Start Your Engines….And Your Calendar

stick_figure_holding_checkered_flag_400_clr_3917I learned several years ago that I needed to write down everything that happens – AS IT HAPPENS.

Instinctively I knew this because as an ER doc I’ve seen many people hem and haw when asked about when this symptom started or how long they’ve had something. They simply don’t know. And in medicine it gives us an idea of the seriousness of an issue or even helps with the diagnosis to know things like incubation periods etc.

In life it’s very helpful for you to journal what happens. You can see your progress and you can even see the obstacles in your way.

“But I’m so busy” you say. How to get around that? Most people use a calendar of some sort. I have an old faithful computer program that I simply love. I can put appointments (or events) in the calendar so that at a quick glance I can tell what’s coming up and what has happened.  I can also open that date and add notes to my heart’s content. There is also a section for journal entries. I can store my whole life there.  Even if I write down symptoms and never use them, that’s great. But if I have to talk to a doctor, then I know what’s going on and how long it’s been going on, etc. I can be more informed and take a greater part in my care.

Why do I care? Because at the end of the year at the very least (and usually I like to do it at least every six months if not quarterly) I can look at this calendar, see what’s happened to me and I can calculate how much progress I’ve made in my life and how the various Universal Laws have impacted my life. I can look to see if there are things I’ve done (and even emotions I’ve felt if I’ve recorded them – another good reason to use a journal) that I would have liked to do differently. I can see progress or lack thereof.

“But it’s the middle of the year and I haven’t done anything to this point. I guess I’ll just wait to start at the first of the year.” – WRONG! Start now. Get those engines going right this minute.

Where Do I Start?

square_oneOften I get asked this question – Where do I start?

The first thing I have to ask is “start doing what?” I need to know what you’re after, what your goal is. I can’t tell you how to get to New York if I don’t know a) that you want to go there and b) where you are right now. Sure I could give you general directions to New York City but that would be my determination of where I thought you wanted to go. That’s not what you’re after I’m sure.

So you have to be specific about where you’re headed. Do you know what you want should be the first question. Then you need to know why you want “it”.

Thanks to Michael Hyatt for bringing these questions to my attention. I think they’ll help anyone who is going through any type of uncomfortable “situation” right now. The answers to these questions will help you figure out where you want to go. Sometimes just asking the questions will raise your vibrations and bring you into a much better state. Just as Abraham says – you won’t find the solution as long as you’re focused on the problem. You have to focus on the solution.

The answers we get are often determined by the questions we ask. If we ask bad questions, we will get bad answers. If we ask better questions—empowering questions—we will get better answers.

If you are going through a difficult, uncertain time, here are seven better questions you can ask yourself (and your team which can be defined in any way you want – basically it’s a group of people who are there to book_searching_for_answers_400_clr_12525a support you). You can also just use the questions for any situation you’re in, difficult or not. These questions are great for general life assessment:

  1. What if this isn’t the end but a new beginning? Just asking this question will put you in a better space. It’s always better to think of a beginning than an end. What can you get out of this, what good can come from this situation.
  2. What if the answer to my prayer is just over the next hill? This reminds me of Winston Churchill’s “Don’t ever quit”.  If you stop now, you’ll never know what’s over the hill. What if the hill is just a few hundred feet away and not the miles you think it is. What if it really won’t take the immense amount of effort you think it will? Perception is often said to be reality. You can change your perception of this situation too. You can see that hill as conquerable. You can use the mantra of the ultrarunner – relentless forward motion. Keep on going.
  3. What if this is necessary in order for me to be prepared for the next important chapter in my life? This can be a scary question to answer. But it’s important. When you were ready to start school, you didn’t just start with college did you? You had to build up to that. Similarly, life events teach you about the next step and help you learn to take that step.
  4. What if God (or the Universe if you prefer) knows exactly what I need at this particular time? Again Abraham says that the Universe brings you everything you ask for. But there is the Law of Gestation that I keep talking about. I tell you that if you plant an acorn you can’t dig it up ever day and ask “where’s the oak tree”. But, you also can’t just plant it and keep food and water from it and expect it to grow. There are things that are needed to support that gestation. Same with bringing you what you want. There are steps and the Universe knows what those steps are. Have faith in that.
  5. What does this experience make possible? This is a really important question to ask.  Does it force you to slow down? To re-evaluate your life? To stop spending so much time at work? To spend more time with your family? Does it give you the opportunity and time to write and be creative – to do something you’ve wanted to do for so long? What can you do because of this situation that you were putting off or just “didn’t get to”
  6. What will I be telling my grandchildren that I learned was so valuable in this season of my life? Or if you don’t have grandchildren, what will you write in your memoirs. Another way to look at it is what would you like people to remember about you?

