Optimism is Great, but it Won’t Get Your Work Done

I’m an unapologetic optimist. I can find the bright side of just about anything, even a growing to-do list. But no matter how high I turn up my optimism, that isn’t going to get my work done. Sure, typically speaking, I can thrive under pressure. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take a few seconds to kick myself in the ass for waiting until the last minute. There’s a better way. And while I can bring optimism along with me, it’s realism I have to put behind the wheel.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Stockdale Paradox. Named after Jim Stockdale, a United States military officer held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War. As he tells it, he never lost faith that he would survive his ordeal. Yes, he had optimism, as did many of his prison-mates. However, some of these fellow captives relied only on optimism. And as year after year of disappointment stacked on each other, they did not survive. Optimism offers great short-term benefits, but without the mutual acceptance of reality, it can burn out quickly. That’s where Stockdale differed. He was optimistic while remaining aware of his realities. The paradox is stated as:

You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties WHILE confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

So how can you apply this to your growing number of responsibilities? You have to stare those responsibilities square in the eye. What is your current reality? Do you have 4 projects that all require immediate attention? This may be at work, in your personal life, or some combination of both. What tasks have a fast-approaching deadline? Once you know what you’re up against, without the rose-colored glasses of optimism skewing your view, you can make a plan. Once you’ve done that, then go ahead and put those rose-colored glasses back on and get to work.

How did Admiral Stockdale do it? He worked with others. He devised a tap code to be used with his fellow captives. This communication was essential to them, if only to offer comfort and encouragement. Who, in your life, can serve this role for you? Surround yourself with people you can communicate with to help you get through the tough moments. They likely have some ideas on how you can forge ahead and meet your responsibilities. If you’re an A-type who has to do everything yourself, work on delegating even small tasks to others or asking for help. There are friends, family, and co-workers who would be happy to offer their support.

Facing our realities while trusting that we will overcome the challenges will give us the best chance of living the life we so desire. Would you like to learn more techniques about balancing your priorities and meeting your responsibilities without burning out? Then I invite you to sign up for Michael Hyatt’s FREE webinar, The 7 Deadly Sins of Productivity – The Hidden Habits Undermining Your Performance  (And How to Change Them). He will be holding several this week only. Click the link to find the day and time that would work best for you.

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments, so let me know how well you balance optimism with realism.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

You’re Busy, But Are You Productive?

Life moves fast, and so do we. It seems we are always doing something. When’s the last time you remember just doing nothing (sleep doesn’t count)? I bet you’re hard pressed to think of a time. But just because we are busy, does not mean we are productive. When we procrastinate, we find something else to do, instead of the project we’re avoiding. Or, we may be always doing something, but is it the right something? Productivity relies on a lot of moving parts to actually be successful. Let’s talk about the 5 most common:

  • Systems – What routine do you have to process responsibilities? How do you track and schedule everything on your to-do list? Do you use any strategy to attack your workload? Systems get things done because they are reliable, consistent, and proven. Do you have such a system in place for yourself, or are you like a batter in a batting cage just swinging at everything that comes your way and hoping you hit most of them?
  • Technology – There are a lot of apps out there to keep us organized, but these can slow us down just as easily (yeah, I’m talking to you Facebook Birthday notifications! I go on to wish someone a happy, and the next thing I know, I’m mindlessly scrolling through my feed!). Are you using technology, and if so, are you using it in a way that benefits you?
  • Time – How are you spending your time? Is it balanced? Are you putting your time in the right places – the places that are important to you? There’s always work to be done, but are you making time for play? Do you “plan” on doing some activities after your work gets done, and then realize there’s no time left? Are you putting the right things first? Stephen Covey had a great example of this using rocks, but I like how Brett from the Art of Manliness shows this. See the video HERE (you can actually increase the play speed to 1.5 without losing the point).
  • People – There are important people in your life that rely on you to be productive. Spouses, kids, parents, bosses, teachers, etc. If these people (or what they represent) are important to you, there’s a good chance you would like to be productive with these people. Are you prioritizing them? Are you accomplishing what you know you need to with them? And what about people that can help you? Others that could assist, direct, suggest, or just make your life easier? Are you reaching out to them?
  • You – Yup, you can be your own worst enemy (procrastination, failure to prioritize, lack of delegation, etc.) or your own best friend. But you have to know WHY productivity is important to you. You have to have a compelling reason to BE productive instead of just busy.

