life dreams

WHY NOT? I’M GOING FOR IT

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

I often suggest to those I work with as a life coach to go back ten years in time and ask yourself a few questions. It’s really an inquiry. What have you been disappointed by? Or maybe it just didn’t work out the way you had hoped. The other more important inquiry is to ask yourself, “What have you been surprised by?” I mean surprised in a good way—perhaps a way that has exceeded your expectations that you had ten years ago.

A familiar theme to keep in mind, is that with what we know now, and from where we are standing at this moment,it is impossible to imagine what is possible. Said in another way, when your confidence is at a low ebb, seeing a way out seems daunting. When your confidence is high, you say to yourself, “Why Not? I’m going for it.”

I remember when I first got into backpacking. We prepared for the trip, made sure we were in good shape, and had the proper supplies. We would read about the hike in travelers guides, it’d difficulties, what to bring, what to look out for. And then we began. From where we were at the trailhead, there was no way we could experience all of the beauty and majesty that awaited us. It was only when we got higher and left the clutter and negativity behind, that we could experience the beauty of the moment. There is more for you.

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. 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 Three Secrets to Life

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Most of us, if not all of us, have wondered from time to time what the secret to life is. We have thought, talked, and read about it and listened to our share of spiritual teachers looking for the answer.

I have to admit that it has been challenging to limit this inquiry to just three insights and practices. I didn’t just come up with these answers in a heartbeat. Over dinner with the help of my daughter Savanna I made some progress.

Let’s begin. A big smile is huge. It’s a universal language. When we first meet someone many thoughts cascade through our minds. At a certain level we size up the other person. We want to know who the other person is. Are they a kind person? Can they be trusted? Our first impression goes a long way toward satisfying our curiosity. We look for clues and yes we can be fooled at times. Most of us would agree that a genuine smile goes a long way toward relieving tension between people. When we feel it from our core, we radiate and transcend our physical being. It’s contagious and compelling.

When we smile we usually are happy. And even when we are not at our peak, smiling has the potential to change our mood instantly. I wondered if there was an explanation for this phenomenon.

Some time ago, when I was preparing a program on stress reduction, I came across an article on the science of smiling. It was one of those articles where the author was unknown. “Smiles, frowns, and grimaces were once seen simply as expressions of feelings. Increasingly, scientists are realizing that facial expressions precede feelings and play a role in generating them.

How does this work? One theory suggests that when you use the “smile muscles” at the corners of your mouth, you change the direction of the blood flow inside your face in such a way that it causes the temperature of the blood to drop. This cooler blood enters the region of the brain known as the hypothalamus and causes the release of chemicals that can suppress pain and help a person to feel better.

Cooling the blood may promote the release of endorphins, which, decreases pain and gives you a lift. In short, smiling instructs our brains to feel good.” The implications are enormous. Medical science recognizes the effect that stress has on illness. Could smiling more be the key to health and wellness?

I’ve written about this next insight on several occasions and there is a chapter in Dancing on the River that explores this concept in more detail. How you start your day sets the tone for the day. When you start your day with calmness and focus, there is a greater likelihood that your day will be less stressful. And the corollary is true—when you start your day anxious and in a hurry, you’ll hurry thru the rest of the day playing catch-up. You never do catch-up for what you are trying to catch is an illusion. At the end of the day, most of the work gets done, but you are exhausted because of the stress you felt throughout the day.

If you have been following the work that I do you know that I am a big believer in having a committed daily spiritual practice, which allows you to connect with your center. The exact form is up to you. There are two key words here—committed and practice. When you are committed to a daily practice, you discover your center. When you don’t live from your center, the difficulties in your life seem much more challenging. It’s like driving your car without shock absorbers. Every bump in the road is magnified. Eventually all you see are imperfections. And that’s the way are lives are when we lose connection with our center. The other word is practice. You need to do it. Some days it’s easier than others. I have been practicing meditation and yoga for years, yet I still experience resistance to practicing on some mornings. But I do anyway and usually feel good afterwards.

