Principle 5: Practice Self-Forgiveness


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Self Forgiveness

It is challenging to sprinkle empathy and forgiveness upon others, but the greater obstacle is practicing the art of self-forgiveness.

Anyone that has completed a “self-performance review” knows we are less forgiving when evaluating our own performance.  I suspect that same truth is what makes self-forgiveness feel like a tough mudder marathon.

A good friend and I often joke how someday we hope to live one of the glamorous lives that everyone seems to promote on Facebook.   You know what I mean – perfect family weekends at the cottage, extravagant parties, 5-star dinners, not to mention the exotic trips abroad.  Oh, and those smiling, repetitive, and posed selfies.  Enough already!  Is nobody else struggling?

Our struggles are below the surface

When working with clients and teams, I’ve noticed it is not the successes that need attention; it is the disappointments that cast a permanent shadow of doubt and uncertainty that hold us back.   It takes courage to remove the rose coloured facebook filter to reveal the personal and professional setbacks, failures and disappointments that hi-jack our inner thoughts (and rarely, if ever, are shared on Facebook).  When was the last time you read a Facebook post that shouted: “OMG, my 23 year marriage is ending, my boss gave me a final written warning, I am teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, my father was diagnosed with dementia and my oldest daughter just entered rehab for the 4th time.”  Seriously, Facebook – where is the emoticon for “oh crap”.

Optimism, courage, and confidence fade following a succession of disappointments and cause the inner critic to work overtime.  It can be paralyzing as we burrow into the depths of shame, despair, and frustration.  Our Facebook voice becomes silenced and we avoid the random messenger notes of “Hey, what’s up?  Where have you been?  Everything okay?”

Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly”, which spent 64 weeks on the NY times Bestseller list, opened up a global conversation about the importance of leaning into vulnerability.  Mindful awareness and reframing can help individuals, employees and teams take those first tentative steps toward the light.

Nobody sets out to fail

When was the last time you rolled out of bed and shouted: “Today is the day I am going to make a decision I will regret for the rest of my life?”  Instead, we optimistically reach into life’s cookie jar and hope to find a double chocolate chip macadamia cookie with our name on it.  When all we discover are crumbs from a dry ginger snap the downward spiral begins.  If the pattern repeats every day, the results are debilitating and soon we stop reaching into the jar.

I must be the problem

“I have the same cookie jar as my neighbor, so the problem must be me!  I failed to learn how to bake because I goofed off in home economics 20 years ago!  I tried to bake but was given a flawed recipe!  I can’t follow the simple instructions on the Nestle package!  My oven temperature is off so why bother?  My Mother wasn’t a good baker so it’s genetic!  I planned to bake but the bottle of merlot was calling my name!”

You’ve failed, made mistakes, chose poorly, or been misled – the possibilities are endless, but one thing is clear; the regrets now hijack your thinking.  Whatever the cause, you find yourself at fault and wonder if you’ll ever taste chocolate again.  You are drowning in the quicksand of “would of, could of, or should of”.

Failure and setbacks birth change and forward movement.

Bringing honourable closure to a poor decision through self-forgiveness is not that difficult when a valuable lesson can be found that will grease the wheels for future success.

Now that I know better, I can do better.

Personally or professionally, failure and setbacks are part of the experience (even though they are not celebrated on Facebook).  Individuals, teams and organizations seeking innovative breakthroughs must accept that failure is an important step to allow greatness to emerge.  Focusing only on success makes individuals, teams and organizations risk adverse when perfection becomes the only acceptable outcome.

Moving forward after a setback need not be debilitating.

1.  Claim the Choice/Decision that Led to Disappointing Results

If you have persistent thoughts that linger on a failed choice or decision, it is a good sign it needs to be released.  Whether it is personal or professional, hanging on to a past blunder will invoke negative feelings that prevent you and your organization from realizing your full potential.  Others may want to hang onto your mistake, but you do not have to.  The first step is to get clear on the actions or decisions that to forgive.

2.  Change the Inner Dialogue

Disentangle the impact of a poor choice from who you are as a person.  Making this separation changes the inner dialogue from “I am no good” to “I made a decision that wasn’t good”.  This is a critical first step.  It is a subtle but important distinction.  “I am no good” creates feelings of shame and unworthiness.  Changing the inner self-talk to “My decision was not good” moves the needle from shame to regret — a much healthier launching pad for moving forward.  Shame prevents future risk taking while regret provides a stepping stone to move forward – even if wrapped in caution.

