Are your Resolutions Really Smart?

Happy New Year!! New Year, New You… Resolution Time.

How many of us in that week before New Year’s Day, set resolutions or resolved not to set any resolutions because after all it won’t stick?

How many kept last year’s resolutions or even remember them?

We all have done it.

Yet the New Year, the changing of the calendar, the ball dropping, wishes for a better next year bring visions of the future and what we would like it to be. Wall calendar

Webster’s Dictionary defines resolution as “something that is resolved” (definition 3). It echoes definition 1 which includes the act or process of resolving, such as the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones

 So, resolutions are about ideas.  I’m going to lose 30 pounds, read 60 books, learn the piano, find the love of my life.  Simple statements that hide complex notions. But all are about taking a great you and making you even better.

We cannot just think or wish these things into being. It may begin with the thought and the feeling but…

What we really want are outcomes…. results.

Will I meet the love of my life sitting on my couch? (Online only relationships do not qualify as the love of your life)

Will I lose 30 pounds sitting on my couch. Unless I never get up to eat and that’s called starvation.

I might read 60 books sitting on that couch if I have them handy or on an e-reader app and turn off the TV.

blindfold-target-261928430-ss-1920You’ve all heard of SMART goals.

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Reasonable

Time-bounded (deadline)

We have all made a resolution at New Year’s or during the year… weight, job, smoking, relationships, self-improvement and at one time or another didn’t keep them.

Why? What are we missing? Were our SMART goals not smart enough? Let’s look at the ever-popular New Year’s lose weight resolution.

Let’s suppose we each resolve to lose 30 pounds. It’s specific with respect to weight and measurable (assuming we have a scale). Depending on our starting and our ending point, we will work on the assumption that it is reasonable (healthy).  It is probably attainable if it is reasonable.  It does lack being time-bounded.

Let’s refine it by saying we will lose the weight by Memorial Day weekend and that the time frame is reasonable.

We start that diet on January 2.  We eat the right stuff, join a gym and go every day to start. And just like last year, many of us drift back to status quo. By March, we feel guilty about that new gym membership that we pay for but don’t use.

Why did our SMART goal not work?

I believe the answer to that is that we must BE SMART.

BE….

Because. We must BE clear on our WHY. We are making a resolution, looking for an outcome, Because we want……. What?  question mark

We must get clarity around what we value and what is important to us. Is it connection, freedom, beauty, fitness, respect, fun, family, self-esteem or a combination of value words? The ones here are just a few possibilities. You can fill in your own or if you’d like a longer list to think on, email me at pointreachcoaching@gmail.com.

 

Whatever future we might envision, we must have clarity about what we value so that we can create a future that aligns with those values and set the right goals to achieve it.

Write down 3-5 values words that resonant the most with you. How does your resolution/goal align with any of those words? Share in the comments below.

Once there is clarity about the Because, then action can begin.

Results require action. Real results require planned sustained actions.  That requires the other part of BE.

ENERGY.

Next time I’ll discuss ENERGY and its part in engagement, focus and  energy falters.

 

 

 

What do Ebenezer and George Have in Common?

It’s that time of year for family, faith/spirituality, trees, shopping, cooking, gatherings and binge-watching Christmas movies.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Two of my classic favorites are A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life. I watched these movies this week through the eyes of a Core Energy Coach. (see my previous post for an introduction to Core Energy Leadership and Catabolic and Anabolic Energy.  I began to see the energetic journey similarities in Ebenezer Scrooge and George Bailey.

They both start the movies in very catabolic states. They feel victim to their surroundings. Scrooge is angry and feels put-upon, a victim of those who would celebrate the season and share their joy and good fortune (however much or little that is) with those less fortunate. Bah-humbug!  When we first meet the adult George that Clarence is to save, we find that George feels like a powerless victim, invisible and unnecessary. He feels as if his life has been for nothing.  He is a victim of circumstances that seem to have thwarted his dreams.

Through flashbacks, we learn that both Ebenezer and George start life “knowing” that their purpose is to escape their current environment. They do not belong where they are and feel separate from that place and the people. But how effective is it to run FROM something as opposed to running TOWARD something? If you do not know your purpose, see yourself as part of a greater fabric, and where you are going to, you may end up trapped and a “victim” of life.

In A Christmas Carol, we learn through The Ghost of Christmas Past, Ebenezer is trapped in boarding school, away from home and family, feeling unloved and unworthy.  As he cannot initially escape boarding school, he throws himself into his school work hoping that in exceling he can be found worthy. He focuses on numbers and, consequently, money. It is quantifiable and, for him, a measure of self-worth.scrooge boy

He feels a victim and angry. So he will “show them” by accumulating more and more of his surrogate for worth – wealth/coin and through it power over others and a feeling of self-importance.  He is living with destructive Catabolic Energy.

