Cease Fire September

Cease FireSeptember.png

Happy Labor Day, my friends!

Since our Get Stuff Done & Have Fun 21 Day Challenge ended in August, I thought we needed a new theme for September.

I got the idea of Cease Fire September from none other than our Get Stuff Done & Have Fun winner, Gilbert Higuera.

Like Gilbert, I’ve noticed we can all be a little critical of ourselves (and others) when things do not go as planned. So instead of bashing, trashing, guilting, or goading ourselves into submission or compliance, I say we call a cease fire and stop with the incessant shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.

Let’s just let things be as they are for the moment. No judgments.

Think Switzerland.

Think neutral.

Think neither good nor bad.

It is what it is.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t try your darnedest to change things or make things better. It just means that when change doesn’t happen quickly or easily or at all like you’ve planned, you don’t ridicule yourself for trying.

In my experience things seldom go the way I think they will or they should or I would like them to.

Sometimes they go even better!

But often times it’s just another day in paradise where I get to learn something new. Like how not to do something. Or how to tweak something just a smidge so it will work better next time.

Freaking out or abandoning the entire project does not contribute to the greater good. Mine or any one else’s.  It just gives me further “proof” of my ineptitude at the expense of  the innovative or creative thinking that prompted the idea in the first place.

Few things work right out of the gate. Despite what our culture tells us, overnight successes are usually years in the making.

I learn best by practicing and I practice best when I have partners. Since some of you have already been Getting Stuff Done & Having Fun with me in August, I thought you might want to continue on this journey in September with a new challenge.

If you haven’t done a challenge with me before, now is the time to start! You can participate as much or as little as you like.

The best way to do this is to join our Facebook group – Get Stuff Done & Have Fun. If you don’t use Facebook, then just follow along here or on Instagram at pjplautz.

I like to use a catchy phrase so I remember to practice what I preach at the precise moment I’m about to forget it.  Something like, “Think twice and be nice,” might work for this month.

What do you think?

 

Share the ways you are practicing a little kindness, self-compassion, or neutrality in the comments below.

 

Retreat Photo

PS – The Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat is just 19 days away.  If you want to get in on this amazing day away, you still have time.  You can even get in on the Early Bird Pricing until September 8th.  (We know you are busy and may have forgotten to register by September 1, so we are extending a grace period for registering at the special price through this Friday, September 8th. Call 1-888-336-3907 to register for #187799 or register online at www.eicc.edu/continuing-education/register/). If you want to know more about the retreat, click on the Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat tab at the top of the page.

Don’t Let Chaos Eclipse Calm

Chaos vs. Calm

The topic of this week’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series is chaos. Specifically, how to keep calm in the midst of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.

I’m fairly certain if you’re alive on Planet Earth, you’re feeling the effects of the intense energy vying for your attention. Everywhere you look, you can find evidence of escalating emotions as it appears we have collectively taken the fun out of “dysfunctional” and now just frighten the life out each other.

But if you look closer and get quieter, I believe you’ll find evidence that we are equally committed to collaboration, communication, and contemplation.

Admittedly it takes practice to cultivate consciousness in the midst of collective chaos.  It’s difficult to decipher the facts and figure out what’s really going on. It takes courage to stand up for what’s true and what’s right for you. And it’s almost impossible to interrupt the pattern you’ve been programmed to run when you get scared or feel threatened.

But it’s imperative that you are able to question, object, or offer another perspective than the one that leads down the rabbit hole of doom, doubt, and drama.

With all that’s already on your plate, I’m going to assume you are not looking for yet another cause to commit your evenings and weekends to.  So I’m going to suggest a simple practice that you can do anywhere, anytime you feel stressed.

It’s a simple tapping exercise that I originally learned from Gabrielle Bernstein that goes like this.

  • Touch your thumb and your pointer finger and say the word “Peace”
  • Next touch our thumb and your middle finger and say the word “begins”
  • Then touch your thumb and your ring finger and say the word “with”
  • And finally touch your thumb and your pinky finger and say the word “me”.

You can substitute the word for whatever quality you wish to experience in place of “peace”.  It’s easy to do.  It’s so subtle no one even has to know what you are doing.  And it’s a tactile reminder for you to call in the quality that you most need in the moment.

Because sometimes all you need is a moment to restore your equilibrium.  I like to say you are only one thought away from a new perspective.  It’s just getting to that thought can take a little wrangling.

For more conversation around this topic, jump in on our FB Live Sunday Summer Stretch Series episode this evening at 7pm Central time.

We’d love to hear how you keep calm and carry on.  Leave your feedback or suggestions in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Vision Quest

AdobeStock_77340505.jpeg

The topic of today’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series is perspective.

