Sunday, February 15, 2009

What is Holding you Hostage or Stuck?

If you are unhappy in your job, in your life, or in your relationships, why are you not taking action to change your position, your direction, or taking steps to end the negativity in your life? Are your fears holding you hostage or keeping stuck? Do you fear rejection, failure or an even worse fate? Does a small voice inside of you warn you? "Be careful, you don't want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire." This fear based thinking can keep you immobilized, exhausted, and frustrated.

This was certainly the case with Susan, a mom who had a job that no longer interested or excited her. She did not feel valued and yet she had a hard time leaving because she had competing priorities and fears. Her teens were facing their own transitions, working hard with learning challenges and Susan was torn between meeting her own needs and the needs of her family.

Seeing her predicament, I offered her the same well designed and highly acclaimed visioning program that I had been taught to jumpstart my own dreams. I had been drawn to Susan because I remembered myself being very much like her. She was a mom, clearly struggling, and looking for another job while feeling stuck. On the positive side, she was eager to investigate new possibilities, had a strong work ethic and creative talent.

She knew she was no longer content with her job. Her husband suggested that she to go back to school to hone her computer skills with hopes that she would land an office job somewhere. She was less than enthusiastic about returning to school to learn the Microsoft Office Suite and she was worried about her family. She was seeking work-life balance and looking for work that would provide self satisfaction. She yearned to find another job that would be satisfying and yet keep her close to home.

Over a period of ten weeks, Susan and I worked together and she faithfully did all of the exercises in each module designed to crystallize her interests, values, and purpose in life. She was approaching the latter part of her work life and could no longer afford to waste her time or energy. In the visioning course, she identified her passion for art and decided to pursue artistic endeavors. As she found ways to incorporate art into her daily routine, I saw her enthusiasm mount, her energy improve, and her confidence emerge. She discovered many opportunities and took action to learn more about many of them.

She excitedly called me one afternoon, “Doreen, I have found a job teaching art through the recreation program. I will be able to design my own work schedule, teach in local elementary schools near my home and they will pay me twice as much as my old job! "

A couple of weeks later, Susan noticed an ad about a new Art Gallery that was opening up. She attended the meeting to learn more and brought her oldest son with her, knowing that he too enjoyed creative gatherings. The new Gallery opening inspired them both to create artistic projects. They worked side by side and shared their art with new enthusiastic energy. Within a month, Susan's son had placed his work in the Gallery and found a new job also.

He is very thrilled with his new livelihood and is taking art classes at a local college to further enhance his knowledge and skills. He is much happier and now realizes that he is most successful when he is pursuing his innate interests and talents.

If Susan had not pursued her passion, I doubt that her son would have pursued his. She served as a great role model. The visioning course gave her permission to explore interests, values, and to connect to her family in new ways. Today, she has more energy and vitality than ever and her family sees new possibilities for themselves too.

According to Marianne Williamson, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?" Actually, who are you NOT to be? As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Frederick Buechner reminds us that we are all connected and says, "The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt."

Susan showed courage, perseverance and her loved ones emulated her. When we decide it is our right and responsibility to light our path, others notice and they will often decide to take action too. When a son or a daughter says, “If Mom can do it, so can I," watch out, there is happiness and self satisfaction around the corner.

In closing, I will ask again… What is holding you hostage or keeping you stuck? Do you want your child to follow in your footsteps? Are you ready to emulate Susan and to commit to finding your passion, love, and purpose?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Finishing Unfinished Business

Yesterday, I read a story of Troy Aikman, former QB of the Dallas Cowboys, who finally made good on a promise he made to his mother over 20 years ago. He finished his last two college courses and will graduate from UCLA in June of this year.

When he left college, he was two classes shy of graduation and vowed to his mother at that time that he would return and complete the degree requirements. He finally did it!

I can imagine how good he must feel to have this commitment finally complete. It must give him much personal satisfaction as he proudly annouced his upcoming graduation on February 7, 2009, at a halftime ceremony honoring his induction into the College Hall of Fame at the UCLA-Notre Dame basketball game.

Living a life with integrity, doing what you say will do, allows one to sleep well at night. I imagine Troy is sleeping better than ever these days!

Do you have unfinished business? What promises have you made and not kept? Do these old promises weigh you down? If old promises are weighing you down, what steps can you take to either fulfill the promise or discard it. If it is no longer meaningful, how can you bring it to closure and move forward with ease? Will it take you 20 years to fulfill your promise or are you willing to begin taking action today?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

10 Questions Designed to Get You Over the Hump and Into a Divine 2009!

The year is well under-way; it is now February 11, 2009. Many of us made resolutions and promises to ourselves at the beginning of the New Year. Have you kept your New Year Resolutions, Proclamations or Promises?

If you did, I bet you are feeling like 2009 is indeed divine. If not, you are like many others who have discarded resolutions and are feeling unfulfilled and out of integrity just about now.

If you are looking for a way to get over the hump, I suggest you respond to the following questions. Now is the time to review our promises and remember what led us to make this commitment. If it is still important and weighing you down….

1. What is holding you hostage or stuck?

2. Do you believe that you can fulfill this resolution, proclamation or promise?

3. What support do you need to get over the hump and make this a divine 2009?

4. What strengths do you have that will help you to accomplish this resolution?

5. What weaknesses are keeping you stuck?

6. What practices or routines can you put into place to strengthen your resolve?

7. Are you out of alignment with your values, interests, and purpose?

8. How can you connect your desires, dreams and visions at home, work and play?

9. How can you keep your resolutions, proclamations and in clear focus?

10. What small action can you take today to get started?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In Every Crisis, See Promises of Hope and Expect Pleasant Surprises!

As a mom, I want my children to listen to me, to learn from my mistakes, to make good choices and to sail smoothly into adulthood. I am sure my parents wanted the same for me. Unfortunately, or fortunately, life is never smooth and we can expect to meet with obstacles and challenges, failures, successes, and lots of zigs and zags in between.

My desires and my life experience have not always been in sync. Despite my best efforts, I have failed, been misunderstood, and made mistakes. At such times I have wailed, lamented and grieved.

When given time and support to regroup, I have managed to stand back up and to renew my efforts and to move forward. With greater knowledge and empathy, I have experienced many blessings and have had delightful experiences. I nonetheless, have much to learn and I continue to encounter opportunities for growth. While I would prefer to sail easily myself, I must admit that my failures, more than my successes have made me who I am today.

I sometimes forget that my children must make their own mistakes and face the consequences of their own actions. I sometimes forget that personal experience is the best teacher and that every crisis is a blessing in disguise. When we are negatively impacted, the lessons learned stick with us and we are less likely to make the same mistake again.

In my 56 years on this earth, I have experienced my share of disappointment, loss, failure and despair. I have been terminated, passed over for promotion, have lost loved ones and cried out for understanding. In the past, I have pointed fingers, blamed others for their mistakes and became angry and bitter.

Looking back, I see that fault finding and name calling kept me stuck in a very uncomfortable position. I was no better off and in fact I made more enemies in the process.

Somewhere on the road, I realized that my journey was easier when I traveled with friends. When I reached out to another in kindness, my own worries disappeared and my mood improved. I learned that I could sleep easier, feel better, and be at greater peace when I actively sought to make the lives of others better.

Going forward, I will make a renewed effort to remember that my children are here to live their own lives, to make their own mistakes and to learn their own lessons. I am a fellow traveler and a work in progress myself. If I can be there to encourage them to try again, to remind them of past successess and love them unconditionally, I serve my highest purpose as a parent.

What mistakes have you made? What lessons have you learned? What pleasant surprises have surfaced in your times of crisis?