If you watched the Art of Manliness video above, you saw that by simply rearranging the order of things, you could get more accomplished, get the right things accomplished, and ultimately be more productive. Of course, this is an over-simplification, but it could work, don’t you think?

How do you fare in those five areas? Are you a Productivity Pro or not so much? Are you not really sure where you fall on the Productivity Spectrum? Wouldn’t it be great to find out? One of the most respected (and productive) professionals I know, Michael Hyatt, designed a free assessment to help us identify our strengths and areas of opportunity when it comes to our productivity. It’s quick and easy to fill out and the results are VERY eye-opening and helpful (I scored a 57. I’m in the batting cage, I’m hitting most of the balls, but I’m frustrated by the constant pressure). Click the link to take your assessment and get your score: TOTAL PRODUCTIVITY ASSESSMENT.

You will also be given the opportunity to attend one of Michael’s free webinars on the topic, too. This is sure to be filled with great tips & techniques to help you to be more productive. You can sign up for the webinar once you get your productivity results (I did, so maybe I’ll “see” you there). The point to being productive is so that we have time for all the things important to us WITHOUT being stressed out all the time. You deserve that, don’t ya think?

Your turn! What’s a productivity hack that you rely on? Or, which of the 5 areas above are you BEST at? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Reaching Your Potential

You know what I love about angel cards, tarot cards, fortune cookie messages, and horoscopes? They all give me a unique glimpse at my potential. I’m not saying that the messages these bring are coming from some higher power. I have no idea. But just seeing the potential is enough to get me excited.

The Free Dictionary defines potential as: capable of being, but not yet in existence1. That’s how I feel about it too, which makes it pretty exciting when some message of potential comes my way. But there are numerous ways to consider our own individual potential. Whether you are trying to build your own business, be the best parent you can be, climb the ranks in your chosen field, find the depth of your spirituality, or any number of other potentialities, there are a few best practices (besides fortune cookies and astrology) to consider.

  • Know Thyself – In order to reach your potential in any area of your life, you have to be aware of your greatest strengths and greatest areas of opportunity. These are the current “cards” you’ve been dealt. Knowing these helps you determine how to play your hand to your greatest advantage. If you struggle to pinpoint your weaknesses, you best start talking to those who spend time with you the most. Asked correctly, this could be the most valuable information you ever receive.
  • Know What You Love – Desire is a huge step towards potential. You have to love what it is you’re striving for. If the Universal Law of Gravitation makes you want to run in the other direction, being a physics professor is probably not on your short list of potential careers. On the other hand, if you love crafting, there are countless ways for you to reach your highest potential in this aspect of your life.
  • Clarity on the Important Skills – Whether you’re trying to reach the highest potential in your marriage or at work, you need to know the most important skills that will help you achieve that. Patience is a top one in relationships & parenting. How high on the patience scale are you? If you’re not high enough, figure out how to improve in this area. This is true for any skill that is required to reach your potential.
  • Talk with Others Who Have Succeeded – As much as we may convince ourselves that our journey to potential is different than someone else’s, that’s likely not true. Or rather, not as true as we think. Sure, some details may be different, but generally speaking, if you’re looking for career success in a particular industry, talking with someone who has met success in that industry will likely provide you with some useful insight. The same is true, no matter what area of life you’re focused on. Talk to someone who is ahead of you on this path.
  • Taking Action – No matter how glowing an angel card reading may be, if you aren’t willing to take action and make that prediction come to life, it just isn’t going to happen. As lovely as it would be to just sit on the couch and wait for the delivery of our highest potential, it just doesn’t work like that.

