STEP 1: FIND YOUR TRIBE.
ACTIVELY SEEK OUT PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU’RE SETTING OUT TO DO AND WHO CELEBRATE THE VICTORIES ALONG THE WAY WITH YOU.
Avoid people who see the life as a series of impasses, and are threatened when you begin to look past your circumstances to a better life.
Ask yourself this question: Am I spending most of my time with people who say -- “I KNOW you can do it!” -- and applaud my unique skills and talents?
Or, am I spending hours of each day with people who denigrate my ideas and doubt my capacity for change?
STEP 2: CHILL OUT.
RESERVE AT LEAST 10 MINUTES EVERY DAY AND JUST BREATHE. Don’t make a call, solve a problem, plan a meal, take a call or get in a quick workout.
This time is what I call the “reset.” The most important capacity of our distinctive human consciousness is that we can stop and open ourselves to insights. To change anything, I have to elevate from simply reacting to stimuli, and working down my to-do lists. I have to rise up in my mind and get the aerial view. From way up in my higher consciousness, I begin to see the lay of the land and know intuitively if I’m moving towards my destination. I have the perspective to make accurate and necessary course corrections.
Skip this step, and I find myself WAY off course. Busy all the time -- getting lots of things done -- moves me not one centimeter closer to calling my own shots, making memories or making a difference.
STEP 3: BEWARE OF THE BELIEF THERMOSTAT
Whether we’re talking about building a successful business, losing weight, running a marathon, building a garden box, preparing a great meal -- ANY endeavor that requires holding a vision, making a plan and gathering your resources -- we ALL have pre-set beliefs.
If I decide to drop 10 pounds, I may believe that it’s going to be excruciatingly hard. I’m going to feel deprived, and my will power will join the witness protection program by the time I’m halfway to my goal.
This setting on my belief thermostat dooms me to failure from the start.
If I believe that financial scarcity is my conjoined twin, and that separation from this belief just might kill (or bankrupt) me, I’m going to be frozen with indecision. It’s mandatory that I find out how to adjust my financial belief thermostat.
We can issue a challenge to our own beliefs. As Dr. David J. Schwartz, the author of THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG says, a belief is just a thought we think over and over again.
Here are some thoughts I choose to think over and over again, so I have beliefs that move me forward toward unfolding possibilities:
***“It’s obvious and easy how to “release” pounds. I can find a plan with foods I love and fun activities with people who encourage me. THIS will make me want to move. I can see myself now feeling leaner, stronger and more attractive.”
*** “There are people and resources behind me in my pursuit of financial stability and peace of mind. There’s a downpour of cashflow on the horizon. It’s coming! It’s coming!!”
I remember vividly when I stopped telling myself I had no sense of direction. I went from almost always getting lost trying to navigate somewhere new (or NOT new) -- to rarely losing my way. It was merely a matter of thinking NEW -- proactive and positive --- thoughts over and over again.
STEP FOUR: FIND A DETOUR
There are neighborhoods where the likelihood of getting mugged is higher. AND there are media neighborhoods that increase the odds of being “relieved” of my belief in the possibility of change -- along with any motivation to leave my happy union with the couch.
The first sketchy media neighborhood is the news. News networks survive primarily by hunting down the worst things that happen and amplifying them to make them seem even worse. Find a detour. If you're concerned about remaining informed, online news services allow you to pick and choose what world and community events you're going to investigate further.
Some neighborhoods are less toxic, and you can walk there safely if you just keep moving. Social Media is the name of this burrough. Visit briefly. Mixed with the informative and the entertaining are many pockets of disempowering belief thermostats , seductive in their familiarity.
Entertainment can occupy the peaks and move me closer to action, but most definitely entertainment can lure me into dark, dead-end places. If we’re going to step into someone else’s shoes and live vicariously for awhile, it’s wise to ask ourselves if this surrogate life is one that teaches us something of value -- or moves us closer to where we really want to go.
Why not choose a detour onto roads less traveled? Plan an adventure. Sign up to learn more about dance or photography or archeology. Visit/court your dream. Change careers. Make a difference in someone else’s life. Just in case this isn’t a dress rehearsal.
STEP 5: It’s NOT all you!
I suppose there are superhumans out there who feel they can take the entire credit for their successes in life. However, most people -- this includes the tremendously gifted -- are very clear that there were people who set the stage, played the music, footed the bill, started the applause and cleaned up the messes. Sometimes they even stitched us up and helped us back to our feet.
