The Worst Career Advice That Just Won’t Die

Recently I was talking with a successful female leader. She was sharing some details of a meeting she was part of with a bunch of male executives. An idea was presented in the meeting that she was completely opposed to, and she told me that when she argued against it, she made a terrible error. She said, “I can’t believe I said this, but I started my argument with, ‘from the bottom of my heart…'” It took me a moment to understand why she was so horrified by that statement – and then it dawned on me…it was too feminine. It was then that I realized the worst career advice is still alive and well.

Women are often told to turn-down their femininity, while males are told to (when appropriate) turn theirs up. Men and women possess both masculine and feminine traits, but often try to hide some and accentuate others. This puts us out of balance with who we truly are. We are all different and some have more masculine traits and others more feminine. What’s important is that we stay balanced with our unique combination.

Women are encouraged to turn-up their masculine traits, like assertiveness, competitiveness, strength, dominance, and directness, and turn-down their feminine ones, like tenderness, compassion, empathy, caregiving, collaboration, and surrendering. I’ve seen it over and over again…too many years of this, and before long your authentic self is buried so deep, you don’t even know who you are anymore.

We need all of these traits at various times, so none are bad in and of themselves. But when we hide who are, when our outer self is completely incongruent with our inner self, we are setting ourselves up to feel a whole lot of pain. Certainly, there are occasions when we need to adjust our traits to the circumstances, but that shouldn’t be most of the time. When we are true and authentic we will attract people to us. The kind of people who appreciate these qualities. These are the people who become our friends, clients, and mentors.

There’s a reason we have both masculine and feminine traits – they complement each other. They work together. Think about it. Take a masculine trait and combine it with a feminine trait and you’ll see magic!

  • Compassion + Assertiveness = Making a tough decision while being compassionate to those who will be impacted by it.
  • Empathy + Directness = Giving constructive criticism while empathizing with the recipient’s discomfort.
  • Caregiving + Dominance = Making a loved one go to the hospital for a potentially dangerous health situation.

See? When combined, masculine and feminine traits are like a bag of Kettle Corn – a little sweet + a little salty = a perfect combo!

Every couple I know (heterosexual and same-sex) has a complementary mix of these traits. One always has a higher level of masculine traits and the other a higher level of feminine traits. That polarity between people is often a large contributor to the attraction. The same is true in the workplace. Having a mix of people with varying levels of masculine and feminine traits is what contributes to diverse, thoughtful, and innovative teams. Having leaders and team members who are genuine and authentic results in honest relationships and greater respect.

Embrace your feminine and masculine qualities. Their unique mix is what makes you – you. If you find yourself on the receiving end of The Worst Career Advice That Just Won’t Die, might I recommend practicing some empathetic directness?

Tell me in the comments section your favorite feminine and masculine traits that you possess and how they have worked to your advantage.

 

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4 Questions to Help You Design Your 2017

This time of year can cause us to focus on all the things we have to do before the year ends (which often translates into all we have to do for other people). But we are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to start thinking about what we need to do to start 2017 off right for ourselves. That’s the difference between being reactive and proactive. When it comes to life, are you playing defense or offense? Are you reacting to circumstances or making every effort to create those circumstances? This strategy can be the difference between working harder versus working smarter.

If you want to play offense in your 2017, you have to start planning NOW. Living a life by design requires you to design your life ahead of time. Of course, there will be circumstances beyond your control, but there will be many within your control, so your time is better spent planning those than worrying about what could happen. So, where do you begin? GREAT question!

Everything starts with your goals. You can’t live a life by design if you don’t know what it looks like when you’ve achieved it. Ask yourself the following questions for 2017:

  • Who Do I Want to Be? – What adjectives would you like others to use to describe you in 2017?
  • What Do I Want to Accomplish? – Is every year the same old, same old? You want to lose weight, find a life partner, travel, or pay off your debt… Let’s make this year the one when you actually get it done!
  • What’s Standing in My Way? – We are generally pretty aware of the obstacles that are in our path to success. We are also experienced and clever enough to know how to get around them. Sometimes it’s other people who hold us back, and other times we are our own worst enemy. Whether it’s external or internal, isn’t 2017 the PERFECT year to change this?
  • How Can I Use My Strengths and Minimize My Weaknesses? – The successes we accumulate are often a result of properly using our strengths while minimizing the impact of our weaknesses. How can you use this strategy to accomplish your goals for 2017?

