The Learning Curve

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It’s that time of year when students of all ages are graduating on to bigger and better things. In my family alone, we have three graduations in as many weeks.

After a couple of decades of being out of school, my sister just completed her Master’s Degree in Student Leadership.  Her daughter is finishing her last week at SCAD and will be heading out to California to start her creative career with a hat maker. And my nephew just graduated from Illinois State University and is on his way to Wyoming with his girlfriend to experience a summer working at Yellowstone.

Oh, the thrill of the open road and a new chapter!

This is the promise of new beginnings. Anything is possible.

The reality is that new beginnings are available to us at any time, although we sometimes need a little pomp and circumstance before we’re officially ready to roll.

I prefer to start without the fanfare.

I tend to launch before I know what I’m getting into.

Because if I knew what would be required of me to do half the things I long to do, I’d never do them.

It’s too daunting.

The learning curve is too steep.

If I knew how ridiculous I would feel prior to feeling fabulous or smart or trendy, I would never conjure up the courage to connect or create in all the ways that really light me up.

If I knew how much time, energy, and effort would be required to learn something people half my age were born knowing, I’d be tempted to use the “I’m too old for this” excuse.

But it’s that attitude that ages us faster than anything else.

The thing is, before we can get there from here, we have to go through the I-have-no-idea-where-I-am-or-what-I’m-doing place.  No one talks about this place because once we get where we’re going and know what we’re doing, we often erase limbo land from our memory.

It’s human nature to want to forget our ineptitude or gloss over the obvious errors in our thinking or the epic failures we didn’t anticipate.

But these often make the most memorable stories and become the beginnings of our greatest adventures.

Countless success stories start with the adventure that went awry, the chance meeting that wouldn’t have happened if all had gone as planned, or the random recalculating of  an accepted hypothesis that resulted in a scientific breakthrough.

There is an urgency about getting to the Promised Land, wherever that may be. We want to start out making top dollar. We want to instantly become an internet sensation. We want everyone to know our name. We want to succeed in business without really trying.

But there is a necessary learning curve. This is that magical time when we are humbled and frustrated and overwhelmed and filled with uncertainty that’s only occasionally sprinkled with awe and amazement and enthusiasm about what’s possible.

It’s this grace period when we get to fly under the radar, make mistakes, and hone our craft before we get pummeled by public perception.

It’s when we realize how lucky we are not to have our dreams realized before they are fully formed.

I recently came across a book titled “What’s In The Way, Is The Way.”  This echoes the idea we’ve been tossing about in my coaching program that the life we’ve lived so far, with all its trials and tribulations, has provided the precise experiences we need to succeed.

Whatever impeded our journey informed our journey and placed us in the perfect position to offer the unique contributions we can today.

So, graduates, as you saddle up and ride off into the sunset, remember it’s the detours, flat tires, the missed turns and the learning curves they afford that hold the real gifts.

I have no doubt you will get to your Promised Land with the flair and finesse that only you possess. Just remember to embrace with grace the path that leads you there.

I’d love to hear what you are graduating from at this juncture in your life. Please leave your comments, insights, or advice for fellow graduates of all kinds in the comments below.

 

 

Please Come to Boston for the Springtime

Boston 005.JPGFollowing the plea from the David Loggins song, I just got back from 4 days in Boston.

I would not recommend it as a spring break destination since the day before I arrived the snow, rain, ice, and wind did, leaving me in a bit of a panic as to whether I would actually make it there or not.

The plan was to attend an Ignite Your Power conference with Margaret Lynch. I was the usual mix of excited/terrified, so when Mother Nature unleashed the blizzard that looked like it would throw a wrench in my plans, I was secretly relieved to let her call the shots and let me off the hook.

But then came the video from Margaret on Tuesday night saying all systems were go and Boston would be ready to receive us on Wednesday. So much for sabotaging my self-development plans.

Now there was no excuse not to pack my bags and conjure up the courage required to head into 3-days of intense personal development work.

I have spent my whole life attending personal growth workshops.  Every “vacation” is really me heading somewhere to learn something with a bunch of other people who have similar interests.