3.  Claim Private Victory

There is always a lesson hiding in the shadows of “would of, could of, or should of.”   Revealing and accepting a life lesson is empowering and is the heart of “now that I know better, I can do better.”  Let go of the idea that things should have been different and accept that you made the best choice at the time based on what you knew then.  Get clear on how your choices will be different moving forward and you’ll begin to ride the wave of confidence.

4.  Claim Public Victory

Declare private victory by being vulnerable and proactively sharing your story with others.  Share the choice you made, what you learned from the situation and most importantly what you plan to do differently in the future.  Sharing is an important step because you proactively head off criticism while releasing any lingering shame or resentment.  Others will appreciate and perhaps even benefit from learning about your misstep.  Claiming public victory is about moving out of the darkness and into the light.

Be creative and have fun.  How about a cake on casual Friday?  Include royal frosting that reads “Way to go, team; we screwed up this project.”  Acknowledge what went wrong, identify what was learned, declare what can be different moving forward then begin passing the plastic plates and forks.  If there is no budget for cake, how about announcing your triumph on Facebook (which is sure to freeze the scrolling of friends and colleagues).

Finding honourable closure through ritual, celebration or a simple conscious choice is the key to permanent release.

Ready to practice?  Download our skill builder here.

Courage is getting up and trying again tomorrow .. or maybe on Monday!  Oh and remember, despite what you might see on the surface, there is a good chance others are struggling with some issue that isn’t visible.  Silently ask this question the next time you find yourself in a crowd of strangers, at a team meeting (or perusing Facebook) “I wonder what they might be struggling with and not have the courage to share”?  Offer a smile as you remind yourself that everyone’s life is as difficult as your own.

Made to Measure supports the transformation of Individuals, Leaders, Teams and Organizations.  They take pride in creating flexible solutions tailored to fit.  Their signature program, “Discover Your Greatness Within” provides an integrated framework for individuals looking to bring more authenticity to their professional and personal lives.

 

Principle 4: Practice Empathy


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Practice Empathy

My last post on forgiveness and leadership seemed to resonate with many of you.  I was overwhelmed with the traction it received and perhaps it reflects the need we all feel to unburden the experiences that prevent us from moving forward.

The pattern principle helps sift through pebbles to identify the big rocks worthy of our attention.  Forgiveness is kryptonite to patterns.  However, let’s face it – mistakes and coincidences register high on the agitation scale.  There is another solution which doesn’t require the heavy lifting of forgiveness.  When time is short, hit the empathy button.

Empathy, Forgiveness or Sympathy?

Empathy is local – it does not require travelling the distance of forgiveness or sympathy.  Think of it as a quick weekend getaway.  Sympathy is akin to witnessing someone stuck in the sewer and feeling obligated to jump in.  Empathy is acknowledging the site, smell, and situation (without getting dirty), and offering a lifeline to escape.  “I see your discomfort.  I understand.  How can I help?”

Sympathy is necessary when a colleague is experiencing one of the big three (put on your hazmat suit):

  • losing a loved one
  • getting a divorce/separation
  • being fired from work

Empathy is for Everything Else

An anxious peer is standing in your doorway showing signs they cannot deliver on a commitment.  A nervous, direct report has just emailed the news they missed yesterday’s deadline.   One or more of your values have been assaulted causing steam to escape from your nose and ears.   The challenge to remain composed is real.  You want to be empathetic, but enough is enough.

The barrier to empathy is the growing desire to express your agitation (the kind that needs to be paid forward because your Manager is going to be equally agitated when they learn the ball was dropped under your watch).  As your colleague is flailing in the sewer, it is logical that your inner right fighter needs to express itself (waiting for karma will take too long, and public shaming feels justified).  “It has happened again, what were you thinking to walk into the sewer again?”  Pointing out the obvious may feel justified at the moment, but it could eventually land you in the leadership landfill.

Breathe .. and adopt a new belief.

Everyone does the best he or she can given the circumstances, and everyone’s life is as difficult as your own. 

We Are All Struggling

Nobody intentionally wants to fail, and we’ve all felt the anxiety of knowing we’ve dropped the ball.  Step into the shoes of the agitator and reconsider the best path forward.  Pause to consider what’s occurring in their cerebral orbs (and yours) before deciding to unleash your fury.

Understanding the Brain

When the brain detects fear, it is thrown into the automatic or defensive mode.  If a cougar is staring us down our defensive response is known as “fight, flight or freeze.”  The primitive part of the brain (that has evolved over generations), reacts without having to process information.  In the workplace, defensive mode shows up as “snap, sulk or skulk”.