If you give serious thought to these questions, you will realize – You have the answers. You just need to allow yourself a little time to reflect and consider the version of you, you’d like to be in 2017. Being the architect of your life isn’t easy but it’s absolutely doable! When you take control and plan for your future, you will find that you are no longer at the mercy of your circumstances.

Now it’s your turn. Which of those four questions: who you want to be, what do you want to accomplish, what’s in your way, and how to use your strengths and weaknesses, most resonate with you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

That being said, there is no better investment than the one you make in yourself. Whether that investment is in the form of attention, time, or money. When you put these values on the line, you are NOT going to let yourself down. In this spirit, I have some AWESOME offers for you!

  • FREE ebook by Michael Hyatt – This ebook features habits that some of your favorite and most successful people have discovered. People like Tony Robbins, Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, John Acuff and MORE share their secrets to success. Success leaves clues…I want to let you in on them. Download the Free Ebook!

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  • Plan Ahead Badass Rates – I think if you’re badass enough to commit your attention, time, and money to living a life by design in 2017, you should get some pretty impressive perks. Check out my Special End-of-Year package rates for 2017 (up to 50% off)!!
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    3. 30% off 3 Sessions in 2017 – This package is perfect for the person who wants to dip their toe in and get a feel for goal setting or the person who just needs a little cushion, and the support that comes along with the empowerment sessions.

Would you like to see how an Empowerment Session works? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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Decision Making and Choosing the Right Path

Have you ever been tripped up trying to make the right decision? As if there were one right path and one wrong path. Perhaps there’s a situation in your life right now that you’re weighing the pros and cons of, and you just don’t want to make the wrong decision. I’ve seen this in every conceivable area of life. I’d like to offer you an alternative to consider: What if there were a bunch of “right” answers. What if, of all the options you have before you, ALL of them were good?

There are so many decisions we are required to make in life: life partner, career, education, hometown, one-piece or two-piece, boxers or briefs…you get the idea. We tend to think one is ultimately better than the other, but what if neither was better, they were just different. Different lessons, different experiences, but the sum total of our happiness and fulfillment would ultimately be the same?

If you are weighing a decision, consider those concepts while asking yourself the following questions regarding all your options:

  • Is there an option I haven’t considered?
    • Often we get stuck between Option A and Option B and become blind to Options C-Z. I have a friend who was stuck on whether to be a graphic designer or photographer. After four years of art school, she ended up owning her own successful small business which had nothing to do with art at all.
  • Is it really an either/or situation? Could I choose more than one option?
    • Years ago I was in a rut at work. I wasn’t sure if I should ride out the tough patch at work or start my own business? So I did both.
  • What lesson might I learn from each option?
    • Turning our fears into lessons, allows us to take a different approach to them. If those fears were to become reality, is there a valuable lesson there? If so, what could it be?
  • Which options would allow me to give or become the best version of myself?
    • This question works well with career decisions. Should I take the higher paying position doing what I do now, or the lower-paying one that would make a difference on issues that are important to me?
  • Considering the impact of this decision, have I considered the options for an appropriate amount of time? (Not too much, not too little)
    • Is a month really long enough to determine if your ho-hum marriage should end? Do you really need three weeks to decide whether to cut your hair or not?

Decisions can be difficult and many shouldn’t be treated lightly, however, having a “one right path” perspective can tangle us up unnecessarily. I think with the billions of people on this planet, the multiple options available to us, all the possible combinations of opportunities and experiences that there are any number of wonderful people we could fall in love with; careers we could excel at; lives we could live.

