A way to keep anxiety at bay

It was once thought that there were two main personality types in human beings. The A – more aggressive, ambitious type, and B – a more relaxed, less competitive, go with the flow type. This can be thought of as a Yin (B) and Yang (A) approach to personality.

A major flaw with it of course is it thinks in terms of extremes. Where’s the balance? That’s a problem here, isn’t it?

With a society becoming hungrier for consumption we’re losing balance while increasing our stress levels. What to do, what to do?  

First, it’s important to understand the emotional forces at play. 

When it comes to regulating your emotions, your brain tends to operate within three zones:

1) Active = for competition and other goal driven pursuits
2) Anxious = for self-preservation, alertness, and avoidance of danger 
3) Calm = self-soothing, reflective, peace

It’s the last one (calm) where we spend the least amount of time.

We are taught to value calm in response to anger (Active) or Fear  (Anxiety), “Will you calm down!”

That’s like thinking of the value of water primarily in response to fire. 

Imagine you worked as diligently to develop your capacity for calm as you did for building your competitive skill or being ready for the potential threats that exist in the world. 

Just this morning, my 13 yr old son Connor (today is his birthday by the way), stated that he’s eager to learn what to do if he’s ever in a fight.

I asked him if he was also interested in learning to avoid the fight in the first place? He hadn’t considered that.

Many misinterpret the feeling of calm as the result of putting a worry out of your mind, distracting yourself for a time. Those options are defenses, not solutions. 

The calm I’m talking about is a part of the resilience that stems from a solution-focused mind. One that knows solutions exist and that a patient search for them will reveal the outcome you need. 

There are those in my life who don’t understand this quality in me. They choose to FREAK OUT while I work to FIND OUT. They PANIC while I PERUSE. 

By increasing your capacity for calm you don’t necessarily eliminate the active and anxious aspects of emotion, why would you want to, each serves a valuable purpose.

What you want is a balance so one doesn’t tend to take over at the expense of the others.  

How do you develop more calm? Begin by making note of what calms you. I’m not talking alcohol or drugs here. 

The most powerful calming forces are the ones that build your internal capacity for calm (e.g. reading, journaling, meditation), as these help temper your reactivity in intense situations.

Walks in nature, pleasure reading, hobbies are great as they take you away from the grind of everyday living. But if the anxiety returns when you’re done, they’ve served as a distraction.

I suggest scheduling time for reading, meditation. I did both before writing this message for you. You’d be surprised how able you are to make time for something you prioritize. 

Don’t think you have the patience or ability to increase your calm. That’s what my Master Your Mindset program can teach you. 

That’s all for now. 

Do you give while everyone else takes?

Yesterday a major topic in the discussions I had with clients was a lack of reciprocity (give and take) in their relationships.

During the weekly mastermind call with my clients, one member brought up the dispute with their spouse over the division of household chores. Is this a familiar subject in your household?

While text coaching with a client on their train ride home from work, the subject of lazy colleagues was addressed. The feeling that they are expected to pick up the slack for everyone else. Does this one resonate?

Fortunately, the suggestions I have for reconciling either situation is the same.

It begins by examining the story you tell yourself about how it should be, what others ought to be doing and why the present state of things is unfair.

It’s that story that feeds the frustration you experience over the situation and your belief that you are being victimized by others. Seeing the story for what it is, a story and nothing else, can help you sidestep the victim mindset and allow you to regain your ability to take action on your own behalf in the situation. 

Second, it’s important that you speak up and clarify your understanding of what your responsibilities are and what you fully intend to do to satisfy them, while also clarifying the responsibilities of others involved in what they plan to do to satisfy them.

Assumptions are breeding grounds for miscommunication and unmet expectations.

Once you’ve done those two things your task is to execute your own responsibilities, nothing more. You don’t concern yourself with the shoulds or the oughts as they pertain to others.

You model what it means to own your responsibilities and satisfy them. You can support others in satisfying their responsibilities but it is not up to you to satisfy them on another’s behalf.

Easier said than done to change this habit of yours, of course.

But when you increase self-discipline in this area you will free yourself from frustration on a level you may have never experienced before.

Are you eager to learn how to do this? Then let me know and we’ll discuss how to get you from where you are to frustration-free.     
 

That’s all for now.

What to do with those stories you tell yourself

You tell yourself stories all day long, some more helpful than others.

Some will advise you to change the story you tell yourself to one that is more positive. There’s definite value in that.

What if you let go of the stories altogether?

Watch this video as I share the implications and power of no stories. 

How to disagree with Civility

Social media can be a blessing when it comes sharing ideas and learning new ones.

It can also be an argument waiting to happen.

I prefer the former and share some ideas in this video on how to make it happen.

Though the topic of this video addresses improving the tone of disagreement on social media.

It’s a powerful lesson on how to make the most of opportunities to explore disagreements to further your personal growth.

How to make sure life isn’t any harder than it needs to be

Life can be a difficult and scary experience, especially when your knowledge of the options you have for living confidently are scarce.

The people you look up to for their accomplishments, especially in business or personal development are obsessed with learning solutions.

They don’t spend their time distracting themselves from their worries, they relentlessly seek the solution to conquer it.

Watch this video as I discuss the role of learning in overcoming the fears that bind you.

