Doom & Gloom, Begone!

Doom and gloom - pessimist outlook on life etc.

It’s that time of year when things can get a little scary.  I’d like to say it’s because of Halloween, the one day where we dare to scare and frighten for the fun of it.

But the scarier stuff for me these days are things I seem to have little control over. Things like the political climate of nastiness and divisiveness in the country or the workplace, whether my team can win the World Series once in my lifetime, or how I can get my internet provider to do what they’ve guaranteed me every month for the past 6 months they would do, but still have not done.

On their own, any one of these things can put a kink in my otherwise cheerful disposition. When they all happen on the same day it’s enough to make me long for my days in the desert, wandering around with my canine companion, marveling at the simplicity of a solitary life unplugged.

While I default to the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer in the majority of cases, I do not do well with “it is what it is” when something clearly can be done.

I do not believe that the current environment is really the best we can collectively do. Partly because I know I can do better if I stay open, stay curious, and stay available to what is happening in the moment. And partly because we are smart and creative people.

We send people into outer space.  It seems like we can send elected officials to the White House who don’t polarize half the country.

If Century Link truly values my business, they would deliver on what they promised the first time instead of putting me on infinite hold, transferring me a minimum of three times, and still not addressing my concerns, making it necessary for me to repeat this torturous task every month.

Far from being a treat, this is tricky business. I can shut down quicker than a mousetrap when I get miffed. But over the years I’ve learned it’s my silence that comes back to haunt me, not the words I spoke truthfully, however harsh.

A few weeks ago I signed up for Martha Beck’s Integrity Cleanse. I suspected I was in for a serious smack down on my assumptions, but what I didn’t anticipate was the way my whole life would come under scrutiny.

Sure, the truth will set you free.  If it doesn’t kill you.

I’m by no means a chronic liar.  But I am a people pleaser and seem to need copious amounts of approval before I act on what I know to be true if it might ruffle some feathers or upset someone’s apple cart.

Ironically, what I’m learning from my Integrity Cleanse is one of the best gifts I can offer another is to ruffle their feathers or upset their apple carts if it is done with integrity and truth. As gratifying as it would be if you agreed with me, I get to see things from a different perspective when you don’t.

What I learned from watching The Cubs get to the World Series is there are just as many compelling stories and die-hard fans rooting for the other side. If they’ve made it to the playoffs, all these players have proven they are the best of the best.

Of course, I wear my lucky vest every night and go through any number of pre-game shenanigans in order to ensure the odds in our favor. But even when they lose, I learn something about myself.

Friday night was a case in point.  My day went exactly like Game 3 of the World Series. I had played defensively all week at work and then at 5pm on Friday I got a message from  my boss about a botched communication I thought I had cleared up on Thursday.  It was the equivalent of the bottom of the 9th, I had the winning run on base, and I struck out.

The good news is the Cubs get one more opportunity to turn it around. I have an opportunity to clear up the issue at work. I’ve already voted. And I can continue to call customer service until they get it right.

The doom and gloom that threatens to take over my mood and render me despondent, helpless, and hopeless will have to wait for another day. I have the ability to write my way out of despair and, as Maggie Kuhn says, “Speak the truth even if my voice shakes.

What about you? What scares you? What do you  do to catapult yourself out of doom and gloom and allow your truth to be voiced? Please share in the comments below.

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Survey Says…

business hand pushing online survey on virtual screen

We turn to polls to help us figure out all kinds of human behavior.  From what others are thinking, doing, and eating to how they are voting, what they are watching, wearing, or buying, we are heavily influenced by the actions of others.

While we can rely too heavily on others when forming our own opinion, for an entrepreneur or creative genius, the need to check in with others is an essential part of the give-them-what-they-want strategy.

Often times creators are too close to their product to see the obvious flaws or oversights in their product or strategy that an outsider can spot in a second.

I’ve created programs, written courses, and developed content for a couple of decades. But it wasn’t until I recently joined the Experience Product Masterclass that I realized I seldom asked my audience what they wanted. I tended to give them what I would want or what I thought they would want.

Sometimes I’ve been right, but many times I’m haven’t.

Since I have the world’s best and brightest blog readers, I would love to ask you for your opinion.  I’ve recently been doing an Integrity Cleanse with Martha Beck and in her coaching she often says to clients, “Tell me where I’m wrong.

In other words, asking is a really great way to find out and then get it right.

I’ve been working with the concept of Getting Your Groove Back for a couple of years now. Despite what I think I know about midlife, what fascinates me is what you know or don’t know but what love to find out.

I’ve designed a quick, 10-question survey for you to take if you are approaching, in, or around age 40-49, 50-59, 60+, or you just like taking surveys. The survey is geared towards women but any insight you guys have into midlife is equally appreciated.

Please click here to take this quick, 10-question survey.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7Y76B79

My goal is to get 100 responses by the end of October 2016.  I can’t do this on my own, but with your help, it’s more than possible. Please share it with anyone you know who could provide some input.

If you want to learn more about How to Get Your Groove Back, please click on the new Groove tab I added above.

Thanks so much in advance for sharing your input.  I love the saying, “When we know better, we do better.” 