I love a good angel card reading as much as the next gal, but potential is only a possibility. It’s up to you to bring it into existence! Following these 5 best practices is a sure way to get on the fast-track to reaching your highest potential in any area of your life. Of course, once you reach one level of high potential, there’s always another level waiting for you. This means it’s never too late to seek out your highest potential. Your “cards” may change as you reach different stages of life, but there is always an opportunity to reach our highest imaginable level of potential.

Now it’s your turn! Which of these five (or another best practice altogether) has helped you reach higher levels of your potential? Share in the comments!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

 

1 - Potential. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2017, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/potential

11 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

I know, the fall lineup is just around the corner and there are so many great shows just waiting to be DVR’d. But, I’d like to offer an alternative. I don’t think many would argue that prolonged TV watching is not good for us. Getting lost in TV shows causes us to be physically inactive, not counting the hand-to-mouth exercise of snacking that often accompanies TV watching. Also, excessive watching can lead to gathering knowledge and opinions based on what others are saying. We aren’t using our own critical thinking with a mix of sources and facts to determine our own viewpoints. These are just a few of the reasons this inactive activity is not very good for us.

So, what can you do instead?  Here are some entertaining options to consider instead:

  • Read a book – This can include listening to an audio book as well. Both fiction and non-fiction have benefits. How is this different from watching a story told in my favorite series? For one, it improves your vocabulary. You are much more likely to slow down and process a word you are unfamiliar with when reading compared to when watching TV. Also, as there are no actors or directors creating every image for you, you engage your imagination and develop your own images and ideas.
  • Do a puzzle – Puzzles are FUN! The whole family can participate and they are a fantastic stress reliever. This activity forces both sides of our brain to communicate. The left side focuses on the individual pieces are tries to sort them into a logical order. The right brain focuses on the bigger picture. This activity helps to improve our short-term memory, and releases a nice dose of dopamine each time we properly place a piece.
  • Organize something – This could be a junk drawer, a stack of photos, or that basket of junk mail on the counter. This will make you feel accomplished and productive and will no doubt remind you to take care of something you’ve long forgotten about.
  • Play a game – Cards, board games, even memorization games related to kids’ homework creates a group activity that engages everyone. Using memory, strategy, and imagination are more cognitively stimulating than TV. These also tend to keep our hands too busy to munch on goodies.
  • Set goals – Whether creating a to-do list for tomorrow or giving thought to what you’d like to accomplish in the next five years, spend time setting goals. Start with a goal, then break it down into smaller pieces and milestones that you can start working on immediately.
  • Personal Development – While the internet can be as much of a mind-suck as TV, if you discipline yourself to stay focused, it can be a great benefit. Search up classes or blogs that address an area of personal development you’d like to work on. This will help you surround yourself with tips and techniques to get working on that area.
  • Professional Development – Deep dive into articles that can sharpen your skills professionally. You can also connect with others in the same field through LinkedIn or local networking groups. It can be difficult to find time during working hours to do this, but this can set you apart from your peers and make you more valuable. It also allows you the opportunity to share articles of interest with others you’d like to stay professionally connected with.
  • Get physical – You knew this was coming. A spin class, yoga dvd, or a walk after dinner are much more beneficial to you than the latest episode of your favorite show.
  • Catch up with a friend or relative – Life can get away from us, causing us to lose touch with those we care about. A nice chat over the phone or Skype will feel much better than that TV program.
  • Take a class – This can be an adult education class, a class at your local craft store, or any other interesting way to learn something new. There are so many options out there. You can meet new people and have fun learning.
  • Join a group – You know I’m a lover of Toastmasters, but there are plenty of other organizations that would love to have you. Church groups, reading groups, hiking groups. The list goes on and on. Again, you’ll meet new people and expose yourself to new ideas and activities.