Take these 6 questions and write out the answers. Be serious about it. Date your page (or write in your journal). Write down how you feel and what vibrational state are you in before you start answering the questions. Then take as long as you need to answer them. At the end, record how you feel. Is there a difference? Do you feel as if life is more manageable at this point? What did you learn just from answering the questions? Where do you want to head now?

Use these questions as your starting point. They help with clarity for moving forward instead of staying stuck where you are right now.

Let me know if you enjoy answering the questions.


Is Worry In Your Way?

anxious_scared_figure_400_clr_8434I realized last Saturday that I was letting all my worry about many different things get in the way of my enjoying life and actually making me miserable. What a cruddy way to be living day to day.

What was I worried about? It’s all around my upcoming race in July – the one across the state of Tennessee. I was worried about my gear – which pack should I use? How can I make it lighter? What shoes should I wear? Was I going to get blisters? What if my feet swelled so much so that the shoes no longer worked? What if I couldn’t handle the heat and sun? What if this, what if that? You name it, I could worry about it.

I was doing two long runs every weekend – it had gotten so that I was looking forward to going to work on Monday – can’t say as I ever thought that way before.

I finally had a realization. Why the heck was I worrying so much? Here I am telling people that the whole purpose of life is to experience joy and that we can and should experience it NOW, NOT when whatever it is we’re after manifests itself. And I was doing just what I was preaching against. What a hypocrite.

Despite not wanting to be a hypocrite, I also didn’t like not enjoying where I was right then and there – or more accurately – here and now. I have been looking forward to this run for a year now and here I was making myself miserable as the time drew nearer. I was creating all the bad things that could possibly happen just by worrying. And what good was worrying going to do anyway? Preparation is not the same as worrying.

I knew what I had to do. I knew that I had been down for the count for 9 weeks and although that bothered me and I was concerned that it put me behind the eight ball, training wise, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it at this point. So why keep dwelling on it (aka “worrying”). Did that improve my endurance? Of course not. All I could do was do what I was able to do right now.

What good was worrying about how hot it might be, or how heavy my pack was? Ok, thinking about these two things led me to be able to prepare – I trained in the heat of the day to try to get acclimatized. I wore my pack with all the gear and water I would be carrying for 10 days. That’s preparation. There was no need to worry because there was not a darn thing else I could do and worrying would not make it cooler in Tennessee nor would it help me acclimatize to anything other than more worry.  I think we’re all pretty acclimatized to that – we do it without even knowing that we’re doing it.

So, all worry could do would be to make me miserable and not enjoy my time leading up to the race. And it put me in a negative vibrational state and great things do NOT come when you’re in such a state. I was likely to attract things I didn’t want.

I simply decided to think about the variables and plan appropriately and then enjoy what I was doing. When a problem arose or something that I needed to deal with, I expressed gratitude and appreciation that it had come up prior to the run so that I really could deal with it. That is preparation. There was nothing negative in it at all. I went about enjoying the two days I had left with long runs. Instead of wishing I was home doing something else, I concentrated on the event and how great it was going to be to participate and meet other folks – both runners and those along the way.

I stopped worrying about “what if I don’t finish?” knowing that I would do the best I could and whatever happened, happened. I would only quit if things were really bad for me (injury that would prevent continuing). I was in this to find out what I was made of and that was what would happen. I was not going to lose my job or my pride if I didn’t finish. All of the other people in my normal life wouldn’t even consider trying it. There was no “face” to lose. Just do the best you can, Terrie. And that’s what will happen. I visualize the outcome and that’s what’s important.

