B. That involves being flexible and innovative.

No matter who we are, at some point we will experience those moments that we were not prepared for. It’s not the
end of the world. This is where plan B comes into play. And the sooner we let go of our disappointment, the quicker we will on the road to success on all levels. In fact, in most cases we exceed our expectations.

“What a worthy adventure we are on. Our job is to enjoy it, to be ethical and to live life fully.”

Journey On

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

Do the Work and Watch yourself Evolve

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

The other day, after a vigorous tennis match, I said to my partner Dan, “There is no reason, barring injury, why we can’t get better and better.” When you adopt this perspective there will be limits as to your ability to keep evolving.

I’ve also been a committed musician. I know that if i practice on a regular basis that i will keep getting better and better. I will have better dexterity and a better sense of timing and I will know the music better. There isn’t even a question in my mind if this is true. This is my truth. Of course you have to keep your end of the bargain by doing the work which requires discipline and commitment.

In my book Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes, I refer to Eight Principles which, when integrated into your life, can transform the way you relate to change.

Many of us resist change and even question if we can change. Take it one step further. As we continue to awaken, we continue to evolve. In some ways evolving transcends change. In my mind, evolution implies movement, an increased sense of what’s possible and different expectations.

Keep doing the work. See what happens.

Journey On

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

One Day at a Time

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

How you start your day sets the tone for the whole day. If you start your day in a hurry, most likely you will be in a hurry all day long. When you start your day with intention, not only will you get more done, you will do so with less stress.

In the morning take a few moments to think about what you have planned for the day. Think about what you want to get done. More important think about how you want to be as the day progresses because quite often there will be surprises along the way. Whatever they are you can have the intention to thrive and enjoy those unexpected moments. You know that what comes up, you can easily handle.

Have the intention to be present and to flow with what is. With the holidays here our days are full. We literally have more on our plate. We are busier than we usually are. We want to reconnect and renew friendships.

During this potentially stressful period of the year, it is most important for us to maintain our center so that we can reach out and enjoy ourselves.

Yes stretch and reach out, one day at a time.

When you have intention, you know what you want to do and go forward in that direction.

Enjoy this day. Make it fulfilling. Give it purpose.

Journey On

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

There is no such thing as failure.

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

There comes a time in our life when we think about making a change. It might be in our business. We might invest in a new product or hire a new person. Perhaps it’s a personal investment. Yes whenever we make a change there is always the possibility that it won’t work out. Whenever we begin something new, there is always the possibility that we won’t like it. Don’t let that concern stop you. There is always going to be some of that lingering.

And there will always be a next time. With each step we take and from everything we do, at some level we learn. We learn about ourselves, what’s holding us back and what it will take to move us forward. Confronting the risk of failure is part of it. The other part is transforming how we think about failure. Perhaps it’s all feedback. Thomas Edison failed many times before he discovered the light bulb. Or did he fail. Each experiment got him closer to the discovery that changed the world.

Look at how the digital world has evolved. Each step was a stepping stone to where we are now. Yes each step was perfected over and over again. I wouldn’t call that failure, would you?

Build on little successes, so that over time you have expanded your comfort zone. With each step forward, your confidence builds. Your sense of your capabilities keeps expanding.

Be courageous! take the step in front of you. And then another. Imagine exceeding your expectations.

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. 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.


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