[Editor's Note: This is Day Five in the Be Your Own Guru series. Katrina lives in Hadley, MA - just far enough from Boston to not be in Lockdown, but close enough to recognize the danger at her door. She submitted this post before the tragic happenings of the past few days, and it's a fitting reminder that sometimes, the best way to make forward progress is to go backwards.]
We spend so much time in our lives looking forward, moving forward, and dealing with things in front of us. It’s almost as if our bodies are trapped in tunnels - constantly moving forward, unable to shift direction. We forget to check the periphery of our space or of our lives. We lack time for exploration.
Literally, and especially figuratively. All of this "forward motion" leaves us without awareness of so many parts of our lives - both in movement and beyond. We stop rotating our spine to see the world around us. We forget to look up. Our breath gets stuck in our sternum, our oxygen levels decline, and our necks tilt forward. Even our spines compress, as a gradual shrinking forces our bodies into the tunnel of forward movement. (more…)
By Amy Wright
[Editor's Note: This is day four of the Be Your Own Guru series. Amy's got a keen eye when it comes to leveraging your time. She pulls no punches today when she shows you just what you're missing out on by trying to do everything yourself.]
Maybe you’re lying to yourself, following conventional wisdom that says you’re “saving money” or “paying your dues” while you do everything in your business yourself.
It’s all crap.
Let’s pretend that you’re a life coach of some sort (feel free to insert your profession here). You make roughly $100 hourly while you’re coaching. Let’s also pretend that, like most business owners, you have insane amounts of email, billing, scheduling, phone calls, social media and marketing that you do every week. Let’s say that those administrative tasks take you about 15 hours each week, and that’s only because that’s all the time you have to commit to it.
Now let’s say (more…)
Next week, my children are home for Spring break. #CalgonTakeMeAway
Actually, they get a jump start on spring break this Friday, and my soon-to-be 7 year old will have a half day on Thursday.
Is this any way for me to get my work done?
We have yet to have a single week since 2013 began where both children were in school for the entire week. Between snow days, sick days, and school suspensions (*facepalm*), either one or both of them have been home at least one day every week since the beginning of the year.
Can you say FRUSTRATING?
I sure can.
Over the last few months, I've been digging into what I really enjoy: music (over 30 songs are in the can now!), performing (check my upcoming gigs here), and learning about people. Specifically, I've been swimming through books like these about finding and living your true purpose. Ultimately, it all comes down to two things: connecting to your soul, and leading with your strengths.
Coming from someone that espouses the notion that you can follow your passion, build a Noble Empire and live an inspired life, that sounds kind of blasphemous, right? Well, let me explain...
See, you can't be whatever you want to be. You MUST be exactly who you are called to be. Sometimes, when our passion is aligned with our divine gifts, then we CAN be whatever we want to be, because what we want to be is exactly who we are called to be. But you can't just pick something because you see someone else doing it - or even because you might be proficient at it.
Is that confusing? Let me try again, with a little help from "Kung Fu Panda":
When "life happens" we buy into the illusion of control that Master Shifu so ardently defends and Master Oogway tenderly releases. I've maintained for a very long time that we are all born with what I call "undeniable gifts" - our personal arsenal of strengths that are meant to move us through this world with confidence toward success. When our gifts aren't suited to the demands that life throws in our face at any given moment, we dig in, start learning and "adapting" ourselves away from our strengths (instead of reaching out to get help from someone else who IS skilled at the issue we face).
We see our limitations as a deficiency on our part - something we've got to fix - instead of celebrating our innate, interdependent design.
What happens for many of us, though, is that, instead of returning to what we've been blessed to be good at once the storm is over, our strengths get buried, neglected, or overlooked in favor of those more "useful" skills. Your True Voice gets silenced.
It's then that our masterpiece gets covered over, stored away for a future day.
Many times, we never return, never dust off that masterpiece, and never display it with pride - because we're spending way too much time trying to fix what's broken, improve what's not working, instead of celebrating the glorious way God made us to be in this world.
Tom Rath said it best: "You cannot be anything you want to be - but you can be a lot more of who you already are."
