Are Your Goals TOO Specific?

My long-time readers know I love all things goal-oriented. But sometimes too much of a “good thing,” is not so good after all. Goals are important. We have to know what we’re striving for. However, we have to be careful that we don’t box ourselves in. If we have too much criteria in our goals, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

One of the most important aspects of goal setting is having a compelling, emotional, heartfelt reason behind every goal. You must know why that goal is important to you. This step is often skipped and attention is given to other details. This is a problem because when we get so mired in the details without the emotional attachment, we start trying to control things that, quite possibly, aren’t helping us to achieve our goal and instead turn us into hamsters on a wheel.

Here’s an example: Laura wants to be in a loving, romantic relationship. She’s tired of being alone and lonely. She’s on the search for a husband who is physically fit, financially well off, likes to vacation in warm places, and enjoys reading and live music. None of that is unreasonable, right? Here’s the problem. At its essence, Laura’s goal is to be in a loving, romantic relationship. However, she has lost sight of this and instead has focused her attention on details that may not get her to her goal. Her criteria is so narrow, she may be missing out on the love of her life because he’s missing some of the qualities she’s looking for. We all have non-negotiables, and I’m not recommending we change that, but it’s important to stay focused on what’s really important.

Whether your goal is to get healthier, become more financially secure, climb the corporate ladder, or any other number of possibilities, it’s important to not get overly tangled in the “how.” Sometimes achieving our goals is not a straight and direct path. In fact, it usually isn’t. Be willing to ride some of the twists and turns that could ultimately lead you to your goal.

I know countless leaders who thought they knew what path they wanted to take, but ended up being offered other opportunities that they reluctantly accepted, only to later discover was the path that led them to their (often unknown at the time) dream job. I recently read a story about a college dropout who had no idea what to do with his life. Someone observed him working well with a group of challenged individuals and suggested that might be a great career path for him to consider.  He did, and now ten years on the job, he has climbed the ranks and loves what he does. He admits he never would have seen himself in that role if he wasn’t willing to explore and try new things.

So, no matter what your goal is, be open to the many ways you could achieve it. Life is full of surprises and we miss out on them when we are overly focused on trying to control every minute detail.

If you need to work on your goals and want to live 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 (Like this week’s Goal Checkup PDF), SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

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 

6 Ways to Promote Yourself When You Hate Self-Promotion

The word self-promotion doesn’t exactly conjure up all sorts of positive images. “Oh yes, please tell me more about yourself…” But self-promotion is often a very important step in achieving the level of success you wish for. This is not just in the workplace – this is anywhere you need people to know what your strengths and experiences are.

Women, in particular, have a very hard time with this. We don’t want to come off as bragging, self-aggrandizing, snobs. Women also tend to dislike other women who are promoting themselves. There’s that, but that’s a blog post for another day. Despite all of these facts, self-promoting is still important and can be beneficial not just to the promoter, but to those they are promoting to as well.

“How could my self-promotion be beneficial to someone else?” Allow me to explain. When someone is promoting themselves correctly, they are doing so in order to share how they may be able to help someone else. For example, if you’re going for a job interview, you are telling the interviewer the strengths, qualities, and experiences you possess that you believe would be most beneficial to them. Sure, you want the job, but your purpose in an interview is to share what you have that will meet their needs. Of course, you can share the typical, “team player, reliable, dependable, hard-working, attention to detail” stuff, but everyone says that. You need to share your unique, specific strengths and experiences.

The question remains how to self-promote without coming across as an arrogant, self-absorbed braggart. This is easier than you think.

