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Archive for the ‘OnGrowing’ Category

I took a “Saturday Stretch” class today.  At first it’s slightly uncomfortable, but then it feels really good to stretch out the kinks and body tension from a week of sitting on the phone or at the computer in my office.  Stretching is really good for the body…elongating those muscles and opening up the joints is so important to improving muscle control, flexibility and range of motion.

And so it is with getting out of your comfort zone and stretching yourself!  At first it may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but as you stretch it feels really good to be growing in new ways.

What I am NOT talking about is just filling your mind with new information.  While I’m a big proponent of reading and adding to your memetic environment, that’s not stretching yourself.  What I am talking about is doing something different.  Trying new things.  Being open to new opportunities.

For me, taking on “My Quest” is a stretch, perhaps not so much with the subject matter, but certainly for the public way I’m going about it.  For you, it may be something entirely different, such as:

Getting into conversations with people you ordinarily don’t talk with
Learning to play the harp or speak Chinese
Going to a concert or movie by yourself
Going to a personal growth seminar if you’ve never been to one
Getting a coach [of course!] to make huge shifts in your life  😉
Registering with an online matchmaking service
Training for a trek to the North Pole (as my friend Raymond Aaron did!)

The result of stretching yourself will of course depend on how far out of your comfort zone you go.  But even a small stretch is likely to give you a sense of achievement, self-confidence and satisfaction.   And the more you stretch, the less you’re likely to experience fear of change and the more you are likely to want to stretch and grow even more.

Your idea of what is possible for you will likely stretch as well.  What might that lead to for you?  If anything is possible…what will you do?

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Fear is paralyzing.  Not just genuine, “fear for your life” kind of fear.  But the every day fears like “I can’t dance, everyone is watching” fears.  In working with clients, and in observing myself and others, I see fear of looking stupid, fear of failing, fear of people not thinking I’m smart, fear of rejection…all among the major reasons not to do things.

When I thought about undertaking this quest, among the first emotions I had was fear.  What would people think?  They’d know I’m not perfect.  What if I didn’t change at all? What if I didn’t get what I was learning?  All perfect examples of
F- alse
E-vidence
A-ppearing
R-eal

Of course there are real reasons for FEAR, healthy ones that keep us out of dangerous situations (when we pay attention.)  But most often our fears are just huge boulders getting in our way of doing what we want to do.

I read something astonishing. It seems that the top two things people fear are the threat of pain or death, and the fear of social rejection. We’re all so busy trying to have people like us that we tip toe around, rather than embracing life and the pursuit of happiness with gusto.  We do the right thing, say the right thing, wear the right thing…rather than being true to ourselves.  (Caveat for my husband…I am not saying you should do anything, say anything and, especially, wear anything!)

So I’ve decided to be fearless.  No, I am not rushing out to go skydiving or bungee jumping.  It means I’ve decided to stop worrying if I’m getting it right all the time.  Instead I’m going to be REAL

R-eally
E-mbracing
A-ll
L-ife

Join me?

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I’m a pretty together person…really.  I’m a trained and successful life and executive coach, which means that my life’s work is about helping people get what they want out of life and be who they want to be.  I’m happily married, have two great kids, have a nice home and enjoy my life and work.  It’s all pretty darned good.  And I’d love it to be even better.

First a confession…unlike so many of my friends and self-help gurus, I have not (to date) attended any self-help seminars (although in full disclosure I did attend Transformational Meditation instruction in the early 70s.)  Over the years I have read a myriad of personal development books, the first two in my mid-teens.  (Advice from a Failure by Jo Coudert and Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.)  But most of what I learned, I learned from life, and from growing up as the only child of two Auschwitz survivors.  (More about that another time.)

Fast forward to the present, and here I am in the later stage of middle age, wondering like so many others if I can be even better, even more successful: healthier, wealthier and wiser?

And so I’ve decided to embark on a public quest for transformation.

My plan is to spend an indeterminate amount of time making myself over. [I’m not foolish enough to give myself a deadline like one year, much as I admire those folks who have done that.]  I’m going to see how applying some of the wisdom of others to myself actually makes a difference.  I am lucky because I count among my friends and network many of today’s top personal development thought leaders, so I will definitely be tapping into their wisdom via their books, CD sets and seminars.

I’ve already begun my quest.  I joined a health club earlier this week, and after a life of avoiding exercise as much as I could, I plan to experiment with all the different classes and equipment they have there.  So far I’ve taken aqua tai chi (that was the first time I laughed my way through an exercise class) and basic yoga (how does everyone get their bodies into those poses?)  I meet with a trainer for a “Polar Body Age Assessment” this Tuesday.  That sounds scary.

I’ve got my first seminar experience scheduled.  I’ll be headed to San Diego at the end of the month to do “Money & You”, DC Cordova’s program.  http://www.excellerated.com/index.php/45 (More about that in coming weeks)

Next step:  In the coming week I plan to select the first few programs I plan on working through.  Stay tuned.

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Donna Karlin posted a new OnGrowing Challenge over on Transformational Girlfriends.  She wrote,

” my challenge for this week is, what book are you going to start reading with the intention of finishing it?”

For me, finding a book to read is never a challenge (the clerks at Borders and the librarians at the county library all know me by name.)  And actually, there are two books I am currently reading that I plan to finish this week: Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (about corporate blogging) and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (you must read this book.)  I also decided to re-read the first personal development book I ever read, Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.  [I first read this when I was 14!]

Dr Maltz  was the first to understand and explain the concept that a person’s self-image controls their ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) a goal. In many ways, he paved the way for all future self-improvement programs and ultimately to the field of coaching.   I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the book.

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Ever looking for the next way to challenge ourselves, Donna Karlin and I have decided to create an OnGrowing Weekly Challenge to let people share how they deal, cope, thrive and grow in their lives.

Our first challenge is: “Who are you giving your personal power away to and how are you going to take it back?”  Donna K says, “We can either choose our future or let someone else do it for us. Which would you prefer?”  I think there is an even more fundamental dilemma that many people face…and that’s that they don’t even realize that they (or someone else) are making choices at all, thereby giving their personal power away without even knowing it.

That’s true when they stay in a job or relationship or any situation that is wrong for them, or even toxic, because they are afraid to make the change…thereby making the choice to stay miserable.  But if you asked them, they would say they didn’t have a choice.  That’s also true when you allow others to make choices for you because you are not setting (or communicating) your boundaries.

And of course, there is the whole issue of time and doing too much which Donna and I have been discussing quite a bit lately.  How important it is not to get drawn into projects (or relationships) without actually making a conscious choice about whether that will be fun, profitable and/or soul-nurturing, as opposed to saying yes because you feel you should or are being pressured (even in subtle ways, and sometimes by your own intellect).  And of course, there’s the whole issue of time which I constantly struggle with and posted about earlier this week. 

I’ve started taking my power back by looking for support, scheduling more wisely, and consciously making choices about what to work on, when to work on it, and whether or not I even want to.  It’s a growing and learning process, for sure.

So come and join “the Donna’s”.  I’ve tagged:

Julia Stewart
Kim George
Mark McKergow
Maryam Webster
DC Cordova
Deborah Brown Volkman

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