When positive emotions are at play, the brain functions in deliberate or discovery mode.  Deliberate is less efficient than automatic, but it allows access to self-control, reason and imagined possibilities.  In the workplace, it shows up as “create, contribute and collaborate”.

Look at your agitator and you’ll see evidence of snap, sulk or skulk.  Look in the mirror and you may see the same.  The bottom line is that nobody wins when the brain is high jacked and automatic/defensive mode takes the wheel.

Demonstrating empathy throws the switch from automatic to deliberate.  Effective leaders understand that until the switch changes, individuals will remain stuck in snap, sulk or skulk.  Empathy helps everyone feel safe so the shift to create, contribute and collaborate can occur.  When a leader recognizes snap, sulk or sulk in themselves or others, they should consider which safety needs are threatened.

Eliminate the Threat

If the answer to any or all of the following questions is no, it is time to invite empathy to the party.

  • Do I/they feel safe?
  • Do I/they feel respected?
  • Do I/they feel fairly treated?
  • Am I/they confident in moving forward?
  • Are my/their needs being met?

Once empathy has arrived, (even if it is fashionably late), determine the best course of action to ensure both parties needs are met.

It is incumbent upon leaders to take the lead (that is why you get paid the big bucks).  Activate self-control and offer empathy to others.

Great Leaders are Prepared

  • Know your triggers (which situations set you off and make it difficult to be empathetic).  It is okay to have a long list (mine fills a three-ring binder)
  • Remind  yourself that everyone does the best he or she can and assume good intentions
  • Be able to recognize signs of snap, sulk or skulk
  • Know which needs may need to be met for you/the other person to access deliberate and discovery thinking

 Download the Practice Empathy Learning and Reflection Skill Builder

Of course, there is a quicker path to accessing empathy.   When confronted by snap, sulk or skulk in others, imagine the individual as a newborn, taking their first few breaths in the arms of their proud mother.  When the anxiety is within, remind yourself that others may forget what you say or do, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.

Everyone wants to hang with a leader that is safe, offers acceptance and avoids pointing out the painfully obvious fact that we are imperfect human beings doing the best we can.

P.S.  If you’ve worked for me in the past and are saying “hey, but you spent most of your career in snap, sulk, or skulk,” I am asking for your forgiveness — or at least a little empathy.

 Made to Measure supports the transformation of Individuals, Leaders, Teams and Organizations.  They take pride in creating flexible solutions tailored to fit.  Their signature program, “Discover Your Greatness Within” provides an integrated framework for individuals looking to bring more authenticity to their professional and personal lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Principle 3: Embrace Forgiveness


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Forgiveness

 

The act of forgiveness is a potent tool to bring honourable closure to painful past events.

 Forgiveness is not easy.

If it were easy, everyone would be choosing it.  Forgiving is difficult because it involves suffering caused by others (something they did or said) or a situation that occurred naturally (an unforeseen misfortune with painful consequences).  Something uncomfortable has replaced a comfortable perception of our self, others or the world.  If the perpetrator had poor intentions, our confidence is weakened as a dark veil is cast upon self-trust, potential new relationships, and opportunities we might otherwise embrace.

At the root of the need to forgive is something difficult to accept, overlook and move beyond.  When suffering is persistent and extreme, the ability to contemplate forgiveness is implausible.  The struggle to drink from the forgiveness goblet creates intense anxiety (I am getting flashbacks to the scene in Steel Magnolias when everyone is screaming “Drink the juice, Shelby, drink the juice”).

When we are still, there is an inner knowing that a spoonful of forgiveness will bring peace and harmony.  The door then swings open, and we are released to pursue our true potential.

Reframing forgiveness can make taking a sip more palatable.

Forgiveness is the practice of letting go of the idea that the past should have been different. 

 Forgiveness is not.

Forgiveness is not amnesty for others or a declaration that what occurred was okay.  It is not a get out of jail free card or a pronouncement that “what happened doesn’t matter”.  It is not an absolution of accountability or avoidance of consequences.  Forgiving is not an invitation for the individual(s) to remain in, or return to your life.

Forgiveness is.

Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves.  It is a self-proclamation that says “I am willing to let go of the idea the past should have been different.”  It is a self-gift to liberate the negative thoughts and feelings that obstruct positive forward movement in life.  Forgiveness is the elixir that heals negative thoughts and lights the path to reaching your full potential.