  • Share what you enjoy doing – Let’s say you want a senior leader to know some of your accomplishments. You can arrange to meet with them and say something like, “I wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed using my strengths to complete the ABC Project. Project planning is a true passion of mine. Combining my love of that and my strengths with team building really made this project not only successful, but fun and challenging. As you may know, I’m looking to advance within the company and would love to be a part of any future projects that would benefit from those skills.” (Boom!)
  • Talk about the team (kind of) – Share your skills and talents as a contributing piece of a team effort. For example, you could say, “I was fortunate to work with a great team when we developed that community event. The organizing and outreach skills my teammates brought, along with my marketing and public speaking skills really helped us pull off such a successful event.”
  • Ask others to share – When you ask others what their gifts are and how they most like using them, they are likely to return the question your way (like in networking events). This exchanging of information could prove valuable to both of you.
  • Be prepared with details – Once you’ve shared some of your strengths or passions, you may be asked for more details. Be prepared to share hard data. Share the specific benefit of your project, how much money you saved, how many people you served, etc.
  • Use LinkedIn – This social media tool is specifically designed to help people share their strengths and experiences so that they can connect with others who are looking for those skills. Take it a step further and write an article to share with your connections.
  • Practice – As with anything, this will get easier once you practice and create a method of self-promotion that is authentic to you.

Remember, self-promotion is simply a way to get others aware of what you have to offer, how you can help them, and that you have a willingness and desire TO help. You have ideas, experiences, skills, and opinions that are entirely unique to you. They are incredibly valuable, but only if people know what they are.

I know exactly where you can start – HERE! Share a strength, talent, or passion that you have in the comments section! What are your top three strengths/skills?

If you would like to partner up and work on self-promotion, 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 

7 Tips to Keep Resentment Out of Your Life

Resentment is incredibly damaging not only to relationships, but to the one carrying the resentment. What’s surprising to many is that resentment isn’t born from someone else’s behavior. Resentment comes from within and grows quickly with unspoken communication. Many a relationship has come to an end with one side relatively clueless about resentment that had been building for years. Worse, is when that resentment is never released and the one carrying it just keeps drinking its poison.

In order to eliminate resentment, we have to shine a light on it. Resentment is like “emotional mold” – it grows and thrives in dark places. The question then becomes, “How?” How can we prevent and eliminate resentment? So glad you asked!

  • Get it Out – Getting your thoughts and feelings out of your mind and out into the open will stop resentment from growing. Talk about what’s on your mind soon after it shows up for you. You can wait for a bit while you figure out the best way to communicate your feelings and concerns, but waiting too long can give resentment just the time it needs to grow. That being said, even if a lot of time has passed, once you recognize resentment, it’s time to say something. Try, “I just realized that something happened between us that is really weighing on me and I’d like to talk it out with you.”
  • Stop Replaying – Often when we feel we’ve been wronged in some way, we just keep replaying the offense. Over, and over, and over in our mind. Each time we do this, we are living it again. Our stress hormones increase as does our resentment. Bad plan.
  • Check-in with an Impartial Person – Try not to make this a friend that will agree with you just because they’re good like that. You want someone to really tell you what they think based on the facts you share. They may provide you with an alternate perspective that resolves the issue altogether.
  • Don’t Fill-in the Blanks – As we replay the offense, we fill-in some of the blanks – like why it happened, why it has a particular meaning (that we come up with). We are building a story that is largely being created in our mind. Only the offender can answer some of these.
  • Don’t Assume It’s Obvious – Often, inconsiderate behavior is so obvious to one person but not another. Assuming someone else sees things the same way we do often leads to resentment. It’s building that story again.
  • Assess How You May Have Contributed to the Situation – Could the other person have acted out of resentment towards you? Are you misinterpreting their actions? Are you being overly sensitive? Did you go into the situation with preconceived ideas that you unconsciously just needed to prove right?
  • Forgive and/or Forget – Sometimes we won’t get the answers we need. This can be very difficult, however, we have to know when to let it go. If we can muster up forgiveness, we should take this route. If the offense is too much to forgive, then work on doing your best to forget it. Neither of these is letting the offender off the hook, it’s actually letting YOU off the hook. Remember, you’re the one carrying around the weight of resentment and drinking its poison over and over.