The third insight is that life is cyclical. Just look at nature’s cycles. As I write this article in the middle of summer, I am fortunate to harvest all that I’ve planted. And nature keeps on giving fruit from the trees that have been here for many years. In the fall, the leaves fall listlessly to the ground; by winter the trees are barren. In the spring we plant the seeds anew and begin a new cycle.
That’s the way our own lives are. Our circumstances and moods change from time to time which contributes to the cyclical nature of our own lives. Some years are smoother than others. There is much uncertainty in life’s unfoldment. When we integrate these practices just discussed into our lives, we are more apt to embrace the inevitable changes on life’s journey as opportunity, as adventure and as possibility.
So there you have it. See what happens. Smile and laugh more. And take time in the morning for your morning program and notice your stress levels decreasing.

Perhaps you already have a practice that works for you. Congratulations—keep practicing. And if you haven’t yet begun, it’s not too late. Let me know what you discover.

Journey On

Mark

Please join me on the Journey On radio show and listen cutting edge thought leaders 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.

THE HIDDEN BENEFITS OF GOALS

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The future is not some place we are going to, but
one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but
made, and the activity of making them changes both
the maker and the destination…
—John Schaar

We keep evolving; our work is never done. We think about the inner qualities that we need to work on so that we can become the person we want to be. We think about what we can do to make a difference in the world. We think about what we want to accomplish. We all have goals in one form or the other.

Goals give us a focus and direction. In the early years, getting into law school was a goal, so was becoming an accomplished musician. Meeting my life partner and having a family was another. And there were the many financial goals, some of which I’ve achieved and some I haven’t. There have been several studies that have documented that working with goals substantially increases your likelihood of success. The research also documents that writing these goals down increases the likelihood of success even more. What the studies haven’t demonstrated as of yet are the hidden benefits of having goals.

Let’s explore this concept. Once you achieve your goal you’ll feel good for a while. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s human nature that once you achieve your goal, you’ll set another one.

We’re always going to look for new rivers to explore. There
is no question that working with goals is a powerful tool in
transforming your life. Yet many people have an aversion to
working with them or choose modest ones so they won’t be disappointed.

Reaching your goal is not as important as who you become in the process. Goals are not an end-all but a beginning. They create a focus so that in the pro-
cess you become more than who you are now. Every aspect of your life is affected positively. In the process you build a foundation for a life path that is unique to you.

Let me give you a few examples. My nephew Tyler’s goal, a personal trainer while in college, was to become the top producer at the gym. Although he didn’t quite reach his sales goal, what he gained has been much more important. In the process Tyler had to improve upon his communication skills and to have a better understanding of what motivates people. Most of these people were much older than he was and had already achieved a high level of success in their lives. In the process of trying to achieve his goal, he became an expanded person, which has benefited him in every aspect of his life.

Let me tell you about Carl. In his mid fifties, overweight and out of shape, his self-esteem was low. Quite often he had the feeling that life had passed him by. Then one day he took up running. It actually began with brisk walking. After training on a regular basis, he completed a 10K race. That was the turning point. Did it matter where he placed? What was more important was who he became in the process. Recently he completed a half marathon. Now Carl is in great shape and his self confidence is sky high. In the process of training he gave up smoking which had been a life-long habitat. Carl is excited about life again.

If your goal is to have a great relationship, you have to become a more evolved person. If your goal is to become a successful entrepreneur, you need to first become more adventurous, more positive and more resourceful. I am sure that Tyler’s experience at the health club will benefit him in future endeavors.

No matter what it is you desire, working with goals brings you closer to becoming the person you want to be and living the life you want to live.

Even so, most of us experience a certain level of resistance. No matter how much we want to do something or how much we believe it would be good for us to do, there is another other voice that is giving us a different message. Overcoming our resistance is the gateway to living a fulfilling life.

A few years ago, during a workout which I resisted doing, I noticed a quote at the gym that spoke to me and I think will speak to you and help you overcome the resistance in your life. As you read excerpts from this quote think of the “Workout” as a metaphor for life. The form of the workout doesn’t matter.

WHAT IS A WORKOUT?
A workout is one part physical exertion and three parts self discipline.
A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday.
It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind and toughens the spirit.
It prepares you to meet life’s challenges.
A workout is a key that helps unlock the door to opportunity and success.
Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force.
Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it.
A workout is a form of rebirth. When you finish a workout,
you do not simply feel better, you feel better about yourself.

Whatever it is you want to do or accomplish take that first step and begin the “workout” that is unique to you.

As the famous author and philosopher Mark Twain re-
minds us:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sail.
Dream…Explore…Discover.”

So what is your goal? What is your “big dream”? Remember our dreams were just ideas at one time. Those of us who feel fulfilled and successful have taken the necessary steps to begin actualizing the dreams we have envisioned.

