02/25/10

Inspired Action: End Unworthiness – The Good Feeling Mantra

“When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.”
~ Sigmund Freud ~

The past week was a whirlwind of unexpected inspiring activity, good fortune, and blessings that still astonishes me. I wish this kind of energy for you so below you’ll find a powerful 4 step process that can help shift feelings of unworthiness and “not enough” into willingness and allowing of bigger ideas, and greater resources and support into your life.

A highlight was attending “The Four Masters” Conference in Minneapolis. I had four insights during meditations that created deeper breakthroughs in a few areas of my life that have been, shall we say, chronically challenging for me. I’m thrilled to imagine how this will impact my mindset and work in the next six to twelve months. What’s even more exciting is sharing these insights with you and how you might apply them to your life too.

The first insight was about creating bigger dreams and accepting resources, support, and gifts from others. Can you relate? No matter how much success you’ve already had, if you don’t believe you’re worthy of something grander, no matter how much work you do or how many affirmations you say, you won’t see or allow yourself that grander experience even when it shows up right in front of your face.

I’ve been offered many opportunities in my life, some of them so generous and grand that I didn’t feel worthy of them or was afraid I wouldn’t “measure up to the task,” or couldn’t imagine finding the funds to experience them or a way to pay back, or even pay forward, what was being offered. So I said no, or accepted less, and stuffed the disappointment by rationa(lies)ing to myself that the timing wasn’t right or saying, “next time,” instead of giving myself and others the joy of a definite YES! and allowing myself to be coached into the growth opportunity along the way. Have you ever been there?

TIP: Give yourself permission to let go of feeling unworthy or that you’re not good enough. It is a waste of your precious time and energy. What is more helpful is this:

1.  Notice the problematic thought (“I’m not worthy,” “I didn’t earn that,” “What will be expected of me?” “What if I blow it?”) and the subsequent feeling (doubt, fear, guilt, shame).

2.  Inhale and exhale a slow deep breathe and ask yourself, “Does this thought make me feel better or worse?” The simple act of asking yourself this question will likely show you that it makes you feel worse. Take another deep breath and on the exhale, say, “I choose to let this go.” Repeat it until you feel your body relax.

BIG TIP: What is truly good for you never feels bad.

3.  Shift your thought to something that feels more empowering and expansive rather than wallowing in the bad feeling. The choice is yours. And that’s the key…the choice IS yours. No one else can shift your thoughts or feelings for you. They can create an environment, but YOU have to do the work of choosing to put your mind and heart where it serves you and allows you to give more of your good to others.

4.  Create a good feeling mantra. Smile while you say it, which will help trigger endorphin flow in your body. Relax and repeat often. Here’s my newest mantra:

“I am worthy and I am willing.
I allow and I accept even greater good than I can imagine
into my life for the good of all.”

(What’s your favorite mantra or affirmation? Please post in the comment box.)

In some ways #4 sounds so “I know that! Tell me something new” that it’s almost laughable to me, and yet

If you’re still waiting for the next big dream, goal, or project to manifest and you’re feeling stuck, this idea of worthiness may be something to consider. Sometimes we need to hear something once more (or a hundred times more) to really make the shift we’ve been hoping for.

What challenge will you apply this to in your life? If you want help, post a comment and I’ll reply. If you want more personal support, I am available for coaching.

RESOURCE:

While I was experiencing this amazing week, I was also doing the Enthusiasm 7-Day Mini Retreat that I mentioned to you last week. In case you were too busy to review it, I’m offering it again before the special offer price goes up because it definitely accelerated the good energy field I was in.

Enthusiasm Mini-Retreat Journal & Guidebook – 7 Minutes a Day for 7 Days

Once again I was reminded of the power of positive anticipation, the importance of planning good things into your daily calendar, and how journaling about a good experience (in this case doing the daily EnthusiAction) rekindles and doubles good feelings that you previously experienced, and opens the door to more good happening in your life.