 Is forgiveness always possible?

You always have a choice.  When I feel challenged to forgive, I remind myself of global human tragedies like the Holocaust or the genocide in Rwanda.  In the stories of survivors I’ve found a common thread to their healing; they consciously choose to forgive and find meaning in their suffering.  In comparison, my suffering is insignificant and always falls into the first world category.  If survivors of horrific tragedy can practice forgiveness, I can certainly forgive a misguided work colleague that threw me under the bus to avoid confrontation with the boss.

 What’s the risk of doing nothing?

The inability to forgive is a permanent anchor to the past and prevents the forward movement necessary to actualize full potential.  It is the private Berlin wall that arrests the pursuit of happiness in relationships and activities.

What situations require forgiveness?

Individuals, groups or events that:

  • keep you prisoner in your past
  • caused pain and fuel the dialogue of your inner critic
  • prevent forward movement and access to your full potential

Forgiveness is an action and an outcome.

It is the conscious determination to release permanently the harmful effects caused by an individual, group or event.  Forgiveness releases the mind from the pain of the past.  Thinking shifts from yesterday to future possibilities.


1.    Explore Contribution

Who needs forgiving?

  • Me?
  • Is it someone else or a group?
  • Do I share responsibility with someone else or a group?

Be willing to show compassion for any role you might have played as part of your forgiveness plan.

2.    Define Your Desired Outcome

What will be different if you choose to forgive?

 3.    Decide on Actions

Explore a range of possibilities that will best serve your needs and the situation.

4.    Find a helpful lesson

Buried in the painful past is always a nugget of new wisdom.  The lesson becomes a powerful tool in your resilience toolkit.

DOWNLOAD THE  FORGIVENESS REFLECTION AND SKILL BUILDER HERE

There is an easier path.

Choose the more direct path to forgiveness that doesn’t involve confronting yourself or others by ceremoniously “blessing and releasing”.  Some ideas I’ve learned from others include:

  • Journaling about the event and incinerating the paper afterwards
  • Recording the event on a small piece of paper, placing it into a helium balloon and releasing it to the universe
  • Writing a letter to the individual(s) and choosing to mail it or not
  • Embracing a practice of daily affirmations until it no longer holds energy “I forgive and release this situation, so it no longer has power over me.”

Why not be the bigger person.

Every difficult situation needs a hero.  Be the hero and choose forgiveness –  you’ll be glad you did.

Principle 2: Find Honourable Closure


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Find Honourable Closure

Honoring disappointment

We honor important milestones with celebrations that acknowledge achievement and accomplishment.  Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, promotions and award ceremonies are all examples of honouring progress and success.

Yet its life’s disappointments, often unnoticed, that have the greatest potential to sabotage the future.  If we are honest, it’s the painful disappointments that generate repetitive thought patterns that most deserve our attention.  Perhaps it would be easier to overcome painful disappointments if there was someone cheering us on at the finish line.  Isn’t overcoming a setback worthy of popping a cork or cutting a large cake?

Finding honourable closure is the practice and persistent effort to overcome setbacks and disappointment.

What needs attention

Situations requiring honourable closure include events that …

  • leave a negative and lasting impression on thoughts, feelings and beliefs
  • hi-jack the inner dialogue and fuel the inner critic
  • prevent taking risks and daring greatly
  • cause harmful consequences with increased intensity over time

Honourable closure is a verb and a noun

It’s more than a desired outcome.  It’s about conscious effort to permanently replace the negative inner dialogue.  When achieved, it dials down the inner critic allowing positive thinking, improved emotional well-being and risk taking to emerge.

Wishing and hoping

Left unchecked, unresolved pain and disappointment lead to secondary dependencies as the need to escape intensifies.  Secondary challenges emerge as “too much of something”, becomes the coping behaviour.  The brain’s pleasure centres are triggered, neural pathways deepen and bad habits emerge or even worse, addictive behaviour.  It’s a slippery slope between enjoying food, alcohol, gambling, shopping or any pleasurable behaviour and full blow addiction.

Early intervention of pain and disappointment is an antidote to addiction but requires awareness, acknowledgement and courageous action.  Singing along to Dusty Springfield’s “Wishing and Hoping” offers temporary distraction but is no substitute for honourable closure.  Fluoride can prevent a cavity but can’t heal an impacted tooth.  It’s time to begin drilling when negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs begin threatening your potential.