You know I love to hear from you. Let me know what’s happening in your life. Please feel free to forward this letter to those in your circle.

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 one hour formula to getting things done

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

It works. It’s easy to find an hour to do anything. What this means is that you can complete major projects without altering your schedule. Just knowing this gets rid of a lot of stress. First estimate how long you think the particular project will take. Let’s say five hours. Then schedule it into your appointment book. Then it’s a matter of honoring what’s in your appointment book. It seems that when we write something down it has more significance…It makes it more real.

Here’s another way to look at it. Think about all the things you are “good at” or perhaps were “good at”. All of them required practice and commitment. Big projects are nothing more than a bunch of little ones. A movie is really hundreds of stills moving at an accelerated pace.

Part of living in this day and age is to slow down the pace. So the movie of your life is nothing more than just a series of moments. And as you become more focused on these moments rather than the future you’ll be less stressed out. You’ll enjoy what you’re doing more and less concerned what will happen down the road.

So slow it down and enjoy the moment. The one hour formula is a good start. As you are consistent with this practice your life will be dramatically different.
JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

WHAT IS YOUR HEART’S DESIRE?

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I have noticed for a month now that I need very little sleep. By 5AM it’s light and stays light until almost 9:30. So I’m more active and more physical and I don’t have any desire for caffeine. I’m feeling the natural flow of life and of course in the winter when the days are much shorter we stay home more and sleep more. We more reflective. I remember last winter I felt so sluggish I thought that there was something wrong with me.

It’s learning to be in the natural flow of life. It’s flowing with the changes of the seasons. When we are in tune with nature, our whole being is affected.

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and Fathers day. It’s a day to celebrate, to rejoice and to think about our intentions for our life. There is tremendous manifestation power on this day.

What is your heart’s desire? Hold that in your heart and mind as you enjoy this day.

Happy Solstice….happy Father’s day.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow’s life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

The key to being true to your values

Friday, April 10th, 2009

One of the biggest challenges that we face in this busy world is how to live our life in harmony with our deepest values. Discovering what these values and priorities are, is the first phase of a six step process that I take my life coaching clients through.

In the second phase, which may be the most difficult, we work on establishing clear boundaries, which requires you to say “no.” For many people, this is one of the most difficult words to say. Whether it’s in a personal relationship or in the workplace many are fearful of the repercussions if they say ”no,” and or reluctant to disappoint another.

But think of the alternatives, by acquiescing, you end up agreeing to live someone else’s life and resenting it. To put it another way, setting clear boundaries is about reclaiming your life and reclaiming your power.

For example, many busy clients that I work with in coaching want to have a relationship, but forget to ask themselves if they are willing to devote the time necessary to have one. If they really want the relationship, then they have to say “no” to other things. It might be saying “no” to working late. How many people do you know who are workaholics? I’ve known more than a few that have sacrificed their relationship for careers. They didn’t have their priorities straight. I remember one client in particular, let’s call him Joe, who worked all the time even though his wife complained about it. When I asked Joe what he would do if his wife left him because he wasn’t emotionally available, he told me that it would never happen. Well Joe was wrong. She left and Joe did everything he could to try to repair the relationship but it was too late.

My friend, Betty, who has a masters degree in social work, values her free time. She said “no” to time consuming career advancements, so that she could have more leisure time.

When I was much younger and just out of school I wanted to keep developing my musicality, which was a passion of mine. Even when I was a busy lawyer I always made time to study and to play music. To make it happen I had to say “no” to many other things but it was worth it. When looking back I realize that what I said “no” to wasn’t actually that important.

When you reclaim your life you find out that you have more empowering choices than you realize. As you reclaim your power you live your life from choice rather than fear. Here are a few suggestions to help you with this inquiry.

• Begin your day with meditation.
• Take some time to read a spiritual or personal growth book.
• Take some time to commune in nature.
• Eat healthy and exercise.
• Don’t forget to take a deep breath and smile!

Living a life in balance takes resourcefulness and commitment. The good news is, as time goes on, it gets easier. It’s an exciting journey with new opportunities being presented constantly.

JOURNEY ON

MARK
Throughout his life, Mark has always made a practice of taking a leap of faith whenever he heard the call for something more. His life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change. 415.453.5016 http://www.inspirepossibility.com

We still have work to do

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I have noticed that their is more optimism than there has been in a long time. And yes we still have a lot of problems. Many folks that I run into are excited about this Tuesday…we still have work to do, we will be reminded. We don’t mind because we believe that we have the leadership to guide and inspire us. We are willing to do our share.

