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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Do When Life Gives You Lemons?

AdobeStock_88952161.jpeg

In my effort to be more visible, to show up more fully, and put my whole self in, I’ve decided to make a series of videos called A Penny for Your Thoughts.

Each week I will explore a topic and invite you to join me in this grand adventure.  You are welcome to send in topics as well as your own videos.

If you are under 30, I’m guessing you’re totally up to the challenge and wondering why it took me so long to ask.

I can say with some amount of certainty that if you’re over 40, the mere thought of making a video is enough to cause a panic attack.

I know this because making videos is terrifying for me.  It absolutely unnerves me. Possibly because the Invisibility Cloak I got for my 40th birthday has become a bit of a security blanket for me by now.  And most likely because when a writer becomes visible, it’s a total game-changer.

No one notices my crooked teeth, thinning hair, thickening waste, or messy kitchen when I’m writing.  Everyone notices when I show up on their computer screen.

Videos = Visibility = Vulnerability

You know those dreams – nightmares, really – when you show up to a big event but somehow have forgotten your shirt or pants or find yourself completely naked?  That’s what it feels like to make a video.

But it’s also the best way I know to let you see my passion, my quirkiness, my commitment to my craft, to lifelong learning, and to you, my faithful reader.

I’ve been blogging for 6 years now. I thought we might be ready to take this relationship to the next level.  What do you say?

Okay then. Strap in.  Adjust your helmets. It’s going to get interesting.  And hopefully, even fun.

I know it’s a little hard to hear the audio part with the music. I’m using Adobe Spark and tried to turn the music down as much as I could but I couldn’t figure out how to delete it during the video segments when I was talking. Clearly, I needed to use a microphone.

I promise the videos will get better as I learn! 🙂  I am also open to any of you video wizards giving me tips and suggestions.  You know who you are!  I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at penny@wellpower.com.

 

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Take Your Time

AdobeStock_126663818.jpeg

When I lived in Santa Fe, I used to housesit and dogsit for people. When a friend’s mother  passed away, she asked if I would stay at her mother’s house until she and her sister decided what to do with it.

This was no ordinary house. This was a gorgeous ranch with a guest house in one of my favorite places on earth. I was sure everyone was mistaken and I was really the one who had died because this was my idea of heaven. The days I got to spend in that home among so many beautiful things were unforgettable.

My friend’s mother was a remarkable woman who had crafted an astonishingly elegant life for herself and the friends, family, horses, and canines that kept her company.

One evening as I sat on the porch watching a spectacular sunset the idea occurred to me that I couldn’t hang on to this place or this experience any more than my friend’s mother could. The only thing I could do was fully appreciate the time I had there.

This is why I’m so protective of this time at the end of the year and seem obsessed with making sense of the year coming to a close.  I’m acutely aware that, as the classic Seals and Croft song goes, “We may never pass this way again.”

So I want to make sure I’m present for it. That I don’t rush through it in my desire to move on to bigger, better, faster, or flashier. I want to take my time and give it the attention a full year of my life deserves. I hope you’ll do the same with yours.

With that said, I’ll take you through the rest of the Year in Review template and tomorrow I’ll give you a different one to look at the year ahead.

What were the products that rocked your world? Every year there is at least one thing I wonder how I ever lived without. Usually it’s an upgrade or improvement to something I use every day. It could be as simple as a new electric toothbrush, slim velvet hangers, a new skincare product, or an app that reminds me to meditate, move, or feed the fish. What are those things for you?

Who were the people who rocked your world? Just as there are products you can’t live without, there are people who make it all worthwhile. It could be your yoga teacher, your rabbi, a rock star, a writer, your next door neighbor, Alexander Hamilton, or the dog-treat-dispensing bank teller. I was inspired by so many people that this will have to be a separate blog post for me.

What books, blogs, movies, music, concerts, conversations, or workshop/seminars/coaching programs/retreats changed the way you think and feel? The thing I like to remember is I am only one thought away from a new perspective and a few dance moves or dog walk away from a better mood. As much as I like to think about things, I don’t act on them until I feel something. Often times I need a nudge in the form of reading material, listening material, phoning a friend, or giving in to the unbridled enthusiasm of two dogs who think they are going for a w-a-l-k.

How did your relationships change or shift this year? Did you get engaged, married, divorced, have a baby, lose a loved one, start a business, hire a coach, fire someone, rekindle a romance, move to a new neighborhood, or retire from your job? When your circumstances change, usually your relations shift as well.