Gratitude is not simply an obligation, though. It’s a reminder that we have gifts both big and small bestowed on us all the time. It’s the chance to stack up the good things about our lives, so that the other stack is diminished by comparison. I call it “collecting gifts.”
When I make collecting gifts a daily habit, life looks brighter and I’m drawn into the day -- rather than finding reasons to pull the covers over my head. When I’m consciously grateful, I can hope to light up a room as I enter rather than as I leave. I experience a calm anticipation that pulls people into my sphere of influence.
Here’s a list of gifts I noted down today:
*hummingbird visiting each new agapantha blossom
*call from a good friend I haven’t spoken to in awhile
*my sweet brother coming by to make a repair
*husband Lee’s appreciation for Father’s Day meals
*sun finally making an appearance
*Mom loving her caregiver this time around
*no leaf blowers today!
Now, I ask myself: Who can I thank today? My brother, Lee, Mom’s caregiver -- Yes. And a silent thank you for good friends, hummingbirds, sunshine and silence.
No, my life is not unremitting bliss, but I subscribe wholeheartedly to two axioms:
GRATITUDE for everything that is going right and for everyone who lightens the load is an essential propellant: It moves us forward into new territory with power and helps to sustain our belief that we’ll make it to our destination.
The Primary KEY to Progressive Realization of a Worthwhile Goal -- Part One
What is the primary key to progressive realization of a worthwhile goal?
The answer is very simple: SUSTAINED BELIEF
I get started because I believe I will see the results -- lose the weight, earn the bonus, build the garden box, launch the new business, take the trip...
But how do I hang in there through the distractions, scheduling mazes, and energy dips until the results show up?
I have to KEEP BELIEVING that it’s possible. I don’t know about you, but for me -- I have to self-administer regular injections of belief.
To use another metaphor: I have to make sure my belief-foundation can support the structure even in strong winds. And the taller the building -- the more ambitious the endeavor, the stronger the foundation of belief I need to lay down.
If my endeavor is a sunflower border on my path, the belief required is minimal and short-lived. If dropping a jean size is my goal, my belief in the desired outcome has to be burrito-resistant over several weeks.
Financial invincibility and making a difference? That’s a skyscraper, and my foundation needs to be heavily reinforced.
Stay tuned for: FIVE Steps to Keep You Strong in Strong Winds
“I don’t have time!”
It’s an almost universal complaint.
Jobs normally fill up anywhere from 40 to 60 hours or more of waking hours every week. Transporting kids and helping with their homework, paying bills, buying food, maintaining a home and maybe a yard -- it’s almost miraculous that some of us find a moment to contribute, recreate or even just to pause and enjoy a sunset.
So HOW could one ever find the time to launch and maintain a business?!
Yes, it would be great to get off the treadmill -- spinning from commute - to job - to commute - to dinner pickup or preparation -to all the demands of home, family and community - and then back to the commute again. Or some variation of the above..
“I don’t have time!” Right?
Let me tell you a short story:
Once there was a 44 year old woman working as the Admissions Director of an upscale independent school that she’d helped to found 12 years earlier. She was the sole provider for two healthy, highly creative children, a boy 7 years old and a daughter 4 years old. She felt that she had waited so long to be a mother, and now she was missing so many seminal moments of her children’s lives. She worried that she wasn’t really there to guide them through the rough spots, celebrate their triumphs or even to model for them the values she believed were crucial to their long term happiness.
And, of course, there was NO TIME and little money to do what so many people advised: Start building an asset. Make sure to develop compounding multiple income streams. Lay a foundation so that -- in the not too distant future -- there WOULD BE TIME to do what she loves the most with the people she loves the most.
It reminds me of the story about the man whose house flooded due to a burst pipe. He began bailing and bailing and bailing until he dropped in fatigue and awoke to find himself afloat in his kitchen, and the water still rising!
The moral of the story: sometimes the best first strategy is to go find the water main and shut off the water.
And when you’re on the transactional income treadmill and you feel like you can’t stop bailing, the best strategy is to begin -- however gradually -- to solve the problem at its point of origin.
The point of origin of having no time is NOT ENOUGH TIME-INDEPENDENT CASHFLOW.
A purely time-dependent income -- you show up or the $$$ doesn’t -- means there’s NEVER going to be enough time to feel like you’re living the life you want to be living.
A time-INdependent income -- you build an asset with multiple income streams and the $$$ begins to flow and grow whether you’re puttering in the garden or surfing in Hawaii -- means your life can be your own personal masterpiece.