We have such beautiful freedom to reinvent ourselves everyday if we wish. Our story isn’t pre-written – we write it, word by word, page by page, day by day. Don’t allow circumstances, fears, or the expectations of others to write your story – there is only one author to your life, and it’s you.

Would you like to work on improving this aspect of yourself? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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Dealing with Post-Election Emotions

I know, I know, you’re probably tired of anything related to this year’s presidential election. But this is different. This week I’m addressing something hundreds of millions of Americans are experiencing – Post Election Emotions. There has never been such an historic election in my lifetime. It doesn’t matter if you were rooting for Clinton, Trump, someone else, or no one. There is a good chance that you are experiencing some weighty emotions. Regardless of whether you are devastated over the results, celebrating them, or somewhere in between, you likely could use some help settling your emotions, or understanding how to handle someone else’s strong reaction. Feel free to skip to the section that pertains to you.

Dealing with Your Own Strong Emotions – When we are deeply fearful and feeling hopelessness (which is how many people are describing themselves right now), we are likely in fight or flight mode. What this means is that other areas of the brain, like our rational thoughts, fade to the background and our attention is laser focused on short-term survival. We view everything through the lens of fear. The first order of business then is to get out of fight or flight.

Here are 4 ways to get out of fight or flight mode:

  • Get physical – Burn off those stress hormones by doing something physically tiring for 5-10 minutes. Go for a brisk walk, vacuum the stairs, scrub the bathroom floor, chop wood, open 25 jars of pickles – whatever works for you.
  • Journal – Get all those thoughts, worries, fears, and emotions down on paper (or screen). They run rampant in our mind. Getting them out of our head and into words allows us to process that information in a more productive way.
  • Just Breathe – Breaths (that expand our belly, not our chests) settle us down and provide much needed oxygen throughout the body. Breathe in through your nose to the count of four, then exhale through the nose to the count of four. Repeat.
  • Relaxation Response – Dr. Herbert Benson discovered this in the 1960’s. Close your eyes, sit comfortably and repeatedly recite (or think) a calming word or phrase while calmly breathing. Ideally this is done for 10-20 minutes, but even 5 minutes will have benefits. This counteracts fight or flight.

Now that you’re calm, you can focus on more than just your immediate fears and worries.

Here are 4 ways to get into a state of empowerment:

  • Control What You Can Control – Don’t waste time on things you can’t control. Focus on what you have the power to influence or change.
  • Review your Journal – Now that you can look at what you wrote, what are some actions you can take to address those fears? There are likely others experiencing the same concerns; connect with them and discuss as a group how they can be addressed. Action is empowering.
  • Reframe the Problem – Bill Burnett & Dave Evans share in their book, Designing Your Life – How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life that “gravity problems” aren’t really solvable. For example, “I wish Trump wasn’t the President-elect.” That problem can’t really be solved. He is. Reframing that problem into one that has some solutions could look something like this: I’m worried my local politicians don’t know how important this issue is. NOW you can do something about that.
  • Get Educated – Research your remaining fears and possible solutions. How viable are they? How accurate are they? What resources are available to help you?

Getting out of a high level of emotion and into the planning stages of action puts you back in the driver’s seat. You are NOT powerless. This is NOT hopeless.

Dealing with Others’ Strong Emotions – It can be incredibly difficult and frustrating dealing with someone else’s strong emotions when you just don’t understand them, or you feel they are completely unnecessary. However, if this is someone you respect and care about, there are steps you can take to help them and preserve your relationship at the same time. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you navigate these deep running emotions:

DON’T:

  • Don’t Discount Their Feelings – Don’t make it about you. It doesn’t matter how much you don’t understand them, acknowledge the feelings and be respectful of them. Telling them to “get over it” will not help.
  • Don’t Try to Reason with Them – Trying to convince someone why their reaction is wrong or how your way of thinking is better will not get them in a place to discuss the topic and have an open-minded discussion.
  • Don’t List All the Arguments – If they were “With Her,” listing all the reasons you think Hillary fell short and was undeserving also won’t help.