While friends and co-workers talk about their unforgettable time in Bermuda, Jamaica, or Cabo, I talk about my adventures in forgiveness, opening my heart, and getting in touch with my lower chakras.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my “vacations”. I have met some of the coolest people on the planet just by being brave enough to go where they are gathered.

But initially walking alone into a room of over 400 people I don’t know catapults me so far out of my comfort zone I’m amazed I can function. I never get over the feeling that I could be the last one picked for the popular team.

So I breathe.  And now I tap because tapping (or EFT) is the reason I am at this particular event.

I remind myself I belong here. These are my peeps. This is my tribe.

I remind myself there are others who feel exactly the way I do.

So I take a seat next to someone and introduce myself. And in a few days my world doubles in size.

Who knew the exact right people would be sitting next to me? Who knew they would share my same fears, challenges, joys, and dreams? Who knew that allowing myself to be uncomfortable for the better part of 4 days would yield such immediate and impressive results?

I did.

That’s why I went. That’s why I continue to put myself out there over and over and over again.

Because try as I might to go it alone, I can’t.

I need support in order to do cutting edge work.

I need mentors to model success.

I need coaches to hold me accountable.

I need clients to experience the transformative power of what I do.

I need an expanding group of friends from around the globe to help me gain the perspective only they can provide.

And I need water taxis and drivers with that unmistakable east coast accent to shuttle me back and forth to the city and the airport and tell me stories about Boston so that when I get home, I can bring these stories back to you.

What about you? What do you do that leaves you feeling alternately exhilarated and exhausted, excited and anxious, and alive and exquisitely vulnerable? What do you need to continually coax your life forward?

I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Plan “R”

 

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Plan “R” is ready to report in for duty in the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge.

Although there are many “R” words in the running for today’s top tip like relax, rejuvenate, roam, radiate, read, renew, receive,  reveal, respect, restore, represent, reflect, reign, and shake-rattle-and-roll, one of the revolutionary principles I like to coach people on is resolving to evolve.

Although I have written Reasonably Radical Resolutions to Redefine Your Reality in response to regular resolutions that tend to last as long Rocky Road ice-cream on a ridiculously hot day, resolving to evolve means you repeatedly return to the place where you get to rewrite, re-do, or reinvent yourself as a result of your most recent reach for something outside your comfort zone.

This quote by Rumi sums it up.

Respond to every call that excites your spirit.”

The reward for risking everything is that you reveal who you really are and this reminds you of what is possible for you.

Instead of removing yourself from any chance encounter with a roly-poly bearded guy and his flying reindeer, see if you can recapture a bit of the Christmas magic by reclaiming your  own superpowers and rising to the challenge of realizing your potential.

I know you may resist and possibly resent me for requesting this of you at this time of year, but I want you to ride this year out on a wave of remarkable moments made possible by your commitment to reigniting your rousing curiosity and rejoicing with the totally righteous dudes and dudettes who recognize your rebellion as your resurrection into right livelihood or reassurance that you’re already rollicking along the right track with no regrets.

And one more thing.

Release the need to ricochet or rush around. It will rob you of any peace of mind you may have recovered while reciting riddles in a padded room. Rely on your own rhythm to move at the pace of grace this holiday season.

What rings true for you?  Report in and recall your reasons why you rock and your Plan “R” rules below in the comments.

Right on. Or write on, as I like to say.

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P.S. I almost forgot… more Good Cheer here! Remember I told you there would be goodies? Well, I’ve got goodies galore!

If you would like Resolve to Evolve or Here to the New Year in Good Cheer stickers to put on packages or love letters, or a mini Resolve to Evolve journal, respond in the comments below. Please leave your contact info below so I know where to ship your goodies.

It’s my way of rewarding you for reading and responding. (And don’t worry, your privacy is a big deal to me. I don’t let anyone have access to the information you share with me.)

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Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 5 – Plan E

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It’s Day 5 of the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge.  “E” hopes to electrify and energize you so you are engaged, entertained, and ultimately enriched by reading.

“E” words encapsulate the experiences I enthusiastically endeavor to share with everyone I encounter. From embody to evolve, I envision programs to help expand, explore, and exude the excitement of enriching lives by fully engaging in them.