To be clear, sometimes watching TV is great way to relax and unwind. It can also be a great form of entertainment. But several hours of just TV watching most nights, is doing more harm than good. You deserve more goodness in your life, so stretch yourself and try one of these other activities instead.

I KNOW there are more than 11 things to do instead of watching TV, so won’t you share one? Tell us in the comments section something else you think would be a great replacement, or share why one of the 11 listed is a favorite of yours!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Letting Go of Your Past Mistakes and Forgiving Yourself

Why is it that mistakes we’ve made just seem to haunt us? Like we just can’t leave them behind. Those who are taking my FREE 14-day online course are at the half-way point. But one topic has been particularly “sticky” for participants – Self-Forgiveness. This topic has invoked tears, released pent up guilt, and started a healing process for many of the participants. While I won’t give away what’s in the course (it’s not too late to hop on, just click HERE) I do think it’s worth sharing the importance of forgiving ourselves our sins.

We have all screwed up. We know that it’s human, but there are productive ways to handle mistakes, and unproductive ways to handle them. Let’s look at both:

When Thinking of Our Mistakes is GOOD:

  • Reflection – When we reflect on our actions and consider how we could handle future situations better, this is beneficial. This is planning for better choices in the future.
  • Lessons Learned – The lesson learned is the only (internal) price we need to pay for our mistakes. If we can see where we went wrong, and how we could have handled it better, our emotional debt has been paid.
  • Making Amends – Sometimes we hurt others, and would like their forgiveness as well. We can’t control if we are forgiven, but we always have the ability to make amends in some way. Saying “I’m sorry,” can go a long way when delivered sincerely. When this isn’t possible, there are still ways to make the world a better place. This is one reason so many speak of their wrongs publicly.  They may not be able to undo the damage they did in the past, but they can spread a positive message to try to prevent others from making the same mistake.

When Thinking of Our Mistakes is NOT GOOD:

  • Mental Beat Down – Walking around thinking how much we suck is not healthy and not even remotely productive. Okay, you screwed up, maybe in a pretty big way. Mentally berating yourself repeatedly isn’t going to change the fact that you screwed up. Pull yourself together, stop wasting time beating yourself up, and go do something good.
  • When Our Mistakes Become Our Identity – This happens. People replay their mistakes over and over on loop in their minds. This then becomes their identity. They are officially a screw-up who deserves nothing good. Then, the Power of Suggestion shows up and proves just how “right” they are in their thinking. Again, this is wholly unproductive. You are NOT your mistakes!
  • Impacted Health – I don’t think it’s news to anyone that our mental health (or unhealth) often manifest into our physical health (or unhealth). Guilt and regret take a toll on our physical health over time. The stress hormone, cortisol, courses through your veins each time you replay your transgression. Long-term effects of cortisol are dire. Stress like guilt and regret can also raise our blood pressure and put unnecessary stress on our hearts and central nervous system. All of this equals more fun visits to the doctor for you.

If you’ve done all the Good listed above and reflected on your actions, learned your lesson and will do your best to not make the same mistake again, and have made every effort to make amends, and/or make good come from it, it’s time to let it go. Seriously. Let it go. Do something productive and make the world, or your part in it, a little better. It’s time to forgive yourself and move along your journey to a better you.

In the comments section, share your thoughts on the topic and tell me which of the “GOOD” or “BAD” ways resonate most with you.

Like I said, it’s NOT TOO LATE to sign up for the FREE 14-day online course All About You – Rebuilding a Relationship with Yourself.  You’ll enjoy two weeks of daily recordings (about 15-minutes each) to start your day on topics like Toxic Relationships, Quieting Your Inner Critic, Comparing Yourself to Others, Dealing with Criticism, and more!! Click the image below to enroll!