DO:

  • Empathize with Their Feelings – You likely would have felt similarly if the election turned out differently. Connect with them through that understanding.
  • Truly Listen to Their Concerns – Hear their fears, worries, concerns, and thoughts and validate them. You don’t have to agree, but acknowledge that you understand and respect where they are coming from.
  • Ask How You Can Help – At this early stage, they may just need to avoid the topic altogether. If not, they may just need you both to agree to disagree and not get into discussions on the topics. Asking how you can help is the best way to find out what they need.

Dealing with someone who is emotional and seemingly irrational is no easy task, but remember that to them it’s very real. You can respect that without agreeing with it.

This election has broken up a lot of valuable relationships. That’s how strongly people have reacted. It’s going to take time and effort to work towards become less divided. For those who voted, they chose their candidate for a reason. For some, it was as easy as which one they liked better than the others. But for many, it was based on deeply held beliefs. For all involved it’s important to not make assumptions. Just because someone voted for Hillary doesn’t mean they are Pro-Abortion, and just because someone voted for Trump doesn’t mean they are Anti-Gay. Think back in history – what has always had the greatest impact, Love or Hate? If you ask me, I’ll tell you, Love Always Wins.

Remember, you don’t have to like someone or agree with their beliefs to show them kindness. Be kind.

 

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Keeping the 8 Dimensions of Health Balanced

When we think of our health, we tend to think specifically of our physical well-being. But there are other areas of our health that we need to be aware of, not only for their own purposes, but also because they impact our physical health. There are eight generally agreed upon dimensions of health, and each of them require our care and attention.

Check out each one and assess how you’re doing:

  • Physical– This relates to your diet and exercise. While this is often the one we are most aware of, it can sometimes be the most difficult to work on. Time is a friend of diet (think food preparation) and exercise, but time is often what we are lacking in the most.
  • Intellectual – This area relates to creativity and mental stimulation. This means different things to different people. For some, reading and writing activates this dimension, for others it’s puzzling. It doesn’t matter what stimulates this aspect of your health, but make sure it’s something.
  • Environmental– The focus with this area is on living in a way that respects the planet we live on. This includes the products we use (like chemicals) and the ones we get rid of. It means being conscious of the natural resources we use. The faster we get, the faster we expect Mother Nature to keep up, but trying to rush Mom is never a good idea!
  • Occupational – Here, attention is given to getting fulfillment from our work. For many this may be paid employment, for others this could be volunteer work, like being on the board, or caring for our children or elders. The point is getting fulfillment from some aspect of our work.
  • Financial – This relates not only to the amount of resources we have, but how we use them. Similar to Mother Nature trying to keep up with how we are “spending” her resources, our paychecks have to keep up with our spending.
  • Emotional – How well we accept and are aware of our feelings is the focus for this dimension. Feelings can get such a bad rap, especially if we admit to having them, and yet, all the studies show that emotional intelligence is one of the surest way to success. We can’t be emotionally intelligent with others if we can’t connect to our own emotions first.
  • Social – This includes our connection to others within the various communities we interact with. We are social creatures by design. We NEED to interact with others. This may be to varying degrees, but we need social connection. The connections we make in the many areas of our life really contribute to our overall health and well-being.
  • Spiritual – This area focuses on the purpose and meaning we find in life. Some find this in their religious beliefs, but that’s not a requirement. Finding purpose and meaning is important and gives us a sense of comfort and faith during the tough times.

Looking at these, how do you think you’re doing? Are there areas that could benefit from more attention? Consider areas of your life that don’t contribute to any of these dimensions. This could be watching TV, getting lost on Social Media, or any other number of activities that are absorbing time that could be better spent in one or more of these dimensions. Self-assess, my friend!

Share in the comments section the area that you are strongest in and what you are doing to keep that dimension healthy.

If you are ready to level up any of these areas and would like some support, be sure to set up your complimentary Empowerment Session. You’ll be thrilled with how much quicker you can accomplish your goals than if you just go it alone!

