• “I see beauty all around, and I’m reminded once again…
    Here and now I have all that I need.
    Here and now this is where I am meant to be.”
    ~ Jana Stanfield ~

    A sunset walk at Torrey Pines State Beach Reserve this past weekend and Jana Stanfield’s song “Here and Now,” inspired me to create a photo collage for you from my photos. It’s a great way to take an inspiration break at your computer when you make it a desktop background. [Right click on the photo and then click "Set as desktop background."] Enjoy!

    Torrey Pines State Beach Reserve - photos (c) MaryMarcdante.com

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  • Tiny Biped Dreams (c) Mary Marcdante

    “No facet of nature is as unlikely as we, the tiny bipeds with the giant dreams.”
    ~ Diane Ackerman ~

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  • “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

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  • 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.

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  • On my walk today, it was low LOW tide. With the storm having passed, the beach was filled with all sorts of treasures. Two of my favorite finds are always little white pebbles and egg-shaped rocks, both of which I found this morning. As I was nearing the end of my walk (up Piney Mountain, down the cliffs to the beach – about 3 miles), I noticed I had only one of my favorite edamame-green fleece gloves in my pocket.

    My first thought was, “Oh shit. Here I go again losing another glove (on a daily basis substitute sunglasses, camera chip or battery, ipod cord, thumb-drive – the lost or misplaced object du jour…).” I turned around and couldn’t see the glove in the near distance so for a moment (or ten) I contemplated whether or not the glove was worth the time to backtrack the mile and half where I may have dropped it while picking up stones.

    I thought, “What if I don’t find it? What if it got washed out to sea? What if someone picked it up? Do I really want to go back and look for something I can replace relatively easily? Do I have the time?

    And then, this is where it got interesting. Continue reading »

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