navigating life’s changs

ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression,”they have no skin in the game.” Maybe you’ve even said it yourself. That’s been our good friend Carl’s, one of my life coaching clients, challenge for many years. He holds back and eventually walks away. He rationalizes to himself that it doesn’t matter and that he doesn’t care. It’s safe that way. He won’t be disappointed. Because this is his mindset, it’s not surprising that the easiest excuses knock him off course. Carl has never really committed himself to anything.

Think about your life. What are the reasons you keep telling yourself that are preventing you from having the life you’ve secretly desired? If those excuses and reasons are running your life it’s a good sign that you don’t have much “skin in the game.” For whatever reason, you’re not committed.

It’s also a sign that you are an observer of life rather than a participant. Another way of saying it is that you are sitting on the river’s edge watching the river of life flow by without you.

Accept the challenge to look at the source of your resistance. Accept that you have resistance and do it anyway. Jump in the river of life, you’re going to get wet anyway. That’s the nature of rivers. Declare yourself. Let people know what your secret desire is. Put it out there.

It matters. It matters because you’ll be more determined than you ever have before. You’ll be inspired You’ll inspire others to live more fully. It’s time to be fully committed to life. You make a difference by you being the authentic you.

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.

Let your Vision Pull you

Monday, October 24th, 2011

How you start your day sets the tone for the day. After meditating I encourage people to focus on what they are grateful for. Focusing on what you are grateful for shifts how you think about your life, from what isn’t working to what is working.

And we know from doing the work that what we focus on expands. When we focus on our blessings and the joys in our life with the same intensity and passion that we had for the imperfections, our life miraculously becomes an exciting journey of discovery. Instead of thinking about the reasons and excuses you can’t have that life, think passionately about the life you can have.

Let your vision pull you in the direction of your deepest longing. Feel it, see it and see yourself being pulled toward what you love rather than wasting energy trying to avoid what you fear.

Focus on the possibilities, rather than the obstacles. Now is the time to become the person you have always wanted to be.

Live that life that you think about and sometimes feel is just outside your grasp. Now is the time, not later, to be that person and to live that life.

There will always be a few clues and signs that will guide you on your path. You might not notice them at first. Pay attention. They let you know you are on the right path. They become the foundation for your living the life you’ve always wanted.

There is an authentic you that wants to express itself through you. Use each day as an opportunity for that essential you to fully express itself more fully. Each person you meet is an instrument for you to be more fully you.

Choose to live authentically. Choose to live life fully. Choose happiness.

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.

Are you ready?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

When I received Carl’s call I was surprised. Surprised because at first I didn’t know who Carl was. Carl reminded me that we had spoken two years ago. He called me for what he thought was career coaching advice. He told me that he was unhappy in his job and that he didn’t feel respected, even though he was making a hefty salary. Carl was hoping that I could help him fine tune his resume and suggest what was next. When I suggested to him that wasn’t what I did and that he needed to look at his whole life, the conversation was over.

So that was the history of our relationship when I received Carl’s call last week. He reminded me of our conversation and said he was ready to begin life coaching with me and face the issues he was avoiding.

What I have seen as a life coach is that what Carl was doing was blaming other people for his problems. In his case, he was blaming his boss for his unhappiness. For many this is a life-long habit. I think of it as the “only if syndrome.” If only the circumstances of my life were different, I would be happy. If only the boss would leave the company, I could be happy. If only I met the one, I would be happy. If only and it goes on and on. There is no better time than now to be happy. But the real question is whether you are ready to let it in. After all, you would have to take responsibility for your happiness. You would have to stop complaining. Be grateful for your life. It’s the only you have.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, 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. 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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 1, 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

The Language of Love

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

We live in a relational world. Successful relationships transform our families, schools, institutions, governments and the world we live in. In the process we’re able to experience more joy and happiness in our lives. Most of us would agree that there is ample opportunity for us to express more love in our lives. But we don’t always do it. Love is such a powerful emotion that we celebrate a special day, Valentines Day, that glorifies this spirit. Traditionally, it has been a time to demonstrate our love for another. On this day, in some way, we acknowledge our beloved.

But how do we do this? And what if we don’t have that special person in our life? Collectively we are and have been in different phases of the relationship cycle. While some of us are not currently in a relationship, some are in a new relationship, and others in long-term relationships. On this day, no matter what phase of the cycle we are in, we feel an expectation to make and receive the appropriate acknowledgment.