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How Much Is It Costing You to Be Right?

Nobody likes to be wrong. That’s a fact. But some go to great lengths to be right, and in the end, they may be right, but what has been lost in the battle? Friendships, respect, affection? When I was teaching my kids to drive, I taught them that it’s not about being right; it’s about being safe. The example I would give is that if their traffic light turns green and someone from the other direction blows through their red light, they may be “right” to continue through the intersection, but in the end, they must deal with the consequences of being right. So, how comforting is being right at that point?

I recently witnessed what could be described as a spat between two professionals. There was some sort of discussion around procedure and in just a few seconds, an ornery tone and assertive language was being used by one of the individuals. As an observer of the situation, things seemed to escalate quickly. From my observation, one person was having a discussion from a place of curiosity and resolution, while the other was coming from a place of, well, having to be right.

In another situation, a couple spent so much time noting their version of the facts (and who had the right ones), and not nearly enough time focused on respecting each other’s perception of the facts, and the emotions they each experienced from those perspectives. The discussion would have proven much more productive if each person could respect the perspective of the other and work towards improving communication in the future.

These two examples reminded me of what people gain when they are focused solely on being right. They gain the bragging rights of being right. Here’s the problem though: they’re usually the only one at the party. No one else is standing around celebrating their victory. No one else cares.

Often, it isn’t cold, hard facts that are being debated; it’s the interpretation of those facts. Equally often, information was missing which led to misunderstandings, or there were conclusions made without having all the facts. In these situations, right and wrong are irrelevant, it’s the discussion that is important (also like the examples above). So, what are the potential costs of working so hard to be right?

  • Breakdown of Communication – In the first example of the professional spat, the person who was curious and looking for clarity, completely shut down. There was no response, no debate, no continued discussion. They just stopped engaging. This breakdown in communication means there will be even more unresolved issues (emotional and procedural) in the future. This doesn’t benefit anyone.
  • Loss of Relationships – I’ve seen too many relationships meet their end when the “right” straw finally broke the camel’s back. I’ve seen this in professional, romantic, and platonic relationships. Either way, it leaves a whole lot of resentment on both sides.
  • Every Interaction Becomes a Competition – There is healthy competition and unhealthy. Having to always be right creates an environment of unhealthy competition because of how involved others get in either trying to be right, or trying to prove someone else wrong. Wasted energy, and wholly negative overall.

When being right is our focus, often, we’re missing the point. How can we shift our focus off of being right without being a wishy-washy, indecisive push-over?

  • Own your perception while being open to the perception of others
  • Go into discussions with curiosity
  • Compromise
  • Consider if it’s important enough of a detail to debate about
  • Focus on the now and the future, and how to prevent issues in the future

Nobody likes to be around someone who is seen as repeatedly disagreeable or a know-it-all. Choosing our battles is often a lesson learned the hard way, and sadly, some don’t learn it and continue to lose valuable relationships. Just a slight change to our point-of-view is often enough to keep us from suffering this same fate. It’s okay to be right, but it’s much more enjoyable when it doesn’t mean someone else is wrong.

Do you have a story of a time someone went to great lengths to be right? How did it turn out? Share in the comments section.

Would you like to work on improving this aspect of yourself? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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How to “Reset” Your Day

We’ve all had mornings where we hit every red light, every slow driver, every traffic jam, every computer issue, we had a spat with our partner, our kid had a meltdown, a client is being completely unreasonable, or any number of other challenges. After enough repeats of these types of incidents, we resolve that it’s just going to be one of those days. We resign ourselves to a bad day, which really becomes the power of suggestion in action – we expect bad things, we look for bad things, and the Universe mirrors these expectations.