Where to Begin

In the last blog, I introduced the concept of paying attention to patterns:  once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern.  Practice by splashing a little fluoride on the mistakes and coincidences before tackling a root canal.  Buoyed with some confidence, you’ll be ready to resolve the repeating disappointing patterns that hi-jack your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.  Trust your intuition in deciding where to begin.

1.  Explore contribution

The easy part is assigning blame.  Identify who is responsible for the disappointing pattern.

a)   Have I created the pattern?

b)   Has someone else created the pattern?

c)   Do I share responsibility for co-creating the pattern?

Unravelling a pattern you’ve independently created is a good place to practice before moving on to those created by others.

2.  Define your desired outcome

With good intentions, define a desired outcome that will bring closure to the situation.  Be selfish about your needs while accepting others may not share your point of view.  The goal is to achieve honourable closure so YOU can stop the self-sabotaging chatter that holds you back.

3.  Decide on action(s)

Explore a range of possibilities that will best serve your needs and the situation.

4.  Find a helpful lesson

Buried in the most disappointing situations is always a nugget of new wisdom.  Honourable closure is always hiding underneath a valuable lesson.  The lesson becomes a tool in your tool kit that will be beneficial in the future.

DOWNLOAD THE HONOURABLE CLOSURE REFLECTION AND SKILL BUILDER HERE

(During the coming months we’ll expand on the possible actions to help strengthen your confidence, capability and overall resilience).

There is an easier path

There is a more direct path to finding honourable closure.  Use your “get of jail free” card and skip the messiness of a root canal. Simply ask “What could I do right now, this minute, to permanently let go of the setback or disappointment that plagues me?”  Share your ideas so we can pass them along to others looking for the fast track to their greatness.

When we know better we do better

Remind yourself that you can do better in the future (and so can others).  We are imperfect human beings and our unique life experiences are aligned to a unique curriculum designed to serve the evolution of our spirit.

 

Principle 1: Dealing with Uncomfortable Situations


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Focus on Patterns

Uncomfortable Situations

When coaching clients and leaders, I’ve witnessed the uncertainty they experience when having to confront uncomfortable situations that involve others.  Uncomfortable situations: unresolved conditions between two or more people, causing emotional discomfort.  The struggle is anchored in the basic human need to belong, juxtaposed against the need for authentic self-expression. “I feel the need to share my thoughts … but I don’t want to overstep a boundary.”  Unresolved discomfort rarely dissipates without conscious intent to bring closure.  Left unchecked it will build; eventually erupting and causing collateral damage that could have been avoided if promptly addressed.   Learning to focus on patterns is a viable alternative.

Focusing On Patterns

Focusing on patterns is an approach to identify the situations that matter most. We are imperfect humans that don’t always present our best self to others creating uncomfortable situations. Yet, not every uncomfortable or challenging situation is worthy of effort and attention.  Sometimes “being right” should take a back seat to maintaining harmony. Being authentic isn’t a license to be annoying and there is real danger you’ll be labelled as a “right fighter” if you always carry the touch of unwelcome righteousness.   Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern!  Focusing on patterns brings focus to the uncomfortable situations that matter most. This approach supports authentic self-expression while avoiding the “right fighter” label.  It’s the big rock solution that eliminates the need to count every pebble.

DOWNLOAD THE GOOD INTENTIONS AND PATTERNS LEARNING & REFLECTION SKILL BUILDER HERE

Be Compassionate With Yourself

Have you ever berated yourself with negative self-talk because of a single mistake from the past? Turn compassion inward by asking yourself “Was it a mistake, a coincidence, or a pattern?” If you’ve been learning as you go there is a good chance you could be dwelling on mistakes instead of celebrating a valuable life lesson. What would be different if you were able to “bless it and release it”?

New Year … New Beginning


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New Year with Blank Canvas copy

The start of a New Year is symbolic of change regardless of your personal view on the ritual of setting resolutions.

Great leaders are reflective; seeking feedback on how to enhance their effectiveness and then deciding what, if any change they are willing to embrace to create greater personal or professional satisfaction.  Everyone is a leader; some lead others, while everyone is responsible for leading themselves.  Ringing in the New Year becomes a logical point on the calendar to contemplate change.

We are all confronted by many cues that infer we aren’t enough.  Our number one human need is to feel connected and belong.  Marketing efforts capitalize on this need by feeding our inner critics with the five thousand impressions they expose us to every day.  The messages are a variation on the same theme “you aren’t enough, buy this or try that and you’ll belong”.  Don’t even get me started on well-intentioned friends, family and co-workers that also have an opinion on “how I need to change” and who left their impressions during Christmas, I mean the “holidays”.