Hopefully the Get Stuff Done & Have Fun 21 Day Challenge has prompted you to view what’s fun for you to do as something that’s also essential for you to do.

The 5-10 minutes it took to do something creative, thoughtful, or fun as part of your daily challenge most likely colored your whole day with a dollap of delight that just a few days ago you may have determined you didn’t have time for.

Think of all the joy you would have missed just last week alone!

By now you could be seven days into the challenge.  Even if you are only a day or two into it, how has challenging yourself changed your perspective?  What is possible for you now that you didn’t think was possible last week?

Here’s what I learned is possible for me.

I am smart enough to deal with IT issues by calling the help desk and patient enough to stay on the phone as long as it takes to resolve the issue. While this is anything but fun for me, it does give my inner geek a thrill to reconfigure my whole internet setup so that it runs faster and with less downtime. And there is a badge of honor that comes with surviving the on-hold hell of being transferred and re-routed and explaining your situation succinctly to each new agent.

Ironically, every time I uplevel my business or upgrade my skills, it’s as difficult as the first time. Sometimes, even more so because I assume I know what I’m getting into and the learning curve will be easier. But not having been at this level or having dealt with the difficulties that come with playing in a bigger arena, I can’t know what I don’t know until I’m faced with not knowing.

That’s where beginner’s mind is most helpful.

And tech support.

Since I got my first MacBook Pro in May, the Apple Care people have become my new BFFS. Yesterday is was the WordPress Happiness Engineers.  Today it was my foreign friends at Netgear who spent the morning teaching me about modems and routers and secret reset button that you press with a paper clip after entering a special code. (Not disclosed in the instructions.)  Tomorrow I suspect the people at Mail Chimp will be welcomed into the fold.

And what a curious fold it is!

“It takes a village” is all I can say.  To build a dream, create a life, find a tribe, or manifest a vision. It takes a pit crew. The kindness of strangers.  A treasure map. Some perspective. And a few good dogs snoring and farting freely at your feet.

Let me know in the comments below what you are dreaming up and how I might support you.

 

 

Rules of Engagement

AdobeStock_116736729.jpeg

Today’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series topic – engagement – takes last week’s topic of Showing Up one step further. Because if you were at all impressed with what happened when you showed up and were present, you’ll be blown away by what happens when you show up and engage with others.

How many of you who are reading this – or any number of blogs – have left a comment? If you haven’t, what stops you?

  • You don’t want to take the time or go through the hassle of figuring out how to actually leave a comment?
  • You’re reading it from a location that doesn’t lend itself to responding?
  • You think you don’t have anything to share?
  • You assume other people will respond so you don’t need to?
  • You prefer to keep a low profile and keep your opinions private or anonymous?

I certainly have used every one of the above reasons for not engaging with someone whose insights have totally shifted my way of thinking, saved the day, rocked my world, or even irritated the heck out of me.  So I totally get it.

I once read a blog post that challenged readers to engage by essentially calling us out as a cyber-stalkers. A bit harsh? Maybe. But I had to admit, I could be a bit more involved in the communities I was claiming to be a part of.  I posted my first comment that day on that blog.

Carolyn See’s book, Making A Literary Life, hints at something similar. She suggests we write a “charming note” to someone we admire in the industry five days a week , every week, for the rest of our lives.

Now that’s a tall order, but I bet you can write a charming note, send a quick email,  leave an encouraging comment, or, at least very least, “like” something once a week.  Just this morning I responded enthusiastically to an email from someone who consistently sends out great content. It made me feel as good as it’s bound to make the recipient feel.

This easily executable action not only helps another person feel appreciated. It allows me to be seen as a player, a contributor, an influencer or expert in my field. I really cannot afford to miss an opportunity like this to engage.

But Penny,” you argue, “it’s easy for you. You do this all the time.”

Oh, not so.  I’m a strange mix of an extroverted introvert.

If I know my job is to be the Hostess with the Mostess, I will play the part with gusto. It does takes practice, however. And I’m going to need a long stretch of silence and solitude to recover from that enormous output of energy.

But I’ve learned this.

Until you’re all in, until you do that thing that you think you cannot possibly do, you’re never going to succeed – even on your own terms. Because your success depends upon you showing up and engaging with others as only you can.

You cannot hold back.  You have to put your whole self in. Whether you shake it all about is your business.

How do you do that?

Let me share what I call my Rules of Engagement:

  • Suit up.
  • Show up.
  • Share.

Until you apply these rules of engagement with other human beings, no one is going to see and respond to your light in the way you long to be seen, felt, or heard.