I also discovered that even 5 minutes of writing about something good can be a challenge to fit into my day unless it is attached to a contract or client. But the good feelings I experienced after doing the EnthusiAction and writing about it continue to inspire me to stick with it and plan it into my day. And if I start to put it off, I remember the good feelings and reschedule another time.

If you haven’t already tried this, I encourage you to treat yourself and a friend. It’s priced for everyone’s budget and 10% goes to the Jenna Druck Foundation to send high school girls to this year’s Leadership Conference.

To find out more click on 7 Day Enthusiasm Mini Retreat Journal & Guidebook.

Inspired by your presence…

Mary

Mary Marcdante
Helping People and Organizations Stay Inspired, Creative, and Healthy
Speaker, Author, Facilitator, Coach

02/17/10

[Inspired Action] Enthusiasm Mini Retreat

“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
~ Napoleon Hill ~

Yesterday evening at dusk in heavy San Diego evening traffic, I heard a screaming fire engine siren behind me.  As it became louder, I quickly veered toward the right side of the street curb along with a trail of cars in front of me. Within just a few seconds, the major thoroughfare was clear and a firetruck roared through the intersection.

As I watched traffic clear so quickly, I felt this odd welling up of emotion that initially perplexed me. I flashed on the thought that hundreds of people made an instant decision to act. Now, you might argue that it was to avoid a collision with a 28 ton piece of speeding steel, but you could also choose to think that people were inspired to action because their need to get wherever they were going was less important than helping an unknown person (or people) in distress get the help of the fire and life protection services in our community.

Perhaps because the relief efforts in Haiti or hard times that have affected so many have been forefront of my mind, or maybe because I am continuously humbled by the goodness of friends and strangers wherever I am, I experienced a moment of grace that still touches me even as I write. It’s these moments of insight and choice, strung together that create more inspiration, meaning and value in my life. What about you?

TIP: Journal 5 Minutes a Day on Your Immediate Surroundings

There are so many ways we lose our connection to our Spirit throughout the day, which leads to making unconscious, unhealthy choices and unnecessary stress and burnout.

Taking the time to reconnect to what feeds our Creative Spirit will always re-energize any project you may be procrastinating or a goal or dream that seems unreachable.

Over the weekend I participated in Jennifer Louden’s Virtual Comfort Retreat 2010, which included a session with Christina Baldwin, author of Life’s Companion Journal. She spoke of the power of capturing daily moments and journaling about them for 5 minutes as a way to stay connected to what’s real and true in your life, especially when we’re bombarded with so many media messages without even realizing it.

Use this information for both acceptance of what is and taking inspired action toward what wants to come into being in your life.


RESOURCE:
NEW! Enthusiasm Mini-Retreat Journal and Guidebook
7 Minutes a Day for 7 Days

I am so excited by what I experienced with the Virtual Weekend Retreat and want to give you a mini version that still has the impact but takes less time per day and fit’s anyone’s budget. The resource I’ve designed for you does all three.

If you ever find yourself wishing for both a quick-fix energy-builder and a long term solution to low energy, fatigue, stress, depression, anxiety or lack of appreciation in your life, you are going to love this new mini-retreat workbook I’ve created for you.

The Enthusiasm 7-Day Mini-Retreat Journal & Guidebook builds on my book Living with Enthusiasm. The retreat workbook and journal gets you in the daily habit of doing one EnthusiAction that increases your energy and productivity and adds more joy to your day in a relaxed and easy way.

It’s fun, and healthy, plus it creates a stronger connection to your Creative Spirit. Share it with a friend or group of friends if you want an even more enriching experience.

Treat yourself to a week of self-discovery, insight and fun. To find out more click on 7 Day Enthusiasm Mini Retreat Journal & Guidebook.

01/19/10

The Power of Keeping an Energy Journal

“We are what we repeatedly do.”
~ Aristotle ~

“It’s simple. Stop doing what isn’t working. Do more of what is working.”
~ John Reese ~


We’re 20 days into January and I’m wondering how you’re doing with your New Year’s Resolutions and quarterly and annual goal actions? Are you still moving forward at a pace that is inspiring or are your wheels starting to spin a little more often than you’d like?