Trying to please everyone leads to “pleasing fatigue” draining our emotional (and financial) resources; leaving us unfulfilled and seeking an exit ramp off the hamster wheel of life.   The exit never appears (or if it does my GPS doesn’t provide enough notice to change lanes).  We’ve learned that multi-tasking is a myth, eroding our ability to focus and generate the best possible outcomes in a given situation.  Constructive feedback from multiple sources (friends, family, co-workers and the media) must work the same way – too much of it, from too many sources can leave us paralyzed; unsure of where to begin.

Feeling overwhelmed?  A great place to start for the New Year is on “being” vs. piling on more “doing”.   Statistics show that 80-92% of personal improvement goals are never achieved.  In my coaching practice, most clients are looking for alignment and harmony to enhance their personal and professional satisfaction.  Taking a big picture approach, focusing on the whole person (not just individual goals that are often symptoms of an underlying issue) is a good place to start if change is in your cards for 2016.   Applying some simple steps to the change process can make it more palatable and increase the chances of joining the allusive 8% that achieve their personal change goals in the new year.

  1. Get clear on your life purpose by defining the size and shape of your sandbox.  Your purpose is actualized through the various roles you play (employee, sibling, parent, spouse, volunteer etc.).  Having a clear life purpose, supported by role clarity not only defines the space you’ll play in, but more importantly makes it easy to avoid distracting playground activities that might be important to others but not to your authentic self.
  2.  Leverage your strengths when considering change.  Tap into signature strengths that align with virtues known to bring harmony, satisfaction and fulfillment.  Leveraging strengths is much easier than honing skills that fall outside the gifts you were born with (there is a reason I only sing in the shower and don’t subject myself to the scrutiny of public performance).  Everyone has strengths – think back to age seven when your inner light hadn’t been dimmed by the need to conform.
  3.  Define your core values so others invited into your sandbox will know what to consistently expect from you.  Values are tricky because many are subconsciously imprinted on us by early influencers and standout experiences.  Regardless of the past, you always have the choice on how you want to be experienced in the future by consciously choosing to embrace values that resonate with the deepest part of your being.  Values and role clarity simplify decision making when you are confronted with competing priorities.  You’ll know when your values aren’t being honored by others because it creates a negative feeling or emotional response within.  Values guide behavior and are tested during difficult periods.  When working with clients who have just shared a horror story about what someone else did or said, my fall back question is “So given their behavior, how do you want to respond and be experienced?”.  You always have a choice.
  4. Consider feedback a gift (sometimes the gift that keeps on giving) that can help align your intentions (how you want to be experienced) with your impact (how others actually experience you).  You can’t please everybody but you should be aware when your intentions aren’t aligned with the impact you want to be having in the world.  When receiving feedback, the goal is to hear what’s being said.  Don’t make the mistake of trying to defend your position or feel the need to agree with what’s being expressed.  Your role in receiving feedback is to listen carefully to what’s being said (or not said).  You can decide later, what if any action you want to take.  When giving feedback to others you’ll find your audience is more receptive when it’s delivered through the filter of courage and compassion.Pay attention to constructive feedback received using a simple 1-2-3 approach; once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern.  Let go of mistakes and coincidences, and focus on patterns.  In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff.
  5.  Decide what’s working by paying attention to patterns and asking “What am I willing and motivated to start, stop or continue that will move me closer to my ideal state of being?”   Resist the natural tendency to do more, because magic can be found in doing less and opening up more space to fully embrace your purpose and the roles you choose to play.
  6. Create empowering routines that will lead to desired results over time.  Setting a lofty goal is discouraging when results aren’t immediately achieved.  Empowering routines create the conditions in your life for good things to happen.  For example, if you set an intention to lose weight, an empowering routine would be to purchase less processed food and introduce more plant based alternatives to your diet.  Don’t worry about the scale … that will look after itself over time.
  7. Celebrate progress by regularly reflecting on what’s working; what has been accomplished vs. what still needs to be done.  Every step in the right direction is positive movement as you begin to prune away old behaviors and thought patterns.  New brain imaging technology measures neuroplasticity and proves change is possible with patience, persistence, and gradual progress.  Change involves rewiring the brain by creating new neural pathways that over time, can replace thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviors that no longer serve you well as you approach the New Year.

Build momentum over time and don’t let others (or the marketing machines) tell you aren’t enough.  You are enough because you are alive, breathing and part of this universal experience of life.