Five Days to a Better You

While the title may sound like it, this isn’t a diet plan. So how could you be a better version of yourself in just five days, you may be wondering. By spending more time with the most fascinating, wonderful person in the world – YOU. Life gets us so distracted from ourselves. I know, that probably sounds a little crazy, but that’s exactly what happens. We get so busy focusing on others, and getting our to-do list checked off, that we forget to spend important time with ourselves. Our thoughts, our feelings, where our life is now, where we’d like it to be…things like that. Alright, alright, so what does this have to do with five days?? I’ll tell you. Shortly. First, let me describe these ideal five days for you.  If I were to plan an itinerary for you to spend time with yourself, this is what it would look like.

Day One – Owning the Fact that You’re Worthy of Love

This would be your first stop. To believe that you are actually worthy of love and happiness and good things. I’d ask you to think about your early experiences and to self-assess where your self-esteem is at. Do you feel good about yourself? Confident? I’d share interesting stories about why self-esteem is so important and where it starts and how you can improve yours. I’d strongly encourage you to think about what makes you special and wonderful. In fact, I’d require you to! Then I’d let you relax and just think about your awesomeness.

Day Two – Quieting Your Inner Critic

The next stop on your imaginary vacation with yourself would include a stop at Corporation You. This corporation includes all the “employees” who run your life, make your decisions, and help you decipher right from wrong. Kind of like your own internal Charlie & The Chocolate Factory tour. You’ve GOT the Golden Ticket! The only problem is your inner critic is being a real buzz kill. I would provide you with tips and techniques to quiet this little bugger. I would help you to keep your mistakes in perspective and not blow them out of proportion. I’d even share a video that would make you think and reflect. Then I’d give you the keys to unlock your own Personal Bragging Rights party.

Day Three – Forgiveness

On this day you’d spend time forgiving yourself for anything crappy you’ve ever done. I’d let you swim in the pool of guilt for only about 5 seconds, before dragging you over to the hot tub to relax and release all that regret. I’d probably share a personal story about a load of guilt I carried around for YEARS! Before I let you go on with your day, I’d force you to turn that frown upside down and share the lessons you gained from mistakes that are still haunting you.

Day Four – Comparing Yourself to Others

You knew this would have to be an excursion! This nasty little habit of comparing ourselves to others is a total mind game that we play on ourselves. I would make you take off those comparative glasses and replace them with some beauties that only allow you to see…well…you. I suspect I could find a real eye-opening video to share, too. I’d let you back into the deep end of the Pool of You where you could swim in all the things that make you so wonderful!

Day Five – Toxic Relationships

While you’d still be floating from all the goodness of you, I’d talk about how to handle those in your life that may be…ummm…well let’s just say it: Toxic. These fun-suckers could blow your five-day joy jam if you let them. So, I’d prepare you to deal with these. Sometimes these wolves in sheep’s clothing can be a little hard to spot, but I’d give you all the clues to see them for what they are. This is still a trip with yourself, so before I’d let you get back to whatever it is you do all day, I’d have you self-assess to be sure you aren’t contributing any bad juju to your relationships.

If only, right? Could you imagine how much it would cost to have a five-day trip like this?? Thousands maybe. Tens of thousands even.

Hold up Lovely Reader! What if I told you that you could take this trip for FREE??? Oh yeah, and what if I told you, you wouldn’t even have to take any vacation time to do it? And what if I told you that this little trip would only take up about 15 minutes of each day, but give you the rewards All. Day. Long.

How?  Ha! Ha! I’m so glad you asked!! Here’s how: By enrolling in my FREE All About You – Rebuilding a Relationship with Yourself online course! Yes, I said FREE! No gimmicks, no tricks, no fine print. It’s free. And, it’s not just a 5-day trip…it’s a 14-day trip! 2 glorious weeks of…All About You!!

There is zero risk. No one can see your stuff, you get to watch or listen to awesome content for about 15-minutes each day WHEN IT’S CONVENIENT FOR YOU! Anytime. Is 7am your time – great! 3pm? Perfect! 2am (in your underpants)? That works, too!