I’m finding I’m doing both. When I did my weekly check-in yesterday, I realized it was time to reactivate a 5-step process that I use in my stress management programs to help people reconnect to emotional intelligence and shift their energy. Amazing what happens when you take your own advice! Time slows down and life become richer and more vibrant. What is important shines and what is trivial falls away. You are in the zone.

Here’s the process. Let me know how it works for you.

1. Take a deep breath and focus on your body. You can do this standing, sitting, or laying down.

2. Scan your body, noticing what you’re feeling, starting at your toes and work up to the top your head. Ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10, how am I feeling?
(1=Bad, 5 = Neutral, 10 = Fantastic! (Keep this simple for now.)

3. Notice the number in your mind and feel the feeling.

4. Ask yourself, “What could I think, say, or do right now to shift this energy up one point?”

5. Do what your Inner Voice suggests and keep doing it until you move up a point. With repetition, you’ll notice that you’ll stay at higher levels longer and be able to increase your energy and good feelings more quickly.

Repeat this process a minimum of 3x a day for the next 21 days and create a new
habit that serves your health and emotional/mental wellbeing.

If you want to turn this into a habit you do without thinking twice, record your answers like I do in an Energy Journal (Click here for a sample journal sheet in pdf). You’ll heighten your awareness and create a helpful self-discovery tool to find out specifically where you lose your energy and how to get it back quickly.

I really want you to have an exceptional life, so please enjoy this journal as my gift to you. Click here to download the Energy Journal.

Enjoy your time with your Self and let me know how the Energy Journal works for you. You can leave a comment below.

Mary

12/12/09

Morning IV (Inner Voice) and Why Tiger Failed.

What is your Inner Voice trying to tell you?

Do you ever encourage a conversation with your IV (Inner Voice or what some experts call the Voice of Intuition)? I do. Most often while walking in nature or writing Q&A dialogue before I fall asleep at night or first thing in the morning when I wake up.

My IV is the conduit to self-discovery and solutions to challenges; comfort when I’m experiencing fear, disappointment, or anger; appreciation when I do something well; and wise counsel that I may not want to hear but when I trust helps me live authentically with integrity and leads me to the answers I’m seeking.

This morning when I awoke at 4:48 AM, I sensed it was time for a Q&A session. After asking my IV for guidance and typing stream of consciousness on my laptop for 20 minutes, the timer chimed for me to end. I continued writing to bring closure to the conversation and heard something that equally surprised me and reminded me of something I often forget, which I’ve shared below.

Oh, I should also mention that sometimes my IV says things that initially appear to have no personal relevance (you’ll see what I mean with the Tiger Woods comment). I’ve learned to write whatever comes even if it doesn’t make sense in the moment because when I reread what I’ve written later, the Eureka Moment often arrives and I know that what I’ve heard is both a personal message for me and a Universal Truth (from my limited conscious perspective) that is so compelling I’m inspired to share it with you.

So here’s the conversation. I’d love to know what you think when you’ve finished reading, so please leave a comment or email me.

MM: I don’t want to open my eyes. It’s safer in here, where I can feel my connection to you.

IV: Tiger was not connected to himself and that was his failure. All people will fail when they lose their connection to their Inner Voice. Your Inner Voice will never lead you down a path that destroys you. Your willfulness is what destroys you when you go against what you know to be loving. It is that simple.

When your needs are suffering because you are not connected to your Inner Voice, you will make decisions that do not serve you. It is understandable, but not necessary.

Listen more, intend more, and actions will be clear. Not always easy because there are so many energies pulling you in different directions, but there is a yes or no that can be instituted quickly. And once you learn to follow that voice, and act on the answer, you will flourish.

Go practice. It leads to greatness. And you are already great in our book.

There is no one to impress. Just people and life to love.

MM: Thank you.

Whatever Tiger’s reasons for his choices, whatever the cynics say, however you view failure, the message for me is loud and clear: There is no one to impress. Just people and life to love.  How slowly I learn, how quickly I forget, how important it is I remember.