Emotions have a shelf life before they turn into something else…like bitterness, hurt, or resentment.  You have a lot of control over whether this grows or is taken care of before it becomes an issue. It’s never too late to clean out the resentment in your life. Stop carrying around that burden so you can live a freer, happier life.

Which of these tips have you successfully used in the past? Share in the comments section.

If resentment is weighing you down and you could use some help communicating or releasing it, 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 Steps to Becoming More Courageous

A quality that many of us wish we had more of is courage. Michael Hyatt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the willingness to act in spite of my fear.”  Some wish they had more courage when facing new situations, while others wish they had the courage to try daring new things. Still others simply wish they had the courage to communicate what they are thinking.

In order to add more courage to your cocktail of life, you are going to have to do a little work.  Unlike fear, courage isn’t an emotion – it’s an action, a behavior. Like any behavior, practice makes perfect. You have to build this muscle. Listed below are 5 steps to help you build up your strength and start living more courageously.

  1. Get clear on where you want to be more courageous – Is it standing up to a demanding boss, an outspoken friend, or stating your needs to your partner? Perhaps you want to put yourself out there to really catapult your business, step up to a leadership position, or speak at a networking function. You have to have a clear picture of where you want to exhibit this trait. You may have several different scenarios in mind, but focus on one at a time.
  2. Note all the fears associated with this situation – Now that you have a situation in mind, what are all the ways being courageous could go wrong? Seems counter-productive, I know, to go here first, but you have to know exactly what the demon you’re fighting looks like. “I’m afraid my boss will fire me if I stand up to her,” “I’m afraid my husband will get mad,” “I’m afraid people I’m speaking to will think I’m an idiot.” Seriously, write these down!
  3. Ask why – Why would that person be upset with you? Why would they react that way? Take the speaking to a group example: you’re afraid people will think you’re an idiot. Why? Because they’ve heard all this before. Well, now that you know what the problem is, you can take action (and some courage) to fix it. Ask the group leader what other speakers have presented, then you can research that speaker and ensure your content is different and exciting.
  4. Visualize – You can do this two ways. Imagine someone who would slay a situation like this, real or fictional, and picture how they would handle the situation. Or, you can visualize how you will handle the situation – confidently and courageously.
  5. Do – Practice, practice, practice. You can keep visualizing over and over and over, or you can get a buddy to help you practice, but action is necessary to build that muscle. In some cases, you can take baby steps. If you want to build up the courage to say, “no” more, start with little things and work your way up to the big ones.

Just like any other muscle, none of this is going to feel comfortable at first, but let me tell you, if you keep following these steps, they WILL become more comfortable. When you are courageous, you knock your own socks off. You will communicate better and resentment will no longer live at your place (won’t that be nice!!).

Share in the comments a time you were courageous and how that turned out for you.

If you are really serious about becoming more courageous, than 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 Tips for Achieving Your Goals

Some recent market research I did uncovered an interesting challenge: about 30% of respondents say they have a hard time sticking to their goals. There are several reasons this can happen, and this week I’m going to share some tips to help you focus and stay on track with your goals. So, if you have quit on a goal and know you still ultimately want to accomplish it, read on.