You get fun and free exercises to download each day, cool stories, but most importantly, a better you each day you do the inner work.

The website is user friendly – nothing fancy to worry about and help is available if you need it. Plus, you can interact with me through your comments anytime.

What are you waiting for? Sign up at http://authentic-life.thinkific.com/courses/all-about-you-rebuilding-a-relationship-with-yourself

Have questions about the course and how it works? Pop ‘em in the comments section or email me at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com and I’ll get right back to ya!

You deserve this, so click HERE and hop on board. Your intro video is waiting for you and the official modules kick off tomorrow, July 10th!!

I hope to see you there!!

How to Make Every Day a Great Day

As an unapologetic optimist, I generally have a really positive attitude starting each day. But recently, I’ve had a few First-World worries, so I have had to be more focused on good thoughts. When we are in this place of worry or frustration, it’s very easy to start noticing all the things around us that seem to be falling apart, or not working right. If we aren’t careful, we will step right into the shoes of Victim. This powerless place is no good, so I decided to take action to flip the script in my mind and set myself up for good thoughts and good outcomes.

Several days ago, I decided to challenge myself. As I got in my car to start my commute to work, I decided to watch for good things, tiny miracles, that would remind me how much goodness surrounds me. Well the Universe did not disappoint. With this “eye for good,” I noticed all sorts of wonderful things. The green traffic lights I seemed to keep getting, the unusually light traffic on my hour-plus commute, the pretty scenery on my route, the friendly wave and smile I got for letting another driver out in front of me. This continued throughout the day. Whenever I looked for goodness, as if it were hiding somewhere and I just needed to find it, it showed up. The temperature was just right for my daily walk, the leftovers I forgot about that meant I was off the hook for making dinner, the nice message I received from a student, and more. I just kept finding these treasures. Who knew that such an easy exercise would produce such glorious results??

Not long after, a classmate shared a routine she has with her young son every day. When she picks him up from school, or when they are eating dinner, they each share the best thing that happened to them that day. Simple, right? There is so much negativity in our world right now, and yet this simple act helps her and her young son to focus on the ability to always find something good. What a good practice to introduce into our day.

Lastly, what I realized in using these techniques is that by practicing them, I became more grateful and thankful. I lost count how many times I thought, “Thank you, God.” I started noticing more opportunities to be thankful. I started reflecting on how many things I have to be grateful for. And, as I’m sure you can imagine, I started worrying a lot less about those First World problems. I began to trust again that I would control what I could control, and God would take care of the rest. That’s a very freeing feeling.

Making every day a great day is not about the external events, but about our internal attitude.  This is true in all areas of our life – Career, business, relationships, and parenting. When we are on the lookout for good things, we will find them. Equally as true is when we are on the lookout for bad things. We’ll find those, too. They both exist, good and bad, but wouldn’t you rather seek out the good?

I’d love to hear from you! What’s something good that you’ve noticed today? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for looking for the good to achieve the life you desire, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

The Power of Your Energy

We are often entirely unaware of how we contribute to every experience in our lives. We bring an energy or vibe to every situation. If it’s positive energy, we’re more likely to have a positive experience; if it’s negative energy, we’re more likely to have a negative experience. It’s easy to forget this, though, when the situation is not one we look forward to, like going to the dentist, the auto repair shop, or the department of motor vehicle.

The other day I had to go to the DMV. Rough, right? As I was walking in, I was determined to be cheerful and pleasant, no matter how long the line was. Upon entering the building, the energy in the room was palpable. I felt like I hit an energetic wall. The line was about 15-20 people deep and this was just to get a ticket to wait some more. I overheard one employee say it was going to be about a three hour wait. Whatev, that’s how it goes. Unfortunate, but it wasn’t going to dim my energy. I was focused on adding positive energy to this place. That’s not how the lady behind me felt, however. From the moment she walked in with her friend, it was a string of negative commentary.   On and on she went about how stupid it was to wait in line to get a number only to wait some more, the insanity of having to wait so long, and how impossible it would be for her to come back tomorrow.