What about you? What do you think? I’d really like to hear from you. Mary

07/21/09

Inspire Yourself ~ 7 Steps to Creative Napping

Have you ever fallen asleep at your desk or had an easier time falling asleep on the couch than in bed? Does your creativity need a boost? Could you use more enthusiasm? Nap your way to success.

The National Sleep Foundation reports some astonishing facts that validate the power of a nap:

* 48.5% of Americans report trouble sleeping

* 46% say their lack of sleep is due to job
stress and other worries

* 25% of the 1000 men and women surveyed believe that you cannot be successful in a career and get enough sleep.

Yikes! Well, the good news is new research reported in the Journal of Sleep Research shows that a 20-minute nap in the middle of the afternoon can be more effective in reducing fatigue and increasing energy into the evening than a cup of caffeine or more sleep at night. Your body is revitalized down to a cellular level with a nap, but not so with caffeine.

There are two types of naps – a stress-relief nap that focuses on energizing the body and a creative nap that fuels creativity, intuition and enthusiasm as well as revitalizing the body.

For a stress-release nap, set a timer with a soft ringer for 20 minutes. Slow down your breathing. Follow your breath in and out for the allotted time, maintaining a soft smile on your face to keep the endorphins flowing in your body.

For a creative nap, follow these steps:

1. Find a quiet place to rest. If you are at work and if there is no lounge or quiet room, as a last resort, you know where to go. Choose the end stall if it’s available.

2. Set a timer with a soft ringer and keep a pad of paper and pen next to you. (Just bring a pen if you use the restroom; you’ll already have paper.)

3. Before your nap, focus your mind on one item you want to accomplish, pose a question to your mind and then let it go. (Writing out your question helps clarify what you want.)

4. Limit the length of your nap to 20 minutes.

5. Tell yourself that you will rest for the specified time and awaken relaxed and refreshed.

6. Do a deep relaxation from head to toe, breathing slowly and deeply, following your breath just like you did in the stress release nap.

7. Upon waking, record any insights or answers that popped out during your nap.

If you already have a copy of my book, Living with Enthusiasm, reread pgs. 88-89. If you’d like more ways to tap into your Creative Spirit, turn your stress into success and feel more enthusiasm during your work day, learn more about how to do that with the Living with Enthusiasm Online Self-Coaching program. Try it for a month for free!

07/21/09

Creative Napping ~ San Diego Living TV Appearance

Think a nap is just for kids, cats, or your annual vacation? Watch my interview with Renee Kohn from San Diego Living and learn more about the power of a “creative” nap for problem-solving and stress management.

Naps are a great stress reliever and can tap into your brain’s alpha waves that put you at your creative best and increase your enthusiasm for living.

The idea for my book Living with Enthusiasm: How the 21-Day Smile Diet Can Change Your Life came to me following a creative nap on a plane ride home after a speaking engagement.

Since that inspiring moment and learning more about how naps regenerate our bodies at a cellular level, I’ve stopped feeling guilty that I’m not being productive. By slowing down the brain and body, we’re actually revitalizing our energy to move faster, healthier and more creatively. When I start to nod during the day now, I take it as a sign that my Creative Spirit wants to talk to me and give myself permission to nap.

Watch the interview now and look for my next post on the 7 steps to a successful creative nap.

02/17/09

Discover Your Happiness Strengths

After a four year hiatus, today I repeated the VIA (Values in Action) Strengths survey on the newly updated happier.com. Once again, I was reminded of the power of self-discovery and self-awareness, and the immense value of identifying your personal strengths.

The site highlights research and assessments by the gifted Dr. Martin Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology movement at the University of Pennsylvania and helps you apply that research to your life in very user-friendly ways.