Here’s my attempt to create something grand, thanks to you!

 

 

 

 

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You Must Be Present to Win

heyward-mlb

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS

I must admit.

I’m overly identifying with the Chicago Cubs this year so the spectacular four-run ninth inning rally that secured their win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night was more meaningful to me than most playoff games.

You see, early on I adopted these boys of summer as mascots for my How to Get Your Groove Back class. Jake Arrieta in particular seemed like the perfect poster guy for getting one’s groove back. He almost gave up the sport altogether when his pitching coaches couldn’t quite find his groove and released him from Baltimore.

Fortunately Chicago was able to help him find it. And then Jake was able to show the rest of the team how to find theirs. (It might have something to do with that Pilates reformer.)

After a lifetime of summers spent listening to the “lovable losers” on the radio, this summer I watched and learned from the victories and defeats of the Cubs like a vigilant den mother. And one of the things I learned is you must be present to win.

You don’t win by checking out, dwelling in the past, or projecting into the future.  If the Cubs had gone into the ninth inning on Tuesday night plagued by what had transpired in the previous eight, they wouldn’t have been open to the opportunities the ninth inning presented. They clinched the series by seizing every one of them.

That takes an unflinching commitment to being in the moment. That is deceptively difficult.

Last week I spoke to a student services group about resolving to evolve. The first of four actions I asked them to take was to embody. 

What does she mean by that?” you might ask.

I mean to be fully present in the skin you are in and to be open and aware of what you are feeling and to allow your body to provide you with all kinds of information.

Do I have a choice?” you might ask.

Yes and no.  If you’re reading this, you are in a physical form that you move around to do your brain’s beckoning. You feed it, clothe it, take it to work, and allow it to rest. So in one respect, you have no choice but to embody.

But anyone who suffers from aches and pains and a general distrust or disgust of their body will tell you how preferable it is to live life from the neck up. Their choice is to check out of their bodies as often and in as many ways as possible. They might choose to medicate or obliterate with food, alcohol, drugs, or their vice of choice in order to spend as little time as possible feeling what it’s like to be in their body.

As a certified eating psychology coach and fitness instructor, I see this a lot. Most of the people I work with have a very complicated relationship with their bodies. My desire to understand this relationship is what led me to become a writer and coach.

Here’s my take-away. The present moment is all we’ve got. It’s the only time and place where we can make things happen and move forward in our lives.

This means we need to be open to receiving feedback and support from all our faculties, not just our brain. Because I don’t know about you, but my brain can be a bully.

It can have me believing all kinds of things that are just not true because it’s feeling threatened or scared. That’s why I need an entire team of truth tellers located in my heart, my belly, my back, my legs, or anywhere that might get my attention.

I do not want to be stuck in the eighth inning where I might be down 2-5 with just my brain calling the shots. I need my body on board to rally and earn a shot at the World Series.

Bob likes to remind me it’s just a game and whether my team wins or loses, my life will be the same. He may have a point. Every team and every sport have come-back stories and heroes’ journeys stories and a hundred reasons why their epic victory is destined.

But I know on the days the Cubs win my world seems a little bit brighter or more hopeful. Not just because they’ve broken a curse or done the impossible or because my Grandma would be grinning from heaven to see her Cubbies win it all, but because of how they played the game. They model for me how to be all in and present to win. That’s something I can rally around.

Who does that for you? Share if you dare in the comments below.

Don’t Stop Believing

Game of Inner Lines

With a name like Penny, I’m all about small change.

I’m really not a fan of the Hurricane Matthew kind of sweeping change that has the potential to leave devastation in its wake.

I much prefer the almost imperceptible shifts that first take hold of my mind and grow into consistent, small acts of courage that eventually become the habits of a new practice. As much as I’d love to call them “habits of a highly effective new practice,” I know better.

In my experience, practice seldom makes perfect. But it does make me appreciate the nuances of learning something new and understand the reason 10,000 hours of practice are necessary for achieving the mastery Malcolm Gladwell writes about.

Today I’m sharing my Resolve to Evolve presentation at a student services conference.  The one thing I know after all the prepping and practicing to deliver this speech is this:

Catapulting myself out of my comfort zone and into my evolutionary zone is not an option. It’s a mandate from my soul.

To work and stay engaged and involved in a business that runs on the same schedule year after year, my curiosity cannot afford to be quenched.  To write, coach, and attempt to inspire others, I must first be inspired.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself, believe.”

No matter how often I’ve been there, done that and convinced myself I’ve seen it all before, there will always be something I’ve yet to see, hear, or do.

There are really so many experiences to be had, I can’t imagine how many lifetimes it would take to get bored with it all. And yet people get bored with their lives, their jobs, and their relationships all the time.

This is why I’m calling for an evolution revolution. The way I see it, if we’re still here, we have work to do.  And despite the notion that “we gave at the office,” the truth is we have so much more to give. We just may not know it yet. Or know how.

After I divulge the secrets to thriving instead of merely surviving with these student services professionals, I’ll spell out the specifics here with you since my message will evolve just by sharing it.

Because like a boomerang, if we dare to send our message out to our tribe, it comes back to us better than before.

What will you send out today that you’ll be curious to reconnect with?