Blocks to Success- How to get to the other side
You have dreams and goals; I have dreams and goals. How do we get to the other side? It’s simple but it is not easy. Compassion…Gratitude…Persistence. Remember those 3 words and we will come back to them. For now let’s explore our blocks to success.
You have been given a life and the tools are all within you. If we are now told there is no matter and everything is energy, find yours. Dig deep. People say to start with your why. I believe this is important but it is not deep enough. Start with your feelings. Feel them, accept your humanity; you are not perfect. What are your feelings and where are you on the spectrum of your life? Is it failure – loneliness – regret – sadness? Feel them, embrace them, but don’t let them allow you to miss your life.
There is something out there with your name on it but it starts inside you. What an irony! You hold all that power and yet you feel powerless. Find the key, find your sweet spot. What will create urgency for you? What will enable you to feel the energy of the gift of life. Notice I did not say “the gift of life” – I said the “energy” of the gift of life. It has come to me that again – that energy is within you. Recently I heard messages from great leaders and speakers that have sparked my energy and led me to a passion today to write about what I believe is the key to your sweet spot and mine. There are some very big “energy consumers” and if we face them head on we can get to the other side and overcome our blocks to success.
TIME – Everyone has the same time. We have the same uncertainty and we could all be gone tomorrow. Whether you are 2 or 20 or 50 or 80 – today is ours to package and to create pockets of time. It is up to us to take away things that don’t serve our dreams and to pencil in time for what we need and must do to aspire to our potential.
POTENTIAL – Ah!! Now we are told that we only reach 1% of our potential (they used to say 10%). I cannot believe, as I read about him, that Terry Fox, the incredible hero who gave over his last few years on this earth to run a marathon a day with one leg, and leave a legacy that raised to date 38 times his goal ($1 for every Canadian) and now has people all over the world running on his behalf every year in love and community some 40 years later, did not reach his potential! Now that is an “energy creator” that surely came close to his potential and his personal best.
LIMITATIONS -The zappers of our energy are inside and not real – actually they are as real as we allow them to be. They are our feelings and they hold us back and take up enormous amounts of our time and limit our potential. Are you ready for the BIG ONE?
FORGIVENESS – There can be no forgiveness and no need for forgiveness without judgement. YES – me judging another and then thinking or processing if and when I will forgive another. “I am not my brother’s keeper” but I am always responsible for me – my thoughts and my actions. Sometimes the pain of separation causes us to seek solutions – to try to repair a relationship – to force a new start. What if we focus on ourselves and our well-being and our goals and dreams; what if we let go of being the “fixer” and the solution for anything outside us! Ask the Universe to give you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference. Remove your blocks to success with the Serenity Prayer.
SERENITY – Think about why that “Serenity Prayer” is the mantra and mission statement for Alcoholics Anonymous. Consider the path of those who have found AA and the number of people they have hurt and who have hurt them! They have created a pact in the community of the fellowship of AA to go within to change the things they can; they know it will not serve them to judge others, feel failure and hold on to regret. They realize that they will likely not stay sober unless they embrace that life changing internal power of forgiveness of self and others to heal their heart and remove their blocks to success.
My Dad gave me the legacy of the meaning of the Serenity Prayer after he spent 33 years in AA helping himself and hundreds of others. We had so much fun together and shared so many wonderful moments of joy and laughter. We also shared deep, inspiring, meaningful memories.
I never remember seeing my Dad drinking but I remember as a young daughter in my early teens before AA that sometimes my Dad would create an invisible wall between him and those he loved. He would retreat to his desk in his room and not come down to dinner and not respond to anything I wanted to share with him. I recall thinking that if I were to behave like that my Mom would not have stood for it and would have told me to snap out of it. We all learned to get on with our day, our week and our life; I came to understand the phrase, “the mask of depression”. I learned to accept then and now, that people are not born wanting to hurt others and that something I don’t understand must shift in their brain, especially if it feels as if they have chosen to upset me. But, hey, we don’t have to be at that party. We can go down another street.
This amazing poem says so much in such a simple way. I found out Portia Nelson wrote this when she was asked to describe her life in 5 short chapters and it had a profound impact on me. I think in a way it is “everyone’s story” and sadly some never get to chapter 5. I share it with you now.