According to the VIA Institute on Character, this survey is the most scientifically validated tool for measuring character strengths. Over 1.3 million people have taken it. There are 24 qualities that have been validated as strengths that lead to happiness when applied to your daily life. Alphabetically listed, here they are:

Appreciation of beauty and excellence
Bravery and valor
Capacity to love and be loved
Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
Curiosity and interest in the world
Forgiveness and mercy
Gratitude
Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness
Humor and playfulness
Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
Kindness and generosity
Leadership
Love of learning
Modesty and humility
Perseverance, industry and diligence
Perspective (wisdom)
Prudence, caution, and discretion
Religiousness, spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
Self-regulation and self-control
Social intelligence
Teamwork, citizenship and loyalty
Zest, enthusiasm, and energy

When you take this free profile online, which I highly recommend, you’ll be asked 240 multiple choice questions. Set aside a half hour to answer – it’s worth the time because what you’ll learn can positively shape everything you do. You’ll be fascinated, I promise.

At the end of the profile, you’re presented with a personalized list and description of your 24 strengths in order of importance to you. While the list wasn’t new information to me since I’d taken it before, it did show that four of my strengths remained in the top five in a new order and reflected more of how I experience my happiness now, which is a real gift because it reconfirms what has helped me survive some very challenging personal changes in the past four years and is what I can count on and follow when the world around me is in flux (like now!).

Another powerful reminder of this assessment, similar to Marcus Buckingham’s work and the Gallup StrengthsFinder, is that for a person to feel happy on a regular basis, your day (work and personal time) needs to include activities where you can apply and experience your top five strengths.

Here’s my Happier.com list of top 5 strengths:

1. Appreciation of beauty and excellence
2. Gratitude
3. Curiosity and interest in the world
4. Kindness and generosity
5. Love of learning

Fortunately for me, my work as a speaker and writer committed to helping people stay inspired through challenge and change allows me to use these strengths every day. But…that doesn’t mean I’m always aware that I am doing so, or actually using those strengths, and therein lies a major key to feeling happier – a written daily strengths checklist and journal you can review and act from, especially when you’re going through a difficult time.

A few other interesting insights:

The profile lists your strengths in order of preference and while it’s not stated, you can presume that your 24th strength is also your greatest challenge.

Not surprisingly, I share #24 with most other people who take the profile. (When I went through Seligman’s six-month “Authentic Happiness Coaching Program,” they mentioned this research fact.)

Drum roll, please: my #24 is Self-Regulation and Self-Control. While there many areas of my life where this is not true, where it does fit is with time management. I have a hard time sticking to my own self-defined schedules for getting projects done (which is another reason why I love accountability partners and client timelines).

But here’s the good news in identifying and applying your strengths: On the occasions that I do get stuck, if I apply even one of my strengths to getting something done that I’m avoiding that is important and not urgent (Covey’s Key Success Quadrant), magic can and often will occur.

For example: First thing in the morning, I love to walk at Torrey Pines Reserve and Beach, take photos of moments that inspire me (here’s one from today), and then journal, all of which I do almost every early morning before I start my work day. These activities energize and nurture me and as I was reminded again today, tap into my strengths.

Once I get to my desk, if it becomes challenging for me to stick to my daily work plan (what plan!?), and I find myself clicking on the Mahjong Titans computer game or stepping away from my desk for a sugar-fat snack attack, it’s a sign I’m off track. While fun, those actions don’t move me forward in my day or life. The key to my success in that moment (and long term) is to catch myself in that .5 second that researchers say a decision occurs, and do the following: smile, take a deep breath, review my strengths list, and ask myself, “How can I apply at least one of these strengths to this task?” In the case of a marketing call, I simply have to remember how grateful I am to get to do the work I do, how much I appreciate my audiences, and how curious I am to learn more about a new client, and voella!, the calls get made and I’m using my strengths in service to my higher purpose and vision.

And, sometimes, honestly, playing Mahjong Titans and hiking to the store for a king-size Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar still do the trick.

You can take the VIA Happiness Strengths for free at Happier.com. Go take it now. You’ll be glad you did. And if you’d like this type of information presented at your business or organization, or would like a complimentary coaching session on how to apply this in your life, email me at mary (at) marymarcdante.com.