For George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, we see that in his early youth, he would pull the lever in the drug store and always say “I wish I had a million dollars”. Of course, this toy seemed to award the wish. His plan is to “shake the dust” of his hometown off and “see the world”. Money would give him freedom.  We even see him degrade his father’s choice (although perhaps unintentionally).  But his father’s stroke and death, interrupt George’s plans and take him unwillingly down another path. He feels trapped by forces outside himself and forced into taking over the Savings and Loan. George becomes an apathetic victim. Another level of draining catabolic energy. Of, course Mr. Potter is a case study all by himself.

Through the intervention of Marley and the three spirits of Christmas, Ebenezer raises his Core Energy. He is “redeemed” and establishes connections with those around him and empathy. He steps away from the ego-centered catabolic energy and into the joy of self-transcendence. He has seen that he is part of the whole of mankind. He vows to keep the Spirit of Christmas in his heart every day.

With the help of Clarence, George raises his awareness of how his actions changed the lives of so many people and raise his energy to a very anabolic level. We watch George’s reactions move from apathy to anger to compassion for those whose lives were made worse by his not being born. Then, in the final scenes, George realizing that he wants to go back to the original world and accepts that he will face personal consequences for the loss but that others will be better off, finds inner peace and returns to his reality.  There It's a WOnderful Lifehe is greeted by the final lesson that he is part of everyone and everyone is part of him, when the town pours in to support him. His clearly apparent joy is made even greater when the bell rings on the Christmas tree and it is pronounced by Zuzu that it means an angel (Clarence) has gotten their wings.

I believe that these movies resonant for me because of that inner journey the characters go on.  I want to go there with them, to the peace and joy of the final scenes, the healing that occurs to get there, to becoming the best version of myself.

We are all not Scrooges or George Baileys in their opening state… well not entirely. But we all want to become the best versions of ourselves. That’s why I do what I do. I believe we all want that better version of ourselves looking back at us in the mirror. We want to realize our highest potential.

Isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are about?

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season and an Anabolic 2019.giphy happy scrooge

 

 

Restore: Managing the White Space on Your Calendar

We’ve all done it. Come on… admit it.   You’ve spent a day on the couch, reading, watching TV, napping.

But, how do we know if we are restoring ourselves or just procrastinating?

“What is the difference?” you say, “At the end of the day, I got nothing done and I’m still behind.”

Here is what I’ve observed, in myself. If I am procrastinating than I feel an excess level of guilt about the things I should be doing. And the things I stress the most about are the things I want to do the least. Sometimes accompanied by thoughts around “But WHY do I have to do this? How will it improve things?” You remember the homework days, right?

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Procrastination is defined as the putting off of something intentionally and habitually. It carries the implication of laziness or apathy.  It is often associated with the avoidance of an undesirable task: laundry, a term paper, paying bills when money is tight.

But what about the downtime of recharging and restoration? Should we avoid it, feel guilty if we take time off to do nothing “important”?

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I work for a major bank as a platform banker during the day. I am that person you go to about opening a checking account, applying for a loan, when your account or card information has been stolen, when you have spent more than you have in your account.  It is an energy demanding job.

Most days I can come home and after some transitioning with mail opening, dinner, kitchen cleaning; I can focus on the things that I believe will shape my next five years.  I have blocked out my time for reading, writing, studying. Meeting with peers and clients for accountability and coaching.

Then there are those other evenings.  Like the wood in my fireplace I could not get ignited.  There were things that I wanted to do. But I was beset by a nagging tiredness.  I WANTED to do things but couldn’t work up the get up and go.  It wasn’t a physical tiredness, it was mental. My brain said STOP!

So, I park myself in my favorite chair or on the couch and channel surf. Nothing looks particularly exciting, so I settle on one of the Hallmark Channels where the plots are sweet and unlikely to damage neurons.  What is your go-to must-watch?

Or perhaps it is a long walk by myself, with or with earbuds. In my ears, I might be listening to either music or a fun fiction novel.

One of the things I have learned as I have grown older is that downtime is necessary and an important task in and of itself.

When we are in our twenties, just starting out, making a name and a life for ourselves, there was no time for downtime. We work, we study, we play hard. We get home at 4 AM and are back at our desks before 9 AM ready to do it all again. And the years rush by, often without a thought as to where we are going.

Then comes the day when we ask “Why am I doing this? Why don’t I feel fulfilled or feel joy?”