What would our lives be like if we transformed the significance of this day? Instead of feelings of expectation or judgment, we celebrate it as an inspiration; an inspiration to open ourselves more to love and loving, love of others and of course, ourselves.
Rather than looking for love in another person, we become the love we are seeking. When we come from love, we experience it in whomever we meet.

One thing is certain; when you feel good inside, you see the good in others. It is also true that when you feel loving, you see others as loving. Unfortunately too many of us are looking to find love outside of ourselves–it’s an inside job that has its own language. The ultimate relationship is with yourself.

The language of love is the most powerful language on the planet. When I was single, I used the words I love you sparingly because I didn’t want to mislead my partner into thinking that I felt differently than I did. What I didn’t realize at the time was that those words would always be difficult for me to express. Even when I tell my wife, Annie, that I love her, those words still seem charged, as they do when I say those words to my children.
So what I do, like many of you, is use variations of those words. When signing a letter it is natural for me to sign it with love as opposed to I love you. I’ve noticed that some friends use the phrase love ya, while others, occasionally end the conversation with I love you. When they do, I usually pause and reply, I love you, too. I am sure that we all hear our share of I love you too. When referring to a movie or a book, I might say, I loved it.

In the English language, some of our deepest feelings can’t be expressed in words. We can look to the Greeks for wisdom in this regard.
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. Perhaps you have your own language and way of expressing it. Perhaps it’s with your eyes or your smile. After 9/11, I vowed to express my love and gratitude to my family and others, as much as possible. I keep finding new ways in which to do that.

Take a few minutes out of your busy day as you think about the following:

1. To whom and in what ways can you express more love?
2. Who would you have to become to have a great relationship?
3. What would you really like to tell your partner?
4. How difficult is it for you to say, “I’m sorry”?
5. How can you nurture yourself more?
6. With this one, just look in the mirror at yourself, smile and say, “I love you.”

Most of this blog is adapted from my forth-coming book, Dancing on the River, which will be released on May 1st.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, 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. 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. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released May 1, 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

GIVE YOURSELF A MENTAL HIGH-FIVE

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

When I talked with Sally in our life coaching session this morning we continued to focus on personal and professional development. Sally took over a professional practice over three years ago. She had concerns whether she could pay all of her bills and expenses. She has done more than that. She now has a successful practice and continues to get new clients.

Yet she doesn’t think of herself as a successful professional because she still has doubts and insecurities. I let Sally know that I have coached some professionals who were at the top of their game and they also had doubts and insecurities.

In a metaphorical sense, Sally graduated. With any profession, there are increased duties and responsibilities. With that comes rights and priviliges. I suggested to Sally that it was her time to accept the new found abundance in her life and to be grateful for her success.

As a spiritual practice and discipline I suggested that she express gratitude for the success in her life. I am encouraged by her willingness to take this on. I know that will give her a new sense of grace and dignity. It will also give her a confidence that whatever comes up she will be able to navigate life’s changes.

Like many of us, Sally is the first to criticize herself. We wouldn’t talk to a friend the way we talk to ourselves. We’re so hard on ourselves. I encouraged her to talk to herself in a more positive way. She asked me, “Do you mean a mental HIGH-5? I said exactly. So give yourself a mental high-5. Tell yourself how proud you are of what you are doing in your life and how you are handling things.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, 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. 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 in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

Monday, November 16th, 2009

“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.” Albert Clarke

When I went into the coffee shop this morning, the manager offered me an eggnog latte. This gesture reminded that the holidays are around the corner. Thanksgiving is a time to rejoice and to be thankful for all of the blessings in our life.

Focusing on what I am thankful for, on a daily basis, has been significant in changing my experience of life. Because the media fuels the fires of worry, it has been a big challenge. Bad news sells. Even though on any given day there are more positive things that happen to us than negative things, it doesn’t seem that way. We become slaves to the latest alarm on global warming or dire report on the economy. With a 24/7 media, events, people, and things anywhere in the world, often having nothing to do with us personally, have the power to control how we feel.