  • Goals Need Space to Expand – In a recent vlog post, Natalie MacNeil of SheTakesOnTheWorld.com says, “Goals need space to expand.” That is such a true statement. Goals don’t always seem so big when they exist in our minds alone, but once we commit to them, they can take on a life all their own. Make sure you are generous in how much time you commit to your goal. Take for example a goal to go to the gym every day for 1 hour. At first thought, it’s easy to think how doable it is to carve an hour out of our day, yet there’s more to that goal. There’s the time needed to travel to the gym, change into workout clothes, get to our machine, turn our music on, and then any post-gym routine. All of those steps are necessary and take additional time. When we don’t set aside enough time for our goals, we may get frustrated and end up quitting them altogether.
  • Quitting Goals Isn’t Always Bad – Sometimes we have multiple goals that end up conflicting with each other. When that’s the case, narrowing down active goals is a good idea. For example, I am currently finishing up my degree. I spend hours every day working on assignments. I have a goal to complete my degree by July. I also had a goal to get back in shape. However, with the required time I need to put into my studies, and my daily commute to and from work, something had to give. For me, it was the gym. I don’t recommend this, per se, but it was the one that had to be put on the back burner for me, until July. I had to narrow my focus to one main goal.
  • Plan For the I-Don’t-Feel-Like-It Moments – There are going to be moments, plenty of them in fact, when you just don’t feel like doing what you need to for your goal. Maybe your goal has been to save an extra $100 per week by not eating out. Then, as often happens, you have a late day at the office, traffic was terrible, you’ve got a headache, and you just don’t feel like making dinner tonight. Skipping this once isn’t that big of a deal, you’ll just do better next week. Hold up! You know things are going to crop up that make your goal steps HARD. Plan ahead for those – before they happen. Your willpower and discipline muscle is going to be virtually non-existent after a long day at work, traffic, and a headache. Have a Plan B ready. Maybe it isn’t ideal, but a frozen skillet dinner cooks in about 10 minutes and costs a whole lot less than dinner out. If you have one waiting in the freezer for you, you will be less likely to go off the rails.
  • Be S.M.A.R.T – This has probably been said a billion times, but it’s worth repeating. Bad goals usually don’t have good outcomes. Goals need to be very SPECIFIC. “Meet new people” is too vague. “Attend one networking event per week” is much better. Goals must be MEASURABLE. You know if you attended one event each week. Goals must be ATTAINABLE & REALISTIC. If they are too far out of your reach you will quit them. Lastly, goals must be TIMELY. This means you have to give yourself deadlines and milestones. You must be able to see a finish line.
  • Make it Emotional – The decisions we make are mostly driven by our emotions. Therefore, our goals need to be emotionally driven, not just logically based. We have to have a reason that we care about to achieve our goals. We must connect with the emotions we experience at the idea of successfully achieving the goal AND the emotions we would experience if we didn’t. These will be our biggest motivators.

There you have it! 5 Tips to help you stay on track with your goals. Assess how well your goals follow these and adjust as necessary.

Your turn. Tell me in the comments section which of these 5 tips have been most challenging for you.

If you would like to partner up and work on your goals together, 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 

Bringing a Different Side of You to Center Stage

As you know, authenticity is the name of the game, here. However, sometimes we have to fake it, ‘til we make it. I don’t mean faking who we are, rather faking that we believe we can be who we want to be. Here’s an example: have you ever appeared “tougher” than you actually felt? Maybe you stood up to a demanding boss, gossiping friend, or unruly client. This is an example of faking it until you make it. This is often how people improve their self-confidence. They walk taller, appear to be confident, until they realize they really ARE confident.

Celebrities often create alter egos to help them step into a performing or public image. Beyonce had Sasha Fierce who she created to give her shy personality the courage to be sexy and carefree on stage. In 2010, Beyonce said she didn’t need her alter ego anymore as she had finally reached a place where she could merge the two identities together. David Bowie had Ziggy Stardust for a period of time. There have been several other celebrities and performers who took this approach as well.

While we may not need to go to such extremes in our lives, it’s not a bad way to incorporate a persona that we have kept tucked away, too afraid to share with the world.  Merriam-Webster defines alter ego as: “a second self or different version of oneself; a trusted friend; the opposite side of a personality.” So, while Clark Kent had Superman, you could have your own super-persona that you just need to release to the world. Now the question is, how does one go about creating an alter ego?