What is the best way to H.E.L.P.?

How do you decide who to help? Is it the person who agrees with you politically or shares the same religion?
Do you actively try to change someone’s behavior through criticism?

The discourse between people seems more divisive than ever. More than ever we’re seeking to exclude others from our lives, to keep our distance.

Is this helpful? For who?

We have forgotten what it means to be civil, respectful and to listen to one another.

I have an idea, a principle. That in some small way may help us find our way back.

Have a watch and share your thoughts.

Look in the mirror, THAT’S your competition

Your biggest advantage in this world is between your ears.

I was asked by someone yesterday how to overcome a fear of crashing while traveling by air.  

I shared that I used to have the same fear. Until I implemented a few steps.

I learned to mindfully manage my breath so it remained deep and calm.

I’d press my feet against the floor of the airplane and pretend I was on the ground. 

I’d also use that time to read, write or get lost in music.   

Here’s the reality, the fear of crashing isn’t the issue. Your insistence on dwelling upon it is what causes the problem.  

At any moment you have the power to change your focus. 

Each day your mind reminds you of your fears. Each day you have the choice to give into them or take action regardless. 

I was watching a movie with my boys last night and one character kept repeating, “The world is a dangerous place.” I agree that in this world there are places that can be considered more dangerous than others (Wal Mart on a Sunday for example). 

Such all or nothing beliefs (the world) robs you of a host of solutions. You need to focus and be more specific. 

You choose the experience you’re going to have in this world. I’m not suggesting investing in a pair of rose color glasses.

I’m reminding you that even when problems or reasons “why not to act” are obvious to you. Insist upon examining the other side of that coin as a matter of habit.

Allow yourself space to become as excited about the solution as you did to become frightened by the problem.

Once the solution excites you more, the problem becomes a door to a solution. 

In time you’ll no longer be fighting against yourself (as much). Instead, you’ll find yourself taking more action and creating more of what you want in life.

I have the joy of teaching people how to do this every day. 

That’s all for now.  

Progress equals happiness

“If you want to have ongoing joy and fulfillment in your life, the secret is just one word – progress.” – Tony Robbins 

It feels great to be getting somewhere in life, do you agree?

How do you know you are actually getting somewhere? 

I was coaching one of my international clients via text when he shared he’d been feeling a bit depressed lately. After a little exploration, he explained that he didn’t feel worth much as he didn’t feel like he’d done much lately.

Long story short, though we had been discussing his goals he hadn’t taken the time to write any of them down. Therefore, he couldn’t note any action steps he was taking in service of his goals. 

Trying to keep it all in his head (as many people do) wasn’t working for him.

He was losing track of his goals and his efforts toward accomplishing them. If you can’t acknowledge your actions then you can’t tell whether they are effective or not and therefore you can’t celebrate your successes.

He was making more progress that he realized he just wasn’t measuring it.

His next task was to write down his goals (which we reviewed) then noting what he did each day to make progress with them. 

This simple habit has far-reaching implications for your productivity overall. 

You’re putting in a lot of effort to live your life, the very least you can do is acknowledge where your time is well spent.

In fact, if you want to know how I was able to accomplish this with him via text then you’ll want to check this out


That’s all for now.

What rejuvenates you?

It’s easier than ever to get so caught up in doing things that you end the day exhausted. Not the smile on your face, job well done exhausted. I’m talking about the fully spent, feeling empty exhausted.

That may not be you, though I imagine you know people like this. In which case, please forward this message to them.

I was working with a new client via text recently. It became clear early in our exchange that they were a very generous individual, someone who cared deeply about the well-being of those around them. But it was often at the expense of refilling their own bucket so to speak.

This is an all too common experience for those who feel they are born to serve.

When you care so much about serving others it can be easy to forget to strike a balance between feeding yourself and making sure others are fed as well.

The operative word in my conversation with this person was “rejuvenation.”

Use this word to identify activities and experiences that serve the purpose of giving to yourself. Doing something that’s just for you that fills you up in a unique way so you no longer feel exhausted but feel alive.

For this person, it was creating something by hand. For others it may be a walk in the woods, exercise, reading a good book, you name it.

The key is not only to identify it but making time for it, without any guilt whatsoever. By prioritizing time to rejuvenate your spirit and your energy you increase your ability to be of service at the level you want.

What rejuvenates you?​​

That’s all for now.

How do you pronounce HAPPINESS?

“In order to love who you are, you can not hate the experiences that shaped you.” – Andrea Dykstra
 
A good friend shared the following with me recently, “My daughter had trouble pronouncing happiness when she was little. She said happi(m)ess. Life gets messy. I choose to find the happy in the mess.”
 
From the mouth of babes huh?
 
Much of happiness is found this way. From the ability to find the silver lining, the lesson, the opportunity.
 
Happiness isn’t found in a state of zero resistance, where everything is easy and pleasurable. That my friend is comfort NOT happiness.
 
You want happy? Then be prepared to work for it. You must also be prepared to lose it. Then work some more and experience it again.
 
Sure, you can decide to be happy this very moment. Should life distract you, then you must find your way back. Back and forth, ebb and flow, they work together.
 
The happy and the mess. ​​​​
 
Without the dark, you wouldn’t appreciate the light.