If worry is in your way, take a different look at it.  Worry is also a form of fear so look at your fears and find out if you’re really “worried” (socially acceptable) or “afraid” (not so much acceptable).  Are your fears realistic? If so, are they something that would keep you from accomplishing your goal? If so, then reconsider the goal. If not, then acknowledge them and put them aside.

  • Remember why you’re doing what it is you’re doing.
  • Feel the joy that the achievement of this goal will bring.
  • Plan and prepare. Look at any event/thought/obstacle that comes up as part of your preparation. Don’t focus on it, work on it.
  • Enjoy what you are doing right now.


What’s YOUR State of the Union?

US CapitolI have to admit that I do NOT watch, listen to or read any political stuff and avoid discussions of such like the plague. Until they have a good news or just all news program, I will continue to simply scan one or two internet news pages to make sure I know important things happening but that’s it. All the negativity simply pollutes my mind and attitude.

But I did know that last night was the annual State of the Union address by the President of the United States. I also know that it’s a bunch of word and ideas of what the President “would like” to accomplish – remember, though, that there are both houses of the government that have to approve any action so good luck with that.

Two things struck me as useful in this whole event, though. And they both apply to you and my designation that this is the Year of You.

The first is that everyone should create their own State of the Union “address” every year – it should be a summary that includes:

  • Where were you in January last year – and I don’t mean geographically unless that’s important in your life (such as if you had a significant move later in the year). I mean look at last January and see where you were emotionally and spiritually. Were you busy making resolutions or instead, outlining your goals (like we did in our Define and Conquer program which is available online) and your plan of action. Or were you just plodding along ‘same ole, same ole’? Were you feeling excited about the upcoming year or dreading it? Look back at your calendar or journal or diary if you have any of these. Look at your emails to see what you wrote to your friends or even what purchases you made that would impact living your life for the rest of the year. When you do your taxes, use this information to take inventory of the various months.

What happened during the year – what was planned that happened, what happened that you didn’t plan? Write these things down. Did things happen that you weren’t expecting or planning for that turned out great or turned out not so great.  Did something occur that you thought was pretty horrible but when you look back on it now you can see the good things that came from it? That happens to me all the time – especially when I’m willing to look at it as an event, without being held hostage to my emotional ties to that event.

Where are you now – at the end of the year or at the beginning of this year? What’s your emotional state right now? What’s your spiritual state? What’s fulfilling in your life and what’s missing? You can add whatever you want to your own State of YOUR Union address. I encourage you to write it down – you can use bullet points or you can write it all out like a speech writer would. But put it down on paper and keep it.

  • The second thing about the presidential address that struck me as pertinent to all of you was his declaration that this should be the “Year of Action”. He said “”What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up iStock_000016019519Smallgrowth…..”. In order to make this The Year of YOU, you have to take action. You have to plan for action. Stop just dreaming or wishing. Stop staying that it’s not meant to be or that other people are lucky and you’re not. It’s not about luck, it’s about planning and taking action. Your next writing assignment after the State of YOUR Union should be to write down your goals and what you really want to achieve this year. What are you aiming for – and aim high – it shouldn’t just be something like “I want to be happier”. That is too vague for your subconscious to embrace. If you said that doing x, y, z (and they are specific items) would make you happy then that would be ok.   I’ll give you one example of my own that is only partially good. I am focused this year on completing the 315 mile trek across Tennessee in July. I have this dream in my mind almost constantly when I have any idle time at all. Can you figure out what’s wrong with this goal? I’ll give you a hint – it’s one event. It’s over in July and I haven’t even thought about what I’m going to do or want to do after that. That is not good. It’s what happened to me when I graduated from medical school. I had wanted to be a doctor since I was four and all I ever did was directed toward that goal and it took me a long time. But I had not really thought about the after. So the day I graduated my only feeling and thought was “what now?”, “is that all there is?” and that was NOT a good place to be emotionally. That’s why we have to build on our goals and keep them coming. We set and revise the goals as we go on. But the most important thing is to be specific about what you want to do and achieve.