What health, fitness, food, or spiritual practices did you try, tweak, test out, or keep up this year? Maybe you took up archery or turned into a total foodie, much to your surprise and delight. Maybe you started a hip hop class or became a Buddhist. Maybe you did a 21-day cleanse or tried acupuncture. Or maybe you suffered a debilitating illness that turned your world upside down and forced you to do everything differently. How have these new practices defined you or allowed you to reinvent yourself?

What is the smallest change you made that had the biggest impact? Did you start meditating for 5 minutes in the morning or stop drinking soda? Did you start leaving love notes in your spouse’s lunchbox? Did you take up taekwondo with your kid? Did you give up lattes for Lent and never looked back?

And finally, what were your greatest contributions this year? Maybe you spent a Saturday afternoon being a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Maybe you took 3 carloads of career ready clothes to Dressed for Success. Maybe you sponsored a child, saved yourself and your children and left an abusive relationship, or fed some local families during the holidays. Whatever you did, make a note of it. It mattered.

Tomorrow I’ll look at what you want to call in for 2017.  But for today, take your time and tell me about your year in the comments below.

here_to_the_new_year_in_good_cheer

 

 

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Let’s Review

AdobeStock_129791512.jpeg

This week might be one of my favorite weeks of the year. Not just because I work in education and get this week off, but also because it gives me some breathing space.

I look forward to this time all year to reflect on the lessons learned, experience gained, relationships rekindled or lost, and the unexpected surprises that buoyed my spirits or broke my heart.

Some of these things were in my control and many of them were not. Either way this year  provided a continually expanding arena for me to rearrange my perception of my place in the universe.

In an effort to become more visible and accessible, I became aware of how small I’ve been playing for a long time and how safe it is to do so.  The minute I risked becoming more visible and having an opinion, an agenda, or an attitude, I risked opening myself to judgment, criticism, and haters.

I can live with that. It appears to be the price of admission to a non-apologetic life.

What I can’t live with is being a writer and censoring myself so as not to offend or otherwise ruffle a few feathers. There were many things that had me worked up this year. It was also the year I embarked on an Integrity Cleanse so not writing about them was not possible.

As a writer, my job is to articulate the emotions underneath the issues so you can feel them in a way you may not have, left to your own devices.

I take this job very seriously. And though I don’t get paid to do it or enjoy celebrity status because of it, it’s the most rewarding thing I do. Because of you.

If reading makes us feel less alone in the world, then writing makes us feel more understood.

The greatest satisfaction I get from writing is knowing that some of you are reading this and thinking,”I know exactly what she’s talking about.” Especially when I describe the crazy stuff or make an obscure reference to something you thought you were the only one who remembered or had an experience of.

After a long day at work, I know I can retreat to my writing room and send something out into the world that will come back with a reassuring, “I hear you, honeyWelcome to my world.”

As I begin my week-long year in review, I want to start with saying thank you for being a consistent source of delight in my world and an incentive to keep pushing the envelope, expressing unspoken hopes and fears, and sprinkling a healthy dose of humor on ridiculous situations.

In between dog walks, reading, and savoring some quiet time at home, today I’m working on a few templates I’ll share with you tomorrow.

In the meantime, please share your highlights from 2016 in the comments below or email them to me at penny@wellpower.com.

here_to_the_new_year_in_good_cheer

Save

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Plan “X-Y-Z”

AdobeStock_46430804.jpeg

It’s not that each of these letters aren’t worthy of their own plan in the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. It’s just that I’d like to finish the whole alphabet plan this week so we can get down to business next week preparing to ring in the New Year.

Like a well-planned exit strategy from a job or a relationship or a location, a well-thought out exit strategy for the year will yield excellent results.

While you may yearn for a yacht, a yellow submarine, or a career in yodeling, you can’t get from zero to hero without a little strategic planning.

You may zig. You may zag. You may even zip around in order to convince yourself you are getting there fast.  But as Aretha once asked, Who’s zoomin’ who?” Let’s get real about what it’s going to take.

So after we have ourselves a merry little Christmas and make the yuletide gay, we’ll recap 2016. We’ll leverage what we’ve learned so we can leap into 2017 with every intention of 10Xing the results we can expect once we get clear on why we want them.

I appreciate you reading and working through the Alphabet Plan. All I want for Christmas is to hear how these tips helped you or someone you love through the holidays.

Please leave your comments below.  Or just pipe in and share how you are spending the holidays. What are your favorite traditions, foods, presents, places, or parties? I love learning from you and knowing what matters to you.

here_to_the_new_year_in_good_cheer

P.S. If you’d like to trade in your fruitcake or other interesting gifts for a perfectly-sized Resolve to Evolve journal, just fill out the info below and I’ll send you one.  No need to send me the fruitcake in exchange though. 🙂