  • Determine Your Alter Ego’s Positive Characteristics – Do you wish you could appear more confident, playful, direct, or patient? Make a short list of those characteristics you most wish you could more openly express.
  • Consider All the Areas of Your Life – We typically alter our personalities a bit in different areas of our life and exude the qualities most appropriate for varying environments. Being more professional in business settings, parental with our kids, and playful with our friends are just a few examples. Is there a particular area of your life (business, personal, relationships, etc.) that this persona would best fit? Consider which areas you’d like this alter ego to show up in.
  • Breakdown the Benefits This Persona Would Provide – For example, if you introduced a more confident, self-assured version of yourself, how would that make your life better? Perhaps you’d be seen as a leader in your field, or show those in your personal life that you won’t be their doormat. This version could help you get that job you’re seeking, or the grant you applied for.
  • Build Your Alter Ego – Now that you have all that information, start imagining how this persona might express him/herself. How might they react to different situations (use recent ones as a starting point)? Are they extroverted or introverted? How would this persona handle problems, challenges, push-back from others? How would your alter ego celebrate successes, victories, and everyday wins? How does this version dress, look, walk and talk?
  • Name Your Alter Ego – This is the fun part. What name best represents this version of you? Beyonce chose a name that she thought sounded sexy, bold, and brave. What name will yours have? If you’d like to take this to another level, create a social media account using your alter ego and post things that this version of you would enjoy, or start a blog or podcast from the perspective of your alter ego.

When creating and sharing this persona, think of how eventually incorporating this version of you into your everyday life will make you a better person living a happier, more fulfilled and authentic life. That’s the idea here.

When I started this blog, that is very much the angle I took. I didn’t start this work thinking I was the most authentic, positive person who had to teach others how to be, and I still don’t. However, writing about topics that related to living in a true-to-ourselves, kind, and positive way, helped me to improve those areas in my own life. I take my own advice as often as others do. I’m a work in progress. I take steps to liberate myself and I hope you’ll do the same.

Alright, let’s have some fun in the comments section here! Tell me the name of your alter ego and some awesome qualities s/he exhibits!

If you would like to partner up and work on 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 

Greatest Hits – Year One

I have to admit that I enjoy Facebook’s “On This Day” posts reminding me of past memories. Yesterday was 4 years since I told the masses that I started this blog. It was a big, scary step for me (in fact, it took me a full month to shout it out), but I took it. 4 years later and I haven’t missed a weekly post since! It is in that spirit that I will be sharing some favorite past posts from Year One. In the very early ones, I had just a handful of subscribers. My writing has evolved some since then, as have my chosen topics, but my message is still the same. Embrace YOU, be kind, and keep creating the version of you that will bring you the most joy. It’s all about living a life by design. I’ve summarized my top 5. You can click the titles to read the entire post. I hope you enjoy these early year flashbacks!


I’m Rubber You’re Glue…For Grown-ups

My very first official post was posted here on February 10th, 2013. Here, I share the challenges I faced working with a supervisor who lacked integrity, honesty, and kindness. It was the feeling of powerlessness I felt at the time, followed by the eventual realization that I still had aspects of life that were in my control. It was that realization that ultimately led to the creation of my private practice and this blog. It’s a pretty raw post, but the main message still applies today. I’m much better at not allowing negative thoughts about others to crowd my personal mind space and this post is a great reminder of this.

 

 


The Limitations of “Labels”

Published on March 31st, 2013, this is a topic I’ve written about several times. I just have a “thing” about labels. This is about not allowing them to define you and how they can sometimes be used against us by others, but also by ourselves when we use them as a crutch or excuse. We’ve all received and applied labels to ourselves. See if you are doing this to your advantage.

 

 

 


Tell Me How You Earned that Victim Badge (Said No One Ever)

This gem was published on October 20th, 2013 and is also a repeat visitor. One of my favorite words and feelings is Empowerment. The perspective offered in this one is from personal experience (I have certainly worn the Victim Badge on occasion). I also know how much better it feels to empower myself and take control of the aspects of life I actually do have control over. There is a bit of tough love in this one, but ultimately empowering. If you are feeling down in the dumps and as if life just keeps throwing you lemons, this is a good read.