I guarantee this will make you feel vulnerable. So we’ll talk about how to work with your vulnerability in next week’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series.

In the meantime, let me know in the comments below (or send me an email at penny@wellpower.com if that feels safer) what you’d love to be – or already are – known for, seen as, or valued and respected for.

For example, I’d love to be known as the go-to expert in transformational coaching. I’d love to be valued as someone who *gets* you and helps you unleash that certain something that makes you, you!

Now it’s your turn.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Also, head over to my YouTube Chanel, subscribe, and catch today’s video on Engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Learning Curve

AdobeStock_64919833.jpeg

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the Plan?

AdobeStock_116466425.jpeg

I ended 2016 very differently than I have most other years. Instead of going quietly into the New Year with as little fanfare as possible, I experienced a media blitz that had me working harder on my time off than I had at any other time throughout the year.

It was part of my whole alphabet plan to get from Here to the New Year in Good Cheer. It also allowed me to end 2016’s self-titled “Stretch Year” strong by catapulting me out of my comfort zone and consistently into the public arena.

Instead of building on this momentum and jockeying for position in the onslaught of self-improvement programs that January brings about, I retreated. In order to hear the still, small voice among all the shoulding and shouting, I had to get quiet.

As a college administrator, January rivals August as a “don’t mess with me” month. At least not until the students are registered, the faculty is prepped, the staff is informed, and we all get through the first few weeks of classes.

So I’ve resisted the urge to jump into every exciting new program that arrives in my Inbox as well as the temptation to launch my own signature program. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

There is a lot of buzz at the beginning of a New Year. It’s an excellent time to tap into the energy of a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate. As much as I wanted to ride the wave and see how far it would take me, I was starting to feel a bit frazzled.

So I asked myself, “What’s the workable plan for now?  What’s the next right step to move my life forward at a sustainable rate?” 

The answer? Plan my work and work my plan. This, of course, calls for a fabulous planner!

Last year I used Danielle LaPorte’s daily planner, which piqued my interest in planners. This year I decided to try out her weekly planner. Even though this planner works brilliantly for my creatively quirky mind, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are there other planners out there I might also love?”

Oh yeah. Being organized is big business.

I researched and ordered a few planners that made the top  10 lists. One was the Inkwell 2017 planner. This could possibly be my new favorite planner because of all the fun extras like a habit tracker, mission board, lots of space for notes, colorful tabs, and some pockets in the back to store stuff.

The other was Nourished the daily planner for a well-fed life.  I loved the concept and it seemed like the perfect planner to help me be more deliberate and intentional with my meal planning and fitness tracking. It just arrived over the weekend, so I haven’t worked with it too much yet.

As much as I love  each of these planners and are impressed by the details that went into their design, ultimately I have to customize them so they track what I deem important. I need a place to ask the clarifying questions on a daily basis that are just as important to me as knowing where I need to be at what time.

For example, every morning it helps me to ask:

  • What is this day about? 
  • What wants to come forward?  
  • What needs to get done?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • What am I willing to do to feel that way?

Every evening it helps me to figure out:

  • Where was the magic hiding?
  • Where did I get tripped up, lose focus, fall out of integrity, or tell myself something that wasn’t true?
  • What was lost? 
  • What was found?
  • What were the HappyThankYouMorePlease moments?
  • What brilliant ideas surfaced?
  • What thoughts consistently hound me?
  • What do I need to sleep on and hope to gain clarity on for tomorrow?
  • Where did I excel?
  • Where can I improve?

The answers to these questions dictate my actions and determine what makes it on the next day’s agenda.

What about you? How much attention do you pay to your day and how does this attention or lack of attention affect your ability to achieve what you want to achieve?

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. you may want to craft your own “I Have a Dreamspeech today. Even if you don’t have any inkling as to how to achieve it or the specifics of what you truly want, just start by stating what you believe is possible. You don’t have to deliver it to anyone else. This is mainly to remind you of what matters and why.

Or, if you are avoiding resolutions or self-reflection the way year-round exercisers avoid the gym until February, that’s okay.  Just breathe in, breathe out, and go about your business. Let the dream, the purpose, or the vision find you.

One of my favorite mantras is, “What you seek is also seeking you.” Somehow the timing is always perfect. Trust wherever you are is where you need to be for now.

You’ve got a whole year ahead of you. Plan accordingly.*

I’d love for you to share your favorite planners and any tips or tricks for making 2017 your best one yet in the comments below.

resolve_to_evolve_new

*P.S. –  There will no doubt be surprises and things you didn’t see coming in the year ahead.  Don’t forget to leave some room for the unexpected in your grand plan.  Keeps it interesting!

Save

Save