Then you put down your plan of action! In order to achieve these goals you have to take action and you should plan it. What are you going to do when or by when? Write these things down!Then, of course, you have to actually take the action – you have to get rid of the fears that you’re not good enough or you can’t succeed or you don’t deserve this, etc etc. It’s time to get out of the emotional hostage situation! Get yourself a negotiator – a coach.

So, start write now and state the intention to get at least your state of the union address written by this coming Sunday. Then set yourself another goal, perhaps the following Sunday, to have put down where you want to be by December of next year and how you’re going to get there. Take 2 or 3 weeks to outline your plan of action.

If you’re interested in another live Define and Conquer type program this year, let me know either by email or by posting a comment here! Now get to work!


Find A Way in 2014

practice1 Welcome to the greatest year of your life – EVER!

Why have I “waited” so long to write this? Why didn’t I get it out there on 1 January?

I’ll tell you why and there are two reasons:

1) I was doing a six day run (and am proud to say that I covered 200 miles during those 6 days – it was a terrific moment for me) called “Across The Years” – meaning it started in 2013 and ended in 2014. So, I was a bit out of commission at the first of the year.

2) I really loathe the hype that surrounds the New Year. People make it out like it’s the only time of year you can (or should) make changes in your life. Why? Why can’t you decided today to make changes? Why can’t you decide that you don’t need to make any changes, you don’t need any resolutions, that maybe you’re ok as you are? Why oh why does everyone HAVE to make some sort of resolution to change every year on 1 January?

This superimposed “you must change” edict that you see all over the TV, the papers, the internet (must be true of course right?), and in the conversations all around you is enough to make you feel guilty if you don’t want to participate in “changing your life forever”.

What happens if you’re just not “in the mood” at this time of year (which many people aren’t – it’s a big time for depression but that’s not talked about as much) so you don’t make any New Year’s resolutions? You feel guilty and unworthy and not “part of the crowd”. You feel as if you don’t belong. It seems that making resolutions keeps you in the mainstream of human nature so you do belong and are just like everyone else.

But the other thing that happens if you don’t participate in the “New Year’s Resolution” process is that then you feel that you can’t ever make any changes, any alterations to your life until “next year” – where you will probably repeat this same process and set of emotions. So 1374635_10151938781002408_1738297909_nyou put off making any changes even when you ARE motivated for it – because it’s NOT the New Year.  Why don’t you do it then? Because there’s no hype, no being part of the process, no belonging if you decide in June that you have something in your life that you want to alter. You feel foolish telling people you’ve made a resolution. Their response might be “now?, why?” And that will help defeat you before you even start. You won’t have the support that you would have had if you had started when everyone else did – even though your heart wasn’t really in it.

So, let me ask you this – did you make resolutions? Where are you with them now  that we are half way through January?

More importantly – have you taken an inventory and listed everything that’s great about you and that you’re grateful for? That should be your first step for sure. Because you have to focus on the good parts of you more than the “bad” things, the things that you think have to change and have to change right this minute.  Once you’ve taken this inventory and expressed your gratitude, you can list the areas you want to examine that might show you areas you’d like to concentrate on. I don’t want to say change because that word often implies significant effort and obvious (to others) alterations.  To concentrate on something might mean simply focusing more on a process such as keeping a gratitude journal or making sure every day you say your “gratitudes” even if you don’t write them down. So what can others see to know you’ve accomplished something? Probably nothing immediate and the change  in you they might not attribute to this action/concentration. You might not either but it will most likely be because you have paid attention to gratitude.

iStock_000005883875XSmallI want everyone to spend January thinking and writing about how great they are and all their terrific qualities. Write them down. Make a list of all you have accomplished – you can start with 2013 but go back all the way through your life and write, write, write.

This is your starting point. You can alter how you feel and think about things just by taking this life inventory and dwelling on all you have and all you’ve done. Stop focusing on the bad or negative things.

2014 will be the best year of your life and you will NOT have to put much effort in it. Stick with me and I’ll show you how this will happen. Are you willing to take that risk?