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit…but,
my eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
LOVEABILITY – Dr Robert Holden took me on an unexpected journey when he spoke about the elasticity of our brain and why we need to follow our joy. Then I listened to an interview with Jane Fonda, in her seventies, and she said we would have to “love” Trump; this was not a phrase one would expect from many women and especially not from such a strong political activist like her. Then she went on to say that if we don’t foster love throughout the world we are doomed and we have succumbed to “their” choices to create fear and disrespect. Wonderfully she clarified that we don’t have to like “these people” and we are still the winners. We can hold fast to our values and free ourselves of the “energy consumers” within ourselves by not “feeling the judgement;” we can choose to “be the change” and to set others free as well.
So now we come back to the three words I started with:
As long as I can feel compassion for every living thing I am free of judging – which is clearly an “energy consumer.” Thus I have removed this block to success.
If I am grateful every day for who I am and what I have been given, whatever “they” say, and are and have is of no concern to me. I become an “energy creator” and create a stepping stone to my success.
If I persist in my goals and dreams, free of the “energy consumers”, I will perhaps get to that 1% of my potential.
What have you done recently to move you closer to reaching your 1% potential? How are you doing with your blocks to success? Share how you empowered yourself to become an “energy creator” for it is in sharing that we empower each other!
Branding yourself by recreating your story intentionally
Could you imagine that a quote from Albert Einstein, long before social media, could actually be referring to branding yourself by recreating your story intentionally all these years later? How could climbing a mountain, either in real life and/or metaphorically speaking, be a key to successfully branding yourself?
Branding yourself is simply finding ways for people to connect with you. Connecting lies in your story: being vulnerable, memorable, relatable and believable – note I did not say being the best.
This blog will share how by recreating your story intentionally you can remove the biggest block to successfully branding yourself. Just as a salesperson needs to believe in their product/service, you need to be passionate about your story – all of it.
Consider the phrase: “Mind Open.” We often hear about the importance of our mind set; I propose we give it another name, “mind open.” The more I read and observe the more I believe that ideas and beliefs are not really new, they are simply presented to us in new ways. Concepts of thinking are simply packaged for us to receive them in the way that made sense to the “presenter”; then we repackage them when we internalize what they mean to us. You become the “presenter” when branding yourself; focus on connecting with the magnificence of your story and how you got up the mountain.
#1 Branding yourself and recreating your story intentionally with a mind open They say “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”; decide to benefit from new “packaging of your thoughts.” Think about some of the diverse events that have occurred in your journey and the way you described them then, and later, and now. Sometimes we forget how absolutely amazing we were/are and other times we hold on to something that we could benefit greatly from letting go. How do you allow these experiences to define your life and in turn impact branding yourself? Have your ideas about them changed at all? Have you found ways to value everything with an invincible optimism? This energy will impact people when branding yourself.
I would like to share a story about what could be deemed to be the forerunner of “branding yourself”, the elevator speech. Sometime ago when I was guiding a discussion about the best answers to the interview question, “tell me about yourself,” a lady in the group raised her hand and volunteered, “I have a memory of a performance appraisal from over 5 years ago that I think of every time I am asked that question.” She then proceeded to share what the employer had said to her, all very critical and judgmental. I remarked that she had an amazing recall of what was said. She replied, to my horror, “Of course I do, I carry it with me;” then she pulled it from her briefcase. I say “horror” because for me that took holding on to something negative from one person, in one’s whole world of experiences, to a whole new level. I asked her what it would take to tear up that performance appraisal. It was clear this was probably not an option. I then asked if we could agree that she would leave it with me overnight and consider tearing it up tomorrow or later that week. She agreed.
The next day we met privately in my office and I asked her if she could imagine the benefit of destroying this one and only poor performance appraisal she ever received in her life. “Not yet”, she replied. A few days later we met again, privately. This time she pulled another copy of the same performance appraisal from her briefcase, confessed that initially, she could not give me her only copy, and now she was ready to rip up both copies. I watched and I thought, wow, a human shredder, as she tore them into small bits of paper. I knew I was witnessing the power of “letting go” in action.