People like that are Energy Sucks. They suck all the good energy out of a space and replace it with negative energy. That’s what was happening to me. I kept trying to send love her way, and be patient and understanding, but as time went on, I started having negative thoughts and emotions. Energy Sucks are usually clueless about how they are impacting their own situations, let alone those around them. The stronger energy usually wins, and strength is determined largely by action. Her active narrative was overpowering my quiet inner dialogue as I lost patience with her.

There is a phenomenon called the Maharishi Effect. The story goes that in 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi predicted that just 1% of a population practicing transcendental meditation would create measurable improvements to the quality of life for an entire population. The Maharishi University of Management shared, “this was put to the test under the careful scrutiny of a distinguished review board in 1993 in Washington, D.C. The maximum decrease in violent crimes was 23.3%. The statistical probability that this result could reflect chance variation in crime levels was less than 2 in 1 billion.”

Now if you want to start practicing transcendental meditation, that’s great, but my point is I don’t think that’s the only way. I think if more people in that DMV building projected positive energy, it would be a better experience for everyone. It could also have the power to turn around the Energy Sucks. And that’s where I dropped the ball. It wasn’t long before I began rolling my eyes and sighing about the Negative Nellie behind me in the DMV line. That meant I was now adding my negative energy to the room. I had an opportunity to turn around and try to chat up that lady. Turn it into a joke and get her to laugh about it and talk about something else, something positive. But I didn’t. I gave into the negative energy. I wish I hadn’t.

Think about how you contribute to your situations and how you could improve them by bringing more positivity to them. I’d love to hear your story. In the comments section, share a time your energy influenced a situation – positively or negatively.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for using your positive energy to create a Life by Design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

5 Ways to be Kinder to Our Future Self

I have to admit, I’m not always kind to my future self. I have such high expectations of the future me, but if I’m not careful, I will set her up to fail. As much as I value being present in the now and seizing the moment, one thing is certain: we tend to cut our current self a break and just expect that our future self will pick up the slack. This is true with diet, exercise, finances, work, and more. If you’ve ever skipped that workout, stopped the 401k contribution, eaten that donut, or bought that item just outside your budget, while comforting yourself with the idea that your future self would be better, than you know exactly what I’m talking about.

This reminds me of a common issue in retail. The evening shift employees would often say, if the morning team would just do their part, we wouldn’t have to work so hard to get everything done before closing, while the day shift employees would say the same about the evening crew.  I imagine my future self saying this. In fact, it’s happened. The me that started dieting would often ask, “why didn’t you start this sooner or skip all that crap food in the first place?” Those with college-bound kids often experience something similar. Those 50 and older do too, when they see the balance in their retirement accounts. Their future self is much closer, and they can see the difficulties that await them.

So how can we be kinder to our future self while still living in the moment? Here are 5 ways:

  1. Be clear on what you want your future self to look like – This is less about goals and more about vision. This will also change, so consider the future versions of yourself in 5 year increments. Break down what you want for the future you 5 years from now, 10 years from now, and so on. Your needs will change, so you want to take those into consideration.
  2. Come up with a plan – Once you know what you want for your future self, you can create a plan that supports this vision every day. If you want to pay off your $3000 credit card bill so that the future you can start saving for a new car, make a list of all the little things you could do to support this every day. Even if you don’t accomplish all of them, you will still feel like you made some progress (which makes the current you feel good).
  3. Create space to live in the present – This means giving yourself some sort of allowance to enjoy the now. If that means eating a donut, skipping a workout or buying a treat, that’s fine, but be very clear about the rules. Be specific about how often, how much, how many, etc. Then stick to your own rules.
  4. React to procrastination – I know procrastination by its very nature is NOT reacting. If you find yourself procrastinating your diet and putting it off until Monday (again), it’s likely you’re feeling overwhelmed and that’s why you’re procrastinating. This is a sure sign that either your plan is too aggressive or you are focused on too much at once. Take small steps towards accomplishing what you need to and alter your plan if necessary.
  5. Write yourself a note from your future self – I know this sounds a little woo-woo, but this can be a great technique. Imagine you are now your future self and you are enjoying the life you had hoped for. As the future version of yourself, write a thank you note acknowledging the work, sacrifice, and challenges that the current you did. Be very specific. You can say something like, “Dear Current Self, thank you for working those extra shifts even when it meant missing out on some fun activities like the annual family picnic. Because of your sacrifices over those six months, I now don’t have to worry about bill collectors calling and stressing me out. I just wanted you to know your efforts paid off.” Then re-read this note whenever you need a little motivation to push through a tough moment.