 

 

 


Who’s in Your Circle of Influence?

November 10th, 2013 is when I posted this popular topic. An expansion on the old adage, you are the company you keep. I shared how there are some down-sides to this phenomena, but even more so, the benefits if your circle of influence is chosen carefully. There’s a short, fun exercise included that I know you would find beneficial. Think about your closest influencers, then check to see if you are setting yourself up to succeed and achieve.

 

 

 


Living Your Dream, One Step at a Time

This was my post to celebrate the year mark of blogging and entrepreneur-ing (yes, I still make up words). It’s one I’ve had to revisit multiple times since posting it on February 23rd, 2014. It was a reminder that all accomplishments begin with one step. Every success, every dream can only happen when you take that step. It’s a short post, but it reiterates a point I’ve made again and again over the years. It’s also the one I need most when I’m in a rut. Whether you have a business, want a business, or would really just love a summer home, this applies to you, too!

 

 


There you have it – My Top 5 in Year One. I hope you enjoyed these early posts and commented if you felt inspired! Stay tuned for a brand new topic next week!

If you would like to partner up and work on 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 

The 4 Stages of Change and How to Get Through Them

The one constant in life is that nothing is constant (except for taxes, maybe). We deal with change every single day. Some days the change is minor, like a short-lived traffic jam, other days it’s something major, like the end of a relationship. There are all sorts of in-between’s, but ultimately how we deal with change impacts how we get through the tough times.

When any aspect of our life changes or is altered, it slows us down. Voluntary change usually slows us down less than involuntary change, but this isn’t always the case. Until we accept and embrace our new normal, we progress very slowly.  Learning how to navigate through the stages of change will help us get to a happier, more fulfilled place in life.

The four stages of change are Denial, Resistance, Exploration, and Commitment. Let’s look at each one.

Denial – This is head-in-the-sand, this can’t be happening to me, denial.  For minor things, like a short detour, the effect is fleeting. There’s a moment of, “you’ve got to be kidding me” before moving onto the next stage. For more major changes, like losing a job, this may last longer. Thoughts swirl around how “everything seemed fine yesterday.” We will do anything to avoid the pain of accepting the change. This is a pain-filled stage and the sooner we can get out of here (and admit that change has happened), the sooner we can start working on some solutions to improve the situation.

Resistance – Okay, fine, I get it, change has happened. This is a place often filled with anger. If change is the parade, you are the rain! Blame, blame and more blame. That anger needs to be directed somewhere. While this is a tough stage to be in (for you and those around you) it’s also a necessary, self-preservation stage. At some point, you will hit your lowest point here. Resistance may have more to do with resisting how uncomfortable this change feels. It may appear that anger is directed towards the change, but that’s not always the case – it may just be anger at the loss of what was. Other common emotions during this stage include self-doubt and fear. You are experiencing noticeable growing pains. Making note of all the choices you could make, and the pros and cons of each one, can help you get to the next stage.

Exploration – While still a pretty uncomfortable place to be, the clouds are beginning to part. Hope is peeking in and anger is fading out. In this stage you dip a toe in and take a sip of the Kool-Aid. There’s possibility here. Small at first, but growing as you continue through it. You are becoming more open-minded and starting to think of ways to live with the change. The future is again in sight.  Growing pains continue, but you recognize the value they could provide down the road. This is a good place to start consciously thinking of the possible benefits of the change. What is better? What could be better?

Commitment – Ah, you have arrived! That doesn’t mean the moment you step into this stage you are celebrating, only that you have committed to move forward.  Residual pain may exist, but innovation and creativity show up to conjure up ways to move ahead. There is some semblance of control and our speed is back up to par. Growth has occurred and is recognized here. You can see that you aren’t the same person as you were when this all started. You see you’re kind of awesome in this stage. Your confidence is returning and you can see things from a new perspective. You may see how you could have prevented or better handled the change. Growth has occurred and you’re quite possibly better for it.