A better way to approach a run of unfortunate events is to reset your day. Instead of just trying to survive it, start over. Here are 10 actions you can take to reset your day:

  • Take some deep breaths – proper breathing means your belly should expand, not your chest. Belly breathing ensures oxygen gets into the blood stream and is distributed throughout the body. It also releases endorphins (those ‘feel good’ hormones). Both of these perks reduce stress.
  • Give yourself a pep talk – You have your own inner coach, so engage with that aspect of your psyche and remind yourself that a few back-to-back challenges doesn’t have to mean a bad day – unless you let it.
  • Slow down – When we find ourselves chasing our daily tasks, rushing from one thing to the next, we can exacerbate our troubles by forcing ourselves to be so reactive. Get in a proactive state of mind. Slow down and try to plan a few aspects of your day. Write a to-do list, get your thoughts down on paper and collect yourself to take back control.
  • Get your blood pumping – Engage in a short interval of exercise. Jog in place, do some push-ups, run out to the car, go for a brisk walk, etc. All of these will get your heart rate up and stress level down.
  • Do a power pose – What the heck are these? Stand like Wonder Woman (or Superman), or sit like a cocky executive (hands clasped behind head, elbows out, feet up on the desk, and wear a cocky grin for good measure). 2 minutes will raise your endorphins and testosterone and lower your stress hormones. (c’mon, you could do this in a bathroom stall if you had to!)
  • Play music that gets you jazzed – Anthem songs were made for moments like these. These are the songs that if you’re in your car or kitchen, you crank it up and rock out! Any music of your choosing that gets you jazzed up and back in the game will do.
  • Visualize pressing a “Reset” button – Really, try it, what do you have to lose?
  • View some relaxing photos – It’s autumn, so there are plenty of beautiful New England trees changing colors, or maybe it’s looking at the photos of loved ones. Any photos that relax you or bring you joy will work.
  • Watch something funny – There is no end to the options on the internet intended to make you laugh. It could be unfortunate videos (that drunk aunt dancing on a table at a wedding), or just funny saying on Pinterest. There’s something for every kind of humor.
  • Watch animal videos – These are a dime a dozen, but seeing a cat sleeping in a dog bed while the dog sheepishly sleeps on the hard and cold wood floor is just a smile maker.

It’s easy to get swept up in our circumstances, especially when we are knee-deep in them. But we have to remember that we always have some level of control. Take back control of your day. You may not be able to control every circumstance, but you can control how you react to them. Even just an attitude adjustment is often all you need to get back on the rails of a good, productive day. If all else fails, rest on the thought that “this too shall pass.”

Your turn! Tell me which one of these is your favorite or that you’re most excited to try. Put it in the comments section!

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Are You Prepared for Good Things?

We all have goals and desires that we hope to accomplish. We think about how life would be if we had these. We focus on what we can do to achieve them. But there’s one area we may forget to focus on…ourselves. We make preparations to achieve our goals and acquire our desires, but the most important step is often forgotten: preparing ourselves to accept these into our life.

Consider who you have to become to be ready for, and deserving of, your hopes and dreams.

Take, for example, an average family winning the lottery. They’ve weathered many financial difficulties and were living paycheck to paycheck when luck struck and they found themselves with a whole lot of money virtually overnight. This, sadly, tends to be a fleeting reward. It isn’t long before they find themselves where they were before winning. Some statistics show that upwards of 70% of winners will lose all of their money within a few years. In fact, many will ultimately file bankruptcy. What gives? They weren’t ready. They didn’t have financial acumen before the winnings, and that sort of knowledge doesn’t come as quickly as the winning check does. Their friends and family were the same, their habits were the same, and their understanding of money was the same. Of course it would be a matter of time before they lost it.

The same can be said for a relationship. You want the love of your life to show up. You want that person to be loving, smart, affectionate, honest, trustworthy, and any number of other wonderful things. Now take a look in the mirror. Could you improve yourself and become someone ready for that kind of relationship? Are there things you could change that would make you more desirable to that kind of a mate?