Hopefully, we find that quiet café where we can sit and read for fun. Or it might be the walking trail that mutes the noise of life with that shady tree to sit under and listen to nature, to our thoughts.

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To learn to be in the moment before the moment has passed.

I know that when I do my mind relaxes and wanders down corridors of purpose, goals and focus. And because I have learned the value of restoration…. I let it wander and observe where it goes.

And, if we truly listen, to embrace the wisdom of the quiet moments, we rise restored.

We can find ourselves.

I call it the white space in the calendar. Those blocks of time from 15 minutes to hours when you set aside commitments, the to-do list, and the rabbit hole of social media to just be.

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Guess you can see why I’m pretty sure art is not part of my life purpose.

While it is CLEARLY not one of my gifts, I do have a HUGE appreciation for those who can create images that inspire and bring joy.

 

Where do you go for restoration? What do you do to find that meditative space and reconnect with your core energy?

No whites space? Do your real self a favor and create some.

Share your white space experience with us in the comments.

 

Walking the Talk on the Boardwalk; TEDx Asbury Park 2018 Pt 1

What’s your passion?

I am a Jersey Girl and spent many summers of my youth on the storied boardwalk. I rode the Carousel, jumped over the waves, dug in the wet sand in search of treasure, and peeked into Madame Marie’s hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious psychic.

For me, Asbury Park carries deep energy and resonates today with the passion of the people who came before and the ones that are the present and future. But it remains a city struggling with its identity and the racial and social issues that have marred its potential.

Now, I spend time there with family and friends enjoying the beach, the food, the music , the arts and the vibe.

On Saturday May 19, I attended the TEDx talks at the historic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, NJ.

This year’s theme…. PASSION

TEDx Passion was a day long event that gave voice to 20 speakers and performers. Over several posts interspersed between others in the coming months, I will be sharing my thoughts and reactions to just a few of the amazing speakers I had the honor of experiencing.

Some I already knew, like the music of Emily Grove, Arlan Feiles, and JT Bowen.  If you are not familiar with them, find them online and listen. If you are fortunate enough to be able to see them perform live… GO.

Arlan appeared twice. First with JT Bowen where they shared their voices in songs that inspired and uplifted the audience. Then Arlan returned to the stage alone with his keyboard, the large screen, the story of his song Viola, and the woman who inspired it.

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Viola Liuzzo was a mother of five, wife and deeply passionate woman and activist who lived in Michigan. In 1965, she followed her passion an answered the call for social justice and joined Dr. King and others on the March from Selma to Montgomery. On the drive back, she was assassinated by the Ku Klux Klan. She is the only known white woman to be murdered by the Klan. She was 39 years old.

Viola_Liuzzo

In an age where we are facing so many challenges, where the fight for equality is far from over in this country and around the world, Arlan’s song reminds us of what has happened and what still needs to be done, of a woman for whom her purpose and passion for justice and a better world was worth risking and losing her life.

Listen to Arlan’s song Viola, here.

We are not all called to lay down our lives for a purpose, but we are all called to seek our purpose and passion and live it.

Do you know your purpose and passion? Are you seeking it?  Share your thoughts in the comments. Share this with others so that they can experience Arlan’s music and Viola’s story.