What could this story possibly have to do with branding yourself by recreating your story intentionally? Branding yourself is an art and you hold the “brush” in painting the masterpiece of who you are. How can you pick the attributes, pictures and stories that brand all of who you are if you allow anything to hold a place in your mind that might diminish your greatness? How can you imagine for your future, and help others to do the same, unlimited possibilities not yet achieved? Branding yourself includes all of your potential and that comes from within, from your belief. There is no room for doubt or holding on to what I call the blips of negativity that cross our path.
As a career coach I came up with a phrase for people’s cover letters: “everything in my life has prepared me to be an ideal candidate for this position.” This became very empowering because we talked about how even the job experiences that didn’t go well and perhaps even those that ended by one being fired were learning experiences. We let go of thinking “if it’s not a perfect match it won’t work.” Imagine if you could create the image of you as the “ideal choice” for all who see it.
It is the same with how we view our life. Can we value it all? Can we learn from it all? Can we build our brand on it all?
Recently I saw a heading: Should you break up with your old self? This came from the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. When I read the book I became both fascinated and thrilled that science and the spiritual world could collaborate, rewire the brain, reach our deepest limiting beliefs and open up a whole new world – a chance to find the wonderful nuggets in it all branding yourself with a powerful gratitude that can make one unstoppable. This takes work and commitment to achieve but it can be done.
#2 Branding yourself and recreating your story intentionally with the gift unique to humans – We humans have a gift that transcends all other forms of life. If we master the way we think we can harness the power of this gift and turn virtually anything into a force of energy, not an anchor of defeat!
A failed marriage 30 years later, a betrayal of business partners that resulted in massive debt and losing a million dollars, an error of judgment we can never take back and so many more life events that are common place. On the flip side, what about the exciting times when we excelled, surprised and delighted the world with our unique self! Anybody, at any moment, can choose to recreate one’s story intentionally and thereby label each event as a stepping stone to what made you unique, enlightened, more compassionate, grateful, determined and so many other things that only come with time; as Albert Einstein so eloquently put it, they become: “a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up.”
#3 Branding yourself by recreating your story intentionally and asking questions: What if this is my finest hour? How can I find the wisdom in failure? Recently I read something the poet John Keats wrote in a letter, “Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul?” I am not a proponent that suffering is a good thing but I do believe it can be a great teacher, if we allow it. Losing and winning are both part of the journey of life; it is by embracing that little-known fact and surrendering to the process that we can find our power and rewrite our story and bring value to every chapter. Branding yourself with irresistible appeal and powerful relatability is possible now because you “own it”; you have removed the biggest block to branding yourself and you see the results of the lessons. Being passionate about your story is inevitable.
#4 Branding yourself by recreating your story intentionally is “like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views,” (of yourself) and finding the platform in today’s amazing world of technology and social media to express your value. Branding yourself is a process whereby you “school an intelligence” and make it a “one of a kind” that has immeasurable value and relatability. Your uniqueness is learned and earned so each chapter has a “winning” component to it. Over time we come to know that failure is not final and success is not permanent. Be intentional today, don’t wait. Climb your mountain, gain new and wider views, discover unexpected connections between your starting points and now; feel a gratitude and inner peace with it all.
Have you rewritten a chapter in your life recently? Share how this empowered you to move forward to greater heights. Send me your successes for it is in sharing that we empower each other!
Is the Secret to your success one question away?
What if the Secret to your Success is one question away? Could your special brand – what is uniquely you – lie with someone else? What if another’s opinion of you is greater than yours? Is that a possibility? We hear a lot about taking back our power and the famous quote of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” has a profound and meaningful place in our world. What if we have already done that on our own – allowed all that self-doubt? And so, to reach out and see yourself as others see you could be a possible key to Recreating You at Any Age.
In the 4-week career program I offered some years ago we had a special exercise at the 3-week mark after everyone had got to know a bit about each other. Everyone was given a piece of paper; it had the name of everyone in the group (sometimes as many as 25). Each person was directed to write beside every name a positive adjective or phrase they had observed about that person. Invariably there were amazing moments of surprise and delight at what others had written, especially only knowing each other for such a short time. It reminded me of how clarity comes so often when we keep it simple. These people only knew each other for a brief moment in a whole lifetime; yet they often saw strength and potential that the person themselves had lost sight of or never believed to be true. Herein could be a key for one’s secret to success!