It’s important to enjoy the moment now, but it’s also really helpful to not slack off and leave all the hard work up to our future selves.

In the comments section, share one thing you can do today that will support your future self.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for the Future You, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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The #1 Thing You Must Do to Manage Your Time

One of the leading personal challenges people face is time management. A recent survey I did put this in the top 5 list. We manage our time based on what’s important to us. We are all given the same 24 hours in a day – It’s the one fair disbursement in life. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have, no one can buy or steal even one more hour in the day.  So why then, do some people seem able to accomplish everything on their to-do list, and others can’t hardly get anything done?

Hopefully you read last week’s post on motivation. If so, you’ll recall that we are motivated by our emotions. One in particular, fear of pain, is an example. We will go to great lengths to avoid pain, but don’t seem as motivated to achieve joy. Such is the human experience. This is an important tidbit when it comes to time management though. We show up to work because of the pain we’d experience if we didn’t. Dirty looks from co-workers, a stern talking-to from the boss, job loss and loss of income are just a few of the “pains” we are trying to avoid.

All told, however, we can be motivated by things that bring us joy.  Take the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars. That was one of the most widely watched TV programs. Those viewers were likely not watching because they were trying to avoid pain. They were likely watching to gain some pleasure.

There is a common thread in both examples – showing up to work and watching a TV show. For most of us, both of those things happen at certain times. If you have to be to work at 8am, you get to work at 8am. If your show starts at 8pm, you show up to watch the show at 8pm.  If someone tries to stop you from either endeavor, say a chatty neighbor, you will probably say (or just think), “I’m going to be late!” and do your best to move them along.

Assuming you already know what it is you want to spend your time on, there is one crucial thing you MUST do to better manage your time – schedule what’s important to you. That’s it. Doing that one thing will make you more productive and more in control of managing your time. I’ll use myself as an example here. In addition to a full-time job, I have my coaching practice, and I’m attending school to complete my degree. With all of these responsibilities I have not had the time to exercise. I have repeatedly told myself (and anyone that would listen) that I just don’t have time for it. As the pounds started to add up, I said as soon as I was done in July, I could get back to a healthy routine. I just didn’t have one moment to spare. And I didn’t…until the “pain” became unbearable. I didn’t like the number on the scale, how I looked or how I felt. Guess who found some time to plan meals for healthier eating and to take time each day for some exercise? Yup, that would be me.

I knew I had to make this a priority in my life, so I began scheduling time to prepare meals one day each week. Seriously, I blocked out a chunk of time each Sunday that was non-negotiable. I began walking at the same times each day to get some physical exercise into my day, and I began tracking my food consumption at every meal. Having these scheduled activities are the only reason I’ve seen success. Authors who are writing books schedule time each day to write; Runners schedule time to run. And the list goes on. Don’t rely on the chance that you’ll have time left over at the end of your day – you likely won’t. And even if you do, are you even going to feel like doing what you need to do then? Probably not.

Now tell me, what one task will you benefit from scheduling into your day? Share in the comments.

If you would like to partner up and create a plan that will have you doing what’s truly important to you, and FINALLY living a life by design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com