The Only Thing Certain is…. YOU

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

~~~ Frank Herbert

 

The only thing certain is change.  We hear it and nod in agreement. But when it arrives, we sometimes curl up in a ball or deny its existence. We often resist change in either obvious or subtle ways. That is human inertia

Inertia is the tendency to of an object to resist any change in motion or direction. In the physical world, it is why your groceries fly off the back seat when you hit the brakes too forcefully. The car has stopped its forward motion, but the groceries have not.  Your cell phone flies off the dashboard when you hit the gas because the car is moving but the phone is not.

So, we and, more importantly, our thoughts and therefore our actions are subject to inertia. Our jobs or relationships are moving in the wrong direction (too much stress, too little pay, long hours, …), yet we stay in the same job or relationship. We find all kinds of reasons (read excuses).  I have bills to pay. Or, my favorite, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Fear creates inertia.

I once worked for a company that had an extremely toxic environment.  They had acquired my employer. Having been there for many years and being a good networker, I had acquaintances in a broad number of locations. I heard the same complaints from many of them. They told me they hated coming to work, it was impacting their health, and their families. When I asked what they were going to do about it, I heard many of the statements I listed above. Some are still with this company and still unhappy.

miserable man

I agreed with their complaints. But, unlike them, I began looking for options outside that employer. Little did I know at the time that coming from this employer was not a feather in your cap.  But finally, I had had enough, my health, my relationships and, most importantly, my integrity were suffering. I resigned.

I had no new job and the word on the street was that this employer would challenge your unemployment claim if your resigned so “don’t bother applying”. So, I took a part-time job at a local supermarket slicing cold cuts.  Some people in my life were astounded… two masters degrees and you are doing this?

But I had to DO something until I found something. I could not let fear of change keep me in a toxic job. I could not let fear of what other people thought keep me stalled. When things are in a bad place, having and executing a plan keeps me focused and positive.

Fear is natural and understandable. It is human instinct that allowed our ancestors to survive by recognizing a threat to our existence. In our ancestor’s brain fear triggered a fight or flight response. When faced with a threat (a large raging carnivore or angry human), it heightened their awareness so that they could instantaneously decide if the threat could be fought and defeated or should they exit rapidly to fight another day.

Modern man cannot just club another human over the head (at least not without serious legal consequences) and it is difficult to physically run from a modern threat. So instead, we may internalize the fear response, over and over again. It becomes the voice in our head that keeps us frozen in place, the mind killer.  It becomes the inner critic, the Gremlin, that whispers:

“Why try, it won’t work.”

“People will laugh at you, if you do _______”

“If you want someone to like/love you, you won’t do that.”

We are often too close it to see the Gremlin.

If we are going to truly live the life we want, have the fulfillment and success we want, we must break past the fear, the inner voice that says stop.   Are you ready to take yourself or your business to the next level? Are you at a crossroads and feel something is holding you back?

cheering woman

Have you been there? Are you there now? Share in Comments

The Cat and the River

How did I get here and where to from here? Questions I think any self-aware person asks themselves with a fair amount of frequency.

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“Cheshire Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cheshire Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Ah, the wisdom of Lewis Carroll. Five powerful lines. We are all Alice. The Cheshire Cat asks Alice where she is going. She answers by asking him to tell her which way she should go. How many of us have looked to others to tell us which way to go?

But the Cat is wise and won’t give an easy answer. He gives the answer that makes all of us cringe…. That depends….

But our Alice admits she doesn’t know. And gets the frustrating but logical response from The Cat.

But I have always wanted to know. Even if my steps seemed odd or illogical to some, they were and are part of finding my why, my purpose.

I’ll bet you can guess I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself those questions. It prompted me to work on my meditation practice, to view my walks as part of my thinking time, to a goal of finding time to sit by the water.

This past Fall, I was on vacation from my day job. During that time away, I chose to sit by the beautiful Navesink River in Red Bank NJ to spend an amazing half hour on the phone with Kim Fulcher, an extraordinary coach and then to sit and think.

My choice of setting on that beautiful day was deliberate. The serenity and beauty of the river in Autumn added to the openness and power of the conversation. I could have taken the call in a Starbucks with a venti pumpkin spice latte in front of me. But the experience would have changed. The hustle and bustle of a café would not have been as conducive to turning inward. You know INWARD, that place to start when you look to where your outward path lies so you can successfully get there.

Perhaps, it is because water is a natural reflector. Perhaps, it is the flow of water and the things it carries past and away from us on its currents. Rivers are a metaphor for life and time. It is no accident that rivers are key settings in many of the greatest novels, myths and music.

When you open yourself up to the Universe, the Universe answers. Over the Fall and Winter, many people added their voices to acknowledge the energy and path I was on. I began to further explore, read about and sharpen my tools and skills to further that path. I started a small group called Work Your Purpose to support others looking at their journey. I connected with Juju Hook and Mary Rogers  who have been amazing mentors and their guidance is invaluable.

Sitting there on that beautiful Fall day, I began to see a current in my life. Kim Fulcher encouraged me to explore and expand my coaching purpose.  Watching the river, the currents, eddies, whitecaps raised by the wind, I could see better the flow of energy that had led me to that conversation by the river.  It was time to raise my sails.

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We all know that the river leads to the ocean where the world is deeper and wider, the tides and currents stronger and there may be rocks ahead.  I have been blessed to find coaches, mentors and colleagues to be my beacons on this journey. I have seen that point on my horizon and have the resources to reach it.

I have embraced my purpose. I am a life and business coach in service of others. I am here to support your exploration through questioning to find the answers that are inside you, to help clear the blocks and obstacles that keep you from reaching your point on the horizon.  Because, like me, you know the river leads to oceans of opportunity, you just need a lighthouse to guide you on your course.

So welcome to Point Reach Coaching and my blog.  My path has led me to a place where I want to talk about many things. I will share my thoughts and activities, and the occasional author interviews and reviews of books (after all what is life without a good novel). I will invite and share with you posts from others on topics I find and hope you’ll find interesting.

If I can be of service to you on your journey from the point you are now to the goals you want to reach in your life or business, feel free to email me.