Another similar and potentially opposite exercise was to get in pairs and help each other with that difficult to answer question in an interview: “What is your greatest weakness?” Again, as in the interview, the goal was to give an answer that could actually be deemed to be a strength. I paired up with my administrative assistant who was also a special friend and whom I had known for years and in other careers. Without hesitating, she said, “you care too much.” I tried to be open and take this to a positive place in my mind; with her blunt honesty I learned a little bit about balance in my life and the value of empowering others to take care of themselves. Slowly, I let go of the “care taking” that would limit their ability to spread their wings to greater levels of confidence and independence.
As you well know there are people everywhere who would love to give you their opinion so when you try out this exercise remember to choose super friendly and supportive people who are not judging you; they are affirming positive things about you that might never have occurred to you. They need not know you well but they need to understand the exercise; just a simple word or phrase that highlights what comes to mind when they think of you.
You will need to guide the question. When you ask – “what do you see as my strongest characteristic,” they will reply – “well, you are this and this and so on…” Then you should say – “if there was one quality about me that you believe is my greatest strength what would it be?” Take the best and leave the rest! Do not spend ANY time on the answers that feel “judgmental.”
This is about finding out things about you that you don’t see or had forgotten in yourself; it is a reminder that others’ perspectives can sometimes open your eyes to how unique you are – because we all are. Let me share another’s perspective about me that created new possibilities.
Many years ago, I was hired by a famous national journalist and writer to promote his book, which had become an all-day training program for executives. Given his education and experience, he obviously had a way with words and a knack for capturing things with brevity and metaphors. I don’t think he had ever met anyone like me before and when he autographed a book for me he wrote: “to the iron butterfly”. Many people who knew me well over the years loved it and the phrase stuck.
One day sometime later, during a difficult and sad time for me, I opened a card that said: “Find a little happiness in every day.” On the envelope it read “MOM!” And a sticker under that read “Live, Love, Laugh and Be Happy” with hearts sprinkled in among the words. Inside on the card there was a message to me on one side and an amazing story on the other side. Here is the story.
Lessons of the Heart www. American greetings.com
There once was the most beautiful butterfly that flew all around and spread magic, joy and fun everywhere she traveled. This bright, gentle, delicate beauty held a mystery. You see as folklore told, this light, small, fine butterfly has survived many dark, rough storms. The legend says that’s how she has iron in her wings which has allowed her to survive these tremendous storms she must fly through. Hence this tiny, delicate, beautiful butterfly has been nicknamed the “iron butterfly”. They wonder if each storm has ripped the iron threads from her wings, but what they don’t realize is that their “iron butterfly” has actually gained power and strength in wisdom from each storm. It is from this wisdom she flies with strength and holds her power and shelters herself from the storms she has to endure.
The iron butterfly flies high and graceful to this day.
Perhaps there is a beautiful treasure that someone said about you once and it could hold a secret to your success. We need to be paying attention and open to digging deep into our minds, our hearts and our belongings to find it. We cannot possibly remember all the things in our lives that are meaningful but there is indeed a gift in every day; to be sure I had long forgotten about this card and the story. I discovered it the night I decided it was time to share all the treasures I have kept over the years with whoever may be in need of reading them. It felt like the Universe had found a way to encourage me to just “do it”; it enabled me to embrace the wonderful quote below of Albert Einstein. I didn’t know where I would take my journey of sharing all my positivity treasures but I now believed I would be guided every step of the way and I was open to what could be possible without needing to know the how.
Ask questions and be open to others’ answers; a secret to your success could be at the end of a question. Someone may see something in you that has been lying dormant just waiting to be expressed by another who may not even know you well. It may be tucked away in a card or letter somewhere. You may be great at discovering others’ strengths and talents but typically we hold back when it comes to unraveling our own. Be open, believe and bring new things within you to the realm of possibility. A secret to your success is out there; go find it.
Can you think of a metaphor for you? Ask someone to help you. Make it wonderful and even outrageous: Gentle Giant, Powerful Hummingbird, Angelic Cougar!
Share a forgotten treasure or a gift in your day for it is in sharing we can empower each other.