Change is HARD! In fact, the stages of change are very similar to the stages of grief. Knowing how you react to change in general can be helpful. Don’t be fooled – you don’t gracefully move from one stage to the next. The door doesn’t lock. You may enter one stage, only to take several steps back into the previous stage. If you know you need to spend more time going through the stages than others, embrace it. Be patient with yourself, but don’t live in any one stage for too long. This includes Commitment. Remember, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”  Understanding these changes can help you help yourself and others who are experiencing an uncomfortable change in their life.

Think of a change you are experiencing now, or one you’ve experienced recently. Note what stage you are in and start thinking of ways to move onto the next.

Share in the comments section which stage you tend to get “stuck” in (it’s the Exploration stage for me).

If you would like to focus on living a happier, more fulfilling life, even in the midst of change, 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 

4 Ways for People Pleasers to Live Authentically

People Pleasers often struggle with their authenticity. The primary pattern for People Pleasers is to put their own needs aside for others. Believe me, as a recovering People Pleaser, I know this truth all too well.  When you focus on meeting the needs of others over meeting your own, it is simply a matter of time before you lose sight of what you DO need. It usually takes a significant life event to shake things up for a People Pleaser. Maybe they get burned one time too many, or their marriage falls apart, they lose their job, or they lose a loved one. It is during this time that they start to consider their wants and needs – quite possibly for the first time in years.

So how does a People Pleaser move closer to living authentically? Here are 4 ways to transition from pleasing others to living your truth:

  1. Get Comfortable With “No” – You are one person. You are NEVER going to make everyone happy and there are times you are going to have to say, “I’m so sorry, I wish I could help, but I can’t.” You can always offer an alternative that works for you, like: “I can’t attend the benefit, but I promise to spread the word and promote it to others who I think would love to go.”
  2. Be Understanding – It doesn’t make you a bad person for expressing your needs and stepping into an authentic version of yourself. Likewise, it doesn’t make other people bad for not understanding why you’ve changed. They may need time to get used to the “new” you or you may discover you no longer fit in each other’s lives. Either way, be kind and try to understand where they’re coming from.
  3. Seek Satisfaction from Within – People Pleasers get a lot of encouragement and positive feedback from others for all the good they do. However, when living authentically, you have to validate yourself. People Pleasers need external validation; Authentics don’t.
  4. Baby Steps – One of the biggest challenges for those watching someone switch from a People Pleaser to an authentic is the extreme change that happens over a short period of time. For some, this is the only way for them – they have to dive right into their new persona. For the rest of us, I recommend baby steps for two reasons. First, baby steps make it easier for others to adjust to our changes. Second, they make it easier for us to “try things on.” When you are seeking authenticity, you may not even know what you want or like. So you may need to try ideas on and see if they fit. For example, since my teens, I’ve always been some shade of blonde, but a few years ago I decided to “try on” what I believed to be a more authentic color for me – my natural color when I was 3 years old, which was more of an auburn. I tried the look for many months before realizing, it wasn’t me.
  5. True to You, First – You can still take care of people and try to make them happy, but when living authentically, that’s secondary. I don’t mean this in a selfish, hedonistic way. I mean you have to stay true to your core beliefs and values first. Then, if helping someone out doesn’t conflict with that, then have at it.

Living authentically, particularly for People Pleasers is HARD. As you can see from above, you can’t really be both. However, when you step into your true YOU, you will start surrounding yourself with people who love this version of you. These people won’t ask you to sacrifice who you are or what’s important to you. When these people ask you for something, you will be more likely to give it from a place of joy rather than from a place of obligation, guilt, or expectation.

Some days you will take two steps forward, and other days you will take three steps back. Living authentically is a process, not a destination. Be kind to yourself.

Does this resonate with you? What has been or is the most difficult aspect of being authentic for you? Share in the comments section.

If you would like to really get to work on becoming your most authentic self, 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