There are many areas and aspects of our life that impact whether we accomplish our goals and acquire our desires, or not. Think of a goal or desire you have. Now consider what you may have to change in the following areas to be ready:

  • Knowledge – Have you researched all the options available to you and how you could use them to your benefit? What do you need to know in preparation for achieving your goal? If your goal is to lose weight, you want to know not only how to lose it, but how to keep it off, right?
  • Inner Circle – Who are you hanging out with? We are a reflection of the people we associate with. If you want a committed, loving relationship, but your immediate friends are in unhappy relationships or only looking for the occasional hook-up, are you really preparing yourself for a deep and meaningful relationship?
  • Time – Are you putting the time in? If you want to make more money, but your time investment consists of going out of your way to stop and buy a lottery ticket, are you really ready for the potential winnings? Perhaps your time would be better spent meeting with a financial advisor…
  • Attitude – Have you done the inner work necessary so that you have an attitude that clearly shows you are ready and deserving? You have to believe it for yourself, first.
  • The Wanna – Is the goal truly your own? You have to really want to achieve your goal in order to get it, or be fulfilled by it. If those around you have led you to believe that climbing the corporate ladder is the way to go, but deep in your heart you want to start your own business, you will either sabotage your career or successfully climb that ladder while feeling wholly unfulfilled.
  • Habits – Are your regular habits contributing to your success or your failure? How we behave everyday will have a greater impact on our ultimate success than one big change would. In the long-term anyway. If you want to feel energetic and vibrant naturally, but your habits include multiple sugar-laden coffees, late nights and early mornings, and processed foods, you are going to be hard-pressed to find a healthy version of energy until you change those habits.

While you’re striving for and working towards achieving your hopes and dreams, make sure you take the time to prepare yourself and make any necessary changes so that you are ready when they come true!

Which of these 6 areas do you think would be the easiest to work on? Which one would be the most difficult? Share your comments in the comments section. I LOVE hearing from you!!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Finding What You’re Looking For

At times we question it, but in life, we really do find what we are looking for. If you’re looking for love, you’re going to find it. If you’re looking for money, you’re going to find it. If that seems completely unbelievable to you, read on. Have you ever heard the phrase, “to a hammer, everything’s a nail”? That’s it — that’s how it works. Allow me to explain.

Our brains have a lot of control over our actions. No duh, right? But we are not always (or often) consciously aware of the choices our brains are making on our behalf. Think of your brain like a large corporation. You’re the CEO, but you have many others working for you (like memories, experiences, attitudes, fears, and more). They make decisions and provide information to you so that you can make even bigger decisions. Added to all of this is the brain’s desire to connect things.

Let’s put all of this into an example that I think we all can relate to:

FACT: You want to have more money.

MEMORY: Remember all those times you invested a good sum of money into network marketing opportunities, but ultimately you gave up with less money in your pocket?

EXPERIENCES: You’ve seen people hustle, hustle, hustle to make money. They sacrifice their family, health and time and put in ridiculous hours. Sure their house is nice, but at what cost?

ATTITUDES: Money can do some pretty messed up things to people. They forget where they come from. They put money before everything else. It’s like they say, money is the root of all evil.

FEARS: What if your kids start thinking that money isn’t something you have to work for? What if your friends and family start thinking that money is more important to you than anything else?

Now let’s say you have an opportunity to take on a big position with big pay for a start-up company. Your brain very quickly accesses all the data from your memories, attitudes, etc. Based on the information above, it’s pretty reasonable to expect that you are going to turn down that opportunity. Bottom line: you may want more money, but you are “looking” for all the reasons you’re not going to get it. Not consciously, of course, as your brain connects all of this data and outputs a decision. A scenario like this can play out in just a few seconds.

If you want love, but have all this “baggage” and skepticism, your brain is going to make connections and look for all the reasons you are RIGHT to be skeptical. If you think the world we live in is more dangerous than ever, your brain will prove this to be true by LOOKING for information to support that belief. If you worry that people will try to make a fool out of you, you will seek out evidence that feeds that worry.  This is very common in relationships. One person may be considering ending the relationship, but they feel bad about it. They don’t want to be the “bad guy.” So they start noticing every annoying little habit of their partner to “prove” why they shouldn’t stay together, thus making it the other person’s fault. Your brain will pull all data that supports this. Our brain makes every effort to make us right.