Back to our 44 year old woman. Despite initial trepidation and severe skepticism, she launched her business with a loving and dedicated team. She still had a job, so it was a matter of finding 15 minutes here, an hour there on a consistent basis, and accepting coaching and assistance -- but she hung in there, and two years later she was able to turn in her keys at work and devote her time to ushering those two kids through childhood, as well as exploring other passions like gardening, writing and travel -- and to passing it forward and helping other people who were feeling stuck and time-bereft to find a better way.
That woman is me, and it’s been over 20 years that I’ve been able to enjoy an uncommon personal freedom AND expanses of time that are mine to design. I have the great privilege of calling my own shots, making some amazing memories and making a difference.
Now, when people say to me, “But I don’t have time,” I say, “It’s not that you don’t have enough time. It’s that you don’t have enough TEAM!” A leveraged income is the key, but a team provides additional leverage when you need it the most -- when you’re still bailing.
Why do so many books on how to be successful recommend affirmations and visualizing best outcomes?
Turns out there’s science at work here too. The conscious mind is volitional: Remember, this is where the will resides (although most of us have realized that New Year’s resolutions are usually short-lived). The nonconscious mind, however, is servile. It sets no goals of its own. It's job is to execute the goals it's provided with. It doesn't judge the merits -- only whether the results match the goals. If you believe (conscious mind) that you'll always be broke and struggling, your nonconscious mind will go right to work confirming that belief -- scurrying around finding evidence that this is true, reinforcing this faulty, disempowering belief.
I’ve heard a BELIEF defined as a thought that you think over and over and over again. So why not repeatedly recite some thoughts that set our powerhouse nonconscious minds to work finding ways to confirm that we are confident, prosperous and happy?
Why is it recommended that we declare our affirmations in the present tense?
To the nonconscious mind, everything is happening now. If we say, "I want to make $200,000 annually by 2017" or even "I plan to make $200,000 annually by 2017," the response of our nonconscious mind is, "Okay, wanting and planning on the way, Captain!" Wanting -- not having -- is the order that's being executed.
Despite the uncomfortable feeling that we are just flat-out lying -- we are instructed to say, "I make $200,000 annually" -- or at the very least, "I'm on track to make $200,000 annually by 2017."
Assaraf describes the nonconscious mind as not only running all our basic operating systems, but also all our programmable software. Our habits of thought, our beliefs about the world and ourselves are often hidden from us in our nonconscious minds.
This is why it's so crucial to systematically impress the beliefs we consciously design on the nonconscious part of our brains.
IN THE ZONE: HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND--AND YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
PART FOUR: IN THE ZONE -- HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND -- AND YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
Pre-creation is the process of seeding the nonconscious mind.
Jim Rohn said, "Rarely does a good idea interrupt you." We have to go searching for inspiration -- in books, seminars, workshops, Ted talks, audios.
Introduce small changes. Change how, where, when you do things -- Shake up your neural pathways so you're not living life on automatic pilot. It's a first step in pulling out of the entrenched neural pathways that keep us stuck.
How do we carve new pathways, and put our nonconscious brain crew to work on our behalf?
*Say it: Affirmations -- your nonconscious mind NEVER loses focus. It’s listening!
*Write it: Write your future diary. Write what you choose to believe. Committing the life you design to paper (or screen) has a motor-neural power of its own.
*Visualize it. Post photos representing what you want. Build a model and place it where you see it often. Close your eyes and see yourself enjoying an exotic locale. Five years ago on a camping trip, I built the home we were looking for out of blocks on the picnic table. Big front porch, great room, garden space, a secret attic getaway space. We walked into that home the following Monday morning. That’s where we live today.
*Visit it. Tangible -- your dream house might be open for viewing Sunday morning. Or intangible -- your freedom Be creative. When I still had a job, I would sit with my small children on the deck and make acorn people or oobleck on a Sunday morning, and pretend it was a Monday or Tuesday morning.
*Shield your state of mind: Don't absorb what you don't want to project. Try taking a hiatus from the evening news for a week or two, and see if you feel any different. I did.
*Stick to positive self-talk. There's a very impressionable nonconscious mind waiting to prove you right! Make it a game to identify something everyday that you like about yourself!
*Decide to be happy: Sing a new song. Collect evidence that life is good.
Susan is a published writer and motivational speaker with 30 years of experience, dedicated to guiding people to a life of financial invincibility and peace of mind.