So many times in our lives we have held back, never really allowing ourselves to think about our deepest longings for the fear that we will be disappointed. Isn’t that the way it is in many relationships that we have. To avoid feeling pain, we hold back, keeping something in reserve in case it doesn’t work. That’s our strategy and there is nothing wrong with it unless we stop going for our joy. And that’s what we do too often. We stop going for it and instead let the fear of the pain, run our lives.

I wrote in the Year of Living Magically that we are on the verge of a dawn of a renaissance. In more ways than one we are experiencing a rebirth in the way that we are thinking about the future. We are hopeful….it makes what we are doing now seem more meaningful.

As Martin Luther King once said, there is a Fierce Urgency of Now. Don’t wait any longer. The time is at hand. Whatever you dream about doing, do it now.

The world needs you. Know that by you being you, you are making a unique contribution to the world.

Choose to be connected…choose to accept more joy in your life…choose happiness.

Journey On

Mark

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

MAKE THE CHOICE

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Let’s just call him Les. Les is one of my business and life coaching clients and is an architect. His business was down last year and in December he was real discouraged. i told him that none of us can predict the future. I reminded him that life is cyclical and things can turn around in a second. Just when we see a trend that seems like it is never going to stop, before we know it, it has reversed.

In our coaching session before the holiday I suggested to Les that next year, 2009, could be his best year yet. When we met yesterday, Les told me that he his bid on a project was accepted and most likely this year will be his best year yet.

He also told me that in December when I suggested to him this possibility, he didn’t think it was possible.

So here he is right on the verge and the year has just started. In my last newsletter I held the vision that this year is the year of living magically.

Imagine this year in that context. As the year progresses you think about the magic in your life. You are looking for the magic. You are also allowing yourself to think in those terms. Allow yourself to accept and receive the blessings that are coming your way. Stay open. It is a choice you make over and over again. Choose happiness-smile and laugh a little bit more than yesterday and Journey On.

Mark

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

Choose Happiness

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

i have been thinking about what I would say in this final blog of 2008. I also thought about what has been the biggest challenge for most of my coaching clients whether the focus has been on life coaching, business coaching or executive coaching. It really doesn’t matter since we all have the same challenges. We are bombarded by negative news. This morning after a peaceful meditation and yoga practice I went to the coffee shop and bought a paper which was strictly a habit. Of course the front page was full of bad news. I don’t know why I thought it would be any different.

So that’s the challenge…how to stay positive and to choose happiness in the midst of negative reinforcement. How do we stay upbeat as we go forward in the new year?

I thought of a zen story, which you might have heard before, that reflects this sentiment. A man is pursued by a lion to the cliffs edge. As he quickly looks over the cliffs edge he sees a strawberry vine. He grabs onto the vine and climbs down the cliff to get out of the way of the charging lion. As he dangles, he notices two mice nibbling away at the vine. He looks around and sees a ripe strawberry that he plucks and enjoys.

That’s the challenge for many of us. When things are starting to fall apart, it becomes more difficult to see a way out. From your vantage point now, you probably can’t see it. But you can certainly see that next step that is directly in front of you.

Focus on it. Take it. Choose it. When you choose, it allow yourself to also choose Happiness.

It’s a decision that you make over and over again. Every minute choose to be happy and to smile.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

Nature’s gift.

Friday, December 26th, 2008

It’s the day after Christmas. Some of us love holidays, while for others it’s a challenging time.

I’m in between somewhere. My childhood memories of holidays were not pleasant. As an adult I look forward to them but they are not without their share of stress.

One of the things that I do look forward to is taking a walk. Yesterday was exquisite. It had been raining for over twentyfour hours and we had our share of leaks in the house.

In the morning I walked to the coffee shop and on the way there I saw a double rainbow. What an amazing sign. Then the blue skies. Our creek on our property was raging and then the hike later to the waterfall. It was spectacular with the creeks and streams kicking in.

It had just stopped raining and the air smelled fresh as we walked to Cascade falls like we have for many years. The only difference is that we are all adults. What we had been doing for so many years we still did, but in a new way.

Nature is so healing. I’m thankful that I took the time to be graced by its presence.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016


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