What word epitomizes today’s tip? As much as I enjoy verbs like empower, embolden, express, evoke, enliven, and emphasize, for this challenge I’m electing to endorse the idea of emerging. 

Derek Rydall  has an entire education system based on the Law of Emergence.  Derek encourages us to achieve our potential by activating the genius already in us, not looking for it elsewhere.

What’s outside may very well enthrall and entice us.  But when we embrace the existing excellence inside, it enables us to engineer our own brand of brilliance.

So how might this advice come in handy, especially during the holidays?  Well, rather than eating, drinking, or shopping excessively at the first sign of stress, try to ease into the ensuing mental exercise.

Extricate, evacuate, or evict yourself from the situation, if possible. If you can’t escape, breathe slowly and deeply and empty your mind of emotionally charged exchanges. Remind yourself you are equal to the task at hand and able to enjoy what is going on around you as well as within you.  Perhaps an epiphany will enlighten you. (And peace will guide the planet. And love will steer the stars.)

What effect do “e” words have on you?  Please express them in the comments below. I’m not trying to extort you, but there could be a prize in it for you.

Tomorrow we have the letter “F” to look forward to. See you then.

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It’s How You Play the Game

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It’s not whether you win or lose,” the saying goes, “but how you play the game.

This comment is usually offered to the side that didn’t win.

I avoid writing about politics because, given the state of the union, I could easily offend half of you. Please know that is not my intention.

My intention is to write my way out of the aftermath of a game played with so much  disrespect and lack of decency that I feel gutted, traumatized, and heartbroken. Not just because of who won or lost but because of how we played the game.

Families, cities, states were divided in what felt like a civil war, except that there was nothing civil about it. Things were said, threats were made, and stunts were pulled that may work for reality TV, but as the foundation of our reality is truly terrifying.

I want to believe nobody voted for discrimination, exclusion, or hatred. I have to believe we all voted for what we believe in and who we thought could best bring about the change we seek.

But voting is not something we do with our heads.  It’s a primal thing we do with our hearts. Sadly, we can’t fact check the unspoken fears that live in our hearts because in order to control them, we kept them hidden.

Consequently, no one can predict their power at the polls until they surface and surprise us from ballots cast across the country in the privacy and anonymity of a voting booth or safety of our homes.

Clearly, we are unhappy. We are stressed. We are tired of government meddling in our affairs. We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.

But we also have so much to be grateful for. We have come so far on so many fronts. We seem to have lost sight of that in our rage against the machine and each other.

It’s easy to blame others for our discontent. But when we point a finger at someone else,  four are pointing back at us. We can project the blatant bad behavior on to others, but if we recognize it in others and are willing to be brutally honest with ourselves, eventually we recognize it in ourselves as well.

Because happiness is an inside job, we have to start with the man or woman in the mirror. When we abdicate our own power, we open the door to bullies who are more than willing to use it against us.

While we cannot control what bullies do or say, we can control how we respond.  And that response determines how we move forward.

You can add fuel to the fire of fear, anger, and hatred or you can practice peace, compassion, and decency.

As Stephen Colbert suggested, you can “get back to your life.” And in doing so, recommit to living consciously, intentionally, and with as much love and integrity as you can possibly muster.

It won’t be easy. Especially if you are discouraged, afraid, or otherwise disenfranchised. But I promise you, the world needs your light. When one of us shines brightly, we all do.

I wish our country didn’t need to go to the extremes it did for the past year to collectively learn the lessons this election offered up.

Mistakes were made. Assumptions were interpreted as facts. Unprecedented incivility was unleashed. A lot was at stake and lines were crossed that, as a country, we’ll have a hard time recovering from.

Playing the game this way has left us all bruised and battered.

As we move forward, I hope we will be kind to one another. I hope we can realize we are all fighting the good fight and, despite our differences, we have more that unites us than divides us.

In the days to come I wish you the kind of courage that allows you to speak up, act on your beliefs, cope with challenges, and carry on with conviction. Doing so sets us all free.

I’d love to hear how you will share your light in the comments below.

 

Survey Says…

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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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Don’t Stop Believing

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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?