Some call this the law of attraction, the power of suggestion, projecting onto others, negativity, self-sabotage, and the result of mirror neurons. It doesn’t matter what you call it: Seek and ye shall find!

What if you don’t like this pattern and you want to change it, but you can’t change your memory, past experiences, attitudes, or fears? I’d argue about the attitudes and fears, but ultimately you can quickly change what you’re looking for. If you know what you want (money, love, weight loss, life balance, a positive attitude, etc.) you can find it.

  • Start looking for evidence of where this is going right or already exists in your life
  • Recall memories and experiences of times you were able to get what you wanted
  • Think of ways you may be preventing this from happening in your life right now
  • Recognize what you have learned from past experiences
  • Focus on finding what you want and proving that it’s possible to get it

Both success and failure leave clues. That’s what gives retrospect its 20/20 vision. Use this information to find what you want, instead of using it to find what you don’t want. This doesn’t mean you ignore all the important information and only find the good stuff. You have to use all your available resources, but neuroplasticity shows that what you think and feel and how you behave habitually, can change your mindset. There are plenty of examples out there to prove you truly can find what you want, you just have to look for them.

Your turn! What’s something that once seemed out of your reach, but appeared when you opened up to the possibility? Share in the comments section.

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Choosing the Kind of Day You’d Like to Have

Wouldn’t it be nice to choose what kind of day to have? As if we’d pick anything other than Great!! But believe it or not, that’s very often exactly what we do. We CHOOSE to have a less than great day. We contribute to every situation in our life. In every facet of it, we have control. Maybe not total control, but we always have some. That’s true in our career, relationships, health, and any other area. We obviously can’t control everything that happens, but we can control much of how we react to it. And it all starts with our attitude.

Your attitude is simply a reflection of what you are thinking and/or feeling inside, and how that is expressed through your language, tone and/or body language. Think of someone who is playful, smiling, and laughing. They are expressing a positive attitude. Now think of someone who is dreading a meeting they don’t want to go to, they don’t see why they have to go and it’s just going to be a waste of their time. Do you think they will reflect this in their attitude? You better believe it. In both scenarios, those individuals are choosing the kind of day they want to have. Of course there are situations that make it difficult to express anything other than how we are feeling, like when we’ve lost someone we love. I’m not talking about those extreme, highly emotional times. I’m talking about just our average day-to-day stuff.

An example that comes to mind is a time I was copied on an email that I thought was unprofessional, crass, abrasive, and self-serving. There was no response required from me, I was just witnessing it. I was burnt up over this email for two days. Every time I thought of it I’m sure my blood pressure went up, I would rant about it for several minutes in my head, thinking how idiotic the sender was. Then I thought about how I could address it with them. What I might say to this errant person who clearly needed a talking to. And then it occurred to me…what was I getting so fired up about? The email certainly could have been written with more class and tact, but it wasn’t written with the intent to create this reaction. And even if it was, there was no need to let it ruin my day. So guess what? With a little effort, I let it go. Just like that. Once I realized I was blaming someone else for ruining my day, and unnecessarily so, I changed my tune and turned that attitude around. This is choosing what kind of day to have.

When we recognize that we have a choice, it changes things. That tailgater? It’s not personal, they always do that. The slow car in the fast lane? They aren’t even paying attention. This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Letting these annoying things dictate what kind of day you’re going to have is just a bad plan. One way to improve this is to quiz yourself. Marshall Goldsmith talks about this in his book, Triggers. He uses questions each day to assess how he did. The first three are from him.

  • Did I do my best to be happy in my life today?
  • Did I do my best to build positive relationships in my life today?
  • Did I do my best to be fully engaged in my life today?
  • Did I do my best to take control and live a life by MY design today?
  • Did I do my best to add value to others today?
  • Did I do my best to let the little stuff go?

This daily self-assessment can really make a difference with your circumstances and your attitude. Some days will be better than others, but that’s okay. Just do your best. So tell me, what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section. What do you do to make your days good days?

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com