In the process of writing this article, I made a discovery. There is a website http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org that focuses on good news, yet very few people know about it. Just for fun, I went to the website and looked at some of the articles for the day I began writing this article.
30 Top Surgeons Give 200 Kids a Better Life
Recycling Heroes include Parks, Schools, Stadiums and Corporations
Uruguay Becomes First Nation to Provide a Laptop for every child
Corvette Brings Tons of Toys to Atlantic City
Honest Filipino Worker Returns $320,000 found in cash
Target, CVS Encourage Recyclable Shopping Bags with Cash Rewards
The Green Lining in Economic Bust is Land Preservation

Gratitude is an inside job—it’s a consciousness from which everything flows. Grateful people see life as a blessing, as a gift. Being grateful includes being thankful and appreciating life. It’s a choice that we make over and over again. Choosing to be grateful becomes a life affirming habit.

I was reminded of this most recently. The synchronicity was amazing. I had just finished writing the first draft of the chapter on Gratitude that is going to be in my book. In the mornings, next to the coffee shop that I frequent, I occasionally purchase a periodical at the local Safeway. For the last few years I have always look forward to seeing Amy, one of the checkers, who always seems so upbeat. I asked her what her secret was. She told me that she practiced gratitude. It was a decision that she made years ago that became a life-affirming habit.

Developing a Gratitude Practice

It’s one thing to believe in the benefits of a gratitude practice, but it’s another thing to embody it. Some days I feel it more than others. My practice has evolved over time. At the end of my meditation when my mind is still, I express gratitude for the health of myself and my family, and the love that is in my life. I then express gratitude for the qualities and attributes that I like about myself. Think of these qualities and attributes as your inner resources. You might not have a sense of what those qualities are for you. I began with just a few qualities that I liked about myself and kept adding to the ever-expanding list. Just to give you a few ideas, I express gratitude for my smile, my curiosity, my ability to connect with others, and my faith. I could go on and on and you can too once you begin this practice. Our tendency is to overlook these qualities. At first I was a little self-conscious, but I got over it, once I noticed how much better I felt about myself.

I noticed that I didn’t worry as much. Let’s face it, most of us worry more than we would like. By expressing gratitude we shift our focus from what might happen in the future to the present moment. It is in the stillness of “the now” when we feel connected to an eternal presence and peacefulness.

Not only is there value from a spiritual perspective, there is also value metaphysically. It is a metaphysical principle that what you focus on expands. Like attracts like. When you express gratitude for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, you energetically attract to you more abundance. For example, rather than thinking that you are not loved, focus on the love that is in your life. Think how magnetic those who feel love are. You want to be around them. Rather than thinking that you don’t have enough, be grateful for what you have now.

For many years, in spiritual and religious circles, we were taught that expressing gratitude was a righteous thing to do. It was one of the qualities of being a thoughtful and caring person. Recently, Dr. Robert Emmons, PH.D., UC Davis, and other gratitude researchers and social psychologists, documented that grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions, such as happiness, vitality and optimism.
Rollin McCrary and his colleagues at the HeartMath Institute, in Boulder Creek, California, found that consciously experiencing appreciation is beneficial in controlling stress and hypertension.

The Four Keys to Developing your Gratitude Practice.

1. Express gratitude daily for all of the blessings in your life. Your challenges are also blessings. Be grateful for the challenges and struggles in your life. With every adversity, there is a tremendous opportunity for growth. Our soul’s evolution is accelerated whenever there is a crisis in our lives. We become more our authentic selves. In the process we discard any baggage in the form of false assumptions that are weighing us down. None of us like to experience pain. We’ll do almost anything to avoid it, but know this. The greater your capacity to face and experience your pain, the greater your capacity to experience joy and happiness and the greater your capacity to love and to be loved.

2.Write a gratitude letter to a special friend letting them know how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are that they are in your life. Just writing this letter is quite moving and if that’s all you do that’s fine. I went one step further. I wrote a letter to one of my dearest friends and called him and read it to him.

3. Keep a gratitude journal everyday for 30 days. Even though you express gratitude daily for all of your blessings, write them down in your journal. In the process of writing them down, not only will think about them more, you will be reminded of other qualities and attributes you are grateful for.

4. Create your gratitude honor role. Think about five people in your life, perhaps teachers, parents or mentors, who have helped you become who you are today and who have made you feel special and appreciated. This is an incredibly powerful process that has the power to transform your feeling of inner joy and sense of well-being. As you think about each person, write in your journal how grateful you are for their presence in your life.

Feel free to share Letters on Life with those in your circle. Let me know what you discover. I love receiving your many responses and feedback and if you have other stories or suggestions to share for future articles, let me know about them.

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…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. mark@inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016


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