Home Depot was faced with a big decision: keep growing at the expense of current stores, or reign in growth and tighten up what they're already doing to create more loyal customers. They knew when to call it quits and focus on what they do best. In an era when everyone is focused on "bigger" and "grow", Home Depot said "Hey, let's refine what's already working!" and they've seen great success in that.
What about you?
Are you focusing on what you do well, or bemoaning the fact that you're doing all kinds of stuff just to survive? Are you even in the arena of your undeniable gifts anymore, or have you locked that masterpiece up somewhere in the dusty attic of your ancient past?
It took me almost a decade to return to music with any meaningful effort. It's something I'm damn good at, but as a mom and wife, well it's not such a useful skill. Changing diapers, cleaning house, and keeping peace took priority over piano practice, learning new music, and touring.
"Life happened" all over me - and with it, the "shoulds". I let my own gifts go unnoticed because I was trying to be a better mom, wife and housekeeper. There just wasn't time left in my day to sing the songs God had already planted in my heart.
But somewhere inside my head, I had drummed up the notion that I was a bad person if I didn't learn how to do all that other stuff. An while it's true, we all need to learn some skills outside our comfort zone, it's important to remember that we've been blessed with gifts that will nurture us when we share them with the world.
I'm changing that now. I'm returning to my regular rehearsal schedules, dusting off old tunes, and for the first time in a long time, I'm even writing new ones. And the world responds accordingly. New contacts arise and new opportunities are offered in alignment with my dharma. I'm speaking more, getting on stage more, and in general, loving more of what life is offering. In short, I'm being more of who I already am, and less of what I'm not.
It's not always easy, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
When I'm working with my clients, often times they'll speak about something that "always happens" to them. Something that seems to come out of the blue, and yet, when we drill down, we discover that it's usually rooted in a lack of awareness about the cause of that "something".
In The PEACE System, I illustrate how many "emergencies" are a result of neglecting a must-do activity for too long. Like when failing to perform the routine preventative maintenance on your car often leads to a flat tire or another car "emergency". Or when neglecting to take care of your health leads to a stay in the hospital.
My clients are smart cookies. They've got a lot goin' on upstairs... they've also usually got a few too many things going on in other areas of their life and/or biz. Thus, the lack of awareness around work and life balance issues.
So today, I'm giving you, dear reader, a piece of advice that isn't really mine to give. I've seen it in various forms from different voices both online and off. This is just the version I share with my clients.
This week marks the beginning of some shifting in both my life and my business. We finished our taxes, and the kids were home for the holiday, so I decided to slow things down a bit and not "push" myself to create. I explain it a bit more this week on "The Convo":
If you're in need of your own quiet stillness, consider The PEACE System as a tool to help you navigate your daily priorities.
As a small child, I knew I was called to be a performer. I remember being 2 or 3 years old (before we moved into the house I grew up in) and "performing" for my family. I'd stand up on my wooden toy box, pretending it was a stage, dancing and singing for whoever would give me the time of day. I remember the day I was too big to stand on that "stage" - my foot went right through the lid and broke the toy box.
I grew up in a community where the biggest dream most folks had was to get a good paying job in "the shop". GM practically owned Flint when I was growing up, and the parents of most of the kids I ran with were either in the shop, or served the shop workers as teachers, lawyers, or doctors. Our town was a shop economy. (more…)
Got big dreams? Hold fast to them, and don't be afraid to pray for excellence. Many times, visionary creatives have lofty goals and ambitions, but we're met with staunch criticism when we share them. This forces us to either stop sharing, or aim lower.
Don't be that person. Instead, when things are getting to you, watch this video:
It's not enough, though to watch a video, or pray for God to make you good at something. You must also do the work. What are you going to do today to move yourself closer to your dreams?
Self-sabotage is a mis-nomer. We don't set out to actually sabotage ourselves. Often, in fact, it's quite the opposite. The thing we've opted to do instead of what we originally planned was supposed to make life easier for us. Unfortunately, things didn't quite turn out that way.
Sometimes there is truly a deep-seated issue, and I'm not a doctor, so I won't pretend to diagnose a serious psychological issue from your ancient past (but my friend Sydney might be able to assist). Most creatives, though, use "self-sabotage" as an excuse to resign themselves to mediocrity. Here are three quick and easy steps to get over yourself fast. (more…)